Sunday, April 24, 2022

Truest statement of the week

Joe Biden and his foreign policy team of incompetent ideologues hope to convince Americans to accept food shortages, rising gas prices, and the risk of a hot war. The steady diet of dangerous nonsense is a necessity for them. The game is up if the people begin to question what they are being told.

Then again, while there may not be mass rejection of the Ukraine narrative there is certainly a mass rejection of Biden himself. The latest opinion poll shows him with a very low 33% approval rating. The average person may not be well versed in the history of U.S. policy towards Russia, but they know when things don’t add up and they know that the president is not a well man. Rambling, incoherent speeches punctuated by shouts of “war criminal” and “genocide” don’t cut it when working people can barely afford to put gas in the tank. We are left with a mass gaslighting effort that has created the desired effect of generating fear and or hatred towards Russia, but that hasn’t increased satisfaction about the country’s direction.

Biden’s actions aren’t very surprising. He was the Ukraine point person after the Barack Obama coup in 2014. He was always one of the most hawkish democrats and came into the presidency with Antony Blinken, Victoria Nuland and the same cast of characters who first violated Ukraine’s sovereignty. He hoped to instigate Russia and kill the NordStreamII pipeline and sanction Russia. He didn’t expect the full incursion that he spent months saying would happen.

Now he is hoisted on his own petard, trying to bully other nations into condemning Russia when it isn’t in their interests to do so, and causing world wide suffering in a futile effort to destroy Russia’s economy. Sanctions against Russia have increased fuel prices all over the world. Disruptions in wheat production will reduce Ukraine’s harvest and decrease supplies in places that had no connection with this ginned up conflict. The anti-Russian propaganda is working but the pro-Biden effort is not, hence the public disapproval.

-- Margaret Kimberley, "The Ukraine Crisis Can't Save Biden" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

Wikipedia editors are under fire this week for removing the entry for Rosemont Seneca Partners, the investment company connected to Hunter Biden and his alleged multimillion dollar influence peddling schemes. The site bizarrely claimed that the company was “not notable.” The timing itself is notable given the new disclosure that Hunter Biden’s business partner, Eric Schwerin, made at least 19 visits to the White House and other official locations between 2009 and 2015. That included a meeting with then-Vice President Joe Biden despite Biden’s repeated claim that he knew nothing about his son’s business dealings. Schwerin was the president of Rosemont Seneca.

Wikipedia has been accused of raw bias in removing the entry at a time when interest in the company is at its peak, including the possibility of an indictment of Hunter Biden over his financial dealings.  Rosemont Seneca is one of the most searched terms for those trying to understand the background on the Biden business operations.

Yet, an editor known only as “Alex” wrote that the company was simply “not notable” — an absurd claim reminiscent of the recent claim by Atlantic Magazine’s writer Anne Applebaum that she did not cover the scandal because it simply was “not interesting.”

Alex wrote: “This organization is only mentioned in connection with its famous founders, Hunter Biden and Christopher Heinz.” That itself is an odd statement. It is mentioned as one of the key conduits of alleged influence peddling money. Alex added that “keeping it around” ran the risk of the page becoming “a magnet for conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden.”

Any Wikipedia page could be a magnet for conspiracy theories, including the page on Hunter Biden himself. The fact is that this is a real company with real dealings that are the subject of a real criminal investigation.

-- Jonathan Turley, "'A Magnet for Conspiracy Theories': Wikipedia Kills Entry for Hunter Biden’s Investment Company" (JONATHANTURLEY.ORG).


A note to our readers

Hey -- 


Are you shocked?  We are too.

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?


Another truest for Margaret Kimberley.

Another truest for Jonathan Turley.

We weren't sure of the editorial topic until the last minute.  So we made a point to also include three Iraqi news videos to be sure there was some Iraq coverage.

Ava and C.I.'s epic.  They spent hours on this one.  When they were done with it,  hours ago, I read it to everyone and the reaction was "Either this goes up right now or we pull together an edition and get it up quick." 

No, just no.

Jess and Trina teamed up for this piece.  

Iraq news video.

Iraq news video.

Quick piece by Ava and C.I. to make sure we were able to get this edition posted.

Iraq news video.

What we listened to while writing this edition.

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



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








Editorial: The one-sided 'journalism'


 The Turkish government is yet again attacking Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous area in northern Iraq. 

ANHA reports:

On Sunday, the head of the Sadrist bloc, Hassan al-Adari, demanded clarification of the fact that there is an agreement regarding Turkish attacks in Iraq.

Al-Athari said in a speech during the hosting of Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein and the advanced cadre of the ministry, and attended by the reporter of the Iraqi News Agency (INA), that "the minister's hosting came in order to inquire about the repeated attacks on Iraq's lands and skies by neighboring countries, which endangers the security of Iraq and its people." 

He added, "There are inquiries about the measures taken by the Iraqi government towards the Turkish and Iranian violations, and whether an official case has been filed before the Security Council, and is there a diplomatic move before the Arab League to clarify these violations, and how true is there an agreement with the Turkish side and the Iraqi government on the military presence inside Iraq.”


 That's not a surprise.  As noted in "The words flowing from Nouri al-Maliki's mouth" (THE COMMON ILLS) Saturday, Nouri al-Maliki was part of a growing number of Iraqi politicians now speaking out regarding Turkey's latest wave of attacks:


Nouri calling out the attacks is a popular move.  Though the western press tries to present this as normal and not treat them as the very serious acts of war and violations of national sovereignty that they are, Iraqis are not applauding Turkey yet again invading their country.  That's before you factor in the growing ill will towards Turkey over that country's dam building and how it has impacted water resources in Iraq (Iran is also building dams, we're not talking about Iran, so anyone who feels they have a point to pull out of their ass, shove it back up there for another time) and, for some outside the KRG, Turkey's extra-legal access to oil, let's it put it that way (the underground - above ground supply they have via the KRG).  

As noted by both, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, the sitting prime minister (at least for now) has remained silent.

His silence is nonsense.

Words?  They can be nonsense as well -- like these words from the Turkish newspaper THE DAILY SABAH:

Since its foundation in 1984, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people in Turkey, including women, children and infants.

Similar statements pop up all over -- even in non-Turkish media outlets.  You do get the problem with that, don't you?  These Turkish operations targeting the PKK (or allegedly targeting the PKK)?  They keep killing Iraqi civilians.  They've been doing that for years -- double digit years.  And no press outlet's counting that number.  


That's not journalism, don't pretend that it is.



TV: First Ladies and Martha Mitchell

Life can be very hard.  Capturing it on film or video?  Even harder.  



The last few days have made that very clear.

Today, STARZ will be broadcasting their highest profile original series to date.  The network has had many other shows  and they've been run-of-the-mill with the exception of Gregg Araki's NOW APOCALYPSE -- a show that was the most visually arresting of anything they or anyone else offered in 2019 or since.  No one would accuse GASLIT of being visually arresting.

Or, honestly, accuse it of being interesting.

"I always knew he'd end up with a 'mo."

An old joke about John Dean in DC circles.  John Dean, a convicted felon, was always a joke in DC and always an outsider.  He was never, however, gaslit.  No, he brought G. Gordon Liddy into what would become Watergate and he agreed to take part in what became Watergate.  It's why he got convicted and it's why we always marvel over how outlets like BUZZFLASH and MSNBC can treat (and have treated) John Dean like an oracle we need to listen to.  They do know he was disbarred, right?  Over Watergate, right?

We know, from watching GASLIT, that Dean had some sort of one night stand before meeting with John Marshall (crooked Richard Nixon's Attorney General), that he thought he was going to be fired at the meeting and that GASLIT director Matt Ross is a pig who has to put a woman's nude breasts on the screen to make a boring an unneeded scene 'interesting.'  It's cute the way Dan Stevens has his ass covered and his crotch covered -- via boxers -- but the camera wants to exploit the body of a woman.  Back to what we learn about Dean, that he  was insulting to Maureen ("Mo") Kane on their first date.  So much so that most would never have gone out with him again.  But we know that he illegally accessed FAA records to find out her flight schedule, to show up and pretend they were both flying out, that she was onto him but agreed to take a future phone conversation with him, that she went with him to a party thrown by John and Martha Mitchell because she found Martha interesting, that she gushed to Martha that she was a fan, that she was present when Dean tried to impress her by showing how close he was to  Nixon administration officials H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrilichman and when they made clear that they had no idea who he was, that she found him sulking and smoking outside, that he insisted they leave the party, that he then had a lengthy talk -- and shared a smoke -- with Martha Mitchell's 11-year-old daughter, that they left (Dean and Mo) and later kissed . . .

This is all in the first hour long episode.

Does any of that reflect Martha Mitchell's story?  Nope. Nor do the scenes of Dean with Liddy or Liddy with others.


That would be what was done to Martha Mitchell.  Martha was a lively figure before Watergate (the illegal break into DNC offices in the Watergate building carried out by Richard Nixon's operatives).  She was so lively that she had appeared on LAUGH-IN in one episode, 60 MINUTES and had been on national talk shows such as THE MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW and THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW.  After Watergate, she would appear on THE MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW an additional eight episodes.  We're talking about her media presence before Watergate.  She was considered a DC socialite and largely served the same purpose during Tricky Dick's administration that Barbara Hower did in LBJ's administration.  Meaning?  She said outrageous things -- or outrageous for DC -- and became a favorite of the press.  

Wait, you asked Barbara who?


Here's Barbara, from her book LAUGHING ALL THE WAY, writing about her time in the circle of then-President LBJ and First Lady Claudia Alta (aka Lady Bird):

There simply was no shutting me up.  I had to tell every newspaper and magazine that Mrs. Johnson, a lady who spent every waking minute planting trees in ghettos and sprinkling tulip bulbs around settlement homes that had no plumbing, was "off base" with her Beautification Program, that it was "like buying a wig when your teeth are rotting."  I had to say in print that Mrs. Johnson's rich New York friends "would be better advised to donate their money to countless endeavors like fighting street crime, and that to celebrate their philanthropy I would gladly wear a bronze plaque saying: TODAY  I WAS NOT RAPED OR MUGGED THROUGH THE KIND GENEROSITY OF THE LASKER/LOEB FOUNDATIONS.

Like Martha, Barbara was from the south.  In fact, Barbara really is the context for Martha.  Barbara was many things -- possibly even LBJ's mistress (the two held hands in public during his presidency sparking rumors) -- but she's forgotten today.

Sort of the way Martha Mitchell is forgotten in this supposed 'political thriller' of a mini-series about . . . Martha Mitchell.

That's sad and goes to a messy and unfocused series and narrative.  

What makes it worse is that Julia Roberts, onscreen, delivers in her role as Martha Mitchell.  When she's on the screen, there's a reason to watch and a reason for GASLIT to exist.  She brings life to the screen.  She's no longer "This Year's Girl," the press fascination with Julia in 1990 and 1991 epitomized that Elvis Costello song.  The face is lived in.  It gives it some warmth as well as some age.  Back in 1990 and 1991, Julia was passing off statements Audrey Hepburn made in films and interviews as her own.  Remembering that and hearing at least one industry insider (he's behind Julia's new movie with George Clooney, by the way) say Julia looked ''really old,'' we thought about that awful film ROBIN & MARION and how old Audrey looked in it.  Audrey was 46.  Julia will be 55 this year.  She's aged much better than Audrey did.  Julia can thank Jane Fonda and the others in the fitness industry who popularized physical activity for women.  And she looks good.  We say that to be fair (we know Julia and we don't care for her -- we have no reason to kiss her ass or to be kind).  

When Julia's not on screen?  Any lighting goes out of GASLIT -- any lighting and life.  

Sean Penn seems to believe he's in a comedy.  It's an awful performance divorced from reality and he's divorced from physicality as a result of utilizing so many facial prosthetics that he looks less like John Mitchell and more like a muppet.  The characterization and acting choices that get past the rubber and plastic on his face and neck seem to suggest that Penn sees John Mitchell as bi-polar or else the actor himself is currently unable to modulate or build a performance.  


As one of the co-leads, that's a serious problem.

So is elevating the character of John Dean above the character of Martha Mitchell in this supposed series about her being gaslighted or gaslit.  So is casting Dan Stevens in the role.  He has far too much screen time for an actor with zero chemistry.  He's like a low rent Dan Futterman.  In fact, we kept wondering why they didn't cast Dan Futterman, who actually has charisma, in this role?  

In too many of her films, weak casts and weak scripts got by because they were able to coast on Julia's screen presence.  And the same could have been true of GASLIT -- if the series had zoomed in on Julia.  And there's certainly more than enough to make a political thriller out of  Martha Mitchell's life.  


For example?  Immediately after the arrest of the Watergate operatives, Martha put in a call to a media contact with UPI and made many comments (including "I am a political prisoner . . . I know dirty things. I saw dirty things.") and, mid-conversation, the call was ended when a Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP)  pulled the phone out of the wall.  In the January 1972 issue of THE REALIST, Mae Brussells wrote:


Her telephone was pulled from the wall, five men silence her, and an unknown-substance was injected into her body against her will.

As a friend of the court and a citizen, I have a right to charge that there has been a violation of her civil rights by those in responsible positions.  It is in the national interest that she is permitted to talk freely before a responsible group.

We want to know what she saw.  Martha Mitchell is the wife of one of the most responsible men in this nation.  When she is treated in this manner, all of us are involved in having a right to know who is doing these things.

What happened to her could happen to any of us.

Those guilty of making her a prisoner are subject to $10,000 fine and 10 years in prison.  If a conspiracy is proven, each and every person involved in subject to the same penamlties.

The national interest is involved.  If the Democratic Party fails on behalf of all citizens to pursue this matter, and if they settle for a deal of silence, I shall file a Civil Rights suit myself on behalf of all United States citizens.

Free Martha Mitchell!

That incident alone is enough for one single season mini-series.  But this awful series is not interested in Martha any more than the actual SLATE podcast was.  That's the podcast that presented John Dean as a reliable source and spoke to him at length.  This is convicted felon John Dean.

Also, pay attention to this part, this is John Dean who got limited immunity for testifying against Richard Nixon before the US Senate and, after it was learned that Nixon taped conversations, the tapes were compared to John Dean's testimony of those conversations and John Dean was either lying to Congress or had a very bad memory.  Ulric Neisser examined the tapes and Dean's testimony for "John Dean's memory" which was published in the psychological journal COGNITION.  This is the abstract for the analysis that "the father of cognitive psychology" provided:

John Dean, the former counsel to President Richard Nixon, testified to the Senate Watergate Investigating Committee about conversations that later turned out to have been tape recorded. Comparison of his testimony with the actual transcripts shows systematic distortion at one level of analysis combined with basic accuracy at another. Many of the distortions reflected Dean's own self-image; he tended to recall his role as more central than it really was. Moreover, his memory for even the “gist” of conversations was quite poor except where that gist had been rehearsed in advance or frequently repeated. But while his testimony was often wrong in terms of the particular conversations he tried to describe, Dean was fundamentally right about what had been happening: the existence of a “cover-up” and the participation of various individuals in it. His testimony was accurate at a level that is neither “semantic” (since he was ostensibly describing particular episodes) nor “episodic” (since his accounts of the episodes were often wrong). The term “repisodic” is coined here to describe such memories: what seems to be a remembered episode actually represents a repeated series of events, and thus reflects a genuinely existing state of affairs.

"He tended to recall his role as more central than it really was."

He tended to do that and so did GASLIT 'creator' and writer Robbie Pikering.

Pat Nixon, Richard's wife, pops up in one scene where we see the back of her head and then her face -- briefly on both.  However, first ladies are prominent in SHOWTIME's new series THE FIRST LADY which focuses on Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford and Michelle Obms.

Let's start with the bad: Viola Davis.

She's won an Academy Award, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, a Tony and an Emmy.  Viola is a great actress.  Playing Michelle was going to be difficult for any actress.  It's been over forty years since Betty was First Lady and eleven years since she passed away.  Her life can be looked at objectively.  Even more so with regard to Eleanor.    It's not even been eight years since Michelle Obama ended her tenure as First Lady.

What will stand out?  What is the historical record?

"When they go low, we go high."  The mini-series includes that moment (sadly, just as a sound-byte) and it should include it because that will definitely be something for which Michelle is remembered -- and deservedly so.  Other things?  

There's a lot of garbage in her storyline -- her written storyline.  In some scenes, Michelle just has to react and doesn't have many lines -- Viola brings those to life.  But there are other scenes that are just atrocious -- we're referring to the writing. 


But the scene that is just outrageous and should not have taken place was shaped by Viola who suggested and demanded that Michelle call Barack the N-word.

We don't think she should have.  The point of the scene is that Michelle is mad and Barack is running for president and she thinks it's dangerous (in the scene she brings up what was done to JFK -- assassination). It's heavy drama that starts out light (praise for Michelle for remarks that are questionable -- the real record of her hospital work does not match that scene) and quickly moves into terror.  It's clumsy in its transitions.  It's offensive in the most dramatic moment.


If they had to agree to Viola's demand that the N-word be added to this made up scene -- the writers admit the scene never took place as written but is "imagined" -- they should have insisted that she play the line for humor.  This may be Viola's truth, it's not Michelle's and she'd never call her husband or her children the N-word.


 We're kind of bothered by what Viola did with the role.  There is criticism online about the ''duck face'' she makes while playing Michelle.  No, Michelle did not purse her lips constantly.  However, when Viola purses her lips, she does look more like Michelle than when Viola's face is in repose.  

And while we wish she'd not demanded the N-word, we wish she had demanded better for Michelle. The mini-series wants you to believe she came from a poor family.  They did not live in poverty.  If they had, Michelle's mother would have worked outside the home (which she didn't until after Michelle graduated high school).  Her father was an accomplished man with a well paying job, an active political career and he put two children through Princeton.  Michelle and her brother Craig are very proud of their father and all he accomplished and they have every right to be.

Viola was raised in poverty and maybe she related to those elements of the script; however, they are not Michelle's life and this really is a first-draft of history, THE FIRST LADY, so we wish more care had been taken with it.

The way Michelle's background is (mis)portrayed and that one scene are not the only problems for Viola.  Her main problem is O-T Fagbenle.  

Samuel L. Jackson made comments a few years back that we not only agreed with but that we had said ourselves.  When he got flack for them, we told him he should have hung it around our necks.  Because we would continue to make this criticism and we're about to make it again.

Barack Obama.  He is an American historical figure.  We are getting damn tired of seeing these roles -- such as with MLK -- being played over and over by Brits.  The British Black experience is not the same as the American experience.  In an entertainment industry that has so few opportunities for men of color, we don't get the need to go overseas to cast roles.  And it's beginning to suggest that certain studios are not casting American people of color because they don't think they're capable and that they don't believe they can play dignified.

Don't believe they can play dignified.

Soak that in.

And then grasp that, outside of Sidney Poitier and Denzel Washington, name an actor of color who's made it in Hollywood without playing the grinning character.  Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and many others have carved out careers -- and given great performances -- in a racist industry.  But it's equally true that the types that they have played are the only types of roles that the industry regularly casts men of color in.  

This is not a minor issue.  We're not being Joan Crawford dismissing Greer Garson with "just another refugee from Hitler."

We're making a point about a racist system that repeatedly backs projects if they cast British males as MLK or Barack Obama or any other male of color who has some air of dignity around them.

In THE FIRST LADY, Barack is a secondary role, yes, but it is still a meaty role.

O-T Fagbenle is not up to the role. He gives a superficial performance and has no chemistry with Viola.  He doesn't look at all like Barack (Barack should be described as anorexic, he's very thin and always has been, Fagbenle is not even thin).  More to the point, he doesn't look well with Viola.

She's got on too much make up to be Michelle but this is a TV series so that's fine.  What's not is that the heavy make up emphasizes the lines on her face.  Not a problem for a 56-year-old woman, or shouldn't be.  Viola looks great. But Michelle is 58 right now and Viola's playing her in 2007, 15 years ago.  Viola looks good, a good 56.  She's too old for the role.  And this is a bigger problem because she looks like Fagbenle's mother.  He's 41.   He's playing Barack at 47.  He's 41.  And he looks younger.

Again, Viola looks like Fagbenle's mother.

He's not American.  He's not old enough for the role.  He doesn't look like Barack.  He's giving a bad performance.  And he's way too young to be playing Viola's husband.  (For the record, Barack is three years older than Michelle.  He's not younger than her and he's never looked younger than her.)

In her reaction moments or in scenes with Michelle's daughters or Michelle's mother, Viola nails down the role.  But those scenes can't overcome created (and false) drama or her co-star.

Gillian Anderson plays Eleanor Roosevelt.  

With Tina Fey's voice.  Or rather, Tina's imitation of Eleanor's voice (see the "TGS Hates Women" episode of 30 ROCK).  


Did she really speak like that?

We went in search of videos on YOUTUBE.  The interviews we found did have the trilling and the trembling but it didn't have, and this is late in life, these videos, when women's voices tend to drop, the chest voice that Tina and Gillian give to Eleanor.  She spoke much higher than they do.

Other than that, Gillian plays Eleanor in a better written and more complex portrayal than the First Lady has ever received in any TV project.  

Michelle Pfeiffer.

We love Michelle.  One of the reasons we avoided reviewing David E. Kelley shows for so long was because we love Michelle.  So we never reviewed his work until BIG LITTLE LIES and we only broke that rule because (a) we wanted to champion his strong work at a time when it seemed outlets had turned against him and (b) Laura Dern had made us aware, during filming, of how great the performances were.  

Watching THE FIRST LADY, we initially wondered about Michelle's chin movements as Betty Ford.  As we moved along (we've seen three episodes of THE FIRST LADY, four of GASLIT), we felt it was a good choice because it said a lot about her nerves, the deep waters she was in and much more.  Then we checked out some interviews with Betty Ford and saw that, indeed, she was making movements with her chin in most interviews.

Michelle succeeds the most in this series.  That's because she's one of the finest -- and most underrated --  actresses.  Some performers find praise for their recitation skills, some for their impersonation skills.  That's not Michelle and it's probably why her tremendous gifts do not get the amount of applause they deserve.  She's not the female Richard Burton, nor should she be, nor would she want to be.

Richard's reciting got him applause.  Michelle's not about that.  When her character speaks, her character is speaking as she should.  That might mean the dialogue is mumbled or even hard to hear.  Michelle burrows deep into a character and responds as that character.  

If Betty hadn't had that chin tick, we wouldn't have been bothered because Michelle made it a real and living part of the character she was playing.  She has created a Betty Ford that is completely believable so even if she'd created the chin tick it wouldn't have mattered for that reason.

Betty Ford feels like a real person.  Viola's Michelle doesn't feel real (for the reasons noted above) and Gillian's Eleanor often comes across like a parlor trick.  

Michelle creates a full blown character that seems real and alive.  Heartbreakingly so.   

Life is hard.  Michelle and Julia manage to convey that in THE FIRST LADY and GASLIT.  They deliver so strongly that it's a real shame that the other elements of their shows are so lacking.  Like we said in the beginning, capturing life on film and video is hard to do and the two offerings make that especially clear with their other cast members and with the level of writing.

A third presidential run for Bernie?


Should he run?  Hell no.


He's out of touch.  And, as Sabby notes in the video above, he's not to be trusted.  He doesn't fight.  He gave up in 2016 and he gave up even sooner in 2020.  


Worse yet, after his cowardly exits, he tries to act as though he owns his supporters and can tell them what to do.


And even worse yet, noted in last Friday's "Iraq snapshot:"


He serves the sheep hearding role, yes.  But no one ever comments on the other role he serves.  By letting Bernie run and letting him lose, they make the argument that these are good policies, yes, but the man supporting them couldn't win, so we need to just keep working on ait a little bit harderr.

That's how they deny the overwhelmingly popular Medicare For All issue.

He is not helping anyone.

And no one with self-respect who had seen their campaign worked against in 2016 and 2020 would even consider running again.

Bernie has no self respect and has clearly accepted his fole as a sheep hearder and as a denier of needed policies (such as Medicare For All).

We don't need him.  And whomever runs, we don't need to turn him or her into a 'celebrity' or ourselves into a fan club.  We need to make demands and make them often.  Otherwise?  We're as hideous as Laura Flanders in 2007 and 2008, forever saying that we couldn't hold Barack Obama accountable right now but soon, real soon, we could.  By the general election, when she still wasn't holding him accountable, was anyone really surprised?

If your goal is to protect the politician, don't be surprised when you never get the policies you thought were being promised to you.

Harry, Mary, Scarlet Strawberry, who stocks your grocery shelves (Trina and Jess)

Are you noticing the missing items at your local grocer?  

We ask because we are.  We also ask because we did a roundtable on this last week for HILDA'S MIX and we also contacted 42 member of THE COMMON ILLS community in 40 US states.  These are the ten most reported missing items.

1) Trash bags

2) Butter

3) Various name brand potato chips 

4) Pecans, walnuts and almonds

5) White onions

6) Pepsi Zero

7) Morningstar Farms products (vegan and vegetarian food products)

8) Morning Star products (

9) Avocados

10) Eggs

Is this part of the food shortages President Joe Biden recently warned of?  Last month, Keith Good (ILLIONIS FARM POLICY NEWS) noted:

Bloomberg’s Josh Wingrove reported yesterday that, “President Joe Biden said that the world will experience food shortages as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and production increases were a subject of discussions at a Group of Seven meeting on Thursday.

“‘It’s going to be real,‘ Biden said at a news conference in Brussels. ‘The price of the sanctions is not just imposed upon Russia. It’s imposed upon an awful lot of countries as well, including European countries and our country as well.'”

Those remarks have really not gotten the attention they deserve or, as Elaine put it in a roundtable here earlier this month, "How is that not bigger news!"

It should be.  It's a failure of his presidency, a failure of leadership.

Some of this is due to the economy and some of it is due to supply chain issues.  On the latter, in March's "Will anyone in the administration be left with a record they can run on?," we noted:

And there's Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg. 

 Pete Buttigieg


 The five feet, eight inches gentleman is the Secretary of Labor. He was appointed to that post with no real qualifications. Two times as Mayor of South Bend does not really qualify you to be put in charge of the nation's transportation system. And it really shows -- it really, really shows.

When you're at the grocery store and there's no bottles of Pepsi Zero? That's Pete. As Kat pointed out last November, when Adele's 30 can't make it into stores, 'that's Pete.

As he struggles to do the job, it's hard not to remember that in the midst of pandemic, he elected to take paternity leave. We support paternity leave and maternity leave. For workers. We're not really sure that if you're hoping to one day be President of the United States, you take time off for paternity leave in the midst of a pandemic when you're a Cabinet Secretary.

If he makes a future run for the presidency, will he promise the voters that, if elected to office, he won't be darting off to take paternity leave in the midst of another crisis or pandemic? Will voters believe such a promise.

What we have is a failure of leadership and an administration that is clearly not up to the job.  The US has seen better days but for a sitting president to think he can get away with telling Americans that they'll be seeing a food shortage and there won't be pushback?

The media trots along obediently behind Joe Biden but we're not that stupid.  We know that he may be the President of the United States but he is a public servant and he has to answer to the American people.  The American people get that they are Joe's boss.  Friday, Gallup noted:

During Joe Biden's fifth quarter in office, which began on January 20 and ended on April 19, an average of 41.3% of U.S. adults approved of the job he was doing as president. The latest average is essentially unchanged from the 41.7% in his fourth quarter but significantly lower than his first three quarterly averages.

Biden enjoyed majority approval ratings during his first two quarters in office. A trying late summer and early fall 2021, marked by a surge in new coronavirus cases, the troubled U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and rapidly increasing gas prices and inflation, led to a decline in Biden's public support. His job approval ratings in eight Gallup polls conducted since September have ranged narrowly between 40% and 43%.

Gallup's latest update on Biden's job approval, from an April 1-19 survey, finds 41% of Americans approving and 56% disapproving of the way Biden is handling his job as president.

And as Margaret Kimberley (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) pointed out last Wednesday:

 The corporate media pro-Biden propaganda said that he was the most progressive president since Franklin Roosevelt and had cut child poverty in half. Now the child tax credit is gone, Build Back Better is up in the air, and promises to relieve student loan debt are a distant memory. Biden and his team think that spin about “Putin’s price hikes” will help to minimize political damage but the polls are an indication of a sour national mood.

Things don't look good, not for Joe, not for Americans.

In case you're wondering what, if any, items were said to be plentiful and overflowing on the shelves?  Coke Zero (Coke of all forms), yellow onions, Kraft cheese and Marie Callender frozen items. 

Google pays tribute to Naziha Salim, one of Iraq’s most influential artists with a Doodle

 Google Doodle pays tribute to Naziha Salim, Iraq's one of the most influential artists. On this day in 2020, Salim was spotlighted by the Barjeel Art Foundation in their collection of female artists, Google said. ► Subscribe to The Economic Times for latest video updates. It's free! - ► More Videos @ ETTV - ► For business news on the go, download ET app: Follow ET on: ► Facebook - ► Twitter - ► LinkedIn - ► Instagram - ► Flipboard -




Iraq displays art that was looted during the 2003 invasion | Iraq News | NewsRme

 An exhibition in Baghdad is enabling art lovers to rediscover the pioneers of modern Iraqi art via lush landscapes, stylized portraits of peasant women, and bent sculptures. Approximately one hundred artefacts have been returned and restored to their original state in the capital, almost two decades after they were robbed. Many of the artwork vanished in 2003, including works by famous painters Jawad Selim and Fayiq Hassan, when museums and other institutions were looted in the turmoil that followed the US-led war to depose Saddam Hussein. Thousands of pieces were stolen, and they were often sold outside of Iraq by organised criminal networks. Sculptures and paintings from the 1940s to 1960s, found in Switzerland, the United States, Qatar, and neighbouring Jordan, have been on show at the Ministry of Culture since late March in a large space that used to be a restaurant. Stay Connected with us: ==================== Website: YouTube: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram :




We think they got it wrong (Ava and C.I.)


That's Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti discussing Rachel Maddow on a Friday segment of BREAKING POINTS.


One of the biggest flaws in the segment?  


Krystal on Rachel announcement that her five-day a week MSNBC talk show would be dropping to four nights a week for April and then, in May, drop to one weeks, "She addressed the plan directly and here's what she had to say."  They rolled the clip of Rachel stating:


I'm back.  I'm going to be here all this month with Monday through Thursday nights.  Uh, for big news events, for things like lead up to the elections, I will, of course, be here for more than that.  But that is the general plan.  I will be here this month, Monday through Thursday nights, and then starting in May, I'm going to be here weekly, I'm going to be here on Monday nights.


When it was made, the weekly announcement?  That was April 11th.  To air the announcement last Friday and keep repeating "next month."  You've just got one  week -- this week -- left of April.  That should have been underscored by Krystal and Saagar instead of just repeating her "this month" over and over

That was probably one of the biggest mistakes -- especially if we leave out the blouse Krystal's wearing which is flat out ugly and reminds us of a vintage Barbie top from the 70s, specifically the Mod Era Barbie #8621 Blue Gingham Check Skirt and Blouse. 

But we also feel the analysis/reasoning they offered was a mistake as well.  For example, Krystal insisted that Rachel has "a committed fan base where no matter where they are, what time of day, they're going to show up" and that, "I understand why they threw basically whatever at her that she asked --  whatever schedule that she asked for."

Krystal understanding MSNBC's move may be accurate but that network's an idiot.  There's no reason Krystal has to be.  And, no Rachel doesn't "have" this committed fan base that will show up everywhere for her.

Saturday, March 19, 1977, CBS aired the last new episode of THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW which found Mary playing a character similar to her Laura Petrie on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW.  Saturday, September 3, 1977, CBS finished the reruns of that final season of TMTMS

Sunday, September 24, 1978 -- a year later, Mary Tyler Moore was back on CBS in MARY playing a character a great deal like Mary Richards and Laura Petrie.  

Now, unlike Rachel Maddow, Mary Tyler Moore was beloved by TV viewers.  

B-b-but MARY was a variety show, not a sitcom!!!!!

Well, three days shy of five months, CBS brought the show back as a variety show and sitcom hybrid and entitled it THE MARY TYLER MOORE HOUR.  You could argue the change in format helped -- MARY was ranked the 64th most watched network prime time show for its run and THE MARY TYLER MOORE HOUR was ranked . . . 54th.  A slight improvement.  Not enough to save the show.

Nielsen ratings largely reflect viewer habits.  

Rachel's not that popular.  She's MSNBC 'popular,' you could argue.  But that's not very popular at all.  Her return this month?  The ratings did go up -- or up-ish?  Two million viewers in prime time. But that was April 11th.  By April 21st, she was down to 1/7 million and her show was the 47th most watched show ("original" meaning in production and airing a non-repeat -- list does not include THE GOLDEN GIRLS, SEINFELD, FRIENDS, etc that are no longer in production).

By contrast, Tucker Carlson was at number five, Sean Hannity at number eight, Laura Ingram at number 11, Anderson Cooper at 38, Erin Burnett at 39 . . .  

She's MSNBC 'popular' which is kind of disheartening --  like going out for cheerleader and ending up instead on the pep squad or going out for the football team but ending up the equipment manager.


MSNBC 'popular' really isn't popular at all and, in a supposed fact-based world, we should grasp that, not distort it.


And TV ratings are based on viewing habits.  Meaning?  Even MSNBC 'popular' means nothing if you're not there pitching in.  A weekly show?  Yeah, Rachel will be replaced -- even by her addicts -- we'd argue.  You might be able to lead a Weight Watchers meeting once a week but not a cult.  


The politically stupid need direction and, if Rachel's not providing it to them on a daily basis, they'll find someone else. .


Iraq's lost generation | DW Documentary


 There are tens of thousands of "children of IS”, whose families pledged allegiance to the self-proclaimed caliphate. They’re now stigmatized, and their existence is not legally recognized in "Post-IS” Iraq. Without identification documents, they have no access to medical care, food aid, or education. This unprecedented investigation gives a voice to these children, the social outcasts of a new Iraq, whom only a handful of NGOs are trying to help. The filmmakers journey to war-torn areas around the Mosul area, Iraqi Kurdistan and Northeastern Syria, to meet a generation who endured the reign of the "Islamic State” and a violent war for liberation, and are now seeking a future as they balance resilience with a desire for revenge. #documentary #dwdocumentary #Iraq ______ DW Documentary gives you knowledge beyond the headlines. Watch top documentaries from German broadcasters and international production companies. Meet intriguing people, travel to distant lands, get a look behind the complexities of daily life and build a deeper understanding of current affairs and global events. Subscribe and explore the world around you with DW Documentary. Subscribe to: ⮞ DW Documentary (English): ⮞ DW Documental (Spanish): ⮞ DW Documentary وثائقية دي دبليو (Arabic): ⮞ DW Doku (German): ⮞ DW Documentary हिन्दी (Hindi): For more visit: Follow DW Documentary on Instagram: Follow DW Documental on Facebook: We kindly ask viewers to read and stick to the DW netiquette policy on our channel:




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