Monday, January 25, 2016

Truest statement of the week

There is every reason for protest against the current state of Hollywood filmmaking, but on quite other grounds. Where are the films, for example, denouncing 15 years of the brutal “war on terror,” with its accompanying attacks on democratic rights and its threat of police-state rule? Where are the films indicting the Bush and Obama administrations for their war crimes? Where are the writers and directors obsessed by the malignant growth of social inequality in America? There is no shortage of things to be outraged about…
As we noted in a previous article, the American film industry’s genuine lack of diversity at present lies in its almost exclusive treatment of the not terribly intriguing opinions, feelings and foibles of the better-off, self-obsessed petty bourgeoisie. The increased presence of the working class as an independent force in American social and political affairs, of which we now see the first signs, will do more than anything else to break up the current stagnant, constricted atmosphere in art and film.

-- David Walsh, "The semi-bycott of the 'whites only' Academy Awards" (WSWS).

Truest statment of the week II

With Where to Invade Next’s potted racialist history of the US and its view that women should rule the world, Moore has, of course, added identity politics into the mix in his “happy film,” as he calls it.
It is hardly accidental that Moore has been so inactive since Barack Obama took office in early 2009. (Capitalism: A Love Story came out that year.) His new movie is a ludicrous attempt to cover for the Democratic Party, hoping against hope that he can convince it to adopt policies that, he takes pains to point out, all originated in the US. Moving the Democratic Party to the left is the most hopeless and pathetic of perspectives.
Moore has become a sometime critic of the Obama administration, after endorsing the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008 and supporting the auto bailout in 2009, which halved autoworkers’ pay. However, he is hopelessly tied to the Democratic Party and capitalist politics by a thousand strings. While excoriating Obamacare, for example, as “a pro-insurance-industry plan,” he termed the plan a “godsend” because it provides a start “to get what we deserve: universal quality health care.”
The filmmaker is a seriously compromised and increasingly discredited figure.

-- Joann Laurier, "Charlie Kaufman's often charming, moving Anomalisa (and Michael Moore's feeble Where To Invade Next)" (WSWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --

A Monday.

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?

The movies get a truest.
In fact, they get two.
He's so not doing a damn thing.
Ava and C.I. take on LEGENDS OF TOMORROW.
Her scandal reeks.
Things to remember when Paul Krugman's gums start flapping.
The forever sexist Somerby.
What we listened to while writing this edition.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them.


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

Editorial: Barack's not even trying

shoe envy

Kick The Can Barack Obama has ensured that the Iraq War will continue after he is out of the White House.

And now he's made clear that he's not even trying.

It was in June 2014 that he publicly insisted the only answer to Iraq's crises was a political solution.  Around about the same time, he and others in the administration began speaking of the need for Iraq to form a national guard -- specifically with Sunnis to protect Sunni areas, Kurds to protect Kurdish areas and Shi'ites would protect Shia areas.

But none of this has been addressed through diplomacy.

There is no US diplomacy in Iraq.

Last week, REUTERS reported, "The U.S. government has approved the probable sale to Iraq of smart bombs, AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles and other munitions for use on its fleet of 36 F-16 fighter jets in a deal valued at up to $1.95 billion, the U.S. Defense Department announced on Wednesday."

Barack didn't use Iraq's desire for the deal to force the Iraqi government to work on national reconciliation or on a national guard or on any political solutions.

He's not even trying.

He clearly doesn't even care.

No one, not even Barack, could be that inept.

No one.

TV: Boredom of Today

Thursday night, LEGENDS OF TOMORROW delivered strong ratings for The CW.  Let's hope they enjoy them while they last.

The excitement over the first episode had been building since the series was announced a year ago.  It was the most talked about and awaited series premieres of the last ten years.

So with that lead time, you'd think they would have prepared something that actually mattered, impressed or even held attention.


Instead, it was the most rote-by-numbers television since the days of EMERGENCY or to put in easy to understand fan boy and fan girl lingo, it's the most disappointing superhero outing since Ryan Reynolds flopped in GREEN LANTERN.

On the plus side, Ciara Renee has developed a character.  The writers don't know what to do with Kendra (Hawkgirl) but the actress has made her believable and real.  We can also find praise for Wentworth Miller's portrayal of Leonard Snart (Captain Cold) which finds Miller flooding the (still) sketchy character with life.

Others don't fare so well.

Take Caity Lotz.

She plays Sara Lance (White Canary).

She's been playing the character (on ARROW) since 2013.

There's no question she knows what she's doing, it's just that the script doesn't give her anything to do.

Why is she there?

No one seems sure.

Which is pretty much true of every character.

But it's especially true of human cupcake Falk Hentschel who is supposed to be playing Carter Hall (Hawkman),  Yes, he poses wonderfully but he's supposed to be a superhero, not a print model.

Others stumble around lacking even Hentschel's confidence.

If one word described the episode, it was: Floundering.

It didn't have to be that way.  Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg and Phil Klemmer knew "Pilot, Part 1" had to open strong.

So they took us into the future where London was under attack by Vandal Savage who kills a woman and then asks her child if he's brave like his mother or foolish like his father?

The child spits in his face.

Vandal Savage grins, the boy is like his mother.

Vandal then shoots the child dead.

That is the high point of the entire episode.  Quickly, we're following Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) as he runs to the Time Council for permission to go back in time.

Once back in time, he begins gathering nine people, eight superheroes (Victor Garber's Professor Stein and Franz Drameh's Jax Jacskon merge to become the hero Firestorm). They then go back in time for a non-event -- a man we've never seen before dies (he's Kendra's adult son from a previous life) and the time traveling machine gets attacked.

Oh, and Rip finally admits that he took the machine without the permission of the Time Council.

The whole episode is plodding and pointless.

Episode two is only slightly better.

What does it say about a TV show when the fans care more about it than the people who are creating it?

Maybe it goes to the fact that Berlanti isn't a strong storyteller?

He's incapable of telling a linear story, he loses interest in his own subplots and forgets plot points.  Anyone who's watched ARROW knows that.

The series is more or less carried on Stephen Amell's muscular ass.

It's certainly not carried by consistency or compelling storylines.  And THE FLASH is even worse.

Then there's SUPERGIRL which basically takes the SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE parody of a Black Widow movie and plays it straight.

LEGENDS OF TOMORROW simply demonstrates that, with each series, Berlanti has even less to offer.

The modest success of Berlanti's various shows demonstrates that there is an audience for superhero stories on TV.  It's just sad that this audience can't be served by a quality storyteller.


Hillary's buried in e-mails


Hillary Clinton's e-mail scandal is not going away.

In part, it continues to be a story because she lied about it and continues lying.

Anita Kumar (MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS) writes:

 Hillary Clinton blamed Republicans Sunday for using her decision to use personal email while secretary of state against her and her presidential campaign.
“I cannot control what the Republicans leak and what they are contending,” Clinton said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Don't call that reporting.

Thursday, when the Clinton campaign's Karen Finney appeared on CNN NEWSROOM, Brooke Baldwin pushed back against these claims asking, "What is your proof of that?"

Anita Kumar needs no proof.

She's not interested in journalism, just propaganda.

Last week, Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough's letter to the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committees went public -- in it he noted that Hillary's server contained e-mails which went beyond the top secret classification.

Here's how Nancy Cordes and Rebecca Kaplan (CBS NEWS) reported the news:

Hillary Clinton's private email server contained information that was classified at a higher level than "top secret," the inspector general of the intelligence community told members of Congress in a letter obtained by CBS News.
The server Clinton used as secretary of state contained "several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the [intelligence community] element to be at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, and TOP SECRET/SAP levels," the inspector general, Charles McCullough, wrote in the letter, which was first reported by Fox News. "SAP" stands for special access programs, which carry a classification level higher than top secret.
Former CIA Director David Petraeus was sentenced to two years' probation and fined $100,000 for sharing similarly classified information with Paula Broadwell, his biographer and mistress.

More than any other politicians, the Clintons pioneered the ignore-the-charge-attack-the-source 'response.'

It's a distraction.

It's a way of avoiding going on the record.

It's what liars do.

Deroy Murdock (UNION LEADER) observes:

WHEN HILLARY CLINTON’S email scandal erupted last March, fair-minded people might have given her the benefit of the doubt. Distracted and perhaps overeager, the spanking-new secretary of state plowed into her duties and had her staff divert emails to her home-based computer server. This would be more convenient, she claimed, and would let her avoid the hassle of schlepping multiple hand-held devices. Besides, “there is no classified material” on her server, she soothed journalists covering this matter. “I did not receive nor send anything that was classified,” she said reassuringly last July.
Things are now so much worse than they first appeared.
If a bumbling Clinton had let a smattering of classified emails land on her unsecured server, one might overlook an occasional slip up or two. However, the State Department so far has identified from Clinton’s private server at least 1,340 emails that contain classified data. This was not two or three or even 10 such emails, but one thousand three hundred and forty of them. The final tranche of Clinton’s emails should arrive Jan. 29, most likely featuring even more emails brimming with state secrets.

As Alex Griswold (MEDIAITE) notes, former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates declared on radio last week that he believes Iran and Russia accessed Hillary's e-mails.  And THE BLAZE reports, "Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey is calling for criminal charges to be brought against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the mishandling of classified information."

No, the e-mail scandal is not over.


Illustration is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Hillary's Campaign Slogan."

Read more here:


The small mind of Paul Krugman

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman Friday warned Bernie supporters that change doesn’t happen with “transformative rhetoric” but with “political pragmatism” – “accepting half loaves as being better than none.” He writes that it’s dangerous to prefer “happy dreams (by which he means Bernie) to hard thinking about means and ends (meaning Hillary).”
Krugman doesn’t get it. I’ve been in and around Washington for almost fifty years, including a stint in the cabinet, and I’ve learned that real change happens only when a substantial share of the American public is mobilized, organized, energized, and determined to make it happen. 

-- Robert Reich, "Paul Krugman Is Wrong. Here's Why Bernie Sanders' Movement Will Provide Real Change" (TRUTH DIG).

Paul Krugman's always been shallow and hollow.

The economist was hired by THE NEW YORK TIMES to write a column about the economy -- explaining economics to lay persons.

That really didn't interest him.

Instead, he railed against, for example, the Iraq War.

This led some to wrongly see him as anti-war.

As the last years prove, Paul Krugman's ready to embrace wars, ready to drop to all four and take them up his ass, provided it's a Democratic Party president shoving the shaft in.

Democrats can do anything and Paul's okay with it.

He just lays on his back, giggles and gasps.

He has no ethics.

If this is news to you, then you don't know Krugman.

Krugman has no appreciation for We The People.

Mike called him out on that in 2006 -- when Krugman compiled an anti-war list that was nothing but politicians.

And of course, there was Krugman's ridiculous Happy Days Syndrome -- when he was embracing the 50s as a time we needed to return to.

White Krugman may fetishize the 50s, but it's doubtful many African-Americans would want to return to those racist times.

Suffering from that syndrome, he gave a speech that DEMOCRACY NOW! elected to broadcast on June 19, 2006.

Do you see the problem?

Krugman didn't.

June 19th.

In the fifties?

June 19, 1953?

The day the US government executed Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

It takes a special kind of idiot on the left to be waxing about the fifties on that anniversary.

Krugman is a special kind of idiot.

He's unable to see where things could go because he's timid and scared.

He colors in the lines, refuses to tear the tag off his mattress and puts plastic slip covers over the sofa.

He's a timid tabby -- declawed.

Bernie Sanders, he insists, is just not plausible.

Hillary, he whines, is.

The same Hillary who couldn't lead on marriage equality?

The same Hillary who never met a war or conflict she didn't want to join in on?

Paul Krugman is a ridiculous man who settles for what is because he never learned to dream.

Petty minds are the harshest prisons.


Pig Boy Bob Somerby

That Bob Somerby's a sexist isn't news to anyone who reads this or any community sites.

Any man can hurl lies at his beloved Al Gore and he will forgive them but he will prosecute Maureen Dowd and other women until the day he dies.

Bob's sexism is deep rooted.

He fails to grasp basic points.

Take last week when he decided to (yet again) attack a female journalist (THE NEW YORK TIMES' Amy Chozick) and felt the best way to do that was an attempt at sliming Connie Hamzy.


Let's let him explain:

Brace yourselves, but according to the world's leading authority, Hamzy is "an American woman from Little Rock, Arkansas who is best known as a groupie who claims to have had sex with numerous rock musicians...

"Hamzy personally claims to have given oral sex to various members of the many bands that have traveled through Little Rock," the leading authority says. "Her alleged groupie escapades were detailed in a Cosmopolitan profile in 1974, and in 1992 she wrote a tell-all article for Penthouse."

"Hamzy published a memoir in 1995 under the title Rock Groupie: The Intimate Adventures of 'Sweet Connie' from Little Rock," the leading authority further reports.

None of this means that Hamzy wasn't telling the truth when he made her exciting accusation, which Chozick forgets to spell out. That said, was Hamzy a reliable source? When she "came forward" in late 1991, was she telling the truth? 

When he?

At any rate.

A woman says she was propositioned by Bill Clinton.

And Bob Somerby's response is?

To insist that she was a music groupie.

So what?

What does that have to do with anything?

She's not allowed to have sex with who she wants?

Or is it that, as a woman, she's not allowed to have sex period?

Regardless, none of this has anything to do with her accusation.

Bob Somerby is a creep and a sexist.

He really needs to stop sliming women.

This edition's playlist

PJ Harvey's Let England Shake


2) Carly Simon's PLAYING POSSUM.

3) Roberta Flack's OASIS.


5) Diana Ross' diana.

6) Janet Jackson's UNBREAKABLE.

7) SupergrassLife On Other Planets.



10) Jackie DeShannon's LAUREL CANYON.


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.

"Haider's failing? Who's signing the report card?" -- most requested highlight by readers of this site.

"X-Files," "SHADES OF BLUE shocker,""heroes reborn," "Shades of Blue" and "ARROW" -- Mike Elaine, Rebecca and Stan cover TV.

"Scandal" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"NPR's vicious attack on Stacy Dash" -- Ann calls NPR out.

"Glenn Frey one more time" -- Kat on the passing.

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