Thursday, December 28, 2017

Ben Affleck should be happy


Above is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Christmas 2017" from Wednesday.

I had fun working with THIRD this week.  I was planning to and then thought I was forgotten.
Ava and C.I. wrote their piece on Saturday and then were supposed to be done with it.
Jim was going to handle the weekend but he ended up having a family emergency so at the last minute it was Ava and C.I. and Jess.
And they texted me and said, “Do you still want to participate?”
I did and they said this was going to be 2 hours and nothing more.
There wasn’t going to be any playlist but Isaiah – also participating by phone – had Christmas music lightly in the background and Jess started whistling along with one song.  Next
This moved quickly.  We had two political ideas – both from C.I. – and we had the ideas above.   I said on my idea – bad performance by Julianna Moore – that I could put it up at my website and C.I. and Ava both said, “No, you suggested it we can do it.”
And we did and then did a version of bad performance of the year by a male (Matt Damon).
So we basically got it done in 2 hours.
It was fun.
And Matt Damon? 
He is the gift that keeps on giving.
By that I mean: Ben Affleck.
His friendship with Matt has tied the two together.
And that’s good because Matt’s getting really bad reviews for DOWNSIZED (he earned them).  And if it weren’t for Matt, people might be going after Ben Affleck instead.  Ben isn’t awful as Batman but that was a bad script and he could easily be on the receiving end of the trashing.  Instead, he gets to sit back and watch his friend be the one slagged on.
And Matt deserves it.  He suffers from ‘twinkle’ – where an actor thinks they’re so damn adorable but no one else would agree.  Richard Dreyfuss suffered from that in the film ONCE AROUND.  And Robin Williams suffered from it in too many films to name.


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

Thursday, December 28, 2017.   Hayder al-Abadi goes after the Palestinians while continue to work his grudge against the Kurds, the Sunnis, basically everyone.  And this is how he behaves in 'victory'?

RUDAW reports:

Iraq has extended the ban on international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region until February 28, 2018, a day after Iraqi Interior Minister Qasim al-Araji was quoted as saying that he would request the Iraqi prime minister end the flight ban.

KRG’s acting Minister of Transport Mawlud Bawamurad told Rudaw that the extended flight ban affects both Erbil and Sulaimani international airports.

“It is unfortunate that the Iraqi government issued this decision while we were expecting talks to begin to solve the problems,” Bawamurad told Rudaw.

It was supposed to be a trail of victories.  Defeat the Islamic State (or just claim you have) and march proudly into the May elections.

It's not really working out that way, however.

Hayder al-Abadi, ruled by vengeance, refuses to uplift -- let alone lead.

In so-called 'victory,' he exposes just how petty he is -- and what a danger he has become to Iraq.

Rachel Avraham (WASHINGTON TIMES) notes:

From the very onset, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi did not treat the Kurds as citizens of his country with equal rights. Article 131 of the Iraqi Constitution proclaimed that the Kurds were entitled to an equitable share of Iraq’s revenues and declared that the Iraqi central government had an obligation to fund Kurdish Peshmerga Forces, who are responsible for securing their areas.  
However, the central Iraqi government not only did not send the necessary funds and weapons to the Kurdish Peshmerga so that they could fight against ISIS more efficiently.  They also refused to send Kurdish Civil Servants their monthly salaries. This forced the Kurds to rely upon oil revenues in order to cover their own expenses because the Iraqi central government was not living up to their end of the bargain according to the Iraqi Constitution.
From the very onset, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi did not treat the Kurds as citizens of his country with equal rights. Article 131 of the Iraqi Constitution proclaimed that the Kurds were entitled to an equitable share of Iraq’s revenues and declared that the Iraqi central government had an obligation to fund Kurdish Peshmerga Forces, who are responsible for securing their areas.  
However, the central Iraqi government not only did not send the necessary funds and weapons to the Kurdish Peshmerga so that they could fight against ISIS more efficiently.  They also refused to send Kurdish Civil Servants their monthly salaries. This forced the Kurds to rely upon oil revenues in order to cover their own expenses because the Iraqi central government was not living up to their end of the bargain according to the Iraqi Constitution.

The tensions only grow worse between Erbil and Baghdad.

During a weekly press conference in Erbil, challenged Iraqi PM to address the ongoing violations against the Kurdish population in .

Karzan Sulaivany (KURDISTAN 24) reports:

“Abadi claims that he is preoccupied with the people of the Kurdistan Region’s best interests, and I ask him, if you really are keen on that, why don’t you investigate what is happening in Tuz Khurmatu?” the KRG Prime Minister stated.
The security situation in Tuz Khurmatu drastically deteriorated since the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias took control of the city, which is home to a mix of Kurds, Turkmen, and Arab minorities.
The militias have been launching mortar attacks on several Kurdish villages east and north of Khurmatu since the start of December. 

Hayder's the one who made the militias part of the Iraqi security forces.

Hayder was installed by the US in the second half of 2014.  He's had over three years to address the problems facing Iraq.  He's refused to do so.

If you want to see stupidity and a crime against humanity, click here to read Scott Peterson's latest ravings.  THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR has become a very sad joke as a result of the Iraq War.  This is not limited to the way they disgraced themselves to take a kidnapping and portray the survivor as 'girl reporter.'  (Is it any wonder that the woman left journalism and became a fire fighter?  In real time, we were calling that novelization of her kidnapping shameful -- because it was.)  Not content to be a sexist tabloid, they went on to lie in editorial after editorial (including pulling out the false claim that, in the US, people were spitting on veterans).

But Scott Peterson's piece today really sets a new standard for low.

The Sunnis, Scott gleefully announces, are being forced to make nice with the Shia.  They have to, he insists, because so many Sunnis are refugees.

Does Scott get what he's describing or is he too high on war?  He's applauding the destruction of people's homes and lives so that they are left powerless because, he hopes, in that powerless moment, they may be forced to do the bidding of those who have persecuted them.

Whatever Scott's doing, it's not journalism.

And you grasp that very quickly as he builds his article around an analyst who is never named.

An analyst.

He can't name an analyst.

He can repeat the analyst's assertions but he can't name the analyst.

Readers have never heard of or from the analyst before but we're supposed to take this person's word because . . . well, Scott did!

If Scott Peterson's done anything with his long years of misreporting on Iraq, it's been to make very clear that Scott is never to be trusted.

That's especially clear today.

The Sunnis will not be coerced despite what Scott and his analyst (is that what he calls his cock?  maybe this was just one long wank of Scott's?) maintain.

The Sunnis of Anbar have had little to no help (and a lot of hurt) from the Baghdad government.  They aren't on the ropes.

That Scott needs them to be goes to his own issues.

The Iraqi government continues to persecute the Sunnis.

Which is why the US military remains on the ground in Iraq: To prop up the government or 'government' that the US government created.

Without the US military, Hayder et al would crumble.

Never forget that it was the fear that Baghdad was about to be seized that led to Barack rushing more US troops into Iraq.

It wasn't Mosul being taken and occupied.

What did the US government care about Mosul or the people living there.

But from the start, the US-created government had to be protected.  Hence the Green Zone in the earliest days of the war.

And the US repeatedly allows its installed 'prime ministers' get away with targeting one group after another.

Sunday, we noted:

And while Christmas takes place, Hayder al-Abadi and Baghdad work overtime to deprive others of rights.

removes language from the Food Ration Cards. Another violation of Article 4 of the Iraqi constitution.

'A new IRAQ law strips Palestinians of basic rights. Palestinians will no longer enjoy same rights and privileges as Iraqi citizens.'

Is there anyone Hayder's government won't persecute?

Apparently not and let's note this from The Palestinian Return Centre:

The Palestinian Return Centre condemns in the strongest terms the new law recently passed by the Iraqi government which discriminates against Palestinians living in the country.
The Palestinian Return Centre calls on the international community to condemn this new legislation and apply strong pressure on the Iraqi government to respect its international obligations towards Palestinians.
Iraqi President Fuad Masum has repealed a law that previously granted Palestinians living in Iraq of all rights and privileges enjoyed since 1948.
Ministerial Resolution 202-2001 provided Palestinian refugees with all the benefits to which Iraqi nationals are entitled, except for obtaining Iraqi nationality. This law permitted Palestinian refugees to benefit from citizenship rights and access to various important sectors such as health, education and the right to work.
The repealing of this law puts Palestinians in Iraq among the category of foreign residents, denying them the previously conferred rights. The decision came into force after it was published in the Iraqi Official Gazette No. 4466.
Palestinian refugees have been residing in Iraq since the beginning of Nakba in 1948, due to the Arab -Israeli war which caused large scale displacement in the region. In 1967 a group of Palestinian refugees fled to Iraq and the last Palestinian refugees that fled to Iraq from the Gulf countries were in 1991 due to the Gulf war. Before the American invasion in 2003, the number of Palestinian refugees in Iraq was 42,000, according to the Palestinian Refugee Affairs in Iraq. Some 4,000 are now believed to reside in the country.

Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute) explains:

The conditions of the Palestinians in Iraq are about to go from bad to worse. The new law, which was ratified by Iraqi President Fuad Masum, deprives Palestinians living in Iraq of their right to free education, healthcare and to travel documents, and denies them work in state institutions. The new law, which is called No. 76 of 2017, revokes the rights and privileges granted to Palestinians under Saddam Hussein. The law went into effect recently after it was published in the Iraqi Official Gazette No. 4466.
[. . .]
"The Iraqi law is unacceptable and inhumane," stated Tayseer Khaled, a senior PLO official. He pointed out that the Iraqi authorities have failed to provide protection to the Palestinians living in Iraq and that is why they became easy prey for various militias that prompted many of them to flee the country during the past 15 years. Khaled noted that many Palestinian families were forced to live in makeshift temporary refugee camps along the borders of Syria and Jordan after being driven from their homes. "We call on the Iraqi authorities to treat Palestinians humanely," he said.

And we'll note this:

Hamas' Musa Abu Marzouk decries new Iraqi law depriving Palestinians of basic rights: "Coincides with Zionist effort to liquidate the issue of refugees."

The attack on the Palestinians has received very little attention.  In the west, that may be due to the traditional withdrawal from news this time of year.

But the reports are disturbing and the Iraqi government's actions are outrageous.

Hayder al-Abadi is just as bad as Nouri al-Maliki, the thug he replaced when Barack Obama finally decided he couldn't continue to stomach Nouri's attacks on the Iraqi people.

The hatred and vengeance never ends with the groups the US government gets into bed with.  Take those 'peaceful' Yazidis (well that's how their neoconservative p.r. firm sold them to the western press).  RUDAW notes:

Reports of sectarian retribution and disputes are plaguing areas in Iraq more than half a year after they were declared free of ISIS.

“As the ground fighting against ISIS winds down in Iraq, state security forces need to turn their focus to preventing retaliation and upholding the rule of law,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at HRW in a report released Wednesday that documented an alleged act of revenge killings.

“Past atrocities against the Yezidis don’t give its armed forces a free pass to commit abuses against other groups, whatever their past,” she stated.

At least 52 members — mostly women and children — of the Sunni Arab Al-Jahaysh and Al-Metweti tribes were allegedly forcibly disappeared and killed south of Shingal by Yezidi Ezidikhan forces in June according to an investigation carried out by Human Rights Watch.

Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) adds:

Those killed reportedly came from eight families of the Sunni Al Bu Metewut tribe who were escaping clashes between ISIL and pro-government militias north of the second city Mosul, the group said.
Yazidi fighters formed the Lalish Brigades and the Ezidkhan Brigades, units under the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMFs), also known as Hashed Al Shaaby, a force of the Iraqi prime minister Haider Al Abadi, and therefore part of the state’s armed forces.

And ALJAZEERA notes:

A PMF member told HRW that he investigated allegations in Sinjar province. With the help of local Yezidis, he was able to locate a cluster of four mass graves in Qabusiye.
According to the report, he saw the bones and skulls of at least four children as well as women and children's shoes near the graves.
Shortly after the disappearance, a legal advisor to a Yazidi brigade told HRW that Yezidi forces were involved in the capture of 52 people. According to the report, he also said that members of the tribe were "dogs who deserve to die".

Click here for the Human Rights Watch report.

Again, this is supposed to be Hayder's 'victory lap' but instead we witness Iraq falling apart all around him.

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Christmas 2017" went up yesterday.  The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, the ACLU and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated:

  • Wednesday, December 27, 2017

    PITCH PERFECT 3 . . . but . . .


    From Saturday, that's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Joan Walsh fired."

    Now let's do movies.


    If I was going to recommend a movie to see right now, it would be THE GREATEST SHOWMAN with Hugh Jackman.  If someone wasn't interested in that?  The only thing I could recommend would be PP3.

    It's hilarious.

    It's funny in all the right spots.

    It gives the characters we love something to do.

    Even a new character, played by John Lithgow, gets to shine.

    He's Fat Amy's dad, by the way.

    And it's nice to see them develop Fat Amy.

    They did in the second one too.

    Remember, she's not wanting to do anything but bump uglies.  Then she realizes, on the retreat, that she loves Bumper.

    They do that whole "We Blong" singing scene.

    And that's where I have a problem.

    Adam Devine is not in the sequel to the sequel.

    If you want to develop Fat Amy, great.  But Lithgow's character would have carried more weight if Bumper had been around.

    Instead, Fat Amy's growth in the third film seems like "growth."

    Not real, nothing lasting.  Just something to get them through another movie, something that will be quickly forgotten if they do a fourth installment.

    I really think they should have had Adam Devine in the film.

    Again, I like the film.

    I found it honestly funny.

    But in terms of advancing anything?

    Not really.

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

    Wednesday, December 27, 2017.

    XINHUA insists, "The hard-won victory in 2017 over the terror group Islamic State (IS) by Iraq is overshadowed by a growing conflict with the Kurds [. . .]"

    And REUTERS notes that the US government insisted, December 5th, that only 3,000 ISIS members remained in Iraq and Syria but today insists the number has fallen to 1,000.

    "Hard-won victory," XINHUA insisted on Tuesday.

    That would be the same Tuesday that KURDISTAN 24 reported:

    Contrary to the Iraqi Prime Minister’s announcement of the end of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq in early December, the extremist group’s sleeper cells continue to launch attacks and claim lives. 
    IS extremists have killed and injured 40 people while attacking the Iraqi security forces and Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi in south and west of Kirkuk. 
     The extremists appear to have been hiding in the Sunni-populated areas of southern and western Kirkuk. 
     According to the statements of the Iraqi army commanders, IS group have launched surprise attacks in Sharia’a, Riyadh, Hawija road and some other areas in southern Kirkuk.


    Or something.

    In other news of 'success,' . . .

    Cycle of violence continues with fighters in 2017 killing families linked to abuses from 2014. Until proper justice is done for abuses in we will continue to see acts of vigilante revenge

    Oh, those peaceful Yazidis.

    Hard to believe, right, that the Yazidis could ever have teamed up with a neocon p.r. firm.

    They're so pure.

    And so innocent.

    Trapped on a mountain (of their own making) somewhere -- even all this time later.

    Turning to US politics, . . .

    If Ralph Nader hadn’t run for president in 2000, might Gore have won, his administration not sat on a memo such as “Bin Laden determined to strike in US”, thus avoiding 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, ISIS, and so forth?

    But Ralph Nader did run -- and had every right to run.

    What might have been different if Al Gore had selected a better running mate?

    Joe Lieberman?

    Defeated in a 2006 Democratic primary.

    Joe Lieberman?

    Neocon Joe?

    And let's not forget that the war on Iraq was also part of Bill Clinton's administration.

    Or that Al Gore initially supported the war on Iraq in the lead up (he would denounce it before the illegal war started but he signaled support early on).

    In March of 2003, the ongoing Iraq War started.

    And let's blame Ralph Nader.

    Not the Joe Liebermans.

    Nor the Democrats in the Senate who voted for it (Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Dianne Feinstein . . .).

    Let's blame Ralph Nader.

    Not the media that lied and whored.

    And isn't it funny how, all this time later, we pretend that the lying just happened?

    We pretend like the owners own wants and desires didn't influence the coverage.

    Blame Ralph Nader.

    It's his fault for running for president.

    I denounced Ralph in 2000.  For a number of reasons.

    But I never suggested that he didn't have a right to run.

    I never suggested that he needed to drop out of the race.

    That's not how it works in a democracy.

    But pretending Ralph is the problem allows you to forget how Al Gore couldn't make the case to the American people clearly.

    Was he harmed by the media?  Of course.  That's to be expected.

    But when he took his message to the American people, it wasn't a good one.  It wasn't strong.

    That's on him.

    He had enough money to get around the media (I donated to Al's campaign).

    But he was a weak candidate.

    Blame Ralph, blame Jill, blame this, blame that.

    Never hold the losing candidate accountable for their own errors, apparently.

    Jackson Lears, in the latest edition of THE LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS, notes how weak candidate Hillary was:

    This approach animates Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis, a 33-page document whose authors include Norman Solomon, founder of the web-based insurgent lobby ‘The Democratic Party’s claims of fighting for “working families” have been undermined by its refusal to directly challenge corporate power, enabling Trump to masquerade as a champion of the people,’ Autopsy announces. But what sets this apart from most progressive critiques is the cogent connection it makes between domestic class politics and foreign policy. For those in the Rust Belt, military service has often seemed the only escape from the shambles created by neoliberal policies; yet the price of escape has been high. As Autopsy notes, ‘the wisdom of continual war’ – what Clinton calls ‘global leadership’ –
    was far clearer to the party’s standard bearer [in 2016] than it was to people in the US communities bearing the brunt of combat deaths, injuries and psychological traumas. After a decade and a half of non-stop warfare, research data from voting patterns suggest that the Clinton campaign’s hawkish stance was a political detriment in working-class communities hard-hit by American casualties from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Francis Shen of the University of Minnesota and Douglas Kriner of Boston University analysed election results in three key states – Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan – and found that ‘even controlling in a statistical model for many other alternative explanations, we find that there is a significant and meaningful relationship between a community’s rate of military sacrifice and its support for Trump.’ Clinton’s record of uncritical commitment to military intervention allowed Trump to have it both ways, playing to jingoist resentment while posing as an opponent of protracted and pointless war. Kriner and Shen conclude that Democrats may want to ‘re-examine their foreign policy posture if they hope to erase Trump’s electoral gains among constituencies exhausted and alienated by 15 years of war’. If the insurgent movements within the Democratic Party begin to formulate an intelligent foreign policy critique, a re-examination may finally occur. And the world may come into sharper focus as a place where American power, like American virtue, is limited. For this Democrat, that is an outcome devoutly to be wished. It’s a long shot, but there is something happening out there.

    The problem wasn't Jill Stein.

    The problem was Hillary Clinton.

    Who never should have run in 2016.

    It's amazing how the tired little Hillary had to rush home every evening.

    We criticized Bully Boy Bush for that in 2000 -- or some of us did.  Little boy needed his own pillow and bed.  Wanted to be president but was too weak to campaign.

    And then in 2016, we saw the same thing with Hillary.

    She never should have run.

    Eight years prior, she was branded a racist by Barack Obama and the media.

    Eight years prior, he hung her vote for the Iraq War around her neck.  Used that vote to come from behind in October of 2007 and become the front runner.  And was very clear in September and October of 2007 that he was going to do that.

    But eight years later, when she was still insisting that (a) her vote wasn't wrong and (b) that Bully Boy Bush had misled her, she's the candidate to go with?

    Hillary is the problem.

    More to the point, so is Ben Landis.

    Oh, Ben, thanks, big boy, for your big old Tweet on Iraq.

    Your only Tweet, in fact.

    This illegal war has lasted over 14 years (15th anniversary is this coming March).

    And you can't pay attention to it, can you?

    You can't call for it's end.

    But you can suddenly remember the ongoing war to trash . . . Ralph Nader.

    Last time I checked, Ralph didn't vote for the Iraq War, didn't cheerlead for it, didn't call for it.

    While celebrating the holidays at home, let us not forget the service members spending Christmas abroad. I was fortunate enough to spend this Christmas with some of the brave heroes serving in Iraq from California & across our nation. Happy holidays & thank you for your sacrifice

    Oh, look, it's US House Rep Carbajal.  In Iraq.  This week.

    Because the Iraq War hasn't ended.

    Because US troops remain in Iraq.

    A reality that some might consider addressing.

    Not Senator Dianne Feinstein, of course.  She didn't go to Iraq.  She still hasn't noted that a Californian died in Iraq last week -- not even on her Twitter feed.

    New content at THIRD:

    Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Joan Walsh fired" went up Saturday (she's now got a contract with CNN, to update) and he has another comic that will go up shortly.