Friday, December 10, 2021

Jimmy Dore, THE GOLDBERGS, Jake Johnson

First off, please check out Marcia's "La Brea overview" about NBC's LA BREA. Marcia's been covering the show regularly at her site and I haven't noted that once. It's just excaped me every week, sorry. Next, please check out Ava and C.I.'s "Media: The stupid and the liars choose to serve corporations, not people" which covers everything -- seriously, everything. Such as? The Beatles, Oliver Stone's new documentary, ANNIE LIVE!, Jussie Smollett . . . I'm still not done but that should give you an idea.  On Jussie, Stan's "The verdict is in" went up about six hours ago.

Still on TV, a lot of e-mails keep coming in about THE GOLDBERGS. I don't see how they come back from the interview the actor who plays the dad gave. Is he a problem on the se? Repeated investigations into his behavior. His offering that people don't get his humor. I mean he's been working with children all these years. It's just a big cringe. That really makes me mad, by the way, because a spin-off could have been done with Geoff and Erica. You'd really need to bring Beverly into that but how do you do that without her husband? You really can't unless you kill the character off. I don't see how you do that without bumming people out.

I also don't see continuing the show with YOUNG ADAM goes to college. They really should have aged that character. Richie Cunningham was a good guy on HAPPY DAYS but even Richie didn't act like a stunted child playing a high schooler. Adam should be a normal kid not Sheldon from THE BIG BANG THEORY but, actually, Sheldon on YOUNG SHELDON comes across more mature than Adam -- and Adam's supposed to be a high school senior..

This didn't happen with MODERN FAMILY. Manny for example, was allowed to grow up. Luke, Haley, Lily (Alex was always a grown up). I don't know why anyone thought Adam would appear normal acting the way he does at his age. It's like watching DIFF'RENT STROKES and they're not letting Arnold get older. Adam comes off like a freak.

Now for Jimmy Dore.



 I really do wonder about Jen Psaki.  She can't be stupid, so how does she live with herself?  Someone like Jay Carney, he's the perfect stooge for the job she does. He's a liar and slow on the take and just scum, smiling scum.  But you get the sense that Psaki has a brain.  I don't get how she can do that job and know that's lying and not realize how much harm she does in the role.  How does she ustify to herself?  I don't get it. 


Here's Jake Johnson from INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE:


The Biden administration on Thursday rejected demands for a binding international agreement banning or tightly regulating the use of so-called killer robots, autonomous weapons that campaigners fear will make war more deadly and entrench a global norm of “digital dehumanization.”

During a meeting in Geneva, State Department official Josh Dorosin said the U.S. prefers “the development of a non-binding code of conduct” on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), which have already been used in conflicts to track and kill without a human operator.

While dozens of countries — most recently New Zealand — have expressed support for a global ban on the use of autonomous weapons systems, the U.S. has been a major obstacle to progress for years. On Thursday, Dorosin reiterated U.S. opposition to prohibiting killer robots through a “legally-binding instrument.”

 

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


Thursday, December 9, 2021.  A lot of boos and hisses to offer but Joe Biden does get some praise.



Margaret Kimberley has a reTweeted a video of Hillary Clinton.  As ususal, Hillary has nothing to offer.  Among other things, she's being her whiney self and she's offering this crap, "If you don't want to support Democrats then go somewhere else."  Youre not your husband, Hillary.  You don't know how to get votes.  Which is why you never made it into the White House and now you never will. 


Going into the mid-terms, Democrats are going to need all the votes they can get.  That's based on current polling, yes.   It's also based on history.  And this is how she's helping the Democratic Party?


Maybe it's time 'the Goldwarter girl' went somewhere else?  Having lied over and over about Russia-gate.  Having lied about her campaign's connection to the made up Steele dossier.  She has no shame.  She should be getting honest with the American people.


But she can't get honest and, honestly, it's really too late.  Or to put it into language she would understand: "What difference, at this point, does it make?"  


None.  She's a loser.  Mike Dukakis and other losers knew to go away.  Hillary doesn't know how to. 


Margaret also notes Hillarys teaching a 'master class.'


In what?


How to be a doormat with a spouse who never stops cheating on you?  How to lie to the world for him?  How to hate yourself so much that you will trash the women he sleeps with but never him?  


She's pathetic and she's a loser.  She's not a face of strength.  Shes not a face of feminism.


Not only did she choose that for her personal life, she encouraged it in her work life.  One man after another was rewarded by her for his bad behaviors.  

She's just an embarrassment.  Remember her podcast? YOU AND ME BOTH?  She's on hiatus.  Does that mean no one was listening?  She couldn't even do one every month when she was making the podcast.  But she wants you to know, season two is just around the corner.


She's annoying, she's polarizing and she lied to the Amreican people over and over about Russia-gate.


Why?


Because she can't accept the fact that she lost.  Because she can't accept just how ugly she is to the American people.  


She's the racist, after all, who tried to derail Barack Obama's ascension to the top.  That's how she allowed herself to be portrayed in 2008 and then, eight years later, she thinks she can win the presidency?  


Bernie Sanders didnt hurt her in 2016.  She hurt herself by not running a real race.  She wanted to be Barack -- to outdo him -- and make it all about celebrity.  And it didn't work.  And her being too lazy to drag her fat ass to needed states is why she lost.  As is her failure, over eight years, to do anything to dispeal the charges of racism that Barack's campaign made about her over and over throughout 2008.


What she needed in 2016?  Votes that she didn't get.


And now the same idiot is on video declaring, ahead of the mid-terms, "If you don't want to support Democrats than go somewhere else."  


She is an idiot when it comes to turning out the vote and now she's harming others with her statements.  She needs to go away.  America's had enough of her.  She had a failed run for the presidency -- she lost to Donal Trump who had no political experience which goes to what a failure Hillary was in 2016.  ANd she wanted to run against him, which goes how to stupid she is.


She has no wisdom to share.  I get it, she can't just hang around the house, waiting for Bill to show up after he's had sex with this or that woman.


And on that, why are we paying Secret Service members to Break the law.


Now in Bill's case, as far as I know, they's just covering up for his affairs.  But we know from e-mails that Hunter Biden's detail was aware of Hunter's drug use and of his use of prositutes.


Why did our tax dollars go to hiding his crimes?

The Secret Service became accomplices to prostitution and drug purchases.  That shouldn't be allowed and should promotE an investigation into how the Secret Service is really used.


It's disgusting.  Our tasx dollars are paying the Secret Service to take part in breaking the law.  Disgusting.

In her latest column at BLACK AGENDA REPORT, Margaret Kimberley notes:


What about the Supreme Court?” Those words are used to thwart any discussion which questions support for the Democratic Party. The democrats maintain their hold on voters who would otherwise be rid of them by dredging up the fear of the federal judiciary falling under Republican Party control. The legal right to abortion is one of the issues used to keep millions of people from leaving the democrats once and for all. 

After decades of democrats’ corruption, inaction, and lies, the right to abortion is indeed at risk. The majority of Supreme Court justices are republican appointees.  They may uphold a Mississippi law which severely restricts abortion access or even overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which declared a constitutional right to abortion. The boogeyman of right wing judicial control is now real and the democrats have only themselves to blame. Unfortunately, most of their voters still go along with their faux outrage when they should be questioning the whole rotten apparatus.

The democratic party is called a “big tent” which includes corporate interests, wealthy funders, well funded think tanks, elite academia, and left leaning voters. Black people are the constituency they depend upon the most, although one would never know that by looking at the policies the democrats hold near and dear. 

Black voters in particular are caught in a trap, seeing themselves as powerless to do anything except keep republicans out of office. The openly white supremacist nature of the republicans is not met with any opposition by the party that fails to fight for them. Instead fear mongering and betrayal of their most loyal voters are their favorite means of getting support. The political duopoly are like fake heroes and fake villains in professional wrestling. The differences are all for show.

The bloom was off the rose in 2016 after the hope and change promised by Barack Obama was revealed to be nothing more than neo-liberal business as usual. Many democrats were disgusted when the primaries were rigged against Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton’s “pied piper strategy” amplified Donald Trump, and the combination of miscalculation and hubris gave him the electoral college votes needed to win and to make lifetime judicial appointments.

Hillary Clinton was so sure she would defeat Trump that she chose senator Tim Kaine as her running mate. Kaine is one who straddles the fence claiming he is personally opposed to abortion because he is a Catholic while claiming he would defend Roe v. Wade. Clinton herself foolishly sought to portray herself as being ambivalent about abortion, thinking she would get support from some conservative voters. Of course real conservatives were in love with Donald Trump. So-called moderate republicans voted for him too. Hillary’s efforts to be as slick as Bill Clinton were laughable and her sad attempt at Clintonian triangulation led to Trump’s victory.

Democrats don’t like to mention that Ruth Bader Ginsburg should have stepped down when Barack Obama asked her. He also didn’t fight for his nominee Merrick Garland because he assumed that a president Hillary Clinton would have her choices. The miscalculations are guarded like a shameful family secret lest left leaning democrats question the cult leadership and head for the exits.


Hillary supported the Iraq War.  And when pressed on it in her 2008 and 2016's campaigns, she barked and snarled and never took accountability.


As Secretary of State, she ignored friends who begged her to help Iraqi women. She refused to even note their suffering.  She gave a major speech about women all over the world and gave examples from one country after another but ignored Iraq -- refused to include it even when a friend of 40 years begged her to do so.  That's Hillary Clinton.  That's the real Hillary.


Reality is in short supply.  In fact, liars are having a hard time keeping their lies straight.


Such as?  How about the Iraqi government (and the media)?


ALJAZEERA does a better job than most by noting the claims as claims:


The United States-led coalition’s combat mission countering ISIL (ISIS) in Iraq has officially ended, according to Iraq’s national security adviser.

The announcement on Thursday by Qassim al-Araji followed the final round of technical talks in Iraq’s capital to formally transition the combat mission to an advisory mission to assist Iraqi forces.

[. . .]

The US did not immediately confirm the end of the combat mission, although Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday that Washington would “uphold our commitments, including that there will be no US forces with a combat role by the end of the year”.


Did it end or didn't it?


According to Caitlin Doornbos (STARS AND STRIPES), it iddn't end:


The U.S. is expected to carry out its commitment to end its combat mission in Iraq by the end of the year, chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday.

President Joe Biden in July pledged to remove all U.S. troops with a combat role from Iraq by 2022 as part of an agreement with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. At the time, there were about 2,500 troops in Iraq targeting Islamic State fighters. 


It's just semantic.  They're back to pretending that combat isn't combat.  But they can't even get their lies straight.  Of course, the media's never felt the need to be bound by truth when covering Iraq.


Joe Biden could pull all US troops out of Iraq.  He's not doing that and he most likely won't.  


But he does keep the war industry happy.  Sarah Lazare (IN THESE TIMES) reports:


A weapons industry trade group that represents companies including Lockheed Martin and Raytheon is thrilled about President Joe Biden’s nominee for the role of lead weapons buyer for the U.S. military. In a statement released November 30, Arnold Punaro, board chairman of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), which calls itself a trade association for the defense industrial base,” proclaimed that the president made the superb choice of nominating Dr. Bill LaPlante to be the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment.”

LaPlante is being poached directly from the military industry that is praising him, which he entered after serving in an acquisitions role under the Obama administration, where he was known for shepherding through major (and controversial) programs, such as the acquisition of the F‑35 fighter jet.

By moving from government to industry, then back to government (should the Senate confirm him), all while the weapons industry cheers, LaPlante has spun through a well-trodden revolving door — a career trajectory that is entirely routine, but nonetheless scandalous. 

In a November 30 White House statement, President Biden praised LaPlante as a seasoned national security leader with nearly four decades of experience in acquisition, technology, sustainment and the defense industrial base.” The president is nominating LaPlante for the role of Under Secretary for Acquisition and Sustainment at the Department of Defense, which has been vacant since Ellen Lord stepped down from the position in January.

LaPlante is currently the president and chief executive officer of Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, a contractor for the U.S. military, where he has served since 2020. As recently as November 2, the company announced that it has been selected by the U.S. Air Force as one of 55 contractors on a digital engineering contract that aims to increase the service’s ability to work on digital designs of its future platforms.” The price tag is massive, potentially amounting to $46 billion over 11 years, according to the company.

This is just one of numerous contracts with the U.S. military held by Charles Stark Draper Laboratory. The most recent one was announced just 13 days before Biden announced the nomination of LaPlante.



I thought I was going to have some kind words for Joe Biden in today's snapshot and maybe I can still.  It's the news of one of his nominees.  She's CIA and that's depressing as hell.   To me --  to others, it may be a reason to be thrilled.   But she's a she.


This is not 'Rally around the women!'  This is not 'gender trumps all.'  I would have preferred a female nominee with a different background.  But I don't want to act like Joe's nomination of Alina Romanowski is nothing.  She's been the Ambassador to Kenya so she's an easy sail through the nomination process.  Again, I don't care for her background.


But I will give Joe credit.   And I don't mean that in a backhanded way or in a "I guess . . ."


This is significant and I will say it's a good move.  


We've been noting for years now the symoblic value and its meaning in Iraq..  The US destroyed women's rights in Iraq.  A woman in a position of power in Iraq helps Iraqi women.  I don't mean that Alina Romanowski will improve the lives of women with her actions.  I have no idea whether she will or not -- her background does not make me hopeful.


But women in Iraq have had their opportunities and rights reversed thanks to the US government -- both due to the US led war and due to the people the US put in charge.  Iraqi women have fought back and showed great strength.  


A woman in a leadership role is something that forces Iraqis who do not believe in equality to deal with women, a woman in a leadership role shows the children of Iraq that everyone can be a leader.  


Again, she's not my choice.  She will most likely be confirmed (if you've been confirmed for a previous post and not had a scandal, you generally sail through the process) and hopefully she'll do a fine job and prove me wrong to have been concrned.  But whether she does or not, the fact that a woman is in that post has symbolic value.  


Joe deserves credit for this.


As noted before Barack became president, we met with the incoming administration -- Ava and I -- to argue for a woman to be named US Ambassador to Iraq.  It did not happen.  Barack nominated six people for the post in his eight years (five were confirmed).  He couldn't -- in his mind -- find a qualified woman.  Joe's the first one since the 2003 invasion to be able to find a woman he thought was qualified.  (I did not lobby JJoe on this or anyone in his administration.  I'd honestly given up hope that it would happen.)  So he deserves credit for that.


It was a good move and I will applaud Joe for making it.


The following sites updated:





  • Wednesday, December 08, 2021

    Jimmy Dore and Ray McGovern

    Jimmy Dore.



    Fauci needs to go.  If Joe Biden had any sense at all, he'd fire Fauci and put another doctor in that post to get a fresh start.  It's like there's no one, no adult at all, in the White House.  No one wants to make the hard decision.  But then Joe isn't one to make difficult decisions.  He's not going to make this one. He's going to let Fauci drag the administration down further and further and then act surprised as Fauci brings down the party.  It'll take mid-term elections for Joe to see the truth -- if even then.


    Now let me note Ray McGovern's latest column:

    U.S. corporate media accounts of how tough President Joe Biden was at his virtual summit with President Vladimir Putin yesterday followed a weeks-long script recently catalyzed by the eye-catching Washington Post Dec. 3 story entitled: "Russia planning massive military offensive against Ukraine involving 175,000 troops, US intelligence warns."

    Impressive: That’s a lot of strawman invaders to thwart.

    In post-summit comments, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan emphasized that Biden was "direct and straightforward" with Putin, warning not only of more draconian economic sanctions but also of additional arms to Ukraine if Russia attacked. Sullivan told reporters, "Things we did not do in 2014 we are prepared to do now."

    To remind: The US-orchestrated coup on Feb. 22, 2014 in Ukraine – properly labeled "the most blatant coup in history" since YouTube revealed the US coup plans on Feb. 4, 2014 – is what led to the refusal of the vast majorities of citizens in Crimea, Donetsk, and Lugansk to bow to the diktat of the proto-Nazi regime then emplaced in Kiev.

    Both Sides Can Claim a Measure of Success

    If past practice is any indicator, the Kremlin will not rain on Biden’s parade by emphasizing its straw-man nature. Russia’s leaders are only too familiar with the reality that US domestic politics trumps (pardon the word) virtually all other considerations and is prone to create straw-man threats to face down. The more so in the wake of this year’s military and political embarrassment of Afghanistan.


     

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

     

     Wednesday, December 8, 2021.  Thieves and liars are the focus of today's snapshot. 


    Starting with the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet in Iraq. A part of it has been returned to Iraq after being illegally purchased by the Hobby Lobby family.  The courts had to force its return.  ALJAZEERA reports in the video below.



    BBC NEWS notes:


    The clay artefact bears part of the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the world's oldest surviving works of literature.

    It was looted from an Iraqi museum during the 1991 Gulf War and smuggled through many countries before ending up at Washington DC's Museum of the Bible.

    US authorities seized the tablet in 2019 and handed it over to the Iraqi embassy in September.

    It is one of 17,926 artefacts recovered by Iraq from the US, UK, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands over the past year, according to Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein.


    And, to be clear, though the above is with regards to Hobby Lobby, it's not just them stealing.  Monday, the following press release was issued:


    Seized Artifacts will be Repatriated to 11 Countries
     
    Steinhardt Agrees to Unprecedented Lifetime Ban on Acquiring Antiquities

    Pictured (from left to right): The Larnax, a Death Mask, and Stag’s Head Rhyton.

    Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. today announced that MICHAEL STEINHARDT, one of the world’s largest ancient art collectors, has surrendered 180 stolen antiquities valued at $70 million and received a first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities, following the resolution of a multi-year, multi-national investigation into his criminal conduct. The seized pieces were looted and illegally smuggled out of 11 countries, trafficked by 12 criminal smuggling networks, and lacked verifiable provenance prior to appearing on the international art market, according to the Statement of Facts summarizing the investigation. 

    “For decades, Michael Steinhardt displayed a rapacious appetite for plundered artifacts without concern for the legality of his actions, the legitimacy of the pieces he bought and sold, or the grievous cultural damage he wrought across the globe,” said District Attorney Vance. “His pursuit of ‘new’ additions to showcase and sell knew no geographic or moral boundaries, as reflected in the sprawling underworld of antiquities traffickers, crime bosses, money launderers, and tomb raiders he relied upon to expand his collection.

    “Even though Steinhardt’s decades-long indifference to the rights of peoples to their own sacred treasures is appalling, the interests of justice prior to indictment and trial favor a resolution that ensures that a substantial portion of the damage to world cultural heritage will be undone, once and for all. Accordingly, this agreement guarantees that 180 pieces will be returned expeditiously to their rightful owners in 11 countries rather than be held as evidence for the years necessary to complete the grand-jury indictment, trial, potential conviction, and sentence. This resolution also enables my Office to shield the identity of the many witnesses here and abroad whose names would be released at any trial, to protect the integrity of parallel investigations in each of the 11 countries with whom we are conducting joint investigations, and to avoid over-burdening resource-scarce nations who would be called upon to provide witnesses in any grand jury or trial. Finally, this agreement establishes that Steinhardt will be subject to an unprecedented lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities. 

    “I want to thank our Antiquities Trafficking Unit, our partners at Homeland Security Investigations, and the international law-enforcement authorities who collaborated with us on this case for their remarkable efforts in this extraordinarily complex and time-consuming investigation.”  

    “Steinhardt viewed these precious artifacts as simple commodities – things to collect and own. He failed to respect that these treasures represent the heritage of cultures around the world from which these items were looted, often during times of strife and unrest,” said HSI New York Acting Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel. “The outstanding collaboration between the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations revealed the breadth of Steinhardt’s plundering and this collaborative effort has yielded the remarkable results announced today.”

    According to documents filed in court, the criminal investigation into STEINHARDT began in February 2017. While investigating the Bull’s Head stolen from Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War, the D.A.’s Office determined STEINHARDT had purchased the multi-million-dollar statue then subsequently loaned it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Months after seizing the piece, the D.A.’s Office announced the formation of its Antiquities Trafficking Unit with the repatriation of the Bull’s Head and the Calf Bearer, a second multi-million-dollar marble statute seized from STEINHARDT, to the Lebanese Republic in December 2017.

    In the process of uncovering the Lebanese statues, the D.A.’s Office learned that STEINHARDT possessed additional looted antiquities at his apartment and office, and, soon after, initiated a grand jury criminal investigation into his acquisition, possession, and sale of more than 1,000 antiquities since at least 1987. As part of this inquiry into criminal conduct by STEINHARDT, the D.A.’s Office executed 17 judicially-ordered search warrants and conducted joint investigations with law-enforcement authorities in 11 countries: Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, and Turkey.

    Of STEINHARDT’s acquisitions, the D.A.’s Office developed compelling evidence that 180 were stolen from their country of origin. In addition to their universal lack of provenance, the pieces exhibited numerous other evidentiary indicators of looting. Prior to STEINHARDT’s purchase, 171 of the 180 seized antiquities first surfaced in the possession of individuals who law-enforcement authorities later determined to be antiquities traffickers—some of whom have been convicted of antiquities trafficking; 101 first appeared dirty (or unrestored) in photographs; and 100 appeared covered in dirt or encrustations prior to STEINHARDT’s purchase. Many of the seized antiquities were trafficked following civil unrest or looting.

    Among the pieces surrendered in this agreement: 

     

    • The Stag’s Head Rhyton, depicting a finely wrought stag’s head in the form of a ceremonial vessel for libations, purchased from The Merrin Gallery for $2.6 million in November 1991. The item, which dates to 400 B.C.E., first appeared without provenance on the international art market after rampant looting in Milas, Turkey. In March 1993, STEINHARDT loaned the Stag’s Head Rhyton to the Met, where it remained until the D.A.’s Office applied for and received a warrant to seize it. Today, the Stag’s Head Rhyton is valued at $3.5 million.

     

    • The Larnax, a small chest for human remains from Greek Island of Crete that dates between 1400-1200 B.C.E., purchased from known antiquities trafficker EUGENE ALEXANDER via Seychelles-headquartered FAM Services for $575,000 in October 2016. ALEXANDER instructed STEINHARDT to pay FAM Services via SATABANK, a Malta-based financial institution later suspended for money laundering. While complaining about a subpoena requesting provenance documentation for a different stolen antiquity, STEINHARDT pointed to the Larnax and said to an investigator with A.T.U.: “You see this piece? There’s no provenance for it. If I see a piece and I like it, then I buy it.” Today, the Larnax is valued at $1 million.

     

    • The Ercolano Fresco purchased from convicted antiquities trafficker ROBERT HECHT and his antiquities restorer HARRY B√úRKI with no prior provenance for $650,000 in November 1995. Depicting an infant Hercules strangling a snake sent by Hera to slay him, the Ercolano Fresco dates to 50 C.E. and was looted in 1995 from a Roman villa in the ruins of Herculaneum, located near modern Naples in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. It first appeared on the international art market on November 10, 1995 when HECHT’s business partner wrote STEINHARDT regarding a “crate being delivered to you soon” with the artifact inside. Today, the Ercolano Fresco is valued at $1 million.

     

    • The Gold Bowl looted from Nimrud, Iraq, and purchased from SVYATOSLAV KONKIN with no prior provenance for $150,000 in July 2020. Beginning in 2015, objects from Nimrud were trafficked when the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targeted cultural heritage from Nimrud, Hatra, and Khorsabad, particularly ancient objects made of gold or precious metal. The Gold Bowl, which is crafted from gold with a scalloped flower design, first surfaced on the international art market in October 2019, when a Customs and Border Patrol officer notified the D.A.’s Office that KONKIN was on a flight from Hong Kong to Newark, New Jersey, hand-carrying the Gold Bowl for STEINHARDT. Today, the Gold Bowl is valued at $200,000.

     

    • Three Death Masks purchased from known antiquities trafficker GIL CHAYA with no provenance whatsoever for $400,000 in October 2007, less than a year after they surfaced on the international art market. The Death Masks (circa 6000 to 7000 B.C.E.) were crafted from stone and originated in the foothills of the Judean mountains, most likely in the Shephelah in Israel. They appear soil-encrusted and covered in dirt in photographs recovered by Israeli law-enforcement authorities. Today, the Death Masks are valued at $650,000.

    Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos, Chief of the Antiquities Trafficking Unit and Senior Trial Counsel, handled the investigation with Investigative Analyst Apsara Iyer and Special Agent John Paul Labbat. Additional support for the investigation was provided by the late Jill (Gilda) Mariani, Senior Investigative Counsel, Investigative Analysts Giuditta Giardini, Alyssa Thiel, Mallory O’Donoghue, and Daniel Healey, and former Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hirsch. Zeynep Boz of the Combatting Illicit Trafficking Department at Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Dr. Patty Gerstenblith, Dr. Eitan Klein of the Antiquities Theft Prevention Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Warrant Officer Angelo Ragusa of the Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale of the Italian Carabinieri, Dr. Daniela Rizzo, and Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis also assisted in the criminal investigation. 

    Manhattan D.A.’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit

    To date, the D.A.’s first-of-its-kind Antiquities Trafficking Unit has recovered several thousand stolen antiquities collectively valued at more than $200 million.  More than 1,500 of these priceless artifacts have been returned to their rightful owners and repatriated to their countries of origin, including a total of 717 objects to 14 nations since August 2020. Many hundreds more are ready to be repatriated as soon as the relevant countries are able to receive them amid the pandemic. But more than a thousand must be held awaiting criminal proceedings against the traffickers. The items already returned include a pair of statues of Buddha to Sri Lanka; an Egyptian limestone stele dating back to 664 B.C.E.; 45 antiquities dating back to the 2nd Century to Pakistan; a gold coffin stolen from Egypt in the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution in 2011; a Roman mosaic excavated from the Ships of Nemi; an Etruscan relic stolen from the site of a historic necropolis known as the “City of the Dead”; a marble sarcophagus fragment; a Buddhist sculpture stolen from an archaeological dig site; a pair of 12th century Indian statues; a collection of 8th Century B.C.E. bronze statues; and a set of ancient Greek coins, among others.


    Steinhardt was able to get away with theft.  And others helped him.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art was only one of the outlets happy to display stolen artifacts in the past -- including stag's head that is now being returned.  In addition, many people honored Steinhardt and treated him as something other than the theif he actually is.  Like Hobby Lobby's Steve Green, a lot of people let Steinhardt get away with his theft.    Dan Price Tweets:


    A billionaire had $70 million in prized relics looted from mostly poor countries. 60 investigators spent 4 years on the case. His punishment: no jail, no fine, just give the items back. Meanwhile poor people go to jail for 70 cents of stolen goods


    Nicholas Mirzoeff offers this thread:

    I teach in NYU-Steinhardt. Michael Steinhardt was today banned from antiquities trading and forced to return $70 million of looted art, like a gold bowl looted from Nimrud, Iraq, and flown to Newark for him in 2020. Or a fresco from Herculaneum 1/3


    He's been at it since the 1990s when he was forced to return another golden bowl looted from Italy. But he's not been prosecuted. No fines. I'm sure his wife or PA will buy his loot from now on. 30 years of looting, no time. 2/3.

    Imagine one of those smash-and-grab robbers all over TV news had an NYU school named after them and you've got my workplace. Plus, of course, he's a serial sexual harasser. 3/3


    Okay, let's stay with liars.  There are two who need to be called out this morning.


    Kearn Beare, come on down, you damn liar.  And let's call out COUNTERPUNCH.  It's gotten way too sloppy in what it accepts and prints -- and remember, this is the outlet that published Jason Leopold, so that's really saying something.  This is the garbage that they run by Beare.  He's asking you to reach in your inner self and help.  Be like this CIA analyst and her foundation.  Be like them?  Because the CIA did such noble work in Iraq, right?  Which is where the woman was stationed.  Bearne is also promoting his own book.


    I don't just question the motives, I question all of it  Including who did the proofing of his book.  It only took a few paragraphs before I was thining, "Isn't this awfully similar to the report THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR did in 2020?"  Yes, it is.  And, I checked, that article was written by Mark Sappenfield.  Mark's an editor so he understands the importance of facts.  Which is why he's able to identify as what she was a "counterinsurgency officer."


    Oh, so COUNTERPUNCH is now in the business of promoting counter-insurgency?  Jeffrey, Alex must be rolling over in his grave.  How the hell did you end up with that garabage article promoting a counter-insurgency officer?  (Not to menion one that reads very similar -- to the point of plagiarism -- to an article THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR published a year prior.) 


    It's garbage and so is Kern Beare.   Shame on him.  COunter-isnurgency was rightly decried for what it actually was in the 20th century.  It was left to a few of us in the 21st century to call out and to expose.  COUNTERPUNCH Is supposed to be an oultet for the left and I know people who've been published there who have worked to remind people what counter-insurgency actually is.  I doubt that they will be thrilled to read the 'gentle' portrait COUNTERPUNCH has done on this War Criminal.

    "Say yes to the river!" prancing Beare insists -- like some even more simplistic version of Oprha Winfrey.  And, by the way, 60 MINUTES and Oprah?  We're all going to pretend she's a journalist and overlook how she not only promoted Judith Miller's lies about the Iraq War, Oprah also verbally attacked one of her own audience members when they called out Judith Miller.  I guess everyone who whored to start the Iraq War gets rewarded.


    Moving to out other liar, at EUROASIA TIMES, Osama al-Sharif writes a puff piece on Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.  He puffs so hard, I bet his lips are swollen.  Did you know that Moqtada's decried corruption and only Moqtada -- well aomng the Shi'ites, only Moqtada.  What a load of crap.  I'm struggling to name one Shi'ite politician who has been silent on corruption.  Even the corrupt Nouri al-Maliki has called out corruption -- both in the past and in the present, he has called it out.


    But the reality is that Moqtada is so unremarkable that after you detail his family's accomplishments and are left with just him, you either get honest about what a disappointment the slubmlord actually is or you have to lie.  So Osama al-Sharif choose to fall to his knees.


    Nor do I believe that the future of Iraq is dependent upon Moqtada or, for that matter, any one person.  Omar's a real drama queen.  Not miuch of a truth teller and he's highly allergice to facts, but he owns the drama, let's give him that.


    The following sites updated:





  • Jimmy Dore, Chris Hedges

    First up, Jimmy Dore.



    Old man Sanders better not try to take a victory lap in 2024 and start yapping his gums about what 'we' need to do.  Sheep-herder better have hit the door by then.  He is a disgrace.


    I marvel over the fact that he still pretends to stand for something.  He's not a man.  He's not even an overgrown child.  Children have convictions.  He's just a sell out.  I wish I'd thrown my weight behind Elizabeth Warren or someone else.  Bernie's a dirt bag who repeatedly disappoints.  Over and over.  


    And the wuss dropped out when it came down to just him and Joe Biden.  He gave up on us and I have no respect for him.


    He didn't just let me down, he let the country down.  We had a national emergency (still do) and he chose to turn tail and run.  I have no respect for Bernie.


    And instead of calling Joe out on his mistakes, all Bernie does is enable him and look the other way. 


    This is from Chris Hedges' column at COUNTERPUNCH:

    The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell which began last week in Manhattan will not hold to account the powerful and wealthy men who are also complicit in the sexual assaults of girls as young as twelve Maxwell allegedly procured for billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

    Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, hedge-fund billionaire Glenn Dubin, former New Mexico Bill Richardson, former Secretary of the Treasury and former president of Harvard Larry Summers, Stephen Pinker, Prince Andrew, Alan Dershowitz, billionaire Victoria’s Secret CEO Les Wexner, the, J.P Morgan banker Jes Staley, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barack, real estate mogul Mort Zuckerman, former Maine senator George Mitchell, Harvey Weinstein and many others who were at least present and most likely participated in Epstein’s perpetual Bacchanalia, are not in court. The law firms and high-priced attorneys, federal and state prosecutors, private investigators, personal assistants, publicists, servants, drivers and numerous other procurers, sometimes women, who made Epstein’s crimes possible are not being investigated. Those in the media, the political arena and the entertainment industry who aggressively and often viciously shut down and discredited the few voices, including those of a handful of intrepid reporters, who sought to shine a light on the crimes committed by Epstein and his circle of accomplices are not on trial. The videos that Epstein apparently collected of his guests engaged in their sexual escapades with teenage and underage girls from the cameras he had installed in his opulent residences and on his private island have mysteriously disappeared, most probably into the black hole of the FBI, along with other crucial evidence. Epstein’s death in a New York jail cell, while officially ruled a suicide, is in the eyes of many credible investigators a murder. With Epstein dead, and Maxwell sacrificed, the ruling oligarchs will once again escape justice.

    The Epstein case is important because, however much is being covered up, it is a window into the scourge of male violence that explodes in decayed cultures, fueled by widening income disparities, the collapse of the social contract and the grotesque entitlement that comes with celebrity, political power, and wealth. When a ruling elite perverts all institutions, including the courts, into instruments that serve the exclusive interests of the entitled, when it willfully neglects and abandons larger and larger segments of the population, girls and women always suffer disproportionally. The struggle for equal pay, equal distribution of wealth and resources, access to welfare, legal aid that offers adequate protection under the law, social services, job training, healthcare, and education services, have been so degraded they barely exist for the poor, especially poor girls and women.

    Women, traditionally burdened with the care of children, the elderly and the sick, stripped of control over their own bodies in states that seek to deny reproductive rights, are cornered, unable to make a living and secure legal protection. This is always the goal of patriarchy. And in this degraded world girls and women are easy prey for pimps, pedophiles, and rapists such as Epstein and his accomplices. These men look at their victims not as children or young women in distress but as human trash, no more worthy of consideration than a slave, which in fact many of these girls and women become.


    Remember that Ann covers Jizzy Pants in this community (Jizzy Pants is what she's dubbed perv Ghislaine Maxwell).

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


    Tuesday, December 7, 2021.  Oh, JACOBIN.  THat really covers it all.


    Garbage.  That's what Julia Rock and David Sirota have written at JACOBINTrina texted me about it yesterday.  I thought she meant to highlight it in the snapshot here and was all for it.  Then I read it and called her and we were both appalled by the article.


    It's about inflation.  David and Julia are correct to note that inflation media stories do not note the gross inflation of executives salaries during the pandemic.  They would've been wise to have built an article around that.


    In terms of real people?  They write like they know none.  Inflation's just an illusion, they insist, and its the normal reaction people have to increased prices while forgetting that their own wages have increased.  Huh?


    Were you stoned?


    Did you write garbage like this when you were stoned:

    But the bottom 60 percent of earners have more money in their pockets than they did pre-pandemic, even after accounting for inflation, when wage increases and government programs like COVID relief checks and the Child Tax Credit are included. That spending successfully cut poverty nearly in half.


    David and Julie, come over here, it's the real world.


    I have no idea why it took two people to write such stupdiity.  Maybe you're writing for 'the creative class'?  I have no idea but if you thought that was going to connect with workers, you obviously don't interact with any.  Maybe that's the point?  Maybe JACOBIN fancies itself as a publication for the upscale?


    I have no idea.  But you can't count COVID relief checks as increased wages.  The last one was months ago and it was the one Donald Trump pushed through (but Nancy Pelosi wouldn't allow to go out until Joe Biden had been sworn in as president).  Those weren't about increased wages, you idiuots.  Those were about easing suffering and pacifying a confused nation.  We needed a UBI but all we got were crappy stimulus checks.  And, now, thanks to you two, those crappy stimula checks will be portrayed as a 'wage increase.'


    I don't get how this article came about.


    Is this your effort to try to protect Joe Biden and his big spending bills -- that really don't do anything, by the way?


    I'd really like it if we could have honest reporting.  I'd like it if the needs of the people could come ahead of the wants and spin of a political party.  I'm not here to pimp Joe Biden or his policies.  I'm not here to do that for any political party.  I'm not a whore.  I'm reading over David and Julia's piece and my mouth just gapes wide in wonder.


    Let's just deal with that nonsense about a wage increase (based on stimulus checks! and a tax credit!).  That's going to lead to so much garbage.  The same sort of garbage we have of "People just don't want to work" and "the government paid them too much and that's why they don't want to work."


    No, some people don't want to work because wages are low paying and respect on the job is non-existent.  I'd love, for example, for David and Julia to do a report on how many workers feel they deal with an office bully each day -- usually some middle management jerk.  Bill Clinton gutted the safety net -- and bragged about it.  It was racism and it was stupidity.  And we're never going to rebuild that until we move beyond media lies of lazy people who don't want to work.


    Lousy jobs.  That's what you've got.  Lousy jobs where people are treated like dirt and the pandemic showed them that they didn't have to put up with it.  They could live on a smaller budget, some learned.  Others didn't have the choice to 'learn' because they just had to cope.  This especialy includes caregivers -- predominately women, but not just women -- who had to take on additional resposnsibilites due to the pandemic.


    Now these aren't 'sexy' storeis for the press and, of course, anytime a story involves women, the US press is even less interested.  


    I don't know why JACOBIN can't cover things like that.  I don't know how they see promoting a baseless lie that the discontinued stimulus checks were an increase in wages as being helpful.  


    Most people, for example, don't get a raise in 2020 but lose it in 20021 while doing the exact same job.


    I was all prepared to quote from the article and to praise it.  The headline alone made it seem important.  But I read it and it's garbage.  David and Julia probably think they made their case very well but they didn't.  They've created a springboard for right-wing talking points which will hurt workers for some time to come.  


    And David and Julia need to start interacting with people -- and that's not Emily's constituents at political events.  


    We're just doing Zooms now because of the pandemic.  But we had more than enough encounters via that with real people to see what was going to go down in Virginia.  The inflation issue is not minor and it's not something in people's heads.  They see the increases, yes.  They also feel them in their pockets.  Milk has gone up, everything's going up.  If you can't acknowledge that (a) this is happening and that (b) the poor and the working poor are especially hard hit, I don't know why you're writing for a Socialist -- or psuedo Socialist -- publication.  Marx said, "Workers of the world unite!"  JACOBIN appears to be saying, "Workers of the world build us a staging platform and let us know when you're done."  They want a movement but there's clearly a first class in their desired movement and a coach or workers' class for everyone else.  


    To call the piece tone deaf is letting it off too easy.  Again, this is a piece that will launch a million and one right-wing talking points.  Many of those talking points?  They'll begin with, "Even Democratic Socialist JACOBIN admits that workers wages have increased . . ."  And these arguments will be used to weasel out of government obligations and to ensure that the US does not provide any other stimulus checks, let alone the needed UBI.


    Everyone wants to act puzzled by what has taken place socially.  There's no puzzle to it.  What's going on is a reset and, like previous ones, it's caused by a demographic bulge.  The much maligned millenials are rather earnest, yes.  But that's how it always is.  That's how the younger generation was seen in the sixties, for example.  Societal change, when it comes, usually succeeds because of the young.  They're raised on the belieft of doing the right thing and they haven't yet been worn down to desperate whores who'll say, "Who cares if he raped a woman" or whatever.  They're not going to accept marching orders.  They beilieve in values and equality.  And they still believe the system can work.  They take those beliefs and they go up against the system and we get change.


    Demography is one of the least understood aspects of change when it comes to political theory.  But it's one of the most easily predicted.  Time and again, it impacts the market first, this bulge in the population.  And then, as the young people age into adults, it impacts the system itself.


    Maybe if people grasped that, they'd spend less time knocking young people and less time offering garbage like David and Julia have?  Instead, they could direct their energy towards what was possible in the brief time before the bulge gets worn down like all the ones that came before?

    And maybe they could address that what's actually increased, per labor figures and stastistics, is the amount of work that workers are doing each week.  More work and no real increase in wages.  Seems like that's a story JACOBIN could and should be covering.

    I don't dislike David.  I like Emily.  I have been really glad to be able to praise David in the last years.  It's a huge improvement over our past relationship -- e-mails threatening to sue me -- but I'm not going to be silent right now.  This is a very bad article.  I'm sure it was not intended to be.  But it is what it is.  And I'm not going to praise it and I'm certainly not going to be afraid to call it out.  It needs to be called out loudly.  


    Let's note this from Hamilton Noah's piece at IN THESE TIMES:


    People who view the world through the lens of electoral politics don’t tend to like the phrase Which side are you on?” It is seen as unsophisticated, simplistic — a black-and-white view of a political reality in which compromise is the path to getting anything done. But the phrase has great utility. It acknowledges that there are sides, and that you have to be on one of them. Organized labor is about power. Power concedes nothing without a fight. Compromise is fine, as long as everyone can tell — without looking too hard — which side you are working for. 

    A year into full Democratic control of the federal government, and a year out from the likely end of that happy arrangement, is a useful time to consider what the labor movement has gotten out of this ostensibly ideal situation. Have we gotten the PRO Act, the number one thing that labor wants and needs? No. Nor will we, until the filibuster is gone. In fairness, only a minority of Congressional Democrats are holding this legislation back, a result of the fact that the Democratic Party is not one unified thing, but a very loose collection of many disparate things united only by our nation’s poor two-party design. It is fair, however, to look at what the Democrats are doing from the very top — where the agenda is set, and where symbolism matters. 

    The reason the PRO Act is so important is that it is not an easy time for unions in America. The law is tilted against them. Major victories are rare. Inspiration is at a premium. Democrats claim to understand this. During the pandemic-wracked year of 2020, there was no more important or inspiring union story than the effort to unionize an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. It represented an attempt to crack the most influential and powerful (and anti-union) company in the nation, where the battle to organize workers will have ripple effects on what the future of work looks like across the country in decades to come. Though the union lost that election, the company cheated, and another election will be held. In the fight to unionize Amazon, everyone must be on a side. 

    Last week, we learned that former President Barack Obama’s foundation has accepted a $100 million donation from Amazon boss Jeff Bezos. It is a trifling sum for Bezos, who has made more than $100 billion while doing everything possible to ensure that his hundreds of thousands of workers are unable to organize to improve their own lives. The donation was reportedly arranged by Jay Carney, Obama’s former press secretary, who is now Amazon’s spokesman, and who spoke out against the union drive in Alabama. Bezos specifically asked that the donation be earmarked to build a plaza in honor of recently deceased Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis. 

    John Lewis was a strong and active supporter of unions. Imagine how meaningful it would have been if Barack Obama had publicly supported the Amazon union drive in Alabama. He didn’t, though. But he will have a plaza” paid for by the guy who has become richer than Rockefeller by crushing Amazon workers. I hope that plaza will be spacious enough for John Lewis to roll over in his grave. Thank you for your leadership, Obama. 



    That's reality.  It's in short supply at JACOBIN this week.  They're also promoting Liza Featherstone's deeply misguided defense of the 'canon.'  And, Liza, I don't know that I'd called young right-wingers "little s**ts" in the same article where I went on about how the books of Aristotle and Shakespeare must be read.  No, we're not just talking personal taste here (I've never had the Eurocentric devotion to William Shakespeare), we're also talking about the fact that neither wrote boos.  Shakespeare wrote plays, dear, and Aristotle delivered lectures.  It's a quibble but so is dismissing some young people as "sh**ts."    


    Iraq?  ISIS is back or 'back.'  I guess it's shocking if you were stupid enough to believe ISIS was ever defeated in Iraq.  It never was and we noted that over and over in the last years.  ISIS lost territory.  BIg deal.  A terrorist organization is suppoed to promote and conduct terror.  It's not supposed to govern.  (Although we could have a lively discussion about governments who terrorize their own citizens -- not to mention the citizens of other countries.)  ISIS losing control of Mosul was not a defeat.  


    And ISIS has continued to be active.  As they reach for reasons to argue US troops need to stay in Iraq, the US press is rediscovering ISIS and treating the Basra motorcycle bombing as a major event.  Even quoting from slumlord Moqtada al-Sadr.  Hopefully outgoing President Barhim Saleh is making noises about how this is a threat to Iraq's society.  Really?  I think corruption is a bigger threat and I think there are about six other factors that are more threatening.


    In fact, ISIS benefits from these factors.  But Saleh won't address that right now.  Though it was only weeks ago that he was making similar statements.  


    Let's wind down with this announcement by Iraq War veteran Patrick Murphy:


     

     


     

    If you are in the Washington, DC area this Wednesday evening, I hope you'll consider joining me at the largest pre-Army/Navy Game event on Capitol Hill. Together with Senator Patty Murray, Congressmen Tim Ryan, Jimmy Panetta, Mike Thompson, and many more veteran leaders in Washington, we will be celebrating our work to support and elect veterans and military family members of integrity to Congress.

    The Army/Navy Game is about more than just football. It's about coming together to recognize that, even though we come from different places, and even though we wear different uniforms or perform different tasks in service, we have all sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. The Army/Navy Game is a reminder that we serve something larger than ourselves.
     
    At Taking the Hill, we believe Congress should be made up of people who believe in serving something larger than themselves, too. That's why we fight so hard for our veteran candidates and members of Congress.
     
    If you're around on Wednesday evening, we'd love to have you. RSVP for your ticket by clicking here. Even if you can't make it, we'd love to have your support with a contribution today.
     
    Thank you for supporting those who serve our country. See you soon.
     
    Beat Navy,
    Patrick
     
    Hon. Patrick J. Murphy
    32nd Under Secretary of the Army
    Former Congressman (PA-01)




    The following sites updated: