Cher's version of "The Winner Takes It All" from her new album (released today) DANCING QUEEN. Cher's an important musical voice. Margaret Kimberley's an important voice for justice. Kollibri terre Sonnenblume (COUNTERPUNCH) interviews Margaret:
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume: How do you react when people are like – as some political scientists recently said– that Trump is the, quote, “worst president ever.”
Margaret Kimberley: It means they don’t like him. That’s all it means. “Worst” based on what? Did he invade another country? I mean, look at what they’ve done. How they’ve rehabilitated George Bush. Depending on which number you believe, he killed a minimum of half a million people in Iraq. Maybe one million. But Trump is worse? Now maybe before he leaves office he’ll do something equally as horrible, but he’s certainly not worst right now.
It's called perspective and it's lacking when the likes of Barbra Streisand take time out from shopping in their own personal malls and cloning their dogs to try to be 'political.' They say stupid things that reveal how shallow and pathetic their lives are, stupid things like Colin Powell is "decent people." Sorry, I'm not in the mood for some ugly bitch like Barbra Streisand -- who has no formal education and no practical education (go back to speaking of Zen Buddhism, Babsie), thinking she can rewrite history.
While she was doing MEET THE FOCKERS or whatever other abortion she called a film, the rest of us were dealing with the liar Colin Powell. Here's Norman Solomon in 2005:
Powell’s televised U.N. speech exuded great confidence and authoritative judgment. But he owed much of his touted credibility to the fact that he had long functioned inside a media bubble shielding him from direct challenge. It might puzzle an American to read later, in a book compiled by the London-based Guardian, that Powell’s much-ballyhooed speech went over like a lead balloon. “The presentation was long on assertion and muffled taped phone calls, but short on killer facts,” the book said. “It fell flat.”
Fell flat? Well it did in Britain, where a portion of the mainstream press immediately set about engaging in vigorous journalism that ripped apart many of Powell’s assertions within days. But not on the western side of the Atlantic, where Powell’s star turn at the United Nations elicited an outpouring of media adulation. In the process of deference to Powell, many liberals were among the swooners.
In her Washington Post column the morning after Powell spoke, Mary McGrory proclaimed that “he persuaded me.” She wrote: “The cumulative effect was stunning.” And McGrory, a seasoned and dovish political observer, concluded: “I’m not ready for war yet. But Colin Powell has convinced me that it might be the only way to stop a fiend, and that if we do go, there is reason.”
In the same edition, Post columnist Richard Cohen shared his insight that Powell was utterly convincing: “The evidence he presented to the United Nations — some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail — had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn’t accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without
a doubt still retains them. Only a fool — or possibly a Frenchman — could conclude otherwise.”
Inches away, Post readers found Jim Hoagland’s column with this lead:
Colin Powell did more than present the world with a convincing and detailed X-ray of Iraq’s secret weapons and terrorism programs yesterday. He also exposed the enduring bad faith of several key members of the U.N. Security Council when it comes to Iraq and its “web of lies,” in Powell’s phrase.Hoagland’s closing words sought to banish doubt: “To continue to say that the Bush administration has not made its case, you must now believe that Colin Powell lied in the most serious statement he will ever make, or was taken in by manufactured evidence. I don’t believe that. Today, neither should you.”
On the opposite page the morning after Powell’s momentous U.N. speech, a Washington Post editorial was figuratively on the same page as the Post columnists. Under the headline “Irrefutable,” the newspaper laid down its line for rationality: “After Secretary of State Colin L. Powell’s presentation to the United Nations Security
Council yesterday, it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.”
Also smitten was the editorial board of the most influential U.S. newspaper leaning against the push for war. Hours after Powell finished his U.N. snow job, the New York Times published an editorial with a mollified tone — declaring that he “presented the United Nations and a global television audience yesterday with the most
powerful case to date that Saddam Hussein stands in defiance of Security Council resolutions and has no intention of revealing or surrendering whatever unconventional weapons he may have.”
By sending Powell to address the Security Council, the Times claimed, President Bush “showed a wise concern for international opinion.” And the paper contended that “Mr. Powell’s presentation was all the more convincing because he dispensed with apocalyptic invocations of a struggle of good and evil and focused on shaping a sober, factual case against Mr. Hussein’s regime.”
Later, in mid-September 2003, straining to justify Washington’s refusal to let go of the occupation of Iraq, Colin Powell used the language of a venture capitalist: “Since the United States and its coalition partners have invested a great deal of political capital, as well as financial resources, as well as the lives of our young men and women — and we have a large force there now — we can’t be expected to suddenly just step aside.”
Now, after so much clear evidence has emerged to discredit the entire U.S. war effort, Colin Powell still can’t bring himself to stand up and account for his crucial role. Instead, he’s leaving it to a former aide to pin blame on those who remain at the top of the Bush administration. But Powell was an integral part of the war propaganda
machinery. And we can hardly expect the same media outlets that puffed him up at crucial times to now scrutinize their mutual history.
It is hilarious that the cross-eyed Barbra is pimping a song about hating lies and liars while she's also insisting that Colin Powell is a decent person. He's a f**king liar who is responsible for the deaths of millions. He lied to the United Nations, he knew he was lying. He lied to get the country into war. You can also check out Ava and my "TV Review: Barbara and Colin remake The Way We Were" from 2005 and I'd suggest you look into the late Robert Parry's work on this topic as well (there should be at least one link to Parry in Ava and my piece). There's no need for lies and if Barbra wants to fight lies she can start by stop lying herself. Cheap whore, that's all she ever was, it's all she's ever been. She's molested her own talent in such a way that she's produced the most mediocre career anyone could imagine. That's bad. But pimping Colin Powell as "decent"? After that lying speech? Babs needs to go back to cloning her dead dog and other things that fat-assed, ridiculous and wealthy women do when they've got no real life or connection to one.
Last February, Jon Schwarz (INTERCEPT) examined Colin's selling of the war:
Jon goes through the speech point by point. If you're stupid enough to believe a hagged out fool who is so addicted to fillers that she now has chipmunk cheeks, you really should read through Jon's report. And you should grasp that Colin Powell is a War Criminal and that pre-dates Iraq.
The Queen knighted US war criminal Colin Powell who covered up the My Lai Massacre. #HappyBirthdayYourMajesty
Barbra doesn't like liars? She keeps forgetting to note that she has a financial interest in the remake of A STAR IS BORN. Her ex-lover Jon Peters can't promote the film. Too many women have come out to talk about how he harassed and raped them. So Warner Brothers really needs Barbra to talk it up. She doesn't like liars? All these interviews praising A STAR IS BORN that never manage to mention that Babs has a financial interest in the project? That's called deception. There's no whore like an old whore.
B-b-b-ut Barbra's a defender of women.
She's a defender of herself. She's a self-promoter. She practices the same Me-ism as Hillary Clinton and tries to pass it off as feminism.
Real feminists care aren't cloning their pets. Real feminists speak out for women. The women in Iraq who have taken part in the protests have risked a great deal.
Barbra doesn't care about them. They don't buy her bad albums or see her tacky films.
They risk everything and Barbra can't highlight them.
Four women. Killed in broad daylight. For the 'crime' of protesting. For the 'crime' of demanding drinkable water that doesn't land you in the hospital, electricity (150 degrees Fahrenheit was not uncommon in Basra this summer) and jobs.
Hayder al-Abadi, still prime minister of Iraq at this point, shut down the internet in July to try to keep the world from finding out what was going on.
Why did he even bother?
In a world of cross-eyed Barbras, there's no need. They will waste our time with tacky and banal topics, distracting us from what matters.
The Iraqi people are suffering -- they are suffering in the 15th year of an illegal war. But 'activist' Barbra Streisand doesn't care. She's never cared. She's wasted her talents and she's wasted the world's time. If the rumors are true that James Brolin is using a 'high class' service to cheat on her are true, no one's going to shed a tear for Barbra. The world has passed her by. She's obsolete and soon to be forgotten. Real issues matter, fat cats like Babs, not so much.
AL ARABYIA reports:
An Iraqi social media star became the latest woman victim of a spate of murders across the country this week by unknown gunmen.
Tara Fares was shot dead in her car in the capital Baghdad on Thursday, just a day after she was voted one of Iraq's most popular social media stars.
She was murdered by unknown gunmen in the Kam Sara neighbourhood of Baghdad, with the ministry of interior saying they are investigating the killing
The model and journalist had a huge following on Istagram, with over 2 million followers.
The Iraqi people suffer. In part, they suffer because the US government did not intend to ever provide democracy. They wanted disorder and chaos. See Naomi Klein's "Baghdad Year Zero" (HARPER'S):
The fact that the boom never came and Iraq continues to tremble under explosions of a very different sort should never be blamed on the absence of a plan. Rather, the blame rests with the plan itself, and the extraordinarily violent ideology upon which it is based.
Torturers believe that when electrical shocks are applied to various parts of the body simultaneously subjects are rendered so confused about where the pain is coming from that they become incapable of resistance. A declassified CIA "Counterintelligence Interrogation" manual from 1963 describes how a trauma inflicted on prisoners opens up "an interval – which may be extremely brief - of suspended animation, a kind of psychological shock or paralysis ... At this moment the source is far more open to suggestion, far likelier to comply." A similar theory applies to economic shock therapy, or "shock treatment," the ugly term used to describe the rapid implementation of free-market reforms imposed on Chile in the wake of General Augusto Pinochet's coup. The theory is that if painful economic "adjustments" are brought in rapidly and in the aftermath of a seismic social disruption like a war, a coup, or a government collapse, the population will be so stunned, and so preoccupied with the daily pressures of survival, that it too will go into suspended animation, unable to resist. As Pinochet's finance minister, Admiral Lorenzo Gotuzzo, declared, "The dog's tail must be cut off in one chop."
That, in essence, was the working thesis in Iraq, and in keeping with the belief that private companies are more suited than governments for virtually every task, the White House decided to privatize the task of privatizing Iraq's state-dominated economy. Two months before the war began, USAID began drafting a work order, to be handed out to a private company, to oversee Iraq's "transition to a sustainable market-driven economic system." The document states that the winning company (which turned out to be the KPMG offshoot Bearing Pint) will take "appropriate advantage of the unique opportunity for rapid progress in this area presented by the current configuration of political circumstances." Which is precisely what happened. L. Paul Bremer, who led the U.S. occupation of Iraq from May 2, 2003, until he caught an early flight out of Baghdad on June 28, admits that when he arrived, "Baghdad was on fire, literally, as I drove in from the airport." But before the fires from the "shock and awe" military onslaught were even extinguished, Bremer unleashed his shock therapy, pushing through more wrenching changes in one sweltering summer than the International Monetary Fund has managed to enact over three decades in Latin America. Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate and former chief economist at the World Bank, describes Bremer's reforms as "an even more radical form of shock therapy than pursued in the former Soviet world."
The tone of Bremer's tenure was set with his first major act on the job: he fired 500,000 state workers, most of them soldiers, but also doctors, nurses, teachers, publishers, and printers. Next, he flung open the country's borders to absolutely unrestricted imports: no tariffs, no duties, no inspections, no taxes. Iraq, Bremer declared two weeks after he arrived, was "open for business."
One month later, Bremer unveiled the centerpiece of his reforms. Before the invasion, Iraq's non-oil-related economy had been dominated by 200 state-owned companies, which produced everything from cement to paper to washing machines. In June, Bremer flew to an economic summit in Jordan and announced that these firms would be privatized immediately. "Getting inefficient state enterprises into private hands," he said, "is essential for Iraq's economic recovery." It would be the largest state liquidation sale since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
But Bremer's economic engineering had only just begun. In September, to entice foreign investors to come to Iraq, he enacted a radical set of laws unprecedented in their generosity to multinational corporations. There was Order 37, which lowered Iraq's corporate tax rate from roughly 40 percent to a flat 15 percent. There was Order 39, which allowed foreign companies to own 100 percent of Iraqi assets outside of the natural-resource sector. Even better, investors could take 100 percent of the profits they made in Iraq out of the country; they would not be required to reinvest and they would not be taxed. Under Order 39, they could sign leases and contracts that would last for forty years. Order 40 welcomed foreign banks to Iraq under the same favorable terms. All that remained of Saddam Hussein's economic policies was a law restricting trade unions and collective bargaining.
If these policies sound familiar, it's because they are the same ones multinationals around the world lobby for from national governments and in international trade agreements. But while these reforms are only ever enacted in part, or in fits and starts, Bremer delivered them all, all at once. Overnight, Iraq went from being the most isolated country in the world to being, on paper, its widest-open market.
At first, the shock-therapy theory seemed to hold: Iraqis, reeling from violence both military and economic, were far too busy staying alive to mount a political response to Bremer's campaign. Worrying about the privatization of the sewage system was an unimaginable luxury with half the population lacking access to clean drinking water; the debate over the flat tax would have to wait until the lights were back on. Even in the international press, Bremer's new laws, though radical, were easily upstaged by more dramatic news of political chaos and rising crime.
Some people were paying attention, of course. That autumn was awash in "rebuilding Iraq" trade shows, in Washington, London, Madrid, and Amman. The Economist described Iraq under Bremer as "a capitalist dream," and a flurry of new consulting firms were launched promising to help companies get access to the Iraqi market, their boards of directors stacked with well-connected Republicans. The most prominent was New Bridge Strategies, started by Joe Allbaugh, former Bush-Cheney campaign manager. "Getting the rights to distribute Procter & Gamble products can be a gold mine," one of the company's partners enthused. "One well-stocked 7-Eleven could knock out thirty Iraqi stores; a Wal-Mart could take over the country."
Soon there were rumors that a McDonald's would be opening up in downtown Baghdad, funding was almost in place for a Starwood luxury hotel, and General Motors was planning to build an auto plant. On the financial side, HSBC would have branches all over the country, Citigroup was preparing to offer substantial loans guaranteed against future sales of Iraqi oil, and the bell was going to ring on a New York-style stock exchange in Baghdad any day.
In only a few months, the postwar plan to turn Iraq into a laboratory for the neocons had been realized. Leo Strauss may have provided the intellectual framework for invading Iraq preemptively, but it was that other University of Chicago professor, Milton Friedman, author of the anti-government manifesto Capitalism and Freedom, who supplied the manual for what to do once the country was safely in America's hands. This represented an enormous victory for the most ideological wing of the Bush Administration. But it was also something more: the culmination of two interlinked power struggles, one among Iraqi exiles advising the White House on its postwar strategy, the other within the White House itself.
As the British historian Dilip Hiro has shown, in Secrets and Lies: Operation 'Iraqi Freedom' and After, the Iraqi exiles pushing for the invasion were divided, broadly, into two camps. On one side were "the pragmatists," who favored getting rid of Saddam and his immediate entourage, securing access to oil, and slowly introducing free-market reforms. Many of these exiles were part of the State Department's Future of Iraq Project, which generated a thirteen-volume report on how to restore basic services and transition to democracy after the war. On the other side was the "Year Zero" camp, those who believed that Iraq was so contaminated that it needed to be rubbed out and remade from scratch. The prime advocate of the pragmatic approach was Iyad Allawi, a former high-level Baathist who fell out with Saddam and started working for the CIA. The prime advocate of the Year Zero approach was Ahmad Chalabi, whose hatred of the Iraqi state for expropriating his family's assets during the 1958 revolution ran so deep he longed to see the entire country burned to the ground - everything, that is, but the Oil Ministry, which would be the nucleus of the new Iraq, the cluster of cells from which an entire nation would grow. He called this process "de-Baathification."
Goons were put in place by the US government to sew chaos and destruction so that the shocked people couldn't fight back. Not just by the US. Basra was fighting back -- and would win concessions. Around this time, we had what happening? Oh, those Muslim fanatics, remember? The ones who attacked on September 19, 2005?
Those Mulsim fanatics who were, in fact, British. They were British citizens, not Iraqis. British Special Air Service soldiers, remember? They just dressed up to try to pass themselves off as Arabs when they launched the attack on Basra.
From Sabrina Tavernise's "British Army Storms Basra Jail to Free 2 Soldiers From Arrest" (NEW YORK TIMES):
Two British soldiers working under cover were arrested Monday in the southern city of Basra and then freed as a British armored vehicle blasted through the wall of their jail after an angry crowd began rioting outside, an Interior Ministry official said.
The official said that the soldiers were undercover officers dressed as Iraqis and that Iraqi police officers had arrested them after the men fired at a traffic police officer.
A British military spokesman in Basra confirmed that "two U.K. military personnel" had been detained early on Monday "in a shooting incident" and that troops had used an armored fighting vehicle "to gain entry" to the police station to release them. He said that more than one vehicle had been in the area and that the police inside the station had refused to obey orders from the Interior Ministry to release the men.
The incident came a day after British forces in Basra arrested three members of the Mahdi Army, the militia loyal to the rebellious Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, on suspicion of terrorism.
For those who marvel over the fact that THE TIMES covered it -- and that others did as well -- please note that the occupying forces -- including the British -- were whispered to be part of the campaign killing journalists in Basra. Was it true, was it paranoia? I have no idea. But THE NEW YORK TIMES losing one of their own (Fakher Haider) at exactly the same time -- a murder that has never been solved -- was said to have motivated Tavernise's piece making it into print.
Attacking journalists in Iraq was never a minor issue. Recently, the 'resistance' and its ilk have insisted that journalists risk their lives in Iraq and should be supported. Huh? The Debra Messings want you not to call their beloved "fake news." But here's reality, the US attacked journalists publicly on April 8, 2003 when they attacked the Palestine Hotel. Enough time -- and enough administrations -- have passed that you'd think the us press could be as honest as the world's press about what actually happened there.
This was never about democracy or liberation. This was an illegal war that remains illegal. The US government doesn't want to help Iraq, it wants to control it. And they're okay -- the US government -- with Iraqis dying and thugs being in charge.
But, look, over there, it's Barbra Streisand's fat ass distracting us all again.
The following community sites -- plus DISSIDENT VOICE -- updated: