Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Truest statement of the week

At this stage of his career, Obama must dedicate much of his time to the maintenance of Official Lies, since they are central to his own “legacy.” With the frenzied assistance of his first secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, Obama launched a massive military offensive – a rush job to put the New American Century back on schedule. Pivoting to all corners of the planet, and with the general aim of isolating and intimidating Russia and China, the salient feature of Obama’s offensive was the naked deployment of Islamic jihadists as foot soldiers of U.S. imperialism in Libya and Syria. It is a strategy that is morally and politically indefensible -- unspeakable! -- the truth of which would shatter the prevailing order in the imperial heartland, itself.
Thus, from 2011 to when he left the White House for a Tahiti yachting vacation with music mogul David Geffen and assorted movie and media celebrities, Obama orchestrated what the late Saddam Hussein would have called “The Mother of All Lies”: that the U.S. was not locked in an alliance with al-Qaida and its terrorist offshoots in Syria, a relationship begun almost 40 years earlier in Afghanistan.
He had all the help he needed from a compliant corporate media, whose loyalty to U.S. foreign policy can always be counted on in times of war. Since the U.S. is constantly in a (self-proclaimed) state of war, corporate media collaboration is guaranteed. Outside the U.S. and European corporate media bubble, the whole world was aware that al Qaida and the U.S. were comrades in arms. (According to a 2015 poll, 82 percent of Syrians and 85 percent of Iraqis believe the U.S. created ISIS.) When Vladimir Putin told a session of the United Nations General Assembly that satellites showed lines of ISIS tankers stretching from captured Syrian oil fields “to the horizon,” bound for U.S.-allied Turkey, yet untouched by American bombers, the Obama administration had no retort. Russian jets destroyed 1,000 of the tankers, forcing the Americans to mount their own, smaller raids. But, the moment soon passed into the corporate media’s amnesia hole -- another fact that must be shed in order to avoid unspeakable conclusions.

-- Glen Ford, "Obama’s New Job: Guardian of Official Lies" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

The American public does not want a book from Hillary Clinton. It wants an abject apology. And it wants it for free. She got what she deserved: She lost.

Now she needs to shut up and go home.

-- Gersh Kuntzman, "Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be writing a book — she should be drafting a long apology to America" (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --

A Tuesday..

Let's 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?


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

Editorial: The conversation that didn't take place

Last Thursday,  Luis Martinez (ABC NEWS) reported:

President Trump has delegated to the Pentagon the authority to set the American military troop levels in Iraq and Syria. The move restores a process that was in place prior to the Bush and Obama administrations and is another sign of how the White House is giving military commanders greater flexibility in their operations.
"The President has delegated the authority for Force Management Levels (FML) for Iraq and Syria to the Secretary," said Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, referring to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
Davis said the authority is being returned to the Pentagon where it had typically existed prior to the Bush and Obama administrations. 

Is this a good thing?

Control will now be placed in the hands of those who are more familiar with the military since they are a part of it.

But isn't this delegation also thwarting civilian control?

Isn't that the whole point in the president of the United States being commander in chief and not some general: Civilian control.

There are pluses and minuses to the issue -- both in terms of a President Donald Trump (who seems to alarm many) and in terms of the power structure itself.

But, strangely, it was one of last week's least noted and explored issues.

On PBS' gabfest WASHINGTON WEEK, it didn't even get a mention.

Worse, CBS' FACE THE NATION had a sit down with Trump yet failed to ask about the above.

Failed to ask about Iraq at all,

(Saturday night would bring news of another US military fatality in Iraq.  In fairness, John Dickerson interviewed Trump on Saturday before that news broke.)

Setting aside that Trump has done this, if any other person in the White House had turned over this power to the military, wouldn't we see it as shirking responsibility?

TV: An Unworthy TV Tale

"Forget it," Michelle Pfeiffer says in WHAT LIES BENEATH.  "This whole thing is insane."

She's right.

And we're gripped and carried along for the ride as Claire (Pfeiffer) learns her problems are not an abusive neighbor next door but a woman her husband killed.  It's a bumpy ride and, early on, we're aware that Claire may be losing her sanity and imagining everything.

It's a movie we love -- one many people love as evidenced by the $291 million worldwide gross.

Last weekend, it was playing on SYFY and so much easier to turn on then HULU's THE HANDMAID'S TALE.


Both revolve around women in jeopardy.

People in jeopardy are at the heart of most films, TV shows and books.

Tom Cruise is in jeopardy in THE FIRM, Macaulay Culkin in HOME ALONE, Joan Crawford throughout the bulk of her film career and the would-be-Crawford Michael Douglas throughout his films.

But jeopardy is a tricky thing.

Before becoming the box office smash, HOME ALONE was an iffy project.

The promos weren't well received.

The problem: Would be audiences weren't embracing a child being left alone.

So the promos were recut to feature Catherine O'Hara's scenes where she panics and attempts to return home.

With a few seconds of tweeking, 20TH CENTURY FOX had a film millions wanted to see.


It's debuted to great reviews.

And that might mean something to us if The Water Cooler Set ever valued women.

But they don't.

THE HANDMAID'S TALE started out as a novel, a classic by Margaret Atwood.  In the future, actions humans have taken have led to a climate where (a) few women can get pregnant and (b) where religious fundamentalists have taken over via martial law and use portions of THE BIBLE to suppress the rights of the majority.

Offred is the main character in the novel.

She's also the main character in the 1990 film starring Natasha Richardson (as Offred) and Faye Dunaway (as Serena Joy, the wife unable to get pregnant).

And nothing stopped us from reading the novel or seeing the film.

But a TV series?

Not a mini-series, but a TV series?

Along with the anti-women Water Cooler Set applauding the series there's the fact that a series goes on and on.

When does it end?

Are we masochists?

Eager each week to see another chapter in the subjugation and demonization of women (those who can get pregnant are seen as "sluts" and "whores" by those women who can't)?

 With a novel, a film or a mini-series, you know an ending arrives at some point.

With a series?

Offred's no Buffy Summers or Olivia Pope.

Hell, she's not even Pepper Potts.

But she does yammer on endlessly.

In the novel, she's the narrator.

It works very well.

But film and TV are visual mediums and show-don't-tell exists for a reason.

The HULU series relies way too much on voice over.

It's not enough that we have to suffer through Offred's interior monologues, we also have to hear what she wants to reply to comments before we hear what she's forced to say.

Why is that?

Because viewers aren't smart enough to grasp facial expressions?

Elizabeth Moss is not doing a great job.

She's not even doing a good job.

When she filmed THE HANDMAID'S TALE, Natasha Richardson was 26.  She looked about that age (and looked the epitome of health).  By contrast, Moss is 34 and looks about 38.  In a story about fertility, that does matter.  The show runners realize it enough to make it appear that the character is younger.

The only one giving a performance worth praising currently is Yvonne Strahovski.

The CHUCK actress isn't allowed to reveal too many more emotions than Moss' Offred but Strahovski has enough talent to add weight and meaning in gestures and reactions.

Max Mingehella is a blank slate.

Sadly, that's not a compliment.  His Nick is supposed to have chemistry with Offred -- he will eventually impregnate her (if the series stays true to the novel).

The two make eyes at one another repeatedly in the first episodes.

But these aren't smoldering looks, they're more confused and apathetic.

Also lacking fire is Joseph Finnes.

Here, the problem's mainly the material.

His Commander Fred should luxuriate in his own power and role, like a happy pig wallowing in the mud.

He has everything he supposedly wants.

So why is he so mopey -- or worse, timid, when playing Scrabble with Offred?

If he is the manifestation of danger and oppression in the story, his character should amount to something more than Matthew Broderick in 2004's THE STEPFORD WIVES.

Instead, it's left to a woman, Ann Dowd, to represent true evil on the show in her portrayal of Aunt Lydia.

In a male dominated society, Aunt Lydia goes along with the flow.

But while we've yet to see any redeeming aspect to her, she's still the Eichmann to the various commanders' Hilter.

Or would be if the series lived up to the vision Atwood set out in the novel.

The novel's the only real winner here.  Hopefully, HULU's show will steer some new readers to the book.  That's about the only thing that can qualify as a winner from this project.

5 Forgettable Lead Film actors

People wrongly assume that today's biggest stars have achieved, they they're now going to be remembered forever.


Faye Dunaway has the best chance of her crop of actresses of being remembered having appeared in films like BONNIE & CLYDE, CHINATOWN, NETWORK and MOMMIE DEAREST -- films with legs.  Jack Nicholson has the best chance of actors of his peer group.

So many more will be forgotten.

Here are five who will not be remembered as leading film actors (though the fifth will be remembered for character parts).


1) Meryl Streep.

She's been nominated forever!!!!!


Two words: Luise Rainer won two Academy Awards.

Luise who?

That's what most people would say about the first woman to win two Academy Awards for Best Actress.

Need two more words: Greer Garson.

Critical praise doesn't mean you're memorable.

Meryl's been a muted color onscreen in role after role.  Glenn Close has accomplished what Meryl has failed at.

2) George Clooney.

His biggest success is the closet-case version of the Batman films: BATMAN & ROBIN.  Other than that?  He's never carried a film to blockbuster status.  And his biggest impression remains as Doug on TV's ER.

3) Matt Damon.

B-b-b-but he co-wrote GOOD WILL HUNTING!!!!


A forgettable film.

The sort of film the Academy lavishes with undeserved attention.  The sort of film Howard Hawks avoided with a passion.  BRINGING UP BABY, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, THE BIG SLEEP, HIS GIRL FRIDAY, RED RIVER, BALL OF FIRE, GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, etc.  All classic Howard Hawks films and not an Academy Award winner in the bunch.

4) Sally Field.

Like Clooney, Field's biggest moment is TV.  No, not GIDGET, THE FLYING NUN or THE GIRL WITH SOMETHING EXTRA.  No, not ER or BROTHERS & SISTERS.  SYBIL.  Nothing she's done has topped it or, sadly, matched it.  She played Aunt Mae in the two SPIDER-MAN films that are destined to be forgotten.  Ironically, none of her film comedies will be remembered the way MY UNCLE VINNIE will be -- and Marisa Tomei won an Academy Award for that film and is now playing Aunt Mae.  Life can be harsh.

5) Alec Baldwin.

A one-time leading man, he's most likely to be remembered as such for PRELUDE TO A KISS -- but that's only due to that being a romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan.  As a queen of the genre, many of Meg's films will be remembered but this will be one of her lesser ones.  Otherwise, he'll be remembered for bit parts both after his weight gain (ALOHA, BLUE JASMINE) and before (MARRIED TO THE MOB, WORKING GIRL).  Alec can take comfort in the fact that though he'll be forgotten as a leading man, he will be remembered as a strong character actor.

The Iraq War did not end

And for those who can't grasp that fact, another US military fatality over the weekend.

  1. 1st Lieutenant 82nd airborne Divison. Weston C. Lee KIA 04/29/17 when an IED detonated while on patrol near Mosul Iraq. R.I.P buddy.
  2. 1st Lieutenant Weston C. Lee of Bluffton, GA, an 82nd Airborne Division Paratrooper, was killed by an IED Sat. during a patrol in Iraq.
  3. RIP 1st Lieutenant Weston C. Lee, 82nd Airborne Division. Thank you for your service. We are forever in your debt.
  4. May our heartfelt condolences comfort family friends & Brothers' of 1st Lieutenant with the 82nd Airborne Division Weston C. Lee, 25✝️🙏🇺🇸

  5. R.I.P. First Lt Weston C Lee 🇺🇸🙏

  6. Thinking of 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee's loved ones. He was 25 years old and helping Iraqi forces fight ISIS.
  7. US soldier Weston C. Lee killed by roadside bomb during patrol in Iraq, Pentagon says - National Post
  8. Soldier killed by roadside bomb outside of identified as 25 year old First Lt. Weston C. Lee. More:
  9. Prayers up to the family of 1st Lieutenant Weston C. Lee, 25-yr-old Ft. Bragg paratrooper killed by IED on Saturday battling ISIS.
  10. RIP, 1st Lt Weston C. Lee. God bless you for giving your last full measure of devotion for love of country.

  11. Pentagon identifies soldier killed in explosion near Mosul as 25-year-old 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee of Bluffton, Georgia
  12. Rest in peace, Army Ranger 1st Lieutenant, 82nd Airborne Division Paratrooper, Weston C. Lee. Died helping the Iraqis liberate Mosul.

  13. RIP US ARMY 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee, 25, of Bluffton, Georgia, died April 29, in Mosul, Iraq
  14. Our thoughts are with the family of 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee of Bluffton, Ga. who lost his life to an IED in Iraq:
  15. Freedom is Not Free DoD announced the death of First Lt. Weston C. Lee on 4/29/2017. Killed by a roadside bomb during a patrol in Iraq.
  16. 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee. with love to ur family and thank u for ur ultimate service we will never forget u

  17. God rest the soul of 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee killed by an IED in Mosul, pls share.

  18. RIP LT Weston C. Lee, 25, of Bluffton, GA died Apr. 29th, outside Mosul, Iraq, IED Rest easy, brother.
  19. U.S. soldier killed in blast during patrol outside Mosul identified as 25-year-old Weston C. Lee
  20. 82nd Airborne Division soldier, 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee, killed in Mosul when an IED detonated during a patrol
  21. DoD ID's soldier killed in Mosul: 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee, 25. Was "conducting security" for SOF advisors. Job the 82nd Airborne has taken on
  22. RIP 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee of Bluffton, Ga. KIA yesterday in Mosul, Iraq 🙏😢🇺🇸

  23. RIP, 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee, KIA Saturday battling ISIS in Mosul, Iraq. Keep his family and friends in your thoughts.
  24. UPDATE: Dept. of Defense identifies US soldier killed yesterday in Mosul as 25-year-old 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee
  25. Replying to 
    . identifies 1st Lt Weston C. Lee, 25, of Bluffton, Ga., who was killed when IED detonated during security patrol outside Mosul.

  26. 82nd Airborne Division Paratrooper, 1st Lieutenant Weston C. Lee (25), killed in Iraq when IED detonated outside Mosul
  27. : 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee, 25, of Bluffton, GA died April 29 in Mosul, Iraq while conducting security assisting partnered forces
  28. Here is 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee, 25, of Bluffton, Ga., killed yesterday near Mosul, Iraq. He was assigned to ,

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