Friday, March 29, 2024

Louis Gossett Jr.

Actor Louis Gossett Jr. passed away at the age of 87.  Doug Williams (CBS NEWS NEW YORK) notes:


A local legend on stage and screen, Gossett was the first Black man to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

For the better part of a century, Gossett did it all -- from "Roots" in 1977, to being an Oscar-winning drill sergeant in 1982 to a Cuban nursing home musician in 2019.

It all started in Coney Island, where he grew up the son of a porter and a maid. He discussed his upbringing in a CBS Sunday Morning interview in 2020.

"We had nothing. That's what we thought we had," he said.

Gossett attended Mark Twain Intermediate and Abraham Lincoln High School, both in Coney Island, before going to New York University.

Many obits then jump to A RAISIN IN THE SUN.  That was not even Louis' first Broadway appearance:

In 1953, Gossett starred in the Broadway play Take a Giant Step.[9] He replaced Bill Gunn as Spencer Scott.[10] The play was selected by The New York Times drama critics as one of the 10 best shows of the year. He was 17, and still a student at Abraham Lincoln High School, with no formal drama training.[4]

On October 24, 1955, the Broadway play The Desk Set started its run, with Gossett acting in it. The show had 297 performances and closed on July 7, 1956.[11] Its a comedy about office workers. On its 200th performance, Jack Y. Kohl's The Morning Call review praised the entire cast.[12]

In 1959, continuing his Broadway career, Gossett played the role of George Murchison in A Raisin in the Sun. The story tells of a black family's experiences in south Chicago, as they attempt to improve their financial circumstances.[13] The character of Murchison represents the "fully assimilated black man" who denies his African heritage with a "smarter than thou" attitude.[14] The play received rave reviews.[15] In Boyd Martin's review in The Courier Journal said that the play is "magnificently played by the entire cast."[16] It won best play at the New York Drama Critics' Circle.[17]

In 1961, A RAISIN IN THE SUN was made into a movie and this was his film debut.  In the film, he also played George Murchison -- the pompous, wealthy and self-hating character in the play.  He had already made his TV debut -- on THE BIG STORY in 1958.  He would continue to act on television. He would guest star on THE NURSES, COWBOY IN AFRICA, THE INVADERS, DAKTARI and THE BILL COSBY SHOW.  This led to THE YOUNG REBELS which he costarred in for 15 episodes beginning in 1970.  This was good because he didn't make another film until 1969's THE BUSHBABY (in 1968, he was in the TV movie COMPANIONS IN NIGHTMARE).  He also continued to perform on Broadway -- TAMBOURINES TO GLORY (1963), GOLDEN BOY (1964 -- nominated for four Tonys including Sammy Davis Jr. for Best Actor in a Musical), THE ZULU AND THE ZAYDA (1964 with a cast that included Ossie Davis), MY SWEET CHARLIE (1966 with Bonnie Bedelia), CARRY ME BACK TO MORNING SIDE HEIGHTS (1968 -- with Sidney Poitier directing Louis, Diane Ladd and Cicely Tyson) and MURDEROUS ANGELS (1971 with Barbara Colby).

During the 1970s, he appeared in many films such as 1971's SKIN GAME, 1973's THE FUZZ BROTHERS, 1973's THE LAUGHING POLICEMAN, 1974's THE WHITE DAWN, 1976's THE RIVER NIGER and J.D.'S REVENGE and 1977's THE CHOIRBOYS.  He also appeared in three films during the 70s that are recognized as classics: Hal Ashby's THE LANDLORD with Beau Bridges and Diana Sands, George Cukor's TRAVELS WITH MY AUNT with Maggie Smith and Peter Yates' THE DEEP with Jacqueline Bisset.




And then came the 1977 mini-series ROOTS.  MYNEWSLA notes:

Gossett became one of the most recognizable actors of his generation. He broke through on the small screen as Fiddler in the groundbreaking 1977 ABC miniseries “Roots,” which led to an Emmy Award. The miniseries was among the highest-rated programs in television history. “Roots” was based on Alex Haley’s best-selling book that traced the impact of slavery on a Black family across generations.


This Emmy win would be a great ending to an applause worthy career.  But it wasn't the end.  He continued acting in TV and films for the rest of the 70s and the 80s.   VARIETY notes:

 After his Emmy win for "Roots" in 1978, Gossett picked up a further six Emmy nominations over the years. He drew a nomination for portraying the Egyptian president who made peace with Israel in the 1983 TV movie "Sadat." He was also nominated for his performance on the 1978 variety special "The Sentry Collection Presents Ben Vereen: His Roots"; for playing Levi Mercer in the 1979 NBC miniseries "Backstairs at the White House"; for lead actor in a drama series for "Palmerstown, U.S.A." in 1981; for lead actor in a miniseries or special for the Volker Schlondorff-directed "A Gathering of Old Men" (1987), in which he starred with Richard Widmark and Holly Hunter; and for multiple appearances as Anderson Walker on CBS' "Touched by an Angel" in 1997.


 And as applause worthy as those nominations were, he had more prizes coming.  The Oscar and a Golden Globe. AP notes:


Gossett became the third Black Oscar nominee in the supporting actor category in 1983. He won for his performance as the intimidating Marine drill instructor in “An Officer and a Gentleman” opposite Richard Gere and Debra Winger. He also won a Golden Globe for the same role.

The third nominee and the first African-American to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.  PEOPLE notes:


Richard Gere is paying tribute to his Officer and a Gentleman costar Louis Gossett Jr. after his death at age 87.

Gossett portrayed Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley, a drill instructor who served over Gere’s character Zack Mayo in the 1982 film. The film earned Gossett an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor — making him the first Black performer to win the Supporting Actor Oscar.

In a statement, obtained by PEOPLE, Gere remembers his costar as “a sweetheart” who “took his job very seriously” and “did his research.”

“He stayed in character the whole time,” Gere, 74, recalls. “I don't think we ever saw him socially. He was the drill sergeant 24 hours a day, and it showed clearly in his performance. He drove every scene he was in.”

Gere also describes Gossett as “a tough guy with a heart of gold,” adding, “We were all so proud of him when he won his Oscar.” He also offers “condolences to his family.”


In an amazing career, he worked with Diana Sands, Sidney Poitier, Halle Berry, Hal Ashby, Peggy Lipton, Clarence Williams III, Bill Cosby, Cicely Tyson, Ossie Davis, Holly Hunter, Charles Durning, Nick Notle, Walter Matthau, James Earl Jones, Glynn Turman, Sally Kellerman, Diane Ladd, Maggie Smith, Rae Dawn Chong, Wil Wheaton, Billy Zane, Dennis Quaid, Bruce Dern, Alfre Woodard, Barbara Hershey, Sean Connery, Diana Rigg, Regina King, Gabrielle Union, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kathy Bates, Ruby Dee, Famke Janssen, Peter Fonda, Daryl Hannah, Gena Rowlands, Olympia Dukakis, Lynn Whitfield, Anthony Edwards, Ellen Burstyn, Margot Kidder, James Caan, Scott Caan, Teri Hatcher, Telma Hopkins,Eric Stoltz, Beau Brides, Blair Underwood, Ellen De Generes, Joe Morton, Martin Sheen and Angie Dickinson -- among many others.  AP notes:

Gossett attended New York University on a basketball and drama scholarship. He was soon acting and singing on TV shows hosted by David Susskind, Ed Sullivan, Red Buttons, Merv Griffin, Jack Paar and Steve Allen.

Gossett became friendly with James Dean and studied acting with Marilyn Monroe, Martin Landau and Steve McQueen at an offshoot of the Actors Studio taught by Frank Silvera.

 An amazing career that never stopped.  In 2019, he was one of the stars of HBO's THE WATCHMAN.  Last Christmas?  THE COLOR PURPLE came out.  He has at least four more films due out over the next 12 months.

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


Friday, March 29, 2024.  We look at the sad and depressing world of US presidential campaigns.

Yesterday, in NYC, it was a gathering of presidents as President Joe Biden was joined by former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama for a big fundraiser.  That's a single sentence and does not have enough interest for me to include it in the snapshot  -- let alone open with it.  What makes it news to me?  , and CNN) report:


The event was interrupted at least four times by protesters, with at least three calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

“That’s alright. Let them go. There’s a lot of people who are very, very — there are too many innocent victims, Israeli and Palestinian. We’ve got to get more food and medicine, supplies into the Palestinians,” Biden said, according to journalists in the room, following one interruption. “But we can’t forget, Israel is in a position where its very existence is at stake. You have to have all those people. They weren’t killed. They were massacred. They were massacred.”

Ahead of the fundraiser, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Midtown Manhattan to protest Biden’s support for Israel amid its war in Gaza and call for a ceasefire. Biden has called for a temporary ceasefire and the release of hostages held by Hamas.     

How embarrassing.  That's like a Hillary Clinton visits a college campus appearance.

Jeff Mason (TIMES OF ISRAEL) adds:

“Shame on you, Joe Biden!” one yelled.

Obama and Clinton offered a presidential perspective of the Gaza crisis that stressed the political realities of being in the White House.

A president needs to be able to support Israel at the same time as fighting for Palestinians to have more access to food, medical supplies and a future state, they said.

“It’s a lonely seat,” Obama said. “One of the realities of the presidency is that the world has a lot of joy and beauty, but it also has a lot of tragedy and cruelty.”

Boo!  Boo!  Let's all boo that from Barack!  Poor, little president, such a rough job.  What could be worse?

Uh, try living in Palestine right now for starters.

This was a fundraiser.  They're getting heckled at a fundraiser.  That's how deeply unpopular the US government's embrace of the assault on Gaza is.

The whole thing was a nightmare.  And that includes the visuals.  Who decided, for example, that the three men -- at a pricey fundraiser -- should all go tieless?  Did they think that made them look like regular people?

It didn't work for any of them but especially not for Bill.  He needed that tie to avoid people wondering if he'd stolen one of Hillary Clinton's pant suits for the night.  

There are other campaigns taking place.  Marianne Williamson, for example, relaunched her campaign for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination not to secure the nomination -- Joe Biden has it -- but to raise important and needed issues.

Marianne Williamson:  Ten years ago, if I was, after I'd seen a patient and I told the patient what medicine or what treatment I wanted, ten years ago the question would have been, "What are the side effects?"  Today, the question is often -- more often, "How much will it cost me?"  You have 18 million Americans who cannot afford to pay for the prescriptions that their doctors give them.  And I don't believe that incremental changes are going to fix this.  We are already in crisis mode.  And if Washington doesn't see it, the average American does see it. People are living with-with the silent emergencies of poverty.  The silent emergencies of hunger.  You know we talk about COVID being an emergency.  COVID was what's called a screaming emergency.  Once the president declared that it was no longer an emergency and millions of people were thrown off Medicaid and SNAP benefits.  People were basically just told "Go back to life as you were living it" which was already an emergency -- a constant emergency.  The emergency of poverty.  The emergency of hunger.  The emergency of having to work two or three jobs just to put food on the table.  And I'll tell you something, at this point, what we should see as the emergency of hopelessness.  We should not talk about this mental health crisis as anything other than an emergency of hopelessness. and despair. 

Last Saturday, Democratic Party primaries were held in Louisiana and in Missouri.  Joe won both, no surprise.  In Louisiana, Marianne came in second with 4.7% of the vote and in Missouri she came in third with 1.6% of the vote -- second place went to "Uncommitted" which received 11.7% of the vote. 

Outside the Democratic Party?  That's where you'll find Robert Kennedy Junior.  Filip Timotija (THE HILL) reports:

A super PAC supporting Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent presidential bid said it raised over $2 million following the candidate’s official announcement of his running mate.

American Values 2024, the main outside group supporting Kennedy’s White House bid, raked in $2.1 million at a fundraiser on Tuesday, right after the official announcement of tech attorney and entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan joining his 2024 ticket, PAC head Tony Lyons shared first with The Hill.

Around 60 donors attended the outside group’s cocktail party, Lyons said.

Hmm.  I'm reminded of a Whitney Houston song.

Friday night you and your boys went out to eat, uhhh
Then they hung out
But you came home around three, yes you did
If six of y'all went out, ah
Then four of you were really cheap, yeah
Cause only two of you had dinner
I found your credit card receipt
-- "It's Not Right But It's Okay," written by Whitney Houston, LaShawn Daniels, Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins III, Isaac Phillips and Toni Estes, first appears on Whitney's MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE


So if each of the sixty donated the same amount -- and each donated -- that would be $35,000 a piece.

Like Whitney sang, "It's  not right but it's okay."  Con artist Junior gets further and further from pretending to be the common person concerned about the little people.  Team Junior thought that two million was impressive.  But then came Joe's $25 million night.  Again, the question is, what's the real difference between Junior's 'independent' campaign and one from the duopoly?

The supporters?  It's the crazy and the selfish supporting Junior.  Jeremy B. White (POLITICO) reports:

The new Kennedy voters scattering through the cavernous venue have traveled a long way from Camelot. Talking to them, it’s clear their misgivings about powerful institutions — what they see as a panoply of venal politicians, an untrustworthy media, Big Ag, Big Pharma, Big Tech — has led many of them to embrace fringe theories. A shared aversion to vaccines hardened during the Covid-19 pandemic. They worry about chemicals and monoculture crops eroding public health. They’re weary of grinding foreign wars. They admire Kennedy’s history of challenging powerful corporations.

But above all else, they believe the American political system is fundamentally broken and that both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will perpetuate its disrepair. They’re ex-Democrats, former Republicans and newly active independents — and they all talk about feeling both a profound disillusionment in the state of the nation and a deep optimism that Kennedy would lead them to something better.

“The other two candidates promote the division that is plaguing our country,” says Sarah Morris, a former “party-voting Democrat” who felt “ostracized by the left” for not wanting to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Some people “weaponize the idea of being a conspiracy theorist,” she says, so she decided to “wear it as a badge of honor.”

Literally: She showed up sporting a gray baseball cap with the words “Tin Foil” written on it.

We'll note THE DAILY SHOW on Junior's fans not embracing his v.p. choice.

We'll also note Leslie Jones from THE DAILY SHOW on Donald Trump.

On the GOP side, last Saturday only Louisiana held a primary.  Donald garnered 89.8% of the vote.  Nikki Haley came in second with 6.8%.

We got two more to cover.  Cornel West and Jill Stein.

Jill Stein is garbage.  She's lying about Cornel now proving she's garbage.  But we made the call that Jill was garbage in 2012 when Ava and I wrote "Let the fun begin (Ava and C.I.):"

Jill Stein.

As feminists, we wondered six weeks ago, what do we do?

Roseanne had already imploded.  (Cindy Sheehan has a story to tell and then some.)  She couldn't and wouldn't campaign, she apparently wouldn't pay workers she hired for her campaign, she was an embarrassment.

And so was Jill Stein.

As feminists, do we call it as it is?

We debated that for three days.  Jill wasn't going to win the presidency.  In fact, it was obvious she was running off the limited votes she did have a shot at.

But did we tell the truth on that?  Did we call her out?

We crossed the line on gender with the decision -- a feminist one (not "the" feminist one) -- that she was running for public office and therefore had to be treated the same as anyone else would even if, in the closing weeks, we were going to tear her apart.

But . . .

Having dealt with the feminist issue, we still had the issue of third parties.

Was it really fair to beat up on a third party candidate?

Adding to the problems, one of us (Ava) is involved with a lifelong Green (Jess), has a child by him, has made a home with him.

And Jess was very clear that Jill Stein was "a f**king idiot but the Greens need to be on ballots."  And they were.  Texas, for example.  We heard from Billie who early voted for Jill Stein.  She was so excited because Jill Stein was on the ballot.  She didn't have to write her in.  Right there on the Texas ballot was the Green Party.

What do we do?

In the end, we decided, "We don't promote her.  We don't mention her.  That's true here, that's true at Third."

So we bit our tongues.

As she ran a stupid campaign.  As she made a fool of herself and the Green Party.  (Granted, it's a party that loves to make a fool of itself.)

She -- and others -- did a debate with Larry King.  A debate that did not include all.  A new hurdle was invented.

Green Party members, you know what a hurdle is, right?  It's what keeps your candidate out of the so-called presidential debates every four years.  Why the hell would you take part in a debate that did not invite everyone who made it onto a state's ballot as a presidential candidate?

Because hypocrisy is a charge you live to embrace?

Maybe so.

Supposedly the Green Party is opposed to war.

So when Tim Arango reported the White House was negotiating with Nouri to send more troops back into Iraq, Jill Stein should have led on that.

But she's a politician which is just a whore without the desire to please a customer.

So Jill ignored it.

She ignored a lot.

Six weeks ago, in fact, after Barack cratered in the first debate, she and her campaign began going after Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.


You're a Green.  You're on the left.  The high profile left vote getter just imploded on national TV.  It's the perfect time for you to pick up some of his voters.

But you refuse to try.  You rush to go after Romney and Ryan instead.

Why is that?

Because you are not a real party.

Because you will forever be the little sister of the Democratic Party.

Because every four years, you start off with promise and end up revealing just how craven and disgusting you are.

If we are offering commentary four years from now, please note, being a Green will not save you.  Being third party will not save you. 

I'm not a Cornel West defender.  I don't think he should be running for president.  I don't think he put the time into it before deciding to run and I don't think he's put the time in it for a campaign.  

Jill Stein seems to think she can attack Cornel and get away with it.

To a degree, she's right.  She can get away wit it because there are a lot of whores out there.  The two whores that host THE VANGUARD for example.

"Gavin you called it, no Zac you called it, scratch my nuts boyfriend!"

I'm so sick of those damn liars.  They get something 1/4 right and they claim they called it -- ignoring the 3/4s they got wrong.  But worse is how they just outright lie.

They brought on Jill recently.  And you know what, some people had been pimping Cornel's campaign and -- Wait?

Some people?

You two freaks pimped the campaign.  You lied and you whored.  You're worse than anything on FOX "NEWS."  And let's remember, I called out Marianne Williamson many times.  But I especially called out her nonsense of not pushing back on Bill Mahr's transphobia in the one-on-one interview they did.  

What did freaky stoners do on THE VANGUARD?

Whored like the cheapest street walkers you'll ever meet.  I had to live through the garbage claims that when Barack was selling out, he wasn't selling out!  He was playing three dimensional chess!

THE VANGUARD boys pulled that this year and claimed that Marianne's refusal to pushback was great strategy and was this and was that.

No, it was embarrassing and the only thing more embarrassing than what she did was watching THE VANGUARD BOYS try to spin it for her.

I don't like whores.

There are many reasons I hate fat ass stalker and fake feminist Katha Pollitt.  But one of the biggest reasons after Abeer (Katha refused to cover the gang-rape and murder of the Iraqi girl and then, under real pressure and facing real backlash, she devoted one single sentence to Abeer) is that Katha thought Sarah Palin gave a great opening speech but wrote the opposite in her piece for THE NATION.  As her leaked journolist contribution made clear.  So she's paid to write an opinion piece and she can't even be honest in it?  That's a cheap whore.

And that's what THE VANGUARD boys are.

I'm not giving credit to anybody in the following for a number of reasons including whoring.  If you got it right about Jill months ago and you're now fawning over her -- BLACK POWER MEDIA, I'm looking at you --I'm not in the mood.  I'm not your Mommy.  I don't have to applaud your baby steps.  Equally true, if you're such a whore -- BPM's Jared Ball, I'm looking at you -- that you won't even stand up for the scoop you got, it's not my job to applaud you or to kiss your boo-boo and tell you to go back outside and play.

So many damn whores and we wonder what it's so hard to get the left motivated.

So here's reality.  

Cornel West did not wake up in January 2023 thinking he wanted to run for president.

A college professor, motivational speaker and writer of books for non-readers, he had plenty on his hands already. 

But Chris Hedges wanted to run for office.  The journalist wanted to run for office in years prior but would have had to give up RT at that time so he decided not to.

Chris was very close with the disgraced People's Party.  He presented himself and Cornel as a package deal.  They were set to announce the ticket.


Chris' wife told him that he was not running for vice president.

So Cornel was the only one announced.

This is where the real lies begins and where you should be seeing the whores.  Various YOUTUBE programs and online outlets allowed Chris to lie.  He wrote a piece -- that he talked about on one YOUTUBE program after another -- about how he was interviewing Cornel during a car ride and learning about Cornel's decision to run and --


Chris recruited him.  Chris brokered that nomination.

And Chris lied.  

And whores let him lie.

To his credit, Cornel didn't lie -- didn't realize he was supposed to be lying -- and early on in a few interviews (including with Jared Ball), spoke openly about this and how he and Chris were originally supposed to be running mates.

Chris doesn't live in the real world.  He lives in a world of lies.  Imagine that, a serial plagiarist living in a world of lies.  And he had no idea the reality with which others saw the People's Party.

Dripping in all of his Whitness, Chris Hedges did not realize how much damage running as the People's Party's presidential candidate would do to Cornel West.

But Cornel quickly found out.

That's why he announced he was no longer their candidate.

Behind the scenes -- and if I know this and documented this forever and a day in real time, whores like Katie Halper knew it too, they just lied to you while begging for your trust and money -- Chris told Cornel to chill, Chris was on it.  

Chris gets with Jill Stein and they tell Cornel he can be the Green Party's presidential nominee.

Jill will make it happen.

Oops.  That's not how the Green Party works.  And membership doesn't like Jill.  She's already a twice failed candidate for president and one who left the party deep in debt -- again BPM, if you'd own up to your reporting, I'd gladly insert your videos here.

And there is immediate pushback to Jill's scheme.

I keep writing daily here about how Cornel is not the nominee and ignore the YOUTUBE whores and Jill Stein and Chris Hedges.

Cornel was lied to.

When he says he was betrayed by Jill, he's telling the truth.

And when THE VANGUARD boys bring on Jill and let her claim she did nothing to Cornel, THE VANGUARD is just whoring again, using your money, betraying your trust.

Jill flat out lied to Cornel.  His very real disappointment and hurt is valid.  

I have not rushed to rescue or enable him.  I'm not doing that now.  But I haven't whored and I'm not going to start now.  Jill's garbage and I hope Cornel reflects on his experience in a book that would be a real book worth reading -- not sloganeering passed off as research and writing.

Jill is now likely to become the Green Party's presidential nominee this summer.  In part because the party's rank-and-filed had to mobilize to stop Cornel from being imposed on the party.  That took a lot of work and I will applaud the rank and file for that.  They stopped their party from selling out the process.  But now they have no one left but loser Jill.

Three times?  This will her third time running for president.  Donald doesn't need to run this third time and neither does Jill Stein.

She's a fake ass and she's a liar and we won't pretend otherwise.

Let's move over to DEMOCRACY NOW! yesterday:

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: A State Department official working on human rights issues in the Middle East resigned Wednesday in protest against U.S. support for Israel’s assault on Gaza. Annelle Sheline worked as a foreign affairs officer in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor for a year, before publicly resigning.

In an op-ed published in CNN, she wrote, quote, “For the past year, I worked for the office devoted to promoting human rights in the Middle East. I believe strongly in the mission and in the important work of that office. However, as a representative of a government that is directly enabling what the International Court of Justice has said could plausibly be a genocide in Gaza, such work has become almost impossible. Unable to serve an administration that enables such atrocities, I have decided to resign from my position at the Department of State,” she wrote.

AMY GOODMAN: Annelle Sheline is the most significant protest resignation over U.S. support for Israel’s assault on Gaza since the resignation in October of Josh Paul, the senior State Department official involved in arms transfers to foreign governments.

Annelle Sheline joins us now from Washington, D.C.

Annelle, welcome to Democracy Now! Can you tell us further about the decision you made?

ANNELLE SHELINE: Thanks so much for having me and for your coverage of this issue.

I hadn’t initially planned to resign publicly. I hadn’t been at State for very long, and I didn’t think it would necessarily matter. But I decided to go public because when I started to tell colleagues that I was planning to resign over Gaza, so many people’s response was, “Please speak out. Please speak for us.” Many people are not in a position where they feel they could resign, or they are trying to do what they can on the inside. There’s still a lot of important, crucial work the State Department does. And so I decided I would go ahead and go public.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, you told — Annelle, you told The Washington Post that you tried to raise concerns internally with dissent cables and at staff forums. So, what was the result of that? And how are other people within State, as you said, trying to speak out within the State Department to change policy?

ANNELLE SHELINE: Yes, many people are extremely horrified by the U.S. government’s position on this horrific conflict and the actions of both the Israeli and the U.S. governments. There is the dissent channel inside the State Department. I was in — I co-wrote a cable and signed other cables. There have been forums for State Department employees to speak out. I spoke with supervisors. I was able to speak with a senior official about my resignation. I think, at the end of the day, many people inside State know that this is a horrific policy and can’t believe that the United States government is engaged in such actions that contravene American values so directly. But the leadership is not listening.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to the State Department spokesperson Matt Miller being questioned by a reporter about the internal dissent channel within the State Department and employees raising concerns over the policies.

HUMEYRA PAMUK: What is the point of the whole channel? And, like, I mean, the secretary listens, and we’ve all reported about various listening sessions between mid-level or, like, more senior officials with the secretary, more junior officials. If it’s not — if it’s being heard, but if it’s not taken into account in the policy at all —


HUMEYRA PAMUK: — then don’t you think it’s a little bit pointless?

MATTHEW MILLER: So, I would disagree with that completely. It is taken into account in the policy-making process. The secretary has heard things in those meetings that he takes on board and that he — that influence his thinking and that he brings to bear in making policy decisions. Now, if what you mean is, are we going to execute a complete reversal of the policy that —

HUMEYRA PAMUK: No, that’s not what I mean. That’s not what I mean.

MATTHEW MILLER: — hold on — we implemented, or are you going to — are we going to implement exactly some of the policies that the people in these meetings have called for —

HUMEYRA PAMUK: No, not at all.

MATTHEW MILLER: — that’s not how —


MATTHEW MILLER: Hold on. That’s not how this process works. That’s not how government works. And that’s —

HUMEYRA PAMUK: No, I don’t think that’s anyone’s expectation.

MATTHEW MILLER: And that’s — let me just say, that’s not how any organization works. I daresay any of the media organizations in this room, if reporters go to their bosses and offer feedback, and the bosses say, “Well, that’s a good point. We’re going to take that to bear. But on the larger policy, this is the decision that we have made,” that’s how — that’s how leadership —

HUMEYRA PAMUK: You’re doing a long rant about something that I didn’t suggest.

MATTHEW MILLER: That is how leadership works.

HUMEYRA PAMUK: But do you have any examples on, you know, any changes —

MATTHEW MILLER: Yeah. I will — I will say —

HUMEYRA PAMUK: Like, I’m genuinely curious.

MATTHEW MILLER: I will say, with respect to any number of issues, with respect to the delivery of humanitarian assistance, we have heard good ideas from people inside the building who have come and offered constructive feedback, and we have implemented those.


MATTHEW MILLER: Now — now, there are people that when you say if — like, if the idea is that — to the United States to cut off support for Israel, that’s just a fundamental policy disagreement. So, when you see people who offer interviews that say, “We want the United States to stop supporting Israel’s right to defend itself,” that’s not something the secretary agrees with, it’s not something the president agrees with, and ultimately they are the ones who have the responsibility of making those decisions.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Annelle Sheline, if you can respond to the State Department spokesperson Matt Miller?

ANNELLE SHELINE: You know, I think American law is quite clear here, in terms of the Leahy laws, for example, that when a foreign military is credibly accused of gross human rights violations, the law is that the U.S. will no longer provide weapons to those units, or 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act, that a government that is blocking American humanitarian aid is no longer eligible for U.S. military assistance. These laws are not being applied.

So, I think this is not only having a horrific effect on the people of Gaza, but in terms of America’s standing in the rest of the world, this administration came in pledging to reestablish American moral leadership, reengagement with the international community, uphold the law and the so-called rules-based liberal international order, and I think it’s just become clear that this administration is not, in fact, conducting — carrying out any of those pledges. And, you know, my work was on human rights, which is very important work that the State Department does. But I think, on this issue in particular, the political calculus has been that U.S. support for Israel is a better political move. But I think what the administration may be starting to see is they may have made the wrong decision on that politically.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Annelle, can you explain whether there’s any distinction made — there’s a blanket statement about U.S. support for Israel. But is there no distinction within discussions at the State Department between different forms of U.S. support for Israel? So, for instance, obviously, in this instance, the most important question is that of military aid to Israel at this moment.

ANNELLE SHELINE: There, I should be clear that, you know, my area of focus, I was not — Israel and Palestine were not part of my portfolio. I was focusing primarily on North Africa, so I can’t speak directly to some of those conversations. I do think, you know, at the end of the day, the U.S.-Israel relationship is considered of such political importance that decisions regarding it are made at the very top. And so, while there are other processes and certainly discussions going on inside State, inside other parts of the government about some of those nuances you were discussing, I don’t think we’re likely to see any public shift on any of that until those decisions come from the top that they’re ready to reimagine the U.S.-Israel relationship.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to another clip of the State Department spokesperson Matt Miller, saying the Biden administration has not found Israel’s actions in Gaza to be a violation of international law. This is some of what he said.

MATTHEW MILLER: We have not found them to be in violation of international humanitarian law, either when it comes to the conduct of the war or when it comes to the provision of humanitarian assistance.

AMY GOODMAN: That was this week, Annelle Sheline, either violation of international law or when it comes to providing humanitarian assistance. And yet President Biden says he is building a port because the Palestinians cannot get enough aid.

ANNELLE SHELINE: Exactly. I think that the evidence speaks for itself. We’ve had, you know, not only the ICJ’s ruling, not only the U.N. Security Council ruling. Clearly, the administration is unwilling to admit to reality. And again, I just want to reiterate, I think this is not only obviously devastating for the lives of people in Gaza, but is doing incredible damage to America’s standing on the international stage. It is incredibly demoralizing for people inside the State Department, many of whom believe very deeply in what America says it stands for. So, I’m trying to speak on behalf of those many, many people who feel so betrayed by our government’s stance.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Annelle, could you explain the effect that the massive protests across the United States have had within the State Department, what discussion there was of them, and then, of course, the “uncommitted” vote?

ANNELLE SHELINE: So, within the State Department, you know, civil servants are very committed to their role of being nonpolitical, of following the instruction that they receive. You know, within State, people are aware of what’s going on outside. But, you know, this is not the first time that people have been involved or had to carry out policies they perhaps did not agree with, and it is something that many of these people have signed up for. This is the role of carrying out America’s foreign policy.

On this issue, I think, because it has been so horrific and because we are seeing such growing political pushback from the American public, people are increasingly frustrated. You know, many other people with whom I spoke said they’re considering resigning. But again, it is challenging for someone to — you know, it’s not easy to not have a job in this country.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to quote further what you’ve said in explanation of why you’re resigning. You said you’re “haunted by the final social media post of Aaron Bushnell, the 25-year-old US Air Force serviceman who self-immolated in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington on February 25.” You quote him: “Many of us like to ask ourselves, 'What would I do if I was alive during slavery? Or the Jim Crow South? Or apartheid? What would I do if my country was committing genocide?' The answer is, you’re doing it. Right now.” If you can explain what that meant to you and how people have responded to you?

ANNELLE SHELINE: Sorry. You know, that post, I think, spoke to me and many people, who had to really look at what they were doing and whether — you know, for me, I have a young daughter. And I thought about, in the future, if she were to ask me, you know, “What were you doing when this was happening? You were at the State Department.” I want to be able to tell her that I didn’t stay silent. And I know many people who are deeply affected by those words that Aaron Bushnell posted. And I do think people are trying to do what they can. There is still very important work being done inside the State Department. But I do think, until our top levels of leadership are ready to make a change, there’s very little that the rank and file are able to do.

AMY GOODMAN: Annelle Sheline, we want to thank you so much for being with us. Annelle has just resigned from the State Department in protest of U.S. support for Israel’s war on Gaza. She worked as foreign affairs officer in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. She’s also the first State Department official to publicly resign since Josh Paul did months ago.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we speak to the spokesperson for UNRWA. President Biden just signed off on a bipartisan bill, turning it into law, which says that UNRWA will not be funded by the U.S. government for the next year. Stay with us.

Gaza remains under assault. Day 175 of  the assault in the wave that began in October.  Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) points out, "Bloodletting as form; murder as fashion.  The ongoing campaign in Gaza by Israel’s Defence Forces continues without stalling and restriction.  But the burgeoning number of corpses is starting to become a challenge for the propaganda outlets:  How to justify it?  Fortunately for Israel, the United States, its unqualified defender, is happy to provide cover for murder covered in the sheath of self-defence."   CNN has explained, "The Gaza Strip is 'the most dangerous place' in the world to be a child, according to the executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund."  ABC NEWS quotes UNICEF's December 9th statement, ""The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis. Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them."  NBC NEWS notes, "Strong majorities of all voters in the U.S. disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of foreign policy and the Israel-Hamas war, according to the latest national NBC News poll. The erosion is most pronounced among Democrats, a majority of whom believe Israel has gone too far in its military action in Gaza."  The slaughter continues.  It has displaced over 1 million people per the US Congressional Research Service.  Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) points out, "Academics and legal experts around the world, including Holocaust scholars, have condemned the six-week Israeli assault of Gaza as genocide."   The death toll of Palestinians in Gaza is grows higher and higher.  United Nations Women noted, "More than 1.9 million people -- 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza -- have been displaced, including what UN Women estimates to be nearly 1 million women and girls. The entire population of Gaza -- roughly 2.2 million people -- are in crisis levels of acute food insecurity or worse." THE NATIONAL notes, "The total number of people killed since October 7 has increased to 32,623, with 75,092 injured."  Months ago,  AP  noted, "About 4,000 people are reported missing."  February 7th, Jeremy Scahill explained on DEMOCRACY NOW! that "there’s an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 Palestinians missing, many of them in graves that are the rubble of their former home."  February 5th, the United Nations' Phillipe Lazzarini Tweeted:

And the area itself?  Isabele Debre (AP) reveals, "Israel’s military offensive has turned much of northern Gaza into an uninhabitable moonscape. Whole neighborhoods have been erased. Homes, schools and hospitals have been blasted by airstrikes and scorched by tank fire. Some buildings are still standing, but most are battered shells."  Kieron Monks (I NEWS) reports, "More than 40 per cent of the buildings in northern Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, according to a new study of satellite imagery by US researchers Jamon Van Den Hoek from Oregon State University and Corey Scher at the City University of New York. The UN gave a figure of 45 per cent of housing destroyed or damaged across the strip in less than six weeks. The rate of destruction is among the highest of any conflict since the Second World War." 

This morning ALJAZEERA reports:

The International Court of Justice’s order for Israel to provide the unhindered delivery of aid is not likely to increase the amount of assistance flowing into Gaza unless a ceasefire is reached, analyst Marc Owen Jones has told Al Jazeera.

“After the last ICJ provisional measures [in January], the amount of aid entering Gaza actually decreased,” the Middle East expert at Hamad Bin Khalifa University said. “Just because the ICJ have put this ruling forward doesn’t necessarily mean Israel is going to comply.”

About one third of the aid that was required in Gaza before the war is currently reaching the bombarded territory. “The only thing that will result in a spike in aid is a ceasefire,” he said.

“Otherwise, I’m afraid Israel’s response will just be rhetoric.”

+ I’ll never forget the irate call we got from an Obama senate staffer when we reported that Lieberman was Obama’s mentor in the Senate during his first year in office. “He didn’t have a f**king choice about it, man!!!!!!!” Sure.

+ When Joe Lieberman arrived in the US Senate in 1989, Strom Thurmond greeted him by saying, “I understand we think a lot alike in the way we do things.” “Yes, sir, I think we do,” admitted Lieberman. Strom probably learned about this reassuring profile of Lieberman’s center-right political beliefs from his weekly lunch date in the Senate cafeteria with Joe Biden who, like Lieberman, was one of the founding nowhere men of the Democratic Leadership Council, whose mission was to keep the Democratic Party from ever again straying to the Left of Michael Dukakis…

+ Al Gore’s Harvard mentor (and later political promoter at the New Republic) Martin Peretz convinced Gore to put Lieberman–the most obnoxious senator in a chamber full of them–on the ticket in 2000 for the express purpose of winning Florida by courting the Jewish and the Cuban exile vote in Miami-Dade, even they didn’t like him.

+ Political piety was Lieberman’s calling card and, like McCain, this pretense of recoiling from the dirty work of politics won him many friends in the mainstream press. In reality, Lieberman was a censor and a prude. He supported labeling hip-hop and heavy rock records and restricting the sale of video games to minors. He censured Bubba for having consensual sex and publicly denounced him for it. Gore’s pick of Lieberman meant that Bill Clinton, still enormously popular, couldn’t campaign for this ticket featuring two of the stiffest politicians in American history, likely costing the pair the election.

+ After the 2000 elections, Lieberman played an entirely malicious role in American politics. He spread lies about WMDs in Iraq, championed the wars on terror, condoned torture and campaigned against universal health care, successfully severing the public option from ObamaCare and gutting the planned extension of Medicare to people 55 or older.

+ Lieberman: “Every day Saddam Hussein remains in power with chemical weapons, biological weapons and the development of nuclear weapons is a day of danger for the United States.” September 4, 2002.

+ Petulant and vainglorious, Lieberman couldn’t handle being defeated by the progressive Ned Lamont in the CT primary, largely over his support for the Iraq War, and waged a nasty independent campaign backed by many in the GOP to narrowly win in the general elections. Then he endorsed McCain over Obama in 2008. He served as a model for figures such as Manchin and Sinema, who practiced a kind of political extortion against their own party. 

+ Lieberman was one of the chief architects of the post-911 police state in the US, working side-by-side with the Bush administration to construct the new Department of Homeland Security, lending it vast new powers not only to harass immigrants, especially those from Muslim countries, but to invade nearly every aspect of the lives of American citizens in the name of “security.”

+ No defender of civil liberties, Lieberman was no defender of civil liberties, Lieberman was a supporter of the Patriot Act and backed nearly every variety of government surveillance.  He authored the so-called Kill-Switch Bill, which would have given the President to assume complete control of the Net.

+ Lieberman was one of the first, if not the first, prominent politicians to advocate prosecuting Julian Assange under the Espionage Act, and introduced a bill in Congress to expand the law with that explicit purpose. Lieberman’s vendetta against Wikileaks included convincing (extorting?) Amazon, Visa, MasterCard and Pay Pal to stop servicing payments to the independent media organization.

+ Long an advocate of privatizing education, Lieberman testified before the Senate Education Committee in 2017 in favor of Betsy DeVos’ nomination to become Trump’s Education Secretary, telling the committee: “I know that some people are questioning her qualifications to be secretary of education, and too many of those questions seem to me to be based on the fact that she doesn’t come from within the education establishment. But honestly, I believe that today, that’s one of the most important qualifications you could have for this job. She has many others. She’s a mother and a grandmother. She cares about children more generally, and she has been involved in education, like so many parents and local citizen school board members across America for almost 30 years.”

+ Lieberman’s one benign contribution to the Republic was in helping to defang the federal government’s toxic posture toward homosexuals…but then so did Lynne and Dick Cheney. 

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