Friday, January 08, 2021


Jonathan Turley:

I certainly agree that the Capitol appeared utterly unprepared for this protest. That will be the subject of investigation. However, the breach of the Capitol happened quickly after a protest that was peaceful for hours on the mall.

The call for the arrests however are beyond the pale.  Many of us of criticized Trump’s speech as he was giving it.  Many of us opposed the challenge made to the electoral votes.  That however is not the crime of insurrection to call for a protest march on Congress.  We have seen violent protests on the left and the right being led by instigators from groups like Antifa and Proud Boys.

I previously wrote in opposition of declaring Antifa a terrorist organization or labeling left-wing protesters “seditious.” Such efforts would gut protections of free speech under the First Amendment. The same is true with Scarborough’s Siren’s call. If we start charging people for insurrection for reckless political speeches, we will truly “no longer [be] a nation of laws.”

Why is it that so many screech and clutch the pearls but Jonathan Turley (above) and C.I. (in the snapshot at the end) can be voices of calm and reasoned sanity?

Reminds me of Rudyard Kipling's "If:"

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, January 7, 2021.  DC sees the American people while in Baghdad an arrest warrant is issued for Donald Trump.

Yesterday, there was a rally and a riot in DC among Donald Trump's supporters.  Here's one person's take.

I don't use violence, I don't condone violence.  But when there was violence at protests against the police, I didn't rush to condemn the protests and was aware that many more people were protesting peacefully.  

"There was nothing to be gained," Caleb says in the video again.  He says, "We saw human beings acting like animals.  We saw property destroyed."

We saw reality.  I'm sorry that a woman was killed. 

This was a protest by right wingers and it is not representative of all right wingers.  I also don't think it was all that awful.  Congress needs to know that they answer to the people.

The Congress is their Congress.  It's our Congress.  It's the people's house.  American people have the right to protest.

Donald Trump is not getting a second term.

I don't get the outrage from people in the center and on the left.  

'Oh, it's so awful.'

No, it's really not.  It is an ongoing lesson that the process -- such as it is -- works.  The protesters -- even those that you want to call a mob (for good reason) -- didn't alter the election.

Donald has used every technique he can think of to overturn the results.  The results stand.  This is a testament to democracy.  Every time he tries something else, it just shows the world what democracy is and how strong it is.

No offense to 'communist' countries, but a lot of them were toppled by things like this.  Democracy is strong.  (Real Communism might be as well, I don't think we've seen that though. The USSR probably came closest.  I'm referring to political science definitions here, if you haven't studied it, we'll just disagree.)  Democracy involves the people.  The people of America?  They elected Joe Biden.

And a protest or a riot doesn't change that.  And legal challenges were overturned by the courts.  

Democracy works.  

It's not perfect. (We need to end wars, we need Medicare For All, we need to address climate change -- seriously address, we need to find solutions for the homeless crisis in this country.)  But a democratic system works.  And that's been obvious every day since the election.  

Donald has been given every opportunity to question the results, to challenge them.

And, in a democratic system, that doesn't paralyze the country.  

This has been a huge learning experience, a strong testament.  

I am so sorry that a woman was shot dead by the police, I am so sorry that other people were injured.  

But the system worked.

Joe Biden will be president on January 20th.  

I don't like Donald Trump.   That predates this site, I've noted that I know him going back to 2005 when Ava and I tackled THE APPRENTICE.  I know him and do not like him and avoid him.  That didn't happen because he was president.  This is due to who he is and it predates that.

But I did not use this site to attack him for personal reasons.  And I didn't make this site a response to his Twitter feed -- the way the media did.  

Unlike those in the media, I didn't applaud Donald for years.  

They may need to take a look at that.

But Donald does have supporters -- he got a huge number of votes -- and they have a right to protest.

Let's stay on Donald but let's move to other news.

AFP reports:

A Baghdad court has issued a warrant for the arrest of US President Donald Trump as part of its investigation into the killing of a top Iraqi paramilitary commander.

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of Iraq's largely pro-Iran Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary network, died in the same US drone strike that killed storied Iranian general Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad airport on January 3 last year.

The strike on their motorcade was ordered by Trump, who later crowed that it had taken out "two (men) for the price of one".

I don't like Donald.  That said, Iraq issuing an arrest warrant for a sitting US president?  While that government is taking US tax dollars?

In the real world, that warrant is a joke.  And it's a Baghdad court not the country's supreme court.  But this is an issue that appalls me.  If they wanted to issue that after he was out of office, it still wouldn't go anywhere in our current system, but fine.  

To do it right now?  

It just makes clear what I've said all along: ISIS is the problem of the Iraqi government.  It's not a US problem.  US troops need to leave Iraq.  ISIS is still there, yes, but that's up to the Iraqi government to address -- the corrupt Iraqi government.

Another thing to notice is that these two people matter to the Iraqi government.  These two deaths matter.


As we noted weeks ago, go to the UN website and look at the seven pages listing the names of journalists who have been killed in Iraq and notice that not one of those cases has resulted in anyone going to prison.

But these two deaths matter?

BLACKWATER was in Iraq due to and with Bully Boy Bush's permission but they didn't go after Bully Boy Bush for the massacre in 2007, did they? 

The US government paid of some families who had civilians members killed by US troops at checkpoints and they also paid of members of the US government.

This is news to you?  Well maybe you never paid attention of maybe your best source of Iraq information was Phyllis Bennis.  In the fall of 2006, there was Phyllis yacking on the useless programs (like COUNTERSPIN) about how the US government refused to keep a tally of the deaths of Iraqis during the war.  But, Phyllis, as we pointed out to you in real time -- and not just online -- they did keep a count and it had been reported on.  In fact, it was reported on in the summer of 2006. 

Nancy A. Youssef reported it.  She reported it for KNIGHT RIDDER on the last day that it was still KNIGHT RIDDER.  It had already been bought by MCCLATCHY months prior but the switch over would be on the following day.

And maybe that's why Nancy had her article in print while it was still KNIGHT RIDDER?  That's the chain that reported the truth about the Iraq War -- even during the lead up to the war.  MCCLATCHY didn't.  They cheered the war on.  And we had to spend years pointing that out before it sunk in.  

MCCLATCHY is not a great outlet.  It never was.  And the KNIGHT RIDDER staff did far less once they were under MCCLATCHY.  They also began -- this took place while Barack Obama was president -- allowing opinion into news story -- opinions of those reporters supposedly 'reporting.'  They also dropped all standards -- including the two 'star' reporters on Iraq (Warren especially, but both of them).  They were heroes in the lies from the faux left.  They weren't heroes.  They were doing their job with MCCLATCHY which was to question government.  They stopped it once it became MCCLATCHY.  Do you remember the stories exposing this or that about Libya?  The chain of stories about the open slave markets that followed the US attack on Libya?

No.  MCCLATCHY's two 'manly' heroes couldn't be bothered with reality anymore.

But, at any rate, these two deaths matter to a BAGhdad court.

I bet I know which one.  I bet it's the same one Nouri always counted on to issue verdicts for him that he then pocketed -- and no one knew about -- and would later pull out of his pocket to say, "See, this is what's supposed to happen."  He even got away with using that when he didn't like results of an election.  Verdict issued before the election, no one knew except the judges and Nouri, he pulls it out when he doesn't like the results of the elections, waives it around and says, "Look, the judicial system is on my side."  That's the same court, isn't it, that announced that a defendant -- who had yet to appear before them -- was guilty?  Announced it in a press conference.  With one of the judges on the panel claiming that he was personally threatened.

That's what they did.  And they did it to Iraq's then vice president Tareq al-Hashemi.

I bet it's that Baghdad court.  

It's a joke.  

But if this is how it's going to go, if the leaders of both government aren't going to communicate with one another, let's pull all US troops right now.

We should have done it a long, long time ago.

We also should have stopped sending money to the Iraqi government a long time ago.

Iraq's about to enter an awful, awful period.  And that's appalling but it's due to government corruption.  (The US government helped set that system up, so there's responsibility there.)  

Iraq's an oil rich nation.  Can you imagine if you're a country without any natural resources, watching Iraq bring in billions every month and now tell their citizens that this isn't available and this resource is cut or gutted and this . . .

It's an oil rich country.  It should never, ever have an economic problem.

We're talking a pop4ulation around 40 million. 

China has almost 1.4 billion people.  Iraq's only got 40 million.  And yet it's about to hit austerity measures, hit the people with them.

In 2019, Iraq made $78.530 billion off oil.  78.530 billion.  And 40 million people.  And yet it's had to devalue the dinar.  

The corruption has resulted in Nouri al-Maliki being rich.  His awful son has multiple sports cars and multiple residence (including his party pad in London).  But the Iraqi people have nothing.  They don't have jobs.  They struggle every day.  And they struggle because they have a corrupt government.

That's why ISIS took hold in Iraq.  Nouri was persecuting the Sunnis.  He was sending tanks to circle the homes of elected Sunnis who were in Parliament.  He had the Iraqi military raid the home of a Sunni member of Parliament -- this resulted in one of the MP's family members being killed.

By the way, I don't remember that Baghdad court issuing an arrest warrant for Nouri.

Nouri's thugs were going to the homes of Sunnis they wanted to arrest and not finding the man they wanted to arrest.  So what did they do?

They arrested the man's mother.  His sister, his wife, his daughter, his son, his grandfather . . .

And these people then 'disappeared.'  Off they went into the system that no one could find them in.

And this is what led to the rise of ISIS.

ISIS rose in Iraq presenting itself as a group -- this took place in public -- that was going to defend the Sunni protesters who were shutting down a major road that ran from Falluja to Baghdad.  

That's when ISIS makes its public stand in Iraq.

Now that a Baghdad court has issued a warrant for a sitting US president while they have diplomatic relations with the US, it's time to get US troops out of Iraq.

Again, this isn't the supreme court of Iraq. This doesn't represent the view of the current prime minister.  But the current prime minister only became prime minister in May of last year.  The one before was forced out of office.  Meaning, the feelings of a prime minister may or may not matter.  What we know is that an arrest warrant against the US can be issued by a Baghdad court.  For that reason, we need to get US troops out of Iraq.

Now I'm against the war.  Started speaking out against it in February 2003, a month before it broke out.  I have called for all US troops to leave Iraq since the US-led invasion started.

And there are so many reasons for that -- strong reasons.  But right now, today, there is a new reason and it's that arrest warrant for Donald Trump.

He's not at risk of being arrested.

But this is a precedent that needs to register.

I don't think it will, however.  I think, because it's Donald, you're going to see a lot of glee from various US commentators.  Some will be endorsing it (that's appalling) and some will be seeing it as something to make jokes about.

US troops are on Iraqi soil.  We need to be thinking about that and about what this type of warrant means for them.  Again, this isn't going to effect Donald Trump in the least. He's not going to stand trial in Baghdad.

Can we say the same about US troops in Iraq?  

I can see an incident leading to huge outcries, I can see the Baghdad court issuing a warrant and I can see militias trying to execute that warrant.  That's the worst case scenario and that's what we need to be thinking about because US troops are over there risking their lives and no one, all this time later, can give them an honest reason for why they are in Iraq.

Here's Jimmy Dore on DC events yesterday.

Here's Katie Halper's take.

So that's four different takes -- you got Caleb's take, Jimmy's take, Katie's take and my take.  Maybe something in one of them spoke to you, maybe your take is different from all four?

But while you think about DC, try to think about what's taken in place in Baghdad today and what it could mean for any US service member on the ground in Iraq. 

It's way past time for all US troops to leave Iraq.

The following sites updated:

  • Wednesday, January 06, 2021

    Ana Kasparian needs to be fired from JACOBIN

     Jackson Hinkle is so right in the video below.

    Ana Kasparian is an embarrassment.  As we noted at THIRD, "JACOBIN needs to fire Ana Kasparian."  C.I. made the case even stronger in yesterday's snapshot and does so again at the end of today's snapshot (see below).  

    Ana's a fake.  

    Doubt it?

    "Ruth's Streaming Report" (RUTH'S REPORT):

    I cannot listen to JACOBIN.  I know there is a mid-week program and C.I. highlights it, and she defended it this week at HILDA'S MIX.  I get her point.  But as long as JACOBIN is going to dilute their own brand by allowing the hideous Ana Kasparian to host their weekend program, I am not going to stream them.  Ms. Kasparian is hateful and she is rude.  More to the point, she is part of THE YOUNG TURKS.  I thought JACOBIN was about Democratic Socialism.  I am confused how the DSA can endorse Madeleine Albright because that is what Ms. Kasparian has done.

    Ana Kasparian is a Madeline Albright Democrat.

    Ms. Albright is a War Criminal.  If this is what JACOBIN wants to represent, I hope they understand that many of us on the left will not be visiting their website.  Ms. Kasparian already works for THE YOUNG TURKS.  She has an outlet.  It is time to let someone else -- especially someone not giddy over copping a feel of War Hawk Albright -- host the weekend program.

    Mad Maddie Albright's gal pal can give her vaginal massages for all I care.  What she can't do is self-present as someone on the left.  Ana made kissy-kissy with a War Criminal.  She needs to go.  If JACOBIN continues to employ her then they are saying they'd employ Judith Miller or any other whore for war.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

     Wednesday, January 6, 2021.  Michelle Goldberg's selective outrage gets called out as the issue of US troops in Iraq remains in the news.

    Let's start with some common sense, Andrew Mitrovica (ALJAZEERA) explains:

    The posh enablers of America’s empire have always required that the grunts do the maiming and murdering in pursuit of their disastrous geopolitical adventures.

    The corollary to this, of course, is the same posh enablers rush for the exits when, occasionally, the grunts end up in the dock for all the maiming and murdering done to enforce America’s dominion over nations the posh enablers have insisted – with obdurate certainty – require emancipation.

    For more prima facie evidence of this axiom, you need only digest the reaction among the posh enablers of the US destruction (sorry, emancipation) of Iraq to news of Donald Trump’s pardon of four mercenaries (aka grunts) convicted in connection with the murder of 17 Iraqis, including two children, in Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007.

    One mortified New York Times columnist wrote that the pardons, while predictable, were conspicuous not only because of their “depravity” and “grotesqueness”, but are also proof that “the last days of Trump’s reign have been an orgy of impunity”.

    That a Times scribe invoked the notion of “impunity” in a lengthy column denouncing the pardons of four killers liable for the massacre, while failing to acknowledge the newspaper’s irrefutable role in championing a “pre-emptive war” that ultimately facilitated the “orgy of violence” in Nisour Square and beyond is as predictable as it is a grotesque example of moral expediency and amnesia.

    Mitrovica goes on to outline the paper's long history in ensuring the Iraq War started.  The author of the column he's quoting?  Michelle Goldberg.  Search for Michelle's column ahead of the start of the war calling out war on Iraq.  You won't find it.  You will find, in October of 2002, her attack on the peace movement for SALON, it's entitled "Peace Kooks."  Yes, while the country was marching to war on Iraq, Michelle took the time to . . . attack the peace movement.

    There's a lot of blood on her hands.  TASNIM reports:

     Iraq filed a lawsuit against the US for bombing the Arab country with depleted uranium several times over the course of two decades.

    On Tuesday, Iraq’s al-Maaloumah news website reported the initiation of the legal proceedings related to the bombing spats that plagued Iraq with rampant and deadly radioactive contamination.

    The lawsuit was lodged by Hatif al-Rikabi, the Iraqi parliament’s legal advisor, with a Swedish court in Stockholm on December 26.

    The suit demands compensation for the repercussions of the bombings that targeted the country’s former nuclear installations twice in the 1990s and once in the 2000s, said al-Rikabi, who is also a member of Baghdad’s negotiation team with the United Nations.

    Michelle Goldberg likes to pretend a lot.  She's a columnist.  Where's her report on the birth defects in Iraq?  Or even on the US troops' children after a parent served in Iraq.  One New York paper did have a columnist who covered that story -- Juan Gonzalez before he retired from THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS.  Michelle pretends to be horrified by pardons of four Blackwater guards.


    Another male born in FGH 2 days ago with multiple gross congenital anomalies in addition to CHD , he is the 1st baby to 2 young healthy couples with no previous history of any anomaly
    Another male born in FGH with multiple gross congenital anomalies in addition to CHD , he is the 1st baby to 2 young healthy couples with no previous history of any anomaly

    And . . .

    "Findings suggest the enriched Uranium exposure is either a primary cause or related to the cause of the congenital anomaly and cancer increases," says a recent scientific report on the incidence of birth defects in Fallujah [Dr Samira Alani]

     That's from ALJAZEERA.  Michelle Golberg wants to pretend to care about Iraqis but she's horrified by four Blackwater guards being sprung from prison early but not the babies above, not their families.  It she can use something for partisan gain, she is shocked, she is horrified.  If it requires actual thought, Michelle has nothing to say.  Let's note Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani's 2013 "What's delaying the WHO report on Iraqi birth defects?" (also from ALJAZEERA):

    Iraq is poisoned. Thirty-five million Iraqis wake up every morning to a living nightmare of childhood cancers, adult cancers and birth defects. Familial cancers, cluster cancers and multiple cancers in the same individual have become frequent in Iraq.
    Sterility, repeated miscarriages, stillbirths and severe birth defects - some never described in any medical books - are all around, in increasing numbers. Trapped in this hellish nightmare, millions of Iraqis struggle to survive, and they call for help.

    2500 US troops will have left Iraq by January 15th per US President Donald Trump orders, as noted by Khazan Jangiz (RUDAW).  There are now said/guessed to be 2500 left.  This does not include Special Ops, this does not include the CIA -- which retains the largest base in Iraq -- the largest of any country other than the US.  But excluding those groups -- Special Ops and the CIA -- even excluding private contractors, we still don't know how many US troops are in Iraq -- there is no reliable count and hasn't been for years.  

    XINHUA reports:

    Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said on Tuesday that only hundreds of U.S. troops would remain in Iraq after the withdrawal of half of them from the country.

    Al-Kadhimi said, during a televised speech on the eve of the centenary of the Iraqi Army Day, the U.S. troops' withdrawal came due to "the ongoing strategic dialogue between Iraq and the United States that yield in the withdrawal of batches of U.S. troops during the past months. The withdrawal of more than half of them will complete in the coming days."

    Will anything change with a new incoming president?  Pro-war Dr. Faleh Alhamrant (THE MEDIA LINE) offers:

    American experts believe that President-elect Joe Biden will seek to reduce the American presence in Iraq due to long-term domestic political pressures, and shift the focus of foreign policy toward other arenas, such as China and Russia. This, in turn, will create opportunities for regional actors, especially Iran, to extend their influence in Iraq. On the other hand, the Biden Administration has the option of turning a new page in Iraq, and some experts suggest that the new president will decide to maintain boots on the ground. The Trump Administration helped Iraq complete its campaign to regain all the lands that were captured by the Islamic State. Unlike Trump, Biden will face a weak ISIS that no longer controls significant territory and doesn’t pose a grave threat to the stability of Iraq. But Biden already has made it clear that he plans on reducing military confrontation with Iranian-backed militias in Iraq as part of a broader policy he adopts, aimed at reducing the level of tension with Tehran. This American view of Iraq as a regional partner in combating terrorism means that he won’t withdraw US forces from the country completely. The Biden Administration understands the potential risks in the event of a final US withdrawal from Iraq, and will seek to avoid this by maintaining a limited military presence in the country. 

    ISIS is not weak.  That's no reason for US forces to stay in Iraq, ISIS is Iraq's issue to deal with -- and the best way would be to represent their citizens -- ISIS grew out of government persecution carried out by then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.  ISIS is not weak.  'They don't hold territory!'  That's not their aim.  They lucked into that.  Their aim, as terrorists, is violence and they carry that out daily in Iraq.  We've talked about what you use as your baseline before and how when you raise the bar higher than it should be you can pretend like there's been success.  There has been no success.  

    Are they still engaged in violence in Iraq?  Yes, they are.  

    US troops need to leave Iraq.

    From PBS' NEWSHOUR (link has text, audio and video):

  • [Militia supporter] Hussein Ali (through translator):

    We want these decisions to be implemented. The people voted on the decision to remove the American forces. And we want to remove all American forces peacefully. But if they are not achieved by peaceful means, then the people will resist.

  • Jack Hewson:

    With 2,500 U.S. troops still in country, that resistance is made reality by continued attacks on convoys and lands in the form of rockets launched on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

    The U.S. reportedly threatened to evacuate its embassy here, among the largest in the world, last fall. The last attack was on December 20, as eight rockets were fired at the U.S. Embassy. Red tracers from the embassies defense system returned fire.

    No group has claimed responsibility, but government forces arrested members of a prominent pro-Iranian faction called Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, or AAH. In response to the arrests, masked men claiming to be members of AAH made threats against Iraqi prime minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, posted on social media.

    AAH spokesperson Mahmoud al-Rubaie denied the group's involvement, either with the attack or the video threats, and said that one of their arrested associates had been forced to confess.

  • Halgurd Sherwani (KURDISTAN 24) reports: 

    Iraq’s defense minister, ahead of Army Day, warned that the country could be headed to a “civil war” if foreign diplomatic offices continue to be targeted by rogue groups.

    Iraqi Defense Minister Juma Anad’s remarks came on Tuesday in an interview with Al-Arabiyah TV ahead of the Iraqi military’s Army Day on Jan. 6, which marks 100 years of its establishment.

    “The continued attacks on the Green Zone and diplomatic representations will lead Iraq into a civil war,” the defense minister said, warning only “Iraqi citizens would be the victims” if that happens.

    Monday's snapshot noted the UK judge Vanessa Baraitser denied the US government's request to extradite WIKILEAKS publisher Julian Assange. This morning, Baraister denied a bail request for Julian.  Background, Julian is being persecuted for exposing War Crimes of the US government.  Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released  military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Chelsea  Manning and she stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. There was an Article 32 hearing and then a court-martial.  February 28, 2013, Chelsea admitted she leaked to WikiLeaks.  And why.

    Chelsea Manning:   In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
    I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.

    Caitlin Johnstone notes the judge's ruling and what's needed next:

    In the end, though, Baraitser ruled against extradition. Not because the US government has no business extraditing an Australian journalist from the UK for exposing its war crimes. Not because allowing the extradition and prosecution of journalists under the Espionage Act poses a direct threat to press freedoms worldwide. Not to prevent a global chilling effect on natsec investigative journalism into the behaviors of the largest power structures on our planet. No, Baraitser ultimately ruled against extradition because Assange would be too high a suicide risk in America’s draconian prison system.

    Assange is still not free, and he is not out of the woods. The US government has said it will appeal the decision, and Baraitser has the legal authority to keep Assange locked in Belmarsh Prison until that appeals process has been carried through all the way to its end. Discussions on bail and release will resume on Wednesday, and Assange will remain imprisoned in Belmarsh at least until that time. Due to Assange’s bail offense which resulted from taking political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012, it’s very possible that bail will be denied and he will remain imprisoned throughout the US government appeal.

    The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), the Australian trade union to which Assange belongs as a journalist, has released a statement on the ruling which outlines the situation nicely.

    “Today’s court ruling is a huge relief for Julian, his partner and family, his legal team and his supporters around the world,” said MEAA Media Federal President Marcus Strom. “Julian has suffered a 10-year ordeal for trying to bring information of public interest to the light of day, and it has had an immense impact on his mental and physical health.”

    “But we are dismayed that the judge showed no concern for press freedom in any of her comments today, and effectively accepted the US arguments that journalists can be prosecuted for exposing war crimes and other government secrets, and for protecting their sources,” Strom added. “The stories for which he was being prosecuted were published by WikiLeaks a decade ago and revealed war crimes and other shameful actions by the United States government. They were clearly in the public interest. The case against Assange has always been politically motivated with the intent of curtailing free speech, criminalising journalism and sending a clear message to future whistleblowers and publishers that they too will be punished if they step out of line.”

    Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh.  In addition, October 22, 2010, WikiLeaks released 391,832 US military documents on the Iraq War. The documents -- US military field reports -- reveal torture and abuse and the ignoring of both. They reveal ongoing policies passed from the Bush administration onto the Obama one. They reveal that both administrations ignored and ignore international laws and conventions on torture. They reveal a much higher civilian death toll than was ever admitted to. Calls are coming in from officials in many countries for an investigation -- including from the UK, Norway and Israel -- and from the United Nations High Commissoner for Human Rights and the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Torture. 

    This morning, Kevin Gosztola reviewed a new development in the case on SHADOW PROOF regarding the bail decision.

    Now let's try to deal quickly with several issues related to Medicare For All.  The country needs Medicare For All -- this isn't a want, it's a need.  And it's needed only more so in the pandemic.  A lot of e-mails to the public account are asking about this or that.  First, I don't live in front of computer. I can't follow every back in forth that nonsense like Ana, Cenk, Kyle and others do.  

    One e-mailer wanted to know why Ana Kasparian needs to be fired, according to me, but Jimmy Dore doesn't need to be fired for what he said.

    You are confused about many things.  First of all, Jimmy Dore hosts THE JIMMY DORE SHOW.  He can say whatever he wants.  Second, I didn't call for Ana to be fired from THE YOUNG TURKS -- she belongs in that cess pool.  I did call for her to be fired from the weekend program JACOBIN does.  She and Cenk can say whatever they want on TYT -- Cenk can endorse sex with animals -- as he has -- or flaunt his hatred for women -- as he has -- or deny the Armenian genocide -- as he has -- and Ana can stay right next to him being the useless idiot that she is.  (Which we may come back to in a second.)  But when she does a program for JACOBIN, she's representing JACOBIN.  JACOBIN does not need to be pulled into this personal conflict.  Their readers don't need it.  When has Ana talked -- she doesn't report, she just yacks -- about Iraq?  Not on the JACOBIN program.  But she can make time to launch an attack on Katie Halper and Briahana Joy Gray?  And do so on JACOBIN's program?


    She was a problem before that and she was diluting JACOBIN's brand and what it represents and is supposed to represent.  Now she's used their space to launch her personal attack -- an attack that drags the magazine into this.

    She needs to go from JACOBIN.  And that's before you get to her getting kissy-kissy with War Criminal Mad Maddie Albright.

    Her role on TYT?  I don't respect it.  I think you're a bit of whore when you do that.  I felt that way about the actress on HOME IMPROVEMNT that played the wife and mother -- don't remember her name, don't want to.  No career after the show and good for that.  A dumb idiot who existed to say, "Oh, Tim, oh, boys . . ."  I don't respect it when Mika does that on MORNING JOE and I don't respect it when Ana does it on TYT.  Out of control men are coddled by women who exist solely for that purpose.  

    [Added 10:39, HOME IMPROVEMENT -- not LAST MAN STANDING.  Nancy Travis is a strong actress and she does not play a coddler -- in the paragraph above it says HOME IMPROVEMENT but some people are wrongly running with Nancy Travis.  Nancy is a real actress.  Martha & Shirley are seeing some e-mails thinking the above refers to Nancy and it does not.  She is playing a real character that she has fully developed.  Nancy is a strong actress on the set as well and would never allow herself or a  character she played to be a doormat unless it was a critique of doormats.]

    Find your own voice and your own reason for being, stop being so embarrassing.

    There's another aspect I hoped to address this morning but there's not time.  I'll try to grab it tomorrow.  

    The following sites updated:

    Marianne Williamson is right


    Marianne Williamson is right.

    Fraud Squad.  They talk one way -- to get votes and contributions -- then they walk a different way.  They are frauds.  They've been fawned over and petted, they just aren't ever held accountable.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

    Tuesday, January 5, 2021. A grab bag of topics as a report that an attack took place on a convoy in Iraq, as the corruption in Iraq becomes more dire, as MOTHER JONES and Kevin Drum can't stay under their rock, etc.

    Starting with violence, MRN is reporting the following:

    Another US coalition logistics convoy was targeted by a roadside bomb on Tuesday morning in Saladin province.

    No further details have been published about the possible casualties, Saberin News reported, adding that no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Last night, a US coalition convoy was targeted on the road to the city of Ad Dujayl and the Qasim al-Jabbarin group claimed responsibility.

    I see no other coverage to verify that an attack took place.  More may come later in the day or this may be misreporting but we've noted it at the top.

    Now let's move over to  Jimmy Dore detailing The Fraud Squad.

    As Susan Sarandon says in THELMA & LOUISE, "You get what you settle for."  And if you're fine with getting nothing -- no Medicare For All, no serious work on climate change, etc -- then keep settling and defending The Fraud Squad and all the other fake asses and sell outs in Congress who are supposed to represent We The People but do not do so.

    Next topic, Shirley slid over an e-mail insisting I am avoiding "even mentioning Tara Reade."  Huh?

    From Friday's "2020: The Year Long Walk Of Shame:" 

    Tara Reade came forward with credible allegations that then-Senator Joe Biden assaulted her while she was an intern in 1992.  The press ignored the allegations forever and a day.  

    Then PBS' NEWSHOUR ridiculously 'investigated' by speaking to a list of people that Joe Biden's campaign provided.  Then there were all the attacks that were printed, whispers from the Biden campaign that the press didn't feel the need to disclose.  

    The repugnant Michael Tracey felt the need to weigh in.  Tara Reade could not have been raped, he explained, because of her money problems and some people who knew her once and didn't like her. Michael Tracey feels he knows better than anyone -- including those who've studied assault -- and possibly that's because he's an expert on the actions of a rapist?  Don't know but I do know that no rapist first asks his victim for a credit report.

    Hunter Biden has no ethics and may have broken laws.  But we never got to have that conversation in the press.  The Hunter story played out the same as the Tara Reade story -- the press refused to investigate and instead spent their time explaining how the story was wrong and shouldn't even be discussed.

    October 16th, THE NEW YORK POST published a story and this was followed by Twitter and Facebook censoring the nation's oldest newspaper still in business, it was followed not by newspapers and networks showing an interest in the computer and e-mails or demanding that Joe Biden answer (he still hasn't) on the record whether or not this laptop was Hunter Biden's, it was instead followed by attacking THE POST, its reporters and its sources.

    And this is not a momentary defect.  This is now what journalism resorts to: If they don't like the story, they're going to censor it.  NPR's ombudsperson Kelly McBride quoted NPR's Managing Editor for 'News,' Terence Samuel, declaring of the laptop story, "We don't want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don't want to waste the listeners' and readers' time on stories that are just pure distraction."  For more on that garbage, see Ava and my "Media: NPR doesn't trust its listeners" at THIRD.  But the most important point?  Hunter Biden is under federal investigation -- and we only learned that after the election.  Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Hunter Biden Finally Gets A Little Press Attention." 

    After the election, after weeks of being told 'nothing to see here,' turns out there was something to see there.  As Jonathan Turley pointed out:

    “Hunter is stuck on the roof.” That is what the transition team for Joe Biden should have said this week, instead of declaring that Hunter Biden is under federal investigation. The surprise was a lot to handle for many who have been insulated from real news about the case for weeks. The Biden team evidently never heard the old joke about the man who calls home during a trip to speak with his brother who was house sitting.

    When asked how things are going, the brother blurts out, “Fluffy is dead.” The man is shocked and yells that is not how you tell someone their cat died. Instead, he claims, you build up to it and say the cat is stuck on the roof, and then call back to say she fell. After the brother apologizes, the man asks how their mother is doing, and the brother pauses before replying, “Mom is stuck on the roof.”

    The problem is that Americans were assured that Hunter Biden was nowhere near the figurative roof. Before the election, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said the story involving the laptop was a “smear” from Russia. Some 50 former intelligence officials also insisted the laptop story was likely the work of Russian intelligence. Cable hosts and journalists laughed at the laptop story as fake news, and there was a virtual blackout on further coverage, until that loud thump after the election.

    Most striking about the media blackout is that, as with the Trump-Russia collusion story, the media was coaxed to buy into a false narrative. Reporters became so invested in the denial that they couldn’t afford to acknowledge growing evidence of possible wrongdoing. If Hunter Biden and his uncle did conduct a global influence peddling scheme, these reporters were at best dupes and at worst enablers of a coverup, so the story could not be true.

    The public shock was palpable because so many have been hermetically  and journalistically sealed off from any negative reports on the Bidens. The media was openly in the bag for candidate Biden, and he was left unchallenged in ridiculous claims like his often repeated line “no one has suggested my son did anything wrong.”


    Again, this is no longer a temporary defect, this is now a factory feature of journalism -- and that should bother everyone.

    That's Friday.  The e-mailer is upset that I "ignored" Tara all December -- check the archives and you'll see that's not the case.  The e-mailer points out a Kevin Drum aspect.  I didn't ignore that, I wasn't aware of it.  I wrote that on Friday.  Apparently the day before Kevin Drum attacked Tara at MOTHER JONES.

    Why would I know about that?  Do you know how long it takes to write the year-in-review?  That's a big piece and I don't get online to read anything after except Arabic social media.  More to the point, I have been calling out MOTHER JONES for nearly ten years now.  When they attacked a rape survivor, I believe I was the only one who defended her.  No one else called MOTHER JONES out or the two women who run/ruin the magazine.  Kevin Drum?  I didn't read that idiot when he was lying to get the Iraq War started, why would I read him now?

    I remember FAIR making a huge deal about these pro-war Iraq pundits who were wrong and the media rewarded them.  FAIR called out one media outlet after another . . . except MOTHER JONES.  MJ was supposed to be a left -- not a partisan, a left -- magazine.  And yet when it was time to hire a 'blogger,' they went with Kevin Give Me War On Iraq Drum.  And FAIR wouldn't call that out.  Because they're hypocrites.  The left right now needs to be fighting.  "We need to be able to name names," Briahna Joy Gray says in a clip in Jimmy's video above.  She's right.  But note that FAIR can't/won't name names.  Clean up your own yard before you go after others.

    Kevin Drum is human trash.  We've said that before.

    What the slime do?  He wrote a year-in-review piece entitled "Top Ten Lunatics of 2020" and for number seven, he offered this:

    Tara Reade. Remember her? She insisted that Joe Biden had sexually molested her in some way, but in the end it turned out to be just a fantasy made up by a habitual con artist.

    Kevin Drum is trash.   Here's a Tweet from Tara on this topic:

    The misogynistic roller coaster via what is painful as a survivor besides the name calling is the triggering of verbal abuse by that comes up from the past by a toxic males. Surviving abuse is hard and sharing it harder. But they will not take my dignity.

    Let me note again, MOTHER JONES is run/ruined by two women.  They have destroyed the magazine and note who they hire: David Corn (accused of harassment in the work place) and Kevin Drum (We have to have war on Iraq!).

    Some don't get why I've called out the hideous WONDER WOMAN 1984.  It's a very bad movie on every level but one of the main points is in Ava and my "TV: WONDER WOMAN 1984 is an awful film:"

    Cheetah's a secondary character in this film and she's defeated as Max is about to destroy the world.  She's a diversion to the plot -- can you imagine a director doing that with the Joker?  We can't either.  It's an insult to all the character stood for -- a character who's been around since 1943.  

    Equally true, she's the only other woman -- who's not an Amazon -- who gets more than ten lines of dialogue in the film besides Gal.  Why is that?  There are so many speaking parts for male actors and so many male characters -- even two homeless men who have more dialogue than the other women in the film.  How is this a feminist film?  How is this even a film by a feminist?

    Well it's not.  It's a film that director Patty wrote with two men.

    Really?  That's what we're going to get?  We scream and yell  for women to have the chance to direct and they choose to do a superhero movie about a woman and they choose to hire two men to help them write the script?  One of the men who came to Hollywood as a result of his reading of PENTHOUSE?

    This isn't feminism.

    And when you watch the sloppy and stupid WONDER WOMAN 1984, you grasp that it's not feminism either.

    Patty Jenkins was in charge of that film and she chose to work with . . . two men.  Not two women.  Not a man and a woman.  Two men.  Why are we breaking glass ceilings for Queen Bees who won't help other women?  (Queen Bee is a term popularized by Gloria Steinem in her book REVOLUTION FROM WITHIN about women who ensure their own success while doing nothing to help others.)  And that's why we called out THE NATION for their dismal record of publishing women when Katrina vanden Heuvel was in charge.  We see it at MOTHER JONES where two Queen Bees ensure that women are sidelined yet again.

    It's not feminism and when you keep a work place harasser (David Corn) on the payroll, you ensure that everyone in the work place knows that there are no rules which is how you get Kevin Drum's garbage published in the first place.

    Due to pushback, Kevin had to remove the number seven entry.  But even a large pushback didn't make them issue an apology.  Remember when David Corn -- trying to destroy Hillary Clinton -- lied about Bill Clinton.  Tons of people e-mailed and called MOTHER JONES.  When the lie was finally 'corrected,' they only corrected it on one piece -- David wrote three with the lie that Bill Clinton had pardoned a member of the Weather Underground -- and the 'correction' was half-assed with David saying basically, well he pardoned Marc Rich.  And that has hat to do with what?

    MOTHER JONES is garbage.

    Onto Iraq.  In THIRD's "Editorial: Iraq and the Dinar," we noted, "Things are about to get a lot worse for the Iraqi people."  At THE NEW YORK TIMES, Jane Arraf writes:

    Iraq is running out of money to pay its bills. That has created a financial crisis with the potential to destabilize the government — which was ousted a year ago after mass protests over corruption and unemployment — touch off fighting among armed groups, and empower Iraq’s neighbor and longtime rival, Iran.

    Iran in the past has taken the opportunity posed by a weak Iraqi central government to strengthen its political power and the role of its paramilitaries within Iraq.

    With its economy hammered by the pandemic and plunging oil and gas prices, which account for 90 percent of government revenue, Iraq was unable to pay government workers for months at a time last year.

    [. . .]

    That Iraq, one of the world’s largest oil producers, cannot reliably supply electricity to its citizens and has to import electricity is symptomatic of the dysfunction that led to antigovernment protests last year and brought down the previous government.

    A version of Jane's report also appears in print in today's NEW YORK TIMES and also at India's ECONOMIC TIMES.

    In related news, MIDDLE EAST MONITOR reports:

    An Iraqi parliamentary inquest has today revealed that an estimated $239.7 billion (some 350 trillion dinars) has left the country illegally since 2003.

    According to the Iraqi News Agency, one member of the Parliamentary Integrity Committee, Taha Al-Difai stated: "The amount was smuggled in the form of fake receipts and a lot of commissions were paid to officials."

    "Around $685 billion (1,000 trillion dinars) have been disbursed since 2003," he said, adding that this amount was "wasted in contracting and rampant corruption".

    According to Transparency International's 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index Iraq is ranked 162 out of 198 countries with corruption coupled with high youth unemployment being a frequent cause of anti-government protests.


    Last year, Rahim al-Darraji, a former member of the Finance Committee in parliament, estimated the looted funds in Iraq at around $450 billion.

    Iraq is witnessing a fiscal deficit of 58 trillion dinars in the 2021 budget – almost 38.6% of the total budget of $102 billion, due to the decline in crude oil prices.

    Corruption has to be addressed in Iraq.  The people have suffered due to it and now they're about to suffer even more.

    The following sites updated: