Saturday, November 26, 2022

Trying to read about comics?

I've got a new comic going up tonight.  So look for that.  For now, I want to talk about books.  KINDLE UNLIMITED is an AMAZON service and, as such, it apparently has to appeal to everyone.  

It doesn't appeal to me when I'm looking for books about comics.  About.  History, critique, that sort of thing.  I read three 'books' yesterday.

MARVEL SUPER HEROES UNKNOWN FACTS is pure garbage.  It's not about the comics it's about MARVEL characters in film and it's a lousy overview of even that.  I don't think a 9-year-old would take this 'book' seriously.  You'd get more information on the back of a sports trading card.  Avoid at all cost.

X-MEN GRAND DESIGN may please some.  The art is interesting, for example.  But there's something seriously sad about MARVEL taking old stories and putting with new art.  They have nothing else to do but go back to the sixties and grab those stories?  Look, when I was a kid, I loved MISSION IMPOSSIBLE the TV show.  But in the 90s when they brought the series back during the writers strike and used old scripts with new actors?  It seemed cheap.  So does X-MEN GRAND DESIGN.

The winner of the three?  MARVEL COMICS GROUP AND THE SILVER AGE OF COMICS: VOLUME ONE: 1961-1965.  Joseph William Marek goes back to his childhood when he first encountered MARVEL COMICS and offers a month-by-month overview of the MARVEL COMICS he liked back then.  You'll learn about The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Wasp, Giant Man, Thor, Hulk and others (including Millie The Model).  It was an interesting approach and a book worth reading.  The only one of the three worth reading, in fact.


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

Friday, November 25, 2022.  Ask yourself what kind of a left we are when we will set a place at the table for right-wing men but won't for people of color, women and LGBTQ+s?


Daniel Villareal (LGBTQ NATION) reports:

Barely three days after a shooter at an LGBTQ club killed five people and injured dozens, right-wing media figures have been blaming LGBTQ people for causing the violence. Others are also attacking the military veteran who stopped the shooter.

Their claims continue a years-long campaign of stochastic terrorism in which they’ve accused queer people and their allies of grooming children for sexual abuse through LGBTQ school content and drag shows, and also of mutilating children’s genitals through gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth.

While genital surgeries aren’t conducted on minors and no kids have ever been molested during a drag show, none of these figures have spoken as passionately against forced genital surgeries for intersex kids or the literal thousands of child rape cases that have occurred in U.S. churches, nor have they promoted organizations that actually work against child sex abuse and trafficking.

[. . .]


Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, —host of the network’s most-watched program and a man who celebrated the murder of gay politician Harvey Milk and once bragged about beating up a gay man — mocked those who said the shooting was caused by people complaining about “the sexualizing of kids… people mutilating the genitals of children, [and] … ads on Instagram promoting kiddie porn.”

But then he said the connection between LGBTQ activism and the above things is “a very specific religious ideology that’s true, is happening and is “absolutely real.”

He then said the shooting has become “a pretext for yet more censorship of [conservative public] speech.”

“You are responsible for this, they told you, because you said the wrong things,” Carlson told his viewers. “You are guilty of stochastic terrorism, inspiring violence by your beliefs. Anderson Lee Aldrich [the Club Q shooter] committed mass murder because you complained about the sexualizing of children. Every time you object to drag time story hour for fifth graders or point out that genital mutilation is being committed on minors — which it is — every time you say that, you are putting people’s lives at risk.”

He added, “The truth is that some adults in this country, apparently a growing number, have a deeply unhealthy fixation on the sexuality of children — when you say that out loud, you get people killed.”

In response, Twitter user Kat Abu published a thread that included the numerous broadcasts in which Carlson has talked at length about children’s sexuality and their genitals.



Giulia Carbonaro (NEWSWEEK) observes:

Florida political operative Jaimee Michell, founder of the controversial anti-trans group "Gays Against Groomers," told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that the mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs "was expected and predictable" and to be blamed on the LGBTQ "evil agenda" of gender-affirming care.

Talking to Carlson about the mass shooting, Michell claimed that what's really hurting the LGBTQ community is labelling "groomers"—a term that falsely equates non-heterosexual sexualities and non-cisgender identities with pedophilia—an anti-LGBTQ slur, and said that tragedies like the one at Club Q will keep happening "until we end this evil agenda."

Anderson Lee Aldrich is accused of opening fire at Club Q just before midnight on Saturday, killing five people and injuring 18 others.

Activists have denounced "Gays Against Groomers" as an anti-trans hate group that stokes anti-LGBTQ hate by regularly calling gay people "groomers" and accusing the LGBTQ community of sexualizing children. A couple of months ago, "Gays Against Groomers'" Twitter account was banned from Google, Venmo and Paypal after the group was accused of anti-trans hate.

Michell, the group's cisgender gay founder, frequently appears on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News, repeating and amplifying conservatives' moral panic over the alleged "grooming" of children blamed on liberals and queer people.


I don't know how your Thanksgiving worked out -- hopefully it was pleasant and fun -- but 'Aunty GiGi' was denounced loudly by several gay activists at my home.  'Aunty GiGi' is how some are now deriding Glenn Greenwald for his idiotic support of Tucker Carlson and others who spread this crap.  Yeah, people who had to stand up against this s**t in the 70s when Anita Bryant was spewing it aren't in the mood for precious GiGi to give his tacit support for it.  


As he rightly loses influence and his 'brand' weakens, maybe Lauren Boebert can become his hag?  Alex Bollinger (LGBTQ NATION) notes:


Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) defended her anti-LGBTQ rhetoric after she was widely denounced online in the wake of the Club Q shooting for stoking violence against LGBTQ people.

“That is completely false,” she told Ross Kaminsky on KOA, an AM radio station. “I have never had bad rhetoric towards anyone and their personal preference as an adult.”

Sexual orientation is not a “personal preference” and minors can have sexual orientations. In fact, Boebert herself got pregnant for the first time when she was in high school.

This past Saturday, a shooter entered the LGBTQ bar Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killed five people, and injured 18 with an AR-15-style weapon before being subdued.

Boebert released a statement saying that “the victims & their families are in my prayers” and was immediately slammed online after spreading hateful rhetoric against LGBTQ people for years, something people said may have contributed to anti-LGBTQ violence.

“You encourage this type of hatred,” Chasten Buttigieg – the husband of out Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg – responded. “Get off Twitter and start looking inward.”

It didn’t take long in the radio interview for Boebert to go back to bashing LGBTQ people.

“What I’ve criticized is the sexualization of our children,” she said, an expression conservatives use to refer to a wide range of actions, including teaching kids that some families have two mothers or two fathers and allowing LGBTQ clubs to form in high schools. It’s unclear exactly what she was referring to.

“And I’ve criticized men dressing up as caricatures of women,” she continued. Drag is an art form with deep roots in LGBTQ culture, and the idea is to play with gender, often to express one’s own femininity, masculinity, or androgyny.


Lauren is disgusting but, sadly, so much is and that includes on our side -- the left.


Have you noticed the silence?  I'm looking at e-mails.  Garcia notes that Margaret Kimberley has Tweeted repeatedly over the last days but never managed to note the tragedy in Colorado Springs -- nor did BLACK AGENDA REPORT.  Good catch, Garcia.  


Equally true, I counted over 200 Tweets from Tara Reade this week and she never bothered to Tweet about it.


Tara.  I believe her ex explained it best when he said she only cares about what happens to her.  That is why, in the Tweets this week, she can reTweet convicted pedophile, registered sex offender Scott Ritter.  Tara loves her some Scotty.  Any man who harms others is Tara's buddy.


That's the truth.  Tara thinks she deserves sympathy but -- as her ex explained in a roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin -- she doesn't have sympathy for others.


We've now seen that with all of her actions long before she started using her Twitter feed to pimp registered sex offender Scott Ritter -- who went to prison.


She won't do anything to help others because she's never cared about others her whole life.  That's why she bailed on her bills and her loans from friends.  She's a self-centered bitch.  


And she won't help other women but she'll constantly demand attention.  


A deadly attack took place in Colorado Springs and Tara couldn't be bothered with it because it's a gay thing and, please grasp this reality, gay things don't matter to the ultra left.


You'd think they would.  But you'd be wrong.  You'd be wrong today and you'd be wrong historically.


Tara Reade is the poster girl for obesity and for hatred.  


Thanks, Tara, for showing your true self.  I should disclose that for pointing out here what a whore she is to promote a registered sex offender, Tara banned me.  I laughed then and I laugh now.


Reality, Tara was assaulted by Joe Biden.  Didn't make her a nice person.  Didn't make her a saint.  Didn't make her anyone who could be considered an ally.  Six days where she has Tweeted and reTWeeted and she couldn't once be bothered with an attack on the LGBTQ+ community.


That's who Tara is.


She'll never, ever help another person.  Her narcissistic nature is what it is.  She's also a deeply stupid person.  Someone should have told her long ago to sue Joe Biden for her employment records.  Someone should have pointed out to her that when Joe declared the pandemic over, there was no excuse to hide behind it regarding access to his records at the university.  


But she's a deeply stupid person so let's not be surprised that she's so incompetent she can't even help herself.


I'd love to say she gives the left a bad name.  She's part of the reason we have a bad name though.


The left is huge.  It includes the group that votes blindly for the Democratic Party and think partisanship is being political.  It's not.  Parroting is not political.  Then you have Democrats who can self-criticize but can't see too much beyond domestic issues.  You've then got Socialists, Communists, Socialist-Democrats and then you're moving into the hard left which probably takes you all the way to anarchist which wraps around to the right wing because politics is circular and not linear.


Historically, on the left, we have not supported gay rights.  The Communists in certain eras especially did not want to support gay rights.  Occasionally, an individual would get support but that support was always tentative.  Look at Walter Jenkins, embraced by the partisans and seen as a genius in certain ways.  So they all pretended he wasn't gay.  But then he gets arrested in 1964 and they're afraid that it could harm LBJ's re-election chances so they turn on him and sacrifice him while LBJ lies and pretends like he never knew Walter was gay (he knew, the FBI knew, the 1959 previous arrest was not a secret) and starts trying to save his own ass by lying and suggesting that mean Republicans must have drugged Walter's drink and that, as a result of being drugged, Walter found his mouth watering for dick and, due to the drugs, ended up at a YMCA bathroom where he was busted with his mouth around a cock.


Now back then, and this is an important point to grasp, oral sex wasn't thought to be as common as it is today.   Marlon Brando infamously posed with Wally Cox's penis in his mouth and people act like it didn't happen even when writing Brando's obituaries.  Marlon was one of our finest actors.  His affairs with men didn't make him any less great.  And that Wally Cox photo is a striking image. 


But in the 50s and 60s, for many, anything beyond missionary-position male-female sex was time to clutch the pearls.  (Though, traditionally, look at the studies, anal sex has always been popular among Catholics in the US as a way to prevent pregnancy.)  


These days, straight couples peg.  These days oral sex is common and noted as such.  Tossing someone's salad, etc, etc.


So when an idiot starts talking about orifices and their 'true' intentions  -- as many did on message boards this week in light of the shooting -- they look like idiots and defeat themselves.  We've come far enough to be honest about sex and how sex can take place and those trying to police what they pretend is morality lose any argument right at the get go because this isn't the 1950s.  We know what our bodies are capable of and we know about enjoying our bodies.  


Nancy Friday, Dr. Ruth, Audre Lorde, Dan Savage and many others have done their part to allow us to be grown ups.


And this has impacted politics -- as it should.  Awareness and education in any area has impact on other areas.  You can go into a whole spheres of justice argument off that -- though I wouldn't because Michael Walzer ripped off the Torah for his argument and didn't even grasp the importance of the sphere of din -- telling -- and proof of the points we're making because din, of course, can be associated with the feminine and the feminine and LGBTQ+ issues have traditionally been dismissed in this country -- especially in this country's political maneuvering.  


If you know the left's history, you know that Sly's "Everyday People" wasn't just a popular song, it was a portrait of our history:




There is a blue one who can't accept the green one

For living with a fat one trying to be a skinny oneAnd different strokes for different folksAnd so on and so on and scooby dooby doo
Oh sha sha we got to live together
I am no better and neither are youWe are the same whatever we doYou love me you hate me you know me and thenYou can't figure out the bag I'm in
I am everyday people, yeah yeah
There is a long hair that doesn't like the short hairFor bein' such a rich one that will not help the poor oneAnd different strokes for different folksAnd so on and so on and scooby dooby doo

-- "Everyday People," written by Sly Stone, first appears on Sly & The Family Stone's STAND!


We hear the Jimmy Dore's insist that identity politics are destroying the left.


No, identity politics are what made the left.  It's what forced the Communist Party to move beyond their limited White world and to give support to efforts to end lynchings in the US.  It's what brings us together when we can get over our own pig headedness.  When we can embrace the blue one and the long hair and the poor one and everyone.  It's how we build a society and it's how we've always built a movement.


The Jimmy Dores don't understand that because they're unintelligent.  They don't understand how things work, they haven't studied anything and they're victims of the atomistic age -- an age where we, as a people, were taught how to tear apart but not how to put back together.  The synthesis is the missing step and people like Jimmy (who is not a bad person and who I would note still were it not for his promoting Scott Ritter -- a sex offender; I'm sorry, Jimmy, I can't big tent convicted offenders) don't even grasp it because they can regurgitate but they can't think.


If you want a powerful left, you're going to have to stand up for rights and that's not just your own rights.  Don't be a Tara Reade offended by your own assault but caring so little of others that you'll promote a registered sex offender.


You've got to look beyond your own interests.  You've got to support others.  If you don't do that, the left goes no where.  And that's been the case throughout history though those who short cut it -- due to ignorance or personal interest -- never pass that lesson on.


Here's Dove Cameron on Sunday saying what a lot of others need to be saying.



Instead?  Instead our left outlets on YOUTUBE gave us silence.  Our left voices on Twitter gave us silence.  


As Keesha noted last night in the roundtable, Betty was right when she wrote "Hard truths."


Everybody wants sympathy and attention when it is them or their primary group but they don't seem to want to build bridges for other communities.  


You can't even get women on half the YOUTUBE programs for the left so it's not a surprise that the LGBTQ+ is rendered invisible on so many of these same programs or that African-Americans are largely ignored by White hosts on these same YOUTUBE programs.  For the left, understand, made for the left and by the left.


We need to do a much better job.  Lives are at stake.  If we can't offer inclusion and we can't share the spotlight, we might as well be Republicans.


Oh, excuse me.  The Jimmy Dores and Glenn Greenwalds will feature Republicans -- it's women, LGBTQ+ and people of color that have to fight to be on left YOUTUBE shows and get left Twitter attention.


It's really telling that they will set a place for neocons and others at a left table but not for women, LGBTQ+ and people of color.


Stephen F. Eisenmen (COUNTERPUNCH) explains:


The shooting this week at Club Q in Colorado Springs was as horrendous as it was unsurprising. Though the city has changed a lot since 1992, when local, anti-queer activists championed the passage of a statewide, constitutional amendment prohibiting municipal anti-discrimination ordinances, the area retains pockets of deep reaction. Colorado Springs representative Doug Lamborn, like fellow Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert, this year supported federal anti-trans legislation in Congress. Since at least 2016, Lamborn has attacked what he calls the “madness,” and “politically correct absurdity” of federal protection for transgender students. Boebert has described trans people as “depraved” and their defenders as “groomers” bent on turning innocent children into trans people themselves.

Their statements condemning the recent violence were strictly pro forma, condemning “senseless violence,” praising first responders for “their rapid response,” and calling for prayers for “the victims and their families.” Neither mentioned that the victims were at a queer nightclub or that fatal attacks upon LGBTQ folks have reached a record high. And first responders failed both to prevent the attack and had no role in stopping it. Police handcuffed and detained the good Samaritan who stopped the shooting spree, retired U.S. Army major Richard Fierro, and kept him confined for an hour in a police car while his family and friends were left to struggle with injuries and death.

Some Americans were probably surprised to read that Fierro went to Club Q with his family to celebrate a birthday. In the United States, it’s still rare for families to visit gay bars together or watch live drag performances. (On TV, RuPaul’s Drag Race has been a fixture for more than a decade.) The night of the shooting, the club featured a drag show titled “Delusions” hosted by a local drag queen with the stage name Del Lusional. The audience for that event was limited to guests 18 y.o. and older, but a drag-brunch open to all ages was scheduled for the following day.

Fierro was having a great time when the shooting began, he told a NYTimes reporter: “These kids want to live that way, want to have a good time, have at it….that is what I fought for, so they can do whatever the hell they want.” It’s not yet clear what were the precise motivations of the shooter, Anderson Lee Aldrich, but he faces murder and hate crimes charges. His lawyers claim that he is non-binary himself and prefers to be addressed using they/them pronouns and the honorific Mx. in front of his name. The assertion may be a subterfuge to undercut the hate crimes charges and establish mitigation.

Family attendance at drag shows has risen in recent years, so much so that it has attracted literally delusional reactions from the Republican-right. In June, Florida governor Ron DeSantis threatened to order the state’s department of protective services to investigate parents who take their kids to drag shows: “We have child protective statutes on the books,” he said. “We have laws against child endangerment.” State legislators in Florida, Arizona, and Texas have proposed laws to criminalize drag entertainment, and armed militia groups have threatened the lives of drag performers across the country. It remains to be seen if the recent massacre will cause any retreat in the legal and vigilante onslaught.

The proposed laws against drag are patently unconstitutional infringements of free speech and would likely be struck down in court – even by conservative justices. Apart from first amendment considerations, such laws would be largely unenforceable because of the multitude of liminal cases. Drag performances have long been a staple of theatre, film, and television, from Twelfth Night to Some Like it Hot to Kinky Boots. Would they all be banned? And the fashion industry is predicated upon playful subversion and compliance with gender norms – men in skirts and heels, women in trousers and work boots. Corporate America profits from trans.

Gender itself is a form of performance, the philosopher Judith Butler long ago noted, though one that by its repetition, shapes our identity. On that basis, almost any theatrical entertainment could be described as a “drag show” and its sponsors and performers trundled into court. But the point of the proposed laws is not to legislate costume, comportment, or performance, much less identity – it is to supercharge hatred and promote violence, thereby creating an atmosphere of crisis that can be exploited for reactionary (fascist) ends.


In other news, ARAB NEWS reports:

Online propaganda campaigns that targeted Middle Eastern countries including Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and Syria were linked to US military, technology firm Meta has claimed.

In its latest adversarial threat report, the company said the network that coordinated the campaigns used fake social media accounts to promote pro-Western narratives and was taken down in August after an independent research group flagged the profiles to Facebook’s parent company.

The findings of the report said: “The US network — linked to individuals associated with the US military — operated across many internet services and focused on Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.”

The social media giant said 39 Facebook accounts, 16 Facebook pages, two groups, and 26 Instagram accounts had been removed for violating its policy on “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” a term used to describe the coordination of accounts and adoption of techniques to publish, promote, and spread false content.

The campaigns, believed to be the first of their kind, were designed to discredit Russia, China, Iran, and other countries, while promoting American views and values.

The tactics adopted by the US network were similar to those used in anti-Western campaigns, such as the use of fake people and the dissemination of artificially generated photos across multiple platforms.

“The people behind this activity posted primarily in Arabic, Farsi, and Russian about news and current events, including terrorism concerns and praise of the US military, as well as content about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic — some of which we removed for violating our misinformation policy,” the report added.

Although experts believe the campaigns were largely ineffective and their reach was very limited, Meta argued that the operations ran across many internet services, including Twitter, YouTube, Telegram, VKontakte, and Odnoklassniki.

“Although the people behind this operation attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the US military,” Meta said in the report, adding that, “the majority of this operation’s posts had little to no engagement from authentic communities.”


Hillary Essein (PEOPLE'S GAZETTE) also covers the story.   

And that's going to have to be it.  I am very sick this morning.  This has been dictated in pieces and I'm sure it's very disjointed, my apologies.


The following sites updated:


Read on ...

Friday, October 14, 2022

Inspiration

crazy


That's my just posted comic THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "House Reject, House Mess and House Dunce."

I almost didn't post it.  I had the idea today and drew it and was like, "It's a comic."  And then, after, I had another idea for another comic and drew that and then had another idea for another.  All involve the same three women, by the way.  But when the other two go up late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, know that they both jump off the one that's right above.

Sometimes drawing one comic gives me ideas for others, just saying.


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:


Friday, October 14, 2022.  The political stalemate in Iraq appears to be over as a president is elected and a prime minister-designate is named.



Abdul Latif Rashidf.  Who? 







It took a year and three days after the election, but Ira finally announced a new president yesterday.  The moment was not without drama.  ALJAZEERA reports, "Rashid replaced fellow Iraqi Kurd Barham Saleh as head of state after the two-round vote in parliament on Thursday, winning more than 160 votes against 99 for Saleh, an assembly official said. Saleh reportedly walked out of the parliament building as the votes were tallied."  Saleh finally leaves.  He wasn't content to be president of Iraq, he tried to ignore the Constitution during his tenure and elevate the position of president to that of prime minister.  A complicit foreign media helped him out -- in part to make it appear Iraq was more stable than it actually was.  

Saleh's hissy fit might make some believe that Abdul is from a different political party.  Nope.  PUK.  They performed dismally in the 2021 elections -- a pattern they've had since the party lied to the Kurds about the health of Jalal Talabani but they got to hold on to the presidency.

War turned Iraq into a land of widows and orphans.  The median age in Iraq is 21-years-old.  But the leadership never reflects the country which is how 78-year-old Abdul is now president.

78.

You'd think that would bother them after Jalal.  78 is how old Jalal was when he had his stroke and the Talabani's began deceiving Iraq.


As 2012 drew to a close, Jalal, then president of Iraq, had a stroke.  The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 (see the December 18, 2012 snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20th, he was moved to Germany.  He remained in Germany for over a year and a half.  The Talabani family refused to allow people to visit him in while he was in the hospital for that entire time --  including Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi.


When the first wave of rumors that Talabani had either died or was permanently  incapacitated, took hold in May of 2013, Jalal was posed for a series of photos that appear to indicate his body was present but that was all.

jalal



 The photos were compared to the film Weekend At Bernie's in Arabic social media.  (In the 1989 film, Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman play two men who drag the corpse of their boss, Bernie, around and pretend he's alive.)


When Jalal left Iraq the Talabani family was down playing his condition.  They were falling back on the 'knee surgery' nonsense.

In May of 2012, Jalal stabbed many Iraqi political leaders in the back and outraged many in the KRG by refusing to allow the no-confidence motion to be passed on.  As a result of the outrage directed at him, Jalal retreated to Germany where he remained for months.  He needed to have, his flunkies and family insisted, immediate surgery to take care of a life threatening condition.  This lie was repeated for weeks and weeks.  Jalal had knee surgery.

Karama bit him in his fat ass.  Jalal snuck back into Iraq July 19, 2014.  He couldn't speak, he couldn't move his own body.  He wasn't fit to be president and his family lied to the Iraqi people.  That destroyed confidence and its why the PUK continues to suffer each election.

Well suffer in that the voters don't want them.  The system is so corrupt that they continue to hold onto power.

Here's fat ass Jalal with Abdul.



That's right.  They were brother-in-laws. Shanaz  Ibrahim Ahmed has held many jobs -- currently she's the Executor at the Political Bureau of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).  She and Abdul have three children sons Azos (1982) and Zagros (1988) and daughter Sara (1987).  Shanaz and Hero are the daughters of Ibrahim Ahmed -- a Kurdish novelist who rose to be the Secretary General of the KDP in 1953 -- in other words, the same faces, the same family and why Iraqis feel betrayed over and over by the entrenched corruption in the system.


Ahmed has named Mohammed Shia Al Sudani as prime minister-designate.  









Mr Al Sudani, who was nominated for the post by the Iran-backed Co-ordination Framework, has 30 days to submit his Cabinet line-up to Iraq's Parliament for approval.
[. . .]

In his first statement, Mr Al Sudani thanked those who supported him and promised to submit his cabinet “as soon as possible”.

He also promised to form a “strong government" that was able to "build the country, to serve the citizens, to preserve security and stability and build balanced international relations”.

Mr Al Sudani started his political career as a member of the Shiite Dawa Party and then ran for election with the State of Law Coalition led by former prime minister Nouri Al Maliki. He has won three terms in parliament since 2014.


That's right, Nouri al-Maliki.  Former prime minister, forever thug and, you know this is biting Motada al-Sadr's ass, "kingmaker."  

That's Nouri, not his bitter rival Moqtada.

It was a year ago that a whorish western press was hailing sociopath and cult leader Moqtada as a "kingmaker."  He isn't.  He wasn't.  As Aretha and Whitney sang, "It ain't never gonna be."  





There's a thirty day period that Iraq's now in the midst of.  Per the Constitution, the prime minister-designate must form a complete cabinet -- nominees that the Parliament then votes to confirm.  Failure to do so means someone else gets named prime minister-designate.  

That's what is supposed to happen.

But it's not how it's ever gone.  Instead, the person can name an incomplete cabinet and still move to prime minister.  

So, per past history, this will probably be the prime minister.

In other news, US President Joe Biden continues his ongoing persecution of Julian Assange.   Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:



A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death. 


And closer to my own work as a writer and editor, journalists and their sources are being targeted by governments, especially our own, for revealing inconvenient, embarrassing and criminal acts by those very same institutions. This censorious enterprise is entirely bipartisan. Obama prosecuted more whistleblowers than Bush or Trump. At this very moment, Julian Assange is confined in a bleak cell in Belmarsh Prison (now stricken with Covid) awaiting extradition to the US on charges that could lock him away in a super-max for the rest of his life. His crime? Disclosing documents leaked to him by Chelsea Manning and others revealing atrocities committed by US forces in Iraq.

If the Biden Justice succeeds in prosecuting and convicting Assange, all kinds of prosecutorial authorities will be emboldened to come after any of the rest of us who excavate and publish stories about official corruption and villainy or film cops films as they beat the crap black kids. As writers and readers, we must resist these moves to criminalize journalism and to enforce a suffocating stupidity upon the population.

The inconvenient truths about our own nation’s past­­–including the very recent past–are the truths it is the most urgent to hear, to learn from and work to rectify.

Thanks to the Before Columbus Foundation and the San Francisco Public Library for being at the forefront of this struggle and for honoring our work at CounterPunch.


That's from his October 9th speech accepting the Before Columbus Foundation's Anti-Censorship award.  Also noting Julian is Will Lehman who is running to be the next president of the United Auto Workers:


Dear brothers and sisters,

In less than one week, you will begin receiving ballots in the mail for the UAW elections. I have included information on how to vote and how to obtain a ballot if you don’t get one on my website. I urge all of you to vote, and to vote for me, Will Lehman, for UAW president. I am campaigning to build rank-and-file power on the shop floor in opposition to the entire UAW apparatus.

I am writing to you today, however, on another matter that is critical to the interests of all workers, in the US and throughout the world. That is the case of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Assange is currently imprisoned in the United Kingdom and faces extradition to the US, where he would be prosecuted under the Espionage Act. He could receive a 175-year sentence or even be executed.

Julian Assange (Photo by David G. Silvers, CancillerĂ­a del Ecuador / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Assange is being persecuted for one reason and one reason alone: He revealed the truth about the actions of the American government abroad, the same government that represents the corporations that exploit us here in the United States.

One of the most significant initial exposures by WikiLeaks was a video, released in 2010, depicting the US Army killing unarmed civilians and journalists in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The footage was filmed three years earlier, in 2007, in the early years of the US occupation of Iraq. I urge all of you to watch this video, which is titled “Collateral Murder.”

The video was followed by the release of the Iraq and Afghan war logs in 2010 and the Guantanamo files in 2011. These documents, which were made available to the public thanks to the heroic actions of whistleblower Chelsea Manning, exposed a lie that is central to the propaganda of the US government, Democrat and Republican alike: that the wars abroad are about defending democracy.

For this reason, Assange has been subjected to more than a decade of vicious and uninterrupted persecution. He is currently in London’s Belmarsh maximum-security prison, where he recently contracted COVID-19. The UK High Court ruled late last year that he could be extradited to the US, even though the trial itself revealed that the CIA had plotted to kidnap and murder him.

Beyond his personal fate, there are two critical issues for workers in the defense of Assange.

First, the persecution of Assange is an attack on basic democratic rights, including the First Amendment right to free speech and a free press. Assange is guilty of telling us the truth, of exposing lies that the government does not want exposed.

The corporations and the wealthy in this country depend on a bought-and-paid-for media, which parrots whatever the government tells them. We experience this every day, when workers are denounced in the media for our efforts to secure a decent wage and a future for ourselves and our families. If an individual can be jailed and prosecuted for revealing true information, it sets a dangerous precedent that will be used against any worker who speaks out and opposes the demands of the corporations, aided and abetted by the union apparatus.

Second, Assange has helped to expose the reality of American militarism. How much money has been spent and how many lives lost, including of US soldiers, to wage endless war abroad? And for what? They throw around words like “democracy” and “freedom” to convince workers that these wars are worth the cost, but the reality is that they are about securing the domination of American corporations over the entire globe. More than 1 million Iraqis and Afghans have died to achieve this end.

The consequences of these wars are felt by all of us. More than $1 trillion is expended on the US military every year, while they claim that no money is available to provide decent living conditions for workers. One veteran kills him or herself every 80 minutes in the US, the consequence of post-traumatic stress disorder from what they saw and experienced at war. As soon as their bodies are no longer useful to the ruling class, veterans are essentially discarded by the government.

Now, the Biden administration is escalating a conflict with Russia that Biden himself said last week could lead to “Armageddon”—that is, the annihilation of the entire planet in nuclear war. And what is this all about? The government of Vladimir Putin represents the oligarchs in Russia, and the invasion of Ukraine must be opposed by all workers. However, this invasion was a response to the expansion of the US-led NATO military alliance up to Russia’s borders and the massive armament of Ukraine by the US.

Everything that the media tells us about this war is a lie. It is not a war about “democracy.” Ukraine’s government is comprised of neo-Nazis who praise people who helped carry out the Holocaust during World War Two. The oligarchs who run Ukraine recently passed a labor law eliminating the right of millions of workers to collectively bargain. You won’t hear that on the nightly news.

The same military-industrial complex that provoked the war in Iraq is escalating war against Russia today, but on an even larger and more dangerous scale. The US banks and corporations are fighting to control Eastern Europe at the expense of their Russian rivals. The US ruling elite is prepared to make the working class suffer greatly, and even sacrifice millions of lives, to expand the domination of American corporations.

Workers in the US and throughout the world have no interest in the war. We have the same interests as workers in Russia, Ukraine and in every country. We are exploited by the same corporations. We confront the same problems. We will suffer the same consequences if the catastrophe of nuclear war is not prevented.

Workers should know that the labor movement has a long and proud tradition of defending democratic rights, as these rights are critical for all workers. It should also be recalled that the UAW withdrew from the AFL-CIO in 1968 in opposition to the Vietnam War. The fact that the trade unions no longer even raise these critical issues is part of the same process that has led to their domination by a privileged apparatus that serves the interests of the companies.

For these reasons, it is critical that all workers take a stand in defense of Julian Assange. It will not be through appeals to the ruling elite and their politicians that his freedom will be secured, but only through our intervention. We must connect the fight to defend our interests with the defense of Assange, the defense of democratic rights, and opposition to war.

Sincerely,

Will Lehman

 


The following sites updated:





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Sunday, October 2, 2022

Is BROS amusing?

I do a comic online that's called, like this site, THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS.  It's a comic and it's funny -- or I hope it manages to be -- at least every now and then -- something that makes you smile or laugh.  I've made fun of Bully Boy Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, you name it.  

I like to laugh.  

And with that in mind, I saw BROS.

The bad news: It's not amusing.

The good news: It's hilarious.  

BROS is not a mildly amusing film.  Hilarious is you're laughing so hard you're missing dialogue (and other jokes).  If you like funny, this is your jam.  You need to be in front of the big screen watching this movie.  And don't get popcorn or soda unless you're preapred to spew it because you will be laughing that hard.

There are too many sequences that are going to make you laugh for me to note them all.

But I'll note one sequence that was awakard and hilarious -- and isn't that the best kind?

Billy and Luke have broken up -- the movie is about them falling in love -- and Billy is hurt and feels like Luke can't accept him for who he is and so he goes the gym and sees this guy, played by Jamyl Dobson, and they exchange nods and then he goes over to spot Jamyl.

Luke had asked Billy to 'tone it down' while they were with his parents.  That hurt Billy.  But now, in the gym, he tries to be a 'bro' and uses a different voice and way of speaking.  And the two hook up and go back to Jamyl's place and have sex.  Then Billy speaks after in his normal voice.  And Jamyl looks at him and Billy explains this is his real voice.

It's hilarious because Joel asks him if he's a serial killer and he's got no idea who he went to bed with.  Meanwhile, Billy wants to know if the voice made a difference and he would he have gone to bed with him if he had used his normal voice?  And Jamyl just wants this crazy man out.

And Billy keeps stopping to ask another question or make another comment.

And then Billy sees Barbra Streisand's poster on Jamyl's wall and starts talking about that.

It's really funny in the movie and I'm not doing it justice.

But the point is, this is a great movie.  

You should see it unless you're a sour puss who doesn't know how to laugh.



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


Friday, September 30, 2022.   Terrorist, the catch all excuse for violence.




Yesterday, the State Dept's Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel conducted a telephone press briefing and we'll note this:

QUESTION: Thank you. Hi, Vedant. Thank you for taking my question. I have a question about Iran as well but not the sanctions. Regarding the possible fatalities in Iraqi Kurdistan due to the Iranian missile attacks, do you have any updates – have there – do you know of any Americans having been among those killed? Because we have gotten information on at least one individual, U.S. citizen. And also the second part of my question, yesterday, the Iranian president said that the demonstrations are part of a U.S. plot. Did the Biden administration ask the people to go out on the streets and demonstrate? Thank you.

MR PATEL: Thanks, Guita. First and foremost as it relates to the attacks, I want to reiterate that we condemn Iran’s violations of Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. And the genesis of your question – we can confirm that a U.S. citizen was killed as a result of a rocket attack in the Iraqi Kurdistan region yesterday, but due to privacy considerations I don’t have any further comments to provide.

And on your piece about the protests – these protests are not at all about the United States. This is about the Iranian Government and its efforts to cut or disrupt access to the internet, its efforts to crack down on peaceful protestors, its efforts to infringe on basic human rights. That’s what these protests are about. It is not about the United States.


The government of Iran claims it was attacking terrorists.  From PRESS TV:

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Force has defended the latest ballistic missile and drone strikes against terrorist bases in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, stating that operations will continue until all anti-Iran separatist and terrorist outfits holed up in the rugged mountainous area lay down their arms and surrender.

 “In the wake of an uptick in the seditious acts of separatist and terrorist groups stationed in Iraq’s northern region (of Kurdistan), the proven role and involvement of some terrorist and separatist outfits in the recent riots that have gripped some Iranian towns and cities, the discovery and neutralization a major sabotage plot hatched by Komala terrorist group against Iran's nuclear facilities, and disregard of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials for calls demanding the destruction of the terrorists’ bases, the IRGC Ground Force identified their command centers and headquarters, which were also instigating and supporting recent wicked acts, and heavily bombarded them in a decisive and retaliatory response,” it announced in a statement.

And, of course, the government of Turkey always claims it is targeting terrorists in Iraq.  IANS notes:

Turkish forces have destroyed 16 targets of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said.

The operation destroyed caves, bunkers, shelters and command posts of the PKK, a Kurdish militant political organisation which is outlawed by Ankara, in the Asos Mountain region of Iraq on Tuesday, the Minister told reporters on Thursday.

The targets were hit by airstrikes of the Turkish Air Force, Xinhua news agency quoted local media reports as saying.

Turkey respects the territorial integrity and sovereignty rights of all its neighbours, especially Iraq and Syria, Akar noted.

'Syrians are our brothers, Iraqis are our brothers. There is no problem with that. Our problem is terrorists. We are after terrorists. This struggle will continue until the last terrorist is eliminated,' he said.



And, don't forget, US troops are in Iraq and went there in the first place because of 'terrorism' (the US government and media falsely linked Iraq to 9/11 and the US government also falsely claimed Iraq had WMDs).

Yesterday was the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste:


BAGHDAD – On the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (IDAFLW), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) call for action to address food loss and adopt sustainable food waste management in Iraq.

IDAFLW aims to raise awareness about food loss, waste issues and possible solutions, to promote global efforts and collective actions toward meeting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3 that aims at halving per capita global food waste at retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses by 2030.

We call upon the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government to establish develop national targets and strategies in line with SDG 12.3. We also call on the government to encouraging supply chain collaboration with the aim to reduce food waste during production, processing and storage stages as well as support innovative behavioral changes to shift and reduce consumer food waste norms.

To reduce food waste in Iraq, efforts must be made to encourage improved behavioral practices among food providers and consumers, as well as increased investments in intra-regional trade and the modernization of food supply chains.

Globally, while more than 820 million people go to bed hungry each night, FAO estimates that one-third of global food production – estimated at 1.3 billion tons of food – is annually lost or wasted along the supply chain, amounting to a financial loss of about US$ 1 trillion annually. The food produced but never eaten would be enough to feed two billion people[RN1] . That’s more than twice the number of people on the verge of famine across the globe. 

Food production has environmental and monetary costs and has become increasingly difficult in the current climatic condition with an ever-increasing population is very difficult. Food waste and food loss drains valuable resources such as water, land, energy, labour and capital especially in the region; one of the world’s most affected by water scarcity.

The impact of food waste on the environment is also massive; it is estimated that food loss contributes 6-8% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, effectively helping accelerate climate change. Most of the discarded food ends up in landfills, and as it decomposes it produces methane, a greenhouse gas that has 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide.

FAO and WFP renew their commitment to work with both governments to develop and implement “awareness campaigns” and “food banks” to mitigate food waste by collecting unserved food and channeling it to people who need it and complement Iraq’s efforts to end poverty, reduce hunger and improve human health.[RN2]




Combatting hunger effectively, or climate change, or anything requires a functional government.  Iraq still doesn't have one.  







October 10th, elections were held.  Still no president, still no prime minister, still no Cabinet of Ministers.  Ten days away from a full year since the election and still nothing.



Two years earlier, in October 2019, young Iraqis across central and southern Iraq took to the streets to protest. This movement, known as Thawrat Tishreen – Arabic for October Revolution – did not call for the removal of a specific leader or party but instead for revolution against the system. They chanted: ‘We will never back off. No way. Let all parties hear us.’

Since elections only reinforced the toxic political order, its followers refused to vote and instead insisted that protest was the only way to be heard. Iraq’s ruling elite struggled to respond to Thawrat Tishreen. They could no longer convince the electorate that they represented their ethnic, sectarian or other communities, or that they promoted democracy and reform. Nor could they provide economic benefits, namely public sector jobs.

Ideologically and economically bankrupt, Iraq’s elite and the political machinery turned to direct violence to suppress the movement, killing hundreds of protesters and wounding thousands more.

Since then, the system has continued to employ violence to minimize free speech and protest. Someone familiar with this is Ahmed al-Bashir, the prominent Iraqi political satirist. To continue producing his Albasheer Show on television and YouTube, which reaches millions of Iraqis, Bashir lives and works outside Iraq because of threats to his life. ‘In Iraq there is no longer free speech,’ he said at Chatham House’s annual Iraq Initiative conference last year.

Demographic realities and shrinking public authority have exacerbated intra-elite fragmentation. One speaker close to the Sadrist movement has stated that Sadr wants none of the former leaders to be able to participate in elections or government formation.

Sadr’s attempt to form a majority government after his 2021 electoral victory was his solution to the crisis and a bid to regain some ideological power with his base and the wider, disenfranchised population.
Following its failure and this summer’s violence, the Sadrists seem unwilling to play by the rules of the game and form another consensus government.   

In response, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Iraq, has struggled to bring together the elite, including Sadr and Nouri al-Maliki, to reach a consensus government to combat the direct violence. Following the clashes in August, the United Nations
Assistance Mission for Iraq issued a statement that ‘Iraqis cannot be held hostage to an unpredictable and untenable situation.’

However, Iraqis have not only been held hostage to the recent violent clashes, they have been hostages of the political order put in place after 2003, when the US-led coalition worked with returning exiled Iraqi political parties to establish muhasasa. Since then, this ruling elite has acquired its wealth and power through corruption.
 
Iraq’s political system has proved resistant to both grassroots revolutionary protest and attempts at manipulation by its elite. In their current efforts at stabilization, both Iraqi and international actors are again focusing on a short-term settlement within the elite. Their solution is to limit the direct violence that erupted this summer in the hope that this will lead to change.

But such a settlement will not address the everyday conflict consuming Iraqis. Instead, it will reinforce the status quo and once again ignore the dynamics of structural violence, which will continue to take the larger toll of lives.


Lastly,  Will Lehman is running for president of the United Auto Workers union.  Big Tech is opposing his campaign as evidenced by Twitter's latest move.


On Thursday morning at approximately 11 a.m. Eastern, Twitter locked the account of United Auto Workers presidential candidate and rank-and-file worker Will Lehman. The action against Lehman’s account, which Twitter falsely claimed was implemented in response to violation of its rules, is a flagrant act of censorship and attack on the democratic rights of workers.

The lock on Lehman’s account came without warning, Lehman’s campaign told the WSWS, occurring almost immediately after it tweeted a thread reporting on the support for his campaign among John Deere agricultural equipment workers.

The specific tweet in the thread that Twitter claimed violated its rules stated, “Equality is a central concern of workers, as this young worker at Deere Harvester says:”

The tweet included a short video of a young worker at Deere’s Harvester Works expressing his support for Lehman’s campaign.

In the video, a supporter of Lehman asks the worker, “So what do you think about what Will’s calling for, building a rank-and-movement of workers to put an end to the UAW bureaucracy and fight for what workers need?”

John Deere Harvester worker voices support for UAW presidential candidate Will Lehman

The worker replies, “I think Will’s doing a good job in putting into this. We need someone to step up in the union, to give us the chance to have equal rights, just like the salaried side. I think what Will is doing is good for the future of John Deere Harvester, and I’m right behind you Will.”




The following sites updated:

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