Thursday, August 23, 2012

Everything Bully Is Barack Again

Everything Bully Is Barack Again

From March 15, 2009, that's "Everything Bully Is Barack Again."  Another appearance by Little Dickie.  Barack was such a fake and it was so obvious so quickly.

I didn't do a comic Sunday and my plan was to have one up Tuesday but life interfered.  That tends to happen a lot.  I have my idea for it and right now I'm trying to figure out whether to use it one of the community newsletters or at the website and if it's the latter do I post it on Saturday and do another on Sunday?

I don't know.  But time just ran out on me last week.

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

Thursday, August 23, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, a former US Ambassador to Iraq is arrested, either a Syrian plane or another country's plane en route to Syria violated Iraqi airspace today . . . or it didn't, the secretive Erbil Agreement gets some attention, a member of the National Alliance has an arrest warrant issued against him, Veterans for Peace announce their plans for the next few weeks, Ian Wilder calls for Gallup to include Jill Stein's campaign in the presidential polling and more.
Former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker is in the news today.  It's not good news.  January 15, 2009, Crocker was at the White House being presented with the Medal of Freedom by Bully Boy Bush.  Condi Rice, John Negroponte and Laura Bush among the one watching.
Members of the Foreign Service bring this valor and professionalism to their work every single day. And there is one man who embodies these qualities above all: Ambassador Ryan Crocker. Over the years, Ryan has earned many honors, including the Presidential Meritorious Service Award and the rank of Career Ambassador. Today I have the privilege of honoring Ambassador Crocker with the highest civil award I can bestow: the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It has not been bestowed yet. The son of an Air Force officer, Ryan Crocker has never been your typical diplomat. For social engagements, he likes to tell guests, "no socks required." For language training, he once spent time herding sheep with a desert tribe in Jordan. For sport, he has jogged through war zones, and run marathons on four continents. And for assignments, his preference has always been anywhere but Washington. During his nearly four decades in the Foreign Service, Ryan Crocker has become known as America's Lawrence of Arabia. His career has taken him to every corner of the Middle East. His understanding of the region is unmatched. His exploits are legendary. He has served as ambassador to five countries. He has repeatedly taken on the most challenging assignments.  The man has never run from danger. As a young officer during the late 1970s, Ryan catalogued Saddam Hussein's murderous rise to power. In 1983, he survived the terrorist attack on the American embassy in Lebanon. In 1998, as the Ambassador to Syria, he witnessed an angry mob plunder his residence.   After any one of these brushes with danger, most people would have lost their appetite for adventure.  Not Ryan Crocker. In the years since September the 11th, 2001, I have asked Ryan to hold numerous posts on the front lines of the war on terror, and he has stepped forward enthusiastically every time.    
The spotlight today shined for less than honorable reasons, though it was formal since he had been formally arrested.  Jeff Humphrey and Rob Kauder (KXLY4) reports Crocker "was arrested
on August 14 by the Washington State Patrol for hit-and-run and DUI in Spokane Valley."  The driver of the other vehicle (a semi) was not harmed in the accident that Crocker is charged with.  In addition, he is alleged to have then fled the scene.  When police found apprehended him, his low score on the breathalyzer was .152 (he blew twice).
When he was awarded the honor in January 2009, then-White House spokesperson Dana Perino declared, "It was a surprise for Ryan Crocker, that he was getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- a surprise, I think, for everybody.  But we kept that a secret because he is a very humble person, Ambassador Crocker.  And I can't think of anybody more deserving."  And today, the humble person is in the news for reasons no one wants to be in the news.  He continued as Ambassador to Iraq under President Barack Obama until Barack nominated Chris Hill and, in 2011, Barack nominated him and the Senate confirmed as US Ambassador to Baghdad -- a post he held until last July.  Hopefully, if this is an alcohol problem, he'll get the help he needs.  If this was less of a disease and more of bad jugment, hopefully, he'll learn a lesson from it.  Regardless, I take no joy in his arrest for drunk driving and hope he addresses whatever took him to this point. 
From what is known to what is unknown at this time: Did fighter jets fly over Iraq into Syria and did they do so with Nouri al-Maliki's approval?
 Alsumaria also reports that Iraqiya MP Hamid al-Mutlaq states that military aircraft breached Iraqi airspace to fly into Syria and drop bombs.  All Iraq News adds that a warplane was seen over Husaybah and that it went into Syria and bombed Abu Kamal repeatedly.  Alsumaria also notes that Nouri's spokesperson Ali al-Moussawi is denying that any warplane entered Iraqi air space to bomb Syria.   However, AFP reports that an unnamed Iraqi official tells them the plane was Syrian and that it did enter Iraqi air space.
Husaybah is a city in Anbar Province on the Euphrates River right next to the Syrian border.  Syria is one of the countries that Iraq shares a border with, the others being Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran. 
The alleged plane and its nationality are still in doubt (again, an unnamed official told AFP it was a Syrian airplane which would have left Syria's air space to fly briefly in Iraqi airspace before doing a u-turn).  If it wasn't a Syrian plane and it didn't enter Iraq from Syria?
With 15,000 US troops in Kuwait it might be a natural conclusion that the plane launched from Kuwait.  However, Kuwait is on the south east corner of Iraq and Syria is on the north west.  If the plane came from Kuwait, Basra and Najaf, among other major cities, should have spotted it unless it did a major climb from Kuwait over Muthanna Province and  became more visible (decreased altitude) as it passed over Anbar Province.   Saudi Arabia is the south and southwest and a plane could have flown over Iraq from Saudi Arabia to Husaybah (and then to Syria) in much the way a plane would have flown from Kuwait.  Jordan is right below Syria and borders Iraq on the west (slightly south) and a plane from there would have to make a half circle to enter Syria through Husaybah as would a plane from Turkeky which is directly above Syria and shares a northwest border with Iraq.
It is possible that a war plane, even a US war plane, could have flown from Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Kuwait.  If it originated in Jordan or Turkey and flew that path into Syria, it would have done so to conceal that it was originating from Jordan and Turkey.  The most likely explanation would be that it was a Syrian plane that, for whatever reason, flew out of Syria and then right back in.  After that, the most likely explanation would be that it was a US war plane that flew from Kuwait.  If the flight originated from Iraq, it would have to be a foreign plane (due to Iraq's lack of air power) and would have best originated its flight from Al Asad Air Base which is in Anbar Province and near the Euphrates River.  The Wall St. Journal's Sam Dagher Tweeted:

Just spoke to activist in Albukamal on #Syria #Iraq border says regime forces in airport & two bases on outskirts & mortars fired from there
From the unknown to the know, All Iraq News reports that MP Kazam al-Sayadi survived a sniper's assassination attempt on his motorcade today in Kut (Wasit Province).  In addition, Alsumaria reports that a Syrian artillery shell landed on a Anbar home and two Yazidis were kidnappend in Mosul.  Clashes also took place in nothern Iraq.  Reuters notes that the Turkish government is claiming that "Turkish troops have killed 16 Kurdish guerrillas in an operation in southeast Turkey targeting militants who launched a bomb attack on a military convoy that killed five soldiers, the local governor's office said on Thursday."    Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."   Press TV states, "At least 21 people have lost their lives in fresh clashes between Turkish army and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the volatile southeastern Turkey." Al Jazeera notes that the Turkish government states their actions were "in response to a bomb attack [by the PKK] on a military convoy that killed five soldiers."
Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi (Daily Star) weighs in on the topic of violence in Iraq:
What are we to make of the increase in violent deaths in Iraq during June and July? Is it a sign of a long-term upsurge in violence since the U.S. troop withdrawal? Who are the culprits?To begin with, it should be noted that violence in Iraq often follows cyclical patterns. That is, insurgent groups normally step up their operations as summer begins, and around the time of religious festivals, when pilgrims (frequently traveling on foot) are easily exposed to attacks. Thus, in June, there were waves of bomb attacks targeting Shiite pilgrims who were commemorating the death of Moussa al-Kadhim, the great-grandson of the Prophet Mohammad.
That is why one should be careful in extrapolating from short-term trends to warn of growing sectarian tensions and a return to civil war in the near future. Today, the insurgent groups responsible for attacks on civilians and a large number of attacks on government officials are entirely Sunni, since Shiite militant groups such as Kataeb Hizbullah have disbanded following the pullout of U.S. forces.
The two main organizations are Al-Qaeda in Iraq, now virtually a native force, and the Baathist Naqshibandia, which is led by Ezzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who is still at large. He appeared in a video last April to denounce the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and complain of an Iranian-American-Israeli conspiracy to take over Iraq.

Today AP reported that the Islamic State of Iraq had issued a statement proclaiming they were behind violent incidents "from late June until the second half of July." Meanwhile Alsumaria reports that the Iraqi judiciary has issued an arrest warrant for Anbar Salvation Council president Hamid al-Hayes accusing him of terrorism.  The outlet notes that Haydes had condemned the recent waves of attacks, including as late as the start of the week.  Hamid al-Hayes is Sheikh Hamid al-Hayes and a member of the Iraqi National Alliance (Nouri's State of Law, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc and others make up the National Alliance).  In 2009, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace noted:

Anbar Salvation Council

Hamid al-Hayes
Date of Founding & Notable Moments
September 2006
Seats in Parliament
None, at the time of the 2005 elections the founders of the movement were still cooperating with al-Qaeda.
Seats in 2009 Provincial Elections
One of the three groups to grow out of the Awakening councils in Anbar province, the Anbar Salvation Council is the first major Sunni organization to join the INA.

Al-Hayes' position is very close to that of Hatem al-Suleiman and his
Anbar National Salvation Front, who joined the State of Law coalition. The two share a strong opposition to the Iraqi Islamic Party. The division between them appears to be mostly the result of a struggle for leadership and a different tactical decision about which alliance to join.
Sheikh al-Hayes told Alsumaria today that he was prepared to "accept and respect" the arrest warrant and surrender himself, stating that the gates to his houe are open.  He calls the charges frivilous and say they result from police chief being angry at him.
Back to the issue of the Kurds, Hemm Hadi (AKnews) reports, "British MP Nadhim Zahawi has created an e-petition in the British government in a bid to get recognition of the genocide against Kurds in Iraq."  The petition reads:
We urge the Government to recognise formally the Genocide against the people of Iraqi Kurdistan and to encourage the EU and UN to do likewise. This will enable Kurdish people, many in the UK, to achieve justice for their considerable loss. It would also enable Britain, the home of democracy and freedom, to send out a message of support for international conventions and human rights. The Genocide perpetrated over decades, known collectively as the Anfal, began with the arabisation of villages around Kirkuk in 1963. It involved the deportation and disappearances of Faylee Kurds in the 1970s-80s, the murder of 8,000 male Barzanis in 1983, the use of chemical weapons in the late 1980s, most notably against Halabja, and finally the Anfal campaign of 1987-88. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people perished, families were torn apart, with continuing health problems, and 4,500 villages were destroyed between 1976 and 1988 undermining the potential of Iraqi Kurdistan's agricultural resources.
The petition currently has 2,373 signatures.
Tuesday, Gen Martin Dempsey, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, traveled to Baghdad.  With all the problems in Iraq, you might think Dempsey was there to use 'soft power' and press for aims that involved something other than murder.  You would be wrong.

Sunday's New York Times boasted  James Risen and Duraid Adnan's "U.S. Says Iraqis Are Helping Iran to Skirt Sanctions" about the White House's knowledge that Iraq is helping Iran "skirt economic sanctions" and how Barack was "not eager for a public showdown with Nouri." But Dempsey rejected the notion that he'd even raise that issue when he spoke to Dan De Luce (AFP), "The four-star general said he would not press the Iraqi government on reports that it may be allowing Iran to ferry supplies to the Syrian regime through Iraqi territory or helping Tehran circumvent financial sanctions."  Sunday, AEI's Max Boot weighed in at the right-wing Commentary on the the Times' article and Iraq:
A great deal of that success [in Iraq] has been undone, alas, by two bad decisions made by President Obama: First the decision to back a coalition headed by Nouri al Maliki in forming a government even after Maliki finished second in the 2010 election. If the U.S. had gone all out to support the winning slate, led by Ayad Allawi, the result might well have been a government in Baghdad far less amenable to Iranian influence than the current one.
This initial mistake was made much worse by Obama's failure to negotiate an accord to allow U.S. troops to remain in Iraq past 2011.
And the whole point of Dempsey's visit was the Syrian war.  Despite the increasingly loud whispers at the State Dept grow about another secret prison in Baghdad run by Nouri's forces, you might think Dempsey explored that issue but you would be wrong there too.  Nor were the rights of prisoners -- many of whom have been held for years without trial -- addressed.

Though Gen Ray Odierno frequently had to address the political situation with Nouri when Odierno was the top US commander in Iraq and though Iraq is in the midst of a political crisis initiated by Nouri's refusal to honor the Erbil Agreement (after he used it to get his second term as prime minister), Dempsey had no interest in raising that issue either.
Following Iraq's March 2010 elections, the country entered a political stalemate due to Nouri al-Maliki.  He wanted another term as prime minister yet his State of Law slate had come in second to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya.  Per the Constutiton, per the will of the voters, Ayad's group should have had first crack at forming a government (one of them -- most likely Allawi -- should have been named prime minister-designate and given 30 days to form a Cabinet -- form a Cabinet means full Cabinet, not partial, not I'll-do-it-later -- you transfer from prime minister-designate to prime minister based on whether or not you're able to form a Cabinet).  Nouri refused to let it happen, Nouri dug in his heels and pouted.  The White House backed Nouri (this is Barack's administration -- and that's what Max Boot is talking about above).  They didn't back the Iraqi people or the Iraqi Constitution.  After eight  months, they went to the political blocs and basically asked, "What do you want in exchange for allowing Nouri a second term as prime minister?"  And from this was drawn up the US-brokered Erbil Agreement which was then signed of on by the leaders of the political bloc in November 2010.  But Nouri got named prime minister-designate (and a month later moved to prime minister -- despite not having named a full Cabinet -- nearly two years later, he's still never nominated people to head the security ministries) and then tossed aside the Erbil Agreement.  Since the summer of 2011, the Kurds, Iraqiya and Moqtada al-Sadr's group have been calling for a return to the Erbil Agreement. 
Question: To date, Iraqi citizens do not know the content of the first convention of Arbil, and I do not think they will know it. The question is why is there a blackout regarding this issue?
A: The convention in Arbil has really turned into a mystery baffling the Iraqis. It seems that the convention has terms, which the signing parties do not want to reveal either because these provisions are inconsistent with the constitution or contradictory to what some parties say to the media. I hold all signing parties responsible. It seems to me that there is a tacit agreement, imposed by the interests, that no party shall reveal the real text of terms that have been agreed upon.
Turning to the United States, Veterans For Peace has issued the following statement:
Veterans For Peace216 South Meramec Ave
St. Louis MO 63105
(314) 725-6005(office)(314) 725-7103 (fax)
For Immediate Release - August 23, 2012
Why Veterans For Peace will protest the RNC and the DNC
Veterans For Peace will have members protesting at both the Republican National Convention in Tampa and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. VFP President Leah Bolger explained why:
"Social change, including the abolition of war, does not come from supporting one political party over another, but from changing the culture and influencing all major parties. Women did not vote themselves the right to vote. The civil rights movement did not trade in nonviolent action, education, and mobilization for electoral campaigns. The labor movement was not built by what the labor movement spends its money on today. And when our grandparents passed the Kellogg-Briand Pact banning war, they did so by placing the criminalization of war in the platforms of the four largest parties in the country.
"A peace movement that only opposes wars when the president belongs to one party is not a peace movement. It's a partisan campaign that uses the pretended desire for peace as bait and activists as props. What we need far more than campaigning is movement building. We need to organize people to bring our popular demands to the government as a whole. The government is no longer divided into the three traditional branches. The two branches are the two major parties. Congress members and even Supreme Court Justices are loyal to their parties. We must demand that both parties adopt platforms for peace. Our economy cannot withstand further war preparation any more than our consciences can bear the consequences.
"We also need to help the public abandon the pretense that one of the parties is already peaceful. President Obama in the past three-and-a-half years has escalated war in Afghanistan and continued it in the face of overwhelming public opposition. He's invented a new kind of war using drones and launched such wars in numerous nations, building intense hostility toward the United States. He keeps a list of "nominees" for murder. On the list are adults and children, Americans and non-Americans. He holds meetings with his staff on Tuesdays to decide whom to kill next, and then kills them.
"President Obama launched a war on Libya against the will of Congress. The military is larger and more expensive now than it ever was under President Bush. It's more secretive, with the CIA fighting some of the wars. It's more privatized. It's more profitable. It's in more nations. And it's swallowing a greater share of government spending. President Obama has forbidden the prosecution of CIA torturers. He has created a legal and bipartisan acceptance of what we recently protested as scandalous outrages, including imprisonment without trial. And now he has announced that the United States, without Congressional authorization or public approval, is engaged in assisting one side in a civil war in Syria -- even while continuing to threaten war on Iran.
"Veterans For Peace knows that both parties are responsible for the deaths of millions of people. Military spending is the sacred cow that neither party will touch. It matters little which party is in power. The Congressional-Military-Industrial-Media Machine just keeps humming along.
"Veterans For Peace will be in Tampa not to protest the Republican Party, but to protest our government's grotesque military spending. We will be in Charlotte not to protest the Democratic Party, but to protest the abominable killing and destruction being done in our name. VFP will continue to point an accusing finger at the military monster that is our government, and to protest its illegal actions and misplaced priorities in every way we can."
Veterans For Peace was founded in 1985 and has approximately 5,000 members in 150 chapters located in every U.S. state and several countries. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and is the only national veterans' organization calling for the abolishment of war.
In the United States, four women make up two presidential tickets, but you might not know that due to lack of covearge.  The four:   Jill Stein has the Green Party's presidential nomination and her running mate is Cheri Honkala and  Roseanne Barr has the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party and her running mate is Cindy Sheehan.  To get Ms. magazine's blog and Women's Media Center to cover the two presidential campaigns (coverage isn't doing one article on the two women -- though thus far they haven't even offered that -- coverage is a regular feature on the campaigns), you can sign this petition.
Ian Wilder (On The Wilder Side) notes that Jill Stein's being ignored and left out of the Gallup poll and Ian's providing ways that you can let Gallup know they need to include Dr. Jill Stein:
AP reports today that the Stein - Honkala ticket will be on the ballot in Pennsylvania. Candidates who are not part of the Democratic-Republican duopoly have to fight for ballot access at election time -- just to be on the ballot they have to fight. Roseanne Barr and Cindy Sheehan are right now attempting to get on the ballot in Hawaii, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Lousiana, Montana and Michigan:

Volunteer NOW to get BarrSheehan on Ballot in Hawaii-Kansas-Louisiana-Michigan-Montana-Nebraska-SouthDakota-Wyoming 
Check out the new banner 4 Barr-Sheehan 2012. Download and it post it anywhere!
Obviously #BarrSheehan2012 supports a woman's complete and unquestioned right to reproductive freedom over her own body!
We care!  BARR SHEEHAN WILL WORK TO MAKE PEACE AN URGENT ISSUE IN 2012! Obama/Romney don't want it to be. PLEASE RT
Read on ...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Feminist Barack

"The Feminist Barack"

From March 8, 2009, that's "The Feminist Barack."   Barack was always a joke with regards to women although Ms. magazine was the bigger joke with their cover proclaiming him a feminist.   He's trying something similar again because he needs votes. 

Robin Morgan became a regular character in 2008.  She's probably been in five or six cartoons by now.  She brought it on herself by rushing to whore for Barack.  I don't have a great deal of respects for whores but I don't think I should have any respect for them.

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

Thursday, August 16, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, a State of Law MP goes on TV to blame the Kurds for today's wave of violence, Julian Assange and Ecuador steal focus, Camp Ashraf, Jill Stein and Roseanne Barr, and more.
We're dropping back to November 28, 2010 for a moment from the KPFA Evening News:

Anthony Fest: The whistle blower website WikiLeaks released another trove of confidential documents today. Last month WikiLeaks released thousands of Pentagon documents most associated with the US occupation of Iraq. In contrast, the documents made public today include thousands of diplomatic cables -- communications between the State Dept and Washington and US consulates all around the world. The documents cover both the George W. Bush and the Barack Obama administrations. WikiLeaks gave an advance look at the documents to several media organizations including the New York Times and the British newspaper the Guardian. Those publications now have articles on their websites analyzing the documents. WikiLeaks says it will post the documents on its own website in the coming days although it has said its site was the target of a cyber attack today. The documents release is certain to provoke tension between the US and its allies. For example, some of the cables say that Saudi donors are the largest financiers of terror groups. Other cables detail the cover-up of US military activities. One of them records a meeting last January between US Gen David Petreaus and the president of Yemen about air attacks against rebels in Yemen. The president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, tells Petraeus, "We'll continue to say they are our bombs and not yours." According to the Guardian, the documents reveal that some Arab leaders had privately urged an air attack against Iran and that US officials had been instructed to spy on the United Nations' leadership. Among the other disclosures are deep fears in Washington and London about the security of Paksitan's nuclear weapons. Another document asserts massive corruption at high levels of the Afghanistan government saying the Afghan vice president traveled to the United Arab Emirates carrying $52 million in cash. Still other documents disparage the British military in Afghanistan.
In 2010, WikiLeaks was still doing major releases.  In fact, that was probably the high water mark for WikiLeaks.  Already,  Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks had released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Still in 2010,  June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. And that was part of the change.  At that point, the head of WikiLeaks and the face of WikiLeaks to the media and the world, Julian Assange, was stating that they didn't know who the leaker was (that leaked the material to them).  Ever since, Julian Assange has lived on the defensive.
Today he's in the news cycle because Ecuador is offering him asylum. 
If the last four years have taught those of us on the left anything, it should have taught us that there is no excuse or justification to whore for one person, that we either stand up for what we believe in and do so truthfully or we're liars in the eyes of the whole country.
I like Michael Ratner but his Julian Assange commentary has been less than honest for some time.  Today Assange was the topic of a segment on the lousy show Democracy Now! and Michael Ratner fell to the program's low level.
Ecuador has granted asylum to Julian Assange which is pretty much conditional
 upon his getting out of England or else hoping to live in the Ecuador Embassy in the UK.  Michael Ratner wants to assert that Ecuador is "doing what was legally required here."  That is incorrect.  That is a falsehood.  As someone who has repeatedly advocated for Canada to grant asylum to US war resisters, I have never argued that Canada had to do so or that they were legally required to.  Because they weren't.  No country is required to grant someone asylum.  That is why cases for asylum are argued.
There are enough lies out there with regards to the Julian Assange case.  More do not need to be put out there. It is also dishonest for Michael to assert claims to legal rights of asylum when stating that the UK needs to back off.  Julian Assange was released on bail.  He is in violation of British law currently. 
You can assert that B means we follow the law while ignore the earlier event (A).  But when you assert that, you look like you are eithter uninformed or dishonest to anyone who knows the actual details.  In addition, you make others look foolish for believing you.  Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) is an intelligent and caring person.  And she believed she could trust that 'trusted voices' were telling the truth.  She has outraged several who have e-mailed this site about her comments regarding the accusations against Julian Assange in Sweden.  Her pithy claim that they wouldn't even be crimes in the US is embarrassing.  It appears that the Grand Idiot Naomi Wolf has influenced Wilder's take (either through reading or hearing Wolf or hearing others repeat Wofl's arguments).  Here's a tip for every woman in the US, when it comes to rape don't trust Naomi.  This is the woman who stayed silent following a gang rape -- excuse me, that's wrong.  This is a woman who stayed silent in terms of going to the authorities but who laughed with the rapists the night after a gang rape -- laughed about the victim, laughed about the victim's shoe left behind in the frat house as she escaped following her gang rape.  Why did Naomi laugh?  She didn't want to be called a lesbian.
Nothing could hurt the cock-driven (cock-starved?) Naomi Wolf more than to be called a lesbian.  Why didn't she call the authorities?  On that she's remained silent.  But when a professor apparently made a pass at her in the midst of a private evening (he denied it, she said it happened), she wanted the whole world to know about it, over a decade later.  (Did it happen? I have no idea.  But after you've mocked a victim of gang rape with her rapists and then been stupid enough to share that story, don't expect sympathy from me.)  Ava and I have repeatedly warned against that nutcase over the years (in terms of the nutcase and Assange, see "TV: Saboteurs"). 
The harm she's done on the Assange case will not go away.  That's why you don't lie.  Someone's going to believe you're on 'our side.'  When it comes to rape, however, 'our side' gets a hell of a lot smaller and any woman capable of self-honesty will admit that.  When it comes to the environment, the left is one big happy family, hugging trees and replanting forests.  When it comes to issues of violence against women, the left willing to call it out is about a quarter of what it was for the environment.
Michael at least says "my view" at one of his most ludicrous moments.  But he's an attorney and he should know better so the "my view" is nonsense.  He asserts that Julian "has a right to leave that embassy, get on a plane and go to Ecuador.  Will the British ever honor that . . ."? 
The British  right to arrest him -- he is a fugitive -- trumps the right of Ecuador.  They are on British soil.  It is not complicated and Michael knows that.  As does Julian Assange which is why Assange isn't strolling through London to an airport right now.
The dishonesty is so disappointing because we don't need more of it on the left.  If you want to make a case for Julian Assange going to Ecuador, you should be able to do so without resorting to falsehoods.  When Michael Ratner, an intelligent and usually thoughtful person, presents the sloppy throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-hope-something-sticks faux legal argument that he has, anyone paying attention is going to wonder: "If Michael Ratner can't make a plausible legal case, does that mean that there's not one?"
In fairness to Michael, he's not speaking as a legal analyst and shouldn't have been presented as such.  He's working for Assange.  A real public affairs program that operated under journalistic standards would have presented him with another guest who took a different opinion.  And the back-and-forth of such an exchange probably would have greatly sharpened Michael's own argument.
He makes assertions on aslyum that are puzzling at best.  He asserts that "once you've been given asylum, it's not like you can be then picked up by a country and sent into the hands of your persecutor.  Whether it's in the car, whether it's on the streets, wherever you are, it's illegal to do so."  There's no UK case law that backs that up.  If there's an international law that states that, I'm unfamiliar with it -- I am unfamiliar with it and many countries are also unfamiliar with it because this standard he's applying has not been the standard.  If you are wanted for murder and you claim you're a political target and Spain agrees to give you asylum, unless you are in Spain, the authorities have the right and will attempt to arrest you.  This is not a new development. 
Michael Ratner is incorrect when he says it's the law.  Asylum isn't a floating space in the midst of a game of tag-you're-it.  You're granted asylum at an embassy or in that host country.  By Michael's logic, Julian can remain in London, he can travel all over and, if anyone tries to arrest him, he just says, "Uh-uh, I've got asylum from Ecuador."  That's not how it works.
Michael asserts that, "It's illegal for them to stop Julian Assange trying to get to Ecuador."  In what world?  Does he not know any of the asylum cases during the lead up to WWII?  I cannot believe anyone would make such a claim.
We deserve better than that from Michael Ratner or from anyone.  What was broadcast today was a bunch of cheery, beat off material.  I believe the left has self-pleasured enough for the last four years.  Let's try reality and honesty instead.
We can discuss this again tomorrow but for now I am tired of people lying to make their political cases, I am tired of all the whoring.  I realize it's ingrained in some, certainly a number were more than willing to repeat as gospel whatever the party line was out of the mouth of Joseph Stalin.  It needs to stop.  Kimberly Wilder is a smart and caring person.  She's repeated a false claim because the left media whored.  They refused to tell the truth.  That needs to stop right now.  On the left we need to be smarter and more factual.  We're not helping anyone by dumbing ourselves down.  (And Bob Somerby tries to make that argument every day at The Daily Howler.  I wonder how many of us even listen?)
In addition, Michael sounded like the best little Joe Stalin groupie as he attacked the US and the UK and Sweden while praising Ecuador (CCR has also issued an embarrassing press release, Talk Radio News reports on it here).  Ecuador, despite their whoring, is not Mecca.  Click here for Human Rights Watch and here for Amnesty International.  Or go to Huffington Post to read about Ecuador's "Lesbian Torture Clinics."  (To be clear, the US can be criticized and I do so every day here.  That's not the issue.  The issue is presenting Ecuador as some wonderful savior when indigenous people, gays and lesbians and many, many more would beg to differ with your portrayal of their country.)
The left needs to grow the hell up, all of us.  And that includes losing the need to paint anyone who thinks as we do (or appears to) as marvelous, wonderful and 100% pure.  There is a growing number of people (possibly a small number but it's out there, we encounter them when we speak to college audiences especially) who feel Assange distracts from political prisoner Bradley Manning (I agree) and that Assange should turn himself in already because with his talk show and his this and his that he's become a joke (it's his decision to turn himself in or not, I have no opinon on that).  I would like that to be the end of it this week on Assange and hope that Monday, when the latest Law and Disorder Radio, rolls around -- which is hosted by  Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and, yes,  Michael Ratner -- that Michael will have sharpened his argument regarding to Julian Assange and we can open the snapshot with his explaining to us why the amnesty must take place.  He can, for example, present the same claims as the ethical (or "moral" -- but I refrain from the use of that term whenever possible) choice.  That's fine.  But don't claim something's the law when it's not.  We can't afford to be any more ill-informed or mis-informed in this country.  And we can't afford to lose someone as smart as Michael Ratner to the easy-bake punditry that has afflicted so many on the left.
Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observes, "The current Muslim holy month of Ramadan was bloody for Iraqis as al Qaeda in Iraq carried out a number of deadly attacks across the country, targeting mainly Shiite areas."  And the violence of the month continued today as Iraq was slammed with a wave of violence.   RT offers a photo essay of some of the damage.   At least nine cities have seen major violence.  Kareem Raheem, Mustafa Mahmoud, Jamal al-Badrani, Fadhil al-Badrani, Ali Mohammed, Barry Malone and Patrick Markey (Reuters) note that while no one has claimed credit for today's violence -- it may be the work of one group or of many groups and individuals -- the Islamic State of Iraq has been taking credit for recent violence (following the announcement of their Breaking The Walls campaign) and "It has been reinvigorated by the inflow of fighters and cash into neighboring Syria, providing a morale boost and some extra arms and cash, security experts say. Iraqi insurgents are vowing to retake territory lost during a long war with American troops."  And such a move -- retaking territory -- would explain why some of the al Qaeda in Iraq that is now a part of the Free Syrian Army is reportedly buring weapons (see yesterday's snapshot) to prepare for the "after" if President Bashar al-Assad is driven out of power.  July 22nd, the Islamic State of Iraq released an audio recording announcing a new campaign of violence entitled Breaking The Walls which would include prison breaks and killing "judges and investigators and their guards."  (They also threatened to attack America on US soil.) Regardless of which individual or individuals are behind today's attacks, it is a bloody day in Iraq.

al Bawaba reports, "In the multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk (north), four car bombs exploded between 08.15 and 09.30, killing one person and injuring 20 others, according to a police official and Dr. Wali Karim from the main hospital in the city. Many members of the security forces were among the wounded, added the two sources."   Xinhua reports, "In addition, gunmen with assault rifles attacked a police checkpoint at an intersection just west of Baquba, killing one policeman and wounding another, the source added. Meanwhile, a member of the government-backed Awakening Council group was gunned down by gunmen near his house in Aswad village, some 9 km north of Baquba, he said." Near Baquba, Alsumaria reports, MP Hussain Kazhim Mahmud declared that his bodyguards were attacked today by 30 gunmen in three cars outside his Khalis office resulting in one assailant being killed and two of his bodyguards being injured (he is part of the Sadr bloc in Parliament).  Salam Faraj (AFP) reports, "In Al-Garma, near the former insurgent bastion of Fallujah west of Baghdad, four policemen were killed and three others wounded in a shooting at a checkpoint, according to police Major Enes Mahmud and Dr Omar Dalli at Fallujah hospital. As emergency responders and civilians rushed to the scene, a roadside bomb exploded, wounding three others."  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports, "A car bomb exploded outside a real-estate building in northeastern Baghdad on Thursday morning, killing six people and wounding 32 others, police said.  Also Thursday, a car bomb exploded on a busy road in al-Taji district on the northern outskirts of Baghdad, wounding nine people, police said." Alsumaria reports the Tikrit police disarmed a car bomb at noon today but a Salahuddin Province home bombing resulted in the death of the wife of Mushtaq Ahmed al-Jaffar and left him and three of their sons injured.  Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) counts 29 dead and one-hundred-and-one people injured.

BBC News notes of today's violence throughout Iraq, "Many of the attacks targeted security personnel." Police, soldiers, Sahwa.  There are 15 more days in the month but already August has been a violent one.  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 206 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month.
 State of Law's Sa'ad al-Motallebi went on Iran's Press TV (link is text and video) to blame today's violence on . . . the Kurds?  Excerpt.

Press TV: Why do you think there has been a spike in attacks and violence in the past month. Do you see any relation to the current situation in Syria as the terrorist groups there are getting support from the US and its allies?

al-Motallebi: Yes, I think one of the factors, one of the reasons for the escalation of violence in Iraq could be for regional reasons from regional interferences.

Unfortunately, we have very complicated circumstances happening in Syria and a lot of al-Qaeda is transferring their activities from Iraq into Syria and vice versa.

Also, we have a complicated political situation with KRG, the Kurdistan Regional Government. Usually whenever we have differences with Kurdistan there would be an escalation of violence.

We are not sure of the relationship between the two events, but we cannot escape the fact that there are may be regional interference from inside Iraq or from Syria and definitely Turkey and Saudi Arabia will always be accused of instigating unrest in Iraq.
State of Law may have also been behind the rumors about the KRG earlier today.  Alsumaria reports KRG President Massoud Barzani has denied that the KRG will be providing asylum to the residents of Camp Ashraf.   What is Camp Ashraf?
Since Barack Obama has been sworn in as US president, Nouri has ordered not one but two attacks on Camp Ashraf resulting in multiple deaths.  Let's recap.  July 28, 2009 Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on the ground in Iraq). In a report released this summer entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents," Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011, Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way, "Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on other occasions when the government has announced investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out." Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observes that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions."
In recent weeks the situation surrounding the safety of 3,400 members of an Iranian opposition group based in Iraq has taken a significant turn in the halls of the White House.
As the US takes a keener interest in protecting these Iranians from the clutches of the regime in Tehran, it appears that this US administration has finally realised that it cannot allow Iraq to fall into the hands of Tehran.
How the story of Camp Ashraf now plays out will tell us much about where the future of Iraq lies.
[. . .]
[US Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton and her team in Iraq must succeed in guaranteeing the safety of the Camp Ashraf residents. This will allow the UN to carry out the ultimate relocation work. Not only will this ensure that the US has carried out its humanitarian duty, but further it will leave Iraq less influenced by Iran and the US seen as a nation which lives up to its obligation. This is something that the entire democratic opposition movements of the Arab Spring will look to for hope and is a test which the US cannot fail.
The US State Dept may make a decision in October, it may not, as to the residents.  The US federal court system is expecting the State Dept to have made a decision by then.

David Letterman:  Now let me ask you about medical marijuana.

Roseanne Barr: David, you know one thing I want to say is Obama is trying to take our medical marijuana  over there in California and trying to send in federal troops to get our medical marijuana and I'll tell you this, Obama, you'll get my joint when you pry it ouf of my cold, dead fingers.  That's when.  And I know -- I don't want to get Obama's kill list.  You know, I got to look out for drones on my way home now I know.
David Letterman:  Let's say a person signs up for the medical marijuana --
Roseanne Barr: Okay.
David Letterman:  -- is there a list of ailments that you have to support or prove you have?
Roseanne Barr:  You know, it's not funny, Dave.  It's a real medicine that a lot of people can't live without.  I mean it really helps with mental illness and stuff which is why I use it.  [Applause.]  The only bad thing is you can't use it and own a gun.  If you're on the medical marijuana, they won't let you own a gun.  Well all these drunks are walking around with guns.  And now, did you know that in the state of California that big government is trying to get these porn stars and force them to wear rubbers.  The founding fathers are rolling over in their graves on that, Dave.
On CBS' The Talk, actress and co-host Sarah Gilbert [who played Darlene on Roseanne] offered, "I think Roseanne's always been a pioneer, she's always thought outside the box and done things diferently than anybody else and I wish her all the success in her new career."  Independent Political Reporter notes Darcy Richardson on who he is supporting:
While I deeply respect Rocky Anderson and Jill Stein, I'm in the process of organizing a Peace & Freedom Party affiliate here in Florida and hope to place Roseanne Barr and Cindy Sheehan on the November ballot. We filed our qualifying paperwork  --  i.e., the party's officers, bylaws and constitution --  with the Division of Elections on Tuesday.
On The Big Picture with Sam Sacks (RT), Jill Stein spoke about the Green New Deal and Vote Third Party has reposted the episode.  Excerpt.
Sam Sacks:  The Green Party is the only political party today running on a new Economic Bill of Rights guaranteeing a job, a living wage, quality health care, a good education and housing and other rights to all Americans.   Not only that, the Green Party is the only political party that's speaking out against the corporate takeover of our democracy and economy.  It's running on a platform to overturn corporate personhood, guarantee a vote  for all eligible Americans and set up a robust public financing system that breaks up the two party duopoly in America and brings new ideas into the political debate.  Our nation is in crisis today and it's obvious that doubling down on 30 years of failed economic policy won't work and neither will trimming around the edges and looking for minor tweeks.  We need revolutionary change in America and joining me now to talk about how that happens is Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party's presidential candidate for president of the United States.  Dr. Stein, welcome.
Jill Stein:  Thank you so much, Sam, it's great to be with you.
Sam Sacks:  It's an honor to have you on.  You're proposing this Bill of Economic Rights I just mentioned that [US President Franklin D.] Roosevelt tried to propose.  Had he been successful 70 years ago, would we have been able to see CEOs taking more and more profits that should have gone to better wages?  Would we have seen Too Big To Fail jump up on Wall Street and crash our economy?  Would we be in the mess that we're in today.
Jill Stein:  Well we certainly shouldn't be.  You know, where we'd be is hard to say because even those reforms that were passed in that era following the Great Depression, those reforms to separate the investment from the commercial banks, the Social Security, Medicare, you know, the various reforms that have grown out of the New Deal and beyond, they are -- they havehave been under attack for decades. So it's hard to say where we'd be, but it's clear that right now we are in a real crisis.  And that crisis give us, you know, it's really a perfect storm for revisting where we are.  And that means not only an Economic Bill of Rights, but also a full employment program to put people back to work.   We did this in the midst of the Great Depression.  And the New Deal substantially got us out of the Great Depression.  It reduced the unemployment rate to about 25% down to about 10% before the start of WWII which finished the job.  But prior to that it had been enormously successful.  There's no reason why we don't do that today.  We could have a full employment program by directly creating jobs -- for basically the amount of money that the president  spent in the stimulus package of 2009.  Instead of jump starting two to three million jobs which was actually what was created then, we could actually create 16 million jobs directly, which in turn would create a secondary waves of about 8 million jobs, get us to  25 million jobs which is what we need.  And the difference is that instead of providing tax breaks to large corporations  which was the bulk of that stimulus package, instead we can directly provide jobs at the community level, provide national funding, but put communities in charage of deciding what jobs they need to become sustainable not only economically, [but] socially and also environmentally.   And in doing that,  we not only solve the economic emergency that we're facing but also the climate emergency because the Green New Deal jump starts that transformation to the Green  Economy which is absolutely essential if we're to survive not only into the next century but increasingly we're looking at into the next decade or two given the rate at which climate change is accelerating and exceeding the wildest and most dire predictions of the science which is  has been proven really to have been too optimistic.  So, in our view, the clock is ticking.  We don't have time to fool around with the unemployment crisis or the climate crisis that we're facing.
Read on ...
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