Sports is an escape. We get that, right? It’s like the movies. We get excited about it – or I do – and cheer. We get excited and we get worked up. Colin Kaepernick took a stand and I had no problem with that. I do have a problem with copycats. I do have a problem with that. And I do have a problem with politicizing football. The issue was police violence aimed at African-Americans. Suddenly, it became about pro or anti-Trump. That did become a problem. You want to address an issue or just draw attention with a protest or symbolic act? I’ll defend you. You want to turn every football game into you love or hate some politician, I’ve got a problem. As C.I. would say, there’s political and then there’s partisan.
Michael McCann (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED) offers this in a story about a tape of players and owners:
The idea that NFL owners would be worried about the reaction of the President of the United States is hardly irrational. By virtue of the position, the President has significant influence over Americans, including those who might be more or less inclined to watch NFL games or buy NFL merchandise based on the President’s views. Just as relevant, the President plays a critical role in the passage of federal laws that could greatly alter existing legal structures. Such alterations could affect the business of the NFL and its teams. Further, through administrative agencies, the President shapes how laws relevant to the NFL and its owners are implemented and applied.
Along those lines, Trump has voiced serious concerns about tax laws that benefit some NFL owners. Last October, Trump tweeted, “Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!” Trump’s tweet seemingly referred to how NFL teams use tax-exempt government bonds to raise money for the construction of new stadiums. To that point, interest derived from certain kinds of municipal bonds is exempt from federal taxes. If President Trump made it a priority to lobby Congress to change relevant portions of the federal tax code or to pressure the U.S. Department of Treasury that new regulations be considered, it could lead to legal changes that are disadvantageous to owners.
Oh, they fret, do they?
This has nothing to do with Donald Trump. It does have to do with cowards. If owners don’t have the guts to stand up, that’s on them. And they’re either refusing to stand up to Donald or they’re refusing to say to the players, “We don’t want to” – in which case they are using the president as a scapegoat.
The tape could help Colin and I hope it does.
But this is about the owners and that’s where the blame should stay.
As for ending tax breaks? Absolutely. They make millions and millions from these stadiums so we should not be paying to build the king’s castles.
And another thing: The Dallas Cowboys. They’re not. They left Dallas some time ago. They shouldn’t be allowed to call themselves after a city if their stadium is no longer in that city. The Houston Oilers became the Tennessee Titans because of their move. The New England Patriots are in Foxborough which is fine. They could move to Stockbridge, Worcester, Amherst, Salem, Concord or wherever. They could even move to a bordering state and it would be okay because it’s the New England Patriots. But if they were the Boston Patriots, they would need to be in Boston. So I was shocked when we went to Texas in 2006 or 2007. I wanted to see where the Dallas Cowboys were. They are one of the most famous teams in the country for decades now. So I get taken to . . . Irving, Texas. A much smaller city (town?). And I was so disappointed because they weren’t in Dallas. I’m sure Irving is wonderful and great but call them the Irving Cowboys.
So there’s a rant and then some.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Thursday, April 26, 2018. The war continues as does the disinformation campaign.
The people attacking Kanye West aren't very smart.
The people attacking Kanye West aren't very smart.
Obama was in office for eight years and nothing in Chicago changed.
Obama Ended the War in Iraq: Ordered all U.S. military forces out of the country. Last troops left on December 18, 2011.
No, they didn't.
Vivek, I'm sorry that you're such a dumb piece of s**t who, all these years later, still can't learn a thing. Clearly, you have some desire to be deceived if, at this late date, you're still repeating these falsehoods.
You like roses and kisses and pretty men to tell you
All those pretty lies pretty lies
When you gonna realize they're only pretty lies
Only pretty lies just pretty lies
-- "The Last Time I Saw Richard," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on BLUE
All those pretty lies, Vivek needs to hear all those pretty lies.
There was no withdrawal, Vivek. It was a "drawdown." Even the US Defense Dept called it that. A drawdown is not a withdrawal and DoD does understand the difference.
Had you paid attention in real time, you might have caught what was actually taking place. In the December 12, 2011 snapshot we noted this:
MR. KOPPEL: I realize you can't go into it in any detail, but I would assume that there is a healthy CIA mission here. I would assume that JSOC may still be active in this country, the joint special operations. You've got FBI here. You've got DEA here. Can, can you give me sort of a, a menu of, of who all falls under your control?
AMB. JAMES JEFFREY: You're actually doing pretty well, were I authorized to talk about half of this stuff.
JSOC -- Joint Special Operations Command. That's US military, Vivek.
Or from the December 13, 2011 snapshot:
Today on Talk of the Nation (NPR -- link has audio and text), Ted Koppel and host Neal Conan discussed the Iraq War and what's being billed as a US withdrawal. Excerpt.
CONAN: Though the president cheers his accomplishment, you say not so fast.
KOPPEL: I do say not so fast, and I think he knows better. But he's right, he did make the campaign promise to get all the troops out, and all the troops will be out, save 157 who will be guarding the embassy, and a few hundred U.S. military trainers. But as you pointed out, 16 to 17 thousand others will be remaining behind, and the extraordinary thing, Neal, is we're hearing echoes now of what we heard nine years ago. You know, we can't have that smoking gun be a mushroom cloud. No one is actually using that particular formulation anymore, but the fear of nuclear weapons. The danger of a nation that is supporting terrorism. Oil, which was the great unspoken issue in 2002 and 2003, very much a part of this. The difference, of course, now is that the target is Iran, not Iraq. But the two are very close to one another, and the fact of the matter is that Iran is exercising an enormous influence throughout Iraq. And the oil fields, which have under the surface, they have something - I believe it's the second-largest reserves of any country in the world. That's all very close to Iran, and if Iran were to exercise significant political, let alone military, control in that region, together with their own oil and gas, they would have the capacity to wreak havoc on Western economies.
You missed that, Vivek? What a great brag for you. No, US forces did not all leave Iraq. And the fact that the CIA remained in Iraq tells you even more. Private contractors remained as well. The way the US occupies a country was changing before your eyes but you chose not to see. And now you show up to attack Kanye who, please note, didn't even mention Iraq in the Tweet you 'responded' to. Vivek is both uninformed and unable to debate.
Vivek just likes pretty men who tell him pretty lies.
Meanwhile, Jeff Schogol (TASK AND PURPOSE) reports:
The violence continues in Iraq. Nehal Mostafa (IRAQI NEWS) reports, "Five police personnel were killed, injured in an attack launched by Islamic State members, south of Kirkuk, an informed security source said on Thursday."
Kurd Election Official Assassinated; 10 Killed in Iraq At least 10 people were killed, and nine were wounded in other violence: In Erbil, four gunmen attacked and assassinated Fars Mohammed, the general-director of administration for the electoral comm... therussophile.org/kurd-election-… pic.twitter.com/CFm2pGwBUD
In other news . . .
May 12th, elections are supposed to take place in Iraq. Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) notes, "A total of 24 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their ballots to elect members of parliament, who will in turn elect the Iraqi president and prime minister." RUDAW adds, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs." AFP explains that the nearly 7,000 candidates includes 2014 women. RUDAW also notes that 60 Christian candidates are competing for the five allotted minority seats. The chief issues? Mustapha Karkouti (GULF NEWS) identifies them as follows, "Like in previous elections, the main concerns of ordinary Iraqis continue to be the lack of security and the rampant corruption."
As noted in the April 3rd snapshot, pollster Dr. Munqith Dagher has utilized data on likely voters and predicts that Hayder al-Abadi's Al-Nasr will win 72 seats in the Parliament, al-Fath (the militias) will get 37 seats, Sa'eroon (Moqtada al-Sadr's new grouping) will get 27 seats, Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law will get 19 seats, al-Salam will get 18 seats (KDP and PUK parties for the Kurds), Ayad Allawi's Wataniya will get 15 seats. There are others but Dagher did not predict double digits for any of the other seats. The number are similar for the group of those who are extremely likely to vote (Hayder's seats would jump from 72 to 79 seats). Other predictions? The Middle East Insstitute's Fanar Haddad insists to Sammy Ketz (AFP) that the post of prime minister will come down to one of three people: Hayder al-Abadi (current prime minister), Nouri al-Maliki (two time prime minister and forever thug) or Hadi al-Ameria "a leader of Hashed al-Shaabi, a paramilitary network that played a pivotal role in defeating IS. Ameri comes from Diyala province and is a statistics graduate from Baghdad University. He fled to Iran in 1980 after Saddam executed top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Sadr. The 64-year old is widely viewed as Tehran's favoured candidate."
One of the new elements this election cycle has been the efforts to smear female candidates. This week, Seth J. Frantzman (JERUSALEM POST) reported:
IRAQ’S 2005 constitution reserves a quarter of the seats in parliament for women, but in practice, women hold only about 17%. In this election women candidates, who feature prominently on many electoral posters, have been targeted by misogynistic attacks. A purported sex video circulated online ended the candidacy of Prof. Intidhar Ahmed Jassim, a member of Abadi’s party. Another video of Dr. Heshu Rebwar Ali, a KDP candidate, was circulated allegedly showing her in a short dress.
In another bizarre episode, two tribes in Najaf came into conflict after a video showed a 20-year old male from one tribe kissing the campaign poster of a female candidate from the other. In the end, $84,000 was paid to satisfy the “honor” of the woman’s tribe. The instances of targeting women illustrates the use of salacious rumors to harm candidates and tends to target successful women, reducing their chances of running and of other women’s willingness to do so.
And, last Friday, we noted:
The Victory (Nasr) Coalition of Haider al-Abadi has withdrawn the candidacy of one of its members after an alleged sex tape of her was circulated online. The candidate said the video is a fake and a plot against her, but has submitted her resignation.
“Every faction and coalition reserves the right to revoke the [membership] of any candidate who does not meet the laws and conditions. This female candidate has worked contrary to the laws of the Nasr Coalition,” Hussein al-A’dily, spokesperson for the list told Rudaw.
The candidate, Intidhar Ahmed Jassim, is a professor of economy and administration at al-Muntansaryah University in Baghdad and has a PhD in the same field. She is married and has three children.
She said the video shared online allegedly showing her having sex with another man is a fake.
“Some fake pages, supported by some parties, talked about a fabricated and photo-shopped video to ruin my reputation. I don’t ever fall. Iraq progresses forward,” she posted on Facebook.
She reminded her followers that she has served Iraq as a professor for a long time and has held other positions as well.
In response to these attacks and smears, one government issued a statement.
The Embassy of Canada condemns the public defamation campaigns that have been specifically targeting women candidates in the parliamentary elections, Please check the link: facebook.com/CanadainIraq/p…
The following community sites -- plus BLACK AGENDA REPORT, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS and DISSIDENT VOICE -- updated: