Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Batwoman gets an A+

Batwoman airs on The CW on Sunday nights. It just wrapped up the first half of season one. It's the best comic book show on TV in my opinion. They've done a very good job of carrying over the strong visuals from the comic book -- including Batwoman's blood red wig.

So Kate Kane is Batwoman, Ruby Rose is the actress who plays her. She was in the US military but refused to lie about her relationship with Sofia. Sofia lied and stayed in. Kate told the truth and was kicked out. (This was before the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.) Years later, she returns to Gotham. Her cousin Bruce Wayne is gone. So, of course, that means Batman is as well.

She becomes Batwoman to protect the city. Luke Fox (Camerus Johnson) is a computer whiz who helps her. Dougray Scott plays Kate's father Jacob. Her sister Beth is played by Rachel Skarsten.

Kate and Beth are fascinating. Both dress up. Kate dresses up to fight crime. Beth dresses up to carry out crimes. When they were little girls, there was a car accident that killed their mother. Kate made it out of the car. No one could locate Beth. She was taken by a crazy man who tortured her and made her the split personality she is and she wants revenge on her father Jacob who she believes didn't fight hard enough. She's a sociopath and is known as Alice -- as in Alice in Wonderland. They really nailed this part of the comic, by the way. And it's also the most interesting storyline on the show.

Sophia is in the mix. She's the ex-lover of Kate who is now married and her husband only just found out that she and Kate were lovers.

This is a really strong show and it opened strong and stayed that way. I like The Flash but can really do without the other CW superhero shows. Batwoman, though, is something amazing. She's part of the Arrowverse crossover, by the way. So when the shows start back in January, you'll see her on Arrow's first episode as well as, I believe, Legends of Tomorrow or whatever that other show is called.

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

Wednesday, December 18, 2019.  Guess which presidential wanna be is weeping at events yet again, Tulsi Gabbard (not the weeper) continues to dodge even basic questions re: war and peace, and much more.

Starting in the United States where the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues.  You were warned.

Dropping back to the August 21st snapshot:

And when Joe starts weeping, yes, we're back to that, on the campaign trail, they won't be able to bury it.

In New Hampshire, in January of 2008, Hillary's eyes welled.  And she was attacked in the press for days over that.

Joe Biden?

He openly wept in the general election campaign.

From September 28, 2008, here's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Boys Do Cry."


Isaiah's latest The World Today Just Nuts "Boys Do Cry." Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden declares, tear streaming, "Remember weeping on the campaign trail is okay if you have a penis." [If you're late to the party on the tears, see "TV: Do Not Disturb The Propaganda."]

As ABC's THE NOTE explained in real time, Joe had to stop speaking because he was crying, right there, on stage in Greensburg, PA.  He had to stop speaking because of the tears.  Then he tried to speak again.  Then he had to stop to wipe away the tears.

Now Hillary was crucified for welling eyes but Joe's emotional breakdown was largely ignored.  Why?  For one thing, he was running as the vice president, not the president.  For another, Barack was younger than Joe.  (The reverse of the McCain-Palin ticket where the concern over Palin was said to be due to John McCain's advanced age and the possibility that he could die in office leaving Palin to finish the term as president.)

I don't care what sweet lies his doctor wrote in the three page note, Joe is not healthy enough to run for president.  He's been on a light schedule -- which campaign insiders can't stop grumbling about -- and he still can't keep it together.

Emily Larsen (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) reports:

Joe Biden cried at a Delaware campaign fundraiser and said he is preparing for an “ugly” fight against President Trump in a general election.

“This is going to be really difficult,” Biden said Tuesday in Wilmington, according to a pool report. “But we’re strong. The whole family is strong. I don’t take well to bullies.”

Cry baby Joe.  What's he going to do if he gets the nomination and actually has to campaign?  He'll be so worn out he'll be crying at the debates (plural, remember, not just the one v.p. debate he's used to).  Cry Baby is in a different terrain today.

In 2008, the sexist press could get away with trying to destroy Hillary over her eyes welling up while looking the other way when Joe openly wept.  That won't play in the post #MeToo era.  And it shouldn't.

He's crying in public again.  His emotional health is in question.  He's not up to this.

Ryan Cooper (THE WEEK) notes:

Biden has so far run a lackluster at best campaign. He is doing relatively few events, and often puts his foot (or his wife's fingers) in his mouth at the ones he does. At debates and campaign events he routinely flubs details of current events or even his own campaign machinery. His own campaign reportedly cut back on campaigning earlier in the year for fear of negative press, and his allies have suggested he do the same.
Biden can't even raise much money, despite his deep-pocketed connections from a career as a handmaiden for the corporations that use Delaware as a flag of legal convenience. As of mid-October, he had less than a third as much cash on hand as Bernie Sanders — which probably prompted Biden to abandon his pledge to not accept support from corporate-baked outside super PAC groups, drastically undermining a decade of organizing effort to get Democrats to stop taking corporate money at a stroke. Even the pipsqueak Buttigieg has raised vastly more money, perhaps because even some big establishment donors are reportedly alarmed by Biden's weak campaign.
Biden has no explanation for why he is suitable to lead a party whose base is rapidly moving leftward, given his history on the center-right of the party. Why should a guy who voted for the Iraq War, financial deregulation, and bankruptcy reform; who was a key architect of rolling back school integration; and who is implicated in dozens of other historic atrocities be appropriate for the Democratic Party of 2019? He has not even addressed the question — on the contrary, he continues to promise an utterly impossible return to bipartisan compromise, and to boast about his friendship with segregationist Dixiecrats.
On the specific politics of 2020, Biden has not even bothered to come up with a persuasive answer to his son Hunter's involvement with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which has dominated media coverage for months by way of the Trump impeachment inquiry. As New York's Eric Levitz argues, Hunter collecting $50,000 a month to sit on a board for which he had no qualifications was clearly corrupt influence peddling. Biden could still argue somewhat convincingly that he did nothing to help his son, and perhaps make an emotional case that, while he knew what Hunter did was wrong, he was so devastated by the death of his other son Beau that he couldn't bring himself to rein him in. That might even be true! But at a minimum, a presidential front-runner should have a clear response to such a critical problem.

Instead, Biden gets mad when the subject is brought up. The best he could muster to Mike Allen at Axios was "I don't know what he was doing ... I trust my son." When a voter at one of his campaign events brought up the subject, Biden called him a "damn liar" and challenged him to a push-up contest. Not exactly sharp political messaging.

If you missed the reports, Joe is said to have declared, "Narcissism is a mental deficiency.  And it means you cannot tolerate any criticism at all."  Though he was speaking of Donald Trump it actually sounds a lot like the Joe Biden who called the voter a "damn liar" and "fat" for raising the Hunter Biden issue.  Or the man who cut off and ripped apart Elizabeth Warren on the stage in the debate, the one where he lost all control and looked like he was going to hit her.

Joe's also making statements like no one wants their child to grow up like Donald Trump.  Actually, there's probably about half the voters who do want that.  It's a mean and petty statement to make but mean and petty is all that Joe has to offer at this point.

Someone needs to remind him that didn't work out well for Hillary.  All her negativity on Donald did was reinforce how her campaign was not about real issues.

As we noted when 2015 faded out, in  2015's Year of the Ass:

2015 will lead into 2016.  So is it any surprise that, as the year ends, it appears very likely that the two major party candidates who'll be competing next year will be Hillary and Donald Trump?
What else, honestly, what else could The Year of the Ass produce but a match off between each major party's biggest ass?

Joe's running on nothing.  Weeping's not going to help him.  Insults about Trump aren't going to help him.  Joe has dreamed of being president since at least 1988.  So why can't he figure out what he'd do if elected?  Why can't he make a compelling case for this run?

JEZEBEL's conducting their Cancel Tournament currently.  One of the nominees?  Joe Biden.  This is from Tracy Clark-Florey's explanation of how Joe ended up nominated:

Here’s why Joe Biden should be canceled. Follow Jezebel’s Cancel Tournament to see what ultimately gets canceled.
Hair sniffing, neck kissing, attempted nose rubbing. These phrases are about as repellent as Joe Biden himself, who has been accused of multiple such incidents of unwanted physical contact with women. Worse still, he’s proven to not quite understand why these unsolicited acts are so unbearably creepy and inappropriate. Case in point: In April, he released an “apology” video in which he emphasized the gee-shucks innocence of his physical style of “connecting with people” and argued that “social norms” have simply changed since the nose rubbing days of his youth. (Ah yes, the ol’ “hair sniff,” formerly as common as the handshake.)
In April, though, Biden seemed to earnestly commit to being “much more mindful” about respecting people’s physical boundaries. Good job, bud! Except fast-forward just a couple days and there was Uncle Joe, making light of his alleged habit of invading personal space during an event and joking—hahahahahahaha—about having gotten permission first to hug a couple people on stage. In case his lack of remorse was unclear, he actually said these exceedingly dumb words to reporters: “I am not sorry for anything that I have ever done.”
And, oh, does it show. We already knew that Biden was not sufficiently sorry about his role as chairman of the judiciary committee during the Anita Hill hearings. As you might recall, Hill was interrogated, and humiliated, by a panel of 14 white men, lead mercilessly by Biden. Meanwhile, Biden declined to call witnesses willing to corroborate Hill’s testimony. Now, Biden, no doubt realizing the liability this represents, did arrange a phone call earlier this year with Hill to express “his regret for what she endured,” in the passive, exculpatory words of his campaign. According to Hill, however, it fell short of a true apology.
In the man’s own words: He’s not sorry for ANYTHING he’s EVER done. 

And that includes Iraq.

Joe's not sorry for voting for the war, for smearing critics of it, for trying to split Iraq up into three independent zones, for overturning the 2010 vote of the Iraqi people who voted Nouri al-Maliki out as prime minister.  Vice President Joe pushed through The Erbil Agreement that overturned the votes and gave thug Nouri a second term (the second term led to the rise of ISIS -- a response to Nouri's non-stop persecution of Sunnis).  Joe even went to Iraq to sell the skeptical on The Erbil Agreement -- confusing every one present, at one point, when he started off on one of his long-winded, half-truth, half-fantasy, mostly lies stories -- this one telling them it was like Ireland and the IRA -- no, no one understood what Joe was trying to say.

Iraq today?  The people fighting for a responsive government, fighting against the puppet system the US government created and installed.  They've taken to the streets for months now -- and the death toll is at least 500 -- but no one asks Joe about that.

In fact, war doesn't even factor into this campaign.  When CNN's Jake Tapper did raise the issue, he provided US House Rep and Iraq War vet Tulsi Gabbard two chances to speak about the Iraq War and she used her time to issue a pardon to Joe for all he'd done.  Later, after the debate, she gave multiple interviews where she explained Joe deserved clemency because he'd 'apologized.' He hadn't.  Tulsi revealed herself to be an uninformed idiot -- she didn't even know Barack had put Joe over Iraq -- and someone who self-presents as an anti-war candidate but actually can't stand up for her supposed convictions.

Doubt it?

Tulsi replies to : Which one of your fellow candidates, competitors in the primary concerns you the most on issues of foreign policy?”

Who in the race for the nomination concerns you regarding foreign policy?

If you missed it, that was the question.

Tulsi  served up a big cup of soup full of words but she never answered the question, did she?

The clear answer is Joe Biden.  Even Tiny Pete is second to Joe Biden.  Joe has voted for one disaster after another, argued for one intervention after another.

But Tulsi couldn't call him out or anyone else.

That refusal to stand up?  It goes a long, long way towards explaining why, in even the best polls, she can only make it to 2% of support from Democratic Party voters.

With all that's happening in Iraq, with WIKILEAKS' revelations that the media and the United Nations lied about Syria, with the Afghanistan War revelations, you'd think war and peace would be a major issue in this campaign but apparently the corporate press is bothered with real topics.

JACOBIN interviews Anand Gopal (JACOBIN) about the wars.  This is from the intro:

Last week, the Washington Post published the “Afghanistan Papers,” a massive tranche of documents that confirmed the disaster of two decades of US military occupation in Afghanistan. Some $950 billion have been spent, and yet civilian casualties are on the rise. This past year, at least 3,804 Afghan civilians have been killed by the US military, the bloodiest year since the United Nations started counting in 2009.
According to the documents, the United States launched a “Lessons Learned Project” in 2014, collecting four hundred accounts from war planners and field officers to “diagnose policy failures in Afghanistan so the United States would not repeat the mistakes the next time it invaded a country or tried to rebuild a shattered one.” The assembled remarks were frank about the mistakes the United States has made: shifting and contradictory tactics, mismanagement of billions of dollars, allowing the drug trade to flourish, and enflaming an insurgency rather than defeating it.
While much of what the Afghanistan Papers have revealed won’t be news to longtime opponents of the war, the two thousand pages of documents have, at least for a time, pushed discussion of Afghanistan back to the front pages.

Anand Gopal has reported across the Middle East throughout the “war on terror,” writing major pieces on Iraq for the New York Times Magazine and Syria for the New Yorker. In 2014, Gopal’s book on Afghanistan, No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Jacobin’s Jason Farbman sat down with Gopal to discuss the machinations of US empire, the bipartisan roots of the Afghanistan disaster, and the socialist answer to imperialism: international solidarity.

Here's a section of the interview:

But Iraq didn’t work out as planned, at all.

No, they failed. But Afghanistan, in a way, was successful because they were able to set the stage for the Iraq invasion. More enduringly, they were able to get the American public used to the idea of permanent war. We’ve been at war now for nineteen years. There’s not been any real outcry against the war in Afghanistan. The fact that we are completely used to permanent wars is actually a success of the Bush doctrine.
Now for the first time we’re seeing pushback, but it’s taken a long time to get here.

The US has spent around $950 billion in Afghanistan so far.

That’s a tremendous amount from a human perspective, or from the perspective of an austerity economy. But from the perspective of the American state, which is able, by borrowing, to basically spend an unlimited amount on the military, this is not a major cost.
Many corporations have gotten fabulously wealthy as a result of the United States going to war and, more broadly, as a result of the counterterrorism industrial complex.
This is one reason why, despite all the terrible consequences for Afghans, this war could go on in perpetuity. For the United States, there was very little political or financial cost to waging permanent war.
It’s striking to me how much from these documents was already well known and reported. Take your book No Good Men Among the Living, which was reviewed everywhere and was up for a National Book Award. That was during the Obama years. Why is this such big news now?

I don’t think there’s a single claim in these papers that hasn’t been reported before. The big difference is that the news is coming in the age of Trump. There’s a section of the liberal elite and the “resistance” that will see this and use it as a way to bludgeon Trump. But Trump’s military strategy is largely a continuation of Obama’s.
For example, US airstrikes have killed tens of thousands of people in the last few years in Iraq and Syria. This is an air campaign strategy designed under Obama and simply implemented by Trump. For example, in December 2016, just before Obama left office, he changed the rules of engagement to make it easier for certain frontline commanders to call in airstrikes in Mosul. The number of civilian deaths spiked shortly thereafter.
Then, in January, Trump is inaugurated and suddenly the news coverage focuses on civilian casualties, implying or stating explicitly that this was Trump’s doing. Trump’s foreign policy is largely still an extension of Obama’s. Of course, he’s much more erratic than Obama, and you can see that with his Syria policy. But both are committed to militarism and permanent war. When Trump pulled some troops from Syria, for example, he merely transferred them to Saudi Arabia.

In other news, Jennifer Hansler and Kylie Atwood (CNN) report:

The State Department plans to dramatically downsize the number of American personnel in Iraq, according to a memo sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and obtained by CNN.
The document, dated December 6 and sent by Bureau of Legislative Affairs Assistant Secretary Mary Elizabeth Taylor to committee Chairman Jim Risch, an Idaho Republican, outlines plans to reduce staffing levels at US Mission Iraq by 28% by the end of May 2020.

The reduction would mean 114 fewer people at the US Embassy in Baghdad, 15 fewer people at the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center and eight fewer people at Consulate General Erbil. In addition to the reduction in State Department personnel, the cuts would include Defense Department and US Agency for International Development personnel. 

The protests continue and here's a new development:

Protests in Iraq continue, despite the huge government violence against protesters. Youth and activists from Baghdad are sending pictures of their art, to share and raise awareness. Artwork by Noor Algabiri

New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated:

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