Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Besides Kevin Hart?

Kevin Hart's 'jokes' about violence towards children (if you think they're gay) was disgusting. 

I wasn't thrilled about his use of "f*g" as a punchline but I can and did ignore him.

So when his fanbase repeatedly tried to bring up others, I wasn't having it.  It wasn't did Sarah Silverman of whomever use gay as a punchline.

I didn't care about his other 'jokes.'  I was offended that he was promoting violence against a youth community that was already targeted with violence.

Kevin's offered an apology or as much we can ever expect from him.

So let me go besides Kevin for a moment.

Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman didn't bother me.  Jokes can bomb.  I get that.  Kevin's jokes about gay men might have just been bombs.  (Again, for me it was targeting children that bothered me.)
But there is one woman who has bothered me repeatedly with her 'jokes.'

Whitney Cummings.  I liked her once upon a time.  Then I saw her in concert and loathed her.

She insults men in the audience -- it's a bit she usually works into every show -- by calling them gay.  Then she riffs throughout the concert on this, calling this say man seated somewhere upfront gay.  Insulting him and mocking him for being gay.  Presenting gay as something to laugh at.

I can't stand the bitch anymore.

So, no, it's not just Kevin that I hold accountable.

Whitney's jokes are told with real hate.

She reminds me of Big Edna.  Have I told this story before?

When I was starting out in photography all those years ago, Big Edna was something at a magazine.  She wasn't an editor but she had some power and some pull.

And she was the meanest and crabbiest woman I'd ever known.  She was 64 when I met her and she was hideous, everyone hated her.  But as I got to know her, I realized that she was once this really beautiful woman and, when she was young, her saying these hateful and mean things struck people as funny because she was so young and cute.  It was a contrast.  But old and sour didn't work.

Whitney's long ago aged out of 'cute.'

I'll call her out gladly.  She's a hateful person who repeatedly thinks it's funny to use being gay as an insult and something to laugh at.

The only thing to laugh at is her drum majorette haircut at the age of 36.

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

Wednesday, January 9, 2019.  Another surprise visit.

In Iraq today, another unannounced visit.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Iraq in an unannounced stop on his Mideast tour meant to promote the White House's hard-line position on Iran.

The Iraq War, the ongoing Iraq War, hits the 16 year mark in two months and still US officials have to make "unannounced visits."  All these years later.

ABC avoids reality by allowing Elizabeth McLaughlin and Conor Finnegan to insist, "The president visited Iraq, also unannounced, the day after Christmas, saying the U.S. still could use bases there for operations in Syria."

They have all been unannounced.

Biden makes surprise trip to Iraq


As US president, Barak Obama made one visit to Iraq in his two terms (eight years).  Guess what?  It was unannounced.

Obama Makes Surprise Visit To Iraq

CBS News

Bully Boy Bush?

Background: Bush's Surprise Visits To Iraq, Afghanistan

CBS News

And, yes, it was also true of Afghanistan.

Obama makes surprise visit to Afghanistan

Washington Post


Get it yet?  If not, here's the BBC's Becky Branford:
Almost every visit by a Western figure to a warzone since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 has been done without warning.
US President Barack Obama made regular unannounced visits to Afghanistan, as did Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair to Iraq.
Earlier this year Secretary of State John Kerry turned up in Somalia, a war-ravaged state currently waging an armed campaign against al-Shabab Islamist rebels - with reports suggesting even Somali officials believed a more junior US official would be attending.
But clearly these leaders - and their advisers - judge that the advantages of paying these visits outweigh the attendant security risks, both in terms of boosting morale of personnel overseas and in giving the leader in question a PR lift.
For those attempting to provide 'context,' grasp that there was a world before President Donald Trump (and there will be a world after him).  Back to Pompeo:

Reports: On Mideast trip, Pompeo makes unannounced Iraq stop
Pompeo in reassurance mission to Iraq over US Syria pullout plans

Pompeo Makes Surprise Stop In Iraq During Mideast Trip To Rally Allies

AP notes:

 In Baghdad, Pompeo met with Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, President Barham Salih, Foreign Minister Mohamed Alhakim and Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi.
Pompeo and the Iraqi officials made no statements to the media.

The US State Dept issued the following this morning:

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 9, 2019

The below is attributable to Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino:‎
Secretary Michael R. Pompeo met today with Iraq’s Council of Representatives Speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi and members of the Council of Representatives Foreign-Relations Committee. The Secretary emphasized U.S. support for the long-term bilateral partnership, anchored by the Strategic Framework Agreement, and the necessity of supporting Iraq’s democratic institutions, economic development, energy independence, and sovereignty. Secretary Pompeo emphasized the U.S. commitment to addressing Iraq’s security challenges, including the continuation of our security partnership with Iraqi Security Forces. 

Nick Wadhams (BLOOMBERG NEWS) maintains:

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo made an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Wednesday, which appeared partly aimed at patching up relations strained during Donald Trump’s surprise visit last month.
The U.S. president upset Iraqi lawmakers when he visited troops at the Ain Al-Asad base west of Baghdad but didn’t meet with the country’s new prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, though the two leaders did speak by phone.

If that was the point of the visit, it doesn't appear to have been very successful:

Iraqi Council of Representatives’ Foriegn Affairs Committee met today and called for reviewing US-Iraq relations following Pres Trump’ “uncoordinated” Visit to Iraq’s Anbar Province last month. If US Gov fails to handle Iraq file properly, it may lose it.

Again, if that was the purpose of the trip, it doesn't appear to have been successful.  But when has the US government ever delivered success in Iraq?


Well, that's not fair of me.  They have helped Big Business make tons of money off the lives of Iraqis because -- blood stained or not -- greed requires dollars, dollars and more dollars.

I'll tell you who is *really* unhappy at the thought of pulling out of Syria and Afghanistan. The contractors and the generals connected to the contractors. $$BILLIONS$$

Iraqi persecution of Sunni men helped to transform Al Qaeda in Iraq into ISIS. Now Iraq is doing it again--collective punishment of Sunnis that may help transform ISIS into ISIS 2.0.

He's linking to this report by Kristen Keo and Mara Revkin (WASHINGTON POST):

In Iraq, the government’s harsh counterterrorism strategy, which is widely perceived as collectively punishing the Sunnis, is generating new grievances that could increase local support for an Islamic State 2.0. More than 19,000 people have been detained on terrorism-related charges since 2014. Over 3,000 have been sentenced to death in rapid-fire trials that are sometimes decided in less than 10 minutes. Convictions are often based on thin and circumstantial evidence, the testimony of secret informants, or confessions induced through torture, making it easy for innocent people to be falsely accused and unfairly punished.
These injustices are fueling anger, and with it, a new wave of violence. Since 2016, the average number of Islamic State attacks in Iraq — including suicide bombings and targeted assassinations — has risen to 75 per month. In August, U.S. and U.N. reports estimated that the number of Islamic State fighters active in Iraq and Syria might exceed 30,000.
In our working paper based on an original household survey of over 1,400 Mosul residents — the Islamic State’s former de facto capital in Iraq — we identify two serious flaws in the government’s approach to prosecuting and punishing individuals accused of joining or supporting the Islamic State. First, it is unwilling to recognize variation in the severity and voluntariness of “collaboration.” Second, it relies heavily on unproven criminal justice and counterterrorism theories.

The following community sites updated: