Sunday, January 08, 2012
-- Chris Floyd, "The U.S. in Iraq -- An Enduring Atrocity" (World Can't Wait).
Obama will campaign on how he ended the war—which began not in 2003 but in 1991; the U.S. government tormented the Iraqi people for 20 years!—and conservatives will attack him for it. Both sides will conveniently forget that (1) the U.S. government was obligated to leave on Dec. 31, 2011, under an agreement signed by Bush, and (2) Obama tried his damnedest to get the Iraqi leaders to ask the U.S. military to stay. (Contrary to claims, not all troops have left.)
And let’s be clear: An exit from Iraq hardly constitutes an exit from the Middle East. The troops moved down the road to Kuwait, “repostured” for future use.
Meanwhile, sabers are being rattled in the direction of Iran and Syria, where covert warfare is already being waged.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
-- Sheldon Richman, "Obama's Flawed Exit Strategy for Iraq" (Reason).
Another late Sunday.
First up, 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),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
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?
-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.
Well the Iraq War is an illegal war, so it's not surprising that the US would flee like guilty criminals. And, no, we're not talking about US forces, we're talking about the press.
Dan Morse (Washington Post) reported Friday, "At least 72 people were killed Thursday in a series of attacks on Shiites in Iraq, marking the deadliest day since U.S. troops withdrew last month and raising new worries about the country's sharp sectarian divisions." And where was the NPR report?
Remember all their high minded claims about how they were going to spend that McDonald money Joan Kroc left them?
Real reporting from NPR. Not just some DC stories and a lot of gas baggery, but real reporting. And as newspapers were cutting back, NPR claimed, they'd be increasing their spending to bring news, news, news.
Instead, they bring a lot of trash. Kat called out the nonsense of a group of cackling hens pretending to discuss music of 2011 while offering nothing but tabloid gossip. This is coverage worth paying for? This is news and information?
So while Iraq was targeted with bombings last week, the "Iraq correspondent" was in Bahrain. And December 31st, both McClatchy Newspapers and NPR shut down their Baghdad bureaus. December 30th, there was a protest in Baghdad, not that either of them covered it. The only news outlet to cover it was CNN via Jomana Karadsheh Tweets.
And coverage doesn't matter?
To whom? To those with deep guilt?
The US government started this war and it's not over but damned if the media and certain Democrats who whore themselves to Barack want to pretend like it is.
Those who turn away now are just as guilty as George W. Bush. They're denying the realities of war and pretending that when the government that launched illegal attack says it's over, then it's over. It's imperialism at its most offensive.
ABC hasn't had a sitcom that brought out this much critical hatred in a I-am-so-much-better-than-this-show manner since 1977 when Three's Company premiered.
Along with the critics, others slamming the show include some trans-groups. We'd suggest they rethink that. Lee and Angel are two straight men who are out of work and end up dressing as women to find employment. Lee and Angel are not transvestites, they are not transsexuals. They are two not-so-bright men wearing dresses. If the trans community can't grasp that, this won't be a very good decade.
Ben (Lee Standish) is married to Connie (Beth Lacke) who is the sole provider for the family since Ben lost his job. He spends a great deal of time with his friend Angel (Amaury Nolasco) who also is out of work. Connie reminds Ben he needs to get a physical before his insurance lapses. At the doctor's office, after the check up, he learns it has lapsed and they want to be paid. Also at the office, he hears of a pharmaceutical sales job and, having been a wiz in sales, he approaches the woman talking about the opening only to be turned down because her employer doesn't hire men. Telling no one, Ben dresses as a woman and gets hired.
It's an alternative world that doesn't resemble reality in the least. The real world's far, far ahead of it just as they were far, far ahead of the 'shock' Stanley Roper had over Chrissy, Jack and Janet sharing an apartment.
Along with critics and some segments of the trans community, there's been a few protests from Latino groups. Why? Angel is Puerto Rican. He wants a job and wants Ben to do him a favor. Ben tries to brush him off and says he wouldn't be right for the job, it's selling drugs. To which Angel replies, "But I'm Puerto Rican -- I'll be great at selling drugs."
This led to some protests by Puerto Ricans wanting to inform ABC that they are not drug dealers.
You know what Puerto Ricans really weren't in fall 2011?
On ABC, NBC and CBS prime time TV.
And in this environment, they want to attack a Puerto Rican actor over one joke?
No wonder TV's fall 2011 rolled out with so little Latino actors and actresses.
On the issue of employment, Lee and Angel work at a drug company. The company wants women because, they insist, doctors are more willing to purchase drugs from female sales persons. This is said in a leering manner (by the female boss) suggesting the world is one of male doctors only and no female doctors are attempting to help the sisterhood by purchasing their drugs from women. If you take it seriously, it falls apart. If you take it seriously, you'd probably realize that the women wouldn't be sitting at desks all day, they'd be out in the field selling drugs. And Lee and Angel being new, they'd be paired up with other women for the first few weeks so they could learn the ropes.
It's a fantasy world. It is not Bossom Buddies (though Peter Scolari offered his take on the show at Entertainment Weekly), it's not Some Like It Hot, it's not Tootsie, it's not Victor/Victoria though it does owe debts to all of them and more.
At its best, it's like Home Alone. Many movie goers found that first film entertaining and fresh. Those with a sense of film history were more likely to notice the huge debt the film owed to so many films that came before.
At its best, the series can get lost on its own silly giddy high. At its worst, there's John Caparulo in a tight shot. It's not just that he's unattractive, it's not just that his voice is too high for the lines he's given, it's not just that he's rushing the comedy rhythm, it's that everything about him screams reality and brings the frothy confection to a halt.
One of the constant complaints from the Water Cooler Set is that the Lee and Angel (dressed as women for their jobs) do not look like women. Angel looks like a very pretty woman. Maybe the Water Cooler Set is afraid to admit that? Lee is far less successful. But Jack Lemmon didn't look like a woman -- and that's after Billy Wilder made the decision to shoot in black and white because he knew Lemmon and Tony Curtis would look even less feminine in color. Scolari and Tom Hanks didn't look like women. Patrick Swayze and Wesley Snipes didn't look like women in To Wong Fu, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar. Most of the time, with these types of films and TV shows, they wouldn't pass for the opposite sex. But you're supposed to get the fantasy aspect of it.
Angel in male clothes is the Amaury we're more familiar with. But when Amaury Nolasco has on the wig and the dress, the fantasy's so believable because he's so charming. He radiates. He's often been good but never this good before. In some ways, it reminds us of Dustin Hoffman. Dustin's a strong actor and we frequently see his films but there was something that Dorothy Michaels brought out in him, something so amazing that we'd gladly give up our enjoyment of every film he made after Tootsie just for a second installment of Dorothy Michaels. We're not comparing the two characters. Dorothy Michaels was a full grown woman with real concerns. Angel (in female clothes) by contrast is more of a party girl who hasn't yet had to struggle with too many deep thoughts -- think Chrissy Snow (Suzanne Somers' Three's Company role). But we are saying that the roles free up something in both actors that provides a loopy energy perfect for comedy.
The thing that upsets us the most about the attacks is that Amaury Nolasco should be nominated for this role, should win an Emmy for this role. If anything's going to help Latinos get more TV airtime, it's going to be breakout roles (like Angel) and standout performances (like Nolasco) because all TV does 98% of the time is copy. Especially when it comes to men. So Nolasco getting some space to breathe and really create the character would likely mean that next fall would see efforts to copy that with other shows.
Now there's a good chance we won't see that.
And there were real media issues last week -- not that any of the brave Water Cooler Set could tell you about it.
Last Sunday, Andrea Mitchell did a report for the Sunday edition of Nightly News in which she interviewed Republican political strategist Mike Murphy and stated, "The rap on Iowa -- it doesn't represent the rest of the country -- too White, too evangelical, too rural."
No, we're not joining the Andrea pile on. Mitchell was raising the reputation Iowa had, she wasn't offering her own opinion.
But for two days, you had all these idiots weighing in like Peter Grier of The Christian Science Monitor who pretended not to understand what Mitchell was doing and pretended to be deeply, deeply troubled by racism in the US.
They ended their conversations late Tuesday.
Is NPR too White?
With everyone fretting for two solid days about Whiteness, you might think someone would have noted that Tuesday's All Things Considered was a live broadcast of many hours, covering Iowa. Well over six hours of Iowa coverage and no one was supposed to notice that there wasn't one guest of color? No African-American, no Latino, just White, White, White. Guests? How about staff. The whole coverage was anchored by Robert Siegel.
White and male. That's Robet, yes.
And that was pretty much the entire line up. For news reports, there was Mara Liasson . . . and Ari Shapiro and Ron Elving and . . . For commentary, there was . . .
Well no woman, really.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz was on, the only woman other than Mara (and an Iowa public radio employee who was on twice, we'll come back to her). Debbie went into a lengthy rant about how awful the Republicans were. You'd have thought, since she's supposed to be helping Democratic re-election efforts, she would have used her time more wisely. But, judging by Debs, the Democrats have nothing to tout, nothing that says "Vote for us!" So, apparently, better to spend forever spewing hate at Republicans.
Was she attempting to portray the Democratic Party as being responsible for gridlock in DC? We ask because that's how she came off.
Through out the night, numerous Repulicans with the various campaigns were on. All men. And then there was Debbie.
When we were using the term "commentary," we meant commentary. Like the 2 conservatives that were matched up for the first hour (males), or E. J. Dionne. Or the man from PEW. And E.J. Dionne. Or . . .
Well it just never ended, now did it?
Maybe that pathetic reporter from Iowa public radio, the only woman besides Mara or Debbie, was attempting to comment on the absence of women offering opinion when she decided to 'add' to her report giggles about how poorly Michele Bachmann was doing?
Was that what it was?
Was that how that made it on to NPR and why host Robert never called it out?
He was too busy portraying Michele as the last place candidate to notice.
But Michele wasn't last placed. Jon Huntsman was. The fact that he saw the writing on the wall and decided to focus on other states doesn't change the fact that his name was on the ballot. So, no, Robert, we weren't "listening to last placed Bachmann."
Nor, Robert, is she a man.
How many times does NPR think it's appropriate to refer to Bachmann in the broadcast as "Congressman"? Granted, after doing this repeatedly for hours, Robert did correct himself sort of, he said "Congressman Bachmann" and then stammered before saying "Representative Bachmann."
Maybe if NPR included women on air, they wouldn't have those embarrassing moments?
What was provided was one embarrassment after another. An all White group of people discussing issues and results for hours. A predominately all male group. And this after the media watchers pretended for two days to be interested in issues of race and diversity?
There were many things for media watchers to call out last week, serious issues. How sad but telling that they were more comfortable attacking a sitcom and looking the other way while NPR served up a broadcast far more offensive than the sitcom ever could offer.
Nouri's paranoia is well known but last week saw crazy that outshone anything he'd done in the past.
The arrest warrants on Tareq? Nouri wasn't involved! It was the judiciary! And they threatened him with arrest if he didn't go along!
The prime minister held hostage by the judiciary?
That's a wild excuse, even for Nouri.
Illustration is Isaiah's "Here's Nouri."
1) Mark Ruffalo. The country's finest actor. About to face the biggest acting challenge of his life in The Avengers as the third Hulk in less than ten years, sharing screen time with the otherwise talented Chris Evans -- now stripped of every human characteristic to play the jingoistic cardboard cut out Captain America -- and tabloid queen Scarlett Johansson.
2) Terrence Howard. Onscreen he projects a sheen of stillness with turbulence peeking out beneath that adds the complexity to his performance. So far only The Brave One, Hustle & Flow and Crash have given him the space (and screen time) to really demonstrate his full range.
3) Tom Hardy. The British actor that can do the distance. Talent and a tidy package. The Dark Knight Rises may finally bring him the American acclaim he's been owed since RockNRolla.
4) Mark Wahlberg. If Ruffalo brings to mind Brando, Wahlberg calls up Spencer Tracy. He was a body before he was famous for anything else but, starting with Penny Marshall's Renaissance Man, he let the world know there was a great deal more.
5) Jack Nicholson. An American original who created a new film archetype. Not enough films with him in the last decade which was the screen's loss.
We'll even take store credit to get rid of them . . .
1) George Clooney. Cosmetic work at the end of 2008 gave Clooney's face a weird, stretched out look. Maybe he was hoping a new look would trick ticket buyers? If so, they were smarter than he is and have continued to avoid all his leading roles of the last ten years. As a face in the crowd on the Oceans, he can pretend he's a star in a way his bit part in the Spy Kids series doesn't allow. But as he gets more stilted on the big screen than Troy Donahue, maybe it's time for Clooney to start considering returning to TV? The last time he surprised onscreen was Team America.
2) Matthew Broderick. The roly-poly banty rooster is a suicide bomber when it comes to films. As a romantic lead, he's destroyed Addicted To Love and The Stepford Wives. He also managed to break Jim Carey's comedy streak by co-starring in Carey's first significant bomb (The Cable Guy). More than any other number peformer, Broderick as a co-lead means movie goers ask, "What else is playing?"
3) Orlando Bloom. In 1998, Bloom kicked off his film career playing a rentboy in Wilde. He's pretty much delivered the same performance ever since. When surrounded with talent (the Lord of the Rings films, the Pirate films), he can be part of a hit. When asked to carry a film, he is 100% bomb, whether putting Cameron Crowe's thriving directing career on life support (Elizabethtown) or bringing down a multi-million dollar project (The Three Musketeers), Bloom is 100% bomb.
4) Brad Pitt. The male starlet. And every joke ever (wrongly) told about Marilyn Monroe, the bombshell who wants to be seen as an actor. When he tries to act, things get bad, really, really bad (Seven Years In Tibet) or worse than bad (Meet Joe Black). To date, he's only come across on screen four times -- in supporting roles in Thelma & Louise and 12 Monkeys and in lead roles in Fight Club and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. The four roles required no deep thinking, merely kinetic energy and harnessing of Pitt's sex appeal. Use the looks while they're still there.
5) John C. Reilly. For over fifty films, John C. Reilly has given the exact same performance proving he is consistent if also one-note. In the last ten years alone, he's made 26 feature films. Unless and until Deliverance is remade and their casting the Ned Beatty role, Reilly should take a long, long break.
Article 2 (3) of the United Nations Charter requires the pacific settlement of the international dispute between the United States and Iran. To the same effect is article 33 and the entirety of Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter that mandate and set up numerous procedures for the pacific settlement of the international dispute between the United States and Iran. And of course Article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter prohibits both the threat and use of force by the United States against Iran.
Furthermore, both Iran and the United States are parties to the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact of 1928, upon which legal basis the Nazi Leaders were prosecuted by the United States, inter alia, at Nuremberg for Crimes against Peace, sentenced to death, and executed. In Article I thereof the States Parties “condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another." The United States has been illegally threatening war against Iran going back to the Bush Jr. Administration. Article II requires the United States only to pursue a pacific settlement of its international dispute with Iran: “The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.”
Finally, both the United States and Iran are parties to the 1899 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes. This seminal Hague Peace Convention establishes numerous mechanisms for the pacific settlement of international disputes between contracting parties that are too numerous to analyze here. But they are discussed in detail in my book Foundations of World Order (Duke University Press: 1999). According to article 27 thereof, if a serious dispute threatens to break out between contracting powers, it was the DUTY of the other contracting powers to remind them that the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is open to them, and such reminder could not be treated as an unfriendly act of intervention by the disputants. Today the world needs one State party to either the 1899 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes or the 1907 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes to publicly remind both the United States and Iran that the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, together with its International Bureau and the entirety of the 1899 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes , are available to the two States in order to resolve their dispute in a peaceful manner.
After the terrorist assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June of 1914, Serbia made an offer to Austria to submit the entire dispute to “the International Tribunal of The Hague”—i.e.,to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. Austria did not accept the offer, the First World War broke out, and about 10 Million Human Beings were needlessly slaughtered. The death toll from World War III will be incalculable. Humanity must not allow our history to repeat itself! Otherwise, that could be the end of our Humanity.
Francis A. Boyle
Professor of International Law
Francis A. Boyle
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign, Illinois 61820
Community support grows for Boston post office rallyBy Frank Neisser
>Community and labor support is growing for the Jan. 14 Rally to Save Community Jobs and Services at the Grove Hall Post Office in the heart of Boston’s African- American community. The location is one of the thousands of post offices, many of them in poor and oppressed communities, that have been targeted to be closed by the United States Postal Service.
The post office closings are the keystone of a plan by Congressional right-wingers to lay off up to 200,000 postal workers, destroy union jobs in the communities, and hand these vital and profitable services over to private profiteers.
The rally is being organized in response to a call issued by the newly formed Occupy 4 Jobs Network. Invoking the proposal by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for a mass occupation of Washington, D.C. for jobs, the network has called for national actions on the weekend of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Postal workers from numerous cities participated in the network’s inaugural meeting, which took place at a People’s Assembly in the South Bronx, N.Y, in November.
A Boston planning meeting was hosted by the Boston School Bus Drivers, Steelworkers Local 8751 on Dec. 19 and attended by Paul Killduff, president of American Postal Workers Union, Boston Metro Area Local 100; Ed Childs, chief shop steward, UNITE-HERE Local 26; and community and labor activists from the Bail Out the People Movement, Women’s Fightback Network, Fanmi Lavalas Boston, Occupy 4 Jobs and others. Community planning meetings have been held with Minister Don Muhammad, of Temple 11 of the Nation of Islam, and with Boston City Councilors Charles Yancey and Tito Jackson.
The rally is being called under the general slogan: “Make MLK Day ‘Occupy 4 Jobs Day.’ ” Demands include:
• No reduction in postal service — keep 6-day delivery;
• No post office closings — expand the postal service; don’t destroy it;
• Stop privatization — the postal services belong to the people;
• A Works Progress Administration-style jobs program for 30 million people at union wages for all, regardless of immigration status;
• Jobs for youth — not jails; and
• Support for all four postal worker unions, including APWU, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association.
The flyer for the event, to be translated into Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean Creole and Spanish, explains how the poorest and most vulnerable will be impacted and suffer the most.
To endorse or volunteer to help mobilize, contact Boston Metro Local 100 APWU, 137 South St. 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02111, 617-423-2798; or the Occupy 4 Jobs Network, c/o USW 8751, 25 Colgate Rd., Roslindale, MA 02131, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
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"I Hate The War" and "How All Things Media Big & Small enable war" -- two most requested highlights of last week by readers of this site.
"Pasta in the Kitchen" and "Forget the jobs spin" -- Trina and Ruth cover the jobs report.
"Barack found yet another man (not applauding that)..." and "Iraq snapshot" -- Betty and C.I. observe that when it comes to appointing a man (and not Elizabeth Warren), Barack does do recess appointments.
"delicious revenge," "i'm in love," "Ancient Aliens" and "Body of Proof" -- Rebecca, Marcia and Stan cover TV.
"Brian Carter, NPR's latest racist," "Ron Elving's a dick," "Debbie Dulls DNC," "NPR 'reporters' laugh on air about candidates?" and "Waiting for the results" -- Betty, Kat, Marcia, Elaine and Mike on NPR coverage and Ann:
"THIS JUST IN! THEY'LL PUBLISH ANYONE!" and "A woman's perspective?" -- Want a woman's perspective? Women's International Perspective believes the best way is to ask a man.
"Fincher," "Mars Needs Moms" and "3 men, 3 women" -- Kat, Stan and Ann cover films.
"Wheel of Greed" -- Isaiah dips into the archives to remember when Barack walked out on public financing and the Cult of St. Barack applauded.
"The book won't tell the half of it," "Barnes & Noble" and "Carly Simon and books" -- Elaine, Trina and Kat on books.
"Idiot of the week Fatty Megan" -- Mike picks the idiot of the week.
"He needs help" and "THIS JUST IN! THE CULT, THE FOOL!" -- an angry cult mans up for Barack who can't.