Saturday, January 01, 2022

2021: The Madness of the Partisan Left (The Year of Silencing Speech)

As the year drew to a close last night, I thought of three important stories on Iraq and how two got covered to a degree and one got completely ignored and they swirled around my head along with the image of a faded movie star.  I also thought of fake asses -- which, honestly, does include the press.  But I was thinking beyond that and thinking of celebrities who, frankly, do not know when to shut up.  You aren't required to have an opinion on everything and you should grasp that you probably don't have an opinion to share on everything.

We cover Iraq here.  We will include other topics.  I feel comfortable with politics having majored in it for a b.s. (how appropriate) and for a masters.  (International relations and campaign politics were the two areas that I emphasized.)  And we comment on entertainment, which I'm more than qualfied for.  However, sometimes Ava and I are pushed out of our comfort zone.  We weren't, for example, experts on gay porn until an issue came up (an Iraq War veteran passing off hate crimes as sexy) and we were asked to address it (see "Media: Gay Rights and Gay Wrongs").  Which we did but only after hours of conversations with friends in the adult entertainment industry and with friends who consumed a lot (a really lot) of gay porn. They brought us up to speed and recommended what to look for and what titles to watch in order to be able to comment.  They basically spent several days giving us a crash course, a Berlitz, if you will, in gay porn.

By contrast, if you read Debra Messing's sad Twitter feed, do you really think she's an expert on any of the things she Tweets about?  No.  She's an idiot who repeats talking points which is why she didn't realize that the FBI doesn't work like the TV show AMERICAN IDOL (remember when she thought you could 'vote' on which cases the FBI would pursue?) and why she tried to present herself as an expert on what was going on in Colombia but was so uninformed she didn't even know how to spell the name of the country.

I have no problem with issues.  I have no problem with, for example, Jessica Lange taking up the plight of American farmers and testifying before Congress -- something she did very elequently.  I have no problem with a performer taking a stand on an issue.

I have a huge problem with people who confuse partisanship with politics.  I loathe idiots who can't speak for themselves.  I have a very good friend who I get very frustrated with because she can't use her brain.  Does it not function?  As Cass Elliot might have said during her Mamas and Papas days, "_____ can't speak tonight, I forgot to program her.'' She used to say that of Michelle Phillips because Michelle loathed speaking during a concert.  I know Michelle, she's not the person I'm referring to.  And Michelle is an issues person.  The homeless is not abstract to Michelle.  She chooses products she uses based upon what they do for others.  She makes a point to use her time to deliver meals. But back to that unnamed friend, she used to call her husband constanlty before that divorce (one of many).  You'd go to visit her on the set and say, "Hey, what do you think about what's going on in Iran?"  She'd say, hold on, and rush -- in those pre-cell phone days -- off to a pay phone to dial the husband (a nightmare himself, but that's another story) and immediately greet him with, "What's our position on  ____?"  These days, she tends to call a woman who fancies herself a playwright (she does the equivalent of collages, verbal collages, where she grabs other people's words and assembles them).  The friend had a good education that included some college but she never really learned to think.  You probably know someone like her in your own life, someone who has always just now, at this moment, figured out everything and will prattle on about that until she next just then, at that moment, figures out everything and prattles on until . . . You get the idea?

Oh well, at least she has some human interaction.  Unlike Patty Arquette who thinks listening (to the dreadful) KPFK educates her.  I can't stand her anymore. I began the walk away from that 'friendship' in 1994 when I saw how judgmental she was -- and of a dead person -- and how black and white everything had to be for her.  She has no education to speak of and she can't read (she refuses to read) so she's dependent upon the loons at KFPK to tell her reality.  I don't expect reality from people who can't face reality themselves and see 'news' as, "How can I make the Republican Party look bad so I can steer attention away from the bad things the Democratic Party is doing?"  

Most have neither the sense or the class to be on Twitter with partisan nonsense.  Jamie Lee Curtis is one of the few with grace -- if she makes a mistake, she will own it and she will apologize.  Most double down and block the person who points out their mistake.  For instance, I believe Alyssa Milano has now blocked more people on Twitter than she has followers.

And why does she have a platform to begin with?  She thinks she's wonderful when the reality is that she was and remains part of the problem.  I'm not talking about political parties here or how she's a schill for the Democratic Party.  I'm talking about her own actions, she needs to be responsible for those.  If she's going to be on Twitter, she needs to take accountability for all the hate she fostered and all the discrimination she endorsed.

AND JUST LIKE THAT . . . is a nightmare.  In part, that's due to Sarah Jessica Parker realizing that all those lovey-dovey talks with David Remnick that she thought made her look so cosmopolitan and informed really just made her a stooge who embraced a Whites-only world.  That's the reality that she's trying desperately to make up for with in AND JUST LIKE THAT . . .  aka AFTER THE GALS CLIMB OUT BED AND FINALLY REALIZE PEOPLE OF COLOR ALSO POPULATE NEW YORK CITY.  

Sarah was a producer of the original show.  Just like Alyssa was a producer of CHARMED.  And CHARMED was just as guilty of ignoring people of color.  Debbi Morgan and Dorian Gregory were the only actors of color portraying recurring characters on the show.  Both of those characters were created by Constance Burge before she left the show.  She left due to conflict with Brad Kern -- he was a pig on the set and he was harassing people.  Alyssa, as an actress, didn't side with Constance who created the show.  She sided with Brad and she was happy to work with Brad who got away with a lot because of her support.  A lot of women suffered because people like Alyssa repeatedly supported Brad Kern.  It took 2018 before CBS fired him -- after their third invesitgation -- third -- into his sexual harassment of women.

So the next time hypocrite Alyssa wants to talk #MeToo, it needs to be pointed out that she has refused to take accountability for the support she gave Brad Kern and how that support allowed him to harass women on the set repeatedly.

She won't do it. 

She Tweets compulsively but doesn't have time to Tweet about how women were harmed because of her actions.  She Tweets constantly but can't Tweet about how she refused to cast people of color once she became a producer of CHARMED.  (San Francisco is a majority-minority city which means Anglo Whites make up less than 50% of the population.  In the census taken last year, Anglo Whites made up 39% of the population.)

And as appalling as it is that she couldn't cast people of color, it's equally astounding that she couldn't find any gay characters.  We do grasp that, right?  The original series CHARMED that she starred in for eight seasons and that she produced for the last four was set in San Francisco.  But no gay people were in the city?  We have the highest percentage of out LGBTQ people of any city in the country.  Of the top ten largest cities -- by population -- NYC has the lowest percent of out LGBTQ people.  But gay San Francisco didn't exist on CHARMED.  And, in fairness to NYC, the percentage is of out people -- so closet cases like Barry Diller don't figure into the count.  NYC might actually have more LGBTQ people than we do in San Francisco if you included those people who are hiding in shame in their closets. 


For someone who wants to play more-woke-than-thou daily on Twitter, Alyssa has a lot of skeltons visible in her very open closet.

And these people who will not admit to their own failings, are projecting on others.  Right now, Joe Biden, President of the United States, has the FBI all up in arms over his daughter's sex diary (we scooped THE GLOBE a few weeks back -- a friend sent me their current issue and it's got the sex diary on the cover).  In the diary (which I haven't read but have heard the contents of for about three months now) Ashley reflects on abuse by Joe.  He walks in on her in the shower, for example.

Now I do remember people trying to make photos of Donald with his daughter into something disgusting.  I don't know her name and I don't want to look it up.  It's the oldest daughter, if that helps.  And Donald was a perv and he was this and he was that based upon how he acted in some photo.

Really?  You don't think you might have been projecting some?  Because I hate Donald Trump and I have hated him for years.  I have accused him of many things, some to his face, but I have never accused him of untoward interest in or actions to his daughter.

These same celebrities are silent as Ashley Biden's diary details how she feels Joe abused her.

If they were truly outraged about alleged incestous feelings or actions, why are they silent now?

Is it just partisanship or is it also that they can't see the bad in their own and they refuse to see any good in their designated enemies?

It's a question we really should be asking -- as a country. 

Because this issue of finger pointing has gotten so out of hand and is dividing the country.

And I'd love to see people stop celebrating journalistic dilettante Spencer Ackerman and instead asking him how he feels about his part in formulating a way to silence criticism of Jeremiah Wright?  Back in 2008, he participated in a journalsim forum and insisted that what was needed was to respond to any criticism of Wright by screaming "racist!"  He wrote, "Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares -- and call them racists."  He wrote, "I do not endorse a Popular Front, nor do I think you need to.  It's not necessary to jump to Wright's defense.  What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of ghoing after the left.  In other words, find a right winger's and smash it through a plate-glass window.  Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear."  

If you missed it, that 2008 hidden conversation formulation is now used daily on everything.  Also, in case you missed it, grasp that Spencer's position inherently is an acknowledgement that there is actually no defense for some of Wright's statements (Barack Obama would later disassociate himself publicly from Wright and Wright would then publicly rebuke Barack.)  Since the statement's could not be defended -- meaning the critiques were not off mark in Spencer's mind -- the answer was to attack the ones offering these critiques and try to smear them as racists so that no one would listen to them and so that others would be afraid to speak out.

Our public discourse has degraded.  I'm not a clutch-the-pearls type and could care less about foul language or words that whiners don't like.  (The press is the biggest whiner in the world -- a fact I knew before this website started but one that has been repeatedly confirmed each year as various journalists e-mail to say I was too hard on them and didn't I know that their editor or their producer insisted that this or that be cut or soft peddled?)  I do care when false accusations are made intentionally.

When you know what you are saying is false, you shouldn't be saying it.

But people wanted to insist, for example, that Donald Trump was a racist.  I know Donald and he's not.  Now he's a hater of the poor.  And African-Americans make up a greater percentage of the poor than they do of the general population in the US.  But if you're a person of color with money, Donald loves you.  He loved Michael Jackson, I'm not joking, for awhile the two were best friends -- it was around the time Michael was obsessed with the TV show DYNASTY and visiting the set of that show.  When we would bump into each other during that time period, all he wanted to talk about was DYNASTY, Donald Trump and did Prince think he was a better artist than Michael?

I watched throughout his four years as president as his words were repeatedly distorted to try to score political points.  He's not a learned person and he is not a great speaker.  I once had to sit next to him at a large dinner party.  It's when I learned to understand how he spoke because it is fragmented and all over the place.  Over the years, we probably attended 12 to 20 other parties and dinners (and I made clear to every host and hostess that I would not be seated next to him again because I did not like him).  And people would come up to me and say, "He said ____.  What does he mean?"  And I'd have to do a Trump to English translation for them.

I don't like Donald.  (I'd say he doesn't like me but I honestly don't think he cares enough about me -- or most people -- to have an opinion.  His focus is always on himself.)  But it was appalling to watch people distort what he said.  He said enough that was outrageous that you didn't have to go off inventing or distorting to call him out.

Call it THE MADNESS OF THE PARTISAN LEFT.  As opposed to the real left.

The real left, of which I'd be a part, cares about issues.  We care that the Iraq War is still going on.  We care that the American people are still being spied upon.  We care that immigrants are still being kept in cages.  We care that whistle-blowers are under attack and that includes the fact that we want the persecution of Julian Assange ended.  We want Guantanamo shut down -- you know, the prison/gulag that Barack promised he would close if elected president -- the travesty that remains open despite Barack serving two terms as president.

Jeanne Crain.


If you missed it, Bruce Springsteen, alleged voice for the poor and working poor, has done worse than take his 'rock' music to Broadway.  He's now written a book with Barack.  The Drone War was Barack's war and killed many civilians.  Guess 'voice of the people' Brucie isn't the voice of all the people, just the voice for the people who sail on David Geffen's yacht.  

Bruce is a lot like Jeanne Crain.  He had a few good years of popularity.  He's not been popular in his chosen field (recording) for some time now but the media pretends otherwise.  His recording career has been in the sewer for years now.  

Jeanne Crain.  Some people probably don't even know who she is. For awhile, she was FOX's number one female star.  In 1949, she was one of the country's biggest box office attractions.  That's the year she appeared in A LETTER TO THREE WIVES, THE FAN and PINKY -- and was nominated as Best Actress for an Academy Award.  It should have been a glorious career.

She had talent.*  She had the looks.  Audiences loved her.  

Most people don't even know who she was today and haven't seen a film she was in.  She's forgotten and she did it to herself.

First off, she accused her husband of beating her and having affairs.  The country was, "Oh, poor Jeanne."  Because they loved her.  They thought they knew her -- the way many thought they knew Bruce once upon a time.  But after making those accusations in court what did Jeanne do?  Get back with him (and stay married to him for decades).  She forced the public to take sides and when they supported her, she basically betrayed them by returning to her alleged abuser.  That's not girl-next-door behavior the country wants to embrace.  So that was a big blow to her career.

But she made it worse.  She had to share that she hated Communists.  Did anyone really need that factoid?  Shouldn't she have just kept her mouth shut?  No one ever accused her of being a Communist.  Actually, no one ever thought she was smart enough to be anything politically.   Again, we're dealing with an uneducated mind.  There was no reason for her to weigh in upon anything other than dresses because that's about all she knew.  (*Let me address that before I forget.  "She had talent."  Joseph L. Mankiewicz worked with Jeanne and disliked her because he thought her talent was minimal.  His dislike turned to hatred -- and his comments grew more intensely against her -- as the years passed.  That was because of what we're about to get into, her rush to partisanship.) (Patricia is a conservative, for those who don't know.)

Why did she make it worse?  Because she just knew America needed to know her every thought and, in fact, needed to know what do from her because, hey, she was a half-literate performer who didn't have the brains to even study her own craft to improve in her field.  (Her idea of 'studying' to become a better actress was to dye her hair a bright red and cut it short.  Wow, Jeanne, that's got to be much easier than attending a workshop at The Actors Studio.)

I was thinking abotu Jeanne and about how most people don't know her and how there's no push for a revial or renewed interst in her.  And why would there be?  We, in the entertainment industry, are mostly leftists.  Equally true, the Patricia Heatons don't seem to know a damn bit of history with regards to their peers who preceeded them.  Patricia's on Twitter, you'd think she'd be promoting Jeanne like crazy.

Barbara Stanwyck is one of the few great stars that was a conservative.  (She was also a lesbian -- does that balance it out some way?)  She was known to be nice to every member of the crew, she was known to get along with all of her co-stars (do we talk about the affair with Marilyn Monroe?  no, let's stay on topic).  She was a much praised actress who had earned the praise and who had endured for decades so she's in the canon of great female stars -- Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, etc.  All Democrats, please note, except Barbara.  Republican Ginger Rogers really isn't in the canon and really won't be because too many of us found her politically disgusting.  But Barbara knew how to speak to what she knew about.  She had tremendous knowledge (education can come outside of school to people who actually read and Barbara was a big time reader).  

Jeanne didn't know anything.  Her foolishness included thinking America needed her to tell them how to vote.  She was there for Eisenhower.  She was there for Nixon -- when he lost to Kennedy.  I wondered, "Does CRAPAPEDIA note any of this in their entry on her?"  Nope.

But that is what killed her career.  She'd destroyed her innocent image with her accusations against her husband that she then retracted them by going back to him.  If a man lied on me and accused me of a false affair and if he beat me and beat me in front of our children, I wouldn't go back to him when I had the money and means to raise them on my own.  But Jeanne went back which, to most Americans, was saying, "I'm a liar who lied about this man."

But that could have worked in her favor for phase two of her career.  FOX had dumped her but that was fine with her.  She wanted to play seductresses and bad girls and that's why she dyed the hair brighter and cut it shorter and started sporting her breasts at every party she attended -- and all she did after FOX fired her was attend parties.  

So, one good role (and UNIVERSAL had one in mind -- though it didn't pan out in the end) and she could restart her career, phase two as one of the wicked women of the screen.

But that's around the time she got the idea that she was smart and she knew the world and that what her audience wanted from her was instructions in who to vote for.

Partianship killed her.  

She sided with a loser (Nixon) and she sided with him in every run for president.  Tricky Dick was a crook who left the Oval Office in disgrace and left because he was about to be impeached and he would have been removed from office.

She tied herself to a crook and it sank her ship for good.

And that's why I don't get these idiot celebrities who think the world needs partisanship from them.  Who are the great politicians of this age?  I can't think of many.

The only one that springs immediately to my mind on a national level is Senator Patty Murray who does good work by keeping her nose down and focusing on issues.  I remember in 2002 when Ms. was gearing up an issue on women that would include politicians and a friend slid a draft over to me and was appalled when I suggested that they include Patty.  They didn't think she did enough for women.  I'm confused by how Patty hasn't done enough but Nancy was considered our champion.  Nancy was then (and still is) my representative in the House.  I know her record.  I know she talks big but I also know she fails to deliver.  

That's the average politician.  That's the baseline average. Why would anyone want to tie themselves to a politician?  They're crooks or they're ineffective.  There are a few workhorses, like Patty, who keep their noses down and do the work.  And I like Patty and I like the work she does.  But I'm not going to go on a yacht with her or co-write a book with her.  

Bruce is happy to do that with Barack.  He's tied to Barack and Barack's drone war is an issue that's only going to get bigger and be a bigger problem for him each year.  Now it's going to be a problem for Bruce too since he got in bed with Barack.

I'm not going to whore my image on some politician.  I'm not that stupid.  My family had its first political scandal, during my lifetime, while I was in primary school (a sex scandal, naturally, the politician caught sleeping with some beauty who was not his wife).  Gore Vidal and I used to mock most of the politicians we knew, we'd laugh about them and what fakes they were.  Yes, that included Al Gore.  No, I am not sorry that I wrote of Al's affair from 1992 in Ava and my "TV: Global Boring" and I'm not sorry that this confirmed what Tipper already knew and was part of what led to their separation.  I do care about the other piece we wrote that destroyed a friend's marriage. I think she's much better off without that jerk but I'm sorry that our highlighting the way he trashed -- repeatedly -- her former boyfriend and the way he berated her sons allowed her to realize she wasn't wrong to doubt him and think she needed to leave. I probably should have pulled her aside and talked to her about that.  I did call her before Ava and my piece went up to let her know about it and what it was going to say.

But I never though about it, that relationship, before Ava and I wrote about it.  That's the reality.  Most things I don't think about.  I go about my life and some of it never registers.  I did not like that ego maniac.  But he was married to my friend so I didn't make a point to question the dislike -- what was the point, I'd have to see him regularly since he was married to her.  But when we had to watch the reality show -- and we watched several episodes on one day -- and I had to look at it from other angles, it was obvious how horrible he was.  

I don't know everything.  I'm not stupid enough to think I do.  I cannot speak to everything.  I like Alec Baldwin.  I consider him a friend -- it's been awhile since we've spoken but I do consider him a friend.  (And I don't need an intermediary to e-mail this site trying to set us up.  I have his number, he has mine. So don't e-mail this site again trying to set us up for a conversation.)  People want me to weigh in on that set tragedy.  Why?  I don't believe Alec was trying to kill or harm anyone.  That's not his style.  I stand by that and have no problem doing so.  The facts will come out.  They don't need me for that because I wasn't on that set.  Nor was George Clooney. Didn't stop George from weighing in.  Hey, George, as long as your talking about anything, how about you address the long standing rumors that you're bisexual and that you at least don't beat the men you are alleged to have slept with -- a big difference from claims made by women you've slept with.  Want to talk about those rumors since you want to circulate rumors about Alec?  I'm down with that conversation, Buster Brown, I'm down with it and I've got the names.  We didn't note Katie Halper when she did her Alec show.  I didn't stream it nd I didn't want to and it didn't go up here.  I didn't believe that her guest knew what happened and I wasn't in the mood for it.  Equally true, there were many other topics -- worthy ones -- that could have been covered.  I don't use this site to block criticism of my friends.  I consider Dave Chappelle to be a wonderful friend.  I did not launch an attack on him with regards to his anti-trans comments.  First off, it was in keeping with the persona he uses onstage.  Second off, for him it was a bit of progress.  Meaning the past criticism of him had resulted in a slight change on his part.  I stated that the critiques needed to continue.  I didn't attack him but I didn't shut down the conversation -- and I reposted some criticism of him here.  

It's a conversation that we all need to be having.  And stop pretending it's just no big deal.  This is a huge deal.  This has been huge progress for the transgender community.  I am very happy about that.  But we have to grasp that it was a big shift and that others need to be encouraged to shift with the rest of the country.  And that this requires a real dialogue.  Ann was right when she wrote:

Dahlia McCamon offers some important words that we all need to hear. I also think we all need to see. What I mean by that is, we aren't a censorship community in THE COMMON ILLS. We believe in more voices, not less voices. Netflix needs to give Dahlia McCamon a special. Not only that, they should actually do a conversation special -- roundtable would be great -- about Dave Chappelle's show.

I think the conversation is needed for all of us but especially for Dave who does not appear to grasp why people are responding to his comments the way they are.   

We only know what we can discuss.  And we can't have a real discussion if some are making false accusations -- a la Spencer Ackerman -- just to stop a discussion from taking place.

We can't have a real discussion if we're not informed. 

The Iraq War has not ended. The Iraqi people continue to suffer because of the US-led war.  And most people in America have no idea about that reality because so many outlets either ignore Iraq or lie about it.

2020 saw three big events that were Iraq related.

Let's start with the good news.  The Turkish government's continued violation of Iraq's national sovereignty as it terrorizes Kurdistan has finally gotten serious western press attention.  This has been ongoing for years.  The term ecocide has been attached to Turkey's actions with regards to chopping down (and burning down) forests in Kurdistan.  

In December, AP reported:

Dozens of flag-waving demonstrators from a Kurdish organization broke into the Dutch grounds of the global chemical weapons watchdog Friday to protest what they alleged was the use of chemical weapons by Turkish forces.

Police said they arrested about 50 protesters who managed to get past security, including a high fence that surrounds The Hague headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, spokesperson Dick Goijert said.

A Kurdish group called DEM NED organized the protest against the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Turkish armed forces, Goijert said. He did not have further details.

And THE NEWSHOUR (PBS) offered this report two days ago.

Turkey's actions have killed and wounded a large number of civilians and its actions, in another country, do qualify as a declaration of war.

For years, the world looked the other way as the Palestinians were targeted and their rights violated.  At the start of the last century, the world looked the other way while Turkey carried out a genocide in Armenia.  Turkey's actions against the Kurds -- in Kurdistan, in Syria and within Turkey -- look a lot like gencoide.  At what point do people plan to speak up?  At what point does the world call it out?

We can't have that conversation unless we're aware of what's going on. 

And it doesn't benefit the Democratic Party or the Republican Party to address Turkey's illegal actions.  Therefore, you're not going to hear about it on MSNBC or on FOX NEWS.  Partisan media has no skin in the game and they're not interested.

Partisan media apparently has no interest in the innocents killed in THE DRONE WAR either.  Barack Obama lied about it so that's got Dem partisans silent and Donald continued it so that's got Rep partisans silent.

But Azmat Khan's "Hidden Petnagon Records Reveal Patterns Of Failure In Deadly Airstrikes" was major news -- even if most outlets ignored it.  From the article:

  Shortly before 3 a.m. on July 19, 2016, American Special Operations forces bombed what they believed were three ISIS “staging areas” on the outskirts of Tokhar, a riverside hamlet in northern Syria. They reported 85 fighters killed. In fact, they hit houses far from the front line, where farmers, their families and other local people sought nighttime sanctuary from bombing and gunfire. More than 120 villagers were killed.
In early 2017 in Iraq, an American war plane struck a dark-colored vehicle, believed to be a car bomb, stopped at an intersection in the Wadi Hajar neighborhood of West Mosul. Actually, the car had been bearing not a bomb but a man named Majid Mahmoud Ahmed, his wife and their two children, who were fleeing the fighting nearby. They and three other civilians were killed.
In November 2015, after observing a man dragging an “unknown heavy object” into an ISIS “defensive fighting position,” American forces struck a building in Ramadi, Iraq. A military review found that the object was actually “a person of small stature” — a child — who died in the strike.
None of these deadly failures resulted in a finding of wrongdoing.
These cases are drawn from a hidden Pentagon archive of the American air war in the Middle East since 2014.
The trove of documents — the military’s own confidential assessments of more than 1,300 reports of civilian casualties, obtained by The New York Times — lays bare how the air war has been marked by deeply flawed intelligence, rushed and often imprecise targeting, and the deaths of thousands of civilians, many of them children, a sharp contrast to the American government’s image of war waged by all-seeing drones and precision bombs.
The documents show, too, that despite the Pentagon’s highly codified system for examining civilian casualties, pledges of transparency and accountability have given way to opacity and impunity. In only a handful of cases were the assessments made public. Not a single record provided includes a finding of wrongdoing or disciplinary action. Fewer than a dozen condolence payments were made, even though many survivors were left with disabilities requiring expensive medical care. Documented efforts to identify root causes or lessons learned are rare.
The air campaign represents a fundamental transformation of warfare that took shape in the final years of the Obama administration, amid the deepening unpopularity of the forever wars that had claimed more than 6,000 American service members. The United States traded many of its boots on the ground for an arsenal of aircraft directed by controllers sitting at computers, often thousands of miles away. President Barack Obama called it “the most precise air campaign in history.”
This was the promise: America’s “extraordinary technology” would allow the military to kill the right people while taking the greatest possible care not to harm the wrong ones.     

This was a major issue and Azmat wrote a major report.  It's one she worked years on researching.  You saw partisans like Norman Solomn not amplify the report, no, they attempted to attack it. You know what, if like Norman, I had been a pledged delegate to the DNC Convention for Barack Obama, I might want to attack the report too because it doesn't just tell on Barack it tells on those who supported him, those who claimed to be aware and supported him and continue to support him. Like Alyssa Milano, if Norman wants to make public statements, there's a lot of his actions that he could take accountability for.  Like Alyssa, Norman thinks he can just get away with pretending he has nothing to apologize for.

Do I regret once praising Norman here?  I praised a lot of idiots here and what I hope I've learned is that you take from them what you can.  Take what you can work with.  Mike loves Jimmy Dore, for example.  I do too.  Like me, Mike's been let down by a lot of 'informed voices.'  So he repeatedly notes at his site that Jimmy is brave despite being under attack and maybe some day that bravery will vanish but for right now Jimmy deserves praise.  That's a good attitude to have and I think I'll steal it from Mike and apply to my own life.

The attacks on Jimmy -- or on Glenn Greewnald or on Naomi Wolf or on RFK Jr. -- are attacks meant to silence.  They don't want him to be part of the conversation.  They don't want him to be heard.  That may be great partisanship but it's not what the left is supposed to believe in.  (I actually don't believe the right favors censoring speech either.)  We don't grow as a society or as a person by only hearing what we want to hear.  We don't show conviction and sharpen our own opinions by refusing to interact with one another in the public square.

That's how we get weaker and, goodness, have we gotten weaker.  Jonathan Turley is someone who has charted our wayward course, how those of us on the left (I would say Democratic partisans) are straying further and further from our convictions as we embrace, for example, censorship and he's also charted the very real damage of bumper-stickerism (my term for virtue signaling -- an indicator passed off as action).  We need a more robust conversation in the public square -- if that means more swearing, oh well.  The only thing we don't need is people making statements that they know are false.  

We can't have honest discussions, discussions that will allow us to enlarge our understanding, if our media doesn't cover important events.  

Which brings us to the third big story of Iraq.

No, not the October 10th election.  That's been misreported by the US media to a large degree, yes, but it is there go-to subject when they feel they have to cover Iraq.

Far more important?  The protests.  They have been woefully under-reported in the media.  Most Americans don't know that Iraq's current prime minister (hopefully, outgoing prime minister) only holds that spot because protesters drove the previous one of out office.  

These protests throughout Iraq in 2021 have been under-reported and ignored.  

December saw two resignations.  Most Americans have no idea.  The governor of Dhi Qar, Ahmed al-Khafaji resigned right before Christmas due to protest.  And, at the same time, the governor of Najaf, Louai al-Yasseri, resigned -- also due to protests.

When these protests aren't covered, I guess it's easier for the media to pretend that the ongoing Iraq War is a success.  After all, if the US truly 'liberated' the Iraqi people, all would be fine and dandy and Iraqis would have no reason to take to the streets.

But all is not well and that's why Iraqis are making their voices heard -- heard on the streets, heard via social media and heard via the  Arabic press.  Sadly, the US press really doesn't pay attention to what's actually going on in Iraq.  It's so much easier to just write 500 words or so of nothing while tossing around the term "king-maker."

We can't have an honest discourse if we don't have information.  We can't have a robust democracy without real information.  And that's why what Julian Assange did is so very important and why the persecution against him needs to end.  The persecution goes beyond punishment of Julian, Joe Biden and others in the US government are attempting to scare the s**t out of anyone else who might want to air some truths.

This week, Ajamu Baraka (activist and the Green Party's vice presidential candidate in the 2020 elections) Tweeted:

Barack Obama was the worst thing to every happen to Black people in the U.S. Trump? Not even close. Obama finished off the counterrevolutionary project of making Black people "Americans" & driving Black public opinion to the right.

It's amazing that 'man of the people' Bruce Springsteen would rather be friends with a killer like Barack Obama then to speak out and defend Julian Assange.

You will know them by the company they keep and by the people they whore for.

Julian deserves support.  As Margaret Kimberley noted December 14th (at BLACK AGENDA REPORT):

Assange ran afoul of four different U.S. presidents, republicans and democrats alike. Wikileaks revealed war crimes committed during the George W. Bush administration in their Iraq War Logs and Afghanistan War Logs. Private Chelsea Manning leaked the Collateral Murder video, which shows the deaths of civilians, including two Reuters reporters, as they were gunned down by a U.S. army helicopter crew in 2007.

Collateral Murder was released in 2010 when Barack Obama was president. All of the purported differences between democrats and republicans disappear when U.S. hegemony is in need of protection. Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, confirmed that Assange was under investigation. While the Justice Department ultimately chose not to indict, they laid the groundwork for Donald Trump to make Assange a political prisoner. Obama’s unprecedented use of the Espionage Act sent other whistleblowers to jail and gave Trump license to get his hands on Assange. As always, Joe Biden follows Trump policy and he continues the Assange persecution.

The Trump administration built on the work of the Obama DOJ and secured a 17-count indictment in 2018, with charges that could result in a 175-year sentence. Of course they didn’t stop with criminal charges, which were useless as long as the Ecuadorian government gave Assange sanctuary in its London embassy. The Trump administration secured a $4 billion IMF loan for Ecuador, just one month before Assange’s protections were lifted. The timing of the transaction and the arrest were clearly not coincidental.

It isn’t surprising that presidents wage war against the truth tellers of the world. What is especially disheartening is the way that journalists have abandoned Assange and turned into U.S. government spokespeople if they discuss his case at all.

A vibrant democracy depends upon a robust conversation in the public sqaure which depends upon an informed citizenry.  2021 made clear that too many partisans are killing democracy with their attacks on free speech and their efforts at censoring anyone they disagree with.  We're living in a world currently where just noting that the pandemic continues is seen as ''questionable'' speech that might require it come with a warning label.  

1lady liberty

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Lady Liberty" of 2020 remained just as true throughout 2021 but, hey, that doesn't mean (if you're Barack) that you shouldn't hold super-spreader events so that hundreds can celebrate your birthday with you.   As Trina has rightly observered over and over throughout this ongoing pandemic: We were not all in this together -- some profited and some were able to live as though the pandemic never even started.


Past year-in-reviews

2020: The Year Long Walk of Shame

2019: The Year For Dummies
2018: The Year of Media Self-Exposure
2017: The Year of Chicken Little
2016: The Year of WTF
2015: The Year of the Ass

2014: The Year of Self-Exposure
2013: The Year of Exposure
2012: The Year of Avoidance
2011: The Year of the Slow Reveal

  • 2010: The Year of Enough
  • 2009: The Year of Living Sickly
  • 2008: The Year of Living Hormonally

  • 2007: The Year of Living Useless

  • 2006: The Year of Living Dumbly

  • The Common Ills Year in Review 2005

    The Common Ills Year in Review



    Earlier today, Kat's "2021 in music" went up here, Ruth's "Ruth's YOUTUBE Report" went up here, Martha and Shirley's "2021 in Books (Martha & Shirley)" went up here and we reposted Rebecca's "sexiest men of 2021" (as "Rebecca eyes the hottest guys of 2021") and  Stan's "2021 in films (Ann and Stan)" and Ann's "2021 in films (Ann and Stan)(as "Ann and Stan on 2021 in film")

    2021 in Books (Martha & Shirley)

    Martha and Shirley: Time for our annual look at the year in books  When we started doing this, it was books published that year.  Then there started to be book discussions of a book someone considered to be an evergreen, an older book still worth reading, that popped up at community sites or in community newsletters and those books started making it into the top ten.  We began to be a list of top ten favorite books less about when the book came out and more about what interested us at that time -- meaning each year's top ten is really a snapshot of where we were and what we were interested in.  

    This year, we have a diverse line up in terms of both genres and publication dates.  

    1) HARLEM SHUFLE by Colson Whitehead.

    Hilda held a roundtable on this book for HILDA'S MIX and she also wrote an eleven page analysis of the themes and subplots in this novel about Ray who is about to become a father for a second time and who works a job but also fences stolen goods as a side hustle.  Because he fences, he ends up a part of three capers.  In the roundtable, Beth's comment stood out to us: "It's like OCEAN'S 11 only in the real world and without all of George Clooney's pompousity." 

    2) LITTLE SISTER by Lana Wood.

    Rebecca covered the book when it came out.  Lana is trying to sort out how her sister Natalie Wood died?  Read it and grasp that there is a very good reason that the authorities named Robert Wagner as a person of interest.  The community had huge interest in Howard John's DROWNING SORROWS: A TRUE STORY OF LOVE, PASSION AND BETRAYAL  (reviewed by Marcia) came in at number 13 while Marti Rulli and Dennis Davern's GOODBYE NATALIE, GOODBYE SPLENDOUR came in at number 21 (Stan reviewed it here.)  In next Friday's round-robin, will share the books that came in from elenth to fifty.


    3) THE OTHER BLACK GIRL by Zakiya Dalila Harris.

    Ava and C.I. reviewed the book for THE GINA & KRISTA ROUND-ROBIN and noted how the novel weaves through suspense to ponder wheter ignorance really is bliss and how much responsibility one has to act if they have little known information?  The struggles for Nella are both external and internal. Many community members voting for this book noted that Ava and C.I.'s praise for the book and summary of key elements made them want to read it.  Several, including Keesha, expressed that they didn't even know about the book until they read Ava and C.I.'s piece and Keesha cited this passage: "Zakiya has written a book about a woman of color exploring the gray areas of life as she factors in what she can do and what she can't while she inhabits a highly restrictive world that sees her as an outsider."

    4) THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Attwood.

    HULU's continued series of Atwood's work left the book some time ago.  But the book remains the source material and many community members took  up KINDLE UNLIMITED.  Let's quote from Ava and C.I. and their work at THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW:

    In 2018, community sites took turns covering a book every week.  You can see "In 2018, we read books" to review that coverage.  We didn't want to repeat ourselves in 2019 or 2020.  So when Marcia came up with a way to cover books but with a twist, we were all for it.  Marcia's idea was for us to digital books -- we're largely a printed text crowd -- and to use AMAZON's KINDLE UNLIMITED.  So for 2021, we'll be trying to do a book a week and trying to just use KINDLE UNLIMITED.

    A lot of community members signed up for KINDLE UNLIMITED.  When Ruth covered THE HANDMAID'S TALE, some of us re-read it and some of us read it for the first time.  Enough of us loved it to get it int he top ten for this year's list.

    5)  THE PEYTON PLACE MURDER by Renee Mallett.

    This book is "a hidden gem" according to James in Brighton.  No one in the community had heard of it until Ann reviewed it.  (By the way, Ava and C.I. do an interview for every book review published at a community website online -- an interview with the reviewer -- at THIRD.  Susan praised that move and noted that it was helpful to her because she loves books and would have missed a few if Ava and C.I. hadn't done their interviews.  They interviewed Ann about this book here.)  The book is a true life detective story and it grabs you very quickly.  Thank you, Ann, for finding such a delightful book to share with us.  We, Martha and Shirley, loved this book so much it was our number one ranked choice on our ballots.

    6) THE FEVER KING by Victoria Lee.

    At THIRD, Jess reviewed this post-apocalyptical novel and noted, "It's one of those books that you read, look up at the clock, realize you should have been in bed an hour ago but tell yourself, 'Five more pages, just five more'."  Sabina noted in comments for her ballot selections [we do rank choice voting, by the way] that "Jess nailed it with that review.  I could not put this book down.  It was addictive and I didn't want to do anything else but finish it after I was two pages in.  The world around me narrowed and, except for my family, pretty much vanished as I spent a Saturday devouring this book."


    This book had built in interest.  Afer all, as Julia Roberts says in PRETTY WOMAN, "Don't you just love Prince?"  Yes, we do and we did.  And we love a good book on Prince.  But a lot of books on interesting people aren't worth reading.  (See Stan, RebeccaDona, Kat, Kat again Trina and Marcia for examples of books to avoid.) So when Betty put us wise that this was a book to read, we grabbed it on KINDLE.  And we loved it.

    8) BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.

    Isaiah covered it at his site.  And who knew comic books were so popular with the community?  THIRD used to do comic book coverage (championing the comic BATWOMAN especially) but the huge number of votes this recieved indicate that it might be time to start covering comics again.


    Like Prince, Judy Garland comes with built-in interest.  Probably Liza Minnelli as well.  But this was the book Rebecca and Marcia selected for their annual summer read.  Some of you loved the book without reservations, some of you agreed with Rebecca's point that Liza shouldn't have been in the title because the book ends with Judy's death -- long before Liza's triumph in CABARET and her Oscar win, let alone her drams with Broadway productions and Martin Scorsese's NEW YORK, NEW YORK.

    10) CONVERSATIONS WITH CAPOTE by Lawrence Grobel.

    The late Truman Capote remains a literary legend and a literary giant.  This is a book of transcripts of conversations Lawrence Grobel had with Capote.  Mike reviewed it here.

    So that's where we were 2021 -- a year when the pandemic continued though many -- especially Big Business -- wanted to pretend otherwise, a point Trina raised repeatedly throughout 2021.  We see an interest in the familiar in the list above.  We were interested in learning more about titles or people we knew of.  To go into something completely new and foreign to us, we needed a big push -- by Hilda and Ava and C.I., for example.  We wanted to read something we knew what to expect of.  Comfort food?  Maybe or maybe just needing some structure/encouragement in a world with little.


    Martha and  Shirley have also done the year in books for 2020,  201920182017, 201620152014201320122011, 20102009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005.


    Rebecca eyes the hottest guys of 2021

    Rebecca annually offers a look at the sexiest men.  Here's her ranking for 2021.

    sexiest men of 2021

    time for my annual look back at the year in terms of sexy men.  there were a lot to note.  but 'people' went with paul rudd?

    that was truly a wtf moment.

    'most cuddly'?  sure, i'd be fine with paul that getting that honor.  'most desired for marriage'?  again, no problem.  but sexiest man of the world?  dear lord help us all if that were true.

    10) avi rothman.

    Here's everything you need to know about Kristen Wiig's new man, Avi Rothman:

    props to wiig.  she married a hottie.  and then some.  

    i'm watching 'barb and star go to vista mar' and thinking, 1st off, hilarious movie that had a lousy trailer.  it really needed a better trailer.  i was rolling with laughter before the 1st ten minutes were up.  and it's got sexy jamie dornan who really needs to be starring in an s & m film where he gets spanked.  i'm thinking about his chest and wondering why he is cutting his chest hair when this guy shows up for barb's banana boat ride and i'm like - holy s**t.

    his name is jeff in the film.  and i'm trying to find out who played him.  i pull up my tablet and go to wikipedia.  there's no jeff listed.  i go to imdb and can't find a jeff.  did i mishear?

    to my daughter and my husband's disappointment and loud reproach - or despite it - i go back on the movie we're watching to check and it is jeff, his name is said twice and it's jeff.

    they're already mad so i say hold on and i fast forward to the credits.  avi rothman.  i think, 'he's going on my top ten list.'  and i google him and he's wigg's husband.  good going, kristen!  seriously, proprs to you.

    9) the 1st of one nfl player on my list, danny amendola.

    Texans Placing WR Danny Amendola On COVID List, Activating DB A.J. Moore

    oh, that ass.  i need to get a photo with a good shot of his face but how could i pass up that good butt photo.

    'thirst trap'?  the butt may be 1.  i'm looking for a good face picture and find another must post butt 1.

    Danny Amendola at Texans practice, signed with team yesterday.

    damn.  seriously, that should be the best butt of 2021.  damn.  ok, here's a face photo.

    Texans activate A.J. Moore from COVID-19 list, place Danny Amendola on it

    very hot.

    8) adjective otter.

    hottie with a body, twitter sensation adjective otter is always worth checking out.

    7) jd martinez.


    sexy boston red sox outfield jd martinez.  

    6) sweatybwoi92.


    i pick my list but i do get e-mails and judd and melanie both love sweaty and judd picked the top photo while melanie picked the bottom 1.  he is a hottie and a twitter sensation.

    5) russell wilson.

    . x Drop 3 Fire. Last of the year. So much more to comeFolded hands

    the seattle seahawks have cornered the market on sexy with quaterback russell wilson. and those eyes, couldn't you just melt into them?  we gotta to do 1 more photo just for those eyes.

    by the way, there will be guys on this list who are gay or bi - some may be out, some may not be.  i get e-mail sometimes about why did you include a gay man!!!!  because he is sexy.  this is about fantasy and charisma.  russell, for example, is married (to a woman) and that doesn't mean i can't fantasize.  but, no, i have no plans to sleep with him (i'm also married).  so don't worry about the label of who they sleep with and don't worry about whether they're an actor or an athlete or whatever.  just look at the guy and see if you don't agree that he's a hottie.

    4) kanye west.

    kanye is a favorite and he just gets sexier.

    i gotta wonder about kim kardashian and what the hell was she thinking?  you go from the hot kanye to bleached blond bed wetting pete davidson?  zac efron's looking bad these days, well worn like a passed around party bottom.  but that took years to achieve.  pete's had the look of a twink zombie since he emrged.  poor kim.  

    3) it's a tie - so you get 11 instead of 10.  the tie is between chase rice and colton

    50% off the entire store. Shop while you can Sign of the horns

    that voice.  i'd beg him to wake me up with a song every morning if we were a couple.  and colton?

    The show captures Colton Underwood, a Christian who was educated at Catholic schools, beginning the process of coming out to his family and friends several months before his public announcement in April on “Good Morning America.”

    i can't wait for season 2 of 'coming out colton.'  i found season 1 very moving.

    courage is sexy.  evolving and finding out who you are is sexy.  all the love in the world to colton as he continues his journey.

    2) the gay gaston.

    he's so hot, i'm kind of his stalker online in that i've found out his real name.  :D  i really do find him attractive.  he's like an extremely sexy property brother.

    1) the hottest man of 2021?  simu liu.

    i watched 'shang-chi and the legend of the ten rings' once because i heard it was a great movie.  i watched it a 2nd time because it was a great movie.  i watched 10 to 20 more times because simu is so hot that he's sizzling.  he was the hottest man in 2021.


    so there's the '10' (i had 11 last year on my top ten as well).

    let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'