Sunday, February 22, 2015

Truest statement of the week

The fact that the U.S. President could launch military attacks in Syria, supposedly a sovereign state and member of the United Nations, for six months without any legal justification and not face fierce criticism in the U.S. and internationally demonstrates the embrace of lawlessness that characterizes the current epoch of Western imperialist domination.
And the acquiescence of much of the left in the U.S. and Europe on the issue of Syria and the U.S. supported coup in Ukraine reveals the moderating and accommodating forces within the faux left that attempts to bully and intimidate anti-imperialist critics.

-- Ajamu Baraka, "Obama's Legacy: Permanent War and Liberal/Radical Accomodation?" (Dissident Voice).

Truest statement of the week II

Barack Obama destroyed Libya.

What he did to Libya is as bad as what Bush did to Iraq and Afghanistan. He doesn't deserve a historical pass.

--  Ted Rall, "Obama Destroyed Libya" (Information Clearing House).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.  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.

What did we come up with?

A first for Ajamu Baraka.
Ted Rall's had a truest before but it's been awhile.
It really is amazing how many are ignoring the AUMF.
Ava and C.I. take on TFIT.  
Neil Patrick Harris really bombed as an Oscar host.
Who is the US taxpayer paying to do improvements to Barack's helicopter?
Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a bully.

Short feature!
What we listened to.
About Hillary's staff . . . 
Great Britian's Socialist Worker repost. 
PVA press release. 
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it. 

And that's what we came up with.


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

Editorial: The AUMF silence

This week, Law and Disorder Radio finally breaks Pacifica Radio's long silence on Barack Obama's AUMF request to Congress (so that Congress will convey legality on Barack's current wars on Iraq and Syria).

Host Michael Ratner observes, among other things, that, "When liberals want to vote for something bad but feel better about it, they say, 'Oh, let's put a sunset clause in it'." That is the only reason for the sunset clause -- such a clause never really has real world meaning.

Make no mistake, the illegal Iraq War was a rainmaker for Pacifica Radio.

While it would have been great to see the topic discussed as a topic and not an update (and the topic is certainly worthy of a full hour of exploration by the program), we will give the radio show and hosts Michael Ratner and Heidi Boghosian credit for breaking the silence.

Ajamu Baraka (Dissident Voice) pointed out last week:

The announcement by the Obama administration that it will seek congressional authorization to expand the war on ISIS in Syria and possibly send more heavy weapons to its client government in Ukraine did not generate the kind of muscular opposition and sense of urgency that one would expect from the anti-interventionist liberals and significant sectors of what use to be the anti-imperialist and anti-war left.
Outside of a few articles written by some of us confined to the marginalized and shrinking left, the reports that the administration was considering both of these courses of action were met with passing indifference. It is as if the capitalist oligarchy’s strategy of permanent war has been accepted as a fait-accompli by the general public and even significant numbers of the left.

He didn't name her, but he could have been referring to Rosa Brooks as one of the "significant numbers of the left."

No, she's not famous for much of anything other than being the daughter of crazy Babs.  But Brooks is a Socialist who worked in the administration of Barack Obama, during his first term, and provided cover for The Drone War and other events.  And this month, she also penned a worthless column for Foreign Policy -- a column wrongly praised by The Guardian newspaper because, as C.I. notes:

But Rosa, still the foot soldier for Barack, wanted everyone to know, the AUMF doesn't matter.  So just ignore it.
She felt it was great that it had spawned a 'discussion.'
If you're wondering what discussion, you're not alone.
She doesn't mean Congressional discussion because she slaps down Republicans and chides Democrats.
So what discussion?
There's been no discussion.

And she doesn't want one.  Rose Brooks wants everyone to go along with the AUMF which, in her mind, doesn't really matter.

She's far from alone in distracting from the AUMF,

Repeating, the Iraq War was a moneymaker for Pacifica.

Donations reached an all time high from 2003 through 2006 that hadn't been seen since the Vietnam era.

Yet only Brian Edwards-Tierkert could be found advocating that Pacifica develop an Iraq program (failing that, he suggested they start airing War News Radio).

They didn't go for it then.

All these years later, they continue to ignore the Iraq War.

TV: Off the rails

TV audiences are punished more and more these days as crazy becomes the factory setting for various programs.


Take the soap opera about the fixer who has, in the last episodes come undone.  Scandal rose to fame by presenting a strong Olivia Pope.  Now all the taunts that she was just a pretty face appear to come true, her homicidal father's prediction that when she turned her back on him she would be nothing without his protection appears true.

If there's anything worse than being so inept that even a third-string criminal can see her 'tell' and figure out what she's up to, maybe it's having the first African-American character to be the focus of an hour long show also become the first one to be sold into modern day slavery?

Or maybe it's having her spin from whiny to ungrateful bitch in 5 . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . .

To keep her from being killed, President Fitzpatrick starts a war with Angola, as the ones who planned the kidnapping originally wanted (then Olivia got farmed out two a second team and then a third team).  And Olivia's response to that when she is free and face-to-face with Fitz?

To scream and yell at him.

To say he has betrayed all the work she did to get him into the White House.

Oh how she howled.

Oh how stupid she looked.

Does Kerry Washington read these (bad) scripts?

Here's reality, when she was first kidnapped and the vice president of the US was using her to start the war, she confessed to her cell mate (who turned out to be in on the kidnapping) that she was going to be fine and he would too because the president of the United States loved her and would not let any harm come to her.

Later, when she had to tape a video proving she was alive, she begged Fitz, on the video, not to start the war.

But she already knew he would and, again, had boasted -- prior to knowing what the terms would be -- that the president would meet the terms.

Which he did.

(And even his wife, Mellie, told him he had to do that.)

So for Oliva to throw her little tantrum was further disgrace in a plot line that has been the worst thing Shonda Rhimes has ever oversaw.

And the ratings reflect that.

They really, really reflect that.

Scandal is dangerously close to falling back to its first season ratings.

It wasn't a hit then.

ABC stayed with the show and, in season two, it became a hit.

Despite claims that Shonda Rhimes knows drama, the proof she clearly does not as she runs off the audience.

And not just with one show.

The hit of the fall season was How To Get Away With Murder.

The show's no longer a hit, it's a bit of an embarrassment and some of the praise its earned is equally embarrassing.

Cicely Tyson showed up last Thursday to play a role that appeared, as Betty noted, based on Mother Jefferson (Zara Cully) on the sitcom The Jeffersons.  It was so far beneath Tyson that Shonda and company owed acting an apology.

But some people praised the scene of Cicely combing out Viola Davis' hair.

It's never been on network TV before.

It's break through!

Earlier, Viola had removed her makeup.

It's break through!

We've long mocked the Rolling Stone magazine music 'critic' who saw, in the eighties, all this break through when Madonna, after singing "Live To Tell' in a concert, stood up.  It was break through, he insisted, it told the story of AIDS, it . . .

It was Madonna moving from a ballad to a fast song.

That's all it was.

Viola getting her hair combed out or taking off her make up?

No, it's not break through, it's not legendary, it's not earth shattering.

But that's what low expectations -- and whores who traffic in them -- seize upon.

There's nothing break through about How To Get Away With Murder.

It had a chance to be but it ended it with the winter finale when instead of allowing Annalise (Viola's alleged lead character) to kill her cheating and abusive husband who had killed the young college student he got pregnant, it farmed out the task of that to her students.

It was as though Ryan O'Neal showed up at the start of the classic TV movie The Burning Bed and killed the abusive husband freeing Farrah Fawcett's Francine Hughes (the film is based on a true story) to do needle point for the rest of the film.

Or as though, at the end of Thelma & Louise, Geena Davis had told Susan Sarandon, "Hey, girl, we had our fun, let's turn ourselves in."  And Susan had nodded and the two women had stepped out of the convertible and walked towards the police with their hands in the air.

Annalise is a successful defense attorney known for her ability to allow her clients to get away with murder.  She teaches a college class on the topic and isn't concerned with guilt or innocence, only with how to destroy people on the witness stand and make them look liars even if they aren't.

It's really amazing that the families of various murder victims haven't demanded the university refuse to allow this unscrupulous and predatory person to teach.

But having created this character, the show refused to follow through on the natural storyline -- which was Annalise killing her husband.

As bad as that was, what followed has been even more pathetic.

As the ratings demonstrate, by the way.

Before the winter break, over ten million and over nine million viewers an episode was the norm.

The return of a new episode at the end of January saw a normal viewership.

But what the viewers saw in that episode ensured that every one that followed hasn't been able to crack nine million.

'Strong' Annalise is currently a victim of the Victorian era's "rest cure" as she remains confined to her bed, so distraught over the murder of her awful husband and all that followed.

Yes, the "rest cure."

In 1892, Charlotte Perkins Gilman's classic The Yellow Wallpaper was first published -- a novel that decries the rest cure.

Yet two centuries later, you've got a Shonda Rhimes show promoting it.

Shonda might claim, "This is good drama."

The audience is running, Shonda, they don't think it's good drama.

More importantly, Shonda's rightfully been praised for putting strong African-American women on TV.  And yet for two hours Thursday nights in 2014, all she's done is weaken them, turn them into victims and, yes, turn on the very reasons American viewers embraced Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating.

He put it all out there but . . .

Neil Patrick Harris is a treat at the Tonys.

But despite stripping down and sporting pointy nipples at today's Academy Awards ceremony, he didn't quite make it as a host.

Some saw racism in a bit where he assigned Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer a chore -- to watch the locked box containing a bag containing an envelope with his Academy Award predictions.  The bit never ended.

And when all but Best Picture had been handed out, Neil came on stage to milk the bit one more time.

Earth to Neil Patrick Harris, over three hours into the ceremony, with one award left to give out, no one wants to hear your crappy list.

And it was a crappy list.

There were a few mild and polite chuckles from the audience -- a few.

If you're going to do one last bit, you need to kill.

It's whatever's going to remember, your last jokes.

If they aren't funny, that's what people will probably remember your entire hosting duties as.

Then again, he stripped to his underwear.

Maybe people will focus on that instead?

He does look a little like an Oscar, doesn't he?

If you slapped a pair of briefs on the nude statue.

It ought to be a scandal

Marine One is the helicopter used to transport the President of the United States (Marine Two does the same for the Vice President).

The US taxpayer foots the bill for all that transportation, not whomever occupies the Oval Office.

So the very least -- the very least -- Barack Obama could do is ensure that the jobs involved in Marine One go to Americans.

Instead . . . The Times of India reported this week, "US President Barack Obama will soon fly in a new helicopter whose cabin has been made in India."

The first week of February saw the latest jobs report release from the Labor Department.  The editorial board of Investors Business Daily observed:

Think about it this way. Obama likes to brag that there have now been 51 months of uninterrupted monthly job gains, which have resulted in 10.3 million new jobs.
Sounds impressive, doesn't it?
But over that same period, the working-age population increased by 11.2 million. By that measure, the country has actually lost ground over the past four-plus years.
That's why the labor force participation rate is just 62.9%, even with jobs "raining" down last month, which is much lower than the 65.7% rate at the start of the Obama recovery, and even down from where it was early last year.

At Gallup, Jim Clifton notes:

Right now, we're hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is "down" to 5.6%. The cheerleading for this number is deafening. The media loves a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.
None of them will tell you this: If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job -- if you are so hopelessly out of work that you've stopped looking over the past four weeks -- the Department of Labor doesn't count you as unemployed. That's right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news -- currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. Trust me, the vast majority of them aren't throwing parties to toast "falling" unemployment.
There's another reason why the official rate is misleading. Say you're an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 -- maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn -- you're not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this.
Yet another figure of importance that doesn't get much press: those working part time but wanting full-time work. If you have a degree in chemistry or math and are working 10 hours part time because it is all you can find -- in other words, you are severely underemployed -- the government doesn't count you in the 5.6%. Few Americans know this.

There's no other way to say this. The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed, amounts to a Big Lie.

And in this environment, Barack's sending jobs to India?

The Congress should be outraged, the American people should be outraged.

Does the White House plan to outsource the Secret Service duties next?

Dirty Debbie plays dirty

dirty debbie

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, above from  Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Dirty Debbie," has been one disaster after another.

Last week, things got even worse for the greasy haired head of the Democratic National Committee and, for a change, it didn't involve her attempting to charge her wardrobe bills to the Democratic Party.  Patricia Mazzei (Miami Herald) explains:

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston denied a Politico story that her office had offered to drop her opposition to a medical-pot ballot initiative if Orlando lawyer John Morgan stopped bashing the congresswoman in the press as an obstructionist. Morgan then produced text messages and emails, also reported by Politico, indicating that a Wasserman Schultz staffer had discussed a deal of some sort with a go-between political consultant.

Despite the e-mail evidence, Debbie told Ken Thomas (AP), "It's outrageous to suggest that I would ever cut a deal."

While Debbie issued her unbelievable denials, John Morgan had his own response to the attempts to silence him, "We don't negotiate with prohibitionists.  Or bullies."

Is Debbie a bully?

Many would say yes.

Many would point out how she's always willing to slash and burn.

And some would point to what conservative Ben Shapiro's zoomed in on at Truth Revolt:

A report issued by Politico Friday stated that Democratic National Chairman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) had plans in 2013 to accuse President Obama of being anti-Semitic and anti-woman when she felt her position as chairwoman was coming into question.
Associates of Wasserman Schultz revealed that she had lined up supporters to back her claims against Obama after she sensed the president might replace her. The report goes on to say that when she wasn't replaced, she took that as a sign of "renewed strength" from Obama.

Dirty Debbie needs to get her house in order.  And also wash that greasy hair.

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