Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Homophobia has no place at the Academy Awards

Kevin Hart has been announced as the host of the upcoming Academy Awards.

If that happens, I will not be watching.

I'm an African-American.  I am also a lesbian.

I am f**king sick of African-American men who think they are funny with homophobia.  We had to endure it with Eddie Murphy.  We've had to endure it with Tracy Morgan.

Now Kevin Hart. 

From The Guardian:

Hart has a rather vile history of documented homophobia, ranging from offensive standup clangers to dumb interview statements to puerile tweets to a whole embarrassing film filled with it. In 2010 during his Seriously Funny standup special, Hart delivered an extended joke based on a fear of his three-year-old son Hendrix turning out gay.
 One of my biggest fears is my son growing up and being gay. That’s a fear. Keep in mind, I’m not homophobic, I have nothing against gay people, be happy. Do what you want to do. But me, being a heterosexual male, if I can prevent my son from being gay, I will. Now with that being said, I don’t know if I handled my son’s first gay moment correctly. Every kid has a gay moment but when it happens, you’ve got to nip it in the bud!
Hilarious, right? A gay kid! No, thanks!

As his profile rose, the joke resurfaced and in a 2015 profile with Rolling Stone, he was asked to discuss it. After attempting a poorly conceived justification claiming that it’s really all about his own fears and insecurities, he then blamed the climate.
“I wouldn’t tell that joke today, because when I said it, the times weren’t as sensitive as they are now,” he said. “I think we love to make big deals out of things that aren’t necessarily big deals, because we can.”
What might not seem like a big deal to Hart is less amusing when given a wider context. In his extended joke, he claimed to have beaten both his son and another kid who was “grinding” up behind him at a party, something that feels particularly grotesque when viewed next to the multiple real world stories of parents beating and torturing their children to death when a so-called “gay moment” rears its head. Giovanni Melton, Gabriel Fernandez, Anthony Avalos, Ronnie Paris – just a handful of kids killed by parents because of either their perceived or confirmed homosexuality.
During the same period, Hart revealed that he turned down a role in 2008’s Tropic Thunder because the character was gay and his behaviour was “real flagrant” before adding that he’d never be able to play a gay character in the future. “What I think people are going to think while I’m trying to do this is going to stop me from playing that part the way I’m supposed to,” he said.

There's more.  But that's more than enough.  He is not someone to host.  He is a homophobe.

I would love to applaud an African-American host.  But I'm not applauding Kevin Hart.  He is hateful and he is the past.  How dare the Academy Awards make him the host.

How dare they.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, December 5, 2018.  The press mourning for a War Criminal continues.

Via CINDY SHEEHAN'S SOAPBOX, we'll note this from (Women's) March On the Pentagon:

We at (W)MOP are vehemently opposed to wars and war criminals and, with few exceptions, every US president falls into the latter category.

We are also vehemently opposed to the lionization of each war criminal as they finally pass from this mortal coil and we are also opposed to the fact that most of them die prosperous and peaceful and not rotting in Guantanamo or Ft. Leavenworth.

Donald Trump has declared Weds, December 5th as a "national day of mourning for George HW Bush," the 41st War Criminal in Chief. (W)MOP is not calling for a day of rejoicing, as we just plan on going on with our normal lives, trying to end war and the calumny of the US Empire.

So we at (W)MOP are declaring a National Day of Un-mourning on December 5th, 2018.

George HW Bush's record is there for anyone to see, and to us it's appalling and we mourn each and every one of the US Empire's victims during his reign of terror, most particularly as Director of the terrorist organization called the Central Intelligence Agency; Vice Present and President of the USA, and as the father of at least one more War Criminal in Chief and many other criminals.

The interesting thing about the "legacy" of George HW Bush, though, is that we look at his record with horror, while the rest of the country looks at it with respect and honor.

We are sure there are millions of people around the world, in Panama and Iraq, for example, who agree with us and are not mourning GHWB, either.

We have to make it NOT NORMAL to be a war criminal, and not honor them by naming airports and roads after these thugs. 

One thing we can sadly agree with about the rhetoric around the death of GHWB: He was a "great American," and we need to make that phrase stand for something different: peace for all, prosperity for all, good health for all and a sustainable planet where these things can happen.


Poppy Bush is a War Criminal -- dead or alive, he is a War Criminal.  He earned the title.  At COUNTERPUNCH, Anthony DiMaggio offers a lengthy corrective to the war machine known as the corporate press.  We'll note this on the Gulf War:

The lofty rhetoric employed by the president hardly matched the history of U.S.-Iraqi relations. Numerous distortions were presented as fact, and inconvenient truths were ignored by political elites and the media. One of the highest profile distortions was the claim that Iraqi troops threw Kuwaiti premature babies to the floor, while stealing their incubators. Reporting by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation found there was no evidence these events occurred. What of the testimony from the Kuwait girl, Nayirah? This 15-year old girl was not a neutral bystander, but the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. She was part of the Kuwaiti government’s effort to get back into power, and was coached to deliver her lines in front of the Congressional committee by the U.S. public relations firm, Hill and Knowlton, as part of the “Citizens for a Free Kuwait” astroturf “movement” funded by the Kuwaiti government, which allocated millions of dollars to a propaganda campaign aimed at cultivating public war support. In reaction to this deception, Amnesty International condemned President Bush for his “opportunistic manipulation of the international human rights movement.” However, the details of this deception emerged too late to make a difference in deterring support for war.
What about the comparison between Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler, and the claim that Iraq threatened U.S. national security? Although Iraq did retain a nuclear program prior to the 1991 Gulf war, there was little evidence one way or another in the early 1990s regarding the state of the program. The lack of details meant the Bush administration had little direct insight into whether a nuclear threat existed, despite public claims otherwise. President Bush also warned that Iraq was amassing massive numbers of troops along the Iraq-Saudi border, and that potential aggression against Saudi Arabia merited war. Commercial satellite photos from 1990, however, revealed that there was no confirmable build-up of Iraqi troops on the Saudi border at the time.
Bush’s comparison of Hussein to Hitler was also propagandistic. There’s no doubt that Hussein was an aggressive, repressive dictator, as seen in his attacks on Iran, Kuwait, and his own people. But Hussein’s criminality was minor league compared to the most criminal authoritarian regimes in history. Hussein was a regional aggressor, not a global one. The Nazis were the largest existential threat the U.S. faced in its history. By contrast, although Iraq possessed the fourth largest military in the world in 1990, that military was technologically three-quarters of a century behind the U.S. military. The dominant tactic used by the Iraqis in the conflict with Iran was trench warfare, which had not been used by the U.S. and its allies since World War I. Iraqis hiding in trenches were no match for U.S. stealth bombers, fighter-jets, and tanks. U.S. tanks, fitted with plows, rode up to the trenches, burying Iraqi troops alive, and killing hundreds. Thousands more died on the “Highway of Death” between Iraq and Kuwait. Retreating Iraqi military convoys were savaged by U.S. fighter-jets, leading to mass incinerations and an image of devastation that became an enduring symbol of the war’s one-sided destructiveness, wrought almost entirely against Iraqis. U.S. fighter jets referred to their attack runs against Iraqi vehicles as a “Turkey shoot,” indicating the severity of the slaughter. While an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 Iraqi troops were killed in the conflict, 147 U.S. deaths in were recorded – translating into an imbalance of between 68-to-1 to 82-to-1. The 1991 Gulf War and the Second World War were also radically different in their duration. The U.S. defeated Iraq in just five weeks of fighting in 1991. In contrast, the Second World War spanned from 1939 to 1945, and the U.S. involvement extended for three-and-a-half years, from late 1941 through mid-1945. In short, Bush’s comparison of Hussein and Hitler was an incredible achievement of propaganda.
The Bush administration also deceived the public on Iraq’s chemical weapons. The U.S. provided billions in military and economic aid to Iraq during the 1980s, up until Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. The U.S. was a supporter of Hussein’s regime during the worst of his atrocities, before, during, and after the gassing of Halabja in 1988. The issue barely appeared in the news in the run-up to the Gulf War, but it was more often reported following the invasion of Kuwait, since the gassing played into the United States’ own narrative that it was concerned with human rights in Kuwait.But the U.S. was anything but concerned with the victims of Hussein’s crimes when the deaths occurred – his victims were pawns in a geopolitical power game between the U.S. and Iraq.
Looking at past support for Hussein, one sees U.S. fingerprints all over the Iraqi chemical attacks on the Kurds and against Iranian troops during the Iran-Iraq war. President Bush, working with Senators such as Republican Bob Dole, fought against the instituting of sanctions against Iraq after the Halabja gassing. Furthermore, as reported by the New York Times in 2002, discussions with “senior military officers” revealed that the Reagan administration secretly provided “critical battle planning assistance [to Iraq against Iran] at a time when American intelligence knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war.” ABC’s Nightline reported in 1992 that the “Reagan/Bush administrations permitted – and frequently encouraged – the flow of money, agricultural credits, dual use technology (allowing Iraq to develop chemical weapons), chemicals, and weapons to Iraq.” In the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war, U.S. officials removed thousands of pages from U.N. reports that documented how the U.S. supplied the components for developing chemical weapons. As the German newspaper Die Tageszetung reported:
“The missing pages [of the U.N. report] implicated twenty-four U.S. based corporations and the successive Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. administration in connection with the illegal supplying of Saddam Hussein government with myriad weapons of mass destruction and the training to use them.”
The Bush administration enabled the chemical weapons atrocities committed by Hussein. Widespread recognition of this harsh reality, however, did not materialize in the run-up to the 2003 invasion, as it threatened to undermine the narrative that the U.S. was concerned with human rights in Iraq.
Finally, what of President Bush’s insistence that oil was not a significant interest of the U.S.? Available evidence shows this claim was a lie, told to obscure U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East. Now-declassified government documents reveal that oil interests were of central concern to the president. National Security Directive 26, signed by President Bush in 1989, stated that
“Access to Persian Gulf oil and the security of key friendly states in the area [of which Iraq was one in 1989] are vital to U.S. national security. The United States remains committed to defending its vital interests in the region, if necessary and appropriate through the use of U.S. military force, against the Soviet Union or any other power with interests inimical [contrary] to our own.”

At the time, Bush wrote that “normal relations between the U.S. and Iraq would serve our longer-term interests and promote stability in both the Gulf and the Middle East.” National Security Directive 54, which Bush signed in January 1991, also declared that Middle East oil was vital to U.S. national security and that it remained committed to using force to defend “its” interest [Iraqi oil presumably belongs to the United States]. The Bush administration reversed course, however, declaring in the document that “Iraq, by virtue of its unprovoked invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, and its subsequent brutal occupation, is clearly a power with interests inimical to our own.” The two NSD documents reveal that the primary U.S. concern in Iraq was oil, and that Bush was willing to marginalize Iraqi human rights atrocities in pursuit of neocolonial interests. The documents also revealed that the U.S. was committed to the use of force in the name of dominating Iraqi oil, contrary to President Bush’s public lies.

Also at COUNTERPUNCH, you can refer to Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn's "Air Cocaine: Poppy Bush, the Contras and a Secret Airbase in the Backwoods of Arkansas," Chris Floyd's "Criminal History: BCCI, the Bushes … and Mueller," Ted Rall's "The Amazing GWHB Hagiography" and St. Clair's "How Poppy Bush’s Brother, “Uncle Bucky,” Made a Killing Off the Iraq Wars."  At WSWS, check out Patrick Martin's "A “kinder, gentler” imperialist butcher, dead at 94Media, political establishment laud George H. W. Bush" and Genevieve Leigh's "Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren glorify the late President Bush."

Outside the US, the propaganda is less intense.  Hadani Ditmars (THE NEW ARAB) offers:

As the hagiography of the late George Bush Senior continues, I remember my first trip to Baghdad in 1997, when crossing the threshold of the Al Rashid hotel necessitated stepping on a mosaic tiled image of the former American president framed by the words "Bush is Criminal".

The memory of the "highway of death", where American and allied forces participated in a turkey shoot of retreating Iraq forces (and some civilians), leaving corpses rotting for miles in the desert, was still fresh in the minds of Iraqis.

Deemed a contravention of the Third Geneva Convention by former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, the massacre had also made a widow of a woman I befriended at the hotel. Ahlam worked as a hairdresser at the Al Rashid hotel salon, and told me about her husband's death on the highway, and her subsequent struggle to raise two children in sanctions-plagued Iraq, one new year's eve in 1998.

Even fresher in the Iraqi memory then was the three-day bombing campaign instigated not by a member of the Bush Republican dynasty, but by Bill Clinton - some said in an effort to distract attention from the Lewinsky scandal.

Clinton, together with his UK counterparts, oversaw the draconian sanctions regime in Iraq that starved a captive population - already held hostage to wrecked infrastructure bombed by Bush the First - increased Saddam's power, wiped out the middle class, destroyed what had been the best public health and education systems in the Arab world, and stopped items like chlorine, vital to water purification in a desert country, (as well as oxygen tanks, spare parts for generators, and even stethoscopes) from entering the country as so called "dual use" items.

When half a million Iraqi children subsequently died from water-borne diseases, Madeleine Albright - Clinton's then secretary of state - infamously told 60 Minutes, "it was worth the price".

Comparing American presidents - Republican or Democrats - and their callous disregard for the lives of Iraqis can often feel like a macabre game of "spot the difference".

And M Baqir Mohie El-Deen (COMMDIGINEWS) shares:

U.S. media reports that moments before President Bush passed away, he was surrounded by family and close friends. This is something he denied to millions of Iraqis. President Bush stated that he wants to go to heaven. Mr. Bush, I hope you make it to heaven since living in the United States sheltered you from witnessing the suffering you caused onto the millions of Iraqis.
For in heaven, they will welcome you at the pearly gates.

That's in reference to the Gulf War.  The Iraq War that started in March of 2003 continues and US troops remain on Iraqi soil.

[Infographic] US Expands Herir Military Airbase in Iraq's

Also continuing?  The protests in Basra.

Search results
Demonstrators in Iraq's Basra wear yellow vests, echoing Paris protests
Demonstrators in Iraq's Basra wear yellow vests, echoing Paris protests
This is a fact: Protesters in Basra wore yellow vests in protests against the corruption of the former governor in Summer 2015.
again 14 activists arrested. With all the blocs rivalry, divisions, protests, etc, I don't think the gov.will last for a long time.
Credible report says that Iran has despatched death squads into Iraq to eliminate key opponent voices within Iraq. It is worth noting that several civic protestors were murdered during recent protests in Basra for jobs, services&justices

How come no headline like this was posted on French people viewing and subsequently mimicking protests in Iran, Basra, or Jordan for example? Why is the narrative always that Middle Easterners are looking towards the west for inspiration? What a BS pretense.

Basra teachers, youth continue protests demanding employment, basic services

Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) notes, "Protests in Basra continued, where security forces used weapons to scatter a crowd intent on storming the governor’s office. Separately, an altercation between protestors and Basra Governor Asaad al-Eidani became physical; a cameraman was arrested for filming the incident."

Another continuing feature?  The new prime minister, Adil Abdul al-Mahdi, still can't form a Cabinet.  The most recent promise had been yesterday the Cabinet would be filled -- instead it once again did not happen.

Astute minister predicts in wake of lack of cabinet formation , weakness of cabinet and of consensus around pm

Today’s uncooked attempt by new to present his 8 remaining ministers to the for the new cabinet ended in total failure.

Vote on remaining cabinet positions delayed until Thursday (Dec. 6) after Council of Representatives looses quorum amid boycotts, scuffle

In other news, Chloe Cornish and Asser Khattab (IRISH TIMES) report:

A recent US defence department report said an effective clandestine Islamic State organisation “appears to be taking hold”, four years after the group controlled swaths of Syria, as much as a third of Iraq, and declared a caliphate.
A suspected Islamic State roadside bomb in Mosul killed at least three schoolchildren late last month and a car bomb killed at least five people in the city of Tikrit in mid-November. Attacks in oil-rich Kirkuk province so far this year have more than doubled from 2017, according to the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Between 2014 and 2017 Islamic State, also known as Isis, was driven out of areas it controlled in Iraq by the western-backed Iraqi army alongside Kurdish forces and Shia militias, many supported by Iran. Western jets also pounded Isis-held territory, reducing swaths of cities to rubble.

The bombings did not drive ISIS out.  They sent them underground, they caused them to regroup.  But all the bombs destroyed was the civilians, the buildings, the infrastructure.

New content at THIRD:

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, Jody Watley, GORILLA RADIO -- updated:

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