Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Truest statement of the week

 

The constant demand that we “Never forget!,” the events of September 11, 2001 is rather laughable. Forgetting is difficult after enduring 20 years of war propaganda. News stories about that day are plentiful albeit useless, that is to say they add nothing to our understanding of why the U.S. was attacked and depend upon sentiment, jingoism, and tried and true claims of exceptionalism to maintain fear, hatred, and support for war.

The aftermath of September 11 gets surprisingly short shrift but it is just as important as the who, what, when, where, why, and how of that date. It was just three days later that the Senate and House of Representatives voted to begin what are now called the forever wars. On September 14, 2001 California’s congresswoman Barbara Lee cast the lone vote against the Authorization for Use of Military Force. It gave George W. Bush broad authority to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001…”

The 9/11 event isn’t forgotten, but the near universal approval of the attack on Afghanistan is rarely mentioned now. The corrosive impact of that war on international and domestic law is also swept under the rug. In the past 20 years presidents have claimed the right to kill anyone they claim is a threat, deny the right to civilian trials, and gather and keep electronic information on everyone in the United States. These assaults on human rights have been largely forgotten, as the shock of the day turned otherwise intelligent people into supporters of aggression.

 

-- Margaret Kimberley, "20 Years of Post 9/11 Amnesia" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

 

 

 

 

Truest statement of the week II

Mr. Soros has thrown a public sissy fit over the fact that he can’t make the kind of easy money off China that he was able to make when the Soviet Union was carved up and privatized. On September 7, 2021, in his second mainstream editorial in a week, George Soros expressed his horror at the recommendation by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, that financial managers should triple their investment in China. Claiming that such investment would imperil U.S. national security by helping China, Mr. Soros stepped up his advocacy of U.S. financial and trade sanctions.

China’s policy of shaping markets to promote overall prosperity, instead of letting the economic surplus be concentrated in the hands of corporate and foreign investors, is an existential threat to America’s neoliberal priorities, he spells out. President Xi’s “Common Prosperity” program “seeks to reduce inequality by distributing the wealth of the rich to the general population. That does not augur well for foreign investors.”[1] To neoliberals, that is heresy.

 

--  Michael Hudson, "The Vocabulary of Neoliberal Diplomacy in Today’s New Cold War" (INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE).




A note to our readers

Hey --

It's Tuesday night.


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?

 

 

Margaret Kimberley gets a truest.

Michael Hudson gets a truest.

Can we just get some consistency and no more hypocrisy?

Ava and C.I. look at NBC's ORDINARY JOE.

Eli Lieb released this track over the summer.

We cover a number of topics.

Ava and C.I. also cover the so-called news media this week.

Richard Medhurst provides some truths regarding Iraq.

What we listened to while working on this edition.

 Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

 

Peace.

 

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

 

 

 

 

Editorial: Visiting Iraq in the midst of a pandemic

Some news out of Iraq?  Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) reports:

 

Iraq has issued commemorative stamps marking the first papal visit to the country.

On March 5, Pope Francis began a three-day visit to Iraq, where he met senior government officials as well as community leaders from different religions and held prayers and Masses.

One of the stamps announced on Monday by the Iraqi Ministry of Communication, which runs the postal service, shows the smiling Pope raising his right hand, with a map of Iraq in the background.

 

 

KIRKUK NOW notes the stamps in question:

 

Iraqi post office released stamps marked by Pope' apostolic trip to Iraq last March with different values designed by Sa'adi Ghazi, said Ra'ad al-Mashhadani, spokesperson for Iraqi ministry of telecommunication
 
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Pope Francis made a historic visit to Iraq.  It was the first visit ever by a sitting Pope.  And yet?  The press spent week after week ahead of the visit tut-tutting.  It wasn't good for Iraq, they insisted.  He was putting people at risk.  You'll notice that there's been none of that 'concern' with regards to the 40,000 or so Iranians that the Iraqi government plans to allow entry starting September 27th for Arba'ean.   40,000 people walking through Iraq.


It is a pandemic.  Still, it is a pandemic.  


But no objection.  No outcry.  No 'thought' pieces on the wisdom of it.


For the record, we support the rights of anyone to make a religious pilgrimage but we also supported the Pope's visit.  We're not being hypocrites.  The Western press can't say the same and it's one more example of how they don't play fair and how people are noticing.

 

TV: You're where you're supposed to be? NBC hopes so

When James Wolk spoke with Jimmy Fallon last night on THE TONIGHT SHOW and stated that his neighbors had confused him with John Krasinski, our first thought was that he had to be wearing a shirt. Shirtless, John is a furry bear while James is a wolf. There are other differences. For example, John has had hits with THE OFFICE and JACK RYAN. John's hits? Not really any to list.


a new illst
That's not his fault. He's done some amazing work. We praised him for LONE STAR, we praised him for POLITICAL ANIMALS.  He was great on HAPPY ENDINGS as Max's boyfriend Grant, great on THE CRAZY ONES. We even watched that hideous ZOO to see if he could deliver -- and he did but the series didn't.

Now he's starring in ORDINARY JOE -- a 'high concept' show for NBC in that it's not set in Chicago, to be sure. But it's also a concept with some comparing it to DISNEY+'s WHAT IF? -- which isn't really an apt comparison. WHAT IF? takes an established event and changes it to see how it could alter what we know about the characters. We don't know Jame's Joe Kimbreau before this series. So it's not really WHAT IF? It's more of a thought exercise on Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken." We meet Joe as he's finishing college. What does the future hold? A flash forward ten years later shows us three possibilities: a nurse married to paralegal Lisa (Elizabeth Lail) with their child Lucas, a (they insist) rock star married to political strategist Amy (Natalie Martinez) and a police officer who's unmarried. These are the three paths he could have taken.

