“A knife in the back,” Mon dieu. Outraged France cancels Revolutionary War gala

The French certainly know how to throw a tantrum when they feel maligned.  What better revenge than cancel a gala in Washington celebrating an American Revolutionary War battle.

As Marie Antoinette is to have famously opined during the French Revolution in 1789, “Let them eat cake.”  What she actually said was, “Let them eat brioche.”  Most people know what happened to her. Found guilty of treason and beheaded on October 14, 1793

Excerpted from The New York Times 9.16.2021

PARIS — President Biden’s announcement of a deal to help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines has strained the Western alliance, infuriating France and foreshadowing how the conflicting American and European responses to confrontation with China may redraw the global strategic map.

Underscoring its fury, France canceled a gala scheduled for Friday at its embassy in Washington to mark the 240th anniversary of a Revolutionary War battle.

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In announcing the deal on Wednesday, Mr. Biden said it was meant to reinforce alliances and update them as strategic priorities shift. But in drawing a Pacific ally closer to meet the China challenge, he appears to have alienated an important European one and aggravated already tense relations with Beijing.

France on Thursday reacted with outrage to the announcements that the United States and Britain would help Australia develop submarines, and that Australia was withdrawing from a $66 billion deal to buy French-built submarines. At its heart, the diplomatic storm is also a business matter — a loss of revenue for France’s military industry, and a gain for American companies.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s foreign minister, told Franceinfo radio that the submarine deal was a “unilateral, brutal, unpredictable decision” by the United States, and he compared the American move to the rash and sudden policy shifts common during the Trump administration.

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“A knife in the back,” Mr. Le Drian said of the Australian decision, noting that Australia was rejecting a deal for a strategic partnership that involved “a lot of technological transfers and a contract for a 50-year period.”

“This is not done between allies,” Mr. Le Drian said. His comparison of Mr. Biden to Mr. Trump appeared certain to be taken in the White House as a serious insult.

A statement from Mr. Le Drian and Florence Parly, France’s Armed Forces minister, called “the American choice to exclude a European ally and partner such as France” a regrettable decision that “shows a lack of coherence.”

“This looks like a new geopolitical order without binding alliances,” said Nicole Bacharan, a researcher at Sciences Po in Paris. “To confront China, the United States appears to have chosen a different alliance, with the Anglo-Saxon world separate from France.” She predicted a “very hard” period in the old friendship between Paris and Washington.

 

 

California voters obliterate bogus Republican recall of Democrat governor

Breaking News 4.15.2019

Lee Heidhues 9.14.2021

California voters have overwhelmingly torched an attempt by a group of petulant citizens who used the recall mechanism to toss out the incumbent Democrat Governor, Gavin Newsom. 

California’s Republicans had their typical MAGA classless and clueless response to the lambasting. Republican recall campaign manager Anne Hyde Dunsmore spouted off, “What I’m not subscribing to is this grand mandate, that we got it shoved up our ass. Because we didn’t.”

Oh. Really? These losers spent $100,000,000.

They failed.

This sham recall, which consumed the body politic for the past year, is receiving the thrashing it richly deserves. The entire recall system in California is a disgrace. Any group of disgruntled citizens can try and over turn the will of the electorate to satisfy their own obnoxious self interests.

Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 9.14.2021

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday survived the effort to oust him from office as voters decisively defeated the California recall. With nearly eight million votes tallied, Newsom was capturing more than two-thirds of them.

Millions of Californians had already cast their votes ahead of election day, after officials mailed a ballot to every active registered voter in the state last month, allowing county election offices to process their ballots ahead of time and begin releasing results shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m.

The margin could narrow as further updates during the evening reflect votes cast in person on election day. Ballots mailed back before election day disproportionately came from Democrats, a potential consequence of conspiracy theories shared by conservative media outlets and political figures that cast doubt on the security and legitimacy of mail voting.

 

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President Biden and Governor Gavin Newsom – 9.13.2021

https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Voters-resoundingly-defeat-recall-of-California-16459904.php

 

 

 

 

 

SF Archbishop tells Guv to spare statue of California State Missions founder

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileono is a controversial figure in his hometown. Now he has taken to the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal to implore Governor Gavin Newsom to veto legislation which, if it becomes law, would permanently remove the statue of Father Junipero Serra from the State Capitol.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jun%C3%ADpero_Serra

Father Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 25 September 1988 in Vatican City. Amid denunciations from Native American tribes who accused Serra of presiding over a brutal colonial subjugation, Pope Francis canonized Serra on 23 September 2015 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., during his first visit to the United States. Serra’s missionary efforts earned him the title of “Apostle of California”.

Both before and after his canonization, Serra’s reputation and missionary work during the Spanish occupation have been condemned by critics, who cite alleged mandatory conversions to Catholicism, followed by abuse of the Native American converts.

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Father Serra with California indigenous people

Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 9.13.2021

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone appealed to Gov. Gavin Newsom to stop a bill that allows a statue of Father Junipero Serra to be permanently removed from the state Capitol grounds in Sacramento.

The statue of the founder of California’s mission system was removed by protesters in July 2020 and has been in storage ever since.

Last month, the state Legislature passed a bill to replace the statue with a monument to Sacramento-area Native American tribes. The bill, approved by the Senate on a 28-2 vote, now awaits Newsom’s signature.

“Father Serra was in fact the founder of California and in his work here educating and evangelizing the native population did what he could to protect them and educate them,” Cordileone told The Chronicle Monday in a phone call. “That statue is at the state Capitol which is the most appropriate place for Father Serra to be honored.”

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California native Americans topple statue of Father Junipero Serra

In an opinion article published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, Cordileone and Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez implored the governor not to sign the bill.

The piece described Serra as “a complex character, but he defended indigenous people’s humanity, decried the abuse of indigenous women, and argued against imposing the death penalty on natives who had burned down a mission and murdered one of his friends.”

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San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

It also quoted a passage from the Assembly’s version of the bill written by Assembly Member James Ramos, D-Highland (San Bernadino County), the first Native American elected to the legislature. “Enslavement of both adults and children, mutilation, genocide, and assault on women were all part of the mission period initiated and overseen by Father Serra,” it read.

Reached Monday at his district office in San Bernadino County, Ramos described the op-ed as “a paternal approach to telling Indian people, ‘Let me tell you your own history.’ The archbishop is trying to paint a picture that has been romanticized in the state. What we need is a true perspective of what happened to the California Indian people during the missionary era. Even the pope apologized in 2015 for the colonization of Native Americans.”

https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/S-F-archbishop-pleads-with-Newsom-to-save-16455974.php

Germany won’t elect a Green Chancellor in 2021. Greens will be in the coalition

Lee Heidhues 9.12.2021

The Green Party got a lot of media buzz earlier in the  year when some polls predicted a Green could be elected Chancellor.  

These high expectations have faded.

As the election day draws near pollsters predict an aging German electorate will opt for familiarity. That’s not to say the Greens won’t have a voice. In the coalition style system in Germany the Greens will likely be a partner in a Social Democrat administration. This means the Greens and its young leader Annalena Baerbock will have a major voice in the Bundestag and positions in the governing cabinet.

Angela Merkel will soon step down after 16 years as German Chancellor. If the polls are correct it appears the German electorate will choose the next Chancellor from one of the nation’s long standing parties, the Social Democrats.

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Green Chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock

Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 9.12.2021

About 60.4 million people are eligible to vote in Germany on September 26 — that’s a drop of 1.3 million on the last general election four years ago. And more than half of the electorate is over the age of 50.

An aging voter base 

Age is  an important factor when it comes to prioritizing political issues. Climate change has been found to be the most pressing topic for young voters in Germany. For older voters that does not seem to be the case, according to a survey by the Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). Of those over the age of 65, 60% said they would not let the climate and nature conservation interests of younger generations influence their voting decision.

NABU President Jörg-Andreas Krüger called the results of the survey shocking. “We know from other surveys that climate and environmental protection are among the most important issues for the Bundestag elections,” he told broadcaster ntv. The consequences of climate change “will have to be dealt with above all by our children and grandchildren.”

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Blogger Lee at Frankfurt Courthouse – 2018

As the population ages, there’s a shift in the generational balance of power in elections. In West Germany’s 1987 national election 23% of voters were under the age of 30 and 26% were over 60. For the 2021 election, the office of the Federal Returning Officer expects the number of voters under 30 to fall to under 15% and those over 60 to rise above 38%.

This change has further shifted influence to baby boomers — the generation born after World War II that is in its 60s today. And this trend will continue, as younger Germans have fewer children.

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The center-right Christian Democrat CDU and its Bavarian sister party CSU are symbolized by the color black. The center-left Social Democrat SPD is red, as is the communist Left Party. The pro-free market Free Democrats’ (FDP) color is yellow. And the Greens are self-explanatory. German media refer to the color combinations and national flags using them as shorthand for political combinations.

Turnout is traditionally much higher among older voters. At the previous general election in 2017, 76% of voters over 70 turned out to vote and 81% of voters were in their 60s. Turnout for voters aged 21 to 24, meanwhile stood at only 67%. 

Older and younger Germans also tend to have different voting behaviors: “Older voters are more likely to have a long-term party affiliation than younger voters. This often developed in earlier phases of life,” Nico Siegel, managing director of the Infratest dimap polling institute in Berlin, tells DW.

Older voters in Germany tend to vote for the Christian Democrats or the Social Democrats, Germany’s historic big tent parties, and are less likely to shift their allegiance.

More than 30 years after unification, there are still differences in how Germans in the east and west vote. The center-right Christian Democratic Union and its sister party, the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), the pro-free market Free Democrats (FDP), and the Greens draw most of their support from the west of the country. 

The communist Left Party and the far-right AfD, however, draw most of their support from the east, the territory of the former communist German Democratic Republic, which is less densely populated—with just 12.5 million residents of the country’s total 83.2 million.  

Support for political parties appears to be influenced the most by income levels. Voters for the CDU/CSU, SPD, and especially the Greens and FDP are generally above the total median income. SPD voters are generally around the median, and supporters of the Left and the AfD generally earn below the median income, many of whom are based in east Germany and regions that have been affected by deindustrialization.

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Aging German electorate soon goes to the polls

The Greens perform best in urban areas with a young, well-educated population. The Greens have traditionally won a large percentage of the youth vote: At the 2019 European parliament election, they won 34% support from Germany’s under 24-year-olds. 

But even during the Greens’ brief surge over the summer, they failed to make major inroads in the east. In June, 26% of those surveyed in western Germany said they’d vote for the Greens compared with just 12 % in eastern Germany, according to pollster Forsa.

https://www.dw.com/en/german-election-demographics-facts-and-figures/a-59143207

Chile 9/11/73: When a Nation’s Torturous Past Resembles ‘The Twilight Zone’

Lee Heidhues 9.10.2021

Everyone. And I mean everyone remembers where they were on September 11, 2001. A date which will live in infamy in American and global history.

What few people remember is September 11, 1973.  The day the Chilean military led by Augusto Pinochet with the support of the Nixon Administration overthrew a democratically elected Socialist government in Chile.  President Salvador Allende was either murdered or committed suicide. 

I have a personal memory. In the early 1970’s I was the news editor at a weekly newspaper in San Francisco, The Sun Reporter. Several months before the September 1973 coup the pubisher, Carlton B. Goodlett, traveled to Chile and met with President Allende.  When he returned we published an article and photos of the trip. 

When I learned of the coup against President Allende I was shocked.

The Chilean coup ushered in nearly 20 years of fascist style government terror resulting in the disappearance and death of thousands of dissidents.

The American government involvement in the toppling of Salvador Allende was one of the most shameful acts in a long line of American misdeeds.

The coup and its aftermath have been well documented in literature and film. One contribution to the litany of chronicling the coup in Chile and its aftermath is the novel, The Twilight Zone by Nona Hernandez, a Chilean writer and actor. I am just finishing the novel. It is fascinating, depressing, intriguing and disconcerting. 

Following is a review by Chilean author Ariel Dorfman.

Excerpted from The New York Times 3.16.2021

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It was back in 1984, in Chile, a country then suffering under the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, that I first read the sordid story of the torturer Andrés Valenzuela.

A barely tolerated opposition magazine had published an excruciating interview with him, and I forced myself — having recently returned to my native land after 12 years of exile — to devour it with a mix of perverse curiosity and obvious dread. It was a tale of multiple horrors, detailing how Valenzuela and his fellow state agents had abducted dissidents, applied electricity to their genitals, dumped the corpses in rivers and ravines. I knew some of those victims personally and was aware that the viciousness inflicted on them and so many others could very well erupt into my own life.

Overcome with revulsion, I resolved to forget that name, Andrés Valenzuela. As if banishing him from memory could deny his ferocious persistence. Because here he is again, the protagonist of Nona Fernández’s novel “The Twilight Zone,” translated fluidly into English by Natasha Wimmer. Given my initial distressing experience with the magazine interview, I approached this book with trepidation, also wary that a plethora of investigations, memoirs, films, fiction, essays, plays and poems had extensively covered the themes of terror, memory and the obstacles to national reconciliation since Pinochet’s loss of power in 1990. Could anything original still be expressed on the subject?

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Chilean President Salvador Allende

In fact, “The Twilight Zone” is wildly innovative, a major contribution to literature, in Chile and beyond, that deals with trauma and its aftermath. Fernández, whose previous works of fiction have been admirably iconoclastic, belongs to a generation of prominent Chilean writers (like Alejandro Zambra, Lina Meruane, Andrés Anwandter) who grew up under the dictatorship and have developed fresh perspectives on those turbulent years. She understands that, rather than fleeing from Valenzuela, we must pursue him and his secrets if there is ever to be a reckoning with the demonic legacy of men like him.

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Chilean military burning books after the Coup

In order to hold together the novel’s interlocking fragments, all those lives endlessly trapped in “dense, circular time,” Fernández deploys a brilliant literary strategy. She conjures up samples of popular culture, primarily from the TV series “The Twilight Zone,” and turns them into portals to another dimension. An astronaut stranded on a planet reminds her not only of Valenzuela adrift in a French village, unable to contact his homeland, but also of a prisoner who sends messages to a son he will never again see, as well as the author herself as she receives signals from the child she once was. It is a superb way of making familiar the unimaginable experience of torture and pain, helping her haunted readers descend with her into “the blaze of history.”

 

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Augusto Pinochet shaking hands with Sec. of State Henry Kissinger -1976

 

 

“It is no place for a mine.” Biden moves to protect Alaska sockeye salmon fisheries

Alaska has for decades been one of the biggest political backgrounds in the fight to save the environment from the ravages of the oil industry, mining and development. The Biden Administration is moving on behalf of the environment and in this instance fighting to protect the way of life for Alaska’s native population.

Excerpted from The New York Times 9.9.2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Thursday took the first steps that would allow it to begin the process of protecting Alaska’s pristine Bristol Bay, one of the world’s most valuable sockeye salmon fisheries that also sits atop massive copper and gold deposits long coveted by mining companies.

The administration filed a motion in the United States District Court for Alaska to quash a Trump-era decision that had stripped environmental protections for Bristol Bay, about 200 miles southwest of Anchorage. If the court agrees, the administration could begin crafting permanent protections for the area.

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Extolling the region as foundational to the way of life for Alaska Natives, a sought-after destination for anglers and the source of half the world’s sockeye salmon, Mr. Biden said, “It is no place for a mine.”

In a statement, the Environmental Protection Agency argued that the administration of President Donald J. Trump acted unlawfully in 2019 when it rejected concerns that a proposed massive gold and copper mine would threaten the fisheries, withdrawing federal protections from Bristol Bay.

Both federal and state agencies found that the proposed Pebble Mine, which would be located in two watersheds that feed fish-spawning rivers, would cause permanent damage. Scientists say it would destroy more than 130 miles of streams, 2,800 acres of wetlands and 130 acres of open water.

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Bristol Bay, Alaska

The move will have little immediate effect because the Trump administration ultimately denied an essential permit for the project, known as Pebble Mine, in 2020. That happened after President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and the Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, both of whom enjoyed hunting and fishing in the region, joined environmental activists and Native tribes to oppose the mine in an unlikely coalition.

But environmental activists noted that the decision to reject the permit by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is being appealed by the Pebble Limited Partnership, the company seeking to build the mine.

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Native fisherman at Bristol Bay

The company wants to dig a pit, more than a mile square and one-third of a mile deep, to obtain the metals, estimated to be worth at least $300 billion. The project would include the construction of a 270-megawatt power plant and 165-mile natural-gas pipeline, as well as an 82-mile road and large dammed ponds for the tailings — some of them toxic. It would also require dredging a port at Iliamna Bay.

At the moment, there is nothing in place to stop a new attempt at a mining project in the region, though the Biden administration’s request to the court is seen as a first step in changing that.

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The administration of President Barack Obama concluded in 2014, after a three-year scientific review, that the Pebble Mine project could have “catastrophic” effects, including a “complete loss of fish habitat due to elimination, dewatering, and fragmentation of streams, wetlands, and other aquatic resources” in some parts of Bristol Bay.

Mr. Obama’s E.P.A. issued a proposed determination under a provision of the Clean Water Act that would have acted like a veto and effectively banned mining in the area. But the agency faced several lawsuits from the Pebble Limited Partnership, and when Mr. Trump took office the determination was still not finalized.

In 2019 the Trump administration, which by then had rolled back nearly 100 environmental regulations, withdrew the Obama-era designation altogether and denounced it as “outdated” — citing lawsuits by the Pebble Mine company as one of the significant new developments.

 

Pathetic US Supremes. Mexico strikes down criminal penalties for abortion

Lee Heidhues 9.7.2021

The Mexican Supreme Court, which presides over the judiciary in this conservative Catholic nation, just struck a blow for the right of women to control their bodies.

The increasingly anti-woman and right-wing US Supreme Court, now stacked with six Republican Justices, will likely continue its attack on women.

This enlightened action by America’s neighbor, intentional or not, is a slap in the face to America and its legal system. The recent ruling of the US Supreme Court upholding Texas anti-abortion statute looks more oppressive by the day.

It’s a pathetic day for the US Supreme Court which put women back into a state of bondage. A state of affairs more suited to the middle ages or a story straight out of  The Handmaid’s Tale.

The Guardian 9.7.2021

Mexico’s supreme court has struck down a state abortion law, ruling that criminal penalties for terminating pregnancies are unconstitutional, in a decision which advocates say provides a path to decriminalisation across the country.

In a unanimous 10-0 ruling, the top court ordered the northern state of Coahuila, whose border is with the American state of Texas, to remove sanctions for abortion from its criminal code – with several justices arguing the prohibitions on voluntarily interrupting a pregnancy violated women’s rights to control their own bodies.

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“It is not about the right to abortion,” said justice Luis María Aguilar, who wrote the court’s opinion for overturning the Coahuila law. “It’s rather the right to decide of women and persons able to gestate to make decisions.”

The ruling contrasts sharply with recent actions in the United States to restrict abortion access – most notably across the border from Coahuila in Texas, where legislation – upheld by the US supreme court – bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy and allows citizens to pursue legal actions against women seeking a termination.

But the decision continues a trend in Latin America towards decriminalization as women waving green handkerchiefs have thronged the streets across the continent to demand action on abortion access and gender violence.

Mexico follows Argentina, where lawmakers voted in December to decriminalise abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Tuesday’s ruling continues a trend from Mexico’s supreme court to rule in favour of petitions brought by women seeking abortions for health reasons or due to sexual assault.

It also turns back a spate of state-level attempts over the past dozen years to restrict abortion through constitutional amendments.

“This is the first time the court is getting to the heart of the matter” on abortion restrictions, said Rebeca Ramos, director of GIRE, a reproductive rights organisation.

“In this specific case, it’s whether criminalisation, considering elective abortion at the early stages of pregnancy to be a crime, is constitutional,” she added. “What’s being resolved is that it’s not constitutional because it affects a series of human rights.”

So far, only four Mexican states have decriminalised abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy – with three state removing restrictions over the past two years.

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Mexico’s Catholic church voiced dismay with the ruling, while others expressed anger over the justices’ decision to refer to “persons able to gestate” in their arguments.

Bishops have previously lobbied state governors to approve prohibitions on abortion, said Rodolfo Soriano-Núñez, a sociologist who studies the Mexican Catholic church, “and in exchange they stayed silent on issues such as corruption and violence”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/07/mexico-abortion-law-struck-down-supreme-court-penalties-unconstitutional

Michael K. Williams made The Wire hum

Lee Heidhues 9.6.2021

I watched all five seasons of The Wire and own every season as part of my DVD collection.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wire

Some TV critics have written that The Wire is the best television show in the history of the medium. It may be true and Michael K. Williams portraying Omar is a reason why The Wire receives such high acclaim.

It’s a sad day to learn of Mr. Williams passing at the young age of 54.

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The Wire on DVD – Seasons 1-5

Excerpted from The New York Times 9.6.2021

Michael K. Williams, the actor who brought a hard-edge charisma to his portrayal of Omar Little, the sawed-off-shotgun-wielding stickup man on the pioneering HBO series “The Wire,” was found dead on Monday in his home in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, the police said. He was 54.

His longtime representative, Marianna Shafran, confirmed the death in a statement and said the family was grappling with “deep sorrow” at “this insurmountable loss.”

Mr. Williams was found at about 2 p.m., according to the New York City Police Department. The death is being investigated as a possible drug overdose, and the city’s medical examiner will determine the cause.

As Omar Little on “The Wire,” David Simon’s five-season epic on HBO that explored the gritty underworld of corruption, drugs and the police in Baltimore, Williams played perhaps the most memorable character on a series many consider among the best shows in television history.

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Michael K. Williams as Omar in The Wire

As a swaggering lone wolf in a story largely defined by continuing battles between the police and various crime bosses and crews, Omar was one of prime-time’s preeminent antiheroes in a TV era defined by them. He was also gay and openly so in the homophobic, coldblooded world of murder and drugs, a groundbreaking portrayal of Black masculinity on television.

“I saw a lot of homophobia in my community,” Mr. Williams told The New York Times in 2019. “Omar definitely helped soften the blow of homophobia in my community and it opened up a dialogue, definitely.”

Mr. Williams grew up in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he said he had never envisioned a life outside the borough. But before he was 30, he had parlayed his love for dance into dancing roles with the singers George Michael and Madonna, and choreographed and performed in the video for Crystal Waters’s hit single, “100% Pure Love.” He then landed his first acting opportunity when he caught the eye of Tupac Shakur.

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At 25 years old, Mr. Williams got the scar that became his signature physical feature and that helped to define him as an actor. He was spending his birthday at a bar in Queens when a man slashed his face with a razor blade during a fight. After that, directors no longer wanted him as a backup dancer; they wanted him in “thug roles,” he told NPR in 2014.

Then came“The Wire.” Just before he landed the role, Mr. Williams has described himself as “lost,” in debt and borrowing money from his family to live. He was in the living room watching television when his episode of “The Sopranos” came on and, watching himself onscreen, he realized he was sitting around wasting his talent.

“I went back to my mom and I said, ‘You know what, I think I need to give show business one more shot,’” he told Vanity Fair.

“Unfortunately, Germany joined the Americans. That is forgiven now.”

The Taliban are engaging in a charm offensive to woo foreign governments to formally recognize the new regime in Kabul. How the government in Berlin handles the Taliban will go a long way towards how the Afghanistan leadership is received in the court of public opinion.

The Green Party is not part of this diplomatic offensive. It is rejecting any financial aid for the Taliban regime.

Deutsche Welle 9.5.2021

A Taliban spokesman has said Germans are welcome in Afghanistan and that the group hopes Berlin will open diplomatic ties. The militant Islamist group is aiming for international legitimacy — as well as substantial aid.

In an interview published Sunday, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that the militant group now in control of most of Afghanistan would like diplomatic relations and financial support from Germany.

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“We want strong and official diplomatic relations with Germany,” Mujahid told the paper.

Mujahid said Germans were always welcome in Afghanistan. He added even added that Germans had once been viewed as a positive influence in Afghanistan.

“Unfortunately, they then joined the Americans. But that is forgiven now,” Mujahid said.

In addition to diplomatic relations, the Taliban also seek financial support, humanitarian aid and cooperation in health, agriculture and education from Germany.

Germany closed its embassy in Kabul with the Taliban’s victory and relocated Ambassador Markus Potzel to Doha, Qatar, but the German government remains in contact with the Taliban.

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Berlin is hoping for some level of cooperation to bring more eligible Afghans out of the country. The Taliban have a political office that functions roughly as a foreign ministry might in Doha.

While German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has been keen to stress that diplomatic representation does not equal recognition of the Taliban government, he did say last week: “If it were politically possible and if the security situation permits, then Germany should also have its own embassy in Kabul again.”

https://www.dw.com/en/germans-welcome-in-afghanistan-taliban-spokesperson-says/a-59088838

Who Won the War on Terror: From 9/11 to 1/6. Bin Laden’s Catastrophic Success

The arch Washington establishment publication, founded in 1922, marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with a deep look into the 20 year so called War on Terror and its impact on America in particular and the world in general. Who Won the War on Terror?

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https://www.foreignaffairs.com/issue-packages/2021-08-24/who-won-war-terror

Foreign Affairs is the must read bi-monthly magazine for the foreign policy establishment and  apparatchiks in Washington and capitals around the globe. What  makes the current issue with its unvarnished look on the World 20 years after 9/11 must reading is the clear eyed analysis. There are six articles. The most sobering is titled “From 9/11 to 1/6. The War on Terror Supercharged the Far Right” by Cynthia Miller-Idriss.

The illustrations, one accompanying each article, are by Brian Stauffer, a noted artist whose contribution to this special Foreign Affairs special section, give it added weight.

The top illustration is for Ms. Miller-Idriss piece.  The other illustrations follow with the title and author of each article.

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Enter a captionBin Laden’s Catastrophic Success – Al Qaeda Changed the World-But Not in the Way It Expected – Nelly Lahoud
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Them and Us – How America Lets Its Enemies Hijack Its Foreign Policy – Ben Rhodes
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The Good Enough Doctrine – Learning to Live with Terrorism – Bryan Byman
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Resistance is Futile – The War on Terror Supercharged State Power – Thomas Hegghammer
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Winning Ugly – What the War on Terror Cost America – Elliot Ackerman

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Stauffer

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Brian Stauffer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Affairs