naomi osaka (sic)

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The Book of the Week is “naomi osaka (sic), Her Journey to Finding Her Power and Her Voice” by Ben Rothenberg, published in 2024. In this large, wordy volume the author showed how in chasing big money– noise from the incestuous relationships among the industries of: sports, media (which includes social media), entertainment and politics– has reached a screaming crescendo.

As a member of Generation Z, a professional athlete, a biracial individual, and a frequent poster on social media– Naomi was treated as a Very Important Person when she put her two cents in.

Born in October 1997 in Osaka in Japan, Naomi and her family moved to Long Island, New York State when she was three years old. Her Haitian father and Japanese mother were inspired by the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena– professional tennis players– to push their two daughters to also become professional tennis players, beginning when they were pre-schoolers.

As is well known by its fans, singles tennis is a super-suspenseful game because either player has plenty of opportunities to make a comeback. It’s always unpredictable. Upsets happen all the time. Even when “It’s gotten late early” (as Yogi Berra would say) because a match seems to have been won already, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

After a socially isolated childhood in which her parents made extreme sacrifices for her career, Naomi kept professional tennis exciting by making amazing comebacks in tournaments. Although she began to earn obscene amounts of money from tournament winnings and sponsorships, she still expressed her dissatisfaction with various aspects of professional tennis. And the media. And politics. However, Naomi and Serena Williams (a fellow tennis rival) needed to learn how and when to protest to maximize their desired results.

In 2018, Serena Williams argued with a line judge during a match, when she was losing. So she appeared to be a sore loser, regardless of whether she was right or wrong. In 2021 during the French Open, Naomi sent out a message that she would refuse to talk to the media. She was biting the hand that fed her, as her making money required the publicity the media gave her; she was in effect, an employee of the governing tennis organizations because their rules required that she talk to the media. At less emotionally charged times, the governing tennis bodies might have been more receptive to the players’ proposals to change the rules.

BUT, the bottom line is the bottom line. The governing entities subjected to complaints in a push for change, must consider how much money they would lose, or how more money they would make, in effecting the change. It seems celebrities who push a message persistently and have a sufficient number of friends in high places can make a small change.

In Ross Mathews’ case, in around 2012, a certain fast food outlet re-introduced a butternut squash menu item because Mathews and his social media friends bombarded the restaurant with messaging that appeared to show how popular the item was. In 2019, a bit of legislation was finally passed due to Jon Stewart’s long-time rigorous activism to compensate 9/11 first responders who had been harmed.

It is unclear whether other kinds of protests work, because they involve ideology rather than money. Due to the overwhelming propaganda that smears violence in the streets committed by brainwashed youth protesting a war, it is impossible to prove whether the war was stopped sooner by the protesters, or even how much the course of the war was affected by them. Of course in a war, there are hugely complex interactions of profit-seeking entities that throw a wrench in the works.

Another aspect of messaging in most situations, is that the bulk of the most active commenters are people whose jobs are on the line if they don’t weigh in with positive or negative coverage, in a way that is financially or ideologically advantageous for their employers.

At any rate, in late August 2020, in the wake of a number of emotionally charged, law-enforcement actions against people of color, Naomi wielded her tremendous power and influence as an individual professional athlete– jumping on the bandwagon of a protest among team-efforts of other sports– to postpone a very important tennis tournament in order to make a political statement. She was able to postpone it, due to the way professional tennis is governed internationally.

Naomi spurred hours of stressful phone calls among the chief executives of the major tennis organizations– the USTA, WTA, and ATP. But it is hard to prove whether that kind of political activism has actually worked in stemming violence and racial incidents.

Read the book to learn everything you ever wanted to know about Naomi and her adventures in professional tennis.

We Will Mock You – BONUS POST

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Interesting factoid: Donald Trump sued, among hundreds of other parties (in no particular order):

George Stephanopoulos in 2024
Orbis Business Intelligence, 2024
H. Pixel International, 2011
Mary Trump, 2021
Michael Cohen 2023
Juan Merchan, 2024
Wesley Moss, 2024
Andrew Litinsky, 2024
ABC News, 2024
Bob Woodward, 2023
Cable News Network, 2022
Hillary Clinton, 2023
Bill Maher, 2013
New York Times, 2024
Tim O’Brien, 2006
Letitia James, 2022
Univision, 2016
Twitter, 2022
Facebook, 2022
Merv Griffin, 2015
City of New York, 2019
New York District Attorney Vance, 2020
Jose Andres, 2015
E. Jean Carroll, 2023
City of Palm Beach (FL), 2020
Morrison Cohen, 2020

Pursuant to the cliche: “What comes around goes around” or, the negative version of “You get what you give” here’s what prosecutors at the Southern District of New York (and countless others) are singing:


sung to the tune of “We Will Rock You” with apologies to Queen and whomever else the rights may concern.

Trump, you are spoiled.
Always making noise.
Playing politics.
Getting punished today.
You got egg on your face.
You’ll lose the race.
Juggling your slush funds all over the place.

Face it.

We will, we will mock you.
We will, we will mock you.

Trump, you’re an old man, defeated man.
Shouting out of court.
Hated by the WORLD today.
WE’LL set the pace, we’re on your case.
We’ll keep that scowl all over your face.

We will, we will mock you. Face it.
We will, we will mock you.

Trump, you’re the doomed one, the LOser.
We’re TOYing with your fate.
Gonna make you cry UNCle today.
You played your last ace.
You big disgrace.
We’re finally putting YOU back in your PLACE.

We will, we will mock you.
We will, we will mock you. (Dig it.)

We will, we will mock you.
We will, we will mock you. (America!)

We will, we will mock you.
We will, we will mock you. (’bout time)



[Please note: The word “Featured” on the left side above was NOT inserted by this blogger, but apparently was inserted by WordPress, and it cannot be removed. NO post in this blog is sponsored.]

“The political hacks and blackmailers were to be fired forthwith. No more midnight break-ins at the Capitol. No more cloak-and-dagger work. No more arrests.”

— In the mid-1920’s, Harlan Fiske Stone tried to rid the Bureau of Investigation of partisanship and re-position its function from spying to catching criminals. That endeavor lasted less than a decade, given the turbulent times.

The Book of the Week is “Enemies, A History of the FBI” by Tim Weiner, published in 2012. With regard to catching criminals who cross state lines, spying, and national security, various recurring themes have emerged over the decades. This, as a result of America’s alpha-male-dominated culture and leadership. The major themes include:

  • incompetence, corruption and billions and billions of wasted taxpayer dollars due to inter-agency rivalry and power struggles among the FBI, Army, Navy, State Department, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals, large urban police forces, the office of the Attorney General, CIA and other law-enforcement groups;
  • violations of the civil rights of countless ordinary Americans, in the name of “national security”;
  • smear campaigns launched by America’s leaders, against its domestic and foreign enemies (which could change “on a dime” pursuant to the tenor of the times);
  • traitors‘ sale of secrets to the Soviets, undetected for years due to the hatred between the FBI and CIA;
  • an outdated, disorganized filing system that lasted into the 1990’s;
  • lack of Arabic translators (resulting in the severe crippling of the FBI’s ability to spy in the Middle East; it had one translator until the early 1990’s);
  • total absence of communication among the FBI’s fifty-six field offices with the others, and rare conferences between agents and headquarters, analysts or the White House through the 1990’s;
  • a culture of secrecy in which all classified documents won’t be disclosed to the general public for decades and decades; and
  • high turnover of personnel— means no one knows who’s in charge– even years after the 2005 consolidation of America’s national-security services encompassing intelligence, counter-intelligence, and counter-terror operations.

To be fair, the kinds of men who are a good fit for the culture of intelligence organizations tend to be James Bond wannabes, predatory stalkers and bullies.

In July 1908, president Theodore Roosevelt authorized the creation of the Bureau of Investigation (later named the FBI), which started with thirty-four agents. By August 1919, as head of the Bureau’s Radical Division, the twenty-four year old J. Edgar Hoover supervised hundreds of agents.

World War I gave rise to the Espionage Act of 1917, which gave Hoover an excuse to order that foreigners and countless others be spied on and arrested– right up until the day he died in 1972!

The author used the terms “informant” and “informer” in a confusing manner, and didn’t clearly define either one. But “mole” or “infiltrator” are more clear terms: an intelligence agent who joins a political, ideological or labor group targeted for spying, who eventually– of course on flimsy or no evidence, uses smears and lies to arrest and jail the group’s members.

Hoover’s favorite techniques included using infiltrators, mail-theft, sending agents to engage in break-ins, planting of hidden microphones, and warrantless wiretapping of phones (violations of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution) at the homes of people he perceived as enemies of America– named on his list.

Sometimes, law enforcement denied due process to suspects just to quell public fear or outrage, such as in the Sacco and Vanzetti case in the 1920’s. Over decades, there have been many incidents whose perpetrators were never caught. Spring 1919 saw one example of political terror. In acts of protestation against the federal government’s xenophobia and crackdown on innocent people, suspected anarchists sent tens of mail bombs to high-level public officials. The U.S. attorney general blamed Communists.

In November and December 1919, the Bureau of Investigation corralled and deported hundreds of the Union of Russian Workers. A few months later, the Attorney General’s office, run by A. Mitchell Palmer, basked in the glory of catching thousands of suspected Communists across the entire country– by way of spying operations and stomping on due process; he was fortunate to have Hoover’s authorization and talent for plotting the complicated operation. The jails overflowed with foreigners.

The hysteria against foreigners, anarchists, labor unions, Socialists and Communists was such that president Woodrow Wilson’s administration allowed the American Protective League (comprised of vigilantes– ordinary Americans who volunteered to, and were authorized, by wearing badges!) to spy on, burglarize the homes of, and beat up, suspected subversives. The group’s membership at its peak numbered approximately three hundred thousand.

Clearly, after WWI, the world wasn’t ready for president Wilson’s proposed League of Nations– a group of the world’s most industrially and technologically advanced countries that were attempting to cooperate in maintaining world peace. They couldn’t even quell their own citizens’ unrest, and were too busy jockeying for territory and resources of other sovereign states.

WWII saw historical events that forced human beings to evolve sufficiently politically, economically, culturally and socially, so that they did cooperate, more or less. And yet, there’s still so much hatred.

Anyway, FDR allowed Hoover to install listening devices in the German, Italian, French, Russian and Japanese embassies in the United States. However, the U.S. Army, Navy and FBI did not share intelligence among themselves prior to the Pearl Harbor attack. So failure to connect the dots resulted in countless deaths and ruined lives. The FBI crowed every time it caught criminals who could harm America in wartime, but in one of countless instances, in spring 1942 it omitted inconvenient facts from its narrative. Two of eight saboteurs had an attack of conscience and revealed their evil plot to the Bureau before the plot was executed. They would not have been caught otherwise.

In January 1946, president Harry Truman wisely disallowed the growth of a monstrous, oppressive, Stalinist kind of organization run by one individual. He dashed Hoover’s dream of running all worldwide spying operations on behalf of the United States– by ordering the founding of the CIA, which would spy internationally, while the FBI would do so domestically. Nevertheless, unsurprisingly, “The routine destruction of FBI files ensured that no accurate count [of break-ins and buggings] existed.”

Seething, Hoover secretly vetted men who went to work for the CIA, and publicly shamed them if they had Communist affiliations or homosexual tendencies. He contended that they were vulnerable to blackmail if they were employed in the government, colleges, law enforcement or public schools. He rooted them out and got them fired.

In the late 1950’s, Hoover began to target the Civil Rights Movement, saying its members palled around with Communists; in 1963, he deemed MLK “the most dangerous Negro in America.” Hoover’s spies infiltrated King’s cohorts, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and other religious and political groups. Although Hoover wanted to go after Soviet spies, attorney general RFK wanted him to spy on the KKK. But Klan members in Alabama and Georgia were employed in local law enforcement, so it was hard to fight City Hall.

There is nothing new under the sun. The FBI collected information on the sex lives of U.S. Senate and House members, and any deviant behavior could be used for blackmailing. It kept the reports in a safe. “The president wondered allowed whether they should be leaked selectively.”

Beginning in late 1967, LBJ let Hoover sic spies on about a hundred thousand Americans who were protesting the Vietnam War and civil rights violations. Hoover manipulated the FBI (of course), plus the U.S. attorney general’s office, army, NSA, CIA and community leaders. A couple of months later, LBJ’s own administration was under surveillance.

President Nixon kept pressuring the FBI to prove that the Soviets were to blame for the civil-rights and anti-war protests. But they weren’t to blame. Into the 1970’s, the Weather Underground, a subgroup of SDS, destroyed property through tens of terrorist bombings in the United States. The FBI solved none of the cases. Major media outlets such as Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Time magazine reported there was something rotten in Denmark.

Read the book to learn:

  • how Hoover made a “new normal” of ignoring the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to spy on everyone during four presidential administrations (Supreme Court rulings be damned);
  • how this has come full circle now, intruding on the lives of all Americans;
  • what happened under presidents Ford and Carter;
  • of infinite occasions of mis-allocation of the FBI’s resources (such as the time when hundreds of agents investigated president Bill Clinton’s affair with a White House intern instead of chasing after criminals who were stealing from, terrorizing or killing people);
  • and a century’s worth of the FBI’s adventures and (mostly) misadventures in law enforcement.

Oozing Democracy – BONUS POST

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Interesting political factoid: At the end of April 1968, Hubert Humphrey (a Democrat from Minnesota) jumped into the presidential race. America was in a different time and place then.

Since the Reagan Era, America’s diversity, location, size and the greed of human nature have all teamed up to give its style of democracy and capitalism a slimy underbelly.

These increasingly incestuous political and economic systems put it through a vicious cycle:

1) Excessive deregulation spawns unconscionable looting (of itself and other lands) by mostly alpha males.
2) The consequences lead to: partial restoration of regulation, but hardly any punishment for the real culprits, and eventually,
3) business as usual all over again.

Politicians are a crucial cog in the systems. They think they’re oozing democracy when in reality, they’re just oozing.

Here’s what they sing in American-style campaigns.


sung to the tune of Rock ‘N’ Roll Music with apologies to the estate of Chuck Berry and whomever else the rights may concern.

Just let me preach some of my democracy oozing.
Through voting you can choose it.
Knowing backstory you can’t lose it.
Any old time you use it.
I’m gonna be democracy oozing, if you want to rant with me, if you want to rant with me.

I got no beef against equality.
Unless the law doesn’t favor me.
I deserve due process indefinitely.
You know I am never GUI-i-lty.
That’s why I go for that democracy oozing.

Through voting you can choose it.
Knowing backstory you can’t lose it.
Any old time you use it.
I’m gonna be democracy oozing, if you want to whine with me, if you want to whine with me.

I greet my donors in shady spots.
Where nosy-bodies can’t conNECT the dots.
I have a RIGHT to privacy.
Just as activists, to AS-sembly.
That’s why I’m all about democracy oozing.

Through voting you can choose it.
Knowing backstory you can’t lose it.
Any old time you use it.
I’m gonna be democracy oozing, if you want to lie with me, if you want to lie with me.

My opponents want autocracy.
And their actions show hypocrisy.
They have oppressive POL-i-cies.
And they rewrite history.
Only I MYSELF am democracy oozing.

Through voting you can choose it.
Knowing backstory you can’t lose it.
Any old time you use it.
I’m gonna be democracy oozing, if you want to smear with me, if you want to smear with me.

In your state we have a primary.
In other countries they have bribery.
It’s much too early to declare victory.
But in the meantime, I keep Americans free.
So I keep on democracy oozing.

Through voting you can choose it.
Knowing backstory you can’t lose it.
Any old time you use it.
I’m gonna be democracy oozing, if you want to brag with me, if you want to brag with me.

The Bluest State

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The Book of the Week is “The Bluest State, How Democrats Created the Massachusetts Blueprint for American Political Disaster” by Jon Keller, published in 2007. This short volume contained a mishmash of anecdotes on politicians and issues in Massachusetts from the 1980’s to the single-digit 2000’s.

According to the book (which appeared to be credible although it lacked Notes, Sources, References, and a Bibliography), Democrat politicians in Massachusetts (such as Ted Kennedy and John Kerry) displayed “Aloofness. Arrogance. Entitlement. Condescension. Hypocrisy.” They and their supporters consisted largely of aging, elitist Baby Boomers, such as the Clintons, Al Gore, and John Edwards. The author cited some data that showed this (without listing his sources).

In 2004, the Democrats chose Barack Obama to deliver the keynote speech at their convention in Boston. The author commented on how African American politicians had changed the tone of their rhetoric: “American liberalism’s black face this time around would not be a fire-breathing preacher with a sermon full of angry demands [like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson]. Instead, as the crowd roared in approval, a dignified light-skinned black man spoke compellingly about his love for America in Hallmark terms.”

And yet, as Barbara Walters wrote in her book, “We [the media] really seem to care only if they [celebrities and politicians] are outrageous and call our president a devil or declare that the Holocaust never existed. Stand up and scream and we will interview you, or be reasonable and unheard.” Political races are won or lost with the right messaging at the right time. It is a delicate operation.

The author wrote of another politician– Deval Patrick– who was elected governor of Massachusetts in 2006. Patrick’s charisma helped him just before the election– he and his rival were neck and neck in the polls, but a good bit of last-minute messaging gave him the win. After he took office, however, he immediately began to ignore his constituents and reap political spoils in various ways, breaking his campaign promises. Is it relevant that he is African American?

Identity politics is alive and well for various reasons. One reason is that it is a way of maintaining two rivalrous parties– which has helped maintain a democracy more or less, for the United States for more than two centuries. Indefinite one-party dominance would be a dictatorship. There would be total cooperation, but the leader would rule his empire by fear.

There are always leaders who have embarrassing stories to tell about numerous political contacts and those contacts know it, so by threatening to tell those stories, the leaders can cash in on favors from those contacts in the future whenever necessary. Unbeknownst to voters, all the time, infinite acts of political puppetry are going on behind the scenes.

Anyway, read the book to learn of how the author gave a few examples of the hypocrisy of the Democrats, especially in Massachusetts, on the usual major political issues that get voters riled up: scandals, affordable housing, the environment, education, taxation, gay rights, abortion, crime, etc., etc., etc.