some men aren't sexy (clooney)


some intereting choices.  don't get why heath ledger is on the list.  it was made in 2019 and he was already dead by over 10 years and no 1 else on the list is dead except james dean.  i also didn't find heath attractive and felt the ridiculous voice he used for 'brokeback mountain' ruined the film.  i wouldn't include patrick dempsey or orlando bloom myself but to each their own.

but i'd never put  george clooney  on the list.  on 'e.r.' he was sexy.  in the film 'one fine day' he was sexy.  that's about it.  and since about 2005, whne he had that bad face work, he's looked more like an old woman than like a man.  

i wonder if he hadn't had plastic surgery, would he look attractive now?

i think he would.  he'd have more wrinkles and more age on him, but he'd look like a man instead of like your great aunt with bone density issues.

others have gotten stocky or fat but that hasn't really hurt them.  i find russell crowe, for example, sexy regardless of weight.  but george had to mess with his face and he can't get his real face back now.  

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

Thursday, April 1, 2021.  Iraq finally passes the 2021 budget, attacks on protesters continue, and much more.

Anne Cassebaum writes a letter to the editors of THE BURLINGTON TIMES-NEWS:

March 20 marked the 18th anniversary of our war on Iraq. It’s time for Americans to ask how our empire and its wars are working. We prefer to talk about protecting vital interests, nation-building, human rights, anything but empire. But empire is what our endless wars and our 800-plus military bases are about, and why though Iraqis have voted for them to leave, 2,500 troops remain.

Has sending most of our taxes to the Pentagon to maintain an empire worked for us? Our communities feel the drain. Only a few profit from war and weapons production.

Are we safer for attacking others? The State Department’s advisory against travel to Iraq due to “terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict and Mission Iraq’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens” just scratches the surface.

Is our democracy stronger? Empire wars have brought illegal spying, government by executive orders, extraordinary rendition, denial of habeas corpus and secrecy. The Constitution put war decisions with Congress, not the president, to guard against the urge for foreign domination.

Will the Biden Administration pull back from empire? Secretary of State Anthony Blicken, an avid supporter of the Iraq War, announced that the world doesn’t organize itself without American leadership and that he wants to reclaim that leadership. Images of millions displaced, cities in rubble and Abu Ghraib come to mind as the continued hype of Russia and China as enemies and the bombing inside Syria signal the empire will continue.

And it will, unless we pressure Congress to repeal the blanket Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) and to cut the Pentagon budget. Congress must insist on its responsibility to check the use of war. We can be a great country or be an empire. Our founders knew we could not be both.

Waiting On Biden Tweets:

Today is the 71st day that Biden has chosen to expand the forever wars in Iraq and Afghanistan instead of move toward peace.

The Iraq War.  Arwa Damon filed a report for CNN this week and noted, "Each neighborhood, each street, each family has a story of pain and suffering.  The violence was so widespread here that I, in my 18 years covering the war in Iraq, do not know a single person who has not somehow been impacted by it.

18 years and the war still drags on and it's accomplished nothing worthwhile.

The Iraqi people are no better off and suffer at the hands of kleptocrats who steal from the people over and over again.

Iraq finally approved this year's budget yesterday.  MIDDLE EAST ONLINE notes, "Iraq's parliament on Wednesday approved a 2021 budget of 130 trillion Iraqi dinars ($89.65 billion) as the country wrestles with an economic and financial crisis due to low crude prices."  Abeer Abu Omar and Khalid Al-Ansary (BLOOMBERG NEWS) note that this budget is based on the belief that oil will sell for at least $45 a barrel.  While the Iraqi people suffer -- approximately 25% live in poverty -- don't worry about the officials, they'll keep getting their big checks. Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) explains, "Article 20 of the budget bill, which concerns cuts to the salaries of the three presidencies, the ministries, and employees, was rejected, according to Iraqi state media. "

Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) reports:

Iraqi protesters on Thursday closed three oil facilities in the southern province of Dhi Qar, protesting against the federal budget.

Late Wednesday, the Iraqi parliament voted to approve the annual general budget, with total expenditures amounting to 129 trillion dinars (about $88 billion).

The new budget did not include articles to guarantee protesters' job opportunities, a move that they responded with disruption of oil facilities.

The approval of the budget comes after the lapse of three months of the current fiscal year and it will be applied retroactively.

Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that "protesters with certificates specialized in the field of oil sector closed the entrances to the Dhi Qar Oil Company, its oil refinery, and the Oil Products Distribution Company, in an escalating step."

The eyewitnesses said: "Protesters set fire to the tires of vehicles in front of the entrances of the three oil companies and demanded urgent intervention to including them in the budget by providing them with job opportunities."


We'll note this Tweet:

Protesters on Wednesday shut down the Dhi Qar oil refinery in southern Iraq amid protests over the lack of job opportunities for local residents, according to eyewitnesses. #AlBawabaBusiness

Protests have been going on, the current wave of protests, since the fall of 2019.  Not even the pandemic has prevented the protests.  The protests succeeded in forcing the resignation of one prime minister.  The response from the government has been to attack the protesters, to stalk them outside of protests, to kidnap them, to kill them.  Suadad al-Salhy (MIDDLE EAST EYE) reports:

Jaseb Hattab al-Hiliji never noticed the motorbike carrying two young men. It was just another bike, squeezing between pedestrians in the crowded, narrow streets of Amara’s al-Sinaaiyah district.

Hiliji didn’t notice either, when one of the men got off and walked slowly but purposefully towards him.

According to eyewitnesses, that is when the man took out a gun, pointed it at Hiliji’s head and fired a bullet that silenced the 57-year-old forever.

Less than an hour later, the local police announced that they had arrested the murderer, and that the crime was triggered by a tribal dispute. 

"Hiliji is a cousin of the killer, and they had major disputes and mutual lawsuits. The killer made this clear in his confessions," a senior local police officer told Middle East Eye.

"The killer said that he was returning from work and he found Hiliji in front of him while passing through the al-Sinaaiyah area, so he took out his pistol and shot him dead."

Official statements and videotaped confessions by the killer were explicit: this was a non-political crime, a family dispute. But the exact nature of the dispute was never presented, nor why the killer carried a gun in the first place.

To many in the southern city of Amara and Iraq in general, there was a different story. Hiliji was the victim of an assassination epidemic. 

And like killings before, the motives given by the authorities just did not wash.

A son's disappearance

Hiliji’s tragedy stretches back further, to 7 October 2019. That’s when his son, lawyer Ali Jaseb Hattab al-Hiliji, received a phone call from a woman who said he had been assigned as her representative in a divorce case.

CCTV footage of that evening shows Ali waiting by his car in central Amara, when a woman in a black gown approached him. The footage shows him speaking to the woman, whose face cannot be seen, for several minutes before a black Chevrolet Tahoe stopped 10 metres from the two. Three masked men got out of the Tahoe and forced Ali to get into their car. 

As the black Tahoe left, a modern Toyota pickup appeared. The woman voluntarily climbed into it. The pickup left behind the Tahoe.

Soon after Ali’s disappearance, rumours began to fly that he was disappeared because of links to the October 2019 anti-government protest movement that was raging in Amara and across southern Iraq and Baghdad.

Yet according to several prominent activists in the city who spoke to MEE, Ali was not a demonstrator or an activist. He had, however, participated with a number of lawyers in defending some of the youths who were arrested because of their participation in the 2019 anti-government demonstrations in its first week.

Amnesty International Iraq Tweeted about Ali Jaseb Hattab al-Heliji back in December of 2019:

29-year-old lawyer Ali Jaseb Hattab al-Heliji was abducted by suspected members of #PMU in #Ammarah more than 2 months ago. Ali had been representing arrested protesters during the #Iraqiprotests. TAKE ACTION WITH US FOR ALI amnesty.org/en/documents/m

The violent attacks on protester continue.  Sura Ali (RUDAW) reports:

Protesters have called for demonstrations in the city of Samawah, in al-Muthanna governorate, after activist Haider al-Khashan was kidnapped and threatened on Thursday. 

A close friend of Khashan, who asked not to be named, told Rudaw English that a car with four masked people intercepted Khashan's car while he was driving with his mother at one o'clock on Thursday morning. He was then taken to an unknown location and threatened to stop protesting before being released late in the morning.

“The kidnappers took his mother's phone as she had filmed the incident,” the source said.

“The kidnappers investigated Khashan on accusations of insulting Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, which are absolutely false,” said activist Haider Ali.

"The militia’s ways of kidnapping and threatening Samawah protesters will never stop us,” he added. 

Activists launched the ”al-Muthanna rising up” Twitter hashtag after Khashan’s abduction, calling for mass demonstrations on Friday in response to his kidnap and demanding the dismissal of the local government. 

While the US media continues to largely ignore the Iraq War, Iran's PRESS TV did offer a segment on it this week.

New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated:


land day


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

 Tuesday, March 30, 2021.  The Squad remains suspect (as do those who rush to rescue The Squad from criticism), the US and Iraq gear up for talks next week and more.

If The Squad's  is not a fake ass unit, they're an incompetent one.

Daniel Luepker is correct, word salad served up, nothing of value.  And if they can't learn from their mistakes while they're in power, there's nothing that's going to get done.  Nothing of value.  And as we do Zoom talks with various groups, we hear over and over that Joe Biden didn't deliver on the stimulus promise.  And the people saying this aren't talking about the $2,000 -- clearly Joe failed there.  These are people who were willing to overlook his lie about $2,000 and acdcept the $1400.

You know, the $1400 that idiot Bernie Sanders wanted you to Tweet about -- what it meant to you?  We're hearing it meant s**t.  We're hearing that over and over because many people did not get $1400.  See THIRD's "Did Joe Biden just lose the mid-terms?" and grasp that if you had medical debt, student loan debt, whatever, you didn't get $1400.  

People are mad and angry and they have every right to be.  This will not bode well for the mid-terms.  And, if historical pattern holds, the House will flip due to the mid-terms.  Any chance of real change will have vanished.  Now was the time to push and to demand and The Squad did nothing.

By the way, numerous e-mails complain about BAD FAITH's program that we highlighted yesterday.  I didn't stream it.  I just posted it. But I hear you and that'll be strike two.  Strike one was bringing on a fake ass liar -- John Nichols -- recently.  John Nichols is a known liar.  He will lie and he will do so knowingly and convinced that he can fool you.

Samantha Power self-destructed in March of 2008 and we noted it in real time.  She had to leave Barack Obama's presidential campaign.  It wasn't for calling Hillary Clinton "a monster."  It was because of what followed -- something we covered in real time -- her BBC interview .  She dropped out of the campaign hours before the BBC started airing that interview -- the one where she explained that Barack's "promise'" of ending the Iraq War in ten months wasn't a promise and that he'd figure out what he would do and wouldn't do after he got elected.  That's why she had to walk away.

Barack was using the Iraq War to rip into Hillary -- his rival in 2008 for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination -- and now his top foreign policy advisor was saying Barack's words on Iraq were, to use Juan Gonzalez' phrase -- a lot of Barack-aloney.  That would have damaged him immensely at a time when the nomination could have gone either way.  So Samantha had to drop out.

Instead of focusing on that reality, John Nichols chose to write about the "monster" comment long after it really didn't matter.  Even worse, he felt the need to lie to you that Hillary and Samantha were besties.  No, they weren't.  They weren't friends but that's John Nichols serving up one lie after another.

Never forget that John Nichols held the powerful accountable for the Iraq War -- if by "the accountable" we mean Barbra Streisand.  That's who John targeted with one of his nonsense columns.  He couldn't call out the Dems in Congress that supported the war.  But he could blame Barbra (who, for the record, did not support the Iraq War).  So you've got the Iraq issues, you've got his lying for Barack about the talks regarding NAFTA with Canada (Barack decrying it in speeches on the campaign trail while his campaign staffer told Canadian officials that these were just words to win an election and he didn't mean them).  I don't know where we stop?  This is the same John Nichols who was part of the 2004 lie that Gen Wesley Clark was just a place holder and, at the convention, Hillary would declare herself a candidate.  He will spout any ridiculous lie over and over and over.

He is not to be trusted.  He offers nothing of value.  That BAD FAITH had him on as a guest is one strike against them.  Now they've gone after Eric London (WSWS) for his report that noteds:

On March 19, the Democratic Socialists of America’s magazine Democratic Left published an interview with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in which the Democratic congresswoman and DSA member combines the most lavish praise for the Democratic Party with vicious denunciations of socialism.

The DSA has treated the interview as an important political event. This is the first time their official magazine has interviewed the New York Congresswoman, and the interview was carefully prepared before publication. Though Democratic Left editorial board member Don McIntosh conducted the interview on January 26, it was only posted online seven weeks later. The choice of interviewer is also significant: McIntosh is a high-level operative in the AFL-CIO with close ties to the Democratic Party. He is listed as an author on the AFL-CIO’s press office website and is a long-time promoter of Democratic politicians and candidates at the NW Labor Press, which he edits.

In the interview, Ocasio-Cortez presents the Democratic Party as having been completely transformed into a working class party. She says the Biden administration and incumbent Democrats are “totally reinvent[ing] themselves in a far more progressive direction.” Pressure from the left has forced “almost a radical change” among entrenched Democratic leaders. What is needed, she says, is a turn deeper into Democratic Party electoral politics.

John Nichols doesn't do feet-to-the-fire.  He does justifications and minimizes the failures of politicians with a "D" after their name.  I'm very worried now that BAD FAITH plans to do the same.  They've got two strikes.  If April brings another, we're done with them.  I don't have time for fake asses.  Or, as Michelle Pfeiffer says in THE RUSSIA HOUSE, "I hope you're not being frivolous, Barley.  My life now only has room for truth." 

I don't believe Eric London's article needed correction, let alone clarification.  It did need amplifcation.  And BAD FAITH showed bad faith by the way they responded to it.

AOC has no real accomplishment -- and that's outside of Congress as well.  She graduated college?  Yeah, a bunch of people in the US can say that as well.  Doesn't mean they're ready for Congress.  She has an image that's not reality and never has been and Eric London, at WSWS) has a new article where he addresses that:

This milquetoast record posed a challenge to the creation of an image of Ocasio-Cortez as the champion of working people and icon of socialism. Therefore, the Democratic Party conjured up that meaningless label—“community organizer”—to present her as somehow connected to social struggles. This ploy was last used by the Democratic Party to provide Barack Obama, the drone warrior and deporter-in-chief with a mysterious background and connections to intelligence agencies, with street bona fides.

In the March 21 interview with Democratic Left, Ocasio-Cortez explained how she joined the DSA:

What initially drew me to DSA was the fact that they showed up everywhere that I showed up. I started my work as a community organizer before I even knew about the existence of DSA, and I was busy doing work in my community, working with children, working with families, advocating for educational equity.

This sheds light on the milieu in which the DSA operates. Since Ocasio-Cortez spent her post-college years in the orbit of the Democratic Party and corporate startup world, it is no wonder the DSA “showed up everywhere I showed up.”

The DSA, like Ocasio-Cortez, has no connection to the struggles of the working class, let alone socialism. Since the founding of its predecessor, the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC), in 1972 and the DSA in 1982, the organization has existed as a continuous presence within the Democratic Party. For fifty years, its operatives have attended Democratic National Conventions, worked as staff for Democratic Party politicians and trade unions, and fought for a “realignment” within the party.

Over this time period, the Democratic Party has turned further to the right, abandoning any pretense at social reform. All the while, the DSA has served as a left shield for the Democrats’ rightward maneuvers, assuring the population that the Democratic Party can be reformed as it launches imperialist wars across the world and eviscerates social programs and corporate regulations.

The DSA provides Ocasio-Cortez her “socialist” credentials

The DSA’s role in facilitating the rise of Ocasio-Cortez testifies to its function within the Democratic Party. In the absence of any association with social struggles, it was the DSA which provided the young Democrat and aspiring entrepreneur with a “socialist” imprimatur. This was necessary not only for Ocasio-Cortez’s “story,” it also allowed the Democratic Party to de-fang the word “socialism,” translate it into a byword for Democratic Party pressure politics, and orient workers and young people away from genuine socialism based in the working class.

Ocasio-Cortez acknowledges in the interview with Democratic Left that she joined “around the time when DSA was picketing one of the major camera companies in New York City, trying to call attention to the warehouse workers.” This is apparently a reference to DSA pickets of B&H Photo Video stores in Brooklyn that, according to DSA announcements, took place beginning in April 2017.

AOC has been made a hero when she's done nothing heroic in her life and nothing of any real value.

Turning to Iraq (a topic The Squad has been remarkably silent on), Karwan Faidhi Dri (RUDAW) reports:                                                                           

The third session of the strategic dialogue between Washington and Baghdad will begin on April 7, according to the US State Department, becoming the first such talks between the two countries since US President Joe Biden took office.

“The United States and the Republic of Iraq will hold Strategic Dialogue discussions via video teleconference on April 7th in accordance with the 2008 Strategic Framework Agreement between our two countries,” said the Department’s Press Office for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in a tweet.  

The talks - aimed at bolstering bilateral relations in various sectors - were first held in June and then in August 2020, under the administration of Donald Trump. 

“The discussions will cover security and counterterrorism, economics and energy, political issues, and educational and cultural cooperation,” added the office. 

Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL)offers:

US President Joe Biden’s administration will hold its first round of strategic dialogue with Iraq on April 7, the State Department said on Tuesday.

Last June, the administration of former president Donald Trump held a virtual meeting to clarify that the coalition forces are in Iraq for training and to advise Iraqi forces, so that ISIS remnants cannot make a comeback.

“The United States and the Republic of Iraq will hold Strategic Dialogue discussions via video teleconference on April 7 in accordance with the 2008 Strategic Framework Agreement between our two countries,” the US State Department said.

The relationship between the US and Iraq, including its military presence in the country, is based on a strategic framework agreement signed in 2008. It called for close defence co-operation to deter threats to Iraq's “sovereignty, security and territorial integrity".

The talks, due to take place next Wednesday, will focus on security, counterterrorism, economics and energy, political issues, and educational and cultural co-operation.

At ANTIWAR.COM, Ted Galen Carpenter reflects on the 18th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War.


The following sites updated: