Friday, December 10, 2021

The hoax

Jonathan Turley has a column about Jussie Smollett:

After all, Smollett followed a similar strategy successfully in the media for months. He knew that “facts” are whatever people want them to be. Some of us expressed skepticism over Smollett’s initial account: two Trump supporters coming upon him around 2 a.m. in Chicago on a freezing night in January 2019, and then allegedly beating him, putting a noose around his neck, pouring a chemical on him and declaring — perhaps for the first time in history — that Chicago is “MAGA country.” Making this even more bizarre was that the spontaneous attack occurred shortly after Smollett was the target of a racist letter threatening to lynch him — a letter that prosecutors believe he wrote.

None of that mattered, though, because Smollett knew his audience. Vice President Kamala Harris, then a U.S. senator, denounced what happened as an “attempted modern-day lynching.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said it was a “homophobic attack and an affront to our humanity.” In a fawning interview, ABC’s Robin Roberts described Smollett as “bruised but not broken” and breathlessly concluded the segment with “Beautiful, thank you, Jussie.”

Even when evidence mounted that this was a hoax, some media figures lashed out at Smollett’s doubters. ABC’s “The Talk” host Sara Gilbert was irate: “I find so personally offensive that a gay Black man is targeted and then suddenly he becomes the victim of people’s disbelief.”

Smollett’s attack was simply one of those “facts too good to check.” It made more sense to assume there are roaming bands of MAGA-hatted Trump supporters attacking Black people on Chicago’s streets. 

The verdict came in after the column went up.  Stan covered it with "The verdict is in."  Smollett has been found guilty.  All that's left now is the sentencing.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, December 9, 2021.  A lot of boos and hisses to offer but Joe Biden does get some praise.

Margaret Kimberley has a reTweeted a video of Hillary Clinton.  As ususal, Hillary has nothing to offer.  Among other things, she's being her whiney self and she's offering this crap, "If you don't want to support Democrats then go somewhere else."  Youre not your husband, Hillary.  You don't know how to get votes.  Which is why you never made it into the White House and now you never will. 

Going into the mid-terms, Democrats are going to need all the votes they can get.  That's based on current polling, yes.   It's also based on history.  And this is how she's helping the Democratic Party?

Maybe it's time 'the Goldwarter girl' went somewhere else?  Having lied over and over about Russia-gate.  Having lied about her campaign's connection to the made up Steele dossier.  She has no shame.  She should be getting honest with the American people.

But she can't get honest and, honestly, it's really too late.  Or to put it into language she would understand: "What difference, at this point, does it make?"  

None.  She's a loser.  Mike Dukakis and other losers knew to go away.  Hillary doesn't know how to. 

Margaret also notes Hillarys teaching a 'master class.'

In what?

How to be a doormat with a spouse who never stops cheating on you?  How to lie to the world for him?  How to hate yourself so much that you will trash the women he sleeps with but never him?  

She's pathetic and she's a loser.  She's not a face of strength.  Shes not a face of feminism.

Not only did she choose that for her personal life, she encouraged it in her work life.  One man after another was rewarded by her for his bad behaviors.  

She's just an embarrassment.  Remember her podcast? YOU AND ME BOTH?  She's on hiatus.  Does that mean no one was listening?  She couldn't even do one every month when she was making the podcast.  But she wants you to know, season two is just around the corner.

She's annoying, she's polarizing and she lied to the Amreican people over and over about Russia-gate.


Because she can't accept the fact that she lost.  Because she can't accept just how ugly she is to the American people.  

She's the racist, after all, who tried to derail Barack Obama's ascension to the top.  That's how she allowed herself to be portrayed in 2008 and then, eight years later, she thinks she can win the presidency?  

Bernie Sanders didnt hurt her in 2016.  She hurt herself by not running a real race.  She wanted to be Barack -- to outdo him -- and make it all about celebrity.  And it didn't work.  And her being too lazy to drag her fat ass to needed states is why she lost.  As is her failure, over eight years, to do anything to dispeal the charges of racism that Barack's campaign made about her over and over throughout 2008.

What she needed in 2016?  Votes that she didn't get.

And now the same idiot is on video declaring, ahead of the mid-terms, "If you don't want to support Democrats than go somewhere else."  

She is an idiot when it comes to turning out the vote and now she's harming others with her statements.  She needs to go away.  America's had enough of her.  She had a failed run for the presidency -- she lost to Donal Trump who had no political experience which goes to what a failure Hillary was in 2016.  ANd she wanted to run against him, which goes how to stupid she is.

She has no wisdom to share.  I get it, she can't just hang around the house, waiting for Bill to show up after he's had sex with this or that woman.

And on that, why are we paying Secret Service members to Break the law.

Now in Bill's case, as far as I know, they's just covering up for his affairs.  But we know from e-mails that Hunter Biden's detail was aware of Hunter's drug use and of his use of prositutes.

Why did our tax dollars go to hiding his crimes?

The Secret Service became accomplices to prostitution and drug purchases.  That shouldn't be allowed and should promotE an investigation into how the Secret Service is really used.

It's disgusting.  Our tasx dollars are paying the Secret Service to take part in breaking the law.  Disgusting.

In her latest column at BLACK AGENDA REPORT, Margaret Kimberley notes:

What about the Supreme Court?” Those words are used to thwart any discussion which questions support for the Democratic Party. The democrats maintain their hold on voters who would otherwise be rid of them by dredging up the fear of the federal judiciary falling under Republican Party control. The legal right to abortion is one of the issues used to keep millions of people from leaving the democrats once and for all. 

After decades of democrats’ corruption, inaction, and lies, the right to abortion is indeed at risk. The majority of Supreme Court justices are republican appointees.  They may uphold a Mississippi law which severely restricts abortion access or even overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which declared a constitutional right to abortion. The boogeyman of right wing judicial control is now real and the democrats have only themselves to blame. Unfortunately, most of their voters still go along with their faux outrage when they should be questioning the whole rotten apparatus.

The democratic party is called a “big tent” which includes corporate interests, wealthy funders, well funded think tanks, elite academia, and left leaning voters. Black people are the constituency they depend upon the most, although one would never know that by looking at the policies the democrats hold near and dear. 

Black voters in particular are caught in a trap, seeing themselves as powerless to do anything except keep republicans out of office. The openly white supremacist nature of the republicans is not met with any opposition by the party that fails to fight for them. Instead fear mongering and betrayal of their most loyal voters are their favorite means of getting support. The political duopoly are like fake heroes and fake villains in professional wrestling. The differences are all for show.

The bloom was off the rose in 2016 after the hope and change promised by Barack Obama was revealed to be nothing more than neo-liberal business as usual. Many democrats were disgusted when the primaries were rigged against Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton’s “pied piper strategy” amplified Donald Trump, and the combination of miscalculation and hubris gave him the electoral college votes needed to win and to make lifetime judicial appointments.

Hillary Clinton was so sure she would defeat Trump that she chose senator Tim Kaine as her running mate. Kaine is one who straddles the fence claiming he is personally opposed to abortion because he is a Catholic while claiming he would defend Roe v. Wade. Clinton herself foolishly sought to portray herself as being ambivalent about abortion, thinking she would get support from some conservative voters. Of course real conservatives were in love with Donald Trump. So-called moderate republicans voted for him too. Hillary’s efforts to be as slick as Bill Clinton were laughable and her sad attempt at Clintonian triangulation led to Trump’s victory.

Democrats don’t like to mention that Ruth Bader Ginsburg should have stepped down when Barack Obama asked her. He also didn’t fight for his nominee Merrick Garland because he assumed that a president Hillary Clinton would have her choices. The miscalculations are guarded like a shameful family secret lest left leaning democrats question the cult leadership and head for the exits.

Hillary supported the Iraq War.  And when pressed on it in her 2008 and 2016's campaigns, she barked and snarled and never took accountability.

As Secretary of State, she ignored friends who begged her to help Iraqi women. She refused to even note their suffering.  She gave a major speech about women all over the world and gave examples from one country after another but ignored Iraq -- refused to include it even when a friend of 40 years begged her to do so.  That's Hillary Clinton.  That's the real Hillary.

Reality is in short supply.  In fact, liars are having a hard time keeping their lies straight.

Such as?  How about the Iraqi government (and the media)?

ALJAZEERA does a better job than most by noting the claims as claims:

The United States-led coalition’s combat mission countering ISIL (ISIS) in Iraq has officially ended, according to Iraq’s national security adviser.

The announcement on Thursday by Qassim al-Araji followed the final round of technical talks in Iraq’s capital to formally transition the combat mission to an advisory mission to assist Iraqi forces.

[. . .]

The US did not immediately confirm the end of the combat mission, although Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday that Washington would “uphold our commitments, including that there will be no US forces with a combat role by the end of the year”.

Did it end or didn't it?

According to Caitlin Doornbos (STARS AND STRIPES), it iddn't end:

The U.S. is expected to carry out its commitment to end its combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year, chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday.

President Joe Biden in July pledged to remove all U.S. troops with a combat role from Iraq by 2022 as part of an agreement with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. At the time, there were about 2,500 troops in Iraq targeting Islamic State fighters. 

It's just semantic.  They're back to pretending that combat isn't combat.  But they can't even get their lies straight.  Of course, the media's never felt the need to be bound by truth when covering Iraq.

Joe Biden could pull all US troops out of Iraq.  He's not doing that and he most likely won't.  

But he does keep the war industry happy.  Sarah Lazare (IN THESE TIMES) reports:

A weapons industry trade group that represents companies including Lockheed Martin and Raytheon is thrilled about President Joe Biden’s nominee for the role of lead weapons buyer for the U.S. military. In a statement released November 30, Arnold Punaro, board chairman of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), which calls itself a trade association for the defense industrial base,” proclaimed that the president made the superb choice of nominating Dr. Bill LaPlante to be the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment.”

LaPlante is being poached directly from the military industry that is praising him, which he entered after serving in an acquisitions role under the Obama administration, where he was known for shepherding through major (and controversial) programs, such as the acquisition of the F‑35 fighter jet.

By moving from government to industry, then back to government (should the Senate confirm him), all while the weapons industry cheers, LaPlante has spun through a well-trodden revolving door — a career trajectory that is entirely routine, but nonetheless scandalous. 

In a November 30 White House statement, President Biden praised LaPlante as a seasoned national security leader with nearly four decades of experience in acquisition, technology, sustainment and the defense industrial base.” The president is nominating LaPlante for the role of Under Secretary for Acquisition and Sustainment at the Department of Defense, which has been vacant since Ellen Lord stepped down from the position in January.

LaPlante is currently the president and chief executive officer of Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, a contractor for the U.S. military, where he has served since 2020. As recently as November 2, the company announced that it has been selected by the U.S. Air Force as one of 55 contractors on a digital engineering contract that aims to increase the service’s ability to work on digital designs of its future platforms.” The price tag is massive, potentially amounting to $46 billion over 11 years, according to the company.

This is just one of numerous contracts with the U.S. military held by Charles Stark Draper Laboratory. The most recent one was announced just 13 days before Biden announced the nomination of LaPlante.

I thought I was going to have some kind words for Joe Biden in today's snapshot and maybe I can still.  It's the news of one of his nominees.  She's CIA and that's depressing as hell.   To me --  to others, it may be a reason to be thrilled.   But she's a she.

This is not 'Rally around the women!'  This is not 'gender trumps all.'  I would have preferred a female nominee with a different background.  But I don't want to act like Joe's nomination of Alina Romanowski is nothing.  She's been the Ambassador to Kenya so she's an easy sail through the nomination process.  Again, I don't care for her background.

But I will give Joe credit.   And I don't mean that in a backhanded way or in a "I guess . . ."

This is significant and I will say it's a good move.  

We've been noting for years now the symoblic value and its meaning in Iraq..  The US destroyed women's rights in Iraq.  A woman in a position of power in Iraq helps Iraqi women.  I don't mean that Alina Romanowski will improve the lives of women with her actions.  I have no idea whether she will or not -- her background does not make me hopeful.

But women in Iraq have had their opportunities and rights reversed thanks to the US government -- both due to the US led war and due to the people the US put in charge.  Iraqi women have fought back and showed great strength.  

A woman in a leadership role is something that forces Iraqis who do not believe in equality to deal with women, a woman in a leadership role shows the children of Iraq that everyone can be a leader.  

Again, she's not my choice.  She will most likely be confirmed (if you've been confirmed for a previous post and not had a scandal, you generally sail through the process) and hopefully she'll do a fine job and prove me wrong to have been concrned.  But whether she does or not, the fact that a woman is in that post has symbolic value.  

Joe deserves credit for this.

As noted before Barack became president, we met with the incoming administration -- Ava and I -- to argue for a woman to be named US Ambassador to Iraq.  It did not happen.  Barack nominated six people for the post in his eight years (five were confirmed).  He couldn't -- in his mind -- find a qualified woman.  Joe's the first one since the 2003 invasion to be able to find a woman he thought was qualified.  (I did not lobby JJoe on this or anyone in his administration.  I'd honestly given up hope that it would happen.)  So he deserves credit for that.

It was a good move and I will applaud Joe for making it.

The following sites updated:

  • Wednesday, December 08, 2021

    Ava and C.I. on Jussie Smollett and ANNIE LIVE!

     "Media: The stupid and the liars choose to serve corporations, not people" (Ava and C.I., THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW):

    But for now, let's stay with NBC.  Last Thursday, they set a new record for live productions of a play -- a musical in fact.  ANNIE LIVE! wasn't just a bomb, it was a huge bomb.  This was supposed to be holiday fare.  This was supposed to be event-TV.  It wasn't.  Viewers tuned out. Of this genre -- the winter holiday musical, nine other previous 'events' beat it out.  And not just Carrie Underwood's SOUND OF MUSIC.  No, no, no.  Also getting higher ratings?  2015's THE WIZ, 2019's LITTLE MERMAID, 2014's PETER PAN LIVE, 2017's HAIRSPRAY LIVE, 2018's JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR LIVE, 2016's THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW and, yes, even 2016's THE PASSION.  

    It was a bomb of epic proportions.

    We don't blame Megan Hilty for that (Megan replaced Jane Krakowski at the last minute because Jane had COVID 19).  We do blame NBC for casting Harry Connick Jr. and Taraji P. Henson.  The broadcast might have survived one but not both.  The point is to cast a wide net with these specials.  You want to attract as many viewers as possible -- it's supposed to be 'event TV' -- meaning wide appeal.  

    Harry alone in the cast might have been okay -- with a normal cast.  Yes, some would have avoided him because of his father -- and Harry Sr.'s actions regarding JFK are known a lot more widely than when Junior was playing Leo.  But, hopefully, a well liked cast could have made up for any loss he caused.  But they also cast Taraji.  And fate just wasn't having it.  

    Taraji used to be a respected actress.  Her many bad films changed that.  And her lying, as she promoted PROUD MARY, that she was going to be a big movie star even if this film failed because she had so many more coming out.  She did have many more coming out.  But they weren't hits either: ACRIMONY, WHAT MEN WANT and THE BEST OF ENEMIES.  They all bombed.  And don't pretend WMW was a hit.  It wasn't.  US studios do not get 100% of ticket sales to begin with -- and that's in North America.  When you look at overseas, you are looking at even more money not going to the studio.  We are so sick of idiots who comment on box office and claim that something was a hit for the studio because it made $17 million overseas.  Yes, the studio got some money.  It didn't get as much as if were money raised in North American theaters -- and even then, the studios do not get 100% of ticket sales.  

    Taraji's back to supporting roles in TV films.  She never became a film star.  She had too many flops and then came the scandal with EMPIRE.

    For those who don't remember, Taraji backed Jussie Smollett.  Even after the truth was known.  Even after the show was cancelled and off the air.  And she said damaging things about people who did not believe Jussie.  Of course, we all know now that Jussie lied.

    Jussie is a con artist.  

    And NBC wanted to cast Taraji as a big name for a family event and thought people would tune in?

    Stupid.  Stupid.  Stupid.

    Fate doesn't seem to like NBC much so Fate slapped the network across the face.  Meaning?  Nightmare Taraji appeared at the end of last week, the week that saw Jussie finally go back on trial.  


    Jussie Smollett?  A good actor, but not good enough to pull of his con.


    Jussie was going to Subway for a sandwich and let's just go to Dave Chappelle because everyone knows he put it in perspective better than anyone else.




     So Jussie was, per Jussie, attacked by two White men who wore MAGA (Make America Great Again) hats, statements, racist statements, homophobic statements, poured bleach on him and put a rope around his neck.  

    He did not know his assailants, he insisted.  

    The people?  He told them he was "the gay Tupac."  And then he went on ABC's GOOD MORNING AMERICA as BBC NEWS notes:


    He suggests the alleged attackers were white, saying: "If I had said [the attackers] was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more."

    On his refusal to hand over his phone, he says: "I have private pictures and videos and numbers... my private emails, my private songs, my private voice memos."

    And speaking through tears, he says gay people should "learn to fight" these kinds of attacks.


    There was a lot of drama.  He got a lot of support.  Most of that support, we don't attack or even criticize.  Yes, he was lying.  But people didn't know that.  And if they gave support, good for them.  It doesn't make them worse people for wanting to support someone they believed had been harmed.


     But then there were the others.  Remember them?  The ones who wanted to go beyond support and instead use the alleged incident to advance their own agendas.  Remember them?

    We remember a performer going on THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT to cry and moan and talk of fear over the attack on Jussie -- while also promoting their new NETFLIX show -- was something to see -- if you like daytime TV on late night.  The performer wanted to toss out support to victim Jussie and to make it clear how it happened:

    Connect the dots.  This is what happens.  If you are in a position of power and you hate people and and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career trying to cause suffering, what do you think is going to happen?  Kids are going to be abused and they're going to kill themselves and people are going to be beaten on the street. 

    If we'd been that stupid, we might have had to change our names too.  Fortunately, Elliot Page had other reasons to change his name. 

    A lot of people should have distanced themselves from Jussie.

    Not Taraji.  She just dug in deeper.  And when it turned out that the 'assailants' were two brothers who worked on EMPIRE?  She still stuck with Jussie.  When it turned out that they were Nigerian with deep accents?  She still stuck with Jussie.

    She and others didn't get how damaging that was.  It destroyed EMPIRE.   EMPIRE ended 2018 with five million viewers.  January 31, 2019 Jussie claims he was assaulted.  The series returns from its December 2018 cliffhanger on March 13, 2019 with about half a million less viewers.  It continues to bleed viewers and ends up with the lowest season finale ever . . . until the next season.  As Taraji continues to support Jussie, viewers are disgusted.  The show is limping along.  It starts off the season with an all time low of 3 million.  17 new episodes follow and that low 3 million starts looking a lot better as the show starts dipping more and ends up getting less than 3 million viewers an episode.  (The all time low for that season?  1.89 million viewers.) 


    He's a known liar and Taraji's sticking with him -- hiking with him -- lying for him.

    What Taraji and other idiots trying to defend him didn't get -- Angela Y. Davis, we're looking at you when we say other idiots?  Jussie's hoax was a con.  And that was bad enough.  That's Sister Aimee Semple McPherson territory.  Jussie didn't just appear on EMPIRE.  He played Jamal.  That was the heart and soul of the family.  He was the one who believed in right and wrong.  If this had been 'crazy' Andre, fans might have blown the scandal off.  But Jussie played the character we were all supposed to trust.  And no one with the show seemed to get how much his con hurt the viewers, the fans.  And Taraji's nonsense may have appealed to a few of the viewers who stuck with the show to the end.  But all those viewers who had vanished?  They were done with her.

    And this is who NBC heavily promotes in the commercials for ANNIE LIVE!?  

    This would have been a hard sell during a good week but last week wasn't a good week.  No, last week was when Jussie went back on trial.  And the media was already covering it before his attorney pulled a stunt.  From Jonathan Turley's commentary:


    If you thought that Smollett case could not get more bizarre, think again. CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller is reporting that defense attorney Tamara Walker had a sidebar conversation with attorneys from both sides and Cook County Judge James Linn. She reportedly accused Judge Linn of some improper comment and then said that he lunged at her in the courtroom.  She was crying during the sidebar.  Another Smollett attorney accused Linn of snarling and making faces during the trial. In thirty years of practice as a criminal defense attorney, I have never heard of such allegations in a criminal trial.

    The demand for a mistrial was rejected.

    In a case where the defendant is accused of manufacturing a bizarre alleged attack, the allegation of a judge lunging at his counsel seems weirdly consistent.  There is no indication if there is proof of such threatening act or the alleged faces being made from the bench.

    [. . .]

    If a judge lunged at counsel and has been making faces from the bench, I would expect an emergency motion and possible appeal. Such a demand for recusal of a judge who is allegedly lunging at counsel would not ordinarily ended with a simple sidebar.

    Jussie is a joke and NBC's an idiot for putting Taraji in ANNIE LIVE!  Even FOX knows that they can't do the EMPIRE spin-off around Cookie.  They'd hoped to be able to but the negatives around Taraji are now too strong to make her a series lead.  She might be able to be put in a cast -- in a non-leading role -- of people who are well liked and not harm the ratings but, as the lead, she's ratings poison.  

    They wrote a mammoth piece.  It covers so much  Even highlighting the above and what I excerpted yesterday, that still doesn't convey the scope of the piece.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

    Tuesday, December 7, 2021.  Oh, JACOBIN.  THat really covers it all.

    Garbage.  That's what Julia Rock and David Sirota have written at JACOBINTrina texted me about it yesterday.  I thought she meant to highlight it in the snapshot here and was all for it.  Then I read it and called her and we were both appalled by the article.

    It's about inflation.  David and Julia are correct to note that inflation media stories do not note the gross inflation of executives salaries during the pandemic.  They would've been wise to have built an article around that.

    In terms of real people?  They write like they know none.  Inflation's just an illusion, they insist, and its the normal reaction people have to increased prices while forgetting that their own wages have increased.  Huh?

    Were you stoned?

    Did you write garbage like this when you were stoned:

    But the bottom 60 percent of earners have more money in their pockets than they did pre-pandemic, even after accounting for inflation, when wage increases and government programs like COVID relief checks and the Child Tax Credit are included. That spending successfully cut poverty nearly in half.

    David and Julie, come over here, it's the real world.

    I have no idea why it took two people to write such stupdiity.  Maybe you're writing for 'the creative class'?  I have no idea but if you thought that was going to connect with workers, you obviously don't interact with any.  Maybe that's the point?  Maybe JACOBIN fancies itself as a publication for the upscale?

    I have no idea.  But you can't count COVID relief checks as increased wages.  The last one was months ago and it was the one Donald Trump pushed through (but Nancy Pelosi wouldn't allow to go out until Joe Biden had been sworn in as president).  Those weren't about increased wages, you idiuots.  Those were about easing suffering and pacifying a confused nation.  We needed a UBI but all we got were crappy stimulus checks.  And, now, thanks to you two, those crappy stimula checks will be portrayed as a 'wage increase.'

    I don't get how this article came about.

    Is this your effort to try to protect Joe Biden and his big spending bills -- that really don't do anything, by the way?

    I'd really like it if we could have honest reporting.  I'd like it if the needs of the people could come ahead of the wants and spin of a political party.  I'm not here to pimp Joe Biden or his policies.  I'm not here to do that for any political party.  I'm not a whore.  I'm reading over David and Julia's piece and my mouth just gapes wide in wonder.

    Let's just deal with that nonsense about a wage increase (based on stimulus checks! and a tax credit!).  That's going to lead to so much garbage.  The same sort of garbage we have of "People just don't want to work" and "the government paid them too much and that's why they don't want to work."

    No, some people don't want to work because wages are low paying and respect on the job is non-existent.  I'd love, for example, for David and Julia to do a report on how many workers feel they deal with an office bully each day -- usually some middle management jerk.  Bill Clinton gutted the safety net -- and bragged about it.  It was racism and it was stupidity.  And we're never going to rebuild that until we move beyond media lies of lazy people who don't want to work.

    Lousy jobs.  That's what you've got.  Lousy jobs where people are treated like dirt and the pandemic showed them that they didn't have to put up with it.  They could live on a smaller budget, some learned.  Others didn't have the choice to 'learn' because they just had to cope.  This especialy includes caregivers -- predominately women, but not just women -- who had to take on additional resposnsibilites due to the pandemic.

    Now these aren't 'sexy' storeis for the press and, of course, anytime a story involves women, the US press is even less interested.  

    I don't know why JACOBIN can't cover things like that.  I don't know how they see promoting a baseless lie that the discontinued stimulus checks were an increase in wages as being helpful.  

    Most people, for example, don't get a raise in 2020 but lose it in 20021 while doing the exact same job.

    I was all prepared to quote from the article and to praise it.  The headline alone made it seem important.  But I read it and it's garbage.  David and Julia probably think they made their case very well but they didn't.  They've created a springboard for right-wing talking points which will hurt workers for some time to come.  

    And David and Julia need to start interacting with people -- and that's not Emily's constituents at political events.  

    We're just doing Zooms now because of the pandemic.  But we had more than enough encounters via that with real people to see what was going to go down in Virginia.  The inflation issue is not minor and it's not something in people's heads.  They see the increases, yes.  They also feel them in their pockets.  Milk has gone up, everything's going up.  If you can't acknowledge that (a) this is happening and that (b) the poor and the working poor are especially hard hit, I don't know why you're writing for a Socialist -- or psuedo Socialist -- publication.  Marx said, "Workers of the world unite!"  JACOBIN appears to be saying, "Workers of the world build us a staging platform and let us know when you're done."  They want a movement but there's clearly a first class in their desired movement and a coach or workers' class for everyone else.  

    To call the piece tone deaf is letting it off too easy.  Again, this is a piece that will launch a million and one right-wing talking points.  Many of those talking points?  They'll begin with, "Even Democratic Socialist JACOBIN admits that workers wages have increased . . ."  And these arguments will be used to weasel out of government obligations and to ensure that the US does not provide any other stimulus checks, let alone the needed UBI.

    Everyone wants to act puzzled by what has taken place socially.  There's no puzzle to it.  What's going on is a reset and, like previous ones, it's caused by a demographic bulge.  The much maligned millenials are rather earnest, yes.  But that's how it always is.  That's how the younger generation was seen in the sixties, for example.  Societal change, when it comes, usually succeeds because of the young.  They're raised on the belieft of doing the right thing and they haven't yet been worn down to desperate whores who'll say, "Who cares if he raped a woman" or whatever.  They're not going to accept marching orders.  They beilieve in values and equality.  And they still believe the system can work.  They take those beliefs and they go up against the system and we get change.

    Demography is one of the least understood aspects of change when it comes to political theory.  But it's one of the most easily predicted.  Time and again, it impacts the market first, this bulge in the population.  And then, as the young people age into adults, it impacts the system itself.

    Maybe if people grasped that, they'd spend less time knocking young people and less time offering garbage like David and Julia have?  Instead, they could direct their energy towards what was possible in the brief time before the bulge gets worn down like all the ones that came before?

    And maybe they could address that what's actually increased, per labor figures and stastistics, is the amount of work that workers are doing each week.  More work and no real increase in wages.  Seems like that's a story JACOBIN could and should be covering.

    I don't dislike David.  I like Emily.  I have been really glad to be able to praise David in the last years.  It's a huge improvement over our past relationship -- e-mails threatening to sue me -- but I'm not going to be silent right now.  This is a very bad article.  I'm sure it was not intended to be.  But it is what it is.  And I'm not going to praise it and I'm certainly not going to be afraid to call it out.  It needs to be called out loudly.  

    Let's note this from Hamilton Noah's piece at IN THESE TIMES:

    People who view the world through the lens of electoral politics don’t tend to like the phrase Which side are you on?” It is seen as unsophisticated, simplistic — a black-and-white view of a political reality in which compromise is the path to getting anything done. But the phrase has great utility. It acknowledges that there are sides, and that you have to be on one of them. Organized labor is about power. Power concedes nothing without a fight. Compromise is fine, as long as everyone can tell — without looking too hard — which side you are working for. 

    A year into full Democratic control of the federal government, and a year out from the likely end of that happy arrangement, is a useful time to consider what the labor movement has gotten out of this ostensibly ideal situation. Have we gotten the PRO Act, the number one thing that labor wants and needs? No. Nor will we, until the filibuster is gone. In fairness, only a minority of Congressional Democrats are holding this legislation back, a result of the fact that the Democratic Party is not one unified thing, but a very loose collection of many disparate things united only by our nation’s poor two-party design. It is fair, however, to look at what the Democrats are doing from the very top — where the agenda is set, and where symbolism matters. 

    The reason the PRO Act is so important is that it is not an easy time for unions in America. The law is tilted against them. Major victories are rare. Inspiration is at a premium. Democrats claim to understand this. During the pandemic-wracked year of 2020, there was no more important or inspiring union story than the effort to unionize an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. It represented an attempt to crack the most influential and powerful (and anti-union) company in the nation, where the battle to organize workers will have ripple effects on what the future of work looks like across the country in decades to come. Though the union lost that election, the company cheated, and another election will be held. In the fight to unionize Amazon, everyone must be on a side. 

    Last week, we learned that former President Barack Obama’s foundation has accepted a $100 million donation from Amazon boss Jeff Bezos. It is a trifling sum for Bezos, who has made more than $100 billion while doing everything possible to ensure that his hundreds of thousands of workers are unable to organize to improve their own lives. The donation was reportedly arranged by Jay Carney, Obama’s former press secretary, who is now Amazon’s spokesman, and who spoke out against the union drive in Alabama. Bezos specifically asked that the donation be earmarked to build a plaza in honor of recently deceased Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis. 

    John Lewis was a strong and active supporter of unions. Imagine how meaningful it would have been if Barack Obama had publicly supported the Amazon union drive in Alabama. He didn’t, though. But he will have a plaza” paid for by the guy who has become richer than Rockefeller by crushing Amazon workers. I hope that plaza will be spacious enough for John Lewis to roll over in his grave. Thank you for your leadership, Obama. 

    That's reality.  It's in short supply at JACOBIN this week.  They're also promoting Liza Featherstone's deeply misguided defense of the 'canon.'  And, Liza, I don't know that I'd called young right-wingers "little s**ts" in the same article where I went on about how the books of Aristotle and Shakespeare must be read.  No, we're not just talking personal taste here (I've never had the Eurocentric devotion to William Shakespeare), we're also talking about the fact that neither wrote boos.  Shakespeare wrote plays, dear, and Aristotle delivered lectures.  It's a quibble but so is dismissing some young people as "sh**ts."    

    Iraq?  ISIS is back or 'back.'  I guess it's shocking if you were stupid enough to believe ISIS was ever defeated in Iraq.  It never was and we noted that over and over in the last years.  ISIS lost territory.  BIg deal.  A terrorist organization is suppoed to promote and conduct terror.  It's not supposed to govern.  (Although we could have a lively discussion about governments who terrorize their own citizens -- not to mention the citizens of other countries.)  ISIS losing control of Mosul was not a defeat.  

    And ISIS has continued to be active.  As they reach for reasons to argue US troops need to stay in Iraq, the US press is rediscovering ISIS and treating the Basra motorcycle bombing as a major event.  Even quoting from slumlord Moqtada al-Sadr.  Hopefully outgoing President Barhim Saleh is making noises about how this is a threat to Iraq's society.  Really?  I think corruption is a bigger threat and I think there are about six other factors that are more threatening.

    In fact, ISIS benefits from these factors.  But Saleh won't address that right now.  Though it was only weeks ago that he was making similar statements.  

    Let's wind down with this announcement by Iraq War veteran Patrick Murphy:




    If you are in the Washington, DC area this Wednesday evening, I hope you'll consider joining me at the largest pre-Army/Navy Game event on Capitol Hill. Together with Senator Patty Murray, Congressmen Tim Ryan, Jimmy Panetta, Mike Thompson, and many more veteran leaders in Washington, we will be celebrating our work to support and elect veterans and military family members of integrity to Congress.

    The Army/Navy Game is about more than just football. It's about coming together to recognize that, even though we come from different places, and even though we wear different uniforms or perform different tasks in service, we have all sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. The Army/Navy Game is a reminder that we serve something larger than ourselves.
    At Taking the Hill, we believe Congress should be made up of people who believe in serving something larger than themselves, too. That's why we fight so hard for our veteran candidates and members of Congress.
    If you're around on Wednesday evening, we'd love to have you. RSVP for your ticket by clicking here. Even if you can't make it, we'd love to have your support with a contribution today.
    Thank you for supporting those who serve our country. See you soon.
    Beat Navy,
    Hon. Patrick J. Murphy
    32nd Under Secretary of the Army
    Former Congressman (PA-01)

    The following sites updated:

    Tuesday, December 07, 2021

    Ava and C.I. on Oliver Stone and Jonathan Turley on Loki

    "Media: The stupid and the liars choose to serve corporations, not people" (Ava and C.I., THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW): 

    We think it's sad news that Oliver Stone has had to revisit the assassination of JFK.  It's sad but telling -- and most telling on our media.

    58 years ago, then-President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.  The American people didn't buy the whitewash of The Warren Commission or it's 'expert; staff which included Gerald Ford (later a US president -- an unelected US president) and Arlen Specter (later a US senator).  A lot of people got 'lucky' or paid off because of how they responded to the assassination.  Lie -- like Ford and Specter -- and you or your children have a career -- Dan Rather, Ethan Hawke (are we really going to be the only ones to point out Ethan's connection?), Harry Connick Jr.,  Cokie Roberts . . . 

    There were people and outlets who questioned the nonsense in real time -- Jim Garrison, Mark Lane,  and both Mort Sahl and Woody Allen made ridiculing The Warren Commission part of their stand up acts.   But the establishment managed to stifle a robust discussion by (a) ignoring it and (b) ridiculing it when they had to acknowledge it.  And those who stifle a robust discussion get rewarded.  Even by the 'left.'  Last year, RISING elected to invite on plastic surgery freak Gerald Posner.  Gerald dismissed any questions about the assassination in CASE CLOSED.  Since the publication of that book, turns out that Posner isn't just a freak in the mirror, he's a freak on the page.  He plagiarizes non-stop.  He got fired from THE DAILY BEAST for it.  Then, turns out, it was discovered he plagiarized in books and writings prior to joining THE DAILY BEAST.  But RISING thought he was an acceptable guest.  Lies and all, right, doesn't matter a bit.  Doesn't matter to VARIETY's Owen Gleibernman who cited the work of the plagiarist to attack Oliver's new documentary.


    We have to wonder -- and we did ask an editor we know at VARIETY -- is that now the standard for the rag?  You refute an argument by citing the work of a plagiarist?  


    And let's be clear, Owen refuted nothing.  Owen offered nothing.  He just dismissed and cited Twink-Faced-Frankenstein Gerald and added his own crackpot claims.  Such as?  Life is too damn short so we'll do one and only one:


    Speaking of the throat wound, if it was, as the documentary claims, an entrance wound, caused by a bullet coming from the grassy knoll, wouldn’t that bullet have ripped through the side of Kennedy’s neck?


    As we asked our friend as VARIETY, "How stupid is this bitch?"


    He wrote that.  Owen wrote that garbage.  Took the time to type it up.  If it was a throat wound, it wouldn't have come through the side of the neck.  Has Owen ever taken his candy ass to Dallas?  Has he been to Dealey Plaza?  We asked community members Sabina and Dallas to each go there Saturday and stand in the approximate place where JFK was shot.  


    Now, per The National Archives, JFK was shot at three times.  The first shot missed.  Shots two and three struck.  As we already knew before we looked at the photos that Sabina and Dallas sent us, the Grassy Knoll is in front of where shots two and third struck.  Or, if Own prefers, "Front and to the side, front and to the side."  (If you suffered through his piece, you got our joke there.)  The car was not parallel to the Grassy Knoll when shots two and three were fired.  


    Maybe it's not just the stupid and the liars.  Maybe in the case of Owen Gleibernman it's possible to be both someone who gets it wrong because their stupid and also because they're a liar.

    You know what?  I may end up highlighting from Ava and C.I.'s piece all week.  I will absolutely be highlighting from the section on the Beatles.  They wrote a mammoth piece.  In fact, let me do a word count on it.

    5,652 -- that's how many words are in their article.

    They are covering so much.  It's a really important piece.  Please read it. 

    Jonathan Turley:

    The pandemic now seems to have reached the mythic level of gods who once were blamed for everything that went wrong in life. Africans had Anansi the Spider, while the Norse had the trickster Loki. Both were known to assume different identities to wreak disorder or steal precious things.

    For politicians, it is useful to have a lurking Loki to explain that social problems are not really of their making, the result of their failures. The Loki factor was evident in the press conference this week when Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked about the rising lawlessness seen in major cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles: “Does the president still think that crime is up because of the pandemic?” White House press secretary Jen Psaki replied that “many people have conveyed that.”

    Doocy persisted: “So when a huge group of criminals organizes themselves and they want to go loot a store — a CVS, a Nordstrom, a Home Depot until the shelves are clean — do you think that’s because of the pandemic?” Psaki replied: “I think a root cause in a lot of communities is the pandemic, yes.”

    That damned Loki.

    It's amazing how Jen Psaki can flat out lie and distort reality and get away with it and she's not the only one. 

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

    Monday, December 6, 2021.  The western press ignored Sulaymaniyah and that says a great deal about the western press.

    Sulaymaniyah?  It's a city in Iraq.  In 1968, the University of Sulaymaniyah was established and it's the largest.  It has many satellites but its main campus is the largest college in the Kurdistan Region.  The second largest museum in Iraq is in Sulaymaniyah (the Baghdad's Iraq Museum is the largest museume in the country). The city has produced poets, linguists, historians, novelists, a prime minister (Ahmad Mukhtar Baban who was prime minister of Iraq in 1958) and a president of Iraq (Jalal Talabani). 

    By Iraqi standards, Sulaymaniyah is a very young city. It was founded in 1784 by Ibrahim Pasha Baban, a Kurdish prince to be the capital of his principality. Since then it has been Iraqi Kurdistan’s cultural capital and home to philosophers, poets and writers. Its importance is not limited to Iraq, but for the whole of the Kurdistan region, which also encompasses parts of Turkey, Syria and Iran.

    Slemani, as it is also known, attracted many Sorani-speaking Kurdish linguists and writers, and here Sorani literature was developed. These writers and poets are today revered with statues and busts in many parks and squares around the city.
    The local population are known for being more open-minded and tolerant than in the rest of Kurdistan, and this is something I could perceive in the few days I spent in the area. Something that surprised me in Kurdistan, especially in Slemani, is that women seem to be more independent. In the Arab world women tend to seem quieter, overshadowed by their male relatives when in public, and never start a conversation with a stranger. Here,  for the first time ever, I had local females starting a conversation with me on the street and in restaurants.
    The city is described on the Lonely Planet guide as a “cosmopolitan gem” and “a place to be discovered”. It is quite nice, I totally agree, but to me those words are an overstatement. From a visitor’s perspective, while it still has many places of interest,  I found the city short of landmarks. The heart of the city is the old town, which despite the name, looks rather modern and it is deliciously chaotic as any medina in Morocco, for inistance. The old town is dominated by a large open bazaar, which occupies several blocks. It is a market place selling mainly food, vegetables and clothes, and is buzzing from early morning to late afternoon. Right in the middle of all this is the Grand Mosque, which is open for visitors. In the area I found many small family run restaurants serving simple, tasty and inexpensive food.

    Western press, meet Sulaymaniyah.  

    An introduction appears necessary since they so often ignore the area.  Inclduing right now.  It was bad enough yesterday when the western press ignored a variety of actions taking place in the region ("Western press ignores protests, actions and murder i Sulaymaniyah").  But it's now Monday and they appear determined to pretend there's still no news value to what's taking place in Sulaymaniyah.

    For example, the protests that started yesterday.  

    The students continue their protests demanding the return of their financial allocations in #Iraq

    Those protests are being ignored -- again -- by the western press.  

    The protests continue this morning.  And so does violence against the protesters.  AL AHMAD TV reports today:

    In The Video.. Student demonstrators were run over in Sulaymaniyah. #Iraq

    What else is getting ignored in that area?   A24 reported Sunday:

    To mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, the Civil Development Organization in Sulaymaniyah launched an event to raise awareness on violence against women. The event featured women dummies lined up in the garden, who represented victims of violence. Visitors can hear their sorrowful stories through microphones attached to those dummies. According to the latest statistics, the number of victims of violence has surged despite deterrent laws. In the last 8 months, 10 women lost their lives in an honor killing.

    Why was The #MeToo movement necessary in the US?  Because women's rights are given lip service from time to time but not truly honored or recognized.  And that is reflected in what US news outlets choose to cover when they cover foreign countries.  Certainly, THE NEW YORK TIMES' go-go boys in the Green Zone, while getting really close with Iraqi women (prostitutes) elected to ignore the women of Iraq in print.  To read those early year reports is to think that Iraq had no women in the whole country.  THanks for all your 'ehlp John F. Burns and Dexy.  Will you ever attone for what you did?  Your wrok really does qualify as a journalistic crime.  

    And those crimes continue to this day.  The pattern set by the 'golden boys' continues.  So when Iraqi women fight for their rights, the western press looks the other way.  Over and over.  It's really past time that women with spaces -- coumnists like you, Michelle Goldberg -- started using your space to point out how your own outlets disappear women from the coverage.


    Women in Southern Kurdistan are subjected to domestic violence. They are subjected to physical, psychological, verbal, and economic violence by their fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons. Many women set themselves on fire to get rid of violence. Neşmik Resul, a psychologist working at a hospital in Sulaymaniyah spoke to our agency about what causes women to set themselves on fire.

    Emphasizing that the rate of women, who set themselves on fire, shows the rate of violence against women, Neşmik Resul said, “Before, we worked on survivors, women, men, and children, of self-immolation. 30% of women living in Sulaymaniyah have set themselves on fire. Some of them died before being taken to hospital. We don’t know exactly how many women and young people have set themselves on fire until now but their number is more than we know.”

    Stating that the ages of women, who set themselves on fire, are between 14-35, Neşmil Resul said, “Domestic violence and economic problems are the main reason for women to set themselves on fire. Female survivors have received psychological support at the hospital now. They tell us, ‘If there was another choice, we wouldn’t have set us on fire.’ Women set themselves on fire because they think they don’t have another choice.”

    “Female survivors are subjected to more violence”

    Mentioning that women are afraid of telling violence against them, Neşmil Resul said, “Women don’t report violence faced by them because they are afraid. Female survivors are subjected to more violence by their husbands. Women have no right to make their decision.

    “I am ready to provide psychological support to women”

    “The survivors need psychological support and I am ready to provide psychological support to them,” Neşmin Resul told us.

    These are stories that mater and they are stories that the few western outlets that bother to cover Iraq now manage to regularly miss.  

    They certainly missed a death in the region yesterday.  Khanzad Organization notes:

    With great sadness and sorrow, (Captain / Muhammad Latif), the officer at Directorate of Combating Violence against Women and the Family, was martyred last night while performing his official duties in the city of Sulaymaniyah. *

    *We, as the Khanzad Cultural and Social Organization, extend our condolences to the family of the martyr and his colleagues, hoping that similar incidents will not occur while facing the files of violence anymore.

    The participation of Khanzad Cultural and Social Organization in announcing the statement of civil society organizations regarding the martyrdom of "Captain / Muhammad Latif", an officer in the Directorate of Combating Violence against Women and the Family in Sulaymaniyah,*

    * and the injury of 3 other officers of the Directorate while carrying out their official duties. Civil society organizations submitted a memorandum of support to the Directorate of Combating Violence,

    A police officer was killed by an armed suspect while responding to a domestic violence call late Saturday in Sulaimani according to officials. Several others were injured.

    A person who was subject to a complaint clashed with police units from Sulaimani’s Directorate of Combatting Violence Against Women who were in the process of arresting him, the directorate’s media head Jamal Rasul told Rudaw following the accident.

    Police officer Mohammed Latif was killed and three others were injured, he added. The alleged suspect also set the police car on fire, Rasul noted.

    New content at THIRD: