September 27, 2016

SYNDICATED COLUMN: The Thrilla at Hofstra: Trump Beat the Spread

Image result for presidential debateBy Ted Rall

He won last night.

I know it runs counter to conventional wisdom – that’s so rare for me! – but I award last night’s first 2016 presidential debate to Donald Trump.

This isn’t to say that I disagree with what the mainstream men and women of the pundit class said they witnessed. Like them, I watched a well-prepared Clinton outmaneuver a political amateur who showed up to class after a night of partying following a year of refusing to crack open a book. Trump rambled, repeated himself, interrupted and bullied. He conflated NATO and the EU. He even unleashed a fat joke.

All things being equal, I would agree with the corporate media consensus that Hillary won. But that’s the thing – things are far from equal.

Hillary Clinton is a pro. She should have wiped the floor with Trump. Instead, she delivered a performance on the line between a B+ and an A-. Trump gets closer to a C-. That’s muchcloser than it ought to have been.

As they say in sports, Trump beat the spread.

It went down the same way during the Democratic primaries. Hillary Clinton had every advantage: domination of the Democratic National Committee, support of a sitting president, massive name recognition, experience and personnel from a previous run, a huge pool of wealthy institutional donors, a marriage to a popular ex-president fondly remembered for presiding over a great economic expansion. Despite all that, she nearly lost to Bernie Sanders – an aging self-identified socialist from a tiny, powerless state, with no name recognition. How, many people asked, could Hillary’s inevitable Goliath of a campaign have come so close to losing to such a David?

The answer was obvious. As we learned in 2008 when she lost to another obscure politician — Obama, with a weird name, who had little experience — Hillary Clinton underperforms. She has no charm. She doesn’t learn from her mistakes. She relies on outdated fundraising methods, like sucking up to big corporate donors. Not only does she lie, she insults our intelligence as when she emerged from her daughter’s Manhattan apartment days after being diagnosed with pneumonia. “I’m fine,” she said. What’s the matter with “pneumonia sucks”?

During last night’s debate, I was struck by how many chances Trump had to nail Hillary. If he were a better debater, she’d be toast.

Hillary tacitly confirmed that the United States was behind the Stuxnet virus that attacked Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, implying that she deserves credit for forcing the Islamic Republic to the negotiating table. Because cyberwarfare is illegal, U.S. officials have always refused to comment on whether or not we helped create Stuxnet – so it remains classified. If Trump had been smarter, he would have said: “Jesus, Hillary! There you go again, revealing America’s secrets to our enemies.”

He also allowed her to weasel out of her on-again, off-again support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership “free trade” agreement. Why didn’t he reference the verbal diarrhea of close Clinton friend Terry McAuliffe, who let slip the all-too-credible assertion that President Hillary would sign TPP shortly after coming to office?

His response to Hillary’s demand that he release his taxes came close to disastrous. If ever there was a time to interrupt, there it was. Instead, he just stood there waiting for her to finish. Clearly Trump has a lot to hide. Then he made a lame gambit: “I will release my tax returns — against my lawyer’s wishes — when she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted. As soon as she releases them, I will release. I will release my tax returns. And that’s against — my lawyers, they say, ‘Don’t do it.’ I will tell you this. No — in fact, watching shows, they’re reading the papers. Almost every lawyer says, you don’t release your returns until the audit’s complete. When the audit’s complete, I’ll do it. But I would go against them if she releases her e-mails.”

It was incoherent and ridiculous. But once he decided to go that direction, why not mention her secret Goldman Sachs speech transcripts? At least that way, he would have conveyed that she has two types of things to hide (emails, speeches) as opposed to his one (taxes).

Rookie errors. But hey, Trump did great for a guy who has never run for political office before – and didn’t cram for the debate. Hillary has debated at the presidential level so many times she could probably do it half of it in her sleep. If I go into the ring with heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury and manage to survive a round with all but one of my teeth, it’s fair to say that I won.

What’s baffling to me is that she wasn’t able to deliver a knockout blow.

Some of it is her inability to just be real.

Part of coming off as an authentic human being is a self-deprecating sense of humor. We saw that when Trump asked Secretary Clinton how she wanted to be addressed: “Now, in all fairness to Secretary Clinton — yes, is that OK? Good. I want you to be very happy. It’s very important to me.” It was deferential. It almost seemed sweet. (Weirdly, she didn’t adjust to the honorific, failing to tack to “Mr. Trump.”)

Hillary seems allergic to humanism. Back to the TPP, for example, she could have countered Trump’s fictional assertion she “heard what I said about [TPP], and all of a sudden you were against it” with something along the lines of: “actually, that was Bernie Sanders.”

Another awkward moment was her apology for using a private email server. This should have been a win for her. It was the first time that she expressed regret in a straightforward manner. But she clearly wanted to keep talking, to make excuses, to mitigate. It was also a missed opportunity to make an email joke.

Maybe the herd is right. Maybe it’s a simple matter of she did better, he did worse. But I keep thinking, debates are graded on a curve. She was supposed to kick his ass. Yet there he is, dead even in the polls with her.

(Ted Rall is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form.)

 

September 25, 2016

Miley Cyrus & Billy Idol: Rebel Yell (IHeart Festival 2016)

September 23, 2016

Pinksourcing With Kristen Bell — Celebs Have Issues Episode #1

AT HOME WITH THE WHITES BY TED RALL

Another police shooting of a civilian with shifting narratives, another popular uprising, this time in Charlotte, North Carolina. Once again, white Americans are tsk-tsking that African-American rioters are making themselves look bad. The thing is, peaceful protests don't attract national attention.Another police shooting of a civilian with shifting narratives, another popular uprising, this time in Charlotte, North Carolina. Once again, white Americans are tsk-tsking that African-American rioters are making themselves look bad. The thing is, peaceful protests don’t attract national attention.

September 22, 2016

New to Netflix US — October 2016

The Netflix October 2016 movies and TV titles have been announced and can be viewed below! All Netflix October 2016 titles and dates are subject to change. You can also view the titles disappearing from Netflix in October underneath. Which Netflix October 2016 titles are you looking forward to and which are you sad to see leaving the service?

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 1

A Cinderella Story (2004)
Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004)
Blue Streak (1999)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief (2008)
Fairy Tale: A True Story (1997)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Gentleman’s Agreement (1947)
Ghost Town (2008)
Grizzly Man (2005)
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
Millennium (1989)
Murder Maps: Season 2 (2015)
My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Legend of Everfree (2016)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Oriented (2015)
Patton (1970)
Picture This! (2008)
Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin (1997)
The Queen of the Damned (2002)
Quiz Show (1994)
Robotech (1985)
RV (2006)
Saving Mr. Wu (2015)
Snake Eyes (1998)
Snow Day (2000)
Sphere (1998)
Three Kings (1999)
Titanic (1997)
Unforgiven (1992)
The Uninvited (2009)
Unsealed: Alien Files: Season 4
Without a Paddle (2004)

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 3

Dheepan (2015)

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 4

American Horror Story: Hotel (Season 5)
Chevalier (2015)
Dartmoor Killing (2015)
The Flash: Season 2
The Grinder: Season 1

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 5

Arrow: Season 4

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 6

iZombie: Season 2

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 7

13TH (2016) ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Dinotrux: Season 3 ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL
The Ranch: Season 1 Part 2 ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Russell Peters: Almost Famous  NETFLIX ORIGINAL
The Siege of Jadotville (2016) ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Supernatural: Season 11

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 8

The Originals: Season 3
Vampire Diaries: Season 7

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 9

Kuromukuro: Season 2 ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Love Between the Covers (2015)

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 12

Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids (2016) NETFLIX ORIGINAL

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 13

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Season 1
Mascots (2016) ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 14

Haters Back Off!: Season 1 ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Project MC2: Season 3 ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo­Qiang (2016) ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 15

Being George Clooney (2016)
Chapo: el escape del siglo (2016)
Glitch: Season 1 ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Power Rangers Dino Super Charge: Season 1: Part 1

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 16

Dark Matter: Season 2

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 21

Black Mirror: Season 3 (Part 1) ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Containment: Season 1
Joe Rogan: Triggered ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL
The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show: Season 3  NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Word Party: Season 2 NETFLIX ORIGINAL

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 24

Doctor Foster: Season 1

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 25

Big Eyes (2014)

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 26

Jesus Camp (2006)
Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 28

7 años (2016) ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016) ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Into the Inferno (2016) ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Skylanders Academy: Season 1 ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Trailer Park Boys: Out of the Park: Europe ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 29

The Fall: Season 3 ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 31

Chewing Gum: Season 1 ­NETFLIX ORIGINAL

NETFLIX OCTOBER 2016 LAST CALL

See below for a selection of titles that will be rotating off the service in October.

LEAVING OCTOBER 1

10.0 Earthquake (2014)
Back to the Future (1985)
Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Back to the Future Part III (1990)
Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
Congo (1995)
Deep Impact (1998)
Erin Brockovich (2000)
The Exorcist (1973)
Heroes: Season 1­-4
Honey (2003)
Honey 2 (2011)
Insomnia (2002)
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001)
Mr. Deeds (2002)
My Girl (1991)
Nick of Time (1995)
The Phantom (1996)
Psych: Seasons 1-­8
The Running Man (1987)
Saturday Night Live: The 2010s: Season 38
Timeline (2003)
Uncommon Valor (1983)
The Warriors (1979)

LEAVING OCTOBER 2

The Big Green (1995)

LEAVING OCTOBER 15

Ivan the Incredible (2013)

LEAVING OCTOBER 16

Devil (2010)
Estranged (2015)

LEAVING OCTOBER 20

Marvel’s Avengers Assemble: Season 2

LEAVING OCTOBER 21

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

LEAVING OCTOBER 24

Redemption (2013)

LEAVING OCTOBER 25

The Interview (2014)

LEAVING OCTOBER 27

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)

LEAVING OCTOBER 31

The Truman Show (1998)

September 21, 2016

SYNDICATED COLUMN: What Obama Doesn’t Want You To Know About Uzbekistan by TED RALL

https://az734552.vo.msecnd.net/cache/a/c/e/2/1/3/ace213246018531091102ceeabdf2d84c461889c.jpg

Victims of the massacre at Andijon, Uzbekistan, 2005

Death is usually a sad event. The passing of a world leader, particularly one who brought stability to a tense part of the Muslim world for several decades, is typically cause for concern.

The death of Uzbekistani president Islam Karimov is not typical.

For the majority of the long-oppressed citizens of Uzbekistan, the end of one of the world’s bloodiest and most corrupt dictators — and, to our eternal shame, an American ally — is cause for joy and gleeful celebration.

The SOB died 82 years too late.

Except for the time Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain called it “a small, insignificant state…Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan,” the hell on earth created by Karimov doesn’t get much coverage in the news media. Few Americans could find this backwater on a map to save their lives. Yet Uzbekistan, once known as the underbelly of the USSR, is incredibly important. Which is why the rich and powerful – military generals, energy company executives, Hillary Clinton – know all about it.

Unfortunately for the Uzbeks, these American elites’ interest in their country has made their lives unspeakably miserable. And unless something unexpected takes place, that’s likely to continue. Which is why, during this presidential election season, American voters ought to ask the candidates most likely to win (Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump) as well as those whoshould be most likely to win (Jill Stein and Gary Johnson) how they would change American foreign policy in obscure/important places like Uzbekistan.

American policymakers care about Uzbekistan because it is an energy giant: one of the largest producers of natural gas in the world, a significant supplier of oil, and the fourth-largest source of gold in the world. Sitting smack dab in the middle of Central Asia, the nation has undeniable strategic importance. Uzbekistan has the region’s largest population, its most sophisticated infrastructure and its biggest cities: Tashkent, a city of 2.3 millionpeople, even has a subway. It also has the blockbuster tourist attractions: the Silk Road cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand should be on any world traveler’s wish list.

Uzbekistan is the only Central Asian republic with common borders with all of the others, as well as with perpetually troubled Afghanistan. Oil and gas pipelines to and from the biggest source of fossil fuels on earth, the Caspian Sea, crisscross this blisteringly hot, dry nation.

Given Uzbekistan’s tremendous oil, gas and mineral wealth and its geographically and geopolitically strategic importance, its citizens ought to enjoy a high standard of living. Instead, the average Uzbek subsists on $3 to $8 per day. Where does all that energy wealth go? Karimov, his family and cronies steal it. Gulnara Karimova, the deceased despot’s flamboyant chanteuse daughter, is accused of raking in over $1 billion in bribes from telecommunications companies seeking permits to do business. Another daughter, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, is linked to shell companies that own gaudy multimillion estates in the U.S.

Cultural and ethnic heirs to Genghis Khan’s Golden Horde, Uzbeks are neither stupid nor lazy. It requires and incredibly brutal an ruthless military and police apparatus to prevent them from rising up and overthrowing their oppressors. So this is exactly what the Karimov regime has delivered since the country became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. (Karimov kept his job as boss of the Uzbek SSR, which he scored from outgoing Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev.)

Uzbekistan is routinely awarded the world’s “Worst of the Worst” status for its extreme corruption and violations of fundamental human rights. Phones are tapped and militsia goons shake down motorists at innumerable checkpoints. Print and broadcast media are completely state-controlled. There’s a zero tolerance policy toward political opposition.

In 1999, Karimov said: “I am ready to rip off the heads of 200 people, to sacrifice their lives, for the sake of peace and tranquility in the country.” By which he meant his peace and tranquility.

Four percent of the population are subjected to slavery. At least 10,000 political prisoners are rotting in the nation’s prisons. Torture is standard and endemic; Team Karimov landed a rare spot in the news for boiling dissidents to death. In 2005, President Karimov asked security forces confronting protesters in the southern city of Andijon to wait for his arrival from the capital of Tashkent so he could personally witness and coordinate their massacre. An estimated 700 to 1200 Uzbeks were slaughtered. “People have less freedom here than under Brezhnev,” a U.S. official admitted.

Every now and then, some naïve US State Department official has issued a toothless tisk-tisk report documenting human rights abuses in Uzbekistan. But the Americans who run the show are obsessed with maintaining the country’s role in the Northern Distribution Network, a crucial aerial and ground supply line between the US and its European allies and the endless war against Afghanistan and Pakistan. They’re willing to do pretty much anything to protect the NDN — including funneling weapons to one of the most disgusting regimes on the planet.

In 2012, the Obama administration quietly lifted a post-Andijon ban on weapon sales. One major shipment included a 2015 delivery of 320 armored personnel vehicles to Karimov – exactly the kind of equipment an authoritarian state uses to crush demonstrations. “Perhaps worse than equipping a government so well-known for abuses against its own people and for its defiance of international norms with such powerful military equipment,” said Steve Swerdlow of Human Rights Watch, “is the message that the Obama administration is sending the people of Uzbekistan: that Islam Karimov has gotten away with it.”

American news accounts of Karimov’s death omitted America’s role propping him up.

It would be nice to hope that the flowers of democracy will sprout in the soil of the dictator’s grave. But years of suppression have destroyed the opposition groups that might have been able to step into power as part of a post-Karimov transition. The post-KGB security forces will continue to protect themselves and their kleptocratic bosses. Acting Uzbek presidentNigmatulla Yuldashev will no doubt call for another of the country’s sham elections, which a hand-selected member of the ruling elite is predestined to win. And Obama will keep the military aid flowing.

This is the kind of thing that causes Muslims to hate us. It’s why we are a constant target of terrorism. But nothing is going to change there unless something changes at the top here.

(Ted Rall is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form.)

September 20, 2016

ALLIED — TRAILER

NEW BEVERLY SHOCKTOBER 2016 SCHEDULE

NEW BEVERLY SHOCKTOBER 2016

If you're planning a trip to L.A., or if you already live there, get thee to the coolest arthouse cinema in the country. Drop me a line if you do. I'll be so jealous. 

September 18, 2016

Anonymous by TED RALL

Hillary Clinton won't show her speeches. Donald Trump won't release his taxes. Neither of them come forward about their health. What's next in the secrecy obsessed world of American presidential candidates?Hillary Clinton won’t show her speeches. Donald Trump won’t release his taxes. Neither of them come forward about their health. What’s next in the secrecy obsessed world of American presidential candidates?

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