Friday, February 10, 2023

The moons of Jupiter

Let me start with this Tweet from Cynthia McKinney.

Cynthia was the Green Party's 2008 presidential nominee.  She was also a member of the US House of Representatives.  She was actually my House member when I lived in Atlanta.  

This is from Thursday's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED (NPR):


The first moons ever discovered around Jupiter were found by the famous astronomer Galileo over 400 years ago, and scientists keep finding more. Researchers have just added a dozen additional moons to the count. NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports on why Jupiter has such an abundance of them.

NELL GREENFIELDBOYCE, BYLINE: Jupiter has so many moons, Scott Sheppard struggles to keep track.

SCOTT SHEPPARD: With this new haul, we're up to, I believe, 92 - actually have to check that.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: He reaches over to his computer. We're in his office at the Carnegie Institution for Science, Earth and Planets Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

SHEPPARD: I have a web page that shows all the ones and - yeah, so it's - 92 is the number that we have right now.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: He and his colleagues are tracking some more that should put the total over 100 once they're confirmed. Sheppard has been discovering Jupiter moons for over two decades, using better technology and bigger telescopes to keep spying more Jupiter moons every few years. He says a moon is just an object that orbits a planet. Beyond that, it's not well-defined.

SHEPPARD: Like the rings of Saturn - there's thousands if not millions of particles in the rings of Saturn. Are each one of those a moon? No.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: But how big does something have to be to count? He says it hasn't really been discussed.

SHEPPARD: The one thing I would say is that the International Astronomical Union has decided that they're not going to name any moons smaller than about one kilometer in size.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: Some of the moons he's found around Jupiter are about that size. That's, like, half a mile across. You could walk it in 12 minutes. Sheppard says from Earth, these little moons look like flecks of light.

SHEPPARD: And so, you know, these objects are kind of jaggedy-edged (ph), elongated-type objects with probably many craters on their surface.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: They're fragments or shards. He says the way they move around Jupiter in clusters suggests that each cluster is the remains of what was once a larger moon.

SHEPPARD: So we think originally there were only a handful of parent moons that have been bombarded by either other moons or comets over the age of solar system and have broken apart. And that's why you get all these very small fragments.

And here is a video on this latest development.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS)

Friday, February 10, 2023.  The US government (and Tara Reade) stay silent about the murder of Tiba al-Ali, Tara is eager to share the stage with both a registered sex offender and a man fired by FOX NEWS because he was harassing employees. 

"The police always come late if they come at all."  Tracy Chapman nailed it.  Sadly, it's true of much more than just the police.  Next month is the 20th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War (or the latest phase of an ongoing war that began in the last century).  US troops remain on the ground in Iraq to this day.  Last December, US Marine Staff Sgt Samuel D. Lecce became the most recent US service member to die in Iraq.  "Round and round it goes, where it ends, nobody knows."  That's supposed to be a slogan for roulette but it's become the US government's 'plan' for war.

AP notes:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that the Senate will vote to repeal two decades-old measures giving open-ended approval for military action in Iraq, raising the hopes of a bipartisan group of senators who want to reclaim congressional powers over US military strikes and deployments.

The vote, which would come after consideration in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, could take place just before the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. It would repeal the 2002 measure that greenlighted that March 2003 invasion, along with a separate 1991 measure that sanctioned the US-led Gulf War to expel Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.

“Every year we keep this authorization to use military force on the books is another chance for a future president to abuse or misuse it,” Schumer said. “War powers belong squarely in the hands of Congress, and that implies that we have a responsibility to prevent future presidents from hijacking this AUMF to bumble us into a new war.”

Igor Bobic (HUFFINGTON POST) notices the glass knocked off the table and now broken into shards on the floor and sees it as half-full -- why else would he write, "The push to repeal the 2002 Iraq War military authorization and the 1991 Gulf War authorization has steadily gained bipartisan momentum in recent years."  Grace Segers breathes a little more reality at THE NEW REPUBLIC:

Roughly 32 years ago, Congress approved its first authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, in Iraq. Another AUMF for Iraq was approved 11 years later, in 2002, approving further action in the country after the September 11 terrorist attacks. More than two decades later, Congress is a step closer to repealing these authorizations, formally bringing the Gulf and Iraq wars to a close. True AUMF buffs know that this isn’t the first time that lawmakers have tried to repeal these measures—but a new momentum is threatening the inertia that has kept them in place. 

Staying with the US government, yesterday the US State Dept issued the following:

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good morning, everyone.


SECRETARY BLINKEN:  It’s a great pleasure to have my longtime friend Fuad Hussein, the foreign minister of Iraq, here at the State Department in Washington.  We have worked together for many years – too many years.  But it’s always wonderful to have you here.

But this is an important moment, an important meeting.  We have a Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq, but we are now focused very intensely on the economic dimension of that agreement and the work that we can do together, the United States and Iraq, to continue to strengthen Iraq’s economy, its integration, reintegration in the region, in ways that make a material difference in the lives of the Iraqi people and Iraqi citizens.

One particular focus will be on energy, on electricity.  Iraq can and should be strongly energy independent, and this is something that I think the United States and others can continue to support Iraq as it moves in that direction.

So that’s the focus of our conversations, but I would just say as well that President Biden had a very good conversation with Prime Minister Sudani just a few days ago, and we look very much forward with the prime minister to strengthening the strategic partnership that unites Iraq and the United States.


FOREIGN MINISTER HUSSEIN:  Thank you very much, and thank you, Tony.  Thank you for your friendship – personal friend, but also you are a friend of the Iraqi people.  Thank you very much for your support in the fight against ISIS.  And we worked together, we fought together, we defeated the so-called Islamic State together, and we will continue working together on the basis of building and rebuilding our economy.  And with your support, with the American companies’ support – we are in need for your support in various fields, and we will continue our cooperation.

And thank you very much for your time and for receiving us here.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you, my friend.


SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thanks, everyone.

Iraq came up at yesterday's State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Ned Price.

NED PRICE:  And finally, today the Secretary hosted the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Fuad Hussain and his delegation in the first-ever economic-focused Higher Coordinating Committee of the U.S.‑Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement, reinforcing the strong relationship between our countries. The Iraqi delegation will meet with a range of U.S. officials to discuss strengthening Iraq’s economy, pursuing Iraqi energy independence, and combatting climate change. This is our first HCC since Prime Minister Sudani formed a new government, and we are looking forward to a robust discussion.

The United States supports a strong, stable, and sovereign Iraq, and we recognize the critical important of a healthy and growing economy for this end.

[. . .]

QUESTION: Thank you. As you know, the Iraqi delegation have come to talk about security relationship and politic and economy. My question is: Does the U.S. Government instead on it is demands on the Iraqi Government in terms of trade relations with the countries that are listed on your sanctions, including Iran and Russia?

MR PRICE: Our relationship with the Government of Iraq is one based on partnership. It is one based on mutual respect. It is based on our mutual interests and what works to the benefit of both of our countries. It is not our approach, whether it is the Government of Iraq or any other partner of ours, to issue demands, to issue decrees. When we engage with our Iraqi partners, we do often talk about the challenges that we confront in the region and well beyond. Many of those challenges are challenges to both of our interests. Iranian-backed forces in some cases pose a challenge to both of our interests.

So when we talk about sanctions, we don’t talk about it in terms of what we are demanding of our Iraqi partners. We talk about it in terms of what is good for both of our countries, and there is a lot that is good for both of our countries. That is the relationship of shared interests, mutual interests we have. The very fact that we have so many mutual interests allows us to have these conversations and allows us to arrive at common positions.

[. . .]

QUESTION: Thank you, Ned. Just to follow up on my colleague’s question about the Russian sanctions related to Iraq, what – I met deputy prime minister yesterday. He said that we owe the Russian companies, but the United States will not let us to pay them back because they are imposing sanction to us. Then my question is that: Are you going to waive Iraq from the Russian sanctions to pay their owes, their debts to Russian companies?

And my second question: Last week, the House Representatives Foreign Affairs chairman, he sent a letter to Secretary Blinken and said when you have a meeting with the Iraqi delegation, bring the dispute between KRG and also Baghdad into the table, because some of the disputes, they make problem for oil and gas companies to working in Kurdistan Region. Then – but I don’t hear you and Secretary Blinken to mention that. Have you touched this issue with the Iraqi delegation?

MR PRICE: So a couple of things. We’ll have more to say on the meeting, I would expect, later today. But this meeting was the first time the Higher Coordinating Committee met exclusively on economic issues. The fact is that we have a 360-degree relationship with our Iraqi partners. That means that, beyond our cooperation in the security and defense realm, we’re committed to expanding all facets of that bilateral relationship: fighting corruption, combating the climate crisis, growing the private sector, creating jobs, improving public services, expanding educational and cultural programming, establishing Iraq’s energy independence, and strengthening Iraqi sovereignty.

Now, today’s session is focusing on the economics of all of that, the climate impacts of that relationship, the energy elements of it as well. So I would expect the issues that you raise will be up for discussion. I suspect we’ll have more to say before —

QUESTION: What about disputes between —

MR PRICE: — the (inaudible). Go ahead.

QUESTION: The disputes between KRG —

MR PRICE: Let me – let me move around. I need to move to others. Yes.

Once the KRG came up, Ned rushed off to another journalist and another topic.  That's far from the only thing being ignored.

Tiba al-Ali.  Is there a reason that the US government has made a decision to ignore her murder?  Is there a reason that the press covering the State Dept and the White House can't get off their lazy asses and ask for a statement regarding the murder.

So-called 'honor' killings continue in Iraq.  And not just in Iraq.  And it's past time that the US government made a public response about this latest murder.

They're real good about starting wars, the US government, not real good about ending them (or winning them).  Maybe if they could use Tiba's murder to start a new war, they'd have something to say?

Savera UK issued the following:

Tiba al-Ali was killed by her father on January 31st, 2023, in a reported ‘honour’ killing.

The 22-year-old was in the southern province of Diwaniya when she was killed, reportedly because her father had been ‘unhappy’ about her decision to live alone in Turkey. Her death has sparked protests in Iraq, with dozens gathering on February 5th to condemn the killing. Savera UK stands with those protesting against her murder.

Afrah Qassim, Savera UK CEO and Founder, said: “Savera UK is appalled and heartbroken by the ‘honour’ killing of Tiba al-Ali at the hands of her father in Iraq. Yet we are not shocked. Each year around 5,000 people die as a result of ‘honour’-based abuse and violence. There has been a cry for justice raised worldwide for Tiba only because she was widely known as YouTube star and media personality. But we should reminded ourselves that many others lose their lives in ‘honour’ killings, and who calls for justice for them? Iraq’s penal code stipulates that killings with an ‘honourable motive’ are a mitigating circumstance for punishment. It also states that punishment for a man who kills or beats his wife, female relative or her partner (in the case of adultery) to death or causes them permanent impairment, is up to three years in prison, with the judge afforded discretionary power to reduce this punishment.

“If ‘honour’ continues to be a mitigating factor – and excuse for murder – thousands more like Tiba will die. We stand with all those calling for justice for Tiba around the world. She was a bright, 22-year-old woman with the whole of her life ahead of her. She had the right to chose to leave her family home in Iraq to live in Turkey. She had a right to live freely, happily and peacefully. But that right was taken away from her.

“There is no ‘honour’ in abuse and there is no ‘honour’ in murder.

“Justice for Tiba al-Ali. Justice for all those lost in the name of ‘honour’.”

If you are at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse or harmful practices in the UK, contact the Savera UK helpline on 0800 107 0726 (operates weekdays 10am – 4pm). 

There's a non-action coming up that's getting press attention for the pedophile they'll be putting on stage.  THE VANGUARD did a good job covering it in the video below.


An anti-war rally slated for later this month has been thrown into disarray by disagreements about a convicted child sex predator’s participation, with many speakers threatening to pull out of the Libertarian Party-led event if it booted the pedophile.

Pressure mounted internally for the Libertarian Party to disinvite Scott Ritter from the rally after the Washington Free Beacon reported about Ritter’s criminal past, which includes a 2011 prison stint for masturbating online in front of an undercover cop he believed to be an underage girl. He was arrested twice in 2001 after showing up for what he thought were meetings with 14- and 15-year-old girls. But as of this writing, Ritter's status as a featured speaker for the "Rage Against the War Machine" rally is still in limbo.

[. . .]

Judge Andrew Napolitano, a former Fox News regular who is speaking at the rally, confirmed that he stood up for Ritter in an attempt to keep him in the event. He told Libertarian Party leaders that Ritter "is intellectually honest, personally courageous, profoundly trustworthy, and utterly fearless," according to an email he shared with the Free Beacon.

"He may be the most valued and knowledgeable public person in America in the Peace Movement today," said Napolitano, who lost his job at Fox News over accusations that he "sexually harassed numerous young male employees" at the network.

Other speakers rallied in support of Ritter, including Tara Reade, a former Joe Biden aide who said the president sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.

"It would be my honor to stand with" Ritter, she tweeted, adding that "Scott is a heroic anti war voice."

The Libertarian party has long been a home for those who have questioned the role of government in regulating sex between adults and minors. Just last year a Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate in Arizona named age of consent laws as something he'd move to change if elected. And in 2016 a Libertarian congressional candidate said all incidents of adults having sexual relationships with minors should be viewed on a case-by-case basis. "Hard age of consent laws don't take into account the actual maturity of the child," the candidate argued.

I told you Tara Reade was a bitch.  Some of you didn't like hearing the truth.  Doesn't mean she wasn't assaulted.  Just means she's not just an airhead, she's a really lousy person.  She pretends to support victims but apparently standing with registered sex offender Scott Ritter is her new hot thing.  Also note that the fact  Andrew Napolitano was fired from FOX NEWS for his harassment of young men.  I think Tara puts the "ME" in MeToo and honestly nothing else.  Again, she's a selfish bitch -- which is why she has that long list of former friends that she leached off of and never repaid.  Again, I believe she was assaulted.  I also believe she's a very bad person and she makes that clearer every day.  Right now, she's eager to share the stage with convicted sex offender Scott Ritter and workplace harasser Napolitano.  These are her people, please remember.

And this week, she couldn't stand with Tiba.  Of course not.  But she stood with another questionable man -- James O'Keefe.  Remember when Tara used to claim to be of the left?  She's so pathetic and her little con games always end with her exposed.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, February 09, 2023

Elizabeth Banks -- problematic and then some

Wasn't planning to write about Elizabeth Banks but then someone e-mailed me this:

Actress and filmmaker Elizabeth Banks claimed that Hollywood is biased against female directors, telling Variety that her upcoming action-comedy flick "Cocaine Bear" was an attempt to break down existing stereotypes about women in the film industry.

"I definitely wanted to make something muscular and masculine," she told the outlet's Adam B. Vary in an article published Wednesday.

"I wanted to break down some of the mythology around what kinds of movies women are interested in making. For some bizarre reason, there are still executives in Hollywood who are like, ‘I don’t know if women can do technical stuff.’ There are literally people who are like, ‘Women don’t like math.’ It just persists." she added.

Okay, some disclosures.  I think Elizabeth Banks is funny.  When she's Sal on MODERN FAMILY, you have a great episode of the show.  She was great in the PITCH PERFECT films.  I was so sad when she got pregnant and didn't end up directing PITCH PERFECT III.  I thought she would have been a natural.

As for directing 'muscular' movies . . . 

She has done more to harm female directors then anyone in recent memory.  She should not have directed CHARLIE'S ANGELS.  She ruined that movie.  Ruined it.  I've covered this at least twice before so check the archives.

I paid money to see that film.  I did that because I am a huge fan of CHARLIE'S ANGELS.  That goes back to being a little kid and watching the TV show.  And then I watched it in syndication.  Then finally we got a film.  Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu were great in two fast paced action films.  Then Drew decided to do a TV show and it was awful.  At a time when our government was already torturing people to get confessions -- waterboarding, etc -- Drew decided the thing to do would be to make the Angels torturers.  That sunk the show immediately.

Then along comes Elizabeth Bank with her 'action' film filmed in . . . close up.  Seriously, did she ever have any idea how to shoot the film?  It sure didn't look like she did.

If you're not interested in action, don't direct an action film.

Now let's address her describing a film as 'muscular' and 'masculine'?  Huh?  I don't generally use such terms to describe a film myself.  But if a film is muscular, why does that make it masculine?  I remember Angela Bassett's muscular shoulders in WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT, for example, and Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee was no anorexric willow reed of a woman.  There are plenty of muscular women.  I'd be offended if a man used that term in that way and I think I may be more offended that someone who has represented as a feminist is using the term that way.


"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, February 9, 2023.  Today we look at truth, partisanship, lies and more.

I'm not a fan of the Twitter dumps.  I don't see them as reporting.  They're Tweets.  They're not reporting.  I've also noted that if a deal is made with Elon Musk to have access to the Tweets in the first place, that deal can't be private.  Basic journalism has always made that clear.

With that in mind, let me now call out the embarrassing AOC at yesterday's House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing entitled Protecting Speech from Government Interference and Social Media Bias, Part 1: Twitter's Role in Suppressing the Biden Laptop Sotry.  Republicans are now in control of the House so the chair of the Committee is James Comer -- a man who needs to buy a comb. (Although, scary, I was told yesterday that he's actually going for that look.  You're a fifty-year-old man in Congress, you're not playing Amanda Woodward on MELROSE PLACE, lose you're very bad attempt at 'bed hair.') Jamie Raskin is the Ranking Member.  As the Republicans on the Committee noted in a press release, "Under the leadership of former Twitter employees Vijaya Gadde, James Baker, and Yoel Roth, Twitter coordinated extensively with the FBI to disproportionately target Republican leaders, conservative activists, and certain media outlets. In October 2020, Twitter censored the NEW YORK POST's story about the Biden family’s business schemes based on the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop, despite the article not violating any Twitter policies."  That sentence is probably the least controversial -- and truest -- of any remarks made about or during the hearing.

But we can't deal with reality.  I'm about to call out a number of Democrats and before someone whines that the Republicans also obscure and spin, yes, they do.  They do it very often and if I was a fan of that, I would be a Republican.  

I'm not a fan of it and I do not like organized attempts to lie.  I don't like organized attempts to trick people.  

Something truly disgusting happened when THE NEW YORK POST was censored.  But instead of working for We The People, Democrats on the Committee and the White House tried to turn it into a football match.  I'm so sorry to break it to you but democracy is much more important than any Superbowl ring.  The only 'side' that anyone should aspire to is truth.  But instead, Democrats worked from a playbook to attack the hearing itself and to avoid the reality of what was done.

For example, AOC idiotically huffed, "A whole hearing about a 24 hiccup in a right-wing political operation! We could be talking about health care, bringing down the cost of prescription drugs, abortion rights, voting rights, civil rights, but instead we're talking about Hunter Biden's half-baked laptop story."

Cool your jets, Entitlement Barbie.

First off, all you do -- all you have ever done -- is talk.  You're all talk.  You take no stands.  You not only wouldn't take part in Force The Vote, you then claimed that calling you out for that was a physical attack, a threat.  When you wonder why more young people aren't in Congress, look no further than AOC whose vast immaturity does no one a favor.

The hearing is not a waste of time.  The oldest daily paper in the United States was censored.  That's worth looking into.

I'm not a fan of THE NEW YORK POST.  It's slightly above garbage.  But it was only slightly above garbage when Dorothy Schiff owned and mis-ran it all those years, serving those stupid roast beef sandwiches to various leaders -- the ones who were Democrats would get raves in her paper.  Rupert Murdoch did not destroy the paper, he just had it do more of the same.


THE NEW YORK POST, ahead of the 2020 election, broke the story on the laptop.  And it was censored for that.  And it was attacked for that.  THE NEW YORK TIMES, for example, invested no money, no resources, no reporters into investigating the laptop.  They did put resources and money into the hit job they did on THE POST where multiple anonymice were given space to attack THE POST and we were told that the newsroom was in an uproar over the publication of the story.


It was never true.  

The article was suppressed.  Some are insisting that another report is being suppressed and that we are part of a group suppressing it.

COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW has an article about how Russia-gate was lies and how THE NEW YORK TIMES and THE WASHINGTON POST.  Why, oh, why, are we ignoring it, e-mails ask.

First off, we never spread the lies, we called them out in real time.  So we don't need to do a corrective.

Secondly, those hailing the article are idiots with no knowledge at all.

I don't scapegoat Asian-Americans.  

If that doesn't explain why we're not highlighting the article, how about this: Jeff Gerth wrote it.

The liar Jeff who destroyed Wen Ho Lee's life.  I'm sorry that you  don't know history.  I'm sorry you are so stupid that you glorify a presstitute like Gerth who not only nearly got Wen Ho Lee tossed into prison with his lies and bad reporting but it could have led to Wen Ho Lee being executed.  

No, this is not a site that's ever going to praise Jeff Gerth.  And, no, I'm never going to offer an apology for not highlighting the writing of a man who trafficked in lies and stereotypes to convict an innocent person in the press.  Were Wen Ho Lee not Taiwanese-American, he wouldn't have been the target.  

So, no, not interested in promoting The Garbage That Is Gerth. 

We didn't spread lies about Russia, so there is no reason for us to offer Gerth's article.  And it's not being banned on FACEBOOK and Twitter.  People are sharing it -- people who want to.  It is not the same thing as the government working to suppress a newspaper article.  And the government did work to suppress it.  

It should be remembered that the article didn't just emerge out of nowhere.  Already questions were being raised about Hunter's dealings.  Sarah Chayes had rightly called out the unethical nature of Hunter's business dealings.  Joe was going around saying A) His son did nothing wrong and B) His son did nothing illegal.  His son clearly did something wrong.  Legality is a matter for the courts.  Into this world, THE POST broke their story.  And it was a valid story.  But instead of exploring the facts, it became attack and silence THE NEW YORK POST.

In September of 2020, at THE ATLANTIC, Sarah Chayes wrote:

Let’s start with Hunter Biden. In April 2014, he became a director of Burisma, the largest natural-gas producer in Ukraine. He had no prior experience in the gas industry, nor with Ukrainian regulatory affairs, his ostensible purview at Burisma. He did have one priceless qualification: his unique position as the son of the vice president of the United States, newborn Ukraine’s most crucial ally. Weeks before Biden came on, Ukraine’s government had collapsed amid a popular revolution, giving its gas a newly strategic importance as an alternative to Russia’s, housed in a potentially democratic country. Hunter’s father was comfortably into his second term as vice president—and was a prospective future president himself.
There was already a template, in those days, for how insiders in a gas-rich kleptocracy could exploit such a crisis using Western “advisers” to facilitate and legitimize their plunder—and how those Westerners could profit handsomely from it. A dozen-plus years earlier, amid the collapse of the U.S.S.R. of which Ukraine was a part, a clutch of oligarchs rifled the crown jewels of a vast nation. We know some of their names, in some cases because of the work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office: Oleg Deripaska, Viktor Vekselberg, Dmitry Rybolovlev, Leonard Blavatnik. That heist also was assisted by U.S. consultants, many of whom had posts at Harvard and at least one of whom was a protégé of future Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.
Burisma’s story is of that stripe. The company had been founded by Mykola Zlochevsky, who, as Yanukovych’s minister of ecology and natural resources, had overseen Ukraine’s fossil-fuel deposits. When Hunter Biden joined Burisma’s board, $23 million of Zlochevsky’s riches were being frozen by the British government in a corruption probe. Zlochevsky fled Ukraine. The younger Biden enlisted his law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, to provide what The New Yorker describes as “advice on how to improve the company’s corporate governance.” Eventually, the asset freeze on Zlochevsky was lifted. Deripaska defeated U.S. sanctions with similar help from other high-profile Americans.
Recently, Hunter Biden told The New Yorker that “the decisions that I made were the right decisions for my family and for me” and suggested Trump was merely using him as the “tip of the spear” to undermine Joe Biden politically. There are no indications that Hunter’s activities swayed any decision his father made as vice president. Joe Biden did pressure Ukraine’s fledgling post-Yanukovych president to remove a public prosecutor—as part of concerted U.S. policy. So did every other Western government and dozens of Ukrainian and international pro-democracy activists. The problem was not that the prosecutor was too aggressive with corrupt businessman-politicians like Hunter Biden’s boss; it was that he was too lenient.

Attention had been on how Hunter had used his father's influence -- without Joe's knowledge or participation, Joe insisted back then -- and here was Hunter's abandoned laptop with various details on it.  

The response was to attack. 


They didn't want Donald Trump re-elected.  I didn't want that to happen either but we covered the laptop here because it was news.  And because I trust people to be mature enough to vote for who they want to vote.  The only wasted vote is a vote you don't believe in.  I don't mean years later, I don't think we're a nation of psychics. That's the only wasted vote.  And not voting is also a vote.  Sorry, poli sci major as an undergrad (double majored as an under grad, triple majored in grad school).  We are not the USSR so I'd never be proud of a 100% voter turnout or even a 90%.  We're a democracy where we have the right to vote.  And if someone earns your vote, you'll vote for them -- provided you can jump through all the hurdles which include registration, changing locations, understaffed locations, etc, etc.  I'm all for a voting holiday -- a national holiday.  Even then, I wouldn't expect 100% voter turnout or see that as a good thing.  100% of the people aren't following the issues and shouldn't be voting.  Again, the USSR had huge voter turnout.  I never thought that was a good thing or actually reflective of the people's belief in that system.

'Oh, no, you critiqued the USSR!'  I critique all governments.  

A major story emerges immediately before an election and the corporate press -- and the trashy beggar media like THE NATION, et al -- work to silence the story.  

If that doesn't bother AOC then she is even more stupid than I thought she was.

This was an attack on the freedom of the press.  It was also the press picking who they wanted to spin for.  And Donald Trump supporters aren't the only ones bothered by it.  But, yes, Donald's supporters are bothered by it -- as is Donald himself -- and he and his supporters have every reason to be upset.  AOC wants the press to treat her like a national celebrity but she doesn't want to be a national politician.  If she did, she'd stop offering lies and grasp that whole groups of people will never listen to her or trust her because of garbage like ""

"A whole hearing about a 24 hiccup in a right-wing political operation! We could be talking about health care, bringing down the cost of prescription drugs, abortion rights, voting rights, civil rights, but instead we're talking about Hunter Biden's half-baked laptop story" -- she declared.  It's not an either/or.  You can talk about those things and pursue what took place with regards to the laptop.  Is she afraid it might make her late to The Met.  Does she have another trashy outfit to put on?  Exactly what is the hearing keeping her from that's so important?


She's lying and dismissing because she doesn't like the reality of the laptop.  By attacking and dismissing, she can distract others and possibly avoid dealing with it.

Corruption needs to be called out.  And if she doesn't get that Congress is obligated to provide oversight with regards to potential corruption, that bad hair dye she's been using must be leaking through her scalp onto her brain.  I'm always amazed by someone who will spend a fortune on an outfit but, when it comes to her hair, goes for something out of the box that she can do at home.  Not knocking anyone who has no choice in the matter due to economics but AOC doesn't have budget issues.

I'm tired of it.  I'm tired of the dishonesty.  

I don't like members of Congress who mistake our lives as their partisan fight.  I'm tired of all the spinning.  Again, if Liked spinning and lying and partisan fights, I'd be a Republican.

Hunter Biden used his father -- his father's name and, yes, access to his father -- to make money.  That's unethical.  It's a real issue.  And since we now know Joe knew about it, it also goes to corruption above Hunter.  

US House Rep Barbara Lee is a constant embarrassment and this continued today as she insisted -- offering no proof -- that this hearing was going to allow people to get a pass on using speech that incites.  I'm not sure that 76 year old Barbara understands, first off, the internet and, second off, how Twitter works.  Everything on there is basically inciting something.  That is how Twitter works -- or doesn't work.  We've always had laws on the books -- laws that still exist today -- to address any truly inciting speech.  And I'm not sure that Americans want to turn over the censoring tools to the likes of Barbie Lee.  

She's bothered, she insisted, by the treatment of the poor Twitter employees.  

Why doesn't she deal with their actions.  I don't give a damn about Yoel Roth's 'hard times.'  He did actions at Twitter that he shouldn't have.  Does that mean he should have been smeared as a pedophile?  No and we called that out here in real time.  But don't confuse two responses: Harsh critique and response from the people over his role in the censorship and then a response from people who always run crazy on every topic.  

Eleanor Holmes Norton.  Is there a reason that stupid and elderly woman (85) is still in Congress.  I know she's got no real power, she's the DC delegte, but she's an idiot and she's a liar.  In late 2009, I lost all use for her.  She'd been lying to the press for months about something that on the face of it was obviously a lie.  And then a Barack appointee comes before the Committee and Eleanor goes into the lie and thee man stops her and correct her.  Later that day, she's back before reporters repeating the lie as though the expert witness from Barack's administration hadn't just corrected her on the claim she's been falsely making.  (It was a lie that Matthew Rothschild pimped at THE PROGRESSIVE as well.  They were heavily invested in the lie.)

Eleanor decried that the hearing was about partisanship while . . . making the hearing about partisanship.

It was "a match to a powder keg," she insited looking like the senile, old fool she's always been.

The playbook the Democrats were working from was to distract from reality and to try to get a 'win' for the new gipper Joe Biden.

They weren't working for the people -- despite the House long being seen as the people's House.  

And it's disgusting.

THE NEW YORK POST was censored.  The laptop has been 'vetted' by THE NEW YORK TIMES, POLITICO and THE WASHINGTON POST.  Yes, they and other outlets waited years to do so but we all know -- unless we're liars like AOC -- that the laptop is for real.

Who did AOC, Eleanor and others think they were reaching?

They sat there raving about Joe Biden's snazzy wardrobe while most of the country already knew the emperor had no clothes on.

They just lied.  And the lie had already been exposed as a lie long before the hearing.  So they worked from a playbook that made a large part of the country yesterday see them as liars -- see them as they really were, I guess.  

I don't see how that is good for the Democratic Party but I know it's not good for democracy.

Donald Trump, while president, asked Twitter to censor.  That emerged in the hearing. 

Good, call that out.  It needs to be called out.   It needs to be expanded on.  

We need to know all the censorship that has taken place. 

Which is why more hearings are necessary.

But grasp that when you sit through a hearing attacking a known fact repeatedly and then your ears perk up over Donald also doing something wrong -- no one sees you as trustworthy or fair.  And, thing is, you're not a star in a reality show, you're a member of Congress and, as such, you need to have some integrity.  When you demonstrate -- when you sport -- your whorish side in front of the people, don't expect anyone to show you any respect.  Whores get money, whores get gifts, but they don't get respect.

"There's a peace action coming up and you're not promoting it!"

No, I'm not promoting that 'peace' action.  THE VANGUARD did a great job in the video below covering the problems with that action.

At the end of last month, we wrote "David Swanson finds his Maddie Albright moment" at THIRD:


With 935 words, you'd think David Swanson could make a point.  You'd think.  

"How Dare I Oppose War with Libertarians" is how you find the column but, grasp, even if you find the column, you'll never find the point.

He's getting complaints, he writes, for announcing he'll be speaking at an anti-war rally with Libertarians.

Which Libertarians is the obvious question.

This isn't just about the government's war, a fact that escapes David.

A lot changed on June 24, 2022.  Prior to that, we could easily speak with non-leftists against the war.  There were rights and legal protections.

Then DOBBS was handed down and ROE V WADE was struck down while Justico Clarry Thomas made clear in his concurring opinion that he now wanted to take on birth control rights (do away with them), to take on marriage equality (do away with it) and to take on what two adults do in the privacy of their own bedroom.  Justico Thomas -- a huge consumer of porn -- suddenly sees himself monitoring every bed room.   

No, we're not going to stand next to anti-abortion crazies, homophobes or people who want to terrorize trans persons.

Is that who David is going to be standing with?  We have no idea because, despite using 935 words, he never names any speaker he'll be appearing with on stage.

That does make us wonder: Is he doing that intentionally?  Does he grasp that he has to cover these people up or he won't get support?

We have no idea but without knowing who he is standing with, in the climate we now live in, he's on his own and he made it that way.  

We found out who he is standing with and it's homophobes and it's registered sex offender Scott Ritter and so many other disasters.

Aaron Mate, did you read the comments to THE VANGUARD segment?  One of your fan bois is hoping you would never stand with Scott Ritter.  They missed the part where you already had stood with him, had brought the convicted sex offender on your program THE GREY ZONE and promoted him (and never noted his conviction).  

THE VANGUARD didn't really go into that.  I think they were being kind.  But a lot of people on the left who were participating and have now dropped out because of the backlash?  They've been embracing Scott Ritter for the last year.  We've been calling them out for that right here.  

THE VANGUARD wrongly praised BLACK AGENDA REPORT for calling the faux-test out.  One article that didn't mention names called the faux-test out . . . for being White.  The reality is that BAR's Danny had Scott Ritter as a guest on the LEFT LENS over five times in the last six months of 2022 and that BAR published Scott Ritter as 2022 was winding down.  Margaret Kimberley reTweeted him.  

Too many people have decided to get into bed with a pedophile.  That's on them.  But don't make the mistake that THE VANGUARD did of thinking people have called Ritter out when they haven't, when instead they've promoted him.

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Hominid skull, Neanderthals ate cooked crab

Frank Gaglioti (WSWS) reports:

The announcement in November of the discovery of what appears to be a near intact hominid skull in China is a stunning discovery. It has the potential of further revealing the complex intricacies of human evolution particularly in China and the Eurasian landmass more generally. Complete hominoid skulls are a rare find and can offer an important opportunity to gain further insights into human evolution. 

The discovery of a near intact hominid skull should be welcomed as its analysis will further add to our knowledge of humanity’s complex evolutionary history. 

The skull is named Yunxian 3 as it was discovered 20 kilometres west of Yunyang, formerly known as Yunxian, in central China’s Hubei province. It was found on 18 May 2022, 35 meters from two other skulls, known as Yunxian Man or Yunxian 1 and 2, discovered in 1989 and 1990 respectively. The excavation site is known as Xuetangliangzi in the city of Shiyan’s Yunyang district.

The Yunxian site is located on a terrace on the Han River, a tributary of the Blue River in the Hubei Province, at 550km north-east of Wuhan and 40km west of Yunxian. 

Yunxian 3 was found half buried in an upright position. So far scientists have revealed the forehead, including the brow ridge and eye sockets, as well as the top, back and left cheekbone of the skull. Gao Xing, paleoanthropologist at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, told Nature that it is not known if the teeth and the lower jawbone are still present. Gao Xing is excavating the skull.

We learn more and more each day.  Doubt it?  Tori Latham (ROBB REPORT) notes:

  Next time you go out to eat and splurge on some market-price crab, just know that Neanderthals were enjoying the same delicacy without the high price tag.

Researchers have found that Neanderthals in Portugal were roasting and eating crab at least 90,000 years ago, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. In a study published in the journal “Frontiers in Environmental Archaeology,” the team noted the discovery of charred crab legs and claws in a cave just outside of Lisbon.

“You can immediately identify them on site as being crab claws, especially in Portugal, because we have a tradition of eating crabs a lot,” Mariana Nabais, one of the study’s authors, told the Times. “It was a big surprise, especially because when we were digging there, we still didn’t have that idea of Neanderthals actively eating shellfish.”   

Within the cave site, called Gruta da Figueira Brava, the research team found 635 bits of crab shells, representing at least 33 individual crabs. Most of them were the same species of brown crab popular in Portugal today, where they’re served with roe and mustard. (Jury’s still out on whether the Neanderthals were enjoying those accoutrements as well.) And based on the size of the claws, the researchers determined that the crabs from long, long ago were larger than average, with about seven ounces of meat per crustacean.

ANCIENT-ORIGINS adds, "In other words, Neanderthal chefs who lived during the last 100,000 years or so of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age were demonstrating cooking skills that wouldn’t seem out of place in the modern age. They were preparing ancient versions of gourmet meals featuring helpings of delicious crab meat, cooked and served to deliver a maximum taste experience."  It's just astounding what we know today and who can guess what knowledge is just around the corner?

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Wednesday, February 8, 2023.  The hate merchants will destroy us all as they target LGBT+ persons, as they target women, as they target everyone that they can get away with smearing.



At the end of the day, North Carolina’s so-called Parents’ Bill of Rights isn’t really about giving parents more control over their child’s education. It’s about telling LGBTQ kids, especially trans kids, that they don’t matter. That is the impact, whether Republicans originally intended it to be or not. But it’s certainly intentional now, considering they have ignored the many parents, community members, experts and advocates who have voiced concerns about the bill over the past week. They voiced the same concerns last year, when Republicans first brought the bill to the floor.

 As GOP lawmakers fast-track the bill through the Senate and onto the House, they’ve been careful to frame it as common sense legislation. According to the bill’s sponsors, the provision that bans instruction on sexuality or gender identity in most elementary school classrooms only exists to ensure “age-appropriate instruction.” A requirement that schools notify parents when a student asks to change their name or pronouns — or if there are changes in their “mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being” — is supposedly just about communication and transparency. The reality is far more grim. As experts have pointed out, forcing teachers and school administrators to out kids to their parents against their will is dangerous. Oftentimes, students who are questioning their sexuality or gender identity just need someone to confide in, and school may be the only place where they feel safe enough to do so. Not every parent is supportive of their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and having a supportive teacher or coach who can affirm their identity can be life-saving.


Yes, in the United States, the war against the LGBTQ+ community continues. 

Even US President Joe Biden had to acknowledge it last night in his endless, never-ending State of the Union Address:

Let’s also pass the bipartisan Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity.

Our strength is not just the example of our power, but the power of our example. Let’s remember the world is watching.

43 words.  In a speech of 7, 223 words.  Call it an afterthought.  I guess if you're really generous, you can quote Joe using the construct from a song in YENTYL as 'gay friendly' or 'gay adjacent'? 

"Where is it written," Joe wondered, "that Americans can't lead the world in manufacturing again?"

Where?  Just tell him where.  It all began, the day Joe found, that from his Oval Office window, he could only see a piece of sky . . .

You know, Joe had more to say in that MEET THE PRESS segment when he was vice president and spoke of marriage equality.  In an overly long speech that cribbed Streisand, Bernie Sanders and so much more while acting as though policies Joe Biden had actively promoted in the Senate for years were policies he'd never even heard of, you'd think he could have spoken of the real horrors facing the LGBTQ+ community today.

 GLAAD made sure to highlight it.

Sorry, GLAAD, but I don't see anything that great about a brief aside to the attacks on the LGBTQ+ community or using them as an easy applause getter.


And around the world, closed minded hate merchants attempt to destroy the right to thrive.  Tiba al-Ali was thriving in Turkey.  Was.  She was killed by her father -- again, as I've said before, 'alleged'?  No, he went to the police and confessed.  He killed her.  Amy Goodman summarized it on DEMOCRACY NOW! as follows:

In Iraq, human rights groups are demanding justice for Tiba al-Ali, a 22-year-old YouTube star who was killed by her father last week. The two were reportedly in a dispute involving al-Ali’s decision to live alone in Turkey. She was visiting Iraq when her father strangled her to death. Rights advocates are calling on the Iraqi government to enact legislation against gender-based violence, as no current laws criminalize domestic violence. This is activist Hafsa Amer speaking from a protest in Baghdad Sunday.

Hafsa Amer: “Tiba is a famous person, well known on social media. Just as there are many women who don’t have a voice and who can’t make their voices heard, we are here to represent the voices of oppressed women, the victims who don’t have a voice.”

So why did he kill her?  Religion gave him his excuse -- a perverted belief that he was the judge and jury and the agent of a higher power.  You see that crazy in many religious idiots who confuse hate with love.  It's an 'honor' killing.  That's when these psychos kill someone to protect 'honor.'  Of course, Tiba was killed but her rapist wasn't.  She was killed.  He killed his daughter.  He didn't kill his son -- the man who raped her.  But that's how these psychos behave.  

Cathrin Schaer (DW) notes:

On the Sunday after Ali's death, Iraqi women's rights activists staged a protest in Baghdad. They called upon local authorities to better protect women and to finally enact domestic violence legislation.

But even if Iraq did have such a law, could it have saved Ali and the many others who have been victims of familial violence and so-called "honor killings" before her?

"I don't think a law would stop violence against women here totally but it might reduce it," Kholoud Ahmad, an Iraqi journalist based in Baghdad, told DW. "If people knew they could be punished for this, or if women in trouble even had somewhere to go, that would help," she said. "Right now, it really feels like there is no serious punishment."

Iraq doesn't have a law dedicated to dealing with domestic violence. In fact, its current laws offer multiple ways for anyone who does beat or kill a female family member to avoid prosecution.

Paragraph 398 in Iraq's penal code says that in a sexual assault, the case will be dropped, if the rapist agrees to marry the victim. Another part of the penal code, Article 409, says that if a husband kills his wife because he discovers she committed adultery, the maximum sentence is three years in prison. And Paragraph 41 says that "there is no crime if the act is committed while exercising a legal right." Legal rights in Iraq include "the punishment of a wife by her husband … within certain limits prescribed by law or by custom."

In a statement about Ali's death, the United Nations in Iraq urged the Iraqi government to repeal some of these articles. 

"Iraq lacks a central and effective reporting mechanism for victims and survivors of domestic violence or sexual and gender-based violence," said Razaw Salihy, a researcher on Iraqi issues for Amnesty International.

To lodge a complaint of this kind, Iraqi women only have two offices they can report to and both are "not founded in law," Salihy continued. "Women and girls who report incidents to police stations inevitably have to go home as there is no referral system, meaning the majority will not report anything for fear of repercussions at home. There is nowhere for them to go," she told DW.

All of this is why it is hard to get genuine figures on domestic and sexual violence committed against women in Iraq. Official statistics on domestic violence cases that go to court in Iraq hover around 15,000 a year. But if these are to be believed, then the rate of this kind of crime per head of population is not actually all that high when compared to countries in Europe.

AMWAJ observes:

The killing has seemingly divided Iraqi social media, with the hashtags #Tiba_AlAli and #Tiba’s_Right in Arabic trending for days.

  • Twitter user Ali Bey on Feb. 3 wrote that women should “behave or face the same fate as Tiba Al-Ali,” while another user, Aqil Badran, on Feb. 2 criticized those who are “upset over the killing of a girl who abandoned her family…to live with her boyfriend.”

  • On the other side of the debate, influencer Omar Habeeb on Feb. 1 wrote that “some still perceive women as property whose life they can end.”

  • Iraqi political activist Hasanain Al-Minshid held police responsible for having failed to stop the killing, “knowing that her life was at risk.”

The context/analysis: Ali is alleged to have on Jan. 31 been strangled to death by her father in his southern Iraqi home over a “family dispute.”

  • Following her death, a series of unverified recordings of alleged conversations between Ali and her father surfaced. In the recordings, a man claimed to be her father is heard expressing dissatisfaction with his daughter living with her partner in Turkey.

  • The recordings also feature the voice of a woman said to be the victim asserting that she fled to Turkey after being sexually harassed by her brother. The woman is also heard accusing her parents of knowing about the harassment and covering it up.

Ali is not the only female influencer in the country to lose her life to femicide over apparent “honor” as well as political motivations.

  • As previously reported by, Iman Sami Maghdid—also known as Maria—was in March last year reportedly shot dead by her relatives. The murder was described in local media as an “honor killing.”

  • In 2018, Iraq saw the mysterious deaths of model Tara Fares as well as beauticians Rafeef Al-Yaseri and Rasha Al-Hassan.

  • While seemingly motivated by politics rather than “honor,” prominent female opposition activists Zahra Ali and Reham Yacoub were killed in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Available data suggest that “honor killings” have been a longstanding and recurrent phenomenon under successive governments in Iraq.

That last Tweet is from the UK Ambassador to Iraq.  The United Nations and Amnesty International have also weighed in.  The US government?  Nah.  Blame them and blame the lazy US press that refuses to raise this killing when attending press briefings.

The following sites updated: