Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Truest statement of the week

Slow-witted Joe Biden appears to think that we’re still in the age of the sole superpower, when in fact that era has come and gone.

“China’s Belt and Road Initiative involves countries on every continent and provides opportunity where the western nations offer only debt and subjugation.”

As this columnist has pointed out, Joe Biden’s foreign policy differs little from that of his predecessor Donald Trump. The imperatives of the United States hegemon require treating the rest of the world as either willing vassals or as sworn enemies. Any nation that threatens economic supremacy or the ability to thwart foreign policy directives is labeled an adversary and faces an onslaught of governmental and corporate media attacks. This dynamic remains unchanged and the Biden administration has only worsened an already bad situation.

The troubles start at the top with the president himself. When asked by George Stephanopoulos in an ABC news interview if Vladimir Putin is “a killer” Biden answered in the affirmative. The president was never known for his intellect and thought that repeating Russiagate tropes would play well. It didn’t play well with the Russians who immediately recalled their U.S. ambassador back home to Moscow. 

While Biden was dealing with foot in mouth disease regarding Russia, his Secretary of State Antony Blinken was making a mess of relations with China. He invited his Chinese counterparts to a meeting in Anchorage, Alaska and proceeded to offend them by scolding them in front of the press and repeating unfounded charges about human rights abuses against the Uyghurs.


-- Margaret Kimberley, "Freedom Rider: The U.S. Can’t Control the World" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).








Truest statement of the week II

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, popularly known as AOC, was interviewed by the Democratic Socialists of America for their online journal Democratic Left  this past January. The interview was published two months later and went viral on social media after observers pointed out AOC’s direct attacks on left critics of the Democratic Party. AOC’s disdain for the left was made clear in her answer to the question of whether Biden’s political history and current antipathy to the Bernie Sanders-aligned section of the party ensures that no “progress” will come under his administration. Her response is published in full:

“Well, I think it’s a really privileged critique. We’re gonna have to focus on solidarity with one another, developing our senses for good faith critique and bad faith critique. Because bad faith critique can destroy everything that we have built so swiftly. And we know this because it has in the past, and it’s taken us so many decades to get to this point. We do not have the time or the luxury to entertain bad faith actors in our movement. But also we have to value our solidarity with one another. For anyone who brings that up, we really have to ask ourselves, what is the message that you are sending to your Black and brown and undocumented members of your community, to your friends, when you say nothing has changed? Perhaps not enough has changed. And this is not a semantic argument. Just the other night, we in collective struggle were able to stop the deportations of critical members of our community. And that would not have happened in a Trump administration.”

AOC and the left-leaning Democratic Party members of Congress otherwise known as “the Squad” have come under scrutiny of late for their unwillingness to force a Congressional vote on Medicare for All or a $15 minimum wage. Over this period, the Democratic Party has won slight majorities in both chambers of Congress and succeeded in pushing Joe Biden over the presidential hump presented by Donald Trump last November.

AOC’s disdain for the left was made clear.”

These conditions would suggest that there is no better time than now for the Democratic Party to push through a left-wing political agenda. Yet the exact opposite is happening. The latest COVID-19 stimulus package did not include a $15 minimum wage clause in large part because Democrats such as Krysten Sinema and Joe Manchin voted against it . More troubling is that neither AOC nor the rest of the Squad has mounted any significant challenge to the party’s corporate leadership during a violent global pandemic and economic depression, despite being elected for this exact purpose.  

While AOC decries “privileged” critiques of the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party has been busy waging class war on all fronts. Contrary to AOC’s argument that undocumented immigrants suffer less under Democrats, the Biden administration has deported more than 100,000 people in his first few months in office . Biden and the Democrats have also bombed Syria , refused to engage in good faith negotiations with Iran , and propped up a brutal neocolonial regime in Haiti while deporting more Haitian immigrants in a matter of weeks than Donald Trump in his full four years in office. The Black Alliance for Peace Solidarity Network is organizing a Day of Action on April 8th  to demand that Joe Biden withdraw fully from the U.S.’s murderous forever war in Afghanistan before the deadline of the U.S.-Taliban agreement passes on May Day.



-- Danny Haiphong, "Criticizing the Democratic Party is not “Privileged”, It is the Duty of a Revolutionary" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).



A note to our readers

Hey -- 


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: What coverage?

 Peace in Iraq?  About the only thing the US didn't send to the country. 


The war continues, the occupation continues, the suffering continues.  The US press coverage doesn't really continue, not in any meaningful manner.



The US press helped start the Iraq War with their coverage.  Are they now trying to hide the Iraq War in the hopes that it continue in secrecy?


Media: The failures of HBO and NPR

Things don't always mean what they say -- as both HBO and NPR have recently made clear.


We were hoping, with regards to HBO, that someone else would grab the issue and make the point. But no one has. We were hoping that because TINA is a documentary about Tina who we both know and one of us (C.I.) has known her since the end of the 60s.

It can be hard to write about someone you know. You might, for example, pull punches. As too many can attest, that's not really been a problem for us. In terms of Tina, do think we can be fair. In terms of HBO, maybe we can't?

HBO has promoted the documentary about the legendary Queen of Rock and Roll as being different than other vehicles -- such as the film WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT in which Angela Bassett portrayed Tina and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in the process. HBO's documentary, the hype insisted and the so-called 'critics' repeated -- was rescuing the story. TINA was going to be a fully shaped documentary that was about so much more than her former husband Ike Turner terrorizing her.

Ike Turner, for those late to the party, died in 2007 and we noted it here:


We noted it because some pig boys were glorifying him and some were saying that surely Tina forgave him or that she needed to forgive him. No, she didn't.

We allowed that people could discuss the art of a person and set aside the personal life. But these weren't musical discussions. It was instead an attempt at shaming Tina into making some sort of an 'all is forgiven' statement. A lot of it had to do with hatred of women -- as was evidenced by Phil Spector ripping Tina apart at Ike's funeral -- a funeral he attended between murder trials. Like Ike, Phil abused women -- Lana Clarkson was his latest victim t the time and the one that got him sent to prison.

Tina attracted a lot of hate from men. TINA documents how an EMI executive referred to Tina as the n-word before her breakout success. It doesn't say one word about John Fogerty.


Are we not supposed to go there?

See that's what we always do, go where we're not supposed to go. It was so interesting to us to hear Fogerty pontificating in 2020 about Trump and racism because, for us, he'll forever be the guy who spent the mid-80s over and over using the n-word to describe Tina. He wasn't shy around the press. He'd usually blame it on another male artist and say that the other male artist stated that John was letting that n-word take away his song ("Proud Mary"). He thought it was cute. He thought it was funny.

No, it wasn't just some anonymous music exec, it was also her peer group.

Tina left the United States. She set up her home in Switzerland in 1994 and she became a citizen there in 2013. The documentary could have been about what drove her to do that -- what had driven so many US artists overseas -- Josephine Baker and Nina Simone to cite but two. They could have talked to -- and why didn't they -- PP Arnold. Not only did the US Arnold move to Europe, she did so with The Ike and Tina Revue -- she was an Ikette. PP could talk at length about the differences she found -- as an African-American woman between the way she was treated in the UK versus the US. TINA could have been about what drove Tina to a new country and about the peace she found there -- peace and happiness and love. Things we all deserve, especially if you have suffered the way Tina has.

That would have made for an interesting documentary and one that sounded like what p.r. and 'critics' insisted HBO was delivering. But that's not what we got.

The abuse, the terrorism, that Tina suffered at the hands of Ike is a major part of Tina's story. But it can be an element of the story. TINA made it the whole story while pretending otherwise.

The Ike and Tina story is bungled because it basically is nothing other than "Fool For Your Love," "River Deep Mountain Hight," they toured and he was abusive. None of her work during these years is really noted and this includes her first film acting role -- in TOMMY.

Her art also suffers when they finally arrived at 1984 and the emergence of Tina as a solo star. 43. That's the number, 43. Tina is an international artist whose music belongs to the world. 43 is the number of hit singles she's had from 1984 to the present -- 43 songs went top fifty in one country or another. Are viewers left with that impression? Not at all.

It's a rich and varied career. And, as a solo artist, she found success collaborating with Mick Jagger (Live Aid), David Bowie ("Tonight"), Rod Stewart ("It Takes Two"), Bryan Adams ("It's Only Love"), Robert Cray ("634-5789"), Eric Clapton ("Tearing Us Apart"), Sting ("On Silent Wings"), Barry White ("In Your Wildest Dreams"), Bono and The Edge ("Goldeneye") -- among others. It's not really noted in the film.

Time and again, they repeat that Tina hoped a PEOPLE magazine article before PRIVATE DANCER would put the issue of Ike to rest. Before the interview, she was constantly being asked how Ike was, would they work together again, did she still talk to him. That's why she told the story about abuse, to get people to grasp that their well meaning questions were upsetting to her. But that's not how it ended up. PRIVATE DANCER became a huge hit in 1984 and she was asked now about the abuse. Over and over. In interview after interview. It was upsetting. and Roger Davies, her manager, suggested she team with ROLLING STONE journalist Kurt Loder to write her story. This, Kurt hope, would beat off some cheap, cobbled together books about Tina. This, Tina hoped, would be the end of having to address the topic.

But in life, that didn't happen and, in the documentary that doesn't happen.

43 hits. Multiple gold and platinum albums all over the world. Were was that realization? Where did they note DIVAS LIVE '99?

Tina didn't just become a star, she became bigger than she ever had been and was the face of rock for women. During the 80s, 90s and '00s, there was Tina, there were the Wilson sisters of Heart, there was Stevie Nicks and very few others. A lot of women did pop. A lot did AC. But for that period, in terms of rocking and racking up hits, it really was just those four women. The documentary made no effort to provide that context, no effort at all to place Tina within her peer group.

Having short changed her art, the documentary could have at least explored her relationship. They wouldn't have had to dig new ground. In 2018, Tina's MY LOVE STORY was published. Tina met Erwin Bach in 1986 and they began a relationship. They married in 2013 and are still together. 35 years together, that's a long lasting relationship and a happy one to hear both tell it. Viewers would have been better served to have heard more from Tina and Erwin.

In our favorite Tina song from PRIVATE DANCER ("I Might Have Been Queen"), Tina sings, "I'm a soul survivor." We love the song because of the bravery, the passion and the way Tina scaled the audio landscape. But she's more than that and this more than quality is what the HBO special misses.

Yes, Tina is a survivor. More than that, she is a thriver. Her life is about more than surviving hard knocks, it's about pushing back and finding a path to happiness.


What is NPR about?  We have to wonder.  They aired a ridiculous interview with US President Joe Biden's son Hunter -- strap-on Hunter who had a stripper run out of a strip club to buy a dildo (a clean one was needed) to use on him in the club, dead-beat Hunter who refused to pay child support for the son he had with an exotic dancer until the court ordered him to, crack-head Hunter who was kicked out of the military while his father was Vice President -- kicked out for his drug use, creepy Hunter who shacked up with his brother's wife months after his brother died, perv Hunter whose actions around a young teenage girl led the girl's mother to complain to Jill Biden and threaten to call the police if Hunter didn't leave her daughter alone, Corrupt Hunter who held positions he wasn't qualified, Wasteful Hunter who pissed it all away on drugs and prostitutes according to court documents . . . so much to cover yet Ron Elving couldn't find any of it.


Many have weighed in on that aspect of the interview -- what wasn't explored seriously -- and no one did that better than Jonathan Turley

But we had a serious problem with the interview and kept waiting for someone to note the huge journalistic problem.  See, this isn't 2002 or 1992.  This is when we're supposed to trust the media, to trust research, to trust science.

So why the hell did we get Ron Elving lying on the air?

Hunter was apparently using drugs as late as last year.  He's trying to sell his (latest) recovery as news to promote the bad book that four ghost-writers worked on (shall we name them because we can).  He can do whatever he wants, he's a noted liar.

But Ron Elving is supposed to be a journalist and supposedly NPR wants the truth.

So why the hell did Ron's story portray Hunter's 'recovery' as "the love of a good woman."

That's not science.  That's not even treatment aware.  Reality, a drug addict trying to recover shouldn't be getting into a new relationship.  Hunter's latest wife, who he knew for a few weeks before he married her last year, was one of fifteen women he slept with from the end of 2019 through their marriage in 2020.  He's a sex addict so he especially shouldn't have been entering any new relationships while trying to recover.

Time and again, we see this lie populated by the media -- the love of a good woman cures the drug addiction.  In the 70s, the press told us Cher cured Gregg Allman's drug addiction and Carly Simon cured James Taylor's drug addiction.  We know better today.  We know that's co-dependency and many other things, but it's not a cure or even a successful treatment.

Shame on NPR, as this country is hopefully emerging from the opioid crisis, for telling every listener that drug addiction can be cured with love.  No, the addict has to address the real issue and has to do real work.  What NPR preached goes completely against every known reality.  

Ron whored for Hunter and, in the process, betrayed the listeners.


Iraq roundtable

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.  You are reading a rush transcript.

iraqwarhelper Jim (Con't): This is the Iraq War roundtable.

Jim: First topic, a record number of complaints came in. Ty?

Ty: 152. And they were about something C.I. wrote. Last month, the Iraq War hit the 18 year mark and C.I. wrote "Et tu, ANTIWAR.COM?" The complaint was that we didn't repost it here in full. Lisa probably spoke for all 152 e-mailing who stated this was an important topic, C.I. did actual reporting and it should have gone up here.

Dona: Lisa, I agree with you 100% and with the other 151 e-mailing. At one point, we had spoken of the need to repost. We put that on hold by accident. We were rushing to get an edition up and just forgot. We are reposting it in full this edition.

Jess: Let's talk about the specifics of the piece before we get to it. The Iraq War started in Iraq in 2003 on March 19th or March 20th depending upon your time zone. C.I. waited until the 20th to write the piece she wrote. That was more than fair. And the findings were deplorable. Everyone was too busy -- often with fluff -- to cover it. COUNTERPUNCH was one of the few outlets to note it.

Marcia:The failures included ANTIWAR.COM which is supposed to be covering the wars. They didn't just not do a piece noting the anniversary, they didn't do anything.

C.I.: As she does every day, Margaret Griffis covered the violence.

Marcia: Okay. So they did that. But nothing else and nothing to note the 18th anniversary and Margaret's piece was buried under "Middle East." On the 18th anniversary of the Iraq War, ANTIWAR.COM couldn't even be bothered to note the ongoing Iraq War.

Mike: That just blew my mind. When I read C.I.s piece the day it went up, I couldn't believe it. All I can say is, if Justin Raimondo was still alive, that wouldn't have happened. They've struggled a little much of late and I think they're losing their way. I also wondered about Jason Ditz who wasn't posting anything for a while and who I thought might have left. But they need to get it together. They also need to bring Kelley B. Vlahos back as a columnist. I really cannot believe how small the number of women who write for ANTIWAR.COM is.

Rebecca: Credit to Kelley who did Tweet about it and also wrote a major piece on Iraq at the end of the year that wasn't just a tired rehash of what happened in the first two years of the Iraq War.

Elaine: After which, the bulk of outlets stopped paying attention.

Cedric: This does not excuse THE NATION and the rest ignoring the Iraq War but it is true that it can be hard to write about. C.I. finds a great way to cover it every day. Maybe she'll focus on corruption or climate change or take on this issue or that issue. She manages to find a way to do it every day so I don't have a lot of sympathy but those who can't cover it regularly may feel that way. But, again, no excuse for not covering it on the 18th anniversary.

Ann: The only one who really deserted the Iraq War was the press. Unlike War Resisters, the press has no excuse.

Betty: Especially after so many of them used their power as members of the press to sell the Iraq War.

Marcia: There's a special place in hell for Amy Goodman. She didn't cover the anniversary on her hideous DEMOCRACY NOW! -- not on the 19th of March, not on the 20th.

Isaiah: It's not even the war and peace report anymore. She dropped that in the opening of the show. Fake ass.

Marcia: The original gansta fake ass. Made all that money and got all that media attention claiming to be against the Iraq War. Fake ass trash.

Mike: Amy Goodman is the faux left template for fake assery.

Marcia: Amen.

Stan: I've got a question for C.I. What's it like to cover the Iraq War over and over, daily, for 18 years. Is it depressing? Do you feel like you have PTS?

C.I.: Last one first. No, no Post-Traumatic Syndrome. That's for the people sent over there -- including journalists -- and for the Iraqis living through it. But, yes, it does wear on the soul. Especially when you're watching so many people ignore it -- so many people in the US. Australia and the UK do not ignore the Iraq War. It's a thing specific to the media in the US -- panhandle media and corporate media. It can be very depressing to notice how many people have walked away. When I walk away, and the day will come, it will because I am quitting online -- or I died. I used to hope that I could stay long enough in covering it. Maybe I've reached long enough? As long as I'm doing THE COMMON ILLS, I'll be covering it.

Cedric: Stan had a good question and I'm going to press our luck and ask another of C.I. What's it like doing this every day? Do you know ahead of time what you'll be covering?

C.I.: No. I sometimes plan to cover something and that's when something else pops up. It never works out. It used to be extremely stressful in that I didn't know if I could do it or do it daily. Generally, I'm looking at the news that morning and trying to figure out what's a big story and often what's an important story that the western media isn't covering.

Elaine: Like the recent attacks in the Kurdistan section on LGBTQs.

C.I.: Correct.

Marcia: At first, I was amazed how even the US LGBTQ media was ignoring the attacks in the Kurdistan. But then I remembered how, back when LGBTQs were being targeted across Iraq, with some thugs super-gluing anuses to kill the, I remembered how everyone ignored it in the US. Then finally we got coverage from a LGBTQ weekly in the US -- that paraphrased and out right cribbed/stole from THE COMMON ILLS --

Dona: I was embarrassed for them. C.I. had a typo in that snapshot -- they're dictated -- and even the typos was wrongly included.

Marcia: Right. But then it broke the dam in the US and others began covering it slowly. I'm hoping that will happen soon.

Trina: Can I talk about the way C.I. covered it Sunday night? "" was a new way to cover Iraq. And she's right, she points out that it's Ramadan time and that this is important to people. It's practicing your faith. And she would never, even during COVID, advocate for people to set aside their faith, however, the US press did. They did it when it came to Catholics and I am a Catholic. It was highly offensive, the coverage from THE WASHINGTON POST and others, saying that Pope Francis shouldn't visit because of COVID. It was very offensive and deeply disrespectful.

Kat: I didn't think I was going to talk during this but I guess I better to have Trina's back. I honestly didn't care one way or another until my grandmother expressed how outraged she was by the way the US press was disrespecting the faith. I'm Catholic but I don't think I can get too disappointed in the press anymore. I mean people are dead because of the way they helped start the Iraq War. But the more I thought about it, the more I got where my grandmother was coming from. She grew up in Ireland, her faith is very important to her and, yes, the corporate media was highly disrespectful to the Pope and to the faith.

Ruth: I am Jewish but I was kind of stunned by the way the press, the US press, tried to bully the Pope. I agree it was disrespectful. I do not believe I have ever seen anything like it. I was glad that C.I. called it out and not just Sunday night but when it was going on. That is one of the hallmarks of C.I.'s writing, she is always attempting to see everyone's side and try to speak for those under attack

Betty: And the faith thing, Agustin Aguayo. He was a War Resister of the Iraq War. He had served one tour and then was going back and realized he couldn't. C.I. made a very strong argument for Agustin. The military said he had to go and he couldn't claim religious anything because he'd gone once. C.I. argued that the government was arguing faith was static and that many a religious person could and would argue that an event in their life deepened their faith. Two weeks after she made that remark, I heard it on the700 CLUB. My sister called me telling me they'd just mentioned Agustin on the show and spoken about it and he was the only War Resister that they ever noted.

Ava: They got the argument here. Someone e-mailed that snapshot to them with an impassioned message. They e-mailed the site to state that they had covered it. And that really is the point. Use anything on THE CVOMMON ILLS if you want if you're covering an issue that matters.

Ty: Alana e-mails wondering whether C.I. is aware that _____ regularly prints her writing as a column.

C.I.: Pull the name. It's an Iraqi newspaper and, yes, I am aware. The first time I saw it, I was reading along and thinking these are some good arguments And then there was a turn of phrase and I realized it was me.

Ty: She says they run it in Arabic.

C.I.: They do. And that's fine and I have no problem with it. I said pull the name due to the Iraqi government which regularly attacks journalists. I highlight Arabic publications more in the community newsletter as a result. I don't want to do anything to put anyone in trouble in Iraq. That they republish our stuff could lead to attacks on them.

Wally: US troops need to leave Iraq. Iraq needs to rule itself -- without US and Iran installed leaders that the US military props up. Nothing good is happening. I want to read this in from PRESS TV:


The US military has used dozens of tanker trucks to smuggle crude oil from the Jazira region in the Arab country’s northeastern province of Hasakah to western Iraq as Washington is pushing to further plunder energy resources in the conflict-stricken Arab state.
Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing local sources in the town of al-Swaidah who demanded anonymity, reported that a convoy of 41 tankers filled with crude oil and several canvas-covered trucks entered the Iraqi territory after rumbling through al-Waleed border crossing on Monday.
American troops and military equipment have been stationed in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon alleging that the troops deployment is meant to protect the oilfields in the area against sporadic Daesh attacks and prevent the energy reserves from falling into the hands of the Takfiri terrorists.

Wally (Con't): How does that help the Iraqi people? Whether it's true or false, it's out there and how does that help US troops and their safety or win over hearts and minds?

Elaine: Great questions. And there has never been a plan for ending the war. Over and over, journalist Thomas E. Ricks used to ask, "How does this end?" The US government still can't define what's needed to leave Iraq. All these years later.

Rebecca: Which might be one of the many reasons the US military is still stuck there.

Jim: Good points. This is a rush transcript.





KINDLE UNLIMITED (Betty, 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 Betty about her "THE COLOR PURPLE."


 Alice Walker's THE COLOR PURPLE is a classic.  You found it on KINDLE UNLIMITED.

Betty: Right.  They do have classics but they're usually ones that are in the public domain.  Novels that are a hundred years or more old.  So I was really excited to find THE COLOR PURPLE on KINDLE UNLIMITED.  If you were to make a list of the 100 novels of all time that every one should read, THE COLOR PURPLE would be on that list.

It is a classic.  Along with winning accolades and prizes as a novel, the book has been made into a dramatic film and into a Broadway musical.  You've read the book several times, correct?

Betty: I'd probably guess ten times.  I read it before I saw the movie.  My brother insisted.  He said that once I saw the movie, it would influence the way I saw the book so I had to read the book first.  I'm glad I did.  It's one of my favorite books.

It's a compelling story what parts speak to you most strongly.

Betty: Certainly the relationship between Celie and her sister Nettie.  That's the core of the book for me.  Even now, knowing what happens, I still feel my heart swell when Celie finds out Nettie's alive.  Mister had hid letters from Nettie and Shug and Celie go through those letters. I also like how Harpo becomes a better person.  People always talk about Mister's growth and it is there but Harpo has his own growth spurt as well.  

After Celie, who's your favorite character?

Betty: That's so hard.  I love Nettie, I love Shug, I love Sofia and I love Squeak.  I see them in my mind when I read the book.  Not Whoopi Goldberg or Rae Dawn Chong or whomever.  I'm not seeing the movie, I'm seeing the characters.  I would recommend that if anyone is unfamiliar with the movie and the book that they start with the book.

Betty, as always, thank you.




"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Stan, Ava and C.I.)

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Betty, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Isaiah, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Elaine, Dona, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Mike, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Trina, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Stan, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Kat, Ava and C.I.)"

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






Repost from THE COMMON ILLS:


Late, last night, the Iraq War hit the 18 year mark.  Did any US outlet really register that fact?

Visit THE PROGRESSIVE this morning and find nothing about Iraq.  THE NATION?  Their big story is Dave Zirin's latest bad column on the NFL.  Along with that (the main story on the main page of the alleged political weekly), there are 37 other stories.  Guess what?  Not one of those stories is about the Iraq War.   20 stories on the main page of IN THESE TIMES' website.  How many are about Iraq?  Zero.

DEMOCRACY NOW! hailed itself from the start as "the war and peace report."  If you missed it, Goody Whore now calls itself "the quarantine report."   Good because, despite having a full hour on Friday, they didn't bother to cover Iraq.

MINT NEWS PRESS can't seem to find the Iraq War.  

COUNTERPUNCH and CONSORTIUM NEWS do the best -- COUNTERPUNCH offers Vincent Emanuele's "The Iraq War: 18 Years Later" while CONSORTIUM serves up Ann Wright's "18 Years Ago Today the US War on Iraq Began."

COMMON DREAMS does have two pieces, yes.  Only one is worth reading.  They offer Jared Keyel's "After 30 Years of War Against Iraq, Americans Must Make Reparations" and the idiotic "On 18th Anniversary of Iraq Invasion, Activists Renew Calls for US Reparations."


No, you f**king dabblers, Iraq does not need reparations.  Not until they have a functioning government.  The officials now fleece the government, austerity measures are being imposed upon the people.  You do not give a corrupt government money for the people.  It will never get to the people.  All handing over money will do is buy off your own guilt, it's not helping the people of Iraq.  Stop being such idiots and start calling for real and meaningful measures for Iraq -- like US troops out.  And if that means the US-imposed puppet government collapses, so be it.  

Worst of all is ANTIWAR.COM.

Not only is their no essay or blog entry on the Iraq War, there's not even a section for Iraq today.


Margaret Griffith's daily roundup of violence in Iraq?  It appears under "Middle East."  On the 18th anniversary of the ongoing Iraq War, Iraq doesn't even rate its own section.  

Why does ANTIWAR.COM even exist now?  It might as well have died with Justin Raimondo if this is the level of 'coverage' we can expect from it now.  That's hideous.

It is awful that THE NATION serves up click bait instead of addressing real news like the Iraq War.  But it hypocritical for a site calling itself ANTIWAR.COM to fail to seriously note the 18th anniversary of an ongoing war.

This illegal war continues and it does so because a lot of lazy asses are in charge of media outlets in the US.

Great Songs Of The Last Five Years


Our pick this edition?  Chase Rice's "Drinkin' Beer. Talkin' God. Amen." featuring Florida Georgia Line.


Jim's World




Did we mean to take last week off? Going into it, no. The plan was we would write on Sunday; however, that changed when children issues arose -- including an Easter egg hunt. So I proposed that we work later in the week. At which point, Ava and C.I. made clear that they were not writing a piece on Sunday that would be held to who knows when. They said they'd start a piece and write half of it around Wednesday and if we weren't ready to post by Thursday, they'd finish it over the coming weekend.

We weren't ready.

And that's okay.

There's no reason to put out an edition when there's no time for it. So many of us have kids now -- Dona and me, Ava and Jess, Cedric and Ann, Ty and his boyfriend -- that we need to realize that Easter is now like Christmas -- a holiday we traditionally farm out to Ava and C.I.

It's one of the many things we live and learn, I guess. We'll try to give a heads up in the future. This really was not planned.

Planning is a big issue here. We frequently fall behind due to it. I'll own that. It's why people keep e-mailing asking if we've given up on new illustrations?

No, we haven't. We need to do some stock images, paint up some. That way we'd have them on hand when we needed them. Again, planning.

Some are e-mailing asking if we're done nothing great films of the 20th century? No. We just have been able to have time.

The TESR Test Kitchen remains a popular feature, as 12 e-mails remind. We continue to do it. I love candy. My favorite day -- as I shared before -- is always the day after a holiday so I can hit the drug stores and buy the discounted candy. I love candy. But we have moved beyond just sweets and try to note non-sweets.

TV roundtables? Blair wants another one and feels it's been too long. I'll promise that we will do one before the start of May. Which probably means it will be the second week of May.







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





Betty's ""Kim Berry and Andrea Williams' DIAMONDS AND CURLZ""

Isaiah's "Marco Bonafede's WORDLESS COMICS"



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"





This edition's playlist




1) Nick Jonas' SPACEMAN.



2) The Jimi Hendrix Experience's ELECTRIC LADYLAND.



3) Jefferson Airplane's VOLUNTEERS.


4)  Harry Style's FINE LINE.  



5) Jefferson Airplane's CROWN OF CREATION.

6) Aretha Franklin's YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK.




8) Dionne Warwick's SHE'S BACK.



9)  Mavis StaplesWE GET BY.



10) Ben Harper's CALL IT WHAT IT IS.








AOC Mask-OFF: Funding CIA Dems






1+1 Ep 76 Margaret Kimberley on US Presidents &their anti-black racism & identity politics vs.class





#TheJimmyDoreShow Intercept Reporter Exposed For Publishing Chuck Schumer Press Releases





'You Have The AUDACITY To Talk About China?' -Abby Martin to US Citizens Ignoring 'Genocidal' US Gov






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.


"The US government finds it impossible to get out o..."


"Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Hunter Biden C..."

 "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq's LGBTQ community again attacked, Mustafa beg...," "Idiot of the Week," "Jimmy Dore, Kshama Sawat, Drikin' Beer, and THIRD,""Jimmy Dore, Daniel Larson" "Jimmy Dore," "Where's the plan?," "No, we were not all in this together," "The horrible Ghislaine Maxwell," "Thoughtless actions," "Howie Responds to the American Jobs Act," "Green Party of The United States Black Caucus Cele...," "The crazies," "The disgusting Joe Biden," "The new normal?," "Truth about the Korean War," "Joe Biden's war on children," "Guess who made a good call?," "Truth in Tweeting," "The Conspiracy to Silence a JFK Assassination Theorist," "#AOC #DCCC #Democrats AOC Caught Secretly Funding Corporate DCCC Democrats," "Out of all the beautiful women in America, Joe Biden probably only raped one of them," "CONVO COUCH," "Don Lemon's sad, sad world," "Jonathan Turley on Hunter Biden" and "NYT lies -- their latest lie" -- news coverage in the community.

 "The Catty Confessions of Saint Hillary" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Mars" and "Strong science essay at DV" -- science coverage from Betty.


"THE COLOR PURPLE" and "3 Octavia E. Butler videos" -- book and author coverage int he community.


"Sausage, Peppers and Onion Sandwich in the Kitchen" and "Easy Pizza For 2 in the Kitchen" -- Trina serves up two recipes.


"SUPERMAN & LOIS," "Anne Beatts," "THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER," "First show cancelled in 2021 is . . .," "THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER," "DISNEY+, PEACOCK and FALCON & THE WINTER SOLDIER," "SUPERMAN & LOIS," "AMERICAN DAD," "that awful samantha bee," "general hospital" "guess who's coming back to abc daytime," "NETFLIX and cheap people," and  "Call Me Kat"  -- TV coverage in the community. 


 "Music video to check out," "Joni," "Todd Snider, Prince, Chase Rice, Florida Georgia Line, Busta Rhymes, Mariah Carey, Raquel," "New Prince album," "The Weeknd," "this should be the country music song of the year," and  "Joni Mitchell's "Passion Play"" -- music coverage in the community.

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