Friday, November 20, 2020

Biden will not ease tensions with Russia

Ted Galen Carpenter (ANTIWAR.COM) notes:

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?  

At SHADOW PROOF, Jonathan Michels notes:

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.

Dennis Sadowski (CATHOLIC PHILLY) reports:

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:

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Jimmy Dore and James Bond again

 Jimmy Dore to start with.

 Meanwhile back to James Bond, CINEMABLEND noted Tuesday:

The James Bond franchise has a long and rich history that spans almost six decades, with just as many actors playing the lead role and soon-to-be 25 films in the official canon. But there’s one particular day that James Bond fans should celebrate every year, and for a pretty big reason too. That day is today, with November 17 proving crucial to 007’s legacy, as it saw the relaunch of Bond taking place, both times with a new actor, in 1995 and 2006.

What's even crazier is the fact that when it comes to Goldeneye and Casino Royale, the reinvention of Ian Fleming’s literary hero came thanks to the talents of one director: Martin Campbell. It’s the sort of kismet you couldn’t find anywhere else, and it’s all a part of why James Bond fans should have November 17 on their calendars this year, and every year to come.

When Goldeneye finally made its way to audiences at large on November 17, 1995, it was at a crucial juncture in the history of the James Bond series. The last Bond film to be released, License To Kill, was somewhat of a distant memory, seeing as that particular event took place back in 1989. For a franchise that used to put out a new entry like clockwork every two years, a gap of triple that length was unheard of; though it would be the least of the franchise’s worries.

That six-year sabbatical happened because of some rather massive legal issues that were a by-product of MGM being acquired by Pathe Communications. As its new corporate owners tried to sell the distribution rights to the 007 series “at below-market value in order to fund the leveraged buyout,” this had begun a legal war between the studio and series producers Albert and Dana Broccoli. By time everything was settled and the dust had cleared, it was 1993 and some big changes were on the horizon. The Berlin Wall had fallen, the Soviet Union was no longer a reality and the Cold War was virtually over at that point, leaving a new sociopolitical landscape for the Bond series to navigate. It would have to do so with a new face in the lead too, as by the time the wheels started turning on the film, Timothy Dalton’s contract was up, and he was not keen to renew his license to kill.

The fifth James Bond actor would need to be found before Goldeneye could turn its gaze to the world, and sure enough, Remington Steele star Pierce Brosnan was no longer held back by a network TV contract. While he had to pass on becoming Bond the first time around, Brosnan was able to slip into the tuxedo, continuing a new tradition of the second time being the charm. Announced as the new Bond in 1994, Pierce Brosnan wouldn’t be the only change to the landmark espionage series. Goldeneye’s greater stamp on the James Bond legacy would be in the casting of Dame Judi Dench, who became the first female to play the role of M. With traditionally womanizing 007 being given a stern female boss who'd call him out as, “…a sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the cold war,” leading women in the James Bond legacy would start to change for the progressive from this point on. It all came to a head when Goldeneye was marketed to a then Bond-less world with the following explosive teaser:

And this is from GRUNT STUFF:

A video featurette launched Monday for the upcoming 25th James Bond movie, “No Time To Die,” provides viewers perception into this brand-new villain, played by Oscar winner Rami Malek, 39.

“What he needs and what he’s prepared to do makes him a really scary character,” says director Cary Joji Fukunaga in a video introducing the ominous new character. “Each personally to Bond, and in addition on a worldwide stage.”

Certainly, the maniacal Safin says to 007: “We each eradicate folks to make the world a greater place.”

What?  No LOVE BOAT episode available for Rami?  I love the James Bond films.  But this is his follow up to an Academy Award win?  Playing the villain in a James Bond film?

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

 Wednesday, November 18, 2020.   Another drawdown.

Yesterday afternoon, the acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller addressed the press.

ACTING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE CHRISTOPHER C. MILLER: Good afternoon. I'm Chris Miller, acting secretary of defense, and I'm here today to update you on President Trump's plan to bring the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to a successful and responsible conclusion, and to bring our brave service members home. 

From Kabul to Kandahar and from Mosul to Fallujah, hundreds of thousands of America's finest sons and daughters, who selflessly answered the call to serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have brought us to this point. Their efforts and sacrifice will go down in history as epitomizing the strength, commitment, and empathy of a force that is unlike any the world has ever seen. 

Just last night, I joined Vice President Mike Pence and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley to attend the dignified transfer of five American soldiers who perished on duty in the Middle East. This was a somber and humbling moment that reminded us of the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women of the United States military in service of freedom and security. 

Our armed forces take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. They serve not for personal gain, but for the protection and well-being of their fellow Americans and their homeland. They are champions for peace, liberty, and the rule of law, and unrelenting when called upon to defend our people and our values. We owe them and their loved ones an enormous debt of gratitude. 

This is why I'm enormously blessed and privileged to stand before you today to outline the next phase of our campaign to defeat terrorists who have perpetrated attacks on our homeland, including those who help and harbor them, and to prevent -- prevent future acts of terrorism against our nation. 

We owe this moment to the many patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice, and their comrades who carry forward their legacy. Together, we have mourned the loss of more than 6,900 American troops who gave their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we will never forget the more than 52,000 who bear the wounds of war and all those who still carry its scars – visible and invisible. 

In light of these tremendous sacrifices, and with great humility and gratitude to those who came before us, I am formally announcing that we will implement President Trump's orders to continue our repositioning of forces from those two countries. By January 15, 2001 – excuse me, I clearly am thinking of where this started in 2001 – by January 15, 2021, our forces, their size in Afghanistan will be 2,500 troops. Our force size in Iraq will also be 2,500 by that same date. This is consistent with our established plans and strategic objectives, supported by the American people, and does not equate to a change in U.S. policy or objectives. 

Moreover, this decision by the president is based on continuous engagement with his national security cabinet over the past several months, including ongoing discussions with me and my colleagues across the United States Government. 

I have also spoken with our military commanders, and we all will execute this repositioning in a way that protects our fighting men and women, our partners in the intelligence community and diplomatic corps, and our superb allies that are critical to rebuilding Afghan and Iraqi security capabilities and civil society for a lasting peace in troubled lands. 

And just this morning, I spoke with key leaders in Congress, as well as our allies and partners abroad, to update them on these plans, in light of our shared approach. We went in together, we adjust together, and when the time is right, we will leave together. 

One of my calls was to NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. Another was to Afghanistan's President Ghani, who expressed his gratitude for every American service member who has fought for peace and strengthened the longstanding friendship between our countries. 

President Ghani highlighted the caliber of our troops, which he noted has always been more important than the quantity. We continue to stand with him as his government works toward a negotiated settlement for peace. 

Meanwhile, let us remind those who question our resolve or may seek to interfere with this prudent, well planned and coordinated transition – the United States armed forces remain committed to protecting the safety and security of the American people, and supporting our likeminded allies and partners worldwide. 

If the forces of terror, instability, division, and hate begin a deliberate campaign to disrupt our efforts, we stand ready to apply the capabilities required to thwart them. 

As a veteran whose life and family was irrevocably changed in the deserts, mountains, and cities of Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops who have fought there and were forever transformed by their experiences, I celebrate this day, as we continue the president's consistent progress in completing the mission we began nearly two decades ago. 

I want to thank the Afghans and Iraqis who have partnered with us throughout, and who now carry the bulk of the fighting to secure their homelands. I want to thank our NATO allies and other partners who have fought alongside us and taken the lead on training and advising the Afghan and Iraqi security forces. We will continue to support their efforts. 

And thanks to our more than 80 partners in the Defeat ISIS coalition. We have destroyed the ISIS caliphate and will ensure they never again gain a foothold to attack our people. 

In closing, we set out to accomplish three goals in 2001. First, go abroad and destroy terrorists, their organizations, and their sanctuaries. Two, strengthen our defenses against future attacks. And three, prevent the continued growth of Islamist terrorism to include by working with allies and local partners to take the lead in the fight. 

Today is another critical step in that direction, and a result of President Trump's bold leadership. With the blessings of providence in the coming year, we will finish this generational war and bring our men and women home. We will protect our children from the heavy burden and toll of perpetual war. And we will honor the sacrifices made in service to peace and stability in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world, and celebrate all those who helped us secure freedom over oppression.

God bless our women and men in uniform. Thank you very much.

This is a drawdown, not a withdrawal.  

I'm not applauding.  It's a step in the right direction, but I'm not applauding.  When I saw headlines and heard gasbaggery on TV about the above, I thought, "Well I'm going to have to praise Donald."  No, I'm not.

It's a drawdown, not a withdrawal.  If we're bringing the wars to a close, why are US troops remaining there?

In terms of numbers?  We already know from James Jeffrey's own mouth that we have no idea how many US troops are in the Middle East because he and others conspired to lie to US President Donald Trump so that they could countermand his orders.  

The acting secretary says that Iraq will draw down to 2,500 US troops.  If the number's correct, so what?

Don't tell me you're ending the Iraq War when you're not and when all you're doing is reducing US forces by 500 troops.  In Monday's snapshot, we noted that there are supposed to be 3,000 US troops (officially) in Iraq.  Bringing that number down by 500?  A step in the right direction but it's not enough.  

From the way some were being hysterical on TV, I thought Donald really was removing all US forces from Iraq except for those who guard the US Embassy.  I was ready to praise him because the war needs to be over.  

But all this is doing is removing 500 troops from Iraq.  

A step in the right direction but not what's needed.  

CNBC plays it's usual b.s. role:

Earlier on Tuesday, Stoltenberg warned that leaving the war-torn country too soon or in an uncoordinated effort could present unintended consequences for the world’s largest military organization.

“Afghanistan risks becoming once again a platform for international terrorists to plan and organize attacks on our homelands. And ISIS could rebuild in Afghanistan the terror caliphate it lost in Syria and Iraq,” the NATO chief said, referring to Islamic State militants. 

On that page, you'll also get the FOX NEWS refugee who's on 'our side' now because?  Because ethics flew out the window long ago and whoring for defense industry will always keep you employed.

Stoltenberg, by the way, is Jens Stoltenberg who is NATO's Secretary-General.  ISIS could rebuild?  

Maybe yes, maybe no.  I'd bet yes, myself.  But that terrorism threat is something countries need to be able to fight themselves and wars are supposed to come to an end.

I'm reminded of Tony Curtis in SOME LIKE IT HOT, "Jerry, boy, why do you have to paint everything so black? Suppose you got hit by a truck. Suppose the stock market crashes. Suppose Mary Pickford divorces Douglas Fairbanks. Suppose the Dodgers leave Brooklyn!"

All those things did happen.

And, again, my guess would be ISIS would rebuild -- it's not been vanquished or sent packing.  But those internal threats for countries to address themselves.

Equally true, the US government has never feared ISIS.  They funded it while Joe Biden was Vice President, that's who the US government backed in Syria.  But they've never feared it.  When did they move against ISIS?  Long after ISIS seized Mosul.  They really didn't care about Mosul.  They cared about Baghdad, specifically the Green Zone.  When 'chatter' said that ISIS was moving to seize the Green Zone, that's when the US government cared.

The US government created the dysfunctional and criminal government of Iraq.  US troops have been kept in Iraq to support that government, to keep it from being overthrown -- by ISIS, by the Iraqi people, by anyone.  It's a weak government for many reasons.  Two chief reasons?  The Iraqi people have seen that their votes do not count.  In 2010, thug Nouri al-Maliki was seeking re-election as prime minister.  The Iraqi people rejected him.  But they got Nouri as prime minister because Joe Biden helped negotiate a contract, The Erbil Agreement, that overturned the will of the Iraqi people and gave Nouri a second term.  That second term is how ISIS rose in Iraq.  The other chief reason?  This government does not serve the Iraqi people.  We're hearing now about Iraq being billions of dollars in debt.


Ask any struggling country if they could make it on the billions Iraq takes in from oil each year and they'd tell you they could make it and then some.  Grasp that Iraq's population is around 35 million -- CIA estimate (they haven't carried out a census in decades).   Where does the money go?  The billions brought in goes somewhere.  Into the pockets of so-called public servants.  The Iraqi people suffer, do without and their politicians get rich.  (That's not a problem just for Iraq, look at the US.)  It's how a Nouri al-Maliki struggles before returning to Iraq (after the US-led invasion), becomes prime minister and suddenly he's rich.  It's how his corrupt son has multiple residences in Europe and several expensive sports cars.  Meanwhile, the Iraqi people live in poverty.  What little they are provided by the government is always being cut -- the rations card program is only the best known example -- and there are no jobs for them.  The corruption is never addressed.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani strongly warned against taking foreign loans from the IMF (International Money Fund) and others.  And now, as the press beats the drum about the economic 'crisis' in Iraq, these bodies want to further gut Iraq's remaining social programs.

It's warfare, let's be honest.  

People in the US who've turned away and zoned out should honestly be ashamed of themselves.  As a US citizen, we are responsible for wrecking Iraq.  (That does not mean we keep US forces on the ground to 'fix' Iraq.)  Yes, our media failed us and continues to do so.  However, even a casual observer should have noted that every prime minister of Iraq under the US occupation has been a coward (let's be honest) who fled Iraq while Saddam Hussein was in power and only returned after the US-invaded.  That alone was your clue that this was not a representative government because no one is going to vote for a coward to lead their country.  But prime minister after prime minister, for three years short of two decades, has been someone who fled the country.

Forget everything else, don't get lost in the weeds on anything else, just that basic fact told you that the government was not representative.

The US government has tried to control Iraq.  It's not alone.  Certainly, the Iranian government has as well.  But so has the French government, the . . .

The Iraqi people deserve to steer their own destiny.  The whole point of US troops on the ground in Iraq is to keep the government in power with the hopes that eventually the Iraqi people will be exhausted and just accept it.  

In other words, the US is hoping to push it as close to the limits of date rape as possible.  No?  Are you sure?  Are you still sure?  What about now?

Above TRT speaks with retired US Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt who notes, "There's never a right time but the fact remains we've pretty well finished the job in both of the countries. [. . .]  So if not now, then when?"

US House Rep Justin Amash Tweets:



, you still have an opportunity to bring home all the troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria (not just a partial drawdown), and to pardon Snowden and Assange. Millions of Americans will support you in these efforts.

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Jimmy Dore and James Bond

 Let's start with Jimmy Dore.

I'm not sure that I highlighted that one yet.  I think Dianne Feinstein should have retired in 2016.  She's too old.  I feel the same about Nancy Pelosi.  And especially Don Young.

Who is Don Young?  A Republican who was elected to the House in 1972.  That wasn't a typo.  In March of 1973, he won a special election (after losing in 1972 to a man who later died in a plane crash) and he's been in the House ever since.  Richard Nixon was president when Don Young entered Congress.  It's time to go.  Someone needs to tell him, it's time to go.


Dianne Feinstein is the oldest member of the US Senate.  Don Young is the oldest member of the House -- and he's actually older than Dianne making him the oldest member of Congress. He's 87 years old.


Twenty-five years ago, Pierce Brosnan introduced a 007 who wasn’t rugged, but possessed a devil-may-care charm and attitude.

“For England, James?” It began with one of the greatest cold opens to ever kick off a 007 film. MI6 agent James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) destroying a Soviet chemical weapons base, in the process losing his partner and closest friend, Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), before plummeting, parachute-less, thousands of feet, to enter the cockpit of a plane mere seconds away from crashing nose-first into the rocky maw of Russia’s harsh landscape. And it ended with Bond destroying the satellite GoldenEye, reassuming his mantle as one of the greatest action heroes ever, and proving to be just as relevant as he ever was in the post-Cold War climate at the end of the 20th century.

It’s been 25 years since GoldenEye reinvented James Bond by distancing itself from the works of author Ian Fleming, and appealing to a whole new generation of Bond fans who couldn’t be sold on the same thrills that had captivated their fathers and grandfathers. It's been 25 years since — with the help of Tina Turner and the Nintendo 64 — James Bond was made cool again.

When Martin Campbell’s GoldenEye arrived in theaters in November 1995, it had been six years since 007 was last seen onscreen. In order to fully appreciate what has given GoldenEye such a hold on pop culture over the decades is to understand where the franchise had been six years prior to its release. GoldenEye, the 17th Bond film, is often attributed to pushing the franchise in a more serious and realistic direction. Though similar to Frank Miller being credited with taking Batman back to his darker roots, rather than Dennis O’Neil and Steve Englehart who set the stage for Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, GoldenEye could not have become what it did without the two prior Bond entries. The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989) introduced audiences to a darker Bond with Timothy Dalton. Though Dalton’s Bond has been reappraised in recent years, and his rough demeanor and capacity for brutal violence served as the precursor to Daniel Craig’s contemporary Bond, he was considered to be humorless and lacking the playful wit of his predecessors.

Coming off of Roger Moore’s Bond, who had become too aged and silly over the course of his tenure, Dalton was something of an extreme departure. Funnily enough, it was Batman that Dalton’s Bond was compared to in the controversially violent Licence to Kill.

Dalton’s Bond was believable as a weather-worn spy, but the small-scale nature of his adventures, embezzlement and drug trafficking, rather than the Moon bases, Egyptian ruins and circuses of Moore’s films, pushed the films closer to the territory of Lethal Weapon (1987) and Die Hard (1988). But, without the American star power and tongue-in-cheek humor, Dalton’s Bond films didn’t light the box office on fire. Legal disputes between distributors following Dalton’s second entry provided the time for producers Albert R. Broccoli and his daughter, Barbara Broccoli, to reconfigure Bond for the '90s. Pierce Brosnan signed on following the departure of Dalton, who wanted to do one more film that he had originally signed on to, rather than the four or five more he was asked to extend his contract for.

I think Pierce Brosnan was a great Bond.  My favorite?  It's a tie between Sean Connery and Daniel Craig.  I used to not enjoy Roger Moore much but times change.  I like Timothy Dalton but, honestly, his are my least watched Bonds.  It's not him.  I just don't reach for them very often if I'm popping in a DVD.  There are not a lot of good set pieces, for example, in his films.  They're the great sequence where they use an instrument case as a sled, for example, but that's really it for his two films.

My most watched Bonds?
















A VIEW TO A KILL may hop onto the top ten shortly.  I watch it more and more.

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


 Tuesday, November 17, 2020.  We look at the claim that Kamala Harris delivered nothing towards the election of Joe Biden and we look at the way the media is reporting a possible departure of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Starting with RISING.

Krystal Ball makes some interesting arguments.  But they amount to nothing in the general election.

Yes, Kamala was not a first choice for a number of people in the primary.  We're not talking about the primary.  We're talking about the general election.  

Krystal's judgments may be right, they may not be.  Nothing she said baked up her claims.  "Identity politics"?  

Did Kamala help the ticket as a bi-racial person?  

Show the proof that she didn't.  I don't see any proof.  A bi-racial woman -- Kamala is Black and Asian -- may have helped the ticket.  It's strange that Krystal kept citing African-Americans.  Kamala is bi-racial, she's not just Black.

More to the point, Krystal plays "identity politics" when she examines Kamala's support.  Why are only African-Americans supposed to be influenced?

Here's the thing, Joe Biden is hugely unpopular with younger African-Americans based upon Bernie Sander's winning their votes and based upon what I heard over and over, even after Joe got the nomination,  .from young adults.  

Without Kamala on the ticket, can Krystal demonstrate that Joe Biden would have done better, worse or the same?  No. 

I agree with Krystal that we need to move beyond "Our first!!!!"  Whether it's gender, race, what have you.  I agree with those points and her large argument.  But she's building it on Kamala making no difference to the votes -- that's her argument -- but Kamala may have saved the ticket. At present, no information says she did, no information says she didn't.  

Younger people we spoke with who were voting Joe Biden noted repeatedly that Joe wasn't up to the job but would state that Kamala could "step up when needed."  

Joe, with his history, probably needed a balance on the ticket and that would be someone of color due to Joe's racist roots.  Joe was balance in 2008 for those who feared Barack Obama might come off too inexperienced, or did we forget that?  Joe balanced the ticket with his 'experience.'  

Let's move over to Glenn Greenwald talking about the three most likely danger areas from a Biden-Harris administration.

I guess I'd take Krystal's argument more seriously if it had facts to back it up or if it wasn't coming from a woman who co-hosts a show that refuses to feature female guests in equal measures.  Why do I even have to raise that issue in 2020?  I'm tired of it.  We should have progressed to the point that we all agree that since women are move than 50% of the population, they should make up at least half the guests.  If you can't do that, don't talk to us about 'identity politics.'  Too often, that term has been used by people trying to justify their refusal to embrace equality.

I know RISING is trying to do better.  I know Katie Halper (on her own show) is trying to do better.  And I do appreciate that.  But if you don't like being singled out, if you think that's just so off putting, imagine for one moment having to be the one to single you out?  To call you out?  There are a ton of people with platforms larger than this who could call you out and want to call you out but don't.  I hear from the constantly -- most of the time over the phone because I know them personally.

Why can't you clean up your own mess and not make be Mommy telling you no X-Box until you've cleaned up your mess?

It's like James Jeffrey, that discussion we've been having.  Friends who are Constitutional Law attorneys can't stop calling, "Right on!  That's the call to make!"  Well, why don't you make it?  I'm out on the limb here all alone.  I can handle it, I've been here before and will be again.  But if you really agree that the conspiracy that Jeffrey took part in and bragged about to the press was wrong and was treason, then why don't you say so publicly?  Many of you write op-eds.  Why can't you write it?  

And don't think I don't toss that back to them on the phone.  

FOX BUSINESS discusses, with US House Rep August Pfluger, the talk that Donald Trump may withdraw US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.


NPR's Dustin Jones types:

The White House will bring home 2,500 troops from Afghanistan and Iraq by the end of the year against the guidance of top military officials, a drawdown order that reduces the American presence by about a third, from 4,500 to 2,500 in Afghanistan and 3,000 to 2,500 in Iraq, according to a U.S. official.

NPR's Tom Bowman reported the move is opposed by senior military leaders, given Afghanistan's fragile state. Peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have seemingly stalled, and violent attacks have risen 50% in recent months. Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, have advised the troop reduction be pushed to the spring, Bowman reported.

Do military officials and leaders tell Tom Bowman that, Dusty?  

Well what do the others say, Dusty?

Where's the balance?

Cindy Sheehan has dedicated her life to peace.  What's her reaction, Dusty?  What's US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard's reaction?  How about the reaction from people who were members of the Out of Iraq caucus?  Where's Senator Russ Feingold's reaction?  Where's the reaction from Iraq War veteran Adam Kokesh and other veterans who spoke out against the US being in Iraq?  Where's Mike Gravel?

Where's that, Dusty?

Why do the American people not matter?  Why does the defense industry matter so much to you?  Because of who pays the bills, Dusty?

Eric Schmitt, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Charlie Savage and Helene Cooper (NEW YORK TIMES) offer:

President Trump is expected to order the U.S. military to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia by the time he leaves office in January, using the end of his time in power to significantly pull back American forces from far-flung conflicts around the world.

Under a draft order circulating at the Pentagon on Monday, the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan would be halved from the current deployment of 4,500 troops, officials said.

In Iraq, the Pentagon would trim force levels slightly below the 3,000 troops that commanders had previously announced. And in Somalia, virtually all of the more than 700 troops conducting training and counterterrorism missions would leave.

Taken together, the cuts reflect Mr. Trump’s longstanding desire to stop shouldering the cost of long-running military engagements against Islamist insurgencies in failed and fragile countries in Africa and the Middle East, a grinding mission that has spread since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Here's CBS NEWS reporting on the developments:

At WSWS, nothing on this development.  But Ray Coleman and Nick Barrickman did examine the team Joe Biden is building:

Last week, President-elect Joe Biden named key members of his Department of Defense transition team. Eight of Biden’s 23 team members are from pro-military think tanks. Kathleen Hicks, senior vice-president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington D.C. think tank with close ties to the US military and intelligence agencies, will head Biden’s Pentagon transition team. Hicks is also “Henry A. Kissinger chair” and director of the International Security Program at the CSIS.

The CSIS gets significant funding from war contractors such as General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. According to Hicks’ profile on the CSIS website, her areas of specialization include Asia, climate change, counterterrorism and homeland security, the defense industry, defense strategy and capabilities, NATO and weapons of mass destruction proliferation.

She is a member of the board of trustees of the Aerospace Corporation and sits on the board of directors of the US Naval Institute. She has received distinguished service awards from three secretaries of defense and a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Hicks was a high-ranking Pentagon official in the administration of President Barack Obama during the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. She served as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy in the Defense Department. She also held the post of deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans and forces.

The CSIS has supplied several other individuals chosen for Biden’s Pentagon transition team. Melissa Dalton was a Pentagon official from 2007 to 2014, a period that spanned the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Her focus is the Middle East.

Another member of Biden’s defense transition team is Andrew Hunter, who served in the Pentagon from 2011 to 2014.

“The DC think tank scene is well represented” on Biden’s military transition team, states Defense News.

Jimmy Dore covered the issue of possible withdrawals last night.

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