After earning some of the best reviews of his acting career for The Way Back, Ben Affleck is ready to make his return behind the camera, and he looks to have zeroed in on his next directing job. We are hearing that Affleck has signed on to direct The Big Goodbye for Paramount, an adaptation of the Sam Wasson book The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood..
Affleck also would write the script. SNL’s Lorne Michaels pursued the rights to the book and brought it to the studio and will produce along with Affleck.
The non-fiction book tells the behind-the-scenes story of the 1974 film noir classic starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. From Roman Polanski’s directing and Robert Towne’s Oscar-winning script to the twist ending that shook filmgoers to their core, Chinatown joined the long list of films to make their mark during the 1970s. Looming over the story of the classic movie is the imminent eclipse of the ’70s filmmaker-friendly studios as they gave way to the corporate Hollywood we know today.
Who wants to see that?
I love CHINATOWN. I've got it on BLURAY, I had it on DVD, I had it on videocassette. If I'm flipping channels and it's on, I always stop.
But I don't want to see a movie about the making of it -- let alone about the making of it in that time period. What does that mean anyway? Five minutes of some actress playing Faye Dunaway?
I don't want to see that. Or ten minutes of some guy pretending to be Jack Nicholson.
And why are we making it anyway?
CHINATOWN's a great film. But if we're making a film about it, then we have to comment on Roman Polanski. On his rape of that underage girl. On his giving her drugs.
There's so much that we don't need.
I like Ben Affleck. I don't need to see this project. I hope he's smart enough to ignore it. If he does the project and Roman's not called out, it will be "Buttman" all over again. All the press will be talking about is Ben's past groping of women.
I don't think you can make a movie about making a classic film and have it turn out well.
WHITE HUNTER, BLACK HEART had a much sharper focus and a real backdrop (Africa) and it didn't turn out to be a hit. (Clint Eastwood directed the film which is loosely based upon the filming of THE AFRICAN QUEEN.)
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, August 7, 2020. Another Friday, another look at those who are running for president.
Food for thought, at INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE Stephen M. Walt offers:
What’s the dumbest idea affecting the foreign policy of major powers? There are plenty of candidates -- the domino theory; the myth of the short, cheap war; the belief that a particular deity is “on the side” of one nation and will guarantee its success; etc. But right up there with those worthy contenders is a country’s belief that it has found the magic formula for political, economic, social, and international success and that it has the right, the responsibility, and the ability to spread this gospel far and wide.
In some cases, this impulse arises from (mostly) benevolent aims: The leaders of some country genuinely believe that spreading (through force, if necessary) their ideals and institutions to others will genuinely benefit the recipients. Defensive motives may also be operating: A state may believe that it cannot be reliably secure unless other countries have similar if not identical institutions. U.S. leaders once worried that America could not survive alone in a world dominated by fascism, and Joseph Stalin believed the Soviet Union needed “friendly” countries on its borders, by which he meant countries governed by Leninist parties patterned after the Soviet model.
Of course, such claims may simply be a reassuring story that ruling elites propagate to justify aggressive actions undertaken for more selfish reasons. Whatever the motivation, if their efforts were successful the world would gradually converge on a single model for political, economic, and social life. Individual national variations would be modest and declining in importance, limited to purely local concerns (such as national holidays, cuisine, preferred musical styles, etc.). In theory, even some of these features might begin to lose their individual features over time.
This hasn’t happened, however, due to an intriguing paradox. Thus far, the only political form that has commanded nearly universal global acceptance is the territorial state itself, along with the closely related idea of nationalism. As Hendrik Spruyt, Stephen Krasner, Dan Nexon, and others have explored, the territorial state was only one of several political forms coexisting in early modern Europe, and its eventual emergence as the dominant political form was a contentious process that might have turned out differently. Many factors contributed to its ultimate success, and one of them was the idea of sovereignty: the principle that every government got to run its own affairs as its rulers (or, eventually, its citizens) saw fit. And once that principle took firm hold, individual local variations were reinforced and entrenched.
How potential leaders see the world is an important piece of information. So the corporate media rarely asks questions that would lead to answers which might inform the electorate. In the US, a presidential election is scheduled for November.
Among the contenders? Joe Biden. He is the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party and he was scheduled to accept the nomination at the party's political convention later this month but Joe's not attending now. Playing hard to get? Playing something, to be sure. The biggest talk in Clintonista circles is that Joe's campaign was behind reviving the nursing home scandal in New York (to harm Andrew Cuomo) and trying to gain traction with stories they've been planting to do a hit job on Gavin Newsom. While Joe hid under his rock, Cuomo and Newsom became national figures during this pandemic and reminded more than a few voters of what a leader actually looks like and, guess what, it's not Joe.
Asked a question about taking a cognitive test, Joe asks if the African-American correspondent was a junkie using cocaine? "C'mon, man," you look and sound ridiculous. Later in the week, Joe would also insist that the Latino community was diverse . . . unlike the African-American community.
"C'mon, man," it's not 1950. You sound like an idiot -- an out of date idiot who's never heard the term "racist," let alone understand it.
He's a joke around the world. And I thought corporate Dems insisted we were trying to restore the country's reputation?
He won't be attending his own convention and he avoids answering serious questions from the press but he wants to be president? Howie Hawkins declared at his own press conference this week:
Howie Hawkins: Trump is a loser but I'm saying now Joe Biden is complicit. He lives within commuter distance of the White House press corps and he's hiding in his basement. He could convene them to have a socially distanced news conference like, say, [New York Governor] Andrew Cuomo was doing early in the pandemic and point the direction this country needs to go in. And he wants to be president? Well show us. Instead, he seems content to let Trump allow, you know, tens of thousands people to die. And it's hurting Trump's politics but Biden, he's complicit in those deaths because he could -- he can command the attention because of being the presumptive Democrat nominee. And he's just standing back. And that makes me as angry at him as I am at Trump. You know, my campaign has put out eight statements on this issue [the coronavirus pandemic] since March 3rd and we keep trying, you know, to the extent that we can get a platform, say what this country needs to do now is the Defense Production Act invoked to get a test-contact-and-trace-quarantine program [. . .]
Of that press conference, Howie's campaign notes:
Millions of evictions are coming as the federal eviction moratorium and local moratoriums runout. Unemployment is at record levels with more than 35 million lost jobs. Businesses are closing.
Medicare needs to be expanded to cover everyone in the midst of this pandemic health crisis as more than ten million have lost their health insurance due to job loss on top of the 28 million who already did not have insurance.
$2,000 per month should be provided to every person through the existence of this pandemic.
Rents and mortgages should be paid for by the federal government during this economic collapse.
Emergency regulations are needed from OSHA for workplace standards regarding COVID-19.
Enhanced unemployment should be considered as it is essential to stopping the economic collapse from worsening.
These are common sense steps that would be taken if the US were not a failed state.
In the long-run to remake the economy after this collapse, we cannot rely on private enterprise alone. We need to rebuild the economy around a Green New Deal that would transform the economy to clean and sustainable energy by 2030. Economists just put forward a plan for massive public investment to decarbonize the economy. This is what our plan calls for.
Donald Trump says climate change is a hoax, but the Democrats and Joe Biden act like climate change is a hoax. Biden is continuing the strategy of the Obama era which relies on fracked gas and oil and nuclear energy, two false, dangerous and expensive energy sources rather than calling for the transition to clean sustainable energy that is needed.
A panel of three judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a request by the Socialist Equality Party’s candidates Joseph Kishore and Norissa Santa Cruz for their appeal to be heard before ballots are printed in California.
On July 27, a panel of three Ninth Circuit judges issued a decision that reads, in its entirety: “In light of the late date of the appeal, it cannot be calendared for resolution prior to August 26, 2020. The previously established briefing schedule remains in effect.” The "previously established briefing schedule" will result in the case being heard after ballots are already printed.
In response, candidates filed an emergency motion for reconsideration. This motion was denied yesterday, August 5, in a one-sentence decision that states only that the motion was "denied," without giving any reasons.
The decisions denying the candidates’ requests for an expedited schedule were made by Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas (appointed by Democrat Bill Clinton) and Circuit Judges Mary M. Schroeder (appointed by Democrat Jimmy Carter) and Consuelo Callahan (appointed by Republican George W. Bush).
The ruling means that that the clock will effectively run out on the SEP candidates' case. The ballots will be printed without the SEP candidates' names on them before the Ninth Circuit judges will make any decision on the candidates' right to have their names printed on the ballots.
In the SEP candidates' lawsuit against California Governor Gavin Newsom and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, the candidates challenged the state’s decision to enforce its ballot access requirements, which require independent candidates to collect nearly 200,000 physical signatures in order to appear on the ballot, in the middle of the raging pandemic.
In California, petitioning for ballot access opens up in April and closes by August, leaving independent candidates 15 weeks to accomplish this task—15 weeks in 2020 that were marked by a state lockdown and a a deadly infection spreading out of control.
The SEP initially filed the lawsuit on June 30. On July 12, the Attorney General for California responded on behalf of Newsom and Padilla, arguing that if the Socialist Equality Party candidates won their lawsuit it would cause “an unmanageable and overcrowded ballot for the November presidential general election that would cause voter confusion and frustration of the democratic process.”
The SEP candidates replied to this argument three days later, pointing out that it was California state officials “who are frustrating the democratic process—by insisting on the enforcement of ballot access requirements that are effectively impossible for Plaintiffs to comply with without endangering the safety and lives of their supporters and the public at large.”
We should note that while the press spent hours again this week 'covering' who Joe Biden might pick as his running mate, Joseph Kishore has picked his running mate: Norissa Santa Cruz. And he did it without expecting pats on the back for picking a woman. Joe Biden seems to think the act of picking a woman should result in a monument at Seneca Falls. Howie Hawkins is the Green Party's presidential candidate and, guess what, he also picked a woman as his running mate: Angela Walker. He did it without weeks of press speculation and soft, easy coverage. Joe harasses women, he's been credibly charged with rape by Tara Reade, and we're supposed to forget all of that because, at some point, some day, he's going to pick a woman to be his running mate. Our expectations are at a record low.
Some women on a presidential ticket aren't v.p. candidates. Jo Jorgesen, for example, is the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate and Spike Cohen is her running mate (the potential vice president). Her campaign issued the following:
Jorgensen’s supporters hopeful of 50-state ballot-access despite challenges
MARTINSBURG, W.V.; August 4, 2020— Dr. Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian presidential nominee, will be attending campaign rallies Wednesday through Friday in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, to thank supporters and give media interviews.
“Dr. Jorgensen’s commitment to the Libertarian Party platform is in large part what secured her nomination this May,” said Cristi Kendrick, Jorgensen’s Region 3 campaign director, and herself a candidate for the Kentucky state house, district 66. “And she’s not backing down on that promise to delegates–promoting her bold positions of ending the drug prohibition, recalling our soldiers home from foreign lands, and striking at the heart of the colossal federal debt.”
Kendrick added that as a down-ticket candidate, she couldn’t be luckier than to have Jorgensen pounding the pavement for Libertarian candidates nationwide.
The events are part of a 16-day, 20-city campaign bus tour partially focused on supporting petitioning efforts. Earlier this week, petitioners delivered 7,731 signatures to the Maryland elections office, well in excess of the minimum requirement of 5,000; and in Pennsylvania, more than 10,500 signatures toward the 5,000 minimum.
Several states have reduced the number of petition signatures required during the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of party lawsuits. Only Pennsylvania and Maine refused to do so.
Campaign officials said Monday that petitioning efforts in the remaining states look promising for the Libertarian presidential and vice-presidential ticket of Dr. Jo Jorgensen and Jeremy “Spike” Cohen to appear on ballots nationwide.
“Our goal is to give voters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia a choice for millions of new jobs, free-market health care, low taxes, and a peaceful, non-interventionist foreign policy.”
“I have been blown away by people’s excitement about our campaign,” Jorgensen said Tuesday while on the road. “This year, even many non-Libertarians have been moved to join this campaign explicitly focused on growing individual freedom and slashing big government. I look forward to meeting with voters in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.”
On Friday, the campaign bus will head to Mississippi, followed by Louisiana.
Dr. Jorgensen’s campaign stops in (subject to change) are as follows:
Wednesday, August 5
12 P.M. — Charleston, W.V. West Virginia State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
7 P.M. — Lexington, Ky.: Old Fayette County Courthouse, 215 W. Main St.
Thursday, August 6
6 P.M. — Nashville, Tenn.: Centennial Park, 2500 West End Avenue
Friday, August 7
6 P.M.–7:30 P.M. — Collierville, Tenn.: VFW, 347 South Center Street
Media advisory: Rain or shine! The candidate will have media availability at most tour stops. A mult box will be available at the rallies, although no risers. Personal distancing protocols will be followed; hand sanitizer and masks will be provided.
Yesterday, Jo sat down with Leyla Gulen to discuss her campaign for president.
Gloria La Riva is heading the Party for Socialism and Liberation's presidential ticket. On Saturday, Gloria's campaign got some good news, she is now also the presidential nominee for the Peace and Freedom Party. Gloria stated:
We are honored to be the nominees of the Peace and Freedom Party. We are running not just to represent voters, but to represent the millions without the right to vote: undocumented immigrants, permanent residents, prisoners and parolees who are unable to cast a ballot. This is their country too.
U.S. presidential candidate Gloria La Riva, who will appear on the ballot in New Mexico and other states on the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s ticket, expresses solidarity with the July 13 uprising at San Juan County jail by prisoners demanding more COVID-19 testing, better health care, and access to adequately nutritious food.
Short clips from inmate video calls during the uprising were released on July 27 and showed one person describing the conditions: “It’s because everybody is getting sick and they keep bringing in people who are sick. They don’t feed us. We’re tired of it! They don’t give no health care … nothing!”
The criminal neglect and abuse of prisoners was the catalyst for the day-long revolt.
Currently, 43 percent of inmates inside San Juan County jail have contracted the virus. When the Navajo Nation, partly in San Juan County, called for an investigation of prison conditions, county officials refused.
Jail administrators have reduced hot meal service to once per day during the pandemic with the shiftless excuse that there are not enough inmates to cook meals. One prisoner told The NM Political Report in July, “Most of the staff that were in the kitchen cooking, the inmates that were cooking, most of them are in here [pods for people who test positive], with COVID themselves.”
Fuel for rebellions, hunger strikes, and resistance
The situation in San Juan County jail is no different than the torturous prison conditions everywhere in the United States. Prisons across the country are overcrowded and filthy, and the people locked inside by the millions are deprived of basic access to nutritious food and health care. Rampant human rights abuses, and now the spread of COVID, are becoming the fuel for rebellions, hunger strikes, and resistance of all kinds behind prison walls, which help shine a light on the abuses that the capitalist state desperately tries to hide.
“I condemn all aspects of the racist prison system! I denounce the politicians who wrote and signed the bills that laid the groundwork for the mass incarceration that has devastated Black, Latino, Native and poor white communities, especially the Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden,” La Riva said.
Biden was quoted in 1993, saying that “every major crime bill since 1976 that’s come out of this Congress, every minor crime bill, has had the name of the Democratic senator from the State of Delaware: Joe Biden.” One year later, a grinning Joe Biden sat directly behind President Bill Clinton on the White House lawn as he signed the largest “crime” bill in U.S. history, one that sent incarceration rates into outer space.
La Riva and the Party for Socialism and Liberation call for the immediate release of prisoners at-risk of COVID and a drastic reduction in the prison population.
La Riva says she will continue to support the fight for human rights and dignity for the prisoners at San Juan County jail and the millions of other oppressed and working class people behind bars in the largest prison complex in the world.
End mass incarceration now!
Gloria spoke with Christina Tobin about her run for the presidency.
Howie Hawkins is the Green Party's presidential candidate and, like Jo Jorgensen, he spoke with Leyla Gulen this week.
Howie held a press conference this week. It's not on YOUTUBE or we'd embed it. But you can click here to stream it. Here are some of Howie's upcoming events:
August 17: Howie will be in Philadelphia with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign for a march, about housing and the economic collapse, that will go to Joe Biden’s national office. Lives Over Luxury protest begins at 4 pm at the Liberty Bell and goes to Biden’s campaign Office (1500 Market Street) on August 17 during the Democratic Convention. See LivesOverLuxury.com
August 18: Howie will be petitioning in Virginia for ballot access
August 19: Howie will be at an event with the Bethesda African American Cemetery Coalition that will highlight the history of this Black community from the slave-plantation era, to an African American town to being forced out by white suburban development. See Bethesda African American Cemetary Coaltion.
Every Tuesday evening the Hawkins/Walker campaign does a livestream with questions and answers via social media. On August 11 the guest will be Ralph Nader.
Meanwhile, Rebecca Kheel (THE HILL) reports:
About three-quarters of U.S. adults say they support bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan in a new poll commissioned by the libertarian Charles Koch Institute obtained exclusively by The Hill.
In the poll, which surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults, 44 percent said they strongly support bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq and 30 percent said they somewhat support doing so.
For Afghanistan, 46 percent said they strongly support bringing troops home and 30 percent said they somewhat support it.
The following sites updated: