Saturday, January 16, 2021

Grab bag

A lot to cover.  First, read Ruth's "On his way out of office, he does one thing right" and I'm also going to note the ICH article:


Among the bombshell revelations is an admission by Steele that he violated his confidential human source agreement with the FBI and leaked information from his dossier to the news media in the final weeks of the election because he wanted to counteract new revelations in the Hillary Clinton email scandal that were hurting her election efforts. The former foreign intelligence officer made the confession in a fall 2017 interview with agents.

Steele, who was hired by Clinton's campaign law firm to compile anti-Trump dossiers attempting to link Trump to Russian influence, told agents he had two clients at the time — Clinton and the FBI — and chose the interests of the Democratic candidate over the bureau in leaking.

Steele told the bureau that then-FBI Director James Comey's decision to reopen the Clinton email probe in fall 2016 triggered him to leak his dossier details in what he described as a taking-the-gloves-off moment.

The FBI interview summary makes clear that Steele, a British citizen, was allegiant to Clinton, did not like Trump and believed a Trump presidency would be negative for his homeland and thus made a decision to meddle in the U.S. election by leaking information to the news media.

The leaks, which led to Steele's termination as an FBI informant, have been known for more than a year, but his motivation for leaking was hidden in the classified documents.

His admission that the Russia collusion narrative, later debunked by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, was injected into the public as a means of counteracting Clinton's email scandal corroborates other information obtained by the CIA.

Late last year, the Trump administration declassified evidence showing the CIA warned President Obama and the FBI that it had intercepted intelligence indicating Hillary Clinton had personally ordered up an operation to "vilify" Trump with a false story of collusion as a means of distracting from the negative publicity of her email scandal.

Multiple investigations have concluded that much of Steele's dossier was debunked or never corroborated by the FBI and likely contained Russian disinformation planted with his sources.

I'm glad Trump's releasing those records.  Russia-gate was a lie and a hoax and all of the people -- starting with 'journalist' David I-Have-The-Blood-of-Gary-Webb-On-My-Hands Corn -- who popularized that nonsense?  They need to be held accountable.  

The biggest lie in the world.  They should be ashamed of themselves but they're not.  They're whores and they'll lie to you without blinking.  The truth doesn't matter to them.

Second, Ann's "We got someone arrested -- how guilty should I feel?" -- no, she and Cedric shouldn't feel bad about calling the police.  Some idiot starts bothering you after midnight and won't go away?  Call the police.  They did the right thing just from the guy refusing to leave.  That's before you get into the issue that he was peddling drugs.  No need for guilt, Ann, none at all.

Third?  Kat's "How Mabel Normand's many scandals (at least five) destroyed her career" is part of our new book series for 2021.  What new book series?  From "KINDLE UNLIMITED (Rebecca, Ava and C.I.):"


In 2018, community sites took turns covering a book every week.  You can see "In 2018, we read books" to review that coverage.  We didn't want to repeat ourselves in 2019 or 2020.  So when Marcia came up with a way to cover books but with a twist, we were all for it.  Marcia's idea was for us to digital books -- we're largely a printed text crowd -- and to use AMAZON's KINDLE UNLIMITED.  So for 2021, we'll be doing a book a week and trying to just use KINDLE UNLIMITED.  Rebecca's  "the mommie dearest diary: carol ann tells all" went up Saturday and we're speaking to her -- via instant messenger -- about this.  First off, THE MOMMIE DEAREST DIARY: CAROL ANN TELLS ALL, how was it as a digital book.


Be sure to check out Mike's "Idiot of the Week"  and my cousin Stan's "Get real."  And if you're looking for some music coverage, check out Trina's "Whitney" about Whitney Houston's first album.

Okay, my girlfriend had a work project that she finished an hour and half ago and the casserole I popped into the oven is now and warm and ready so we're going to hit Disney+ and check out WandaVision which started streaming Friday with two episodes.  I hope it's good.

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


 Friday, January 15, 2021.  A look at impeachment, an activist targeted in Iraq, and more.

Let's start with impeachment.  I'm working for a list of comments, questions, slams compiled by Martha and Shirley from e-mails to the public account.  First, as Keesha always says, this is a private conversation in a public space.  Second, public e-mail is and community members have the private e-mail but apparently some are asking "what's the public e-mail"?  That's what it is.

I always, several insisted, agree with Jonathan Turley.  No, I don't.  One example, he's arguing that incoming President Joe Biden should not pardon Donald Trump.  My thoughts on the presidential power of pardon have long been established here.  I think there should be more pardons, not less.  I would love to see Julian Assange, Ed Snowden, Leonard Peltier and many more pardoned.  You will never see me whine over a pardon.  If Joe wants to pardon Donald, okay.  If he doesn't, then don't do it.  But, again, I think we need more pardons not less.  Jonathan Turley is very intelligent and highly educated.  That doesn't mean I always agree with him.  I think he's probably the best living legal scholar in the United States.  But I don't agree with anyone 100% of the time.

How was Donald Trump given power by this latest impeachment -- a few ask referring to the comments at the end of yesterday's snapshot.  How?

This goes beyond today.  Way beyond and so many can't see beyond a 24 hour news cycle.

But Donald Trump's now historic.  He's been impeached by the House twice and, guess what, not removed from office either time.

That's historic.

And history will see it as such and wonder why?  Was Donald that strong?  Was he that powerful?

One hundred years from now, people are going to be making calls and it appears the calls will be an ineffectual Congress was unable to take out a president twice impeached in one four year term.

He has historical power.

He was also given power by the nonsense of impeachment itself.

Was there a reason to impeach him?  There were several possible grounds to impeach him on.  But what Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in the House went with was ridiculous.  I could see an argument for Donald being a clear and present danger -- and I made that point last Friday:

The argument here could be (a) he is a clear and present danger so we must take up the American people's time with this.  That's your only pro-impeachment argument.  Unless someone comes up with something else, that's really it.  And that approach would justify a real trial -- because we would need to determine whether or not Donald was now a clear and present danger to the country.


If your issue is just what took place on one day in DC, some will respond that the day is already over, what's the point?  He is gone in 12 days, what's the point?

To justify using time on impeachment at this point -- the House to quickly vote, the Senate to have a trial -- which would include Donald being able to call all the witnesses he wanted and his attorney arguing on behalf of Donald -- which would probably be a long trial -- you'd need a charge like Donald remaining in office for less than two weeks is a clear and present danger to the United States.

Nancy Pelosi ending up mouthing the words but she didn't make the argument why.  She refused to build a case in the Articles for that.  

Could a charge have been made on clear and present danger?  Yes, a credible one could have been made.  But they didn't do that.

Instead they want to say that Donald Trump incited what took place.  Legal defitinions of incitement and sedition and insurrection were all tossed aside.  I don't know what ridiculous definition of "coup" they're using -- it's not a legal definition and it's not a political science definition.

I guess it's a clutch-the-pearls definition?

The hysteria was ecnouraged and people frothed at the mought and it was all a bunch of nonsense.  Quoting Keesha again, last week in DC was an unruly mob storming the halls of Congress.  That's all it was.  It was not a terrorist attack.  It was not a coup.  It was not an issurrection.

But they want to turn it into that and pretend that somehow Donald Trump made remarks advocating or violence.  No, he didn't.  And while bad journalism can selectively quote Donald, a hearing is supposed to examine the full remarks.

By refusing to do their job, they gave Donald power.  And by wasting everyone's time, they gave him power.  If you wanted to impeach him, make a solid argument for it.  Otherwise, you just look tiny and petty.  You look ignorant and stupid.

And that's the House of Representatives.

It also empowers future impeachments because it really doesn't matter.  Bringing impeachment against a president and failing to remove him from office no longer matters.  Mindless idiots will cheer you on and pretend you did something when you did nothing.  

Will Donald be removed from office?  I've spoken to sixteen US senators (14 of them Democrats) and no one believes the Senate will be back before the inauguration.  

That means a post-presidency impeachment.  That's going to be a hard argument for those of us who remember Nancy Pelosi's remarks when John Conyers was attempting that in 2009.  It's also going to be a hard argument for the country.

In the midst of a pandemic, we're going to pause to remove someone from office -- someone who already has left office?  We're going to waste the time and the money for that?  

Most Americans are going to be of the opinion, "Turn the page." 

That's why a lot of us told John Conyers that there was not going to be an impeachment after for Bully Boy Bush.  After Nancy took impeachment off the table in 2006, he sincerely believed he could put it back on the table after Barack Obama was sworn in.  But those of us who talked to him saying, "Lots of luck but it's not happening," grasped the turn-the-page attitude of the American people.  

It's been a time of hysteria and that always is used to panic the American people and make them think they need to give up liberties and give up freedoms.  

Oh, and deep in the night
Our appetites find us
Release us and blind us
Deep in the night
While madmen sit up building bombs
And making laws and bars
They'd like to slam free choice behind us

-- "Three Great Stimulants," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on DOG EAT DOG.

And that's the real danger to the country -- watch the discussion Chris Hedges and Jimmy Dore have in the video below.

At INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE, Gary D. Barnett points out:

We are living in a time where no rights whatsoever are respected concerning the people of this country, but the controlling ‘elite’ and their government puppets continue to live mostly without restriction. We are now ruled by an oligarchic upper class, while all the rest of society languishes at the bottom of the heap as serfs. Where is all the anger due to this tyranny that has consumed society? It seems that we are all fighting against one another while those in the ruling class that are causing all the problems are laughing while plotting the final stage of the coup called the “Great Reset.”

This government has been given massive power by the very same people that are now being abused and destroyed because of that power. This is the truth of the matter, but the masses cannot see it. Until this truth is fully understood and accepted by the common man, our fate is not only uncertain, but we are doomed to a life without freedom.

The political system has never existed to give or protect liberty; it is only there to seek more money, power, and control over society. No political solution to this debacle exists, no voting process is worthwhile, and in fact, no remedy for this tyrannical sickness will ever be due to politics or government. The only solution is for the people themselves to stand together instead of fighting each other, to dissent at every level possible, and to disobey all government orders.

Where is the outrage? How can over 300 million people lay back and take what this heinous government has done to them this past year? Why are so many afraid to protect their own liberty and that of their family? The only hope for Americans is to find the truth and act on it, and not expect the government or any politician to take care of them. The government does not care about you. Politicians do not care about you. The one percent and the large corporations do not care about you.

Caitlin Johnston points out:

So again, it’s pretty clear that America isn’t going to attempt to reverse the conditions which created Trump and all the extremist factions that everyone’s been freaking out about since the Capitol riot. Obama led to Trump, and the strategy going forward is to just keep tightening the neoliberal screws like both Obama and Trump did throughout their entire administrations. And, of course, to advance new “domestic terrorism” laws.

As we discussed previously, Biden has often boasted of being the original author of the Patriot Act years before it was rapidly rolled out amid the fear and blind obsequiousness of the aftermath of 9/11. Now in the aftermath of the Capitol riot we are seeing a push to roll out new authoritarian laws around terrorism, this time taking aim at “domestic terror”, which were also in preparation prior to the event used to manufacture support for them.

In a new article for Washington Monthly titled “It’s Time for a Domestic Terrorism Law“, Bill Scher argues against left-wing critics of the coming laws like Glenn Greenwald and Jacobin‘s Luke Savage saying such “knee-jerk reactions” against potential authoritarian abuses fail to address the growing problem. He opens with the acknowledgement that “Joe Biden’s transition team was already working on a domestic terrorism law before the insurrection,” and then he just keeps on writing as though that’s not weird or suspicious in any way.

Scher lists among the growing threat of domestic terror not just white supremacists and right-wing extremists but “extremist left-wing domestic terrorism” as well. He approvingly cites Adam Schiff’s Confronting The Threat of Terrorism Act, which “creates a definition of domestic terrorism broadly encompassing plots that carry a ‘substantial risk of serious bodily injury’ along with an ‘intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population’ or ‘influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.'” The ACLU has unequivocally denounced Schiff’s bill, saying it “would unnecessarily expand law enforcement authorities to target and discriminate against the very communities Congress is seeking to protect.”

Is Bill Scher shocking for doing that?  I guess if you're only now encountering him.  But, never forget, he played footsie with DLC ("New Democrat") Simon Rosenberg despite Simon's homophobia, sexism and racism.  He played footsie and pimped Simon's lies when Simon was trying to become the leader of the DNC in 2005.  Bill Scher is a big joke and if you're only now learning that, you haven't been paying attention.  It's like being surprised by how hideous Sam Seder is (Bill's friend, by the way).  

Bill Scher never stood up for the rights of the American people.  he thought he was writing think pieces but they were paint by number pieces that never challenged the mind and certainly didn't challenge the assumption that we needed to give up freedoms.

Bill works today because people didn't hold him accountable and because he was part of the circle jerk of the '00s.  He and the others accomplished nothing but they did set themselves up nicely, didn't they?  

Iraq remains a failed state and the Iraqi people remain terrorized because of people like Bill Scher who pretended to care when a Republican was in the White House and walked away from Iraq as soon as Barack Obama was sworn in as president.

Iraq?   UNAMI Tweets:

Baghdad, 14 January 2021 – Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for #Iraq, Ms. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, attended a meeting of Iraqi presidencies at the Baghdad Palace. Right conditions for the conduct of upcoming Iraq’s early federal elections were discussed.

The elections may not happen in June, UNAMI forgot to Tweet that.  They forget a lot of things that take place in Iraq.  For example, Ruba Ali al-Hassani Tweets:

Just learnt that the home of a good friend in Nasiriyah has been targeted with a hand grenade. He's a known activist in the city. How does anyone expect the #Iraq protest movement to nominate it's own in the upcoming elections if anyone who mobilizes is targeted?!

Ali al-Mikdam identifies the activist:

Unidentified assailants targeted, with an IED, the house of Dr. Abdul-Wahab Al-Hamdani in Sumer neighborhood in central Nasiriyah. Activists in Nasiriyah said that Al-Hamdani was one of the most prominent activists in the protests

No one will be punished for this attack, no one ever is.  And elections?  Looks like they may not be held in June as announced.  Sura Ali (RUDAW) reports:

Holding elections in June may not be realistic, according to the spokesperson for Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC). Only a fraction of eligible voters have updated their electoral records and most of the political entities have not registered yet, Jumana Alghalai told Rudaw English on Friday, a day ahead of a registration deadline.

“Twenty-five political alliances were registered in IHEC records in 2018, but only two of them have registered again for 2021 and updated their data in IHEC records, although the deadline for registering political alliances is tomorrow, Saturday,” Alghalai said. 

“The commission has issued registration licenses for 230 parties, but only a few of them have registered and updated their records, despite the fact that the deadline is soon,” she added.

Most voters, too, have not updated their records. “We have 25 million citizens eligible to vote this year. While 14 million of them have their biometric ID, only 105,390 have updated their electoral records,” Alghalai said. “Therefore, it might be unrealistic to hold elections in June without political alliances, parties, or voters.”

Lastly, POLITICO's Lara Seligman Tweets:

BREAKING: US force levels in Afghanistan and Iraq have now reached 2,500, as directed by President Trump, Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller announces

New content at THIRD:

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