Monday, April 30, 2018

Truest statement of the week

Fact is, the structural reality of Democrat political campaigns does not allow for any more political education than that. The aim of political campaigns and their affiliated non-partisan voter registration and education projects is to get that big base vote out, and to let people go home to be spectators again after the election. Democratic party honchos allow, even encourage activists to make promises about ongoing mobilizations after election day to enforce “accountability” to the grassroots, promises which Democrat higher-ups know perfectly well will not be kept. The activists have no organizational resources to fund ongoing grassroots mobilizations, and the Democratic party has no machinery whatsoever to translate the wishes of its base voters or the grassroots activists who mobilize them into policy.
Tens of thousands of grassroots activists stumped for Barack Obama in 2007 and 2008 hoping they’d see single payer health care enacted. The campaign’s official body, Obama For America was to hold a series of electronically linked local meetings across the country following the new president’s inauguration. But when many of the OFA meetings trended toward demanding Medicare For All, subsequent meetings were called off, and OFA was mothballed. Democrat activists pushing for single payer, for reining in the energy companies, for justice at home and peace abroad were locked out till their pimps needed them for the next election in 2012. That’s a big part of why Democrat turnout was down in 2010 and Democrats lost both houses of Congress.

-- Bruce A. Dixon, "Democrats Prepare to Pimp the Left in 2018 and 2020" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

The cruise missile left is best represented by the likes of Democracy Now! and The Intercept. Both sources have worked together to subtly forward the agenda of US imperialism. Since 2011, Amy Goodman has never strayed from the NATO line on countries such as Libya, Syria, and Russia. Like the corporate media, Goodman and her staff at Democracy Now! have provided positive coverage of so-called humanitarian groups like the White Helmets which have long been proven to work directly with NATO-armed jihadist mercenaries ravaging Syria . The Intercept and Democracy Now! have refused to invite any guests on their show that deviate from the NATO line on Syria.  
These sources have benefited from the corporate takeover of the US media. Democracy Now! and The Intercept act as an escape valve from corporate media lies, which make them more difficult to criticize when they serve the same interests as the corporate media outlets that spurred their formation. In their coverage of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, both Amy Goodman and Glenn Greenwald joined the imperial chorus that the Syrian government bore responsibility for an attack that had yet to be proven even happened. Even Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis admitted that the US lacked evidence backing up their claims against Assad. The Intercept and Democracy Now! staked their firm position against the Syrian government despite the overwhelming evidence that Syria destroyed its chemical weapons in the OPCW brokered deal between Russia and the US in 2013 and that Syria, Russia, and their allies are the only parties interested in coming to a peaceful resolution to the war.
Cruise missile leftists thus bear much of the responsibility for the US, UK, and French airstrikes conducted against Syria on April 14th. After the strikes, Amy Goodman invited Chelsea Manning and so-called activist Rahmah Kudaimi to her show. Manning was given little time to speak while over seventy percent of the joint interview was taken up by Kudaimi’s assertions that US airstrikes “enable” the Syrian “regime.” Kudaimi practically begged the US to conduct the airstrikes correctly and fulfill the legitimate demand of the Syrian people to overthrow the Syrian government. Nowhere did Amy Goodman challenge such blatant support of US imperial objectives in Syria and beyond.

-- Danny Haiphong, "'Cruise Missile Left' Complicit in American Escalation Toward World War III" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

Hey --

We didn't make Sunday.

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, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
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?

Bruce gets another truest.
And Danny gets one.
What questions get asked, what questions don't get asked.
Ava and C.I. take another look (this is their fourth) at QUANTICO.
Ty weighs in.
We can't believe this is the first installment of the feature for this year, sorry.
Curiosity.  We love Curiosity.
We don't like Amy.
Keeping track of the community book coverage.

What we listened to while writing.
From WSWS.

See you next week.


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

Editorial: A correspondent for whom?

There's this:

  1. Why hasn't after more than a year in office visited US troops in or ? Your thoughts please? Is this something a President should still do in person?

Barbara Starr is the defense correspondent for CNN (some see her as the Pentagon spokesperson on CNN).

Is Barbara reporting news or is she trying to shape events?

We wonder because Barack Obama was president for two terms -- eight years.  During those eight years, he visited Iraq only once.  How many times did Barbara Starr Tweet wondering if once was enough?


You know what else the Pentagon correspondent has never Tweeted?

"When does the war end?"

Donald Trump visiting or not visiting the troops is an issue to her.  Ending the war?  Not at all.

TV: QUANTICO gets retooled one more time

QUANTICO returned to ABC last Thursday and the big question is why?

a new illst

If you watched the first three episodes of season one, would you even recognize the show now?

We're reminded of another show, one that made television history.  In November of 1972, CBS' MAUDE featured the title character having an abortion.   This was not television's first prime time abortion, however.  The first abortion was in the fall of 1971 and it took place on THE DORIS DAY SHOW.

It was an unusual abortion in that it was plural -- abortions -- and that the fetuses had already been born -- and named: Billy and Toby.  They were the sons of Doris' character on seasons one, two and three.  When THE DORIS DAY SHOW kicked off, she was a widow with two children and she lived on her father's farm.  Then, in season two,  she was a secretary -- still living on the farm with her two children.  Season three, she and the boys move to San Francisco.  Season four, Doris Martin has no children and she's single, not a widow, and now a journalist.

The show never knew what it was.  It only did well in the ratings due to having HERE'S LUCY as a lead-in and Doris Day's own popularity.

QUANTICO's never really had a popular lead-in so it's had to make do with the popularity of the cast -- luckily Priyanka Chopra, Jake McLaughlin, Johanna Braddy, Blair Underwood and Russell Tovey are likable.

They kept season two afloat as much as possible.  What a season.  The first half?  As we noted, "In fact, season two's first half really played out like it was attempting to turn the viewer into Tanya.  Seriously, it was as though ABC had turned the show over to the Symbionese Liberation Army and we were all being reconditioned."

The second half of season two, as we noted, simplified the story and dropped the flashbacks and the flashforwards.  Sadly, that only left the story and it wasn't worth telling.

Now the show's back and there's a little good news.

The team's basically THE A-TEAM now, off on their own.  That's an improvement.  The season's jumped forward in time and Ryan's now with Shelby.  After season's two emasculating Ryan to keep him with Alex, this is a step forward.  Russell Tovey's Harry has been brought back (Harry was the best thing about season two).  In addition, Marlee Matlin's joined the cast as Jocelyn and it's a strong role paired with a strong actress.

We're more than a little concerned about Shelby -- specifically Johanna Braddy's hair.  Maybe if she hadn't been kidnapped and tied to a chair for the whole episode, it wouldn't have mattered that her blond hair's been stripped of all color.  But with it atomic blond and the bright lipstick, she came off like a kewpie doll in many shots.  Season two reduced Alex to Shirley Temple so we think we're right to give some thought to how this new visual for Shelby may end up playing out.

QUANTICO could actually play out better now.

No, THE A-TEAM wasn't the greatest show ever.

At its best, it was good.

Good would actually be an improvement for QUANTICO which always thought it could pull off big message storylines when, in fact, it couldn't.  None of the big storylines made much sense, let alone entertained.  At one point, there was some big conspiracy storyline that more than fell apart.

With a likeable cast and a simple overall storyline carried out through the season via episodes that also worked as stand-alones, QUANTICO might find the original audience it ran off mid-way through the first season.

But at some point, networks have to grasp that a show might not be worth saving and that on air tinkering -- whether with THE DORIS DAY SHOW or GARY UNMARRIED -- regularly improves the show or satisfies the viewers.

This should be the last attempt to retool QUANTICO.  If it doesn't work this time, let it go.  Just accept that it won't hit the magical 100 episodes -- the desired number for syndication heaven.  Admit that everyone tried hard to fix it but that it just wasn't able to live up to the promise of the first six episodes.

Ty's Corner


What a week.

Joy Reid's hatred of LGBTs makes the news but most rush to defend her.

And I happen to catch THE RACHEL DIVIDE on NETFLIX.

This is a documentary about a subject I really didn't tune into in real time.  Maybe you did?

Rachel Dolezal was president of the NAACP's Spokane chapter and taught African studies.  Her world came crashing down when a number of people out to get her (her brother whom their sister was suing for assault as well as a police chief who hated Dozlezal for calling out the force) exposed the fact that she was born White.

She lost her jobs.  She was publicly ridiculed.  There was a mass pile on.

Which is why you won't find her name at this website until now.  (She has actually changed her legal name.)  We don't take part in the pile ons.

Watching THE RACHEL DIVIDE, I felt tremendous sympathy for her.

This is her story as I see it -- this was not told as such in the documentary.  She grew up in an abusive family.  Her White parents idealized her White brother while treating her and the African-American children they adopted in an abusive manner.

To me, that's key to understanding what she did.  She was rejecting abuse and rejecting any identification with her abusers.  This led her to identify Black.

I do get it.  I do understand it.  I'm not saying it's 'normal' but I am saying it is understandable.

And I don't understand the hate.

No, she should not have tried to speak for African-American women.

But in terms of her identifying as Black?

I felt like she was kicked out of a family she only wanted to be part of.  That makes me very sad.  There are enough people who hate me because of my skin color.  That someone who, for whatever reason, wanted to identify as Black was held up to ridicule for this really bothers me.

I'm also hated by some because I'm gay.

Which brings me to Joy Reid.  She expressed hatred of gays and trans people.  She expressed disgust with how we have sex.  She wouldn't see BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN because of her disgust -- did she think BROKEBACK was a porno?  It's got the same amount of sex you'd find between a man and a woman in any film for adults.  But that was just too much for Joy Reid.

She 'apologized.'

Uh, no, she did not.

She first lied and said she was hacked.  Then, on Saturday, she apologized for her anti-trans remarks about Ann Coulter (who is not transgendered).  She did not apologize for her hateful remarks about gays.  She said she's not sure she wrote them.  That's not an apology.

She's disgusting and vile.  A hate merchant.  By contrast Rachel Dolezal did what she did out of love.  I'd have no problem sitting down at a table with Dolezal but I will never break bread with someone like Reid.

Film classics of the 20th century

In this ongoing series on film classics of the last century, we've looked at THE DUCHESS AND THE DIRT WATER FOX,  NEVER BEEN KISSED, BUT I'M A CHEERLEADERTEA WITH MUSSOLINITHE 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.


MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE kicks off with Bob Hope behind bars in San Quentin prison, on death row.  The 1947 comedy -- screenplay by Edmund Beloin and Jack Rose, directed by Elliott Nugent -- proceeds backwards as Bob's Ronnie Jackson explains how he ended up on death row.


Baby photographer Ronnie Jackson dreams of being a private eye . . .


. . . like Sam McCloud (Alan Ladd) -- the private eye Ronnie shares adjoining offices with.  McCloud's leaving town and asks Ronnie to keep an eye on his office which is where he is when Carlotta Montay (co-star Dorothy Lamour) enters.


Hooked by her story and a map she provides, he takes her case -- while failing to explain he's not Sam McCloud.


He goes to meet her at Major Montague's mansion where he meets Kismet (Peter Lorre).


And he meets Montague (Charles Dingle).


At the mansion, he'll learn that Carlotta's father is missing, not her husband as she'd said.


He'll learn that Montague is not what he seems.  A number of scenes will recall Alfred Hitchcock's later film NORTH BY NORTHWEST -- especially when Ronnie takes the police to the mansion.

He'll be knocked out by Kismet who's looking for the map that Carlotta gave Ronnie.


He and Carlotta will be locked away in an institution that they'll escape from.


No sooner are they free from the institution and attempting to explain what's really taking place than Ronnie's framed for murder and they're on the run, hocking Carlotta's jewels for money.


They head to New York with a plan to trap the Major.


But the plan backfires.


And Ronnie ends up on death row.

But this being a comedy, there's a happy ending.


There's a surprise guest appearances at the very end that we won't spoil.

We will note that this movie is hilarious and that it demonstrates how effective both Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour could be.  It's definitely one of their best films -- either together or solo.

Once, twice, three times a rover

Curiosity remains on Mars.

  • Remember: Even if you miss your high fives, you can still land spacecraft on another planet. Dare mighty things! Looking back at mission control the night I touched down on Mars.

  •   Retweeted
    Extra! Extra! The New Mars Report is here: 🔴 readies for launch 🔴 Opportunity uses abrasion tool for 1st time in 300 sols 🔴 celebrates 2,000 Martian days on the Red Planet 👉Visit for more
  • Once, twice, three times a rover… I’ve been on the Red Planet for three Martian years. That’s 3x longer than my mission was designed to last. Keep up with my team through our blog:
  • Looks like we made it: 2,000 sols on Mars, you guys! I’m looking back on 2,000 Martian days of exploration, and literally looking forward to climbing higher in those to come. The area ahead contains clays I’m eager to investigate:

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