Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Viggo is directing

Viggo Mortensen is now directing.  I had no idea.  From DEADLINE:

Falling marks three-time Oscar nominee Viggo Mortensen’s feature film debut — and he picked some very heavy subject matter to take on. In the drama, the legendary Lance Henriksen plays Willis, the very conservative (and homophobic) father of Mortensen’s John. When Willis moves from his rural farm to live in Los Angeles with John, his partner Eric (Terry Chen) and their family, things become tense. Mortensen, Henriksen and Chen were joined in the Deadline studio at Sundance by Hannah Gross, Sverrir Gudnason and Bracken Burns to talk about the drama. More than that, Mortensen talked about his first time out as a director.

I like Viggo.  I will most likely see that film at the movies.

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

Tuesday, January 28, 2020.  War Hawk Joe Biden raised a son who's a Deadbeat Dad, Joe pulls back from New Hampshire, protests continue in Iraq, the WSWS files a shoddy piece of journalism, and much more.

Starting in the United States where the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues.  And starting with good news for War Hawk Joe Biden.  His son, Hunter, is no longer a Deadbeat Dad.  Sort of.

Hunter Biden has agreed to pay monthly child support to an Arkansas woman, court documents filed Monday show, in a temporary settlement reached just days before he was scheduled for a mandatory court appearance to explain why he hadn't provided financial documents in his ongoing paternity case."  Sot of?  Well the judge says the amount of the monthly payments may increase.  She can't be sure of the amount because he still has not provided the documents the court is demanding.

See, Hunter's insisting to the court that he's flat broke.  Few believe that claim.  Especially as Joseph Simonson (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) reports:

Amid a court battle with the mother of one of his soon-to-be five children, Hunter Biden has been cruising around Beverly Hills in a Porsche boasting a six-figure price tag.
Photos obtained by the New York Post show Biden, son of White House hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden, with his wife Melissa at the Beverly Hills Waldorf Astoria next to a Porsche Panamera GTS, which has a starting price of $129,300.
The Bidens enjoyed lunch at the southern California hotel, where the two restaurants on the premises feature cuisine by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The weekend brunch is listed at costing $89 per person.

The photos were snapped while Hunter Biden faces a court order to disclose his financial information in a paternity lawsuit filed by his former lover, Lunden Alexis Roberts of Arkansas. The Washington Examiner revealed that Biden and his wife are currently renting a $3.8 million designer home in Hollywood Hills for $12,000 a month. 

In other words, it appears he's defrauding the court and withholding financial documents to avoid paying what he should be in child support.  So, yeah, he's still a Deadbeat Dad.  He's a Deadbeat Dad racing around in a Porsche after a year of refusing to pay child support.  He's a Deadbeat Dad who should be eating at McDonalds instead of doing a weekend brunch if he can't pay child support.  He's a Deadbeat Dad.

For any who are late to this story, let's go to Kevin Breuninger and Dan Mangan (CNBC) for the details:

Biden, who is a lawyer, originally denied having sex with Roberts.
But a DNA showed that the child was almost certainly his, and he stopped contesting paternity in the case.
[. . .]
Hunter Biden was married for 24 years to Kathleen Biden, with whom he has three children.
After separating from his wife, Biden for several years dated Hallie Biden, the widow of his elder brother Beau, a former Delaware attorney general who died of brain cancer in 2015.
After splitting with Hallie Biden in early 2019, he married South African filmmaker Melissa Cohen.
He had met Cohen, 34, just six days before they wed.
Roberts sued Hunter last month in May, less than a month after his latest marriage, claiming that she had his child in August 2018 — while Hunter was still seeing Hallie Biden.

Train wreck trash.  I believe it was Elizabeth Edwards who, from her glass house, threw stones at Hillary Clinton over her lack of leadership within her own family -- the same stones could be hurled against Joe who has raised a Deadbeat Dad who pretends to the court that he's broke and can't afford child support while driving a Prosche, renting a $12,000 a month home and eating pricey meals.  All this while his child does without.  Deadbeat Dad.

Joe Biden claims he can run the country.  But for over a year, his son has been a Deadbeat Dad.  Even now, Hunter's not turning over the documents that would allow the judge to know how much he should be paying in child support.  He is in contempt of court.  And his father is supposed to be some example of leadership?  I think we're seeing who Joe really is in the actions of Deadbeat Dad Hunter Biden.

Here's some Twitter reaction.

Add “deadbeat dad” to his list of corrupt activities. This entitled, self-serving jerk is paying to avoid jail time. Hunter Biden agrees to pay monthly child support, ending standoff over contempt

  1. Deadbeat dad Hunter Biden.😑

POLITICO reports Joe Biden is giving up on New Hampshire.  Oh, that's so sad.  We've been here in New Hampshire since the start of the month talking up Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and making sure every struggling mother we can speak to is aware that Hunter Biden is a Deadbeat Dad and that Joe's okay with it.

Joe hasn't given up on Iowa -- though the state may be giving up on him.  KCCI reports:

Des Moines police said the following people were arrested: John Reardon, 22, of Clive, Michael McKinley, 68, of Des Moines, William Floyd, 22, of Des Moines, Denise Cheeseman, 21, of Iowa City, Kiran Loewenstein, 19, of Grinnell.

What were they arrested for?  They were at Joe's Des Moines campaign office insisting Joe address Medicare For All.

That's Joe, when he's not having voters arrested, he's calling them "fat," or telling them to vote for Donald Trump.

Remember all of Joe's loony "as a Biden" talk?  Like the Biden name stands for something other than corruption?  Poor Joe.  Ben Schreckinger (POLITICO) reports:

In 2005, Joe Biden’s brother bought an acre of land with excellent ocean views on a remote island in the Caribbean for $150,000. He divided it into three parcels, and the next year a lobbyist close to the Delaware senator bought one of the parcels for what had been the cost of the entire property. Later, the lobbyist gave Biden’s brother a mortgage loan on the remaining parcels.

The Virgin Islands land deal, reported here for the first time, furthers a pattern in which members of the Biden family have engaged in financial dealings with people with an interest in influencing the former vice president. 
In this case, a Biden staffer left the Senate in the early ’90s to become a lobbyist. Both before and after the land transaction, his clients benefited from Biden’s support and appropriations requests. A firm the lobbyist co-founded — which features a testimonial from Biden praising his “emotional investment” in his work on its website — specializes in federal contracts for niche law enforcement and national security programs for which Biden long advocated. 

After the land deal, Joe Biden vacationed elsewhere on the tiny island, which once protected a nearby submarine base before it became a tropical getaway, on at least three occasions.
The property itself has remained vacant and undeveloped. It is not clear why the lobbyist, Scott Green, purchased the parcel from Biden’s brother James, or why James Biden later went to the lobbyist for a loan, rather than to a bank. An easement James Biden obtained granting road access to the land before selling it to Green may have made the land more valuable, but it is unclear whether the dramatically higher price Green paid for his parcel reflected its true value. The terms of the loan were not disclosed in property records.

The corruption just reeks.   Eric Zeusse (MODERN DIPLOMAT) sees the current battle between War Hawk Joe and Bernie Sanders as similar to the one between War Hawk Hillary and Bernie Sanders in 2016 and Zeusse points out:

Among the top reasons why Democrats in primaries and caucuses voted for Clinton was that they thought she would have a higher likelihood of beating the Republican nominee than Sanders did. However, by the time when Election Day rolled around, the passion that Republicans felt for their nominee, Trump, was much stronger than was the passion that Democrats felt for their nominee, Clinton. During the Democratic primaries, polls were showing that the Democrats who were voting for Sanders to become their Party’s nominee were far more passionate in their support of him than was the case regarding the Democrats who were voting for Clinton to become the Democratic nominee. And nobody questions that Trump was the passion-candidate in the Republican Party’s primaries and caucuses.
On 1 May 2017, McClatchy newspapers headlined “Democrats say they now know exactly why Clinton lost” and reported that, 
A select group of top Democratic Party strategists have used new data about last year’s presidential election to reach a startling conclusion about why Hillary Clinton lost. Now they just need to persuade the rest of the party they’re right.
Many Democrats have a shorthand explanation for Clinton’s defeat: Her base didn’t turn out, Donald Trump’s did and the difference was too much to overcome.
But new information shows that Clinton had a much bigger problem with voters who had supported President Barack Obama in 2012 but backed Trump four years later.
Those Obama-Trump voters, in fact, effectively accounted for more than two-thirds of the reason Clinton lost, according to Matt Canter, a senior vice president of the Democratic political firm Global Strategy Group. In his group’s analysis, about 70 percent of Clinton’s failure to reach Obama’s vote total in 2012 was because she lost these voters. …

Although Clinton has blamed her loss on Putin, and on Sanders — and perhaps if Biden wins the nomination he will likewise blame Putin and Sanders if he subsequently loses to Trump — the passion factor is actually much stronger an influence on whom the winner of an electoral contest will be than losing candidates wish to admit or publicly acknowledge; and it could turn out to be the case in 2020, just the same as it did in 2016.

Yep.  Come November, the Democratic Party's going to need a candidate that inspires, that makes people want to take the time to vote, that makes them want to fit voting into what is already a busy schedule.  Bernie's offering plans that effect their lives.  Bernie's speaking to them.  That's why there's enthusiasm for Bernie.

Turning to Iraq, Linah Alsaafin (ALJAZEERA) reports:


Anti-government protesters in Iraq have struck a defiant tone at their main sit-in encampment in the capital, Baghdad, as continuing clashes with security forces continued for a third day.
The central Tahrir Square was a bustle of activity on Monday. Protesters took advantage of the warm sun to air out blankets and mattresses soaked from days of rain. 
[. . .]
According to Ali al-Abadi, a surgeon who has been going to Tahrir Square since October 1, at least 430 people have been wounded since the latest escalation began on Saturday.
"When we began protesting, it was under the umbrella of an independent Iraq, not a specific political party or group," he told Al Jazeera. "Therefore, any bloc that decides to leave the protest site does not affect us. We are capable of protecting ourselves, as the last few days have shown."
Al-Abadi said the Sadrists leaving the protest sites has not affected the mood of the anti-government protesters. He insisted he bore no ill will towards them, who he described as "brothers" to the movement.

"We are both calling for an end to corruption but we have different paths to achieve that," he said.

Is bad coverage better than no coverage?  It's an issue to ponder.  I've called out WSWS Jean Shaoul before.  Shaoul knows nothing about Iraq and that's been clear with every empty headed article.  I've ignored the writer for several years now but a new report demands that Shaoul gets mentioned here again.  Shaoul writes:

Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi ordered a brutal crackdown on peaceful mass demonstrations that erupted on Friday. Protesters chanted “get out, get out, occupier,” and called for the immediate withdrawal of US troops from the country.
For the last three days, security forces have fired teargas and live ammunition, killing at least 12 people and wounding dozens more in the capital, Baghdad, and in the southern cities of Basra, Nasariyah, Dhi Qar and Diwaniya, in a bid to disperse the protests.

No, you idiot.  As we noted last Friday, there was the ongoing protests that have been taking place for months and there was the Baghdad march.  The "get out, get out occupier" was the march that Moqtada al-Sadr called for.  He bused people into Baghdad.  After the march, they left Baghdad.  The marchers were not there on Saturday or any of "the last thee days."  Nor were the marchers in Basra, Nasariyah, Dhi Qar and Diwaniya.  You don't know what you're writing about.

Shaoul writes:

While the protests have mainly taken place in Baghdad and nine predominantly Shia provinces, they have generally been supported by Sunni Iraqis. Most of the Sunni politicians, however, have remained silent over the protests.

Based on what?  Sunnis have not taken part in the protests.  The protests have not taken root in Sunni strongholds like Falluja.  Sunnis know that to participate is to be branded a 'terrorist' as has happened in the past.  Where Shaoul gets proof of "generally been supported by Sunni Iraqis" is anyone's guess.

Shaoul writes:

The crackdown came just hours after Moqtada al-Sadr withdrew his support for the “million strong march” he had called on Friday, amid fears that the protesters might attack the presidential palace or the heavily-fortified Green Zone that houses the US embassy and other foreign missions. He said he was ending his support—always qualified—for the anti-government demonstrations, as part of his bid to retain political control over the government and choice of prime minister and so avoid fresh elections.

Can anyone make sense of that garbage?  He withdrew his support for the million strong march?  I have no idea why WSWS prints this garbage.  The million man march, as its billed elsewhere, was Moqtada's.  He called for it a week before it happened.  He backed it.  I don't see how he can withdraw his support from the march.  Especially, as that mangled sentence seems to indicate, after it took place.  To the contrary, after it took place, he was calling for another march on Monday and only dropped that notion on Sunday.

"he said he was ending his support . . ."  That took place Friday night.  That was his announcement that he would not support the ongoing protests.  That has nothing to do with his march last Friday.

We could do this all day.

Again, we're left with the question: Is bad coverage better than no coverage at all?

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