Thursday, May 14, 2020

The perfect ending to HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

If you didn't watch the final episode of HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER yet, stop reading and come back after you have.

It was the perfect ending to the show. 

There were twists and turns and loyalties tested. 

I don't know where to begin.

I don't think I can do chronological, there were too many twists.

The governor showed up to testify and insist she's pure as driven snow.  She might have gotten away with it but Frank got a zip drive of a call Hannah made to Xavier (Laurel's brother) about the governor's plot and did she have Nate's father killed in prison.

The governor was further exposed when Nate took the stand and not only refused to lie but also told the jury that the FBI offered him $20 million to lie on the stand and that an FBI agent killed Asher and the FBI knew but were charging Annalise with it.

Teagan got honest with Annalise and told her she loved her.  Annalise let her down gently.  To the jury, Annalise told them about herself in her closing statement which included that she lost the person she loved the most (Eve) because she couldn't admit she was gay.

Annalise's mother returned for the finale. 

Let's see.  Remember when Nate talked to Laurel's father and explained that the governor had killed the man's son and was cleaning up, that he needed to testify against the governor before she came after him?

He didn't.  He testified for her.  And his reward?  The governor still had him killed (he was stabbed to death in prison).

Conner felt guilty for lying on the stand.  He wanted to come forward.  Oliver (his husband) and Micheala both thought it was a bad idea.  He got called in by the FBI and they suddenly wanted to offer him a better deal -- like Micheala, he wouldn't have to go to prison.

Conner figured out that it was Oliver.  Oliver had gone to the FBI and offered to lie on the stand for the FBI if they'd give Conner a better deal.

Conner refused it.  He also told Michaela that she'd never be able to live with herself if she didn't get honest about lying. 

At some point in the episode, Frank told Bonnie it was over.  He loved her but with what he knew about himself, he couldn't continue with Bonnie.  (Frank found out last episode that his parents were Sam -- who he knew was his father -- and Hannah -- Hannah was Sam's sister.)

Frank also had a good scene with Annalise where she asked if he had killed Hannah and he told her no and that he was always there for her.

Annalise won her case. 

That was a great moment. 

Things had moved quickly before then and now it was just one thing after another.

In the court hallway, Michaela and Oliver watched as Conner was handcuffed and taken away.  He gave Oliver his ring and told him it was over.  Oliver argued but all Conner said was, "Thank you, now I know how to love."  It was heart breaking.

No sooner had Conner been hauled off then Michaela tried to comfort Oliver. He rejected her with, "It should have been you."

Michaela looked as though she'd been slapped.  She took out her cell phone and called Laurel.  "The number you are calling has been disconnected." 

Michaela ended up all alone.

Everyone got the ending they deserved.

Annalise was out on the steps of the courthouse being congratulated on her win and asked about the governor.  She said an investigation needed to be launched immediately unless they just wanted to move towards impeachment.

We knew shots would ring out at this point because it had been teased twice through the episode already.  It wasn't Annalise who got shot though.

Bonnie's watching as Annalise is speaking to the press and she sees something that troubles her: Frank.  She starts walking towards him and calls out to him.  He pulls out a gun and he shoots the governor killing her.  The police apparently shoot him.

He dies in Bonnie's arms basically telling her that he loves her and that he was always loyal to Annalise.  Bonnie is heartbroken.  Annalise makes it over just as Frank has died.  She notices Bonnie is covered with Frank's blood, yes, but Bonnie's also bleeding.  Annalise cradles her and begs her to hang on but Bonnie dies.

Bonnie and Frank loved each other throughout the show.  If one died, it was fitting that both died. 

We'd been teased about Annalise dying the whole season.  She did.

We saw her funeral.  But it was years and years into the future.

A very elderly Eve (played by a heavily made up Famke Janssen -- heavily made up to look older) spoke at the funeral and about how when someone loved you it was like the sun was shining on you.  Laurel was at the funeral with her son.  She looked over her shoulder and Conner nodded to her.  Smiling she nodded back and saw that Oliver was with him.  That was fitting as well.

The episode ended with Laurel's son now teaching Annalise's college class How To Get Away With Murder.

It was a very strong ending to an incredible series. 

I'm going to miss this show so much.  I may write about the ending tomorrow as well because there was so much in tonight's episode.

Oh! Nate.  Nate has his own justice center now where he fights for the rights of the imprisoned.  I almost forgot that. 

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, May 14, 2020.  Public servants continue to try to bully the public, Iraq remains in shambles -- funny how Joe Biden's connected to both topics.

Senator Dianne Feinstein insists the matter is over so does Senator Chuck Schumer.  They seem to think the American people work for them and not the other way around, that because they're friends with Joe Biden, no one can ask further questions about Tara Reade's allegation that he assaulted her.  It doesn't work that way.  Tyler Pager (BLOOMBERG NEWS) reports:

Democrat activists and women’s groups say they saw a familiar and distressing playbook unfolding when Joe Biden addressed the sexual assault allegation against him by denying them and largely moving on.
Now, they’re trying to convince Biden that if he doesn’t continue to address the issue head on, he risks depressing turnout of women voters, potentially giving a boost to US President Donald Trump. Their goal is to get the party’s presumptive presidential nominee to unequivocally show that his views and behaviour around women have changed since his rough questioning of Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991 and his history of inappropriate touching, both of which he has apologised for.
They say it’s not enough to just tout his work on the 1994 Violence Against Women Act and It’s On Us movement, an Obama-era project to fight sexual assault on college campuses. They are looking for more policy and personnel commitments beyond his promise to choose a female running mate.
“That he has to be pressured every single time something in his past is brought up, a mistake that he’s made, a position that he’s taken, etc, is just a complete failure as it relates to leadership,” said Lucy Flores, a former Democrat state assemblywoman in Nevada who has accused Biden of touching her inappropriately.
“This isn’t to discount some of the good things that Joe Biden has done, and that’s part of his problem is that he tries to constantly use some of the good things that he has done as if it settles all of his debts in some way and it doesn’t,” she said, pointing out that she will still vote for him, but knows a number of women who say they do not think they can stomach it.

No, Joe can't gender wash.  He doesn't have Gender Credit Capital that he gets to cash in when he's accused of being assaulted.

Ana Kasparian and John Iadarola take on Schumer and his nonsense in the video below.

Maybe Chuck Schumer needs to learn to just sit his useless ass down?  At least he needs to learn to um-um-um-um speak.

Rosie O'Donnell.  A number of e-mails note my 'silence' on Rosie.  I believe Rosie just spoke yesterday.  I was 'silent' on a so-called feminist who wrote a column for THE NEW YORK TIMES.  I wasn't in the mood to deal with her nonsense.

Rosie.  Like myself, Rosie has disliked Donald Trump for years and years.  I am not surprised by her attitude (she feels Joe is the only alternative to Donald) and I feel it's completely consistent.  I don't feel she's being a hypocrite.  Do I wish that she had a different take?  Absolutely.  But she's her own person and I don't have a problem with her opinion or her expressing it.

I have a problem with stupidity and hypocrisy.  I have a problem, therefore, with Moria Donegan's nonsense for THE ATLANTIC.  Wait for the third paragraph and see if you don't agree:

Rank-and-file Biden supporters, along with the liberal and anti-Trump commentariat, have been much more aggressive in their attacks on Reade. They have smeared her as a quack or a plant; to discredit her, they have pointed to her support for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and a weird, since-deleted Medium essay she wrote praising Vladimir Putin, although feminists have spent much of the past three years explaining that such non sequiturs do not diminish a woman’s testimony. Darkly, Reade has also been cast as suspicious because for a time she lived under another name—a step she took in response to a domestic-abuse situation. Reade has received death threats, in addition to the usual slew of disbelieving and cruel missives. Even journalists covering her story have come under fire. New York magazine’s Rebecca Traister received threatening texts after publishing a piece on Reade. When the MSNBC host Chris Hayes devoted a segment on his show to the allegations, activists on Twitter called for him to be fired.
This kind of vitriol is supposedly justified by the moral imperative of denying Donald Trump a second term. But the argument that Reade’s allegations must be refuted lest the country reelect Trump is undermined by Trump’s presidency in the first place: If an allegation of sexual assault by the candidate were enough to fatally harm a campaign, Trump would never have become president at all. Meanwhile, survivors are seeing members of the political party that is more amenable to women’s rights disbelieve a story of assault, and smear the accuser—as if #MeToo had never happened.
Nor can these survivors find comfort in the actions of Biden’s opponents, who have taken on the issue of sexual assault with conspicuously convenient timing, understanding the gravity of sexual violence just in time to use the suffering of survivors for their own ends.

What a stupid and idiotic piece of b.s.

As a feminist, I am glad anytime we get a conversation going about real issues.  As a leftist, I am glad that the right is discussing rape allegations.  If in a year, right commentators and outlets have dropped the issue, I won't be surprised.  But I also realize that during the time this is being discussed, there will be people paying attention who will be moved by the issue and the discussion and will look at it differently.  That's how the feminist movement succeeded in raising serious issues like rape, assault, battering.  That's how we fought back to begin with against the people who insisted these were "personal problems" or the ones who tried to put them into 'spheres' and insisted these were not issues for the public sphere.

I don't trust someone who sneers at conversations about rape where the survivor is getting to tell her story.  I'm not going to be a partisan.

Equally true, there are young adults and children paying attention who live in homes with parents who are to the right politically.  The right outlets covering this are reaching the parents and some of the children.  The conversation is one that needs to take place and I applaud any segment of the political spectrum that's covering the story.

People want answers, not silence.  Here's a part of a letter to the editors of THE GAZETTE EXTRA:

We deserve answers from Joe Biden, and it’s time to stop silencing Tara Reade. It’s hypocritical that Wisconsin Democrats rushed to condemn Kavanaugh but have yet to even acknowledge Tara Reade.
Before Joe Biden is confirmed as the nominee, we need answers, and Tara Reade deserves to be heard. It’s up to the Democrat Party to complete a thorough and complete investigation into Biden’s past.

That's a paper in . . . Wisconsin.  Wisconsin, a battle ground state.

But then if the DNC was actually interested in reaching voters, they wouldn't have gone with such a pathetic and uninspiring candidate.  Paul Heideman (JACOBIN) reports on Joe's surrogates determination to attack segments of the left:

In the New York Times yesterday, Mitchell Abidor added his voice to the swelling chorus hectoring young leftists to support Joe Biden. Leaning on the bathetic open letter published by veterans of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Abidor chides the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) for not heeding their elders and endorsing a candidate whose career has been spent opposing everything they stand for.
Abidor’s letter is remarkable for the utter lack of effort it puts into making a single convincing argument. He scoffs at Daniel Finn’s argument in Jacobin that Donald Trump is no fascist, but he evidently doesn’t believe his reader requires any convincing on the point. (The irony involved in comparing Trump to fascists openly, in the pages of the country’s leading newspaper, is evidently lost on him.)
But Mr. Abidor’s op-ed isn’t actually about convincing socialists to vote for Joe Biden. Instead, it’s about reassuring liberals that socialists are bad and irresponsible.
Everyone knows that attacking leftists for abandoning decency will probably not convince them to vote for Biden. And if convincing people to vote for Biden is so important that it merits denouncing DSA in the New York Times for declining to do so, you’d think that such convincing is what Abidor would try to do. The fact that he himself declines to do so undermines his presentation of his position as the result of sober consideration, and DSA’s as driven by self-righteousness. Abidor attacks the Left for not wanting to elect Biden, but he himself cares more about attacking the Left than electing Biden.

Joe Biden is not up to being president and he's a joke.  Michael Smith (LEGALIENATE) uses humor to get those points across:

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden suffered a massive brain hemorrhage today as he practiced reciting the days of the week for upcoming debates with President Trump. Campaign staff members say it will not affect his work, and insist he has no plans to withdraw from the presidential contest, unless “something serious happens.”

“We’ve been through this before,” explained senior advisor Symone Slanders. “Joe will have a stroke or two before breakfast, but by mid-morning he’s his old self again, sniffing our hair and fondling the volunteers. It’s nothing to get upset about, and we frankly resent attempts by Donald Trump to politicize it.”

Reached for comment at Bethesda Naval Hospital where he was having a brain installed, Biden said, “old people are just as sharp as senile people,” and expressed gratitude for get-well calls from Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman. 

Joe Biden is a joke and he's a joke with blood on his hands.  Danny Sjursen (ANTIWAR.COM) notes:

Biden’s foreign policy has been one big series of gambles. In the past, he’s even framed it as such. Undoubtedly, few remember the time way back in Barack Obama’s first term, when Biden – assigned as the administration’s point-man on all things Iraq – predicted with absolute certainty that the Baghdad government would accede to the enduring presence of small numbers of American troops after the December 31, 2011 “end of combat operations.” In fact, the ever-folksy Biden told the New York Times he would bet his vice presidency that Iraq would extend this Status of Forces Agreement (SoFA). It didn’t. Nevertheless, Joe reneged on the wager and kept the number two spot in the land. Biden, like just about every establishment policymaker in both major parties, underestimated the independence and growing hostilityof the Shia strongman Nouri al-Maliki, whom the vice president himself helped install after the prime minister had lost an election.
Yet Biden’s Iraq War record goes far deeper. Sure, he voted for Bush’s initial invasion. Only that’s not the half of it. From his senior perch as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the future vice president quite literally sold the war to his more doubtful colleagues – twisting arms, making calls, and applying the classic Biden-charm – and to the American people writ large. Then, months after it was crystal clear that the invasion had been built on lies (no WMDs, no Saddam-Al Qaeda connection, etc.) – and by which point chaos and local resistance already reigned – Biden continued to defend the war and the “popular” president who orchestrated it. Biden didn’t just vote for aggression and mayhem in Iraq; he championed it.
Beyond Baghdad, Biden’s national security positions have also been abysmal. What’s more, based on his own published campaign vision, other than the discrete Iraq War vote itself, the presumptive Democratic nominee is unwilling to apologize for, or meaningfully alter, his past formulas for failure. It’s what Biden’s “vision” doesn’t mention that’s most troubling: Obama-destroyed Libya, his old boss’s floundering quagmire in Syria, any meaningful challenge to Israeli apartheid, or commitment to a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Mideast disaster areas. Better yet, the word “drone” doesn’t appear once – so one assumes the terror bombing won’t abate under Biden. In the final analysis, Joe offers little more than the status quo from West Africa to Central Asia – an intolerable situation he himself crafted over decades as the Democrats’ leading foreign policy guru.
When it comes to war and peace, nominating Biden is like assigning the criminal with solving the crime.

Human Rights Watch issued the following this morning:

The Iraqi government and parliament should pass legislation to address key human rights shortcomings in Iraq’s legal system and take measures to minimize the risks Covid-19 poses to people in prison, Human Rights Watch said today. With the formation of Iraq’s government on May 7, 2020, parliament can now focus on legislative reform.
Human Rights Watch has identified four key areas to advance human rights in Iraq, around which previous governments and parliaments have drafted and reviewed legislative proposals but did not pass them. There are many areas for which legislative reform is needed to bring Iraqi law in line with international standards, but the bills already offered address legal representation, torture, enforced disappearance, and domestic violence.
“Iraq has entered a new phase, with fighting against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) largely over,” said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The government should seize this opportunity to focus on protecting Iraqis’ basic rights and bringing Iraq’s laws in line with international standards.”
On March 29, 2018, before the May 2018 elections, the previous parliament completed an initial review of amendments to the Bar Association Law of 1965 that would guarantee defendants the right to have their lawyer in the room during an interrogation. Following this first reading, parliament members transmitted the amendments to the parliamentary legal committee for a second review. The bill carries no budgetary implications so is still pending before parliament and does not require further government action.
The Iraqi Constitution grants detainees the right to pick their own lawyer, or to ask to have one appointed by the government, who is allowed to be present throughout the investigative period. But detainees and lawyers have reported to Human Rights Watch for years that the authorities are not allowing lawyers to be present during interrogations. The amendments would require all facilities housing detainees and all courthouses to provide adequate space to allow for consultations with lawyers, including private rooms.
The amendments would require all authorities to allow lawyers to be present throughout judicial and investigative functions, to review all related documents, and to be alerted in advance about upcoming procedures in a case. It would prohibit interrogation of a suspect unless they are accompanied by a lawyer and nullify any interrogation in which that did not happen. The amendments include sanctions for authorities who interfere with lawyers’ rights and professional duties and order the authorities to inform the Bar Association if any criminal complaint is filed against a lawyer.
The parliamentary legal committee should support passage of the bill, Human Rights Watch said.
With the support of Heartland Alliance International, a human rights organization working in Iraq on detainees’ rights, a group of parliament members also prepared a draft Anti-Torture Bill in May 2017. The bill would require a judge to order a medical examination of any detainee alleging torture within 24 hours of learning of the allegation, which is often not occurring, Human Rights Watch said.
The bill also lays out the criminal sanctions for those who torture someone in their custody, calls on judges to dismiss all evidence gathered through torture and to dismiss the person who allegedly used torture from their role in the criminal case, and requires having a lawyer present for all detainees throughout the investigative period. Passage of this bill will help to address the extensive use of torture to extract confessions, Human Rights Watch said. The government should resubmit it to the parliament for review.

On May 14, 2020, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to the new government urging it to take steps to immediately further reduce the number of people of prisons, jails, and other places of detention in Iraq to prevent the spread of Covid-19. For years, Human Rights Watch has documented the acute overcrowding in Iraqi prisons in extremely unsanitary conditions. Media reports allege that authorities released 20,000 prisoners in April as a preventive measure, but they have not shared any information publicly on which detainees were selected for release and the criteria for selecting them.
Human Rights Watch has repeatedly asked Iraqi authorities over the past four years to share or make public the total number of people in Iraqi prisons. So far, authorities have refused to do so, making it impossible to assess whether the releases thus far have sufficiently reduced the acute overcrowding to enable social distancing.
An individual with knowledge of the situation inside Iraqi prisons told Human Rights Watch that he knew of at least one prison in Baghdad where prisoners and guards contracted Covid-19. Human Rights Watch was unable to verify this information.
In May 2017, Heartland Alliance International and a group of parliament members prepared the Bill for the Protection of People from Enforced Disappearance, which would make enforced disappearance a distinct crime under Iraqi law. The International Commission on Missing Persons, which has been working in partnership with the Iraqi government to help recover and identify the missing, estimates that the number of missing people in Iraq could range from 250,000 to 1 million. The International Committee of the Red Cross states that Iraq has the highest number of missing people in the world. Some of them are the subjects of enforced disappearances, including most recently some participants in the protest movement that began in October 2019.
Since 2014, Iraqi military and security forces have disappeared hundreds of people, mostly Sunni Arab men and boys, often during counterterrorism operations. The bill calls for appropriate restitution for victims of enforced disappearance and their families. The government should resubmit it to the parliament for review.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadhimi committed on May 9 that the government would investigate the killings of over 600 protesters since October 2019. As part of the investigations, it should identify and make public the groups and security forces who engaged in or coordinated these killings and hold those responsible to account. It should compensate victims of all unlawful killings. Efforts are needed to locate demonstrators who were abducted and are still missing, with full accountability.  
Finally, the government should make key amendments to an Anti-Domestic Violence bill and resubmit it to Parliament. The strengths of the draft bill, which has been pending before the previous parliament since 2015, include provisions for services for domestic violence survivors, shelters, protection orders, restraining orders and penalties for their breach, and the establishment of a cross-ministerial committee to combat domestic violence. Measures to combat domestic violence are all the more urgent in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In recent years, security has dominated the legislative and governmental agenda in Iraq,” Wille said. “Under this new government, human rights should be the priority.”

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Science post - the final frontier

Bernie Sanders is the king of all fake asses.  Read Rebecca's "worthless bernie sanders and f**k you too patty murray" and weep.  We're going to ignore that to do a science post.  I think we all need a break from the news of politics.

Did you know about China's failed rocket?  Jennifer Leaman (POPULAR MECHANICS) reports:

The large core stage of China's Long March 5B rocket reentered Earth's atmosphere and plummeted out of control to the surface earlier this week. At 100 feet long and 16 feet wide, it's the largest piece of space junk to fall uncontrolled from low-Earth orbit in almost 30 years. 
Initial reports suggested the almost 20-ton rocket stage had fallen into the Atlantic Ocean, off the west coast of Africa. But new reports from social media and some African news organizations suggest pieces of the rocket may have been strewn across parts of Cote d'Ivoire.
The heavy-lift rocket, which was carrying China's prototype crew capsule, successfully launched from Wenchang launch center on Hainan Island off the country's southern coast.

Victor Tangermann (FUTURISM) adds:

Now, it sounds as though parts falling off it may have left a trail of debris. According to The Verge, bits of the rocket appear to have touched ground on the Ivory Coast. Local media reported that mysterious metallic objects were raining from the sky.
“When you have a big chunk of metal screaming through the upper atmosphere in a particular direction at a particular time, and you get reports of things falling out of the sky at that location, at that time, it’s not a big leap to connect them,” Harvard-Smithsonian astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who has closely followed the story about the falling rocket, told The Verge.

So that's in Africa.  In the US?  Michael Ruiz (FOX NEWS) explains:

Space junk from a new Chinese rocket narrowly missed dropping down on New York City Monday night, according to a report, largely burning up in the atmosphere before some of the debris survived long enough to slam into West Africa.

So what might have hit NYC instead rained and fell ''out of the sky" in Africa.

In other space news, PHYS.ORG reports:

Astronomers at the University of Canterbury (UC) have found an incredibly rare new Super-Earth planet towards the centre of the galaxy. The planet is one of only a handful that have been discovered with both size and orbit comparable to that of Earth.
Astronomers at the University of Canterbury (UC) have found an incredibly rare new Super-Earth planet towards the centre of the galaxy.
The planet is one of only a handful that have been discovered with both size and orbit comparable to that of Earth. The planet-hunters' research has recently been published in the Astronomical Journal.

That's pretty cool.  Kayla McNicoll (HAPPY NEWS) adds:

It is believed that there are many Earth-like planets sprinkled throughout the Milky Way galaxy, however it is difficult to find them, given their distance away from Earth and size of their stars. However over 4000 exoplanets have been discovered with a third of them being rocky like Earth.
The newly discovered rocky exoplanet orbits at an Earth-like distance from its own star and is positioned 24,722.65 light-years away from us. This makes it potentially most distant Milky Way exoplanet that has been discovered so far. 
After further research and analysis, it was determined that the exoplanet is a super-Earth, meaning its a lot bigger (almost four times the mass of Earth.) Other interesting findings included that is orbits a star which is just 0.12 times the mass of the sun, with its year lasting approximately 617 days.

STAR TREK has long told us that space is the final frontier.

I loved STAR TREK.  STAR WARS never really interested me.  But I grew up watching STAR TREK in syndication.  I'd watch it on Friday nights when I'd visit one of my aunts.  And I loved all the STAR TREK movies.  I loved DEEP SPACE NINE as well.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Big Stacey lies, Little Chuckie Schumer stomps his feet and another smear against Tara Reade gets exposed.

The attacks on Tara Reade continue.  Big Stacey Abrams, for example, took the time to tell VICE that Tara is lying -- so says the woman who regularly swears to wait staff that it's just her first time through the line and gets insulted when they explain to her it's not an all you can eat buffet.  Big Stacey is a big fish in no pond and she's also taken to telling reporters that she's up for any position in a Biden administration though not necessarily the court.  She's not fit to preside over traffic court, let alone the Supreme Court.  Big Stacey's life is a series of insignificant accomplishments.  She makes Mayor Pete look like FDR in his third term as president.

Already busted once for using the talking points put out by the Biden campaign, one wonders at what point Joe's going to sit before a real interviewer who doesn't let him slide with everyone gets to tell their story -- as George did on GOOD MORNING AMERICA yesterday -- and instead points out that Joe is hiding behind advocates who attack Tara, that he never calls them out and just sits back and pretends he's innocent.

He's not.  In 2008, Alexander Cockburn was writing about Joe Biden hitting on Senate staffers.  Joe's creepy behavior is caught on camera and all over YOUTUBE.  He's made other women uncomfortable.

Roger Sollenberger (SALON) reports on a smear that many (Michael Tracey) have been passing around about Tara Reade since she came forward to accuse Joe Biden of assault:

Last week, Guy Benson — a Fox News contributor and conservative talk radio host, as well as political editor of Townhall — published an article in Townhall headlined, "Court Records: Biden Accuser Tara Reade was Charged with Check Fraud Days Before Leaving His Senate Office." That article's central claim was based on an email chain with an officer of the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court in California.
Salon has since learned the court official's statements in the email were edited, and did not corroborate Benson's central claim, which has not been confirmed by any source.
[. . .]
The court is not able to confirm or deny the specifics of the charge, the officer said. So far, that charge has not been independently confirmed from any other source
It is unclear whether Benson altered the email himself or obtained the altered email from another source. According to a conversation with the court officer, a larger crop of the screenshot would have revealed more.

By the way, how long has it been -- a week? -- since Michael Tracey trashed Katie Halper, Krystal Ball and others for believing Tara Reade and insisted he was working on a huge expose that would prove Tara was lying?

I don't know what's funnier -- that Michael could produce something huge or that he's working.  Beggar boy is a lot like John Nichols.  We don't cite John Nichols here anymore.  In 2008, he went on DEMOCRACY NOW! when Barack Obama was in trouble for telling the Canadian government that anything he said about NAFTA and overturning it was just for show to get votes.  The AP broke that story.  John Nichols took to DEMOCRACY NOW! to insist that wasn't true and that it was actually HIllary Clinton who had been telling the Canadian government that about herself and that he was working on this story and would have a big expose soon.

He never had one.  It didn't exist.  The spotlight was on Barack and the point was to get it off Barack so John Nichols lied.

Just like Michael's lying now.

By the way, anyone noticing a trend in 2008 and right now?

How many weeks are we supposed to ponder who will be Joe Biden's running mate?  Which woman will he give the rose to?

If you've forgotten, Barack's 2008 campaign used that tactic to distract the media as well when Barack was in trouble.

This is a non-story.  When Big Stacey is on camera, it's a non-story.  Everyone backing Biden that has his ear will tell you that fat woman is a joke and will not be on the ticket.  But there she is all over the media -- fake news with a pulse.

Tiana Lowe (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) quotes Joe stating yesterday on GOOD MORNING AMERICA:

Well, that’s their right. Look, here — look: I think women should be believed. They should have an opportunity to have their case and state it forthrightly — what their case is. Then, it’s the responsibility of responsible journalists like you and everyone else to go out and investigate those. The end of the day, the truth is the truth. That’s what should prevail, and the truth is: This never happened. This never happened. I assure you. That’s the truth."

Eddy Rodriguez (NEWSWEEK) offers the same quote.  So (a) why isn't he being asked about his attack dogs and (b) why isn't he being investigated?

The ridiculous Senator Chuck Schumer wants you to know that the matter is over because . . . well, because he says so.  No, it's not over.  Nor does doing two hand picked interviews end the issue.  Joe continuing to hide in his basement does rule out press conferences for the moment.  For the moment.  But this isn't over.  And let's stop pretending he's been asked any real questions.

By the way, let's note Megyn Kelly's interview with Tara again.

It currently has over 721,000 views but, if I were THE NEW YORKER, I guess I'd just say over 500,000 (see Elaine's "THE NEW YORKER struggles to cover serious issues").

Staying with numbers, Michael Keogh (NEWSDAY) reports:

Nearly half of Democrats in the US are satisfied with former Vice President Joe Biden as the party’s presidential nominee, a new poll finds. The poll also indicated that nearly a third want to replace him.

Only 54% of Democratic voters want the party to keep Biden at the top of its presidential ticket, while 28% want to replace him with another candidate, and 18% remain undecided, according to a poll published Tuesday by Rasmussen.

The poll was conducted May 10-11 among 1,000 likely voters, and has a margin of error of roughly 3%.

Let's note this from Scott Jennings (BOWLING GREEN DAILY NEWS):

These allegations went largely ignored for weeks by the media types and Democratic politicians who pilloried Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings. Biden finally denied them and a horde of liberal politicians and talking heads now say they “believe” Biden, or, even if he did it, so what?
“Compared with the good Mr. Biden can do, the cost of dismissing Tara Reade – and, worse, weakening the voices of future survivors – is worth it,” wrote Linda Hirshman, a well-known feminist author who believes in “sacrificing Ms. Reade for the good of the many.”
Of Kavanaugh, she demanded his impeachment: “Kavanaugh … can be unbenched. Women are simply not going to accept this monumentally unfit man remaining on the Court regardless of what the Republicans manage to ram through this week.”
Now, with Hirshman and other liberal hypocrites cheering them on, Biden and his party are doing the ramming. There was no corroborating evidence against Kavanaugh whatsoever. Biden’s creepy shoulder rubs and unwanted hair sniffs are, on the other hand, legion, not to mention Reade telling people about it at the time.
It is clear now that Democrats never cared about the truth when they were grilling Kavanaugh, a sacrifice made for the sake of abortion. And it is clear they are again willing to sacrifice any objective view of a sexual assault allegation, again for the sake of abortion.
What’s a red-cloaked “Handmaid’s Tale” protester to do with her time, I wonder?
U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein, who detonated the Christine Blasey Ford bombshell late in Kavanaugh’s process after sitting on the allegations for weeks, made a disgusting about-face when confronted with Reade’s allegations. The California Democrat savaged Reade, blaming her for waiting too long to come forward.
“And I don’t know this person at all who has made the allegations. She came out of nowhere. Where has she been all these years? Why didn’t she say something – you know, when he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee or after that?” Feinstein said.
Her tune, of course, was far different during the Kavanaugh hearing. When Republicans raised similar questions, Feinstein said: “Victims must be able to come forward only when they are ready.”

Call it the Politics of Hypocritical Convenience, wherein you say whatever gets you through the moment regardless of what you said when the shoe was on the other foot.

Every presidential cycle finds the Democratic Party refusing to court the left.  These days, they take their orders from the neocons who can't stand Trump.  Without a left base of support, who will hand them victory in 2020?  The independents and swing voters?

No, they tend to feel the way Scott does.  Polling backs that up.  And every time a Dianne Feinstein or a Big Stacy attacks Tara, it only hardens the middle's distrust of Joe Biden.

There was never enthusiasm for him to begin with.  And that's only more true as he brings on predators like Chris Dodd to his team.

Iraq?  Over at WAR ON ROCKS, Doug Ollivant offers:

“Iraq is like a race car that has been neglected and repeatedly wrecked. Al-Kadhimi is not the race car driver. He’s the tow truck driver.” This is how Yazan al-Jabouri describes the task ahead for Iraq’s new prime minister. And it makes clear the need for all observers to take an appetite suppressant, as it were, when judging the potential — and eventually the accomplishments — of the new Iraqi government. The electoral results of 2018 still govern the universe of possible outcomes, none of which are favorable to major reform. Iraq is still a “race car” with immense potential (human capital, educational institutions, oil, rivers, fertile land, access to the sea, road networks), as anyone who visits sees clearly. But the world should expect little from this prime minister, other than setting conditions for the next prime minister’s success.
More than six months since the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, and after failures to form a government by two previous prime minister-designates, Iraq’s parliament confirmed the majority of Iraq’s proposed ministers early in the morning of May 7, 2020. Mustafa al-Kadhimi, a former journalist and human rights activist turned spymaster, was sworn in as Iraq’s latest prime minister. Once again, Iraq has executed a peaceful transition of power, an accomplishment that — despite all the necessary caveats — must be noted and applauded. Furthermore, this transition is particularly notable as the resignation of Abdul Mahdi was caused by nationalist demonstrators. The Iraqi political system — for all its very real flaws — was able to react to this resignation in a way that appears to have modest approval from some (though by no means all) factions of the demonstrators. Finally, this government was formed in the shadow of incredible tension between Iraq’s two most important patrons: the United States and Iran. The Iraqi political system seems to have walked the tightrope to arrive at a solution that appears acceptable to both.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The hypocrites got exposed

That's Megyn Kelly's interview with Tara Reade.  I believe Tara.

Most people do.


But what particularly bothered Kelly is how Reade’s allegations “exposed how false these people who are pretending they’re women’s advocates are.”
“It upsets me as a woman, as somebody who actually has stood for female empowerment my entire life,” she continued, bringing up the Kavanaugh case. “The 180 they have done now that the allegations are against a Democrat trying to take down Trump is disgusting to me. Disgusting.”

I agree with Megyn.  I am disgusted with various Democrats and their refusal to stand up for Tara.  Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Bob Casey, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Chris Murphy, etc.  They're all disgusting and shameful.

I believe Tara Reade.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Tuesday, May 12, 2020.  Joe Biden remains the worst candidate imaginable -- whether it's Iraq, Tara Reade or what have you.

Let's start with garbage.  Specifically, garbage credited to the following:

Signatories of the letter to Biden include the Center for Economic and Policy Research, CodePink, Greenpeace US, Indivisible, International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), Jewish Voice for Peace Action, MoveOn, Our Revolution, Peace Action, the Quincy Institute,, and Win Without War.

In October of last year, Iraqis took to the streets to protest a corrupt government and the presence of foreign troops on their soil.  In response, they were attacked by their own government.  Estimates that the corporate press runs with puts it at over 500 dead.  The number is much higher.  In addition to the protesters killed, many more were injured and/or arrested.

When during all this time (the protests continue) did any of the above take a moment to support the Iraqi protesters, these young people risking their own lives?  Not once.  They couldn't even offer a Tweet.  But shortly after this year began, you may remember their Chicken Little reaction -- where they mounted protests as they screeched that any second the US government was going to declare war on Iran.  That never happened and they went back to not caring about the region.

The letter is mentioned in Jessica Corbett's stenography at COMMON DREAMS.  She tells you these groups are pressing Joe Biden to end endless wars and other things.

Why would anyone listen to them?

They've demonstrated that they can't keep their eye on the ball and that they'll grouse for a moment or two and then find a shiny toy to play with.

Why would Joe Biden listen to them?

Sorry, I was in Denver in 2008.  Barack was getting pressed, there was going to be a demonstration.  They were going to make their voices heard!!!  And then?  They held off the protest because Barack was going to meet with them.  They held off the protest and rubbed their hands together excitedly as they anticipated Barack's arrival but he was already departing and they were left with a lower level flunky who had no power.  They got played.

This crowd gets played every time.  They never learn.

Now they've issued a public letter that's as meaningless as they themselves are.

For those who don't know, Roots (Non)Action is Norman Solomon's group.  That would be the same Norman who has been hectoring everyone for months now that they have to vote for Joe Biden.

If your position is that you and everyone else has to vote for a candidate, the candidate has no reason to listen to you -- he can already count on your vote regardless.

Joe Biden is incompetent and that was the case long before he became the rambling idiot we see before us today.  If you care about Iraq, you know Joe destroyed it.  I'm not referring to his vote for -- and support of -- the Iraq War.  I'm referring to his time as Vice President.  Here's how Andrew Cockburn explained it at HARPER'S:

Presumably in deference to this record, Obama entrusted his vice president with a number of foreign policy tasks over the years, beginning with “quarterbacking,” as Biden put it, US relations with Iraq. “Joe will do Iraq,” the president told his foreign policy team a few weeks after being sworn in. “He knows it, he knows the players.” It proved to be an unfortunate choice, at least for Iraqis. In 2006, the US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, had selected Nouri al-Maliki, a relatively obscure Shiite politician, to be the country’s prime minister. “Are you serious?” exclaimed a startled Maliki when Khalilzad informed him of the decision. But Maliki proved to be a determinedly sectarian ruler, persecuting the Sunni tribes that had switched sides to aid US forces during the so-called surge of 2007–08. In addition, he sparked widespread allegations of corruption. According to the Iraqi Commission of Integrity set up after his departure, as much as $500 billion was siphoned off from government coffers during Maliki’s eight years in power.
In the 2010 parliamentary elections, one of Maliki’s rivals, boasting a nonsectarian base of support, won the most seats, though not a majority. According to present and former Iraqi officials, Biden’s emissaries pressed hard to assemble a coalition that would reinstall Maliki as prime minister. “It was clear they were not interested in anyone else,” one Iraqi diplomat told me. “Biden himself was very scrappy—he wouldn’t listen to argument.” The consequences were, in the official’s words, “disastrous.” In keeping with the general corruption of his regime, Maliki allowed the country’s security forces to deteriorate. Command of an army division could be purchased for $2 million, whereupon the buyer might recoup his investment with exactions from the civilian population. Therefore, when the Islamic State erupted out of Syria and moved against major Iraqi cities, there were no effective defenses. With Islamic State fighters an hour’s drive from Baghdad, the United States belatedly rushed to push Maliki aside and install a more competent leader, the Shiite politician and former government minister Haider al-Abadi. 

That's a sweet way of putting it.  Reality, the Iraqi people voted Nouri out.  Reality, Joe and others didn't want that to happen.  Reality, The Erbil Agreement was produced to overturn the election results and give Nouri a second term.  We've covered this forever and a day.  No interviewer has ever asked Joe, "Explain to us your support for The Erbil Agreement?"  Nor did anyone supposedly moderating a debate.

The Islamic State appears in Nouri's second term.  They're wearing dark clothes and they are on the highway between Baghdad and Anbar Province.  Does no one remember that?

I'm sure Joe Biden prays you don't remember.

Nouri was already persecuting people in his first term and it only got worse in the second term -- the term the Iraqi people didn't want Nouri to have, the one that the US government -- with Joe Biden leading the effort -- gifted Nouri with.

Joe argued for a tyrant to get a second term and how did that work out?

Let's see, you had the rise of ISIS, you had US troops officially back in Iraq, you had Barack refusing to take Nouri's calls for two years (2012 through 2014) and then the process finally began of forcing Nouri out.

But somehow, Joe never gets asked about any of this.

Instead, we pretend that Joe's entire Iraq War action was voting for the Iraq War.

He gets to proclaim credit in the debate for removing (some) US troops from Iraq and no one ever notes it was his actions -- demanding Nouri get a second term -- that led to US troops being sent back into Iraq.

Iraq has a new prime minister as of May 7th, Mustafa al-Kadhimi.  This was the subject of the most recent episode of CRITICAL MOVES (TELESUR).

The government of Iraq notes:

receives a phone call from
to congratulate him on assuming office, and to discuss bilateral relations, saying that Iraq is a strong nation and has a central role to play in achieving regional and international stability.

The Prime Minister's office also notes the call with US President Donald Trump.

رئيس مجلس الوزراء


يتلقى اتصالا هاتفيا من الرئيس الأمريكي


هنأ فيه السيد الكاظمي بمناسبة توليه رئاسة الحكومة العراقية.

وشكر رئيس مجلس الوزراء السيد مصطفى الكاظمي الرئيس الأمريكي على التهنئة، مؤكدا حرص العراق على إقامة أفضل العلاقات مع الولايات المتحدة .


Trump spoke with Kadhimi "to congratulate him on his confirmation by the Iraqi Council of Representatives," White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.
"President Trump expressed the support of the United States for Iraq during the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic and emphasized the shared interest with Iraq in achieving the enduring defeat of ISIS (Daesh)," the statement said.
"President Trump also encouraged the Prime Minister to address the Iraqi people's demands for reform and legitimate early national elections," it said.

At FOREIGN POLICY, Shelly Kittleson offers:

Despite an institutional void since widespread protests across Shiite-majority central and southern Iraq forced the previous government to resign late in 2019 and the international coalition’s recent withdrawal from several Iraqi bases, moves are afoot to more fully integrate some Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) factions into government chains of command and structures that existed prior to 2014.
If Iraq’s new government manages to do so, it could reduce the influence of powerful armed groups with questionable loyalty to the Iraqi state.
The PMU were officially formed in 2014 through a fatwa by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for volunteers to fight against the Islamic State in order to defend Shiite holy sites and Iraq in general. They played a key role in the country’s territorial defeat of the transnational terrorist group.
Several of the brigades within the PMU belong to armed groups that had existed for many years prior to the PMU’s formation in 2014. These factions have long been supported by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Others set up in 2014 and loyal to Sistani are known as “shrine units.”

In the United States, Tara Reade continues to tell her story.  Megyn Kelly posed her interview with Tara -- posted it on Friday evening.

It's now had over 629,000 streams.

Roger Sollenberger (SALON) reports:
A 1996 filing in a California Superior Court reveals that former Capitol hill staffer Tara Reade spoke about allegations of sexual harassment with her ex-husband on "several occasions" while working in former Vice President Joe Biden's Senate office from 1992-1993.
The declaration, first reported on by the San Luis Obispo Tribune, does not mention sexual assault. Reade's ex-husband, Ted Dronen, said in the document that his ex-wife spoke to him about the allegations of harassment on "several occasions." The statements in the document, which was also obtained by The New York Times, were attributed to Biden's "office," though not the senator himself.
"On several occasions petitioner related a problem that she was having at work regarding sexual harassment in U.S. Senator Joe Biden's office," Dronen's statement said in reference to Reade. 
"Petitioner told me that she eventually struck a deal with the chief of staff of the senator's office and left her position," he added.

Kate Sheehy (NEW YORK POST) notes:

Lawyers for Joe Biden sex accuser Tara Reade on Monday demanded that the former veep open up his archives at the University of Delaware and pushed a Senate official to hand over any documents related to the case, too.
Top sex-harassment lawyer Douglas Wigdor told Biden that he must “authorize a search [of his university archives] to determine whether they contain any records related to Ms. Reade” —  evoking the former US senator from Delaware’s controversial handling of the Anita Hill controversy in 1991.

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