Monday, February 08, 2021

Truest statement of the week

More than half a century ago, Malcolm understood the duopoly electoral system as “foxes” (Democrats) and “wolves” (Republicans), and that “both will eat you.” And indeed, the Democratic foxes have since Malcolm’s time devoured the vast bulk of the community’s civic organizations, turning Black churches, sororities and fraternities, and so-called “civil rights” groups into partisan annexes of the corporate duopoly. The Democratic Party, a mechanism of mass manipulation and social control, dominates every aspect of political life in Black America, blunting and negating the radical impulses of the nation’s most lean-leaning, socialist-friendly polity. Thus, Black Lives Matter activists say they oppose racial capitalism but collaborate with, and base their strategies on, intimate interactions with Black operatives of the corporate political machinery: the thoroughly Democratic “Black Misleadership Class.”

Not that the movement has altered the political behavior of most Black elected officials in any substantive way. Although Black Lives Matter is a world model in confronting the police – the perennial flashpoint of Black interaction with the corporate state -- Black Democratic elected officials at the national level continue to vote in lockstep with corporate Democratic leadership on militarization of local police (2014) and elevation of cops to the status of “protected class” -- assault on which can now be prosecuted as a federal hate crime (2018).

The avowedly socialist, anti-imperialist, and Black self-determinationist elements within the Black Lives Matter umbrella are the best hope to lead a genuinely transformative movement in the United States – primarily because most Black Americans are peace-minded, socialism-friendly, and supportive of Black autonomy. But this can only happen if these organizations “put politics in command” and confront the enemy within: the Democratic Party, which is hegemonic in Black America.


-- Glen Ford, "Nightmare Years Will Repeat Themselves – Until the People Kick Out the Cabal" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).





Truest statement of the week II

Also among the no-mentions was Afghanistan. How can Biden give his first speech on foreign policy without discussing the country’s longest war? That is really remarkable. The names Iraq and Syria also do not appear in the speech. Amazing.


-- Sheldon Richman, "Imperial America, Which Never Left, Is Back" (ANTIWAR.COM). 

A note to our readers


Hey -- 

Early Monday morning still Sunday here on the West Coast.  Please read Ruth's "Those useless executive orders."  I (Jim) was hoping to do a Jim's Corner about that this edition.  Time ran out so Ruth and I are going to do a discussion at her site next week.

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? 

Ava and C.I. on who gets to tell the story and who decides it's worth listening to.


Glen Ford gets another truest.

Sheldon Richman gets a truest.

Joe Biden needs to address his foreign policy plans -- including the ongoing wars.

Isaiah's must-see comic.

We roundtable on a number of issues.

Ava and C.I. speak with Trina about her book review.

Ajamu Baraka.

Books reviewed in the community so far this year.

Repost of Stan's conversation with Ava and C.I.

What we listened to while writing this edition.

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









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







Editorial: Hey, Joe, where you going with that gun in your hand?

The week of the election, Cher felt the need to weigh in by releasing "Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe."  Happiness for whom, Cher?  Besides, as noted in the November 9th Iraq snapshot, Cher had recorded a Joe song years ago:


 Last week, Cher decided to steal the old torch song "Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe" and try to whore the song for Joe Biden.  Why?  She long ago recorded her own Joe Biden song.

"Hey Joe" -- she recorded it for her 1967 album WITH LOVE, CHER.  And it's a much more fitting song for Joe Biden.  "Hey, Joe, where you going with that gun in your hand?"

That's the unasked question, right?

Elect Joe to better the lives of people of color!

That was the claim -- as long as we stuck with people of color in the US only.  Joe's history is one of persecution and targeting people of color around the world.  It was Joe and Barack who overthrew the leadership in Libya.  The result?  Among other things, open markets where slaves were sold -- in the 21st century.   Sarah Abdallah Tweeted about Bully Boy Bush congratulating Joe:

Bush, the destroyer of Afghanistan and Iraq, offers up congratulations to Biden, the destroyer of Libya, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine. How adorable.

Solomon Comissiong (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) in December 2017:

Many of the people who are crying out for the ending of slavery in Libya are the same people that supported the lethal Obama/Clinton tag-team that orchestrated the destruction of what was once the African nation with the highest living standards -- Libya! Many of these folks unconditionally supported BarackObama and Hillary Clinton despite their nefarious actions. Many even made excuses for the bombing of Libya knowing that if George W. Bush or Donald Trump were doing the same, they would be crying bloody murder! The hypocrisy is quite pathetic and beyond reprehensible.

In 2011 the Obama administration bombed Libya into oblivion while using racist and terrorist rebel groups to do their dirty deeds on the ground. These terrorists often targeted Black Africans for rape, torture, and public lynchings, simply because they were seen as allies to Muammar Gaddafi -- who had provided a safe haven for those same Black Africans.

The Obama administration knew all of this. They used the CIA to deliver arms, advice and even cash to terrorist rebels, in an effort to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi and the Libyan Jamahiriya. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton desperately wanted to halt the advancements of Gaddafi and his government.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama lied to the public regarding Muammar Gaddafi and Libya in order to create a “justification” to topple Gaddafi and his government. There was not a shred of credible evidence that he was planning to murder Libyan civilians. However, he was resistant to the United States’ neo-colonial machinations with Africom. And, knowing that the US dollar was rapidly dropping in value, he wanted the US to purchase oil from Libya in the form of gold. He called for a United States of Africa. He also wanted to rid his country of terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. Muammar Gaddafi and the Libyan Jamahiriya was just the kind of leader (and government) the United States hates and historically loves to overthrow.

Under Gaddafi, Libya also had free education and free healthcare -- things US citizens don’t even have. The nationalized oil reserves, which helped Gaddafi pay for these social programs, has since been exploited by many of the same Western players (NATO) who assisted the US in the savage destruction of Libya.

As Ajamu Baraka noted last week at BLACK AGENDA REPORT:

What is this “new fascism” the latte-left talks about? What is this “existential threat”? For most of us, the threat has always been existential. When colonial Nazism that was inspired by the U.S. Jim Crow South was applied in Europe—with its violence and racism—it was only then that it took on a different moral and political characterization.  

The racist French government launches a domestic terror campaign against Muslims in the country, while bombing Africans in Africa and overthrowing their governments. The European Union gives a human rights award to a political opposition in Venezuela that burns Black people alive because those people are seen as Maduro supporters. Meanwhile, NATO, the military wing of U.S. and European white supremacy, expands into South America to support the Monroe Doctrine that morally justifies U.S. regional domination. But fascism is coming to the U.S., they cry!

For those of us who reside in the colonized spaces of empire, leading with uncritical emotionalism as we confront and attempt to deal with the Trump phenomenon, is a self-indulgent diversion we cannot afford. That is because, for us, the consequences truly are life threatening.

In occupied Palestine, Venezuela, Yemen, the South-side of Chicago, Haiti, the concentration camps for Indigenous peoples called “reservations,” as well as “Cancer Alley” in Louisiana, our survival depends on seeing this violent, barbarian behemoth for what it is. We must have no sentimental delusions about the difference between the governance of either of the two ruling class-dominated parties. 

For us, both parties are ongoing criminal enterprises that are committed to one thing and one thing only: Ultimately serving the interests of the capitalist ruling class—by any means necessary!  

Caitlin Johnstone (ICH) notes, "Liberals are heaving a sigh of relief around the country, not because their actual lives have gotten much worse as a result of Trump’s presidency (they have not), but because it means at long last they’ll stop being psychologically abused by the mass media who’ve been screaming hysterical nonsense in their faces and making them feel crazy."



Hey, Joe, where you going with that gun in your hand?


It's a good question.  THE DAILY SABAH notes:


U.S. President Joe Biden recently made his first foreign policy speech since his inauguration on Jan. 6. In an approximately 20-minute address to State Department personnel, there was not any unexpected move or position.

At least for the last three months, we have seen similar talking points from the different names in his administration. The main tenets of this position are more or less clear.

However, there is no clarity about how to reach these goals and a lot of questions about the sustainability of these goals in the midst of several different domestic crises in the U.S., including the pandemic, the economic crisis, the racism crisis and rising "Trumpism."



 He has no new plans.  He claims he's sorry about supporting the Iraq War (whatever) but if he were truly sorry, he'd try to address the damage he did.  As Dr. Abbas Kadhim Tweeted:


There was no mention of #Iraq in President 's foreign policy today. The only Iraq-related policy was the decision to review the previous administration's plans for troops withdrawal from various AoRs. That will include Iraq and we'll see what the review result will be.



Hey, Joe, where you going with that gun in your hand?




TV: Exclusion empowered by The Water Cooler Set

The Water Cooler Set birthed a lot of stupidity which does include ROTTEN TOMATOES.  

a new illst

We were reminded of that when we spoke to a friend who's a vice president at ABC.  That's how we learned that CALL YOUR MOTHER has a 0% rating on ROTTEN TOMATOES from the critics.  Grasp that's 5% higher than the score at RT for THE PAUL REISER SHOW -- easily the worst show in the last ten years and, in fact, the lowest rated NBC Thursday night sitcom in decades.  

But THE PAUL REISER SHOW has a higher score than CALL YOUR MOTHER.

It makes no sense until you realize what we've been telling your for years now, there is deep ingrained sexism in The Water Cooler Set and that is reflected at ROTTEN TOMATOES.  We've already praised CALL YOUR MOTHER.  It's a funny show and it's a show that gets stronger with each episode -- something we've also noted that happens with sitcoms.  Well, with sitcoms with a live audience.  The one-cam shows?  What you see on that first episode is all you're ever going to see.  The first year of a filmed-before-a-live-audience show will demonstrate improvement because they're tinkering with it throughout the week, yes, but also during filming based on audience reactions and, based on audience reactions, they're shaping things for future shows.

Kari Lizer created THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE and that was a funny show.  But after season one, it was a hilarious show.  CALL YOUR MOTHER is funny.  But it's apparently too upsetting for those with Mommy issues or hatred for women in general.  

FIREFLY LANE?  While the audience at ROTTEN TOMATOES rates the show at 74%, the critics rate it at 48%.  A failing grade -- something they give to most shows that have female leads.  But they'll never cop to sexism, will they?

If you've read the reviews, we had several forwarded to us from a friend at NETFLIX (he was afraid we'd miss the show and hoped the bad reviews would make us write about it), you know that they say Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke give strong performances (and they do) but, goodness, golly, that messy storyline, all those present day and then flashback and then present day and then flashback, it's just so confusing.


Strange, they never made that argument about ARROW, did they?  But then that show that did flashbacks all the time revolved around a male lead.  And, by the way, that whole thing, that back and forth, shifting a decade or more?  That was actually done on TV prior to ARROW.  It was a war show so The Water Cooler Set didn't get offended.  The show was . . . CHINA BEACH.  The final season of that show hopped around decades in each episode.  John Sacret Young was celebrated for that in the 90s.  (He wrote the script for episode six of FIREFLY LANE.)


NETFLIX's new series -- which is the number one streamed series for Friday and for Saturday -- revolves around two friends Kate (Chalke as an adult) and Tully (Heigl as an adult).  They meet when they're fourteen and live across the street from one another.  We see them bond at that age and, as adults, we seem them in the 80s and the present (2004).  They have arguments from time to time and it can get messy as most deep friendships can.

In fact, "messy" describes the show and we don't mean that as an insult.  The Water Cooler Set doesn't like messy.  It likes precision, it's like machinery.  It doesn't handle complications, it never has been able to handle those well.  But life is messy and life is complicated and, so sorry, it's not precise.

Viewers -- men and women -- streaming the show are responding to that lifelike characteristic that FIREFLY LANE captures so very well.

Johnny is Kate's husband and he's played by Ben Lawson.  Johnny has sold his soul -- or believes he has.  In Latin America, he saw a priest (who was a friend) killed by the death squad and he came back to his local Washington state TV station and they weren't interested and papers weren't interested and no one was interested so he went back to doing TV news which is a form of emotional manipulation.  He ends up married to Kate and they produce a daughter to be proud of, have a strong sex life and you'd think he'd be happy.  Work wise?  He's producing a huge TV talk show (hosted by Tully).  But the Iraq War started and he feels he has to do something with his life.

We can relate to that story -- so can The Water Cooler Set.  Because they've seen it over and over and that's what they talk about -- even the token women in The Water Cooler Set give it lip service.

But it's one truth.  It's not the only truth.

Another truth, also included in the series, is that Johnny is doing something, he's built a family and that's an accomplishment.  He doesn't have to go around the world to report in order to feel that his life has value.  Or he shouldn't have to feel that way.

Let's be honest, what Johnny values is the only value that The Water Cooler Set believes in -- and the only value they embrace.

It's not that simple.  It's not that simple for Kate or for the many people in this world who feel like she does, the many people that are ignored in the narratives of the 20th century where a selective experience was, time and again,  passed off as universal.

There are many storylines taking place in this series and many views and many experiences.  Possibly, if it were being done with British accents near the start of the last century, TV critics would be salivating?

They should be salivating.  This is a satisfying show and, if you're at all thrown by the order the scenes play out, that's only in the first episode as you're getting used to it.  

CALL YOUR MOTHER is not being judged on its merits nor is FIREFLY LANE.

And it's not just them.  We watched a real dumb and insulting documentary on Sammy Davis Jr.  It aired recently on PBS' AMERICAN MASTERS.

Sammy Davis Jr., for any who do not know, was an accomplished dancer, singer and actor.  

To PBS?  He was a racist sell out who endorsed Richard Nixon.

That's what they opened with.  Audiences booed him.  Because he endorsed Richard Nixon.

Tricky Dick is a vile person who should be inhabiting whatever one's idea of hell is -- and inhabiting it for eternity.  That has nothing to do with Sammy Davis Jr.


As for endorsing Nixon, we're having a hard time believing that they'd start an AMERICAN MASTERS look at Ginger Rogers, Connie Francis, Jackie Gleason, John Wayne or any of the other celebrities who endorsed Richard Nixon for his presidential runs with the fact that they had endorsed Nixon.


But they think they can shame -- even long after he's dead -- the African-American man.


And the story they told would lead you to believe that in all of Black America, only Sammy endorsed Nixon.  Pearl Bailey endorsed Nixon, Wilt Chamberlain endorsed Nixon, James Brown endorsed Nixon.  There are others.


But only Sammy's going to be singled out?


Sammy was booed.  He went into the 'enemy camp' in Chicago -- a PUSH convention.  Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr. demanded $25,000 and, for that, he would help rescue Sammy.  So he was onstage praising Sammy for what he'd done -- something the 'documentary' doesn't show you -- and the boos were intense.  Sammy began singing "I've Got To Be Me" and the audience moved towards him during this.  


Why did Jess need to rescue Sammy in the first place?


It wasn't the Nixon endorsement.  If you're going to be honest, be honest.  It was the endorsement and all that came that year before it. That would include the trips to Vietnam which would be misconstrued as supporting the war, the ALL IN THE FAMILY appearance and, oh, yes, the endorsement.


He started that year on CBS' ALL IN THE FAMILY . . . kissing America's bigot Archie Bunker.  It was a famous image . . . until Sammy hugged Tricky Dick in the infamous AP photo.  


Those three things led up to the booing at the PUSH convention.  By the time the photo with Nixon took place, he was an easy target for many in Congress -- and many went after him -- including Julian Bond who was serving in the House of Representatives at the time.

It's amazing how this is ignored.  But it's amazingly appalling in other ways.  


Sammy didn't just decide to go to Vietnam.  He was asked to go.  And he was asked to go in 1966 by LBJ's Vice President Hubert Humphrey.  We know this because Alex Haley was present, interviewing Sammy for a PLAYBOY INTERVIEW, when the call came in.  How does that get left out, by the way?  Sammy Davis Jr. being interviewed by the future writer of ROOTS, Alex Haley, for a major piece -- a PLAYBOY INTERVIEW, and he gets a call from the sitting Vice President asking him to visit the troops in Vietnam?  

Thank heaven for the late Diahann Carroll.  She classes up the documentary and she's the only African-American actor featured on camera who knew and worked with Sammy.  We found that strange. Is Bianca Ferguson press shy?  She was Claudia on GENERAL HOSPITAL and Claudia was married to Bryan (played by the late Todd Davis).  And?  And Sammy Davis Jr. played Bryan's father Eddie in seven episodes that aired in October of 1982.  That also doesn't make it into the documentary.  Apparently, Leon Isaac Kennedy is also now afraid of the camera since he's not in the documentary either. Wendy Edmead doesn't appear.  Harry Belafonte is a voice heard but not a face seen.  Lola Falana?  She knew Sammy and worked with him several times.  But she's not present.  Minor actress Paula Wayne -- a White woman who barely knew Sammy -- is shown weighing in over and over and she's angry, really angry.  She seems less about remembering Sammy and more about trying to convince the world that she had righteous anger (had -- she's died in 2018).  


We'll say thank heaven for Billy Crystal as well since he's one of the few to note Sammy's dancing as an adult.  (Billy raves over the dancing, to be clear.)  There's a lot that the documentary notes that has nothing to do with Sammy's career or with his life, to be honest.  His wives, for example, are barely noted.  But anyone watching would have heard a lot of words like "perform" but had seen nothing regarding that.  They can't really show his film work but they can show clips (plural) from that crappy episode of ALL IN THE FAMILY?   

His recordings -- his singing -- really doesn't feature either.  "Hey There" and "Candy Man" get noted.  It's noted that he performed "I Gotta Be Me'' at the PUSH convention but it's not noted that the song, four years prior, had been a hit single for him -- number 11 on the pop charts in 1968 -- in 1968.  He had ten top forty US hits on the pop charts.  Beginning in the sixties, he started charting on the Adult Contemporary charts as well -- notching up 13 top forty hits there -- including 9 tracks that never made the top forty.  So between the two charts, he had 19 songs become top forty hits in the US.  You'd never know it from the 'documentary.'

Again, this isn't about reality, it's what makes The Water Cooler Set comfortable and they're not really interested in a documentary about an artist if the artist is Black.  They're only interested in a 'race relations' documentary that features one White face after another telling you what it was like back then to be Black -- or, more often, especially in the case of Paula Wayne, what it was like to be White around a Black performer. While coddling these White voices, the documentary repeatedly ignores monumental moments such as Sammy filming a TV pilot for ABC in 1953, THREE FOR THE ROAD, but, despite good word of mouth, ABC couldn't find a sponsor willing to back the show.  That's not addressed.  Nor is THE SAMMY DAVIS JR. SHOW of 1966 ever noted, a variety series he hosted but was not allowed to host some episodes for a brief time because ABC suddenly invoked their contract from a decade prior with Davis.  As a result, Sammy would only appear in seven of the fourteen episodes of a show named for him.  This was the first variety show of the sixties hosted by an African-American (others had hosted variety shows in the 50s including Nat King Cole).  "Race" is addressed with Paula Wayne raging against Frank Sinatra for not telling JFK that Sammy had to perform at the presidential inauguration.  She doesn't rage against JFK for nixing Sammy.  Time and again, the powerful (JFK, corporations like the makers of Geritol which didn't want to sponsor a show with an African-American lead) are let off and the minor are slammed.  Major events, like the MLK-led March on Washington in 1963, which Sammy was a part of, are reduced to less than 30 seconds or outright ignored.  

What the 'documentary' does do is tell the story of White America while pretending to tell Sammy Davis Jr.'s story.  It's exactly what The Water Cooler Set stands for and it is reductive and uninclusive and, hopefully, it will soon be a thing of the past.  It needs to be.




Don't fall for The Fraud Squad

fraud squad




 Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Fraud Squad." Captain Rashida Tlaib explains, "The times are changing.  You can get into places others can't.  Word on K-Stree is someone's about to call for Medicare For All."  Ilhan Omar mutters, "Damn that Jimmy Dore!"  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez offers, "I smell Ralph Nader's idle hands."  Ayanna Presley boasts, "We'll dupe those progressives and we'll silence them."  Then Ilhan, AOC and Ayanna exclaim together, "Fraud Squad!"  Isaiah archives his comics at THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS.




Jim: Roundtable time.  Remember our e-mail address is  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; 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. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim: Has anyone noticed anything with COVID?

Trina: I have a problem with the figures. They should be standardized throughout the US but many states have a lower count than what they have at the CDC. The count on Thursday, for example, for Massachusetts was 512,214 at the CDC but 504,564 at the Massachusetts Dept, of Public Health site. I checked other states and Wally's mother helped me with that on Friday and we found that some states differed by 10,000 and some by 100,000 or more. I would assume -- wrongly apparently -- that a state's public health site would be the most up to date and the CDC would lag. I do wonder what the reasons for this are?

Ava: C.I. and I were doing a Zoom event last week with a group of feminist healthcare workers and one got COVID on Christmas Eve. As part of that, she got a nasty rash that covered her entire back. She talked about it and even held up her phone to show a photo. I wasn't aware of that so I'm tossing it out.

Trina: A rash can be a sign of COVID. Rashes develop for some but they are not as common as fever, for example. They are saying that a rash can last two days to 12 or 14 days but everyone I've seen with a COVID rash has had it for close to a month.

Ava: The woman we spoke with on Zoom had hers since December 24th and it was 2/3/21 when we spoke to her.

Trina: I think the rash is one of the least understood effects currently.

Jess: I heard of a friend's grandfather who had bluish lips.

Trina: Unless the person has just consumed blue Kool-Aid, bluish lips mean go to the emergency room immediately. That's regardless of whether it's a COVID symptom or not and, yes, it can be a COVID symptom.

Jim: Unless there are more COVID questions or issues? No? Okay, thank you, Trina. And for readers who do not know, Trina is a registered nurse of many years. She's been in a clinic setting for many years now but due to COVID now grabs a full week at a Boston clinic and also a weekend shift at a hospital. New topic, Ty?

Ty: Reader Warren asks, "How crazy is Maxine Waters?" Waters is a House Representative in the US Congress. She represents thd 43rd district in California.

Betty: Maxine has become a huge disappointment. Her latest nonsense has her insisting Donald Trump needs to be charged with pre-mediated murder -- see Jonathan Turley for analysis.  Is she insane? Is she trying to stoke unrest? At 82, has the mind gone? I have no idea. I know she used to be strong on the Iraq War. Used to be.

Ruth: Ms. Waters has not done anything to stop the ongoing war in over a decade. She is useless on this issue.

Betty: And on most issues of late. I seriously question her mental competency. She used to make demands and statements that some found off but I could understand them -- and often support them. They were truth to power type statements. Now she's just a dottering fool. It's very sad to see. But it's been especially sad to watch her walk away from peace as well.

Isaiah: Depressing and disgusting and she chaired the Out of Iraq caucus in the House. But they were ridiculous the minute Barack got into office and her statements on the floor of Congress, August 9, 2009 were just shameful -- we weren't calling for out of Iraq immediately -- well what was the point of the Caucus?

Cedric: To do nothing, obviously. They formed in 2005 and really did nothing and Maxine admitted that on August 9, 2009. Go away, Maxine. You were a once proud warrior who just became an embarrassing and pathetic politician.

Ann: They're all shameful, pretty much. I love Ava and C.I.'s saying, "I don't fall in love with politicians, I'm not that pathetic."

Isaiah: But so many are that pathetic and they need to pretend that public servants who barely do their jobs are somehow heroes.

Dona: Why do you think that is? I think we need everything in black and white for simplistic narrative. Take, for example, the late John Conyers. I am comfortable saying he harassed women and that was wrong but he was also great in the Congress. People are complex. I think some people have a problem with complexities.

Rebecca: And a problem with basics. So many people don't pay attention to anything at all. Take the nuts who love Al Franken. Useless Al leaving the Senate was not a loss. Losing Conyers, even at his advanced age, was a loss. And damn it, if we had to lose Conyers then we certainly needed to lose Al Franken. I love how Jane Mayer built her reputation on defending one victim of harassment and then shredded her own reputation with her defense of Al Franken. Jane is the text book definition of a whore. What a joke she so quickly became.

Trina: A sad and dirty joke.

Stan: She really did sell out and is fool of the fakery. Jane hates religious people and I always wonder when they're going to get demontized on. I mean some of the same howler monkeys, I'm sure, would insist that there is no proof or this or that. And faith is the opposite of science. I think YOUTUBE, TWITTER and the rest need to stop their censorship efforts.

Ruth: On that, I am so glad that Bonnie Faulkner's GUNS AND BUTTER is back on WBAI.

Kat: Yes, that is great news.

Jim: On news, what stories aren't being covered that you wish were?

Mike: There is an absence of war coverage in all things media big and small. It is a glaring failure.

Wally: Yeah, I wish that when the media lost interest in wars that the wars ended.

Ann: Wouldn't that be something?

Cedric: Yeah and probably the only way the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War are ever going to end.

Rebecca: Both are adults now -- or next month. Afghanistan already is and Iraq hits the 18th year next month. And they never end.

Elaine: And liars pretend that they know something. That YOUTUBE video -- and let's not give that man credit by naming it -- was the most ignorant and uninformed 'analysis.' It was like neo-con lite.

C.I.: Wally, Kat, Ava and I have spent years speaking to college groups about the wars and still do via Zoom and other means. No one has ever been as poorly informed as that man was. But, that said, the left half of the media has done such a poor job on this topic that lies are sinking in. It's like Jane Fonda said regarding Vietnam, paraphrasing, "They keep asking me, why do you keep going back? Because the other side, it keeps going back." War Hawks always have a voice in corporate media.

Jim: Where does Jane make that statement? CNN interview with Larry King?

C.I.: No, in the documentary SIR! NO SIR!

Mike: I love that movie. And that's an important point Fonda made. If we don't continue to speak about Iraq, we lose. The other side will. The other side sold the Iraq War on lies and they carry shame -- but only as long as we know the real deal. And people don't all know the real deal.

Elaine: Plus whores have tried to rehab Bully Boy Bush, Colin Powell and others.

Betty: Support. The faux 'resistance' was hideous and did real damage to the country and to the left.

Marcia: This is the same group of losers who have decided Liz Cheney is a hero.

Jim: Good point.  On that one, we'll wind down.  This is a rush transcript.





KINDLE UNLIMITED (Trina, 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. This week, we're talking with Trina about her "Mexican Casserole and a book in the Kitchen."

Okay, Jennifer Smith's INSTANT POT PRESSURE COOKER COOK BOOK: 500 RECIPES FOR BEGINNERS AND ADVANCED USERS was the book you tackled.  It's a great review but what did you think about the next day because, we know you, you always have a "I should have . . ."

Trina: You do know me!  I thought, "Small homes!"  Then I thought, "I can talk about that with Ava and C.I."  I watch HGTV from time to time so I've seen TINY HOUSE HUNTERS and the other tiny home shows on other channels.  An Instant Pot is perfect for a tiny home.  It can do so much.  It's a pressure cooker, it's a rice cooker, it can saute, you name it.  You can make a meal in it.  You can make a dish in it.  Often, on those programs, a full kitchen isn't possible.  So an Instant Pot is really something.  


 Yogurt too, right?

Trina: Yeah, and it's a steamer -- think vegetables, it's a slow cooker, it's something that does need a cookbook, many in fact.  And that's because of the pressure cooker aspect.  Do either of you use or have used a pressure cooker?



Trina: Well then you know that they are not that difficult.  My sister was cleaning out her kitchen recently and she gave away two pressure cookers.  One was the standard place on a stove burner and the other was the electric kind.  She got the standard as a wedding gift and never used it.  She never used the electric kind that she got 15 years later.  Why?  Because what most people know about pressure cookers -- if they don't cook a lot -- is that they can blow up.  The lid can fly off -- if it's not secure -- and put a whole in the ceiling.  That has led some people to really be afraid of them.  So you really do need something that talks you through.  And let me add, with the Instant Pot, it's not going to allow the pressure cooker function to work unless the lid is sealed properly. 

There are a lot of people out there who are afraid of pressure cookers.  Now the e-mails about recipes for them, is that why you selected this book to review?

Trina: No.  I went with this book because of my e-mails.  I get a ton of e-mails about Instant Pots and about recipes for the device so when I was looking through cookbook selections that KINDLE UNLIMITED had, I went with that one.  It looked like the strongest of the bunch and it turned out to be a solid book that I highly recommend.  


There was a recipe you wanted to share?


Trina: Right.  This is for BBQ chicken.




2 lbs chicken (breasts or thighs)

1/2 cup water

3 large potatoes, unpeeled and quartered

1 cup BBQ sauce

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

1 tbs minced garlic

1 large onion, sliced


 1. Add the chicken, water, potatoes, BBQ sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic and onion to the Instant Pot.  Stir well.

2. Close and lock the lid.  Select MANUAL and cook at HIGH pressure for 15 minutes.

3. Once pressure cooking is complete, use a QUICK RELEASE.  Unlock and carefully open the lid.

4. Transfer the chicken to a plate and shred it.  Return shredded chicken to the pot.

5. Stir well until fully coated with the sauce.  Serve. 


What was the selection like of cookbooks at KINDLE UNLIMITED?

Trina: I don't read cookbooks much these days.  Maybe one a year or one every two years.  So I'm not sure I'm the best person to ask.  If someone reads several cookbooks a year, they might not be impressed.  I got married very early and I read cookbooks for years and years. I have a shelves of cookbooks.  So someone who's been buying them or getting them at the library for the last year or the last five years might not be impressed with the number available.  I don't know.  For a casual cook or a beginning cook, I think they'd be impressed with KINDLE UNLIMITED. 

What do you think of KINDLE UNLIMITED overall?

Trina: I don't know.  I'm hoping that they update or freshen every few months.  If this -- what's offered right now -- is what's offered all year long?  There's not enough to justify paying ten or so bucks a month for KINDLE UNLIMITED.  NETFLIX offers new content every week as well as a huge backlog, is there a reason KINDLE UNLIMITED can't?

Good point.  Other things KINDLE UNLIMITED could work on?

Trina: Finding things.  It's not easy to access.  It should be you go to AMAZON, you do one click and you're in KINDLE UNLIMITED.  Instead, it's go to AMAZON, click on KINDLE, and then click again to get KINDLE UNLIMITED.  And you really can't search -- or if you can, it's not easy.  I want to just search KINDLE UNLIMITED.  I can't.  I can browse by genres -- like cookbooks or novels -- but I can't search.  If I try to search, I've got KINDLE books -- which are things you pay for -- and I've got KINDLE UNLIMITED.  It shouldn't be that hard.  






Tweet of the week

From Ajamu Baraka:

Biden and democrats say $15 is out. What you gonna do? Nothing. And you wonder why corporate democrats don't take you seriously.






In 2021, we'll be covering digital books.  So far this year, the coverage includes:

Rebecca's "the mommie dearest diary: carol ann tells all"

Kat's "How Mabel Normand's many scandals (at least five) destroyed her career"


Marcia's "Paul Jay's bad Gore Vidal 'book'"


Stan's "Adrienne Barbeau's bad book THERE ARE WORSE THINGS I COULD DO"


Trina's "Mexican Casserole and a book in the Kitchen"




TV Talk (Stan, Ava and C.I.)

Repost of Stan's talk with Ava and C.I.:



TV Talk



That's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "DiFi Ethics."

Okay, new content went up at THIRD today:




The TV piece, the WSWS piece and the KINDLE UNLIMITED interview with me were all done by Ava and C.I.  And I invited them to do a brief TV talk with me here.  Ava and C.I. cover TV for THIRD.  Correct me if I'm wrong on this, you didn't want to cover TV?


Ava: Right.  The site started in January of 2005.  We didn't see the point in covering TV.  Jim did.  Jim especially but probably everyone.  Back then, Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and I were in college and as Jim pointed out, easily two-thirds of the people in our classes were watching TV and talking about it.  Everything was group pieces the first edition -- including TV.  C.I. and I were sort of off to the side making silly remarks.  We did that for the first few weeks and Jim will tell you -- and noted in real time -- that the readers were responding to this.  So the others kind of turned it over to us.  And I don't know exactly when that was.  I could tell you if I looked at the stuff.  But sometime in February, Jim noted that we -- C.I. and I -- were doing the TV pieces.  They were getting compliments and Jim wanted to be clear who was writing them.


Well you two do a wonderful job and I agree with Dona who has stressed for over 10 years now that Ava and C.I. have created a body of work.  You two really have.  Is it intimidating?


C.I.: If we think about it.  We don't think about.  We keep our heads down and focus. If Jim starts talking page views, it'll intimidate us.  We don't want to know.  And we don't try to top ourselves.  If we feel like we've written something really good, we're going to try to cover something completely different the next week.  Expectations?  We don't want them.  


You have stated that you are presenting a feminist take.  Over and over, you have stated that.  And that's because?


Ava: Feminism is not one view.  It's many views.  We're presenting our view and there are other views out there.


You started covering TV in 2005.  It's 16 years later.  A lot has changed.  What's the big change?


Ava: Streaming for sure.  As late as 2014, my younger sister moved into a new area and everyone was telling her about cable and which one to use and when she said she wasn't getting cable, they looked at her like she was crazy.  She said she had NETFLIX and HULU PLUS -- which didn't have live TV at that time -- and AMAZON PRIME.  What did she need cable for?  And people who lived around her thought she was crazy or something.  Almost seven years later and no one would bat an eye at her statement, not with YOUTUBE TV and HULU PLUS LIVE.



So far this year, you two covered the streaming services in "TV: The big ripoffs" and "TV: AMAZON wins the race to the bottom."  I want to be sure people have read those two.  What about The Water Cooler Set?  You don't see yourselves as part of that.


C.I.: We don't.  When we started and we would talk about representation -- gender, race -- we would be told that wasn't important -- be told that by critics paid to cover TV for this or that outlet.  I don't think anyone of them would make that statement today.  But we're not part of the nonsense.  It's a big circle-jerk that celebrates any sexist piece of entertainment.  We had problems with Louis CK, for example.  And we warned people.  He was far too in love with, for example, the f-word -- the slur for gay men.  That should have been an issue but instead you had Terry Gross giggling and embracing him.  By the same token, there was a fall TV season not all that long ago where a network offered one new program after another and not one of them had a female lead.  We're the only ones who noted that.  And we have to wonder how do you miss that?   We're not trying to be cool or liked or part of The Water Cooler Set.  


You really have led on so many topics -- long before others were worried about White voices doing ethnic and racial characters on TV shows, you were raising the issue.


Ava: You know, if it's SOUTH PARK and it's two people doing voices -- which I think was a thing at one point, I'm not going to care.  But when you have an entire cast doing voices and the African-American character is voiced by a White man, for example, I am going to say what's going on here?  


Where would you rank a la carte viewing?  My aunt asked me about that?


Ava: Well it's got a term today but it did occur before.  We had DVRs and before that we had VCRs.  People have been watching according to their schedule for some time.  It is more common today but it's been going on for awhile now.


C.I.: Agreed.  And binging has as well.  You could record or buy on videocassette, DVD or BluRay your favorite show -- GOLDEN GIRLS, THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, etc -- and binge on it.  And LIFETIME used to offer non-stop episodes of shows when they'd first start airing on LIFETIME -- shows like ABC's CHINA BEACH --but where binging is news is that NETFLIX, to cite one example, now posts brand new, never seen before episodes of a show that you can binge.


That's a good point.  I don't like binging.  I don't have that kind of time most days.  I was glad season two of THE BOYS unfolded a week at a time.  THE BOYS was a good show, do you see much off the network that you would praise?


Ava: Sure.  The networks still have strong content though -- you love PRODIGAL SON and that's a strong show that happens to be on FOX.  THE CW's CHARMED is a strong show -- and fastly becoming a stronger show than the original.  AMAZON's had THE BOYS and SIX SCENES IN CRISIS and other shows.  NETFLIX has had HOUSE OF CARDS, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, SENSE8, GRACE AND FRANKIE, LUPIN and so much more.  There's a lot out there.


Sometimes it seems that way, sometimes it really doesn't.


C.I.: Well, is that more recent? Reason I'm asking is COVID left pretty much everyone but NETFLIX short handed.  NETFLIX delivered.  HBO can't even deliver -- they're supposed to have a new film every Saturday night and they've done that since the 90s but recent weeks have offered KILL BILL and, last Saturday, Brenden Fraiser's THE MUMMY.  PEACOCK never should have started last July when they were obviously not ready and had no original content worth sharing.  It remains the worst streaming service.  AMAZON had some stuff to offer and NETFLIX was on its normal footing -- and has already announced it plans to do the same this year.  But you had networks that barely offered anything last fall. 

I think that has a lot to do with it.  Last fall, TV did nothing to urge us to feel normal with their programming and with so many home-quarantining you'd think the networks would have tried to offer more.  You two covered this with "TV: Can anything be worse than fall 2020?" and it really wasn't like fall.  I want to wind down by jumping over to books and the interviews you are doing each week with us about the books.  So why the interviews?

Ava: Sometimes when you write a review, there's more that you could have said or would have said with more time so one thing is to make sure everyone's got a chance to share what they wanted to.  The other thing we're going for is that we're trying to make sure we're also grading the service -- KINDLE UNLIMITED -- because it does come with a price tag.  Is it worth it?  Each week, we get to explore that and readers can judge for themselves based on the observations.  

C.I.: Well said.  Also true, the community wants more book coverage and that's a way to offer more.  

Okay, well I thank you both so much.

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



This edition's playlist






2) Rickie Lee Jones' RICKIE LEE JONES.


3)  Carly Simon's COMING AROUND AGAIN.

4)  Heart's HEART.

5)  Harry Style's FINE LINE



7) Dionne Warwick's SHE'S BACK.




9) Ben Harper's CALL IT WHAT IT IS.



10) Alicia Keys' HERE.








a park painting 11


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.


 "More attacks on convoys and, with Joe Biden, less ..." -- most requested highlight from readers of this site.


THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Fraud Squad" and "DiFi Ethics"  -- Isaiah offered two cartoons.

"P.J. Olsson's "Visine"," "Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box"," "Fell On Black Days," "STP "Creep"," "Rooster,"  ''mr. superlove," "Afghan Whigs' "When We Two Parted"," "Tori Amos' Pretty Good Year," "Fionna Apple's "Limp"" and "Creep" -- theme posts in the community.



"Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot,"  "Iraq snapshot,"  "Iraq snapshot," "Farce," "Censorship is not a democratic value," "The world we live in,"  "The awfuls (Brian Stelter and Krystal Ball)," "no ethics in the biden family," "the idiot krystal ball," "Biden Privilege," "Truth, truth and more truth," "Jimmy Dore, DiFi, WSWS," "Say no to censorship," "Mars, Mars, Mars! Science post," "If you're in the FBI, you can break the law, lie to a court and get away with just probation," "Lee Camp REDACTED TONIGHT on the assassinations of Fred Hampton and JFK," "JFK," "Those useless executive orders," "Important discussion," "It's only downhill from here," "Epstein and Maxwell -- two criminals,"  "Howie and Angela," "Hiden Biden can't stop lying," "B-b-but AP called it, buster!,"  "THIS JUST IN! ELECTION FRAUD! WTH?," and "Springsteen is just an embarrassment and a whore" and "THIS JUST IN! SOGGY BRUCE SELLS HIS ASS AGAIN!" -- news coverage in the community.






"armie," "it really is over for michelle williams," "IRRESISTABLE and CALL YOUR MOTHER," "Worst TV show so far this year," "PRODIGAL SON -- give Bellamy Young an Emmy," "TV Talk," "WANDAVISION just gets worse," "I hate WANDAVISION," "CALL ME KAT," "THE BLACKLIST," "Cloris Leachman," "Again on Charmed," "Charmed," "JLongbone and Brotherhood Nation Entertainment weigh in on Batwoman," "The CW" and "Another worthless episode of Batwoman" -- TV and movie coverage in the community.


"Mexican Casserole and a book in the Kitchen" -- Trina files a book review.

"A bit of common sense in the Kitchen"  -- Trina serves up some basics.




"Dan + Shay, Inayah, Jon Batiste and Cardi B," "Jess Glynne" and "Grunge" -- Kat covers music.









#NoCompromiseNoRetreat #ShutDownAFRICOM #Abolish1033 Ajamu Baraka on Neoliberal Democrats, White Nationalists + Resisting Status Quo of US Imperialism







AOC pushes censorship as indie media is under attack, Members share their stories of Jan. 6 & more!






How Biden Ended Racism With Justin Jackson & Margaret Kimberley






#TheJimmyDoreShow Biden Breaks Deal To Withdraw Troops.






Dr. Michael Knox: Is More Peace Possible?






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