Second, I was asked what I thought of HOME ECONOMICS. If you haven't seen it, it's a sitcom on ABC. I don't think it should have gotten a second season. After the e-mail from Toby came in, I went and streamed last night's show which was the first episode for season two.
It could be a great show. It could be. It's not. The timing is all wrong. If they were in front of a studio audience, it would be different. They'd learn how to pace themselves. But it really doesn't work. It's a shame because I love the cast and wanted to love Topher Grace has good timing. The rest of the cast is acting and I never forget that. Again, if they taped it before a live audience, it would be funnier. Good cast. No sense of timing except for Topher.
It should have been a funny episode. They go to a football game -- it had funny lines and funny physical comedy. But the timing was always off.
Scenes of thousands of Afghans flooding the Kabul International Airport to flee the country as Taliban fighters were quickly consolidating their control over the capital, raised many questions, leading amongst them: who are these people and why are they running away?
In the US and other Western media, answers were readily available: they were mostly ‘translators’, Afghans who ‘collaborated’ with the US and other NATO countries; ‘activists’ who were escaping from the brutality awaiting them once the Americans and their allies left the country, and so on.
Actually, the answer is far more complex than that offered by Western officials and media, which ultimately – although inaccurately – conveyed the impression that NATO armies were in Afghanistan to safeguard human rights, to educate women and to bring civilization to a seemingly barbaric culture.
Though political dissent is a basic human right, there is a clear and definitive line between the legitimate right to challenge one’s government/regime and willingly collaborating with another – especially when that collaboration can have dire consequences on one’s own people.
In the United States and Europe, there are thousands of political dissidents from many parts of the world – from South America, the Middle East, East Asia, and others – who are, sadly, used as cheerleaders for political and military interventions, either directly by certain governments, or indirectly, through lobby and pressure groups, academic circles and mainstream media.
These individuals, often promoted as ‘experts’, appear and disappear whenever they are useful and when their usefulness expires. Some might even be sincere and well-intentioned when they speak out against, for example, human rights violations committed by certain regimes in their own home countries, but the outcome of their testimonies is almost always translated to self-serving policies.
Thousands of Afghans – political dissidents, NATO collaborators, students, athletes and workers seeking opportunities – have already arrived in various western capitals. Expectedly, many are being used by the media and various pressure groups to retrospectively justify the war on Afghanistan, as if it was a moral war. Desperate to live up to the expectations, Afghan ‘activists’ are already popping up on western political platforms, speaking about the Taliban’s dismal record of human rights and, especially, women’s rights.
But what is the point of appealing to the western moral consciousness after 20 years of a NATO-led deadly invasion that has cost Afghanistan hundreds of thousands of innocent people?
In Afghanistan, an alternative narrative is evolving.
Has anyone covered that topic? Think about it. It's C.I. and Ramzy.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Thursday, September 23, 2021. Corruption and greed and the misuse of public trust isn't a story -- corporate media and, yes, 'independent' media tell us.
Starting with emerging realities, specifically the realities of Hunter Biden's laptop. October 14, 2020, .THE NEW YORK POST, published a report by Emma-Jo Morris and Gabrielle Fonrouge:
Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company, according to e-mails obtained by The Post.
The never-before-revealed meeting is mentioned in a message of appreciation that Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, allegedly sent Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, about a year after Hunter joined the Burisma board at a reported salary of up to $50,000 a month.
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the e-mail reads.
An earlier e-mail from May 2014 also shows Pozharskyi, reportedly Burisma’s No. 3 exec, asking Hunter for “advice on how you could use your influence” on the company’s behalf.
The blockbuster correspondence — which flies in the face of Joe Biden’s claim that he’s “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings” — is contained in a massive trove of data recovered from a laptop computer.
The computer was dropped off at a repair shop in Biden’s home state of Delaware in April 2019, according to the store’s owner.
Other material extracted from the computer includes a raunchy, 12-minute video that appears to show Hunter, who’s admitted struggling with addiction problems, smoking crack while engaged in a sex act with an unidentified woman, as well as numerous other sexually explicit images.
Glenn Greenwald has a video report where he notes Twitter and Facebook's censorship of the report, where he compiles videos that are very embarrassing for the corporate media -- especially Christiane Amanpour who, by her own words on camera, doesn't understand the first thing about journalism.
Glenn's also got a text report on the subject:
A severe escalation of the war on a free internet and free discourse has taken place over the last twelve months. Numerous examples of brute and dangerous censorship have emerged: the destruction by Big Tech monopolies of Parler at the behest of Democratic politicians at the time that it was the most-downloaded app in the country; the banning of the sitting president from social media; and the increasingly explicit threats from elected officials in the majority party of legal and regulatory reprisals in the event that tech platforms do not censor more in accordance with their demands.
But the most severe episode of all was the joint campaign — in the weeks before the 2020 election — by the CIA, Big Tech, the liberal wing of the corporate media and the Democratic Party to censor and suppress a series of major reports about then-presidential frontrunner Joe Biden. On October 14 and then October 15, 2020, The New York Post, the nation's oldest newspaper, published two news reports on Joe Biden's activities in Ukraine and China that raised serious questions about his integrity and ethics: specifically whether he and his family were trading on his name and influence to generate profit for themselves. The Post said that the documents were obtained from a laptop left by Joe Biden's son Hunter at a repair shop.
From the start, the evidence of authenticity was overwhelming. The Post published obviously genuine photos of Hunter that were taken from the laptop. Investigations from media outlets found people who had received the emails in real-time and they compared the emails in their possession to the ones in the Post's archive, and they matched word-for-word. One of Hunter's own business associates involved in many of these deals, Tony Bobulinski, confirmed publicly and in interviews that the key emails were genuine and that they referenced Joe Biden's profit participation in one deal being pursued in China. A forensics analyst issued a report concluding the archive had all the earmarks of authenticity. Not even the Bidens denied that the emails were real: something they of course would have done if they had been forged or altered. In sum, as someone who has reported on numerous large archives similar to this one and was faced with the heavy burden of ensuring the documents were genuine before risking one's career and reputation by reporting them, it was clear early on that all the key metrics demonstrated that these documents were real.
Despite all that, former intelligence officials such as Obama's CIA Director John Brennan and his Director of National Intelligence James Clapper led a group of dozens of former spooks in issuing a public statement that disseminated an outright lie: namely, that the laptop was "Russian disinformation.” Note that this phrase contains two separate assertions: 1) the documents came from Russia and 2) they are fake ("disinformation"). The intelligence officials admitted in this letter that — in their words — “we do not know if the emails are genuine or not,” and also admitted that “we do not have evidence of Russian involvement.”
James Freeman (WALL ST. JOURNAL) observes, "So far a general media silence has been the response to a new POLITIcO report seconding much of the NEW YORK POST's 2020 reporting." Corporate media is ignoring the story.
They are not alone.
The "S"s in WSWS apparently stand for "Synthetic." They certainly don't stand for Socialist. Barack Obama throws his lavish party in the midst of a pandemic while people are jobless and in danger of losing their homes and the staff is required to wear masks but the 'gabulous' guests aren't? WSWS doesn't say a word. Socialists would be calling that out but not WSWS. Now this story about greed, corruption and the media's embrace of a cover up, the media furthering a cover up, and that's not a story for WSWS. They've only covered the laptop twice -- both times before the election.
If I were the media, I would want to start covering it right now. Because there's a lot of disgusting news on that laptop that goes beyond corruption but is questionable and possibly criminal. I'd want to get on this story if I were corporate media because if it stays in the public eye for long. That's if you're corporate media. WSWS is supposed to be a Socialist publication.
WSWS has made it their purpose to call out JACOBIN. They think JACOBIN is fake ass. Well JACOBIN's silent on the laptop also -- guess that makes WSWS as fake ass as JACOBIN. THE PROGRESSIVE has nothing to say. IN THESE TIMES has nothing. COUNTERPUNCH has nothing. They made time this week to publish Ted Rall -- even his embarrassing column that claimed (lied) that there was "a strong antiwar movement based on the left throughout" Barack Obama was president (Elaine called that b.s. out here).
If Warren Harding had been a Democrat, these same 'journalistic' outlets would have apparently been silent throughout The Teapot Dome scandal.
We're talking about graft and bribes, we're talking about these taking place with the son of a sitting vice president of the United Sates and we're talking about a trail that leads back to that same vcie president. This happened while Joe was in office. Adn it's not 'history' because Joe is now the president of the United Staes.
So where's the coverage?
Glenn Tweets the following this morning:
Glenn's right but it's equally true that our laughable 'independent' media is ignoring the story as well. By their actions, you see their genuine self. They don't care about graft, they don't care about politicians lying to the people, misusing the public trust, they just don't care. Remember this moment, it's a teachable moment. That's not a lecture. That's as much to myself as to anyone else. I threw a ton of money out towards 'independent' media when the Iraq War started and they were actually covering it. Elaine didn't. Not only did she refuse to waste her money, she reminded me that we'd been through this before, that THE NATION and others pretend they'll do something important with the money and then don't. They use your passion for an issue to steal your money and then drop the issue. It is their pattern. It's a teachable moment, as much for me as for anyone.
That's Spain's Ambassador Pedro Martinez-Avial meeting with the Prime Minister of Kurdistan Masrour Barzani. Halgurd Sherwani (KURDISTAN 24) reports:
Spain is preparing to open a consulate general in the Kurdistan Region’s capital Erbil, the country’s newly inaugurated ambassador, Pedro Martinez-Avial, told Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Thursday.
Prime Minister Barzani received the Spanish diplomat in Erbil. They discussed bilateral relations between Kurdistan Region and Spain, particularly in trade and investment sectors, according to a press release from Barzani’s office.
Martinez-Avial, expressed his country’s readiness to develop ties with the Kurdistan Region.
The visit comes weeks before Iraq is expected to hold national elections. The October Revolution kicked off protests in the fall of 2019 and forced the prime minister to step down and early elections to be announced. As ARAB WEEKLY notes, "Tens of thousands of Iraqi youths took to the streets to decry rampant corruption, poor services and unemployment. Hundreds died as security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse crowds." This is what forced the resignation of one prime minister and has led to national elections which are supposed to take place October 10th. (Members of the Iraqi military will vote October 8th. Two election simulations have been carried out by the IEC and the third and final one will take place September 22nd.) Charlotte Bruneau (REUTERS) notes that the candidates for Parliament include 951 women ("close to 30% of the total number of candidates") who are running for the 329 seats. Halgurd Sherwani (KURDISTAN 24) has reported Jeanine Hannis-Plasschaert, the Special Representiative in Iraq to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, declared that Iraq's "Female candidates face increasing levels of hate speech, violence, and blackmail intended to force them to withdraw their candidacy."
Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) counts 3,249 people in all seeking seats in Parliament BROOKINGS notes this is a huge drop from 2018 when 7,178 candidates ran for office. RUDAW is among those noting perceived voter apathy, "Turnout for Iraq’s October 10 parliamentary election is expected to be a record low, with a recent poll predicting just 29 percent of eligible voters will cast ballots." Human Rights Watch has identified another factor which may impact voter turnout, "People with disabilities in Iraq are facing significant obstacles to participating in upcoming parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021, due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Without urgent changes, hundreds of thousands of people may not be able to vote. The 36-page report, “‘No One Represents Us’: Lack of Access to Political Participation for People with Disabilities in Iraq,” documents that Iraqi authorities have failed to secure electoral rights for Iraqis with disabilities. People with disabilities are often effectively denied their right to vote due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places and significant legislative and political obstacles to running for office." Another obstacle is getting the word out on a campaign. Political posters are being torn down throughout Iraq. Halgurd Sherwani (KURDiSTAN 24) observes, "Under Article 35 of the election law, anyone caught ripping apart or vandalizing an electoral candidate's billboard could be punished with imprisonment for at least a month but no longer than a year, Joumana Ghalad, the spokesperson for the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), told a press conference on Wednesday." And there's also the battles in getting out word of your campaign online. THE NEW ARAB reported weeks ago, "Facebook is restricting advertisements for Iraqi political parties and candidates in the run-up to the country's parliamentary elections, an official has told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site."
THE WASHINGTON POST's Louisa Loveluck Tweeted: of how "chromic mistrust in [the] country's political class" might also lower voter turnout. Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) also notes, "Experts are predicting low turnout in October due to distrust of the country’s electoral system and believe that it will not deliver the much needed changes they were promised since 2003." Mistrust would describe the feelings of some members of The October Revolution. Mustafa Saadoun (AL-MONITOR) notes some of their leaders, at the recent Opposition Forces Gathering conference announced their intent to boycott the elections because they "lack integrity, fairness and equal opportunities." Distrust is all around. Halkawt Aziz (RUDAW) reported on how, " In Sadr City, people are disheartened after nearly two decades of empty promises from politicians."
After the election, there will be a scramble for who has dibs on the post of prime minister. Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has 90 candidates in his bloc running for seats in the Parliament and one of those, Hassan Faleh, has insisted to RUDAW, "The position of the next prime minister is the least that the Sadrist movement deserves, and we are certain that we will be the largest and strongest coalition in the next stage." Others are also claiming the post should go to their bloc such as the al-Fatah Alliance -- the political wing of the Badr Organization (sometimes considered a militia, sometimes considered a terrorist group). ARAB WEEKLY reported, "Al-Fateh Alliance parliament member Naim Al-Aboudi said that Hadi al-Amiri is a frontrunner to head the next government, a position that can only be held by a Shia, according to Iraq’s power-sharing agreement." Some also insist the prime minister should be the head of the State of Law bloc, two-time prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki. Moqtada al-Sadr's supporters do not agree and have the feeling/consensus that, "Nouri al-Maliki has reached the age of political menopause and we do not consider him to be our rival because he has lost the luster that he once had so it is time for him to retire."
The walls of Baghdad are covered with posters of Iraq’s former leaders, especially Nouri al Maliki and Haidar al Abadi, as the country moves toward its early elections on October 10. Both men however were forced out of power for their incompetence, and yet they are leading in the country’s two powerful Shia blocks.
But Iraq’s Sunni minority’s leaders from current parliament speaker Mohammed Rikan Hadeed al Halbousi to Khamis al Khanjar, a millionaire and a powerful leader of a Sunni bloc, have not changed much either. In the northern part of the country, the most powerful figure has long been Masoud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), indicating another unchanged nature of Iraqi leadership.
“Because they have so many financial sources, you can see their posters everywhere across Iraq. They have been in power for a long time. They are also people who have not contributed much to change the country’s politics in a positive manner, instead, they were criticised for their responsibilities for Iraq’s failing political system,” says Haydar Karaalp, a Baghdad-based political analyst.
As a result, the only measure of whether anything can change in Iraqi politics or not depends on the voter turnout, which could give independents more seats in the parliament, according to Karaalp.
Despite the US or Iran-backed establishment groups’ holding onto power, popular protests, which have hit the country since last year, have blown winds of change, helping some pro-reformist independent groups emerge from nowhere. While some are boycotting elections, others are competing to defeat the established groups despite having little financial power.
“If a real election happens, half of the current parliament can not be reelected. People are tired of them,” says Sabahattin Salihi, the president of Kirkuk Chamber of Commerce. Kirkuk is Iraq’s disputed oil-rich city with a diverse population of Turkmen, Arabs and Kurds.
“Large protests were the open manifestations of people’s anger toward the establishment,” Salihi tells TRT World. He also criticises the government’s division of Kirkuk into three different election districts, where diverse populations are not represented in a fair sense.
The following sites updated: