Saturday, November 9, 2019

Charmed episode five

First off, Cedric caught something I had missed.  We were watched Charmed last night on The CW and he said, "That's J-Lo's daughter."  He's right.  Before she played Maggie, Sarah Jeffery played Cristina on SHADES OF BLUE -- the daughter of Jennifer Lopez's character.  I didn't realize that.  (We watched SHADES OF BLUE when it was on NBC with new episodes -- we never missed an episode.)

So Macy is still missing.  The episode before ended with Harry (the White Lighter) coming to the house and wondering where Macy was and her sisters Mel and Maggie say they thought it was with you, Harry.  No, it was the Dark Lighter that looks like Harry.

So now they're trying to find Macy and save her before she's harmed.

Harry let's Abigail free (demon and daughter of the Charmed one's big enemy, Alistar Caine in season one) because she indicated she could help him find out details that could help.  So they traveled through Harry's early recollections -- his childhood, his this, his that.

Until finally, he was standing before Macy.  She told him she didn't seem the same. 

Abigail can't figure out what they saw.

Harry knows.  That's Macy right now.  He saw what the Dark Lighter saw.

Now while this is going on, Mel and Maggie are trying to cast a tracking spell.  They don't have the Book of Shadows.  It's gone.  It disappeared in the first episode of this season when they were under attack.  So they're doing this from memory.

And getting it wrong.

And Macy is telling a woman -- who hears her but doesn't see her -- things and she's calling Mel who keeps swiping to send call to voice mail.

I said the first time it happened, "That woman's hearing Macy."  Cedric thought I was insane.  I was right and I told him I was putting that in here.  Why else would the woman being hearing voices?  It's the only way it made sense story wise.

So when Mel gets a text from the woman and she reads it, it says that what they're looking for is in the sheets and they find Macy journal.  Remember that, because I'm going to speculate in a second.

This allows them to get the spell right.  And a demon dog (not a huge one like before) pops up and the dogs eyes project the coordinates for where Macy is.

Now Harry explains that Macy is safe.  Why?  The Dark Lighter also loves her (like Harry does).  (By the way, Mel and Maggie know Macy loves Harry.  In the journal, they see drawings Macy was doing of Harry.)  That's why Macy is still alive.

Okay, here's my thought because Cedric, when we see Macy speaking and realize it's to the Dark Lighter, says, "When she realizes he's not the real Harry, she's going to freak."

Oh, no.

She knows.  She's known since before this episode.  She and Harry, in episode three or four this season, worked out a code in case this happened -- the Dark Lighter took his place.

She's pretending she doesn't know to be safe, pretending with the Dark Lighter.

But the reason she's contacting the woman Mel's attracted to (who is texting Mel) is because she knows she's in danger and with the Dark Lighter not the real Harry.

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

Friday, November 8, 2019.  Someone toys with buying his way into the race for the Democratic Party's nomination, Joe Biden's lies can be confusing, protests continue in Iraq, and more.

In the United States, the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues and the latest twist?  Just when others are dropping out of the race, someone toys with entering it.  No, not Hillary  Clinton.


Link to headline article

Outside of Judge Judy, few appear thrilled by the news.

Memo to Mike Bloomberg: Democratic Voters Don’t Want More Candidates

. is probably running for president. That's bad news.

Mike represents more of the same but with knobby knees and no upper lip.

This photo will haunt us forever

Physical baggage isn't the only thing Mike would be bringing with him.

Mike Bloomberg strongly endorsed George W. Bush at the 2004 Republican convention and defended the Iraq War -- now he wants us to believe he has unique insight on what constitutes a national emergency

Looking at the Democrat candidates for president I kept saying to myself, “You know what’s missing? Another near 80 year old.”

For the record, Mike turns 78 in February and he is kind of a Democrat.  Except when he's an 'independent' or (2001 to 2007) a Republican.  What he isn't is married.  He divorced his wife in 1993.  Now he has a domestic partner (Diana Taylor).  Guess after 19 years, he's still not sure whether he wants to marry Diana?

Like many a buffoon, he conflated 9/11 with Iraq -- there was no connection between Iraq and the September 11th attacks -- and used it to justify the illegal war.  As late as 2007, he was attacking the House Out of Iraq coalition for calling for withdrawal.

He's clearly not a visionary and he doesn't bring much of anything to the race -- if he declares to run -- but he does have a lot of money.  The press keeps billing him as the 8th richest person in the country.  Here's a tip you might want to file away, those with real money?  They don't usually flash that news around.  If you know about Mike's money, it's because Mike wanted you to and that goes to his huge lack of self-worth.

All his money couldn't buy him self-esteem but maybe it can buy him the presidency?

Senator Elizabeth Warren is running for the party's presidential nomination and she Tweeted to Mike yesterday.

Welcome to the race, ! If you're looking for policy plans that will make a huge difference for working people and which are very popular, start here:

The great plute freak-out continues. cannot tolerate a Democratic candidate who would end the Second Gilded Age. So who better to protect the plutes than himself?

If he enters the race, Mike will have to answer questions about more than just Iraq.

Mike Bloomberg recently said Xi Jinping is “not a dictator” and the Chinese Communist party is “responsive” to its people. That right there should disqualify him from ever being President of the United States.

Iraq is also a problem for War Hawk Joe Biden.  At THE WASHINGTON POST, Marc A. Thiessen argues:

Former vice president Joe Biden said in a recent interview he agrees with Jim Mattis that the Obama administration’s decision to withdraw troops from Iraq was a mistake, but that as vice president he tried to keep “a residual force” stationed there. This is revisionist nonsense. Just a few months ago, at the July Democratic presidential debate, Biden boasted that “one of the proudest moments of my life was to stand there in Al-Faw Palace and tell everyone that . . . all our combat troops are coming home.” In September, he declared, “We were right to get the combat troops out.” But now he agrees it was a mistake?
The fact is, at the time, Biden expressed zero regrets about the complete U.S. withdrawal, which he was in charge of executing. The New York Times reports that in December 2011 Biden was “ebullient” as he presided over the departure ceremony for the last American forces, calling President Barack Obama from Baghdad to tell him “All I’ve said about this job, I take it back. Thank you for giving me the chance to end this goddamn war.”
Of course, he did not actually end the “g**damn war,” he unleashed a humanitarian and national security catastrophe. Biden’s withdrawal created a vacuum that allowed the Islamic State — which had been reduced to just 700 fighters — to regroup, reconstitute itself and build a murderous caliphate the size of Britain. The terrorists enslaved and raped thousands of Yazidi girls and carried out gruesome executions across Iraq and Syria. And they spread their murderous tentacles across the globe, carrying out 143 attacks in 29 countries that killed more than 2,000 people and injured many thousands more.

There is so much in the above.    Where to start.  Let's start with ISIS.  The departure of the US did not create a vacuum that allowed the Islamic State to rise in Iraq.  That's a fundamental misreading -- one that many have intentionally made -- of what happened.  ISIS rises in Iraq as a response to Nouri al-Maliki's second term.

Nouri was not the choice of the Iraqi people in the 2010 election.  Joe Biden helped broker The Erbil Agreement, a legal contract that overturned the votes and the will of the Iraqi people.  It gave Nouri his second term.

ISIS is a response to that second term.

Realities should not be ignored.  Nouri, in his second term, targeted women and children, targeted Sunnis and Shi'ites, targeted Kurds, targeted everyone.  The lunatic was a mad dog and he was out of control.

When US troops were drawn down (not withdrawn), ISIS wasn't the issue.  The issue was Nouri using the military tanks to circle the Baghdad homes of Sunni politicians.  Marc always struggles with the truth.

The problem is that Joe and Barack chose to back a thug (Nouri) after the Iraqi people voted him out.  Why?  Samantha Power (among others) argued that he would continue to do what they wanted which included keeping US troops on the ground in Iraq in large numbers.

We covered all of this in real time.

I'm not in the mood for liars to keep trying to lie about it.

Is Joe lying about it?

He's lying about a lot -- and we've noted that here -- but in terms of what Marc's talking about above?

Did Joe try to keep a residual force in Iraq?

CIA contractors were in Iraq, a number of US troops remained in Iraq (a brigade was sent back in back in September of 2012), etc.

Equally true, the 'withdrawal' (drawdown) was supposed to grab headlines and then the return of US troops were supposed to take place sometime in late February.

That's what the US government (and Joe Biden was the lead on Iraq) was hoping for.  That's why then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was publicly telling the US Senate that the US government was still in negotiations with Iraq about US troops going back in.  And he believed it was going to happen.  So did the then-Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Gen Martin Dempsey) and so did Joe.
Talk about Joe lying?

It was lying, when the US government was pursuing an agreement with Nouri to send US troops back in, to lie to the American people.  It's confusing -- were they for removing troops or not -- and it's confusing because they tried to have it every way they could, one conflicting claim after another.  And that's on Joe.

In Iraq, the protests continue.

Anti-government protests in Iraq enter their third week amid fresh bloodshed

And so does the killing of the protesters.

Six people have been killed by security forces and gunmen as anti-corruption protesters continued to occupy city squares across .

Human Rights Watch issued an alert which includes:

Security forces have fired teargas cartridges directly at protesters in Baghdad, Iraq on numerous occasions since protests resumed on October 25, 2019, killing at least 16, Human Rights Watch said today. The dead are among the large number of protesters Iraqi forces have killed since daily protests began in Baghdad and in other cities in southern Iraq against corruption and for better public services, among other demands.
According to a November 5 United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) report, the nationwide death toll from October 25 through November 4 reached at least 97. The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) tallied at least 105 dead and 5,655 injured during that same period. From November 5 to 6, Reuters reported that security forces had killed at least six more protesters.

“The high death toll includes people who took direct hits to the head from teargas cartridges, in numbers that suggest a gruesome pattern rather than isolated accidents,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “With the death toll now at over 100, all of Iraq’s global partners should be unequivocal in their condemnation.”
From October 25 to November 2, security forces’ use of force in Baghdad alone led to the deaths of at least 64 people, sources monitoring the death toll in Baghdad said. Human Rights Watch interviewed 24 people who have participated in protests in Baghdad, Basra, Karbala, Maysan, Nasriya and Basra. The names of many sources cited in this report are being withheld because they spoke on condition of anonymity, citing a fear of reprisal.
Through interviews, researchers’ visits to Tahrir Square, and the review of over a dozen video clips filmed by media outlets, Human Rights Watch has received information about at least 12 deaths in Baghdad caused by teargas cartridges hitting people in the head. The UNAMI report put the death toll from teargas cartridges penetrating upper bodies at at least 16.
Human Rights Watch has also documented internet slowdowns and social media and other media blockages and shutdowns since the protests began.
Human Rights Watch analyzed Reuters footage taken on October 27 and 29, which it corroborated with witness interviews. The footage shows security forces on Jumhuriya Bridge firing into the crowds at the foot of the bridge, which opens onto Tahrir Square. The October 27 clip shows one officer to the right firing teargas cartridges in an upward trajectory while on the left another officer is firing in a flat trajectory at crowds of protesters less than 100 meters away.
An analyst at the Omega Research Foundation, an independent research group focusing on the manufacture, trade, and use of military, security, and police equipment, reviewed this clip for Human Rights Watch and said that:
The man on the left is likely to be aiming directly at the people he is targeting. This carries a high risk of causing serious injury or death if teargas cartridges are being fired. In the second clip [taken on October 29], both people who are using launchers are firing on a flat trajectory. Again, this is an inappropriate and highly dangerous use of teargas cartridges.
The contrast in firing techniques raises the question of whether some forces are operating side-by-side under different orders, whether they all have orders to disperse the crowds in any way they see fit, or whether forces are disregarding their orders, Human Rights Watch said.
While relying increasingly on teargas in Baghdad, security forces are continuing to use live ammunition. Between November 4 and 6, live ammunition killed at least 14 more protesters in Baghdad, according to Reuters. Human Rights Watch reviewed three videos identifiably shot at Jumhuriya Bridge, and shared via social media between October 25 and November 5, showing dead protesters with wounds to the head that do not appear to have been caused by teargas cartridges.
Allegations of excessive force outside of Baghdad also continue, particularly in Karbala, with witnesses, UNAMI, and media reports all saying that security forces killed at least 17 protesters between October 28 and November 3.
Since the protests began, senior government officials have forbidden medical staff from sharing information on the dead and injured with any sources outside the Health Ministry, and the ministry has been releasing minimal and incomplete information. The IHCHR stopped updating its national tally as of October 31.
A doctor in a facility receiving the dead and wounded from the protests interviewed anonymously told AFP he thought the actual death toll since October 25 was much higher than the one being reported by the IHCHR. A person with links to Iraq’s morgues told Human Rights Watch she agreed with this assessment.
UNAMI recorded six abductions of protestors or volunteers providing assistance in the Baghdad demonstrations during the current wave of protests. In one case, the sister of Saba Farhan Hameed, 36, who had been providing food, water, and first aid kits to protesters in Tahrir Square, said Hameed vanished around 11:15 p.m. on November 2 while en route home. A colleague who had been on the phone with Hameed heard her scream and her phone went off.  Her sister has since gone to several police stations to search for Hameed but has not been able to locate her.
Under international human rights standards, law enforcement may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required to achieve a legitimate policing objective. Forces should only use teargas when necessary to prevent further physical harm; where possible, they should issue warnings before firing. They should take into account the likely impact of their use of teargas, especially in enclosed spaces or if fired at close range, on vulnerable groups, including children. During violent protests, the use of teargas should be proportional to the seriousness of the offense, should meet a legitimate law enforcement objective, and should preferably be used alongside other non-lethal methods. The deliberate use of lethal force is permissible only when it is strictly necessary to protect life.
The UN  Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials require authorities to promptly report on and investigate all incidents of law enforcement officials killing or injuring people with firearms through an independent administrative or prosecutorial process.
Iraqi authorities should respect the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, allowing all Iraqis to demonstrate peacefully and all journalists to film and report on the protests. Given the scale of law enforcement officials’ apparent use of excessive and lethal force over an extended period of time, the Iraqi government should launch an investigation into each and every death by the security forces, with the help of international experts if necessary, Human Rights Watch said. Such investigations should be speedy, fair, and independent of those being investigated with the participation of the families of those killed, and should lead to prosecutions of anyone found to have broken the law, including commanders.
Countries that have provided military and law enforcement training and support to Iraq – including the United States, European Union states, and Iran should end assistance to units involved in serious violations unless the authorities hold abusers accountable and curtail the abuses. The countries should explain publicly the grounds for suspending or ending military assistance. While the UN, US, and EU have issued multiple statements condemning the excessive use of force, Iran, another key partner to Iraq, has withheld censure.

“Given Iraq’s history of civil unrest and international training not only for military operations but also for crowd control, Iraqi authorities should not get a free pass for misusing teargas as a lethal weapon instead of a crowd dispersal method,” Whitson said.

As the protests continue, Saba Al Mahdawy remains missing:

Iraqi officials silent on abduction of Saba Al Mahdawi, doctor who was helping protesters via
Our latest on officials silent on abduction of Saba Al Mahdawi, doctor who was helping protesters via
  • : Abduction of woman defender Saba Al Mahdawi in
    Abduction of woman human rights defender Saba Al Mahdawi Thanks for this huge support
    Still no word on the Abduction of woman human rights defender Saba Al Mahdawi | Front Line Defenders
    She volunteered to help the wounded protesters. The Mullahs regime kidnapped Saba Al Mahdawi on her way home. Hundreds of innocent volunteers are being kidnapped and killed while the internet is down. STOP THE MASSACRE

    The following sites updated: