Friday, March 04, 2016

What's going on here?

I saw this Tweet because my friend Sunny e-mailed it to me and asked what was going on in the photo?

  • Elizabeth Taylor with her husband, Eddie, the father of . And Tuesday Weld cheers behind Taylor.

  • I love Tuesday Weld clapping over Elizabeth's shoulder.

    But by the look on Elizabeth's face, she's just been announced as the winner for Best Actress for the film BUTTERFIELD 8.

    Elizabeth would go on to win a second Best Actress Academy Award for WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?

    Other two time Best Actress winners?

    Olivia DeHaviland, Bette Davis, Jane Fonda and Luis Rainer.  (I am sure there are more but those are the ones that come to mind.  Meryl Streep has won more than two as did Katharine Hepburn.)

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Thursday, March 3, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, efforts to prop up Haider al-Abadi continues, Moqtada al-Sadr claims death threats against him, Brett McGurk visits Iraq, a former ally of Hillary Clinton's makes an immunity deal with the FBI, and much more.

    Tuesday, War Hawk Hillary Clinton managed to dupe enough people to win the Democratic Party primary in seven out of eleven states.


    Her e-mail scandal continues to haunt.  And a new development has many people talking -- a former employee has made a deal to testify with the FBI to talk in exchange for immunity.   Judge Andrew P. Napolitano (WASHINGTON TIMES) offers his analysis which includes:

    It is fair to call this a scandal because it consists of the public revelation of the private and probably criminal misdeeds of the nation’s chief diplomat during President Obama’s first term in office. Mrs. Clinton’s job as secretary of state was to keep secrets. Instead, she exposed them to friend and foe. The exposure of state secrets, either intentionally or negligently, constitutes the crime of espionage. For the secretary of state to have committed espionage is, quite simply, scandalous.
    We are not addressing just a handful of emails. To date, the State Department has revealed the presence of more than 2,000 emails on her private server that contained state secrets — and four that were select access privilege, or SAP. The SAP emails require special codes in order to access them. The codes change continually, and very few people in the government have the codes. SAP is a subcategory of “top secret,” and it constitutes the highest level of protected secrecy, for the utmost protection of the government’s gravest secrets. It is unheard of for SAP-level data to reside in a non-secure, vulnerable venue — yet that is where Mrs. Clinton caused four SAPs to reside.
    Mrs. Clinton’s allies in the State Department have perpetrated the myth that the 2,000 emails were recently upgraded to reflect their secret contents. That is untrue. The emails possess secret status by virtue of their contents, not because of any markings on them. Mrs. Clinton had a legal obligation to recognize state secrets when she saw them, no matter their markings or non-markings. On her first day on the job, she swore under oath that she recognized and understood that legal obligation and she promised to comply with it. She did not comply.

    That's Natpolitano's view.  Legal expert and international law professor Francis A. Boyle shared his thoughts on Cranky Clinton on DIALOGOS RADIO (link is text and audio):

    Hillary Clinton is a psychopath and a war criminal, [who said] “we came, we saw, he died,” mimicking Julius Ceasar and laughing hysterically after Colonel Kaddafi, my former client, was sodomized with a knife and beaten to death. She’s a certified psychopath and war criminal.

    On the immunity deal, Adam Goldman (Washington Post) reports:

    The Justice Department has granted immunity to the former State Department staffer who worked on Hillary Clinton’s private email server as part of a criminal investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information, according to a senior law enforcement official. 

    The official said the FBI had secured the cooperation of Bryan Pagliano, who worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before setting up the server in her New York home in 2009.

    Pagliano wasn't always agreeable to talking.  Alexandra Klausner (DAILY MAIL) explains:

    First he said he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights but now the IT specialist, who set up Hillary Clinton's controversial private email server, is ready to cooperate with the FBI.
    In doing so, Bryan Pagliano, 39, has been granted immunity by the Justice Department as it continues its criminal investigation into whether or not the current Democratic Presidential candidate mishandled classified information.
    The immunity deal has many observers commenting.  Chris Cillizza (WASHINGTON POST) offers:

    The kindest possible reading of this news for Clinton is that Pagliano was simply nervous to talk about how -- and why -- he had set up the email server, and granting him immunity lets him speak freely without any concern that he might get into trouble.
    Maybe. But it's my strong impression that the Justice Department doesn't go around granting immunity to people unless the person getting the immunity may be able to shed light on an important part of the investigation. After all, if Pagliano a) knew nothing or b) did nothing wrong, why would he need immunity to talk to the FBI?

    Though many are making similar conclusions, not all observers are.  Matt Zapotosky (WASHINGTON POST) notes:

    That is because the line between what is classified and what is not is “not inherently obvious,” and charging the former secretary of state would require prosecutors to prove that she knew what she was handling crossed that line, said Barry J. Pollack, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer at Miller & Chevalier who defended convicted CIA leaker Jeffrey Sterling

    “If something has not been deemed classified, you’re asking a person to intuit how somebody else would make a subjective decision and hold that person responsible for the fact that they didn’t anticipate that somebody else might view the document as classified,” he said. “It’s almost a Rorschach test. Different people view it differently.”

    Despite the above and so much more, the media chorus is for . . . Senator Bernie Sanders to see his campaign as over.  The independent or 'independent' US media has taking to singing the same song over and over as David Sirota notes;

  • Again, the call is for Sanders to read the writing on the wall.

    In earlier times, in better times, it would be the one accused of not protecting state secrets who the media would be insisting end their campaign.

    Today, the US Defense Dept announced/claimed/insisted:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Attack, fighter, ground-attack, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 21 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Huwayjah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and two ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Habbaniyah, a strike destroyed an ISIL anti-air artillery piece.

    -- Near Kisik, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 27 ISIL rocket rails.

    -- Near Mosul, seven strikes struck four ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL vehicles, 12 ISIL assembly areas, and 25 ISIL bed-down locations, and suppressed an ISIL heavy machine gun position.

    -- Near Ramadi, three strikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL front-end loader, an ISIL bed down location, and an ISIL petroleum, oil and lubricant truck.

    -- Near Samarra, two strikes struck two separate large ISIL tactical units and destroyed 9 ISIL vehicles, three ISIL VBIEDs, an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL supply cache, and three ISIL fuel trucks.

    -- Near Sinjar, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL assembly area, an ISIL mortar position, and suppressed an ISIL mortar fire position.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

    ALSUMARIA reports a Baghdad mortar attack has led to twelve dead and wounded.  The news outlet also notes a home invasion south of Baghdad left 1 man and 2 women dead and that an armed attack in Muqdadiyah left at least one person injured.

    Meanwhile, Barack Obama's Special Envoy Brett McGurk arrived in Iraq Wednesday.

    1. Landed in for 3 days of consultations on destroying , regional issues, and economic reforms.

    Today, he met with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

    PM Al-Abadi reviewed coalition support with Ambassador and US technical assistnace for reform agenda

    Brett hasn't lit up Arabic social media with his visit, however, a large amount of discussion revolves around a rumored trip by Joe Biden in the next week to Iraq.

    Meanwhile, a joint press conference was supposed to take place today.  NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY reports that cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr was supposed to participate in a satellite press conference with the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq Ammar al-Hakim and that journalists were present and waiting when the delay turned into a cancellation with no explanation offered.

    Moqtada has been very busy of late shoring up support for Iraq's faltering prime minister Haider al-Abadi.  (US Vice President Joe Biden also tried to lend Haider a hand with a phone call yesterday.)

    Last Friday, Moqtada sent his followers into Baghdad's Tahrir Square to show support for reform measures that Haider had proposed a week before.

    He has called for his followers to turn out this Friday at the gates of the Green Zone.

    It's not a protest.

    It's a rally.

    If you doubt it, ALL IRAQ NEWS reports Baghdad Operations Control has announced they will be providing security for the rally.

    Of course, they didn't protect real protesters, not from December 2011 through Janaury 2014, when actual protests took place in Baghdad.

    Instead, they harassed the press (to keep them from covering the protests), they harassed and attacked the protesters, followed them home to intimidate them, etc.

    Of course, they may be bringing their own protection or 'protection.'

  • Unprecedented numbers of armed Sadr militants flocking from all of towards the Green Zone now..

  • 100s of heavily armed Sadr Shiite militants gearing up for 'peaceful' protests in Green Zone..

  • The topic of the failed press conference is not known.

    Nor is it know why it was cancelled but ALSUMARIA reports Moqtada has publicly vowed he will reach the protesters in spite of death threats.

    Death threats may or may not have led to the cancellation of the press conference.

    On those reforms that Haider's called for and Moqtada is backing, former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki is saying that they must be real and not for show.  Nouri's political slate, State of Law, has had various members tossing water on the reforms proposals in the last six days.  And Nouri's not fading away.  ALL IRAQ NEWS notes he met today with the Special Envoy for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    While Nouri plots his return, Haider tries desperately to hang on to the post of prime minister and to push through reforms or 'reforms.'   As Sheikh (DAR ADDUSTOUR) notes rumors of efforts on the part of Haider to make backdoor deals with members of the National Alliance (largest Shi'ite political alliance in Iraq) in order to push through his reforms or 'reforms.'

    As noted earlier, US Vice President Joe Biden attempted to lend a hand yesterday:

    The White House
    Office of the Vice President
    For Immediate Release

    Readout of Vice President Biden’s Call with Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi of Iraq

    The Vice President spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi today and offered condolences to the people of Iraq targeted by ISIL’s indiscriminate and cowardly attacks in Baghdad and other cities.  The Vice President reaffirmed the United States' unwavering commitment to Iraq’s unity and stability in the fight against ISIL, including coalition military assistance as requested by the Iraqi government.  The Vice President also pledged continued U.S. support as Iraq seeks to stabilize and strengthen its economy and reiterated the U.S. commitment to work with G-7 and other international partners, as well as international financial institutions, to ensure Iraq has the financial resources it needs to fight ISIL.  The Vice President reassured Prime Minister Abadi of the United States’ steadfast support for Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and its efforts to establish positive relations with regional states based on the principle of non-interference, under the Strategic Framework Agreement.

    Lastly, at FIRST THINGS, a joint-statement has gone up decrying the genocide of Christians in Iraq and in Syria:

    In the name of decency, humanity, and truth, we call on President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and all members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives to recognize and give public expression to the fact that Christians in Iraq and Syria—along with Yazidis, Turkmen, Shabak, and Shi’a Muslims—are victims of a campaign of genocide being waged against them by ISIS. In pleading that this genocide be recognized and called by its name, we join Pope Francis, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, the European Parliament, and many others. We urge our fellow Americans and all men and women of goodwill everywhere to join us in prayer for those of all faiths who are victims, and in determination to act in the humanitarian and political spheres to aid them and put an end to their victimization.
    Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University
    Cornel West, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice, Union Theological Seminary and Class of 1943 University Professor in the Center for African American Studies, Emeritus, Princeton University

    Thursday, March 03, 2016

    Why we need Cynthia to run

    Cynthia McKinney was the 2008 Green Party presidential nominee.

    She is also a former member of Congress.

    She is needed in the 2016 race.

    If you doubt it, this is from her latest:

    The Obama Administration, while pronouncing nostrums of civility and democracy, terms this multi-pronged attack on the right of self-determination of other countries, “Leading From Behind,” a term borrowed from Nelson Mandela. This is a strategy akin to having a war in which the leading belligerent is “in the closet,” out of view. Both the Russians and the Chinese know that Washington has declared war on them. So now, what does this mean for Asians’ engagement with each other and Washington’s engagement in Asia?
    The particular line of contention now revolves around the geostrategically important sea lanes along which move oil from West Asia and North Africa to Japan and goods mostly produced in China yet consumed in every corner of the world. Because the Western media have touted the endangerment of global commerce caused by Chinese interference with these sea lanes, blogger Peter Lee decided to take a closer look. What he found is that even Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly told the Diet (the Japanese Parliament) that “there are alternative routes” for the Strait of Malacca, “unlike Hormuz.”

    He concluded that we who are forced to rely on Western media have been fed a bunch of propaganda and, in reality, the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca are not a critical sea lane for US allies Japan and South Korea and offers the real-time map of maritime activity to prove it. So, with the veneer of legitimacy completely torn away from US justifications for its actions in the region, what exactly are China and the US doing in the South China Sea?

    We need candidates who address real issues, not just mouth buzz words.

    We need Cynthia McKinney.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Tuesday, March 1, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the UN releases their figures for February's deaths and injured in Iraq, Haider al-Abadi faces calls for him to resign as prime minister, Turkey bombs Iraq's religious shrines, War Hawk Hillary Clinton wins seven state primaries, and much more.

    It's not what you thought 
    When you first began it
    You got what you want 
    You can hardly stand it though
    By now you know
    It's not going to stop
    It's not going to stop 
    It's not going to stop
    Till you wise up
    -- "Wise Up," written by Aimee Mann, first appears on the soundtrack to JERRY MAGUIRE

    At Third on Sunday, we asked "Editorial: We elect War Criminals, don't we?"

    Super Tuesday provided the answer thus far:  A resounding yes.

    Hillary Clinton won seven out of eleven states, AP reports.

    That's War Hawk Hillary.  Cranky Clinton.

    The one some of us (including me) could give some leeway in 2008 because of her Iraq War vote, we could argue it wasn't necessarily who she was.  Then she spent four years as Secretary of State advocating for every war she could think of.

    She is a War Hawk.  A War Monger.

    Not only has she made that ever clearer, there's also that Iraq War vote.

    And her ever changing story there.

    A 'mistake' has morphed into she wasn't wrong to have voted for it, she was wrong to have trusted Bully Boy Bush.

    So she was an idiot when she believed Bill Clinton wouldn't repeatedly cheat on her and she remained an idiot who bought any line a man gave her with regards to Bully Boy Bush.

    Let's all grasp that Bully Boy Bush was called a "chimp" and far worse.

    That he was considered one of the stupidest people in the world when he occupied the White House.

    And  Hillary's ever changing defense for voting in favor of the Iraq War is that the moron tricked her.

    How stupid do you have to be in order to be tricked by Bully Boy Bush?

    The public's been tricked by the media.

    Last month activist and Academy Award winning actress Susan Sarandon explained to Ted Johnson, "Susan Sarandon: Media ‘Lack Imagination, Journalistic Ability’ in Covering Presidential Race" (VARIETY), the reaction to her supporting Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination:

    The people who take me to task -- it is the same old thing. "But don’t you want a woman?"
    But most of the people who say that are not aware of her record. It is strange to see somebody who says they are against fracking, and then you tell them, "Well, you know [Hillary Clinton] has been selling fracking," and they have chosen not to recognize that.

    And some don't recognize that because they don't want to and some don't recognize it because of the echo chamber we live in.

    Whores and trash like David Brock (he is both) pounce on any Iraq statement by a Republican but run interference for Hillary.  They pimp and promote outrage about the Iraq War . . . only when they can use the Iraq War to attack Republicans.

    They never cared about Iraq.

    They have no ethics.

    They will sell out anyone and everyone.

    If Brock's Republican gal pals hadn't turned on him, he would have stayed a Republican.

    But the party boy who had no one to dish with came running to the Democratic side when he was feeling lonely.

    As always, the idiot Naomi Wolf figures in.

    David Brock smeared Anita Hill with one lie after another.

    She was the victim of sexual harassment.

    And she came forward when her attacker, Clarence Thomas, was nominated for a position on the Supreme Court.

    David Brock -- a whore even then, trash even then -- attacked her with one lie after another.

    And then he decided he'd move to the left and there was Naomi Wolf, having drinks with him and vouching for him.

    And then others rushed to wade into the cesspool and cozy up to him.


    He never showed he learned a damn thing.

    From the start, he did -- from the faux left -- exactly what he had done on the right wing.

    All he did was infect the political discourse.

    And further degrade a political party which had begun selling out the people several decades ago.

    The David Brocks spread their lies and social diseases far and wide.

    You see it in nonsense like "Hillary has an answer now to her 2002 vote for the war!"

    No, she didn't.

    Saying the 2002 vote is not a plan to deal with the Islamic State?

    Who the hell ever said it was?

    More to the point, Hillary has no plan to deal with the Islamic State.

    She's cribbing from Barack for three idiotic points that no one who is serious about defeating the Islamic State would ever pretend addresses the issue.

    But we lie and we kid.

    And every now and then some American loud mouth (there's a lot of us in this country) will pretend to care about Iraq but then will usually justify Hillary or some other Democrat who has supported the Iraq War.

    You either care or you don't.

    Ben Norton has an article at SALON about how, with hundreds dead from Islamic State bombings in Iraq this week "the media just yawned and moved on."


    How is that any different from any day since the 2008 US presidential election?

    And let's stop pretending that we have a segment of the media that's an "independent media."  THE NATION elected to obsess over the firing of Melissa Harris Lacewell Perry and what a travesty that was (as Trina mockingly put it, "Not since CBS axed Joan of Arcadia has there been such a tragedy").  The reality, Melissa attacked NSA whistle-blower Ed Snowden, refused to cover -- in her blather chat -- Iraq.  She was useless, worse than that.  But THE NATION obsessed over her.


    Still not a word on Iraq.


    Not a word.

    So, yes, Ben Norton, some yawned and moved on.

    But you better grasp that many didn't even manage that yawn.

    IN THESE TIMES does have an article by Branko Marcetic:

    Hillary Clinton has spent much of her presidential campaign running away from her responsibility for the United States’ disastrous 2011 intervention in Libya. The February 19 release of more emails from her private server may make it harder for her to do so.
    In an email with the subject “bravo!” sent on March 19, 2011—the day the United States and its allies began bombing Libya—Clinton confidant and former employee Anne-Marie Slaughter appears to praise then-Secretary of State Clinton for convincing a reluctant President Obama to take military action in Libya.

    “I cannot imagine how exhausted you must be after this week, but I have NEVER been prouder of having worked for you,” writes Slaughter, who worked as an advisor to Clinton in the State Department from 2009 to February 3, 2011, and then remained a consultant to the policy planning bureau. “Turning POTUS around on this is a major win for everything we have worked for.” An earlier email release, which I reported on previously, showed that Slaughter had spent February 2011 imploring Clinton to involve the United States militarily in Libya, insisting that it would “change the image of the United States overnight.”

    Again, there is no longer any pretense that her Iraq War vote was an isolated issue or a one time position.

    She is a War Hawk.

    It is her natural, default position.

    And  she has no answer for the crises in Iraq.

    Today, the US Defense Dept announced/bragged/insisted/claimed:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 15 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Fallujah, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL anti-air artillery piece, an ISIL building, an ISIL bunker, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL staging area and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Habbaniyah, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Mosul, two strikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL fighting position and damaged a separate ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Ramadi, three strikes destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle, two ISIL tunnel systems and two ISIL vehicle bombs.

    -- Near Sinjar, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Tal Afar, a strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Tikrit, two strikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle and two ISIL mortar positions.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

    This is Barack Obama's kick the can 'strategy.'  His plan to just keep it all going and let the next president sort it out (or continue the Iraq War as Barack has).

    Hillary has no answers.

    UNAMI issued their (under)count of the dead and wounded for February today:

    Baghdad, 01 March 2016 – A total of 670 Iraqis were killed and another 1,290 were injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in February 2016*, according to casualty figures verified by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

    The number of civilians killed in February was 410 (including 11 federal police, Sahwa civil defence, Personal Security Details, facilities protection police, fire department), and the number of civilians injured was 1,050 (including 34 federal police, Sahwa civil defence, Personal Security Details, facilities protection police, fire department).
    A total of 260 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (including Peshmerga, SWAT and militias fighting alongside the Iraqi Army but excluding Anbar Operations) were killed and 240 were injured.
    Although the overall casualty figures were a drop from the 849 killed and 1,450 injured in January which UNAMI was able to verify, the month of February was marked by the viciousness of some of the attacks, which included suicide bombers against places of worship, a market and a funeral.
    The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Ján Kubiš, lamented the continuing loss of life and the injuries as a result of the violence in Iraq.
    “This conflict continues to exact a heavy toll on the population. Civilians account for about two-thirds of the overall death toll and for most of the injuries in February. This is deeply worrying and disheartening. Civilians should not pay the price in this conflict,” he added.
    The figures showed that Baghdad Governorate was the worst affected, with 1,115 civilian casualties (277 killed, 838 injured), Diyala 40 killed and 43 injured, Ninewa 42 killed and 5 injured, while Kirkuk had 29 killed and 28 injured, Salahadin 11 killed and 6 injured, and Babil 5 killed and 4 injured.
    According to information obtained by UNAMI from the Health Directorate in Anbar, in February 2016 the Governorate suffered a total of 130 civilian casualties (04 killed and 126 injured).
    *CAVEATS: In general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas. Figures for casualties from Anbar Governorate are provided by the Health Directorate. Casualty figures obtained from the Anbar Health Directorate might not fully reflect the real number of casualties in those areas due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground and the disruption of services. In some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. UNAMI has also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

    Hillary has no answers for that either.

    The bombings never end -- including in northern Iraq which faces continuous bombings from Turkish war planes.  Despite objections from the Iraqi government, the US government has elected to support the bombings carried out by the Turkish government.

    ALSUMARIA reports that today those bombings are targeting religious shrines in Dohuk Province.  The shrine of Sheikh Ali al-Islam was one destroyed in today's bombings and it was over a thousand years old.

    Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi long ago called for these bombings to stop.

    And they haven't.

    On the topic of bombings, Sunday and Monday saw the Islamic State carry out massive bombings which resulted in the deaths of well over one hundred people.  Now ALSUMARIA reports Speaker of Parliament Saleem al-Jubouri is calling for a hearing into the failures of the security system.  ALL IRAQ NEWS adds he's calling for the security leaders to testify before the Parliament.

    Haider appears unable to provide security.

    ALL IRAQ NEWS notes Iraq has $30 billion in recognized debt.

    Haider appears unable to manage the economy.

    As this takes place, NINA notes, cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is calling for a Friday protest in front of the gates of the Green Zone.

    Moqtada appears to be attempting to shore up Haider.

    But ALSUMARIA reports MP Hanah al-Fatlawi has called this week for Haider to resign due to the various failures.

    For those who forget, al-Fatlawi reminds on the home page of her website that she was an advisor to Nouri al-Maliki when he was prime minister.

    Yes, thug Nouri wants to return to being prime minister.  (He's kept the official home this entire time, don't forget -- refusing to vacate even though he was replaced in August of 2014.)

    And ALL IRAQ NEWS reports that National Alliance MP Rahim al-Darraji has, yes, called for Haider to resign also.


    Tuesday, March 01, 2016

    Drama Queen Dave Zirin has no idea what news is

    Isaiah's latest THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Revenge"


     Love that cartoon.

    Hate liars and frauds.

    Hated Dave Zirin since he went after my partner online -- my partner who'd actually praised him repeatedly and then criticized him for a stupid and uninformed remark Dave made on TV.

    Then Dave shows up in an e-mail ranting and raving like a psycho.

    That's really all of Dave's writing if you ask me.

    He writes like a third grader, by the way.

    He's also incapable of real thought or analysis.


    He's whining that Melissa Harris Lacewell Perry has been fired yet again (see Ava and C.I.'s "Lie Face Melissa Harris Whatever has been fired (Ava and C.I.)").  Dave writes:

    I suppose “challenging and unpredictable” mean decisions like the one she made for what we now know was her final show: a show based around the treatment of homeless people in San Francisco during Super Bowl week and the impact of Beyoncé’s “Formation” video, instead of ever more election analysis with campaign spinmeisters. MHP was the only show to discuss what the possible ramifications could be for Beyoncé if she performed the incendiary song later that day at Super Bowl halftime. It, of course, has caused a firestorm that has yet to die down. Melissa saw it coming. That, in a nutshell, was what made the show so distinctive. 

    I'm sorry, Dave, but Beyonce isn't news "news."

    She's entertainment news and she's gossip.

    Melissa doing what she did above?

    That's not reporting.

    The Superbowl hadn't taken place.

    Is Melissa Sybil the Soothsayer from the film NETWORK?

    Sounds like it.

    But remember, predictions aren't news.

    Also remember that no one was surprised Beyonce performing that song would upset some people.

    No one.

    Nor was that tempest in a tea cup worth reporting when it did take place.

    People are starving and dying all over the world.

    Beyonce's latest attempt to hijack and appropriate was not news.

    Nor was the reaction to it.

    Only an idiot like Dave would think it was.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Monday, February 29, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the US government announces US troops entering into combat in Iraq, the US Secretary of Defense reveals desire to send more US troops into Iraq, US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard endorses Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party presidential race, and much more.

    So much for 'no boots on the ground.'  Barbara Starr (CNN) reports:

    The U.S. Army's elite Delta Force operations to target, capture or kill top ISIS operatives have begun in Iraq, after several weeks of covert preparation, an administration official with direct knowledge of the force's activities told CNN.
    The official said the group has spent the last several weeks preparing, including setting up safe houses, establishing informant networks and coordinating operations with Iraqi and Peshmerga units. It's the same strategy that Special Operations forces have used in previous deployments to combat zones.

    For those who've forgotten (or never knew), US President Barack Obama promised June 19, 2014, "American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq, but we will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region, and American interests as well."

    And they want more on the ground combat operations by US troops.  This was revealed at Secretary of Defense Ash Cater and Gen Joseph Dunford (Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) press briefing today at the Pentagon.

    Q: Mr. Secretary, I actually, have a question for you. Mr. Secretary, you mentioned with regard to the counter-ISIL campaign that momentum as said, is now on our side. One of the big challenges looming ahead of course is Mosul.
    Have there been some movements by the Iraqis to move some troops up closer to Mosul. I'm wondering if what your current thinking is about whether the U.S. role will have to be something closer to the fight when it comes time to take Mosul, in term of, you know, something beyond what they did, or is Ramadi more the model where the U.S. is continued with this current approach?

    SEC. CARTER: Well, I will start and then ask the chairman to pitch in. We do -- out of working with the Iraqi forces to prepare forces for the envelopment and ultimately the seizure of Mosul, absolutely. We expect it to be like Ramadi in the sense that the Iraqi security forces under the control of the government of Iraq, Prime Minister Abadi, will be in the lead, but we will be enabling them.
    And to just get to your specific question, will we do more to enable them as they go north? Yes, we fully expect to do that. And when we have the opportunity, the time, the place and the strategic effect that only then, yes.
    That only the United States can do – we’ve indicated a willingness to do more and I expect that we will have opportunities to do that as we move north.

    GEN. DUNFORD: Just very quickly Bob. I mean, where we are in the process, you know, the Iraqis have developed their plan. And so they have provided that to General McFarland. And now there is a process going on where General McFarland is looking at the Iraqi plan, working with the CENTCOM to make recommendations as to what we can do and the secretary has called it before, capability enhancements, things that accelerate the campaign.
    I, like the secretary, think we would do more in Mosul than Ramadi just because of the order of magnitude of the operation up there in Mosul would indicate to me that we would have more U.S. support in Mosul than we did in Ramadi. And I will certainly defer to make those recommendations to the secretary sometime in the near future.
    But I'd also, just on Mosul, say that the operations against Mosul have already started. In other words, you know, we're isolating Mosul, even as we speak, the same thing with Raqqa. So it is not something that will happen in the deep, deep future.
    People have confused maybe when would Mosul be secure with when will operations start. I would tell you both, both in terms of the cyber capability as the secretary spoke about as well as operations to cut the line of communications and begin to go after some of the targets in and around Mosul, those operations have already started.

    [. . .]

    Q: I would like to see if I could pin you down a little bit on your statement that you are prepared to do more in Mosul.
    Are you talking about more of the same, in other words, greater numbers of advisers? Or are you talking about qualitative change and specifically are you talking about putting advisers closer to the front line and are you talking about using forward air controllers to call in strikes?
    And also, if I could ask you to be more specific on the cyber attacks that you're launching against ISIS.

    SEC. CARTER: Let me -- let me start on the first one and then ask the chairman on both of them. With respect to the first one, I think we're talking about both, we're talking about more of the things that we did in Ramadi, but we are talking about additional things of the kind that we've offered previously but that weren't necessary in the case of Ramadi but might be helpful -- might well be helpful as Iraqi forces move north. And that includes, in addition to directly enabling Iraqi forces, some things like logistics and bridging and there are a whole lot of capabilities. So we fully expect to be doing more and differing in both scale and the kinds of things that we're doing.
    With respect to cyber, I think you're referring to our use of cyber which we have talked about generally. In the counter-ISIL campaign in -- particularly in Syria to interrupt, disrupt ISIL's command and control, to cause them to lose confidence in their networks, to overload their network so that they can't function, and do all of these things that will interrupt their ability to command and control forces there, control the population and the economy.
    So this is something that's new in this war, not something you would've seen back in the Gulf War, but it's an important new capability and it is an important use of our Cyber Command and the reason that Cyber Command was established in the first place.
    Let me ask the chairman --

    GEN. DUNFORD: The -- I mean, the secretary said that we'd have both, you know, an increase in quantity and quality. I would say on the -- on the quantity side, as I mentioned, the operation in Mosul is much bigger than Ramadi, and frankly, the training of the forces that are going to conduct operations in Mosul has already started. So we're already working with then.
    But I think back to the theme of lessons learned like Afghanistan, we look at Ramadi, we've worked with the Iraqis very closely to take a look at the lessons learned, and there's a couple of things we want to do. One is we want to position ourselves to most effectively support combined arms for the -- for the Iraqis as they conduct operations, and the second piece is we want to make sure that we have uninterrupted flow of logistic support.
    So when I -- when I make a recommendation to the secretary, it will really -- that's where the qualitative changes would be made. We take a really hard look at the lessons learned in Ramadi, say how do we best posture U.S. forces to enable what is an Iraqi operation, but how do we best posture up force is to make to combined arms are effectively delivered when and where the Iraqis need them to maintain momentum going into Mosul and then to make sure that they have the logistics support necessary to continue operations without what we would describe as an operational pause.
    So that's where I think that both qualitative and qualitative discussion into play. It isn't fundamentally different than what we are doing in Ramadi, it's doing the things we were doing in Ramadi better, which is train Iraqi forces, provide combined arms and provide logistics support.
    So the broad functions that we'll perform will be much the same. This still is -- and I would -- put an exclamation point at the end of the sentence -- this still is an Iraqi operation, but how we provide enabling support, I think, will be informed by the lessons learned. And I suspect there will be some changes. I certainly have seen some things we can do better.

    The violence never ends in Iraq and, today, the United Nations issued the following:

    Statement Attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the terrorist attacks in Iraq

    New York, 29 February 2016

    The Secretary-General condemns the recent atrocious terrorist attacks in Baghdad and Muqdadiya that killed scores of civilians and injured many more. He expresses his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the Government and people of Iraq, and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.
    The Secretary-General is concerned that these cowardly attacks claimed by ISIL at funerals, markets, and places of worship are aimed at undermining the unity of the people of Iraq. He appeals to them to reject such attempts at fear-mongering.

    The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Iraq to make sure that the perpetrators of these crimes are swiftly brought to justice. He reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to support Iraq in its work to promote national dialogue and reconciliation.

    What is that about?

    From Sunday:

    XINHUA reports:

    Two suicide bombers detonated themselves at the crowded popular Mreidy Market in the predominantly Shiite district of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, killing and wounding dozens of people, according to an IS statement on the Internet, of which the authenticity could not be independently verified.
    Earlier in the day, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua that a booby-trapped motorcycle went off at the marketplace, which was followed by a suicide bomber blowing up his explosive vest at the scene.

    Both attacks in Baghdad.  And one in Moqtada's neighborhood, a Shia stronghold.
    How did that happen?
    BBC News reports the Islamic State has already claimed credit for the bombings. Sinan Salaheddin (AP) counts 59 dead and around one hundred injured.
    ALSUMARIA reports that Moqtada al-Sadr is calling for the Baghdad Brigade to defend the capital.  Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, is blaming the bombings on the security forces.  ALL IRAQ NEWS notes that the National Alliance (largest Shi'ite political body in Iraq) has condemned the bombings.  They also report Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the bombing sites and denounced the attacks.

    And today?

    REUTERS notes, "At least 40 people were killed by a suicide bomber at a funeral in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala while a suicide blast at a security checkpoint in Baghdad's western outskirts killed eight members of the security forces, police said on Monday."  TELESUR notes, "The Islamic State group, which controls large parts of northern and western Iraq, claimed responsibility for the blast, according to a statement posted on the group's Twitter account."  AP observes, "The New York-based Human Rights Watch blamed the reprisal attacks on powerful militias within the Popular Mobilization Forces."
    This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: ". If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article."  AP observes, "The New York-based Human Rights Watch blamed the reprisal attacks on powerful militias within the Popular Mobilization Forces."

    Yesterday, the US Embassy in Baghdad published the following:

    The Embassy of the United States of America is today releasing a fact sheet on the Mosul Dam, offering a detailed overview of the risk of a potential failure and, as a contingency, recommendations for how residents in Iraq should respond in the event of an emergency.

    Mosul Dam faces a serious and unprecedented risk of catastrophic failure with little warning. Recognizing the gravity of this challenge, the Iraqi government under Prime Minister Abadi’s leadership is preparing to take actions to mitigate the potential threat of the dam’s failure, particularly following the Da’esh attack on the facility in August 2014. We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to undertake all necessary measures to rapidly finalize and implement a contract in order to address the structural integrity of Mosul Dam. We would also like to acknowledge the considerable efforts of the Italian government in supporting ongoing efforts to stabilize the dam.

    We have no specific information that indicates when a breach might occur, but out of an abundance of caution, we would like to underscore that prompt evacuation offers the most effective tool to save lives of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis living in the most dangerous part of the flood path in the event of a breach.  Proper preparation could save many lives. Therefore, in partnership with the Iraqi government’s early warning and public information efforts with respect to Mosul Dam, in the fact sheet we are providing recommendations to residents living near the Tigris River, to include:

    • Residents of Mosul, where the consequences would be the most severe, probably could avoid the initial flood wave by moving at least 6 kilometers from the current banks of the Tigris and avoiding all rivers and wadis feeding into the Tigris.
    • Residents of Tikrit probably could reach safety by moving at least 5 kilometers from the riverbank.
    • Samarra residents west of the riverbank probably could move roughly 6.5 kilometers away from the river bank to reach safety. Samarra residents on the east side of the river probably would need to flee farther — potentially around 16.5 kilometers — to avoid being cut off by multiple streams of water when the major irrigation canal floods.
    • Some parts of Baghdad would also be flooded, which could include Baghdad International Airport.

    We are very encouraged that Prime Minister Abadi is already working with the United Nations to develop a detailed emergency notification plan and ensure that adequate infrastructure is in place to alert residents in the event of a breach. Just as buildings have fire alarms, there must be a way to alert people immediately in the event of a breach so they have time to respond. We have been providing some technical assistance to the government that we believe will augment this Iraqi-led effort and contribute to general public emergency preparedness, including for the citizens of Mosul.

    The United States will continue to support Prime Minister Abadi and the Iraqi government in their efforts to address this critical challenge.

    Read the Fact Sheet Here (PDF 54 KB)

    HUFFINGTON POST has yet again printed the ravings of a convicted sexual predator.  We're not linking, we're noting how ashamed Arianna Huffington should be.  The predator -- arrested many times for his actions and only recently released from prison (September 2014) for his attempts to prey on young girls -- slams Hillary Clinton for not meeting him in 2002 and whines he'd never known an elected official who wouldn't shake hands with a constituent.

    I am no fan of Hillary's but, if she knew he was sexual predator (he was already arrested twice by the time she wouldn't shake his hand and had served six months of probation), that might be why she refused to shake his hand.

    There are serious problems with Hillary's support for the Iraq War (which went far beyond her 2002 vote to authorize it) but there's no point in running the loony thoughts of a convicted sexual predator, of a man who has served time for being a sexual predator.

    HUFFINGTON POST's audience should include females under 18 -- this site reaches many females under 18 -- and that means you have a responsibility not to run the 'writings' of a sexual predator.  But if you think these writings are so important that you have to run them, the very least you can do is note at the top of the column: "Scott Ritter was arrested many times for being a sexual predator and served a prison term."  Failure to do so is promoting Ritter as a trusted voice.  Failure to do so is being complicit in any sexual predator crime the habitual offender commits.

    On the topic of the repulsive War Hawk Hillary Clinton, John Chuman (INTIFADA-PALESTINE) publishes what he says is a letter from Hillary to Israeli Haim Saban:

    “Quite frankly, Israel didn’t teach Hamas a harsh enough lesson last year. True to form, Obama was too hard on our democratic ally, and too soft on our Islamofascist foe.
     “As president, I will give the Jewish state all the necessary military, diplomatic, economic and moral support it needs to truly vanquish Hamas – and if that means killing 200,000 Gazans, then so be it.
     “We realist Democrats understand that collateral damage is an unavoidable by-product of the War on Terror, and me being a mother, grandmother and tireless children’s rights advocate does not mean that I will flinch even one iota in allowing Israel to obliterate every last school-cum-rocket launching pad in Gaza. Those who allow their children to be used as human shields for terrorists deserve to see them buried under one-ton bombs.”

    In other election news, US House Rep and Iraq War veteran Tulsi Gabbard has endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders to be the Democratic Party's presidential candidate:

    Gabbard appeared on NBC's MEET THE PRESS on Sunday and discussed her endorsement with host Chuck Todd.

    Welcome back, we've spent much of the show talking about how divided the GOP has become, but there are also some fractures within the Democratic race and my next guest, Tulsi Gabbard, Congresswoman from Hawaii, Democratic National Committee Vice Chair, has been at odds with her boss, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for months over the Democratic presidential debate schedule.
    Congresswoman you're here because you have an announcement to make regarding your position at the DNC. Tell us.

    Well first of all, I am resigning from the DNC so that I can support Bernie Sanders for president, and I'd like to tell you why. As a veteran and as a soldier I've seen firsthand the true cost of war. I served in a medical unit during my first deployment where every single day I saw firsthand the very high human cost of that war. I see it in my friends who now a decade after we've come home are still struggling to get out of a black hole.
    I think it's most important for us as we look at our choices as to who our next commander-in-chief will be is to recognize the necessity to have a commander-in-chief who has foresight, who exercises good judgment, who looks beyond the consequences. Who looks at the consequences of the actions they are willing to take before they take those actions so that we don't continue to find ourselves in these failures that have resulted in chaos in the Middle East and so much loss of life.

    CHUCK TODD:But you know it was just a month ago, and this is what sort of got us curious. A month ago, you said you think the next commander-in-chief needs to have a "military mindset." You said this during an interview on Fox News. Does Senator Sanders have a military mindset?

    From what I've seen and from talking with him and from his record he does. And what that military mindset means is you go through an analysis process as you're looking at potential courses of action that you're gonna take and how and when we use our military power, and just as importantly when we don't use that military power.

    That military mindset says you have foresight. You look at what are the results? What are the consequences of these actions? How will other actors in the area react to those actions? What will we then do? And you look and continue down the line so you know exactly what you're potentially getting yourself into before you make that decision that ends up costing us lives and treasure.