Sunday, May 01, 2016

Truest statement of the week

The same day, Sanders sidestepped Joe Scarborough’s attempts to get him to agree that Hillary Clinton is a “hawk” on foreign policy. “I don’t want to characterize her, but I think our views on foreign policy are different,” Sanders told the MSNBC host. “I think my views are a lot closer to President Obama’s than they are to Hillary Clinton’s.... I believe it must be Muslim troops on the ground who do the fighting with the support of the United States. I will do everything that I can to prevent our troops from getting involved in perpetual warfare in the Middle East.”
A distinction without a difference, as they say. Sanders opposes “regime change” except when it is perpetrated by a Democratic administration. He really doesn’t mind U.S. “boots on the ground” in other people’s countries, as long as they are arming and training people of native religions and races to kill others of their kind, and U.S. casualties are kept to a minimum.

-- Glen Ford, "Sanders Prepares to Bow Down to Hillary, But Many of His Supporters Won't" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

The underlying cause of the crisis is the shattering impact of the US conquest and occupation of Iraq, which destroyed the country as a functioning society. Faced with widespread armed resistance to the US occupation, the Bush administration deliberately fomented sectarian warfare between Shiites and Sunnis, culminating in the bloodbath of 2006-2007.
Prominent Democrats, including Biden himself, were identified with this divide-and-rule strategy for securing the gains of a criminal war. Biden is well known for having advanced in 2006 a plan for the partition of Iraq into three semi-independent parts: a Shiite-ruled south and center, a Sunni west and northwest, and an autonomous Kurdistan in the country’s northeast. The divisions within the country currently run along those lines, with ISIS in control of most of the Sunni-populated region.
The promotion of sectarian divisions in Iraq was followed under the Obama administration by the promotion of Sunni Islamic fundamentalist organizations in the war first in Libya to overthrow the government of Muammar Gaddafi, and then in Syria against the government of Bashar al-Assad. ISIS itself emerged out of these operations, financed largely with weapons and funds from the US-backed gulf monarchies. The US took action to curtail its advances only after it began to take over oil-rich regions in Iraq.

-- Patrick Martin, "US Vice President Biden travels to Iraq for crisis talks" (WSWS).

A note to our readers

A Sunday.

We're shocked as well.

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:

Glen Ford gets another truest. 
As does Patrick Martin.
Iraq remains the editorial.
What were they thinking this time last year at ABC when they were picking shows to greenlight?
At last, we roundtable again.
And we update our ongoing feature.
Nor should you.
The summer movie of 2016 comes out this spring, at the end of this week.


Maybe you did?
What we listened to while writing.
From US House Rep Gabbard's office.
From UK Socialist Worker.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.


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

Editorial: Iraq still on fire


US Vic President Joe Biden visited Iraq last week.

It was one of the calmer moments.

Saturday, Moqtada al-Sadr -- Shi'ite cleric and movement leader -- gave a speech in Najaf calling on his followers to storm the Green Zone which they did.

And they stormed Parliament.

Could anything make it more clear that Haider al-Abadi is a stooge?

Nouri al-Maliki wanted a third term but Barack only allowed him two.

But while the thug was prime minister, groups did not breach the heavily fortified Green Zone.

Haider can't even ensure the safety of the Green Zone.

What a failure he is.

And he's been a failure for some time.

People have tried to avoid that reality.

News outlets have insisted that he's doing great things and making progress.


Iraq is still split along Sunni and Shi'ite lines and Sunnis are still persecuted.

That's the fault line in Iraq currently.

Patrick Martin (WSWS) observes, "The underlying cause of the crisis is the shattering impact of the US conquest and occupation of Iraq, which destroyed the country as a functioning society. Faced with widespread armed resistance to the US occupation, the Bush administration deliberately fomented sectarian warfare between Shiites and Sunnis, culminating in the bloodbath of 2006-2007."

And Haider's done nothing to address the split.

He's had nearly two years.

Haider's a failure.

Iraq's still on fire because the latest US-installed prime minister is a failure.

TV: The sickos that run and ruin ABC

Claire Warren is such a conniving and controlling politician, she makes Hillary Clinton look spontaneous.  And she's at the center of ABC's ratings challenged drama THE FAMILY.

Joan Allen plays the character which should be a good thing.


And, in fairness, Joan Allen delivers a truly epic performance as a politician who uses the murder of her son to further her political career -- the way some might argue a certain First Lady used her husband's affair to ride into the US Senate.

But then Claire's son turns up alive.

So she has to recalibrate her latest campaign.

Then it turns out that he's not her son and her big concern is the DNA test that was faked and what it's going to cost her as she continues to pretend the boy is her son.

If Joan Allen's not the problem, maybe it's Andrew McCarthy?

The star of such films as ST. ELMO'S FIRE, WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S, MANNEQUIN, PRETTY IN PINK, CLASS, FRESH HORSES, etc. isn't necessarily seen as an actor who does drama.

But Andrew isn't the problem.  He's perfectly convincing as Hank.

But Hank's the problem.

And Claire.

And Willa.

And . . .

Jenna Bans created this show and she's the real problem.

Whatever she learned in ShondaLand and, before that, as DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES flew out the window when she thought up this TV series.

And what was ABC thinking putting it on Sunday nights -- after the Ode to Disney that is ONCE UPON A TIME?

Not only does the series revolve around a politician -- an iffy character in the best of times -- but you've got Andrew McCarthy's Hank who not only went to prison for the 'murder' of Claire's son but who is also a child molester.

In fact, he's one of two child molesters in the show.

He's the good one.

You read that right.

He's the good one.

The series also features a bad pedophile.

On the heels of ABC's high profile failure WICKED CITY comes THE FAMILY and the question really is: How sick are the execs at ABC?

What exactly do they think people want to watch?

There's an aspect of THE FAMILY that plays out like an advertisement for pedophilia.

Exactly what large audience was supposed to sign up for that narrative?

ABC has yet again confused depravity with entertainment.

And the sickness includes a young male hooking up with his pedophile to inform him of details like "They know your name."

How did they believe this show was going to deliver an audience?

On REVENGE -- which pulled in better numbers on Sundays, you could root for Emily (Emily VanCamp) as she tried to avenge her father and you also had true and pure Jack (Nick Wechsler).

Who do you root for in this TV show?

The politician who lies to everyone (even her husband doesn't know Adam isn't their son or that their son Adam is really dead)?

The pedophile who figures out who the real killer is?

Maybe the daughter who lied to her own mother about the dead son?

This is not brave story telling, it's just a middle finger to the audience.

And guess what?

The audience can flip the bird as well.

And week after week, that's just what they've done.

ABC should be firing more than a few people over the programming decisions made last fall and this spring.


 Jim: It's roundtable time again.   Judging by your e-mails, it's been way too long since we did a roundtable.  On the topic of e-mails, remember our e-mail address is  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; 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); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): First off, Bernie Sanders.  The Senator lost more primaries last week.  Reader Ellen says she can always tell when that happens because community sites tend to "struggle to post."

Trina: Really?

Jim: You disagree?

Trina: I would argue it was true before April.  By the end of April, not so much.  The corporate media declared Hillary Clinton the nominee some time ago.  At this point, it's rather obvious she's the nominee.  It's sad but I don't know that we're as vested in the loss as we were.

Dona: And before someone e-mails, the competition isn't over.  Those of us in California still have not voted.

Jess: We vote June 7th.  Polls open at 7 in the morning and close at 8.  The last day to register to vote is May 23rd.  And I believe all of us participating in the roundtable who are voting in California will be voting for Bernie Sanders.  We're hoping for a really strong California turnout.

Elaine: I agree with Trina though.  There was a time when it was just so depressing.  Hillary as the nominee?  The only thing scarier is Hillary as president.  But we've done what we can.  It's not worth beating ourselves up or feeling it's the end of the world.  We're not idiots like Lena Dunham who insist, "I'm leaving the US if ___ is president."

Isaiah: For the record, Dunham said if Trump becomes president.

Elaine: Right.  But I mean, it's so childish.  No, I'm not giving up my country because someone -- anyone -- becomes president.  That's just so childish.

Jim: Some would argue it's childish not to go along with supporting Hillary if you were a Bernie supporter.

Elaine: I'm sure some would.  I wouldn't make that argument though.

Ann: Because the two are so far apart.  Bernie Sanders is not perfect.  But if you supported Bernie -- or even were just rooting for him -- it was because you believed in opposition to corporate-control of the government, because you believed in a loud "no" to endless war, because you supported so many things that Hillary just doesn't give a damn about.

Jim: Ann, you won't be voting for Hillary.

Ann: Hell no.

Cedric: But she's also a Green.

Jim: Yes, she is.  And she's your wife but the way you worded that, Cedric, makes me wonder if you might consider voting for Hillary?

Cedric: I'm a Democrat.  I could be tempted.  In the final weeks of a general election, I could debate with myself over it.  But I believe in the end that the answer will be no.  She's lied too many times.  I will never forgive her support for the Iraq War.  I will never forget how badly she handled Iraq as Secretary of State.

Stan: And all the secrecy.  As Secretary of State, she refused to update Congress on what State was doing with Iraq.  You had members of Congress -- Democratic ones --

Ava: Gary Ackerman.

Stan (Con't): Gary Ackerman!  talking about how they couldn't figure out how the budget for Iraq was going because State wouldn't answer their questions or supply them with basic information.  Her Iraq problems go far beyond her 2002 vote.

Kat: And, sorry Hillary, Iraq is still a very key issue.  We're on campuses -- Wally, Ava and C.I. and me -- and we're speaking to the students across the country.  Rage at the Iraq War has vanished among the whorish 'little' media -- THE PROGRESSIVE, THE NATION, etc -- but it's a fireball on campuses.

Wally: Yeah, it is.  Kat's exactly right.  It pops up, the topic, and it ignites a firestorm.  I'd argue that the college students right now are more appalled by the Iraq War than I was a few years ago when I was in college and Bully Boy Bush was in the White House.  The fact that it hasn't ended and the fact that it's not truly a bi-partisan war?  That really sets students off.

Kat: And Hillary co-signs that war.  Even today, she co-signs it.

Ty: I think the Democratic Party's going to very surprised about the bad will they will have created for several election cycles by selecting Hillary and not Bernie.  I think they will run off a lot of young voters.

Jim: Where to?

Ty: Some will go Green or Libertarian.  I think a lot will just either reject party labels or not vote at all.

Rebecca: I could see that.  Especially the not vote at all.  The Democratic Party looks like the biggest hypocrite and whore in the world.  All that posturing against Hillary in 2008 only to embrace her eight years later?

Jim: Some would argue that people can change.

Rebecca: And some people can change.  But all the things that were identified as faults for Hillary in 2008?  None of them improved.  Too war like in 2008?  Okay, now we've got Libya and Syria as further examples of just how war like she is.  I think selecting Hillary is going to harm the Democratic Party for many election cycles.  Ty's right.

Marcia: And, yes, Jim, people can change.  I have.  In 2008, I supported Hillary.  I started my blog to support her in that primary.  And her weak ass "mistake" on Iraq? I could let that go.  I thought, "Okay, she's allowing that but afraid if she goes further, she will be ripped apart."  She voted against the surge, she sided with MoveOn on their General Petraeus don't betray us ad.  So I thought that she was really closer to my side than she could let on.  But I can't support her in 2016 because what's followed has demonstrated that she's not on my side at all, that she's far to the right of me.  So, yeah, I've changed.  Eight years ago, I would've been thrilled to have President Hillary.  Now?  I see her as yet another crook in the White House.

Ruth: And we should touch on the crook aspect in light of the e-mail scandal.  That is an ongoing investigation.  What does it say about our country and the Democratic Party that she could even run for the nomination with that cloud over her?  And whether or not you think she did something criminal, what she did was certainly bad enough.

Stan: Right.  If it wasn't criminal, we're still left with the risks she took, the way she left national security in jeopardy by using her Blackberry and by using a private e-mail server.

Isaiah: Her complete disregard for rules and laws.  I really can't get over it, to be honest.  Over how it's not a huge issue and over what she did.  I won't vote for her.

Jim: Which Debra Messing would insist means you're supporting Donald Trump.

Isaiah: I'm not really worried about the thoughts of a hagged out actress who seems to think she's too good for sitcoms when her only real talent was in sitcoms.

Marica: Amen.

Jim: Carl e-mailed about C.I.  He noted that C.I. doesn't endorse unless it's a race she can vote in and then usually doesn't endorse even then.  But in one snapshot in April, C.I. not only "finally revealed that she supported Cynthia McKinney in 2008 but also that she was voting for Bernie."  C.I.?

C.I.: I hadn't planned to ever answer who I voted for in 2008.  I didn't answer it in real time.  But for the purposes of that snapshot, it made sense to discuss it.  As for supporting Bernie?  If you read that snapshot, at the start, that's not clear.  Those are dictated.  I know what links I'm using but other than that I have no idea what I will say.  I was as surprised as Carl when I made that declaration.  But I have a lot of friends who are supporting Bernie and have been saying how the vote could really matter, every vote in California.  And I have no problem, clearly, saying that I will be voting for Bernie in the California primary.  That said, don't think I'll be declaring or endorsing for the general election.

Jim: Mike, you've been pretty quiet.

Mike: I have.  I understand what Elaine was saying earlier and what my mom [Trina] was saying but honestly, I am a little different in that I do get majorly depressed every time Bernie loses a primary.  I do not want to blog then.  I just don't see the point a lot of time after he loses.  It's just too depressing.

Jim: So what do you do?

Mike: Blog about music.

Betty: And movies.  And TV.  And anything besides politics.  I'm with Mike, sorry.  I'm not as mature about it as some people are.  I'm with Mike having my pity party and banging my head against the wall, cursing the fact that Hillary is going to be the nominee.  I mean, I'll be voting for Bernie in June.  And maybe she'll get indicted.  I'm praying she gets indicted.  But every time she wins another primary, I just want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head.  Sorry.

Jim: No, need to be sorry.  I'm sure some readers will agree with Trina and Elaine and some will agree with you and Mike.  And Dona's handing me a note that says everyone's spoken so let's go ahead and wrap this roundtable up.

Film Classics of the 20th Century

In this ongoing series on film classics of the last century, we've looked at THE LATE SHOW, SUMMER STOCKTHE FULLER BRUSH GIRL,  The Net,  Your Friends & Neighbors,  Shampoo,  The Player,  Dick Tracy,  How To Marry A Millionaire,  Blow OutYou Only Live TwiceSleeper,  Diamonds Are Forever,  Sleepless In Seattle,  My Little Chickadee,  Tootsie,  After Hours,  Edward ScissorhandsChristmas in Connecticut, Desk Set,  When Harry Met Sally . . .,  Who Done It?,  That Darn Cat!,  Cactus Flower,  Family Plot, House Sitter,  and Outrageous Fortune.   Film classics are the films that grab you, even on repeat viewings, especially on repeat viewings.

And there are many films and many types we want to look at.

What about the melodramas?

The tear jerkers?

A number of you have e-mailed about that genre.

TEA WITH MUSSOLINI is a classic in that genre.

Need a good setting?

What about Italy?

And for drama, how about you give it a background of WWII?


And what's a good movie without Academy Award winner Maggie Smith?


And the always dependable Joan Plowright?


And, wait, there's more Lily Tomlin and Judi Dench!


And there's drama and sides chosen as some (Lily Tomlin) see what's coming and others (Maggie Smith) don't.


And there's dancing.


And dancing.


And, oh, yeah, Cher.


In her strongest performance since she won the Academy Award for MOONSTRUCK, Cher really delivers.


Repeating, her strongest performance since MOONSTRUCK -- which is truly saying something.

But Cher, Judi, Lily, Joan, Maggie, they're all in top form as they raise a small boy to adulthood and struggle against the Nazis.

Few directors could be so sure with this genre and this material.

But Franco Zeffirelli demonstrates a love for the (semi-autobiographical) material and delivers another classic (THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, ROMEO AND JULIET, THE CHAMP AND HAMLET being four other classic films he's directed).

Jill Stein's not laughing

President Barack Obama fancies himself a comedian.

And 'jokes' about 'killing'?

He thinks that's funny.

He and his braying hyenas thought so much was funny.

Jill Stein's not laughing.

And neither should you be.

She's seeking the Green Party's 2016 presidential nomination and below is her Twitter reaction to Barack and the White House Correspondents Dinner held Saturday.

  • Time to turn the O-press, Re-press and De-press into Free-press.

  • would make me laugh if only the joke wasn't on us.

  • Hey , now that you're high again maybe you should consider legalizing marijuana?

  • Least funny joke that couldn't be told at the : Corporate control of the Press is no laughing matter.

  • As president you won't hear jokes at about drone programs. Why? Because unlike my predecessor I won't have my own personal kill list.

  • I heard I got a mention at the , when I'm standing in that spot I'll make sure to invite less of the oligarchy.

  • A war profiteer, a climate wrecker, and a predatory bankster walk into a bar.... 🎤

  • Comedy can be a beautiful way to deal with tragedy. But when jokes are made by abusers at the victims expense it's not funny at all.

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