Sunday, March 28, 2021


Robert Wagner killed his wife Natalie Wood.  That's my conclusion after reading Marti Rulli and Dennis Davern's GOODBYE NATALIE, GOODBYE SPLENDOUR.

Dennis Davern was the captain of Wagner's boat The Splendour.

Background, not in the book.  Natalie Wood was a child star who appeared in many films including the classic MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET.  Two other classics would be THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR and THE STAR.  As a child, she worked with Bette Davis, Orson Welles, Claudette Colbert, Maureen O'Hara, Walter Brennan, Fred MacMurray, Maureen O'Hara, Margaret Sullavan, Farley Granger, Ann Blyth, Irene Dunne, Jimmy Stewart, Jane Wyman, Vera Miles, Bing Crosby, Ethel Barrymore, Paul Newman, Anne Baxter and Rock Hudson.  That was all while being a child actress.

In 1955, she transitioned from child actress with the classic REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE.  She starred in the film with James Dean and Sal Mineo and received her first Academy Award nomination.  She'd go on to work with George Segal, Sean Connery, Rosalind Russell, Dyan Cannon, Elliott Gould, John Wayne, Raymond Burr, Tab Hunter, James Garner, Gene Kelly, Rita Moreno, Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Henry Fonda, Lauren Bacall, Pearl Bailey, George Hamilton, Warren Beatty, Steve McQueen, Robert Redford, Ruth Gordon, Jack Lemmon, Peter Falk, Jonathan Winters, Michael Caine and Louise Fletcher among others.  

She was one of the biggest stars of the sixties.  

Robert Wagner was a male pin-up, not much of an actor, represented by Henry Wilson -- an agent who slept with all his male clients.  Some would protest that they didn't sleep with Henry but, after they die, we learn that they did.  I'm sure that'll be the case with Robert Wagner as well as the elderly homophobe who tries to hide behind God in the last days of his life (I won't even name that closet case).  Robert's only film performance that registered was A KISS BEFORE DYING which was a flop in real time but when on to become a classic.  He plays a killer and it's the only time he was ever convincing onscreen.

In 1957, after Natalie had a relationship with Raymond Burr, who was gay, she married Robert Wagner.  They would break up in 1961 after she came home one night to find him having sex with another man.

Natalie had an affair with Warren Beatty but it was after they made their film together and after she and Robert broke up.  Robert let the world think that an affair was why the marriage failed -- and it was an affair but it wasn't Natalie and Warren, it was Robert and the other man.

In 1972, they'd remarry and both planned to make a real effort.  But there are hopes and there are realities.  

There were rumors of affairs throughout their second marriage.  At least one man did have an affair with Natalie -- a recurring affair.  He was an FBI agent.  

Robert was rumored to have had multiple affairs.  The tabloids would go with his co-star in HART TO HART but there were more reliable rumors of Robert having affairs with men.

Natalie had one child when she started her second marriage to Wagner.  They would have a child together in 1974.  She largely focused on the children.  She was ready to get back into the business full time.  Not just a TV movie.  She was, as C.I. has noted, especially determined when she was told no.-- it was a motivator that led her to take on Jack Warner and anyone else who tried to control her career.  As Robert Redford, among others, denied and betrayed her in the late 70s, that was a significant no.  And it was a motivating force.  It's why she really threw herself into BRAINSTORM and it's why she found inspiration with the others actors on the film, especially Christopher Walken.

And Robert was threatened by it.  He'd never amounted to anything as an actor and only found a measure of fame on TV as a personality, not as an actor.  No one ever mistook Robert Wagner for an actor.  While the looks lasted, he could do leading roles on TV.  Once the looks faded, even that was over.  

Natalie was focusing on work -- planning to go on stage, planning a movie with Timothy Hutton, planning so much.  And she was an actress who was nominated three times for an Academy Award.  She was an actress who won 3 Golden Globes.  

She was also the money in the family.  The two made millions from CHARLIE'S ANGELS -- they owned a percentage.  That was a result of Natalie.  Aaron Spelling wanted her and Robert for the TV movie THE AFFAIR.  Natalie didn't just get a check.  On BOB, CAROL, TED AND ALICE, she got a check and a percentage, for example, and she had millions from that movie as a result.  Natalie knew how to negotiate and if she was going to do that TV movie, okay, she was going to get something more than a check.  So she demanded 50% ownership of a property -- that property would become CHARLIE'S ANGELS.  

So even that money was thanks to Natalie.

They lived on Natalie's money.  Robert's TV salries was from before TV stars made a lot of money.  Larry Hagman was one of the first to get a lot of money.  Natalie paid the bills even when she wasn't working.

Now she was back into acting, really motivated by her craft, having fun with actors who saw it as an artform (something Robert never did) and he was in danger of her deciding that all the work going into making this marriage work could be applied elsewhere.

So Christopher Walken joins Robert and Natalie for the last weekend of Natalie's life.

On the Splendour.what happened?   If it was just the story Dennis told, you could argue against it.  But there are witnesses.

An argument took place.  Robert, Dennis and Christopher agree on this.  What the argument was over is debated.  Natalie went to her room.  Later Christopher went to his.  Robert got into an argument with Natalie and they ended up on the deck of the boat, per Dennis.  At some point, Natalie was no longer on the deck (she went overboard or was pushed overboard by Robert).  Instead of rescuing her, Robert left her in the water.  

Two people heard her cries.  They are witnesses.  

The book is very convincing and it explains why the police named Robert Wagner a person of interest in the case  in 2018 all these years later.  She had bruises on her body.  The lie that Robert has told for years -- the lies -- are debunked in the book.  She never would have tried to go to shore on a boat -- Robert's excuse for how she ended up in the water.  The little boat had no headlights -- not working ones -- at that time and she would have had to navigate the boat with a flashlight.  

I recommend the book highly.  I also recommend all the writing that Ava and C.I. have done over the years at THIRD, especially last year's "Natalie Wood: The lies that remain repeated (C.I.)."

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 Friday, March 26, 2021.  Migh the AMUF be repealed and would that end the Iraq War?  Joe Biden finally gives a press briefing, Moqtada al-Sadr offers to disarm others, and much more.

Andrew Desiderio (POLITICO) reports:

The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday advanced a measure to repeal a nearly two-decade-old authorization for the use of military force in Iraq, lawmakers’ first effort to claw back their war-making powers under President Joe Biden.

The panel’s action, which sailed through with support from Democrats and Republicans alike, scraps the 2002 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against Iraq, which at the time was led by Saddam Hussein. A similar push is already underway in the Senate, where Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) have proposed repealing the 2002 AUMF, in addition to a 1991 measure that also authorized military force in Iraq during the first Gulf War. 

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), the committee’s chair, said the outdated authorizations serve no operational purpose and argued that existing threats can be addressed by the 2001 authorization, which dealt with terrorist groups in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.“There are continuing threats from Iranian-backed militants. There are threats from ISIS and al Qaeda. That said, the 2002 AUMF doesn’t help us deal with any of these threats,” Meeks said. “Our forces would stay under Iraq under the 2001 AUMF, and the president can always defend America and our forces under Article II [of the U.S. Constitution].”

So even the repeal of the AUMF, if it happened, wouldn't end the continued occupation of Iraq by US troops.  SPUTNIK notes:

The 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq (AUMF), passed in October of that year, made the forthcoming US invasion of Iraq in March 2003 legal under US law. It built on the AUMF that was passed in 2001, in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda that killed 3,000 people. The 2002 law further extended the principle of pre-emptive strike that was at the heart of then-US President George W. Bush’s military doctrine that became the US War on Terror.

However, while a couple of Republicans sided with their Democratic colleagues in voting for the resolution, some said it was too soon to shred the 2002 AUMF, since a replacement for the 2001 AUMF hasn’t been implemented yet.

“Real AUMF reform requires Congress and the administration working together on actual text to replace the aging 2001 and 2002 AUMFs to provide authorities needed to keep the American people, and, most importantly, our deployed troops, safe from terrorists,” said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the leading Republican on the committee.

REUTERS adds, "The U.S. Constitution gives the power to declare war to Congress. However, that authority has gradually shifted to the president as Congress passed AUMFs that did not expire – such as the 2002 Iraq measure, as well as one that allowed the fight against al Qaeda in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."  The authority has shifted by custom, not by law.  By law, only Congress has the right to declare war.  By refusing to hold that power, they have allowed the executive branch to use it and courts can recognize custom.  

Meanwhile,  a parade took place in Baghdad yesterday.  David M. Witty Tweets:

Iraqi Rab’ Allah (ربع الله) militia conducts driving parade in Baghdad to protest US occupation, slow government, & demand to lower dollar exchange rate.

PRESS TV adds, "On Thursday, a number of armed Iraqi groups took to the streets of the capital Baghdad in a show of force, demanding the expulsion of all foreign forces from Iraq."  Staying with the topic of militias,  Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is back in the news.  Also covering the parade, MEMO notes:

An armed Iraqi militia yesterday threatened to target US forces and their agents in the country, Anadolu news agency reported.

The Rab'Allah militia made the threat during a military parade with weapons in the streets of the capital, Baghdad.

"The Iraqi people are living in the darkness of the brutal American occupation and a complicit and puppet government," the movement said in a statement, adding that its fighters have travelled across the capital "in a threatening message to the Americans and their agents".

The movement published photos of its fighters riding in pickups and carrying machine guns and RPGs in Baghdad.

These militias are now part of the government forces and Mustafa al-Khadimi has become the second prime minister in a row who, despite officially being over these forces, cannot control the militias.  ARAB WEEKLY reports:

Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr is increasingly wanting to appear as a statesman while his political ambitions to hold the reins of the executive authority in the country are growing.

Earlier in February, the populist Shia cleric said he backed early elections overseen by the UN, in a rare news conference outside his home in the Iraqi shrine city of Najaf.

Iraq is meant to hold earlier parliamentary elections this year, a central demand of an anti-government protest movement which erupted in 2019 and involved Sadr’s supporters.

The elections will be taking place under a new electoral law that has reduced the size of constituencies and eliminated list-based voting in favour of votes for individual candidates.

Sadr’s supporters are expected to make major gains under the new system.

In November, Sadr said he would push for the next prime minister to be a member of his movement for the first time.

With eyes on the executive authority, the Shia cleric has been calling recently for control of the weapons’ chaos in the country so as to curb attacks by armed factions on foreign forces, their supply convoys and the headquarters of the US embassy in Baghdad.

Sadr’s calls come even though the Shia cleric himself is at the head of the most powerful militias in Iraq, the Peace Brigades, which are seen as a heir to the Mahdi Army militia that had previously led an offensive against government forces under the rule of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

The Mahdi Army was 'disbanded' in 2018Ir was active again by January 2020.  Mostada was once a movement leader with even some of his harshest critics hailing him as the potential healer of Iraq.  That was 2018.  But Shi'ites began turning on him in 2020 as he went from supporting the protests to opposing them to supporting them again to attacking them.  His ambition apparently was too much for him to control, let alone conceal.  

This ambition is at the heart of his proposal to disarm other militias.  Others.  Not his own.  It would give him a leg up that might make up for some of the popular support he has lost since early 2020.  

Joe Biden has a lot of ambition as well and look where it's led him -- he's not just President of the United States, he's Joe Bomber, destroying Iraq.  Chad Garland (STARS AND STRIPES) reports:


The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State has conducted more airstrikes in Iraq this month than it did all of last year, destroying scores of enemy positions and killing dozens of terrorists.

Coalition jets carried out over 150 strikes against ISIS fighters in the mountains south of Mosul this month, U.S. and Iraqi military officials said earlier this week. An analysis of previous coalition strike data shows fewer than 120 airstrikes were carried out against ISIS in Iraq all of last year.

Including Iraqi air force and army aviation operations, a total of 312 airstrikes have destroyed 120 enemy positions and killed 27 terrorists, Col. Wayne Marotto, a spokesman for the military coalition, said in a tweet Wednesday.

Maybe Joe does have a 'plan' for ending the Iraq War?  End Iraq itself by bombing it out of existence?  

Biden Bluster was on display yesterday as Joe finally held a press briefing -- his first since being sworn in as president.  Ted Rall Tweets:

Biden held his very first news conference on Thursday, bringing to a close the longest amount of time in which an American president has held off hosting such an event in modern times. Your take depends on your politics.

Joe used a lot of words to say very little -- certainly nothing worth applauding.  Patrick Martin (WSWS) observes, "Biden pronounced on a number of other topics, ranging from the filibuster (he is not yet prepared to overturn it), to Afghanistan (he said the US would not meet a May 1 withdrawal deadline but would be gone by the end of the year), to his expectations for the 2024 election (he said he and Harris would run for reelection, but was unsure what his opposition would be, or if the Republican Party would even exist) to North Korea (he said that it was the most serious foreign policy issue facing the United States)."

Former US House Rep Justin Amash Tweets:

Obama said we’d leave soon. Trump said we’d leave soon. Biden says we’ll leave soon. It’s been almost 20 years. End the war. Leave Afghanistan now. No more excuses. Bring home the troops.

Jimmy Dore Tweeted:

So far : Zero questions on the $2000 checks lie, $15 minimum wage lie, Foreclosures, Evictions. American corporate news media-FUCK YEAH!!

I'm seeing nothing at ANTIWAR.COM and I checked the US Green Party's feed for some form of critique.  Guess everyone was busy?  Or maybe Biden just bores everyone into slumber?  THE KATIE HALPER SHOW did cover the  press briefing.  

New content at THIRD:

The following community sites updated:

No comments: