Friday, May 12, 2023

Iraq snapshot

Friday, May 12, 2023.  A 'think' tank tells us the US military can leave Iraq . . . in five years, there's a campaign to save the TV show THE WINCHESTERS, someone let Sabby Sabs know that typing a lie does not make the lie true, and much more.

You'd think Ava and I having written, 17 years ago, of SUPERNATURAL, that "it's like really bad gay porn where the leads forget to take their clothes off" would keep us off certain request lists.  You'd think it. 

THE CW is a piece of crap network today run on the cheap and desperate.  They'll either commit to real programming or go down the toilet quickly -- real programming isn't Chip and Joanna or their ilk on a non HGTV channel.  I have no idea why THE WINCHESTERS can't easily move to HBO (which needs new programming but is part of the problem due to new ownership) or PARAMOUNT+ which is still butt hurt over the survey that they sent to some subscribers earlier this week (results?  If it's not STAR TREK and it's not Sarah Michelle Geller's WOLFPACK, subscribers aren't impressed) -- since it's a WB and CBS co-production.  Jensen and company are attempting to save THE WINCHESTERS -- the SUPERNATURAL spin-off that THE CW announced was axed yesterday.  I'm happy to note the campaign to save the show  and we'll even open the snapshot with it.

Let's move over to Iraq, Stefanie Glinski (GUARDIAN) reports:

It’s been 20 years since the start of the US-led invasion which toppled the then president Saddam Hussein – launched under the false premise of Iraq owning weapons of mass destruction. What followed were years of violence, including a sectarian civil war, frequent terrorist attacks by al-Qaida and, eventually, the emergence of Islamic State. About 300,000 civilians died in the conflict over the past 20 years and much of Iraq was left devastated.
Baghdad’s face is constantly changing: concrete blast walls coming down, new co-working spaces popping up, the banks of the Tigris River being redeveloped and a building boom under way. Young people have transformed grey walls into colourful murals, or empty buildings into restaurants and it is on this generation of people in their late teens and early 20s that so many hopes are being pinned.

In the capital, Baghdad, they are students and ballet instructors, artists and amputees who lost limbs during the heavy years of conflict, entrepreneurs and business owners. Many were born into war, and are now torn between two choices: “My generation either wants to leave Iraq and start over elsewhere, or otherwise stay here and invest, rebuild and move our country forward,” says Anwar Ahmed, a 23-year-old environmentalist. “Personally, I believe Baghdad needs me – and even when it’s not always easy, I think I need it too.”

Of course, she adds, metropolitan Baghdad with its 8 million residents does not necessarily always speak for the rest of the country – but “here’s where change starts”.

First, I missed the memo too -- the one on "300,000" -- that started showing up over and over this year.  It's over a million dead and it was over a million before Bully Boy Bush left the White House.

Second, if they can leave Iraq, good for thm.  The US military can't leave.  All these years later, the US military can't leave.

The US government's Operation Inherent Resolve announced this morning:

Live Fire Exercises In Iraq For May

By CJTF-OIR Public Affairs

BAGHDAD, Iraq – On May 2, 2023, Coalition service members will be conducting aerial operational exercises in or near the Erbil region in Iraq to validate weapons systems and maintain crew proficiency and readiness.

These exercises ensure the Coalition’s continued capability to support our partner forces and protect our Coalition forces. Extensive planning and proper safety measures are taken before and during live fire rehearsals in order to protect the Coalition and the local population. 

Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve advises, assists, and enables partner forces to secure the lasting defeat of ISIS and to enable the establishment of enduring security cooperation frameworks.

UPDATE: On May 3, 2023, Coalition service members will be conducting aerial operational exercises in or near the Erbil region in Iraq to validate weapons systems and maintain crew proficiency and readiness.

UPDATE: On May 4, 2023, Coalition service members will be conducting ground and aerial operational exercises in or near the Erbil and Khalidiyah regions in Iraq to validate weapons systems and maintain crew proficiency and readiness.

UPDATE: On May 5, 2023, Coalition service members will be conducting aerial operational exercises in or near the Erbil region in Iraq to validate weapons systems and maintain crew proficiency and readiness.

UPDATE: On May 6, 2023, Coalition service members will be conducting aerial operational exercises in or near the Erbil region in Iraq to validate weapons systems and maintain crew proficiency and readiness.

UPDATE: On May 7, 2023, Coalition service members will be conducting ground operational exercises in or near the Mosul region in Iraq to validate weapons systems and maintain crew proficiency and readiness.

UPDATE: On May 8, 2023, Coalition service members will be conducting aerial operational exercises in or near the Mosul region in Iraq to validate weapons systems and maintain crew proficiency and readiness.

UPDATE: On May 9, 2023, Coalition service members will be conducting aerial operational exercises in or near the Mosul region in Iraq to validate weapons systems and maintain crew proficiency and readiness.

UPDATE: On May 10, 2023, Coalition service members will be conducting aerial operational exercises in or near the Sulaymaniyah region in Iraq to validate weapons systems and maintain crew proficiency and readiness.

UPDATE: On May 11, 2023, Coalition service members will be conducting aerial operational exercises in or near the Erbil region in Iraq to validate weapons systems and maintain crew proficiency and readiness.

UPDATE: On May 12, 2023, Coalition service members will be conducting ground defense operational exercises in or near Baghdad, Iraq to validate weapons systems and maintain crew proficiency and readiness.

They're not going anywhere.  This wave of the war started in 2003 and it still hasn't ended.  Over at the latest non-thinking think-tank (Quincy Institute For 'Responsible' Statecraft), Steven Simon and Adam Weinstein presented their best effort (which is really sad) regarding Iraq.  It's entitled "How To Withdraw From Iraq in Five Years."

In five years.

The 'think'-tank is telling us how the US military can leave Iraq in . . . five years.

When Barack Obama became president, some thought US troops were coming home.  "We want to end the Iraq War and we want to end it now!" he thundered on the 2008 campaign trail over and over.  But didn't happen, did it.   Let's drop back to the February 8, 2012 snapshot: 
We covered the November 30th [2011] House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the MiddleEast and South Asia in the December 1st snapshot and noted that Ranking Member Gary Ackerman had several questions. He declared, "Number one, does the government of Iraq -- whose personnel we intend to train -- support the [police training] program?  Interviews with senior Iaqi officials by the Special Inspector General show utter didain for the program.  When the Iraqis sugest that we take our money and do things instead that are good for the United States. I think that might be a clue."  The State Dept's Brooke Darby faced that Subcommittee. Ranking Member Gary Ackerman noted that the US had already spent 8 years training the Iraq police force and wanted Darby to answer as to whether it would take another 8 years before that training was complete?  Her reply was, "I'm not prepared to put a time limit on it."  She could and did talk up Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Interior Adnan al-Asadi as a great friend to the US government.  But Ackerman and Subcommittee Chair Steve Chabot had already noted Adnan al-Asadi, but not by name.  That's the Iraqi official, for example, Ackerman was referring to who made the suggestion "that we take our money and do things instead that are good for the United States."  He made that remark to SIGIR Stuart Bowen.
Brooke Darby noted that he didn't deny that comment or retract it; however, she had spoken with him and he felt US trainers and training from the US was needed.  The big question was never asked in the hearing: If the US government wants to know about this $500 million it is about to spend covering the 2012 training of the Ministry of the Interior's police, why are they talking to the Deputy Minister?
In that same House Foreign Relations Committee hearing, it was also established that the State Dept had no real plan.
Ranking Member Gary Ackerman: When will they be willing to stand up without us?
Brooke Darby: I wish I could answer that question.
Ranking Member Gary Ackerman: Then why are we spending money if we don't have the answer?
[long pause]
Ranking Member Gary Ackerman: You know, this is turning into what happens after a bar mitzvah or a Jewish wedding. It's called "a Jewish goodbye."  Everybody keeps saying goodbye but nobody leaves.
That was 2011.  It's eleven years later and Quincy wants to tell us how the US can leave . . . in five more years.

Ackerman: "It's called 'a Jewish goodbye.'  Everybody keeps saying goodbye but nobody leaves."

True then, true all these years later.

The US media sold the war on Iraq with lies.  All this time later, the media works overtime to either lie or be silent when it comes to the American Taliban.  Ari Drennan (MEDIA MATTERS) calls out THE WASHINGTON POST for lying and selling hatred:

Reporting on a Washington Post/KFF poll that ran on the Post’s front page on Monday morning promised “political jet fuel for Republicans in state legislatures and Congress who are pushing measures restricting curriculum, sports participation and medical care,” a self-fulfilling prophecy enabled by the Post’s own oversimplified, hyperbolic framing.

The first question reported in the story asked whether someone’s gender can differ from their sex assigned at birth, a theoretical topic far removed from the actual GOP policies concerning trans people, which have included bans on public bathroom access, exclusions from athletic competition, and prohibitions on gender-affirming care for adults. 

Summarizing the poll, the authors wrote that “certainly for now, the new Post-KFF poll finds, Republican lawmakers have the wind at their backs on much of their anti-transgender legislative agenda.”

But while the story was new, the poll was conducted in November and December 2022, over six months ago and well before this year’s legislative onslaught of over 450 bills targeting LGBTQ people. Restricting rights for transgender people tends to be a low-salience issue, falling far below other priorities, that has been rejected by voters time and time again — including in the November 2022 midterms and the December 2022 Georgia Senate runoff. Even a recent Fox News poll conceded that voters regard “attacks on families with transgender children” as more of a problem than trans athletes.

Indeed, in the only question concerning laws discriminating against trans people, the Washington Post/KFF poll found overwhelming majorities support protections for trans people in housing (74%), employment (73%), and K-12 schools (69%). However, these were not the conclusions that the Post chose to highlight in bizarrely claiming that “most Americans support anti-trans policies favored by GOP.”

The misleading framing of the Post’s story lent itself to coverage by Fox News, which used it to attack former college trans athlete Lia Thomas — who last competed 14 months ago and whose record in the 1,650-yard freestyle has since been broken by a cisgender swimmer — and to claim that Republicans are fighting for women’s sex-based rights instead of working to criminalize abortion. The poll was subsequently used by Fox News to defend a Texas bill that would criminalize gender-affirming care for minors and to argue that trans equality is being pushed by “marginal extremist individuals who are left-wing activists”

Fox News is adept at using corporate media’s questioning of the basic existence of trans people as a cudgel against Democratic politicians who refuse to stay silent. 

While the inclusion of trans people in public life has become a matter of fierce debate in the last couple years, history shows the danger of framing like that adopted by the Post. As pointed out by The American Independent writer Oliver Willis, a 1961 Gallup poll found that what the Post would call “most Americans” believed that the sit-in protests against racial segregation would “hurt” the integration movement.

At a time when the position of much of the right is that “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely,” The Washington Post’s poll analysis presenting attacks on trans people as politically popular is, in fact, adding “jet fuel” to the fire being stoked by the GOP.

THE WASHINGTON POST publishes their lies and FOX "NEWS" presents it on air as proof.  We saw the same with Iraq.  THE NEW YORK TIMES published the lies, then president of vice Dick Cheney went on NBC's MEET THE PRESS waving the 'report' by THE TIMES as proof.  

There was a time, boys and girls, when John Stauber would have called such things out -- and did.  But he's gone over to the dark side.  As Rebecca's noted, "john stauber is the 21st century david horowitz."

The American Taliban is bent on destroying democracy and the nation itself.  Some of the hate merchants are betting on Ron DeSantis -- alleged governor of Florida who fails at that task but thinks he should be president of the United States.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, DeSantis’ board has “created a code enforcement system that could issue fines to Walt Disney World, which is known for meticulous care of its grounds,” which would include imposing fines for code violations of up to $500 per day, all determined by a group of newly-appointed code enforcement officers, who would answer to the new administrator the board had selected (along with a substantial pay increase). The new program “would also authorize foreclosures on any liens.”

This increasingly bizarre mess started just over a year ago, with a milquetoast press release issued by the then-CEO Bob Chapek — regarding the Parental Rights in Education bill (dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by many of its critics) after it passed. Many other companies criticized the legislation in far harsher terms before it passed, and Disney didn’t actually do anything about the bill after that press release, but it was enough to trigger DeSantis’ ire.

Well, more accurately, the Disney corporation presented an irresistible target for DeSantis’ presidential ambitions, helping him secure some of that sweet, sweet Fox News airtime as he sought to portray himself as a warrior knight of the culture wars. As DeSantis admitted in his book, he directed the GOP-controlled Florida legislature to rush through a bill targeting Disney: an ill-conceived, unconstitutional effort to repeal outright the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID), the special taxing district for Disney’s property that stretches across Orange and Osceola County.

DeSantis’ Cinderella Castle coup attempt was derailed by RCID’s outstanding municipal bond debt of over $1 billion that would become the debt of the county taxpayers if RCID was dissolved — a politically unpalatable development — so during the 2023 legislative session, his minions in the legislature rushed forward another bill that kept the main structure of RCID intact and took control of the board away from Disney and granted that appointment power to the governor.

But before DeSantis’ new puppet board could seize the reins, Disney and the existing RCID board entered into a new development agreement (a common legal instrument in Florida real estate development), essentially freezing the existing system in place, prohibiting the incoming board from using the Disney name or characters, and otherwise sharply limiting their power — all done at a publicly-announced, open-to-the-public RCID meeting that was recorded in the county public records.

Disney has filed suit in federal court, arguing that the plain language in an incredibly long list of comments by DeSantis and his allies proves their retaliatory intent, and therefore a violation of the First Amendment, in addition to other claims based on contract law. First Amendment jurisprudence has long held that the government cannot take otherwise legal action (and the RCID repeal and board takeover violate other provisions of Florida law) against a taxpayer as retaliation against the exercise of that taxpayer’s free speech rights.

B-b-b-but Jonathan Turley says!!!!

Jonathan Turley doesn't know what he's talking about.  

Sidebar, what should a university do with a tenured professor if they find out that he or she has actively participated in a cabal, an actual conspiracy -- as legally defined?  Pretend Ann Coulter could be a professor, for example, and that back in the 90s when she was one of the 'elves' working to overthrow then-President Bill Clinton, when that reality came out, she could lose her job -- whether she had tenure or not.  Tenure makes you untouchable in a lot of ways but deceiving the public can invalidate that.

At any rate, Jonathan doesn't know what he's talking about.  He's a mouthpiece for the right-wing.  It's gotten so bad that he no longer even does a pretense that he's left.  In addition to the legal issues, there's also the harm Ronnie's doing to his own image.  Dean Baker (TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICES) observes:

In the good old days, we used to think that in a democracy, we should have a level playing field. This meant that candidates made their case to the voters and did their best to get supporters out to vote. Elections were hard fought and often nasty, but the idea was that the person who could get the most votes won.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis doesn’t think this will work for him. He seems to need the power of Florida’s government to help him advance his political career.

That is the story of his battle with Walt Disney Co. It is crucial to be clear about the issue here. Florida arguably has been overly generous in its subsidies to Disney, most notably ceding control over a chunk of the state’s territory to Disney. People who live in the area near Florida’s Disney World don’t vote for city or county officials; their community is governed by Disney.

This is an arrangement that dates back more than 50 years. Florida never should have offered this sort of concession to attract Disney. Arguably, it should be looking to take it back now.

But that is not the issue here. DeSantis has made it clear that he is not going after Disney because he thinks the state has been too generous with the company. He is going after Disney because it publicly disagrees with his politics.

DeSantis is saying that he has the right to use the power of Florida’s government to attack Disney for political reasons. And the issue is not just Disney.

By attacking Disney, one of the most influential companies in the country, DeSantis is sending a warning. He is prepared to use the power of the state’s government against any company or individual that might oppose his political ambitions. Apparently, DeSantis is worried about his prospects in fair elections. He feels he needs the power of the government at his back to move ahead in politics.

And, of course, among Republicans, he's harming himself.  He's trying to pull the MAGA vote away from Donald Trump but he's mainly just running off what would be termed "reasonable Republicans" by some.  They're not really thrilled with his anti-business stance and stunts.

Jonathan can't tell you about that because it's not part of the on-message talking points delivered each morning.

And Bob Iger (as disclosed before, I know Bob) made a great point this week: "One question: Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people, and pay more taxes — or not?"

Little Ronnie and Swirley Turley are idiots who don't remember when Florida's reputation found the state struggling to bring in tourists.  I do.  Lose DISNEY and Florida will suffer.  Florida has always been tourism-dependent when it came to the economy.  Getting DISNEY WORLD in 1971 was a major boost.  It even helped them when Florida was seen as too lawless, dangerous and with a heavy criminal element.  In other words, Ronnie, I'm not really sure that pissing off the people in charge of creative entertainment is the way to go.  You'll never win and all you have to do is give the studios a reason to explore crime and Florida and you'll see those tourist dollars taper off yet again.  A gritty reboot of MIAMI VICE, for example, could do a lot of harm to what would be left -- without DISNEY -- of the tourist industry. 

Little Ronnie's an idiot.  Jonathan Turley's just a media whore paid by FOX "NEWS."

Speaking of idiots or liars -- Sabby Sabs.  

Replying to
They set up when she came forward about Biden. You were silent. Why are you so concerned now? ��

Just typing something doesn't make it true.  She grasps that, right?

Joshua Rhett Miller (NY POST) May 8, 2020 [Click on the link, Sabby, use the mouse -- okay, just stand up in the coffee house and ask someone to come over and help you with your laptop, Sabby]:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez believes “something happened” between former Vice President Joe Biden and a former staffer accusing him of sexual assault some 27 years ago — although the allegations are not “clear-cut,” she said.

Ocasio-Cortez, speaking to National Public Radio Thursday, warned against rushing to judgment and urged due process regarding Tara Reade’s claim that the Democratic presidential hopeful sexually harassed her while working as an aide for Biden in 1993.

“There have been investigative journalists that have corroborated certain aspects of her account — that is undeniable — [and] have raised questions about other aspects of her account,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

So, Sabby, are you a liar or just an idiot?

I think you (a) are too stupid to remember recent history (or any) and (b) that you're eager to attack AOC and you have a base of idiots who believe you're little con game so you think you can type anything.  It's not that easy, Sabby.  You were wrong.  Don't correct it, that way we'll know you lied intentionally.

Blogs and kisses -- as Tracey would say when doing her Arianna impersonation -- blogs and kisses.

And that was spotted on Tara's feed -- Tara Reed reTweeted it.  Another reason never to support Tara.  I've noted she made a credible case and I've noted that even really awful and disgusting people -- who leech off others and never repay them -- can be raped or assaulted.  But it's not my job to defend racists and transphobes so, as I've noted before, Tara's on her own.

And she should be.  

AOC spoke out in her defense and Tara -- an ungrateful attention whore -- rewards that by . . . reTweeting a dishonest attack.

Well if Tara couldn't be dishonest, she might never get to speak.  Take a moment and ponder what a glorious world that would be.

As long as I'm fact checking, Jonathan Turley:

Today, I will testify on free speech protections before the Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability. The hearing is entitled “Censorship Laundering: How the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Enables the Silencing of Dissent.”

No, you didn't. You testified at the House Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Accountability.

That's the subcommittee that Marjorie Taylor Greene should be removed from for applauding a leaker posting classified material online to show off -- yes, I know Majorie emphasized that he was a "White" "Christian" and that apparently matters to her more than the rules in place for handling classified information.  That's why she needs to be removed from the committee and any other one that might require her to handle classified material. 

The following sites updated: