Saturday, March 31, 2018


This made me laugh:

  • Here's the thing about trans (or gay) ppl in the military: I could spend a lot of time getting into you whether or not I should defend the right to be in an imperialist machine. But bottom line? Your choices remove you from the realm of my priorities. Deal with your own shit.

    Deal with your own.  :D

    Okay, so I saw DEATH WISH.

    We weren't in the mood for a lot of the new releases so we hopped back to something released earlier this month.

    This was an action film, not a work of art.

    As an action film, it succeeds and has surprisingly strong acting -- not just Bruce Willis but also Elizabeth Shue and Vincent D'Onofrio.

    I felt it was not just entertaining but also an improvement over the original which is very slow and also developed poorly -- I'm talking about the film's look.  It's too dark and bland.  A problem with a lot of 70s films (especially if they were made cheaply).  A film like KLUTE, for example, uses dark shading for emotional effect.  And in it's non-dark moments the colors shine -- think Bree's blue dress.  But a film like DEATHWISH is so washed out it could have been a FILMWAYS movie of the 70s.

    If you're looking to read about a classic film, hop over to WSWS and check out Joanne Laurier's piece on VERTIGO:

    In celebration of the 60th anniversary of its release, Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo was presented recently in cinemas nationwide in the US by Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and Universal Pictures.
    The 1958 classic psychological thriller was based on the 1954 novel Dentre les morts (Among the Dead) by French crime writers Pierre Boileau and Pierre Ayraud (whose pen name was Thomas Narcejac).
    The movie was not a box office success, despite being a glamorous, big-budget effort directed by the “master of suspense,” and featuring one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors (James Stewart), along with budding sex symbol Kim Novak. Its darkness and obsessiveness may have seemed odd to audiences at a time when American affluence and power were supposedly at their height. Vertigo has its apparent flaws, including an implausible murder plot, certain trite or banal elements, and an uneven performance from Novak, but it has endured and proven to be one of the most troubling American films of the postwar period. This is a conundrum worth investigating.

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

    Friday, March 30, 2018.  So many enable the current war and occupation of Iraq.

    The key to understanding Gary Younge is to remember he lies frequently.  When he writes for THE GUARDIAN (writing often reproduced in THE NATION), he's one way.  When he's writing for a Socialist publication, he's another way.  He can tailor himself to fit any outlet.  He did so this week at THE GUARDIAN where he made two key points about the Iraq War:

    First, because many are still living with the consequences. Amnesia is the privilege of the powerful. The powerless do not have the luxury of moving on, because their nations have been flattened, economies ruined and sectarian divisions deepened and weaponised as a result of a war that was prosecuted in their name.
    Second, it was the greatest foreign policy error of a generation or more, in which most of the political class and the media class were entirely complicit. We cannot walk away – because it has changed who we are, and so wherever we go, this dark shadow follows us.

    It was really hard for him to get there because he had to provide links and he was writing for a UK audience.  This meant noting some of Tony Blair's claims (lies) in the lead up to the war.  It also means he can't note the Downing St. Memos that document so much about how Tony and Bully Boy Bush worked it out ahead of time.  In the US, much was made about the corporate media ignoring the memo but the reality is that they weren't the only ones.  The blessed GUARDIAN, to this day, has never mentioned them.  (THE TIMES OF LONDON is the British paper that first reported on them.)  That's because you can't call out Labour too harshly in the New Labour outlet that THE GUARDIAN is.

    Now you can write any truth about the United States in THE GUARDIAN and Ajay Singh Chaudhary gets a few in:

    Although Trump still has plenty of time to catch up (and I fear he will), his crimes do not come close to the crimes against humanity committed by members of our ruling class from political leadership to the media in our lifetime. I won’t list names here because it would be too inflammatory, but there are dozens, hundreds, who would be facing tribunals if they were not American.
    They not only walk free but are rewarded for their complicity in one of the key moments that is the short walk to now. Watching the sickening rehabilitation of political and media figures of this period – and for some the simple continuity – is also a reminder of the partial utility of that term “totalitarian”.
    No matter how much they destroy, how many lines they cross, whom they murder en masse, their respectability is unaffected, their leadership de rigueur. This was not the failure of the rule of law: this is the rule of law in a system in which any attempt to transform power or even challenge it has been silenced.
    This was not because “norms” or the constitution were violated; this was the absolute functioning of norms and the constitution. This was the America that some tell me was already great.

    But you cannot tell the truth about the UK government in THE GUARDIAN -- which is why Gary's links in his article to opposition go to GUARDIAN articles published . . . after the war had started.

    From Gary, let's go to another whore of Babylon, Jane Arraf (NPR at this moment):

    In 2014, tens of thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority, facing genocide from ISIS, escaped to the mountain from the town of Sinjar and surrounding villages in northern Iraq.
    The United States said it entered the war against ISIS partly to protect Yazidis trapped on the mountain with no food and water.
    Four years later, several thousand of them remain there. Destitute and living in tents, they are still too afraid to come down.

    True Barack story, in late 2015 as the Yazidis were still refusing attempts to 'rescue' them by getting them off the mountain, then-President Barack Obama wondered "what the f**k do they want?"  A very good question.  But not one that should have surprised him or anyone else.

    In real time, in 2014, with this situation, we were quite clear.  We said don't send in US troops.  We said do air drops of packages so that they didn't starve.

    That's what should have been done.

    The US forces and the Kurds both provided every opportunity for the Yazidis to get off Mount Sinjar.  Not for one day, not for one week, not for one month, not even for one year.  Over and over they provided that opportunity.  The Yazdis wouldn't -- and still won't -- leave.

    "I'm trapped!  I'm trapped! Rescue me!"

    Save yourself.


    Are you a kitten caught in a tree?

    I am not a pretty girl
    That is not what I do
    I ain't no damsel in distress
    And I don't need to be rescued, so
    So put me down, punk
    Wouldn't you prefer a maiden fair?
    Isn't there a kitten stuck up a tree somewhere?
    [. . .]
    And what if there are no damsels in distress?
    What if I knew that, and I called your bluff?
    Don't you think every kitten
    Figures out how to get down
    Whether or not you ever show up?

    The Yazidis don't figure it out because they don't want anything but to start more wars.  I don't know if that has to do with their worship or what.

    But they have certainly been vocal about how the Kurds abandoned them!  Left them on Mt. Sinjar!  They are trapped!

    No, you had you chances to come down but you refused to.  That's on you.  And everyone knows the Yazidis will use the same sentences to gripe about the US just as soon as they figure they've drained the US out of all the sympathy they can get.

    The Yazidis are victims of their own making.

    PIX 11 reports:

    A native son of Carmel, Indiana, who served with New York City's fire department and died in Iraq received a send-off punctuated by crisp military precision, appreciation and moments of joy.
    Capt. Christopher "Tripp" Zanetis was celebrated at New York University by Mayor Bill de Blasio, fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro and many others after a solemn ceremony in nearby Washington Square Park on Thursday.
    On Long Island, a funeral was held for Staff Sgt. Dashan Briggs, another of the four New York Air National Guardsmen killed in a March 15 helicopter crash. Funerals will be held Saturday on Long Island for Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso, another fire department veteran, and on April 6 in Tampa, Florida, for Capt. Andreas O'Keeffe.

    Amid the chaos of 9/11, as the fires burned at Ground Zero, volunteer Christopher Zanetis worked alongside the FDNY members searching in the rubble for their lost brothers.
    Three years later, he joined their ranks. And in 2008, the heroic Zanetis became a member of the Air National Guard.
    The 37-year-old FDNY fire marshal and U.S. Air Force major, who was killed March 15 in a helicopter crash in Iraq, was honored Thursday for a life driven by service for city and country at an emotional Greenwich Village sendoff.
    The “Celebration of Life” began at his old East Village firehouse and continued in Washington Square Park, where his his brown wood casket arrived beneath its massive marble arch.

    Funeral services were held today for Tech. Sgt. Dashan Briggs, of Port Jeff Station – one of four members of the Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing who died earlier this month in a chopper crash in Iraq.
    Friends spoke Thursday about how giving he was, how great he was as a father, and how honored they were to have served with him.

    Would those service members have died were it not for the Yazidi spokespersons (and the neocon p.r. firm in the US)?  Maybe not.

    They refused to be rescued after their spokespeople insisted they needed to be rescued.  They should accept the fact that many have tired of their little-boy-who-cried-wolf ploys.

    Again, we didn't play heartless here.  We said if they're trapped, drop food on the mountain for them.  But instead it was send more US troops into Iraq.  Where they remain.

    Melissa Steininger (WTAJ) reports:

    The men and women salute in honor of their country at the Punxsutawney Community Center Wednesday morning. 
    The same group will soon put their lives on the line. They're the 665 Engineer Utilities Detachment and they will be deployed to Iraq at the end of the week.  

    The Iraq War never ends. Remember what Anthony H. Cordesman (CSIS) argued earlier this year:

    The United States, its allies, and international organizations are just beginning to come to grips with the civil dimensions of "failed state" wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, the Sudans, Syria, and Yemen. In each case, it is clear that the civil dimension of the war will ultimately be as important as the military one.
    Any meaningful form of "victory" requires far more than defeating the current extremist threat in military terms, and reaching some temporary compromise between the major factions that divide the country. The current insurgent and other security threats exist largely because of the deep divisions within the state, the past and current failures of the government to deal with such internal divisions, and the chronic failure to meet the economic, security, and social needs of much of the nation's population.
    In practical terms, these failures make a given host government, other contending factions, and competing outside powers as much of a threat to each nation’s stability and future as Islamic extremists and other hostile forces. Regardless of the scale of any defeat of extremists, the other internal tensions and divisions with each country also threaten to make any such “victory” a prelude to new forms of civil war, and/or an enduring failure to cope with security, stability, recovery, and development.
    Any real form of victory requires a different approach to stability operations and civil-military affairs. In each case, the country the U.S. is seeking to aid failed to make the necessary economic progress and reforms to meet the needs of its people – and sharply growing population – long before the fighting began. The growth of these problems over a period of decades helped trigger the sectarian, ethnic, and other divisions that made such states vulnerable to extremism and civil conflict, and made it impossible for the government to respond effectively to crises and wars.
    These issues are analyzed in depth in a new study by the Burke Chair at CSIS entitled Iraqi After ISIS: The Other Half of Victory, which is available on the CSIS web site at is being circulated in working draft form in order to seek comments, directions and additional data, which should be sent to Anthony H. Cordesman
    The study shows that the economy and infrastructure of Iraq and the other countries involved in "failed state" wars have now been further crippled by years of war. As a result, each conflict has changed the country to the point where it creates a need to establish a new structure of governance and economy that reflects major shifts in the population, the balance of power in each state, and its real-world post-conflict opportunities for development.
    The cumulative result is to make "stability operations" a key part of grand strategy. Defeating a given mix of terrorists or insurgents requires aid and assistance efforts that look beyond the fighting and the short-term priorities of conflict termination. Negotiations and new political arrangements, emergency humanitarian aid, and recovery aid are all critical steps towards lasting stability.

    This is about occupation.  "Stability."  It's not ending.

    The following community sites updated:

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