Monday, March 23, 2020

TV: The Lemmings

Independent thought?  Not so popular these days.

Take a look at the beating Evangeline Lilly endured in the public square last week.  Whether you agree with her or not (we didn't), you should have been aware from the reporting that she's dealing with a parent dying of cancer so back off a little and give her some space.  Again, we didn't agree with her regarding her decision to not self-quarantine.  But that's all we have to say: We disagree.  People can disagree.  (On the issue of whether or not rights are at risk, we agree she has a point.)  If she's risking her father's health or her own, that's what she'll live with.  It's not us.  Her children?  She's got the right to raise them as she sees fit.  And her opinion may change as the coronavirus continues.

For now, she's at the place she's at.

Is she endangering the world?


How?  By making her beliefs public, she's informed anyone concerned about the virus that they may need to stay away from her for their own health.

She spoke her beliefs.  If she lived next door, we might have a bit stronger response, we might not.  Hopefully, we'd defend her right to share her beliefs regardless of whether she lived on an island or next door.

Independent thought was what we kept coming back to all last week.  We thought about it with regards to Octavia Spencer and we thought of it with regards to Tulsi Gabbard.

Let's start with the member of Congress first.

If you're supporting Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination (we are), these have been some very hard weeks.  First we had Bernie sailing towards the nomination as the media and celebs like Cher (talk about a wasted life, her last two decades -- no real acting has been done by her and she's just a disco queen and the 'just' in that is so true) attacked Bernie, Barack Obama worked behind the scenes lobbying contenders to drop out of the race in the days before Super Tuesday and endorse Joe so that it would appear that there was a huge shift to Joe.  There hasn't been.  He still doesn't have the 1991 delegates to win the nomination.  He's got 1165 delegates and Bernie's got 851 by NBC NEWS' official count.  We're talking a difference of approximately 300 delegates.  That's not a great deal.  Yet the calls for Bernie to drop out just don't stop.  For context, the 2008 primary was close -- Hillary Clinton and Barack battled for the nomination.  People were calling for Hillary to drop out but she stayed in the race until June 7, 2008.

Here's another issue Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Guam, Kansas, Nebraska, West Virginia, Georgia, Oregon, Connecticut, DC, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota, US Virgin Islands, Louisiana and Kentucky have yet to hold their primaries.  Right now, the primaries end June 23rd with Kentucky.

24 states have yet to vote.  For those who didn't pay attention in government or history class, the US has fifty states.  24 have not voted.

Bernie doesn't need to drop out and he shouldn't.  He's hurting the process if he does.  How so?  If there's no real competition at the top of the ticket, that lowers turnout.  If turnout's lowered, that hurts offices further down the ticket as well as ordinances and issues before the public.

You want a strong turn out.

We believe every one of the states and territories that have not yet held their primary should be doing their voting by mail (as Oregon already does) or figure out a safe way to do it online.  That's probably too late -- the online option.  But they can make a ballot and print it up and local Democratic Party chapters can get those sent out in the mail.  Maybe not in time for April 4th -- when four states are scheduled to hold their primaries -- but they can kick back those primaries a week or two and, yes, be able to get the ballots out.  Who do they send it to?  They could send it to registered Democratic Party voters if they are a closed primary.  If they're an open primary, they can just have a hotline you call to request the ballot.

Last week, US House Rep Gabbard dropped out of the race.

That wasn't a big surprise.  She once made it up to 2% in polling -- 2% of those surveyed supported her.  Then came her defense of Joe Biden's Iraq War involvement in the July 30th debate and she began bleeding her supporters.

The Michael Traceys and the Jimmy Dores and the Aaron Mates and so many others pretended she didn't do anything wrong in that debate.

Last week, she dropped out and she endorsed Joe Biden. It was a kick in the gut for many -- except the lemmings who knew that there was a larger truth just waiting to unfold -- they just had to wait for their podcasters to podcast what that was -- like good little Nazis, they awaited their marching orders.

Now if, like the bulk of America, you never paid attention to Tulsi, you may not be aware that, as her campaign limped along in 2019, she stopped supporting Medicare For All.  By the summer of last year, all she really had was that she was against regime change wars, she would end these never-ending wars.

So she drops out last week and doesn't endorse Bernie who voted against the Iraq War.  Instead, she endorses Joe Biden who voted for the Iraq War, who shut down discussions about the Iraq War, who demonized those who spoke out against the war, Joe Biden who repeatedly -- as late as January 2008 -- was calling for Iraq to be divided into 3 parts and made a federation.  Remember that?  With the exception of the Kurds, the Iraqi people weren't asking for their country to be split up.  In January 2009, then-Vice President-elect Biden went to Iraq and Iraqi politicians made it clear to him that they didn't support his plan (again, he dropped it after the first month of 2008) -- Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi was the most vocal to Biden's face.

Joe didn't care what the Iraqi people wanted.

He made that clear in 2010.  In March of that year, Iraqis turned out to vote.  They voted thug Nouri al-Maliki out of office.  They voted for Ayad Allawi and his Iraqiya which promoted a national identity, a path away from sectarianism, a path where all Iraqis could be included and be seen as Iraqi. It was a party that welcomed all -- Sunni, Shia, Kurd, you name it, men and women.  In fact, in 2010, the woman most often quoted by the Iraqi press was Iraqiya's spokesperson Maysoun Damalouji.  Iraq, before the 2003 US-led invasion, had been a place where women had rights.  And the Iraqi women fought and protested to keep the US from stripping their rights.  Maysoun was not just a sign of a future for the country, she was also a sign of Iraq's glorious and historic past.

For those who didn't pay attention in real time, we'll pull this from a November 6, 2010 entry at THE COMMON ILLS:

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's seven months and thirty days and still counting.

After that March election, thug Nouri refused to honor the results and refused to step down.  General Ray Odierno, then the top US commander in Iraq, had seen that possibility.  But the idiot that was US Ambassador at the time, Chris Hill, couldn't see it.  Hill was an idiot who took long naps under his desk and hated the country and thought the Iraqi people were stupid -- views he shared in front of Iraqis who worked for him.  Odierno went to Hillary Clinton (Secretary of State) and Robert Gates (Secretary of Defense) and they took him to Barack.  The US, it was agreed, needed to be seen supporting democracy and supporting the winner of the election.

But then Barack spoke to Samantha Power and Joe Biden -- the queens of all nervous nellies.  You know, they pointed out to Barack, in a few months, the US will be holding elections.  Iraq, they insisted, needed thug Nouri (already known for torturing and running secret prisons) because he was a 'strongman.'  Nouri was their friend and, Joe especially insisted, Nouri would approve US troops staying on the ground in Iraq past 2011.  As Ben Rhodes loved to joke in private, Barack's opinion was always dependent on what the last person he spoke to said.

Joe Biden got his way.

And then Joe led on The Erbil Agreement -- a contract Iraq's political leaders signed off on to overturn the election results and give Nouri a second term.  Why did they sign it?  Because for over eight months Nouri had refused to step down as prime minister despite the election.  Because the US government insisted that the contract had the full backing of the US government -- Joe told them that, Brett McGurk told them that -- so they could put what they wanted into that contract and Nouri would have to obey it.  The Kurds wanted the national referendum that the Iraqi Constitution of 2005 had promised them but that Nouri had refused to implement.  Iraqiya insisted that Ayad Allawi had to have a position over national security because they feared Nouri would turn on them quickly (and he did).  Moqtada al-Sadr wanted his people to have a voice in the govenrment (Joe and the others were trying to shut them out and deny them the offices that they had won in the new parliament).  Everybody was going to get something out of this contract, Joe Biden swore.

Those who are unaware of how involved Joe was in selling The Erbil Agreement to the Iraqi leaders should refer to Karen DeYoung (WASHINGTON POST) report from November 12, 2010 and to Emma Sky's THE UNRAVELING: HIGH HOPES AND MISSED OPPORTUNITIES IN IRAQ.

Joe sold it.  And so did Barack.  On Barack's selling, let's drop back to the November 10, 2010 Iraq snapshot to note this:

Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports one hiccup in the process today involved Ayad Allawi who US President Barack Obama phoned asking/pleading that he accept the deal because "his rejection of post would be a vote of no confidence". Ben Lando, Sam Dagher and Margaret Coker (Wall St. Journal) confirm the phone call via two sources and state Allawi will take the post -- newly created -- of chair of the National Council On Higher Policy: "Mr. Obama, in his phone call to Mr. Allawi on Thursday, promised to throw U.S. weight behind the process and guarantee that the council would retain meaningful and legal power, according to the two officials with knowledge of the phone call."

Barack promised, did he?  Well not only did Allawi not get the post of chair of the National Council On Higher Policy, the council itself never got created.  This despite Barack and Joe both lying to Iraqi leaders that The Erbil AGreement had the full "US weight behind" it.

What liars.

Now what follows is Nouri getting worse and threatening all of Iraq, not just the Sunnis.  And we could describe that in great detail -- including how innocent women ended up in prisons and jails and got beaten up by his thugs and some of those women also got raped by Nouri's thugs.  But what you need to know so that we can get back to Tulsi is that Nouri's second term -- the one the Iraqi people didn't want him to have -- check out the summer polling by the National Democratic Institute (a US body) which found Nouri's support among the Iraqi people had fallen to 14% while over 40% of Iraqis felt that Ayad Allawi had won and should be the prime minister -- was who Joe backed.  Joe backed the thug and what followed, Nouri's persecution of the Iraqi people, is what led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq.

There were many mistakes after that Joe made.  And it was Joe.  By November 2012, Barack was done with Iraq.  When thug Nouri called to congratulate Barack on re-election the day after the 2012 election, Barack refused to take the call and told them to transfer it to Joe.  Barack was no longer speaking to Nouri.  He'd been played and his feelings were hurt so he was done with Iraq.

Now all of that and so much more is on Joe's hands, all of the blood.

And yet last week, that's who Tulsi endorsed.

She can trust Joe.  Or, as she said July 30th and the days after, Joe apologized for his vote for the Iraq War.

No, you stupid liar, he did not.

Apologizing would have required taking accountability.  He would have to say something like, "I was wrong to vote for the Iraq War.  I was wrong to have refused to do the research required before that vote.  I was wrong and my actions led to the deaths of over a million Iraqis and close to 5,000 US troops.  I regret my vote and I apologize for it."

Is that what Joe said?


He played the Bully Boy Bush tricked me! card.

He's never taken accountability for a damn thing.

But Tulsi endorsed him.

And her brother then spread lies about Bernie.  We're not going to repeat the lies but, yes,  she admitted publicly that her brother was wrong.

Tulsi Gabbard and her whole family are trash.

She pretended to be against the wars and yet she chooses to endorse the man responsible.

She's a fake, she's a fraud.

She made that clear on July 30th.

Iraq War veteran Adam Kokesh was on to her long ago.  Last week, he Tweeted:

 #StandWithTulsi? How about #RollOverWithTulsi? #SubmitToTheEstablishmentWithTulsi? #SupportBidenWithTulsi? #GiveUpYourPrinciplesWithTulsi? It's not too late for you,
If your principles & integrity mean anything, you'll join
now & abandon corrupt

It's not hard to tell the truth about Tulsi.  Unless you're a Michael Tracey or a Jimmy Dore or an Aaron Mate, it's not hard to tell the truth about Tulsi.

But they lie.

What's especially sad as they lie about this is that a lot of lemmings rush to these people's podcasts to be 'informed.'

They're being lied to by these guys the same way the corporate media lied to them about Russia and the 2016 US election.

Lemmings.  That's all Michael and Jimmy and Aaron have now.  And, thing is, those lemmings will disappear.

We know.  We saw it happen before.

In 2009, we saw various people lie for Hillary Clinton.  We supported her in 2008.  We understood why some felt so vested in her.  We were willing to give her a chance as Secretary of State even though we thought she was stupid to take the post.  But when it was time to call her out, we did.  Others didn't.  And that's what killed the PUMA sites.  They were not about hypocrisy unless it was Barack's hypocrisy.  They were about worshiping Hillary and the more she spoke, as Secretary of State, the harder that was to do.

HILLARY IS 44 survived because they called her out.

In 2008, as it came down to Barack or Hillary, people had to make a selection.  We favored Hillary because she's a Clinton -- meaning she will listen to polling. The opinions of the American people will factor in.  For example, she defended MOVEON when the right-wing attacked it and Barack refused to stand up for MOVEON.

For the record, because truth matters, MOVEON stole their September 10, 2007 ad from Wally and Cedric:

"Petreaus wet & wild moment haunts him "

 That's their August 16, 2007 post.  Tom Hayden passed the posts onto MOVEON and they replied that they were going to use that.  We know because Tom forwarded the a-mail to one of us (C.I.).

 There was the fact that Barack was a known liar.  Samantha Power had told the BBC that Barack didn't mean anything he was saying about withdrawing US troops.  She said he'd figure out what to do if he got elected.  There was the fact that Barack told Elaine and one of us (C.I.) to our faces that the US was already in Iraq so the issue was settled -- he made those comments in 2004 when he was running for the US Senate as an antiwar candidate.

Of the two, it seemed more likely that Hillary would listen to pressure.  And it also seemed more likely that Hillary would be pressured on Iraq.  We pointed out that the Laura Flanders and Amy Goodmans and Tom Haydens were all ga-ga over Baby Barack taking his first step and they weren't holding his feet to the fire.  Oh, sure, Laura said he needed to get the nomination and then, watch, his feet would be held to the fire.  Only they weren't.  Then he got into the White House and they still weren't held to the fire.

The whores destroyed their own careers.  And Howard Zinn, what a tragic embarrassment the last months of your life were.  No, Anthony Arnove, we don't need to hear from you again.  We know what went down and consider yourself lucky that we only went after Howard when we could have gone after you as well.  And, for any who missed it, IN THESE TIMES isn't playing about Howard anymore either.

As Donna Summer once said (and wrote) in 'Cats Without Claws:"

Oh, oh, it's tough life, tough life, tough life
And the streets are full of pain
Specially when it's calling out your name
It's hard on the one who doesn't sacrifice
The things the world has to offer nice
Come inside, spend some time, stay alive
It'll take your heart and it'll steal your mind

 And it is "said," the passage above is a spoken passage in the song.

Howard's reputation will continue to fade.  So many saw that happen to their reputation -- cats without claws.  THE NATION had huge circulation and that's a thing of the past.  DEMOCRACY NOW! had a huge audience and that's a thing of the past.

The whores for Barack, like the whores for Hillary, were able to appeal to the lemmings but most people walked away from them.

And that's what'll happen for Jimmy Dore (whose Saturday interview with Tulsi was an embarrassment and whose audience is already turning on him) and to Michael Tracey.  Aaron Mate's a little bit smarter than Jimmy and Michael.  He realizes Tulsi is now toxic and he's doing his best to talk and Tweet about anything except Tulsi.

You either have integrity or you don't.  You either try to tell the truth or you don't.  Every week, we try to tell the truth and we piss off a lot of friends -- we have friends, in fact, who now beg us not to review their latest entertainment offering.  We usually review it anyway unless something else comes up.

Now we do have two people that are off limits.  We'd prefer not to ever offer a harsh word about Chris Hayes.  We have though but we'd prefer not to.  That's because in the lead up to Iraq War Veterans Against the War's Winter Soldier hearings, we begged all media big and small to not only cover it but to get the word out on it.  It was going to be broadcast by KFPA over three days.  And many said they would.  Many, like Matthew Rothschild, said they would.  And then they didn't.  Chris said he would and he did.  We're sure he had other things to do the same as anyone else.  But he said he'd cover it (he was at THE NATION then, not on MSNBC) and he kept his word.  Which is why we try to go out of our way to avoid saying anything negative about him.

The Winter Soldier hearings mattered and he stood and was counted.

The other person?

A Democrat who was a US senator.  No longer.  But while they were a US senator, they went to Barack and made clear that Brett McGurk could not be Ambassador to Iraq, that putting him in that position would restrict the movement of Iraqi women who could no longer go to the Embassy because, in Iraq, the press and social media had expressed outrage that he came into their country as a married man and slept with another woman who was also married to someone else.  If he were made Ambassador, any Iraqi woman that worked at or visited the US Embassy would be suspect and she would be suspect in a country that sadly still practices 'honor' killings (when a woman has 'disgraced' the family she can be killed).

Now we had made this argument here and at THE COMMON ILLS.  We hadn't made it to the senator.  The reason was, we had gone from good terms with the senator to very poor terms because we were calling the senator out for the senator's actions on other issues.  We were completely taken aback when Valerie Jarrett told us the senator had made clear to Barack that Brett's nomination wasn't happening.

We immediately went to speak to the senator and offer our thanks.  We were surprised that our arguments had been read considering how we'd held the senator accountable for other issues.  We offered not only our thanks but we offered to publicly mention what the senator had done.  The senator didn't want it made public.  So we didn't make it public.  And there has been at least one issue since that we could have gone to town on and maybe should have.  But the senator saved Iraqi women and so we're done calling out that senator (who is no longer in the Senate).

Those are the two people we make exceptions for.  That's it.

Other than those two, we have made the hard calls.  We have called out friends, we've held everyone accountable.

What people are seeing right now with regards to Michael and Jimmy and others is that they are giving Tulsi a pass.  Joe Biden's Iraq crimes go far beyond his vote for the war.  And for Tulsi to endorse him is outrages.  It's only more so when you grasp that she chose to endorse him on the 17 anniversary of the start of the ongoing Iraq War.

There's no excuse for it.

And there's no excuse for what NETFLIX has done.

Octavia Spencer is the star of SELF-MADE, a four part mini-series about Madam CJ Walker and how she built her beauty enterprise.  It wasn't easy.  And the series is helped by real life events which actually did pit one woman against another.  It's also helped by amazing writing and great performances (Blair Underwood, Garrett Morris, Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Carroll).  But most of all it is helped by a leading performance from Octavia Spencer that is so beyond "amazing" or any other superlative we could think of.

With the exception of Jessica Lange, there's no other actress working today that you can watch and say, "She would have been a star in the silent era."  There are strong actresses, to be sure, but they need the dialogue and other aspects to deliver their strong performances.  Octavia, like Jessica, doesn't.  Yes, she'll enrich the dialogue but her eyes, her face, her body tension and how she moves conveys so much and takes her performance to a whole other level.

What did NETFLIX do?

As we were praising the mini-series to various friends, from time to time, we'd hear how it was an amazing performance just like Whoopi Goldberg's in THE COLOR PURPLE.

Huh?  Why would anyone make that comparison?  Because NETFLIX was making it as they promoted the mini-series.

What a ton of nonsense.

Now Whoopi got nominated for an Academy Award for THE COLOR PURPLE but she didn't win.  And she didn't win for a reason.  She likes to blame the NAACP and act like she was robbed.

Reality, she didn't even deserve the nomination.  The industry knows that.  The industry has always known that.

Whoopi didn't deliver a performance in that film.

That's hard for non-professionals to understand.

The storyline that Alice Walker came up with was so strong that -- even watered down as it was in the film -- even Steven Spielberg couldn't screw up.

It's the storyline that saves Whoopi, not her acting.

Her acting in that film is hideous.

She's not giving a performance, she never becomes Celie.  Steven knew she couldn't act the part so he didn't work with her on building a character.  Instead, he'd talk to her before a scene and tell her to pretend she was this actor or that actor in this movie or that movie.  It's the same way he's worked with child actors throughout his career.  But this was an adult woman who was supposed to be playing a complex character.  Instead, she delivered one indication after another, the thing child actors so often do.

She apes a different actor in every scene.  Which is why it's not a performance, there's no core to the character.  It's a teenager going to school on Monday and acting out the skits they saw on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE over the weekend.

Again, the storyline saves her for non-professionals.  They can just think of the plot and what Celie goes through.  They're not noticing that she's different in every scene and that there's no core to her performance and no character has been created.

Octavia Spencer inhabits a character, becomes a character.

If you catch NETFLIX's SELF-MADE, and you should, you'll be very impressed with Octavia.  She deserves an Emmy next fall.  She does not deserve to have anyone compare her outstanding performance with an amateur mugging on camera.

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