Monday, April 10, 2023

Amazon's The Power



That's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY "Bigot Becky Barks."

You may note that Sore Loser doesn't have breasts.  She appears to have juiced throughout her college days and it's given her a mannish figures which makes all her whining about the transgender woman who came in fifth and ahead of her all the more laughable. 

I was asked about Amazon's The Power.  The young ladies playing the high school girls are doing a fine job and so is Toni Collette but that's it.  The men are so dull and boring.  They might as well have used cardboard cut outs and had voice actors deliver the lines.  I've only seen the first four episodes so far, but the men are so underwhelming.

The story, if you didn't read the book, is that teenage girls begin to have a power -- they can shoot electricity out their hands.  And then women have that power.  This creates an imbalance in the system.  It is toppled, it just does a 180 where it's the same system but women are now in charge.

For this shift to mean anything, we need to care about the men -- be angry at them, feel sorry for them, whatever.

Instead, they are -- to a man -- the dullest bunch of performers I've ever seen.  It's really sad.  Reminds me of the film remake of The Stepford Wives.  Nicole Kidman was very good in that awful film but she was never going to be able to turn it into a hit with meek Matthew Broadrick as her husband.  It needed to be a threat, a danger.  It needed to be a man and not a weakling.  

And that's the problem with The Power as well.

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

Monday, April 10, 2023.  While Reporters Without Borders is refused their visit with Julian Assange an Australian official is allowed to visit, Chelsea Manning talks about transitioning while imprisoned, Turkey attacks an Iraqi airport, and much more.

Australia's ABC reports that Australia's High Commissioner Stephen Smith met with Julian Assange last week, the first visit Julian has had with anyone from the Australian government since November of 2019.

Last week, as Amy Goodman (DEMOCRACY NOW!) reported, Reporters With Borders was not allowed to visit with Julian, despite the visit being approved ahead of time.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Christophe, I wanted to go to you, actually, outside Belmarsh. You planned to be inside but were denied. On Tuesday, your group, Reporters Without Borders, RSF, attempted to become the first NGO to visit Julian Assange since his arrest four years ago. Despite being given prior approval, you were denied entry. This is you outside the jail.

CHRISTOPHE DELOIRE: We take the opportunity of being here today, again, in front of this jail, to call on for his release. Julian Assange has made a big, a very important, a crucial contribution to journalism. He made possible the revelations of war crimes. He should enjoy the First Amendment.

AMY GOODMAN: Joining Reporters Without Borders was Julian Assange’s wife, Stella Moris, who also spoke outside the prison.

STELLA ASSANGE: It is another instance of this completely unjustified interference with Julian’s ability to try to conduct a political and also a legal defense against the U.S. — outrageous U.S. case against him. It’s the 4th of April today. Tomorrow will be 13 years since the release of the “Collateral Murder” video, revealing the killing of 12 civilians, including two Reuters bureau workers. We are now about a week away from the four-year anniversary of Julian being inside Belmarsh prison. Julian’s presence in this prison is a scandal. It is a scandal on every level. How is it that they can prevent him from meeting with the secretary-general and the global campaigns director of Reporters Without Borders? This is a shameful act.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Christophe Deloire, if you could talk about that? You’ve said that this is only one of a series of obstacles that you’ve encountered right from the outset in dealing with this case. If you could explain what exactly has been happening and what you hope will happen now? Will you attempt another meeting soon?

CHRISTOPHE DELOIRE: So, what happened is that in the past years we requested to be able to visit Julian in his jail. We got an approval recently, which was confirmed on March 21st with a number, an official number, for myself and my colleague, Rebecca Vincent, and we were invited to come to the prison.

And when we just arrived, the guy at the desk, when he saw my passport, he suddenly was very stressed, and that taking a paper on his office — on his desk, and that read it, saying, “According to Article” — I do not remember the number of the article, but according to this article, “you are not allowed to visit Julian Assange. This is a decision that has been made by the governor of the Belmarsh prison, based on intelligence that we had” — I quote him — “that you are journalists.”

And it doesn’t make sense at all, first, because, personally, I’ve been a journalist since 1996, and we were vetted, so it was never a mystery that I was a journalist, never a secret. Second, my colleague wasn’t a journalist herself. And we came here not as journalists, but as representatives of an international NGO with a constitutive status in many international organizations. So it was really as Reporters Without Borders representatives, not as reporters covering the case. So, it doesn’t make sense for this second reason. And there is a third reason for which it doesn’t make sense, is that already two journalists, at least, have been able to visit him in jail in the past four years. So —

AMY GOODMAN: And very quickly, Christophe — Christophe, we just have a minute, but Stella Moris, his wife, says his health is deteriorating inside. She was allowed to go in, because she does visit him. Do you see parallels between Evan Gershkovich in Russia being held on espionage charges — they said he was trying to get military secrets from Russia — and Julian Assange publishing U.S. military secrets, faces 175 years if extradited and found guilty in the United States?

CHRISTOPHE DELOIRE: I would not compare at all the U.S. and Russia. The U.S. are around 42nd in the World Press Freedom Index; Russia, 155th, out of 180 countries. One country has the worst records — some of the worst records regarding press freedom; the other one, the U.S., is defending press freedom all over the world.

But what is clear is that the detention of Julian Assange for his contribution to journalism is clearly an inconsistency. And on that, really, we call on the Biden administration, on Joe Biden himself, to stop this proceeding that was launched under the Trump administration, so that the U.S. can clearly amplify their legitimacy to defend press freedom everywhere.

Julian Assange remains the only one punished for the Iraq War.  Not Bully Boy Bush, not Joe Biden, not Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama (who continued it), not the media that sold the war, not the cheerleaders who egged it on -- just Julian who told the truth about it.  

His reward?  Julian remains imprisoned and remains persecuted by US President Joe Biden who, as vice president, once called him "a high tech terrorist."  Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:

A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent deat

The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump.

The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that “a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy”.

But the biggest test of Biden’s commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.

Whether the US justice department continues to pursue the Trump-era charges against the notorious leaker, whose group put out secret information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, American diplomacy and internal Democratic politics before the 2016 election, will go a long way toward determining whether the current administration intends to make good on its pledges to protect the press.

Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange’s protracted prosecution.

Julian remains persecuted.   When does it end? 

Whistle-blower Chelsea Manning was imprisoned for her role in exposing War Crimes.  Jaclyn Diaz (NPR) notes:

Chelsea Manning has been described as many things in her life: Soldier. Hacker. Criminal. Whistleblower. Traitor.

The 35-year-old is perhaps best known for leaking hundreds of thousands of military and diplomatic records about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to WikiLeaks in 2010. It's believed to be the largest unauthorized leak of classified material in U.S. history.

She spent seven years in prison for that leak.

And while incarcerated, she transitioned. Regardless of her high profile at the time, Manning faced many of the same struggles that other transgender prisoners in the U.S. deal with.

Manning told NPR that she and her attorneys dealt with a complex assortment of administrative parties, such as the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Defense Department, a federal prison, a local jail and various courts. All of this opened her eyes to a system that is set up for prisoners of all stripes to fail, she said.

"How do you navigate these sometimes Byzantine administrative structures to get to understand who to go to and who to complain to?" Manning said. "The average person doesn't stand a chance. That's the frank truth."

On LGBTQ+ issues, let's note Daniel Villarreal's LGBTQ NATION report:

Phillip Andrew Hamilton, a Republican candidate running for the Virginia state senate, says schools simply must be indoctrinating children and poisoning their minds because his own 13-year-old child is a nonbinary bisexual.

Repeatedly misgendering his child while appearing on the right-wing web show In The Trenches With Teddy Daniels, Hamilton said, “Last year, she came out to me and said, ‘Well, Dad, I’m bisexual.’ And this is when she was 12 years old. I said, ‘You’re too young to be really going into whether or not you’re bisexual. You’re not a dating age.’ And she dismissed me, unfortunately.”

“I found out later on last year that the problem was much worse than just being bisexual,” Hamilton added. “She came out and said, ‘Well, I’m no longer being identified as a she. I’m a they/them.’”

Hamilton then said that, even though his ex-wife and her family supported the child’s identities, he wouldn’t.

Maybe it's the ex-wife that helped the child realize who they were?  Maybe, Philip, take responsibility for your failed marriage and for clearly marrying someone whose beliefs you despise.  He doesn't have custody of the child and he has clearly little impact in her life but he wants to blame the schools.  Thick headed people, the world suffers as a result of them.  

A far-right, anti-“woke” activist recently posted a video of himself lambasting Target for “destroying masculinity” because of rainbows on boys’ t-shirts.

The man runs an apparel company called Stand Up Now that sells t-shirts with anti-trans messages, along with ones with phrases like, “Bring back God” and “Parents Rights Matter.”

In the Target video, he wears an anti-trans shirt and stands in the boys’ section of the store. He holds up three different t-shirts, one with trucks, one with dinosaurs, and one with a cloud. He’s pissed, he explains, because all three shirts also include rainbows.

Then he holds up the final straw: a light pink shirt with a shark smiling against a colorful backdrop.

“They’re destroying masculinity!” he claims. “Guys, it’s time to stand up this wokeness. We need to stand up as parents and leaders and fathers.”

Twitter, of course, had a field day mocking this rant – and the fact that he was wearing a pink shirt himself. 

If pink shirt and Phillip Andrew didn't both so clearly read "bottom," I'd suggest that they hop in bed and get it over with already.  Instead, I'll just hope they each find their own top.  Every pot has its lid, fellows.

Meanwhile, AFP reports:

Several hundred Iraqi Kurds protested on Sunday against repeated Turkish military bombardments of their region, two days after an attack near Sulaymaniyah airport.

The attack on Friday caused an explosion near the airport wall while the commander of the Kurdish-led and US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was present. US troops were also in the area but there were no casualties, the Pentagon said.

About 400 protesters marched in the centre of Sulaymaniyah on Sunday, the second city in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region.

They waved the flag of Iraqi Kurdistan and held a banner denouncing the airport bombardment as a terrorist act.

Saturday, Michael R. Gordon (WALL ST. JOURNAL) reported that the Turkish government carried out an attack Friday on a convoy in Iraq which included three US military members.  The attack took place in Sulaimani which is in the Kurdistan.  Azhi Rasul (RUDAW) reported:

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) confirmed on Saturday that their Commander-in-Chief Mazloum Abdi was in Sulaimani during an alleged Turkish drone attack on the airport the day before.

SDF spokesperson Farhad Shami had initially denied reports that Abdi was the target of a suspected Turkish drone attack. In his statement on Saturday, he said the denial was a deliberate move to ensure Abdi’s safety until he arrived back in northeast Syria (Rojava).

“As part of our emergency security response related to the safety of our forces' command, we deliberately restricted the release of information about the Turkish attack on Sulaymaniyah airport, where our Commander-in-Chief, Mazloum Abdi, was present,” Shami tweeted.

A drone strike hit near the perimeter of Sulaimani’s airport and was first reported by local authorities as an explosion with no mention of a cause or persons involved. Unnamed US officials told the Wall Street Journal that Abdi was in a convoy that was targeted. The SDF dismissed the reports as “fake news.”

In his own statement, Abdi did not confirm he was the target, but he did assign blame. "We strongly condemn the targeting of Sulaimani airport by Turkey,” he said in reply to a tweet from Bafel Talabani, leader of Sulaimani’s ruling Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). 

“These violations continue in Iraq and Syria and have serious implications for the region,” added Abdi without confirming that he was the target. Turkey regularly carries out drone strikes against alleged PKK targets in the Kurdistan Region and northeast Syria, as well as ground invasions in both countries.

For years, the US government has looked the other way while Turkey has invaded and terrorized the Kurdistan.  It has used War Planes to bomb the area -- killing and wounding civilians -- while insisting this was part of the war on 'terror' while, in fact, the terrorist has been the Turkish government.

As happened in the previous century, they're carrying out a genocide.  Today's targets are the Turks, just as earlier it was the Armenians.  In violation of international law, they have bombed the Kurdistan, they have sent soldiers in on the ground, they have established base camps -- standing base camps.  And they have done this while the US government has kept its thumb up its ass and said nothing. 

The issue festered over the weekend.   I24 reports:

Iraqi President Abdel Latif Rashid on Saturday condemned bombardments attributed to Turkey in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region -- a flashpoint between the two governments -- and called on Ankara to cease hostilities there.

"Turkish military operations against the Kurdistan region continue to take place, the last being the bombardment against the Sulaymaniyah civilian airport," Rashid said in a statement.

ALJAZEERA notes the statement also called for Turkey to stop "intimidating civilians under the pretext that forces hostile to it are present on Iraqi soil."  The president wasn't the only one speaking out.  ASHARQ AL-AWSAT adds:

In an unusual statement, the First Lady of Iraq, Shanaz Ibrahim Ahmed, strongly condemned Turkiye, accusing it of terrorism.

In a press conference in Sulaymaniyah, Ahmed accused "Turkish terrorism" of targeting citizens with drones and terrorist tools.

She warned that the "Turkish terrorist act" on the international airport affected the sovereignty of Iraq and Sulaymaniyah.

The rare comment is being noted.

RUDAW notes, "A delegation of the Iraqi parliament’s security and defense committee is set to visit Sulaimani on Monday to investigate the drone strike which occurred near the city’s airport a few days prior."

New content at THIRD:

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY "Bigot Becky Barks" went up Saturday night and "Crooked Clarence" went up Sunday morning.  The following sites updated:


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