Friday, October 22, 2021

The 'Peyton Place' Murder

How do you choose a book to read?  

My biggest way has always been reading a book I love and then wanting to read more by the author.  

I also love book stores and have, over the years, been tempted by an interesting cover.  

A friend can recommend a book and that usually means much more than good reviews from strangers.  

There are a number of ways I choose a book to read.

And now we're in a new age where the book stores are going away.  And used book stores won't be far behind.  The minute publishing in hard copy ends, we'll see less and less used book stores.  

So this year, we're using -- community wide -- Amazon's Kindle Unlimited.  We pick a book and we review it for our site.  Let me note the ones  that have been reviewed:




Kat's "I'm With The Bland"


Trina's "Remember Hollywood Squares?"


Marcia's "Rock Hudson: Erotic Fire"


Ruth's "Margaret Atwood's THE HANDMAID'S TALE

Jess' "THE FEVER KING (Jess)"



Dona's " book to avoid (Dona)"



Ty's "KINDLE UNLIMITED's gay erotica (Ty)"







Betty's ""Kim Berry and Andrea Williams' DIAMONDS AND CURLZ""

Isaiah's "Marco Bonafede's WORDLESS COMICS"



Rebecca's "the mommie dearest diary: carol ann tells all"

Kat's "How Mabel Normand's many scandals (at least five) destroyed her career"


Marcia's "Paul Jay's bad Gore Vidal 'book'"


Stan's "Adrienne Barbeau's bad book THERE ARE WORSE THINGS I COULD DO"


Trina's "Mexican Casserole and a book in the Kitchen"




 Ava and C.I. update that list and post it at Third.

And I'm looking at that list and I'm embarrassed.  It's October.  I didn't do one review.  

I have read at least two other books on Kindle during this year.  I'll note that I do have two young kids, I do work outside the house, Cedric and I are church goers and I guess I've got more on my plate than I realize if I'm just now realizing I've gone almost the whole year without reviewing a book.  I am embarrassed and feel bad for others because we were all supposed to take at least two weeks.

Anyway, Renee Mallett.  

Never heard of her.

The book is The 'Peyton Place' Murder.  It's non-fiction.

She notes that the best selling 50s novel put the term Peyton Place into the popular vernacular and it certainly did.  I've never read the book or seen the film with Tuesday Weld and Lana Turner but I know the term.  Not sure where I heard it first but I remember when the film Harper Valley PTA played on TV and it had a 60 songs that said "well this is just a little Peyton Place and you're all Harper Valley hypocrites."

I chose the book because Peyton Place was in the title.  It peaked my interest.

And it was a good choice.  It's a very rich and well written book.

Grace Metalious was the author of Peyton Place and she used real life events (including a murder) that happened in her area as the basis.  Renee Mallett does a great job tracking down those events.  She also does a riveting job of  unraveling Grace Metalious' life which is just as interesting as some of the true events taking place in the area that she lived.  In fact, I found it much more interesting.  

Her mother broke with her family because she didn't want to be poor or be seen as poor, she rented apartments as far from her family as she could find.  She didn't teach Grace or her sister about things to do around the house or have them do chores because, she insisted, they would marry rich and have servants to do such things.  

Grace loved to write.  She didn't marry rich but she did become rich from her writing eventually.  She had a very interesting life and this was a very interesting book.  I highly recommend it.   

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

Friday, October 22, 2021. Climate change, no progress on forming a new government in Iraq and, yes, another day of St Powell.

Starting with this from ROYA NEWS:

Weeks before the COP26 Climate Conference, which will be held in Glasgow in early November, US intelligence said that "the geopolitical tension will worsen because there will be disagreements among countries over how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement."

The report, which includes a summary of the investigations of all US intelligence agencies, added that the melting of the ice in the Arctic "essentially increases strategic competition for access to its natural resources."

Elsewhere, with rising temperatures and more extreme weather extremes, "there is an increased risk of water conflicts and migration, especially after 2030," the report said.

Yet senators Joe Macnhin and Jon Tester are opposed to a carbon taxJulie Watson, Ellen Knickmeyer and Nooman Merchant (AP) explain:

The estimate identified 11 countries of particular concern: Afghanistan, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Myanmar, Nicaragua, North Korea and Pakistan. It also lists two regions of concern: Central Africa and small island states in the Pacific Ocean.

Strains on land and water could push countries further toward conflict. In South Asia, much of Pakistan relies on surface water from rivers originating in India. The two countries are nuclear-armed rivals that have fought several wars since their founding in 1947. On India's other side, about 10% of Bangladesh's 160 million people already live in coastal areas vulnerable to rising seas and saltwater intrusion.

Intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity under agency rules said climate change could indirectly affect counterterrorism by pushing people seeking food and shelter to violent groups.

The intelligence community needs more scientific expertise and to integrate climate change into its analysis of other countries, the officials said.

The United Nations says there may be as many as 200 million climate-displaced people worldwide by 2050.

Olivia Gazis (CBS NEWS) notes:

Countries will increasingly compete to secure their own interests, including in places like the Arctic, where melting sea ice has fueled a race to access oil, gas and mineral resources and to establish new shipping routes.

While wealthier, more developed countries, including the U.S., are in a "relatively better position" to deal with the costs and risks associated with climate change, the report says that "impacts will be massive even if the worst human costs can be avoided."  

The assessment says some unforeseen events could alter its projections, including a significant technological breakthrough or, conversely, a global climate disaster that would mobilize countries to take action.

In Iraq, the effects are being felt.  INTER REVIEWED notes:

Throughout marshes usually hailed as the unique Backyard of Eden and on the baking lands past, inhabitants now face a alternative. “Will we keep or will we go?” sighed Raad al-Ghali, a buffalo herder within the historic marshland of Chibayish whereas lately sheltering within the shadow beside his tent.

“Everyone seems to be struggling as of late. We don’t know what to do.”

In Chibayish’s labyrinth of winding waterways, water ranges have dropped. Salt and air pollution are killing the reeds. To maintain their animals alive, residents fill rickety boats with consuming water bought miles away.

Close by fields have turned brown. Orchards and roses have disappeared, and the palm bushes are dying slowly. Within the border city of Siba, water for irrigation is so salty it’s poisoning the harvest.

“We used to develop greenhouses of cucumbers,” recalled a farmer, Abu Ahmed, 52, standing in his desiccated farm. “Now we don’t actually have a single cucumber’s price of contemporary water. How can we proceed right here?”

Iraq will have to import more food goods.  ISIS never left Iraq and it previously used some effects of climate change to take control back in 2014.  There are numerous threats that were and remain present and are unique to Iraq as well as issues that they, like other countries face.

Meanwhile THE FINANCIAL TIMES OF LONDON weighs in with:

When Iraqis braved violence to vote in their country’s first election two years after the 2003 US-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, then President George W Bush stated that Iraqi “men and women have taken rightful control of their country’s destiny”. Yet 16 years and five parliamentary elections later, Iraqis are still waiting for Bush’s words to ring true.
In this month’s election, just 41 per cent of registered voters bothered to cast ballots, the lowest turnout in the post-Saddam era. The apathy underscored the disillusionment Iraqis have for the democratic experiment ushered in by the Bush administration that promised so much but has, so far, delivered so little.
At successive elections, Iraqis’ common refrain is that the same old factions are competing in a system rotten with corruption and patronage, a system that has squandered the oil-rich country’s wealth and failed to provide jobs and basic services.
The latest election was won by a bloc led by Moqtada al-Sadr, a maverick cleric whose Mahdi Army spearheaded the Shia resistance against the US-led occupation and was a protagonist in the sectarian violence that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war. In politics, he models himself as a champion of the Shia poor and a nationalist who will negate the competing — and destabilising — influences of the US and Iran.

Voter apathy?  At a time when the US president is Joe Biden?  It's cure the way editorial board ignores the fact that in 2010 then-Vice President Joe Biden oversaw The Erbil Agreement which set aside the Iraqi peoples votes and gave a second term to Nouri al-Maliki.  It's cute the way that they rush to hail Moqtada as the victor.  

His bloc -- not party -- got the most seats in the election.  But not enough seats to create a government.  It's days later and he's not been able to move forward which indicates that a large number of others don't want to join a Moqtada coalition.  It wouldn't be that surprising if thug Nouri announced in a few days that he had enough members to form a government.  Nouri knows how to sway political leaders.  Moqtada apparently is still learning.  All.  These.  Years.  Later.

Mina al-Oraibi (THE NATIONAL) offers:

It is close to certain that the next government will be formulated largely by cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, who is set to have the largest number of seats in Parliament. By the current tally, the Sadrists will hold 73 of the 329 seats in parliament – the largest grouping in the legislature. But Mr Al Sadr will need to go into a coalition in order to get a majority capable of forming a government. The horse-jockeying and coalition-forming efforts currently taking place in Baghdad can take months – as has happened after previous elections. But more worrying is uptick in the rumour mill about fraud and ballot box tampering. The longer the process takes, the more damaging it is to the prospect of a stable transition. The transparency and orderliness in the lead-up to election day on October 10 is slowly but worryingly giving way to questions about the opaque nature of counting votes, finalising tallies and forming the government.

As political brinkmanship between various parties continues, Iraq’s Independent High Election Commission (IHEC) is currently looking into 1,372 appeals contesting the declared results of the elections. An IHEC official told The National this week that he does not foresee a major change in the final outcome of the elections as a result of the appeals. However, with the deep fragmentation among the parties, one or two seats changing sides can make all the difference in who forms the next government.

After looking into the appeals, IHEC will send them to the Judicial Commission, which will then review them. Once the Commission clears those appeals, the results will be sent to the High Federal Court for ratification. When they are ratified, Iraqi President Barham Salih will have to call Parliament into session. At every step, there will be efforts from a myriad of political actors, and particularly those who are set to lose out, to influence the results.

Iraqis fear the possibility of the electoral process failing like it did in 2010. In those elections, the former prime minister Ayad Allawi’s nationalist bloc, Al Iraqiya, won more seats than any other, with 91 seats, and so should have formed the government. However, then incumbent prime minister Nouri Al Maliki, with his State of Law list gaining 89 seats at the time, formulated a coalition of parties after the elections that allowed him to usurp Mr Allawi's success and form the government. Mr Al Sadr has already alluded to 2010 in remarks last week, insisting that he is “no Allawi”.

At this point, there's no new government,  THE NEW ARAB takes a look at what took place in the Kurdistan:

At the same time, the vote has changed the political reality in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region, giving more power to some parties while humiliating others.

The election saw a record low turnout, with many boycotting the vote due to scepticism about the system and widespread disapproval of the parties who have ruled the country for years. On average, however, more Kurdish voters showed up to the polls than in other Iraqi provinces.

The official preliminary results from the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) late on Saturday showed that the Kurdistan Region’s ruling party maintained a larger vote share in Iraq than it did in the previous 2018 election.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has preliminarily pocketed 33 seats, an increase from the 25 they earned in the controversial 2018 elections. The party was already celebrating victory for six days when the official preliminary results came out, with crowds flooding the streets celebrating with fireworks, and, at times, celebratory gunfire.

The results came as a shock for other parties. While the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) continued to enjoy influence by winning 16 seats, only two less than the previous election, their partner in the Kurdistan Coalition hit rock bottom.

Gorran (Change Movement) faced an electoral humiliation, with the party going from five seats in the Iraqi parliament to zero this time around.

Those results aren't shocking.  We noted them on Monday, yes.  We also noted ahead of the elections, weeks ahead, that the PUK was going to do even worse than they did previously.  The PUK still thinks that they should be able to hold the presidency (of Iraq) and you have to wonder why they think that is?  They're no a *majority* party.  What makes them any more important than other minority parties in the Kurdistan.  (The Kurds, by custom, get the presidency of Iraq.)

Moving over to the sad news that Colin Powell wasn't Jesus Christ.  It is now three days and counting yet despite the hosannas in the press, St Powell of The Blot has not risen.

And in the midst of the effort to sell Colin as a saint, this stupid Tweet went up.

There is no society today where mass murder is more normalized across such a wide spectrum than the US. Best illustration is progressive Democrats praising Colin Powell, rather than just staying silent. They also have no words for his victims in Iraq, Central America, Vietnam.

A well known educator brought that to my attention.  He called and asked why I hadn't pointed that out.  I didn't know about and why haven't you pointed it out, I asked back.  He has to go on programs like Aaron's and can't ruffle feathers.  I will never be on any podcast -- that's not a salm, that's me being lond done with media.  Even now, you have to be a friend or a friend of a friend to get me to speak to you, I'm just done with interviews.  Equally true, Aaron doesn't cover entertainment so there's no reason offline me would ever be asked.  But Aaron Mate Tweeted that nonsense.

And it goes to the glorification of Aaron Mate.  He's as mispraised as Colin Powell.  I'm still waiting for his great scoop.  He likes to point out that DEMOCRACY NOW gets things wrong today.  But they also did while he was there and he kept his mouth shut.  I guess that's his m.o., irght?  Keep your mouth shut because that is what he's advising.

We'll highlight THE GREY ZONE and we'll even highlight Aaron but I don't mistkae him for some ground breaking journalist.  At his best, he steers some attention to the work of others.  At his best.  When Jimmy Dore brings him on, I try to avoid it because I know Aaron is nothing but a little bitch boi.  Are you surprised that he defended Ryan Grim and covered for Ryan on jimmy's show?  Are you surprised that as evidence of corruption within tthe Biden family continues to mouth, Aaaron dismisses it to Jimmy Dore and excuses corruption?

Why are you surprised?

This is the little bitch who was with DEMOCRACY NOW! for how many years?  Every episode Amy Goodman ended by verbalizing the credits (because it started as a radio show).  And every episode for years, she mispronounced his last name.  How pathetic do you have to be that you don't go to someone and explain that's not how you say your name?  

So in the face of massive lies and the rwriting of history, Aaron's advice is for people on the left to close their mouths and say nothing.  That certainly explains his lousy career.  I guess he's content to let Max be the voice of truth at THE GREY ZONE.  FOrtunately, Max's back is strong enough that he can carry Aaron . . . for now.

Nashwa Lina Teets:

1 in every 5 Iraqis has someone in their family who died because of the invasion of Iraq. More than half of all babies born in Fallujah between 2007 and 2010 were born with a birth defect. The average lifespan in Iraq is 70. Powell died at 84 surrounded by family.

That's called perspective.  Aaron lacks it. 

Iqbal Jassat (IOL) writes:

Any fair reading of Powell’s central role would dispute the narrative that there was an “intelligence failure” nor would it withstand the slightest scrutiny.

It thus begs the question why Powell has escaped censure if facts point out that top experts in their respective fields within the US intelligence community had correctly assessed that Iraq did not have WMD or ongoing WMD programmes?

Powell was an integral part of the Bush administration’s neocons who subverted intelligence for a specific agenda. In other words, the policy was not based on the intelligence, but the CIA’s intelligence products were rather based on the policy.

Though Powell and Donald Rumsfeld died without any accountability for the horrendous war crimes perpetrated, one hopes that George W Bush, Condoleezza Rice and all others who were the architects of America’s illegal wars will face prosecution.

Thomas Knapp (COUNTERPUNCH) notes:

Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi (famous for throwing his shoes at then-president George W. Bush during a 2008 Baghdad press conference) puts it bluntly: “I am saddened by the death of Colin Powell without being tried for his crimes in Iraq. But I am sure that the court of God will be waiting for him.”

Assurances of a final judgment in the afterlife aside, Powell’s life since 2003 has been a case of justice delayed, his death a case of justice denied.

Other Iraq  war criminals, however, remain at large.

Bush fancies himself an artist these days, when he’s not hobnobbing with Ellen DeGeneres at football games.

Former national security advisor (and Powell’s successor as Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice teaches at Stanford.

Former US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz went on to head the World Bank and currently enjoys a sinecure at the American Enterprise Institute.

And there are others.

They’re not paying for their crimes. They’re not absconding to non-extradition countries one step ahead of arrest and trial. They’re enjoying the good life, seemingly unworried at the prospect of ever facing justice.

That’s something that can, and should, change.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, October 21, 2021

New Jersey has a chance to make a real change

Tired of the same-old-same-old?  New Jersey can break from that.  They have the chance.

That's Howie Hawkins' latest video and he's speaking with the Green Party candidate for governor of New Jersey Madelyn Hoffman and the Green Party candidate for Lt. Governor Heather Warbutton.

From the two women's campaign site:

Madelyn Hoffman was the Green Party of New Jersey’s candidate for U.S. Senate in 2020. She ran a record-setting campaign, garnering 38,288 votes, the most of any New Jersey Green running for statewide office since Ralph Nader in 2000. Madelyn Hoffman was also Ralph Nader’s vice-presidential running mate in New Jersey in 1996. She served as the Executive Director of the Grass Roots Environmental Organization of New Jersey from 1982-1998 and as the Executive Director of New Jersey Peace Action from 2000 – 2018. She is an adjunct professor of political science and also of public speaking. She currently lives in Flanders.
Heather Warburton is an artist and activist from South Jersey. She hosts a bi-weekly podcast on Create Your Future Productions called “Wine, Women, and Revolution” where she discusses revolutionary politics from an intersectional feminist perspective. She has been a Green since 2016. Her activism has included fighting for a living wage, educating on income inequality, supporting ecological justice, advocating for the LGBTQIA community, hosting education sessions about cannabis legalization, and promoting racial justice. She currently lives in Hammonton with her husband and is pet mom to a rescue cat and dog. 

November 2nd is when the vote takes place.   You can find various positions and press releases here and I want to note this one:

“Many must rely on an income boost from the barebones social safety net even after working full time. New Jersey has the tenth worst income inequality in the nation, and inequality (measured by the GINI coefficient) actually has increased during Murphy’s reign. ” — Hoffman/Warburton Governor/Lieutenant Governor statement on Income Inequality in New Jersey

Workers are the most essential component of our society. Without the organized actions of the laborers, there would be no food, no production, no society as we know it. After decades of workers’ action, bosses offered some concessions. It was organizing, unionizing, and protests that created this day.

Today, society calls many essential workers yet so few are paid a living wage. Their sacrifice led to millions of dollars and millions of people’s lives being saved, yet many are barely getting paid. The cost of living has dramatically increased during the pandemic, and many of our essential workers are struggling to survive.

For decades the rich have been getting richer while the poor stay poor and the middle class has been shrinking. Throughout the nation, people work full-time jobs and can not afford basic living expenses such as rent, food, gas and insurance. Some even work multiple jobs and still do not earn enough to put food on the table. Many must rely on an income boost from the barebones social safety net even after working full time. New Jersey has the tenth worst income inequality in the nation, and inequality (measured by the GINI coefficient) actually has increased during Murphy’s reign.

Many after becoming unemployed during the pandemic have realized that getting paid by unemployment they were getting more than they did working. For many people for the first time in their lives, they were given enough money to survive. People were able to make more not working than many of the essential workers that were needed for our society to survive. Unfortunately, many also lost their health insurance, a glaring problem in the U.S. and in N.J. that must be addressed.

Recently we have seen a shortage in the low-wage job market. With the lowering value of the US dollar, it costs more to live anywhere, especially in the state of New Jersey. The reason why there is such a job shortage is people cannot afford to live on their wages. During the proclaimed economic golden age of the country (the mid to late 19th century), the minimum wage increased with workers’ productivity. In truth, if the minimum wage continued to be tied to worker’s productivity it would be 22$ an hour. In order to afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment in this state, you need approximately that income, for 40 hours a week, 12 months a year. The solution to the shortage in the low-wage job market is to increase the minimum wage. The best solution is to pay a living wage.

Our campaign would like to immediately increase the minimum wage to a living wage – beginning at $22/hour. Essential workers should be treated as essential and given a living wage so they are not struggling to survive.

Now I know that you are wondering about the impact on small businesses. Would they collapse by this increase in worker’s payment? The answer is no. If small businesses were subsidized this payment until the economy equalizes they would receive no net loss, and be able to function more effectively with an energized and enthusiastic labor force.

Throughout the years, billions of dollars in subsidies have been given out to large corporations. Let’s change that and start backing the little guy. Let’s start backing our working class instead.

Our research shows that it is possible for the state to subsidize this wage increase to small businesses. This would roughly cost $8 billion which could be paid for by the large corporations if we increased corporate taxes even slightly. This money would not only protect workers’ jobs but strengthen small businesses in our economy. Everyone benefits.

Also, unemployment is something that does not need to exist. The federal government has the ability and finances to provide a good-paying union job to all unemployed people. In truth, the state government does as well. With this massive increase in the labor force, the government can tackle the modern problems. A green new deal is not just about fixing the environment, but creating an economic change reminiscent of FDR’s original new deal. As a state that was hit very hard by a recent hurricane, we certainly cannot ignore the looming crisis.

Extending unemployment and raising the minimum wage would lift so many out of poverty. It would save so many lives. It is the right, moral thing to do. Madelyn Hoffman supports these policies while her opponents do not. Essential workers and the working class are the backbone of our society and these policies are what they deserve.

It is wrong for the governor to suspend the supplemental unemployment benefits now — we should extend them until there is no longer any need to do so.

“As a student at Rutgers-New Brunswick, seeing so many roads underwater made me think about how many roads will be permanently flooded if something is not done immediately,” said Dustin Young, Campaign Manager for Hoffman/Warburton. “We have the resources in our society to fix this, but we are appropriating them incorrectly. If we looked more carefully at our tax structure and at unnecessary budget items, we could find a way to add to the state’s revenues and reallocate these resources to guarantee a job with a living wage. These jobs will prioritize fixing the environment. We would need approximately $14 billion to do so, an amount that is a fraction of the state’s GDP. If we do not make this investment soon, then we may end up with much more loss of life, property, and infrastructure than we have seen in the past week.

That's an example of real issues that effect our lives and real issues that the corporate duopoly ignores.

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

 Thursday, October 21, 2021.  Colin Powell and Barbra Streisand and more.

That's THE KATIE HALPER SHOW.  And, yes, Colin Powell is still dead.  Let's start with an excerpt from Margaret Kimberley's latest at BLACK AGENDA REPORT:

“But we already had two firsts. Colin Powell was one of them, and Condoleezza Rice, his successor as secretary of state. How did that redound to the benefit of black people for the United States to have a black — put a black face on imperialism, on aggressive war, on violations of international law? How does that make black people look better in the world? Is that the kind of burden that black people want to carry around?” Glen Ford

The late Colin Powell certainly had a storied career. It wound through various Republican presidential administrations from Ronald Reagan, to George H.W. Bush to George W. Bush. He served as National Security Adviser, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State. He said this about his life and work, ““All I want to do is judge myself as a successful soldier who served his best.”

His desire to justify himself shouldn’t oblige anyone else to go along. This question must be answered in assessing Powell’s career. What makes a soldier successful? This point is especially important when talking about a man who took part in every foreign policy action from Vietnam, to Iran Contra, to Panama, to Iraq, to Haiti . Simply put, a good soldier follows orders, makes operations run smoothly, and makes his bosses look good. Powell did all of those things and that is why his legacy is so dubious.

When Major Colin Powell was stationed in Vietnam in 1968 he and his superiors received a letter written by a soldier whose tour of duty was ending. Tom Glen stated that U.S. soldiers were carrying out atrocities against civilians. Major Powell was tasked with investigating, which should have included an interview of the soldier himself. Neither he nor anyone else spoke to Glen and when Powell responded he blamed the whistle blower for not reporting the crimes to people who had chosen to do nothing about them. He then wrote a classic yes-man response which concluded, “In direct refutation of this portrayal, is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese are excellent.”

The following year a second soldier, Ronald Ridenhour, ended his tour with an expose of the U.S. massacre of an estimated 500 civilians in the village of My Lai. Ridenhour conducted his own investigation and sent his letter off to federal officials including president Nixon. On this occasion Powell got a surprise visit from the Inspector General’s office and was asked about combat activity around the date in question. Good soldier Powell reported only what was in the falsified record and thus played a role in an attempt to cover up which fortunately proved to be futile.

Of course Powell had committed his own crimes during his first tour of duty in Vietnam. He admitted as much in his memoir, My American Journey. “We burned down the thatched huts, starting the blaze with Ronson and Zippo lighters. Why were we torching houses and destroying crops? Ho Chi Minh had said the people were like the sea in which his guerrillas swam. Our problem was to distinguish friendly or at least neutral fish from the VC swimming alongside. We tried to solve the problem by making the whole sea uninhabitable. In the hard logic of war, what difference did it make if you shot your enemy or starved him to death?” Of course, collective punishment against a civilian population is by definition a war crime, but Powell succeeded in rising to the top and as such was immune from such truthful descriptions of his activities.

If Powell would run interference for army brass in Vietnam, he would do no less for his boss, president George W. Bush. In early 2001,  Powell said of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein , “He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors." Two years later Powell made a great show at the United Nations saying just the opposite. Bush decided to invade Iraq and good soldier Powell was tasked with making the public case for a war of aggression. He famously held up a vial which he said represented the weapons of mass destruction which he knew did not exist.

Those who remembered his assurances that Hussein posed no threat were few in number and the corporate media were ready to help the Bush administration get support for the invasion. Powell’s past statements magically disappeared as were any narratives that might contradict the Bush administration. Powell was the public face of the case for a war crime which eventually killed some 1 million people in Iraq.

No, was not Jesus despite the breathless way the media treated him especially since he died.  Elain's "Barbra Streisand is one stupid bitch" went up last night.  Read Margaret Kimberley in full and grasp that's who Barbra Streisand is praising.  Grasp all that she covers and toss in his homophobia as well.  That's who Barbra's praising.  She's standing not with the Iraqi people, not with the Vietnamese victims, she's standing with their oppressor.

An e-mail whines in the public account that Elaine was being unfair to Barbra and don't I agree?

No, I don't.  First off, stranger, I've been friends with Elaine since college and I knew her before that because I dated her brother.  Thanks for stumbling onto the public account but maybe stumble onto a doctor if you're thinking your e-mail will make me turn on Elaine as you insist that I must publicly rebuke her.  

Relinquish the fantasy.

Before we move on to Colin, let me note Barbra.  I know her.  I like her.  I applaud the art she produced with YENTL.  We promoted RLESE ME 2 here.  I've praised her performance in THE GUILT TRIP.  And I try to say nice things about her in real life.  Which is why friends were surprised when I recnetly slammed her here.  Industry friends couldn't stop calling as that was circulated.  Basically saying, "You do get it then?"  Yes, and I always have.  But I'm not a director and I never had to put up with that crap on a set and I'm smart enough never to be in a film with her.  Her image is well earned.  It has nothing to do with my interaction with her.

But when ego mania and a her need to be the center of attention at all times caused her to trash Bradley Cooper?  I know Bradley and he did not deserve her crap.  So I would have objected for that reason alone.  But I have known Joan Didion for decades now.  And to watch, while Joan's in such poor health, as Barbra stole the credit that Joan and her late husband John Gregory Dunne deserve?


As I wrote, this is why she doesn't get awards.  It's why she's never won a second Academy Award for acting and never will.  It's why she's hated by so many who have worked with her and others who refuse to work with her.  Joan and John were ending their vacation in Hawaii when Joan turned to John and exclaimed something like, "A STAR IS BORN with Carly Simon and James Taylor!"  That idea popped into her head and that's how you got the 70s A STAR IS BORN.  

The script was a hot property and the studio was willing to do it with Carly and James -- but they ended up not wanting to do the film.  (Too close to home at the time as James' career was muddling.)  Various other women expressed interest and it was a go project.  It was happening.  As it was coming down to the wire, it was Cher's film.  She would be starring in it.  And the Sue and Barbra swoop in.

That film is garbage, pure garbage.  Kris isn't bad in it but he's undercut by all the focus on Barbra -- especially when he's emoting but the camera's instated trained on Barbra.  Did the crew really mix s**t in with mud for a scene where Barbra was in the mud?  I don't know.  Frank Pierson, the director of the film, told me they did.  It's not surprising if they did.  She's a terror on a set.  I'd never go on a set with her.  And you can go to YOUTUBE and see her screeching homophobia when she visits Harrison Ford on one of his film sets.  That's Barbra.  

She destroyed the script for the film.  She destroyed the balance that was needed.  And the biggest complain, which no one makes but I think everyone viewing gets, is that the film should end on Kris.  You do one wrap up scene.  Instead, Kris dies and it's Babs Babs Babs.  Oh, she's walking through the lonely mansion, oh she hears his voice on a tape recorder, oh this and oh that and then that never ending two song medley where her nose is frightening.  She who screeches about unflattering photography has allowed some of the worst video of her ever captured -- worst in terms of appearance -- and for what?  To hog the movie?  To sing bad songs.  

And she's going to slam Bradley's film?  His film works, her film does not.  

She's going to slam Brad and she's going to steal Joan and John's credit?  Slamming Brad because she made the film about singer-songwriters and blah blah blah.

She didn't do s**t with that.  She added the Orioles (which I always found racist) and she demanded that a type of feminist sensibility be put into the film -- her sense of a feminist sensibility which has always been a rather strange one.  

She made a bad film that's an endurance contest to get through and she wants to slam Bradley and she wants to steal Joan and John's credit?

As I said when I wrote about it here, this is exactly why she doesn't get awards from her peers.  It's that ego that claims credit for everything.  It's that ego that has to put others down to build herself up.  I can indulge in that in casual interactions with her but I'm smart enough never to work with her.    Carole King wasn't.  Carole's basically a nice person.  So she won't publicly slam Barbra.  But Carole was a much bigger musical act in 1972 than Barbra when they did a George McGovern benefit and ask Carole how much rehearsal time she was allowed.  Ask Quincy Jones how much time he go tot rehearse.  Ask them who monopolized the venue with rehearsal after rehearsal for what were poor and simplistic arrangements.  She has no concern or care for other artists.

So I posted that here and it gets circulated around a number of friends and then the circle gets larger and larger.  And I'm getting all these phone calls because it's the truth but people are surprised I'd say it.  Normally, I wouldn't.  But she went after Bradley and Joan.  She atacked one, she erased the other.  

I wasn't in the mood.  And I don't give her a pass because her son Jason is gay.  She's homophobic so I'm honestly not surprised that 'gay rights' Barbra would praise the homophobic Colin Powell.

On Colin Powell, THE NATION and THE PROGRESSIVE remain silent.  It's several days after Colin's death.  But?  COMMON DREAMS:

That's their top ten most read currently.  Number ten, days later, is Jon Queally's piece on Colin.

There is interest in the topic.  There's also a need for it.

Hagiography and worse is attempting to sell this vile man who destroyed so many lives as someone worthy of praise.  It's really our duty to speak up and to speak out.

When I learned of his death, I was on the treadmill dictating the snapshot.  I thought I was finished and the friend I was dictating it too asked if I was going to mention Colin Powell?  Why?  That's when and how I found out he died.  I didn't want to write about him, he's disgusting and surely others would cover it but to note it, in Monday's snapshot, we reposted Ava and My piece from 2006.

And that was going to be it.

Then Monday night, I saw all the non-stop praise and hoopla about The War Criminal and knew I'd have to cover him in the next day's snapshot. 


I'm not trying to be the megaphone of what everyone else writes.  So what could I contribute?  Okay, let's talk about his homophobia.  Let's talk about what he did in 1993 and how the US government is trying to fix it now.  All these years later, LGBTQ-ers are still harmed by that.  

I knew I'd have to cover him in Wednesday's snapshot because I'd have to include Margaret on the topic.  But BAR didn't publish early Wednesday morning.  So we're including her today.  And thanks to the e-mailer who was whining about Elaine, I have a new way to write about Colin -- via the idiot Barbra.  

And she is an idiot.  She praises Frank Rich?  That's hilarious.  She's spent years linking to him.  Praising his judgments because they were on the same partisan side.  You know what?  I recommend, on behalf of Barbra, that all of Frank's work be widely re-read.  Especailly those hit pieces he did on her movies.  

Now I can look the other way here on some things.  There are people who get linked to that have trashed offline me.  During the time this site has been up, THE WASHINGTON POST wrote a very mean thing about me and I was shocked because: Why?  I mean it was untrue but I don't epect truth from the press.  I was shocked because what was the point, why were they even writing about me?  There was no reason to.  I wasn't promoting any ware or trying for attention and they just slam me out of the blue.  And I was mad.  I didn't read it but I had people calling saying, "Did you see what they said!"  And the paper had an important Iraq story.  So we still linked to it because this site, it's not about me.  But I can promise you if someone had attacked me the way Frank Rich did Barbra Streisand over and over, year after year, they wouldn't be up here.  And I wouldn't be praising him.

He was vile, sexist and brutal.  And she's praising him because he's on the same partisan side and she's so desperate to have some 'intellectual' (he wishes) in her corner.

She's uneducated and uninformed.  When she's tried to lear about a topic, she's either fired the tutor or they've been too in awe of her and pretended that she had something right when she didn't.  I don't know if she's got a cognitive issue or if she just can't absorb anything that doesn't relate to her but she can 'study' something for months and still not have a basic understanding.

And her stupidity, her need for attention and her desire to have a buddy in her partisan battles leads her to embrace Colin Powell.  

Rob Reiner?  He's a joke and I don't have anything to say about him.  The industry's tired of him -- lucky for him or skeletons would be surfacing.  He's also not that popular among the public.  No one's saying, "I wonder what Meathead thinks about this matter?"  Barbra still retains some vestiges of fame and if she's going to use it to promote War Criminal Colin, then we need to push back.

And that's how we can cover Colin for another day -- hopefully, the last time this week -- with me throwing something of my own out there and not just having to say "So and so writes and then another person . . ."

This is a War Criminal.  And he's a War Criminal that the corporate media is glorifying -- and I'd argue that crap Amy Goodman served up this week was close to glorifying since it sough to justify the actions of a War Criminal -- so we have to push back.  If we don't, don't claim to believe in peace.  If we don't, don't claim to stand with the Iraqi people or the Vietnamese.  He destroyed lives across the world and his homophobia in the US did great damage.  There's nothing to glorify.  And if you can't find some way to write about that, you shouldn't be writing.  Katrina pays a lot of people a lot of money but they can't do anything of value, can they?  You're seeing the realities of THE NATION right now.

MEMO reports:

The Turkish presidency yesterday submitted a memorandum requesting parliament extend the authority granted to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to carry out military operations in Syria and Iraq for another two years, starting from 30 October, Anadolu Agency reported.

The agency said the memorandum explained that the risks and threats to national security caused by the developments and the ongoing conflict in areas adjacent to Turkey's southern borders, are constantly escalating.

Turkey has terrorized Iraq and violated its national sovereignty.  Hundreds of civilians have died in the last years because Turkey has bombed them or shot them.  They need to be standing in a world court.  If Turkey did to the UK what it's done to Iraq -- if Turkey did for one month just what it does to Ira qfor one week -- there would be a full on war with all western countries supporting the UK.

Two Sundays ago, Iraq held elections.  The results are disputed.  Things are at a standstill currently.  Asharq al-Awsat reports:

 Efforts to calm down the situation in Iraq continued after protests against the results of recent elections turned into an open sit-in outside the Green Zone gates in Baghdad.

At the same time, forces that lost in the elections are betting on the results of the appeals submitted to the Elections Committee before they enter negotiations with other political parties.

In other news, TRADE ARABIA notes:

Learning levels in Iraq are among the lowest in the Mena region and are likely to decline even further because of the impact the pandemic has had on education service delivery, including prolonged school closures, said the World Bank.

The World Bank Group’s new report “Building Forward Better to Ensure Learning for All Children in Iraq: An Education Reform Path” says that while, now more than ever, investments are needed in education to recover lost learning and turn crisis into opportunity, these investments must be accompanied by a comprehensive reform agenda that focuses the system on learning outcomes and builds a more resilient education system for all children.

The report builds on key priorities in education recently identified in the Government of Iraq’s White Paper and the World Bank Group’s Addressing the Human Capital Crisis: A Public Expenditure Review for Human Development Sectors in Iraq report, and provides actionable reform recommendations to boost learning and skills.

Human capital is essential to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth. However, according to the World Bank’s 2020 Human Capital Index (HCI), a child born in Iraq today will reach, on average, only 41% of their potential productivity when they grow up.

The following sites updated: