Sunday, May 03, 2009

TV: Don't Lie To Me

Lie To Me isn't just a television program, for the Cult of St. Barack, it's a way of life.

While the Fox network's Wednesday night show beat Barry O!'s big show in the overnight ratings, Barry was everywhere with that prime time press conference: PBS, CBS, NBC, ABC and, of course cable. Lie To Me. It's what Barry does and it's what his followers do.

Take KPFA which, despite having a tax status and an FCC license that is supposed to prevent it from catering propaganda to one side, can't play it straight. But they can fluff. And they fluff repeatedly.

It was so bad that Philip Maldari should be all Pride of the Yankees right about now, insisting, "I'm the luckiest man in the world!" Why should KPFA's The Morning Show co-host Maldari be so thrilled? Because he wasn't on last week. Instead Aimee Allison teamed up with Brian Edwards-Tiekert. It was not a lively show.

It was, however, repeated days of spending the opening half-hour on swine flu.

To recap, no one knows how it suddenly (re)surfaced, there is no vaccine for it, there is no real treatment for it and, if you get it, you're encouraged to see a doctor but forego public interaction. That is all that's known about the swine flu itself.

You could note only 160 people have it in the US thus far. 160 out of a population of over 304,000,000. (Less than 700 worldwide have it.) You could toss in that projections say approximately 1,700 Americans will catch it in the next four weeks. KPFA broadcasts from the Bay Area in California and the state has only 17 confirmed cases.

We could serve all that up in thirty seconds and you could as well. Instead, it was the first half-hour repeated days of The Morning Show. (The entire first hour on Wednesday.) In fact, Aimee and Brian appeared to be anchoring, "Swine Flu America." It was worthless, it was a waste of time, it had no information at all (though a lot of the conspiracy theories that KPFA supposedly doesn't enjoy) but it did repeatedly attempt to alarm the public.

It was far from alone. And that's how the Cult of Barack works. It alarms. It is one huge echo chamber hitting the same alarmist note over and over. And it encouraged scaring the public last week in an effort to get the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services confirmed. Lie to me, that's all they can offer at this point.

If you don't get it, this was Pacifica's entire coverage of a War Crimes trial which took place last week: "The trial of a former soldier accused in the 2006 rape and murder of an Iraqi teenager and the killing of her family has begun. Steven Green is accused of being the ringleader in raping and killing fourteen-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and killing her parents and five-year-old sister. Green is being tried in a Kentucky civilian court. Three soldiers have already been sentenced to life in prison in the case." That was a headline from Democracy Now! on Thursday. We're more than happy to call out Amy Goodman and to hold her accountable. We'll also offer praise when she earned it. Compared to what other Pacifica outlets (or Big Media) offered, Goodman stood like a giant. Praise to Goodman for not taking part in the silence. That was actually news, so you didn't get information on the trial from the bulk of Pacifica Radio.

Maybe you thought The Morning Show, with ten hours a week, would get to it? You were wrong? Flashpoints? Still wrong. The KPFA Evening News? Is that even on anymore? We thought that was The Six O'Clock Suck My Sausage Report -- or are we the only ones noting how women have been pushed off the anchor desk? Maybe you thought KPFK's Feminist Magazine would cover it? Wrong. Maybe you thought Lila Garrett would get to it on Connect The Dots? Margret Prescod on Sojourner Truth? WBAI's Joy of Resistance or maybe WBAI's Rape Decleration Forum?

Forget it.

And as you notice all the women who turned their backs on the issue, you may, like us, decide maybe the old Palmolive commercial needs a parody: "Stupidity? Vag, you're soaking in it." Certainly the bulk of the women on Pacifica are.

Kris Welch. Reality is that KPFA has a horrible, horrible history of rendering women invisible. Women had to take over the station in the early seventies, seize the station, to get on the air, to get a women's training program created and much more. Kris knows that because she's one of the women who benefited from those actions. She went through the program, she became an on air. She hosts the hourly Living Room on Thursday and Friday afternoon and the Saturday Talkies on Saturday. Three hours of time most weeks, two last week (May Day special pre-empted Friday's Living Room). You might have thought, especially considering the debt she owes to all women, that Kris could have found little time for Abeer. You'd think wrong.

We've refrained from criticizing Kris. A few years back, she aired PURE PROPAGANDA on Iraq without questioning it. Judith Miller couldn't have put more propaganda out there in one hour than Kris allowed her show to promote. Callers were much smarter than she was and they let her propaganda guests have it. Kris, never quick to grasp reality, then began attacking the callers on air. And insisting that she'd aired a fine program. If she ever really believed that, she should go back and listen to the crap she allowed to be broadcast. If only for that "the war is over and we have peace in Iraq" garbage, Kris owes it to Abeer to cover the realities of what's taking place.

But she can't. She's too caught up in the Lie Cycle.

The Lie Cycle catches many.

It's why so many ignore John Pilger. He hasn't retired or given up writing. But while he used to show up everywhere, he now 'plays a more limited engagement' due to the fact that the Cult of St. Barack is troubled by him.

We found one 'independent' website showed over 100 mentions of John in this decade. We show them falling off when John Pilger refuses to drink the Kool-Aid in the summer of 2008. We see one November link to a criticism of Barack and one February link to a criticism of Barack. Apparently that's all the website could stomach because, while they couldn't stop gas bagging and spit polishing Barack's 100 Days, they didn't have the 'time' to link to Pilger's very wise "OBAMA'S 100 DAYS - THE MAD MEN DID WELL." Teeny boppers rarely like to hear the truth and, if you doubt us, try pointing out to a Nick Lachey fan that their hero can't act.

Here's reality. There was a witch hunt against Bill Clinton in the nineties. Hillary Clinton referred, on NBC's Today Show, to the "vast right-wing conspiracy" and she was correct. The witch hunt -- and this is an important detail, so pay attention -- wasn't based in fact.

The witch hunt was never about, "We actually know something evil about Bill Clinton and we're going to get it out to the public!" It was based on slurs and character assassinations and rumors and gossip and a lot of lies. David Brock was part of that machine. He documented it in Blinded By The Right. It was a network, which is still intact, that echoed one another and amplified one another and insisted that the mainstream media report these non-facts as facts (some MSM outlets needed no insistence).

We don't want to pin this on David Brock and have gone to great pains to avoid doing so. But he appears to have missed the lesson and so do others like The Nation, The Progressive, the bulk of Pacifica Radio and so many others.

With a lot of money from George Soros (Blood Money) and others, the left spent this decade building not a truth machine, but a left-wing echo chamber.

This does not build a movement. It buries one.

The left-wing echo chamber they built is not about issues. It's about Barack Obama. Each day is spent with propaganda of how wonderful Barack is, how brave he is, how he does this and that.

It's pure bulls**t and we saw it during the nineties on a smaller scale with Bill Clinton as it's saint. The end result there is that far too much time was spent defending Bill Clinton's policies. (We're not referring to defending Bill from attacks that he needed to be defended against because they were false). Many of those policies need to be called out. But the issue became "Republicans don't want it! We've got to stand with Bill!" After eight years, the left had very little to show for it. (We're not insulting Bill's presidency -- he accomplished many things and did so with a Republican controlled Congress for the bulk of his presidency but we are pointing out that it was not a left paradise or just outside the gates of one).

The Nation does that with every Democratic president, gets all giddy and foolish. Then, as he nears the end of his time in office, they begin ripping him apart (it's always a "he" thanks to outlets like The Nation magazine) and trashing the American public. Blaming the American people for the actions of some president -- one the magazine refused to call out for the bulk of his presidency.

When they're in that phase, they're all, "Why didn't the people know!" The people didn't know because the outlets they counted on, such as The Nation, refused to inform. And you see that today with such embarrassments as Katrina vanden Heuvel's recent "The Next 900 Days!" There is no honesty at all.

For the left, there is no victory at all. 100 days came and went and the left doesn't have anything to be proud of. The center and the right are being served. The left's not even smart enough to try and flag down a waiter.

To ensure that real issues are not addressed and America's real needs will never be met, the left-wing echo chamber is personality focused to the extreme. It's a Cult of St. Barack, to be sure. But it also has time to hiss at Republicans. Now there are enough silly Republicans (and we're sure Republicans can find many silly Dems) that no one needs to lie about reality in order to discuss them. But that's what the echo chamber does.

And no one is served by that. As Bob Somerby observed last week over one MSNBC 'news' item:

But Prejean's stance has nothing to do with her "boobs," or with Olbermann's undying need to denigrate women's intelligence and joke about women's bodies. The fact that this keeps occurring on a "progressive" TV show is a truly amazing fact about an amazing corporate era. Even more amazing: The fact that a screaming mess like this would then be thrown to a woman host. The fact that few progressives on the "liberal web" will ever say boo about this.

Certainly not The Nation which sent out an April 6th self-stroking e-mail entitled "Nation Night on MSNBC!" So you get the MSNBC goons, Aimee Allison (an alleged Green), Kris Welch, and hundreds of others wasting all of our time on fan clubs when there's real work to be done and there's no hero sitting in the White House. But for them, that is the work, building Barack into a hero.

And people wonder why this country doesn't have universal health care?

Universal health care is not an idea that emerged in this election cycle or this decade. FDR was proposing it decades ago. But we don't get that and we don't get other things we need because we can't cover issues or news that matters.

Can't? Not when you spend hour upon hour in text, audio or video cheerleading a president. Propagandizing for a White House.

Barack will be out of the White House in four or eight years and how very sad that the left will have accomplished nothing in all of that time because they saw their mission not as fighting for the American people but as becoming a p.r. machine for a public servant.

Barack's feet have still not been held to the fire. This non-stop focus by so-called 'independent' media on Barack might have been worth it if it was about calling him out, demanding that he push a left agenda.

But that's not what it's been about. Barack's sold out the 'anti-war' movement, he's sold out the Constitution, he's sold out any notions of accountability. But instead of demanding prosecution of Bully Boy Bush, the left strokes and excuses Barack.

When pressed to prove their 'independence,' they'll make like Kris Welch and go after Joe Biden or maybe Hillary Clinton. "I'm not in the tank! See, I criticize the administration!"

A Green or whatever -- a fool -- took to writing one of us and insisting that calling Barack "Barry" was disrespectful and we should cease and desist.


A) You don't want to know the names we have for Bully Boy or to hear us talk of Ronald Reagan, Nixon or any others. B) In the US, American citizens don't pledge loyalty to 'the crown.' The left-wing echo chamber forgets that.

The same ones who refused to go along with Bully Boy Bush now insist that the country must go along with Bully Boy Barack for the 'good of the country'. Bull-f**king-s**t.

'Good of the country'? We could see Bully Boy Bush trying that one and remember his echo chamber did try it. Including when the Iraq War started. The echo chamber repeatedly told us that once the war started we were no longer allowed to criticize. For the 'good of the country.'

War or no war, American citizens always have the right to dissent. We reject the notion of hero worship under any president. We don't whore ourselves out for the Democrats or the Republicans.

But we do laugh at the useless. We laugh as we hear Barry lie that he had no idea he was inheriting a financial mess. We laugh as he blames it all on Bush. Even before Democrats got control of both houses of Congress (the 2006 elections), they could have filibustered to have prevented any program or tax cut they wanted. They didn't do so.

We laugh because it's like Bush in the early days before he moved on to his lie of the 'trifecta.' Maybe these are Barack's baby steps as well?

And we laugh when we hear Barack blame Bush over and over each day. Like Bush blamed Bill Clinton every day.

There is no difference between George Bush and Barack Obama. They're both Corporatist War Hawks who can't speak worth s**t. Bully Boy Bush was rumored to depend upon an ear piece to speak in public, Barack requires a teleprompter.

They're both fools and the only thing more foolish are the Cults. The right didn't get what they wanted. Despite the fact that they had the White House and both houses of Congress at one point. Why didn't they get it?

Why didn't they get a flat-based tax or any of the other things they cherish?

Because they wasted all their time whoring for Bully Boy Bush. They wasted all that time insisting he was smart, well spoken and a hero.

Does that sound familiar?

It should. The reflection the left is seeing is in the mirror, not from their TV screens.

Tim Roth, of far too many films to mention, makes his debut as a TV series lead in Fox's Lie To Me and the hour long drama finds his character, Dr. Cal Lightman, and those working with him, attempting to figure out who is lying and who is telling the truth. It's an interesting premise. By speech patterns, facial cues, body language and more, Cal and the rest decipher when some thing is being hidden.

Sometimes the premise works for a full episode and sometimes it doesn't.

Take two recent episodes. Jennifer Beals did a guest shot as Cal's ex-wife in "Better Half." She was wonderful and the show would be smart to bring her back on. The episode revolved around a house fire with a subplot about a dead assistant. It zipped along at an enjoyable rate and had enough twists and turns to offer a few surprises.

The same cannot be said for "Undercover." Here the show tried to go 'weighty' and lost its footing. Two White police officers shoot a teenage African-American suspect on a roof when he may be pulling a gun on them. It quickly becomes a racial incident prompting the mayor to hire Cal's company. The head of the police is White and the mayor is African-American.

If there's any insight beyond that, we missed it. We also missed why the hell the end of the case was shot the way it was.

It turns out the teenager was innocent (he did have a gun). The cop who shot him tells the mayor to tell the teenager he's sorry and the mayor glares at the cop.

That makes sense if you missed the episode and only read the above.

What we left out, what the mayor appeared to miss, was the issue of 'suspect.' How did the teenager become a suspect? The government and al Qaeda. We kid you not. We'll simplify the convoluted story by merely noting that the teenager was basically a fall guy for elements of the federal government that photo shopped him in order to turn him into a deadly, dangerous and wanted person.

That's the federal government.

That's got nothing to do with the police officer that's been assigned to the case. The federal government basically framed the teenager. That's got nothing to do with the police officer. (We're focused on the one cop, the one who did the shooting, because the other cop was part of the conspiracy and all the high drama.)

The issue of race was treated in the most cartoonish manner and the horror of abuse on the part of the federal government was never examined or, for that matter, even alluded to. It was accepted as normal.

Lie To Me should probably stick with their cheating spouses (as with the house fire story) and leave the 'weighty' issues alone. al Qaeda? It was ridiculous.

What gets you through even the so-so episodes is that actors like Roth rarely do TV shows. By the time someone of his talent agrees to a TV show, the talent's usually drank or drugged out. Instead, Roth's firing on all cylinders and making you like the pain in the ass Cal. (Even Jennifer Beal's ex-wife couldn't deny the likability.)

The cast also includes Kelli Williams who used to be a lawyer on The Practice but is a doctor on this show, Dr. Gillian Foster, Brendan Hines as Eli Locker and, rounding out the team, Monica Raymund as Ria Torres. They all do amazing work and, by episode three, already had a team feel. You believed these characters worked together and saw each other daily.

Kelli Williams reminds how many strong actresses could be found on TV dramas a decade ago. Where are they now? Where's the woman leading any of the CSIs? Or are we never supposed to notice that? Monica Raymund reminds of how many strong actresses aren't working because there are so few opportunites for women. Raymund's grabbed a big opportunity and, exhibiting so much talent in each episode, it doesn't really matter that she's actually too young for the role.

The miscast youth may, in fact, work because Ria is approaching the truth detecting business from a more instinctual and less scientific manner than Cal and Gillian. The obvious route is that Ria learns their way is correct. The route that produces more interesting developments is Ria becoming more comfortable with her own gifts and insisting that her co-workers respect them a little more.

Cal has no respect. He knows no boundaries. (He's currently attempting to respect one with regards to Gillian.) And this was established best when Beals was brought on.

It is the best written episode of the series this year. But that still doesn't explain the work done by Roth and Beals. They were married. They had a daughter. They broke up.

And that break up is as important to who Cal is as is his mother's suicide. The suicide's been addressed. Cal blames himself for not picking up on the cues and preventing his mother's death. That might explain his line of work. It does not explain him.

Roth didn't just show lust for Beals, he showed longing. And she reciprocated. It is very rare that actors in any medium can do that. Storylines call for it all the time and quick edits and some well chosen music can make you think it's taking place. But Roth and Beals played out their scenes in static camera shots with no background music. It was as bare as a TV production can be and yet they oozed longing.

So Cal loves her and he longs for. And in the moment where she spoke of how she grew tired of having him analyze her facial movements when she was standing in front of him in just a g-string, in the moments where she explained the pain of always being under the microscope, always being doubted, you found who Cal was.

Early on, Kelli was given some throw away lines that set the audience up for there-may-be-something-between-these-two. The writing didn't prepare you for the naked longing and never healed bruises Roth and Beals brought to the screen. Together. She needs to be brought back for more episodes because Cal doesn't have that relationship with anyone else and he can come off a little too glib (that's the writing) from time to time. Those scenes proved that not only does he remain one of the most talented actors today but he is at the top of his game. Forget Gary Oldman, this was the real Romeo is bleeding.

The left is bleeding. It's been bleeding for years. It's in better health when Republicans are in the White House because then it has something real to rally against. It doesn't have to create monsters, it doesn't have to resort to scare tactics. But when a Democrat is in the White House, the left makes like Mike Damone in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, trying to trick others (and themselves) into believing that this is the perfect time and the perfect place. And they settle for a few items from the previous Republican administration being turned back to where they were (not turned to the left, just back to the center). And that's perfect for them because their 'man' did that and the lefty boys of beggar media are shooting in their shorts and the lefty gals are misting in their panties. Those orgasms are all they'll have to remember from a Democratic president. Doesn't matter if they were good orgasms or not because, remember, they know how to lie to themselves.
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