Saturday, August 30, 2014


"This edition's playlist" (The Third Estate Sunday Review):


1) Tori Amos's Unrepentant Geraldines.

2) Aimee Mann's @#%&*! Smilers.

3) Diana Ross' The Boss.

4) Joni Mitchell's For The Roses.

5)  Ben and Ellen Harper's Childhood Home.

6) Afghan Whigs's Do The Beast.

7) Lone Justice's Shelter.

8) Tracy Chapman's Tracy Chapman.

9) Boy Hits Car's All That Led Us Here.

10) Prince's Dirty Mind

That's what we listened to at Third.

I've written about many of the albums on that list.

I think I'll note Dirty Mind this time.

I'm a huge Prince fan.  I really do think he is probably the most important male artist of the 80s, 90s and 00s.  He did more than anyone to cover different terrains and genres and he made some incredible music.

This was a break through album that showed how much adventure Prince could have exploring music and lyrics.  "Uptown" is still classic Prince.  "Head" is still notorious Prince.

Cyndi Lauper did an amazing cover of "When You Were Mine" which, to me, argued how people should really be covering Prince.  His body of work is immense and there are so many great songs on his albums that were never even singles.

He is up there with Joni Mitchell and Paul & John when it comes to songwriting, he is that gifted.

I love Dirty Mind.

That said, I don't think it's a classic.  I think it's a satisfying album.

But for me, the next album, Controversy is Prince's first classic and then it's ride on through the 90s and tell me any other artist we can say that about?

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Saturday, August 30th, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, serious questions should be raised about Barack's recent speech and statements, is Barack raising IS' profile, and much more.

We'll start with this Tweet.

Iraq -- US F-18 fighter jet refuels from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft over northern Iraq 

Thursday, the State Dept's Brett McGurk Tweeted, "Today in #Iraq, US air strikes against #ISIS terrorists destroyed four armed vehicles, a humvee, tank, construction vehicle, & checkpoint."  AP notes this was the 106th US bombing in Iraq since August 8th.

Cedric and Wally emphasized the financial cost on Friday noting that a cost of $7.5 million a day means at least $555 million through Friday which would be over a half-billion dollars.

That's not coming out of US President Barack Obama's pocket, the US tax payer is footing the bill.

It's a bill that continues to grow.

The US taxpayer didn't authorize the bill and certainly wasn't consulted about putting more money on the tab.
They're not even informed what the plan is because there is no plan.  Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) reports:

Amid conflicting congressional demands, impatient Arab allies, and public concern that he will do too much or too little, President Obama made bluntly clear Thursday why he has not yet implemented a comprehensive U.S. response to the Islamist insurgency that is rapidly spreading across the Middle East.
“We don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama said, in response to questions about when he is prepared to begin military action in Syria, and, if not, why not?

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest has made the media rounds insisting that Iraq is not without a strategy, just Syria.

That's spin, not truth.

The White House continues to link Syria and Iraq so, if they have no plan for Syria, then they have no plan for Iraq.

The White House presents the Islamic State as darting back and forth between Syria and Iraq -- which share a border -- and doing damage in both countries as part of a larger, coherent plan to implement a fundamentalist state.

Is that correct?

Who knows.  They've never backed it up.

Asked why what is taking place is taking place, from the State Dept to the White House, they can't provide concrete answers.  They can talk 'barbaric' and other rhetoric.  They can assert that the entire Middle East is at risk and, more recently, that the US mainland is at risk.

It's a cute little fear fantasy.

It dissolves a bit if you apply common sense to it.

Syria and Iraq share a border.

Syria also shares a border with Turkey.

Is the Islamic State somehow intimidated by Turkey?

Or by Israel or Jordan?

Syria borders Iraq, Turkey, Israel and Jordan.

And just off the coast of Syria, to its west, you have the Republic of Cyprus.

If you were a terrorist group intent on taking territory -- which really seems more like the goal of a group of invaders (and historically we've not referred to such groups as terrorists) -- wouldn't Cyprus be your first target?

It's small.  It's an island -- meaning you could monitor incoming and outgoing traffic much easier than with landlocked countries.

It's a bit of a resort island which, for most people, would say 'soft target' -- especially when contrasted with a large country.

Syria's not responsible for Iraq but the US government has wanted war with the Syrian government for some time.  They wanted it under Bully Boy Bush -- remember the diplomatic tiffs -- and they want it under Barack.

A connection that Syria and Iraq do have -- that can be established factually -- is that Sunnis and Shi'ites are going into both countries to fight.  In both countries -- and this is what has given IS its power -- Sunnis feel persecuted.

You can argue whether they are or not.

That's really pointless.

The perception is they are being persecuted.

That perception is strong and growing.

Friday the 22nd saw an attack that the White House and State Dept handled poorly in terms of perception.  The White House has worked since to improve their communication skills and tools. They did a better job this week.

I will give them credit for it.

I'll note that they are addressing this internally.

I'll also point out that the press has been no where on this story.

They've been out to lunch on pretty much everything.

Currently, Barack is being consistently slammed by one country repeatedly for his Middle East actions.

And the slams getting plenty of attention.


Because Barack was an idiot in 2013.

We said here that Barack needed to cool the rhetoric.  We said he was using the office of the presidency to elevate Vladimir Putin.

He was and he did.

That wasn't his intent.

Putin went from fading world stage player to Barack's rival and, yes, equal.

No one wanted to face that -- or maybe they wanted more conflict?  Certainly some long for a return of the Cold War.

Barack's making -- repeatedly -- the same mistake now with regards to the Islamic State.

As defined by the White House, we're talking about a minor group of crooks.

So why is the US President obsessing publicly?  Why are the White House and the State Dept yacking non-stop?

They're elevating IS daily.

That may be part of an attempt to scare the American public into supporting attacks.  Or it may just be stupidity.

Unless someone was wanting a return of Cold War tensions -- and a number of people do want that -- it's obvious that Barack's 2013 actions were a mistake.  That's why we called them out when they were happening.

Unless the point is to use fear the way Bully Boy Bush did, to elevate IS to the point that the entire world trembles, Barack is making another huge mistake.

Let's move back to fighter jets bombing Iraq -- US fighter jets.

But it's not war, US President Barack Obama insists.

Zeke J. Miller (Time magazine) notes of Barack's Thursday speech on Iraq and the brief questions and answers that followed:

The President defended his decision not to seek authorization from Congress before beginning strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq three weeks ago, saying the urgency of the threat to the U.S. consulate in Erbil required immediate action. “I can’t afford to wait in order to make sure that those folks are protected,” Obama said. Since Aug. 8, the military has conducted 106 air strikes in Iraq, according to U.S. Central Command.

This week, Leon Wieseltier had an article published.  It's an article wanting war on Iraq.  So, of course, it's published by The New Republic.   Wieseltier skewers some of the 'facts' offered by Barack and the administration -- 'facts' the pres has run with.  Here's an excerpt:

His announcement of the authorization for the air drops and the air strikes was so riddled with qualifications and circumscriptions, so casuistic, so replete with assurances about his own lack of enthusiasm for his course of action, that it sounded almost like an apology for what he was authorizing. He intended to engage the effects, not the causes. The important thing was that this act of humanitarian intervention not be mistaken for an act of humanitarian intervention. Rand Paul and the liberals were to be given no occasion for panic.
But the president’s actions have already exceeded the president’s reasons. Most of the American air strikes in northern Iraq have had the proper objective of protecting the dam. Is this because Americans might get wet if the dam were exploded?

While it's good to see the nonsense offered for bombing Mosul mocked, it's also true that Barack's claims have other implications.

Reality, Barack failed in Benghazi.

The attack on US facilities on September 11, 2012 (resulting in the deaths of Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith and Ambassador Chris Stevens) were a failure on Barack's watch and a failure for Barack.

(They may or may not have been more than a failure, for the purpose of the point that follows, we're not pondering that.)

As a result of that failure and all the fallout that has followed, Barack needs to be cautious.  He owes it to the diplomatic service (whose interests the press has never really given a damn about when covering Benghazi) and he owes it to the American public.

He knows that and may have overreacted out of caution and a desire to prevent loss of lives.

The bombing of Mosul on the pretext that a damn could fall apart and flood the US Embassy in Baghdad is a joke.  It's one the press treated seriously for far too long.

But was the spin on that, from Barack and the administration, about concern -- or sole concern -- over protecting US personnel?

For years, just war theory was in play.  Bully Boy Bush appeared to do away with that concept when he started the illegal war on Iraq.

Suddenly, he proposed a notion that you could declare war not because you had been attacked but because you might be attacked -- by mythical WMD -- at some point in the future.  Barack appears to have run with that notion -- one with no legal backing or support.

From Thursday's Iraq speech by Barack:

Zeke Miller:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Last year, you said that you believe our democracy is stronger when the President acts with the support of Congress.  In response to Chuck’s question you said you don’t have a strategy yet, but you’ll reconsider that going forward.  But why didn’t you go to Congress before this current round of strikes in Iraq?  Do you not believe that that’s the case anymore, what you said last year?  And throughout your career you’ve also said that -- you raised concerns with the expansion of powers of the executive.  Are you concerned that your recent actions, unilaterally, had maybe -- have cut against that?

THE PRESIDENT:  No.  And here’s why:  It is not just part of my responsibility, but it is a sacred duty for me as Commander-in-Chief to protect the American people.  And that requires me to act fast, based on information I receive, if an embassy of ours or a consulate of ours is being threatened.  The decisions I made were based on very concrete assessments about the possibility that Erbil might be overrun in the Kurdish region and that our consulate could be in danger.  And I can’t afford to wait in order to make sure that those folks are protected.

At least he didn't use the lie about Baghdad being flooded.  (When we called it out here, FYI, we did so because two engineers raised the issue to me.  I wouldn't have thought to question it had it not been pointed out to me how ridiculous it was and how the claim was backed up not by engineers or an engineering study but by the words of a general -- who would leave office in disgrace -- and an ambassador.)

But this is another example of Barack building on questionable (I would say "illegal") activities of Bully Boy Bush and this 'building on' has serious consequences.

These actions can become legal by custom.

They need to be objected to.

But Barack's not just taken Bully Boy Bush's plan, he's expanded upon it.

Bully Boy Bush argued that a war was necessary because the country in question (Iraq) might someday hurt the US mainland.  Barack is arguing that this 'maybe' can be expanded beyond the country's national borders.  Now acts of war can be carried out for a 'maybe' that might be an attack on a US consulate.

Since the US government has diplomatic embassies and consulates in pretty much every country, what Barack's maintaining has huge implications and serious consequences.

It would be great if maybe, just for a few minutes, we could address that.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

A good question re: Iraq

"The Evil of U.S. Aggression against Iraq" (Jacob G. Hornberger, ICH):
What better confirmation of the manifest failure of the philosophy of foreign interventionism than the renewed U.S. bombing of Iraq?
Just think: All those hundreds of thousands of dead, maimed, detained, and tortured Iraqis, along with those who lost their homes, businesses, and savings. They were all bombed and shot by U.S. troops for nothing. All those Iraqis suffered and died for nothing.
The same holds true, of course, for U.S. soldiers who died or came back maimed or all screwed up in the head. The ones who lost their lives died for nothing. The ones who came back physically handicapped or mentally disturbed are suffering for nothing.
How can anyone still be an interventionist after what has happened in Iraq?

A good question to ask.

You know what I think the answer is?

It's very easy to be an interventionist when the choices presented to the American public are more war or silence.

Other than C.I., think of one voice that is repeatedly calling out increased war on Iraq?

I don't mean the hit and run 'activism' of CodeStink and others where they issue a statement on August 6th between actions on Gaza and actions on Ferguson.

I'm talking about a real and consistent opposition.

There is none.

Because 'peace' 'leaders' are both cowards and incapable of focusing.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, August 27, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri claims there is a "plan B" to keep him on as prime minister, Nouri verbally attacks a high ranking US official, a new wave of refugees sweeps Iraq, a coalition of something wants increased war on Iraq, and much more.

Tonight the Washington Post published a column by Anbar Province Governor Ahmed Khalaf al-Dulaimi which notes:

We are struggling in this war against the forces of darkness, but we are a people who can see the light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is thousands of miles away. No matter how dim the light, we hope that it will shine brighter every day.

Iraqis have the right to live in peace. Our young people have the right to enjoy all the wonderful things that life has to offer. And we have a responsibility to give them hope that will empower them to live life to the fullest, to reach out to their counterparts in other nations and to turn away from death and extremism. 

The Iraqi people are a strong group who has overcome repeatedly the attacks and 'help' from outsiders.  And, of course, they managed to survive two terms under the despot and tyrant Nouri al-Maliki.

We frequently note he's not gone here and sometimes add that Nouri will only be truly gone when he's in the ground.

Some e-mails insist that's too harsh.  Nouri's shown a kinder side in recent days and weeks, one e-mailer argued.

Has he?  Well that certainly erases his sending his goons into middle schools and high schools to liken gay men to vampires and to encourage the students to bully, harm and kill and Iraqi gays they might know.  Right?  And doesn't it wipe away all the Sunni protesters he killed?

And doesn't it just vanish all the civilians in Falluja he's killed and wounded with his bombing of residential -neighborhoods?  (National Iraq News Agency notes the bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods today left 3 civilians dead and seven more injured.)

And we could go on and on.

Nouri's a thug.

I'm not kind to thugs, so sorry.

And my belief that Nouri's not gone yet -- even though the world press tells us he is outgoing -- gone, gone, gone?

Hamza Mustafa (Asharq Al-Awsat) reports:

Iraq’s outgoing Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki said on Wednesday he was prepared to form a new government from among Iraq’s Shi’ite parties if ongoing talks on the shape of the new government fail.
Speaking in his weekly national address, Maliki claimed that the Shi’ite-led National Alliance—which includes his State of Law coalition, parties loyal to firebrand cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI)—had a “Plan B” in place if Prime Minister-designate Haider Al-Abadi was unable to make progress in talks on forming a government with Sunni and Kurdish factions.

Still think Nouri's packed it in?  Or, and this is a better guess, are you thinking Nouri's actively working to ensure that Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi fails so that he can be named to the position and take 30 days to form a government?

Mustafa notes the National Alliance says they have no plan B involving Nouri.  Is he lying?

Most likely.  He usually does, after all.

But his personal Eva Braun was on Democracy Now! this week and Sunni-hater Patrick Cockburn couldn't stop making excuses for his beloved:

Well, I think, you know, that Maliki is finished. I think he’s been finished for some time. The question was: Would he fight it out? He had military units that were personally loyal to him, but he found that after the new prime minister had been appointed, the Iranians had turned against him. They wouldn’t support him. He didn’t have any outside political support. His own party was disintegrating or would no longer support him. So I think that the transition will happen.
But I think what is wrong is to think that—almost everything now is being blamed on al-Maliki, both inside and outside Baghdad, that he was the person who provoked the Sunni uprising, he was the hate figure for the Sunni, he produced an army that was riddled with corruption. But I think that it’s exaggerated, that it’s as if there was a magic wand that would be used once al-Maliki had gone. But there were other reasons for this uprising, for the creation of ISIS—notably, the rebellion in Syria in 2011. This changed the regional balance of power. That was a Sunni rebellion, which Iraqi politicians over the last couple of years were always telling me, if the West supports the opposition in Syria, this will destabilize Iraq. And they were dead right. It wasn’t just al-Maliki.

He did provoke the Sunni uprising?  I realize it's difficult for Patrick to speak with Nouri's cock down his throat but the Sunnis were protesting in 2011 and were promised by Nouri that corruption ends in 100 days and it was another lie from Nouri.  They took to the streets again as December 2012 rolled around and they ended up being attacked and savaged.

And Patrick, if you can hear us over the sucking noise you're making, who do you think had Sunnis rounded up and tossed into prison?  The Easter Bunny?

Who created military forces without the authorization of Parliament?

The man whose pubes your nose is in.  That's right.

Because you're a worthless person who hates the Sunnis, you never bothered to report any of this over the years.  That's on you.  Lying about it now won't help you any.

In yesterday's snapshot, we noted The Progressive published an article on Iraq by Stephen Zunes. With Patrick Cockburn's latest spin for Nouri still fresh, let's see what Zunes has to say on the same topics:

The biggest division among Iraq’s Arabs, however, is not between Sunnis and Shias but between nationalist and sectarian tendencies within both communities. Under the corrupt and autocratic U.S.-backed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Shia sectarians dominated. This resulted in an initially nonviolent Sunni backlash, which was met by severe government repression. This backlash was eventually hijacked by ISIS, which rid the major Sunni-dominated cities of government control.

Yeah, that's pretty much the way most of us who've paid attention to Iraq over the last four years feel it went down.  You won't find it in Patrick Cockburn's 'reporting.'  You can find it in our archives.  Over and over. But I don't hate Sunnis and I was never vested in lying for Nouri al-Maliki (or any other official).  Sadly, Patrick Cockburn can't say the same.

There's so much he can't say -- can't or won't.  You have governments vying to be by Barack's side in the latest wave of the Iraq War.  Paddy Cock Burn got anything to say about that?

Of course not.

Jen Psaki, State Dept spokesperson, had to address it and other topics in today's State Dept press briefing:

QUESTION: We have a story out today that cites officials talking about the United States considering a new humanitarian mission in Iraq. This one would be to the north for the ethnic Shiite Turkmen. Do you have any – anything to share about this? Why is the situation so dire? What’s being planned?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t have any new information for you, Brad. I will say, broadly speaking, we’re very focused on addressing the humanitarian concerns across Iraq. Obviously, this is something we continue to asses with our Iraqi partners. We’re also working at the same time on an effort to put together a coalition of countries in Europe, in the Arab world, and beyond that who might be able to contribute to taking on the threat of ISIL and the causes that have resulted, which, of course, is some of the humanitarian results that you mentioned.
And as you all know, there’s many ways to contribute. There’s humanitarian, military, intelligence, diplomatic, and we know this is an effort that is going to require significant focus and all hands on deck – not just the United States, but a range of countries. And you’ve already seen that there are a range of countries that have offered a range of assistance in Iraq, whether it’s humanitarian assistance or other countries who have taken strikes. We’ve seen the efforts of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, and many, many others, who have given assistance. And this is an effort that we think needs to be over the long term to take this on.

QUESTION: Do you have any – I mean, are you concerned about the situation, particularly of the Turkmen right now, in the north of Iraq?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think it’s a situation we’re watching closely, just as we’re watching any humanitarian situation in Iraq that raises concerns. And as you know, we continue to assess necessary steps to take.

QUESTION: Are you – sorry, go ahead.

QUESTION: Just – Said, thank you. Just in terms of the coalition-building, have you anything more to say about other countries that might help on the military side of it?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think it’s really important to note that this is about many areas of contribution. They include military. They include humanitarian. They include intelligence. They include diplomatic efforts. We’re not going to make announcements for other countries, of course, about what they may or may not do. You’ve seen some countries take steps in Iraq to take on the threat of ISIL. Obviously, we’re having conversations with a range – dozens of countries about what contribution they’re able to make.

QUESTION: Who’s taking on ISIL militarily in Iraq --

QUESTION: Yeah, besides the Americans.

QUESTION: -- besides you and Iran, which I assume is not part of your coalition?

MS. PSAKI: Well, what I mean, Brad, is that obviously there are countries who are all considering what options they can take and they may be willing to take to take on the threat of ISIL, whether it’s Iraq or across borders.
More on this? Let’s finish this issue. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Are you aware about the desperate situation of the people in the town of Amirli in north Iraq – northern Iraq?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think as I said in response to Brad’s question, we are watching closely the humanitarian situation in Iraq; that’s obviously impacting many communities. And we continue to assess how we can provide the best assistance. And obviously this is not a short-term effort, this is a long-term effort, which is why it’s so important to work through a coalition of countries in a coordinated manner, with regional and international partners to see how we can address.

QUESTION: But to help the people of Amirli match the – one of the goals of the President’s mission in Iraq, right – humanitarian relief?

MS. PSAKI: Certainly, one of the goals is humanitarian relief. You’ve seen contributions we’ve already made. We continue to assess what more we can do.

QUESTION: Yeah. On ISIL in Syria, you have said that you will not coordinate with the Assad Government because it has allowed a vacuum that has fostered ISIL. That’s still correct?


QUESTION: Now with the Iranian Government, they have fostered sectarianism in Baghdad, which you said contributed – is a political problem that’s possibly greater than the military problem. They have funded, they have armed, they have trained the Assad Government. And yet, the Secretary has said explicitly we’re open to them playing a constructive role numerous times. Is that a --

MS. PSAKI: But I think we’ve also said, clearly – and I think the context of his remarks are important – that there’s many ways you can play a constructive role, and certainly supporting a unified Iraqi Government – which I think is what his reference was to at the time – and one that takes into account the views of all parties, is one that many countries can play a productive role in. And if Iran was able to play a productive role in moving that process forward when that statement was made months ago or weeks ago, then that’s something we would certainly support.
We’ve also talked about our concern about certain kinds of outside intervention in Iraq as well.

QUESTION: Okay. But in terms of ISIL generally – Iraq or Syria – the comments that he made are not relevant in terms of Iran’s ability to play a constructive role in the military fight against the organization.

MS. PSAKI: I would encourage you to look back at the context, which I recall was about the formation of a governing – of a government in Iraq, which certainly has moved forward several steps since then.

David Williams and Jason Groves (Daily Mail) report, "America is poised to ask Britain to support air strikes against jihadi positions in northern Iraq, it was reported last night."  While England plays coy, Australia is apparently desperate to be invited to the ball.  Daniel Hurst (Guardian) reports:

Australia has signalled its willingness to contribute Super Hornets to US-led air strikes in Iraq, with the defence force “at a high state of readiness”.

The defence minister, David Johnston, said Australia was yet to be approached to provide assistance other than humanitarian relief, but would continue to talk to the US about steps to preserve civilian life from the threat posed by the Islamic State (Isis).

And Australians are apparently all in for anything.  Pak Yiu (4BC 1116 Talk) speaks with Neil James the Executive Director of the Australian Defense Association:

Mr James said an intervention like the one in 2003 is unlikely, but it could be possible.
“There may be a fair bit of air support to the new Iraqi government but I can’t see a similar type of multinational intervention there was back in 2003.”

Unlikely . . . but maybe, he says.

Who's in charge of the war?

Not the US Congress which can't find a voice one way or the other.

How about the White House?

New York Times' columnist Maureen Dowd offers this take:

As he has grown weary of Washington, President Barack Obama has shed parts of his presidency, like drying petals falling off a rose.
He left the explaining and selling of his signature health care legislation to Bill Clinton. He outsourced Congress to Rahm Emanuel in the first term, and now doesn't bother to source it at all. He left schmoozing, as well as a spiraling Iraq, to Joe Biden. Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, comes across as more than a messagemeister. As the president floats in the empyrean, Rhodes seems to make foreign policy even as he's spinning it.

Meanwhile National Iraqi News Agency reports:

A security source in Anbar said on Tuesday that, an unknown military plane bombed a school, which includes a number of displaced people from the city of Falluja, west of Anbar.
The source told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA/ that the school is located amid Kubaisa in Hit district, west of Anbar were bombed by unidentified aircraft, without knowing the size of the losses caused by the bombing. 

Kitabat reports an American aircraft crashed to the west of Baghdad International Airport -- as they describe the craft, it was a remote control drone. Kitabat also reports 27 corpses were discovered dumped to the north of Baghdad.   And in Baghdad?  Iraq Times notes the corpse of 1 woman and 6 men were discovered throughout Baghdad today.  Alsumaria reports 1 Iraqi soldier was shot dead in Baghdad, a bombing in a booby-trapped Ramadi home left 1 police member dead, and 1 civilian was shot dead in western Baghdad.  All Iraq News adds 1 health department employee was shot dead in Raibya,  National Iraqi News notes the handcuffed corpses of 2 young men were dumped on the road in Tuz Khurmato.  Margaret Griffis ( reports 168 violent deaths took place in Iraq today.

As the violence continues, it impacts the country.  Sean Callebs (CCTV -- link is video) reports 1.5 million have been displaced by violence from the Islamic State. Iraq has seen waves of both external and internal refugees throughout the war.  Alsumaria notes the General Secretariat of the Council of Minister Mohammed Taher al-Tamimi is calling for the Iraqi schools to take in the displaced children.

We'll try to grab the topic of religious minorities tomorrow.  For now, let's return to the topic of Nouri.  He announced the alleged plan B today in his weekly speech.  He did more than that in the speech.

Among other things, he attacked US Vice President Joe Biden.

Kitabat notes Nouri accused Joe of attempting to divide Iraq into three separate regions -- Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurd.  Al Mada also notes Nouri's "attack" (they use the term) on Joe. All Iraq News notes he called on Joe "to respect the Iraqi people and constitution" -- to which Joe Biden could reply, "You first."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tell us about Hannibal again (sarcasm)

Sady Doyle decided the mature thing to do would be to take her insane thoughts and spew them at Taylor Swift in an attempt to help a mob mentality grow.

This is the woman, you may remember, who insisted Hannibal was a feminist show.

A show dominated by male leads, a show about a serial killer.

That, for Sady, was feminism.

I'll say this about the uninformed penning columns, it's never boring.

It's never educational or productive, but it's also never boring.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, August 26, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, voices for war aren't shy, but something's got the tongue of the peace movement, In These Times can't take on the Iraq War but can go after Taylor Swift, and much more.

Justin O. Smith (Daily News Journal) argues for full on war in Iraq to combat the Islamic State.  Citing what's being done to Christians and Yazidis, he writes, "This is genocide pure and simple. America sees it and knows it as genocide, and as such, it is imperative that the U.S. and the world take vigorous military action against ISIS and all possible measures to prevent this massacre of minorities in Iraq. And with more than vigilance and 130 advisors, the U.S. and its allies should send 130 bombers and 130,000 soldiers to run ISIS into the ground, utterly destroy them and kill them mercilessly with extreme prejudice, just as they did entire Christian communities."

Smith's opinion has a few issues beyond the issue of calling for war.

He writes, "Obama, ever sympathetic to Sunni Muslims, more than likely illegally and surreptitiously armed the so-called 'rebels' in Syria by late 2011 from Libya, as strong evidence suggests."  I think few Sunnis in Iraq would make the ridiculous claim Smith does.  In fact, let's allow Sunnis to speak for themselves.

In March of last year, activists in Samarra put their message on display.

From Samarra من سامراء

"Obama, If you Cannot Hear Us Can you Not See Us?"

The following month, Sunnis would be slaughtered at a protest elsewhere.

April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

Did Barack call for bombings when that took place?

No, he didn't.

What he did was further arm Nouri al-Maliki.

"Obama, If you Cannot Hear Us Can you Not See Us?"

He couldn't see the Sunnis.  He just didn't care.

The prime minister of Iraq killed peaceful protesters.  Including children.  Including the child of a father who was present.  The young teen was trying to get his father to safety.  The challenged community in Iraq does not wait for others to do things, they join their brothers and sisters in the street in protests.  And this father was in a wheel chair.  It was chaos as Nouri's forces began firing at protesters and attacking them and the son was attempting to get his father to safety when they were stopped by Nouri's thugs.

The thugs said one of them was dying and they shot the son when he tried to protect his father by stepping in front of him.  They shot the father then too.  But the son died.

No one outside of Iraq really seemed to care about that man and the son he lost or about the children shot dead by Nouri's forces at that protest site.

Barack didn't do a damn thing.

The BRussells Tribunal cared and carried the account of Thamer Hussein Mousa who lost his son Mohammed Thamer.

But Barack didn't care, AFP didn't care, AP either, go down the list.

And Justin O. Smith cares about Christians in and from Iraq.  I don't doubt that he cares.  But someone should have informed him that a large number of those Sunnis are Christians.  The ones targeted, the ones that became part of the refugee population sometime ago.

Having addressed that aspect, let's note Smith's calling for war.

Is he right?

I don't think so and I argue against the US taking violent measures against -- continued violent measures -- against Iraq.

But Smith feels the way he feels -- and has every right to express what he thinks and feels -- and he's not alone.  The people wanting war are not shy about expressing themselves.

It's a shame the same can't be said for those on my side of the fence.

We noted the appalling silence from the various antiwar groups -- we noted it in yesterday's snapshot.  Nothing's changed today.  A.N.S.W.E.R. has nothing to offer.

And The Nation has dozens of stories on their main pages -- 7 alone are on Ferguson -- but there's nothing on Iraq.

The Progressive, to their credit, have posted a piece on Iraq.  It's by Stephen Zunes, here's the link.

Good for The Progressive.

But they are one outlet.

What does In These Times offer?

I've had it with Sady Doyle and had it with her and her faux feminism a long damn time ago.  Elaine's called the idiot out and, as always say, if Elaine's thinking it, I am too.   Ann's also called her out.

Taylor Swift   was slut shamed by Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Michael J. Fox and all our supposed 'feminist' and woman-positive press could do was giggle and and praise Tina and Amy -- two grown women who really should be more worried about their own sex lives.

Sady Doyle's attacked one woman after another and it's really time she was told, "You are the problem."

Taylor, you understand, is ripping off African-American culture, according to Doyle.

 Doyle's idiotic b.s. critique is one she got from the 'great minds' of Jezebel.  Here's Doyle:

Then there’s the song itself, written by Max Martin and Shellback with Swift. Its chorus hinges on the arguably appropriated truism “players gonna play, haters gonna hate.” Which, granted, has become a matter of common usage. Still, it sticks out, especially considering that the song—both musically and lyrically—is a washed-out third-generation copy of Janelle Monae’s breakthrough single “Tightrope,” complete with hand-clap percussion and horn-section hook. Both songs are anti-hater anthems about the power of dance: Where Monae tells us to “dance up on them haters, keep getting funky on the scene,” Swift instructs us that “haters gonna hate … shake, shake, shake it off.”

So stupid, so ignorant, so embarrassing.

Players gonna play?

I believe it was Stevie Nicks -- let's damn well give credit where it's due -- who wrote "players only love you when they're playing."  (And took it to number one, "Dreams.")

Musicians are magpies -- Madonna's not the only one.

Every rapper tossing around 'playa' owes some serious props to Stevie Nicks.

And Stevie?  She owes a debt to the Mamas and the Papas and to Joni Mitchell and others -- and she acknowledges that debt.

Taylor is 24-years-old.

Sady Doyle wants to slam her for not being Loretta Lynn:

Loretta Lynn, a coal-miner’s daughter, sang about growing up in aching poverty, being married as an adolescent  and having four children by the age of 20. She fulminated against cheating husbands, but she also sang a paean to birth control and a rant against slut-shaming. Swift, a stockbroker’s daughter, borrowed some tropes—Georgia, trucks, blue jeans—but stuck to complaining about cheerleaders.

How dare Doyle slam Swift for who her parents are -- more specifically, who her father was.  How dare you try to define a woman by a man in their lives.

You are not a feminist, you are a disgusting piece of trash who, sadly, is also stupid.

Should Taylor, like Loretta, be singing about the pill?

Maybe she will.

We are all aware aren't we -- Sady's not -- that Loretta had a hit with "The Pill" in 1975 -- 15 years after she had her first hit song.  15 years after.

And how old was Loretta?


Sady is trashing a 24-year-old for lacking the scope of a 43-year-old.

Only in Sady's small and trashy mind is that acceptable.

Loretta's a true artist who's more than earned her reputation.  But she built that reputation over decades of work.  Taylor's career has barely started.

Sady Doyle is deeply stupid.

 If you want to accuse Taylor of borrowing, I think the obvious comparison is Florence and the Machine's "Shake It Out."

Sady doesn't go there.

What happened to Michael Brown in Ferguson is tragic.

The investigation Attorney General Eric Holder is overseeing may find that it was also criminal -- it may not find that.

But Taylor Swift releasing a video and song isn't the end of the world.

We already saw how the morality police like Sady condemned Janet Jackson (I love Janet and have known her for years).  They destroyed Janet's career and let's applaud Janet for refusing to grovel.  Justin Timberlake has a career but he groveled, didn't he?

Janet stood strong.

But the man got forgotten because what's better in this society than another round of Bash The Bitch?  As Ava and I observed years ago in "Katie Was A Cheerleader:"

Who knew it was a war crime? Katie Couric was a cheerleader and an army of Beate Klarsfelds are on her trail in an attempt to warn America of this dangerous contravention of the law. We imagine it's only a matter of time before the tribunal is held. The cheerleader as Eichmann, no doubt, sends shudders through the hearts of many women on the left, center and right, since they too may be charged.
Couric's apparent crime, for some on the left, is saying that Navy Seals "rock." That moment was immortalized in Michael Moore's FAHRENHEIT 9/11 and seems to be the chief piece of evidence that will be introduced when the commentators gather at the Hague.
For some of the left, though not all, that's at the root of their pursuit of Couric. It's the gift of impunity that allows them to operate in a fact-free environment as they compose the charges against Couric. But those who hear such a statement and nod agreeably are also engaged in the national pastime of bash-the-bitch.
Bash the bitch is as American as apple pie and rush to judgement, so who are we to complain?
If it makes us "America haters" to say "Just a minute now" then so be it. Let all the ones partaking in bash-the-bitch wrap themselves in Old Glory, we'll call it the way we see it.
Here's what we see. A woman's trashed. For what she did?
Oh cookie, please, it's for being a woman. Read the commentaries. "Cheerleader" is a trumped up charge -- as usual, the true crime is gender.

Michael Brown's death has provoked strong feelings -- sadness, anger and more.

And all this is going to get tossed on Taylor?


Sade Doyle, were she a true feminist, would be defending Taylor and wondering why -- yet again -- a woman is made the ultimate criminal.

Timberlake rips off Janet's top and it destroys her career not his.

Robin Thicke traffics in sexism and he and Miley Cyrus perform live on the MTV Awards but it's Miley who's called out, not the old man in the suit and tie looking all creepy.

There is anger in the country over what happened to Michael Brown.

The anger's understandable.

Let's go with, for just a second, that the police conducted themselves as they should in every way, okay?  Even if that's the case, that doesn't change the anger.  Michael is dead and a lot of people are personalizing this loss -- some due to what they perceive as relatable events, commonalities between Michael's lives and their own.

That's completely understandable.

It's also understandable that this free floating anxiety will attempt to glom on something else.  In our society, those targets are usually women.

And this anger could destroy Taylor's career.

Now if she destroyed her career with her own mouth, so be it.  If she destroyed it by doing the same song over and over, so be it.

But when she's made to be the target, when "racism" is falsely pinned upon her at a time when the country is riled up?

That's ridiculous.

I'm not remember Sady -- are you? -- calling out Ani DiFranco when Ani was planning this year's get-away on a slave plantation.  Are you?


But because idiots who can't interpret art say Taylor's done this or done that, Sady is ready to attack.

As an artist, I tend to laugh at most critics because they're so damn stupid (Frank Rich is a stupid columnist and he was even more stupid critic -- he also lied to be 'funny' in his critiques which is even more offensive).

There were real racial implications in a White woman -- Ani DiFranco -- who'd gone around calling others racist going on to plan a retreat at a slave plantation.  There were racial implications in Ani attacking -- publicly attacking -- those who called her out.  That only cause more anger and forced her to apologize.

But I don't remember Sady Doyle treading into those waters.

The difference of course being that Sady worships Ani DiFranco.

Critics who can't call out their heroes aren't critics at all.

And women who trash other women to fit in, who see a mob going after a woman and encourage it?

They're embarrassments and much worse.

Sady Doyle can play 'feminist' all she wants.  The fact is that she remains male defined in a world of men -- she's getting to the Taylor 'story' by quoting a horror book written by a man when what's she's really saying is Taylor is a monster -- a man made monster -- so if she had any sense, she would have been referencing Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

But that's Sady, a 'feminist' forever name checking men.

She's doing real damage.

When a mob's advancing on a woman, you don't join the mob.

Not if you want to be a feminist.

'C.I., we know you're a feminist.  We know.  We know.  Isn't this about Iraq?  Or supposed to be?'

I do not support attacks on artists and if the artist being attacked is a woman, I feel I have a responsibility to call it out immediately (I've been very lucky over the years with other women having my back when I was being trashed).

But this actually is about Iraq.

Not just because Bully Boy Bush used the free floating anxiety over 9-11 to go to war on Iraq -- he let it glom onto WMD lies.  Not just because Barack's doing the same now with IS -- trying to scare Americans into supporting more war.

And not just because women are the canary in the coalmine when it comes to whether a society progresses or fails.

It's also because Sady and In These Times believe she took on the war in her bad column:

Tensions were escalating in Iraq; on August 19, the terrorist group ISIS beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley. Even soft news and entertainment sections were dominated by death and pain, as seemingly everyone even vaguely related to the entertainment industry reacted to the unexpected suicide of Robin Williams. Several outlets published corresponding public-service pieces about self-harm and depression. The outcry over the abuses in Ferguson, in particular, had become so urgent that President Obama left his vacation to give a live-streamed speech about both Ferguson and the US military involvement in Iraq.

Sady's garbage, in the minds of In These Times, passes for Iraq 'commentary.'

And, maybe for In These Times, that is Iraq commentary?

Iraq is on fire and Sady Doyle's busying herself handing out torches and pointing at Taylor Swift while screaming, "Get her!"

There was apparently no screaming on Monday when US Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Iraq's Prime Minister-Designate Haider al-Abadi:

The White House
Office of the Vice President

Readout of the Vice President’s Call with Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi

Earlier today, Vice President Joe Biden called Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi.  The Vice President and Prime Minister-designate discussed ongoing military actions against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).   The Vice President observed that Iraq’s political progress to date has already brought about greater regional and international support and that efforts to form a new government are an integral component of Iraq’s broader fight against ISIL.  Dr. Abadi underscored to the Vice President his intent to quickly form a new government that is inclusive of all segments of Iraqi society and that is prepared to take concrete steps to addresses the concerns of all of Iraq’s communities.   The Vice President emphasized his support for these efforts and the importance of all leaders working together to form a new government as soon as possible.

And maybe similar efforts could help Iraq?  Instead of brainstorming on that, the 'answer' from the White House is more military action.  Elissa Curtis and Benajmin Landy (MSNBC) note the refugee crisis is expected to only get worse.  Well how has bombing ever stopped the growth of refugees?  They generally increase the refugee population.

Spencer Ackerman (Guardian) reports:

The Pentagon warned on Tuesday that Islamic State (Isis) militants have global aspirations, ratcheting up already dire US rhetoric against the jihadist army that has overrun much of Iraq and Syria.
“Quite frankly, we’re not turning a blind eye to their global aspirations as well,” said Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.

Isis has not conducted attacks outside of Iraq – its gestation ground – and Syria, where its successes brought it global attention. Its own rhetoric imagines a global Islamic caliphate, obliterating man-made borders, but its capabilities – which include access to oil wealth – fall significantly short. 

A huge threat -- supposedly.  WMDs were a huge threat once upon a time too.  Some of us refused to be frightened senseless.  Others went all in on the fear, let it consume and control them.  Where are the voices of reason?

At the US State Dept press briefing today, spokesperson Jen Psaki faced a few questions related to Iraq including this:

QUESTION: Why are you so concerned all of a sudden now about a threat to the United States potentially emanating from ISIS in Syria when the march of ISIS through Syria and then through Iraq has been underway for quite a long time now? The reports of dozens of Western – people with Western nationality fighting among them have been out for months. I mean, what’s different? Is there some kind of new or proximate threat that causes you to be concerned about this?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Arshad, I think anybody who looks at the situation in Iraq and Syria – the threat from ISIL – would say that they have gained strength over the last six months, that things have certainly changed in that regard. Obviously, we monitor and have long monitored very closely whether or not ISIL will seek to develop plots aimed at the West, beyond the geographic area where they have been operating in Iraq and Syria. And we’re actively, of course, consulting on that and working on that.
But it’s important to note that they, of course, have threatened to attack the homeland. We take those threats very seriously, and I think what you’re seeing here is a response to our growing concern about the counterterrorism threats. This is not new this past week. Neither is our response to it. I would point you back to the President’s speech at West Point where he talked about a $5 billion counterterrorism fund and our efforts to increase assistance to the Iraqis over the past six months. But certainly, we’ve seen an increase over the past months.

QUESTION: But why not act much earlier than now, then? I mean, why – if the threat’s been there for months, you’ve seen it for months --

MS. PSAKI: I think I said an increase over the past several months, and we have taken steps over the past several months in order to address it in different varieties. But our sole strategy here is not the potential for airstrikes. I think you saw General Dempsey speak to that. Obviously, there are a range of options that the President can consider and will consider.

Are some feeling the White House is suddenly seeing alarm where they didn't before?

Tom Ridge and Howard Dean pen a column together for the Chicago Tribune.

With the help of Iran's Quds force, al-Maliki brutally repressed popular protests across Iraq that demanded basic rights for Iraq's Sunni and Kurdish minorities. He hunted down tribal leaders, made arrests and carried out executions, all with Tehran's complicity. That reversed the gains made in 2007, when Sunnis played the most crucial role in driving al-Qaida out of Iraq. It also demonstrated the kind of brazen sectarianism that gave rise to the Islamic State, which many U.S. analysts say represents a new, direct threat to U.S. interests.

The former Secretary of Homeland Security and the former Governor of Vermont feel Iraq has a moment right now, however fleeting, to move beyond the current crises if the next prime minister sets the correct tone and pursues inclusion.

We'll close with this:

August 26, 2014
office - 703-522-2214
cell - 202-681-7251

WHEN: Tuesday, August 26, 2014
WHERE: Online
WHAT: Pop Quiz for Equality

-- Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote in 1920, but it was a right that took decades to realize. This landmark Amendment institutionalized every person’s right to participate in the electoral process regardless of sex, and now it’s time to use the priceless power of the vote to advance another crucial amendment for women’s rights: the Equal Rights Amendment.
This Women’s Equality Day, the Feminist Majority Foundation is taking this important anniversary in the fight for women’s suffrage to continue building momentum around the Equal Rights Amendment with an online quiz testing voters’ knowledge of the ERA.
The Equal Rights Amendment will finally cement equal rights under the law – for all – for the first time ever in the United States Constitution. Now it’s time to make sure voters know what the ERA is all about, and how they can be agents in the fight to ratify the ERA right now!

  • The Illinois state senate approved the ERA by a 60 percent majority in 2014. The Illinois House could vote to bring the US one state closer to ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment in the 2014 November veto session. Illinois would become the 36th state. We need 38.
  • Oregon voters could pass a state ERA when Measure 89 goes to a vote in November 2014.
  • Now, in Nevada, a leading state legislator is contemplating introducing a resolution to ratify the ERA in 2015.
  • Full ratification of the ERA would, for the first time, create a national legal standard for the elimination of discrimination against women in all areas of life, including equal pay.
  • The ERA would change the burden of proof in sex discrimination cases to a higher level of scrutiny under the law.
  • The ERA would strengthen enforcement of laws against gender-based violence and expand federal power to prosecute these crimes.
  • The ERA would prohibit pregnancy discrimination.
Take the quiz and join the conversation all day long: Follow @majorityspeaks, @femmajority and #WED2014 all day for reasons to ratify the #ERANow!

1600 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 801, Arlington, VA, 22209 | 703.522.2214 | 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Golfing"  went up last night.

He can't stop golfing.

I love how Isaiah has him making the point that even if he hadn't been golfing, he still wouldn't have focused on Iraq.

"TV: Watch the viewers scatter" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Reviews):
But instead of exploring that rich terrain, we're left with the ah-they're-so-sugary-sweet-they-rot-my-teeth kids.

Will viewers stick around once the show starts airing?

We doubt it.

We have no idea why it even got a greenlight.

Is there a need for a series on this topic?


But no one should have thought a needed show on this topic would come from Steven Spielberg.

Aliens he can handle.  Sometimes sharks.

But this man who has worked with Academy Award winners like Goldie Hawn, Audrey Hepburn and Leonardo DiCaprio and only Goldie walked away with a film worth watching Sugarland Express.

His ability to handle special effects has never been in question but many of the other needed skills -- especially to handle a series on a topic like this -- just aren't there.

What in the world is Fox thinking with this show?

Are teens dying for a cancer show?

Nurse Jackie is for adults.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday, August 25, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the State Dept's 'concerned' about killings in Iraq (now they're concerned), Nouri's War Crimes continue, Nouri's also yet again accidentally or 'accidentally' bombing Iraqi soldiers, Dan Rather makes a stupid remark, his fellow idiots try to serve it up as a 'peace' statement, and much more.

Let's start with the obvious: Dan Rather is an idiot.

I have no use for 'big left' Dan of today because when he occupied the anchor chair for years and years on CBS, he didn't do a damn thing.

Now he's got nothing left so he pretends he's left.  He's not.

Jeffrey Meyer, of the right wing media site Newsbusters, notes:

Dan Rather, former anchor of the CBS Evening News, appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources to harshly criticize those in Congress calling for the U.S. to take military action against the terrorist group ISIS.
Speaking to anchor Brian Stelter on Sunday, August 24, Rather proclaimed that he will only listen to those who advocate boots on the ground “if you tell me you are prepared to send your son, your daughter, your grandson, your granddaughter to that war of which you are beating the drums.”

While some idiots will applaud that, they shouldn't.

It's the same pompous and discriminatory b.s. that prompted Dan Rather to treat Connie Chung like crap and get her fired when she was briefly made his co-anchor.  Make no mistake, Dan Rather is a nasty, dirty person.

Members of Congress should not support war, Rather says, unless they are willing to send their loved ones into war.

It's not the ancient days of Dan Rather's boyhood.

Children are not chattel, they will not be sent somewhere.

They will make up their own minds.

If Connie Chung were in the Senate and pounding the drums of war, that's on Connie.

Dan's a stupid piece of s**t and the continued embrace of his sexist and out of date notions does not need encouragement.

Matthew Povich is his own person.  What his parent Connie or Maury does?  That's on them.  That's not on him.  If Matthew wants to join a war, wants to oppose a war, wants to ignore a war, that's on him.

This is b.s. and Dan Rather needs to be called out on it.

Here's Jessica Lange speaking at a 2005 peace rally:

JESSICA LANGE: There have been twice as many terrorist attacks in the three years since 9/11 than in the three years preceding 9/11. All their reasons for waging war on Iraq have been proven to be manipulation of facts, untruths and lies, lies, and more lies. And then he dares accuse us of being guilty of wrong thinking, a man who traffics in deadly lies, the front man for an administration who came into office with the intention of taking out Saddam and becoming an occupying force in Iraq, members of the Project for the New American Century, who promote an ideology of U.S. domination through the use of force, who have imposed their politics of scorch and burn on the American people and made us complicit against our will in their regime of shame.
And who are these men? Who are these men? Let’s talk for a minute about these masters of war, these same men that are sending our sons and our daughters, our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers to fight an undeclared and unconstitutional and unwinnable war for them. Let’s talk about their service records. Karl Rove did not serve. Paul Wolfowitz did not serve. Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams, Newt Gingrich did not serve. Jeb Bush did not serve. The list goes on and on. And we know George W. did not really serve.

Click here to stream it or read it in full at Democracy Now!

Did you notice what Jessica did?

She held people accountable for their actions.

Jenna Bush is not responsible for what her father does.  Malia Obama is not responsible for what her father does.  Both women may agree with their father's choices, may disagree, may not care one way or the other.  That's their right.  That's every person's right.

Jessica Lange rightly pointed out that the War Hawks pushing the Iraq War didn't serve in the military.  She didn't attack the children or grandchildren of War Hawks.

Dan still believes in chattel.

Shame on those who promote that nonsense.

Furthermore, the whole point of Dan's little stunt is to say what?

If Dick Cheney had forced Mary into the military (against her will) it would be okay for the US to go to war on Iraq?


It wouldn't have made the illegal war right.

No one should die in this illegal war.  Many have.  I'm really not into wishing that the death toll rises but I guess when the career's over, when you're name is a disgrace, when you're a hateful old man with nothing to look forward but death, I guess then you just want everyone to die, eh, Dan?

Dan Rather's nonsense is wrongly seen as 'antiwar' or 'peace' only because there's no peace movement in the country.

Friday, United for Peace and Justice finally issued a statement on Iraq . . . and Gaza . . . and Ferguson.  We'll note the section on Iraq:

The dual tragedies playing out in Gaza and Iraq are graphic reminders of the catastrophic costs of militarism. Each has multiple causes, but paramount among them, American military power and Washington’s decades-old build up of Israeli military power have caused unimaginable suffering among civilian populations.
Neither story is at an end. And the need to speak up for peace and diplomacy remains urgent. Since 2001, the United States government has dealt with the problem of “terrorism” by engaging in various forms of warfare against other countries and groups, while building up the military might of its Israeli ally. And the results have been costly, harmful and counter-productive.
The staggering oppression of Palestinians, the millions of people in the Muslim world killed, injured or displaced, and the level of anger now directed at the United States attests to the immorality and futility of this approach.
Responding to the crisis in Gaza and Iraq, we call for:
• Cessation of US bombing in Iraq and a cease-fire in Gaza and Israel
• Immediate end to the blockade of Gaza
• Increased humanitarian assistance to victims of violence in Iraq and Gaza
• Suspension of US military aid to Israel and an arms embargo across the region
• United Nations sponsored diplomacy which includes all regional parties
What can be done?

Members of Congress are back in district this month. This is an excellent time to express concern over US policy in Gaza and Iraq — meet with your Reps, send a letter to the editor of your local paper, demonstrate, or vigil. UFPJ is urging that in whatever action you organize, you incorporate concerns about Gaza and Iraq. Please keep us posted on your plans:

If you thought other organizations would suddenly find their voices, you were wrong.

Let's survey the ruins of the peace movement of the '00s.

CODEPINK?  They called for aid not bombs -- on August 8th, they made that call.  They've done nothing since.  It's hard to be a faux activist, you understand.

It's even harder for cowards and the spineless to call out US President Barack Obama.

Which is why the so-called Iraq veterans of Iraq Veterans Against the War didn't call out Barack.  The little tykes last whined and pissed their diapers back on June 19th when they ran an open letter to non-US President John Kerry.  It was about Iraq.  It was their last statement about Iraq.  June 19th.

I know John.  I've still got the spine to call him out but our big brave babies of IVAW can't call out Barack.  Poor little useless babies.  Maybe they can change their name to Iraq Veterans Against the War Except When A Democrat's In The White House?

Military Families Speak Out?

Against what?

Against what do they speak out?

They've completely ignored Barack sending waves of troops into Iraq in the last weeks as well as the US bombings.  So exactly what do they speak out against?

A.N.S.W.E.R. spoke out.  Back on June 23rd.  Two months ago.

Guess Iraq fixed itself without any need for effort on the part of A.N.S.W.E.R. which left the organization free to pursue other things -- like Hobby Lobby.

A.N.S.W.E.R. quoted their own Eugene Puryear stating, "They don't ask anyone from the anti-war movement to come on the Sunday shows, and that's because we were right in 2003 and we're right now, and they don't want to be exposed."


Or maybe an assistant is farmed out the task of finding the people speaking out and the assistant goes to all the websites to see something current and passionate that would make you want to see this person or organization on TV.

And the assistant finds . . . weak statements that are weeks old.

August 1st, Veterans for Peace announced their solidarity with the people of . . . Gaza.

Can we all please just agree to say a silent prayer, light a candle until all US men and women serving in Gaza make it home safely?


US troops aren't deployed to Gaza?

Then why are Veterans for Peace vocal on Gaza and on so many other things while they're unable to speak of Iraq -- let alone take action?

They couldn't speak out about Iraq this month.  They couldn't last month.

They did whine like little babies on July 2nd about how tough it was for them to feel patriotic.

Oh, poor babies.

I have no problem finding things of wonder in the US but then I'm not a coward on my knees before the allegedly powerful.  I see the beauty and strength and, yes, grace of the United States in the people of the country who -- as is the case with so many populations -- are much greater than the government which allegedly represents them.

But, by all means, play the victim, embrace being powerless, whatever it takes for Veterans for Peace to blow one last load, right?

Hey, remember in the Bully Boy Bush years when we stood alone in calling VFP official who was griping about his son being a war resister?

Yeah, I'm not scared of calling out Barack or Bully Boy Bush or the vastly immature VFP leadership.

But the leaders of these organizations, how do these scared bunny rabbits ever become 'leaders'?

Not everyone's silent.

“What goes around, come around. Stop the Iraq War” 

Quick note:  The White House insists that US President Barack Obama has not made any official -- but as yet undisclosed -- plans to attack Syria. Katie Zezima (Washington Post) reports, "The press secretary [Josh Earnest] said Obama is 'committed' to coordinating military action with Congress, and has done so with the airstrikes that are currently taking place in Iraq."  We may pick up on that tomorrow.  In Tuesday's snapshot, we will discuss Chris Hill.  I promised we would today but I wasn't in the mood to examine the sewer that is Chris Hill.

Let's instead note this Tweet from the State Dept's Brett McGurk:

Brett's so silly, isn't he?

We quoted from a 2005 speech Jessica Lange gave earlier.  Jessica won her first Academy Award for her performance in the film classic Tootsie. The screenplay everyone worked on -- including Elaine May -- was rock solid.  But the film also benefits from some improvisation from Bill Murray who is the roommate of Michael Dorsey -- the actor who poses as a woman to get a job on a soap opera.   (In what is probably his finest performance ever, Dustin Hoffman plays Michael Dorsey who pretends to be actress Dorothy Michaels who plays soap opera character Emily Kimberly.)

At one point, when Michael wants off the soap, Bill's character tells Michael, "You know, maybe there's a moral's clause in your contract?  Perhaps if Dorothy did something really filthy or disgusting, they have to let you go.  But I really can't think of anything filthy and disgusting that you haven't already done on your show."

And reading Brett's Tweet, shouldn't we be reminded that what Brett's so appalled by has been going on in Iraq under Nouri al-Maliki and yet Brett and the US government didn't say one damn word.

And killing civilians?

Nouri may be outgoing prime minister (he may not be) but he's still killing civilians in Falluja.

Over the weekend, National Iraqi News Agency reported that Saturday Nouri's bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods left 4 civilians dead and thirteen more injured.  And today?  Alsumaria reports Nouri's bombing of Falluja has left 11 civilians dead with twenty-seven more injured -- the wounded and dead were taken to Falluja General Hospital.

Where's Brett's Tweet on those deaths?

Where's his outrage over the murder of civilians?

Nouri's been carrying out these bombings -- these legally defined War Crimes -- day after day since the start of this year.  If Brett's so bothered by the murder of civilians, why has he yet to call these War Crimes out?

Other violence today?

Nouri wasn't just bombing civilians, he was also bombing Iraqi soldiers.

National Iraqi News Agency reports 2 Iraqi soldiers are dead, six more injured, as a result of a bombing "mistake" that hit, get this, the "military headquarters."   In addition, Alsumaria reports a car bombing in Utaifiyya left 7 people dead and 18 more injured, a bombing of a village north of Tikrit left a family -- including three children -- injured, an Aziz roadside bombing left 2 police members dead and six more injured,  and 3 corpses were discovered dumped in Kirkuk.  AFP reports a suicide bomber attacked a Shi'ite mosque in Baghdad, taking his own life and the lives of at least 11 other people.  NINA notes the corpses of 3 women were found dumped outside Kirkuk.

Turning to politics,  Alsumaria notes Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani declared today that Iraq's new government must include all.  Haider al-Abadi is the prime minister-designate, currently in the 30 day period to form a government in order to move from prime minister-designate to prime minister.

At his Facebook page, he posted the following on Sunday:

حدد رئيس الوزراء المكلف الدكتور حيدر العبادي في رسالة وجهها للكتل السياسية الشروط الواجب توفرها في مرشحيهم لشغل المناصب الوزارية في الحكومة المقبلة "ممن تتوفر فيهم عدد من الشروط لنتمكن من وضع الشخص المناسب في المكان المناسب".
واضاف الدكتور العبادي ان الشروط التي يجب ان تتوفر في المرشح تتمثل في ان يكون كفوءا ومهنيا ويمتلك خبرة ادارية ومؤهلات قيادية وان يكون حسن السيرة والسمعة والسلوك وان لا تكون عليه مؤشرات فساد ولا قيد جنائي.
واضاف كما يجب ان لا يكون مشمولا باحكام قانون المساءلة والعدالة وان يكون حائزا على شهادة جامعية في الاقل

He's explaining that for ministers in his Cabinet, he's selecting people who are right for their positions, that they must be ethical and professional with experience in management and leadership qualities.  He also is choosing based upon reputation.

If he's successful, it will be a new kind of Cabinet for Iraq.

Nouri never worried about qualifications for his friends or about their reputations.

Which is how you get a Cabinet that, only months ago, was trying to lower the age of marriage for girls down to eight-years-old.  Not for boys, of course.  But for girls.  Because that's the kind of sick pedophile Nouri al-Maliki and the kind of sickos he surrounded himself with.

Nouri also repeatedly created problems leading to ministers in his Cabinet repeatedly walking out.

The most recent walkout was last month when he called the Kurds terrorists and they responded by walking out on the Cabinet.  It was just the latest throwdown in Nouri's long war with the Kurds.

By way of contrast, Haider al-Abadi  Tweeted the following Sunday:

It's a statement of his intent to resolve the outstanding disputes between the Baghdad-based central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

On the topic of statements, Alsumaria reports US Vice President Joe Biden declared today that al-Abahdi has the full support of the US government.  Alsumaria also reports al-Abahdi met with a delegation of Kurds from Erbil today to discuss the future of the country and the needs of the Iraqi people.  There is no expected movement on the issue in the immediate future since, as All Iraq News notes, Parliament has now "adjourned the session to next Tuesday, 2nd of September."