Friday, March 26, 2021

Free speech

Jonathan Turley:

Sen Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) came out against the Twitter ban of former president Donald Trump yesterday.  Sanders expressed his discomfort with the role of Big Tech in censorship viewpoints, a sharp departure from his Democratic colleagues who have demanded more such corporate censorship. In an interview on Tuesday with New York Times columnist Ezra Klein, Sanders stated that he didn’t feel “particularly comfortable” with the ban despite his view that Trump is “a racist, sexist, xenophobe, pathological liar, an authoritarian … a bad news guy.” He stated “if you’re asking me do I feel particularly comfortable that the then president of the United States could not express his views on Twitter? I don’t feel comfortable about that.”

I would hope that Sanders would take the same view of a non-sitting president or an average citizen. They should all be able to speak freely. Sanders does not go as far as that “Internet originalist” position, but he at least is recognizing the danger of such censorship. He noted that “we have got to be thinking about, because if anybody who thinks yesterday it was Donald Trump who was banned and tomorrow it could be somebody else who has a very different point of view.” He stated that it is a danger to have a “handful of high tech people” controlling speech in America.

I have long praised Sanders for his principled take on many issues and this dissenting view is most welcomed by those in the free speech community. It is in sharp contrast to his Democratic colleagues who celebrated the ban and called for more censorship. One of the leading voices of censorship in the Senate is Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) chastised Big Tech for waiting so long to issue such bans: “The question isn’t why Facebook & Twitter acted, it’s what took so long & why haven’t others?”

As we have previously discussed, Democrats have abandoned long-held free speech values in favor of corporate censorship. 

Censorship is an easy trick when you are in favor.  But when the pendulum swings the other way -- as it always does -- even hypocrites begin to get scared.

I'm for free speech.

No exceptions.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Thursday, March 25, 2021.  A look at the media.

Starting with the media.

That's RISING and that's RISING proving just what a waste they are.  It's not like they filed anything important on Iraq -- the Iraq War hit the 18 year mark over the weekend.  But here they want to file on how US Vice President Kamala Harris will be joining former president and forever womanizer Bill Clinton for an event about empowering women and girls.  Bill is credibly accused of having raped Juanita Broaddrick and he did have a highly inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky which was, honestly, harassment after he's needing her to be silent about that affair.

There is no reason in the world that a sitting vice president should be taking part in this nonsense.  The optic are wrong, just for starters.  

But where does RISING get off criticizing anything about this event for women and girls?  They bring on two guests and nither are experts in empowering women and girls nor are they women.

This is not why media is supposed to exist.  This is lazy and it's sexist. 

Of and when Krystal leaves RISING (and her podcast with Kyle as well), let's hope she's not planning to guest on other shows because the pattern she's set is that women don't make up half the world and they certainly shouldn't make up half the guest list.

Is it really too much to think that, in 2021, half of RISING's guests could be women?  Is it really reaching to expect that a segment like this would feature women?

They are the problem.  RISING is the problem.  

Right now, some are slamming Senator Tammy Duckworth for her declaration that she wouldn't vote for anymore Biden cabinet nominees unless they were minorities until Joe nominates an Asian American cabinet official.

"Race quotas!"  And other nonsense many hissed.  

First off, it wasn't Tammy alone.  Senator  Senator Mazie Hirono also joined her in that stance.  They have both backed off.  

They shouldn't have.  Tammy and Mazie were not asking for a full cabinet, they were asking for one official.  And all Joe's offered in terms of diversity has been officials -- meaning he's got no iversity in thought, no diversity in programs.  His administration is run of the ill generic with the exception of skin tone, sexual orientation, etc.  The individual is the diversity -- not the programs, not the experience, not the outlook.  So if that's all he's offering, that's all he's offering.

And Mazie and Tammy are well within their rights to make demands.  Sadly, they didn't stick to those demands.  

The Krystal Balls of the world go merrily along the way reinforcing every double standard and every barrier that has existed for years.  As a co-host of RISING, she should be inviting women on air.  But she barely does.   And that's why people have to make demands.  It's 2021 and Krystal Ball has the power to invite on her show whomever she wants.  She misuses that power on a daily basis.

Krystal, if women aren't good enough to make up half the guests on RISISNG, maybe they shouldn't make up half the hosts?  How would you like that if it were your ass on the line?

I don't like women who refuse to help other women.  I don't like women who climb their way to the top over the bodies of other women.

This really needs to end, I'm damn tired of it.  

Let's also remember that we're nearing the end of what's supposed to be Women's History Month.  Did you see any outlets up the number of women that featured this month?  No, of course not.  They keep doing their 1/3 of the guests female and we're all supposed to look the other way.  

It's disgusting.

Staying with media, let's move to HARD LENS MEDIA.

That's a hard hitting commentary from both hosts in the video above.  US House Rep Pramila Jayapal has introduced a bill for Medicare For All and she states "that means that we now have a bill number. Medicare For All is officially HR 1976 "


The hosts are correct that she and others refused to Force The Vote back in January.  More to the point, does Pramila Jayapal think she's the first person to introduce this bill?

Has she never heard of Dennis Kucinich?   Here's  then-US House Rep Dennis Kuccinich doing just that in 2008.  And here's Dennis two years prior to that talking about another bill that he introduced for Medicare For All that session.  We could go on and on with this.   If Jayapal wants credit for doing something then she needs to do something unique.  Introducing a bill?  She's not the first on the Moon with that action.  

Staying with the media, MEMO offers:


The United States is to resume strategic talks with Iraqi officials next month regarding the status of combat troops, a senior Biden administration official said.

The talks will be the first set of US-Iraq meetings under President Joe Biden and are expected to set the tone for the relationship between the two countries during the next few years, the Associated Press reported.

Is that the language now?  If it is, I'm fine with it.  But I do want to know if this is now the official language?  For years and years, they've not been called combat troops -- they were just there to advise and train, remember that?

They're combat troops, they've always been combat troops.  But the press has played language games and pretend.  Now MEMO (and AP before) are saying combat troops.  


Logistics convoys affiliated with US terrorist forces were once again targeted in Iraq, Al-Mayadeen reported.

According to the report, a roadside bomb exploded near a convoy of American terrorists in Diwaniyah province in Iraq. Ashab l-Kahf group claimed responsibility for the blast.

Another roadside bomb targeted a convoy of US troops in Dhi Qar province in Iraq. Oliya al-Dam group claimed responsibility for the blast.

Again, they are combat troops.

We're going to again note IAVA is hosting a FACEBOOK Live event:

March 23, 2021

New York, NY – On Thursday, March 25th, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) CEO Jeremy Butler will be joined by House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Mike Bost (R-IL) and IAVA Member Advocates Sarah Letts and Corey Foster for a Facebook Live event focused on women veterans and burn pits and toxic exposures. The event will conclude IAVA’s virtual fly-in advocacy week. 

“As veterans, we know the importance of working together for the greater good,” said Ranking Member Bost. “That’s exactly how we’re going to get veterans back to work and fully recovered from COVID-19, improve services for women, support those suffering from toxic exposure, and more. I’m ready to listen and learn from these leaders on Thursday about the challenges post 9/11 veterans are facing and the solutions IAVA is bringing to the table.”

Throughout the week, IAVA’s Member advocates are meeting with lawmakers from both parties to discuss the crucial issues facing the veteran community, including impacts from burn pits and toxic exposures, the veteran suicide crisis, the needs of women veterans, equitable access to VA healthcare, and more. Videos of the event will be recorded and available on IAVA’s website and social media channels.

“IAVA is laser focused on raising awareness and enacting real change for veterans and their families,” said IAVA CEO, Jeremy Butler. “And what a fitting way to end our advocacy event – with fellow veterans and Ranking Member Mike Bost, rallying for the betterment of our veteran community.”

This Facebook Live event will provide an overview on IAVA’s history of advocacy across legislative issues, including women veterans and toxic exposure. The event will also highlight personal stories from IAVA Member Advocates. There will be time allotted for viewers to ask questions throughout the event. 

“I am so appreciative of the opportunity to represent IAVA members and veterans in general in discussing my experiences of combat toxic exposure, from burn pits to poorly treated water in degrading plastic bottles,” said Sarah Letts. “And I am encouraged by the focus on the treatment of and services for women veterans. Please join us in this important discussion.”

“I look forward to having a candid conversation about the needs of female veterans and the impact of burn pits and toxic exposures,” said Corey Foster. “It’s critical that as a collective group we raise awareness about these important issues so we can facilitate positive change for veterans and their families.”

Biographies of the Member Advocates for this week are available here. IAVA’s CEO Jeremy Butler and Member Advocates are available to meet with the media upon request through


Jeremy Butler, CEO, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Representative Mike Bost (R-IL), Ranking Member of House Veterans’ Affairs Committee

Corey Foster, Member Advocate

Sarah Letts, Member Advocate


IAVA Announces Facebook Live Event with Ranking Member Bost During Virtual Fly-in

WHEN:     Thursday, March 25th at 5:00pm EST/ 2:00pm PST

WHERE:   Join the Facebook Live event here. The event is open to the press.

Jeremy Butler serves as IAVA’s Chief Executive Officer. Jeremy joined IAVA with 15+ years of experience providing substantive and strategic counsel to leaders in high-profile government and private sector offices, including the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. He graduated from Knox College with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and received a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. He is a Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy Reserve. Butler regularly contributes to national media outlets across the country.

IAVA is the voice for the post-9/11 veteran generation. With over 400,000 veterans and allies nationwide, IAVA is the leader in non-partisan veteran advocacy and public awareness. We drive historic impacts for veterans and IAVA’s programs are second to none. Any veteran or family member in need can reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force at or 855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) to be connected promptly with a veteran care manager who will assist. IAVA’s The Vote Hub is a free tool to register to vote and find polling information. IAVA’s membership is always growing. Join the movement at


That's later today.

Mike's "They were all better than Joe   " isn't showing up on the links but it did post as did the following:

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Mary Lu Bilek

Jonathan Turley:

CUNY Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek is back in the news in what people are calling a case of “self-cancellation.” After referring to herself as a “slaveholder” in a faculty meeting, Bilek announced her early retirement in response to what she called as momentary but serious lapse of judgment last year. We previously discussed Bilek’s troubling view of free speech after conservative law professor Josh Blackman was stopped from speaking about “the importance of free speech.”  Bilek insisted that disrupting the speech on free speech was free speech. She has now effectively ended her own speech, at least as the Dean of CUNY. She has also sent herself into counseling to overcome her “biases.”

Last October, Bilek also made news when she insisted that a law student threatening to set a man’s Israeli Defense Forces sweatshirt on fire was simply “expressing her opinion.”  The student was accused of not just making the threat but holding up a lit lighter. Critics asked if Bilek would have taken the same view with a sweater for other causes or groups.

Dean Bilek sent an email to the CUNY community announcing she would be quitting her job after the November incident. She explained that she referred to herself as a “slaveholder” in a discussion of a proposal that some believed would have a disparate impact on racial minorities. 

Two main things spring to mind reading about Mary Lu Bilek.  

First, am I the only one thinking there has to be more?  This happened months ago and only now does she -- all by herself -- decide to resign?  It just feels like more was going on than she's willing to reveal.

Second, I do think what she said was insulting.  

She's a "slaveholder"?  If that's how she sees herself, how does she see African-Americans?  I'm not joking.  I'm deadly serious.  I kept reading it over and over for some indication that there was more to her statement (such as "as a descendant of slave owners . . .") but, no, she said she was a "slaveholder."  That's offensive.  

Offensive enough to be fired or resign?  No.  If I'd been at the meeting, I would have declared, "Frankly, I'm bothered by your word choice."  

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Tuesday, March 23, 2021.  The war continues, the struggles continue, veterans continue to suffer.  The president of the US may have changed but nothing else did.

MEMO reports:

An Iraqi MP has said that the federal government in Baghdad and the northern Kurdistan Region have been unable to resolve their disagreements over the country's federal budget for 2021, local media have reported.

Mazen Al-Faisaly MP said that the Kurdistan Region delegation has refused to include clear and explicit details of the amount of oil delivered from the regional oil fields to the federal government. He added that the parliament and the government are not obliged to pay for the contracts concluded by the Kurdistan Regional Government with foreign oil companies because they violate the constitution.

The Iraqi federal government insists on receiving oil produced from the region and selling it through the state-owned oil company, SOMO.

Now might be a good time to point out that Article 140 of Iraq's constitution was never implemented.  It's ten years since Brookings labeled it as one of the biggest barriers -- Kirkuk, as one of the biggest barriers.  Kirkuk is oil-rich.  It is claimed by the Baghdad-based government and by the KRG.  That issue was supposed  to be resolved.  Article 140 of the Constitution called for the steps outlined to be completed by December 2007.  Completed?  They were never even started.

And all this time later, with oil still an issue that results -- over and over -- in clashes between the Baghdad-based government and the KRG, it's obvious that Kirkuk should have been resolved some time ago.  Kick the can -- that's how the refusal to implement Article 140 was repeatedly characterized.  

Meanwhile ANADOLUA AGENCY reports a Baghdad motor cyle bombing has left 1 person dead and three more people injured.  Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) notes of yesterday, "In Baghdad, gunmen killed an Iraqi colonel who worked in the intelligence directorate. A lawyer was reported missing and is believed to have been kidnapped." And Brian W. Everstine (AIRFORCE MAGAZINE) reports:

U.S.-led coalition aircraft recently conducted a major offensive against the Islamic State group in northern Iraq, conducting 133 airstrikes over 10 days targeting a cave complex that served as a safe haven for terrorists. That’s more than any monthly airstrike total in Iraq and Syria since 2019.

The offensive, in support of Iraqi ground forces, destroyed 61 hideouts, 24 caves, and eliminated “a number of terrorists,” said Col. Wayne Marotto, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.

Iraqi Ministry of Defense spokesman Yehia Rasool said the mission was aimed at drying up the sources of terrorism. The Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service led the ground effort.

The strikes focused on an area called Qarachogh Mountain, about 50 kilometers southwest of Erbil. Video of the strikes posted by Kurdistan 24 shows large plumes of smoke rising from a mountainous area.

But let's all pretend the Iraq War is over?

While faux peace leaders in the US like Medea Benjamin focus on other things, the US Chamber of Commerce is more than ready to make a buck in/off Iraq:


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its U.S.-Iraq Business Council stand ready to work with the Biden Administration as it considers the future of the U.S.-Iraq relationship. In February, President Joe Biden spoke with Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, affirming U.S. support for Iraq’s sovereignty and independence while highlighting the importance of advancing the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue and expanding bilateral cooperation. Encouragingly, we understand that both countries plan to resume their strategic dialogue in April.

In support of this collaborative sentiment, the U.S.-Iraq Business Council (USIBC) aspires to work with the Biden Administration, as well as leaders in the Government of Iraq and Kurdistan Regional Government, to drive private sector development and diversification, economic and energy independence, and bring about inclusive economic growth for the Iraqi people in order to realize a more stable, sovereign and secure Iraq.

Click the link above to read the Chamber's 4 Big Ideas for U.S.-Iraq Ties. 

March 23rd, yes, Medea did turn up on RT.  And?  We've always known Medea would do anything to appear on camera.  It's why her nickname remains I NEED ATTENTION Benjamin.  We'll instead note this letter to the editors of  THE MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE:

Can you be wrong but still be right? Explain how President Joe Biden can for years say he was wrong to have supported the Iraq war but now he authorizes strikes upon Iran-backed militias in Syria because the militias were attacking U.S. forces in Iraq.

If Biden says the war was wrong, how then can the resulting occupation from the war be right? If you are illegally in your neighbor's house, and then admit your break-in was wrong, do you in any way have the right to use violence against those trying to get you out?

Here's how the game is played in Washington and the media simply goes along with it ­— the "enemy" is evil for attacking U.S. troops, regardless of the awful corrupt predicaments those in Washington put the U.S. troops in.

Biden says he was wrong for supporting the war but keeps the occupation in place and then those who attack U.S. troops in Iraq are more evil than the false war Biden helped start. It makes no sense, but the media and the public buy it.

The war created American "interests" in Iraq and Biden will now justify more military violence by saying American "interests" in Iraq need to be protected.

Kind of a clever plan — but easily exposed.

Frank Erickson, Minneapolis

The war has not improved the lives of the Iraqi people.  It's not helped the people sent to fight there.  Michael McAuliff (KAISER HEALTH NEWS) reports:

The lungs Bill Thompson was born with told a gruesome, harrowing and unmistakable tale to Dr. Anthony Szema, when he analyzed them and found the black spots, scarring, partially combusted jet fuel and metal inside.

The retired Army staff sergeant had suffered catastrophic lung damage from breathing incinerated waste burned in massive open-air pits and probably other irritants during his tour of duty in Iraq.

“There are black spots that are burns, particles all over; there’s metal. It was all scarred,” said Szema, a pulmonologist and professor who studies toxic exposures and examined Thompson’s preserved lung tissue. “There was no gas exchange anywhere in that lung.”

Thompson is still alive, surviving on his second transplanted set of lungs. Yet the story burned into the veteran’s internal organs is not one that has been entirely convincing to the US government. The military has not linked the burn pits to illness. That means many who were exposed to burn pits and are sick do not qualify for benefits under any existing program.

Retirement and health benefits for members of the military depend on factors like length of service, active or reserve status, deployments to combat zones and whether the military considers specific injuries or illnesses to be service-related. Thompson has been able to get care through the Department of Veterans Affairs for his lung disease but has not been able to secure other benefits, like early retirement pay.

“I was denied my Army retirement because if it was not a combat action, then I don’t receive that retirement,” Thompson said at a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing last week on service members’ exposures to toxic substances.

Thompson is one of at least 3.5 million veterans since 2001 who have served in war zones where the US military decided to dispose of its trash by burning it, according to VA estimates. It’s not clear how many people within that population have gotten sick from exposure. Only a small fraction — 234,000 — have enrolled in the VA’s online burn pit registry. Veterans’ advocacy groups have said the majority of claims to the agency stemming from toxic exposures are denied, even as most former service members report contacts with toxins in their deployments.

Soldiers returning from tours in the global war on terror have reported debilitating illnesses almost from its beginning, but got little traction with the military. This year, though, the likelihood of congressional action is high, with Democrats expressing interest and a president who suspects burn pits are to blame for his son’s death.

Paula Reed Ward (TRIBUNE-REVIEW) reports on another veteran

A retired member of the Pennsylvania National Guard is suing his employer, alleging that being forced to wear a mask to prevent the spread of covid-19 prompted PTSD and flashbacks from his time serving in Iraq.

Andrew Voigt, 52, of Penn Hills, filed the complaint in U.S. District Court on Monday, claiming discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

He works as an engineer with Fluor Marine Propulsion LLC, of West Mifflin, at the Bettis Worksite.

The company's 'answer' is for Voight to go on disability.  

Iraq War veteran Vincent Emanuele writes:

By the time we came home, most of the platoon was full-blown alcoholics, drug addicts, sex fiends, or some mixture of the three. Divorces, assault charges, DUIs, and stints in rehab facilities commenced, including suicides, drug overdoses, and cancer diagnoses. You know, the sort of shit they don’t show you on the commercials or talk about at the recruitment centre.

But that’s only half the story. The aftereffects of combat are often more devastating than the action itself, which, to be honest, was quite fun at times. Nothing beats the adrenaline dump of a firefight. Nothing. That’s why so many guys miss it. That’s why so many seek adventure in civilian life, sometimes to the detriment of themselves and others. Fast cars and motorcycles leave mangled corpses. The needle can only bring so much comfort: the bottle, the same. It’s true: civilian life is boring. Everyone who has experienced combat understands that much. On a very personal level, at the cellular level, war permanently changes you.

At the geopolitical level, we are yet to fully understand the long-term impacts of the Iraq War. Perhaps we never will. The human toll is staggering: anywhere from 250,000–1,000,000+ dead, with millions displaced externally and internally. Hundreds of thousands endure lifelong illnesses due to chemically-laced munitions such as depleted uranium or maimed bodies due to bombing raids, drone strikes, a stray bullet, or some garden variety shrapnel. The Iraq War caused the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. It unleashed forces across Libya, Syria, and beyond that resemble the most reactionary and murderous forces of the Middle Ages.

Thousands of US troops died because of lies and hubris. Their families are forever emotionally, socially, and spiritually scarred. The same is true of the families of the nameless Iraqis who perished on the dusty battlefields of Mesopotamia. Tens of thousands of veterans have killed themselves, leaving behind broken families and generations of emotional trauma. Picking up your dead friend or his shredded and bloody limbs is terrible enough, but it’s much worse when you finally realise it was all for nothing, otherwise known as ‘moral injury.’ Well, not exactly nothing —  we made many people a hell of a lot of money and stoked the egos of insecure men who thought they controlled the world.

In the future, I can imagine young people talking about the ‘great oil wars of the 21st century.’ Fighting wars for oil, the very commodity that might cause the end of civilisation. Oh, the irony. Within a few months, a young man or woman who wasn’t even born when the Iraq War started will step onto the sands of Iraq as a contractor, DoD official, or military personnel. Can you imagine?

Back home, the war helped destroy what was left of an already undemocratic and antiquated political and legal system. Americans have less trust in the media due mainly to the lies journalists and news outlets told during the lead-up to the war. The Iraq War ushered in a period of cynical distrust in liberal institutions. Without question, a trend growing long before 2003, but one accelerated by lies justifying costly imperial adventures ($2 trillion and counting).


Regarding yesterday's snapshot on fake assery -- most e-mails cite John Nichols as someone who should have been mentioned.  John certainly staked out his position early on -- Barbra Streisand was responsbile for the Iraq War.  Sadly, that's not really a misreading of his 'major' Iraq column.  Equally true, when John Conyers wanted Bully Boy Bush impeached for the Iraq War, John was on board and was even promoting a book on impeachment -- a book he stoppred promoting the moment Nancy Pelosi announced impeachment was "off the table."  John's a whore from long, long ago.  It is sad, yes, when you see him on BAD FAITH as a trusted voice.  It goes to why we don't really advance in the US.  We keep putting known liars in front of microphones to speak for us.  Hey, John, when you whored for Barack -- which time! -- when you whored for Barack after he was telling  Canada not to take his anti-NAFTA talk seriously, remember how you lied that it was really Hillary Clinton and not Barack's campaign  Remember how you said on air that you had proof?  Where did that proof ever go?  AP was right, it was Barack.  You're just a whore John Nichols and, honestly, shame on BAD FAITH and anyone else who brings that known liar on as a guest.


The following sites updated:

  • Tuesday, March 23, 2021

    Project Veritas v NYT

    Jonathan Turley always covers numerous interesting issues involving free speech at his website.  I'm going with this one because I honestly had not seen anything about it anywhere else:

    While it has received little coverage in the mainstream media, the conservative group Project Veritas won a major victory against the New York Times this week in a defamation case with potentially wide reach.  In a 16-page decision, New York Supreme Court Justice Charles Wood ruled against the newspaper’s motion to dismiss and found that Project Veritas had shown sufficient evidence that the New York Times might have been motivated by “actual malice” and acted with “reckless disregard” in several articles written by Maggie Astor and Tiffany Hsu. The decision will allow the Project access to discovery which can be extremely difficult for a news organization.

    Notably, this follows another significant loss by the New York Times to Sarah Palin last year. Having two such losses for the New York Times in the defamation area is ironic given its role in establishing the precedent under New York Times v. Sullivan.

    The case came out of the highly divisive period of the civil rights movement. The New York Times had run an advertisement referring to abuses of civil rights marchers and the arrest of Martin Luther King Jr. seven times. The Montgomery Public Safety commissioner, L. B. Sullivan, sued for defamation and won under Alabama law. He was awarded $500,000 — a huge judgment for the time. Sullivan’s lawsuit was one of a number of civil actions brought under state laws that targeted Northern media covering the violence against freedom marchers. The judgments represented a viable threat to both media and average citizens in criticizing our politicians.

    The Supreme Court ruled that tort law could not be used to overcome First Amendment protections for free speech or the free press. The Court sought to create “breathing space” for the media by articulating that standard that now applies to both public officials and public figures. The status imposes the higher standard first imposed in New York Times v. Sullivan for public officials, requiring a showing of “actual malice” where media had actual knowledge of the falsity of a statement or showed reckless disregard whether it was true or false.

    In this case, Astor and Hsu were accused of libeling Project Veritas by stating their opinions as fact in the articles on video clips that purportedly showed illegal voting practices by campaign workers for Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).  One article by Astor on Sept. 29 was titled “Project Veritas Video Was a ‘Coordinated Disinformation Campaign,’ Researchers Say,” and reported how academic researchers found the video to be part of a “concerted disinformation campaign.” The article describes the project’s work as “deceptive.” Hsu followed up a month later with a story titled “Conservative News Sites Fuel Voter Fraud Misinformation” that again quoted academic experts in describing the work as “deceptive” and part of a “propaganda feedback loop.” Other articles follow a similar narrative.

    The opinion is interesting because it calls out the New York Times for blurring the line between opinion and fact. 

    Interesting and possibly able to restore some modicum of what journalism is supposed to be -- balanced with opinion going into columns.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

     Monday, March 22, 2021.  Theme of this snapshot?  Fake Asses, we see you -- and we name you.

    The Iraq War anniversary came and went and little bothered to note it.  18 years of ongoing war.  Medea Benjamin did manage to note it . . . for a single Tweet.

    Much love to the people of Iraq, whose lives were upended and destroyed by the horrific US invasion of their country 18 years ago. “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people,” as Howard Zinn said.

    Is this US out of Iraq?  No.  And it never will be if this is what passes for a peace leader.  And she uses an old picture, years old, and she uses an old quote.  Coward Zinn died in 2010.  Remember 2008?  When Coward and Noam Fake-sky endorsed Barack Obama?  And the response was one of disgust and shock so quickly one rendorsed Ralph Nader and the other endorsed Cynthia McKinney?  And then Coward and company used Barack's January 2009 inauguration to throw their own little gala and fundraiser?  Yeah, I do too.  Those who were children then may not remember, but the adults in the room do.

    We also remember that CODESTINK was in the midst of two Iraq actions one summer -- a hunger fast in DC and a trip to Iraq to meet with peace activists in that country -- and both got put on hold when they dropped Iraq as an issue to rush over to the topic of Palestine.

    CODESTINK and Medea have never dedicated themselves to anything other than getting press attention for themselves.

    Self-proclaimed peace activist Medea Benjamin's Iraq War 'action' on the 18th anniversary is . . . a single Tweet.  

    We call out the fake assery of AOC but we don't pretend she exists in a vacuum.  She's as fake as as Medea Benjamin, as Norman Solomon, as, yes, Noam Chomsky.  

    Fake ass Norman Solomon, by the way, couldn't even be bothered with a Tweet to note the Iraq War anniversary.  That's surprising only if you didn't grasp what a fake ass Norman is.  He exposed himself, this 'media critic,' when he spent 2008 on KPFA over and over, sharing how Barack Obama was a great candidate and the others were garbage.  He presented this assertion on one KPFA show after another pretending to be an unbiased critic.  In his columns of the same period, he disclosed that he was a Barack Obama delegate -- a fact he left out on KPFA.  Repeatedly.  In fact, KPFA listeners had to repeatedly complain before norman was finally forced to make that disclosure on air.

    The term is: Whore.

    He wasn't going to risk losing his syndication money so he disclosed it in the column but he pretended like it iddn't exist and didn't require a disclosure when he was on air.  He was assisted by many whores in the know.  Aimee Allison, we're looking at you.

    See some whores had enough friends to help them over the hump -- others 'in the life' -- but some had to be sacrificed and Aimme -- Green Party activist and peace activist saw her whoring end her career.  It pissed off KPFA listeners and when they had the chance they urged that she be dumped and KPFA had to do just that.  She's repeatedly attempted to come back from that sad whoring but no one will have her.  And, honestly, that tape she made for Oprah was a laugh and it owuldn't have resulted in a job even if some of us hadn't already warned Oprah about how fake ass Aimee truly was -- warned her with receipts.

    She's just a little whore for the Democratic Party today and if some are stupid enough to embrace her, heed my warning, she'll betray you as well.  She Tweets regularly.  If you're wodnering?  No, not a single Tweet on Iraq's anniversary. At the start of the Iraq War, she couldn't shut up about Iraq as she tried to get as much media attention as possible.  She was all over the place back then, as a Green and as a conscientious objector in the First Gulf War.  Remember that?  Or maybe you knew that she co-authored a book with David Solnit where they urged people to resist?  ARMY OF NONE: STRATEGIES TO COUNTER MILITARY RECRUITMENT, END WAR AND BUILD A BETTER WORLD.  We not only remember that book, a THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW roundtable was done on the book and the publishers used a quote from Betty in that roundtable as a blurb on the cover of the book.  When the book cme out, both the authors and THIRD focused on the Iraq War.  All these years later, THIRD still does.  Aimee?  She's just a whore.  

    And please remember that her most shocking moment on KPFA will probably always be when she called, on air, for burning THE NEW YORKER.   Yes, that's what a whore she became, she was actively calling for book burning if she didn't agree with a magazine cover.  

    There are a lot of people who, right now, promote these whores, have them on their YOUTUBE shows.  They need to grasp that it limits their audience because it causes people to wonder if they're whores as well?  In most cases, they're just uninformed.  They've bought into the self-promoters public relations spin.  They've never actually examined the self-promoters actions -- or lack of them.

    For the record, I didn't make a penny off the war.  I've spoken on campus -- in person until the pandemic -- by zoom now -- over and over against the Iraq War starting in February of 2003 when a friend who had booked a college tour had to back out because she got one where she could reach even more people.  So I took her earlier tour for her and it never stopped.  I charged nothing.  I didn't ask to be reimbursed for travel or for lodging.  At this site -- or at THIRD -- we have never have asked for money.  I've turned down media requests -- which were nothing but efforts to get me to self-promote, no thank you.  I didn't try to make a name off the war or to make a buck off the war.

    All those whores can't say the same thing.

    And despite making money off the war, raising their recognition off the war, they walked away and they do nothing to this day.

    Whores -- and lazy whores at that.

    Saturday's entry here was "Et tu, ANTIWAR.COM?" and we're going to reproduce it in full:

    Late, last night, the Iraq War hit the 18 year mark.  Did any US outlet really register that fact?

    Visit THE PROGRESSIVE this morning and find nothing about Iraq.  THE NATION?  Their big story is Dave Zirin's latest bad column on the NFL.  Along with that (the main story on the main page of the alleged political weekly), there are 37 other stories.  Guess what?  Not one of those stories is about the Iraq War.   20 stories on the main page of IN THESE TIMES' website.  How many are about Iraq?  Zero.

    DEMOCRACY NOW! hailed itself from the start as "the war and peace report."  If you missed it, Goody Whore now calls itself "the quarantine report."   Good because, despite having a full hour on Friday, they didn't bother to cover Iraq.

    MINT NEWS PRESS can't seem to find the Iraq War.  

    COUNTERPUNCH and CONSORTIUM NEWS do the best -- COUNTERPUNCH offers Vincent Emanuele's "The Iraq War: 18 Years Later" while CONSORTIUM serves up Ann Wright's "18 Years Ago Today the US War on Iraq Began."

    COMMON DREAMS does have two pieces, yes.  Only one is worth reading.  They offer Jared Keyel's "After 30 Years of War Against Iraq, Americans Must Make Reparations" and the idiotic "On 18th Anniversary of Iraq Invasion, Activists Renew Calls for US Reparations."


    No, you f**king dabblers, Iraq does not need reparations.  Not until they have a functioning government.  The officials now fleece the government, austerity measures are being imposed upon the people.  You do not give a corrupt government money for the people.  It will never get to the people.  All handing over money will do is buy off your own guilt, it's not helping the people of Iraq.  Stop being such idiots and start calling for real and meaningful measures for Iraq -- like US troops out.  And if that means the US-imposed puppet government collapses, so be it.  

    Worst of all is ANTIWAR.COM.

    Not only is their no essay or blog entry on the Iraq War, there's not even a section for Iraq today.


    Margaret Griffith's daily roundup of violence in Iraq?  It appears under "Middle East."  On the 18th anniversary of the ongoing Iraq War, Iraq doesn't even rate its own section.  

    Why does ANTIWAR.COM even exist now?  It might as well have died with Justin Raimondo if this is the level of 'coverage' we can expect from it now.  That's hideous.

    It is awful that THE NATION serves up click bait instead of addressing real news like the Iraq War.  But it hypocritical for a site calling itself ANTIWAR.COM to fail to seriously note the 18th anniversary of an ongoing war.

    This illegal war continues and it does so because a lot of lazy asses are in charge of media outlets in the US.

    Seems like there are a lot of people who need to slice themselves off a piece of the blame pie.  A lot.

    Kelley B.. Vlahos isn't one of them.  She managed to reTweet about the Iraq War on the anniversary and her pinned Tweet at the top of her feed, from December, is about the Iraq War:

    Nightmare: What it looks like when you “liberate” a country that hasn’t asked for it and unleash a violent chain of events creating the conditions for an even worse tyranny than before. My latest on #Iraq:

    So not everyone is a fake and a fraud and a whore.  But so many are.  

    And though they've exposed themselves repeatedly with the Iraq War, they still think they can fool people today.  And, let's face it, so many of them do get fooled -- a large number get fooled, in fact, because they want to be fooled and they live to be played for suckers.

    Caitlin Johnstone (at SCOOP) notes:

    It has now been eighteen years since the Iraq invasion, and I'm still not done raging about it. Nobody should be.

    The reason it's so important to stay enraged about Iraq is because it's never been addressed or rectified in any real way whatsoever. All the corrupt mechanisms which led to the invasion are still in place and its consequences remain. It isn't something that happened in the past.

    The Iraq invasion feels kind of like if your dad had stood up at the dinner table, cut off your sister's head in front of everyone, gone right back to eating and never suffered any consequences, and everyone just kind of forgot about it and carried on life like it never happened. The US-centralized empire is full of willful amnesiacs pretending they don't remember Iraq because it's currently politically convenient, and we must not let them do this.

    No institutional changes were made to ensure that the evils of the Iraq invasion wouldn't be repeated. It's one of those big, glaring problems people just decided to pretend is resolved, like racism.

    There's this weird implicit default assumption among the political/media class that US government agencies have earned back the trust they lost with Iraq, despite their having made no changes whatsoever to prevent another Iraq-like horror from reoccurring, or even so much as apologizing. The reason nobody responsible for the Iraq invasion suffered any consequences for the great evil they inflicted upon the world is because the western empire had no intention of changing and has every intention of repeating such evils. The lies and killing continue unabated.

    No changes were made after the Iraq invasion to keep the US government from deceiving Americans into war. No new laws were made, no policies changed; no one was even fired. And indeed, the government did deceive Americans into war again: the Libya and Syria interventions were both based on lies. It's happened since, and it will happen again unless the murderous US war machine is stopped.

    George Galloway Tweeted yesterday:

    I was one of the leaders of the mass movement against the invasion and occupation of #Iraq exactly18 years ago. Everything we said was right everything our opponents said was wrong. Those responsible for the disaster remain unpunished. Indeed they have prospered. #IraqWar

    George Galloway is still speaking against the Iraq War.  The frauds that attacked him?  Nope.  The worst attacks came from two frauds: Marc Cooper of THE NATION worked with whore Tom Hayden.  They worked overtime to attack Galloway.  

    Tom Hayden was a joke.  Well, he was a whore and he was a thief who blackmailed the woman who supported his lifestyle for years -- what did Jane say, she felt like he drove a Brinks truck up to the divorce settlement? -- and then spent his final years wallowing in sexism.  He's very lucky his pathetic life ended before the rise of #METOO and he's very lucky the Rocky Mountain outlet that featured a look at him -- that included his asking his young female assistant to twirl for the reporter and show her 'goods' -- went under.  Tom was a pig.  And he went out like the coward he always was.  You had Barack Obama on the campaign trail openly mocking him ("Tom Hayden Democrats") and yet you had Tom exposing his belly and whoring.  Because that's what Tom always was.  He didn't call out Barack in March of 2008 when Samantha Power had to leave the campaign because the BBC was about to release her interview saying that Barafck didn't mean it when he claimed he would pull all US troops out of Iraq in ten months.  He knew then.  I know because we talked about it.  I called him out on his islence.  I told him he was a coward and he was disgusting.  (I'd already called him out over his correspondence with Wally and his failure to acknowledge Cedric -- the two were doing joint-posts then and still do -- but Wally was White so Tom would communicate with him while Cedric was African-American so Tom would ignore him -- that's the reality of Tom Hayden by the way and Troy can self-deceive all he wants but that is the reality of his father.)  Tom and Marc worked overtime to whore for Barack and they worked overtime to attack someone genuine like George Galloway.

    Tom was always a sexist pig.  But there was a brief time when he was also a true peace activist.  A very brief time as evidenced by the fact that he cheered on Israel's attacks on the Palestinians.  He was always a self-promoter and by the late 70s, he was just a whore.  I think Joni Mitchell captured people like Tom Hayden very well in "Dog Eat Dog."


    Where the wealth's displayed
    Thieves and sycophants parade
    And where it's made
    the slaves will be taken
    Some are treated well
    In these games of buy and sell
    And some like poor beasts
    Are burdened down to breaking

    Dog Eat Dog
    It's dog eat dog ain't it Flim Flam man
    Dog eat dog you can lie cheat skim scam
    Beat' em any way you can
    Dog eat Dog
    You'll do well in this land of
    Snakebite evangelists and racketeers
    You could get to be
    a big wig financier

    Land of snap decisions
    Land of short attention spans
    Nothing is savored
    Long enough to really understand
    In every culture in decline
    The watchful ones among the slaves
    Know all that is genuine will be
    Scorned and conned and cast away

    She captured people like Tom Hayden very well in that song and there were a lot of whores who probably felt stung by the song and that's probably why they lashed out at the album.  DOG EAT DOG remains a Joni classic.  But it sure did upset a lot of whores in real time as Joni held a mirror up to what they'd become.

    In Iraq, the people continue to suffer from the war and from the fraudulent government that the US government has imposed upon them.  Yesterday, Sura Ali (RUDAW) reported:

    Iraqi security forces arrested journalist and lawyer Ibrahim al-Sumaida'i late on Friday, acting on an arrest warrant on the charge of "publicly insulting public authorities" issued by the Al-Karkh Investigation Court in Baghdad.
    The warrant was issued following “his attack on official institutions, describing them with bad words (which are not appropriate to mention) that go beyond the limits of the freedom of expression," according to a statement from the Supreme Judicial Council on Saturday.
    The statement also accused Sumaida'i of being paid for his attacks on public institutions. 

    The law Sumaida'i is charged under, Article 226 of the Iraqi Penal Code, states that "Any person who publicly insults the National Assembly, government, courts, armed forces, public authorities, official or semi-official departments, or statutory bodies shall be punished with imprisonment for a period not exceeding seven years or a fine or both."

    Sumaida'i is a political analyst known for his outspoken views and opposition to the government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

    His arrest was criticized by the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights, which expressed "grave concern" that the warrant was issued without regard for humanitarian and legal guarantees. It is a "flagrant violation of human rights," the commission stated, calling for Sumaida'i’s immediate release. 

    Mohammed Tawfeeq reported, in a CNN syndicated article, that Ibrahim was one of two activists with arrest warrants, the other being Yahya al-Kubaisi.  Mohammed Tawfeeq notes:

    Lawmaker Mohammed al-Sudani also expressed his regrets, saying that penalizing the expression of critical opinion is a "very dangerous matter." "This is taking place at a time when murderers, criminals, and corrupt Individuals enjoy their full freedoms," al-Sudani tweeted Saturday.

    Last year, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for the Iraqi government to reform its penal code in a report that stated: "Iraq's Penal Code, which dates back to 1969, includes numerous defamation 'crimes' such as 'insult[ing] the Arab community' or any government official, regardless of whether the statement is true."

    "Although few people serve prison time for defamation, the criminal process itself acts as a punishment. Reporting on abuses by the security forces or about corruption is especially risky," the organization wrote in the June 2020 report.

    Al-Sumaidaie's final tweet prior to his arrest had marked the anniversary of the start of the US-led invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

    But safe in the US, little Aimee Allison, the ultimate war whore, couldn't be bothered to Tweet about Iraq.  Some have no skin in the game, clearly.

    We'll note this Tweet:

    Iraq Media Outlet: A family member of the Iraqi political analyst Ibrahim Al-Sumaida’i reported that he has been arrested by a security force in the capital, Baghdad for unknown reasons.

    Speaking of Tweets, let's note one more failure: Naomi Klein.  Not a single Tweet about the Iraq War.  For those not aware, Naomi blew her post-Seattle bump.  She was back to being the Mall Girl joke that she'd grown up as.  The Iraq War provided her with some actual material before she walked away.  Now she can't even note it, despite it making her image and making her bank.  "Baghdad Year Zero" was a great article.  The book was really one rip off after another -- non credited which is part of the reason Anthony Lappe slammed it so in real time.  Naomie the fake ass.

    The following sites updated over the weekend: