Saturday, January 05, 2019

Idiot of the week

This week it was a very easy choice: Ellen DeGeneres.

Ellen is a tired joke.  People thought she was funny in the 90s.  In a desperate need to be a daytime talk show host, she played "nice."  It wasn't for real -- look at how she treated poor Anne Heche.  She's a craven and selfish person who managed to become famous.

Because she's a lesbian, people thought she was for LGBTQ issues.  She's not.  She's for celebrity. 

She could care less about the targets of hate crimes.  So it's okay to her that Kevin Hart told 'jokes' about abusing a child if the child acted 'gay.'

Ellen is nothing, she's a joke.  She was only interesting when she was with Anne Heche.  It's also true that she might not have even come out were it not for Anne.

That's why her refusal to give Anne credit to this day goes to how mean-spirited and rageful Ellen really is.

What it took Ellen a lifetime to do, Anne had no problem doing.  Once Ellen finally came out, Anne was out the next day. 

And Anne tells truths, unlike Ellen.  So while ABC was telling Ellen to stay in the closet, Anne was all about coming out.

Anne's truth is she will love whomever she wants and not be shamed or made to feel its wrong to love.  That's a powerful message.

Ellen doesn't have a powerful message.

She just had likability -- and that's probably gone now.

Okay, Bill Van Auken (WSWS) reports:

William Arkin, a veteran reporter and security consultant for NBC News, resigned last week with a scathing and lengthy email exposing the role of the network and the broader corporate media as a stenographer and apologist for Washington’s vast military and intelligence apparatus under conditions of endless war.
Describing himself as “completely out of sync with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus,” Akin said, “I also found myself the lone voice that was anti-nuclear and anti-military.”
He clarified that anti-military for him meant “opinionated but also highly knowledgeable, somewhat akin to a movie critic, loving my subject but also not shy about making judgements regarding the flops and the losers.”
Arkin recounts that he had “argued endlessly with MSNBC about all things national security for years.” He is a military veteran who served in US Army intelligence in the 1970s and went on to become a military consultant for both Greenpeace International and Human Rights Watch. He also worked as a lecturer at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies for US Air Force officers and advised the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and other military and intelligence agencies.
In the early 1980s he authored a book titled Nuclear Battlefields revealing the locations where US and Soviet missiles were deployed, leading the Reagan administration to seek its suppression on secrecy grounds.
In 2003, working for NBC and the Los Angeles Times, Arkin exposed the bigoted anti-Muslim remarks made by a top military intelligence commander, General William “Jerry” Boykin, who publicly cast the “war on terrorism” as a religious war between Christianity and a “Satanic” Islam.
In 2012, he co-authored with Dana Priest of the Washington Post a series titled “Top Secret America,” an investigative report into the massive growth of a police-state domestic intelligence apparatus in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
In his resignation letter, Arkin says that at NBC he found himself in the “peculiar position of being a mere civilian among THE GENERALS,” the ex-military commanders that it and all of the broadcast and cable networks hired as their talking heads to spout out the official position on multiple US wars. He may well have added that the other prominent “civilian” employed as an expert commentator by NBC was the former director of the CIA, John Brennan.

So Ellen's the idiot and William Arkin's the smart one of the week.

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

Friday, January 4, 2019.


A San Diego-based Navy SEAL accused of committing war crimes during a 2017 deployment to Iraq is heading for court-martial, the Navy said Wednesday.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward R. Gallagher is scheduled to be arraigned in a San Diego military courtroom Friday, said Brian O'Rourke, a spokesman for Navy Region Southwest, the court-martial's convening authority.

What is he accused of?  Dropping back to November 17, 2018:

Friday evening, Ryan Browne (CNN) reported:

Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher is being charged by the Navy with stabbing and murdering a wounded person, shooting at noncombatants, posing for a photo and performing his re-enlistment ceremony next to a dead body.
Gallagher is being charged with various violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice while deployed to Mosul, Iraq, in 2017, related to the various incidents.
Gallagher "did ... with premeditation, murder a wounded male person" under his care by "stabbing him in the neck and body with a knife" while battling ISIS in Mosul in May 2017, according to the charge sheet dated Friday.
Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence, public affairs officer with the Naval Special Warfare Command, said the Navy is taking the allegations seriously.

These charges are charges.  No one has been tried yet.  He has had an Article 32 hearing.  That's not a trial, it's like a hearing in civilian courts where a plea is entered before someone goes onto a trial.  It's purpose is to determine whether there is a need to go forward with a trial (they are determining probabilities -- going forward says there are probabilities -- it does not determine the person is guilty).  Gidget Fuentes (NAVY TIMES) notes:

  But during two days of testimony in his Article 32 hearing here, Gallagher’s criminal defense attorneys painted a different picture of the highly-decorated SEAL, describing him as a battle-hardened hospital corpsman who properly treated a gravely-wounded ISIS fighter, only to have his reputation smeared by a handful of spiteful SEAL malcontents in the 19-man platoon who griped about his gruff leadership style.
Gallagher, a veteran of eight overseas and combat deployments, is facing 14 criminal counts, including premeditated murder for allegedly stabbing to death an alleged ISIS fighter Iraqi forces brought for medical care by his SEAL Team platoon in Mosul, Iraq, in early May 2017.

Vaishnavee Sharma (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) reports: "Gallagher was arrested Sept. 11 and held at San Diego’s Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar. He considered filing a civil rights lawsuit against Navy investigators after alleging that they 'laid siege' to his home and marched his children out of the house during a probe." 

On the charges, Dave Phillips (NEW YORK TIMES) notes the charges, "They said he fired into civilian crowds, gunned down a girl walking along a riverbank and an old man carrying a water jug, and threatened to kill fellow SEALs if they reported his actions."

If he is found guilty, he should be sentenced to the maximum.  He's not been found guilty and he remains innocent until/unless determined otherwise.

As I've said before, I hope Gallagher is innocent.  If he's not, it would be great if some of the people responsible for him being in Iraq in 2017 were also on trial.

The Iraq War hits 16 years in two months.  Sixteen years and nothing accomplished at all.  As Senator Elizabeth Warren observed at FOREIGN AFFAIRS, "The human cost of these wars has been staggering: more than 6,900 killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, another 52,000 wounded, and many more who live every day with the invisible scars of war. By financing these conflicts while cutting taxes, the country has essentially charged the costs of war to a collective credit card for future generations to pay, diverting money that could have been invested in critical domestic priorities. This burden will create a drag on the economy that will last for generations.James Clark (TASK & PURPOSE) reports:

In news that will shock no one, service members and veterans are less than thrilled that the United States is still embroiled in conflicts — or "advise and assist" missions, to use Pentagon parlance — in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This nugget of insight comes from a survey conducted last Veterans Day, in which current and former service members were asked to respond to questions about national security policy and the current state of the military. The results of the poll were published this month by Smithsonian Magazine.

Again, 16 years next March for Iraq.  The wars never end.  Are the leaders not able to articulate and define success?  Are the generals not up to the task?  Are these wars just pointless from the start?  Someone needs to be answering these questions but, as William Arkin's noted in his departure letter to MSNBC and NBC:

Added to that was the intellectual challenge of how to report our new kind of wars when there were no real fronts and no actual measures of success. To me there is also a larger problem: though they produce nothing that resembles actual safety and security, the national security leaders and generals we have are allowed to do their thing unmolested. Despite being at "war," no great wartime leaders or visionaries are emerging. There is not a soul in Washington who can say that they have won or stopped any conflict. And though there might be the beloved perfumed princes in the form of the Petraeus' and Wes Clarks', or the so-called warrior monks like Mattis and McMaster, we've had more than a generation of national security leaders who sadly and fraudulently have done little of consequence. And yet we (and others) embrace them, even the highly partisan formers who masquerade as "analysts". We do so ignoring the empirical truth of what they have wrought: There is not one county in the Middle East that is safer today than it was 18 years ago. Indeed the world becomes ever more polarized and dangerous.
As perpetual war has become accepted as a given in our lives, I'm proud to say that I've never deviated in my argument at NBC (or at my newspaper gigs) that terrorists will never be defeated until we better understand why they are driven to fighting. And I have maintained my central view that airpower (in its broadest sense including space and cyber) is not just the future but the enabler and the tool of war today.
Seeking refuge in its political horse race roots, NBC (and others) meanwhile report the story of war as one of Rumsfeld vs. the Generals, as Wolfowitz vs. Shinseki, as the CIA vs. Cheney, as the bad torturers vs. the more refined, about numbers of troops and number of deaths, and even then Obama vs. the Congress, poor Obama who couldn't close Guantanamo or reduce nuclear weapons or stand up to Putin because it was just so difficult. We have contributed to turning the world national security into this sort of political story. I find it disheartening that we do not report the failures of the generals and national security leaders. I find it shocking that we essentially condone continued American bumbling in the Middle East and now Africa through our ho-hum reporting.

What's been accomplished?


The US installs a prime minister in Iraq and the only thing they care about (the US government) is getting the oil & gas law passed.  And it's still not passed.  They even made it a benchmark at one point.  It never happened.

But in the hope that it will happen, the US government lets their puppet run free.  So, for example, Nouri al-Maliki can use the tanks and military the US supplied to circle the homes of his political rivals and it's not supposed to be discussed in the press and we aren't supposed to be alarmed.  Thugs that Hayder al-Abadi let into the government publicly threaten Ned Parker and Hayder, in the US on a visit, laughs about it.  The current prime minister is allowing the SWAT forces to threaten, bully, beat up and arrest reporters for the 'crime' of reporting.

But look away and ignore please!!!! This might be the prime minister to give the world the oil and gas law that will give Big Oil everything it ever wanted including a Dirty Sanchez!!!!

Let's talk about the current puppet and just how stupid he actually is.

He still doesn't have a full cabinet.  You're named prime minister-designate by the president of Iraq -- per the country's Constitution -- and you have 30 days to put together a Cabinet.  Put it together and you move from prime minister-designate to prime minister.  Don't do it?  You've failed and someone else can be named (although the same person could technically be re-named for another 30 days).

It's the only step you have to meet.  It's to demonstrate that you can effectively lead.

At the end of October, Adil was named prime minister.  He still does not have a full Cabinet.  He never should have been named prime minister.  And that becomes more obvious each day.

Dropping back to Saturday:

For a little over two months now, Iraq's Prime Minister Adil Abdul al-Mahdi has struggle to form a Cabinet.  After the disappointment of his failure to appoint people to head the security ministries (Minister of Interior and Minister of Defense), the big criticism was his failure to appoint a single woman to his Cabinet.  Last Thursday, he managed to finally find a woman who he was comfortable working with:  Shaima Al-Hayali.

The Parliament was comfortable with her as well and she was confirmed to the Cabinet as Minister of Education.

That was Thursday.  Today?  She resigned. (Or offered her resignation.  Presumably, it's accepted).

RUDAW reports she came under criticism because her brother worked with ISIS.

Accused of?

Normally, we would say "accused of."  But in her resignation statement she acknowledges that he did work with ISIS (she states he was forced to).

Which goes to just how inept the prime minister is.

How do you miss that?

How does your background check miss that?

And if you don't miss it, how do you not anticipate the uproar that will greet this nomination?

Yet again, we are confronted with the reality that Adil Abdul al-Mahdi is not qualified to be prime minister.

Yesterday afternoon, Tamer El-Ghobashy (WASHINGTON POST) reports:

Iraq’s prime minister is weighing whether to accept the resignation of his education minister after allegations surfaced online that her brother had been a senior figure in the Islamic State’s de facto capital of Mosul.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s decision could have a far-reaching impact on a society that is emerging from a costly war against the militants and is struggling to heal from the deep social and political divisions caused by the Islamic State occupation.

Shaima al-Hayali, an academic from Mosul University, was barely one week into her ministerial post when members of a rival political bloc alleged that her brother had been an administrator for the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. Her case is the highest-profile instance of what human rights groups and some Iraqi politicians have described as overzealous collective punishment of people whose family members worked with the militant group, whether by force or choice.

First off, allegations is a term that needs to be removed.  She admitted to it on Saturday.  Since then, video of her brother has surfaced such as the below.

This is Laith Khalil Al-Hayali he is a longtime Daesh supporter and a brother to the new Iraqi Education Minister Dr Shaima Khalil Al-Hayali. Here he is on Amaq TV from Mosul praising ISIS during ISIS control

Second, ISIS was supposedly defeated 12 months ago.

And to pretend this should be a non-issue -- it's her brother! -- it crazy.  It would be an issue in any political campaign.  It's an issue now because Adil and the loons working for him were too stupid to do a basic background check.  You have to vet your candidates.  Bill Clinton was crucified for less (Kimba Wood, to cite one example).

This was a stupid nomination, it shouldn't have happened. That it did goes to the continued incompetence on the part of the prime minister.  He knows he is struggling -- in November, he even threatened to quit.  He dropped the threat when he realized no one was rushing forward saying, "Don't quit!"  Iraq is experiencing huge political divisions and he can't even get a Minister of Defense or Minister of Interior.

And in this climate, he nominates the sister of ISIS?

He's an idiot and he's not learning from his mistakes.

Speaking of idiots. MSNBC doesn't even know how to do an interview these days as Aaron Mate points out.

In renouncing “endless war” & backing a pullout from Syria & Afghanistan, Warren is shunning the pro-war playbook of previous Dem candidates. That also might explain why Maddow ended interview w/o much follow-up. Imagine Clinton, Obama, Kerry saying this:

In other news, some are getting excited by the prospect of Jim Webb as Secretary of Defense.

The White House is considering Jim Webb, an outspoken opponent of the Iraq war, for defense secretary as President Trump seeks to carry out campaign promises to withdraw American troops from Syria and Afghanistan

I also confirmed this with a senior Hill GOP source... and I’m super not mad about it. Webb was strongly against the Iraq war and is an anti interventionist (even though dem). No more hawks. ๐Ÿ•Š

As a VA Secretary, he'd be a nightmare.  As Defense?  Thoughts?

(Webb could not run for re-election to the Senate because he'd so angered veterans groups with his attempts to prevent the victims of Agent Orange from getting the benefits they deserved.)

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