Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Stevie's new song?

A number of e-mails asked why I haven't noted Stevie Nicks' new song?  How could I write about Stevie last night ("Sara") and not mention her new song?

Uh, because it's Sheryl Crow's song, not Stevie's.

Stevie Nicks and Maren Morris appear on the song but it's Sheryl's song and from her upcoming album which she swears -- and I pray -- will be her last.

Sheryl lost my support many years ago.  I'm sick of her.  I'm sick of her pop-lite that won Grammys when it shouldn't have because it wasn't worth Grammys. 

I love Stevie.  I feel nothing but disgust about Sheryl. 

Maybe she can get back with Lance Armstrong?  Or have we finally realized that was just a for-media-attention arrangement?

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2019.  Women in Iraq suffer, the US House of Representatives disgraces itself by giving a heroes welcome to a convicted felon, and much more.

Strange times in Portland, Maine
Lobsters dancing on the dock
Switzerland's been weird since they unplugged the clocks
Man and a woman living in Brooklyn Heights
Each convinced that the other is in the wrong
Last year the divorce rate tripled in Hong Kong
If through all the madness
We can stick together
We're safe and sound
The world's just inside out and upside down
Flash from Mexico, the tornadoes have all turned gay
Roman whores have quit to seek a better way
Dope has undermined the morale of the Buckingham Palace guards
Motorcycle gangs ride naked down Hollywood Boulevard
If through all the madness
We can stick together
We're safe and sound
The whole world's just turned inside out and upside down
-- "Safe and Sound," written by Carly Simon and Jacob Brackman, first appears on Carly's HOTCAKES.

Strange times, indeed.  And a lot of madness going around.

Jon Stewart rightly called out Congress yesterday when the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing about the 9/11 victim compensation fund and few members of the Subcommittee bothered to attend.  And, for the record, House members not on the Subcommittee can attend these hearings and many times do.

But there was a dog and pony show of nonsense eating up everyone's time yesterday instead.  The House Judiciary Committee wasted everyone's time and proved just how disgusting Congress can be.

Impeachment.  Over what?  They haven't found anything to impeach over yet.  They use lies and innuendo but mainly they just waste everyone's time.  The bums need to get to work because the American people have suffered as Congress has made its business a witchhunt on Donald Trump.

'Wah! I didn't vote for him!'

To which I say: Wah, I didn't either!

Now can we grow the hell up.

Robert Mueller -- who Congress refuses to call to testify -- was tasked with finding collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump and the government of Russia.  In the whorish media, the Rachel Maddows turned that into just Russia because why demonize only a government when you can go after all the people of country?  The Cold War was already re-starting on the government side -- around July of 2013, we noted that here.  But the Rachel Maddows whipped the American public into a frenzy.

Mueller's completed his report.  And there are no conclusions that back up all the nutty conspiracies that the Rachel Maddows have preached for years, they've whored and lied and boosted their ratings while harming the American people, the Russian people and the world.

Bums in Congress can't give us Medicare For All, they won't get serious and address the ways we are killing our planet, they won't do much of anything at all.  But they will waste time with a hearing featuring nobodies who know nothing about Mueller's investigation and who have no knowledge and, honestly, no skill sets -- that's why they've become pundits.

But the worst of all?

They called John Dean to pontificate.  Don't say testify.  Testify implies knowledge and it implies truth -- and when has John Dean possessed either.

Reading roughly 40 'news' reports on that hearing -- I wouldn't sully myself by attending any hearing John Dean was a witness at -- it truly is strange times and the world is truly upside down and inside out.

None of the coverage is honest.

Who is John Dean?

A lot of liars want to pretend he's a hero who brought down Tricky Dick.

That's not reality.  Reality is he's a rat who saved his own ass.

He knew what Richard Nixon was doing -- he participated in those crimes himself.  He didn't come forward and get honest until his own ass was at risk.

He is a criminal who committed crimes against the American people and against democracy.

He's not just a criminal, he's convicted one, a felon.

80-year-old John Dean is proof that, yes, only the good die young.  He is a criminal who willingly and gladly committed crimes against the American people and only got honest because he felt Richard Nixon was setting a trap for him to be the fall guy.

He lost his license to practice law as a result.  Being a stool pigeon allowed him to whittle down his sentence but he's never been pardoned and he never will be.  He is a convicted felon.

And the US Congress, the House, anyway, which is supposed to be the voice of We The People, held him up yesterday as an example, as a beacon, as an expert and human worth hearing from.

Shame on them.

John Dean has never repented for his actions.

One of the most outrageous -- until yesterday -- moments in John Dean's public life post-conviction took place on DEMOCRACY NOW! in April of 2006 when Dean was a guest and so was Daniel Ellsberg.  Daniel is a whistle-blower and his actions were heroic.  John Dean was part of the effort to take down Daniel Ellsberg.  But there was Amy Goodman in her best Phyllis George effort (give us a hug, George asked Cathleen Webb when she appeared on the CBS morning show with the man she'd wrongly accused of rape).  She had no sense of the moment or any real awareness, apparently, that while Daniel was a hero, John Dean was a criminal and a convicted one.  If he hadn't turned snitch, he would have faced a very long prison sentence.  He should have faced it.  In fact, calling his actions treason is not going too far.  I shy from using "treason" because it's a crime that can have you put to death.  But John Dean was a public servant who betrayed the people and betrayed democracy.  In that context, I think treason is an apt word for the crimes John Dean took part in -- actively took part in.

But there he was, feted by the House Judiciary Committee.  Johnny the conquering hero.  They should all be ashamed of themselves.  They dredged the gutter and brought the remains in The People's House.  Shame on them all.

In other shames?  How about NPR's continued employment of Mara Liasson.   Liasson, please remember, lied repeatedly throughout the Bully Boy Bush administration.  She's not back to her old tricks because she never stopped as her 'report' on today's MORNING EDITION demonstrated.

First off, why the hell is she speaking to Bill Press?  Forget that she only identifies him as the former Chair of the California chapter of the Democratic Party.  Bill is a pundit who's been a talk show host, been this, been that.  He's the last person to need a platform.  He shouldn't have been the guest.  (He's already a CNN regular.)  Rachel Maddow's shallow life does not have a lot of great accomplishments but one she can claim is January 2005 when Bill Press was holiday subbing for Liz Winstead on UNFILTERED and Bill Press was giving one of his usual conventional wisdom embarrassment takes and Rachel told him to stop, that they didn't do centrist on UNFILTERED.

Mara declares of Bernie Sanders, "He has universal name i.d. among Democrats because he ran in 2016."  That's a cheap shot.  Bernie has universal name i.d. because he was a very popular candidate.  Not because he ran in 2016.  Martin O'Malley ran in 2016.  Does he have universal name i.d.?  No.

Mara's supposed to be reporting.  She's certainly been on NPR long enough to know what "factual" means.  It's a shame she's not held to any ethical standard -- or, for that matter, any truth standard.

Meanwhile, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and sounding a lot like US House Rep and Iraq War veteran Tulsi Gabbard.  In a speech yesterday at Indiana University, Mayor Pete called out endless wars.

In ABC's video above -- a series of jump cuts -- Pete declares, "The next president must set a high bar on the use of force -- and an exceedingly high bar on doing so unilaterally.  We must put an end to endless war and focus on future threats."  When the full speech is posted -- it's not yet, not even at Pete's website -- we can evaluate it.  The jump cuts ABC provides really doesn't built confidence.

In other news, former US House Rep Ron Paul, at ANTIWAR.COM, offers his thoughts on the recent remarks by US House Rep Duncan Hunter about what Hunter took part in while serving in Iraq:

And that brings us to the real war criminals. Rep. Duncan Hunter and his fellow soldiers may have killed hundreds of innocent civilians and even felt justified. Their superior officers, after all, established the rules of engagement. Above those superior officers, going up and beyond to the policymakers, the lie was sold to the American people to justify a war of choice against a country that could not have threatened us if it wanted to.
Vice President Dick Cheney knew what he was doing when he kept returning to the CIA headquarters, strong-arming analysts to make the intelligence fit the chosen policy. John Bolton and the other neocons knew what they were doing when they made claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction they knew were false. The Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans played its role in selling the lie. So did the media.

Edward Gallagher will face trial and possibly jail for his actions. Rep. Duncan Hunter may even face punishment – though perhaps only at the ballot box – for his admitted crimes. But until those at the top who continue to lie and manipulate us into war for their own gain face justice, the real criminals will continue to go free and we will continue pursuing a suicidal neocon foreign policy.

Again, the issue is greater than Duncan Hunter.  He's told what happened and it's upset some -- at least enough to attack him personally.  But, last time I checked, Duncan was neither the Secretary of Defense nor the President of the United States when he was serving in Iraq.  The crimes go much higher and it's a real shame that so many are too scared or too narrow minded to call out the ones who need to be called out.  Maybe the film OFFICIAL SECRETS will help one or two people focus on where the crimes started (at the top)?

Official Secrets trailer shows Keira Knightley, Matt Smith in Iraq War drama
Keira Knightley stands outside a building looking at the intercom in a still from her new film, Official Secrets

One or two people is not an insult of the film.  I'm eager to see it.  It's noting that films would love to sway opinion but rarely do.  Jane Fonda, rightly, had her characters go from A to B and not A to Z because that's an experience more people can relate to.  (I'm referring to her IPC films.)

There have been a lot of films about Iraq.  Iraq has been destroyed and devastated by endless war.  And women in Iraq continue to suffer. Razaw Salihy (Amnesty International) sounds an alarm about one group of women:

Khaled*, 13, sat leaning against his grandmother’s shoulder, toying with a piece of wire. She wrapped her arm around him and kissed his head as she said:
“We don’t want them to take him. He’s the only son we have left now.”
Surrounding them both in a semi-circle sat his mother, several of his aunts, and other female relatives. The large family arrived at the camp in August 2017 when it first opened, on the eastern bank of the Tigris River in Ninewa governorate. They have been living there ever since. The decision as to whether they can return home lies with men in their villages.
Khaled’s mother, Nawal*, explained: “In our village there was a meeting. They said our family can never come back. Others who had a [. . .] [family member who joined IS] have been allowed back. They had someone who supported them. We have no one. All our men are either dead, missing or in jail.”

Their story is one of countless accounts I heard, during a recent visit in May 2019, of the challenges that female-headed families in camps for displaced people in northern Iraq have been facing since they arrived there. Some of the people I spoke to had tried to go home but were stopped by armed actors, others were able to return but were driven out by threats of violence or arrest and forced to return to the camps.
Amnesty International and other organizations have continuously documented the collective punishment of displaced families, especially female-headed families. Many are perceived as supporters of the Islamic State armed group (IS) due to factors outside their control - such as being related, however distantly, to men who were somehow involved with IS - and are ostracized by the rest of society. Such families have reported being forcibly displaced, evicted, arrested, had their homes demolished or looted or faced threats, sexual abuse and harassment, and discrimination after returning to their places of origin.
Today, left in the camps, they continue to face obstacles in accessing identity cards and other official documents. Without these, women are unable to work, move freely or inherit property or pensions, and their children are often unable to attend school or obtain medical care and are at risk of becoming stateless.
This week, media reports stated that the Iraqi parliamentary committee announced that courts are being set up to permit children born under IS rule to obtain official documents granting them their basic rights.
With nearly four million internally displaced people having returned to their areas of origin since the Iraqi authorities’ declared victory over IS and an end to military operations in December 2017, those who remain displaced in camps and informal sites fear they will be left behind – marginalized and ignored – indefinitely.

“People think anybody who is still displaced is a [ISIS] family. Like we have a choice in not going back or that we had a choice in anything,” lamented one displaced woman who said she fears harassment and arrest if she returns to her village in Salah al-Din governorate. She explained how they would be at risk of harassment and arrest by armed actors: “They take everyone. Anyone. They take women too. If they close these camps, we will have nowhere to go. No one to protect us. Nobody wants us.”

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