Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Reading, conman Avenatti and more

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Geezer Rock" went up on Sunday:




I was asked about books this summer and I will probably write about another book this summer.  I just started reading a book by Michael Parenti that I missed in real time.  So when I finish it, I will probably write about it.  A number of you are noting that you miss last year in terms of how we were all reviewing books.  We were sampling KINDLE UNLIMITED and we would review a book here and then, at THIRD, we would join Ava and C.I. to discuss the book and the KINDLE experience.  Here are the books covered:

Betty's "WHO IS THE GREAT EARTHA KITT? (and thank you, Diana Ross!)"


Marcia's "The summer read: Judy Garland & Liza Minnelli: Too Many Damn Rainbows."


Rebecca's "the problem with ''judy garland & liza minnelli: too many damn rainbows'"

Rebecca's "little sister"

Trina's "A A Novellie's Joan Rivers: The World's Funniest F..."

Marcia's "I'd say Robert Wagner murdered Natalie Wood"



Jim's "Magazines (Jim)"


Kat's "THE PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE BIBLE as written by Laurence Myers"


Ann's "The 'Peyton Place' Murder






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"





I miss that too.  But I have a little more time than many in the community who have websites.  I know for some, it felt like homework.  If you have a busy week and it is your turn to do the book report, it can feel like homework.  I keep a pretty tidy house but, if it is a good book, I am glad to cut corners there to finish a book, for example.  

If you really did enjoy that in 2021 -- the book coverage -- please make that known -- either in the community newsletters or in e-mails (and e-mail to common_ills@yahoo.com because it will be read there much faster) because they did not want to do it two years in a row but there is talk of bringing it back for 2023.  What I will do, Eric who e-mailed, right now is let Isaiah know because he's looking for things to post at his archive site.  He is always afraid that he will end up posting the last comic and have nothing left.

Isaiah does comics for THE COMMON ILLS, as well as for the community newsletters.  His comic is called THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS.  He started his website, of the same name, so that we could easily search and find any comic we might want to include at our sites.  And, honestly, I forget it constantly.  It is now a huge archive.  He began doing comics for the website back in January of 2005.  Seventeen years later, he has built up a huge archive.  

Let me note Michael Avenatti.   
We always told you that he was a con artist.  But while we were telling you that, CNN and MSNBC were putting him on the air constantly and praising him, there were journalists saying he should be our next president.  Now that he has been convicted repeatedly, his former supporters try to run and hide from their past remarks.

June was a busy month for the already convicted felon.  At the start of the month, he was convicted in New York and sentenced to four years.  The U.S. Justice Department issued a statement for that sentence:

AVENATTI met Stormy Daniels in February 2018, when she was seeking an attorney to assist her with respect to a non-disclosure agreement that she had earlier signed with President Donald Trump.  Daniels later signed a book deal to publish her memoir, and AVENATTI, pretending to act as her attorney and in her interests, stole a portion of the advance on that deal by directing her literary agent to send the money to a bank account AVENATTI controlled. 

Specifically, AVENATTI stole two installments of Daniels’ book advance, totaling $297,500.  AVENATTI sent to Daniels’ literary agent a fraudulent and unauthorized letter purporting to be from Daniels and appearing to bear her signature, which directed that future payments be sent to a bank account controlled by AVENATTI.  In fact, AVENATTI wrote the letter himself, never received authorization from Daniels, and caused Daniels’ signature to be copied and pasted from another document onto the letter without her consent.

After transmitting the fraudulent letter to Daniels’ literary agent, AVENATTI received an installment of Daniels’ advance, worth $148,750, and promptly spent the money to satisfy his own personal and business expenses.  When Daniels began inquiring of AVENATTI as to why she had not received the payment, AVENATTI lied to Daniels, telling her that her publisher had not made the payment.  Approximately one month after diverting the payment, after Daniels threatened to go directly to her publisher about the missing payment, AVENATTI obtained a personal loan to pay $148,750 to Daniels, so that Daniels would not realize that AVENATTI had previously taken and used Daniels’ money.

A short time later, AVENATTI pressured the publisher to make the next installment payment early, purportedly at Daniels’ request though in truth without her awareness.  AVENATTI soon received that installment, another payment of $148,750, which he again spent for his own purposes.  For months after he had stolen this installment, Daniels repeatedly asked AVENATTI about the missing payment and, after he again falsely claimed that the publisher had not made the payment, asked that AVENATTI, as her lawyer, assist her in obtaining the book payment.  AVENATTI continued to lie and claim that he was fighting with the publisher on her behalf when, as he knew, the publisher had made the payment early, but that he had stolen it.  At the same time, further to avoid discovery of his scheme, AVENATTI, purporting to act as Daniels’ attorney, told her publisher and literary agent not to respond to direct requests for information from Daniels.

*                *                *

In addition to the prison sentence, AVENATTI, 51, of Los Angeles, California, was sentenced to three years of supervised release, as well as restitution and forfeiture.  AVENATTI is currently serving a thirty-month sentence for extorting NIKE, Inc., imposed by Judge Paul G. Gardephe in United States v. Avenatti, 19 Cr. 373.  Thirty months of imprisonment in this case were imposed consecutively with AVENATTI’s other sentence, and the remainder will run concurrently.

Then, later in the month, he entered a guilty plea in California.  He has multiple convictions now.  But once upon a time, he was hailed as a hero and someone we would want to be our president.  Back when Donald Trump was in the White House, CNN brought Mr. Avenatti on 121 time while MSNBC brought him on 108 times.  And they wonder why their viewers left.

CNN, of course, was once a news network.  MSNBC started in the gutter -- with garbage like Michael Savage that Melinda Gates put a stop to (Bill Gates was fine with raging homophobe Mr. Savage being on MSNBC).


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


Tuesday, June 28, 2022.  Iraq suffers from cholera, heat waves and climate change.  Swap a war on individual rights for cholera and it could be the US!

Within days of the reactionary Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to outlaw abortion, seven states have done so, either through trigger laws that took effect automatically, or through certification of the high court action by state officials which activated such laws.

According to Planned Parenthood, the states where abortion is already illegal and reproductive health clinics have ceased operating include: Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Utah, with a combined population of 52 million.

There are 15 states where the procedure is severely restricted and soon to be entirely illegal: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, with a combined population of 93 million.

In four more states, Kansas, Nebraska, Michigan and North Carolina, the legal status of abortion depends on impending court decisions or, in Kansas, a statewide referendum in August. Some 26 million people live in these four states, bringing the total number of people living in states where abortion is banned or under immediate threat to 171 million, just over half the US population.

That leaves 24 states where the status of abortion remains on fairly strong legal foundations: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.

Geographically, the division of the United States is quite stark. Abortion is likely to remain legal in the northeast and Middle Atlantic states, and along the entire West Coast and portions of the Mountain states, and in a few spots in the Midwest. Across the entire South, most of the Midwest, and some of the Mountain states, it will be savagely proscribed.

While the right to this vital medical procedure and fundamental democratic right is being taken away from women immediately, the response of the Biden administration and the Democratic Party as a whole is to view the issue purely as an opportunity to reverse their dismal poll numbers and mobilize support in the upcoming midterm elections on November 8.

Biden made a perfunctory statement Friday in response to the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. White House sources told the press on background that the speech had already been written last month after the draft of the controlling opinion by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to the media. It was only “tweaked” in response to the handing down of the actual ruling.

The administration has convened a series of meetings to discuss what practical response it could carry out to aid women seeking abortions in the affected states, but nothing has happened so far except a joint letter from Attorney General Merrick Garland, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, reminding insurance companies that they must continue providing coverage of contraceptive services under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Some 30 Democratic senators sent a letter to the White House over the weekend, urging Biden to take “bold action” and use “every step available to your Administration, across federal agencies, to help women access abortions and other reproductive health care.” Diplomatically, however, they did not actually spell out a single concrete action that Biden should take.

The “left” wing of the Democratic Party has seized on the abortion issue as a means of voter mobilization in November, and rehabilitating the Biden administration in the eyes of millions who voted for Biden in 2020 to oust the hated Trump, but have seen the Democrats abandon their promises of significant social improvements and reforms. This includes such issues as voting rights, relief for student debt, serious protection against evictions and foreclosures, and a real fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been entirely abandoned.

In fairness, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House -- second in line to the presidency (should Joe become ill or decide to retire before the end of his term, the order of succession is the Vice President and then the Speaker of the House) -- has taken 'action' when cameras were around.  She read a poem and she led a sing along.

These are the type of actions activists use to try to influence law makers.  These are not actions for members of Congress.  They are yet again abdicating their power and their responsibilities.  

If they wanted to, they could codify ROE right now.  They have the power.  They will not have it after the mid-terms so when Senator Elizabeth Warren tells you the answer is to vote in the mid-terms or House Rep AOC argues the same, NO.  That' not how it's going to work.

In fact, that's what led to the overturning of ROE -- the Democratic Party using it as a get-out-the-vote mechanism and refusing to codify it.

They used the Iraq War.  Look at that if you're old enough.  They were going to end it, Nancy Pelosi swore, if they were given just one house of Congress in the 2006 mid-terms.  The American people gave them both houses.  And Congress didn't end the war.  They were surprised by the turn out and used the continuation of the Iraq War as a get out the vote tool in 2008 to grab the presidency.

They never did remove all US troops from Iraq.  We've seen multiple on US military convoys in Iraq this month.  And there was just a fire at a US base in western Iraq.   

They did the same with abortion.  They used it to grab votes but they never defended it.  It's been chipped away and chipped away since the ruling.  They criticized the Hyde Amendment, for example.  That chipped away a significant amount of power and access.  That started in 1976 and the Dems railed against it publicly but they never did a damn thing to end the Hyde Amendment.  

Nada Hassanein and Eli Marcel Cahan (USA TODAY) explained this earlier this month.  It started with refusing to allow  Medicaid to cover abortion and then it refused all federal funds.  This prevented access to millions of women who were working class and/or in poverty.  But these same leaders who want to read you a bad, Zionist poem and then play Kate Smith by singing "God Bless America" (apparently Congress can't stop dry humping this same Court's verdict on prayer) did nothing.  1976.  It was one of the first attacks on ROE and it came from Congress.  Nothing overturned it.  The gender quake of the 1992 elections did not overturn it.  Dems being in charge of both houses of Congress and the White House didn't overturn it.

Last month, POLITICO broke the news of the draft opinion the Court had that would overturn ROE V WADE.  In response to that, Margaret Kimberly (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) noted:

Reaction to the news was swift and predictable. Liberals expressed outrage and marched on federal courthouses and even to the homes of Supreme Court justices. Barack Obama released a long winded 700 word statement declaring himself, and his wife, strongly opposed to the court’s imminent decision. The statement is amusing because it gives the impression that Obama had nothing to do with the current state of affairs.

As a presidential candidate in 2008 Obama promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have codified abortion rights into federal law. But once in office he never pushed congress to pass it. In typical Obamaesque fashion he would claim to believe that women had the right to choose abortion, but that he didn’t want to demonize the opposition, and he wanted to find consensus on the issue. After his usual routine "on the one hand this, but on the other hand that” on April 29, 2009 he finally said out loud what was clear. "The Freedom of Choice Act is not my highest legislative priority." It wasn’t even his lowest legislative priority. Obama never lifted a finger to get it passed, even during his first two years in office when he had majorities in the House and the Senate.

Knowing full well that Roe v. Wade hinged on having a supportive Supreme Court in place, he dithered on doing what he had the power to do. In 2013 he knew that the democrats might lose control of the senate in the 2014 election. He asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, already 80-years old and a cancer patient, to step down. She declined and he didn’t press the issue. In 2016 conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died and senate republicans refused to even hold hearings to confirm Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland. Obama had the option of making a  recess appointment that would have put Garland on the court but he didn’t do that either. Such a move would have been controversial, and perhaps Garland’s presence would have been short, but it would have made clear that democrats were as committed as they claimed to be on the issue of abortion rights.

Instead they play games with democratic voters. Any unhappiness with the democrats is met with the plea to protect the federal judiciary from conservatives. This ploy is nothing but a cynical effort to keep left leaning democrats in the fold and to discredit anyone who questions the party's continued failures to do what the people want them to do.

Now the liars and hypocrites like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who once claimed abortion was a "fading" issue are sending fundraising appeals to brain washed liberals who will again write checks and declare their devotion like Stockholm Syndrome hostages. Hillary Clinton’s foolish appeals to conservatives included choosing anti-choice senator Tim Kaine as a running mate and at times saying she was "ambivalent " about abortion are now forgotten as the supposed left of the party remain lost.

They are lost because they don’t know the most basic rules of political mobilizations. Instead of harassing SCOTUS justices at home, they should be harassing their democratic representatives. Why march to a courthouse instead of to the office of democratic member of congress and demand that they make abortion legal? In particular, senators have the ability to end the filibuster which would give the senate the ability to pass a Freedom of Choice Act with their small majority margin. Every democratic senator should be quaking in his or her boots for fear that they’ll be turned out of office if they do not act to protect abortion rights.

They do nothing.

Over and over, they do nothing.

Even now when they could still save ROE by voting to make it law, they do nothing.

As Ashford & Simpson once sang, "I want to know, is it still good to ya?"

It's not good for me and it shouldn't be good for you.  They have the power now to act and they're taking your money right now and they're asking you to pledge for them in November right now.  But they're not doing anything.  And the November election is not going to find them with more seats.  That's not the historical pattern and Joe Biden has been a highly disappointing president.  There are valid questions about his sanity and the American people want oversight.  The Dems have provided no oversight -- watch them run like roaches when the light's turned on if anyone mentions the words "Hunter Biden."  

So the Dems will lose control of at least one house, possibly two.

They need to act now or they are just stringing us along as they've done over and over.

Hey, a slogan of "Look how we stepped up!" after codifying ROE could get people to turn out in droves and upset expectations.

But do nothing and still asking for a vote?  We should reject that abuse.  They have abused us enough.

The ruling the Court made is out of step with the American people.  Julia Conley (COMMON DREAMS) explains:

Nine out of 10 Democrats and more than half of independent voters said they oppose the ruling, while only 20% of Republicans opposed it.

"What the court did is clearly outside the mainstream of public opinion, and that is reflected again in the NPR poll," wrote Domenico Montanaro at NPR.

The poll of 941 people, which had a margin of error of +/-4.9 percentage points, found that only 39% of respondents were left feeling confident in the court after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling—a new low for the survey. As Common Dreams reported last week, a separate poll by Gallup taken just before the ruling found that only 25% of Americans had confidence in the court.

Meanwhile, poor Iraq.  We gave them death and destruction and, possibly worst of all, we gave them a version of our do-nothing government.  Which is why nothing gets accomplished and why the Iraqi people continue to suffer.

As I dictate this snapshot, the temperature in Baghdad is 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  And the people are suffering with power cuts.  And the people are also suffering because it's summer which doesn't just mean heat, it also means the annual cholera outbreaks.  This too could be prevented.  There's no reason with all the millions and millions Iraq makes off oil each month that the government of Iraq cannot provide potable water -- water that is safe to drink.  Instead, a state of emergency has been declared.

And because violence breeds violence, we've exported school shootings to Iraq as well.

Two university professors in the northern Iraqi province of Erbil were killed in an armed attack by a former student on Tuesday, the Erbil governor said.

Kawan Ismail, the dean of the college of law at Salahaddin University in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, succumbed to injuries he sustained in a shooting by a dismissed student, Erbil Governor Omed Khoshnaw told a press conference.

The student attacked the dean and shot him and killed another engineering professor, the governor was quoted by the official Iraqi News Agency as saying.

Layal Shakir (RUDAW) adds:                                                                              

Four years earlier, Aras Mahdi Qassim started his first year of law at Soran University before he was expelled for his poor grades. He continuously attempted to transfer his studies to Salahaddin University’s law faculty in Erbil in a request that was repeatedly rejected due to his low marks, Himdad Faisal, dean of Soran University’s Faculty of Law told Rudaw of the student.

Qassim, who has previously clashed with law lecturer Nishtiman Osman over his Erbil transfer request, readied his gun early morning and made his way towards her house determined to commit a crime. 

The woman had filed a lawsuit against Qassim and was in the Soran administration on Tuesday to attend the first court session. Her husband, Idris Izzat, who is also a well-known university academic in Erbil, was alone at home when the student arrived. 

Two quick notes.  Everyone in the community is depressed regarding ROE.  I don't think there's going to be an edition of THIRD so if that proves to be the case as today unfolds, Ava and I'll post our TV piece late this afternoon (PST).  I believe it's 10:00 am EST that, on INSTAGRAM, Alec Baldwin is going to be interviewing Woody Allen live.  I consider Alec a friend.  I know Woody but we're not friends and weren't when he was with Mia (who was a friend).  I'm sure it'll be an interesting interview and if it makes it up on YOUTUBE we'll gladly repost it.  

The following sites updated: