Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Protests, LeBron, Drew Brees, Joan Jett and more


"You literally still don't understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?" the Lakers superstar responded, referring to former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick.

LeBron James was among the pro athletes on Wednesday who were shocked by comments made by Drew Brees earlier in the day. 
The Saints star QB said in an interview with Yahoo News that, even after the killing of George Floyd and worldwide protests which resulted, he was still against any football player kneeling during the national anthem. “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said.

First?  Who's Drew Brees?

Seriously, before today, I'd never heard of him.

LeBron?  Hell yeah, I know who Lebron is.  I follow basketball.  Football?  That's really an old person's sport and more of White person's sport.  But, yeah, I know LeBron and I watch basketball.

I never saw Kaepernick play a game -- I don't watch football.  I do know who he is.

That said?

I understand where Brees is coming from.  I disagree with him, but I do understand.  I'm not going to drag him for his opinion.  I think he understands why Kaepernick was taking a knee but I don't think he agrees with it.  I think he feels, from his point of view, that you protest in some other way and not during the national anthem.

He has tremendous support for the national anthem.

 I get that.

I don't have that.  I'm with Colin and LeBron.  But I do understand where the football player is coming from.

Then this:

Mötley Crüe, Def LeppardPoison and Joan Jett's North American stadium tour won't be happening this summer, the artists announced on Monday (June 1).

Joan Jett?  Ugh.  A lesbian who can never come out of the closet.  I am over Queen Latifah and her lying ass and I'm over Joan Jett.

I don't get these liars.

The whole world knows your gay and you won't come out.

At least Queen Latifah has always presented as a functioning adult.

At 28, Joan was trying to play little girl still.  'I'm not in a relationship.  I live with my manager and his wife and blah blah blah don't say I'm a lesbian.'

Also in that time period, she was trashing feminism.

I have no use for Joan Larkin -- her real name.

Her only real hit is "I Love Rock And Roll" which she didn't write.   It was an old song by the time she covered it.  It's not a great song and she's never repeated it's popularity.  In fact, no one's bought her albums for years.  There's a site called Datalounge that's mainly gay men.  But there is at least one lesbian who is a Joan Jett fanatic.  Whenever that idiot shows up and posts, a number of us laugh as the thread circulates.  We're out lesbians and we're convinced that the woman posting about Joan is some closeted lesbian who has never come out even if she knows another lesbian.  She writes like someone deeply in the closet and you picture her having some imaginary relationship with Joan in her head.

There are all these claims made by this idiot about how Joan is the most important female artist ever.  About how Joan is the only real woman who has ever been in rock.  How Joan is this or that.

It's embarrassing to read the crap, we laugh at it.

Stevie Nicks?  She's a woman who rocks.  The Wilson sisters of Heart.  Tina Turner, I could go on and on.

Joan Jett's an embarrassment.  She's the male equivalent of Ted Nugent.

Someone who doesn't grasp that they had one brief moment and no one cares about them anymore.
Now this is from Jacob Crosse (WSWS):

The Trump administration and state governors are continuing to deploy tens of thousands of police and troops against peaceful demonstrations in over 200 cities in the US.
Curfews, mass arrests and police terror have not quelled the powerful movement of youth and workers of all races and ethnicities in response to the May 25 police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. If anything, Trump’s fascist tirade from the Rose Garden on Monday, in which he asserted dictatorial powers and threatened to illegally deploy the military to crush the protests, has stiffened the resolve and heightened the anger of the hundreds of thousands marching in cities across the country.
Trump accompanied his repudiation of the US Constitution on Monday with the mobilization of hundreds of military police to spearhead an unprovoked attack on peaceful demonstrators well ahead of the 7:00 pm curfew declared by Washington DC’s Democratic mayor, Muriel Bowser.
The demonstrations are expanding internationally. Protests and marches have been held in London, Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Dublin, Auckland, Sydney, Tehran, Halifax, Idlib (Syria) and many more cities.
In Houston, over 60,000 joined George Floyd’s family in a march against police murder. Drums played as tens of thousands, some on horseback, moved through downtown Houston. The march ended in front of City Hall with protesters holding signs reading, “I Can’t Breathe” and “No justice, no peace.”
In New York City, beginning at 2:00 p.m., thousands marched across the Manhattan Bridge towards Manhattan in an attempt to meet up with another group of marchers. At the Manhattan end of the bridge, protesters encountered a wall of police, forcing them to remain on the bridge. For two hours, protesters waited for the police to let them pass before deciding to turn around. Upon reaching the other side, the group came face-to-face with another wall of cops. For two hours the police refused to let anyone off the bridge. As word spread on social media of the cops’ thuggish tactics, the police were forced to relent and let the marchers pass.
In southern California, over 20,000 workers and youth braved scorching temperatures to march throughout Los Angeles and Hollywood. These peaceful demonstrations were juxtaposed with the sight of heavily armed National Guard troops and Humvees deployed all along the famous boulevard to safeguard private property.

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

Wednesday, June 3, 2020.  Unrest continues in Iraq and the US, War Criminal Bully Boy Bush tries to rehab his image, and much more.

Starting with this from Margaret Kimberley (BLACK AGENDA REPORT):

The aftermath of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis, Minnesota police has created a national political crisis. The revulsion caused by this latest killing caught on camera spawned protests in Minneapolis and all over the country. Black people are the angriest, knowing they are at risk of the same treatment and because most police killings rarely result in convictions.
But the mass actions present a problem for the rulers. Anger boiled beneath the surface after years of the race to the bottom austerity regime, the worsening economic collapse in the wake of the COVID-19 quarantine, and another Democratic presidential primary rigged by that party’s donor class to defeat the prospect of even minimalist reforms.

While black people led the way, they were joined by many white people too. They are also angry about Floyd’s death and are primed to rise up against the injustices that are expanding and becoming more deeply entrenched against them as well. While COVID-19 created a health crisis it also left millions unemployed with nothing but meager benefits and a one-time payment of $1,200. 
When these groups began a nascent campaign of solidarity, the system rose up against them in an effort to delegitimize them all. The story of Floyd’s cruel death began to take a back seat in the corporate media. Suddenly the propagandists who pose as journalists became concerned about the presence of white people in the protests. Who were they? Where were they from? What did they want? Were they “antifa” or anarchists or white supremacists? 
They were quickly joined by the political class of black misleaders who did the bidding of their patrons by dismissing the acts of rebellion. St. Paul, Minnesota mayor Melvin Carter fired the first shot when he declared that every arrested protester was not from his state. But in fact the opposite was true, and 85% of arrestees were Minnesotans . Carter sheepishly responded that he had received bad information. The obvious and easily proven inaccuracy makes that assertion highly unlikely.

He and others began using very dangerous talking points. They claimed to grieve for Mr. Floyd and expressed a desire to see justice done while also saying that white protesters were using the demonstrations for nefarious ends. They even evoked the “outside agitator” trope from the bad old days of Jim Crow segregation. They pleaded for peaceful protest or no protest at all and some of them told outright lies.
Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms  was among the worst. She accused protesters of disgracing her city, George Floyd’s memory and Martin Luther King’s legacy all in one fell swoop. She told them, “Go home.” According to Madame Mayor every protester was snatching liquor, setting fires and pulling knives on the police. The rebellion was dismissed as criminality and despite any claims of concern for George Floyd, she proclaimed every participant a scoundrel.
For good measure she added, “If you want change in America, go and register to vote!,” as if that act has magical qualities to make bad things disappear. Voting usually produces nothing more than mediocre sell outs like Keisha Lance Bottoms. It certainly won’t end police violence.

As unrest continues in the US, Aisha Ahmad observes:

1 week of this in the United States 884 weeks of this in Iraq

Meanwhile War Criminal Bully Boy Bush is attempting to rehab his toxic and violent image.  Some are going a long with it, others with ethics are calling it out.  Mbuyiseni Ndlozi points out:

You lied about Weapons of Mass Distruction, invaded Iraq in an unjust war leading to deaths of thousands of inoccent people. You should have been charged by ICC for crimes against humanity! But because of white privilage, you have not been held responsible! #GeorgeBushMustFall

In his ridiculous statement, Bully Boy Bush also declared "looting is not liberation."  Really?  Didn't his administration sell it as liberation in Iraq?  April 12, 2003, Sean Loughlin (CNN) reported:

Declaring that freedom is "untidy," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Friday the looting in Iraq was a result of "pent-up feelings" of oppression and that it would subside as Iraqis adjusted to life without Saddam Hussein.
He also asserted the looting was not as bad as some television and newspaper reports have indicated and said there was no major crisis in Baghdad, the capital city, which lacks a central governing authority. The looting, he suggested, was "part of the price" for what the United States and Britain have called the liberation of Iraq.

"Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things," Rumsfeld said. "They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that's what's going to happen here." 

Bully Boy Bush needs to crawl back under his rock and shame on anyone who cheers him on today as he's on a p.r. tour to improve his well-deserved poor image.

Carter Tweets:

So you’re telling me I’m supposed to vote for the guy endorsed by George Bush? Did everyone just... agree to forget Iraq? Katrina? Gitmo? Abu Ghraib? Tax cuts? Patriot Act? Wtf did Ellen do to y’all?

And Hayati Iraq offers:

A lot of Arabs are supporting BLM which is great but a majority of black people r gnna vote for joe Biden and he’s probably gnna bomb the entire Middle East like Obama did whos gnna riot and protest for us?

Uncle Joe and other garbage the soft left traffics in here in the US does not cut it in the Middle East.  Joe Biden's reputation there is not based on his cute foibles but on his actual deeds which have destroyed the lives of many Arabs.  Earlier this year, Mark Weisbrot (GUARDIAN) noted:

Biden did vastly more than just vote for the war. Yet his role in bringing about that war remains mostly unknown or misunderstood by the public. When the war was debated and then authorized by the US Congress in 2002, Democrats controlled the Senate and Biden was chair of the Senate committee on foreign relations. Biden himself had enormous influence as chair and argued strongly in favor of the 2002 resolution granting President Bush the authority to invade Iraq.
“I do not believe this is a rush to war,” Biden said a few days before the vote. “I believe it is a march to peace and security. I believe that failure to overwhelmingly support this resolution is likely to enhance the prospects that war will occur …”
But he had a power much greater than his own words. He was able to choose all 18 witnesses in the main Senate hearings on Iraq. And he mainly chose people who supported a pro-war position. They argued in favor of “regime change as the stated US policy” and warned of “a nuclear-armed Saddam sometime in this decade”. That Iraqis would “welcome the United States as liberators” And that Iraq “permits known al-Qaida members to live and move freely about in Iraq” and that “they are being supported”.
The lies about al-Qaida were perhaps the most transparently obvious of the falsehoods created to justify the Iraq war. As anyone familiar with the subject matter could testify, Saddam Hussein ran a secular government and had a hatred, which was mutual, for religious extremists like al-Qaida. But Biden did not choose from among the many expert witnesses who would have explained that to the Senate, and to the media.
Biden’s selling points as a candidate often lead with his reputation for foreign policy experience and knowledge. But Iraq in 2002 was devastated by economic sanctions, had no weapons of mass destruction, and was known by even the most pro-war experts to have no missiles that could come close to the United States. The idea that this country on the other side of the world posed a security threat to America was more than far-fetched. The idea that the US could simply invade, topple the government, and take over the country without provoking enormous violence was also implausible. It’s not clear how anyone with foreign policy experience and expertise could have believed these ideas.
Senator Dick Durbin, who sat on the Senate intelligence committee at the time, was astounded by the difference between what he was hearing there and what was being fed to the public. “The American people were deceived into this war,” he said.

Regardless of Biden’s intentions – which I make no claim to know or understand – the resolution granting President Bush the authority to start that war, which Biden pushed through the Senate, was a major part of that deception. So, too, was the restricted testimony that Biden allowed. The resolution itself contained deceptive language about a number of pretexts for the war, including al-Qaida and weapons of mass destruction that Iraq did not have.

At NEWSWEEK, Emily Cadei observed:

Today, Iraq is a mess. The terrorist group ISIS operates across large swaths of the country after storming through northwest Iraq in 2014; while a lack of basic services like electricity has prompted rolling protests by average Iraqis. Iraq's dramatic deterioration, after the country seemed to have been on the right path at the beginning of the decade, has prompted some partisan finger-pointing this year. Republicans have tried to pin the blame on Clinton, the Democrats' 2016 front-runner, who headed up the State Department between 2009 and 2013. Democrats, meanwhile, are blaming former President George W. Bush (and by extension, his brother, Jeb), as well as other Republicans who were cheerleaders for the 2003 invasion, which created the power vacuum in Iraq. 

The scrutiny has yet to land on Biden, who is mulling a bid for the Democratic nomination in 2016, spurred on by Clinton's summer of stumbles. Yet were he to run, the vice president would be the one candidate who really owns Iraq policy, for good or for ill. As Robert Ford, the deputy ambassador at the Iraqi Embassy from 2008 to 2010, puts it, " The vice president has more than a little responsibility in all of this."

[. . .]

Since the United States withdrew its troops at the end of 2011, Maliki has gone after senior Sunni politicians on trumped-up charges, cracked down on Sunni protests, abandoned efforts to integrate Sunnis into the military and otherwise alienated this significant, if minority, ethnic group—the same one whose insurgency last decade led to some of the bloodiest years of the Iraq War. As retired General David Petraeus, the former U.S. commanding general in Iraq, testified in a Senate hearing last month: "The cause of Iraq's unraveling" was the Maliki government's "corrupt, sectarian and authoritarian behavior." That "created the conditions for the Islamic State to reconstitute itself in Iraq, after which it gained additional strength in the Syrian civil war."
There was a period of time in 2010, however, when it wasn't clear Maliki would remain in power. In a major upset, Maliki's State of Law party won two fewer seats than the secular Iraqiya party headed by another Shiite, Ayad Allawi, in the March vote. To critics, this was the turning point when the U.S. should have stepped in and helped Iraqis form a new government, sans Maliki. Khedery calls it "the most crucial period in this administration's Iraq policy, because it was a historic moment where we could have gone down two paths, and some of us desperately tried to go down the correct path, the path that would have respected the Iraqi Constitution and the election results." Everything that's happened since is a direct outgrowth of U.S. leaders' failure to act, Khedery and other critics say.
But defenders of the vice president say the United States didn't have that kind of control over the situation. "The diplomacy in that period was as intense as anything I've seen," Blinken says. "We were pressing not for any individual but for an outcome in Iraq that led to inclusive, nonsectarian government.... Ultimately, the people that emerged did not do justice" to that vision.
Maliki quickly lined up with another Shiite party in a coalition, which he claimed gave him the right to form a government, despite real questions around whether that comported with the Iraqi Constitution. A judge, widely considered to be in Maliki's pocket, ruled it did. But Maliki still didn't have enough support to claim a majority in parliament. So he, in effect, just sat there. On the American side, one former senior U.S. official tells Newsweek that Chris Hill, the U.S. ambassador through mid-2010, "decided early on that it should be Maliki." Hill and a handful of senior advisers in the embassy "went to the vice president and convinced Blinken and Biden" of that as well.
Blinken disputes that the U.S. "put our thumb on the scale." The reality was Maliki "had the most support." Allawi, he notes, was also "trying to see if he could garner the support to form a government" during the stalemate. "The bottom line is, he couldn't."

Anthony Blinken is nothing but a liar.  It's all he's ever been.  The reality was that Allawi won the election.  He had the support of the Iraqi people.  Nouri refused to step down, for over eight months, bringing the country to a standstill.  He was able to do that because he had the support of Chris Hill and Joe Biden.  That's reality.  Blinken is never challenged on his lies.

And, to be clear, Emily Cadei's article was publishes in 2015.  When Joe Biden is actually running for president, the press doesn't feel the need to seriously explore Iraq.

At COUNTERPUNCH, Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi argues:

The vicious circle of voting for the Democrat’s candidate, no matter how corrupt the party and its nominees are, needs to end. We are always told that the time is not right. Yet, we never hear what the right time would be and when would it arrive. Under what circumstances does one vote her conscience?
If there were any doubts that powers that be will not allow the realization of any meaningful choice in the presidential elections, those doubts should have put to rest after the Clinton-DNC staged a coup against Bernie Sanders during the last presidential campaign. Any genuine examination of how Donald Trump ended in the White House, must have interrogated the DNC conspiracy to sabotage Sanders’ campaign rather than the wild goose chase of the Russian interference, true as it might have been. The DNC handed the presidency to Trump. And they will end up doing it again.
The early success of Sanders’ campaign in 2020, alarmed the party again and made its leadership visibly concerned about the possibility of a contested nomination process. President Obama came out of his long silence since he had left office to assure the party leadership that he would speak up to stop Bernie Sanders nomination. Through a combination of the old party patronage system, disenfranchisement, fear mongering, and campaigns of misinformation, the DNC pulled Biden from the bottom of the list and crowned him on the top as the “presumptive” nominee. A man who could not articulate a thought without meandering sentences and bouts of forgetfulness that alarmed many observers about his mental fitness, became the one who is now to rescue the country from the rising tide of fascism.
The same party leadership who utterly failed to understand that the fault lines of the last presidential election was a vote for or against the establishment, and rallied behind Hillary Clinton who epitomized all that is wrong with the existing order, is now counting on the loyalty of the hardcore democrats to take back the while house with Biden. I am not here to say that Biden cannot win. He might. Trump might have alienated enough people with his vulgarity, diseased mind, nefarious heart, and devious personality that would cost him the presidency. But that cannot vindicate the misdeeds of the DNC and absolve the corruption at its heart.
The Left cannot afford and should not give another pass to the DNC oligarchy. The party has shown time and again that it is incapable of foundational transformation. What today people on the streets of Minneapolis, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, and many other major cities in the country are crying out is not to bring to the office a kinder, gentler, corrupt politician who opposed the necessity of “collective and structural changes” in American society. The Left has given enough carte blanche to the Democrats, time has come for real accountability.

Biden is corrupt. Not once during the entire House investigation of Trump’s abuse of power in looking into Hunter Biden’s lucrative seat on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, any Democrats eyebrows was raised about what actually he, the son of the then Vice President of the United States, was doing on that board making hundreds of thousands of dollar a year for doing absolutely nothing. Yes, Trump abused the power of his office and asked foreign entities to abet his presidential campaign. But that does not exonerate Biden. Is there any doubt in any one’s mind that Hunter was sitting on that board because he was Biden’s son? The time for bringing back the old corrupt machine is over.

On the topic of Hunter, it's also true that questions need to be asked about the sweet deal Hunter got with the reserves.  He was too old to serve.  He wasn't qualified.  He had a drug problem.  But all that got swept away and he was made an officer -- with no time in basic training.  He got to step over all the red tape and rules.  As CNN reported after Hunter was kicked out of the Navy Reserves:

Biden was commissioned as an ensign in May 2013 and assigned as a public affairs officer in a Norfolk, Virginia-based reserve unit. A month later, he tested positive for cocaine, and he was discharged in February, according to the report. 

Hunter was not qualified.  That he wasn't qualified is demonstrated by the fact that a month into his supposed 'service' he's kicked out.  He never should have been commissioned to begin with.  Joe Biden has repeatedly bent the rules and circumvented basic ethical guidelines to promote Hunter and others.  It's nepotism and it shouldn't take place.  Joe has no ethics.

He takes credit for pulling US troops out of Iraq but US troops remain in Iraq.  They never all left despite Biden's lies.  And in September 2012, the US began sending more US troops in.  By the summer of 2014, this was done much more openly.  Today, Hamdi Malik (AL-MONITOR) reports:

In a span of less than three months, five “new pro-Iran militias” have announced their plans to escalate attacks on US forces in Iraq. Some of them have claimed responsibility for major anti-American attacks. But evidence indicates this is a propaganda campaign conducted by existing militias rather than an actual escalation. The main desire common among these groups is avenging the death of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Popular Mobilization Units’ (PMU) military leader who was assassinated by the United States alongside Iran’s Quds Force commander, Qasem Soleimani, in January.
In the last of a series of videos purporting to attack American forces or interests in Iraq, a group calling itself Tha’r al-Muhandis Brigade (Vengeance of al-Muhandis) claims they fired two anti-aircraft missiles that hit two American Chinook helicopters. In the short clip posted on the social media platform Telegram on May 22 and that has been viewed by Al-Monitor, two militants whose faces are blurred are seen carrying man-portable air-defense systems. The clip shows one of the militants firing a missile into the sky. The cameraman seemingly follows the missile into the sky, and seconds later a Chinook helicopter is seen in the clip. The video does not show the helicopter being hit by the missile. Also, we don’t see a second missile being fired.
But Tha’r al-Muhandis Brigade’s clip seems to be fake. Al-Monitor showed the clip to Ali Chakav, a senior graphic designer at the London-based Iran International TV. After examining the video, Chakav came to the conclusion that the clip is a montage and that footage of the Chinook was later added to the footage of the firing of the anti-aircraft missile.

The following sites updated:

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