Sunday, November 19, 2017

Diana Ross on tonight's American Music Awards (ABC)


Diana Ross on longevity and life off the stage


  1. I couldn't miss the honoring my mom this Sunday... so I'm hosting the show! Don't miss it this Sunday at 8/7c on ABC!


Don't miss Diana on tonight's AMAs.

We're working on THIRD and I'm trying to do a comic for THE COMMON ILLS to go up tonight.

But I love Diana Ross and want to be sure everyone else who does knows she's performing on THE AMAS tonight (ABC) and she's receiving the lifetime achievement award.


Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Friday, November 17, 2017.




"Love Hangover" is one of the 19 number one pop songs (BILLBOARD US singles chart) that Diana Ross has sang on (and it's the theme to her hist film MAHOGANY).   November 19th, she'll be on the live broadcast (ABC) of The American Music Awards to perform and to receive the American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement.  Motown Classic is issuing DIAMOND DIANA: THE LEGACY COLLECTION November 17th (today!)  to note this monumental achievement.  That's this Sunday and her daughter Tracee Ellis Ross (BLACKISH, GIRLFRIENDS) will be hosting the broadcast.



Turning to Iraq . . .


THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE this coming Sunday will feature a cover story by Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal "The Uncounted:"


   Around midnight, Basim heard a thump from the second floor. He peeked out of his office and saw a sliver of light under the door to the bedroom of his daughter, Tuqa. He called out for her to go to bed. At 21, Tuqa would often stay up late, and though Basim knew that he wasn’t a good example himself and that the current conditions afforded little reason to be up early, he believed in the calming power of an early-to-bed, early-to-rise routine. He waited at the foot of the stairs, called out again, and the sliver went dark.
It was 1 a.m. when Basim finally shut down the computer and headed upstairs to bed. He settled in next to Mayada, who was fast asleep.
Some time later, he snapped awake. His shirt was drenched, and there was a strange taste — blood? — on his tongue. The air was thick and acrid. He looked up. He was in the bedroom, but the roof was nearly gone. He could see the night sky, the stars over Mosul. Basim reached out and found his legs pressed just inches from his face by what remained of his bed. He began to panic. He turned to his left, and there was a heap of rubble. “Mayada!” he screamed. “Mayada!” It was then that he noticed the silence. “Mayada!” he shouted. “Tuqa!” The bedroom walls were missing, leaving only the bare supports. He could see the dark outlines of treetops. He began to hear the faraway, unmistakable sound of a woman’s voice. He cried out, and the voice shouted back, “Where are you?” It was Azza, his sister-in-law, somewhere outside.
“Mayada’s gone!” he shouted.
“No, no, I’ll find her!”

“No, no, no, she’s gone,” he cried back. “They’re all gone!” 


Not only did the strike target his house and his brother's house, the US military posted a video of the strike insisting it was targeting an ISIS facility.


There are no precision strikes.  It's as big a lie as smart bombs.

But where has the left been since the fall of 2014 when Barack Obama began ordering daily strikes?  Strikes that have continued under Donald Trump?

Is the only true sign of a 'woke' person really just bad morning breath?

We certainly haven't seen one damn effort to stop the Iraq War and our 'Social Justice Warriors' can't be bothered with Iraq.

Nor can THE NATION or THE PROGRESSIVE or any of our so-called 'independent' outlets.

They've had nothing to say or do for over three years now as Iraq has endured daily bombings -- not by terrorists but by a US-led coalition.


Kahn and Gopal note:

   
Our own reporting, conducted over 18 months, shows that the air war has been significantly less precise than the coalition claims. Between April 2016 and June 2017, we visited the sites of nearly 150 airstrikes across northern Iraq, not long after ISIS was evicted from them. We toured the wreckage; we interviewed hundreds of witnesses, survivors, family members, intelligence informants and local officials; we photographed bomb fragments, scoured local news sources, identified ISIS targets in the vicinity and mapped the destruction through satellite imagery. We also visited the American air base in Qatar where the coalition directs the air campaign. There, we were given access to the main operations floor and interviewed senior commanders, intelligence officials, legal advisers and civilian-casualty assessment experts. We provided their analysts with the coordinates and date ranges of every airstrike — 103 in all — in three ISIS-controlled areas and examined their responses. The result is the first systematic, ground-based sample of airstrikes in Iraq since this latest military action began in 2014.

We found that one in five of the coalition strikes we identified resulted in civilian death, a rate more than 31 times that acknowledged by the coalition. It is at such a distance from official claims that, in terms of civilian deaths, this may be the least transparent war in recent American history. Our reporting, moreover, revealed a consistent failure by the coalition to investigate claims properly or to keep records that make it possible to investigate the claims at all. While some of the civilian deaths we documented were a result of proximity to a legitimate ISIS target, many others appear to be the result simply of flawed or outdated intelligence that conflated civilians with combatants. In this system, Iraqis are considered guilty until proved innocent. Those who survive the strikes, people like Basim Razzo, remain marked as possible ISIS sympathizers, with no discernible path to clear their names. 


This is Rawa, the lone survivor of an airstrike that killed her parents and siblings in Qaiyara, Iraq last year. The U.S. told us the coalition carried out an airstrike "10 meters away against a known ISIS weapons cache."





Murray Brewster (CBC) reports on one aspect of the US-led coalition:

Canada is sending 20 combat engineers to train Iraqi troops to dismantle roadside bombs and booby traps left behind by retreating ISIS fighters, the Canadian military announced Friday.

The undertaking unfolded this week even as the overall advise and assist mission involving 200 elite Canadian special forces troops, remains on hold because of tensions between the central government in Baghdad and the independence-minded Kurdish region.


The tensions are long standing.  ISIS provided a common enemy that briefly set various problems aside.  These problems include the lack of funding from the Baghdad-based government to the KRG.
They also include issues of oil and issues of territory.

September 25th a non-binding referendum was held in the KRG and over 92% of those voting expressed the wish for the semi-independent Kurdistan to become fully independent.

Today's Nervous Nancies and Terrified Terrances of the press trembled at the thought and did not report what was taking place but instead presented spin from the Baghdad-based government.

The notion of splitting Iraq into three areas under a system of federalism is not a new one.

And when Senator Joe Biden proposed it, it was treated as normal and rational.

In fact, we were among the few to oppose that.

Our reason for opposing it?

If the Iraqi people want to do it, let them do it.  But it should not be imposed upon them by a foreign government.


We got a lot of flack for that position.

And yet a few years later, when a section of the Iraqi people want to explore it, the press treats it as how-dare-they! and acts as if the notion is something that has never been raised before and certainly not by any right-thinking-person.

It was a non-binding referendum.

The press and various foreign leaders treated it as though the KRG had announced they were building nukes.


This allowed Iraq's latest prime minister and thug Hayder al-Abadi to start persecuting the Kurds.

The latest move?

RUDAW reports:

Kurdish members of the Iraqi parliament left Thursday’s session, causing the legislature to postpone a vote on punishing Kurdish MPs for participating in the independence referendum.

Parliament has sought to have Kurdish MPs stripped of their parliamentary immunity and put on trial in retaliation for voting for Kurdistan independence in the September 25 referendum.

The Iraqi parliament was to discuss the matter on Thursday, but most of the Kurdish MP’s left the legislature when the subject came up. Their absence meant quorum for the session was not met and the meeting had to be delayed.

An MP with the State of Law Coalition condemned the Kurdish lawmakers’ action.

“The parliament brought yet another failure on the people of Iraq. It was meant to punish wrongdoers. Voting on a parliamentary committee formed to punish separatist MPs was on the parliament agenda. These MPs were part of a big plot to undermine the security and stability of Iraq,” said Kazim Sayadi.


Again, this is awful for the Kurds at present but it will ensure that they are resolved in leaving Baghdad behind.   Hayder doesn't know how to foster unity.




The following community sites -- plus THE GUARDIAN, DISSIDENT VOICE, LATINO USA, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS and GORILLA RADIO -- updated:













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    Friday, November 10, 2017

    Bros Before Tubbos



    Monday, December 22, 2014

    Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bros Before Tubbos"





     

    From December 22, 2014 that's "Bros Before Tubbos."  C.I. noted:

    Chris Christie insists, "Hey Barack, don't turn your back on a bromance! I can't quit you!"  But Barack, riding a motorcycle with One Direction's Harry Styles, responds, "Sorry Chris, bros before tubbos! Besides I like it when Harry presses his crotch into my bum."  Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.
    "Kiss Me" -- the One Direction video -- was the inspiration for that one.


    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


    Friday, November 10, 2017.




    "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone" by Diana Ross & the Supremes is one of the 19 number one pop songs (BILLBOARD US singles chart) that Diana Ross has sang on.  November 19th, she'll be on the live broadcast (ABC) of The American Music Awards to perform and to receive the American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement.  Motown Classic is issuing DIAMOND DIANA: THE LEGACY COLLECTION November 17th to note this monumental achievement.


    C. Alexander Ohlers (THE HILL) offers:



    One of the less told stories of Iraq is its success in 2008, at which time Coalition Forces, diplomats, and the international community began to gain momentum under the ‘surge’ strategy. By 2010, the once formidable al Qaeda in Iraq had been relegated to the countryside of Mosul, civilian deaths fell from as high as 3,500 per month in late 2006 to below 250 per month, and Iraqi’s, who previously hid in their dark Baghdad homes, could walk the streets and dine out.
     
     
    Another positive development was the emergence of a non-sectarian Sunni-Shiite coalition, the Iraqi National Movement (al Iraqiya), which would win a narrow majority in the 2010 election against Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s State of Law Collation.
     
    Although the victors normally have the first opportunity to form a collation government, Maliki influenced the Iraq courts to sanction his party with a prevenient opportunity to form a government. A nine-month standoff ensued as a result, during which time Maliki retained power while Iran pressured wayward Shiite groups to join Maliki’s coalition.
     
    The U.S. Administration was faced with a decision: to reinforce Iraq’s democratic process; or, to support the Maliki government. As reported by Ned Parker in Foreign Affairs and Politico, Vice President Biden and then Ambassador Hill chose to back the politically stronger Maliki as prime minister through a compromise power sharing arrangement, or the Erbil Agreement.
     
    The outcome was dire. After U.S. troops departed from Iraq at the end of 2011, Maliki reneged on the terms of the Erbil Agreement. Instead, he moved to centralized power, exiled several Sunni leaders, and marginalized Sunni groups in what many analysts believe set fertile soil for the rise of ISIS.
     
    That's how it happened before.
    Sadly, it appears to be happening again.
    ISIS has not been destroyed but Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi is determined to destroy Iraq -- just like Nouri al-Maliki did before him.
    Not seeing it?
    armed forces detain journalist Samir Obeid since Oct. 22 because of an article criticizing Iraqi PM . continues to be inhospitable for press freedom
     
     
     

    The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Iraqi authorities to release freelance journalist and political commentator Samir Obeid immediately.
    Iraqi armed forces from the 54th brigade arrested Obeid at his Baghdad home on October 22, according to the local press freedom groups the Iraqi Center for Supporting Freedom of Speech and the Iraq Observatory for Press Freedoms. The arrest came a day after Obeid published an article to his Facebook page, which has over 24,000 followers, that was critical of Iraq's prime minister.
    On October 26, Baghdad's Al-Sa'a Court charged Obeid with spreading rumors and fake news and misleading public opinion in accordance with Article 210 of the Iraqi penal code, according to a post that Obeid's brother-in-law, Hassan al-Rassam, published on his Facebook page.
    "Iraqi journalists are already reporting in some of the most dangerous conditions worldwide. The Iraqi government should not compound their difficulties by arresting journalists like Samir Obeid for critical reporting," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour from Washington D.C. "Iraqi authorities must immediately release Obeid and allow journalists to work freely and without fear of reprisal."
    According to the brother-in-law, bail conditions were met and Obeid was expected to be released on October 30, but he remained in detention. On November 8, authorities referred Obeid's case to a criminal court and charged the journalist with communicating with foreign parties in accordance with Article 164 of the Iraqi penal code, al-Rassam told CPJ.
    Obeid has been held at Baghdad's Al-Muthanna Air Base.
    According to al-Rassam, neither Obeid's family nor lawyer has been able to contact the journalist since his arrest.
    In his article, published on October 21, Obeid wrote that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi used the country's armed forces to retake Kirkuk so that foreign oil companies that helped al-Abadi become prime minister-- most notably the British-owned oil company British Petroleum-- could gain control of the oil fields in Kirkuk. According to BP estimates, the Kirkuk fields hold 9 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
    Al-Rassam told CPJ that his brother's arrest was in retribution for this article and that the charges against his brother-in-law are false and unfounded.
    The Iraqi Prime Minister's office did not immediately reply to CPJ's request for comment.
    The second charge, for communicating with foreign parties, is based on Obeid's guest appearances on the Al-Jazeera program "Opposite Directions," al-Rassam wrote in a Facebook post. He wrote that Iraqi authorities consider the Qatari-owned broadcaster Al-Jazeera to be allied with foreign countries that plan to overthrow their government. CPJ was unable to verify al-Rassam's explanation of the charges.
    Samir Obeid was a frequent critic of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and lived in exile in Norway until 2014 when he returned to Baghdad.
    Obeid has regularly appeared as an expert and commentator on television channels including Tigris TV, ANB, and NRT, and has provided analysis on Iraqi political issues including the implications of the Kurdish independence referendum and the Iraqi government's decision to award the U.S. firm Blackwater a contract to protect the Trebil section of the Iraq-Jordan border crossing.
    Obeid posted opinion pieces and articles on the ongoing dispute between the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq and the Iraqi government to his Facebook page following the Kurdish independence referendum on September 25, 2017. 
    Attacking the press?  Nouri did that.  (Of course, Hayder's been attacking the press for some time -- and made a mockery out of the threats against journalist Ned Parker.)
    Care to notice it before another ISIS rises again?
    Or will the global community just stick its head in the sand again?


    As IS’ power recedes, however, it is slowly being replaced by sectarian Shia Islamist militias who operate nominally under Baghdad’s control, but are closely linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. These groups are likely to be destabilising factors - antagonists to Iraq’s Sunni Arabs and now also its Kurds - dictating political terms in the areas they control despite supposedly being under the authority of the central government. As a result, small insurgencies have already started to flare again in cities that were previously feted as “liberated” by Baghdad.
    [. . .]
    There are already signs that such an insurgency is indeed re-emerging in key locations around Iraq, with so-called “low-intensity conflict” reasserting itself as the normative violence in the war-ravaged country. Baghdad’s efforts may not only need to be focused on IS, though, as other groups who have stayed dormant for more than three years attempt to make a comeback.

    As Abadi was raising the Iraqi national flag in Qaim on Sunday, twin blasts rocked the recently recaptured oil-rich city of Kirkuk, the centre of recent explosive events between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government based in Erbil. Footage circulating online showed plumes of smoke rising from the scene of the suspected suicide bombings on Atlas Street, which lies in a busy shopping area.

    The attacks targeted a crowded market and a former police station taken over by a Shia Islamist militant group, who set themselves up after Baghdad ejected Kurdish Peshmerga militias from the disputed city last month. While many Peshmerga fighters abandoned the city – often described by Kurds as the “Kurdish Jerusalem” – other Kurds swore that they would not allow the Shia-led government in Baghdad to control Kirkuk easily.


    The Shi'ite militias are outlawed in the Constitution.  But Hayder has officially recognized them and made them a part of the Iraqi forces.

    He's in violation of the Constitution and his militias are carrying out War Crimes.

    Concerned yet?

    Warning! Some may find this video disturbing: alleged members of the Iraqi Army executing a young man in civilian cloths. Regardless of identity of victim, this is total savagery!
     
     
     



    There is no any difference between Iraqi &─░ran and ISIS. Who Can explain why part of his government forces act like this? Is this state or militia state?
     
     
     

    Wednesday, Hayder al-Abadi declared in his weekly press conference that "this week, we received another batch of F-16 aircrafts from the USA."


    Just keep rewarding him, ignore his War Crimes, ignore his attacks on the Iraqi people?

    That's what Barack Obama did with Nouri al-Maliki until the summer of 2014.

    He knew Nouri was corrupt and trash -- so much so that the day after the 2012 US election, Barack refused to take Nouri's call of congratulations and instead fobbed the call -- and Nouri -- off on then-Vice President Joe Biden.

    But he kept rewarding Nouri.

    No conditions were ever set on aid or US support.

    Donald Trump, some have noted inherited this problem.

    Yes, he did.

    But it was a known problem and Donald decided he wanted to be president, so he needs to lead.

    He hasn't led on Iraq.

    He's failed.

    With all the reports of War Crimes and with the militias (and Hayder himself) publicly rebuking US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the US still delivered more war planes to Iraq this week.

    No conditions, just give the crying despot what he wants?

    That's the policy?

    Even though it hasn't worked before?


    Donald Trump's president now.  He can't blame his failures on anyone else. The Iraq War was started under Bully Boy Bush and continued under Barack Obama.  It's still going on and if Donald has no ideas of how to end it, he shouldn't have run for president.


    In last Friday's snapshot, we noted the new effort to lower the age of marriage to at least 9-years.  Mustafa Habib (NIQASH) reports:


    “There are serious constitutional and legal violations in this desire of the Islamic parties to amend the law,” one Iraqi MP, Shuruq al-Abaji, told NIQASH.
    She points out that Article 41 of the Iraqi Constitution guarantees that Iraqis are free to choose personal status according to their religious beliefs, sects or other choices. Before the amendments can be made to the personal status law, this article would need to be changed, al-Abaji insists.
    And there is another legal issue, the politician notes. The proposed new personal status law would refer issues of marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance to the religious endowment authorities – these are the bodies tasked with running and maintaining Shiite or Sunni mosques and shrines and they are very important institutions within their own sectarian communities. But, as al-Abaji argues, that violates not just the principle of the separation of powers but also human rights and international laws around women’s rights.
    “The organization of these issues should be the responsibility of the courts and not the executive branch of Sunni or Shiite religious orders,” al-Abaji concludes.
    Iraq’s original personal status law and the proposed amendments could not be more different. The first one grants mothers the right to custody and gives wives the right to inherit their husband’s estate. Meanwhile religious jurisprudence tends to say the custody of children is a matter for the father and that women do not have the right to inherit real estate or land.
    However these were not even the issues that really riled Iraqis up. The change that most angered locals was the one related to legal marriageable age. Civil law says a couple should be aged at least 18 in order to marry. Meanwhile religious law says puberty means a female is of marriageable age. In some cases, this is considered to be nine years old, in others 12 years old. 
    “The newly proposed law encourages the marriage of minors and reminds us most of the way that the [extremist group] Islamic State behaved with young girls, how the organisation forced them to marry group members when they were in control in Mosul and Raqqa,” says MP Rizan al-Sheik Daleer.
    Once again, civil society and women’s rights organisations rallied around to protests the changes in the law. Many Iraqis on social media used the hashtag #NoToUnderageMarriages and a number of Facebook pages were created to organize the protests and garner support.


    Not one US news outlet has reported on this.



    The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, Jody Watley and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:








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