Wednesday, June 15, 2022

AP erases Jodie Foster from history

Can AP explain this story?

A lengthy story on John Hinckley and how he shot Ronald Reagan and not one word about Jodie Foster. I know she doesn't like to talk about it but historical fact is historical fact. Hinkley shot Reagan to impress Jodie Foster after he became obsessed with her following the film TAXI DRIVER.

It's fact. It's trivia. I have no idea why AP thinks they can leave it out.

I see KATIE COURIC MEDIA reports on Hinckley and manages to include Jodie.

Around this time, he developed a fascination with the 1976 Martin Scorcese film Taxi Driver, which stars Robert De Niro as a Vietnam War veteran suffering with PTSD who engages in violent crime. (This is the film that gave us the iconic “You talkin’ to me?” monologue.) Hinckley reportedly saw Taxi Driver 15 times, which led him into a deep obsession with Jodie Foster, who played a 12-year-old prostitute in the movie.
Hinckley began pursuing Foster by traveling to New Haven, CT, in hopes of connecting with her after she’d enrolled at Yale University. He even left notes at her dorm and told people he met that he was Foster’s boyfriend. “I love you six trillion times,” Hinckley wrote to Foster in a note dated March 6, 1981. “Don’t you maybe like me just a little bit? (You must admit I am different.)”
Foster later testified about the letters and phone calls she received from Hinckley, at one point telling the court, “I don’t have any relationship with John Hinckley.”
Hinckley’s writings and recordings to Foster began to include the idea of a “historical deed” that would get Foster’s attention — based upon the plot of Taxi Driver, in which De Niro’s character plans to assassinate a presidential candidate. Hickley’s version involved taking the life of Ronald Reagan, who had been sworn in as the 40th President of the United States earlier that year.
“Jodie, I would abandon this idea of getting Reagan in a second if I could only win your heart and live out the rest of my life with you, whether it be in total obscurity or whatever,” Hinckley wrote to Foster in March 1981. “I will admit to you that the reason I’m going ahead with this attempt now is because I just cannot wait any longer to impress you. I’ve got to do something now to make you understand in no uncertain terms that I am doing all of this for your sake.”

So he's being released from all supervision. Reagan survived the shooting. Jim Brady was shot as well. He died in 2014 and he and his family became strong advocates for gun control after the shooting.

 Those are facts.  So is the fact that Hinckley was obsessed with Jodie Foster.

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

 Wednesday, June 15, 2022.  US President Joe Biden has a blood thirst for Julian Assange when he's not wrecking the US economy, Iraq continues to suffer from climate change as well as neighboring countries diverting water, and much more.

Starting with Julian Assange whom US President Joe Biden continues to persecute in his attack on The First Amendment.  Julian's 'crime'?  Reporting the truth.  At COMMON DREAMS, Jake Johnson notes:

With the U.K. home secretary expected to decide this week whether to approve Julian Assange's extradition to the United States to face prosecution for publishing classified information, a group of more than 300 medical professionals elevated its call Monday for the British government to immediately free the WikiLeaks founder or be complicit in his "slow-motion execution."

"Under conditions in which the U.K. legal system has failed to take Mr. Assange's current health status into account, no valid decision regarding his extradition may be made, by yourself or anyone else," Doctors for Assange, a coalition of representing physicians and other medical professionals from 35 countries, wrote in a letter to U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The group noted that Assange's physical and mental health has been steadily deteriorating since 2019, when he was forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and jailed in a high-security prison under conditions that human rights experts have deemed torture.

"During the extradition proceedings, the [U.K. Supreme Court] heard and accepted medical evidence that Mr. Assange's mental health was such that an extradition order, if imposed, would likely inflict substantial risk of suicide on him," Doctors for Assange wrote in the letter, which is dated June 10 and was released to the public on Monday.

"The subsequent 'assurances' of the United States government that Mr. Assange would not be treated inhumanly are worthless given their record of pursuit, persecution, and plotted murder of Mr. Assange in retaliation for his public interest journalism," the group added, pointing to reports that in 2017—then under the leadership of Mike Pompeo—the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency considered kidnapping or assassinating Assange.

Laura Tiernan (WSWS) adds:

Last Thursday, Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson announced a successful outcome to legal action she initiated in 2016 in the European Court of Human Rights. The UK government reached a settlement, admitting there was reasonable cause to believe that Robinson was subject to surveillance as a legal representative for Assange. Robinson explained, “the UK government has now admitted that its surveillance and information sharing arrangements with US violated my rights. That includes in relation to the protection of confidential journalistic material.

“This follows a pattern of unlawful spying on Julian Assange and his legal team, and it raises grave concerns about government interference with journalistic material and privilege.”

Evidence that Assange’s privileged communications with lawyers and doctors were systematically violated has been submitted repeatedly to courts in the UK, along with evidence exposing CIA plans to kidnap and assassinate Assange. Britain’s judiciary had clear grounds to dismiss the entire frame-up case against him, granting Assange compensation for the irreparable trauma and deprivation of liberty he has suffered. But the High Court rubberstamped every illegal act.

A media blackout of the doctors’ letter has been in place today, with not a single major outlet reporting their plea for his freedom. The media’s decade-long campaign of character assassination against Assange, led by the Guardian and New York Times, is reinforced by a wall of silence aimed at facilitating his extradition and preventing any challenge to the outrageous propaganda being used to drag the world’s population into war against Russia and China.

In addition, Oscar Grenfell (WSWS) notes:

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Spain’s National High Court has issued a summons for Mike Pompeo to testify as a witness at criminal proceedings related to US-orchestrated spying on Assange and his lawyers, allegedly conducted by the UC Global security firm.

Pompeo, if he answers the summons, is also likely to be questioned about allegations that while he was CIA director and then secretary of state, the US administration of President Donald Trump discussed kidnapping or assassinating Assange while he was a political refugee in Ecuador’s London embassy.

They've spied, they've plotted to kidnap him, the persecution never ends and each day they chip away at the freedom of the press a little more.

Joe Biden needs to stop persecuting Julian.  It's bad enough that he's killed the US economy, he needs to leave The First Amendment alone.  There was never a reason to heighten tensions with Russia.  Even the Pope knows the conflict in Russia was egged on by the US government -- and has been, this is a carry over from Barack Obama's administration.  Joe thought he was going to destroy Russia's economy and isolate it but Russia's making a lot of money off of oil and it's the American people who are suffering with outrageous inflation.  That's what happens when senile people try to rule.

Alex Findijs (WSWS) reports:

Federal support for school lunches is set to expire at the end of the month after the US Congress refused to renew funds for a school meal program implemented in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program waived food assistance requirements and allowed schools to reimburse costs for providing free lunches to all students. It provided $11 billion a year to schools, enabling them to provide breakfast and lunch to millions of students. 

However, despite being extended by Congress two times before, the Democrats who control both the House and the Senate have decided it is no longer worth funding. By cutting the program from this year’s $1.5 trillion dollar federal budget, Congress has opened the door for hunger to return to nearly 10 million school age children this summer, a figure that is only likely to worsen as the school year returns in the fall. 

Jillian Meier, director of the advocacy group No Kid Hungry, told the Guardian, “I think we’re going to see in real time the summer hunger crisis grow, and that’s going to give us a preview of what’s going to happen next school year.” 

As food prices continue to skyrocket amid decades-high inflation, schools are being placed under an extreme amount of pressure.

We can't afford $11 billion at home yet in the last few months we've sent over $50 billion to supoprt the neo-nazi regime in Ukraine?  

Congress is carrying out a show trial that's nothing but a waste of time as Chris Hedges notes:

The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, whose first of six televised hearings began last Thursday, is spectacle replacing politics. There is nothing substantially new in the accusations. The committee lacks prosecutorial power. No charges have been filed by Attorney General Merrick Garland against former President Donald Trump and none are expected. The choreographed hearings, like the two impeachment trials of Trump, will have no effect on Trump voters, other than to make them feel persecuted, especially with more than 860 people already charged (including 306 guilty pleas) for their role in storming the Capitol. The committee echoes back to Trump opponents what they already believe. It is designed to present inaction as action and substitute role-playing for politics. It perpetuates, as Guy Debord writes, our “empire of modern passivity.”

The committee, which most Republicans boycotted, hired James Goldston, a documentary producer and former president of ABC News, to turn the hearings into engaging television with slick packaging and an array of pithy sound bites. The result is, and was meant to be, politics as reality television, a media diversion that will change nothing in the dismal American landscape. What should have been a serious bipartisan inquiry into an array of constitutional violations by the Trump administration has been turned into a prime-time campaign commercial for a Democratic Party running on fumes. The epistemology of television is complete. So is its artifice.

And while the disgusting Liz Cheney is being hailed as a hero, let's not forget that not only is Dick Cheney responsible for the deaths of over a million Iraqis, but he was KBR and KBR is in the news.  The US Justice Dept issued this press release yesterday:

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

KBR Defendants Agree to Settle Kickback and False Claims Allegations

Kellogg Brown & Root Services Inc., headquartered in Houston, and three other companies have agreed to a settlement of $13.67 million to resolve a lawsuit seeking damages and penalties for alleged violations of the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Act, and for breach of contract. The four named defendants are:  Kellogg Brown & Root Services Inc., Kellogg Brown & Root Inc., Kellogg Brown & Root LLC, and Overseas Administration Services Ltd. (collectively KBR). The settlement amount includes a payment of $12 million by KBR, in addition to $1.67 million in contract restitution that KBR previously paid to the United States relating to the subcontracts at issue in the lawsuit.  

The lawsuit concerned the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) III contract, under which KBR was required to provide logistics support to U.S. Army forces in Iraq, and subcontracts that KBR awarded to two local companies to perform work on its behalf:  Subcontracts 11 and 39 to La Nouvelle Trading & Contracting Co. (La Nouvelle), and Subcontracts 167 and 190 to First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting Co., aka First Kuwaiti Trading Co. (First Kuwaiti). The United States asserted that certain KBR employees responsible for awarding these subcontracts rigged the bidding process in favor of La Nouvelle and First Kuwaiti, and that, to reward this favorable treatment, principal officers from the foreign subcontractors paid kickbacks to the responsible KBR employees. The United States also alleged that the subcontract prices were inflated, and that after the subcontracts were awarded, KBR employees extended the duration of the subcontracts at the inflated prices. The United States further contends that KBR sought reimbursement of these inflated costs through vouchers submitted to the Army. As alleged in the lawsuit, this conduct violated the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Act, and breached the LOGCAP III contract.

“Those who do business with the government have a responsibility to ensure that they are properly performing and billing under their government contracts,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “This matter reflects the department’s commitment to hold accountable contractors that knowingly overcharge the government for inflated costs and that fail to take appropriate action to prevent their employees from enriching themselves at the public’s expense.”

“The Department of Defense – Office of Inspector General’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and our law enforcement partners are steadfastly committed to holding contractors accountable when they abuse the trust of the military for financial gain,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Gregory P. Shilling of the DCIS’s Southwest Field Office. “We will diligently investigate fraud perpetrated against the Department of Defense and the American taxpayer, regardless of the length of time it takes to ensure justice is served.”

“We are pleased with today’s settlement,” said Special Agent in Charge L. Scott Moreland of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (Army CID), Major Procurement Fraud Field Office. “Kickbacks and overcharges have an inherently corrosive effect and undermine the integrity of the procurement process; it is imperative that when someone contracts with the U.S. Army, they provide only their very best with no exceptions.”

More specifically, the settlement resolves allegations that a KBR employee entered into a kickback arrangement with the managing partner of First Kuwaiti, under which the KBR employee was to receive a kickback for every subcontract that he awarded to First Kuwaiti for the lease of trucks and trailers to transport fuel and refrigerated items into Iraq. The United States contends that, under the improper influence of this illegal arrangement, the KBR employee steered two truck-lease contracts (Subcontracts 167 and 190) to First Kuwaiti at higher prices than necessary to fulfill the Army’s contract requirements, and that KBR later sought to justify the high awards based on criteria that federal law did not permit KBR to consider. 

The settlement also resolves additional claims concerning these same subcontracts after they were awarded for the lease of trucks and refrigerated trailers. More specifically, KBR extended Subcontract 167 even though its employees knew that the leased equipment was no longer needed and had been returned to the subcontractor, billed the United States for this overpayment, and created false documents to justify the overpayment. KBR also extended Subcontract 190 for the continued lease of trucks to pull fuel tankers even though, the United States contends, its internal records showed that the vehicles had already been returned to First Kuwaiti, resulting in overcharges.

In addition, the United States contends that a second KBR employee rigged the bidding process for Subcontract 11, a subcontract for cleaning services at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, so that the employee could justify awarding the subcontract to La Nouvelle. The KBR employee did this, the United States claims, with the intent to solicit kickbacks from La Nouvelle’s managing partner, who paid to reward the KBR employee for the favorable treatment he provided. The United States alleges that these kickbacks were included in the prices that KBR charged to the Government.

Finally, the United States contends that a third KBR employee rigged the bidding process for Subcontract 39, a contract for the lease of fuel storage tankers at a military airport in Kuwait, and awarded the subcontract to La Nouvelle at an inflated price, which KBR subsequently extended. As a reward for this favorable treatment, the United States alleges that the managing partner of La Nouvelle later paid the KBR employee a kickback, which was included within the prices that KBR charged to the Government.

In 2021, following more than seven years of litigation, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas granted partial summary judgment to the United States on several of its False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Act claims. This settlement resolves these allegations and other pending claims and issues, for which trial had been scheduled to commence on May 23. The lawsuit is captioned United States ex rel. Conyers v. Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., No. 4:06-cv-04024 (S.D. Tex.).

The resolution obtained in this matter was the result of efforts by the Justice Department’s Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section, with assistance from DCIS and the U.S. Army CID.

The United States’ resolution in this matter follows a prior $51 million judgment in favor of the United States in a litigated proceeding before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, concerning a larger overpayment that KBR made to First Kuwaiti under a separate subcontract in the Iraq Theater.  Following a multi-week trial and appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, that judgment became final in 2021.

This matter was handled by Fraud Section Attorneys Ashley N. Bailey, Elspeth A. England, Glenn P. Harris, Russell B. Kinner, Jeffrey A. McSorley, Michael M. Sawers and David W. Tyler.

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.

False Claims Act
Press Release Number: 

Those crooked Cheneys made a lot of money off murder.

As Congress wastes time, Joe gears up for a do-nothing tour of the Middle East in a few weeks.  You'll note the planned stops do not include Iraq.  Which means one of two things, Joe's guilt for voting for the war on Iraq is so great that the criminal can't return to the scene of his crime or Joe's going to do one of those sneak visits.  Remember?  Bully Boy Bush and Barack would visit without any announcements because the country was at war and they were too cowardly to announce visits ahead of time.  If Joe does a sneak visit, I guess that we'll just prove our point that the Iraq War has not ended and continues to this day.

Which this latest attack on a US logistic convoy in Iraq already did demonstrate.

Meanwhile Iraq continues to reel from climate change.

In Iraq, the lost city has gotten a lot of press -- little concern given to the fact that the 3400 year old city only emerged because of the extreme drought that is drying up the Tigris River.  It's not the only river as Osama al-Sharif (AL-MONITOR) points out:

While the various Iraqi parties continue to bicker over their respective share of the country’s next government months after the October parliamentary elections were held, Iraq is facing an existential threat of a different kind. Acute water shortages could cause the two main rivers that nourished one of the world’s greatest civilizations to dry up within just a few years.
The land of the two rivers, as Iraq has been known for centuries, might be closer than anyone had predicted to losing its two key water arteries: The Euphrates and the Tigris. In fact, a report by Iraq’s Water Resources Ministry that was published in December said that the two rivers, which originate in Turkey and run through Syria and are the source of up to 98 percent of Iraq’s surface water supply, could render the country “a land without rivers by 2040.”
Already, poor rainfall and climate change have exacerbated the country’s water challenge, with one Iraqi official warning that it only has enough drinking water left to last one more season. Many lakes and reservoirs have completely dried up, while the water level in both rivers has dropped significantly — by as much as 70 percent in the Euphrates, according to the UN. Many of Iraq’s famed marshes in Al-Ahwar in the south of the country are now parched and salty dust bowls.
The staggering decline in the water level in both rivers has decimated farms along their banks, destroyed the fishing industry and turned many riverside villages into ghost towns, with farmers abandoning them and turning to the cities to look for menial jobs.
But while climate change has compounded Iraq’s water challenge, the truth of the matter is that much of the problem can be blamed on its two neighbors, Turkey and Iran. According to Climate Diplomacy, which covers geopolitical conflicts, Turkey contributes 90 percent of the Euphrates’ flow, while Syria contributes 10 percent. As for the Tigris, Turkey, Iraq and Iran contribute 40 percent, 51 percent and 9 percent, respectively. Despite a number of water-sharing agreements between Turkey on the one hand and Iraq and Syria on the other — some dating back to the early 1920s — tensions over quotas began in the 1960s.
Ankara started implementing plans to build a series of dams over the two rivers in the 1970s, but the scheme picked up in the late 1980s with the unveiling of the Southeastern Anatolia Project, which aims to build 22 dams, thus significantly cutting both Syria and Iraq’s water share. Following America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the political chaos that gripped the country for years after, little was done to ensure Turkey’s commitment to previous deals. Meanwhile, Iran, also suffering from water issues, began diverting key tributaries that fed the Tigris.

As AP reports in the video below, Iraq is now threatening to cut off ties with Turkey as a result.

Meanwhile the political stalemate continues in Iraq.  Now eight months since the election and still no prime minister or president.  Sunday, cleric and cult leader Moqtada al-Sadr took his toys and went home. Having ordered his followers to resign from Parliament, they will now be replaced with candidates who came in second in the October 10th elections.

Let's note two thoughts on what happens next.

And this is from Abbas Kadhim at The Atlantic Council:

The resignation of the entire winning bloc of parliament is a great challenge to the Iraqi political system. The Sadrists have a potent popular base that can challenge everyone else. The beneficiaries from such a resignation (when the new CoR members take the oath of office) will have to be careful in handling the aftermath and must maneuver carefully to fill the vacuum. They would be prudent to demonstrate genuine goodwill to the Sadrists and resist the temptation to exclude them from the power-sharing arrangement. After all, it was on the basis of their objection to Sadr that he attempted to exclude some Shia from his majority government project. They can reach out to the Sadrists by offering them cabinet positions commensurate to their weight in the CoR before their resignation.

If the Sadrists reject that, which is expected, an offer should be made to assign these cabinet posts to independents chosen with Sadrist input. If this is also rejected, then a reasonable course would be to either extend the current government’s term, granting it full authority to govern and a mandate to prepare for another snap election, or form a new government with the same mandate. Both latter solutions would require parliament’s consent to dissolve itself and pave the way for a new election (if the Sadrists are completely out of the government and the CoR, no government can last anyway).

That said, an early election won’t solve the Iraqi dilemma. No matter how many times the elections are repeated, parliament’s demographic and political configuration won’t change, as the seats are firmly allocated to demographically segregated districts, with only a few exceptions. For real political reform to happen, Iraqis must return to the drawing board and courageously correct their mistakes in the 2005 constitution.

The following sites updated:

No comments: