Sunday, December 28, 2014

Truest statement of the week

Even supposedly serious thinkers succumbed and revealed more about their own fantasies than any insight about Cuba. Liberal pundit David Corn could only think of his stereotypes in a startling missive posted on twitter. “Cuba's a swell place to visit. Beaches, rum, baseball, music. It'll be great for more USers to visit-& that could counter repression there.” If there were a prize awarded for truly stupid twitter posts, Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin should win with these words, “Obama spoke with Raul Castro yesterday. The ice is melting. Mojitos for all!”
It is difficult to know where to begin in analyzing such nonsense. It isn’t clear what Corn means by repression, but surely the presence of Americans having fun has never made people safe anywhere in the world. As for Benjamin, anyone whose response to a foreign policy decision includes references to a cocktail should be ignored now and forever. 

-- Margaret Kimberley, "Freedom Rider: Cuba in the American Imagination" (Black Agenda Report).

Truest statement of the week II

No one can argue against the end of a 16 year-long ordeal for the Cuban Five, but there are no benevolent motives behind the Obama administration’s actions. The United States did not suddenly give up its plan for unipolar domination. Indeed we must assume that these latest moves are part of the larger plan to bring every nation to heel. 

-- Margaret Kimberley, "Freedom Rider: Cuba in the American Imagination" (Black Agenda Report).

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?

Margaret Kimberley gets a truest.
In fact, she gets two.

We really hope the rank and file of the current movement are much smarter than we were.  We trusted that the likes of Medea Benjamin, Leslie Cagan, Brian Becker, Richard Becker and so many more actually cared about stopping the Iraq War.  We fear today's rank and file will quickly learn that the same 'leaders' don't really care about ending police violence either.

Michael J. Fox and his stupidity hurt sitcoms but at least he's now gone.  Ava and C.I. explain how Michael Gelter remains (at PBS) and should be gone.  We didn't know they had this and were pretty amazed when they finished writing it and handed it over.
We look back at the year.

Short feature.

It's amazing how someone can declare something wouldn't happen but not be required to back it up.  No one knows what Ronald Reagan would do but the reality is that -- if you're going to guess -- he would have screened The Interview.
A candy column from me.
What we listened to while writing.

Repost of UK Socailist Worker.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for that.

That's what we came up with, happy new year!


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

Editorial: As the 'leaders' did with Iraq, so they do with police brutality

How are you liking the police protests of late?

That's a question for you.

Why haven't we noted them?

That's a question from you.

It's tied in to the same thing.

The rank-in-file may be sincere.

But we doubt the whorish leaders.

Some right-wing media critics have expressed outrage that the revolutionary Communists behind some of the events are not being reported on in the media.

We happen to agree with the critics across the aisle but for different reasons.

Medea Benjamin, she cares so much, she's really dedicated to this cause.

Brian Becker, he's just the same, right?

But thing is, these cheap whores pretended to care about the Iraqi people.

Where are these bastards and bitches now?

The right-wing believes that the revolutionary Communists are behind the protests in an effort to destroy the country and the system.



We think they're just talking and primping because cameras and microphones are around.

We've watched, over and over, the last decade as these pretenders and posers have 'cared' and sworn -- like Jane Fonda -- to be dedicated to this issue forever.

Only to watch them scatter as the media moved on to a new issue.

At the bottom of the current movement against police violence, at its roots, are people doing new things and trying new tactics.  At the 'outposts' where the media is, we see the same whores trying to get attention by latching on to what is for them just the latest fad.

TV: A tale of two Michaels

In recent years two Michaels have had a big impact on TV:  Michael J. Fox and Michael Gelter.  Sadly, the impact has been negative -- very, very negative.

Let's start with Michael J. Fox.  The Canadian actor overcame great odds -- including being height and talent challenged -- to shoot to fame in the ensemble sitcom Family Ties.  Then Robert Zemeckis decided he'd rather have an annoying Norman Fell type broadly overplay the role of Marty McFly in Back To The Future than an actual actor like Eric Stolz.

That allowed Fox to have a film career.  From 1985 through 1993 alone, he made thirteen films.  Only two of them were actual hits -- Back To The Future and Back To The Future II.  The rest of his filmography, those non-stop failures, left him running back to TV where he starred in Spin City for four seasons.

In 2001, he began doing voice work in films and guest spots on TV.  A disease helped spray paint over the the rumors of the past which included years of cocaine abuse in the 80s and the sex addictions and the diva behavior where he terrorized people on various set while whining repeatedly that Val Kilmer or Cher or Tom Hanks wasn't giving him his due.

In the days when the overgrown boy always seemed about to become a bankable star, every snub, real or imagined, at an industry function left his co-workers with hell to pay.

In the '00s, as a guest star, he made his demands upfront and generally avoided the tantrums.

Then he decided to return to series television and made everyone's life miserable.

The Michael J. Fox Show was an NBC bomb like no other.

Repeatedly unfunny and low rated, the show The Water Cooler Set insisted was a hit was actually a  body blow to NBC.

And it continues to damage TV.

Where, Ty says repeated e-mails have asked the last few months, is How I Met Your Dad?

March 31st, CBS' long running sitcom How I Met Your Mother aired its series finale.  The popular sitcom had last nine seasons and CBS was planning a sequel of sorts, How I Met Your Dad.

This sequel would have had Meg Ryan doing the voice overs and the new show being about a woman (an unseen Ryan) explaining to her children how she met their father.  That premise and Carter Bays and Craig Thomas acting as show runners (joined by Emily Spivey) would be the only common thread between the shows.

CBS liked the idea enough to order a pilot.  Then it was time for "notes" -- feedback and demands from the network.  The show runners had their own demand -- one they thought their track record with How I Met Your Mother justified -- they wanted CBS to commit to a full season pick up.

Though not unheard of, it often doesn't work out well.

In 1962, CBS gave Judy Garland a full season commitment for The Judy Garland Show and thought, wrongly, that if the series didn't come together, she'd be willing to bail.  At the half-way point, CBS wanted to pull the plug.  Judy believed (rightly) that the show had failed to come together because of CBS' nonsense (insisting Jerry Van Dyke be a regular and that his skits mock and ridicule Judy).  She felt the show needed to focus more on singing.  That's what the remainder of the series focused on (to much critical praise) but by the time the last episode aired, CBS cancelled the show (and announced it was Judy's decision not to continue when it was the network's decision).

As 'bad' as the ratings for the variety show were, Judy's show consistently came in second to NBC's Bonanza so the program wasn't a ratings disaster.  In the 80s, CBS gave a similar series commitment to Mary Tyler Moore for the sitcom Mary which Mary called an end to after 13 episodes and which is what the network always expects a star to do if the show isn't delivering.

Fox's show didn't deliver.

In fact, it was a bomb.

Because The Water Cooler Set is filled with whores who don't know funny, this was concealed for many weeks.  But the ratings were awful.  The show kicked off with the best buzz and nearly 8 million people turned in for the first broadcast -- an hour with two episodes of the show.  By the next week it was down to five million.  Then to three million.  Then . . .

Fox's show was airing after Sean Saves The World and, as we reported, Fox was allegedly expressing homophobic remarks and insisting Sean Hayes' show was destroying the audience that would otherwise tune in for Fox.  (Hayes is gay and his character in Sean Saves The World was gay.)

As Fox's bitching became louder, NBC flipped the two shows.

Not only did Fox's ratings fail to rise, not only did they dip, but they made clear what should have been obvious beforehand: People were turning in for Sean Hayes.

Sean Saves The World's ratings were consistently better than The Michael J. Fox Show, as we also documented while The Water Cooler Set played dumb.

The drain on NBC Thursday nights was Fox.

And NBC kept 'suggesting' it was time to pull the plug.

But Fox, who never really knew from funny, insisted the show would get better and was being fixed.

His idea of 'fixing' was to bring on guest stars.

He couldn't -- and wouldn't -- share the laughs with co-stars.

Sean Saves The World got the axe and Parenthood took a hit that it was never able to recover from.

All because Fox starred in an awful show and refused to say, "Let's stop production."

After the show failed to even deliver two million viewers with the January 16th episode, NBC decided that, despite announcing it would return to the schedule after the Winter Olympics, there was no way in hell that the Michael J. Fox would be allowed to destroy their schedule in the spring.

So there you have it.

He took out Sean Saves The World, helped destroy Parenthood's ratings (leading to its final season which concludes next month) and he's why CBS refused to give a full season to How I Met Your Dad.

Like Michael J. Fox, Michael Gelter overstayed his welcome.


The curse of Gelter's life.

He's an ombudsperson.

And one who plays fast and loose.

While working on research for another topic (the year-in-review at The Common Ills), some friends passed on some e-mails.

They'd misunderstood the research being done.  The year-in-review will open noting several things about Barack and his 2008 past. The plan is not, however, to rehash the Democratic Party primaries.

So when the e-mails were forwarded (by journalists and PBS friends), we were a little confused.

But mainly concerned.

We covered Bill Moyer's embarrassing interview with Jeremiah Wright in "TV: Mission Impossible" and when others called it out, we followed up with "TV: The Beauty & The Grump."

We noted Michael Gelter's criticism in that because a PBS friend e-mailed it to us and asked us if we could include it -- e-mailed what we quoted.

We had no idea what he wrote other than what we quoted.

Until last week --  when we read e-mails with Gelter talking about how he would need to tackle Wright but how it couldn't be a "win" for Hillary who was still in the primaries -- and still doing well -- and still a "threat" if you were a Barack supporter which, it turns out, as the e-mails made clear, Gelter was.

After reading the e-mails, we were interested in how exactly Gelter critiqued the interview with Wright while making it a "win" for Barack and not for Hillary?

So we pulled up the criticism.

And we saw how he did it.

And how he did it should have gotten him fired.

He's the ombudsperson for PBS, he's there to critique what PBS airs.

To make it a "win" for Barack, before he got to the interview that resulted in thousands of e-mails from PBS viewers, he decided to go elsewhere:

But before we get to those events, a slight detour on my behalf to a news event that wasn't covered by the NewsHour at the time, and also got no attention, or very little, at any of the TV networks except ABC. Indeed, it didn't even seem to get much coverage in the newspapers. So, maybe I'm being naïve here, but the event I'm referring to involved an interview with Sen. Hillary Clinton on the ABC program "Good Morning America" on April 22, the morning of the Pennsylvania primary.

He went on to weigh in on Hillary, after quoting from the interview, and basically to totally distract from the interview Bill did with Barack's pastor Jeremiah Wright.

(Barack's pastor?  Two weeks prior to Gelter's column, Barack had publicly rebuked Wright.)

There was no point in that distraction.

Good Morning America does not air on PBS.

It's beyond his scope.

What PBS does not air?

That's also beyond his scope.

His scope is not Keeping Up With The Kardashians, The Goldbergs, The Originals or any other programs not aired on PBS.

At any given time, The NewsHour misses various public pronouncements.  That's a given for it and any other news show.

If he wanted to examine how an issue -- not a remark -- was covered or not by The NewsHour over a period of months?

That could be an ombudsperson duty.

Even had we not seen the e-mail exchange last week, if we'd read that column in 2008, we would have called it out and noted Gelter was violating his role and position to pimp Barack and take down Hillary.

That PBS allowed that is appalling.

What's even more appalling is that Gelter's still there.

The ombudsperson, anywhere, is not a lifetime position.

It's supposed to be independent, it's supposed to provide a check.

Therefore the person in the role cannot become an institution and there must be a frequent turnover.

At NPR, their ombudsperson is Edward Schumacher-Matos.  He assumed the post in June 2011.  He replaced Alicia Shepard after she completed her three year term.  And before that, there was Jeffrey Dvorkin.

That's what's supposed to happen.

You can see the same thing at the New York Times which instituted a "public editor" with Daniel Okrent. Okrent served his term and moved on.

The reason this happens?

If you're a longterm employee, people doubt that you're giving honest criticism.

They instead fear you're censoring yourself to hold on to a job.

Michael Gelter was hired by PBS in 2005 to be their ombudsperson.

Nine years later, he's still in the same job.

Does that really look like he's independent?

More importantly, one of the PBS friends that passed on the 2008 e-mails last week?  The friend also pointed out this was not supposed to be "a Supreme Court lifetime appointment."

Geller signed a two-year contract and he was supposed to depart in 2007.

It's 2014.

Seven years after he was supposed to leave.

He needs to leave.

He's not just overstayed his welcome, his never-ending tenure raises ethical questions about the position itself.  No other outlet with a public editor or ombudsperson refuses to regularly bring in new blood.

You do that because the ombudsperson role is a subjective role.

They're having to judge what's going on -- that's subjective.

And not only do you need to change the person, you also need to factor issues of race, ethnicity and gender.  You need to bring a wide variety of people to serve in the role because we live in a diverse society.

Instead of diversity, for the last nine years PBS has offered Michael Gelter.

And they should have fired him in 2008.

Forget the e-mails that were turned over to us.

You just have to read the column to see that Gelter's not doing his job but instead campaigning for Barack Obama.

To slam Barack's pastor, he takes a detour to go after Hillary and what she said on ABC.

His job is not to write a column of musings.

His job is to oversee what PBS airs, specifically to be a viewers representative.

He is supposed to address the issues the viewers raise.

From his own column, no PBS viewer raised Hillary's Good Morning America interview.

That interview had nothing to do with Jeremiah Wright.

Jeremiah Wright was the issue PBS viewers were raising.

This had nothing to do with Wright:

First, a presidential candidate [Hillary] was stating, on the public record, that if she were president, the United States would "obliterate" Iran, a country of some 65 million people, if that country attacked Israel, not the United States, with nuclear weapons. Has that kind of direct, public threat been made before by any president or leading presidential candidate? Is the U.S. committed to a nuclear war involving third countries outside of specific defense alliances?

That had to with running interference (playing defense) for Team Barack.

Michael might want to check his contract (we have copies of all of his contracts with PBS).  He'll see that not only are his duties not defined as "campaigning for a political candidate," but they also repeatedly note his role is to handle issues viewers raise about fairness and about integrity on PBS news and public affairs programs (on air content and online content).

Repeating, Good Morning America isn't a PBS program.

He has betrayed PBS viewers, he has betrayed his position and he has sacrificed his own integrity.

The only thing left to do is to show Michael the door.

When NBC had their Michael problem, they were finally willing to cut him loose.  They only suffered their Michael for five months.  PBS has allowed their Michael to continue for nine years.  It's time to send him packing.

2014 Notable Events

As the year winds to a close, we remember some of the year's more embarrassing moments and hand out trophies for them.


CBS' hideous Madam Secretary manages to hit a new low week after week.

The neoliberal show should be called out by everyone.  But we seem to be the only ones paying attention.

The second show accomplished the feat of making a Blackwater stand in appear cuddly, needed and a good thing.

This show is utter crap and anyone on the left too afraid to call it out is useless.


War Criminal Tony Blair is the sexually transmitted disease that just won't go away and breaks out regularly.

Having co-started the illegal war on Iraq, Tony used 2014 to insist he should be consulted and listened to on the topic of current day Iraq -- as if being a War Criminal made him some sort of expert.

Strangely, recent torture revelations out of the United Kingdom appear to have silenced Tony.

But not for long, another outbreak has to be just around the corner.


Jane The Virgin continues to be low rated and that's a good thing.  The series stars a 30-year-old woman pretending to be 23-years-old -- and a 23-year-old virgin at that. The Moral Majority finally got the show they've been praying decades for.


The Interview was not going to be released.

And then it was.

And North Korea . . .

Stop a second.

We're all aware, aren't we, that the film is nothing but a rip-off of Elaine May's Ishtar, right?  Only Elaine had the decency to create both a fake leader and a fake country to be the target.

Though the film has occupied three weeks of endless chatter, no one can take a moment to point out Elaine May's being ripped off?


Whether appearing before the Congress or the public, John Kerry can't stop yammering about US airstrikes in Syria and Libya or what the new US military plan is.

That wouldn't be a problem if, in fact, Kerry was Secretary of Defense; however, he's Secretary of State.

Diplomacy is supposed to be his currency -- a detail he repeatedly misses.



No, not George Clooney's marriage -- that's a runner up.

We're talking about the thick, strawberry blond tangles 78-year-old Robert Redford has parked on top of his head to pretend he's not bald.


Ani DiFranco continues to be a big joke.

Ani DiFranco

In November, she promoted her new album -- another waste of time -- by insisting, "What can I say, I’m just happy all the time!"

It was bad when protest singer Ani devoted an album to defending the status quo, but now, as the Iraq War enters yet another phase, as The Drone War continues, as it becomes clear the US military is not leaving Afghanistan, as the government continues its illegal spying, as Guantanamo remains open, protest singer Ani reveals she's "just happy all the time!"

Oh, go plan another retreat on a former slave plantation, you damn racist.


Ray Rice used to play football for the Baltimore Ravens until video emerged of him beating then-fiancee Janay Palmer (now wife).  At a press conference attempting to rehab his image, he actually declared, "Sometimes in life, you will get knocked down."


Jane Fonda -- the Werner H. Erhard of faux activists -- actually  wrote, "So, while meditating today an idea came to me: I’m going to create a shrine to myself–or, at least, the self I wish to be, the self who began to manifest when I was a young girl before the s**t hit the fan."

The self-involvement never ends.  A shrine to herself and a celebration of over 70 years ago will keep her busy as she continues to avoid the Iraq War -- but how she preened in January of 2007 at the rally she tried to upstage.

Vanity, thy name is Jane.

First tip off, the never-ending cycle of plastic surgery.

Second, the pretense that she's sexually active.

She was called out by a friend of Shirley MacLaine's in the 90s when she posed as a sex kitten on the verge of marrying Ted Turner.  Sadly, it's only gotten worse.

Even Elke Sommer knew to dial it down a notch.


Whoever put Barack in that ridiculous suit should have been immediately banned from the White House.

He was supposed to be addressing the nation about --

Does anyone remember?

No, pretty much everyone just remembers that tan suit and the global gasp it elicted.

There was shock, dismay and an overwhelming sense of, "Is Dad drunk?"

He's Off To See The Wizard

Where's Toto?

Ted Berg and USA Today don't know Reagan

When the press goes to the movies, a lot of claims are made about US presidents and movies.

Most of them are wrong.

For example, no, Yahoo, JFK did not screen From Russia With Love "the night before he was killed."   Not only was he not at the White House (he was in Fort Worth, Texas) his schedule was too busy for a movie.

But you can apparently claim anything at Yahoo, facts be damned.

The same at USA Today.

A non-story took a beat down because Ted Berg (above) got his granny panties in a wad over Curt Schilling's refusal to bow down and worship Barack Obama.

So Berg typed up:

[Barry] Bonds’ show of support for the president came just hours after fellow MLB retiree Curt Schilling took a veiled shot at Obama for not screening the controversial Seth Rogen film The Interview at the White House, insisting that Ronald Reagan would have even though a) he probably would not have and b) if Obama actually did screen The Interview at the White House, everyone would have criticized him for it because he’s the president and should be doing more important things than watching Seth Rogen movies. 

There is so much wrong with that.

First off, for Barack to have screened it most recently, he probably would need to have done it in Hawaii -- where he's celebrating Christmas with his family -- and not at the White House.

Second Reagan "probably would not have" screened the film?

That statement is beyond stupid.

It offers no backing at all for the claim.

The reality is, no one knows what Reagan would do.  He's dead.

But if he were alive today and in the White House?

He loved movies.

He was an actor.

Reagan was no fan of North Korea and since the popular narrative is Sony versus North Korea, he would have sided with Sony.

That's not really in debate unless you're an idiot like Ted Berg.

Does Ted not know the infamous statement Reagan made about Sony?  After the big check?  The one that he then had to apologize for?  (In 1989, Reagan claimed Sony would return "decency and good taste to films.")

And what of Reagan nominating J. Raymond Bell for the office of Chair of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission?  That was September of 1982.

Would Ted Berg care to tell us what Bell had been vice president of?

Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

Does Berg not know Sony was Columbia Pictures?

And why might Reagan want to come to Columbia Pictures aid?

Among many reasons, the only film he and First Lady Nancy Reagan made together was Hellcats of the Navy which was a film distributed by . . . Columbia Pictures.

We don't know what Reagan would do.

We're not even fans of Reagan.

But we do know that a compelling argument can be made that he likely would have screened The Interview.

What we do know is that idiot Ted Berg offered nothing to back up his claim.

And we know that all known evidence indicates that the "probably" outcome on this would be Reagan backing Sony.

(And there are many more Columbia Pictures connections for Reagan that we could list.)

Jim's World


For people like me, December 25th means one thing.

Yes, December 26th!

When the Christmas candy goes on sale -- at least 50% off.

And if you're smart and early, you get the good stuff.

Like the Hershey's Kisses, the M&Ms, the Reeces Peanut Butter Cup.

And this year, even Fun Sweets' Classic Cotton Candy -- Vanilla Snow.

Hadn't had Cotton Candy since I was in middle school.

Forgot how great it was.

And for a little less than 20 bucks, I ended up with two and a half grocery sacks (cloth) full of candy.

But this year, I also went beyond the candy.

And discovered tapered candles -- red, green and white -- all for 24 cents a piece.

Glass candle holders for a buck a piece.

And so much more.

Remember that come February 15th when the next big sale starts. 

This edition's playlist


1) Carly Simon's This Kind Of Love.

2) Tori Amos' Unrepentant Geraldines.

3) Prince's Art Official Age.

4) Aretha Franklin's Aretha Sings The Great Diva Classics.

5) Diana Ross & the Supremes' Reflection.

6) Nirvana's Unplugged.

7) La Sera's Hour Of The Dawn.

8) Neil Young's Storytone.

9) Cara Dillon's A Thousand Hearts.

10)  The Mamas and the Papas' Deliver.

Eastern Boys—bleak circumstances show up beauty of human struggle

This a repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

Eastern Boys—bleak circumstances show up beauty of human struggle

Eastern Boys has harrowing scenes—but also shows that people aren’t simply good or bad, and have huge potential for change, says Michelle Adhemar

Marek and Daniel in new film Eastern Boys
Marek (left) and Daniel (right) in new film Eastern Boys

Eastern Boys is a film from French filmmaker Robin Campillo about exploitation, alienation, compassion, endurance and love.

Campillo is known for writing or editing most of director Laurent Cantet’s films, including The Class.
In Eastern Boys Marek (Kirill Emelyanov) is a young Ukrainian illegal immigrant who is a member of an Eastern European gang in Paris.

The gang meets middle aged Daniel, played by Olivier Rabourdin, who tries to pay Marek for sex.

Instead Daniel is tricked, humiliated and robbed by the gang. Daniel stays calm throughout the experience, gently accepting his fate.

The gang invade his home and take everything. Daniel does not need to be restrained and is not physically harmed by the gang as they remove the entire contents of his flat from around him.

This is the first indication of the complexity of Daniel’s character, and the story the film will tell.

After the robbery, Daniel does not seek revenge. His motivations are ambiguous but it’s clear he is isolated and sad.

Later Marek returns to the flat and Daniel pays him for sex. This begins an agreement of paid sex between the two.

Gradually they get to know each other. Daniel begins to see Marek as a person and connects with him. Marek talks about the war in Ukraine and the death of both his parents.

He appears tough, but is clearly traumatised by the war and this changes Daniel’s attitude to Marek.

From an exploited and exploiter relationship, a friendship begins to emerge.

Daniel asks Marek to leave the gang and offers him help to do so. They then devise a plan for Marek’s escape.

The film is beautifully shot with wide, clear, stark scenes reflecting the bleak storyline.

The story raises important questions about the nature of being an illegal immigrant and the choices, or lack of choices, that Marek is faced with.

The plot is harrowing, but it is also punctuated with moments of
compassion and love that are heartbreaking beautiful.

The characters are not particularly good or bad or predictable. They are complex and multilayered.

Characters change and grow through their experiences.

The film shows the corruption, injustice and isolation of the system that we live in. But it also shows the strength, tenacity and complexity of the humans living within it.

Eastern Boys
Directed by Robin Campillo 
Peccadillo Pictures 
Out now

Haiti protests continue despite U.N. troops’ bullets

This is a repost from Workers World:

Haiti protests continue despite U.N. troops’ bullets

By on December 28, 2014
Haitians in Port-au-Prince demand president resign.
Haitians in Port-au-Prince demand president resign.

All over Haiti, people by the tens of thousands are putting their bodies in the streets and their lives on the line. They are demanding the departure of President Michel Martelly and the 6,500 Minustah troops currently occupying the country under a United Nations mandate.

The resignation of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and 40 members of his cabinet on Dec. 13 made no difference to the size or intensity of the protests.

This struggle has been ignored or minimized by most of the corporate media. For example, the BBC on Dec. 16 commented on a protest by “hundreds of people in Haiti” that it said had turned “violent” when protesters threw rocks. Videos and photos of that protest show tens of thousands of Haitians in the street, demanding the departure of Martelly and Minustah.

A video shot at a Dec. 12 protest shows Minustah troops firing on protesters. ( It has been viewed over 1 million times.

How the protesters reacted to this live fire is significant. They took cover but didn’t disperse and kept on chanting and throwing rocks at the soldiers. When an officer with a pistol began firing at protesters, a Haitian journalist with a microphone and camera moved towards the officer and asked him what he was doing. As the confrontation developed, several other journalists rushed forward and a soldier with a rifle extracted the officer.

At least one protester was killed Dec. 12 and a half dozen were so seriously injured that they had to be taken to the hospital.

December 12 and 13 saw large demonstrations outside Port-au-Prince in Cap Haïtien, Gonaïves,

Ouanaminthe and Petite Goâve, where daily demonstrations for the last month have blocked National Road #2 to the south. In every city, the main demand is the departure of Martelly. In many places, using official cars for a fast getaway, Martelly supporters have fired on protests. A number of injuries were reported.
Radio Kiskeya has videos of large demonstrations that took place in Port-au-Prince on Dec. 18.
While the Haitian people have united to demand the departure of Martelly, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela White supports him. “We believe he was elected for a certain period of time,” she told Le Nouvelliste, the largest daily Haitian newspaper. “He must stay until his mandate ends.” His term is not up until May 14, 2016.

However, the U.S. still denies interfering in Haiti’s internal affairs.

Probably planning to rule by decree, Martelly has refused to hold the constitutionally required elections that would keep the Haitian parliament functioning. For public consumption, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Haiti to hold elections as soon as possible in order to put an end to the crisis.

Despite all the bloody Minustah and Haitian police attacks, and the political pressure the U.S. exerts covertly, the anger of the Haitian people is so strong that some optimism is being expressed.

“We are definitely witnessing the final days of the regime,” said Haitian Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles, a leader of the anti-Martelly protests. “We do not expect to celebrate Haiti’s independence on New Year’s 2015 with Martelly still in power. We are not going to negotiate now with Martelly. We simply want Martelly and Lamothe to go.” (Haïti-Liberté, Dec. 10-16)

Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.


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.

"The State Dept has an Iraqi Christian problem -- a..." and "How's Barack's 'plan' working out for the Islamic ..." -- the most requested highlights of the week by readers of this site per Ty. 

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bros Before Tubbos" -- Isaiah on the bromances of Barack.

"A whole lot of fools including Ralph Nader," "Margaret Kimberley nails it," "Cuba" and "Cuba" -- Marcia, Ann and Elaine cover Cuba.

"Dirty Debbie" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Rocky Anderson's an idiot" -- Mike picks the deserved Idiot of the Week.

"Diana Ross' Swept Away" -- Elaine talks music.

"New Year's snack" -- Trina notes pickles.
"Done with Google Chrome" -- Kat walks away.

"Christmas" and "Under the tree" -- Trina and Betty talk Christmas. 

"Another tragedy in the Cult of St. Barack" and "THIS JUST IN! PRINCESS TINY MEAT CHOKES A MAN!" -- Cedric and Wally document the near fatality.

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