Sunday, November 17, 2013

Truest statement of the week

Allowing security forces to operate outside the law without restraint is clearly not solving Iraq’s violent crisis.   Harassing entire neighborhoods exacerbates, not mitigates, the horrors Iraqis face on a daily basis.

-- Eric Goldstein, "Iraq: Harsh Tactics in Advance of Holy Month" (Human Rights Watch).

Truest statement of the week II

In the hour-long, sometimes rambling White House press conference, Obama stated, “We fumbled the rollout on this health care bill.” The previous day, the administration had finally released enrollment figures for the health care exchanges, which were abysmal. In its first month, the federal and state exchanges signed up only 106,185 people combined, falling far short of the 500,000 the administration had hoped to sign up in October.

--  Kate Randall, "Obama proposes 'fix' to pro-corporate health care overhaul" (WSWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --

One more 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),
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?

Human Rights Watch.
Kate Randall.  Trina brought two truest nominees by Randall to this edition. 
History will not look kindly on all the whoring Barack's administration did for the despot Nouri al-Maliki.
Ava and C.I. chart three cons that are not catching on with the American people.  A sign of progress.
Protests continue in Iraq.  
Jess, Ty and I (Jim) really did have nothing but jelly jars -- Bama -- for glasses at our apartment when we were undergrads.  We had red plastic disposable glasses when we moved in -- and paper plates.  We bought three glass plates at a dollar store and bought a ton of Bama jelly without realizing, until we finished the first one, that the jars were actually glasses.  By the time we left New York, our glass collection was over 40 -- all Bama jelly glasses.
Short feature on Barack and who he sits down with.
We think what happens in Burma deserves some attention.  We also think there was something chilling and amazing about that photo.
Rebecca and Dona wanted this piece and they worked on it with Betty, Marcia, Stan, Ann, Ty, Jess, Ruth and me.
Another short feature. 
Ava and C.I. aren't big fans of  La Julia but if her profile was being profiled, they said they take on The Cloon.  And they did so.  Very well.
Repost from Workers World. 
Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker.

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

That's what we've got to share this week.


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

Editorial: The administration remains Nouri's dirty little whore

September 1st, 7 Camp Ashraf residents were kidnapped.

"The seven are not in Iraq," the State Dept.'s Brett McGurk testified to Congress last week.

November 11, Matthew Offord (The Diplomat) explained:

On October 28, I joined a cross-party panel at a conference in Church House, Westminster, with dozens of my colleagues from both Houses of Parliament to talk about Iran and what we, in the U.K., can do in the face of appalling atrocities committed by the Iranian regime. At the heart of the conference was the fate of seven Iranian dissidents taken hostage by Iraqi Special Forces. The hostages were abducted following an attack on their home in Camp Ashraf Iraq which left 52 of their friends killed.
Several weeks ago, I spoke at a rally in Trafalgar Square on this very issue and I met the hunger strikers from my constituency protesting to bring about the release of the hostages. It saddens me that after 68 days their hunger strike for the release of the seven Iranian hostages continues. In fact, they are not alone. Supporters of a free Iran, their friends and family in Camp Liberty and in other cities around the world are also on hunger strike.

Hunger strikes.  Supporters have been on hunger strikes.

But the State Department couldn't inform anyone that the seven were not in Iraq?

Where are they?

McGurk wouldn't say in open session.

We're failing to see how their basic location -- for example, what country they're in -- is classified information.

We're also failing to grasp why the State Department failed to issue a statement.

But then, time and again, the State Department is not working for Americans or for Iraqis.

No, it's working for Nouri al-Maliki, chief thug and prime minister of Iraq.

November 1, Nouri met at the White House with US President Barack Obama.  And supposedly Nouri grasped that he needed to stop the attacks on the Sunni population.  Yet mere weeks after that alleged understanding?  Human Rights Watch reports:

Based on accounts by witnesses, since November 7 security forces have carried out operations in which they invaded every home in sections of predominantly Sunni neighborhoods of various cities, detained many of the male residents without showing arrest warrants, and held them for several days – without notifying family members of their whereabouts or taking them before an investigative judge within 48 hours, as required by Iraqi law. Many of those detained have not yet been released, the witnesses told Human Rights Watch.

Baghdad residents told Human Rights Watch that between November 7 and 11, SWAT and counterterrorism forces carried out mass arrests in the Dora and Adhamiyya neighborhoods. A tribal leader said that a security force he could not identify raided homes and conducted random arrest sweeps in Adhamiyya, arresting more than 30 people without warrants, insulting them and calling them “humiliating names,” then turned them over to a battalion from the army’s 44th brigade, 11th division. Interior and Defense Ministry officials told Human Rights Watch in February and May that it is illegal for Defense and Interior Ministry security forces to detain suspects, rather than transfer them to the custody of the Justice Ministry.

The tribal leader told Human Rights Watch that he and other elders from the neighborhood visited the battalion to request the detainees’ release. “They let some of them go, but this has become the norm,” he said. “Every Ashura, security forces come, raid the neighborhood, arrest people, and hold them for a while. Once Ashura is over they release most of them, but they are never charged.”

He said that the army battalion commander told him that, after Ashura, “The people who are wanted will stay and the others will be released.” A lawyer working with him told Human Rights Watch that most of the people “were arrested randomly, without warrants” and that some were laborers from outside Baghdad. The lawyer said he had heard that security forces conducted similar operations on the same days in Baghdad’s Tarmiyya and Dora neighborhoods, also majority Sunni, but that he did not know how many people they arrested.

Another Adhamiyya resident told Human Rights Watch that on November 7, security forces began conducting raids in the neighborhood that continued until November 10, the date of the interview. “We can see them everywhere [right now], but we don’t know how many people they are arresting,” she said.

A resident of Dora told Human Rights Watch that on November 7, “a huge number” of SWAT forces dressed in black surrounded the neighborhood at 10 a.m. and raided “every single house” in an operation that lasted until 5 p.m. “They brought at least five trucks,” she said, “and arrested so many young men – at least 50 of them. They put them in the trucks and took them away. The women were coming out and crying, and none of the men have returned.”

She said the families of the arrested men are “terrified” and do not know where their relatives are being held. “People are afraid to leave and afraid to stay in their homes,” she said. She said many of the people arrested “looked very young” but did not know whether they were under 18.

A teacher from Hitt, a majority Sunni city in in Anbar province, told Human Rights Watch that between 5 and 6 a.m. on November 10, SWAT forces surrounded entire neighborhoods in the city and arrested dozens of young men over the course of several hours. The teacher said she saw security forces “everywhere” in the streets and watched them arrest two people. Several students told her later that day that SWAT forces arrested several of their family members, in at least one instance taking a student’s uncle and all of her cousins from their house, she said.

A local news correspondent living in Ramadi told Human Rights Watch that residents and tribal leaders told him security forces from theJazeera and Badiya Operations Command arrested 90 people from Falluja, 63 from Hitt, and 42 from rural areas in Anbar on November 9 and 10.

On November 9, Anbar police chief Hadi Resij, announced that local police and SWAT forces had arrested 43 people in the Shouhadaa neighborhood that evening during a “security operation” south of Falluja, apparently referring to one of the several arrest sweeps that witnesses described to Human Rights Watch. He said all those arrested were “leaders of al-Qaeda,” but did not offer any evidence given that none of the detainees have faced trial. Human Rights Watch was unable to reach other Interior and Defense Ministry officials for comment.

And if you ever doubt how far the State Department will go to lie for Nouri, read this column which Brett McGurk told Congress was Nouri's Veterans Day column thanking US service members for their work in Iraq.

TV: People catch on

Audiences have a way of knowing.  That's the scary thing for many, an audience can catch on.  And usually does.  Dads, ObamaCare and Democracy Now! are all suffering these days due to the slow reveal, the gradual  catch on.


Dads is Fox's latest attempt to have a hit sitcom and it's not only failing, it's dragging the whole night down.  Tuesdays were supposed to be the place to be for Fox this fall.  The Mindy Project is critically praised, Andy Samberg's hotness would keep the audiences tuned in while Brooklyn Nine-Nine found its audience and Fox made its peace with the fact that New Girl's best days ratings wise were it's first weeks on air.

Fox saw this as the night to counter program and to do so hard.

The night's biggest ratings went to CBS with their embarrassing geriatric shows like NCIS  And Dads seemed the perfect show to put some dents into that franchise.  As inept retirees, Peter Riegert and Martin Mull are in Mark Harmon's age group, underscoring how ridiculous it is that the squat, 62-year-old plays a man of action.

But to get that point across, it would need an audience.

Everything about Dads seems to have been thought up to run viewers off.  This is most obvious in the casting of the two leads: Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi as Eli and Warner.

The time sucks behind this awful show are Wellesley Wild and Alec Sulkin who seem to think its the 80s and they're doing Revenge of the Nerds.

The two are that out of touch, so out of touch that they destroyed their show before the first episode aired.

Dads was never going to be big with Seth Green in the cast.  Most people, after all, don't feel the need for garden gnomes and, those who do tend to put them on their front lawns, not in front of their TVs.   Seth Gteeen is repulsive and that's before you bring in the character of Eli.  But as a friend of Warner played by Tommy Dewey, it might have worked.  Dewey was coming off a multi-episode stint on The Mindy Project where he played Josh, Mindy's boyfriend a stripper promised to grind the pretty out of.

Giovanni Ribisi?  He appeared to be coming off a police line up -- for pedophilia.

There is no pretty to grind out of Ribisi.  For much of his 38 years, Ribisi has attempted to become a star and the universe has repeatedly and loudly responded:  Hell no!

The closest he's ever come to fame would be appearing on a few episodes of Friends as Frank Jr. -- Phoebe's creepy brother.  You may remember Phoebe carried the baby for Frank and his girlfriend who used to be his teacher.  The girlfriend was played by Debra Jo Rupp.  In the aftermath of creating the role, Rupp parlayed her moment of heat into a lead role as Kitty on That 70s Show while Ribisi found that brief moment on Friends was his entire career.

17 years after he created the bit part that passes for fame in his sad career, Ribisi was selected to replace Tommy Dewey.  This was said to have been a 'tweek' in response to the taping of the first album.  It wasn't.

It was a response to Seth Green's jealousy.  The gnome insisted he was not playing opposite Dewey.  He'd been whining to the producers -- who include Seth MacFarlane -- that Dewey didn't have the chops, that Dewey wasn't a team player, etc.  Green then intentionally tanked the interaction with Dewey in the filming of the pilot.  Seth pointed to laughs he got in scenes with others and the non-laughs with Dewey as proof that Dewey had to go.   With that, the only non-grotesque male in the cast was replaced with Ribisi who looks like after birth on a good day.

He's also not funny.  How much that can be pinned on him, who knows?

The scripts are awful and they can't overcome the 80s pretense that physically disgusting men like Ribisi and Green can not only attract gorgeous women but can do so while endorsing and/or practicing workplace harassment.

With Dewey in the cast, it might have worked because pretty can get away with a lot.

That's why, for example, Kate Jenkinson can get away with so much as the vile Kendall on ABC's Super Fun Night.  If you're not getting it, ask yourself who you're more likely to forgive for stealing your parking space:  Sophia Vergara's Gloria or Wayne Knight's Newman?

In a piece of absurdity, Vanessa Lachey plays Ribisi's wife on the show.  In real life, Vanessa married Nick Lachey, a man who's made People magazine's most beautiful list.  But we're supposed to believe she'd be attracted to pedophilish Ribisi, a man who has a fit when her character leaves the home to do a community play?  These are the storylines that pre-date The Dick Van Dyke Show, by the way.

And then there's poor Brenda Song as Veronica.  There are so few roles on TV for women of Asian descent that Song has to play scene after scene where she's the target of racist 'jokes.'  Hopefully, she'll have a career to return to when this show gets the axe.

All Ribisi will have to return to is Scientology.  And the end is coming.  Last week, the alleged sitcom posted an all time low in the ratings. Already a critical disgrace, Dads really can't afford low ratings.

They can take comfort in the fact that they're not the only ones getting bad ratings.

For example, Gallup notes:


Nov 14-16, 2013 – Updates daily at 1 p.m. ET; reflects one-day change

The Drone Warrior's been flying low for some time now.  Americans are outraged over his secret and illegal spying and the con game that is ObamaCare (he promised universal health care but created a law that just forced Americans to buy insurance) was already shaky but then came the lie.

It was a lie many in the press worked overtime to minimize.

"If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."  That was one of the many lies he told.  In fact, Dan Amira (New York magazine) posted a video of all the times Barack offered what has since been exposed as a lie.

Again, many worked overtime to minimize what took place.

Take Bob Somerby who can't stop his caterwauling about Glenn Kessler's fact checks and whining that he should be fact checking the lies of Fox News.  Who's he to talk?  Has he once fact checked Barack on "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan"?

Of course not.

They're all playing the Jill Stein game these days.

Remember her?

Brenda Bad Ass?

Gonna show us all how a real campaign for president was run, gonna hold the corporatist Democratic Party accountable in the same way she did the Republicans?

Then came the first debate and Barack tanked.

Stein never managed to hold him accountable or call him out again.

Brenda Bad Ass was, in fact, a fake and a coward.

Most of all, she was a fraud.

In the wake of Barack's disastorous first performance, any real left candidate would have used that moment to say, "I'm the fighter, I'm the one who'll stand up for you, come on over to my side!"

But Jill Stein was a fraud so, when Barack tanked, her campaign became all about going after Mitt Romney.

Last week, the fraud showed up on Bill Moyers soon to end public television show.  Our favorite response was posted by Roland:  "I would love to vote Green, if only I could take them seriously. Jill and Margret remind me of high school girls planning a prom. And Jill's assertion than human civilization may not last more than forty years was delivered with such coy sweetness that Borderline Personality Disorder cannot be excluded."

She's such a fraud.

She spoke about attempting to enter the presidential debates in 2012 and being handcuffed and taken elsewhere by agents, held for nine hours, but never worrying "because because Democracy NOW! had caught us on camera."

Democracy Now!, the whore and piss report.

Jill has a faux group these days, The Shadow Cabinet.  They do things like issue a plan for veterans, days after Veterans Day to ensure that they receive no press attention.

They've been silent on the Iraq Inquiry Digest, just like Democracy Now!

The question people need to be asking right now is why Amy Goodman, with an hour of Democracy Now! each week day, has been unable to even do a headline on this?

Her audience would learn a great deal more if she would stop whoring for the White House. When Barack's out of office, don't be surprised that Amy Goodman tries to act like she was there all along, holding the administration accountable. No, she wasn't. She was throwing inaugural balls, she was auctioning tickets to them. She was whoring. That's all she is today and her show is lukewarm on a good day. She sold the Libyan War, she's is an embarrassment to Pacifica Radio and she should stop receiving millions of dollars for her bad program that Pacifica doesn't even own the rights to after paying millions for it.

Last week, major news attracted press outside the US.  Al-Arabiya News explained:

The United States is behind the delaying a key report's release showing how the UK went to war with Iraq, London-based daily The Independent reported on Wednesday.
White House and State Department officials are behind the blocking of the four-year Chilcot inquiry, which the UK's Cabinet Office has been criticized for halting.
The newspaper saw drafts of the report earlier this year which challenged the official story of the UK's entry into the Iraq war, mainly related to exchanges with then-PM Tony Blair and former president George W. Bush.

Sarah Lazare (Mint Press News) observed that "the U.S. government is forbidding the release of communications between Blair and Bush in the lead-up to the war, declaring it classified information and pressuring British Prime Minister David Cameron to wipe this information from the report."   Asia Tribune reported, "Although the British Cabinet Office has been under fire by the public for stalling the progress of the four-year Iraq Inquiry by Sir John Chilcot, senior diplomatic sources in the US and White House indicated that it is officials in the White House and the US Department of State who have refused to sanction any declassification of highly critical pre- and post-war communications between George Bush and Tony Blair."  And  Robert Fox (The Week) argued:

The refusal to disclose presidential correspondence and conversations is yet another example of US exceptionalism, a principle often cited by President Obama.
Today 'exceptional' means not being accountable - not having to explain to your allies why you want them to make war, not having to justify extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib or chaotic secretive military courts.
The Chilcot Inquiry has, by many accounts, already unearthed glaring evidence of government mismanagement and worse. Chilcot should steal himself and publish all he knows, whatever Britain's exceptional allies might think and say. It is a duty he owes the public

In addition to the above, you could read Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian), or listen to The Voice of Russia, check out Iran's Press TV.or Russia Today.

But US outlets?

Forget it.

That includes Amy Goodman's fake 'war and peace report.'  Democracy Now! had plenty of time to waste on nonsense last week but no time to cover serious issues like the above.

"Only with you!" Amy Goodman likes to shout in her never-ending efforts to line her pockets with your money during pledge drives.

But Goodman never delivers.

She whored for the Libyan War, she whores for Barack.

If his approval rating had been 60% or greater, she might have covered his efforts to suppress the facts about the Iraq War.

But he was at 41% so she ignored the revelations.

She's not a journalist.  A journalist asks, "Is this news?"  A journalist doesn't concern herself with, "Can Barack's popularity afford it if I report this?"

More and more people are catching on.  It's why Dads is dropping in the ratings, it's why Barack's in trouble with the polling, most of all it's why Amy Goodman's reputation is in tatters.  People catch on.  And when they do, there's no turning back.

Tweet of the Week

From The TESR Test Kitchen


In the early '00s, you could eat jelly and stock up on drinking glasses.

Those of us in college at the time lived by Bama.  Whether it was red plum or basic grape, the jelly was sugary and fun and, most of all, when you finished the jar, you had a drinking glass.

So maybe sometimes, cramming for finals, you grabbed the big table spoon and went to town on the jelly right out of the jar, you got a drinking glass when the jar was empty.

We'd forgotten those days until reader Joanie e-mailed to say she just moved out of the dorms into her own place and wanted some tips?  We immediately told her, "Go buy four jars of Bama jelly right now."

She wrote back, "Why?"

Wasn't it obvious?

We went to the grocery store and what the hells?

Bama is no longer in drinking glasses.  It is in jars.

And, for the longest, we couldn't find anything to suggest.

We  finally have something.


Blackburns Preserves.

You won't get the normal glass, but you will get mugs.

And the apricot is currently our favorite flavor though we also love peach and red plum.

Who did he meet with Friday?

As the country was voicing their disgust with ObamaCare and the lack of choice, as the Congress worked to put the brakes on, what was Barack Obama doing.


Isn't one of the biggest problems with ObamaCare that Barack bent over for the insurance industry?

So to meet with them on Friday?

Standing up for Big Business and sticking it to the little people -- the unspoken re-election campaign slogan of 2012.

Photo of the week

In Burma, the military has been conducting violent raids, police have shot protesters, homes have been set on fire and villagers raped.

LivingUnderMercy Tweeted about Burma, "We live in a time when animal rights come before human rights."  

Washed out and washed up?

Wan and washed out on the cover of Marie Claire, is Julia Roberts washed up?


You won't find the answer in the soft porn that passes for a feature article.

However, the cover, with Julia looking tired and squinty-eyed?  Did she forget to pop her eyes during the photo session?

It appears to indicate that Roberts is still in the free fall that resulted in Larry Crown, among others.  Long gone are the days when Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas headed Team Julia and protected the not-so-smart actress from herself.

(Not so smart actress?  Has any other actress ever set up a production company only to whine about how reading scripts was hard and that the characters talked to fast.)

He'll never get Palin's support


He's just keeps campaigning for the right, doesn't he?

The Queening of Clooney (Ava and C.I.)

The chronically overexposed George Clooney is back on the cover of Esquire this month.


What the cover demonstrates is that if he wrinkles his brow and points his head downward, he can almost look like a man again and not your like your aged but fiesty Aunt Flo.

It helps that he got rid of his Carol Brady look -- or are we the only ones who remember those awful bangs and his plucked eyebrows?

clooney bangs

But these days, color him as just another celebrity who's screwed up his looks.

The article may be even funnier than his face up close.  Tom Junod opens with, "You must love him."


But how telling that Madonna's the artist quoted.  How telling in a don't-ask-don't-tell kind of way, please don't mention the elephant in the room!

Junod's no sooner gone there, then he's all up on Boy George.

He's going on about George "on the bottom," the eye lashes and how they're like "Venus flytraps" and how George smells and all the other things someone wanting to sleep with George might be interested in.

He tries to turn George into Clark Gable.

And that probably had us laughing loudest.

Clooney couldn't hold a candle to Gable.

Gable was alive and passionate and Clooney's only passionate about himself.

No crackle has come to any scenes between Clooney and a woman.

Michelle Pfeiffer and Julianna Margulies are the only actresses he's shared the screen with (One Fine Day and the TV show ER) that he's had chemistry with and that was the women.  Clooney could probably have chemistry with Debra Winger because she's a similar type of actress.  The three women flood their roles and that allows passive actors (like Richard Gere or, in this case, George Clooney) to appear connected.

Clark Gable had chemistry with Joan Crawford, Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe and Vivien Leigh among others.  Throw him and an actress on the screen and they burned it down with passion.

Give Clooney a scene with a mirror and he can work up passion and longing but put him onscreen with a woman and Clooney's impotent.

And that may explain his lack of box office success.  He's got a supporting role in Sandra Bullock's blockbuster Gravity (Robert Downey Jr. walked on the part, and the role, due to it being a supporting part).  And it probably feels good to be in her hit after the duds he's filmed for over a decade.

The last film he appeared in that crossed the $100 million mark domestically (the sign of a blockbuster . . . in the 90s) was Ocean's 13.  He was part of an ensemble.  To go back to the last film he was the star of that crossed the $100 million mark?  You have to back to 1997 and Batman & Robin.

There's 2000's The Perfect Storm but he didn't carry it -- he and Mark Wahlberg carried it.

In his entire film career, the only film he can be said to have carried past the $100 million mark is Batman & Robin -- a film that bombed.

Blockbusters he's appeared in but not carried?  Along with The Perfect Storm, there's the three Oceans films where he's part of an ensemble and there's  his bit part in two of the Spy Kids films.

Not all of his films are huge bombs like 2006's The Good German (less than two million dollars worth of tickets were sold in north America for that film).   But they do tend to be films that don't make back their production, print and advertising costs.

It's, in fact, surprising that he's on the cover of Esquire -- surprising that he's been on it so many times already.  But then, they are a 'men''s magazine selling fashion and beauty.

And dish.

And does any male actor dish like Clooney?

No, not even Rupert Everett.

Clooney mocks Ashton Kutcher in the article as well as Leonardo Di Caprio and Russell Crowe.  It's the sort of dish Joan Crawford would offer whenever her star was on the decline and she needed to grab headlines.

But, of course, Joan Crawford was a bonafide star who could sell tickets.

As a lead, part of an ensemble or in a supporting role, Clooney rarely has a film in the top ten for the year.  His biggest grossing film is Ocean's 11 and that ensemble film did hold the number 8 spot for 2001.

Worse, at 52, he's proven unable to sell tickets and unable to connect with women onscreen.  Is he ready to step over into the roles Wilfred Brimley used to do (or maybe Clifton Webb's old roles)?  Or will he try to return to TV?

Which brings up the other bitchy move Clooney pulled.

He had his assistant trash Noah Wylie.

Noah and Clooney were among the stars of ER -- somehow Tom Junod can't even acknowledge Julianna or Sherry Strickland.  Noah's career, as Clooney's assistant points out, didn't involve success post ER.

That is bitchy.

Even for Clooney, that is bitchy.

For those not aware, an assistant only speaks to the press with the permission of the boss.  Everything she told Esquire was to set George up and, indeed, it does lead Tom Junod to wax about Clooney -- almost as much as George himself does.  Dusk Till Dawn was a game changer, George insists.

That film grossed only $25 million.  And it was a horror film.  One Fine Day was the film that changed things for George.  The 1996 film starring Michelle Pfeiffer would gross $46 million and, most importantly, give the (mistaken) impression that Clooney could have chemistry onscreen.  This is when the film studios went all in with Clooney.  They thought they had something.  Maybe he couldn't do everything, but chemistry onscreen is no small matter.

On the basis of the chemistry Pfeiffer gave him, the way she looked at him, the way she responded to him, Clooney was allowed to try everything.

And he failed at everything.

He failed as a super hero (Batman). he failed as the new Redford (Out of Sight didn't even make $40 million at the box office), he failed at sci fi (Solaris), he failed at chemistry (most noticeable with Intolerable Cruelty), he failed at everything.

A great deal is made of the fact that Clooney now works for scale on these projects he 'believes in.'  But the reality is the studios aren't going to give him $20 million for a film.  Hell they're not even going to give him $10 million with his track record.

He's at the point when the career's really over.  A smart team and he could parlay his supporting role in Gravity into two to three years of roles.  But he doesn't have a smart team.

Which is why he's yet again the subject of Hollywood Porn.  That's all Esquire's publishing.  Watch the writer gush over Clooney sharing a story! A story told before! "Even told it to Esquire before"!

In the article, as in real life, Clooney can't stop panting over men.  Women go unnoticed, but men always catch his eye.

And he shares this nonsense at one point, "For a long time now, Brad has been the biggest movie star in the world. He’s bigger than me, bigger than DiCaprio. And I really admire how he deals with that. It’s not easy for him. But he tries to be the most honest version of Brad Pitt that he can be. And he also remains unavailable. He’s still a giant movie star because you can’t get to him."

But Brad's not a giant movie star.

World War Z, his zombie movie last summer, made $202,359,711 at the box office, his best ever.  But two films have been released since and neither's hit $40 million -- not even if their box offices are combined.  He's had very few blockbusters.  There's Inglorious Basterds ($120 million), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($127 million), the three Oceans films, Troy ($133 million), the film he co-starred in with Angelina Jolie Mr. and Mrs. Smith ($186 million), Seven ($100 million) and Tom Cruise's  Interview With A Vampire ($105 million).  Very few of those films were his alone.  More importantly, The Heat, a comedy, has made $159 million at the box office so Brad's just cross the line at $100 million aren't all that impressive.

Brad's been in ten films that made it past the $100 million mark and one that made it past the $200 million mark.

If the only film Leo ever made was Titanic, that would be enough.  The film grossed $658 million in north America alone.  While Brad was fighting zombies last summer?  Leo was in theaters with The Great Gatsby and somehow grossing $144 million at the box office on that.  Or there's Inception which took in $292 million -- more than any film Brad's been in.

We don't dislike Brad but let's provide the honesty Clooney can't:  Leo works with Scorsece.  Brad's worked with Madonna's ex-husband.

Let's also point out that Clooney's notion that only men are "move stars" reflects his own sweaty palmed obsession with men but it doesn't help women who are carrying films at the box office.

Forty years ago, this nonsense may have played.  These days, it just makes George Clooney come off like a bitter old queen.

The Drone Goes on (Chris Fry)

Repost from Workers World:

Was drone strike’s goal to wreck peace talks?

By on November 13, 2013

A missile launched from a CIA drone killed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan leader Hakimullah Mehsud in northwest Pakistan. This Nov. 1 strike occurred just 18 hours before a planned invitation to a conference between Taliban leaders and the Pakistan government. The conference was designed to end the long and bloody civil war in that country. (Inter Press Service, Nov. 7)

The missile attack occurred just three days after a British-sponsored conference in London between the Pakistani government and the regime in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan. At this conference, both countries agreed to establish negotiations with the Taliban. (, Oct. 29)

Washington politicians and corporate media types from nearly every political stripe hailed the drone killing. Republican Congressman Mike Rogers applauded the strike, as did professor Brian Williams in the Huffington Post with his article, “The Killing of Hakimullah Mehsud, Or Why Liberals Should Support Obama’s Drone War on the Taliban.” (Huffington Post, Nov. 6)

Pakistan’s government, however, strongly condemned the drone strike. Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan called it “a conspiracy to sabotage the peace talks.” He charged that the U.S. had “scuttled the initiative” that his government had taken to end the civil war.

Pakistan has even pledged to suspend the U.S. military’s truck supply line for 15 days as it demands that the U.S. end drone strikes inside of Pakistan.

Washington brushed off Pakistan’s protests. The State Department’s statement called talks between the TTP and Pakistan “an internal matter” for Pakistan, as if killing the leader of the Taliban would have no impact on talks.

So why did the U.S. conduct this drone strike? After all, in a May 23 speech to the National Defense University, President Obama said that the need for drone strikes was fast diminishing and would soon end. In August, Secretary of State John Kerry said that drone strikes in Pakistan would end “very, very soon.” (Inter Press Service, Nov. 7)

Part of the answer is revenge by the CIA for the insurgent attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan that killed seven agents. The CIA had put a $5 million bounty on Mehsud for this attack.

But U.S imperialism has much deeper reasons to torpedo peace talks in the region. In “Pakistan’s Best Bet in Afghanistan,” Marvin Weinbaum’s Nov. 4th article in the carefully followed journal, Foreign Affairs, he expounds on Washington’s vision for the region after the planned pullout of U.S. troops at the end of 2014:

“Pakistan can also help secure Afghan presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled in 2014 and 2015, respectively, by using its not inconsiderable influence to limit Taliban interference. It could place additional troops at the border to reduce infiltration. … Simply put, it must be willing to evict, if not arrest, Afghan Taliban fighters and their leaders on its soil. …

“With improved security in Afghanistan, new life could be breathed into plans to construct a gas pipeline from the fields in Turkmenistan.”

So even with the end of the 13-year U.S. war against and occupation of Afghanistan, imperialism strives to ensure that its proxies in both Pakistan and Afghanistan shed their people’s blood for corporate profits.

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Gravity film review

Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

Gravity-doom and loneliness never looked this spectacular

Gravity is the latest film from Alfonso Cuaron, the director of among other things the brilliant Children of Men.

In this film, Cuaron answers what for many of us has been a burning question—what would happen if Sandra Bullock were to be jettisoned into space with only George Clooney for moral support?

The answer, perhaps not surprisingly, is that nerve shredding tension would ensue.

Bullock revels in the role of an astronaut left untethered after flying debris wrecks the space shuttle during a spacewalk.

She gladly accepts the opportunity to revive the steely-in-a-crisis routine she perfected in Speed, while the awesome backdrop provided by the Earth gives some philosophical heft to the “heroine in peril” drama.

Only two actors really appear in the film and Clooney takes a back seat, phoning in a fairly standard “it’ll be OK, stay calm” performance that doesn’t veer from his usual screen image.

Bullock apart, the real star of the show here is the cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.

The film looks absolutely spectacular in IMAX.

The action takes place almost entirely in near-Earth orbit, and I don’t think the sense of doom and loneliness, as well as wonder, that being in space must inspire has ever been captured so successfully.
Gravity is a technical marvel, again proving that spectacle is the one thing Hollywood still has over television drama.

The film’s 3D is marginally less pointless than usual, with some of the early scenes during the spacewalk aided by the stereoscopy.

That said, I don’t think those who want to save themselves a few pounds and see the film in 2D will be let down.

Callum McCormick


 This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"Live To Lie Again: The Ashley Smith Story" -- most requested highlight of the week by readers of this site.

"Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. reports on a Congressional hearing on Iraq.

"Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Babs Visits DC..." and "Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The apology"" -- two comics from Isaiah this week.

"Yams in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers two ways to have yams.

"7 kidnapped in Iraq September 1st taken out of Iraq (C.I.)" -- C.I. fills in for Ann.

"Ralph Nader, shut your sexist mouth"  -- Betty makes a few things very clear.

"scandal (surviving)," "MSNBC benches Baldwin for two weeks," "Alec Baldwin lies on Twitter," "Revolution (boring and does any Black person marry another?)," "Arrow," "The NewsHour's nonsense," "revenge,"  and  "The Good Wife" -- Rebecca, Kat, Marcia, Stan and Ann cover TV.

"Lone Justice" and "Skip Under The Covers vol. 3" -- Elaine and Kat cover music.

"His poll numbers keep dropping," "Octopussy's all time low" and "THIS JUST IN! OCTOPUSSY!" -- Mike, Cedric and Wally on the non-teflon coated president.

"Identity Theft?" -- Stan goes to the movies.

"Idiot of the week" -- Mike hands out the award.

"About Benghazi . . ." -- Ruth continues to cover Benghazi.

"Barack Addresses Netroots Nation" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Brightness Falls" -- Mike offers book talk.

"He'll be honest . . . this time . . . he says"  and "THIS JUST IN! HE WANTS TO BE TRUSTED!" -- file it under Someday I Suppose.

"The Progressive thinks racism is over" -- Betty takes on the latest crap out of The Progressive.

"The idiot Bob Abrams at Chicago Now,""kate dries is an idiot and so is jezebel," "Here's The Mistake Chris Hayes Made," "Chris Hayes is an Ass," "Lying Fool of the Week," and "Chris Hayes just doesn't get it" -- Ann, Rebecca, Ruth, Marcia, Stan and Elaine on those who miss the facts.

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