Friday, August 24, 2018

Call out the Fake Asses

From Andre Damon at WSWS:

One year ago this week, the World Socialist Web Site published an open letter to search monopoly Google demanding that it end its censorship of the internet.
The letter documented that a change in Google’s search algorithms that the company claimed was aimed at promoting “authoritative” news sources had led to a substantial decline in search traffic to left-wing, socialist and anti-war sites. Google, the letter from WSWS International Editorial Board Chairperson David North stated, was “engaged in political censorship of the Internet.”
One year later, it is clear that the allegations against Google were both correct and extremely prescient. The measures taken by Google initiated a sweeping system of corporate-state censorship adopted by all the US technology monopolies, including Facebook and Twitter. A campaign that began under the pretext of combatting “Russian meddling” and “fake news” is ever more openly targeting left-wing views.
The latest and most extreme attack on democratic rights came Tuesday, when Facebook announced that it has removed hundreds of user accounts and pages, many opposing the crimes of the American, Saudi, and Israeli governments in the Middle East, claiming they were the result of “influence campaigns” by Iran and Russia.
Some of the accounts purported to be “American liberals supportive of US Senator Bernie Sanders,” who expressed “support for Palestinians and opposition to Israel,” according to FireEye, the cybersecurity firm, heavily staffed by former intelligence operatives, with whom Facebook coordinated the deletions.
The press went even further in linking left-wing viewpoints with “foreign influence” operations. The Financial Times declared, “In the US, FireEye found accounts purporting to support Bernie Sanders, the US senator, and a fake organisation called Rise Against the Right. In the UK, the company discovered fabricated organisations called British Left and the British Progressive Front posting in support of Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party.”
Virginia Democrat Mark Warner, who is leading the campaign for censorship, made clear that the internet giants’ moves to censor the internet are far broader than the original pretext of Russian “meddling” in the 2016 election. “There’s no way the problem of social media manipulation is limited to a single troll farm in St. Petersburg, and that fact is now beyond a doubt.” He added, “Iranians are now following the Kremlin’s playbook from 2016.”
Tellingly, FireEye said that it had only “moderate confidence that this activity originates from Iranian actors.” The company added that the possibility exists that “the activity could originate from elsewhere” or includes “authentic online behavior.”
Wherever the accounts originate, it is not up to Facebook to determine whether they are “authentic” or not. Tellingly, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in a conference call with reporters, added that some of the accounts removed came from “a set of people the U.S. government and others have linked to Russia.” Given that dominant sections of the US state have sought to brand anyone who opposes US foreign policy as an agent of the Kremlin, such a broad definition could extend to any public critic of the US political establishment.

On the same day that Facebook removed pages and accounts it said were “linked to Iran,” it terminated the longstanding Facebook account of a WSWS contributor writing under a pseudonym, declaring that it would only reinstate the account if he provided government identification proving his identity.

Again, FACEBOOK is the worst.

You can almost here the CIA telling Mark Zuckerberg, "Create this thing that gathers personal information on people so that we can spy and control them."

This attack on our rights only came about from the likes of 'friends' who aren't really left.  The Marcy Wheelers who pretend to be left and pretend to be about truth but, in the end, you see that all they really did was stick up for the CIA.

Little cretins who offer nothing of value and never will.

They are Terry Gross!  That just hit me.  Terry Gross pretends to be so wonderful and doing such a great job but all she's ever done is maintain the status quo and re-enforce sexism.

"TV: Yet another bad week for NETFLIX" (Ava and C.I., THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW):
 As the week ended, NETFLIX announced they had cancelled her show.  (Apparently, they forgot to inform people working on the show first before they made the announcement.)

Some lament it, a few, we don't.  What's the good of another Terry Gross?  What's that worth?  We'd say damn little.

August, for example, isn't over yet but already this month, Terry has stocked her 'stocking' with men, men and more men: John LeCarre, Ken Tucker (three times), Justin Chang (twice), Karen Piper, Somini Sengupta, Kevin Whitehead, Seymour Stein, Jim Gavin, Sam Briger, Maureen Corrigan (twice), David Sedaris, David Bianculli (twice), Franklin Foer (to discuss immigration because who better than a White, Jewish, NYC neoliberal who has written books like HOW SOCCER EXPLAINS THE WORLD, HOW FOOTBALL EXPLAINS THE WORLD and JEWISH JOCKS to explain immigration?), Geoff Nunberg, Jennifer Fox, David Kirkpatrick, Julian Ander, Judge Victoria Pratt, Peter Gould, Jonathan Banks, Giancarlo Espisito, Dave Davies (two episode), A.C. Thompson, David Edelstein, and Nick Pyesnon.

If Aretha Franklin hadn't died, it would have been even worse.  But airing the 1999 interview with Aretha made it 8 times Terry had women on her show.  Men?  25 times.  That means over two-thirds of the people Terry chose to bring on were men.

Some of these people were critics!

All the critics were men except for Maureen Corrigan.  In Terry's world, female critics of music or film of TV or what have you just don't exist.

Some of those people were host substitutes!

All of the people who filled in for Terri were men.  In her world, only men can fill in for her.  She's the token girl in the room, she's the execption that proves the rule, she's the queen bee.  She's another fake ass piece of crap holding women back.

Whether it's Terry Gross or Marcy Wheeler, the fake asses need to be called out.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, August 23, 2018.

In an age of never-ending wars, many look away.  US Army Maj Danny Sjursen (ICH) argues that we have a responsibility not to turn away:

Why scream about the questionable value of training the army of Niger; about shattering all sense of security through regime change in Libya; about why air strikes and SOF raids never seem to stabilize Somalia; about the tinderbox of catastrophe that is Syria; about the way an Anti-American warlord was just swept to power in Iraq; or about the way hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan have soured an entire people against Americans for at least a generation? The uncomfortable fact is that: We. Don’t. Care.
Yet there’s really no excuse. Thing is, we’ve got an obligation to care, we being citizens in an ostensibly free country and all. Everything the US government does overseas, every special forces raid, every bomb sold, every refueling mission completed and every drone strike executed, is done in our name.
Make no mistake: the people under all those U.S.-dropped, sold, or supported bombs know full well that America is involved, complicit even. From West Africa to South Asia, the ongoing (is it time to admit it’s never-ending?) US war-on-terror or whatever we’re calling it now, kills, maims, and traumatizes others and occasionally still sacrifices our own men and women. That most of this occurs in towns and villages that the dead soldiers’ families can’t pronounce or locate on a map is instructive. Fact: perpetual war is a disease to democracy that generates the apathy and numbness we should all be ashamed of.

Shame on us all. On me for trudging through the villages and neighborhoods of Iraq and Afghanistan without measurably improving security; on our congressional leaders for turning a blind eye while one president after another expands the scope of several undeclared wars; on, most importantly, all of us for the mixture of apathy and numbness infecting our entire public space.

If the truth is too much for you, you can clutch C.J. Chivers latest dump to your chest.  We warned you the book was war pornography.  If you're still doubting, note this rave from THE ECONOMIST:

He captures the idealism of volunteers, the exhilaration of killing for the first time and the disorientation of returning home

"He captures the idealism of volunteers, the exhilaration of killing for the first time and the disorientation of returning home"

War porn.

If C.J. Chivers didn't manufacture war porn, THE NEW YORK TIMES wouldn't pay him.

War porn is what the paper churned out after the war started to keep it going.  War porn is what distracts from the reality that the US has been doing the same thing, over and over, in Iraq and that the occupation -- short of huge protests -- will continue as the US desperately tries to prop up one puppet government after another.  These puppet governments refuse to take root so far and the US military has to remain on Iraqi soil not for 'freedom' but to continue US control.

Iraq has been destroyed by the war, not improved.  The people's lives are destroyed year after year.  That's why protests are yet again taking place in Iraq.

MEM notes:

Some 22.6 per cent of 15-29-year-olds in Iraq are unemployed, the majority are women, the Ministry of Planning revealed today.
“The rate of unemployment among young people between the ages of 15 and 29 is 22.6 per cent, 56.3 per cent of whom are women,” the ministry’s central statistics agency said in a statement seen by the Anadolu Agency.
“The rate of youth participation in the labour force is 36.1 per cent,” the agency added.

In May the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that Iraq’s youth unemployment rate had reached more than 40 per cent.

There are no jobs.  There is corruption in the government -- the US installed government.  Politicians and officials get rich and the Iraqi people suffer.  Jobs, basic services, they do without.

If anyone is wondering why there are anti-corruption protests in Iraq, especially when Iraq appeared to be on a successful road to recovery, this video shows one of the reasons. This is the water that the gov delivers to the oil-rich province of .
An emergency room doctor in Basra stated, “hospitals are receiving an unprecedented number of poison cases caused by polluted water delivered to residents.” She described the situation as unjust, adding “a popular revolution is the only solution.”

CIVICUS notes:

In July 2018, protesters in Iraq were met with lethal force by the authorities during a series of protests, according to the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and other sources.
Protesters had gathered in a number of Iraqi cities to demand improved access to clean drinking water, reduced unemployment rate and increased access to electricity. The protests were reported in the Governorates of Basra, Karbala, Najaf, Muthanna, Maysan, Qadisiyyah, Thi Qar, and Babil.
At least 13 deaths, 269 injuries and 757 detentions resulted from the violent crackdown on protesters by the authorities. According to reports, the authorities used water cannons, tear gas and on several occasions live ammunition to disperse peaceful demonstrations. Some detainees were released only on condition that they sign a pledge not to demonstrate again.

Hayder al-Abadi is the one who turned the forces lose on the protesters.  He is the prime minister.  Or he claims to be.  His term should have ended in May.

May 12th, Iraq held elections.


He came in third.

It will soon be September 12th (20 days) and Iraq has still not formed a new government.  May 12th they held elections?  Some day, they may have a government.

And TV reported that Qassem Suleimani has been trying to drive a wedge between the various political factions and prevent agreement over who will be PM.

Suleimani is closest to the militias and they came in second in the elections.  Kosar Nawzad (KURDISTAN 24) reports:

A leader in the Fatih Alliance called for a change in Iraq’s system of government, from a parliamentary one to a presidential system, claiming this step would “save the country” from arbitrary allocations of posts and corruption.
Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq faction in the Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi, known in English as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), shared his observations on Wednesday. His militia group is among the most powerful ones in Iraq.

“There are no real solutions with a parliamentary system that governs the country by quota, and the situation will continue to lead to corruption and misconduct because the regime operates on a quota system,” Khazali wrote on his Twitter account.

First place in the elections?  It went to Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc.  He is the Shi'ite cleric and movement leader.

Amid US Embassy announcement of maximum travel warning to Iraq, the Sa'eeroon alliance, backed by the leader of the Sadrist movement Moqtada al-Sadr, on Sunday, formed alliance of the largest bloc with Hikma, Wataniya and Nasir, to form the next government.

The alliance includes Moqtada al-Sadr's Sairoon coalition, Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi’s Victory Bloc, Ammar al-Hakim’s National Wisdom Movement and Iyad Allawi’s National Coalition.

"The delegations consist of Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law and Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon. Both coalitions are vying to enter a deal with the two leading parties in the Kurdistan Region,

Iraq's Sairoon and Nasr coalitions in talks to form largest bloc Iraq's Sairoon Alliance led by Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr is in talks to form a coalition with the Nasr alliance led by outgoing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, along with two other parliamentary groups.
Iraq's largest parliamentary bloc - Muqtada al-Sadr' Sairoon alliance - is in talks with other political movements to try to form a governing coalition.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and the ACLU -- updated: