rebecca here. i told betty tonight that i needed to blog 1 more time this week. she said she wished she had the energy. i've been there. since i've already blogged 5 rimes at my site, i told her i could sub for her here.
the reason i was going to blog is that i've been covering the chris cuomo story for some time and, the last 6 days alone included:
so, if you're new to the discussion, chris worked for abc news then moved over to cnn. there he rose from morning anchor to host of a primetime show.
there, he covered andrew cuomo and interviewed andrew. who?
his brother. that would be cute and a possible conflict for any 2 brothers.
it was an absolute conflict in this case because andrew was the governor of new york state.
cnn allowed this, let's be clear. chris cuomo had many problems and many conflicts even before the pandemic but there was that and then andrew had charges of sexual harassment against him and chris stuck his nose into that too.
at the start of the week, cnn put chris on suspension. saturday, it as announced cnn had fired chris.
here is chris' response:
This is not how I want my time at CNN to end but I have already told you why and how I helped my brother. So let me now say as disappointing as this is, I could not be more proud of the team at Cuomo Prime Time and the work we did as CNN’s #1 show in the most competitive time slot. I owe them all and will miss that group of special people who did really important work
it's his own fault he was fired.
monday and tuesday, i tweeted in favor of his being fired. wednesday morning, in that day's iraq snapshot, c.i. shared her thoughts. i was impressed with her argument and so in my wednesday post (which also included her snapshot) i wrote about that and then left it alone. wednesday morning, she'd made the point that he didn't break all the rules in secrecy. cnn allowed it to happen. and she talked about how various news outlets protect their brand by scapegoating individuals for the outlets own actions.
she's right. and i pulled back from the topic of cuomo to avoid feeding into that.
i did p.r. and i'm ashamed to say c.i.'s snapshot that day also talked about how individuals can fight back against corporations. she said it was a mistake for some 1 in chris' position to go silent. that they had to talk to the media because the corporation was.
between c.i.'s wednesday morning snapshot and when i posted that night, cuomo had spoken out. i thought, 'ok, he gets it, he's going to fight for his job. i'll find something else to cover because i do agree with c.i. that cuomo's being scapegoated for not just his actions but the actions and decisions that cnn exec's made.'
i say it's chris fault he got fired because all he did was make those initial statements. i wasn't the only 1 who pulled back. i know a media critic for a corporate outlet who did as well and he and i had talked about what c.i. wrote. he pulled back for the same reason i did.
in that space, chris had time to issue statements to acknowledge mistakes and provide contrition - also hopefully to note that cnn exec's never told him no or stop.
he didn't do that. c.i. created a space for him and chris didn't use it. so his firing is his fault.
Friday, December 3, 2021. Still hae a bad fever let's see if you can follow my twists and turns.
We'll start out with Liza Featherstone's column at JACOBIN:
Would Russia or China Help Us if We Were Invaded By Space Aliens?” At least the New York Times is asking the important questions. The answer, by the way, is an implicit no. Scary world out there!
The column itself — by Thomas Friedman, who distinguished himself in his next column by intoning “We Need More Elon Musks” more than we need more Greta Thunbergs — was reasonable, arguing that the major world powers need to cooperate on climate change. (Global warming is a national security issue for all countries, but also, like the hypothetical space aliens, a common enemy.) But the jarring headline itself fit right into the current atmosphere of conspiratorial nonsense; we’re unfortunately becoming used to seeing outlandish, paranoid ravings in mainstream media and from liberal politicians.
]. . .]
The low-bar high ground of “reality,” “sanity,” and “planet Earth” is increasingly hard for liberals to stake a claim upon. Although closer to reality than the far right on issues like vaccine effectiveness and pandemic workplace safety, the “In this house, we believe in science” crowd shows many signs of abandoning its commitment to empiricism.
Remember Russia? The source of all evil, which put Trump in office and conspired to undermine the United States election? Throughout the Trump administration, liberals created a QAnon-like world for themselves around these assumptions, based partly on the Steele dossier, a collection of reports compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British spy. Early this month, one of the main sources for that report, a Russian named Igor Danchenko, was arrested and indicted, charged with lying to the FBI. The federal government rarely goes to court without a very strong case — it wins the vast majority of its indictments — so it’s likely that the FBI has strong evidence here, or at least evidence highly likely to convince a federal judge.
You’d think the collapse of the Steele dossier would prompt a reckoning in liberal media circles about paranoid warmongering and conspiratorial thinking. But no. “Even if the Steele dossier is discredited,” a defensive Washington Post headline read this week, “there’s plenty of evidence of Trump’s collusion with Russia.” In the op-ed that followed, Council on Foreign Relations fellow and Post columnist Max Boot painstakingly tried to salvage what was left of the Trump-Russia conspiracy. There’s been no real reckoning by establishment liberals on how or why they might have gotten the Russia-Trump conspiracy wrong.
A lot to cover and we're going to weave a few things in and out right now.
The idiots Kyle Kulinski and his effete roll poodle Vaush.
I didn't need to listen to Vaush to know he was garbage. I only needed to see him. He's a fake and a poser who tries to throw his body into his fakeism but can't. You can see that with his half-facial expressions and that little girl lost voice. Put in the chest voice. What an embarrassing and efette priss that Vaush is.
Fake assery can be spotted easily and Vaush is a fake ass. He's trying to deliver a perofrmance but he doesn't just lack the talent, he lacks the conviction.
Kyle's a grotesqe embarrassment and we don't note BREAKING POINTS when he is on ehte program.
Jackson Hinkle makes a strong critique of both Vaush and Kyle.
And yesterday, two posts here:
The second one notes the success BREAKING POINTS is having in terms of views. And the first one in Jackson Hinkle calling the show out regarding China. Some are confused.
Where's the confusion? I'm not a gatekeeper. I'm not a cheerleader. If Jackson is seeing something to call out, he needs to call it out and good for him for doing so. And he can be right in his call -- I have no idea if he's right or wrong on that, I haven't streamed the video and I don't follow BREAKING POINTS on foreign issues because they don't really impress me with their foreign coverage which is also largely non-existant. And I think we can make a swipe acoss all of the left YOUTUBE programs and note that they ignore Iraq. They ignore the ongoing Iraq War. They ignore the damage that our own country has done to Iraq. Is it guilt? I don't know. But I'll make that criticism about all of them. And it's accurate.
So if Jackson wants to hold someone accountable, that's something that's going to go up here. I prefer it to those wo pretend there are no problems.
'Anti-vaxer!' I noted that I know RFK Jr. and that I respect him and I like him. And now I'm an "anti-vaxer." I'm actually neither anti nor pro. Your little dramas and your bulls**t back aand forths? I don't give a damn. As noted here over and over, austism is one of my chief issues offline and has been my entire life. I sit on committess, I fundraise . Go back to your mental prisons. I don't have time for you. I can fundraise effectively and I can build consensus because everyone who knows me knows that I long ago said that wasn't my battle, that isn't my issue. I'm not taking sides. I'm not calling people who are pro child vaccines horrible people putting children at risk and the same on the flip side. More to the point, I'm not here to bring harm on this earth to any parent desperate to raise their autistic child.
The 'pro vaxer' crowd turns me off more than the anti-vax crowd because I know how their attacks hurt families.
Let's see you raise a child with a condition or a disease and you try to make sense of it and you try to figure out. Let's see that and let's see how you handle that and then slam parents who are living with autistic children.
Which is a lot of people -- either the numbers are increasing or we just are getting better testing and measurements.
This is an issue I've worked on since I was a teenager.
I understand that on the left -- really the faux left (sorry, Liza), it makes you feel so powerful and so impressive to turn around and attack people who blame vaccines for what happened to their children.
I have no sympathy for you.
You're incapable of stepping into someone else's shoes. And you ride your high horse and think you're so smart and meanwhile parents are struggling. They don't deserve your hatred.
Robert? I love Robert. I have no problem with any questions or concerns he raises.
On Iraq . . .
It is perfectly reasonable for Iraqi nationalists and patriots to demand that their country be free of foreign interference and patronage. This has been most vocalised in relation to corrupt governance amid increased political influence from neighbouring Iran but also perceptions of Iraq as a client state of the US. While these grievances are understandable, whether it is actually plausible for Iraq to be "free" is another thing altogether. This is so, because uncomfortable as it may sound, since its modern history as a nation-state, Iraq has never really been an independent country.
In fact, one would have to go as far back in pre-modern history to the Abbasid caliphate (750 CE-1258 CE) based in the region corresponding to "Iraq" which was truly autonomous. However, even the Abbasid rulers were eventually reduced to being symbolic powers in name only, with real authority ceding to dominant regional emirs and viziers such as the Persian Buyids and the Seljuk Turks, the consequence of the Abbasid decline starting from the mid-ninth century.
After a series of invasions and dynastic rulers, from the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries Iraq and especially Baghdad would change hands between the rival Ottoman and Safavid empires and would in effect serve as a buffer zone between the respective Sunni and Shia powers of the Middle East. When the Ottomans recaptured Baghdad and most of Iraq from the Safavids for the second time in 1638, it would never again be under Persian control, remaining under Ottoman control until it fell under British governance in 1918 during the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of the First World War. The last century therefore, represented a hiatus from the historical pattern of Turkish and Iranian competition for pre-eminence in Iraq.
Yesterday, we were noting that the sneering at Iraqis who wouldn't take the word of the UN or the EU was backward. Why in the world would a people trust bodies who destroyed their country? It's a natural response to trust those bodies. And it's a natural response to want foreign fighters out of your country.
“Armed groups,” “paramilitary forces,” “groups following the orders of another country.”
Human rights advocates in Iraq use these descriptions all the time when we refer to the men with guns behind the killings, abductions, and torture of protesters, activists, journalists, and communities seen to have been close to ISIS in Iraq.
In recent days we have seen these men go further than ever before, including a brazen effort on November 7 to assassinate Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in his home, using three armed drones.
Many don’t dare go further in identifying who exactly these men are, the groups they belong to, and who they are getting their orders from — at least not in public. But on October 25, in a courtroom in Basra, someone finally came out and said it.
And what he said raises a bigger question: Can the Iraqi state even provide the rule of law?
Explosive Revelations About the Murder of Two Journalists
In a nutshell, his testimony indicated that the militias called Popular Mobilization Forces, which were formed to help defeat ISIS and some of which have close ties to Iran, may be calling the shots in Iraq and are independent of — and more powerful than — the government.
On that day, a judge at Basra Criminal Court presided over an investigative hearing for Hamza Kadhim al-Aidani, accused of killing two people on January 10, 2020: Ahmed Abdul Samad, a Dijlah TV reporter, and Safaa Ghali, his cameraman. The local media widely covered al-Aidani’s conviction for the murders and subsequent death sentence handed down on November 1.
What the media covered less, and the government refused to comment on, were the explosive statements al-Aidani made during the hearing.
Two people who attended said that al-Aidani, a Basra police commissioner, admitted that he was also a member of an abusive Popular Mobilization Forces unit formally under the control of the prime minister.
He said he fought with the group to retake the city of Fallujah from the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2016. He admitted that he was a member of a so-called “death squad” and was involved in the killing of the two journalists, the sources said. He said he and team members used the local PMF Commission (the PMFs’ governing body) office in Basra to plan the killings and hide their cars and weapons after the fact.
The court witnesses told Human Rights Watch that Al-Aidani told the judge the police had not arrested the head of his squad within the PMF unit but instead allowed him to flee the country. This was the man, he said, who killed the journalists in front of him. He said that the man told the team that the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had issued a fatwa (a religious legal ruling) that journalists covering protests with calls against Iran and the PMF, and those inciting the protests, should be killed.
He said they targeted Samad because he had covered a protest on December 13, 2019, on a street that the PMF had renamed Khamenei Street in 2019. During the protest, demonstrators burned a large picture of Khamenei that the PMF had hung up on the street. Samad, in his coverage, asked viewers why the street was not instead renamed after an Iraqi leader. The judge ultimately said that he would not include this detail in the record.
Al-Aidani’s apparent comments, and the fact that he was standing trial alone, raise another question. Where were the other suspects connected with this case?
That's an important story and, again, I don't see YOUTUBE shows from the US that address it. Speaking of addressing . . .
A communiy member who is an Iraq War veteran heard an NPR report on Ian Fishback and found it grossly offensive. (I would agree the beginning is appalling.) She asked that we include the comments about Fishback made in the Thanksgiving day snapshot:
Ian Fishback, a former Army officer who in 2005 raised concerns about the treatment of detainees in the Global War on Terror, died Nov. 19 at an adult treatment facility in Michigan. He was 42 years old.
In a statement posted with Fishback’s obituary, the veteran’s family thanked his hometown community in Newberry, Mich., for the support provided Fishback in “recent difficult times.”
“He faced many challenges and many of us felt helpless. We tried to get him the help he needed. It appears the system failed him utterly and tragically. There are many questions surrounding his death and the official cause of death is unknown at this time. We can assure you that we will get to the bottom of this. We will seek justice for Ian, because justice is what mattered most to him,” according to the statement.
Fishback’s mental health had declined recently and he struggled to get access to medical and mental health care from Veterans Affairs, said his longtime friend Justin Ford.
For those who knew Fishback, his friend said that his actions regarding the inhumane treatment of detainees came as no surprise. He always had a strong moral and ethical compass and held tightly to those principles, Ford said.
“Standing up for what you believe in is never easy. And it wasn't easy on him,” he said. “He paid a price.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES had a story on Ian Fishback. We didn't note it.
Ian Firshback did something heroic when others didn't. He could have looked the other way, as many did. He could have focused on something else. But he knew right from wrong and was raised to stand up for what was right.
To me, THE TIMES story read like 'crazy man kills himself -- more mental illness help needed at VA.'
He wasn't crazy.
I don't know that you could even call him mentally ill. And be careful with that term if your goal is to help veterans. Don't just apply it because you survived viewing a season of Jerry Springer programs and you think that's the equivalent of a hospital residency.
We say "Post-Traumatic Stress" here and we have used that forever. That condition is a coping condition. You are in volatile and violent environment and your body and your mind respond by making you hyper-vigilant. A veteran with PTS has a coping mechanism and now that she or he is back in civilian life, they need some help adjusting, re-orienting their body, mind and soul to a calmer world that they do not have to be hyper-vigilant in order to protect themselves and others.
When you stigmatize something, you make it harder for people who need some coaching, counseling or assistance to get it. Retired Gen Peter Chiarelli got that and was part of the move towards changing the term to PTS.
"Disorder" at the end of that is a shaming term that will result in fewer service members and veterans seeking assistance.
Words do matter. And THE NEW YORK TIMES report was appalling.
Crazy man kills himself -- more money to VA so the crazies can help!
That is how it read.
A brave person did a heroic thing. It wasn't easy to do it at the start and you can be sure it was hard to live with. Revealing what was happening didn't undo the damage. It didn't undo what was done -- those tortured were not magically untortured. And the horror that Ian felt that moved him to expose what was happening remained inside him.
That's sadly very normal. No one should have that in their head. We would all struggle with that. It is normal. We recoil from horrors for a reason.
The system clearly failed Ian. But Ian wasn't crazy. He was sent by our government into a war and he experienced very troubling things as a result. You go deep diving, you need to decompress. You experience what Ian did, you need something more than, "Thanks for your service."
And to be really clear, I'm not advocating for returning service members to be kept in some sort of isolation for weeks. When they return, they should be able to return to their loved ones. I am saying that services need to be made available. That's counseling with trained medical professionals, absolutely. That's also religious counseling -- that's chaplains and others. There should be a huge range of people to talk to and you should be encouraged to check in with some of the resources available.
If a veteran is feeling suicidal, it is great that there's a toll free number where they can serve assistance -- 800-273-8255 -- and it's sad that Eric Shinseki's family worked to make the use of that number questionable. But that the service is so needed goes to the fact that there are so many gaps in care.
And there were way too many gaps on the part of the US government with regards to Ian. He was abandoned in many ways.
He did a heroic and courageous thing. The US government did not honor that action.
There needs to be an award for people who show true courage and character by coming forward like he did. He received no special decoration from the US government. If he had, that could have eased some of his stress. If the government had officially recognized the strength of his actions, that could have made a real difference.
If you could follow the above, great. If not, sorry. I've still got a fever and an infection. The way my left arm looks, I'm really ticked. This is an infection from the dental surgery on Monday. (The arm thing, if I didn't mention it here -- I know it's in the community newsletters -- they screwed up the blood they took on Monday and one arm -- the first attempted looks awful. They took blood because they were getting the immunities out and injecting it into the jaw after the surgery to try help it heal faster and more effectively.) I hope I'm back to normal soon but it's been a rough week medical wise. Sorry if this was a less than coherent snapshot.
The following sites updated: