HBO MAX is HBO's new streaming service and it's pretty disappointing.
I'm not surprised it has so few subscribers.
I am surprised that no one is talking about the real HBO issue these days -- Ava and C.I. and Stan have been covering it for some time.
Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Can anything be worse than fall 2020?:"
As 2020 drew to a close, the general consensus was that 2021 had to be better -- it had to be. Actually? It could be worse. It could be. We'd like to think 2021 will be better for American television but it might not be.
HBO appears eager to let everyone down. Saturday nights? Since June 6, 1992 -- barring a sporting event, concert or something similar -- that's when HBO airs a new movie -- debuts one for the network. It can be an original HBO film or it can be a theatrical release that is airing on television for the first time. Did you miss they're offering Saturday night?
A 17-year-old film. Is HBO trying to be TCM now?
Where's the new movie?
That includes HBO which, on their new movie Saturday nights, can't find new movies. Two Saturdays ago? KILL BILL. Last Saturday? Some crap from 2019. This coming Saturday? 1999's THE MUMMY.
This coming Saturday, HBO is charging us for the 'new' movie THE MUMMY from 1999.
HBO is failing and few are paying attention.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, January 27, 2021. How poorly are US universities teaching the Iraq War? Johnny Harris indicates that it's very poorly taught.
Weeks away from the Iraq War hitting the 18 year mark, Johnny Harris offers a video about the origins of the Iraq War. If only it were worth offering.
Paul Wolfowitz? I guess for the uninformed, it's easy to blame Wolfowitz. After 9/11? "This seed that Paul Wolfowitz planted"? "Four days after 9/11"? Is Johnny Harris aware of Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force?
Judicial Watch sued to get those documents released:
These are documents turned over by the Commerce Department, under a March 5, 2002, court order as a result of Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force. The documents contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as two charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.” The documents are dated March 2001.
- Iraq Oil Map
- Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts – Part 1
- Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts – Part 2
- United Arab Emirates Oil Map
- United Arab Emirates: Major Oil and Natural Gas Development Projects
- Saudi Arabia Oil Map
- Saudi Arabia: Major Oil and Natural Gas Development Projects
Johnny ignores that. He ignores that Wolfowitz is Donald Rumsfeld's second. He gives Paul -- a War Criminal -- way too much power and basically turns him into Iago. He also ignores what retired Gen Wesley Clarke has said for years -- which would back up his own argument, so I have no idea why he ignores it -- that right after 9-11, the decision was made.
Johnny claims there was a "robust debate" about going to war on Iraq. But, he insists, that the robust debate didn't matter because the decision was made after 9/11. "I'm here to tell you," Johnny Harris states.
Well, Johnny, in the words of Alanis Morissette, "I'm here to remind you."
There was no robust debate. I don't care what you learned in your classes. Ask anyone who lived through it, there was no robust debate.
You show a clip from SKY NEWS -- Australia?, then US House Rep Bernie Sanders and seem to equate that with a debate that never took place. If that's what you truly believe, then you're ignorant of the facts and shouldn't have made the film you made. There was a clampdown on dissent. People advocating for peace were shut out, people advocating for no war were shut out.
Network newscasts, dominated by current and former U.S. officials, largely exclude Americans who are skeptical of or opposed to an invasion of Iraq, a new study by FAIR has found.
Looking at two weeks of coverage (1/30/03–2/12/03), FAIR examined the 393 on-camera sources who appeared in nightly news stories about Iraq on ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News and PBS’s NewsHour With Jim Lehrer. The study began one week before and ended one week after Secretary of State Colin Powell’s February 5 presentation at the U.N., a time that saw particularly intense debate about the idea of a war against Iraq on the national and international level.
More than two-thirds (267 out of 393) of the guests featured were from the United States. Of the U.S. guests, a striking 75 percent (199) were either current or former government or military officials. Only one of the official U.S. sources—Sen. Edward Kennedy (D.-Mass.)—expressed skepticism or opposition to the war. Even this was couched in vague terms: “Once we get in there how are we going to get out, what’s the loss for American troops are going to be, how long we’re going to be stationed there, what’s the cost is going to be,” said Kennedy on NBC Nightly News (2/5/03).
Similarly, when both U.S. and non-U.S. guests were included, 76 percent (297 of 393) were either current or retired officials. Such a predominance of official sources virtually assures that independent and grassroots perspectives will be underrepresented. Of all official sources, 75 percent (222 of 297) were associated with either the U.S. or with governments that support the Bush administration’s position on Iraq; only four out of those 222, or 2 percent, of these sources were skeptics or opponents of war.
Twenty of the 297 official sources (7 percent) represented the government of Iraq, while a further 19 (6 percent) represented other governments—mostly friendly to the U.S.—who have expressed doubts or opposition to the U.S.’s war effort. (Another 34 sources, representing 11 percent of officials, were current or former U.N. employees. Although members of the U.N. inspection teams made statements that were both critical of Iraq’s cooperation and supportive of further inspections, because of their official position of neutrality on the question of war they were not counted as skeptics.) Of all official sources, 14 percent (43 of 297) represented a position skeptical or opposed to the U.S. war policy. (Sources were coded as skeptics/critics if either their statements or their affiliations put them in that category; for example, all French government officials were counted as skeptics, regardless of the content of their quote.)
The remaining 96 sources—those without a current or former government connection—had slightly more balanced views; 26 percent of these non-official sources took a skeptical or critical position on the war. Yet, at a time when 61 percent of respondents in a CBS poll (2/5–6/03) were saying that they felt the U.S. should “wait and give the United Nations and weapons inspectors more time,” only 16 of the 68 U.S. guests (24 percent) who were not officials represented such views.
Half of the non-official U.S. skeptics were “persons in the street”; five of them were not even identified by name. Only one U.S. source, Catherine Thomason of Physicians for Social Responsibility, represented an anti-war organization. Of all 393 sources, only three (less than 1 percent) were identified with organized protests or anti-war groups.
Overall, 68 sources, or 17 percent of the total on-camera sources, represented skeptical or critical positions on the U.S.’s war policy—ranging from Baghdad officials to people who had concerns about the timing of the Bush administration’s war plans. The percentage of skeptical sources ranged from 21 percent at PBS (22 of 106) to 14 percent at NBC (18 of 125). ABC (16 of 92) and CBS (12 of 70) each had 17 percent skeptics.
That's not the only ignorance on display. We saw that same ignorance on display in a recent JACOBIN segment. It's the xenophobia encouraged in America and that blustering, shameful boys who really need to try to grow up and become men need to leave aside. That's little Johnny, that's little Felix Biederman.
The UK. Yes, dumb asses, the UK. We could bring in Australia as well, they were on board too. But Tony Blair lied to the British people. Over and over. And yet where is he in the discussion? Oh, that's right, if you're going to lie like Johnny does -- and lies by omission are lies -- then you don't include Tony Blair or MI6 or any of the other pertinent details.
Poor little dumb asses, Johnny and Felix, fumbling around in the front of their pants, pulling on their shy and soft little arrowheads, trying to make 'em grow while they bluster away.
It's pathetic and so are they.
Colin Powell? Johnny has a wet dream about Colin Powell and wants you to know that Colin was "totally against" war on Iraq. Johnny, I hope you're old enough to change your own linens and you're not inflicting the removal and wash of those crusted sheets off on your poor mother.
Johnny didn't learn anything in college, nothing of value.
What he learned was a narrative. His teachers used a narrative -- a simplistic one, that's why they're such good framing devices -- to 'inform' him of what happened. It's not what happened. But he takes their oversimplification and dumbs it down even further and he passes it off as what you don't know, what you really don't know about the Iraq War!!!!!
How very pathetic, how very sad. And, no, Collie has not lived to regret those words -- his lies to the UN -- and I'm really confused as to whether dumb ass Johnny knows when Colin addressed the UN because he goes from that to October 10, 2002 when the Congress votes for war on Iraq.
How dumb is Dumb Johnny? It was February 5th when Colin lied to the UN -- it's noted in the advisory FAIR issued that we quoted above.
I don't understand how stupid people can fool themselves that they have something to share. I don't understand the arrogance of Johnny to claim to be telling the truth -- at last!!!! -- to the people about the Iraq War. He's a stupid idiot and his arrogance is appalling. He uses footage of a psyops operation and you have to wonder if he grasps that -- if he's even aware of it being a psyops operation?
If you were aware of it, why would you include the footage in your 'truth' video without comment? What an uninformed idiot. Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber reported on it in 2003 (IN THESE TIMES). NPR addressed it in 2008:
RACHEL MARTIN, host:
Five years ago today, Baghdad fell to the invading forces led by the United States. For many people, the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad's Firdos Square crystallized the end of his rule, and it's an image that's been broadcast many times in the last five years, over and over. You'll probably see it again today as people remember this grim anniversary. But next time you watch it, bear this in mind.
Nearly four years ago, a Los Angeles Times writer revealed that according to a study of the invasion published by the U.S. Army, the statue toppling was not necessarily the spontaneous event that it appeared to be. David Zucchino is the national correspondent for the LA Times. He first reported that story back in 2004 and he's on the line with us now. Hey, David. Thanks for being with us.
Mr. DAVID ZUCCHINO: (Journalist, Los Angeles Times) Good morning.
MARTIN: Good morning. So David, you were in Baghdad on this day five years ago, but not in Firdos Square. When and how did you hear about that big Saddam Hussein statue falling?
Mr. ZUCCHINO: Well, actually, even though I was in Baghdad that day, I was across the river about a mile or two away and had no idea that was going on, and in fact, the Army troops I was with also had no idea, and I didn't find out about it until several weeks later when I got back to the U.S.
MARTIN: When you found out about it, what was the narrative attached to it?
Mr. ZUCCHINO: My impression was that there was a spontaneous rally by Iraqis and they jumped on the statue and basically pulled it down. I knew there was some U.S. soldiers or Marines in the area, but I was not clear on exactly what their role was, whether they were just providing security or were taking part. It was fairly nebulous.
MARTIN: So you dug up more specifics that cast light on those circumstances surrounding the toppling of the statue. Explain what you found out.
Mr. ZUCCHINO: This was part of a five-hundred-and-some page review, or report, by the Army on the entire invasion, what went wrong and what went right. It was sort of an After Action Report, and this was just sort of a one or two page sideline, almost a footnote.
They had interviewed an Army psychological operations' team leader and he described how a Marine colonel - the Marines were in charge of that area and had just come in, and this Marine colonel had been looking for a target of opportunity, and seized on that statue.
And according to this interview with the psy-ops commander, there were Iraqis milling around the statue, and in fact, had been beating it with sledgehammers and apparently thinking about trying to bring it down, but it was a huge statue and they had no way to do that. So the Marines came up with the idea of bringing in a big recovery vehicle, like a wrecker, and trying to bring it down that way.
But the psychological operations commander noticed that the Marines had put an American flag on the statue and he thought that was a terrible idea, because it looked like an occupation and he didn't want - the psychological ops didn't want that, so they replaced it with an Iraqi flag, hooked a cable up to it and started pulling it down.
But somebody had the bright idea of getting a bunch of Iraqis and a lot of kids and pile them on the wrecker to make it look like a spontaneous Iraqi event, rather than, you know, the Marines sort of stage-managing this entire dramatic fall of the statue.
MARTIN: So we can't say that it was the idea of this Marine colonel. He basically was surveying the circumstances, saw that there were Iraqis who were already kind of attacking the statue, and so the U.S. military, according to this report, just facilitated something.
Apparently that didn't fit into the simplistic narrative of good guys (Colin Powell!!!) and bad guys (Paul Wolfy!!!!) that pontificating professors used to 'inform' about the Iraq War. And dumb ass Johnny never learned that he needed to go beyond the classroom. Or that War Criminals are War Criminals -- they don't come in cuddly.
The truth matters for many reasons including the reason that the Iraq War continues to this day -- a detail left out of Johnny's 'report.' Gordon Lubold and Nancy A. Youssef (WALL STREET JOURNAL) report:
The Pentagon’s new chief is expected to review troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq in an effort to examine American strategy in two conflicts, following former President Donald Trump’s drawdown of forces there, according to defense officials.
President Biden’s defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, is facing a slew of issues in the U.S. and around the world, but Mr. Trump’s decision to quickly withdraw more than 3,000 troops from the two conflicts before he left office this month forces the White House to confront how it will manage the long-running wars.
How to manage the long-running wars? End them.
And if you're not getting how long these wars have been going on -- Nancy and Gordon are sharing a byline. They are writing together.
Since the start of the Iraq War, Gordon has written for THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, POLITICO, DEFENSE ONE and FOREIGN POLICY -- I may be missing a publication. Nancy has written for KNIGHT RIDDER, MCCLATCHY, THE DAILY BEAST and BUZZFEED. Now the two of them team up at THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. That's how long the Iraq War has dragged on.
Compare that with the situation in Iraq today, where the transnational elite, previously referred to as multinationals, who again mostly belong to the states that were victors of WWII, have furthered an open-door Iraq policy between them. So that, since the invasion, contracts have been gained by Halliburton (military/oil), Veritas (military/finance), the Washington Group (military/oil), Aegis (military), International American Products (electricity), Fluor (water/sewage), Perini (environmental cleanup), Parsons (military/construction), First Kuwaiti General (construction), HSBC Bank (finance), Cummins (electricity) and Nour USA (oil), to name just a few. The Iraq Britain Business Council founded in 2009 has, among several other projects, co-signed oil projects between the China National Petroleum Corporation and British Petroleum. This defies the notion that the newly evolving TNC is stateless, rather each of these companies has a home state, and without the military and political clout of their home states, none of them would stand as the TNCs they are today.
The sad story of oil production in Iraq is that, during all the difficult time of the Iran-Iraq war oil-production was constantly excelling, with a 2.8 million barrels per day in 1989, and a national GDP peaking to $10,000 that year. But the moment the war ended, the US, who had stood behind Iraq throughout the war, turned bitterly against it, placing sanctions in the wake of the Gulf War (1990) — wherein it amassed 700,000 forces within a few days in tiny Kuwait to attack and completely destroy the Iraqi military. The sanctions plummeted the GDP to about $1,000 by 2002 and an oil production down to 1.3million barrels per day. And now with the US invasion, the oil production had peaked to 4.6 million barrels per day in February 2020 again, with a corresponding $5,300 GDP — but does this number present the wealth of the average Iraqi?
In May this year, the Special Representative of Secretary General for the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq announced that the poverty rate in Iraq would double to 40% from around 20%, where it currently stands, “the Iraqi economy is expected to contract by 9.7% in 2020… (and) there will be a decrease in economic opportunities.” How is there a 350% increase in oil production and only ‘decrease’ in economic opportunities for the Iraqi people? The people, whose cities have been bombed to ruins from Fallujah to Mosul; of whom over three million were killed and over two million displaced during the war; and who have been suffering disease and death due to shortage of food and medicine for the last four decades.
Is it the oil-resource curse that has brought the Iraqi people to this deplorable condition? Or, have the US-installed political system and after them the Iranian influence over Iraqi politics, been the main reasons behind mischiefs such as the case of “an estimated $239.7 billion has left the country illegally since 2003”, currently being inquired by the Iraqi parliament. Most of this money was indeed oil money, meaning that both oil and revenue have been conveniently syphoned away from Iraq, leaving its people in harrowing dearth.
In yesterday's snapshot, we noted what a failure Iraq's current prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, is and how ARAB NEWS (a) refuses to note that and (b) refuses to disclose to its readership that Mustafa was a columnist for many years for ARAB NEWS. Mustafa never wrote for MEMO and maybe that's why they can run Haifa Zangana's AL-QUDS AL-ARABI article which calls out Mustafa:
They are statements that need to be examined for any sincerity and effectiveness. Al-Kadhimi chaired a meeting of the leaders of the security and intelligence services "to discuss the attack and its consequences", and ordered the formation of an investigation committee, which was added, as usual, to hundreds of investigation committees that were formed previously and buried by corruption. He also ordered changes in the security agencies' teams responsible for the "Tayaran Square accident". It is a measure that may seem encouraging at first until it becomes clear that it is, in fact, a game of musical chairs.
The same people were rotated into different positions without being held responsible or accountable for deadly negligence. And why did the prime minister describe the massacre as an "accident"? How can anyone describe the killing of 32 people and the wounding of 110 by two suicide bombers as an "accident"? This is the language of the occupier, which has always described its own crimes, violations and systematic killing of Iraqis as "accidents".
Al-Kadhimi did not stop there. He used language intended to reassure the US in the "war on terror" and create instability that necessitates foreign intervention when he said that the battle against terrorism is ongoing and long-term, and that he would not back down or ease up in fighting it.
His domestic promises, meanwhile, were exaggerated in terms of the state's capabilities and the efforts of the security and intelligence services to punish those behind this cowardly attack. He added that they will do their duty to rectify any complacency, laxity or weakness in their ranks, hinting that he also stands with the people in their quest for fair and just elections. It is a trap into which many political analysts have fallen when they looked at the Tayaran Square massacre as a terrorist attempt to hinder the elections scheduled for October, whereas what is known from the past is that it is one of the aspects of the US-Iran terrorist conflict spreading into organised crime gangs to take each other down. Iraq has lived through this sort of thing since the US invasion in 2003, and the latest massacre will not be the last.
It is worth going back to last July in order to examine Al-Kadhimi's sincerity in what he said during the period when activists were being assassinated, especially the killing of well-known political analyst Hisham Al-Hashimi, whose murder was caught on surveillance cameras and published by the local and international media. On 7 July, Al-Kadhimi promised that "Iraq would not sleep" until Al-Hashimi's killers were brought to justice." We will not allow anyone to turn Iraq into a mafia state," insisted the prime minister. Nobody, he added, is above the law.
Then as now, Al-Kadhimi ordered the formation of a judicial investigation committee and dismissed the security commander responsible for the area where Al-Hashimi was assassinated, saying that he too would be investigated. What was the result? Nothing. No results from any investigation have ever been announced or made public, and the criminals have not been arrested. The killing was chalked up to "armed parties", as is the case of thousands of similar crimes before and after.
It is important to document and record Al-Kadhimi's statements and claims, especially in which he declares his responsibility before the people, as "Prime Minister and Commander of the Armed Forces", as well as his continuous failure to fulfil his promises and duties. The most important of these duties is to protect citizens' security, implement the law and bring about justice as well as economic and political stability. It is the duty of independent media and those working in human rights and national parties, meanwhile, to present the government as it is: a failed and unreliable government made up of militias and gangs with partisan disguises that feed on corruption, violence, crime, poverty and illiteracy. This warrants Al-Kadhimi's dismissal and prosecution for his failure to fulfil his duties as he continues to shield the criminals from accountability.
We'll wind down with a serious look at Joe Do Nothing Biden's 'plan' to save the planet. This is from part one of Jonathan Burleigh's two-part series for WSWS:
After years of record-breaking heat waves, extreme weather, rapidly melting ice caps and other stark illustrations of intensifying climate change, the Biden administration is presenting itself as a force for climate stabilization.
But the policy proposals of the Biden administration, in the face of global temperatures already increased by more than a degree Celsius, illustrate that the Democratic Party is incapable of even proposing measures that could achieve a stated goal of net zero emissions of climate-warming greenhouse gases by 2050.
Failure dooms humanity to a temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius or more, a level beyond which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns of major, irreversible impacts on the world’s weather patterns and ecosystems.
First, a note on the science of climate change. About one-third of any carbon dioxide emitted today will remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years. As a result, cutting emissions to zero will halt a future rise in temperatures but will not reverse warming from past emissions. According to the IPCC, holding global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would require global emissions reductions of about 50 percent by 2030 and net zero emissions around 2050.
In the words of the IPCC itself, “The rates of system changes associated with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius with no or limited overshoot have occurred in the past within specific sectors, technologies and spatial contexts, but there is no documented historic precedent for their scale.”
Faced with this monumental challenge, the Biden climate plan, announced last July, offers modest incremental proposals, claiming that it will “Ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050.” There is no concrete discussion of the trajectory to 2050 (by which time Biden will be long gone), meaning that even if his stated goals were to be achieved during his time in office, it is entirely possible that the US would far exceed its remaining carbon budget in the meantime. The necessity of slashing greenhouse gas emissions has been well understood by scientists since the 1970s. Emissions continued to rise for decades and continued to do so through the Obama-Biden administration despite Obama’s grandiose campaign claim that 2008 “was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
Biden’s early executive actions on climate change illustrate the modest and incremental character of his climate agenda. Biden has blocked the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport largely unprofitable and carbon intensive heavy oil from Canada to the US Gulf Coast. He has also ended the distribution of new oil and gas leases on federal lands, which will not have an effect on drilling for years because companies have stockpiled leases.
Biden proposes to fulfill his current promise through executive orders and by demanding that Congress establish a mechanism to reduce emissions, invest in research and innovation, and encourage “rapid deployment of clean energy innovations.”
Before discussing the proposal in detail, it is important to emphasize that the obstacles to solving the climate crisis are not technological and scientific, but social and political. It is within humanity’s capabilities to limit climate change to manageable levels while maintaining a high standard of living for all, relying largely on technologies that exist today. But to do this successfully requires drastic inroads into the foundations of world capitalism: private ownership of the means of production, production for profit, and the division of the world into rival capitalist nation-states.
The Biden climate plan, like all such plans put forward by major capitalist governments, is a fraud and a political trap.
The following sites updated: