Monday, March 06, 2017

Truest statement of the week

This time, it was even easier than last summer because, in the interim, many of the pseudo-insurgents had swallowed the poisoned pill of neo-McCarthyism, draining their “movement” of all moral authority. After all, if one believes the Big Lie that “the Russians” and their suborned collaborators at Wikileaks were the evil, outside force that had fatally weakened Hillary Clinton year’s long campaign, then the Bernie phenomenon was tainted, too. If Donald Trump’s presidency is mainly the product of a Russian disinformation and destabilization operation, rather than voter rejection of the corporate status quo, then it is the duty of every patriotic Democrat to avoid further rancor within the party, and to unite against the common foe in the Kremlin and his “puppet” in the White House. Which is precisely what Keith Ellison did, in Atlanta, joining with Tom Perez in calling for an investigation of the Trump campaign’s alleged dealings with Russians.
John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, has been absolved. Wikileaks documents showed Podesta had early in the campaign urged Democratic operatives and cooperative media to boost Donald Trump’s candidacy, in the belief that far-right Republicans would be easier to beat. Logically, Trump owes Podesta for at least a portion of the $2 billion in free media publicity he received at the start of his quest -- gifts from the same media corporations that ignored Bernie Sanders’ campaign as long as they could, and would later blame Vladimir Putin for Trump’s success. It now appears that the bulk of Bernie’s supporters have now also bought into the Russian Conspiracy Theory, rendering their intra-party insurgency moot.

-- Glen Ford, "Keith Ellison: Sheep-dogging Through Trumpland" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

George W. Bush vowed not to criticize Barack Obama. “He deserves my silence.” He added for good measure, “I love my country more than I love politics. I think it is essential that he be helped in office.” If anyone needed additional proof that Obama was a servant of the ruling classes Bush certainly provided it.
But Donald Trump is getting less love from his fellow Republican. Bush could have exercised the same self-imposed silence in regards to Trump but instead he made a thinly veiled critique of his remark that the press are enemies of the people. "I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. That we need the media to hold people like me to account. I mean, power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive and it's important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere."

Fine words but they don’t mean much to a man who used a compliant corporate media to wage war and attack our civil liberties. Media were certainly indispensable to Bush. They wouldn’t even use the word torture when describing American brutality. “Harsh interrogation techniques” and other such weasel words appeared in order to keep the press in his good graces. Bush and Obama certainly knew the media were essential in helping to normalize their agenda of American aggression and the enactment of neo-liberal schemes at home. 

-- Margaret Kimberley, "Freedom Rider: Liberals Expose Themselves" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another edition.

Let's 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:

Glen Ford gets another truest.
As does Margaret Kimberley.
It's whose fault?
Ava and C.I. examine FEUD.
We roundtable.
So the press says "no story here" and that's the end of it?

It says it all.
Again, if he was your governor, it's your issue and run with it.
One point not in the piece: Hate motivated all of it.  He was trying to set up a woman he hated.
What we listened to while writing.


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

Editorial: The Mosul refugee problem is whose fault?

Mosul was seized by the Islamic State in June of 2014.

For two years, the Iraqi government did nothing.

Finally, in October of 2016, Hayder al-Abadi, prime minister of Iraq, kicked off an operation that he said would liberate Iraq.

It's many days later, 140 as we type this on 3/6/17.

The Mosul Slog has been successful . . . in producing refugees.

  1. Report: More than 200,000 displaced as a result of the Iraqi forces' battle to retake the city of Mosul from ISIL

Two years before the government took action.

Two years.

And now that the operation has created yet another refugee crisis, what happens.

The government blames the United Nations.

THE NATIONAL reported:

An Iraqi minister on Saturday sharply criticised UN efforts to aid the tens of thousands of civilians fleeing the fighting in west Mosul.
"Unfortunately, there is a clear shortfall in the work of these (UN) organisations," said Jassem Mohammed Al Jaff, the minister of displacement and migration. When asked to elaborate, MrJaff said: "The United Nations talks a lot but the efforts being made are little, despite the huge amount of money in their possession."

The failure is not the United Nations.

The failure is the Iraqi government and, yes, that includes the Minister of Displacement and Migration.

mohammed ali eljaf

Mohammed Al Jaff is one of the few Iraqi politicians in a position of power who can claim he never fled Iraq.

So you'd think he'd be able to take some accountability.

But you'd be wrong.

Despite having two years to craft a plan, they apparently never considered the refugees the operation would create.

They clearly failed at planning.

Now as their failure is seen around the world, they whine about the United Nations.

TV: FEUD as commentary on and off screen

"There was never a rivalry like theirs," we're told at the beginning of episode one of FX's FEUD.

The rivalry?

The one between Academy Award winners Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.


It was, indeed a long running one.

Not unlike the one between Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, possibly that could be the focus of season three?  (Show runner Ryan Murphy has already announced season two will focus on Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana.)

Marilyn Monroe figures in the series.

We're told it's 1961 and Marilyn has just won the Golden Globe (for SOME LIKE IT HOT, which we're not told).  Joan Crawford is offended.

She leaves.

The next day, Hedda Hopper shows up demanding a quote.

That never happened.

It was The Photoplay Awards, 1952. Marilyn was winning her first Photoplay Award (Fastest Rising Star of 1952 -- in 1953, she'd win Most Popular Female Star and in 1954 she's win Best Actress for GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES and HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE).

Joan didn't speak to Hedda.

She spoke to Bob Thomas (ASSOCIATED PRESS).

Her quote in the series to Hedda is what Bob Thomas published.

Liberties like this are taken throughout the series -- to grab the best lines each actress is famous for and use them in the mini-series.

This is a dramatic series,not a documentary.

Hedda Hopper is portrayed by Academy Award nominee Judy Davis, Academy Award winner Kathy Bates plays actress Joan Blondell and Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Academy Award winner Olivia de Havilland.

The stars?

Academy Award winners Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange play Academy Award winners Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

The two stars, in promoting the series, talk about an understanding on Bette and Joan that the mini-series offers.

They're not wrong.

This isn't a simple bitchfest.

Instead, it provides context.

Films are being made.

But there's no real interest in women.  Certainly not women over forty.

They're not making their films anymore, Joan tells Bette who insists it's cyclical.

It's left to Joan to point out that by the time the cycle changes, they'll be forgotten.

This is the environment that finds both eager to do the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?

What's the cycle that led Susan and Jessica to do this series?

That's not meant as an insult.

This is strong mini-series and Susan and Jessica give great performances.

But where else would they give these?

Seeing LOGAN this weekend, we were assaulted with superhero trailers (POWER RANGERS and DEADPOOL II) and space movies.

The best film, the only real film, covered before LOGAN was THE LAST WORD but, instead of a trailer, we got a brief interview with stars Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried.

It's an independent film.

Remember when Parker Posey was the Queen of the Independents?

Can you go further back and remember when Jennifer Jason Leigh held that title?

If women want to engage in physical battle, they might get the lead in a major motion picture.

Otherwise, not really.

And there are only so many low budget films being made.

Which is how Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon end up on television.

As much as Ryan Murphy's making a statement about the roles established actresses could win in the 1960s, he's also (unintentionally?) making a statement about the roles established actresses can win in the 2010s.

Susan and Jessica are on FX, the network that also heavily promotes its show BASKETS -- you know, the one where Louie Anderson plays a mother.

That's the world we live in.

Few opportunities for actresses and, when there's a role of mother, they have to hope a man doesn't go for the role.

This is supposed to be a new golden age for television.

But for all the new channels and all the new streaming options, very few shows are being created around female leads.

FEUD delivers a series of strong roles for many actresses (and Mark Valley runs with his brief cameo as Gary Merrill) but, most of all, it underscores how much of a struggle it still is to get the stories of women told.


Jim: Roundtable time, but we're confining it to just the core of THIRD.  Remember our e-mail address is  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim;  plusC.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,  You are reading a rush transcript.  Jane Fonda was in the news last week.  An e-mail from Carol argues that her noting she was raped and abused as a child is about "forty years too late."

C.I.: This has to do with the interview she did with Brie Larson.  In terms of Carol's feelings, she can feel whatever she wants.  Possibly, she's a victim of abuse or attacks, I don't know.  But Jane doesn't owe anyone anything in terms of disclosures.  That's true of any survivor of rape or abuse.  Some people will never be comfortable discussing it publicly.  Some will need time to discuss it publicly.  Whatever they decide, that's their truth and it's not an obligation.  In an ideal world, every survivor would feel comfortable discussing what happened publicly.  That's not where we are yet.  Jane's honesty last week helps get us a little closer to that state.

Jim: So she doesn't owe it to come forward?

C.I.: She owes it to herself and her loved ones to get as healthy as she can.  That's all she owes.  And one of the great truth tellers, Tina Turner, used to talk about how when she told her truth some would listen and some would hear -- which is another reality.  Sometimes people aren't ready for the truth.

Jim: And sometimes people don't hear.  Catherine Shoard, THE GUARDIAN, has a piece on the interview that states of Fonda "the actor also said she has been fired from films because she refused to sleep with her boss."

C.I.: That's not supported by the interview.  I believe Jane's referring to when she was harassed on the job and that was in France before she started acting.  It wasn't an acting job.  Jane started out under contract to family friend Josh Logan.  She bought her way out of that contract.  As the daughter of the in demand Henry Fonda and then as the wife of Roger Vadim, she had more security than most women.  Her worst experiences on film sets tended to be with the likes of Joseph Losey, where they are at odds over interpretation of the source material.

Jim: Any other thoughts on the interview?

Ty: The power of no.  C.I.'s preached that.  Brie's talking about it in the piece.

Ava: Tom Hayden had a ranting e-mail to C.I. about that and he also trashed it publicly.  My thoughts then, before he died, were, "Of course he would trash it."  He's more of a predator and always was.  Brie's talking about owning power -- the same as C.I. -- when you're in a position that you may not have traditional power.  It's an important lesson.  And it's one a predator won't like.  A predator never likes to hear "no."

Dona: Also on the article, actress Brie Larson is talking about speaking out and Jane's saying that when people complain it's because you have a power.  I don't agree with that.

Jess: What do you think?

Dona: Well I believe that there are times when it's about you using your power but there's also times where you're just a broken record and no one wants to hear it anymore.  There's an episode of AMERICAN DAD where Roger's like "let it go" to Hayley when she's going on about Bully Boy Bush.

Ty: I think some confuse talking politics and issues with talking partisanship.  I haven't followed Brie Larson so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.  But no one wants to hear partisanship.  I agree with you, Donna, when people are being blah blah blah about a Mitt Romney or a Hillary Clinton or whomever, it's just a yawn.  They're boring as hell.

Jess:  I'd agree.  Take an idiot like Alyssa Milano, she promotes The White Helmets because she's too stupid to realize they're a propaganda front.  She promotes that, her every day is about anti-Trump Tweets.  I suppose it plays to the politically stupid but what she fails to grasp is that the Democrats (a) are not an answer as the last decades have demonstrated and that (b) many of us live far beyond the two party duopoly.

Jim: Especially in the current environment where Democrats do nothing but harp on Russia.  Is that their answer to the economy?  Is that what's going to win over voters?  It's paranoia and it sounds nutty.

Ty: Let's talk about issues.  Jessica Lange, Sissy Spacek talking about the foreclosures on American farms, that's an issue.  Jane Fonda talking about rape and abuse?  That's an issue.  Susan Sarandon speaking out against the Iraq War?  That's an issue.

Jess: And issues matter.  Let's use your last example, Susan Sarandon.  She got attacked viciously for speaking out against the Iraq War.  And that could go to the point about getting attacked because you have power.  That said, I think even some of the people who attacked her back then respect her now.  She spoke about something that mattered.  It was a real issue.  She showed integrity.

Dona: Whining about Hillary Clinton losing does not show integrity.  She's a War Hawk and a liar.  The party needed a better candidate and should have gone with Bernie over her.  Hillary lost because she's a loser with endless baggage.  People seemed to think that we had no choice and we would just vote for her regardless.


[Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS   "Hillary Talks To Bernie."]

C.I.: On that, I don't think they get your generation at all.

Ava: I would agree with that.  We're the generation who grew up with gay as not shocking.  We're the generation that grew up with war is wrong.  And we grew up with people like Susan Sarandon drawin lines -- rightly, that's not an insult to her.  So this idea that we'll just do as we're told and vote for who we're told to?  I'm sorry, we're not scared little bunnies who grew up in the shadow of McCarthy and nuclear war.  We're not brainwashed.  That's what they don't get about their Russia bulls**t.  It works well for the elderly like Nancy Pelosi.  But they can't grasp that our entire lives has not been about hating 'the other.'

C.I.: And the campaign for Hillary, let's be honest, wasn't about promises to voters, it was about creating 'the other.'  She was too self-involved to realize she needed to appeal to voters.

Jim: Exactly.  There was no campaign.  There was no effort to appeal.  It was all about crooked Hillary is owed this and Donald Trump is evil.  That was the whole slogan.

Ty: And we're the generation that can't be scared into being good little sheep.

Dona: They don't get it.  They really don't.  They think they're the only show in town even though we've had decades of people dropping out of the voting process because they don't believe in it.

Jess: And one reason is the Electoral College.  And don't whine that Hillary lost it to Donald but won the popular vote.  If the Democratic Party gave a damn about that, they should have fought to change it after the 2000 election.  They didn't want to.

Ty: Because it makes election easy for the duopoly.  If they had to compete for every vote, they wouldn't know how to campaign.  Instead, the electoral college makes a few states important and that's how they campaign.

Dona: And they move to the right, forever to the right.  The left isn't represented by the Democratic Party.  The corporations are represented by both parties. So when some little hack like Alyssa Milano wants to pimp the Democratic Party, people roll their eyes.  You know Alyssa still thinks she's seen as young?  She's a 44-year-old hack who got lucky with CHARMED where (a) she got to fire Shannen and (b) Holly Marie Combs did all the heavy acting.  Then she flopped for years.  Then she got lucky with MISTRESSES but producer Rina Mimoun wouldn't indulge Alyssa's tantrums and when Alyssa gave ABC the ultimatum of her or me, ABC went with Rina at which point, in an attempt at face saving, Alyssa said she was quitting.  She's a hacktress.  She didn't even have the talent to pull off the role of Jennifer Mancini on MELROSE PLACE.  She's so limited in her acting.  And you don't think about that until she's screeching about Trump while insisting it's for her children's future.  Which only reminds you that she never spoke out against the Iraq War.

The assholes have spoken

In his final weeks as president, Barack Obama may or may not have attempted to set a trap for incoming president Donald Trump.

On the heels of those whispers, President Donald Trump Tweeted on Saturday:

  1. Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show
  2. How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
  3. I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!
  4. Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!

  1. Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

Immediately, the corporate media went into overdrive to insist that no such thing took place.

  • Washington reacts?

  • Know the assholes spoke.

  • In contrast, ACLU notes:

  • The Guardian reported that, last summer, the FBI sought an order from the FISA Court for permission to monitor four members of the Trump campaign team suspected of “irregular contacts” with Russian officials. Reports suggest that the initial application was denied — a detail President Trump appears to have confirmed in his tweets. But, according to other news reports, a judge on the FISA Court eventually granted a narrower surveillance application in October 2016. While these accounts all indicate that the FBI relied on FISA to conduct its spying, we don’t know exactly whom the FBI sought to target or on what grounds. One story suggests that the government ultimately obtained permission to target individuals or entities in Russia who were believed to be communicating with then-candidate Trump and at least three other members of the Trump campaign. Because the identities of the “targets” named in the wiretap order are still unknown, it’s unclear whom, exactly, the FISA Court found to be a foreign agent when it authorized the surveillance.
    Regardless of who the target was, however, it is critical to note that this FISA surveillance would have been individually approved by a court and could not simply have been conducted on President Obama’s order — a point made clearly in a statement released over the weekend by a spokesperson for the former president. Indeed, that was the very type of abuse that FISA was enacted to prevent.
    There is no doubt we need more information to shed light on what did and did not happen.

  • A lot more honesty is offered by WIKILEAKS:

  • Obama has a history of tapping & hacking his friends and rivals

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