Thursday, April 7, 2022

The problems with FAMILY GUY

Theme post on animation shows.  

FAMILY GUY. It's problematic. No one wanted to grab it. I can understand that. I'd argue that it's one of the worst of the long running animated shows (and I'd say long running means more than three years). In many ways, even THE CLEVELAND SHOW was better than FAMILY GUY.

What accounts for the problems?

The rank sexism. The dog pile on Meg isn't funny. If it ever was -- and I don't think it was -- it should have ended long ago. When Lacy Chebert voiced the role, Meg was not as pathetic. Mila Kunis apparently thought it would be funnier if everyone picked on Meg. It can be triggering and traumatic for some people to watch Meg. There is really nothing funny about the entire family saying "shut up Meg" and constantly picking on her. Her mom telling her she should kill herself, her father farting on her. She's always a loser. People think she's a man (when the new student wants to beat her up and Quagmire tells her to sue "the gross" to defeat him). There are just so many problems with the character. I honestly don't get how anyone with self-respect could voice the role. You'd think they'd at least feel sorry for the character since they play the part. You'd think they'd argue that the character be improved. But Mila's happy voicing someone who is treated so horribly because people think the character is ugly.

It goes without saying that Mila is not ugly. Maybe she just thinks that's how people who aren't beautiful should be treated?

Every episode is pretty much about shaming Meg and that makes the show problematic.

Equally true, the show rips off so much. Ava and C.I. have offered a ton of criticism of FAMILY GUY over the years and my favorite episode of the show is the one that looks like the writer read every single bit of criticism.

The gang is upset that they've never won an Emmy. So they try to win one and find out, among other things, that awards don't go to rip offs. That, as Aaron Sorkin tells them, you can't just take a scene from a movie, cross out the names, write in FAMILY GUY character names and pretend like you've done something.

What's upsetting about that episode is that it's clear the writers must understand what makes the show so weak but they're fine with it since they keep writing the same garbage over and over.

Of the rip off episodes? I love TOOTSIE. It's a great film. FAMILY GUY stole the whole move to do the episode when Stewie joins the cast of JOLLY FARMS. After that, I like the Olivia and Stweie episodes -- even the one where they rip off Woody Allen's CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS.

But there's just so much about the show that is frat boy and disgusting.

Herbert's not funny. The character shouldn't be on the show.

And it should be pointed out that they have way too many male characters.


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

Thursday, April 6, 2022.  As US President Joe Biden continues to persecute Julian Assange, people begin to notice how deep Hunter Biden's corruption actually is and the Iraqi people remain betrayed by the government the US installed.

Starting in the United States, where Jonathan Turley observes more evidence of how US President Joe Biden's claims regarding his involvement with his son Hunter's 'business' opportunities have been revealed to be falsehoods:

Several weeks later, on Feb. 18, 2017, Eric Schwerin, who served as president of Rosemont Seneca, replied to Li. Schwerin states “Jonathan, Hunter asked me to send you a copy of the recommendation letter that he asked his father to write on behalf of Christopher for Brown University.”

Once again, it is baffling how Attorney General Garland can ignore the myriad of references to Joe Biden in refusing to appoint a special counsel.

The email direct reference to Joe Biden is a departure from the practice in these communications. People apparently were told to avoid directly referring to President Biden. In one email, Tony Bobulinski, then a business partner of Hunter’s, was instructed by Biden associate James Gilliar not to speak of the former veep’s connection to any transactions: “Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u [sic] are face to face, I know u [sic] know that but they are paranoid.”

Instead, the emails apparently refer to President Biden with code names such as “Celtic” or “the big guy.” In one, “the big guy” is discussed as possibly receiving a 10 percent cut on a deal with a Chinese energy firm; other emails reportedly refer to Hunter Biden paying portions of his father’s expenses and taxes.

Despite President Biden’s repeated claims he knew nothing about these dealings, Bobulinski has said he personally met with the senior Biden to discuss Hunter Biden’s business activities. Bobulinski had been selected by the family to handle these deals.

As vice president, Joe Biden flew to China on Air Force Two with Hunter Biden, who arranged for his father to meet some of his business interests. Hunter Biden’s financial interest in a Chinese-backed investment firm, BHR Partners, was registered within weeks of that 2013 trip. Yet, President Biden repeatedly insisted that he never discussed such dealings with his son, a claim Hunter Biden has contradicted.

There are emails of Ukrainian and other foreign clients thanking Hunter Biden for arranging meetings with his father. There are photos from dinners and meetings that tie President Biden to these figures, including a 2015 dinner with a group of Hunter Biden’s Russian and Kazakh clients.

Justice Department regulations allow the appointment of a special counsel when it is in the public interest and an “investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney’s Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances.”

As Jonathan has been noting, a special counsel is needed.  Sunday, the editorial board of THE WASHINGTON POST noted:

There was something grotesquely familiar about last week’s revelations about Hunter Biden’s business dealings abroad, both in the story’s particulars and in the more general saga of sleazy self-dealing into which it fits. The idea that these latest revelations definitively vindicate or villainize any party except Mr. Biden himself, however, is misplaced.

The Post reported Wednesday on the multimillion-dollar deals the president’s son made with a Chinese energy company. The investigation adds new details and confirms old ones about the ways in which Joe Biden’s family has profited from trading overseas on his name — something for which the president deserves criticism for tacitly condoning. What it does not do, despite some conservatives’ insistence otherwise, is prove that President Biden acted corruptly. This is a reality that an election-year probe by Senate Republicans into improper influence or wrongdoing has already confirmed. The Justice Department, meanwhile, continues its inquiry into Hunter Biden’s tax affairs and foreign lobbying.

For now, what’s more compelling than the assorted accusations about the Bidens’ behavior is this question: Why is confirmation of a story that first surfaced in the fall of 2020 emerging only now? When the New York Post published its blockbuster exclusive on the contents of a laptop said to have been abandoned at a Delaware repair shop by Hunter Biden, mainstream media organizations balked at running with the same narrative. Social media sites displayed even greater caution. Twitter blocked the story altogether, pointing to a policy against hacked materials, and suspended the New York Post’s account for sharing it; Facebook downranked the story in the algorithms that govern users’ news feeds for fear that it was based on misinformation. Now, The Washington Post and the New York Times have vouched for many of the relevant communications.

The appointment of a special counsel is way overdue.  

In a new piece at BLACK AGENDA REPORT, Danny Haiphong analyzes Joe:

Biden is a bad actor and a poor celebrity, plain and simple. No matter how much the liberal class has attempted to portray Biden as the hallmark of “competence,” the exact opposite has proven true. He began his 2020 presidential campaign promising rich donors that “nothing would fundamentally change .” Yet Biden’s presidential bid came amid a period of profound crisis under Donald Trump. A global pandemic and economic crisis forced one of the most loyal servants of the ruling class over the last five decades to adopt an anti-Trump persona that included a moderate but substantial “Build Back Better” agenda for the masses.

Biden was never capable of playing the role set out for him. Runaway inflation and mounting COVID-19 deaths have stymied his efforts to pose as the face of economic recovery and normality. His “gaffes” haven’t helped, either. In a recent speech in Poland, Biden appeared to suggest that the United States is pursuing regime change in Russia . “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” exclaimed Biden.

Since the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Americans have been conditioned to despise Russia and have seen their Russophobia elevated to new heights in response to an intense propaganda blitz from the corporate media. Few have any love for Vladimir Putin. Still, Biden’s reference to regime change has only added onto mounting anxiety and confusion about the U.S.’s role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. U.S. sanctions have facilitated a spike in energy prices  and the cost of living. Legitimate fears of a nuclear war have surfaced among the public  despite most Americans having little understanding of the Russia-Ukraine conflict beyond the lies and distortions told to them by the mainstream media.

Public concern about the U.S. role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict is an unintended outcome of Biden’s foreign policy. The hope was that Russia’s military operation would conveniently fuel the New Cold War on Russia and achieve the domestic aim of boosting the Biden administration’s credibility with the electorate. Biden seized the opportunity to “slap” Russia economically and militarily, believing that the consequences would impact Russia and Russia alone. He miscalculated. Instead of public enthusiasm for a “tough” stance on Russia, Biden has only placed himself under further scrutiny for the fear and blowback that his administration’s response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict has engendered.

Biden’s decline in popularity was theoretically avoidable. The 46th POTUS could have fought for his “Build Back Better” agenda to pass in Congress instead of placating to Senator Joe Manchin  and the so-called “conservative” wing of the Democratic Party. He could have used the power of executive order to cancel student debt and provide immediate economic relief to working people instead of increasing the military budget to a whopping $800 billion . And he certainly had the opportunity to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict before it started by actually negotiating in good faith with the Russian government when it presented its security concerns to the U.S. and NATO in December 2021 .

But this would have meant living under a different system, one dictated by the interests of the people rather than private profit. Under the current system of neoliberal imperialism, Joe Biden IS the “conservative” wing of the Democratic Party. When Biden says he wants to increase funding for the police and the military budget, he means it. Joe Biden isn’t just constrained by an imperialist system that gave birth to his career. No, this system is also in crisis, and Biden is perfectly fine with riding its turbulent waves to their logical conclusion: endless war and austerity.

Biden’s problem is that he is a bad liar and his slaps don’t land. He is an unpopular politician within a capitalist culture where Americans are more likely to pay ample attention to media celebrities who take them away from reality than to politicians who make their reality worse while sporting a smile on their face.

Joe tried to harness Barack Obama's celebrity yesterday at the White House but it only further demonstrated how lackluster Joe himself is.  Miranda Devine (NEW YORK POST) offers this analysis:

In C-SPAN videos, you see Biden, quite cheery, glad-handing the crowd, Harris at his side, when suddenly, from stage left, emerges Obama, face creased into a handsome smile, eyeing the same group that Biden is schmoozing.

Harris senses Obama’s presence and whips around with a joyous expression, and they meet each other’s gaze for an instant. The smile vanishes from Biden’s face as Harris turns away. He spots Obama and a frown furrows his brow. ­Obama, by way of greeting Harris, tosses his head like a horse and she responds by hunching her shoulders like an excited kid. As a frowning Biden moves closer, she pirouettes to face him, looking faintly amused, her lips pursed in a sort of private “uh oh, lol.”

Biden’s face grows thunderous. He opens his mouth in a snarl, looking straight at the side of ­Obama’s head, and says something that sounds like: “It’s not my . . .” and then stops himself.

Obama ignores him and reaches into the little group of admirers before him, shaking hands and creasing his face into a handsome smile. At this stage, Harris has turned away from Biden and positioned herself between the two men, mirroring Obama’s charm pantomime.

Biden grimaces. Then he fixes his eyes on Obama. He reaches around Harris to touch Obama’s arm and attract his attention. Obama, smiling animatedly, ignores him, before maneuvering out of arm’s-length.

Biden scowls over his shoulder. Obama’s escape is foiled by a short, blond woman who lunges in to shake his hand. Biden looks stricken, staring at this woman who has eyes only for Obama and Harris at his side.

A few moments later, he makes his move. He thrusts out his left hand and places his long, white fingers on Obama’s right shoulder. You can tell Obama feels it, because he involuntarily jerks his head away, a micro-expression of what looks like disgust flitting across his face.

Biden is concentrating intently on his hand now gripping tightly onto Obama’s shoulder.

Obama’s eyes swivel in Biden’s direction but his head does not move. He lets go of the blond woman’s hand with a smile and leans away to shake off the hand now firmly attached to his shoulder. He and the blond woman start bantering. He laughs at something she says.

Biden looks desperate and disbelieving as he clings to the shoulder of a man pretending he doesn’t ­exist.

Obama drops his shoulder, but can’t shake off the hand. A shadow passes over his face — anger, maybe, or exasperation. He raises his right hand high in the air and then dips it down into the crowd to shake another hand. He swings and dips and leans forward but the bony, white hand clings on.

Meanwhile, Iraq remains a disaster for the Iraqi people as a result of US actions Joe Biden was a part of.  Dler S. Mohammed (KURDISTAN 24) reports:

Iraqi politicians are struggling to form a government as the country gets closer than ever to dissolving the parliament and holding new elections over five months after the last parliamentary elections. 

Previous elections have shown that it takes time to decide upon the three presidencies – the speaker of parliament, the president, and the prime minister. Only after these presidents are elected can a new cabinet be formed.

However, this time the situation is much more problematic. It is a matter of life or death for some parties. It is not about getting more or less ministerial positions. It is about being in or out of government altogether.

 'Mohammed seems unaware of amny things.  For example, in the next paragraph, he will insist that Moqtada al-Sadr, Shi'ite cleric and cult leader, got the most votes.

No, he did not.

He got zero votes.

He wasn't on the ballot.  He wasn't running for office.  His group got the most votes this go round -- they got far less votes than they'd ever gotten before.  

Moqtada has been trying to form a government since the October 10th elections took place and he has repeatedly failed.  Iraq has still not named a president or a prime minister.  Six months later, the political stalemate continues.  

This is not Iraq's first political stalemate following a national election.  This took place when Joe Biden was Vice President of the US in 2010.  Then-President Barack Obama had put Joe in charge of Iraq. 

Which is how Joe steered the US effort in 2010 to overturn the votes of the Iraqi people who, in March 2010, voted thug Nouri al-Maliki out after one term.  Joe led the US effort to overturn that vote -- despite the fact that we already knew Nouri was running secret prisons and torture chambers.  Joe led the US effort to negotiate The Erbil Agreement -- the legal contract that overturned the votes of the Iraqi people.


In March of 2010, Nouri lost the election.  He refused to step down.  His refusal, for eight months and several days, brought the Iraqi government to a standstill.  This period was called a "political stalemate" (we used the term, the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, many press accounts used the term).  Did it end in October with Iran's blessing of Nouri?

From November 20, 2010:

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. November 10th a power sharing deal resulted in the Parliament meeting for the second time and voting in a Speaker. And then Iraqiya felt double crossed on the deal and the bulk of their members stormed out of the Parliament. David Ignatius (Washington Post) explains, "The fragility of the coalition was dramatically obvious Thursday as members of the Iraqiya party, which represents Sunnis, walked out of Parliament, claiming that they were already being double-crossed by Maliki. Iraqi politics is always an exercise in brinkmanship, and the compromises unfortunately remain of the save-your-neck variety, rather than reflecting a deeper accord. " After that, Jalal Talabani was voted President of Iraq. Talabani then named Nouri as the prime minister-delegate. If Nouri can meet the conditions outlined in Article 76 of the Constitution (basically nominate ministers for each council and have Parliament vote to approve each one with a minimum of 163 votes each time and to vote for his council program) within thirty days, he becomes the prime minister. If not, Talabani must name another prime minister-delegate. . In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister-delegate. It took eight months and two days to name Nouri as prime minister-delegate. His first go-round, on April 22, 2006, his thirty day limit kicked in. May 20, 2006, he announced his cabinet -- sort of. Sort of because he didn't nominate a Minister of Defense, a Minister of Interior and a Minister of a Natioanl Security. This was accomplished, John F. Burns wrote in "For Some, a Last, Best Hope for U.S. Efforts in Iraq" (New York Times), only with "muscular" assistance from the Bush White House. Nouri declared he would be the Interior Ministry temporarily. Temporarily lasted until June 8, 2006. This was when the US was able to strong-arm, when they'd knocked out the other choice for prime minister (Ibrahim al-Jaafari) to install puppet Nouri and when they had over 100,000 troops on the ground in Iraq. Nouri had no competition. That's very different from today. The Constitution is very clear and it is doubtful his opponents -- including within his own alliance -- will look the other way if he can't fill all the posts in 30 days. As Leila Fadel (Washington Post) observes, "With the three top slots resolved, Maliki will now begin to distribute ministries and other top jobs, a process that has the potential to be as divisive as the initial phase of government formation." Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) points out, "Maliki now has 30 days to decide on cabinet posts - some of which will likely go to Iraqiya - and put together a full government. His governing coalition owes part of its existence to followers of hard-line cleric Muqtada al Sadr, leading Sunnis and others to believe that his government will be indebted to Iran." The stalemate ends when the country has a prime minister. It is now eight months, thirteen days and counting.

November 10th The Erbil Agreement was signed and November 11th the Parliament was finally in session after eight months of nothing.  November 11th, the KRG website announces:

Baghdad, Iraq ( - Iraq's political leaders yesterday agreed to hold the parliamentary session as scheduled on Thursday and to name an individual for the post of Speaker of the the parliament (Council of Representatives). The Speaker post will go to the Al-Iraqiya bloc, which is headed by former prime minister Ayad Allawi.
During the meeting, which was attended by the leaders of all the winning blocs at President Masoud Barzani's Baghdad headquarters, agreement was reached on two other points: to create a council for strategic policy and to address issues regarding national reconciliation.
President Barzani, who sponsored the three days' round of meetings, stated that today's agreement was a big achievement for Iraqis. He expressed optimism that the next government will be formed soon and that it will be inclusive and representative of all of Iraq's communities.

The agreement that they are discussing is The Erbil Agreemen 

Joe was obligated, in 2010, to do what was best for the Iraqi people if he truly realized he made a mistake.  In no world is overturning election results a good thing.  Joe doesn't think overturning the results are a good thing here in the US.  He can't stop pushing the fantasy that Donald Trump won't honor the election results from this upcoming November.  And yet it is Joe who overturned an election.  The Iraqi people voted out thug Nouri al-Maliki and they risked their lives to do so.  Instead of backing the Iraqi people, instead of fostering trust in the ballot box and in the notions of democracy, Joe pushed for the votes of Iraqi people to be overturned.  

This decision was wrong.  It was wrong if you were trying to foster democracy in Iraq.  Voter turnout has steadily decreased each election since 2010's votes were overturned.  2020's election was the lowest turnout ever.  

The decision was wrong also because the US government knew what Nouri al-Maliki was.  That includes Joe Biden.  

 "We are told that we must continue to support a strong central government, when that government does not enjoy the trust of many Iraqis, and has little capacity to deliver security and services."  

Who said that?  Joe Biden when he was a US senator.  He said it in April of 2008 at a Senate hearing he chaired -- we noted it here.  Two years later, he's supporting Nouri for a second term whent the Iraqi people made clear with their votes that they didn't want him to have a second term.

That same month, we reported on another Senate hearing where Joe declared,  "Just understand my frustration,. We want to normalize a government that really doesn't exist." 

Yet two years later, Joe /Biden was Team Nouri.

Nouri's secret prisons and torture chambers were already known when Joe worked to give him the second term the voters had denied him.  Nothing good could come of that and nothing good did.


One of the responses to Nouri's second term was the rise of ISIS. Yes, US governmental actions fueled the rise of ISIS.

Now we've got another stalemate and, once again, Joe's leading the Iraq effort -- this time as president of the US.  

THE NEW ARAB offers:

Iraq on Wednesday is plunging deeper into a constitutional crisis as the deadline by Iraq's Supreme Federal Court to elect a president was not met.

The country now faces various scenarios, commentators say, ranging from forming a pro-Iran national consensus government, holding fresh early elections, or an eruption of violence between political rivals. 

On March 30, the Iraqi parliament failed for a third time to ensure a constitutional quorum of 220 lawmakers out of 329 to be able to elect a new president for the country.

The parliament postponed the session indefinitely after pro-Iran Shia parties and several Kurdish and independent lawmakers boycotted the sessions.

Joe Biden continues to persecute Julian Assange for the 'crime' of journalism.  He is demanding that the UK government hand him over so that Julian -- an Australian citizen, -- can be taken by US aturhoitites where he can face what will receive a kinder name but what is torture.  He will be tortured.  Why?

That's why.  Exposing War Crimes.

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