Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Dawn Wells

"And the rest."  That's how they referred to Mary Ann on GILLIGAN'S ISLAND -- her and the professor -- in the theme song the first season.  It's only after that when we got "the professor and Mary Ann here on Gilligan's Isle."  

GILLIGAN'S ISLAND only ran three seasons but the whole world knows it.  Mary Ann passed away today.  NPR reports:

Actress and TV movie producer Dawn Wells, who became internationally famous as the stranded girl-next-door on the mid-1960s TV sitcom Gilligan's Island, died Wednesday of complications related to the coronavirus. She was 82 years old. Wells' publicist, B. Harlan Boll, announced her death on social media.

Wells was a native of Reno, Nev., and started out as a beauty queen. In 1959, as Miss Nevada, she competed in the Miss America pageant. It was her ticket into show business; soon after, she had minor roles in such shows as 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, Bonanza and The Joey Bishop Show. In 1964, Wells became the wide-eyed, pigtailed Mary Ann — a sharp contrast to another female castaway, the sexpot movie actress Ginger (played by Tina Louise). The Ginger-vs.-Mary Ann rivalry was a very mid-1960s, straight male fantasy of feminine ideals.

After Well's signature success in Gilligan's Island — which ran on prime time for only three years on CBS, but endlessly for decades in syndication — she later appeared on such shows as Vega$, Growing Pains, The Bold and the Beautiful and Baywatch — on which her character was once again named Mary Ann. She also voiced Gumbalina Toothington on the children's show The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants and, as a producer, brought movies to CVS, Showtime and Amazon. 

I question that -- "striaght male fantasy" -- are you telling me lesbians didn't like Ginger and Mary Ann?  Or is NPR just saying that in the sixties there weren't any lesbians.  


Actress Tina Louise, forever linked to her fellow Gilligan’s Island castmate Dawn Wells, remembered her today as “a very wonderful person.”

Wells died today of complications from Covid-19 at age 82.

Louise has kept a low profile regarding Gilligan’s Island over the years, declining to appear in the any of the revivals or reboots or even discuss the show, which ended in 1967 but lives on in syndication.

Speaking via Twitter and later to the New York Post, Louise said she wanted everyone to remember Wells’s sunny disposition.

“Dawn was a very wonderful person. I want people to remember her as someone who always had a smile on her face,” said Louise to the New York Post. “Nothing is more important than family and she was family. She will always be remembered.”

Mary Ann was a favorite of many and Dawn Wells will be missed.

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

Wednesday, December 30, 2020.  Iraq, RISING, Hilaria Baldwin, etc -- we cover a great deal this snapshot.

A lot to cover today.  First, for weeks we've been noting videos on Jimmy Dore's Force The Vote to force the vote on Medicare For All.  Below the videos, there is the description which usually includes the link to the petition.  We have not noted the petition in the snapshots so let's do that -- click here to sign the petition to Force The Vote for Medicare For All.

Now we're going to go personal business.  As disclosed before, I know Alec Baldwin (and like him, he's a smart person and a loyal person).  His wife is receiving some bad publicity.  He defended her and now he is receiving bad publicity.  So I am going to weigh in.  I went back and forth on it.  This site is not about promoting my friends.  But this 'news' 'story' deserves a comment or two.  And had RISING not decided to trash Hilaria, I probably wouldn't be commenting.

Hilaria Baldwin, for whatever reason, created an identity for herself.  She is not a Latina.  Why did she do it?  Krystal Ball insists it was to profit and to make money.

I don't think so.  I think Hilaria wanted to be Latina.  I think that was a driving want in her life.

Why did Michael Jackson want to have plastic surgery?  Because Joe Jackson abused him and destroyed him and, in Michael's mind at least (I believe Michael), didn't love him.  So Michael could not take looking in the mirror and seeing anything of the person who was so horrible to him.  The actress Merle Oberon?  Why did she pass for Anglo White?  Because she wouldn't have had the career she had otherwise.  

Why did Hilaria do what she did?  I have no idea but it wasn't a prank or a lark.  

Krystal and her guest just ripped into Hilaria and it wasn't deserved.  Hilaria didn't steal any position or post by presenting herself as Latina.  She created a figure and she lived that life.  Why?  That goes to her reasons which we might get at some point -- especially if we'd stop with the scorn and the ridicule.  She had a reason for what she did and money and power were not the reasons.  

Alec defended his wife.  For that he's being mocked and attacked.  For that he's being mocked and attacked?  I'm going to guess by a lot of pathetic people who have never known love and probably never will.  If you've been in love even once, you should be able (a) to understand what Alec did and (b) to be proud of him for defending someone he loves.

Now we've talked about Hilaria here and I know some e-mails will come in and insist, "This is not a topic to cover!"  You know what, you're probably right.  But I'm defending someone in the midst of a dogpile -- and I've always done that.  Equally true, we've eaten our vegetables.  All week long, we've covered serious issues.

RISING?  When do they ever cover the ongoing Iraq War?  When do they ever even use it to note, for example, that the same Nancy Pelosi that balks over the price tag of Medicare For All never balks at the much, much larger price tag for the Iraq War?  

And let's be really clear.  I consider Alec a friend and everyone who knows me knows that.  I had no idea until RISING what had taken place because people knew not bring the story to me.  I don't like gossip about my friends.  So yesterday, I'm trying to find political things to post and going through everything e-mailed as well as anything I can find.  And that's when I stumbled across the segment on Hilaria.  I don't like gossip about my friends.  All RISING did was gossip.  And what's even worse than that, they did it poorly.

Rachel whatever was the co-host with Krystal and they went to town on Hilaria.  

They brought in some supposed feud with Amy Schumer -- but never explained what that had to do with anything other than getting Amy's name in a sentence -- apparently to star power up their gossip item.  They showed a clip of Hilaria asking the (English) name for a cucumber.  Strangely, they didn't credit the person who made that a major issue on Twitter . . . last week.  I found all sorts of things after their 'report.'  They scavenged the work of others while mocking Hilaria.

Hilaria is a self-made businesswoman.  She was given no credit for that.  It reminded me, honestly, of the attacks and glee of the attacks that the press offered on Martha Stewart in the early '00s.  Those attacks mocked Martha and mocked what she did.  It wasn't 'manly' enough to focus on food and home and they made that very clear as they trivialized Martha.  Never once did they point out the skills and the knowledge Martha possessed that allowed her to succeed.  

Krystal wanted you to know that Hilaria was body shaming pregnant women.

What a dumb idiot Krystal was in that moment.  And she's probably not going to get listed on a praise feature at THIRD next week as a result.  We discussed that feature and started it and she was going to be noted as an important voice.  I don't think so now.  We'll note others, but not her.

Hilaria posing with her child or without her child in some stage of 'undress' (I have no idea, I'm not on Instagram and I never will be -- I have a thing called a life, maybe Krystal could try getting one) is not about body shaming pregnant women.

Let's pretend for a moment that it was about body shaming to show just how tiny Krystal's mind is.

If Hilaria showing off her body -- if that's what she was doing -- is body shaming, Krystal, you stupid idiot, then it's body shaming large women who are large without having just been pregnant.  Do you get it?  You threw a life raft to women who'd just had a baby while letting all other large women sink and drown.  That's how stupid you are.  You're a f**king idiot.

Why?  Watching the segment, it was clear why: Jealous.

Jealousy, thy name is Krystal Ball.

Hilaria makes money from yoga -- instructor, studios, DVDs, etc.  Her body is very much her work.  

Years ago, when Krystal was still wetting her diapers, there was one attempt after another to regularly destroy Jane Fonda.  At one point, they came from the UK.  A rumor to destroy her was that she'd had a heart attack.  Too much working out!!!!! What did Jane do to refute that rumor?  She invited the press in the next morning to watch as she did The Workout.  During those years -- when Jane did very little acting (THE DOLLMAKER, AGNES OF GOD and THE MORNING AFTER -- plus playing a security guard on one episode of the TV show she was producing based on her hit film 9 TO 5), Jane's business was fitness.  She had her workout studios, she had best selling books, she had best selling recordings (vinyl, cassette and, yes, videos including the first one that revolutionized the video industry).  Her body was her work.

So if Hilaria is showing her body, she's showing what yoga can do.  Her body is the advertisement for her work.

This isn't, for example, Alyssa Milano and her hint of nipple posing.  Unless we're falling back to TEEN STEAM, Alyssa has nothing to do with working out.  But damned if that woman doesn't cheesecake her own ass into oblivion.  Now that I object to.  A woman trying to ride feminism -- Alyssa is not feminist and the set of CHARMED proved it -- in a desperate attempt to revive a dead career while also posting cheesecake photos?  At 48, she long should have stopped posting her braless picks -- and with the obvious difference in boob size (did she get lazy and nurse one of her kids on just one boob, is that why they're so off now?) you'd think she'd stop promoting her body.  

Because an actor is supposed to be about acting and, especially after a certain age, you really shouldn't be doing cheesecake.  By a certain age, your talent should speak for itself.  So that when you appear on a cover, for example, someone says, "Wow.  Not only is _____ a great dramatic actress, she looks really good as well."  Cheesecake might get you in the door but if it's your selling card, you're probably not really an actress.

Now I've never heard Krystal object to Alyssa or anyone doing cheesecake.  We do and we have.  I'm very glad that a woman in a man's circle jerk now has learned to put on a bra from time to time and to also stop standing in front of the camera heaving her tits as though she's Suzanne Somers in the opening credits and Mrs. Roper just 'watered' Chrissy's back while watering the plants so Chrissy turns over in shock and does a deep sigh so her breasts go up and down (not a slap at Suzanne, she's a sweet lady and THREE'S COMPANY was decades ago and when she was starting out -- and it was meant to be funny).  

But a yoga instructor she's going to shame?  Denise Austin, Joanie Greggains, Jane Fonda and many other women in the fitness business grasped -- as Joe Weider and many other men did as well -- that their own bodies were their best advertisement for fitness.

Never having spoken to Hilaria once, not knowing one person who knows Hilaria, not knowing anything, Krystal and Rachel did a gossip segment and it was a segment where everything turned on conjecture and every bit of conjecture could only be the worst possible reason.  She lied for this reason, she posed for a picture for this reason, she's body shaming -- 

The hate and the scorn in that piece?  

I'm sorry, wasn't it just last week -- yes, it was -- that I was calling Krystal out because yet again she'd brought on guest that no one should bring on.  This was a 'writer' and a 'reporter' but, golly gee, this is the man THE DAILY BEAST fired for repeat plagiarism.  And, after he was fired, turned out he was doing the same at his outlet right before that and in his books.  He was stealing constantly.  And he lied each new time he got caught.

Now you're going to go after a fitness guru?  You're going to attack her because she's not Latina like she says and because she uses her body as a billboard for what yoga can do?  

But you're going to promote -- without apology and without remorse -- Gerald Posner?  

You really need to take a look in the mirror, Krystal, and you did come off petty and jealous.

Again, please show me the segment that RISING did in the twelve months-plus about the ongoing Iraqi protests.  Please show me where they spoke to anyone about how the government forces were attacking the protesters.  

They don't do the vegetables, they just do candy.

And I'm getting really damn tired of their Whiteness.  This goes to Jimmy Dore too.  It's past time that you invite on Margaret Kimberley and Glenn Ford.  Margaret especially has an audience that you all are not reaching.  Jimmy, it is a huge mistake to build a pro-Medicare For All argument around White voices only.  It's an issue that effects all communities.  And bringing on Margaret or Glenn (BLACK AGENDA REPORT is their outlet if anyone's unfamiliar) would make the discussion taking place as broad-based as the issue truly is.  Brihana Joy Gray and Nina Turner sprinkled into the discussion is not enough (a) because they're not on that often and (b) they owe their fame to White outlets.  We were talking about Luther Vandross (Betty and I) in "Roundtable" and the White music fans to this day don't seem to get just how important and popular Luther was.  That's because he really didn't crossover.  He was built by soul radio stations and the listeners saw him as "their" Luther because of his lack of crossover (two top ten hits on pop radio is not a crossover).  By the same token, a Margaret or a Glenn who has come up outside the White circle jerk and against the odds is someone who rose on the strength of their talents and someone who comes with an audience that you are not reaching.  It's amazing that the whole circle jerk -- and this includes Katie Halper on her own and with USEFUL IDIOTS -- can't find Margaret or Glenn on their contact list and invite them to be guests.  Glenn and Margaret have a lot of important information and analysis to share, reason enough for them to be guests.  But you're also opening yourself up to more viewers who aren't watching right now.  It's smart for discussion, it's smart for the issue and it's smart in terms of building your audience.  So what's the problem, what's the barrier?  Why aren't Glenn and Margaret invited on?

Betty's daughter just walked in to show me something.  This is so typical of what I'm talking about right now.  Betty's daughter found an RS feed of Betty's site with comments.  Betty's being attacked by several in the comments.  Why?  For calling out the race hustlers -- the White men who use racism and pretend they're not racists (Tim Wise, Paul Street, etc) -- and the result?  Betty, a Black blogger, is being trashed by White commentators for calling out Wise and Street and others.  That's the circle jerk, boys and girls, it never died.  Barack made them shut up because they wanted him elected in 2008, but the racism of the left never went away.  And if you're not aware of that racism and if you're not aware of how it impacts African-Americans on the left and how they use social media, then you just might be someone who doesn't grasp that failure to invite Margaret Kimberley and Glenn Ford to the party means some may interpret it as Whites only party.  

There has been far too many attacks on bloggers of color over the years for people to still not grasp how some are rightly wary when approaching a new voice or program.  

Hilaria created a character that she wanted to be.  Why she wanted to be that way is something she should share.  I don't see malice or profit in the equation.  I'm sorry she's been embarrassed.  I'm sorry that Alec defending his wife is seen as something to mock.

I'm especially sorry that day after day we cover the Iraq War and we do it largely by ourselves in this country.  Joel Wing covers it.  Margaret Griffis covers it.  Did I forget anyone?  Probably not because that's how short the list is.

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos (INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE) notes:

What does it look like when you “liberate” a country that hasn’t asked for it, when you unleash a violent chain of events creating the conditions for an even worse tyranny than before?

Those who witnessed Iraq in the wake of the American invasion in 2003, the failures of reconstruction, and the rise and fall of ISIS, say one need look no further than that country today to get your answer.

The Washington Post last week reported that there are still a million internally displaced Iraqis who fled the 2014 takeover of ISIS and the ensuing war to overthrow it — with many living in soon-to-be-shuttered government-run camps. Meanwhile, COVID has sent an already fragile economy spiraling toward collapse, with salaries in the major cities left unpaid, reconstruction projects stalled or completely aborted. A new central government is still trying to find its legs, more than a year after deadly street protests washed over the country. According to experts who spoke with RS, direct attention from the Western powers that sent this country on its present course is scattershot, with aid easily corrupted by a burgeoning kleptocracy across the provincial governments and Baghdad.

“The trauma on Iraq has been despicable,” said Abbas Kadhim, who spent his own youth in an Iraqi IDP camp in the 1990s before coming to the United States, where he observed the 2003 war and its aftermath from a distance. Now he is the director of the Iraq Initiative at the Atlantic Council in Washington, trying to rebuild broad diplomatic and political bridges with Baghdad. 

“This is really the part we have to reckon with when we talk about what happened in Iraq and what it will take to build back. There are things going on in that country that will take decades to undo,” he said in an interview with RS. 

That's the opening.  It's an important piece and Peter Van Buren makes some important comments in the article.  The war is not over, just US media interest in it.  Tyler Olson and Audrey Conklin (FOX NEWS) report:

Georgia Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock spoke at events organized by a religious group that called on Christians to repent for military action in Iraq between at least 2007 and 2009.

Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, was part of a group called the "Christian Peace Witness for Iraq," seeking to "foster a serious nationwide discussion on following Jesus in matters of conscience and duty, violence and nonviolence, war and peace" through its "Conscience in War" project.

Warnock spoke at a March 2007 Christian Peace Witness event at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., according to multiple reports. One video from Fox 5 D.C. showed Warnock (time stamp: 2:05) speaking at the altar of the cathedral during the event.

FOX thinks they're shaming Ralphael with that report.  I don't see how.  He seems a lot more serious to me because of the report.  He's a person of a faith and he's applying his faith.  Isn't that what happens every Sunday across the country in houses of worship.  How is this inconsistent?  It's not.  But I guess, to FOX NEWS, the war is trivial and something to be mocked?

In other news, DEUTSCHE WELLE is concerned about possible violence in Iraq on January 3rd.  That is something the US media should be covering but they can't.  The only thing they cover is Donald Trump's pardons and pretend that's coverage of Iraq.  Three Iraqi community members in Iraq are wondering if anyone in the US reads Arabic media?  No, they apparently do not.  They apparently do not grasp that the pardons are not a major story in Iraq.  They were a 24 hour news cycle and Iraqis have much more to deal with than something from 13 years ago.  Americans don't grasp that in part because of a trashy media (Hey, Amy Goodman, looking at you -- don't you wish you could still get away with publishing in HUSTLER each month, I'm sure trash like you does) and because of the self-importance that we Americans always embrace.

Now REUTERS is reporting that someone at the UN says the pardons are a violation of international law.  So what?  International law doesn't trump a damn thing in the US.  If that's news to you, you are deeply uninformed.  The pardons have been issued.  It's over.  People need to grasp that.  "But it's fun to beat up Donald Trump, right?  And we get to pretend that we care."  They don't care a damn thing about the Iraqi people.


Unfortunately, the average American appears to have a relatively high tolerance for war crimes abroad. According to a 2016 Red Cross report, Americans “are substantially more comfortable with war crimes than are populations of other western countries like the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, and even Russia,” as The Week put it at the time. “When asked whether ‘a captured enemy combatant [can] be tortured to obtain important military information,’ just 30 percent of Americans said ‘no,’ the lowest of any country surveyed except Israel and Nigeria.” Indeed, one 2018 poll suggested that a significant portion of Americans believed U.S. service members shouldn’t be prosecuted for overseas war crimes simply because “war is a stressful situation and allowances should be made.”

That isn’t to say American’s aren’t entirely immune to the perils of war crimes; indeed, they care more about U.S. war crimes abroad than they did during the Vietnam War, according to research. In a December 2019 poll of more than 1,000 Americans, researchers asked Americans if they approved or disapproved of Trump’s decision to pardon Lorance despite his 2012 conviction for killing civilians in Afghanistan. Forty-one percent approved of the pardon and 59 percent did not, the researchers found. “In 1971, Lt. William L. Calley Jr. was court-martialed and convicted of murdering 22 civilians in the 1968 My Lai Massacre,” the researchers noted. “He was sentenced to life in prison. A 1971 Gallup/Newsweek poll found that 11 percent of Americans approved of the verdict.”

Their research, published in the Washington Post, reveals that war crimes, like most other issues surrounding the military, break down along partisan lines when it comes to their impact on civilian populations: just 12 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of Independents approved of Trump’s Lorance pardon, while 79 percent of Republicans fully approved. But what’s more telling is the written commentary from respondents, which indicates that “many Americans appear to believe that if troops are fighting a just war, they should be excused from responsibility for violent acts, even war crimes,” as the researchers wrote in the Washington Post.

“Our survey finds that respondents who agree that the ‘United States was morally justified in going to war against Afghanistan when the war began in 2001’ are significantly more likely than those who disagree to support Trump’s pardons, by 52 to 22 percent,” the researchers wrote. “As one pardon supporter explained, the ‘Lieutenant was fighting for our freedom.’ Another simply wrote, ‘soldier is protecting our country.’ Those who said the war was morally justified were 14 percent more likely to support the pardons, even when controlling for party identification as well as age, race, gender and education.”

So do war crimes matter to the average American? In the short term, it appears that war crimes and their related pardons are simply new battlegrounds in the ever-expansive culture war between left and right, liberals and conservatives, that seems to have enveloped modern politics rather than becoming matters of human dignity in their own right. And that’s a damn shame.

For the record, Keller's opposed to the pardons.

If you're late to the party, I'm not opposed to any presidential pardon.  Henry Kissinger's a War Criminal but if he got a pardon, I wouldn't be opposed.  It's a presidential power and it's one that I think should be used more.  I would advocate for Leonard Peltier, among others.  I don't stomp and scream over a pardon because I don't want to be a hypocrite.  A pardon is an act of a president granted by the Constitution.  Though it provides legal protection, it does not wipe away the historical record.

In terms of Blackwater, they served more time, the four, than did any of other Americans who shot Iraqi people (civilians).  All of the other incidents are forgotten by Americans but not by the Iraqi people.  This wasn't uncommon.  An Iraqi community member pointed out that in 2004, the same crowd today was presenting Blackwater as heroes when some of their members were killed and this was used to justify an assault on Falluja.  She's right.  

When Erik Prince, head of Blackwater, and the various people -- Republicans and Democrats -- responsible for the war start facing criminal charges, talk to me about justice.  Until then, four people served a little bit of time -- much more than should have considering the deal the US State Dept made in the immediate wake of the assault.  No one wants to discuss that either, not in the US.  We're going to pretend that the crime took place, an immediate outcry universally followed (PBS mocked the dead and injured, that's reality) and then a quick trial put them away.  That's not what happened.

The pardons have taken place.  They cannot be overturned.  "Give it up, Jake, it's Chinatown," as they say at the end of the film.  

Blackwater becomes the story because (a) it lets a certain crowd trash Donald Trump and pretend that makes them political and informed, (b) it was a story in the news for years so they know something about it and can pretend to be informed, (c) it's a way to call out US War Crimes without actually calling out US War Criminals in the elected official realm and in the US military, (d) it gives their pathetic lives some meaning.

"What about the Iraqi people!"  Learn to read Arabic.  I don't know what to tell you other than Iraqi social media is full of stories of murders by Americans and pointing out that their family members are being swept aside yet again while this one incident is covered and recovered and covered again.

On the pathetic whose lives will apparently end on January 20th, Glenn Greenwald (IHC) notes:

Asserting that Donald Trump is a fascist-like dictator threatening the previously sturdy foundations of U.S. democracy has been a virtual requirement over the last four years to obtain entrance to cable news Green Rooms, sinecures as mainstream newspaper columnists, and popularity in faculty lounges. Yet it has proven to be a preposterous farce.

In 2020 alone, Trump had two perfectly crafted opportunities to seize authoritarian power — a global health pandemic and sprawling protests and sustained riots throughout American cities — and yet did virtually nothing to exploit those opportunities. Actual would-be despots such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán quickly seized on the virus to declare martial law, while even prior U.S. presidents, to say nothing of foreign tyrants, have used the pretext of much less civil unrest than what we saw this summer to deploy the military in the streets to pacify their own citizenry.

But early in the pandemic, Trump was criticized, especially by Democrats, for failing to assert the draconian powers he had, such as commandeering the means of industrial production under the Defense Production Act of 1950, invoked by Truman to force industry to produce materials needed for the Korean War. In March, The Washington Post reported that “Governors, Democrats in Congress and some Senate Republicans have been urging Trump for at least a week to invoke the act, and his potential 2020 opponent, Joe Biden, came out in favor of it, too,” yet “Trump [gave] a variety of reasons for not doing so.” Rejecting demands to exploit a public health pandemic to assert extraordinary powers is not exactly what one expects from a striving dictator.

A similar dynamic prevailed during the sustained protests and riots that erupted after the killing of George Floyd. While conservatives such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK), in his controversial New York Times op-ed, urged the mass deployment of the military to quell the protesters, and while Trump threatened to deploy them if governors failed to pacify the riots, Trump failed to order anything more than a few isolated, symbolic gestures such as having troops use tear gas to clear out protesters from Lafayette Park for his now-notorious walk to a church, provoking harsh criticism from the right, including Fox News, for failing to use more aggressive force to restore order.

Virtually every prediction expressed by those who pushed this doomsday narrative of Trump as a rising dictator — usually with great profit for themselves — never materialized. While Trump radically escalated bombing campaigns he inherited from Bush and Obama, he started no new wars. When his policies were declared by courts to be unconstitutional, he either revised them to comport with judicial requirements (as in the case of his “Muslim ban”) or withdrew them (as in the case of diverting Pentagon funds to build his wall). No journalists were jailed for criticizing or reporting negatively on Trump, let alone killed, as was endlessly predicted and sometimes even implied. Bashing Trump was far more likely to yield best-selling books, social media stardom and new contracts as cable news “analysts” than interment in gulags or state reprisals. There were no Proud Boy insurrections or right-wing militias waging civil war in U.S. cities. Boastful and bizarre tweets aside, Trump’s administration was far more a continuation of the U.S. political tradition than a radical departure from it. 

The hysterical Trump-as-despot script was all melodrama, a ploy for profits and ratings, and, most of all, a potent instrument to distract from the neoliberal ideology that gave rise to Trump in the first place by causing so much wreckage. Positing Trump as a grand aberration from U.S. politics and as the prime author of America’s woes — rather than what he was: a perfectly predictable extension of U.S politics and a symptom of preexisting pathologies — enabled those who have so much blood and economic destruction on their hands not only to evade responsibility for what they did, but to rehabilitate themselves as the guardians of freedom and prosperity and, ultimately, catapult themselves back into power. As of January 20, that is exactly where they will reside.

Here's a link to Caitlin Johnstone -- I've been trying to work in a link to one of her articles for over a week.  

We'll wind down with this from the Green Party:

Green Party of the United States

For Immediate Release:
December 22, 2020

Michael O’Neil, Communications Manager,, 202-804-2758
Holly Hart, Co-chair, Media Committee,, 202-804-2758
Craig Seeman, Co-chair, Media Committee,, 202-804-2758

“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the glaring inadequacies of the nation’s current hodge-podge of insurance options,” said Mark Dunlea, a New York-based Green Party organizer , co-founder of Single Payer New York and former head of the Hunger Action Network. “This is not the time to shy away from promoting Medicare-for-All. The Democratic Party had the power to pass a genuine universal health care bill in March 2010 and instead squandered the opportunity out of deference to private insurance and other health-care lobbies. The height of the pandemic, along with the promise of the vaccine, is the best time to correct this tragic mistake.” 

“Congress members who support Medicare-for-All should push for a vote on HR1384 now as the tip of the spear for more comprehensive COVID-19 relief,” said Gloria Mattera, Green Party National Co-Chair, who works as Director of Child Life at a public hospital in New York City and serves on the executive board of Physicians for a National Health Program — NY Metro  Chapter. “They should take the opportunity during the coming weeks to educate the public about how we can improve medical care for everyone while drastically cutting the cost of coverage and treatment, eliminating co-pays, deductibles, out-of-pocket fees and surprise bills. We can replace the private bureaucracies that keep denying and restricting treatment and end the epidemic of bankruptcies over medical costs.” 

 A Medicare-for-All vote will challenge Democrats and Republicans to take action on a crisis that the two-party establishment keeps ignoring: the lack of healthcare for millions of Americans who lack coverage, the private insurance bureaucracy's restriction and denial of treatment for those who have coverage, and the soaring cost of treatment and prescriptions that has drained the savings of hundreds of thousands of Americans. 

“Corporate lobbyists and their PR departments are going on the offensive and will spread misinformation, said Laura Wells, former Green candidate for California state controller. “The healthcare industry front group demonizing Medicare for All and a public option has amassed $36 million for its campaign heading into 2021." (The Green Party supports Medicare-for-All, not the public option.)   According to a recent poll conducted by the PEW Research Center, an increasing majority of Americans support government-provided health care coverage for all

“The Green Party has run and will continue to run strong candidates for the US House and Senate, all of whom support Medicare-for-All and a Green New Deal,” said Trahern Crews, Green Party National Co-Chair and Green Party National Black Caucus Co-Chair. “The country desperately needs people in Congress who don't have to answer to the leaders of the two corporate-money parties. Both major parties are in the pockets of Wall Street, ensuring more of the same corruption and exploitation. The Green Party and Green candidates don't accept contributions from corporate PACs. Having Greens seated in Congress and every other level of government will end the dynamic in which Democrats and Republicans compete bitterly over political power but are in consensus on leaving economic power to the 1%.”

For More Information

Green Party Petition at $600 and No Medicare-For-All Vote? Bah-Humbug! Tell Congress, Trump and Biden: "Don't 'Scrooge' us on Medicare-For-All and COVID Relief!"

A New Congressional Budget Office Study Shows That Medicare for All Would Save Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Annually,Bruenig, Matt. Jacobin, December 19, 2020

The Next War Against A Public Option Is Starting, Sirota, David and Andrew Perez. The Daily Poster, December 9, 2020

“Every. Single. One.”: Ocasio-Cortez Notes Every Democrat Who Backed Medicare for All Won Reelection in 2020, Queally, Jon. Common Dreams, November 7, 2020

Increasing share of Americans favor a single government program to provide health care coverage, Jones, Bradley. Pew Research Center, September 29, 2020

COVID 19 and Medicare for AllPhysicians for a National Health Plan - PNHP

Green Party Platform on Single-Payer Health Care

The Hawkins Healthcare Plan, Green Party 2020 Presidential Candidate Howie Hawkins

Green Party of the United States
Newsroom | Twitter: @GreenPartyUS
Green Party Platform
Green New Deal
Green candidate database and campaign information
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The following sites updated:

  • Tuesday, December 29, 2020

    The best television of the last 15 years



    Above is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Grinch Who Stole The Stimulus and Christmas" which is a great comic and you need to read Ava and C.I.'s "TV: WONDER WOMAN 1984 is an awful film" which is a great piece of writing. 

    Patty Jenkins directed a piece of crap film.  Also see Rebecca's "wonder woman 1984 really sucks" and my cousin Marcia's "Superman & Lois, Batwoman, Wonder Woman."  It really is a hideous film.  

    Now at THIRD, we did "15 best TV shows of the last 15 years" and "15 worst things about TV in the last 15 years."  On the worst, we could have kept going and done 30 or even 45.  

    On the best?

    It was hard.  I'm glad we did honorable mentions after the top 15 and here they are:


    So 23 shows ended up getting honorable mention.  And you can thank C.I. for that because we had just done the 15 -- finally came to agreement on the 15 and their order.  And there was a sense of sadness/depression -- I don't think it was just me.

    So C.I. said, "Let's take all the shows that made the second to last cut but didn't make the top 15 and list them as honorable mention."

    I was so much happier after that.  

    But go to "15 best TV shows of the last 15 years" to find out what 15 made our list as the best.


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

    Tuesday, December 29, 2020.  Iraq comes in second as deadliest place to be a journalist in 2020 per Reporters Without Borders, Jake Sullivan gets slapped on social media, and much more.

    As the year winds down, Reporters Without Borders looks back at 2020OPB notes, "More journalists are being killed outside of war zones, and the overwhelming majority of this year’s grim total of at least 50 dead were deliberately targeted, many of them murdered while investigating organized crime, corruption and environmental degradation, Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday."  Rayhan Uddin (MIDDLE EAST EYE) points out, "Iraq was the world’s second deadliest country for journalists in 2020, according to an annual report published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Tuesday. " ALJAZEERA offers this context, "The total number of journalists killed in 2020 was slightly lower than the 53 reported in 2019, although RSF said fewer journalists worked in the field this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic."

    On Iraq, Reporters Without Borders notes:

    Iraqi journalists risk their lives when they cover protests or investigate corruption, and the dangers have grown since the start of an unprecedented wave of anti-government protests in October 2019. Journalists who dare to report the demands of the protesters are liable to be harassed, abducted, physically attacked or even killed by unidentified militias. The threats come from all quarters and are designed to deter them from investigating or publishing the fruits of their research. Coverage of political or religious figures still regarded as untouchable can lead to prosecution or to media bans for disrespecting “national or religious symbols.” Murders of journalists go unpunished because they are not investigated or, if there is an investigation, it goes nowhere, relatives say. 

    The state’s powerlessness increases the dangers and makes it impossible to determine whether what the many militias are doing suits the government, whether the government has given them the go-ahead, or whether it has no control over the situation. The authorities have, however, banned live reporting from the protests, disconnected the Internet and, in a decision by the Media Regulation Commission, banned ten media outlets from covering the protests. Journalists are also worried by a proposed cyber-crime law providing for prison sentences (including life imprisonment) for online posts that endanger “the independence, unity or integrity of the country, or its economic, political, military or security interests.” The vagueness of this wording is alarming and liable to discourage the emergence of a truly free and independent press.

    On RWB's World Press Freedom Index, Iraq comes in at 162.  And they note, "In Iraq, three journalists were killed in exactly the same way: by a shot to the head fired by unidentified gunmen while they were covering protests. A fourth was killed in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region while trying to flee from clashes between security forces and demonstrators."  Khazan Jangiz (RUDAW) identifies the six journalists killed (if you're a media assistant or whatever we count you as a journalist here and have since the site started):

    Two of the journalists were killed in Basra. Prominent Iraqi journalist Ahmed Abdul Samad and his cameraman Safaa al-Ghali were shot dead by unknown gunmen in their car while covering Iraq’s ongoing protests for Dijlah TV in January.

    Yussef Sattar, a journalist and activist, was killed during protests in Baghdad, also in January.

    Hunar Rasool, a Kurdish journalist for Gali Kurdistan TV died from injuries in Ranya, Sulaimani province on August 12 after he tried to escape clashes between protesters and security forces.

    Two “media assistants” – Nizar Thanoun and Husham al-Hashimi – were shot dead in Baghdad by unidentified assailants in Baghdad in 2020, RSF said.

    From the Committee to Protect Journalists, we'll note another 2020 murder that's Iraq related:

    In a case of direct and public killing of a journalist by a government, on December 12 Iran executed journalist Roohollah Zam by hanging after sentencing him to death. Zam’s website and Telegram channel, Amad News—which he ran from exile—had reported critically on Iranian officials and shared the timings and locations of protests in 2017; Telegram shut down the channel in late 2017, but the account later reemerged under a different name. CPJ classifies Zam’s killing as a murder, based on methodology that defines murder as the targeted killing of a journalist in direct reprisal for their work. Iranian intelligence agents detained Zam in Iraq in October 2019 and took him to Iran, according to CPJ research; authorities aired a video of him apologizing on a state television. He was convicted and sentenced to death in June on 17 charges including espionage, spreading false news abroad, and insulting Islamic values and the supreme leader; the sentence was confirmed on December 8. In announcing his execution, Iranian state media referred to Zam as “the leader of the riots,” referring to protests in the country in 2017, according to The Associated Press.

    ALSUMARIA covers the Reporters Without Borders story on the number of journalists killed but it also notes CPJ's report on the number of journalists jailed.  From that CPJ report:

    A record number of journalists were imprisoned globally for their work in 2020 as authoritarian nations arrested many covering COVID-19 or political instability. Amid the pandemic, governments delayed trials, restricted visitors, and disregarded the increased health risk in prison; at least two journalists died after contracting the disease in custody.

    In its annual global survey, the Committee to Protect Journalists found at least 274 journalists in jail in relation to their work on December 1, 2020, exceeding the high of 272 in 2016. China, which arrested several journalists for their coverage of the pandemic, was the world’s worst jailer for the second year in a row. It was followed by Turkey, which continues to try journalists free on parole and arrest new ones; Egypt, which went to great lengths to keep custody of journalists not convicted of any crime; and Saudi Arabia. Countries where the number of jailed journalists rose significantly include Belarus, where mass protests have ensued over the disputed re-election of the long-time president, and Ethiopia, where political unrest has degenerated into armed conflict.

    This marks the fifth consecutive year that repressive governments have imprisoned at least 250 journalists. Lack of global leadership on democratic values – particularly from the United States, where President Donald Trump has inexhaustibly denigrated the press and cozied up to dictators such as Egyptian President Abdelfattah el-Sisi – has perpetuated the crisis. As authoritarians leveraged Trump’s “fake news” rhetoric to justify their actions – particularly in Egypt – the number of journalists jailed on “false news” charges steadily increased. This year, 34 journalists were jailed for “false news,” compared with 31 last year.

    Within the United States, no journalists were jailed at the time of CPJ’s prison census, but an unprecedented 110 journalists were arrested or criminally charged in 2020 and around 300 were assaulted, the majority by law enforcement, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. At least 12 still face criminal charges, some of which carry jail terms. Observers told CPJ that the polarized political climate, militarized law enforcement, and vitriol toward the media combined during a wave of protests to eradicate norms that once afforded journalists police protection.  

    CPJ has published recommendations to the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden for restoring U.S. press freedom leadership globally, which include ensuring accountability for the domestic attacks on journalists as well as instructing diplomats abroad to attend trials of journalists and speak out in support of independent media. CPJ found the lack of trust in media in the U.S. to be particularly dangerous during the global pandemic.

    CPJ lists these three Iraqi journalists as currently jailed:

    Guhdar ZebariWllat NewsOctober 22, 2020Iraq
    Omed Haje BaroshkyFreelanceSeptember 13, 2020Iraq
    Sherwan Amin SherwaniFreelanceOctober 7, 2020Iraq

    In related news, NRT reports a crackdown on freedom of expression in the KRG:

    The Peace and Freedom Organization (PFO) said on Sunday (December 27) that there were at least 207 major instances in the Kurdistan Region where freedom of the press and expression were violated during 2020, a shocking 133 percent increase compared with 87 the previous year.

    The violations included preventing protests, detaining journalists and activists, closing media outlets and offices, and killing protesters, the local watchdog said in its annual report.

    Head of the PFO Sangar Yousif told a press conference for the report’s release that the numbers in some categories are certainly higher because the organization largely dealt with collective cases, rather than individual violations. For instance, if a reporting team with several journalists was prevented from covering an event, it was counted as one violation.

    According to the 2020 report, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) or groups associated with the Region’s parties prevented 79 protests, killed nine protesters, closed six media outlets or offices, arrested 64 journalists and activists, prevented journalists from covering a news event 30 times, physically attacked journalists eleven times, and prevented the work of organizations three times.

    Jake Sullivan is Joe Biden's nominee for National Security Advisor and, when Joe Biden was Vice President, Jake was Joe's National Security Advisor.  That meant, since Joe was tasked by Barack Obama with Iraq, Jake should be something of an expert on Iraq.  His ability to do any job was called into question when Jake took to social media and tried to preen and posture on the topic with a Tweet:

    Saudi Arabia’s sentencing of Loujain al-Hathloul for simply exercising her universal rights is unjust and troubling. As we have said, the Biden-Harris administration will stand up against human rights violations wherever they occur.

    He was quickly put in check by MBS 2030:

    You know who killed this journalist in Iraq

    If the video doesn't show above, click here.  The assailants are captured on camera but no arrests.  Jake Sullivan thought he could preen and posture and he got slapped in the face with the reality that, in Iraq, you can murder a journalist, get caught doing so on camera and still get away with it.

    Idiots like Jake Sullivan are embarrassments and should think before they Tweet.  In Iraq, no one ever solves the murder of a journalist.  Doubt me?  From the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization:

    Huner RasoolMale12/08/2020Iraqi/KurdishNew requestLink
    Nizar ThanounMale11/02/2020IraqiNew requestLink
    Ahmed Abdul SamadMale10/01/2020IraqiNew requestLink
    Safaa GhaliMale10/01/2020IraqiNew requestLink
    Ahmed Muhana al-LamiMale06/12/2019IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Samir Ali Hussein ShgaraMale10/01/2019IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Arkan SharifiMale30/10/2017IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Harb Hazaa al-DulaimiMale07/07/2017IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Soudad al-DouriMale07/07/2017IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Véronique RobertFemale24/06/2017French/SwissNo Information Received So FarLinkLink
    Bakhtyar HaddadMale19/06/2017IraqiNo Information Received So FarLinkLink
    Stephan VilleneuveMale19/06/2017FrenchNo Information Received So FarLinkLink
    Souhaib Al-HitiMale30/05/2017IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Shifa Zikri Ibrahim (aka Shifa Gardi)Female25/02/2017IraqiNo Information Received So FarLinkLink
    Mohammed Thabet al-ObeidiMale06/12/2016IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Ali ResanMale22/10/2016IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Ahmet HaceroğluMale21/10/2016IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Ali GhaniMale20/08/2016IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Mustafa SaeedMale14/08/2016IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Widad Hussein AliMale13/08/2016IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Ali MahmudMale13/07/2016IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Hassan al-AnbakiMale12/01/2016IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Saif TalalMale12/01/2016IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Yahya Abd HamadMale12/09/2015IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Yahya al-KhatibMale16/08/2015IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Ghazi Al-ObeidiMale05/08/2015IraqiNo Information Received So FarLinkLink
    Jalaa Al-AbadiMale15/07/2015IraqiNo Information Received So FarLinkLink
    Suahaa Ahmed RadhiFemale01/07/2015IraqiNo Information Received So FarLinkLink
    Majed Al Rabi’i (aka Majid Al Rabi'i)Male06/05/2015IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink
    Raed Al-JuburiMale05/05/2015IraqiOngoing/UnresolvedLinkLink

    And if those names overwhelm you, take a minute to grasp that the list above is from one out of seven pages listing murdered Iraqi journalists since 2003, one out of seven pages.  Yeah, Jake Sullivan needs to stop preening.

    Staying with the topic of violence . . .

    MNA states:

    According to the Iraqi sources on Tuesday two US convoys were targeted in the southern provinces of Iraq.

    A convoy was targeted in Al-Diwaniyah province in the south of Iraq, Sabrin News reported.

    Al-Sumaria news also reported that the convoy was affiliated with the international coalition and was targeted on the Al-Diwaniyah international Road.

    The Shafaq News quoted a security source as saying that a bomb had exploded in the path of the convoy, damaging one of the vehicles.

    Minutes after the news was reported, Saberin News announced that another US convoy had been targeted in the city of Samawah in Muthanna Province.

    Still on violence, NRT reports:

     One person was killed and another was injured in Diyala governorate when an unidentified armed group attacked Um Hunta village in northern Jalawla sub-district on Tuesday evening (December 29).

    NRT reporter Garmian Hama Pur said that the security forces blamed Islamic State remnants for the attack.

    Still on deaths, ANADOLU AGENCY reports:                            

    A leader in Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr’s movement was shot dead in southern Iraq on Tuesday, according to an Iraqi police officer.

    Unidentified gunmen opened fire on Rami al-Shabani in al-Diwaniyah city, killing him instantly, police captain Jamal al-Din al-Sudairy told Anadolu Agency.

    No group has yet claimed responsibility for the assassination.

    Baxtiyar Goran Tweets:

    A senior member/commander of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Saraya al-Salam assassinated in Diwaniya province. The assassination coincides with an IED attack on US-led coalition logistics convoy by a militia cell affiliated with Sadr in the province a day earlier —
    . #Iraq

    New content at THIRD:

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