Tuesday, March 28, 2017

On the return of EMPIRE

Last week, I wrote about EMPIRE.


I watched the opening 12 or so minutes and bailed.

A few of you insisted the episode must have gotten better (though none of you admitted to watching it get better).

So I watched the whole thing.

It was even worse than I thought.

I don't give a damn if Lucious and Cookie make love.

But that was our big moment in the episode.

We're supposed to care.

But we're also supposed to be thrilled that Cookie's using a baseball bat to destroy stuff.

Did no one see the skit on MAD TV this summer where they made fun of the show by having Cookie destroy stuff?

It's been overdone and then some.

Again, I also don't give a damn if the two make love.

Don't care that Boo-Boo Kitty ended up in charge of pr -- wasn't that an episode about six episodes back when that deal was made?

I just don't care.

The show needs better writers.


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


 
Tuesday, March 28, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, some liars rush forward to rewrite history, the Iraqi Parliament meets to discuss the deaths in Mosul from last week's US bombing, and much more.



In United States, there's a day known as Groundhog Day, February 2nd, where allegedly (this is myth) a groundhog emerges from his hole and, if the animal sees its own shadow, it retreats back into its hole and we end up with six more weeks of winter.  If it doesn't see its shadow, spring begins.  Again, this is myth.  There's a comedy classic film GROUNDHOG DAY starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.

Less well known is Democratic Leader Spine Day.

It takes place every four years, a month or two after a presidential inauguration.

Following the inauguration, a Democratic Leader emerges from their hole.  He or she has come to the surface to search for his/her spine.  If, upon surfacing, the Democratic Leader learns that a Democrat is in the Oval Office, he/she scurries back down the hole to hibernate for another four years.  However, if s/he learns that a Republican is in the Oval Office, the Democratic Leader searches madly for their spine and, finding it or some approximate, begins publicly denouncing things they were previously silent on.

If you didn't know a Republican was in the White House (President Donald Trump), you should now.

Yesterday, KPFA's Mitch Jeserich rediscovered the Iraq War after eight long years of silence on the dreadful (and money wasting) LETTERS AND POLITICS (the show began in 2009 to celebrate the accomplishments of Barack Obama -- but it soon became focused on The Tea Party because, let's face it, Barack had few accomplishments).


70-year-old has been Reese Erlich blustered about current events in Iraq under Donald, "There's no UN resolution, there's no NATO call, there's no US Congressional vote -- nothing!  They're just waging a new war because they can get away with it."

Reese discovered his voice on Democratic Leader Spine Day -- thereby explaining why he was silent for years as Barack Obama did the same thing.  Someone might want to remind Erlich that Barack's actions also took place without a UN resolution, without a NATO call and without a US Congressional vote.

Last week, a US airstrike in Mosul led to the deaths of civilians.

That's not all that new.

And we were objecting to the laid back attitude to these deaths for some time, for example September 4, 2014:


The western press this morning on Iraq is at its typical uselessness.
It's all the spin garbage of 2003, presented in a fresh package.
X numbers of militants/[ISIS]/et al killed.
Sometimes with a "____ says."
Because none of it is verified, just repeated.
Civilian deaths can be documented but, of course, the western press ignores those deaths. Always.
Instead they serve one wave of lies after another.
And, like the first three years of this illegal war, they promise that this or that high ranking leader has been killed.
It's all garbage.




Another thing we've repeatedly noted: Mosul citizens were ordered -- by the Baghdad-based government -- to stay in Mosul.

Yesterday, we pointed out that neither NPR's Rachel Martin nor Tom Bowman could register that fact.  This morning, THE GUARDIAN offers "Mosul residents were told not to flee before airstrikes that killed civilians:"


Donatella Rovera, senior crisis response adviser at Amnesty International, said: “The fact that Iraqi authorities repeatedly advised civilians to remain at home, instead of fleeing the area, indicates that coalition forces should have known that these strikes were likely to result in a significant numbers of civilian casualties.
“Disproportionate attacks and indiscriminate attacks violate international humanitarian law and can constitute war crimes.”



Iraq: Civilians killed by airstrikes in their homes after they were told not to flee Mosul












In a report based on eyewitness accounts, Amnesty says hundreds of civilians have been killed by coalition-led air strikes in Mosul, Iraq.
Amnesty report: Coalition air strikes killing civilians
Amnesty says there's been a shocking spike in civilian casualties from air strikes & street fighting between the Iraqi military & Daesh, raising questions about the lawfulness of the attacks.






This is from Amnesty International's "Iraq: Civilians killed by airstrikes in their homes after they were told not to flee Mosul" (which was released earlier today):


Hundreds of civilians have been killed by airstrikes inside their homes or in places where they sought refuge after following Iraqi government advice not to leave during the offensive to recapture the city of Mosul from the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS), said Amnesty International. Survivors and eyewitnesses in East Mosul said they did not try to flee as the battle got underway because they received repeated instructions from the Iraqi authorities to remain in their homes.
The shocking spike in civilian casualties from both US-led coalition airstrikes and ground fighting between the Iraqi military and IS fighters in recent months has also raised serious questions about the lawfulness of these attacks. In one of the deadliest strikes in years just days ago on 17 March 2017, up to 150 people were reported killed in a coalition airstrike in the Jadida neighbourhood of West Mosul, eventually leading the coalition to announce that it is investigating the incident.
“Evidence gathered on the ground in East Mosul points to an alarming pattern of US-led coalition airstrikes which have destroyed whole houses with entire families inside. The high civilian toll suggests that coalition forces leading the offensive in Mosul have failed to take adequate precautions to prevent civilian deaths, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law,” said Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International, who carried out field investigations in Mosul.

“The fact that Iraqi authorities repeatedly advised civilians to remain at home instead of fleeing the area, indicates that coalition forces should have known that these strikes were likely to result in a significant numbers of civilian casualties. Disproportionate attacks and indiscriminate attacks violate international humanitarian law and can constitute war crimes.
“The Iraqi government and the US-led coalition, must immediately launch an independent and impartial investigation into the appalling civilian death toll resulting from the Mosul operation.”
Fleeing the city ahead of the fighting was also extremely difficult for residents of Mosul, as IS militants routinely punished and at times killed those caught trying to leave. Wa’ad Ahmad al-Tai, a resident of the al-Zahra neighbourhood of East Mosul, was among many civilians who followed Iraqi government advice to stay put.
“We followed the instructions of the government who told us ‘stay in our homes and avoid displacement’.  According to the instructions, residents who had nothing to do with . . . [IS, in Arabic] should stay in their homes... We heard these instructions on the radio… Also leaflets were dropped by planes. This is why we stayed in our homes,” he said.
As the fighting intensified Wa’ad Ahmad al-Tai, his brother Mahmoud and their families sought shelter at their other brother’s two-storey home hoping it would offer them more protection.
“We were all huddled in one room at the back of the house, 18 of us, three families. But when the house next door was bombed, it collapsed on us, precisely over the room we were sheltering in. My son Yusef, nine, and my daughter Shahad, three, were killed, together with my brother Mahmoud, his wife Manaya and their nine-year-old son Aws, and my niece Hanan. She was cradling her five-month-old daughter, who survived, thank God,” he said.
Hind Amir Ahmad, a 23-year-old woman who lost 11 relatives, including her parents, grand-parents and four young siblings, in a coalition airstrike in East Mosul, described the fatal attack on 13 December 2016 to Amnesty International:

“We were sleeping when the house literally collapsed on us. It was a miracle none of us was killed. We ran to my uncle’s house nearby. At about 2pm that house too was bombed and collapsed on us… almost everyone in the house was killed – 11 people. My cousin, two aunts and I were the only ones who survived. Everyone else died. It took us six days to find only pieces of their bodies, which we buried in a mass grave in a field nearby... I don’t know why we were bombed. All I know is that I have lost everyone who was dearest to me.”
In another air strike, 16 people were killed in three adjacent houses in the Hay al-Mazaraa district of East Mosul on 6 January 2017.  Survivors and neighbours told Amnesty International that in so far as they knew, no IS fighters had been present in or around the house. Among the victims were the three children and the mother of Shaima’ Qadhem, who had been arrested and killed by IS the previous year. Ahmad, a relative of the victims, told Amnesty International:
“This family was targeted by all sides. Last year [the Islamic State] arrested and executed the children’s mother and now the children themselves were killed by a coalition bombing. Civilians got trapped in this war and no one helped them. When I tried to leave Mosul with my family, we were caught by [the Islamic State]. They were going to pour petrol over us and burn us. In the end we managed to escape death by paying a heavy fine.  Others were not so lucky and were executed... Did the government, the coalition think how to protect the civilians in this war?  It doesn’t seem so.”

International humanitarian law (also called the laws of war) demands that all feasible precautions must be taken by warring parties to a conflict to minimize harm to civilians, and that attacks must not cause disproportionate harm to civilians – that is, damage which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.



And here's a brief video report.


America bombed Iraq last week, 200 civilians killed ­čśá ➡️


US bombing to 'liberate' it from group (IS) who wldnt exist without the previous US 'liberation' of Iraq in 2003. Neocons=Endless War






Yesterday on the always pathetic DEMOCRACY NOW!, Amy Goodman grew bored with a guest when he failed to agree with her that Donald Trump was the instigating bad guy here.

Poor whorish Amy.

It had been gearing up under Barack, a fact she didn't want to hear -- and hadn't for some time.

It's August of 2014 when Barack begins the daily bombing of Iraq.

Bombing doesn't liberate anyone.

Daily bombings.

In a country filled with people.

And so many in American pretended the deaths weren't happening.

Looked the other way.

Fell silent.

Refused to speak out.

Now Donald's in The White House and all the spineless attempt to scramble to an upright position.

162.

Amy GoodWhore should be asked what that number is.

The Mosul Slog.

It's day 162 of The Mosul Slog.

This was the operation begun in October.

The plan, as revealed by POLITICO, was for a quick wrap of Mosul (liberating the city seized by the Islamic State in June of 2014) in time for the November election to give Hillary Clinton a boost.

Didn't work out that way, did it?

Few weeks?

It's not 162 days.

And as the days mounted, Barack increased bombings and also embedded US forces with Iraqi units.

Day after day, to rescue the faltering Iraqi military, US presence -- troops on the ground and bombs from the air -- increased.

This is a continuation of that policy.

The is sending reinforcements to


  1.   Retweeted



  Retweeted
BREAKING: The US is sending reinforcements to Mosul, officials in Baghdad tell me. Unspecified # from









Amy Goodywhore wants to broadcast that Donald Trump is a bad guy.

But she doesn't want to challenge the policy.

And she's far from alone.


You challenge the policy.

And if you're calling out the bad guys, you grasp that Barack's on that list as well and so are many others.

In fact, let's drop back to June 4, 2015 to note a very shameful moment:


Changing topics, this morning we were noting the sad and disgusting position of Foreign Policy in Focus which now apparently supports the bombing of civilians:

And it serves no one.
Nor does Russ Wellen's latest insta-expertise where he knows everything thanks to a Mitchell Prothero article.
Wellen repeats this:


“Requests for air support,” Prothero continues, “which already go through an overly cumbersome process before the U.S.-led coalition will act—went unnoticed or ignored, and most of the units in Ramadi were unable to coordinate with one another because of deep-seated distrust among units composed of soldiers from different sects.”


And you know he [Wellen] thinks it's awful because he adds "Even worse" immediately after.
Did you ever think you'd see the day where Foreign Policy in Focus would publish an article whining that bombs were not being dropped fast enough on a country?
First off, Iraq is not an empty field.
It's an occupied country.
The process should be "cumbersome."
These air strikes have killed civilians.
They could kill many more if they were less "cumbersome."
Second, they have to be "cumbersome" because otherwise -- as Congress and the administration have both noted -- the US bombings could be used by various Iraqis to take out their political rivals.
It really is appalling that Foreign Policy in Focus has published an article bemoaning a process for bombing that they find too rigorous.
But I guess when a Democrat's in the White House a number of supposed activists let their inner whores work the street corner.


Shameful and when whores do what Wellen did, events always slap them in their ugly faces.  See previous efforts at Operation Happy Talk and this is how it always ends, Iraq and karma get the last word.

Hours after Wellen's embarrassing war propaganda went up, AFP was reporting, "An airstrike by a U.S.-led coalition flattened an entire neighborhood of a northern Iraqi town controlled by ISIS, killing dozens of people including civilians, witnesses and security sources said."  An estimated 70 civilians were killed in the bombing of Hawija. AFP quotes Hassam Mahmoud al-Jubbouri stating, "I ran with my sons and wife and took cover under the staircase. Three to four powerful explosions followed the first blast and I felt the roof of my house was about to collapse over our heads."

But Russ Wellen wants more US air strikes on Iraq.  He wants more and he wants them to be "less cumbersome."

Again, this is a very sad day in the history of Foreign Policy in Focus.

You can't walk it back when you've come out as a War Hawk.  When you've come out in favor of bombings and of relaxing even the most tiny efforts of constraint on those bombings, you really have nothing to left to say, not on the left.



You can't walk that back.

Russ Wellen can't.

FOREIGN POLICY IN FOCUS can't.

They argued for more strikes.

They lamented -- with the 'great' MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS -- the "cumbersome" rules on strikes.

So don't forget to add them to the list of bad guys.

They certainly earned this place on that list.

I believe it was Sara Flounders, earlier this month on BLACK AGENDA RADIO, who pointed out that Democratic-Socialists object to war under Republicans but under Democrats they are on board.  She is exactly right and look no further than FOREIGN POLICY IN FOCUS hailing air strikes just two years ago.


Saturday, Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jubroui announced that there would be a session of Parliament on Tuesday to address the strike.  ALSUMARIA notes the session took place today with al-Jubouri and 170 MPs present. ALL IRAQ NEWS adds that al-Jubouri declared the dead to be victims and martyrs and calling for benefits to go to their families.  ALSUMARIA elaborates that he also declared that there should be no immunity for the deliberately causing the loss of life.

Today's Parliament session is only the beginning and already there are calls for another emergency session on the bombing next Tuesday.

The following community sites -- plus BLACK AGENDA REPORT and Jody Watley -- updated:









  • Monday, March 27, 2017

    GREASE and more

    GREASE 2 -- already made.

    And not a bad film.

    I especially like when Michelle Pfeiffer sings "Cool Rider."

    But now there's this news:

    Grease stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John will return as Danny and Sandy to mark the film’s 40th anniversary next year.
    Olivia, 68, confirmed the pair are discussing ideas for the reunion – though she did not say what format it would take or how many appearances there would be.
    Speaking before collecting the Icon Award at the Fame Awards at Hard Rock Live in Las Vegas, she said: “We are thinking up ways. Nothing to announce yet."


    However they do it, it will be of interest to many.

    GREASE is a classic film and John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John were the stars of one of the biggest musicals of all time.

    (Stockard Channing nearly walks off with the film as Rizzo, though.)

    Who knows what they'll do.

    On the topic of gossip . . .

    I like Catherine Zeta-Jones.  I like Michael Douglas.

    But I can't stand Kirk Douglas.

    Never will be able to.

    Zeta-Jones is offering her father-in-law's thoughts on Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Olivia de Havilland.


    Why should we care?

    In the African-American community, the talk has always been that Kirk Douglas raped Dorothy Dandridge.

    In the larger culture, the rumors have always been that he raped Natalie Wood.



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

     
    Monday, March, 27, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue as does the illegal war.


    Judith Miller didn't work for NPR so they had to depend upon Tom Bowman.





    Fortunately for them (and unfortunately for news consumers), they still can.

    "Well, Rachel, here's what the Pentagon says happened," Tom offers.

    He's always good about that.

    And always good about repeating what "officials I talked with" tell him.

    Unnamed officials never lie, right?

    It's interesting, isn't it, the way he rushes to grab an eraser and try to wipe away the murders.

    Murders.

    "Concentrated city and there is the risk of all these casualties," stammers and stumbles Rachel Martin, still not up to co-hosting MORNING EDITION.

    Naturally, neither Rachel nor Tom ponder the bombing of civilian areas to 'liberate' them.

    Naturally, neither point out that the the people of Mosul were told, before The Mosul Slog began -- 161 days ago -- not to leave Mosul.

    Repeat that: They were told not to leave Mosul.


    ISIS didn't tell them that.  Nor did so-called Rachel Martin.

    The Iraqi government told them that.

    The Iraqi government told them to stay.

    The media did a lousy job then and does a lousy job now.

    Tiny child Zaid Jilani pretends he's covering what happened among the press under Bully Boy Bush.  He's not.

    He's repeating popular stories and has nothing to share but that which is already widely discussed.

    He avoids TV, for example.  That would require doing some work.

    More people watched THE TODAY SHOW than read THE NEW YORK TIMES or caught MEET THE PRESS.  But the tiny child is completely unaware of what went on with TODAY.

    We're not.  We've told TODAY tales all along.

    Let's drop back to June 24, 2013 for one of my favorites:

    The question of who's a journalist may be up to a debate.

    I agree.  For example, I wouldn't have spent a very long time on the phone January 12, 2004 if a journalist had been doing the 'White House beat' on NBC's Today.  But a journalist wasn't, David Gregory was.  It was the day before Ron Suskind's The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill.  And what did we learn that day from David Gregory?

    What he hoped we would learn was that O'Neill was a thief who'd stolen government documents.  And we would be outraged.

    But no documents were stolen.  And what we learned was that David Gregory will report on a book without even reading it's opening pages -- its there that its revealed that O'Neill requested and received from the White House his memos and writings on discs and that's what reproduced in the book.  And we learned that David Gregory wasn't really a journalist.  He was a dummy.  A ventriloquist's dummy.  He moved his lips and said what the White House wanted him to say.  As America saw yesterday, that's still what David Gregory does and he's well paid for it.  January 14, 2004, Today cleaned up David's mess by noting that O'Neill was given copies of the documents in the book -- given copies by the White House.  David always thinks that story will be forgotten.  Not while I'm around.  (I had an advanced copy that I'd already read of Suskind's book and my mouth dropped watching Gregory lie.  I was on the phone talking to everyone I knew at Today about how outrageous David's false charges were.)



    Watching David Gregory's career implode was watching justice happen.


    Sadly, there's not a lot of justice in the world.

    There are a lot of children pretending they are media critics who spend all their time protecting their friends and worse.


    tell me this people are terrorist. Who's terrorizing this young boy now? Oh look he's very calm. This is not a movie, this is Iraq.




    That's what happened.

    Terrorism.


    And Tom Bowman remains on NPR because he tidies up and repackages reality into the absurd to ensure that the American people are misled and misinformed.



    Over three days, 112 civilian bodies pulled from site of coalition airstrike in Mosul, Iraqi health official says



    This is not liberation.

    This is not freedom.

    These are not deaths caused by ISIS.


    What we're doing to today is what we did to Fallujah in 2004, on a far more massive scale. Another day of US-led genocide in .



    These deaths have been taking place for over two years now.


    And some 'tender hearts' want to be shocked that something like this could happen.


    It's happened all along.


    UN warns of 'great risk' to civilians as battle for Fallujah looms




     Maybe Americans can now emerge from their 'sleep cure' and face reality -- the reality the Iraqi people have had to live with for the last eight years?

    Yes, the media misled.

    But after 8 years, you damn well have to take part of the blame for your own refusal to face reality.

    "'Improved' Iraq: Civilians killed in air strikes,..." -- that's from November of 2014.

    We've been covering this.

    It's a shame so many chose to bury their heads in the sand.


    Especially since Luis Martinez (ABC NEWS) is reporting this morning, "The U.S. military is sending an additional two companies of soldiers to Iraq to help Iraqi troops fighting to retake Mosul from ISIS, defense officials confirmed to ABC News. Two companies of soldiers is equal to between 200 to 300 soldiers."






    New content at THIRD:














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