Monday, December 25, 2017

Truest statement of the week

In sharp contrast, Graham devoted dozens of righteous pages to vilifying Post press operators who went on strike in 1975. She stressed the damage done to printing equipment as the walkout began and “the unforgivable acts of violence throughout the strike.” It is a profound commentary on her outlook that thuggish deeds by a few of the strikers were “unforgivable” — but men like McNamara and Kissinger were lovable after they oversaw horrendous slaughter in Southeast Asia.
Graham’s autobiography portrays union stalwarts as mostly ruffians or dupes. “Only a handful of [Newspaper Guild] members had gone out for reasons I respected,” she told readers. “One was John Hanrahan, a good reporter and a nice man who came from a longtime labor family and simply couldn’t cross a picket line. He never did come back. Living your beliefs is a rare virtue and greatly to be admired.”
But for Hanrahan (whose Republican parents actually never belonged to a union) the admiration was far from mutual. As he put it, “The Washington Post under Katharine Graham pioneered the union-busting ‘replacement worker’ strategy that Ronald Reagan subsequently used against the air-traffic controllers and that corporate America — in the Caterpillar, Bridgestone/Firestone and other strikes — used to throw thousands of workers out of their jobs in the 1980s and the ’90s.”

-- Norman Solomon, "The Other Side of the Post’s Katharine Graham" (CONSORTIUM NEWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Consider this the Christmas edition.

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
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),
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
and Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,

And what did we come up with?

Norman Solomon gets a truest.
Fake news revolves around Iraq.
We look at Will Smith's new film BRIGHT, HULU's FUTURE MAN and MSNBC's embarrassing Mika.
Julianne Moore earns it.
Matt Damon earns it eternally (and, unlike Julianne, has never demonstrated any acting talent at all).
For your inner humbug.
The best films with a Christmas backdrop.
Christmas songs we listened to while working on this edition.

See you next week.


--  Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Fake News

Fake News, it's all the rage today, right?

It pre-today.

It even pre-dates the Iraq War.

Journalism does not have the noble history so many wish it did.

It's history is one of being fish wrapping and little more.

Yes, there are I.F. Stones.

They have always existed.

They have always been in the minority.

The bulk of the press has existed to reinforce racism and to reinforce empire.

The Iraq War was sold on fake news.

Both before it started and after.

Recent fake news?

"The US withdrew all troops at the end of 2011."

But it didn't.

Here the exception is Ted Koppel.

He was the only American journalist to note (on NPR and NBC) that all US troops were not leaving Iraq.

More fake news?

"The Iraq War ended."

Then what's been going on the last few years in Iraq?

The US military is still being used to prop up an unpopular government in Iraq -- a government the US installed.

On the two examples above, did you call the fake news out?

Or did you simply repeat the lies?

The reality is that far too few called out the lies.

That's how fake news works: People repeat as fact what journalism tells them.

That's how it's always worked.

TV: It's a world of confusion

Somethings we don't get.

a new illst


It's gotten some very intensely negative reviews.


We're not mistaking Will Smith for Daniel Day or Denzel, but he's also not, thankfully, Dax.


It's a fantasy film.

A solid fantasy film.

We're not fans of the genre.  That doesn't mean we can't appreciate the work that's gone into this NETFLIX original film.  David Ayer (director) and Max Landis (screenwriter) haven't just created an amusing film that holds your attention, they've laid the groundwork for a new universe.

BRIGHT's exactly what NETFLIX needs.

As we observed last month:

In the meantime, they need to focus on their original programming.

Melodrama, romance, romantic comedy (NAKED is a step in the right direction), comedy, music and suspense are the genres they can build their own catalogue around.

BRIGHT falls into suspense and they can build a catalogue around films like this -- especially one that has created its own universe and been streamed constantly despite reviews.

For Will, this is the first big film he's carried that wasn't a sequel since HANCOCK.

Despite all the working overtime efforts to spin this as failure, the movie's a hit and that's something everyone should understand -- even those confused by the size of Josh Hutcherson's cock.

FUTURE MAN contains a scene where his character confronts an alternate self.  (Not safe for work, Perez has a screen shot here.)  The Josh on the right is clearly wearing an appendage (maybe Chris Hemsworth's discarded prop from VACATION?) but, spoiler, the one on the left is a fake too.

That said, it's only one of the visual stunners in the show.  HULU's got a show to be proud of.

FUTURE MAN revolves around custodian Josh who excels at a video game entitled BIONIC WARS.  He's so good at it that Tiger (HAPPY ENDINGS' Eliza Coupe) and Wolf (Derek Wilson) return from the future to harness his skills.

This sci fi comedy is a winner, a series that can be binged as well as rewatched over and over.

HULU needs it.  Especially after the idiotic decision to cancel DIFFICULT PEOPLE.

Many attempts to create a comedy and only twice have they succeeded.  (THE MINDY PROJECT was created by FOX, not HULU.)

But as much sense as FUTURE MAN makes, can anyone explain Mika Brzezinski?

We've been covering her for years.  For example, from 2013's "Screw Little Mika:"

Mika's not only on the wrong side of the issue, she's on the wrong side of women.

You want to tap into Girl Power?  You better first throw a little in.

Meaning Little Mika just finished her fourth year (last month) as co-host of Morning Joe.  She's done nothing in those four years to increase women's presence or demand that a female regular be seated at the table.  She's been happy to play the idiot and the token.

There is no defense of Little Mika because she hasn't bothered to defend women.  We understand why it went down the way it did last week.

For Mika to call out Barack for failing to do for women?  That would force her to face how little she's done for women on Morning Joe.  

Instead of addressing that, it was much easier for The Atlantic and so many other sexist publications to distract and divert attention.  The real problem was and remains women like Mika who do nothing to help other women get a seat at the table.

Or how about in July?  When we took on Mika's nonsense (Donald Trump was gay, she insisted, and, oh, by the way, his wife wanted to leave him -- even though his wife said she didn't) and explained, "It also made clear that in the sewer of what passes for journalism, Mika is the overflowing toilet."

Mika made it clear that she will always be the overflowing toilet when she attacked and slut shamed an accuser earlier this month.

Mika returned last week to attacking survivors.

Patrick Shanley (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER) explained:

On Friday's show, Brzezinski criticized Halperin's accusers for not meeting with him face-to-face. "Mark Halperin is more than willing to meet with his accusers and apologize with them face-to-face. I've actually tried to offer him to them. They don’t want to talk to him," she said.
Brzezinski quickly received backlash for her on-air comments, as 10 women accusing Halperin of sexual harassment issued a statement, saying, "We would ask Ms. Brzezinski for higher standards of editorial judgment, compassion and human decency."

It's the kind of moment that should have resulted in Mika being condemned and fired and, in another era, it might have.

"How about a hug?"

That's what her attack reminded us of.

The survivors, Mika insisted, needed to meet face-to-face with Mark Halperin who harassed them.

"How about a hug?"

Anyone else remember that moment of TV idiocy?

It was THE CBS MORNING NEWS, it was 1985, and it was Phyllis George.

Need we say more?

The guests were Cathleen Webb and Gary Dotson.

Dotson had been convicted of raping Webb and had served six years in prison when Webb admitted that she'd never been raped and Webb was released from prison.

The twosome then hit all three networks on one day.

THE CBS MORNING NEWS was their last stop.

And that's where Phyllis George, seated across from Dotson and the woman who'd cost him six years of his life, grinned like an idiot and asked, "How about a hug?"

For years, decades even, it seemed like there was only one Phyllis George.

Then along comes Mika.

  1. Just got this: Ten women who have accused Mark Halperin of sexual misconduct send statement to rebutting ’s comments this morning about Halperin:

She's an embarrassment.

She rushes, this is her second time, to undermine survivors and prop up her friends who have harassed and assaulted women.

And MSNBC is letting her do this.

Again, somethings we just don't get.

Most embarrassing actress of 2017

Julianne Moore Instagram Update


Julianne Moore can act.

But you'd never know that by watching KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE>

Samuel L. Jackson played the big bad in the original.  He was both menacing and funny.  He developed a lisp for the character and added other unique touches.


Did she think she was slumming?

It was her performances that made her stand out early on -- HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, SHORT CUTS, etc.

And there was every reason to hope that she'd rock the film as the villain.

Instead, she gave a performance that seemed like an actress trying to be Julianne Moore.

There were no character quirks.

There was no different voice.

Did she not realize what film she was in?

If you're playing the villain in a film like this, you need to have fun with the part.

Samuel L. Jackson got it.

In the sequel, Halle Berry's playing a character who is support staff.  But she doesn't breeze through the role.  She creates a nerdy-ish and endearing character.

One wonders how different the film might have been if Halle had played Julianne's role and Julianne had played Halle's?

We strongly urge studios to consider casting Halle next go round as the villain.

And we beg Julianne Moore to find some passion for acting before she steps back in front of the cameras again.

Most embarrassing actor of 2017

No, , we need to *correct* the rape culture...

Matt Damon.

Flops seem to define his career.

But we especially scratch our heads with regards to DOWNSIZING.

Exactly who thought Matt Damon was the one for this intended comedy?

Reese Witherspoon was attached to the project for years.

She split when Matt signed on.

She split not because she couldn't stand Matt Damon but because suddenly the script began changing.

She was a lead in the project.

Now her character was a glorified bit part.

Who, having Reese and Matt to make a film with, decides the one to lose is Reese?

Not only has Witherspoon won an Academy Award for acting (Matt never has) but Reese has also demonstrated she can do comedy (most famously with LEGALLY BLONDE).

It was a comedy and you decide to lose Reese (Kristen Wiig took the small, bit part) and stick with Matt?

In the last decade, all the laughs Matt has provided were unintended.

Now you're going to spend 60 million dollars filming an alleged comedy with Matt Damon in the lead?

To no one's surprise, the film bombed.

Matt isn't funny.

And while it might be interesting, for example, to see Channing Tatum shrunken down -- Tatum being 6'1" -- Matt already looks small.

His presence is also tiny.

Maybe it's time for Matt to line up a NCIS franchise on TV and stop trying to pretend he's a film star?

He gives the same wooden performance in DOWNSIZING that's he's provided as Jason Borne and, really, that he's provided in every film he's done thus far.

10 Things we hate about Christmas

1) The crowds.

2) The cold.

3)  TNT and TBS' non-stop, marathon airings of A CHRISTMAS STORY.

4) Store closings.

5) Gas station closings.

6) Traffic.

7) Last minute shopping.

8) Egg nog.

9) Overheated rooms.

10) Trying to politely avoid the Salvation Army bell ringers but getting roped into "don't you want to share a few coins" and having to respond, "No, not to promote homophobia, thank you."

Tweet of the week

Why is asking to see evidence so controversial in America just 14 years after the Intelligence Community lied us into the catastrophic Iraq War together with both Wall Street parties and corporate media?

25 Best Christmas Movies


Our ranking of our 25 favorite Christmas movies.

















black nativity



15) WE'RE NO ANGELS (1955)





long kiss goodnight








This edition's playlist

1) Carly Simon "12 Gates To The City"

2) John Lennon & Yoko Ono "Happy X-Mas (War Is Over)"

3) Diana Ross' "Winter Wonderland"

4) Joni Mitchell's "River"

5) Stevie Nicks' "Silent Night"

6) The Killers' "Don't Shoot Me, Santa"

7) The Pretenders' "2000 Miles"

8) Aretha Franklin and Billy Preston "O, Holy Night"

9) Carly Simon "The Night Before Christmas"

10)  Johnny Mathis "The Christmas Song"

Monday, December 18, 2017

Truest statement of the week

Unfortunately, Coates’ allegiance to Obama has produced an impoverished understanding of black history. He reveals this when he writes: “Ossie Davis famously eulogized Malcolm X as ‘our living, Black manhood’ and ‘our own Black shining prince.’ Only one man today could bear those twin honorifics: Barack Obama.”
This gross misunderstanding of who Malcolm X was – the greatest prophetic voice against the American Empire – and who Barack Obama is – the first black head of the American Empire – speaks volumes about Coates’ neoliberal view of the world.

Coates praises Obama as a “deeply moral human being” while remaining silent on the 563 drone strikes, the assassination of US citizens with no trial, the 26,171 bombs dropped on five Muslim-majority countries in 2016 and the 550 Palestinian children killed with US supported planes in 51 days, etc. He calls Obama “one of the greatest presidents in American history,” who for “eight years ... walked on ice and never fell.”

-- Cornel West, "Ta-Nehisi Coates is the neoliberal face of the Black freedom struggle" (GUARDIAN).

Truest statement of the week II

As much as the U.S. mainstream media has mocked the idea that an American “deep state” exists and that it has maneuvered to remove Trump from office, the text messages between senior FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page reveal how two high-ranking members of the government’s intelligence/legal bureaucracy saw their role as protecting the United States from an election that might elevate to the presidency someone as unfit as Trump.
In one Aug. 6, 2016 text exchange, Page told Strzok: “Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.” At the end of that text, she sent Strzok a link to a David Brooks column in The New York Times, which concludes with the clarion call: “There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame.”
Apparently after reading that stirring advice, Strzok replied, “And of course I’ll try and approach it that way. I just know it will be tough at times. I can protect our country at many levels, not sure if that helps.”
At a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, criticized Strzok’s boast that “I can protect our country at many levels.” Jordan said: “this guy thought he was super-agent James Bond at the FBI [deciding] there’s no way we can let the American people make Donald Trump the next president.”
In the text messages, Strzok also expressed visceral contempt for working-class Trump voters, for instance, writing on Aug. 26, 2016, “Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support. … it’s scary real down here.”
Another text message suggested that other senior government officials – alarmed at the possibility of a Trump presidency – joined the discussion. In an apparent reference to an August 2016 meeting with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Strzok wrote to Page on Aug. 15, 2016, “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk.”
Strzok added, “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event that you die before you’re 40.”
It’s unclear what strategy these FBI officials were contemplating to ensure Trump’s defeat, but the comments mesh with what an intelligence source told me after the 2016 election, that there was a plan among senior Obama administration officials to use the allegations about Russian meddling to block Trump’s momentum with the voters and — if elected — to persuade members of the Electoral College to deny Trump a majority of votes and thus throw the selection of a new president into the House of Representatives under the rules of the Twelfth Amendment.

The scheme involved having some Democratic electors vote for former Secretary of State Colin Powell (which did happen), making him the third-place vote-getter in the Electoral College and thus eligible for selection by the House. But the plan fizzled when enough of Trump’s electors stayed loyal to their candidate to officially make him President.

-- Robert Parry, "The foundering Russia-gate scandal" (CONSORTIUM NEWS).

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