Hail to the departing Celebrity In Chief. Having appeared on Samantha Bee's poor copy of THE DAILY SHOW on October 31st, our braless starlet Barack Obama had exhausted all
From March 22, 2009, that's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Celebrity President." A bra-less Barack, in a slinky little number, sits next to Jay Leno explaining, "Life in the bubble, Jay, everyone's Simon Cowell. Let me tell you about my motorcade or, if you want, I can make fun of the front row kid in the wheel chair." Jay responds, "How about your tasteful nude scene? You want to take a break and answer that when we come back?" [Added: Isaiah says refer to Third's "Editorial: Barack's too immature to apologize" and "TV: The War Goes Ignored" and Friday's "Barack has not apologized and people need to quit making excuses."] Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.
My favorite moment of all his airhead TV appearances?
It would still be with Jay but it would be the October 25, 2011 appearance on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO.
Barack Obama: The entire national security team that we've had has been outstanding. And it's not just rivals within the Democratic Party. My Secretary of Defense, Bob Gates, is a Republican.
Jay Leno: Right.
As noted in the October 26, 2011 snapshot, if Ronald Reagan had made similar remarks, he would have been called senile.
It was October of 2011.
The Secretary of Defense was?
And had been since July 1, 2011 when he was sworn into office (the Senate confirmed his nomination June 21, 2011).
Barack, three months after Panetta became Secretary of Defense, went on TV and made clear he had no functioning knowledge of his cabinet since he had no idea who was Secretary of Defense.
How out of touch can you be?
And how whorish can the corporate media be that they couldn't make the same observation I did -- couldn't make it then and can't make it to this day?
Tonight, he gives his last speech as president.
Joseph Kishore (WSWS) notes Barack's legacy as the president prepares to address the nation tonight:
US President Barack Obama’s “farewell address to the nation,” scheduled for tonight, has been preceded by a concentrated media buildup on the theme of Obama’s legacy. This has included fawning tributes portraying the president as a brilliant orator, progressive reformer, visionary and man of the people.
Seeking to mold the narrative of Obama’s presidency, the White House put out a video over the weekend featuring comedians Ellen DeGeneres and Jerry Seinfeld, actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, former basketball star Michael Jordan and other celebrities extolling the “historic moments that prove, yes, we can create progress.” Such absurd and nauseating effusions testify not to the qualities or accomplishments of the 44th president, but to the intellectual, political and moral debasement of the American cultural establishment.
For Obama and the privileged social layers that surround the Democratic Party, a legacy can be crafted with honeyed phrases and clever marketing. Millions of people, however, will judge the administration by its actions.
It would take far more space than is available here to outline in detail the real record of the Obama White House. However, any objective appraisal of the past eight years would have to include the following elements:
1. Unending war
Obama is the first president in American history to serve two full terms in office with the nation at war. This includes the continued bloodletting in Afghanistan and Iraq, the bombing of Libya, the six-year-long war for regime change in Syria, and support for the Saudi-led destruction of Yemen. A recent survey reported that in 2016, US Special Operations forces were deployed in 138 nations, or 70 percent of the countries of the world.
The “wars of the 21st century,” begun under Bush and expanded under Obama, have killed more than a million people and driven millions more from their homes, producing the worst refugee disaster since the Second World War. Obama’s “pivot to Asia” has inflamed tensions from the South China Sea to India and Pakistan. The current president will leave the White House as NATO troops deploy to Eastern Europe in the midst of an anti-Russia war hysteria stoked by the media and the Democratic Party.
Obama is the “drone” president, supervising the killing of some 3,000 people in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya by means of unmanned aerial vehicles, along with several thousand more in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At COUNTERPUNCH, John Steppling also reflects on the sudden interest in ethics now that War Hawk corporatist Hillary Clinton did not make it to her coronation:
And yet here they all are wringing their hands in dismay that Hillary lost. Here they are constantly repeating the litanies of Trump evil and never noticing the crimes of earlier democratic presidents and administrations. So, yes Trump’s appointments are awful. But I refuse to even dig into that until a discussion of Obama’s appointments are dissected. First came Rahm Emanuel, former memeber of the IDF, all around thug and bully and lover of never ending war to help expand Israeli power. Penny Pritzker, heiress and elitist and friend to the 1%, or Robert Rubin or Tim Geithner (!!!) or Tom Daschle, the senator from Citibank. I’m just scratching the surface. Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. The point is that I am coming to feel that almost any focus on Trump feels misplaced. Certainly now it does since he isn’t even president yet. The deconstruction of liberal Obama is far from complete and the propaganda apparatus is working overtime to rewrite not just recent history, but the present. And the anti Russian propaganda is so absurd, so transparent, that this feels far more important than the predictable stupidity of Trump. I mean Obama is massing troops near the Russian border. Obama is ramping up the building of purpose built navel bases near China. Obama is still looking to prosecute Chelsea Manning and every other whistleblower. And he is still signing draconian legislation to curb free speech and institutionalize legitimacy for the new McCarthyism. Talking about Trump is a form of forgetting. I can’t do it. And if there is an easier target for parody or even non parodic narrative than Donald Trump, I havent met them. And easy is never an act of rigorous self examination.
And that's why Meryl Streep garbage matters.
I understand Michael Tracey's attitude that it doesn't.
But it does matter to me. And I'd argue it matters to many more.
Let's stay with the industry first.
Meryl Streep is not a star and never has been.
She has 'femme' appeal among eastern seaboard critics -- 'femme' appeal as VARIETY used to word it in the fifties.
Most people will not pay to see Meryl which is why she can't open a film and why her films are flops.
She's made 66 films and her average domestic box office is $33 million.
That's ticket sales. That is a joke.
She is a joke.
Not one of her last five films has even made $30 million at the box office.
She is not a star.
She's an overpraised actress.
Try to imagine a reel of Meryl highlights?
Does anyone remember anything?
There's DEATH BECOMES HER -- but credit for that goes to Robert Zemeckis and Goldie Hawn.
DEATH BECOMES HER goes to Meryl's problems. In the late 80s, she'd finally found a way to fill in her otherwise hollow characters (this happens when she moves into comedy) but in 1992's DEATH BECOMES HER -- and all that's followed, Meryl's projecting into her own palm. She can't interact with other characters and it's as though she has no body.
We're not talking about sex appeal. She lacks that and few men or women ever become stars without sex appeal.
But we're talking about a performer divorced from her body.
There are many finer actresses than Meryl. Lily Tomlin immediately comes to mind. Every scene is a work to marvel with Lily. That's especially true when Lily co-starred with Meryl in Robert Altman's last film. You watched Meryl do all the same things, same fussy business she does with each role, all the mechanics (as Pauline Kael long ago pointed out) and you never feel reality, you just feel like Meryl's doing yet another performance that her drama teacher will applaud. Yawn.
Lily's creating a new character.
Meryl may do accents but her characters are all the same.
Lily's Margo in THE LATE SHOW and Violet in 9 TO 5 and Linnea in NASHVILLE and Edweena in ALL OF ME and Doreen in SHORT CUTS and Elle in GRANDMA and Frankie in GRACE AND FRANKIE are all different and distinct characters. They move differently, they gesture differently, Lily alters her body and her voice for each role.
Lily's co-star in GRACE AND FRANKIE is Jane Fonda. Meryl has done 66 films. Where is her Bree Daniels?
I always argue that Jane gave the best performance of any actress in the second half of the 20th century with KLUTE.
Meryl's never matched that moment on screen, let alone surpassed it.
Back to Lily.
Lily's been nominated once for an Academy Award -- only once.
OSCARSOWHITE# got it wrong.
And don't complain about the actresses denied nominations -- worthy actresses -- unless you want to face the reality that Meryl doesn't deserve 19 nominations.
But she's received them.
Not because she's outstanding like Lily Tomlin or because she's given an amazing all out performance like Jane Fonda, but because of the class system -- an upper, middle class, eastern seaboard woman who went to Vassar and Yale.
Debra Winger is a better actress then Meryl but Debra's background's working class. So the fussbudgets among the 'critics' don't rush to crown Debra.
It's a class issue.
And when Meryl won for her awful portrayal of Margaret Thatcher (in the fact challenged film), that meant Viola Davis lost for THE HELP. Viola's performance had life, passion and believability.
So, yes, it is an issue that matters.
Because Meryl's a WASP, she doesn't have to excel, she merely has to be adequate.
And when she goes on TV and presents herself as 'the left' that's a lie that needs to be called out. She is not opposed to war. She is not concerned with illegal spying. She is hack for the Democratic Party.
Michael Tracey's a great writer and he doesn't have to cover any topic he's not interested in.
But I disagree with this:
Meryl Streep's speech at the Golden Globes and Trump's subsequent Twitter rebuttal is a great example of a controversy to simply ignore.
The attacks on Trump are taste attacks -- include Meryl in that. He's too crude for them.
He has implemented no policies and not been sworn in as president, but Meryl will go TV and present as the left slamming him while ignoring the crimes -- yes, crimes -- of Barack Obama.
Trump's response? He called her over-praised and this led to non-stop monologues on the late night shows defending Meryl's honor.
She is over-praised.
Other than DEATH BECOMES HER and SILKWOOD, nothing she's done will be remembered. And in both those movies, she's not giving the strongest performance (that would be Goldie Hawn in the first and Cher in the second).
But it's apparently a heresy to use critical abilities to point out that she's failed repeatedly at the box office, that she's not a star, that she's a WASP who's benefitted from class, etc?
And Meryl's world view is frightening and needs to be called out.
Meryl's made herself a joke and it wasn't just that plunging neckline worn despite the lack of cleavage. So, yes, it does matter. For all the reasons above not to mention I have to attend the Academy Awards and I'm not in the mood for a bunch of partisan hacks making the night all the longer as they whine about how Hillary Clinton didn't make it into the White House.
Mosul. Seized by the Islamic State in June of 2014. 85 days ago, Iraq's prime minister Hayder al-Abadi finally initiated a liberation or 'liberation' effort.
The Mosul slog.
85 days and counting and civilian casualties are mounting.
John Davison and Stephen Kalin (REUTERS) report, "The United Nations said civilian casualties had streamed into nearby hospitals in the last two weeks as fighting intensified in the jihadist group's last major stronghold in Iraq."
The Islamic State is a terrorist group.
Sadly, so are the militias 'liberating' Mosul.
Let's move over to yesterday's US State Dept press briefing by lovely lashes John Kirby:
QUESTION: Okay. So can I switch to Iraq or --
MR KIRBY: Go ahead.
QUESTION: Okay. The – couple days ago of Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim visited Iraq and he met with Kurdish and Iraqi leaders in Baghdad and Erbil. One of the topics they talked about is the military and deployment – Turkish military deployment in Iraq and that issue. So if you would just comment on that – on the visit in general and on were you involved in any way, because you – previously you have asked both sides to de-escalate the tensions they had over the --
MR KIRBY: Yeah, we --
QUESTION: -- Turkish army --
MR KIRBY: I think I talked about this last week. I’m not going to – I don’t have a readout to offer to you. We weren’t party to these meetings. Certainly, as we’ve said over and over again, we respect the sovereign right of the government in Baghdad to meet and discuss and have dialogue with neighbors and partners in the region, including Turkey. We obviously look favorably on dialogue between Turkey and Iraq on a number of issues, but I’d leave it to leaders from both those countries to speak to what was discussed and what the outcomes were.
MR KIRBY: That’s not for us to speak to. But I said all that last week, so that’s – I’m not giving you anything different.
So he believes he answered that last week so he doesn't have to answer it this week?
Does that mean that we the US taxpayers can pay him for last week but since he doesn't want to actually work this week, we don't have to pay him for this week?
At least it wasn't another briefing where he talked about his son. Talked about? Slobbered over. There's family pride and then there's crossing dangerous boundaries.
On June 19, 2014, Barack Obama declared that the only answer to Iraq's crises was a political solution. But instead of working on that, the US government has just dropped bombs and sent US troops into Iraq.
Too bad that things can't be postponed forever.
Mustafa Habib (NIQASH) reports:
Last month, Iraq’s unpopular former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki paid a visit to the southern Iraqi provinces of Maysan, Basra and Nasiriya. But instead of a welcoming committee he was met by thousands of Iraqis demonstrating against him. Most of these were affiliated with, or followers of, another political leader, the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
In Basra, dozens of the protestors, who chanted that al-Maliki was corrupt and a thief, even went so far as to try and storm the hall where al-Maliki was giving a speech, forcing security staff to cancel the event. After the cancellation, al-Maliki threatened to launch a new version of a 2008 military operation called Sawat al-Fursan, or Operation Knight’s Charge, against the protestors. This was a military operation sent into Basra to purge Basra of militias affiliated with al-Sadr’s movement at the time.
This may have been an idle threat – the 2008 operation did not succeed and a truce between the two Shiite Muslim leaders was eventually brokered by Iran. But the real repercussions of the protests began to be played out some days later on Iraq’s latest, and increasingly important, political battleground: The country’s provincial councils.
Because of various new legislation that gives provincial councils more power to make their own decisions on security, finance and politics, Iraq is moving slowly toward a more decentralized system. Competition for power on these councils will only increase in the future.
And competition for seats on the provincial councils in southern Iraq, populated mainly by the country’s Shiite Muslims, will be divided between two main Shiite Muslim groups: The State of Law coalition, led by Nouri al-Maliki of which the current prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is also a member, and the forces led by two younger clerics, Ammar al-Hakim and Muqtada al-Sadr. The pair represent a new Iraqi generation in political Islam.
Al-Maliki’s next response to the humiliation he suffered in front of al-Sadr’s protestors in southern Iraq was to instruct the members of the Baghdad provincial council belonging to the State of Law coalition, to question their governor, Ali al-Tamimi, a member of al-Sadr’s Sadrist movement.
The governor was to be called to answer special questions about financial and administrative corruption, including questions about a security system to monitor vehicles in Baghdad, to try and stop car bombs, that was planned but never carried out. Money for the system was collected from the people of Baghdad.
“Calling Baghdad’s governor in for questioning at this time is clearly politically motivated,” council member Fadel Al-Shuwaili, also a member of the Sadrist movement, told NIQASH. “Why did they choose this moment? What have they been doing for the past few months?”
But, al-Shuwaili said, the alliance between the Sadrist members of the council and other parties is strong and the State of Law members won’t be able to sack the governor. The State of Law has 20 out of 58 seats on the provincial council but would need over 29 to be able to dismiss the governor.
“This questioning of officials is both legal and constitutional,” says Saad al-Matlabi, a senior member of Nouri al-Maliki's party and one of his supporters, in reply to the criticism. “If the Sadrist movement trusts their governor, then why are they afraid of having him questioned?”
A few days later the next campaign against a provincial Sadrist politician began. This time it was Maysan’s popular governor, Ali Dawai, also a Sadr supporter, in the spotlight.
Thug Nouri wants back in power. Barack overruled Iraqi voters in 2010 and gave the thug a second term. In 2014, as Nouri's persecution of various people had led Iraq yet again to the brink, even Barack could no longer back him. Since being ousted, Nouri has plotted his return.
The following community sites -- plus Tavis Smiley -- updated: