1/25/2023

boo, bruce springsteen, boo

 


just wondering, does any 1 care about bruce springsteen anymore?  i know he was big back in 1984.  it held over to 1985.  by 1986, it was starting to crater.  by the 90s, it was 'bruce who?'  and now that he's just rolled around in his own greed, i just can't imagine most people giving a damn about him anymore.

male rock critics loved him in the 70s.  but america really didn't.  it wasn't until 1984 that he really had hits.  20 singles between 1973 and 1983.  how many went top 20?  2 - and the bulk didn't even chart.  'fade away' made it to number 20.  his only real hit was 'hungry heart' which made it to number 5 - and which didn't sound like him.  then came 'born in the usa' and 7 singles that all went top 10.  by 1992, he was crashing and burning.  after that, it had to be a movie song for it to even chart. he hasn't had a top 10 hit since 1994. 
and he hasn't had a top forty hit since 1997.

his albums don't sell any more.  but some fools will pay tons of money for an overpriced ticket and pretend like he's still pertinent. 

he was never that big.  people say 'the 80s.'  he was nothing in the 80s until 1984.  and he faded so quickly.

michael jackson was big in the 80s, madonna, prince, janet jackson, the beastie boys, jody watley, tina turner, billy idol, stevie nicks,  ...

bruce's entire career - all these years and years - he's only had 12 top ten hits.  madonna's had 38 top 10 hits.  in fact, she's gone to number 1 on the top 40 pop charts 12 times.  prince had 19 top 40 pop hits. michael jackson landed 30 songs in the top 40. janet jackson has had 28 top 10 hits on the pop charts.

that certainly puts that whole prince v. bruce debate into perspective - spike lee was a prophet ('do the right thing').

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'


Wednesday, January 25, 2023.  UFOs  (and witchcraft?) in Iraq, the prime minister is feeling pressure over his upcoming trip to the US, Iraqis take to the street to protest and much more.


Starting with Iraq, Bill Gallucio (KFI AM) reports:

The United States government is reportedly investigating a potential unidentified flying object seen flying over the Iraqi city of Mosul. A still image from a brief video clip was shared on Twitter by Jeremy Corbell and George Knapp during the first episode of their new podcast Weaponized.

Corbell said that the video, which was taken in April 2016 and shared with members of Congress during a classified briefing, shows a metallic-colored sphere moving next to the spyplane without losing any altitude.

"It's one of many images, this one is a still from a video. It's a brief video, maybe four seconds, where this orb or metallic ball runs alongside a spy plane, and it's shown moving beside the plane without dropping altitude at all," Corbell said on the podcast.

Corbell and Knapp did not say how they obtained the image, and the Pentagon has not responded to their claims that a UFO was spotted over Iraq.

Tala Michel Issa (AL ARABIYA) adds:

One source stated: “These drones operate 20-25,000 feet up in the air and they’re flying around. We’re keeping an eye on bad guys all over the world. An operator will be zoomed in looking at a town in Syria. And all of a sudden, a little orb will go flying through the viewfinder. The operator’s like, “What the hell?” And so, he starts focusing on it and he just watches the orb for a while. We might get it for 30 seconds, we might watch it for 10 minutes. And then it will do something remarkable, like suddenly bolt off the screen.”

The Mosul orb image, obtained by the Daily Mail, was taken at 9:47 am on April 16, 2016, according to its timestamp.Although the image had precise coordinates of where it was taken in northern Iraq, Corbell said that he removed them in order to be cautious not to release sensitive information.It is understood that Congressional intelligence and defense committees have seen the image and footage, as part of a briefing given by the

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF), a previous incarnation of the US government’s UFO office, on November 4, 2021.Corbell also added that the flying spherical object captured in Iraq is reminiscent of similar UFOs previously encountered by naval aviators on the US’ west and east coasts everyday, but the fact that it was caught in an active conflict zone makes it a little more complicated.

“For the first time, we are releasing a military-filmed image of a UAP [unidentified anomalous phenomena] over an active conflict zone. This is an entirely different scenario to the east and west Coast incursions over training ranges,” the Mail quoted Corbell as saying.“UAP pose significant risk to our service men and women, and this case highlights this – and is unfortunately not unique.

“This is not just about safety concerns to pilots and ground troops. Its potential consequences are far deeper. And the scope is now proven to be global.”


TECHEBLOG covers it here.








Is it a drone, what was it?  It's captured attention in Iraq and outside of Iraq.  It's fed into the same fascination that ARAB TIMES' article earlier this month did, "The Abdali customs men have seized tools used in magic and sorcery from a female citizen coming from Iraq, reports Al-Rai daily. A customs source told the daily the customs men suspected the woman, and when the customs inspector checked her luggage, he discovered prohibited materials used in witchcraft and sorcery. When asked about the reasons for bringing them, she replied, 'Personal interes' but the materials were confiscated and handed over to the competent authorities."


In other news, Ismaeel Naar and Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) report:

Security personnel were on Wednesday out in force to safeguard the Central Bank of Iraq headquarters in Baghdad from protesters demonstrating over the currency inflation crisis.

Iraqi riot police cordoned off the area as dozens of activists gathered near the Central Bank building. Some merchants in the surrounding area also closed down their shops and joined the protesters, some of whom raised placards that read: “The politicians are the ones covering up financial corruption for the banks.”

Activists close to the Sadrist and youth-led Tishreen movement, as well as civil rights groups, had called for gatherings outside the bank on Wednesday after a week-long plunge of the Iraqi dinar that led Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani to sack Central Bank governor Mustafa Ghaleb Mukheef.

The demonstrations were expected and a journalist from The National earlier confirmed that several groups of people had been seen crossing Al Shuhadaa (Martyrs') Bridge that leads to the bank.

Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) notes, "The protesters -- mainly young people -- rallied amid a heavy security presence, with many carrying the Iraqi flag and banners with slogans."



Earlier this week, Ahmed Rasheed (REUTERs) noted, "Under pressure from Washington to stem the flow of dollars into Iran, Iraq's prime minister sent elite counter-terrorism forces more accustomed to battling Islamist militants to shut down dealers smuggling the currency to the Islamic Republic."


Pressure?  As usual, the big story is missing from the filings.  Mohammed's real pressure and the dance he's doing right now has to do with the upcoming trip to the US.  The US government is happily going to welcome him but -- and this is why Brett McGurk and other Americans were visiting in the last days -- not everyone would be welcomed.  Meaning?  He's having to do a dance with regards to the entourage accompanying him.  He's been informed that certain people he might want to bring are persona non grata in the US (due to past actions).  

Otherwise, Mohammed's turned out to be an American dream for the US government -- a point Jack Detsch (FOREIGN POLICY) underscores throughout his latest article:

Just three years ago, Iraq was on the brink of expelling U.S. troops that had helped drive the Islamic State out of the country. In January 2020, days after a monthslong military tit-for-tat between the United States and Iran had culminated in the U.S. assassination of a notorious Iranian military commander and a retaliatory ballistic missile attack on U.S. troops in Iraq, the Iraqi parliament, with the backing of the then-caretaker prime minister, took a symbolic vote to kick out foreign forces.

The scene in Baghdad, according to former U.S. officials, was a state of near-pandemonium, with Iran-backed Hezbollah operatives whipping votes in a flurry of calls just as U.S. lawmakers would on Capitol Hill—only in this case, with much more serious carrots and sticks attached.

“You had Kataib Hezbollah guys texting and calling the cellphones of sitting members of the Council of Representatives, threatening them and/or bribing them if they didn’t vote in support,” said Jonathan Lord, a former U.S. defense official and congressional aide who is now the director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Washington-based think tank. “There was an immense amount of coercion to get that vote across the finish line.”

But the U.S. presence that was hanging by a thread in pre-pandemic Iraq, at the tenuous invite of the Baghdad government, now appears to be there to stay—indefinitely. That’s after freshly inaugurated Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani, in his first interview with Western media last week, told the Wall Street Journal that he wants the 2,000 U.S. forces in the country, who are there training Iraqi troops to fight the Islamic State, to keep doing their work for the foreseeable future.

“We think that we need the foreign forces,” Sudani told the Journal. “Elimination of ISIS needs some more time.”

Though Sudani’s public support for the U.S. mission—which has grown increasingly limited since Iraq declared the Islamic State’s physical caliphate defeated in late 2017 and combat troops were drawn down—seems like an abrupt turn of the tide in Baghdad, it reflects a steady movement toward Washington in recent years.


Monday, we noted the hideous Tony Dungy.  Where homophobia and transphobia abound, Jonathan Turley rushes in to embrace it, as Ty noted in "Ty's Corner." In the real world -- a world Turley left long ago --  Kevin B. Blackistone (WASHINGTON POST) points out:

 

It isn’t my intent to criticize religiosity, though Dungy has used his to pan non-Christian religions and people whom his version of Christianity rejects. He is an evangelical Christian who has been an outspoken opponent not just of abortion but same-sex marriage, which he campaigned against in Indiana when he was coach of the Colts, and against gay people in general, including those who may toil as professional athletes. He infamously said he wouldn’t have Michael Sam, the would-be first openly gay player in the NFL, in his locker room.


This is all yet another reminder that sports can be, has been and often continues to be an agent for the opposite of which it is celebrated: regression, not progress. Dungy isn’t in the sports world’s ballyhooed vanguard of social change no matter his historical achievement as the first Black head coach to lead a team to a Super Bowl championship.

In fact, in March he is scheduled to stay on brand as a speaker at an all-men’s conference called Men’s Advance 2023. It’s headed by evangelical Christian pastor Andrew Wommack, who argued two years ago that “homosexuality is three times worse than smoking. We ought to put a label across their forehead: ‘This can be hazardous to your health.’ ”

Dungy should know going through with that appearance could be hazardous to his career.

This was not just a recent Tweet, this is a history for Dungy, this is a pattern.  And at some point, NBC's going to have to decide where they stand on this issue.  Dungy was hired to bring in viewers, if his statements are repelling people?  NBC already has enough problems without taking on more of them.  And maybe someone needs to ask Dungy to comment on the Chicago TV shows and their storylines?  I have a feeling that five minutes after he weighed in on one of the same-sex relationships, NBC would dump his ass.  In other words, Dungy pretends to be brave about being a homophobe but even he knows there are limits to his hate speech.  Paid whores always do know that line.

Look for Jonathan Turley to wrap his arms around Dungy and the two to roll around on the floor while panting "religious rights!" to one another.

 

The following sites updated:





1/24/2023

'the hand that rocks the cradle'

takethatmoment

 

that's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS  "Take That Moment To Enjoy The PEW" which went up Sunday.

remember 'hand that rocks the cradle'?  i thought of it while reading this 'a.p.' report:



A gynecologist who molested patients during a decadeslong career was convicted of federal sex trafficking charges Tuesday after nine former patients told a New York jury how the doctor they once trusted attacked them sexually when they were most vulnerable.

A Manhattan federal court jury returned its verdict after deliberating less than a day in the case against Robert Hadden, 64, who worked at two prestigious Manhattan hospitals — Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital — until complaints about his attacks shut down his career.

Hadden’s lawyers admitted that their client had sexually abused patients, but they said his guilty plea to charges in state court seven years ago put those crimes behind him.



the film starts with that bad actress - anabeth or something - being molested by her gynecologist.  she goes to authorities and he takes his own life. 

that leaves behind his widow peyton who loses their child and then sets out for her revenge.  rebecca de morney played peyton and was amazing in that film.  they really never gave her another role where she could just run with it which is a big shame because rebecca is very talented.


let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'


Tuesday, January 24, 2023.  Julian Assange remains persecuted, Friday an event took place to call for his release, yesterday a video posted on YOUTUBE which is probably going to drive some support away (what were those two idiots thinking?).


Friday, in DC, people gathered to address the ongoing persecution of Julian Assange and the continued attack on The First Amendment.  Amy Goodman and DEMOCRACY NOW! broadcast the events.




Julian remains imprisoned and remains persecuted by US President Joe Biden who, as vice president, once called him "a high tech terrorist."  Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:



A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent deat



The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump.

The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that “a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy”.

But the biggest test of Biden’s commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.

Whether the US justice department continues to pursue the Trump-era charges against the notorious leaker, whose group put out secret information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, American diplomacy and internal Democratic politics before the 2016 election, will go a long way toward determining whether the current administration intends to make good on its pledges to protect the press.

Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange’s protracted prosecution.


Before we go further with Julian let's note something.  There is a huge movement behind freeing Julian.  As with any large grouping, there are smart people and then are flat out stupid people.  You don't help the cause with raving lunatics.  So if your recent YOUTUBE segment -- which we won't be noting here, please stop e-mailing -- embarrasses us all, grasp that you didn't help the cause.


You should have known that to begin with when you tried to recycle yesterday's Jimmy Dore -- another failed comic this one from decades ago.  His failure alone didn't make him a bad guest.  His screaming and yelling made him a bad guest.  I don't care who he slept with back in the day -- and the rumor spun like crazy -- but he's not worth a segment today.  You'd try to set up the clip and he'd be yelling.  You'd play the clip and he'd be yelling.


You really think that makes the movement to free Julian look good?  You think anyone watching Crazy yell and scream changed their mind because of him?  Changed it in a good way?


Tell you when you lost me: When you started going after Juan Gonzalez. 


You and your partner are nepo-babies, grasp that and grasp that we see you as such.  And you want to go after Juan?


Juan's a leader, he's a mentor, he's a fighter.  And not 'online.'  He's all those things in the real world and long has been those things.  And we're not talking ancient history.  While you had your nose down to the hairy root as you swallowed every lie of candidate Barack Obama, Juan was writing columns like "I Smell Barack Obama Baloney."


You're two spoiled little boys so you have no idea the importance within the world of Juan Gonzalez.  For you to trash him -- and that's what the two of you and the yeller were doing -- did not look good for your cause.

When you put that kind of hatred out there, don't be surprised with the response.  


By that I mean, as that clip and word of it got out, I had multiple phone calls where they were bringing up the fact that one of your fathers beat your mother.  That detail is buried and unknown to your young audience today.  But it was well known -- and published -- in the 90s.  Your lives just got a lot harder because of the stunt you pulled.  And, hey, I'll sacrifice myself for a cause and have.  But I self-sacrifice smartly.  You just made yourself a target for a very sh**ty video that is not going to help Julian's cause at all.


I wasn't bothered by your Amy Goodman trashing -- I've called her out here for years and will continue to do so as needed.  I'm certainly not bothered that you (finally) called out Allan Nairn -- or let the screamer call him out while one of you tried to offer useless Allan an excuse (whores for Barack don't get excuses from me).  


But to have that meltdown on YOUTUBE where you savaged Juan Gonzalez?  And where there was that screaming for a public apology?  


You went back to a 2017 interview and that's how you contribute to increasing support for Julian?


Julian deserves to be free.  Julian is not a saint.  He doesn't have to be a saint for most adults to call for his freedom.  But that's what you need him to be for yourselves because the world must be simplified into a LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK for very young readers.  


Juan is a journalist.  In any interview he does, he is a journalist.  That may frustrate you and it may enrage you -- apparently it did.  Appears someone had a lot of Juan envy when he was working on DEMOCRACY NOW! and needs some therapy to address it today.  

Take your crazy to a doctor's office and fix it there.  Don't put it on YOUTUBE.  But if you do, don't kid yourself that you were trying to help Julian Assange.


Chris McGreal (GUARDIAN) notes:


Joe Biden has been accused of hypocrisy for demanding the release of journalists detained around the world while the US president continues seeking the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from Britain to face American espionage charges.

The campaign to pressure the Biden administration to drop the charges moved to Washington DC on Friday with a hearing of the Belmarsh Tribunal, an ad hoc gathering of legal experts and supporters named after the London prison where Assange is being detained.

Hypocrite Joe.  His legacy is being written as we watch.  Senile.  Unable to handle classified documents.  And a man who molests The First Amendment as her persecutes Julian Assange.  Not how I'd want to be remembered but apparently Joe wants to be the most hated president of all time.


Chaired by journalist Amy Goodman (Democracy Now) and Srećko Horvat Philosopher, Co-Founder of DiEM25, The Press Club’s Belmarsh Tribunal today included testimony from Julian’s father John Shipton.

Mr Shipton said: “It’s unbelievable we are now entering the 14 year of the persecution of Julian Assange. The ceaseless abuse, constant hounding, unscrupulous lies, abuse of process, the ceaseless application of three states – Sweden, UK and US – to abuse due process is appalling. Their bureaucratic malice and constant crying from the rooftops about free press is an artifice. They have used the democratic process to hound Julian close to death’s door.”

“Their disrespect of their own and international law is disgraceful. Julian only ever spoke truthfully, published accurately. Julian Assange is an icon of the decay of application of law, a symbol of freedom of speech, of righteousness and crimes against humanity. We, Julian’s supporters and family are beginning to see support in civil society all around the World. Together, we will prevail in bringing about Julian’s release.”

Mr Shipton said that “Julian’s persecution is of great, vital concern to Australia’s people and government. Remembering as we do with firm pride and responsibility, that Australia authored the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”


Joe Biden holds Julian's fate in his hands.  And Julian hold Joe's legacy in his hands.  Hypocrite.  Funny how that word keeps popping up and applied to Joe.  AL MAYADEEN notes:

US President Joe Biden has been accused of hypocrisy for calling for the release of detained journalists around the world while the US president continues to seek the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from Britain to face American espionage charges.

The Belmarsh Tribunal, an ad hoc gathering of legal experts and supporters named after the London prison where Assange is being held, convened in Washington DC on Friday to press the Biden administration to drop the charges.

Sadaf Hassan (TRANSCONTINENTAL TIMES) uses the term hypocrisy and applies it to Joe  as well. Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg took part in Friday's hearing.  Brett Wilkins (ASIA PACIFIC REPORT) notes:

“One of the foundation stones of our form of government here in the United States . . . is our First Amendment to the Constitution,” Ellsberg — whom the Richard Nixon administration tried to jail for up to 115 years under the Espionage Act, but due to government misconduct was never imprisoned — said in a recorded message played at the tribunal.

“Up until Assange’s indictment, the act had never been used… against a journalist like Assange,” Ellsberg added. “If you’re going to use the act against a journalist in a blatant violation of the First Amendment… the First Amendment is essentially gone.”


Inviting action by the U.S. Department of Justice or DOJ, Ellsberg said that “I am now as indictable as Julian Assange and as everyone who put that information out — the papers, everybody who handled it.”

“Yes, I had copies of it and I did not give them to an authorized person. So, if they want to indict me for that, I will be interested to argue that one in the courts — whether that law is constitutional,” he continued, referring to the Espionage Act.

Highlighting that the highest U.S. court has never held that it is constitutional to use the Espionage Act as if it were a British Official Secrets Act, Ellsberg said that “I’d be happy to take that one to the Supreme Court.”

The Espionage Act, “used against whistleblowers, is unconstitutional,” he asserted. “It’s a clear violation of the First Amendment.”

Ellsberg’s public confession comes after editors and publishers at five major media outlets that collaborated with WikiLeaks in 2010 for articles based on diplomatic cables from Manning released a letter late last month arguing that “it is time for the U.S. government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.”


Friday's event featured multiple speakers.  In an effort to make sure that important points were not lost, Amy Goodman and DEMOCRACY NOW! devoted yesterday's show to highlighting some of what took place.  Here's an excerpt from yesterday's program:

AMY GOODMAN: Our next speaker is Jesselyn Radack, human rights attorney, renowned for her work protecting whistleblowers and journalists. While working at the Justice Department, she disclosed the FBI committed ethics violations in their interrogation of John Walker Lyndh. Among her many roles, Jesselyn is the director of national security and human rights at ExposeFacts.

JESSELYN RADACK: I’m Jesselyn Radack, and I represent whistleblowers and sources for a living, basically. I have defended the most number of media sources in the U.S. who have been investigated and charged under the Espionage Act. Most recently, I represented, and still represent, Daniel Hale. Huge shoutout to Daniel. I know he’s paying attention to this. But, basically, Daniel had to navigate an Espionage Act prosecution in the most conservative federal court in the country, the exact same court where Assange is indicted, in front of the same judge.

Daniel is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who participated in the U.S. drone assassination program. After leaving the Air Force, he became an outspoken opponent of the U.S.'s targeted killing program. He basically called out and informed the public about targeting ineffectiveness and casualties and consistently exaggerating the accuracy of drone strikes and underreporting civilian deaths. Daniel's house was searched in 2014. Like Julian Assange, he lived under a sword of Damocles for a better part of his adult life. In May 2019, he was finally arrested and indicted on allegations that he disclosed classified documents to the U.S. military’s clandestine drone program, believed to have been the source material for a series in The Intercept called “The Drone Papers.”

Daniel pleaded guilty to a single count under the Espionage Act and was sentenced to 45 months in prison. I think his case is a prescient warning of how an Espionage Act case against Assange would proceed. Bear with me. At sentencing, the judge recommended — he recognized that Daniel was a whistleblower, and recommended that he be placed in a minimum-security medical prison. But the Bureau of Prisons instead sent him to an Orwellian communications management unit, nicknamed Gitmo North. There are only two such facilities in this country. Created in the aftermath of 9/11, they were intended to house terrorists. Daniel is a pacifist with no priors. Until recently, he has been housed in this special prison with the “Merchant of Death,” Viktor Bout, who was recently released.

So, when the U.S. gives assurances that Assange won’t be put in a supermax, don’t be fooled, because he’ll end up in a far worse place, one of these communications management units. In the CMU, Daniel is far more isolated from his support network, unable to receive the medical and psychological care he so desperately needs, and has more restrictions on his communications, reading materials and visitors, with other people, than anyone on death row.

SREĆKO HORVAT: There are a few people in Washington, D.C., who were not afraid to talk about Julian Assange all these years, and our next member of tribunal is one of them. So, it’s my big pleasure to present the one and only Chip Gibbons, policy director of the organization Defending Rights & Dissent.

CHIP GIBBONS: I want to start by acknowledging three people who cannot be here today. One is Julian Assange, who is imprisoned in a dungeon called Belmarsh. The second is Daniel Hale, who is currently being held in a communications management unit. I’ve been told that Daniel watches Democracy Now!, which is streaming this. Daniel, if you can hear this, I want to say, on behalf of everyone in this room, you have our solidarity. Never let them break your spirit. A better world is possible only because of people like you. And the third person who can’t be here is, of course, Edward Snowden, who exposed that our government was lying to us about how they were spying on us, and, for this patriotic act, was driven into exile, while the lying spies continue to enjoy lucrative careers with war profiteers and cable news programs. And you have to ask yourself: Do they view those as two different jobs? Because, after all, someone has to sell the wars that line their pockets.

The U.S. government knows, like we know, that without sources, there is no journalism. But the U.S. government is no longer content with merely going after the sources. They have made Assange the first person ever indicted under the Espionage Act for the crime of publishing truthful information. Make no mistake: The attempts to silence Assange is part of a larger war to silence those who expose the crimes of empire, militarism and the U.S. national security state.

And it’s not just a legal war involving a prosecution, but an extralegal war involving covert action and propaganda. While the U.S. security state is cloaked in secrecy, there have been a steady trickle of revelations about the three-letter agencies’ war on WikiLeaks. The NSA added Assange to their man-hunting database. The CIA plotted to kidnap and maybe even kill Assange. Various agencies sought to get around rules protecting press freedom by arguing WikiLeaks were not journalists. The NSA discussed the idea of declaring WikiLeaks a malicious foreign actor. The FBI and the CIA demanded a personal audience with Barack Obama to persuade him that rules protecting press freedom should not apply to WikiLeaks, as WikiLeaks should instead be classified as information brokers. I’m not sure what an information broker is; I don’t think the CIA and the FBI know, either. And finally, they invented the term “hostile nonstate intelligence agency” to allow the CIA to engage in offensive counterintelligence against WikiLeaks, something previously reserved only for rival spy agencies, and requires even less oversight — and there’s the very little oversight over the CIA — over CIA covert action. The U.S. government’s legal and extralegal war on WikiLeaks is a war on journalism itself.

AMY GOODMAN: Chip Gibbons, policy director of Defending Rights & Dissent, testifying Friday at the Belmarsh Tribunal in the case of Julian Assange in Washington, D.C. 



The presidents of major Latin America countries have increased their support for the campaign to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The leaders are urging US President Joe Biden to drop the charges against Assange and set him free.

He is continuing to fight against extradition to the US and is being held at Belmarsh prison in London.

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson and WikiLeaks ambassador Joseph Farrell have held meetings in recent weeks in Latin American countries including Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador raised the issue of Assange at a recent summit with Mr Biden, and has used his daily briefing to highlight his continuing “unjust detention”.

“If he is taken to the United States and sentenced to the maximum penalty … we must begin the campaign to dismantle the Statue of Liberty," said Mr Lopez Obrador.


Julian is not free.  It's going to take more effort to free him.  Those efforts need media coverage. So if you're on YOUTUBE and you're wanting to help Julian?  Probably not a good idea to attack a respected journalist like Juan Gonzalez who just did his job -- watch the DEMOCRACY NOW! segment from 2017 and you will grasp that Juan got dragged into a beef two YOUTUBERS have with Amy Goodman and that Juan didn't do what Amy and Allan did.  Grasp that and grasp that journalists will grasp it as well. He conducted himself in a journalistic manner.  So they may decide to just avoid the topic of Julian so they don't experience the wrath of the nepo-babies on YOUTUBE.  Again, that segment helped no one.  Maybe I need to put it in the hypermasculine terms that YOUTUBERS can grasp: Boys, you haven't earned the right to lick the sweat off Juan's sack.  And having watched your video, I fear you never will.


New content:


The following sites updated:


j.k.

the hate season at gac

 

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Hate Season at GAC" went up sunday.

 j.k. rowling.  that idiot for 'huffington post' who insisted she had examined all of j.k.'s statements and found no transphobia?  was she blind.  if she hadn't written those lies, i might not be writing now.  but huff post did write lies.  and j.k.'s still doing her transphobia.  it's a shame because she really stood for something once upon a time.


i found her inspirational.  a working mom on welfare, carving out time to write down stories she came up with all on her own.  what a gorgeous imagination she has and real talent.

but she's not much of a person if she'd enter into this hurtful battle against trans people.

great artist, lousy person.  

and the world will always be able to enjoy her art.

i honestly have a creative imagination of my own and, in it, j.k. makes amends with the trans community and works to heal, not harm.

bette midler made some anti-trans tweets but then reeled it back in.  people can change.  but maybe they have to want to change?  

bette read some articles in 'the new york times' and took them as credible from a credible outlet.  

i don't know where j.k. gets her info.  but i wish she cared about the effects that her words had on others.  if i were fortunate enough to write even one book as wonderful as the harry potter books, i'd be so happy and just want to share joy with the world.  

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Monday, January 23, 2022.  THE ARAB WEEKLY can't keep their mouth off Moqtada, the marshes in Iraq are at risk (and if enough Gates money is tossed at it, a really bad photo essay can be produced), Iraqis spent the weekend celebrating the big Gulf Cup win, and much more.


You have to wonder and shake your head when liars work so hard to inflate a minor figure.  Liars?  THE ARAB WEEKLY.  No one wanted to put their name to the article which means the writer is at least capable of shame.  Yesterday, we noted:

Meanwhile, the Queen of Mesopotamia himself, fading cult leader Moqtada al-Sadr, took it upon himself to show up and tell the team what to do.  Tell them what to do, of course, after they have won.  Seeing the joy and excitement the team has brought to Iraq, Moqtada wanted to try to latch onto their popularity to pull himself up.  So he hectored them on how they should conduct themselves and all these other things that they did need to hear.  No one needs advice from a forgotten man.

I learned Moqtada's statements on Arabic social media where he was being mocked ruthlessly.  As he should be.  He's a failure who keeps stomping his feet and having tantrums.  He stops long enough whenever Iraq sees some success and then tries to attach himself to that.

Again, he's being mocked on Arabic social media.


The leader of Iraq’s Sadrist movement, Moqtada al-Sadr, has used his country’s recent victory in the Gulf soccer cup to stage an unexpected comeback on the Iraqi political scene.

Pro-Iranian formations, including the Coordination Framework coalition, did not seem to have anticipated Sadr’s new move after his had declared withdrawal from politics.

Widely-circulated pictures on social media showed Sadr posing with members of the Iraqi national soccer team carrying their trophy after winning the Gulf Cup 25.

As many social media users noted, where the boys are, Moqtada will soon follow.  They mocked him for his childless (and loveless) marriage.  Married for decades and no children.  I loved the post about how Moqtada must have been too worried about keeping his trim figure to have children.  

It's not a comeback.

I don't know why liars are so invested in this.  I'm going to assume TAW is worried about Iran's 'influence.'  It has them shaking and they see in the cowardly Moqtada some sort of bulwark against Iranian intervention.  He's hefty, he's no bulwark.  Whenever things get too hot, Moqtada flees Iraq.  I don't know if that's the coward I'd pin my hopes on.  

Regardless, THE ARAB WEEKLY looks like a cheap and lying rag today and that's no one's fault but their own.  

Just like it was no one else fault when they refused to disclose their relationship with Mustafa al-Kadhimi and just like it's no one else fault that THE ARAB WEEKLY repeatedly lied for Mustafa and claimed he was a success and was doing great things.  Flat out lies.  

While ARAB WEEKLY was puffing him, he was abusing the Iraqi people -- a story that ARAB WEEKLY somehow missed about their friend Mustafa.  Last month,  Louisa Loveluck and Mustafa Salim (WASHINGTON POST) reported:

Kadhimi, who left office in October, came to power in 2020 after mass anti-corruption demonstrations felled his predecessor. His government’s high-profile campaign to tackle graft in one of the world’s most corrupt countries drew widespread international encouragement.

Central to the effort was a series of highly publicized night raids in late 2020 on the homes of public figures accused of corruption, conducted under the authority of the Permanent Committee to Investigate Corruption and Significant Crimes, better known as Committee 29. The architect of the raids was Lt. Gen. Ahmed Taha Hashim, or Abu Ragheef, who became known in Iraq as the “night visitor.”

But what happened to the men behind closed doors was far darker: a return to the ugly old tactics of a security establishment whose abuses Kadhimi had vowed to address. In more than two dozen interviews — including five men detained by the committee, nine family members who had relatives imprisoned, and 11 Iraqi and Western officials who tracked the committee’s work — a picture emerges of a process marked by abuse and humiliation, more focused on obtaining signatures for pre-written confessions than on accountability for corrupt acts.

Those interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters or, in the case of detainees and their families, to protect their safety.

“It was every kind of torture,” one former detainee recalled. “Electricity, choking me with plastic bags, hanging me from the ceiling by my hands. They stripped us naked and grabbed at the parts of our body underneath.”

In at least one case, a former senior official, Qassim Hamoud Mansour, died in the hospital after being arrested by the committee. Photographs provided to The Post by his family appear to show that a number of teeth had been knocked out, and there were signs of blunt trauma on his forehead.

Allegations that the process was riddled with abuse became an open secret among diplomats in Baghdad last year. But the international community did little to follow up on the claims and the prime minister’s office downplayed the allegations, according to officials with knowledge of the issue. Although a parliamentary committee first revealed the torture allegations in 2021 and Iraqi media have raised the issue sporadically, this is the fullest attempt yet to investigate the claims and document the scale of the abuse.


Still on embarrassing 'journalism,' using Gates money and assorted other foundations and fronts, THE GUARDIAN offers a 'report' (glorified photo essay) on the decay of the marshlands in Iraq.


Those of us who actually follow that story are well aware that others are reporting -- not writing captions for photos.  For example, January 10th, Yale's School of Environment published Wil Crisp's article which opened:

Three years ago, the vast marshlands of southern Iraq’s Dhi Qar province were flourishing. Fishermen glided in punts across swathes of still water between vast reed beds, while buffalo bathed amid green vegetation. But today those wetlands, part of the vast Mesopotamian Marshes, have shriveled to narrow channels of polluted water bordered by cracked and salty earth. Hundreds of desiccated fish dot stream banks, along with the carcasses of water buffalo poisoned by saline water. Drought has parched tens of thousands of hectares of fields and orchards, and villages are emptying as farmers abandon their land.

For their biodiversity and cultural significance, the United Nations in 2016 named the Mesopotamian Marshes — which historically stretched between 15,000 and 20,000 square kilometers in the floodplain of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The marshes comprised one of the world’s largest inland delta systems, a startling oasis in an extremely hot and arid environment, home to 22 species of globally endangered species and 66 at-risk bird species.

But now this ecosystem — which includes alluvial salt marshes, swamps, and freshwater lakes — is collapsing due to a combination of factors meteorological, hydrological, and political. Rivers are rapidly shrinking, and agricultural soil that once grew bounties of barley and wheat, pomegranates, and dates is blowing away. The environmental disaster is harming wildlife and driving tens of thousands of Marsh Arabs, who have occupied this area for 5,000 years, to seek livelihoods elsewhere.

Experts warn that unless radical action is taken to ensure the region receives adequate water — and better manages what remains — southern Iraq’s marshlands will disappear, with sweeping consequences for the entire nation as farmers and pastoralists abandon their land for already crowded urban areas and loss of production leads to rising food prices.


The Mesopotamian marshlands are often referred to as the cradle of civilization, as anthropologists believe that this is where humankind, some 12,000 years ago, started its wide-scale transition from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement. Encompassing four separate marshes, the region has historically been home to a unique range of fish and birdlife, serving as winter habitat for migratory birds and sustaining a productive shrimp and finfish fishery. 


But, hey, THE GUARDIAN only had access to money from The Gates Foundation, it's not like they could work as hard as a university on so 'little' money.  They should be embarrassed.  They should be ashamed.  It's a serious topic and they produced the equivalent of click-bait and did so wasting money that could have gone to a real investigation.

Like the report AGO released today.  Here's the executive summary:

Iraq is highly vulnerable to climate change and its impacts. The country’s vulnerability is shaped by its physical exposure, a strong natural resource dependency and low adaptive capacity due to violent conflict, poverty, and political instability. The complex crisis in Iraq affects vulnerable groups by adding ever more stressors while also pushing other groups into vulnerability. Though climate change affects all, its impacts specially drought affects certain groups more than the other.

Small-scale farmers who are dependent primarily on rain-fed agriculture are mostly affected. In particular, farmers who are located further away from open water sources, such as rivers, are faced with the need to find and pay for alternatives. The population who lives away from the river are also among the worst affected and most at risk of desertification, with no proper irrigation or access to water networks. The population who relies on agricultural-based livelihood are the most affected of all as they lack access to diversified sources of income, putting them among the most vulnerable and some of them have changed either their location of living or occupation to search of better incomes.

Climate change and mainly drought affect groups unequally and exacerbates the vulnerabilities that already exist among specific groups such as displaced populations or returnees. The survey found that returnees suffer the most among the sample, as they have lost their assets, services, and livelihood opportunities.

Drought also has particular impacts on women, who are already vulnerable and socially constrained. Such vulnerabilities are further deepened in the case of internal migration, especially from rural to urban areas, while putting more stress on the capacities of urban areas to absorb the increasing needs and demands of new arrivals.
The effects of climate change are felt in several critical sectors – agriculture, water, economy, public health, and the environment– directly affecting the lives of Iraqi citizens.

However, responses to climate change have been inadequate and significantly affected by violent conflict, the lack of governmental financial and human resources, and the lack of coordination among ministries.

If left unattended, climate change impacts will exacerbate poverty and insecurity and may lead to social unrest and further instability.


Last week, The Arabian Gulf Cup wrapped up with Iraq's The Lions of Mesopotamia being declared the victors.  Amal Abdulmalik (AL MADA) compares the enthusiasm witnessed to a "football wedding" and observes that Iraq last hosted the Gulf Cup almost 42 years ago.  Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) points out, "It is the fourth time Iraq has won the Gulf Cup since it first took place in 1970."  SBA ASSYRIAN notes a foreign visitor stating, ""Iraqi shop and restaurant owners refused to charge us any money. This is unbelievable."

Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) reports:

Iraq’s national football team were given a heroes' welcome upon their return to Baghdad on Friday, a day after winning the Arabian Gulf Cup in the southern city of Basra.

Thousands of Iraqis packed the main streets of the capital, mainly along the motorway linking Baghdad International Airport to the city centre, to greet the Lions of Mesopotamia.

After their plane landed, the team were received on a red carpet as the Iraq National Band for Musical Heritage danced and sang, waving Iraqi flags.







THE NEW ARAB notes:

Following a cruise on Friday afternoon on the Shatt Al-Arab river, where fans from Basra province greeted the players and staff, the Iraqi team headed to Baghdad.

From Baghdad airport to the Grand Festivities Square, the side was welcomed by fans along the side of the road, which extends for around 16 miles (26 kilometres).

Iraq Football Association President Adnan Dirjal and other officials were first to ascend the podium in the square before the players and staff joined them.

In addition, Iraqi foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Al-Sahhaf said Minister of Foreign Affairs Fuad Hussein ordered diplomatic passports to be given to the members of the national side in recognition of their win, official news agency INA reported.

The 25th edition of the Arabian Gulf Cup ran from 6 to 19 January 2023. The tournament takes place every other year.


Members of the winning team include: Fahad Talib, Jalal Hassan, Ahmed Basil, Manaf Younis, Zaid Tahseen, Mustafa Nadhim, Ali Faez, Alai Ghasem, Dhurgham Ismail, Hussein Ammar, Hussein Ali, Ibrahim Bavesh, Hassan Abdulkareem, Sherko Karim, Rewan Amin, Amjad Attwan, Amir al_Ammari, Mohammed Ali Abboud, Hussein Jabbar, Moammel Abdul-Ridha, Alaa Abbas, Aymen Hussein and Aso Rostam.

 


 




Former NFL coach and current NBC football analyst Tony Dungy recently found himself at the mercy of Twitter after touting a long-debunked far-right conspiracy theory about students dressing up as animals and using litter boxes at school.

In a since-deleted tweet, the former football coach responded to a post from the right-wing publication The Daily Wire about a Minnesota legislator supporting a bill that would require menstrual products to be placed in boys’ bathrooms at schools.

“That’s nothing,” Dungy responded. “Some school districts are putting litter boxes in the school bathrooms for the students who identify as cats. Very important to address every student’s needs.”

Last year, conservatives from across the country were saying that schools were allowing students to identify as animals, with many of them calling those students “furries.” The urban legend, when told, often included the details that students were using litterboxes – sometimes in classrooms – and that schools were being forced to accommodate these students.


Bald and stupid.  Mel Cooley made it look so much easier on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW.  (Possibly he made it look fun and entertaining because he was played by a gay man: Richard Deacon.)  At USA TODAY, Nancy Armour explains:


In a new poll released Thursday, 45% of transgender and nonbinary youth said they’d been cyberbullied or harassed online because of increased anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policies, while 24% said they’d been bullied at school. Nearly 30% said they don’t feel safe going to a doctor if they’re sick or injured.

Now consider that more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered suicide in the past year, according to The Trevor Project’s 2022 survey on mental health, and that 86% in the new Morning Consult poll said their mental health has been negatively affected by state laws restricting transgender rights.

“It has made me feel increasingly trapped and hopeless,” one person told The Trevor Project.

It’s these kids, these already vulnerable and in-peril kids, who Tony Dungy chose to pile on using his large, national platform. Who Dungy put further in harm’s way with his bigotry and ignorance, under the guise of his “Christian” faith.

In a since-deleted Tweet, the Hall of Fame coach who is now an NBC Sports analyst ridiculed Minnesota’s efforts to treat its most at-risk students with compassion and care by sharing a debunked -- and wholly nonsensical – claim that some schools are providing litter boxes because students are identifying as cats.

Dungy is a smart man, the son of educators and a graduate of the University of Minnesota. He should have known right away there was no truth to that tinfoil hat litter box story. Even if he wasn’t sure, determining it wasn’t true would have taken him all of 30 seconds if he’d just searched a reputable news source.

Like, say, his own employer.

 
Despite claims that he apologized, he did not.  Cyd Zeigler (OUTSPORTS) explains:

While it’s labeled an “apology” and he says he’s “sorry,” there is nothing regretful about this statement other than getting caught.

Dungy does not mention the LGBT community who was most-harmed by his tweet. It was LGBT people he was clearly targeting with the debunked claim of kids “identifying” as cats and needing litter boxes.

If you can’t bring yourself to address the injured party, the “apology” is an empty gesture.

Also note that he does not in any way distance himself from the ideas and beliefs behind the ridiculous litter-box claim. He simply says he shouldn’t have shared it.

What would a real, genuine apology look like? A suggestion:

This week I shared a story that I came to understand is false. The story was designed to harm the LGBT community and demean people who are transgender. I have done a lot of soul-searching on this over the last few days, and I have come to realize how very wrong it was not only to share it, but also how damaging the message behind it was. For a long time I’ve tried to reconcile my faith with homosexuality. It’s something I struggle with to this day. I’m sorry that I shared something damaging and false, and I hope after this weekend I might be able to talk with some people in that community, and that we can share and listen to one another. I may not have all the answers, but I’m willing to work to find a way to repair the damage I’ve done.

Now that would be an apology.

And as Cyd notes in another article, this wasn't just an error, this is part of a longstanding pattern of homophobia on Dungy's part:

Already probably the most publicly anti-LGBT person in NFL history, Dungy’s hiding behind his Christianity and the Bible don’t explain away this claim. There’s nothing in the New Testament about gay or transgender people deceiving children into thinking they’re animals (though I’m sure his anti-gay zealot friend Andrew Wommack can summon something from the Book of Corinthians to prove it).

As I wrote last week, beyond Dungy’s years-long campaign against the LGBT community stands NBC’s silence about it. The Peacock Network is a crossroads on this one. Again, this isn’t about Dungy quoting the Bible or expressing his “religious beliefs.” This is simply absurd, cruel, over-the-top anti-LGBT rhetoric that has been disproven by NBC News itself.

This was not, it seems, simply a “mistake” by Dungy. This is part of a decades-long series of attacks on my community, my friends, my teammates and my loved ones that NBC has for years tolerated.

 




Ever since NBC NFL analyst Tony Dungy tweeted out a common right-wing, anti-trans, completely-debunked talking point, much of sports media has been focused on Dungy’s history of aligning himself with anti-LGBT+ individuals and organizations. And rightly so. I myself was so outraged by Dungy’s transphobic remarks that I immediately grabbed my phone to call him out on Twitter. (Dungy has since tweeted out an apology.) But Dungy isn’t the only problematic member of NBC’s premier football crew. Both announcer Mike Tirico and analyst Matthew Berry have, in the past, been accused of sexual harassment by their female colleagues.

Mike Tirico’s history

According to Mike Freeman’s book, ESPN: The Uncensored History, Tirico was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women during his tenure at ESPN, including this truly disturbing allegation:

Use the link to read the allegations against Tirico and Matthew Berry.

We'll note it again this week but, below, DEMOCRACY NOW! broadcast The Belmarsh Tribunal from DC about the continued persecution of Julian Assange and the attack on First Amendment rights.







Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Hate Season at GAC" and "Take That Moment To Enjoy The PEW" went up Sunday.  The following sites updated: