Saturday, July 25, 2020

BLINDSPOT's ratings

So BLINDSPOT ended Thursday night (see "BLINDSPOT -- wtf???!!!! ").  The ratings?

Bad, very bad. 

No episode of BLINDSPOT ever had less viewers.  I can't believe it.  It was the least watched episode.

Did no one care?

Season five, this season, was low rated throughout. For most of the season, the first episode was the highest rated.  It was the only one that hit the two million mark.  Then came the episode where they tried to make us think Patterson died. That led to "Brass Tacks" with people tuning in to see if Patterson really was dead (thankfully, she wasn't).  That episode got 2.37 million viewers making it the most watched episode of the season.  But after that high, the next two episodes -- including the one that aired immediately after "Brass Tacks" on the same night -- saw the audience leave.

Was it that they shifted to a new night?  It had aired on Fridays previously and now it was on Thursdays.  Was it that people were upset that it was the last season and had been announced to be the last season before it aired?  Was it because it was buried between bad programs and reruns? 

How about the fact that they didn't do anything to celebrate?

The last episode should have featured a second hour.  A look back at BLINDSPOT was needed.  The final episode would be the 100th.  There was a lot to note.  An hour episode featuring interviews with the cast and clips from the past would have set the tone.  Instead, the show had no real lead in.

Season five needed more -- more of a focus -- but even so, it wasn't hideous.  Where did the viewers go?  Why did they leave?

If you look at the ratings, they had drifted once the show moved to Fridays.  But not like what happened in the final season. 

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, July 24, 2020.  In Iraq, a kidnapping victim is freed while in the US the race for the presidency continues.

Starting with news out of Iraq, Hella Mewis who was kidnapped earlier this week.

She has been freed.  Thirsty Works Tweets:

Foreign Minister Maas is "very relieved": Iraqi security forces have freed the kidnapped German cultural mediator Hella Mewis. She was then taken to the German embassy in Baghdad.

Who is Hella?  DEUTSCHE WELLE explains:
The German national has lived in Baghdad for several years, promoting the work of young Iraqi artists.
Mewis is a prominent figure in the Iraqi art scene and a known supporter of the widespread demonstrations that erupted last year against the Iraqi government, which some critics accuse of being corrupt and too close to Iran.
Her abduction sparked concern among other foreigners and activists living in the country and authorities have not given any information about who was behind her disappearance.

Hella is free
Smiling face with open mouth
this is great news ! #HellaMewis #freedom_for_hella
6:50 AM · Jul 24, 2020

And while it is great news, note that no one is being held responsible.  AP explains:

Hella Mewis was freed at 6:25 a.m. local time (11:25 p.m. Thursday) in an operation southeast of the capital Baghdad in which security forces raided a location based on intelligence they obtained regarding her whereabouts, a security official said. A second security official said she had been found blindfolded.
[. . .]
Iraqi security forces comprised of Interior Ministry personnel, intelligence officials and the federal police had worked to free Mewis by monitoring surveillance footage, among other methods, a statement from the Interior Ministry said.
Brig. Khaled Al-Muhanna, a spokesman for the ministry, said the kidnappers had not been arrested. The statement said an investigation was under way to bring the perpetrators to justice.

They monitored security footage, did they?

Why didn't they just ask the Iraqi police?  It was already noted in multiple press accounts that she was kidnapped in broad daylight and that the police saw it happen and did nothing.  

For example,  Helen Holmes (OBSERVER) noted: "Additionally, according to the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, police officers in Baghdad witnessed Mewis’s kidnapping but did not intervene."

Why would they do nothing?  For the same reason that her kidnappers are not being arrested.

German national Hella Mewis, kidnapped in Baghdad on 20 July, has been rescued. Most kidnappings in Iraq are perpetrated by organised criminals for ransom, some are political, usually to blackmail, influence or to deliver a warning. Hella's kidnapping was political.

It was political.

Why was she targeted?  One reason is noted by EURONEWS, "She is said to be an ardent supporter of recent mass anti-government protests across the capital and the country's south, which is mostly Shia."

The protests ousted the previous prime minister.  Though the current prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, has promised to bring to justice the members of the security forces who injured and killed protesters, nothing has been done and protesters continue to be targeted.  

That is only one of many possible reasons Hella was targeted.

In the United States, a presidential election is scheduled to take place in November.  Presumptive Republican Party nominee is Donald Trump, the current president.  Emily Aubert (BALLOTPEDIA) reports, "Donald Trump raised $20 million during the campaign’s first virtual fundraiser. Joe Biden launched a $15 million advertising campaign across six battleground states."  Joe Biden is the presumed presidential nominee for the Democratic Party. 

The election will take place in November.  Presumably, these two people and the parties they represent want Americans to vote for them.  But with an election only months away -- less than four full months away -- they offer nothing to We The People.

And they offer nothing in the midst of a global pandemic.  Not only are they offering nothing, they're now working -- united -- to reduce unemployment benefits.  Patrick Martin (WSWS) reports:

Behind the various proposals by the White House and congressional Republicans and Democrats is a common class purpose. American capitalists regard the $600-a-week supplemental unemployment compensation as a major barrier to their campaign to force millions of workers to go back to their jobs, regardless of the dangers from coronavirus.
Corporate executives have complained that for many workers, the average of nearly $1,000 a week in state and federal unemployment payments combined represents a pay raise compared to the miserable wages they previously received for working 40 hours a week in warehouses, factories, fast-food restaurants and retail stores.
The business magazine Forbes carries a headline on its web site today: “Potential Unemployment Plan Means Huge Income Cut For Tens Of Millions Who Can’t Afford It.” For the financial oligarchs, that is not an indictment, but rather the purpose of the plan. These workers, they calculate, will have no choice but to take any job on offer, no matter how dangerous in terms of COVID-19 and no matter how low the pay.
In addition, big business wants to ensure that, like the CARES Act, the lion’s share of any new federal outlays will go to corporate America, both in large-scale loans and grants, and the so-called “small business” funds in the Paycheck Protection Program, much of which has gone to large companies and those with political connections to members of Congress.
Official Washington is fully conscious of the tidal wave of mass suffering and deprivation that the ending of federal extended benefits will unleash. The Trump administration has quietly extended for 30 days a moratorium, first enacted in the CARES Act, on evictions from federally backed housing. The White House wants to make the necessary preparations—particularly in bolstering local police and sheriff’s departments—before it begins to move against the estimated 12.3 million households who are now in arrears on rent and will face eviction after September 1.
The scale of the impending social collapse is indicated by a Washington Post report Thursday that as many as one million families in a single state, North Carolina, “have fallen behind on their electric, water and sewage bills, threatening residents and their cities with severe financial hardship unless federal lawmakers act to approve more emergency aid.” Duke Energy alone has more than 130,000 customers who are 60 days behind on their electric bills.
The American ruling class and its two corporate-controlled parties are planning to stage an election campaign over the next three months that will unfold against the backdrop of an unprecedented social calamity. Neither the fascistic Trump nor Democrat Joe Biden, the favored candidate of Wall Street and the CIA, offer anything to tens of millions of working people.

Martin also notes:

The Socialist Equality Party and its candidates in the 2020—Joseph Kishore for president and Norissa Santa Cruz for vice president—say that the working class is not responsible for the crisis caused by the incompetent and homicidal policy of the American financial elite. We demand an end to the premature and unsafe back-to-work and back-to-school campaigns, full wages and benefits for all workers sidelined by the pandemic, and a safe workplace and hazard pay for essential workers who remain on the job.

Joseph Kishore Tweeted yesterday about the madness coming out of the corporate controlled system:

This is incredible. With the #COVID19 pandemic raging out of control, the auto companies are so determined to keep production going that they forced workers to work in the dark after a power outage at Chicago Ford. Photo from a worker in the article.

Joseph is one of the non-corporate duopoly candidates.  Gloria La Riva is another.  She is the US presidential nominee for the Party of Liberation and Socialism.  The Minneapolis chapter of the PSL Tweets:

Only a socialist system, in which the productive powers of society are brought under democratic control, can protect our planet! Help put socialism on the ballot in Minnesota by signing the ballot access petition for Gloria La Riva and Leonard Peltier at!
12:43 AM · Jul 24, 2020

And the PSL's newspaper LIBERATION carries this statement from candidate Gloria:

I strongly condemn Israel’s planned annexation of much of the West Bank and I demand an end to U.S.aid to the state of Israel. I also call for an immediate end to the annual gift of $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel, an highly militarized state, the only one in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons. The U.S. government also provides Israel with billions more in loan guarantees and assistance.
In the midst of a deadly pandemic, tens of millions of people have lost jobs, housing, health care and more. While severely cutting food stamps at a time of rapidly growing hunger, the Trump administration is sending billions to fund the brutal occupation and repression of the oppressed Palestinian people.
Trump, while promoting the worst neo-Nazi, racist and anti-Semitic elements, simultaneously pretends that his support for Israel is based on sympathy with Jewish people! Through the backing of Israel’s annexation of Syrian land in the Golan Heights, the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and the so- called “Deal of the Century,” the Trump administration had given a green light to Israel to seize much of the West Bank. The worldwide uprising against racism, however, caused the administration to block Israel – at least temporarily – from annexing 30% or more of the West Bank.
As despicable as Trump and his cohorts are, it would be wrong to see the support for Israel and its anti-Palestinian apartheid system as just a Republican project. In fact, going back to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the driving out of most of the Palestinian population, the Democratic Party has been the main supporter of vast military, economic and diplomatic support for Israel.
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for President supported every form of aid to Israel in his 36 years as a U.S. Senator and eight years as vice-president.
Neither the Democrat nor Republican leaders’ support for Israel has anything to do with sympathy for Jewish people. They view Israel as a vital extension of U.S. military power in a key strategic region of the world. Israel’s wars against Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian people were also proxy wars against countries and movements viewed as enemies by Washington.
My campaign, the La Riva for President 2020 Campaign, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation, we express our full solidarity with the people of Palestine, and the various ongoing movements to bring mass attention to their struggle for emancipation, such as the international call for BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions). My campaign calls for no annexation and supports true self-determination for the Palestinian people including the right of return to their stolen homeland for all Palestinian refugees.”

Third party and independent candidates face many hurdles.  There is a disinterested corporate media that either ignores them or mocks them.  And let's stop saying corporate media on that.  Howie Hawkins was declared the Green Party's presidential candidate two weeks ago.  Not only has Amy Goodman refused to invite him on DEMOCRACY NOW! since then, she hasn't even included a headline about the Green Party's national convention or about Howie securing the nomination.  In addition to the media hurdle, there is also the hurdle of ballot access -- getting their names on the ballot so that Americans can vote for them.  "Write them in!"" Sure, but in some states, a write in vote only counts if the candidate has been approved as a write in candidate.  

Benjamin Cox (WLDS) reports on Illinois state':

In the U.S. Presidential race, the most notable name to file yesterday was hip-hop star Kanye West. West, who is originally from Chicago, was joined by some less notable names filing on Monday. According to some sources, 3178 signatures appear to have been accepted from West’s 4120 that were turned in. West’s campaign petitions have an address for a vacant lot and out building that West owns in Cody, Wyoming.
Leonard Peltier a federally imprisoned Native American activist in Florida filed as a Vice Presidential candidate on the Party for Socialism and Liberation. He previously ran for president in 2004. Peltier is one of the longest serving political prisoners in the world, as he has spent 43 years in prison. In a controversial 1977 trial, Peltier was convicted of aiding and abetting the murder of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He is not scheduled for parole until 2024. Peltier is the running mate to long-time socialist activist Gloria La Riva. This is La Riva’s 10th consecutive presidential or vice presidential candidacy.
Brian Carroll of Visalia, California and Amar Patel of Lombard, Illinois filed with the American Solidarity Party as president and vice president.
Signatures on petitions will be allowed to be contested until July 27th. Ballots will be finalized late next month.
If the media would cover fairly, most voters would be aware that there's probably a candidate for everyone.  For example?

Maybe you hate soldiers.  Not the military system, mind you, but just soldiers.  If you hate soldiers, Dario Hunter is the candidate for you.  As Ann notes in "Was Casey Sheehan a War Criminal?" he participated this week in a conversation with Cindy Sheehan where the two discussed how the American men who served in Vietnam were War criminals -- in their minds.  All of them.  They weren't talking about any War Crimes, actual ones, they were just saying that if you were an American and you served in Vietnam, you were a War Criminal.

So if you're someone who hates American soldiers, Dario Hunter is the candidate for you.

Dario ran for the Green Party's presidential nomination.  Well . . . he walked for it.  A little.  He lost to Howie Hawkins because he ran a s**ty campaign but, since losing, he's gone on various podcasts to tell America a big conspiracy theory about how he was denied the nomination and the Greens just wanted Howie all along.

Green Party members certainly wanted Howie.  That's how he secured the nomination.

That's Howie and his running mate Angela Walker.

Remember how we were saying there's a candidate for everyone?  Well maybe you don't hate all American soldiers.  Maybe you're someone who thinks the president of the United States should be someone who served in the military?  If that's your requirement, Howie's your guy.  He's the only nominee this year who served in the military.

Howie served in Vietnam.  That's how Cindy Sheehan and Dario Hunter brought up Vietnam.  I mean, it's 2020 for goodness sake.  And Cindy can't even be bothered with talking about Iraq anymore -- for years now, in fact.  So why was she talking Vietnam?  Because she and Dario wanted to trash Howie as a War Criminal.

And you thought it only got ugly with Biden and Trump?

  • Howie Hawkins shared a blog post he wrote about non-voters, describing them as alienated rather than apathetic. He highlighted turnout rates among working-class voters.
  • Jo Jorgensen released a digital campaign ad, “War Is Over,” focused on foreign policy and national security. “We need to have a strong military defending our shores, but there’s no reason for us to be defending the rest of the world. It only makes things worse. We’ve got to come home,” Jorgensen says in the clip.

  • Here's Jo Jorgensen discussing COVID.

    Jo Jorgensen is the US presidential candidate representing the Libertarian Party.  Laura Burrows of the Los Alamos chapter of the Libertarian Party notes:

    On August 8 at 10:30 a.m., protesters are gathering in the first nationwide #LetHerSpeak driving protest in counties all across the nation. The Los Alamos Libertarian Party will lead a group of local community members in a COVID-safe demonstration, driving convoy style down Trinity Drive, and Diamond and Central (see google maps specific route plan). They will be decorating their cars parade-style and will “go live” together on their social media channels.
    This is a coordinated effort across the nation to protest the Commission on Presidential Debates continued decision to silence the Libertarian Nominee for the United States President, Dr. Jo Jorgensen, and all third parties are who are listed on the presidential ballot.
    One hundred years ago this year, women were taking to the streets to protest the government to recognize their rights as sovereign citizens, and their right to be heard in elections, led by the Women Voters Coalition. The WVC also created the first presidential debates to give American voters a greater understanding of all their presidential candidates. In 1987, the Commission on Presidential Debates was formed to take over sponsorship of the debate and boxed the WVC out.
    The CPD created polling restrictions to not allow third-parties in the debate by selecting random polls to determine who is polling above 15%. The catch? Most of these polls do not even mention a 3rd party candidate. In 2012, the minimum to participate was 10%, but when Gary Johnson got 12%, the CPD raised the polling requirement to 15%. Voters are being left in the dark with systemic voter manipulation.
    We demand polling restrictions are changed to quantifiable results that cannot be manipulated by the CPD. Third parties who are listed as options on American ballots shall be allowed to debate so that Americans can properly compare their choices.
    It’s been 100 years since the 19th amendment was passed, and Dr. Jo Jorgensen, the only female candidate (who is highly qualified), is still being silenced by the CPD. Dr. Jo Jorgensen has her Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology, is a Senior Lecturer at Clemson University, is an accomplished entrepreneur, and has a pristine record. The Libertarian Party is one of the only parties in the U.S. that has secured ballot access for presidential candidates in all 50 states. She is an educated and articulate woman with fresh ideas, and with as divided as the American public is, she deserves to be heard.
    “Government is too big, too bossy, too nosy, and, worst of all, often hurts the very people it intends to help. The government doesn’t work; liberty and freedom do” – Dr. Jo Jorgensen
    We invite all local press to participate in this grassroots event and meet us at the Ashley Pond Parking Lot on 20th Street and Trinity Drive on August 8 at 9:45 a.m. for a short rally before the convoy begins and “go live” with this historic event!
    All participants will be wearing masks and be staying with their cars.

    The following sites updated:

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