Archive for December, 2013

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No spoilers.

Amazing, nothing short of amazing.  Dicaprio’s tour de force performance helps lay bare the moral depravity of Wall Street better than Michael Moore could dream of doing.

Wolf of Wall Street is a black comedy about an anti-hero who represents the ultimate ugly American.  He’s the cornerstone of an ugly empire, in this case a Wall Street trading firm that does what Wall Street trading firms do: take money from suckers and put it into their own pockets.

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As an up and comer, a nobody, not born to the manor, Dicaprio’s guy might just be fair game, a sacrificial lamb to draw attention away from the rest.  In its totality, Wolf is a smart, meaningful, sexy, groundbreaking piece of American cinema that lays bare the obscenity of Wall Street rape and pillage.  Scorsese tops Wall Street films that have come before and goes balls out, full bore.

I’m really glad we made it to the opening day of Wolf.  Some scenes had me laughing my ass off — and not everyone at the packed house got it.  Some stunned faces, some grumbling.   Great movie.

Continued:

Wolf: Scorsese’s Best Film?

 

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Salvador Dali’s Christmas cards

 

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“Wars shatter and hurt so many lives,” he said, saying their most vulnerable victims were children, elderly, battered women and the sick.

“Look on the many children who are kidnapped, wounded and killed in armed conflict, and all those who are robbed of their childhood and forced to become soldiers,” he said.

He asked for people to be spared further suffering, and urged all parties in the conflict to allow humanitarian aid to get through.

“Prince of peace, in every place turn hearts aside from violence and inspire them to lay down arms and undertake the path of dialogue,” he said.

Pope Francis uses first Christmas address to urge an end to violent conflict

 

Christmas wishes (short)

Posted: December 24, 2013 in -
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USS Calhoun County sailors dumped thousands of tons of radioactive waste into ocean

Like the Mafia dumps radioactive waste into the Mediterranean, the US Navy has been dumping hot radioactive waste into the Atlantic (and likely elsewhere) for a long time.   This is impunity, arrogance, criminality, potentially another crime against humanity.  They didn’t care that their own sailors were being irradiated without protective clothing during the ops, and so this is also cold-blooded murder.

But you’re not allowed to call out the military and the government as criminals in the US of fucking A.  The military runs this banana republic, and the national media won’t state basic facts without spinning them into some gibberish.   Often these stories won’t be reported across the country at all, not if they make certain institutions look bad.

Truth be told, many thousands of high officials should be rotting in prison and accountability should be enacted here.  The health and safety of the people should rate in these decisions, but they don’t, except for the the need to hide the damage from the people and keep these crimes secret.  But there are no conspiracies in America you see.  Anyone who reports conspiracy by official actors must be crazy.  The media says so.

Only, technically, most of what comes out of DC is conspiracy: bribery, aggressive war, fraud, waste, grand theft, unconstitutional spying, violating whistleblower’s rights, environmental crimes, violating human rights, torture, murder, the list is extensive and damning when considered as a whole.  But there are no “conspiracies,” because the media says so.  “Conspiratorial thinking” is the new mental illness, the new (old) Orwellian rationale for the suppression of the truth.  They don’t commit crimes.  You must be mad.  They are in charge.

Enjoy your fish.

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What is it with Americans and torture?  For a movie that does a lot right, the ease and familiarity it has with the good guys resorting to torture is evidence of a pervasive sickness in this society.  We’re a technological level up on the Romans, reveling in bloodlust in cinema, rather than at the coliseum.

A lot of the world rejected this barbarism a long time ago, including our own nation, as the statutes against torture show.  World War Two and a lot of real torture changed minds on this medieval savagery.  Torture was outlawed, and the world was better off as a result.  The film had a chance to address this and failed.

Of course the bad guys resort to torture, but that’s not the problem here.  As with a long and frustrating list of other Hollywood mainstream product, this film says it’s okay to torture people — in this case water boarding and beating — when the joking jovial lead actors get on board.

So Marky Mark and Denzel want to know something from their captured drug lord.  Torture, of course.  Jokes wash away moral concerns.

It sounds like I had a terrible time with this film, but I didn’t.  It was a short segment.  More torture flows from the very same drug lord in a reversal, and more torture still from a CIA guy.  That’s three, lots of torture.  Do Americans care about much else?

Oh yeah, money.  There’s lots of that too.  Money, torture, bullets and explosions.  It’s not high art — but damn if they didn’t get the CIA drug smuggling partnership right.  So, we actually have some real shit up on screen to discuss, the real state of narcotics trafficking, the real impunity of CIA and their despicable record of partnering with the worst scum on the planet.  That might ring a note for some out there.  It should have been explored more deeply, but I’ll take it.

In the special features Denzel called it escapism, with no meaning whatsoever, that he could discern.  Not so.  It never is.

 

WHOI-Cesium
The yellow dots represent the level that spurred the world’s nuclear states to ban all surface nuclear weapons testing four decades ago. 

 

Fukushima: Wave of Radiation Will Be Ten Times Bigger than All of the Radiation from Nuclear Tests Combined

The Canadian government has confirmed in October that Fukushima radiation will exceed “levels higher than maximum fallout” from the nuclear tests.

US Government Cover-Up:

The government said it was just doing a routine “background radiation” check, but that it was really measuring the amount of “hot particles” in the Seattle area (starting at 27:00). Hot particles are inhaled and become very dangerous “internal emitters”. The government then covered up the results on the basis of “national security”.

As the Washington Department of Health noted at the time:

A helicopter flying over some urban areas of King and Pierce counties will gather radiological readings July 11-28, 2011. [Seattle is in King County.] The U.S. Department of Energy’s Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measurement System will collect baseline levels of radioactive materials.

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Some of the data may be withheld for national security purposes.

Similarly, the Department of Homeland Security and National Nuclear Security Administration sent low-flying helicopters over the San Francisco Bay Area in 2012 to test for radiation. But they have not released the results.

 

If anyone still buys the propaganda about radiation, on how “safe” and “low” it is, of no concern to them and their children, they need to read this.

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Another holiday season rental courtesy of the family.  Mortal Instruments hits every cliché and Hero’s Journey formula point in the book.  A mind-numbingly predictable exercise in raking in dough from teenage girls.  The series goes the extra mile and throws in every supernatural imaginable: werewolves, vampires, witches, demons, demon hunters.

When they also threw in the “I am your father” shtick from Empire Strikes Back I had to clean vomit off the TV.  Painful.

I suppose it had lots of FX and magic and pretty young actors innocently lusting after one another.  Sounds like a winning franchise, and one I won’t be revisiting.  The girl in the lead was particularly lacking in charisma and watchability.  With a muted Kristen Stewart vibe, she read her lines and the plot moved along without me.  It was all such a stilted, mechanized, orchestrated puppet show that I couldn’t have cared less really if the demon hunters managed to knock out their video game demon enemies or whatever.  None of the drama ever escalated beyond the video game aesthetic, and none of it rang particularly true on any level.  Shame.

I’ll take it easy with one snarky quote.  From the SF Chronicle, Peter Hartlaub:

“It desperately gathers clichés like a teen fantasy Frankenstein that doesn’t realize its secret identity: parody.”

Apparently the books are supposed to be better.  Up next, also courtesy of the family, 2 Guns.

 

Japan Crisis Begins To Stabilise After Quake Disaster

 

Navy sailors have radiation sickness after Japan rescue

At least 70 have been stricken with some form of radiation sickness, and of those, “at least half . . . are suffering from some form of cancer,” their lawyer, Paul Garner, told The Post Saturday.

“We’re seeing leukemia, testicular cancer and unremitting gynecological bleeding requiring transfusions and other intervention,” said Garner, who is representing 51 crew members suing the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the Fukushima Daiichi energy plant.

 

Musical Sunday 22

Posted: December 22, 2013 in -
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This is huge.

An attempt to [sue] Saudi Arabia in 2002 was blocked by a federal court ruling that said the kingdom had sovereign immunity. That ruling was reversed Thursday by a three-judge federal panel.

9/11 Families ‘Ecstatic’ They Can Finally Sue Saudi Arabia

 

Recall that Obama’s Justice (sic) Dept. helped the fucking Saudis weasel out of the lawsuit.  This put Mr. Slick firmly on the wrong side of the high treason question.  It remains to be seen what barriers will be erected next to thwart justice for the 9/11 attacks and to stop the truth from emerging.

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