Outrageous. We were supposed to have a whole new world if we voted Donald Trump out. Guess people didn't realize just how much Joe Biden and Donald Trump were alike, just how much they actually shared.
Charles Hugh Smith (ICH)
As with everything else in polarized America, billionaires proclaiming space tourism is the next big thing for humanity neatly divides opinion into two camps: those who laud the initiative, hard work and innovations of the billionaires as laudable examples of the American Can-Do Dream, and those who wished the billionaire space tourists had taken a one-way flight to a distant orbit of blissful silence.
Setting aside that bitter divide, let's explore another divide: how our two-tier tax system enables billionaires to become billionaires while the rest of us get poorer. Whenever I discuss the taxes of the non-billionaire self-employed, armies of apologists leap to the defense of the status quo with various quibbles: the 0.9% Medicare surcharge only kicks in above $200,000, the cap on Social Security taxes is $142,800, and so on.
Setting aside the quibbles--and recall the tax code with regulatory notes is thousands of pages--let's deal with the real issue, which is that billionaires and their corporations pay a thin slice of taxes as a percentage of total income if they pay any at all, while self-employed and small business pay extraordinarily high tax rates.
To all the quibblers: please add the 15.3% Social Security/Medicare tax rate (self-employed / sole proprietors pay both the employee and employer share of this tax) to the federal tax rate of 24% for income above $85,520. It's 39.3%.
We should all pay an equal share. We don't. That's not right.
It's also not fair. Another reason I highlighted the piece, though, was because I want to be sure everybody knows that INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE is back to regular posting.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Tuesday, August 3, 2021. LaVena Johnon's murder remains covered up all these years later and the United Nations notes the reality of Mustafa's Iraq: No real justice system and lots of torture.
“She told us not to decorate the tree until she got home,” LaVena’s mother, Linda Johnson, told Dateline. “We said we’d wait for her, of course. She was so happy to be coming home.”
But she would never make it home.
It was around 7 a.m. on the morning of July 19, 2005, when the doorbell rang at the Johnson home in Florissant, Missouri.
“There was a soldier on our front porch,” Linda told Dateline. “He told us LaVena was dead. And he said, well, he said she had killed herself.”
Sara Rich: Where, you know, women speak out and they're murdered. So she was too scared to say anything and finally she was being redeployed to Iraq for a second time and her PTSD and Military Sexual Trauma just exploded and she went AWOL instead of returning which was a huge turning point in our whole family. She refused to go back. She went AWOL. We got an attorney and a psychologist and that's when we finally started coming out about the sexual assault and the rape and all of the trauma that she experienced while in Iraq because up until that point it was just too raw for her to talk about. So she was seeing a psychologist, we had an attorney, we were trying to work with the army to get her so that she could turn herself in and get the help she needed but nobody would work with us so finally the AWOL Apprehension Team called their good buddies down here in Eugene [Oregon] at Eugene police department and they sent people to our home at ten-thirty on a Sunday night and took her in handcuffs. You know here we have this -- by then she's how old was she about 22 by then. A 22-year-old who had been raped, who had Combat Trauma and they put her in handcuffs and threw her in jail.
There are many other women who died in the military and it was not suicide despite the military classifying the deaths as suicide. From December 3, 2009:
We'll note this from yesterday's snapshot:
In the US, Colleen Murphy searches for answers to her daughter's death. Staff Sgt Amy Tirador was serving in Iraq when she was killed at the start of last month, shot in the back of her head. Russell Goldman (ABC News) reports Murphy has many questions including, "How could this have happened on a secure American base? I don't know why they can't rule some things out. This can't be a suicide. But there are so many probabilities and prospects and guessing games. They've given me no hints, and I can't stop thinking about all the different scenarios. Am I aggravated? Absolutely. Thursday will be a month. I want the truth. I will be patient and I will wait. But I want the truth."
Lavena Johnson was murdered in Iraq. It was not a suicide and the military's suicide 'finding' does not hold up. That finding should have resulted in Congressional hearings. Just as Lavena Johnson was not a suicide it is not likely Amy Tirador would commit suicide by shooting herself in the back of the head.
Amy Tirador, LaVena Johnson and many more. Their deaths are hidden, their murders are covered up with the false classification "suicide."
From NBC's report:
While Dr. Johnson has fought for answers in his daughter’s death for 16 years, it has slowed this year due to his recent hospitalization.
But his wife told Dateline that he refuses to give up and continues to fight. While in the hospital, he never misses a chance to tell someone, a nurse, a doctor, about LaVena.
“After a 16-year-long nightmare, now we’re going through this,” Linda said. “Her death has really taken a toll on her father.”
They are hoping someone will come forward with information that will push the CID to reopen the investigation.
Two weeks ago, INTERSEXUAL MEDIA offered this report.
In other news, Louisa Loveluck (WASHINGTON POST) reports this morning:
Iraqi authorities are routinely denying prisoners of their rights from the point of arrest through prosecution, according to the United Nations, leaving tens of thousands vulnerable to violence and other forms of abuse while in custody.
The report, released Tuesday by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, details a labyrinth of unfairness with detainees often denied due process at every turn. Confessions frequently come through torture. Few detainees see a lawyer until they appear in court. In some cases, they do not even know which authority is holding them.
Four years after the U.S.-backed defeat of the Islamic State group here, more than 40,000 prisoners are packed across prisons in Iraq’s federal and Kurdish regions. Judicial records and court visits suggest that roughly half were arrested on terrorism charges, then tried in a system that affords little effort to weight specific evidence against them.
The U.N. report is based on 235 interviews with current or former detainees, as well as discussions with prison staff, judges, lawyers, families of the detainees and other relevant parties.
At least half the detainees said that they had been tortured during interrogations aimed at eliciting some form of confession. Human rights groups have criticized the practice, saying that detainees frequently end up agreeing to sign documentation saying they have committed crimes that they had no part in.
Remember the above the next time someone shows up pimping current prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi as a success and someone who deserves a second term.
Winding down. An e-mail asks that we address Glenn Greenwald. Here's the Tweet:
I don't know Robin D'Angelo or her work. I don't have time to study it. But, first off, yes, Seth's work is racist. And Glenn wouldn't know that because he's part of the frat boy mentality. He was in a pass with a certain crowd of men and adopted their mindsets. That's always at the heart of any problem I have with Glenn. I know his kind very well. The beta gay who wishes he were an alpha. So he poses and struts. And refuses to note anything that might be seen as weakness, instead laugh at the jokes at the expense of people of color, of women . . .
ADDED -- all in bold added at 1:25 pm EST due to an e-mail from someone close to Glenn. Beta? Yes. He refuses to break with the pack. A true alpha would. What Glenn can do in his professional life, he can't do in his personal. And that's a real shame for someone with two beautiful children -- children who would easily be mocked and made fun of FAMILY GUY. I haven't called for FAMILY GUY to be banned -- nor would I -- but I'm not going to pretend it's not a racist program -- sexist as well. To ignore the racism is to be an idiot. In the early days, they flaunted it constantly. Back then, it was 'funny,' for example, that Brian was a racist. The show repeatedly punches down, not up. If Glenn can't admit that, he's either not very observant or not very honest. It would be great if he could, as an exercise, try putting himself in the place of any of the groups mocked -- African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, all women -- and see if he could get how offensive the show can actually be.
I would've thought that, by now, as he grew older, he'd have aged out of it. He hasn't. FAMILY GUY is a very racist show and that goes beyond the refusal to hire people of color for voice work. Time and again the fact that Peter is challenged is used as a cover to get in very racist jokes. It's reflective of what a certain mindset of some White men in terms of what they think about people of color. Is it a funny show, it's a derivative show (thanks, Seth, for turning our years of critiques into an episode -- it was the best episode of the show but still not a great episode) but it's not really a stand out. (AMERICAN DAD is consistently a better show than FAMILY GUY.)
Instead of rushing to attack Robin, maybe Glenn could take a moment to consider the actual episodes and the things that are said and done with regards to people of color on the show.
Seth's an embarrassment who can't get a live action hit to save his ass and who imploded as a host on the Academy Awards. He's also not very bright. Glenn reTweeted this from Seth:
Tucker Carlson is on FOX NEWS. FOX and FOX NEWS are no longer linked. ABC owns former 20th CENTURY FOX in all its variations. Rupert Murdoch and his family continue with FOX NEWS, they sold the entertainment division to ABC-DISNEY.
And Seth knows that. But he also know that he could get more money from another network so instead of being honest, he lies in Tweets to try to create some sort of uproar that might force a renegotiation of his current contract or even a cancellation.
He probably thinks, "Hey, David Chappelle got COMEDY CENTRAL to give him more money." Yes, Seth, he did. But David is a genius talent. You're not. And you never have been. David's an artist. On a good day, Seth's a crowd pleaser. On a good day.
Okay, let's do THIRD. Last night, Ava and I posted our piece "TV: Xenophobia and racism alive and thriving thanks to PBS and Norman Lear." We had warned, before we wrote it, that we considered it timely and if we were going to write it, it would need to be posted no later than Monday. When we wrote it, we worked forever on it and that did not just include pulling out my journals and going through letters Marlon Brando wrote me. We struggled over many things that could have been included. Whoopi Goldberg shouldn't have been included in the documentary but she's a Norman Lear groupie and a partisan so they make room for her and let her lie. She goes on and on about EGOT as though she did something. She says of herself and Rita, "when we . . ." No. No. No. Rita had won The Emmy, The Grammy, The Tony and the Academy Award by the mid-70s. Whoopi doesn't become an EGOT until the '00s. And this notion that everyone's angling for it, based on what? That bad episode of 30 ROCK that Whoopi appeared in? Where she calls someone "colored man"? Whoopi's a liar. Lies are told about Rita and the EGOT all the time. Her Emmy for THE MUPPETS is often called a daytime Emmy. No, it was not. THE MUPPETS? A syndicated show and it was in competition in the primetime Emmys. Equally true, Rita won a Grammy in the 60s but no one ever notes that. WEST SIDE STORY won the Grammy for Best Soundtrack Album: Original Cast in 1962. Rita was part of that film. Some would argue we're splitting hairs and maybe we are. That's why we pulled that section and the EGOT section and many more sections that dealt with reality as opposed to the nonsense offered in a film that was supposed to be about Rita Moreno but had Rita take a back seat so that they could make a partisan push instead. And to glorify Norman Lear as well. ONE DAY AT A TIME, the reboot, was a show that should have had more seasons, yes. It was not, however, on the level of WEST SIDE STORY yet it takes up just as much time in the documentary -- because Norman produced ONE DAY AT A TIME and he produced the 'documentary.' It was an amusing sitcom. Let's stop pretending it was on the level of a classic. We praised the show, Ava and I, at THIRD and stand by that praise but this was not one of the huge accomplishments in Rita's career and yet it was treated as such while many other moments were ignored. Her real life was ignored pretty much throughout. We noted the documentary never details why her mother divorced her father or the impact of that in the 1930s (he had a series of affairs, that's why he divorced her mother). They don't deal with her young life in the US -- including, when she couldn't speak English, being taken to an infectious-disease war of a NYC hospital with no idea what was going on.
They ignore everything. They might try to argue, "We were trying to get to her career." Okay, well her career beginning include a lengthy hitch on a radio program but that's not noted. Her career includes making her Broadway debut at the age of 13 but the documentary doesn't tell you that.
It has no time for Rita because it keeps working back to its agenda (if Norman Lear wants to make a documentary on Brett Kavanaugh, he should do so and stop trying to use Rita to sneak one in).
After writing it, we pruned and pruned and spent easily ten hours on this.
And the deal was it would be posted Sunday -- with other items -- and if not we would post our piece on Monday. They have various pieces. Monday evening, Jim asked us to do another piece. On Jimmy Dore. We were half-way through writing it (it's noting the stupidity of the attacks on Jimmy and the attackers in their glass houses) when we looked at each other and said "No." We'll do it for next edition. Finish the piece. But, no, we're not spending Monday night writing another piece. I was exhausted Sunday night. That's why I stopped posting here. I just fell on the bed around eight or so and put on music. I was too tired to move. And now, on Monday, we're going through it all again?
The well is dry.
As for why we didn't post the other pieces that were finished? The editorial was not done. So what was the point in posting the other pieces. They can all go up next week and, as a result, maybe THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW will actually once again publish on a Sunday?
The following sites updated: