Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch passed away.  The actress and sex symbol had a noted career.  She was 82.  PEOPLE magazine notes:

Welch "passed away peacefully early this morning after a brief illness," her manager Steve Sauer confirmed to PEOPLE on Wednesday.

Sauer added, "Her career spanned over 50 years starring in over 30 films and 50 television series and appearances. The Golden Globe winner, in more recent years, was involved in a very successful line of wigs. Raquel leaves behind her two children, son Damon Welch and her daughter Tahnee Welch.

Welch made her film debut in the mid 1960s, with breakout roles in 1966's Fantastic Voyage and One Million Years B.C. that same year.

She would go on to star in dozens of films, including 1973's The Three Musketeers, which earned her a Golden Globe for best actress in a motion picture comedy or musical.

Some people thought she was a nightmare or worse.  I thought she was a very smart woman.  I knew her casually through C.I.  One time, she was complaining about THE LAST OF SHEILA and how some of her co-stars portrayed her.  C.I.'s response was that Raquel did what she needed to get the results she wanted "and you won."  "I did, didn't I?"  she asked smiling.

Every role she landed was a battle and she fought.  She was a very strong woman.  I'll talk about her films in a moment.  But she was on PBS' AMERICAN FAMILY and I really want to note that because it was the last type of performance you would expect from Raquel Welch but she pulled it off.  She was so much more talented than most people grasped -- especially early in her career. 

The films FANTASTIC VOYAGE and ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. made her famous around the world, a poster-girl, a sex symbol and so much more.  She could have coasted on that but instead she went for more. 

She could act, she could dance, she could sing.  And she could thrive -- even on the set of HANNIE CAULDER -- and turn in a brilliant performance.

If you're not familiar with her work, there's a great deal out there for you to sample.  I'm going to note ten films.


Pretty much everyone hated this film in 1970.  Which may be why it's considered a bomb financially even now.  But it brought in four million in film rentals in North America alone -- film rentals, not tickets sold (film rentals to to the studio whereas ticket sales are split between the studio and theaters).  It had a five million shooting budget and there's no way it did not do crazy box office overseas.  It's a lot like Dennis Hopper's THE LAST MOVIE in that it's an anti-film film.  Based upon Gore Vidal's novel, the film goes on to deconstruct the movies.  It's unique and different enough that it is worth checking out.  Raquel commits to the role and doesn't wink to the camera -- rather amazing considering the subject matter (Myra, Raquel's character, was born as Myron).  Farrah Fawcett, Tom Selleck and Mae West are also in the film.

2) BEDAZZLED was released in 1967.  Raquel is the sin of Lust and she's hilarious.  Dudley Moore and Peter Cook were a team of professional comedians but she holds her own with them in this film.   Film rentals on this film, considered a hit, were $1.7 million in North America -- factor that in when evaluation the financial success of MYRA (see above).

3) 1967's FATHOM has Raquel as a spy.  Don't try to make sense of the plot, just follow along for the action, the make up and the clothes.  Very stylish.

4) LADY IN CEMENT (1967) teams her with Frank Sinatra who continues his character Tony Rome from the 1967 film of that name.  He is a private detective and this an attempt at film noir in color.  Raquel and Frank had real chemistry onscreen.

5) THE LAST OF SHEILA (1973) is probably the film that, across the board, everyone can agree was a classic.  It's a who-done-it penned by Tony Perkins and Stephen Sondhiem.  Dyan Cannon nearly steals the show in her Sue Mengeres parody but Raquel holds her own with Dyan, Joan Hackett, Richard Benjamin and others.  It's the truth game carried to the extreme.  

6) THE THREE MUSKETEERS and 7) THE FOUR MUSKETEERS -- grouped that way because they were made on the same shoot.  Richard Lester directed both. He is a great director (I love SUPERMAN II).  I also love Alexandre Dumas (he wrote the original novel) and the candy bar but despite that, confession, I always have to look up the spelling of "Musketeer" -- I always want to put an "a" after the "k."  Faye Dunaway and Raquel are great as are Charlton Heston, Oliver Reed, Michael York and Christopher Lee but big applause for Geraldine Chaplin and Richard Chamberlain.  The latter succeeds in this in a way that he rarely did in films It's not that he couldn't act -- he could -- but his type was so earnest and that really didn't work for modern day stories.  If they could have come up with even something like the roles Jimmy Stewart played in the first two decades of his film career, Richard Chamberlain would have had a lot more success in film.  

8) MOTHER JUGS AND SPEED is another comedy she did very well in.  The 1976 film was a huge hit and stars her, Bill Cosby, Harvey Keitel and Larry Hagman.  Her comedy skills really deserve a re-evaluation.  

9) 2001's TORTILLA SOUP directed by Maria Ripoll.  Another comedy where she holds her own.  Also a film directed by a woman.  Jessica Lange and Diane Keaton are two actresses who do not have to worry but the same cannot be said for all.  I think a number of actresses from that period are going to have to answer -- after they're gone -- on why they refused to work with female directors -- especially if those actresses also were producers on their own films.

10) HANNIE CAULDER.  Especially after EASY RIDER remade the motorcycle film, a lot of people tried to transform the western genre.  This 1971 film was one of the few to succeed.

So there are ten films to sample and Raquel has many more worth viewing.  She was not really appreciated in her time but she was a very strong actress and she had a career that she shaped and steered, not one that was handed to her.

Welch earned a Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy after starring in 1973’s "The Three Musketeers." She revealed winning the award was one of her proudest career achievements.
"Every single [film] contributed to my [transition]," she told Fox News Digital. 

"I played a lot of action figures, like in Westerns… I carried a gun, I was a very formidable woman who could handle herself, who could ride and shoot… I also showed myself in a lot of different periods of time… I worked in Spain for a lot of the Westerns, which is where most American Westerns were filmed."


She capitalized on her fame in the mid-’70s with a long-running nightclub musical act/one-woman show in Las Vegas. Then in 1981, Welch parlayed those musical skills when she replaced Lauren Bacall in Broadway’s “Woman of the Year,” a musical adaptation of the George Stevens movie. In 1997, she followed Julie Andrews and Liza Minnelli in Broadway’s “Victor/Victoria.” A supporting role in the 2001 movie “Legally Blonde” seemingly heralded the beginning of her “legacy talent” phase, beloved in the present for people’s memories of her past work. But a fascinating transformation occurred as Welch entered her 60s: She was finally able to play the Latina characters she’d been advised against portraying in the early part of her career.

In 2001’s “Tortilla,” Maria Ripoli’s recasting of “Eat Drink Man Woman” as a dramatic comedy about a Mexican American family, she played Hortensia, the mother of one of the main characters. At the same time, she played Aunt Dora in Gregory Nava’s groundbreaking PBS series “American Family,” the first U.S. drama series to star a predominantly Latinx cast. At long last she was able to represent her heritage, even winning an Imagen Award for her efforts in positively promoting Hispanic and Latino representation.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Wednesday, February 15, 2023. On the 20th anniversary of a global protest, we're supposed to want to participate in an upcoming DC 'action' that would have us link arms with racists and homophobes and a convicted pedophile (supposedly dropped out) as well as the man who first put the false link between Iraq  and 911 on the cover of THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Starting with some e-mails.  

Chrissy Lynn Hedges.  Goodness me, didn't realize I'd stepped into a ''hornets's nest'' as 15 e-mails all saying the same thing but supposedly from 15 different people insist I have.  Chris Hedges is for the DC action, didn't I know?

Better question: Why would I care?

Honestly, are you that stupid?  

I get it, education is hard.  Since the system clearly failed you, let's do some remedial lessons.

First off, I called out Chrissy Lynn -- Crazy Lynn? -- on that last book where he was horrified and clutching the pearls over the novel 50 SHADES OF GREY.  Oh, the horror.  

Talk about someone unable to big picture it.

More to the point, I have been very kind to Chris over the years but when he's nutso, I've pointed it out.

Like, sorry Maxy Pads Blumenthal, when Chris tied Iraq into the attack on 9/11.

What's that?  You thought that was Judith Miller?

No, kids, it was Chris.  He got that lie on the cover of THE NEW YORK TIMES. 

November 8, 2001 believe that's Chris Hedges' name on "A NATION CHALLENGED: THE SCHOOL; Defectors Cite Iraqi Training For Terrorism."  You might have to search the title to find out, THE TIMES changes that article's URL from time to time -- as we've been noting since 2006.  

The whole article is garbage and Chris typed up what he was fed:

Two defectors from Iraqi intelligence said yesterday that they had worked for several years at a secret Iraqi government camp that had trained Islamic terrorists in rotations of five or six months since 1995.

They said the training in the camp, south of Baghdad, was aimed at carrying out attacks against neighboring countries and possibly Europe and the United States.

The defectors, one of whom was a lieutenant general and once one of the most senior officers in the Iraqi intelligence service, the Mukhabarat, said they did not know if the Islamic militants being trained at the camp, known as Salman Pak, were linked to Osama bin Laden.

They also said they had no knowledge of specific attacks carried out by the militants. But they insisted that those being trained as recently as last year were Islamic radicals from across the Middle East. An interview of the two men was set up by an Iraqi group that seeks the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein.

The defectors said they knew of a highly guarded compound within the camp where Iraqi scientists, led by a German, produced biological agents.

''There is a lot we do not know,'' the former general, who spoke on condition that his name not be printed, admitted. ''We were forbidden to speak about our activities among each other, even off duty. But over the years you see and hear things. These Islamic radicals were a scruffy lot. They needed a lot of training, especially physical training. But from speaking with them it was clear they came from a variety of countries, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria, Egypt and Morocco. We were training these people to attack installations important to the United States. The gulf war never ended for Saddam Hussein. He is at war with the United States. We were repeatedly told this.''

Jack Fairweather's "Heroes in Error" (MOTHER JONES, March/April 2006) debunked Chris' article and reminded everyone of how damaging those lies were:

The impact of the article and the concurrent Frontline show, “Gunning for Saddam,” was immediate: Op-eds ran in major papers, and the story was taken to a wider audience through cable-TV talk shows. When Condoleezza Rice, then George W. Bush’s national security adviser, was asked about the story at a press briefing, she said, “I think it surprises no one that Saddam Hussein is engaged in all kinds of activities that are destabilizing.” Vanity Fair and the London Observer elaborated on Ghurairy’s claims; another version of the story appeared in the Washington Post courtesy of defector Khodada. The White House included the story of Salman Pak in its “Decade of Deception and Defiance” background paper prepared for President Bush’s September 12, 2002, speech to the United Nations General Assembly. Along with the tale of Mohammed Atta meeting Iraqi intelligence agents in Prague—another INC-hyped story—Ghurairy’s account helped establish the connection between Saddam and the 9/11 hijackers, making Iraq, like Afghanistan, a legitimate target for Bush’s war on terror.
Unfortunately, the story was an elaborate scam. The purported general had indeed met with American intelligence agents in Turkey, but unbeknownst to Hedges the agents had dismissed his claims out of hand. What the reporters also didn’t know, and what has never before been reported, is that it now appears that the man himself was a fake. According to an ex-INC official, the Ghurairy who met with the Times and PBS was actually a former Iraqi sergeant, then living in Turkey and known by the code name Abu Zainab. The real Lt. General Ghurairy, it seems, had never left Iraq.

Does Chris talk about that?  Have you heard him, a speech maker, give a speech and take accountability?  Nope.  He just tries to sweep under the rug.  And he was given two sources.  They were both fakes and liars.  Jack Fairweather was able to expose one.  Chris has never felt compelled to come forward with the name of the other.

The false link between 9/11 and Iraq did more to move support for that illegal war than anything else.

And Chris is part of that lie.

When does he plan to take accountability?

I have no idea but it's been over 20 years now.  

So if I'm in a hornets nest  -- or as all15 spelled it "hornets's nest" --  because I disagree with Chris Hedges?  Honey, I've been in that hornets' nest for decades and I certainly won't make it a point to take advice on how to end war from someone who spread the lie that the 9/11 hijackers were connected to Iraq -- spread the lie and never apologized for it.

Others e-mailing want to tell me that I'm on the side of Ukraine.

Oh, I'm sorry.  Is that your talking point today?  It's not accurate.  I hit back when Ann Wright -- brave Ann Wright -- was sliming and slamming Russia.  I called it -- and her -- out.  

I'm not a fan of Putin's but the attack on Russia wasn't about that.  It was the US demonizing and I don't take part in demonizing a people.  Or blaming them for their awful governments -- we have a pretty awful one in the US, for example.

You've got a bad action with bad actors due to take place in DC that Chris and others will be participating in and you've got -- as Ann pointed out last night -- idiots like Anaya Parampil huffing the people of color (she means African-Americans, she's chiding Black Alliance for Peace) should have called up WACK JOBS and said, "I want to be part of your rally."  No, that's not accurate.  You're the one supposedly trying to build a movement so it was incumbent upon you, as the organizers, to invite people.

And, here's the thing, Anaya, you did invite who you wanted.  You just didn't invite any African-Americans.  

And now that's supposed to be their problem and a reflection on them and not your problem and a reflection on you.

Trash, tell it to someone who hasn't spent the last years calling out all of your White White White YOUTUBE programs for refusing to bring on African-Americans as guests. 

I don't work on the plantation, guys.  I don't seek the approval of your White-White world.

I survived the original online circle-jerk -- survived and exposed it -- back in the '00s. I'm the one who killed CJR's 'blog report.'  The ultimate circle jerk.  It took one phone call. Then it was explained to the CJR kids that CJR does not exist for them to highlight their personal friends and certainly not to do that while not disclosing that is what they are doing.  That was the end of CJR DAILY doing their circle jerk.

I survived that original circle jerk so, no, the Jimmy Dore circle jerk doesn't worry me.

And, to be clear, again I'm not sure the problem is Jimmy Dore.  The problem is going to YOUTUBE and having to find this program and that program with a YOUTUBE video about poor Jimmy Dore and who picked on him this time.  

Maybe Jimmy's not asking for that?  Maybe people are just sucking up to him?

But it looks like a cult and it harms him more than it could ever help him.

Contrast that with Katie Halper.

Where's her cult of personality?

No where to be found.  And when Ana Kasparian went after her, no one really stood up for Katie.

We did.  We immediately stopped highlighting Ana's JACOBIAN podcast.  We called her out.  And we waited for others to do the same.

To this day, people don't seem to grasp what Ana did to Katie.  She didn't just go off on her on the JACOBIAN podcast, she went off on her with Nando Vila right next to her (Ana).  One day of the week, Nando's (again) on THE KATIE HALPER SHOW and then, days later, he's on with Ana when she goes off on Katie.

That destroyed a working relationship.  

Katie didn't cry.  She didn't send out, "Please defend me" distress signals.  

She dusted herself off and continued her work.

What Ana did was wrong -- and put JACOBIAN in a bad spot.  But including Nando on it was even more wrong.

I have so much respect for Katie over that.  And I also have respect for Chris Hedges because he does a lot of work worth praising.  But I'm not enlisted in anyone's army and I don't take marching orders from anyone.  That is independence.

I wish that you'd make up your mind
I wish that you'd decide
That I should live as freely
As those who live outside
Cause we also are entitled
To the rights to be endowed
And when I've got something to say, sir
I'm gonna say it now
Ooh, you'd like to be my father
You'd like to be my Dad
And give me kisses when I'm good
And spank me when I'm bad
But since I've left my parents
I've forgotten how to bow
So when I've got something to say, sir
I'm gonna say it now
-- "I'm Going To Say It Now," written by Phil Ochs, first appears on his PHIL OCHS IN CONCERT album.

Somewhere, Caleb Maupin is missing the point of the song, just registering the 'spank me' and moaning as he self-pleasures.  Oh, well, whatever gets you through the night, Caleb.

Sorry, I'm independent and I won't be co-opted or silenced.  You picked the wrong person to try to intimidate.  

And I am on record opposing sending all that money to Ukraine.  I am on record opposing the US-installed Nazi regime.  I love the people of Ukraine but I'm no fan of their 'leaders.'  And I'm not fan of Putin.  But we saw from the start that this was not just events mindlessly taking place but a real effort by the US government to force Russia's hand.  We saw and called it out when people like Ann Wright -- now aboard the peace train -- were attacking Russia.  

So find someone else to hang that on.  

I've had my say and now I'm through
I've just got to get myself away from you
You've twisted and you've turned my mind
Because of all the dark I find inside of you
'Side of you, got to let me lie

Burn your hatred out on someone else

I don't need the things you say
You're bringing me down every day
As well as you
We're at the crossroads wet with tears
And I don't want to spend my years hating you
Hating you, got to let me lie

Burn your hatred out on someone else
-- "Burn Your Hatred," written by Graham Nash, first recorded by Cass Elliot for her album DREAM A LITTLE DREAM

I'll never stand with Scott Ritter.  A convicted pedophile. That disgusting people like Tara Reade and Chris Hedges and Max Blumenthal and Medea Benjamin did is a reflection of them. 

"We need a big coalition."  My coalition does not include people who assault others.

If your coalition includes that then you've got a lot to be responsible for.  

And personally,  I was in single-digit years when I was kidnapped and raped.  I'm not Tara Reade.  She's so narcissistic  that her assault is just about her.  Didn't learn a thing about others.  The ME in Me-Too.  I'm not Tara.  I know real hurt and I will never do anything to risk that anyone else go through that.  

And if Jimmy Dore hadn't started promoting Scott Ritter, we'd still be noting him (Jimmy) here -- whether I agreed with him or not in whichever video.  Didn't set out to be in opposition to Jimmy.  And, if you'll remember, my original complaint when they started bringing that convicted sex offender on was only that they weren't disclosing it to their audiences.  That shows an extreme disrespect for your audience, to bring on a registered sex offender and present him as a good and rational voice and not as the threat that the courts see him as.  And for those of us who have suffered an assault, it's very offensive that you think this type of a person and promoting this type of a person is more important than supporting your audience which does include a lot of survivors.  

Male and female. 

Since they were so 'triggered' -- these con artists who'd rather stand with a convicted sex offender -- by what Black Alliance for Peace said, let's note it one more time:

The Final Deathblow to Imperialism Will Only Come Under The Leadership of  The Organized Colonized Masses

Efforts to marginalize, disregard, and erase the presence of radical Black-, Brown-, and Indigenous-led anti-imperialist organizations, as well as our political positions, is proving to be endemic to the politics of too many who consider themselves radical anti-imperialist and anti-war activists. For this reason, the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) reiterates that the peoples who bear the brunt of the brutal and lethal practices of U.S. imperialism are at the forefront of the struggle to dismantle the global system of white supremacist, patriarchal capitalism.

The colonized within the U.S. settler state see more clearly than the privileged the holistic nature of the system as well as the interdependencies between our domestic repression and U.S. wars abroad. Some forces that claim to be anti-war have an unsophisticated understanding of peace.

We understand that peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather the achievement, by popular struggle and self-defense, of a world liberated from the interlocking issues of global conflict, nuclear armament, and unjust war. A condition for real peace is the defeat of global systems of oppression that include colonialism, imperialism, patriarchy and white supremacy. Anyone with genuine concern for the well-being of humanity and the planet should be deeply concerned that some supposed “leftist” forces consider it easier to find common cause with right wing libertarian forces than with the Black radical movement, as BAP Coordinating Committee member Jacqueline Luqman writes in this Black Agenda Report piece.

And as Chair of the BAP Coordinating Committee, Ajamu Baraka points out

The white left in the U.S. is deeply delusional. Elements of the left actually believe a radical movement leading to revolutionary change will be led by white activists with Black & colonized people as backdrops. #AntiWarSoWhite

We cannot afford any confusion, complicity, silence, or outright collaboration with some “liberal/left” forces on armed intervention into Haiti, the reactionary role of NATO, the intensification of state repression in the United States, the plight of the working class being subjected to an induced recession, and austerity. For BAP, all of these contradictions reaffirm why it is absolutely necessary for colonized people to be organized or face an inescapable subjugation and eventual annihilation. The comfortable will dismiss this as hyperbole.

We—the colonized, the exploited, the oppressed—are in the midst of a war. It is clear that the colonial-capitalist rulers will continue to deceive, mislead and co-opt to maintain their dominance. Our responsibility in opposition is to keep the focus on the imperialists and not be confused by the machinations of their supporters. That task and responsibility will continue to inform our work in 2023.

Tara Reade, if you missed it, is now so far gone that she's reTweeting US House Rep and professional hate merchant Marjorie Taylor Greene.  Marjie?  Alex Bollinger (LGBTQ NATION) reports on MTG's latest hate spew:

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) denounced marriage equality as a sign that Democrats have “turned their backs on God.”

She then made comments about how 9/11 proves that an aircraft crashing isn’t dangerous for people on the ground. 

“The truth is being canceled, it’s being attacked like never before,” Greene told the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, delivering the keynote speech at the group’s Lincoln Day Dinner on February 11. “And if you don’t love the truth, then you don’t love God.”

She said that “these people in Washington” – a group that includes herself – have “turned their back on the truth and they turned their back on God.”

She then said that House Democrats voted twice to pass a bill legalizing murdering babies “up until the date of birth” as a sign of Democrats turning their backs on God.

“They passed a bill to make it a federal law to protect gay marriage,” Greene then complained. “Marriage is between a man and a woman, and that’s between God and a man and a woman.”

That's who Tara Reade is reTweeting and embracing.  She thinks there's a come-back from this?  There isn't.  You've made your selection and you'll continue to the register and begin paying for your purchase.  No one is going to stand with you anymore -- no one who's not a hate merchant.  It's over, fatty, no one cares anymore.  I happen to think Joe Biden did assault you but I just don't care now that you've used the platform and support people gave you to try to normalize a hate merchant like MTG.  

A real action took place 20 years ago today.  Lindsey German (GUARDIAN) explains:

No one can say they weren’t warned. Mass opposition to wars tends to emerge only after they have been waged for some time, yet protests against the Iraq war reached unprecedented heights well before it began. On 15 February 2003, the largest demonstration in British history took place in London, attended by an estimated 1.5 million to 2 million people. It was also part of the largest ever international anti-war protest, with perhaps as many as 30 million people demonstrating across every continent.

The march itself was a carnival of resistance. There were people of every age, race, religion and nationality, from huge numbers of school students to members of the Muslim community and other faith organisations and trade unionists. There were tens of thousands of banners and placards ranging from “make tea not war” to “not in my name”. Part of the reason for the sheer size of the march was that people thought that being there in person, as individuals, really could make a difference and convince the government not to go to war.

This turned out not to be the case. The march and the wider anti-war movement did not stop the war. And we still live with the consequences of both the conflict itself, and the rejection of democratic accountability demonstrated by the government.

That was real action.   And that didn't end the war -- US troops are still there even though most Americans are unaware and couldn't tell you when the last US service member died there (last December) or who it was (Marine Staff Sgt Samuel D. Lecce).  I think protests are important.  I don't believe we throw away our ethics to stand with convicted sex offenders who prey on children.  Three arrests now.  It was patehtic when it was only one known arrest back in the early '00s and you idiots were defending him.  It's now been three arrests.  He's gone to prison.  He's been found guilty in a court of law.  He's lied repeatedly about what happened.  And yet that's who you want to stand with and you want to ignore his hatred and the threat that he actually is.  

You can say you're doing it for peace or 'anti-war,' but you're lying.  And it's really nice of the White White White Straight Straight Nothings to decide that it's more important to stand with a pedophile and more important to promote homophobes and those who attack women's reproductive rights.  You're 'big tent' has forced most of us out.  And that's on you, you planned this party, you invited the guests you wanted.

The following sites updated: