Monday, November 22, 2021

Turley, Ava and C.I.

Jonathan Turley:

The full acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse is now in. The result was hardly a surprise to many of us who watched the trial rather than the media coverage. The jury spent days carefully considering the evidence and could not find a single count that was supported beyond a reasonable doubt.

In rendering its verdict, the jury fulfilled its core function in our legal system. The jury was designed to protect an individual from becoming the grist of a criminal justice system. As the Supreme Court noted in Duncan v. Louisiana (1968):

“Providing an accused with the right to be tried by a jury of his peers gave him an inestimable safeguard against the corrupt or overzealous prosecutor and against the compliant, biased, or eccentric judge.”

The American jury is designed to stand between the mob and a defendant; between the government and the accused. The thin line of a dozen citizens can prove the most unassailable wall for justice in our system.

The media’s guilty verdict

There was, however, a second verdict in that courtroom for those who have been maintaining a distorted or incomplete account to this trial. From the outset, politicians and media figures insisted that this was a case of murders committed by a white supremacist. Then-presidential candidate Joe Biden labeled Rittenhouse a “white supremacist” in a tweet showing his photo and demanded to know why then-President Donald Trump did not “disavow white supremacists.” Much of the media followed suit with an echo chamber of coverage that led some people to believe that these were essentially executions on the streets of Kenosha.  Columnist Elie Mystal called the trial a sham.

The pressure clearly had an impact on the prosecution, which overcharged Rittenhouse (including with a count that was invalid). The case began to fall apart as the prosecution called its witnesses, who contradicted the core elements of these charges.

What happened next was even more chilling. Faced with a collapsing case in court, many of the same media outlets struck out at the judge, the jury, and the legal system. MSNBC host Tiffany Cross advocated for the judge’s removal. Rittenhouse was mocked for his “male, white tears” on national television. Georgetown law professor Paul Butler called the trial “white privilege on steroids.”

The danger of such reckless legal analysis is now evident. Judging from the coverage, one could have easily concluded that a conviction in this case was inescapable. Many reports prioritized still pictures of Rittenhouse walking menacingly with his rifle and omitted many of the countervailing facts that occupied much of the trial. Many viewers may not have learned that Rittenhouse spent his time cleaning graffiti off the high school.

We saw a lot of that, sadly, reckless legal analysis.  If the media had their way, Rittenhouse would have been hanged from the Lincoln Monument.

"TV: You can learn a lot from documentaries -- more..." (Ava and C.I., THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW):

She survived the scandal?

Okay, that explains everything.  Eric's saying the woman didn't drown so she's a witch and she got what she deserved.   

NPR really thought that garbage was worth publishing?  

It's a great piece and I'll note more from it next time but really wanted to highlight that.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Monday, November 22, 2021.  Still not final count on the votes in the October 10th elections, another legal challenge heads to the court to toss the results, a 12-year-old is forced into marriage by an Iraqi court, and much more.

Reminder, Diana Ross' THANK YOU album is out but the elections results in Iraq are still hidden.  "Let's Do It" is a track on Diana's new album.

MEMO notes:

Iraq's Fateh Alliance, the country's most prominent Shia coalition, yesterday announced that it had filed a lawsuit with the Federal Court to annul the parliamentary elections results.

Leader of the alliance, Hadi Al-Amiri, said "sufficient evidence" had been submitted to the Federal Court on Thursday "to annul the results of the parliamentary elections".

The Fateh Alliance includes the political wing of Asaib Ahl Al-Haq, which the United States has designated a terrorist organisation, and the Badr Organisation, which has ties with Tehran and fought alongside Iran in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.  

Irregularities were noted in the lead up -- including the new manner to count how many participated.  In addition there were active efforts to disenfranchise various groups.  The most public was the efforts to disenfranchise the militias.  Let's drop back October 3rd:

There's been a set back for one voting bloc.  YENI SAFAK reports:

Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission on Saturday announced the exclusion of the Hashd al-Shaabi militia, or Popular Mobilization Forces, from the list of security forces who will vote in next week’s parliamentary elections.

