Monday, September 12, 2016

TV: NBC airs abstract art

With his wars on civil liberties, the Constitution, civilians, whistle-blowers, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and so much more, is it any surprise that President Barack Obama has also waged a war on the arts?

His proposal to fund the arts was so low in the last fiscal year, Mike Boehm (THE LOS ANGELES TIMES) observed, "The total federal arts allocation would be somewhat less than the Air Force would expect to pay for two new long-range bombers, which carry an estimated price tag of $810 million each."

Boehm further pointed out:

The president also aims to keep the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ allocation unchanged at $22 million, reserving his entire proposed arts increase for museums -- the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institution, both of which offer free admission and serve as tourist magnets.

As many hours of SCANDAL taught America, the Smithsonian is a front for the CIA -- a detail the Smithsonian strangely leaves off of its pages charting its fictional media appearances.

The 2016 fiscal year proposal also called for an increase funding for the Smithsonian.

In this climate, hostile to the arts, maybe we should all be grateful NBC served up an hour of abstract art last week?

But if gratitude is what NBC was hoping for, they came up short.

hillary clinton

The network's news department teamed with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America for a so-called commander-in-chief forum.

For some stupid reason Andrew Bacevich, of all people, denounced the forum afterwards.

In an attention getting column for THE BOSTON GLOBE entitled, "I was held prisoner on an American aircraft carrier," the former military colonel took swipes at IAVA and its president Paul Reikhoff ("Rieckhoff preened") while lamenting that:

Questions posed by IAVA members tended to focus narrowly on the needs -- one might even say the grievances -- of young veterans. Perhaps this was to be expected. Just as dairy farmers want to know what a prospective president will do to support the price of milk, veterans want to know what a president will do to deliver on matters effecting them directly. Yet it was as if they were auditioning someone to head the VA.

Why was he so surprised?

A) IAVA is a veterans' organization.

B) They had repeatedly noted that veterans issues would play a large part of the forum -- repeatedly in one press release after another -- including in one released the day before the event which opened:

Tomorrow, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will take the stage in New York City for the IAVA Commander in Chief Forum focusing on national security, military affairs, and veterans issues. Hosted by IAVA and NBC News, and simulcast in primetime on NBC and MSNBC, the forum will engage a live audience of primarily veterans, servicemembers, and military family members to ask questions of both candidates on the issues that are most important to our community. TODAY co-anchor Matt Lauer will moderate the Commander in Chief Forum and the candidates will appear on stage back-to-back from 8:00 to 9:00 PM ET.

Bacevich goes on to say that some treated veterans -- or their questions -- as though criticism to them was off limits.

We'd argue Bacevich had already done that when he'd agreed to participate and assumed "national security" was a topic to only be explored by veterans and the military.

Does he not grasp that there is civilian control over the military?

That the nationally elected (via the electoral college) president of the United States is over every bit of military brass and flash and not the other way around?

He doesn't appear to grasp that and seems to do just what accuses others of doing.

A real forum on national security would have to represent Americans -- not just those in the military.

And a real forum on national security in a democracy would absolutely have to include the voices of peace.

It's a fact that Bacevich overlooked.

In doing so, he was like so many others who chose to interpret the forum -- to treat it as abstract art -- as opposed to what it was.

What was it?

Really bad television.

We're not talking about Matt Lauer, we're talking the forum and the format itself.

It was decided that the candidates would be reduced to two: Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Party nominee Donald Trump.

Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Gloria La Riva, Jerry White and others were rendered invisible.

"Jill only polls at 2%!  Gary only polls at 5%!" -- or whatever the number the media insists is factual.

So over 6 million are represented by Jill Stein?

That's a sizable amount.

She should have been invited.

And this notion that you would do 30 minutes with each candidate -- minus commercials?

You could have justified that if you'd invited more presidential candidates.

But with only two, why weren't you doing an hour with each?

And why the need for commercials anyway?

Aren't the networks still required to provide programming to the public that informs the public?

No one wanted to criticize that apparently.

They looked at the abstract art that was the forum and accepted all those aspects without comment.

It was as though they were gazing upon Maredno Muller's TULIP OF SPINES and felt that it had to be accepted without question -- you know, like Bacevich's critique of the veterans' questions and comments?

But if we're critiquing Lee Krasner's art, isn't part of that critique about how she's exploring different styles and forms throughout her work?

Art is subjective -- especially true of abstract art.

Art is also often autobiographical or self-referential.

But in the underfunded art world of the US, in a country where art is not at all appreciated or really taught in most public schools, critiques and interpretations became not about the art on display but about what festered inside the complainer.

Complainer's aren't critics, they don't have the tools to be.

Heading up the uneducated was novelist Siri Hustvedt who charged Matt Lauer, the host/moderator, with sexism in a seriously flawed piece of writing at SLATE.

Many complained like Siri.

We at least think she was sincere in her complaints.

She just wasn't accurate.

Matt was sexist, she insisted, because he interrupted Hillary Clinton.

Is Hillary not supposed to be interrupted because she's a woman?

As this nonsense that Hillary was interrupted -- and interrupted more often than Donald -- popped up over and over, we were compelled to rewatch the broadcast and to review the transcript.

They were both interrupted the same amount of time.

Actually, one of Hillary's interruptions was typical of any live program -- when Matt Lauer let her know they only had 30 more seconds left so she needed to wrap up the answer.

Hillary and Donald were both interrupted, repeatedly, the same amount.

Matt Lauer played fair.

For Siri, she wanted to heap centuries of oppression of women onto Matt's very narrow shoulders when he hadn't done anything sexist at all.

But within herself, when a woman does poorly -- and Hillary did poorly -- it can only be due to sexism.

We're being very kind to Siri.

In 2008, Hillary was the subject of repeat sexism.

We called it out here.

That sexism even included remarks of the Christ-child Barack Obama.

We called him out for them too.

Women like Siri?

We didn't hear from them in 2008, did we?

2008 was vile and disgusting.

It's amazing how many that were silent -- or  supportive -- of sexism in 2008 are now rushing to pin every losing argument or failed performance by Hillary as the outcome of sexism.

A lot of it is because she's the nominee -- the Democratic Party nominee.

So the complaining is nothing but partisan whoring intended to 'work the refs.'

It's not real.

It does real damage though.

And it's funny how Matt went after Donald Trump on his ridiculous stance that men and women serving in the military explains assault.

As though rape is a norm?

Matt went after him.

Yet all the complainers whining about sexism against Hillary didn't really acknowledge that.

Which would suggest this has nothing to do with sexism but everything to do with Queen Bee-ism -- where one woman is elevated to a higher stature than every other woman because she's the 'exception.'

Which would suggest that it was the complainers on behalf of Hillary who were sporting sexism.

We also found it interesting how no one wanted to note that Hillary broke the rules of the forum.

No one noticed that?

Matt Lauer:  Let me ask you something ahead of time that I'll ask Mr. Trump in a half an hour. To the best of your ability tonight, can we talk about your qualities and your qualifications to be commander-in-chief and not use this as an opportunity to attack Mr. Trump, all right? And I'll ask him the exact same thing.

Hillary Clinton: I think that's an exactly right way to proceed.


Because it's not how she proceeded.

She couldn't follow the rule, could she?

Matt Lauer: Sir, thank you. Thank you very much for your question. Secretary Clinton, let's talk about your vote in favor of the war in Iraq. You’ve since said it was a mistake.

Hillary Clinton:  Mm-hmm.

Matt Lauer:  Obviously, it was not something you said you would do again. I asked before for people to raise their hand if you served in Iraq. Can you do it again? How do you think these people feel when the person running to be their commander-in-chief says her vote to go to war in Iraq was a mistake?

Hillary Clinton: Look, I think that the decision to go to war in Iraq was a mistake. And I have said that my voting to give President Bush that authority was, from my perspective, my mistake. I also believe that it is imperative that we learn from the mistakes, like after- action reports are supposed to do, and so we must learn what led us down that path so that it never happens again. I think I'm in the best possible position to be able to understand that and prevent it. But I will say this. I'm asking to be judged on the totality of my record, what I've done for our veterans as first lady, as senator, what I’ve done for Gold Star Families, working with them to increase the death benefit from $12,000 to $100,000, working with Republicans, like Lindsey Graham, to get TRICARE for our National Guard members who didn’t have health care unless they were deployed, working to provide more support for the care of our veterans, those who are wounded, working with the Fisher family, now into the third generation of caring for our fallen heroes, working with John McCain to raise money for Brooke Medical Center's Intrepid Center to take care of those who are coming back with profound injuries, working on TBI and PTSD and so much more, working with groups to end veteran suicide, like TAPS. So, yes…

Matt Lauer:  I'm going to get on to that subject in a second.

Hillary Clinton:  There was -- there was a mistake. Now, my opponent was for the war in Iraq. He says he wasn't. You can go back and look at the record. He supported it. He told Howard Stern he supported it. So he supported it before it happened, he supported it as it was happening, and he is on record as supporting it after it happened. I have taken responsibility for my decision.

Matt Lauer: Let me go to another…

Hillary Clinton:  He refuses to take responsibility for his support. That is a judgment issue.

Matt was attacked for not correcting Trump's record on the Iraq War in his segment with him.

But Hillary had already given a version of his record.

It wasn't accurate.

But she gave it.

When Donald wasn't accurate about Hillary and the VA, Matt stopped him and gave the full quote from Hillary.

Trump may have supported it before the war started and before the Congress voted for it.

It's a September 11, 2002 interview where he responds "I guess so" to Howard Stern's question.

After the war stars, in its first weeks, he's expressing different views.

Hillary and her cult love to pretend otherwise and love to lie.

That's reality.

Here's some more reality that wasn't noted about Hillary.

She doesn't take responsibility.

She voted for the Iraq War.

She can't even be honest about that.

I was wrong.
Almost three years ago we went into Iraq to remove what we were told -- and what many of us believed and argued -- was a threat to America. But in fact we now know that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction when our forces invaded Iraq in 2003. The intelligence was deeply flawed and, in some cases, manipulated to fit a political agenda.
It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002. I take responsibility for that mistake. It has been hard to say these words because those who didn't make a mistake -- the men and women of our armed forces and their families -- have performed heroically and paid a dear price.
The world desperately needs moral leadership from America, and the foundation for moral leadership is telling the truth.

Before you say, "Good for Hillary," that's not Hillary.

That's John Edwards penning a 2005 column for THE WASHINGTON POST.

"I was wrong."

"It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002."

"I take responsibility for that mistake."

And here's Hillary:

Hillary Clinton: Look, I think that the decision to go to war in Iraq was a mistake. And I have said that my voting to give President Bush that authority was, from my perspective, my mistake. 

Going to war was a mistake, she insists.

But the only mistake she'll admit was giving Bully Boy "Bush that authority."

She's not taking responsibility.

She's bring up Bully Boy Bush, she's bringing up her opponent, she's doing everything but taking responsibility.

She won't own her mistake and she clearly won't learn from it.

We support the arts.

But we support facts too.

And the facts are that Hillary has not taken accountability for her vote.

She continues to bring up others to minimize her actions.

She looked like an idiot and a liar at the forum not because Matt Lauer interrupted her but because she is an idiot and a liar.

All these years later, she can't admit her mistake and own it.

Instead of fessing up she wants everyone to know Little Johnny down the street broke a window once too.

NBC's format and forum was all wrong.

But once everyone signed off on it, the fault is not Matt Lauer's, NBC, IAVA or anyone else.

What was aired was what took place.

And if you're embarrassed for Hillary it's because she embarrassed herself.

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