Saturday, June 8, 2019


DARK PHOENIX should have been so much more but instead it's practically nothing.

I wanted to see the film so badly.  I thought this might be something wonderful.

Instead, X-MEN THE LAST STAND is a better telling of the Dark Phoenix story than DARK PHOENIX is.  Does that surprise you?

In the end, it shouldn't.  As I watched the movie last night, I realized there were no real connections.  Storm, for example, only entered into a relationship with the team in the last 30 minutes of the previous film, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE.  That film had Hugh Jackman for a few seconds.  Hugh and Wolverine aren't in the film.

How do you do Dark Phoenix without Wolverine?  Jean was part of a love triangle with Logan (Wolverine) and Scott (Cyclops).  Jean Grey's choices are much smaller if she's not allowed the full range of her experience.

And what she gives up when she makes the ultimate sacrifice is so much less if she has no connections to the people around her.  She's saving the world, yes, but she's also saving her friends.  That's Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Beast and Wolverine.  As noted, Wolverine's not present.

For some stupid reason priss-pot Quick Silver is.  He's gone in the comics long before Jean Grey becomes Phoenix, let alone Dark Phoenix.  He's a smarmy little priss-pot who was apparently appealed to something in Bryan Singer so we've been stuck with him.  He doesn't offer anything besides a creepy vibe on AMERICAN HORROR STORY and that's all he offers here.

The only thing DARK PHOENIX really accomplishes is making X-MEN: THE LAST STAND look like a better film in retrospect.

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

Friday, June 7, 2019.  Joe Biden just doesn't get it, even now, he just doesn't get it, Tammy Duckworth thinks five deferments make you a coward so what does that make Joe, Duncan Hunter's remarks should be examined not just used to attack him, and much more.

In rather stunning news, Joe Biden is deaf.  Apparently, the campaign pitched in and raised enough money to purchase batteries for his hearing aid.  How else to explain his struggle with the Hyde Amendment which has gone on for several days and which, when he initially attempted to change his public opinion, had him claiming he had misheard the question?

Misheard the question and missed the days and days of coverage reporting his answer to the misheard coverage, apparently.

What is the Hyde Amendment?  Planned Parenthood explains:

For far too long, the United States has penalized low-income women seeking abortion — forcing those already struggling to make ends meet to pay the biggest proportion of her income for safe, legal care.
Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has blocked federal Medicaid funding for abortion services (since 1994, there have been  three extremely narrow exceptions: when continuing the pregnancy will endanger the woman’s life, or when the pregnancy results from rape or incest). This means Medicaid cannot cover abortion even when a woman’s health is at risk and her doctor recommends she get an abortion.

When insurance coverage provides for all pregnancy-related health care except abortion, it interferes with the private health decisions that are best left to the woman, her doctor, and her family. The Hyde Amendment is a dangerous and unfair policy that lets politicians interfere in a woman’s personal health care decisions.

Hyde Hurts Women on Medicaid

When policymakers deny a woman insurance coverage for abortion, she is either forced to carry the pregnancy to term or pay for care out of her own pocket.
So, the Hyde Amendment is particularly harmful low-income women, women of color, young people and immigrants — who disproportionately rely on Medicaid for their health care coverage.

Consider these facts:
  • 15.6 million women (ages 19 to 64) have Medicaid coverage. If every state expands its Medicaid program, as the Affordable Care Act allows, about 1.5 million additional women will be newly eligible for Medicaid coverage.
  • Medicaid provides coverage to 1 in 5 women of reproductive age (15-44).
  • Due to the structural inequalities in our country that link racism, sexism, and economic inequality, women of color disproportionately comprise the majority of Medicaid enrollees. In fact, 30% of Black women and 24% of Hispanic women are enrolled in Medicaid, compared to 14% of white women.

The consequences? When a woman has made the personal decision to end a pregnancy but cannot afford to, she may forgo basic necessities like heat and electricity in order to save the necessary funds. She may even resort to self-inducing an abortion or obtaining an abortion from an untrained or unlicensed practitioner.

Hyde-Like Policies Impact Other Health Care Programs

Since Congress first passed the Hyde Amendment 40 years ago, anti-women’s health politicians extended similar policies to other federal health insurance programs, including coverage for federal employees and their families, military personnel and their families, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, and inmates in federal prisons. While these are all different policies, the impact is the same: penalizing women seeking abortion, and forcing them to pay out-of-pocket in order to access safe, legal care — even if they cannot afford to do so.

Hyde in the States

The Hyde Amendment bans using federal Medicaid to cover almost all abortions but does not limit a state’s ability to use its own funds to cover abortion. As of 2016, 17 states use their own funds to extend abortion coverage to low-income women enrolled in Medicaid (although some of these states still make it difficult to access). An additional 6 states extend abortion coverage under specific exceptions, such as when a woman’s health is at risk.
That leaves more than half the country abiding by the Hyde Amendment. Notably, South Dakota’s Medicaid program goes even further than Hyde: It does not pay for abortion even when a woman has been raped or is the victim of incest — a clear violation of federal law, which includes these exceptions. Moreover, Congress can control Washington DC’s funding and has restricted DC from using its own funds to provide abortion coverage to low-income women.

Bottom Line: It’s Time To Stop Hyde

Each woman — no matter how much money she makes or who provides her insurance — should be able to access the full-range of reproductive health care, including abortion. Each woman should be able to make her own decisions about pregnancy  based on her own unique circumstances, and have the resources she needs to exercise that decision with autonomy and dignity.  
What shouldn’t be happening? Politicians should not be able to deny a woman’s health coverage just because of her income or her insurance provider. It is time to end the Hyde Amendment and stop political interference in women’s decision-making.

Go to to learn how you can take action.

If he's not deaf, he was having a senior moment because he told the press he supported the Hyde Amendment.  Then he tried to walk it back with the lie that he'd misheard and insisting that he only semi-supports it.  Now?  He doesn't support it one bit, swear to God, hand on his heart, no take-backs.

Bobby Allyn (NPR) explains, "Just earlier in the week, Biden's campaign affirmed the candidate's support for the ban, setting off criticism from abortion rights supporters, who called on Biden to reverse his long-held position. Biden, 76, a Roman Catholic, told the crowd that he voted for the Hyde Amendment as a senator because he thought women could still have access to abortions even if federally-backed programs did not provide funding for the procedure."  Media critic Howard Kurtz (FOX NEWS) offers this take, "It took the former vice president all of one day before he caved last night on the Hyde Amendment. Never mind that his more liberal rivals were using it to taunt him. Never mind that the press was overwhelmingly relying on critiques from abortion rights advocates and portraying Biden’s stance as a moral failing.  He had taken a stance, the same stance he's had for decades, as a matter of principle. And then he melted."   Molly Nagle and Christopher Donato (ABC NEWS) remind, "Prior to Biden's reversal, several 2020 challengers criticized him for his support for the amendment, given its impact on low-income and minority women. [. . .] Still, Congressional records show Sanders -- along with Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. -- voted for an omnibus spending bill in 2014 that included language similar to the Hyde Amendment. [. . .] The phrasing is similar to language that appears in a 2018 funding bill that Sanders voted against, but Warren, Booker, Klobuchar, Gillibrand and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., voted to approve." Eric Bradner (CNN) reports:

Biden's campaign on Wednesday said he still supported the Hyde Amendment -- a position that put him to the right of all other leading 2020 Democratic contenders, as well as Hillary Clinton and the party's platform in 2016. 
Biden told the crowd Thursday night he had changed his mind because Republican state lawmakers have enacted "extreme laws in clear violation of constitutional rights" protected by the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, making access to abortions more difficult for women who cannot afford the procedure or travel to obtain it.
He said he makes "no apologies" for his previous support for the Hyde Amendment.
He makes no apologies for his previous support for the Hyde Amendment -- support that continued until last night, please note.  He says that he changed his opinion "because Republican state lawmakers" are attacking abortion rights.  Apparently, what everyone else has noted for the last years specifically and for decades actually finally registered with Joe Biden.
I can remember some women in 1992, GOP members having enough and leaving the party over it.  For those too young to remember, the GOP presidential strategy was to have their male candidate oppose abortion but insist that Nancy Reagan or Barbara Bush were personally in favor of reproductive freedom.  (To be fair to Nancy Reagan, she actually was in favor of reproductive freedom.)  That was the sop that the Republican Party tossed out to try to appease women.  (The male controlled Democratic Party had its own brand of sop it tossed out at that time as well.)  The First Lady had no role beyond ceremony but the fact that she agreed with you, a GOP woman, was supposed to be enough for you to vote Republican in the presidential election.
And women in that party did put up with it for some time but eventually they began to have enough -- the 1992 extreme views on display at the GOP convention helped send a number of women running.  For those keeping track, this is the year George W. Bush ran for re-election and Shannen Doherty made news, when she attended the convention, not because she was 90210 star but because she was smoking in non-smoking areas and when Barbara Bush -- then the First Lady -- came up to introduce herself, Shannen brushed her off with no idea who Bush was.  (That story always makes me laugh.  And if you know how prone to rages Babs was, it'll make you laugh as well.)
Joe Biden makes no apologies for his past support?
But it was this 'past' support that lasted through 5:00 pm EST yesterday that made it easy for so many to chip away at abortion rights.  As a nationally known politician, Joe's public support for the Hyde Amendment chipped away at abortion rights and assisted the right-wing in their assault on reproductive freedom.  He needs to answer for that.  And if his sudden and new-found position is really how he feels, he damn well needs to apologize for his previous support.
Most of all he needs to grasp that his prior support harmed women.  There's nothing in his new statements that acknowledges how his support for the Hyde Amendment disproportionately impacted low-income women.  

Christal Hayes (USA TODAY) notes US House Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called Joe out earlier Thursday in an interview with THE YOUNG TURKS:

In the interview with the liberal media outlet, the freshman lawmaker, who has quickly become a social media star since taking office in January, took issue with Biden's claim that he has the most progressive record of any candidate running in the 2020 presidential race, taking issue specifically with his reported support of the Hyde Amendment, a measure that blocks federal funding for abortion in most cases. (Later Thursday, at a Democratic Party event in Atlanta, Biden announced he no longer backs the decades-only funding prohibition.) 
"The term progressive is getting hijacked so much that people just think it means Democrat now and not all Democrats are progressive," said Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive and self-described Democratic Socialist. "I'm sorry but if you're going to come out and say you support the Hyde Amendment, which prevents us from funding clinics like Planned Parenthood. That's not progressive."

THINK PROGRESS tries to clean things up for Joe and quotes his Tweet, "Women’s rights and health care are under assault in a way that seeks to roll back every step of progress we’ve made over the last 50 years."  Joe's such a f**king liar.  Sorry, Joe, someone has to say it.  We know it won't be Kate Michelman, right?  Joe left her crying in the halls of the Senate -- it was sad to see and a little pathetic -- when he refused to do what he said he'd do and fight Bully Boy Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court.  It was really sad and really pathetic and we saw it because we were at the hearing and we noted it in that day's snapshot.  Joe knows abortion rights have been under attack for decades.  His nonsense that he's offering now is pure bulls**t.  He's down in the polls and he's afraid of going further down, so he's changed his opinion publicly.  I won't be Kate and rush to the shadows to cry in private.  I'll rebuke him right here in public.

Patrick Martin (WSWS) observes:

 After 24 hours of political battering—including an op-ed column in the Washington Post that declared him “unfit to lead,” given the widespread attacks on abortion rights by Republican state governments—Biden backed down.
The presidential candidate denounced the Hyde Amendment in a speech to a Democratic National Committee fundraising event in Georgia, one of the states where Republican state legislatures have pushed through laws restricting abortion that deliberately flout Roe v. Wade, in an effort to provide a legal vehicle for the Supreme Court to reverse the 1973 ruling.
“If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's ZIP code,” Biden said. He added that he made “no apologies for the past position,” but “circumstances have changed.”
“I can't justify leaving millions of women without access to the care they need and the ability to ... exercise their constitutionally protected right,” he said, although is precisely the effect that the Hyde Amendment has had throughout the time Biden supported it.
Earlier, in response to the criticism of his position, Biden’s campaign declared that the candidate “firmly believes that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and should not be overturned.” Since similar assurances were given by Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh after Trump nominated them to the Supreme Court, this type of language reassured no one genuinely concerned about the threat to abortion rights.

Joe Biden is infamous for many things -- including voting for and supporting the Iraq War.  The Iraq War?  It's just another thing -- on a list of many -- that he's not sorry for.  How nice it must be to be Joe and have no qualms -- even in the face of massive death and destruction.  Like Babsie Bush, nothing apparently bothers his beautiful mind.

THE WASHINGTON POST thinks they have an important scoop.  I did too.  Then I read it.  Joshua Partlow, David A. Fahrenthold and Taylor Luck report:

In July, a wealthy Iraqi sheikh named Nahro al-Kasnazan wrote letters to national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging them to forge closer ties with those seeking to overthrow the government of Iran.
Kasnazan wrote of his desire “to achieve our mutual interest to weaken the Iranian Mullahs regime and end its hegemony.”
Four months later, he checked into Trump International Hotel in Washington and spent 26 nights in a suite on the eighth floor — a visit estimated to have cost tens of thousands of dollars.
It was an unusually long stay at the expensive hotel. The Washington Post obtained the establishment’s “VIP Arrivals” lists for dozens of days last year, including more than 1,200 individual guests. Kasnazan’s visit was the longest listed.

What's the story here?

Apparently, it's no more than a Shi'ite who wants to rule Iraq thought he could get tighter with Donald by staying at a hotel Donald owned.  That may bring up ethical questions -- but so does the report by THE POST.

Kasnazan is a CIA informant and has been for at least two decades now.  I know that fact and THE POST doesn't?  No, they know it and they didn't inform their readers.  They did inform their readers that Kaznazan thinks he can be a president of Iraq.

And lazy ass typists that they are, they leave it at that.

He cannot be president of Iraq.  That position, by custom, is reserved for the Kurds.  THE WASHINGTON POST promoted the Iraq War, their reporters know that a Kurd has been president every year since the US-led invasion.

They're dishonest by not informing readers the man is a CIA informant and they're dishonest by presenting him as a potential president when they know no Shi'ite has held that position nor will one in the near future.  Kurdistan would have to completely break with Iraq and become an independent nation for a Shi'ite to be president of Iraq anytime soon.  By custom, the president is a Kurd, the prime minister is a Shi'ite and the Speaker of Parliament is a Sunni.

Meanwhile Showboat Express Tammy Duckworth's still babbling on.

"Yes, he is a coward."

Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, responds to President Trump's Vietnam War remark, saying he "used his privilege in every way that he could to avoid going to serve five different times."

0:21 / 3:33



He is a coward, Tams says of Donald, because he avoided serving five different times in Vietnam.  Hmm.  Tammy's clown make up may distract her and make her miss the fact from Bill Meyer (CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER)  in 2008:

Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden received five student draft deferments during the Vietnam War, the same number of deferments received by Vice President Dick Cheney, and later was disqualified from service because of asthma as a teenager.
Officials with Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's campaign released Biden's Selective Service records at the request of The Associated Press. Less detailed records were available from a National Archives facility in Philadelphia.

Tammy may need help counting -- she definitely needs helping counting the number of times she applies make up -- so let's help her -- five deferments and then a disqualification based on asthma -- that's six!  That's one more than Donald.  Joe a coward too?

I don't think so.  I'm thrilled for every young, US male that did not go to Vietnam.  I wish no one had gone.  But Tammy, big dick Tammy, thinks it's an outrage and a crime.  So then she needs to be calling out Joe as well.

While we're on think-topics, might someone who gives a damn -- I'm all for saying whatever, so it won't be me -- write a piece contemplating what it says to our 'enemies' when the US is engaged in multiple wars and a member of the US Senate insists upon repeatedly calling the commander-in-chief of the US military a "coward"?  Might someone ponder that?  Maybe dash off one of those right-wing commentaries about aid and comfort to the enemy?

Returning to the topic we've touched on since Saturday: Duncan Hunter.  Brett Wilkins (COMMON DREAMS) writes:

When one "Zero Blog Thirty" host—another former Marine—suggested that the congressman’s willingness to show leniency to Gallagher "goes against our honor so egregiously" and presents "such a slippery slope," Hunter replied with a stunning admission.
"So how do you judge me?" he asked. "I was an artillery officer and we fired hundreds of rounds into Fallujah, killed probably hundreds of civilians… Probably killed women and children if there were any left in the city when we invaded. So do I get judged too?"
Hunter, who rose to the rank of major, completed two tours of duty in Iraq and one of Afghanistan while on active duty, and was later re-deployed to Afghanistan as a reservist. During his second tour in Iraq, he participated in the atrocity-laden First Battle of Fallujah, officially called Operation Vigilant Resolve, in the spring of 2004. According to US veterans of the assault, as well as survivors, journalists, medical personnel, human rights groups and others, Marines indiscriminately killed men, women, children, the elderly and disabled residents of the city. Civilians waving white flags of surrender were cut down by snipers, who also targeted ambulances carrying the wounded and dying to the few remaining functional clinics left in the city.
According to the US military, 600 civilians were killed during Vigilant Resolve, which failed to achieve its objective of crushing Fallujah’s resistance to US occupation. A second assault on the city in November-December 2004, Operation Phantom Fury, resulted in the deaths of around 800 more civilians. It was during Vigilant Resolve that commanding general James Mattis earned the moniker "Mad Dog." After President Donald Trump nominated Mattis for defense secretary, Hunter responded to questions of whether the general was a war criminal by telling critics to "get over it."
"Fallujah was the last free-fire zone for artillery for the entire Iraq war," Hunter explained. "I can clearly recall… that the rules of engagement allowed for targeting anyone out during curfew. Did we utterly decimate? Yes…  and we won… [so] to [even] question whether Mattis committed war crimes in Iraq is absurd."

Hunter has a history of confessing to troubling behavior. Last month, he told a town hall meeting that "Eddie [Gallagher] did one bad thing that I’m guilty of too—taking a picture of the body and saying something stupid." According to the Defense Department’s Law of War Manual, enemy military dead must be treated with “the same respect as would be afforded to, or expected for, friendly military dead.”

Duncan Hunter is a Republican.

Boo!  Hiss!

Okay, did we get it out of our system?  If so can we move on to what he is actually saying.  He is telling you what war was like.  It was so common for him, he's not even shocked or surprised, he's just telling it.

Instead of trashing him, could we take a moment or two to register this.  Because this is exactly what those of us who were against the illegal war knew would take place.

The 'rules of engagement' were a laugh.  Any boy who was 14 or over (or looked like they might be) was not seen as a civilian but as a legitimate target.

Can we get to that?

When some share their stories -- say IVAW members during their Winter Soldier -- their self-reports were ignored or attacked by the press as untrue.  What reason does Duncan Hunter have to lie?


He is telling what he saw.  And what he did.

And, reality, what he did over there is not Duncan's policy, it was US policy.  I'm really tired of the enlisted who carry out the hideous orders and plans and policies being blamed for the creation of those plans, policies and orders.  It's time for real accountability.  But yet again we have the press piling up on Duncan Hunter instead of calling out the people who planned the illegal war and devised what would be allowed and what wouldn't be allowed.

US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, is running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  She will be campaigning in NYC.

(1/3) I'm happy to be in NYC, holding 3 events this week (1) A meet & greet hosted by our campaign on Saturday at 11am, June 8th, Project Farmhouse, 76 E 13th St, (2) a fundraiser at Dr. Raj Bhayani’s home, a well-known Brooklyn-based surgeon & (3) a breakfast conversation...

(2/3) ...hosted by Omeed Malik. As is clear from the invitations sent out, I do not accept $$ from PACs/lobbyists. Some in media are apparently upset by the fact that there are business people in NYC who are against warmongers...

  • (3/3) ...and support my message of ending regime change wars, the new Cold War, and nuclear arms race. By the way, I would love to have millionaires and billionaires join this campaign, and use their money for good, not evil. Maybe that's what they're upset about?

    The following sites updated:

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