Sunday, August 11, 2013

Truest statement of the week

The government is beginning to sound like the boy who cried wolf. First it was Bradley Manning and his leaks which damaged national security. Those leaks occurred in 2010 and we’ve yet to see how in any way they’ve damaged our national security.

Over 500 hundred people have died in Iraq just this month alone. Seems that’s more damaging to national security than Bradley Manning, who, by the way leaked documents showing the number of people killed in Iraq is greater than what the government is reporting. We’ve been here before, the Pentagon Papers proved that what the government knew and what they were telling the country about what was going on in Vietnam, were two different things.

Now they’re saying the same thing about Edward Snowden and his leaks telling of government collection and storage of data, they say the leaks are a great threat to our national security.

--  Cambridge Chronicle's "The Government Who Cried Wolf."

Truest statement of the week II

That is -- Lynne calls it a misstatement. I call it a total lie, because Lynne does nothing for herself. Everything is done for her. She sits in a bed. In a prison, you have to make your own bed. Lynne does not have to. She does not take long walks. The prison brings her food. Everything is done for her as she sits. And so, for them to say that she can take care of herself is just outrageous. And obviously she does not. She looks to have a walker. To walk around the visiting room is a chore. And, of course, in prison, they don’t like you to be close, and so we don’t walk, because she holds on to walk. And it’s—for them to make a statement like that, that she’s improving, and when we all know that her lungs are being clogged, this is dangerous, a dangerous situation, and the prison wants her dead. I don’t call them "prisons" anymore; I call them "death camps." 

-- Political prisoner Lynne Stewart's husband Ralph Poynter in response to Amy Goodman's, "Ralph, if you could talk about your visits to her in prison and the comment that she’s living a fine, independent life within the walls of the prison." (Democracy Now! Thursday).

A note to our readers

Hey --
Another Sunday.

First up, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

We thank them all. What did we come up with?

A new outlet for a truest.
Ralph Poynter's fighting for his wife and he and she both need your help.
We had no idea what to write.  Ty and C.I. started this as a joint-piece, not an editorial.  We were pressed for time and they offered it as the bones for an editorial.  We gladly accepted.
Ava and C.I. take on Friday's press conference with analysis of Barack, of the conference and of the press.  This is a very strong piece.

Dona proposed this when, this afternoon, she heard Elysium called a "blockbuster" on the TV.

The latest in our series.
Ava and C.I. offer two pieces this week.  This one praises and explains CNN's documentary which has been attacked by several.
Jill Stein and the Green Shadow Cabinet are calling for a pardon for Bradley Manning.

Lynne Stewart is dying, not just sick, she needs you.
A repost of Betty's film review.
From Senator Murray's office.

A repost from Workers World.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

So that's what we came up with this go round.


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

Editorial: The wrong things grab the attention

E-mails to this site ( have noted that it seems like everything gets attention from the media except Iraq. We tend to agree with that conclusion.

For example, take this photo.

nick jonas

That's Nick Jonas, of the Jonas Brothers.

It's not a bad photo and those into maturing boys probably had a real thrill.  (Nick Jonas is 20-years-old.)  But was it really news?  A Google news search finds 2,920 articles on Nick Jonas putting the photo out there and that photo was released July 30th.  Do a blog search and it's already been addressed in over 398,000 blog posts -- again, just since July 30th.

Let's argue Nick Jonas is worth that much attention.  Doesn't that mean that Iraq is worth even more?

Not only has violence increased, not only did the United Nations count over a thousand violent deaths in Iraq last month, but there are other issues.

Nouri's SWAT forces (trained and armed by the US) are accused of repeated human rights crimes including the April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP later reported the death toll had risen to 53. UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured). Repeating, the SWAT forces are armed and trained by US forces (specifically Special-Ops).  And trained by US forces too stupid to grasp that teaching the Iraqis a new phrase ("SWAT") revealed the US hand from the start.

Will these SWAT forces be used by Nouri to steal a third term as prime minister?

In 2006, Bully Boy Bush insisted the Iraqis make him prime minister.  In 2010, Nouri's State of Law came in second to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya meaning Allawi should be prime minister.  Barack Obama refused to allow that to happen and nullified the votes and the will of the Iraqi people and forced them to give Nouri a second term.

Last month, the Brookings Institute's Kenneth Pollack pointed out in (PDF format warning) "The Fall and Rise and Fall of Iraq:"

The message that it sent to Iraq’s people and politicians alike was that the United States under the new Obama Administration was no longer going to enforce the rules of the democratic road. We were not going to insist that the will of the people win out. We were willing to step aside and allow Iraq’s bad, old political culture of pay - offs, log - rolling, threats and violence to re - emerge to determine who would rule the country -- the same political culture that the U.S. had worked so hard to bury.
It undermined the reform of Iraqi politics and resurrected the specter of the failed state and the civil war. Having backed Maliki for prime minister if only to end the embarrassing political stalemate, the Administration compounded its mistake by lashing itself uncritically to his government. Whether out of fear of being criticized for allowing him to remain in office in the first place, or sheer lack of interest and a desire to do what required the least effort on the part of the United States, the Administration backed Maliki no matter what he did -- good, bad or indifferent. 

Now, despite his swearing to AFP in February 2011 that he would not seek a second term, State of Law insists Nouri will seek a third term, Nouri's lawyer insists he has every right to and new rumors make the rounds.

Last week, Adnan Hussein (Al-Monitor) reported:

As soon as the results of the Iraqi provincial council elections in April 2013 were announced, some within political circles and the media speculated that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki may seek to postpone parliamentary elections scheduled for next spring to an unspecified date.
The speculations were triggered by a significant decline in Maliki’s popularity, as seen in the provincial elections. This decline, of course, is due to the failure of Maliki's government to achieve its promises, particularly in the area of ​​security and public services.
Initially, there were speculations that Maliki may resort to postponement to buy some time and regain his lost popularity. But later, a rumor arose of the possibility that Maliki and his coalition may conduct a coup against the democratic path of the political process.
This possibility was raised by a Sadrist MP, thus making the coup scenario more credible. The Sadrists are the allies of the State of Law coalition within the National Iraqi Alliance, the largest partner in the current government. They know what is happening on the inside.
In a press statement, Iraqi MP Amir al-Kanani said he feared that there will be no peaceful transfer of power if “the results of the upcoming elections turn out different than what Maliki is aiming for.” 

Nouri is a failure in every way.  This is most obvious with regards to security.

In July, 2012, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed, "Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a lasting power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions, including the ministers of defense, interior and national security, while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support."  Those positions were supposed to have been filled before the end of December 2010.  They were not.  They are still not filled.  Nouri refused to fill them because once the Iraqi Parliament confirms a nominee, that nominee is autonomous.  Nouri can't fire them, only the Parliament can.  (Which isn't easy.  Nouri's gotten Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi convicted of 'terrorism' and sentenced to death with the Baghdad courts he controls but he can't get Parliament to strip Tareq of his title.)

The violence has increased as these security ministries have remained headless.  That's a reflection on Nouri and goes to his failures as prime minister.

His failures should get him immediately removed from office.  Violence has steadily increased from 2010's lower levels.  Now the violence is as bad as it was in 2008.  

These failures are on Nouri.

And, yes, they are on Barack as well.  Another policy Barack carried over from Bully Boy Bush?  Blindly backing Nouri.  As Kenneth Pollack points out, "The Obama Administration has excused the prime minister’s misdeeds and refused to take a public stance against him. Through it all, the United States has continued to do little. The U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad, Steve Beecroft, and several other mid - level officials have tirelessly implored all sides to do the right thing, but they have been given painfully little to work with." 

This is should be more important than a shirtless photo of Nick Jonas but, these days, we'd settle for it getting just as much coverage.

Media: The weak press, the weak press conference

A petulant Barack Obama finally held a press conference Friday.  It was brief and it was a joke and, most of all, it existed in a world where honest questioning was apparently forbidden.


Facing the press corps for the first time since April, Barack looked awkward.  It's worth noting that one-term president Jimmy Carter held 59 press conferences while in office and one-term president George H.W. Bush held 137.  Barack is now past the half-way mark of the first year of his second term and he's only held 81 press conferences.  (Stats are from the American Presidency Project.)  This was only Barack's third press conference of the year.  Bill Clinton held 21 press conferences in the first year of his second term.

81 press conferences is disappointing especially when you consider Barack's pledge to be transparent or, for that matter, his golfing.  CBS News' Mark Knoller noted Friday:

  • As Pres Obama heads to the Vineyard, his golf stats stand at 133 rounds (not including a session of mini-golf with daughter Sasha.)

  • He's now played his 134 round of golf.

    No doubt, this was "a lot of good work that has been done" (to steal from Barack's awkward phrases Friday).  Also of no doubt, he really doesn't want you thinking about his golfing.

    No, high school buddy and golfing chum Bobby Titcomb hasn't been busted again for solicitation of a male prostitute.  This time, Geoff Earle (New York Post) reports,  it's golfing buddy Dr. Eric Whitaker who is "is cooperating with the feds as they probe a $433,000 kickback scheme" involving a man Whitaker directly supervised.

    Press conferences are presidential duties so it's distressing that he's held so few and disappointing that he's taken to the links 53 more times than he has to the podium to field questions.

    Maybe his lack of practice explains why he couldn't make it to sixty minutes.  49 minutes in, he had begun to stammer, stutter, lose his pace and offer a new speaking gesture which was notable only for its degrees of strangeness.  By the fifty minute mark, with Barack still speaking, advisors frantically called for him to wrap up because his fading was becoming obvious even to the press corps.  If you missed what was alarming them especially, it was this.

    Barack Obama:  I don't know a law that solves a problem 100%.  [Long pause.]  Social Security lifted millions of Americans out of poverty but there are still some seniors.  [Longer pause.]  The Civil Rights Act and The Voting Act drastically reduced discrimination in America but there's still discrimination.  [Pause.]  That doesn't make them bad laws. [Pause.]  It just means that [pause] there are very few [pause] human problems that are, uh, 100% solvable.  [Long pause as Barack repeatedly blinks his eyes.]  So, uh, what I see right now . . .

    At one point ("and get that bill, uh, on the floor") one administration source said Barack looked like he was falling asleep in front of the press corps.  But even he admitted that, if that happened, "80% of the press present would ignore it."

    They ignore a great deal.  As Barack trashed NSA whistle-blower Ed Snowden and laughably insisted that the current conversation would have taken place without Snowden, not one reporter present asked about James Clapper and Clapper's lying to Congress about the spying program.

    Friday on KPFA's Living Room (guest host was Kevin Pina) Shahid Buttar (Bill of Rights Defense Committee) observed:

    . . . and I would just say the real figure here who I think who exposes the president's, I dare say, hypocrisy on this issue is James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, who has lied to Congress, which also exposes the further hypocrisy in the president's comments.  He's talking about the need for an orderly process and debate, this is the fifth year of his presidency and there has been no effort not only to undertake an orderly process and review until now but also there's been no oversight by Congress.  And when Congress has tried to do oversight, the Executive Branch has actively stonewalled that effort.  The administration has not been forthcoming about responses to tough Congressional questions and when members of Congress have asked the Director of National Intelligence direct questions, he has lied to Congress on the record and we have the smoking gun evidence.  How is it that Edward Snowden is appropriately prosecuted when senior executive officials are lying to the American people.  Those are the criminals, not the whistle-blowers  conscientiously trying to reveal to the American public the abuses being committed to us en mass  in our name using our tax dollars. I think the president has it absolutely wrong here -- both about Edward Snowden and I think it's striking that he's not mentioning that some of his senior officials are apparently criminals and should face appropriate prosecution.

    Barack trashed Ed Snowden, declared him to not be a patriot (a declaration no president has a right to make) but he has yet to publicly call out Clapper for lying to Congress, he has yet to call for Clapper to be charged and prosecuted.

    Whatever happened to his promises of accountability and transparency?

    It's not just that the press ignores.  It's also that they're complicit.  The press conference was staged. Barack worked from a list and when someone veered from the approved script (NBC News' Chuck Todd), Barack called them out insisting on the agreed upon format, that "everyone is asking [only] one question," as Barack reminded.

    A functioning press would have pointed this out and pointed out how disturbing it is that Barack is unable to answer a two-part question off the top of his head, how something so basic is beyond him. A functioning press would be using that to raise larger questions about Barack's abilities.

    But a functioning press would not accept only 3 press conferences this year.  And a functioning press would have pushed back when Barack claimed, "I don't have a bad personal relationship with Putin."  That claim was laughable -- especially after Barack went on went on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Tuesday night and insulted Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly -- referring to "Cold War-thinking" and "Cold-War mentality" and  lying that Putin had "headed up the KGB" (see "Barack the little bitch" and "Iraq snapshot").

    A functioning press, aware that Barack's 'bonding moments' are with men only (golfing and basketball) and the administration's repeated sexism issues, would have felt this statement by Barack worthy of commentary, "I have a range of outstanding candidates.  You mentioned two of them -- Mr. Summers and Mr. Yelln -- Ms. Yellen."

    A functioning press would have been all over the lack of action by Barack on the spying.  Instead, NBC News wrongly 'reported' that reforms were announced.  No, they weren't.  Reforms have to take place to be announced.  Possible plans ("we can take steps," Barack declared at one point) were floated in the press conference.

    On Friday's Free Speech Radio News, attorney David Remes observed, "President Obama is very good at creating the illusion of movement even when he's standing still."  He was speaking of Guantanamo but he might as well have been analyzing the press conference.  Or, as the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus pointed out on Friday's NewsHour (PBS), "He sort of announced a four-point plan to have a four-point plan. The details are kind of to come."

    Those are rare voices of honesty in the media.  Even rarer are the critics pointing out that Barack's not attempting to stop the illegal spying, he's attempting to make Americans buy into it.  Appearing on CBS' Face The Nation this morning, former CIA Director Michael Hayden pointed out, "The president is trying to take some steps to make the American people more comfortable about what it is we're doing."  Hayden thinks this is great.  We find it appalling but are glad at least someone admits that this isn't about ending these illegal programs.  How telling that the observation came from a former US official and not from a journalist covering the press conference.

    The summer box office failure

    Matt Damon and Jodie Foster team up with the artistic savant Neill Blomkamp for Elysium.  The film is projected to end the weekend today with ticket sales of $30.5 million.  Don't be surprised if the gross is downgraded Tuesday, after the studio's grabbed (minor) bragging rights.

    pearl harbor

    Make no mistake, this box office will translate into only one thing: Bomb.

    The $120 million budget (before prints and advertising) was not spent for a film Sony hoped would slowly edge to $80 million over the next four weeks.  The bucks were thrown at this sinkhole in the hopes that it would gross a minimum of $150 million with some expecting it to gross over $200 million.

    Elysium is an action, sci-fi film and those are supposed to open big.  Two weekends ago, The Wolverine opened to $53 million in ticket sales and people were calling that disappointing. Before that, the horror film The Conjuring opened to $41 million in ticket sales.  Other summer opening weekends: Monsters University $82 million, and Man of Steel $116 million.

    The Lone Ranger had a similar opening ($29.2 million) to Elysium and is considered to be one of the summer's biggest bombs.

    Elysium will easily gross $65 million as it falls down the top ten in the coming weeks.  Careful nursing of the film (Jodie and Matt go back out to resell the film) could get it to $90 million.  But the film is a bomb.

    That's not just our call, that's Sony's call.  By noon Sunday, the studio was declaring that it would be strong overseas.  That's not a lie but it is the excuse and cover studios hide behind when they've got a bomb.  You usually wait until Monday afternoon to trot out that standard line.

    There are some who will dispute our notions that the film will likely not hit $100 million and will require heavy nursing to get to $80 million.  They will point to There's Something About Mary.

    That film was something special in many ways.  And it was not heavily advertised compared to other films in the week it was released.  It built a following via word of mouth and became the rare thing, a film that can debut in the top five, hang around there for a few weeks and then, against all odds, grab the number one spot.

    Elysium's advertising was through the roof.  Everyone was aware of its opening.  As an action adventure film, it had a larger potential audience.  It's opening weekend was going to be the best it ever did.  That would have been true even if the film had opened to strong reviews.  But the film opened to mixed reviews and has bad word of mouth.  There is no better weekend for Elysium.

    For the film now, there is only sliding down the top ten.

    Next Friday, Lee Daniels' The Butler, Kick-Ass 2 and Paranoia open in wide release.  They will all grab spots in the top seven.  And they're not the only promising films opening.  Elysium will probably drop to at least number four.  It could go lower.  If it goes lower, it will be dumped by theaters quickly and move that much faster to the 'dollar theaters' (discount theaters that are a film's last stop before DVD and streaming).

    Elysium was not an adult film (heavy-handed films rarely are).  But Lee Daniels' The Butler is.  We predict it's going to open stronger than Elysium did.  If that happens, the last excuse for Elysium will be no more: 'It's hard to sell adult films.'

    In the end, the film was a failure for obvious reasons.  Matt Damon does not sell tickets (see this analysis).  A bald Matt Damon sells even fewer tickets.  Jodie Foster's didn't hurt the film.  The minute she went to college, her sexual identity was pretty much known across the country.  Most ticket buyers today grew up knowing Jodie was gay.   A failure to give Jodie material to work with does hurt the film.  She needs to be wicked in the sense that Dennis Hopper or Anthony Hopkins would have been.  While she's planning the deaths of millions, the script refuses repeatedly to give the character those key moments as though, in the end, they're attempting to say, "Well even the people at the top are trapped in roles through no fault of their own."

    You can't do that.  When you do that, quit pretending you're being mature.  What you're doing is disappointing the audience.  A lot of the criticism of Jodie's performance is about the script and not the actress and a lot of the criticism is really about the fact that a woman's been cast in the role of the villain but not given the needed scenes -- scenes that would have been written for Jon Voight in about 30 seconds or he would have walked off the film.

    A weak script, a poorly written villain, way too much jawboning for an action film (especially from the lead -- action films prefer their men to be strong and silent) and a non-star in the lead.

    The largest blame goes to those who signed off on the casting of Damon.  Since 2009, he has carried the lead in one bomb after another plus the disappointments Contagion ($75 million in ticket sales with a $60 million shooting  budget) and We Bought A Zoo ($75 million in ticket sales with a $50 million shooting budget).  The list of bombs include action films like Green Zone ($35 million in ticket sales) and The Informant ($33 million) and The Adjustment Bureau ($62 million).  Leaving aside ticket sales, there's the fact that Damon is a short, squat, fire plug with no sex appeal.  There was never a reason to cast him in the lead role but there were a ton of reasons not to cast him.  Sony needs to answer as to why Damon was cast to begin with.  What?  Jean Claude Van Damme wasn't available?  His casting would have made more sense.  Burt Reynolds in the lead would have made more sense.  It's really past time for studios to stop wasting millions on actors like Matt Damon and George Clooney who consistently fail to sell tickets.  A cold spell is one thing, you can't always be hot.  But these actors who have repeatedly failed to carry a picture shouldn't be cast in big budget films or paid multi-million dollar salaries.

    Film Classics of the 20th Century

    We've looked at Family Plot, House Sitter,  and Outrageous Fortune.   Film classics are the films that grab you, even on repeat viewings.

    movie montage

    Gene Saks has three Tonys for directing and four more nominations.  His work in film has been less celebrated which is too bad because, in the sixties, he directed three comedy classics: The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park (starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford) and Cactus Flower which may be the best of the three.


    The film, based on the play of the same name, kicks off on a late night with Toni (Goldie Hawn) mailing a suicide note to her married lover Julian who has failed to show.  She returns to her apartment, turns on the gas oven and prepares for the end.  However, neighbor Igor (Rick Lenz) smells the gas, breaks in and attempts CPR which turns into a kiss as she mistakes him for Julian.


    Rick Lenz had an easy going charm onscreen throughout his career and it was utilized best in this film as evidenced by the ease with which he and Goldie are able to handle the transition from the suicide attempt to a bantering and teasing mood.  As she berates him for spoiling her attempt, he tells her she was doing it wrong.  "Well it's a second hand stove, there were no directions," she informs him.

    But she no longer wants to take her life.  She wants to go to bed.  But there's the issue of the suicide note.  She needs Igor to call Julian tomorrow morning, first thing, and tell him that she's alive.

    Yes, Cactus Flower exists in a movie magical world where you drop a letter in a mailbox at two in the morning and, by nine a.m., seven hours later, it will be delivered to the recipient.

    The recipient?

    Walter Matthau's Julian is a dentist, as he told Toni.  He is not a married man with three kids.  He explains to his buddy Harvey Greenfield (Jack Weston) that he came up with the lie when he was attempting to figure out how to get the women he sees to stop pressuring him to get married.  But the women have now become one woman, just Toni.

    When he opens the letter he flees his practice leaving Stephanie, his assistant, to reschedule all of his appointments.  He's shocked (and disappointed?) to find Stephanie still alive.  It's only when Igor shows up, detailing the attempt, that Julian takes it seriously.  He announces he wants to marry her which leaves Toni confused since he already is married.  He'll divorce his wife, he'll divorce his kids, he tells her.

    He wants to make out but she wants to do something they've never been able to do before: go out together in public during the day.


    Toni wants to be sure that his ex-wife will be okay, she insists upon meeting her.

    Which brings us back to Julian's assistant Stephanie.


    In the original Broadway play, Lauren Bacall had played the role of Stephanie and won raves for her performance.  When the film instead cast Ingrid Bergman in the lead, there were a few people left surprised.  Bacall may have been too sleek and glamorous to play it onscreen, the reason given, and Bergman brings a delightful awkwardness to the role.  It's a lot easier (especially when she shows up at a club in a dress that's all wrong for her and an even worse hairstyle) to accept her as the Stephanie who spends weekends with her nephews and saves her week days for her boss.

    Julian shocks her when he tells her he needs a wife.  Just for fifteen minutes.  He needs her to play his wife.  She is offended by the idea but does show up at Stereo Heaven, Toni's job.



    In one of the film's many winning scenes, Stephanie convinces (or tries to) Toni that she's okay with the divorce, that she's ready to move on with her life and that she'll be just fine.

    Toni:  Mrs. Winston, what about your future?  What's going to become of you?

    Stephanie:  Oh, I'll just ride off into the sunset or something.

    Toni:  Well it's just that I want to be sure  you're alright.

    Stephanie:  Well I'll write you every day.

    Toni:  Mrs. Winston, I want you to know I think you're a very gracious, charming and very brave woman.

    Stephanie:  Oh.  Thank you, my dear.

    Toni's concern means Julian and Stephanie need to come up with a 'happy ending' for Mrs. Winston -- a boyfriend.  But who?


    Julian's sleazy friend Harvey.  They arrange for Toni to see the new boyfriend later that night.


    But Toni catches Stephanie slipping money to Harvey and Harvey expected the fake date to end sooner
    and arranged for his latest fling to meet him.  It all means Toni wants Julian to not only stand up to Harvey and to drive Stephanie home.


    All the twists and turns, leaving Stephanie confused, "Let us get our stories straight.  As far as Toni is concerned are we supposed to have spent the night together?"

    Nope.  Julian's going to tell her the truth, get her a big present and tell her the truth.


    She's hoping for black leather slacks but it's a mink stole.

    This convinces her that Julian slept with Stephanie ("You're not a stingy man, Julian, but you're not the last of the big time spenders.") and, later, over Igor's objections, she decides to send the mink to Stephanie with a card for Julian.

    Stephanie is touched by the gesture and when dental patient Arturo Sanchez (Vito Scotti) again invites her out, Stephanie accepts, gets a new dress and her hair done.

    They end up at the same club after -- where Julian, Toni and Igor (as well as Harvey and his date) are.




    On the dance floor, all is fine until Igor finds Stephanie interesting.


    That not only ticks off Stephanie, it also upsets Julian.


    Julian:  Hey, did you see that? He just kissed her on the neck!

    Toni:  Hmph! She sure likes a lot of action.

    Julian:  Yes, she does, doesn't she?

    Toni:   Right now, she's surrounded by her husband, her ex-boyfriend, her current boyfriend and maybe her future boyfriend.

    Julian:   If somebody doesn't stop that guy, he's gonna make love to her right in the middle of the floor. 

    The scenes are gorgeous. Charles Lang was the cinematographer on Some Like It Hot, Charade, Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice, The Magnificent Seven, The Rainmaker, Female On The Beach, Sudden Fear and Mae West's She Done Him Wrong.  He does an incredible job here.  He's aided by Edward G. Boyle (set design) and Moss Marby (costume design).




    The cast is amazing, especially Goldie who won an Academy Award for her performance.  And the film is a classic, a French farce excellently translated to domestic shores.

    TV: The endangerd news documentary

    "I got a phone call and from there, I had to decide how to then tell everyone," Kate Quigley explains, adding, "There's no way to sugar coat it you just do it."

    And many of us in our lives have had to and will have to be the ones to convey news of a family death. It's never easy.  Deaths are usually sad and often a surprise. Quigley's loss certainly was.  Her brother had died overseas, in some sort of attack that was confusing and layered in double speak.  What she knew was there had been an attack and her brother was one of the ones trying to defend people from the attack when he was killed.


    Last Tuesday, Kate was among the people who got to step forward and talk about their loss on CNN's news special The Truth About Benghazi, part of an Erin Burnett OutFront Special Investigation.  The September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi left many Americans injured (possibly 30 or more) and left four Americans dead.   Four Americans dead.  Yet the press rarely names all four.  They repeatedly do what Bradley Klapper (AP) did last Friday, "Even after the Sept. 11 Benghazi assault that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, and as [. . .]"

    You can't mention the other three names?  Apparently not.  You better believe Kate Quigley has more than earned her right to go on national television and talk about her brother Glen Doherty.  Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods are "the three other Americans."

    We hadn't planned on reviewing the special. It's been long in the works, we'd heard much about it.  But then came Zachary Pleat of Media Matters attacking the special and insisting CNN had "recklessly speculated."  We'll leave Pleat to channel Joe McCarthy.

    The drama is hardly surprising.  This is the outlet based upon the 'success' story of falsely smearing Anita Hill as "a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty."  Those are the roots of Media Matters and the faux checks they do.

    Their faux check really seems to stem from a visceral response to seeing Quigley and other family members, from Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith and Glen Doherty actually being seen as people and as people who died trying to protect others.

    "What difference does it make!" howled an embarrassing Hillary Clinton last January when asked about these deaths and the attack.

    Unlike anyone at Media Matters, we were at the hearing as were Wally, Ruth and Kat and the community reporting on that hearing is as follows: "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot,"  "20 are still at risk says Hillary in an aside (Ava),"  "Facts matter, Hillary (Wally)," "Like watching Richard Nixon come back to life," "Can she not answer even one damn question?" and "The Drone War and Kerry's confirmation hearing."  We were at that hearing, we were at the House hearing later that day.  We've been at all the Congressional hearings on this issue -- including the first one in October where it was noted in the discussion between the Chair and a House Rep. that it was a CIA mission.  That discussion wasn't miked but if you were close enough to the front you should have heard it because we did.

    Media Matters has no idea what the State Department's Charlene Lamb and Patrick Fitzgerald testified to at that hearing because a large portion of the press present left before the end of the hearing.  We were there so we can report that some of the attack was seen in real time in DC via live footage from a drone.  We can talk about that and how that footage -- which the FBI has no objection to releasing (that's also in the Congressional record) -- has been hidden from the public.

    We're not going to waste a great deal of time on the nonsense of  Zachary's but we'll present one of his lies and refute it:

    Former State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland Was Concerned Naming Terrorist Groups Could "Prejudice The Investigation." In emails exchanged between the CIA, State Department, and other administration officials concerning the drafting of the talking points on Benghazi -- emails made public by CNN in May -- Nuland expressed concern that publicly naming specific terrorist organizations could "prejudice the investigation" into who was behind the attacks. [Media Matters, 5/15/13]

    They really have debased their own names at Media Matters.  Victoria Nuland's e-mails are public knowldege and only a whore would lie the way Media Matters has.  (Even Nuland didn't go that far in July at the Senate Foreign Relations hearing -- yeah, we were at that hearing too -- unlike Media Matters.)

    As noted in the May 21st "Iraq snapshot," Victoria Nuland sent an e-mail September 14, 7:39 pm:

    I just had a convo with [deleted] and now I understand that these are being prepared to give to Members of Congress to use with the media. 
    On that basis, I have serious concerns about all the parts highlighted below, and arming members of Congress to start making assertions to the media that we ourselves are not making because we don't want to prejudice the investigation.
    In the same vein, why do we want Hill to be fingering Ansar al Sharia, when we aren't doing that ourselves until we have investigation results... and the penultimate point could be abused by Members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings so why do we want to feed that either?  Concerned.

    She doesn't want the "members [of Congress] to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings" -- those are her words -- words Media Matters doesn't want you to know about.

    By the way, please grasp that the whores in David Brock's latest brothel are whoring to save Victoria Nuland -- Dick Cheney's former deputy National Security Advisor.  Nuland is a War Hawk and a neo-con.  She pimped the Iraq War as hard as her husband Robert Kagan did.  Nuland is representative of Media Matters' client base these days.

    The right wing, we were told, had problems with the special.

    We found this at The Conservative Treehouse which dismisses the special as lies and offers as proof Erin Burnett's waistline.  Erin is many months pregnant now.  In some footage of the special (interviews), she clearly is not.

    We can address this issue because, again, we've known about the special for some time.  It was originally conceived of something that would air the day before the anniversary.  It was going to be more of a reflection and interviews were scheduled with that in mind.  What happened was Burnett and her CNN team -- and especially Arwa Damon -- kept coming up with new leads.  To the point that they were able to name one person involved in the attacks:  Ahmed Abu Khattala.  The Conservative Treehouse notes this and notes that right before the special (which names the man and features Damon interviewing him) aired, hours before, the White House announced they were charging the man in the attacks.

    It was because of that lead and other developments that CNN decided to air the special a month early.

    There was no grand conspiracy.  That is how news works -- when it works.  Unlike, for example, MSNBC faux 'news specials,' CNN planned one and thought it would be a basic reflection special.  There was no effort to slant it or politicize it or gin it up.  From there many began working on leads and the special became where the strong leads took them.  Conclusions were formed from the research and investigation as opposed to a faux special that starts with a conclusion and then cherry picks to back it up.

    You don't have to like the special.  You can hate it and offer no reason for hating it.  But if you're going to do a fact check -- like Media Matters pretended -- at least don't lie.

    "Getting a phone call that kind of alters your life forever -- that's horrible,"  Kate Quigley says, her voice shaking.

    What's offensive about that?  What's offensive about a woman who loved her brother and is proud of his efforts September 11, 2012 to save others, what's offensive about her talking about that, talking about Glen Doherty?

    It's offensive because Glen's not supposed to exist.  He's not supposed to matter.

    For Benghazi to be dismissed, the dead must be treated the way Bully Boy Bush treated the fallen in the Iraq War.  They must be hidden from sight, not discussed, not acknowledged.

    If we stop to think of "three other Americans" as people, if we start to grasp that Glen, Tyrone and Sean had family and friends who loved them, that they were real people and that they are strongly missed, that tears are still shed for the three, then we can't play like their deaths don't matter.

    That's what really bothered Media Matters.  They've spent nearly a year dismissing Benghazi, lying about it and refusing to name the dead.

    The special doesn't just float the corpses, it lets these Americans who died carrying out a US mission in Libya come back to life long enough for, in reality TV speak, it to get real.

    And that's honestly how it always should have been.

    "Ty perished doing what he loved to do and doing it well,"  Cheryl Bennett explains. "My son did the right thing at the right time for the right reasons."

    She has every right to say that and every right to be heard.  Tyrone Woods wasn't in Libya on a vacation.  He was there because of the US government.  How can we deny the losses, how can we cover them up, and be in any way in touch with humanity?

    It wasn't enough for some on the left to act like Ford ignoring the deaths research demonstrated the Pintos would cause. No, we had to go beyond that on the left with many people mocking the events, yawning they were bored.

    The arrogance of that is appalling.  How dare you ever forget that other people don't have the luxury of being bored by the deaths because these were their loved ones.  "My heart is broken," Cheryl Bennett says, "because he perished the way he did."

    And whether you believe in the Libyan mission or not (our view, the US never should have declared war and never should have tried to do diplomatic outposts after the war), how dare you blame those carrying out the US mission for the politics behind it.

    But the four -- yes, even Chris Stevens -- had to be treated like trash in order to ensure that Barack wasn't asked tough questions.  (Diane Rehm has repeatedly allowed left callers to her NPR program The Diane Rehm Show to float that Chris is responsible for his death.  This is disgusting and we've called it out here before.)

    The special makes that a little harder.  Not with the tough questions -- though the presentation certainly raises many questions.  No, the power of the special is the four who died.

    And it aired on CNN.  When Pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, objects to Jay Carney's offensive and dismissive statements, she can go on Fox News and note that there is nothing "phony" about her son being dead.  But by being on Fox News, right away, a large portion of the left dismisses her.

    It's a shame that the mothers who want answers about their children's deaths -- from Cindy Sheehan to Pat Smith -- can't link arms and fight the system together.  It's the only thing that might allow the "right" and the "left" labels to fall away and for the people to get closure and maybe some accountability.

    CNN isn't the best news channel in the world or even what it should be.  But it is the last remaining US cable news channel with even some level of credibility.  So an echo chamber that's spent months insisting that there is no story is here is going to attack CNN when they make a point to report that, yes, there is a story here -- there are several stories here.  As CNN's John King pointed out, "There are legitimate questions about why repeated and specific warnings about the Benghazi security situation were undervalued or ignored."

    News specials are supposed to have merit, they're supposed to be something other than Barbara Walters explores what heaven may be like or Nancy Grace's true crime recreations.  Whether you liked the special or not (we thought it was well done), take a moment to grasp that it was a rare thing: A real news documentary.  And maybe one of the reasons it's been so attacked is because people see less and less of those?

    Real news documentaries are a rare thing these days.  You can find lifestyle pieces and 'discussions,' you can find true crime, but an actual news documentary?  These days, the genre is an endangered species.  CNN deserves strong applause for demonstrating the genre is not dead yet.

    Video of the week

    That's Acronym TV's Dennis Trainor interviewing the Green Shadow Cabinet's Dr. Jill Stein about why she would pardon Bradley Manning were she president (Stein was the 2012 Green Party presidential candidate).

    For those with problems streaming or who would like additional material, Jill Stein wrote the following at the end of June:

    Today the Green Shadow Cabinet calls on President Obama to pardon Bradley Manning for his courageous work exposing U.S. war crimes and State Department deception. Thanks to Manning’s revelations of Iraqi deaths and human rights abuses by the American military, Iraq refused to renew immunity for U.S. soldiers, forcing President Obama to pull out at the end of 2011. Thus, Manning deserves much of the credit for ending the immoral, devastating, multi-trillion dollar U.S. occupation of Iraq.

    Manning’s leaks also revealed corruption and betrayal in repressive Arab governments – including Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s secret deal with the U.S. allowing drone strikes within his country, and the financial excesses of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali. These disclosures helped trigger democracy movements of the Arab Spring that continue to this day.

    Though Manning has been accused of endangering national security and the safety of intelligence sources, no actual harm was established in court hearings. And in secret testimony previously revealed by Reuters, state department officials acknowledged that the leaks were embarrassing low level secrets but they did not actually damage U.S. interests.

    Bradley Manning has already spent three years in jail and months enduring solitary confinement and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, according to the UN special rapporteur on torture. He should not have to spend another day being punished for revealing critical truths that the American people had a right to know. Now Mr. Manning is facing up to 136 years in prison for doing the work that the U.S. press should have been doing, had they not been missing in action on investigative reporting for the past decade.

    In fact, Bradley Manning is a hero for telling the truth to the American people – that our government was committing war crimes in Iraq and betraying basic American values of honesty and respect for international law in routine state department operations.

    We therefore call on President Obama to urgently pardon this courageous whistleblower. American democracy will be more secure, and the American people will be safer for it.

    ~ Dr. Jill Stein serves as President of the Green Shadow Cabinet of the United States.

    Lynne needs you

    Lynne Stewart, June 2013
    Lynne Stewart, June 2013

    Lynne Stewart is a US political prisoner.  For the 'crime' of issuing a press release, she was eventually tossed in prison.  The 'crime' happened on Attorney General Janet Reno's watch.  Reno has her detractors who think she was far too tough as Attorney General.  She also has her supporters who see her as a moderate.  No one saw her as 'soft.'  Reno had her Justice Department review what happened.  There was no talk of a trial because there was no crime.  No law was broken.  The Justice Department imposes guidelines -- not written by Congress, so not laws -- on attorneys.  Lynne was made to review the guidelines and told not to break it again.  That was her 'punishment' under Janet Reno.  Bully Boy Bush comes into office and the already decided incident becomes a way for Attorney General John Ashcroft to try to build a name for himself. He goes on David Letterman's show to announce, after 9-11, that they're prosecuting Lynne for terrorism.

    Eventually tossed in prison?  Even Bully Boy Bush allowed Lynne to remain out on appeal.  It's only when Barack Obama becomes president that Lynne gets tossed in prison.  It's only under Barack that the US Justice Depart disputes the judge's sentence and demands a harsher one (under the original sentence Lynne would be out now).  Lynne's cancer has returned.

    She needs to be home with her family.  Her time is limited and it needs to be spent with her loved ones.  Lynne's a threat to no one -- not today, not ten years ago.  She's a 73-year-old grandmother who has dedicated her life to being there for people who would otherwise have no defenders.  Even now in prison, she shows compassion towards those who have had none for her.  Barack Obama needs to order her immediate release.  If he fails to do so, then it should be a permanent stain on his record.

    Lynne's court appeal was denied Friday.  Now more than ever, the woman who would stand up for and stand by anyone in need needs the people to stand up for her.

    Latest from Lynne 8-9-13

    August 10th, 2013

    Friends, Supporters, Comrades:

    Well, we are once again being educated in the meaning of “protracted struggle”, not that anyone wanted or needed this.  It was clear yesterday in Court in NYC that Judge Koeltl was not going to act solely within the “spirit ” of the law but would instead rely upon the Bureau of Prisons to make a “legal” motion on my behalf.  Although the lawyers valiently argued that justice does not allow for a “right” without a “remedy”, in my case, the right to die at home and the fact that there is no appeal (remedy)  from the Bureau’s decision.

    There are new and compelling facts now before the BOP–the prognosis now of 18 months and the fact that the PET scan revealed that the most serious cancer (of the lungs) is getting worse.  The Judge yesterday, asked the Government to concede (as their papers did by not contesting any facts) that I qualified in every respect for the release.  They, of course, remained silent.   For that reason I am asking once again that all of you send a “shout” out to the BOP, AG Holder and Pres. Obama and express any outrage you might feel that the days and months are ticking by and I remain in Texas.

    [Law and Disorder Radio  has provided these numbers:

    Please call to push for Lynne’s release from prison.
    • U.S. Bureau of Prisons Director Charles E. Samuels – 202-307-3198  Ext. 3
    • U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder – 202-514-2001
    • President Barack Obama – 202-456-1111]

    The DC Prison Bureaucracy clearly would just as soon see me die here.

    So, not to be discouraged or disinheartened by this latest legal impediment–the walls of Jericho DID come tumbling down, eventually !!

    Love Struggle,


    Betty explains why Elysium tanked

    Elysium is a bomb.  Betty's review explains why.

    What's Curly doing in a sci-fi movie?

    Curly Howard in Nutty but Nice (1940) (via Wikipedia)

    So the kids and I went to the movies tonight and my first question was: What's Curly doing in a sci-fi movie?  My second question was where were Moe and Larry?

    I was watching "Elysium" and it took me a second to realize that the guy who kept taking off his shirt throughout the movie (he's no Mark Wahlberg) was Matt Damon and not Curly Howard.

    Here's a little tip for the studios.  A lot of us who like good looking men (straight women, gay men and the bi squad) will sit through a piece of crap like "Johnny Mnemonic" if you put someone good looking like Keanu Reeves in the lead.

    Matt Damon has "TV dad" written all over him.  Even at his thinnest, he's thick waisted.  As "Family Guy" repeatedly points out, he has no neck.  And his face, on a good day, resembles a pug.

    So the idea that he would become hot by shaving his head is laughable.  Call Kevin James and tell him they've found the actor to play his brother.

    If there was anything more ridiculous than his looks, it was his character's name: Max Da Costa. Was that supposed to have been an in joke?

    Okay so the basics, most people live on earth which looks like a nightmare (actually, it looks like a send up to the sets of John Carpenter's "Escape From LA" -- only campy). Some, the really rich, live up on the space station Elysium. Jodie Foster, looking like she's made of wax and about as facially mobile as wax (did she have botox for the film?), is up there and doesn't want the earth dwellers joining her.

    So she concocts this plot that includes killing people who try to reach Elysium and also rigging things so she moves from Secretary to Mayor.  She's kind of like the right-wing's nightmare fantasy of Hillary Clinton.

    Matt's got a girlfriend -- which is how you know it's a movie.  She's played by Alex Braga.  You never believe the two have had a conversation, let alone sex.  In the third act, when he needs to be saving the day and saving Braga, he goes all Shakesperian on us with a ton of wordplay that seems to go on for five minutes and only serves to remind us that he's no Jack Nicholson (he's also no John Davidson, no David Hartman, no Nick Lachey . . .).

    The action is doled out in morsels in this film.

    Jodie Foster has acted well in the past but here she comes off like a figure from Madame Tussauds.

    The script piles everything on.  You keep expecting Stanley Whiplash (from "The Adventures of Penlope Pitstop") to show up.  (It's not enough that Damon and his gal suffer, they also have to be childhood sweethearts who grew up in . . . the same orphanage!)  

    You know the only one who can rock Matt's world is Ben Affleck.  When are we going to see that on screen?  (It was cute how he blamed others for the rumors recently -- ignoring his GQ interviews, his Will & Grace guest spot where he claimed he had a boyfriend named Ben and so much more.)

    Ben plowing Matt hard would certainly be more entertaining than this crap.

    In the third act, numb from boredom, I felt my soul floating outside my body.  Looking down, I could see Matt gearing up for his own sitcom, "Mr. Belvedere," as he became this decade's Clifton Webb.  As the film got more and more unconvincing, I briefly pondered floating away but then, in the last five minutes, it hit me:  "Elysium" was made to make "Battlefield Earth" look subtle.   

    VOW to Hire Heroes Act (Senator Murray)

    Senator Patty Murray

    Senator Patty Murray was the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  This year she stepped down from that post to Chair the Senate Budget Committee but she continues to advocate on behalf of veterans (and she continues to serve on the Senate Veterans Committee).  Her office issued the following last week.

    FOR PLANNING PURPOSES                        CONTACT: Murray Press Office
    Tuesday, August 6th, 2013                                        (202) 224-2834

    TOMORROW: Murray at JBLM for Update on Local Implementation of Veterans Jobs Law

    90% of transitioning service members from JBLM are taking advantage of transition programs mandated by Murray’s VOW to Hire Heroes Act
    Murray will receive briefings from Joint Base officials on transition programs, tour a classroom where veterans receive apprenticeship training

    (Washington, D.C.) – Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 7th, 2013, at 2:00 PM U.S. Senator Patty Murray, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, will travel to JBLM to discuss her VOW to Hire Heroes Act, a landmark veterans employment law, to see how it is making an impact in Tacoma. The Senator will receive briefings from Joint Base officials on the successes of VOW at JBLM, and will discuss VOW’s impact within the local community, ongoing challenges to implementation, and how to work together to produce better outcomes in the future. 

    JBLM was selected as the first installation in the nation to pilot the apprenticeship program where active duty members are allowed to take time to participate in apprenticeship programs and still get paid.  Senator Murray will tour a classroom where veterans receive this apprenticeship training.

    The VOW to Hire Heroes Act is a bipartisan, comprehensive law that works to lower the rate of unemployment among our nation’s veterans. The law is designed to help put veterans back to work by providing them with real-world skills and job training as they leave the military and by easing the training and certification process veterans face.  At JBLM, it is estimated that 90% of transitioning service members are taking advantage of the programs Senator Murray’s legislation created, and nationally, veterans’ unemployment rates among recent veterans have dropped dramatically from double-digits, and are now at or below civilian unemployment rates.

    WHO:             U.S. Senator Patty Murray
                                        Colonel Hodges, Joint Base Commander
                                        Mark Brown, Director of Human Resources, JBLM
                                        Robin Baker, Transition Services Manager, JBLM
                                        Lourdes “Alfie” Alvarado Ramos, Director, WDVA
                                        Mike Schindler, President, Operation Military Family
                                        Chris Winters, Veterans Rep, International Union of Painters & 

    Allied Trades
                                        Todd Mitchell, Helmets to Hardhats
                                        Kathleen Connelly, Education Director, JBLM
                                        Amy Moorash, Chief, Advising Branch, David L. Stone & John D "Bud" Hawk Education Centers, JBLM

    WHAT:        Senator Murray will meet with JBLM officials to discuss the successes of her VOW to Hire Heroes Act within the local community

    WHEN:        TOMORROW: Wednesday, August 7th, 2013
              2:00 PM PT

    WHERE:    Joint Base Lewis McChord Stone Education Center

    Kathryn Robertson
    Deputy Press Secretary 
    Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
    154 Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington D.C. 20510

    RSS Feed for Senator Murray's office

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