Sunday, August 23, 2015

Truest statement of the week

In a recent interview with the renowned journalist [and vain self-searcher on the internet] David Cay Johnston on Democracy Now, “David Cay Johnson: 21 Questions for Trump on Kickbacks, Busting Unions, the Mob & Corporate Welfare” (August 19, 2015), the chicken hawk analogy came up once again. Johnston described alleged questionable business dealings by presidential candidate Donald Trump and conflated Trump’s behavior with his avoidance of the draft during the Vietnam War. “And I think that’s consistent with Donald having so assiduously avoided the draft.” He continues, “Donald is not a guy to put himself in any position that he thinks might represent any kind of physical danger to him whatsoever.” Wow!
Trump’s policy pronouncements sound like an interchange between characters in a Marx Brothers’ movie, but the representation of draft resistance in this manner was nothing less than insulting.

-- Howard Lisnoff, "War Resistance and the Cowardice Slur" (CounterPunch).

Truest statement of the week II

Most Americans are unaware that unemployment does not occur by chance, but is manipulated by those who run the country on behalf of the ruling plutocrats and their corporations.
Unless millions of people are kept unemployed, wages will rise, so the psychopaths who rule do not allow anything approaching full employment.  I say psychopaths because they claim to be intelligent and informed people, so one would assume they know that keeping unemployment high results in massive suffering --  hunger, homelessness, the world’s largest prison system and other horrors for the masses.

-- Jack Balkwill, "Janet Yellen About to Destroy Hope for the Working Class?" (Dissident Voice).

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?

We added a bracket note to this.  Johnston knows why, don't worry, he damn well knows why.
A first truest for Jack Balkwill.
At what point do the steonographers tire of turning out advertising copy and actually start reporting on Iraq?

Ava and C.I.  They don't review shows before the shows air for the most part.  They did with Heroes (by mistake) and accidentally included spoilers.  They did with Daredevil because a friend with the project asked them to.  (He was unsure how the reviews would go and knew Ava and C.I. had loved the scripts and enjoyed the scenes they saw the day they visited the set.)  That's really it.  Then CBS friends presented them with Supergirl.  And they wanted to hurl.
A good question.  And, please note, Amazon's not too crazy about any women.
We sample chips.
What we listened to this edition.
Press release from Senator Menendez's office.
Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker. 
From former Senator Jim Webb's campaign.

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

And that's what we ended up with.


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

Editorial: Iraq the unexamined

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is now in week three of his alleged reforms.

At what point does the press intend to offer serious analysis?

At what point do they intend to do more than repeat his claims?

Claims aren't facts.

The press gets that right?

We have to ask because there's the issue of his fighting corruption by doing away certain ministries.

From last Monday's Iraq snapshot:

Sunday, Haider's actions began to more closely resemble a power grab and to be less and less about reforms as he announced he would be  hacking away at the Cabinet -- with no one pointing out that the Constitution does not give him that power.  Reuters states he's taken the Cabinet from 33 ministers to 22.  Among the posts eliminated?  The Minister of Human Rights and the Minister of State for Women's Affairs.  (CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq also notes thee two posts are being eliminated.)

In his announcement, Haider claims that he has the power under Article 78 of the Constitution.

That's interesting.  Article 78 of the Iraqi Constitution:

Article 78:
First: The President of the Republic shall take up the office of the Prime Minister in the event the post becomes vacant for any reason whatsoever.
Second: The President must designate another nominee to form the cabinet within a period not to exceed fifteen days in accordance with the provisions of article 73 of this Constitution.

Where does that give Haider the power to eliminate ministries?

In his announcement, he notes that he is cancelling the following: the Minister of Human Rights, the Minister of State for Women's Affairs, the Minister for State for Provincial Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs and the Minister of State while merging a number of ministries.

This morning, we noted of the move to eliminated the Women's Affairs ministry, "If Haider's moving to end corruption, if that's why he's doing this, how much corruption is ended by abolishing a ministry that's never had a real budget?"

Kurdish MP Muthanna Amin today also noted the nonsense and the fakery.  Rudaw reports:

“The prime minister has decided to close the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, whose monthly budget is only 150,000 Iraqi dinars (about  $120,” Amin claimed, saying it had little impact on reducing government expenses.
Amin said the ministry comprised of only three rooms in the same building as the council of ministers, without mentioning other costs, such as salaries and security for ministry officials.

 Yet the western press is presenting these moves as a fight against corruption.

How does eliminating the Women's Affairs ministry address corruption?

It doesn't.

So when is the press going to stop giving Haider a pass and start doing their damn job?

TV: Supergirl floats in on sexism and never redeems nor recovers

CBS' upcoming Supergirl is not a bad show but you can't exactly call it a good show.

While often entertaining (Calista Flockhart carries most of the solid moments in her role as Supergirl's boss), the show fails as a superhero show.


Some will argue it plays like the "Marvel Gets Women" Saturday Night Live skit last May when Scarlett Johansson hosted the show and played Black Widow starring in a rom-com.

It's actually worse than that.

It's like the attempt to bring Wonder Woman to TV.

No, we're not talking about Lynda Carter's strong performance on the live action 70s show.

We're talking about the pilot made in 1967 whee Wonder Woman is played by Linda Harrison and her secret identity Diana Prince is played by a fumbling Ellie Wood Walker.  It was called Who's Afraid of Diana Prince and the whole point was that a female superhero is a joke.

You can watch the pilot here and see Diana fall off the couch and need her mother's help to get up.

What's really sad about the pilot is that William Dozier produced it.

And even sadder, he did so in 1967.

Fall 1967 was when Yvonne Craig joined Dozier's successful TV show Batman.  In its third and final season, Craig played Batgirl in 26 episodes.

Batgirl was a huge step forward for women in action shows.

In action scenes, she frequently fought men, in action scenes she frequently teamed up with Burt Ward's Robin where the two, as equals, fought the evil doers.

Craig often credited her ballet training with giving her the skill needed for the action scenes.

While she carried off those scenes, she also carried off the non-action scenes.

Neither Batgirl nor Barbara Gordon (her secret identity) was a bimbo.

Both were intelligent women.

Batgirl and her motorcycle were iconic images of 60s television which left a lasting impact.

When Wonder Woman was attempted again in 1974 as television movie (and pilot) starring Cathy Lee Crosby, there was no attempt to turn Wonder Woman into a joke or to make her That Girl in search of a Donald.

Another TV movie, this one starring Lynda Carter, was a big success and led to the series Wonder Woman which ran one season on ABC and two on CBS.

At the same time, Lindsay Wagner was starring in The Bionic Woman and making significant contributions to the story arc and the sensibilities of that show as well as delivering a performance so strong that she won an Emmy for Best Actress.

During this time, there was also the first season of Charlie's Angels which found Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith playing three adult women who were private investigators.

The first season was full of humor and wit and, again, the women were women.

That changed with the addition of Cheryl Ladd as Kris.

It is true that, replacing Farrah Fawcett, Ladd felt the best move was to come on like the kid sister but she degraded the show in so many ways.

It became juvenile and smutty.

Kris was an embarrassment and so was Cheryl Ladd who took to mocking the show, while it was airing, by repeatedly doing this little number for the press in interviews (print interviews) where she'd stand up, play like she was pulling out a gun, stop and toss her hair wildly and then say, "I said freeze!"

Cheryl Ladd mocked the show and didn't take it seriously at all.

In her more 'thoughtful' moments she would expound upon being a "sex object" or just "sexy."

While Kate, Jaclyn and Farrah had worn jeans and sensible outfits unless their characters were undercover, the addition of Cheryl changed the wardrobe -- either she was overdressed or she was underdressed.

On the latter, Cher infamously noted of her battles with CBS over her wardrobe, "All I know is I got in trouble for showing my belly button, and then when I finally did go off the air every time I turned around all I saw were Cheryl Ladd's boobs."


Kate Jackson would leave the show, in part, because of that nonsense.

A lot of people worked really hard to carry women forward on TV and a lot  worked just as hard to turn women into a joke.

At its most cutesy, Supergirl resembles the backlash first seasons of Alias.

It wasn't as though everyone threw in the towel.

The CW was airing Nikita -- the finest show they've aired ever -- which starred Maggie Q in the title role and which not only co-starred Lyndsy Fonesca and Melinda Clarke but also featured women guest stars in prominent role -- that's a long, long way from Alias attempting the Deanne Durbin formula of 100 Men and a Girl.

 "How do you expect to get a husband flying around all the time?"

That's from the failed 1967 attempt at a Wonder Woman TV show but it could easily fit into an episode of Supergirl.

And if you think we're being harsh  maybe you missed David Hinckley's report for The New York Daily News which opened, "The way you make a good TV shout of Supergirl, says the man who is now trying to do that, is to forget the 'super' and concentrate on the 'girl'."

"The man" is Greg Berlanti.

Greg has a lot of interest in undressing men on Arrow and The Flash but he let them be men.

Supergirl is a "girl."

And he's stressing it's a work place comedy and that it's important that people know Supergirl can be defeated by more than just kryptonite and . . .

His show is patronizing and sexist.

Yes, Calista does a great job.

But she doesn't belong on this show.

No one does.

Because Supergirl shouldn't be a rom-com, it should be an action series.

There was no effort to comedy up Arrow.

It's telling that this gay male producer, known for undressing one man after another in one show after another, but not known for developing one interesting female character in the last three years, chooses to do a show focused on a woman ("girl" in his words) and he's only interested in stripping her of her strength and powers.

Maybe the answer was to let a woman -- straight or gay -- be in charge of Supergirl?

And if that seems harsh, other than casting some closeted gay actors in his shows, what has Greg given to the cause?

If he wanted to do another DC superhero  why not do Batwoman?

Batwoman is a gay character.

She's also an adult.

Former military.

She's not working at a glossy fashion magazine.

Oliver Queen isn't either.  Nor  is Barry Allen.

But that's the life for Supergirl?

When the show flops, the word on it won't be, "They tried to turn a superhero show into a comedy and viewers hated it."

No, the failure will be pinned on women.  It will be said, "America's just not ready for female superheroes" -- as the leaked Sony e-mails have already revealed.

As if to rub salt in a wound, MeTV chose to note the passing of Yvonne Craig on Saturday by airing two episodes of Batman with her in it.  This was what passed as a tribute from the network that has treated the passing of any male actor on a show they air as a monumental event but all they could spare for Yvonne Craig, the actress who paved the way for so many --  one hour.

Why does Amazon hate Michelle Pfeiffer

Amazon's labor practices sometimes get attention.

But it seems like we're the only ones monitoring Amazon's sexism.

This go round, we're focusing on three time Academy Award nominee Michelle Pfeiffer.

Michelle's starred in many films . . . unless you go by Amazon instant video.

We'll offer four examples.


Three people featured promoting The Age of Innocence.  Not one of them is Joanne Woodard (Joanne does narration in the film -- after Jane Fonda turned down the task).  Michelle Pfeiffer was the female lead.

But she's not noted, is she?


She is the star of Married To The Mob.

Alec Baldwin?

He plays her husband and is killed in the first 15 minutes.

Michelle is the star of the film -- unless you're Amazon.


Wolf finds her re-teaming with Jack Nicholson (they worked together on The Witches of Eastwick).  They're co-stars.

But Michelle doesn't get billing from Amazon.

They do note Elaine May.

Elaine May's role in the film?

Her voice is heard delivering a wake up call to Jack Nicholson's character.

Again, why does Amazon hate Michelle Pfeiffer.


And then there's Batman Returns.

Danny DeVito?

Fine character actor.  Not at his best in this film.

There were no calls for Tim Burton to make a film about the Penguin.

But Michelle's performance as Catwoman was a revelation and there were multiple attempts at coming up with a premise for Burton and Pfeiffer to reteam for a Catwoman film.

We can do this with multiple actresses (and with more Michelle Pfeiffer films).

Why does Amazon continue to degrade women and to dilute their credits?

From The TESR Test Kitchen

Lays, the potato chip whose motto was "you can't eat just one."

Who could argue with that?

Not us until we encountered two new varieties last week.


Angie Fu gets a credit on the package of Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries while Jeff Solensky gets the credit on the bag of New York Reuben.

Neither chip tastes like what the bag proclaims.

But of the two, New York Reuben is probably the least offensive.

That's because its spices are pretty much baked in.

The Truffle Fries?

You need a napkin  to wipe your hand after just three chips.  The spices get all over your fingers like no chip since Cheetos.

And the taste?

Again, they don't taste like what they're supposed to and, also, they don't taste that good period.

This edition's playlist

1) Diana Ross' The Boss.

2) Diana Ross' diana.

3) Diana Ross' Swept Away.

4) Diana Ross' Every Day Is A New Day.

5) Diana Ross' Touch Me In The Morning.

6) Diana Ross' Eaten Alive.

7) Diana Ross' Force Behind The Power.

8) Diana Ross' Diana Ross

9) Diana Ross' Diana Extended: The Remixes.

10)  Diana Ross & the Supremes' Gold. 

And for more on Diana Ross' music, check out:

"Mirror Mirror," "I'm Coming Out," "'Chain Reaction'," "Workin' Overtime," "Swept Away," "Diana Ross' 'Not Over You Yet'," "'Love Hangover'," "surrender," "Diana Ross" and "Where Did Our Love Go"

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