Friday, February 26, 2021

Ethel Mertz, Whistle-blower

ethel the whistleblower

From September 30, 2019, that's "Ethel Mertz, Whistle-blower."  C.I. noted:

Isaiah's latest THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Ethel Mertz, Whistle-blower."  Ethel Mertz says, "Leave me alone, Fred.  Per the new CIA guidelines of last month, I'm a whistle-blower, not a gossip.  Now let met tell you what Betty and her husband Jack did last week."  Isaiah archives his comics at THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS.

I actually love that comic.

If you liked comedy and you were a kid in the 70s, you were watching reruns of I LOVE LUCY most likely.  Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance played best friends and neighbors Lucy and Ethel.  Ethel was always the gossip.  So working one of my childhood favorites into a comic made my day.  

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 Friday, February 26, 2021.  The US government bombs Syria because, they insist, Iran bombed Iraq.  After that 'logic,' we take another look at a Subcommittee hearing (and will probably do that on Monday as well).

The Iranian government is accused of many things.  Accused.  The US government has long accused it of meddling in other countries -- usually countries that the US government is itself meddling in.  A prime example would be Iraq.  Bombings in Iraq thought to be targeting the US are blamed on Iran (by the US) just as they were making the same claims back in 2005 and 2006 (usually these claims were given the most airing -- and least questioning -- in reports by Michael Gordon who was at THE NEW YORK TIMES back then).  The accusations of meddling have resulted in the US government bombing Syria.

Sarah Abdallah points out:

Joe Biden bombed Syria tonight. He is continuing to starve Syria with inhuman sanctions. And he is also keeping up the theft of Syria’s oil while building new illegal US military bases. Whether Democrat or Republican, there is zero fundamental difference when it comes to war.

Richard Medhurst addresses the bombings in the video below..

BBC NEWS notes:

The US military has carried out an air strike targeting Iran-backed militias in Syria, in the first military action undertaken by the Biden administration.

The Pentagon said the strike was ordered in response to attacks against US and coalition personnel in Iraq.

The action destroyed "multiple facilities" used by Iranian-backed Iraqi militant groups, it said.

Militia officials said one person had been killed but a war monitor reported at least 22 fatalities.

Vanessa Romo (NPR) also notes the official response, "The Department of Defense said the strikes are a response to recent rocket attacks against Americans in Iraq, including one in which a civilian contractor working with American forces was killed and several U.S. service members were injured. Officials believe the Feb. 15 attack in Erbil, Iraq, was conducted by Shia militants." 

Glenn Greenwald makes an observation:

Someone should ask
her own question verbatim about Biden’s Syria bombing at tomorrow’s briefing (and while the context of her tweet was Trump’s bombing of Syrian forces, the question still applies):
Quote Tweet
Jen Psaki
Also what is the legal authority for strikes? Assad is a brutal dictator. But Syria is a sovereign country.

So in April 6, 2017, Jen Psaki was opposed to strikes against Syria because it was "a sovereign country."  Now she's the White House spokesperson.  She does need to be asked about this so we can all watch her dance around the question.

Sarah Abdallah points out:

Joe Biden has barely been in power for a month, and he’s already bombing #Syria — escalating the war that was started by Obama and prolonged by Trump.

Iran's PRESS TV offers:

One person has lost his life and four others have been wounded in the US military’s air raid against positions of resistance forces operating against terror groups on the Iraqi-Syrian border, an informed source tells Press TV.

The casualties were caused in the early hours of Friday, as the American airstrike targeted facilities used by forces of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) — better known as Hashd al-Sha’abi — at a border point in eastern Syria,

Danny Haiphong Tweets:

Biden has bombed Syria, blaming it on an "Iranian-backed" militia targeting military hardware in Iraq. Could it be that the people of the region want the US occupiers to leave? Biden's rule will be riddled with war crimes and this is just the tip of the iceberg

Aaron Mate offers his take:

To remind Iran who’s boss — rather than conduct the diplomacy he promised — Biden opts to act as ISIS’ Air Force. (That’s who “Iranian-backed militia” have long been fighting)

Caitlin Johnstone Tweets:

This latest Biden airstrike is being spun as "defensive" and "retaliatory" despite its targeting a nation the US invaded (Syria) in response to alleged attacks on US forces in another nation the US invaded (Iraq). You can't invade a nation and then claim self-defense there. Ever.


"For me news is about searching for verifiable actual information and bringing that to the public," claimed Soledad O'Brian when she spoke before the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology of the Committee on Energy and Commerce on Wednesday (stream it here).  Some rush to cheer her on -- oh, she criticized Rachel Maddow!!! -- and ignore the long reality of Soledad's work.  It can be difficult to follow because she's been repeatedly fired from so many outlets.  "Not a team player," that was the NBC NEWS eval that led to her departure.  They weren't going to fire her for cheerleading the Iraq War.  That's this site's focus so I'm not really hear to applaud her for going after Rachel Maddow.  When it comes to Iraq, Soledad is a liar and she pimped lies.  For anyone who actually knows the record, her record, she needs to be called out.  But most people don't know the actual record.  And that can be due to the fact that she was all over the place -- hopping here, there and everywhere and hoping to somehow become a star.  I don't think most even understand that the 'reporter' (ha ha ha!) 'reports' on sports and has fort he last few years.  Before that?  The bulk of her career was sitting in front of the camera at a desk and pretending to be an anchor.  "I left live reporting eight or nine years ago," she told the Subcommittee.  

The role of the press, as she saw it,  was "how they can serve their public."  Okay, fine, Soledad, please explain how your one-sided presentation of going to war with Iraq helped the public?  Let's hear about how your attacking any colleague at NBC NEWS who questioned internally whether more voices -- including voices of dissent -- needed to be on the airwaves.

I'm sorry but Soledad's a whore and all the things she said that are being applauded?  She's all talk.  Unless and until she takes accountability publicly for her Iraq War 'coverage.'

Carmen Chao.  30 ROCK had Carmen Chao.  That was their send up of Soledad.  She's desperate to climb that ladder and suspects Avery may be pregnant and that she could grab Avery's CNBC spot.  She'll resort to anything, she's completely lacking in scruples.  30 ROCK based that on Soledad.

Carmen was meant to be funny.  Soledad is just sad.

As is US House Rep Marc Veasey.  He's already started the year embracing and fighting for fracking.  The hearing on Wednesday was about the news media.  Veasey supports fracking so his comprehension abilities are already in question.  That questioning only strengthens after his performance Wednesday.

The news media.  That was the focus.  So he brought up THE BIRTH OF A NATION.  

That's a racist, silent movie from 1915.  It was very popular in real time.  I'm not aware of the riots he speaks of that the film caused in its release.  He claimed riots and other violence.  Maybe he's right, I have no idea.

It's a racist film.  I ended up with a C -- my only C as an undergraduate -- because of that film. This was being presented as history and it's a film.  It's not factual, it's racist.  And this was not going to be addressed.  The visuals and the narrative and the sweep and scope were going to be addressed.  I brought up the racism and the inaccuracies in the film.  And got an F on that (which brought my grade down to a C for the course).  Fine with me, I spoke my truth and I don't really care (the F brought that.

So I'm not a fan of that film.  But I didn't confuse it with news media.  Veasey did.

He also wanted the world to know that, as a Black man in Black History Month, he wanted to highlight it.


I was in college decades ago.  When I spoke against it, I noted the NAACP protested the film, how this is not about things we see today, this was seen in real time.  If you wanted to see it, you could have seen it.  Yes, the press applauded in real time (which could have been something to address but Veasey didn't even raise that issue), but many people could see reality and the NAACP spoke out and organized protests.

To me, the NAACP's response is part of Black History and goes to the strength and power of the people.  Veasey didn't do anything that noted African-American accomplishments in his remarks.  He just offered a bad film and then tried to link that to the violence in DC last month.

Legal expert, Jonathan Turley testified to the Subcommittee as well.  He writes of the hearing:

Rep. [Anna] Eshoo insisted that the hearing itself was guilty of the type of disinformation that she was combatting in her letter co-authored by Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.). That itself was disconcerting since we were sharing opposing views on the import of her letter, including widely shared views that the letter was pressuring these companies to drop Fox News and other networks from cable programming.

The First Amendment Argument

Eshoo started out by objecting by reading the First Amendment on the government abridging free speech. She then added:

“The First Amendment prohibits Congress from enacting laws abridging the freedom of speech. . . It does not, however, stop us from examining the public health and democratic implications of misinformation. The idea that members asking questions violates the First Amendment is absolutely absurd; it’s our job to ask questions.”

She then added that she had submitted the letter to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to see if there was such a violation in the letter. The problem is that I did not say that the letter itself was a violation of the First Amendment. Indeed, my testimony said the opposite while noting that free speech values go beyond the First Amendment. Indeed, I raised the danger of letting members do indirectly what they cannot do directly. Asking the CRS to look for First Amendment violations is about as useful as asking them to look for endangered species violations. It was answering a question not asked.

Ironically, the emphasis on the narrower test under the First Amendment is precisely what some of us have objected to in this and other controversies. As I stated in my testimony:

What is particularly concerning is the common evasion used by academics and reporters that such regulation is not really a free speech issue because these are private companies and the First Amendment only addresses government restrictions on free speech. As a private entity, companies like Twitter or publishing houses are clearly not the subject of that amendment. However, private companies can still destroy free speech through private censorship. It is called the “Little Brother” problem. That does not alter the fundamental threat to free speech. This is the denial of free speech, a principle that goes beyond the First Amendment. Indeed, some of us view free speech as a human right.

Consider racial or gender discrimination. It would be fundamentally wrong even if federal law only banned such discrimination by the government. The same is true for free speech. The First Amendment is limited to government censorship, but free speech is not limited in the same way. Those of us who believe in free speech as a human right also believe that it is wrong to deny it as either a private or governmental entity. That does not mean that there are no differences between governmental and private actions. For example, companies may control free speech in the workplaces and companies have been recognized as having their own free speech rights. However, the social media companies were created as forums for speech. Indeed, these companies sought immunity on the false claim that they were not making editorial decisions or engaging in viewpoint regulation. No one is saying that these companies are breaking the law in denying free speech. Rather, we are saying that they are denying free speech as companies offering speech platforms.

Some have noted that it is possible for pressure from government officials to constitute state action for the purposes of an actual First Amendment claim. Thus, they cited cases when a borough president in New York City asked a billboard company to take down a sign or when a village official wrote to a local chamber of commerce objection to an ad. In both cases however the standard involved a dismissal where all facts must be inferred in favor of the opposing party. The point is valid that letters can cross the line as a threat of retaliation or action against a private company.  Yet, there are countervailing political speech and legislative interests for members of Congress. Courts are often uncomfortable in drawing such lines between advocacy and coercion by elected officials. A great variety of letters can be taken as veiled threats of possible congressional action. I know of no case where a letter of this kind ultimately resulted in a successful claim. There is also the question of relief. If a court were asked to enjoin Eschoo, what would the court order her not to do? She is engaging in free speech as a representative of her district as well as inquiry as a member of the legislative branch. If the relief is a declaratory judgment, what would be declared? That it is unconstitutional to encourage companies to apply misconceived moral standards?

"Considerably."  That's a term US House Rep Robin Kelly needs to learn.  She also needs to learn about the history of the press before she weighs in.  No, Sandy Hook was not the first widely covered shooting or even the first that noted the killers.  It might have been the first widely covered school shooting, I don't know.  But I do know that her comments on the news industry just revealed her own ignorance and that's really sad that she shows up at a hearing on a topic and doesn't know the basics -- not even about what she chooses to talk about in her own remarks.

That's an excerpt.


The following sites updated:

Read on ...

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Biden Privilege

biden privilege

From September 15, 2019, that's "Biden Privilege."  C.I. noted:

Isaiah's latest THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Biden Privilege."  As a line of people stand with their back to a snarling Joe Biden, a man asks, "What's going on?"  A woman explains, "The press is turning its back on how Joe Biden treats Black and Brown people." Isaiah archives his comics at THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS.

And the press still turns its back on reporting any truths about Biden.  

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 Friday, February 5, 2021.  The Yazidis are 'honored' while they continue to be abandoned, Nancy Pelosi's spoiled daugther thinks she has something worth sharing, US convoys in Iraq remain under attack and much more.

Let's start with stupidity.  Which means, let's start with the Pelosi family.  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has several entitled children who have been unable to make a go of it on their own.  Fortunately, Nancy always there to prop them up.  Christine Pelosi Tweeted:

#CancelCulture: I was a Hill staffer when
canceled French Fries over the Iraq War. When I went to order my fave club sandwich on toasted wheat hold the mayo and “Freedom Fries” a cafeteria worker said “If they want to be patriotic they can give us a damn raise!” Amen
Flag of United States

There is so much wrong with that Tweet.

For example, leave it to the entitled to Tweet 'about Iraq' by noting freedom fries.  I guess it helps Chrissy pretend like her whole family doesn't have Iraqi blood on their hands.  Nancy didn't end the Iraq War.  US troops are still on the ground in Iraq.  In the lead up to the 2006 elections, she told the American people that if they gave her party (the Democratic Party) control of one house of Congress, they would end the Iraq War.

The American people gave them control of both houses.  They didn't end the war.  It had been so good at turning out the vote in 2006 that they wanted to use it for the 2008 presidential election as well.  Of course, Nancy had her excuses.  THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE didn't buy them when she spoke to them but, hey, let's toss it out there, Nancy swore she had done her part and that it was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who was keeping US forces in Iraq.  Strange though, doing her part never meant a House vote.  

So much wrong with the Tweet.  Including her being a 'staffer.'  That's a job that someone else could have used.  But time and again, she's gotten government jobs because of her mother.  She has no real skills -- so she really can't use that useless law degree -- so she counts on the people loyal to Mommy to employ her.  Heaven forbid a child should ever have to make a living by not trading on their famous parent's name.  

Another thing wrong with the Tweet?  Some imaginary worker told her "They can't give us a damn raise."  And she Tweets that as her mother refuses to give the American people the $2,000 stimulus check that Joe Biden promised last month.

"We feed them!  We feed them!" snarled Nancy to CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

To the Pelosis, Iraq is nothing but the 'pain' they suffered when they had to order 'freedom fries.'  In the real world, over a million Iraqis are dead.  In the real world, Nancy Pelosi's failure to keep her promise -- or even work to keep it -- has left many Americans dead and injured.

MNA reports:

Iraqi sources reported Thur. that a convoy carrying US military logistics equipment was targeted in Babil province in central Iraq and the other logistics convoy was hit in Basra province in the south.

With regard to the second attack in Basra province, the "Saberin News" telegram channel reported that the convoy was targeted in the "Al-Lahis" area.

As for the first attack in Babil province, the news website Shabka al-Alam al-Moqawm reported that the Qasim al-Jabbarin Resistance group had carried out the attack.

PRESS TV adds:

The Thursday blasts are the latest in a string of such attacks in the Arab country in recent weeks. 

On January 31, a roadside bomb exploded in the central province of Babil, targeting a US military coalition's logistics convoy. The blast damaged a vehicle.

Meanwhile, JP Lawrence (STARS AND STRIPES) reports:

Lawmakers want the military to end a multibillion-dollar program meant to win over the people of Afghanistan and Iraq through cash and work projects.

The Commander’s Emergency Response Program, which gave $3.71 billion to commanders in the field to disperse through small grants, is to be phased out this year, lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee have said.

“The Committee believes that after nearly two decades the time has come to wind down this program,” it stated in congressional minutes in July, as cited in a recent report by the Special Inspector General for the Reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Grasp that's the US Congress.  They'll end a program but not the war itself.  They'll ignore their promises and the Constitutional authority that they have and let the war drag on and on.  

Next month, Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Iraq.  If the visit does take place, he will be the first sitting Pope to ever visit Iraq.  VATICAN NEWS notes, "According to the journalists present, the Holy Father spoke about his great desire to go to Iraq, a visit that will take place in March, barring a new wave of the Covid-19 contagion. Pope Francis said he wanted to show his closeness to the Iraqi people, as Pope St John Paul II had intended to do in 2000, although the latter was unable to make the journey."  THE CENTRAL MINNESOTA CATHOLIC Tweets:


Cindy Wooden (CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE) explains, "Even if social distancing requirements mean most Iraqis will see the papal events only on television, he said, they will see that the Pope is there in their country."  AL ARABIYA Tweets:

#Pope Francis says he is intent on making a trip to #Iraq next month even if it means many Iraqi Christians won’t be able to see him in person because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Elise Ann Allen (CRUX) reports:

One Iraqi priest voiced hope that if Pope Francis’s scheduled visit to Iraq next month takes place as expected, the trip will help not only to heal the wounds of the country’s lacerated Christian community, but that it will also advance efforts to restore trust with the Muslim population.

“For us to welcome the pope is to welcome someone whose presence will heal many wounds inside the hearts of our faithful,” and who will show “that the Church has not left its faithful,” Father Karam Qasha, Chaldean pastor of Telskuf, said during a Feb. 4 roundtable with journalists.

Like many, Qasha, whose village is located roughly 19 miles north of Mosul, believes Pope Francis’s visit will not just be for Iraq, “but for the whole Middle East,” because throughout the region, whether they are refugees or still at home, Christians have faced enormous difficulty.

In other news, the Netherlands Deputy Ambassador in Baghdad, Rochus JP Pronk, Tweets:

Deeply impressed by today’s solemn ceremony in Bagdad honoring the victims of the 2014 genocide of Yazidis by ISIL. The perpetrators must be held accountable.

FRANCE 24's Jack Hewson offers a video report.   EFE notes:

Iraqi authorities held a funeral in Baghdad on Thursday for 104 members of the country’s Yezidi minority who were killed by Islamic State militants.

After the funeral, their bodies will be transferred to their home village in the country’s north for burial on February 6.

Iraqi President Barham Salih said in a post on Twitter that the victims were to be buried in the Yezidi village of Kocho, which is “the scene of a terrorist crime that embodies the bloody IS.”

“What happened to our sons and daughters from different religions and sects is a wound to the whole nation. Achieving justice for the victims is the state’s duty,” he added.

Does it mean anything?  Is it just words on the part of the Iraqi government?  It's worth asking because Samya Hassan (RUDAW) reports:

Yazidi residents of Sardasht camp on Mount Sinjar (Shingal) are struggling in the winter cold.

Camp residents say they have been abandoned by both the government and aid agencies since the Iraqi government announced in October 2020 that all camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) would have to be shut by the end of the year. Many say their homes in Shingal are in ruins, and that they can’t afford to rebuild them. Shingal is lacking in basic services and in security.

The following sites updated:


Read on ...
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.