Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Truest statement of the week

Clear conflicts are present in this investigation for Joe Biden. Most obviously, it involves his son. In addition, Biden has stated repeatedly for more than a year that “no one has suggested my son did anything wrong.” That clearly is not true; many people agree that Hunter Biden was engaged in raw influence-peddling on a global scale. That may not be a crime but it certainly is ethically wrong. Nevertheless, Biden continued that claim after the disclosure that Hunter is the subject or target of a federal investigation. He has referred to the allegations as a continuation of political “foul play” targeting his family.

Previously, Democrats insisted that Trump’s public dismissal of the Russia investigation as a “hoax” supported the appointment of a special counsel. In addition, powerful Democrats like House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff claimed the Hunter Biden laptop and emails discovered before the election were just “Russian disinformation” and “this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin.”

Biden himself responded affirmatively — “yes, yes, yes” — to a recent question about whether allegations against his son are “Russian disinformation and a smear campaign, like you said?” So,any criminal or other wrongdoing found by prosecutors would be an obvious embarrassment to Biden.

Further, serious apparent conflicts were revealed in the laptop and emails seized by federal investigators. Biden has refused to acknowledge that the laptop and emails are genuine. He has refused to address direct contradictions in those emails. He has declined to address accounts of key witnesses like Hunter’s business associate, Tony Bobulinski, referring to Biden’s direct knowledge or involvement — in direct conflict with Biden’s repeated denials. The emails refer to payments, office space and other benefits for Joe Biden and his family from foreign countries, particularly China.

Finally, Joe Biden has more than a son or his own credibility at stake. This investigation started in 2018 with a Treasury Department suspicious activity report. That does not mean there was a crime, but foreign financial transactions were flagged as suspicious and there are indications that money-laundering concerns may have been raised.


-- Jonathan Turley, "The Case For and Against The Appointment of A Special Counsel In The Hunter Biden Investigation" (JONATHANTURLEY.ORG).




Truest statement of the week II

Only two Democrats had opposed the NDAA three weeks ago when it passed the House—Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. Several other Democrats seeking to strike a “left” or “antiwar” posture chose to vote against the bill and uphold Trump’s veto this time around. These included Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia of Chicago and the co-leaders of the House Progressive Caucus, Mark Pocan and Pramila Jayapal.

But the total of 20 Democrats opposing the NDAA were safely short of having any impact. While the Republicans failed to muster the two-thirds needed to override, instead marshaling a narrow majority, the 10-1 margin among Democrats was more than enough to ensure that the record spending for the military would move one step closer to enactment.


-- Patrick Martin, "House overrides Trump veto of military spending bill" (WSWS).



A note to our readers

Hey -- 


Tuesday morning.

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,

Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, 
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?



Jonathan Turley gets another truest.

As does Patrick Martin.

We're so tired of the fakery -- aren't you as well?

Ava and C.I. take on the new WW film.

We roundtable about a number of issues.

And yet so many critics are silent right now.

The best.

The worst.

The worst.

What we listened to while writing.

Jimmy Dore.

Jimmy Dore.

We need Medicare For All.


 Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it..



-- Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.


Editorial: The fakers pretend badly

Donald Trump pardoned Blackwater mercenaries.  And it's all the faux left can talk about.  They pretend it's the most pressing story in the world and that it's about Iraq.  But it's not the most pressing, not even in Iraq where it was part of a 24-hour news cycle and is now not even in the news.

That didn't stop losers like Gerry Condon from puffing their chests and writing rah-rah -- this is bad, this is bad for US troops!  Uh, Gerry, the four are former US troops, didn't you know that you dumb ass?  And, uh, Gerry, US troop behavior in Iraq was never going to win medals to begin with.  Are you really unaware of all the War Crimes and atrocities?

The Blackwater mercs served a little time.  That's more than most of the people who carried out War Crimes did.  And none of the ones responsible, the ones actually in charge, served any time at all.

Iraq's got real issues.  If you want to go to town on Donald Trump -- if you're life is that pathetic -- have at it.  But don't pretend you're doing it on behalf of the Iraqi people.

You haven't said a word about the protesters.  You haven't said a word about NRT -- that's the TV station the Iraqi government shut down.  You haven't said a word about the fears of violence on January 3rd.

You haven't said a word about anything.

Donald Trump is on his way out of the White House.  What will you pathetics do when you no longer get to rage about him?

We know what you won't do: Call for an end to the ongoing war.  You know Courage To Resist -- one of Gerry's outlets -- doesn't even know the Iraq War continues -- or at least they no longer cover it.

We know you won't do anything at all because you honestly never do.

TV: WONDER WOMAN 1984 is an awful film

 Watching WONDER WOMAN 1984 on HBO MAX reminded us that we're feminists.  A lot of things remind of us that because, let's be honest, being a feminist means you get asked a lot of questions -- a number of them stupid questions.



a new illst

Take Mary Travers.  She died September 16, 2009.  We never noted it.  'Why, oh, why,' some bemoaned in e-mails, 'won't you note Mary's passing?'  Or 'When are you going to get around to noting Mary's passing?'  Eleven years later good enough for you?

We didn't note Mary's passing because she meant nothing to us.  She spent her life ensuring that she meant nothing to us.  She was a token who was happy to be a token.  She did nothing to lift other women up.  She's a woman who died, yes.  Her death didn't make her better person any more than being a woman made her a feminist.  

In 1975, she hosted a syndicated radio show MARY TRAVERS & FRIENDS.  As a non-feminist, it was more than 'natural' for Mary to use this time to do nothing for women.  Women didn't even make up one third of her guests.  Her show didn't last long -- she was a lousy interviewer -- but she could have used her brief time to have made a difference and she didn't.  It was pitched to AOR -- Album Oriented Rock radio stations -- at a time when Joni Mitchell had just begun her long banishment from the radio airwaves.  You could basically hear Ann Wilson, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks and that was it when it came to women on AOR that year.  Mary could have used the show to have made a difference and to influence.  She didn't.  She was always happy to be the token female in the room.  

Before we go further, so you can grasp how awful she was conducting an interview, when not offering 'insight' like time killed off the dinosaurs, she was bemoaning to Bob Dylan that she'd never been able to write or co-write a song or turn her poetry into music lyrics.  This was in April of 1975.  

Explain to us please how 1971's MARY (her first solo album) saw her receiving songwriting credits for "The Song Is Love" (she took credit for it on PETER, PAUL and Mary's ALBUM 1700, as well) and "Erika With The Windy Yellow Hair"? She also took songwriting credits on "I Have A Song To Sing, O" and "All Through The Night" on PETER, PAUL AND MOMMY (1969) and on the group's LATE AGAIN (1969) she took songwriting credit on "Yesterday's Tomorrow" and "She Dreams." on 1966's THE PETER, PAUL AND MARY album, she took songwriting credit for "Mon Vrai Destin."  We could go on forever.  But the point is, she took songwriting credit over and over for over a decade before she complained on air to Bob Dylan in 1975 that she'd never been able to write a song.

We get it.  We do.  John Phillips stole credit for Hedy West's "500 Miles" for years before he got honest.  Sonny Bono never got honest about stealing "Chastity's Song (Band of Thieves)" from Elyse J. Weinberg. The credits on CHASTITY, the film he made, still read "Music by Sonny Bono."  So, yeah, we get it.  We get that Pete Seeger -- 'god' to so many -- is always going to be, for us, the man who stole credit for "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and lived off the money from that song he didn't write -- lived it off it for years and years and never made any effort, when exposed, to return the money to the family of the actual composer Solomon Linda.  

We get it and we can name many more examples but, thing is, the many, many examples we can think of mainly involve men -- plus Barbra Streisand.  At any rate, Mary, 'feminist' that she is, makes it clear that a woman can steal credit just as easily as a man.  

That's not feminism.

Like Mary, WONDER WOMAN 1984 reminds of things that aren't feminism.  It even reminds us of things that are just flat our ridiculous.  Like the first act party that Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) attends wearing a ridiculous, long, white dress -- did we mention that it's slit up to the crotch.  If they needed to show off her legs, wasn't the short skirt she wears as Wonder Woman throughout the film enough?  And are we the only ones marveling over her walking through the streets with Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) in that dress after the party -- and how it drags on the ground and how he repeatedly almost steps on it -- because it's so long and trailing?

We noticed other things too.  Like how, setting Chris Pine aside, all the men in the film are physically repulsive.  That includes the chubby Pedro Pascal.  It also includes 43-yearold Kristoffer Polaha -- he's boxy and unattractive and why is he cast to begin with at the age of 43?  Gal Gadot is 35 and Chris Pine is 40.  Why is the body that Steve Trevor inhabits cast with an older actor -- one who shows up at the end for a scene with Diana that doesn't work because he's no longer Steve and he's also not attractive. In what has to be the funniest joke in the film, the credits list Polaha as "Handsome Man."  The ugly men on parade also include Oliver Cotton, Stuart Milligan, Kevin Wallace . . . 

Strangely though, the women have to look good whether they're extras or playing Pedro Pascal's assistants.  Even stranger for us, the film includes a mall scene where a group of women are working out and they are being leered at  by men.  What was the 'feminist' message there?  What was the point of that scene at all?  Exercise and fitness actually empowers women -- at least until Patty Jenkins starts directing.

The bad guys?  Supposedly Pascal's Max Lord.  But it's really just the Egyptians.  The film tries to have it both ways by making up a nation ("Bialya") and by casting a famous Egyptian actor, Amr Waked, as the leader of the country.  When the lead of your film served in the Israel Defense Forces, we're not sure how the 'olive branch' is casting an Egyptian to play the corrupt leader of an Arab country.  We're especially confused since Egypt wasn't on the list of rogue states the US kept in 1984.  Starting at the end of 1979, the US government considered Libya, Iraq, South Yemen, Syria, Cuba and (January 19, 1984) Iran to be rogue/terrorist states and listed them as such.  So why Egypt in a film that's events are set in 1984?  Was Patty trying to please Israeli Gal by falling back to The Six-Day War of 1967?

We don't know who she was trying to please with the disaster of a script.

This is a super hero film, after all.  Patty has taken to whining a lot in the last weeks.  Ben Pearson (SLASH FILM) explains:


Patty Jenkins‘ 2017 blockbuster Wonder Woman is a terrific film that suffers from a climactic battle that sticks out like a sore thumb. While the rest of the movie’s fight scenes felt tactile and personal, the final battle devolved into a CGI-heavy slog which left a bad taste in some viewers’ mouths. Turns out that wasn’t the original plan: Jenkins says the studio forced her to change the ending at the last minute, and says her original ending was on a smaller scale.

With Wonder Woman 1984 arriving in theaters and on HBO Max this week, director Patty Jenkins was asked about the difference between the endings of the new sequel and her 2017 original movie, with an IGN interviewer wondering if the choice to tone things down slightly in the sequel was a purposeful one. “The original end of the first movie was also smaller, but the studio made me change it at the last minute,” Jenkins revealed. “So that’s always been a little bit of a bummer that [the ending is] the one thing people talk about because I agreed. And I told the studio we didn’t have time to do it, but it was what it was. I ended up loving it, but that was not the original ending of the movie.”

Without that ending, WONDER WOMAN isn't a superhero film.  But the reality is, WONDER WOMAN wasn't much of a film at all.  Directing MONSTER, a character study film, did not mean Patty could handle an action film and WONDER WOMAN 1984 makes that even more clear.

Whether it's Batman, Batgirl, Storm or Spider-Man, we expect them to save the day.  They are comic book creations, after all.  So WONDER WOMAN 1984 and its limp ending make it clear that the smartest thing WARNER BROTHERS did in 2020 was decide to release this film on HBO MAX for 30 days.  It is not a film that would have held up at theaters.  It's a huge disappointment in every manner including in the basic premise.

Max Lord is the villain but he and Wonder Woman never engage in physical combat.  He's got no physicality and he's also wounding himself through the use of his power (granting wishes).  The dippy climatic moment of their 'battle' is when he's able to see that his son Alistair is alone and scared.  Now this might have worked on some level if Max hadn't spent the whole film avoiding and abandoning his son.  Equally true, to get to that moment, Diana has to first force, via her magic lasso, Max to relive his childhood -- is this the end of a comic book movie or an Erhard Seminars Training self-actualization exercise?


It's a lousy film.  In the big moment where Diana and Steve are reunited?  Patty cuts to soon.  And she cuts to an establishing shot of the city.  In the next scene, Steve is wearing sneakers (and about to step on Diana's long dress, remember?) which is strange when later on in the film, the same Steve will marvel over . . . sneakers as he sees them for the first time ("have you seen these shoes!").  So much doesn't fit.  During the day, Max Lord almost ends the world, but right before Diana confronts him, we're suddenly outside the building he's in but it's nighttime and will remain nighttime while she battles Cheetah only to again be daylight once Diana's confronting Max.  No, it doesn't make sense but none of the film makes sense.    


It doesn't make sense, for example, that Patty keeps bragging in interviews that she told Pascal that his inspiration for the character is Michael Douglas' Gordon Gekko.  When you can't share real life inspiration, maybe that's how you get Pascal's bad performance that doesn't recall Michael Douglas' Academy Award winning turn but does remind you of Bill Pullman in the box office disaster MR. WRONG.

It's a dull, soggy mess and one that lets Max walk away free despite the fact that he nearly brought the world to an end and has left numerous people injured.  No one dies in the film, insists Patty Jenkins: 



"Nobody dies. No one dies in the whole movie. It's so exciting to not kill people. That's my message."

Well enthusiasm dies, that's for sure.  Equally true, Cheetah may die (Patty claims it's "ambiguous" as to Cheetah's fate).  Cheetah is Kristen Wiig's character.  She starts out as Barbara, a new co-worker with Diana.  She ends up a nightmare.  We're talking visually.  We think Wiig has wasted every chance she's been given since BRIDESMAIDS so we were surprised to find her giving a strong performance in this film.  But she does.  She's appealing and holds your attention.  Until the big battle scene where she looks like something out of CATS.  It has to be the worst CGI since I AM LEGEND and 2003's THE HULK combined.  

It didn't have to be that way.  Wiig had made Barbara a believable character -- so much so that we overlooked that this was yet another rip-off of Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman origin from BATMAN RETURNS -- an origin story that they've been ripping off since Riddler in BATMAN FOREVER.  But Wiig made it fresh.  And, in a White House battle scene with Diana, she held her own.  She used her wish from Max to become as powerful as Diana.  Now she gets to have a second wish for saving Max and she wants to be a predator.  She could have been that in a cat costume.  She didn't have to become part animal.  But that's the Patty Jenkins way, whenever something does work, mess with it so it doesn't.

Cheetah and Wonder Woman?  It's the big battle in the movie.  


Cheetah's a secondary character in this film and she's defeated as Max is about to destroy the world.  She's a diversion to the plot -- can you imagine a director doing that with the Joker?  We can't either.  It's an insult to all the character stood for -- a character who's been around since 1943.  

Equally true, she's the only other woman -- who's not an Amazon -- who gets more than ten lines of dialogue in the film besides Gal.  Why is that?  There are so many speaking parts for male actors and so many male characters -- even two homeless men who have more dialogue than the other women in the film.  How is this a feminist film?  How is this even a film by a feminist?

Well it's not.  It's a film that director Patty wrote with two men.

Really?  That's what we're going to get?  We scream and yell  for women to have the chance to direct and they choose to do a superhero movie about a woman and they choose to hire two men to help them write the script?  One of the men who came to Hollywood as a result of his reading of PENTHOUSE?

This isn't feminism.

And when you watch the sloppy and stupid WONDER WOMAN 1984, you grasp that it's not feminism either.





Jess: Roundtable time.  I'm moderating because Ty, Ava and C.I. didn't want to.  Remember our e-mail address is thethirdestatesundayreview@yahoo.com and we can also be reached at common_ills@yahoo.com.  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jess; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration and this is a rush transcript.


Jess: First up, I think C.I. read 100 books in the last two days.

C.I.: Four today, five yesterday.  Nine total.

Jess: Okay but book coverage is going to be increasing in the community.  Rebecca, you wrote about it in "a few thoughts" so why don't you talk about it.

Rebecca: Awhile back, we upped book coverage.  Community wide.  Everyone would take a week where they noted a book.  

Ava: This was in 2018 and compiled in "In 2018, we read books."

Rebecca: Thank you.  We don't like to repeat but a lot of readers and community members wanted more book coverage.  We did some this year in the community newsletters but they wanted something like what we did in 2018.  So we're going to do that but with a twist.  And I'm tossing to Marcia who came up with the twist.

Marcia: What if, I said, we focused on digital?  A lot of us have AMAZON PRIME and watch various films and TV shows and we may also have AMAZON MUSIC and stream music.  AMAZON also has unlimited KINDLE where you pay a monthly fee and you get to read some of their digital books for free.  So what if that was what we did in 2021?  We'd be able to cover books and, at the end of the year, we'd be able to show what you could do with a monthly subscription to the service. 

Ruth: And this made it interesting for me.  I am always reading anyway.  Like Rebecca and Marcia and Stan, I live in cold weather and so winter is sit in front of the fireplace and read weather.  I am also biased for print books.  So this will get me out of my usual space and let me explore the world of digital books.  I sign up next week.  I think Rebecca already did.

Rebecca: I did.  And let me note that if anyone reading is thinking about sampling the service, I signed up Wednesday and it gave me a two month trial period for free before the $9.99 monthly fee kicks in. 

Jess: Okay.  I'm going to toss to Ty who wants to bring in a few e-mails.

Ty: Susan Kazann e-mailed saying she's not one for New Year's resolutions "but 2020 was not good for me.  I want to make some changes.  I'm not sure how."

Stan: Can I grab that one?  You just do it.  And you do it one step at a time.  Figure out what you want to do different and start doing it.  I hate doing laundry.  I don't hate it because I hate adding detergent to the machine.  I hate it because I hate hanging up clothes.  So what I've learned to do is do the wash on Saturday.  When it's done in the dryer?  I grab four pieces of clothing and hang them up -- or put them away if it's socks and underwear.  Then I go do something else.  Then I go back and do four more pieces.  That way I'm doing little breaks and I can manage it.  If I told myself I was going to have to hang everything up, I'd just end up leaving it in the dryer.  

Wally: Why Saturday?

Stan: I have free electricity on the weekends -- from Friday at 6:00 pm to Sunday night at 11:59 pm.  So I do laundry on the weekend.  I try to get it done on Saturday so I'm not scrambling on Sunday.

Wally: I think Stan's right. It's like the saying that a journey begins with a single step.  If, for example, you want to workout more in 2021, you can't look at it beyond what you can do each day.  You've just got to work out one day, get it started.

Rebecca: Or drinking more water.  Right before we started this, C.I. asked me if I had my ice water and I said, "Nope, let me go get it and I'll let you know when I'm back."  Let you know because I'm participating via phone.  But I want to drink more water.  I've gotten away from my habit of drinking a ton of water -- probably since November.  I want to get back in that habit.  So it's one thing at a time, adding and doing what I can as I go along.  Stan's right.

Ty: Okay, Jeff Power writes to ask if anyone knows The Us Bunch Kids.

Isaiah: The what?

Ty: The Us Bunch Kids.

Ruth: They were like Our Gang or The Little Rascals.  It was a group of children that starred in serials playing children.  

Marcia: Playing children?

Ruth: Right.  Shirley Temple, for example, got a lot of attention before she was Shirley Temple by starring in some burlesques where she and other children pretended to be adults.  After that brought her attention, she then went on to star in films and become one of films' biggest stars.  But what she did before that?  Baby Peggy was doing it. Baby Peggy was one of the first child stars.  And I mean star, not a child actor.  She is before my time, I am not that old, but I do know of her from hearing about her from my grandparents when a Natalie Wood or Elizabeth Taylor would be in the news and they would explain to me that before those ladies were adults, they were child stars and child stars were really common.  Jackie Coogan, Jackie Cooper, Mickey Rooney, certainly Judy Garland, a lot of actors had found success as child stars.  Most of them ended up ripped off.  But outside of the BABY BURLESKS and the Baby Peggy's work lampooning Pola Negri among others, children tended to play children.  That was true of The Us Bunch Kids.

Ty: Okay.  Thank you, Ruth.  Not sure if Jeff was e-mailing to see if he could stump us or if he had heard the term and wondered what it referred to.  Next up, Brooke Wallingford e-mails to ask if we plan to cover movies?

Jess: We have covered movies here from time to time.  Before the pandemic, for example, we covered a film with "THE CON IS ON is hilarious" back in 2018.  And of course our films of the 20th century series continues.  We don't do it as much as we once did; however, we still do it.  And Ava and C.I. are considering tackling a just released film for their media coverage this edition.  Ty, does she specifically ask for any type or kind of movie.

Ty: Nope.  That was the whole e-mail.

Stan: I'd like Ann's thoughts on movies in this.  In a normal year, Ann and I would be gearing up to do our annual piece looking at the ten best films of the year but this isn't a normal year.

Ann: No, it's not.  I'm worried we won't even be able to come up with a list of ten.  Maybe we should whittle it down to five?  And let me also note that in last week's "TV: A lead -- not a star, never a star -- implodes," Ava and C.I. covered two films -- THE PROM and LET THEM ALL TALK.  

Jess: You're right, Ann.  Thanks for catching that.  So, Ann and Stan, you'd have to include NETFLIX and others to get to ten solid movies due to the pandemic and the lack of theatrical releases?

Ann: I'd assumed we'd include those but, even including them, I can't think of ten solid films in 2020.  I didn't care for most of the films NETFLIX aired.  I'll give them credit for having content at a time when the networks all played the 'pandemic left us with nothing' card.  But most of their content wasn't worth watching to me.  That's true of AMAZON and others and, on AMAZON, I was very disappointed in director Steve McQueen's series of five films for AMAZON.  Only ALEX WHEATLE worked as a film, for me.  LOVER'S ROCK started strong  but quickly drifted and lost my interest.  Only ALEX WHEATLE delivered as a film, for me.  

Stan: I watched seven minutes of LOVER'S ROCK, excited about this party that was going to happen but I can only take so much build up before you better deliver.  It didn't and so I bailed.  But I will make a point to check out ALEX WHEATLE since you liked it.  What are we to make of Shonda Rhimes' new show on NETFLIX.

Cedric: Garbage.  Garbage that's started to rot before it showed up at NETFLIX.

Ann: I'd agree and I made it through two episodes before saying enough.  It's like STILL STAR CROSSED, that ABC show she did that was an immediate failure.  Why's she focusing on the British?  I get it with the director Steve McQueen, he's from that area.  Shonda's in the US.  I'm just tired of it.  She's African-American so why can't she write about them and hire them?  And with both projects, White women are the leads.  Is there a reason that Shonda's doing this?  Clearly, ABC was fine with her writing shows about White people, why'd she have to leave ABC to churn out this stuff?

Cedric: It is sad and you look at what Ava DuVernay has tried to do since moving to NETFLIX or at what Kenya Barris has tried to do and it's disappointing that Shonda's first project is a bad romance show featuring one Black actor among a large cast of White people and it's based on a bad romance novel by a White woman.  I thought the whole point of these deals on the part of NETFLIX was to up the content of African-Americans that their service provided.  

Betty: But Shonda's never been interested in lead characters who are Black.  SCANDAL and HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER were the exceptions.  GREY'S ANATOMY, PRIVATE PRACTICE, FOR THE PEOPLE, STATION 19, etc revolved around White women -- Anglo or Hispanic.  And remember that on SCANDAL, the bulk of the cast was White.  That was also true on HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER.  Now if the show were actually delivering, I don't know that we would be raising this issue.  I think we'd be like, "Oh, another fast paced thriller from Shonda."  But it's not delivering and it's nothing that anybody needed so I think it's right to note what a disappointment it is and how it's disappointing on so many levels which, yes, does include that at a time of Black Lives Matter, Shonda's bored us with a basically all White cast for a show supposed to take place centuries ago in England.

Marcia: What I want to know is how bad is INVENTING ANNA?  That series also has a White lead but it was supposed to be Shonda's first NETFLIX series and it started filming in October of 2019.  Meaning it wrapped its first season -- maybe only season -- before the pandemic.  NETFLIX does eight to thirteen episode seasons.  BRIDGERTON started filming over two months after INVENTING ANNA.  So what happened there?  Does INVENTING ANNA suck that bad?  But what I really want this discussion to include is a conversation Betty and C.I. were having after I was on the phone and waiting for others to join.  I even texted Trina.

Trina: She did.  She asked me if I could hear Betty and C.I. too -- I could -- and whether I thought this would be included in the roundtable?

Jess: What were they talking about?

Trina: ROLLING STONE's awful 500 greatest album's list.  

Betty: Marvin Gaye was the starting off point for that.  I don't know how he came up but we don't agree that WHAT'S GOING ON is the best album of all time and we wouldn't put it in the top twenty.

C.I.: It was a White-poll in that African-Americans were barely included and, when they were included, it was for something that had a White seal of approval.  So you don't get Millie Jackson, for example.  You don't get a lot of people.  And though YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK is a seminal album, it's not one on their poll.  Luther didn't get White approval.  His career was lived on the R&B charts.  He had seven number ones on that chart, he had 38 songs make the top forty on the R&B charts.  On the pop charts?  He had 12 songs hit the top forty.  Only two hit the top ten.  The highest he got was number two with Mariah Carey on their duet "Endless Love."  

Betty: He was a singer.  And he was a songwriter.  His NEVER TOO MUCH album made it on the list at number 362.  And that was it.  Where was BUSY BODY?  Where was his GIVE ME THE REASON?  He was a real artist and ROLLING STONE didn't recognize that.

C.I.: Nor did they recognize the level of his success.  He had 10 studio albums in a row go platinum in the US.  Ten.  Bruce Springsteen couldn't claim that.  They sold over a million copies in their first 12 months of release.  Ten in a row.  The streak was broken by I KNOW which only went gold.  But his next two studio albums -- also his final two -- also went platinum.  And we're not done.  He had a Christmas album go platinum and he had three hit collections go platinum.  That's 16 platinum albums.  Even now, find the solo artist that matches that record.  Bruce Springsteen?  No.  He now has 17 platinum albums.  Now.  But, for example, THE WILD, THE INNOCENT, THE E-STREET SHUFFLE came out in 1973 and didn't even go gold until 1977 -- it didn't make to million seller until 1990.  Luther's platinum albums all sold a million copies within 12 months of their original release.  

Betty: He got no respect from ROLLING STONE.  Marvin?  Didn't matter that he stole credit for the songs, RS loved him and loved pretending he was one of them.  He's a predictable singer who sings some old White man's idea of how a Black man should sing.  He was never MOTOWN's best singer.  Their best singer?  Smokey Robinson or Levi Stubbs or any of The Temptations.  In terms of artistry?  Stevie Wonder.  Of the men at MOTOWN, Stevie was and remains the real artist.  Marvin didn't even realize "What's Going On" was a hit and didn't want to sing it.  It took his then-wife Anna Gordy to convince him.  Yeah, that's right, he didn't like the song -- he also didn't write it.  The writer had offered it to the Four Tops and to Joan Baez before it was offered to Marvin.  He has a talent but that album is not the best album of all time by any means.  It shouldn't even be in the top 100.  Let a Black man sing about politics and the White ROLLING STONE goes ga-ga.  Let him sing about love and the White-centric publication is bored.  That was the gist of our conversation.  


Ty:  One more e-mail.  George2392 e-mailed about "Our 15 favorite albums of the last 15 years" with two points.  First, not every album got a photo.  Second, there are no albums from 2020.

Elaine: I'll take the second point.  We avoided 2020 because we didn't know which ones would 'stand the test of time' the way that, say, Sade's album had.  The headline on that piece is misleading because before we started compiling our list, we had agreed to that.  Obviously, Fiona Apple and Bob Dylan had albums we loved this year -- among others.  But we were careful to include only ones we felt had been 'time tested.'


Mike: And we agreed to that rule because there was huge support for Apple, Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Ricky Martin and I forget the other one but right there you had five albums from this year and that's why we came up with the rule of 'time tested.'  

Kat: Pictures?  Only one album doesn't have a cover and that's Ben Harper.  He's got two on the list.  One got a photo, the other didn't.  That was a last minute piece.  We hadn't even thought of illustrations until after we wrote.  It was decided to take cover photos from the illustrations of reviews I'd done for the albums.  There was no illustration to Ben's first album because I don't think I started including the cover in my reviews until 2006.  Again, we were pulling that together quickly and I argued it was fine to only have one Ben cover since he was the only artist that had two albums on the top 15.

Jess: And on that note, we'll wrap.



THE NEW YORK TIMES never learns

THE NEW YORK TIMES shredded their reputation with their Iraq War coverage (the pre-war coverage helped sell the illegal war, the immediate coverage after the war started kept it going).  They learned nothing from that moment and now 'star reporter' Rukmini Callimachi has brought more shame to the paper.  AP explained, " A high-profile podcast on terrorism from The New York Times that had been a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize was withdrawn as a contest entry in the wake of the newspaper saying the claims of a man central to 'Caliphate' could not be verified. [. . .] The paper had previously said it would return a Peabody award it had won for “Caliphate,” and the Overseas Press Club of America said it was taking back an honor it had bestowed on the podcast. The story’s central reporter, Rukmini Callimachi, will be reassigned off the terrorism beat, the newspaper said."  Brian Cathcart (BYLINE TIMES) notes, "After a lengthy internal investigation, the New York Times (NYT) has issued a series of corrections and apologies relating to work by one of its star reporters, terrorism specialist Rukmini Callimachi, winner of both a Pulitzer Prize and an Emmy. Callimachi, who has admitted only limited errors, has been moved to other duties." Sana Saeed (AJPLUS) pointed out:

Caliphate, like most journalism around "terrorism" and "Muslim violence" or "radicalization," relied on unconfirmed sources, displayed disregard for usual ethical and factual considerations in reporting, and uncritically accepted the Global “War On Terror” (GWOT) narrative. The latter, in particular, introduced us to a lexicon of terms and ideas that reinforce the concept of a looming, amorphous threat of brown and Black bogeymen from the lands of sand and oil.

As an example, take the term “radicalization” – there’s no agreed upon criteria for how to define this term for any group. State bodies like the FBI have long exploited that ambiguity, and the media has followed suit. Think back to that moment when a horde of reporters in 2015 went into the San Bernardino shooters’ home and examined innocuous Muslim ritual beads and books as proof of brewing “radicalization.”

The Caliphate project and Callimachi's work were simply well-produced exercises in fearmongering rooted in racist tropes of Muslim/Muslim-adjacent subjects – even if you take out the fraudulent story of Shehroze Chaudhry, aka “Abu Huzayfah.”

Very rarely, if ever, does this strain of journalism focus on anything other than so-called “radical Islamist violence.” Other forms of nonstate political violence such as white nationalist or militias will be categorized under other beats. In doing so, nonstate violence by groups and individuals identified as Muslim or using language derived from Islam to package their political goals (whether or not it’s “actually Islam” becomes irrelevant) is pathologized; it becomes something unique, cosmic and disconnected from the historical circumstances and material conditions.

And in this process, there is a mass dehumanization of Muslims.


For more on this, see C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," Rebecca's "callimachi needs to be fired," Mike's "Look at the little bitch Glenn Greenwald" and Elaine's "NYT needs to fire Rukmini Callimachi."


Instead of addressing that, the paper's attempted to silence critics.  David Brennan (NEWSWEEK) reports:

The host of a popular New York Times podcast pressured several journalists to soften their criticism of the paper over the investigation into and retraction of its Caliphate podcast, according to NPR media reporter David Folkenflik.

Michael Barbaro, host of the Times' The Daily podcast, reportedly leant on multiple journalists who were critical of the newspaper's handling of the Caliphate scandal. The Times launched an investigation of its own reporting when it emerged that one of the Caliphate's central figures had lied about his supposed role as an Islamic State fighter and executioner in Syria.

Barbaro, as Marisa Sarnoff (MEDIAITE) notes, was actually too close to the story to be a part of covering it:

Barbaro, who interviewed Times executive editor Dean Baquet about the retraction, has multiple personal and professional ties to the team that produced the hit podcast about ISIS, NPR reported. The first few episodes of Caliphate ran as part of Barbaro’s The Daily podcast, and multiple staffers from The Daily eventually joined the Caliphate podcast. Most remarkably: Barbaro is engaged to Caliphate executive producer Lisa Tobin.

That relationship was not disclosed to listeners of Barbaro’s interview with Baquet.

This conflict of interest should have kept him away from the story but the paper refused to impose any standards at all which is how Barbaro ended up working behind the scenes to try to silence critics.  Jessica Chasmar (WASHINGTON TIMES) writes:

But NPR reported that Mr. Barbaro was simultaneously “doing damage control” behind the scenes, including “admonishing” NPR host Lulu Garcia-Navarro “to demonstrate restraint” on criticizing The Times and warning her she was “hurting the feelings of people at the newspaper.”

Mr. Barbaro also repeatedly contacted Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple to criticize his use of the word “retract” on Twitter to describe what happened, Mr. Wemple told NPR. The Times’ position is that only parts of the series were retracted, specifically the parts about Mr. Chaudhry and his history.

Brad Slager (at the right-wing TOWNHALL) offers, " A journalist encouraging other journalists not to engage in journalism is about the best example you can find as to how something this disastrous could take place at The New York Times."  We may not agree with him politically but he nailed that one correctly. 


15 best TV shows of the last 15 years

Next month, this site hits its 16th anniversary.  Before that happens, we're offering a list of the 15 most entertaining TV shows of the last 15 years.



1) BIG LITTLE LIES (season one only)


2) SENS8


3) WILL & GRACE (original run)




















13) ROSEANNE (reboot)


14) WILL & GRACE (reboot)




Dump the trash on the curb

2020 was revealing of a number of politicians.  Our focus is the whores who were revealed.  Here's a list of 4 figures that real leftists should be walking away from.


1) Ana Kasparian


2) Sam Seder


3) Cenk Uygur


4)  Nomiki Konst



Community wide, all four have long been called out.  At this site, we've repeatedly called out the top three.  Read Dan Cohen's article and you'll ask yourself, as we do, why is JACOBIN continuing to let Ana host their weekly podcast?   Madeline Albright's gal-pal hosting a podcast for JACOBIN?  Sam Seder's been a joke we have called out for 15 years now.  Cenk is slimy trash and Nomiki sounds like a character out of SHOWGIRLS but is, in reality, far trashier than even that.  

If you are really left, you could "make the world a better place" (Michael Jackson) if you would "just walk on by" (Dionne Warwick) anytime you came across their work/propaganda.

15 worst things about TV in the last 15 years

When we look back at the last 15 years, these are the horrible actors that still make us cringe.



1) Lena Dunham

2) Jeff Daniels

3) Paul Reiser

4) Sara Gilbert

5) Kaley Cuoco

6) Alyssa Milano

7) Iwan Rheon 

8) Robert Chlohessy

9) Bill Skarsgard


10) Jon  Bernthal



11) Christa B. Allen


12) Clark Gregg


13) Barry Sloane


14) Alan Tudyk


15) Donny Deutsch

This edition's playlist







2) Glen Campbell's WICHITA LINEMAN.

3) Peggy Lee's 2 SHOWS NIGHTLY.

4) Denny Doherty's WAITING FOR A SONG.
5)  The Mamas and the Papas' THE PAPAS & THE MAMAS.







"Ludicrous" Arguments Against #ForceTheVote -- Disrupts Line Of Succession!


 Force The Vote! We demand that every progressive in Congress refuse to vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House until she publicly pledges to bring Medicare for all to the floor of the House for a vote in January: https://forcethevote.org/ Become a Premium Member: https://jimmydorecomedy.com/join Go to a Live Show: https://jimmydorecomedy.com/tour Subscribe to Our Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/jimmydorecomedy/yt... The Jimmy Dore Show Website: https://jimmydorecomedy.com/ LIVESTREAM & LIVE SHOW ANNOUNCEMENTS: Join the Email list: https://mailchi.mp/jimmydorecomedy/yt... Twitter: https://twitter.com/jimmy_dore Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JimmyDoreShow Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thejimmydor... WATCH / LISTEN FREE: Videos: https://jimmydorecomedy.com/watch Podcasts: https://jimmydorecomedy.com/podcasts (Also available on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player.) ACCESS TO FULL REPLAYABLE LIVESTREAMS: Become a Premium Member: https://jimmydorecomedy.com/join SUPPORT THE JIMMY DORE SHOW: Make a Donation: https://jimmydorecomedy.com/donate Buy Official Merch (Tees, Sweatshirts, Hats, Bags): https://jimmydorecomedy.com/store DOWNLOAD OUR MOBILE APP: App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/jimmy-d... Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/de... Jimmy Dore on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jimmy_Dore Stef Zamorano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/miserablelib Ron Placone on Twitter : https://twitter.com/RonPlacone Edited by Koki Miyazaki About The Jimmy Dore Show: #TheJimmyDoreShow is a hilarious and irreverent take on news, politics and culture featuring Jimmy Dore, a professional stand up comedian, author and podcaster. The show is also broadcast on Pacifica Radio Network stations throughout the country.




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