Saturday, March 20, 2021

Kim Berry and Andrea Williams' DIAMONDS AND CURLZ

Prince. I can still remember being stunned the day he died.  One of the most creative and talented songwriters ever and certainly the most talented and creative of his generation.  Prince gave us hits like "Purple Rain," "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man," "Raspberry Beret," "Kiss," "When Doves Cry," "Little Red Corvette," "Controversy," "Thieves In The Temple," "Diamonds & Pearls," "I Wanna Be Your Lover," "U Got The Look," "Uptown," "Pop Life," "Batdance," "Paisley Park," "Partyman," "Cream," "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World," "Let's Go Crazy," "Take Me With U," "America," "Mountains," "If I Was Your Girlfriend" and many more.

In addition to the hit singles, there are also the classic albums -- fully realized albums, classic, first-rate ones.  SIGN OF THE TIMES, 1999, PURPLE RAIN, THE GOLD EXPERIENCE, PARADE, ART OFFICIAL AGE, MUSICOLOGY, CONTROVERSY, THE BLACK ALBUM, EMANCIPATION, DIRTY MIND, COME, AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAY . . .  Only Joni Mitchell has a record like his when it comes to classic albums.  

He was a true artist.  And it was a great loss to the world when Prince died.

Kim Berry has written a book, with Andrea Williams, entitled DIAMONDS AND CURLZ: 29 YEARS ROLLING WITH ROCK ROYALTY PRINCE.  If you subscribe to AMAZON's KINDLE UNLIMITED, you can read it for free.

I was nervous when I started the book.  Prince means a lot to me still.  But it's a great book and it's one that offers Prince in all his humanity -- his strengths, his weakness, his achievements, his mistakes.  He comes alive on the page.

Kim Berry was a hair stylist who knew a woman with a dream job: She did Prince's hair.  Then the woman didn't.  And Kim got a shot at the job.

She impressed Prince and he hired her.  That means basically living and touring around the clock.  There was no outside life in the Prince world.  That led to giddy times and to bad ones.

She tells all in a caring manner.  She talks about how she and Prince would work together on the hair styles and the look he wanted to achieve.  How when she was at the end of her own rope from time to time, she'd call her mother who would always find a way to put it in perspective and offer a prayer.

It's an insider's account and it illuminates many stories we've heard part of -- such as the miscarriage of Prince's first child.  We learn about Prince's faith, his desire for knowledge and for growth and spirituality.  We get to know about the thoughts behind many things that may have shocked originally but are now 'just Prince.'  

It's a book you can really enjoy and I read it a chapter a night to really enjoy it.  I did not want to rush this experience.  I strongly recommend this book.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Friday, March 19, 2021.  We're hours away from the 18th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War.

PRESS TV reports, "Four roadside bombs have separately gone off near convoys of trucks carrying equipment belonging to US-led coalition forces in Iraq’s southern provinces of al-Qadisiyah and al-Muthanna as well as the western province of Anbar."  We're almost to the anniversary of the start of the Iraq War and what's really changed?

AP's "Today In History" notes: "George W. Bush ordered the start of war against Iraq. (Because of the time difference, it was early March 20 in Iraq.)"  18 years and so many dead and wounded and for what?  The Iraqi people continue to suffer.


 Unidentified gunmen today opened fire on the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Iraq's Kurdish region, a police officer said.

"Unidentified gunmen in a car and motorbike fired with machine guns at the headquarters of the Democratic Party in Halabja, Sulaymaniyah province, at dawn today," a police officer told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

"The guards at the headquarters responded to the assailants by firing back at them, which prompted them to flee," the source said, adding no casualties were reported.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party is headed by Massoud Barzani, the former president of the Kurdistan Region.  It was formed in 1946 by Massoud's father Mustafa Barzani.  Massoud's son Nechirvan Barzani is the current president of the Kurdistan Region and Massoud's son Masrour Barzani is the prime minister of the Kurdistan Region -- both sons are also members of the KDP.  

BAS NEWS adds:

KDP faction at the Kurdistan Region Parliament condemned the attack and urged security forces to find the perpetrators and face them with justice.

It also blamed the local authorities in Halabja, where the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) is dominant, for failing to protect political offices as such attacks on the KDP are fairly frequent in Sulaymaniyah and Halabja.

The PUK is a rival political party.  In 1975, members of the KDP split off and formed the PUK which is dominated by the Talabani family.  The late Jalal Talabani held the title of president of Iraq from 2006 to 2014.

In other news,  ASHAR AL-AWSAT reports:

Iraqi President Barham Salih revealed on Wednesday new legal measures to recover the looted funds from Iraq.

Since 2003, a year after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, almost $250 billion of Iraqi public funds has vanished.

In a televised interview on Wednesday, Salih said that the presidency intends to introduce a code of conduct to put in place mechanisms to recover the stolen money, which may have gone abroad.

"Corruption is dangerous and needs serious mechanisms to tackle it," he added, noting that despite major challenges, a number of rulings took place regarding corruption cases before.

Salih stressed that striking financial corruption was essential to establishing security.

Will the punished include Nouri al-Maliki?  The former prime minister and forever thug lives a luxury as does his son Ahmed.  This despite Nouri fleeing Iraq in 1979.

That is the common trait of the prime ministers that the US and Iran have imposed upon Iraq -- they are not Iraqis who were living in Iraq their whole lives.  They all spent many years in exile and only returned after the 2003 US-led invasion.

 Here is a list of all the prime ministers since the start of the US-led war in 2003:


2004 prime minister Ayad Allawi fled in 1971.

2005 prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari fled to  Iran in 1980/

2006-2014 prime minister Nouri al-Maliki fled in 1979.

2015-2018 prime minister Hayder al-Abadi fled in 1983.

2018 prime minister Adil Abdul al-Mahdi fled in 1969.

2020 prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi fled in 1985.

Six prime ministers from 2004 to the present and every single one had fled Iraq.  

Would you want to be ruled by a coward?  Someone who fled your country and only came back after US troops had landed in your country?

Forget that the prime minister never serve the people, they're also not of the people.  Makes it very difficult to establish a legitimate government.  And Iraq doesn't have a legitimate government.

That's one of the reasons Iraqis have been protesting since fall 2019.  And the response of the Iraqi government?  To attack the protesters.


Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi renewed Wednesday the government’s stance on steering clear from the use of live ammunition against demonstrators. 

During a meeting for the Iraqi National Security Council (INSC), the PM rejected attempted attacks on private and public properties and the use of live ammunition to disperse protesters. But he called for providing security forces with the proper equipment to fulfill their duties.  

Maybe they keep shooting live ammo because all Mustafa every does is jaw bone about not doing it.  No one gets punished for doing it.  No one will be punished for doing it earlier this week.  It's become obvious that Mustafa is all talk.  

MEMO notes:

Protesters in Iraq shut down four government buildings in Dhi Qar Governorate on Thursday to highlight rising unemployment in the region.

The buildings were connected to the directorates of education, electricity, the municipality and the Nassiriya Oil Refinery. Angry protesters also closed the governorate administration and the refinery buildings earlier in the week.

Adam Sullivan (THE GAZETTE) notes:

If the Iraq War were a person, it would have to register for the draft by now but still wouldn’t be old enough to buy beer or marijuana. This week marks 18 years since the United States started dropping bombs near Baghdad.

On this date in 2003, George W. Bush went on television and promised to “disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” It turns out our government was the grave danger.

It would become a historic foreign policy failure, claiming the lives of well over 100,000 Iraqis in addition to some 4,400 U.S. service personnel, including dozens of Iowans. Nearly two decades in, the war is officially over but America still can’t seem to leave.

In Iowa, with our first-in-the-nation presidential nominating contests and our previous status as a swing state, we’ve had outsized influence on presidential politics over the past couple decades. Twice in my voting life, Iowans have helped nominate and elect presidents who promised but ultimately failed to end the Iraq War. I was in junior high when the war started, but I was old enough to vote in those elections.

Barack Obama used his opposition to military interventionism, flimsy in hindsight, as a key point of difference in his 2008 primary against Hillary Clinton, who supported the 2003 invasion as a senator. Iowans rewarded him with an upset caucus victory that helped propel him to the nomination.

“I’ll be a president who ends this war in Iraq and finally brings our troops home,” Obama told a Des Moines crowd in his victory speech on caucus.

After winning the general election with Iowa’s support, Obama failed to deliver on his 18-month promise for withdrawal. His administration eventually did draw down troop presence by the end of 2011, only to re-engage in 2014 against the Islamic State. 

In a letter to the editors of THE GAZETTE, Ed Flaherty writes:

We have spent trillions in the last 18 years on our war in Iraq. Over 4,000 U.S. military members have died, and hundreds of thousands more suffer from PTSD and TBI. We have killed several hundred thousand Iraqis and decimated Iraqi infrastructure. It is time to end our military presence in Iraq. It seems our only purpose there is to have U.S. personnel there as sitting ducks, so when they get attacked, we can escalate our pressure on Iran.

Our invasion of Iraq in 2003 was based on lies. Our continued military presence there serves no useful purpose for Iraq or the United States. This is not a partisan issue, just an issue of common sense and humanity. Support the troops, bring them home.

Dr. Neta C. Crawford and Dr. Catherine Lutz (MILITARY TIMES) observe:

 The war has had various inspiring names: Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 to 2010, Operation New Dawn from 2010 to 2011, and Operation Inherent Resolve from August 2014 to the present. At the outset, the Bush administration promised the war would eliminate Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. That sanctions could never work. That fighting would be quick, cheap at $50 billion to 60 billion, controllable, remake Iraq into a democracy, and be won with few civilian, allied or U.S. military casualties.

If this sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is. The Iraq War at 18 offers lessons for understanding the costs of war. Whatever promises and hopes, war is rarely quick, cheap, effective, or controllable.

The Iraq War continues.  US troops remain in Iraq.  There has never been an exit strategy.  Since the goal appears to try to exhaust the Iraqi people's resistance to a government imposed on them, there probably never will be an exist strategy.

As Iraqis suffer, the US prepares to tell generation after generation, "Sorry, we hocked your future for the Iraq War."

So many lives have been lost, so much money has been squandered.  

The Iraqi people have not seen their lives improve.  They do not have a government that represents them.  They have been told throughout 2020 to prepare for cuts in 2021.  This despite the fact that they live in an oil-rich country.  This despite the fact that Iraq brings in millions and millions daily.  They have been betrayed by the people put in charge.  

US troops have been betrayed by a government that lied to start a war, that fails -- to this day -- to honor their healthcare promises to veterans, that lies to continue the war.  Specifically, they have a president who supported this war and has never done anything to end it and a Congress who acts as though the war long ago ended.  I know Nancy Pelosi's old and addled but I don't think anyone's accused her of Alzheimer's yet.  

The Iraq War goes on and on with no end in sight.  And 'leaders' of the peace movement are as appalling as so-called leaders in Congress.  They got bored and moved on to other topics, ones that might get them publicity.  When there's no follow through from the opposition to war, why should the government listen?

The US government doesn't listen.  

18 years of war on Iraq in this wave of war.  And you'd think the left would be up in arms.  But Iraq rarely pops up at the left websites anymore.  It may in a few hours when Medea Benjamin remembers the anniversary and finds some man to co-write a column with her?

Maybe they'll pretend they care and we'll all pretend like CODESTINK hasn't spent years ignoring Iraq.  And we can pretend that in the summer of 2006, when they staged a big action, they didn't put it on hold to focus on another topic?  We can pretend like Leslie Cagen and UFPJ didn't fold tent the day after Barack Obama was first elected president in 2008?

We'd have to do a lot of pretending to believe that THE PROGRESSIVE, THE NATION, IN THESE TIMES, et al give a damn about the ongoing Iraq War.  Their output makes clear that they don't.

We'll note this video as we wind down.

The following sites updated:

Friday, March 19, 2021

Who gets the next warning label?

Interesting book review at WSWS by Fred Schleger:

Nearly 250 years after the American Revolution, the event continues to exert a powerful influence on the present. The ideals of the revolution—human equality and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—have a deep appeal to Americans, and moreover have inspired political idealists and revolutionaries around the world.

In 2014, Professor Gerald Horne of the University of Houston published a book with a startling thesis: that the American Revolution was fought to preserve slavery. This was no genuine revolution, Horne argued, but rather a counter-revolution waged to defend slavery against the true revolutionary force, the abolitionist British Empire—hence the name of the book, The Counter-Revolution of 1776. The American victory was not a progressive or world-historic event. It was a catastrophe. Horne suggests an analogy: the American Revolution created “the first apartheid state.”

Horne’s thesis, if true, would be a fundamental re-writing of American and world history. If the United States was born in a struggle not for political liberty, but rather to preserve the wretched system of property in man, then 1776 was nothing but a prelude to the founding of the Confederate States of America in 1861. The longstanding appreciation of the American Revolution’s direct impact on the French Revolution of 1789, and all the revolutions that were to follow—a position supported by Marx and Engels—would also be false. Moreover, if the British Empire were the revolutionary force in the contest with the American colonists, the well-established understanding of its centrality to imperialist reaction over the course of the 19th century—in Ireland, India, Egypt, China and South Africa, to name a few places—would also be called into question.

Horne’s book is influential among those who insist American history can only be conceived of as a struggle between races. Though the New York Times’ 1619 Project did not initially provide any sources, lead author Nikole Hannah-Jones later said that Horne was a source for her central claim that “one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.” The Counter-Revolution of 1776 has been praised by vociferous defenders of the 1619 Project, such as Prof. David Waldstreicher of the City University of New York and Nicholas Guyatt of Cambridge University. The New York Times itself has given Horne a prominent platform, inviting him to sit on a panel for a public discussion of the 1619 Project in March 2020, chaired by historian Karin Wulf of William and Mary University.

The trouble is this: Horne’s scholarship does not stand up to the slightest scrutiny. Horne’s work is worse than inaccurate: it is, in large measure, a work of fiction. His interpretation of source material is so inaccurate as to be fanciful: quotes are truncated to invert their meaning, sources are misattributed, and even elementary facts are misrepresented—or are just plain wrong.

Honest historians, who deal with a vast array of sources, make mistakes here and there. What makes Horne’s misrepresentations so galling is not just their magnitude and number, but that they are central to his project of rewriting American history. In order to appreciate just how fundamentally Horne’s thesis—if true—would revise American history, we must first briefly review the basic facets of the understanding of the American Revolution that have been established by a century of scholarship.

It's an interesting review.  And I have to wonder, since YOUTUBE and others now want to police truth or 'truth,' will they provide a warning label for Gerald Horne?

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Thursday, March 18, 2021.  The 18th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War looms.

The 18th anniversary of the start of the on-going Iraq War approaches.  THE WINNIPEG FREE PRESS notes:

On March 18, 2003: The Winnipeg Free Press reported that U.S. president George W. Bush declared Iraqi president Saddam Hussein had 48 hours to leave the country in exile or the U.S. and its allies would invade. Canadian prime minister Jean Chrétien said Canada would not join the looming war in Iraq because the offensive did not have UN approval; his declaration in the House of Commons was met with a standing ovation.

Reverend Bill Armstrong (LARGS AND MILLPORT WEEKLY NEWS) reflects on that time period:


Have you ever joined a protest march, or written a tetchy letter to a newspaper, or even surprised your friends by standing out from the crowd, taking a stance which may seem to be out of character?

Many years ago, and for the first time in my life, I did such a thing when I joined the march in Glasgow against the impending war in Iraq; I was joined by one of my elders who was similarly concerned. The memory was stirred by the Pope’s recent visit to Iraq. 

The route was from George Square in the city, ending in a rally outside the SECC. No doubt the march had been arranged for that day and place when the then leader of the Labour Party, Tony Blair, was due to address the Labour Party Conference. The chant rose that he should come out and meet the protesters, but he escaped by another way; and the rest is history. 

In a few days, March 21st, someone born after the Iraq War began will be old enough to servce in the US miliary in Iraq.  The war is still going.  Bully Boy Bush and Congress started it, Barack Obama and Donald Trump and Congress continued it and today Joe Biden and the Congress keep it going still. 

At MILITARY.COM,  Retired Army Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis offers:                                

The U.S. military rushed thousands of combat troops to the Middle East in 1990 to prevent Saddam Hussein from capturing Saudi oil fields and disrupting global oil supplies. More than 30 years and two major land wars later, we're still there -- and still with no plan or strategy to leave.

[. . .]

In a February interview, Lt. Gen. Paul Calvert, commander of American Forces in Iraq and Syria, said that, based on conversations with Iraqi leaders and government officials, "There's a significant amount of concern in terms of the possibilities of an internal Shia civil war between those that are aligned to Iran [and] those that are Shia nationalist."

In fact, added British Army Maj. Gen. Kevin Copsey, unless the Iraqi government "comes up with a proper strategy to deal with them, in five years' time, it could end up tearing the country apart."

I fear that the default answer out of Washington -- whether senior uniformed leaders or elected officials -- will be that U.S. troops "have" to stay in Iraq to stabilize the situation.

As was patently obvious during my 2016 visit -- and as these two generals confirm is still the case -- the political and military fundamentals in Iraq remain hopelessly arrayed against a peaceful end to the fighting. It didn't matter that U.S. troops kept fighting alongside Iraq for the past five years, and it won't matter if they stay the next five years. The result will be the same: continued instability. The good news for Americans, however, is that we don't need to "solve" Iraq's problems to guarantee our security.

There is still no exit strategy just continued war and occupation all these years later.  

There is also still no functional government in Iraq.  MEME reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said on Tuesday that the country needs an open, transparent and responsible dialogue to stop the cycle of harsh days.

A government statement noted that Al-Kadhimi had received representatives from Halabja on the 33rd anniversary of the chemical weapons attack carried out on the city by Saddam Hussein's regime.

"Our people have shared harsh and sad days, not only during the dictatorial regime, but also in subsequent periods" said Al-Kadhimi. "The pain must stop. The future of our people must be better than their past, and the responsibility for this transformation lies on our shoulders."

The Iraqi premier explained that the proposed national dialogue initiative is the essence of this hope. He called last week for a national dialogue that includes political and youth forces as well as those representing protesters.

Meet Iraq's AOC, Mustafa al-Kadhimi.  He thinks a dialogue needs to be started.  Isn't that his job?  And the ongoing protests, which started in the fall of 2019, the protesters have been attempting that dialogue.  Their thanks for that?  Being beaten, being kidnapped and being killed.  By Iraqi security forces.  And with each public death, Mustafa offers a public tut-tut but never actually does anything and the violence against the protesters continue.  So his call for a dialogue is as laubhable as everything else he's done (said, actually, he doesn't do much of anything).

A long with the ongoing protests, new ones spring up.  Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) reports:

Security forces in Sulaimani fired live ammunition to disperse school students protesting in front of the education directorate’s headquarters on Thursday morning, witnesses have told Rudaw.  

Grade 12 students gathered in front of the directorate’s building for the fourth day in a row, a protesting student told Rudaw’s Horvan Rafaat. Protesters are calling for various reforms, including their pre-exam study period to be reverted to 40 days, after it was reduced to 28. 

“What we want is that the 40 days that was reduced to 28 be changed back to 40, and the amount of subject included in exams to be reduced,” Dabin Ibrahim, a protesting student told Rafaat on Wednesday.

Security forces fired into the sky as students attempted to break into the building, several students reported.

A land of orphans and widows, that's what the war left Iraq.

Baghdad, 18 March 2021 - Under the auspices of the Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers in Baghdad, a conference was held under the title “Displaced Women in Liberated Areas (Challenges and Solutions)”. In the presence of the Minister of Migrations and Displacement (MoMD) and with the participation of a number of international organizations, UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes and various ministries' representatives attendees discussed ways of support to displaced women to return to their areas of origin by setting up their own programs in line with MoMD’s plan. Here is the video message by the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq/Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms. Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, to the participants of the conference.

The oil rich country continues to see money pour in but it gets lost before it can get to the people (corruption).  ALJAZEERA reports on the Parliament's budget process.

In other news, Sandy Rashty (THE JC) reports:

One of the last Jews living in Iraq has died aged 61.

Dhafar Fouad Eliyahu, a leading orthopaedic doctor at the al-Wasiti hospital in Baghdad, died in the capital on Sunday. There are now believed to be only three Iraqi Jews still in Baghdad.

Iraqis paid tribute to the doctor, a former student at Baghdad’s Jewish school, Frank Iny, who used to provide free medical care to people who could not afford to pay.

According to former classmates now living in London, Dr Eliyahu was highly-academic and could recite textbooks “word by word”.


Edwin Shuker, a Jew born in Baghdad now living in London, wrote about Eliyahou on Facebook:

“Thafer was an orthopedic surgeon, who served Iraq with skills and loyalty to the very last day of his life,” Shuker wrote. “Thafer worked under the most challenging of conditions, especially during the long years of war and sanctions. He continued to treat patients in the state hospitals knowing that many of them were not able to pay towards the treatment but always received each and everyone, with a broad smile and a warm welcome. His modesty was legendary and he will be sorely missed.”

Let's note this  from Restore The Fourth:

The PATRIOT Act's most invasive provisions expired on March 15th, 2020, but some lawmakers and bureaucrats want to bring back this invasive surveillance law so the government can spy on our phone calls, text messages, emails, and Internet history … without a warrant. We can’t let that happen.

Click here to tell your members of Congress to protect everyone in America from invasive government surveillance like the PATRIOT Act.

For years, the US government used the PATRIOT Act to spy on hundreds of millions of Americans, including journalists,1 whistleblowers,2 and protesters.3 They told us this massive surveillance program was necessary to keep us safe from terrorism, but internal review boards found that the government’s spying failed to identify or prevent a single terrorist attack.4 And yet lawmakers continued to renew the PATRIOT Act over and over again.

Thankfully, Congress finally let the most invasive provisions of the PATRIOT Act expire last year, and we’re all safer because of it. But some politicians and government officials have begun openly attacking our privacy rights once again. They’re likely to try to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act, or create a new law to allow them to spy on us. We have to stop them.

Click here to urge your members of Congress to protect our privacy and reject any attempt to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act!

Thanks for all you do,

Alex Marthews, Restore The Fourth

[1] The Intercept

[2] CNN

[3] Brennan Center

[4] Vox

We'll wind down with this from Glenn Greenwald (SUBSTACK):

Journalists with the largest and most influential media outlets disseminated an outright and quite significant lie on Tuesday to hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, on Twitter. While some of them were shamed into acknowledging the falsity of their claim, many refused to, causing it to continue to spread up until this very moment. It is well worth examining how they function because this is how they deceive the public again and again, and it is why public trust in their pronouncements has justifiably plummeted.

The lie they told involved claims of Russian involvement in the procurement of Hunter Biden’s laptop. In the weeks leading up to the 2020 election, The New York Post obtained that laptop and published a series of articles about the Biden family’s business dealings in Ukraine, China and elsewhere. In response, Twitter banned the posting of any links to that reporting and locked The Post out of its Twitter account for close to two weeks, while Facebook, through a long-time Democratic operative, announced that it would algorithmically suppress the reporting.

The excuse used by those social media companies for censoring this reporting was the same invoked by media outlets to justify their refusal to report the contents of these documents: namely, that the materials were “Russian disinformation.” That claim of “Russian disinformation” was concocted by a group of several dozen former CIA officials and other operatives of the intelligence community devoted to defeating Trump. Immediately after The Post published its first story about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine that traded on his influence with his father, these career spies and propagandists, led by Obama CIA Director and serial liar John Brennan, published a letter asserting that the appearance of these Biden documents “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

News outlets uncritically hyped this claim as fact even though these security state operatives themselves admitted: “We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails…are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement -- just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.” Even though this claim came from trained liars who, with uncharacteristic candor, acknowledged that they did not “have evidence” for their claim, media outlets uncritically ratified this assertion.

This was a topic I discussed extensively in October when I announced my resignation from The Intercept after senior editors — for the first time in seven years — violated the contractual prohibition on editorial interference in my journalism by demanding I significantly alter my reporting about these documents by removing the sections that reflected negatively on Biden. What I found particularly galling about their pretense that they have such high-level and rigorous editorial standards — standards they claimed, for the first time ever, that my article failed to meet — was that a mere week prior to their censorship of my article, they published an article by a different journalist which, at a media outlet we created with the explicit purpose of treating government claims with skepticism, instead treated the CIA’s claims of “Russian disinformation” as fact. Even worse, when they quoted the CIA’s letter, they omitted the part where even those intelligence agents acknowledged that they had no evidence for their assertion. From The Intercept on October 21:

Their latest falsehood once again involves Biden, Ukraine, and a laptop mysteriously discovered in a computer repair shop and passed to the New York Post, thanks to Trump crony Rudy Giuliani….. The U.S. intelligence community had previously warned the White House that Giuliani has been the target of a Russian intelligence operation to disseminate disinformation about Biden, and the FBI has been investigating whether the strange story about the Biden laptop is part of a Russian disinformation campaign. This week, a group of former intelligence officials issued a letter saying that the Giuliani laptop story has the classic trademarks of Russian disinformation.

Oh my, marvel at those extremely rigorous editorial standards: regurgitating serious accusations from ex-CIA operatives without bothering to note that they were unaccompanied by evidence and that even those agents admitted they had none. But, as they usually do these days, The Intercept had plenty of company in the corporate media. 

ADDED: I meant for the video below to be included today.  We'll also include it tomorrow but, if it's not included today, I'll forget it.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, March 18, 2021

March 27th, HBO

 That's when TINA! will be available for streaming.

I can't wait for it.  I love Tina Turner and it looks like a great documentary.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Wednesday, March 17, 2021.  Protests continue in IRaq, while a protest is planned Friday in NYC, Tara Reade talks about assault, and much more.

Starting in the US where 2020's Green Party ticket of Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker spoke with Tara Reade last night.  Tara has made credible charges of assault against Joe Biden (I believe her) and she is the author of LEFT OUT: WHERE THE TRUTH DOESN'T FIT IN.

Tara Reade: Today two thins happened that were really quite stunning.  It was revealed what [NY Governor Andrew] Cuomo's people were trying to do to one of the accusers, Lindsey Boylan, who was brave enough to come forward -- to try to smear her publicly and that's been revealed so there's an article about that, about the tactics used.  And, for me, a wonderful thing happened for a change.  Ryan Grim from THE INTERCEPT was on RISING and basically went after THE NEW YORK TIMES for misreportng and accusing me of lying about my education credentials which I did not do.  And he basically laid out what happened to me and called out THE NEW YORK TIMES for class-shaming me.  

Ryan Grim's a joke.  What was done to Tara was done to others in presidential campaigns and if you're not aware of that prepare for it to happen again and again.  On the Democratic Party side, they silence someone who comes forward by having a Democratic Party member in office announce an investigation or charges against someone.  Now these never bear out -- not even when Beau Biden executed the trick in 2008.  But they do serve to silence the critic and send the media scurrying.

A real reporter would have been on the phone every week asking, "What's the status of the investigation?"  There was no ongoing investigation, it was fake from the start.  And it was over long ago and could have been reported but no one wanted to because they were trying to fix an election.

Ryan wasn't the one who found Tara's mother's call-in to THE LARRY KING SHOW, please remember.  He's had everything delivered to him and all he's done is write badly on any number of topics.

Equally true, Ryan's not only a joke as a reporter, he's a dirty word to the Green Party after his most recent sliming.  I understand her gratitude -- any port in the storm? -- towards Ryan but I know those comments will result in e-mails so I'm heading them off right now.

I'm glad Tara's doing interviews and I hope it's getting the word out on the issues and also on her new book.  But I'm not going to set aside my media critique.  Ryan did a lousy job reporting on Tara from day one.  He also walked away when the story got too hot.  He should have been hammering away and instead he folded.  Then, months after the election, he wants to play 'brave reporter'?  I'm not going to help him lie.  

Other thoughts?  Masculinity is not toxic but there can be toxic masculinity.  It's something that needs to be noted because that term is misunderstood.  By the same token, alpha-male?  Oh, honey, really?  Do you even know which community spent the last years popularizing that term?  Now you're going to try to take it from the gay male community with no acknowledgment and redefine it as something bad and try to trace it back to Rome (that's not Tara*)?  Somewhere around that nonsense, I decided life's too short and stopped streaming.  

[Added: "that's not Tara" seems pretty clear to me that I'm saying Tara's not the one who was offering that nonsense.  I was being kind and not naming the woman who did offer it.  Since I've had to add a note let me make one more comment:  Don't sideline Howie.  He's a co-interviewer.  Tara brings him into the conversation -- and good for her -- but he should have been brought in earlier.  He's a co-host and it's not as though the other two women -- again, that does not refer to Tara -- aren't really offering anything of value.  They're just talking about a movie -- REVENGE OF THE NERDS -- without any understanding at all -- I can go into that if I have to -- and they're talking in these sweeping generalities that have nothing to do with what is going on right now in the world with assault and rape.  That's why I compared it to the soggiest of ecofeminism -- not all ecofeminism has me rolling my eyes.  Tara was a good guest.  I would've liked to have heard more from her.]

It is cultural appropriation [redefining alpha male], please note.  No community has utilized that term more than the male gay community.  They've used it, they've defined it, they have a cottage porn industry built up around their definition of the term.  

A serious conversation on the topic needs to include specifics and not be built around sweeping generalities with (misunderstood) buzz words.  I don't need your 'drunk history' version of the history of humankind to understand assault and rape.  This should have been a hard hitting, serious discussion but it meandered off into the sort of squishy nonsense and claims that I would associate with the worst of eco-feminism and Harlequin Romance novels.

Before I pulled the plug, Tara was armed with specifics and with facts and figures and maybe if they'd just spoken to her it would have been a lively and informed discussion. Her discussing how she was treated by the press and relating it to the attacks on Lindsay right now were illuminating.  But instead, this was like that awful Winter Soldier panel IVAW staged on 'assault' where no one on the panel was assaulted but you got to hear a woman saying that she got drunk at a bar and danced with her commanding officer and she realizes now that this was assault.  It may have been something but for those of us who have been assaulted it didn't seem to reach the level of assault -- though bad judgement would certainly be a term that could be applied.  

Let's get back to the real world where protests take place.  Sohali Obaid Tweets:

Mass protests in #Basra in protest to the kidnappings and assassinations of activists and protesters in #Iraq.
0:06 / 0:14

In Manhattan this Friday, a protest against the war will take place:

Join us next Fri, 3.19 @ 3:30-5 PM for the 18th anniversary of the U.S. war in Iraq. We will be demonstrating against endless U.S. wars on Manhattan Bridge Plaza during rush hour. For more information, call 718-768-7306 #antiwar #peace #bannuclear #iraqwar #protest #resistwar

In other Iraq news,  THE TIMES OF ISRAEL reports:

The last Jewish doctor in Iraq and one of the few remaining Jews in its capital, Baghdad, has died at the age of 61, reports said Tuesday.

Dr. Thafer Eliyahu, an orthopedic doctor at Wasiti Hospital, has been nicknamed “the doctor of the poor” since he treated those who couldn’t afford the costs for free, according to Israel’s Kan public broadcaster and Washington Post Iraq correspondent Mustafa Salim.   

During the Gulf War of 2003, he continued to see sick and injured patients even as bombings continued overhead, Kan reported.

Kan said Eliyahu died on Monday of a heart attack, citing a journalist in Baghdad. However, Salim wrote on Twitter that the cause of death was a sudden stroke. 

Iraq has been the host of many religions -- in the past and presently.  ALJAZEERA reports on the Mandaeans .

New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated: