Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Truest statement of the week


“Socialism doesn’t work” is repeated like a mantra. We’re told endlessly that capitalism provides jobs, housing, food, and health care in this country when it does a very bad job of doing all these things. The United States is said to be “the richest country in the world,” a strange statement which implies that the people are prosperous even though they aren’t.

Gig work, housing insecurity, medical debt, and student loan debt are all common experiences for people in the U.S. Now, to add insult to injury, the system said to be so superior can’t even keep little babies fed.

There is an historic shortage of baby formula. There are parts of the country where food for infants simply can’t be found at any price. This headline is the most honest about the situation. “America is running out of baby formula because 3 companies control the market and babies aren’t that profitable .” There are only three baby formula manufacturers and one of them, Abbott, had to shut down its plant after a whistleblower revealed their product was contaminated. Two infant deaths may be related to the contamination, which went undiscovered despite Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority.

The Biden administration has invoked the Defense Production Act to increase the supply and now allows formula from foreign countries to be imported. They are making quite a show of their late in the day response to a situation that should have been addressed sooner. But the stop gaps to resolve a temporary crisis should not allow a bigger problem to go unmentioned. Capitalism is the problem. Transportation Secretary and onetime presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg admitted as much even as he tried to defend the failed state. “But let's be very clear. This is a capitalist country. The government does not make baby formula, nor should it. Companies make formula.”

In a better society, a socialist society, baby formula wouldn’t be sold by private interests. It would be provided free of charge to every family and yes, the government would make it.


-- Margaret Kimberley, "Capitalism and Baby Formula" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).  



Truest statement of the week II

One verdict, however, appears to need little deliberation. It concerns the Department of Justice, and particularly the FBI. The trial confirmed what many have long alleged about how top officials eagerly accepted any Russia collusion claim involving Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Special counsel John Durham’s investigation, which led to Sussmann’s trial, is an indictment of a department and a bureau which, once again, appeared willfully blind as they were played by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Despite the trial judge’s rulings imposing strict limits on the scope of the trial evidence, Durham’s case still revealed new information on how the Russia collusion theory was pushed into the FBI and the media by the Clinton campaign. Perhaps the most ironic moment came when Sussmann’s defense team outed Clinton as personally approving the campaign’s effort to spread a baseless claim that the Trump organization maintained a secret channel to the Kremlin through Russia’s Alfa Bank.

That claim was a real tinfoil-hat conspiracy theory without support. Durham previously disclosed how researchers tasked with supporting the claim were afraid it was so unsupported that they would be mocked. They argued, according to Sussmann’s indictment, that anyone familiar with analyzing internet traffic “would poke several holes” in the theory. One researcher warned: “Let’s assume again that they are not smart enough to refute our ‘best case scenario.’ You do realize that we will have to expose every trick we have in our bag to even make a very weak association.”

Yet, the Clinton campaign did not seem remotely concerned about even minimal inquiries that might expose the lack of proof. The researchers were told to just worry about creating a “very useful narrative.”

During the trial, Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias and campaign manager Robby Mook both said the campaign trusted the media to push the story. They were right: Slate quickly ran it, and then Clinton and one of her aides, Jake Sullivan (now President Biden’s national security adviser), released statements expressing alarm about the claim as if it were news to them.


--  Jonathan Turley, "Friends with Benefits: Sussmann Trial Further Exposes the FBI and Washington Establishment" (JONATHAN TURLEY.ORG).

A note to our readers

Hey -- 


Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, 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: Women in Iraq



At one time, women in Iraq had more rights than any women in the Middle East.  That was before the US-led invasion of 2003.  In order to force the Iraqis to do what the US government wanted, Iraqi thugs and fundamentalists were put in charge.  And thus began the long assault on Iraqi women.

The assault continues.  

And the US continues to encourage it.  For example, if you visit the website of the US Embassy in Iraq and select the option "Ambassador.," you find this:

Statement from U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew H. Tueller

The United States condemns the criminal attack on civilian targets in Erbil. Iranian regime elements have claimed responsibility for this attack and must be held accountable for this flagrant violation of Iraqi sovereignty and for terrorist attacks on innocent civilian properties.

Matthew Tueller is not the US Ambassador to Iraq, Alina L. Romanowski is.  She was confirmed on March 24, 2022.   For some reason, she just can't seem to make it to Iraq.

Here's a Tweet:

Alina L. Romanowski was sworn in as the United States “Ambassador” to Iraq on Tuesday; She worked for the CIA 10 Years; served as the Director of the NESA Office and country director for “Israel”—An Iraqi News platform made reference to her as “The New Ambassador of Satan”

Iraq has been in a political stalemate for nearly 8 months.  Is there a reason the US Ambassador can't get her ass to Iraq?





TV: Death To Twitter -- though the zombies in the Water Cooler Set live on

All things come to an end.  Calm down, this isn't our final column.  But we are noting that there are beginnings and there are endings.



Take Tom Cruise.  He's been hyped and pimped like crazy in the lead up to TOP GUN: MAVERICK. We've heard nonsense from the media like "the critics say it's his best film ever."




He became a star in 1983 with RISKY BUSINESS and that's still one of his high water mark films when it comes to quality.  Others?  MISSION IMPOSSIBLE -- the first one only -- and THE FIRM.  In those films, strong directors and strong casts  Three high water marks 


That's sad.  He's acted in 44 films and only three qualify as quality.  


What he's done is make and remake the same film over and over for years.  And while TOP GUN: MAVERICK will have a huge opening weekend, look at the film as his WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?


Joan Crawford and Bette Davis starred in that film.  


Joan started making films in 1925 and became a star in 1928 with OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS.  She was one of the few stars of silent films who continued to be a star as films became talkies.  She was a film star in the 20s, the 30s, the 40s, the 50s and the 60s.  


Tom Cruise is really the heir to Crawford.  He's been a star in the 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s and 20s.  That's five decades.


With JANE, Joan seemed assured of more stardom.  But that wasn't the case.  That was the point where movie goers celebrated her and then kissed her goodbye.


She made a few more films, but that was the end.


Tom turns 60 this July and it would have been smart for him to try to do something besides his formulaic films.  Paul Rudnick long ago (DAYS OF THUNDER) noted how Tom always needed the older man around to help him on his life experience.  In this film, Ed Harris fills in as the boss and mentor and we suppose they think it's a 'twist' that there are younger actors than Tom in the cast, and these actors take off their shirts for a football game.


It's not a twist; however, it may be the reveal.  


The storyline and the conventions of JANE tied Joan to the start of her long ago career (her character Blanche is shown watching TV as an old movie Blanche did plays,it's actually 1934's SADIE MCKEE that Joan starred in).  

Here is Tom, on the verge of 60, playing in a sequel to his second big film and one from 1984.  The sameness registers with the audience -- whether they realize it or not.

He's not helped by appearing opposite Jennifer Conley.  Especially not with Laura Dern and Sam Neill speaking to the media last week about how their 20 year age difference could happen all those years ago when the first JURASSIC PARK was made.  Jennifer's 51.  

Meg Ryan was in the cast of the original TOP GUN and her character's son (played by Miles Teller) is a major character in the sequel but she's not in the film, not even a cameo.  She played the wife of Maverick's best friend Goose.  Would have been a nice touch to bring her back.  They didn't bring back his romantic interest either, Kelly McGillis.  

They're sensitive to the criticism -- especially with regards to Meg because, yes, with Anthony Edwardss' Goose dead, the film really does require a scene with Meg and Tom.  They're also aware that there is zero chemistry between Jennifer and Tom.  But Tom rarely has chemistry with a female onscreen.  There's Rebecca De Mornay and there's . . .  Well, there's Rebecca De Mornay.

Even with JERRY MCGUIRE (aka THE MICHAEL JACKSON STORY), Tom had more chemistry with the child actor than with Renee Zellweger.  Renee went on to two Academy Awards (and a possible EMMY for THIS IS PAM) and Tom went on to a series of vehicles where everyone worked hard to notice that he never managed to connect with a female actress onscreen.  

It's hard not to notice the lack of chemistry in the latest film.  And it's hard not to notice the way the cast keeps trying to pimp Jennifer's character and pretend like there's a romance on fire on the screen.  

The film exposes the threadbare nature of Tom's acting and of his film choices.  It also exposes his face and that 'natural' aging process.  That's what we're all going with, right?

Actresses have been served up to the wolves for far less cosmetic surgery but with Tom we're all supposed to look the other way and pretend that he looks natural and that he looks like a 60-year-old man.  We're already pretending that TOP GUN: MAVERICK is something new from Tom so they're already asking a lot.

You can only pretend for so long.  

NETFLIX has found that out.

Since NETFLIX went into woke mode, it's had nothing but trouble.

People can differ on when that happened, but we tend to see December 2017 as one of the key moments in things going out of control.  That's when Andy Yeatman was at his child's soccer game.  A woman comes up to him and just asks if he works for NETFLIX and then how come they haven't fired Danny Masterson who was accused of rape?


Trying to watch his child's game, he mumbled a few things and that should have been the end of it.

But it was whine time.  The woman, according to HUFFINGTON POST, was one of Masterson's accusers.  And that's the end of the world!!!!!

Who honestly gives a s**t?

Seriously.  Danny Masterson's trial is due to start this coming August.  The court will determine whether or not he raped anyone.  (We have no opinion on the case one way or the other.  We're so impartial, we could serve on the jury.)  

Whether you were raped or you weren't, a child's soccer game isn't the place for a confrontation and a parent trying to get away from you isn't cause for them to be fired.

We don't know if the woman was raped.

We do know that she and the mob she ignited got a person fired.

Danny Masterson had nothing to do with child programming at NETFLIX.  That was what Andy Yeatman was over.

He lost his job because of this nonsense and an online mob.

What NETFLIX has since slowly learned is that the Twitter world is vocal but not that large and not really that important.

They're good about virtue signaling online.

But they aren't subscribers, they aren't viewers, they don't result in large viewership.

That should have already been obvious in 2017.  ABC served up WHEN WE RISE -- a noble mini-series but not a strong one and not a good one.  Twitter was alive with WHEN WE RISE.  Yet it bombed on television -- despite Guy Pearce, Mary Louise Parker, T. R. Knight and many other well known names.   It was what we were supposed to be want to watch -- "well meaning."  But it wasn't worth watching.

If we wanted preaching, we'd all be in a church on Sundays.  

We want entertainment when we watch a mini-series or a series.  

Well meaning has a short-shelf life.  

SOME LIKE IT HOT is a hilarious film to this day.  Many 'message' films from the same time period aren't even remembered.  

It's the sort of point Jon Stewart and Jerry Seinfeld are getting at in HBO's two-part documentary GEORGE CARLIN'S AMERICAN DREAM.  

Another point from that documentary: Comedians are going to tick you off.  The only comedian who ever said exactly what someone wanted them to say was Charlie McCarthy (the dummy used by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen).

Dave Chappelle was going to be the death of NETFLIX.  

Remember that?

Twitter was all over that.

But it didn't happen.  They created a lot of noise but Dave's STICKS & STONES special was a hit then and continues to be streamed.  

Of course, the biggest example of the woke nonsense was the firing of Roseanne Barr and the cancelling of ROSEANNE.  ABC and Sarah Gilbert told Roseanne that unless she turned the characters she created -- her characters from her stand up -- over to them, the entire crew would be out of work and it was too late for them to get new jobs because all the television programs about to go into production had already done their hiring.

They blackmailed her.  

Now maybe you've never created anything in your life and, as a result, you're so deeply stupid that you do not realize that what they did was not normal.  

Neither Roseanne Barr nor ROSEANNE was pariah.  The Twitter brigade insisted she was and that she was over.  But FILMRISE was streaming ROSEANNE and while others announced the death of the show, FILMRISE continued to stream the show.  There was no fall out.  And then COZY got on board, CMT got on board, TV LAND got on board.

Twitter took offense to her joke.  The rest of the country really didn't care.  They knew Roseanne and they knew she wasn't a racist.  They'd stuck by her before when she was supposedly someone who hated America, for example, after her controversial performance of the national anthem.  

We'll come back to Twitter but the point is that sometimes comedians tell bad jokes -- it's the same as sometimes Mariah Carey hits a clinker while she's singing.  It happens. It's not the end of the world.  

You watch a comedian to laugh and for some people that's all it is.  

Some comics you like, some you don't.  And that goes to personal taste.

In the HBO special on Carlin, the point is made -- repeatedly -- that a comic doesn't offend.  You make take offense to the comic, but stop treating your personal response as a universal one.

It's a matter of taste.

The same as whether you love a comic or not.

We don't love George Carlin and we never did.  His rhythm grated on us, as did his speaking voice and his mincing ways, and he was too hung up on word play.  It wasn't witty and it wasn't funny -- to us.

We can admire what he did.  It's not what was portrayed in the documentary.  He was a 'straight' comic in the 60s making fun of the hippies and the drug users.  This was not code -- as an idiot claims on camera -- the parents of the baby boomers were laughing at the 'stupid' hippies and their pot use covered in George's routine.  He grew tired of that audience and reinvented himself as the voice of the boomers after he chafed at club dates with opening acts who'd just finished a run in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF.  He realized this was the death of comedy and he was a part of it.

So he refashioned himself as a comic of the boomers and hit college campuses.  And then, after hitting big that way, he sold out -- as he'd done before -- and outlets like SCTV began parodying him -- hilariously so.

Then it was time for another reinvention and now he was railing against the baby boomers for . . . selling out -- the same thing, please note, that he'd spent the second half of the 70s doing.  

Now George is an influential comic and he's beloved by many.

But he doesn't make us laugh.  Richard Pryor?  Yes.  Lily Tomlin?  Absolutely.  Woody Allen, Joan Rivers and all the others from that group -- yes.

The fact that George Carlin doesn't give us the giggles doesn't mean he's a bad comic or that he's not funny.  He's just not our type.

His word play is just too fey for us.  But word play is important to all comics.  And sometimes a joke is nothing but word play.  Some times a joke is nothing but a shock.  It's told to be shocking.  Some are silly and intended to be.  Some are works of juxtaposition.  

Don't assume that the comic's persona is the human behind the comic.  Don't assume that every line told is 100% the personal belief of the comic.  

This is entertainment.  Grasp that.

Does that mean someone can't object?  

Twitter users aren't wrong to object.  They have every right to object.  But to try to destroy someone's career?  No.

When Chappelle was facing fallout, we noted that it was part of the dialogue and it is.  He has his stand up and the audience has the right to their reaction. It's a conversation in the public square.  

It's how we navigate.  

And we applaud the woke for standing up for groups that usually don't get stood up for.  

But the method they pursue of trying to silence and cancel people isn't what democracy is about.  Fair enough, they may not be interested in democracy.  If that is the case, they should make that clear.   If they are interested in democracy, they need to support free speech.  Ann long ago provided the solution to those opposed to remarks Dave Chappelle made in STICKS & STONES.  The answer is always more voices, not fewer.

If it's lost on young Twitter, they have the excuse of youth.

There is no excuse for The Water Cooler Set -- a group of out of touch critics who don't know a damn thing about entertainment.  They are the idiots who applauded the single camera comedy -- and applauded it as 'new' and 'revolutionary.'  Hint, to the idiots, nothing that took place on, for example, THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE'S FATHER (ABC, 1969 to 1972) is ever going to pass for revolutionary.  Each year, the top rated sitcom -- true throughout the '00s, the '10s and, yes, '20s -- is a sitcom recorded before a live audience.  And when they go off the air?  The biggest syndicated hits are sitcoms recorded before a live audience.  

We take the damage these prigs have done seriously because we like to laugh and the sitcom industry they've fostered -- that steals from Christopher Guest's films and never acknowledges the theft -- is just not funny.  We like to laugh.

They weren't, however, content to ruin sitcoms.  They also had to ruin dramas.  

They wanted to pretend to be woke so they spent a lot of time finding 'meaning' where the was none.  That included Viola Davis taking off her make up on HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER -- a scene that's been done to death on TV.  It was, where's that word they toss around all the time, "revolutionary."  No.  No, it wasn't.  If it was revolutionary, it probably wouldn't have made it onto network TV in the first place.

Not content to invent/insert meaning where there was none, they now felt the need to pretend that signifying was better than actual stories that moved audiences.  Why deal with an emotion when a slogan would get cheers from The Water Cooler Set?

They did a lot of damage but their time is over now.  NETFLIX can't afford to curry their favor anymore.  Each year, the streamer has borrowed money and each year Wall Street's been willing to bet "Next year!''  That's no longer the case and a lot of crap that never entertained is getting the axe and a lot of big deals are not going to be ended because they didn't pay off in terms of bringing in viewers.

And it's not just NETFLIX.  PARAMOUNT+ is a new streamer.  And the execs are making it clear that garbage that the former CBS ALL ACCESS streamer put up with will not fly on PARAMOUNT+.  Of course, we are speaking of THE GOOD FIGHT starring plastic surgery victim Christine Baranski as Diane The Human Telegraph Machine.  Why write dialogue when all Diane delivers are sermons?

It was a crappy show from the start with non-stop nonsense and virtue signaling.  And it never pulled in an audience.  But at CBS ALL ACCESS, it kept getting renewed.  PARAMOUNT+ aired the fifth season, looked at the numbers and decided the sixth season being filmed would be the show's last.  It had no real audience.

THE GOOD WIFE had an audience.  It had stories to tell.  It dealt with politics and with partisanship and it dealt with much more.  THE GOOD FIGHT was just a one-note program and it got awfully tired watching White Baransky boss around all the people of color.  

While The Water Cooler Set pretending THE GOOD FIGHT was breakthrough television, the industry knew better which is why the show never saw an actor nominated for an Emmy and never saw a writer or director nominated for an Emmy.  The only two nominations the show ever got were for music because the industry applauded anything that shut those annoying stick figures posing as characters up for even 30 seconds.

Once upon a time, TV critics championed shows that told involving stories.  The Water Cooler Set wasted their time on sloganeering and we see the effects of that -- so many bad TV dramas being propped up that NBC runs for safety with the mediocre Chicago shows on Wednesdays and the LAW AND ORDER shows on Thursdays -- six hours of bad TV.  Thank you, VULTURE, NYT and the rest of you garbage hacks.  

Again, the Twitter crowd -- the best of it -- is about making a better world and we applaud that.  But, no, we don't applaud 'critics' treating one dimensional characters and stories as great if they happen to match their politics and, no, we don't applaud a man being fired because he tried to get away from a woman who accosted him at his child's soccer game, a woman being fired and forced to sell off her creations because otherwise people will be out of work, or attempts to kill a comedy special because you don't like what the comedian said.







 Here's the deal, we do agree.

But we don't agree that programs bring on child molesters and hide that fact from their audiences.

There's nothing Scott Ritter has to offer the world.  But Jimmy Dore, Richard Medhurst, Jackson Hinkle, THE CONVO COUCH and others felt otherwise.

So they brought him on.

They told their audiences he was an author and a former UN inspection worker.

They didn't tell their audiences that he was three times arrested for pedophilia.  They didn't tell their audiences that he was sent to prison while Barack Obama was president.  They didn't tell their audience that this happened despite Pig Ritter and his friends insisting in the '00s that the first two arrests were nothing, just attempts to target him by Bully Boy Bush.  They didn't tell their audience that Ritter was now a registered sex offender.

Why didn't they tell that truth? 

Because they knew their audience would turn on them.

So Jimmy and Craig and Fiorella and Jackson and Richard and others LIED to their audience.  They betrayed the trust involved.


Trust matters to them . . . sometimes.  In the case, a convicted pedophile was more important than their audiences.


Whatever other faults Krystal Ball may have, she's not putting pedophiles on the air and pretending they've never served time in prison for their criems.






Fixing History

A Grammy winning singer was speaking with us recently and she mentioned Dottie West.  We were surprised that her name was new to some and put it down to, "Oh, they must not know much about country & western music."  


But that actually wasn't the problem.

We saw the problem with NETFLIX's THE HALL last week.

Four dead people were inducted into NETFLIX's comedy "Hall" (which is also  physical hall in the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY).  They were inducted by four living comedians.  It was the height of segregation as the token female (Joan Rivers) was inducted by the token female (Chelsea Handler) and the token African-American man (Richard Pryor) was inducted by the token African-American man (Dave Chappelle).  Continuing the pattern, a White nebbish (George Carlin) was inducted by a White nebbish (Jon Stewart) and an Anglo White who dabbled in gay portrayals (Robin Williams) was inducted by the same (John Mulaney).

Was Joan not worthy of inclusion?

We ask because the film clips of the men stressed their comedy.  Joan's little segment was about a woman in a man's world.  Was Joan a woman in a man's world?  Probably for about sixty seconds before comedy became her world, she made it that and it's a damn shame that we weren't allowed to enjoy her comedy -- they didn't even include a clip from her NETFLIX special.  

The segregation indicated that only women could appreciate Joan and only African-American men could appreciate Richard.

Maybe next time grasp that message is not only out of date, racist and sexist, but it was never accurate to begin with.

Women get little attention when history is written.  And this feature is about fixing that.  We (Ava and C.I.) are kicking it off but anyone with THIRD is welcome to continue it.

Since Dottie West was the mystery for some in our conversation last week, we decided to go with country music.  

If a woman had 20 top 40 country hits -- including one that went all the way to number one -- it would be safe to assume that at least country fans would be familiar with her.  Are you?

The man's The Outlaw Willie Nelson.  The woman is his contemporary in Outlaw Country music, Sammi Smith.  Sandra Brennan (SPOTIFY) notes, "In the tradition of and , singer/songwriter Sammi Smith was considered a country music outlaw, unafraid to sing songs that reflected the sometimes gritty realities of modern life."

The Oklahoma native had a dream of singing and writing country songs.  The divorced mother of four was encouraged to move to Nashville by songwriter Gene Sullivan ("When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again").  And then?  ENCYCLOPEDIA.COM notes:

In 1967 Smith gave Johnny Cash's bass player, Marshall Grant, a performance tape, and he helped her sign with Columbia Records. She moved to Nashville the same year following a divorce, and recorded "So Long Charlie Brown, Don't Look for Me Around" in 1968 and "Brownsville Lumberyard" in 1970. Although both songs became minor hits, Columbia dropped her contract three years later. She then signed with Mega, an independent label, and reached the top 30 with "He's Everywhere." It was during this time that she recorded a number of demos written by a Columbia studios janitor named Kris Kristofferson. Smith and Mega recorded and released Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It through the Night," which quickly rose to number one on the country music chart.

It stayed at number one for three weeks.

It made it to number 8 on the top forty pop charts.  Sammi won a Grammy for her performance and she won a COUNTRY MUSIC AWARD.  It was also the title track of her debut album in 1970.

In 2020, ROLLING STONE picked Sammi Smith's HELP ME MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT as one of the 12 classic country albums of 1970 with David Cantwell writing:

Then as now, Sammi Smith is all but entirely identified with her indelible countrypolitan version of the Kristofferson title track. But here’s what still amounts to Breaking News: The rest of her debut is every bit as great. Smith’s husky alto and her intimate, almost spoken phrasing, framed by unfussy country-soul rhythms and doom-saying strings, marks her throughout as among the most underrated vocalists of her time. On the album’s first single, “He’s Everywhere” (the original title track before “Help Me…” took off and the album was renamed), Smith, abandoned by her lover, discovers she’s worse than alone; she’s haunted. Her reading of another of Kristofferson song, 1970’s ubiquitous “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” is notably bleary-eyed and weary-hearted, and her versions of three fantastic Jeanette Tooley songs — “Saunders Ferry Lane,” “When Michael Calls,” and “This Room for Rent” — plumb scary depths of isolation: “She’s heard no word from God,” Smith sings of the teary, prayerful woman in the album’s final word. “Nothing seems to matter anymore.”

Sammi Smith also wrote songs including Conway Twitty's "Sand Covered Angels" (from Twitty's 15 YEARS AGO album) and she co-wrote the title track to Waylon Jennings; CEDARTOWN, GEORGiA album.


Her son, actor and singer-songwriter Waylon Paynem told SOUND AND SOUL:

I learned everything I know about singing from Sammi Smith. Everything. EVERYTHING. She was my mother. In my opinion, she is one of, if not the greatest country music singers of her age. It’s just the way it is. You can put her up against anybody and you get more everything out of a Sammi Smith record. Bobbie Gentry’s the same way. But my mama, I learned everything I know from her. If you hear it come out of my mouth, the chances are, I probably saw her or heard her do something similar and it just became my own thing.

Iraq coverage 2


Iraq: Congo Fever and desertificaation

The Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) has been showing up in Iraq for weeks now -- in southern Iraq and the KurdistanNDTV notes:

This year Iraq has recorded 19 deaths among 111 CCHF cases in humans, according to the Word Health Organization.

The virus has no vaccine and onset can be swift, causing severe bleeding both internally and externally and especially from the nose. It causes death in as many as two-fifths of cases, according to medics.

"The number of cases recorded is unprecedented," said Haidar Hantouche, a health official in Dhi Qar province.

A poor farming region in southern Iraq, the province accounts for nearly half of Iraq's cases.

In previous years, cases could be counted "on the fingers of one hand", he added.

Transmitted by ticks, hosts of the virus include both wild and farmed animals such as buffalo, cattle, goats and sheep, all of which are common in Dhi Qar.

WION adds, "According to medics, the virus causes severe bleeding both internally and externally and especially from the nose. As many as two-fifths of the cases die."  Gillian Duncan (THE NATIONAL) notes the virus first spread to Iraq in 1979 and "There is currently no approved vaccine for this disease."  farmers, slaughterhouse workers and veterinarians — people mainly get infected via ticks on livestock" and quotes WHO stating, "Human-to-human transmission can occur resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons."   AFP states that death will be the outcome in two-fifth of all cases.  RUDAW notes that the Iraqi government allocated 1 billion Iraqi dinars on Saturday to address the virus -- that's approximately $683,000 in US dollars.  No, that's not a lot of money.  Regarding northern Iraq, RUDAW reports, "Health committees were formed in three Kurdish cities to combat the Congo fever, officials from the areas told Rudaw on Sunday amid an outbreak of the virus in Iraq’s southern provinces.  Formed in Sulaimani, Duhok, and Halabja, the committees are advised to quarantine suspects of the virus and to send their blood samples to Baghdad to confirm their infection."

Congo Fever is not the only problem facing Iraq. NEWS.AM reports:

At a time when global wheat prices have risen sharply because of the conflict in Ukraine, Iraqi farmers say they are paying the price for the government's decision to cut irrigation of farmland by 50 percent, AP reported.

The government took this step amid severe water shortages caused by high temperatures and drought, as well as continued water withdrawals by neighboring countries from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. All of these factors have resulted in severe water shortages for wheat production.

The roblems come as desertification is a major problem in Iraq.  Dler S. Mohammed (KURDISTAN 24) reports:

 Iraq is losing a staggering 100,000 donums (about 10,000 hectares) of agricultural land per year, the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture announced on Saturday. 

The Director-General of Forests and Desertification Directorate of the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture Rawiya Al-Azawi announced on Saturday that Iraq has been losing approximately 100,000 donums of agricultural lands per year to desertification for the past decade.

She warned that this phenomenon would hugely impact the ministry's agricultural plan and revealed that the ministry has proposed establishing a special fund for combating desertification. 

Al-Azawi pointed out that increased desertification is due to global warming and climate change, which has reduced rainfall. She added that Iraq's geography makes it more vulnerable to global warming.

The following sites updated:

From The TESR Test Kitchen



 "Scorchin'" is the new term Pringles is attaching to their chips.  "Scorchin'."  

We tried the "Scorchin'" wavy chips in the nacho flavor.

Pringles® Scorchin' Wavy Loaded Nachos Crisps

The cute little illustration promises all sorts of flavors on the wavy chips -- cheese, jalapeno, tomato, cheese, sour cream . . .

Not only are those flavors really not evident, the chip itself isn't even "scorchin'."  It's a bland chip that appears to want to be something more but fails.

We grade it a flat out F.








Tweet of the week

Ajamu Baraka:

CNN since you are investigating war crimes in Ukraine for some reason we don't see any investigation into the dozen of allegations of war crimes - with videos - circulating in non-Western press & social media. So, I guess we can conclude those allegations are Kremlin propaganda.

Christian Parenti: How the Organized Left Got COVID Wrong | Iraq War & More | The Grayzone

Iraq converage 1




It's Memorial Day weekend.  US President Joe Biden decided to celebrate by lying yet again:

President Biden Friday again made an exaggeration about the number of times he's been to the Middle East, as he gave a commencement speech to U.S. Naval Academy graduates in Maryland. 

"I've been in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan of over 40 I think 38 times," the president said. 

That number was incorrect, however. A spokesperson for Biden's National Security Council (NSC) said Friday the correct number of times Biden visited Iraq and Afghanistan is 21.

Joe's not the only liar in the news, there's also Amber Heard.  Jamie Burton (NEWSWEEK) reports:

A "disabled combat veteran" says that Amber Heard's PTSD score from her marriage to Johnny Depp is allegedly higher than his own.

The tweet, sent out by the account @KurtMyers1982, whose bio describes him as a "retired Army, homeschool dad" from Nebraska, went viral and caught the attention of thousands of people invested in the court case between Depp and Heard.

Depp and Heard are currently embroiled in a $50 million defamation suit which comes after Heard wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in 2018, stating that she was the survivor of domestic violence. Heard has countersued her ex-husband for $100 million.

"I am a disabled combat veteran that lost a close friend in Iraq in 2005," he tweeted on Thursday. "Amber Heard scored much higher than me on her PTSD test, according to Dr. Hughes. Evidently, being married to Johnny Depp is far more traumatic than the Iraq War." The popular hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp was included in the tweet.

Remember, boys and girls, Amber has never been in combat -- it's age and drugs that make her face  look that way.

Meanwhile the government of Turkey continues its assault on Iraq.  MEHR NEWS notes:

According to "almaalomah" news website, the Secretary-General of Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) Qais al-Khazali made the comments in a meeting with tribal leaders in the holy city of Najaf.

"The Turks have long dreamed of 'Mosul province', which includes parts of Iraqi Kurdistan and Kirkuk. Turkey is trying to occupy part of Iraq in 2023, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the so-called Lausanne Treaty."

"Today, Turkish forces have about 66 military bases in Iraq, and Ankara uses PKK as a cover to conduct military action in Iraq. Turkish forces are advancing and establishing military positions in Iraq as the 100th anniversary of the end of the Lausanne Treaty, signed in 1923, approaches and it is preparing to occupy parts of Iraq in 2023," the Shia Iraq politician added.

ANHA adds:

Member of the Parliamentary Security and Defense Committee in Iraq, Ahmed Al-Moussawi, said in a press statement, on Saturday, that "the committee held urgent and intensive meetings during the past days in order to stop the Turkish incursion into the Iraqi depth," according to what Roj news reported.

He added, "The Turkish presence is rejected, and an urgent meeting will be held with the Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and security leaders in order to find a common formula to deal with the Turkish occupation."

Al-Moussawi explained that "the Turkish army penetrated more than 50 kilometers into the Iraqi depth and established several military bases under various pretexts, which is a clear occupation and a flagrant violation of Iraq's sovereignty."

Though Jeremy Corbyn has found his voice on this issue and called out the government of Turkey, most in the west just look the other way.  This as Turkey apparently intends to intensify their attacks.  NEWS AM reports:

Turkey has almost completed preparations for two military offensives into Syria and Iraq, the HaberTürk network reported, a day after the country's Security Council issued a statement stating the need for an invasion.

Preparations for the invasion of both countries are 90% complete, HaberTürk said, citing military officials, noting that offensive operations will be limited to the west of the Euphrates River.

Turkey continues terrorizing citizens, wounding them and murdering them while violating Iraq's sovereignty.  RUDAW noted Thursday:

Two children were killed in Duhok province’s Zewa village on Thursday during clashes between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkish army, according to sources. 

Birqi Omar, mukhtar (chieftain) of Zewa village in Amedi town, told Rudaw’s Hunar Rashid that people from nearby areas picnicked in the village but were targeted with bombs. 

“As far as we know, the PKK on Metina mountain targeted Turkish military base with three bombs. Then, Turkey bombed our families, killing two people, aged 10, and injuring another,” said the official.  

That's the government of Turkey, making the world 'safer' from children who picnic.

RUDAW also noted:

A village on the border of Duhok province’s Akre was bombarded by suspected Turkish warplanes on Tuesday without resulting in any casualties, local officials told Rudaw, presumably targeting positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the mountainous regions of the area as Turkey continues its operations against the Kurdish opposition group in the Kurdistan Region.

We'll wind down with this from Kevin Reed (WSWS):

The baby formula crisis that is threatening the lives of infants across the US deepened this week as the out-of-stock rate for baby formula on store shelves surged to 70 percent for the week ending May 22. The shortage rate during the previous week was 45 percent, according to the retail tracking firm Datasembly.

The supply shortage is so severe that there are now reports in some areas of the country of mothers attempting to purchase breast milk online from anonymous and independent sources such as Facebook and Craigslist. Pediatric nutritionists are warning that such measures are potentially very harmful to children.

The crisis of powdered formula supplies, 90 percent of which are produced by four monopolies that dominate the US pediatric nutrition industry, is not a mistake or a product of unforeseen circumstances. It is the outcome of a society run by a ruling elite that, in its singular preoccupation with increasing its wealth, is totally indifferent to the lives and well-being of children.

There has been a combination of criminal negligence, corporate profiteering, stock market manipulation and government complicity that have resulted in the shortage of the essential food needed by infants and toddlers, especially those from poor and working-class families.

The supply shortage began almost immediately following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in February 2020 when supply chains and transportation were disrupted internationally. During the initial days of the pandemic, families stockpiled the formula and emptied shelves. This was followed by a sharp fall in sales, and manufacturers cut back on production.

Now, with an uptick in births and a dramatic decline in breastfeeding rates among new mothers, demand has shot up again. The inability of the producers to adapt to fluctuations in demand is itself an expression of the anarchistic and unplanned nature of capitalist economics.

The following sites updated:


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }