Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Cohen on Russiagate

Stephen F. Cohen (THE NATION) weighs in on the hysteria that possessed the nation for the last few years:

Nor, it must be added, was this entirely inadvertent or accidental. On August 8, 2016, the trend-setting New York Times published on its front page an astonishing editorial manifesto by its media critic. Asking whether “normal standards” should apply to candidate Trump, he explained that they should not: “You have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century.” Let others decide whether this Times proclamation unleashed the highly selective, unbalanced, questionably factual “journalism” that has so degraded Russiagate media or instead the publication sought to justify what was already underway. In either case, this remarkable—and ramifying—Timesrejection of its own professed standards should not be forgotten. Almost equally remarkable and lamentable, we learn that even now, after Mueller’s finding is known, top executives of the Times and other leading Russiagate media outlets, including The Washington Post and CNN, “have no regrets.”
§ For better or worse, America has a two-party political system, which means that the Democratic Party is also a foundational institution. Little more also need be pointed out regarding its self-degrading role in the Russiagate fraud. Leading members of the party initiated, inflated, and prolonged it. They did nothing to prevent inquisitors like Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from becoming the cable-news face of the party. Or to rein in or disassociate the party from the outlandish excesses of “The Resistance.” With very few exceptions, elected and other leading Democrats did nothing to stop—and therefore further abetted—the institutional damage being done by Russiagate allegations. As for Mueller’s finding,the party’s virtual network, MSNBC, remains undeterred. Rachael Maddow continues to hype “the underlying reality that Russia did in fact attack us.” By any reasonable definition of “attack,” no, it did not, and scarcely any allegation could be more recklessly warmongering, a perception the Democratic Party will for this and other Russiagate commissions have to endure, or not. (When Mueller’s full report is published, we will see if he too indulged in this dangerous absurdity. A few passages in the summary suggest he might have done so.)
I'd recommend you read the entire article.  Cohen, of course, called it out in real time.  (I noted that here when he did.  I also noted it here when I felt his wife sold him down the river in a TV appearance.)

The whole thing was a lie.  But not only did it waste time, it also poisoned opinions.  It encouraged hatred of 'the other' -- Russia.  Those of us who can remember The Cold War were usually the ones warning the loudest against what was taking place.

People like Rachel Maddow owe the nation an apology.  But let's be clear, she did what she was paid to do.  She's not a truth teller, she's not a journalist.  She's a talk show host with about as much integrety as Glenn Beck.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, March 27, 2019.  The Mosul ferry disaster might be the first of many Iraq disasters this spring, what do you do when you sack a governor and he refuses to leave, and much more.

Join the vigil to remember the victims of the ferry disaster. The vigil will be held on Thursday 28th March, 6.30pm - 7.30pm at Trafalgar Square in . Everybody is welcome to join the UK's community and show their respects. It's being organised by .

Last week's tragedy in Iraq left at least 120 dead.  What will the next tragedy be?  It's a question worth asking considering the government refused to follow the policies in place that should have prevented the ferry from even being on the water last week.  It's a question worth asking as Basra faces rising water.

Water level is still increasıng in the area of "Saybah" in Basra, and people are demanding to take the necessary action before the occurrence of disasters in the area and villages. .

Large agricultural areas have drowned in Basra south of Iraq due to the floods .

Flooding?  In the city where clean water is something the government's unable/unwilling to provide.

Unicef reported last year at least 50,000 children fell ill in Basra due to the province’s lack of basic services and toxic water. Iraqi authorities are now being called on to avoid a health crisis

That was among the reasons that protests started in Basra last July.  Over 100,000 (official Iraqi government figure) were hospitalized for drinking the water.

Half of all households in are at risk from drinking contaminated water. In spite of the attention that last year's protests and illnesses in Basra brought to the problem, it seems that weak governance is impeding efforts to address it.

The situation for children in continues to deteriorate- tells me how 4 year old girl fell ill after coming in contact with contaminated water in new waves of protests expected as summer nears.

High water levels in creates this massive foam. Local government warns against potential floods along ShatAlAlarb basin. Some villages were already evacuated. Check the videos!

The western press may not be talking about it but others are and this is a known in Iraq -- a known that is not being addressed.  The government remains non-responsive to the people.

When it is a misfortune and when is it an injustice?

Political theorist Judith N, Shklar grappled with that issue in THE FACES OF INJUSTICE. She noted:

When is a disaster a misfortune and when is it an injustice? . . . If the dreadful event is caused by the external forces of nature, it's a misfortune and we must resign ourselves to our suffering. Should, however, some ill-intentioned agent, human or supernatural, have brought it about, then it is an injustice and we may express indignation and outrage.

Grasp that any misfortune that arises in Basra due to the flooding will not be a misfortune, it will be an injustice.  There has been more than enough time to address this.  The government continues to ignore it.

The government doesn't do much of anything, do they?  They sacked the governor of Nineveh Province over the ferry disaster.  Or 'sacked' him.

Dropping back to Monday's snapshot:

 Alissa J. Rubin and Falih Hassan (NEW YORK TIMES) report:

In a rare show of deference to the anger of Mosul citizens over government abuses, the Iraqi Parliament on Sunday voted overwhelmingly to remove the province’s governor, citing accusations of corruption, self-dealing and negligence.

Although Mosul citizens had pleaded with the central government to remove the governor for more than two years, it was only after a ferry disaster brought angry citizens into the street that senior political figures decided to act.

They note that Nuafal Hammadi "had held the job since 2015."  They fail to note how the previous governor departed or that this was not the first government effort to remove Hammadi.

December 28, 2017, KURDISTAN 24 reported:

Following the no-confidence vote by the Nineveh Provincial Council against the governor, and the Iraqi Prime Minister’s decision to freeze his duties, a Kurd was appointed the acting governor.
On November 1, the Nineveh Provincial Council in majority vote decided to sack the province’s governor, Nofal Hammadi over alleged corruption and damaging public property.

However, Hammadi refused to step down and continues to function as the governor of Mosul.  

So they actually sacked him in 2017 and he refused to step down?  Interesting.  You don't suppose he might respond in a similar way today, do you?

Nawfal al-Akub says he is the legitimate governor of , describing the Crisis Cell formed by the government as unconstitutional. Al-Akub has been sacked from his post after parliament voted to remove him following the ferry incident.

So he is again refusing to step down.

Hmm . . .

Arrest warrant has been issued against former Nineveh Governor Nawfal al-Akub.

Oh, they're going to arrest him.  Like they did Atheel al-Nujaifi?

If you just asked "who?," then you may be a member of the western press.  Atheel was governor of Nineveh.  He was sacked.  (Replaced with the current governor who refuses to be fired.)  And then?  Well he's Sunni.  So the Shi'ite-based government issued an arrest warrant for him like they do for so many Sunni officials (most infamously with Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi -- Atheel, by the way, is the brother of another Sunni Vice President of Iraq, Osama al-Nujaifi).  He was arrested when?  Never.  All these years later, never.

Arrest warrants are little more than threats in Iraq.  For years, the puppet government, at the request of the US government, held one on Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr.  The warrant is probably sill around today but it has no legal standing at this point and everyone's long ago grasped that arresting Moqtada would result in rioting and unrest.

Will the arrest warrant be executed on the current I-am-staying governor?

History would indicate "no."  However, don't put the Magic 8 Ball down just yet.  Adil Abdul-Mahdi isn't have much luck with anything these days, is he?

Like US President Donald Trump, Mahdi likes to pretend that ISIS is over in Iraq.  Even though this week saw an attack using suicide bombers (three).  It's not over and what it might morph into next is even scarier.

He likes to pretend he can govern.  But he still does not have a full Cabinet.  More to the point, the security posts of Minister of Defense and Minister of Interior remain vacant.  What happened the last time they were vacant?  Oh, right, ISIS rose and seized Mosul.  He was supposed to have a full Cabinet by the end of October.  He did not.  He promised it would take place in the next month.  Don't know about you, but my calendar shows November to be the next month after October.  Then he said it would be in the new year.  April is a week away and the posts are still vacant.

He's failed to address corruption.  He's failed to address the protests of the people in Basra or anywhere else.

A big for-show arrest might boost his image.  So don't rule out an arrest completely.

Let's wind down with this from Burn Pits 360:

Join us in Washington D.C. on April 30th

Dear friend and supporter,

We want to invite you to our 2019 Burn Pits Congressional Briefing: The Way Forward - Health & Compensation Benefits on April 30th. It is necessary that we ensure our federal legislators are fully briefed and educated on the issue of burn pits, health affects from exposure, current proposed legislation, and more. This is a prime opportunity for them to hear directly from healthcare experts, veterans, and our personal stories on the issue so that better informed decisions can be made when it comes to deciding the fate of our veterans.

Our goal is to fill the room with supporters and advocates so that our federal legislators know that this issue is to be seriously considered. The event is free and open to the public -- and includes lunch! We hope you can join us for this important event and continue to be a part of our advocacy. RSVP HERE.

DATE: April 30, 2019
TIME: Doors at 11:30AM
LOCATION: US Capitol Vistor's Center, First St NE, Washington, DC 20515
I'll be completely honest -- we need your support on this. We are need to raise funds to pay for operational expenses in order to ensure our briefing is a success. Can you chip in $20 right now so we can meet our fundraising goal? 
In addition to the briefing, we will be holding our 2018 Burn Pits Lobby Day on May 1st. Join us as we "storm the Capitol" and speak to Members of Congress and Senators on the importance of their support on this issue and proposed legislation. More details to follow on Lobby Day.

Thank you for your continued support and please feel free to email us at if you have any questions or concerns.

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Gov't & Public Affairs
Burn Pits 360 Veterans' Organization

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