Saturday, November 21, 2020

I can't stand TCM anymore

 When they're not airing that hideous 'documentary' WOMEN MAKE FILM, TCM doesn't know what it's doing anymore.

Doubt me?


What the literal f**k?

It's a Saturday.  And this is the garbate you're broadcasting, films that people don't want to watch?  THE FRONT PAGE?  That film is awful.  The original, 1931 film is worth watching.  The update starring Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant, HIS GIRL FRIDAY, is worth watching.  The 1974 film is hideous and pretty much unwatchable.

DR.STRANGELOVE is a film worth seeing . . . once.  And if it were once a year, fine.  But they've shown that already once in the last four weeks.  It is not SOME LIKE IT HOT.  It is not a classic that you want to watch over and over.  And on a Saturday night, I either want to laugh or be rivited with something like a tight thriller.  STRANGELOVE isn't one, 2001 isn't one.  They are both bloated films.  

And who is the programmer that's deciding these are universal films?

This Black woman doesn't want to watch this crap.  I guess "universal" appeal means appeal for the men and only White men. TCM has been bad for about six months now, really bad.

And I'm saying it now.  If you're not, if you're going along with this garbage, don't whine to me.

People refused to speak out against FILM STRUCK -- which also had problems -- and then it went under and it was wah-we-can't-lost-this-resource!!!!

TCM is not delivering.  They're doing scattershot programming.  Their host Ben is smug and irritating and tried way too many times to inject partisanship (not politics) into his 'hosting' duties.

He's also physically repulsive.  I don't know why the only Black woman host is buried in the early morning hours.  I guess I should be glad that they finally got one, right?  Lincoln freed the slaves in 1862 and, in 2020, nearly 140 years later, TCM finally got a Black host.  Jacqueline Stewart is her name, by the way, she hosts the brief Sunday silent film slot that starts late Sunday night and continues just a bit more early Monday morning.  

I like Alicia and I love Dave, but let's be honest.  Ben is lousy and the film noir host is a problem.

Why the hell does film noir get its own slot?

Where's the slot for musicals, for example?

A lot of people love musicals.  And maybe we could even get a second host of color if TCM had a regular slot for musicals the way they do for film noir?

I soured on Eddie and his film noir nonsense when I followed for two years waiting for Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake and getting garbage man and trash actor saluted week after week instead.    Or what about Joan Crawford?  She should be a regular of Eddie's programming considering all the noirs she made but we don't get that.  We get a lot of people you never heard of and you never heard of them for good reason.  But a White male nobody like Eddie loves a lot of White male nobodies and keeps telling us these movies -- that honestly failed to capture audiences originally in theaters and then repeatedly in theaters, are so wonderful.

They've lost their way, TCM.  

They need to return to classic and they need to show classics we love.  They seem to think they're above Bob Hope, by the way.  Only after a lot of criticism, a lot, have they started showing a little bit of Hope.  Bob made some classic films.  But they don't seem to appreciate comedy these days at TCM.  They don't appreciate much.  

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Friday, November 20, 2020.  We explore continued talk about the announced drawdown of some US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tara Reade, the Iraqi militias, Joe Biden's efforts to staff a Cabinet, and much more

As noted in Wednesday's snapshot, US President Donald Trump has announced a drawdown of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Drawdown -- not a withdrawal.  For Iraq, it means 500 US troops will be leaving.  Why do we have IndyMedia?

We really don't.  Most of those sites closed long ago.  PORTLAND IMC continues.  Reading this article by Henry Browning, you have to wonder why?  He repeats the false claim of War Hawks of harm this would cause.  He offers no voices that dissent with that view and he certainly doesn't question it himself.  For those of us who were inspired by IndyMedia in the early '00s, this is very sad.  The only comfort is that the comments offer back and forth.

USA TODAY does what IndyMedia refuses to do, offers a voice not rejecting a drawdown.  Geoff LaMear offers:

After the Trump administration’s consideration of military strikes on Iran for its nuclear program, the rocket attacks in Iraq’s Green Zone, where the U.S. embassy is located, on Tuesday have the potential to draw the United States closer to a conflict with Iran. But President Trump should keep military retaliation off the table. Military action has incentivized — not deterred — Iran and its proxies in the past, endangering U.S. personnel.

Military force hasn’t made American personnel safe. In the last bout of hostilities with Iran, Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iran-aligned militia group in Iraq, conducted a rocket attack in December 2019 which killed a U.S. contractor. In response, the U.S. hit Kata’ib Hezbollah hard, striking five of the group’s facilities. If military action could deter further attacks, that should have been the end of it. But it wasn’t.

[. . .]

The longer U.S. forces stay in Iraq, the longer they are in harm’s way. And as was seen in the previous tit-for-tat last December, a single American death acts as a flash-point that risks a war.

 [. . .]

U.S. military presence in Iraq risks harm to personnel which in turn can bring the U.S. into a war with Iran. The costs are high and the benefits are nonexistent with the defeat of ISIS. The Iraqis are the ones best suited to preventing ISIS from reemerging and opposing a vassalization of their country by Iran. Therefore, it behooves both Trump and Biden to declare that that end has finally come.

Edward King is the president of Defense Priorities and he issued this statement:

Reducing US troop levels to 2,500 in both Afghanistan and Iraq is responsible – it would be irresponsible to not get to zero. The ongoing military occupations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and the greater Middle East are costly mistakes that come at the expense of higher defense priorities.

Talk of a ‘conditions-based’ withdrawal is a stalking horse for staying indefinitely, or forever. There is no such thing as an immaculate withdrawal from these conflicts, and there’s no reason to think the ground reality will improve after nearly 20 years of waiting.

The militias in Iraq are now part of the security forces.  Supposedly, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is attempting to address this.  Supposedly.  Maybe the time to object was long before he became prime minister?  The move never should have taken place.  Since the merger, what's been learned is that they do not fall under the command of the prime minister.  So they get to be included with Iraqi forces and they don't have to follow the same rules and orders that the Iraqi forces are expected to follow.  They made news awhile back by announcing some form of cease-fire.  Now they are saying it's over.  Dilan S. Hussein (RUDAW) reports:

The leader of an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia group announced the end of a conditional ceasefire suspending attacks on American interests in the country after a child was killed by rocket fire on Baghdad’s green zone this week. 

“The truce with the Americans has ended due to its conditions not being met,” Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asaib Ahl Al-Haq, said in a Thursday interview with Iraqi state media.

Late on Tuesday, rockets landed in Baghdad’s green zone killing a child and injuring five other civilians, just hours after the Pentagon announced it was reducing United States military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Iran's TASMIN offers:

The leader of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq movement said the Iraqi government is entitled to have a monopoly on carrying and using weapons in order to restore stability to the country.

However, Qais al-Khazali noted that the Iraqi resistance forces will continue carrying arms as long as the country is in danger.

Speaking in an interview with the Al-Iraqiya TV, which was aired on Thursday, Khazali said resistance forces carry weapons for a specific goal and reason.

“Once that goal is achieved, they will lay down their weapons,” he noted.

He said he is opposed to rocket attacks against the US embassy, and so are many other groups, as it is a diplomatic site.

"Resistance forces"?

Let's hope that term was applied by Iran's news outlet and was not used by al-Khazali himself.  First off, "the resistance" in Iraq, since the US-led invasion kicked off in 2003, has been Sunni, not Shi'ite. Second, Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq is a Shi'ite militia.  al-Haq is stating that they will ignore the Iraqi order at the present time.  Again, there have been no benefits for the Iraqi government since they brought the militias into the Iraqi forces.

Yesterday, we noted that, after decades of being closed, Iraq and Saudi Arabia were reopening their shared border.  The editorial board of GULF NEWS (via EMIRATES NEWS AGENCY) weighs in with:

For the first time in 30 years, the border between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iraq is now open, with transport trucks, goods and food stuffs crossing between the two Arab nations at the Arar frontier post. The strategically important crossing had been closed since 1990 when the Kingdom severed ties with Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

The reopening of the border marks a new milestone in the long and historic relationship between these two Arab neighbours and it’s a day that has long been anticipated by members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. By unsealing the gates, removing the physical barriers and letting traffic and trade flow once more, it is a clear statement that Iraq’s standing is now restored and it is indeed open for business once again.

The reopening of the border at Arar is the latest positive development to accrue from the ongoing dialogue between Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi, and both deserve kudos for their efforts in bringing Iraq back into the tent of Arab brothers. Simply put, the reopening of the border is a good day’s work and positive for all.

The events of 1990 and subsequently have profoundly affected the region. But time, dialogue and goodwill between Arabs has triumphed; old quarrels have been set aside, and there is more to be gained by opening borders. Arabs together are much stronger.

THE NATIONAL weighs in with this video.

And FORBES offers this video report.

Also yesterday, we reposted an interview with Tara Reade and included this: "[Tara Reade's LEFT OUT: WHEN THE TRUTH DOESN"T FIT IN is available at AMAZON.]"  This resulted in drive-by e-mails.  Griping.  And we were already getting those.  (Drive-by e-mails refers to e-mails sent to the public e-mail account -- -- as opposed to community members who e-mail our private e-mail address.)  The drive-bys started with the claim that I wasn't supporting Tara because I wasn't supporting her book.  I've supported Tara throughout.  I believe her.  This was noted in Ava and my election overview earlier this month.

I twice noted her book was coming out.  And then I stopped.  Not because I didn't support Tara but because we've had problems before.  When I promoted it here, community members asked if I knew it wasn't available on AMAZON?  No, I did not.  It was available through some website none of us knew.  Probably a great website.  But we've danced this dance before.   Holly Near teamed up with Emma's Revolution and it should have been a great experience.  It wasn't.  I soured on the nonsense of including a man's song -- **Holly was a lesbian, she's now a straight woman who identifies as a lesbian, or whatever** and Emma's Revolution is supposed to be pro-women -- there was no reason to include it.  Don't want to study war no more?

I believe Laura Nyro wrote a song about that, did we forget that?

Come on, people, come on, children
Come on down to the glory river.
Gonna wash you up, and wash you down,
Gonna lay the devil down, gonna lay that devil down.
I got fury in my soul, fury's gonna take me to the glory goal
In my mind I can't study war no more.
Save the people, save the children, save the country now
Come on, people come on, children
Come on down to the glory river
Gonna wash you up and wash you down
Gonna lay the devil down, gonna lay that devil down
Come on people! Sons and mothers
Keep the dream of the two young brothers
Gonna take that dream and ride that dove
We could build the dream with love, I know,
We could build the dream with love, I know,
We could build a dream with love, children,
We could build the dream with love, oh people,
We could build the dream with love, I know,
We could build the dream with love.
Come on, people! Come on, children!
There's a king at the glory river

And the precious king, he loved the people to sing;
Babes in the blinkin' sun sang
"We Shall Overcome".

-- "Save The Country," written by Laura Nyro, first appears on her 1969 album NEW YORK TENDABERRY

I don't have a lot of interest in crap garbage and when supposedly pro-women artists go out of their way to do a self-proclaimed 'womanist' album and they're covering a song by a man when they should be honoring a woman -- who said it much better -- I don't have use for them.

But the point was we noted the album before it came out, noted it the day it came out and where to get it and it was a nightmare.  People paid two and three times for the album before getting the download file -- if they got it.  It was a nightmare for many community members and I said "Never again."  I'm not recommending an unknown site to purchase from again.  It was too much.  So, no, I didn't stop supporting Tara.  I did stop noting the book immediately with the plan to note it when it was at AMAZON -- it's now at AMAZON and has been for a couple of weeks.

[Added: In her review of Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoff's UNDER THE COVERS VOL. 2, Kat noted some of the problems with the Holly Near album and downloading -- noted it in the final paragraph of her review..]

As for the more recent slam, no, I do not get anything from that link.  I know there's some way you can refer and get a portion of the payment.  I'm not interested in that and it doesn't happen here for me.  If we highlight, for example, a COUNTERPUNCH article that notes a way to purchase a book, I do include that link and that portion of a purchase -- whatever the percent -- would go to COUNTERPUNCH.  

Here's another interview Tara's done this week with Ryan Glover.

I believe Tara.  I find her highly credible.  I don't find Joe Biden credible at all. 

Joe is said to be attempting to get a position in his administration (if he's sworn in -- no e-mails complaining, December 14th, the electoral college will decide the issue) for War Hawk Susan Rice. Glen Ford (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) notes:

No one in high levels of U.S. government has been more intimately complicit in the death of more than six million Africans in the Democratic Republic of Congo than Susan Rice, the bloodstained Democratic Party political operative who is actively seeking the job of secretary of state in the incoming Biden administration. If recent history is a guide, we can expect the entirety of the Black Democratic establishment to support this uber-criminal’s elevation as a fitting reward to Black voters for putting Joe Biden in the White House – thus implicating all of Black America in the largest genocide since World War Two.

Rice is a protégé of former secretary of state Madelaine Albright, who in 1996 infamously described the sanctions-induced death of half a million Iraqi children as “worth it ” to punish the Saddam Hussein regime. But Rice has bested her mass murderous mentor in total career body count. As President Bill Clinton’s national security advisor (1993 to 1997), senior director for African Affairs (1995 to 1997) and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (1997 to 2001), Rice was the point person in Washington’s massive coverup of the invasion, pillage and depopulation of Congo by the armies of U.S. client states Rwanda and Uganda. In service to the Obama administration (ambassador to the United Nations, 2009-2013, national security advisor, 2013-2017), Rice smothered a United Nations Mapping Report  that documented Rwandan and Ugandan crimes against Congo, including potentially genocidal offenses, and protected Uganda from the International Court of Justice’s award of $10 billion in damages  to the Democratic Republic Congo. 

“Rice was the point person in Washington’s massive coverup of the invasion, pillage and depopulation of Congo.”

When the United Nation’s highest court issued its verdict in 2005, the death toll in Congo was estimated at 3 million. By 2010, with Ambassador Susan Rice at the United Nations, the uninterrupted genocide had claimed six million  lives, while the looting of Congo’s vast mineral resources financed the rise of a gleaming skyline over Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, a nation that has no significant mineral deposits. Multinational corporations are the biggest beneficiaries of the ”blood” minerals; it is these conglomerates whose interests Susan Rice protects. 

Today, Congolese speak of eight million dead, but nobody in the Congressional Black Caucus is listening. Half of the Black Caucus voted against a measure that would have halted President Obama’s bombing of Libya , in the summer of 2011. Obama claimed that the Euro-American air war in support of mainly jihadist opponents of Muammar Gaddafi’s secular government was not subject to the War Powers Act, because no Americans had died – a totally novel definition of war in which only American bodies matter. Rice was then ambassador to the United Nations, where she successfully pressed for a “no fly zone” as a cover for NATO’s war against Libya. “This resolution should send a strong message to Colonel Qadhafi and his regime that the violence must stop, the killing must stop and the people of Libya must be protected and have the opportunity to express themselves freely,” Rice told reporters . But the bulk of violence was committed by U.S.-backed “rebels” against Black Libyans and south Saharans working in the country. Tawergha , a Black Libyan town of almost 50,000 people, was utterly destroyed, its inhabitants killed, imprisoned or scattered – with not a peep of complaint from the Black American woman at the UN or the First Black President of the United States. The branded faces  of Black migrant workers sold into slave markets are Rice and Obama’s Libyan legacy. 

Erin Brokovich has an open letter to Joe at THE GUARDIAN over his attempt to bring DuPont into his administration.


**NOTE added by Dona to C.I.'s snapshot, Ava and C.I. covered Holly Near's 'whatever' back in 2019 with "TV: PBS' long con" which included:

AMERICAN MASTERS is on season 33 and imagine our shock to tune into it on KQED and discover that they were profiling Holly Near.

Holly who?


See, she has no real accomplishments.

And she also can't get honest.  That's why we really loved that moment of truth in the broadcast where, panning up the magazine cover featuring Holly's picture, the camera came across "Michelle Shocked on coming out."

Holly, like other 'lesbians' Michelle Shocked and Ani diFranco, used being a lesbian as a marketing strategy.  Without it, she'd have no career at all.  So it's really funny to watch someone (we'll abide by playground honor and not snitch) tells the camera, "I think her career suffered."

What career?


The following sites updated:

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Passing on AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS this year

 I used to love THE AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS.  In the 80s, their awards were often better than the Grammys.  Their performances certainly were better.  I remember watching Cyndi Lauper do an amazing performance of "When You Were Mine."  That would not happen on the Grammys because "When You Were Mine" was not a single.  You didn't do a new song on the Grammys.  

It was always more exciting to watch, as well.  Only the Grammys where Michael Jackson won everything there was to win for his THRILLER album had any real excitement.  The Grammys tend to be predictable and sedate/staid/boring.

But I really do believe, to this day, that the broadcast where Cher lip synched "Believe" (I don't like it when the people don't sing) that the AMAs got rigged.  Third Eye Blind said a swear word on TV and I do believe that they lost their AMA as a result.  I really haven't cared for the show since.

It airs this weekend, the AMAs and I will not be watching.  Their promos explain why I won't be watching.

Taraji P. Henson will be hosting.


As my daughter -- a teenager so more their desired audience than me -- said when we saw the commercial, "Who do they think will watch for her?  EMPIRE ended its final episodes on life support."

And she's right.  The show as a hit three, four years ago.  It was a show no one watched by the final season.

And then there's the fact that Taraji's never had a hit single.

She's a dramatic actress with no singing career.  She's a dramatic actress who has six or seven films in a row bomb.  She's a dramatic actress whose TV show was cancelled due to low ratings.  She's an actress who is fifty-years-old and has never carried a hit movie and who was a supporting actress on EMPIRE -- the star was Terrence Howard.

Who wants to tune in for that?

She's also not funny in the ads.  She's trying to be funny, yes.  But she's not.

So we're supposed to want to tune in to see that?

It looks dull, boring and tired.  Pass.


"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Thursday, November 19, 2020.  Some continue to whine about a small number of US troops leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, 3 peace activists -- in the midst of the pandemic -- are sentenced to prison, and much more.

Starting with the topic of the drawdown, Kimberly Dozier (TIME MAGAZINE) notes:

President Donald Trump’s abrupt order to reduce U.S. troops numbers to a mere 2,500 each in Afghanistan and Iraq has triggered howls from senior Republicans on Capitol Hill. But it has also elicited sighs of relief in some military quarters, from those who feared the embittered incumbent would vent his rage over losing his re-election bid by ordering all U.S. troops home.

Trump’s Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, a retired U.S. Army Green Beret and combat veteran of both conflicts, confirmed on Tuesday that Trump had ordered troops to reduce from 4,500 to 2,500 in Afghanistan, and from 3,000 to 2,500 in Iraq. The departing troops are set to be gradually withdrawn in the coming weeks and out completely by Jan. 15, 2021, a mere five days before President-elect Joe Biden takes over the White House. 

For Miller's remarks in full, see yesterday's snapshot.  The nonsense from the supposed 'left' and the people they've lionized has been ridiculous.  You can see that at VOX where Alex Ward wants to cite Mitch McConnell.  Why?  Because he says Donald Trump is wrong.  Note what Alex types:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, usually an ally of the president, said Monday that “The consequences of a premature American exit” from Afghanistan “would likely be even worse than President Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, which fueled the rise of ISIS and a new round of global terrorism.”

So desperate are they to argue Donald's wrong, VOX elects to say that the rise of ISIS is due to Barack's ''withdrawal."  (A) It wasn't a withdrawal, it was a drawdown -- the DoD referred to it as that before, during and after because it was not a withdrawal.  (B) Barack's drawdown did not cause the rise of ISIS.  The rise of ISIS resulted from Nouri al-Maliki.  The Iraqi people saw him for the thug he was and refused to re-elect him in 2010.  For eight months, the government was at a standstill because Nouri refused to step down.  The stalemate only ended with The Erbil Agreement.  That was the contract that Joe Biden oversaw which gave various political blocs -- in writing -- desire things so that they would agree that Nouri could be prime minister for a second term.  That contract threw out the votes of the people.  Joe oversaw that and now wants to whine about recounts in the US?  Nouri's first term was marked by threats against journalists, secret prisons and torture centers and targeting of many Iraqis.  In his second term, it only got worse -- and he was even now using the Iraqi military to target political rivals -- elected members of Parliament -- having their homes circled by tanks.  Nouri's second term is what led to the rise of ISIS.  

You'd think VOX would be careful about what they quoted but, apparently these days, being 'left' just means slamming Donald however you can -- even if it stains your own. 

Yesterday, RISING offered two segments regarding reaction to the announcement the acting Secretary of Defense made.  

They called out Republicans -- plural.  And then, in another segment, they noted Senator Tammy Duckworth's ridiculous statements.

As they noted, "truly insane comments from Senator Tammy Duckworth."  I don't know how we leave it at Tammy.  

Brett McGurk was Barack's boy.  I objected to that in real time.  He was a hideous pro-war figure who served under Bully Boy Bush and did a lot of a damage. But he got brought into Barack's administration -- like Victoria Nuland who is also disgusting -- and suddenly he became a hero for us.  He wasn't.  He's hideous.  But various 'left' outlets treated Brett like a god once he was Barack's boy.  

Brett's been wetting himself over the proposed action on TV and in Tweets.  Here he argues that the US government doesn't drawdown unilaterally.  Apparently, going to war that way is a-okay, but drawingdown in wrong.  Here he tongue bathes William Kristol's nuts -- the same Kristol who helped get the US into Iraq with his lies and media efforts.  Brett's showing his true colors but notice how the 'left' either echoes Brett or pretends he's said and done nothing.  They have far too much vested in the lie of 'they're are friends!'  My friends don't promote the murder of a million Iraqi people.  My friends don't create a toxic environment that leads to massive birth defects in Iraq.  

If you're not getting how bad our supposed 'left' is currently, note this:

Three Catholic activists from the group known as the Kings Bay Plowshares Seven were sentenced last week to between 10-14 months in federal prison for protesting against nuclear weapons at a US naval base in St. Mary’s, Georgia on April 4, 2018.

The sentences of the Catholic Worker antiwar protesters were handed down in a virtual courtroom by Judge Lisa Godbey Wood of the US District Court for the Southern District of Georgia.

Carmen Trotta, 58, of New York City and Clare Grady, 62, of Ithaca, New York, were sentenced to 14 and 12 months in prison, respectively, on November 12. Martha Hennessy, 65, was sentenced to 10 months on November 13. All three were also sentenced to three years of supervised probation along with restitution payments of $25 per week. Hennessy is the granddaughter of Dorothy Day, the founder in the 1930s of the Catholic Worker movement.

Although Judge Wood imposed less time than specified by court sentencing guidelines, she rejected appeals from supporters of the protesters that they get no prison terms at all under conditions of the raging coronavirus pandemic.

Kevin Reed reported that last night at WSWS.  There are how many podcasts?  How many websites?  DEMOCRACY NOW!, THE NATION, THE PROGRESSIVE, IN THESE TIMES, PACIFICA RADIO, etc, etc.  Where's the coverage?  No, Amy Goodman, one headline does not suffice.  You are self-proclaiming (still) to be doing "the war and peace report."  One headline is not enough.  This should be a major focus.  As many problems as I have with Matthew Rothschild, were he still in charge of THE PROGRESSIVE, he would've gotten something up online about it by now -- more than a headline, to be sure. COMMON DREAMS did run a real article by Brett Wilkins which included this:

In her statement, Grady said that:

I believe it is a Christian calling to withdraw consent... from killing in our name. To do so is an act of love, an act of justice, a sacred act that brings us into right relationship with God and neighbor. This is what brings me before this court today for sentencing. It is the consequence of my choice to join friends to undertake an action of sacramental, non-violent, symbolic disarmament because the Trident [nuclear submarines] at Kings Bay [are] killing and harming in my name.

To be clear, these weapons are not private property, they belong to the people of the United States; they belong to me, to you, to us. These weapons kill and cause harm in our name, and with our money. This omnicidal weapon doesn't just kill if it is launched, it kills every day. Indigenous people are—and continue to be—some of the first victims of nuclear weapons; the mining, refining, testing, and dumping of radioactive material for nuclear weapons all happens on Native land. The trillions of dollars spent on nuclear weapons are resources stolen from the planet and her people.

Kings Bay houses at least six nuclear submarines, each armed with 20 Trident submarine-launched ballistic missiles of the multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) variety. Each missile contains numerous nuclear warheads, providing a thermonuclear force multiplier and overwhelming first-strike capability.

The weapons at the single base are capable of killing countless millions of human beings and the activists argued that they wanted "to highlight what King called the 'evil triplets of militarism, racism, and materialism'" and to "make real the prophet Isaiah's command: 'beat swords into plowshares.'"

On April 4, 2018—the 50th anniversary of King's assassination—Grady, Hennessy, Kelly, Trotta, and Kings Bay Plowshares 7 activists Mark Coalville, Liz McAlister, and Patrick O'Neill entered the base, splashed baby bottles containing their own blood on a wall, spray-painted an anti-war slogan on a sidewalk, and hammered away at a monument to nuclear war. 

This week, Jimmy Dore called out Michael Moore for his ridiculous appearance with Stephen Colbert.

Grasp that Michael Moore's gas bagging about being Catholic and Stephen being Catholic and Joe Biden being Catholic.  But this appearance was the day after the sentencing of three Catholic activists are sentenced for protesting and Michael can't bring that up?  

Another Michael, Michael Cohen, gets released from prison due to fears that he might get Covid but these three people are being sent to prison in the midst of a pandemic?  

At SHADOW PROOF, Jonathan Michels notes:

Patrick O’Neill gripped the hammer tightly in his hands. The police would soon surround him.

O’Neill and six other Catholic peace activists had infiltrated the Kings Bay Naval Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia, with the goal of symbolically disarming the base’s six Trident submarines armed with first-strike missiles capable of holding 200 nuclear warheads.

Some of the activists strung up crime scene tape and hung protest banners that read “The Ultimate Logic of Trident is Omnicide.” Others poured baby bottles of their own blood around the base.

Using Google Maps, O’Neill and Mark Colville discovered a macabre shrine to nuclearism consisting of a half dozen statues of nuclear missiles that looked as if they were suspended in motion just seconds after launch.

Staring up at a replica of a Trident D5 intercontinental ballistic missile, O’Neill’s mind turned to the book of Exodus in the Bible: the shrine offered proof that nuclear weapons were modern-day idols more powerful than a golden calf. Unlike that empty signifier, the pacifist recognized the immutable power of nuclear weapons. For him, it was the same as worshipping death.

Time was running short. O’Neill sprinted up to the statue and beat it with the hammer. The missile was solid cement and the hammerhead broke clean off.

“It was a formidable idol,” recalled O’Neill.

Catholic peace activists like the ones who infiltrated the naval base at Kings Bay in 2018 have attempted to topple the formidable idol of nuclearism for 40 years, and they have paid a heavy price.

Dennis Sadowski (CATHOLIC PHILLY) reports:

The base is the East Coast home port of the Trident submarine, which experts believe is armed with multiple nuclear-tipped missiles. Government policy calls for neither confirming nor denying the existence of nuclear weapons at the base.

During a closing statement, Hennessy told the court she joined the symbolic protest at the submarine base because she believes nuclear weapons are illegal and that possession of them is a sin. She explained she had no criminal intent, but that her action was an attempt to “prevent another nuclear holocaust.”

“I am attempting to help transform the fundamental values of public life,” she said. “I am willing to suffer for the common good and for the sin of not loving our brothers and sisters, a condition that leads to war.”

Four character witnesses testified about Hennessy’s commitment to family, peaceful living and her importance to Maryhouse.

Trotta said in his closing statement he has undertaken his protests as a “deliberate nonviolent response to the divine gift of my conscience.”

Trotta also presented three character witnesses, who testified about his work at St. Joseph House Catholic Worker in lower Manhattan and his long history of nonviolent actions against war and U.S. foreign policy.

Edward “Bud” Courtney, a St. Joseph House volunteer, said he has known Trotta for 18 years and that he and others in the Catholic Worker community consider him to be “the elder” from whom they sought advice.

“Day after day, year after year, Carmen has come to know and help thousands,” Courtney said. “His compassion is somewhat legendary. People just come because he helps. His going away (to prison) will be a big loss to the community.”

Trotta’s older brother, Louis, an attorney, described his sibling as “very much an idealist.” He credited his younger brother for providing much-needed care for two years for their elderly father, who recently died at age 93.

“He’s internalized anything he’s ever been taught about what’s good and right,” Louis Trotta testified. “His coaches taught him to give 110%, and his teachers taught him about human rights, and his faith taught him about being his brother’s keeper. He internalizes that in a way that most people don’t. I think that should be taken under consideration.”

Does peace matter?  Judging by the lack of coverage, people could conclude that no, it doesn't.  This should be a major story for anyone concerned with peace.  

In other news, Iraq and Saudi Arabia have opened up their border  -- for the first time since 1990.


Iraq and Saudi Arabia have opened the Arar border crossing for trade for the first time in 30 years, the Iraqi border ports commission has said in a statement.

Top officials, including Iraqi interior minister and the Saudi ambassador to Iraq, travelled from Baghdad to formally open Arar, where a line of cargo trucks had been waiting since Wednesday morning.

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Science post

Science post time.  Space.  Is it dark with the exception of stars and sons?   Nell Greenfieldboyce (NPR) reports:


"Is space truly black?" says Tod Lauer, an astronomer with the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Arizona. He says if you could look at the night sky without stars, galaxies, and everything else known to give off visible light, "does the universe itself put out a glow?"

It's a tough question that astronomers have tried to answer for decades. Now, Lauer and other researchers with NASA's New Horizons space mission say they've finally been able to do it, using a spacecraft that's travelling far beyond the dwarf planet Pluto. The group has posted their work online, and it will soon appear in the Astrophysical Journal.

New Horizons was originally designed to explore Pluto, but after whizzing past the dwarf planet in 2015, the intrepid spacecraft just kept going. It's now more than four billion miles from home—nearly 50 times farther away from the Sun than the Earth is.


That's important because it means the spacecraft is far from major sources of light contamination that make it impossible to detect any tiny light signal from the universe itself. Around Earth and the inner solar system, for example, space is filled with dust particles that get lit up by the Sun, creating a diffuse glow over the entire sky. But that dust isn't a problem out where New Horizons is. Plus, out there, the sunlight is much weaker.

To try to detect the faint glow of the universe, researchers went through images taken by the spacecraft's simple telescope and camera and looked for ones that were incredibly boring.

"The images were all of what you just simply call blank sky. There's a sprinkling of faint stars, there's a sprinkling of faint galaxies, but it looks random," says Lauer. "What you want is a place that doesn't have many bright stars in the images or bright stars even outside the field that can scatter light back into the camera."


 From space to our planet.  Once upon a time, dinosaurs roamed the earth.  It was natural for them to die out, right?  Not according to SCI-NEWS:

Dinosaurs were widespread globally at the time of the asteroid impact at the end of the Late Cretaceous epoch, occupying every continent on Earth and were the dominant form of animal of most terrestrial ecosystems.

However, it is still contentious amongst paleobiologists as to whether dinosaurs were declining in diversity at the time of their extinction.

In order to address this question, Joe Bonsor from the University of Bath and the Natural History Museum, London, and his colleagues collected a set of different dinosaur family trees and used statistical modeling to assess if each of the main dinosaur groups was still able to produce new species at this time.

They used statistical methods to overcome sampling biases, looking at the rates of speciation of dinosaur families rather than simply counting the number of species belonging to the family.

They found that dinosaurs were not in decline before the asteroid hit, contradicting some previous studies.

They also suggest that had the impact not occurred, dinosaurs might have continued to be the dominant group of land animals on the planet.

“Previous studies done by others have used various methods to draw the conclusion that dinosaurs would have died out anyway, as they were in decline towards the end of the Cretaceous period,” Bonsor said.

“However, we show that if you expand the dataset to include more recent dinosaur family trees and a broader set of dinosaur types, the results don’t actually all point to this conclusion — in fact only about half of them do.”


The more we learn.  :D

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Wednesday, November 18, 2020.   Another drawdown.

Yesterday afternoon, the acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller addressed the press.

ACTING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE CHRISTOPHER C. MILLER: Good afternoon. I'm Chris Miller, acting secretary of defense, and I'm here today to update you on President Trump's plan to bring the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to a successful and responsible conclusion, and to bring our brave service members home. 

From Kabul to Kandahar and from Mosul to Fallujah, hundreds of thousands of America's finest sons and daughters, who selflessly answered the call to serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have brought us to this point. Their efforts and sacrifice will go down in history as epitomizing the strength, commitment, and empathy of a force that is unlike any the world has ever seen. 

Just last night, I joined Vice President Mike Pence and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley to attend the dignified transfer of five American soldiers who perished on duty in the Middle East. This was a somber and humbling moment that reminded us of the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women of the United States military in service of freedom and security. 

Our armed forces take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. They serve not for personal gain, but for the protection and well-being of their fellow Americans and their homeland. They are champions for peace, liberty, and the rule of law, and unrelenting when called upon to defend our people and our values. We owe them and their loved ones an enormous debt of gratitude. 

This is why I'm enormously blessed and privileged to stand before you today to outline the next phase of our campaign to defeat terrorists who have perpetrated attacks on our homeland, including those who help and harbor them, and to prevent -- prevent future acts of terrorism against our nation. 

We owe this moment to the many patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice, and their comrades who carry forward their legacy. Together, we have mourned the loss of more than 6,900 American troops who gave their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we will never forget the more than 52,000 who bear the wounds of war and all those who still carry its scars – visible and invisible. 

In light of these tremendous sacrifices, and with great humility and gratitude to those who came before us, I am formally announcing that we will implement President Trump's orders to continue our repositioning of forces from those two countries. By January 15, 2001 – excuse me, I clearly am thinking of where this started in 2001 – by January 15, 2021, our forces, their size in Afghanistan will be 2,500 troops. Our force size in Iraq will also be 2,500 by that same date. This is consistent with our established plans and strategic objectives, supported by the American people, and does not equate to a change in U.S. policy or objectives. 

Moreover, this decision by the president is based on continuous engagement with his national security cabinet over the past several months, including ongoing discussions with me and my colleagues across the United States Government. 

I have also spoken with our military commanders, and we all will execute this repositioning in a way that protects our fighting men and women, our partners in the intelligence community and diplomatic corps, and our superb allies that are critical to rebuilding Afghan and Iraqi security capabilities and civil society for a lasting peace in troubled lands. 

And just this morning, I spoke with key leaders in Congress, as well as our allies and partners abroad, to update them on these plans, in light of our shared approach. We went in together, we adjust together, and when the time is right, we will leave together. 

One of my calls was to NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. Another was to Afghanistan's President Ghani, who expressed his gratitude for every American service member who has fought for peace and strengthened the longstanding friendship between our countries. 

President Ghani highlighted the caliber of our troops, which he noted has always been more important than the quantity. We continue to stand with him as his government works toward a negotiated settlement for peace. 

Meanwhile, let us remind those who question our resolve or may seek to interfere with this prudent, well planned and coordinated transition – the United States armed forces remain committed to protecting the safety and security of the American people, and supporting our likeminded allies and partners worldwide. 

If the forces of terror, instability, division, and hate begin a deliberate campaign to disrupt our efforts, we stand ready to apply the capabilities required to thwart them. 

As a veteran whose life and family was irrevocably changed in the deserts, mountains, and cities of Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops who have fought there and were forever transformed by their experiences, I celebrate this day, as we continue the president's consistent progress in completing the mission we began nearly two decades ago. 

I want to thank the Afghans and Iraqis who have partnered with us throughout, and who now carry the bulk of the fighting to secure their homelands. I want to thank our NATO allies and other partners who have fought alongside us and taken the lead on training and advising the Afghan and Iraqi security forces. We will continue to support their efforts. 

And thanks to our more than 80 partners in the Defeat ISIS coalition. We have destroyed the ISIS caliphate and will ensure they never again gain a foothold to attack our people. 

In closing, we set out to accomplish three goals in 2001. First, go abroad and destroy terrorists, their organizations, and their sanctuaries. Two, strengthen our defenses against future attacks. And three, prevent the continued growth of Islamist terrorism to include by working with allies and local partners to take the lead in the fight. 

Today is another critical step in that direction, and a result of President Trump's bold leadership. With the blessings of providence in the coming year, we will finish this generational war and bring our men and women home. We will protect our children from the heavy burden and toll of perpetual war. And we will honor the sacrifices made in service to peace and stability in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world, and celebrate all those who helped us secure freedom over oppression.

God bless our women and men in uniform. Thank you very much.

This is a drawdown, not a withdrawal.  

I'm not applauding.  It's a step in the right direction, but I'm not applauding.  When I saw headlines and heard gasbaggery on TV about the above, I thought, "Well I'm going to have to praise Donald."  No, I'm not.

It's a drawdown, not a withdrawal.  If we're bringing the wars to a close, why are US troops remaining there?

In terms of numbers?  We already know from James Jeffrey's own mouth that we have no idea how many US troops are in the Middle East because he and others conspired to lie to US President Donald Trump so that they could countermand his orders.  

The acting secretary says that Iraq will draw down to 2,500 US troops.  If the number's correct, so what?

Don't tell me you're ending the Iraq War when you're not and when all you're doing is reducing US forces by 500 troops.  In Monday's snapshot, we noted that there are supposed to be 3,000 US troops (officially) in Iraq.  Bringing that number down by 500?  A step in the right direction but it's not enough.  

From the way some were being hysterical on TV, I thought Donald really was removing all US forces from Iraq except for those who guard the US Embassy.  I was ready to praise him because the war needs to be over.  

But all this is doing is removing 500 troops from Iraq.  

A step in the right direction but not what's needed.  

CNBC plays it's usual b.s. role:

Earlier on Tuesday, Stoltenberg warned that leaving the war-torn country too soon or in an uncoordinated effort could present unintended consequences for the world’s largest military organization.

“Afghanistan risks becoming once again a platform for international terrorists to plan and organize attacks on our homelands. And ISIS could rebuild in Afghanistan the terror caliphate it lost in Syria and Iraq,” the NATO chief said, referring to Islamic State militants. 

On that page, you'll also get the FOX NEWS refugee who's on 'our side' now because?  Because ethics flew out the window long ago and whoring for defense industry will always keep you employed.

Stoltenberg, by the way, is Jens Stoltenberg who is NATO's Secretary-General.  ISIS could rebuild?  

Maybe yes, maybe no.  I'd bet yes, myself.  But that terrorism threat is something countries need to be able to fight themselves and wars are supposed to come to an end.

I'm reminded of Tony Curtis in SOME LIKE IT HOT, "Jerry, boy, why do you have to paint everything so black? Suppose you got hit by a truck. Suppose the stock market crashes. Suppose Mary Pickford divorces Douglas Fairbanks. Suppose the Dodgers leave Brooklyn!"

All those things did happen.

And, again, my guess would be ISIS would rebuild -- it's not been vanquished or sent packing.  But those internal threats for countries to address themselves.

Equally true, the US government has never feared ISIS.  They funded it while Joe Biden was Vice President, that's who the US government backed in Syria.  But they've never feared it.  When did they move against ISIS?  Long after ISIS seized Mosul.  They really didn't care about Mosul.  They cared about Baghdad, specifically the Green Zone.  When 'chatter' said that ISIS was moving to seize the Green Zone, that's when the US government cared.

The US government created the dysfunctional and criminal government of Iraq.  US troops have been kept in Iraq to support that government, to keep it from being overthrown -- by ISIS, by the Iraqi people, by anyone.  It's a weak government for many reasons.  Two chief reasons?  The Iraqi people have seen that their votes do not count.  In 2010, thug Nouri al-Maliki was seeking re-election as prime minister.  The Iraqi people rejected him.  But they got Nouri as prime minister because Joe Biden helped negotiate a contract, The Erbil Agreement, that overturned the will of the Iraqi people and gave Nouri a second term.  That second term is how ISIS rose in Iraq.  The other chief reason?  This government does not serve the Iraqi people.  We're hearing now about Iraq being billions of dollars in debt.


Ask any struggling country if they could make it on the billions Iraq takes in from oil each year and they'd tell you they could make it and then some.  Grasp that Iraq's population is around 35 million -- CIA estimate (they haven't carried out a census in decades).   Where does the money go?  The billions brought in goes somewhere.  Into the pockets of so-called public servants.  The Iraqi people suffer, do without and their politicians get rich.  (That's not a problem just for Iraq, look at the US.)  It's how a Nouri al-Maliki struggles before returning to Iraq (after the US-led invasion), becomes prime minister and suddenly he's rich.  It's how his corrupt son has multiple residences in Europe and several expensive sports cars.  Meanwhile, the Iraqi people live in poverty.  What little they are provided by the government is always being cut -- the rations card program is only the best known example -- and there are no jobs for them.  The corruption is never addressed.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani strongly warned against taking foreign loans from the IMF (International Money Fund) and others.  And now, as the press beats the drum about the economic 'crisis' in Iraq, these bodies want to further gut Iraq's remaining social programs.

It's warfare, let's be honest.  

People in the US who've turned away and zoned out should honestly be ashamed of themselves.  As a US citizen, we are responsible for wrecking Iraq.  (That does not mean we keep US forces on the ground to 'fix' Iraq.)  Yes, our media failed us and continues to do so.  However, even a casual observer should have noted that every prime minister of Iraq under the US occupation has been a coward (let's be honest) who fled Iraq while Saddam Hussein was in power and only returned after the US-invaded.  That alone was your clue that this was not a representative government because no one is going to vote for a coward to lead their country.  But prime minister after prime minister, for three years short of two decades, has been someone who fled the country.

Forget everything else, don't get lost in the weeds on anything else, just that basic fact told you that the government was not representative.

The US government has tried to control Iraq.  It's not alone.  Certainly, the Iranian government has as well.  But so has the French government, the . . .

The Iraqi people deserve to steer their own destiny.  The whole point of US troops on the ground in Iraq is to keep the government in power with the hopes that eventually the Iraqi people will be exhausted and just accept it.  

In other words, the US is hoping to push it as close to the limits of date rape as possible.  No?  Are you sure?  Are you still sure?  What about now?

Above TRT speaks with retired US Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt who notes, "There's never a right time but the fact remains we've pretty well finished the job in both of the countries. [. . .]  So if not now, then when?"

US House Rep Justin Amash Tweets:



, you still have an opportunity to bring home all the troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria (not just a partial drawdown), and to pardon Snowden and Assange. Millions of Americans will support you in these efforts.

The following sites updated: