Monday, December 23, 2019

I don't blame George Lucas

First off, from THENUMBERS.COM, the weekend box office:

Wow, STAR WARS did great, right?

Wrong.  THE LAST JEDHI made $220 million its opening weekend.  That was the last chapter in the ongoing STAR WARS saga.  This one?  Only $177 million in its opening weekend.

DISNEY is destroying STAR WARS, it's that simple.  At work, my friend Ian and I were talking and he blames George Lucas.  I understand that opinion.  But George Lucas is not a young person.

He's 75 years old.

He is not going to live forever.

He took the best deal he could find to preserve STAR WARS for after he's gone.

It's not his fault that DISNEY can't stop f**king things up.

On the topic of movies, please go read "Greta Gerwig loves little White women (Ava and C.I.)" which (a) just went up and (b) is Ava and C.I.'s review of LITTLE WOMEN.

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

Monday, December 23, 2019.  In Iraq, protesters continue to strike, in the US Joe Biden continues to lie (he was never part of the Civil Rights Movement), Jane Lynch makes an ass of herself, Tiny Pete gets caught in another pay-to-play scam, and much more

In the US, the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues.  And Joe Biden continues lying.  Or maybe he's so senile he just doesn't know the truth anymore?

Biden falsely claims he was part of the civil rights movement

Joseph Simonson (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) explains it's a lie from a long list of lies Joe has been telling over the years:

During a campaign stop at Limestone College on Wednesday afternoon, Joe Biden repeated his false claim that he participated in the civil rights movement.
“A lot of folks like me come out of the civil rights movement,” Biden said, in the middle of his opening remarks about how the Trump administration allegedly emboldens racists and white supremacists.
Biden, 76, turned just 21 a mere two days after John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Yet there is no evidence the former vice president involved himself in any marches or protests during the civil rights movement.
Biden's remarks in South Carolina weren't the first time he has made the unsubstantiated claims.
Going all the way back to 1983, then-Sen. Biden told individuals attending the Maine Democratic Conference that he "participated in sit-ins to desegregate restaurants and movie houses" in his home state of Delaware.
During a Martin Luther King Day breakfast in 2014, Biden said he "got involved in desegregating movie theaters."
In February 2019, Biden told an audience at a book event in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that he "came out of the civil rights movement."
Later, in July, he took a step further at a San Francisco fundraiser, saying he "got involved in the civil rights movement as a kid."

Joe realizes now he should have been part of the Civil Rights Movement so he just lies and pretends he was.  He wasn't.  He never did a damn thing.

Carl Beljar (JACOBIN) argues Joe can't beat Donald Trump in a general election:

Biden’s behavior in this primary has been erratic and bizarre. This is not just the goofy, gaffe-prone Biden we remember from the years before his retirement — that Biden was undisciplined, but he was diplomatic and sharp. This Biden is unpredictable, often confused, and occasionally flat-out disturbing. When he speaks he spins his wheels, meanders onto bizarre tangents, and stumbles over simple points of fact. When he interacts with people, he veers from uncomfortably familiar to wildly aggressive.
Just look at this video. Joe Biden:

  • Calls a voter a liar
  • Flirts with calling him fat
  • Challenges him to feats of strength
  • Challenges him to an IQ test
  • And makes fun of his age
This is completely unhinged. More importantly, this will not win votes. People will suspect that Biden is ridiculous, or cruel, or creepy, or dim-witted, or unwell, or simply a bad politician — and some, inevitably, will decide that they just can’t vote for him.
Biden’s behavior is especially damaging in a race against Trump for two reasons:

  1. Biden is going to run as a return to normalcy and respectability from the embarrassing aberration of Trump. Most other candidates (including Clinton, by the way) could pull this off. The Biden we remember from a decade ago could pull this off. But the Biden we are seeing today is going to leave voters wondering if they are just trading one embarrassing weirdo for another.
  2. Trump is going to say that Biden is senile and unfit for office. He is not going to just imply it or let attack dogs say it like other Republicans might — he is going to say this explicitly and repeatedly and make it a major part of his campaign. He is not going to care that one might say this about him because he has the shamelessness and audacity of a sociopath. He is going to be cruel and bullying about it, and he will have the benefit of low expectations because no one expects anything else from him. This will be especially brutal in debates, because for all of his faults, Trump is still very quick on his feet verbally, and is very conscious of this advantage.

For the first several months of his campaign, Joe Biden did what all front-runners do: he attempted to stay above the fray of the primaries, limiting his public appearances and coasting on his reputation. It is only in recent months, first in debates and then during his forays into early-state retail politics, that he gained significant public scrutiny. That’s why it has been extremely easy to miss the change: we began the year with memories of the old Joe Biden, and have only seen the new one emerge quite gradually.

Character actress Jane Lynch grabbed a few headlines last week for lashing out at Elizabeth Warren following the Thursday debate.  Elizabeth, Jane wanted the world to know, was pushing class warfare by talking about the needs of the working class.  Sitting on as many dollars as a one-note performance can provide someone with, Lynch wanted you to know that it's not just millionaires, no, it's waitresses!  And plumbers!!!

Ah, yes, the great 2000 election decided by the waitresses using their vast millions to determine the election.

Jane Lynch is not just an idiot -- she is stupid -- she's also not a friend of the people and everyone should remember that when she next begs for viewers with her shoddy game night show.  Just say "no" to Jane and other wealthy asses who work overtime to ensure that equality never comes to be in the US.

Norman Solomon (COMMON DREAMS) points out:

Sanders gets so much flak from corporate media because his campaign is upsetting the dominant apple cart. He relentlessly exposes a basic contradiction: A society ruled by an oligarchy—defined as “a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes”—can’t really be a democracy.
The super-wealthy individuals and huge corporations that own the biggest U.S. media outlets don’t want actual democracy. It would curb their profits and their power.
Over the weekend, the Washington Post editorialized that the agendas of Sanders and Elizabeth Warren “probably would fail at the polls and, if not, would carry extreme risks if they tried to implement them.” The editorial went on to praise “the relative moderates in the race”—Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar—for “offering a more positive future.”
But “a more positive future” for whom? Those “moderates” are certainly offering a more positive future for the newspaper’s owner, Jeff Bezos, who usually ranks as the richest person in the world. He wants to acquire even more extreme personal wealth beyond his current $108 billion.
The Washington Post‘s routinely negative treatment of Sanders, which became notorious during his 2016 presidential run, remains symptomatic of what afflicts mass-media coverage of his current campaign—from editorial pages and front pages to commercial TV news and “public” outlets like the “PBS NewsHour” and NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition.”
The essence of a propaganda system is repetition. To be effective, it doesn’t require complete uniformity—only dominant messaging, worldviews and assumptions.
Prevailing in news media’s political content is the central, tacit assumption that oligarchy isn’t a reality in the United States. So, there’s scant interest in the fact that the richest three people in the USA “now have as much wealth as the bottom half of the U.S. population combined.” As for the damaging impacts on democracy, they get less attention than Melania Trump’s wardrobe.

Now, as Sanders surges in Iowa and elsewhere, there’s a renewed pattern of mass-media outlets notably ignoring or denigrating his campaign’s progress. Like many other Sanders supporters, I find that disgusting yet not surprising.
In fortresses of high finance and vast opulence—with no ceiling on the often-pathological quests for ever-greater wealth—defenders of oligarchy see democratic potential as an ominous weapon in the hands of advancing hordes. Media outlets provide a wide (and shallow) moat.
For mass media owned by oligarchs and their corporate entities, affinity with the “moderate” orientations of Biden, Buttigieg and Klobuchar is clear. Any one of them would be welcomed by corporate elites as protection against what they see as a hazardous upsurge of progressive populism.

While Buttigieg has emerged as a sharp corporate tool for the maintenance of oligarchy, Joe Biden is an old hand at such tasks

Jane Lynch, our modern day Marjorie Main,  was talking her crazy last week because her 'boy' Tiny Pete got called out by Elizabeth Warren for his pricey wine cave fundraiser.  Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) notes:

An email exchange reviewed by Axios showed a top fundraiser for Pete Buttigieg offering a rich prospective donor access to the South Bend, Indiana mayor's presidential campaign in return for donations, an overture critics described as a particularly blatant example of how big money corrupts the American political system.
H.K. Park—who, according to Buttigieg's website, has raised at least $25,000 for the campaign—told a potential donor in a recent email that "[i]f you want to get on the campaign's radar now before he is flooded with donations after winning Iowa and New Hampshire, you can use the link below for donations."
As Axios reported late Sunday, Park's offer "was unusually blunt—even by modern pay-to-play standards."
"Pretty brazen stuff," tweeted The Intercept's Mehdi Hasan.
For campaign finance watchdogs and reform advocates, the email is indicative of the way in which wealthy donors buy access to and influence over presidential candidates—in this case, before a single vote has been cast.

Brendan Fischer, federal reform program director at the the Campaign Legal Center, told Axios that Park's email "is an example of a campaign offering potential donors an opportunity to buy influence."

Poor Jane, so stupid.  So very, very stupid.

The only appropriate response to that stupid Jane Lynch tweet.

Jane Lynch thing is extremely online (who cares what the villain from glee says?) but worth noting she has given $9,000 between three donations this cycle. Who can afford to do this? Only the very wealthiest people can afford to do this. Which is why the waitress can't compete.

LONG past time we stop letting fat-cat diner waitresses and Jane Lynch's plumbers wield outsize control over our political system, and give struggling billionaires a little bit of influence.

“Billionaires have members of Congress on speed dial. Waitresses don’t.”

Gotta love AOC calling out after she shamelessly defended Pete’s billionaire donors 

. had a message for Pete Buttigieg and Jane Lynch and I am here for it.

While Jane rushes to slam Elizabeth Warren, let's again note that Elizabeth has, since her campaign began, been shining a light on the many trans women being murdered across this country.

Another Black trans woman, Yahira Nesby, was killed. This epidemic keeps growing, and we need to use every tool we have to end it.

Jane Lynch?  She's got no time for that.  Tiny Pete?  With his comments about whistle-blower Chelsea Manning, Tiny Pete made it clear he finds trans persons 'gross.'  That's two high profile gay 'activists' -- Jane and Pete -- if activism is about enriching your own pocket.

'Activists' like Jane and Pete do nothing to end the war on Iraq.  Chelsea Manning did her part and was tossed behind bars.  (Her refusal to take part in a secret court -- grand jury -- has her behind bars today.)

A tuk-tuk drives past burning tires during ongoing anti-government protests in Karbala, Iraq

Protests continue today and students are going to strike


In Iraq, the protests continue.  Jane Lynch would probably term it 'class warfare.'

The protests have been going on for some time.   September 28th, came the news that Iraq's Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi had fired Lt Gen Abdul Wahab al-Saadi the previous day.  The lieutenant general was considered key to defeating the Islamic State in Mosul.  He was the commander of the Iraqi Counter-Terrosim Forces and his firing was seen as a move by Mahdi to appease the Iranian-backed militiasTHE WASHINGTON POST's Liz Sly observed, "Iraq's Lt Gen Abdulwahab al-Saadi became a national hero during the ISIS war.  Lots of speculation that he's been removed at the behest of Iran which sees him as a threat."  MIDDLE EAST EYE noted, "Iraqis across the country - including in battered Mosul, where a statue of Saadi was erected but never unveiled due to divisions in the city - reacted with shock to the move. The hashtag 'We are all Abdulwahab al-Saadi' began trending on Twitter, with users sharing photographs of the general aiding civilians in Mosul and other cities."  Despite an online outcry, Mahdi insisted, "The decision is irreversible."  September 29th, a protest took place in Mosul, as journalist Mustafa Habib noted in real time.  By October 1st, as we noted in that day's snapshot, protests had spread across Iraq and we pointed out, "It is at least the third major protest in the last seven days."  we noted Lawk Ghafuri (RUDAW) reporting on the first protest of the last seven days which had taken place in Baghdad the previous Wednesday outside the Council of Ministers as Iraqis with various advanced degrees protested over corruption and unemployment and were met with water cannons (Lawk noted this video).  On October 1st, Mohammed Rwanduzy (RUDAW) reports:

Hundreds of Iraqis protested in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on Tuesday to express diverse, long-brewing grievances, including, a lack of basic services, rampant corruption, and unequal treatment within the Iraqi Army. 
Civilian protestors expressed anger about the Friday dismissal of Iraqi Army commander Lt. Gen. Abdul Wahab al-Saadi, credited with the defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq, from the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Services (ICTS).  Civilian protestors holding pictures of al-Saadi disapproved of his subsequent transfer to the Ministry of Defense.
“We don't want this is corrupt government,” civilians chanted, while others extended their discontent to the parliament and presidency. “All are corrupt equally,” a protestor said.

Also on October 1st, Mustafa Habib observed, "All the world expected big protests in Iraq this summer bud did not happen because they want to give the govt a chance despite the continued poor services, but after the govt's decision to remove Saadi, the protests began today from Baghdad & may be the biggest."  Somehow the western press that has followed has left out the firing of the lieutenant general and the fact that the protest started at the end of September."  The protests over the firing of al-Saadi only reached Baghdad on October 1st but they were already taking place.  And on October 1st, protests also took place in Basra and Missan.  The Iraqi government set the pattern for their response that day: Violence.  Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) noted, "Protests across Iraq have left at least 10 dead and 286 wounded. [. . .] The fatalities occurred in Baghdad and Nasariya. At least 11 people were arrested in Basra. [. . . ]  Security personnel at some point had turned to live ammunition to disperse the crowds. Demonstrations were also reported in Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Karbala, Najaf, Nasariya and Wasit. Use of live ammo to clear protesters was also reported in Nasariya, where a fatality occurred.  Among the complaints are lack of  basic services, rampant corruption, and unequal treatment within the Iraqi Army."

By October 2nd, the Iraqi government had imposed a curfewAli Alzzawi pointed out that the government also "blocked the internet so they can do whatever they want to those peaceful protesters."  ALJAZEERA's Imran Khan reported, "They are restricting live broadcasts from the protest scene, as well as social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter."  At that point, the death toll was at least 20.  By Saturday, Hamdi Alkhshali, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Tamara Qiblawi (CNN) would report the death toll had reached  93.  December 14th, the REUTERS death toll stood at 440. Today, Tallah Abdulrzaq (TRT WORLD) observes, "More than 500 Iraqi protesters have been killed by security services and militias with little indication that those responsible will be brought to justice."

Qassim Abdulz-Zahra (REUTERS) reports, "Iraqi politicians have missed another deadline to name a new prime minister because of disagreements over which is the largest bloc in parliament, deepening a crisis that has roiled the country since October amid mass protests and state crackdown that has killed hundreds of people."  FRANCE 24 offers a video report hereMIDDLE EAST MONITOR ONLINE adds:

Anti-government protesters stationed in Iraq’s Tahrir Square in central Baghdad announced last night that they will launch a hunger strike to pressure the government to consider the protesters’ demands when voting on the country’s new electoral law today.
Photos of dozens of protesters covering their mouths with tape went viral on social media as a sign of their participation in the hunger strike.
Protesters said the hunger strike is a new method in the peaceful uprising which aims to pressure the House of Representatives to vote on the new election law in accordance with their demands.
It is also hoped that it will pressure President Barham Saleh to appoint the interim prime minister according to the protesters’ conditions.

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