did dynasty die because of fallon?

 'Today is a story of betrayal -- one long betrayal' is a masterpiece that c.i. wrote friday, be sure to read it if you haven't already.

'dynasty' returned friday night.  'the cw' has announced that this is the final season.  did the show get cancelled because of fallon?

if not, it should have been.

like way too many episodes this season, easily a 30 of it was garbage.  waste of time to do a fallon story that wasn't a story but a series of comic misadventures.

no 1 watches a soap opera for that.  having tied fallon to liam they no longer knew what to do - the writers.  so they gave us cutesy storylines where fallon plants a rare turtle at her father's site to delay construction or where fallon goes on a dig and uses a dino's found tooth (that was this episode).

it's garbage.

we watch to see the drama.  we watch to see the conflict.

if they didn' thave anymore for fallon, then write the character off.

it dragged this season down.  it started last season but some of these stupid plots were long running and had actual impact last season.  this season it was just garbage.

ben is black's brother. he's determined to destroy blake.  blake gives order to the family (except adam who wasn't present) not to talk to ben. dominique (who was present) ignores him and goes to talk to her brother.  he is glad to see her and she tells him she wants no part of her (half) brothers' feud.  he then reveals that blake had her mother fired from carrington oil years ago because he wanted to give the job to his mistress at the time.

dominique confronts blake who finally admits it's true but argues that he didn't know she was his sister then.

oh, blake, dig your hole deeper.

dominique is now willing to help ben.  

being fired from that job destroyed her mother and destroyed their family.

what does ben want?  it appears to be the carrington fortune and he appears to have a will from their father that no 1 knows about.

by the way, blake insists he hates ben because ben was supposed to be watching their mother.  ben says he left a note, blake says there was no note.  ben left and mom died by drowning in the tub.  


do they even think about this?

the carrington's are rich.  where were the servants during this drowning?

sam threw a pride celebration - the big act mouthed to laura branigan's 'self-control.'

a real season would have ditched all these cutesy fallon adventures and focused on the drama and the conflict that are the reason that people watch the show.

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

Friday, June 24, 2022.  War on Russia continues and requires obliterating uncomfortable truths, the persecution of Julian Assange continues, Iraq has a new make up in their legislative house, and much more.

Starting with the war on Russia, Larry C. Johnson looks at all the US intelligence failures in a column at ICH and concludes:

The CIA is learning the hardway the truth of Sun Tzu’s aphorism:

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

That is where the United States intelligence community is; it is ignorant of itself and the Russians.

One of the old intel codgers, Graham E. Fuller, who was Vice Chair of the National Intelligence Council at CIA back when I was an analyst, has it figured out. He wrote a piece sure to get him removed from woke Washington, DC parties:

The war in Ukraine has dragged on long enough now to reveal certain clear trajectories. First, two fundamental realities:

  • Putin is to be condemned for launching this war– as is virtually any leader who launches any war.  Putin can be termed a war criminal–in good company with George W. Bush who has killed vastly greater numbers than Putin.
  • Secondary condemnation belongs to the US (NATO) in deliberately provoking a war with Russia by implacably pushing its hostile military organization, despite Moscow’s repeated notifications about crossing red lines, right up to the gates of Russia.  This war did not have to be if Ukranian neutrality, รก la Finland and Austria, had been accepted. Instead Washington has called for clear Russian defeat.

Contrary to Washington’s triumphalist pronouncements, Russia is winning the war, Ukraine has lost the war.  Any longer-term damage to Russia is open to debate.

Sadly for Washington, nearly every single one of its expectations about this war are turning out to be incorrect. Indeed the West may come to look back at this moment as the final argument against following Washington’s quest for global dominance into ever newer and more dangerous and damaging confrontations with Eurasia. And most of the rest of the world–Latin America, India, the Middle East and Africa– find few national interests in this fundamentally American war against Russia

This war could end today, said Sara Flounders back in March, but that would require reality being addressed.  For eight years, US officials and their military machine have fueled and organized to use Ukraine as a pawn for the war on Russia, have shelled the Russian border for eight years.  This is without a doubt.  There's just no mention in the media that it's US-NATO weapons that are responsible for 1400 civilian deaths . . ."


We can't get honest about that.  We can't get honest about the fact that Mila Kunis does not speak for Ukraine that, like any whore of war, she simplifies and pretends Ukraine is filled with people who 100% back a war on Russia.  That's not reality.

The nazi faction does back a war on Russia and separation from Russia.  

Earlier this week, Trina noted:

How stupid is Ben Stiller? He made a point to go to Ukraine and meet his ''hero'' Zelensky -- hero? This week, we learn Ben Stiller's hero is banning books and music. Guess Ben doesn't support the arts. Well, that would explain THE CABLE MAN and so much of the garbage he has appeared in. There was no reason for him to go to Ukraine. In a few years when we all accept the reality that the government of Ukraine was neo-nazis, I don't want to hear excuses from Stiller. No one twisted his arm. He elected to stand with and praise a racist.

At WSWS,  Jason Melanovski reported yesterday:

A Ukrainian court has officially banned the activities of the country’s largest opposition party, the Opposition Platform—For Life party.

The decision was handed down by the Administrative Court of Appeals No. 8 on June 20 in Lviv and effectively upheld President Volodymyr Zelensky’s banning of 11 political parties that Kiev regarded as “anti-Ukrainian” and “collaborationists” earlier in March. The measure was then approved by the Ukrainian parliament in May.

Ten other pro-Russian and left-wing parties were included in Zelensky’s ban, among them the Socialist Party of Ukraine and the Party of Shariy led by the popular Youtube blogger Anatoly Shariy.

In addition to legally banning the party’s activities, the court also stated that the party’s property and assets will be confiscated by the State Treasury. 

The banning of the country’s largest opposition party marks the temporary culmination of an undemocratic campaign initiated by the Zelensky government against parties and individuals who could potentially undermine the war that Kiev is waging against Russia on behalf of the imperialist powers.

Led by oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, the party controlled 44 out of 450 seats in Ukraine’s parliament, surpassed only by the ruling Servant of the People party of President Volodymyr Zelensky. Prior to Russia’s invasion in February, several opinion polls showed the Russia-aligned party leading hypothetical parliamentary elections or finishing second.

In eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, Opposition—For Life functioned as the dominant political party at both national and local levels. It was the effective successor to the Party of Regions of former President Viktor Yanukovych. In contrast to his opponents in the oligarchy that, with the heavy backing from US and German imperialism, toppled him in 2014 in a coup, Yanukovich spoke for a faction of the Ukrainian oligarchy that has been seeking to balance between Western imperialism and the Kremlin, and opposed a direct alliance of Ukraine with NATO.


You don't ban political parties, books and music if you're all in agreement.  

You don't lie if you have truth on your side.  But it's been one lie after another to keep the war going.  No one can tell truth about the far-right in Ukraine and how the US government is supporting them.  (They did the same in Iraq.  A people under attack internally are less likely to be able to mount to fronts and expel the foreign invaders.)  

Nicholas Paul Pacheco and I are not in agreement on Ukraine and I want that clear so I'm not accused of distorting him.  But a lengthy piece he wrote for INKSTICK MEDIA notes:

The Azov’s success in battle has spanned back to the 2014 Crimean War, and the Ukrainian government has built a reliance on their fierce fighting capabilities in several theaters. Yet, despite dismissals of their danger to stability in Ukraine, several troubling patterns suggest that Azov and its political wing, the National Corps, should not be overlooked, especially in a post-war Ukraine. First, the Azov has increased its number of fighters from 300 in 2014 to between 900 and 2500 in 2022, which is in tandem with the National Corps’ growth in size to a party membership of between 10,000 and 15,000 people. Second, they retain popular support from all spectrums of the ideological zeitgeist, from nationalists to conservatives to neo-Nazis, who are now being conscripted to fight in the war. And third, while the party and the battalion are primarily men, there have been reports of women volunteering for various militias, including the Azov under the National Guard.

Signs of strategic indifference from policymakers and media have been expressed with the US military reversing its ban on training Azov soldiers and Facebook lifting the ban on its social media page. Withstanding the current Russian encroachment is pivotal to ensuring further aggression does not take place across Eastern Europe. But just like in the 1980s, when priorities of the Cold War resulted in policy oversights in Afghanistan, the United States and NATO may find themselves in a quagmire with a potential transnational actor that is not separated by a continent and dense terrain but rather has easy land access to various European states.

The reality on the ground of the far-right’s size in Ukraine cannot be defined by how many fighters are listed as serving under the Azov Regiment. At the start of the year, around two months before the invasion, former FBI agent Ali Soufan estimated that more than 17,000 foreign fighters had come to Ukraine over the past six years from 50 countries, with Azov orchestrating recruitment for a network of extremist groups that spanned from California, through Europe, and to New Zealand. As Soufan explains, consistent with the modus operandi of ideological non-state groups, the spread of far-right extremism is a transnational movement that actively recruits and spreads ideas beyond borders.

While not all of the recruits were confirmed to be neo-Nazis or even considered “far-right” by any kind of ideological litmus test, Azov has had a history of actively communicating with groups across Europe. For example, members of the group utilized the neo-fascist chat forum Iron March to convene with other neo-fascist organizations in Europe, including Italy’s CasaPound, the UK’s Blood and Honour, Sweden’s Nordic Resistance Movement, Greece’s Golden Dawn, and Serbias’ Serbian Action. There was also a confirmed correspondence by members of Azov with US-based Atomwaffen co-founder Devon Arthurs attempting organizing a visit to Ukraine according to monitoring undertaken at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center. Arthurs’ correspondence showcases what potential the dichotomy of Azov’s continued growth can result in; the ability for radicals to travel and receive training and/or combat action.

Inquiries by independent researchers and international organizations, including the UN, also suggest assertions contrary to the notion that the Azov has gone legitimate and is now accountable to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as reiterated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In 2016, a report by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights found that members of Azov were engaged in activities beyond their jurisdiction after the Nov. 11, 2014, date of their assimilation into the National Guard as a unit. These activities included corroborated reports of extrajudicial torture, sexual violence, and politically-motivated subversion of a Ukrainian television channel. In 2017, they proceeded to publicly project themselves as the vanguard of defense for the nation independent of the Ukrainian military, as their official Twitter account at the time tweeted: “When the Ukrainian Army ran, #Azov stood up to fight for #Ukraine” and followed this tweet with unsanctioned artillery shelling of pro-Russian separatist locations.

Even in the current conflict, despite the declaration by the Ukrainian government of a unified nation in this battle, reports on the ground have indicated there are instances of in-fighting between the Azov and Ukrainian military units. For example, independent journalist Patrick Lancaster, who’s been on the ground in Ukraine for the duration of the war, reports claims by locals of Mariupol that Azov fighters were opening fire on Ukrainian soldiers who were attempting to retreat under orders from their command because they wanted to stay and fight.

Again, reality matters.  Truth matters.  If they tell the truth for a losing cause -- like a meaningless war -- leaders lose support.  If they tell the truth about someone they're trying to persecute, leaders lose support.  Peter Osborne (THE NATION) notes:

And it is certainly true that the Wikileaks revelations has shone a horrifying light on crimes casually committed by the US during the so called “War on Terrorism.”

Wikileaks published a video of US helicopter gunmen laughing as they shot at and killed unarmed civilians in Iraq. Fifteen individuals were killed in the attack, including a Reuters photographer and his assistant. 

The US military refused to discipline the perpetrators of this grotesque crime, who remain unpunished. But the US government has thrown the book at the man who revealed their crimes.

Wikileaks revealed that the total number of civilian casualties in Iraq was far greater than previously admitted by the US government. It disclosed the abuse meted out to the inmates at Guantanamo Bay, as well as the fact that 150 innocent inmates were held for years without charge. 

This persecution of Julian is about silencing the press.  Monday April 5, 2010, WIKILEAKS released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh.  That is when the persecution begins.  It was an intimidation carried out by multiple presidents starting with Barack Obama, continuing with Donald Trump and now the baton for killing the press has been handed off to Joe Biden. This has had the effect of scaring off many traditional news outlets.  They once partnered with Julian to report and now they act as though they've never heard of him.  Saving their own asses?  They may think that.  If they do, they're dead wrong.  An attack on Julian is an attack on all.  And if the attack on Julian is not loudly and publicly rebuked, you can be sure that next up will be THE WASHINGTON POST or THE MIAMI HERALD or some other institution -- despite the US Constitution -- the same one that's being ignored in this attack on Julian. 

Oscar Grenfell (WSWS) reports:

Immediately after British Home Secretary Priti Patel announced on Friday last week that she had approved Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States, the publisher and journalist was stripped naked and placed in a bare cell of London’s maximum-security Belmarsh Prison.

This latest abuse of Assange’s democratic and human rights was reported by his father John Shipton to a rally in Berlin last Tuesday and at other speaking engagements in Europe. The brutal treatment was meted out on the grounds of preventing Assange from taking his own life.

In reality, it is a continuation of what outgoing United Nations Rapporteur Nils Melzer has branded as the state torture of Assange by the British and US authorities. 

The persecution of the journalist is proceeding along two tracks. On the one hand, there is the pseudo-legal extradition process, aimed at dispatching Assange to the US where he would face 18 Espionage Act charges and 175 years imprisonment for publishing true documents which exposed American war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the other is the ongoing brutalisation of Assange, who has been subjected to different forms of arbitrary detention for more than a decade. This includes over three years imprisonment in Belmarsh Prison, a facility dubbed “Britain’s Guantanamo Bay,” the vast majority of that time without conviction.

On Twitter, Assange’s wife Stella Moris also reported that Assange had been denied visitors the entire weekend after Patel’s announcement. The extradition order will be subject to a further appeal through the British courts. But under conditions of a momentous decision, which has vast and potentially dire consequences for his life, Assange was deliberately isolated and left entirely alone.

The clear aim of the British authorities was not to prevent Assange’s suicide, but to intensify his suffering as much as possible. The implications of such treatment being meted out to a man with intense psychological issues, stemming from the protracted US-led persecution, are clear. The British state wants Assange dead.

They want what Joe Biden wants because that's who they're sucking up to.  Argentinian international law expert Beltran Gambier notes that Joe Biden has the power to end this nonsense, that Barack Obama pardoned Chelsea Manning and wonders how Joe can reconcile that while continuing to pursue the extradition of Julian?

The world is watching and it's not like Joe's not already embarrassing himself on the world stage.

From yesterday's snapshot:

The fake assery of Joe Biden.  That included, please remember, backing Moqtada al-Sadr in Iraq.  Joe loves to trot out Beau Biden and Beau's service in Iraq.  Didn't stop him from siding with Moqtada who is responsible for the deaths of many US troops.  Didn't stop him from channeling the bribe through the US State Dept last August to get Moqtada to reverse his position on the Iraqi elections and instead announce that he now supported them.  

Those elections took place October 10th.  Over eight months later, still no prime minister, still no president.  Moqtada had a hissy fit recently and took his toys and went home.  He demanded that his MPs resign from the Parliament.  And they did.  

His usual sycophants in the media tried to spin this.  Just a bluff. Or some great move that he's going twist around and . . .

Iraq Parliament swears in new lawmakers to replace 73 members of Sadrist bloc who resigned – Reuters


They're gone.  They're replaced (by the next highest vote getters from the October 10th elections).

Today, AL-MONITOR observes:

Today, 64 new members took the oath in the parliament, including 40 seats for the Iran-backed Coordination Framework. The other 24 were distributed among the Sunnis and the independent members.

The other 9 members did not attend. Four of them belong to the Hoquq bloc, affiliated with the Kata'ib Hezbollah, and the others are independents.

Hoquq Movement issued a statement shortly before the parliament session, announcing that they will not take the Sadrist seats and they will resign as well, as a sign of solidarity with the Sadrists.

The Coordination Framework has 130 members now, but they need 90 more members to select the president. This requires an alliance with the Sunnis and the Kurds. However, this task is not easy for the Coordination Framework, due to the lack of confidence among those groups.

The Sunni leaders' headquarters and the Kurdistan region have been constantly attacked by the Shiite militias affiliated with the Coordination Framework.

Just yesterday, the Dana Gas company, which operates in the Kurdistan Region, was attacked by rockets around Kirkuk.

Moreover, the Coordination Framework was able to push the federal court to rule against Kurdistan's oil and gas law, creating serious obstacles against the international companies to work in the region.

Now, the KDP is setting terms and conditions on the Coordination Framework to accept the alliance with them —  including nullifying the federal court ruling.

The Sunnis as well see this political change a great opportunity to set terms and conditions in their political interests.

In such circumstances, the negotiations over forming the government  are likely to take time, if an agreement is even possible at all.


The following sites updated:


plan the funeral for brad pitt's good looks

there's some show on 'e' that comes on around 11:30 at night. 'fly boy' always turns it off when it comes on if he's watching the 'modern family' marathons on 'e.' he'd left the room and i was reading a book when i looked up because 3 women were talking about brad pitt. there were photos from some new shoot (no idea the mag but from the shoot, it looked like 'w' magazine). the ladies were raving over him and his leg tattoos.

maybe the tattoos distracted them? because he looked rough. like he'd been tied to a horse and dragged face down for a couple of miles. the years are not being kind to his face and, let's be honest, brad can't act. it's the same performance in '7' as in '12 monkeys' as in 'thelma and louise' as in 'mr and mrs smith' as in everything.

i think he's teaming up with sandra bullock for a film (he did a cameo in 'the lost city' - i'm not talking about that). it's 'bullet train.'

thank goodness it's an action film. my fear was it would be a romantic comedy. brad cannot carry a romantic comedy. he actually can't carry any film. that's what his whole career demonstrated. actresses were dumped for being the star of far fewer films that bombed. but brad got a pass because he was a man and good looking. he's still a man but the looks are going, going gone.

i hope the film uses him well.

he's like lana turner. not really a great performer but an element that can be used well by a smart director.

lana lost her looks early on as well. maybe brad pitt can next star in a film where he's on trial for murder and the child he gave up for adoption is prosecuting him for murder and has no idea brad is his father?

if only ross hunter were still alive, he'd find the right vehicle for brad.

 noting the t.v. posts from last night:

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

     Thursday, June 23, 2022.  Joe Biden works harder as his fake assery, the world watches as Joe continues to persecute Julian Assange, Moqtada al-Sadr denies Iran forces his hand, and much more.

    The persecution of Julian Assange continues.  SCHEERPOST notes:

    After British Home Secretary Priti Patel signed Julian Assange’s extradition order on Friday the authorities in Belmarsh prison stripped Julian Assange and threw him into a completely empty cell in an attempt to prevent his suicide, Assange’s father has said. 

    It was just one more instance in which the prison humiliated his son, Shipton told  a rally on Tuesday night at the offices of the Junge Welt newspaper in Berlin. About 300 people attended, with an overflow crowd watching on closed circuit TV in the courtyard. 

    Testimony was heard from expert defense witnesses during Assange’s extradition hearing that he might try to end his life in prison once he learned he was going to the United States. 

    Alan Jones (THE SCOTSMAN) adds:

    John Rees, a leading member of the campaign for Mr Assange to be freed, told the PA news agency: “This is simply extrajudicial punishment.

    “It’s unacceptable and it’s surely illegal. But it shows how much pressure the authorities are under to free Assange that they behave this vindictively.

    “We need to redouble our efforts to stop the extradition, for Julian Assange’s sake and for the defence of a free press.”

    This persecution of Julian is about silencing the press.  Monday April 5, 2010, WIKILEAKS released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh.  That is when the persecution begins.  It was an intimidation carried out by multiple presidents starting with Barack Obama, continuing with Donald Trump and now the baton for killing the press has been handed off to Joe Biden. This has had the effect of scaring off many traditional news outlets.  They once partnered with Julian to report and now they act as though they've never heard of him.  Saving their own asses?  They may think that.  If they do, they're dead wrong.  An attack on Julian is an attack on all.  And if the attack on Julian is not loudly and publicly rebuked, you can be sure that next up will be THE WASHINGTON POST or THE MIAMI HERALD or some other institution -- despite the US Constitution -- the same one that's being ignored in this attack on Julian.   Michael S. Robinson Sr. (SALT LAKE CITY WEEKLY) observes:

    His dives into the depths of national and international corruption have shown us that the U.S. and its close allies fall short of their choir-boy claims.

    Free speech and an unmuzzled press are sacrosanct tenets of our country. And yet, for all the clamor over free speech issues and the long-heralded proclamations on how essential the press is in protecting our democracy, Americans seem to be forgetting the sacred essentials of just what it is that keeps our nation free. Historically, those who have used their journalistic fervor to nail our country's misdeeds and duplicity have become symbols of America's greatness.

    Take Daniel Ellsberg, for instance, whose exposure of the Pentagon Papers helped to end the horror of our involvement in Vietnam. His expository efforts made it clear that almost everything the government had told us about Vietnam was a lie—that the Gulf of Tonkin attack was a provocation based on falsity, and that the U.S. was denying truth to its citizens, reporting the opposite of what was fact and hiding the grisly horrors of a fruitless and costly war.

    Around the world, Joe /Biden is determined to prove that the US is as bad as all the other countries it so often criticizes, that the government will go after those in the press who do their job if it produces content critical of the government.  The US government is looking worse and worse on the world stage thanks to Joe.  

    As THE NEW ARAB notes, the world is watching:

    An international coalition of journalists, editors and publishers demanded on Wednesday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be immediately released from a UK jail and that all charges against him be dropped.

    Fifteen representatives of international journalist and publishers' unions and organisations gathered in Geneva for the "call to free Julian Assange in the name of press freedom".

    "We are demanding that Julian Assange be freed, returned to his family, and finally permitted to live a normal life," said Dominique Pradalie, head of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which counts some 600,000 members across 140 countries.

    "If Julian Assange is freed today, they will still have stolen 10 years of his life," she told the event.

    This is not a good look for Joe.

    Azeezah Kanji (TRUTHOUT) points out: 

    Previously, U.S. officials discussed “options” for kidnapping Assange and assassinating him by poison — tactics ultimately dismissed as “something we’d do in Afghanistan,” Egypt or Pakistan, but not the U.K. Therefore, they’ve opted for the more “civilized” alternative. Instead of kidnapping, extradition. And instead of assassination, entombment in the torturous U.S. carceral system, where Assange faces a death-in-prison sentence of 175 years for exposing U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    How is this, in essence and effect, anything but the “legal” equivalent of an extraordinary rendition — defined by the American Civil Liberties Union as “the practice of capturing people and sending them to countries that use torture or abuse in interrogations”?

    While the U.S.’s infamous extraordinary rendition program has (now) been officially condemned and supposedly ceased, rendition to torture via legalized means is enduringly embraced.

    As John Stauber notes, "[O]ne of the world's best and most important journalists is being tortured to death by #Biden for exposing bipartisan US war crimes.  History will praise Assange and piss on Biden."

     Staying with the topic of Joe-Joe Fake Ass, Kevin Reed (WSWS) notes:

    On Wednesday afternoon, President Biden announced a series of measures that he claimed would reduce gasoline prices for consumers heading into the busy summer season. Prominent among his proposals was an appeal to Congress to “suspend the federal gas tax for the next 90 days.”

    Speaking in front of large digital displays at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at 2:00 p.m., Biden noted that 18 cents of every gallon purchased goes to the federal Highway Trust Fund which is used to “keep our highways going.” By suspending the tax for three months, he said, “we can bring down the price of gas and give families just a little bit of relief.”

    The other elements of Biden’s plan were a call for states to suspend their gas taxes, an appeal for the oil companies to refine more gas and a request that gas station owners not artificially inflate prices. The president clearly has no means or even any interest in realizing such empty promises.

    Some aspects of the proposal are worth examining, and we will do so below. But the real purpose of the plan and the speech has nothing to do with the price of gas, and it was demonstrated in Biden’s concluding remarks, after which he walked away from the podium and took no questions from the press.

    The president said, “This is a time of war, global peril, Ukraine. These are not normal times. … Let’s remember how we got here: Putin invaded Ukraine. Putin invaded Ukraine with 100,000 forces.”

    Biden’s claim that Putin is responsible for skyrocketing gas prices is a lie, aimed at legitimizing his undeclared war against Russia, covering up the causes of the inflation sweeping through all sectors of the US economy and protecting the interests of the oil monopolies. His pathetic appeal to the corporations for price reductions will fall on deaf ears.

    “This is a time of war,” Biden proclaims. Who declared this war? Who brought the United States into it? This statement blows apart the fiction that the US and NATO are not at war with Russia. And the assertion contradicts the claim that the US concern in Ukraine is to “defend democracy and freedom.” When were the American people ever consulted about this war? The very decision to intervene was taken undemocratically and behind closed doors, as the result of a protracted imperialist build-up against Russia.

    Both the Democrats and the Republicans serve and defend the profit system and the oil monopolies. Both parties support the imperialist intervention in Ukraine against Russia. Biden only objects to Republican efforts to score points off the gas price rise in the 2022 elections, by putting the sole blame on his supposedly “green” policies (which are nothing of the kind).

    Joe Biden has destroyed the economy with his war of choice and yet a lot of idiots will continue to defend him. He is not your friend, he is not on your side.  Matthew Cunningham-Cook (JACOBIN) points out:

    Last month, President Joe Biden nominated a longtime advocate of Social Security privatization and benefit cuts to a key board overseeing the Social Security system. The move comes as Republicans get ready to push cuts to Social Security and Medicare, if they end up winning control of Congress during the November’s midterms, as expected.

    The development suggests that there could soon be a coordinated push in Washington to cut the Social Security program, which provides retirement, disability, and survivor benefits to 66 million Americans.

    On May 13, Biden chose to nominate Andrew Biggs, a fellow at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute think tank, for a Republican seat on the bipartisan Social Security Advisory Board, which was created in 1994 to consult the president and Congress about the Social Security system.

    For years, Biggs has been a vocal critic of expanded Social Security and workers’ right to a secure, stable retirement free from the vagaries of the stock market. He has dismissed the retirement crisis as a nonissue and as recently as 2020 blamed problems with the Social Security system on “older Americans’ game of chicken.” And two decades ago, Biggs worked on a George W. Bush administration commission that pushed to privatize Social Security.

    The fake assery of Joe Biden.  That included, please remember, backing Moqtada al-Sadr in Iraq.  Joe loves to trot out Beau Biden and Beau's service in Iraq.  Didn't stop him from siding with Moqtada who is responsible for the deaths of many US troops.  Didn't stop him from channeling the bribe through the US State Dept last August to get Moqtada to reverse his position on the Iraqi elections and instead announce that he now supported them.  

    Those elections took place October 10th.  Over eight months later, still no prime minister, still no president.  Moqtada had a hissy fit recently and took his toys and went home.  He demanded that his MPs resign from the Parliament.  And they did.  

    His usual sycophants in the media tried to spin this.  Just a bluff. Or some great move that he's going twist around and . . .

    Iraq Parliament swears in new lawmakers to replace 73 members of Sadrist bloc who resigned – Reuters


    They're gone.  They're replaced (by the next highest vote getters from the October 10th elections).

    Now he's said to be hoping to return as a protest leader.  Forgetting apparently that Shi;ite youths connected to The October Revolution rejected him three years ago.  But that's what cult leader Moqtada has in his future, a return to being the 'angry, young man' and at the age of 47.  He's now twice the median age of the people of Iraq (21 years old) and he'll try to inspire.

    In yesterday's snapshot, we noted that the Iranian government had peeled away the Barzani-KDP support for Moqtada which was why he took his toys and went home.  Truth must hurt because yesterday evening and this morning's new cycle saw headlines about how the Iranian government, per Moqtda, did not force his decision or break with him or pass a note in study hall saying he was a big, stinky ass and that the turban made him look 20 pounds fatter.

    At The Atlantic Council, Andrew Peek notes:

    The June 12 decision by Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to renounce his electoral victory and collapse the government formation process is a gift to Iran. It is a blow to average Iraqis—who demonstrated in 2019 for the end of the sectarian political system and were killed for it—and a blow to the United States, which had a chance to help expunge much of the malign Iranian influence that has seeped into Iraq since the 2003 US invasion.

    Sadr had won a significant seventy-three out of 329 seats in Iraq’s parliamentary elections in October 2021, outperforming all his Iraqi competitors, but especially the Iranian-backed parties and their militias. He then attempted to do something unprecedented: hold out for a majoritarian coalition and shut those same Shia parties out of government entirely, rather than divide up the spoils.

    If Sadr cut Iran-aligned parties out of the Iraqi government, including Iraq’s internal policy forces, it would have been a major blow to Iran’s growing regional influence in the Middle East. Iran values a pliable Iraq more than anything else: the prospect of an unfriendly Iraqi government—or even a nationalistic Iraqi government—would have reoriented Tehran’s political and security efforts in the region. Some of the funds and the attention of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which flows to Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and even the Gaza Strip, would then have to be redirected in an epic effort to negotiate a new relationship with Baghdad.

    It would also have revolutionized Iraqi politics, where certain militias and their political allies in the government intimidate politicians who stray too far from the line. As it happens, Sadr is one of the very few Iraqi political leaders who is difficult to intimidate. His brand is that of the eternal outsider and opponent of the US invasion, Iran, corruption, and Iraqi elites. However, his real power is that he has had a militia of his own. Saraya al-Salam forms part of the Hashd al-Shaabi—until recently, it almost had the strength to match the Iran-backed portions of the group. Sadr, thus, has the muscle to force a decisive confrontation if he wants.

    Sadr’s steadfastness these past eight months since the October 2021 elections was shocking, particularly for a man whose political oscillations are an Iraqi watchword. He was being leaned on very heavily. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had urged Sadr to drop his project, to join with the Iran-aligned parties, and return to the rule of the great Shia political glob. His coalition partners, particularly the Kurdish Democratic Party’s (KDP) Masoud Barzani, were also under immense pressure. The forces opposing Sadr—primarily former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki—had focused on stopping the nomination of the presidency, rigging a series of court decisions: raising the threshold for his election and then disqualifying the KDP’s candidate, Hoshyar Zebari.

    To what precise extent Iran controls Iraq is one of the great policy questions of the region and the answer is, broadly, not as much as Iraq’s critics claim, with Sadr’s election being proof of that. But also proof of Iran’s influence is his order for the resignation of loyalist members of parliament. Iran has the most influence in behaviors that hamper the region, such as militias and ballistic missiles. The trouble for Iraqis is that these behaviors are precisely the ones that make Iraq impossible to change, whether to attract greater foreign investment, encourage its bourgeoning private sector, or simply reduce corruption from the top down. The Iranians and their political henchmen have private armies and courts and their government will, thus, elect a new people if they are pressed too far.

    A vote for Sadr was a vote for change in Iraq—undisciplined, highly erratic change, certainly, but change, nonetheless. His victory was not a full endorsement of the October 2019 demonstrators, but also due to a reordering of the electoral system and thus ephemeral. His bloc gamed the elections best.  But he had seized the mantle of the protestors even with partial consent.

    His current strategy is risky: he will almost certainly be making a play for early elections, though it’s unclear how much better he could do than in October 2021. Sadr may be feeling stronger after some action in this parliamentary session, including passing a food security law that will appeal to the poor and an anti-normalization law to fend off critics from the Iran-backed parties. He may also want to bait Maliki and the opposition into forming a government, instead, and be saddled during a hot and underemployed summer in Iraq with sandstorms and power outages. But the opposition isn’t foolish and will likely accede to early elections after a period under the current government—if they are asked.

    It was a mistake for the Joe Biden administration to keep Iraq at arm’s length these past months. The administration has deployed minor US officials and made anodyne statements about the will of the Iraqi people. That reflects conventional wisdom: that a more visible US presence can only arouse Shia opposition and harm those nationalistic Iraqis whose victory would help net-US interests. It isn’t popular for Sadr, after all, to have US Secretary of State Antony Blinken touring Baghdad and advocating on his behalf. But there is still room to compete with Iran, which now has the outcome it wants.

    For example, the Biden administration should have done more to condemn the series of attacks on Iraqi Kurdistan this spring, including a barrage of a dozen missiles on March 13. This could have included at least sending a senior American official to the Iraqi Kurdistan region. They should also have expressed privately, at a high level, American unhappiness with the Iraqi courts stonewalling the choice of president on February 6. It is possible this happened, though, given the lack of high-level involvement or attention to this process, it is unlikely. Of course this would be portrayed as interference in Iraqi sovereignty, but compared to, for example, Iranian and Turkish violations of sovereignty, the bar is low. Many Iraqis understand this.

    Above all, the Biden administration should have been down in the mud of Baghdad politics, just as the Iranians and the IRGC were, cajoling and demanding from political leaders to do more. Iran treats Iraq as a zero-sum political battleground of immense stakes, and so must America if it wants to help—Iraqi leaders can seem bemused when it doesn’t.

    The difference between America’s strategic tools—its foreign and military aid to Iraq—and its tactical influence—the ability to sway decision-makers—is the greatest challenge to US policy In Iraq. Iran has poor strategic tools and its economic aid is negligible, though there is plenty of licit and illicit trade. Nevertheless, Iran’s tactical tools are immense, since its agents can and will threaten to kill individuals if they vote the wrong way—or say the wrong thing.

    America’s profile is precisely in reverse. There is precious little personal incentive for individual ministers and politicians to accede to an American demand, especially if it infuriates the Iranians. America is resource-rich in strategic incentives for the nation, but very poor in its ability to make a single person’s life better. That leads to a collective-action problem, where it is better for the Iraqi state to cooperate with the US but for individual political leaders to help Iran—and, usually, the latter outweighs the former.

    In any case, the United States was absent from the latest Iraqi political drama again, leaving its Arab allies adrift. That was a loss for Washington, but even more so a loss for Iraqis and the majority who voted for change. 

    The following sites updated: