Is it the season? I do not know. But it seems to me that one year ago this month, Donald Trump was voted out and did not receive a second term as U.S. President. So, if that is what happened, why does it seem that the problems we objected to are still continuing? Branko Marcetic (JACOBIN) reports:
Remember the US government’s horrible treatment of migrants? For about four years, no issue was more important. “Kids in cages” and other monstrosities that were widely and often incorrectly cast as Donald Trump innovations served as perpetual news fodder. They were an omen of incipient US fascism, marked Trump himself a fascist dictator-to-be, and comprised one of about three or four core outrages used by Democratic partisans to stress the moral urgency of voting for Joe Biden no matter what.
Well, Biden’s now been president for almost ten months now. Let’s see how he’s done on the issue.
Way back in April, I surveyed Biden’s moves on immigration and found that, after his critical first hundred days, he’d more or less continued Trump’s immigration policy with a few of its coarsest edges shaved down. The racist Muslim ban was gone, Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was reinstated, Biden was reuniting separated migrant families, and he had repealed the “public charge” rule for green card holders. But his administration had also kept in place Trump’s illegal Title 42 order for summarily expelling migrants (with one significant but limited tweak), its rescinding of Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy was full of holes and slow to rectify, children were still being kept in said cages, families were still being separated at the border, and people were still being unfairly deported.
But that was seven months ago. How have things changed since?
Unfortunately for anyone hoping Biden would follow through on his promise to restore a mythical pre-Trump normal, things have continued in largely the same direction on immigration. With Biden reportedly fearing the political backlash from moving away from Trump’s policies, he’s kept Title 42 in place, renewing it in August and actively defending its highly dubious legality in court. I say highly dubious, because by letting authorities simply expel without due process anyone that turns up at the border — ostensibly to protect public health by preventing these migrants from coming in and spreading coronavirus in the country — they’re denying them the right to asylum, an unambiguous violation of US immigration law.
Title 42 may have been the brainchild of actual white supremacist Trump advisor Stephen Miller, but it’s Biden’s policy now. Official CBP statistics show that of the 1.24 million people expelled via Title 42 from March 2020, when Trump put it in place, to September 2021, the vast majority, or more than 793,000, were expelled from February 2021, Biden’s first full month as president, onward.
Makes you wonder why we took time out of our busy days to vote.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:
Thursday, November 18, 2021. Virtue signaling replaces real action.
Starting with a do-nothing administration in the US. Margaret Kimberley (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) documents the pretense on addressing climate change:
The 26th Conference of the Parties, COP26, climate summit ended with its president fighting back tears. Alok Sharma came to Glasgow, Scotland hoping for an agreement to end the extraction of coal. Instead he said this, “I apologize for the way this process has unfolded. I am deeply sorry.”
The international climate conferences are a perennial disappointment to anyone who understands the depth of the world wide catastrophe. Every year the rich capitalist nations find a way to undermine the process and consign millions of people to misery and devastation. Activists from all over the world gather in an effort to have an impact on the process, but they are literally outnumbered by fossil fuel lobbyists who always get what they want.
This conference ended with an agreement to “phase down” the use of coal instead of phasing it out altogether. Phasing down is deliberately ambiguous and makes a mockery of the 2015 Paris meeting which ended with an agreement to allow a temperature increase of no more than 1.5˚C. The fact that climate agreements allow world temperatures to rise is but one indication that the process falls far short from what the world needs.
Yet the seemingly small 1.5˚C will have devastating consequences, with droughts and storms bringing catastrophe to millions of people. The can is always kicked down the road and the final agreement is a sham.
The political duopoly in the United States behaves as it always does with phony heroes and phony villains as in professional wrestling. Republicans refuse to participate in climate agreements, democrats show up for the cameras, but only to fool the rubes into thinking that something important is being accomplished.
It doesn’t matter if democrats show up at COP26 if they refuse to respond to elephants in the room. The United States military is the world’s biggest polluter but its carbon production, and that of other nations’ forces, are exempt from climate goals. When a journalist asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders about military spending and its role in climate change, it was clear they had never considered the issue at all. They were shocked to be asked a question which showed a direct relationship between their actions and global warming and then responded with nonsense. They said the military, which contributes to climate change, needs money to respond to the climate change it causes by its very existence. Why does it matter that George W. Bush and Donald Trump withdrew from previous climate agreements if democrats follow in their footsteps and ignore even the flimsy goals it asked the U.S. to meet?
Joe Biden appeared in Glasgow but no one should be impressed. Like his predecessors he has opened public lands to oil drilling. Keeping temperature rise to 1.5˚C requires that carbon emissions be cut in half. If the United States were serious there would be no fossil fuel extraction on public lands. It would have to end altogether.
Political fake assery isn't just annoying, it's life threatening.
Maybe next time, if you want to save the planet, don't elect someone with one foot -- and four toes on the other foot -- in the grave. At 78, it doesn't matter to Joe Biden what happens to the earth. He knows he'll be gone shortly, after all.
Ajamu Baraka Tweets:
Happiness, Cher insisted, is a thing called joe. We now understand why the film career went no where. It all makes sense now, an Academy Award winning performance at the end of the 80s and then nothing. I've never minded a celebrity using their power to advocate for an issue. I've forever had a problem with celebrities whoring their names for politicians. It rarely ends well and, honestly, it shouldn't.
Joe's a threat to the planet at this point. As his fortunes sink, so should the fortunes of those who whored for him.
We all knew his legislative history. We all knew he hid behind Beau Biden, trotting out dead son forever and a day. Why's he dead, Joe? Why did he go to Iraq?
There are many days when I pull something from the snapshot before it posts. I'll dictate it and move on but then say before it posts, "Take out the paragraph on Joe Biden and the abortion" or some other detail. Beau is key to understanding the family and I don't like Hunter but I do know that certain things would look differently if Joe were ever honest about Beau. Or about Nancy. Huh -- who said that? Will it go in the snapshot? Will I pull it? No, it'll stay and let them sweat it.
Point being, unlike Cher, I actually know Joe. And I didn't support him. I believe Tara Reade, absolutely. I do know Joe's history with women. Many in the press do as well. But even before Tara emerged to shine a much needed spotlight there, I had already made clear that if Joe couldn't be honest about Iraq, I wouldn't support him.
Joe can't be honest about Iraq. He, sadly, can't be honest about much.
And, he really needs to get honest about Beau. That crying is not a natural response and it is not grief. It is guilt. Understanding Beau and the way he was used would actually create some sympathy for Hunter.
I don't like Hunter. I never have. But because I knew the family and knew reality, I did understand that Hunter didn't just emerge from the womb -- or the childhood car accident -- fully formed. Hunter was actively shaped into what he has become and that falls on Joe as much as it does on Hunter.
Joe's actions regarding Iraq in 2019 and 2020 made it clear that he would never be able to confront reality and that he wasn't fit for the presidency. It's a real shame so many celebrities flocked to him and whored for him. May history hold them accountable.
And that's especially true if they also pimped Russia-gate.
Let's join Elaine in noting that Jonathan Turley covers Russia-gate in an easy to follow manner. Here's an excerpt of his most recent coverage:
The famous philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal once declared that “the only shame is to have none.” The problem with shame is that it requires a sense of guilt over one’s actions. In the age of rage, there appear fewer and fewer actions that are beyond the pale for politics. Take Adam Schiff and the Steele dossier. While even the Washington Post has admitted that it got the Russian collusion story wrong in light of the findings of Special Counsel John Durham, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is still insisting that he was absolutely right to promote the discredited Steele dossier. Schiff’s interview on NBC’s Meet the Press may be the final proof of the death of shame in American politics.
Schiff was one of the greatest promoters of the Steele dossier despite access to briefings casting doubt about Steele and the underlying claims. However, Schiff recently has attempted to defend himself by claiming that Steele was a respected former spy and that he was lied to by a Russian source.
Schiff told host Chuck Todd:
“I don’t regret saying that we should investigate claims of someone who, frankly, was a well-respected British intelligence officer. And we couldn’t have known, of course, years ago that we would learn years later that someone who is a primary source lied to him. [Igor] Danchenko lied to Christopher Steele and then lied to the FBI. He should be prosecuted. He is being prosecuted. And I’ll tell you this, if he’s convicted, he should not be pardoned the way Donald Trump pardoned people who lied to FBI agents, like Roger Stone and Mike Flynn. There ought to be the same standard in terms of prosecuting the liars. But I don’t think there ought to be any pardon, no matter which way the lies cut.”
Schiff’s spin is enough to cause permanent vertigo.
Some of us have spent years being pummeled for questioning the obvious problems with the Steele dossier, including the long-denied connection to the Clinton campaign. Schiff was the main voice swatting down such criticism and his endorsements were treated as dispositive for media from MSNBC to the Washington Post. After all, he was the chair of the House Intelligence Committee and assured the public that our criticisms were meritless and the dossier was corroborated.
Schiff’s spin, however, continues to deny the obvious about the Russian collusion scandal.
First, many would guffaw at the claim that Steele was and remains a “well-respected British intelligence officer.” Soon after the dossier was shopped to the FBI, British intelligence flagged credibility problems with Steele. The FBI severed Steele as an asset. Even his own sources told the FBI that Steele wildly exaggerated information and distorted intelligence. Most recently, Steele went public with a laughable claim that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former counsel, was lying to protect Trump despite spending years trying to get Trump charged criminally.
Second, Schiff ignored repeated contradictions in Steele’s dossier as well as evidence that the dossier was paid for and promoted by the Clinton campaign. In 2017, even fired FBI agent Peter Strzok admitted that “we are unaware of ANY Trump advisors engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials” and “Steele may not be in a position to judge the reliability of his subsource network.” Schiff would have had access to some of this intelligence. Indeed, while the Clinton campaign was denying that it funded the dossier, American intelligence knew that that was a lie. Indeed, until the Durham indictments, Schiff continued to defend the Russian collusion investigation and the Steele dossier.
Third, Schiff attempts to portray the sole problem with the Steele dossier as Russian analyst Igor Danchenko. That is simply not true. Schiff was long aware that there were allegations of misleading or false information given by the FBI to the secret court. Indeed, the first Durham conviction was of Kevin Clinesmith, the former FBI agent who pleaded guilty. Schiff was aware that President Barack Obama was briefed in 2017 that Hillary Clinton was allegedly planning to manufacture a Russian collusion scandal — just days before the start of the Russian investigation. The dossier was riddled with disproven allegations.
Don't worry, we're tying two threads together -- the deeply stupid celebrities and Russia-gate. From Ava and my "MEDIA: Male norms, Russia hate and lots of excuses -- it's the 90th Academy Awards" in March 2018:
What an awful and awkward event it was. Male driven, women seeking male
approval, females pretending that tokenism and boobs on display
qualified as progress.
Oh, it was horrible.
As Isaiah noted, "Oscars So Full Of It."
As Isaiah's comic explains, generic film maker Bryan Fogel -- of JEWTOPIA non-fame -- won for BEST DOCUMENTARY -- a newbie with no style or art defeating Agnes Varda, a true artist who's been directing since 1955 and who influenced the French New Wave -- it was robbery.
Of this hideous moment, WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD's Melissa Silverstein gushed . . .
Oh, keep it in your pants, Melissa.
Greta was sporting breasts, not displaying, sporting.
Way to be taken seriously as a director, dear.
Were you at the Academy Awards or a photo shoot for the cover of SPORT'S ILLUSTRATED swimsuit issue?
[. . .]
Learn a little self-respect and grasp that for every Melissa Silverstein drooling over your tits, there are plenty of us wishing that, as you posed as a role model, you'd conducted yourself as one.
Also, probably not the moment to talk about the need to be real, Greta, while sporting a necklace on loan worth more than most viewers will make in ten years of hard work.
Not every woman was an embarrassment.
Notice that Sandra Bullock, presenting Best Cinematography, did not sport boobs or embarrass herself with loaned out 'bling.' She just looked classy and also managed to garner a few laughs.
Take a lesson, Greta, take a hard lesson.
As a nominee whispered to us while Greta was on stage, "Bitch be frontin'" -- and she wasn't the only one.
Apparently, Greta has no real ethics -- that was kind of clear when she was talking about being real while dripping in diamonds.
Keep it whore, Greta, keep it whore.
And trust that the media will be right there with you, Greta.
Late in the game, Melissa got called on her sexual longing for Greta and how it allowed her to miss that one of the few living women veteran directors got overlooked for a Let's-all-hate-Russia victory.
So Melissa did that Tweet and we're all supposed to pretend like an honorary Academy Award is the same as a competitive one.
Even Melissa knows that.
You were in the right place for it.
Hate those damn Commies -- that could have been a theme of the night.
Bryan Fogel won for his stupid and facile documentary attacking Russia.
Doping in sports!
Uhm, golly, we remember Lance Armstrong.
We remember that Lance was doping and threatening people and destroying the lives of people who called him out.
But let's express our outrage at Russia, right?
And that wasn't the worst of it.
How could you?
That's what we puzzled over as Rita Moreno used the night to salute "the great" Frank Capra.
What was so great about him?
That from at least 1947 forward, he was an FBI informant? Ratting out people he suspected of being or having once been members of the Communist Party?
Was that what was so great about Capra?
Or that he pushed for the loyalty oath in the Directors Guild?
These awards are about the arts.
Writers and directors lost work because of Frank Capra. (Ironically, he'd be grey-listed which is somehow fitting after all the people he ratted on lost work.)
Seriously, Rita Moreno, what the hell were you thinking?
Or did you just want to celebrate hate of Russia by taking it all the way back to the witch hunts of the HUAC?
This was the entertainment industry at its most revealing. Claiming things had changed, time's up, that women were valued. And yet ignoring the chance to give a ground breaking female director, Agnes Varda, a competitive Academy Award. So hollow, so unfair.
Agnes had a body of work and she was on up there age wise -- and is now dead. Everyone knew this was her last chance at the award. Everyone knew at the time that she would not make another film, that her health was too poor.
If women were truly valued, this groundbreaking auteur of the French New Wave would have walked off with the statue.
However, it was more important to 'strike back' at Russia.
So a piece of garbage documentary attacking Russia over sports -- a documentary no one remembers today -- wins instead.
It wasn't about art and it rarely is.
What we see today that is so damn annoying in our society was promoted by people like -- well, by Cher. It's virtue signaling. It replaces any real efforts at actual work.
Why try to end a war? Why try to fight for the rights of workers? Why do anything when, in fact, you can virtue signal instead. It's so much easier.
And it's why crap like CHARIOTS OF FIRE or THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES or FOREST GUMP wins Best Picture. The last was never a better film than PULP FICTION. But it was virtue signaling. Pick a film that says this is how we, the Academy, see ourselves. And shove that down the throats of the American people.
The bulk of the names in the industry are a bunch of idiots -- uneducated (either lacking in a formal education or lacking in the ability to be self-taught). And all that hate and all idiots who 'indicate' in their acting and in their supposed activism. Their minds are as 'styled' by others as their wardrobe and hair.
Russia-gate didn't just happen. It was the culmination of years of work on Barack Obama's part. If, by the time Ed Snowden landed in Russia, you hadn't noticed that Barack had been trying to turn the American people against Russia, you weren't paying attention. All that hate culminated.
Russia-gate couldn't have existed without it.
And in 2018, we saw one member of the Academy after another use the international broadcast and whatever was left of their image to whore.
A dumb and poorly made documentary versus Agnes' film and, yes, her entire body of work and it was Let's embrace hate-Russia and do our part!
The virtue signaling isn't free speech or a discussion. It's often used as a ploy to attack others. And it is rooted in the entertainment industry and in the public relations industry. It's a way to 'freshen' up your own image without having to actually do something.
The US government has perfected that feat. Which is why you get a climate change summit that offers no real change.
And this as the world is under attack.
That's especially true of Iraq.
The Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources yesterday warned Turkey that its plan to build a new dam on the Tigris River would affect Iraq's share of the river's waters.
Ministry spokesperson, Ali Radi, said Turkish authorities had been contacted via the Foreign Affairs Ministry to warn them of the new project's impact on Baghdad's share of the river's water in terms of quantity and quality.
"Negotiations with the Turkish or Syrian sides are very important to reach understandings for the supreme goal of ensuring Iraq's water rights," he added.
The Tigris is a 1,750-kilometre-long river with its source in Turkey, it travels through Syria before finally reaching the Shatt Al-Arab River and the Gulf.
The following sites updated: