Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Leslie Bennetts and that awful book she wrote about Joan Rivers

I didn't blog last night.  I watched the debate.  It was almost midnight when I finished tidying after the debate (we were all in front of the TV for the debate -- four of our adult children, my husband, and three of our grandchildren).  I kept checking WSWS waiting for their debate commentary to go up.  At two in the morning, I said, "Forget it." I went to sleep.

I've seen what went up and I am so not impressed.  If I blog twice tonight, I'll explain how awful I found WSWS nonsense -- and it was nonsense.

Instead, I'm focusing on the hideous Leslie Bennetts and her hideous book LAST GIRL BEFORE FREEWAY: THE LIFE, LOVES, LOSSES AND LIBERATION OF JOAN RIVERS.

Ida e-mailed that she saw the book at a used bookstore and picked up.  "I hated it and each page made me hate it more.  Then I thought, didn't you review this book?"

I did.  "Leslie Bennetts writes about something but it's not Joan Rivers" back in 2018.  Among other things, I wrote, "However, this is the worst book ever.  It’s awful in every way imaginable."

And I stand by that.  Ida agreed.

I have never hated a book -- or an author -- as much as I do that book and that author.  

She is a bitch and tries to be bitchy in a passive voice.  She hides behind Gloria Steinem -- a woman who's no hero.  

She says Phyllis Diller, when she became a comedy star in the sixties, dressed like a drag queen.

No, she didn't.  She dressed like Cruella de Ville, yes. 

She offers insults like that over and while also slamming Joan Rivers for wanting to be pretty.  

I will never read another book by Leslie Bennetts.  She is an awful human being and a lousy writer.


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Tuesday:


 Tuesday, September 29,  2020.  One day till the big debate  . . . 

I woke up this morning and, while working out, thought, "Oh, I missed the debate last night!"  Then, after a moment, I was okay with that.  But I didn't miss it, it's tonight.  They're calling it a presidential debate.  That's not really true.

Donald Trump is the president of the United States.  He's not debating, for example, Emanuel Macron -- the president of France.  He's debating another person who would like to be president of the United States: Joe Biden.

Another person.  


There are other people running for that office.  

Howie Hawkins, for example, is running on the Green Party ticket, Gloria La Riva is running on the Party for Socialism and Liberation's ticket and Joseph Kishore is running on the Socialist and Equality Party's ticket.  

In addition, there's Jo Jorgensen.

For years, the claim has been that limiting the 'debate' to the Republican and Democratic candidates makes sense because they are the only ones who could logically win due to ballot access issues.  That is not a valid reason for limiting the debates.

However, in 2020, that 'reasoning' is even more problematic.  Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate, is someone who can be voted on in every state.

'Wait, wait, wait, you can do a write-in in any state.'  You can do that but if the name you write-in is not a recognized write-in candidate, your vote may not count depending upon your state's laws.  If you write in Bernie Sanders, for example, in Texas, your vote will go to Joe Biden because, in that state, they 'interpret.'  If you write in any Democrat -- living or dead -- your vote will go to whomever's the top of the ticket.  Rebecca noted that in "why would you write-in bernie sanders?" last week.

Jo Jorgensen can be voted on in every state.  She's met the rules and guidelines.  She should be on the stage tonight.  We should point out that Jo's had it a little bit easier than Howie Hawkins.  Both have had to fight to meet the various rules and guidelines -- which differ from state to state.  But for Jo, meeting those guidelines was largely the end of it.  For Howie?  

He's had to meet the guidelines and then face legal challenges from the Democratic Party.  They've spent a lot of money keeping him off the ballot.  And we call this a democracy?  And Democrats often want to chant "Count every vote!"  The hypocrisy needs to be called out.  We need a better system and we need one that has fairness built in.  

Disenfranchising voters is something we on the left love to point out when Republicans do it.  Greg Palast, in fact, has built a career out of doing just that.  But disenfranchising voters is also keeping candidates off the ballot.  And partisan judges -- Democrats -- who go along with these efforts need to be called out and probably removed from office because they're not holding office to promote the Democratic Party, they're holding office to upholds the law.  

Why do we allow this to happen?  Clearly, the Democratic Party does not value We The People -- two primaries in a row, they've rigged it so Bernie Sanders couldn't get the nomination.  Two general elections in a row, they've given us distasteful candidates who don't run on issues.  And they don't trust the voter enough to allow choices.  There's nothing that Howie Hawkins is offering, issues he's running on, that Joe Biden couldn't co-opt and grab.  But Joe doesn't want to run on issues.  He is against Medicare For All, he is for destroying the environment (as evidenced by his recent pro-fracking comments).  Instead of trying to grab voters from Howie, the Democratic Party uses their energy to keep Howie off the ballot -- the ultimate act of disenfranchisement.  

This year's game plan is to keep every left or left leaning candidate for president off the ballot and present only two choices: Joe or Donald -- with Donald being the man the party and their media counterparts have demonized non-stop.  They're trying to ensure that you have no choice.  And the media is disgusting.  Playing games, choosing sides.  They want to pretend that they're part of a vibrant democracy but they aren't.  They lie for Joe, they fluff for Joe.  Anyone watching this, anyone impartial, should be appalled by how the system has been gamed this go round.

B-b-b-but it's different, it's the election of our lifetime!!!!


No, it's really not.  And that lie's been used over and over -- in 2004, THE NATION called it the torture election, remember?  That's what was on the table.  And we'd never be the same and we'd never and we'd never that and blah blah blah.

Some crazys insisted Donald would postpone the election because it was a pandemic.  Didn't happen.  But I'm seeing a lot of people postponing ethics and truth this cycle to give Joe a 'break' because this is such an important election, so important that facts and standards no longer matter.  So we all pretend, for example, that it's okay Jill Biden is campaigning more than her husband.  In what world?  He's hiding behind her skirts.  If he can't campaign for the job, he's not up for it.  How pathetic that he hides away and he knows the bulk of the press will go along with it and offer excuses and justifications.

There are no legitimate excuses.  He's trying to promote social distancing?  Were that the case, his wife wouldn't be on the campaign trail.  

And the media won't point that out, they won't do their job.  She slaps down Jake Tapper who has a legitimate questions about Joe's 'gaffes' (lies) and says that Donald Trump makes that question moot.  No, Jill, he doesn't.

If you're going to lie, I'm going to have to call you out.  And I avoided mentioning you the whole time your husband was president (violating that only once for a veterans issue) because I do like you and if I noted you, it was only fair that I criticized you if you were wrong.

Jill, you're wrong.

Joe's running to be president.  If he succeeds, Donald is an ex-president.  So how are Joe's gaffes (lies) moot?  They're not.  They go to several important issues and Jake should have pushed back on you.  The press should push back on you.  

Your husband is allegedly running for president -- apparently, Jill's his legs, the new First Lady Roosevelt -- and that means every question deserves answers.  He is answerable to We The People if he wants to be president and it is really shameful to pretend otherwise.

This is just one more election.  The country will still be standing after election day.  And all the people who've whored and lied better grasp that no one needs them anymore.  Norman Solomon, you're a joke.  I tried to forgive you but we clearly can't.

You're a little whore who forgot that Lt Ehren Watada was the issue.  Not some journalist covering him (I'll leave her name out of it, apparently she didn't ask for Norman's repulsive actions).  Instead of supporting Ehren, you chose to publicly insist that he do this or that.  In the midst of his Article 32 hearing? While his future hung in the balance?  You wanted to put additional pressure on him?

F**k you, Norman, f**k you.

You followed that nonsense with injecting yourself into a couple's relationship and the couple divorced, you know who I mean.  To this day, you were the instigator and that is on you.

Then you decided to go PACIFICA RADIO and other stations trashing Hillary Clinton in 2008 -- while failing to inform listeners that you were a supporter of Barack Obama, a pledged delegate.  Now you included that in your syndicated columns and you made that disclosure there because you knew that failing to do so could end your syndicated career -- your writings not good enough to justify syndication and you know it.

So you lied to people over and over.

Then you show up in 2019 and you start trashing Elizabeth Warren because that's what you do, what you've always done, when it comes to women.  That's who you are, a pig.  You were for Bernie!!!! But then you were for Joe.  And it wasn't enough to support Joe, you then had to trash third party candidates.

I get it, Norman, not only are you a whore, but you also couldn't write convincingly of Joe Biden.  So you instead teamed up with  others and start trashing third party candidates.  (The previous sentence originally included one name and the question of: "___ why did you send me into a meeting with a CIA recruiter -- a meeting you passed off as an academic meeting."  I've long told the story here about how I refused CIA recruitment in college.  And I've been very kind by leaving ____'s name blank.  As with Saint Beau, people can be put on notice that I'm pretty damn tired of holding my tongue.  ____ should get honest about their CIA ties.  Or they should retire from public life because I've been about as kind to _____ as I plan to be.)   

Norman, you're useless.  Your trash and now your trash with an odor that everyone can smell.  Clearly, you do not value independent thought or the American people.  The 2024 election cycle will be much better without you.  A reality that you, and many others, will be forced to face.  

Once upon a time, Norman pretended to give a damn about the Iraq War.  He used for publicity.  These days, he pimps War Hawk Joe Biden.  These days, he refuses to demand accountability for the ongoing war.

Not everyone's as cowardly and pathetic as Norman Solomon.

General debate Item 4: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention 

25 September 2020 

Thank you, President, 

We are deeply concerned about the systematic and widespread human rights violations in Iraq. We have raised this issue many times before UN relevant bodies and are still of the firm belief that the situation requires special attention by this Council. 

It is appalling that international crimes committed by powerful states against other states are too often erased from humanity’s collective memory and replaced with propaganda to cover up the millions of lives destroyed and extinguished through these crimes. We call attention to the 2003 illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq for which not a single person responsible has been brought to justice. The victims of that heinous war are entitled to the protections of international law and cannot be removed from our collective memory. 

 Therefore, International-Lawyers and Geneva International Centre for Justice repeat their calls to establish an international, independent Commission of inquiry to investigate all human rights violations in Iraq since 2003 in order to hold all perpetrators accountable. 

It is also appalling that the Iraqi government continues to evade calls for accountability for thousands of disappeared persons by branding them as terrorists solely on the basis that they derive from certain ethnic regions in Iraq. Human rights defenders in Iraq are subjected to abductions and assassinations merely for exercising their fundamental rights. 

Impunity enables these violations to persist and we repeat our call upon the Council to take all necessary measures to stop these grave violations. 

Thank you.

Meanwhile Nahal Toosi, Lara Seligman and Natasha Bertrand (POLITICO) report:

President Donald Trump is weighing closing the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad as intelligence agencies in recent weeks have picked up specific threats against American forces in Iraq, including against the embassy itself, according to three people with knowledge of the intelligence.

Over the past week, senior U.S. officials have told their Iraqi counterparts that they will close the massive, heavily fortified embassy within days unless Iraqi leaders do more to rein in the Iranian-backed militias lobbing rockets at and otherwise threatening the diplomatic outpost, people familiar with the issue said. 

It’s not clear how imminent any potential attack might be, or whether it is the driving factor in the administration’s recent push to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. But the situation bears echoes of another fraught incident: the attack on the U.S. consulate and another facility in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. 

Looking at the same basic details, Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr insists that civil war will break out in Iraq if this issue isn't addressed while an unsigned piece at ALJAZEERA insists that the Iranian government will see it as a sign of impending war with Iran if US diplomats pull out of Iraq.

How will you read the tea leaves?

Study war no more
Lay down your arms
Study war no more
Lay 'em down lay 'em down now
Study war no more
Lay down your arms
Study war no more

Newsreels rattle the Nazi dread
The able-bodied have shipped away
Molly McGee gets her tea-leaves read
You'll be married in a month they say
"These leaves are crazy!
Look at this town there's no men left!
Just frail old boys and babies
Talking to teacher in the treble clef"

She plants her garden in the spring
She does the winter shovelling
Tokyo Rose on the radio
She says she's leavin' but she don't go

Out of the blue just passin' thru
A young flight sergeant
On two weeks leave
Says "Molly McGee no one else will do!"
And seals the tea-leaf prophecy
Oh these nights are strong and soft
Private passions and secret storms
Nothin' about him ticks her off
And he looks so cute in his uniform

She plants her garden in the spring
He does the winter shovelling
But summer's just a sneeze
In a long long bad winter cold
She says "I'm leavin' here" but she don't go

"Sleep little darlin'!
This is your happy home
Hiroshima cannot be pardoned!
Don't have kids when you get grown
Because this world is shattered
The wise are mourning
The fools are joking
Oh what does it matter?
The wash needs ironing
And the fire needs stoking"

She plants her garden in the spring
He does the winter shovelling
The three of 'em laughing 'round the radio
She says "I'm leavin' here" but she don't go

She plants her garden in the spring
They do the winter shovelling
They sit up late and watch the
Johnny Carson show
She says "I'm leavin' here but she don't go

-- "Tea Leaf Prophecy," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her CHALKMARK IN A RAINSTORM.

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Set Up" went up last night.  The following sites updated:

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Sick of apologists for corporatist Democrats



Monday evening, Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Set Up" went up.  I'm sick of Nancy Pelosi.  Democrats need a fighter and Nancy never fights for the average American.  She just fights for the rich.  I'm sick of apologists for the Democratic Party as well.  Genevieve Leigh (WSWS) writes:


Under conditions of unprecedented political crisis in the United States, Jacobin magazine, which is politically affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), is ever more openly positioning itself as both a defender and adviser to the Biden campaign.

In one of the latest articles in this vein, David Sirota and Andrew Perez (“To Fight Trump’s Rising Authoritarianism, Dems Must Drop Their Learned Helplessness”) respond to Trump’s declaration last week that he would not accept a peaceful transfer of power in the event he loses the upcoming presidential election. The authors also condemn his attempt to rush through a Supreme Court nominee that could be a major factor in deciding the next president in the event of a contested election.

In characterizing the significance of these developments, Sirota and Perez write: “This is a crime in process—specifically, a coup that will be engineered remotely by Zoom, as Republican lawmakers now plan to leave Washington without passing a pandemic relief bill and return only for votes to install a new Supreme Court justice to throw the election.”


Trump is indeed attempting to prepare an electoral coup. He is utilizing the election campaign for this purpose, including the incitement of far-right and fascistic elements and threats to invoke the Insurrection Act to deploy the military throughout the United States.

The pressing question facing workers and youth is how this descent into dictatorship and fascism can be stopped. The perspective offered by Jacobin magazine is to channel all opposition behind the Democratic Party.

Sirota and Perez spend a great deal of time reviewing and criticizing the response of the Democrats to Trump’s plotting. They criticize Chuck Schumer’s signal late last week that Senate Democrats would not be waging any serious opposition to Trump’s nomination, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s retreat on her empty threats to shut down the government.

Perez and Sirota conclude that the feckless prostration of the Democratic Party is the product of Democrats’ “learned helplessness.” They write that the pathology of the party is “anti-opposition” and one that “embraces any capitulation—no matter how amoral—in the name of electability, living to fight another day, and good manners.”

One could hardly have a more inane analysis of American politics than that offered by Jacobin magazine. According to Perez and Sirota, the Democrats are cast as the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, who laments his lack of courage. If only the Democrats had the nerve! Then Dorothy would find her way home to Kansas, and American democracy would be saved from dictatorship.

Absent from the analysis of Jacobin is any reference to the class interests that the Democratic Party represents. The Democratic Party is the oldest capitalist party in the US. It represents a powerful faction of Wall Street, the military and the intelligence agencies, in alliance with privileged sections of the upper-middle class.


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Monday:

 Monday, September 28, 2020.  Joe Biden gets caught in another lie while the US government talks shutting down the Baghdad-based embassy.

Is Joe Biden making a mistake in not campaigning?  Yes, he is.  The lie has been that he's doing this due to the Coronavirus.  But if that were true, if Joe were trying to set a good example, wouldn't his wife be off the campaign trail?  

For example:

Jill's out campaigning.  Why isn't Joe?

The idiot on the Democratic Party side needs to be called out.  Instead, she gets to spew and spew.  RISING really doesn't do a good job of holding people accountable.

Joe Biden does not have firm support and poor debate performances can send 'supporters' fleeing.  Liz Peek (FOX NEWS) notes:

Can the Democrat candidate survive 90 minutes of an unscripted, fast-paced presidential debate without claiming to have been in the Senate for 180 years or putting the COVID-19 death toll at 200 million Americans, goofs he has made in recent days? Can he endure the challenges sure to come from President Trump without wandering off into the ether?

That is the question, the elephant in the room.

More problems for Joe?  He can't stop lying.  Lee Brown (NEW YORK POST) reports:

Delaware State University has denied that Joe Biden has ever been a student there — after the presidential candidate’s claim that he “got started” at the historically black college.

The 77-year-old Democrat made his claim while praising historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) during a town hall event last October before the South Carolina Democratic primary, video shows.

“I got started out of a HBCU, Delaware State,” he told pupils at Wilson High School in Florence, which was founded in 1866 by the Freedmen’s Bureau for Black children seeking an education.

Hmm.  Remember when Anita Dunham and Joe Biden tried to weaponize a transcript to discredit a woman who was accusing Joe of assault?  Anthony Zenkus Tweets:

I am a recognized expert in gender-violence and trauma. I have trained over 1,000 judges in NY State. I have been a director at two rape crisis centers. I have known hundreds of victims throughout my career. I have heard Tara Reade. I know Tara Reade. And #IBelieveTaraReade.

Tara is highly credible.  I remember when St. Beau Biden shut down the man stating he had sex with Barack Obama -- Saint Beau used his position as an AG.  I have no idea whether or not the man was telling the truth.   But one man went public with claims and a Democratic AG stepped forward when the press was finally interested -- stepped forward and snuffed interest.  Remind you of supposed fallout that was going to come from Tara's previous court testimonies?  Interesting how that story went no where after it was used to attack Tara's reputation.  It's a pattern.  We should all grasp that it's a pattern.

Berkley Brannon announced, as Tara's story was gaining traction, that he was launching an investigation into her credentials.  That was May.  It's four months later.  How long does it take to investigate a resume?  It was a nice distraction, an easy way to get an already reluctant press to walk away from a story they never wanted to cover.

Turning to Iraq, Sunday Isabel Coles and Michael R. Gordon (WALL ST. JOURNAL) broke the news regarding a line in the sand -- or threat -- the US government was drawing/making in Iraq, "The Trump administration has warned Iraq it is preparing to shut down its embassy in Baghdad unless the Iraqi government stops a spate of rocket attacks by Shiite militias against U.S. interests, Iraqi and U.S. officials said Sunday, in a fresh crisis in relations between the two allies." Farhad Alaaldin (RUDAW) explains, "Baghdad’s Green Zone, which includes the American embassy, was subjected to 19 attacks with Katyusha rockets and mortars in September alone, some of which reached their targets inside the embassy’s vicinity, in addition to 25 IED attacks on convoys serving international coalition forces and an attack on a British diplomatic convoy in Baghdad on 15th of September." John Davison (REUTERS) notes, "The concern among the Iraqis is that pulling out diplomats would be followed quickly by military action against forces Washington blamed for attacks."  Louisa Loveluck, Missy Ryan and John Hudson (WASHINGTON POST) add:

“We hope the American administration will reconsider it,” Ahmed Mulla Talal, a spokesman for Prime Minister Mustafa ­al-Kadhimi, said Sunday. “There are outlaw groups that try to shake this relationship, and closing the embassy would send a negative message to them.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified Kadhimi of the plans Saturday night, according to an official familiar with the matter. Two Western officials in Baghdad said their country’s diplomatic missions had been informed of the plan.

It was unclear on Sunday whether the White House had signed off on a possible departure and what might prompt the Trump administration to shelve the plan. If the administration moves forward, closing the embassy is expected to take 90 days, a window that would give Washington the opportunity to reassess the decision, said a diplomat familiar with the situation.

Is it a real possibility or just a weak threat that won't be backed up?  How serious is the US government right now?  That's open to debate apparently.  Justine Coleman (THE HILL) notes:

It was unclear on Sunday whether the White House had signed off on a possible departure and what might prompt the Trump administration to shelve the plan. If the administration moves forward, closing the embassy is expected to take 90 days, a window that would give Washington the opportunity to reassess the decision, said a diplomat familiar with the situation.

And it's not just the US government calling out the attacks.  Strangely enough, Moqtada al-Sadr has been making noises about this throughout last week.  YENISAFAK notes, "On Friday, al-Sadr called for an investigation into repeated attacks on foreign missions in Iraq and bringing perpetrators to justice."  MIDDLE EAST IN THE FIELD Tweets:

Muqtada Al-Sadr the famous Iraqi Shiite cleric spoke against rocket attacks on US embassy.

Anas Ameer Tweets:

 Iraqi Shia cleric “Muqtada al-Sadr” called for an investigation into repeated attacks on foreign missions in Iraq and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

The call came after two Shia groups (Hezbollah & al-Nujaba) threatened to launch more attacks against #US forces in #Iraq.

On Arabic social media, this has registered and has some wondering if Moqtada is on the US payroll.  

In related news, XINHUA reports:

The U.S. embassy in Iraq announced on Sunday that it will conduct a series of emergency tests and drills after a recent series of attacks.

"Over the course of the next two days, the U.S. embassy will be conducting a series of tests and drills of our emergency procedures and equipment," the embassy said in a statement.

The statement did not give further details about the drills, but observers believe such drills are meant to enhance the protection of the embassy to prevent the landing of mortar rounds and rockets.

The following sites updated:

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