Monday, April 03, 2017

Truest statement of the week

Yet the same US and Western media, which waged an intense propaganda campaign over civilian casualties caused by Russian air strikes against Al Qaeda positions in the Syrian city of Aleppo, has proven itself largely indifferent to the killing of Iraqi men, women and children in Mosul.
Nor for that matter have the changed “rules of engagement” enacted by the Pentagon under the Trump administration elicited any protest from its ostensible political opponents in the Democratic Party. This is because, as the Amnesty report documents, the carnage in Mosul was already well under way before Barack Obama left the White House.

-- Bill Van Auken, "US accused of war crimes in air strikes on Iraqi city of Mosul" (WSWS).

Truest statement of the week II

The managers of the US imperialist system are facing a crisis too large to reconcile. Old methods of rectification are off of the table. There will be no expansion of employment for working class whites. War has been automated. Increased military spending no longer provides economic relief for any section of the US population. The aggregate decline in the conditions of all workers in the United States reflects the crisis of the system. This crisis paved the way for a billionaire service industry magnate to become the 45th President of the United States.

-- Danny Haiphong, "No Tokens with Trump, No time for Fear: These are Revolutionary Times" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

Hey --

A Monday.

First, we 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,
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?

Bill Van Auken gets another truest.
Danny Haiphong gets a truest.
Brief and too the point re: Iraq.
ABC offers some of the least watched programming and doesn't appear overly concerned by how many viewers they drive away.  Ava and C.I. explore the topic.
The lie is that Clinton was "the most qualified candidate ever."  No.  She's not even the most qualified of the last sixty years.

The so-called resistance.
Barack, the tool of Russia!
Dona writes a solo piece to take on the ridiculous Tina Fey.
What we listened to while writing.

A repost from Great Britian's Socialist Worker.

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

See you next week!


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


. Instagram: "Remembering our unannounced trip to Iraq in 2009."

How could we forget his trip to Iraq?

It was his only trip there in eight years as president.

Barack Obama should be stripped of his laughable Nobel Peace Prize -- awarded before he did a thing.

Not that he did a thing.

He 'ended' the Iraq War in 2011 -- only to restart it.

Which, by the way, we warned you about in November of 2007 with 'NYT: "Barack Obama Will Keep Troops In Iraq"' where we took the raw transcript of a NEW YORK TIMES interview with Barack to show you how they should have written the story.  Key passage in terms of this editorial:

The senator also admitted that he was comfortable with sending troops back into Iraq after what he's terming a "withdrawal" though he wanted to split hairs on what constituted "armed force."  

And that's exactly what he did.

He restarted the Iraq War.

He was and remains King of the Fake Asses.

And until The Cult of St. Barack can call him out, they're as dishonest as the neocons who cheered on the Iraq War back in 2002.

TV: The True Deplorables

Hillary Clinton got it wrong when she referred to a group of Americans as deplorables.  But deplorables do exist and, sadly for ABC, they can often be found on TV.

Take the overly praised SPEECHLESS which stars Minnie Driver as an overbearing Brit.

SPEECHLESS is not funny enough to qualify as a sitcom.

It's riddled with "You see, Timmy" moments (see the Michael Keaton - Geena Davis film SPEECHLESS) while missing humorous beats.

Worst of all, it relies far too much on Minnie Driver whose performance is all over the map.


Well, maybe not worst of all.

Worst of all would be the ratings.

The last two new episodes (March 8th and 15th), for example, have pulled in about four million viewers.

Those same nights?  MODERN FAMILY landed over six million for each of their episodes -- episodes that aired after SPEECHLESS.

It gets worse.


Over five million viewers for both new episodes on the same night.


SPEECHLESS can't hold onto the lead in THE GOLDBERGS provides.

For 30 minutes, viewers check out each week, only to return a half hour later for MODERN FAMILY.

SPEECHLESS isn't an enjoyable show.

Nor is Minnie Driver an enjoyable actress.

She apparently uses the time she should spend trying to develop a character instead opining on Twitter.

That's where the Brit weighs in on all things Trump (she hates him) and feels its her task to influence a Congressional election in Georgia.

Again, she's British.

Is she unable to stay out of American politics?

Did no one tell her that, at best, she'd come off like a know-it-all and, at worst, a buttinsky who needs to shut the hell up?

ABC has a problem on Tuesdays as well.


THE MIDDLE is down this season.  But it's still doing better than any thirty minute show on the network other than MODERN FAMILY.  It's two episodes for the same period (March 7th and 14th) averaged six million viewers.  AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE averaged five million for the same period.

That's the good news.

FRESH OFF THE BOAT?  Three million.

And failing to make it across the finish line?  THE REAL O'NEALS less than three million an episode.

This week, ABC inserts IMAGINARY MARY into THE REAL O'NEALS spot and the issue will be ratings.

If the Jenna Elfman show succeeds in the ratings, it will be back.

The show is shaky but its raw appeal is Jenna Elfman.

The DHARMA & GREG star charmed in the otherwise hideous COURTING ALEX and she was winning in two other sitcoms ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE and 1600 PENN -- plus she did a strong dramatic turn on DAMAGES.

What's the problem with THE REAL O'NEALS?

Honestly, we don't know.

The cast is wonderful, not just Martha Plimpton, but, yes, starting with Martha.

The episodes are funny.

ABC's considering dropping the show since viewers have.

Among the things we think ABC should first consider?  Switch the show to a taped before a live audience format.  That might bring an element that's missing to the show and strengthen the comedic beats.

At ABC, the show has a few admirers among the suits and when we toss out the idea of taping before a live audience, they insist that it just needs some stronger scripts.

We disagree.

For two reasons.

First, the scripts are funny already.  (And, again, the cast is great.)

Second, better scripts aren't helping last year's deplorable.

We charted the demise of SCANDAL.

It was an ABC thriller and then Shonda Rhimes felt the way to go was to (a) be bitchy in public about a former actress and (b) be 'political' on the show.

No one watches SCANDAL for 'ripped from the headlines' stories.

All she did was run off the audience.

Thing is, the ratings are at a record low for this season, season six.

But the scripts are better, the writing is sharper and the twists and turns have returned.

They have returned, it's just the audience that hasn't.

Again, THE REAL O'NEALS doesn't need better scripts -- they are strong already.

What they need, for a third season, is something that shakes it up and makes viewers give it another chance.

What ABC needs is some solid shows.

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR is the only new one they can point to so far.  (Though DR. KEN, following LAST MAN STANDING on Fridays, does better in the ratings than every other sitcom introduced this season or last.)

About the only thing ABC really has going for it would be the fact that it's not NBC.  But at some point, law of averages, NBC has got to get its game together.  ABC needs to worry.

Hillary was not 'the most qualified candidate ever to run for president'

Who wanted her back?


To be Cokie Roberts about it, none that mattered.

But she's back.

For no good reason.

As she slithers back out of the woods, former US Vice President Joe Biden reminds what a loser Hillary Clinton actually is.  CNN reports:

"What happened was that this was the first campaign that I can recall where my party did not talk about what it always stood for -- and that was how to maintain a burgeoning middle class," Biden said during an appearance at the University of Pennsylvania. "You didn't hear a single solitary sentence in the last campaign about that guy working on the assembly line making $60,000 bucks a year and a wife making $32,000 as a hostess in restaurant."
He added: "And they are making $90,000 and they have two kids and they can't make it and they are scared, they are frightened."

For every truth uttered, one millions lies are told.  Take Susan Bordo who has a book claiming Hillary was the most qualified presidential candidate ever.

How can you lie like that and not be laughed out of academia -- even at the University of Kentucky, there must be some standards, right?

Hillary's 'qualifications'?

First Lady doesn't count for a thing.  It's a position you get because of who you married.

So that leaves us with four years as Secretary of State and eight years as a US senator (one terms, re-elected to a second but only served two years).

Most qualified candidate ever?

John F. Kennedy served in the Naval Reserves from 1941 to 1946 (during WWII).

He served six years in the US House of Representatives.

He served seven years in the US Senate.

Without even rendering a judgment on Hillary's accomplishments in elected and appointed office, she was not more qualified than John F. Kennedy.

How about Lyndon B. Johnson?

Johnson served in the Naval Reserve from 1940 to 1964.

Johnson served in the US House of Representatives from 1937 to 1949 and in the US Senate from 1949 to 1961.

Al Gore?

The 2000 Democratic Party presidential nominee had enlisted in the military in August 1969 and was discharged in May of 1971.

He served in the US Congress from 1976 to 1993 -- 17 years.

He served 8 years as vice president of the United States.

Hillary had more qualifications than Al Gore?

 No, she did not.

We could go on and on but we think we've established the point already with just three examples of more qualified past candidates: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Al Gore.

Hillary wasn't just a lousy candidate, she was also not an immensely qualified one.

She certainly was not "the most qualified candidate ever to run for president" and only ahistorical liars and idiots would make that claim.


Illustration is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Woods."

Doomed to failure

That's the laughable 'resistance' and they have no one to blame but themselves.

They embrace idiots and liars.

Rosa Brooks is such a disgrace.

First off, the Tillerson eye contact rumor has already been shot down by AP.

Second of all, Rosa's infamous for advocating for the licensing of journalists.

Third, she's accomplished nothing with her life.

Her mother -- noted anti Hillary Clinton writer Barbara Ehrenreich -- will always have NICKLED AND DIMED as a credit.


A freelance columnist for THE LOS ANGELES TIMES once upon a time.

A supposed anti-Iraq War voice who went to work for Michele Flournoy at the Defense Department.

A supposed feminist in Barack Obama's first administration who never spoke out against the sexism in the administration.

She's the resistance?

She's just another nobody who made a career for herself off the backs of her parents.

Meanwhile, it was left to her mother Barbara to note reality (in THE GUARDIAN) right before the 2016 election:

On the liberal left, tragically, we do not have Bernie Sanders, who would have dispatched Trump’s populist pretensions with a wrist flick. But no, representing the side of tolerance, good government and cosmopolitanism, we have the very epitome of Democratic party elitism, a woman who labeled half of Trump’s supporters “deplorables”, a politician who is so robotic that any efforts to analyze her motives risk the charge of anthropomorphism. Consider her statement on the Standing Rock occupation in North Dakota, which could have been issued by an unmanned typewriter. As soldiers and police bore down on the protesters, she urged all parties – tribal peoples and the pipeline company that threatens their culture and habitat – “to find a path forward that serves the broadest public interest”.

What the laughable resistance can't face is the reality that Barbara Ehrenreich "With either Clinton or Trump, we will be left to choke on our mutual revulsion."

The son also rises?

Well the untalented daughter repeatedly fails.

Tweet of the week (Iraq)

Obama's merciless attacks on Clinton's support for the Iraq war and her shameless corruption during the 08 primary... a Russian plot?

Tina Nag Hag Fey (Dona)

Tina Fey: America's Sour-Heart

Tina Fey thought the way to fund raise for the ACLU over the weekend was to attack.  Even BUSTLE was dismayed.

She attacked White women who voted for Donald Trump.

What is her job again?

Oh, right, making people laugh.

She's never been very good at that job, has she?

She starred in and steered the 30 minute show 30 ROCK for seven seasons.

Did you watch?

Probably not.

No one even watched in syndication which is why it's already disappeared across the country.

But when it was still in production, its best year was season three where, riding high on the press for her SNL Sarah Palin impression, the show hit a 'record' slot of 69.  The 69th most watched show?

That's success?

That's not even the punch line to a dirty joke.

Season six saw the series hit an all time low, the 130th most watched show on network TV.

There's a reason the show failed in syndication: It failed in original airings as well.

Tina's not a movie star.

BABY MAMA was popular but not a blockbuster.

SISTERS was even worse.  $89 million domestically in ticket sales.

She followed that up with the unfunny comedy WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT which bombed.

So she's bombed on TV and she's bombed on the big screen.

Maybe she should face reality and start attempting to do her actual job: Be funny?

On the left, we don't need her politics.

They're muddled and pro-war (and much more conservative than the few fans she has would ever guess).

And who someone votes for is really not her business.

She is responsible for her own vote, that's all.

And she has no business castigating anyone based on how they voted or if they voted.  It's honestly none of her business.

And for those on the left who don't get how conservative her politics are: She blamed women.

She called out women.

Most Trump voters were male.

But she called out women.  She blamed women.

How very 'progressive' of her.


Illustration is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Tina Fey: America's Sour-Heart."

Tweet of the week (domestic)

I’ve cosponsored H.R. 676 - Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act. Time we lift millions who have fallen thru the cracks & get them care

This edition's playlist


1)   Steve Grand's ALL AMERICAN BOY.

2) Carly Simon's SONGS FROM THE TREES.



6) Janet Jackson's UNBREAKABLE.

7) Joni Mitchell's BLUE.

8) Pretenders' ALONE.



How war created famine

This is a repost from Great Britain's SOCIALIST WORKER:

How war created famine

Famine is part of a system where access to food can be a weapon and millions can die for the profits and power of the ruling class, writes Eleanor Claxton-Mayer

Saudi airstrikes in Yemen have wreaked devastation
Saudi airstrikes in Yemen have wreaked devastation (Pic: Ibrahem Qasim)

Famine threatens 20 million people, including 1.4 million children, in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and parts of Nigeria.
The United Nations has said that £4 billion is needed to combat the immediate crisis. This sounds a large amount, but it’s what the US spends every three days on its military machine.
Famines today are not about an overall lack of food. For the world as a whole, food production per person has risen from about 2,220 calories per person per day in the early 1960s to over 2,800 in the 2000s.
People die not because the food is unavailable, but more commonly because they can’t afford to buy it.
Famine is often closely connected to war, and in the present example wars are central.
Wars destroy transport routes, make it hard to move in search of food and mean that opposing forces use food as a weapon.
Somalia in east Africa is a clear example. Three million people are at risk there and six million are malnourished. It is the third famine in 25 years.
The last one, in 2011, cost over 260,000 lives.
Drought is a factor, but the key issue is the wars fuelled by outside forces.
Somalia has been a target of the great powers ever since its independence in 1960.
Its strategic position, with close access to the oil lanes of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, means that it was a prize during the Cold War between Russia and the United States.
That intensified after Iran’s 1979 revolution removed a key US ally in the Middle East.
In the run-up to the 1991 Gulf War the leader of Sudan declared support for Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. Seven million people were on the edge of starvation but the US diverted a ship away from Sudan that was bringing 90,000 tons of wheat.
In 1992 the US invaded Somalia, using famine as a pretext. Initially welcomed, the US soon became hated.
Massacres and torture by the US-led forces made them deeply resented and eventually resistance forced a humiliating US withdrawal.
Today US troops are in Somalia again as part of their “war on terror”, fighting Al Shabaab, a group that is loosely affiliated with Al Qaida.
US Marines in Mogadishu, 1993
US Marines in Mogadishu, 1993 (Pic: National Archives and Records Administration)

This group was born out of the US-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia. The brutal warfare tactics used by Ethiopian troops led people to see Al Shabaab as bringing some sort of stability.
Solidifying US influence in the region are groups of special forces, private contractors and the Somali national army—trained and equipped by the US.
Africa has key natural resources that were fought over by European colonial powers in the late nineteenth century. Today there is another phase of the “scramble for Africa”—one where trade pressures are again backed by military forces.
Bombed then banned—US crimes in travel-ban states
Bombed then banned—US crimes in travel-ban states
  Read More
The US has dozens of outposts in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Senegal, the Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.
It also has a major base in Djibouti in east Africa, as does France, and soon China will also have a naval base there.
France has several major military bases and troops in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania.
Germany has a military base in Niger and troops in several sub-Saharan African countries. Russia is accused of seeking to grab influence in Libya.
The immense military expenditure in order to control and discipline African countries stands in stark contrast to the lack of action over famine.
Far from saving people, the US and its allies are sealing their fate.
In Yemen the famine is caused largely by a bitter civil war where the side the US and Saudi Arabia backs is deliberately blockading ports to stop food shipments arriving. This means people starve.
British firms—making great profits—provided the weaponry to Saudi Arabia that enforces the starvation strategy.
The British Empire encouraged divisions
And conditions for people living in Africa are getting worse thanks to imperialism. In 1820 the average wage of a worker in Africa was a third of that of a worker in Europe. By 2010 the average European earns 20 times as much.
Economic inequality means that the effects of famine are felt more harshly.
And famine is also more likely thanks to the European colonial restructuring of African economies. Focusing on key crops and commodities for export to trade on world markets meant African countries became increasingly reliant on trade, on unfavourable terms, rather than self-sufficiency.
South Sudan has already declared a famine and has a long and complex history with the West.
Britain controlled the area until 1956. Clan tensions were manipulated and increased—where no tensions existed they created new ones.
The Sudanese shared a common language and religion. But to rule the area the British empire encouraged divisions by giving prestige and patronage to some and ignoring others.
It established different official languages and religions, and the West used this to subjugate South Sudan and plunder its resources.
Even after independence these divisions were still encouraged to maintain Western control.
The effects of this are still felt today. After independence the country was left with a flawed system that reinforced the clan divisions—often those in South Sudan were excluded from decision making.
The US and other powers were attracted by oil reserves and attacked the country if it did not follow its orders.
In 1998, under president Bill Clinton, the US launched Cruise missiles on the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory near Khartoum. Claims that it was producing nerve gas were widely discredited.
Al-Shifa provided 50 percent of Sudan’s medicines, and its destruction, according to one leading German diplomat, caused “several tens of thousands of deaths”.
The remains of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in 2008, ten years after it was destroyed by US cruise missiles
The remains of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in 2008, ten years after it was destroyed by US cruise missiles (Pic: Bertramz)

The West still looks to exert a heavy influence. The divisions established by imperialism still play a role.
Now civil war wreaks havoc and thousands have been displaced as internal refugees and famine affects millions.
A three-year war in South Sudan has seen tens of thousands of civilians killed in horrific attacks, often targeted on the basis of their ethnicity. The US-supported government is the major culprit.
Famine is a part of this process.
A report last month by the UN Commission on Human Rights into South Sudan describes deliberate starvation and bombardment of civilians.
There were earlier reports of “warning signs for ethnic cleansing” and “indicators for genocide”, although the UN agency now says these have “diminished”.
Western countries do give some foreign aid but this is usually comes with strings attached.
Parts of Nigeria are also at risk of famine and again the common factor is war. Boko Haram is waging deadly attacks in North Eastern Nigeria and has killed thousands.
The displacement of people fleeing the violence has led to a lack of crops and cultivation and the threat of famine.
The government’s fight against Boko Haram as part of the “war on terror” has increased the violence in the regions. Some elites in Nigeria have now backed the group in an attempt to regain control of the region.
Famine is a particularly gross example of the mismatch between the potential to meet human need and capitalism’s crushing of such possibilities.
At the same time as further reports of famine appeared last week, US business magazine Forbes announced, “It was a record year for the richest people on earth, as the number of billionaires jumped 13 percent to 2,043 from 1,810 last year.
“Their total net worth rose by 18 percent to £6.15 trillion.”
As long as capitalism exists, great powers will exploit and manipulate—and famine, war and disease will emerge again and again.

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This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. reports on a Congressional hearing.

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Woods" -- Isaiah's latest examines the woods dwelling Hillary.


"Bad radio" -- Ann listens to the radio.

"THE BOSS BABY"  Stan goes to the movies.

"Hard At Work" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Rob Schneider is smarter than these losers" -- Mike offers a surprise.

"Carly, Gladys and Christine," and "Christine McVie" -- Kat and Elaine listen to music.

"Healthcare is a right," "What do we want?," "Healthcare," "What we need but don't have," "Medicare for all"  and "Demand Medicare For All" --  Trina, Ann, Betty and Kat on what we need.

"The hysteria" -- Ruth breaks it down.

"Mosul" -- Mike covers Iraq.

"J.F.K." -- Ruth remembers.

"that disgusting ellen" -- Rebecca calls it.

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