Monday, April 6, 2020

TV shows I miss

The Event. Writing about "Batwoman" ended up leading a few of you (six) to e-mail and ask what show I missed the most? If you mean miss because it was cancelled prematurely, it's The Event. I loved that show. Now in terms of shows that had more than one season?

I miss so many. And I'm sure I'll forget one but these are the ones that really come to mind. I miss: Fringe (oh, do I miss this show!!! Why won't Fox reboot it?), Nikita (an amazing show -- I watched that awful show Designated Survivor just because Maggie Q was on it), The Cape (a great superhero show), No Ordinary Family (same) and, believe it or not, I even miss Revolution. That show started off with so much promise and quickly became a disappointment but I do miss it.

I wish we could get a sci fi show that treats women like they matter. I should give Manifest (on NBC currently) some credit because they do try. I like Manifest. That's why I don't blog about it. I felt like I was the curse, the reasons shows would get cancelled. For the longest time, every show I blogged about got cancelled.

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

Monday, April 6, 2020.  The corporate media continues to avoid the allegations that Joe Biden assaulted Tara Reade, it's the anniversary of WikiLeaks' publication of the Collateral Damage video and Julian Assange remains behind bars.

Yesterday, Christo Aivalis addressed the assault accusations that Joe Biden assaulted Tara Reid.

It's not just those of us on the left noting the media silence, over at the right-wing media watchdog NEWSBUSTERS, Nicholas Fondacaro observed Sunday:

Not long after they had insisted President Trump treated the coronavirus press briefings as though they were “a reality TV show,” ABC and chief anchor George Stephanopoulos invited former Vice President Joe Biden onto This Week to buoy his oxygen-less campaign. One of the softballs the Clinton lackey tossed to Biden encouraged him to blame Trump for the deaths caused by the coronavirus.

While the crisis was only part of their discussion, Stephanopoulos steered clear of the recent sexual assault allegations against his guest. Something he was used to doing from his time in the Clinton White House.
[. . .]
What was conspicuously absent was any question about the sexual assault claim made by his former Senate staffer, Tara Reade. Biden himself had said every accuser had to be believed and ABC had given plenty of airtime to bogus allegations made against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Yet, this time they didn’t want to talk about any of it.


The most striking thing about Tara Reade’s story may be the silence with which it has been greeted

Nathan J. Robinson is the editor of CURRENT AFFAIRS.  He has Tweeted the following -- here and here:

I emailed
9 days ago to ask him to let me explain why I think Tara Reade's accusations against Biden are credible & need his attention. No reply. Tara said she tried him repeatedly too. Does Farrow ignore inconvenient accusers, just as his whole book criticizes?

I know Farrow's husband is one of the Pod Save America dudes, and if Tara is taken seriously there may be politically damaging consequences for that wing of the Dem. Party. But I respect Farrow's work precisely because he's never cared if the truth pisses off powerful people.

For the record, Ronan is engaged to Jon Lovett.  If they've gotten married, they have yet to announce it.

Do we really expect lightweight Ronan to say a word?  This is the man who does whatever Mommy tells him (and Mommy hates Bernie Sanders) and he's so pathetic that he refuses to note, let alone call out, his uncle who is serving time for molesting young boys.  RING OF FIRE did cover the allegations against Joe over the weekend.

Friday, various student groups issued the following:


Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

We, a group of Students for Bernie chapters across the country (independent from the Bernie Sanders campaign), are releasing this statement to increase awareness surrounding Joe Biden and his history of sexual assault accusations.  We are demanding that attention is brought to this history and that it not be ignored -- as it has been for decades.  He must be held accountable for his actions.

Tara Reade came forward last week with an allegation of sexual assault, which occurred in 1993 when she worked as a staff assistant for then-Senator Biden.  Reade first went to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund for help, but they told her that because Biden is a candidate for federal office, that helping her would jeopardize their non-profit status.  It is worth noting that Anita Dunn, the managing director of the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund's public relations firm, is a top adviser on Biden's campaign.  Despite the extremely serious nature of these allegations, Democrats and the mainstream media have been silent.

There was no hesitation within the Democratic party to believe or support Christine Blasey Ford when she accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.  Democrats fought Republicans with claims that partisanship should never override morality, and that we should believe women who bravely come forward with allegations.  Unfortunately, it seems as though this support for survivors was only shown in the name of political convenience.  When an allegation is brought against the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic party, suddenly there is radio silence from the establishment.  No calls for an investigation, no questions from the media, nothing.  None of the major cable news outlets have even reported the story.

How can the Democratic party claim to be the party that is fighting Donald Trump, a serial sexual abuser, while propping up Joe Biden?  How can the Democratic party be the party that claims to protect women, but fails to do so when the predator is on their own side? How can media outlets claim to educate the public and provide crucial information, but fail to report this disturbing allegation against a presidential candidate?  This goes beyond partisanship, beyond Biden vs. Bernie.  This is about what kind of country we want to be, and what we are willing to accept in our leadership.  How many times are we going to watch a predator ascend to the highest ranks of power while stifling the women who speak out against them?  Every time we elect, nominate, or promote an abuser, we tell survivors that their experience don't matter.  We are sending a clear message that assault will not stop men from gaining more and more power and that power makes men immune from consequence.

When Dr. Blasey Ford came forward with her story, Biden himself stated the importance of believing women.  It is time to ask Biden if he believes the women who have made sexual assault and harassment allegations against him.  It is time for the media to cover this story, and time for Democrats to stop sweeping it under the rug.  Tara Reade, we are with you.  To all survivors, we see you, we hear you, and we stand in solidarity with you.  We will never stop fighting for you.


Penn State Students for Bernie 
Students for Bernie at UNCC
Grinnell Students for Bernie
William & Mary for Bernie
Harvard College Students for Bernie
Penn for Bernie
UIC for Bernie
UCLA Bruins for Bernie
Northeastern Huskies for Bernie

BLACK AGENDA REPORT's Margaret Kimberley appeared Friday on PRIMO NUTMEG:

Margaret Kimberley: And now we have a woman who has -- who has apparently tried to come forward in the past with a story of sexual assault -- but they're sticking with him.  And they're trying to hide him.  There was supposed to be one more debate.  Sanders says he will be in that debate.  Biden and other Democrats say there's no reason for a debate and everyone's tried to shut it down. 'We don't need more debates.  We don't need anymore primaries.'  Millions of people haven't voted yet.  Here in New York we were supposed to have a primary in April that has now been pushed back to June.  How do millions of people not get a chance to vote?

Millions have not voted.  We will continue and repeatedly stress here the following facts.

To win the nomination outright, a candidate needs 1991 delegates.

Bernie has 914 and Joe has 1217 -- per NPR.

No one has reached 1991.

There are 27 primaries still to be held.  There are 1619 delegates still to be awarded.

Those are facts.

Another fact, everything doesn't always make it into the snapshot -- even when I try all week to get it in.  I've called out Ruth Conniff for sitting out the debate over the primary.  Last week, she wrote about it for COMMON DREAMS.  I tried and tried to get it into the snapshot.  A week later, it finally makes it in:

What happened to the most diverse presidential primary field in U.S. history? What happened to Elizabeth Warren and the powerful group of women who cleaned Biden’s clock in the debates? What happened to the revolution?
Bernie Sanders was right. In his debate with Biden on March 15, held in a sealed CNN studio without a live audience to avoid contagion, Sanders said that the current pandemic exposes the great vulnerability of our unequal, increasingly unjust society.
As Sanders pointed out, the United States spends twice as much per capita on health care as other developed countries, but our patchwork of private insurance providers that exclude millions of people leaves us woefully unprepared to launch an effective, coordinated response to this public health crisis.
Add to that the desperate situation of workers already living paycheck to paycheck, and the need to raise the minimum wage, tax the rich, provide universal health care, and restore the social safety net becomes undeniable.
The coronavirus pandemic exposes the huge cracks in our society that Sanders has been pointing out all along.
Biden’s response in the debate was to say that the nation is in the throes of “a national crisis” that “has nothing to do with Bernie’s Medicare for All.”
Biden has made his case for the Democratic nomination by painting the Sanders revolution as unrealistic. Getting to Medicare for All, he argues, would take years, and people need action now.
Biden projects a knowing confidence in his own familiarity with the system. He can make deals and get things done. He is not alarmed or angry. And that is a big part of his appeal to moderate voters and the establishment. Sure, he has taken money from big donors. But so has nearly everyone in politics. Many Democrats are OK with that.
Young people, on the other hand, can’t stand it. The Bernie revolutionaries under thirty I know are appalled by Biden, who strikes them as the ultimate phony.
All the jokes about his senior moments, his out-of-touch comments about “record players,” and, worse, his use of the word “aliens” in that last debate to describe undocumented immigrants, are just depressing now. The Trump campaign is already gleefully grabbing onto this material.

Turning to Iraq,  ALJAZEERA reports, "At least three rockets have hit near the site of an American oilfield service company in southern Iraq without causing any damage or casualties.  The rockets targeted the site of Halliburton in the Burjesia area in oil-rich Basra province, the Iraqi military said in a statement on Monday."  ARAB WEEKLY adds, "Monday’s attack was the first since last summer to target US oil companies working in the oil-rich south. A rocket struck a oil-drilling site in Basra last June, landing inside a compound housing energy giant Exxon Mobil, Shell and ENI. Three local workers were wounded in that attack."  Meanwhile, THE DAYTONA BEACH NEWS-JOURNAL reports:

In operations related to Iraq, a total of 4,600 members of the U.S. military and Department of Defense civilians have died. Another 32,512 U.S. service personnel and DOD civilians have been wounded in action.
Here is the latest identification reported by the military this week:
• Sgt. 1st Class John David Randolph Hilty, 44, from Bowie, Maryland, died March 30 in Erbil, Iraq, of a non-combat related incident in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. The incident is under investigation.

Will US troops ever be pulled out of Iraq?  Maybe half of them.  Lawk Ghafuri (RUDAW) reports:

Half of the US-led coalition troops in Iraq will have left the country by the end of 2020, Iraq’s premier-designate Adnan al-Zurfi has said, while a timetable for the departure of the other half will agreed upon by early 2021.

Zurfi made the remarks in his first televised interview as PM-designate, conducted by state media outlet al-Iraqiya on Sunday night.

“I talked to US ambassador and coalition officials in Iraq about a schedule for coalition troop withdrawal from Iraq,” he said.  “Half of the US-led coalition troops will withdraw from Iraq by end of  2020, while the other half will leave Iraq after we agree on a schedule by the beginning of next year.”

Adnan al-Zurfi is not yet the prime minister.  He's attempting to curry favor with an economic plan and that may or may not help put his candidacy over the top.  Khaled Yacoub Oweis (THE NATIONAL) notes:

Iraq’s prime minister designate Adnan Al Zurfi has positioned himself as the man to bring about economic salvation for the country and address the financial woes that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Al Zurfi submitted his manifesto to the legislature on the weekend, warning that the government may no longer be able to pay its seven million employees. “Iraq is going through a catastrophy,” Mr Al Zurfi warned.

His manifesto focuses on improving the economy and the health system to counter the impact of the coronavirus.

Today is an anniversary.  Oscar Grenfell (WSWS) explains:

Yesterday marked 10 years since WikiLeaks published the Collateral Murder video, showing US soldiers in an Apache helicopter indiscriminately firing upon unarmed civilians and journalists in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
The footage, filmed by the US military on July 12, 2007, shows the gunship circling above a group of 10 men, going about their business in the suburb of Al-Amin al-Thaniyah. In increasingly exasperated tones, those on board ask whether they have been given permission to open fire on the individuals, who pose no conceivable threat.
When the signal has been given, they let loose with 30 mm cannon fire. The viewer’s horror at the massacre is matched only by revulsion at the glee of the American soldiers.
As the 10 men lie catastrophically wounded or dead, a US soldier expresses his hope that one of them will pick up a non-existent weapon, so that the fusillade may be resumed. A van pulls up to give assistance to the wounded. It is fired upon, killing the driver and inflicting horrific wounds on his two young children.

At the end of the carnage, as many as 18 lie dead. They include Reuters journalists Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen. Congratulations and more blood lust are the response from within the Apache.

WIKILEAKS publisher Julian Assange remains persecuted and held behind bars. Joe Laurie (CONSORTIUM NEWS) notes:

To gauge the transformation in the response by the U.S. military, the mainstream media and the public to a U.S. war crime, one need only compare the reactions to two of the most heinous American crimes:  the 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the gunning down of innocent Iraqis on a Baghdad street in 2007.
The latter was captured on a cockpit video from attacking Apache helicopters and revealed in a video released by WikiLeaks ten years ago today. Wikileaks obtained the video from a conscientious U.S. Army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning. 

The My Lai incident was revealed to the public in Nov. 1969 through the reporting of investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. An army veteran whistleblower, Ronald Ridenhour, had first written in early 1969 to the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and members of Congress revealing credible details about the massacre. It lead to a military investigation.
The probe found that U.S. Army soldiers had killed 504 unarmed people on March 16, 1968  in the village of My Lai, including men, women and children. Some women were gang-raped by the soldiers.  The military investigation led to charges against 26 soldiers.  Just one, Lieutenant William Calley Jr., a C Company platoon leader, was convicted. He was found guilty of the premeditated murder of 109 villagers. (Given a life sentence, he ultimately served only three and a half years under house arrest.).
[. . .]
Forty years after the My Lai incident, Apache helicopter gunships patrolling the skies of Baghdad on July 12, 2007 opened fire on a group of civilians on a street below, killing a number of people, including two Reuters journalists, and the driver of a van who had come to pick up the wounded. 

During the My Lai incident one brave American serviceman, Hugh Thompson, landed his helicopter between cowering civilians and advancing GIs and told the Americans his gunship would fire on them if they didn’t stop. In Baghdad, one U.S. soldier, Ethan McCord, saved the lives of two Iraqi children over the orders of his superiors.  
Some similarities between the two incidents are uncanny. But the outcomes were wholly different.  Both were stories of a U.S. military massacre of innocent civilians. Both began with a whistleblower, Ridenhour on My Lai and Manning on Baghdad. Both stories were turned down by major media, and later accepted by obscure publications (which then made WikiLeaks well-known). (Manning was first turned down by the Times and The Washington Post).
But that’s where the similarities end. The My Lai story led to a military investigation and a conviction of a U.S. soldier for mass murder. It caused a global outcry when all the facts became known. It contributed to the growing anti-war movement in the U.S. And it catapulted Hersh into prominence. As a result of his story, the freelancer was hired by The New York Times. 

The Baghdad massacre led to no military investigation or charges against any soldier involved, despite video evidence that was stronger than what came out of My Lai. (The Army photographer who took the photo up top admitted to destroying pictures of the murders being committed.) The whistleblower was not jailed, as Manning was, but was listened to, and it led to an investigation.  The ‘Collateral Murder’ video caused a stir, but hardly a global outcry, and it did not contribute to a U.S. anti-war movement. While WikiLeaks was catapulted into prominence, its publisher did not win a Pulitzer Prize, as Hersh did, but instead is languishing in a London prison on remand pending an extradition request by the United States to stand trial for espionage. 

WIKILEAKS did real journalism on that and other stories.  Maybe that's why Julian Assange remains behind bars?  People do get that he's not serving a sentence, right?  Thomas Scripps (WSWS) explains:

In response to the coronavirus crisis, the British Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has announced plans for the early release of up to 4,000 prisoners in England and Wales—just under 5 percent of the prison population. The selected “low-risk” prisoners in the last two months of their sentences will be electronically tagged and allowed back into the population to ease overcrowding.
But the MoJ confirmed to the Australian Associated Press that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would not be released on the mendacious and vindictive grounds that he is “not serving a custodial sentence” and so is not eligible under the terms of the legislation.

Assange is currently held on remand—that is, he is not charged with any crime or serving any sentence in the UK—in Belmarsh maximum security prison in London. He is part-way through an extradition hearing to decide on his extradition to the United States, where he faces a series of charges under the Espionage Act with a potential combined sentence of 175 years.

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