Monday, June 17, 2019

Truest statement of the week

The Michigan State Attorney General’s Office on Thursday dismissed all pending criminal charges—including involuntary manslaughter—against eight officials implicated in the water poisoning of the Flint population. The political establishment is using the change in administration that brought Democrat Gretchen Whitmer into the governor’s mansion in 2018 not to arrest and hold accountable those who were responsible for the worst man-made health crisis in US history, but to wipe the slate clean by dropping all criminal cases more than three years since the first charges were filed.

-- Sheila Brehm, "Michigan Democrats drop all charges against Flint water poisoning conspirators" (WSWS).

Truest statement of the week II

Thanks to the Occupy Movement, an old white leftish politician found his voice and ran for president in 2016 on a New Deal reform program he called “socialist,” putting the term back in polite conversation. But you can’t “occupy” the oligarch’s party; you can only be co-opted by it. The best thing that can come out of Bernie Sanders’ second attempt to force the Democratic Party to disobey the Lords of Capital would be a breakup of the Party, leading to significant desertions of leftish activists and rank and file. Nothing changes on the electoral scene, and little at the grassroots level, unless the structure of capitalist hegemony over political discourse in the U.S.  -- the corporate duopoly -- is broken.
Sanders’ platform – Medicare for All, $15 wage, free public college, Green New Deal – is supported by super-majorities of 80 percent and more. These reforms would bust the austerity regime wide open, an absolutely unacceptable outcome for a ruling class that is trying to prepare the people for a future of mass precarity. That’s why the Lords of Capital have allowed/instructed Kamala Harris and Cory Booker and others to pretend to support Medicare for All and other Sanders proposals -- to confuse and dilute super-majority sentiment. Cory Booker took more money from Big Pharma than any other senator  in 2014, and will return to his sugar daddies’ pockets when his 2020 election season diversion is over.
If four out of five voters support Medicare for All, then upwards of 90 percent of Blacks want to see the program passed into law. But only 32 of the 53  Black lawmakers in the House have signed on to Rep. Pramila Jayapal's  companion measure to Sander’s Senate bill. And half of them are lying, following Booker’s lead, as an election season scam. 

A party that works for the 1% must lie all of the time – but collapses once we stop believing them.

-- Glen Ford, "How the Democratic Party Strangled Black Politics" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Sunday night here on the west coast -- already Monday morning on the east.

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?

Sheila Brehm gets a truest.
Glen Ford gets another truest.
Not one war from the previous decade has ended but it's time to start a new one?  Oh, hell no.
Ava and C.I. take on a new LIFETIME offering.
Goes to Margaret Kimberley again.
They can't raise the minimum wage but they can rush to give themselves another raise?  Repeating, oh, hell no.
Marianne Williamson appeared on PBS' TO THE CONTRARY last week.
A 2012 charity album that Amnesty put out was all about sexism -- are we really surprised?
Texas ballot access!
Oh, Alyssa and company, crack a book already, you're so woefully uninformed.
Repost of C.I.'s commentary on who made the debates.
Repost on Ruth explaining the damage that Senator Tammy Duckworth is doing.
What we listened to while writing.
Repost of Green Party press release.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

So three of the above are about the Green Party -- Dona meant what she said in that roundtable awhile back.  We'd love to have a Julian Assange piece but we're low on time and it's been made very clear that no one wants to get back together during the week to finish this edition.  So we're going with what we completed.


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

Editorial: No to War on Iran

Former US House Rep. Ron Paul reveals that the US State Department is paying NGOs to attack American citizens who speak out against war on Iran.

Just when you thought the US government couldn't get any more corrupt, it does.

It carries on these never-ending wars -- like in Iraq -- and still wants to promote others.  Bill Van Auken (WSWS) points out:

The Trump administration’s thuggish secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, made a presentation to the media Thursday afternoon in which he asserted that Iran was responsible for suspected attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
These charges carry with them the threat of a war that would transform much of the Eurasian landmass into a battleground.

The allegations made by Pompeo, who publicly professes that his every action is guided by the Bible, are a pack of lies.

There are 24 candidates for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination currently.  And too few of them are speaking out against war on Iran.  One who is?  US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard.

Trump's shortsighted foreign policy is bringing us to the brink of war with Iran and allowing Iran to accelerate nuclear program—just to please Saudis and Netanyahu. This is not America first.

She's not the only one speaking out.  Sometimes Bernie Sanders does as well.  (We stopped looking through his Tweets once we got to June 10th.)  Andre Damon (WSWS) looks at the men running for the nomination (including Bernie) and doesn't see much hope for an end to these eternal wars.

War on Iran is being pushed and pimped with lies.  And the victims will be many.  They will also include the Iraqi people because the US government wants to use Iraq as a staging platform for war on Iran.  That is not going over well with the Iraqi people.

THE NEW ARAB reports:

Now, with US President Donald Trump dialling up the pressure on Iran, there are talks of a new war in Iraq, given Iraq's proximity to Iran and the presence of both Iran-backed militias and US forces in the country.
Delvo Alibek, from Ankawa, does not want this to happen.
"Of course, if there's a war, it will destroy Iraq," he told The New Arab. At the same time, he thinks that Iran is a cause of problems in Iraq.
"There's been no stability in Iraq since Iran came," he said. "It became sectarian."
Many Iraqis believe an American war against Iran would hurt Iraq, but remain deeply against Iran's policies in the country at the same time and want them to stop.

More war is not the answer.  It hasn't been the answer ever, certainly not in the last 18 years.

TV: Ellen Page, this is why we're hard on you

Great acting nourishes the soul.  Jane Fonda in KLUTE, her first Academy Award winning performance, astounds after multiple viewings, grabs you regardless of the plot or storyline, leaves you a little stunned each time you watch.

But great acting of that kind does not come to us daily.  Good acting is something to be thrilled with as well.  Good acting has taken many films with pedestrian directors who seem to believe their only job is to yell "Action!" and a bit later "Cut!" and turned those films into classics.  That's especially true of a number of comedies.

Then there is bad acting.


Ellen Page is a child actress grown up -- at least grown up in terms of her body.  Most child actors will never cross over to success as they become adults.  The honest truth for most is that they aren't that good and they never were.  They're little wind up dolls who please adults by being little adults, by mimicking adults, and that passes for 'realism' and 'acting' at that age.

But all they've learned to do is indicate, not inhabit.

And that was fine when they were children.  Again, they weren't creating characters, they were just trying to talk and move like an adult.

As they become adults, if they don't work on their craft, they continue these shallow 'performances' and wonder what went wrong since what was considered amazing as a child is now seen as, honestly, embarrassing as an adult.

Ellen Page has time to change.  She has a raw ability that allows her to connect with viewers in highly emotional scenes (as we noted recently).  But she does not have the skill or technique to create a performance.  Working with a talented acting coach could allow her to turn the raw ability into something amazing.  Continuing to pretend she's in need of no serious training will mean that her one-note 'performances' grow more and more stale and, for the viewer, more and more irritating.

In other words, she could become Alyssa Milano.

Is there a worse actress working today?


LIFETIME put a little money (thankfully, Alyssa's quote isn't that high) into the film and maybe a little thought but what resulted in TEMPTING FATE is why LIFETIME scaled back their LIFETIME MOVIES to begin with.

A LIFETIME movie could -- and still can -- be something amazing.  Judith Light and Christina Ricci, for example, really delivered this year in ESCAPING THE MADHOUSE: THE NELLIE BLY STORY.  That was a TV movie that demonstrated just how powerful the format can be when everything works.  But not every television film has to be as hard hitting as that.  Yes, a Farrah Fawcett starring THE BURNING BED will always amaze us but a well done, escapist television movie like THE CARTIER AFFAIR starring Joan Collins have their deserved place as well.  That film is a caper and Joan Collins -- and the rest of the cast, Telly Savalas, David Hasselhoff -- blend into the material to make a convincing effort that more than succeeds.

But a LIFETIME movie can also be bad, really bad.  And, to be clear, we're not talking about a film that's so bad it's actually enjoyable to watch.  MOTHER MAY I SLEEP WITH DANGER (the original with Tori Spelling and Ivan Sergei) is a camp classic.  Bad movies like MY SISTER'S SHADOW (feeling left out and jealous, Nancy McKeon's character falls for his sister's stalker) or, honestly, take your pick of thousand others.  After all, there's a reason that Will once told Grace, "You are so Markie Post in every LIFETIME movie."  And, more to the point, there's a reason we all laughed at that line in "A New Lease On Life" (second episode of the original WILL & GRACE).

In TEMPTING FATE, Alyssa Milano plays . . .  Well, she poses throughout.  You can't call it a performance -- not even a bad performance -- because she's not even trying.  She thinks she is.  Which is probably the scariest part, that she thinks she is acting.  And, were she seven or twelve, some adult would probably be giving her a hug and telling her, "Well done, honey!"

But she's not a child, she's an adult staring down 50.  And she isn't even believable as a woman.

Ellen Page, if you think we're too hard on you (yes, we heard through the friend you asked to speak to us), this is why we are hard on you.

Study TEMPTING FATE.  Alyssa on camera, that stilted motion and waste of time?  That's what we're trying to save you from.

Like Alyssa, Ellen was a child actress.  Unlike Alyssa, Ellen has raw talent and can be so much more.

Alyssa can't.  As fifty looms (thee years and a few months), she's done nothing with her craft.  She's under the mistaken belief that because she was a good second banana on WHO'S THE BOSS playing a little kid, she's gifted.  As anyone who has seen her try to act on MELROSE PLACE or MISTRESSES can attest, she is not gifted and she's really not an actress.

Alyssa honestly believes that showing up on the set having memorized her lines demonstrates actual craft and actual work.  Just point the cameras at her and let her pose because she's ready!

No, she's not.

And she made that clear not only in TEMPTING FATE but in her promotion of the bad tele-movie.

Whether she's sharing that she never read the best selling book by Janet Greer or explaining that it was time to film a crying scene and, goodness, she just didn't feel like crying so the director had to take her aside and play a Lady Gaga song for her, Alyssa is not just over-sharing, she's screaming that she has no dedication to her craft.

She does none of the work required.  Read a book?  Hell, she's Alyssa Milano and that's more than enough, right!  Wrong.

She doesn't create a character, she does't know how to.  She learns her lines and shows up on the set with no idea what she's going to do.  She will 'become' Alyssa, she tells herself and that's why we suffer through her one note characterizations.

Some will counter, "Not everyone can be Meryl Streep."  To which we'd reply, "Nor should they."

Meryl works out accents and this and that for every performance.  These are externals but, as Pauline Kael so often noted of Meryl, many of her performances are nothing but externals.  SILKWOOD, for example, is a role that a Debra Winger or a Jane Fonda could have portrayed so much better.

Jane Fonda set the mark for acting in the 20th century with her Bree Daniels in KLUTE, yes.  And she gave a completely different performance in JULIA, and a completely different performance in THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY, and a completely different performance in her second Academy Award winning performance in COMING HOME and . . .

Point being, Jane burrowed into those characters and became them.  This was more than just shifting externals.  That is what actual acting is.  Jane can do it, Vanessa Redgrave can do it, many can.  For a faded celebrity like Alyssa to continue taking roles while never attempting to actually create a character begs the question why?

Why does anyone offer her anything at this late date?  She's alienated a great deal of the public with her stunts (sex strike!) and her bitchy ("Celebrity X insulted me and called me fat!  I'll have you know I'm a spokesperson for Atkins!  How dare he!").  Atkins walked away from her and that CW pilot she's been boasting of for years now isn't happening.  Even she's had to acknowledge in recent interviews "the baggage" that she brings to any role.

Her more recent actions -- specifically with regards to Georgia -- have alienated her from film communities outside of California and if there was a vote among crew  members tomorrow, Alyssa would win for least liked actress.  In fact, that's probably the only real 'honor' she could ever earn from the industry.

She's one of those celebrities who sprang up long ago, Barbara Stanwyck noticed them on the set of THE BIG VALLEY where a scene would be blocked and immediately they would run to make up, "That's the most important part of their performance -- their hairdos.  After that, their make up, then wardrobe.  Finally comes remember their lines -- A and B and C and D -- and just that monotonous is how most of it comes out.  Last on their list is the performance."

Watching TEMPTED FATE, you realize Stanwyck nailed Alyssa Milano and then some.  You also realize that with all the talented actresses out there looking for work, there's no need to ever employ celebrity Alyssa Milano so she can walk through another role.

Tweet of the week

Not fighting in Vietnam is the best thing Trump ever did in his life. That means he didn't kill any Vietnamese people, unlike the deified John McCain. is yet another indicator that we live in the dumbest country ever.

Greedy bastards

Today marks the longest stretch in U.S. history that there has been no minimum wage increase—3,614 days. I’ve been criticized for this so let me say it again: the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr is a STARVATION wage. Every worker deserves a living wage of at least $15 an hour.

And yet, as Rebecca noted in "wtf? seriously, wtf?," the House of Representatives is proposing giving themselves yet another raise.

Rebecca's way to fix this problem:

i propose we have an amendment that takes away the power congress has to give itself a raise.

instead, the american people can vote every 4 years - when they vote for a president - to decide whether or not congress deserves a raise.

that would be fair and that would be just.

Marianne Williamson on TO THE CONTRARY

Marianne Williamson is seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  She appeared last week on PBS' TO THE CONTRARY.

Amnesty International traffics in sexism

Last week, Elaine offered "5 Carly Simon songs you may not know" which was a popular post that covered four songs Carly's performed with others and one song that she co-wrote for Thelma Houston.

One song she didn't include?  Carly's 2012 cover of Bob Dylan's "Just Like A Woman."  Why?

She didn't know about it.  We were all kind of surprised to learn of it when C.I. suggested, this edition, that next time she might want to include that cover.  We didn't know about it.

Blame Amnesty International and their sexism, C.I. explained.  They made multiple videos for the project and ignored the women contributing -- women like Carly, Patti Smith, Adele, Lucinda Williams, Kesha, and Diana Krall -- unless the women were also actresses (Miley Cyrus and Evan Rachel Wood).

When we first heard it, we assumed it was an outtake from Carly's INTO WHITE album.  Thanks, Amnesty, for letting sexism rule you and making a bunch of b.s. videos (and making of videos!) with Pete Townsend (you sure are forgiving of his kiddie porn, Amnesty), Joe Perry, Jeff Beck, Pete Seeger, etc.  Maybe if you'd promoted Patti, Carly and Adele, people might have heard of the album?

Some good news for the Green Party

Texas Greens at our annual state meeting this weekend! Lots of enthusiasm about pending ballot access restoration! We will be putting out the call for down ticket 2020 candidates very soon!

  1. Replying to 
  2. Congratulations to the Green Party of Texas! HB -2504 was signed by the Governor and because Martina Salinas achieved more than 2% of the vote in 2016 for Railroad Commissioner, GPTX now has automatic ballot access for 4 cycles, thru 2026!

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