Thursday, January 14, 2021

Truest statement of the week

The most volatile elements of “left” Democrats have finally understood that you can’t oppose corporate duopoly rule while living in the oligarchs’ (out)house. The former Sandernistas brought in the New Year loudly demanding that “The Squad” -- the handful of Democratic Representatives that style themselves as the “progressive” cutting edge of the Congress – refuse to support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House unless the 80-year old millionairess and corporate bag woman agreed to submit Medicare for All to a full House vote. “A vote on Medicare for All will prompt a national conversation on guaranteeing health care in the middle of a pandemic,” wrote  former Bernie Sanders press aide Briahna Joy Gray. A roll call tally “will show the country who really supports it, not just rhetorically, but in practice. Then we can hold our representatives accountable.” 

The goal of the exercise was to expose and embarrass those lawmakers that pretend to back legislation favored by nearly 90 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of all Americans, but who always buckle to Pelosi’s corporate discipline. Gray, Dr. Cornel West, Movement for a People’s Party national coordinator Nick Brana, NFL player Justin Jackson and podcasters Katie Halper, Krystal Ball, Kyle Kulinski and Jimmy Dore held a #ForceTheVote Town Hall  to compel The Squad to act as the people’s operatives in the legislative bowels of the beast. As it turned out, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and her leftish congressional cohorts chose to serve as the first corporate line of defense against the #ForceTheVote  strategy -- originally conceived by Jimmy Dore

AOC threw up flak like a veteran corporate dissembler, tweeting that she and her allies had won a great concession from Pelosi to exempt Medicare for All from the PAYGO (“pay-as-you-go”) House rule requiring big-money bills to identify enabling revenues before consideration for passage. PAYGO was put in place by Pelosi in 2019  to demonstrate that Democrats were “fiscally responsible,” continuing Barack Obama’s second term quest for a Grand Bargain with the GOP. “Progressives in the House have won a rules change that would allow Medicare for All, a Green New Deal or other big ticket agenda items to be exempted from paygo,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “This was a necessary step in opening the way for it.” 

But of course, the gesture was merely a reshuffling of marked cards. Jimmy Dore responded  to an AOC defender at The Intercept: “Unwittingly, what he’s doing here is making the case for #ForceTheVote, because now we’ve got rid of the hurdles that would stop it, so we can just go do it.” AOC was “pretending to be part of a movement," but was in reality still "running cover for Nancy Pelosi." 

Justin Jackson, the Los Angeles Chargers running back whose mother died from breast cancer when he was a child, unable to afford adequate treatment, refused to accept  the corporate logic. “You have politicians that are saying they are supporting us for a fight, but when we actually come up with a strategy to do it, now it’s ‘I can’t do that particular thing’…it doesn’t make any sense.  What other time than now? There’s a pandemic raging right now.”

-- Glen Ford, "The Squad Won’t Fight Pelosi and Corporate Power" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).




Truest statement of the week II

There was no call for lawless action by Trump. Instead, there was a call for a protest at the Capitol. Moreover, violence was not imminent, as the vast majority of the tens of thousands of protesters were not violent before the march, and most did not riot inside the Capitol. Like many violent protests in the last four years, criminal conduct was carried out by a smaller group of instigators. Capitol Police knew of the march but declined an offer from the National Guard since they did not view violence as likely.

So Congress is now seeking an impeachment for remarks covered by the First Amendment. It would create precedent for the impeachment of any president blamed for violent acts of others after using reckless language. What is worse are those few cases that would support this type of action. The most obvious is the 1918 prosecution of socialist Eugene Debs, who spoke against the draft in World War One and led figures like Woodrow Wilson to declare him a “traitor to his country.” Debs was arrested and charged with sedition, a new favorite term for Democrats to denounce Trump and Republicans who doubted the victory of Joe Biden.

-- Jonathan Turley, "Swift, new impeachment would damage the Constitution" (THE HILL).



A note to our readers


Hey -- 


Thursday afternoon.  How did it happen?

Ask Ava and C.I. because they've been asking me (Jim) that all week.  They did two pieces and did them Sunday.  I said we'd get an editorial and post.  Never happened.  

So 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?





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




Editorial: Impeachment?

 Nancy Pelosi, Corruption of the House, has now impeached Donald Trump twice.


But Bully Boy Bush?  The nation wanted him impeached for lying the country into war.  US House Rep. John Conyers was leading the cry in Congress.  And Nancy?

She took it "off the table."

She publicly humiliated John Conyers -- and AOC thinks she can make nice with her?

AOC is a sad, little joke.

And Pelosi?  A corrupt politician.  Over a million Iraqis are dead.  But Nancy wouldn't impeach Bully Boy Bush.  No, she covered for him.  Instead, she attacked John Conyers.  

Never forget it and only an idiot on the left would see Nancy as an ally.

Media: The Failure of QUIBI and its implications

Following the break up of the comedy duo Nichols and May, Elaine May pondered TV.  She had an idea for a TV series and a network was interested.  What they weren't interested in?  Her forty-five minute format.  They told her that a show was either thirty minutes or an hour.  That's not how she saw her concept and that was that. Elaine's a creative genius but, this time, we're gonna side with the suits.  TV viewers are creatures of habit.  And that's why QUIBI never made sense.



QUIBI, for those who blinked and missed it, was a streaming service -- "was" being the key word.  After raising $1.75 billion dollars -- that's billion, not million -- QUIBI debuted last April and folded shop last month.  Nine months.  That's how long it lasted.  Over a billion dollars and nine months to birth a failure.  Losers Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman oversaw the still birth.  


Katzneberg was a loser at DISNEY (where the Disney family didn't like him, celebrities loathed him and Michael Eisner couldn't forgive him for his constant press leaks that both attempted to give all credit for DISNEY successes to Katzenberg and attempted to publicly humiliate talent when a film flopped), he was a loser at DREAMWORKS (remember, he was supposed to move beyond animation -- he never did and then, finally, he was moved out) and he was a loser at QUIBI.  Meg Whitman?  Oversaw the growth of EBAY but also was in charge when EBAY repeatedly overextended itself in failed ventures (such as SKYPE) and became a toxic work environment.  Margaret would take those skills to Mitt Romney's failed presidential campaign of 2008 and, again, of 2012.  She took her lack of skills over to her own failed 2010 campaign for governor of California where, despite spending  $144 million of her own money, she came in second or, as it's known in politics, she lost.  Chelene Nightingale came in third in that race while spending less than $100,000.  But let's all pretend Meg was a business genius and should be trusted with over a billion dollars to create a new company.  

In April, when QUIBI launched, the US already had many streaming services -- including NETFLIX, HULU, YOUTUBE TV, ROKU, TUBI, CRACKLE, PLUTO and DISNEY+ -- but a new streaming service could always be worthwhile . . . if it offered something of value.

What did QUIBI offer?

Nothing Americans were demanding.  QUIBI would offer a series of programs, Meg and Jeff decided, where content would last about ten minutes.  In other words, QUIBI thought Americans wanted to watch less TV -- begging the question whether or not Jeff and Meg ever left their billionaire bubble long enough to encounter any actual Americans?


They certainly never encountered any honesty.  The two lied that QUIBI would offer TV series.  But they usually didn't.  For example, the 11-'episode' TV 'series' FLIPPED?  No, not a TV series.  It was a movie, filmed to be a feature film.  Then QUIBI acquired it and broke it into eleven 'episodes.'  Are you surprised that people were bothered by watching a movie in eleven episodes?  Really?  They did offer some actual content intended to be a series from conception; however, it really wasn't what America was demanding.

Nor had the United States gone on record demanding a streaming service with new content that could only be watched on their cellphones.  If you missed it, HBO MAX struggled in its early days when its TV options did not include AMAZON FIRE or ROKU.  But QUIBI was going to succeed by streaming only on cellphones?

And this streaming service that no one was asking for?  It cost $5 per month if you could put up with ads.  (At ten minutes a segment, they also wanted to force you to watch ads?)  Or you could pay $8 a month to avoid ads.  

You won't be paying to watch the content in 2021.  We're not being cruel by implying it's all over now that QUIBI has shut down, we mean that, for approximately $100 million, THE ROKU CHANNEL -- a free streaming site -- which does offer premium content like a subscription to various cable channels -- will now stream the 75 or so offering in scripted programming, reality programming, etc that QUIBI offered featuring prominent names like Anna Kendrick, Idris Elba, Nichole Richie and Kevin Hart.


Imagine if that $1.75 billion had been used soley to create new programming?

QUIBI's failure is not just Jeff and Meg's failure, it's the entertainment industry's failure as well.  What idiots thought QUIBI could become the next big thing?

Equally true, QUIBI's failure should be causing other streaming services to ask questions.

Yes, DISNEY+ and PEACOCK should be asking -- and explaining -- why they launched without sufficient new content.  This month, DISNEY+ will finally start delivering -- start -- what they promised back in November of 2019 -- the MARVEL TV shows like WANDAVISION.  PEACOCK still has nothing exclusive other than the failure that was BRAVE NEW WORLD.

But we're not just talking about them.


It should be asking questions as well.  

They've built themselves around the concept of "binge TV."  And that happens by dumping a season's worth of episodes on one day, encouraging streamers to binge on as many episodes as they can watch in a row.  That works for new episodes.  What about old episodes?  Especially, what about old episodes of shows no longer in production?

HOUSE OF CARDS, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK and GRACE AND FRANKIE will apparently be NETFLIX's longest running shows under NETFLIX's current plans.  HOUSE OF CARDS and ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK ceased production long ago and neither reached 100 episodes -- the number that had been a standard for syndication.  GRACE AND FRANKIE's final season will begin airing shortly (it also will not have reached 100 episodes).  More and more, NETFLIX has made clear, TV shows will last three seasons on average -- this is usually an eight episode season.

So what's going to make people want to stream the old library?  24 episodes of a show?  People are used to watching a show regularly -- FRIENDS, I LOVE LUCY,  LAW AND ORDER, etc.  But that's because there are so many episodes to watch that the show is fresh.  When you've just got 24 episodes, how often are you going to stream?

Not enough to be in the top ten clearly since no NETFLIX show makes the top ten streaming list on NETFLIX's site unless it has just posted new episodes.  In other words, it would appear that most subscribers are done with a NETFLIX show once is stops making new episodes.

QUIBI is a failure and it is now in the past.  That doesn't mean, however, that other streamers aren't able to look at the QUIBI experiment and learn and apply lessons to their own services.


KINDLE UNLIMITED (Rebecca, Ava and C.I.)



In 2018, community sites took turns covering a book every week.  You can see "In 2018, we read books" to review that coverage.  We didn't want to repeat ourselves in 2019 or 2020.  So when Marcia came up with a way to cover books but with a twist, we were all for it.  Marcia's idea was for us to digital books -- we're largely a printed text crowd -- and to use AMAZON's KINDLE UNLIMITED.  So for 2021, we'll be doing a book a week and trying to just use KINDLE UNLIMITED.  Rebecca's  "the mommie dearest diary: carol ann tells all" went up Saturday and we're speaking to her -- via instant messenger -- about this.  First off, THE MOMMIE DEAREST DIARY: CAROL ANN TELLS ALL, how was it as a digital book.

Rebecca: Not really all that impressive and that's sadly true of a number of the digital books I've looked at on KINDLE UNLIMITED.  Now this book may have had unimpressive photos in the text edition.  But with the exception of one book, HOLLYWOOD PRIVATE LIVES UNCENSORED by Alan Royale, it's been one black and white photo after another.  And Royale's book was all black and white photos until one color one of Marilyn Monroe in the section where he shares his belief that she was murdered.  And in that book, and in others, there are photo captions that are out of order or photo captions for photos that aren't there at all.  

Okay, and, explain how KINDLE UNLIMITED works.

Rebecca: I joined when Marcia came up with the idea so back then, last month, there was an offer where you got two months free to sample.  I'm still under that.  At the end of February or the start of March, I'll start paying something like $9.99 a month.  KINDLE UNLIMITED is a service where, for the monthly fee, you can read books for 'free.'  You just choose the book you want to read.

But you don't own it, right?

Rebecca: No.  I believe if you tried to keep it in your cloud, your AMAZON CLOUD, like the books you bought, that an UNLIMITED book would vanish from the cloud when you stopped paying your monthly fee for UNLIMITED.  

It's sort of like a library, isn't it?  Where you pay a monthly fee to have access to a library of books?

Rebecca: That's exactly what it is.  You won't find a lot 2020 books in the mix, so if your looking for new releases, forget KINDLE UNLIMITED.  

Is it easy to find books?

Rebecca: Not really.  They need to offer additional narrow categories.  For example, I'd like something as narrow as taking their "biography" category and narrowing it down to just "movie stars" and "scientists" and "politicians" and categories like that.  

Explain how you ended up with the book on the making of the film MOMMIE DEAREST.

Rebecca: I went with biographies and entertainment and then had something like 84 pages to go through -- most of which didn't have a single book that I -- or anyone else -- would want to read.  I found some as I went along through all those pages and I would add it to my cloud and then keep looking.  I found out that I could have ten in my cloud at one time.  When I wanted another one after that, I'd have to release one from my cloud to get a new one in.  So, let's call KINDLE UNLIMITED a library, you can check out ten books from the library at a time.

That's good to know.  Part of the plan of doing this was to cover books but also to rate KINDLE UNLIMITED since it's a paid service.  Anything else that you'd like to share.

Rebecca: I know, C.I., that you've read a ton of books in the last weeks sampling the service.  Am I wrong on this, or there's no way for us to know -- online -- what books we've read?

Right, it just disappears from the cloud.  And should you go back and see it again, it's not going to let you know that you've read it before.

Rebecca: So I'm keeping a written list myself so I'll know.  But it would be helpful if they'd say, for example, "This book was previously in your cloud on" such and such date.  

Good point.  Thank you so much, Rebecca.




From The TESR Test Kitchen





We know them in their regular taste -- even if they're chips, strips or rounds.  We even know them cantina style.  But we were new to Salsa Verde Tostitos.

Doritos?  They have multiple flavors -- including the Cool Ranch flavor Jay Leno promoted years ago -- long before he was host of THE TONIGHT SHOW.  Doritos are a thicker chip and sometimes, honestly, too thick.  

With the "totopos de maiz con sabor natural y artifical'' chips?  Being a thinner chip really allows the taste to register.  It's a sharp taste but not too spicy  

This edition's playlist






2) Jefferson Airplain's VOLUNTEERS.

3) Peggy Lee's 2 SHOWS NIGHTLY.

4) The Mamas and the Papas' THE PAPAS & THE MAMAS.

5) Aretha Franklin's A ROSE IS STILL A ROSE.






Stan reviews I AM WOMAN

Stan reviewed this film at his site.



"Don't you put this on me," the actor playing Jeff Ward says at one point and, oh, do I hear you.

The film's called I AM WOMAN but it should have been called I AM FULL OF CRAP.

Helen Reddy was not a beauty nor did she wear all the make up that they've piled onto Tilda Cobham-Hervey.  She's so heavily made up that she looks like Yvonne Craig.  Now I love Yvonne and would love to see a film about her life.  But let's not ever pretend that Helen Reddy looked like Yvonne Craig.  She wasn't an ugly woman but she wasn't pretty or a great beauty.  

Here's Tilda in the film.

Now here's Helen from the same period.


Helen wasn't ugly.  She wasn't even plain.  On a good day, she was cute.  She's not the beauty that she's portrayed in the film -- and she would have been booed by her own fans if she'd worn all the make up that the actress does in the film.  It was the 70s -- the time of the natural look.

And don't tell me looks don't matter when they've hired the fattest actress they could to play Lillian Roxon.  Lillian was stocky.  She wasn't obese.  Possibly at the end of her life, she was.  There aren't photos from that period.  But look at her photos and then look at the large woman playing her in the film and wonder why they went out of their way to make Helen appear beautiful and girlish while they went as fat as possible for the actress to play Lillian.

The whole film's garbage.  How did she write "I Am Woman."  Well, though the film never tells you, she didn't.  She co-wrote it.  And the film doesn't want you to know that.  

On top of that, 'feminist' Helen Reddy is never, ever responsible for anything.  It's all bad guy Jeff.  So Helen's not even responsible for going over a year without calling her 'friend' Lillian.  Nothing's ever her fault, everything's Jeff's fault.

Jeff's just evil, we're too understand.  Especially when 'poor' Helen doesn't have a career.  

I don't feel sympathy for her in that scene.  Jeff's gotten them a new house in LA -- from NYC -- and it's a big house.  And he's working and she isn't.  And we're supposed to be offended that he's saying she needs to clean the house and buy milk at the grocery store?  She asks why he can't buy milk?

If you have a paying job -- man or woman -- and you're with someone else who is not working a paying job, if you're a couple, the one who's not working outside the home needs to pick up the slack in the home.  I don't base that on gender, I base that on time.  You have more time on your hands if you're not going outside the home to work.  

So she's chatting long distance on the phone and moping around when she should be cleaning the house and buying the milk.  And, let's be clear, this is before the age of cell phones.  She's having a leisurely talk from California to New York.  Before cell phones?  I called my grandma every weekend when I was in college.  She worried and made me promise to.  (And it was also one of the best parts of my weekend.) And it was about a $100 a month and that's because I was 'lucky' to have switched to SPRINT.  This was in the 90s.  Long distance was not cheap.

So, yeah, I'm sorry if it's too much for 'poor' Helen to clean.  And she knew it was a problem before she married him because while she was happy to live with roaches (joking one was named Mr. Ed), he wasn't.  She knew that.  Why she thought that they could move to a nice home in LA and she wouldn't be singing or working but thinking about maybe going to college to study (film lies there too) and in the meantime doing no cleaning as their expensive home becomes a pig-sty?  There's no excuse for it and don't dress it up in gender cloathing to hide the excuse that she's being a lazy slob.


The film lies for her over and over.  As she stated over and over in interview after interview, it was to study parasychology and philosophy.  For some reason, parapsychology is ignored.

Time and again, facts are altered and changed and omitted to make Helen look better.

It's a borin film that loses everything the moment after she's performed "I Am Woman" once it's a hit because that's the last time you root for her.  

And it's insulting to whatever life she lived when it portrays her as a victim over and over and never responsible for anything.

She's responsible for not calling her friend on the phone, no one else.  

And it's appalling that they have made her look thinner and beautiful while they have made Lillian grossly obese.  PAM AND SPAM.

And, for the record, in 1972, no one's telling someone, "You got this."  That's from the last ten years only.

Thank you to C.I. for feedback and support on this (and I was really mad when I called because I'd just finished watching the film) and be sure to read Ava and C.I.'s "Media: The scream in our soul."

 Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"



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