Friday, January 26, 2018


Okay, I found time to finally search on the James Franco issue and I’m just now realizing it was Casey Affleck.  L
I was so proud of myself.  Well let me note the Franco article anyway.  From THE LOS ANGELES TIMES:
Tither-Kaplan is one of five women who, in interviews with The Times, accused Franco, 39, of behavior they found to be inappropriate or sexually exploitative. Four were his students, and another said he was her mentor.
In some cases, they said they believed Franco could offer them career advancement, and acquiesced to his wishes even when they were uncomfortable.
“I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable,” said Tither-Kaplan, who was one of many women who took to Twitter on Sunday night to vent anger over Franco’s win and his support of Time’s Up, the initiative combating sexual misconduct in Hollywood.
[. . .]
Her feelings shifted after being selected to appear, with a handful of other female students, in what she thought was one of Franco’s “art films.” Natalie Chmiel, the other student, said she was told the footage would be used in a 7 For All Mankind jeans commercial.
Both women described what they considered to be an unprofessional and hostile shoot at a strip club.
Midway through filming, Dusome said Franco approached the actresses — who wore masks and lingerie — and asked, "So, who wants to take your shirt off?"
When no actresses volunteered, Franco stormed off, Dusome recalled.
When no actresses volunteered, Franco stormed off, Dusome recalled.
"I felt like I was selected for something based on my hard work and my merit, and when I realized it was because I have nice [breasts], it was pretty clear that was not the case," Dusome said. "I don't think he started teaching with bad intentions, but he went down a bad path and damaged a lot of people in the process."
Okay, that’s where I have trouble.
You weren’t abused.
You were invited to do a jeans commercial.  “Something based on my hard work and my merit . . . I realized it was because I had nice breasts”
A jeans commercial?
And you thought you were asked to do it for anything besides your looks?
Get real.
Some of this is just being a titty baby.  Call me Germaine Greer or Chrissie Hynde but some of us need to take a little responsibility.
I remember studying photography and I remember the gals who used their boobs and other traits to get ahead.  I didn’t.  I was about the work and had a don’t mess with me attitude.
So some cutie has a class taught by a famous actor and thought she was going to be a big star.  She did a jeans commercial (I think it was actually a movie) and he asked them to go topless.  They said no and he was in a huff.  Sounds like a lot of photo shoots.  Don’t see anything out of the normal.  Not the best moment but not abuse.
We may not like to say “no” – men or women – but we need to learn to.
“No” is our power.
That’s with everything.  Someone asks a favor, you have to be willing to say “no” if you don’t want to do it.
Someone pushes their work off on you, you have to be willing to say “no.”
I’m sorry that it made her uncomfortable but we have to be willing to be.

Our inability to handle discomfort sometimes leads to us being paid less because many men will say flat out “No, that’s not good enough.”  We’ll try to be the good girl and just say yes to whatever is offered.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, January 26, 2018.  Turkey's ready to ramp up war with Iraq, no one's clear what Secretary of State Rex Tiller said to them or promised to them, Iraqi elections remain a muddle of confusion, and much more.

Good points raised on Twitter.  Let's start with Jimmy Dore who I agree with:

By "Cranks" do u mean the same people that exposed the Iraq WMD's lie like NSA Whistleblower William Binney & or Veterans Intelligence Professionals For Peace, while all your friends pushed for Iraq war on MSNBC? Whatever happened to

Again, I agree with him.  But it's not something I think about a great deal because MSNBC's a joke to me.  But reading the Tweet, it's not just that Donahue was run off from MSNBC (ahead of the start of the Iraq War), it's that in all the time since, they've only once given a show to someone who publicly questioned the war before it started: Alec Baldwin.

Danny Glover, Janeane Garofalo, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Laura Flanders, Mike Malloy, Randi Rhodes, Gillian Anderson, Jessica Lange, Samuel L. Jackson, Rosario Dawson, Harry Belafonte, Steve Earle, Diahann Carroll, Cynthia McKinney, Tom Morello, Margaret Kimberley, Glen Ford, Bruce A. Dixon, Dennis Kucinich, . . .

Has a single prominent politician or pundit ever apologized for advocating for an Iraq War that was waged on false WMD pretenses and that killed hundreds of thousands of people? Or did most of them just smile at the camera and get re-hired for their jobs?

I think it's just John Edwards who penned a column for THE WASHINGTON POST when he was preparing for his run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

Hillary Clinton certainly didn't talk about false pretenses or the death of people.  She said it was a mistake, her vote was a mistake.  And then it evolved into, it was a mistake to trust Bully Boy Bush to do the war right.

But that's craven Hillary for you.

In terms of pundits, MOTHER JONES has certainly found employment for a lot of Iraq War supporters including Kevin Drum but then the promotion of  Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery meant the death of that magazine.

I have not changed my opinion of . He killed one million people in Iraq. I can’t forget about that.

Those are sentiments that would never be expressed by MOTHER JONES today.  They're so watered down they need adult diapers.

This week BLACK AGENDA RADIO shared a speech by Margaret Kimberley discussing the permanent war and the lack of resistance to war from the so-called 'Resistance.'

Let's dive into Iraq.

Yesterday afternoon REUTERS published an embarrassing article.  It opens:

Iraqi authorities on Thursday took into custody a former trade minister convicted in absentia for corruption cases, following his extradition from Lebanon, Iraq’s corruption watchdog said in a statement. 

Yes, that is the story we covered yesterday morning -- before REUTERS.

We didn't have to wait for 'authorities' to issue 'a statement.'

Don't know when that became necessary to report on something.

They also fail to note that this ex-Minister of Trade September apprehension is unusual in that he's only released to Iraq in time for Hayder al-Abadi to use it as election propaganda.

They re-wrote a government release.

Somehow that passed for reporting.

They didn't even get his history correct.

At least they can say they covered it.  That's more than any other western outlet has done.

Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) does a better job covering the story.

In terms of analyzing the planned elections in May (they're supposed to take place in May), NIQASH remains one of the few outlets offering analysis.  Mustafa Habib notes today:

The Abbas Brigades are one of the militias that made an official announcement saying they would not be competing in the upcoming Iraqi general elections, still slated for May 12. The brigade’s main founder, the highest Shiite Muslim cleric in the country, Ali al-Sistani, refuses to participate in politics.
However there are still more than 20 different militias, that started off as volunteer forces to fight the Islamic State, or IS, group, but which are now an official part of the Iraqi security forces, who have decided to compete in the elections, in one form or another.
It is fair to say that these elections will be the most important in Iraq since 2003 and will determine the country’s path in this new era, after the security crisis caused by the Islamic State group.
Iraqi law bans military groups from participating in elections, saying that political parties should not take a military or semi-military form and should not be affiliated with any armed forces. The leaders of formerly-volunteer militias have been allowed to form political entities because they said that their fighters were now at the disposal of the Iraqi government. In reality though, the fighters are still taking orders from their leaders. There are also still dozens of offices that represent the militias in every Iraqi city and town and they appear to act independently – one Iraqi MP, Hakim al-Zamili, head of the parliamentary defence and security committee in parliament, has said the offices should be closed.
The militias are now a legitimate part of Iraq’s security forces, Abbas al-Bayati, a Turkmen MP and member of the parliamentary committee on foreign relations, who is close to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, told NIQASH. “It is the third force after the army and the police,” he said. “We don’t accept attacks on this force. But we do acknowledge that it needs to be organized, and to be distanced from political activities, according to Iraqi law.”

A law was passed that was supposed to deal with the future and the place of the militias in Iraq but important details around the implementation of the law were not spelled out. Some other politicians have demanded that the law be amended to deal with these gaps.

News out of Iraq today includes by the Turkish government pounding war drums.

Turkish president vows to expand Ankara's operation in Syrian Kurdish enclave eastward, toward the frontier with Iraq.

Turkey's Erdogan vows to fight Kurdish forces as far as Iraq

Turkish operations on Syrian border to extend as far as Iraq, Erdogan says

As BBC NEWS notes:

Turkey is prepared to take its fight against Kurdish forces in northern Syria as far east as Iraq, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.
Speaking in Ankara, Mr Erdogan reiterated that his forces will move against Kurdish-controlled Manbij, which risks confrontation with the US.
US troops are based in the city, which was taken from the Islamic State group (IS) by Kurdish-led forces in 2016.

More danger for US troops who shouldn't even be in Iraq today.  Will the government ever end the Iraq War?

That question wasn't raised at yesterday's State Dept policy briefing spokesperson Heather Nauert handled but Turkey's actions did come up.

QUESTION: Can I have a quick one on Turkey about yesterday’s phone call between President Trump and Erdogan?
MS NAUERT: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, sure.
QUESTION: It seems that the Turks are telling – claiming there is a mischaracterization of the content of the call in the White House readout. What do you make of this claim from Turkey?
MS NAUERT: I think our – the call readout that was provided by the White House was very specific, it was very detailed, and it was firm. And I think it expressed both the President and the Secretary’s extreme concern about the situation in northwestern Syria, in the Afrin area. So I think they were clear about that. I think the President and the Secretary – as the Secretary has in recent calls with the foreign minister of Turkey – been very clear that we want a de-escalation of tensions. This is a part of Syria that had been relatively stable. Again, it’s Syria, but it had been relatively stable. And now we’re seeing something altogether different happen. We recognize and respect Turkey’s legitimate security concerns, their concerns about the PKK. Turkey is a NATO partner and ally, so we understand and respect that, but I want to make something clear, that we don’t have a U.S. presence in Afrin. Our U.S. presence is elsewhere. It’s more in the eastern part of the country, where we’ve been fighting – where we have been fighting ISIS. So we’re not a part of that. We work with the Syrian Democratic Forces in the eastern part of that country to fight ISIS. We continue to do that, so – and we encourage the Turks and everybody else to put the focus on ISIS and not other groups.
QUESTION: Heather, the Turkish foreign minister and other Turkish officials said publicly that Tillerson proposed this idea for a 30-kilometer buffer zone. Tillerson said, “I didn’t propose anything.” The Turks have come back and said no, really, you did. Do you have any clarity on – I mean, did they discuss it but it wasn’t a formal proposal, or – can you, like, parse that for us?
MS NAUERT: Yeah, and we put out some comments on this yesterday, and I want to talk a little bit about some of what the Secretary said. And he talked to I believe one of the pool reporters today when he landed in Davos. He said, “We discussed a number of possible options, but we didn’t propose anything.” So back to the readout for a second that was provided, we stand by the readout. We stand by the President’s assertion of cautioning Turkey about the escalation of tensions in the Afrin area, and then the Secretary I think has also been clear by saying, look, we discussed a range of options with the Turks.
QUESTION: Was the 30-mile or kilometer buffer zone one of them?
MS NAUERT: I don’t have that level of specificity that I can provide to you, but I think there was no formal proposal of anything. I think the Secretary was talking with Turkey – NATO ally – about hey, what do you all need, just as though he would talk to the Kurds, because he was speaking with Barzani today. So he’s talking with both sides about what they would all need.
QUESTION: The Turks are talking – you were saying that you’re not involved in Afrin, but they’re talking about moving on to Manbij, which – where there is a U.S. military base. Has the Secretary kind of drawn any red lines about where they can go?
MS NAUERT: We have been clear with the Turks.
QUESTION: Have we relocated any U.S. personnel out of Manbij to make sure they don’t get bombed by the Turks?
MS NAUERT: State Department personnel?

MS NAUERT: I – yeah, I can’t comment on any DOD personnel because I just wouldn’t have that level of knowledge, but I’m not aware of any State Department personnel who’ve been moved.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated: