Monday, March 20, 2023

Is John Stauber off his meds?

I do not get John Stauber at all -- is he off his meds?

Over the next week, people sitting comfortably in DC will tell us that invading Iraq was worth it. The hundreds of thousands who bled out, burned alive, suffocated on fumes, or withered away from war-related diseases will be reduced to mere footnotes in a grotesque display.

If he is not on meds, who cares since he Tweeted Cher had done too many drugs.  (Cher is notoriously anti-drug and has been that way since she was a teenager before she ever met Sonny Bono.)   He is always raging about the outsize influence of George Soros and then he goes and reTweets Mr. Weinstein who is on Mr. Soros' payroll.  

Maybe dementia is kicking in for Mr. Stauber?

Mr. Weinstein is with The Quincy Institute.  From WIKIPEDIA:

The Quincy Institute was co-founded by Andrew Bacevich, a former US Army colonel in Vietnam and retired professor of history at Boston University.[1]

Initial funding for the group, launched in November 2019,[2] included half a million dollars each from George SorosOpen Society Foundations and Charles Koch's Koch Foundation.[3][4][5] Substantial funding has also come from the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Schumann Center for Media and Democracy.[6] The institute distinguishes itself from many other think tanks in Washington, D.C. by refusing to accept money from foreign governments.[7]

The think tank is named after U.S. President John Quincy Adams, who as Secretary of State said, in a speech on July 4, 1821, that the U.S. "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy".[7] It has been described as "realist" and "promot[ing] an approach to the world based on diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombing".[8][9]

David Klion wrote: "Quincy's founding members say again and again that 9/11 and the Iraq War were turning points in their careers."[7] Many fellows at the institute are veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.[10]

So it is on the Soros payroll.  But there goes Mr. Stauber reTweeting it while raging against George Soros.  Maybe he is having a psychotic break?

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

Monday, March 20, 2023.  20 years of ongoing war.

Last night, I said SALON won The Big Idiot Sweepstake because yesterday they 'honored' the Iraq War by printing the whore Norman Solomon who whored in his piece on Iraq as he always does.  We noted the way that he left Barack Obama out of the history and that he lied in real time when he was pimping Barack because he didn't tell audiences he was a pledged delegate for Barack.  We noted how he spent the eight years of Barack's presidency ignoring Iraq.  And we noted how, in the middle of Lt Ehren Watada's court martial, Norman started publicly calling for him to drop everything to defend a journalist who didn't want to reveal her sources -- as though that were the biggest issue on Ehren's plate.  

I always forget MOTHER JONES exists.  And that they allow vermin like David Corn to occupy space there.  David spent the lead up the war and the early year attacking anti-war people -- like members of ANSWER.  He also felt the biggest tragedy of the Iraq War was the outing of Valerie Plame (a CIA agent).  But it takes a lot of gall for David Corn -- who still hasn't apologized for his many lies about Russia and the whole pee-pee Trump tape or, for that matter, lying about Bill Clinton pardoning two members of the Weather Underground -- to write a piece about the lack of accountability and how the liars and cheerleaders of the Iraq War were rewarded and publish it at MOTHER JONES where the blogger that they hired after the start of the illegal war was . . . Iraq War cheerleader Kevin Drum.

Oh, are we still pretending his health problems are about to send him to a grave? 

I remember those e-mails, should we publish them here, from the two dumb women who run MOTHER JONES?  About we shouldn't criticize Kevin because of his health.   What was that?  10 years ago?  I think there are over a million dead Iraqis with family and friends that with the dead had even two -- let alone 10 -- more years of life.  

No link to their garbage.  MOTHER JONES is garbage island.  Since those two women took over, it has become worthless -- that's David Corn, that's Kevin Drum, that's their attack on rape victims.  It's really past time that the left policed itself and  grasped that Clara and Monika don't belong anywhere on the spectrum of the left -- or, for that matter, in publishing.

By the way, David rushes to praise John McCain -- who pushed for the Iraq War -- but can't take a moment to credit any of the many activists around the world who stood against the illegal war.  It was that way in real time, please remember.  He spat on protesters in one column after another and he ignores them and the Iraqi people in his column today which is nothing but his usual garbage of shirts-and-skins with him choosing political sides.  

Let's note some of the people who had skin in the game.

Janeane Garofalo comes immediately to mind.  

She didn't mouth something once in London so I guess it doesn't matter that she spoke out publicly against the war before it started and after it started.  She took it to Bill O'Reilly's face.  She was right.  He was wrong.  It would be nice if Sam Seder -- who stabbed her in the back -- could take a moment this week to credit her -- we'd even include a video of it  here -- for being a brave voice who spoke out against the war.  

She became more prominent as a progressive when she voiced opposition to what became the 2003 Iraq War, appearing on CNN and Fox News to discuss it. She said that she was approached by groups such as and Win Without War to go on TV, because these organizations say that the networks were not allowing antiwar voices to be heard. Garofalo and the other celebrities who appeared at the time said they thought their fame could lend attention to that side of the debate. Her appearances on cable news prior to the war garnered her praise from the left and spots on the cover of Ms. and Venus Zine. Garofalo has had frequent on-air political disputes with Bill O'Reilly, Brian Kilmeade, and Jonah Goldberg.[22]

Prior to the 2003 Iraq War, she took a position on the alleged threat posed by Saddam Hussein. For example, in an interview with Tony Snow on a February 23, 2003 episode of Fox News Sunday,[23] Garofalo said of the Iraqi dictator:

Yes, I think lots of people are eager to obtain weapons of mass destruction. But there's no evidence that he (Hussein) has weapons of mass destruction. There's been no evidence of him testing nuclear weapons. We have people that are in our face with nuclear weapons. We've got Iran and North Korea. We've got a problem with Pakistan. You know, I don't know what to say about that. There's a whole lot of people that are going nuclear. And I think that Saddam Hussein is actually, with the evidence, the least able to use nuclear weapons and the least obvious offender in that area at this moment.

— Janeane Garofalo, Fox News interview

In March 2003, she took part in the Code Pink anti-war march in Washington, D.C. That autumn, she served as emcee at several stops on the Tell Us the Truth tour, a political-themed concert series featuring Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, Tom Morello, and others. Throughout the year, Garofalo also actively campaigned for Howard Dean. While on Fox News' program The Pulse, O'Reilly asked Garofalo what she would do if her predictions that the Iraq war would be a disaster were to turn out wrong. Garofalo stated:[24]

I would be so willing to say, 'I'm sorry'. I hope to God that I can be made a buffoon of, that people will say, 'You were wrong. You were a fatalist.' And I will go to the White House on my knees on cut glass and say, 'Hey, you and Thomas Friedman were right ... I shouldn't have doubted you ...'

— Janeane Garofalo, Fox News interview

There was Harry Belafonte, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Samuel L. Jackson, Marjorie Cohn, Martin Sheen, Jessica Lange, Barbara Kingsolver, Alice Walker, Ralph Nader, Lynne Woolsey, Maxine Waters, Lloyd Doggett, John Conyers, Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian, Michael Smith, Robert Altman, Gloria La Riva, Phil Donahue, Jane Fonda, Michael Moore, Daniel Ellsberg, Maxine Hong Kingston, Cynthia McKinney, Howard Dean, Gore Vidal, Stan Goff . . .

So many people stood up.  And you don't see that in the coverage.  You see War Hawks like John McCain applauded because -- one foot in the grave right before he died he admitted it was wrong.  Wow.  That was so important.  That brought back from the dead how many Iraqis?


That's right: None.

Monday marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. CPH:DOX will reflect on the repercussions of the war, which ousted Saddam Hussein, but never led to the discovery of weapons of mass destruction, by screening two documentaries: Greta Stocklassa’s “Blix Not Bombs” and Karrar Al-Azzawi’s “Baghdad on Fire.”

“(The invasion) was an event that has shaped international politics over the course of the last two decades in unpredictable and often devastating ways,” says CPH:DOX head of program Mads Mikkelsen. “Not least inside Iraq itself. (‘Blix Not Bombs’ and ‘Baghdad on Fire’) provide two different takes – a shot and reverse shot – on the course of events back in 2003 and on the current situation in Iraq as seen from the inside and through the eyes of the young.”

“Blix Not Bombs” follows Hans Blix, the former head of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, who was sent to Iraq in 2002 to determine whether U.S. suspicions that the country was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction were founded. Though the final report found no evidence of an Iraqi weapons program under Hussein, the U.S. and a coalition of allies nevertheless decided to invade the country. Now in the final stretch of his life, Blix questions whether he did enough to prevent a war whose impact is felt to this day.  

The corporate mediascape in the US was an echo chamber for state propaganda. It wasn’t just the Manichaean worldview of post-9/11 national security hysteria, but a deep-seated colonial mentality – variations on the white man’s burden. An analysis of US TV news in the few weeks preceding the invasion found that sources expressing scepticism of the war were massively underrepresented. The media performed its function quite well in manufacturing consent and parroting official propaganda. In March 2003, 72% of American citizens supported the war. We should never forget this. (Up until 2018, 43% of Americans still thought it was the right decision.)

In Cairo, I watched as the US began its “shock and awe” campaign – a terrifying rain of death and destruction on Baghdad. Poetry was my refuge and the only space through which I could translate the visceral pain of watching the violence visited on Iraq and seeing my hometown fall to an occupying army. Some of the lines I wrote in the early days of the invasion crystallise my melancholy:

The wind is a blind mother
over the corpses
no shrouds
save the clouds
but the dogs
are far quicker

The moon is a graveyard
for light
the stars are women

Tired from carrying the coffins
the wind leaned
against a palm tree
A satellite inquired:
Whereto now?
The silence
in the wind’s cane murmured:
and the palm tree caught fire.

I had always hoped to see the end of Saddam’s dictatorship at the hands of the Iraqi people, not courtesy of a neocolonial project that would dismantle what had remained of the Iraqi state and replace it with a regime based on ethno-sectarian dynamics, plunging the country into violent chaos and civil wars.

Four months after the invasion I returned to Baghdad as part of a team to film About Baghdad, a documentary about the war and its aftermath. The chaos was already evident. One of the tens of interviews we conducted that simmering July was with a man who was optimistic about the occupation. “But a lot of these people the US is bringing to rule are thieves and crooks,” I told him. “My son,” he replied, “if they steal half of our wealth we’ll still be better off with the other half.” I remember that conversation whenever I read about the astronomical figures and massive corruption of the post-2003 Iraqi regime.

Some Iraqis we interviewed were obviously seduced by or took American promises seriously. Others were too drained and desperate after more than a decade of another war in the form of the genocidal sanctions from 1990 to 2003, and thought “so be it”. There were those, inside and outside, who knew that this was colonialism and stood against it. But there were colonised minds aplenty. A group of Iraqi writers, poets and professionals later penned a thank you letter to Bush and Tony Blair.

When the nonexistent WMDs were not found, there was a shift in the propaganda narrative to “democracy” and “nation building”. The war’s lethal effects were rationalised as the necessary birth pangs for a “new Iraq”. The country would be a model in the Middle East for what global capital and free markets could offer. But promises and plans of reconstruction became black holes for billions of dollars and fuelled a culture of corruption. American war advocates themselves benefited from the war.

The invasion did bring about a new Iraq. One where Iraqis have daily encounters with the consequences of the war on terror: terrorism. The “new Iraq” that the warmongers promised did not bring Starbucks or startups, but car bombs, suicide bombings, al-Qaida and later Islamic State – the latter hatched in the US’s own military prisons in Iraq.

In the first few months of the invasion I saw a report on a US TV channel showing an embedded reporter with American soldiers in a Humvee about to leave a base near Baghdad on a patrol. When the Humvee exits the gate, one of the soldiers tells the reporter: “This is Indian country.” This, I learned, is a common, although unofficial, term, used in the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan to refer to “hostile and lawless territory”. NBC’s Brian Williams recounted how a US general giving him a tour in Iraq used it too.

The colonial frame and embedded notions of white supremacy illuminate how most Americans, military or civilians, can view, make sense of, or simply ignore what their government does. It was another frontier between the forces of an advanced and well-meaning civilisation and a hostile and violent culture, ungrateful for what was offered and burdened by its violent past.

The Iraq that the invasion begat must be one of the most corrupt states in the world. Iranian-backed militias (whose rise was a byproduct of the dynamics the invasion created) dominate the lives of Iraqis and terrorise opponents. They helped the regime brutally crush the 2019 uprising, which was spearheaded by Iraqi youth who rejected the political system that the US installed. One of their slogans in the uprising’s early days was: “No to America, no to Iran!”


Even today, we can't get reality.  At AXIOS, Dave Lawler offers this lie:

Barack Obama made his opposition to the Iraq War a central tenet of his 2008 presidential campaign and promised to pull out within 16 months. Obama did withdraw the remaining U.S. forces in 2011 but was forced to send troops back three years later after ISIS conquered huge regions of Iraq and neighboring Syria.

His opposition?  In 2004 at the DNC convention in Boston, he told the press that if he'd been in the Senate in 2002, he would have probably voted for the Iraq War.  He told Elaine and I, to our face, when we attended one of his big money fundraisers for the Senate that "we were in Iraq now so opposition no longer mattered."  He did pretend, when running for the presidential nomination years later, that he was against the Iraq War.  Then Samantha Power told the BBC in March 2008 that his promises to remove US troops from Iraq weren't promises because you couldn't be bound by remarks on the campaign trail.  

And of course, he didn't keep his word, he tinkered with the war to keep it going.  He did a drawdown, not a withdrawal, at the end of 2011.  And before 12 months had elapsed he was secretly sending US troops back into Iraq as everyone looked the other way.  In September 2012,  Tim Arango (NEW YORK TIMES) slipped this into a report on Syria:

Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.        

The following sites updated:

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Biden family corruption

Corruption -- is that the Biden family crest?  The President's family is beyond corrupt. Bert Jansen (USA TODAY) reports:

House Republicans announced Thursday that President Joe Biden’s relatives received a combined $1.3 million from a business associate with links to China, the latest salvo in an investigation the Biden administration has dismissed as politically motivated.

Hunter Biden, the president’s son; James Biden, the president’s brother; Hallie Biden, the president’s daughter-in-law; and a fourth unnamed Biden received the payments from business associate Rob Walker, according to the House Oversight and Accountability Committee. The money was paid out after Walker received a $3 million wire transfer from a Chinese company, according to the panel.

“It is unclear what services were provided to obtain this exorbitant amount of money,” said the chairman, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky.

If anyone is wondering Hallie Biden is the widow of Beau Biden, the woman who took up with her married brother-in-law when her husband died even though she knew he was married and even though his children called her "Aunt Hallie."  I have talked about how disgusting that was on Hunter Biden's point.  It was also disgusting on Hallie Biden's part.  Can you imagine the big family get togethers?  His ex-wife and her children have to be staring dagger eyes at Hallie Biden. 

Stephen Silver (1945) reminds, "There has been an investigation into Hunter Biden’s tax returns that has gone on for at least a year. As of last fall, per The BBC, there was a report that the FBI had ' gathered enough evidence to charge Hunter Biden with tax crimes and making a false statement to buy a gun,' although no charges have been brought. "   Dareh Gregorian (NBC NEWS) reports:

They are alleged to have been paid after the associate, Rob Walker, was wired $3 million in March 2017 from a Chinese energy company affiliated with another company that Biden had been doing business with. The recipients of the $1.3 million in payments were Biden, his uncle James Biden and Hallie Biden, the widow of Hunter's brother Beau Biden, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), said.

"It is unclear what services were provided to obtain this exorbitant amount of money," Comer said.

While the $3 million figure and the payments to Hunter Biden were reported almost a year ago, Comer's memorandum highlighted what the committee described as "new evidence" obtained from a subpoena of Walker's bank records — two payments totaling $35,000 to Hallie Biden in 2017.

I love how people want to pretend -- some people -- that there is nothing wrong with this.  $1.3 million.  What were they paying for?  Hunter Biden to walk their dogs?  Corruption. 



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


Thursday, March 15, 2023.  The 20th anniversary of the Iraq War looms -- we're told maybe US troops can leave in . . . five years, John Stauber continues his lurch to the right and his embrace of hate, and much more.

The U.S. and its allies invaded Iraq 20 years ago in Operation Iraqi Freedom. President George W. Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer twice accidentally referred to it as Operation Iraqi Liberation, which was definitely not its official name and would have generated an unfortunate acronym.

The men and women who launched this catastrophic, criminal war have paid no price over the past two decades. On the contrary, they’ve been showered with promotions and cash. There are two ways to look at this.

One is that their job was to make the right decisions for America (politicians) and to tell the truth (journalists). This would mean that since then, the system has malfunctioned over and over again, accidentally promoting people who are blatantly incompetent failures.

Another way to look at it is that their job was to start a war that would extend the U.S. empire and be extremely profitable for the U.S. defense establishment and oil industry, with no regard for what’s best for America or telling the truth. This would mean that they were extremely competent, and the system has not been making hundreds of terrible mistakes, but rather has done exactly the right thing by promoting them.

As we get closer to the 20th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, more publications note (remember) Iraq.  Julian Borger (GUARDIAN) writes:

There are still US soldiers on counter-terrorist missions in Iraq and Syria. The Authorisation to Use Military Force that Congress first granted to the Bush administration in the run-up to the 2003 invasion has yet to be repealed by the Senate, and has been cited by the Obama and Trump administrations in justifying operations in the region.

Coleen Rowley, an FBI whistleblower who exposed security lapses leading to the 9/11 attacks, wrote an open letter to the FBI director in March 2003, warning of a “flood of terrorism” resulting from the Iraq invasion. She says now that two decades on, nobody has been held accountable for the fatal mistakes.

“I think the real danger is that their propaganda was very successful, and people like Bush and Cheney have now been rehabilitated,” Rowley said. “Even the liberals have embraced Bush and Cheney.”

The terrible mistakes made leading to and during the Iraq war forced no resignations and neither George W Bush nor his vice-president, Dick Cheney – nor any other senior official who made the case the war and then oversaw a disastrous occupation – have ever been held to account by any form of commission or tribunal.

Terrible mistakes?  Try outright lies.  Peter Van Buren exposed some of the lies in his book WE MEANT WELL.  At RESPONSIBLE STATECRAFT, he writes:

The Iraq reconstruction failed to account for the lessons of Vietnam (the CORDS program in particular.) The Afghan reconstruction failed to account for the lessons of Iraq. We now sit and wait to see the coming Ukraine reconstruction fail to remember any of it at all.

“It is obvious that American business can become the locomotive that will once again push forward global economic growth,” President Zelensky said, boasting that BlackRock, JP Morgan, and Goldman Sachs “have already become part of our Ukrainian way.” The New York Times calls Ukraine “the world’s largest construction site,” and predicts projects there in the multi-billions, as high in some estimates as $750 billion. 

It will be, says the Times, a “gold rush: the reconstruction of Ukraine once the war is over. Already the staggering rebuilding task is evident. Hundreds of thousands of homes, schools, hospitals and factories have been obliterated along with critical energy facilities and miles of roads, rail tracks and seaports. The profound human tragedy is unavoidably also a huge economic opportunity.”

We did worse than nothing. Iraq before our invasion(s) was a more or less stable place, good enough that Saddam was even an ally of sorts during the Iraq-Iran War. By the time we were finished, Iraq was looking closer to a corrupt client state of Iran. Where once most literate Americans knew the name of the Iraqi prime minister — a regular White House guest — now, unless he’s changed his name to Zelensky, nobody cares anymore. And that’s what the sign on the door leading out of Iraq (and perhaps into Ukraine) reads: tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars later, no one cares, if they even remember.

Unlike the bulk of people weighing in, Peter's tying in then and now and his knowledge of Iraq doesn't stop in 2008.  The November 2008 election of Barack Obama lead 'activists' like United for Peace and Justice to close shop  -- their very own "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" moment -- and media outlets to withdraw -- ABC announced at the end of 2008, for example, that they would be using BBC NEWS reports to cover Iraq instead of their own correspondents.  

The media withdrew from Iraq.  All this time later, US troops remain in Iraq. 

At COUNTERPUNCH, Kathy Kelly notes:

Twenty years ago, in Baghdad, I shared quarters with Iraqis and internationals in a small hotel, the Al-Fanar, which had been home base for numerous Voices in the Wilderness delegations acting in open defiance of the economic sanctions against Iraq. U.S. government officials charged us as criminals for delivering medicines to Iraqi hospitals. In response, we told them we understood the penalties they threatened us with (twelve years in prison and a $1 million fine), but we couldn’t be governed by unjust laws primarily punishing children. And we invited government officials to join us. Instead, we were steadily joined by other peace groups longing to prevent a looming war.

In late January 2003, I still hoped war could be averted. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s report was imminent. If it declared that Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction (WMD), U.S. allies might drop out of the attack plans, in spite of the massive military buildup we were witnessing on nightly television. Then came Secretary of State Colin Powell’s February 5, 2003, United Nations briefing, when he insisted that Iraq did indeed possess WMD. His presentation was eventually proven to be fraudulent on every count, but it tragically gave the United States enough credibility to proceed at full throttle with its “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign.

Beginning in mid-March 2003, the ghastly aerial attacks pounded Iraq day and night. In our hotel, parents and grandparents prayed to survive ear-splitting blasts and sickening thuds. A lively, engaging nine-year-old girl completely lost control over her bladder. Toddlers devised games to mimic the sounds of bombs and pretended to use small flashlights as guns.

Our team visited hospital wards where maimed children moaned as they recovered from surgeries. I remember sitting on a bench outside of an emergency room. Next to me, a woman convulsed in sobs asking, “How will I tell him? What will I say?” She needed to tell her nephew, who was undergoing emergency surgery, that he had not only lost both his arms but also that she was now his only surviving relative. A U.S. bomb had hit Ali Abbas’s family as they shared a lunch outside their home. A surgeon later reported that he had already told Ali that they had amputated both of his arms. “But,” Ali had asked him, “will I always be this way?

I returned to the Al-Fanar Hotel that evening feeling overwhelmed by anger and shame. Alone in my room, I pounded my pillow, tearfully murmuring, “Will we always be this way?”

Throughout the Forever Wars of the past two decades, U.S. elites in the military-industrial-Congressional-media complex have manifested an insatiable appetite for war. They seldom heed the wreckage they have left behind after “ending” a war of choice.

The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft is a fairly new think-tank (2019).  It was started by Andrew Bacevich and has recieved funding from the Koch brothers and George Soros.  Where we're concerned is the proposal on Iraq that they've published -- written by Steven Simon and Adam Weinstein:

 Withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq within five years (except Marine Security Guards for the protection of the Embassy and OSC–I personnel under the U.S. Mission), recognizing that temporary combined training exercises, military delegations, and combined planning efforts using TDY personnel would be useful and should continue if both countries wish.

Five years.  

It's 2023 and we're talking five years.

"We want troops out of Iraq!  And we want it now!"

Was that Jane Fonda at the big January 2007 rally in DC against the Iraq War?


It wasn't an activist.

It was Barack Obama in 2007 and 2008 at his rallies and that was also used in the 2008 campaign ads.  

Did we want that, Barack?  

If you're part of the 'we' then clearly not.

He used the Iraq War to get into the White House.

He did a drawdown in 2011.  Then he began increasing US forces in Iraq secretly the following year -- at the end of September 2012, Tim Arango (NEW YORK TIMES) reported:

Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.        

That was buried in a report on Syria, Jill Abramson would not allow the important news in a report of its own -- with a proper headline.  

You'll read lies this week by idiots who'll tell you US troops left Iraq at the end of 2011 and didn't return until 2014.  A lie.  Most of them are just ignorant of reality but some are aware that they're lying.  

US troops remain in Iraq all these years later -- most recent death was in December -- and what a 'statecraft' institute is proposing is that we can get US troops out (minus those guarding the embassy) in five years.

Fie years. 

Twenty-five years after the illegal war started.  

When Barack was lying on the campaign trail -- and he was lying, as Samantha Power infamously told BBC -- he knew no one would accept five years but that's where we are now.

Cher's political takes?  Not a fan.  I know Cher and I like her but she -- like too many other celebrities -- think they know something when they do not.  They don't understand that the media that lies about them also lies about other things.  It always amazes me when someone can't grasp something so obvious.

The media is not our friend.  It will destroy us given the chance.  The most honest -- in color film -- about the media ever made was probably 1986's ROCKABYE starring Valerie Bertinelli who ends up being used by a reporter after her child is kidnapped.  (In the days of black & white films, they tended to be more honest about the ruthless nature of the press.  Since then, ROCKABYE is the rare exception.)  Their goal is not to be your friend, their goal is to get a story.  And that story will be pumped and massaged at the expense of the truth.  

Homophobia exists to this day because of the media.  'Educated' people, 'well' informed by the media in previous decades were taught homophobia.  That is the reality.  

And that's what the media does: teaches people what to think.  You're the consumer trying to get facts but what you're given is rarely factual and more often it's got a long range plan behind it.

The war on Russia was obvious when Barack was president.  You can find, at this site, especially after Ed Snowden was in Russia, the point that The Cold War was being restarted.  By the same token, throughout the ongoing Iraq War, there have been attempts to sell war on Iran.  More recently, there's been a strong push to sell war on China.  I do believe WSWS has painted themselves into a corner on the origins of the COVID 19 virus.  I understand how that happened, their desire to avert US war with China.  But they've left themselves no wiggle room and should it be linked to that infamous lab, they're going to be publicly embarrassed.  (I'm not saying the lab and COVID are linked -- I don't know.  And I'm never afraid to say I don't know.)

The government feeds the media -- sometimes the truth, sometimes a lie -- editors and producers want their reporters 'well connected' and are more worried about angering a powerful government official than informing the public.  

News consumers need to stop being so willing to be fed. 

So I'm bringing this up because I have called Cher out before -- and will again, I'm sure -- but I'm factual when I do. 

John Stauber left the world of factual long, long ago.

Is the failed writer projecting?

He can't stop promoting his (co-written) book from two decades ago which I'll assume is because he's done nothing of value since.  

Cher doesn't do drugs, ''sweetie.'' Drugs clearly damaged your brain, John, but Cher doesn't do drugs.

I know that because I know her, yes.  

But it's equally true that that's never been a secret.  Sonny & Cher fell out of popularity in part because their anti-drug stance in the late sixties put them out of step with the youth who had celebrated them.  While starring in her own variety series in the 70s, she went to a party and was able to help save the lives of a few people because, unlike them, she didn't take the drugs being offered. This was a big story covered even by her own network CBS.  In addition, there's the whole Gregg Allman coupling and her statements there.  

Cher loves to tell the story about Mike Nichols coming backstage during the Broadway run of COME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN and offering her the tole in SILKWOOD and stating he was wrong (he'd turned her down for the female lead in THE FORTUNE years before.  She likes to say that it was like being on acid and then adding that she's never dropped acid.

I get it, John, I do.  Your pathetic life got you run off from the body you created.  You became such pariah that even Ruth Conniff was able to get laughs at your expense.  Your career ended long ago and, honestly, even when it was active, it didn't amount to anything.

Of course, you'd want to trash Cher, a singer who's had hit singles in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s and 20s.  Of course you'd want to trash Cher whose career includes starring in TV variety shows.  Cher who is a successful actress who's been on Broadway and who's won an Academy Award. 

What have you done in your professional life, John?

That's right, nothing much.  Nothing much at all.

And the reason for that is clear in your Tweet.  You don't care about facts, you just Tweet whatever you think will get you attention.  You're a smug little bitch whose Tweet doesn't hide the fact that you've accomplished nothing with your pathetic life and that you have to resort to lying to even attempt wit -- attempt but, of course, fail.

So sad -- sad and pathetic with your transphobia and, as Ruth pointed out last night, your efforts to elect Ron DeSantis president of the United States.   Five Tweets praising him, why don't you just come out as the right-winger you are?  And we need to note that "Don't say gay" Ron is your guy.  You have no foundation.  Your beliefs change from one moment to the next.  

Cher's Tweet's embarrassing.  And it's embarrassing because she doesn't have the background to Tweet about what she's Tweeting.  It's also embarrassing because she's worked herself up so much because there are so many idiots in our industry.  They're misled because they don't have the education background behind them.

But you do, John, so what's your excuse for promoting a hate merchant like Ron?

You know Keith Olbermann was a star on MSNBC and often said things that I agreed with.  But I didn't write him about him here, I didn't advance him because he's disgusting.  He was always disgusting.  He was always a sexist and abusive.

You are so far from where you once were.  I'll take Cher who cares a great deal but make mistakes based upon the propaganda from the 'news' media over someone like you any day.

You've chosen your side and you need to remain there now.  It's sad for you because I was one of the few people defending you over the last years.  You know you're a joke in independent media and you know how people in that media hate you -- it's why you're not invited on any programs.  I'm done defending you.  DOBBS changed everything.  We know who are friends are and we know who the trash is.  You've decided to stand with trash: Registered sex offender and convicted pedophile Scott Ritter, transphobe con artist Glenn Greenwald, etc, etc.  

Those are your people now.

And here's QUEER NEWS TONIGHT reporting on the crowd John Stauber hangs with now.

A new report published last week by the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism found that an “all-time high” number of “white supremacist propaganda” incidents occurred in the United States in 2022, eclipsing the previous year’s record total of 4,876 by nearly 2,000.

“Our data shows,” the ADL wrote, “a 38 percent increase in incidents from the previous year, with a total of 6,751 … the highest number of white supremacist propaganda incidents ADL has ever recorded.”

In addition to an increase in white supremacist incidents, the ADL recorded a more than doubling of “antisemitic propaganda” incidents, rising from 352 in 2021 to 852 in 2022. These included banner drops on roadways, in-person demonstrations, leafleting neighborhoods and projecting images on buildings and stadiums.

The ADL found that propaganda efforts were undertaken in every US state except Hawaii, with the most active states being Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Utah, Florida, Connecticut and Georgia. These propaganda efforts were organized by “at least 50 different white supremacist groups” according to the ADL, however, “three of them—Patriot Front, Goyim Defense League (GDL) and White Lives Matter (WLM)—were responsible for 93 percent of the activity.”

White supremacist “events” such as demonstrations at state capitols, parades and local businesses, organized by WLM, GDL, Patriot Front, the Proud Boys and others increased by 55 percent last year, from 108 in 2021 to 167 in 2022.

The only area where ADL recorded a decrease in fascist activity was on school campuses, where the ADL found 219 incidents of white supremacist propaganda in 2022, a slight 6 percent decrease from 2021. Fascist propaganda, overwhelmingly distributed by Patriot Front (74 percent of all incidents), was discovered on campuses in 39 different states, led by Texas, Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan.

This is the second report released by the ADL in the last month that has documented an historic rise in far-right agitation and violence in the US.

Last month, the ADL reported that every single “extremist” mass killing in 2022 was linked to far-right ideology. Notably, the ADL did not mention that every mass killing linked to in their report was directly inspired by Republican Party politicians and their sycophants in right-wing media. This is also the case in the March report, which likewise does not mention Trump or the role of the Republican Party in cultivating these right-wing and openly fascist elements.

While the Republicans, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, have advanced some 420 pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation so far in 2023, violent Republican rhetoric is translating into threats of real-world fascist terrorist violence.

This is the world of hate that John Stauber, Glenneth Greenwald and so many others have decided to help create.  

Two days from now, there's an action in DC.

The following sites updated: