Joe Biden’s administration will face the daunting challenge of repairing the badly frayed U.S. relationship with Russia. Unfortunately, the president-elect is not well-positioned to undertake that task, and he should blame himself and his political associates for that situation. For four years, the Democratic Party and its media allies relentlessly pushed the narrative that Donald Trump was nothing more than a puppet of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Even though lengthy, sequential investigations by the FBI and the Mueller Commission failed to unearth credible evidence that Trump or his campaign organization had "colluded" with the Russian government to interfere with the 2016 election, prominent Democratic leaders persisted in conducting the inflammatory verbal barrage.
In addition to the ugly innuendoes about Trump’s supposedly treasonous behavior, the underlying message was that Russia poses a ruthless, existential threat to America. It will not be easy for Biden to dial-back the hostility to Moscow that he and his party have fomented, even if he decides that the anti-Russia campaign has exhausted its partisan political utility.
No anti-Russia accusation has seemed too far-fetched to circulate. Several congressional Democrats even equated Moscow’s alleged election interference measures with Pearl Harbor and the 9-11 attacks. The worst offenders throughout the multi-year campaign to vilify both Trump and Russia were House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, but a good many others chimed-in as well. Rep. Eric Swalwell, (D-CA), a member of Schiff’s committee and (briefly) a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, typified the behavior. When Trump spoke by telephone with Vladimir Putin in May 2019, primarily to see if they could reach some common ground regarding Venezuela and North Korea, Swalwell denounced the call. He erupted: "Remember that time Pearl Harbor was bombed and FDR called the Emperor of Japan? Or the time the Twin Towers were struck and Bush ringed Osama Bin Laden? No? I don’t either."
I don't see Joe doing a damn thing to lessen tensions, do you? More bad news, Nancy Pelosi is again Speaker of the House. Here's Jimmy Dore.
Nancy Pelosi has been a failure and there is no reason for her to continue as Speaker of the House. She's old, she's tired and she's no leader.
Back to James Bond, at some point, NO TIME TO DIE is supposed to be released. Who knows, right? It's been pushed back and pushed back over and over. SCREEN RANT notes a new character will emerge:
Here's why Nomi could be the most important character in No Time To Die. As the first major victim of the coronavirus cinematic shuffle, there's still no telling when Daniel Craig's final James Bond film could come out, or, indeed, how it'll come out. Nevertheless, excitement remains high for Bond's big screen return. No Time To Die rounds off the entire Daniel Craig era, bringing together plot threads from 2005's Casino Royale to 2015's Spectre. Bond himself is a man of leisure when the final chapter begins, but the past soon catches up on the ex-007 in the form of Rami Malek's Safin.
Daniel Craig will have no time to waste in No Time To Die, with plenty of lingering stories to resolve. From Madeleine Swann's secret to the glorious return of Blofeld, the twenty-fifth James Bond movie will be an action-packed affair full of big reveals, with some speculating that 007 might die for the very first time. Whatever his fate, Bond won't be facing Safin alone. Alongside familiar faces M (Ralph Fiennes), Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), Q (Ben Whishaw) and Felix (Jeffrey Wright), Ana de Armas will be joining the fun as Paloma. But undoubtedly the most important new ally in James Bond's contact list is Nomi, played by Lashana Lynch.
A young, fresh agent in the 00 program, Nomi made a strong first impression in No Time To Die's trailers, proving herself a formidable spy with a witty retort always at the ready. While the full extent of Nomi's role in No Time To Die remains to be seen, the success, or otherwise, of the character could be incredibly important to the future of the James Bond franchise.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Thursday, November 19, 2020. Some continue to whine about a small number of US troops leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, 3 peace activists -- in the midst of the pandemic -- are sentenced to prison, and much more.
Starting with the topic of the drawdown, Kimberly Dozier (TIME MAGAZINE) notes:
President Donald Trump’s abrupt order to reduce U.S. troops numbers to a mere 2,500 each in Afghanistan and Iraq has triggered howls from senior Republicans on Capitol Hill. But it has also elicited sighs of relief in some military quarters, from those who feared the embittered incumbent would vent his rage over losing his re-election bid by ordering all U.S. troops home.
Trump’s Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, a retired U.S. Army Green Beret and combat veteran of both conflicts, confirmed on Tuesday that Trump had ordered troops to reduce from 4,500 to 2,500 in Afghanistan, and from 3,000 to 2,500 in Iraq. The departing troops are set to be gradually withdrawn in the coming weeks and out completely by Jan. 15, 2021, a mere five days before President-elect Joe Biden takes over the White House.
For Miller's remarks in full, see yesterday's snapshot. The nonsense from the supposed 'left' and the people they've lionized has been ridiculous. You can see that at VOX where Alex Ward wants to cite Mitch McConnell. Why? Because he says Donald Trump is wrong. Note what Alex types:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, usually an ally of the president, said Monday that “The consequences of a premature American exit” from Afghanistan “would likely be even worse than President Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, which fueled the rise of ISIS and a new round of global terrorism.”
So desperate are they to argue Donald's wrong, VOX elects to say that the rise of ISIS is due to Barack's ''withdrawal." (A) It wasn't a withdrawal, it was a drawdown -- the DoD referred to it as that before, during and after because it was not a withdrawal. (B) Barack's drawdown did not cause the rise of ISIS. The rise of ISIS resulted from Nouri al-Maliki. The Iraqi people saw him for the thug he was and refused to re-elect him in 2010. For eight months, the government was at a standstill because Nouri refused to step down. The stalemate only ended with The Erbil Agreement. That was the contract that Joe Biden oversaw which gave various political blocs -- in writing -- desire things so that they would agree that Nouri could be prime minister for a second term. That contract threw out the votes of the people. Joe oversaw that and now wants to whine about recounts in the US? Nouri's first term was marked by threats against journalists, secret prisons and torture centers and targeting of many Iraqis. In his second term, it only got worse -- and he was even now using the Iraqi military to target political rivals -- elected members of Parliament -- having their homes circled by tanks. Nouri's second term is what led to the rise of ISIS.
You'd think VOX would be careful about what they quoted but, apparently these days, being 'left' just means slamming Donald however you can -- even if it stains your own.
Yesterday, RISING offered two segments regarding reaction to the announcement the acting Secretary of Defense made.
They called out Republicans -- plural. And then, in another segment, they noted Senator Tammy Duckworth's ridiculous statements.
As they noted, "truly insane comments from Senator Tammy Duckworth." I don't know how we leave it at Tammy.
Brett McGurk was Barack's boy. I objected to that in real time. He was a hideous pro-war figure who served under Bully Boy Bush and did a lot of a damage. But he got brought into Barack's administration -- like Victoria Nuland who is also disgusting -- and suddenly he became a hero for us. He wasn't. He's hideous. But various 'left' outlets treated Brett like a god once he was Barack's boy.
Brett's been wetting himself over the proposed action on TV and in Tweets. Here he argues that the US government doesn't drawdown unilaterally. Apparently, going to war that way is a-okay, but drawingdown in wrong. Here he tongue bathes William Kristol's nuts -- the same Kristol who helped get the US into Iraq with his lies and media efforts. Brett's showing his true colors but notice how the 'left' either echoes Brett or pretends he's said and done nothing. They have far too much vested in the lie of 'they're are friends!' My friends don't promote the murder of a million Iraqi people. My friends don't create a toxic environment that leads to massive birth defects in Iraq.
If you're not getting how bad our supposed 'left' is currently, note this:
Three Catholic activists from the group known as the Kings Bay Plowshares Seven were sentenced last week to between 10-14 months in federal prison for protesting against nuclear weapons at a US naval base in St. Mary’s, Georgia on April 4, 2018.
The sentences of the Catholic Worker antiwar protesters were handed down in a virtual courtroom by Judge Lisa Godbey Wood of the US District Court for the Southern District of Georgia.
Carmen Trotta, 58, of New York City and Clare Grady, 62, of Ithaca, New York, were sentenced to 14 and 12 months in prison, respectively, on November 12. Martha Hennessy, 65, was sentenced to 10 months on November 13. All three were also sentenced to three years of supervised probation along with restitution payments of $25 per week. Hennessy is the granddaughter of Dorothy Day, the founder in the 1930s of the Catholic Worker movement.
Although Judge Wood imposed less time than specified by court sentencing guidelines, she rejected appeals from supporters of the protesters that they get no prison terms at all under conditions of the raging coronavirus pandemic.
Kevin Reed reported that last night at WSWS. There are how many podcasts? How many websites? DEMOCRACY NOW!, THE NATION, THE PROGRESSIVE, IN THESE TIMES, PACIFICA RADIO, etc, etc. Where's the coverage? No, Amy Goodman, one headline does not suffice. You are self-proclaiming (still) to be doing "the war and peace report." One headline is not enough. This should be a major focus. As many problems as I have with Matthew Rothschild, were he still in charge of THE PROGRESSIVE, he would've gotten something up online about it by now -- more than a headline, to be sure. COMMON DREAMS did run a real article by Brett Wilkins which included this:
In her statement, Grady said that:
I believe it is a Christian calling to withdraw consent... from killing in our name. To do so is an act of love, an act of justice, a sacred act that brings us into right relationship with God and neighbor. This is what brings me before this court today for sentencing. It is the consequence of my choice to join friends to undertake an action of sacramental, non-violent, symbolic disarmament because the Trident [nuclear submarines] at Kings Bay [are] killing and harming in my name.
To be clear, these weapons are not private property, they belong to the people of the United States; they belong to me, to you, to us. These weapons kill and cause harm in our name, and with our money. This omnicidal weapon doesn't just kill if it is launched, it kills every day. Indigenous people are—and continue to be—some of the first victims of nuclear weapons; the mining, refining, testing, and dumping of radioactive material for nuclear weapons all happens on Native land. The trillions of dollars spent on nuclear weapons are resources stolen from the planet and her people.
Kings Bay houses at least six nuclear submarines, each armed with 20 Trident submarine-launched ballistic missiles of the multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) variety. Each missile contains numerous nuclear warheads, providing a thermonuclear force multiplier and overwhelming first-strike capability.
The weapons at the single base are capable of killing countless millions of human beings and the activists argued that they wanted "to highlight what King called the 'evil triplets of militarism, racism, and materialism'" and to "make real the prophet Isaiah's command: 'beat swords into plowshares.'"
On April 4, 2018—the 50th anniversary of King's assassination—Grady, Hennessy, Kelly, Trotta, and Kings Bay Plowshares 7 activists Mark Coalville, Liz McAlister, and Patrick O'Neill entered the base, splashed baby bottles containing their own blood on a wall, spray-painted an anti-war slogan on a sidewalk, and hammered away at a monument to nuclear war.
This week, Jimmy Dore called out Michael Moore for his ridiculous appearance with Stephen Colbert.
Grasp that Michael Moore's gas bagging about being Catholic and Stephen being Catholic and Joe Biden being Catholic. But this appearance was the day after the sentencing of three Catholic activists are sentenced for protesting and Michael can't bring that up?
Another Michael, Michael Cohen, gets released from prison due to fears that he might get Covid but these three people are being sent to prison in the midst of a pandemic?
Patrick O’Neill gripped the hammer tightly in his hands. The police would soon surround him.
O’Neill and six other Catholic peace activists had infiltrated the Kings Bay Naval Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia, with the goal of symbolically disarming the base’s six Trident submarines armed with first-strike missiles capable of holding 200 nuclear warheads.
Some of the activists strung up crime scene tape and hung protest banners that read “The Ultimate Logic of Trident is Omnicide.” Others poured baby bottles of their own blood around the base.
Using Google Maps, O’Neill and Mark Colville discovered a macabre shrine to nuclearism consisting of a half dozen statues of nuclear missiles that looked as if they were suspended in motion just seconds after launch.
Staring up at a replica of a Trident D5 intercontinental ballistic missile, O’Neill’s mind turned to the book of Exodus in the Bible: the shrine offered proof that nuclear weapons were modern-day idols more powerful than a golden calf. Unlike that empty signifier, the pacifist recognized the immutable power of nuclear weapons. For him, it was the same as worshipping death.
Time was running short. O’Neill sprinted up to the statue and beat it with the hammer. The missile was solid cement and the hammerhead broke clean off.
“It was a formidable idol,” recalled O’Neill.
Catholic peace activists like the ones who infiltrated the naval base at Kings Bay in 2018 have attempted to topple the formidable idol of nuclearism for 40 years, and they have paid a heavy price.
The base is the East Coast home port of the Trident submarine, which experts believe is armed with multiple nuclear-tipped missiles. Government policy calls for neither confirming nor denying the existence of nuclear weapons at the base.
During a closing statement, Hennessy told the court she joined the symbolic protest at the submarine base because she believes nuclear weapons are illegal and that possession of them is a sin. She explained she had no criminal intent, but that her action was an attempt to “prevent another nuclear holocaust.”
“I am attempting to help transform the fundamental values of public life,” she said. “I am willing to suffer for the common good and for the sin of not loving our brothers and sisters, a condition that leads to war.”
Four character witnesses testified about Hennessy’s commitment to family, peaceful living and her importance to Maryhouse.
Trotta said in his closing statement he has undertaken his protests as a “deliberate nonviolent response to the divine gift of my conscience.”
Trotta also presented three character witnesses, who testified about his work at St. Joseph House Catholic Worker in lower Manhattan and his long history of nonviolent actions against war and U.S. foreign policy.
Edward “Bud” Courtney, a St. Joseph House volunteer, said he has known Trotta for 18 years and that he and others in the Catholic Worker community consider him to be “the elder” from whom they sought advice.
“Day after day, year after year, Carmen has come to know and help thousands,” Courtney said. “His compassion is somewhat legendary. People just come because he helps. His going away (to prison) will be a big loss to the community.”
Trotta’s older brother, Louis, an attorney, described his sibling as “very much an idealist.” He credited his younger brother for providing much-needed care for two years for their elderly father, who recently died at age 93.
“He’s internalized anything he’s ever been taught about what’s good and right,” Louis Trotta testified. “His coaches taught him to give 110%, and his teachers taught him about human rights, and his faith taught him about being his brother’s keeper. He internalizes that in a way that most people don’t. I think that should be taken under consideration.”
Does peace matter? Judging by the lack of coverage, people could conclude that no, it doesn't. This should be a major story for anyone concerned with peace.
In other news, Iraq and Saudi Arabia have opened up their border -- for the first time since 1990.
Iraq and Saudi Arabia have opened the Arar border crossing for trade for the first time in 30 years, the Iraqi border ports commission has said in a statement.
Top officials, including Iraqi interior minister and the Saudi ambassador to Iraq, travelled from Baghdad to formally open Arar, where a line of cargo trucks had been waiting since Wednesday morning.
The following sites updated: