Sunday, December 14, 2014

Truest statement of the week

One may argue that Mr. Obama has advanced the cause of health care, provided significant support for gay rights, and reduced the amount that the U.S. tortures political prisoners (we must not forget Guantanamo, the Cuban-based U.S. torture chamber, which Mr. Obama promised to close six years ago). However, the fact that the U.S. still doesn’t have universal health care, gay rights are still limited and the U.S. still tortures political prisoners is the result of political realities. In the real world, it is recognized that everyone is entitled to health care, that sexual orientation is no one’s concern and that torture is simply not acceptable; these are all ‘no brainers’. 

--  Robert Fantina, "The Dark Side of the Liberals' Darling Reality, Politics and Elizabeth Warren" (ICH).

Truest statement of the week II

We will return to Mrs. Warren, the new savior of the people, who hammers away at bank regulators in speeches that are widely distributed on Facebook, but don’t have much real-world impact. One must admire her preparation, since she obviously is not at her best speaking extemporaneously. For example, during Israel’s most recent slaughter of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, when Mrs. Warren was asked her opinion of Israel bombing families, she literally ran away from the reporter! Later, apparently after consulting with her handlers, who no doubt reminded her of the $87,838.00 that various Israeli lobbies donated to her election campaign, she chanted the mantra of Israel’s ‘right’ to defend itself from Palestine’s nearly-harmless fireworks. This works in the political world; say whatever is required by the people controlling the purse strings and do nothing to offend them. In the real world, people know that Israel is a powerful country, an apartheid regime that occupies Palestine in violation of international law, and commits unspeakable acts of brutality against men, women and children. But in the bizarre world of what passes for governance in the U.S., politics always trumps reality.

--  Robert Fantina, "The Dark Side of the Liberals' Darling Reality, Politics and Elizabeth Warren" (ICH).

A note to our readers

Hey --


First, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?

Robert Fantina got both truests -- and more than earned them.
The Senate still hasn't confirmed Barack's new DoD Secretary nominee.  If John Kerry's so miserable as Secretary of State, maybe he could go out for that post.

The torture report.  Ava and C.I. were working on a piece about a sitcom.  We asked them if there was any way they could set that aside and somehow cover torture?  We had a big piece on it that fell apart.  They spitballed for about 15 minutes before deciding they could open with Whoopi Goldberg's torture remarks, move over to the hideous Peter Pan Live! and then end with the torture.  They make it work as only they can.
Parody piece.  Thomas Ricks feels your pain. 
Short feature. 
Really, how stupid?
What we listened to while writing.

From Senator Dianne Feinstein's office. 
From Senator Patrick Leahy's office.

Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: John Kerry still thinks he's Secretary of Defense

Maybe it's the botox, maybe it's the advanced age (71-years-old), but John Kerry seems really mixed up.

The office he holds is Secretary of State, not Secretary of Defense.

Last week, he appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  The next day, his underling Brett McGurk appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Guess who at least made a stab at talking about diplomatic efforts?

That's right, Brett McGurk.

Kerry was much more interested in discussing bombings and military actions.

McGurk, by contrast, repeatedly noted when asked about military issues that those were questions better put to "my DoD colleagues."

When he wasn't confusing himself with the Secretary of Defense, he was just confusing.

From Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot:"

This afternoon, Senator Robert Menendez declared, "I know some may see this as limiting but at the end of the day, Americans will not be supportive of an authorization of an endless war."
He was speaking at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee  hearing on the Islamic State and the administration's lack of authorization of force, from Congress, to conduct the current bombings taking place in Iraq.  Secretary of State John Kerry was appearing before the Committee "to provide the administration's views," as Committee Chair Robert Mendendez explained.
But he appeared to believe he was elsewhere -- possibly on a parade float?
Kerry was looking around, grinning and waving.

Kerry was there to press for a Congressional authorization for Barack's ongoing war.

And, generous fellow that he is, he offered that the White House would back the ending of the 2002 AUMF if the Congress got the new AUMF.

What a trade?

And many may remember that the White House already backed ending the 2020 AUMF . . . only to change their minds.

Who's to say they'll stick to their word this time?

After all, Barack promised the American people that no US troops would be involved in on the ground combat but when Kerry appeared before the Committee last week, what did he ask for?

That's right, he wants the new AUMF to put in writing that Barack can deploy combat troops onto the ground in Iraq?

Why anyone would trust the nonsense out of the mouths of this administration is beyond us.

TV: Gross Obscenity from Torture to Peter Pan

In a nation of gross obscenity, Whoopi Goldberg still manages to leave behind key skidmarks.

This is the woman who, remember, explained on The View that a 45-year-old man drugging a 13-year-old girl and then anally entering her didn't qualify as rape or, as she infamously put it, "rape-rape."

Yes, as she gets fatter, she gets dumber -- and tubby was no genius to start with.

So there she was, obstructing The View as usual last week, when she decided to weigh in on the Senate Intelligence Committee's release of the report on torture.

"I think, for me," she began rasping, making sure the whole world knew it was about her personally, "with all of the things we have to think about --  in terms of, you know, being conscious of this and that --  holiday season seems an awkward time to me. I don't mind if you do it in January, but I really -- I think you guys made a big mistake to do it now when folks are vulnerable anyway to increase that vulnerability."

It was a strange argument for anyone.

Especially someone on ABC which elected to 'celebrate' the holiday on Saturday with a very special episode of 20/20 detailing how to hire a hitman to kill your spouse.

As Whoopi's never ending babble continued, it was left to Rosie O'Donnell to ask the question everyone was thinking, "Was there a conversation about when to do it?  Was that an argument or is that . . ."

Cutting her off, Whoopi offered her only honest moment in 2014, "I don't know."

For some, that admission would be the end of the matter.

Not Whoopi.

She continued to derail the discussion -- as she does day after day on that show with intense stupidity -- and prevent any real conversation.

And while that makes her a lousy citizen in a democracy, it makes her the perfect example of all that's wrong in today's society.

Saturday, NBC re-aired Peter Pan Live -- a recording of their previous live broadcast.

We'd ignored the original airing and maybe that's a mistake on our part, maybe we avoided truth telling?

So here's some truth telling.

Allison Williams is a nobody.

She's been on HBO for how long now and she's still a nobody.

She's 26-years-old and more Americans saw her play Peter Pan (badly) than have ever seen her in anything else.

If she had any leading lady in her, it would have emerged long before the age of 26.

Yes, Sharon Stone became a star at the age of 34 with Basic Instinct and Sandra Bullock at 30 with Speed but those are considered exceptions.

More importantly, if you dig into their work prior to those breakthrough roles, you find charming moments and real acting.  The foundation for a film career is there even before the stardom.

Allison Williams has nothing to attest to her talent.

Some like to point out that Carrie Underwood had no acting chops but NBC still cast her in the lead of last year's Sound of Music.

True enough.

But Carrie is a singer, a critically applauded singer, with a huge following.

And she wasn't cast to play the lead in The Elephant Man, she was hired to play a lead in a musical.

Whether she crashed or burned in terms of acting, NBC knew she could sing and knew she had fans who would tune in.

Allison Williams had nothing.

A fan base?

One million viewers is huge for the HBO show she acts on.

And, sorry, but a lot of people consider her show 'smutty.'  That's due to the language and the nudity so casting her as the lead in a family musical was huge, huge mistake.


She had no experience and she had no following.

She had no business starring in anything.

Because of who she is, there were suck ups.  (She's NBC News anchor Brian Williams' daughter.)

The elderly Mia Farrow Tweeted that she wanted Allison, as Peter Pan, to take her gay virginity.

No, that doesn't make sense.

But neither does Mia sexualizing Peter Pan.

Isn't this the woman who claims to be against pedophilia but here she is sexualizing one of the most infamous child characters?

Mia played Peter Pan years ago on TV.

She was a disaster as well.

Mia was a mouse.

Under Woody Allen's direction in the 80s, she blossomed.  But her entire body of work prior is a dull, drab country mouse.  She's an overpaid actress in one flop after another because the studios were unable to get their initial choices -- Ali MacGraw, Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway, etc.

When Peter Pan works, it works because the actress playing Pan sparkles with life, not with sexuality: Maude Adams, Mary Martin, Sandy Duncan, etc.

There were other problems.

Who thought Peter Pan was a family musical?

It's a musical for small children, to be sure.

Will small chidlren stay up or a three hour prime time broadcast?

Probably not.

Interesting sidebar here, we've noted some actresses who said yes to playing the role.

Who said no?

Katharine Hepburn.

She consulted with George Cukor about taking the role when it was offered.  The two had  alienated audiences in Sylvia Scarlett where  Kate played a young girl who cuts her hair and pretends to be a boy while causing various men to be attracted to her/him. It was felt, by Cukor and Hepburn, that Kate's charisma would sexualize the role and underscore a few details that might make older audiences uncomfortable.


Even in the closeted 30s, Peter Pan the musical read gay.

This was only more true when you cast Christopher Walken as Captain Hook.

Camp had its TV hey-day in the sixties with Batman and Paul Lynde.

A too long production, with an unknown (and untalented) lead and littered with gay subtext would always be a hard sale as a family musical for anything but the single-digit age set.

It was a bust in the ratings.

Critically, people tried to spin the C-minus grades Williams received for acting, for dancing and for singing.

'See, she was okay!'


Not with the money and time NBC wasted on the production.  To justify what was put into the production, Williams needed to get more than average grades.

Maybe next year, they try something different?

The Sound of Music started life as a Broadway musical, true.  But it's lived on as a movie and NBC knew it was popular because they air the movie every year during the Christmas season.

With the exception of Mary Martin's Peter Pan special, sponsored by Pepsi-Cola with a holiday message from Joan Crawford, the musical's never brought in numbers on TV.

Maybe the answer for NBC is to look at popular holiday fair and turn them into musicals:  It's A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street,  etc.

Or maybe they just sidestep the family aspect and produce popular Broadway musicals?

Rent, Hairspray, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, Pippin, The Producers, Thoroughly Modern Millie, My Fair Lady, Hello Dolly, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Wicked, The Wiz, Mame, Annie Get Your Gun, etc.

Some of the above have gay subtext.

That's not a problem.  Gay or straight sexuality isn't a problem unless you're dealing with children's fare which shouldn't be sexualized -- no matter how much a pervert like Mia Farrow pretends otherwise.

NBC airing Peter Pan Live once was sad.  Airing it again on Saturday qualified as torture.

Torture.  Above is the criticism we should have offered last week on Peter Pan Live!

Updating Edmund Burke, we'd note that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing or, worse, to derail the conversation.

The Whoopi nonsense of turning the torture report into a discussion of the timing of the report is nothing but an effort to derail the issue.

The issue includes rectal feeding of prisoners, being chained naked on concrete and dying from hypothermia as a result.  The report offers examples of prisoners being threatened, told they would never see a day in court, that they'd leave only in a coffin, their families being threatened and so much more.

While Whoopi was acting the fool yet again, Senator Patrick Leahy was declaring, "As Americans, we cannot sweep our mistakes under the rug and pretend they did not happen.   We must acknowledge our mistakes.  We must learn from our mistakes.  And in this case, we as Americans must and will do everything we can to ensure that our government never tortures again."

The report indicts the government and various officials.

But the current president, Barack Obama, insists we all just 'move on.'

Sara Fischer (CNN) reports today:

A defiant former Vice President Dick Cheney doubled-down on his defense of the extreme interrogation techniques used by the CIA on detainees in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Sunday, saying, "I would do it again in a minute."

A leading criminal goes on live television to brag, "I would do it again in a minute."

Maybe if there was accountability, he'd crawl under a rock.

Instead, he walks free and he feels no shame over his action.

The torture report was not accountability.

It was an accounting, to be sure.

But there has been no accountability.

And there won't be because Barack isn't anti-torture.

As Angus Stickler (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism) reported:

President Barack Obama’s government handed over thousands of detainees to the Iraqi authorities, despite knowing there were hundreds of reports of alleged torture in Iraqi government facilities.
Washington was warned by the United Nations and many human rights organisations that torture was widespread in Iraqi detention centres. But the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal the US’s own troops informed their commanders of more than 1,300 claims of torture by Iraqi Security forces between 2005 and 2009.
In July 2010, the US completed the handover of 9,250 detainees to the Iraqi authorities.
It would be a clear violation of international law, drawn up by the United Nations Convention Against Torture, ratified by the US in 1994, for any government to transfer detainees to a regime at whose hands they face torture or other serious human rights violations.
However, the 1,365 cases of alleged torture by the Iraqi authorities found by the Bureau, raise questions as to why the US government handed over detainees to these authorities.

And there's the Guantanamo prison Barack has refused to close.  Alpha Winston (ICH) notes the torture and the 'shock' by some in the media:

And yet the nation’s political debate on the CIA report only serves to contrast against the overwhelming silence regarding the human rights debacle that is Guantanamo Bay. We pretend as if we’re shocked and awed by the crimes catalogued in the CIA report, while at the same time ignoring the indefinite detention of those at Guantanamo, many of whom were simply guilty—and I’m not joking—of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Keep in mind these men are still detained there, and in some cases have been held for over a decade.

The report documents crimes -- in many cases known crimes.  When you break the law, you're supposed to be prosecuted.

Barack had to stick his big news into Ferguson.  Why?  Because he thinks his opinion is needed on every issue.  His opinion, for those who've forgotten, is that the grand jury examined the evidence and found no reason to level charges.  He stated we were a nation of laws and laws must be respected.

So why isn't he demanding prosecution for torture?

Because he embraces torture.

Because he's a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do creep.

The wrong people keep going on trial while the guilty never see the inside of a courtroom, that's the gross obscenity of the United States today.

Thomas E. Ricks I Feel Your Pain

Here at The Third Estate Sunday Review we were slipped an early draft of former journalist Thomas E. Ricks' upcoming book I Feel Your Pain (he dedicates it to President Bill Clinton).  In the book, Thomas E. Ricks makes himself the star in a variety of adventures.

Our favorite chapter isn't the one where proclaims himself a Post-Traumatic Stress sufferer like some of the US troops he covered.  

No, our favorite is when Thomas and his man boobs join a breast feeding group.

Fair Play For Old Men

That's Ricks posing for Isaiah's "Fair Play For Old Men" in 2009.

When I first attempted to join the La Leche League in my area, they refused me admission.

It was voiced that my massive cans intimidated the women and I believed that opinion mainly because the one voicing it was me.

After an intense self-reflection/jack off session, I decided to call my attorney who specializes in personal injury lawsuits but agreed to take this one on.

This move forced La Leche to let me in.

I showed up for sessions wearing a nursing blouse with boob flaps open and carrying baby oil to apply to my nipples.

The head of the group, whom I dubbed Cow, told me I was distracting everyone with my erotic moans as I twisted my oiled up nipples but I countered that I was the best motivating factor the group had.

It was on my third visit that I began using a breast pump and along with providing me with intense tingles, it also served the purpose of drowning out the objections from some of my less advanced co-group members.

Like a number of women, I was not actually able to get pregnant.

So what I did instead was put peanut butter on my nipples and call Prince Olaf, my terrier, and coaxed him into licking the peanut butter.

He did not, however, attempt to suckle at my nipples.

The closest to success I got was when I forced open Prince Olaf's jaw, placed it over my left nipple and let it snap shut.

It was at that moment that I understood how hard it could be to breast feed after your infant began teething.

La Leche League taught me very little but, as usual, I was able to teach them a great deal.

(For any confused, yes, this was parody.)

Disease captured on camera

Yes, that is a lot of food for one person.

But when you have an eating disorder, you consume a lot of food even if you don't keep it down.

Barack -- putting the "B" in bulimia.

How Stupid is Perez Hilton?

In a ridiculous post, Perez offered:

no title
This is truly a matter of national security.
The most reputable news source in the land, The National Enquirer, has made a lot of crazy assertions in the past.
However, one such claim that they DIDN'T make was asserting that our President Barack Obama had sex with Harry Styles (despite our deepest wishes that this tryst DID happen).
The now viral front page that claims our commander in chief banged this One Direction heartthrob is (regrettably) a hoax.

He prattles on.

If there's ever a film made of Perez's life, let's hope it's animated so Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons can play him.

We noted the undoctored tabloid cover November 16th and were smart enough to get the title correct  -- National Examiner.

Perez can't even get the publication correct.

He mocks it but grasp that he doesn't even get that right.

Poor Perez.

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