Thursday, September 25, 2014

9th Circuit Shows Leadership

9th circuit shows leadership

From July 7, 2011, that's "9th Circuit Shows Leadership." 

C.I. wrote:

Holding his teddy bear and commenting on the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals decision, Barack insists, "I would've ended Don't Ask Don't Tell. I would've! Maybe end of the year. Maybe next year. It's like potty training. You can't rush it." Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

I sometimes wonder if people remember how the tide changed not because of Barack but in spite of him.

He was way behind the curve when it came to marriage equality as well as with regards to putting an end to Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell.

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

Thursday, September 25, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the issue of illegal and toxic weapons in Iraq is raised, a prime minister yells 'fire!' in New York and Paris subways, an activist is killed by the Islamic State, World Can't Wait stays strong, CodePink finally starts to find its voice, IVAW cowers in silence and much more.

Iraq is in the midst of being bombed yet again.  Who knows with what?  As we (re)learned during the early days of the current Iraq War, the US government was more than happy to use illegal weapons in Iraq.  Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following:

Depleted Uranium Coordinates Needed for Clean-Up of Dangerous Sites in Iraq

September 25, 2014, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Defense (DOD) and the State Department on behalf of itself and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) seeking the firing coordinates of weapons used in Iraq that contained depleted uranium (DU). As the US launches new military actions in the Middle East, the groups say getting information about the military’s use of DU in weaponry and its long-term effects is as urgent as ever. According to “In a State of Uncertainty,” a report by the Netherlands-based organization PAX, Iraq has been subject to the largest use of DU munitions of all areas of conflict and test sites, conservatively estimated to be at least 440 metric tons, though the United Nations Environment Programme has estimated an amount up to five times that based on satellite imagery. Iraqi civilians thought to have been exposed to DU and remaining debris have suffered high rates of cancer and birth defects and U.S. veterans report unexplained illnesses.  
“DU is but one example of the toxic legacy left by our wars in Iraq,” said CCR Attorney Jeena Shah. “Veterans who served in Iraq are suffering side effects, while many Iraqis still live surrounded by piles of metal debris left over from the war and with soil and ground water potentially contaminated by DU. The only way to deal with its effects and to ensure it is cleaned up is to have a full accounting of where weapons containing DU were deployed.”
DU is a byproduct of enriched uranium and is used in armor-piercing weapons due to its high density. When DU hits a target, its fragments burn and vaporize into a fine dust. If a person inhales, ingests, or is exposed by radiation to DU, radioactive material can be absorbed into the lungs, bone, kidney, skeletal tissue, reproductive system, brain, and other organs. A report recently published by the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons concluded after reviewing approximately fifty peer-reviewed studies on DU that it is clearly a genotoxic agent, known to be involved in the development of cancer and potentially responsible for genetic damage. Some of the wreckage left behind from the war has entered the unregulated trade in scrap metal, sometimes even made into cooking pots. No safe levels of exposure to DU have been established, and researchers advise that all exposure should be avoided. Iraq and other UN member states have called for the banning of DU and the issue will be before the United Nations in October.
Said Maggie Martin, Organizing Director of IVAW, “Veterans have been fighting for decades to have our injuries recognized by the U.S. government— from Agent Orange to Military Sexual Trauma. We were promised healthcare in return for our service, and we deserve to know if we've been exposed to depleted uranium. This is an important matter of health for over two million veterans and for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan who are experiencing the worst of the toxic legacy of war.” 
Laid to Waste,” a report by Wim Zwijnenburg of PAX, details the difficulty of limiting civilian exposure to DU in the absence of reliable information about locations where it was used and the limited efforts to address the issue.
“In addition to regular bombardment, our country and our communities have been left with a toxic legacy from decades of U.S. war in Iraq,” said Yanar Mohammed, President of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq. “If the U.S. is truly concerned about civilian well-being, it should assist in a full accounting of DU contamination and rigorous study of its health effects by making public the locations where weapons containing DU were deployed.”
CCR and IVAW are seeking this information as part of the Right to Heal Initiative, which they launched together with the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq and the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq. Visit the website to learn more about the Right to Heal Initiative.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

Is there a worse news outlet covering Iraq right now than AFP?

For years, AFP was the most sexist outlet.  Prashant Rao -- apparently aping the John F. Burns Iraq era of the New York Times -- demonstrated little to no interest in covering Iraqi women.

Prashant is gone (for now) but AFP is actually worse.

"US pressures IS with strikes and diplomatic drive."

That's the headline AFP offers.

This morning,  Aziz Alwan, Zaid Sabah and Khalid Al-Ansary (Bloomberg News) reported on the failure of the new Iraqi government thus far to produce a Sunni buy-in:

Iraq Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi assumed power earlier this month promising to build an inclusive government, and has promoted the idea of a national guard that could incorporate Sunni militias. So far, Shiite lawmakers have rebuffed Abadi’s proposed Sunni candidate for defense minister. The national guard plan has also yet to materialize.
“Significant doubts linger over whether Abadi has the political wherewithal to achieve genuine unity,” Jordan Perry, an analyst at U.K.-based risk forecasting company Maplecroft, said by e-mail. 

We discussed how the US government -- including the State Dept -- was too busy focused on bombing and bringing in more countries to bomb Iraq and Syria in yesterday's snapshot and how the clock was ticking down, that the time to show Iraqi people that the change in prime ministers meant a change.

AFP should be embarrassed to claim that a diplomatic drive is going on -- lining up partners to bomb is not diplomacy nor is it the 'diplomatic drive' that will provide a political solution for Iraq.

There is no political solution from bombing.

Debra Sweet (World Can't Wait) notes today:

Once again, from the most powerful military in world history, protecting the largest-ever economy, bombs.  As in 24 years of bombing Iraq, 13 of  Afghanistan, like Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Has this done anything to liberate anyone or save lives? These illegitimate, unjust immoral wars of aggression have not.
If by “we,” you mean the U.S. government and its military, NO.  The U.S. military cannot do anything to stop the violence of ISIS.  It can only continue creating the conditions on which it grows: 9/11's all over the region.
Obama owns this ultimate war crime — invasion of a sovereign nation that poses no imminent threat to the aggressor. “We” did not ask for or approve this war.  U.S. attacks always lead to civilian casualties and are fueling — not “degrading” — the spread of groups like ISIS.
NOTHING good can come from U.S. bombing, and we need to say so immediately and widely.  We began Tuesday in NYC, and Wednesday in Chicago and San Francisco.

Are you in?  Write me!

Good for Debra.

Sad for the United States that so few others can speak out.

Is there anything more pathetic than Iraq Veterans Against the War?

Does anyone remember those blustering boys and girls trying to push their way through the front of the peace movement?

Insisting they knew, they were there.

Reality, Jeremy Hinzman didn't need to go to Iraq to know the war was wrong.  Nor did Ehren Watada.

I'm not spitting on the notion of learning from your experiences.

I'm just noting that was IVAW's claim once upon a time.

And today those brave boys and girls say what?

You guessed it!

Not one damn thing.

Having shoved aside many (and a number of IVAW made rude remarks about Cindy Sheehan), they now have nothing to say.

The President of the United States has spoken about Iraq how many times in the last two months?

Yeah, constantly.

They last weighed in on Iraq June 19th?

Remember that when they beg for money.

Remember that when they boast about how important their work is.

What work?


That now qualifies as work?

"Against the War."  It's in their organization's name.

But the little kittens and puppies of IVAW can't stand up against Barack.

It's too hard for them, you understand.

So they cower in their own piss, scared of their own shadows, too cowed to speak up.

Meanwhile it's certainly taken CodePink long enough to get started but they're finally offering something of value.

Let's hope that's not a one time thing or empty talk.

Empty talk is all the White House offers, all the administration offers.

There is no military solution in Iraq, Barack insists publicly, only a political one.

Yet he and others in the administration refuse to pour even half the energy they've used building a 'coalition' of bombers into building up government institutions in Iraq.

If you want to know how poorly the US efforts at diplomacy are, you need look no further than press briefings.

The State Dept's "daily press briefing"?  They haven't done one since September 19th.

Q: Since the -- since the strikes began a few days ago in Syria, have you seen any evidence of Assad forces taking any ground that was previously held by ISIS? And the corollary to that, in Iraq, have -- to what extent has the Peshmerga or the Iraqi forces been able to retake territory because of American airstrikes? If you could just update us on that situation, as well.

REAR ADM. KIRBY: I haven't seen any movement by Assad regime forces to move into facilities or infrastructure that we've hit. We've also seen -- not seen a lot of -- to be quite honest, haven't seen much in terms of reaction by ISIL inside Syria as a result of these attacks. In other words, were not seeing a lot of movement or major muscle movement changes by them in just the last couple of days.

In Iraq, the -- I could point to the preservation of Haditha Dam. I could point to their ability to work with Kurds, to retake the Mosul Dam facility. I can point to the town of Amerli, which we prevented with them a humanitarian disaster. We could go on and on and on.

I would also note -- and this gets forgotten a little bit -- that Baghdad is still relatively secure. I mean, there's been a couple of minor IED attacks inside Baghdad, but the ISF, the Iraqi Security Forces, in and around the capital are still defending the capital. And it's not like ISIL hasn't posed a threat there. You may have noticed that some of the strikes that we've taken lately in the last week or so have been south and southwest of Baghdad, because we know they continue to threaten the capital.

That is from a press briefing today.  But it's the Pentagon's press briefing.  Even though the State Dept can't or won't do press briefings so far this week, the Pentagon can.

I guess when you do nothing, you have nothing to talk about?

Does it bother anyone?

And does anyone have a memory or have we all erased our brains?

The US government was supposed to go heavy on diplomacy before.

It was 2007.

Bully Boy Bush called for a 'surge' in the number of US troops.

Anyone remember why?

This was, the White House insisted, to give the Iraqi officials time to work on political solutions.  And the US was going to help.

But all the US government has ever done is supply weapons and utilize the weapons and stir up the violence.

And, just as back then, no one wanted to point out that while the military was doing their part of the surge, the US' diplomatic effort was half-hearted and a non-starter.

As it was then, so it is now.

It's not as if Iraq is dealing with only one political crisis, it's multiple crises.  On today's Fresh Air (NPR -- link is audio and text), Dexter Filkins discussed Iraq with Terry Gross:

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR and if you're just joining us, my guest is Dexter Filkins. He's a writer for The New Yorker. He covered the Iraq war for The New York Times, won several awards for doing that. He's covered the whole region for many years. He just went to Kurdistan in the north of Iraq from a period of June through August. He made two trips during that period for a total of about a month's time. And now he has a piece in The New Yorker called "The Fight Of Their Lives: The White House Wants The Kurds To Help Save Iraq From ISIS, The Kurds May Be More Interested In Breaking Away." That's the title and subtitle of the piece.
So why did you want to go to Kurdistan for this piece that you just wrote?

FILKINS: Well the - you know, the Kurds are - I mean, when everybody looks at Iraq including me and you just say Iraq, what do you think of? I mean, you think of chaos, and car bombs, and bloodshed, and political strife and stalemate and everything else. And when you go to Kurdistan, this small corner of Iraq, there's nothing - it's nothing like that. And it really struck me when I was there writing the piece earlier this year when I was there doing a piece on Maliki in Baghdad and I was in Baghdad and I wanted to go to Kurdistan. And I had been in Baghdad for about three weeks - and Baghdad in 2014 looks pretty much the way it did in 2004. It's - despite the fact that the Iraqi government is pumping enormous amounts of oil and making tons of money, they're the second-largest producer in OPEC. We're talking tens of billions of dollars, $85 billion a year. There's just not much evidence of that oil money being spent and I think frankly, it's because a lot of it's being stolen. But, it's not a happy story - but, Baghdad's a wreck. I mean, it looks pretty much the way it did during the war.
And then I got on a plane and I flew to Erbil, which is the capital of Kurdistan. And it's like - you know, you feel like Dorothy (laughter) and it's amazing. You know, there's a Jaguar dealership in Erbil and there's sushi restaurant and there's dance clubs. And I remember one night I'd been out of town and I drove back in at 3 a.m. and I found a liquor store open and bought a six-pack of beer at 3 o'clock in the morning in the Middle East. I mean, that's impossible anywhere for a thousand miles. So it's such a shock when you see it. You think, oh, my God, I can't believe I'm still in Iraq. And in a way - and really that's what the story's about - in a way, it's not part of Iraq, not anymore.

GROSS: And they don't want to be part of Iraq anymore.

FILKINS: No, I mean, sort of technically - technically they're part of Iraq, but, you know, they don't want to be and, you know, a de facto way, in a very real way, they're not, they're not part of Iraq. I mean, they're pulling away. And I think they want to make it official and I think probably - I mean, you can never foretell the future in that part of the world - but probably it will be independent, I think, sooner rather than later, although it's hard to tell exactly when.

There are so many problems in Iraq, so many crises, destroying unity and what's the new prime minister doing?

While he's unable to build political unity at this time,   Haider al-Abadi, is willing to make waves internationally.  Kristina Fernandez (China Topix) reports he declared today that Iraq had "credible intelligence" that the Islamic State was plotting an attack on the subway systems in Paris and NYC.

He insisted the information was reliable because it had come from suspects in Iraqi custody.


The Iraq interrogations are known as torture sessions -- they even killed a bodyguard of then-Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi during one of them.

So, at best, whatever al-Abadi thinks or thought he has was most likely the product of torture.

Terry Atlas and Angela Greiling Keane (Bloomberg News) quote White House National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden declaring, "We have not confirmed such a plot, and would have to review any information from our Iraqi partners before making further determinations.  We take any threat seriously and always work to corroborate information we receive from our partners. We're obviously very focused on the issue of foreign fighters."  The State Dept's Marie Harf went on CNN and suggested maybe it was true.

But as night was coming, even the White House realized how damaging al-Abadi's claims were.  Ann Mercogliano (Pix 11) reported: 

Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner Bratton, FBI and NYPD officials were at the Union Square Subway Station Thursday to show the subways are safe after Iraq’s Prime Minister reportedly said a plot had been uncovered to attack subways in New York City and in France.

As Haider attracted all the wrong attention, it was left to Anderson Cooper (CNN) to say what so many were thinking:

  • Why is Iraq's new Prime Minister in NY? Shouldn't he be in Baghdad with his sleeves rolled up trying to rebuild his army and country?

  • It's a great question.  And why was the President of Iraq also out of the country to attend the meeting at the UN?

    Do either of them do any work in Iraq?

    All Iraq News notes al-Abadi did repeat his claim -- from two Saturdays ago -- that he had ordered an end to bombings of civilian areas in Falluja.  Of course, the bombings have continued.

    So apparently the new prime minister is powerless over the Iraqi military despite the fact that he's commander in chief of the military.

    Lastly, UNAMI issued the following this morning:

    Thursday, 25 September 2014 07:09

    UN Envoy Condemns Public Execution of Human Rights Lawyer, Ms. Sameera Al-Nuaimy

    Baghdad, 25 September 2014 – “The public execution of well-known human rights lawyer and activist, Ms. Sameera Salih Ali Al-Nuaimy, in Mosul, is yet another of the innumerable sickening crimes committed against the people of Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)”, said the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, on learning of the unspeakable way Ms. Al-Nuaimy was seized from her home, tortured and murdered. “My heartfelt condolences are extended to Ms. Al-Nuaimy’s family and to the thousands other victims of ISIL’s brutality,” he added. 

    UNAMI has learned that Ms. Al-Nuaimy was seized from her home by the ISIL group on 17 September 2014, reportedly following posts on her Facebook page that were critical of their destruction of places of religious and cultural significance. She was convicted by a so-called “Shari’a court” for apostasy. She was then held for a further five days during which she was subjected to torture in an attempt to force her to ‘repent’, before she was executed in public. 
    “By torturing and executing a female human rights’ lawyer and activist, defending in particular the civil and human rights of her fellow citizens in Mosul,  ISIL continues to attest to its infamous nature, combining hatred, nihilism and savagery, as well as its total disregard of human decency”, Mr. Mladenov underlined. “ISIL has repeatedly targeted the weak and defenseless in acts of brutality and cowardice that are beyond description, bringing about unfathomable suffering to all Iraqis regardless of their gender, age, religion, faith or ethnicity”, the SRSG continued. 
    “I call on the Government of Iraq and the international community to resolutely face the life-threatening danger to peace, safety and security of Iraq and the Iraqis from the ISIL and to do all they can to ensure the perpetrators of such crimes are held to account”, Mr. Mladenov concluded. 

    debra sweet
    the world cant wait

    Read on ...

    Sunday, September 21, 2014

    Let Someone Else Be A Leader

    let someone else be the leader


    From June 26, 2011, that's  "Let Someone Else Be A Leader." 

    C.I. wrote:

     NY Governor Andrew Cuomo declares, "New York has finally torn down the barrier that has prevented same-sex couples from exercising the freedom to marry." Barack, surrounded by the Cult of St. Barack, points at Cuomo and says, "New York's the way to do it. I don't believe in equality. Might be politically risky. Let someone else be a leader." Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

    If you've forgotten, it would be a year after that comic, and after Joe Biden's May 2012 Will & Grace remarks, that Barack was finally forced to take a stand on the issue of marriage equality.

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

    Saturday, September 20, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Moqtada al-Sadr's followers protest in Baghdad, former US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta voices disagreement with some of the administration's actions, Media Matters rushes in to whore and minimize Panetta's statements, NYT finds it hilarious that some Iraqis believe the Islamic State is a CIA creation, and much more.

    Calling someone a "stupid ____" really isn't why this site exists.  IAVA had an important announcement and we ran it Friday evening  and I pushed back the snapshot to let that get attention (we'll also include it at the end of the snapshot) and in the hopes that I could do something other than call someone a "stupid ____."

    Too bad.  It's been nearly 24 hours and I'm still with the reaction.

    Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has joined former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in criticizing US President Barack Obama's actions on Iraq.

    Professional whore David Brock created Media Matters insisting it would be a media watchdog.  It's a media watchdog in the same sense that David Brock was a reporter in the 90s -- when he was making crap up and hiding the truth about Clarence Thomas.  For many on the center and on the left, there's been an awakening as to what an embarrassment Media Matters is and the reality there is there will be no employment for many after money stops propping the propaganda outlet up.

    But to the stupid ___, Sophia Tesfaye writes for Media Matters about Panetta's remarks and right wing coverage of it:

    But Baier failed to mention that the Iraqi government refused a deal to allow U.S. military forces to stay in Iraq. As the New York Times reported in 2011, "Iraqis were unwilling to accept" the terms of a Status of Forces Agreement to leave thousands of troops as a residual force. Fox News has repeatedly failed to mention this important detail.

    You stupid ___.

    We don't have time for your ignorance or your whoring or whatever it is.

    We don't have time.

    We can't afford you.

    We don't have that luxury.

    You're a stupid little ____ who's never done a moment's work in your life, get your lazy ass over to the Senate Armed Services Committee website.  Go the hearings archive.  Go to the hearing for November 15, 2011.

    I've never streamed it.  I've never had to.  We were there.

    Doing the damn work required.

    This community covered that hearing in depth -- see the November 15th "Iraq snapshot," the November 16th "Iraq snapshot" -- excerpt below from the November 16th snapshot -- and the November 17th "Iraq snapshot" and Ava's "Scott Brown questions Panetta and Dempsey (Ava)," Wally's "The costs (Wally)" and Kat's "Who wanted what?" for real time coverage.

    For those late to the party, this hearing was after Nouri's "no" to US troops.

    Leon Panetta was one of the witnesses.  (As disclosed before I've known Leon for many years, decades.  I like Leon and consider him a friend.)

    Do the work.

    From that hearing and other coverage of that time period, Nouri al-Maliki -- then US-installed prime minister in Iraq -- said "no."

    (This angered and surprised the White House which had installed him to a second term the year prior.)

    Was it a hard "no."


    Leon states in the hearing his confidence that they will come to an agreement, possibly in the next few months (January 2012 is what Leon thought) and this is agreed to/signed off by his co-witness Gen Martin Dempsey (Chair of the Joint-Chiefs of Staff).

    Why could they be so confident?

    Because the problem, as Senator John McCain, Senator Joe Lieberman and Senator Lindsey Graham note in the hearing, is a numbers problem.

    It's not about any troops, it's about the number of troops.

    This is backed up in reports and interviews over the years since which document and detail that keeping US troops in Iraq would require Iraqi officials taking a hit with the Iraqi people so they weren't willing to do it for a few thousand.  3,000 wasn't worth it to them.  They wanted 20,000 to 25,000.

    Nouri and other officials would back that.  This was told to the White House, it was told to the State Dept, it was told to visiting members of Congress.

    It wasn't told to the spin whores of Media Matters or, if it was, they were too busy lying about some other event in an attempt to spin it pretty for Barack.

    Media Matters is an embarrassment for those of us on the left.

    It repeatedly lies and misinforms.

    In the early 90s, David Brock shot to fame as the piece of filth and human trash who attacked Anita Hill in print and told one lie after another about her.  He then proceeded to do the same with 'trooper gate' and other fake Clinton scandals.

    He supposedly had an 'awakening' and changed as the 90s were drawing to an end.

    No, he didn't.

    All that happened was his hags -- ____ hags -- on the right made clear that they didn't consider him a real person because he was gay.  They considered him a freak and a mutation and they would tolerate him because he could 'dish' but that was it.

    Realizing that no matter how many takedowns he did for the right, he'd always be trotting through the servants' entrance while the GOP's media blond brigade  entered through the front door, David started looking for a way to switch to the left where being gay is not seen (by most of us) as a big deal or strange or anything to hide.  He needed a hag, this is David Brock after all, and pill popping Naomi Wolf filled that role (as she has so very often in her sad little life).  She brought him over to the left, gave him a coming out party.

     But he hadn't changed.

    He didn't think what he did was wrong.

    Read the crap he wrote at the time -- first for Esquire and then in dull and plodding book.

    He yammers away about how nice Hillary Clinton is or this person or that person.

    I'm not disputing Hillary's nice.  She can be quite charming when she wants to be.

    But what David Brock pre-'conversion' did was wrong.

    Not wrong because sweet little Hillary didn't deserve mean things said about her.

    When he was ready to convert, he turned it into personalities.

    Which is probably so many on my side (the left) bought into it.  We're not really encouraged to think and explore on the left.  The easiest way to switch sides in a game of Red Rover is to cozy up to personalities.

    He doesn't atone or apologize or acknowledge that what he did wasn't journalism.  That should be the heart of his book and his Esquire article.  (Let's be really honest about that Esquire article because there's a myth that it let that issue of Esquire sell.  No, it did not.

    And it shouldn't matter whether Hillary's sweet or mean.

    Lying and spinning to help the GOP was wrong not because Hillary got hurt but because it was lying and spinning.

    By failing to address that reality, by failing to address the real victims (which would be journalism, democracy and the American people, not Hillary who can and has handled bad press), David Brock was able to move over to the left and do the same thing he had done before but from the left.

    And it has sullied us and it has dumbed us down.

    We thought it was a way to win.  It's a losing strategy like so much that the Democratic Party pursues in the name of 'realism' -- don't you love how 'realism' is so 'real' that it requires lies and spin to support it.

    It never should have happened.

    The left should have told David Brock what Barbra Streisand's character declares in Up The Sandbox, "No, we do not have to become more like you, sir.  We only have to become more like ourselves."

    Maybe then we'd fight for things that matter?

    Maybe we'd be fighting to expand Social Security and Medicare and not forever attempting to keep it off the chopping blocks, not having to waste all our time lobbying 'our' senators and House representatives not to destroy the safety net.

    We can't do that.

    We can't fight for We The People when we're constantly using all of energies to prop up, lie for and excuse a corporatist War Hark like Barack Obama.

    But that is what Media Matters does and that is what we've done on the left for the last six years.

    And I largely ignore them.

    They can whore for elections and I don't give a damn, they're useless to me (and actually useless to elections but we can discuss that another time).  But now they're bring the whoring to Iraq.

    They need to scurry back to the sewer they stepped out of.

    Sophia Tesfaye hypocritically slams some right-winger:

    But Baier failed to mention that the Iraqi government refused a deal to allow U.S. military forces to stay in Iraq. As the New York Times reported in 2011, "Iraqis were unwilling to accept" the terms of a Status of Forces Agreement to leave thousands of troops as a residual force. Fox News has repeatedly failed to mention this important detail.

    I don't give a damn what the New York Times reported in October 2011.

    Not when Leon Panetta, the person in question, testified to Congress, after the 'no,' on November 15th:

    Senator Joe Lieberman:  Let me, Secretary Panetta, pick up from that point. I've heard from friends in Iraq -- Iraqis -- that Prime Minister Maliki said at one point that he needed to stop the negotiations -- leave aside for one moment the reasons -- but he was prepared to begin negotiations again between two sovereign nations -- the US and Iraq -- about some troops being in Iraq after January 1st.  So that's what I've heard from there. But I want to ask you from the administration point of view. I know that Prime Minister Maliki is coming here in a few weeks to Washington. Is the administration planning to pursue further discussions with the Iraqi government about deploying at least some US forces in Iraq after the end of this year?

    Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta: Senator, as I pointed out in my testimony, what we seek with Iraq is a normal relationship now and that does involve continuing negotiations with them as to what their needs are.  Uh, and I believe there will be continuing negotations.  We're in negotiations now with regards to the size of the security office that will be there and so there will be -- There aren't zero troops that are going to be there. We'll have, you know, hundreds that will be present by virtue of that office assuming we can work out an agreement there.  But I think that once we've completed the implementation of the security agreement that there will begin a series of negotiations about what exactly are additional areas where we can be of assistance? What level of trainers do they need? What can we do with regards to CT [Counter-Terrorism] operations? What will we do on exercises -- joint-exercises -- that work together?

    No doubt like her wardrobe and mental faculties, Sophia's sources are limited and dated.

    She slams some right-winger for leaving out something from October 2011 while she leaves out Leon's own pertinent statements made to Congress in November 2011.

    I attended multiple Congressional hearings this week.  We only covered one here.  I might pick up one or two next week, might not.  The plan was to cover one in what was supposed to be Friday's snapshot.  But we can't do that when Media Matters -- and all it's crap ass 'ditto heads' online -- are spreading lies and falsehoods.

    Now they do that every day and we usually look the other way.  But this is about Iraq.  And on Sunday, Leon Panetta's interview with 60 Minutes' Scott Pelley airs on CBS:

    ISIS seized a third of Iraq that the U.S. secured with ten years of sacrifice. In an interview for 60 Minutes, Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said ISIS flourished because the U.S. got involved in Syria too late and left Iraq too soon. On the 47th season premiere Sunday, "60 Minutes" will report from Iraq and Syria on ISIS -- what it is, what it wants, and how to defeat it.

    Now people can disagree with Leon's take (I sometimes do, I consider him a friend, not a guru or a shaman), but they need to have the facts right going in.

    Media Matters isn't about facts.  David Brock learned (on the right) that he could influence the narrative and rally the mob by lying and spinning.  That's what Brock does now -- from the left.

    To evaluate whether or not you agree with Leon's take on things, you need to know the basic facts.

    Panetta's remarks to CBS News' 60 Minutes follow Robert Gates' remarks to CBS This Morning earlier this week (link is text and video) where Gates noted his belief that Barack's plan would require "boots on the ground if there's to be any hope of success in the strategy."  Gates also noted :

    I'm also concerned that, the goal has been stated as degrade and destroy, or degrade and defeat ISIS," he said. "We've been at war with al Qaeda for 13 years. We have dealt them some terrible blows including the killing of Osama bin Laden. But I don't think anybody would say that after 13 years we've destroyed or defeated al Qaeda.

    On the issue of US forces in Iraq, Jason Ditz ( reports:

    We are going to increase a little bit,” Odierno said, though he declined to offer any details on the date or size of the new deployments. The Army chief also said he wouldn’t rule out having US special forces fighters embedded in Iraqi ground forces during combat.

    While US Gen Ray Odierno thinks more US troops on the ground in Iraq is an answer, others disagree.  In Iraq earlier this week, cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr decried the notion.  He then left the country, reportedly for Lebanon. But his bloc in Parliament continues to back his call.  National Iraqi News Agency reports:

    MP for the Ahrar bloc, Ali al-Shuayli said that " What we see in Iraq is the result of the remnants of the former American intervention in Iraq and its negative effects on society."
    He told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that any defect affects the security of Iraq and its security and military system was a result of US negative intervention and if it enters again to Iraq that means return back and this cannot be accepted. "
    He added that "the Sadrist movement, as a national representative of Iraqis, cannot accept the entry of any foreign troops to Iraq or depend on the occupied states in the fight against terrorism," stressing that "the army and volunteers are able to end the Islamic State organization without the use of any foreign troops."  

    And it's not just the members of Parliament.  Sadr followers turned out in full force today to protest US forces.

    Alsumaria reports the followers see the US using the Islamic State (actually, they go with the pejorative of Da'ash) as a pretext to put more US troops on the ground in Iraq.

    (Unlike many idiots on my side in the US, Sadr's followers were never stupid enough to believe the lie that all US troops left Iraq at the end of 2011.)

    David D. Kirkpatrick (New York Times) wants to use the term 'conspiracy' so he 'reports' on the protests:

    “We know about who made Daesh,” said Bahaa al-Araji, a deputy prime minister, using an Arabic shorthand for the Islamic State on Saturday at a demonstration called by the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr to warn against the possible deployment of American ground troops. Mr. Sadr publicly blamed the C.I.A. for creating the Islamic State in a speech last week, and interviews suggested that most of the few thousand people at the demonstration, including dozens of members of Parliament, subscribed to the same theory. (Mr. Sadr is considered close to Iran, and the theory is popular there as well.)

    It's not an Arabic shorthand, it's considered a slur.

    And Kirkpatrick, like so many before him at the paper, is writing to refute the notion that the CIA was involved in the creation of the disturbance -- which Gore Vidal always pointed out should be read as a confirmation of CIA involvement.

    Is Kirkpatrick with the CIA?

    If he's not, why is he ridiculing the notion?

    Because if he's not with the CIA, he really can't confirm anything, can he?

    Despite its record of subversion and destruction throughout the world, the CIA has 'earned' the benefit of doubt?

    I have no idea what the CIA did or did not do in Iraq.  But I'm not stupid enough to pretend they're an innocent body.  A lot of the left is because the basic stereotype has always been, FBI rightwing, CIA socialist-leaning.  And a lot of the left -- Gloria Steinem's only one example -- have worked with and taken money from the CIA.  That's why, for example, when Jean Seberg's noted, the FBI is ripped apart by the left.  When, in fact, Jean was destroyed by the CIA.  It was the CIA working with Newsweek (as it always did) in France that lied about Jean.

    But a co-opted by the CIA left in this country has repeatedly lied that Jean lost her baby (and her grip) because of a Hollywood gossip columnist.  They have repeatedly removed Newsweek from the story, repeatedly failed to point out that the smear operation took place off US soil, they've done everything they can to cover and whore for the CIA.

    We've covered Jean repeatedly here because she was a victim of the US government.  We'll drop back to the August 13, 2013 snapshot:

    But the reality no one wants to talk about -- the reason Joyce Haber, a gossip columnist, is trashed and falsely made into the bad guy -- is because Jean's pregnancy resulted in the full weight of the US government being brought down on her, an American citizen.
    The FBI passed a tip to Haber's editor who passed it to Haber without telling her where it came from but while vouching for the source.  (The editor, Bill Thomas, may not like that reality being know but the tip is in Joyce's files and it includes his handwritten note vouching for the source.)  Haber ran a blind item.  In May of 1970.  Not a big thing, Haber ran blind items all the time.  The only one really 'harmed' by the item was possibly Jane Fonda since the item could have described her in the minds of most Americans who knew she had lived in France and married a French man.  Jean Seberg was in many big films and a celebrity but her personal life was not as widely known (and followed) to the degree that Jane's was.  Even now, the events of Jane's day to day life are more widely known than that of most other actresses.  Jane's personal life has always resulted in the public's interest and the press' coverage.  Those who followed coverage of actresses in 1970 might also have concluded the item was about Barbara Hershey, Mia Farrow or some other actress identified with social causes.  But, again, for most Americans who read the blind item, the obvious choice would have been Jane Fonda because she was the biggest name and the most widely covered (and publicly active in the Native American Movement as well as in the Black Panther Movement).
    Jean tries to take her life in August.  That's a result of Edward Behr and Newsweek.  Behr is the one who writes a 'report' for Newsweek in August that states Jean Seberg is pregnant by a Black Panther.  It's not a blind item: "She and French author Romain Gary, 56, are reportedly about to remarry even though the baby Jean expects in October is by another man -- a black activist she met in California."
    And unlike Joyce Haber's blind item, Newsweek is all over the country and in public and school libraries including Jean's home state of Iowa where her parents live and where she's now branded an "adulteress."  And the Des Moines Register reports on the Newsweek item (they didn't on the Haber item).   Jean was not embarrassed that the world would think she was having a child by an African-American male -- a point that is often missed.  (And the man was actually Latino -- and not a Black Panther or an American -- or in America.)  She was not even thinking, "This will destroy my career!"  She was appalled that her personal life was being exposed to the world and specifically to members of her hometown and to her parents.  Adulteress.  I've been called far worse but I don't give a s**t and never have.  Jean didn't splash her personal life in the papers.  And being called (the judgmental) term of "adulteress" in 1970 could bring shame to someone's family.
    There was no reason for Edward Behr to print that.  First off, it wasn't true.  (The father was an activist in Mexico.) Second, true or not, Romain was publicly the child's father and Newsweek and Behr had no business stepping into that issue -- there is such a thing as right to privacy and there was no 'right to know' or 'need to know' with regards to who the father of her baby was.
    And Romain Gary sued Newsweek and wrote "The Big Knife" for France-Soir blaming Newsweek for the death of the child.
    How does this get missed?
    Because Jean wasn't just targeted by the FBI.  That's the little secret that leads to the lies of "It's Joyce Harber!"  Behr and Newsweek were doing the bidding of the CIA.  Newsweek frequently did the bidding of the CIA -- a reason so many of us don't give a damn if that piece of trash publication goes down the toilet.  Behr was in France.  The CIA ran the smear operation against Jean overseas, not the FBI.

    I'm not going to whore like the rest of the US left or pretend today that the CIA was 'working for the same side' (as I believe Gloria Steinem once idiotically stated to justify her early employment with the CIA).

    The CIA has a long history of backing 'rebels' and they did back, train and supply the 'rebels' in Syria that the Islamic State hails from.

    Sadrist -- and others -- have every reason to wonder if the CIA is involved in the creation of the Islamic State based on the CIA's own history which is instigating trouble in one region after another -- by intent, not by accident.

    National Iraqi News Agency reports "thousands" turned out to demonstrate in Baghdad's Tahrir Square and that "demonstrators raised slogans demanding the US and foreign States not to intervene in the country under the pretext of fighting the terrorists of the Islamic State organization, and do not return American troops to the country, and reject all forms of foreign interference."

    Kirkpatrick, for all his problems, at least notes the demonstration.  So much US press doesn't.

    What we get is violence.

    We'll note Margaret Griffis ( counts 71 dead and eighty-six injured in violence on Friday.

    Margaret's made the violence her beat for some time and I'm not insulting her for that.

    I am, however, insulting the press which can only stop reporting violence briefly to note, as Faith Karimi and Talia Kayali (CNN) do, that approximately 49 Turkish hostages were released by the Islamic State.  The Saturday edition of NBC's Today broke from incestuous self-coverage (covering the illness of your own family members really is an abuse of a news outlet) to note the release.

    But was it Barack who said that the solution would be political and not military?

    I believe it was.

    I believe we even agreed with him here on that and applauded him for it.

    I believe he's gone on to repeat that.  I believe Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel quoted Barack to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on just that statement -- just this week.

    So why doesn't the press make the political issues in Iraq the focus of coverage?

    If it matters that much -- and I happen to agree that it does -- why doesn't the press cover it like it matters?

    The Parliament met again today.

    They still didn't vote in a Minister of Defense or Minister of Interior.

    For David Kirkpatrick, that's a detail to bury in paragraph six of his report or 'report;'

    The Parliament has not yet confirmed nominees for the crucial posts of interior or defense minister, in part because of discord between Sunni and Shiite factions, and the Iraqi news media has reported that it may be more than a month before the posts are filled.

    This is bull____.  Whether you support increased war on Iraq (I don't) or not, the bulk of Americans (and people in other countries sending forces, weapons or taking part in bombings) should be able to agree that a Parliament that cannot vote in people to head the security ministries is not demonstrating they deserve assistance.

    This nominee has b.o. or this one has buck teeth or whatever.

    It doesn't really matter.  You need to fill those posts.

    You should have filled them before declaring someone prime minister.

    That's what the Iraqi Constitution says.

    So once again the Parliament is ignoring the Constitution.

    When they did in 2010, Nouri nominated people to fill the security posts when?


    He never did.

    He went his whole term with those posts empty.

    He should have been impeached for that.

    At least the new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, has nominated two people for the posts.  The Parliament just refuses to confirm them.

    This is a story, this is a major news story by the definitions for success that Barack Obama has provided.  So why won't the American press treat it as a serious news topic and not an aside?

    I've slammed Jamie Taraby many times here.  Applause and praise to her for treating this and political issues in Iraq as real news topics in her report at Al Jazeera America.  Credit to her for taking the issue seriously -- especially when she's pretty much the only one doing so.

    Today, Susan notes "Obituary: Polly Bergen" (On the Edge).  Thursday, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued the following:

    IAVA Responds to VA Whistleblower’s Testimony
    Posted by Kaitlin Ramlogan on September 18

    IAVA Responds to VA Whistleblower’s Testimony 

    New York, NY (September 18, 2014) – Yesterday, whistleblower Dr. Sam Foote blasted the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) Aug. 26 report on scheduling manipulation and patient deaths at the Phoenix VA during a hearing before the House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC). VA Secretary Robert McDonald and Acting Inspector General Richard J. Griffin also testified before the committee.

    The hearing was held one day after the House of Representatives unanimously passed several key pieces of legislation to improve the lives of veterans and their families. The bills passed Tuesday included reforms to VA construction projects, the extension of numerous critical veterans programs, and a cost-of-living adjustment for disabled veterans and their dependents.

    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff, in San Francisco meeting with post-9/11 veterans, released the following statement:

    “We thank Chairman Miller and HVAC for scrutinizing the latest OIG report on the Phoenix VA’s wait times and scheduling practices. Yesterday's hearing yet again shows how little we know about the scope of corruption and wrongdoing within the VA nationwide. Our community continues to be extremely discouraged with the report’s findings. There must be real accountability established and enforced within the VA, starting with those guilty of misconduct being identified and promptly removed from VA service.

    Additionally, practical policy guidelines need to be established, disseminated and enforced, and 21st century technological updates need to be implemented. Secretary McDonald is in a position to change the course of veteran health care, we are looking to him to continue the strong leadership he has already established during his short time in office and lead this needed reform effort.”

    Note to media: To schedule an interview with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff email or call 212-982-9699.

    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.

    Read on ...

    Sunday, September 14, 2014

    Welcome Back

    the motto


    From June 19, 2011, that's "Welcome Back." 

    C.I. wrote:

     Barack fiddles with his tie and declares, "2012's motto? Respect. Empower. Include. Win." He explains, "In other words, welcome back everyone we threw under the bus. In 2012, we're going to need you!" Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

    The 'coalition' Donna Brazile just knew was going to emerge never did so, in 2012, Barack was back to pretending to care about all voters.

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

    Friday, September 13, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack's speech implodes, and a little more.

    US President Barack Obama spoke Wednesday about Iraq.  By Thursday, the speech was a joke.

    Stephen Colbert was Tweeting:

    Obama brought back the Iraq War AND Gilmore Girls is coming to Netflix!?! It's a miracle!

    As Betty pointed out, "it has already fallen apart."  Trina noted her encounters with The Cult of St Barack and how it appears "there's no more hopium to smoke."  And Susan Jones (CNS News via Information Clearing House) explains:

    NBC News Correspondent Richard Engel, reporting live from Kurdistan in northern Iraq Wednesday night, said U.S. troops are on the ground in Iraq and avoiding reporters.
    "I know there are already American boots on the ground where I am now," Engel told MSNBC. "They are not necessarily firing their rifles or kicking down doors, and we're not going on embeds with these troops.

    "They are troops who are staying away from reporters, they are embedded with local fighters trying to guide in air strikes, gathering intelligence -- the kind of thing you would have thought the Green Berets would have done many years ago, and which are now being done by Navy SEALS and Delta Force and other Special Operations Forces.

    At today's Pentagon press briefing, spokesperson Rear Adm Jack Kirby attempted to push back against the reality of what US troops were doing in Iraq:

    Q: Admiral, thank you. On the strategy, specifically, do military commanders really believe that ISIS can be defeated or destroyed with U.S. airpower alone and without sending U.S. combat troops or U.S. troops in the field to lase these targets, to find these targets? Because one of the criticisms is you can't rely on others to do it. And without having these men in the field, you're not going to have an accurate picture of the targets.

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: The short answer to your question, Justin, is yes, but now let me try to explain what I mean by that. We've said all along -- Secretary Hagel has been very clear -- that there's not going to be a purely military solution to the threat that ISIL poses in the region, specifically inside Iraq. There's not going to be a military solution here.

    We have been conducting airstrikes now for a number of weeks. I think we're up over almost 160 of them. They have helped provide some space and support to Iraqi security forces on the ground, as well as Kurdish forces up north. But military measures are not going to be enough.

    And so the other thing that I would say is, it's -- we've been able to do these very effective and -- and we know we're having a tactical effect on ISIL, and we've been able to do that without, quote, unquote, "combat boots on the ground."

    Q: Now you're doing more of them. You have -- you've said you're going to ramp up the airstrikes, so...

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: We're going to -- I think you can expect that we will be more aggressive going forward, but we've been pretty aggressive so far, nearly 160, all very effective, and effective without needing U.S. troops in a combat role on the ground in Iraq. The commander-in-chief has been very clear, we're not going to do that and that's not part of the mission going forward.

    The other point -- and I think it's -- and we need to consistently make this -- is that the destruction of ISIL and their capabilities is going to require more than just airpower. We've been very honest about that. And it's going to require partners on the ground to take back and hold the territory that this group has tried and -- and it has tried to obtain and maintain.

    It also is going to take the ultimate destruction of their ideology. And that -- that also can't be done just through military means alone. That has to be done through good governance, both in Iraq and in Syria -- we've talked about that -- and in a responsive political process, so that the people that are falling sway to this radical ideology are no longer drawn to it. So that's -- I mean, that's really the long-term answer.

    Q: I think people would be surprised, though, to hear you say that there is no military solution, given the nature of ISIS. I mean, this is primarily a military strategy, is it not?

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: What is primarily a military strategy?

    Q: To defeat and destroy ISIL has to be done militarily, doesn't it?

    Uh-oh, logic entered the room and left Kirby scrambling.

    If Kirby's going to sell this latest phase of the Iraq War, he's going to have to work harder.  Maybe borrow one of those eye-sore jumpsuits Victoria Clarke wore when she was spinning the start of the war?

    The clothes change, the people change, but the war just drags on.

    The State Dept's not even trying.

    They're the 10th grader who grabs a sister's old paper, types a new cover sheet and pretends work has been done.  For example, the State Dept's Catherine Russell attempted today to sell this phase of the ongoing, illegal war on the backs of Iraqi women:

    Beheadings are not the only horrors perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL.  Over the past two months, there has been a tragic stream of reports about thousands of women and girls abducted from their families and sold in markets. These violent extremists are attacking their own women and girls.
    While captive, these women and children have been tortured, raped, given to ISIL thugs as “brides,” or kept as sex slaves. Some have committed suicide to avoid sexual enslavement. Others have been forced to watch as ISIL beat their children to coerce the women into converting to Islam. Some have simply been executed. Hundreds of women and girls have been taken from Iraq to ISIL camps in Syria and never heard from again.
    We cannot allow these voices, these lives, to be silenced. All of us must stand up for those who are defenseless.
    Reports indicate that ISIL has abducted between 1,500 to 4,000 women and girls, mainly from Iraq’s religious community of Yezidis and other minority groups. Girls as young as 12 or 13 have been forced to marry extremists or sold to the highest bidder -- like cattle at an auction.  These are young girls, mothers, and sisters facing imminent rape, trafficking, and forced marriage.  These are women and girls who pleaded to be killed in airstrikes rather than be brutalized by ISIL.

    A lot of people have said this or that was happening to Yezidi women.

    No one's really been able to prove it, but they do say it, don't they?

    PFrance 24's Wassim Nasr and Djamel Belayachi noted last week:

    Photos of women allegedly sold as slaves

    Citing an Iraqi parliamentarian, several websites claimed that hundreds of women from the Yazidi community had been sold as slaves after the capture of Sinjar at the beginning of August. One photo showing women chained and veiled spread on social networks and was taken as proof of the claim. It turns out that this image was taken during a Shiite procession in the town of Nabatieh, in southern Lebanon, in 2013.

    The fake photo of 'enslaved women' circulating on social media networks.
    Already at this time, the same photo had been published online by websites claiming it showed the jihadist organisation’s treatment of women in Syria.

    They have plenty of other examples in their report.

    And isn't sad that the best the State Dept can offer is a 'people say' kind of foot noting?

    The State Dept's recent interest in women is touching.

    Where were they when Iraqi women and girls were being falsely imprisoned and tortured and raped?

    Where was the concern for women then?

    This was one of the main underlying issues which led to over a year of continuous street protests.

    But the State Dept didn't say 'boo' about it, did they?

    When Nouri al-Maliki was overseeing rape and torture, they didn't object once.

    Back then, they were more than happy to stay silent.

    Ali Younes (Arab Daily News) notes some problem with Barack's plan or 'plan:'

    The key to Obama’s objective however, is not just to try to degrade and destroy ISIL a tall order by on its own, but rather to try to end the sectarian divisions in Iraq and compel the Iraqi Shia establishment to treat the Iraqi Sunnis as partners.
    To start with the new Iraqi government needs to have a new beginning by including the disfranchised Sunnis in the government, the army and other governmental and security agencies. Iraqi Sunnis argue that the 8 years of Al Maliki’s sectarian rule has left them alienated and created so much hatred and division in Iraq.

    The illegal war is not ending but the administration seems unable to sell it (or anything else) with any real enthusiasm.

    How bad is it?

    The State Dept held a lengthy press briefing today.

    Spokesperson Marie Harf acted as moderator.

    However, Iraq wasn't on her mind.

    And it wasn't on the minds of any reporters attending either.

    Two days ago Barack sold the latest phase of the Iraq War.

    Yet the State Dept can't even be bothered with addressing the topic?

    Read on ...
    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.