Saturday, March 04, 2023

Daniel Ellsberg, Jacob Crosse, Ben Norton, Graham Elwood

Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg has explained he's dying.  That's very sad news.  He's 92 and that doesn't make it less sad.  He changed our understanding and history be exposing The Pentagon Papers (which then-Senator Mike Gravel read into the Senate record in response to Richard Nixon's efforts to suppress THE WASHINGTON POST and THE NEW YORK TIMES and others efforts at publication).  He's been a part of anti-war actions through the decades -- including opposing the Iraq War.  

He's had a historic life and lived it with purpose -- we should all be so lucky in that regard.

Jacob Crosse has a strong article at WSWS about last month's hideous Rage Against The War Machine and how all these people who hates Jews participated -- it was one Nazi after another. In the comments someone notes the video below by Ben Norton about grifter Little Jackie's Hinkle.

Jackson Hinkle is a fraud so of course he was at last month's 'rally.'  

Speaking of videos, Graham Elwood addresses the US-proxy war.

And here's something I saw on Luqman Nation's Twitter feed.

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

Friday, March 3, 2023.  WSWS continues to examine the fake protest that took place last month, the United Nations Secretary-General concludes his trip to Iraq (with criticism growing), the war on LGBTQ+ people in the US continues, MTG becomes fodder for Joe Biden, and much more.

At WSWS, Jacob Crosse reports on the failed Rage Against The War Machine -- an event that found idiots from the left or 'left' hugging racists and homophobes like a body pillow:

On February 19, in Washington D.C., the Libertarian Party and “People’s Party,” along with disoriented middle class elements and outright fascistic individuals, organized what was marketed as the “Rage Against the War Machine” rally.

The event, billed by organizers Angela McArdle of the Libertarian Party and Nick Brana of the People’s Party, as an attempt to bring the “left and right” together in opposition to the war in Ukraine was, the World Socialist Web Site noted, a “reactionary political freak show.

The World Socialist Web Site will be further analyzing the main organizers and speakers at the event, which confirm its thoroughly reactionary character. This article focuses on the Libertarian Party and its overt orientation to the fascistic right.

[. . .]

After Deists’ [2017] speech, current and former members of the Libertarian Party, such as neo-Nazi Christopher Cantwell, went on to participate in the fascist rampage in Charlottesville, which ended when another neo-Nazi, James Alex Fields Jr., drove his car into a crowd of counter-protestors; murdering anti-racist activist Heather Heyer.

On the day Fields murdered Heyer and injured dozens of others, neo-Nazi Shandon Simpson was photographed standing behind Fields Jr.

Last month in Washington, Simpson, along with neo-Nazi Matthew Heimbach were both photographed at the “Rage” rally by journalist Molly Conger.

In 2020, Unicorn Riot revealed that Simpson was a member of the Ohio National Guard and had deployed to Washington D.C. as part of Trump’s fascistic efforts to suppress anti-police violence protesters.

In Telegram posts uncovered prior to deploying to D.C., Simpson told fellow neo-Nazis: “They activated my unit and we’re getting real ammunition to shoot and kill. Rahowa.” [RaHoWa refers to the neo-Nazi conception of Racial holy war.]

Heimbach has been a fascist his entire adult life. He has founded several neo-Nazi organizations, including the now-defunct Traditionalist Worker Party.

For his leading role in organizing the Unite the Right rally, on November 23, 2021, a jury found Heimbach and the organization he founded guilty of civil conspiracy.

In an article published the day of the “Rage” rally, It’ reported that in a live-stream prior to event, Simpson revealed that Heimbach and his appearance at the “Rage” rally would not be a shock to organizers of the event. Simpson said that Heimbach “has had more communications with some of the people involved...”

At the “Rage” rally, Heimbach and his followers were allowed to set up a table and share their fascist propaganda.

The Center for Political Innovation (CPI), which is run by RT correspondent Caleb Maupin, was one of the “Bronze Sponsors” of the “Rage” rally.

After the “Rage” rally, Heimbach was photographed handing out fascist propaganda at an “after-party” organized by CPI.

Benjamin Rubinstein, formerly of the CPI, confirmed on Twitter that “Heimbach and his crew” were “invited to the event by CPI without the knowledge of other organizers.”

Rubinstein noted that Heimbach and Simpson are “avowed Nazi’s controlled by an Atomwaffen member and that is not a woke talking point.”

There is not only a close political kinship but a direct line of communication connecting outright Nazis to the Libertarian Party, the principal organizer of the “Rage Against the War Machine” rally. Those supposedly on the “left” who participated in the rally served primarily to lend these far-right forces political credibility and legitimacy. 

It was cute to watch all those fake asses trying to pretend that they cared about ending wars.  These are the same people with YOUTUBE programs who can't be bothered with the Iraq War and pretend US troops aren't still on the ground in Iraq and that the Iraqi people don't continue to suffer.  But, hey, they care, they really, really care.  

At MODERN DIPLOMACY, Amer Ababakr offers these thoughts:

From the beginning, the US succeeded in formulating a sectarian project, through which it strengthened the concept of sectarian division and quotas, as the US presence became a major ally for which the Shiite and Sunni sectarian parties raced, and for which the sectarian princes and the new elite of Iraq fought, at a time when successive US Administrations worked what it can win them over to its favour.

Thus, Iraq’s new leaders became close allies of the “liberator” from overseas. And at a time when the internal struggle raged to win the seat of power in Iraq, the active military and political institutions in the US Administration hastened to put the final touches to complete and implement the chapters of the scenario of the occupation of Iraq. I may not be exaggerating when I say that this fragmentation, which is still witnessing in the Iraqi political arena, and the fluctuations of its politicians and their clinging to power, which have increased in severity and convulsions since the start of the parliamentary elections process, contributed to perpetuating strife and division in the Iraqi social and political component, as is the case in the struggle of the Sadrist movement and the coordination framework. And the crisis of Muhammad al-Halbousi with the sheikhs of the Western Badia. Thus, two decades after the fall of the former Iraqi regime, and as a result of this wrong and deliberate method of rebuilding the state, the difference in visions regarding the relationship of Iraqis with their regional environment still threatens the stability of what is left of Iraq, as religious parties have failed to develop an inclusive system of government for all. Internal sectarian divisions were strengthened as a result of the deliberate insistence on creating a sectarian elite that controls the popular sectarian base, instead of focusing on the importance of the unity of the broad cross-sectarian mass base. State institutions have become centers of conflict between parties competing for power and wealth. And with the increasing American and international interest in these forces, the Iraqi political parties’ attempts to satisfy the influential US hand in order to crown them as leaders of the rule of Iraq increased. Thus, the US succeeded in its game through its convergence with the Iranian sectarian project, which contributed to the escalation of the Iraqi political crisis by allowing the sectarian political religion to dominate the political arena, and thus seizing power by the power of money and weapons, to the extent that most military institutions and teams became a monopoly. On sectarian and ethnic leaders, in a country where security and sectarian elements are the key to control, influence and manipulation of corruption files. Despite the existence of the constitution that regulates the work of many state institutions, the hawks of the ruling parties did not hesitate to control the Central Bank, which is one of the independent bodies linked to the House of Representatives, which the law fortified it from any government interference. Central, controlling the fate of billions of dollars and spending them without account to finance private activities, and transferring them to Iran and some countries in the region, in light of the repercussions of the American-Iranian conflict on the Iraqi arena and the region, and under the cover of the American-Iranian consensus in accepting a new Iraqi political system, whose officials and parties enjoy with Western sponsorship and support, it depends for its continuation and defense of its foundations and sectarian ideology, on armed state militias supported from behind the borders, despite the ruling elite’s knowledge of the importance of the American role in maintaining the legitimacy of the regime internationally on the one hand, and the role of armed groups in supporting the regime at home. This explains the subtleties of this relationship, which can be described as a relationship of interests and a form of clinging to power and playing on the ropes.

Don't expect the YOUTUBERS at last month's hate rally to note any of the issues above.  Or to take on the nonsense of WE ARE THE MIGHTY -- I hope someone does but if they don't we'll do it next week, I'm just not in the mood this morning.

Yesterday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited the Kurdistan before concluding his visit to Iraq.

He delivered the following speech in Erbil:

Ladies and gentlemen of the press – thank you for your presence.

I am very glad to be back in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

In my previous visits to the area, including as High Commissioner for Refugees, I was always deeply touched by the generosity and solidarity of the Kurdish people towards those fleeing conflict and catastrophe.

Today, amidst the devastation of the earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to you for once again extending a helping hand.

I have just concluded fruitful meetings with the President, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Speaker of Parliament.

I thanked them for the close partnership with the United Nations.

We discussed relations with Baghdad and as I said there, moving from constant crisis management to a more structured, institutionalized dialogue is in the interest – and to the benefit – of all.

A number of issues require agreement, including: the 2023 federal budget, the oil and gas law, stronger security cooperation, the swift implementation of the Sinjar agreement, and the finalization of the Kirkuk Dialogue.

But in my discussions both here and in Baghdad, I sensed a genuine commitment to move forward and I urge all to translate this commitment into reality.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good governance, respect for human rights and the freedom of expression, as well as inclusive political and electoral processes, are bedrocks of stability and drivers of prosperity.

I encourage all political actors across the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to work together to ensure that the delayed parliamentary elections take place this year.

Diverse – even opposing – viewpoints as well as constructive criticism are the lifeblood of any democracy.

Despite spirited differences, I urge all to put the interests of the people in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq first.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press,

Full respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and good neighbourliness is essential at all times.

I urge all to pursue dialogue and diplomacy and exercise maximum restraint to prevent further instability and contain the risks of regional escalation.

Finally, let me repeat what I said in Baghdad: my visit is one of solidarity and hope for the future.

But achieving a better tomorrow requires action today. It demands determined diplomacy, constructive dialogue – and the courage to make the necessary compromises.

After my meetings and discussions, I am convinced that important progress is now entirely possible.

The United Nations stands with the people of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to help build that better future that they deserve.

Allow me a personal note. I came to this region many times in the past as High Commissioner for Refugees and I came as Secretary-General in a dramatic moment when Daesh was close and when fighting was fierce. And I learned to have an enormous admiration for the generosity and solidarity of the Kurdish people. I want to say that in my opinion we are now facing an opportunity for Iraq and an opportunity for the Kurdistan region of Iraq. That opportunity can translate itself into reality if Iraqis are able to come together and unite and if people in this region people can also come together and unite.

Iraq is potentially a rich country that can guarantee to its people a future of prosperity. I strongly hope that this will soon become a full reality.

Thank you.

As we noted yesterday, his photo ops on Wednesday resulted in criticism.  Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) reports:

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has drawn criticism for posing for a photograph during his visit to Iraq with two militia leaders wanted by the US for crimes against humanity.

Mr Guterres, who is visiting Iraq for the first time in six years, has been meeting various leaders, including Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani and Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein.

His visit comes as Iraq this month marks the 20th anniversary of the US- led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, as it faces continued economic, political, social and environmental crises.

“UNSG is ambushed. Another nightmarish optic coming out of Iraq,” said Michael Knights, Iraq expert at the Washington Institute for Near East policy.

“On his right (white turban) — US designated terrorist Qais Al Khazali, with a lot of US, UK and Iraqi blood on his hands. On his left, Rayan Al Kildani — US-designated human rights abuser,” Mr Knights said on Twitter.

A spokesman for the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq said the photograph was taken after a dinner hosted by Mr Al Sudani.

“The photo was taken on his way out, after a dinner with government of Iraq coalition representatives, upon the invitation of the Prime Minister of Iraq, discussing the country’s future, the need to deliver and serve the needs and interests of Iraqis. There were more invitees at the dinner,” the spokesman told The National.

The militia leaders are also included in a group photo with Mr Guterres, UN envoy to Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and members of the Iraqi parliament's human rights council.

In 2020, the US designated Mr Al Khazali, leader of the Asaib Ahl Al Haq militia, and his brother Laith Al Khazali, another leader of the group, as global terrorists.

Asaib Ahl Al Haq, also known as the League of the Righteous, is backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, which has been similarly designated by the US as a foreign terrorist organisation. Washington believes the Iraqi militia is a proxy for Iran.

Mr Al Kildani is head of the Babylon Movement and leader of the 50th Brigade, a Christian faction in Hashed Al Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces.

Turning to the United States, Jeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH) notes:

+ in 2022, 315 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in state legislatures across the U.S.  The number of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced so far in the first two months of 2023 already exceeds that total and exceeds all anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in 2012, 2013, and 2014 combined.

It's a war.  There is a war being carried out against the LGBTQ+ community in this country.  Fortunately, some people are saying "NO!" to that war.  Kaitlyn Kennedy (TAG 24) reports on Wednesday in Iowa:

In the latest attack on LGBTQIA+ rights, eight Iowa Republicans have submitted a proposal to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

[. . .]

The same day they put forward their resolution, Iowa Republicans also introduced HB 508, which would deny same-sex marriages in the name of "religious liberty."

[. . .]

Dozens of high-school and college student groups also participated in walkouts on Wednesday to protest the anti-LGBTQIA+ moves. They took to the streets and even marched to the Iowa State Capitol, chanting slogans like "We say gay" and "Trans rights are human rights."

Of those brave students, Jo Yurcaba (NBC NEWS) notes:

Students from 26 high schools and two colleges have coordinated the walkouts to take place throughout the day across the state. 

IowaWTF, a coalition of high school students that fights “discriminatory legislation,” and the Iowa Queer Student Alliance, a group for LGBTQ high school and college students, organized the day of protests. 

Jemma Bullock, a member of the Iowa QSA, said the group is leading walkouts for two reasons: to educate students about the bills under consideration in the state Legislature and to get the attention of the lawmakers behind those bills.

“We are trying to make it so that it’s impossible for those in power to ignore us,” said Bullock, who is a senior at Ankeny High School, just north of Des Moines. “Because right now, there are people who are going to the Capitol and attending those public hearings about these bills — they have been teachers, psychiatrists, doctors, students, parents, administrators, all sorts of people who come and say, ‘This is harmful. This will have bad effects. This will cause bullying, it will cause depression and anxiety and it will not be safe for the LGBTQ+ community in our schools.’ And they just will not listen.” 

By mid-afternoon Wednesday, students and local reporters started to share images and videos from the walkouts on social media. 

Bigots and old fools don't seem to get it -- I'm thinking of one old fool in particular, Betty called him out Monday in "Shut your bigoted ass, Dr. Anthony Monteiro" (rightfully called him out) -- but the LGBTQ+ community is under attack.  The world has changed but bigots are having a really hard time grasping that.    

  • A Florida GOP state representative filed a proposal expanding the state's so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill.
  • The bill, HB 1223, would prohibit instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity up to eighth grade.
  • Advocacy groups slammed the proposal, saying it polices schools and demonizes LGBTQ people.

That's Florida.  AP covers Tennessee:

Tennessee Republican lawmakers on Wednesday advanced legislation that would prevent transgender people from changing their driver's licenses and birth certificates, a move that officials warn could cost the state millions in federal funding.

“In my view, this body should do what’s right regardless of the cost,” said Republican Rep. Gino Bulso, the bill's sponsor. “I don’t care what it costs to do what’s right.”

LGBTQ-rights advocates have long argued that having a driver's license or birth certificate match a person's identity is not only personally important but also beneficial to avoiding harassment.

If enacted, the proposal would define male and female in state law and base people’s legal gender identities on their anatomy at birth. A handful of Republican-led states have introduced similar bills — including Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma — as GOP lawmakers have put transgender issues at the forefront of their legislative agenda.

Legislative officials tasked with calculating the fiscal impact of bills have stated that Bulso's bill would likely open the state to “civil litigation and could jeopardize federal funding" because it could conflict with federal rules.

It could open the state up to lawsuits and to a loss of federal funding?  Well hate apparently trumps common sense.  At least we can applaud the bigots of Tennessee for sporting their hate proudly and not trying to dress it up with the pretense so many other bigots do by insisting it's to 'save the children.'  Shawna Mizelle (CNN) notes Tennessee as well: 

Tennessee is set to become the first state this year to enact legislation to restrict public drag show performances.

The state Senate on Thursday passed a bill along party lines to limit “adult cabaret performances” on public property so as to shield them from the view of children, threatening violators with a misdemeanor and repeat offenders with a felony. It was passed by the Tennessee House last week and Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, has said he will sign it.

Bill Lee, as Marcia noted ("Drag Queen Bill Lee doesn't want others to partake"), may be the governor but in high school he loved dressing as a woman.  And Jeffrey St. Clair points out, "The state of Tennessee wants to make drag shows a felony. But back in 2009, the Hawkins County, Tennessee GOP had its “largest fundraiser ever” at a drag show. The event attracted Rep. Zach Wamp, Rep. Phil Roe and future Governor Bill Haslam."

Texas has some bigots pushing to curb drag as well including Nate Schatzline.  Oops.  Like with Bill Lee, there are images:

Video posted on social media shows Texas state Rep. Nate Schatzline dressed in drag performing to Javi Mula’s “Sexy Lady,” The Daily Beast reports.

“Nate Schatzline has made his entire personality attacking the LGBTQ community, trans especially children, and vowed to ban drag shows in Texas,” a Twitter user whoposted the video wrote on the social media site.

Schatzline in January introduced HB 1266, which aims to put a “sexually oriented business” tag on any venue that hosts drag performances that also allows the consumption of alcohol on the premises. The law would ban anyone younger than 18 from entering such businesses.

The first-term state congressman and ex-pastor admits it’s him in the video, but he accused his critics of mischaracterizing the incident, calling the performance “a joke” while he was in school.

 It was supposed to provide entertainment?  Isn't that what a drag show does?  


Nate, you better work it, girl.  Show us those moves you used performing "Sexy Lady."

By the way, Nate thinks the US has a "tyrannical" government.  And hate merchant Marjorie Taylor Greene is calling for cession.  Why do they hate America?  WHY!! WHY!! They should be asked that and let's remember from this point forward, they're not just hate merchants and bigots, they're also America haters.

"It's time to stand up against tyrannical government!" That's what Nate wrote on his campaign website.  

Why do you hate America so much, Nate?  Is it because you don't feel you can wear dresses in public anymore?  

After all that hate, we need a palette cleanser.  Alex Harrington (F1 BRIEFINGS ON FAN NATION) reports on F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton appearance on THE FAST AND THE CURIOUS podcast :

The conversation started with discussions about technology, time off during the winter break, and Hamilton's expedition to Antarctica - which we covered earlier this year. However, Hewgill then continued to ask about the extra work the Mercedes driver does for diversity and equal rights. 

"You mention the word inspiring, sorry to end on a slightly serious note but you have paved the way in Formula 1 for talking out about serious issues that haven't been spoken about before. 

"For example, I'm a fanatic F1 fan and sports broadcaster, I'm also gay. It's something I struggled with when I was a kid about coming out in the world of sports. 

"You went to Hungary in 2021 when that was going through some tricky LGBT stuff and spoke up about LGBT rights. I wanted to say thank you, it means the world and makes such a difference."

Hamilton was visibly appreciative, thanking Hewgill for his kind words and sharing what did.

"We have this platform and I just feel a huge responsibility. I'm not just a Formula 1 driver and I can just have success and go about my life, this is a platform to really spark change, spark conversation, which is the beginning of those things.

"Sparking those uncomfortable conversations and then holding people accountable who have been happy with the status quo in the past, which has held people down and made people not included.

He continued:

"We can make change and I want to be a part of helping that and making people feel more included.

"Motorsport or any sport or business shouldn't be able to continue not being diverse. When have you ever seen someone working in our industry with disabilities?

"There are so many different things we need to challenge and fix."

The Mercedes driver's response has earned him widespread praise from Formula 1 fans. Hamilton's unwavering support for human rights, including LGBT+ rights, has been a consistent feature of his career. The Briton has repeatedly spoken out against discrimination, making him one of the most influential and respected figures in the sport.

Applause for Lewis Hamilton. People are suffering and that includes children and they're suffering not because they attended a drag show but because hateful adults are traumatizing them.  Marc Ramirez (USA TODAY) reports;

One in 4 Black transgender or nonbinary youths attempted suicide in the previous year, a figure more than twice the rate of their Black cisgender peers, according to a new research brief from the Trevor Project that called the situation "a public health crisis that deserves immediate attention."

The results were among key findings of the latest brief compiled by the Trevor Project as it combs through data collected from nearly 34,000 LGBTQ young people nationwide for its 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health. The organization, based in New York, focuses on suicide prevention for LGBTQ youths.

“This report is yet another piece of evidence that we aren’t doing enough to fight for these kids,” said Jack Turban, director of the gender psychiatry program at the University of California, San Francisco. “Improving the situation will mean making broad structural and societal improvements in the ways we treat trans youth of color. Unfortunately, we seem to be moving in the opposite direction.”

[. . .]

The American Civil Liberties Union said 336 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in statehouses across the country in 2023, eclipsing the record 315 tallied by the Human Rights Campaign in 2022. Many bills target transgender youths, prohibiting gender-affirming care or participation in school sports teams aligned with their gender identity.

“It can’t be understated, the degree of transphobia we are seeing among politicians,” said Gina Sequeira, co-director of the Seattle Children's Gender Clinic in Washington. “The patients I take care of are incredibly fearful of the atmosphere they see.”

Another factor, Sequeira noted, is the record levels of fatal violence suffered by transgender victims in recent years, especially Black trans women.

“We have to acknowledge that societal racism and transphobia directly correlate with some of the findings we see,” she said.

It's a message that a bigot like Anthony Monteiro just can't grasp.  The hate these bigots spew has consequences:

A transgender woman was brutally assaulted near a light rail station in Minneapolis, suffering serious injuries including a rib fracture, collapsed lung and brain bleed.

Metro Transit police officers responded Monday morning to a call that a woman with “visible brain matter” was lying on the ground near Lake St. Station.

Officers were concerned the assailants were motivated by “anti-transgender bias,” according to the criminal complaints. However, Nicholas Kimball, a spokesperson for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, told The Associated Press the case is still being investigated and the office needs more evidence to determine a motive.

At least 32 transgender and gender-nonconforming people were killed in the United States last year, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Trans women are disproportionately represented, comprising 81% of the deaths. In 2021, the human rights organization tallied 57 fatal assaults against trans and gender-nonconforming people, the highest number since HRC has been reporting the numbers.

America does not need these hate merchants and the lies they spread.  How awful is Glenneth Greenwald's roll dog and hag Marjorie Taylor Greene?  Even President Joe Biden makes fun of her and says she's actually going to help turn out Democratic voters across the nation:

The Georgia Republican has previously heckled the president, including during his State of the Union address in February when he spoke about alleged plans from some Republicans to cut Social Security and Medicare. At that moment, Greene shouted out "liar, liar" in response to his comments.

In another instance, Greene claimed that Biden is responsible for fentanyl overdose deaths. On Tuesday, she shared a clip to Twitter of House testimony from Rebecca Kiessling, a mother who lost two sons to fentanyl overdoses in July 2020—when former President Donald Trump was in office.

The congresswoman asked the mother during the hearing whether her sons would be alive "if our government would secure our southern border," which has numerously seen the seizure of large amounts of the drug. Kiessling responded "absolutely."

"Listen to this mother, who lost two children to fentanyl poisoning, tell the truth about both of her son's murders because of the Biden administrations refusal to secure our border and stop the Cartel's from murdering Americans everyday by Chinese fentanyl," Greene wrote on Twitter.

Biden referenced her accusations on Wednesday and pointed out that the deaths of the women's sons happened when Trump was president.

"I've read she was very specific recently, saying that a mom—a poor mother who lost two kids to fentanyl, that I killed her sons. Well, the interesting thing is that fentanyl they took came during the last administration," he said.

Poor Glenneth, his hag's under fire.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, March 02, 2023

Graham Elwood's new stand up special, THE GOLDBERGS, Fetterman

First up, Graham Elwood's new stand up special.


THE GOLDBERGS aired a new episode last night in what we now know is the final season.  Knowing that made Adam a little easier to take.  But what made the episode work was Erica and Geoff and Barry and Bev and Joann.  Barry rented a new apartment and did not tell Joann.  Was not planning on it being their apartment until he found out she might be mad.  He couldn't get out of the lease he signed so he tried to tell her they were looking at it but the crooked landlord revealed he had already rented it.  Joanne got Barry out of the lease but told him she was hurt about him lying.  They made up at the end.

Bev decided she was ready to date and that she liked that guy at the school who was interested in her earlier.  Erica talked her into putting herself out there and to prove that she knew what she was talking about, Erica showed Bev how she manipulated Jeff.  

Turns out, later, Jeff knew she was manipulating him.  And he had been manipulating Erica all along.  When she wasn't interested in him in high school, he manipulated her by dating another girl.  She couldn't believe he'd been manipulating her.  They are very funny when the show gives them the space to be.  Jeff going off about his legs -- which he thinks are perfectly toned -- and Erica screaming for Bev not to listen to Geoff.

Bev did listen and tried to make the guy jealous by chaperoning a dance with the high school coach.  It became very awkward and she felt humiliated.  But, of course, the guy was really interested in her all along so it worked out.

It was a very good episode and, because of Erica and Geoff's back and forth and Sam Lerner's committment to the bit about Geoff's perfect legs, I'd rate it the best episode of this season.  (Lerner plays Geoff.)

I guess I'm now on the Fetterman beat.  Darragh Roche (NEWSWEEK) reports:

Social media users have raised questions about U.S. Senator John Fetterman being involved in sending a joint letter to the Norfolk Southern Railway on Wednesday despite the fact he's currently in hospital.

Fetterman joined fellow Democratic Senator Bob Casey, both of whom represent Pennsylvania, and Democratic Representative Chris Deluzio in sending a letter to Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw that urged the company to provide assistance to residents in Darlington Township.

The letter may raise further questions about Fetterman's capacity to serve in the Senate following his hospitalization last month. The senator's team has provided limited information about his activities but in a statement on Monday, his office said he was being kept informed about news and Senate business.

There has also been speculation about whether Fetterman could choose to resign, though his office has given no indication that he will do so. Pennsylvania's Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro, who would choose a successor if Fetterman left office, said on Monday that there was "no contingency plan" for that situation.

[. . .]

Some on social media raised questions about how Fetterman had been involved in writing the letter while he's currently in hospital.

The letter was subject to a report by local outlet WTAE and has begun to attract attention on social media, with some Twitter users questioning Fetterman's involvement.

The report was highlighted on Twitter by Stephen L. Miller, contributing editor at The Spectator World. Miller shared screenshots from the article that described Fetterman sending the letter along with his fellow Democrats and responded with: "What?"

Responding to WAET's tweet featuring the story, Twitter user @DeaconFrost95 suggested Fetterman was "having people already do his job for him," while user @MSmanneschi wrote: "I'm pretty sure that Fetterman had no idea what is going on."

Other Twitter users also raised questions about the fact that Fetterman has joined a bipartisan group of senators backing the Railway Safety Act of 2023.

"How is Fetterman joining anything right now?" asked user @jtLOL, sharing an article about the legislation.

He shouldn't be in the Senate.  He wasn't fit to run but a lot of liars attacked an NBC reporter who noted the obvious about Fetterman's health.  He couldn't even make it through six weeks of Congress before checking himself in for medical treatment.  

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

Thursday, March 2, 2023.  A United Nations photo-op in Iraq has some asking if it's now policy for UN leaders to pose with terrorists, the oil-rich country also has a huge child labor problem, COUNTERPUNCH splashes cold water on the Cult of Sy Hersh, Glenneth Greenwald's hag MTG struggles with both reality and the English language, and much more.

Government snitch Sy Hersh has been tongue bathed by many of late and they feel the need to read whatever intro he puts before them so he gets credited for so much -- so much that he didn't actually do.  This morning, COUNTERPUNCH reposts a 2008 article by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair to bring a little reality into the discussion:

As Hersh’s hodge-podge narrative got play over the weekend, CounterPunchers read his supposed disclosures with an impatient and knowing sigh. They, after all, had learned of the Finding back on May 2, when Andrew Cockburn disclosed its contents here, with a good deal more pep and hard information, under the headlines, “Democrats Okay Funds for Covert Ops SECRET BUSH “FINDING” WIDENS WAR ON IRAN”.

Here the first 256 words of  Andrew Cockburn’s CounterPunch exclusive, a brisk narrative against Hersh’s 6,000-word boustrophedonic plod, but – as is instantly apparent – far more informative:

Six weeks ago, President Bush signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, “unprecedented in its scope.” Bush’s secret directive covers actions across a huge geographic area – from Lebanon to Afghanistan – but is also far more sweeping in the type of actions permitted under its guidelines – up to and including the assassination of targeted officials.  This widened scope clears the way, for example, for full support for the military arm of Mujahedin-e Khalq, the cultish Iranian opposition group, despite its enduring position on the State Department’s list of terrorist groups.

Similarly, covert funds can now flow without restriction to Jundullah, or “army of god,” the militant Sunni group in Iranian Baluchistan – just across the Afghan border — whose leader was featured not long ago on Dan Rather Reports cutting his brother in law’s throat. Other elements that will benefit from U.S. largesse and advice include Iranian Kurdish nationalists, as well the Ahwazi arabs of south west Iran.  Further afield, operations against Iran’s Hezbollah allies in Lebanon will be stepped up, along with efforts to destabilize the Syrian regime. All this costs money, which in turn must be authorized by Congress, or at least a by few witting members of the intelligence committees.  That has not proved a problem.  An initial outlay of $300 million to finance implementation of the finding has been swiftly approved with bipartisan support, apparently regardless of the unpopularity of the current war and the perilous condition of the U.S. economy.

There are interesting differences between Andrew Cockburn and Hersh’s stories, not least on the matter of assassinations. CounterPunch’s story, in the lead, cites “assassination of targeted [Iranian] officials”, as part of the purview of the Finding. More than 1,100 words into his story Hersh gestures tactfully to  “potential defensive lethal action by U.S. operatives in Iran”. In other words, if President Ahmadinejad suddenly detected a CIA operative about to stab him and drew out his revolver, the operative would be entitled, in self defense, to kill Ahmadinejad first. That’s the way the Agency is. Punctilious to a fault. Actually, it’s at this point, after the hokum about “potential defensive legal action” that Hersh detonates a real bombshell. He admits in print that someone got the story before him, something he disdained to do in the case of My Lai, initially excavated with incredible courage by the late Ron Ridenhour. Nor, in the case of Abu Ghraib has Hersh been keen to correct admiring interviewers and remind them that this was a scoop of CBS News. But in this New Yorker he writes: “(In early May, the journalist Andrew Cockburn published elements of the Finding in Counterpunch, a newsletter and online magazine.)”


B-b-b-but, Seymour Hersh still created the world in six days, right?  

The uneducated of YOUTUBE as the teachers of today?  This is not going to turn out pretty.

In 2002, the US Congress gave Bully Boy Bush the green light for war on Iraq and that didn't turn out pretty either.  The war was based on lies and that was fairly obvious before it started and only became more obvious in the early years of the war.  "Bush lied, people died" was a popular slogan.  

Despite that reality, the Congressional authorization remains on the books all these years later.  Will it ever change?  AL ARABIYA reports:

A US Senate committee will consider legislation next week that would repeal two authorizations for past wars in Iraq, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday, in a renewed push to reassert Congress’ role in deciding to send troops into combat.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will take up the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force, or AUMFs, Schumer said, paving the way for a possible vote in the full Senate before members leave for the April recess, Schumer said.

“We need to put the Iraq war squarely behind us once and for all, and doing that means we should extinguish the legal authority that initiated the war to begin with,” Schumer said.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers from the Senate and House of Representatives introduced legislation to repeal the two longstanding AUMFs in early February.

Members of Congress have been arguing for years that legislators have ceded too much authority to the president over whether troops should be sent into combat, by passing and then failing to repeal broad, open-ended war authorizations that presidents have then used for years to justify military action around the globe.

The war destroyed Iraq.  It's a reality fewer are aware of because despite the proliferation of podcasts and YOUTUBE programs, most can't be bothered with the reality of Iraq -- even when they pretend that they're anti-war, they still can't make time for Iraq.  I24 notes:

More than one in 10 children under the age of 14 work in Iraq, but the true rates are unknown because government numbers ignore camps for displaced persons

In Iraq, poverty and war have caused a sharp spike in child labor, with children as young as eight-years-old working physically demanding jobs.

“I work as a carpenter from 8 am to 5 pm, and my father also works in carpentry, but in another place,” said Iraqi child laborer Haydar Karar. “I’ve been working here since I was eight,” the 13-year-old said.

Sabby Sabs and REVOLUTIONARY BLACK NETWORK don't have time for Iraq but they've got time to endlessly do one segment after another defending (and bowing to) Jimmy Dore.  Doesn't seem all that 'revolutionary' or 'Black' but I guess it's some form of 'network'ing (circle jerk) and hey, Jimmy might promote them back on his YOUTUBE show -- those Iraqi kids won't host RBN and Sabby!

Haydar Karar spends eight hours a day tidying a carpentry shop and lugging wooden beams, forced like many other Iraqi children into work by poverty and conflict. Now 13, Karar has been working with his carpenter uncle in the capital Baghdad since the age of eight, his childhood marred by the troubles that have ravaged his country. “I was expelled from school because of a fight,” he said. “The school didn’t want to take me back.”
His family had decided to find work for him “to build my future and marry me”, added the petite boy, who works from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm every day with a one-hour lunch break. He leans over a wooden armchair to sand it, and then moves around metal trestles before carrying large planks of wood about twice his size. Karar’s weekly pay, the equivalent of less than $20, covers his own needs as well as those of his sister. They both live with another uncle.
Children in Iraq work as apprentice mechanics and rubbish collectors, in shisha cafes or hair salons, and washing car windows and selling paper tissues by the roadside. “Child labor is constantly rising,” said Hassan Abdel Saheb, in charge of the portfolio at the Iraqi labor and social affairs ministry, citing “wars, conflict and displacement”.
Despite its oil riches, nearly one-third of Iraq’s 42 million inhabitants live in poverty, according to the United Nations. The country has struggled to regain stability after decades of war and a brutal campaign against the Islamic State (IS) group, which Baghdad declared defeated in late 2017. Iraq still suffers from instability coupled with endemic corruption, and crumbling infrastructure and public services.

John Daniszewski, Abby Sewell and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) explain, "Despite its oil wealth, Iraq’s infrastructure remains weak. Private generators fill in for the hours of daily state electricity cuts. Long-promised public transportation projects, including a Baghdad metro, have not come to fruition."  And, of course, US troops remain on the ground in occupied Iraq. 

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres continued his visit to Iraq today (see yesterday's snapshot).  It has been six years since his last visit to the country.  The United Nations issued the following:

“I am here in a visit of solidarity to underscore the commitment of the United Nations to support Iraq in the consolidation of its democratic institutions and advancing peace, sustainable development and human rights for all Iraqis,” Mr. Guterres told journalists in Baghdad, after touching down late on Tuesday.

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After “decades of oppression, war, terrorism, sectarianism and foreign interference” in Iraq’s affairs – just days ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 2003 invasion - Mr. Guterres acknowledged that the challenges the country faces could not be brushed aside.

And amid reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani continues to face potential political obstacles in reviving national fortunes, the UN chief, in a joint press encounter with Mr. Al-Sudani, expressed his hope that Iraq “can break cycles of instability and fragility”.

He added: “I applaud the Prime Minister for his commitment to address the most pressing challenges facing the country head on – including combatting corruption, improving public services, and diversifying the economy to reduce unemployment and create opportunities, especially for young people.

“Such structural change requires systemic reform, stronger institutions, greater accountability and better governance at all levels - and the United Nations stands ready to support these important efforts.”

Referencing reported divisions over the sharing of Iraqi oil revenues between central government in the capital and provincial government in the north, Mr. Guterres encouraged all parties to build on “recent positive steps” between Baghdad and Erbil. “Sustainable agreements” and dialogue should be the long-term objective the UN Secretary-General said.

In earlier comments just after touching down, Mr. Guterres also spoke of his “enormous admiration” for the Iraqi people, highlighting how he had witnessed the courage of those displaced inside the country several times, on previous visits.

The UN Secretary-General also highlighted how Iraqi refugees in Jordan and in Syria had shown that they were able “to live in solidarity with each other, to help each other in the spirit that, in my opinion, is the best hope for the future of the country”.

Iraq’s efforts to repatriate its citizens from northeast Syria – including from the infamous Al Hol camp – had been “exemplary”, Mr. Guterres said, before noting Prime Minister Al-Sudani’s commitment to allowing the safe and dignified return of ethnic Yazidis to their homes in northern Iraq, after suffering genocide at the hands of [ISIS] in 2014.

Addressing another key challenge for Iraq, namely water scarcity, Mr. Guterres noted that the issue required international attention, before flagging the UN 2023 Water Conference from 22-24 March in New York.

The mighty Tigris and the Euphrates rivers were now running dry and the impact on agriculture has been dramatic, the UN chief said, adding that “it breaks my heart” to see farmers who have been forced to abandon lands where crops have been grown for thousands of years.

Iraq is one of the countries worst hit by climate change, which has driven displacement, threatened food security, destroyed livelihoods, fuelled conflict and undermined human rights, Mr. Guterres maintained.

When coupled with a volatile security situation and governance challenges, “it can put stability at risk… so now is the time for the international community to support Iraq in tackling its environmental challenges, diversifying its economy, and harnessing its potential for sustainable growth,” the Secretary-General insisted.

The visit has included a photo-op that has angered some.

As we wind down, let's note that Glenneth Greenwald's hag just gets more desperate.  Someone criticized Marjorie Taylor Greene loudly and she thinks she knows why.  Again, the scary thing about idiots: They don't grasp that they're ignorant. And Marjorie's deeply ignorant:

In 2018, [US House Rep Maxine] Waters made outdoor public remarks in Los Angeles, wherein she instructed supporters to confront and harass members of the Trump administration if they are seen at "restaurants… department stores [or] gasoline stations."

"You get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore anywhere," Waters said.

Greene said Waters' instructions to liberal supporters combined with Hillary Clinton's noted "basket of deplorables" description of conservatives has given such people as the woman and her son free rein to harass and attack people they disagree with.

"Back when Hillary Clinton declared that we're all deplorables, they basically tried to claim that we're second-class citizens simply because we're conservative," she said, also expounding on Waters' comments.

"This was the dog whistle for all the people on the left, Democrat voters everywhere, and fully supported by the Democrat Party to attack Republicans in public no matter what. There is no line they will not cross."

So much above is the raving of a lunatic.  First and foremost, hate merchant Marjorie showed up at AOC's office and yelled and screamed at her staff -- this was before MTG became a member of Congress.  MTG was so proud of herself that she didn't just record the incident, she posted it online.  

Second, so you're telling the country that you were insulted days ago because of Hillary and Maxine?  That a country with people who often can't remember what they had for lunch earlier in the week remembered what Hillary said in 2016 and what Maxine said in 2018?

Third, not only did they remember it, but they waited five and seven years to act on it?  Were they sleeper agents, Marjorie?

Fourth, "dog whistle"?  Does Majorie know the English language?  If Marjorie is saying A + B led to C (A=Maxine's comment; B=Hillary's comment, C=the loud feedback Marjorie received), that would not be a dog whistle. If I thought Marjorie could read, I'd buy her a dictionary, maybe a thesaurus (no, Marjorie, it's not a sex toy, don't go looking for it on the shelves of Walmart).  But her literacy and comprehension skills are in question.  For those who can learn, the definition of a "dog whistle," as used by Marjorie, is "subtly aimed political message which is intended for, and can only be understood by, a particular group."  So, no, Marjorie, Maxine Waters saying go up to their faces is not a "dog whistle."  Marjorie could call it "a marching order," but it's not a "dog whistle."  Hillary's "deplorables" is neither a dog whistle nor an intelligent remark.

Poor Marjorie, it's like she just walks through a world that the rest of us live in -- and she walks through blindly.  Let's note Chelsea Handler again, I really do love that MTG commentary she did on THE DAILY SHOW.


Marjorie Taylor Greene: I have people come up to me and say crazy things to me out of the blue in public places that they believe because they read it on the internet.

Chelsea Handler:  Well if that's not the pot calling the kettle QAnon.  This woman thought 9/11 was a hoax, that the Clintons killed JFK Jr. and that Jews are in charge of space lasers.  But please, don't come at her with some crazy ideas -- she might believe them. 

The following sites updated: