Saturday, November 21, 2020

Rod Taylor

 Rod Taylor was an actor who was big in the sixties.  He was originally from Australia.  He made a lot of films that are classics or mini-classics including Giant, Welcome To Woop Woop, Inglorious Basterds, The Train Robbers, The V.I.P.s, Ask Any Girl, Zabriskie Point, Raintree County, Separate Tables and The Catered Affair.  In those films, he worked with Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, James Dean, Rock Hudson, Quentin Tarantino, Shirley MacLaine, Richard Burton, Ann-Margaret, Rita Hayworth and David Niven -- among others.  

Those are solid films.  But they aren't my favorite Rod Taylor films.  I first noticed him in Sunday In New York.  That's a romantic comedy where Jane Fonda is visiting her brother Cliff Robertson and ends up entangled with Rod Taylor.  It's a solid comedy that I really enjoy -- I love strong sixties comedies.  I also love Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and he's the male star in that film.  It's also a sixties film.  My third favorite is The Glass Bottom Boat with Doris Day.  It's a funny film and funny from the start -- he's fishing, she's in the water as a mermaid and he hooks her tail.  Doris co-stars with him in another of my favorite films -- Do Not Disturb.  Here they are a married couple.  All four of my favorites are from the sixties.  I really do like the look of most sixties films -- the colors and all.

So this is a video (below) about Rod Taylor.



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

 Friday, November 20, 2020.  We explore continued talk about the announced drawdown of some US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tara Reade, the Iraqi militias, Joe Biden's efforts to staff a Cabinet, and much more

As noted in Wednesday's snapshot, US President Donald Trump has announced a drawdown of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Drawdown -- not a withdrawal.  For Iraq, it means 500 US troops will be leaving.  Why do we have IndyMedia?

We really don't.  Most of those sites closed long ago.  PORTLAND IMC continues.  Reading this article by Henry Browning, you have to wonder why?  He repeats the false claim of War Hawks of harm this would cause.  He offers no voices that dissent with that view and he certainly doesn't question it himself.  For those of us who were inspired by IndyMedia in the early '00s, this is very sad.  The only comfort is that the comments offer back and forth.

USA TODAY does what IndyMedia refuses to do, offers a voice not rejecting a drawdown.  Geoff LaMear offers:

After the Trump administration’s consideration of military strikes on Iran for its nuclear program, the rocket attacks in Iraq’s Green Zone, where the U.S. embassy is located, on Tuesday have the potential to draw the United States closer to a conflict with Iran. But President Trump should keep military retaliation off the table. Military action has incentivized — not deterred — Iran and its proxies in the past, endangering U.S. personnel.

Military force hasn’t made American personnel safe. In the last bout of hostilities with Iran, Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iran-aligned militia group in Iraq, conducted a rocket attack in December 2019 which killed a U.S. contractor. In response, the U.S. hit Kata’ib Hezbollah hard, striking five of the group’s facilities. If military action could deter further attacks, that should have been the end of it. But it wasn’t.

[. . .]

The longer U.S. forces stay in Iraq, the longer they are in harm’s way. And as was seen in the previous tit-for-tat last December, a single American death acts as a flash-point that risks a war.

 [. . .]

U.S. military presence in Iraq risks harm to personnel which in turn can bring the U.S. into a war with Iran. The costs are high and the benefits are nonexistent with the defeat of ISIS. The Iraqis are the ones best suited to preventing ISIS from reemerging and opposing a vassalization of their country by Iran. Therefore, it behooves both Trump and Biden to declare that that end has finally come.

Edward King is the president of Defense Priorities and he issued this statement:

Reducing US troop levels to 2,500 in both Afghanistan and Iraq is responsible – it would be irresponsible to not get to zero. The ongoing military occupations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and the greater Middle East are costly mistakes that come at the expense of higher defense priorities.

Talk of a ‘conditions-based’ withdrawal is a stalking horse for staying indefinitely, or forever. There is no such thing as an immaculate withdrawal from these conflicts, and there’s no reason to think the ground reality will improve after nearly 20 years of waiting.

The militias in Iraq are now part of the security forces.  Supposedly, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is attempting to address this.  Supposedly.  Maybe the time to object was long before he became prime minister?  The move never should have taken place.  Since the merger, what's been learned is that they do not fall under the command of the prime minister.  So they get to be included with Iraqi forces and they don't have to follow the same rules and orders that the Iraqi forces are expected to follow.  They made news awhile back by announcing some form of cease-fire.  Now they are saying it's over.  Dilan S. Hussein (RUDAW) reports:

The leader of an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia group announced the end of a conditional ceasefire suspending attacks on American interests in the country after a child was killed by rocket fire on Baghdad’s green zone this week. 

“The truce with the Americans has ended due to its conditions not being met,” Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asaib Ahl Al-Haq, said in a Thursday interview with Iraqi state media.

Late on Tuesday, rockets landed in Baghdad’s green zone killing a child and injuring five other civilians, just hours after the Pentagon announced it was reducing United States military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Iran's TASMIN offers:

The leader of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq movement said the Iraqi government is entitled to have a monopoly on carrying and using weapons in order to restore stability to the country.

However, Qais al-Khazali noted that the Iraqi resistance forces will continue carrying arms as long as the country is in danger.

Speaking in an interview with the Al-Iraqiya TV, which was aired on Thursday, Khazali said resistance forces carry weapons for a specific goal and reason.

“Once that goal is achieved, they will lay down their weapons,” he noted.

He said he is opposed to rocket attacks against the US embassy, and so are many other groups, as it is a diplomatic site.

"Resistance forces"?

Let's hope that term was applied by Iran's news outlet and was not used by al-Khazali himself.  First off, "the resistance" in Iraq, since the US-led invasion kicked off in 2003, has been Sunni, not Shi'ite. Second, Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq is a Shi'ite militia.  al-Haq is stating that they will ignore the Iraqi order at the present time.  Again, there have been no benefits for the Iraqi government since they brought the militias into the Iraqi forces.

Yesterday, we noted that, after decades of being closed, Iraq and Saudi Arabia were reopening their shared border.  The editorial board of GULF NEWS (via EMIRATES NEWS AGENCY) weighs in with:

For the first time in 30 years, the border between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iraq is now open, with transport trucks, goods and food stuffs crossing between the two Arab nations at the Arar frontier post. The strategically important crossing had been closed since 1990 when the Kingdom severed ties with Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

The reopening of the border marks a new milestone in the long and historic relationship between these two Arab neighbours and it’s a day that has long been anticipated by members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. By unsealing the gates, removing the physical barriers and letting traffic and trade flow once more, it is a clear statement that Iraq’s standing is now restored and it is indeed open for business once again.

The reopening of the border at Arar is the latest positive development to accrue from the ongoing dialogue between Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi, and both deserve kudos for their efforts in bringing Iraq back into the tent of Arab brothers. Simply put, the reopening of the border is a good day’s work and positive for all.

The events of 1990 and subsequently have profoundly affected the region. But time, dialogue and goodwill between Arabs has triumphed; old quarrels have been set aside, and there is more to be gained by opening borders. Arabs together are much stronger.

THE NATIONAL weighs in with this video.

And FORBES offers this video report.

Also yesterday, we reposted an interview with Tara Reade and included this: "[Tara Reade's LEFT OUT: WHEN THE TRUTH DOESN"T FIT IN is available at AMAZON.]"  This resulted in drive-by e-mails.  Griping.  And we were already getting those.  (Drive-by e-mails refers to e-mails sent to the public e-mail account -- -- as opposed to community members who e-mail our private e-mail address.)  The drive-bys started with the claim that I wasn't supporting Tara because I wasn't supporting her book.  I've supported Tara throughout.  I believe her.  This was noted in Ava and my election overview earlier this month.

I twice noted her book was coming out.  And then I stopped.  Not because I didn't support Tara but because we've had problems before.  When I promoted it here, community members asked if I knew it wasn't available on AMAZON?  No, I did not.  It was available through some website none of us knew.  Probably a great website.  But we've danced this dance before.   Holly Near teamed up with Emma's Revolution and it should have been a great experience.  It wasn't.  I soured on the nonsense of including a man's song -- **Holly was a lesbian, she's now a straight woman who identifies as a lesbian, or whatever** and Emma's Revolution is supposed to be pro-women -- there was no reason to include it.  Don't want to study war no more?

I believe Laura Nyro wrote a song about that, did we forget that?

Come on, people, come on, children
Come on down to the glory river.
Gonna wash you up, and wash you down,
Gonna lay the devil down, gonna lay that devil down.
I got fury in my soul, fury's gonna take me to the glory goal
In my mind I can't study war no more.
Save the people, save the children, save the country now
Come on, people come on, children
Come on down to the glory river
Gonna wash you up and wash you down
Gonna lay the devil down, gonna lay that devil down
Come on people! Sons and mothers
Keep the dream of the two young brothers
Gonna take that dream and ride that dove
We could build the dream with love, I know,
We could build the dream with love, I know,
We could build a dream with love, children,
We could build the dream with love, oh people,
We could build the dream with love, I know,
We could build the dream with love.
Come on, people! Come on, children!
There's a king at the glory river

And the precious king, he loved the people to sing;
Babes in the blinkin' sun sang
"We Shall Overcome".

-- "Save The Country," written by Laura Nyro, first appears on her 1969 album NEW YORK TENDABERRY

I don't have a lot of interest in crap garbage and when supposedly pro-women artists go out of their way to do a self-proclaimed 'womanist' album and they're covering a song by a man when they should be honoring a woman -- who said it much better -- I don't have use for them.

But the point was we noted the album before it came out, noted it the day it came out and where to get it and it was a nightmare.  People paid two and three times for the album before getting the download file -- if they got it.  It was a nightmare for many community members and I said "Never again."  I'm not recommending an unknown site to purchase from again.  It was too much.  So, no, I didn't stop supporting Tara.  I did stop noting the book immediately with the plan to note it when it was at AMAZON -- it's now at AMAZON and has been for a couple of weeks.

[Added: In her review of Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoff's UNDER THE COVERS VOL. 2, Kat noted some of the problems with the Holly Near album and downloading -- noted it in the final paragraph of her review..]

As for the more recent slam, no, I do not get anything from that link.  I know there's some way you can refer and get a portion of the payment.  I'm not interested in that and it doesn't happen here for me.  If we highlight, for example, a COUNTERPUNCH article that notes a way to purchase a book, I do include that link and that portion of a purchase -- whatever the percent -- would go to COUNTERPUNCH.  

Here's another interview Tara's done this week with Ryan Glover.

I believe Tara.  I find her highly credible.  I don't find Joe Biden credible at all. 

Joe is said to be attempting to get a position in his administration (if he's sworn in -- no e-mails complaining, December 14th, the electoral college will decide the issue) for War Hawk Susan Rice. Glen Ford (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) notes:

No one in high levels of U.S. government has been more intimately complicit in the death of more than six million Africans in the Democratic Republic of Congo than Susan Rice, the bloodstained Democratic Party political operative who is actively seeking the job of secretary of state in the incoming Biden administration. If recent history is a guide, we can expect the entirety of the Black Democratic establishment to support this uber-criminal’s elevation as a fitting reward to Black voters for putting Joe Biden in the White House – thus implicating all of Black America in the largest genocide since World War Two.

Rice is a protégé of former secretary of state Madelaine Albright, who in 1996 infamously described the sanctions-induced death of half a million Iraqi children as “worth it ” to punish the Saddam Hussein regime. But Rice has bested her mass murderous mentor in total career body count. As President Bill Clinton’s national security advisor (1993 to 1997), senior director for African Affairs (1995 to 1997) and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (1997 to 2001), Rice was the point person in Washington’s massive coverup of the invasion, pillage and depopulation of Congo by the armies of U.S. client states Rwanda and Uganda. In service to the Obama administration (ambassador to the United Nations, 2009-2013, national security advisor, 2013-2017), Rice smothered a United Nations Mapping Report  that documented Rwandan and Ugandan crimes against Congo, including potentially genocidal offenses, and protected Uganda from the International Court of Justice’s award of $10 billion in damages  to the Democratic Republic Congo. 

“Rice was the point person in Washington’s massive coverup of the invasion, pillage and depopulation of Congo.”

When the United Nation’s highest court issued its verdict in 2005, the death toll in Congo was estimated at 3 million. By 2010, with Ambassador Susan Rice at the United Nations, the uninterrupted genocide had claimed six million  lives, while the looting of Congo’s vast mineral resources financed the rise of a gleaming skyline over Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, a nation that has no significant mineral deposits. Multinational corporations are the biggest beneficiaries of the ”blood” minerals; it is these conglomerates whose interests Susan Rice protects. 

Today, Congolese speak of eight million dead, but nobody in the Congressional Black Caucus is listening. Half of the Black Caucus voted against a measure that would have halted President Obama’s bombing of Libya , in the summer of 2011. Obama claimed that the Euro-American air war in support of mainly jihadist opponents of Muammar Gaddafi’s secular government was not subject to the War Powers Act, because no Americans had died – a totally novel definition of war in which only American bodies matter. Rice was then ambassador to the United Nations, where she successfully pressed for a “no fly zone” as a cover for NATO’s war against Libya. “This resolution should send a strong message to Colonel Qadhafi and his regime that the violence must stop, the killing must stop and the people of Libya must be protected and have the opportunity to express themselves freely,” Rice told reporters . But the bulk of violence was committed by U.S.-backed “rebels” against Black Libyans and south Saharans working in the country. Tawergha , a Black Libyan town of almost 50,000 people, was utterly destroyed, its inhabitants killed, imprisoned or scattered – with not a peep of complaint from the Black American woman at the UN or the First Black President of the United States. The branded faces  of Black migrant workers sold into slave markets are Rice and Obama’s Libyan legacy. 

Erin Brokovich has an open letter to Joe at THE GUARDIAN over his attempt to bring DuPont into his administration.


**NOTE added by Dona to C.I.'s snapshot, Ava and C.I. covered Holly Near's 'whatever' back in 2019 with "TV: PBS' long con" which included:

AMERICAN MASTERS is on season 33 and imagine our shock to tune into it on KQED and discover that they were profiling Holly Near.

Holly who?


See, she has no real accomplishments.

And she also can't get honest.  That's why we really loved that moment of truth in the broadcast where, panning up the magazine cover featuring Holly's picture, the camera came across "Michelle Shocked on coming out."

Holly, like other 'lesbians' Michelle Shocked and Ani diFranco, used being a lesbian as a marketing strategy.  Without it, she'd have no career at all.  So it's really funny to watch someone (we'll abide by playground honor and not snitch) tells the camera, "I think her career suffered."

What career?


The following sites updated:

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Finding Lucy


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

Thursday, November 19, 2020.  Some continue to whine about a small number of US troops leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, 3 peace activists -- in the midst of the pandemic -- are sentenced to prison, and much more.

Starting with the topic of the drawdown, Kimberly Dozier (TIME MAGAZINE) notes:

President Donald Trump’s abrupt order to reduce U.S. troops numbers to a mere 2,500 each in Afghanistan and Iraq has triggered howls from senior Republicans on Capitol Hill. But it has also elicited sighs of relief in some military quarters, from those who feared the embittered incumbent would vent his rage over losing his re-election bid by ordering all U.S. troops home.

Trump’s Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, a retired U.S. Army Green Beret and combat veteran of both conflicts, confirmed on Tuesday that Trump had ordered troops to reduce from 4,500 to 2,500 in Afghanistan, and from 3,000 to 2,500 in Iraq. The departing troops are set to be gradually withdrawn in the coming weeks and out completely by Jan. 15, 2021, a mere five days before President-elect Joe Biden takes over the White House. 

For Miller's remarks in full, see yesterday's snapshot.  The nonsense from the supposed 'left' and the people they've lionized has been ridiculous.  You can see that at VOX where Alex Ward wants to cite Mitch McConnell.  Why?  Because he says Donald Trump is wrong.  Note what Alex types:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, usually an ally of the president, said Monday that “The consequences of a premature American exit” from Afghanistan “would likely be even worse than President Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, which fueled the rise of ISIS and a new round of global terrorism.”

So desperate are they to argue Donald's wrong, VOX elects to say that the rise of ISIS is due to Barack's ''withdrawal."  (A) It wasn't a withdrawal, it was a drawdown -- the DoD referred to it as that before, during and after because it was not a withdrawal.  (B) Barack's drawdown did not cause the rise of ISIS.  The rise of ISIS resulted from Nouri al-Maliki.  The Iraqi people saw him for the thug he was and refused to re-elect him in 2010.  For eight months, the government was at a standstill because Nouri refused to step down.  The stalemate only ended with The Erbil Agreement.  That was the contract that Joe Biden oversaw which gave various political blocs -- in writing -- desire things so that they would agree that Nouri could be prime minister for a second term.  That contract threw out the votes of the people.  Joe oversaw that and now wants to whine about recounts in the US?  Nouri's first term was marked by threats against journalists, secret prisons and torture centers and targeting of many Iraqis.  In his second term, it only got worse -- and he was even now using the Iraqi military to target political rivals -- elected members of Parliament -- having their homes circled by tanks.  Nouri's second term is what led to the rise of ISIS.  

You'd think VOX would be careful about what they quoted but, apparently these days, being 'left' just means slamming Donald however you can -- even if it stains your own. 

Yesterday, RISING offered two segments regarding reaction to the announcement the acting Secretary of Defense made.  

They called out Republicans -- plural.  And then, in another segment, they noted Senator Tammy Duckworth's ridiculous statements.

As they noted, "truly insane comments from Senator Tammy Duckworth."  I don't know how we leave it at Tammy.  

Brett McGurk was Barack's boy.  I objected to that in real time.  He was a hideous pro-war figure who served under Bully Boy Bush and did a lot of a damage. But he got brought into Barack's administration -- like Victoria Nuland who is also disgusting -- and suddenly he became a hero for us.  He wasn't.  He's hideous.  But various 'left' outlets treated Brett like a god once he was Barack's boy.  

Brett's been wetting himself over the proposed action on TV and in Tweets.  Here he argues that the US government doesn't drawdown unilaterally.  Apparently, going to war that way is a-okay, but drawingdown in wrong.  Here he tongue bathes William Kristol's nuts -- the same Kristol who helped get the US into Iraq with his lies and media efforts.  Brett's showing his true colors but notice how the 'left' either echoes Brett or pretends he's said and done nothing.  They have far too much vested in the lie of 'they're are friends!'  My friends don't promote the murder of a million Iraqi people.  My friends don't create a toxic environment that leads to massive birth defects in Iraq.  

If you're not getting how bad our supposed 'left' is currently, note this:

Three Catholic activists from the group known as the Kings Bay Plowshares Seven were sentenced last week to between 10-14 months in federal prison for protesting against nuclear weapons at a US naval base in St. Mary’s, Georgia on April 4, 2018.

The sentences of the Catholic Worker antiwar protesters were handed down in a virtual courtroom by Judge Lisa Godbey Wood of the US District Court for the Southern District of Georgia.

Carmen Trotta, 58, of New York City and Clare Grady, 62, of Ithaca, New York, were sentenced to 14 and 12 months in prison, respectively, on November 12. Martha Hennessy, 65, was sentenced to 10 months on November 13. All three were also sentenced to three years of supervised probation along with restitution payments of $25 per week. Hennessy is the granddaughter of Dorothy Day, the founder in the 1930s of the Catholic Worker movement.

Although Judge Wood imposed less time than specified by court sentencing guidelines, she rejected appeals from supporters of the protesters that they get no prison terms at all under conditions of the raging coronavirus pandemic.

Kevin Reed reported that last night at WSWS.  There are how many podcasts?  How many websites?  DEMOCRACY NOW!, THE NATION, THE PROGRESSIVE, IN THESE TIMES, PACIFICA RADIO, etc, etc.  Where's the coverage?  No, Amy Goodman, one headline does not suffice.  You are self-proclaiming (still) to be doing "the war and peace report."  One headline is not enough.  This should be a major focus.  As many problems as I have with Matthew Rothschild, were he still in charge of THE PROGRESSIVE, he would've gotten something up online about it by now -- more than a headline, to be sure. COMMON DREAMS did run a real article by Brett Wilkins which included this:

In her statement, Grady said that:

I believe it is a Christian calling to withdraw consent... from killing in our name. To do so is an act of love, an act of justice, a sacred act that brings us into right relationship with God and neighbor. This is what brings me before this court today for sentencing. It is the consequence of my choice to join friends to undertake an action of sacramental, non-violent, symbolic disarmament because the Trident [nuclear submarines] at Kings Bay [are] killing and harming in my name.

To be clear, these weapons are not private property, they belong to the people of the United States; they belong to me, to you, to us. These weapons kill and cause harm in our name, and with our money. This omnicidal weapon doesn't just kill if it is launched, it kills every day. Indigenous people are—and continue to be—some of the first victims of nuclear weapons; the mining, refining, testing, and dumping of radioactive material for nuclear weapons all happens on Native land. The trillions of dollars spent on nuclear weapons are resources stolen from the planet and her people.

Kings Bay houses at least six nuclear submarines, each armed with 20 Trident submarine-launched ballistic missiles of the multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) variety. Each missile contains numerous nuclear warheads, providing a thermonuclear force multiplier and overwhelming first-strike capability.

The weapons at the single base are capable of killing countless millions of human beings and the activists argued that they wanted "to highlight what King called the 'evil triplets of militarism, racism, and materialism'" and to "make real the prophet Isaiah's command: 'beat swords into plowshares.'"

On April 4, 2018—the 50th anniversary of King's assassination—Grady, Hennessy, Kelly, Trotta, and Kings Bay Plowshares 7 activists Mark Coalville, Liz McAlister, and Patrick O'Neill entered the base, splashed baby bottles containing their own blood on a wall, spray-painted an anti-war slogan on a sidewalk, and hammered away at a monument to nuclear war. 

This week, Jimmy Dore called out Michael Moore for his ridiculous appearance with Stephen Colbert.

Grasp that Michael Moore's gas bagging about being Catholic and Stephen being Catholic and Joe Biden being Catholic.  But this appearance was the day after the sentencing of three Catholic activists are sentenced for protesting and Michael can't bring that up?  

Another Michael, Michael Cohen, gets released from prison due to fears that he might get Covid but these three people are being sent to prison in the midst of a pandemic?  

At SHADOW PROOF, Jonathan Michels notes:

Patrick O’Neill gripped the hammer tightly in his hands. The police would soon surround him.

O’Neill and six other Catholic peace activists had infiltrated the Kings Bay Naval Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia, with the goal of symbolically disarming the base’s six Trident submarines armed with first-strike missiles capable of holding 200 nuclear warheads.

Some of the activists strung up crime scene tape and hung protest banners that read “The Ultimate Logic of Trident is Omnicide.” Others poured baby bottles of their own blood around the base.

Using Google Maps, O’Neill and Mark Colville discovered a macabre shrine to nuclearism consisting of a half dozen statues of nuclear missiles that looked as if they were suspended in motion just seconds after launch.

Staring up at a replica of a Trident D5 intercontinental ballistic missile, O’Neill’s mind turned to the book of Exodus in the Bible: the shrine offered proof that nuclear weapons were modern-day idols more powerful than a golden calf. Unlike that empty signifier, the pacifist recognized the immutable power of nuclear weapons. For him, it was the same as worshipping death.

Time was running short. O’Neill sprinted up to the statue and beat it with the hammer. The missile was solid cement and the hammerhead broke clean off.

“It was a formidable idol,” recalled O’Neill.

Catholic peace activists like the ones who infiltrated the naval base at Kings Bay in 2018 have attempted to topple the formidable idol of nuclearism for 40 years, and they have paid a heavy price.

Dennis Sadowski (CATHOLIC PHILLY) reports:

The base is the East Coast home port of the Trident submarine, which experts believe is armed with multiple nuclear-tipped missiles. Government policy calls for neither confirming nor denying the existence of nuclear weapons at the base.

During a closing statement, Hennessy told the court she joined the symbolic protest at the submarine base because she believes nuclear weapons are illegal and that possession of them is a sin. She explained she had no criminal intent, but that her action was an attempt to “prevent another nuclear holocaust.”

“I am attempting to help transform the fundamental values of public life,” she said. “I am willing to suffer for the common good and for the sin of not loving our brothers and sisters, a condition that leads to war.”

Four character witnesses testified about Hennessy’s commitment to family, peaceful living and her importance to Maryhouse.

Trotta said in his closing statement he has undertaken his protests as a “deliberate nonviolent response to the divine gift of my conscience.”

Trotta also presented three character witnesses, who testified about his work at St. Joseph House Catholic Worker in lower Manhattan and his long history of nonviolent actions against war and U.S. foreign policy.

Edward “Bud” Courtney, a St. Joseph House volunteer, said he has known Trotta for 18 years and that he and others in the Catholic Worker community consider him to be “the elder” from whom they sought advice.

“Day after day, year after year, Carmen has come to know and help thousands,” Courtney said. “His compassion is somewhat legendary. People just come because he helps. His going away (to prison) will be a big loss to the community.”

Trotta’s older brother, Louis, an attorney, described his sibling as “very much an idealist.” He credited his younger brother for providing much-needed care for two years for their elderly father, who recently died at age 93.

“He’s internalized anything he’s ever been taught about what’s good and right,” Louis Trotta testified. “His coaches taught him to give 110%, and his teachers taught him about human rights, and his faith taught him about being his brother’s keeper. He internalizes that in a way that most people don’t. I think that should be taken under consideration.”

Does peace matter?  Judging by the lack of coverage, people could conclude that no, it doesn't.  This should be a major story for anyone concerned with peace.  

In other news, Iraq and Saudi Arabia have opened up their border  -- for the first time since 1990.


Iraq and Saudi Arabia have opened the Arar border crossing for trade for the first time in 30 years, the Iraqi border ports commission has said in a statement.

Top officials, including Iraqi interior minister and the Saudi ambassador to Iraq, travelled from Baghdad to formally open Arar, where a line of cargo trucks had been waiting since Wednesday morning.

The following sites updated:

Biden and Trump at war over pardon!




Yesterday afternoon, the acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller addressed the press.

ACTING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE CHRISTOPHER C. MILLER: Good afternoon. I'm Chris Miller, acting secretary of defense, and I'm here today to update you on President Trump's plan to bring the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to a successful and responsible conclusion, and to bring our brave service members home. 

From Kabul to Kandahar and from Mosul to Fallujah, hundreds of thousands of America's finest sons and daughters, who selflessly answered the call to serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have brought us to this point. Their efforts and sacrifice will go down in history as epitomizing the strength, commitment, and empathy of a force that is unlike any the world has ever seen. 

Just last night, I joined Vice President Mike Pence and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley to attend the dignified transfer of five American soldiers who perished on duty in the Middle East. This was a somber and humbling moment that reminded us of the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women of the United States military in service of freedom and security. 

Our armed forces take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. They serve not for personal gain, but for the protection and well-being of their fellow Americans and their homeland. They are champions for peace, liberty, and the rule of law, and unrelenting when called upon to defend our people and our values. We owe them and their loved ones an enormous debt of gratitude. 

This is why I'm enormously blessed and privileged to stand before you today to outline the next phase of our campaign to defeat terrorists who have perpetrated attacks on our homeland, including those who help and harbor them, and to prevent -- prevent future acts of terrorism against our nation. 

We owe this moment to the many patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice, and their comrades who carry forward their legacy. Together, we have mourned the loss of more than 6,900 American troops who gave their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we will never forget the more than 52,000 who bear the wounds of war and all those who still carry its scars – visible and invisible. 

In light of these tremendous sacrifices, and with great humility and gratitude to those who came before us, I am formally announcing that we will implement President Trump's orders to continue our repositioning of forces from those two countries. By January 15, 2001 – excuse me, I clearly am thinking of where this started in 2001 – by January 15, 2021, our forces, their size in Afghanistan will be 2,500 troops. Our force size in Iraq will also be 2,500 by that same date. This is consistent with our established plans and strategic objectives, supported by the American people, and does not equate to a change in U.S. policy or objectives. 

Moreover, this decision by the president is based on continuous engagement with his national security cabinet over the past several months, including ongoing discussions with me and my colleagues across the United States Government. 

I have also spoken with our military commanders, and we all will execute this repositioning in a way that protects our fighting men and women, our partners in the intelligence community and diplomatic corps, and our superb allies that are critical to rebuilding Afghan and Iraqi security capabilities and civil society for a lasting peace in troubled lands. 

And just this morning, I spoke with key leaders in Congress, as well as our allies and partners abroad, to update them on these plans, in light of our shared approach. We went in together, we adjust together, and when the time is right, we will leave together. 

One of my calls was to NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. Another was to Afghanistan's President Ghani, who expressed his gratitude for every American service member who has fought for peace and strengthened the longstanding friendship between our countries. 

President Ghani highlighted the caliber of our troops, which he noted has always been more important than the quantity. We continue to stand with him as his government works toward a negotiated settlement for peace. 

Meanwhile, let us remind those who question our resolve or may seek to interfere with this prudent, well planned and coordinated transition – the United States armed forces remain committed to protecting the safety and security of the American people, and supporting our likeminded allies and partners worldwide. 

If the forces of terror, instability, division, and hate begin a deliberate campaign to disrupt our efforts, we stand ready to apply the capabilities required to thwart them. 

As a veteran whose life and family was irrevocably changed in the deserts, mountains, and cities of Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops who have fought there and were forever transformed by their experiences, I celebrate this day, as we continue the president's consistent progress in completing the mission we began nearly two decades ago. 

I want to thank the Afghans and Iraqis who have partnered with us throughout, and who now carry the bulk of the fighting to secure their homelands. I want to thank our NATO allies and other partners who have fought alongside us and taken the lead on training and advising the Afghan and Iraqi security forces. We will continue to support their efforts. 

And thanks to our more than 80 partners in the Defeat ISIS coalition. We have destroyed the ISIS caliphate and will ensure they never again gain a foothold to attack our people. 

In closing, we set out to accomplish three goals in 2001. First, go abroad and destroy terrorists, their organizations, and their sanctuaries. Two, strengthen our defenses against future attacks. And three, prevent the continued growth of Islamist terrorism to include by working with allies and local partners to take the lead in the fight. 

Today is another critical step in that direction, and a result of President Trump's bold leadership. With the blessings of providence in the coming year, we will finish this generational war and bring our men and women home. We will protect our children from the heavy burden and toll of perpetual war. And we will honor the sacrifices made in service to peace and stability in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world, and celebrate all those who helped us secure freedom over oppression.

God bless our women and men in uniform. Thank you very much.

This is a drawdown, not a withdrawal.  

I'm not applauding.  It's a step in the right direction, but I'm not applauding.  When I saw headlines and heard gasbaggery on TV about the above, I thought, "Well I'm going to have to praise Donald."  No, I'm  not.

It's a drawdown, not a withdrawal.  If we're bringing the wars to a close, why are US troops remaining there?

In terms of numbers?  We already know from James Jeffrey's own mouth that we have no idea how many US troops are in the Middle East because he and others conspired to lie to US President Donald Trump so that they could countermand his orders.  

The acting secretary says that Iraq will draw down to 2,500 US troops.  If the number's correct, so what?

Don't tell me you're ending the Iraq War when you're not and when all you're doing is reducing US forces by 500 troops.  In Monday's snapshot, we noted that there are supposed to be 3,000 US troops (officially) in Iraq.  Bringing that number down by 500?  A step in the right direction but it's not enough.  

From the way some were being hysterical on TV, I thought Donald really was removing all US forces from Iraq except for those who guard the US Embassy.  I was ready to praise him because the war needs to be over.  

But all this is doing is removing 500 troops from Iraq.  

A step in the right direction but not what's needed.  

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