"The commission formally addressed the Popular Mobilization Authority to submit the names of their members to be included in the register for the security forces eligible to vote," spokesman Jumana Al-Ghalai said in statements cited by the Iraqi News Agency.

But the Shia militia group did not submit the names of its members on the specified date, according to Al-Ghalai.

They're referring to early elections which take place October 8th.  As Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) explains, "This means fighters must return to their home districts to cast their ballot."

Other groups were disenfranchised.  Human Rights Watch spent the weeks leading up to the October 10th elections noting that the challenged and disabled were being disenfranchised -- and explaining how to address this.  Despite their shining a spotlight on this issue, the Iraqi government -- including the electoral commission -- refused to do anything to address this issue.  Assyrians were another group disenfranchised.

There were lies throughout the coverage in the west.  Supposedly Moqtada al-Sadr wasn't participating which would have meant that his bloc wasn't participating.  You can't announce in August you're participating and be on the ballots.  Moqtada had 90 candidates running for the Parliament.  Early results indicate that 70 may have won.  But it was one lie after another.  One distortion.  The claim that the final results would be known the day after the election because they had switched to electronic voting and much more.  

It has been one lie and one distortion after another.  The Iraqi people were not enthused about the elections to being with -- it was the lowest turnout since the 2003 invasion -- and nothing that has happened since has instilled any trust in the process.

We'll note this Tweet.

Iraq’s Sadr condemns pressure on election commission to change results

Miss Moqtada is not pleased.  Who cares?  Princess got paid off by the US government in August, paid off nicely.  Who cares what Moqtada thinks.  Jason Ditzy and the so-called ANTIWAR.COM club does.  They live to lap at Miss Moqtada's PTM.  They can't get enough of it.  They shape coverage to suit Moqtada, they distort to suit Moqtada.  It's a lot like all those years they spent celebrating Nouri al-Maliki.  A thug who destroyed Iraq.  And they've never apologized for it.  They've never acknowledged how wrong they were.  They just move on and pray no one notices.  Part of the blame for being wrong goes to Patrick Cockburn -- you know, the "Iraq expert" who can't stop writing about US politicians because, after all, that's what an "Iraq expert" working for a UK publication does, right?  No one forced them to listen to that loon.  They chose to.  And it led to their applauding a thug and mass murderer.  When do they plan to take accountability?  Considering Jason Ditzy is still distorting reality when it comes to Iraq, I think they need to get honest.  Real damn quick.

And let's be clear for Jason Ditzy, no results are being changed.  If the outcome is different from the projected results of October 11th?  Those weren't final results.  You really need to grow the hell up and grasp how damn little you understand about Iraq.  Reading the occasional western report on Iraq does not inform you enough to be commenting.

As for pressure -- Moqtada condemning pressure?  Anyone who knows his history has to be laughing.  Remember when he conducted a poll among his cult for who he should support for prime minister?  Remember who won and who lost in that poll?  Jason Ditzy doesn't even know what we're talking about.  ANTIWAR.COM slept through that -- like so much else.  And then what did Moqtada do?  Under pressure from the Iranian government, Nouri ignored the results his own followers delivered.

Only an idiot offers the commentary Jason Ditzy offers.  An ahistorical idiot who never paid attention but thought listeneing to Paddy Cock-burn talk to Scott Horton counted as essential knowledge.  

This would be the same Paddy Cock-burn who got the execution of an Iraqi woman wrong and, when it was pointed out loudly online for a full week, went back and corrected it without ever noting that he'd corrected how the woman was executed.  Standards?  Patrick has none.

War has destroyed Iraq and Iraq's been damaged by the thugs the US has put in charge of the government.  They've destroyed the rights of women.  Here's only one example.  AFP reports:

An Iraqi court adjourned a hearing Sunday to allow a man to formalise his religious marriage to a 12-year-old girl, according to a lawyer for the girl's mother, who opposes the union.        

Rights activists protested outside the Baghdad court with banners such as "the marriage of minors is a crime against childhood", while lawyer Marwan Obeidi told AFP the case had been postponed until November 28.

The legal age for marriage in Iraq is 18 but can be lowered to 15 in cases of parental or judicial consent, according to charity Save the Children.

"Religious marriages are not permitted outside civil or religious courts but these types of marriages still happen regularly and can be formalised on the payment of a small fine," it said in a recent report.

The mother, who refuses to be identified, said her daughter Israa had been "raped" and that the girl's father kidnapped her.

Layal Shakir (RUDAW) reports:

Israa was raped by the man her father forced her to wed, according to activist and feminist Yanar Muhammad. “The cleric went and married her to a rapist husband and he is here today to ratify the contract in court,” Muhammad told Rudaw’s Halkawt Aziz early on Sunday morning.

She was among a group of women protesting outside the courthouse where Israa’s mother was trying to stop the legalization of the marriage.

The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) in a statement on Facebook demanded the abolishment of Israa’s marriage contract and called for the imprisonment of her father and the man she was forced to marry. It also called for the enactment of a law that criminalizes all marriages of minors.

Israa’s case inspired rage on social media after the community police published a statement on October 29 saying that the child, in the presence of her father, brother, and so-called husband, confirmed that the marriage took place with her consent, and “without anyone forcing her.” Social media users accused the authorities of complicity in what they described as a crime.

“Iraq is selling our daughters,” Muhammad said angrily, questioning whether the law protects girls or not.

Nisrine Jaouadi (MOROCCO WORLD NEWS) adds, "The news sparked an uproar among right activists who took to the streets to protest outside the Baghdad court, carrying banners reading 'the marriage of minors is a crime against childhood'."  The Borgen Project notes:

According to The World, a public radio program, Iraq’s gross domestic product (GDP) decreased by $38 million from 2013 to 2017 due to decreasing oil prices and economic collapse in its struggle against ISIS. Many associated the decrease in GDP with an increase in the percentage of child marriages, which rose to 24% in 2016, surpassing the percentage of child marriages in 1997 by 9%. The trends in these percentages indicate that there is a correlation between the percentage of child marriage in Iraq and the country’s economic state.

According to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the percentage of women aged 20-24 who married before the age of 18 was 27% in 2018, indicating that the current female population of those married before the age of 18 in Iraq consists of 5.6 million out of 20.7 million women. FIGO also reports that child marriage is more common among impoverished families who reside in rural areas, rather than among wealthy families who live in urban areas. The percentage of child marriages in rural versus urban areas differs by 1%, signifying that approximately 207,000 more young girls enter into early marriage in rural areas than urban areas.

Iraq’s Personal Status Law

Iraq’s Personal Status Law forbids child marriage and increases women’s marriage and custody rights. Despite the sound solidarity of this law, article 8 of Iraq’s Personal Status Law allows for a judge to authorize an underage marriage if the judge concludes that the action is urgently necessary or if the father of the bride gives his approval of the marriage.

Child marriage supporters in Iraq continuously push for proposed amendments to the Personal Status Law to abolish legal difficulties when forcing children into marriage. The parliament in Iraq has rejected these proposals, including an amendment that would allow for families to have their own laws in religious communities, thereby authorizing the families to offer their 8-year-old daughters for marriage.

Article 8 of the Personal Status Law allows a loophole for judges to authorize underage marriages with or without permission from a father, even though the article is noncompliant with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which works to gain equality for women and eliminate patriarchal norms that discriminate against women.

We'll note this Tweet:

CHILD ABUSE. #ChildRights activists protested against a marriage of a 12-yr.-old girl outside a Baghdad court on Sun. saying “the marriage of minors is a crime against childhood”. Child marriage is common in #Iraq and other Arab countries.
Women protest against the legalisation of a marriage contract for a 12-year-old girl, near the Kadhimiya court in Iraq’s capital Baghdad, Nov. 21, 2021 (Photo: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Channels TV)

In other news, XINHUA reports:

Although 18 years have passed since being arrested by the U.S. forces and detained in notorious Abu Ghraib prison, Alaah Karim Ahmed still keeps his identification bracelet, as a reminder of the brutality of the U.S. occupation in Iraq.

In an interview with Xinhua at Ahmed's home in the town of Duluiyah, Salahuddin province, the 39-year-old former prisoner recalled the shameful abuse and brutal torture by U.S. soldiers against detainees in Abu Ghraib prison.

On Nov. 30, 2003, Ahmed was arrested by U.S. soldiers when heading to start his campus life at the Tikrit University in Salahuddin.

Ahmed was in the wrong place at the wrong time. When the university freshman got out of his car, a roadside bomb hit a U.S. patrol on the main road. Ahmed was arrested immediately.

Ahmed recalled his traumatic experience in U.S.-run prisons in Samarra and Tikrit, before being transferred to Abu Ghraib prison to begin his misery with torture and an unknown fate.

"I was severely beaten, handcuffed and shackled. They once hung me upside down for more than an hour," Ahmed told Xinhua while showing scars of torture that are still visible on his body.

Kat: 's "Kat's Korner: If you can snap up Adele's 30, do so, if you can" went up early this morning.  The following sites updated:

Friday, November 19, 2021

The live album Carole King should have done

 Carole King's "Chalice Borealis."

The question was: "What's your favorite non-TAPESTY song by Carole King?"  It might not be Chalice but it would be that or something like it.

After TAPESTRY, Carole -- very often -- lacked the goods for a full album.  But each of those albums did contain strong songs.  Instead of constantly re-recording TAPESTRY as a live album -- her repeated m.o. in the years since -- she should have gathered some of the great songs like Chalice from the various albums and made something out of them.

Like the following:

1) "One To One"

2) "Time Gone By"

3) "Chalice Borealis"

4) "Bitter With The Sweet"

5) "Only Love Is Real"

6) "Jazzman"

7) "Sweet Seasons"

8) "Just One Thing" 

9) "No Easy Way Down"

10) "I Can't Stop Thinking About You"

11) "You Still Want Her"

12) "Changes"

13) "So Far Away"

I think that would be a great album.  Instead, she's now re-recorded TAPTESTRY, as a live album, about seven or eight times now.  That might help promote TAPESTRY but it's also left the impression that she has nothing to offer but that one album.

Here's Jonathan Turley:

The Aspen Institute has issued the results of its much heralded 16-person Commission on Information Disorder on how to protect the public from misinformation. The commission on disinformation and “building trust” was partially headed by Katie Couric who is still struggling with her own admission that she edited an interview to remove controversial statements by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Aspen recommendations however are a full-throated endorsement of systems of censorship.

The findings and recommendations are found in an 80-page report on how to combat “disinformation” and “misinformation,” which are remarkably ill-defined but treated as a matter of “we know when we see it.”  From the outset, however, the Commission dismissed the long-standing free speech principle that the solution to bad speech is better speech, not censorship. The problem is that many today object to allowing those with opposing views to continue to speak or others continue to listen to them.  The Commission quickly tosses the free speech norm to the side:

“The biggest lie of all, which this crisis thrives on, and which the beneficiaries of mis- and disinformation feed on, is that the crisis itself is uncontainable. One of the corollaries of that mythology is that, in order to fight bad information, all we need is more (and better distributed) good information. In reality, merely elevating truthful content is not nearly enough to change our current course.”

In addition to Couric, the Commission was headed by Color of Change President Rashad Robinson and Chris Krebs, former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Robinson was also a notable choice since he has been one of the most outspoken advocates of censorship. While some of us have been denouncing the expanding system of censorship by companies like Facebook, Robinson was threatening boycotts if the companies do not “rein in” those considered racists or spreaders of misinformation.

The Commission also includes Prince Harry who has referred to free speech protections under the First Amendment as “bonkers.

I really think Harry needs to take his hairy ass back to his own country.  We don't need him in America.  We don't want him in America.  His beliefs go against democracy.  That's not a surprise when you grasp that he exists in opposition to democracy.  He needs to find somewhere else to live.

We don't have princes or princesses in the US.  If he can't give up his title, do us all a favor and find another country to live in.  If he wants to live here?  Then follow the rules of the land and stop trying to alter our landscape.  You're not a citizen, Harry.  If you were, you'd have to give up your title.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, November 18, 2021.  Virtue signaling replaces real action.

Starting with a do-nothing administration in the US.  Margaret Kimberley (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) documents the pretense on addressing climate change:

The 26th Conference of the Parties, COP26, climate summit ended with its president fighting back tears. Alok Sharma came to Glasgow, Scotland hoping for an agreement to end the extraction of coal. Instead he said this, “I apologize for the way this process has unfolded. I am deeply sorry.”

The international climate conferences are a perennial disappointment to anyone who understands the depth of the world wide catastrophe. Every year the rich capitalist nations find a way to undermine the process and consign millions of people to misery and devastation. Activists from all over the world gather in an effort to have an impact on the process, but they are literally outnumbered by fossil fuel lobbyists who always get what they want.

This conference ended with an agreement to “phase down” the use of coal instead of phasing it out altogether. Phasing down is deliberately ambiguous and makes a mockery of the 2015 Paris meeting which ended with an agreement to allow a temperature increase of no more than 1.5˚C. The fact that climate agreements allow world temperatures to rise is but one indication that the process falls far short from what the world needs.

Yet the seemingly small 1.5˚C will have devastating consequences, with droughts and storms bringing catastrophe to millions of people. The can is always kicked down the road and the final agreement is a sham.

The political duopoly in the United States behaves as it always does with phony heroes and phony villains as in professional wrestling. Republicans refuse to participate in climate agreements, democrats show up for the cameras, but only to fool the rubes into thinking that something important is being accomplished.

It doesn’t matter if democrats show up at COP26 if they refuse to respond to elephants in the room. The United States military is the world’s biggest polluter but its carbon production, and that of other nations’ forces, are exempt from climate goals. When a journalist asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders about military spending and its role in climate change, it was clear they had never considered the issue at all. They were shocked to be asked a question which showed a direct relationship between their actions and global warming and then responded with nonsense. They said the military, which contributes to climate change, needs money to respond to the climate change it causes by its very existence. Why does it matter that George W. Bush and Donald Trump withdrew from previous climate agreements if democrats follow in their footsteps and ignore even the flimsy goals it asked the U.S. to meet?

Joe Biden appeared in Glasgow but no one should be impressed. Like his predecessors he has opened public lands to oil drilling. Keeping temperature rise to 1.5˚C requires that carbon emissions be cut in half. If the United States were serious there would be no fossil fuel extraction on public lands. It would have to end altogether.

Political fake assery isn't just annoying, it's life threatening.  

Maybe next time, if you want to save the planet, don't elect someone with one foot -- and four toes on the other foot -- in the grave.  At 78, it doesn't matter to Joe Biden what happens to the earth.  He knows he'll be gone shortly, after all.

Ajamu Baraka Tweets:

Since election of Joe Biden representing most militaristic factions of the ruling class, the world is more dangerous. Threats of war in Europe & Asia, actual wars in Africa, & stepped up destabilization campaigns throughout Latin America. It is clear democrats are party of war.

Happiness, Cher insisted, is a thing called joe.  We now understand why the film career went no where.  It all makes sense now, an Academy Award winning performance at the end of the 80s and then nothing.  I've never minded a celebrity using their power to advocate for an issue.  I've forever had a problem with celebrities whoring their names for politicians.  It rarely ends well and, honestly, it shouldn't.  

Joe's a threat to the planet at this point.  As his fortunes sink, so should the fortunes of those who whored for him.  

We all knew his legislative history.  We all knew he hid behind Beau Biden, trotting out dead son forever and a day.  Why's he dead, Joe?  Why did he go to Iraq?

There are many days when I pull something from the snapshot before it posts.  I'll dictate it and move on but then say before it posts, "Take out the paragraph on Joe Biden and the abortion" or some other detail.  Beau is key to understanding the family and I don't like Hunter but I do know that certain things would look differently if Joe were ever honest about Beau.  Or about Nancy.  Huh -- who said that?  Will it go in the snapshot?  Will I pull it?  No, it'll stay and let them sweat it.  

Point being, unlike Cher, I actually know Joe.  And I didn't support him.  I believe Tara Reade, absolutely.  I do know Joe's history with women.  Many in the press do as well.  But even before Tara emerged to shine a much needed spotlight there, I had already made clear that if Joe couldn't be honest about Iraq, I wouldn't support him.

Joe can't be honest about Iraq.  He, sadly, can't be honest about much.  

And, he really needs to get honest about Beau.  That crying is not a natural response and it is not grief.  It is guilt.  Understanding Beau and the way he was used would actually create some sympathy for Hunter.

I don't like Hunter.  I never have.  But because I knew the family and knew reality, I did understand that Hunter didn't just emerge from the womb -- or the childhood car accident -- fully formed.  Hunter was actively shaped into what he has become and that falls on Joe as much as it does on Hunter.

Joe's actions regarding Iraq in 2019 and 2020 made it clear that he would never be able to confront reality and that he wasn't fit for the presidency.  It's a real shame so many celebrities flocked to him and whored for him.  May history hold them accountable.

And that's especially true if they also pimped Russia-gate.  

Let's join Elaine in noting that Jonathan Turley covers Russia-gate in an easy to follow manner.  Here's an excerpt of his most recent coverage:

The famous philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal once declared that “the only shame is to have none.” The problem with shame is that it requires a sense of guilt over one’s actions. In the age of rage, there appear fewer and fewer actions that are beyond the pale for politics. Take Adam Schiff and the Steele dossier. While even the Washington Post has admitted that it got the Russian collusion story wrong in light of the findings of Special Counsel John Durham, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is still insisting that he was absolutely right to promote the discredited Steele dossier. Schiff’s interview on NBC’s Meet the Press may be the final proof of the death of shame in American politics.

Schiff was one of the greatest promoters of the Steele dossier despite access to briefings casting doubt about Steele and the underlying claims. However, Schiff recently has attempted to defend himself by claiming that Steele was a respected former spy and that he was lied to by a Russian source.

Schiff told host Chuck Todd:

“I don’t regret saying that we should investigate claims of someone who, frankly, was a well-respected British intelligence officer. And we couldn’t have known, of course, years ago that we would learn years later that someone who is a primary source lied to him. [Igor] Danchenko lied to Christopher Steele and then lied to the FBI. He should be prosecuted. He is being prosecuted. And I’ll tell you this, if he’s convicted, he should not be pardoned the way Donald Trump pardoned people who lied to FBI agents, like Roger Stone and Mike Flynn. There ought to be the same standard in terms of prosecuting the liars. But I don’t think there ought to be any pardon, no matter which way the lies cut.”

Schiff’s spin is enough to cause permanent vertigo.

Some of us have spent years being pummeled for questioning the obvious problems with the Steele dossier, including the long-denied connection to the Clinton campaign. Schiff was the main voice swatting down such criticism and his endorsements were treated as dispositive for media from MSNBC to the Washington Post. After all, he was the chair of the House Intelligence Committee and assured the public that our criticisms were meritless and the dossier was corroborated.

Schiff’s spin, however, continues to deny the obvious about the Russian collusion scandal.

First, many would guffaw at the claim that Steele was and remains a “well-respected British intelligence officer.”  Soon after the dossier was shopped to the FBI, British intelligence flagged credibility problems with Steele. The FBI severed Steele as an asset. Even his own sources told the FBI that Steele wildly exaggerated information and distorted intelligence. Most recently, Steele went public with a laughable claim that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former counsel, was lying to protect Trump despite spending years trying to get Trump charged criminally.

Second, Schiff ignored repeated contradictions in Steele’s dossier as well as evidence that the dossier was paid for and promoted by the Clinton campaign. In 2017, even fired FBI agent Peter Strzok admitted that “we are unaware of ANY Trump advisors engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials” and “Steele may not be in a position to judge the reliability of his subsource network.” Schiff would have had access to some of this intelligence. Indeed, while the Clinton campaign was denying that it funded the dossier, American intelligence knew that that was a lie.  Indeed, until the Durham indictments, Schiff continued to defend the Russian collusion investigation and the Steele dossier.

Third, Schiff attempts to portray the sole problem with the Steele dossier as Russian analyst Igor Danchenko. That is simply not true. Schiff was long aware that there were allegations of misleading or false information given by the FBI to the secret court. Indeed, the first Durham conviction was of Kevin Clinesmith, the former FBI agent who pleaded guilty. Schiff was aware that President Barack Obama was briefed in 2017 that Hillary Clinton was allegedly planning to manufacture a Russian collusion scandal — just days before the start of the Russian investigation. The dossier was riddled with disproven allegations.

Don't worry, we're tying two threads together -- the deeply stupid celebrities and Russia-gate.  From Ava and my "MEDIA: Male norms, Russia hate and lots of excuses -- it's the 90th Academy Awards" in March 2018:

What an awful and awkward event it was.  Male driven, women seeking male approval, females pretending that tokenism and boobs on display qualified as progress.

Oh, it was horrible.

As Isaiah noted, "Oscars So Full Of It."


As Isaiah's comic explains, generic film maker Bryan Fogel -- of JEWTOPIA non-fame -- won for BEST DOCUMENTARY -- a newbie with no style or art defeating Agnes Varda, a true artist who's been directing since 1955 and who influenced the French New Wave -- it was robbery.

Of this hideous moment, WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD's Melissa Silverstein gushed . . .

Greta Gerwig and Laura Dern walking out holding hands is everything.

Oh, keep it in your pants, Melissa.

Greta was sporting breasts, not displaying, sporting.

Way to be taken seriously as a director, dear.

Were you at the Academy Awards or a photo shoot for the cover of SPORT'S ILLUSTRATED swimsuit issue?

[. . .]

Learn a little self-respect and grasp that for every Melissa Silverstein drooling over your tits, there are plenty of us wishing that, as you posed as a role model, you'd conducted yourself as one.

Also, probably not the moment to talk about the need to be real, Greta, while sporting a necklace on loan worth more than most viewers will make in ten years of hard work.

Not every woman was an embarrassment.

Notice that Sandra Bullock, presenting Best Cinematography, did not sport boobs or embarrass herself with loaned out 'bling.'  She just looked classy and also managed to garner a few laughs.

Take a lesson, Greta, take a hard lesson.

As a nominee whispered to us while Greta was on stage, "Bitch be frontin'" -- and she wasn't the only one.

Apparently, Greta has no real ethics -- that was kind of clear when she was talking about being real while dripping in diamonds.

Keep it whore, Greta, keep it whore.

And trust that the media will be right there with you, Greta.

Even though "Faces Places" didn't win in the Documentary (Feature) category, Agn├Ęs Varda was awarded an Honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards:

Late in the game, Melissa got called on her sexual longing for Greta and how it allowed her to miss that one of the few living women veteran directors got overlooked for a Let's-all-hate-Russia victory.

So Melissa did that Tweet and we're all supposed to pretend like an honorary Academy Award is the same as a competitive one.

It's not.

Even Melissa knows that.

Hate Russia?

You were in the right place for it.

Hate those damn Commies -- that could have been a theme of the night.

Bryan Fogel won for his stupid and facile documentary attacking Russia.

Doping in sports!

Damn, Russians!

Uhm, golly, we remember Lance Armstrong.

We remember that Lance was doping and threatening people and destroying the lives of people who called him out.

But let's express our outrage at Russia, right?

And that wasn't the worst of it.

Oh, Rita.

How could you?

That's what we puzzled over as Rita Moreno used the night to salute "the great" Frank Capra.

What was so great about him?

That from at least 1947 forward, he was an FBI informant?  Ratting out people he suspected of being or having once been members of the Communist Party?

Was that what was so great about Capra?

Or that he pushed for the loyalty oath in the Directors Guild?

These awards are about the arts.

Writers and directors lost work because of Frank Capra.  (Ironically, he'd be grey-listed which is somehow fitting after all the people he ratted on lost work.)

Seriously, Rita Moreno, what the hell were you thinking?

Or did you just want to celebrate hate of Russia by taking it all the way back to the witch hunts of the HUAC?

This was the entertainment industry at its most revealing.  Claiming things had changed, time's up, that women were valued.  And yet ignoring the chance to give a ground breaking female director, Agnes Varda, a competitive Academy Award.  So hollow, so unfair.  

Agnes had a body of work and she was on up there age wise -- and is now dead.  Everyone knew this was her last chance at the award.  Everyone knew at the time that she would not make another film, that her health was too poor.  

If women were truly valued, this groundbreaking auteur of the French New Wave would have walked off with the statue.

However, it was more important to 'strike back' at Russia.

So a piece of garbage documentary attacking Russia over sports -- a documentary no one remembers today -- wins instead.

It wasn't about art and it rarely is.

What we see today that is so damn annoying in our society was promoted by people like -- well, by Cher.  It's virtue signaling.  It replaces any real efforts at actual work.

Why try to end a war?  Why try to fight for the rights of workers?  Why do anything when, in fact, you can virtue signal instead.  It's so much easier.

And it's why crap like CHARIOTS OF FIRE or THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES or FOREST GUMP wins Best Picture.  The last was never a better film than PULP FICTION.  But it was virtue signaling.  Pick a film that says this is how we, the Academy, see ourselves.  And shove that down the throats of the American people.  

The bulk of the names in the industry are a bunch of idiots -- uneducated (either lacking in a formal education or lacking in the ability to be self-taught).  And all that hate and all idiots who 'indicate' in their acting and in their supposed activism.  Their minds are as 'styled' by others as their wardrobe and hair.  

Russia-gate didn't just happen.  It was the culmination of years of work on Barack Obama's part.  If, by the time Ed Snowden landed in Russia, you hadn't noticed that Barack had been trying to turn the American people against Russia, you weren't paying attention.  All that hate culminated.

Russia-gate couldn't have existed without it.

And in 2018, we saw one member of the Academy after another use the international broadcast and whatever was left of their image to whore.  

A dumb and poorly made documentary versus Agnes' film and, yes, her entire body of work and it was  Let's embrace hate-Russia and do our part!

The virtue signaling isn't free speech or a discussion.  It's often used as a ploy to attack others.  And it is rooted in the entertainment industry and in the public relations industry.  It's a way to 'freshen' up your own image without having to actually do something.

The US government has perfected that feat.  Which is why you get a climate change summit that offers no real change.

And this as the world is under attack.

That's especially true of Iraq.

MEMO notes:

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The Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources yesterday warned Turkey that its plan to build a new dam on the Tigris River would affect Iraq's share of the river's waters.

Ministry spokesperson, Ali Radi, said Turkish authorities had been contacted via the Foreign Affairs Ministry to warn them of the new project's impact on Baghdad's share of the river's water in terms of quantity and quality.

"Negotiations with the Turkish or Syrian sides are very important to reach understandings for the supreme goal of ensuring Iraq's water rights," he added.

The Tigris is a 1,750-kilometre-long river with its source in Turkey, it travels through Syria before finally reaching the Shatt Al-Arab River and the Gulf.

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