Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The decline of STAR WARS

STAR WARS.  The films used to be classics that thrilled millions.  They were made with art back then -- George Lucas shaping a story.  Marcia Lucas editing.  Now?  It's all about the cash.

Marcia Lucas sounded off:

Marcia Lucas, the Oscar-winning editor of the original "Star Wars," wasn’t very happy with Disney’s sequel trilogy. She said producer Kathleen Kennedy and director J.J. Abrams "don’t get it" and "the storylines are terrible" in an interview for J.W. Rinzler’s book "Howard Kazanjian: A Producer’s Life," which examines the prolific producer’s life, including his time on the "Star Wars" franchise.

"I like Kathleen. I always liked her. She was full of beans. She was really smart and really bright. Really wonderful woman. And I liked her husband, Frank. I liked them a lot. Now that she’s running Lucasfilm and making movies, it seems to me that Kathy Kennedy and J.J. Abrams don’t have a clue about ‘Star Wars.’ They don’t get it. And J.J. Abrams is writing these stories — when I saw that movie where they kill Han Solo, I was furious. I was furious when they killed Han Solo. Absolutely, positively there was no rhyme or reason to it. I thought, ‘You don’t get the Jedi story. You don’t get the magic of ‘Star Wars.’ You’re getting rid of Han Solo?'" Lucas says in the book. 

She served as an editor on "Star Wars," for which she won the Oscar for film editing in 1977, and "Return of the Jedi," and she was an uncredited editor on "The Empire Strikes Back." Lucas was credited with editing the thrilling Battle of Yavin and Death Star assault sequences in the first film of the trilogy. Her other editing credits include "Taxi Driver," for which she earned an BAFTA nod, "American Graffiti," which nabbed her an Oscar nom, "Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore" and "New York, New York." She was also married to "Star Wars" creator George Lucas from 1969-1983.

I don't hate JJ Abrams.  I think he did a great job with the reboot on STAR TREK.  But he doesn't know what he's doing when it comes to STAR WARS.  

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

Tuesday, September 21, 2021. US troops leaving Iraq?  Just another wave of Operation Happy Talk, just another wave in an ocean of lies.

Starting with false promises.  The Iraq War has been filled with them.  These included the 'progress' claims -- we dubbed them Operation Happy Talk as far back as 2004 and noted that every claimed "turned corner" just led back to the same spot.  Recently, it became acceptable to note that the American people have been lied to over and over with claims of 'progress' in Afghanistan but they still can't note that reality about Iraq in the corporate press.  

Instead, every insipid claim is treated as reality -- even though the lies are now recycled and should be prompting a sense of deja vu if not outrage.  

A few people have e-mailed the public e-mail account (common_ills@yahoo.com) insisting that we are not covering the big story about US troops leaving Iraq.  Big story? You mean empty garbage?

Because that's what it is.

US troops will leave Iraq, the claim goes, after the elections.  (US President Joe Biden insisted in July that it would by the end of the year.)

That would be?

After.  The. Elections.

Now if you read coverage of the upcoming Iraqi elections where the reporter has spoken with some Iraqis, you will find some talking about their apathy and talking about how promises are made every election cycle and nothing ever changes, some will note that their streets haven't been paved in years, some will note the continued electricity shortages . . .

The US government was selling the claim to the press and it didn't get the traction it needed so Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi has taken to letting the empty words fall out of his mouth.

He is the point of the claim or, rather, his getting a second term.

The US is backing Mustafa for prime minister in the October elections.  The boast/claim (lie) is intended to increase his number of votes.  "Look!  He's getting US troops out of Iraq!  Let's vote fo him!"

He's doing nothing of the sort.  Which is why we haven't wasted a great deal of time on this garbage  But we're not the only ones catching on.  

Yesterday, we noted Dave Phillips's report for THE NEW YORK TIMES

A taut line of soldiers crossed the sprawling Army post’s parade ground in the afternoon, hoisting flags draped with a rainbow of streamers from past deployments: Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Korea, Germany, France, Civil War battles and even skirmishes with Plains tribes on horseback.

“Present colors!” a sergeant yelled. The soldiers turned and dipped the flags toward their commanding colonel, who stepped forward and carefully wrapped each one in camouflage sleeves.

At that very moment — 1:29 p.m. Mountain time on Aug. 30 — the last U.S. military plane took off from the Kabul airport in Afghanistan.

American flags across the country had been lowered to half-staff to honor the 13 U.S. troops killed there by a suicide bomber. And at the front gate of Fort Carson, women set out 13 pairs of boots and 13 cold Bud Lights as a memorial.

But the ceremony on the parade ground was not marking the end of America’s war in Afghanistan. The 4th Infantry Division’s 1st Stryker Brigade was wrapping its flags to mark the beginning of its latest deployment. It was going back to Iraq.

Although the mission may have dropped from public attention, the United States still has boots on the ground in the other nation it invaded in the wake of 9/11. About 2,500 U.S. troops are in Iraq now, the embers of what was once a scorching and divisive war, now carefully scattered to protect a few strategic bases. For the next nine months, roughly 2,000 soldiers from 1st Brigade will take over much of that duty.

US troops are not leaving.  

The qualifier?  "Combat troops."  It's a weasel word and one that various generals rejected with regards to the withdrawal of 'combat troops' under then-President Barack Obama.  

Barack Obama ran for the presidency in 2008 claiming that, if elected, he'd have US troops out of Iraq in ten months.  Check the archives, I'm not in the mood to spoon feed.  Among other things we noted in 2008 about this claim?  Samantha Power getting fired from the campaign because the BBC was about to air her interview where she revealed this wasn't a promise and that Barack would decide what to do after he got elected.

This was when Barack was hammering Hillary over the Iraq War.  That interview could have been very damaging.  Fortunately, Whore John Nichols was present to lie yet again.  When Barack's campaign was reassuring the Canadian government that NAFTA was staying, that talks on trade were just empty words to get votes, along comes Whore John Nichols.  Where does a whore take his wares?  Amy Goodman's DEMOCRACY NOW! of course.  This is where, after all, the conspiracy kooks proclaimed that Wes Clark wasn't really running for the nomination, that it was part of a Clinton conspiracy and that, at the convention, Hillary would be declared the nominee -- even though she wasn't campaigning that year.  They told a lot of lies on that program.

So Whore John Nichols knew to go there for his lie.  He was working on a new story, he explained, it would blow the AP scoop (about Barack and Canada) out of the water.  It wasn't Barack, no, he was as pure as as a teen with a chastity pledge.  It was Hillary!  AP got it wrong, it was Hillary!  And he had sources and his expose would be published shortly!

It was never published because it never existed.  I saw recently that someone -- Katie Halper? -- had John Nichols on.  We didn't highlight that clip.  We don't highlight lying whores.  John also wrote a book about impeaching Bully Boy Bush.  It had just come out when Nancy Pelosi declared impeachment "off the table" should Dems take control of the House in the 2006 elections.   John stopped promoting it.  He's a whore and if you think I'm angry about it, you should talk to the people at the publishing house of that book.  There's no term I could apply to John that they haven't already.

He's a dirty whore.  I have no idea why anyone on the left would want to pretend otherwise and sell him to their audience.

But there was John covering up for Samantha.  While we were talking about the interview, John was saying she was fired, Samantha was fired, for calling Hillary a "monster" -- that's not why she was fired.  And that it was silly because Samantha and Hillary were old friends and -- No.  No, they weren't friends, they weren't acquaintances, Hillary had never spoken to her.  But whores lie and there was John Nichols -- supposedly against the war -- so against it, please remember, that at one point he was blaming Barbra Streisand in print for the war (great column, people at THE NATION) -- distracting from reality.  He never wrote about Samantha's claim.  He's a dirty whore.  And I'm sorry but so are you if you bring him on your program.  We've talked about three examples of his lying and we could go on for two hours and still be on this topic.  That's his record.  Shame on you if you're presenting him as a voice worth listening to.  

(In July, Tom Hayden would lie that he'd just discovered what Samantha had said.  Dam liar.  We spoke face to face in April of 2008 about that when I called him out for pretending to care about Iraq and yet avoiding the news that Barack's promise wasn't a promise at all.  Wally and Ava were present at that encounter -- I think Kat was too.  But on the July 4th weekend, he would pen a column claiming to have just learned of the remarks by Samantha and then lying further by claiming Hillary Clinton's campaign did not draw attention to them.  They did.  It was the press that chose to ignore them.)

So Barack is sworn in as president at the end of January of 2009 and then, in February of the same year, does just what Samantha had told the BBC he would do: Announces that his ten month withdrawal is off, it will be ten months plus ten more months.  

"We want to end the war! And we want to end it now!" he had thundered over and over at one campaign stop after another throughout 2007 and 2008 -- apparently he did so only because it was the biggest applause getter.  He staked his whole campaign on the Iraq War -- and the press let him get away with it -- and he hadn't even been in the White House for a full month before he broke the promise and the press was too busy tonguing his nuts to notice.

When the 'withdrawal' finally took place, it was "combat troops."  August 2010, no 'combat' troops in Iraq.  A lie that was called out repeatedly in Congressional hearings, but, hey, the press didn't care, they were too busy covering for Barack.  So when ugly realities were brought in about the 'withdrawal' at the end of 2011 -- of 'all' troops, not just 'combat troops' -- by the late Senator Kay Hagen and others, it was time to distract so they focused instead on nonsense between Senator John McCain and  Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, treating it as the ultimate bitchfest and insisting that the two were at each other's throats.  It made for good soap opera if not for good reporting or honesty.  The two were laughing with each other moments after the exchange.

Time and again, the US press failed to tell the truth about Iraq.   

The 2011 withdrawal wasn't.  The DoD called it a "drawdown" because that's what it was.  They called it that before it took place and they called it that after it took place.  

But we've had "combat troops" leaving repeatedly.  Even when Barack got press attention in 2014 for sending US troops back into Iraq (he'd already done that in 2012 as Tim Arango reported though everyone looked the other way), he'd later claim that ''combat troops'' were out.  The US military would disagree when appearing before Congress and they'd note that if you're flying, for example, bombing missions, that's combat.

So with all the above, who's the idiot who's still going to believe that US troops are leaving Iraq because Joe Biden and Mustafa al-Kadhimi say so?

And now we know that approximately 2,000 more are being sent in for a rotation.  If you're not getting it at this point, it's because you are choosing not to get it.  PRESS TV notes, "The United States is deploying around 2,000 troops to Iraq despite an announcement to end the American combat mission in the Arab country, The New York Times reports."


Yesterday's snapshot noted Iraq War veteran Mike Prysner calling out Bully Boy Bush in Los Angeles.

THE DAILY SABAH covers Mike's brave action:

A veteran of the United States invasion of Iraq, Mike Prysner, publicly called out former U.S. President George W. Bush, a viral video circulating the internet showed late Monday.

“Mr. Bush, when are you going to apologize for the million Iraqis that are dead because you lied?” he asked.

Moving on to the upcoming elections in Iraq, Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman is the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Representative to the United States of America.  She speaks with KURDISTAN 24 on that topic.

Meanwhile, THE NEW ARAB reports:

Campaign promises by candidates from political parties taking part in the Iraqi elections next month have stirred up fears among the families of thousands of disappeared civilians in Iraq that they will be 'bartering' on the issue of their relatives, as demands mount for the government to take responsibility.

Thousands of Iraqi civilians have been forcibly disappeared - arrested, detained or abducted without their family being informed of their whereabouts or fate - predominantly in the north and west regions of the country during the last decade.

With the pre-election period in Iraq underway, various promises have been made by numerous candidates and those political forces backing them. However, in the provinces of Anbar, Saladin, Diyala, Nineveh, Kirkuk, Babel and the Baghdad belt, candidates have focussed on the issue of the disappeared and promised to attempt to find out what happened to them.

The disappeared.  People have not stopped disappearing in Iraq.  There are secret prisons and torture chambers.  They existed in 'liberated' Iraq under Nouri al-Maliki and they exist under Mustafa al-Kadhimi.  In the last few years, the disappeared have included many activists from The October Revolution.

The The October Revolution  kicked off protests in the fall of 2019 which forced the prime minister to step down and early elections to be announced.  As ARAB WEEKLY notes, "Tens of thousands of Iraqi youths took to the streets to decry rampant corruption, poor services and unemployment. Hundreds died as security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse crowds."  This is what forced the resignation of one prime minister and has led to national elections which are supposed to take place October 10th.  (Members of the Iraqi military will vote October 8thTwo election simulations have been carried out by the IEC and the third and final one will take place September 22nd.)    that the candidates for Parliament include 951 women ("close to 30% of the total number of candidates") who are running for the 329 seats.  Halgurd Sherwani (KURDISTAN 24) has reported Jeanine Hannis-Plasschaert, the Special Representiative in Iraq to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, declared that Iraq's "Female candidates face increasing levels of hate speech, violence, and blackmail intended to force them to withdraw their candidacy." 

Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) counts 3,249 people in all seeking seats in Parliament  BROOKINGS notes this is a huge drop from 2018 when 7,178 candidates ran for office.   RUDAW is among those noting perceived voter apathy, "Turnout for Iraq’s October 10 parliamentary election is expected to be a record low, with a recent poll predicting just 29 percent of eligible voters will cast ballots." Human Rights Watch has identified another factor which may impact voter turnout, "People with disabilities in Iraq are facing significant obstacles to participating in upcoming parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021, due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Without urgent changes, hundreds of thousands of people may not be able to vote.  The 36-page report, “‘No One Represents Us’: Lack of Access to Political Participation for People with Disabilities in Iraq,” documents that Iraqi authorities have failed to secure electoral rights for Iraqis with disabilities. People with disabilities are often effectively denied their right to vote due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places and significant legislative and political obstacles to running for office."  Another obstacle is getting the word out on a campaign.  Political posters are being torn down throughout Iraq.  Halgurd Sherwani  (KURDiSTAN 24) observes, "Under Article 35 of the election law, anyone caught ripping apart or vandalizing an electoral candidate's billboard could be punished with imprisonment for at least a month but no longer than a year, Joumana Ghalad, the spokesperson for the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), told a press conference on Wednesday."  And there's also the battles in getting out word of your campaign online.  THE NEW ARAB reported weeks ago, "Facebook is restricting advertisements for Iraqi political parties and candidates in the run-up to the country's parliamentary elections, an official has told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site."

THE WASHINGTON POST's Louisa Loveluck Tweeted: of how "chromic mistrust in [the] country's political class" might also lower voter turnout.  Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) also notes, "Experts are predicting low turnout in October due to distrust of the country’s electoral system and believe that it will not deliver the much needed changes they were promised since 2003."  Mistrust would describe the feelings of some members of The October Revolution.  Mustafa Saadoun (AL-MONITOR) notes some of their leaders, at the recent  Opposition Forces Gathering conference announced their intent to boycott the elections because they "lack integrity, fairness and equal opportunities."  Distrust is all around.  Halkawt Aziz  (RUDAW) reported on how, " In Sadr City, people are disheartened after nearly two decades of empty promises from politicians." 

After the election, there will be a scramble for who has dibs on the post of prime minister.  Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has 90 candidates in his bloc running for seats in the Parliament and one of those, Hassan Faleh, has insisted to RUDAW, "The position of the next prime minister is the least that the Sadrist movement deserves, and we are certain that we will be the largest and strongest coalition in the next stage."  Others are also claiming the post should go to their bloc such as the al-Fatah Alliance -- the political wing of the Badr Organization (sometimes considered a militia, sometimes considered a terrorist group).  ARAB WEEKLY reported, "Al-Fateh Alliance parliament member Naim Al-Aboudi said that Hadi al-Amiri is a frontrunner to head the next government, a position that can only be held by a Shia, according to Iraq’s power-sharing agreement."  Some also insist the prime minister should be the head of the State of Law bloc, two-time prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki.  Moqtada al-Sadr's supporters do not agree and have the feeling/consensus that,  "Nouri al-Maliki has reached the age of political menopause and we do not consider him to be our rival because he has lost the luster that he once had so it is time for him to retire."

The following sites updated:

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