Saturday, August 25, 2012

Two themes from the e-mails

I am sorry but I am not Dr. Fiona.

I don't do web therapy.  (Though Web Therapy is a very funny series.)

Sunny notes people have started e-mailing with very personal issues.  Sunny's not a trained therapist and doesn't present herself as such.  She has great common sense and if she wants to answer your questions with what she would do, that's fine.

But as a doctor, I really don't diagnose people I've never met.  That is why I have always, for example, called out the book Bush on the Couch.  If a layperson had written that, fine.  But it wasn't and I don't think it does the profession good for us to diagnose people we've never met.

I'm going to share two general answers based on what Sunny said the two most common issues were.

The two issues are happiness and bisexuality.

Let me start with the latter.  Yes, it is very possible to be bisexual.  There are times when your boyfriend or girlfriend may hide behind bisexuality, yes.  That does happen.  They can't yet admit that they are gay.  But, in my own experience, that's been a very small number.  Most bisexuals I have encountered in therapy were honestly bisexual.

I would further add for those in college and high school (use a condom) that these are times of experimentation for many and if you're inclined to experiment, go for it.  Straight, gay, bi, all wonderful and valid attractions.  What's not valid? Denying who you are.  It will take a toll on you.

Happiness.  If someone is not making you happy, you need to first self-check.  Is this person doing something that is upsetting you or are certain things triggering earlier hurts?  By that, I mean, if someone's doing something that hurts you or makes you mad, did someone else do it to you before -- possibly when you were a child?  That will make you reaction today stronger than it might be otherwise.  If this is happening, you need to figure out where you are comfortable.  Some people would be comfortable attempting to talk this through, some are comfortable having found the root cause.  Some are not going to be comfortable and you're going to have to set up some boundaries -- possibly no interaction at all boundaries.

But a lot of time when people are wondering if they are right to be upset, they're looking for confirmation because they believe the person letting them down really loves them.

I can't tell you that.  I couldn't tell you that if you were a patient.  I'd have to have you both for couples therapy.  But if you're not happy, you need to figure out why that is?

Your friends can tell you, "Drop him/her."  That's fine.  As a friend, I've advised that myself.  You then can decide whether to listen or not to that advice.

But only you can determine what you're getting in a love relationship.  You can certainly do that with a therapist (or a pastor, preacher, school counselor, etc.). 

Happiness is also oversold in America, my opinion.

By that I mean, we are conditioned to think every day is wonderful and joyful.  That conditioning encourages us to buy and buy when we're unhappy. 

There are days when you will be happy and hopefully they will out number days when you are unhappy.  But very few people are happy all the time.  Life is a series of adventures and ups and downs. 

I'll talk about C.I. here because she won't mind.  (She's never been a patient of mine.  She has been a friend since college and I first met her when she was dating my brother.)

She is probably the happiest person I know.  She's a joyful person.  Even she will get sad but not very often.  If you remove the unhappiness caused by the deaths and injuries from the wars currently, she's immensely happy.

I think there are many reasons for that.  One of the most important is that if she is sad, she'll cry.  She won't try to bottle it up.  If you're in touch with your feelings, I think you'll be better able to enjoy the journey of life.

The journey.  C.I.'s journals are a casualty of war.  I'm not joking.  She's stopped journaling.  She doesn't have time to do all the writing she's now doing online, travel around the country speaking about the wars and still grab time to journal.  That's sad because her journals are both infamous and wonderful.  When I had a very bad relationship and couldn't figure it out (no, I don't have all the answers and never is that more true than when it comes to my own life), she loaned me the volumes from the time I was seeing that guy and, reading through them, I was able to zero in on many things.
But what I learned/realized after I took what I needed re: my failed relationship was how C.I.'s journals turn everything into an adventure.  I don't mean, "She's 'creative'," I mean by writing about the day and doing so daily for such a long period of time, she was able to see peaks and valleys and have a better grip on things then a lot of people (that includes me) do.

Her life is an adventure and the journal portrays that, captures that.  So that's a suggestion to those of you who are unhappy, start journaling.  If you feel like this is the worst day of your life, write it down.  Hopefully, what will happen is that after a year of journaling, you'll have a wide section of days and be able to see that bad things will happen but so will good and life is an adventure.

Back to me, I try to figure out a failed relationship.  Sometimes I have luck with that, sometimes I don't.  But what I have learned about love is that the songs are correct, you do have to hurt.  Love is going to hurt.  It's a gift we give others.  Some won't want it and that'll hurt.  Someone won't be worthy of it and we'll be hurt.  Some will be worth it and we'll have a series of wonderful memories.

I hope that helps someone. 

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Friday, August 24, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, Moqtada's followers are attacked in Sadr City, refugees in Iraq and outside continues to need asylum, the PKK and Turks boast of their 'kills,' US House Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen wants the answers to some questions, and more.
With Iraq, the temptation for some news outlets is to make 'good news.' You can't manufacture good news and you look ridiculous when you try -- and if you're a US official trying to manufacture good news, your latest wave of Operation Happy Talk usually slaps you in the face -- meaning within 24 hours of your remarks being published, a large wave of violence hits Iraq.
But one Iraqi family did get some good news, real good news, genuine good news. Chris Thompson (Windsor Star) reported this week on the Putrus family. They left Iraq in 2009 and were fortunate in that their refugee applications were processed. They ended up in Canada and it was there that they bought one of the two winning Lotto tickets for a $3 million jackpot which means they won $1.5 million:
The family celebrated with a dinner at Mandarin restaurant, a Chinese buffet.
Faiz plans to continue working as a granite designer at Granite Design Works for now but plans to start his own small business in the future, Faraj said.
"He told his boss he won that kind of money and he took a vacation," Faraj said.
The family is also planning to buy a new larger house and possibly rent out the modest bungalow they currently own.
The family, who are Christian Chaldean, lived in Baghdad in 2008 when they travelled to Syria to say goodbye to an aunt who was leaving to claim refugee status in Canada.
The situation in Baghdad was chaotic and violent.
"Killing, robbing, and our house got on fire," said Faraj.
While the family was in Syria, they received word from Baghdad that the family home had burned to the ground, and everything was lost. It was then they decided not to return, and would follow the aunt to Canada.
"We didn't stop our life," Faraj said.
Again, that would be actual good news. Canada's goal is 2,500 Iraqi refugees admitted each year. That goal is one less than the US has admitted this year. Yes, Canada is much smaller than the United States. As of their most recent tally, FY2012 has seen only 2,501 Iraqi refugees admitted to the US. FY2010 was the first year the current administration, President Barack Obama, was solely responsible. (FY2010 started October 1, 2009 and ran through September 30, 2010.) That year, the number was 24,021 -- a drop of over a thousand and each year since has seen a bigger drop (in FY2011, only 9,388 Iraqi refugees were admitted). Anybody remember this:
We would pursue a diplomatic offensive with every nation in the region on behalf of Iraq’s stability, and commit $2 billion to a new international effort to support Iraq’s refugees.
That's from a July 14, 2008 column in the New York Times entitled "My Plan for Iraq." Barack Obama wrote that column (or his name was put on the byline). Lot of talk for very little action. Iraqi refugees continue to suffer and the United Nations counts 29,453 Iraqis who fled for Iraq for safety that have been forced to return as a result of actions in Syria.
Syria and Iraq share a border, it's Iraq's neighbor on the north-west side. Earlier this week, Patrick Markey and Alistair Lyon (Reuters) reported, "Syrian government forces fought rebels on Wednesday for control of a military base and an airfield near the eastern town of Albu Kamal on the Iraqi border, a local Iraqi official and a Syrian rebel commander said."
The conflict in Syria continues with fears that it might impact Iraq in terms of violence. For now, it's only impact on Iraq has been the refugees who have left Syria. Today UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards addressed the issue of Syrian refugees seeking Iraq:
Meanwhile in Iraq, Syrian refugees staying in schools are being relocated to Al Qaem camp. Seven schools have so far been vacated with a further nine schools still occupied by some 1,760 refugees. The school year resumes in Iraq in early October. 1,691 people are now residing in the Al Qaem camp, while some 100 Syrians have left the camp and returned to Syria. During the last week, 24 left the camp to live with relatives. UNHCR will shortly begin to expand the camp by 230 tents in anticipation of new arrivals. The number of Syrians crossing into Iraq has slowed over the past week, although the refugee population increased slightly in the Kurdistan region. Across Iraq the total number of refugees stands at 15,898. The number of Iraqi refugees returning from Syria to Iraq has continued despite fewer people returning over Eid due to a shortage of buses from Damascus. Most of those returning home are heading to Baghdad. Several of those returning told UNHCR protection staff at the border they had been attacked or robbed on the road between Damascus and Al-tanf on the Syrian border, losing all their money, telephones and some documents. Some returnees say they are assessing the security situation in Iraq before deciding to stay.
This is part of regional issue. IRIN noted Monday, "From April to August, the number of Syrians registered with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq nearly quadrupled, from 40,000 to more than 155,000, with recent marked increases in Jordan and Iraq. About 75 percent are believed to be women and children." For UNICEF, Salam Abdulmunem reports on an Iraqi refugee camp:
Recently, the local Department of Education, with assistance from UNHCR and UNICEF, started a summer school to help the children make up for lost time. Almost 150 boys and girls are registered in this school. But with the new academic year quickly approaching, a shortage in space is anticipated for almost 500 children who have already been registered to join the regular school.
Later, when I visit the nearby UNICEF-supported Child Friendly Space (CFS), I meet Perween Abdulaziz, a social worker who works with the NGO Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) and runs the CFS. Ms. Abdulaziz tells me that, while some of the children have seen violence, most of the children’s fears come from hearing their parents talk about an uncertain future. The structure and activities provided to them through the school and CFS are essential to bring back some sense of stability to their lives, she tells me.
That's Dohuk which is in the Kurdistan Region Government. The KGR's received positive reports as a result of UN inspections of their refugee camp. Sadly, that is not true of all of Iraq.  For example, last week Rudaw reported on a camp in Anbar Province (which Nouri's Baghdad-based government is over):
Iranian Kurdish refugees residing in Waleed camp suffer from lack of services such as drinking water, electricity and a medical center. In addition, Iraq’s Ministry of Interior is pressuring them to leave.
Waleed is located in Anbar province in the west, near the Syrian border. The camp -- which accommodates 120 Palestinian families, 24 Kurdish families and 19 Arab families from Ahwaz, Iran -- was established in June 2009.
For the past three months, the Iraqi government has been using various tactics to force the families to leave the camp, such as removing basic services like electricity and water. However, residents of the camp have been defying the government’s decision.
Nouri's never shown any respect for refugees. As the waves of refugees fleeing Iraq reached record levels and became the largest refugee crisis in the Middle East since 1948, Nouri made noises about giving some of the oil millions to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon to help cover the costs but Nouri never forked over the money. When the Syrian refugees need somewhere to go, Nouri's original response was to insist that Iraq couldn't handle refugees. Only after he was shamed on the world stage did he take the refugees in and then he shoved them into either abandoned or unused buildings. Now he's trying to force them out because the unused buildings were often schools and Iraqi children are resuming their school year.
On the subject of refugees, one of the persecuted groups in Iraq that has often elected to leave the country for safety reasons is the LGBT community. Last month Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project had some success with regards to Iraq's LGBT refugees:
IRAP’s advocacy on behalf of LGBT Iraqis with the Dutch government has led the Netherlands to change their policy toward LGBT asylum seekers from Iraq, who now have a presumption of asylum. The reform also includes the creation of a set allocation for the admission of LGBT Iraqi refugees, along with a new expedited process. Around two weeks ago, we led a private fact-finding tour for a representative from the Dutch Office of the Asylum Minister. This was in addition to significant research conducted about the plight of LGBT refugees in the are and the resultant news coverage we received in conjunction with two other NGOs.
For IRAP talking about the issue on Dutch National News: buitenland/39940/ doodseskaders_op_homojacht_in_ irak
Sunday's New York Times featured James Risen and Duraid Adnan's "U.S. Says Iraqis Are Helping Iran to Skirt Sanctions" on the front page, an article 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." Today the editorial board for the Detroit Free Press weighs in on the issues -- and notes the Times' article -- observing:

On the bright side, some American taxpayers may be relieved to learn that Iraq's sanction-busting activities signal nothing more than the vitality of public corruption; sound strategic arguments support Iraq's continuing official hostility toward Iran.
But the practical impact of that corruption is essentially the same. The likelihood that at least some of the billions the U.S. and its allies have supplied to Iraq is being used to systematically undermine allied strategic objectives in the Middle East is enough to sour any U.S. taxpayer on continued support for the Malaki government.

This morning I praised the editorial but didn't see anything changing and provided several examples of 2008 when the corruption and waste was regularly noted in Congress and nothing ever changed. I said I'd love to be wrong. Maybe I am wrong and maybe that's already apparent.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee released the following today:



In Letter to Secretary Panetta, Secretary Geithner, Ros-Lehtinen Requests Details of Iran's Involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan

Asks What Obama Administration, Iraqi and Afghan Governments are Doing to Counter Tehran's Efforts

Friday, August 24, 2012
(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner requesting details on Iran’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Chairman Ros-Lehtinen also is asking the Administration for information on the Iraqi and Afghan governments’ actions in addressing the Iranian regime’s attempts to gain influence within these countries. For a signed copy of the letter, please click here. Text of the letter follows:
Dear Secretary Panetta and Secretary Geithner:
I am writing to raise concerns about Iranian attempts to circumvent U.S., European Union, and other bilateral and multilateral sanctions through use of the financial sectors of Iraq and Afghanistan, and about what the Administration is doing or considering doing to counter these efforts effectively.
As described in two New York Times articles over the past week, and on the heels of the recent Treasury designation of the Elaf Islamic Bank in Baghdad, the Iranian regime is trying to access the financial sectors of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the energy sector of Iraq, to provide Tehran with crucial foreign currency reserves at a time when sanctions are having an effect.
Reports indicate that the Elaf Islamic Bank is still allowed to participate in the Iraq Central Bank’s daily auction, at which commercial banks can sell Iraqi dinars and buy United States dollars. These auctions are a crucial pathway for Iranian access to the international financial system. As Iran seeks to bolster its reserves of dollars and other convertible foreign currency to stabilize its exchange rates and pay for imports, the Iraqi government reportedly not only allows companies and individuals to circumvent the sanctions but also does not enforce penalties for non-compliance.
Further, the status of joint Iraqi-Iranian oil fields raises potential sanctionable upstream activities, which are particularly concerning given reports that some Iranian oil is finding its way to Iraqi ports for export.
A similar potential challenge to sanctions implementation and enforcement exists with Afghanistan. Kabul and Kandahar are now reportedly being utilized as financial centers through which the Iranian regime can circumvent sanctions. According to press reports, Afghan money traders said they were told this month by American officials not to conduct business with Arian Bank, an Afghan bank owned by two Iranian banks, because the Iranian regime was using Arian to move cash in and out of Afghanistan. Given longstanding difficulties encountered by the U.S. and other responsible nations with Afghanistan’s widespread corruption and lack of financial controls, I am concerned not only that Afghanistan could be transformed into a mechanism used by the Iranian regime to circumvent sanctions, but that such an arrangement could inadvertently provide Tehran greater leverage over the Afghan government.
Accordingly, I would appreciate if you would provide the following information (which, given its potential sensitivity, may be transmitted in classified form):
  • the overarching U.S. strategy to address these Iranian efforts to evade sanctions;
  • what actions the U.S., our allies, and the Iraqi and Afghan governments are taking to counter such sanctions evasion;
  • whether the Administration will condition security cooperation with Iraq and Afghanistan on such activities with the Iranian regime;
  • which Iraqi and Afghan banks, or other financial institutions, maintain correspondent accounts with designated Iranian banks or their affiliates;
  • a determination as to whether joint Iranian-Iraqi oil fields are sanctionable under the Iran Sanctions Act; and
  • an analysis of the impact of Iran’s use of Iraqi and Afghan financial institutions on the effectiveness of bilateral and multilateral sanctions regimes.
Given the U.S. investment of blood and treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is vital that the Iraqi and Afghan governments cooperate with the U.S. and other responsible nations to address the Iranian threat. Failure to cooperate should be met with a reconsideration of bilateral security arrangements.
Thank you in advance for your assistance. I look forward to receiving your response.
US House Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was not Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee until January 2011. Past examples of Congressional leadership on Committees really don't apply to her so possibly, for once, something actually will come out of this. I hope so and would love for the Detroit Free Press editorial board to be 100% correct and myself 100% wrong.

Today Moqtada al-Sadr's Baghdad office was targeted with a bombing which, Baghdad Operations Command tells Alsumaria, resulted in the deaths of 2 people with "several" more left injured. There are conflicting reports with two bombs placed uner the speaker's podium for Friday prayers or with the attack being done via mortar.. All Iraq News reports 3 dead and eleven injured with two bombs -- one near a booth by the podium. UPI notes the death toll from the bombings has climbed to two. In addition, a Baquba roadside bombing has left two police officers injured. All Iraq News notes 4 corpses discovered dumped in Mosul (all had gunshots to the head). AFP adds a Khan Beni Saad bombing targeted a Shi'ite family and claimed 1 life with three more injured. All Iraq News notes a fire broke out in a nightclub near Baghdad's National Theatre killing six people. AP reports that the fire was "set off" by assailants with a bomb and grenades and that, along with the 6 dead, twelve  were injured.
Turkey and the PKK continue to add up 'wins.' Alsumaria notes that the PKK announced today that they have killed 22 Turkish soldiers (from August 22nd to the present) and that they have injured twelve others while kidnapping an official of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Reuters reports Turkey announced 16 PKK were killed by Turkish forces by Thursday and UPI adds that, on Friday, Turkey's government boasted "at least 21 members" of the PKK had been killed. (See the earlier "Turkey and the PKK" from this morning. Again, we've attended this dance before.) Late today, Dogan News Agency reported the PKK released Hayrullah Tanis, the official they had kidnapped on Thursday.
Turning to the US, where the presidential election is underway, Chris McGuire (Schlepp Films) has made a series of humorous ads calling out GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Chris McGuire created something, he gets a link. I make an exception for creativity. McGuire gets a link otherwise I'm not interested in your columns -- that you all know are funny -- 'taking on Mitt.' Your columns are embarrassing because you're so ill informed about the man you're whoring for. Again, McGuire was creative and he got a link. Respect the arts. We're more interested in covering the two campaigns made up of four women, two presidential tickets. 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. Click here to sign a petition calling on Ms. magazine and Women's Media Center to cover her campaign and the other female candidate for president Roseanne Barr's campaign
conspiracyanalyst (WTF RLY?) reports on the Chemtrails confrence and notes:
Roseanne Barr and Cyn­thia McK­in­ney were spe­cial guests, they were not in the orig­i­nal line-up. Hav­ing them there increased the sense of activism that this con­fer­ence was more than just about gain­ing knowl­edge about the lat­est advance­ments of the NWO, it was in fact about a move­ment. It was the chance to make a dif­fer­ence in our world through both tra­di­tional and non-traditional chan­nels, and it was of course about get­ting the word out to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble. If Roseanne Barr can draw atten­tion to this issue, then bless her for her celebrity. If we can laugh at the ridicu­lous cir­cus of pol­i­tics, and stand up in the front row for truth then the pres­ence of politi­cians are more than wel­come, they are nec­es­sary.


If people in this country had any brains in their head, they'd vote 3rd party. Ron Paul, Jill Stein, Roseanne Barr, someone who isn't a total moron with their head so far up big business' collective ass that they can't see cars coming when they try crossing the street. Even ALF would be better.
We need to start branding politicians with the companies that own them. You know: "Property of:" then list the company names. The more you saw & the types you saw would determine whether you should bother voting for them. I'd also like to see fist fights in the Senate & House like they have in other government meetings in other countries. I've said it before but it would make things more interesting & some reality TV company could make money from it. It's practically Jerry Springer anyway; we may as well be honest about it.
So, why would Roseanne Barr be the best president ever:
1. She wasn't born to money. She came from lower income so she knows what that's like. Her entire TV show concept was based off that experience. That's better than the mainstream politicians you see who generally came from money or are part of some political dynasty. I feel she's more "of the people" than most folk in politics.
2. She conquered Hollywood. When she started out, she actually took command on her show. Most people in her shoes would be all docile & meek. She wasn't. People probably call me a bitch; I feel if people are calling a woman a "bitch" and saying she's "difficult," she's probably doing something right.
If she did this in Hollywood, do you honestly think she'd let some s[**]thead career politician push her around? Or some high power lobbyist? I can't see that happening. I'd hope she'd tell the prick just where to go; we need more people willing to do that sort of thing. If she told Hollywood execs where to go early in her career, I could see her doing the same thing to some Washington insider.
We leave Roseanne's campaign to move over to Jill's.  Bart Gruzalski (CounterPunch) weighs in on why he's supporting Jill Stein's campaign:
Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President of the United States, promises a Manhattan-project jobs program that would ignite our economy, repair our crumbling infrastructure, and put the US in the lead at the forefront of the world’s newest and hottest technologies. She will put forward the health care policy most of us wanted in 2009: the public option, effectively Medicare for everyone. She will withdraw our troops out of Afghanistan and implement the advice George Washington gave in his farewell address: “The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.” Jill Stein will bring to the table a demand for an equitable tax system, not one in which the wealthy pay too little and we the 99% have to close schools, fire police, and shutter fire stations to make up the difference. Climate change and food security are at the top of her agenda, as is getting the money out of politics. A Jill Stein presidency will herald the liberation of a democracy currently hijacked by wealthy Americans like the Koch brothers and by corporate banksters like Lloyd Blankfein the CEO of Goldman Sachs. From the perspective of those of us in the 99%, the only plausible reason to fail to vote for Jill Stein is that voting for her will take votes away from Obama who would be better for the 99% than Romney. Let me explain why this fails to show that we should not vote for Jill Stein.
My explanation requires we distinguish the significant issues that affect all of us in the 99% from those issues that divide us. Some of the issues that unite us include the need for jobs, a vibrant economy, accessible health care for all, a fair tax policy, a democracy in which we have a voice, security from foreign threats, and an environment that will allow us to live healthily as well as allow our children and grandchildren to live healthily after us. The emotionally inflammatory issues that divide us are promulgated by the media, politicians, and even some religious leaders. These red herring issues draw us away from the basic issues that unite us: our economy and a vibrant democracy.
And Janelle Sorensen with the Stein campaign notes 3 ways to show your support for the Stein-Honkala ticket:
First of all, thanks to everyone who has volunteered, donated, and helped spread the word up to this point! We’re definitely gaining momentum!

As you know, this battle is far from over and we need all hands on deck every single day to make a dent in the corporate machine known as the United States presidential campaign.

So, let’s dive in with three easy ways to help today:
1. Make sure you’re connected to us! Since we don’t have a multi-million dollar budget for paid advertising like our competitors, social media is one of our best options for raising awareness. And, if you saw the impact it had for the Howard Dean campaign, the revolution in Egypt, and even the protests in Madison - you know it’s an imperative force for advocacy. We need all of you with us everywhere you can be!
(FYI - There’s not much happening on those latter two platforms yet, but we’re hoping to ramp things up in the coming months!)
2. Help us get media coverage on three target outlets: The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, and The Rachel Maddow Show. These three sources could help us reach millions of sympathetic voters!
On Facebook - Leave a message on their walls, privately message them, comment on their posts - whatever it takes to get their attention (respectfully please!):
On Twitter (copy and paste - or create your own tweet!):
  • PLEASE @StephenAtHome - have #Green Party #POTUS candidate @jillstein2012 on the @Colbertreport!
  • Hey @TheDailyShow - how about having #Green Party #POTUS candidate @JillStein2012 on the show?
  • Hey @maddow - how about having #Green Party #POTUS candidate @JillStein2012 on the show?
3. Donate! The Green Party is the only one that doesn't accept corporate donations. It makes these campaigns all the more challenging, but it also ensures we are only beholden to the people - you. Not Wall Street. Not the 1%. Every donation helps!
Thanks so much for your continued support! Together, we can reclaim democracy!!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Our present

"Stop the Sexism."  That's the petition to sign in order to call for Ms. and Women's Media Center to cover the presidential campaigns of Jill Stein and Roseanne Barr.

This is women's history in the making.

Where the hell are those two outlets? 

Oh, that's right pimping and whoring for the Democratic Party. 

Women's history is little known due to the fact that so few bother to cover it.

WMC and Ms. are so very good at providing silences but that's not what we need, is it?

We need to know our history and we need to know our present.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Wednesday, August 22, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, Iraq's fugitive president remains out of the country, the Minister of Oil is accused of hiring a thousand of his own relatives, Camp Liberty's a nightmare according to a former UN human rights workers, a new petition calls on Women's Media Center and Ms. magazine, and more.
So many wars, let's start with the Drone War before moving onto Iraq.  Brenda Norrell (Narco News) reports:
President Obama's Tuesday kill list is responsible for the assassination of a 16-year-old boy from Denver, Medea Benjamin of CodePink said here today. Describing the US program of targeted assassinations using drones, the CIA out of control, and the US Congress refusing to act, Benjamin said it is time for US citizens to show the world they do not support US drone assassinations in Pakistan and elsewhere.
Benjamin called for citizens in Tucson to join the march with Pakistanis in northern Pakistan, during the week of September 21, and show the world that the people of the US seek global peace and understanding, and do not support US drone killings.
Now we'll move over to Iraq where the political crisis continues to grip the country.   What does it say about a country when the president is out of the country for over two months?  Back on June 16th, I wrote:
As Iraq explodes, President Jalal Talabani continues to shrink.  Alsumaria reports that he's written an indignant letter to Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi, Iraqiya head Ayad Allawi and KRG President Massoud Barazni in which he belittles Moqtada al-Sadr and in which he insists he'd rather resign than change his opinion and forward the petition with 176 signatures to Parliament (the petition calls for a no-confidence vote on Nouri).  Poor overweight Jalal.  Last month, he'd pictured himself getting his arteries cleaned in the US and the pigging out on Philly Cheesesteaks.   Now his image is in tatters, his political party PUK has asked him to lower his profile (his weakness is hurting the party) and he's been told not to leave the country.  Back on April 28th, he talked big to Moqtada, Allawi and Barzani.  He swore that he could remove Nouri as prime minister all by his lonesome.  Then Nouri did a little pressue, the US did a little pressure, and like a cheap belt, Jalal buckled.  Next year the KRG holds provincial elections.  The PUK is furious with Jalal for his decision not to forward the petition.  It's made Massoud Barzani even more popular in the KRG, it's made him look even more like a leader and Jalal look even weaker and more ineffectual.  (The two main parties in the KRG are the Jalal's PUK and Barzani's KDP.  In the last years, Goran has emerged as a third party.  PUK officials fear that they are losing power not to Barzani's KDP but to the emerging Goran as a result of Jalal's embarrassing moves.)
And I was wrong because I thought when you're told not to leave the country, you don't leave the country.  But the very next day, June 17th, we were noting, "He's not very popular of late.  Not even with his own political party.  So it probably wasn't smart of him to head for Germany today, as Alsumaria reports.  Especially after he'd been instructed not to leave the country until the political crisis was settled."
It is August 22nd and Jalal's still not made it back to Iraq.  People talk about Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi being a fugitive, but Jalal appears to be the one.  For those who've forgotten, as Jalal was being mocked for leaving the country, his office wanted Iraq to know that he had to leave because he needed a life altering surgery, he was at risk.  Apparently of tipping over because that 'important' surgery turned out to be knee surgery.  He had elective surgery.  It could have waited. 
But he used it to bail on Iraq.  In 2011, Iraq had three vice presidents and one president-- and all were in the country.  Right now it has one vice president in the country and that's it.  Jalal really thinks this is how to be president?  Hiding out in Germany?
The very optimistic Iraq Updates insists today that Jalal "will return home soon and first meet with Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani [. . .]"  For those who've forgotten how Jalal ticked off a large portion of Iraqis, it was when he stabbed his colleagues in the back.  Jalal was present at the end of April meeting with Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraqiya's Ayad Allawi, Massoud Barzani and others and Jalal was on board for the no-confidence vote in Parliament on Nouri.  Signatures were collected.  More than enough.  But Jalal began disallowing signatures at the last minute and declared that they weren't valid and the vote couldn't go forward.  Yes, they were valid. 
And Jalal stuck his own big ass further in the fire this month when, attempting to shine his tawdry image, he spoke to Nakhel News about why he halted the no-confidence vote.  Jalal gave five reasons.  None had to do with signatures.  He never even raised the issue of signatures.  His reasons included not wanting to go against the Shi'ites (and feeling Moqtada was but one voice) and assurances he'd personally received regarding the Erbil Agreement.  He's begun to make another call for a national conference to address the nation's political crisis.  (He and Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi began making the call December 21st.)  Buratha News notes he wants all the political blocs to take part.  Jalal's renewed call takes place as Fryad Mohammed (AKnews) reports that the Kurdistan Islamic Union's Najib Abdullah is stating that the ground work for such a meeting has still not been done
From the failing president to the corruption, Rebin Hassan (AKnews) reports that Parliament's Oil and Gas Committe has discovered that, since 2003, $27 billion (in US dollars) "have been spent on the electricity sector in Iraq" and his with no progress to show for it leading MP Qasim Mohammed to declare, "There is huge corruption in the electricity sector in Iraq."  With all the money spent, Iraqis still do not have dependable electricity and most make do with 6 or so hours a day.  Minister of Electricity is a post with a huge turnover rate.  Let's just note the last two years.  In June of 2010, CNN was reporting on the resignation of Karim Waheed as a result of protests.  Aseel Kami (Reuters) reported in August of 2011 on the resignation of Raad Shallal's resignation -- he was the Minister of Electricity who stepped down due to what were called fake contracts.  Buratha News reports that social media rumors (and documents) attest to the current Minister Abdul Karim Aftan hiring 1,000 relatives to work for the Ministry.  All Iraq News adds that a member of Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc in Parliament is stating that the Minister will be questioned before Parliament shortly.
Turning to some of today's violence,  All Iraq News reports a Mosul home invasion resulted in the death of one woman who was shot to death.  Alsumaria reports that 1 man was shot dead in Dhuluiya and they note a Diyalal Province bombing injured two Iraqi soldiers.  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 336 people killed in violence so far this month in Iraq.
Though the election law for next year's provincial elections still hasn't been settled, AKnews reports that Diyala Province plans to elect a governor next Saturday.  This is due to the death of the previous governor.  Saturday Alsumaria reported that Diyala Province Govenor Hashim Hayali  has died in what was called a traffic accident in Baquba. All Iraq News reported that his wife also died in the accident and noted that he had previously survived an April 21st assassination attempt.  He had been governor for less than a year.  AFP says his wife and two daughters are injured while his son died.  All Iraq News notes he had been governor for five months and was a member of the National Accord Front which is part of the Iraqiya slate.
US General Martin Dempsey visited Iraq yesterday.  The US Embassy in Baghdad issued the following statement on the visit:

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey visited Baghdad on August 21, 2012.  He met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Iraqi officials to discuss regional and security issues, including the situation in Syria.  General Dempsey also met with U.S. Embassy officials, including Charge d'Affaires Stephen Beecroft and members of the Embassy's Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq.
General Dempsey's visit is part of the United States' efforts under the Strategic Framework Agreement to support Iraq's continued development as a strategic partner that contributes to peace and security as a leader in the region. 

Dempsey did not meet with the the US Ambassador to Iraq because there is no US Ambassador to Iraq.  All Iraq News notes that Dempsey's visit is the highest ranking official visit of 2012.  Of the US Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq, RTT reports, "More than 225 U.S. troops, seven Defense Department civilians, 530 security assistance team members and more than 4,000 contracted personnel are currently in the office at the Iraqi government's invitation."

Ashish Kumar Sen (Washington Times) reports  on the assertions by the former human rights chief for UNAMI that conditions at Camp Liberty are as bad as the residents have been saying.

Camp Liberty is a former US military base (often referred to in the press as Camp Hurriyah).  Nouri and the US want Iranian dissidents from Camp Ashraf relocated there.

Approximately 3,400 people were at Camp Ashraf when the US invaded Iraq in 2003.  They were Iranian dissidents who were given asylum by Saddam Hussein decades ago.  The US government authorized the US military to negotiate with the residents.  The US military was able to get the residents to agree to disarm and they became protected persons under Geneva and under international law.

Despite that legal status and the the legal obligation on the part of the US government to protect the residents, 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."

For months, the claims of Camp Liberty not being fit to be a refugee center have been dismissed in the press.  Bomedra is stating that he resigned from his post after he grasped that UNAMI's purpose was to provide cover for Camp Liberty.  He states that Nouri had no respect for international human rights standards and that raising that reality to the UN Secretary-General's Special Enovy in Iraq Martin Kobler resulted in ridicule.  He also states Kobler "misled [the U.N.] headquarters in New York" regarding Camp Liberty.

Kobler most recently provided public testimony to the United Nations Security Council on July 19th.  This is what he said on the topic of Camp Ashraf:
UN Special Envoy Martin Kobler:  Finally, Mr. President, I still remain very concerned by the lack of progress in resolving the issue of Camp Ashraf. 2,000 residents of Camp Ashraf have relocated to Camp Hurriyah [Liberty] in the last months.  Approximately 1,200 remain in Camp Ashraf.  The several deadlines set by the government of Iraq have been extended. I thank the government of Iraq for their flexibility in this regard and I appeal to the Iraqi authorities to continue the process to resolve the relocation peacefully. Our committment is strictly humanitarian, to facilitate a voluntary, temporary relocation of residents to Camp Hurriyah as the first step of resettlement to countries outside of Iraq; however, the success of a facilitator depends at least on good will. Their can be no facilitation without constructive and practical dialogue.  We are faced with three main challenges.  First, recent weeks have witnessed difficulties in maintaining dialogue between UNAMI and the residents and between the residents and the government of Iraq reinforcing a perception that the residents lack genuine will to participate in the process faciliated by UNAMI.  Second, responsiblity also falls on the many international supporters.  It is of great importance that they contribute to positively influence the residents' position.  And third, to  date almost no memeber-state has stepped forward to offer resettlement to eligible, former Ashraf residents.  There must be a way out of Hurriyah in the foreseeable future.  Without prospect for resettlement, the ongoing process runs the risk of collapsing.  The tempoary transit location at Camp Hurriyah has the capacity to accomodate the remaining 1,200 residents and meets acceptable humanitarian standards.  Both UNAMI and UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] have devoted substantial energy and resources to resolving this issue.  More than 100 staff are dedicated to the project in the meantime.  I appeal to the government of Iraq to be generous -- particularly in terms of humanitarian needs like water and electricity and to avoid violence under any circumstances.  I also appeal to camp residents to abide by Iraqi laws and avoid provocation and violence.  Time is running out to find a sustainable solution.  The government's patience is wearing thin. I would therefore like to echo the Secretary-General and urge Camp Ashraf residents to cooperate with the Iraqi authorities and to relocate from Camp Ashraf to Camp Hurriyah.  It is also imperative that third countries step forward to accept eligible residents for resettlement as soon as possible without which there can be no durable solution. 

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
Both tickets have gotten some mainstream press.  Know what they haven't received?
Attention from Ms. magazine's blog (or 'magazine') or Women's Media Center.
Now in 2008, we used the snapshot and space at Third and Ava and I worked the phones and between all that and the work of other women as well, we were finally able to guilt WMC into doing one article on Cynthia McKinney.  That was their 'gift' to women.  One article.  Cynthia was running for president on the Green Party ticket and her running mate was Rosa Clemente.  And WMC could only do one article on Cynthia.  (None on Rosa.)  As lousy as that is, it's one more than Ms. or it's Feminist Wire Daily managed. 
Every day it's about how can they advance the Democratic Party.  It's not about informing, it's not about reporting, it's not about journalism.
It's whoring.  They're very good whores.  It's a shame they don't want to be something more than a whore but I guess their own self-images are so poor that when casting themselves in the story of their lives, they decided the whore was the only role they'd be believable in.
Here's a little hint for them both: Fundraisers only have worked in the past because women have believed you're about women.  When you've got feminists like Roseanne and Jill and they're both running to be president of the United States and you're not covering it, you make it so very easy for all of us to stop donating to you.

So maybe this is how Ms. magazine finally dies?  Revealed to be nothing now but a shallow and whore for the patriarchy, the magazine finally goes down?  If so, it's no great loss.  It was supposed to be a monthly and for obvious reasons couldn't pull that off.  (Obvious reasons do not include lack of stories.  Obvious reasons does include a failure to cover the feminist movement out of fear of upsetting some men.)  If you missed our "No, really, who is Gloria?" (byline "This was written by Ava, C.I., Ann, Elaine, Betty, Ruth and Marcia." ) and the counter-argument "The accomplishments of Gloria Steinem?" (Ava and myself) at Third Sunday, I'm not in the damn mood for any of this crap anymore.  You either start covering women or admit that you're not feminists.  When two women are running for president and you're not covering it, you're not a feminist press.  You can lie -- and we know you can whore -- all you want, you're not a feminist press.  Elaine argued last night "Real feminists go third party" and that's a valid point.  But I don't care who you endorse or if you endorse.  My point is that women who have their own outlet for women but don't cover Jill and Roseanne ought to be ashamed of themselves.  You're disgusting and drowning in your own self-hatred -- sadly, not drowing quick enough so we all have to suffer from your craving for male approval.
Again, I'm not in the damn mood. If you're also tired of the crap? This petition is calling for the two outlets to cover the two runs. Rebecca started it.  Thank you, Rebecca.
Chris Faraone (Boston Phoenix) offers a piece on Jill Stein's campaign and platform:'
Despite my initial prejudices, it took just one read through Stein's "Green New Deal for America" to flip me into a wholehearted endorser. That's how this turned from a hatchet job into a mash note -- probably one of the only Jill Stein puff pieces you'll ever read. But hell, it's necessary -- someone has to call attention to how Stein stands apart from the pack. While big-tent sleazeballs gorge on loot from predatory lenders, for example, she calls for restoring the Glass-Steagall separation of commercial and investment banks. As for extra bona fides, the doctor has experience hitting Mitt Romney, having run against him for governor of Massachusetts 10 years ago. Sure, she lost, badly -- but not before she used her debate platform to condemn "tax loopholes for the wealthiest five percent," and to contend that financiers have no place in public office. In other words: Stein has spent the past decade hammering inequities that the increasingly broke public claims it wants corrected.
Presidentially speaking, Stein is no joke. She's a highly intelligent and experienced organizer, not to mention a Harvard alum, like her big-party opponents. Among other sensible ideas, Stein wants to abolish the Electoral College, repeal the Patriot Act, and cut military spending in half -- ideas that so-called progressives seem to wholeheartedly embrace in non-election years only. With that in mind, here's a conscience call to anyone who has enough courage to put their ballot -- and perhaps their volunteer time -- where their mouth is.
Kevin Gostzola is a reporter who's distinguished himself by, among other things, being one of the few reporters who is covering the Bradley Manning case.  He spoke with Dr. Stein for Firedoglake's Dissenter and here's an excerpt:
KEVIN GOSZTOLA, The Dissenter: Let's begin with you talking a bit about your background and, specifically, I'd like you to talk about your work as an activist, because I think that is something unique or exceptional that you bring to the presidential race.
JILL STEIN, Green Party Presidential Candidate: The American people are clearly clamoring for something real out there in this political system that has become so disconnected from what real everyday Americans are struggling with and the solutions we are clamoring. So, I think the fact that our campaign is not bought and paid for by Wall Street, the fact that we are every day real people who struggle on behalf on those things that are critical to the American public is why we are getting the resonance that we are.
My background—I'm trained as a medical doctor and I became active, both from my perspective as a health care provider but from my perspective as a mother, looking at generations of young people struggling with chronic diseases they shouldn't have. This epidemic of asthma, learning disabilities, obesity, diabetes, cancer, autism—you name it. I said to myself, our genes didn't change overnight. These were new diseases twenty years ago in young people. And I said, our genes didn't change. Something's going on at the level of our communities, and I became tired of pushing pills on people and sending them back out to the very same things that were making them sick, so I became involved in community efforts to make our communities healthy and to take them back and make them work for the people who live there, not the multinational corporations who profit from them and exploit them. And I began to work to close down our polluting incinerators and to create jobs through recycling programs or to clean up and implode our coal plants and create jobs in weatherization, conservation and renewable energy.
I thought, well surely if our legislators knew we could save lives, money and create jobs they would throw their support behind this kind of thing. As your typical activist, it took me about ten years to see this was just a game we play to keep the discontented busy spinning their wheels while the relentless exploitive economy continues to turn its wheels. In fact, we've only been accelerating in the wrong direction.
I should mention that I became involved then in getting the money out of politics, thinking that seemed to be the problem. Let's get the money out that bribes our elected officials legally to do the wrong thing. And, I joined a large coalition here in Massachusetts to pass public financing for elections. We passed it in a referendum by a two-to-one margin and the nearly solidly Democratic legislature -- about eighty-five percent Democratic -- promptly began to fight the law and within a year or so had repealed it. At that point, it became clear to me if we want the jobs we need or the health care we deserve and all the rest, we need to change the sick political system in order to fix everything else that ails us. So now I say I am practicing political medicine, when people ask me what I am doing, because it is the mother of all illnesses and we got to fix this one in order to fix everything else that is literally and figuratively killing us. And I don't just mean our health but our economy, our jobs, our civil liberties, our democracy, our health care system.
That's basically a long way of saying I'm here as a mother, above all, really concerned about the direction that we have taken under this predatory political system that is bought and paid for by Wall Street. And in my own experience, I found if we're going to change it, it's not just changing one law. It's not just simply finding a nice person within a sick system that will prevent them from doing the right thing, even if they wanted to, but we really need fundamental system change. So, that's why I am working with the Green Party.
Frederick Melo (Pioneer Press) reports Jill and running mate Cherie Honkala will be in the Twin cities tomorrow to film campaign ads and get the word out on the Green New Deal for America.
For immediate release
August 22, 2012
Sacramento, CA

Cres Vellucci
Press Secretary for Barr/Sheehan 2012
According to a piece in titled: "'No one really cares': US deaths in Afghanistan hit 2,000 in forgotten war," the death toll of US troops in Afghanistan has now surpassed 2000 under the watch of President Barack Obama and 80,000 troops still languish in the quagmire.
The presidential ticket for the Peace and Freedom Party, Roseanne Barr and Cindy Sheehan, wishes to express deep condolences to the families of the needlessly killed troops and the people of the Af/Pak region that have been devastated by almost 12 years of war.
"It's not true that 'no one cares,' we passionately care about ending US military involvement overseas to bring the world to peace," said VP candidate Cindy Sheehan, from her home in Vacaville, California.  Sheehan continued, "I am the only candidate in this race that personally knows the tragedy of war . . . the never-ending mourning for a son that won't return and while Roseanne and I agree the economy is a pressing issue, ending the money-pit of US empire will also bring a boon to our national economic stagnation."
The presidential ticket of Barr/Sheehan has been greatly encouraged that campaign events have been packed by people who also see immediate peace as an imperative issue in the 2012 presidential race even though the two capitalist war paries are trying to avoid the issue of the endless wars at all cost.
The Platform of the Peace and Freedom Party includes a very aggressive plank for world peace:

Peace and International Justice

The drive for greater profits by multi-national corporations which direct U.S. foreign policy is a major cause of war. We stand for peace between nations and the right of all peoples to self-determination. We support an ongoing socialist transformation everywhere. We therefore call for:
  • The U.S. to renounce nuclear first strike, and take the initiative toward global disarmament by eliminating all of its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
  • No U.S. intervention anywhere. End all support and aid to repressive regimes and all military and police training aid everywhere. End efforts to destabilize foreign governments. End U.S.-directed economic warfare against other countries. Abolish the CIA, NSA, AID and other agencies for interference inother countries' internal affairs. Withdraw all U.S. troops and weapons from all other countries.
  • Stop all U.S. arms exports and trade.
  • Dissolve all military pacts.
  • Convert from military to peaceful production; reallocate the resulting "peace dividend" for social benefit.
  • Abolish the Selective Service System.
  • No weapons in space.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Real feminists go third party

Lauren Barbato has a ridiculous post at Ms. Blog (yes, that is redundant) in which she whores for Barack.  You know what, some day little girls will grow the f**k up and realize how much time they wasted trying to make a so-so man into a hero.

Barbato is breathless (and mindless -- possibly topless?) as she pants over a new executive order from Barry Goodness.  It's going to help women!!!

What a damn liar he is, what a damn whore she is.

This is the same Barack, please remember, whose White House couldn't say a word when gays and lesbians were again being targeted last February and March in Iraq.  Couldn't do a damn thing about that, could they?

Wouldn't do a damn thing.  Never have, never will.

Lauren, happy to be in the brothel that Ms. has become, can't find a moment to write about Jill Stein or Roseanne Barr.  But she'll be the first to whine in 4, 8, or 16 years when a woman finally gets the Democratic Party's nomination.  (After 2008, "16 years" may be overly optimistic.  As we saw in 2008, there is a huge ocean of sexism in the Democratic Party.) 

Women are running for the White House.  Why wouldn't you want to write about that if you were a feminist?

Maybe because you're not really a feminist.

You're just a whore pulling pud at a brothel.

No surprise when you consider that ridiculous cover where Ms. tossed Barack on it and claimed that he was what feminism looked like.

With health care, with the stimulus, Barack has repeatedly betrayed women. 

Real feminist go third party.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Tuesday, August 21, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, more troops will go to Kuwait at the end of the year, Gen Martin Dempsey goes to Baghdad, (and) gets lectured by Nouri, Mitt Romney's campaign appears asleep at the wheel, and more.
John Luciew (Patriot-News) reports on a send-off ceremony at Fort Indiantwon Gap for approximately 100 Pennsylvania National Guard troops who are headed to Afghanistan, "The National Anthem played through stereo speakers that made the song sound muffled, not the big, booming ode to a nation that we've come to know.  Even the commanders who rose to give the speeches seemed subdued.  Perhaps, it's from the repetition. A spokesman said the Pennsylvania National Guard is nearing its 30,000th service members deployments since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. And there are more to come.  The next year will see another 2,000 make their way overseas, most likely to Afghanistan, the destination for this deployment, and Kuwait, Iraq's next-door neighbor."  Dropping back to the June 19th snapshot:
Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released [PDF format warning] "The Gulf Security Architecture: Partnership With The Gulf Co-Operation Council." On page v., Senator John Kerry, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, notes, "Home to more than half of the world's oil reserves and over a third of its natural gas, the stability of the Persian Gulf is critical to the global economy."  Chair John Kerry has stated of the report, "The Gulf Region is strategically important to the United States economically, politically, and for security reasons.  This is a period of historic, but turbulent change in the Middle East. We need to be clear-eyed about what these interests are and how best to promote them.  This report provides a thoughtful set of recommendations designed to do exactly that."
 [. . .]
Page nine of the report:
A residual American military presence in the Gulf and increased burden-sharing with GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] states are fundamental components of such a framework. However, the United States must also carefully shape its military footprint to protect the free-flow of critical natural resources and promote regional stability while not creating a popular backlash.
Page 12:
Kuwait is especially keen to maintain a significant U.S. military presence. In fact, the Kuwaiti public perception of the United States is more positive than any other Gulf country, dating back to the U.S.-led liberation of Kuwait in 1991. Kuwait paid over $16 billion to compensate coalition efforts for costs incurred during Desert Shield and Desert Storm and $350 million for Operation Southern Watch. In 2004, the Bush Administration designated Kuwait a major non-NATO ally.
* U.S. Military Presence: A U.S.-Kuwaiti defense agreement signed in 1991 and extended in 2001 provides a framework that guards the legal rights of American troops and promotes military cooperation. When U.S. troops departed Iraq at the end of 2011, Kuwait welcomed a more enduring American footprint. Currently, there are approximately 15,000 U.S. forces in Kuwait, but the number is likely to decrease to 13,500. Kuwaiti bases such as Camp Arifjan, Ali Al Salem Air Field, and Camp Buehring offer the United States major staging hubs, training rages, and logistical support for regional operations. U.S. forces also operate Patriot missile batteries in Kuwait, which are vital to theater missile defense.
Yes, despite Barack Obama's claims otherwise, all US troops did not come home.  Nor are they coming home anytime soon.  But the shell game has always been a popular short-con because it's so easy to move things around and distract people.
Adam Schreck (AP) reports the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey met with officials today in Baghdad.   Al Manar quotes Dempsey stating, "We still retain significant investment and significant influence.  But now it's on the basis of a partnership and not on the basis of ownership."   The quote comes from an interview he gave to AFP's Dan De Luce.  Now its a partnership and not ownership?  When did the US own Iraq?  I know what Dempsey's trying to say.  I also know what he said.  And the plane had barely touched down, Alsumaria reports, before State of Law MP Mohammed Chihod was stating that the Iraqi forces are able to thwart plots against Iraq and that they do not need the US or any other country.  State of Law is Nouri's political slate.  And they're not smart.  They're sort of the rejects of Iraq.  All the better Shi'ites went to other groups.  This could have been a day when State of Law yet again looked ridiculous on the world stage but then Dempsey had to start using "ownership" to describe the US relationship with Iraq? 
The Defense Dept notes that Dempsey was scheduled to meet with US Lt Gen Robert Caslen (chief of the Office of Security Cooperation Iraq) and Nouri al-Maliki.  Alsumaria reports that he made nice with Nouri in a meeting in which Nouri demanded that the pace of supplying arms to Iraqi forces -- to protect, land, water and air -- must be accelerated.  There's an agreement, Nouri stated, the Strategic Framework Agreement, and they are monitoring the US' ability to complete what was agreed upon.  AFP's De Luce notes, "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."
Sanctions?  The front page of Sunday's New York Times featured 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, the two reported, Barack was "not eager for a public showdown with Nouri."  So instead of being a leader and addressing it, Barack will live in denial?  He wanted the job, why's it so damn hard for him to do the work required?  If he can't go toe-to-toe with a flunky the US-installed under Bush and that he (Barack) made sure got a second term inspite of the vote count and the Constitution, what kind of leader is Barack? The US government sought the sanctions against Iran.  The US president knows they're being ignored and he's too chicken to confront Nouri?
Courage is not sending the US military into other countries or over -- Libya and Syria -- them.  Courage is being able to stand up and Barack doesn't have the courage to stand up to Nouri.
And what kind of idiots are on Team Romney that they can't call out Barack on this?  This is exactly a test of are-you-ready-for-the-office-or-not and, by the way he's dawdled and ignored it, Barack's still not ready to be president even after four years on the job.
Apparently the right-wing was just flapping their gums and pretending to be offended when Barack was scraping and bowing to foreign leaders.  I gave them the benefit of the doubt on that because they were right: the US President bows down before no one.  I believe that very firmly.  Apparently the right-wing was just looking for something to complain about that day because, otherwise, they'd be all over Barack for refusing to address this issue. 
Not only is he not laying down the law with Nouri, he's about to turn F-16s over to Nouri.  When the White House knows or 'knows' (believes at the very least) that Iraq is helping Iran get around economic sanctions?  AFP reports US officials are stating that the first of 36 F-16s will be delivered to Iraq in September 2014.
Truth telling in the press?  Not very often but today AKnews offers some truth:
The US government has not demanded the oil companies not to invest in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, said Kurdistan Natural Resourced Minister.

Ashti Hawrami made the remarks in response to some media reports which quoted the US State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland saying Washington has warned the oil companies not to sign any oil deals with Kurdistan without Baghdad's approval or Baghdad may take legal action against them.
He is correct.  Good for AKnews for reporting on his statements.
Turning to the topic of violence,  AKnews reports a 14-year-old boy was shot dead in front of his home Monday night and that a 23-year-old police officer has been arrested.  Alsumaria reports the PKK states today that they have killed 11 Turkish soldiers and 1 police officer on the Turkey-Iraq border and they report 1 police officer was shot dead outside his Mosul home and that one corpse was pulled out of the Tigris River.  Yesterday AFP reported "at least 409 people" died in the month of Ramadan with another 975 left injured.  Margaret Griffis ( noted last night that the count for July 21 to August 18th was 711 deaths with 1590 injured.
Since 2003, Iraq has become known as the land of widows and orphans.  All Iraq News reports today that MP Haifa Hilfi, who serves on the Women, Family and Children's Committee in Parliament, has publicly expressed surprise over what she calls the "neglect" on the part of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to provide widows and orphans with the support they need.  This is not a minor issue in Iraq.  Yesterday,  All Iraq News noted that the largest percent of orphans in the Arab world are in Iraq where over five million exist as a result of the violence.  The CIA estimates 38% of Iraqis are 14-years-old or younger and only 3.1% of the population is over the age of 65.  The median age is 21.1-years-old.

Ramzy Baroud (Tripoli Post) writes of Iraqi children:

I remember visiting a hospital that was attached to Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. The odour that filled its corridors was not the stench of medicine, but rather the aroma of death.
At a time of oppressive siege, the hospital lacked even basic aesthetic equipment and drugs. Children sat and stared at their visitors. Some wailed in inconceivable pain. Parents teetered between hope and the futility of hope, and at prayer times they duly prayed.
A young doctor gave a sweeping diagnosis: "No child that ever enters this place ever leaves alive." Being the young reporter I was at the time, I diligently made a note of his words before asking more questions. I didn't quite grasp the finality of death.
Several years later, Iraq's desolation continues. On August 16, 90 people were killed and more were wounded in attacks across the country. Media sources reported on the bloodbath (nearly 200 Iraqis were killed this month alone), but without much context. Are we meant to believe that violence in Iraq has transcended any level of reason? That Iraqis get blown up simply because it is their fate to live in perpetual fear and misery?
But the dead, before they were killed, were people with names and faces. They were fascinating individuals in their own right, deserving of life, rights and dignity. Many are children, who knew nothing of Iraq's political disputes, invited by US wars and occupation and fomented by those who feed on sectarianism.

AKnews reports a 14-year-old boy was shot dead in front of his home Monday night and that a 23-year-old police officer has been arrested. Alsumaria reports the PKK states today that they have killed 11 Turkish soldiers and 1 police officer on the Turkey-Iraq border.  Yesterday AFP reported "at least 409 people" died in the month of Ramadan with another 975 left injured.  Margaret Griffis ( noted last night that the count for July 21 to August 18th was 711 deaths with 1590 injured.

Today, Hayder al-Khoei (Guardian) looks at the propaganda/recruitment videos al Qaeda in Iraq groups are making:

Another propaganda video, uploaded in mid-August, demonstrates just how sophisticated the jihadi operations are. They have live-fire training exercises in broad daylight and rehearse their attacks on security targets. In one of their operations, they storm the city of Haditha, in the Anbar province, in disguise and go from checkpoint to checkpoint killing the security forces.
The al-Qaida militants wear interior ministry "Emergency Response" uniforms and casually drive around the city in official Swat vehicles. The jihadists are heavily armed, use night-vision goggles and sophisticated communications equipment. Though the group is a mix of both Iraqi and foreign Arab jihadists, the men who use the walkie-talkies speak in an Iraqi accent. They understand, and copycat, the security "speech" in Iraq. The al-Qaida militants are so well disguised as members of the Iraqi security forces that at one point they even mistook each other for the real deal. In a dramatic "friendly fire" incident, jihadists shouted at each to stand down – not realising they were on the same side. Two of them were killed.

Depending on the press outlet, Syria is either feeding fighters into Iraq or siphoning them off. 
An estimated 15,000 refugees have arrived in Iraq due to the ongoing conflict in Syria. Reuters notes a UNHCR and Iraqi government refugee camp for Syrian refugees in Qaim and quotes refugee Ayad al-Ali stating, "The children do not get healthy nutrition, they eat adults' food, they are suffering from diarrhea."  That camp, however, sounds like a Hilton Hotel when compared to the slum Rudaw reported on at the end of last week:
Iranian Kurdish refugees residing in Waleed camp suffer from lack of services such as drinking water, electricity and a medical center.
In addition, Iraq's Ministry of Interior is pressuring them to leave.
Waleed is located in Anbar province in the west, near the Syrian border. The camp -- which accommodates 120 Palestinian families, 24 Kurdish families and 19 Arab families from Ahwaz, Iran -- was established in June 2009.
For the past three months, the Iraqi government has been using various tactics to force the families to leave the camp, such as removing basic services like electricity and water. However, residents of the camp have been defying the government's decision.   

Nouri didn't even want to take in refugees.  He was only shamed into doing it when he realized how much damage his statements that Iraq couldn't take in refugees was doing to his world image.
This week's Black Agenda Radio, hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey (now broadcasts over the airwaves at 4:00 pm EST Tuesday on the Progressive Radio Network),  the guests included Rosa Clemente.  Excerpt.
Glen Ford: Earlier this summer the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement released a report detailing the killings of Blacks by police, security guards or white vigilantes from New Year's Day through June 30thThe study found that 120 African-Americans were executed without trail, one every 36 hours.  Rosa Clemente, the former Green Party vice presidential candidate, was one of the authors of the study which was largely ignored by even the so-called progressive media.

Rosa Clemente:  Unfortunately, these progressive outlets and some mainstream outlets that we may see people that we may think would at least say that the report is out there whether it's MSNBC or Michael Eric Dyson filling in on the Ed Schultz Show or Rev Sharpton or Melissa Harris Parry.  No, they've chosen to ignore it because there's no way that they don't know this report exists.  There's no way they don't know or somebody hasn't brought it to their attention and we're dealing right now with an electoral political season that really doesn't want to talk about this issue. They don't want to deal with the issue of race or the systematic violence.  They don't want President Barack Obama or his Justice Department to be kind of put on blast as we would say in hip-hop. So they're purposely ignoring it which, to me, is more nefarious than CNN and Anderson Cooper saying they don't want to -- because these are folks that constistently say that there journalism that they're engaging in is community journalism and that there's a responsibility.  Well they're not at all being responsible about what they should be doing.  I don't know if they necessarily hold them just accountable or if we really need to understand that part of any organizing activist strategy moving forward will have to include now or we're really going to have to figure out how we are going to begin whatever Black or Brown kind of independent news network, however that looks, how we're going to create that. I think it's sad.  You know, and I think these folks are consistently back in communities of color because they are people of color.  I think it's for other like progressive outlets -- like Democracy Now or The Nation or In These Times or many other places we could cite -- that they haven't covered this either or it's just been a news headline.  I think this speaks about how this is not valued and how we're not valued when it comes to telling stories.
Glen Ford: Yes, it almost seems as if the only Black news that's thought of as news worthy is the Black president.
Rosa Clemente:  Yes, I would 100% agree and in fact when a friend tried to get it on MSNBC for me, the response I got was that they were doing nothing but covering the election.  And when I got that response, I said, "Well okay, I'd like to come on as a former vice presidential candidate and talk about some issues."  And they were very clear that they are focusing on the Democratic Party and that they would not be covering anything outside of that purview until maybe after the election.  As we know, we're looking at a murder every 36 hours of a Black [man], woman or child.  So how many more of these when the election happens and why would it be important after the election?  It's not important to the president now or, some of these journalists, I don't see them seeing it as important after the election is over.
All hail and observe a moment of silence -- a genius has vacated this space and left us here to remember her life and her work. I remember hearing her records as a child. My dad collected comedy records, and what I loved the most about her was her laugh. She was the only comic I saw who laughed at her own jokes, and I found that funnier than hell. I stole that from her, but she viewed it as more a tribute than a lift. The last several years I called my ex-husbands "Fang" on stage, too.
It was timeless, that wacky, tacky character she created; the cigarette holder was genius, paradoxically regal. She was a victorious loser hero, the female iteration of Chaplin's Little Tramp, replete with costume jewelry that would embarrass Rick Ross.
You could tell the character had a messy house, and she couldn't care less because she also had a dreadful husband and a world of shit. So? Hey, must be time for a gin martini and some laughs!
It wasn't until you saw her paintings or heard her play a concerto on the piano that you understood that this woman lived her life as a true artist and a revolutionary. She knew a woman's place was not in the home, at a time when everyone on earth regurgitated that canard every minute of every day.
While Roseanne remembers Phyllis Diller, Michael Kraft proves he doesn't know a damn thing at Charlotte ConservativeUsing a potty mouth that must make his mother proud, he attacks Cindy Sheehan for calling out Bully Boy Bush and for not calling out Barack.  The problem?
Cindy Sheehan has called out Barack.  She went to Martha's Vineyard to protest him.  The nickname she generally uses for him in her writing is "Obomber."  If he's going to call Cindy a piece of s**t, he should try to know what he's talking about and he doesn't.  He doesn't know a damn thing she's done in the last four years.  Get out of your bubble, Michael Kraft.  You've condemned Cindy for not doing things when she has done that, you've flaunted your ignorance.  Now find a way to salvage your reputation by having the ethics to correct your mistakes about Cindy.
Cindy's a lighting rod because she supports peace.  Imagine having a vice president who actually supported peace.  Third Party Politics posts video of Jill Stein speaking in Seattle at the Seattle Hempfest.  Excerpt.
Jill Stein:  We need to liberate cannabis right now.  And we need to stop attacking the medical marijuana industry and the consumers of medical marijuana who are not criminals.  They are patients who are using a very important medical substance. And I can say this because I'm here not only as the Green Party candidate for president but also as a medical doctor and a public health advocate.  In fact, as we all know, canabis is a drug which is dangerous because it is illegal.  It is not illegal on account of being dangerous because it's not dangerous at all.  The president, by the way, has enormous power to change all of this on day one of her administration if she so desires.  And how do we do that?   ["Vote!"]  Vote, yes. Go vote.  And go register to vote. [. . .]  Because on day one of a Green administration, we can put an end to all this reckless, immoral persecution.  And the way we can do that is by the president instructing the Drug Enforcement Agency to do a really radical thing.  You know what that is?  Use science in the classification of substances because the minute science is used, marijuana, cannabis and hemp are off the list of scheduled substances because there is no scientific reason to schedule them.  And that's not only good for jobs.  As we know, it's really good for the climate.  Hemp provides fuel, food, nutrition and energy all in a way that is really good for the climate that we badly need, that we urgently need, and we need it right now.  It also means that we can start to empty out the jails that are packed full of recreational, non-violent users of cannabis and other substances.  We need to legalize cannabis.  Get the users out of jail and start to treat substance abuse and addiction as a public health problem, not as a criminal act. 
We're not done with Jill yet.  She's doing something really stupid.  She's going to take part in protests at the GOP convention.  Fine and dandy, as long as she's going to do the same at the Democratic convention where, hopefully, she'll march from Obamaville.  What's that?  That the stupid part.  The useless cowards of the left -- there are so damn many -- are going to be doing a "Romneyville."  Jeremey Wallace (Herald Tribune) explains, "It's a play on Hoovervilles tent cities that spawned up during the Great Depression when Herbert Hoover was president."  I believe he means sprung up.  Regardless, that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of today.  Times are bad for many people.  No question. But Mitt Romney's not been president for even a day and may never end up president.  Barack Obama is in the White House.  You want to send up Hooverville, you do it using Barack.  This is so stupid.  It doesn't even make for good political theater. 
In 2008, a group of lefties gave a pass to Democrats at their convention -- yes, they did -- and then headed on to Michigan where they wanted blood in the streets.  And it turned out very violent.  That's not a surprise, that's what so many went looking for.  You send out that vibe, you will attract it.  They wanted Michigan to bleed.  I support real and genuine protest.   I don't support liars and whores who set out to make someone look bad in order to try to scare up votes -- it's fear tactics and I don't play that game.