Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Dumb Stephen Amell and Joe Rogan's crazies attack Jim Gaffifan




Above is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Alito Does Not Work For Ma Bell" -- he did a comic for THE COMMON ILLS yesterday and another one today.


I've covered a lot of TV shows at this site over the years.  THE CAPE was a show I loved and was crushed by its cancellation.  Most of the shows I've really loved got cancelled, in fact.  But sometimes, I walked away from a show.

ARROW is a show I covered week by week from its first season.  I walked away.  Did I ever regret it?  No.

I walked away when Felicity was paralyzed.  We had US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan at the time.  We had service members being injured.  Felicity as a paralyzed character would have been a good thing at a time when so many veterans were injured.  But I knew they were using it as a stunt.  I knew in a few episodes she -- unlike the wounded veterans -- would be cured and back to walking.  I felt it was a bad storyline and a storyline told at the wrong time.

I walked.

I'm glad I did.  I'm especially glad I did after I read this today:

"Arrow" star Stephen Amell isn't in total solidarity with SAG-AFTRA actors on strike.

The actor, 42, made an appearance at GalaxyCon in North Carolina on Saturday where he spoke out against the union's decision to strike after several failed negotiations.

"I support my union, I do, and I stand with them," he said after a fan asked him about the strike.

Amell added: "I do not support striking. I don't. I think that it is a reductive negotiating tactic, and I find the entire thing incredibly frustrating.

"And I think that the thinking as it pertains to shows like the show that I'm on that premiered last night, I think it's myopic," he continued, presumably referring to his show "Heels," which had its Season 2 premiere on Friday.

Oh, shut up.  I have no respect for you.  I hope your cousin Robbie isn't as stupid as you are.  TOMORROW PEOPLE (with Robbie) was a great show.  What a turncoat.  He got lucky that he made money off his looks.  He's in his forties now and it will hit him shortly that the looks are not aging well and that he lacks the talent to be an in demand actor.  Let him whine then.  SAG-AFTRA took a brave stand.  Shame on Stephen. 

Having rightly been called out, he walked it back:

Amell, who is best known for starring in Arrow, opened the statement by saying, “Understandably, there has been a lot of reaction to the comments I made this weekend about our strike. To ensure there is no misunderstanding about my thoughts and intentions I’m providing what I actually said and clarity/context to ensure my feelings aren’t unintentionally misinterpreted. We all know soundbites can be taken out of context and I have too much respect for my fellow union members to not clarify the record.”

Shut up, scab.

It wasn't soundbytes.  They recorded you.  You said what you said.  And then you were surprised by  how pathetic and weak you looked so now you're trying to walk it back.  Too late. 

While hosting comedian Jim Gaffigan on his show on July 28, the podcaster argued that the FBI and CIA were involved in creating the chaos. He noted that the agencies have a history of disrupting "peaceful protests" in order to unfairly portray protesters as violent.

"The Jan 6 thing is bad, but also, the intelligence agencies were involved in provoking people into the Capitol Building. That's a fact," Rogan claimed. ''I don't know, but I do know that every other, I think that every other person who was involved in Jan 6, who was involved in coordinating a break-in into the Capitol and then instigating people, they were all arrested." Rogan insisted, "This guy wasn't. Not only that, but they were defending him in The New York Times, The Washington Post, all these different things saying Fox News has unjustly accused him of instigating when he clearly instigated, he did it on camera. I don't know if he was a fed. I know a lot of people think he was a fed."

I've never had an unpleasant thought about Jim Gaffigan.  Seems like a kind person and he's also very funny.  But I don't know about going on JR's show.  Note this:

Since the episode, Gaffigan’s “That’s illogical and it directly contradicts the established facts of the event” response to Rogan’s argument has been widely slammed and mocked by the online right who have declared their demagogue the victor in the debate — all that’s missing is an Elon Musk Twitter poll to settle it once and for all.

So he goes on, sports sanity and his payback is to be attacked and mocked by the right?

I don't see the benefit in going on Rogan's show.  And I don't see the point in attacking and mocking Jim Gaffigan who's never been anything but nice to people. 


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


Tuesday, August 1, 2023.  What's the current state of US-Iraq relations, Turkey continues to assault Iraq, Ron DeSantis continues to burn through (other people's) money, Robert F. Kennedy Jr thinks it's "historic" to lie to Congress, and much more.

Atr OIL PRICE, Simon Watkins offers an analysis of the US and Iraq:

Ever since the U.S. officially ended its ‘combat mission’ in Iraq on 31 December 2021, it has been looking for a way back into the huge but still relatively untapped oil and gas regions of the country, as analysed in depth in my new book on the new global oil market order. Iraq knows this perfectly well and has sought since then to exploit this need for money from the U.S. whilst having no intention of allowing it to return in any meaningful way. Many analysts trace this reluctance back to the U.S.’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 or to its continued military presence there until 2011, but although neither of these factors helped the U.S.’s ambitions in Iraq, neither of them put the final nail in their coffin either. This came with its unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – or colloquially, ‘the nuclear deal’ – with Iran in May 2018. Iran has wielded enormous power over Iraq for a very long time indeed through its various political, economic, and military proxies and the death knell of the deal with Iraq meant the same for any ambitions the U.S. had in Iraq. The game plays from Iraq and the U.S. around this starting position were seen again last week but, as in the end of Macbeth’s fleeting moment of glory, these threats and counter-threats are ‘full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’: the game is already over, and the U.S. lost.

The last week or so has seen a series of statements from both the U.S. and Iraq surrounding Baghdad’s staggeringly omni-toxic idea that Iraq will pay with its own oil supplies for the gas and electricity that it has long been importing from Iran.

This is less of a slap in the face for Washington than a baseball bat in the crotch, as the U.S. has for years been giving Iraq tens of billions of dollars to help with its finances on the specific condition that the country reduces its imports of gas and electricity from Iran eventually to zero. For the U.S., the ending of Iraq’s reliance on Iran for around 40 percent of its power grid needs (through gas and electricity imports) would have provided an excellent starting point for American companies to move back into Iraq to begin a new commercially-based chapter in the two countries’ history. To encourage Iraq towards this end, the U.S. has granted waivers to it to continue to import gas and electricity from Iran to manage this transition away from dependence on its neighbour. Accompanying these waivers have been massive injections of U.S. funding into Iraq, usually following a visit to Washington in August or September each year by whoever was Iraq prime minister at the time to ask for money to bail out the Iraq budget. The principal reason why the Iraq budget needs bailing out every year is because of the industrial-scale corruption that lies at the heart of its oil sector administration, as also analysed in depth in my new book on the new global oil market order. This offensive manoeuvre from the Iraqi playbook is such a regular annual feature in Washington that for a long time, a very senior U.S. legal source closely connected to such discussions exclusively told OilPrice.com some years ago, it has been known as ‘the Baghdad Ballet’. 

Up until now, the most shocking betrayal of the U.S.’s optimistic trust in Iraq in this context came from the ultra-smooth Mustafa al-Kadhimi. He had danced the usual dance with the U.S. so well that in May 2020 Washington gave him even more money than before and the longest waiver ever given – 120 days – to keep importing gas and electricity from Iran, on the standard condition that Iraq stopped doing it soon. However, once the money had been banked and al-Kadhimi was safely back on home territory, Iraq signed a two-year contract – the longest period ever – with Iran to keep importing gas and electricity from it. Washington let the formidable then-State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, out of her room, and she let fly. Not only was the next waiver to Iraq the shortest ever – 30 days – but also at the press conference in which it was announced, Ortagus let it be known that the U.S. was hitting 20 Iran- and Iraq-based entities with swingeing new sanctions. She cited them as being instruments in the funnelling of money to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) elite Quds Force, which was entirely true. She added that the 20 entities were continuing to exploit Iraq’s dependence on Iran as an electricity and gas source by smuggling Iranian petroleum through the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr and money laundering through Iraqi front companies, which was also true. She also said that Washington was extremely concerned that Iraq was continuing to act as a conduit for Iranian oil and gas supplies to make their way out into the world’s major export markets. This was true as well, as additionally analysed in my new book on the new global oil market order.

On the topic of oil, IRAQI NEWS notes:

Iraq’s economy continued its oil-driven recovery after the sharp pandemic-induced recession in 2020, but non-oil sectors have stagnated, and growth constraints have reemerged. Despite a record oil windfall and a long-awaited new budget, Iraq nevertheless remains at risk of missing the opportunity to push ahead overdue reforms that are critical to boost private sector growth and create the millions of jobs needed in the next decade.

The Spring/Summer 2023 edition of the Iraq Economic Monitor, titled “Reemerging Pressures: Iraq’s Recovery at Risk “, finds that real gross domestic product (GDP) growth accelerated to 7.0 percent in 2022 driven by the oil sector, but fell to 2.6 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023. Consumer price inflation, which had moderated in 2022, ticked up in early 2023, fueled by the depreciation of the Iraqi dinar in the parallel market. 

Meanwhile Turkey continues to bomb and attack northern Iraq -- home to Iraq's Kurdish population.  They say this is to combat terrorism but combatting terrorism does not allow Turkey to go into Iraq on the ground, conduct attacks and set up military bases -- which it has done repeatedly while the world has looked the other way. The Stockholm Center for Freedom notes:

The UN Human Rights Council has received a formal complaint regarding Turkish airstrikes in Iraq, allegedly targeting a civilian hospital and resulting in the death of eight people, Turkish Minute reported on Monday, citing The Guardian.

The attack, which occurred on Aug. 17, 2021, destroyed the Sikeniye medical clinic in Sinjar and left more than 20 people injured.

This is the first case concerning Turkish airstrikes against the Yazidi people to be brought before the council.

The four claimants, comprising survivors and witnesses to the airstrikes, argue that the attack violated their right to life under international law, as guaranteed by Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Every now and then, an attack on a medical facility, a refugee camp or a resort will garner a bit of international press attention but that's about it.  Quickly, it's time for the press to move on and to ignore all the attacks on farms and villages that wound and kill so many every month.  And then we get garbate like this from ANTIWAR.COM, "Violence between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.) left 17 guerrillas and four Turkish soldiers dead."  Did the press report that 17 'PKK were dead?  No.  That would mean an outlet verified the number and verified that the people killed were PKK.  From the beginning of Turkey's assault on Iraq -- that dates back to the days when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House -- we've had this same problem with ANTIWAR.COM -- Turkey issues a press release and that's treated as fact.  It's treated as fact by ANTIWAR.COM even when actual reporting reveals it was a farmer or a child.  For an outlet that calls itself "ANTIWAR," they sure are eager to identify with the aggressor.   Amberin Zaman (AL-MONITOR) reports:

Turkey’s military campaign against alleged Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in Syria and Iraq is continuing full blast with at least four fighters of the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and four others from the outlawed PKK killed in drone strikes in northeast Syria and Kurdish-administered northern Iraq, Kurdish-led armed groups and Iraqi Kurdish security officials said. The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration in North and Northeast Syria on Sunday denounced Russia and the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat the Islamic State (IS) in a statement over their silence in the face of the attacks.

The assaults continued throughout the weekend when three civilians were injured as a result of Turkish shelling that targeted a village located south of Tell Tamar in northeast Syria, Kurdish media reported. That attack came after Turkish forces carried out 40 artillery strikes against the Kurdish majority enclave of Afrin in northern Syria, which was occupied by Turkey in 2018, Kurdish media said. The claims could not be independently verified; however, a low-intensity conflict between the SDF and Turkish-allied groups has been bubbling since Turkey’s wresting of Afrin from the Syrian Kurds. Dozens of civilians, including women and children, have perished in Turkish drone and air strikes, as previously documented by Al-Monitor

The United States and Russia are guarantors of separate cease-fire agreements struck in the wake of Turkey’s 2019 Operation Peace Spring in which it occupied large chunks of SDF-controlled territory and permanently displaced over 200,000 civilians who continue to languish in ramshackle camps. Both wish to pull Turkey to their side as Russia’s war on Ukraine rages on. They have, in turn, grown even more hesitant to rebuke Ankara over its aggression toward PKK-linked Kurdish groups, least of all as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to weigh granting final approval to Sweden’s accession to NATO and despite the fact that Washington rejects Turkey’s characterization of the SDF as “terrorists."

Salih Muslim, co-chair of the Democratic Unity Party that shares power in the Autonomous Administration, said they had no contact with either Russia or the Syrian regime and that “our allies in the coalition say there is nothing they can do to stop Turkey’s attacks.”

“Their silence is nothing new, and we do not know what is going on behind closed doors,” Muslim told Al-Monitor.


Just weeks after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) promised a reset on his campaign, it definitely has entered a new phase: the death watch.

DeSantis apparently learned nothing from the humiliation of having to lay off staff this early in the campaign season. A large part of the $8 million he burned through in just six weeks was on travel, thanks to DeSantis and his wife, Casey, believing that they only deserve to fly on private jets. (Most candidates – other than Trump, who has his own plane – fly commercial to save money.)

So are Ron and Casey traveling with the masses to save money? As if you have to ask.

After debuting his “leaner” campaign, Ron hopped on a private jet to make multiple stops around Tennessee for fundraising. He broke out into CEO-speak to justify the expense.

“We do things based on R.O.I. [return on investment] and that’s on everything you do,” DeSantis said. “If it’s not a good R.O.I., then we try something else.” 

The problem that DeSantis is having is that donors are looking at their R.O.I. and deciding that DeSantis is not a good investment. A lot of big donors are sitting on the sidelines, and they don’t mind whispering to reporters about their concerns. Chief among them is whether DeSantis has told the entire truth about his campaign’s finances. A lot of big expenses seem to be missing from the first report, which suggests that things may be even worse than they already appear.

Then there is the other problem with the DeSantis campaign: DeSantis.

DeSantis (along with Casey, who is his primary adviser) seems to believe that the best way to defeat Trump for the nomination is to run as far to his right as possible. But Trump is selling a vibe, not ideas. He traffics in discontent, but he’s intentionally light on details.

DeSantis, on the other hand, is trying to prove himself with details, like his anti-woke curriculum, which describes how African Americans “benefited” from the trades they learned under slavery. When DeSantis was criticized for the sheer offensiveness of the curriculum, he doubled down to the point where he began to attack Black Republicans who dared to suggest in the mildest terms that perhaps the language was a bit off. 

I went to COUNTERPUNCH hoping for some real criticism like the above.  But unless it's Jeffrey St. Clair, no one seems aware that campaigning is going on at COUNTERPUNCH.  I see they have made time for yet another attack on BARBIE -- the doll and the film.  

That confuses me.

There have been three GI JOE films since 2009 and COUNTERPUNCH didn't feel the need to weigh in on one.  I don't remember Barbie promoting empire.  I don't remember Barbie killing people.  I don't remember Barbie treating war as a game.

I must have missed that.  Surely, if the great men of COUNTERPUNCH feel the need to near daily attack Barbie, surely she must be a war toy, right?  

No, this is sexism as usual.

Barbie is a doll and as such she's identified with females.  Now everyone plays with Barbie, it's not just little girls.  And some of the boys that play with Barbie are straight.  But when middle aged men can't get it up anymore and are frustrated they try to tear apart anything identified with the female.

Again, three GI JOE films since 2009 and not one damn word from COUNTERPUNCH.  But Barbie requires their male gaze -- their incessant -- and unwelcome -- male gaze?

Even as his bid to become the Republican presidential nominee circles the drain, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis can take pride in the fact that he is almost keeping pace with his chief rival in having embarrassing Nazi scandals. Earlier this week, in response to continuing lackluster polling, DeSantis fired 38 staffers. Axios noted that one of those staffers was Nate Hochman, a speechwriter who “secretly created and shared a pro-DeSantis video that featured the candidate at the center of a Sonnenrad, an ancient symbol appropriated by the Nazis and still used by some white supremacists.” Earlier, Hochman and other staffers stirred controversy by sharing a bizarre homophobic and transphobic pro-DeSantis ad (presented as a fan creation, even though evidence points to its being another in-house production). This follows hot on the heels of a June scandal when it turned out that Pedro Gonzalez, a pro-DeSantis influencer whose social media voice was being promoted by the Florida governor’s staff, had a record of anti-Semitic, racist, and fascist private direct messages.

Although he’s trying hard, DeSantis still lags behind front-runner Donald Trump—not just in the polls but also in shameless pandering to white nationalists. Trump of course has the advantage of a head start in this competition. His extensive record (crisply catalogued in a 2017 Slate article) includes his numerous sly uses of alt-right memes, his promotion of extremists like Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, and his infamous “very fine people” response to the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. More recently, Trump dined last year with Adolf Hitler aficionado and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes.

But the GOP’s white nationalist problem extends beyond the Trump/DeSantis race. On Wednesday, Media Matters reported that Matteo Cina, a Fox News staffer and former writer for Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, repeatedly posted anti-Semitic messages on TikTok. One Cina post argued that “it is hard to talk about the Holocaust and rising anti semitism [sic] without discussing Jewish presence in banking.” Arizona Representative Paul Gosar has extensive ties to the racist far right. In 2021, he spoke at a white nationalist rally hosted by Fuentes. Earlier this year, Hunter Walker of Talking Points Memo reported that Gosar’s digital director, Wade Searle, can be linked to an “extensive digital trail” on white supremacist websites, including those that support Fuentes. 

The mounting evidence that many prominent Republican politicians, including a former president, either have Nazi ties or are courting the Nazi vote is unsettling. Frequently, this fact leads to some form of denial or excuse-making—such as the claim that young Republicans are “too online” or just engaging in the familiar puerile prank of adopting rhetoric designed to shock liberals.

There is a smidgen of truth to this argument. Shock Jock mockery and malicious frat boy bigotry are familiar styles of right-wing comedy—a tradition that runs from The American Spectator to Rush Limbaugh to Donald Trump. 

As pathetic as Ron DeSantis?  Little Junior.  Little Robbie Jr.  The latest Team Kennedy missive insists it's found "RFK, Jr.'s Road to the White House 2024" -- and that's how they spelled it -- RFK-- comma-- Jr.  What year are they living in?  1993 or earlier -- that is when the style guidelines said to drop the comma.  Thirty years out of date, that's our Little Junior.

In the e-mail they insist:

Last week the censorship and attacks on RFK, Jr. reached a new low following his historic testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on the weaponization of the federal government.

If you didn’t think things could get any worse than Democrat members of Congress trying to censor a presidential candidate, consider the fact that last week the Biden administration refused a routine request to provide Secret Service protection for RFK, Jr, whose father was assassinated during his 1968 presidential campaign.

While the Democratic Party is stirring up hate against Mr. Kennedy for running against President Biden, the Biden administration denied Mr. Kennedy's Secret Service protection. Yet, the Secret Service provides his own son, Hunter Biden, with protection.

Despite this bad faith from Democrats, Mr. Kennedy’s popularity keeps rising, as a new Harvard-Harris poll found that RFK, Jr. has the highest favorability rating of any candidate, including President Biden and former President Trump.

So it was "historic," was it?  The lies to Congress were historic.  Because the campaign says so?

Kennedy’s run is also getting plenty of financial support from the right. A super PAC supporting Kennedy’s presidential run, called Heal the Divide PAC, has deep ties to Republicans, F ederal Election Commission records show.

The committee’s address is listed in the care of RTA Strategy, a campaign consulting firm that has been paid for its work to help elect Republicans including Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and the former Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker.

The PAC’s treasurer, who works for RTA Strategy, is Jason Boles, a past donor to Trump and many other Republicans who includes “MAGA” and “AmericaFirst” in his bio on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Kennedy denied knowing Boles or the Heal the Divide PAC when it came up at the congressional hearing, saying, “I’ve never heard of Mr. Boles, and I’ve never heard of that super PAC.”

But video available online shows he was a guest speaker at a Heal the Divide event just two days earlier. The video features a “Heal the Divide 2024” logo with clips of him speaking at length about plans to back the U.S. dollar with bitcoin and precious metals.

Kennedy says that as president, he would fight for government honesty and transparency, heal the political divide, reverse economic decline, end war and preserve civil liberties. He has made freedom of speech a major part of his platform, arguing that the government’s communication with social media companies unfairly censors protected speech.

Kennedy's press office did not respond to several messages asking about his support from the far right.

It also did not respond to questions about whether his stance on bitcoin was at odds with being an environmentalist.

Kennedy lists the environment as one of six top priorities on his campaign website and has spent many years speaking against pollution and climate change as an environmental lawyer. Yet he has made supporting the energy-intensive cryptocurrency bitcoin a key part of his platform.

Bitcoin mining, the process of generating new coins, uses massive amounts of electricity — more than some entire countries use, said Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group.

That’s because it works by tasking a network of supercomputers with solving complex mathematical puzzles — even as some other cryptocurrencies have adopted far more energy efficient mining methods.

“No one who claims to be an environmentalist could support a digital asset that needlessly consumes more electricity than all Americans use to power the lights in our homes,” Faber said. “In fact, bitcoin produces more climate pollution than any other digital asset.”

Oh, Little Junior.  Such a disappointment to everyone.  In her "Isaiah on the boomers and RFK Jr. lies so more," Elaine includes this:

“He’s trading in on Camelot, celebrity, conspiracy theories and conflict for personal gain and fame,” Jack Schlossberg, President Kennedy’s grandson, said of his cousin in an Instagram video earlier this month. “I’ve listened to him. I know him. I have no idea why anyone thinks he should be president. What I do know is, his candidacy is an embarrassment.”

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Pride of the Boomers, Pride of the Senate" went up last night.   The following sites updated:

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