Sunday, April 09, 2023

Truest statement of the week

The Supreme Court, whose unelected justices are appointed to lifetime terms, is institutionally undemocratic. For the vast bulk of its history, it has served as a bastion of political reaction—upholding slavery until the slave system was smashed by the Civil War (the Second American Revolution), later sanctioning Jim Crow segregation, safeguarding capitalist property and profits against the working class, and increasingly over the past half-century attacking and dismantling democratic rights.

Since joining the high court in 1991, Thomas has been on its extreme right, playing a key role in discrediting the body—portrayed by the media and the politicians as august and unimpeachable—before the eyes of the working class. In 2000 he was part of the five-member Republican majority which halted the vote count in Florida and stole the presidential election for George W. Bush, the loser of the popular vote. Thomas signed on to an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia that declared the American people had no constitutional right to vote for the president.

He is clearly implicated in the conspiracy to overthrow the 2020 election and maintain Donald Trump in power as dictator. He refused to recuse himself from cases relating to the attempted coup of January 6 and its cover-up, despite the fact that his wife, “Ginni,” played a major role in the plot. A leading member of fascistic groups, she worked to convince state legislators in Republican-controlled states that voted for Biden to reject pro-Biden electors and unilaterally approve pro-Trump elector slates. She promoted Trump’s fascist lawyers such as Sidney Powell and repeatedly texted Trump’s White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, urging him to defy the results of the election and do whatever was needed to keep Trump in power. No wonder that Clarence Thomas issued the only dissent in voting to support an attempt by Trump to block the January 6 Committee from accessing Meadows’ text messages.

That committee, dominated by the Democrats, allowed Ginni Thomas to testify behind closed doors rather than in public in order to shield Justice Thomas and conceal his role and that of at least one other justice, Samuel Alito, in the conspiracy.

Thomas voted last year to overturn Roe v. Wade, marking the first-ever action by the Supreme Court to retract a previously established constitutional right, and condemning millions of women and children to poverty and ill health.


-- Barry Grey, "ProPublica documents corrupt relations of Supreme Court arch-reactionary Clarence Thomas with billionaire Republican donor" (WSWS).

Truest statement of the week II

There are 492 bills that are in some part of progress across this country that are very specifically anti-trans.  And so you might say, "Why do you need a beer can to talk about trans inclusion?"  Well the reasons why you need corporations to step up and to start engaging is because 47 states in this country have anti-trans legislation in the works.  26 have passed.  422 are currently active. 44 have failed. Right?  And that's 2023.  We're talking about a small sub-set of the population.  And what it really is is, it's that this, all of this anti-trans legislation is just gateway legislation, right? Like: "Let's set a precedent with the people that have the smallest numbers, the weakest of them all, let's take them out of the herd first."  Right?  "And then let's use that model as a precedent so that we can then get to the next level.  And the next level.  And the next level. Right?  And when it's all said and done, it's like, "Oh, well how did -- how did we get like all of this?  All of these laws changed to roll back the rights of people of color, queer people in general, all of these people?"  Well, one, we started with that first kernel, "let's knock out these trans folks first, then let's get the rest of these gay folks, then let's get the folks at the intersection" [. . .]

-- Drew McCaskill on THE KAREN HUNTER SHOW.

A note to our readers

Hey --


And a Sunday morning, at that!  We can't believe it either.  It's been years since we've managed to have new stuff up here on a Sunday 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? 


Barry Grey gets a truest.

As does Drew McCaskill. Credit to Mike for transcribing Drew's comments on THE KAREN HUNTER SHOW.

Reposting because we reposted C.I.'s piece awhile back calling NPR out for not naming the son of the politician responsible for the deahts.

The only reason we got a Sunday morning edition.  Ava and C.I. wrote a masterpiece.

Jonathan Turley is just disgusting.

Continued book coverage.

Important video to catch, Luqman is on fire!!!!

Like I just said, Luqman is on fire!!!!

Books covered in the community so far this year.

We need to and C.I. did.  

Marcia's book review.  Dona had pointed out that we needed to do one thing different this go round than in the past, we should also post the book review here at this site and not just link to it. So we've been doing that.

 What was listened to while we wrote this.  And Betty just pointed out that we listened all digital this go-round and that Ava and C.I. had the remote.  :D  That is true.  And we came in when they were playing Diana and working on their media piece.


 So how did we manage it?  Getting content up on a Sunday -- and a Sunday morning, no less?  Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The media's lack of accountability."  It was too good to hold publishing it.  We wanted to publish it right away.  Which would have meant making it the sole piece for the edition.  We were fine with that.  But instead we scrambled to put together some other stuff.



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




NPR names Duncan Hunter as man responsible for deaths of 2 US service members in Iraq

We're reposting this from THE COMMON ILLS as an update on who was responsible for the two deaths:

Iraq snapshot

April 7, 2023.  A major truth about an Iraq incident emerges and NPR can now report that Duncan Hunter is responsible for the deaths of two US soldiers, Clarence Thomas is corrupt and exposed but look at our 'straight talkers' (grifters who've moved from the left to the right) who just can't find that story, not even for a Tweet -- all this and Tara Reade puts the food down long enough to fan girl over Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Well I guess if you scream and call them out loud enough, if you shame them just enough, even idiots like Tom Bowman can belatedly due their damn job.  Online, I'm referring to "Tom Bowman acts our War Porn while NPR pushes for the money shot" from March 26.  Offline, I'm referring to endless conversations with friends at NPR.  

Tom Bowman is supposed to be a reporter but he filed a 'report' March 16th that was nothing but porn.  His fellow reporter was too busy impersonating a US soldier -- that should be as big a crime as civilians who try to scam people for money.  Graham "G" Smith acting like he's a soldier with his use of  "Man, . . ."  and "bitch" thinking he's sounding like  a solider.  WTF was that?  how insulting to the enlisted.  

I can remember the first time I went to an AIDS hospice.  A friend put it together -- this was back when many were encouraged to fear people with AIDS and told to be wary of even casual contact.  So I applaud the others who went with me but one, a fortyish TV actor, immediately sat down on the floor in a main area, removed his shoes and socks and thought this was a 60s rap session.  And I looked at the people there and noticed them staring at his bare feet with dismay.  This was their home and he thought he was cozying up to them but he actually was insulting some of them with his actions -- which were overly familiar.

That's "G" Smith.  Or should he have been billed on air as "G" Dawg?

If you missed it, here's the opening of the critique we gave:

NPR's cancelled four podcasts.  (See Ruth's "NPR created their own problems.")  They should make it five.  TAKING COVER needs to be cancelled as well.

Tom Bowman's always been more of an idiot than a journalist -- but he really let his stupidity shine last week with a 'report.'  Bowman and company wasted 49 minutes and over 7,500 words to tell you nothing.  NPR should be ashamed of themselves.  They gave your war porn while claiming it was reporting.  

Here's how it started: A tip to Tom about the US military (when? This year? we're never told).    The tip was  about events on April 12, 2004 in Falluja.  The US military lied.  They concealed details of a death.  They didn't just conceal it in real time.  When Bowman and NPR made an open records request, they were told that there were no records.  

This should have been big.  It should have been huge.

A report like this should have ended with the family of the dead Marine -- or his friends -- speaking about how disgusting it was that the US military concealed his death for 'optics.'   It should have had a comment from Senator Jack Reed who is the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

It didn't.  Instead we got a lot of nonsense.  Including the fact that no one ever needs to hear NPR reporters tossing around the term "man" as though they're buddies with the veterans.  Graham Smith and Tom Bowman aren't part of the Marines.  They are journalists -- someone should have reminded them of that.


They use the 49 minutes  to serve up war porn.  

And to make themselves the stars.

You can listen to the report and find out about how what books and documents the two 'reporters' went through.  As though that's the story?  Because that is what they made the story.  

Not the death, not the cover up.  In fact most people listening to this garbage may not grasp at the end, after 49 minutes, that Bowman and Smith never revealed what the story needed revealed.

Here's Tom Bowman yammering away early in the porn:

 I might run into a colonel I knew in Afghanistan or a general visiting from his overseas command who can tell me what's really going on. But there are some things, well, people just don't want to talk about in the building. So I might call them at home at night, or...


BOWMAN: ...We might meet up at a bar, which is what happened one night at a whiskey bar in D.C. Actually, this very bar, a guy who spent a lot of time in Iraq told me a story very few people knew. He told me that early in the Iraq War, there'd been this tragedy. U.S. Marines had dropped a mortar or a rocket on their own people. That's what they call friendly fire. Now, in this case, he said, one Marine was killed and another seriously wounded. Friendly fire deaths - they happen. They happen in every war throughout history. That's not what made his story shocking. Here's the thing - he said that the Marine brass had actually covered it up, burying the truth about this terrible incident because, he said, the son of a powerful politician was involved in the screw-up.

"SOUNDBITE OF DRINK POURING"?  That was needed to drive home that the two are trying for entertainment not not news.

A death was covered up.  And it was covered up because "the son of a powerful politician was involved in the screw-up."

We need to know why the cover up and we need to know son of a politician.  

They can add sound effects and they can brag on themselves but Bowman and Harris can't deliver the basic facts.

This is shameful.

49 minutes on this and they never told you a damn thing.  It opened with the tip.  49 minutes later, they had not asked anyone with DoD for a public response, they had no response of outrage from no members of Congress -- and we're never told who the son of the politician was.  

But we got sound effects!  We got "G" Dawg talking in a manner he assumed is how soldiers speak.  We got "bitch" on NPR, didn't we?  We got so much -- so very much of nothing.

And as I've noted here, my conversations with NPR friends were not just me complaining.  A large number of people at NPR were bothered by that nonsense as well.

So Tommy Bowman and "G" Dawg were put back on the story but this time with a chaperone -- Chris Haxel.  With a designated adult on the team, 22 days after their 'report,' it can finally be told: Duncan Hunter.

22 days later.  Despite the fact that Tom Bowman was told it was Duncan Hunter on day one, NPR can finally release the name.  I knew the name back in March.  A friend at NPR and I were on the phone and he told me a listener or two had written in asking if it were Beau Biden.  I said, "No, it's not Beau, he wasn't even in Iraq that year.  If someone wants to figure it out, it's not going to be that hard, there weren't a lot of children of Congress members in Iraq.  There's Duncan Hunter --" and he cut me off with, "I didn't say that."  And his nervousness made it clear that it was Duncan.  They were working on getting a report on the air and I said I wouldn't put it up here until they did.  I wasn't trying to 'scoop' them, my point was that it needed to be public knowledge.

On the night of April 12, 2004, a deadly explosion rocked a schoolhouse in Fallujah, Iraq, where U.S. troops had set up a temporary base. Two Marines died and a dozen were wounded, some severely.

But as seared as the fatal explosion is in the men's memory, to the Pentagon it's as if it never happened.

An NPR investigation found that the explosion at the schoolhouse in Fallujah was a tragic accident — the worst Marine-on-Marine "friendly fire" of recent decades. Officers determined almost immediately that the explosion was caused by an errant 81 mm mortar fired by the victims' own comrades, yet the families of the dead men weren't told for years, despite Marine Corps regulations. Some of the wounded have never been told.

Three officers involved in the deadly mortar fire were recommended for punishment, but that was rejected by the Marines' ground commander in Iraq — Maj. Gen. James Mattis. Consequently, no one was ever disciplined.

And NPR found another secret: An officer who was part of the confusion, but was not cited for discipline, was the son of an important and powerful member of Congress. Then-1st Lt. Duncan D. Hunter was working in the command center that mistakenly approved the mortar launch. His father — U.S. Rep. Duncan L. Hunter — was then-chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, responsible for oversight of the war.

For those who don't know of nepo-baby Duncan Hunter, from WIKIPEDIA:

Duncan Duane Hunter (born December 7, 1976) is an American former politician and United States Marine who served as a U.S. representative for California's 50th congressional district from 2013 to 2020. He is a member of the Republican Party, who was first elected to the House in 2008. His district, numbered as the 52nd from 2009 to 2013, encompassed much of northern and inland San Diego County and a sliver of Riverside County, including the cities of El CajonEscondidoSan MarcosSantee and Temecula. He served in the U.S. Marines from 2001 through 2005 and succeeded his father, Republican Duncan Lee Hunter, a member of Congress from 1981 to 2009.

In 2017, the Department of Justice began a criminal investigation into Hunter and his campaign manager and wife Margaret Jankowski, for alleged campaign finance violations.[1][2] In August 2018, both were indicted on charges including conspiracy, wire fraud, and violating campaign finance laws.[3] In June 2019, Jankowski pleaded guilty to corruption and named him as a co-conspirator in using campaign funds for personal expenses.[4]

Also in June 2019, federal prosecutors showed that from 2009 to 2016, Hunter had spent campaign funds on extramarital affairs with five women, including lobbyists and congressional staff.[5][6] In December 2019, Hunter changed his plea to guilty on one count of misusing campaign funds.[7] On January 7, 2020, he submitted letters of resignation to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California Governor Gavin Newsom, that took effect on January 13, 2020.[8] On March 17, 2020, Hunter was sentenced to 11 months in prison, scheduled to begin in January 2021.[9][10] He was pardoned by President Donald Trump in December 2020.[11][12][13] The next day Trump pardoned Hunter's wife.[14]

Maybe if old "Mad Dog" had done his job, we wouldn't have had to endure Congress member Little DD Hunter.  But Mad Dog never did what he was required to which is why it was embarrassing to watch some rush to praise him just because he was an enemy of Donald Trump.

NPR's in the news and not for the right reasons.  Twitter has labeled them government funded or something like that.  They do need to be labeled that way, they do get government money.  And the whining over it -- not every friend at NPR agrees with me on this (obviously) -- has been a distraction all week long.  We didn't comment, there was no reason to do so, we had serious issues to cover.   But since we're noting NPR right now -- first time this week, we'll note that.  

And thank you to everyone at NPR who worked so hard to get the truth out -- the truth that Tommy Bowman and "G" Dawg never thought was all that important.

49 minutes about a cover up and they couldn't tell you Duncan Hunter.

TV: The media's lack of accountability

Lana Wilson isn't much of a filmmaker -- that's probably the least controversial comment we're going to make today. Interest isn't her problem, she can find worthy topics, she just lacks insight and information which makes for trite films.  Some people mistake their agreement with a point made in one of Lana's projects for an actual good film.  No.  





Take PRETTY BABY: BROOKE SHIELDS -- the two-part 'documentary' airing on HULU about the former model and child-actor.  We know Brooke and we were hoping to avoid commenting but the same thing destroying this 'documentary' is also destroying the country.  PRETTY BABY is just a starting point.  HULU's bad -- really bad -- TV documentary starts out lousy and never gets better.

In the 1970s, Brooke Shields shot to fame as a group of young girls.  In addition to Brooke, there was Mariel Hemingway, Tatum O'Neal (who won an Academy Award -- and was the youngest performer to ever do so, even all these years later) and Jodie Foster.  Of the four, Tatum was the least sexualized by the media.  This was due in part to her 'tomboy' image at the start of her career (PAPER MOON -- where her character took to wearing a hair bow so people wouldn't thinks she was a little boy -- and BAD NEWS BEARS).  1980's LITTLE DARLINGS could have pulled her into the sewer but (a) she gave a fine performance, (b) Kimi Peck and Darlene Young's screenplay demonstrated you could explore sexual awakenings without being prurient and (c) the film had a very strong cast which also included Kristy McNichol, Armand Assante and Matt Dillon.


If you don't get how disgusting LITTLE DARLINGS could have turned out, you obviously have never watched LIPSTICK or TAXI DRIVER.   To that, we say, "Good for you."  For the rest of us who've suffered, LIPSTICK had 14-year-old Mariel dealing with her sister getting raped only to herself be raped -- by the same man.  TAXI DRIVER was its own kind of smutty -- and, yes, we think it's smutty.  We think it can also be called art with no question and we like and know its director Martin Scorcese but it is smutty with Jodie Foster playing a 12-year-old prostitute.  None of this is addressed or dealt with.  It's not even acknowledged in the documentary.

Instead, PRETTY BABY: BROOKE SHIELDS just basically plops you into 1978 when 12-year-old Brooke is promoting Louis Malle's film PRETTY BABY in which she plays a 12-year-old prostitute. Unlike Jodie when she played a 12-year-old prostitute two years prior, Brooke is nude in the film.  

This is not a story in isolation and a real filmmaker would have grasped that.  

Lana Wilson keeps going to Drew Barrymore who doesn't know a damn thing about this era.  Drew made no films in the seventies.  She wasn't part of it.  She was too young.  At five, she makes her screen debut in 1980's ALTERED STATES.  12 years later, at the age of 17 -- and an emancipated minor -- she makes POISON IVY and moves towards an image onscreen that plays off her 'wild child' image offscreen.

Stop pretending that Drew knows a damn thing about being sexualized in the seventies.  Lana didn't have the brains to put Tatum, Mariel or Jodie in front of the camera and that's only one of the many shortcomings of the 'documentary.'

Brooke, Mariel, Tatum and Jodie had to navigate this terrain.  And it harmed their careers which is part of the Brooke story that goes untold in this so-called documentary.  They are not allowed, by the media, to be girls.  They have to be young women -- at the age of 12, no less -- and then, as they become adults, they're ridiculed for having 'transgressed.'  In other words, the same society that spent years (plural) sexualizing them as children, now feels guilt over this sexualization and projects it onto these young females.  


They've not only been exploited but now they're being treated as though they -- as children -- exploited themselves.

Instead of getting details like that, we get uninformed women, stupid, idiotic women, blathering away on camera.  How stupid?  "Ahva"?  One of us is named Ava and, yeah, it really grates when some stupid woman is presented on camera as an 'expert' and decides to bring up "Ahva" Gardner.  It's beyond pretentious and just one more example of how idiots get to pass as experts when you don't have a real filmmaker behind the camera. 

It also doesn't help if the filmmaker is exploitive of Brooke.  TILT?  KING OF THE GYPSIES?  WANDA NEVADA?  JUST YOU AND ME KID?  

Where are those films?  In this supposed documentary about Brooke, she goes from PRETTY BABY to BLUE LAGOON.   It ignores the four films she starred in  between the two -- and she was paid $250,000 for making JUST YOU AND ME KID.  (She also did a cameo in AN ALMOST PERFECT AFFAIR.)  Ignoring these films? Doesn't that mean that the 'documentary' is sexualizing Brooke?

It matters.  There were other roles.  An 'expert' insists, "If you're a famous girl you get one shot.  You come on the scene and whoever you are and however you are, that's who you are."

That expert is an uninformed liar. 

Brooke had other opportunities.  Tatum had them, Mariel had them, Jodie had them.  

You have to take responsibility for the choices you make in life.


Which really did become a theme last week.


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was exposed by PROPUBLIC last week for the millions he's taken over the years from a man he met after he got on the Court -- taken and refused to disclose. 

In late June 2019, right after the U.S. Supreme Court released its final opinion of the term, Justice Clarence Thomas boarded a large private jet headed to Indonesia. He and his wife were going on vacation: nine days of island-hopping in a volcanic archipelago on a superyacht staffed by a coterie of attendants and a private chef.

If Thomas had chartered the plane and the 162-foot yacht himself, the total cost of the trip could have exceeded $500,000. Fortunately for him, that wasn’t necessary: He was on vacation with real estate magnate and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, who owned the jet — and the yacht, too.

For more than two decades, Thomas has accepted luxury trips virtually every year from the Dallas businessman without disclosing them, documents and interviews show. A public servant who has a salary of $285,000, he has vacationed on Crow’s superyacht around the globe. He flies on Crow’s Bombardier Global 5000 jet. He has gone with Crow to the Bohemian Grove, the exclusive California all-male retreat, and to Crow’s sprawling ranch in East Texas. And Thomas typically spends about a week every summer at Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks.

The extent and frequency of Crow’s apparent gifts to Thomas have no known precedent in the modern history of the U.S. Supreme Court.

These trips appeared nowhere on Thomas’ financial disclosures. His failure to report the flights appears to violate a law passed after Watergate that requires justices, judges, members of Congress and federal officials to disclose most gifts, two ethics law experts said. He also should have disclosed his trips on the yacht, these experts said.



He's paid nearly $300,000 a year by US tax payers.  If that's not enough for him to live on, he should have found another job.  But while he is a public servant, he's required not just to avoid being unethical but also -- pay attention, idiot Jonathan Turley -- to avoid even the appearance of being unethical.  There is a higher standard at play when you are a public official -- and when you are on the Supreme Court, that standard is higher than what anyone else will be held to.  You have a lifetime appointment to a role where you are deciding the rights of Americans.  There is a higher ethical standard that you must meet.

College professor Jonathan Turley took time out from promoting transphobia long enough to Tweet the following:


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is promising articles of impeachment against Justice Clarence Thomas over the failure to disclose trips with a billionaire friend. There is no evidence that the failure to disclose was either an ethical or constitutional violation

A real filmmaker might want to take a look into Turley's obsession with AOC and how frightening women (and people of color) are to him. 

At any rate, it's about appearances, Jonathan, and they matter.  It is an illegitimate Supreme Court at present.  And now we've got Clarence taking money from a sugar daddy who also appears to have been the source of a salary for Clarence's wife -- that's what the sugar daddy donating $500,000 to her Liberty Central did -- guaranteed her a six-figure yearly payday.  And, to be clear, no spouse of a sitting Supreme Court justice should be allowed to have  a political lobbying firm.  You want to be on the Court, curb your spouse.  We don't need these complications.  This lobbying effort carried out by Ginni Thomas is unseemly -- but then her calling for unnamed Democrats to be tortured at "Gitmo" is unseemly as well.

It's past time Clarence was removed from the Court.

He never should been put on the Court to begin with.  He assaulted Anita Hill, he assaulted worker protections while at the EEOC.  He is a nightmare and he's an idiot.  Too scared to ask questions from the bench in public?  Then you're not fit for the bench.  

In his DOBBS opinion, he all but begged to be removed from the Court.  He does not believe in stare decisis which not only goes against what he told the Senate at his confirmation hearing but it also against American law.  Without stare decisis, there is no settled law.  Without star decisis, precedent is tossed aside and each case is a whole new world where the law may have said X in the past but can now say anything.  

That's not how the law works.  If you're not getting it, think of precedent as the foundation for a house.  You can build a house on a proper foundation and you may have to make some repairs as the years go by.  But try building a house -- brick or wood -- without a foundation and living in that house and see just how that works out for you.  The house is going to collapse -- even The Three Little Pigs could grasp that.


He needs to be removed from the Court.  And President Joe Biden would be doing the right thing to lead that effort since it's thanks to him that Thomas is on the Court to begin with.  As Joe damn well knows, Anita wasn't the only one Clarence harassed and she wasn't the only woman willing to testify.  It was Joe, as head of the Committee, who prevented the other women from testifying.  


Most of us don't get a second chance to rectify a horrible mistake we make.  Joe's being given that chance and needs to take it.

This latest scandal for Clarence Thomas should be the last scandal that America has to endure from him.  He needs to resign or he needs to be impeached. 

Anything else says that corruption is okay in the system.

We hope that, before you read what we wrote, you were already outraged about Thomas.  We have to hope that because our brave YOUTUBERS couldn't find the story.  

Right-winger Glenn Greenwald was silent.  And if he could be that all the time, we'd be thrilled.  Glenn likes to say he hasn't changed.  If we looked in the mirror and saw what he sees, we'd probably lie too.  

There's nothing sadder than a grown, middle-aged man with money trying to save a few pennies by using box-dye to color his hair.  It did take out the grey, it also made him a flaming carrot top.  The brows are also not being professionally cared for which gives him more of a lop-sided appearance.  But, worst of all, he's got that middle-aged woman look.  You know when a woman goes her entire life without moisturizing and then, around 57 or 58, she notices that time has beat her up and she rushes into that first affair with moisturizer without learning any basics?  So she slobbers it under her eyes, thinking that'll turn back the clock, but all it does is draw attention to how many wrinkles are there.  All Glenn's desperate slap-dabbing is doing is accentuating the creases.  

Some will be surprised that a gay man could know so little about beauty but remember that Glenn was an unhappy, single gay in the United States for decades because he couldn't be who he really was -- a persnickety bottom.  He had to go to Brazil, far away from his family and friends, to come out of the bottom closet.  And even now, he's just out among close friends.  So when most gay men -- top, bottom, versatile -- were learning the basics of hygiene, Glenn was too busy hiding, scared that his straight 'friends' might find out what a femme he truly was.

Oh, Glenneth, you've sacrificed your looks to save your 'butch' image.  It was your own personal SOPHIE'S CHOICE.

And how sad it must be that time marches on -- heavy footed across your face -- when you're with a man 20 years younger than you are.  

Conservatives are so damn cheap.  Glenneth proves it.  He wants to be on video with 'reporting' and he's too damn cheap to hire wardrobe and makeup -- ensuring that each episode is hate-watched by many who ridicule him for his laughable fashion choices, outrageous hair color and crypt-keeper like face.  Doesn't he deserve anything for privatizing the bulk of Ed Snowden's revelations and keeping them away from the American people?

It's called karma and, like Glenneth Greenwald, it's one ugly bitch.


Glenneth couldn't be bothered with Clarence Thomas -- he was too busy preaching more transphobia and other things.  In fact, we're sure busy is why he barely defended Matt Taibbi.  It certainly wouldn't be that he was so circumspect on Twitter because Matt means far less to him than sucking up to Elon Musk, right?


What did Matt do last week?


This is why we're having to write about Brooke Shields.  It's not just her 'documentary.'  It's not just Clarence Thomas.  It's so many people struggling with the concept of accountability.


Matt Taibbi is the main author of The Twitter Files.  He embarrassed himself last week.  On MSNBC.  And he has no one to blame but himself.



A number of people took to responding.  Some defended Matt.  Some just enjoyed the s**t show.  But there was another group who felt the need to lie.  


It's the usual group of liars -- Sabby, RBN, Jimmy Dore, et al -- the ones we've come to count on to disappoint and deflect.


They wanted to claim that Matt really showed Mahdi!!!!  He put Mahdi in his place!!!!


No, he didn't.  And you have to be a damn liar to make that claim and a damn fool to think you could get away with that claim.


Matt kept returning, in his responses, to MSNBC's coverage of Hunter Biden or Russia-gate.  Matt is correct that MSNBC's coverage is embarrassing.  But Mehdi Hasan was not part of that coverage.  He was correct when he said he wasn't with MSNBC at that time.


Mehdi pointed out some errors in Matt's Tweeting about The Twitter Files and Matt attempted to counter with Hunter Biden and Russia-gate, etc.  


That never addressed the issues.  


It was a very embarrassing performance by Matt.


To his credit, Matt may be one of the last grown ups in the room -- Friday, on his program AMERICA THIS WEEK, he admitted he did not do a good job


Apparently, the conversation started before it went live.  That's a trick that many journalists use, they try to throw you off your game before the interview.  If Mehdi did that, sorry.  But Matt should have been prepared.  He's not 21-year-old journalism student, he's a seasoned veteran.  That said,  there's a chance it could have happened to anyone, even if they were prepared. 

Aaron Mate took to Twitter because what else do you do apparently?

We'd say you do a segment on USEFUL IDIOTS or Aaron's other YOUTUBE outlet.  We'd say even stronger that you write about it -- not Tweet.

That is Matt's biggest problem and why Mehdi was able to win the debate.

Matt hasn't written about it.  If he'd written about it, he might have caught some long ago Tweet with an error in it.  (Mehdi identified two or three Tweets out of the thousands that make up The Twitter Files as being imprecise or false.)  

That's why you write an actual report and not Tweet endlessly.  No one's going to remember every Tweet out of a thousand or so they posted.   But if you wrote a report, you would remember the substance of it and you would be able to say, "You know that fact might be wrong, if so, my error, but read my larger report and you'll see . . ."

Matt can't do that because there is no larger report.  

There are other Tweets.  There's no report.

What's emerging is part of the deal that Matt made to get access to the information on Twitter.  Elon Musk had purchased Twitter and he needed money.  So he released the files to Matt (and others -- but Matt was -- and remains -- the star reporter on this topic).  And, in agreement, Matt apparently promised that he would keep it on Twitter.  This would have the effect of getting Twitter in the news which is what Elon needed to make bank payments on his loans.  

We still don't know what the entire deal was -- and we should.  That's basic journalism.  If you accept information from a source and report on it, if you also have a deal with the source about what you can and cannot do as a result, you need to be honest and disclose that deal.

Matt was wrong not to.  Matt was wrong to agree to keep this on Twitter.  If he'd written a report, again, he'd be able to point to that and tell Mehdi, "Look, if you're right, it's a factual error.  But I wrote an entire article about this and this error doesn't impact the larger issue I am addressing."

But if all you did was Tweet, then every Tweet has the same weight, the same value.

We warned about this and we said the topic needed reporting.  That's where he needs to go now.  He and Musk have had a break -- Musk is not allowing Tweets to include links to SUBSTACK and, per Matt, they are now in "a business dispute" -- so it's the perfect time, after he's done visiting Disney Land and Hawaii, for him to write an actual report. 

That's what he needs to work on.  Unlike too many others last week, he doesn't need to work on accountability.  He's taken it for two or three errors that Mehdi pounced upon and he's taken it for his performance on MSNBC. 



 Too many others can't/won't own their mistakes.

That's true of Clarence Thomas for damn sure.  Caught concealing 'gifts' from the public, he responded:


Early in my tenure at the Court, I sought guidance from my colleagues and others in the judiciary, and was advised that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable


Let's pretend someone was stupid enough to tell Clarence that -- possible, he seems like someone who hangs out with a lot of dumb folk -- does everyone not get how shifty his comment is?   

He is a grown man, one who sits on the Supreme Court, and, confronted with his unethical behavior, he doesn't say, "I'm sorry."  No, he blames it on others.

He's supposed to be one of the top nine legal minds in the country and he didn't disclose millions in gifts because someone told him he didn't have to?


Need another example?  Valerie Bertinelli.   If you missed it, THE FOOD NETWORK cancelled VALERIE'S HOME COOKING.  They did so last summer.  And it only got announced in the last few days.  Valerie announced it online last week and that she was hoping THE FOOD NETWORK would change its mind.  In what world does that happen, Valerie?  A network cancels a show and then, close to a year later, changes its mind?

She also shared that she was confused as to why the show got the axe.

Because of her.  Take some damn accountability.  Her whole life has been about being likable.  Eddie Van Halen dies -- married to another woman -- and she tries to play the widow.  This causes problems in her then-current marriage.  It ends poorly with a separation and then a divorce and the whole time Valerie's trashing him online.  

As Trina's pointed out many times in the last 12 months, Valerie's the one who invited the man into America's homes.  If he's as evil as she's now saying, why'd she invite him in?  More to the point, he has children and she really shouldn't be trashing him publicly.  It's made her look like a petty and bitter bitch.   That's not a good look for a young person, let alone a sixty-plus person.

The audience of THE FOOD NETWORK turned on her.  They complained about her and stopped watching.  There was no future for the show because Valerie's brand was relatable and turns out she's just a fake ass.  What did she think people were going to think as she trashed the man she spent 13 seasons bragging about, 13 seasons bringing on her program, 13 seasons shoving down the American people's throats? 

She could have stopped being a bitch and saved her career.  She instead chose to trash him over and over for over a year now.  If this was the real Valerie, then who was the woman on camera who couldn't shut up about Tom and how great he was?  

Instead of her very public pity party, she should have pulled on her big girl panties and moved on with her life.  If she'd done that, she might still have a TV show.  But the marriage was over and it was more important to her to trash Tom and blame Tom.  It backfired on her.

It's doubtful she'll learn from it when she can't even cop to it and take accountability.

And this -- all the above -- is how we end up with garbage like PRETTY BABY: BROOKE SHIELDS.


The 'documentary is garbage for many reasons -- scope, lack of experts, lack of knowledge -- but fundamentally it falls apart because its working thesis is that Brooke was a child so she can't be accountable.

Now we could try seeing that point with regards to PRETTY BABY (the 1978 film).  But when we're getting into her adult life, when she's getting married and cleans out the offices she shared with her mother without telling her mother (she removed some of Teri Shields' property when she cleaned out that building) and when this no-fault-of-Brooke's gets extended all the way out to her putting Teri into a nursing home ("I didn't know what to say," Brooke offers)?


You made some bad movies as a child -- and after -- that's not a pass for the rest of your life.

Brooke needs to take ownership.


Mother Teri is blamed for everything, then it's blame Andre Agassi (first husband) for everything.  When is it Brooke's fault?  It's so bad that the 'documentary' even blames Michael Jackson.  


He claimed he and Brooke were dating!!!!  

Yeah and so did she.

The 'documentary' shows photos of Brooke and Michael -- at the American Music Awards.  They don't show photos from the Grammys.

Maybe Brooke didn't want to talk about that?

We will. 

Brooke's career was in the toilet and she was a professional joke.  SAHARA, her most recent film, had bombed at the box office.  How badly?  Brooke was paid more for starring in the film than the movie made in ticket sales.  Her Calvin Klein commercials were over and her  Well Balsam commercials had further turned her into a joke. The American Music Awards with Michael Jackson?  A huge amount of publicity that she sorely needed.

And if she'd left it at that, we wouldn't be commenting.  But ask any Jackson sister and they'll tell you, she didn't leave it at that.  She demanded Michael take her to the Grammys.  She hounded on the phone, she showed up at his home.  He didn't want to take her.  She insisted.  And the sole reason -- she points out now that they were never in love or even dating -- was for publicity.  

Now we don't see, in the 'documentary,' the Grammys.  We don't see that because it blew up in Brooke's face.  She was humiliated.  As she told Michael when they arrived -- with Emanuel Lewis, "They're laughing at us!"  Yes, they were.  And Brooke wanted to leave immediately.  

But there she is whining -- and, yes, "whining" is the only term for it -- that she turns on the TV and there's Michael saying that they're dating.  She tells us, in the 'documentary,' that she picked up the phone and told him to stop saying that because she was dating someone.

Okay.  Well, she didn't feel that way when she could get mileage out of him.  If the Grammys had gone the way the American Music Awards had, she might even still be pretending they dated.

Does that seem harsh?  Because it's about to get worse.

Brooke whines about Barbara Walters.  After she's dead.  We didn't like Barbara Walters and we called her out here while she was alive (such as here).  One of the reasons we didn't like her -- there were many -- was that after Gilda Radner died, Barbara began complaining about her to the press.  After she died.  While Gilda was alive, Barbara insisted that she thought Gilda's parodies of her on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE were funny.  Then Gilda's dead and Barbara wants to trash her.  Sort of like what Brooke's doing now.

What did Barbara do to Brooke that was so awful?  In an interview, she asked what Brooke's body measurements were and she asked Brooke to stand next to her. Gee, what did she think Brooke was, a model?  

Because Brooke was a model.  

The whining never ends on PRETTY BABY: BROOKE SHIELDS.  

"They sexualized her!" is said in some form every few minutes.


But it's Brooke.  When Brooke's pregnant and choosing to pose nude?  You can't blame Teri, you can't blame Barbara Walters, you can't blame anyone else.  So the 'director' makes the choice to gloss over that without any comment.

Poor Brooke, we're told over and over.  

Poor Brooke?  Modeling and films gave her a life, paid her bills.  Her mother, a struggling single-mom, protected her -- yes, Teri protected Brooke.  Brooke wasn't raped while Teri was responsible for her.  Teri watched out for her daughter.  Teri -- not noted in the 'documentary' -- made sure Brooke had fun as well.  Brooke talks about how Teri would ask her each day if she wanted to work and, if Brooke didn't, they'd go to the beach or something else.  Brooke knows her mother did more than that.  Brooke knows that Teri made sure it wasn't all work when it was time to promote a film.  She, for example, destroyed the people responsible for BLUE LAGOON's NYC premiere because Brooke had no fun with that.  She demanded -- and got -- better treatment and better schedules for the other openings.  

Brooke's the one who chose to disclose that she was a virgin -- she did it to have a publicity hook for the book she had coming out.  You know, the same way she waited until she needed to promote PRETTY BABY: BROOKE SHIELDS to disclose that she was raped as a young adult.

Brooke's done that her entire life.  So take some accountability.

It's frightening to watch that 'documentary' with a clear eye.  

Take Brooke as a Mommy with her two daughters.  As they tell her that PRETTY BABY (Brooke's film from the seventies) is creepy and disgusting, she visibly recoils.  And all she can offer is that the film couldn't be made today.

We don't like TAXI DRIVER, but we can make the argument for it being art.  You know who can make that argument -- and does -- better than us?  Jodie Foster.

Jodie also had a stage-mom.  Like Teri Shields, Brandy Foster loved films.  And she loved art films and she made sure that her children grew up appreciating art.  Jodie and her siblings can talk about art.  Why can't Brooke?

She can't talk about much, can she?


Reality, she was the least talented of the big four in the 70s -- Jodie, Tatum, Mariel and Brooke.  More than any other in that group, she needed to study acting.  She also needed voice lessons because that Minnie Mouse voice might work as a child but was never going to carry her to an adult career.  Instead of doing that, she wanted the world to know she was a virgin, she wanted to do publicity dates with Michael Jackson (and George Michael).  She whines about her career but the reality is, Brooke was a celebrity who made films in the 70s.  She was never an actress.


Tatum can point to many roles she played as a child and point with pride.  The same with Jodie and Mariel. But Brooke?  She and/or Teri might have gotten smart enough to grasp that she needed to start using a nude double for her film work but no one ever got her an acting double so her inexperience shows in one role after another.  


She doesn't have to like the celebrity she got but she needs to grasp that celebrity was all that she had.  She was never 'almost' nominated for an Academy Award for  BLUE LAGOON or any other film.  Her acting was never up to snuff. When she was fortunate enough to get a second chance in the 90s, she wasted it by refusing to study her craft. 


She coasted through life on her looks.  And, hate to be the ones to point it out, but those looks are fading.  In fact, a friend needs to tell her that she can't wear turtle necks any more.  Her chin's doing some weird things with age and she doesn't need a turtleneck drawing attention to the area of that flaw. 


We wish we could say we found something worth being happy over in the 'documentary.'  But we didn't.  In fact, having watched, we fear for Chris Henchy.  That's her husband and the father of her children.  Should be a safe position to be in.  But ten years from now, if she's still needing someone else to blame, we're guessing it's going to be him.  That's the thing about refusing to take accountability -- you always need a fall guy.




VOS VILIS -- Jonathan Swirley

Jonathan Swirley joined the Hitler mob, in case you missed it.

Don't call him Turley.  He's disgraced himself too much.  He's Jonathan Swirley.  And the noted transphobe decided he needed to lament that companies might go for inclusive when it comes to marketing.  

Remember when he was supposed to focus on the law and favored free speech?  Long ago, we know.  And it's so cute the way he's having a hissy fit over what Nike and Disney are doing -- being inclusive -- but he wants to also defend a computer programmer who claims her work (designing websites) is free speech and she should be allowed to deny access to anyone if they are married to a same sex partner.

Before he wrote that post on Saturday, he was already pissing his panties over the fact that a transphobe went to San Francisco (the Titless  Wonder from Isaiah's comic below) and was booed and heckled.


That was Friday's big post.  Oh, the horror.  Our modern day KKK got heckled and boo-ed.  Oh, how awful.  Jonathan would clutch the pearls were it not for the fact that he can't find them under the white sheet he's currently wearing.

Last week, C.I. noted:

Meanwhile, let's turn to noted homophobe and transphobe Jonathan Turley.  Shutting down productions, implementing laws where you can't say "gay" in Florida, all of these and more should concern someone who purports to be a free speech advocate.  

Yet silly Jonathan, 61-years-old (remember that), hasn't said a peep.


Because he works for FOX "NEWS."  They pay the bills and Jonathan doesn't bite the hand that feeds him.  So while they've launched an attack on LGBTQ+ persons that has lasted over a year -- an attack so bad that they are seeing people cancelling subscriptions to FOX NATION over it -- an attack so bad that they've had to come up with an offer to try to get those people back ($1.99 a month if you will just return -- but they aren't returning) -- he's not said a word.

And he just gets more and more ridiculous. 

As the volume of people calling him out online increases (and includes in the comments of his transphobe threads at his website), Jonathan finally decided to wade in last Saturday.  It was laughable:

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a new Tennessee law limiting drag shows on constitutional grounds. Like many, I have been appalled by some images of very young children watching highly sexualized routines in schools or businesses. However, many of these events are held off school grounds and with the support of their parents. As a parent of four, I cannot imagine taking my kids to some of these shows, but we all raise our kids according to our own values. 

What images, you stupid ass.  There's no link there.  He's a Libs of Tick Tock lover so he's probably talking about some of the stuff in Canada but who knows.  He has to hold his little nose before he can speak up.  Hold his little nose and clutch his pearls -- with his sphincter? 

I used to call Cokie Roberts out for her b.s. about "as a mother."  Now we're getting Jonathan -- 61-years-old -- writing "As a parent of four . . ."  He's ridiculous.  

And one column -- one really bad column -- doesn't wipe away your bigotry.  That's all you are, Jonathan, a bigot.  Well you're a paid bigot.  There's that too.  FOX "NEWS" wouldn't keep you around if you were calling out their bigotry, would they?  

Your paid to look the other way and that's why when you're finally forced -- due to complaints online and, yes, on campus (yes, Jonathan, I know all about it) -- to talk about you frame it in such delicate and petite language.

As a parent . . . 

Just stop pretending.  We know you're a paid whore.  FOX "NEWS" owns you.  It's destroyed your reputation and it's destroying your academic career.  When you're standing looking around at the ruins of your life, hope you still think it was worth it because this isn't over, Jonathan.  It's just beginning.

And there's also the failure of Jonathan to uphold his position at the university.  Again, from C.I.:

Let's stay on Jonathan Turley for a moment because he came up in a Zoom yesterday and I made a point that I didn't realize wasn't well known.  It goes to how outrageous his transphobia has been.  I was talking about how disgraceful that this person holding the Shapiro Chair of Public Interest Law at George Washington University had been.  A young man asked me what "public interest law" is?  That's a good question.

Public interest law is defined as anything affecting the well-being, the rights, health, or finances of the public at large, most commonly advocating for those living in poverty or marginalized populations. While it can be tireless work, and the financial rewards are not great, on campuses across the country, the desire to “give back” is growing.

Jonathan holds the chair and spends all of his time obsessing over millionaire Donald Trump.  In the last 12 months, he's only offered one defense (and that was last week and only because his image of a transphobe is building across the country) -- and  a weak one -- of the attacks taking place.

Books (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)




We're attempting to again increase book coverage in the community.  Marcia's  "Vincent Price and Universal" covers John L. Flynn's 75 YEARS OF UNIVERSAL MONSTERS and Vincent Price's I LIKE WHAT I KNOW: A VISUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY.  You like horror movies?

Marcia: I do.  I used to watch them growing up and that was a big deal.  This was pre-streaming, pre-DVD, pre-VCR.  You had to catch them then while they were airing or you might not see them for another year or maybe never.  It was a big deal.  These days, not so much.  In fact, Friday night, my girlfriend and I were rewatching WILL & GRACE on AMAZON -- the revival.  We were on the second season and it was when Grace's sister starts sleeping with Chelsea Handler. We watched about four or five episodes.  We had watched them when NBC was airing them.  But my point is that when we rewatched, the subplot was often new to us.  I said, "We must have been doing other things."  Meaning we had the episode on and paid attention to the main storyline but not so much to the other one.  Anyway, season two -- of the revival -- was something I found funny in real time but it was so much funnier than I remembered.  And when I was a kid, something like THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK might be on my local station on Saturday afternoon and I needed to catch it then because I might not be able to catch it later, it might not ever air again.  It was a different time.  Now you cn grab whatever whenever.  

What were your favorite horror films as a kid?

Marcia: Largely the UNIVERSAL films of the 30s and 40s and the HAMMER films of the 50s, 60s and 70s.  Specific horror films?  Anything with Vincent Price, Christopher Lee or any Dracula movie or MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE or anything -- high brow, low brow.  

You liked Vincent Price's book.

Marcia: I really did.  I recommend it strongly.  He writes in a conversational manner and you can just feel his devotion to art and his appreciation for it.  

 But you didn't care for the book about UNIVERSAL.

Marcia: No, I found it sloppy.  I really didn't care for it at all.  For example?  In the section on Frankenstein, they work up to the comedy film YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN.  Teri Garr's in that film.  But when they list the cast, they ignore her.  I ran my copy and she's the fifth billed in the credits.  So how can they mention the actors billed before her and after her?  And then later, when summarizing the plot, they provide her name but misspell it -- "Terri" not Teri.  It's Teri Garr.  These mistakes were fairly common.

You really don't like the book.

Marcia: No, I really don't.  I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.  The book's focus should have made me love it but it's so poorly written and not being able to see the pictures just made me hate it.

Before we wrap, talk about the pictures in case someone hasn't read your review.

Marcia: Sure.  There are a lot of photos in the book.  Probably stills from the films mentioned.  But I don't know that and you don't know that if you're using a digital copy like I did.  All the photos have a series of white bars over them -- horizontal bars.  You can't see the photos.  Real sloppy work. 


Previous book discussions this year:

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