Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Truest statement of the week

Moreover, keeping the focus on Russia takes the focus off the US and allows it to escape whatever responsibility it has for the war – and it is a rare bird in the peace community that feels the US bears no responsibility.  The focus on Russia, including the McCarthyite insistence that everyone denounce Russia, beefs up the narrative that makes the war possible.  This focus is in and of itself a great victory for the propagandists of war!

That leads us to the question of “condemning” Russia for the war.  Wherever one might fall in the debate, what effect does this Russia bashing have?  In terms of “making a difference” and mindful again of the fact that it is only the US not the Russians that hears us, what sort of a difference does the condemnation of Russia have?  Clearly it feeds the pro-war narrative and builds more support for the war.  We do not have to take the Russian side to call for an end to the Russia bashing, and such a call should be acceptable to all those who favor peace.

In short, stop the Russia Bashing – NOW.


-- John V. Walsh, "An Antidote to the 'Split' in the US Peace Movement: Anti-interventionism" (DISSIDENT VOICE).

Truest statement of the week II

The Motion Picture Academy’s decision to ban Will Smith from Oscar ceremonies and events for 10 years as discipline for slapping Chris Rock is little more than an extended time out for a playground bully. It’s a toothless penalty that lays bare the shallowness of Hollywood morals.

At this point, the only person who can redeem the integrity of the Oscars is Smith himself. He needs to come to grips with the gravity of the offense he committed: slapping Rock, live on March 27 in front of millions on the Academy Awards stage. Smith needs to express-mail his golden trophy back to the Academy and publicly state something to the effect of: “Out of respect for the 94 years of honor conferred upon this award, I do not in good conscience feel worthy of being its custodian.”


-- Harry Lennix, "Will Smith Must Return His Oscar to Restore the Award’s Honor" (VARIETY).


Disclosure, C.I. and Ava know (and like) Harry.  They knew this column was coming.  

A note to our readers

Hey -- 

Early Tuesday morning

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: Why?

Help us out, why are US troops still in Iraq?


Saturday, ASHARQ AL-AWSAT reported:

Forces at Iraq's Ain al-Asad air base, which hosts US troops, intercepted and shot down a drone while it was hovering near the base early on Friday, US-led coalition and Iraqi security sources said.

The forces, using US air defense systems, shot down an armed unmanned aerial system entering the base at around 1:46 a.m. (2246 GMT), the Combined Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve, said on Twitter.

Again, why our US forces still in Iraq?


19 years ago on April 9th, the US seized control of Baghdad and as occupied the country since then.  What was the reason for the invasion and occupation?


BIG NEWS NETWORK reminds us:

Press reports confirmed that the real reasons for the US and British governments for the occupation of Iraq lie in seizing Iraq's oil resources.

As those reports stated of incitement to the invasion by officials of major American oil companies, including the Halliburton Oil Group, while British government secret documents pointed to a strong relation of oil companies and institutions to the invasion of Iraq.

Head of al-Hal Party Jamal al-Karbouli, said on this occasion that the anniversary of the occupation of Baghdad represents a deep wound in the human conscience.


The greed motive that destroyed Iraq is also destroying the world and advancing climate change -- and over the next 30 years, Iraq is projected to be the fifth most harmed country in the world by climate change.  (Like last week's dust storm, see "AFP needs to learn to count -- over 429 is not 'dozens;.")

If oil as a reason doesn't satisfy you, AHLUL BAYT NEWS AGENCY offers, " Syrian state media said the US forces brought out a convoy of 65 trucks and tanks loaded with quantities of wheat and oil stolen to the Iraqi territory through the illegal Al-Waleed crossing, the easternmost countryside of Hasaka."


A security source claimed two Iraqi soldiers were killed and another was wounded in an attack by Islamic State (IS) terrorists in Iraq’s western province of Anbar on Saturday. IS militants attacked an army post outside the town of Heet, 160 kilometres west of Baghdad, in the morning, killing two troops and wounding a third, according to Saad al-Eisawi, an army official in the region. The attackers took advantage of the adverse weather, carrying out their attack during a dust storm early in the morning, according to al-Eisawi.

SOCIAL NEWS reports:

A member of the paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces and a villager were killed, and four villagers wounded Saturday in an attack by militants of the extremist Islamic State (IS) group in Iraqi northern province of Kirkuk, a local police source said.

The attack took place in the evening when the IS militants opened fire on a village near the town of al-Rashad, some 250 km north of Baghdad, Major Abbas al-Obaidi from the Kirkuk police was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

Dler S. Mohammed (KURDISTAN 24) notes another Kirkuk attack on Saturday and quotes an unnamed government security source stating, "Armed ISIS militants launched an attack on a security point in Dakishman village belonging to the security units of the Iraqi parliament member Wasfi al-Asi.  The attack resulted in killing a member in the security unit and injuring another one."

Why are US troops still on the ground in Iraq and when do they finally get to leave>

TV: The Myths


Myths? Joseph Campbell spent a career exploring them. He wound up with a theory that they were all "variations of a single great story." We'd argue they're p.r. But we do see his point. We'd further argue, based on the work of Gore Vidal, that the US is Myth America. We do embrace our myths -- sometimes so tightly you'd think they were a body pillow.


Some years ago, AMAZON finally discovered women. Who knew that a show starring a woman (Rachel Brosnahan) could be a hit? Everyone except for AMAZON executives and SPIKE TV, that's who. AMAZON ended up with a hit show and an Emmy and Golden Globe winning show, THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL. See, there is more to the world than garbage like ALPHA HOUSE. Since we reviewed it, the show has continued with further seasons. Some complaints have come in according to Ty in the last year. Some e-mail to complain about the show, a few e-mail to complain about us. The gist of the latter e-mails is that we praised the show in 2017 and we're to blame for the latest season years later. Huh?

We understand the disappointment. When season two started, we spoke with a few people with the show and said, "No." Just no. That's not entertainment.

For those who've never watched, THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL is about a woman who leaves an unhappy marriage and becomes a comedian in the 1960s. This is a fictional story. We thought that they would root it in realtiy. With season two, it became clear that would not be the case.

Maisel is just too funny, too on and too incredible and met with that reaction. So they're basically screwing with history.

Ryan Murphy's HOLLYWOOD did as well. That was a single season series and it was a nice reworking. Something akin to MAVEL's WHAT IF . . . comic book series. HBO's MINX is another entry in this genre. We've held off noting it because other things kept coming up. It is set in the 70s and a feminist Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) can't find any takers to publish her concept for a new feminist magazine. Along comes Doug, who publishes adult magazines (nudes) and he will take the chance as long as nudity is part of the publication. They end up with a hit magazine.

Can there be a season two?

That's getting ahead a bit. First, should there be one? Yes. Jake Johnson plays Doug and is also one of the producers. MINX is a strong show with a great cast. Care appears to have been taken with every role -- no matter how big or small. They should be nominated, the cast, for a SAG Award because they work so well together. Even the guest stars -- most recently Hope Davis. It is entertaining and it makes you think.

Maybe because it's set in adult entertainment, we aren't so concerned with reality? There was PLAYGIRL and other magazines. And Joyce isn't going to be leading the feminist movement. So we think this fictional story can continue and do so without having viewers thinking it jumped the shark.

But THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL has jumped the shark. We know Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller and Moms Mabley were hugely successful in that period but still came up against the glass ceiling. Maisel's success feels both fictitious and insulting.

Myths, what you going to do?

How about explode them? Especially when they come presented as documentaries?


A NETFLIX friend asked Sunday if we wanted to see it ahead of its premier on NETFLIX this Wednesday?

Sure. For those who don't know, former President Barack Obama, who has never created content for TV, signed a multi-million dollar contract with NETFLIX after leaving the White House. For those keeping track, true original John Waters can't catch a break, The great Allison Anders is sidelined as well. But by all means, let's give millions to a politician with no track record in the entertainment field instead of giving working artists the breaks that they actually deserve and need.


In terms of artistry, it's garbage. NETFLIX spent millions for visuals that would be obvious and uninspiring in a child's VIEWMASTER. There is no sense of art, no sense of majesty. How do you do that? How do you have something as gorgeous as a national park and present it in a perfunctory manner? It's robotic and lacks wonder and amazement.

But then Barack's never been that entranced with the world of nature. It's cute to watch him try to do, post-presidency, what most try to do in the last year or two of their second term -- create a legacy.

There are many subjects Barack was qualified to make a documentary series on.

For example, he could have done with on drone murders. Barack oversaw the deaths of many (including American citizens) with drones. He appeared to have a special affinity for murdering guests at weddings.

How about HITCHED AND DITCHED where Barack picks out weddings and, after the I dos are exchanged, Barack takes out one of the spouses with a drone?

Human Rights Watch noted:

On December 12, 2013, a United States aerial drone launched four Hellfire missiles on a convoy of 11 cars and pickup trucks during a counterterrorism operation in rural Yemen. The strike killed at least 12 men and wounded at least 15 others, 6 of them seriously.
Yemen authorities initially described all those killed in the attack outside the city of Rad`a as “terrorists.” The US government never officially acknowledged any role in the attack, but unofficially told media that the dead were militants, and that the operation targeted a “most-wanted” member of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) who was wounded and escaped.
Witnesses and relatives of the dead and wounded interviewed by Human Rights Watch in Yemen said the convoy was a wedding procession. They said everyone in the procession was a civilian, including all of the dead and injured, and that the bride received a superficial face wound.

Or he could do a series about broken promises. NAME THAT BROKEN PROMISE! or HOW I LET US VETERANS DOWN could focus on Barack's promise to end veterans homelessness Remember that? Barack grandstanding in 2010 that he was going to end veterans homelessness by 2015? Never happened, did it? In fact, Jennifer McDermott (AP) reported at the start of 2017, "Pledges by President Barack Obama and a national nonprofit organization to end homelessness among veterans did not meet their goal."

Nope, another broken promise.

Just like closing Guantanamo Bay. Remember that? Barack, running for president, was going to restore the country's good name by closing the gulag that is Guantanamo Bay. He was going to do it in his first term as president.

He didn't.

He signed an executive order.

He never closed it.

In fact, at the start of this year, the ACLU's Hina Shamsi noted:

Twenty years have passed since the first detainees arrived in Guantánamo Bay, making it the longest-standing war prison in U.S. history. Since 2002, 779 Muslim men and boys have been held at Guantánamo, nearly all of them without charge or trial. Today, 39 men remain indefinitely detained there, and 27 of them have never even been charged with any crime. Fourteen of those 27 have been cleared for transfer or release, some for years. Many of the remaining men are torture survivors; the CIA formerly disappeared some of them at “black sites” before our government sent them to Guantánamo. All of the prisoners have been exposed to the physical and psychological trauma associated with prolonged indefinite detention.
Around the world, Guantánamo is a symbol of racial and religious injustice, abuse, and disregard for the rule of law. Our government’s embrace of systematic torture shattered lives, shredded this country’s reputation in the world, and compromised national security. To this day, it has refused to release the full details of the torture program or to provide justice and redress for all the many victims.
As we mark this 20th anniversary, it is worth pausing to reflect on the fact that all the teenagers and many young adults alive today have never known a United States without the stain of Guantánamo. They’ve seen three presidents pledge to close the prison without following through on that promise. Guantánamo is now embedded not only in our conscience, but in American culture, as recent critically-acclaimed films about torture and its impact, like “The Report” and “The Mauritanian,” show. Yet too many think Guantánamo is in our past or even that amends for abuses have been made, as a Jeopardy question and response last year showed. In response to the clue, “In 2015 Congress authorized payments of $4.44 million to each of these people, $10,000 for each day of their captivity,” a Jeopardy! contestant wrongly answered “Guantánamo Bay prisoners.” There has been no such redress, and this shameful chapter of our history is still being written.
President George W. Bush transferred over 500 prisoners out of Guantánamo. President Barack Obama transferred approximately 200 men, and said he would shut the prison down, but failed. President Donald Trump reversed course and kept the prison open. Now it’s up to President Joe Biden to fulfill his pledge to finally close Guantánamo.

Failure. Maybe that could have been what he offered with NETFLIX: WHO WANTS TO VOTE FOR A FAILURE? And he could have picked some of his voters to interview. We're sure that a number would hold his hand and tell him it's okay that he didn't keep his word. After all, The Cult of Saint Barack always had a lot of lunatics for members. But we're equally sure that a significant number would tell him exactly what a disappointment he was. They might note his efforts to destroy Occupy Wall Street (and his spying on those participating). Or maybe they'd emphasize that candidate Obama swore he'd be marching with workers for the right to organize but then he became president and could no longer seem to remember that promise?

Maybe they'd note that the man who claimed to be against dumb wars, destroyed Libya and what a stain it was that a bi-racial person was responsible for creating open slave markets in Libya?

David Welna (NPR) noted:

Among the many things President Obama will be handing off to his successor this week: stubborn wars in three separate countries.
Obama came to office eight years ago vowing to end U.S. military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet President-elect Trump stands to inherit the nation's longest war ever in Afghanistan, as well as renewed fighting in Iraq that has spread to Syria.
The outgoing president was reminded of the persistence of those wars at the pomp-filled farewell ceremony the Pentagon put on for him him earlier this month at a nearby military base.
"Mr. President, we've been at war throughout your tenure," said Gen. Joesph Dunford, chosen by Obama in 2015 to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "That's a period longer than any other American president."
That's right: Obama is the first president to serve eight years and preside over American wars during every single day of his tenure. That's not what Obama wanted or expected.

Well it's certainly not what he promised, David, it's certainly not what he promised.

Barack lied about Iraq constantly. In fact, that's why Samantha Power had to leave his campaign for president.

She told the truth. Oops! Shortly after coming under fire for telling a reporter that Hillary Clinton was a "monster," Samantha was out of Barack's 2008 campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. We remember. We covered it -- both here and at THE COMMON ILLS. We know all of his lies, all of his broken promises.

He never planned to end the war in 10 months as he said on the campaign trail. 'We want to end the war and we want to end it now!" Then in March of 2008, Sammy Power gave her interview to BBC NEWS. The Democrats had run in the 2006 mid-terms on the Iraq War. Give them one house of Congress, they insisted, and they'd have the power to end the war. The American people gave them both house of Congress. They did not end the war. Why would they? It had been a huge issue in 2006 and very effective at turning out the vote. Why end it when they wanted the White House in 2008? So they did nothing.

(Yes, that includes the benchmarks that they never enforced and that they quickly forgot. Remember, Congress was going to cut off funds to Iraq if the benchmarks weren't met. To this day, Congress funds Iraq and, no, those 2007 benchmarks were never, ever met.)

Samantha Power told the BBC that Barack's promise to the American people to end the war wasn't really a promise and that he couldn't be bound next January, if elected, by 'promises' he'd made on the campaign trail. No, she explained, once elected, once in office, he would look at all the information and then decide what to do.

A far cry from his hollering to one throng of admirers after another, "We want to end the war and we want to end it now!"

Samantha immediately parted with the campaign ahead of the interview airing. She and Barack were helped in lying to the American people by professional clown John Nichols who rushed to defend Sammy and insist she was fired for calling Hillary a monster and, goodness, they were friends. She left because of the BBC interview. She and Hillary were not friends. When we see Katie Halper bringing John Nichols on as a guest, we wonder if she's just another whore or if she just doesn't know his history. (Which is well documented at this site and also includes his backing off from impeachment because Nancy Pelosi didn't want it -- despite the fact that he was supposed to be promoting his book on impeachment and his lying about Barack and NAFTA)

But back to Barack. He gave an interview to Michael R. Gordon and another NYT scribe. They wrote it up. It was outrageous, the write up. The paper made the mistake of publishing a transcript of the interview. It was in the transcript that you learned Barack planned to remove troops from Iraq and then . . . possibly . . . put them back in. (Here for coverage at THIRD, here for coverage at THE COMMON ILLS.)

Which is, for the record, exactly what he would do.

The fraud didn't even make into office before he broke his word on Iraq for the first time. The SOFA was rammed through by Bully Boy Bush over the objections of various Democrats -- including Senators Barbara Boxer, Hillary Clinton, Dick Durbin, Russ Feingold, everybody really that was a Democrat in the Senate. That included Barack and Joe Biden. And, don't worry, Barack said, if Bully Boy Bush pushed through a SOFA, it would not stand. They wouldn't let it stand.

Bully Boy Bush pushed it through on Thanksgiving of 2008 -- weeks after the election.

We all waited for the strong response from Barack. His response? He deleted the pledge to prevent the SOFA.

He was on huge disappointment after another.

BARACK AND HIS SISTER-WIVES? He could make a program entitled that. He's real good about reducing women's rights and denying them both access and opportunity.

Last month, President Joe Biden nominated Alina Romanowski to be US Ambassador to Iraq.

Barack never did that. He never did nominate a woman to be Ambassador of Iraq. We should note that. We met with the transition team. We argued that Iraqi women had suffered due to the war, that the US government had backed religious zealots who were trying to overturn the rights of women in Iraq. If only for symbolic reasons, appointing a high ranking woman might have some impact.

No one nominated as many people to be ambassador of a country as Barack did Iraq. He came in with Ryan Crocker still in office. Barack's nominees were Chris Hill, James Jeffrey, Brett McGurk, Robert S. Beecroft, Stuart Jones and Douglas Silliman. Six nominees, not one was a woman. Five were confirmed. (Brett wasn't confirmed.)


Barack was hailed by MS. MAGAZINE as our first feminist president. He was, we were told, what feminism looks like. Really? Because he used various events -- outside of the workplace -- as a way to network and women were always excluded from those events (such as basketball games). MS. hailed him as a feminist but we just saw Mr. Hart from 9TO 5 when we looked at him, we just heard Dabney Coleman's voice saying, "I like to think, if there's a word to describe my philosophy of business, it's teamwork. Everybody working together. You girls, of course, never got a chance to play football or baseball and I've always felts that' unfortunate . . ."

We think it's very unfortunate that Barack was misrepresented as a feminist. He would insist in April of 2016 that it was men's job to fight sexism. That was applauded by some. Why? He'd done nothing but sideline women in his administration, preventing them from being included. Feminist? More like a Queen Bee (as defined by Gloria Steinem in REVOLUTION FROM WITHIN).

We mentioned The Cult of Saint Barack earlier. Remember? Well Barack's temple prostitutes are out in full force. If you read through any review and see a comparison of Barack to David Attenborough, grasp that they're just repeating the press material (yeah, we got it too). So the temple prostitutes repeat it.

It's insulting on so many levels. First of all, the 95-year-old Attenborough has been producing, narrating, writing and presenting films since 1951. He is a professional. Barack is not. Nor is Barack responsible for any real duty other than narrating.

Did you really think the princess was going to have to work for his money? Oh, where have you been.

Emma Brennad, Sarah Conner and Patrick Evans are among the actual directors. Barack's reciting words. In that Leonard Nimoy like tone, he's reciting words written by others.

We get it, NETFLIX paid him millions. But they were crazy if they ever thought he was actually going to put in work.

Second, David Attenborough has an impressive body of work and it's a huge insult to that work to try to compare his work with debutante and dilettante will not end up with a body of work. As for a body of work on nature?

This is the man who 'helped' the nation's parks as president by resorting to big money donors ("to supplement federal funds" is how he liked to put it). It's all about the big money for Barack, always has been (those mythical small donors driving his 2008 campaign never existed -- NYT waited until after the 2008 election to blow the lid off that myth).

Geoffrey Lean (ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS) reported in 2009:

Now here's a wild card: Barack Obama is doing even less to protect wildlife than George W Bush did. As its first year nears an end, the President's administration has so far listed only two species – both plants – under the Endangered Species Act, compared with 11 at the same stage in the presidency of the "toxic Texan".
Admittedly, Bush's listing tailed off, averaging eight a year over his term in office, but that was four times what Obama has achieved. And both pale besides the averages of 65 and 58 listed under Bill Clinton and the elder Bush.
The current administration has angered conservationists even more by halving a proposed safe habitat for bighorn sheep, and in removing protection for the grey wolf in the Northern Rockies. "They are failing to grant badly needed protection to animals and plants on the brink," says Nicole Rosmarino, of WildEarth Guardians.
"There is no longer a clear ideological opposition to endangered species, but they have not exactly made it their priority either," adds Noah (great name for a conservationist) Greenwald, of the Centre for Biological Diversity.

In 2010, the Center for Biological Diversity issued the following:

WASHINGTON— In response to President Barack Obama’s press conference on actions he will take in response to the Gulf oil disaster, Center for Biological Diversity Senior Counsel Brendan Cummings said:
“While the decision to suspend Shell’s planned drilling this summer in the Arctic is an important first step, what we really need is revocation of the improperly issued leases and permanent protection of the Arctic. The fact that no technology exists to effectively clean up an oil spill in Arctic waters will not be changed in a year’s time.
“As the president recognized today and the Gulf disaster has tragically demonstrated, even in areas with existing infrastructure and significant spill response assets, containment and response capability to a large oil spill is wholly inadequate. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the Obama administration should not pretend that a six-month review of drilling procedures will change anything. Expanding offshore drilling to new areas needs to be permanently taken off the table.
“President Obama’s speech follows a month of half-steps and broken promises by the Interior Department since the Deepwater Horizon explosion in which a pledged ‘moratorium’ on oil drilling turned out to be largely a fiction, with multiple drilling plans approved after no environmental review, and drilling permits similar to those given to BP continuing to be issued.

In 2014, the Center for Biological Diversity released the following:

WASHINGTON— New rules unveiled today by President Barack Obama don’t do enough to cut planet-warming pollution from America’s power plants. Using the Clean Air Act, the president aims to reduce existing power plant emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels (or about 7.7 percent below 1990 levels, the base year for the international climate treaty) by 2030.
But international scientists warned years ago that developed countries like the United States must reduce their emissions 25 percent to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 to avoid tipping the scales further toward a climate catastrophe.
“This is like fighting a wildfire with a garden hose — we’re glad the president has finally turned the water on, but it’s just not enough to get the job done,” said Kevin Bundy of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “President Obama’s draft power plant plan should be strengthened to achieve the global pollution cuts scientists recommend. He also has to quit stalling on reducing emissions from other sectors such as air travel and the oil and gas industry. If we keep kicking the can down the road, the cost and difficulty of averting catastrophe will skyrocket.”
The Obama administration has said the power plant rules will help meet the emission reduction pledge the president made at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference five years ago, but scientists agree the Copenhagen pledges are not enough to head off a climate crisis.
A May report from federal scientists found that global warming has already dangerously increased flood risk to America’s coastal cities and is delivering periods of intense heat that “last longer than any living American has ever experienced.” The National Climate Assessment predicts as much as 4 feet of sea-level rise and 10 degrees Fahrenheit of warming by 2100 unless deep cuts are made to carbon pollution.
Global warming is altering some ecosystems so rapidly, the report finds, that many species “may disappear from regions where they have been prevalent or become extinct, altering some regions so much that their mix of plant and animal life will become almost unrecognizable.”
The Clean Air Act is America’s leading tool for curbing greenhouse gas pollution, and 79 U.S. cities have joined the Center’s Clean Air Cities campaign urging the EPA to use the Clean Air Act to help reduce carbon in our atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million, the level scientists say is needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.
“The Clean Air Act is a great tool for fighting power plant carbon pollution, but President Obama has to wield it more ambitiously to get the kind of emission reductions we really need to protect our planet,” Bundy said.

We could do this all day -- you know, the work required, the thing that The Water Cooler Set loves to avoid. Barack's ignoring reality and trying to suddenly become Earth Man. Remember when Al Gore used to claim that title? At least Al put in some work for the title. Barack worked against nature and then thinks this bad mini-series can refurbish his image.

Myths? THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL lost its way by attempting to 'happy end' Maisel when she can't succeed in that time period, not to the degree her talent warrants. If they'd have gone with the 70s, it wouldn't have been such a stretch. Not only did Joan build in prominence but Lily Tomlin emerged -- an honest to goodness concert draw, a regular guest on Johnny Carson's show. Of if they'd set it in the 80s, where Joan continues to build her large following and Lily maintains her own while Roseanne Barr emerges as a full blown comedy star and Gilda Radner and Whoopi Goldberg drew crowds on Broadway. Even the late 50s might have worked (Elaine May became a comedy superstar with partner Mike Nichols during the Eisenhower years). But they want to choose a very repressive period for women. And they don't really reference any women. Judy Henske would be an obvious reference but Maisel has, as a stand up, long surpassed Judy's success. It's a myth and it just doesn't work.

MINX? Again, this could do another season, possibly a third. It really is a beautiful show -- the look of it, the various grace notes from each performer. Jake Johnson has long impressed us but, no, we weren't prepared for this from him. When you have a talent and a vision, you can really make something wonderful.

Barack has neither talent nor a vision. And it shows by his tying himself to this second-rate program that has nothing to offer. It was put out this week for that reason, in fact. NETFLIX is embarrassed by it. That's why we got to see it early. And they put it on this week thinking it would have the best chance of finding an audience and maybe being in the top ten. As our friend at NETFLIX told us, next week, the only documentary the streamer expects people to be watching is the one on Abercrombie & Fitch -- "and that's got stronger visuals and a real point of view, plus it registers as a documentary." Poor Barack, all these years later, he still struggles to register. Maybe next time let NETFLIX spend that money on real projects with real artists?

The continued persecution of the Kurds


This week has an anniversary that many in the press will yet again ignore as they do each time this year.  April 14th is the Commemoration of Anfal Genocide against the Garmians (Chamchamal and Kalar) as the Kurdish Regional Government will be noting.  Again, most others will be ignoring it as usual.

What is this genocide?  Human Rights Watch explains:


Anfal--"the Spoils"--is the name of the eighth sura of the Koran. It is also the name given by the Iraqis to a series of military actions which lasted from February 23 until September 6, 1988. While it is impossible to understand the Anfal campaign without reference to the final phase of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, Anfal was not merely a function of that war. Rather, the winding-up of the conflict on Iraq's terms was the immediate historical circumstance that gave Baghdad the opportunity to bring to a climax its longstanding efforts to bring the Kurds to heel. For the Iraqi regime's anti-Kurdish drive dated back some fifteen years or more, well before the outbreak of hostilities between Iran and Iraq.

Anfal was also the most vivid expression of the "special powers" granted to Ali Hassan al-Majid, a cousin of President Saddam Hussein and secretary general of the Northern Bureau of Iraq's Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party. From March 29, 1987 until April 23, 1989, al-Majid was granted power that was equivalent, in Northern Iraq, to that of the President himself, with authority over all agencies of the state. Al-Majid, who is known to this day to Kurds as "Ali Anfal" or "Ali Chemical," was the overlord of the Kurdish genocide. Under his command, the central actors in Anfal were the First and Fifth Corps of the regular Iraqi Army, the General Security Directorate (Mudiriyat al-Amn al-Ameh) and Military Intelligence (Istikhbarat). The pro-government Kurdish militia known as the National Defense Battalions, or jahsh, assisted in important auxiliary tasks.1 But the integrated resources of the entire military, security andcivilian apparatus of the Iraqi state were deployed, in al-Majid's words, "to solve the Kurdish problem and slaughter the saboteurs."2


The campaigns of 1987-1989 were characterized by the following gross violations of human rights:

· mass summary executions and mass disappearance of many tens of thousands of non-combatants, including large numbers of women and children, and sometimes the entire population of villages;

· the widespread use of chemical weapons, including mustard gas and the nerve agent GB, or Sarin, against the town of Halabja as well as dozens of Kurdish villages, killing many thousands of people, mainly women and children;

· the wholesale destruction of some 2,000 villages, which are described in government documents as having been "burned," "destroyed," "demolished" and "purified," as well as at least a dozen larger towns and administrative centers (nahyas and qadhas);

· the wholesale destruction of civilian objects by Army engineers, including all schools, mosques, wells and other non-residential structures in the targeted villages, and a number of electricity substations;

· looting of civilian property and farm animals on a vast scale by army troops and pro-government militia;

· arbitrary arrest of all villagers captured in designated "prohibited areas" (manateq al-mahdoureh), despite the fact that these were their own homes and lands;

· arbitrary jailing and warehousing for months, in conditions of extreme deprivation, of tens of thousands of women, children and elderly people, without judicial order or any cause other than their presumed sympathies for the Kurdish opposition. Many hundreds of them were allowed to die of malnutrition and disease;

· forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of villagers upon the demolition of their homes, their release from jail or return from exile; these civilians were trucked into areas of Kurdistan far from their homes and dumped there by the army with only minimal governmental compensation or none at all for their destroyed property, or any provision for relief, housing, clothing or food, and forbidden to return to their villages of origin on pain of death. In these conditions, many died within a year of their forced displacement;

· destruction of the rural Kurdish economy and infrastructure.

Like Nazi Germany, the Iraqi regime concealed its actions in euphemisms. Where Nazi officials spoke of "executive measures," "special actions" and "resettlement in the east," Ba'athist bureaucrats spoke of "collective measures," "return to the national ranks" and "resettlement in the south." But beneath the euphemisms, Iraq's crimes against the Kurds amount to genocide, the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such."3


In 2020, KRG Prime Minister Masrour  Barzani spoke of the genocide.



He declared of the travesty:

Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the worst genocide against the peoples of Kurdistan. The genocide was a series of massacres which aimed to eliminate the Kurdish identity and wipe out the Kurdistani nation.

This was an horrific crime, which the people of Kurdistan cannot forget. Thousands of innocent people were killed while the world watched. The profound pain will continue to live on in our memories. But this anniversary should not merely be a commemoration of our past suffering. We must work together to eradicate the evil and racist ideologies that drove the Anfal genocide.

The Kurdistan Regional Government will continue to strive for a global recognition of Anfal as genocide, and improve the living conditions of the families of the victims. The Iraqi government too should fulfil its moral and constitutional responsibility to compensate victims of this terrible crime and provide reassurances that it will not be repeated in the future.


 The Kurds have long been targeted.  And they're being targeted today by the government of Turkey which regularly bombs their villages, burns down or cuts down their trees, have set up military bases and much more.

This goes on with damn few ever bothering to note it.  The world has largely ignored the ongoing persecution of the Kurds.




Ty's Corner


I hate DELL.  I really, really hate DELL.

I was about to purchase a new laptop when C.I. stopped me.  

For years, I had purchased DELL, going back to the whole "Dude, you're getting a DELL."  Remember that?

Then in 2005, while in college, I switched to HEWLETT PACKARD.  Why?  My laptop broke and I needed a new one and Jim had created a dummy business with HP to get laptops at a business discount.  Every one we had classes with would go through Him and HP was getting hundreds of orders from each year -- they must have thought his accounting firm was the largest in New York.  

A few years back, my husband got me a DELL, a big one, heavy.  Way too much to spend for a gift  but I did appreciate it.  Sadly, it barely lasted a year.  I replaced it with a DELL.  I replaced the replacement with a DELL.  And I replaced the replacement's replacement with a DELL.

And all three of those replacements?  In the last 12 months.

Now I'm nowhere near as rough on a laptop as I was in college.  In college, I was forever banging it into a doorway and usually it would fall off the table in a class at least once a semester.  It traveled with me all over campus and surrounding areas.  

I was really ticked when the latest stopped working.  

My husband mentioned it to C.I.

I don't like to do that for two reasons.  One, C.I. will usually (and did this time) say, "You know I've got an account with ______.  Just call them up and tell them what you want them to send over.  It's not a problem."  Second, she will usually (and did this time) offer to try to fix it.  

She's been fixing my laptops for me since I moved into her house about 17 years ago.  And I appreciate it. 

But I know it can be frustrating (not to mention, I feel, unfair to expect her to fix it).

How does she know computers?

She can do a huge amount on computers.  When we're having issues with something we're trying to post or to insert into a post, she can usually look at it in HTML and figure out what the problem is.  She's also a pro at swapping out fans and hard drives and many other things.

She's self-trained.  Elaine explained to me long ago that in college, when C.I. would work at least two jobs, one of her jobs was part time, 32 hours a week, late night into early morning.  She was the overnight person for her university's computer.  It would be an assistant to the system analyst but back then they didn't have those titles yet.  

And she had no training but needed the job.  So she self-trained.  And learned networking and all these other computer tools back when no one had home computers.  

So anytime someone has an issue with a computer tower or a laptop, she'll insist "I probably won't be able to figure this out," but, once she starts examining it, she will.

She insisted on looking at my laptop after I turned down her offer of a new one on her.  So she's picked it up and I explain that it's done the same thing the last two did -- stopped charging.  And, no, it's not the battery, I added.

It's the DC port, she told me as she started unscrewing the bottom of the laptop and asked my husband to run to the music room where she had two spare DC ports in the piano bench.  He comes back with both as she's got the bottom panel removed and she has to remove some metal overlap (I'm not a computer person -- not trained, not self-taught), after that, she popped in the part (it was tiny, I took a picture of it on my phone to show how small it was -- I've placed it on the lp cover of a Diana Ross THANK YOU album). The whole thing took her less than five minutes.

So you might think, "Well, you should stick with DELL."


What it made clear is how shoddy DELL has gotten.  I'm not joking.  Again, in 12 months, I've bought three DELLS and every one was because of the same issue. Do they no longer conduct quality checks on the production line?  Are they using cheaper parts that fall apart more easily?  If so, is that so we'll have to buy laptops more often?

I have no idea.  C.I. says the part is less than 10 bucks and if you know someone like her or if you know computers like her, you can easily fix the problem.

But here's my thing.  I paid for three new laptops in 12 months.  I shouldn't have had problems with a ten dollar part over and over.  

I'm done with DELL.

Jim's World



 I'm back to again talk THE THING ABOUT PAM.  Ruth's "THE THING ABOUT PAM (episode five)" and Betty's "Real life Leah Chaney worse than she's portrayed in THE THING ABOUT PAM" covered last week's episode of the NBC limited-series.  It was episode five.  This Tuesday, the show airs it's sixth and final episode.  

Last week, I noted how the series had done something that dramas on network television are not doing lately.  For years now, a drama show debuts and the next week it loses viewers.  The week after, it loses more viewers.  The pattern continues.  

As I noted last week, THE THING ABOUT PAM did lose viewers in its second episode.  But something different happened with the third episode -- viewers increased.  The same thing happened with the fourth episode.

And now?  The fifth episode actually got more viewers than the first episode did.

That show has built on its audience and that is very rare. 

NBC gave up on it around episode three.  Imagine if the network were heavily promoting the series last week or if, this week, they were noting everything wraps up Tuesday night?

They have an actual hit on their hands and that has little to do with any marketing efforts on their part.  In fact, the fifth episode getting more viewers than the first episode would appear to indicate that NBC failed to market the show correctly from the start.








This edition's playlist






2) Pretenders' PIRATE RADIO.

3) Dolly Parton's RUN, ROSE, RUN.

4) Prince's ORIGINALS.

5) Diana Ross' THANK YOU.


6) Billy Joel's 52ND STREET.


7) Chase Rice's THE ALBUM.



8) Adele's 30.









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