Friday, March 3, 2023

John Cena and Awkwafina - plus the awful FRAISER 'revival'

I am hopeful that new movies are going to get better.  I read the news on the one below and I would pay to see it:

John CenaAwkwafina and Simu Liu are set to star in the action-comedy “Grand Death Lotto” for Prime Video. Paul Feig will produce and direct the film from a script by Rob Yescombe (“Outside the Wire”).

“Grand Death Lotto” is set in the very near future, where a competition known as “the Grand Lottery” has been established in “economically challenged California.” But, as the film’s official logline explains, there’s a catch: “Kill the winner before sundown and you can legally claim their prize.”

That's a great cast -- John Cena, Awkwafina and Simu Liu and I do like the premise.  I'm really not in the mood for any more garbage passing as meaningful.  By  that, I mean garbage like CALL JANE or SHE SAID or TILL -- poorly written scripts turned into bad films by people who don't know how to make movies.  Get your garbage off the screen.  I'm not in the mood.  And I'm not in the mood to pretend your bad movies are good just because they have to do with something that actually happened.  If your film doesn't make it on the screen, it doesn't make it.  It's not a film.

You can educate me (or try) but if you don't entertain me, I'm just not interested.  I'll see a documentary for facts.  
And I don't need the garbage of the FRAISER reboot.  No Niles, no Dad, no Daphne and, I'm sure no Eddie.  They want credit for getting Bebe Neuwirth to guest star.  Of course they need Lilith.  If they had any brains, they'd have added Shelley Long as a regular as Diane.  Have her seek therapy from Fraiser or she's in love with him still or something like that.  Have her on every episode of the first season.  CHEERS fans would watch.  But there's no reason for FRAISER fans to watch when none of the regular cast except Kelsey Grammar is going to be on the show.  
They shouldn't even be allowed to call it FRAISER.  They should have to rename it to something like CRANE.
I don't get how you are missing all but one cast member and you're pretending it's a revival of the previous show.

I hope it flames out like JOEY did.


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


Thursday, March 2, 2023.  A United Nations photo-op in Iraq has some asking if it's now policy for UN leaders to pose with terrorists, the oil-rich country also has a huge child labor problem, COUNTERPUNCH splashes cold water on the Cult of Sy Hersh, Glenneth Greenwald's hag MTG struggles with both reality and the English language, and much more.

Government snitch Sy Hersh has been tongue bathed by many of late and they feel the need to read whatever intro he puts before them so he gets credited for so much -- so much that he didn't actually do.  This morning, COUNTERPUNCH reposts a 2008 article by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair to bring a little reality into the discussion:

As Hersh’s hodge-podge narrative got play over the weekend, CounterPunchers read his supposed disclosures with an impatient and knowing sigh. They, after all, had learned of the Finding back on May 2, when Andrew Cockburn disclosed its contents here, with a good deal more pep and hard information, under the headlines, “Democrats Okay Funds for Covert Ops SECRET BUSH “FINDING” WIDENS WAR ON IRAN”.

Here the first 256 words of  Andrew Cockburn’s CounterPunch exclusive, a brisk narrative against Hersh’s 6,000-word boustrophedonic plod, but – as is instantly apparent – far more informative:

Six weeks ago, President Bush signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, “unprecedented in its scope.” Bush’s secret directive covers actions across a huge geographic area – from Lebanon to Afghanistan – but is also far more sweeping in the type of actions permitted under its guidelines – up to and including the assassination of targeted officials.  This widened scope clears the way, for example, for full support for the military arm of Mujahedin-e Khalq, the cultish Iranian opposition group, despite its enduring position on the State Department’s list of terrorist groups.

Similarly, covert funds can now flow without restriction to Jundullah, or “army of god,” the militant Sunni group in Iranian Baluchistan – just across the Afghan border — whose leader was featured not long ago on Dan Rather Reports cutting his brother in law’s throat. Other elements that will benefit from U.S. largesse and advice include Iranian Kurdish nationalists, as well the Ahwazi arabs of south west Iran.  Further afield, operations against Iran’s Hezbollah allies in Lebanon will be stepped up, along with efforts to destabilize the Syrian regime. All this costs money, which in turn must be authorized by Congress, or at least a by few witting members of the intelligence committees.  That has not proved a problem.  An initial outlay of $300 million to finance implementation of the finding has been swiftly approved with bipartisan support, apparently regardless of the unpopularity of the current war and the perilous condition of the U.S. economy.

There are interesting differences between Andrew Cockburn and Hersh’s stories, not least on the matter of assassinations. CounterPunch’s story, in the lead, cites “assassination of targeted [Iranian] officials”, as part of the purview of the Finding. More than 1,100 words into his story Hersh gestures tactfully to  “potential defensive lethal action by U.S. operatives in Iran”. In other words, if President Ahmadinejad suddenly detected a CIA operative about to stab him and drew out his revolver, the operative would be entitled, in self defense, to kill Ahmadinejad first. That’s the way the Agency is. Punctilious to a fault. Actually, it’s at this point, after the hokum about “potential defensive legal action” that Hersh detonates a real bombshell. He admits in print that someone got the story before him, something he disdained to do in the case of My Lai, initially excavated with incredible courage by the late Ron Ridenhour. Nor, in the case of Abu Ghraib has Hersh been keen to correct admiring interviewers and remind them that this was a scoop of CBS News. But in this New Yorker he writes: “(In early May, the journalist Andrew Cockburn published elements of the Finding in Counterpunch, a newsletter and online magazine.)”


B-b-b-but, Seymour Hersh still created the world in six days, right?  

The uneducated of YOUTUBE as the teachers of today?  This is not going to turn out pretty.

In 2002, the US Congress gave Bully Boy Bush the green light for war on Iraq and that didn't turn out pretty either.  The war was based on lies and that was fairly obvious before it started and only became more obvious in the early years of the war.  "Bush lied, people died" was a popular slogan.  

Despite that reality, the Congressional authorization remains on the books all these years later.  Will it ever change?  AL ARABIYA reports:

A US Senate committee will consider legislation next week that would repeal two authorizations for past wars in Iraq, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday, in a renewed push to reassert Congress’ role in deciding to send troops into combat.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will take up the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force, or AUMFs, Schumer said, paving the way for a possible vote in the full Senate before members leave for the April recess, Schumer said.

“We need to put the Iraq war squarely behind us once and for all, and doing that means we should extinguish the legal authority that initiated the war to begin with,” Schumer said.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers from the Senate and House of Representatives introduced legislation to repeal the two longstanding AUMFs in early February.

Members of Congress have been arguing for years that legislators have ceded too much authority to the president over whether troops should be sent into combat, by passing and then failing to repeal broad, open-ended war authorizations that presidents have then used for years to justify military action around the globe.

The war destroyed Iraq.  It's a reality fewer are aware of because despite the proliferation of podcasts and YOUTUBE programs, most can't be bothered with the reality of Iraq -- even when they pretend that they're anti-war, they still can't make time for Iraq.  I24 notes:

More than one in 10 children under the age of 14 work in Iraq, but the true rates are unknown because government numbers ignore camps for displaced persons

In Iraq, poverty and war have caused a sharp spike in child labor, with children as young as eight-years-old working physically demanding jobs.

“I work as a carpenter from 8 am to 5 pm, and my father also works in carpentry, but in another place,” said Iraqi child laborer Haydar Karar. “I’ve been working here since I was eight,” the 13-year-old said.

Sabby Sabs and REVOLUTIONARY BLACK NETWORK don't have time for Iraq but they've got time to endlessly do one segment after another defending (and bowing to) Jimmy Dore.  Doesn't seem all that 'revolutionary' or 'Black' but I guess it's some form of 'network'ing (circle jerk) and hey, Jimmy might promote them back on his YOUTUBE show -- those Iraqi kids won't host RBN and Sabby!

Haydar Karar spends eight hours a day tidying a carpentry shop and lugging wooden beams, forced like many other Iraqi children into work by poverty and conflict. Now 13, Karar has been working with his carpenter uncle in the capital Baghdad since the age of eight, his childhood marred by the troubles that have ravaged his country. “I was expelled from school because of a fight,” he said. “The school didn’t want to take me back.”
His family had decided to find work for him “to build my future and marry me”, added the petite boy, who works from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm every day with a one-hour lunch break. He leans over a wooden armchair to sand it, and then moves around metal trestles before carrying large planks of wood about twice his size. Karar’s weekly pay, the equivalent of less than $20, covers his own needs as well as those of his sister. They both live with another uncle.
Children in Iraq work as apprentice mechanics and rubbish collectors, in shisha cafes or hair salons, and washing car windows and selling paper tissues by the roadside. “Child labor is constantly rising,” said Hassan Abdel Saheb, in charge of the portfolio at the Iraqi labor and social affairs ministry, citing “wars, conflict and displacement”.
Despite its oil riches, nearly one-third of Iraq’s 42 million inhabitants live in poverty, according to the United Nations. The country has struggled to regain stability after decades of war and a brutal campaign against the Islamic State (IS) group, which Baghdad declared defeated in late 2017. Iraq still suffers from instability coupled with endemic corruption, and crumbling infrastructure and public services.

John Daniszewski, Abby Sewell and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) explain, "Despite its oil wealth, Iraq’s infrastructure remains weak. Private generators fill in for the hours of daily state electricity cuts. Long-promised public transportation projects, including a Baghdad metro, have not come to fruition."  And, of course, US troops remain on the ground in occupied Iraq. 

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres continued his visit to Iraq today (see yesterday's snapshot).  It has been six years since his last visit to the country.  The United Nations issued the following:

“I am here in a visit of solidarity to underscore the commitment of the United Nations to support Iraq in the consolidation of its democratic institutions and advancing peace, sustainable development and human rights for all Iraqis,” Mr. Guterres told journalists in Baghdad, after touching down late on Tuesday.

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After “decades of oppression, war, terrorism, sectarianism and foreign interference” in Iraq’s affairs – just days ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 2003 invasion - Mr. Guterres acknowledged that the challenges the country faces could not be brushed aside.

And amid reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani continues to face potential political obstacles in reviving national fortunes, the UN chief, in a joint press encounter with Mr. Al-Sudani, expressed his hope that Iraq “can break cycles of instability and fragility”.

He added: “I applaud the Prime Minister for his commitment to address the most pressing challenges facing the country head on – including combatting corruption, improving public services, and diversifying the economy to reduce unemployment and create opportunities, especially for young people.

“Such structural change requires systemic reform, stronger institutions, greater accountability and better governance at all levels - and the United Nations stands ready to support these important efforts.”

Referencing reported divisions over the sharing of Iraqi oil revenues between central government in the capital and provincial government in the north, Mr. Guterres encouraged all parties to build on “recent positive steps” between Baghdad and Erbil. “Sustainable agreements” and dialogue should be the long-term objective the UN Secretary-General said.

In earlier comments just after touching down, Mr. Guterres also spoke of his “enormous admiration” for the Iraqi people, highlighting how he had witnessed the courage of those displaced inside the country several times, on previous visits.

The UN Secretary-General also highlighted how Iraqi refugees in Jordan and in Syria had shown that they were able “to live in solidarity with each other, to help each other in the spirit that, in my opinion, is the best hope for the future of the country”.

Iraq’s efforts to repatriate its citizens from northeast Syria – including from the infamous Al Hol camp – had been “exemplary”, Mr. Guterres said, before noting Prime Minister Al-Sudani’s commitment to allowing the safe and dignified return of ethnic Yazidis to their homes in northern Iraq, after suffering genocide at the hands of [ISIS] in 2014.

Addressing another key challenge for Iraq, namely water scarcity, Mr. Guterres noted that the issue required international attention, before flagging the UN 2023 Water Conference from 22-24 March in New York.

The mighty Tigris and the Euphrates rivers were now running dry and the impact on agriculture has been dramatic, the UN chief said, adding that “it breaks my heart” to see farmers who have been forced to abandon lands where crops have been grown for thousands of years.

Iraq is one of the countries worst hit by climate change, which has driven displacement, threatened food security, destroyed livelihoods, fuelled conflict and undermined human rights, Mr. Guterres maintained.

When coupled with a volatile security situation and governance challenges, “it can put stability at risk… so now is the time for the international community to support Iraq in tackling its environmental challenges, diversifying its economy, and harnessing its potential for sustainable growth,” the Secretary-General insisted.

The visit has included a photo-op that has angered some.

As we wind down, let's note that Glenneth Greenwald's hag just gets more desperate.  Someone criticized Marjorie Taylor Greene loudly and she thinks she knows why.  Again, the scary thing about idiots: They don't grasp that they're ignorant. And Marjorie's deeply ignorant:

In 2018, [US House Rep Maxine] Waters made outdoor public remarks in Los Angeles, wherein she instructed supporters to confront and harass members of the Trump administration if they are seen at "restaurants… department stores [or] gasoline stations."

"You get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore anywhere," Waters said.

Greene said Waters' instructions to liberal supporters combined with Hillary Clinton's noted "basket of deplorables" description of conservatives has given such people as the woman and her son free rein to harass and attack people they disagree with.

"Back when Hillary Clinton declared that we're all deplorables, they basically tried to claim that we're second-class citizens simply because we're conservative," she said, also expounding on Waters' comments.

"This was the dog whistle for all the people on the left, Democrat voters everywhere, and fully supported by the Democrat Party to attack Republicans in public no matter what. There is no line they will not cross."

So much above is the raving of a lunatic.  First and foremost, hate merchant Marjorie showed up at AOC's office and yelled and screamed at her staff -- this was before MTG became a member of Congress.  MTG was so proud of herself that she didn't just record the incident, she posted it online.  

Second, so you're telling the country that you were insulted days ago because of Hillary and Maxine?  That a country with people who often can't remember what they had for lunch earlier in the week remembered what Hillary said in 2016 and what Maxine said in 2018?

Third, not only did they remember it, but they waited five and seven years to act on it?  Were they sleeper agents, Marjorie?

Fourth, "dog whistle"?  Does Majorie know the English language?  If Marjorie is saying A + B led to C (A=Maxine's comment; B=Hillary's comment, C=the loud feedback Marjorie received), that would not be a dog whistle. If I thought Marjorie could read, I'd buy her a dictionary, maybe a thesaurus (no, Marjorie, it's not a sex toy, don't go looking for it on the shelves of Walmart).  But her literacy and comprehension skills are in question.  For those who can learn, the definition of a "dog whistle," as used by Marjorie, is "subtly aimed political message which is intended for, and can only be understood by, a particular group."  So, no, Marjorie, Maxine Waters saying go up to their faces is not a "dog whistle."  Marjorie could call it "a marching order," but it's not a "dog whistle."  Hillary's "deplorables" is neither a dog whistle nor an intelligent remark.

Poor Marjorie, it's like she just walks through a world that the rest of us live in -- and she walks through blindly.  Let's note Chelsea Handler again, I really do love that MTG commentary she did on THE DAILY SHOW.


Marjorie Taylor Greene: I have people come up to me and say crazy things to me out of the blue in public places that they believe because they read it on the internet.

Chelsea Handler:  Well if that's not the pot calling the kettle QAnon.  This woman thought 9/11 was a hoax, that the Clintons killed JFK Jr. and that Jews are in charge of space lasers.  But please, don't come at her with some crazy ideas -- she might believe them. 

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