Thursday, May 24, 2018

NPR and Philip Ewing lie

Philip Ewing is a liar and NPR should be ashamed of themselves.  He purports to do a fact check.
You cannot fact check what you do not know.
Fact Check: No, James Clapper Didn't 'Admit There Was Spying' On Trump Campaign
That is their headline and about as ‘deep’ as they go.
Here's where Clapper comes in. What he has said in several interviews this week is that there are strictures on the way the FBI can use confidential informants. Other former national security officials tell NPR that sending an intermediary like Halper is a less aggressive way for FBI to try to learn from subjects in an investigation. That way the bureau doesn't have to send special agents themselves who might flash their badges and let the people involved know the FBI was interested.
"They were spying on — a term I don't particularly like ... what the Russians were doing," Clapper said on The View. "Trying to understand, 'Were the Russians infiltrating? Trying to gain access? Trying to gain leverage or influence? Which is what they do."
Trump seized on that phrase on Thursday morning in a tweet.
In Trump's construction, a counterintelligence investigation into Russia's active measures was an abuse of power by Obama. It's the latest charge by Trump or his supporters about such abuses by Obama.
First, what “former national security officials” tell you does not mean s**t.  Grasp that.  The NSA, for example, does not follow the law.  You get a legal interpretation from an attorney.  NPR knows that but they whore out to the national security state.  So they are not fact checking anything.
Second, they are playing dumb.  A C.I.A. asset was spying on Donald Trump’s campaign.  And you can say, “Oh, it was about Russia!”  Uh, yeah, that is what you have said all along.  And it was spying on Donald Trump’s campaign.
Philip Ewing is a liar.
And it is cute that James Clapper is treated as a trusted source – this is the same James Clapper who lied to Congress.  And what did he lie about?  That is right: Spying!
The problem with jerks like Philip Ewing is that they get too attached to what they are covering – if they cover fire fighters, they suddenly think they are fire fighters.  In case, he has been covering national security for so long he identifies with them. 
You are not supposed to identify with who you cover.  You are supposed to be skeptical.  He demonstrates that he has no skepticism.  No wonder President Trump rails against fake news – what else has NPR just offered?  They ought to be ashamed.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, May 24, 2018.  The war goes on even as one of the people who used to protest it dies.

Joan Wile has passed away.  We've long noted her here.  Sam Roberts (NEW YORK TIMES) offers:

Joan Wile, a former songwriter and actress who in her 70s weaponized the power of grandmotherhood by organizing a nine-year-long weekly vigil by fellow venerable protesters against the war in Iraq, died on May 4 in Nanuet, N.Y. She was 86.
The cause was complications of diabetes, her son, Ron Wasserman, said.
Ms. Wile had written letters and marched against the war, but it was a horrific photograph in Time magazine — of a 12-year-old Iraqi boy who had been burned and lost both arms and whose family had been killed by American bombs — that galvanized her to do even more.

Or even less.  We noted Joan here regularly.  She was a nice person with a very limited vision.  Her loss will be personal for those who knew her.  Pretending that it's a blow of any sort is pretending that what she did mattered.  I'm not speaking out of turn, I shared that with her long before she gave up on protesting (with the wars still ongoing):

By late 2012, though, the weekly gathering had dwindled to fewer than a dozen. By then, past 80 and with Barack Obama, a more sympathetic president, in the White House, Ms. Wile decided to call it quits.

Joan's activism didn't matter because her vision was so limited.  She was always looking for some man to save her.  In 2007, she became convinced that Barack was just that man.  That led to loudest exchanges between us because I refused to put several pieces she wrote up here.

In 2007, I was not supporting anyone.  In January of 2008, a little after Joe Biden dropped out, I decided to support Hillary because Clintons are poll driven and that might mean they'd heed the people.  Hillary's vote for the Iraq War was an issue but so was Barack's telling Elaine and I (when he ran for the US Senate) that US troops were in Iraq now and it no longer mattered (protesting the war).  A choice between two War Hawks, I went with the one who could be influenced.  (Hillary would go on to stand with MoveOn in Congress  and MoveOn would repay her by . . . endorsing Barack.)

I had no problem with criticism of Hillary when it was equal to criticism of Barack.  That didn't happen with Joan.

The pieces in question were disgusting.  Not pornographic, just disgusting.

They were skits of Hillary in bed with Bill.

Would she do the same to Barack?  Of course not, but she would ridicule Hillary as a woman in 2008 and claim this was fair and the way to go.  It was sexist and it was offensive.

Joan could be very smart but she could also be a fool and, as a fool, she just knew some man was going to come along and save her.  Didn't happen in her real life but she was raised to believe in fairy tales and was forever a princess waiting for a Prince Charming to show up.

Privately, she shared her huge disappointments in Barack with me beginning around mid-2010.  But she refused to make those public.  She knew the drawdown in Iraq was not a withdrawal and called that out privately.  She wouldn't do so publicly.  When I'd ask her, she'd insist she was focused on other things -- such as The Occupy Movement.

And I'd say whatever and move on.  But then, in 2012, she was back to her old tricks -- trashing Mitt Romney to justify voting for Barack.

Barack was a "huge liar" and "the biggest disappointment" (I'm quoting one e-mail there) but she wouldn't call him out.

That's not a peace activist.  That's a whore for a political party.

I liked Joan and she knew that.  I found her actions to be ineffectual because they weren't about change and they weren't about truth.  She knew how I felt.  Her book GRANDMOTHERS AGAINST THE WAR: GETTING OFF OUR FANNIES AND STANDING UP FOR PEACE is a strong book, it's just a shame she couldn't live that.

I recommend the book.  I recommend her strong sense of humor and her heart which was able to care about so many.

But she circumvented her own activism and I don't recommend that. On a personal level, her death is very sad.  But that's it, her activism actually alternated between banging your head against a wall and sticking your head in the sand.

No one is going to save us, we have to save ourselves.  We need to stand on our feet and demand change.  Joan wasn't able to do that.

Gray-haired, relying on walkers and canes, they turned out every Wednesday for nine years to protest United States involvement in Iraq. Their founder was Joan Wile, who died at 86.

Here's the last piece she wrote that we fought over.  Link goes to OPED NEWS, I refused to post it here.  It's from 2015 and calling Hillary out for the Iraq War.  I call Hillary out for it, so what's the problem?  I've also called Barack Obama out for it.  Joan never did.  He was president and she knew he didn't end the war.  She wasn't comfortable calling him out but she would call Hillary out.  I told her it was a double standard and I didn't want to play that game.  I believe that after that back and forth she didn't ask for us to post anything she'd written again.

The Iraq War continues.

Breaking: At least 4 dead and 15 injured after a suicide bombing in Baghdad, Iraq.
0:10 / 0:15

AP's Murtada Faraj notes that the death toll is now 7 (eight, really, the suicide bomber is also dead) and that sixteen more people were left injured.

The British Embassy in Baghdad strongly condemns this morning’s terrorist attack in Shula . We extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the victims, their families and friends. The timing of the attack in Ramadan reflects the callousness of terrorism.

Elsewhere, XINHUA reports, "Three civilians and two Islamic State (IS) militants were killed in clashes between the IS and the security forces in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, the Iraqi military and a local official said on Thursday."

At NIQASH, Mustafa Habib provides analysis of Iraq's recent elections:

The morning after the preliminary announcements about who had won and who had lost in the Iraqi elections, it was clear that Iraqis did feel as though there had been a major political change. The senior politicians who had been in charge of the country for the past decade and a half had seen their popularity wane. Supporters of the winning parties came out on the streets to celebrate their victory.
Controversial Shiite Muslim leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, whose name has been associated with sectarian violence in the past but who has been undergoing a series of transformations over the past few years – most notably in his opposition to Iranian interference in the country – was ranked first in preliminary results.

The country’s sitting prime minister Haider al-Abadi came third. And this was a surprise to everyone, even Iraqis themselves. Al-Abadi’s popularity has only increased over the past few years. He is known as a man who has tackled several difficult challenges, including a security crisis sparked by the extremist group known as the Islamic State and a financial crisis that had the potential to bring down the government. He is so popular in Iraq, that he was the favourite before the elections and it seemed strange to many that he only managed to get third.
Second and third place were taken by, respectively, the Fatah alliance, which is the political body born out of some of the Shiite Muslim militias who volunteered to fight the Islamic State, or IS, group, and the coalition headed by a former, and much more unpopular, prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. Both of these bodies are known for a closer association with Iran.    
Senior politicians, who are perceived as having big personalities, also lost. For example, al-Maliki is often referred to as a strong and forceful leader, something Iraqis have liked. But he won over 700,000 votes in the 2014 elections and only managed an estimated 91,000 this year.
Further along in the queue were Sunni Muslim parties and the Iraqi Kurdish parties; there were no real surprises here with groups headed by Ayad Allawi and Osama al-Nujaifi winning seats and the two major Kurdish parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, doing best with voters in their own region.  
Allawi is another one of those charismatic politicians who lost a lot of support; he garnered over 407,000 votes in both of the last two elections. This week he seems to have had only around 46,000 supporters.

But really the most dramatic developments occurred among the formerly unified Shiite Muslim politicians. “Those results are a shock and a surprise for the bigger parties but in fact they are a completely normal reflection of the country’s widespread discontent with those who ruled before,” suggests Faeq al-Sheikh Ali, an MP from a smaller, liberal party.

And Fehim Tastekin (AL-MONITOR) offers:

There are reports that Sadr wants to create a new coalition with Abadi and perhaps Hakim. If that works out, Sadr may have to ease his anti-Iran position. Sadr, who spent more than three years in self-imposed exile in Iran while his Mahdi Army was fighting against the US forces in Iraq, can't fully exclude groups like Fatah that are considered instruments of Iranian political interests. Nobody expects Iranian strongman Gen. Qasem Soleimani — a top commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force — to easily agree to withdraw Iran from Iraqi politics. There's a rumor that Iran is trying to persuade Abadi to form a coalition with Ameri and Maliki to block Sadr's aspirations, but Sadr appears to have beaten Iran to the punch by negotiating with Abadi.
The United States, which invested in Abadi in the elections, is now facing an interesting test. Sadr’s visits to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — two of the countries leading the anti-Iran front — in July and August, respectively, might be an important signal that US policy in the region is evolving.
Sadr's unexpected formation of relationships with US allies could indicate an easing up of Americans' anti-Sadr positions, which they have held since former US President George W. Bush invaded Iraq in 2003 and sought to eliminate the cleric. This is turn may well dilute Sadr’s fervent anti-Americanism.
Sadr’s apparent rapprochement with the Gulf actually might have compounded Sadr’s distrust of Turkey. In the ongoing Gulf tensions, Turkey’s firm support of Qatar against the Saudis and the UAE has soured relations with those countries. But Sadr could soften his position when it comes to Turkey. The first significant sign of such a possibility is that Turkey’s ambassador in Baghdad, Fatih Yildiz — who had been waiting a long time for an appointment with Sadr — was invited to meet after the elections. After the meeting, Yildiz said, “I found an opportunity to talk with Sadr in a friendly atmosphere."

Very quickly, didn't realize this was actually a community issue until I was in the e-mails this morning, the NFL.  We're not a sports site.  I'm known for going to see a movie during the Superbowl.  But because it's becoming an issue (and apparently will be in the gina & krista round-robin) here's my take that's being asked for.

There is no censorship.  They can wear a pin to protest if they want.  But in terms of kneeling at a televised game, it's not happening.  I'm not surprised.  Football isn't a sport, it's big money for big business.  They lost millions viewers last year which was millions of ad dollars.  This is not a response to Donald Trump's comments, this is a response to greed.  They don't want to lose money -- the owners, the broadcasters, the advertisers.  Football players -- many of whom are paid tons of money -- are being told by their employers that they cannot kneel on the clock.  Most people paid by the hour have even less rights when they're at work.  This decision was gong to be made and I'm surprised they waited that long.  No one's being told what they can say in an interview or anything like that.  There are serious issues out there.  If this is one to you, work on it.  To me, it's not a serious issue.  It's not the ongoing war or the homophobic Simon Rosenberg trying to slip back in as a respected voice (remember when only Rachel Maddow stood up to him on AIR AMERICA RADIO? I do, it's the one moment I'm always proud of her for).  Sports is entertainment.  I doubt ABC would let David Muir kick off a newscast by first taking a knee.  I don't applaud the NFL decision but I don't see it as surprising or worth marching for.  Again, that's my opinion, feel free to disagree.  If you do, take action.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and DISSIDENT VOICE -- updated: