Friday, May 26, 2017

He Wins Again



From June 16, 2014, that's "He Wins Again."  C.I. noted:

Amid an Iraq in crises, questions about a Taliban swap, a drop in favorable ratings, Barack turns to the magic mirror and declares, "Mirror Mirror big and tall, who is the most foolish of them all?"  The answer shown: Barack Obama.  Valerie Jarrett exclaims, "He wins again!" Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

I loved the colors on that.  

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

Friday, May 26, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, the US Senate looks at VA accountability, the cost of the never-ending wars hit six trillion for US taxpayers, and much more.

We're going to start in the US with the Senate and we'll wind down there too at the end of the snapshot.  Senator Tammy Baldwin's office issued the following yesterday.

For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 25, 2017
  (202) 224 – 6225
Bipartisan VA Accountability Reform One Step Closer to Senate Passage
Committee on Veterans’ Affairs approves bipartisan legislation, now heads to full Senate for vote
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jon Tester (D-MT) and fellow cosponsors of the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act in applauding the bipartisan committee passage of this VA reform legislation.
The bipartisan legislation, which passed the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs by voice vote, would reform the VA by better protecting whistleblowers and providing the VA Secretary with stronger measures to discipline and hold bad employees accountable. The legislation will now move to the full Senate for a vote on final passage.
“Now that our bipartisan legislation has passed committee, we must continue to work across party lines to push our VA reforms forward and make them a reality,” said Senator Baldwin. “Together, we can build a VA that protects whistleblowers, many of whom are veterans working to improve the system. We also need to make sure we are empowering the VA to hold bad actors accountable because our veterans deserve nothing less than high quality service and care.”
Along with Senators Baldwin, Isakson, Rubio and Tester, 19 other senators who are cosponsors of the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act urged the Senate to pass the legislation without delay, including Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Dean Heller (R-NV), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), John Kennedy (R-LA), John McCain (R-AZ), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Bill Nelson (D-FL), David Perdue (R-GA), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act is widely supported by key veterans stakeholders including the VA, U.S. House VA committee leadership and the American Legion Department of Wisconsin. This legislation has also won the support of several veterans advocacy groups that represent millions of veterans in the United States and key government accountability groups.
An online version of this release is available here.


And we'll note this from a member of the Texas legislature on burn pits.

Exposure to burn pits at military installations in Iraq & Afghanistan may have caused serious health problems for service members & veterans

March 17th the US bombed a building in Mosul.  Civilians were inside.  There have been many attempts to confuse the issue -- I've sat through two Congressional hearings alone where members of Congress offered conspiracies -- but the reality is that civilians were killed.  Now?

BBC NEWS notes, "The United States has admitted that at least 105 Iraqi civilians were killed in an air strike it carried out in Mosul in March."  The Pentagon is saying they killed two snipers and that they were the targets of the strike; however, AP explains "several residents of the Mosul neighborhood told The Associated Press on Friday there were no IS fighters or explosives inside the house struck by the U.S. bomb."

That news surfaced late Thursday.  John Haltiwanger (ELITE DAILY) tracked trends online and noted that the news did not amplify on social media:

Is this is a sign of ignorance of what’s being done with U.S. tax dollars in the Middle East, or just indifference?
Perhaps it’s a mixture of both.
But there’s a strong case to be that made airstrikes that kill civilians aid the cause of terrorist organizations like ISIS.

In real time, in the US, it briefly made the news in a "Donald Trump increased the killings!" type of way.  Meaning that members of the so-called 'resistance' (firmly in debt to the centrist core of the Democratic Party) promoted it as an example of Bad Trump.

In doing so, they revealed that, for them, killing innocent civilians was okay as long as it was less than a hundred at a time.

Which is why they had no objections to the many civilians killed in this same manner when Barack Obama was president.

This further reveals the corruption of the Democratic Party.

The Iraq War was used to give opposition to Bully Boy Bush 'morality.'

And once Democrats got control of both houses, interest in ending the Iraq War (a promise Nancy Pelosi made ahead of the 2006 mid-term elections) vanished.

It's why War Hawks like Debra Messing can sling s**t at Susan Sarandon and get away with it.

Susan spoke out against the war.

And suffered for it.

But the Froth In Their Underpants Hillary Clinton Temple Slaves don't care about that anymore than they care that Hillary voted for the Iraq War and was a war monger as Secretary of State.

There is no repulsion to the US government continuing to kill civilians.

But if they can find a way to hang the blame solely on Donald Trump, you better believe that The Debra Messings and their laughable 'resistance' will find a way to take over the topic of the never-ending Iraq War.

There are other countries bombing Iraq as well.

Samuel Oakford (FOREIGN POLICY) reports:

The United States’ coalition partners in the war against the Islamic State are responsible for at least 80 confirmed civilian deaths from airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, according to U.S. military officials. Yet none of their 12 allies will publicly concede any role in those casualties.
These dozen partner nations have launched more than 4,000 airstrikes combined, the vast majority of which were undertaken by the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Belgium, and the Netherlands. However, they have so far claimed a perfect record in avoiding civilian casualties. An Airwars investigation for Foreign Policy has now uncovered evidence that disproves that assertion.
These confirmed deaths caused by non-U.S. airstrikes came to light in the most recent coalition civilian casualty report, released April 30. The report quietly referred to 80 new deaths referenced only as “attributable to coalition strikes to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria from August 2014 to present [that] had not been previously announced.”
Three U.S. Central Command officials confirmed to Airwars and Foreign Policy that the 80 deaths occurred in incidents that U.S. investigators concluded were the responsibility of partner nations. But allies pressured the United States and the coalition against releasing details of the strikes in question.

Back to a focus on the US, Linda J. Blimes (AMERIFORCE) counts the financial cost:

On Memorial Day, we pay respects to the fallen from past wars – including the more than one million American soldiers killed in the Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam.
Yet the nation’s longest and most expensive war is the one that is still going on. In addition to nearly 7,000 troops killed, the 16-year conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost an estimated US$6 trillion due to its prolonged length, rapidly increasing veterans health care and disability costs and interest on war borrowing. On this Memorial Day, we should begin to confront the staggering cost and the challenge of paying for this war.

Six trillion dollars.


Is that typed right?

Six trillion dollars.

And counting.

For the never-ending Iraq War.

The war that Americans gave the Democratic Party both houses of Congress in the 2006 mid-terms to end.  The war that the American people elected Barack Obama president in 2008 to end.

The war that never ends.

Meanwhile, Ali Arkady's reporting continues to have impact.

EXCLUSIVE: Iraqi photojournalist risks his life to expose torture used by some elite Iraqi soldiers fighting ISIS.
Iraqi troops, once praised by U.S., torture civilians in secret videos

Wrapping up, will now note this from Senator Johnny Isakson's office -- Isakson is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee:

Thursday, May 25,, 2017
Contact: Amanda Maddox, 202-224-7777
Kristen Hines, 202-228-2967

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., today announced that the Senate will consider the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., ranking member of the committee, on Tuesday, June 6, when the Senate reconvenes after the Memorial Day state work period.
“I am thrilled to see the Senate moving quickly on this important piece of legislation, and I encourage my colleagues to support this measure as we take steps to change the culture at the VA and improve care for our veterans,” said Isakson. “I thank Majority Leader McConnell for his commitment to ensuring our veterans receive the quality care that they deserve.”
In remarks on the Senate floor earlier today, McConnell stated, “[A]fter the state work period, we’ll be taking up a bipartisan bill reported out of Committee just yesterday that will enhance accountability at the VA, improve the care veterans receive, and empower the VA with the tools necessary to remove employees who are failing to perform at the high-quality level our nation’s heroes richly deserve.”
McConnell continued, “We know many challenges remain in ensuring that veterans have access to the care they need and deserve at the VA, but this legislation will further improve our ability to meet our commitment to them. I appreciate Chairman Isakson for his continued advocacy on behalf of our veterans as well as Senator Rubio for his leadership on this critical legislation. I look forward to the full Senate taking up the bill and passing it soon.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act was introduced by Isakson, Rubio and Tester on May 11. The measure passed the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs by voice vote on Wednesday, May 24.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act is widely supported by key veterans stakeholders including the VA and U.S. House VA committee leadership. It has also won the support of several veterans advocacy groups that represent millions of veterans in the United States and key government accountability groups. Read more about the legislation’s support here.

The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 115th Congress. Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the military as well as more than 750,000 veterans. 

The following community sites updated:


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    Saturday, May 20, 2017

    Changing Stories

    changing stories


    From June 8, 2014, that's "Changing Stories."  C.I. norted:

     Wearing a t-shirt which read "I SURVIVED BENGHAZI TALKING POINTS," Susan Rice declares, "I meant he was honorable to enlist."  Barack declares, "Informing Congress would have put lives at risk."  Valerie Jarrett exclaims, "Change your story and change your story often."   Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

    Susan Rice remains the world's biggest liar.

    (And I miss Valerie Jarrett.)

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

    Friday, May 19, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, AP doesn't think the refugee crisis created by the slog is important for US news consumers (differs on the international scene), and much more.

    forces have stormed the last two blocks in 17 Tamouz district NW , just a little more & it will be completely liberated.

    Just a little more?

    It's day 212 of The Mosul Slog.

    Replying to 
    Latest map update for west Operations after liberated Al-Qahira (Cairo) village south Qayrawan.

    Meanwhile, does AP have a prankster in its midst?

    That would explain this headline "Airstrikes fuel Mosul gains as Iraq pushes for quick victory."

    It could also be explained by an urge to cover for empire and that motive would also explain the need to pretend that The Mosul Slog has two parts.

    It doesn't.

    There was not an operation to liberate the eastern half and an operation to liberate the western half.

    That's a rewriting of history, revisionary tactics.

    The Mosul Slog was not supposed to be a slog, it was supposed to be a quick operation, one expected to last only a few weeks.

    That has not been the case.

    Instead, AP splits it up into two because 100 days looks a lot more successful than the 212 days the operation has been going on.

    How else do they make it look better?

    Burying this:

    Some 500,000 people have fled western Mosul since February and the United Nations warned another 200,000 may be forced to flee as the operation continues.
    U.N. humanitarian coordinator Lise Grande called the numbers "overwhelming."

    17 paragraphs into the article before you find the above.

    The refugee numbers are "overwhelming."

    And that's not the lede?

    How does that happen?

    AP should try to explain that.

    Overseas, AP emphasizes the refugee crises and even makes it the headline.  But for US audiences, it's a different story.

    's Releases VDO Showing Destroying 3 Humvees By Guided Missiles Near Tal Banat SW Of .

    In a blow to the CIA, Nawshirwan Mustafa has died.  Idris Okuducu (ANADOLU AGENCY) reports he was 73-years-old and that he passed away "following a long illness."  Left out of the announcement is that the CIA provided him with seed money for Goran -- a political party that they hoped would make the Kurds easier to control.

    Goran had increased in popularity in the last elections; however, this was in part due to the PUK falling out of favor as a result of the deceptions regarding Jalal Talabani's health.

    Whether Goran can **retain** its lead over the PUK without Mustafa will be interesting to see.

    (The Barzani's KDP remains the dominant political party in the Kurdistan Region.)

    In the US, whistle-blower Chelsea Manning has been released.

    Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released  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. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested  Chelsea Manning (then known as Bradley Manning) and she stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (WASHINGTON POST) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (LOS ANGELES TIMES) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. Chelsea had yet to enter a plea. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the November 2012 election but it was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a record of his actual actions.  INDEPENDENT.IE added, "A court martial is set to be held in June at Ford Meade in Maryland, with supporters treating him as a hero, but opponents describing him as a traitor."  February 28, 2013, Chelsea admitted he leaked to WikiLeaks.  And why.

    Chelsea:   In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
    I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.

    For truth telling, Chelsea was punished by the man who fears truth: Barack Obama.  A fraud, a fake, a 'brand,' anything but genuine, Barack is all marketing, all facade and, for that reason, must attack each and every whistle-blower.  David Delmar (Digital Journal) points out, "President Obama, while ostensibly a liberal advocate of transparency and openness in government, and of the 'courage' and 'patriotism' of whistleblowers who engage in conscientious leaks of classified information, is in reality something very different: a vindictive opponent of the free press willing to target journalists for doing their job and exposing government secrets to the public."

     Tuesday, July 30, 2013, Chelsea was convicted of all but two counts by Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge in his court-martial.

    She deserves praise for what she did.  We do not, however, need to lie about what she did.

    Hidden history of the Iraq war is Chelsea Manning leaks were totally decisive in securing a US withdrawal. Saved countless lives.

    That's not hidden history, that's made up inventions.

    It's also insulting as it implies the favorite western narrative of all time: The natives were too stupid on their own and needed a White savior to rescue them.

    The occupation of Iraq was authorized under a UN mandate which was yearly.

    Each year, the prime minister of Iraq would renew it.

    Nouri al-Maliki came under tremendous pressure near the end of 2006 for renewing it -- pressure within Iraq.  He promised that he would put it before Parliament the next year.

    In 2007, he renewed it and did not go before Parliament.

    The Status of Forces Agreement was a three year contract for that reason -- he did not want to take the hit each year as the supporter of occupation in his own country.

    Chelsea Manning did a heroic thing and the video of the attack on the REUTERS reporters probably woke a few up in the US.

    However, this was not news to the Iraqi people.

    They saw the foreign military do that (and far worse) in their country on a regular basis.  There was also the issue of Blackwater and other mercenary groups.

    Chelsea did a great job and her actions were heroic.

    But let's not pretend that the Iraqi people needed Chelsea -- seven years into the Iraq War -- to tell them how they were being treated on a daily basis.  It's insulting.

    Also in the US, Carlo Munoz (WASHINGTON TIMES) reports on statements made to a think tank:

    The U.S. may need to keep as many as 20,000 troops and other military personnel in Iraq, even after the Islamic State is driven out, to stabilize the country, the former head of the Pentagon’s policy shop said Thursday.
    A postwar force of between 4,000 to 8,000 American troops “is probably sufficient” to help local security forces ensure security in Iraq as ISIS faces defeat in its final stronghold in Mosul, Eric Edelman, the Pentagon’s top policy official during the George W. Bush administration, said in an interview.
    The U.S. forces would likely be deployed as advisers, not combat troops, to support Iraq’s police and military forces, he said.

    We'll note this from South Central Michigan Greens:

    South Central Michigan Greens
    Calhoun, Hillsdale, and Jackson Counties Local
    People and planet over profit.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  May 12, 2017
    UPDATED:  May 16, 2017

    For more information:
    John Anthony La Pietra, Calhoun County Contact/SCMiGreens

    South Central Michigan Greens to Meet
    at Albion Biggby's 5-7pm May 20

    The South Central Michigan Greens will hold their monthly meeting on
    Saturday, May 20 from 5 to 7pm in the meeting room at the Albion
    Biggby's Coffee, 217 East Michigan Avenue.

    The meeting had been scheduled for 2:30 to 4:30pm in the Elsie Munro
    Room at the Albion District Library, but the plans changed after
    water-main work on Superior Street was announced to begin on Wednesday.

    The Green Party of Michigan local group was formed earlier this year. It
    covers Calhoun, Jackson, and Hillsdale Counties, and has been meeting in
    various places to reach out to the communities.

    Planning an ongoing schedule of dates and places for future meetings
    will be on the agenda.  So will discussion of issues and activities to
    get involved in, materials on how to campaign for office and how to go
    door-to-door to find new members and issues, and information about the
    state party's opposition to a misleading ballot proposal.

    For more information, please visit the South Central Michigan Greens
    Facebook page -- or contact Calhoun County organizer John Anthony La
    Pietra (269-781-9478;

    NOTE:  East Michigan Avenue is north of the downtown construction zone;
    Biggby's is a block and a half east of Superior Street, on the north
    side of Michigan.  Those entering town from the EAST can Exit 124 off
    I-94 onto Michigan Avenue and go west until they reach the coffeeshop.
    Those entering town from the WEST can take Exit 121 south into town on
    Eaton, turn left at the second stoplight to continue on Business Loop
    94, turning right and then left again at the next stoplight which is
    Michigan Avenue.

    #  #  #

    The Four Pillars of GPMI:
        Grassroots Democracy
        Social Justice
        Ecological Wisdom
    For our Ten Key Values, add:
        Community-Based Economics
        Future Focus/Sustainability
        Personal and Global Responsibility
        Respect for Diversity

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated:

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