Sunday, March 01, 2015

Truest statement of the week

Despite the all-encompassing belief in democracy and a free press, Americans have very little democracy left and perhaps the worst media in the world. Even people who make efforts to be informed don’t know what is happening domestically and internationally because of the constant lies and disinformation they are exposed to by the corporate media. They act as spokespersons for the powerful instead of providing analysis and information for readers and viewers. The result is a world turned upside down, with lies being sold as the truth. Libya is just the latest example of press malfeasance.
In 2011 the leaders of NATO appeared to pull off the perfect crime. That year they used the Arab Spring democracy movement as a cover to destroy Libya, kill its president, Muammar Gaddafi, and turn that nation over to jihadists supported by the Persian gulf monarchs.

-- Margaret Kimberley, "Media Silence on Libya," (Black Agenda Report).

Truest statement of the week II

But the very fact that “rules” have been imposed outside the framework of either Congress or any other body of oversight suggests that something far more significant is at stake. Even more troubling was the cheery embrace of the FCC internet order in the absence of a full disclosure of the contents, which is set for next week. “Net Neutrality Wins” was a regular slogan, distributed through the Internet with viral enthusiasm. President Barack Obama spoke of the FCC decision as protecting “innovation” while creating “a level playing field for the next generation of entrepreneurs – and it wouldn’t have happened without Americans like you.”

-- Binoy Kampmark, "The FCC, the Internet, and Net Neutrality" (Dissident Voice).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.  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.

What did we come up with?

And that's what we came up with.


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

Editorial: Iraq, apparently, Can Wait (Yet Again)

Saturday, the Associated Press reported, "A series of car bombs today ripped through a crowded marketplace and a Shiite militia's checkpoint, killing 19 people in separate attacks north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad."

And those are the ground bombings.

From the air, the US leads a campaign of bombings.

Civilians die from these bombings that are only supposed to target the Islamic State.

But not a peep from the cowardly World Can't Wait.

If you missed the useless and now hateful organization's recent slam at dead Iraq War veteran Chris Kyle, you missed a whole lot.

The film American Sniper portrays Navy Seal Chris Kyle as a hero for killing a huge number of people, one by one, in Iraq. Right now, as the U.S. government is bombing Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and again — Iraq, and preparing to send additional troops to Iraq, this film is distorting many peoples' memory of recent history and damaging their understanding of basic morality.

Wait, Debra Sweet and Stupid, the US government?

Do you mean Barack Obama?

If she does, you'd never know it from her useless b.s.

She writes:

The people of Iraq who suffered so terribly from the years of bombings, military repression and corrupt sectarian governments propped up by US occupying forces are not our enemy, and certainly not “savages” who all deserved to die, as Chris Kyle called them.

Chris Kyle called Iraqis he was fighting against "savages."

Barack Obama's done something similar though Debra Sweet's too much of a coward to note that.

Debbie Sweet sweats out this, "This is the opposite of a sheep dog guarding people — rather a bloody-jawed wolf enthusiastic to do the bidding of his white supremacist masters."

There we go.

Karl Marx was White.

Karl Marx saw oppression for what it was.

But for the 'radicals' of World Can't Wait, a war isn't about oil or about resources or anything but race.

And since they don't see Barack as White -- not even half White -- World Can't Wait, useless Communists that they are -- can't call out Barack.

Chris Kyle's dead.

He's been dead for some time.

He's not going to back to Iraq.

He's not sending troops into Iraq.

Barack is very much alive.

And it's rather pathetic to read one press release after another from the ridiculous World Can't Wait that attacks this individual or that individual but never bothers to hold Barack Obama responsible for his War Crimes.

2014 ended with the embarrassing Communists of World Can't Wait protesting a film.

They've yet to pour that same energy into protesting the ongoing Iraq War.

TV: Agent Carter demonstrates a path forward

Years and years ago, Fox owned one night of TV thanks to The Simpsons. Then, in the fall of 1997, they began to own Monday nights.

It's a lesson worth remembering now that ABC's Agent Carter has wrapped season one.


The ABC action series stars British actress Hayley Atwell playing British Peggy Carter who works with American intelligence.  This was a master stroke by ABC.

The show's ratings varied from episode to episode -- not unlike Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Which was more than okay, it was marking space and time for that series which was on winter hiatus.

And it succeeded.

Take a look, by contrast, what ABC did while putting Revenge on winter hiatus.

The Bachelor.

Repeating, The Bachelor.

There's no spill over there.

There's no holding an audience for Revenge's return.

While Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. viewers were interested in Agent Carter, Revenge fans largely don't give a damn about The Bachelor.

Peggy Carter is known to most Marvel fans from the comics but even more so from Atwell's portrayal in the films Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. 

So building a winter break series -- an 8-episode winter break series -- around Peggy Carter was a smart move.

It was also smart since Marvel is rightly facing critical slams for its failure to present strong women.

The Avengers film, for example, managed to bypass strong female characters like Scarlet Witch, Wasp, Carol Danvers and more.  Instead, the film was male dominated -- the Hulk, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Thor and Captain America -- while featuring one female action character: Black Widow.

In addition, Marvel action films have featured Thor, Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk, the Punisher and others solo.  But there has been no effort to serve up any female led films.

The original Spider-Woman, for example, with her S.H.I.E.L.D. roots and her nemesis Morgan Le Fey, should be a natural for the big screen.

But instead, Marvel's now attempting to transport Ant-Man to the big screen.

And over at the X-Men?

It seems to us if Bryan Singer just barely survived a male pedophile scandal, you'd work a lot harder at shoring up women on screen.

Bryan's gotten in trouble for numerous films -- the nudie scenes of young boys in the shower of Apt Pupil, for example.

We stayed on the sidelines and offered no opinion when a man stepped forward to claim Bryan Singer had sexually abused him before the man was of age.

We have no idea whether the man was telling the truth.

We do know that other ticking time bomb accusations are out there.

So maybe the franchise should stop hiring based on cock size and return to being about the comic book that features male and female X-Men?

In the first three films, Jean Grey and Storm were front and center.  In the first two it was Jean, Storm and Rogue.

Bryan Singer has rebooted the show as laddie cock fest.

Tight costumes on tight groins, hiring the latest flash-in-the-pan to play Magento solely due to the actor's well known and extremely large cock, all this starts to add up.

Another pedophile accusation and, true or not doesn't matter, the teen boy audience flees the super hero franchise that gets campier and campier.

It doesn't help that Jennifer Lawrence is playing Mystique.

She's fresh faced and she does have an Academy Award.  She's just not sexy.

Worse, she plays Mystique as the victim.

Rebecca Romijin has no Academy Award (at present).  But her Mystique was deadly, dangerous and sexy.

Jennifer Lawrence whimpers around on screen as Mystique and does so in that pear-shaped form and boxy face.

You really think Lawrence is going to hold teen boys if Singer's image implodes?

And is anyone noting the bad word of mouth on the new Jean Grey?

(Teen boy ticket buyers are necessary when your shooting budget is so large.  And you're not going to attract female ticket buyers to Jennifer Lawrence playing a victim who is repeatedly told what to do by one man or another.  That's a far cry from her ability to sell tickets in the Hunger Games franchise by playing a strong woman of action.)

Yeah, Marvel has a lot to address and will have real trouble retaining teen boy ticket buyers if Byran Singer gets accused of preying on more of them or if the almost-Joel-Schumacher-like shift to filming males continues while the Patty Duke of the 2010s, Jennifer Lawrence, is presented as the last word in female sex appeal.

Marvel's X-Men franchise built an audience by serving up strong female and male characters but beginning with the Dawsonization of the series (X-Men First Class was like an episode of Dawson's Creek where Dawson and Pacey discover that they have super powers), women had no real role other than victim or hand-maiden.

Into this environment, Agent Carter showed up and presented a strong female.

For air head Sady Doyle (In These Times), the character and the show weren't 'feminist enough.'

Sady made her mark last year -- a urine stain -- by declaring the sick, slasher TV show Hanibal to be a "feminist" series.

Sady, Sady, stupid lady.

She types the following:

But first, the show itself: It’s 1946. World War II is over. Captain America is missing, presumed dead. Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) is leaving the world of superheroics, and returning to work for the Strategic Scientific Reserve, where she is treated poorly. This coincides with women being pushed out of the workforce—which they had successfully claimed while the men were away at war—to give jobs to returning GIs. The parallel is duly noted, early in the pilot; a bit of feminist history is learned by all. Also, there are fabulous vintage outfits. Atwell looks splendid in them, and she can act, as well.
[. . .]
In one scene, a Captain America radio serial (yes, now even comic-book adaptations are set in a universe that contains comic-book adaptations) plays as the punches go down, contrasting the helpless, heavily fictionalized “Miss Carver,” (that is, she's the fictionalized version of the fictional woman who is the “real” woman in the fiction we're watching where people consume this fiction… oh, fuck it, she's the one on the radio) begging for Captain America to rescue her with the “real” Miss Carter, who’s kicking ass on her own and can kill you with a fork.

It’s heavy-handed—and, in a re-telling, perhaps slightly confusing—but effective. The message here is, “Yes, comic book adaptations often reduce women to damsels in distress, but that’s over now. Look at Agent Carter.” 

Poor  Sady.

The radio show?

It's the same commentary.

The same as women being kicked out of their jobs.

Poor stupid Sady.

So quick to finger bang herself while watching a cannibal, so slow to read film history, Sady should familiarize herself with Marjorie Rosen's Popcorn Venus which explains how women went from being strong leads (Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, etc) in the WWII era films to appendages as the war ended.

The radio serial on the show is acknowledging how popular culture -- in the time the series is set in -- took strong women and weakened them.

There are feminist moments in the show, the sort Ms. magazine once offered in the years when Gloria Steinem was in charge.  The magazine saw itself, then, as a primer, establishing first principles repeatedly.

That Agent Carter does the same may make it feminist.

It may not.

But in the post-WWII era, we'd rather watch Barbara Stanywyck in any film rather than the insufferable Celeste Holm.

Were Stanwyck's post-1945 films feminist?

Possibly they were, possibly they weren't.  We can debate and have that conversation.

But she carried films playing strong women in the post-WWII era, films like Christmas in Connecticut, Cry Wolf, No Man of Her Own, The File On Thelma Jordan, The Two Mrs. Carrolls, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Clash by Night, Titanic, Witness to Murder, Cattle Queen of Montana, Sorry Wrong Number, Crime of Passion and Forty Guns.

To appreciate what Stanwyck accomplished, you have to know the era and you have to know what her peers were doing.  Feminist Katharine Hepburn was getting spanked over the knee by Spencer Tracy in Adam's Rib.  Then she played the sad spinster in Summertime.  Then she played the sad spinster in The Rainmaker, she was 49-years-old at the time, whose family tries to marry her off.

The alternative to the degradation of existing female stars during this era was largely the elevation of 'soft' women and uber bitches.

Within that context, why not enjoy Agent Carter which is a rollicking ride?

Viewers clearly did judging by the ratings.

And it retained the audience for Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

That's no small feat.

ABC would be smart, next season, when sending Revenge on hiatus, to offer a limited-series starring Ashley Madekwe in her Revenge role as Ashley Davenport because, while Agent Carter was holding the audience, The Bachelor was sending it running to CBS.

For the record, The Bachelor has an audience.

But it's not Revenge's audience.  And all it did was send the audience for scripted drama over to CBS.

We started with the story of Fox grabbing Monday nights.

It's not a well known story.

At its most limited and basic, Fox landed a hit with Ally McBeal.

The longer -- and more truthful story -- is one of how CBS, desperate to sink their hit sitcom Cybil, kept reshuffling it and airing something else in the second hour of Monday prime time.  Only then does Ally McBeal become a hit.  CBS gave Fox that hit by running off the CBS audience.

With more and more shows taking winter breaks, networks need to be thinking about limited run series that can fill in during the breaks and, most importantly, limited run series that can retain a show's audience.

With Agent Carter, ABC offered not only an entertaining replacement series, they also charted a possible future road for other limited series.

The bitches go after Patricia

If you want to RT and We want to see action on and Women will not wait any more. What are you going to do?
273 retweets 339 favorites

Patricia Arquette gave a speech that should have resulted in praise.  Accepting the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress February 22nd, she made a call for equality for all women.

Afterwards, she made additional comments.

And some little bitches got bent out of shape.

She declared, "The truth of it is the older an actress gets, the less money she makes. It's inexcusable that we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and yet we don't have equal rights for women in America. It's time for all the women in America and all the men who love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we've fought for, to fight for us now!"

This outraged those like vagina challenged Dave Zirin.

To which we say, curb yourselves, bitches.

Examine what Patricia said: "we don't have equal rights for women in America."  No, we don't.

"It's time for all the women in America and all the men who love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we've fought for, to fight for us now!"

How is that controversial?

Little bitches like Dave Zirin and Janell Hobson have insisted the above is offensive.

As a student of Howard Zinn and KPFK, Patricia's well aware that the labor movement was about securing rights for men, that the gay rights movement was largely about securing rights for men, and that Civil Rights was about securing rights for African-American men and women.

Yet on all of those efforts, men and women -- of all races -- were willing to work together.

Now if you're not aware about the gay rights movement, gay men and lesbians -- especially in NYC -- did not get along.  Lesbians rightly noted that they were excluded or ignored.

Arquette's correct.  Everyone worked on the labor movement, the gay rights movement and the Civil Rights Movement.

And isn't it past time that this let's-all-work-together attitude used on the previous movements was applied to women's rights?

Because there is no Equal Rights Amendment.

And that is in part due to the refusal of many men to work on it.

It is past time that women were joined in the battle for equal rights with people who have been willing to fight for other movements but drawn the line at fighting for women.

Patricia's remarks are (sadly) controversial.

So little bitches, like Dave Zirin (who hails from a political ideology which has regularly suppressed women), leap to the front of the line to condemn Patricia.

We're told she was non-inclusive.


Because her call for equality was for all women.

Her call for work to be done on the issue was noting how we, on the left, had pulled together for labor, for gay rights and for Civil Rights so couldn't we do the same for women's rights?

Patricia's remarks were inclusive and accurate.

The same can't be said for a speech that the bitches attacking Patricia took time to applaud.

Did anyone offer anything but blind devotion to John Legend's remarks at the Academy Awards?

He stated, "We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850."

There are so many problems with that.


In 1850, there were 3.6 million African-American or Black residents of the United States.  Not all were slaves but let's set that aside.

The 1850 census showed a US population of 23 million.


There are 317 million people in the US according to the census.

In 2013, Black or African-American residents in the US amounted to 45 million people.

So 3.6 million Black or African-American persons in 1850, 45 million today?

Yeah, chances are that there are more African-Americans/Black people in prison today than there were in slavery in 1850.

The argument if factually superficial but part of an effort to link prison and slavery.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons breaks down the prison population in the US as follows (categories used are those used by FBP):

White male: 454,100
Black male: 526,000
Hispanic male: 314,600
Other male: 118,100

White female: 51,500
Black female: 23,100
Hispanic female: 17,600
Other female:  11,9000

 Based on those figures there are 549,100 African-American or Black men and women in prison.

Remember our 3.6 million figure earlier?

That was the number of all Black or African-American residents in the US in 1850.

Is 549,100 greater than 3.6 million?

No, it is not.

Of that 3.6 million figure, the number who were slaves was 3,204,313.

Is 549,1000 greater than 3.2 million?


But who piled on John Legend?

No one.

Equally true, the NAACP has noted "African-American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008."

But John Legend didn't mention Hispanics, did he?

And no one slammed him for the oversight.

Are we still pretending that the bitches had any real standards they were holding Patricia too?

Patricia called for equality for all women and called for everyone to work on that as everyone had worked on past movements.

This became controversial.

Can you image what would have been done to Patricia if she'd gotten her facts wrong?

She would have been accused of disrespecting those who had been enslaved.

But notice that no one's accusing John Legend of that.

He leads a very charmed life where he makes a lot of money for performing in places like Bahrain. He'll make a fortune Monday for playing in that torture regime state.

And he gets away with that too.

Women -- of all races?

Not so lucky.

Any woman who dares to speak up for women's equality will quickly discover that she will be slammed and hated by those who don't see equality for women as a real issue.

That's what the attacks on Patricia were really about.

Beyonce's biggest fan Janell (a cautionary parody)

"You do what Mama say and you do what Mama tell," whispers grossly obese Janell Hobson, in a menacing tone as her hands wander up and down the body of  pop music star Beyonce.

On the filthy mattress, Janell lays beside a  frightened Beyonce.

"Mama gonna' take care of her little baby," Janell insists grabbing one of Beyonce's breasts.

"Yeah, Mama like you --  like she used to like Lauryn Hill but Lauryn got the crazy and the pot and that's fine because you, little girl, got the big old booty.  Oh, Mama like."



Janells fat fingers and hand slapped Beyonce's ass repeatedly.

"Mama make you feel good, feel real good.  Better than that hood you married to ever could."

Beyonce eyes the night stand.

Specifically, the double headed dildo Janell had shoved in her face earlier, "This packs more force than your husband ever could."

Janell had cackled and thrown back her head, sending her cheap weave flying in various directions.

Could she reach it, Beyonce wondered?

"Mama your biggest fan, girl.  Your biggest fan.  I got a love for you that's bigger than your ass, girl.  Mama going to make you feel good and nice.  And you getting Mama excited too. I'm making gravy down between my legs, girl.  Mama ain't bathed there in days so it would be good and dank down there for you, baby, all for you."

Janell began nibbling on Beyonce's ear.

"Mama a bigger man than Jay-Z, girl.  Mama going to man you and out man yo' crusty lipped husband, you hear me, girl?"

No, she really didn't.

Beyonce had been tuning the filthy criminal out for at least 20 minutes as she reviewed how Janell had drugged and kidnapped her.  And now?  Well now her attention was only on one thing.

Could she reach it?

Yes, she could.

Gripping one end of the double-sided dildo, Beyonce brought it crashing into Janell's face.

Blood spurted out of Janell's nose.

Janell grabbed her face and screamed in pain.

She grabbed her face and screamed in shock.

She grabbed her face and cursed.

But Beyonce had fled.

And angry Janell rose her heavy and heaving body from the mattress and stumbled around the room, searching through her dirty clothes in piles on the floor, for something to pull on, for something to wear so she could go after that Beyonce.

"And this time, no Mister Nice Guy," Janell insisted to herself.  "Girl, going to get from the git-go that I'm the man, that I'm in charge.  I'll tear that ass up, I will."

Just as she pulled the pants up and over her humongous ass, Janell heard a knocking at the door.

"Bitch got some sense and came back," she snorted, fastening the pants.

Bare chested, she swaggered to the door and opened it.

"Hands up!"

"On the floor!"

What was happening?

Janell couldn't understand.

Something like 25 police officers were swarming in.

They were saying she was a kidnapper.

"I'm no kidnapper!  I'm her biggest fan!" Janell insisted as handcuffs were locked on her wrist.

The IRS Scandal -- a Tale of Democratic Lying and Whoring (Ava and C.I.)

Last week saw a grown woman whine about having to be at work at seven o'clock.

"Road Runner," as a member of the press dubbed her because she looked as though the road had run over her, was whining from a spot privelage few Americans she represents have.

Few are as lucky US House Rep. Carolyn Maloney to be so unused to working evening hours that they can BMW (bitch moan and whine) so connvincingly about it.

But there she was, making it clear at Thursday night's hearing that, for her, members of Congress are supposed to keep bankers hours.

Making Maloney look even more spoiled and stupid?

The hearing was a House Oversight Committee hearing.

Does oversight only take place from nine to five?

Maloney looked like a real ass.  She was only one of many braying asses reminded the country that the symbol of the Democratic Party is a donkey.

The IRS was wrongly targeting certain political groups.

This is illegal.

It is also outrageous.

And this hearing was about getting an update.

Instead of an update, the hearing was about braying asses.

The mincing Gerry Connolly made clear that he was perfectly happy to be a fussy and shrill voice slamming Inspector Generals, trashing their character and yacking on endlessly in some 1950s homage to sitcom mother-in-laws.

If anything conclusive came of Gerry's actions it was that no one would ever mistake the Congress member for "manly."

Stacey Plaskett, by contrast, kept portraying herself as a prosecutor.

Possibly because she was one so briefly, she doesn't understand the first thing about prosecution.

As a prosecutor, she insisted, she was worried that the government witnesses were giving testimony that might change as new results came in.

Reality even for a dumb ass like Stacey (who should get honest about what she really did in the Virgin Islands for corporations while posing as a 'community organizer'), a real prosecutor?

Their first and primary concern would be over a witness who fell back on the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying.

That's what IRS official Lois Lerner did.

And a prosecutor would go to town on any witness that took the Fifth to avoid incriminating themselves.

Though defense attorneys will always argue that taking the Fifth is not an admission of guilt, prosecutors will always insist it is.

Stacey brayed and brayed, just like every other whore on the Democratic side of the Committee.

At some point, they're going to have to decide whether they consider it their job to represent the Justice Department and or the IRS or they consider it their job to represent the American people?

Thursday, they showed no concern at all for the rights of the American people.

In the future, here's your first clue that an investigation of a government agency just became necessary:  An official called to testify to Congress refuses to do so.

That's all you need to launch the investigation.


Barack Obama is caught above reviewing the script for next week's episode of the 'reality' show War Hawk Unbound.

Bad Cops

In what we hope is a new series, we'll be noting members of US law enforcement who are charged with crimes.

The point is not to scream "All the police are corrupt!"

The point is to note those members of law enforcement who are accused of criminal activity.

Such as James Greene.

Greene is shown above courtesy of his Caddo Correctional Center mugshot.

He was a police corporal in Shreveport but he's been fired.  The Shreveport Times reported that he has been charged with "aggravated rape and public intimidation."

In the United States, you are innocent until proven guilty.

So Green is still innocent.

That said, he's a member of the police who got charged and who lost his job.

That would appear to indicate that the charges have strong backing evidence.

The WSWS arts beat -- always a little behind (Ava and C.I.)

We like the WSWS.  They provide important articles and cover topics largely under-reported.

That said, their arts coverage is a joke.

It worships at the cock of any male musician.

It repeatedly and regularly trashes women.

And, to substitute "WSWS" for "police" in Tracy Chapman's "Behind The Wall," the WSWS always comes late, if it comes at all.

We were reminded of that reality when we read Andre Damon's dismay over season three of Netflix's House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright.

He's surprises that season three includes the new president (played by Kevin Spacey) presenting an attack on Social Security.

We're surprised that he can't label it an attack on Social Security -- that's exactly what it is.

But we're even more surprised that he's just discovered it.

We stopped streaming early in season two when Frank (Spacey) presented this lofty goal and argued it -- from the left, you understand.

We saw it and we were appalled.

We're not understanding how Damon missed that in season two.

Frank was very clear about wanting this and the show was very clear about presenting this attack as reasonable, learned and non-partisan in season two.

This edition's playlist

Red Velvet Car

1) Heart's Red Velvet Car.

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

3) The Beatles' The Beatles (aka The White Album).

4) Ben and Ellen Harper's Childhood Home.

5) Joni Mitchell's Hejira.

6) Diana Ross' diana.

7) SupergrassLife On Other Planets.

8) Prince's Art Official Age.

9) Prince and 3rdeyegirl's Plectrunemlectrum.

10) Carly Simon's Anticipation.

Human Rights Human Wrongs: How striking images can shape the way we view human rights

This is a repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

Human Rights Human Wrongs: How striking images can shape the way we view human rights

The new Human Rights Human Wrongs exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery in London places iconic news images in context, writes Michelle Adhemar

Published Tue 24 Feb 2015
Issue No. 2442

Congolese nationalist Ambroise Boimbo grabbing the king of Belgium’s ceremonial sword as he arrives for the country’s independence ceremony in 1960
Congolese nationalist Ambroise Boimbo grabbing the king of Belgium’s ceremonial sword as he arrives for the country’s independence ceremony in 1960 (Pic: Robert Lebeck/The Black Star Collection/Ryerson Image Centre)

The photojournalism in this exhibition is vastly wide ranging. More than 200 images show conflict, war and struggle around the world between 1945 and the early 1990s.
The exhibition seeks to present the photographed events in a global context rather than as isolated incidents.
You see the Salvadoran Civil War, support for the Hunger Strikers in Northern Ireland, South African Apartheid, riots in Chicago, Martin Luther King being arrested and Che Guevara, among many other images.
The curator Mark Sealy says he  aims to show a different side to the history that has been recorded to “unhinge our so-called definitive moments and set them in a wider, more relative framework”.
Sealy also includes photographs of Nobel Peace Prize winners. They include Palestine Liberation Organisation leader Yasser Arafat and US president Jimmy Carter. Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Min—who declined the prize—is also pictured.
The portraits look out of place and uncomfortable among the harrowing images. Presumably, that is the aim.
The exhibition aims to tell us something about how historical events have been recorded and framed by the Western media.
Most of these images have been captured by North American or European photographers. There are many iconic photographs here. But the exhibition also includes other shots that were taken at the same time. It shows what else was going on and so what was excluded from the famous image. 
This does show us an alternative view but only in a very limited sense. Where there are no alternative photo­graphs or stories displayed it is difficult to see exactly how the Western media has shaped our understanding of events.
The exhibition is daunting and deeply upsetting. Image after image shows human suffering, pain and anguish. There is often no caption to the photos with minimal notes about what the photo is depicting and no analysis of what led to the event. 
No solution is offered for how we fight the human wrongs depicted. In an interview with the gallery Sealy comments that he “wants people to be politicised” in the space. It is a worthy goal. 
But it’s hard to imagine that by looking at pictures alone a person will become politicised.
The exhibition is ambitious, showing a vast volume of photographs that depict important and forgotten history.
It is definitely worth a visit but without words and analysis it is a harrowing set of images that can debilitate rather than politicise.
Human Rights Human Wrongs. Photographers Gallery, 16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW. Until 6 April. Admission free.

© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original. 

Miller Statement on Sec. McDonald’s Special Operations Claims

US House Rep. Jeff Miller Chairs the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  His office issued the following statement last week:

Feb 24, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today Chairman Miller released the following statement in reaction to VA Sec. Bob McDonald’s false claim that he served in special operations forces:

“I’m disappointed in Sec. McDonald’s comments. After a rough couple of weeks that also included inflated claims of accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs, I hope Sec. McDonald will redouble his efforts to ensure his statements – and those of all VA officials – are completely accurate. This is the only way the department can regain the trust of the veterans and taxpayers it is charged with serving.” - Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

The IRS scandal

Elsewhere in this edition, Ava and C.I. cover the Thursday night House Oversight Committee hearing.  Below is the opening statement made by Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz at the start of the hearing.


Opening Statement – Chairman Jason Chaffetz
February 26, 2015
“IRS: TIGTA Update”

The Internal Revenue Service.  The IRS
Perhaps no other agency, no other institution in our government causes more fear, more concern, more distress, or outright panic at the mere mention of their name than the IRS.
Entanglement with the IRS is never good.  Most Americans work hard, pay their taxes and just want to live a life free of harassment.
And most of the IRS employees are good, decent, hardworking, patriotic civil servants doing a tough job, working for their government and are honest in their dealings.  But not all of them.
Nearly two years ago the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, often referred to as TIGTA, did an audit that confirmed what many on this committee had feared and heard; the IRS was targeting and delaying the applications for 501(c)4 status of conservative non-profit organizations because of their political beliefs.
The IRS was on the lookout for applications that:  focused on the national debt, “criticize how the country is run” or that sought to educate the public on how to “make America a better place to live.”
These were conservatives trying to play by the rules, but some in the IRS didn’t want them in the game.  They didn’t want them to have a voice.
When it was first revealed that the IRS was targeting Americans and suppressing their First Amendment rights because of their political beliefs, President Obama said this:
“If in fact IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that’s outrageous. And there’s no place for it.”
“And they have to be held fully accountable. Because the IRS as an independent agency requires absolute integrity, and people have to have confidence that they’re . . . applying the laws in a nonpartisan way.”
I agreed with the President then.  He was exactly right. But by the time the Superbowl rolled around, before any of the investigations were complete, the President concluded there was “Not even a smidgen of corruption.”  I have no idea how he came to that definitive conclusion without all the facts, but he obviously sent a signal as to how he would like this to be concluded.
On the one hand the President has come to a conclusion and on the other there is an on-going investigation by the Inspector General and the Department of Justice.
But Congress has a role.
As the new Chairman of this Committee I thought it would be appropriate to get an update on the investigation from the Inspector General.
I want us to focus on the facts, wherever they may lead us.  And thus far, the IRS, and specifically its Commissioner, has given us a lot of different answers to some fairly simple questions.
The Oversight Committee subpoenaed the IRS in Aug. 2013 seeking emails from Lois Lerner’s, as well as others involved in the targeting.
Months later we did not have all the Lois Lerner emails.  In an Oversight hearing on March 26, 2014 Commissioner Koskinen testified under oath he had all the emails and he would produce all the emails.
Yet on June 13, 2014 the IRS sent a letter to Senate Finance stating a multi-year tranche of Lois Lerner’s emails had been destroyed.
June 13, 2014 letter to Senate Finance Committee: “IRS confirmed the backup tapes from 2011 no longer exist because they have been recycled pursuant to the IRS normal policy.”
June 20, 2014 before Ways & Means:
Chairman Camp: “Your letter describes the Lois Lerner emails as being unrecoverable.” 
Commissioner Koskinen: “Correct”
Feb. 11, 2015 in an Oversight hearing:
Mr. DeSantis: “You’ve made the effort, you were not cavalier about this, you made the effort to find what the Committee wanted? Mr. Koskinen: “Yes”
The IRS Commissioner has said they went to “great lengths” and made “extraordinary efforts” to recover the emails.
This is but a small sampling of the Commissioner’s definitive and precise statements about the missing emails.  Yet, I believe what we will hear this evening is far different than what we were led to believe.
To the men and women in the Inspector General’s office, we thank you for the hard work, long days, and we look forward to ultimately reading your final report.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }