Friday, April 19, 2019

In a desperate big to save her failing campaign . . .

Elizabeth Warren spent this evening declaring that Donald Trump must be impeached.

Faltering in the single digits, her presidential campaign never took off but she's now apparently decided this is what will set the world on fire.


Apparently, 19 months ahead of a presidential election is the perfect time to start impeachment hearings.  This would be a three to six month process and that will leave us 13 months out.

Furthermore, it will energize Donald Trump's supporters.  If it's not successful, an impeachment hearing would increase turnout for Trump.

If it is successful?  Elizabeth Warren has just allowed Mike Pence to run as a sitting president. 

What was she thinking?

She wasn't thinking about anything but herself.  She's been a failure on the campaign trail, nothing she's done has created a spark, she's still carrying all that baggage from lying about being a Native American.  This is it, this is all she has.  It's her desperation move.

She's fine with sinking the republic and dooming us to four more years of Donald Trump because she doesn't care about the republic or the American people.  No, for Elizabeth Warren it's always all about Elizabeth. 

One more thing, she's ensuring that whomever the candidate is, they won't be able to depend upon Barack Obama because, if you missed it, buying into the lies means being like this CNN voice who insists that Barack betrayed the country.

Thanks Elizabeth Warren, you were always a joke but now you're a sick, dumb joke.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, April 19, 2019.  Corporate media covers real events . . . many years after they've passed.

Alex Lantier (WSWS) reports:

The burning of Notre-Dame is a horrifying manifestation of destructive processes capitalism has unleashed in every country. The period since the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and particularly since the 2008 Wall Street crash, has seen relentless austerity combined with feverish rearmament across Europe. Macron presides over multi-trillion-euro European Union bank bailouts, plans to spend €300 billion on the army by 2023, and billions in tax cuts to the rich.
As a result, every truly vital program is under-funded and every corner is cut. The intended result, deemed perfectly natural by the corporate media and the powers-that-be, is the systematic impoverishment of working people, the slashing of social services, and the de-funding of cultural institutions. At times, however, the reckless, selfish and parasitic character of the policies pursued by the financial aristocracy find expression in the destruction of great monuments of human culture.
During the illegal US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, American occupation troops encouraged the looting of the Iraqi National Museum and stood by as it occurred, leading to the loss of 50,000 artifacts dating back 5,000 years and the destruction of the museum’s catalog of its holdings. Then-US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld endorsed the looting, declaring, “Free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes.”
The burning of Notre Dame is not in the final analysis separate from such bloody acts of plunder, including the looting of the old city of Palmyra by NATO’s Islamist proxy militias in the Syrian war. It flows from policies carried out by the same ruling class, with the same essential aims.

Macron, despised by workers in France as the “president of the rich,” subordinates every question to the financial aristocracy’s drive for self-enrichment. His tax cuts for the rich allowed billionaire Bernard Arnault to increase his personal wealth by over €22 billion last year alone.

There's an ideology that puts us all at risk, all around the world.  Barack Obama's friend Emanuel Macron carries out the same destructive plans Barack did.  No one is safe with this ideology and it's the ideology of Neera Tanden and others.  It will be widely discredited ideology in another ten years and the same US publications that give Neera and others a pass today will be explaining how awful she and her kind were.  Some of the same reporters may still be around then and they'll act like they always found Neera appalling.

But they didn't.

It's like the robber-baron class of 19th century.  That they were destructive and liars and cheats?  Not a big surprise.  But while the press could look the other way, it did.  That's what they always do.  The American press is not a people's press and never has been.  That's why the corporate press went along with Harvey Weinstein, for example.  He was hideous.  Each year the Academy Awards got worse because of him as he tried to smear and attack, tried to turn an artistic award into a blood sport, tried to destroy Ron Howard and many others.  And did anyone comment in the press?  No, not against Harvey.  They were happy to repeats his smears and lies as truth, they were happy to do his work.

And it's the same today with the people who are destroying our country, who are destroying our world.  The US press does not exist to expose them, it exists to advance them up until the point when a Harvey finally becomes a liability.  Then?  It's, "Oh, he was always awful."  And, sadly, we don't loudly shout the needed follow up question:  Why did you cover for him all those years.

The American people did not go to war with Iraq, the US government did and it continues this war.  Bully Boy Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump have all overseen this wave of the war that began (this wave) with the 2003 US-led invasion.  Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency publicly promising to end the Iraq War.  But he left office with it still raging.  Donald Trump said he was against forever wars but he's now in the third year of his presidency and I'm not seeing a single war he's ended.  He said he was ending the war in Syria but what happened?  He lost the will to end it?  He's not in charge and is overruled by the people working for him?  The Afghanistan War has not ended.  Despite Congressional efforts (finally) with regard to Yemen, he refused to end that.  And, of course, the Iraq War hasn't ended.

When these never-ending wars do end, that's the time the US corporate press will allow a little bit of honesty in their reporting -- while pretending they offered it all along.

Last week, the founder and publisher of WIKILEAKS, Julian Assange, was arrested in London. Legal scholar Jonathan Turley (USA TODAY) has pointed out:

He disclosed a massive and arguably unconstitutional surveillance program by the United States impacting virtually every citizen. He later published emails that showed that the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Hillary Clinton lied in various statements to the public, including the rigging of the primary for her nomination. No one has argued that any of these emails were false. They were embarrassing. Of course, there is not crime of embarrassing the establishment but that is merely a technicality.

For the US government, the first extreme bit of embarrassment came on Monday April 5, 2010, when WIKILEAKS released  military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two REUTERS journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh.  Not only was the US government responsible for that attack, they were responsible for the lies and the coverup that followed.  When WIKILEAKS published the video, the truth was known.

Oscar Grenfell (WSWS) details some of the truth WIKILEAKS has reported:

In reality, Assange’s record as a journalist is unparalleled in the contemporary period. As world-renowned investigative journalist John Pilger told a Socialist Equality Party rally in June, 2018: “No investigative journalism in my lifetime can equal the importance of what WikiLeaks has done in calling rapacious power to account.”
When a full record of WikiLeaks investigative exposures is published, it will span volumes.
In a 2006 essay, written shortly after the founding of WikiLeaks, Assange, then the publisher’s editor-in-chief, explained some of the conceptions underlying the project.
He wrote: “Authoritarian regimes create forces which oppose them by pushing against a people’s will to truth, love and self-realization. Plans which assist authoritarian rule, once discovered, induce further resistance. Hence such schemes are concealed by successful authoritarian powers until resistance is futile or outweighed by the efficiencies of naked power.”
In August, 2007, WikiLeaks published the secret report of a Kenyan government investigation into official corruption. The document, produced in 2004, revealed that previous US-backed President Daniel Arap Moi and his closest associates had looted the impoverished country’s economy to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Its publication sparked mass anger and impacted on the Kenyan national election held in late 2007.
In November 2007, WikiLeaks published a 2003 copy of “Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta,” outlining official US army policy at its brutal Guantanamo Bay prison, where individuals have been illegally detained after rendition operations. The document indicated that the US was preventing the Red Cross from accessing some of the prisoners, a claim the government had previously denied.
In February 2008, WikiLeaks released records of the Cayman Islands branch of Swiss bank Julius Baer. The material, detailing the accounts of 2,000 corporations and ultra-wealthy individuals, including 40 politicians, resulted in allegations of tax avoidance on a vast scale.
The bank responded by suing WikiLeaks and securing an injunction in the US which took down its main website. The decision was subsequently overturned on appeal by a judge, who cited the freedom of the press provisions in the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Swiss prosecutors charged and jailed Rolf Elmer, a bank manager who was the source of the material.
During 2008, WikiLeaks also published exposures of the extreme right-wing British National Party, and material on the Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
The US response to WikiLeaks’ early publications was swift and brutal.
A secret memo, issued by the Cyber Counter-intelligence Assessments Branch of the US Defence Department on March 8, 2008, detailed a plan to destroy the organisation. It was headlined: “—An Online Reference to Foreign, Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups?” The document called for measures to undermine the “feeling of trust” that is WikiLeaks’ “centre of gravity,” including through threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution.”
In 2009, the number of WikiLeaks publications expanded dramatically.
In January, the organisation published intercepts of the phone conversations of Peruvian businessmen and politicians implicated in a corruption scandal relating to oil contracts the previous year.
In the middle of that year, it released official Iranian reports into a major nuclear accident at the country’s Natanz nuclear facility the previous year. The details of the disaster, which occurred amid stepped-up US and Israeli war threats against Iran, led some to suspect that the accident may have been caused by a malicious computer virus originating from Western intelligence agencies.
Other publications exposed the transfer of vast sums of money from Icelandic banks to their executives and the writing off of major debts on the eve of the country’s 2008 financial crisis; a British Ministry of Defence document outlining measures to prevent leaks; evidence of corporate dumping of toxic material in the Ivory Coast; documents relating to the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the list of websites banned by the Australian government. The latter included news and political sites, exposing the fraudulent character of government claims that the blacklist only targeted child pornography and other illicit content.
In February 2010, the year that WikiLeaks came to the attention of millions of people around the world, the organisation published a US diplomatic cable dubbed Reykjavik 13. It was the first material released, which had been leaked by the courageous US army whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
The document detailed previously hidden information about the diplomatic dispute, known as Icesave, that followed Iceland’s financial crisis.
Landsbanki, one of the country’s three largest banks, went bankrupt in 2008. With the national financial authorities rejecting a bailout, over 340,000 retail deposits from the UK and other European nations lost an estimated €6.7 billion in saving, triggering diplomatic recriminations, and a coordinated attempt to mitigate public anger.

In April, WikiLeaks published the infamous “Collateral Murder” video, showing a July 2007 US army helicopter airstrike in Baghdad. It documented US soldiers firing on unarmed civilians. The brutal attack resulted in up to 18 deaths, including two Reuters journalists. After their initial attack, the US forces shot at a group of people who had come to collect the bodies and tend to the wounded.

That is reporting.  That is journalism that matters, journalism that impacts our lives.

This is an incredible speech by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire at the European Parliament, accepting the GUE-NGL Award for Journalists on Julian Assange's behalf, earlier this week.

Many could speak up for Julian but many don't.  Of those who don't, some (the whores) choose to attack Julian and some are even more cowardly and choose to just look the other way.  Whores aren't cowardly, they're craven.  They'll do anything so that their own ass can profit.  That includes actively participating in the persecution of Julian Assange.

Justin Raimondo (ANTIWAR.COM) observes:

There’s only been one person – so far – who suffered for the sins of the world and either saved us a lot of trouble or else caused us a lot of unnecessary grief. All I know is that a lot of people are hoping for His return – and for a better outcome.
As for myself, I fully expect a repeat of the previous scenario: the message, the betrayal, the persecution, and a torturous death.
They isolated Julian in the days before they hauled him out for the public display of his martyrdom. No crucifix this time. No crown of thorns. Just a penumbra of the deepest silence, which grips the very air: yet still he remains unbowed, his head held high.
The liberals who claim to be sympathetic to his cause seem more concerned about his persecution’s effect on their careers, that is on their ability to publish, than on Assange personally. Seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy, pursued around the globe by governments eager to win Washington’s favor, denounced by leading Clintonite apologist Neera Tandem as a "fascist," and excoriated by conservatives as a "traitor." He is a man alone.

One day these spoiled children of the oligarchy are going to have to face down some real fascists, and it isn’t going to be pretty.

Let's hope that day comes very soon.

The Extinction Rebellion consuming London streets is an inspiration. This is real politics. Imagine the same rebellion in support of Julian Assange. Now is the time to show the thugs who rule and arrest and their tame Vichy journalists that "ye are many, they are few".

Amnesty International has issued the following:

Following the announcement of Julian Assange’s arrest, and request for extradition to the United States, Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Research in Europe, said:
“Amnesty International calls on the UK to refuse to extradite or send in any other manner Julian Assange to the USA where there is a very real risk that he could face human rights violations, including detention conditions that would violate the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment and an unfair trial followed by possible execution, due to his work with Wikileaks.
“We are aware of allegations of rape and other sexual violence against Julian Assange, which should be properly investigated in a way that respects the rights of both the complainants and the accused and be brought to justice if there is sufficient evidence against him. If Sweden decides to pursue an extradition of Mr. Assange from the UK, there must be adequate assurances that he would not be extradited or otherwise sent to the USA.
“It remains unclear what formal process took place to allow the UK authorities to enter the Ecuadorian embassy and detain Julian Assange, who had reportedly had his Ecuadorian citizenship suspended yesterday. We urge the UK authorities to comply with the assurances provided to Ecuador that he would not be sent anywhere he could face the death penalty, torture or other ill-treatment.”

If every journalist did only 1/4 of what Julian's done, the Iraq War would have ended long, long ago.

Instead?  It continues.

And life for Iraqi girls and women continues to get worse.

AFP reports, for example, on how those forcing women into marriage were punished under Saddam Hussein but get away with it today:

 Women and girls often suffer under these patriarchal systems, with many forced to marry against their will, subject to domestic abuse and deprived of an education.
The southern provinces of Misan and Basra, where tribal influence is widespread, have the highest rates of child marriage in Iraq, the UN’s children’s agency UNICEF said in 2018.
In Misan, 35 percent of married women between 20 and 45 said they wed as teenagers, and in Basra the rate is 31.5 percent.

In one tribal custom known as “fasliya,” women are married off as restitution for blood spilt between two tribes.
[. . .]
 A 2017 study of 62 attempted self-immolation cases in Basra found that family problems, including marital issues, were the precipitating factor in 80 percent of the cases.
Authorities in Misan said 198 women had attempted suicide over the past two years, and 14 of them lost their lives.

In all things big and small, the Iraq War has destroyed and is destroying the lives of the Iraqi people.

In Basra, protests have taken place for nearly a year and now many in Basra are demanding independence from the Baghdad-based government.

Basra renews autonomy campaign. As the summer's brutally hot weather approaches, has there been any progress on electricity delivery to Basra & the surrounding region? Will we see mass protests begin w the hot weather? via

The following sites updated:

  • 5 great tracks by Alicia Keys

    One of my favorite songs by Alicia Keys will always be "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart."

    Also a favorite?  "In Common."

    "If I Ain't Got You."

    "Fallin'"?  You always have to include that.

    For the fifth track?  "Blended Family."

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Thursday, April 18, 2019.  As Julian Assange is persecuted, notice the useless who can't defend him.

    Last Thursday, the founder and publisher of WIKILEAKS, Julian Assange, was arrested in London. Legal scholar Jonathan Turley (USA TODAY) has pointed out:

    He disclosed a massive and arguably unconstitutional surveillance program by the United States impacting virtually every citizen. He later published emails that showed that the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Hillary Clinton lied in various statements to the public, including the rigging of the primary for her nomination. No one has argued that any of these emails were false. They were embarrassing. Of course, there is not crime of embarrassing the establishment but that is merely a technicality.

    For the US government, the first extreme bit of embarrassment came on Monday April 5, 2010, when WIKILEAKS released  military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two REUTERS journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh.  Not only was the US government responsible for that attack, they were responsible for the lies and the coverup that followed.  When WIKILEAKS published the video, the truth was known.

    The Iraqi people always knew the truth.  That's why they wanted all foreign forces (including the US) out of their country.  They lived with the violence on a daily basis.  What Julian did was publish something that forced an apathetic world playing on-the-one-hand-and-on-the-other to acknowledge what actually happened in Iraq.

    As US officials make gleeful comments (Senator Joe Manchin: "He is our property"), you'd expect to see more protest and outrage in the US.  What you see instead is trash revealing its true nature.  Margaret Kimberley (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) writes of the great do-nothings who can't speak up for Julian:

    This resistance is little more than a collective hissy fit from dead ender Democrats who insist on following a party that can’t even reliably stay in office.  They have spent the last three years railing against Trump but bite their tongues when he commits an act that reeks of fascist ideology.
    The kindest thing that can be said is that they have been hypnotized by a combination of Democratic Party and corporate media lies. It is very difficult to determine the truth in a culture saturated with all the deformities of an imperial state in panic mode. One has to act as a detective and know which web sites to read or whom to follow on social media in order to learn anything outside of the confines of state propaganda. Ever since election night in November 2016 the public have been subjected to a relentless campaign meant to deflect righteous anger away from the Democrats while furthering imperialist goals at the same time. 

    Julian Assange has become the poster child for the big lie. His leaks of Democratic National Committee emails are blamed for Hillary Clinton’s defeat. But there was no computer hack of the DNC at all. Assange received leaked materials from an insider and used Wikileaks to publish it.
    But that is only a partial explanation. The reality is far worse. Liberals are just as much true believers in imperialism as the right wing they claim to oppose.They are nothing if not consistent. When the Trump administration announced the coup attempt against the Venezuelan government the resistance didn’t resist at all.
    Instead they repeated talking points from the New York Timesand National Public Radio which labeled the elected Venezuelan president a brutal dictator. They didn’t question the United States claim of a right to undo the will of people in another country. Some gave wishy washy criticism of military intervention but none of them questioned an intervention which is fascist by any definition.
    These people will never defend Julian Assange. According to their world view he doesn’t deserve to be defended. He revealed government secrets, which runs counter to their support of the imperialist state, and they think he deprived them of a second Clinton presidency.

    The useless trash includes David Cay Johnston as Betty notes.  And let me be clear on something, the public e-mail was created for this site.  Anyone else can use it, fine, in the community.  But it's mine.  Not David Cay Johston's and he can stay the f**k away from it.  I've read his endless e-mail to Ruth (see Ruth's "F**k off, David Cay Johnston a woman hating piece of crap who thinks he can boss us around") and I'm not in the mood for liars.

    I try to be nice but I have been very clear that I am not a nice person.  When David e-mailed this site -- and, yes, piece of trash, David, you did -- I first wrote a blistering post.  Like the one about a neocon, I didn't publish it.  I'd spent sixteen hours on that post about Richard Perle.  Now that piece and the one responding to David were not published.  They were not trashed.  They were saved to draft.  They can be published at any time.

    I tried to high road it and just change a little bitch's spelling -- we pulled a quote from THE DAILY HOWLER and that quote had David's name wrong -- and even be kind enough not to say, "Can you believe this stupid ass has nothing better to do than police the internet looking for how his name is spelled?  Can you believe anyone could be so vain?  Who has that kind of time!"  I tried to be nice  and move on.

    But I'm not a nice person.  I don't need to hear from you, David.  Didn't need to hear from you to begin with.  Demi Moore is a friend.  Her name is not pronounced "Demmy." But she's not e-mailing everyone about how to pronounce her name.  Your life is so pathetic that if a "j" is left out of your last name, you hound everyone.  Grow the hell up.  No one gives a damn about you.  No one gave a damn about you when you wrote your boring pieces that were semi-fact based.  Certainly, now that you've gone off into conspiracy nonsense and made it your goal to whip up hysteria, no one gives a damn about you.  Martha and Shirley have been asked to delete anything you e-mail and to do it without reading it.  You are not going to hijack this community and you are not ever again going to lecture a woman who never needed a lecture from your fat ass to begin with.  Not in my public e-mail account, not in the community that I created.  Go f**k yourself, David, no one needs to hear from you.

    And let's be clear, ego maniacs like David?  They're more concerned with how their name got spelled than in standing up for Julian Assange.  That tells us everything we ever need to know about that piece of garbage.

    It's the garbage of David and his useless peers that are responsible for the Iraq War.  That's probably why they hate Julian.  Julian didn't lie and sell the Iraq War.  They and their outlets did (David once worked for THE NEW YORK TIMES).  They sold the war with lies to start it, they sold the war with lies to continue it.  Will anyone miss John Burns when he dies?  Nope.  He's just another cheap hustler who sold war.  The war that they sold continues -- as does the suffering of the Iraqi people.  Human Rights Watch notes today:

    (Erbil, April 18, 2019) – Iraqi officers have committed torture at a detention facility in Mosul at least through early 2019, months after Human Rights Watch reported on the abuses and shared information about those responsible, Human Rights Watch said today. The Iraqi government did not respond to two Human Rights Watch letters requesting an update on steps taken to investigate the allegations.
    “If the Iraqi government ignores credible reports of torture, it’s no wonder that the abuses persist,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “What will it take for the authorities to take torture allegations seriously.”
    In August 2018, Human Rights Watch published a report alleging the use of torture in three facilities under the Interior Ministry in and around Mosul. It was based on statements from two former detainees and the father of a man who died during interrogation. One former detainee, who was held at the Faisaliya detention facility for four months, provided Human Rights Watch with the names of four interior ministry officers whom he said he saw torturing detainees.
    Before publishing its report, Human Rights Watch sent detailed allegations including the names of the four officers implicated to the human rights adviser in the Prime Minister’s Advisory Commission. In February, Human Rights Watch wrote to Foreign Minister Mohamed Alhakim and the Interior Ministry Inspector General, Jamal al-Asadi, asking whether the government had investigated the Human Rights Watch allegations. Human Rights Watch received no reply to either letter.
    A former prisoner, whose name and identifying details have been withheld for his security, described what he saw at Faisaliya detention facility in early 2019.

    He said that guards took him to a section behind a metal door cut off from the rest of the cells on the evening he arrived. His description matched that of other former detainees who spoke to Human Rights Watch.
    He said he saw eight detainees standing naked. Four guards were throwing water at them from a bucket, after which they pushed the detainees to the floor one by one, lifted their legs, and placed their feet through two rope loops attached to a wooden stick to keep the feet in place. He said he watched as the guards took turns beating each of the detainees on their feet with plastic piping for about 15 minutes nonstop. He said that after the beatings, six of the detainees confessed to being affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS), with each negotiating the length of their membership they would confess.
    The guards used a form of “waterboarding,” referred to as al-safina (“boat” in Arabic) on the two detainees who had not confessed, he said. Five guards and an officer strapped each detainee in turn, still naked, onto an orange gurney and tipped it backward, so that the detainee’s feet were raised above his head and covered his face with a towel. For about five minutes, they beat each one with plastic piping while pouring water over his mouth.
    He said that the guards then bound the men’s hands behind their backs and suspended them from the ceiling using a hook and pulley, in a position referred to as bazoona (the word for cat in Iraqi dialect) for about one hour. He said the men had all confessed by around 2 a.m. and were taken back to their cell.
    An hour later, he said, when he and the 12 other detainees were in the group cell he shared lying down, three or four guards came in and stamped on them with their boots, while singing a well-known ISIS song.
    He named three of the four Interior Ministry officers overseeing that section of the detention facility, whom Human Rights Watch had identified in its August report. He also gave the name of another officer he said had overseen the torture. He said that all four officers directly participated in the torture.
    Iraqi judges, despite the extensive credible reports of torture in detention, routinely fail to investigate torture allegations. On April 1, 2019, Iraq’s High Judicial Council replied to a Human Rights Watch inquiry into the judiciary’s response to torture allegations, stating that a range of Iraqi courts had investigated 275 complaints against investigative officers by the end of 2018. The High Judicial Council stated that 176 of the cases have been “resolved” while 99 were still being addressed. The council did not indicate how many of the 176 cases were being further investigated or had been dismissed.
    Inspector General Jamal al-Asadi should promptly investigate the allegations at Faisaliya detention facility, including the officers implicated in past Human Rights Watch reporting
    Iraq’s High Judicial Council should issue guidelines on the steps judges are obliged to take when a defendant alleges torture. Judges should investigate all credible allegations of torture and the security forces responsible, and order transfers of detainees to different facilities immediately after they allege torture or ill-treatment, to protect them from retaliation. Parliament should pass the draft Anti-Torture Law, which would require judges to order a medical examination of any detainee alleging torture within 24 hours of learning of the allegation.
    Iraq’s foreign minister should also urge parliament to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, which would allow prison visits by the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention. Pending ratification, the government should commit to setting up a national unit to prevent torture, known as a national prevention mechanism, with the authority to inspect all detention centers in Iraq and to set up an effective complaint systems for authorities and facilities involved in detention and interrogations.
    The heads of the federal intelligence agency, NSS, and the new interior minister, once appointed, should issue statements to their subordinates prohibiting the use of torture and other ill-treatment, and making clear that they will punish those responsible. Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi should publicly condemn the use of torture by all law enforcement, security, and military personnel.

    “Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi’s government should demonstrate to the Iraqi people that it is serious about ending torture in Iraq’s detention facilities,” Fakih said. “Strong actions are needed.”

    Why is Human Rights Watch noting this?  I'm glad that they are.  My point here is where are the news outlets?  I don't mean repeating what HRW has documented, I mean why are they reporting this on their own.  When Ned Parker was at THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, he did serious reports like this.  But he was not the norm.  And when Ned was persecuted by the Iraqi government we saw that the David Cay Johnston's couldn't speak up for him anymore than they could speak up for Julian Assange.

    They can spend forever whining to anyone and everyone that a letter was left out of their name -- because, to them, this is the greatest crime.  They can't spend even a Tweet defending the Iraqi people who have suffered through never-ending wars.

    "Someone forgot a J in my name!" is the ultimate outrage to those useless types.

    Let's start winding down with this -- an event on Saturday:

     South Central Michigan Greens
    Calhoun, Hillsdale, and Jackson Counties Local
    Peace, People, and Planet Over Profit

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  April 10, 2019

    For more information:
    Monika Dittmann Schwab, Local Contact/SCMiGreens

    South Central Michigan Greens to Meet 1-3pm
    Saturday, April 20 at Jackson Coffee Company

    The South Central Michigan Greens local will hold its monthly meeting 
    1-3pm on Saturday, April 20 at the downtown Jackson Coffee Company (201 
    South Mechanic Street in Jackson).

    The meeting is an event on Facebook:

    The local serves Jackson, Calhoun, and Hillsdale Counties.  But anyone 
    who supports the Green Party platform of Peace, Planet, and People Over 
    Profit -- or wants to find out about the #realDeal, the Green Party's 
    decade-old original version of the Green New Deal -- is welcome to attend.

    We will discuss upcoming local activities and opportunities to get 
    involved -- including a pollution remediation proposal being started in 
    Jackson this spring, proposed natural-gas mega-plants in the area, and 
    this year's spring Labor History Walk in Marshall on Saturday, May 4, 
    the weekend after international Labor Day (May 1).

    Co-founder John Anthony La Pietra will report on a celebration of "the 
    other MLK Day" held April 4 at the Marshall District Library.  Local 
    officers and by-laws, and the results of the recent statewide membership 
    meeting March 16 in Muskegon, are also expected to be on the agenda.

    A map of the location is available here:

    For more details and news about the local, please visit its Facebook page:

    #  #  #

    The Four Pillars of GPMI:
        Grassroots Democracy
        Social Justice
        Ecological Wisdom
    For our Ten Key Values, add:
        Community-Based Economics
        Future Focus/Sustainability
        Personal and Global Responsibility
        Respect for Diversity

    The following sites updated:

  • Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    The International Sweethearts of Rhythm


    During World War II, with thousands of men shipping off to war, half a dozen all-female, instrumental big bands toured around America. It was a rarity in a musical world dominated by men and, for the most part, their stories have been erased or minimized in jazz history.
    Jazz Night in America host Christian McBride has spent years tracing the history of some of these bands and notes that during this flourishing time for all-women groups, the 17-piece International Sweethearts of Rhythm had the most formidable level of popularity.

    "They were probably the first all-female band taken seriously," McBride says, explaining that the Sweethearts were boundary breakers in more ways than one. As an integrated ensemble, the Sweethearts often faced obstacles when touring the Deep South. McBride spoke with Rosalind Cron, a saxophonist in the Sweethearts, about the band's experiences on the road.
    "I hadn't heard the Jim Crow laws," Crons remembered. "And we were on a trip going straight down to the Deep South. They told me I had to have a story if I was stopped — what my parents were like, where were you from and that sort of thing — and I made up a story that my father was white and my mother was black."

    As McBride says, the most touching part of reliving these times with Cron was that none of her harrowing experiences made her bitter. "She feels like she went through that so these days could be better," he says. 
     The legacy of the Sweethearts, and other all-females acts like The Coquettes, lives on today with big bands led by women. McBride says the Sweethearts paved the way from the 1950s through the modern era to present-day bands like the DIVA Jazz Orchestra

    From YOUTUBE, here's a video of the band.

    WIKIPEDIA offers:

    The original members of the band had met at Piney Woods Country Life School, a school for poor and African American children, in Mississippi in 1938.[7] The majority who attended Piney Woods were orphaned children, including band member Helen Jones, who had been adopted by the school's principal and founder (also the Sweethearts' original bandleader), Dr. Laurence C. Jones.[8] During a 1980 Kansas City Women's Jazz Festival interview, band member Helen Jones explains that the very existence of International Sweethearts of Rhythm was the direct result of Dr. Jones's vision, who in the 1930s had been inspired by Ina Ray Hutton's Melodears to create an all-girl jazz band at Piney Woods.[7] Always having been an entrepreneur when it came to fundraising, in the early 1920s, Dr. Jones supported the school by sending an all-girl vocal group on the road. Following the fundraising successes of the all-girl vocal group and several other Piney Woods musical groups, in 1937 he formed the Swinging Rays of Rhythm, an all-girl band led by Consuela Carter. The band toured extensively throughout the East raising money for the school. According to the group's saxophonist and bandleader, Lou Holloway, the Swinging Rays of Rhythm took over as the new all-girl swing band in residence at Piney Woods after April 1941 when the Sweethearts began traveling cross-country.[9] Holloway also reveals that the Swinging Rays were understudies of the Sweethearts, and they would even go so far as to perform for the Sweethearts whenever the Sweethearts were forced to attend school because they had been missing too many classes.[10] Indeed, in 1941 several girls in the band fled the school's bus when they found out that some of them would not graduate because they had been touring with the band instead of sitting in class.[11]

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Wednesday, April 17, 2019.  War Hawk Neera Tandem rounds up her fellow War Whores to defend her from journalism.

    Neera Tanden is causing a stink yet again.  She's Tweeted that her mother is a stupid idiot who doesn't understand either the press or how a phone works -- hanging up was not an option because her foreign mother is so stupid and NYT was just so evil to the old woman.  That's what Neera says anyway.  Neera's mother is no delicate flower and if she can handle the stink off Neera, she can handle anything.  (By the way, non-stop phone calls saying, "She really does stink, doesn't she?"  Yes, no joke, she does.  And for people like myself who have a strong sense of smell, she's been offensive for years.  Soap and water, Neera, daily.)  And Neera's little War Hawk buddies from the Democratic Party are rushing to prop her up including the joke that is Paul Krugman.  Paul, you are a joke.

    Here's a typical Tweet.  See the problem?

    I thought the tone of the his story was weird because he was so clearly outraged for Bernie. Just as bad, if not worse, no one at the NYT edited or asked Vogel to rewrite it. Ken Vogel once requested Chelsea Clinton’s school transcripts, using an FOIA form.

    His story?

    Elizabeth Williamson and Kenneth P. Vogel (NEW YORK TIMES) reported that story.  Over the years in the US, we've come to expect that women's work is disappeared but if you ever think that's just done by men, grasp that women contribute as well -- women like Amy Mullen who write women like Elizabeth Williamson out the story.

    I'm also not sure why Amy Mullen's is grasping the pearls over Kenneth Vogel asking fo Chelsea's transcripts.  He's in his early forties so Chelsea was clearly an adult. It appears he requested that as Hillary was making her second run for president.  That's perfectly fine and Amy Mullen is just a pathetic drama queen who's going to throw anything out there in her lust to protect her beloved Neera.

    Faux feminism.  If it weren't for faux feminists, the US might not have any at all.  Faux feminists are just concerned that women get into spots that men hold.  They're not concerned with real feminist issues.  They're break the ceiling gals who want the status quo because they're too limited to imagine anything better.

    Hold on though, we're not done with the stupid f**ks.

    The NYT story on Neera Tanden should never have brought her mom into it. And whether you agree with Neera's views or not, her aggressiveness is one of her biggest strengths and would be lionized if she were a man.

    Feminist Brian Fallon.  Really, "Aggressiveness is one of her biggest strengths and would be lionized if she were a man"?  Well he did work for Hillary so possibly that's where he learned that crap.  But, no, Brian, aggressiveness is not admired in anyone.  No one, in this day and age, says, "Thank goodness he's aggressive in the work force!"  No one says that you stupid idiot.

    Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, admitted to the NYT that she assaulted an editor at her own organization for posing a mild question about the Iraq War to Hillary Clinton.

    Brian, you know what you're really doing?  You're making a lot of us want to explore your boy Mayor Pete whose racism is well known in the community he represented.  So as his racist gentrification program becomes a story, remember you did your part to make it one by attacking a legitimate journalism article.

    Good summary.

    Oh, look, nutty Rosa Brooks.  Well of course.  Neera did send out that e-mail asking everyone to Tweet her defense and so we're seeing those who are compromised rush forward.  Rosa, for those who've forgotten, proposed that journalists be registered.  I'd settle for inoculated but Rosa has always been an Orwellian nightmare.

    She's a War Whore who has gotten by on her mother's reputation because she has no accomplishments of her own.  She's a cheap little whore who is either too much of a liar or too stupid to know history.  "Would you run an article about a male . . ."

    Oh, Rosa, you old dirty whore, stop pretending you are a feminist or that you know anything.

    Rosa, we get it, you're an old whore who tires easily.  But stop playing the 'woman' card because you're not a feminist and you have no grasp on history -- recent or otherwise.  You're just a dirty whore who came forward to defend a dirty whore named Neera.  May you both find an afterlife that is as destructive as what the two of you have done to the world.

    Oh, look, disgusting Gwen Ifill's cousin pops up to defend Neera.  Gwen, the dead closet case who made nice with Condi -- cooking with Condi, remember, will always be the ultimate media whore who laughed in real time when Iraqis were shot up by Blackwater, who made jokes about it on the air.  You'd think that would be enough to make the whole family leave public life.  But if you think that, you're giving more thought to it than that pathetic family ever did.

    NEW: Last week, reached out to reporters to pick apart ’ “Medicare for All” plan. * has its own plan, which, unlike Bernie’s, reserves a role for private insurance cos. (like those that have previously donated to ).

  • THANKS, MOM! says she’s not out to get & wants unity among Democrats. Neera’s mom, OTOH, says her daughter believes Bernie “got a pass” in 2016, “but he’s not getting a pass this time.”

  • BACKSTORY: In 2008, set up what she thought would be an easy interview for with Shakir, then editor of . But Faiz asked about the Iraq War. Later, Neera punched him & asked “Who the f— do you think you are?”

    THE POLITICS: ’ broadsides against seem designed to rally his base by casting the group as an avatar of the corrupt Democratic establishment that deprived him the 2016 nomination & to signal that he won't abide a repeat of 2016.

    The press that slobbers over War Hawk Pete (and ignores his racism and racist gentrification polices as mayor) chooses to ignore many other candidates including Marianne Williamson.  She had a town hall on CNN last Sunday.

    BASH: You have said that you want to create a Department of Peace Building, which you say would champion peace through mediation and diplomacy. How would that differ from the State Department?

    WILLIAMSON: Well, the State Department works with international issues. And I do believe that we need a far more robust relationship between the State Department and the Defense Department. I have great respect for the U.S. military. We all should and must. My father fought in World War II.

    And as I said, you know, you're the president. You're the commander- in-chief. But I see the military like the surgeon. If you're going to have surgery, you want to have the best surgeon. And I don't think anyone would doubt that in America has to have the best possible military.

    But at the same time, as I -- you avoid surgery if at all possible. Even Donald Rumsfeld, who was the secretary of defense for George Bush, said we also have to wage peace. General Mattis, before he left the Department of Defense, said if you're not going to fully fund the State Department, I'm going to have to buy more ammunition.

    I want a far more robust relationship between the State Department and the Defense, and I also want the moral leadership of our State Department back. When you're willing to -- for the sake of a $100 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, go along with support for a genocidal war that we know has starved tens of thousands of Yemenis, including all those children whose pictures are all over the Internet, when Mike Pompeo says, well, sometimes you can have strategic partnerships with people who do not share your values, no, you can't, Dana. It means you have sacrificed your values.

    So I want the moral principles, the moral core of American foreign policy back. People all over this world used to see the United States as a moral leader. I don't think they ever thought we had it perfect, but that we always tried, and they don't see that anymore. So I want a moral robust peace waging and peace creation on the part of the State Department. I want the moral principles that should be central to American foreign policy back.

    And then a Department of -- U.S. Department of Peace Creation has to deal with domestic issues. We have so many -- we have millions of American children living in chronic trauma. We have the most violent streets. We have domestic war -- war zones in this country. We need wraparound services, antitrauma, restorative justice, conflict resolution, domestic...

    Not really seeing Rosa Brooks, Paul Krugman or the other whores rushing to discuss anything of substance.  They do want to act as if interviewing a grown woman who picked up the phone and did not hang up is some sort of violation.  Well, they're silent on War Crimes as well, why should we expect any humanity from them at this late date?

    Today on NPR's MORNING EDITION, Jane Arraf reports on a youth movement in Mosul.

    Aleppo’s recognized 1350-year-old Umayyad Mosque that was almost completely destroyed by war in Syria was one of the oldest historical mosques that got destroyed.

    That's a more polite way of speaking about an issue that has touched off rage.  WHen I saw the Tweets on Monday night I wondered about it.  And then yesterday I heard what?  US student after US student talking about the tragedy.  And it is true that there had been no US attention and mourning for the things lost in the Middle East.  That's in part because Americans aren't taught about those historic buildings.  Mostly, we learn about them when they're destroyed, if we ever learn about them.  Those in the Arab world who feel that Notre Dame gets in one hour more attention and sympathy than the destruction of a major mosque does in six months are correct.

    The following sites updated: