Tuesday, August 24, 2021

THE CONVO COUCH, Ava and C.I., Jonathan Turley

 First up, here's THE CONVO COUCH talking about the riot that was never an insurrection.

That's an important video.  Fiorella has been upfront and honest in her reporting on January 6th from the start and, unlike many, she was there on the ground.

Now for Afghanistan.  Sick of the high drama and over the top performance of the cable 'news' set?  Me too.  Ava and C.I. take that on.

"TV: Corporate media's motives are simple" (Ava and C.I., THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW):

To watch Andrea right now, for example, is to see her appear to be obsessed with Afghanistan but if you step back a moment and think -- something the chattering bobble heads never want you to do -- you'll realize just how much Andrea has ignored Afghanistan in 2021 and in 2020. Hell, you might even remember that once upon a time, instead of desk jockeys, MSNBC had an actual reporter, Ashleigh Banfield, who actually went to Afghanistan and other locations to report from them both on A REGION IN CONFLICT and in ASHLEIGH BANFELD ON LOCATION.

Now we're not saying that Alan Greenspan pulled a Lee Majors and insisted it be put into Andrea's contract that she be home at a certain time to cook him dinner, but we will note that she hasn't done actual reporting in years and she failed at reporting when she attempted it.

But she is outraged now. Outraged.

Damn that Joe Biden!!!!!

We believe Tara Reade so you might expect us to join the cry of "Damn that Joe Biden!"

But we're not joining the mob.

That mob is not working in the interest of the people. They are trying to alarm you and scare you.

We may be cold, but we are rational.

Joe is being rational and grasping that there's no 'win' in Afghanistan. 20 years later, there's no win to be won.

If the chattering bobble heads were rational -- and honest -- they'd show the horrors they're showing and explain that's what happens when the US leaves as an occupying force. (Please note, Joe does not plan to end the war, that's a whole other issue, but they're attacking him for the way he's pulled some troops out.) They'd be honest and explain that as messy as this is, it's been messy in Afghanistan for some time and you can talk to the Afghans that have lived under the corrupt system for years and you can talk to them about the drone attacks -- US drone attacks -- that killed people at such 'terrorist' events as weddings. It's long been messy and it's long been ugly.

But the drama the bobble heads are creating goes to one point: Don't leave Iraq.

They want the US occupation of Iraq to continue. Why? Because that's what their masters, the corporations who pay their checks, want. WAR IS A RACKET, Smedley Butler wrote about that decades ago (1935) and nothing has changed. The US is empire, like the Ottoman empire before it or the British empire or . . .

Afghanistan? Has natural resources but the corporations and US government know that they can work with the Taliban. They did so, after all, before 2001. Gore Vidal may be dead but his observations live on in his writing. Sadly, Hillary Clinton lives on. She does love to lie. She showed up on CNN to insist that what Joe was doing might put the Taliban in control!

Oh, Hillary, you need so much more than a podcast. You are an excellent liar to the American people so you really should be in the media. We know your daughter failed spectacularly. But you have a real gift for lying gab and you'd be the perfect new host of an MSNBC program, possibly one entitled TO HIDE A PEDOPHILE or TO HIDE A RAPIST.

When was the Taliban not in charge? Outside of Kabul, it's controlled the country for some time. Hillary leaves that out because it undermined her screeching. We're sure Hillary's heard of the Council on Foreign Relations. They say, that in July 2021, the Taliban controlled 54% of Afghanistan. (And, of course, the US signed a peace treaty with the Taliban in 2020.)  So before Joe's actions this month, the Taliban already controlled half the country. To be the red headed girl on KIDS IN THE HALL, it's a fact.

And it's one that the high drama really doesn't convey.

Now here's Jonathan Turley:

We have been following a slew of defamation lawsuits by political figures over the last few years. (See, e.g., here and here and here and here and here and here and here). As a torts professor, it has been a bonanza for my students to see different issues raised in such cases involving public officials and public figures. The latest such case is between two well-known Republican women and commentators: Kimberly Klacik and Candace Owens. Former Republican congressional candidate Klacik is suing commentator Candace Owens for defamation in alleging that she has committed criminal acts, money laundering used drugs, and workers at a strip club.  Klacik is seeking $20 million in damages.  The filings raise some interesting questions for tort actions between two public figures.

Klacik became a national figure when she ran to finish the term of the late Baltimore-area Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died in October 2019. She also spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention and received former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. She lost the special election to Kweisi Mfume in April 2020, who garnered nearly 72% of the vote.

The focus of the Complaint is a June 22, 2021 publication of a forty-four-minute video from Owens’ Instagram account. On the video, Owens states that she carried out an investigation with  unidentified sources who alleged that Klacik “used campaign money to do cocaine” and that she may have worked as  a “madame” at a strip club. She stated that Klacik may have laundered money and committed other potentially criminal acts.  The entire transcript is attached as an exhibit to the Complaint below.

However, Owens expressly noted that she was relying on third party accounts and that she “had no proof” and “cannot possibly verify” or confirm the Criminal Allegations.  In a response to a letter from Klacik’s counsel, counsel for Owens also declared that “nothing [Owens] said in [her] video constitute{d] defamation of character,” “fall facts [she] made are backed by truth,” and that Owens had “EVERY right under the law to inquire about campaign finances.” That exhibit is also attached to the Complaint.

What do you think's going to happen?  I wouldn't be surprised if Klacik drops her case.  If she pursues it, though, what do you think will happen?

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Tuesday, August 24, 2021.  So many 'helpers' so eager to 'help' but with so little damn knowledge.

Let's start with two videos worth streaming.

Two videos to reflect on.

Diving in . . .

Peter Baker.  He was a reporter once.  Was.  Life at THE NEW YORK TIMES has been one long embarrassment for him.  Who would have thought he could bottom himself?  Somehow he's found a way to sink even lower?  He Tweeted this garbage:

The Taliban takeover is the biggest boost to Al Qaeda since 9/11 and a global game changer for jihadism generally,


of@siteintelgroup tells


. There is “universal recognition” that Al Qaeda can now “reinvest” in Afghanistan as a haven.

The Taliban being a big boost to al Qaeda?  ("Al Qaeda"?  Guess he just loves to flaunt ignorance of other languages.)  That's laughable and a conflation but that's not what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about the old whore Rita Katz.

Did his editors sign off on that promotion?  

We don't note Rita who lied to the press years ago, gave a fake name, pretended to be someone else, etc.  


Along with that issue, there's also the issue that Rita feeds into Islamaphobia. 

It's disappointing, very disappointing.  But Peter's used to disappointing.  After all, he's woken up next to Susan Glasser for over two decades now -- Susan Glasser, the only one who, by contrast, could make Senator Amy Klobuchar look gamine.

Speaking of marriages, he wanted to be president and, anticipating an easy path to the 2020 nomination, he married to cover what was a non-existent sex drive.  Having failed to get the 2020 presidential nomination so spectacularly that he should never try again, will he divorce her?  Guess who, don't sue.  (Yes, he is jabbering away in the news lately.)

Let's move over to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED where Mary Louise Kelly struggled with journalism yesterday.   Context.  Disclosure.  Two key fundamentals of journalism.  Her guest? Bilal Wahab of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.  She failed to provide context or disclosures for either her guest or his organization.  When you're a Middle East 'think tank,' your audience needs to know what that means.  So, for example, you could say, "Whose work has been brought to you by the generosity of AIPAC."  That would be one way.

We told you forever ago that Iraq was the prize and that the great fear was that the realities in Kabul would make a US withdrawal in Iraq more likely.  (The realities?  20 years down the drain -- no progress, progress can't be imposed.  Nor can an authoritarian system -- the US military -- bring about democracy.)  So you'd see a lot of lying.

Bilal was first out of the gate with an article entitled "After Afghanistan, Iraqis Fear They Could Be Next" and we'll assume that ALL THINGS CONSIDERED is familiar with that report from last week since they used the same title for yesterday's segment.

It's cute the way Bilal claimed briefly to have spoken to Iraqis in the interview since he failed to do so last week in his long article.  But he insisted he had, faceless, unknown people:

That is the perception, and that is the fear of many of the Iraqi leaders and family members and journalists and civil society activists that I spoke to.

Someone forgot to program Mary Louise yesterday which is why she didn't immediately ask the obvious to everyone follow up:  If this is the fear of many, as you put it, how do you account for the fact that the majority of Iraqis want US troops out of their country and that this has been a consistent opinion for years and years?

No, Mary Louise didn't want to do journalism.  She's tired, you understand.  She gets paid a lot of money, yes.  But it was a Monday.  And she was having a bad hair day and her eyes looked puffy and she just wanted to get home, kick off her shoes and curl up with her cat.  

People don't understand, Mary Louise feels, just how hard her life is and they really can't understand how hard her life is, especially now that the CATHY comic strip has been discontinued.  For years and years, that comic strip provided people with a semblance of insight into the life of Mary Louise Kelly.

Insight into Cyrus S?  I'm not traipsing through that soggy mind, you have at it if you want.  But Cyrus seems determined to prove -- as he advocates for the destruction of Iran -- that he doesn't understand much at all:

The #Taliban is already committing #genocide in the areas they captured in #Andarab #panjshir, slaughtering women and children that were trapped It's a repeat of what #ISIS did to the #Kurds and #Shia that resisted in #Iraq

Is that what ISIS did?  

Goodness, speak to Iraqi Christians and the Yazidis and others and you'd get a different picture.  Maybe next time Cyrus wants to draw analogies, he'll do so with something that he truly understands?  

In the meantime, could someone advise him that ISIS also attacked Sunnis?  If he needs remedial help -- and he clearly does -- refer him to this 2014 report from Martin Chulov (GUARDIAN):

The bodies of more than 150 men killed by Islamic state (Isis) militants were recovered from a ditch in the city of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, on Thursday in the latest of a series of mass executions of tribal figures who oppose the group.

Iraqi officials said the men had been captured in the town of Heet, west of Ramadi, over the last week. All were members of the Sunni Albu Nimr tribe, which had faced off against Isis and had played a prominent role in fighting al-Qaida and its offshoots in Anbar province since 2007.

At least 60 more tribal members were killed in Heet earlier this week, in an execution videotaped and uploaded to the internet by the executioners.

Mass killings have become synonymous with the jihadists’ rampage through western Iraq and eastern Syria, in which large numbers of captured soldiers and civilians on both sides of the border have been murdered and their bodies gruesomely displayed.

Over at THE SPECTATOR, Andrew Bacevich offers:

Like the Vietnam war, the Afghanistan war stands as a judgment of the American national security elite and of the military profession. The essence of that judgment is this: given an accommodating adversary — Iraq’s Saddam Hussein is a perfect example — the armed forces of the United States are capable of delivering an impressive performance. If the punching bag stands still, we can deliver a helluva wallop.

But against an adversary that refuses to cooperate, that demonstrates even a modicum of resilience, US forces fare less well. As wars drag on, US military effectiveness diminishes, duration exposing our inability to adjust — put simply, to learn.

An enemy that refuses to fight on our terms baffles us. Yes, the bombs continue to fall and the barrels of shit keep burning, but to little avail. Our side appears to adapt but actually stands still. Eventually, advantage accrues to the enemy.

At that point, defeat is just a matter of time. This is what happened in Vietnam and what is happening again in Afghanistan today. But don’t expect the leaders of the Big Green Machine to learn any more from this failure than they did from the one we suffered a half-century ago.

Hey, Mary Louise, is there a reason ALL THINGS CONSIDERED didn't invite Bacevich on?  A colonel in the US Army, a historian, so much experience.  What was the one thing he was lacking?  Oh, right, didn't receive funds from AIPAC.  Gotcha.

Over at COUNTERPUNCH, Patty Cock Burn is pissing his panties again.  What will happen to Afghanistan????  What have "the US and its western allies" done????? Oh, Patty panty pad, what can we say, except hold your own accountable and get back to the UK pronto.  We don't need any more of your trashy family in this country.  Not a one.  Go back to the UK and start writing about what the UK did regarding Afghanistan.  You're truly pathetic.

Let's wind down with this from RUDAW:

A nasty smell is spreading through eastern Kirkuk and residents are worried about the effect on their health from nearby industries, including oil facilities. 

“We don’t smell the nasty scent all the time, but sometimes we do. It smells like burnt crude. Our air conditioners pull the smell into our houses. We breathe it in while we sleep,” said Mohammed Najjar who lives in Kirkuk’s Panja Ali neighbourhood.

An oil refinery is located less than a kilometer away.

“Just try to stay here for one night, especially in the summertime. We don’t even dare to turn on our air conditioners, despite the nuisance of mosquitoes,” said Mohammed Hadi, a neighbor. 

The environment directorate in the oil-rich province said they have carried out inspections and industries in the area are meeting regulations. 

“We checked the area. According to our rules and regulations, however, the existence of the factories in the area is allowed,” said Mohammed Fatih, head of the Kirkuk environment department. 

But the pollution has doctors worried. 

“We live in an oil-rich city. The gasses that exist in the air of our city carry most of the heavy [pollutants], resulting in breathing problems and poisoning and asthma, as well as blood and lung cancers,” said microbiologist Dr Pakiza Fuad.

The following sites updated: