Thursday, April 26, 2018

The NFL and other things

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.

Obama was in office for eight years and nothing in Chicago changed.
Replying to 
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:

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:

ISIS may have lost most of its self-declared caliphate, but a new jihadist group is trying to rise from ISIS’ ashes in northern Iraq.
The group, whose name is translated from Arabic as “the White Banner” or “the White Flags,” is an ISIS-offshoot that is located primarily around Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu, said Army Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
“Whether they or not they call themselves a different name, they still have ISIS elements and they are still targets for the coalition and for the Iraqi security forces,” Dillon said during a Tuesday news conference. “I know that the Iraqi security forces recognize this group and have aggressively pursued them.”

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...

In other news . . .

. delegation to Washington of , , met with DAS for Iran and Iraq to discuss outlook for Iraqi elections and developments in the region

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."

Candidates across Iraq’s Anbar province are campaigning for the upcoming elections.

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:

RUDAW reports:

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:

The following community sites -- plus BLACK AGENDA REPORT, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS and DISSIDENT VOICE -- updated:


  • She's got a charge for that

    It never ends with Hillary Clinton.  THE DAILY MAIL reports:

  • The Clintons took in $250million for the Clinton Foundation before the former secretary of state announced she was running for president
  • Clinton's aides said that the money was her only daughter Chelsea's 'nest egg'
  • One of Bill Clinton's closest aides claimed it had paid for Chelsea's wedding, which the ex-president later used Twitter to decry as 'an insult' 
  • Clinton Foundation is being investigated by the FBI over a possible pay-to-play scheme while Clinton was Secretary of State 
  • The book Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns and One Intact Glass Ceiling lifts the lid on the Clinton fundraising machine
  • Even under-16s had to pay to ask her questions and a family photo with Hillary cost $10,000 


    A little kid asks Hillary a question, she's got her hand out for money.

    If she were a baseball player and not a politician, people would be booing her and spitting on her.  And that's actually what they should do when they see Hillary.'

    The Clinton Foundation should be shut down.

    They both need to step off the national stage.  Bill and Hillary have nothing to show for their 'charity.'  And Bill looks like he's seriously ill.

    But Hillary especially needs to go.  She has no charm.  

    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Can someone explain why our troops are in Iraq and Afghanistan? 🤷🏽‍♀️

    An Australian asks the right question.  It's a question we should be asking in the US?  Those in the United Kingdom and Canada are among the citizens of other countries who should be asking the question.

    In the US, we can't ask the question apparently.  We're too busy with stupidity like this.

    why does it matter public editor position eliminated? bc it was the looming threat back in 2004 that the NYT public editor was going to publish major evaluation of the paper's botched WMD coverage that forced editors to finally address issue themselves;

    As usual, Eric doesn't know what he's talking about.  But then, little Eric isn't mentioned in Daniel Okrent's book.  I am (and have known that since the book came out, PUBLIC EDITOR #1, but we haven't noted him in the time since so there was no need to make that disclosure).  Okrent did a good piece but it was not a major piece.  (Compare it to the similar piece by Howard Kurtz for THE WASHINGTON POST -- Kurtz had cooperation with his paper's employees.)  Okrent wrote that piece because of a community member.  He had been called out by the member.  When he first started as the paper's public editor (ombudsperson), he noted he would not go into Iraq or any other past events.  He broke that when he covered the Tonys before the paper did.  He went back to their previous coverage (he felt it had been too much) and did so before the latest nominees were announced.  Having done that, he was confronted with an e-mail about the hypocrisy of his stand.  Because of that -- he may not have agreed with the point but he did see how it could be seen as a double standard -- Daniel Okrent did a column on the Iraq War.

    This did force the paper to do a limited review -- with the promise of more that never came -- of their coverage leading up to the Iraq War -- which they rushed out ahead of the column Okrent did.

    That's what happened.  Again, Eric was doing nothing of value back then.  That's sort of the story of his career, isn't it?  And those thinking Big Brave Eric is so wonderful for sticking up for Hillary Clinton for the last two or so years should remember that Eric did nothing to call out the very real sexism that Hillary experienced on a daily basis in 2008.  He's always worthless.

    For example, this go round, he links to the NYT editors' piece but not Okrant piece.

    I'd tell Eric to go f**k himself but, let's face it, he's never stopped doing that. Which is why he can only stare into the past and can't deal with Iraq and NYT today.  Sinan Atoon's  "How NYT took part in the plunder of Iraq" (ALJAZEERA) addresses a very real issue that's current, one that Eric might get around to in twenty or so years.  Or not.

    Staying with criticism, SOFREP reports criticism the central government out of Baghdad is making regarding a decision by the US government:

    Once again the United States is stepping up to handle the salaries of the Peshmerga despite Iraqi criticism and their apparent inability or unwillingness to do it themselves. The United States will be giving the Ministry of Peshmerga approximately $365 million this year over several installments. The ministry confirmed they have received the first on and will be using it this week to fund Peshmerga wages. This is not the first time the United States has had to step in and provide wages for Kurdistan’s forces because of Iraqi central government negligence.
    An Iraqi Minister of Parliament, Firdaws al-Awadi, has expressed that the United States providing financial aid to the Peshmerga will insight rebellion in Kurdistan. Firdaws al-Awadi is part of the State of Law Coalition which is run by Nouri al-Maliki. Maliki is the former prime minister and  current Iraqi vice president. Awadi said, “Delivering financial aid for the Peshmerga from a bank account in the US shows disrespect to the sovereignty of Iraq and is an encouragement for the Peshmerga to rebel against the Iraqi government. Delivering this money to an armed national force in Iraq without knowledge of the Iraqi government is a big problem.” Her implication is that the United States is potentially funding an armed coup.
    There are many who will argue that this should have been done all along.  But certainly the fact that the Peshmerga isn't being funded post 2008 is an issue with historical implications that thug Nouri's partner Firdaws al-Awadi elects to ignore.  Sawa, SOI (and DOI), "Awakenings."  Remember them?  Sunni fighters.  Largely Sunni -- we covered the David Petreaus hearing where he said there was more than Sunnis in the group, "there are now over 91,000 Sons of Iraq -- Shia as well as Sunni -- under contract to help Coalition and Iraqi Forces protect their neighborhoods and secure infrastructure and roads. These volunteers have contributed significantly in various areas, and the savings in vehicles not lost because of reduced violence -- not to mention the priceless lives saved -- have far outweighed the cost of their monthly contracts."

    That snapshot also noted then-Senator Barbara Boxer's comments and questions including that the US government was paying the Awakenings -- $18 million a month.  Boxer: "I asked you why they couldn't pay for it. . . . I don't want to argue a point. . . I'm just asking you why we would object to asking them to pay for that entire program giving all that we are giving them in blood and everything else?"

    The Iraqi government was fine with the US paying for that.  But after Boxer's questions, the US pushed the cost off on Iraq.

    Or said they had.

    But they hadn't because Iraq wouldn't pick up the cost.  When the US finally quit paying?  The Sahwa didn't get paid.

    With that in mind, the decision to pay the Peshmerga may have been made.

    Nouri lets the Sahwa collapse at the same time he persecuted Sunnis which led to the rise of ISIS.  The fear might have been if the Peshmerga wasn't paid while the Kurds were targeted by the central government out of Baghdad, something similar might take place again.

    The US Defense Dept is quick to announce the following:

    Although hard work remains following defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s tyrannical self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria, there are encouraging signs that life is returning to normal, the spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve told Pentagon reporters today.

    Oh, another turned corner!!!!

    They do love to lie and spin as they start yet another wave of Operation Happy Talk.  Dropping back to Sunday:

    The US press tradition is to lie and then lie again.  Over and over.  Elections are scheduled to be held May 12th in Iraq so that's the only story that the US press can manage.

    If they weren't so busy selling the myth of 'liberation' and 'democracy' in Iraq, the might be able to tell you just how bad things are getting.

    For example, in eastern Baghdad today a corpse was discovered dumped in the streets.

    Why does that matter?

    Whenever dead bodies start showing up on the streets of Baghdad, that's a sign things are getting worse, much worse.

    If anyone is paying attention, this is something to be alarmed by.

    That was Sunday.  Yet the Defense Dept continues to spin.  It's worth quoting then-Senator Hillary Clinton from the same April, 2008 snapshot:  "For the past five years, we have continuously heard from the administration that things are getting better, that we're about to turn a corner." 

    That was in 2008.  Ten years later, it's still the same story.  Hillary concluded those remarks calling for an orderly withdrawal.  Yet US troops remain in Iraq today.

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