Tuesday, November 17, 2020

TV news

So Conan is leaving TBS.  His show is ending.  He'll do a new show for HBO MAX.  Why?  There aren't enough men already hosting late night programming?  I don't understand why HBO seems to think the thing to do is what everyone's done already for the last forty years.

In other news, HULU is raising the monthly fee for live TV by ten dollars which will make it about what I pay for YOUTUBE TV -- but I get so many more channels with YOUTUBE TV and a ton of cloud space. 

Nick Jonas is returning to THE VOICE.  Why?  So Blake Shelton can lick chocolate sauce off Nick's lower back hair?  Why are we pretending anymore that this show is about people who like each other and are friends?  They like their pay checks, that's all.  Adam Levine leaves the show and it's like he was never on.  Black moves from fake panting over Adam to acting like they were never friends -- or even knew each other.  

CASTLE ROCK got cancelled by HULU a few weeks back but I did want to weigh in.  That show just didn't cut it and that's becoming true of most of Stephen King's work if Stephen is involved in it.  He just mucks it up.  Maybe he's too close to the material?  I don't know but I like it better when King butts the hell out and let's someone else steer the project without his input.

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

 Tuesday, November 17, 2020.  We look at the claim that Kamala Harris delivered nothing towards the election of Joe Biden and we look at the way the media is reporting a possible departure of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Starting with RISING.

Krystal Ball makes some interesting arguments.  But they amount to nothing in the general election.

Yes, Kamala was not a first choice for a number of people in the primary.  We're not talking about the primary.  We're talking about the general election.  

Krystal's judgments may be right, they may not be.  Nothing she said baked up her claims.  "Identity politics"?  

Did Kamala help the ticket as a bi-racial person?  

Show the proof that she didn't.  I don't see any proof.  A bi-racial woman -- Kamala is Black and Asian -- may have helped the ticket.  It's strange that Krystal kept citing African-Americans.  Kamala is bi-racial, she's not just Black.

More to the point, Krystal plays "identity politics" when she examines Kamala's support.  Why are only African-Americans supposed to be influenced?

Here's the thing, Joe Biden is hugely unpopular with younger African-Americans based upon Bernie Sander's winning their votes and based upon what I heard over and over, even after Joe got the nomination,  .from young adults.  

Without Kamala on the ticket, can Krystal demonstrate that Joe Biden would have done better, worse or the same?  No. 

I agree with Krystal that we need to move beyond "Our first!!!!"  Whether it's gender, race, what have you.  I agree with those points and her large argument.  But she's building it on Kamala making no difference to the votes -- that's her argument -- but Kamala may have saved the ticket. At present, no information says she did, no information says she didn't.  

Younger people we spoke with who were voting Joe Biden noted repeatedly that Joe wasn't up to the job but would state that Kamala could "step up when needed."  

Joe, with his history, probably needed a balance on the ticket and that would be someone of color due to Joe's racist roots.  Joe was balance in 2008 for those who feared Barack Obama might come off too inexperienced, or did we forget that?  Joe balanced the ticket with his 'experience.'  

Let's move over to Glenn Greenwald talking about the three most likely danger areas from a Biden-Harris administration.

I guess I'd take Krystal's argument more seriously if it had facts to back it up or if it wasn't coming from a woman who co-hosts a show that refuses to feature female guests in equal measures.  Why do I even have to raise that issue in 2020?  I'm tired of it.  We should have progressed to the point that we all agree that since women are move than 50% of the population, they should make up at least half the guests.  If you can't do that, don't talk to us about 'identity politics.'  Too often, that term has been used by people trying to justify their refusal to embrace equality.

I know RISING is trying to do better.  I know Katie Halper (on her own show) is trying to do better.  And I do appreciate that.  But if you don't like being singled out, if you think that's just so off putting, imagine for one moment having to be the one to single you out?  To call you out?  There are a ton of people with platforms larger than this who could call you out and want to call you out but don't.  I hear from the constantly -- most of the time over the phone because I know them personally.

Why can't you clean up your own mess and not make be Mommy telling you no X-Box until you've cleaned up your mess?

It's like James Jeffrey, that discussion we've been having.  Friends who are Constitutional Law attorneys can't stop calling, "Right on!  That's the call to make!"  Well, why don't you make it?  I'm out on the limb here all alone.  I can handle it, I've been here before and will be again.  But if you really agree that the conspiracy that Jeffrey took part in and bragged about to the press was wrong and was treason, then why don't you say so publicly?  Many of you write op-eds.  Why can't you write it?  

And don't think I don't toss that back to them on the phone.  

FOX BUSINESS discusses, with US House Rep August Pfluger, the talk that Donald Trump may withdraw US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.


NPR's Dustin Jones types:

The White House will bring home 2,500 troops from Afghanistan and Iraq by the end of the year against the guidance of top military officials, a drawdown order that reduces the American presence by about a third, from 4,500 to 2,500 in Afghanistan and 3,000 to 2,500 in Iraq, according to a U.S. official.

NPR's Tom Bowman reported the move is opposed by senior military leaders, given Afghanistan's fragile state. Peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have seemingly stalled, and violent attacks have risen 50% in recent months. Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, have advised the troop reduction be pushed to the spring, Bowman reported.

Do military officials and leaders tell Tom Bowman that, Dusty?  

Well what do the others say, Dusty?

Where's the balance?

Cindy Sheehan has dedicated her life to peace.  What's her reaction, Dusty?  What's US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard's reaction?  How about the reaction from people who were members of the Out of Iraq caucus?  Where's Senator Russ Feingold's reaction?  Where's the reaction from Iraq War veteran Adam Kokesh and other veterans who spoke out against the US being in Iraq?  Where's Mike Gravel?

Where's that, Dusty?

Why do the American people not matter?  Why does the defense industry matter so much to you?  Because of who pays the bills, Dusty?

Eric Schmitt, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Charlie Savage and Helene Cooper (NEW YORK TIMES) offer:

President Trump is expected to order the U.S. military to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia by the time he leaves office in January, using the end of his time in power to significantly pull back American forces from far-flung conflicts around the world.

Under a draft order circulating at the Pentagon on Monday, the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan would be halved from the current deployment of 4,500 troops, officials said.

In Iraq, the Pentagon would trim force levels slightly below the 3,000 troops that commanders had previously announced. And in Somalia, virtually all of the more than 700 troops conducting training and counterterrorism missions would leave.

Taken together, the cuts reflect Mr. Trump’s longstanding desire to stop shouldering the cost of long-running military engagements against Islamist insurgencies in failed and fragile countries in Africa and the Middle East, a grinding mission that has spread since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Here's CBS NEWS reporting on the developments:

At WSWS, nothing on this development.  But Ray Coleman and Nick Barrickman did examine the team Joe Biden is building:

Last week, President-elect Joe Biden named key members of his Department of Defense transition team. Eight of Biden’s 23 team members are from pro-military think tanks. Kathleen Hicks, senior vice-president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington D.C. think tank with close ties to the US military and intelligence agencies, will head Biden’s Pentagon transition team. Hicks is also “Henry A. Kissinger chair” and director of the International Security Program at the CSIS.

The CSIS gets significant funding from war contractors such as General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. According to Hicks’ profile on the CSIS website, her areas of specialization include Asia, climate change, counterterrorism and homeland security, the defense industry, defense strategy and capabilities, NATO and weapons of mass destruction proliferation.

She is a member of the board of trustees of the Aerospace Corporation and sits on the board of directors of the US Naval Institute. She has received distinguished service awards from three secretaries of defense and a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Hicks was a high-ranking Pentagon official in the administration of President Barack Obama during the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. She served as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy in the Defense Department. She also held the post of deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans and forces.

The CSIS has supplied several other individuals chosen for Biden’s Pentagon transition team. Melissa Dalton was a Pentagon official from 2007 to 2014, a period that spanned the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Her focus is the Middle East.

Another member of Biden’s defense transition team is Andrew Hunter, who served in the Pentagon from 2011 to 2014.

“The DC think tank scene is well represented” on Biden’s military transition team, states Defense News.

Jimmy Dore covered the issue of possible withdrawals last night.

The following sites updated:


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