Friday, February 16, 2018

Smashing Pumpkins

Let me agree with Elaine – see her “F**k Billy Corgan ” – this is nonsense.
No Darcy, no Smashing Pumpkins reunion.
That abundance, and the revolving door element to the band's personnel, outlines a terribly kept secret: Smashing Pumpkins has always been, in sickness and in health, largely a container for the music of Billy Corgan. (With some extremely notable exceptions.) Butch Vig, the producer of the Pumpkins' breakout album Siamese Dream, noted in a 2012 interview that Corgan and the stormy Chamberlin were the creative heart of the band, with Corgan having done "90 percent of the overdubs."
As a result, the very idea of Smashing Pumpkins has been, is and will always be subject to the contradictory, sensitive, insecure and touching whims of Billy Corgan. Without being close to him, the best we can do is cast a wide net over his public history to illustrate how impossible it is to triangulate his intentions and hope to arrive at a sense of how his band mates must have felt.
Uh, no.  But wouldn’t you know it, a man wrote that.
Darcy’s not important, a man says, because it’s always been Billy.
Billy destroyed the band and we knew that in the 90s.  His preening ego destroyed the band.
Though the band jammed somewhat after SIAMESE DREAM, that really was the album.  After that it was all downhill.
(Though there was a great cover of “Landslide” on the B-sides and rarities album they did after SIAMESE DREAM.)

The follow up?  A waste.
Two discs and there were maybe 3 good songs – good, nothing was great and that includes “The world is a vampire . . . sent to drain you . . .”
By that point, what Billy was then trying to do – as he shifted the Pumpkins again – was being done better by Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails.  He really seemed to suffer from Trent Reznor envy – the same way he had suffered from Kurt Cobain envy prior.
Billy is worthless.  As his career since 1999 has demonstrated.

His ego is outrageous and his talent is minimal.

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

Thursday, February 15, 2018.  15 years ago today . . .

Today's an important day.

15 years ago today Jeremy Corbyn spoke at the historic protest against the Iraq war

Today is the 15-year anniversary of the largest protest event in history – the Feb. 15, 2003 demonstrations against the imminent US invasion of . On this occasion we republish an article detailing concerns that drove millions to take the streets.

Why so little coverage of today?

Well, it's not like the press can call us treasonous -- that is what some of them called us in 2003, remember?

"Treason."  To protest an impending war was "treason."

To protest a war being built on lies was "treason."

We knew.

The 'experts' didn't know, but we did.

That's why we turned out in the largest numbers ever around the world.

Because we knew this was an illegal war.  We knew we were being lied to.

And the press spat on us, lied about us, called us names.

That same press isn't interested in telling us today about the protests.

They sold the IraqWar.

They sold it with lies as well as with character attacks on us.

Remember, they're about making money, not about telling the truth.

And the truth about what they did 15 years ago doesn't fit with their image of 'truth tellers' today.

Meryl Streep was no where to be found 15 years ago.  But today she whores her ugly ass to prop up the press as some wonderful body out to protect us.  To do that, she has to appear in a film that lies and that's set in the early 70s which says a great deal -- all bad -- about the press itself.

We stood together 15 years ago and we were a rebuke to the governments wanting war and to the press selling it.

Our actions were evidence that it was obvious all along that the Iraq War was built on lies.

Honoring us, remembering us, today would be to indict themselves.

So they instead they try to disappear us.

Because we did make a difference.

We hoped to stop the war before it started.

That we failed at.

But we were a living testament against the war.

And we were right.

And that doesn't just sting them to this day, it's helped prevent larger wars, it's made them scared to get honest about troops stationed here and there.

15 years ago on this day, millions of people took to the streets across the world to protest against the invasion of Iraq. The Anti-War movement at the time, predicted huge unrest and instability in the Middle East and Iraq if an invasion where to take place. Sadly proven right.

The was very important ad showed large numbers of people in US and UK didn’t accept the lies and propaganda of the warmongers. The movement also politicised a generation of activists such as myself who were outraged by the sheer barbarity of the war in Iraq and the lies told.

And whilst we didn’t stop the war on Iraq , the war machine that wanted to invade and target more countries was halted. We can be proud of that. Also, ultimately the anti-war movement eventually brought down Tony Blair, the “peacekeeper” with blood on his hands.

The protests 15 years ago mattered and they matter to this day.

To get the war they wanted, they had to lie.  They lie to this day.

Take the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The fighting in Iraq is over, but the task ahead is enormous. The UN stands with Iraqis as they build a country that is committed to unity and inclusivity.

The fighting is over?

Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) just reported:

At least 15 people were killed, and two were wounded in recent violence:
A bomb killed a cattle rancher in Muqdadiya.
A sticky bomb in Ilam killed one person.
In Baghdad, a bomb at a market left two wounded.

Thirteen militants were killed in airstrikes on Tal Afar, near Mosul.

But, hey, the fighting's over.

Once again, it's don't believe what's happening, believe what we tell you is happening.

Iraq held a fundraiser in Kuwait.  They wanted between $88 and $100 billion dollars.  They only got $30 billion.  Worse, not all of that was a gift/donation -- that figure also includes loans.

REUTERS reports:

Iraq received pledges of $30 billion, mostly in credit facilities and investment, on Wednesday from allies but this fell short of the $88 billion Baghdad says it needs to recover from three years of war.
[. . .]
“If we compare what we got today to what we need, it is no secret, it is of course much lower than what Iraq needs,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told a news conference.

The following community sites -- plus PACIFICA EVENING NEWS, BLACK AGENDA REPORT, GORILLA NEWS and LATINO USA -- updated:

  • Wednesday, February 14, 2018

    What are they hiding?

    If you were really hacked, wouldn't you want the authorities to press charges?

    Wouldn't you turn over anything you had?

    I would.

    So why won't the DNC?

    1.   Retweeted
      Uh... The DNC defied a court order that simply asked them to produce a scintilla of evidence that Russia hacked it. Their only reasoning was that it would give a roadmap to hacking them again--which only makes sense if they DIDN'T CHANGE ANYTHING
    2.   Retweeted
      Step up DNC. Show Buzzfeed you were hacked. What’s the problem?
    3.   Retweeted
      The DNC: 1) Said that it being hacked was was of the worst crimes imaginable 2) When the FBI wanted to prosecute, they said "nah, it's chill" 3) Buzzfeed then got sued for libel for connecting a Russian to it, and all DNC had to do is give any evidence it was true 4) They refused

    What are they hiding?

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

    Wednesday, February 14, 2018.  The big donor conference goes small.

    For Iraq, this week's big focus has been Kuwait.

    The US State Dept released the above video with the note, "Secretary Tillerson poses for a "family photo" with ministers attending the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS meeting in Kuwait City, Kuwait on February 13, 2018."

    The point of the meet-up was to raise money.

    "Who's going to pay for the mess?" asks Francois Picard in FRANCE 24's report above.  And it's a question worth asking.  Another question worth asking is who has paid all along?

    The answer to the first question?

    No one really.

    Margaret Coker and Gardiner Harris (NEW YORK TIMES) report:

    An Iraq fund-raising conference in Kuwait attended by dozens of potential donors was headed for failure on Tuesday, with barely $4 billion pledged — none from the United States. While the conference does not end until Wednesday, the message was clear: President Trump is leaving nation-building to others, and they are barely responding.
    It was a humiliating blow for the Iraqi government, which cannot possibly afford a fraction of the reconstruction cost for a war that was, in some ways, an outcome of the 2003-2011 American-led occupation.

    "A humiliating blow for the Iraqi government."

    Hayder al-Abadi, so promising and wonderful insist paid whores for the US State Dept but those are just words -- usually on the pages of NYT -- and they have no meaning at all as demonstrated by the refusal of so many to donate.

    Kuwait, for instance.  Some outlets give it credit for donating $2 million.  Uh, no.  It gave a million and it's loaning a million.

    An observation on the way the money's being handed over?

    So far most of the money for Iraq is not simple donations. They come as loans and potential investment. Looks like no one is ready to hand Baghdad free check while Haider Abdi still punishes Kurdistan and hinders it’s development.

    CNN serves up some misinformation.

    The reconstruction and recovery money would go to areas that had been seized by ISIS, including the country's second-largest city of Mosul

    CNN knows damn well better.  They could have typed "should go" or "is said will go."

    But Iraq is corrupt, ranking among the most corrupt governments on Transparency International's index.

    There is no way of being sure that any money will "go to areas that had been seized by ISIS" -- in fact, if corruption weren't so great in the Iraqi government, no one would need to beg for money to begin with.

    In the FRANCE 24 report above, Joost Hiltermann (International Crisis Group) observes that there is "pervasive corruption that makes it very difficult for the Iraqi government to effectively do reconstruction in many areas.  A lot of money just simply disappears."

    When that's who you are, when that's your reputation, you're always going to struggle in motivating people to give you money.

    Broad gathering of Kuwaiti and International NGOs earlier today produced $330M for ’s immediate humanitarian and stabilization needs in areas liberated from .

    Secretary of State Tillerson at the for announced financing of $3 billion for projects in .

    The need states ahead of the meet-up was $88 billion with some anticipating a possible haul of $100 billion.

    That did not happen.

    "A humiliating blow."

    Pledges for Iraq so far in KW (some in loans/credit): Turkey: $5bn US: $3bn Kuwait: $1bn in loans & $1bn investments Saudi Arabia: $1.5bn & $1.5bn from Arab Fund Qatar: $1bn UAE: $500m & $5.5bn investments Islamic Development Bank: $500m Germany: €500m EU: €400m Japan: $100m

    The Arabian Peninsula's Elizabeth Dickinson tries to spin this "humiliating blow."

    There's a fundamental misreading of the conference going on right now. did not expect or ask to raise $88bn from donors today. 1/
    $88bn is the amount that the World Bank assessed Iraq will need over the next 5 years to rebuild. The government budget will form the bulk of that money, followed by private investment. Donors are seen as an added boost, not the bulk. 2/
  • $4bn in donor support is enormous given the context. Neither the economy nor the state would be equipped to absorb $88bn in immediate financing, even if it were to exist. 3/
  • Just looking at top line figures also misses the fact that conference was meant to "introduce" global companies to Iraq and put guarantees and incentives in place, so private finance flows in longer term. Small biz deals could prove imp tomorrow than $1bn in cash today 4/
  • For context, the biggest donor conferences in recent years have drawn in $10bn to $15bn. Comparing numbers today to $88bn is just silly.
    1. End of conversation
  • Replying to 
    Not true. Iraq can barely balance its books right now and can not save a penny for reconstruction. Abadi was very clear in his expectations from this conference. If Iraq can cover 90+% of the costs anyway then this conference would not even be worth all this humiliation.

    Now to the second question, "who has paid for it all along?"

    The US government and the UK government primarily.

    "Reconstruction" was the removal of Saddam Hussein.

    Don't pretend otherwise.

    Don't pretend that the prime ministers of Iraq since the US-led invasion hasn't been made up of cowards who fled Iraq.

    They fled Iraq, too scared to fight Saddam.  They fled and then agitated for foreign intervention.

    They promised that troops -- foreign troops -- would be greeted as heroes.

    Their motive was to overthrow Saddam Hussein so they could install themselves.

    Which is what they did.

    They are cowards and, like most cowards, they governed through fear -- which led to the abuses and crimes.

    Foreign governments have been 'donating' to these corrupt officials all along.

    It is past time that Iraq was ruled by non-cowards.  Past-time that a leader came up in Iraq, not in discussions in the Oval Office.

    Yesterday, the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette observed:

    Iraq now faces two serious hurdles to future progress. The first, to be addressed in a donors’ conference in Kuwait, is some $100 billion that it seeks for reconstruction after the various wars. The second is national elections, to be held May 12.
    Pledges at the Kuwait conference are problematic. The United States is reportedly not planning to increase the aid it already provides Iraq. Previous big donors, the Sunni Islam states of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are taking the position that they have other fish to fry. Their real problem with Iraq is that, through Iraq’s majority Shiite Islamic faith, it has fallen too much under the sway of Shiite Iran. There is also an active Iranian military presence in Iraq, left over from the campaign to take Mosul back from the IS.

    The May elections are another question altogether. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi sought to stitch together a political “Victory Alliance,” based on his Popular Mobilization Forces. However, there quickly spun off another Shiite-based, Iran-supported group, the “Conquest” list, formerly part of the PMF that Mr. al-Abadi had been working through. The political picture is further complicated by the appearance of a new “Wisdom Alliance,” led by Shiite clergyman Ammar al-Hakim. All in all, the campaign promises to be a real jumble, with Mr. Abadi’s ultimate fate uncertain.

    That's the still struggling Iraqi government.

    On the issue of the Islamic State, it's not gone.

    Yesterday in Kuwait, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared:

    But the end of major combat operations does not mean that we have achieved the enduring defeat of ISIS. ISIS remains a serious threat to the stability of the region, our homelands, and other parts of the globe. Without continued attention on the part of coalition members, we risk the return of extremist groups like ISIS in liberated areas in Iraq and Syria and their spread to new locations.
    Each of us must continue our commitment to the complete defeat of ISIS. Maintaining stabilization initiatives is essential in this regard. If communities in Iraq and Syria cannot return to normal life, we risk the return of conditions that allowed ISIS to take and control vast territory. We must continue to clear unexploded remnants of war left behind by ISIS, enable hospitals to reopen, restore water and electricity services, and get boys and girls back in school.

    THE LATIN AMERICAN HERALD TRIBUNE notes, "US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday the Islamic State terror organization was not yet fully defeated and continued to pose a danger to the region, despite losing 98 percent of its territory in Iraq and Syria, in a speech broadcast on Kuwaiti state television."

    New content at THIRD:

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