The Olympics sucked.
Thank goodness they are over.
With 14.8 million viewers for the tape delayed Closing Ceremony in primetime last night have made the games out of South Korea are the least watched of the modern Olympic age. Slipping 2% from the closer of the XXII Winter Games of 2014, last night’s The Walking Dead facing Closing Ceremony was the least watched of either a Winter Olympics or Summer Olympics in over 25 years. On a larger timeline, the PyeongChang Closing Ceremony was the second least viewed of all time next to the 12.9 million sets of eyeballs that the 1976 Winter Games in Innsbruck attracted.
To put it in perspective, with all NBC’s talk of total audience delivery and the rising tide of streaming, the 19.8 million that the XXIII Winter Games attracted nightly on average on NBC, NBCSN and digital platforms is the worst any Olympics has ever done.
Because they were awful.
Who wanted to watch a bunch of idiots saying, “After I win, I’m not meeting with the President or the Vice President.” And you have to do angry Tweets griping about the president’s daughter attending the Olympics.
You have to focus on everything but your sport. Hours before your event, you need to be on Twitter doing stupid emojis and bragging about how great Britney Spears is.
That’s what we had.
They weren’t sports people and they certainly weren’t good sports.
To be clear, I’m referring to the American team. To be even more fair, this was a small but vocal group of Americans.
But one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch – I believe The Osmunds told us that when they were busy trying to ape the Jackson Five.
I’m really tired of this nonsense.
I’m tired of it at awards shows, I’m tired of it at football games, I’m tired of it at the Olympics. Do your job. I don’t need to know or hear your editorial on politics.
It’s turning off a lot of people.
And not because we disagree. You’re turning some off for that reason.
But you’re also turning off people like me because we’re tired of your bad manners.
Go read Ava and C.I.’s “TV: NBC flames out again with the Olympics ” and be sure to read Kat's "The punch line is 'Joan Baez.'"
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Monday, February 26, 2018. An Iraq War Hawk suffers a blow in California while Iraq continues to prepare for upcoming elections.
Starting with Kevin de Leon.
Starting with Kevin de Leon.
I'm running for the U.S. Senate because you deserve a seat at the table. Please join my campaign: kevindeleon.com/signup
Once again, fellow Democrats - it’s time we take California values to Washington, D.C., not the other way around.
We all deserve a leader who will take our climate action to Washington, fight each and every day to protect our human and civil rights, our immigrant families and Dreamers, champion universal healthcare and create good paying middle class jobs.
The outcome of last night’s endorsement vote is an astounding rejection of politics as usual. A signal to Washington that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder against a complacent status quo.
At Saturday's state convention here in California, "Your time is up!" is the chant that greeted sitting US Senator Dianne Feinstein. And, to no one's surprise, the convention failed to endorse her. 54% of the delegates voted for challenger Kevin de Leon and only 37% voted for the incumbent Deadly Dianne.
Dianne's infamous as a War Hawk and War Monger. She voted for the Iraq War, to cite but one example.
Dianne has a pace maker. She turns 85 in June. If elected to another term, it's doubtful she could finish it but, if she did, she'd be 91 years-old when it ended.
Long in the tooth?
That's putting it nicely.
A Canadian-bot thinks she can stick her nose in our state election -- even though she's Canadian and doesn't live in California. She's lying that Dianne Feinstein protected her rights -- hard to see how but Audrey Regan's m.o. appears to be lie big.
Here's some truth about Kevin de Leon:
When Planned Parenthood advocated this year for an increase in higher Medi-Cal reimbursement rates for reproductive health care, Senator de León carried their fight into budget negotiations and secured $50 million from Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenue.
Guided by a strong belief in a woman’s right to control her own health care, Senator de León has been stalwart defender for preserving federal funding for family planning as a Republican-led Congress continues to target Planned Parenthood for defunding.
Senator de León’s strong and unwavering advocacy for access and choice has been recognized by Planned Parenthood with a consistent 100 percent voting record and numerous awards, with special recognition in 2014 for legislative leadership.
Alarmed by the serious problem posed nationwide by sexual violence on college campuses, Senator de León set out to find solutions for California.
In 2014, his bill to prevent sexual assault on college campuses was first law in the nation to require affirmative consent, earning him the recognition from Marie Claire last year as one of the “ten biggest supporters of women’s right in U.S. government.” Ms. Magazine selected his “yes means yes” measure as the most significant legislative victory on behalf of women for 2014. He followed up with legislation in 2015 that requires public high schools teaching health education classes to include sexual assault prevention in their curricula.
Also in 2015, he empowered women in the workforce with state budget funding for thousands of more slots for subsidized child cares.
California doesn't need a 90-year-old War Hawk representing us. Time to send the Depends wearing great granny to the home she belongs in -- hint, that home is not a house of Congress.
Kevin de Leon is a clear alternative to Dianne Feinstein. They'll face off in about four months in the state primary -- they're competing for the state's US Senate seat. The top two in the primary -- it's an open primary, not a party primary -- will be on the ballot in November 2018.
Kevin's only liability currently is name recognition across the state. Between now and November that can be easily rectified. Dianne's biggest liability for voters in our state? Her advanced age. Many hoped she would announce her retirement.
As Casey Tolan (MERCURY NEWS) reported last April:
She’s the oldest U.S. senator, and she’s staggeringly popular with her constituents — at least until you remind them that she’s the oldest U.S. senator.
Then voter enthusiasm dips for 83-year-old Dianne Feinstein, according to a new poll, and the dip may be enough to raise some questions about a Feinstein run for a sixth term in 2018.
[. . .]
But among voters who were reminded that Feinstein will turn 84 next year, that dropped to 38 percent, with 62 percent saying another Feinstein campaign would be bad for the state.
“Even though I myself am up there in years, there comes a time — particularly in political circles — to allow younger people to come up,” said John Hansen, 79, of Castro Valley, who calls himself a big admirer of Feinstein but thought it was time for her to make room for someone younger.
Give her the gold watch and send her home.
Getting rid of an Iraq War supporter like Dianne Feinstein is especially important as the war continues with no end in sight.
Oliver Knox (YAHOO NEWS) reported last week:
President Trump has all the legal authority he needs to keep U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq indefinitely, the Pentagon and State Department said in a pair of letters released on Thursday. The letters also warned that the United States reserves the right to take military action to defend its anti-ISIS allies in Syria, potentially setting the stage for new clashes with regime forces and their Russian partners.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., to whom the letters were addressed, sharply criticized the administration’s reasoning and said in a statement that Trump risks “acting like a king by unilaterally starting a war.”
Borrowing arguments first advanced by the Obama administration, the Pentagon and State Department argued that the undeclared war on ISIS — and the presence of some 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria and 5,200 more in Iraq — is legal under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and the 2002 AUMF that set the stage for the invasion of Iraq. In late January, the Trump administration signaled that it would not seek a new vote to authorize the mission in Syria.
There is no end to the Iraq War, not with do-nothings and Iraq War supporters in Congress.
THE DAYTONA BEACH NEWS JOURNAL notes:
In operations related to Iraq, a total of 4,535 members of the U.S. military have died. Another 32,310 U.S. service personnel have been wounded in action.
Here is the latest identification reported by the military:
• Sgt. Christina Marie Schoenecker, 26, of Arlington, Kansas, died Feb. 19 in Baghdad, from a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation.
The deaths continue to pile up.
When does the war end?
Before California votes -- even in the June primary -- voting will take place in Iraq.
May 12th, the country is supposed to hold elections -- national and provincial elections, lumped together for the first time in post-invasion Iraq. THE NEW ARAB notes:
Nearly 7,000 candidates will vie for 329 seats in parliament the May elections, the fourth since the 2003 US-led invasion that removed Saddam Hussein from power, according to the Independent High Electoral Commission.
Candidates have formed 27 political coalitions and last month, the electoral commission extended the deadline for registering the alliances as political parties worked to negotiate deals, but failed.
For many in the media, Hayder al-Abadi is the winner -- the winner of elections that haven't been held.
Because he's prime minister.
Check out 2010 and you'll see the only time the western press kissed ass harder in Iraq -- when they spent the first months of that year proclaiming Nouri al-Maliki a sure thing.
He'd go on to lose the election.
Much to the shock of Quil Lawrence who used NPR airwaves to declare Nouri the winner before a single vote was counted.
Smart people were paying attention to NPR's Deborah Amos, author OF one of 2010's important books ECLIPSE OF THE SUNNIS: POWER, EXILE AND UPHEAVAL IN THE MIDDLE EAST. Though repeatedly ignored by the male circle jerk led by Thomas Ricks, Deborah remains one of the most astute observers of Iraq and her "Confusion, Contradiction and Irony: The Iraqi Media in 2010" (Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center) remains the standard for 2010 Iraq coverage.
The western press kisses Hayder's ass today the way they did Nouri's in 2010. It'll be interesting to say how everything turns out.
For now, Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) report:
Long beset by toxic divisions, Iraq seems to be growing even more fragmented ahead of national elections scheduled for May, with Iranian influence set to grow and the minority Sunnis seething as they fend for themselves in areas of the country shattered by the three-year war against the Islamic State group.
The Sunnis, many of them in displacement camps, bore the brunt of the war's destruction and have been left so bereft that many don't even have the papers needed to register to vote. If they don't end up feeling the vote was fair, that could badly undermine the international community's goal of bringing about the more inclusive government critical to maintaining a unified state and avoiding a repeat of the IS disaster.
And the Sunnis aren't the only concern. Massoud Barzani's right hand person Tweets:
With @HaiderAlAbadi decision to extend banning international flights to Kurdistan, collective punishments, blocking constitutional budget share, militarizing disputed territories,Kurdish parties will remember these in post elections in Iraq & in supporting any candidates.
Meanwhile Ibrahim al-Marashi (MIDDLE EAST EYES) zooms in on an alliance:
The Sadrists, followers of Shia religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr, have formed a joint list with the Iraqi Communist Party, ostensibly an anomalous occurrence of Islamists uniting with an established secular party.
However, an examination of Iraq's history indicates that an alliance between secularists and those with religious backgrounds does have a precedent. The Sadrist-Communist alliance appears to be a reversion to older patterns in Iraq's political history based on civic and national issues, and a repudiation of the sectarian politics that took root after 2003.
Iraqi communists were active in Iraq during the state's formation in the 1920s, just a few years after the Bolshevik seizure of power in the USSR. The Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) was formally founded in 1934, and its numbers expanded under the leadership of Yusuf Salman Yusuf, or "Comrade Fahad", who upon assuming leadership of the Party in 1941, recruited from urban elites to peasants, workers and students.
Faris Kamal Nadhmi. a leftist Iraqi intellectual, wrote an article as early as 2010 predicting a future Sadrist-Communist alliance. His foresight was based on past precedents, writing that in the 1950s the ICP cooperated with religious Shia movements in the traditional shrine cities of Najaf, Karbala, and Kadhimiyya.
Both the ICP and Shia activists agitated against the Iraqi monarchy, which was overthrown in 1958.
In other news, AFP reports:
Heavy rainfall has uncovered 75 ancient artifacts at the Borsippa archaeological site in the Iraqi province of Babylon, the authorities announced on Sunday.
Terracotta pottery, coins and metal objects dating back to the Parthian era were among the items found, said Hussein Fleih of the provincial antiquities authority.
That news comes on the heels of news regarding discoveries at a Mosul tomb.Harry Pettit (DAILY MAIL) reported over the weekend:
ISIS' destruction of the biblical tomb of Jonah has revealed a once opulent palace and inscriptions detailing the life of an Assyrian King.
Seven clay tablets, found in a palace hidden under the Tomb of Jonah in the northern city of Mosul, describe the rule of a king named Esarhaddon.
The inscriptions describe Esarhaddon as 'king of the world', and claim he rebuilt the ancient cities of Babylon and Esagil during his reign.
They also lay out the man's family history, giving scientists fresh insight into the ancient royal bloodline of Assyria.
The tablets were found in four tunnels dug by ISIS looters looking for Assyrian treasure beneath the Tomb of Jonah, a shrine sacred to both Christians and Muslims.
The site was blown up by the terror group during its occupation of Mosul from June 2014 until January 2017, when the city was retaken by Iraqi forces.
Archaeologists picking through ancient rubble left behind by the group found a previously undiscovered palace containing white marble murals of bulls, stone statues of demi-goddesses and seven marble inscriptions.
Kat's "The punch line is 'Joan Baez'" went up Sunday.