The big news this week when it comes to music is, of course, "Easy On Me." That's Adele's new song that was released Thursday night.
As I type right now, it's got over 59 million views:
59 million. Sunday night will be the third complete day of release and it's already had over 59 million views. Has any other song had that kind of immediate impact or attention?
I don't think so. It helps that it's a good song, a damn good one. Ann wrote about it Thursday night in "Adele's "Easy On Me"." I agree with Ann, this one has great music and 25 really didn't. Every track sounded like it was created and played on a droning machine. There were no drums that popped. There was no run across the piano. It was dull and lifeless.
Already, "Easy On Me" has topped it and makes you really look forward to what the new album might offer in November.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, October 15, 2021. The Iraqi election results still aren't official, Hunter Biden is a national security risk and much more.
Let's start with a clarification. Sending articles videos on Iraq to the public e-mail site is a good thing. And I've noted at lest once a year that we can't be picky the way we were when this site started and there was a wealth of coverage regarding Iraq. But someone is upset that his suggestions have been ignored. That's because every one has been a VOA article. That is VOICE OF AMERICA. He notes in an e-mail that one even notes that the US is planning a "drawdown" and not a "withdrawal" in Iraq. Yes, that is the term and it's the term (appropriate) that the US Defense Dept used for what Barack Obama did in 2011 -- that was not a withdrawal.
But we don't highlight VOA. It's a new century and others may feel differently. VOA is paid propaganda -- our tax dollars spent by the US government. When I was young, VOA couldn't broadcast in the US because it was propaganda. It's been identified as such by the US Congress and it was forbidden from broadcasting in the US. Weak ass members of Congress don't care about 'disinformation' -- for all their chest puffing these days -- and they relaxed the rules.
But there was a reason they were forbidden from broadcasting in the US. And that reason is why we do not link to them here. The VAO exists to lie and to sell falsities to the world. It's now allowed to sell those to the American people thanks to a pathetic Congress. They may have no ethical character but we do have some standards here. We do not link to VOA. Sorry.
Sunday, Iraq held elections. Ben van der Merwe (NEW STATESMAN) offers:
The months leading up to election day were marred by a spate of attacks by IS, as well as Turkish airstrikes against Kurdish and Yazidi militants. The attacks by Turkey are reported to have killed between 65 and 125 Iraqi civilians since 2015.
Since 2018, the share of Iraqis describing the status of security in the country as “good” has fallen from 81 per cent to 38 per cent, including just 27 per cent of Kurds.
The growing role of armed groups in Iraq has also been a topic of concern: 59 per cent of Iraqis see non-state militias as having more control over domestic politics than the Iraqi state itself. Militias backed by Iran have played a key role in the government’s violent crackdown on protesters, including being deployed as snipers to fire on demonstrators. Iraqi attitudes towards Iran have nosedived. The share of Iraqis having a favourable view of their neighbour has fallen from 70 per cent in 2017 to just 15 per cent in 2020.
“People certainly knew that these guys killing demonstrators were backed by Iran, so of course this significantly contributed to a shift in their perception towards Iran,” Mera Bakr, an Erbil-based Iraqi politics and security researcher, told the New Statesman.
Did you read it? Did you grasp it? As one of the few sites on the left not turning a thug into a martyr in January of 2020, I hope we all grasp it. It was very easy to say -- and we did -- the US should not be killing by drone. You didn't have to trun a thug responsible for harassing protesters and kidnapping them and killing them into a hero or a poet or any other laughable claim.
But Donald Trump orders a drone attack and because there are a lot of idiots on the left (on the right as well) it immediately became, "Man killed was saint!" No, he wasn't. He should have stood trial for his actions and been put into prison. Your stupidity and your addiction to daulities does not help anyone. Life is not either/or. A Donald Trump (or Joe Biden) can be wrong in killing someone -- execution without a trial -- without meaning the person assassinated was a saint or even a good person. That man was a horror. CODESTINK and others need to start deciding whether they stand with young protesters or with the thugs that terrorize young protesters. And if resolving that dilemma is too damn much for them, they should just close shop -- honestly, no one would miss them. They became a joke in 2007 and they're just a tired joke all these years later.
And your ignorance of The October Revolution -- whether you're a member of CODESTINK or some other idiotic organization -- is inexcusable if you present as someone even mildly concerned about world affairs. In the fall of 2019, The October Revolution began. If you're unaware of this grou pof young Iraqis who brought down a prime minister, then that's really on you at this point.
Let's aso remember that Medea Benjamin of CODESTINK cried over a pie-ing -- cried in public repeatedly. Because someone hit her in the face with a pie. Oh, poor little baby. I've had red paint thrown at me at demonstrations, wiped it off as best I could and kept marching. But Medea wanted to turn a pie-ing into a terrorist act. So forgive me if I don't excuse her ignorance of the peaceful, young protesters in Iraq who were stalked, who were intimidated, who were wounded, who were killed in public at demonstrations and who were killed after they left demonstrations and were just living their lives.
I used to think CODESINK's greatest embarrassment was allowing themselves to be used by their leader Jodie Evans who was an Obama bundler and who used the roup to attack John Edwards and Hillary Clinton -- 'bird-dogging' -- while pretending like there was no connection between Jodie's political motivations and the rag tag band's actions. Tehy'll get what they deserve, this all tends to even out eventually. Ask Jodie. She married for money but she'll still ended up miserable.
Let's note Hassan al-Ahmed (AL-MONITOR):
Preliminary election results were a shock to political parties affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and associated militias. Meanwhile, the historical ally of these parties, Nouri al-Maliki, earned a remarkable victory. This puts them in a difficult position, as accepting the results means conceding defeat and rejecting the results means undermining their ally's victory.
Updated preliminary results show the PMU-affiliated political parties, the Fatah Alliance and its affiliates on the losing side. It indicates a major reduction for the PMU in the number of parliamentary seats, from the previously 48 seats held in 2018 to merely 20 seats. Five of those 20 seats are for Hadi al-Amiri’s Badr Organization; 10 are for Qais Khazali’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq; and five are for other small blocs such as the Sanad al-Watani bloc represented by the commander of Jund al-Imam, Ahmad al-Assadi.
Other PMU factions formed their own political bloc called the Huqooq movement, which is affiliated with Kata'ib Hezbollah and represented by Hussein Muanis. The Huqooq movement earned 1 parliamentary seat. According to deceased Iraqi researcher Hisham al-Hashimi, Muanis is actually the spokesman for Kata'ib Hezbollah, Abu Ali al-Askari. In addition, PMU head Faleh al-Fayadh’s al-Aqd al-Watani gained five parliamentary seats.
Maliki’s State of Law Coalition almost doubled its number of seats, so far winning over 37 parliamentary seats compared to the 2018 elections when they won 25 seats.
So they promised, the electoral commission, that the results would be known by Monday. Now it's Friday and they still don't have any official results.
The incompetence is on full display.
Don't be surprised that the Iraqis distrust the results when there's been no reason at all to trust the results.
And this is a people who already didn't trust the government that the US imposed upon them.
It's nice to see one official publicly acknowledge the way the system exclused those who were challenged or disabled. As we've said all week, Human Rights Watch called attention to this problem for weeks prior to the election. Nothing was done to address that.
Meanwhile, MEMO notes:
The independent candidate, Ansam Manuel Iskandar, was amongst the list of winners in the elections this week, obtaining 2,397 votes and winning one of the five seats allocated for the country's Christian community under the quota system.
Iskandar's victory, however, was not to be enjoyed, as many social media users expressed their anger that she was allowed to run for the elections, despite having died almost two months ago.
In a Facebook post published on her page by her family, they confirmed that "she died on 24 August, after being infected with the Coronavirus." They also responded to the angry comments by users, saying that they allowed her to be elected in order to "immortalize her and their belief in her and their unwillingness to have their votes in vain."
Nothing spells vote integrity quite like a candidate dead for two months being on a ballot? Integrity is in short supply all over the world:
After press secretary Jen Psaki chided a reporter for asking a question about the White House’s art arrangement with Hunter Biden, the former Obama-appointed director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, criticized her and the administration’s dismissive attitude, calling it “disappointing.”
“These are legitimate questions. It’s disappointing to hear @jrpsaki send a message that the WH thinks the public has no right to ask about ethics. After the last 4 years, these questions have never been more important. I know this isn’t a popular opinion, but this stuff matters,” Shaub tweeted Wednesday.
New York Post reporter Steven Nelson questioned Psaki about the potential ethical red flags of the president’s son selling multiple paintings recently for massive price tags, despite his lack of experience in fine art.
“We at the New York Post reported on Friday that the First Son had sold five prints of his artworks for $75,000 each and that a team of lawyers is reviewing prospective buyers who are going to be allowed into an upcoming New York show,” he said. “That seems to suggest a departure from the White House–brokered agreement where the purchasers would be anonymous.”
When he inquired as to the identities of the buyers and whether the condition of the deal that all prospective buyers remain anonymous was breached, Psaki bristled at the suggestion.
“I know this is your favorite topic,” Psaki said. “But it, again, it’s still is the purview of the gallerist. We still do not know and will not know who purchases any paintings. And the president remains proud of his son.”
Hunter Biden was a red flag and the bulk of the press elected to ignore it. Jonathan Turley discusses the latest developments:
“Come on H this is linked to Celtic’s account.” Those nine words from a retired Secret Service agent to Hunter Biden in recently released emails may prove a nasty complication for some in Washington who have struggled to contain the blowback from the still-unfolding scandal linked to Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop.
“Celtic” was the Secret Service code name for Joe Biden, and recent disclosures may puncture the media’s cone-of-silence around the scandal. The emails link President Biden to his son’s accounts and indicate a commingling of funds with money coming from controversial foreign sources. Even more embarrassing, the shared account may have been used to pay a Russian prostitute named “Yanna.”
The commingling of funds is the latest contraction of President Biden’s repeated claims that he was unaware and uninvolved in past dealings by his son. Given these links, there are legitimate questions of why the Justice Department has not sought a special counsel in the ongoing investigation of alleged money-laundering and tax violations linked to the president’s son. More importantly, even if there are no criminal charges, there is now a compelling need for an independent report on the alleged influence peddling operation by Hunter, his uncle James Biden, and potentially his father, President Biden.
In the latest disclosures from the laptop, a former secret service agent reportedly texted Hunter on May 24, 2018, when he was holed up with a Russian prostitute in an expensive room at The Jeremy Hotel in Los Angeles. Hunter wired the woman $25,000. That alone was nothing out of the ordinary for Hunter who, while his father served as vice president, seemed to divide his time equally between influence-peddling and personal debaucheries.
Hunter clearly only had influence and access to sell. We know now that foreign interests gave Hunter millions at a time that he admits that he was a crack addict and alcoholic — in his words, “Drinking a quart of vodka a day by yourself in a room is absolutely, completely debilitating,” as well as “smoking crack around the clock.”
However, the tranche of emails raises a new and disturbing element: the possible mixing of accounts and funds between Hunter and his father. If true, President Biden could be directly implicated in ongoing investigations into his son’s money transfers and dealings.
Most notable are the new emails from Eric Schwerin, his business partner at the Rosemont Seneca consultancy, referencing the payment of household bills for both Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. He also notes that he was transferring money from Joe Biden. If true, the communications indicate that some of President Biden’s personal expenses were paid out of shared accounts with Hunter, including accounts that may have been used to pay for prostitutes. Rosemont Seneca is directly involved in the alleged influence peddling schemes and questionable money transfers from Chinese and Russian sources.
Schwerin also was involved in President Biden’s taxes and discussions of a book deal for the then-vice president; he popped up in the donation of Biden’s official papers to the University of Delaware, with restrictions on access.
Jonathan thinks a special counsel may be needed. I'd say that's the minimum.
Hunter is corrupt and he violated every ethical guideline when his father was vice president. Joe Biden's response? My son did nothing wrong.
Grasp that Hunter is the target of a criminal investigation by the FBI. Despite the fact that Joe heads the executive branch of the national government -- which is over the FBI -- Joe's seen to violate ethics and weigh in as he declared his son was innocent. (As the President of the United States, all he can say is, "I cannot comment on an ongoing election.")
He's lied repeatedly to protect Hunter, he's broken the rules of his office by weighing in on an ongoing criminal investigation.
You don't see the problem?
It's there in Jonathan's column.
National security risk.
Hunter says the Russian government may have one of his laptops.
If they do, what happens?
I think we've seen what happens: Joe lies for Hunter Biden and breaks the law to protect him.
Hunter is a security risk. That's no longer in doubt. By his own admission, the Russians may have one of his laptops. Does it have the e-mail about the mother being concerned about Hunter's actions towards her underage daughter?
The press didn't want to talk about that back in October of last year. That, and a few other e-mails on the laptop Hunter surrendered when he refused to pick it up or pay for it at the repair shop, caused the press to clam up and go into denial. The woman exists. The Bidens know her. There's even a Biden family member commenting on it and telling Hunter to leave the underage girl alone.
The woman's a neighbor of the Bidens.
Hunter's a security risk and Joe Biden has made him that. He's publicly lied for Hunter. When asked the mildest of questions about Hunter, Joe has shown how irrational he is on this topic by lashing out at the reporter asking the question. Joe's made it clear who he's going to pick in any situation: Hunter.
The law or Hunter? Hunter. Ethics or Hunter? Hunter. A neighbor's underage daughter or Hunter? Hunter.
Hunter says Russia may have a laptop of his.
That means Joe is open to blackmail by a foreign government. Hunter meets the definition of a security risk and you can thank Joe for that and the press for it.
If Joe had taken his office seriously, he wouldn't have announced Hunter was innocent after being voted president.
If the press shad done its job, everything about Hunter, everything on the laptop would be out there in the public landscape. That would have made it harder to blackmail Joe about Hunter.
Hunter Biden's a security risk by any definition of the term.
The following sites updated: