Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Monbiot is useless for those of us on the left

"Monbiot Is a Hypocrite and a Bully" (Jonathan Cook, DISSIDENT VOICE):
Except it is Monbiot himself who has been using his prominent platforms, at the Guardian and on social media, to discredit critical thinkers on the left – not with reasoned arguments, but by impugning their integrity.
It started with his unsubstantiated claim that scholars like Noam Chomsky and the late Ed Herman, as well as the acclaimed journalist John Pilger, were “genocide deniers and belittlers”. It now focuses on childish insinuations that those who question the corporate media’s simplistic narrative on Syria are Assad apologists or in Vladimir Putin’s pay.
But worse than this, Monbiot is also conspiring – either actively or through his silence – to deny critics of his and the Guardian’s position on Syria the chance to set out their evidence in its pages.
The Guardian’s anti-democratic stance does not surprise me, as someone who worked there for many years. I found myself repeatedly no-platformed by the paper – even while on its staff – after I started taking an interest in the Israel-Palestine conflict and writing about the discomforting issue of what a Jewish state entails. My treatment is far from unique.
Now the paper is denying a platform to those who question simplistic and self-serving western narratives on Syria. And Monbiot is backing his employer to the hilt, even as he professes his commitment to the publication of views he fiercely disagrees with. That’s the dictionary definition of hypocrisy.
‘Selfless’ White Helmets?
The latest instalment of the Guardian and Monbiot’s long-running battle to silence Syria dissidents arrived last month when Olivia Solon, the paper’s technology writer living in San Francisco, developed a sudden and unexpected expertise in a controversial Syrian group called the White Helmets.
In the western corporate media narrative, the White Helmets are a group of dedicated and selfless rescue workers. They are supposedly the humanitarians on whose behalf a western intervention in Syria would have been justified – before, that is, Syrian leader Bashar Assad queered their pitch by inviting in Russia.
However, there are problems with the White Helmets. They operate only in rebel – read: mainly al-Qaeda and ISIS-held – areas of Syria, and plenty of evidence shows that they are funded by the UK and US to advance both countries’ far-from-humanitarian policy objectives in Syria.
Monbiot is the biggest jerk and well known for his 'straw man' arguments.

I haven't considered him to be truly of the left for about eight years now and should have written him off long before that.

Media: 'It's very rude of him,' she said, 'To come and spoil the fun!'" (Ava and C.I., THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW):
Did they have a clue?

No, they didn't.

Nor did the press.  Oprah Winfrey's been praised for a very bad speech that took up 998 words and was off message and factually wrong repeatedly.

At one point, she whined, "They're the women whose names we'll never know."

But, in fact, the names the viewers would never know were the men who survived assault and rape because although MeToo#'s biggest takedown was Kevin Spacey and Kevin Spacey's victims are said to be boys and men, Oprah and the other women couldn't acknowledge these men who came forward.

Oprah was "proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories" but that pride didn't extend to Anthony Edwards (Jonathan Schaech, another high profile example, would tell his story after the Golden Globes aired).

She was especially off topic when insisting she had "gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue."

What children did Rose McGowan have?

None and she's done more than anyone.

It has nothing to do with having children -- something the childless Oprah should grasp.

She was all over the map.

And, of course, the second biggest take down, Harvey Weinstein, was her best buddy -- as countless photos of the two attest.

More to the point, where was her concern for Jordie?

Or does she think we forget him?

The child Michael Jackson had to pay millions to, the child she met before sitting down with Michael to do a puff piece posing as journalism.

What about Jordie?  Molested by Michael Jackson.  A detail never mentioned on her special with Michael that over 90 million people watched.

Oprah's no one's political hero.  She's damaged by her own relationships and could go under at any minute.

In other words, step back from Oprah lest you drown with her.

Ava and C.I. have an epic piece this week.  When they finished writing and editing it, they put it up.  I don't blame them.  Too many times, they write the perfect piece on Sunday and then it's Tuesday before everyone's done with the rest of THIRD and then Ava and C.I.'s piece is no longer current and they have to redo it or trash it and start something completely new.

Topics they cover in this piece?  #METOO!, Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Williams, Jamie Lee Curtis, Aziz Ansari, Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Spacey . . .

It's a big piece.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Monday, January 15, 2018.  Baghdad's slammed by bombings while political fusion takes place among various groups in their desperate plea to hold back thug Nouri al-Maliki.

Today is MLK Day.

Martin Luther King Jr. Spent the Last Year of His Life Detested By the Liberal Establishment by

The bipartisan political propaganda machine always sweeps such events under a rug until they are relegated to recent history. And the corporate media makes sure any deviant explanation faces ridicule and shame as a . And of course there are agents everywhere...

Happy Day! This holiday should be moved to the date when the US security state had him murdered. Connect the dots:

Turning to Iraq . . .

The strongly condemns this morning attack in Tayaran Square, Baghdad. Our government and the people of Iraq offer their condolences and full support to all those affected.

The Baghdad government serves up "their condolences and full support" to those attacked outside the Green Zone.  Almost as if the Baghdad-based government, within the Green Zone, is another country.  But then, it really is, isn't it?

Terrible news from where many have been killed and injured in a double suicide attack in . My thoughts are with all those affected by this horrific and disgusting crime.

AMN reported earlier this morning that Baghdad was slammed by twin bombings leaving at least 16 people dead and 64 more injured. 

: Number of killed and injured reaches 79 following twin bomb blasts in early morning.


RT notes that the official death toll is now 38.  Mohammed Ebraheem (IRAQI NEWS) reports on Salim al-Jaoburi, the Speaker of Parliament:

During a parliament session, Jabouri urged “maintaining national unity in Iraq and making the utmost use of the great victory achieved over terrorism.”
“We condemn the terrorist acts that targeted innocent people in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and we call on security bodies to take required measures to protect citizens,” Jabouri said.

But what national unity?

Saturday, we noted these Tweets:

This is confirmed: PM Haider al-Abadi have reached a final agreement with the PMU fictions including Badr, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Hiblollah and al-Nujaba to run for the election in a united coalition.

The coalition which is led by Abadi is called Nasr al-Iraq or The Victory of Iraq: all PMU factions, Ibrahim al-Jafari, Shahristani's party and Islamic Supreme Council among others.

  • Haider al-Abadi will run on the top of the coalition in Baghdad followed by Hadi al-Amiri and sources tell me the coalition will go into alliance with Maliki's State of Law coalition and Muqtada al-Sadr's coalition after the elections.

  • There are few Sunnis in the coalition including Iraq's former defence minister Khalid al-Obaidi.

  • Iran has played a major role in the agreement between Abadi and PMU.

  • And two last notes: the US is not happy with Abadi’s agreement to run with the PMU and the agreement will largely kill Abadi’s ‘anti-corruption battle’ given many of those in the list of targeted are close to the parties that are in his coalition now.

  • And now several Iraqi sources say Qasem Soleimani was in Baghdad in the afternoon of Saturday in which he attended a long quadrilateral-meeting with Abadi, Hadi Amiri and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis which resulted in the final agreement to run for elections together.

    In response to that news?  Only one person appears to be speaking out.  ALARABIYA reports:

    The leader of the Sadrist movement political party, Muqtada al-Sadr, criticized the new electoral alliance of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi with the Iranian backed Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) militias.
    Sadr, one of the most influential religious and popular figures in Iraq, issued a statement issued on Sunday describing the alliance as “an abhorrent political agreement.”
    He also expressed his deep surprise at the inclusion of the PMU militias calling them an “abhorrent sectarian dichotomy,” that is aimed at reproducing a “corrupt political class”.

    Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) adds:

    The Shiite cleric had previously announced his support for Mr Al Abadi and said that he would back his candidacy for a second term.
    However, Mr Al Sadr described the militias as “shameless” and considers the deal to “pave the way for the return of corruption and sectarianism”.
    The militias, known as Hashed Al Shaabi, are a Shiite-dominated alliance which remains deeply divisive and has been accused of a string of abuses.

    ASHARQ AL-AWSAT notes:

    Also on Sunday, the Hikma Movement headed by Ammar al-Hakim said it was joining the Abadi-Ameri alliance under the name of “the Nasr al-Iraq coalition,” or Victory.

    An Iraqi politician, who wished to remain anonymous, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that the decision of the Hikma Movement to join this alliance might strengthen Abadi’s situation and could guarantee his reelection for a second term.

    The politician said that all indicators reveal that Iran is backing Abadi, adding that it could be the force that encouraged Hash al-Shaabi to ally with the prime minister, a decision that places Nouri al-Maliki in a very difficult position.

    Was that the whole point?

    For Hayder to make sure Nouri didn't take his place?

    Nouri had a first term that wasn't good.  But it was his second term that really saw him carrying out non-stop abuses.

    Betting that the same won't be true of Hayder seems a long shot.

    He and Nouri were good friends until Hayder became prime minister.  Hayder belongs to Dawa (Nouri's political party) and is a member of State of Law (Nouri's political slate).

    The issue of displacement and voting is ignored by most outlets -- MIDDLE EAST MONITOR is one of the few to report on it.

    Marcia's "Tide pods" went up this morning as did Ava and my "Media: 'It's very rude of him,' she said, 'To come and spoil the fun!'."