Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Madonna, Clint Eastwood

Around 9:30 this morning, THE NEW YORK TIMES published an article entitled "Our Critics Discuss the Future of the Movies." You could read that. Or you could read Ava and C.I.'s "Media: Movie survival?" which they wrote Sunday and published Monday night because they are always ahead of the curve.

In other news, PARAMOUNT+ is desperate for something to help them stand out and are hoping Madonna's MADAME X will be it.

I honestly thought I'd watch until I streamed. It's a concert film. I thought Madonna, in her mid to old age, was trying to do Lana Turner and remake MADAME X. That could be so bad it's good. I would've watched for curiosity alone. This is WIKIPEDIA on 1966's MADAM X film:

Holly Parker, a lower-class woman, marries into the rich Anderson family, and her husband Clayton is a diplomat with strong political aspirations. Her mother-in-law Estelle looks down on her and keeps a watchful eye on her activities. Lonely and reclusive during Clayton's long, frequent assignments abroad, Holly forms a relationship with a well-known playboy, Phil Benton. Clayton suddenly returns and informs Holly that he has secured a promotion in Washington, D.C., where he wishes to bring Holly and their son Clay to begin a regular family life. Holly agrees and goes to Phil's apartment to end their relationship. Phil reacts by trying to physically force Holly to stay, but tumbles down a staircase in the struggle and dies. Holly panics and leaves the scene. She is confronted by Estelle, who had hired a detective to follow her and knows about Phil's accident. Estelle blackmails Holly into disappearing to Europe under a false identity rather than facing murder charges. Estelle arranges for Holly to be secreted away at night from the family yacht, never to see her husband or son again.
Holly, devastated by the loss of her son, falls ill with pneumonia on the side of a European street and is rescued by a charming pianist named Christian who helps her receive medical treatment and recuperate under a nurse's care. Holly and Christian grow close as she accompanies him on tour, but when he proposes marriage, she declines and then runs away from Christian. Holly slowly sinks into depravity and alcoholism, including a one-night stand with a man who steals her money and jewelry.
With Estelle's blackmail payments cut off, Holly goes to Mexico where she lives in a sleazy apartment and cannot afford her rent. She befriends an American neighbor named Dan Sullivan, who plies her with alcohol but soon discovers evidence of Holly's past. He persuades Holly to join him in New York to work for him, but while there, she realizes that he is actually trying to blackmail Clayton, who is now governor of the state and a leading candidate for his party's presidential nomination. Holly shoots and kills Sullivan when he threatens to expose her deception to her son. The police arrest her and, refusing to reveal her identity, she signs a confession with the letter "X" and refuses to speak. The court-appointed defense attorney happens to be her son, Clay Jr., though she does not recognize him.
Holly refuses to reveal her name throughout the trial, saying only that she killed Sullivan to protect her son, whom she has not seen in decades. Clay, in his first trial as a lawyer, devises a defense strategy to paint Sullivan as a career criminal who caused his own death. During the trial, Holly spots Clayton Sr. in the audience and suddenly realizes that her attorney is in fact her long-lost son. After final summations and with Holly's verdict in the balance, Clay, who has grown close to her despite not knowing that she is his mother, visits Holly in her holding cell and implores her to reach out to her son. She does not reveal her identity to him but tells him he has been like a son to her. Then, having spent her final moments with her son and overcome with emotion, she dies suddenly. Clay tells his father that he had come to love "X".

[. . .]

Producer Ross Hunter, who had enjoyed great success remaking projects, had long been interested in bringing the Bisson play to the screen, but MGM, which had produced film adaptations in 1929 and 1937, owned the rights.[1][2] After reading the play again at a bookstore, Hunter became enthusiastic again. "I knew that if I kept the trial scene and brought the rest up to date I'd have something," he said.[3]
Hunter announced the film in May 1962 as part of a slate of six projects, also including The Thrill of It All, The Chalk Garden, If a Man Answers, a new Tammy film and a remake of The Dark Angel. The script was written by Jean Holloway, who had written for Hunter in radio, despite the fact that the play had been enacted many times before. "You really have to tell a whole new story," said Holloway.[4] Lana Turner, who had made Imitation of Life and Portrait in Black for Hunter, was enlisted as the film's star from the beginning.[5] In October 1962, Hunter said that he hoped that Douglas Sirk would direct.[6]
"Tearjerkers are more difficult to make than any other type of movie," said Hunter. "Critics would seem to categorize them and look down on them; it is word of mouth that is their best press agent. It's all very sad in a way; maybe this is why we're not building great woman stars for audiences today. Audiences need to let their emotions out."[3]

Yeah, I could see Madonna in that. If she ever does film again (and probably she shouldn't), that's what she should go for -- soap operas -- maybe something directed by Pedro Almodovar. This Friday, Clint Eastwood's CRY MACHO comes out.

I can't wait to see it.


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

 Tuesday, September 14, 2021.  War Criminal Condi Rice thinks she has wisdom to share.

Starting with a War Criminal.

Mad Maddie's gal Condi Rice wants to talk Iraq.  On her terms.  Kind of like she wanted to talk 9-11 on her terms.  Remember that?   Former US Senator Bob Kerrey was trying to get her to answer questions when she appeared before the 9/11 Commission and she repeatedly attempted to evade answering.  Remember?  Bob warned her not to try to filibuster.  She claimed no one could have guessed that planes would be used.  Remember?  He had to repeatedly insist that she 

In fact, because people may have forgotten, let's note some of that exchange:

KERREY: You've used the phrase a number of times, and I'm hoping with my question to disabuse you of using it in the future.

You said the president was tired of swatting flies.

KERREY: Can you tell me one example where the president swatted a fly when it came to al Qaeda prior to 9/11?

RICE: I think what the president was speaking to was...

KERREY: No, no. What fly had he swatted?

RICE: Well, the disruptions abroad was what he was really focusing on...

KERREY: No, no...

RICE: ... when the CIA would go after Abu Zubaydah...

KERREY: He hadn't swatted...

RICE: ... or go after this guy...

KERREY: Dr. Rice, we didn't...

RICE: That was what was meant.

KERREY: We only swatted a fly once on the 20th of August 1998. We didn't swat any flies afterwards. How the hell could he be tired?

RICE: We swatted at -- I think he felt that what the agency was doing was going after individual terrorists here and there, and that's what he meant by swatting flies. It was simply a figure of speech.

KERREY: Well, I think it's an unfortunate figure of speech because I think, especially after the attack on the Cole on the 12th of October, 2000, it would not have been swatting a fly. It would not have been -- we did not need to wait to get a strategic plan.

Dick Clarke had in his memo on the 20th of January overt military operations. He turned that memo around in 24 hours, Dr. Clarke. There were a lot of plans in place in the Clinton administration -- military plans in the Clinton administration.

In fact, since we're in the mood to declassify stuff, there was -- he included in his January 25 memo two appendices -- Appendix A: "Strategy for the elimination of the jihadist threat of al Qaeda," Appendix B: "Political military plan for al Qaeda."

So I just -- why didn't we respond to the Cole?

RICE: Well, we...

KERREY: Why didn't we swat that fly?

RICE: I believe that there's a question of whether or not you respond in a tactical sense or whether you respond in a strategic sense; whether or not you decide that you're going to respond to every attack with minimal use of military force and go after every -- on a kind of tit-for-tat basis.

By the way, in that memo, Dick Clarke talks about not doing this tit-for-tat, doing this on the time of our choosing.

I'm aware, Mr. Kerrey, of a speech that you gave at that time that said that perhaps the best thing that we could do to respond to the Cole and to the memories was to do something about the threat of Saddam Hussein.

That's a strategic view...

And we took a strategic view. We didn't take a tactical view. I mean, it was really -- quite frankly, I was blown away when I read the speech, because it's a brilliant speech. It talks about really...

... an asymmetric...

KERREY: I presume you read it in the last few days?

RICE: Oh no, I read it quite a bit before that. It's an asymmetric approach.

Now, you can decide that every time al Qaeda...

KERREY: So you're saying that you didn't have a military response against the Cole because of my speech?


KERREY: That had I not given that speech you would have attacked them?

RICE: No, I'm just saying that I think it was a brilliant way to think about it.

KERREY: I think it's...

RICE: It was a way of thinking about it strategically, not tactically. But if I may answer the question that you've asked me.

The issue of whether to respond -- or how to respond to the Cole -- I think Don Rumsfeld has also talked about this. Yes, the Cole had happened. We received, I think on January 25, the same assessment -- or roughly the same assessment -- of who was responsible for the Cole that Sandy Berger talked to you about.

It was preliminary. It was not clear. But that was not the reason that we felt that we did not want to, quote, "respond to the Cole."

We knew that the options that had been employed by the Clinton administration had been standoff options. The president had -- meaning missile strikes or perhaps bombers would have been possible, long-range bombers. Although getting in place the apparatus to use long-range bombers is even a matter of whether you have basing in the region.

RICE: We knew that Osama Bin Laden had been, in something that was provided to me, bragging that he was going to withstand any response and then he was going to emerge and come out stronger.

KERREY: But you're figuring this out. You've got to give a very long answer.

RICE: We simply believed that the best approach was to put in place a plan that was going to eliminate this threat, not respond to an attack.

KERREY: Let me say, I think you would have come in there if you said, "We screwed up. We made a lot of mistakes." You obviously don't want to use the M-word in here. And I would say fine, it's game, set, match. I understand that.

But this strategic and tactical, I mean, I just -- it sounds like something from a seminar. It doesn't...

RICE: I do not believe to this day that it would have been a good thing to respond to the Cole, given the kinds of options that we were going to have.

And with all due respect to Dick Clarke, if you're speaking about the Delenda plan, my understanding is that it was, A, never adopted, and that Dick Clarke himself has said that the military portion of this was not taken up by the Clinton administration.

KERREY: Let me move into another area.

RICE: So we were not presented -- I just want to be very clear on this, because it's been a source of controversy -- we were not presented with a plan.

KERREY: Well, that's not true. It is not...

RICE: We were not presented. We were presented with...

KERREY: I've heard you say that, Dr. Clarke, that 25 January, 2001, memo was declassified, I don't believe...

RICE: That January 25 memo has a series of actionable items having to do with Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance.

KERREY: Let me move to another area.

RICE: May I finish answering your question, though, because this is an important...

KERREY: I know it's important. Everything that's going on here is important. But I get 10 minutes.

RICE: But since we have a point of disagreement, I'd like to have a chance to address it.

KERREY: Well, no, no, actually, we have many points of disagreement, Dr. Clarke, but we'll have a chance to do in closed session. Please don't filibuster me. It's not fair. It is not fair. I have been polite. I have been courteous. It is not fair to me.

I understand that we have a disagreement.

RICE: Commissioner, I am here to answer questions. And you've asked me a question, and I'd like to have an opportunity to answer it.

The fact is that what we were presented on January the 25th was a set of ideas and a paper, most of which was about what the Clinton administration had done and something called the Delenda plan which had been considered in 1998 and never adopted. We decided to take a different track.

RICE: We decided to put together a strategic approach to this that would get the regional powers -- the problem wasn't that you didn't have a good counterterrorism person.

The problem was you didn't have an approach against al Qaeda because you didn't have an approach against Afghanistan. And you didn't have an approach against Afghanistan because you didn't have an approach against Pakistan. And until we could get that right, we didn't have a policy.

KERREY: Thank you for answering my question.

RICE: You're welcome.

KERREY: Let me ask you another question. Here's the problem that I have as I -- again, it's hindsight. I appreciate that. But here's the problem that a lot of people are having with this July 5th meeting.

You and Andy Card meet with Dick Clarke in the morning. You say you have a meeting, he meets in the afternoon. It's July 5th.

Kristen Breitweiser, who's a part of the families group, testified at the Joint Committee. She brings very painful testimony, I must say.

But here's what Agent Kenneth Williams said five days later. He said that the FBI should investigate whether al Qaeda operatives are training at U.S. flight schools. He posited that Osama bin Laden followers might be trying to infiltrate the civil aviation system as pilots, security guards and other personnel. He recommended a national program to track suspicious flight schools. Now, one of the first things that I learned when I came into this town was the FBI and the CIA don't talk. I mean, I don't need a catastrophic event to know that the CIA and the FBI don't do a very good job of communicating.

And the problem we've got with this and the Moussaoui facts, which were revealed on the 15th of August, all it had to do was to be put on Intelink. All it had to do is go out on Intelink, and the game's over. It ends. This conspiracy would have been rolled up.

KERREY: And so I...

RICE: Commissioner, with all due respect, I don't agree that we know that we had somehow a silver bullet here that was going to work.

What we do know is that we did have a systemic problem, a structural problem between the FBI and the CIA. It was a long time in coming into being. It was there because there were legal impediments, as well as bureaucratic impediments. Those needed to be overcome.

Obviously, the structure of the FBI that did not get information from the field offices up to FBI Central, in a way that FBI Central could react to the whole range of information reports, was a problem..

KERREY: But, Dr. Rice, everybody...

RICE: But the structure of the FBI, the restructuring of the FBI, was not going to be done in the 233 days in which we were in office...

KERREY: Dr. Rice, everybody who does national security in this town knows the FBI and the CIA don't talk. So if you have a meeting on the 5th of July, where you're trying to make certain that your domestic agencies are preparing a defense against a possible attack, you knew al Qaeda cells were in the United States, you've got to follow up.

And the question is, what was your follow-up? What's the paper trail that shows that you and Andy Card followed up from this meeting, and...

RICE: I followed...

KERREY: ... made certain that the FBI and the CIA were talking?

RICE: I followed up with Dick Clarke, who had in his group, and with him, the key counterterrorism person for the FBI. You have to remember that Louis Freeh was, by this time, gone. And so, the chief counterterrorism person was the second -- Louis Freeh had left in late June. And so the chief counterterrorism person for the FBI was working these issues, was working with Dick Clarke. I talked to Dick Clarke about this all the time.

RICE: But let's be very clear, the threat information that we were dealing with -- and when you have something that says, "something very big may happen," you have no time, you have no place, you have no how, the ability to somehow respond to that threat is just not there.

Now, you said...

KERREY: Dr. Clarke, in the spirit of further declassification...

RICE: Sir, with all...

KERREY: The spirit...

RICE: I don't think I look like Dick Clarke, but...

KERREY: Dr. Rice, excuse me.

RICE: Thank you.

KEAN: This is the last question, Senator.

KERREY: Actually it won't be a question.

In the spirit of further declassification, this is what the August 6 memo said to the president: that the FBI indicates patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking.

That's the language of the memo that was briefed to the president on the 6 of August.

And let's watch the video of Condi trying to lie to Richard Ben-Veniste at the hearing.

Condi: "I believe the title was 'Bin Laden Determined To Strike In The United States'."

"Condi Lousy" -- that's what Fred Kaplan called her at SLATE due to that testimony:


One clear inference can be drawn from Condoleezza Rice’s testimony before the 9/11 commission this morning: She has been a bad national security adviser—passive, sluggish, and either unable or unwilling to tie the loose strands of the bureaucracy into a sensible vision or policy. In short, she has not done what national security advisers are supposed to do.

The key moment came an hour into the hearing, when former Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste took his turn at asking questions. Up to this point, Rice had argued that the Bush administration could not have done much to stop the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Yes, the CIA’s sirens were sounding all summer of an impending strike by al-Qaida, but the warnings were of an attack overseas.

One clear inference can be drawn from Condoleezza Rice’s testimony before the 9/11 commission this morning: She has been a bad national security adviser—passive, sluggish, and either unable or unwilling to tie the loose strands of the bureaucracy into a sensible vision or policy. In short, she has not done what national security advisers are supposed to do.

The key moment came an hour into the hearing, when former Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste took his turn at asking questions. Up to this point, Rice had argued that the Bush administration could not have done much to stop the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Yes, the CIA’s sirens were sounding all summer of an impending strike by al-Qaida, but the warnings were of an attack overseas

Ben-Veniste brought up the much-discussed PDB—the president’s daily briefing by CIA Director George Tenet—of Aug. 6, 2001. For the first time, he revealed the title of that briefing: “Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US.”*

Rice insisted this title meant nothing. The document consisted of merely “historical information” about al-Qaida—various plans and attacks of the past. “This was not a ‘threat report,’ ” she said. It “did not warn of any coming attack inside the United States.” Later in the hearing, she restated the point: “The PDB does not say the United States is going to be attacked. It says Bin Laden would like to attack the United States.”

To call this distinction “academic” would be an insult to academia.

Rice acknowledged that throughout the summer of 2001 the CIA was intercepting unusually high volumes of “chatter” about an impending terrorist strike. She quoted from some of this chatter: “attack in near future,” “unbelievable news coming in weeks,” “a very, very, very big uproar.” She said some “specific” intelligence indicated the attack would take place overseas. However, she noted that very little of this intelligence was specific; most of it was “frustratingly vague.” In other words (though she doesn’t say so), most of the chatter might have been about a foreign or a domestic attack—it wasn’t clear. 

This is who we now want input on Iraq from?

She's a War Criminal.  And she's a liar.  And she's lying about Iraq.  She's claiming that Iraq is "increasingly stable" and, no, it is not.  That's a damn liar from a damn lying War Criminal who should be hanging her head in shame but instead seem to think that anyone wants to hear from her.  If she offered to stand still while various Americans threw rotten fruit at her, she could fill a stadium.  But that's the only way she could ever attract a crowd.  

THE NEW ARAB reports:

While Basra governorate lies on an ocean of oil - receiving foreign investments to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per year - local people live in grinding poverty and suffer high unemployment

They are also left vulnerable to the violent disputes which frequently erupt between armed tribes in a region where the state and security forces are almost absent.

Last year, Muhammed Al-Waeli and his family were forced to leave their home in Abu Sakhir, northern Basra, in fear of their lives due to ongoing clan disputes, Fadhil al-Gharawi, a member of the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR Iraq) told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister publication. Many fall victim to clashes they have no connection to.

General Amjad Qasim, who heads the Basra police force, confirms that 13 families have left their homes in the city for the same reasons. 

That's 'stability'?  Condi's a damn liar.

Next month, Iraqis are supposed to vote.  And yet RUDAW reports:

 Turnout for Iraq’s October 10 parliamentary election is expected to be a record low, with a recent poll predicting just 29 percent of eligible voters will cast ballots.

The random survey conducted by the Kulwatha Center polled 3,600 voters from all provinces. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they intend to vote and 14 percent are still undecided.

The election was called ahead of schedule to meet the demand of anti-government protesters, but interest in the vote is low. Several parties from across the spectrum have announced they will not participate. Parties and voters are questioning the legitimacy of the vote in an environment where powerful militias operate outside of government control, activists and election candidates are threatened, and the electoral commission and political elites are accused of fraud.

The vote will take place with electronic voting and counting, but 74 percent of those surveyed by Kulwatha Center said they don't think new technology will reduce fraud and 64 percent said they support a manual recount of votes.

The survey was conducted between June 6 and August 14 and results were published on Sunday.

That's stability?  

Condi Rice is not a trusted source, she's nothing but a War Criminal and outlets that treat her like anything else are dirty jokes.

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