Tuesday, July 14, 2020



Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Sisterhood" went up Sunday.  I started to post last night and had pasted in the snapshot and Isaiah's comic when I got a message that it wouldn't save.  Then it wouldn't let me add anything to the post.  I logged out thinking that would fix whatever bug and then it wouldn't let me log back in. 

Okay, topic for this post.  NEWSWEEK suddenly discovers a NETFLIX issue. They report:

Over the last few weeks, a number of big-name Netflix shows have been renewed for their final seasons. Most recently, the streamer canceled both The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Dead to Me, both of which will release their final episodes in late 2020 and 2021. Though the streaming service does not reveal many of their viewing figures, both were popular shows that spent multiple days in the Netflix top 10. As such, fans have been wondering why Netflix is canceling so many of their shows.

The stats certainly seem to bear out the fact that Netflix is canceling more of its shows, and more quickly. Of the over 40 English-language live-action comedies and drama the streamer ordered this year, 16 (around 35 percent) have already ended after one season: Four mini-series that were intended to run for one season, plus Shadow, Chambers, V Wars, Soundtrack, Turn Up Charlie, Huge in France, No Good Nick, Lunatics, It's Bruno!, Daybreak, Merry Happy Whatever and Astronomy Club.

This is part of a wider trend of Netflix ending its shows earlier and earlier. Of all the shows that have been canceled so far by the streamer, a third of shows that debuted in 2015 made it to Season 3, compared to just 10% of shows that began in 2018. And while in 2016 one-fifth of shows ended after one season, by 2018 over double that would be axed after their first batch of episodes.

Wow. Imagine that. Many of us have been writing about that forever.  In fact, Betty just wrote about this exact problem last week in "NETFLIX's latest trouble."

I think NETFLIX is over and that we will see that slowly over the next few years.  They are no longer having record subscription increases.  They have people drop out every month.  The subscribers they're getting are like the people who finally got cable in the mid 90s.  Everyone else has moved on or is the process of moving and the people who have heard about NETFLIX for the last 10 or so years but never tried it are finally convinced it is 'cool' and they're the ones rushing in during the streamers dying days. 

WARRIOR NUN, their new show, is crap by the way.  Read Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The Chatty Nun"
-- which I'll probably quote from next time but right now, I'm just trying to get something up while I eat breakfast.

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

Monday, July 13, 2020.  A documentary series is about to kick off in the UK, Turkey has grand plans for the Middle East, Howie Hawkins is the Green Party's presidential candidate, and much more.

Starting the United Kingdom where a new documentary series is set to debut:

Once Upon a Time in Iraq

9pm, BBC Two

The film-maker James Bluemel, whose powerful 2016 series Exodus told the story of the European refugee crisis, turns his attention to documenting the legacy of the Iraq war. Told through first-person testimony, this series interviews Iraqi civilians, soldiers and journalists, who recount their histories of the war. We open with the story of Waleed Neysif, who was only 18 when the war began in 2003 and who initially supported it in the hope the country would be westernised. Ammar Kalia
iNEWS also notes the program:

Pick of the day:  Once Upon A Time In Iraq

9pm, BBC Two
The 2003 invasion of Iraq is given a fresh perspective in a series from James Bluemel, the director of the acclaimed Exodus: Our Journey, which put camera phones in the hands of refugees fleeing to Europe. His compelling new documentary is a mosaic of individual witnesses to the US-British conquest and its Isis-infested aftermath, but instead of the usual gamut of politicians and generals, these are “normal” Iraqis ranging from comedians, formerly West-obsessed teens, a farmer’s wife from Saddam Hussein’s home town, Tikrit, and a Saddam loyalist. We also hear from Americans, including a chilling ex-Marine who seems to have modelled himself on Rambo.

Um Qusay, dressed in a black, sequined abaya and hijab, takes a slow drag on her cigarette as she recalls the execution of Iraqi men in her village who tried to assassinate their president. A Rambo-esque former US marine readies himself with a swig of tequila before sharing his violent tale.
Once Upon a Time in Iraq, a new documentary series airing on BBC Two from tonight, conveys the complex road to the Iraq war through the eyes of civilians, journalists and soldiers, 17 years on from an invasion that has fractured the world.
The documentary begins tonight and, on July 16th, the book ONCE UPON A TIME IN IRAQ will be published in England and in the US -- not to be confused with Basil Balian's 2012 book by the same name.  

Let's move over to a country that shares a border with Iraq: Turkey.  Amberin Zaman (AL-MONITOR) reports:

Mark Alan, a retired schoolteacher from Fort Collins, Colorado, is something of a late developer. He was 42 when he "came to faith” and 65 when he married for the first time, with Duygu, a Protestant convert from Turkey. “It was love at first sight,” Alan, now 73, recalled in a telephone interview with Al-Monitor. The couple settled into a comfortable life in the Aegean port city of Izmir. “I always felt safe in Turkey, I had a real heart for the Turkish people,” Alan said. Then in a single day, their whole world fell apart. Alan was on his way back from the United States last June when he was pulled aside at the airport by Turkish police and told he was banned from entering the country ever again. “They didn’t explain why,” Alan said. He insisted that he had no role in the local church in Izmir where his wife served as a book keeper.
Alan is among more than 50 foreign Protestants, including Finns, Germans and South Koreans, who have been summarily banned from Turkey as recently as June 26 on the grounds they present “a threat to Turkey’s public order and public health.” Some 26 are US citizens.
The wave of deportations began soon after Andrew Brunson, a pastor from North Carolina, was freed from a jail near Izmir in October 2018 after serving two years on outlandish terrorism charges linked to the failed July 2016 attempt to violently topple Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The evictions are continuing full throttle and tearing families like Alan’s apart.
On June 5 of this year, Joy Anna Crow Subasiguller, the American wife of a Turkish pastor in Ankara, was notified by Turkey’s Interior Ministry that her residence permit was not being renewed. She was given 10 days to leave. No reason was offered to the 39-year-old mother of three. She is still breastfeeding the couple’s 4½-month-old daughter, Derin Mercy.
“I am sad at the prospect of my family having to leave our home, my husband’s precious family, and our friends and church family,” Subasiguller told Al-Monitor. She is appealing the decision in a Turkish court. Subasiguller has lived in Turkey for the past 10 years. She said she expected an answer within one or two months. Similar appeals have all been rejected.

Is Turkey being unreasonable with regards to religion or is this about spying?

Missionary is often a cover for spying.  In the US, I became acquaintances in July of 2014 with a woman we'll call M.  She was and remains a nice person.  Her older brother does "God's work."  He does it in places that seemed rather strange to Ava.  I shared with Ava that there was no way M's brother was a missionary, he was most likely a spy for the US government and to be careful of what she said to M in case M's meeting us was not a chance event.  The brother being a spy was confirmed six months later when M's younger sister let that fact slip out.  

So this could be Recep Tayyip Erdogan's latest bout of religious intolerance or it could be his attempt to address foreign spying on his country.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has plunged his country into a series of economic, political, and military crises. As he becomes unable to justify his mistakes and to push his dubious designs—which include the reviving of the Ottoman Empire, playing the Sultan, and using the Muslim Brotherhood to that end—he points fingers at countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, accusing them of directing “black propaganda” against Turkey.

AL-MONITOR notes, "In the next three years, Erdogan said, Turkey will be an unstoppable power in the region."  Does that happen by attacking Iraq?  Turkey has been bombing Iraq and has sent foot soldiers into the country in violation of international law and Iraq's national sovereignty.  The Turkish government loves to issue announcements claiming that they've killed X number of terrorists but they've yet to issue an announcement -- or apology -- when they kill civilians.  The true terrorist is the Turkish government.  RUDAW reports:

Turkish artillery pounded Bedihe village in Duhok province on Saturday, causing damage to civilian homes and lands, a local official told Rudaw.

"The bombing started around 6pm. They have so far targeted the village with six mortars, causing damage to 10 households," Sarbast Sabri, head of nearby Kani Masi town in the Amedi region of Duhok province, told Rudaw. "The artillery has also damaged groves and orchards of locals in the area."

Iraq faces many problems -- problems that appear to indicate they need a better prime minister than the one they have.  AP reports, "Iraq’s Prime Minister took a first step on Saturday to combat cross-border corruption that has long plagued the country’s frontiers as part of a reform plan to grapple with unprecedented financial shortfalls."  Since May 7th, Mustafa al-Kadhimihas been the prime minister and, again, the corruption predates him becoming prime minister -- by nearly two decades.  ARAB WEEKLY points out, "Every Iraqi premier has pledged new measures to fight corruption but few have been able to make a dent in the deep-rooted practices across the public and private sector."  His talk about ending corruption comes after his promise to hold the military members who have killed protesters accountable.  How's that going by the way?

Thus far, no one's been held accountable.  Worse?  Fazel Hawramy (RUDAW) reports:

Security forces fired upon a group of demonstrators in southern Baghdad on Sunday lunchtime, killing two and wounding over a dozen, according to a protest spokesperson.

Thousands of people travelled from several southern Iraqi provinces to Baghdad in the early hours of Sunday morning, protesting an end to monthly, government-allocated compensation as part of an economic reform package announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

“They fired on us upon direct orders from Kadhimi and killed two of us,” protester spokesperson Sheikh Amer Shalan Rafawi told Rudaw.

Doesn't sound like anyone's been held accountable by the prime minister, does it?  No, not really.  Not really at all.  In fact, the protesters are still being targeted.  Different prime minister, same targeting.  

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Sisterhood" went up last night.  It's important to note that a woman was raped and Gloria Steinem looked the other way.  The woman was her friend Phyllis Chesler.  It wasn't something to raise, it wasn't important to Gloria who first worked to get Phyllis to wait on saying anything -- with the promise of joining her for a public statement -- and then went from avoiding the issue entirely.

This isn't feminism.  Gloria needs to be called out and whatever luster is left to her name needs to be removed.  She is not a leader.  She made a craven choice and it's not a choice any second wave feminist would have supported.  (Although her roll dog Robin Morgan did support Gloria.)

Gloria made political calculations and put them ahead of what was done to one woman and what could be done to many more -- rapists rape, that's what they do.  And Gloria was comfortable letting a rapist run free through the world, she was okay -- what a feminist! -- with other women being raped.  Gloria's not a feminist -- she's someone who saw a job opportunity and took it.  She let down the movement from the start and that was obvious by the time the DNC nominated Jimmy Carter for president in 1976 when Gloria showed up to tell women not to press for any advances, it was more important to get Jimmy elected.

Second wave feminism was all about actions and then Gloria made herself a leader and actions stopped, real ones anyway.  If she didn't intentionally set out to destroy feminism, she did her part to water it down because she is so weak and so pathetic. 

And the fact that her defense of the CIA has not been called out more is appalling.  What the CIA did to Americans as well as foreigners during the time Gloria worked for them is a travesty.  For her to be blithe about it and, to this day, refuse to take accountability goes to why she should be escorted off the national stage for good and forever.

But there's more than just Gloria.  When Gloria refused to treat rape as rape but instead as political calculation, she did what so many do today.  It's not feminism.  David Walsh (WSWS) is no fan of the Me Too movement.  He's been a critic all along.  In his latest, he notes:

[Ronan] Farrow, who has the distinction, along with Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor of the Times, of receiving a Pulitzer Prize for witch-hunting, is relatively quiet these days. The last article of his New Yorker lists was posted February 25.
It may well be that the immediate electoral concerns of the Democrats, once Weinstein was disposed of, loom large in this. The charges of sexual misconduct leveled by former staffer Tara Reade in March against Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic Party presidential campaign, were received coldly by the Times and the media generally (except for its openly pro-Trump wing). Unquestionably, in that case, the #MeToo campaign and its slogan of “Believe women” cut across the plans and politics of the Times, the New Yorker, Time and the sections of the American ruling elite for whom they speak.
Reade’s claims have been treated with skepticism, as they may well deserve, and she has more or less disappeared from the headlines.
Alyssa Milano, Jessica Valenti and other #MeToo promoters have made clear that whether they believe Reade or not, that will not stand in the way of their supporting Biden. Valenti’s comments on Medium (“The Importance of Believing Women—Even When It’s Politically Inconvenient”) were remarkable for their sophistry and anti-democratic spirit. She argued it was the responsibility of feminists “to come to the aid of a woman [Reade] who accuses a powerful man. We can listen to her story, believe her, and speak out about what Biden has done—not just to Reade, allegedly, but to the many women he has made feel uncomfortable or diminished over the years. Doing all of this doesn’t mean we can’t vote for Biden. We can be loyal to our feminist values while recognizing the moral obligation we have to reduce harm and oust the dangerous bigot who currently sits in the White House.”
Valenti manages to combine disregard for the presumption of innocence (“allegedly” seems thrown in here just for decoration), ridiculous concern for women made “uncomfortable” by Biden and subservience to “lesser of two evilism” and the big business Democrats. The worst of several possible worlds …
Farrow too presumably belongs to this #MeToo/pro-Biden camp. His silence may in part be self-censorship: “Let’s keep everything under wraps until after November.” Or he may simply have been given the word to keep his mouth shut.

Swiping from THIRD's "Howie Hawkins is the Green Party's presidential nominee" Howie Hawkins in the Green Party's presidential nominee.  Prior to yesterday, the declared presidential candidates in the US included  Gloria La Riva, Joseph Kishore and Jo Jorgensen.  Howie, like the Democratic Party's Joe Biden, was the presumed nominee but he was not officially the nominee.  Last night, Howie moved from presumed to official.  Teri Weaver (SYRACUSE.COM) reports:

It’s official: Howie Hawkins, a tireless and perennial Green Party candidate in Syracuse and across New York, is running for president.
Hawkins officially won the designation today during the Green Party’s virtual convention. The selection marks the 25th time Hawkins has run for office, and his first national campaign.
Howie is the only new presidential candidate for this month.  Next month, at the Democratic Party's convention, Joe Biden is expected to be declared the party's presidential candidate. 
Howie is not just a longtime Green Party member, he co-founded the US Green Party in August of 1991.  WSYR TV notes, "Hawkins has run for the governor of New York three times, a seat in the Senate, a seat in the House of Representatives, and he ran for Syracuse Mayor in 2017.  Hawkins never won any of these elections, but he has helped the Green Party gain popularity throughout New York State in recent years."  Robert Harding (THE AUBURN CITIZEN) notes:

On Saturday, Hawkins officially became the Green Party's nominee for president. He received 210 of the 355 votes on the first ballot to win the nomination at the party's convention, which was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
The presidential bid is the culmination of a lifetime of activism and nearly two dozen political campaigns. Hawkins, a retired UPS employee and Teamster who lives in Syracuse, was asked to run for president eight years ago. He declined because of his work obligations. 
[. . .]

As the Green Party's presidential nominee, one of Hawkins' main goals is to appear on the general election ballot in every state and the District of Columbia. That's important, he explained, because it could give the Green Party ballot access for future elections. 
So far, Hawkins and his running mate, Angela Walker, are on the ballot in nearly 30 states. He admitted it has been challenging because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some states eased their rules for securing a spot on the ballot, others did not. 

You might not think ballot access would be an issue in a democracy, but it is.  The US offers the illusion that Americans can freely choose who to vote for but even when you cut through the online bullying by the Debra Messings of the country, you're still left with the reality that the so-called 'presidential debates' are controlled by the Democratic and the Republican Parties (not the people of the US) and they exclude all other candidates.  As for ballot access, earlier this week, SEP presidential candidate Joseph Kishore wrote about the fight to get on the ballot in the so-called democratic state of Michigan in "Michigan court rules that SEP must gather signatures despite pandemic" (WSWS).
Many reforms are needed in US elections -- including ranked choice voting.  The news of Howie Hawkin's victory may be ignored by the press because it goes to just how unfair 'democracy' in the US is when candidates have to fight for ballot access.  Or it could just be part of the corporate press again refusing to do their job: Inform the American people.  At any rate, a search of AP's website shows, as of Sunday afternoon (one day after he secured the presidential nomination), not one story about Howie Hawkins in 2020 -- let alone one of him winning the nomination.
Instead of providing actual news, the corporate press prefers to shape opinion.  That's not their job.  But as the late Edward S. Herman repeatedly documented over the years as a media critic, it is what they perceive as their role.  
Friday, CSPAN did what it was created by Congress for and, on WASHINGTON JOURNAL, interviewed Howie.

Another victory that Howie's campaign had earlier this week was in meeting the criteria for matching federal funds.  July 9th, his campaign noted:
Federal law requires that campaigns raised $5,000 in 20 states in increments of up to $250 per individual. Today, Virginia became the 20th state and put the campaign over the top. Donations will qualify for matching funds up to the last day of the Republican Convention, August 27.
Matching funds must be spent for primary activities, including ballot access petitioning. For the general election, there are public campaign grants for parties that received over 5% of the popular vote in the previous election, which the Green Party did not do in 2016. The campaign will have to raise funds separately for the fall general election. No other campaign in 2020 has qualified for matching funds. The Democrats and Republicans reject matching funds because they can raise more money from the millionaires and billionaires who they represent, and no other third-party has achieved matching funds.
The campaign has raised nearly $220,000, from more than 4,000 people in more than 7,000 donations.
Hawkins/Walker plans to use the matching funds to get on the ballot in 50 states and Washington, DC by hiring ballot access petitioners. This is especially difficult during the COVID crisis. Attached are pictures of Hawkins/Walker petitioners gathering signatures. Hawkins/Walker will use much of the matching funds to hire petitioners.
The Green Party quotes Howie declaring in his acceptance speech:
 Our campaign will reach out to the tens of millions of voters who are not represented by the two parties of the millionaires and billionaires, to the independent voters who have rejected both parties and to the ‘hold your nose’ voters who reluctantly vote for candidates they do not like, from political parties they do not trust. [. . .]  The US is a bi-partisan failed state. We need real solutions to the life-or-death problems we face: Covid-19, racism, economic inequality, climate change and the new nuclear arms race.  The mishandling of the COVID pandemic has resulted in more than 135,000 deaths. The collapse of the economy has 47.2 percent of working-age people without work while the bi-partisans are bailing out their wealthy friends and families. The people are rising up against racism and police violence but Trump and Biden respond with violence. Neither party will confront the climate crisis but instead continue building fossil fuel infrastructure that heighten the crisis. And, the nuclear arms race is escalating while never-ending wars continue.
Cami Mondeaux (KSL NEWS RADIO) notes, "Hawkins was the first to propose the Green New Deal in 2010, advocating for legislation that addresses climate change and economic inequality. A decade later, Hawkins has used the deal as the central theme of his campaign."  The Green New Deal is now a plan advocated by many of various political stripes.  This is an example of the power of third parties outside the corporate duopoly -- they can raised needed issues and bring public attention to these issues.  This campaign could popularize other needed actions as well as increase awareness of the Green Party and help them move closer towards ballot access in all fifty states.  
This is what some see the purpose of the party to be in 2020, not actually winning the election.  We have argued in the past -- and continue to argue today -- that any presidential candidate should run their campaign as though they intend to win the presidency.  If they fail to do so, they aren't really a candidate for the presidency.
Some critics of Howie's argue that he's not a real candidate.  Dario Hunter, who also sough the Green Party's presidential nomination, lodged complaints against Howie and stated that the campaign was fixed by some Green leaders.  If the campaign was unfair, proof would be good to supply and not just accusations.  We're not calling Dario a liar, we are saying he made charges and didn't follow through.  The lack of follow through has been a real problem for Dario.  In fact, it's why those of us writing this piece who are Green switched from Dario to Howie.  We agreed and more closely aligned with Dario.  But long before COVID19, Dario failed to run a real campaign.  No, the corporate press is not going to cover third party candidates.  Thats why you better have a social media presence.  Dario had none.  He might go a week without Tweeting.  His campaign page -- on FACEBOOK -- rarely updated.  How could you get the word out on a candidate who did nothing?
By contrast, on Twitter, Howie and his campaign updated daily -- and, in fact, updated repeatedly each day.  They also had a campaign site that regularly posted new content.
It was clear that Howie was running an actual campaign.
Let's say Dario is accurate and the campaign was fixed. So what?  It's not like Dario was fighting for the nomination at the start of 2020 -- or even really trying for it.
Jimmy Dore is someone we respect and he has voiced serious concerns about Howie and his campaign.  Here's our problem with Jimmy's criticism -- criticism that may be valid.  When Jimmy's talking about how he doesn't feel Howie will push hard enough and he feels Howie echoes CIA talking points, we're on board.  But then he goes to Jesse Ventura.
A number of people wanted Jesse to seek the Green Party nomination and, earlier this year, he flirted with doing so.  Then the former governor of Michigan decided he would not campaign for it.  He did say, however, that he would accept the nomination if he was drafted.
If you're going to question whether the Green Party ran a fair campaign, that's fine, do so.  But you undercut your own argument when you then start saying that the nomination should have gone to Jesse Ventura.
Jesse chose not to run.  His choice.  To give the nomination to a candidate who didn't even run for the nomination?  That's going to look like a fixed race.
We harbor no ill will towards the former wrestler but we don't see how gifting him with a nomination -- over Howie, over Dario, over everyone that ran for it -- would look like a fair and transparent process. 
Howie is the nominee.  That doesn't mean he's above criticism.  That doesn't mean everyone has to rally behind him.  That doesn't mean he shouldn't be called out and pressured.  But if you're arguing that the process wasn't fair, you shouldn't also be arguing that the nomination should have gone to a person who didn't even run for it.
Following his victory, Howie Tweeted:
We are honored to officially be the
nominees for President & Vice President! Thank you to Greens around the country who voted for us in the Green primaries! Thank you to our donors and volunteers! Get involved in our #LeftUnity campaign at howiehawkins.us

While the Green Party now has a presidential candidate, the Democratic Party still does not. 

August 17th, the DNC is supposed to kick off the convention which is set to conclude August 20th.  It is expected that they will nominate War Hawk Joe Biden.  Raheem Williams (INFORUM) observes the War Hawks that are flocking to Joe Biden:
In the last few weeks, a slew of war hawks and Bush-era officials, including Colin Powell, John Bolton and John Bellinger III, have announced their support for Joe Biden. According to recent reports, more will soon follow. However, progressives should be careful. The enemy of your enemy may not be your friend. The growing list of so-called GOP defections reveals a very stunning commonality: they all (like Biden) promoted and supported the Iraq War.
Powell lamented Trump’s falsehoods before announcing his support for Biden. It is as if Powell expects you to forget his past and trust his judgment. Powell played a critical role in lying to the American people, Congress, and the world to garner support for the war in Iraq. Likewise, Bolton was another architect of the Bush administration's disastrous Middle East policy. Although these are some of the more infamous names in our disastrous and asinine wars, they aren’t alone. Bush-era intelligence officials assembled an orchestra of lies that led to the deaths of over 400,000 people. The destruction wrought by the fabrications of delusional Bush-era war hawks makes Trump’s fibs seem trivial.To be clear, there is nothing wrong with crossing the political aisles for the good of the country. However, it would be foolish to assume that’s what's happening here. Political endorsements are rarely spontaneous and almost always coordinated. It’s also naive to think the aforementioned people actually care about the common good. They didn't care when they promoted lies to send American troops to slaughter. They don't care about the crippling debt compiled from these endless wars and they don't care about the lives they've ruined throughout the Middle East. Their records show their concern for societal well-being is minimal to non-existent.

New content at THIRD:

No comments: