Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Hasan Minhaj is the best we can do?



Above is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Junior Topless, Nips To The Wind" which went up about three hours ago.   And speaking of things you need to see, Kat's "Collecting vinyl" is a must read essay.


Hasan Minhaj?  Seriously, COMEDY CENTRAL?  Supposedly, they're going to announce him as the new host of THE DAILY SHOW.

What a load of garbage.   He already failed on NETFLIX with PATRIOT ACT WITH HASAN MINHAJ.

He's not that funny to begin with and a lot of people were impressive during the last months as they filled in.  He was not impressive.  I was most impressed by Leslie Jones and thought she'd bring the most to the table.  Roy Wood Jr. would be my second pick.  My third pick surprised me: Chelsea Handler.  I actually think any of those three would be excellent.  I was surprised by Chelsea because she slid into the desk like a natural.  It's not just stand up.  You have to be able to interview (Wanda Skyes was also very good at interviewing).  And she had so many moments that should have been viral but COMEDY CENTRAL refused to shorten them -- the whole Biden shoots down balloon, crazy MTG and then crazy Santos -- a segment that got over 1.3 million views on YOUTUBE -- should have been chopped into three different segments.

I would have been happy with Leslie, Roy or Chelsea getting the slot.  I would have been okay with Marlon Wayans, Kal Penn, Dl Hughley or Wanda getting the slot.  

But Hasan?  The only one worse than him was John Leguizamo.

Speaking of awful, Stephen Amell

Arrowverse stars are coming forward with reactions surrounding Stephen Amell‘s stance on the current SAG-AFTRA strike after the actor spoke openly about the subject while making an appearance at GalaxyCon, a fan convention in Raleigh, North Carolina.

At the event, a fan recorded Amell addressing the topic, and while he did say, “I support my union. I do, and I stand with them,” he 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 [Heels], I think it’s myopic.”

[. . .]

Among the stronger reactions was Kirk Acevedo, who played Ricardo Diaz, a.k.a. The Dragon, a crime kingpin in Arrow Seasons 6 and 7. The actor tweeted, “This f**king guy,” along with additional emojis expressing his distaste for Amell’s stance.

Meanwhile, Matt Letscher, who featured in both DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash as Eobard Thawne, a.k.a. Reverse-Flash, also let his opinion be known regarding Amell’s comments. “Still waiting on that comprehensive list of totally non-reductive negotiating tactics we get to employ now. Thank god for superheroes! Any second now…. #SAGAFTRAstrike #SAGAFTRAstrong,” he tweeted.


If you're not getting how offensive Amell's garbage was, this is from Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The strike and what it boils down to" which went up Sunday:


Again, the current strike is about many things and, as we've seen over and over, it's the talent, not the suits, that suffer.  The suits get big homes and big salaries.  They leach off the talent.  Shirley Hemphill was found dead in her home at the age of 52, a victim of kidney failure.  Fred Barry also died at home, also at the age of 52, from a stroke.  Mabel King made it to 66 and she died in a hospital -- complications from diabetes.  At the time of her death, she'd already had a toe amputated, her left leg amputated, her right leg amputated and one arm.  The suits on WHAT'S HAPPENING!!?  Saul Turteltaub lived to be 87 and died of natural causes, Bernie Orenstein is still alive at 92 and Bud Yorkin lived to be 89, died of complications from natural causes (he suffered from dementia in his final years). WHAT'S HAPPENING!! had three successful years on ABC and was hugely successful in syndication (so much so that the show would be brought back for three first-run in syndication seasons).  You don't see that success reflected in the lives the actors led but you do see it reflected in the lives the suits led.  That huge imbalance?  That's why there's a strike.



Lastly, Gerald e-mailed asking what the big new movie will be this weekend?  Good questions.  THE MEG has its follow up with THE MEG 2: THE TRENCH.  That could be in the top four (I think BARBIE will be number one or number two).  There's an audience for that film.  But I think the big one, and the only one that might outdo BARBIE (might), is TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEM. 


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


Wednesday, August 2, 2023.  The Australian government bends to the will of the US government again in the persecution of Julian Assange, hack Jonathan Turley offers another "quote" that isn't correct, climate change is destroying Iraq right now, and much more.

Let's start with Julian Assange.  He remains persecuted and there's often a lot of words from government officials but there's never any action.  AP reports:

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Tuesday his government stands firm against the United States over the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, an Australian citizen fighting extradition from Britain on U.S. espionage charges.

Albanese’s center-left Labor Party government has been arguing since winning the 2022 elections that the United States should end its pursuit of the 52-year-old, who has spent four years in a London prison fighting extradition.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pushed back against the Australian position during a visit Saturday, saying Assange was accused of “very serious criminal conduct” in publishing a trove of classified U.S. documents more than a decade ago.

“I understand the concerns and views of Australians. I think it’s very important that our friends here understand our concerns about this matter,” Blinken told reporters.

On Tuesday, Albanese said, “This has gone on for too long. Enough is enough."

Quick, grab the cameras, kids, it's a politician talking out of both sides of their mouths.  First, the US secured their continued pursuit and persecution of Julian with the GWEO deal that Australia wanted (see Monday's "Iraq snapshot").  Second, you stand up by standing up.  Albanese thinks he can stay on his knees and still stand up.  No.  Second, the US isn't the only player.

We grasp that, right?

The US does not have custody of Julian at this point.  The UK does.  Nothing is stopping Australia -- specifically prime minister Albanese -- from demanding the United Kingdom hand over Australian citizen Julian to them.

The Australian government has been repeatedly disgraced on the international stage.  Though their bloggers are far too obsessed over the US, their citizens are aware that the government is failing them, is failing Julian and is failing Robert Pether.  And because the Australian citizens are getting angry, the politicians are making weak and meaningless statements hoping to appease them.  It's not going to work.

Again, if the Australian prime minister is getting no where with the President of the United States, he needs to publicly and immediately demand that the UK release Julian and allow Julian to return to Australia.  

The UK has no reason to hold Julian.  This has been an extra judicial action that cannot be defended in any court of law.  So if you can't get anywhere with Joe Biden, immediately pressure the UK to stop the illegal detention of Julian.

Or that's what a real leader would do.  Guess Australia doesn't have a real leader.

Seeing that Australia is now rapidly moving into the US orbit of client status – its minerals will be designated a US domestic resource in due course – and given that its land, sea and air are to be more available than ever for the US armed forces, nuclear and conventional, nothing will interrupt this inexorable extinguishing of sovereignty.

One vestige of Australian sovereignty might have evinced itself, notably in how Canberra might push for the release, or at the very least better terms, for the Australian national and founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.  The publisher faces 18 counts, all but one of them pertaining to the Espionage Act of 1917, an archaic, wartime act with a dark record of punishing free speech and contrarians.  The Albanese government, eschewing “the hailer” approach in favour of “quiet diplomacy” and not offending Washington, has conspicuously failed to make any impression.

[. . .]

As a terrible omen for the Australians, four defence personnel seem to have perished in waters near Hamilton Island through an accident with their MRH-90 Taipan helicopter as part of the Talisman Sabre war games.  The US overlords were paternal and benevolent; their Australian counterparts were grateful for the interest.  Blinken soppily suggested how the sacrifice was appreciated.  “They have been on our minds throughout today; they remain very much on our minds right now.”  But the message was clear: Australia, you are now less a state than a protectorate, territory to exploit, a resource basket to appropriate.  Why not just make it official?

After a rather extraordinary month of steadily escalating defence PR and conspiracy opportunities, Australia was sat on its backside over the weekend and reminded to know its subservient place.

As the culmination of media beat-ups, photo ops, military exercises and top-level ministerial talks grew, Australia was delighted to be told it could become an even more integrated cog of the US military machine, a bigger American base and that American pride was much more important than granting a small favour to a compliant client government.

The last bit effectively is what the US government means by yet again snubbing the Albanese government’s mimsy request for Julian Assange’s case to “be brought to a conclusion”, or, you know, something.

That our government is incapable of even saying it wants the US to drop its prosecution of Assange is an indication of just how subservient we are.

To put it in plain English would make it more embarrassing for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong when the US raises a middle digit in reply.

Let's turn to the US, at her site, Ann's been covering the murder of O'Shae Sibley:

In an interview with the New York Times, Kemar Jewel, a director and choreographer who worked with Sibley, said that Otis Pena, who was among Sibley’s friends at the gas station, had described the scene to him. Pena said that he and Sibley had told the other group of young men, “Stop saying that. There is nothing wrong with being gay.”

Another witness, Summy Ullah, told the New York Daily News that the young men cited their Muslim faith in objecting to Sibley and his friends’ dancing.

Law enforcement sources told NBC New York that the suspect, who was reportedly known for causing trouble at the station, fled the scene in a black SUV and remains at large. According to CBS New York, investigators now know the name of the suspect, though they have not released that information to the media.

Sibley was rushed to Maimonides Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

“They murdered him because he’s gay, because he stood up for his friends,” Pena said in an emotional video posted to Facebook. “We as a community don’t deserve this. We may be gay, but we exist. We’re not going to live in fear. We’re not going to live hiding.”

As Ann has noted, the killer won't get the death penalty because New York outlawed it.  But will he get punished at all.  His 'faith' mad him do it.  Didn't Jonathan Turley -- used up whore for FOX "NEWS" -- advise and encourage Colorado hate merchant Lorie Smith's case that said your 'faith' allows you to spit on gay men and lesbians?  Isn't that what crooked, lying piece of s**t garbage Jonathan Turley has encouraged?  And remember, keep your kids away from George Washington University because that's where hate merchant Jonathan Turley 'teaches.'  

Fortunately, people have caught on to Turley.  He's now loathed on campus by other professors and he's been having a lot of personal pain -- doesn't seem to realize that's not ending, those family problems emerging, they're going to keep happening.  

But remember back when Jonathan Turley was still running his con game and pretending he was of the left?  It got too hard for him to carry it off so he stopped pretending.  Now people regularly call the right-wing bordello worker out.  Such as Woody412:

Oh Judge Jackson is black and a fascist woman. It’s okay for Alito to be bought and paid for by Harlan Crowe, but Judge jackson cited a study you don’t like. Shut up Turkey.

She's targeted by Swirley Turley because he doesn't agree with her.  So he calls her a liar.  But, as Woody noted, Alito's corruption is not an issue.  Nor is Clarence Thomas' corruption.  He's refused to write on either topic.  All those secret dealings with The Federalist Society wooed Turley over.  He's garbage and it's far too late for him to redeem himself -- especially after his pro-bono work on the Connecticut case.

MEDIA MATTERS notes that Turley stretching legal facts again to try to defend his beloved Donald Trump.  Someone needs to note that Turley, an alleged educator, keeps 'quoting' and the quotes are never correct.  Oscar Wilde did not say "the best way to be rid of temptation is to yield to it."  He said, "The only way to be rid of temptation is to yield to it."  Not the "best," per Wilde, "the only."  I'm so sick of this liar -- who looks like he needs to see his PCP immediately -- misquoting over and over -- doing it in writing, doing it verbally.  Stop.  You're a hack.  An uneducated hack who thinks he knows so much but never saw his own downfall.  

While Turley tries to find an out for Donald due to his latest indictment, Paul Rudnick observes.

Elon Musk reinstated a Twitter (now called X) account that shared a screenshot from a child sexual abuse video; in doing so, Musk caved to right-wing pressure, undermined the platform's “zero-tolerance” child sexual exploitation policy, and added to Twitter's toxic advertising environment.

After Twitter rebranded and replaced its logo on July 24, Musk reinstated the account of conspiracy theorist Dom Lucre, which had been suspended less than a day earlier for sharing an image from a notorious child sexual abuse film. Musk’s reinstatement of the account — amid pressure from right-wing accounts — contradicts Twitter’s “zero-tolerance” policy regarding content that sexually exploits children and his previous pledges that it was “priority #1” to rid Twitter of child sexual abuse imagery. 

Multiple outlets have also reported that child sexual abuse material is still a problem on Twitter, with some pointing to Musk’s gutting of Twitter’s platform-safety teams as a contributing factor. And it is clear that little has changed on the platform since Musk brought on advertising executive Linda Yaccarino as CEO and launched a full corporate rebrand in a desperate attempt to attract advertisers back to a platform that has been hemorrhaging advertising revenue. The platform continued to serve as a bastion for anti-LGBTQ hate speech (some even coming from Musk himself) during Yaccarino’s first month as CEO, undercutting her own claims that Twitter is making progress in combating hate speech. 

Despite all this, a major advertising agency has recently removed Twitter’s “high risk” status, and major advertisers continue to finance Musk’s toxic platform. According to recent advertising data from Sensor Tower, advertisers that spent the most on Twitter ads so far in July — between July 1 and 25 — are Apple Inc. ($2,432,700), ($1,711,200), Amazon ($1,460,600), Mondelez International ($1,456,200), and Hewlett Packard ($1,174,300). 

Collectively, these advertisers earned over 2.3 billion impressions on their ads during the time frame. Meanwhile, previous Media Matters research has shown that ads from major companies have appeared next to tweets from previously banned accounts, including right-wing extremists, COVID-19 misinformers, and Holocaust deniers. And even after Musk’s rebranding, Media Matters also identified ads for major companies such as Deloitte, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and USA Today appearing on the account of a known neo-Nazi.

Musk is not doing free speech, he's doing hate speech.  A friend's working at Twitter and is wetting his shorts over what he fears I'm going to write.  Nothing more than I've written already.  Catch up quickly: A few weeks back a flash drive was delivered.  Supposedly, it was Glenneth Greenwald's browser history.  I looked on a secure computer and it was various Tweets.  They showed women being beaten up -- punched in the face repeatedly in one case, they showed racist Tweets about enslaving African-Americans and making the country "White again," they did the same with gay men and making the country "straight again," -- it's disgusting.  It's violent and it's hate speech with violent imagery that's also pornagraphic.  

Let's remember, in BROS, Billy and Luke are on the beach listening to a song and Billy ends up discussing his childhood and thinks he's scared off Luke.  Luke goes over to him and puts his face in front of Billy and that image, there two faces an inch apart, got censored on TWITTER.  We noted it in real time.  But you can have a bleeding, nude woman being punched in the face repeatedly by a man telling her she's a bitch over and over and that makes it up on Twitter with no censorship?

We get it Elon, we know what you really stand for: Garbage.  And what's the deal with the weight gain.  You just fatter and fatter and you were already creepy looking.  Do you really think women look at you these days and think, "Damn . . ."  Because they don't.  

Also uglying up the world, climate change.  Satruday, Alyssa J. Rubin (NEW YORK TIMES -- photos by Bryan Denton) reported:

The word itself, Mesopotamia, means the land between rivers. It is where the wheel was invented, irrigation flourished and the earliest known system of writing emerged. The rivers here, some scholars say, fed the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon and converged at the place described in the Bible as the Garden of Eden.

Now, so little water remains in some villages near the Euphrates River that families are dismantling their homes, brick by brick, piling them into pickup trucks — window frames, doors and all — and driving away.

“You would not believe it if I say it now, but this was a watery place,” said Sheikh Adnan al Sahlani, a science teacher here in southern Iraq near Naseriyah, a few miles from the Old Testament city of Ur, which the Bible describes as the hometown of the Prophet Abraham.

These days, “nowhere has water,” he said. Everyone who is left is “suffering a slow death.”

You don’t have to go back to biblical times to find a more verdant Iraq. Well into the 20th century, the southern city of Basra was known as the “Venice of the East” for its canals, plied by gondola-like boats that threaded through residential neighborhoods.

Indeed, for much of its history, the Fertile Crescent — often defined as including swaths of modern-day Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iran, the West Bank and Gaza — did not lack for water, inspiring centuries of artists and writers who depicted the region as a lush ancient land. Spring floods were common, and rice, one of the most water-intensive crops in the world, was grown for more than 2,000 years.

But now nearly 40 percent of Iraq, an area roughly the size of Florida, has been overtaken by blowing desert sands that claim tens of thousands of acres of arable land every year.

Climate change and desertification are to blame, scientists say. So are weak governance and the continued reliance on wasteful irrigation techniques that date back millenniums to Sumerian times.

Climate change is destroying Iraq right now.   It needs to be addressed.  The whole world is at risk, Iraq's just further up in line.  And nothing's being done.   At FOREIGN POLICY, Winthrop Rogers reports:

On a Friday in March, Nabil Musa led a group of young people out into nature for a hike. It was, for him, an ideal way to teach them about their important role in protecting the area’s increasingly fragile ecosystem—just one of the many small actions he has undertaken to help his community reckon with the effects of climate change, pollution, and drought.

Formally, Musa is the waterkeeper for Iraqi Kurdistan as part of a group known as the Waterkeeper Alliance, a worldwide grassroots network of environmental activists that has its origins in a group created in 1966 by fishers in New York to clean up the Hudson River. He also runs a local initiative called Experience Wilderness, which helps people connect with the natural world, and is active in the local art scene.

His group that day consisted of 15 refugees from Qamishli, a predominantly Kurdish town in northeastern Syria. They currently live in the Arbat camp in Sulaimaniyah governorate, where approximately 9,000 internally displaced Iraqis and Syrian Kurdish refugees who fled the Islamic State and Turkish military interventions have settled. Many have been there for years with little prospect of returning home.

Musa led the teenagers on a day hike through Kani Shok, a dramatic gorge that cuts through a mountain ridge an hour’s drive north of the camp. “It’s going to be tough,” Musa warned them. He wore gray hiking pants and a blue tie-dye quick-dry shirt for the outing, while the teens followed him in clunky tennis shoes and jeans.

[. . .]

After 10 years, he returned to Sulaimaniyah to be closer to his family, but he found it a changed place. The birds and willows were gone, and the Sarchinar River no longer flowed in the summer. This sense of profound loss pushed him to become an activist. “It was heartbreaking to see it in this shape,” he said. “It was not the river I left, and all my dreams were gone.”

As we made our way to the gorge, we crossed a bridge over the Sarchinar River. Musa remarked that the water level was very low for March, just a slim current meandering through the deepest parts of the gravel bed. It had not rained much over the previous three years, creating a persistent drought, and a rainier winter this year had only begun to chip away at the deficit.

“This water is vulnerable,” he said. “When we neglect and abuse it, the water cannot shout, and the water cannot say, ‘Don’t do this to me.’” 

The rivers that feed the Mesopotamian Basin are heavily dammed by Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq, with downstream communities suffering from significantly reduced water flow. Blocking the watercourses also changes their ecology, altering temperature and chemical composition and destroying the habitats of the fish and other wildlife that need the rivers in order to live. Activists from across the region are sounding the alarm about the accumulating damage of climate change, drought, and pollution to the environment and local populations. A change to one part of the watershed inevitably affects all the others. What upstream communities choose—or fail—to do can mean that those who live downstream end up bearing the cost.

In a phone interview, Salman Khairalla, an Iraqi environmental and human rights activist who frequently collaborates with Musa, said, “We talk about the environment from political, economic, and social perspectives.” Khairalla is co-founder and CEO of the water advocacy group Humat Dijlah—“Protectors of the Tigris” in Arabic—which is largely funded by foreign foundations. “When we talk about water and the environment, we link those topics with job opportunities, counterterrorism, and infrastructure,” he said. “We link it with what the people want.”

Iraq is at the front line of climate change.  What's taking place is happening there first and what's really sad is that, even with the change and destruction staring them down, the Iraqi leaders are as inept as every other leader in the world.  You'd think those most at risk right now would have leaders who demanding action but that is not the case.  Meanwhile, Stefan Lukas (IPS) reports:

The United Nations representatives who took the microphone in Baghdad in early June 2023 to talk about Iraq’s current drought had little reason to be optimistic. While Germans and Central Europeans were moaning about one of the year’s first heatwaves with temperatures from 30-34 degrees, in southern Iraq, prolonged temperatures above 50 degrees and long overdue rains have been destroying its marshlands, the ecosystem at the heart of the Middle East’s ‘fertile crescent’. Other stretches along the Euphrates and Tigris are also facing huge challenges: if climate change in the region continues like this, by 2050 it will suffer more than 300 sandstorms a year. Evaporation, reduced water flow and lack of rainfall will reduce the entire country’s water capacity to a minimum. Too little water stored in the soil available for agriculture has serious consequences for both rural and urban populations. More than a year ago, Iraqi Minister of Environment Jassim Abdul Aziz al-Falahi hinted at what scientists had predicted much earlier. What has already begun to happen will, within the next decades, also impact the surrounding countries and the European community.

As in other Middle Eastern countries, ever more critical climatic conditions are affecting the daily lives of much of Iraq’s population, which still needs the same regular access to fresh water that allowed advanced civilisations to flourish there centuries ago. But precisely that is becoming increasingly difficult – because of multiple factors over which Iraq has only limited influence.

At the turn of the 20th century, water flow of 1,350 cubic metres per second was normal. Today it’s just 149. The tributaries of the large Euphrates, Tigris and Diyala rivers are increasingly drying up. Apart from the drought plaguing Iraq’s mountainous regions, Iran and Turkey are constructing dams and other retention basins and taking more and more water for their own needs. In particular, Turkey – the source of nearly 70 per cent of Iraq’s fresh water – has escalated repressive policies to force through its own interests in Iraq’s (Kurdish) north. This, despite the 2021 agreement between Ankara und Baghdad on increased water flow.

The now minimal water flow is further aggravated by evapotranspiration, which causes 14.7 per cent of Iraq’s surface water to evaporate each year. Grain-growing regions along the rivers and in the southern marshes are almost completely drying up. Some bodies of water, like the Hamrim reservoir and the Umm Al-Binni lake have already lost more than 50 per cent of their volume and are expected to turn into desert in the next years. This is causing local, often agricultural, communities to lose their livestock and livelihoods. These Iraqis, some of whom who have lived in the country for centuries, have no choice but to migrate to bigger cities, where they also have to struggle to survive.

In 2022 alone, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement, more than 7,000 farmers and their families left rural areas. Iraq’s high level of urbanisation had dipped in the late 1990s but has been rising due to climate change: in 2021, 71.2 per cent of its population lived in cities like Baghdad, Basra, Najaf and Mosul. The rural exodus thus has other ramifications, including the growing difficulties that many municipalities have in maintaining their dilapidated water and electricity infrastructures. All this as the country lurches from one political crisis to another.

What's taking place is taking place in the open.  It's not hidden.  And yet there is no action.  

ARAB NEWS noted last week, "The country is now considered the fifth most vulnerable to the climate crisis by the UN.  According to the United Nations, 90 percent of the country’s rivers are polluted and Iraq will meet only 15 percent of its water demand by 2035.  Almost 70 per cent of the marshes are dry, putting many species of fish at risk of extinction."  Yet no action, no move to address what's taking place.

If the Iraqi government isn't going to address this, what hope do the rest of us in other countries have?

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Alito Does Not Work For Ma Bell" went up last night.  The following sites updated:

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