Saturday, April 16, 2022

Iraq, distracting the people, and more

Starting with the war the world forgot, XINHUA reports:

Two soldiers were killed and two wounded Saturday, Apr. 16, while defusing a bomb in Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala.

“Two soldiers of the engineering corps in the Iraqi army were killed and two others wounded while dismantling an explosive device planted on the outskirts of the town of Qara-Tappa, some 175 km northeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad,” the town’s Mayor Wasfi al-Tamimi told Xinhua.

In addition, IANS reports, "Two members of Iraq's Hashd Shaabi paramilitary force were killed in an attack launched by the Islamic State (IS) militants in the north of Baghdad, while four others died in a traffic accident in western Iraq." 

ABNA reports:

 (ABNA): Turkish fighter jets conducted air raids on areas in Iraqi Dohuk province in the north on Saturday, local Iraqi media said.

An Iraqi source told the Iraqi Arabic-language al-Maloumeh news website that Turkish warplanes targeted the Korzar heights and surrounding areas near the villages of Nahili and Bari Kari in the Dirluk district of the Al-Emadiyah county in Dohuk province on Saturday.

The source added that "In the airstrike, the farmlands belonging to the people in the region were targeted and the residents had to evacuate for the city of Dirluk district as they were concerned for their safety."

Turkish warplanes attack villages in the Iraqi Kurdish region in the north almost on a daily basis despite opposition and condemnation from the Iraqi and Kurdish authorities.

Iraq has repeatedly called on Turkey to end the violations of its sovereignty and territorial integrity while Ankara says that it targets the PKK elements' hideouts in the region. 

We'll note this from Kelley Beaucar Vlahos (RESPONSIBLE STATECRAFT):

Why do we still have American troops in Syria and Iraq? That is the million dollar question that the Biden Administration has yet to answer — at least with any satisfaction — for the American people. Meanwhile, our service members continue to be targets of hostile forces for a Washington strategy no one can quite articulate.

On April 7 there were reports of “two rounds of indirect fire” on the Green Village Base in eastern Syria, which is housing U.S. troops as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. U.S. Central Command said four American service members were being evaluated for traumatic brain injury as a result.

On Thursday, however, U.S. Central Command quietly announced that there were no rockets, but “but rather the deliberate placement of explosive charges by an unidentified individual(s) at an ammunition holding area and shower facility.”

The political stalemate continues in Iraq.  Thursday morning, we noted:

The Coordinating Framework is said to be favoring Mustafa al-Kahdimi for the post.

Grasp that.

Why did they even have elections?

Yeah, Moqtada wants his own cousing to be prime minister -- an underling with no national presecnec.

Bu tthe Iraqi people are deeply unhappy with their government.  

And yet thanks to Moqtada, the Speaker of Parliament will be the same person.

The Coordinatign Framework wants Barham Saleh to8 remain as Iraqi president and now they're flirting wit8h Mustafa?

Why wasted the time and the money on elections if nothing is going to change.

There's also the fact that Mustafa -- a failure and a liar 8-- o8nce declared he would serve only one term.

Some e-mails came in insisting that was not the case.  Sorry, if I jumped the gun and let the cat out of the bag.  By Friday, a day later, it was being reported.  YOUR MIDDLE EAST NEWS noted on Friday, "The State of Law coalition, led by former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, said on Thursday it could support Kadhimi continuing in office."  Again, if I jumped the gun on that and it shocked you, sorry.  But I was correct (and knew it due to long standing correspondence with an Iraqi politician).  SHARAK NEWS reports:

 On Thursday, the head of the State of Law Coalition revealed the shape of the government sought by the Shiite Coordination Framework.Nuri al-Maliki received today the Russian Ambassador to Iraq, Elbrus Kutrashev.

They discussed the political and security developments in the regional and international arena, the war in Ukraine and other issues of common interests.According to a statement, al-Maliki stressed that Iraq “seeks to overcome its current crisis by making understandings with other political forces that contribute to forming a government that fulfills the hopes and aspirations of all Iraqis.”The prominent Shiite leader added that "the national forces foiled all foreign plots aimed to disturb the political process."In turn; Kutrashev expressed his country's support for the security, stability and sovereignty of Iraq, hoping to strengthening bilateral relations.The Russian Ambassador also praised the positive role Iraq plays in the regional arena.

Wow, so Nouri's still calling the shots and Moqtada is not, in fact, a kingmaker.  Who could have guessed?  Who could've known?

While the western press was caught off guard, we told you the whole time.  We said Moqtada wasn't a kingmaker and we said that long before he failed the first time to form a government, long before he failed three times, in fact.  We called out the media ahead of the October 10th elections for ignoring Nouri.  Now the western push for Moqtada wasn't surprising.  In August, we noted the State Dept's August bribe to Moqtada al-Sadr.  So the western press was just following the US government's lead -- no surprise there.  But yet again, they got it wrong.  And if they can't be seen as accurate, they can't serve their purpose which is to maintain control over what a populace is permitted to think.  They arent writing history, they aren't writing truths.

It's like the pretense that the war on Russia is about Ukraine.  That's not what it's about.  We need a new war, here in the US, because the people are getting too active for those in power.  There are strikes.  There are calls for Medicare For All.  As Harry S. Truman understood -- and as Gore Vidal never tired of pointing out -- the whole point of being on permanent war was having an enemy to scare the people with.

If you're still not getting the need to control the masses, Eric London (WSWS) reports:

The intolerable increases to the cost of living triggered by the US/NATO war against Russia in Ukraine are producing a massive wave of working-class protests throughout the world. Two years into a pandemic that has killed 20 million people and still rages on, social anger that has been building up around kitchen tables and on shopfloors is now boiling over into the streets. Masses of people of all racial, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds are reaching the same conclusion: life cannot continue in the old way.

Fifty days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, protests are now taking place on every continent. Demonstrators defy states of emergency and respond to police repression with mobilizations of growing size and intensity. Initial protests in Peru, Sudan and Sri Lanka are not only continuing, but are now spreading to heavily populated and more urban countries. In the major imperialist powers, the same governments that plotted the present war crisis now confront growing strike movements that the trade union bureaucracies are desperately trying to hold back.

It's all distraction as usual.   And Sean Penn and now Alec Baldwin make asses of themselves.

(I love Alec but he's making an ass of himself.)

Sean Penn.  That brings us back to Friday's snapshot.  I said that I'd work something into the next entry but was pulling it from that snapshot because it would overwhelm the point we were trying to make (You don't promote a convicted sex offender, Scott Ritter, a predator who the court expert testified in 2009 was not learning from therapy and was still a danger).  

It goes to how women are devalued.  And that relates to a conversation I had Tuesday when a group of friends came over.  She's an applauded -- highly applauded actress -- and she's also a Socialist.  While we were speaking of the media and how badly it performs, she noted that even with regards to the arts, the media does a shoddy job.  She pointed out that not one of her films has ever been reviewed by WSWS.  She doesn't make 'manly' films and that's all WSWS cares about.

She's wrong in one regard.

Julia Roberts.

I don't like Julia.  I had hopes for her and thought she'd grow out of her problems but then came SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT.  It was a disaster, the set was a toxic dump.  And many of us were called in to see if we could help.  Jane Fonda, for example, tried to suggest improving a scene.  A huge mistake because (a) Jane improving in COMING HOME produced the film's worst moment (that awful let's play statues climax in which Jane improvs herself out of the film) and (b) Jane wasn't willing to acknowledge the problem was Julia.

The rest of us did.  We agreed with Callie Khouri that Julia was destroying the film, that she was refusing to play the role as written and that it was tossing the entire film off balance.  We agreed with the director that Julia was being a diva of the worst sort.  We all felt great sympathy for Kyra Sedgwick who was having to endure her role being cut and shredded due to Julia's demands and to be treating in the worst way I've ever seen -- which is really saying something.

Julia's a practicing illiterate by the way.  She's the film 'producer' who set up her own company but never read a script herself.  

So I don't like Julia and I never have.  I applauded her performance in ERIN BROKAVICH and her winning of the Academy Award.  Ava and I praised her in HOMECOMING.

She's got a new series coming out soon on STARZ.

She does the streamers and cable now because the film industry's done with her.  She's a nightmare.  The reputation she earned on HOOK (Tinkerhell) only got worse for her.  Though she delivered in EAT PRAY LOVE at the box office and WONDER was a huge and surprise hit, she really doesn't get film offers anymore -- not leading roles.  So she runs to the streamers and was so corrosive on the set of HOMECOMING that they wrote her out of season two.  

Sean Penn I also don't like.  He's Julia's co-star in the upcoming STARZ series.  

I bring this up for a reason.  

I hope not to review that garbage.  I've avoided Amy Schumer's HULU series (watching it, writing about it).  But WSWS is different in that regard.  If you're on their radar because they don't like you, they're going to come after you and it won't matter that it's not a 'manly' film or series.

It's a shame that their arts coverage is so limited.  

They miss so much.  In fact, it shouldn't have been Ava and myself pointing out that the west constantly romanticizing the Romanoffs is nothing but an attempt to destroy the reputation of the Russian revolution:

These Romanov films and mini-series and TV movies aren't really needed or wanted.  They never explore the revolution or the people who were a part of it.  It's just oh-poor-dynasty.

It starts to seem less like it has to do with the Romanovs and more like it has to do with the emergence of a revolution that a capitalist system really doesn't care for.  Isn't that really the point of this obsession with the Romanovs on the point of people who have no real stake or interest in it?  It's just more propaganda and hasn't this propaganda been going on since the start of the Bolshevik Revolution that took down the Romanovs to begin with?

Think about it, how many films or TV shows has the US made questioning what happened to those in the colonies loyal to England?

But we have had non-stop portrayals of those poor Romanovs.  Poor, poor Romanovs.

John Reed and Louise Bryant tried to report reality and were attacked by the US press and the US government -- so very often the same apparatus.

NETFLIX's THE LAST CZARS would be bad entertainment regardless of its focus.  It's entire format and execution would render it useless.  But as consumers, we also need to be critical about what they're putting in front of us.  The Russian Revolution was a historic thing.  But that's not the story they're telling, is it?  The story they're telling is that the revolution destroyed those wonderful Romanovs, those poor Romanovs.  Looking at how THE LAST CZARS fits into that body of work, we're seeing a non-stop effort to demonize the rights of the people while glorifying a few.  We don't see that with the French Revolution portrayals and we don't see it with the Revolutionary War portrayals.  So ask yourself why we see it always and forever with the Russian Revolution?

The following sites updated:

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War Tax Resistance Actions--Tax Day Press Release

 Press Release 2022

Tax Day 2022

For Immediate Release: April 14, 2022
National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC)
Contact: Lincoln Rice, Coordinator
800-269-7464 (262-399-8217) or

Divesting from the Taxes that Fund War:

“War Tax Resisters” Protest with Their Money

War tax resisters are taking to the streets to call for an end to endless war. They are divesting from the taxes that fund war and investing in people, planet, and justice. The United States’ endless war on terror is continuing with drone warfare in Afghanistan and from over 800 overseas military bases outside the United States.  In addition, the recently signed National Defense Authorization Act approved $25 billion more in funding for fiscal year 2022 than the Pentagon requested. We are not waiting for government approval of our actions. We are divesting from war by refusing some or all of our federal tax dollars that fund it, or by living below the taxable income level. We invite everyone to join us in this public campaign of civil disobedience to war and war funding.

Thousands of people across the United States—from San Diego to Manhattan—are protesting the U.S. military budget on or around Tax Day (April 18). They will promote war tax resistance and highlight the deep flaws of our current budget.

Local actions will feature a “Back Sale for the Military” in front of San Diego’s Federal Building, “Burma shave” sign displays during rush hour in Portland, Oregon, vigils outside military installations in Milwaukee, online Zoom sessions on war tax resistance, and redirection ceremonies where activists redirect their withheld federal taxes dollars to underfunded organizations.

The proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2023 continues to take our country in the wrong direction. This massive proposed budget would continue to keep military spending at 37% of the current federal spending with $1.7 trillion being dedicated to past and present military expenses.

Not waiting for the government to act, activists will openly refuse to pay their taxes to the IRS and will instead redirect those funds to humanitarian programs. Erica Leigh of Seattle, Washington, says, “I want to live in accordance with my values and paying for militarism does not fit into that.” Maria Smith of Cleveland, Ohio states that she is “totally transparent on her tax form,” she just refuses to pay for killing at home and abroad. Her war tax resistance “embraces the full amount of my commitment to nonviolence.”

In Berkeley, California, members of Northern California People’s Life Fund will redirect tens of thousands of dollars in resisted war taxes. They received grant applications earlier this spring and announce the names of the groups receiving $2,000 - $5,000 grants during an online ceremony on April 14. They prioritized “essential day-to day human services which the government is not adequately furnishing, together with educational or other work that identifies and seeks to change the root causes of the problem.” The group was founded by war tax resisters in 1971 to pool their resisted war taxes. People’s Life Fund member Susan Quinlan says, “There are so many excellent groups that are working to protect families, communities, and the natural environment, and we are delighted to support these efforts. With U.S. military spending surpassing $1 trillion, we invite others to imagine what good could come from redirecting these military funds on a grand scale.”

The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) has coordinated tax day actions since 1983. NWTRCC is a coalition of local, regional, and national groups providing information and support to people who are conscientious objectors to paying taxes for war. NWTRCC partners with the Global Days of Action on Military Spending coordinated from Barcelona, Spain to join protests of war spending in the U.S. with a demand for global disarmament and a shift in priorities to sustainable development.

– 30 –


War tax resisters are available for interviews. Please contact NWTRCC, 1-800-269-7464,, for contacts in your area.

Up-to-date list of Tax Day actions,

NWTRCC’s Refuse to Pay for War Sign-On Statement,

“Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes” — War Resisters League pie chart,

Global Day of Action on Military Spending,

War Industry Resisters Network,

Militarization of the Police,


Climate Crisis, Taxes, & War,


Sen. Dianne Feinstein's RAPID Mental Decline ALARMS Whistleblower Lawmakers




We're starting the Record Store Day 2022 celebration next week with coast to coast events! Tuesday, we're heading to Los Angeles for a special panel discussion about record stores, Record Store Day and the new book that tells the story of them both.  Record Store Day Co-Founder Michael Kurtz will be chatting with Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo of Metallica and legendary songwriter/musician/trailblazer Linda Perry.

Variety's Chris Willman will host and there will be a special performance from Nilüfer Yanya, whose new album PAINLESS is in record stores now. 

We're doing it all at the Grammy Museum, and tickets are on sale now. (Proceeds benefit this non-profit organization's Music Education Initiatives!) 
On Friday April 22, we'll be with our friends from Brooklyn Bowl (in Brooklyn!) and Dogfish Head to start the RSD weekend at 6:30 with a few delicious beers, and a panel chat with Carrie from Record Store Day and Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione! It's all free, and then be sure to get your tickets and stick around for an evening with HANDSOME BOY MODELING SCHOOL! Their album So, How's Your Girl gets a loving reissue for Record Store Day, and tickets for their reunion show that night (RSD Eve!) are on sale now!  Come raise a glass with us! 
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