There may be a fourth. We may find out that he's in a coma or, as in the critically under-appreciated PASSION OF THE MIND, dreaming one life. We don't know. And that's a bit of a problem because we're supposed to invest Joe -- but which is the real Joe, the authentic Joe?

Possibly, NBC should treat the series like a wheel -- the way that, in the 70s, the NBC MYSTERY MOVIE would vary so that you might get COLUMBO one week, MACMILLAN AND WIFE, the next, then MCCLOUD, etc. Instead, they're jamming all three Joes into each episode.

The Joe we'd ditch is Rock Star. He doesn't sing like a rock star. His hair and scruff do not come off rock nor does his wardrobe. He looks a lot like Bryan Adams when he killed his career in 1987 with INTO THE FIRE. Bryan wanted to be Bruce Springsteen. But he couldn't pull it off. By trying to be what he wasn't, he lost out on what he did have [and "Cuts Like A Knife," "It's Only Love" (with Tina Turner), "Heaven," and "Run To You" were radio staples that proved he did have something to offer]. We never believe the concert footage. This has nothing to do with James' singing, he can sing. And if they were going for a pop star or a country star, he could pass for one. But a rock star is something different.

Again, this has nothing to do with talent. Cher's a talented singer with a long list of hits. But when she tried to be Patti Smith back in 1980 with the Patti wig and a wardrobe that, minus the hoop ear rings, could pass for punk rock? It just didn't pan out. Some times thing just don't and every time they have James dressed up in someone's idea of rock, we cringe. We cringe at the idea that a political strategist would marry a rock star as well. They're two different roads -- did no one grasp that? Mary Matalin didn't marry Billy Idol, she married James Carville. And, as a general rule, the all over the world stories never work for TV -- ask Shirley MacLaine about her 70s sitcom SHIRLEY'S WORLD.

Which leaves two believable characters -- the police officer and the nurse. We like both. We like the nurse better -- in part because of the interaction with the child. But we're already choosing favorites -- what about most viewers? And what about with all the information they'll have to keep track of to follow three different storylines? When press articles pop up with titles like "Ordinary Joe Bosses Explain How to Keep Each of Those Storylines Straight" (TV GUIDE), we don't see that as reassuring or inviting. In fact, we think one normal reaction to pushes like that will be, "I thought it was complicated! Let's watch something else."

We hope we're wrong and we hope that it's a hit series. James Wolk deserves to have one but we question the premise and wonder why this wasn't tweeked and fine tuned? It's airing on NBC which pretended to like 'quirky' with ZOE'S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST but turned around and canceled it. Last night, ORDINARY JOE got 3.8 million viewers which is more than any episode of ZEP ever got from broadcast (one episode did get more when you combine broadcast and streaming).

James continues to do great work and maybe he can hold on to that reality regardless of the outcome for his new show. After all, isn't the whole point of ORDINARY JOE that wherever you are is actually where you are supposed to be -- even if you aren't as well known yet as John Krasinski?

 

Music video of the week

 

 Eli Lieb's "Boys Who Like Boys."

 

 

 

 

 

Roundtable

 Jim: Roundtable time.  Remember our e-mail address is thethirdestatesundayreview@yahoo.com.  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;  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.




Roundtable

 

Jim: So much to cover. One person wants to know why we didn't cover the recall since the core of THIRD is now based in California? I'll limit this to Jess, Dona, Ty, Betty, Kat, Wally, Ava and C.I. since, along with me, they're the ones in California.

Dona: I didn't see it going anywhere so didn't see the need for us to cover it. And by "cover" I am including attempted pieces that fell apart and weren't published. I knew from C.I. and from friends she had over that Gavin's polling had said it was no real threat. I knew the groups that needed shoring up because I do handle C.I.'s speaking schedule. It didn't seem like anything we needed to cover.

Jess: I'd agree with that. Had the recall gone forward, I'd already noted -- and Betty backed me up -- that there would be coverage at this site of the Green Party candidate. But it didn't look like the recall was going to pass and there were other things to focus on.

Jim: Dona, would you have been comfortable writing about it if we had? I'm asking that since you know what groups C.I. was doing reach out to.

Dona: I hadn't really thought about that. Would it have been a conflict of interest for me? Was it fair I had the knowledge that I did? I don't know. I'd have to think about it now because it honestly had not entered my head.

Ty: I had nothing kind to say. Early on, when Catlyn Jenner was announcing, I was ticked and made a comment to my boyfriend who laughed and then added, "You know if someone didn't know you, they might think the remark was transphobic." And he's right. Catlyn is a touchy subject to a lot of people. So if I can't say what I want, I don't see the point. And, to be clear, the joke wasn't that Jenner was a woman, it was that an elderly Olympian thought that listing qualified her to be governor. It was, "Oh so then Carl Lewis must be qualified to be President of the United States."

Jim: People are touchy about Jenner, you are correct. That's why I love it when SOUTH PARK does an episode with her -- running someone over in her car.

Betty: People think that because she is a transwoman that she is left and she isn't. I can remember, in 2016, when that idiot Debra Messing was kissing her ass on Twitter and C.I. noted in that day's "Iraq snapshot," someone forgot to tell Debra that Jenner's a Republican who supports Donald Trump.

Marcia: Stick a pin that, I want to jump in on it in a moment.

Jim: Pin stuck. Wally?

Wally: Nothing to say on the issue. It was DOA.

Jim: Marcia, I'm pulling the pin. You have the floor.

Marcia; Okay. So what do you think of 'Uncle Tom.' I used to use that phrase for Colin Powell and Condi Rice and many others. But now I'm uncomfortable with it. In part because of Betty's writing -- thank you, Betty for your kind nature.

Jim: Catch us up, Marcia.

Marcia: Betty tries to be supportive of all African-Americans and she's used her site to note repeatedly that this or that Black Republican believes differently than her but, hey, it's good to know that all viewpoints are out there and that we don't have to be the same. And that is true. I don't want people to make me be the same as everyone else. I think Condie and Collie are War Criminals --- I know Betty agrees with me on that -- but I don't know that I'd use that uncle term on them today.

Jim: Interesting. Any thoughts?

Cedric: I'll jump in on Larry Elder. I would never vote for him, we are on opposite sides of the political fence. But he is correct that if he had been an African-American Democrat he would have been treated by the press better -- he would have been hailed as a first, etc. Instead, he was accused of vile things -- promoting white supremacy -- and it was disgusting. This was on CNN. It was tasteless and out of bounds. And it was from non-Blacks to be clear. I get what Betty's been talking about for the last few years. I think Betty's the most spiritual of all of us. I know Betty's religious and I am too. But I think Betty's a bit deeper than me and a lot of the rest of us.

Ann: I would agree with that. She also writes in a very moving way when she's on that topic or when she's writing about her parents.

Kat: Amen to that. When Betty's cooking, no one can touch her. Although her focus now really is science.

Betty: Thank you for the kind words. My focus is really science now. I used to blog about the science on NPR's TALK OF THE NATION. Then that show went off. And I could grip about the fact that we had less science coverage and needed more and just gripe or I could do my own little part to help increase attention to science. So that's why I've shifted focus. But, goodness, it really makes me appreciate C.I. She's got to mention Iraq every day. There are days I want to talk about something other than science -- especially if climate crisis news is what I'm looking at and I'm depressed -- so I'll grab something else. I don't know if I could do science every day or even just five days a week, week after week, year after year.

Dona: Betty, last week, you noted a survey. Could you talk abut that?

Betty: Sure.   This was in I find a report by Julia Jacobo (ABC NEWS):


Children and young people around the world are experiencing increasing anxiety over the fate of the planet -- specifically climate change and how lawmakers are handling the looming crisis, according to new research.
Scientists who surveyed 10,000 young people, ages 16 to 25, across 10 countries, found "widespread psychological distress" among them, and, for the first time, discovered that the anxiety was significantly related to perceived government inaction, according to a study published Tuesday in Lancet Planetary Health.


Betty (Con't): And let me especially emphasize this from Jacobo's report:

Of the young people surveyed, 58% said governments are betraying hem, while 61% said governments are not protecting them, the planet or future generations.



Betty (Con't): The youth of America clearly cares.  And that survey helped me, the results, because the climate crisis really depresses me and I was getting depressed and worried that I was losing it or something. I was glad to know that the youth of today -- I'm sadly no longer the youth -- it has passed me by -- that the youth of today gives a damn, more than gives a damn. I look at people my age and older and just wonder if they even care. I'm not seeing the urgency that this crisis is calling for.

Trina: That's a good point. Why do you think that is?

Betty: I have no idea. I can't figure it out.

Trina: Like Betty, I'm religious, I'm Catholic, and I wondered do some people just think God's going to come down from the clouds and fix it at the last minute? I don't grasp why we aren't trying harder to move on this. And, yes, I get that some people don't believe it's a crisis or even an issue. That's their opinion. I'm not going to be able to change their minds. But I look at the apathetic, for example, and wonder, "What will it take to make you choose a side?"

Ruth: Well, as an elderly person, I often wonder if some people my own age and older are thinking, "Oh, it's not my problem. I'll be dead long before that becomes an issue." I hope that is not the case, however, if it is, what about future generations? Your own grandchildren or someone else's?

Rebecca: I'm tired of Jane Fonda's fire drill Fridays. That's nonsense. She needs to get more active of stop pretending. Ava and C.I.'s "" was very illuminating. But that sort of look-at-me activism that she's promoting does damn little.

Ava: She's not helped by bad advice.

Jim: From?

Ava: CodeStink's Jodie Evans among others. Two of Jane's ex-boyfriends think she was way too easily swayed by that laughable Jodie.

C.I.: She's doing her part and I find much to critique of it but she's doing something and she's trying so credit there. But, yes, I agree with ______ and _____ that she needs to stop listening to the easily distracted Jodie who couldn't lead a nature walk if you gave her a compass, hiking books and carried her to the trail.

Stan: Do you think, and I'm just throwing this out there, that some of the apathy might be due to all the movies about dystopian futures? I mean have we become so used to seeing it on screen that on some level we're starting to accept it?

Jess: Good question. I have no idea, but that's a good question. Didn't Shirley MacLaine write about the way aliens were being portrayed in films and wonder about the meanings there?

Kat: Yes, she did. In her book I'M OVER ALL OF THAT.

Dona: That's a good place to stop -- "I'm over all of that."

Jim: Yes, we're trying to do a full and real edition this week so let's stop there.

 

The media does itself in (Ava and C.I.)

3 JESS

 

 

Both Jonathan Turley and Glenn Greenwald, unlike most journalists, have covered the indictment of attorney Michael Sussman. John Durham's investigation into Russia-gate revealed that Sussman is a liar who misled the FBI. Why did he mislead the FBI? Because he was being paid by his client Hillary Clinton -- a detail he left out of his remarks to the FBI.

From Jonathan Turley's walk-through of the indictment:

The 26-page indictment of former cybersecurity attorney and Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann by special counsel John Durham is as detailed as it is damning on the alleged effort to push a false Russia collusion claim before the 2016 presidential campaign. One line, however, seems to reverberate for those of us who have followed this scandal for years now: “You do realize that we will have to expose every trick we have in our bag.”

That warning from an unnamed “university researcher” captures the most fascinating aspect of the indictment in describing a type of Nixonian dirty tricks operation run by — or at least billed to — the Clinton campaign. Fifty years ago, Nixon’s personal attorney and the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) paid for operatives to engage in disruptive and ultimately criminal conduct targeting his opponents. With Clinton, the indictment and prior disclosures suggest that Clinton campaign lawyers at the law firm of Perkins Coie helped organize an effort to spread Russia collusion stories and trigger an investigation.

Durham accuses Sussmann of lying to the general counsel of the FBI in September 2016 when Sussmann delivered documents and data to the FBI supposedly supporting a claim that Russia’s Alfa Bank was used as a direct conduit between former President Trump‘s campaign and the Kremlin. According to Durham, Sussman told the FBI general counsel that he was not delivering the information on behalf of any client. The indictment not only details multiple billings to the Clinton campaign as the data was collected and the documents created; it claims Sussman billed the campaign for the actual meeting with the FBI. At the time, Perkins Coie attorney Marc Elias was general counsel for the Clinton campaign. Both men have since left the firm.

The big trick in 2016 was the general effort to create a Russia collusion scandal with the help of Justice Department insiders and an eager, enabling media.

 

It was only last October, for instance, that we learned that then-President Obama was briefed by his CIA director, John Brennan, on an intelligence report that Clinton planned to tie then-candidate Trump to Russia as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.” That was on July 28, 2016 — three days before the Russia investigation was initiated.

The problem was that both the Steele dossier and the Alfa Bank allegations fell apart soon after being fed to the FBI. A key source for dossier compiler and former British spy Christopher Steele was viewed by American intelligence as a Russian agent, and it was believed that the Clinton campaign and the dossier were being used by Russian intelligence to spread disinformation.

 Glenn Greenwald adds:


The indictment reveals for the first time that the data used as the basis for this fraud was obtained by another one of Sussman's concealed clients, an ‘'unnamed tech executive'’ who ''exploited his access to non-public data at multiple internet companies to conduct opposition research concerning Trump." There will, presumably, be more disclosures shortly about who this tech executive was, which internet companies had private data that he accessed, and how that was used to spin the web of this Alfa Bank fraud. But the picture that emerges is already very damning — particularly of the Russiagate sector of the corporate press."


 

And Sarah N. Lynch (REUTERS) notes:



The indictment accuses Sussmann of falsely telling Baker he did not represent any client when he met him to give the FBI white papers and other data files containing evidence of questionable cyber links between the Trump Organization and a Russian-based bank.
The indictment alleges that Sussmann turned over that information not as a "good citizen" but as an attorney representing a U.S. technology executive, an internet company and Clinton's presidential campaign.



The dirty tricks were appalling and, as Elaine pointed out, "truly worse than Watergate." Hillary Clinton and her 2016 campaign does not speak well for her or for democracy and we wouldn't be opposed to her being called before Congress to confess to what she and her campaign did. But even then, her ridiculous defenders would probably think up some new delusion -- like, "She only says she's responsible now because she's being forced to. She's innocent."

Hillary was never innocent. She was our first known presidential candidate from a major political party (Democrat or Republican) to campaign while they were the target of a criminal investigation carried out by the Justice Department. That's what it was. At THE COMMON ILLS, we noted that in real time. The FBI does criminal investigations.

That's what's known as a fact. But when we noted here or at THE COMMON ILLS, we'd get e-mails insisting otherwise and we would be told that CNN, for example, wasn't calling it a criminal investigation.

No, they weren't.

And they were wrong not to. They did what the campaign dictated. They let the campaign define the terms (they'd do the same in 2020 with Joe Biden's campaign). That's not reporting. That's not journalism. You might want to call it ''creative writing." If so, let 'em teach a seminar and get them off the airwaves.

Maybe it's time they started having to be truthful in the most basic form or get off the airwaves?

MSNBC kicks off it's day with MORNING JOE. It's a talk show. If you stretch it, you could call it public affairs. But that's all it is and, here's the thing, Joe Scarborough has never pretended otherwise. Good for him. But his show is followed by MSNBC REPORTS, CRAIG MELVIN REPORTS, ANDREA MITCHELL REPORTS, then (after the daily MEET THE PRESS), KATY TUR REPORTS and HALLIE JACKSON REPORTS. None of those shows, despite having "REPORTS" in the title, do reporting. They have no reporting budget. They're yacking, gas bagging talk shows.

Imagine if they were forced to be honest in their titles?

See, when Russia-gate started, trust in journalism -- for some reason -- was still a bit higher than it is today. And we can remember encountering or first MSNBC-freak in the first week of February 2017. He wanted to scream about Hillary and how wronged she was. We were there for a talk about the war and hadn't brought up Hillary but her cult was so damn obsessive. We let him rant and spew and it was educational. He was getting all of his 'facts' (they weren't facts) from MSNBC -- "It's a news channel," he insisted to everyone present as though they had insulted it. Like most devoted MSNBC viewers, if he was hearing disagreeing voices at that moment, they were all in his head. As he ranted and raved, he told us that Hillary was the most qualified candidate for president ever -- no, she wasn't. That wasn't a fact, that was a claim promoted by her campaign. She was not more experienced than most candidates and even the very John F. Kennedy had more experience than she did. She was the victim of sexism, the man thundered, snarling that Rachel Maddow and Andrea Mitchell had established that. Huh? Hillary was the victim of sexism . . . in 2008. And few bothered to say "boo." From THE CBS EVENING NEWS desk, Katie Couric called out the nonsense and attacks and her reward? "Worst Person Of The Week." That's hat MSNBC declared her on air. Bonnie Erbe and Marie Cocco were two other established journalists who called out the sexism. The ladies of MSNBC didn't say a word -- not even Andrea Mitchell or Rachel Maddow (Rachel called Chris Matthews out for sexism in an interview with AP and then got her own show to shut up -- which she did).

Hillary "nut crackers" were sold during the 2008 run. She was mocked for crying -- Bill Moyers' called it her ''moisty moment'' -- when she didn't cry. Bill and Kathleen Hall Jameson had a field day with that early in 2008; however, the program and Dr, Kathy were silent months later when Joe Biden did cry. No talk of what it meant, no insisting that Joe needed to drop out of the race.

This is the same Dr. Kathy who trafficked in sexism throughout 2008 and (naturally?) went on to deny that sexism was used against Hillary when asked by THE NEW YROK TIMES.

February 2017 was the first encounter with a deranged idiot schooled by MSNBC. It wasn't the last. These people are nuts. Do they ever wake up? We think some leave the cult because if they had hung around from 2008, it's doubtful that they would be blaming mythical Russian actions with Donald Trump for Hillary's defeat.

Reality: Hillary ran a lousy campaign in 2016. This was not the candidate mixing with the people and throwing back boilermakers. She no longer barnstormed, she no longer went everywhere. In fact, some of the states she lost were ones she refused to visit during the campaign for the general election.

That's on her.

Her refusal to connect with people and to instead run a campaign on celebrity overload is on her too.

It was a lousy campaign. 

[Jim note: Adding this link after Ava and C.I.'s piece posted -- link to Ava and C.I.'s report on Hillary's campaign the day after the 2016 election "So, uh, we weren't with her? (Ava and C.I.)."]

She really didn't connect with a number of people who were strong supporters of Barack Obama in 2008. And there she can point to others. Specifically, she can point to MSNBC. That's the network that repeatedly called her a racist in 2008, that's the network that said she belittled MLK by praising LBJ, that's the network that said she was urging someone to kill Barack

We're not joking, sadly. Bob Somerby (THE DAILY HOWLER) loves to go on about how, at the end of the 90s, Chris Matthews would repeat the charges in the crackpot CLINTON CHRONICLES put out by Jerry Falwell. He's been silent on smears against Hillary. We're not Hillary's biggest fans (we did support her in the 2008 primaries -- for a number of reasons including her experience and the fact that the American people would hold her responsible with regards to withdrawing US troops from Iraq -- we knew they wouldn't hold Barack accountable and we were right); however, saying she wanted Barack killed? Insisting she was calling for him to be assassinated? Letting that garbage be broadcast on the airwaves?

There's no way Hillary would coast to victory in 2016 after the way the media portrayed her in 2008. It was a scorched earth policy in 2008 and she was stupid to think it didn't matter.

She was also stupid to plot against Donald Trump and carry that plot out during the election. But she was horrid to continue this lying after the election.

Donald Trump is not the worst president ever or even in our lives. Clearly, Bully Boy Bush holds that title with all the wars he started, his attacks on the LGBTQ community, his attacks on Muslims, his attacks on free speech, his attacks on privacy . . . Bully Boy Bush is a War Criminal. We're not saying Donald's much better. but, yes, he was better than Bully Boy Bush. His winning the election let a lot of crazy in. MSNBC, as usual, was where the worst of the worst ended up.

Russia-gate was the worst waste of time. There were real issues to focus on, real people in need. Instead, led by Hillary, it was one lie after another about how Russia helped Donald steal the election. She should be ashamed of herself. She should not have a microphone in front of her or attached to her blouse again unless she's ready to admit what she did and apologize for it. Until that day comes, everything she says is suspect.

But 'news channel' MSNBC has a great to deal to answer for as well. MSNBC is the ultimate bubble which is why Bill Clinton long ago compared it to FOX but where FOX is better is that they will have on the opposing view. They have been rightly ridiculed in the past for having 'liberals' like Alan Colmes on. But we're not talking about that, we're talking about guests (including Glenn Greenwald) who aren't singing from the hymnal of a specific political party as well as some who are. In addition, they have one of the country's finest legal minds as an analyst (Jonathan Turley -- who is a Democrat and a liberal in the classical sense of the term).

Russia-gate ran wild every where in the corporate media -- and for reasons that go far beyond the piece -- however, MSNBC induced a sick fervor in their viewers and that might have been because of their Home On The Range approach to conversations and gas bagging ("where never is heard a discouraging word" when promoting any crazy claim that some Democratic politician is pushing as reality).

Last June, Rich Edmonds (POYNTER) reported:



The United States ranks last in media trust — at 29% — among 92,000 news consumers surveyed in 46 countries, a report released Wednesday found. That’s worse than Poland, worse than the Philippines, worse than Peru. (Finland leads at 65%.)
The annual digital news report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford also found some improvement in trust in nearly all the countries surveyed — probably thanks to COVID-19 coverage — but not in the U.S. where the low rating was flat year to year.


The distrust has a lot of factors. We all saw the US media help lie the country into war. They did that, in part, by silencing the debate, by refusing to allow certain voices to be heard. MSNBC's guests? It's the same thing. And stop saying it's a channel for the left because the center-left corporatists are not voices of the left. In a democracy, the answer is not fewer voices, it's always more voices.

And guess what? Had MSNBC allowed on dissenting voices during all of their Russia-gate lying? They still could have lied. But right now, they'd be able to point out, "Yes, we did get it wrong. But we also had on many guests who got it right." And guess what? Most people would be okay with that. We don't expect journalists to be psychics. We do expect them to be fair. And that's what's flown out the window. We notice it, even Bill Clinton feels compelled to comment on it.

We don't feel Russia-gate was as damaging as the (ongoing) Iraq War. But we do feel it was a distraction and it did real harm On our side, the left, it led to far too much acceptance for a squishy political party (the Democrats) that did nothing. MSNBC and others had fun trumping up Trump stories and elected Democrats coasted along with no responsibility. Imagine if the time MSNBC had given daily to Russia-gate had been given to the climate crisis. Then take a moment to grasp how many real issues they -- and others -- ignored to present gossip as fact and never learn as one Trump scandal after another exploded in their face.

The media, like Hillary, has a lot to answer for. Including (a) why they were so determined to destroy Donald Trump (as opposed to merely covering him) and (b) how sad they are that presented with a person like Donald Trump that not only could they not 'bring him down' and that they had to invent things about him -- invent things about Donald Trump! -- to make him look bad.

 

 

 

 

Video of the week

 

 Richard Medhurst delivers truth on the subject of Iraq.

 

 

This edition's playlist

 

 

 

1) Laura Nyro's TREE OF THE AGES: LAURA NYRO LIVE IN JAPAN.

 

 

2) Chase Rice's THE ALBUM.

 

3) Nick Jonas' SPACEMAN.

 

4) Cher's STARS.

 

 

5) Cat PowersWANDERER.

 

6) Billy Davis Jr. and Marilyn McCoo's BLACKBIRD: LENNON - MCCARTNEY ICONS.


 7) Dionne Warwick's SHE'S BACK.



8) Harry Style's FINE LINE

 

 

 

9)  Fiona Apple's FETCH THE BOLT CUTTERS

 


 

10) Bob Dylan's ROUGH AND ROWDY WAYS.

 

 

 

Highlights

a park painting 11

This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

 

  "The upcoming Iraqi election" -- readers of this site selected this as the highlight of the week.

 

 

"Iraq snapshot,"  "Iraq snapshot," "Jimmy Dore, Jake Johnson," "Idiot of the week goes to . . .," "AOC's fake ass gets called out by Jimmy Dore and Glenn Greenwald," "Jimmy Dore, Jonathan Cooke," "Carter Country? Back to 1980?," "Richard Wolff," "Finian Cunningham," "Immigration," "Hypocrites get called out," "The Kennedy Brothers," "They're too damn greedy," "Hillary Clinton -- Richard Nixon for the 21st century," "Constitution Day," "Attacks on judges and erosions of privacy," "Jonathan Turley, Michael Hudson," "No to hypocrisy," "spoiled princess nancy pelosi," "That disgusting Justin Trudeau," "Howie Hawkins," "The sinking Prince Andrew," "Alanis, Simone Biles, Prince Andrew and Epstein," "Katie Halper calls out Kimmell's nonsense," "Richard Medhurst and a gripe," "Margaret Kimberley on how some intentionally refuse to help,"   "Turkey continues to terrorize Kurdistan" and "Sleepy Joe has a response" and "THIS JUST IN! JOE HAS A RESPONSE! IF HE CAN JUST WAKE UP!" -- news coverage in the community.

 

 

 

"Emmy thoughts," "CRY MACHO," "Alison Herman is paid for her stupidity," "When US films don't look like America," "Madonna, Clint Eastwood," "Diana Ross," "Not a Jane Powell fan so here is some reality," "Norm Macdonald," "'animal kingdom,'" "'dynasty' - liam leaves," "an awful episode of dynasty," "'dynasty' and adjective otter," "On the eve of his divorce, Lindsey claims Stevie is in still in love with him,"  "Lil Nas X, Tony Bennett, Kehlani, Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood and Gabby Barrett," "Comfort TV,"  "Dionne Warwick,"  "Karen Black's new album and Ken Tucker's old bigotry," "On the eve of his divorce, Lindsey claims Stevie is in still in love with him," "Lil Nas X, Tony Bennett, Kehlani, Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood and Gabby Barrett," "Comfort TV," "Dionne Warwick" and "Karen Black's new album and Ken Tucker's old bigotry"-- TV, film and music coverage in the community.


 

""Trees and the climate crisis," "Genetic resurrection?," "The climate crisis" and "Mars" -- Betty covers science.

 

"Huevos Rancheros in the Kitchen" and "Slow Cooker Roast in the Kitchen" -- Trina serves up two recipes.

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Media: Movie survival?

Will movie theaters survive is a common question in these times of the ongoing pandemic but another question predates the pandemic and is still asked: Will films survive beyond superhero flicks?

 

3 JESS

 

In 1978, Christopher Reeves and Margot Kidder captured the world's attention and imagination as Clark Kent (Superman) and Lois Lane in Richard Donner's SUPERMAN.  It was an exciting and rare event at the time.  And it's easy to forget just how major that moment was.  Yes, Superman had survived for decades as a beloved hero in multiple comic book titles.  He and Lois (and Jimmy and Perry) had been TV staples in 104 episodes of the 50s series ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN.  Chris and Margot added so much to the characters that their version has been the template for later versions such as LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN & LOIS.  


The movie not only helped reshape the way we saw the characters, it also helped reshape what was possible for movies.  Their eyes infected with dollar signs as the 1978 film not only became a monster hit but also spawned a franchise, every studio head wished and hoped that they could come up with their own version. The first real currency maker after 1978 was Tim Burton's BATMAN in 1989.  That's how rare superhero films were -- especially successful ones -- and also how much more diverse the film landscape was at one point.  By 2019 (the last full release year before the pandemic), you had ten major superhero films (we're counting JOKER as well as the animated WONDER WOMAN: BLOODLINES). To watch basic cable on the weekends, you might think that all the studios have ever released were superhero films with the endless airings of The Avengers films, the Superman films (with Christopher Reeves, Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill as the leads), Batman films (starring Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, Christian Bale and Ben Affleck), Wesley Snipes' Blade films, The Justice League films, the Fantastic Four films, Spider-Man films (starring Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland), Aquaman films, Wonder Woman, Deadpool, X-Men, Wolverine, Venom, Shazam, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Daredevil, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, etc.  

 

While these films have turned many actors into stars (Hugh Jackman, for example), they've also utilized many film stars known for heavy acting:  Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando, Holly Hunter, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas, Angela Bassett, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Robert Redford, Jack Nicholson, Sally Field, Jamie Foxx, Patrick Stewart, Gary Oldman, Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett, Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins, Annette Bening, Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Ewan McGregor, Marisa Tomei, Jake Gyllenhaal, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ian McKellen, Parker Posey, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, Jessic Biel, John Travolta, Samantha Mathis, Roy Scheider, Mickey Rourke, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, James Spader, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Colin Farrel, Michael Clarke Duncan, Terrence Howard, Tim Roth, Liv Tyler, Edward Norton, Kurt Russell, Ben Kingsley, Kevin Bacon, Leslie Uggams, Michael Caine, Guy Pearce, Kristen Wiig, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Michelle Yeoh, Nick Nolte, Will Smith, Uma Thurman, Sam Elliott, Louis Jourdan, Richard Pryor, Faye Dunaway, Brenda Vaccaro, Peter O'Toole, Mariel Hemmingway, Jennifer Connelly, Benjamin Bratt, Kerry Washington, Sharon Stone, Terence Stamp, Heather Locklear, Billy Dee Williams, Kevin Costner, Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Kim Basinger, Jack Palance, Vivica A. Fox, Peter Fonda, Kevin Spacey, Eva Marie Saint and Liev Schreiber, among others.


So is that what the future will hold?  Actors like Leo DiCaprio will have to take roles in superhero films to maintain their status as film actors?  Will Shirley MacLaine go down as the last living movie star not to have depended upon a superhero film to maintain her career?


Because more and more, people fret that the live action films the industry will produce are going to be little more than superhero flicks -- with origin stories as the cornerstone.


This weekend provided some hope with James Wan's MALIGNANT.  Yes, it's a horror film but there's nothing standard about horror in the hands of Wan.  A director with real vision, he's even managed to bring life into the superhero genre with a unique vision that startled in a manner similar to the wayt Tim Burton and Sam Raimi revolutionized 

 

Without giving away spoilers, MALIGNANT revolves around a shared body and overcoming personal demons.  Levels are explored and revealed and the camera work pulls you in.  As the theme is explored, it's done with striking visuals and a deft hand that allows strong performances in even small roles (such as Jake Abel's performance as Derek).  It also allows Annabelle Wallis to shine and radiate real personality.  


Real personality is sorely lacking in KATE -- or rather in its lead performance.  NETFLIX's straight-to- stream film stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead who recites her lines with a lack of awareness that both startles and frightens while making you wonder whether she's a human being or an animatronic?


In the past, 'performances' like this could be justified on some level. For example, despite all the unintentional laughter provoked by Anna Nicole Smith barking "stay out of my hairspace!" in SKYSCRAPER, you can understood how Anna Nicole's beauty led her to be cast in the first place.

 

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is not beautiful.  She's not even pretty.  Her looks are passable from the front -- unphotographable from the side and, no, she's not our favorite work of art, or even out top 200th favorite works of art.  She's a lousy actress.  At some point, she should have learned she needed to study and work on her craft.  And when you've been getting TV and film roles since 1997 and it's now 2021 and you're going to turn 37 this year, you really should also grasp that the moment has passed you by.  Skill and hard work could allow her potential as a character actress in supporting roles but it's really too late for her to become a star due to the fact that she wasted every chance she had and she was never talented or good looking.

 

She failed as the Huntress in BIRDS OF PREY.  That movie was so hideous that it's easy to overlook how bad Wisntead actually was.  Outside of Margot Robbie, nothing worked except for a sequence involving Jurnee Smollett and a young child.  But any fan of Huntress (one of our favorite comic book characters) knows Mary Elizabeth Winstead can't act.  


KATE survives in spite of her.  This update on the film noir classic DOA -- the protagonist has been poisoned and spends their final hours trying to figure out who poisoned them -- is directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan who plays with themes and motifs in a way that seems either subtle or as though he's lost interest.  But he does deliver a film that zips along and that leaves an impression.


Except for Winstead, it's a good impression.  Standouts include Woody Harrelson (who is charming in an very dark role) as well as, Jun Kunimura, Tadanobu Asano, Kazuyz Tanabe and Miyavi.  (If you're new to our writing, we don't cover child actors -- negatively or positively. So do not take our not noting a 17-year-old actress to be intended as an insult.) We don't blame Winstead's awful acting on him, not when KATE is her 29th film performance and none of the 28 directors who came before Cedric could get anything out of her either.


KATE is a good film.  It could have been a haunting one but that would have required a lead who could actually act.  A real actress (Uma Thurman, for example) could have gone many ways with the role -- including emphasizing the anger or going for grief or some sort of I-become-better-as-I-face death.  The latter, by the way, would be either the truest to the text or result in an on-the-nose performance with no real levels.  But it still would have provided something haunting.  KATE proves that a good director, even with a lousy lead actor, can turn in something watchable and entertaining.  MALIGNANT proves that there's still tremendous life in non-superhero films.  At least for now.


 



Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Truest statement of the week

Donald Trump was the convenient scapegoat for the first year of the Covid-19 crisis. Austerity, low wage work, housing insecurity, and the profit driven health care system were problematic issues before anyone heard the word Covid-19 or indeed before Trump’s presidency. Every failing of the United States already in existence came into sharp relief when the pandemic struck.
Joe Biden has done nothing to alleviate these many crises. Temporary unemployment benefits end in September, and millions of people were denied these funds when republican state legislatures decreed that they wanted people back at work. The Supreme Court struck down the eviction moratorium and 90% of the funds allocated to pay for rent relief remain unspent. Millions of people face the prospect of becoming unhoused.
Meanwhile even a small increase in the number of Covid patients upends health care around the country. Intensive care units are full, staffing shortages abound, and patients who don’t have Covid-19 are also suffering because the system isn’t designed to respond to emergencies.
The words “trust the science” ring hollow when information changes daily. The public were assured that vaccines were a kind of magic bullet but they are not. The unvaccinated comprise at least 90% of those who are seriously ill, but vaccine efficacy wanes and the vaccinated are urged to get boosters for protection.
Biden is little better than Trump in addressing the pandemic. Like his predecessor, Biden’s goal was to get people back to work and make life easier for the private sector. He arbitrarily chose July 4 as the date when all would be right, with hoped for high vaccination rates. He didn’t trust the science either, as the Centers for Disease Control declared that the vaccinated no longer had to wear masks. The World Health Organization was far more cautious and advised against any such declaration. The rise of the Delta variant has driven an increase in cases and Biden administration miscues are responsible.


-- Margaret Kimberley, "Why the US still suffers from COVID" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

 

 

 

 

 

Truest statement of the week II

In 2001, Afghanistan was stricken and depended on emergency relief convoys from Pakistan. As the journalist Jonathan Steele reported, the invasion indirectly caused the deaths of some 20,000 people as supplies to drought victims stopped and people fled their homes.
Eighteen months later, I found unexploded American cluster bombs in the rubble of Kabul which were often mistaken for yellow relief packages dropped from the air. They blew the limbs off foraging, hungry children.
In the village of Bibi Maru, I watched a woman called Orifa kneel at the graves of her husband, Gul Ahmed, a carpet weaver, and seven other members of her family, including six children, and two children who were killed next door.
An American F-16 aircraft had come out of a clear blue sky and dropped an Mk82 500-pound bomb on Orifa’s mud, stone and straw house. Orifa was away at the time. When she returned, she gathered the body parts.
Months later, a group of Americans came from Kabul and gave her an envelope with 15 notes: a total of $15. “Two dollars for each of my family killed,” she said.
The invasion of Afghanistan was a fraud. In the wake of 9/11, the Taliban sought to distant themselves from Osama bin Laden. They were, in many respects, an American client with which the administration of Bill Clinton had done a series of secret deals to allow the building of a $3 billion natural gas pipeline by a U.S. oil company consortium.
In high secrecy, Taliban leaders had been invited to the U.S. and entertained by the CEO of the Unocal company in his Texas mansion and by the CIA at its headquarters in Virginia. One of the deal-makers was Dick Cheney, later George W. Bush’s vice president.
In 2010, I was in Washington and arranged to interview the mastermind of Afghanistan’s modern era of suffering, Zbigniew Brzezinski. I quoted to him his autobiography in which he admitted that his grand scheme for drawing the Soviets into Afghanistan had created “a few stirred up Muslims”.
“Do you have any regrets?” I asked.

“Regrets! Regrets! What regrets?”
When we watch the current scenes of panic at Kabul airport, and listen to journalists and generals in distant TV studios bewailing the withdrawal of “our protection,” isn’t it time to heed the truth of the past so that all this suffering never happens again?


-- John Pilger, "The Great Game of Smashing Nations" (INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE).


 

 

 

 

A note to our readers

Hey --

It's Tuesday night.


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?

 

 

 It's been awhile since an edition was anything other than just Ava and C.I.  We're trying to be more focused and hope we can get full editions for the rest of the year.

 

Peace.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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