Thursday, October 28, 2021

Bette Davis

Because I'm not in the mood for posting, Bette Davis.


That interview is from November 17, 1971.  

If you don't know Bette Davis, she was one of the best film actresses of the 20th century.  Must watch films by her?


"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, October 28, 2021.  Still waiting on election results . . .

Let's start with this video report from ALJAZEERA.

Iraq voted October 10th.  It's October 28th.  The final count?  Still waiting.

Ooh, I'm waiting
Ooh, still waiting
I'm just a fool
Ooh, I'm a fool
I'm just a fool to keep waiting
To keep waiting
-- "I'm Still Waiting," written by Deke Richards, recorded by Diana Ross for her EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING album (and a number one hit in the United Kingdom)

Still waiting.  At this rate, we'll be listening to Diana's long awaited studio album THANK YOU (drops November 5th) before the final results of Iraq's election are in.

For any who've forgotten, Iraq's electoral commission made a point to make a promise -- one no one was asking for -- that they'd have the votes all counted and the tallies released . . . October 11th.  It's now October 28th.  Still waiting. 

The recount taking place right now is focusing on 300 ballot boxes.  Should any significant differences be found, it would trigger a much wider recount.  

Still on the elections, BAS NEWS Tweets:

Protests continue in the Iraqi capital to reject the results of the parliamentary election held on October 10, media reports said. #Iraq | #Baghdad | #IraqElection2021

The results, or 'results,' are contested at this point.

Iraq’s next elected officials in Nineveh aim to present a unified front in parliament that represents the Sunni governorate, a member of the Taqadum Coalition told Rudaw on Tuesday.

“We will try to unify the vision of Nineveh candidates this time so that we go to the Iraqi parliament as a strong Nineveh parliamentary lobby” with a single vision, Muzahim al-Khayat said at an interview with Rudaw’s Bestoon Khalid on the sidelines of the Middle East Research Institute (MERI) forum in Erbil.

The coalition aspires and seeks to build an “institutional civil administration” in all its sectors in Nineveh, he added.

Iraqis headed to the polls in an early vote on October 10. The election was held in response to Tishreen (October) 2019 protests complaining of corruption and ineptitude among the ruling class and political system. Turnout was a record-low 41 percent, reflecting voter disillusionment and mistrust in the country’s political system.

Mosul is the capital of Nineveh.  Mosul is among the cities seized by ISIS in 2014.  It was occupied by the terrorist organization for years before they lost their hold on it.  ISIS was not, however, vanquished from Iraq.  From yesterday's snapshot:

Starting in Iraq, REUTERS reports, "Islamic State militants killed 11 people including a woman on Tuesday in an attack on a village in Diyala province, east of Iraq, the country's Joint Operations Command said in a statement."  Is it ISIS?  It may be.  ISIS has never been vanquished.  And the reasons ISIS took root in Iraq were never addressed.  If the issues continue to go unaddressed, ISIS will actually grow stronger.  AFP notes, "The attack on Al-Rashad in Diyala province left "11 dead and 13 wounded", a local security source said."  In a Tweet, Barham Salih, president of Iraq, states this was a cowardly attack   He calls for stronger borders and backing of the security forces.

Hundreds of villagers have fled their homes in Iraq’s eastern Diyala province amid rising fears of another violent sectarian conflict breaking out there following an Islamic State (ISIS) attack earlier this week. 

On Tuesday night, ISIS attacked the al-Rashad village in Sharaban (Muqdadiya) town in Diyala, killing 15 civilians and wounding many others. 

Al-Rashad’s population is primarily Shiite Muslim. Reports indicated that local villagers took up arms and attacked the nearby Sunni-majority village of Nahr al-Imam in retaliation the following day. They reportedly killed a dozen people and set fire to houses. 

The attacks come despite the fact that Iraq has been actively arresting IS leaders over the last few months. The deputy leader of IS, the group's finance chief and many other prominent commanders are among those killed or arrested by the government.

After the Diyala attack, tribal men from the victims' families attacked the nearby Sunni village of Nahr Al-Imam, accusing them of betrayal and siding with IS.

According to security officials who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, approximately 3,000 fighters from the Bani Tamim tribe (from which the victims hail), supported by Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), surrounded the village of Nahr Al-Imam from all sides. They also destroyed and burned villagers' gardens and houses with bulldozers.

Many villagers escaped from the area and called on the government to protect them. Some were able to seek refuge in the mosques of Baquba, the capital city of Diyala, leaving all their belongings behind. This could lead the Sunni tribes to retaliate against Bani Tamim members and eventually to a tribal conflict within the Diyala province.

The militias are now part of the government security forces.  Were they acting on the orders of the Baghdad-based government?  (No, they weren't.)  When does the punishment come for this action?  When does someone show leadership and not cowardice?  The militias never should have been folded into the security forces.  Never.  But they were.  They better be broguht to heel or forget a better Iraq.  

Clearly, Mustafa al-Kahdimi can't control them and is too scared to try.  (Not after they circled his home last spring.)  He's a coward.  And now the militias openly attack a village and nothing will be done.

Let's note this Tweet:

The US & International community are silent on the ethnic&sectarian cleansing in Iraq . Bader militias and Iranian backed militias committed crimes against Sunnis in Diayla today.They are desperate after the poor results in the election&creating chaos to justify Hashed presence!

The US & International community are silent on the ethnic&sectarian cleansing in Iraq . Bader militias and Iranian backed militias committed crimes against Sunnis in Diayla today.They are desperate after the poor results in the election&creating chaos to justify Hashed presence!

And this one.

Almost all civilians from Alimam village - Muqdadyia, Diayla fled their village to seek refuge in the surrounding villages. They are hosted in mosques and schools etc . Hadi AlAmiri and Qassim AlAaraji visited the aftermath of the attacks but did nothing the stop them.

Terrorist organizations carry out terror -- hence, the name.  The security forces are not supposed to do the same.  A line was long ago crossed and the world doesn't want to acknowledge it apparently.  So the suffering continues and does so with a global shrug.  

US forces do not need to be on the ground in Iraq supporting a government who allows its own security forces to terrorize a village.

 Turning to the US, where was Fauci?  NEWSWEEK reports:

A homeless Iraq War veteran's service dog was allegedly tased by police while her owner was being arrested for panhandling, leading to a series of events that ended in the dog's death.

Gastonia, North Carolina police officers encountered veteran Joshua Rohrer and his dog Sunshine, who was trained to help him cope with post-traumatic stress disorder caused by his time in the Army National Guard, after responding to a call about alleged panhandling.

Witnesses told WCNC in Charlotte that police officers got violent with Rohrer shortly after arriving at a median on October 13 where the veteran and his dog were seated.

“The cop demanded his identification,” stated witness Justyn Huffman. “He couldn’t move fast enough, so he reached into his pocket for his ID. He was slammed against the automobile. He was placed in handcuffs.” Sunshine, according to Huffman and two other witnesses, jumped into action and bit one of the officer’s boots. Sunshine was allegedly hit with a stun gun by an officer, leading her to flee with one of the prongs still attached to her body.

“‘Don’t shoot the dog!’ we’re yelling from the rooftops. ‘Don’t shoot the dog,’ says the narrator “Huffman stated. “‘My dog! My dog!’ exclaimed [Rohrer]. They dragged him behind the police car and slammed him down on the pavement.” The 911 call that led to the confrontation was made public by police. A lady can be heard on the conversation asking if it’s “legal for an adult to be standing on the junction with a dog asking for money,” claiming that the scenario is “bullcrap,” and accusing Rohrer of “using the dog to gain money.” Rohrer, who fought in Iraq and Kuwait from 2004 to 2005, told Military Times that he was not panhandling but had accepted money without asking for it. He claimed that the police confronted him and arrested him “aggressively.”

I'm confused.  Homeless veterans?  Barack Obama pledged to end homelessness among veterans and we have a working press in hte US.  Surely, if he broke that promise, the press would have held him accountable, right?

(Wrong.  They made excuses as they always did.)

The following sites updated:

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Chase Rice

Chase Rice has been one of the brightest spots of 2021 -- musical or non-musical.

Here is a concert he gave last year.

From the comments, here's the set list:

Break Up Drunk - 2:40 

Do It Like This - 6:48 

In The Car - 12:21 

Gonna Wanna Tonight - 16:23 

Carolina Can - 23:32 

Forever To Go - 27:27 

Look At My Truck - 30:27 

Lonely If You Are - 33:47 

Ride - 38:39 

If I’m Being Honest - 44:21 

Eyes On You - 47:27 

Beautiful Crazy - 51:25 

On Tonight - 52:10 

Three Cords And The Truth - 57:26 

Down Home Runs Deep - 1:01:13 

Cruise - 1:05:43 

Ready Set Let’s Roll - 1:11:16

Chase is pretty amazing, check out Kat's review of THE ALBUM if you haven't already.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Tuesday, October 26, 2021.  'Protests could destroy democracy!' is among the insane claims being promoted regarding Iraq today.

Some are fretting over 'democracy' in Iraq.  The obvious point there is that Iraq hasn't had a democracy.  A democracy is not ruled over by prime ministers who fled Iraq.  Cowards who left the country and only came back after the US invaded in 2003 don't become leader of the country over and over.  They don't represent the country and they're not courageous people.  But since the US-led invasion, every prime minister has been someone who managed to skip out on Iraq.  

Some of the fretters are writing pieces about how the militias protesting the vote might destroy democracy.  What democracy?  More to the point, if it was in Iraq and it was that fragile, it didn't stand a chance to begin with.  I don't like the militias.  That doesn't mean that they do not have the right to protest.  They have every right.  And when you deny them the right to protest, it makes it easier to deny others the right.

The October Revolution.

That's a real movement.  And don't put a period to it because the movement is ongoing.  It replaced a prime minster.  Currently, it's forcing a global press to acknowledge that, gee, golly, things aren't great in Iraq.  This would be the same press that ignores Iraq over and over.  

But the decision of so many in The October Revolution to sit out the vote -- and to encourage others to as well -- helped lead to a record low turnout and the world suddenly notices that the Iraqi government hasn't been serving the Iraqi people.

People in The October Revolution risked their lives and continue to risk them.  They know that they can be killed or disappeared and that the government will look the other way and their killers will not face justice.  But they continue to stand up for what they believe in.

And they do so while the world press yawns and looks away collectively.   Their bravery, their hopes and their plans are ignored unless it's pre-election and the world press wants to hector them about the importance of voting.

Rand Tweets:

The 2nd anniversary of October 25th, the mass protest movement in Iraq that forced the resignation of the Iraqi PM, after thousands of civilians were injured and killed by the Iraqi security services and armed militias supporting them #٢٥_ذكري_بدايه_وطن #تشرين_العظيمة

There is no democracy in Iraq.  

Protesting isn't going to destroy something that doesn't exist.  But protesting could foster a democracy, one unique to Iraq.

There may at some point be reason to fret.  But protests who take a break to watch a game don't seem as out of control as certain outlets would like to pretend.

Wladimir Tweets:

Sarhang Hamasaeed, United States Institute of Peace, says the peaceful protest movement in Iraq has caused positive change through early elections, federal court, etc. He also says important for stability to hold provincial elections in the near future #MERIforum

Those are accomplishments of The October Revolution.  But that doesn't mean that the protests against the vote count (led by the militias) couldn't have some positive effects as well.

Layal Shakir (RUDAW) notes:

The election was held in response to Tishreen (October) 2019 protests complaining of corruption and ineptitude among the ruling class and political system. Turnout was a record-low 41 percent, reflecting voter disillusionment and mistrust in the country’s political system.

“I believe the main reason behind the early election that was held was that the political process in Iraq had reached a political blockage,” said Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) politician Khalid Shwani, noting that Iraqis had lost trust in the government and in the political process.

“We saw how the Iraqi citizen and Iraqi voter who went out to the streets was hopeless completely,” added member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Jaafar Imniki.

Iraqis commemorated the second anniversary of Tishreen protests on Monday, almost two weeks after their demand of an early vote was met. The October protests that shook the country are a “healthy” demonstration that all Iraqi and Kurdish forces need to be reminded of, according to Imniki. 

The protests were concentrated in Shiite areas of central and southern Iraq, but Imniki said that every political party and group must listen to the protesters’ concerns, “because the situation that occurred in Baghdad and the south could prevail in the Kurdistan Region and in western Iraq.”

Limited manual recounts are supposed to conclude tomorrow.  This is apparently to much for the fretters.  They're bothered and alarmed -- and alarming.  They actually seem to be trying to invite chaos.

Thus far, the election process seems faily normal for post-invasion Iraq.  That includes Nouri al-Maliki attempting to return as prime minister.  Wladimir Tweets:

The State of Law Coalition, led by Nuri al-Maliki, said on Wednesday that the Kurdish and Sunni blocs would not ally with the Sadrist movement to form the new federal government

It's amazing how much Nouri is discussed on Arabic social media versus how little the western press is noting him.  King maker?  Right now that would appear to be Nouri.  Reality will make it clear shortly as to who the king maker was.  But Nouri's actions are more those of a king maker than the dithering of Moqtada al-Sadr at this point.

Robert Pether remains persecuted in Iraq.  Who? Robert Pether, Matthew Doran and Andrew Probyn (AUSTRALIA's ABC) reported two months ago:

An Australian engineer ensnared in a dispute between the Iraqi government and his Dubai-based employer is facing five years in jail and a $US12 million ($AUD16.5 million) fine.

Robert Pether, 46, has been languishing in an Iraqi prison since April after he and his Egyptian colleague, Khalid Zaghloul, were arrested in Baghdad, while working for engineering firm CME Consulting.

Mr Pether's wife Desree said the court decision was a "soul-destroying" travesty of justice. 

"It's just absolute hell," Mrs Pether told the ABC from her home in Ireland.

"We honestly thought that justice would prevail after nearly five months and we are so shocked that it didn't happen.

"It didn't matter what evidence they presented in their defence, which was scarce because they didn't have access to their laptops or their hard drives, and the accusations had no backup evidence at all. 

At THE NATIONAL, Patrick Ryan writes:

In a statement to The National, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the case should have not been dealt with in a criminal court.

“The Australian government is concerned by the criminal conviction of Mr Pether and an Egyptian colleague on fraud charges, their five-year prison sentence and the joint fine of USD$12 million,” a spokesman said.

“While the Australian government has shown respect towards Iraq’s judicial system, we have always expressed the view that commercial disputes should be conducted between corporate entities rather than individuals, and that this should be treated as a civil law case, not a criminal law case.

“The [Australian] government has consistently advocated for Mr Pether’s interests and is providing consular assistance to Mr Pether and his family.”

Australian citizens are advised not to travel to Iraq over concerns for their safety due to the the volatile security situation, and very high risk of violence, armed conflict, kidnapping and terrorist attacks.

Those who remember the Australian government's public silence -- and prolonged silence -- while Pether suffered will find some of those assertions laughable.  Ireland's government stood up for Robert and did so publicly.  His own country abandoned him.

 Meanwhile NEWS OF THE WORLD reports on a conviction in Germany.

We'll close with this from Glenn Greenwald's latest at SUBSTACK:

It is completely unsurprising to learn, as Politico reported last Wednesday, that the major financial supporter of Facebook "whistleblower” Frances Haugen's sprawling P.R. and legal network coordinating her public campaign is the billionaire founder of EBay, Pierre Omidyar. The Haugen Show continues today as a consortium of carefully cultivated news outlets (including those who have been most devoted to agitating for online censorship: the New York Times’ "tech” unit and NBC News's “disinformation” team) began publishing the trove of archives she took from Facebook under the self-important title "The Facebook Papers,” while the star herself has traveled to London to testify today to British lawmakers considering a bill to criminally punish tech companies that allow “foul content” or “extremism” — whatever that means — to be published.

On Sunday, Haugen told The New York Times that her own personal Bitcoin wealth means she is relying on “help from nonprofit groups backed by Mr. Omidyar only for travel and similar expenses.” But the paper also confirmed that the firm masterminding Haugen's public campaign roll-out and complex media strategy, a group "founded by the former Barack Obama aide Bill Burton,” is “being paid by donors, including the nonprofit groups backed by Mr. Omidyar." He is also a major donor to a shady new group calling itself “Whistleblower Aid” — bizarrely led by anti-Trump lawyer and social media #Resistance star Mark Zaid, who has been one of the most vocal critics of actual whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, both of whose imprisonment he has long demanded — that is now featuring Haugen as its star client.

Omidyar's net worth is currently estimated to be $22 billion, making him the planet's 26th richest human being. Like so many billionaires who pledge to give away large parts of their wealth to charity, and who in fact do so, Omidyar's net worth somehow rapidly grows every year: in 2013, just eight years ago, it was “only” $8 billion: it has almost tripled since then.

Omidyar's central role in this latest scheme to impose greater control over social media is unsurprising because he and his multi-national foundation, the Omidyar Network, fund many if not most of the campaigns and organizations designed to police and control political speech on the internet under the benevolent-sounding banner of combating "disinformation” and “extremism.” Though one could have easily guessed that it was Omidyar fueling Frances Haugen and her team of Democratic Party operatives acting as lawyers and P.R. agents — I would have been shocked if he had no role — it is still nonetheless highly revealing of what these campaigns and groups are, how they function, what their real goals are, and the serious dangers they pose.

Any time I speak or write about Omidyar, the proverbial elephant in the room is my own extensive involvement with him: specifically, the fact that the journalistic outlet I co-founded in 2013, and at which I worked for eight years, was funded almost entirely by him. For purposes of basic journalistic disclosure, but also to explain how my interaction with him informs my perspective on these issues, I will describe that experience and what I learned from it.

When I left the Guardian in 2013 at the height of the Snowden/NSA reporting to co-found a new media outlet along with two other journalists, it was Omidyar who funded the project, which ultimately became The Intercept, along with its parent corporation, First Look Media. Our unconditional demand when deciding to accept funding from Omidyar was that he vow never to have any role whatsoever or attempt to interfere in any way in the editorial content of our reporting, no matter how much he disagreed with it or how distasteful he found it. He not only agreed to this condition but emphasized that he, too, believed the integrity of the new journalism project depended upon our enjoying full editorial freedom and independence from his influence.

In the eight years I spent at The Intercept, Omidyar completely kept his word. There was never a single occasion, at least to my knowledge, when he attempted to interfere in or override our journalistic independence. For the first couple of years, adhering to that promise was easy: he was an ardent supporter of the Snowden reporting which consumed most of our time and energy back then and, specifically, viewed a defense of our press freedoms (which were under systemic attack from multiple governments) as a genuine social good. So our journalism and Omidyar's worldview were fully aligned for the first couple of years of The Intercept's existence.

The arrival of Donald Trump on the political scene in 2015 changed all of that, and did so quite dramatically. As Trump ascended to the presidency, Omidyar became monomaniacally obsessed with opposing Trump. Although Omidyar stopped tweeting in March, 2019 and has since locked his Twitter account, he spent 2015-2019 as a very active user of the platform. The content he was posting on Twitter on a daily basis was utterly indistinguishable from the standard daily hysterical MSNBC panels or New York Times op-eds, proclaiming Trump a fascist, white nationalist, and existential threat to democracy, and depicting him as a singular evil, the root of America's political pathology. In other words, the Trump-centric worldview that I spent most of my time attacking and mocking on every platform I had — in speeches, interviews, podcasts, social media and in countless articles at The Intercept — was the exact political worldview to which Omidyar had completely devoted himself and was passionately and vocally advocating.

The radical divergence between my worldview and Omidyar's did not end there. Like most who viewed Trump as the primary cause of America's evils rather than just a symptom of them, Omidyar also became a fanatical Russiagater. A large portion of his Twitter feed was devoted to the multi-pronged conspiracy theory that Trump was in bed with and controlled by the Kremlin and that its president, Vladimir Putin, through his control over Trump and “interference” in U.S. democracy, represented some sort of grave threat to all things good and decent in American political life. All of that happened at exactly the same time that I became one of the media's most vocal and passionate critics of Russiagate mania, frequently criticizing and deriding exactly the views that Omidyar was most passionately expressing on Twitter, often within hours of his posting them. 

The following sites updated: