Saturday, October 25, 2014


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

1) Prince's Art Official Age.

2) Prince and 3rdeyegirl's Plectrunemlectrum.

3)  Lenny Kravitz's Strut.

4)  The Mamas and the Papas' Deliver.

5) Jefferson Airplane's Crown of Creation.

6) Stevie Nicks' 24 Karat Gold Songs From The Vault.

7) Ben Harper's Lifeline.

8) Diana Ross' diana.

9) Tori Amos's Unrepentant Geraldines.

10) Laura Nyro's Christmas and the Beads of Sweat.

I'm going with Prince.

Which album?


How many artists can release two strong albums at the same time?

Very few.

But Prince's muse and vision are still so strong that he can do the impossible. 

I go back and forth on which of the two is my favorite.  It really depends on my mood.

But if you're looking for Prince throwing down with a small combo, then

Then  Prince and 3rdeyegirl's Plectrunemlectrum is the one to go with.  They really break it down and then some.

But he's also getting at additional themes on Prince's Art Official Ageso maybe that's the best one?

I don't know.

I just know that they're both amazing and proof, yet again, that you can never, ever count Prince out.

He's already given the world "Diamonds and Pearls," "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," his brilliant cover of "Crimson and Clover," "Thieves in the Temple," "Controversy," "Starfish & Coffee," "Little Red Corvette," "Anotherloverlikeyouneedaholeinyourhead," "Purple Rain," "Let's Go Crazy," "U Got The Look," "Raspberry Beret," "Pop Life," "Sign of the Times," "If I Were Your Girlfriend," "When You Were Mine," "Kiss," "Graffiti Bridge," "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man," "Cream," "Take Me With You," "Alphabet St.,"  "Do Me, Baby," "Batdance,"  "1999," "When Doves Cry," "I Hate U," "Damn U," "Party Man" and much more.

The two new albums go to just how much he still has to share.

Like Joni Mitchell (one of his heroes), Prince is a true original and a true artist.


"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Saturday, October 25, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, a US Marine is killed in Baghdad, thug Nouri tries to push through legislation destroying the right to protest, judgments on new prime minister Haider al-Haidi are forming, were chemical weapons used in Iraq recently, and much more.

The numbers on Barack Obama's kill list just keep growing.  Add another American to the list.

Yesterday, the Defense Dept released the following:


Release No: NR-539-14
October 24, 2014

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

  The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal, 19, of Riverside, California, died Oct. 23, in Baghdad, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation.

He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, whose headquarters element deploys from Camp Pendleton, California.
For more information, media may contact the I Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs Office at (760) 763-7039 or after hours at (760) 207-5865.

Well, of course, he didn't die in combat.  Hasn't US President Obama insisted US troops would not see combat in Iraq?  And hasn't the press gone along with that lie?

However he died in Baghdad, Lance Cpl Sean P. Neal died in Baghdad.

And Barack's the one who sent him there.

Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?

Barack sent Neal and many others into Iraq.

Any deaths are on Barack's hands.

Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?

And the deaths of Iraqis are on his hands as well.

Especially the ones killed by Iraqi forces.

Barack hopped in bed with previous prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and is in bed with current prime minister Haider al-Hadi.  Under both, civilians have been terrorized by Iraqi forces throughout Iraq.

This includes, but is not limited to, the ongoing bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods -- a legally defined War Crime.  One that has been taking place since January of this year.

Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?

Will this awaken the so-called peace 'leaders' in the United States?

Or will they continue to direct their outrage at Bully Boy Bush -- a man who left the White House in January 2009?

Maybe they'll continue to obsess over Hillary Clinton?

Anything to avoid growing the hell up and calling out the person running the wars today.

Lance Cpl Sean P. Neal's death is on Barack's hands but never forget CodePink, Win Without War and so many other fake ass organizations are culpable in Neal's death and the deaths of so many Iraqis.

Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?

Reason notes US Secretary of State John Kerry has declared he's looking into "extremely serious" charges "that IS [Islamic State] attacked Iraqi police officers with chlorine gas last month."  Mohammed Shafiq (Alsumaria) adds that Kerry stressed the allegations had not been confirmed.

The issue was also raised in Friday's US State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Jen Psaki.

QUESTION: I know that the --

MS. PSAKI: Go ahead, Roz.

QUESTION: -- Secretary was asked about the reported chlorine attack against Iraqi forces in the past month. Is there any thinking in this building or in consultation with the Pentagon about how this affects the way that the coalition tries to deal with ISIL fighters? Does this change the strategy? Does this change the training of Iraqi forces to deal with any sort of NBC attack – nuclear, biological, chemical?

MS. PSAKI: That’s a good question, Roz. I think the most appropriate place to pose it is probably to the Pentagon. Not that I have been briefed on. As you – the Secretary noted this morning, we’re certainly aware of the alleged attacks. We take them very seriously, as we do any allegations. We can’t confirm the details. We’re seeking additional information. Obviously, the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon is an abhorrent act. In terms of what it would in term – of training, I would point you to my colleagues at the Pentagon.

Qassim Abdul-zahra (AP) writes, "The use of chlorine gas as a weapon adds a new concern to the turmoil in the country."

For reals?

The US government is responsible for birth defects in Iraq resulting from the illegal use of White Phosphorus, depleted uranium and other substances.  At Global Research this month, Dahr Jamail noted:

Contamination from depleted uranium (DU) munitions is causing sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq, according to numerous Iraqi doctors.
Iraqi doctors and prominent scientists believe that DU contamination is also connected to the emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs and liver, as well as total immune system collapse. DU contamination may also be connected to the steep rise in leukaemia, renal and anaemia cases, especially among children, being reported throughout many Iraqi governorates.
There has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah during 2004, and Basra during the 1991 US war on Iraq.

It is estimated that the United States used 350 tons of DU munitions in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation.

Earlier this month, Amabedl Karoub (Michigan Daily) reported on a public presentation on this issue:

Muhsin Al-Sabbak, a physician at Iraq’s Basra Maternity Hospital, and Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist who resides in Ann Arbor, presented a one-hour lecture centered on their research, which links the increase in congenital birth defects in Iraq over the last two decades to the use of U.S. and coalitions force weapons there.
Al-Sabbak referenced his study that found a 17-fold increase in children with birth defects between the years 1995 and 2003, a jump from 1.37 birth defects per 1,000 children to 23 per 1,000. By 2008, the number had increased to 48 per 1000, and in 2014 it was 37 per 1000.

Savabieasfahani attributed the spike to an increase in pollutants caused by U.S. weapons and the presence of military bases.

Thomas Gaist (WSWS) spoke with Muhsin al-Sabbak:

“Birth anomaly rates will likely continue to rise,” Al Sabbak told the WSWS.
“Another assault is coming to Iraq, by both ISIS and those who created ISIS. More fighting will increase toxicity levels in the population,” he added. The well-documented support of the US and its allies for armed Islamist militias like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the war for regime change in Syria has been followed by the use of ISIS’s spread across Iraq as the justification for another imperialist war in the region.
“I am not even political,” Al Sabbak added. “I just want to reverse the spread of this catastrophe. I am tired of hearing mothers ask whether they should even try to have another child, and not knowing the answer myself.”

Dr. Al Sabbak is visiting the US as part of an effort to bring to the attention of both the US scientific community as well as the broader public the horrific impact of decades of US war in terms of the surge of genetic anomalies and disease in Basra. He cited data showing that the Iraqi city experienced a 17-fold increase in child birth defects between 1995 and 2003.

Though the US government yet again mounts the high horse, there's no higher ground for them to scramble to.  If the Islamic State used chemical weapons -- if -- they've yet to use them on the scale that the US government has.

But the Iraqi government, the new Iraqi government, surely they have some ethical ground to stand on.

: احد الجرحى الذين اصيبوا جراء القصف العشوائي المتعمد من قبل الجيش الحكومي على منازل المدنيين في الفلوجة. 

Is the new government's ethical ground embedded in the wounds of that child?

It was Iraqi forces that left that child wounded this week.

The child's crime?

Living in Falluja.

The Iraqi forces began bombing residential neighborhoods in January of this year.  This is "collective punishment" and it's a legally defined War Crime, recognized as such by the international community and, yes, by the United States government.

When Nouri al-Maliki began it, the US turned a blind eye and unofficially took the position of being-a-bystander-means-we-can-stay-silent.  They weren't a bystander, the US government was supplying Nouri with weapons -- weapons he used on the Iraqi people.

But now Haider al-Abadi is prime minister and now the US government has sent the US military into Iraq to aid and assist the Iraqi military.  That makes the White House complicit in War Crimes.

And the continuation of Iraqi forces targeting -- killing and wounding -- Iraqi civilians for the 'crime' of living in Falluja gives the Iraqi government little higher ground to take to and finger point from.

September 13th, Haider declared these attacks were over.

They didn't stop.

Nouri al-Maliki brought in Shi'ite militias and these militias, still loyal to Nouri, refuse to follow Haider's orders.

That's a reality the western press has attempted to ignore.

On the new prime minister, Gulf News argues:

Haider Al Abadi has not started well in his tenure as the new Prime Minister of Iraq. It has been just over six weeks since he was appointed and his cabinet is an unfortunate gathering of the same old faces. There is no sense of any new inclusive spirit, which was hoped would replace Nouri Al Malilki’s legacy of a country torn apart by sectarian violence with Sunnis facing discrimination, arbitrary arrests and violent crackdowns by government forces supported by Shiite militias.

US President Barack Obama was grasping at straws when he gave Iraq’s new leader a ringing endorsement after they first met in September and he described Al Abadi as “the right person” to lead Iraq as it was under attack by the militants of Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). Obama was speaking of his hopes and not the reality when he went so far as to say that Al Abadi had “reached out systematically to all the people of Iraq”. 

The time was always limited, the brief chance for Haider al-Abadi to demonstrate that he was different from Nouri al-Maliki.  Instead of expending efforts to help him do that, Barack has focused all efforts on attacks that do nothing to stem the reasons for the popularity (or at least acceptability) of the Islamic State.  The only thing that stops the Islamic State, is pulling the reasons for their existence.  They represent one of the few responses to the targeting of Sunnis in Iraq (as well as Syria but our focus is Iraq).

For four long years, Nouri was allowed to target the Sunnis.  He was allowed to kill Sunni politicians and get away with it, he was allowed to attack their homes, to have their homes surrounded by tanks.  And this was what he did to the elected Sunni leaders.  What he did to the average Sunni was far worse.

And this is what created an environment in which the Islamic State could publicly walk into knowing that many Iraqis would either welcome them or stay silent because there was no other defense for the Sunnis in Iraq.

Nouri's forces illegally arrested them.  That's illegal due to a lack of arrest warrant but it also goes to if Nouri wanted Sunni X arrested and his forces showed up at Sunni X's home and Sunni X was not present, Nouri's thugs grabbed the wife, or mother, or father, or child, or grandparent, or sibling.

And these grabbed persons were then tossed in jails and prisons.

Despite no arrest warrant and despite being charged with nothing, they rotted in jails and prisons.

This is what Nouri got away with.  This is what whores like Jane Arraf stayed silent about.  This is what the White House was willing to go along with.

For four years.

The Islamic State did not spring up overnight.

And Barack can bomb forever and a day and that will not change a damn thing in Iraq, not for the better.

You want to end the Islamic State?  Pull the reasons which support their very existence.

There was a chance to do that with a new prime minister, if the prime minister acted quickly and made a few grand gestures.

Instead, Haider's done damn little.

Again, the most important thing he could do write now is publicly appeal the (illegal) conviction of former Iraq Vice President (from 2006 to this year) Tareq al-Hashemi.  He could note that no trial should have taken place because, as a member of Parliament, al-Hashemi had immunity.  (To be tried, the Iraqi Constitution requires Parliament strip him of his immunity first.)  He could note that before the trial started, the Baghdad judges held a press conference announcing Tareq's guilt.  He could point out that one of Tareq's bodyguards was tortured to death by Nouri's forces (and, up to his death, refused to lie and claim Tareq was guilty).  He has a whole host of reasons to call for the conviction to be overturned or ignored, he can also issue a pardon to put the matter rest.

That would be a grand gesture.

And grand gestures were needed over a month ago.

Now, with Haider seen as so ineffectual, grand gestures are required for the Sunni population to believe there's a chance that their new prime minister really does believe in an inclusive government.

The alternative to a political solution?

More of the same nonsense Barack tries to pass off as a plan.

Arab News notes:

US and allied aircraft have flown nearly 6,600 sorties in the air war against the IS group and dropped more than 1,700 bombs, the American military said Thursday.
The flights for “Operation Inherent Resolve” include thousands of mid-air fueling runs, surveillance sorties and 632 air strikes in Iraq and Syria, according to US Central Command.

And it's done nothing, if people are honest.  The bombing has accomplished nothing.  The Journal of Turkish Weekly quotes US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel declaring Thursday, "We believe that our strategy is working. There will be mixed and various outcomes daily. But this is not a daily measurement; this is an overall, strategic, longer term measurement of how well they’re doing."

While Hagel may be confident, others pointedly are not.  Iraq Times notes that the US forces have been carrying out air strikes for over two months now and that doubts are growing about both how effective these efforts and how serious they are as well.  The paper notes this week's drop of weapons to security forces with one of those drops landing in the hands of the Islamic State and the US government's efforts to spin and lie about it.  The paper also notes the lack of end date on the part of the US government and statements that it could last years or decades which do not inspire confidence and suggest a kind of meandering, try-anything approach to the 'effort.'

Why are people joining up or supporting the Islamic State?  Kjell Anderson (Arab News) explores the possibilities while reminding, "It is satisfying, but ultimately misleading, to believe that perpetrators possess certain inborn pathological traits. Rather, their motivations are not so different from our own: The desire for community, respect, and security, and the fear of standing apart from the crowd."  A basic reality on the topic is noted in Alice Fordham's report for Morning Edition (NPR, link is text and audio) from Abu Ghraib:

The Islamic State may be unpopular among many local residents, but so too is the Iraqi Army. The Iraqi military is being supported by the United States, but it's not winning over all the local people.
"They put military garrisons among us, they stormed our house in the night. Who gave them permission?" says a furious Khadouja Sihel, a local resident.
Her daughter is with her, plump and pretty in pink lipstick, carrying a tray of eggs.

Ignoring the soldiers standing a few feet away, Sihel says, "I've got seven daughters, and they harass them in a filthy way. Why are they doing this? Aren't we Iraqis like them?"

Abu Ghraib is not just an area outside of Baghdad, it is also home to an infamous torture prison -- run first by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and then later by the US government.  It's the second manager that's in the news.  Danny Biederman and Noel Brinkerhoff ( report:

  A federal judge has given the Obama administration less than two months to explain in detail why 2,100 photographs depicting torture by U.S. agents and others should be kept hidden from public view.

A deadline of December 12 was set by Judge Alvin Hellerstein in the aftermath of his ruling (pdf), in August, denying the government’s claim that it is legally allowed to bar release of the photos. Those images are reportedly of detainees tortured at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and at other U.S. detention centers during the George W. Bush administration.

In other news, rabid dog Nouri al-Maliki may be out of the prime minister post but he remains in the presidential palace refusing to leave and he continues his efforts to strip Iraqi citizens of their rights.  A rabid dog, if not put down, at least needs to be caged behind bars (for life) or run out of the country.  Sadly, Nouri's been made one of Iraq's three vice presidents instead.  In that post and as a member of Parliament, Thug Nouri is attempting to continue his attacks on protesters.  Al Mada notes he's reintroduced his October 2012 bill insisting that protests in Iraq should be of limited duration.  Such a move would impact continuous protests -- like those against Nouri which kicked off in December 2012 and ran through January 2014.  The bill specifically targets civil disobedience such as sit-ins and hunger strikes.  Al Mada explains that people are also concerned about the wording in the bill such as demonstrations must meet "public morals" and how these loose words go undefined as does the issue of who would determine this and how.

It's interesting that this bill is even being discussed.  It was introduced in October 2012.  It died in the previous Parliament.  Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has not sent the bill to the Parliament.

Yet when thug Nouri was prime minister, he repeatedly stated -- and a whorish western press backed him up -- that only his Cabinet had the authority to write and introduce bills.

He lied, and the whorish press backed him up, that Parliament couldn't write or introduce bills, they could only vote on bills that were introduced to them by the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

It was a lie.

I'm not a liar.

I won't now say, "Nouri can't do this!"

Of course he can.

Any member of Parliament can introduce a bill.

But, unlike Thug Nouri and the whorish western press, I said that when Nouri was prime minister.

Nouri's a thug and a liar and belongs behind bars.  I'm sure the rumors of his sexually transmitted disease are just rumors but they are also understandable on Arabic social media because he is a vile and disgusting man who has harmed and killed thousands, so it's only natural people would wish he would be plagued with a disease.

Meanwhile, when not playing Inspector Clouseau as Chemical Inspector, John Kerry likes to do meet-ups.  Friday, he and US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with the Republic of Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo in DC and, following the meeting, issued a statement which included:

Acknowledging the grave humanitarian situation in Iraq, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to assisting the people of Iraq against the threat of ISIL and Foreign Terrorist Fighters. The United States thanked the ROK for its recent commitment of an additional $4 million in humanitarian assistance to Iraq. Both countries condemned the brutality of ISIL, underscoring that their actions violate the basic norms of humanity and civilization, and expressed their support for the international community fighting against the threat of ISIL. 

Lastly, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration. We'll close with this from Bacon's "CENTRAL AMERICAN CHILDREN WILL CHANGE US - Part 1" (Social Policy):

"When I heard Father Romero was killed I began to weep," Bishop Bobadilla told me.  "I saw that the forces of evil had won. He wanted change, but not through violence.  The bitter truth today, though, is that in Guatemala we are still living the legacy of that violence."

Rodolfo Bobadilla was the bishop in Huehuetenango when I last saw him.  During the civil war he'd been a hero to poor Guatemalans in the indigenous Qanjobal and Mam towns where the worst massacres took place.  He was a friend of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero in San Salvador, when Romero headed the church at the beginning of El Salvador's civil war.  When Romero denounced the death squads and called on soldiers not to obey orders to violate human rights, members of the U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battalion charged into a hospital chapel where he was celebrating mass, and gunned him down.  

  • Thursday, October 23, 2014

    American Horror Story

    Of the horror TV shows, my favorite would be FX's American Horror Story.

    Now in its fourth season, this show has been something to marvel over.

    I would rank the third season as the finest but I did love it from the start and will always be partial to season one.

    Jessica Lange has been a part of the show throughout and she's done amazing work as she's played one character one season and another a different season.

    The witches coven, season three, was my favorite.

    But I would argue Lange's work in season one as the mother who is deadly was rather amazing work all on its own.

    Season three included Kathy Bates and even a Stevie Nicks cameo.

    The fourth season has just gotten underway so I can't really speak to it but I loved the pacing of season three.

    Everything came together perfectly in season three.

    "Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
    Wednesday, October 22, 2014. Chaos and violence continue, Blackwater employees get convicted, Iraqi Christians remain targeted, 'trend stories' continue, Iraqi Christians remain targeted, and more.

    Blackwater is in the news again today and it's due to the infamous September 16, 2007 attack in September 16, 2007.  From the September 17, 2010 snapshot:

    Turning to the issue of violence, Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reported Sunday that  a Baghdad shooting (by private contractors) killed 9 Iraqi civilians and left fifteen more wounded. Later on Sunday, CNN reported, "In the Baghdad gun battle, which was between security forces and unidentified gunmen, eight people were killed and 14 wounded, most of them civilians, an Interior Ministry official said. Details were sketchy, but the official said witnesses told police that the security forces involved appeared to be Westerners driving sport utility vehicles, which are usually used by Western companies. The clash occurred near Nisoor square, in western Baghdad.  CBS and AP report that Abdul-Karim Khalaf, spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, announced "it was pulling the license of an American security firm allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of civilians during an attack on a U.S. State Department motorcade in Baghdad," that "it would prosecute any foreign contractors found to have used excessive force" in the slaughter (eight dead, 13 wounded) and they "have canceled the license of Blackwater and prevented them from working all over Iraqi territory."  
    Blackwater was a US-based company run by Erik Prince which employed people as mercenaries.  They were sent around the world and within the United States.  But their actions in Iraq garnered the most attention.
    The fallout from the September 2007 assault was so bad that Blackwater began a series of name changes. 
    Today, the four Blackwater employees were convicted in a federal court.  Michael Winter (USA Today) reports, "Nicholas Slatten, who fired the first shots in crowded Nisoor Square, was found guilty of first-degree murder. The three other guards -- Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard -- were found guilty of multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and gun violations."  Eliott C. McLaughlin (CNN) notes, "Among those killed were a doctor, a used car salesman, a truck driver, a businessman, an Iraqi soldier, a gardener, a taxi driver and an aspiring doctor taking his mother to an appointment, according to prosecutors."
    Dow Jones explains, "Mr. Slatten faces a life sentence for the murder charge while the three defendants convicted on manslaughter charges could face at least three decades in prison. The four defendants were largely motionless as the charges were read. Lawyers for Messrs. Heard and Liberty said they plan to appeal." AP adds, "One of the government witnesses in the case, Blackwater guard Jeremy Ridgeway, had pleaded guilty to killing the driver's mother, who died in the passenger seat of the white Kia next to her son."
    The verdict came up in today's State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Marie Harf.

    QUESTION: Can we go back to Iraq --

    MS. HARF: Yeah.

    QUESTION: -- and the last war? Four former workers for Blackwater were --

    MS. HARF: Yes.

    QUESTION: -- convicted today, three of manslaughter, one of murder. What message does this send to those in Iraq, those across the greater Middle East, about the U.S. being able to hold people accountable for their bad behavior overseas?

    MS. HARF: Well, we certainly respect the court’s decision in this case. And as you all probably know, but following the tragedy there, the Department took a number of steps to strengthen oversight of private security contractors, such as moving quickly to improve investigative policies and strengthening procedures for use of force and less-than-lethal force by security contractors. So again, aren’t going to have more comment on the court’s decision other than we respect it.

    QUESTION: But in terms of the U.S.’s reputation, obviously, Nisour Square was a huge hit for the U.S.’s reputation. Is this verdict something that this building can point to when engaging with other countries on – look, if people do something wrong, they can and will be held accountable?

    MS. HARF: Well, I don’t think the verdict per se, but the process and the judicial process we have in this country that we believe gives everyone access to a fair trial; they are innocent until proven guilty. And without speaking to the specific outcome in this trial, I do think that that is a very important tenet of what we do here.

    QUESTION: Has anyone from this building spoken to anyone in the Iraqi Government about the verdict?

    MS. HARF: I don’t know. I’m happy to check.

    QUESTION: In the aftermath of that attack, the Iraqi parliament passed laws that limited the number of foreign PSDs that were allowed in Iraq and limited their weapons access, permits, all of that. Now that this verdict has come back, do you envision a scenario where the State Department could ask the Government of Iraq to loosen some of those restrictions?

    MS. HARF: I can check, but obviously, it’s a very, very different situation today.

    QUESTION: It is, but I mean, there are still all sorts of NGOs, journalists who need PSDs and weapons --

    MS. HARF: Let me check.
     There was enough to convict without using questionable evidence.  Questionable evidence leads to rulings.  On appeal, any charge could be struck down.  Hopefully, the prosecution didn't cut corners or else the justice many feel was handed out today could be at risk of being pulled away.
    It should also be noted that the four weren't rogue.
    They were acting in a manner Blackwater encouraged, in a matter the US government encouraged.  
    This is not to say the four are innocent or that they should have walked.
    This is to note that the guilt didn't stop with the four convicted today.
    Mark Ruffalo Tweeted:
  • It should also be pointed out that the government official being 'protected' in the attack remains a mystery.  
    His or her name or names should have been revealed long ago.
    And trend stories should have died long ago.  
    The media loves them -- loves them enough to create them.  
    Susan Faludi documents this very well in the journalistic classic Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women.  
    One of the most famous examples in the book is Faludi taking on Newseek's 'trend story' about how women of a certain age were more likely to be killed by a terrorist than to get married. The 'support' for that story? It was a comment a reporter made and that was enough to kick off a trend story -- a lie spread around the world.
    Faludi notes:

    The trend story, which may go down as late-20th-century journalism's prime contribution to the craft, professes to offer "news" of changing mores, yet prescribes more than it observes.  Claiming to mirror public sentiment, its reflections of the human landscapes are strangely depopulated.  Pretending to take the public's pulse, it monitors only its own heartbeat -- and its advertisers'. 
    Trend journalism attains authority not through actual reporting but through the power of repetition.  Said enough times, anything can be made to seem true.  A trend declared in one publication sets off a chain reaction, as the rest of the media scramble to get the story, too.  The lightning speed at which these messages spread has less to do with the accuracy of the trend than with journalists' propensity to repeat one another.  And repetition became especially hard to avoid in the '80s, as the "independent" press feel into a very few corporate hands.
    Husna Haq is the latest unable to resist the bait of 'ISIS recruits!'  To Haq's credit, there is no nonsense of trying to turn this into a 'young girls are joining IS!' nonsense we've already seen.
    But this paragraph in the Christian Science Monitor article gets at all that is wrong with these 'trend stories:'

    According to CIA estimates, about 2,000 Westerners have traveled to Iraq and Syria (many via Turkey) to join ISIS. Of these, more than 100 have come from the US, at least 500 from the UK, and more than 700 from France, according to estimates from authorities in those countries.
    Oh my goodness!
    100 Americans!
    That's like a tenth of the country!
    Because we only have 1,000 people in the whole country, right?
    No, there are 316.1 million people in the United States.  
    So that's 316,100,000 people and of that huge number 100 have joined the Islamic State.
    Are you getting how useless these stories have been?
    There is no trend story here.
    And with the numbers so small you really could profile everyone in a report.
    But it might not carry the alarm and create the frenzy trend stories live to do.
    Even worse, she and her dopey guests pretended that the Islamic State thickens its media as a result of a social media.
    They may get a message out via media but what has thickened their membership is attacks on the Sunni population -- in Iraq, where they are the minority, and in Syria, where they are the majority.
    Stop the persecution of the Sunnis and you end the need for anyone to get behind a group that argues it can protect the Sunni population.
    It's an obvious point so many miss.  Take the State Dept's Brett McGurk.
    That's not addressing anything.  Human Rights Watch's Kenneth Roth points out:
  • More US military advisers won't help defeat ISIS until Baghdad reins in Shia militia still killing Sunnis.
  • Meanwhile, religious minorities remain under attack in Iraq.
    Crowdfunding campaign aims to raise $1 million for Iraqi Christians
    24 retweets 17 favorites
    The crowdfunding campaign will run from Oct. 14-Nov. 24, and can be found on Indiegogo, which is one of the largest crowdfunding platforms in the world. Almost $5,000 of the $1 million goal has been raised so far.

    “We invite all of our brothers and sisters in Christ to join us and contribute, from as little as $10, to the crowdfunding campaign that we have initiated,” stated Eduardo Paz, co-founder of La Filotea Productions.
    How bad are things?  Ghassan Rifi (Al-Monitor) speaks with Ghattas Hazim, the Greek Orthodox Bishop for Bahgdad:

    Hazim revealed shocking figures to As-Safir about the Orthodox presence in Iraq. He said only 30 families out of 600 remain in Baghdad; the rest were displaced following the invasion of Kuwait, and there are fewer than 10 families left in Mosul.
    In Iraq’s Basra, all the Orthodox families have been displaced after members of the families were killed or threatened. Indeed, over 90% of the Orthodox Christians in Iraq have been displaced due to the security chaos which has prevailed over the country for the past generation. Hazim hopes that Erbil, in the Kurdish region of Iraq, would be a haven for Christians since it looked like a promising region due to the size of the economic and trade investment, and since it “welcomes our sons who move there from all over Iraq, Syria and Lebanon,” Hazim said.
    “The Orthodox confession is recognized in the Iraqi law and constitution,” Hazim said. “Our situation there is similar to our situation in Lebanon and Syria. We have two churches, a school, which is considered one of the most prominent schools in Baghdad, in addition to a retirement home and an orphanage, a center for sports, cultural and educational activities.”
    Iraq's Christians are targeted from all over -- including from within their own ranks.  Roxana Popescu (San Diego Union Tribune) reports:

    San Diego Chaldeans are pushing back against the suspension of a local priest by Chaldean patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako in Baghdad. The priest, Noel Gorgis, was reprimanded for not returning to Iraq as commanded by the patriarch, months after the majority of Iraq’s Christians fled because of the brutal religious persecution they faced by terror group Islamic State.
    The patriarch reminded the priests and monks in his decree of their vow of “obedience to the superiors” without reservations.
    And it's not just one priest.  Megan Burks (KPBS) reports:

    Just 14 priests serve the tens of thousands of Chaldean Catholics who have emigrated from Iraq to the Western United States. A church leader in Iraq has suspended seven of those priests, including the Rev. Noel Gorgis in El Cajon.
    Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, the head of the church, wants the Iraqi-American priests who fled violence in Iraq to return home or leave the church.
    San Diego County Chaldeans oppose that and say they will appeal to the Vatican to stop it..
    Finally, the Ashraf community in Iraq remains targeted.  The Iranian dissidents take their name from Camp Ashraf which was their home for many years.  They were forced to resettle at Camp Liberty.  Today, US Senator John McCain's office issued the following:

    Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry to raise concerns about the residents of Camp Liberty, whose lives are increasingly at risk as the security situation in Iraq, particularly in Baghdad, continues to deteriorate.

    “I am writing you to follow-up on the response I received in August to my previous letter concerning the ongoing refugee resettlement process and to discuss my continuing concerns about the residents of Camp Liberty,” writes Senator John McCain. “As you are aware, due to the increasingly dangerous threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the resettlement process has stalled, and many fear that the people at Camp Liberty could be at grave risk if the security situation in Iraq, and especially in Baghdad, continues to deteriorate. For this reason, the Administration must move more quickly to find safe, permanent, and secure locations for Camp Liberty residents outside Iraq. I was encouraged to hear about Albania’s willingness to temporarily host some Camp Liberty residents for purposes of identifying individuals for relocation to the United States. But, I fear that this effort is insufficient to adequately safeguard the security of the remaining residents of Camp Liberty. … Again, I urge you to continue to push for the protection of the residents of Camp Liberty and to expedite the refugee resettlement process. We made a commitment to protect these Iranian dissidents and, as we move forward, I look forward to working with you to fulfill this commitment.”

    The signed letter is here and the text of the letter is below.

    October 22, 2014
    The Honorable John Kerry
    Secretary of State
    United States Department of State
    2201 C Street N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20520
    Dear Secretary Kerry,
    I am writing you to follow-up on the response I received in August to my previous letter concerning the ongoing refugee resettlement process and to discuss my continuing concerns about the residents of Camp Liberty.
    As you are aware, due to the increasingly dangerous threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the resettlement process has stalled, and many fear that the people at Camp Liberty could be at grave risk if the security situation in Iraq, and especially in Baghdad, continues to deteriorate. For this reason, the Administration must move more quickly to find safe, permanent, and secure locations for Camp Liberty residents outside Iraq. I was encouraged to hear about Albania’s willingness to temporarily host some Camp Liberty residents for purposes of identifying individuals for relocation to the United States.  But, I fear that this effort is insufficient to adequately safeguard the security of the remaining residents of Camp Liberty.
    Given deteriorating conditions in Iraq, I believe our current efforts should focus on the 2,700 residents whose lives are at stake in Camp Liberty. Some recent events call into question the Iraqi government’s commitment to uphold its agreements to ensure the safety and well-being of these residents. In August 2014, the National Council of the Resistance of Iran accused the Iraqi government of blocking deliveries of food, fuel, and water to the Camp and making it difficult for residents to seek medical assistance.  And according to statement made by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Iraqi Minister of Justice stated that if Iran asked for the extradition of the residents of Camp Liberty, Iraq would deliver them.  As you know, transfer to Iran could amount to a death sentence for these committed opponents of the tyrannical regime in Tehran, which has repeatedly attacked and murdered them inside of Iraq, as recently as last year. This is especially troubling in light of the appointment of Interior Minister Mohamed al-Ghabban, who has ties with Shiite militia groups that are openly hostile to residents of Camp Liberty and loyal to Iran.
    Clearly, actions need to be taken to ensure the continued safety of the residents of Camp Liberty. With this in mind, I appreciate your responding promptly to the following questions:
    1.         The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and U.S. Embassy Baghdad staff have resumed their visits to Camp Liberty. Since they have resumed their visits, has there been any concern about the living conditions at Camp Liberty?  Please explain your answer.
    2.         Has the Administration investigated allegations that the Iraqi government has placed harmful restrictions on Camp Liberty and is denying its residents food, water, and medical aid?  If so, please explain the Administration’s findings.  If not, why not?
    3.         If the violence in Iraq continues to escalate, what further actions will be taken to ensure the safety of the residents?
    4.         What actions are being taken to ensure that the residents will continue to have access to food, water, and the basic necessities?
    5.         What is the current status of the refugee resettlement process for the residents of Camp Liberty and when will it be completed?
    6.         Does the Administration require renunciation of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) as a pre-condition before an individual may be considered for resettlement in the United States?
    7.         What is the status of U.S. efforts to settle some of the Camp Liberty residents in the United States?
    Again, I urge you to continue to push for the protection of the residents of Camp Liberty and to expedite the refugee resettlement process. We made a commitment to protect these Iranian dissidents and, as we move forward, I look forward to working with you to fulfill this commitment.
    John McCain
    United States Senator


    the newshour
    margaret warner


    Wednesday, October 22, 2014


    This really isn't a post on decorating.

    I wouldn't begin to tell you how to decorate your place.

    But Gillian e-mailed and wanted to know if I had anything special in my home?

    Since college, yes.

    The Beatles Abby Road is my favorite Beatles album and probably my favorite album period.

    I had a poster of the album cover in college.

    Every home since, I've had it.

    In one move, it got lost.  So I replaced it.

    In another move, it broke (the frame) and tore (the poster).

    So I replaced it.

    Currently, it's in our bedroom and the first thing I see when I wake up.

    Which is fine because it gives me a sense of stability and has throughout my many moves over the years.

    I wish I were a wonderful decorator.

    I'm not.

    Many times, I've hired someone to come in and decorate my home.

    A few have tried to remove the poster.

    Which is when I say bye-bye.

    But I've had some really good ones over the years.

    I can arrange flowers in a vase beautifully but in terms of having any decorating talent?  Honestly, I have none.

    "Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
    Tuesday, October 21, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the US 'precision' drops from the air results in the Islamic State getting a cache of weapons, the Yazidis may be facing genocide (didn't Susan Rice claim they were a success story?), new scare tactics regarding the US mid-terms should be rejected, doomsday scenarios actually contain some possible seeds of change, and much more.

    Jordain Carney (National Journal) explains, "The U.S. military is trying to determine if an air-dropped bundle of weapons intended for Kurdish fighters in Syria is now in the hands of ISIS militants.A video posted Tuesday to a YouTube account affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria appears to show militants with the weapons bundle, which included grenades and mortars."  Diaa Hadid (AP) adds, "The cache of weapons included hand grenades, ammunition and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, according to a video uploaded by a media group loyal to the Islamic State group."

    At today's Defense Dept press briefing, Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby was asked about the video.

    Q: On Kobani, as well, there was a video that was released earlier today on YouTube that showed -- seemed to show some ISIS fighters and they -- with one of these bundles. Have you been able to in any way verify, has the U.S. military verified that? Was that the one that went astray and then was later blown up? Do you have any details?

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: The short answer is, Courtney, we don't know. The analysts in Tampa and here in the Pentagon are examining that video right now, as a matter of fact, and we're still -- we're still taking a look at it and assessing the validity of it. So I honestly don't know if that was one of the ones dropped and whether it is, in fact, or the contents of it are, in fact, in the hands of ISIL. We just -- we don't know. We're still looking at it.

    Q: Can you even say whether -- like, it shows some mortars, some grenades, like some RPG parts. Were those the kinds of things that were even dropped?

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: They are -- they are certainly of the -- of the kinds of material that was dropped, was small-arms ammunition and weaponry. So it's not out of the realm of the possible in that regard. But, again, we're taking a look at this, and, you know, we just don't know. And when we have something definitive that we can provide in terms of an assessment on that, we'll do that.

      I do want to add, though, that we are very confident that the vast majority of the bundles did end up in the right hands. In fact, we're only aware of one bundle that did not. Again, we'll -- if we can confirm that this one is or isn't, we'll certainly do that and let you know.

    The issue was also raised at the State Dept briefing presided over by spokesperson Marie Harf:

    QUESTION: Can we go back to the air drops?

    MS. HARF: Yeah, and then I’ll go to you. Go ahead.

    QUESTION: Yeah. Yesterday the Pentagon said that it had tried to deliver 28 bundles of weapons from the Iraqi Kurds to the fighters in Kobani. Twenty-seven made it; the twenty-eighth went off course. They destroyed it so that it wouldn’t fall into people’s hands.

    MS. HARF: And – yeah, mm-hmm.

    QUESTION: Now there’s YouTube video of ISIL fighters claiming that they, in fact, did recover that wayward bundle, and they have grenades and RPGs and other small weapons. Given that the Pentagon says no, we took that out because we did not want that to happen, how prepared is the U.S. and its allies to deal with the propaganda value of whatever it is ISIL will do to try to change what the coalition says are the facts?

    MS. HARF: Well, a few points: The first is we’ve seen that video, and we can’t confirm that what is in it is actually accurate. There’s obviously a lot of false information, particularly propaganda on the internet, and this may fall into that category. We’re seeking more information at this point, though. So can’t confirm it; seeking more information.

    We know that part of ISIL’s strategy here is to wage a propaganda campaign. And that’s why one of our lines of efforts has been delegitimizing ISIL’s propaganda. And so that is something other countries can do; it’s something religious leaders can do. But that’s why, if you look at our five lines of effort, that’s one of them, which I think is pretty extraordinary.

    One of the things, the most obvious points, no reporter appears able to make?

    An operation that can misdrop weapons?

    They also have a struggle hitting targets.

    An operation that can't even get weapons into the hands of the side they're supporting?  They really can't be trusted to drop bombs on populated areas.

    As the US government tries to spin the wrongly dropped weapons, Al-Shorfa reports the Islamic State has seized more than an air drop and quotes Anbar Provincial Council spokesperson stating, "The terrorist group seized nine trucks loaded with humanitarian and food aid for about 40,000 citizens in Anah, Rawah and al-Qaim, attacking the accompanying relief workers."

    While the radical group appropriates various items in Iraq, Daily Sabah and Anadolu Agency report the Islamic State is awash in cash:

    According to the US based energy consultancy firm IHS's report, annual revenues of the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) militant group from oil production reached up to 800 million USD.
    The report states that the illegal production and sales of crude oil and petroleum products by the terrorist group brings a 2 million USD daily income.
    Around 50-60 thousand barrels of oil is being produced per day in the areas controlled by the ISIS in Iraq and Syria out of a 350 thousand barrel potential cannot be used due to technical capabilities.

    Turning to some of today's reported violence, Iraq Times reports that the Islamic State hit the Green Zone in Baghdad with mortars.

    National Iraqi News Agency reports that Hijaj Village bombing has left 6 people dead and two more injured and 2 east Baghdad car bombings have left 3 people dead and nine more injured.  Iraqi Spring MC updates the Baghdad toll to 9 dead and thirty-two injured while noting reports that a third car bombing has gone off in the same eastern area of Baghdad.

    Yesterday, Karbala saw five car bombings.  Today, Alsumaria reports, Karbala Provincial Council member Mohammed Hamid al-Moussawi has announced he is resigning to protest the weak security situation in the province.  Al Mada reports more is going on than just a resignation.  The paper reports that the council is planning to present a motion that the governor of the province be fired.  And there are charges and counter-charges flying back and forth amid the council.  The strongest charge comes from a group that is berating a number of members from failing to show for council meetings.  Today's attempted council meeting, for example, did not take place because so few attended that the council wasn't able to form a quorum.

    In other news, AP quotes United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic stating the targeting of the Yazidis may be "an attempt to commit genocide."  AFP adds, "In the case of the Yazidis, he said the killings could be qualified as an attempted genocide because there was evidence of an intent to exterminate them if they refuse to convert."

    What?  What?

    Earlier this month, the White House's official liar Susan Rice took to NBC's Meet The Press to specifically cite Mount Sinjar as one of the "very important successes" in Barack Obama's 'plan' to confront the Islamic State.   Yet just yesterday, Alsumaria reported that Yazidi MP Haji Kndorjsmo is calling for the government to rescue 700 families who are still trapped on Mount Sinjar.

    The Yazidis were raised in the Pentagon press briefing.

    Q: Admiral Kirby, staying in Iraq, could you confirm that ISIS have taken three villages, Yazidis' villages in the Mount Sinjar in the last few hours? Also, if you could give us a broad picture in Iraq, how successful were the airstrikes since they have begun in August 8, I think, until now? Can we talk about success? And I have a follow-up question.

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: I don't have any detail on the towns you're talking about. That said, we certainly have been tracking ISIL's interest in and around Mount Sinjar. And you've seen of late -- there's been a couple of airstrikes done in and around there, so we're watching that. I don't have anything today to confirm whether this village or that town has been retaken, but we do know ISIL continues to operate in that area and continues to want to grab ground and territory. They want to ground -- they want to grab ground and territory elsewhere in Iraq, too.
    So I appreciate the question. And I'll try not to get too longwinded here, but it's a good one. If you looked at the press release that CENTCOM put out earlier today, you'll notice that virtually half the airstrikes that were conducted over the last 24 hours were in Iraq. Now, it wasn't a great number. It was -- you know, I think, seven and five or seven and six, something like that, but -- but just about half of them were conducted inside Iraq.
    And if you take a look at the ones that were done in Iraq and look at where they were, you had one near Fallujah, you had -- you had one up by Mosul Dam, you had another near Baiji. And what that tells us -- a couple of things. One, the weather is starting to get better, so we're getting -- we're getting ISR platforms, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms are able to fly a little bit more now. The weather's gotten better. So we get more eyes on, which is permitting more freedom from the air, and so that's some -- one indication you're seeing.
    The other thing that I want to point out about that is that if you look at where we're hitting, that's where ISF is, too, right? The ISF is -- and the -- Kurdish forces specifically are still in control of the Mosul Dam complex. ISIL wants it back. And they still threaten it. They don't have it, but they still threaten it. And the one strike was up there.
    Fallujah, we've talked all about Anbar and Fallujah and Ramadi and all that, so one of the strikes was in Fallujah in direct support of ISF that are on the move inside Fallujah. And then the other one near Baiji, the -- General Austin talked about this last week, Iraqi security forces are advancing to try to help reconnect to Iraqi forces that are in control of the oil refinery there.
    Their advances over the last few days have been slowed by the weather, which is clearing, and so they're moving again, but it also has been slowed by IEDs, almost 30 IEDs that they found and cleared, which has slowed their advance.
    So they are moving. They are taking the fight to the enemy, and those strikes last night are indications that we're trying to support them, too. So the whole narrative out there that we've just turned our back on Anbar is completely false. There have been real challenges in terms of what we can do there largely because of the weather, but also because of some of the defensive mechanisms that ISIL has thrown up in the way.

      So, you know, things are starting to -- things are starting to move. And I think you're going to continue to see that momentum there inside Iraq.

    Yes, all those words that followed his admission of 'I don't know' were an attempt to distract from the plight of the Yazidis.

    On the topic of distractions, did you catch Kathleen Miles (Huffington Post) serving up sop yesterday?  The queen of the pig sty wanted you to know that if the GOP wins control of the Senate in the November mid-term elections, Senator John McCain will call for ground troops in Iraq.

    Oh, good heavens!

    Where are the pearls?

    We must clutch the pearls!

    And fan ourselves!

    Oh the shock . . .

    It's so unsettling.

    And what a surprising plot twist!

    John McCain, who has been calling for ground troops in Iraq will, after November, continue to call for ground troops in Iraq.

    Yes, that's right.

    He's already calling for troops in combat in Iraq.

    (And, yes, ground troops -- US ground troops -- are already in Iraq and US troops flying missions where they drop bombs in Iraq are already taking part in combat missions.  Don't say it too loudly, though, it might lead Kathleen Miles to piss her panties in public.)

    No one's expecting or predicting a huge swing in the Senate.

    It's thought that two seats may be in seriously play and could go to the Republicans giving them control of the Senate.

    47 or 48 Democrats (we'll count Bernie Sanders in that number) can't stand up to the GOP?

    Can't or won't?

    If Miles wants to panic, she should panic over the fact that Democrats in the Senate are most likely poised to sell out the American people yet again on Iraq.

    And, shocker, that's probably true regardless of who controls the Senate after the mid-term elections.

    Shame on anyone who believes the crap Miles is churning out.

    Shame on anyone who believes the Democratic Party when it comes to Iraq.

    It was, after all, the 2006 mid-term elections that proved the Democratic Party is a craven whore who will say anything -- while doing nothing.

    Ahead of the election, Nancy Pelosi (and others) declared that if the voters gave the Democrats control of even one house of Congress, the Democrats would end the Iraq War.

    The voters gave them control of both houses: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    January 2007 saw that Congress sworn in and, November 2007, all US forces left Iraq and the war was declared over and . . .

    What's that?

    Oh, right.

    The Democrats did nothing.

    The war ground on.

    The Democrats did nothing.

    Nancy likes to blame Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

    I was present when she insisted to the San Francisco Chronicle that she did everything she was supposed to do but Harry Reid refused to rally support in the Senate and, in fact, quashed any efforts to end the war.

    I wasn't the only one present.  And audio exists of her remarks.

    But somehow we're the only site that's ever managed to report what Nancy said, to acknowledge her accusations.

    Miles appears to want to use the Iraq War to scare up votes for the Democratic Party.

    I believe America bought that game in 2006.  I don't think anyone's still wanting to play it today.

    The GOP Senate would be a great thing.

    It would allow whores like Medea Benjamin and CodeStink and Robert Parry and all the others to rail against power.

    They don't now.

    They haven't in years.

    They are War Hawks in their own silence and in their own refusal to call out Barack Obama who is the President of the United States but for whom they've made excuses for six years now.

    It was Hillary's fault and then it was this person's fault or that person's fault (or the conspiracy cabal that loony Robert Parry is seeing yet again -- when he plays like the contra story got him drummed out of the real press, he forgets to talk about his wild eyed, nutty conspiracy tales he presented as fact at Sarah McClendon's home over and over and over and over . . . .  I have over twenty letters from Sarah stapled in journal volumes from those years where she documents Parry's 'creative' thinking.).

    A GOP-controlled Senate could let these lazy ass whores pretend they're taking on the power again as they railed against the legislative body (while still failing to hold Barack accountable for his own actions).

    A GOP-controlled Senate could also expose the whorish nature of the Democratic Party.

    The power of "no."

    We wrote about it before Barack came into power.

    As I noted years ago, in the entertainment industry, the "no" is the only power you may ever have.

    If a project doesn't feel right at the start, you say "no."

    Bad things don't tend to get better, they just get worse.

    And, industry truism, it wants what it can't have.  Your "no" not only speaks of power -- the power to walk away no matter how much money is on the table -- it also attracts a fascination (if not respect).

    Now Tom Hayden mocks the power of no.

    Of course, he would.

    Speak to any woman Mr. Grabby Hands has gotten too 'friendly' with and you'll understand just how much he disrespects the power of no.

    But it's not to be disrespected.

    It is true power and it is real power.

    Just as we can affirm, we can also negate.

    And instead of whining that the GOP has been 'obstructive,' real leaders (obviously not Tom Hayden) of the left would be asking the very obvious question: Where were the Democrats when the Iraq War was being started?

    They could have used the power of no.

    Instead, they whined that they were out of power, they didn't control either house of Congress, they didn't this and they didn't that and . . .

    It's all lies.

    They could have buried the war before it started in so many ways.

    Former US Senator Mike Gravel, in 2007 and 2008, repeatedly listed ways the Democrats in Congress, if they wanted to end the war, could.

    They didn't follow his suggestions.

    But then, he wasn't saying anything they didn't already know.

    They knew they had the power but they chose to do nothing.

    So if the GOP takes control of the Senate and John McCain gets his way, the reality is that this will be further proof of how corrupted the Democratic Party has become.  It will be further proof that letting money grubbers like Nancy Pelosi rise to power because she could haul in large amounts of money was a huge mistake.

    A good pimp's 
    Gonna rob you blind
    Money money money
    I feel like a pawn
    In my own world
    I found the system
    And I lost the pearl
    -- "Money," written by Laura Nyro, first appears on her album Smile.

    The Democratic Party deosn't stand for the safety net today.  It doesn't stand for the workers.  It doesn't stand for the environment.  It doesn't stand for peace.

    And if the Republicans win control of the US Senate by one or two members and the Democrats can't stop more US troops from being sent to Iraq?

    It will only reveal just how hollow the party has become.

    It's time for someone to emerge with something more than platitudes (ocean's rising and other garbage should be scoffed at).  The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee should be someone who does in the Democratic Party what Jesus is said to have done in the money changer tent.

    From the Book of Matthew:

    Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there.  He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

    From the Book of John:

    So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.

    It's amazing how, for example, Hillary Clinton will self-present as pious and a follower of the Bible yet she feels no need to emulate the hero of that book even though I believe that was the whole point of the book?

    (I'll be honest, I never read the last chapter.)

    Hillary's not going to change the party.

    She'll continue the corruption of the party.  She won't take it on, she won't try to root it out.

    And each year, there will be less and less reason for the Democratic Party to exist as it moves further and further from the core beliefs that were supposed to be the heart of the party.

    Yesterday's snapshot contained me calling out the idiot Brit 'of the cloth' who'd come over to the US to tell Americans how to vote.

    Some thought I was offended that he (or anyone) would campaign for Republicans.

    I have no problem with people advocating on behalf of the Republican Party -- or the Democratic Party or the Green Party or the Socialist Party or . . .

    I have real problem with foreigners who can't vote in the US election thinking their voices are needed or wanted.

    Take your nose out of everyone else business.

    Surely there's some other problem in the world that you can focus on instead of attempting to tell people how to vote in an election you can't vote in.

    It reminds me of all the whiners around the world focusing on Bully Boy Bush.  The Australian blogger -- you know who I mean if you've been around long enough -- who blogged venom at BBB daily . . . while staying silent on his own prime minister John Howard who sent Australian troops into Iraq.

    It sure is easy to hold the leaders of other countries accountable, isn't it?

    Easy and safe.

    It's far more difficult to hold your own leaders accountable.  But thing is, doing that is at the heart of democracy.

    Then there were the self-impressed members of a US bordering country.

    Remember them throughout the BBB years, especially the contingent that moved there from the US?

    They couldn't stop bragging.

    Even though they had a conservative leader.

    Bully Boy Bush is gone.  But somehow that nation still has a conservative leader -- the same one.

    And they've sent troops to Iraq.

    And I don't hear the boasting from the north these days.  Do you?


    But maybe if, instead of obsessing over the leader of another country, they'd gotten to work in their own country, they might not have a conservative leader (still).

    In "On voting," Mike shared his thoughts last night and I agree with him 100%.

    But I would add that those who can't vote in an election shouldn't be sticking their nose in.

    We could also apply that to Gary Younge -- the closet Socialist who calls Barack out in (some) Socialist publications while fawning over him in The Nation and other rags.  The same Gary who is not an American citizen and really needs to find something to obsess over.

    Tend to your own gardens.