Thursday, January 26, 2023

Bigots Alison Foreman and Samantha Bergeson show their true colors

Some films didn't get Oscar nominations.  It happens every year.  Enter bigots Alison Foreman and Samantha Bergeson at INDIWIRE appalled, they insist, by the lack of diversity which leads them to note 26 films rejected in this year's Oscar nominations.

 I'm looking at their f**king list of crap and what I see is homophobia.


BROS should have been nominated for best script -- at the very least, it should have been.


But bigots like Alison and Samantha don't feel the need to note.  They note tons and tons of garbage -- including that ridiculously awful HULU 'film' where Emma Thompson uses a sex worker.  And then lectures him no less.  Because she's White and he's a young man of color?  Is that why she can lecture him?  And still get applauded by bigots Alison and Samantha.

They also whine and whimper about Viola Davis -- too fat to be the star of an action movie -- being ignored along with that awful THE WOMAN KING.  From WIKIPEDIA:


Historically, Dahomey was a kingdom that conquered other African states and enslaved their citizens to sell in the Atlantic slave trade, although studies show that external slave trade was only a marginal component of Dahomey's domestic economy. According to Patrick Manning, a professor of world history at the University of Pittsburgh, the lowest and highest estimates place the share of external slave trade in Dahomey's economy at between 2.5% and 15%:

The proportion of trans-Atlantic trade to domestic product for Dahomey has averaged about 15% since the late seventeenth century. The proportion varied with time, of course: it rose from a very low level before the slave trade to a level much higher than the average (for the Aja at least) during the worst years of depopulation and during the high-price years of the eighteenth century. But in the longer run the relationship stabilized, as slave exports declined and domestic production recovered.[78]

The Agojie had a history of participating in slave raiding, and slavery in Dahomey persisted even after the British Empire stopped Dahomey from continuing in the Atlantic slave trade.[77]

In the film's setting of the 1820s, Nanisca confronts Ghezo about the immorality of selling Dahomey slaves to the Portuguese and suggests trading in palm oil production instead.[41] Nanisca being fictional, the confrontation did not take place. Smithsonian wrote, "Though Ghezo did at one point explore palm oil production as an alternative source of revenue, it proved far less lucrative, and the king soon resumed Dahomey’s participation in the slave trade."[79]

Following the announcement that she would star in the movie, Lupita Nyong'o became involved in production of the documentary, Warrior Women with Lupita Nyong'o. Over the course of filming of the documentary, Nyong'o learned the extent of Agojie involvement in the Atlantic slave trade, later relating, "The Agojie women were involved in the slave trade and that has changed the dynamics and polarization of Benin to this day."[80] Several sources have speculated Nyong'o's departure from the making of The Woman King was due to her experience making Warrior Women with Lupita Nyong'o.[81][82][83][84]

 

That's the movie they want to applaud.  Karens, your Whiteness is showing.  And kiss my Black ass while you're at it.

 

Again, BROS should have gotten nominations.  There wasn't a better script.  And they can list 26 movies -- almost every one a piece of s**t -- but they can't name BROS.

 

Karens aren't just racist, please remember, they're also homophobes.

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 

Thursday, January 26, 2023.  Hate merchant Tony Dungy remains in the news (and should) in the US, in Iraq only some crimes get punished and grasp that will continue to happen as long as outlets like THE ARAB WEEKLY indulges in their fear-based rantings.

Starting in the US, SLATE explores the hate merchants in their latest HANG UP AND LISTEN episode entitled "NBC's Tony Dungy Problem." (Dungy segment starts 26 minutes and 20 seconds in.)



Tom Lawrence (SOUTH DAKOTA STANDARD) explains:


Of course, Dungy is far from alone in spewing hateful and ignorant comments about gay people. Reggie White, the great defensive tackle who was known as the “Minister of Defense” because he was an ordained pastor, repeatedly said inaccurate and offensive things about gay people.

It’s part of the culture in sports, where gay-bashing and homophobic comments and actions have long been allowed, even celebrated. Dungy was supposedly better than the run-of-the-mill athlete, but that has proven not to be the case.

Last week, he repeated an absurd claim that some schools were placing litter boxes in bathrooms for the use of students. A Minnesota legislator advocated for placing menstrual products in boys’ bathrooms.

“That’s nothing,” Dungy tweeted Wednesday morning. “Some school districts are putting litter boxes in the school bathrooms for students who identify as cats. Very important to address every student’s needs.”

That’s a tired and easily refuted claim that right-wingers have been making for a couple years now. But Dungy, who always prepared so well as a coach, recycled this idiotic claim without bothering to check it out.

Why? Because it meshed with his hateful view of some people who don’t meet with his approval, even children who can be harmed by such hateful rhetoric.

A poll conducted of LGBTQ youth in November said 45% of transgender and nonbinary youth said they’d been cyberbullied or harassed online because of increased anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policies, and 24% said they’d been bullied at school.

It is so bad that almost 30% said they did not feel safe going to a doctor if they’re sick or injured.

Words matter. They cause serious pain. The Trevor Project’s 2022 survey on mental health reported that nearly half of all LGBTQ young people, including no binary youths, considered suicide in the last year.

That’s why Dungy’s words and attitude matter. He is entitled to his beliefs, but he needs to expect the response. There was considerable outcry, and Dungy deleted the tweet and, under pressure, issued a statement expressing regret for his hateful and ignorant remark.


Andrew Lawrence (GUARDIAN) offers:


But somewhere along the way, something in Dungy snapped. After his oldest son, James, took his own life in 2005, the coach went from speaking at conferences for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to fundraising for a think tank that opposes same-sex marriage. When Michael Sam, pro football’s first out gay player, was drafted by the St Louis Rams in 2014, Dungy said he wouldn’t have wanted the University of Missouri linebacker on his team because of his sexual orientation and the potential distractions it might bring. Mind you, this is the same paragon of gridiron virtue who argued for Michael Vick to be rehired after the Pro Bowl quarterback was federally imprisoned for running a dog fighting ring; Dungy also said he’d welcome Ray Rice back into an NFL locker room after the Pro Bowl tailback was banished from the league for KO’ing his girlfriend.

All the while Dungy rates among the NFL’s worst television analysts, providing the least insight in the most monotone delivery. Only he could make the last minutes of Jacksonville’s wildcard comeback against Los Angeles about as thrilling as Ben Stein’s roll call in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. (Not even the great Al Michaels, clearly beaten down from announcing too many Thursday night games, could inject any more life into the broadcast.)

The low energy alone would be reason enough for NBC to at least bench Dungy. But he remains a prominent part of the network’s NFL coverage and figures to remain so next season. Sticking by dodgy NFL analysts is a routine play for NBC. Lead announcer Mike Tirico has a graveyard of sexual allegations from his ESPN days, and so does fantasy man Matthew Berry; Michele Tafoya, NBC’s longtime NFL reporter, made a full heel turn to anti-woke punditry after retiring from the sideline. It’s hardly a shock that Dung – a rich, platformed member of the jockocracy–would espouse conservative Christian ideology, or that he’d be tempted to draw sports analogies in his rhetoric. But as long as Dungy has the NFL for a bully pulpit, he’s no less polarizing a football man than Rush Limbaugh was during his brief ESPN stay. Dungy can speak his mind all he wants; you won’t read me telling him to stick to sports. But the NFL might want to think about finding a new human shield. This one’s lost his integrity.


The hate brigade is emerging to try to spread hate further.  


Let's note one because I left a Tweet response.



I have never been anything but nice to Antonio Sabato Jr.  I've never agreed with his politics -- but online and off, I have been nothing but nice to him.  What he just did was one of the most offensive things you can do in my world.  It's why I've ragged on Ann Wilson, who I like (most recently for the prig attitude regarding a song she sang that fans made a hit an that she wants to now act like she's better than).  I do not tell people who to vote for.  I do not use, in my offline life, I do not misuse or dishonor my fan base.  I'm very aware that I have what I have because of them.  That's why, though I love Ann to tears, it pisses me off when she starts doing things that are insulting your fan base.


Antonio?  It wasn't women propelling his rise years ago. It was men.  Men responding to his body and his beauty.  Without gay (and bi) men, he'd have nothing today in the way of fame.  And now he wants to support a homophobe?








Those were photos aimed at a gay audience and don't kid, I know the person over the campaign.  And it's why they selected the publications those ads ran in.  (And the original creator of the ads knew Antonio's appeal vanished the moment he 'thickened' -- and he was right.)


Antonio has spit on the people who gave him a national name, who gave him support and who were fans despite his meager talents.

He should be ashamed of himself.  Again, in my world you do not betray your fan base.  You respect them and you thank them.  Junior decided to spit on whatever is left of his dwindling fan base. 

At OUTSPORTS, Ken Schultz weighs in on Dungy's hate and notes, "In every one of these instances, the only agenda we’re pushing for is for the ability to enjoy sports without that sense of self-loathing weighing us down. And if you interpret our basic human need to belong as an attack on your faith, that says everything we need to know your religious beliefs."

Moving north to Canada,  Scott Taylor (SALT WIRE) writes:


Which brings us to Operation Impact, Canada’s ongoing military commitment to Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.

This is the one theatre which Auchterlonie feels Canada can safely reduce the number of troops deployed.

Perhaps a better question would be: What the hell are Canadian troops still doing in Iraq?

When Operation Impact was first established in 2014, the fanatical Islamic faction known as [. . .] aka ISIS or ISIL) had poured across the Syrian border into Iraq.

The U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces simply melted away, leaving their U.S. purchased weapons, ammunition and combat vehicles to the [ISIS] extremists.

[. . .]

As witnessed after the U.S. illegally invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq is rife with factional divisions.

Canada never had a dog in that fight and we would have been better off withdrawing from that region in 2017.

Auchterlonie should press his political masters to reduce his task load and put an immediate end to Operation Impact.


At least it's North America, right?  The US still has troops in Iraq and yet no one in the United States of America is writing newspaper columns asking why we are still in Iraq.  It's just been accepted by the various hitchhikers on the highway of causes who move flit from one crisis to the next based upon whatever is getting media attention.

On the topic of journalism, let's return to THE ARAB WEEKLY which we called out earlier this week over their desire to pretend Moqtada al-Sadr had made a comeback and how they were lying to themselves and others.  They do that because they won't deal with reality.  That's made more clear today in a column at TAW by Farouk Yousef:


Iraq has failed to establish balanced relations with the rest of the world because its embrace of Iran has erected a high fence separating it from other countries. Equally, the dominance of Iranian militias over the decision-making process in Baghdad has dragged it onto Iran’s side in Tehran’s showdown with the international community.

That is not all. Despite the existence of three branches of government in Iraq, legislative, executive and judicial, the country’s authorities are, beyond the media halo that somehow surrounds them, mere facades for the rule of political parties, which seem in agreement but are in reality gripped by internal feuds.

No one in the executive branch, for example, can make a decision unless it serves the interests of a strong party against the interests of other parties,  which parties can in any case seek to harm the government by digging the dirt on its corruption.


The insanity in those remarks just leaves me amazed.  Maybe he thinks it'll play to the west where governments hate Iran.  Iran is Iraq's neighbor, they share a border.  They've had problems throughout the years, they've had agreement throughout the years.  It's only in TAW's mind that they can't get along.  If they'd use their outlet better, Iraq could be a better place.  Barring anything emerging in the news cycle requiring more attention, we'll go into that tomorrow.  THE NATIONAL notes:


Iraq's judiciary has sentenced 14 people to death over the 2014 Camp Speicher massacre.

Baghdad's Central Criminal Court issued the verdict on Thursday under Iraq's antiterrorism law.

More than 1,700 unarmed air force recruits, mainly Shiite, were killed in the massacre as ISIS swept across Iraq.

The killings were one of the worst attacks by the terror group and become a symbol of its brutality.

It seems like a good thing, doesn't it?  It's not.  The incident alone?  Sure praise that sentencing.  But grasp that many more crimes are going unpunished and grasp that THE ARAB WEEKLY could be using its platform to push the current government of Iraq to address some of those crimes but would rather write demented anti-Iran pieces instead.


We'll close with this from GLAAD:

Pope Francis shared a message of solidarity with the LGBTQ community in an interview with the Associated Press Tuesday, along with a call-to-action for millions of Catholics around the world.   

Laws criminalizing gay people is “unjust”, and being gay “is not a crime,” said Pope Francis.

The Pope also called for the Roman Catholic Church to play an active role in opposing and repealing LGBTQ criminalization laws, recognizing that some bishops who advocate for criminalization and discrimination laws against the LGBTQ community must undergo “a process of conversion,” welcome LGBTQ people into the church, noting “it’s also a sin to lack charity with one another.”

For Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO, Pope Francis’ declaration is an explicit call to keep the momentum for LGBTQ decriminalization and equality.

“Pope Francis denounced laws in nearly 70 countries that criminalize LGBTQ people and called on the Roman Catholic Church to take an active role in repealing those laws. His historic statement should send a message to world leaders and millions of Catholics around the world: LGBTQ people deserve to live in a world without violence and condemnation, and more kindness and understanding. Other influential voices in faith, government, business, sports, and entertainment should now similarly speak out on outdated laws that criminalize the lives and relationships of LGBTQ people and that negatively impact travel and business in these countries," said Ellis in a statement.

“Today’s statements from Pope Francis are a game changer in the fight to decriminalize LGBTQ people and also illustrate the work that needs to be done with religious leaders to finally show that being LGBTQ is not a sin,” Ellis continued.

Last week, GLAAD continued their work to raise awareness about the criminalization of LGBTQ people around the world by speaking at this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.

The AP notes more than a dozen states in the U.S. have anti-sodomy laws on the books despite a Supreme Court decision in 2003 declaring them unconstitutional. In his concurrence in the decision overturning Roe v Wade, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas called for the Lawrence ruling to be reconsidered.

In the U.S. about 90 anti-LGBTQ laws have already been introduced, 67 countries criminalize same-sex relationships of consensual adults, 46 of those countries deliberately target women in same-sex relationships, with 11 using the death penalty as punishment. 

Yet, each year more and more countries decriminalize their anti-LGBTQ penal codes. This year Singapore, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda have taken action toward decriminalization of LGBTQ same-sex relationships. At the same time, several countries, including the U.S., the United Kingdom, Hungary, Ghana, and Indonesia, have recently passed various laws that discriminate against LGBTQ people and organizations.

With this said, Pope Francis did not speak on behalf of the laws, crimes and violences facing the transgender communities of the world.  In 2022 there were 327 reported murders of trans and gender-diverse people in the world at the hands of anti-trans violence, according to ILGA-Europe's annual Trans Murder Monitoring Report

Religious organizations and leaders share Ellis’ sentiment to protect LGBTQ communities in the U.S. and beyond, while changing hearts and minds in the process.

“An immense step forward. Pope Francis calls for the decriminalization of homosexuality worldwide,” Tweeted Jesuit Father James Martin

DignityUSA, the self-proclaimed oldest Catholic group advocating for LGBTQ rights, say the Vatican's stance on LGBTQ rights could improve the lives of LGBTQ people world-wide. 

“Since the Vatican led the opposition to a 2010 United Nations proposal to decriminalize homosexuality DignityUSA has repeatedly challenged our church leaders to reverse this stance,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA’s executive director. DignityUSA has led nationwide witnesses at cathedrals across the U.S. for this purpose, while advocating for Pope Francis to make a statement like this when he visited Africa in 2015. Duddy-Burke, who was also an advisor to the State Department on faith and LGBTQ+ issues during the Obama administration, urged both Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama to make LGBTQ acceptance their top priority when they visited with Pope Francis.

"It is critical that the church’s bishops immediately end any support they have given to laws that make being gay or same-sex relationships illegal. We also call on Catholics in our own country and around the world to support equality and non-violence for their LGBTQIA+ neighbors,” said Duddy-Burke. 

New Ways Ministry Executive Director Francis DiBernardo shares much of DiginityUSA's sentiment. 

"Most important, the pope highlights that being LGBTQ+ is not sinful and criminal, but harming one’s neighbor is most certainly both. That simple principle is a bedrock of Catholic teaching," said DiBernardo in a statement. "It is shameful that in some nations where criminalization exists or has been proposed, Catholic bishops and other leaders have been in the forefront of supporting such abhorrent measures. The pope’s statement will help end this tragic record of church leaders’ complicity with the scourge of criminalization."

DiBernardo offers a call-to-action himself. The pope, from January 30 to February 5, will take an apostolic journey to South Sudan. There DiBernardo hopes that he will speak out against Sudan's LGBTQ criminalization laws and continue to spread his message as he's announced to the AP. 

Additionally, Charlotte Clymer, former press secretary of the Human Rights Campaign, says the pope's statement "... is arguably the strongest statment of support for LGBTQ rights from Francis since the beginning of his papacy," in a Tweet.

Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner, reiterated Pope Francis' sentiment for global LGBTQ support in a Tweet.


The following sites updated:


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

More cancellations

It never ends.  DEADLINE reports:


 Two of the DC series on HBO Max, Titans and Doom Patrol, will be coming to an end. Both recently wrapped their six-episode Season 4A runs on the streamer, and the upcoming second halves of their fourth seasons will be the shows’ final chapters. Both had been crafted to give the series proper ending.

 Titans and Doom Patrol, both from Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, are the last live-action series from the slate of the now-defunct DC Universe. They made the transition to HBO Max after the first two seasons when DC Universe folded. Titans and Doom Patrol then ran for two more seasons, with the creatives behind both mapping those seasons to complete their story arcs.

 

Why does HBO MAX even exist?

 

DISCOVER buying WARNER BROS destroyed WARNER BROS.  I wish someone would buy it from DISCOVER before it's ruined forever.

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023.  UFOs  (and witchcraft?) in Iraq, the prime minister is feeling pressure over his upcoming trip to the US, Iraqis take to the street to protest and much more.


Starting with Iraq, Bill Gallucio (KFI AM) reports:

The United States government is reportedly investigating a potential unidentified flying object seen flying over the Iraqi city of Mosul. A still image from a brief video clip was shared on Twitter by Jeremy Corbell and George Knapp during the first episode of their new podcast Weaponized.

Corbell said that the video, which was taken in April 2016 and shared with members of Congress during a classified briefing, shows a metallic-colored sphere moving next to the spyplane without losing any altitude.

"It's one of many images, this one is a still from a video. It's a brief video, maybe four seconds, where this orb or metallic ball runs alongside a spy plane, and it's shown moving beside the plane without dropping altitude at all," Corbell said on the podcast.

Corbell and Knapp did not say how they obtained the image, and the Pentagon has not responded to their claims that a UFO was spotted over Iraq.

Tala Michel Issa (AL ARABIYA) adds:

One source stated: “These drones operate 20-25,000 feet up in the air and they’re flying around. We’re keeping an eye on bad guys all over the world. An operator will be zoomed in looking at a town in Syria. And all of a sudden, a little orb will go flying through the viewfinder. The operator’s like, “What the hell?” And so, he starts focusing on it and he just watches the orb for a while. We might get it for 30 seconds, we might watch it for 10 minutes. And then it will do something remarkable, like suddenly bolt off the screen.”

The Mosul orb image, obtained by the Daily Mail, was taken at 9:47 am on April 16, 2016, according to its timestamp.Although the image had precise coordinates of where it was taken in northern Iraq, Corbell said that he removed them in order to be cautious not to release sensitive information.It is understood that Congressional intelligence and defense committees have seen the image and footage, as part of a briefing given by the

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF), a previous incarnation of the US government’s UFO office, on November 4, 2021.Corbell also added that the flying spherical object captured in Iraq is reminiscent of similar UFOs previously encountered by naval aviators on the US’ west and east coasts everyday, but the fact that it was caught in an active conflict zone makes it a little more complicated.

“For the first time, we are releasing a military-filmed image of a UAP [unidentified anomalous phenomena] over an active conflict zone. This is an entirely different scenario to the east and west Coast incursions over training ranges,” the Mail quoted Corbell as saying.“UAP pose significant risk to our service men and women, and this case highlights this – and is unfortunately not unique.

“This is not just about safety concerns to pilots and ground troops. Its potential consequences are far deeper. And the scope is now proven to be global.”


TECHEBLOG covers it here.








Is it a drone, what was it?  It's captured attention in Iraq and outside of Iraq.  It's fed into the same fascination that ARAB TIMES' article earlier this month did, "The Abdali customs men have seized tools used in magic and sorcery from a female citizen coming from Iraq, reports Al-Rai daily. A customs source told the daily the customs men suspected the woman, and when the customs inspector checked her luggage, he discovered prohibited materials used in witchcraft and sorcery. When asked about the reasons for bringing them, she replied, 'Personal interes' but the materials were confiscated and handed over to the competent authorities."


In other news, Ismaeel Naar and Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) report:

Security personnel were on Wednesday out in force to safeguard the Central Bank of Iraq headquarters in Baghdad from protesters demonstrating over the currency inflation crisis.

Iraqi riot police cordoned off the area as dozens of activists gathered near the Central Bank building. Some merchants in the surrounding area also closed down their shops and joined the protesters, some of whom raised placards that read: “The politicians are the ones covering up financial corruption for the banks.”

Activists close to the Sadrist and youth-led Tishreen movement, as well as civil rights groups, had called for gatherings outside the bank on Wednesday after a week-long plunge of the Iraqi dinar that led Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani to sack Central Bank governor Mustafa Ghaleb Mukheef.

The demonstrations were expected and a journalist from The National earlier confirmed that several groups of people had been seen crossing Al Shuhadaa (Martyrs') Bridge that leads to the bank.

Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) notes, "The protesters -- mainly young people -- rallied amid a heavy security presence, with many carrying the Iraqi flag and banners with slogans."



Earlier this week, Ahmed Rasheed (REUTERs) noted, "Under pressure from Washington to stem the flow of dollars into Iran, Iraq's prime minister sent elite counter-terrorism forces more accustomed to battling Islamist militants to shut down dealers smuggling the currency to the Islamic Republic."


Pressure?  As usual, the big story is missing from the filings.  Mohammed's real pressure and the dance he's doing right now has to do with the upcoming trip to the US.  The US government is happily going to welcome him but -- and this is why Brett McGurk and other Americans were visiting in the last days -- not everyone would be welcomed.  Meaning?  He's having to do a dance with regards to the entourage accompanying him.  He's been informed that certain people he might want to bring are persona non grata in the US (due to past actions).  

Otherwise, Mohammed's turned out to be an American dream for the US government -- a point Jack Detsch (FOREIGN POLICY) underscores throughout his latest article:

Just three years ago, Iraq was on the brink of expelling U.S. troops that had helped drive the Islamic State out of the country. In January 2020, days after a monthslong military tit-for-tat between the United States and Iran had culminated in the U.S. assassination of a notorious Iranian military commander and a retaliatory ballistic missile attack on U.S. troops in Iraq, the Iraqi parliament, with the backing of the then-caretaker prime minister, took a symbolic vote to kick out foreign forces.

The scene in Baghdad, according to former U.S. officials, was a state of near-pandemonium, with Iran-backed Hezbollah operatives whipping votes in a flurry of calls just as U.S. lawmakers would on Capitol Hill—only in this case, with much more serious carrots and sticks attached.

“You had Kataib Hezbollah guys texting and calling the cellphones of sitting members of the Council of Representatives, threatening them and/or bribing them if they didn’t vote in support,” said Jonathan Lord, a former U.S. defense official and congressional aide who is now the director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Washington-based think tank. “There was an immense amount of coercion to get that vote across the finish line.”

But the U.S. presence that was hanging by a thread in pre-pandemic Iraq, at the tenuous invite of the Baghdad government, now appears to be there to stay—indefinitely. That’s after freshly inaugurated Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani, in his first interview with Western media last week, told the Wall Street Journal that he wants the 2,000 U.S. forces in the country, who are there training Iraqi troops to fight the Islamic State, to keep doing their work for the foreseeable future.

“We think that we need the foreign forces,” Sudani told the Journal. “Elimination of ISIS needs some more time.”

Though Sudani’s public support for the U.S. mission—which has grown increasingly limited since Iraq declared the Islamic State’s physical caliphate defeated in late 2017 and combat troops were drawn down—seems like an abrupt turn of the tide in Baghdad, it reflects a steady movement toward Washington in recent years.


Monday, we noted the hideous Tony Dungy.  Where homophobia and transphobia abound, Jonathan Turley rushes in to embrace it, as Ty noted in "Ty's Corner." In the real world -- a world Turley left long ago --  Kevin B. Blackistone (WASHINGTON POST) points out:

 

It isn’t my intent to criticize religiosity, though Dungy has used his to pan non-Christian religions and people whom his version of Christianity rejects. He is an evangelical Christian who has been an outspoken opponent not just of abortion but same-sex marriage, which he campaigned against in Indiana when he was coach of the Colts, and against gay people in general, including those who may toil as professional athletes. He infamously said he wouldn’t have Michael Sam, the would-be first openly gay player in the NFL, in his locker room.


This is all yet another reminder that sports can be, has been and often continues to be an agent for the opposite of which it is celebrated: regression, not progress. Dungy isn’t in the sports world’s ballyhooed vanguard of social change no matter his historical achievement as the first Black head coach to lead a team to a Super Bowl championship.

In fact, in March he is scheduled to stay on brand as a speaker at an all-men’s conference called Men’s Advance 2023. It’s headed by evangelical Christian pastor Andrew Wommack, who argued two years ago that “homosexuality is three times worse than smoking. We ought to put a label across their forehead: ‘This can be hazardous to your health.’ ”

Dungy should know going through with that appearance could be hazardous to his career.

This was not just a recent Tweet, this is a history for Dungy, this is a pattern.  And at some point, NBC's going to have to decide where they stand on this issue.  Dungy was hired to bring in viewers, if his statements are repelling people?  NBC already has enough problems without taking on more of them.  And maybe someone needs to ask Dungy to comment on the Chicago TV shows and their storylines?  I have a feeling that five minutes after he weighed in on one of the same-sex relationships, NBC would dump his ass.  In other words, Dungy pretends to be brave about being a homophobe but even he knows there are limits to his hate speech.  Paid whores always do know that line.

Look for Jonathan Turley to wrap his arms around Dungy and the two to roll around on the floor while panting "religious rights!" to one another.

 

The following sites updated:





Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Oscar nominations

takethatmoment

 



Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS  "Take That Moment To Enjoy The PEW" went up Sunday.
 
Oscar nominations were announced this morning.  I'm going to note some major categories today and some major ones tomorrow.  At the end of the nominations for each category, I'll note who I think should win.

Best Supporting Actor

Brendan Gleeson (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) 

Brian Tyree Henry (“Causeway”) 

Judd Hirsch (“The Fabelmans”)

Barry Keoghan (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) 

Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) 



Brian Tyree Henry or Ke Huy Quan -- both are equally deserving.

Best Supporting Actress

Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) 

Hong Chau (“The Whale”) 

Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) 

Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) 

Stephanie Hsu (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) 

Angela Bassett.  She should have won for playing Tina Turner years ago.  She's long overdue and her performance was amazing.



Best Lead Actor

Austin Butler (“Elvis”) 

Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) 

Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”) 

Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”) 

Bill Nighy (“Living”) 



Brendan Fraser and Austin Butler are equally deserving.  I'd be thrilled with either one winning.


Best Lead Actress

Cate Blanchett (“Tár”) 

Ana de Armas (“Blonde”) 

Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”)

Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”) 

Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) 


Cate Blanchett or Michelle Yeoh -- both were amazing.  If you haven't seen TAR yet, it's available for rental or purchase on AMAZON PRIME.




General thoughts?  Way too much FABELMANS.  It's one thing not to nominate Tom Cruise (I don't think he was deserving) but when you give all those nominations to a failed Speilberg film that people have repeatedly said no to?  It makes you look very out of touch.  I don't think AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER got anything when you consider how great it is.  But they made time to give Spielberg's (bad) TV movie multiple nominations?  Spileberg is in his final chapter and that's the only good thing about this.  He's Frank Capra at the end when everyone was sick of him.

 

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Tuesday, January 24, 2023.  Julian Assange remains persecuted, Friday an event took place to call for his release, yesterday a video posted on YOUTUBE which is probably going to drive some support away (what were those two idiots thinking?).


Friday, in DC, people gathered to address the ongoing persecution of Julian Assange and the continued attack on The First Amendment.  Amy Goodman and DEMOCRACY NOW! broadcast the events.




Julian remains imprisoned and remains persecuted by US President Joe Biden who, as vice president, once called him "a high tech terrorist."  Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:



A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent deat



The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump.

The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that “a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy”.

But the biggest test of Biden’s commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.

Whether the US justice department continues to pursue the Trump-era charges against the notorious leaker, whose group put out secret information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, American diplomacy and internal Democratic politics before the 2016 election, will go a long way toward determining whether the current administration intends to make good on its pledges to protect the press.

Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange’s protracted prosecution.


Before we go further with Julian let's note something.  There is a huge movement behind freeing Julian.  As with any large grouping, there are smart people and then are flat out stupid people.  You don't help the cause with raving lunatics.  So if your recent YOUTUBE segment -- which we won't be noting here, please stop e-mailing -- embarrasses us all, grasp that you didn't help the cause.


You should have known that to begin with when you tried to recycle yesterday's Jimmy Dore -- another failed comic this one from decades ago.  His failure alone didn't make him a bad guest.  His screaming and yelling made him a bad guest.  I don't care who he slept with back in the day -- and the rumor spun like crazy -- but he's not worth a segment today.  You'd try to set up the clip and he'd be yelling.  You'd play the clip and he'd be yelling.


You really think that makes the movement to free Julian look good?  You think anyone watching Crazy yell and scream changed their mind because of him?  Changed it in a good way?


Tell you when you lost me: When you started going after Juan Gonzalez. 


You and your partner are nepo-babies, grasp that and grasp that we see you as such.  And you want to go after Juan?


Juan's a leader, he's a mentor, he's a fighter.  And not 'online.'  He's all those things in the real world and long has been those things.  And we're not talking ancient history.  While you had your nose down to the hairy root as you swallowed every lie of candidate Barack Obama, Juan was writing columns like "I Smell Barack Obama Baloney."


You're two spoiled little boys so you have no idea the importance within the world of Juan Gonzalez.  For you to trash him -- and that's what the two of you and the yeller were doing -- did not look good for your cause.

When you put that kind of hatred out there, don't be surprised with the response.  


By that I mean, as that clip and word of it got out, I had multiple phone calls where they were bringing up the fact that one of your fathers beat your mother.  That detail is buried and unknown to your young audience today.  But it was well known -- and published -- in the 90s.  Your lives just got a lot harder because of the stunt you pulled.  And, hey, I'll sacrifice myself for a cause and have.  But I self-sacrifice smartly.  You just made yourself a target for a very sh**ty video that is not going to help Julian's cause at all.


I wasn't bothered by your Amy Goodman trashing -- I've called her out here for years and will continue to do so as needed.  I'm certainly not bothered that you (finally) called out Allan Nairn -- or let the screamer call him out while one of you tried to offer useless Allan an excuse (whores for Barack don't get excuses from me).  


But to have that meltdown on YOUTUBE where you savaged Juan Gonzalez?  And where there was that screaming for a public apology?  


You went back to a 2017 interview and that's how you contribute to increasing support for Julian?


Julian deserves to be free.  Julian is not a saint.  He doesn't have to be a saint for most adults to call for his freedom.  But that's what you need him to be for yourselves because the world must be simplified into a LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK for very young readers.  


Juan is a journalist.  In any interview he does, he is a journalist.  That may frustrate you and it may enrage you -- apparently it did.  Appears someone had a lot of Juan envy when he was working on DEMOCRACY NOW! and needs some therapy to address it today.  

Take your crazy to a doctor's office and fix it there.  Don't put it on YOUTUBE.  But if you do, don't kid yourself that you were trying to help Julian Assange.


Chris McGreal (GUARDIAN) notes:


Joe Biden has been accused of hypocrisy for demanding the release of journalists detained around the world while the US president continues seeking the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from Britain to face American espionage charges.

The campaign to pressure the Biden administration to drop the charges moved to Washington DC on Friday with a hearing of the Belmarsh Tribunal, an ad hoc gathering of legal experts and supporters named after the London prison where Assange is being detained.

Hypocrite Joe.  His legacy is being written as we watch.  Senile.  Unable to handle classified documents.  And a man who molests The First Amendment as her persecutes Julian Assange.  Not how I'd want to be remembered but apparently Joe wants to be the most hated president of all time.


Chaired by journalist Amy Goodman (Democracy Now) and Srećko Horvat Philosopher, Co-Founder of DiEM25, The Press Club’s Belmarsh Tribunal today included testimony from Julian’s father John Shipton.

Mr Shipton said: “It’s unbelievable we are now entering the 14 year of the persecution of Julian Assange. The ceaseless abuse, constant hounding, unscrupulous lies, abuse of process, the ceaseless application of three states – Sweden, UK and US – to abuse due process is appalling. Their bureaucratic malice and constant crying from the rooftops about free press is an artifice. They have used the democratic process to hound Julian close to death’s door.”

“Their disrespect of their own and international law is disgraceful. Julian only ever spoke truthfully, published accurately. Julian Assange is an icon of the decay of application of law, a symbol of freedom of speech, of righteousness and crimes against humanity. We, Julian’s supporters and family are beginning to see support in civil society all around the World. Together, we will prevail in bringing about Julian’s release.”

Mr Shipton said that “Julian’s persecution is of great, vital concern to Australia’s people and government. Remembering as we do with firm pride and responsibility, that Australia authored the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”


Joe Biden holds Julian's fate in his hands.  And Julian hold Joe's legacy in his hands.  Hypocrite.  Funny how that word keeps popping up and applied to Joe.  AL MAYADEEN notes:

US President Joe Biden has been accused of hypocrisy for calling for the release of detained journalists around the world while the US president continues to seek the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from Britain to face American espionage charges.

The Belmarsh Tribunal, an ad hoc gathering of legal experts and supporters named after the London prison where Assange is being held, convened in Washington DC on Friday to press the Biden administration to drop the charges.

Sadaf Hassan (TRANSCONTINENTAL TIMES) uses the term hypocrisy and applies it to Joe  as well. Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg took part in Friday's hearing.  Brett Wilkins (ASIA PACIFIC REPORT) notes:

“One of the foundation stones of our form of government here in the United States . . . is our First Amendment to the Constitution,” Ellsberg — whom the Richard Nixon administration tried to jail for up to 115 years under the Espionage Act, but due to government misconduct was never imprisoned — said in a recorded message played at the tribunal.

“Up until Assange’s indictment, the act had never been used… against a journalist like Assange,” Ellsberg added. “If you’re going to use the act against a journalist in a blatant violation of the First Amendment… the First Amendment is essentially gone.”


Inviting action by the U.S. Department of Justice or DOJ, Ellsberg said that “I am now as indictable as Julian Assange and as everyone who put that information out — the papers, everybody who handled it.”

“Yes, I had copies of it and I did not give them to an authorized person. So, if they want to indict me for that, I will be interested to argue that one in the courts — whether that law is constitutional,” he continued, referring to the Espionage Act.

Highlighting that the highest U.S. court has never held that it is constitutional to use the Espionage Act as if it were a British Official Secrets Act, Ellsberg said that “I’d be happy to take that one to the Supreme Court.”

The Espionage Act, “used against whistleblowers, is unconstitutional,” he asserted. “It’s a clear violation of the First Amendment.”

Ellsberg’s public confession comes after editors and publishers at five major media outlets that collaborated with WikiLeaks in 2010 for articles based on diplomatic cables from Manning released a letter late last month arguing that “it is time for the U.S. government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.”


Friday's event featured multiple speakers.  In an effort to make sure that important points were not lost, Amy Goodman and DEMOCRACY NOW! devoted yesterday's show to highlighting some of what took place.  Here's an excerpt from yesterday's program:

AMY GOODMAN: Our next speaker is Jesselyn Radack, human rights attorney, renowned for her work protecting whistleblowers and journalists. While working at the Justice Department, she disclosed the FBI committed ethics violations in their interrogation of John Walker Lyndh. Among her many roles, Jesselyn is the director of national security and human rights at ExposeFacts.

JESSELYN RADACK: I’m Jesselyn Radack, and I represent whistleblowers and sources for a living, basically. I have defended the most number of media sources in the U.S. who have been investigated and charged under the Espionage Act. Most recently, I represented, and still represent, Daniel Hale. Huge shoutout to Daniel. I know he’s paying attention to this. But, basically, Daniel had to navigate an Espionage Act prosecution in the most conservative federal court in the country, the exact same court where Assange is indicted, in front of the same judge.

Daniel is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who participated in the U.S. drone assassination program. After leaving the Air Force, he became an outspoken opponent of the U.S.'s targeted killing program. He basically called out and informed the public about targeting ineffectiveness and casualties and consistently exaggerating the accuracy of drone strikes and underreporting civilian deaths. Daniel's house was searched in 2014. Like Julian Assange, he lived under a sword of Damocles for a better part of his adult life. In May 2019, he was finally arrested and indicted on allegations that he disclosed classified documents to the U.S. military’s clandestine drone program, believed to have been the source material for a series in The Intercept called “The Drone Papers.”

Daniel pleaded guilty to a single count under the Espionage Act and was sentenced to 45 months in prison. I think his case is a prescient warning of how an Espionage Act case against Assange would proceed. Bear with me. At sentencing, the judge recommended — he recognized that Daniel was a whistleblower, and recommended that he be placed in a minimum-security medical prison. But the Bureau of Prisons instead sent him to an Orwellian communications management unit, nicknamed Gitmo North. There are only two such facilities in this country. Created in the aftermath of 9/11, they were intended to house terrorists. Daniel is a pacifist with no priors. Until recently, he has been housed in this special prison with the “Merchant of Death,” Viktor Bout, who was recently released.

So, when the U.S. gives assurances that Assange won’t be put in a supermax, don’t be fooled, because he’ll end up in a far worse place, one of these communications management units. In the CMU, Daniel is far more isolated from his support network, unable to receive the medical and psychological care he so desperately needs, and has more restrictions on his communications, reading materials and visitors, with other people, than anyone on death row.

SREĆKO HORVAT: There are a few people in Washington, D.C., who were not afraid to talk about Julian Assange all these years, and our next member of tribunal is one of them. So, it’s my big pleasure to present the one and only Chip Gibbons, policy director of the organization Defending Rights & Dissent.

CHIP GIBBONS: I want to start by acknowledging three people who cannot be here today. One is Julian Assange, who is imprisoned in a dungeon called Belmarsh. The second is Daniel Hale, who is currently being held in a communications management unit. I’ve been told that Daniel watches Democracy Now!, which is streaming this. Daniel, if you can hear this, I want to say, on behalf of everyone in this room, you have our solidarity. Never let them break your spirit. A better world is possible only because of people like you. And the third person who can’t be here is, of course, Edward Snowden, who exposed that our government was lying to us about how they were spying on us, and, for this patriotic act, was driven into exile, while the lying spies continue to enjoy lucrative careers with war profiteers and cable news programs. And you have to ask yourself: Do they view those as two different jobs? Because, after all, someone has to sell the wars that line their pockets.

The U.S. government knows, like we know, that without sources, there is no journalism. But the U.S. government is no longer content with merely going after the sources. They have made Assange the first person ever indicted under the Espionage Act for the crime of publishing truthful information. Make no mistake: The attempts to silence Assange is part of a larger war to silence those who expose the crimes of empire, militarism and the U.S. national security state.

And it’s not just a legal war involving a prosecution, but an extralegal war involving covert action and propaganda. While the U.S. security state is cloaked in secrecy, there have been a steady trickle of revelations about the three-letter agencies’ war on WikiLeaks. The NSA added Assange to their man-hunting database. The CIA plotted to kidnap and maybe even kill Assange. Various agencies sought to get around rules protecting press freedom by arguing WikiLeaks were not journalists. The NSA discussed the idea of declaring WikiLeaks a malicious foreign actor. The FBI and the CIA demanded a personal audience with Barack Obama to persuade him that rules protecting press freedom should not apply to WikiLeaks, as WikiLeaks should instead be classified as information brokers. I’m not sure what an information broker is; I don’t think the CIA and the FBI know, either. And finally, they invented the term “hostile nonstate intelligence agency” to allow the CIA to engage in offensive counterintelligence against WikiLeaks, something previously reserved only for rival spy agencies, and requires even less oversight — and there’s the very little oversight over the CIA — over CIA covert action. The U.S. government’s legal and extralegal war on WikiLeaks is a war on journalism itself.

AMY GOODMAN: Chip Gibbons, policy director of Defending Rights & Dissent, testifying Friday at the Belmarsh Tribunal in the case of Julian Assange in Washington, D.C. 



The presidents of major Latin America countries have increased their support for the campaign to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The leaders are urging US President Joe Biden to drop the charges against Assange and set him free.

He is continuing to fight against extradition to the US and is being held at Belmarsh prison in London.

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson and WikiLeaks ambassador Joseph Farrell have held meetings in recent weeks in Latin American countries including Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador raised the issue of Assange at a recent summit with Mr Biden, and has used his daily briefing to highlight his continuing “unjust detention”.

“If he is taken to the United States and sentenced to the maximum penalty … we must begin the campaign to dismantle the Statue of Liberty," said Mr Lopez Obrador.


Julian is not free.  It's going to take more effort to free him.  Those efforts need media coverage. So if you're on YOUTUBE and you're wanting to help Julian?  Probably not a good idea to attack a respected journalist like Juan Gonzalez who just did his job -- watch the DEMOCRACY NOW! segment from 2017 and you will grasp that Juan got dragged into a beef two YOUTUBERS have with Amy Goodman and that Juan didn't do what Amy and Allan did.  Grasp that and grasp that journalists will grasp it as well. He conducted himself in a journalistic manner.  So they may decide to just avoid the topic of Julian so they don't experience the wrath of the nepo-babies on YOUTUBE.  Again, that segment helped no one.  Maybe I need to put it in the hypermasculine terms that YOUTUBERS can grasp: Boys, you haven't earned the right to lick the sweat off Juan's sack.  And having watched your video, I fear you never will.


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