Thursday, November 05, 2020

Science: New planet discovered

 I love to blog about science and figure we could use another topic as we wait for the results of the election (and maybe we will be waiting until Thanksgiving for those -- or even later).  There's a new planet to discuss and marvel over.  Sophie Lewis (CBS NEWS) reports


If you thought living on Earth in 2020 was comparable to hell, planet K2-141b is here to prove you wrong. 

On the scorching hot planet, hundreds of light-years away, oceans are made of molten lava, winds reach supersonic speeds and rain is made of rocks. Scientists have referred to the bizarre, hellish exoplanet as one of the most "extreme" ever discovered. 

According to a new study published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, scientists from McGill University, York University and the Indian Institute of Science Education have uncovered details of one of the newest "lava planets" — a world that so closely orbits its host star that much of it is composed of flowing lava oceans.

 Scientists found the atmosphere and weather cycle of K2-141b to be particularly bizarre. The Earth-sized exoplanet appears to have a surface, ocean and atmosphere all made of the same ingredients: rocks.


I wonder, in twenty years, how many more planets we will know about.  They're out there and each year we get better and better at research and travel.  And once a scientific breakthrough takes place, things tend to move much quicker.  So it's interesting, to me, anyway, to think about how other planets, new ones, may pop up on a monthly or, who knows, maybe even a weekly basis.

On the new planet, SPACE.COM adds

The scientists behind the new researchers wanted to understand what sort of atmosphere such a hot world might have and how terrestrial tools would see it. K2-141b was a tempting target because it's been studied by both the K2 mission of NASA's Kepler Space Telescope and by the agency's Spitzer Space Telescope. And the atmosphere is particularly intriguing because scientists believe that NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, due to launch late next year, will be able to analyze the components of distant planetary atmospheres.

The researchers started with what previous studies have determined about K2-141b so far — for example, that the planet's density is about that of Earth's, so the crust can be modeled as pure silica as a reasonably simplified representation. Then, the scientists figured out what the surface might look like. That work took into account complications like the fact that the planet is so close to its star that more than half the world's surface might be sunlit, perhaps as much as two-thirds, the researchers calculated.

Offering more specifics, Andrew Griffin (INDEPENDENT) explains, "Two thirds of the planet is stuck in perpetual, blazing daylight from the orange dwarf star that K2-141b orbits around. Because it is so close to its sun – with years that last less than a third of a day on Earth – it is locked in place gravitationally, meaning the same side of the planet always faces its star."

That's a very interesting discovery.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Thursday, November 5, 2020.  The ballot counting continues in the US, the corruption continues in Iraq, and much more.

What a difference a day makes?  Yesterday morning, on many programs, including RISING, Democrats were stating that the mail-in ballots would have to be counted and this race was going blah blah blah.  But now Joe Biden's trying to declare victory?

One of the things that this elections has made clear is that we can't move towards mail-in ballots under the current system.  Example of why?  Arizona being called for Joe Biden yesterday with less than 75% of the votes being counted.  It's now at 88% counted and Joe is only 2.4% ahead of Donald Trump.  12% of the vote remains uncounted -- of the known vote, that's not including any ballots en route and post marked on election day -- and its being called?

We should move towards universal mail-in ballots.  We can't at this time because of the fact that people aren't honest.  Now if this was California and it only had 62% of the vote counted and it was declared for Joe, I wouldn't blink twice.  California is a Democratic state.  But this is Arizona which is supposedly in play.  

The rush to declare Arizona?  Makes you wonder if Katharine Harris is their Secretary of State this year?

In 2000, many of us wanted to see all the ballots counted (yes, I supported Al Gore but I wanted to see all the ballots counted regardless of whether they favored Gore in the end or not).  There was a media rush created insisting that we had to know and we had to know now, wrap it up, wrap it up.  No, we didn't need to know immediately.  The new president is sworn in when?  Middle of January.  We certainly could have waited and allowed, for example, the recount to be finished in Florida.  By the same token, there is no need to rush the count this go round.  We need to be fair and we need to be transparent.  That this even has to be said is rather sad and a sorry comment on the current state of politics in the United States.

Can we move towards online voting?

That's a big question we got yesterday when we were speaking to various college groups.

We could but the problem there is the same problem we've had with the machines of the '00s.  Verifiable?  Do we print a paper receipt that's kept?  Black box voting is a term that was very popular in the '00s and a major voting concern for some.  

There's a lot we need to ponder between now and the next election.

In two different groups, students brought a new voter shaming technique that emerged this election, one I had ignored.  The minute that they mentioned I remembered vaguely hearing that in a commercial.  Apparently, the commercial was all over YOUTUBE.

You have to vote, the commercial argues, because while your ballot is secret, your neighbors will be able to find out whether or not you voted due to the voting rolls.  

This is the United States of America and you do not have to vote.  Back when the USSR was around, some commentators used to note that was part of the freedom -- that in the USSR you had to vote but in a democracy you do not have to vote.  The bullying and shaming and attempts at voter intimidation seem to only increase each year.

Do you have to vote to avoid your nosy neighbors?  

No.  You can tell them that you're registered at your parent's address, for example.  You can tell them you did a mail-in ballot and it must have been a 'spoiled' ballot or not received.  You can  also tell them -- and should consider telling them -- "Get out of my f**king business you spying piece of trash."  Because that's really what they are.  It is not their business whether you voted or not.  The Tattle States of America, is that what we're becoming?

Probably so.  

Voter disenfranchisement is an issue that has many levels and that should be explored between now and the next election.

Clearly, the biggest segment of disenfranchisement are non-voters who do not feel part of the system.  That's something that really needs to be explored.  Another area of disenfranchisement is when you can't vote for your candidate due to ballot access.


The Democratic Party's efforts to keep the Green Party off the ballot were disgusting and dishonest and most looked the other way.

Don't come crying to me when you feel disenfranchised if you spent your time trying to keep someone off a ballot.

If you want to increase voter turnout, you need to make voting easier.  That's not just access to a ballot to vote on, that's also access to a ballot -- meaning candidates have ballot access.

It's a funny sort of limited call for voting offered by the Norman Solomon's of the country.  Vote!!! But just vote for the candidate I tell you to and ignore the efforts to keep others off the ballot. 

On the election, C. Alexander Ohler ("a former senior analyst for the U.S. Department of State in Iraq and currently serves as a visiting fellow at the University of Tennessee. ) argues a win for Joe is bad for Iraq at THE HILL:


Directly after taking office, President Obama appointed Vice President Biden to oversee U.S. operations and diplomacy in Iraq. At that time, Iraq had begun to stabilize. The once-formidable al Qaeda in Iraq had been all but defeated and relegated to the outskirts of Mosul and civilian deaths fell to about one-fourth of what they had been before the “surge.” 

But by the end of the vice president’s first term, civilian casualties in Iraq rose by almost 400 percent to over 20,000, and ISIS (a.k.a. ISIL, IS, [. . .]) flew its black flag from Syria through northern Iraq to a point about 60 miles outside of Baghdad.

What happened during the period that Biden oversaw Iraq? In 2009, Iraqiyya, a multi-sectarian and moderate political party founded by Sunni leader Rafe al-Essawi and Shia leader Ayad Allawi, challenged then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Coalition in the 2010 national election and won with a narrow victory.  

Iraq’s parliamentary system designates that the winning electoral party has the first shot at forming a coalition government with other parties. Maliki, however, influenced the court and had the interpretation of the law altered that led to a six-month standoff in which Maliki, backed by Iran, retained power but was unable to form a coalition government. 

Joe Biden and the Obama administration faced a decision: to support the democratic results of the election or to back Maliki’s bid to retain power. Against the advice of Ambassador Robert Ford, a six-year diplomatic veteran of Iraq, General Ray Odierno and others, Biden and then-Ambassador Hill decided to backstop Maliki and the State of Law Coalition.

The administration’s reasoning is not entirely clear. Michael R. Gordon and retired Lieutenant General Bernard E. Trainor report in their book, “The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama,” that Vice President Biden was convinced that Maliki would deliver a Status of Forces Agreement.

[. . .]

Regardless of the reason, Biden’s fateful decision to support Maliki would seed political turmoil in Iraq that, according to General Petraeus and others, paved the way for the rise of ISIS

Upon securing the premiership, Maliki reneged on several power-sharing agreements with Iraqiyya. Instead, the prime minister moved to consolidate power by exerting control over independent Iraqi institutions and appointing high-level security positions without required constitutional approval that transformed Iraqi security forces into sectarian instruments. The Status of Forces Agreement never materialized, and immediately after the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 2011, Maliki placed tanks in front of the homes of Sunni leaders in the Green Zone.

If that sounds familiar, it should.  We've been making that argument here for over eight years now.  Glad it's at THE HILL today but is there a reason no one could make it before?  Is there a reason that this issue couldn't be explored by the press before the election?

Is there a reason that it never came up in any debate -- not in the Democratic Party debates not in the Democratic-Republican debates of the general election.

Joe ran through the campaign citing his wisdom and experience and Iraq.  Yet that never got challenged for the reality of that record.  The closest it came to being challenged was him being asked about his vote for the war -- an action that took place in 2002 before the war started.  Everything he did as a senator after that vote and as vice president for eight years -- when Barack put him in charge of Iraq -- as vice president was ignored. 

Can someone offer an honest explanation and not just an excuse or rationalization?

Over at the US government's Carnegie Endowment for Peace (a misnomer), Kirk H. Sowell writes:

Since taking office, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has faced a series of fiscal and security crises amid collapsing public services and protests. The collapse in global oil prices due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Saudi-Russia oil price war caused Iraq to face an internal solvency crisis as early as June. This fiscal crisis has short and long-term implications. In the short-term, Baghdad continuously struggles to pay public sector salaries, which required the state to borrow from the Central Bank over the summer. With low oil revenue, the state’s monthly profits are covering just over 50 percent of its expenses. In the longer-term, Iraq faces a looming macro-fiscal state collapse—potentially within the next year.

The state is struggling to cover its monthly expenses. Over successive governments, the size of the public sector has grown to the point that Iraq needs to spend more than its total revenue on basic payments—public sector salaries, pensions, food aid, and welfare—to keep a majority of Iraq’s population out of destitution. In 2019, oil revenue averaged $6.5 billion per month, and with modest non-oil revenues (largely customs, well less than $1 billion per month), this covered operational expenses with a small amount left over for capital spending. Since the recovery of oil prices after the March collapse, Iraq’s monthly oil revenues have averaged just over $3 billion/month, hitting a high of $3.52 billion in August. In testimony before parliament in September, Finance Minister Ali Allawi revealed1 that with revenues at these levels, the government was still borrowing 3.5 trillion Iraqi Dinars (IQD) — just over $3 billion—from the Central Bank each month.

On October 10, as Iraq’s cash crunch became more acute, Allawi explained that state employee compensation rose from 20 percent of oil revenues in 2005 to 120 percent today. To help the public understand why the government of such an oil-rich country was broke, he explained that a government of this size should have at least $15 to 20 billion in funds to pay monthly expenses on an ongoing basis, but when this government took office, only about $1 billion was available.2 This is in part due to weak revenues, the result of low oil prices and Iraq’s adherence to OPEC’s limitations on oil exports. In the past, Iraq’s oil exports have reached 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd), yet they decreased to 2.5 million bpd in recent months. Prominent figures, including former oil minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum, have argued in favor of leaving the OPEC agreement unilaterally. Yet Allawi, speaking before Parliament, explained that while he agreed that OPEC’s quota formula was unfair, Iraq needs the OPEC agreement to keep oil prices from collapsing. More recently, according to the Iraq Oil Report, the government has signaled that it may try to thread the needle by increasing exports by 250,000 barrels per day to satisfy critics—an amount above its quota, but still about 750,000 barrels per day below peak production, and thus hopefully too small an increase to incur Saudi retaliation.

Iraq’s monthly oil revenue to collapsed from $6.2 billion in January to just $1.4 billion in April. The figure recovered to $2.9 billion in May and has gradually improved since, but in August was still just $3.5 billion. Since the government only had about $3 billion in expendable reserves in May, it became clear that Iraq could not pay state employees in June. Salaries over the summer were paid as money became available. As late as July 28, the prime minister’s spokesman admitted that employees at the Culture & Antiquities Ministry (apparently the lowest priority), were still waiting to be paid.

Kirk's preaching austerity.  Oh, boo, hoo, poor little government only took in X billions a month.  Oh, boo, hoo.  That's more than many countries ever do.  If you addressed the corruption, the people would be better off but you don't want that, what you want is austerity.  It's not about helping the Iraqi people, it's about gutting their social programs.  You want them in a for-profit, capitalistic system and that's all this is about.  Quit pretending otherwise.  This is an attack on the Iraqi people. 

If you were concerned about anything resembling reality, you'd note that Iraq's population is around 35 million and bringing in X billion a month should be more than enough to ensure a high standard of living for every Iraqi.  The failure to make that happen goes to corruption.

Equally true, these efforts to prop up Mustafa are getting really pathetic -- what happened to the promise that he would be a prime minister only until early elections (June 2021) could be held?

Kirk overlooks that promise, he's too busy preaching his own wants and desires: austerity.

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Ellen DeGeneres

 I know Ellen's gotten into some hot water of late but I still think she's funny.  Not that last NETFLIX special which was a nightmare.  But her comedy prior is still hilarious.  Like this.

I still have TASTE THIS on CD and I can listen to it over and over and it always makes me laugh.

 Clear across town, I don't have that kind of time -- I still laugh.  :D


"Here we go again (Ava and C.I.)" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Last night, as Joe Biden floundered, FACEBOOK rushed to assure everyone that he was still alive.

"Joe Biden is live now."  If only the campaign were.

The day after the election and six states not yet called and 83 electoral votes up for grabs.  It's anyone's race.  Here we go again.

Come on now
Oh oh oh oh oh
Here we, here we, here we go again
Well, boy
I caught you slipping (mmm), ooh, you must be trippin'
'Cause now I know, oh, yes I know, mmm
About your other girls in your past, in your black book
A very long time ago, oh oh oh oh
Well, you must think I'm crazy
You must think I'm blind
If you want to keep me, boy
Then stop wasting my time
Here we go again
It's the same old song
You're thinking you're gon' do me
Like the other ones before, baby
Here we go again
It's the same old song
Ooh, straighten up your act
Or else I'm walking out the door

All this time (all this time) I thought that I (I)
Was the one who had the problem, oh yeah, mmm
I gave you everything, hoping things might change
But still you ain't around, so, whoa oh oh
You must think I'm foolish (oh yeah)
You must think I'm blind (Do you think I'm blind?)
If you want (if you want) my precious love (my precious love)
Then stop telling me lies (stop wasting, wasting my time)
Here we go again
It's the same old song
You're thinking you're gon' do me
Like the other ones before, baby
Here we go again
It's the same old song
Ooh, straighten up your act
Or else I'm walking out the door

-- "Here We Go Again," written by Troy Lee Broussard,Trina Broussard, Jermaine Dupri, Trey Lorenz, Mauro Malavasi, David Romani and Wayne Garfield, first appears on Aretha Franklin's A ROSE IS STILL A ROSE.

Here we go again.  

If anyone's image is improved right now, if anyone's stock is on the rise, it's Hillary Clinton's and, no, we're not joking.

Joe may yet pull out a victory.  But that's not what he promised -- a squeaker.  He and his whores swore he was going to beat Donald Trump and beat Donald in a landslide.  We're not just talking about the polls in the lead up to the general election, we're talking about from 2019 and forward.  He had, what was the word?  Oh, yeah: Electability.

The unstated implication was that Hillary didn't have it.  

He was going to be better than Hillary.  Why was that again?  Help us out?

Because he was promising better programs than she did?

No, that wasn't it.

Because America would unite together for the historic first of electing a White man president?

No, not that either.

Because he was such a better speaker than she was?

No, no.  

What was it?

Oh, yeah, because he had a penis.  It probably no longer functioned as a sex organ but he had a penis.  That's what this was about from day one.  Woody Harrelson nailed it in the first SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE skit when he told America to rest at ease: Daddy's home.

All it took was that dangling Y chromosome -- that was the unspoken but implicit promise.

The 2020 election was all about disrespecting women.

We realized that back in February but leave it to professional bachelor Keith Olbermann to come along yesterday and really nail the point down.

Tuesday Keith Tweeted, "Yes,  @realDonaldTrump has always been, will always be, and on the day of his bid for re-election, still is: a whiny little Kunta Kinte."

Poor Keith, it wasn't the mid '00s and people weren't so desperate for anyone to call out Bully Boy Bush that they'd look the other way.  Instead, he was slammed for racism.  (Kunta Kinte first appears in Alex Haley's 1976 ROOTS and when the book was turned into a mini-series in 1977   LeVar Burton and John Amos played the role.)  

Faced with an outcry, Keith deleted the Tweet.  After the deletion he Tweeted, "I was using an old 70's-80's technique for calling somebody a c*** without writing/saying c***, just using a sound-alike to call Trump a c***. Deleting previous, largely because this one clarifies the c*** part.''

Confronted with his racism, Keith struggles to stay aloft and figures the best way to do so is with sexism.

The c-word.  It's an insult to women in the US.  In 2008, it was pretty much shocking to see Matthew Rothschild and others using the word and giggling over it.  Matthew giggled at the so-called PROGRESSIVE about an anti-Hillary group whose initials spelled the c-word.  The words become less shocking -- how quickly and how coarsely our discourse has become -- and we usually refer to it as Cher's favorite word.  

But back to Keith.  There he is, in trouble, desperate to save himself from charges of racism and he offers sexism.  And he does so because this country doesn't give two s**ts about sexism or about women.  That's the reality 2020 drove home.  

Elizabeth Warren and Tulsi Gabbard were both on the receiving end of sexism.  It's easy to chart that.  But it's equally true that all of the women running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination were targeted with sexism.  That was especially obvious early on with Kirsten Gillibrand who was attacked by Al Franken's fools.  Al had multiple complaints from multiple women.  He also had a damning photo that the USO found both disgusting and embarrassing.  Because Kirsten led the calls for his resignation -- a resignation Al went along with -- she was attacked repeatedly in 'progressive' circles.  

History was re-written by Al Franken and his idiot cult who astro-turfed over the reality that Al supported the Iraq War.  Who ignored his non-stop sexism which stands out most to us when he had Meg Ryan on as a guest for his awful AIR AMERICA RADIO program.  Meg was against the Iraq War and spoke of that and the need for an immediate withdrawal.  Al?  The coward waited until after she was off mike and leaving to tell his listeners that Meg wasn't really informed and, of course, more informed people like himself knew better.

That is the perfect example of 'mansplaining.'  But Al's cult is as sexist and dumb as Al Franken.

This go round, Tulsi, Elizabeth, Kirsten, Kamala Harris, Marianne Williams and Amy Klobuchar sought the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  Six women.  And often, you would read gripes that this or that woman needed to drop out because her presence was hurting another woman's chance to sew up the nomination.  

Interesting, though, there were 29 candidates.  If six were women were the others non-Cis genders?  No, they were men.  23 were men.  And no one ever made the case that if this or that man would drop out that it would help another man because there were too many men in the race.

23 men in the race and a-okay.  But six women and suddenly we're reading that too many women were in the race? 

Too many women for whom?

As Norman Solomon and others made clear repeatedly, six was too many but so was one.  Just one woman was enough to qualify as 'too many.'  So they repeatedly slimed Elizabeth Warren.  And then when everyone dropped out at the urging of Barack Obama so that the race was now down to Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, these same pigs who'd made one sexist argument after another against Elizabeth started whining about how she wasn't endorsing Bernie.  They should have been glad -- doing cartwheels, in fact -- that Elizabeth was being kind enough to stay out of it.  She was always going to endorse Joe over Bernie due to the problems she and Bernie had and due to the way his worst supporters had treated her and, let's be honest, because she saw the writing on the wall: Democratic leadership wanted Joe.

You saw the hatred for women in what the press made the biggest moment in the Democratic Party debates -- Tulsi's trashing of Kamala.

This was ground breaking, so many commentators (including Michael Tracey) insisted.  Tulsi had destroyed Kamala.

We never saw it that way.  And we were right.

"Destroyed" Kamala ended up the running mate on the ticket.  That doesn't sound like she was destroyed.  Maybe Tulsi was?  Maybe Andrew Yang was?  Maybe Beto was destroyed?

Kamala wasn't destroyed.

But sexism fueled the way the media viewed and portrayed the exchange.  They turned it into a cat fight and celebrated it with glee.

What they should have done is examined both candidates.  Were the charges true of Kamala, the charges Tulsi made.  (Yes, they were but the press really didn't want to go there.)  And they should have examined Tulis and her behavior in that debate.  Consistent?


Not at all consistent.  She walked onto the stage as the self-proclaimed anti-war candidate.  And this is the debate where she attacked Kamala on something other than war.  It is also the debate where she was expected to take down Joe Biden.  This expectation came not only from her supporters but also from the press because of all she'd said in the lead up to the July debate that finally found her onstage with Joe.

So if she went gunning for Kamala, you know anti-war Tulsi went gunning for Joe, right?  Wrong.  She gave him a pass.  It was shocking.  It was shocking to watch.  It was shocking to the moderator of the debate CNN's Jake Tapper.  So shocking to him, in fact, that he took the question back to Tulsi and gave her a second chance.  All she offered was that Joe Biden had apologized for voting for the Iraq War.  No, he had not.  He apologized -- or said  a weak 'sorry' -- only for trusting Bully Boy Bush.  He didn't regret his vote.  He regretted the way Bully Boy Bush executed the illegal war.

That's not an apology.  It also doesn't get into all that he did as a senator after the war started or the damage he did as vice president when Barack had put him in charge of Iraq.  That included his initial backing of the awful Ambassador Chris Hill over the top US commander in Iraq Gen Ray Odierno, that includes his brokering The Erbil Agreement -- a legal contract that overturned the votes of the Iraqi people and gave Nouri al-Maliki a second term -- the second term that led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq . . .

That's not the full list.  And anyone who's 'anti-war' and running to become president damn well should have known that.

Tulsi refused to confront, call out or even fact check Joe.  

And we're not just talking about the debate.

The press is sexist and they loved reducing that debate to a 'cat fight' between two women.  As a result, Tulsi got two to three days of press coverage the likes of which her campaign hadn't seen before and would never see again.  During those interviews, over and over, 'anti-war' Tulsi vouched for Joe Biden.

If you're not thrilled with Joe as a nominee, never forget that anti-war Tulsi went into the July debate determined to knock one person off the stage and it wasn't the only one on the stage who voted for the Iraq War.

29 candidates.  Many dropped out.  But we saw the sexism in play when Kamala dropped out.

As noted here in the December 4th "Iraq snapshot:"

Let's close this discussion with numbers.


That's the number of Tweets Michael Tracey has done about Kamala Harris since the news broke that she was dropping out of the race.


That's the number of Tweets Michael Tracey did about Steve Bullock since the news broke that he was dropping out of the race.

24 and 1.  It's an obsession and, yes, it's Bash The Bitch.  As Ava and I noted when Katie Couric was the target in 2006:

For some of the left, though not all, that's at the root of their pursuit of Couric. It's the gift of impunity that allows them to operate in a fact-free environment as they compose the charges against Couric. But those who hear such a statement and nod agreeably are also engaged in the national pastime of bash-the-bitch.
Bash the bitch is as American as apple pie and rush to judgement, so who are we to complain? If it makes us "America haters" to say "Just a minute now" then so be it. Let all the ones partaking in bash-the-bitch wrap themselves in Old Glory, we'll call it the way we see it.
Here's what we see. A woman's trashed. For what she did?
Oh cookie, please, it's for being a woman. Read the commentaries. "Cheerleader" is a trumped up charge -- as usual, the true crime is gender.

Michael Tracey and a lot of others need to look at their actions in the last 24 hours.  There's a lot of latent sexism bubbling up.

Throughout 2019 and 2020, we felt like it was 2008 all over again.  That's when anything could be and was said about Hillary.  2016 saw a huge improvement.  And we wondered at the time if that was because we'd all grown or if was because Hillary being the nominee meant some partisans had to keep it in check?

It was clearly the latter to judge by 2020.

Tara Reade told the truth.  And she was slimed for it.  We're moving over to that topic because a lot of women need to be called out.

Some women supported Joe Biden.  Guess what?  If you're not a feminist, we don't really care.  If you're a feminist, we do care.  If you're a feminist, your support was outrageous.  Joe is accused of assault and you prioritized him over a woman.

Why do women not come forward?  Because they're not believed or because the dominant society justifies the assault and makes excuses.  Linda Hirshman is not a feminist.  If that's too harsh, at least join us in saying, "She's not a good feminist."

She says she believes Tara but she was voting Joe.

Don't call yourself a feminist.  If you believe a woman and you back up her attacker, you're not a feminist.  

A woman could be and was sacrificed and we were told it was for the good of the many.

No, it wasn't.  

And they were backing Joe, these 'feminists,' at a time when they didn't have to.  There was talk, because Joe was still so weak in the polls (as he is right now), that Andrew Cuomo or Gavin Newsom might be able to sweep the convention.  Those 'feminists' could have used their voices to publicly pressure the DNC into selecting an alternate candidate like either Cuomo or Newsom.  Instead, they three in the towel and, with their words and actions, made clear that, to them, rape is no big deal, that, to them, the suffering of women is no big deal.

And, in the end, wasn't that Joe's real campaign slogan?

Lucy Flores and other women bravely came forward to talk about his harassment and their reward was Joe issuing a non-apology video and days later making fun of their complaints as he spoke to a union audience.

Over and over, it was made clear that women did not matter.

That was true in the selection of Joe because the underlying point was that he would beat Donald unlike Hillary.  Senile, feeble Joe was going to do what Hillary couldn't.

He may yet accomplish that.  But the election remains up for grabs as we write this and he has not delivered anything he promised.

Anything?  Excuse us, that's imprecise.  The only thing he and his supporters ever promised was that he was electable.  They insisted that he was more electable than Bernie Sanders, they implied that he was more electable than Hillary Clinton and now, as he struggles throughout the vote counting, it's becoming even more obvious that he was never the best choice.

Maybe some of the above will be explored if he loses?  Probably not.  A lot of liars are very vested in the pretense that Joe was the best our party could do.

New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated:

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

A correction and FRINGE

 I have to start with a correction/apology regarding last time's "Eating" where I wrote:

My lunch is soup and salad Monday through Thursday.  Friday, I'll order with friends at work -- sometimes that's a salad, sometimes it's fish.  

But Monday through Thursday, it's a can of Campbell's soup -- either tomato or chicken.  And a salad with carrots, romaine lettuce and usually a bean of some kind -- chickpeas, black eyed peas or black beans.  I have a light salad dressing.  

Oops.  My daughter was upset.  I didn't note all the vegetables in the salad.  These are vegetables that she grows or that summer staples in C.I.'s garden.  I did not list all of it because?  Because, if you read this blog very often, you know my daughter frequently asks me not to note something about her.  Anytime I mention her at length, I've gotten permission ahead of time.

My two boys?  They could care less.  I write about them and they'll call to talk about something that made them think of or remind me of something I left out when recounting their story here.  But my daughter?  

So I apologize for not noting that there are a host of vegetables (and some fruits) which are in my salad and which are fresh and grown in a garden just outside in the backyard.  And I correct the record.

The election?  I have no idea.  I've been on AMAZON PRIME watching FRINGE.  I'm watching the episode "Letters of Transit" from season four (episode 19).  It's the episode that jumps into the future and let's us see Etta for the first time.  We see her and she's an adult.  Etta is Olivia and Peter's daughter.

I love the whole cast and eagerly watch anything with Anna Torv (I've seen her SECRET CITY and MINDHUNTER shows on NETFLIX).  Watching tonight, I was curious about Jasika Nicole.  She played Astrid on FRINGE and was just perfect in the role. I wondered what she was doing now so I went to her WIKIPEDIA entry:

Nicole studied theatre, dance, voice and studio art at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina.[1]

In 2017, she voiced a femme "brown-skinned energetic creative" named Reina, for the Amazon Video animated series Danger & Eggs, who likes to build with her hands, is empowered by the world around her, and is the best friend of one of the protagonists.[2][3][4]

She is currently the voice of Dana Cardinal on the podcast Welcome to Night Vale. She also plays Keisha, the protagonist and narrator on Alice Isn't Dead, a podcast by WTNV co-writer Joseph Fink.

Personal life[edit]

Nicole is biracial, and has said that while growing up as biracial, there were very few TV characters with whom she could identify.[5] Nicole is queer.[6] She was featured in the 2010 OUT 100 list in Out magazine, and was photographed alongside Bruno TonioliArmistead Maupin, and Bill Silva for the issue.[7] She married her long-time partner, Claire J. Savage, on October 5, 2013.[8]

Nicole also designs and makes all of her own clothes, including shoes, pants, jackets, and undergarments.[9][10]

They don't note it above but she's also been on the first three seasons of ABC's THE GOOD DOCTOR.  Anyway, I'm going back to FRINGE.  In an episode or two, I'll turn it off and see if there are any results in yet on the election.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Tuesday, November 3, 2020.  The nightmare continues. 

Election day.

BLOOMBERG NEWS didn't write the lines the two candidates above said, they only highlighted them.  It's embarrassing.  Donald Trump's message is "I'm not Sleepy Joe."  Joe Biden's message is "I have no idea where I am which is why, with two microphones in front of me and no crowd noise because no crowds come to see me, I'm going to yell like an idiot."  Did they isolate his scream?  Is this a smear job like with Howard Dean where they eliminated the crowd noise to make Howard look crazy?  No.  No, there was no crowd noise.  Joe makes himself look crazy.

It's election day and the media continues to cover the duopoly.  Over at MINTPRESS NEWS, Alan MacLeod notes:

The two-party system is clearly failing Americans, with both candidates for the United States’ top job largely disliked by the public. The latest survey from the Pew Research Center finds that Biden only has a 46% favorability rating, with Trump trailing at 42%. This is, in fact, an improvement from 2016, which pitted the two least popular major candidates of all time against each other in a historic race which left Americans far from enthusiastic about their electoral process. Only one-third of Democrat voters claim they are voting for Biden, with two-thirds telling pollsters that they feel compelled to vote against Trump. Meanwhile, around a quarter of Republicans are doing the same, voting not for Trump, but against Biden and his agenda.

And while Trump and Biden spend fortunes attacking each other in the media, it is often difficult to establish meaningful differences between their platforms on a number of issues. Today, the president again accused the 77-year-old Delaware native of supporting a ban on fracking, something Biden has vehemently and repeatedly denied, despite pressure from his base to do so. A number of polls have shown that the public clearly supports a complete ban on the practice. Likewise, on foreign policy, healthcare, and defense, the two parties display many more similarities than differences. Luckily, there are other options.

He goes on to discuss the Green Party, the Libertarian Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.  Howie Hawkins is the Green Party's presidential candidate.

We'll note this from Howie's campaign.

Howie Hawkins, 67, from Syracuse, New York, is a retired Teamster and veteran who has been active in movements for civil rights, peace, unions, and the environment since the 1960s.

He was the first US politician to campaign for a Green New Deal in 2010, in the first of three consecutive runs for New York governor. New York enacted several policies that only Hawkins had campaigned for after he received 5% of the vote in 2014, including a ban on fracking, a $15 minimum wage, and paid family leave.

Hawkins’ vice-presidential running mate is Angela Walker, 46, a truck driver in Florence, South Carolina who is a veteran, union and racial justice activist.

The Green presidential ticket is on the ballot in 30 states representing 73% of American voters and 381 electoral votes. Including the other states where the Green presidential ticket is qualified for write-in votes, 96% of Americans representing 514 electoral votes of the total 538 electoral votes will be able to vote for the Hawkins/Walker Green Party ticket.

Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate.

This is the most recent statement from Jo Jorgensen's campaign:

GREENVILLE, S.C.; November 2, 2020—  Dr. Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian candidate for president, has this to say to voters who are considering voting for the “lesser of two evils” — instead of for a candidate they really want:

“Are you among the twenty-five percent of Americans who disapprove of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden? Are you unhappy with the prospect of either of them being elected? 

“Are you also inclined to think one is worse than the other, and that maybe you should ‘hold your nose’ and vote for the ‘lesser of two evils’?

“If so, please ask yourself, ‘How has voting for the lesser of two evils been working for me?’

“If your answer is, ‘Not so well,’ try something different.

“The only way you’ll ever see real change is to vote for real change.

“I am the candidate for real change. I offer proposals that will result in millions of sustainable, private-sector jobs. Health care that is actually affordable. Ending our pointless, counterproductive wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Effective criminal justice reform. Financial responsibility in Washington D.C., and no more debt! 

“Are you ready to stop falling for the ‘lesser of two evils’ trap?

“If so, please vote for me, Jo Jorgensen, this election. Vote for real change for real people.”

Dr. Jo Jorgensen is the only presidential nominee besides Trump and Biden who appears on this year’s ballot in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

Gloria La Riva is the candidate for the Party of Socialism and Liberation.

This is the most recent statement from Gloria's campaign:

“Racism is the Disease. Revolution Is the Cure!” and “Jail Killer Cops! Re-Open the Cases!” read signs of the hundred-or-so attendees of a rally for socialist presidential candidate Gloria La Riva on September 18 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. La Riva recently achieved ballot status in 14 states and Washington D.C. and is currently doing a nationwide speaking tour. This particular rally was organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s Boston branch. 

The rally overlooked Nubian Station, Boston’s busiest bus station and a hub for working class Black and brown people. Nubian Square and the surrounding Roxbury neighborhood are facing extreme gentrification as developers exploit the community’s incapability to contend with rising rents. It is where the twin crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and unemployment have hit particularly hard. It is one of the more heavily policed neighborhoods in Boston. 

“Winter is coming. It’s getting cold now.” La Riva began her speech by addressing those worries directly. “People shiver outside, and they will die and freeze to death because this city will not open up public buildings. There’s hundreds and hundreds of empty buildings now [that are] shut down because of the pandemic. Give people a place to live. Cancel the rents for all the people. And that includes mortgages as well, even for small landlords.” 

“We're fighting for everyone, for everyone who struggles to pay the rent, who doesn't know if they're going to have a job tomorrow. [For everyone] who faces discrimination for being Black, Latino, indigenous, or any other person of color. Or just being a white working class person who also can't make it, who’s part of this exploitation of our country. We're all exploited if you're not a capitalist.” 

During the rally, protesters became witnesses to the brutality faced by many Roxbury residents as a Black teenager ran past the rally followed by six police officers. As he rounded a corner, he was tackled to the ground and handcuffed before being punched in the mouth several times by a white officer. Gloria and other rally attendees caught up to the assault and began filming, but the officers kept insisting that everyone back away before the arrest was finished. Gloria refused to leave, telling the officer "we have a right to be here." Later that night, members investigated further to learn that the teenager was a 16-year-old Roxbury resident and that this incident was part of a string of similar arrests.

“To take on this monstrous, racist, vicious system of capitalism, the most vicious capitalist country in the world… is going to take organization, discipline, and a determined fight until we win, which we will.”

This last point seemed to particularly resonate with many attendees. “I want to get more involved with actually doing politics, not just reading about it,” local resident Jack Pierce told Liberation News. “The president has massive overarching powers over foreign policy. They could shut down military bases and pull out troops.” 

“We demand that the U.S. lift the blockade of Cuba!” La Riva shouted. “End the sanctions on Venezuela!” Her anti-war track record drew massive applause. Julien Osborne, a student at Emerson College emphasized to Liberation News how there are “a lot of issues with the United States today. There always have been, including oppression of indigenous people and minorities, imperialism all over the world. [The US] crushes democratically elected and revolutionary leaders, and simply doesn’t treat people with human decency, domestically or abroad.” 

La Riva supporter and PSL member Lile Kaumeheiwa summarized her rationale for voting socialist well: "The great thing about having a socialist candidate is that they are not caught up with meaningless reforms, or with fake lip service and things that are meant just to pacify the community rather than really changing it. Voting for a socialist means they are not bound by corporate entities, Gloria is truly going to bring us exactly what she says.” 

What kind of future is the PSL campaign trying to bring? La Riva’s words:“Imagine a world where childcare is free; where a home is yours because the workers built it; where mass transit is free; where the earth can start to heal because we will stop all that insane production for profit; where everyone's rights will be respected. All culture, all languages, all people. The Palestinians will have their homeland, where true solidarity will flourish. And that will require organization, determination, and a party like the Party for Socialism and Liberation. We got more votes in 2016 than any socialists in 40 years. One, that’s a testament to our party organization, and two, the growing interest in socialism. What counts is the struggle after.”

Today some will vote.  Apparently that includes singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman who performed "Talking Bout A Revolution" in front of a microphone with "VOTE" on it on Seth Meyers' bad show.  How bad is the host?  He called it her "hit" and, sorry, "Fast Car" is the hit from her self-titled debut (number six on the pop charts), "Talking Bout A Revolution" only made it to number 75.  Poor, stupid Seth.  He hasn't looked so bad since he blamed the subprime mortgage crisis on new home owners.  Poor, stupid Seth.

Tracy last appeared on network TV when David Letterman was winding down his CBS show and she performed "Stand By Me."  She last issued an album of new material in 2008.  Point being, she needs to put together a new album.  

On the issue of voting, some people vote by not voting.  It's a valid choice in a democracy and the number of non-voters continues to grow.  These are not people who are 'lazy,' these are often people who have been left out of the conversation, people who campaigns do not target and are not interested in.  

John Stauber discussed voting in a recent interview:

As divided as America is, it will become even more so in the months and years ahead because neither the election of Biden nor the re-election of Trump will be uniting.  Both the Democrats and the Republicans are girding for a political struggle that will likely have the election winner undetermined on November 3rd, and a protracted fight between the Trumpists and the Biden forces in the courts and streets seems guaranteed.  Whichever is sworn in as President in January 2021 will be rejected as illegitimate by the other’s followers.   

Corporate capitalism over the past half century has created an oligarchy that has rotted away the American economy and is shattering Earth’s ability to sustainably support us.   Racism and racial hatreds have always been endemic to America, but when the pieces of the economic pie get smaller and smaller for everyone there is amplification of racial fears and hatreds.  These divisions serve to prevent people from focusing on the oligarchic system itself and uniting to bring it down and replace it with one that serves people and the planet.

Both Parties are owned by and beholden to the corporate elite who rule America, both serve Wall Street and the American military industrial empire, and together they squash any party that dare question or oppose corporate capitalism.  They are aided by their media corporations, the major propaganda arm of the ruling elite and promoter of the capitalist economy.  

It’s a simplistic but highly effective system of control and looting, and most Americans feel helpless and thus respond by not voting.  Trump voters hate the Democrats, and Democrat voters hate the GOP, and the super-rich smirk as their control and power increases whoever wins.  The COVID pandemic has been an injection of steroids into these divisions, collapsing small businesses and throwing tens of millions of working and middle class people into an economic and psychic depression.  For the elite the pandemic has facilitated a massive theft and looting as they have gobbled up more and more control and wealth from both the governmental and private sector.

[. . .]

I have come to the conclusion that elections primarily exist to provide the appearance of democracy while thwarting real democracy.  They divide people into one of two capitalist-driven political business operations, the Democrats or the Republicans.  Elections result in billions being poured into corporate media to purchase paid propaganda, and the media corporations make sure that only the oligarchy’s two Parties receive any positive coverage.  Elections are essential to continued social and political control by the corporate elite through their system of two party oligarchy.  A majority of voters don’t vote, probably because they see the process as not serving their interests, but there is no unity of opinion and certainly no movement-building among non-voters at this time. 

In Janet Jackson's "Got Till It's Gone," it's noted "Joni Mitchell never lies."  

Of John Stauber, it could be said, "John Stauber never whores."  And he often pays the price for that.  

On those who vote, they often have to make difficult decisions.  

For example, looking at his record, the following people highlighted by THE CONVO COUCH are not going to be voting for Joe Biden and many explain why in the video.

Jimmy Dore notes that Joe Biden is no friend of the world.  In fact, I'd say it takes a lot of xenophobia to rally round Biden if you know Joe's true record.

Alan MacLeod points out:

Yesterday, The New York Times published a long piece discussing the 77-year-old’s plans for Latin America. The Times was hopeful, noting that Biden would seek to “repudiate” Trump’s “hardball approach” to the region, which has caused a great deal of harm, rallying round shared goals of combating climate change.

Yet buried deep in the article is perhaps the most eye-opening sentence:

Mr. Biden’s advisers say they would seek to revive the anti-corruption campaign that set off political earthquakes across the Americas starting in 2014, but largely stalled in recent years.”

What the authors are referring to is a continent-wide campaign to unseat progressive leaders that ended in the jailing of Brazilian president Lula da Silva, the impeachment of his successor Dilma Rousseff, and the rise of the far-right authoritarian Jair Bolsonaro. The so-called Operation Car Wash (“Lava Jato” in Portuguese) was ostensibly an attempt to root out corruption at all levels of society. Yet leaked documents and recordings have shown that, from the beginning, it was a naked powerplay attempt by Brazil’s rich elite to retake control of society from the progressive Workers’ Party administrations through legal means.

Joe Biden destroyed Iraq.  He destroyed it by supporting the Iraq War, voting for it and attacking those opposed to it.  He destroyed it by continuing to vote for it while in the Senate.  He destroyed it by distracting from reality with his xenophobic plan to impose a federation on Iraq (he was going to split the country up into three regions based on sect).  He destroyed Iraq by refusing to honor the votes of the Iraqi people in 2010.  Instead, he brokered The Erbil Agreement that overturned the votes in order to give Nouri al-Maliki a second term (a term the voters didn't want him to have).  He destroyed Iraq by giving thug Nouri a second term and it's that second term that led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq.

Joe has been wrong on Iraq every time.  And please note, in April of 2008 (we reported it in real time) when 'just' a senator, Joe Biden talked in an open hearing about how Nouri was a thug and he did not represent the Iraqi people and there was no real government in place.  But two years later, he's working behind the scenes to give Nouri a second term.  Joe knew better.

FRANCE 24 reports on the attacks on journalists in Iraq.

Not noted in their report is the government's attack on journalist Suadad al-Salhy who has been threatened with arrest for the 'crime' of reporting.

IRAK | La periodista iraquí Suadad Al-Salhy puede ser detenida por desvelar información relacionada con el ayatolá Jamenei
Right pointing backhand index
RSF pide a las autoridades de Irak que no ejecuten la orden de arresto y se retiren los cargos contra ella Inglés

The following sites updated: