Sunday, November 16, 2014

Truest statement of the week

Obama was brought forward in 2008 by the media, the trade unions and pseudo-left supporters of the Democratic Party as an agent of “change” and a “transformative” candidate. Obama himself made a series of promises signaling a sharp departure from the policies of George W. Bush, who left office the most hated president in American history.
Not only were none of these pledges carried out; there was never any intention of doing so. His was a campaign of lies, reflecting the arrogant belief within the American ruling class that it can simply fool the American people through a combination of chicanery and slick marketing.
Obama has since presided over the most rapid growth of social inequality in American history, a systematic assault on jobs, wages and social programs, endless and expanding wars, and the strengthening of a police-state apparatus of spying and repression.

-- Joseph Kishore, "The illegitimate US election" (WSWS).

Truest statement of the week II

The Green Party vote in New York no doubt does express in a limited fashion popular dissatisfaction with the two-party system, but the Greens’ platform is a lengthy wish list of reformist, liberal and trade union demands, without any indication of how they might be implemented. In fact, that the Green Party is an upper middle class pressure group on the Democrats is proven by the remarkable fact that neither Obama nor the Democratic Party is criticized or even mentioned by name once in the platform!

-- David Walsh, "The Nation and the International Socialist Organization respond to the 2014 elections" (WSWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --


First, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?

Joseph Kishore gets another truest. 
We believe this is David Walsh's first truest. 
15 deaths.  When I (Jim) read about them at The Common Ills, I thought, "Well this will at least force the so-called peace movement in the US to step up to the plate."  I was wrong.  
Ava and C.I. take on shows that run off viewers. 
Dona and Rebecca both came up with this -- and they hadn't spoken about it to one another -- they just saw the supermarket rags and thought, "There's a story in this."

Short feature.
Ava and C.I. suggested this piece. 
The Iraq War continues. 
Ava and C.I. did not work on this piece.  They might have if they weren't writing their TV commentary.  They have no objections to the piece and hope it brings attention to Anjelica Huston's new book. 

Kurt Cobain performed on Band-Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in 1984?  Only on Crapapedia. 
Seriously, is he stoned? 
What we listened to while writing this edition.

Senator Patty Murray's press release. 
US House Rep Jeff Miller's press release. 
Repost from Workers World. 
Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker.

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


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

Editorial: How little they care


You probably heard today that the Islamic State executed another American.  (Peter Kassig became the third.)

And we'd gladly make that outrage our main focus if Iraqi deaths were treated as significant news.

But they're not, are they?

Last week, The Common Ills twice noted the deaths of 15 Iraqis.

  • Iraq snapshot

  • 'Improved' Iraq: Civilians killed in air strikes,...

  • Iraqi civilians in fact.

    Their deaths don't appear to have mattered to the western press.

    The same press that is outraged by the death of 1 American today had nothing to say last week when the US-led air bombing campaign over Iraq killed 15 civilians -- including "six women and four children."

    There was no lamenting those deaths on the part of the US press.

    There was no outcry.

    There was no call for accountability.

    The western press didn't even care which nation had bombed and killed the civilians.

    But today?

    Today, they're outraged over one death.

    It's a death that can be used to sell further bombings.

    The 15 deaths?

    They point to how dangerous and deadly the air campaign really is.

    So the press emphasizes 1 death that will sell further war while burying 15 deaths that would call the war into question.


    We're so very sure.

    The US press has always been for sale, right off the shelf, in a box labeled Iraq War Helper.

    TV: The networks cry, "Let them drink piss!"

    In the last ten years, viewer erosion has become acceptable as one show after another starts off huge and quickly caters.  In fact, Fox has built an entire line up around shows with massive viewer erosion.

    You could even argue that Fox not only owns viewer erosion, it's pioneering new ways to accelerate it.

    Take The Following.  The Kevin Bacon melodrama suffered what's now considered normal erosion throughout season one.  But as season two kicked off and viwers were told Claire (Natalie Zea) was dead (had died offscreen), the ratings went south with the ninth episode reaching now just a season low but a series low.

    Episode ten revealed Claire really wasn't dead and the audience began to return but still much below the viewership season one had.

    Last season also saw Family Guy take a turn for the worse in the ratings as well.

    Episode six shocked many as the show killed off the dog in "Life of Brian."  The chatter and attention actually helped the next two episodes without Brian and his return also did well.  But fans responded to the trick (and slap in the face) as the season continued by fleeing in droves.

    The series ended on a season low.  This season, barring The Simpsons' crossover, has also demonstrated a bond was broken with the audience with the stunt of killing off Brian.

    You'd think suits would be paying attention but they clearly aren't because this Let Them Drink Piss approach to viewers is spreading to other networks.

    CBS built their audience around sameness.  If you hate change, chances are you're a loyal CBS viewer.

    So it's all the more surprising that the network's hit Elementary has decided to split up Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu).  That's the surprise.  The audience reaction hasn't been and Thursday night saw the series hit a season and series low.

    Reality, audiences can take misery.

    They can even enjoy it.

    Years ago, One Life To Live had Judith Light's Karen Wolek pretend to go back into 'the life' and it cut her off from her friends.  The audience response was harsh until several scenes made clear that Victoria Lord (Erika Slezak) was tortured by the decision of her friend Karen and, after Vicki and her boys left, that Karen was tortured by keeping the truth from Vicki.  From that moment on, the audience was on board.

    They were no longer suffering alone as they watched, they knew that the characters they loved were suffering as well.

    If Holmes and Watson are going to be apart, the viewers don't want to see Holmes eagerly replacing Watson.  They want to know that the characters hate the separation as much as they do.

    Why you'd go with that storyline to begin with is a mystery, one more implausible than anything Sherlock Holmes has ever tackled.

    Some have offered that Elementary is down because it's up against ABC's ratings powerhouse How To Get Away With Murder and there may be a little truth to that; however, it's also true that last season saw Elementary go up against ABC's ratings powerhouse Scandal.

    Point being, Elementary isn't losing viewers to How To Get Away With Murder, it's sending them over to the other network.

    And then there's Grimm.

    NBC's supernatural series is in season four and has lost three to four million viewers since the end of season three.

    If you're asking, "How did that happen?" . . . Congratulations, you're stupid enough to work in NBC's executive suite.

    However, you're too smart to work at NBC if you're gnashing your teeth and snarling, "Curses, April!"

    In 1980, ABC launched a silly but successful sitcom entitled Too Close For Comfort.  It was a Three's Company rip-off with Ted Knight playing the Stanley Roper role as he fixated over the actions of his tenants (and daughters) Sarah (Lydia Cornell)  and Jackie (Deborah Van Valkenburgh) and their friend Monroe. The cast was energetic and vibrant and managed to provide a solid half hour of entertainment despite frequently tired scripts. When a show survives on just the appeal of the performers, a network can breathe easy.

    Unless someone knows how to 'fix' the show.

    Fade in on a season two and horror of sexually ambiguous April played by the annoying Deena Freeman.  Was April a man or a woman, straight or lesbian, who knew?  There were some who swore she'd be revealed as a transvestite -- thereby going back to the pilot when Henry (Ted Knight) discovers his deceased tenant Rafkin was a transvestite.

    But everything April did was odd, distracting and annoying.

    She pulled the viewers out of the confection the rest of the cast was spinning by always being too loud and too abrasive.

    Her mannish female was an oddity.  All the more so because no one ever commented on it or acknowledged it.

    Did someone say Truble?

    Near the end of last season, Jacqueline Toboni joined the cast of Grimm playing the most mannish female on NBC since Nancy McKeon's Jo of Facts of Life.

    Truble is as annoying as a Joe Pesci in drag.   She fails to blend in with the other performers and is instead a shark suit in a field of flannel.

    It's bad enough that she's even on the show, this actress who sends audiences fleeing with her mumbling and macho posturing.  But the producers really want to punish the audiences so they've allowed her to have "Grimm powers" (the ability to look at a demon in human form and see them as they really are) while stripping Nick of his "Grimm powers."

    At least half the audience would be overjoyed if Nick (David Giuntoli) was stripped regularly -- of his clothes.  But when you start taking away his power, you're undercutting the character and the reason the audience watches.

    And the ratings reflect that.

    We're seeing another shift in ratings.

    The last ten or so years made it acceptable to keep airing a show that repeatedly lost viewers (call it The 30 Rock Pursuit).  Now there's a move to actively work at sending even more viewers fleeing by taking away the very elements that made anyone want to watch a show in the first place.

    How long before fed up viewers begin storming the executive suites of Burbank?

    What supermarket patrons learn about Barack

    Dolly Parton advises in Steel Magnolias, "It is essential to stay abreast of the latest styles."

    With that in mind, we checked out the political coverage of the tabloids.

    The Globe puts Barack on the cover with "After devastating election disaster OBAMA'S SECRET MENTAL BREAKDOWN."

    "Barack is a broken man," "a D.C. insider" tells the tabloid.

    He's said to be "boozing more to try to ease his pain," "sobbing" at night, and "wandering the White House halls talking to portraits of dead Presidents."

    And the tabloid states that he has declared, "I'll resign before they can impeach me."

    They also declare a jealous Michelle Obama is "convinced her husband's been cheating."

    Even worse, following the election, as Barack "begged" Michelle for help, she snapped, "Man up! You've destroyed my life, too."

    The affairs?

    The National Examiner proclaims on the cover "OBAMA HID GAY LIFESTYLE TO BE PRESIDENT."

    The publication maintains, "If this stuff had leaked out, Obama would be unemployed instead of in the White House."

    The article links Barack in a hot and heavy affair with Larry Sinclair, to the death of choir director Donald Young, notes "Harlem preacher James David Manning" has claimed Barack had a sexual affair with Jeremiah Wright, that Wayne Madsen ("former naval intelligence officer") "claims then-Illinois state Sen. Obama frequented Chicago's Man's Country bathhouse, a well-known hookup place for gays."  They even bring in "Windy City homosexual Kevin DuJan" to insist that Barack "is not bi-sexual -- he's homosexual."

    Even animals flee at the sight of him

    Like most American voters, the  Australian koala bear seems desperate to get away from Barack.

    Political Art is Free Speech

    Katie Yoder at the right-wing Newsbusters wrote about how some veterans were objecting to Creators Syndicate columnist Connie Schultz writing about Dawn Hanson's "Flag of Reproductive Freedom."

    There's a lot of confusion here.

    Hopefully, any veterans objecting were misled by Yoder's nonsense which tried to tie the flag into Veterans Day -- as if the artist or the columnist (or both) were using the flag as some sort of representation of Veterans Day.

    Yoder can be offended by the art all she wants, her reaction is her reaction and she needs to own it.  And art is supposed to provoke a reaction.

    But she tried to trash Schultz by bringing in Veterans Day which really wasn't a point.

    The only way it becomes a point is when whiners start bitching.

    Dawn Hanson did a piece of political art -- pulling the stars from the US flag and replacing them with buttons representing birth control pills.  In Schultz's word, "The first three rows -- weeks one through three -- are white; in the last row -- week four -- the buttons are pink. The days of the week run along the top: SUN, MON, TUE -- you get the idea."

    In fairness to Yoder, Hanson's work is rudimentary and not noted for artistry.

    It is, however, art.  And art  -- especially political art which has a much lower threshold -- is part of free speech, which is guaranteed in the Constitution -- a Constitution any veteran should grasp since he or she took an oath to uphold it.

    Is it good art?

    As political art, it possibly is.

    As art-art?


    It's tacky because it has no depth to it.

    It's a telegram that says everything bluntly.

    The color scheme isn't all that (and don't say the artist was limited -- when you're replacing the stars on the flag, you can replace anything else).

    We're not opposed to art noting reproductive freedom.

    We just don't embrace bad art.

    And, again, that's what we consider the piece hanging in Connie Schultz's home to be: Bad art.

    But it is art and it is an artist engaging in political speech.

    Instead of trying to condemn Connie or the artist Dawn Hanson as unpatriotic, the two should be applauded for engaging in political speech and strengthening democracy by doing so.

    And you can applaud them for that without embracing the work of art itself.

    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
    Poll1 { display:none; }