Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Truest statement of the week

Democrats and Republican presidents alike have done great damage to Haiti with election interference. In 2009 secretary of state Hillary Clinton pressured the government to prevent the minimum wage  from increasing to 61 cents per hour from a paltry 24 cents. Shortly after the 2010 earthquake she forced puppet president Michel Martelly to undo election results and stay in office against the will of Haitian voters.

This is the history that must be remembered when we are told that Haitian officials are requesting the presence of U.S. troops in the wake of assassination. Even if true, the U.S. can never play a positive role there. 

Foreign interventions are at the root of Haiti’s problems. Even philanthropy is suspect. The millions of dollars raised after the 2010 earthquake ended up in the hands of the oligarch class. Venezuela’s Petrocaribe project was intended to provide oil to Haiti and other nations at steeply discounted prices. Instead, it was undermined by theft on a massive scale. None of the funds reached the people who desperately needed them.


 -- Margaret Kimberley, "Freedom Rider: U.S. Out of Haiti!" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).



Truest statement of the week II

 We recently discussed the latest disclosures from the laptop of Hunter Biden showing new business dealings leveraging access to his father — and further contradicting President Joe Biden’s repeated denials of any knowledge or involvement with his son’s deals.  Now there is a new disclosure of $100,000 given to the Biden grandchildren by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who was seeking business deals with the Bidens.  As usual, there remains a virtual blackout on the Biden laptop or the mounting evidence of Hunter Biden’s influence peddling. Beyond a couple outlets like the New York Post, voters have to rely on the foreign press for coverage of the disclosures.

Freeh reportedly made the gift in April 2016 to the trust for the children of Hunter’s late brother, Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer in 2015. The donation would well be a humanitarian gesture. However, it was the contemporaneous pitches for business deals with Hunter that has attracted the attention of some. In July 2016, he contacted Hunter and said that he “spoke to Dad a few weeks ago.” He tells Hunter “I believe that working together on these (and other legal) matters would be of value, fun and rewarding.”

-- Jonathan Turley, "New Hunter Biden Disclosure Feature $100,000 Donation of Former FBI Director Freeh To The Biden Grandchildren" (JONATHANTURLEY.ORG).




A note to our readers

Hey --

It's Wednesday night.

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, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
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: Iraq's embarrassing prime minister

 Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi can't do a thing to protect the protesters but let the kidnapped Ali al-Midkam be released by his kidnappers and Mustafa rushing to the hospital for a bedside photo-op.

He Tweets a photo and then lies to the Iraqi people this Tweet, right here:

رئيس مجلس الوزراء يطمئن على صحة الصحفي والناشط علي المگدام في احدى مستشفيات بغداد، بعد أن حررته القوات الأمنية من خاطفيه .


 He claims in the Tweet that Ali was rescued by the Iraqi forces.  He lies.  He lies to the American people.  He hasn't corrected his lie.  Sura Ali (RUDAW) reported on Sunday:


Ali al-Mikdam, activist and journalist, was tortured by his kidnappers before they released him, according to a source close to him. The source said Mikdam was not freed by security forces, as has been reported.
Mikdam, 22, is an Iraqi activist who participated in the October 2019 protest movement and a campaign to end impunity that is planning demonstrations inside and outside the country for July 18. He was in Baghdad this week and went missing on Friday evening.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Mikdam's kidnappers let him go, leaving him close to the al-Dora highway south of Baghdad. Mikdam made his way to the nearest security checkpoint where they brought him to hospital.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi visited Mikdam on Saturday night in hospital, checking “on the health of journalist and activist Ali al-Mikdam in one of Baghdad’s hospitals after security forces released him from his kidnappers,” the PM's office tweeted.

The source told Rudaw English on Sunday that “Ali was severely tortured, he cannot walk, and security forces don’t want us to say that he was not liberated by them."

Mustafa's a failure as a leader and he's facing re-election in October.  He lies and he fails and he fails and he lies.


TV: Truths -- partial and whole

Truths. They're seldom pretty. If they were, everyone would flaunt them.

Instead, most people work overtime to conceal them.


Let's start with Aaron Mate. We've been very clear both here and at THE COMMON ILLS that Aaron has our sympathies and that the lies and attacks Ana Kasparian and others at THE POST-MENAPAUSAL TURKS have carried out are unseemly and reflect more on the attackers than they do on Aaron.

We've defended him and will again. But we speak to actual journalists -- not podcasters. And we're aware that they had great sympathy for Aaron. The sympathy has weakened. They're tired of him "making himself the story," exact words from two journalists -- print journalists. They're referring to his constant appearances on various programs including Jimmy Dore's where Aaron talks about . . . well, himself. We're not questioning his right to defend himself but we are noting that when he makes himself the story reporters lose interest. And so do viewers if we can judge by the stats at THE COMMON ILLS where various YOUTUBE videos get reposted and in e-mails to both that site and this one.

We see the point many are making. We have another point though. Glen Ford of BLACK AGENDA REPORT. He told truth when it was uncomfortable and did so on the laughable DEMOCRACY NOW! Amy Goodman was pimping the White House and the administration's talking points. Glen didn't play. The result? Glen got banned from the show. He hasn't been on since 2012.

What else hasn't he been on? Aaron Mate's THE GRAYZONE.

That's an issue to us. And as Aaron speaks of being wronged, while we agree with him, we're aware that others were wronged as well. And if you're not using your power to help others who were wronged it just comes off a little self-focused, a little self-centered -- honestly, a little vain.

for a while i'm speaking
you know how much you hate to be interrupted
maybe spend some time alone
to fill up your proverbial cup
so that it doesn't always have to be about you

-- "Front Row" written by Alanis Morissette, first appears on her SUPPOSED INFATUATION JUNKIE

Aaron is Jewish which is an ethnic minority. It's not really a minority in left media. Glen Ford is African-American. Sabby Sabs and Niko House raised an important issue in the video below last month.

Why aren't people stepping up? Why does Sabby have to make that video in 2021? Shouldn't inclusion -- at this late date -- not require reminders? 

All women and men of color are grossly under-represented in our left media.

And when a White male host does bring on a person of color, it usually appears they are brought on to back up whatever racial belief the host has. So if the host believes, for example, that African-Americans don't like Jiffy Peanut Butter, the guest was selected for that reason. It's not as though people of color get to come on to talk about war or other issues -- despite the fact that there are many experts on war and other issues besides race.

If you've had Ajamu Baraka on as a guest, we're not talking about you.

But most of you haven't, have you?

Let's move over to more truths. Tina Fey.

30 ROCK debuted the same season as that awful Aaron Sorkin show. We advised you to watch Tina and skip the gas baggery. But then, some feel, we turned on 30 ROCK. Did we turn on it? The first season was amusing enough but we lost one actress and no one was added. What we'll accept in a first season is much different than what we'll accept many seasons later.

This comes up due to GIRLS5EVA -- Tina's new sitcom for PEACOCK. It is often entertaining. But. It. Has. So many. Problems. So many.

First up, Busy Phillips. She never should have been cast. She was tired by season three as a supporting player on COUGAR TOWN. She has one voice and one reaction. She does it into the ground. The writers didn't help her by trying to write depth for the character. Busy can't do depth. Busy can't do much of anything. She can't, for example, sing. That is a problem when she and three other women make up a vocal group. When she signs, her voice gets hard and she bears down. It's not musical. And maybe if she were an actress, that wouldn't matter so much. But her experience in single cam comedies has not helped her. When she knows the camera's on her, she acts -- or offers her attempt at acting. But when the camera catches her in a wide shot? She is not in character.

Busy was a very poor choice in a series that smartly cast singers Sara Bareilles and Renee Elise Goldsberry in other roles. They sing very well, no surprise, they also act very well. Rounding out the main cast is Paula Pell who makes up with energy anything she might be short of on vocal range.

Leaving aside Busy, the show has many other problems.

The main one is Tina Fey.

The girl group from the '00s has a male manager, has a male songwriter that they want to reboot them, has one male after another. Paula's Gloria is the only one either not married or not sleeping with a man in any of the episodes. But do not think that Paula being a lesbian means she gets to sleep with a woman because that's not happening either. She's exiled into that soft space of nothing -- when liberals want to prove how woke they are by doing a token but not letting her have the same experiences the other characters have -- see the third season of CHARMED, for example, or any 90s drama or sitcom.

As we watch Girls5Eva be defined by men -- husbands, the manager, the dee jays, the audience, the everything -- we naturally had to look at the credits.

Along with Tina, there are five other executive producers. Only one, Meredith Scardino, is a woman. So much for 'grrl power' or even 'girl power.'

Tina and The Token -- if it were a sitcom, it would pretend that it's sexism was actually ironic humor.

Tina thinks that's being inclusive and she is a sexist who never wants to cop to that reality. But it's in her work over and over. Take season four of 30 ROCK and the episode "Dealbreakers Talk Show No. 0001." There is no excuse for what happened in that episode and it just goes to how obtuse Tina actually is. Her character Liz has written a 'book' entitled DEALBREAKERS that has sold very well to non-readers and Jack wants her to do a talk show entitled DEALBREAKERS. Working on the talk show means Liz will have to delegate her responsibilities as producer of TGS to someone else. At the writers meeting, she offers it to Topher then retracts it, offers it to Lutz and then goes elsewhere to writers in the back who never speak -- as she identifies them -- but they don't want it. So she gives it to her last choice . . . Frank.

Anyone else see the problem?


The only woman writer under Liz. And she's actually in that episode. She's at the table, in fact. And Liz never offers it to her.


It was those moments and so many others that led us to turn on 30 ROCK.

We spoke with one of the producers of GIRLS5EVA who felt "Dolly Parton" and Vanessa Williams mitigated the problems we saw -- "at least a little bit."


No, not at all.

Dolly Parton? That was so awful that we had honestly planned to ignore it all together. But since a producer of the show raised the character . . .

Tina Fey's really not much of an actress. She can sometimes deliver funny lines. Even that ability fails her when she attempts to play Dolly Parton. Dolly is not really Dolly It's a hallucination. So we don't really see how that ups the number of women on the show. Then there's Vanessa Williams. She appears on two episodes at the end -- due, we're told, to criticism like we've made above.

Vanessa's wonderful in her role as the new manager but we should note that the old manager -- the old male manager -- is still around. Will Vanessa be in season two?

A lot of things need to be fixed in season two. They have Sarah's character now writing songs and that's good because it makes the women a little less dependent on men. And let's be clear that they should have noticed how many men they were adding every episode in a cast already overflowing with men -- the dee jay, the Instagrammer, the two co-hosts of the reality program, the man who answers the phone at a TV station, the man . . .

We're especially bothered by the lack of lesbians. They brought on a gay male Instagramer but Paula's character being out means nothing? If one of Destiny's Child members came out today, it would still mean something, all these years after the group disbanded. But apparently, it means nothing -- not even worthy of a remark when they are on THE TONIGHT SHOW with male host Jimmy Fallon, backing a male rap star.


Dave Karger is gay. The TCM host never had to come out. And we don't mean that in a mean way. He's very comfortable in his skin. And he's our favorite TCM host (we also like Alicia). He knows movies. He loves movies. Even when we're tired and sick, he's someone we can always watch without groaning -- and TV being a visual medium, we should note he's a cutie.

So it upsets us that we have to write what we're about to write. TCM recently aired the documentary THE CELLULOID CLOSET based on the work Vito Russo did for the book. And Lily Tomlin was given a lot of credit for her narration and co-producing the documentary. Too much credit.

Dave is a nice person. But history is history. THE CELLULOID CLOSET addresses the history of how the movies have embraced -- in the silent days -- gay portrayals, then demonized, then . . .

And if history matters, we feel it does, than honesty matters.

Lily was supposed to come out. That was the deal on her narration. She would publicly announce she was a lesbian at the release of the 1996 documentary to grab more attention for the project. Many people involved in the project did not want a closeted actress acting as narrator to this film addressing gay portrayals in film.

Some were very vocal to the gay press. Some, for example, gave interviews calling Lily out and noting that for years you could see classified ads in THE ADVOCATE offering Lily's pubic hair for sale. It was not a pretty period. It is, however, reality.

When Lily tried to pass herself as always out, we called her out on that. And one of the reasons was her refusal to come out to promote THE CELLULOID CLOSET.

We like Lily. And she's out. Has been since 2000 when she spoke to US magazine.

But how much different might the lives of many other people have been if Lily was out much sooner Especially since she and Jane Wagner were partners?

Queen Latifah recently came out in an underscored manner. Some have trashed her for waiting so long. We're not going to trash her.

It's easy today to wonder why someone doesn't come out?

But Queen Latifah wasn't born in the last ten years.

She was born in 1970. She was raised when being gay was a disease -- a mental illness. She grew up when gay bashing was considered fun and natural. She was raised in the Black community which, to this day, struggles to deal with its own homophobia. She didn't Richard Chamberlain it. Her career wasn't over when she came out. She has a CBS TV show (THE EQUALIZER) that she's the star of, for example.

We hope that she feels free as a result of her recent coming out and we hope her stress is less.

By the same token, we understand that Lily grew up with even more baggage having been born before Queen Latifah. We don't want to shame Lily and we certainly don't hate her. We love her as a person and, as an actress, we think few will ever shine as brightly as she has.

But when she starts stating that she was basically always out? We have a problem with it. It's not honest. More to the point, it doesn't convey the struggle that LGBTQ activists have had to endure. People today can be fluid. They can be who they are in whatever way. That's wonderful. But it's a new development. And to really appreciate where we are as a society today, we need to grasp how far we've come.

That's what makes truth important: The value it conveys of humanity's long journey towards progress.





Crisis -- climate crisis

It's a climate crisis. But if you looked at world leaders, you'd assume it was a climate cruise and nothing to worry about. While leaders remain inactive, even the summer thriller's getting in on the action. Chris Pratty's hit AMAZON film THE TOMORROW WAR traces the emergence of a hostile race not to aliens landing moments ago but to having landed long, long ago and be buried under ice that is now melting. Sadly, recent news headlines can be just as scary as the film.  


Martin Wisckol (OC REGISTER) notes"The steady decline of plants in Southern California’s portion of the Sonoran Desert — which includes Anza-Borrego Desert State Park — is caused by climate change-driven heat increases, according to a new UC Irvine study."  Rachel Ramirez (CNN) reports

The Pacific Northwest heat wave in late June was a mass casualty event, officials said. Hundreds of people likely died in the multi-day, record-breaking heat, and the death toll continues to rise. Officials are still investigating the cause of dozens of deaths that occurred during that time, but at least 83 people died from heat-related illness in Oregon, 54 of which were in Multnomah County, which includes Portland. 

Many of those people were older, living alone, and without functioning air conditioning, according to a a preliminary report on excessive heat deaths released by the county Tuesday. In Washington, at least 78 people died. Across the border in British Columbia, officials counted nearly 800 deaths from June 25 to July 1 -- 500 more than normal for that time period and which they believe are tied to the heat, according to Lisa Lapointe, the chief coroner for the province. In reality, it could be months before we know the final toll. 

Despite the staggering statistics, there was no obvious sense of urgency around the tragedy as it played out -- nothing similar to a hurricane making landfall, a gunman opening fire in a night club or a wildfire destroying a town. They were hundreds of quiet deaths from an invisible disaster: unprecedented heat, which dozens of scientists concluded was "virtually impossible" without climate change. Scientists and psychologists told CNN the response has to do with how humans view crises.  

CBS NEWS reports

Every coast in the U.S. is facing rapidly increasing high tide floods thanks to a "wobble" in the moon's orbit working in tandem with climate change-fueled rising sea levels. A new study from NASA and the University of Hawaii, published recently in the journal Nature Climate Change, warns that upcoming changes in the moon's orbit could lead to record flooding on Earth in the next decade. 

 Through mapping the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) sea-level rise scenarios, flooding thresholds and astronomical cycles, researchers found flooding in American coastal cities could be several multiples worse in the 2030s, when the next moon "wobble" is expected to begin. They expect the flooding to significantly damage infrastructure and displace communities. 


And, to no one's surprise, Justine Calma (THE Verge) observes

Many S&P 100 companies that claim to care about climate change are either ignoring or derailing policies that could provide solutions to the crisis, a new report finds. A whopping 92 percent of companies on the S&P 100 index in 2019 have pledged to cut down their own planet-heating emissions, but just 40 percent are actually pushing lawmakers to address the climate crisis, and 21 percent have advocated against science-based climate policy over the past five years. 

So while companies might sell themselves to consumers as planet-friendly, they’re not necessarily having the same conversations with decision-makers who are most responsible for tackling the crisis. Netflix, for example, plans to slash its greenhouse gases dramatically by the end of next year, but the streaming giant has yet to publicly advocate for any specific science-based climate policies, according to Ceres.


 Not enough concern, not enough urgency.  Is this really the way to address a crisis?


The devil in Bill Gates

Bill and Melina Gates are in the midst of a high profile divorce. We're not surprised. Bill Gates has always been disgusting.

Microsoft, for those not aware, was in partnership with NBC to create MSNBC. And it spawned hours and hours of hate speech. It's all time low was hiring homophobe Michael Savage to host a hate speech talk show. Bill was fine wit that. It was Melinda insistence that helped kill the program.

Bill had no natural give back' motto or ethic. Any actual charity that MICROSOFT or The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation actually did was usually due to the interests and concerns of Melinda. The Charlie Rose lackeys in the media worked overtime to make Bill Gates a hero. He was never any such thing. Now Million Belay and Bridget Mugambe provide some much needed reality at SCIENTIFIC AMERICA:

Africans have long been told that our agriculture is backward and should be abandoned for a 21st-century version of the Green Revolution that enabled India to feed itself. Western science and technology, in the form of seeds modified by science and technology, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, petroleum-fueled machinery and artificial irrigation were key to that miracle, we are informed, and we too need to tread that path.
A primary proponent of this view is the Cornell Alliance for Science (CAS), founded in 2014 to “depolarize the charged debate” around genetically modified (GM) seeds. With $22 million in funding thus far from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the CAS in fact consistently defends GM seeds, arguing that they are healthy, productive and environmentally friendly, while attacking agroecology as economically and socially regressive.
In contrast,the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), which represents more than 200 million farmers, fishers, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, women, consumers and others across all but five African countries, holds that agroecology is what our continent needs. Small-scale, ecofriendly cultivation methods using indigenous knowledge and inputs and cutting-edge science increase the variety, nutritive value and quantity of foods produced on farms while stabilizing rural economies, promoting gender equity and protecting biodiversity.
[. . .]
We welcome investment in agriculture on our continent, but we seek it in a form that is democratic and responsive to the people at the heart of agriculture, not as a top-down force that ends up concentrating power and profit into the hands of a small number of multinational companies. While describing how GM seeds and other technology would solve hunger in African countries, Bill Gates claimed that “it’s a sovereign decision. No one makes that for them.” But the massive resources of the Gates Foundation, which he co-chairs, have had an outsized influence on African scientists and policymakers, with the result that food systems on our continent are becoming ever more market-oriented and corporate-controlled.
This transformation has immense adverse implications for the nutrition, health, environment, culture and right to food of Africans. We ask that Gates let the continent’s food producers and consumers chart our own paths toward sustainable and healthy farming practices and diets. 



Tweet of the week

Alan MacLeod Tweets:


A ton of corporate media, including the Financial Times, Fox News, The New York Times and The Guardian have used a pic of a PRO-govt rally in Cuba Flag of Cuba to illustrate their articles on anti-government protests, falsely claiming the huge crowds to be on the side of the US.





This edition's playlist



1) Nick Jonas' SPACEMAN.


2) Chase Rice's THE ALBUM.


3) Billy Davis Jr. and Marilyn McCoo's BLACKBIRD: LENNON - MCCARTNEY ICONS.

4) Cher's STARS. 


5) Harry Style's FINE LINE






8)  Mavis Staples' LIVE IN LONDON.


9) Tracy Chapman's TRACY CHAPMAN.


10) 3) Liz Phair's SOBERISH.









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.


 "Ali al-Mikdam," -- most requested highlight of the week.


"Iraq snapshot,"  "Iraq snapshot,"  "Iraq snapshot,"     "Volvo strikers, inflation, Eric London," "They tell you a great deal by what they cover and what they ignore," "Chicken and Sausage Gumbo in the Kitchen," "Chase Rice, Volvo workers," "Food discussion and Volvo workers," "I wouldn't eat it -- would you?," "#GreenSocialist Notes #31," "Sabby Sabs' important video," "Blame the military brass -- they earned the blame ...," "Howie," "the always embarrassing npr," "henry wolf's bad gay fiction," "electronic intifada and joseph de sousa," "corporations exploit teenagers and new hot photos from 'the gay gaston'," "Chris Hedges," "Bigot Fr. Mike Schmitz needs to called out," "Julian," "Look at Baby Fake Ass," "Hidden history," "Haiti," "They hide history so you won't know your own power," "The JFK Files : The Murder of a President - The Fifth Estate," "Jimmy Dore, Martin Scott, Fiorella Isabel," "Jimmy Dore, Glenn Greenwald and Fiorella Isabel," "Jimmy Dore, Marcus Day, Benjamin , Fiorella Isabel," "Jimmy Dore, the Volvo strikers," "Corpoarte media now wants to play "Michael Who?"," "NASA," "A Boy Named Michael . . . heads off to prison," "What's behind facial recognition (and projection)?," "The coercion," "They're cutting their own wrists," "Free speech?," "Socialism?," "That always disgusting and unethical Hunter Biden" and "The news cycle confuses Joe Biden" and "THIS JUST IN! JOE BIDEN FOLLOWS THE NEWS!" -- news coverage in the community.



"Jackson Browne still full of himself," "Chase Rice," "Jam and Lewis," "WSWS attacks Diana Ross" and "The 5th Dimension" -- music coverage in the community.



"Jon Stewart and APPLE+," "The state of movie theaters," "BLACK WIDOW," "STILLWATER, the film no one ever needed," "The monsters in THE TOMORROW WORLD," "AMERICAN DAD,"  "SUPERMAN AND LOIS, Jimmy Dore, and the Idiot of the Week is . . .,"  "J.F.K. and Oliver Stone,"  "Batwoman," and "dynasty: where's amanda carrington?" -- TV and movie coverage.

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