Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Truest statement of the week

The only way to show solidarity with Black Cubans is to expose U.S. aggressions which create misery for them and their fellow citizens. Any claim of concern for their lives which does not include an unequivocal demand for ending sanctions is dishonest and does Washington’s bidding. 

After releasing their statement BLM was under immediate attack from the self-declared right wing and from liberals who in fact have the same tendencies. The liberals are worse, as they make the case for imperialism under a variety of guises, in this case a desire to help Black people. A new trope appeared overnight, which alleged that the Cuban government is more racist than the one we live under, and that Black Cubans are supportive of the 60-year old war which has devastated their country and their lives.

The latest propaganda campaign against Cuba is well orchestrated and it must not be allowed to succeed. That is why BLM’s statement must be defended. They are to be commended for stepping up at a critical moment and exposing an ongoing crime against another nation. That is the responsibility of everyone who claims to care about Cuba or about humanity anywhere in the world.


-- Margaret Kimberley, "Freedom Rider: Standing with the Cuban People" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).













Truest statement of the week II

Despite the supplemental investigation by the FBI and the exhaustive investigations by the media and advocacy groups, there still is no concrete evidence against Kavanaugh that would support criminal investigation, let alone prosecution. It certainly is possible that one of these tips disclosed clear criminal conduct, but it also would likely mean that the witness never revealed such evidence to the police when it occurred or the Senate during Kavanaugh’s 2006 appellate nomination or before his initial Supreme Court nomination hearings ended.

Of course, Democrats are not the only ones keeping such speculation alive. In a recent interview, former President Trump said of Kavanaugh: “I saved his life. He wouldn’t even be in a law firm. Who would have had him? Nobody. Totally disgraced. Only I saved him. … I saved his life, and I saved his career.”

However, the demands for the removal of Kavanaugh this week are hardly new, including an ongoing petition drive. Calls to impeach Kavanaugh or prosecute him for perjury arose shortly after his confirmation from then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), and others.

It is exceptionally unlikely that Kavanaugh could be charged with perjury — let alone prosecuted — over allegations that likely occurred decades ago. The anti-Kavanaugh activists know that. But that is not their point. Some are surprisingly honest about using this latest controversy to renew efforts to pack the court with a liberal majority. Columnist Joan McCarter noted, for example, that impeachment would take time but that the court can be packed now to rid it of “dangerous ideologues, and a few corrupt ones.” While Kavanaugh is investigated, she said, Democrats should “dilute the Trump/RNC/Koch/Federalist Society’s malign influence and balance it out with four or six or however many additional justices.”

That would do more than “dilute” the court. It would destroy it.


-- Jonathan Turley, :"The Kavanaugh Conspiracy: Demands To Reopen Investigation Ignore Both Key Facts and Law" (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?



 Sad note, BLACK AGENDA REPORT's Glen Ford has passed away.



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










Editorial: The same old same old

The combat mission in Iraq is over!

So insists the press.  


So tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended.  Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country. Having drawn down 100,000 troops since taking office, a much smaller force will stay to train and assist the Iraqi forces during the transition period.  The President was unambivalent on what would happen after that time: “all U.S. troops will leave by the end of next year.”


 Those words were declared August 31, 2010.


By then-President Barack Obama.


We remember.  It's the press that doesn't remember or pretends not to remember.


We've seen this nonsense all before.  And we're not stupid like the crowd over at ANTIWAR.COM.  We grasp that nothing is changing and this is the White House's effort to drum up some votes for Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kahdimi in the upcoming elections (planned for this October).


From Daniel R. DePetris' column for NBC:


Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's visit to the White House on Monday produced what the Biden administration is marketing as a major announcement about the U.S. troop presence in Iraq: There won't be any U.S. combat troops in Iraq by the end of the year. The U.S. presence in the country will now focus on training, advising and enabling Iraqi security forces to conduct operations independently against the Islamic State militant group.

The Biden administration has framed this shift as a "significant evolution" in the U.S. mission in Iraq, with support personnel and logisticians favored over Apache helicopters and special forces. There's only one problem with this line of thought: The latest announcement won't do much to change U.S. military operations in Iraq, let alone end them.

What the White House is trumpeting as a withdrawal is more like a reclassification, in which combat troops become trainers and advisers in behalf of the Iraqi army. The current U.S. force posture in Iraq, about 2,500 troops, will remain almost the same. The mission U.S. troops are tasked with today is the same mission they were tasked with a week ago, with little sign of letting up: a seemingly endless endeavor to build a perfect Iraqi military.


Idiots fell for the end of 'combat' back in 2010.  Many of them are falling for it again.

TV: Basics

Watching NETFLIX's THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER we realized that things really are not what they seem. For example, what's worse than trash? How about trash that doesn't know it's trash. THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER isn't even good trash. VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, the film, is good trash.


NETFLIX's latest offering is based on Jojo Moyers' romance novel from 2008. So why does it strive so hard to be so much more? Maybe a new rule for characters in pot boilers should be don't quote and discuss Ernest Hemingway's A FAREWELL TO ARMS AND Evelyn Waugh's SCOOP? Maybe keep the pretentious factor to a bare minimum?

In the film, a journalist (Jojo Moyes, when not writing romance novels, is a journalist, Pauline Sara Jo Moyes) finds old letters between lovers. Yes, when not dropping literary references, it also thinks it's some involved production a la THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN. When the front story finally -- finally --gets started we're dealing with an unhappy wife played by an embarrassed looking Shailene Woodley. We understand the embarrassment, but if you take the job, maybe commit to the role? Callum Turner breezes through his scenes making it clear that he's not aware enough to grasp that he's slumming. It's a romance novel, he just needs to be cute and he achieves that. There's not much more he could do with the role (not much more anyone could do with it) so breezy is probably the best choice.

The only performance worth noting it delivered by Joe Alwyn. He plays the husband making Woodley's character so unhappy so he's the ogre and gives him something to build a performance around.

Despite Turner's looks and Joe's performance, it doesn't add up to much. Instead of embracing the genre, it tries to remain detached and above it all. Distance is achieved, yes, but is distance really the reason anyone watches a romance film?

We realize how things are not what they seem last week when BREAKING POINTS aired a segment entitled "Briahna Joy Gray Dishes On Where Bernie Went Wrong." That seemed like a Krystal and Saagar segment we'd want to watch. But somehow it ended up being a Krystal and Kyle segment. No, we didn't want to watch. But Briahana Joy was an insider in the Bernie Sanders campaign and we wanted to hear what she said. The trade off was that we had to endure Kyle's 'jokes,' constant interruptions and mugg(ing. And the interview produced very little as a result.

Apparently, just like Joe Biden's CNN townhall. We say "apparently" because, like most of America, we didn't watch. The show's ratings were low -- even among chatter junkies -- they elected to go with MSNBC or FOX instead. A live broadcast featuring the sitting president and no one cared.

So many things pop up on the media landscape these days.

Morgan Wallen. We really don't have time for celebrity gossip. We knew a country music star had been banned from radio and was suspended by his label and we knew he had used the n-word. That's all we knew. We couldn't have even told you his name. We don't listen to a great deal of country music and didn't know his songs or anything. And we would have stayed there, in ignorance, were it not for his apology tour.

Morgan Wallen, we learned, was his name when he appeared on GOOD MORNING AMERICA last week.

We also learned what happened as a result of his interview with Michael Strahan.

Things are not as they seem.

We were under the impression, due to all the uproar, that he'd done something hideous. We imagined him hurling the n-word in anger at some person of color.

Wasn't that way at all. He called one of his White friends that. At his own house.

He didn't say it in hate.

Should he have used the term?

Sorry, we don't think it should be used at all. Whether it's BULLWORTH or Tarantino's films, we don't think the n-word should be used.

We think it's a hateful word with a history of pain.

We are also aware that some African-Americans feel differently. And we are also aware that some argue they are reclaiming the word.

At 28, Morgan has grown up during the reclaiming.

We don't think he should have used it. We don't think he should have been banned by the radio. We also don't think you should be policed for every statement you make in your private life.

Morgan doesn't strike us as a very smart person.

All we're judging by is that interview. And that interview wasn't live. An article at MUSIC MAYHEM has already covered some of what got edited out of the interview.

He used a word in private, to a friend. And we all just knew he must be racist?

To us, he just didn't seem very smart.

And why would he be? He's 28-years old.singer-songwriter who has had multiple hits including three number one hits. We assume he's focused on his music. We don't expect Taylor Swift to be very smart either, by the way. And we don't get caught in whatever drama is being created around her at any minute. We expect that people will grow and mature as they age and if they don't, we will call them out. Or if they're a politician, a public servant. Or if they do something with the intent to hurt someone else.

And we'd honestly, based on the hoopla, assumed that's what Morgan had done. We'd assumed he spewed hate and used the n-word as the exclamation point.

When John Fogerty used that word in the 80s to the press when speaking of Tina Turner, he was being hateful, petty and jealous and he was a long, long way from his 20s.

We don't approve of the word. We don't use the word. We think everyone should refrain from its use -- everyone. When a popular rapper that's looked up to and that people want to emulate is using the term, you better believe it's going to cross color lines. It's going to be seen as cool. That's not a new development. You've had non-Blacks trying to 'be' Black for years and years. Ronny Chieng builds a good portion of his NETFLIX comedy special RONY CHIENG: ASIAN COMEDIAN DESTROYS AMERICA. You've had White rockers stealing from Black blues artists, this is nothing new.

It's also true that banning the word can make it popular, we're aware of that and aware that could happen.

What's the answer?

Whatever it is, we don't expect to find it on GOOD MORNING AMERICA.

Morgan was asked by Michael at one point about the surge in his album sales after the incident. And, as prompted by his interviewer, he ran with the nonsense of racism fueled the purchases. It's something a DAILY BEAST columnist also ran with. But, let's be honest, if she was really concerned about racism, she wouldn't work for a pro-war outlet in a country that targets the 'other,' now would she?

Oh, we're sorry, did we impose our pro-peace lens on her?  Kind of the way she's never able to see anything except from her own viewpoint.  "Try to see it my way," sang the Beatles but so many aren't interested.  They'd rather just assume the worst about people they know nothing about.

Morgan was a popular entertainer (he still is). He had fans.

They didn't need prompting to show support for their favorite. In addition, we're not fond of censorship in the US.

With Wings, Paul McCartney  used to get loud cheers whenever he introduced a song -- during a US tour -- that had been banned. The Chicks saw sales of 2002's HOME increase even as radio stations stopped playing "Landslide" due to Natalie Maines' comment onstage in London that she was embarrassed Bully Boy Bush was from Texas. (He was actually born in New Haven.) Some took her (weak) remarks wrongly as "anti-war." If she were anti-war, she would have spoken out against the war at some point but never has to this day. Some bought HOME during the witch hunt against the Chicks due to anti-war sentiment, some bought it because they don't like censorship. In 1991, pressure was brought to censor Bret Easton Ellis' AMERICAN PSYCHO. Some feminists even called for the book not to be published. That was stupid. All it did was inflate sales of the book.

It's a really bad book. It's disgusting, yes, but it's a really bad book in terms of writing with plenty of flab and padding -- see the section on Whitney Houston for instance. The uproar against the book only created a backlash.

Which leaves us in a curious position.

We don't think anyone should use the n-word. We're not calling for a law but aren't we calling for self-censorship then? Yes, we are. And that's something that we oppose -- censorship -- especially artistically. But that's how powerful -- in a negative way -- that word still is. That's how much harm its use can still do. We defend the use of every word -- every other word -- and we defend free speech and we oppose censorship. But when it comes to that one word . . .

Have we given it too much power?

Will there ever be a time when the word won't have such power to harm and hurt?  

A better you?

July is about to set and August is about to rise. We are at the half-way mark for 2021. As John and Yoko would ask, "And what have you done?"

Instead of spending the start of the year in a rush of guilt and trying to pile on resolutions, how about grabbing ten things right now?

1) Drink one eight-ounce glass of water a day more than you currently are.

2) Eat an extra serving of beans at one meal a week -- pinto, black beans, garbanzo, etc., your choice.

3) Walk one more time a week. You can walk outside, you can march inside your home, march in place. Take twenty minutes more a week to walk.

4) 100 extra buttock squeezes. Do this once a week. You can stand, you can sit, you can lay, but squeeze your buttocks and release it for one hundred quick contractions.

5) Lift your toes! Seriously, You're watching TV or gaming or online and you're just sitting there. With your feet flat on the floor, lift your toes quickly and place them back down. Do this 30 tirmes. It will shape the calves and increase their strength.

6) Add more fiber to your diet. One day a week, eat two carrots or have a bowl of fiber cereal.

7) Eat one more banana a week. If you're allergic, eat a fresh fruit that you're not allergic to or that you like.

8) Unless you have a nut allergy, eat one more serving of nuts a week -- peanuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, whatever.

9) One day a week, take ten minutes just to stretch. Slowly bend at the waist and down as far as you can and hold that stretch, for example.

10) Take 5 minutes each week to think about what you have and what you would like to have. You can make it meditation. You can make it prayer. You can make it a conversation with someone at lunch or dinner. But take 5 minutes where you are checking in on your own life and figuring out what's working and where you'd like to be.

 If you started the ten above this week, you'd be so much better prepared when the new year rolls around.








KINDLE UNLIMITED (Marcia, 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 Marcia about her "Rock Hudson: Erotic Fire."  Marcia, you're really enjoying the Rock Hudson book and we wanted to include it in these features since it's a book you're reading via AMAZON's KINDLE. Were you not finding anything to read with KINDLE UNLIMITED?

Marcia: I really wasn't. I had exhausted what was out there that interested me. I will say that they have a lot of great science fiction. And if I was rereading, I might be interested. I think most people who know my reading habits know that I'm a huge syfy fan and that Octavia Butler is my all time favorite author. I'd say KINDLE UNLIMITED offers a very strong and wide range of syfy titles. I've already read them, though.

Why Rock Hudson?

Marcia: Actually because of you two. I can't remember what you said but you were talking about HOLLYWOOD, the NETFLIX series, in one of the roundtables and people were like, "Yeah, but it's not really Rock Hudson," and you were both like, ''Actually, it's closer to who Rock was than most people realize." And that's what I've found in Darwin Porter's book. But that wasn't the thing that you were talking about. I'll remember about 10 minutes after we're done. But anyway, I really love the book and it really humanizes Rock -- especially to someone like me who really didn't see him as a person. I saw the image. He had an interesting life. I was also, at the time, very upset with the way, in 2021, gays are being portrayed. I am a lesbian. I was watching CHARMED. Was. I'm done with it. Mel is the middle sister. She is also the lesbian character. She has no love life compared to her sisters. It's disgusting. It's like we're back to the 90s and WILL & GRACE where Grace has one man after another, can be seen making out with them and we're lucky if Will and his boyfriend walk out of a door at the same time together. It's disgusting. There's so much homophobia and it's not even considered an issue by a lot of people. I'm just tired of it.

You read your KINDLE books on a tablet?

Marcia: Yes, a SAMSUNG. You don't have to have a KINDLE. AMAZON has a KINDLE CLOUD that they deposit your books in and you just read it on whatever device you want. 

When it comes to books offered? 

Marcia: With KINDLE proper, where you're buying each book, the choices are unlimited. My fear is that if I don't pay attention, I'll be like Lisa in that episode of THE SIMPSONS where she ends up with that huge iTunes bill because she keeps downloading songs. Cheap purchases quickly add up and I could see that happening to me with books.

Marcia, thank you so much for your input.





Ty's Corner


"Things are not as they seem," Ava and C.I. note this edition
and I agree with them. Great piece. But something came up after they wrote their piece on Sunday and I didn't want them to have to rewrite so I said I'd grab DaBaby in a Ty's Corner. Marcia wrote about the homophobic idiot at the start of the week with "DaIdiot is DaBaby,"

Is there anyone he didn't insult as he went from his statements to his 'apology.' And now, as BUZZFEED noted, it's gotten even worse.

Morgan Wallen? Compare what was done to him with the no-fall-out that DaBaby is experiencing.

Morgan used the n-word in saying goodbye for the evening to one of his friends -- one of his White friends. Sounds to me like a White guy striving to be what he thought was cool.

DaBaby made hateful remarks about gay people, hateful remarks about people with AIDS and ignorant remarks about people with AIDS. He then double down when his remarks were reported and now he's offered an 'apology' where he tells people he insulted that they must have misunderstood him.

When does INTERSCOPE plan to put him on suspension? When do The Grammys plan to announce that none of his work can be considered for an award?

Morgan Wallen? I never heard of him, sorry. I knew some guy in country music had used the n-word, that's all I knew until I read Ava and C.I.'s article. Reading their report, I was shocked -- and still am -- by how much was made of this private conversation between two friends.

I am further shocked by how DaaBaby can get on stage and pour hate over the gay community and no one gives a damn. There is no talk that radio is pulling his songs, there's nothing.

No real fall out.

It's outrageous. And it goes to how homophobia is not just still tolerated, it's actively encouraged.








Jim's World



So the big question on readers' minds lately has been what's going on? Why can't we pull together an edition?

I don't know. It's multiples. The pandemic has left a lot of people depressed. That's one reason.

Another, we're tired. It's been how many years now? (17 in January.)

Ava and C.I.

That probably will surprise some and some are already composing their e-mails, "Do you realize how, with the book coverage, Ava and C.I. are now doing even more than usual?" I do realize that. But they're doing that to try to complete an edition. They really aren't taking part in other features. They're tired. They'll go off and spend a few hours writing their TV piece and come back and be like, "What have you got?" And often, we won't have any completed feature. At which point, they're likely to say, "We put in our time." And they did. But, often, they're the ones who, in the past, could help save a piece. They'd either broker some compromise that let us resolve a stumbling block or they'd find a turn of phrase to use or a section of what we had written to emphasize.

I also get C.I.'s whole "I don't do greatest hits." She's said that for some time, since the start, in fact. And now that we have a body of work behind us, I get how easy it is to just do the same thing but also how empty. I get the "I don't do greatest hits." I don't know what to do there. I don't know what excitement could be generated by a new beat to cover or whatever. That's just me getting old, I'm sure. 16 years ago, I was a college student.

16 years and counting. I really can't believe that it's been that long. And I really can't believe that the Iraq War is still going on.

We protested the Iraq War as students and back then all the online world was about ending the Iraq War. They were all pretending. Remember Iddy Bud, for example? One of many fake asses. But the Iraq War was the main reason we started this site. And it still continues, it still drags on. I really don't get that.

If nothing else, the site has taught me persistence and that instant gratification doesn't really take place in a battle with empire.













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