Friday, October 09, 2020

Kat's right about Stevie Nicks

 I love Stevie Nick's music.  But Kat's "Dear Stevie Nicks, now that you're political, let's talk about your racism" is dead on and the minute Stevie decided that her relationship with her audience was to tell them to vote and how to vote, the issues Kat's raising had to be raised.

I love Stevie's music.  But she brought this on herself.  I was surprised it didn't get attention a few years back when Stephen Davis finally put the whispers of racism into print in GOLD DUST WOMAN: A BIOGRAPHY OF STEVIE NICKS.

I applaud Kat for writing what she wrote.  I know it wasn't easy for her.  She loves Stevie's music as much as I do.  But if Stevie wants to be the country's political advisor, America has a right to question her history with regards to racism before we hire her for that job.

Honestly, I will never hire her for that job.  I fully support Kat's position that I don't need to be told to vote for a rapist.  

She should have kept her damn mouth shut, honestly.  Stevie should have.  She destroyed all sisterhood cred she had the minute she decided to tell people to vote for a rapist.  

I also question her use of Cameron Crowe as a director considering the way his marriage to Nancy Wilson ended.  Nancy, of Heart, is a peer of Stevie's and I would think the sisterhood would be enough for her to say, "You know what, after what he did to Nancy, I'm not going to hire him."  It's not like he's a good director anyway. His best film is FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH and he only wrote the screenplay.  It took a real director, Amy Heckerling, to shape the material into something worth watching.

Cameron when he's writing and directing?  SINGLES is unwatchable (which is a shame because the second leads -- Dillon and Fonda -- really deliver).  JERRY MCGURIE never ends.  It's about forty minutes too long.  VANILLA SKY is hideous.  SAY ANYTHING is dull throughout most of the film (Joan Cusak and Lili Taylor shine in small roles).  ELIZABETH TOWN sucked, WE BOUGHT A ZOO sucked.  He can't even do TV as evidenced by the failure of ROADIES.  

So between telling America to vote for a rapist and hiring Cameron Crowe to direct that video statement, Stevie's exhausted her sisterhood cred for 2020.  She really needs to go away for awhile unless she wants to get honest.  Not half-honest, not play-honest.  As Ellen DeGeneres has learned, half-honest won't work.


"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Friday, October 9, 2020.  Our personal Evita wants to tell us how to vote.

Michelle Obama -- great activist and voice for the people -- wants you to know that you can only vote for Joe Biden.  Jimmy Dore explains what a worthless voice Michelle's is.

"Ignorance and hatred keep me from doing my duty as a citizen"?

What duty?  What have you ever done?

You've never led a march . . .except a march to the bank.

It's really time we said no to Presidential Welfare.  Once upon a time, people didn't dishonor the presidency, turn it into a lotto sweepstakes win.  Now that they do?  No more healthcare coverage.  No more Secret Service detail.  Let these whores pay for it themselves.

Jimmy Carter didn't use his former president status to rake in millions or billions.  A president like that?  Sure, pay for their Secret Service protection.

But I'm damn tired of paying for security at Simon & Schuster book events for Hillary, Bill, Barack or Michelle.  They get millions in advances for books that frequently do not sell all that well -- certainly not enough to justify the advances -- and we're then supposed to pick up the bill for security so that they can make millions?


End Presidential Welfare, end it now.

Read Ann's "Ugly Michelle Obama" which is on the mark.  Ann is a Green Party member.  Her parents are, she was raised to be a Green.

Screw Michelle, that hag should keep her mouth shut.  Every time she opens it lately, she lies.  Pretending Barack didn't put children into cages at the DNC, for example.  She's a hag.  She shows no respect for others -- Green Party members are Americans so stop treating them like your lackeys that you can boss around or shame.  She's a hag.  Barack's hag.

Was she trying to distract from last night's debate?  Probably so.  Last night The Free and Equal Elections Foundation held their own presidential debate where all candidates were invited.  It streamed on FACEBOOK.  I don't see it on YOUTUBE but you can stream at the FACEBOOK link.  Five candidates participated.


Gloria La Riva (Party for Socialism and Liberation) attended.  To the first question, her response included:

My party and my campaign believe that all US troops must be withdrawn from every base around the world.  Shut down the more than 800 military bases without any hesitation.  Take the troops out of South Korea so that the people of Korea can be reunited again.  When a country is occupied by the United States, it cannot be truly free.  And that goes for Afghanistan, that goes for Iraq, that goes for part of what used to be Yugoslavia.  I have seen the effects of US war and sanctions.  I traveled three times to Iraq between 1997 and 2001 to see more than one million people who had died from a total US blockade on Iraq.  Why?  For the US to take control of the oil.  That is strategic geo-political domination of the Middle East. Now they've overthrown Libya and created a hellhole for the people.  I believe that the people of the world must be able to decide their own destiny.  And part of that foreign policy [I propose] is also stopping all US military aid to Israel.  Stop oppressing the Palestinian people.  The people in Palestine must have the right to self-determination.  And I made a video about Iraq, by the way, it's called GENOCIDE BY SANCTIONS: THE CASE OF IRAQ.  It won an award for the exposition 

You can find that documentary at the INTERNET ARCHIVE.

And in just that portion of her first response, you find more weight and depth than anything you saw in the Democrat and Republican presidential debates or in this weeks Democrat and Republican vice presidential debate 

Let's not be hags for the Democratic Party.  We'll start with the Green Party.  Howie Hawkins is the presidential candidate. Howie has long called for Medicare For All (Joe Biden and Donald Trump are against it) and a Green New Deal (ditto).  Yesterday, Howie called for other items.

 On YOUTUBE, you can find about six minutes of the debate currently.

If you read the comments, you will see that the YOUTUBE stream had issues.  If they post it to YOUTUBE, we will include it in a snapshot.

Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins also participated.  He's long called for a Green New Deal and for Medicare For All.  At his TWITTER feed last night, he called for an end to the electoral college and much more including:

Demilitarize the police. Invest in social services. Legalize marijuana. End the war on drugs. We need community control of the police!

We must give back stolen lands and honor indigenous treaty rights. We need to guarantee representation of native people in Washington, and bring about proportional representation to our entire electoral system.

We have violated treaties where our government recognizes defined indigenous lands. The least we can do is honor the treaties and respect sovereignty.

No Space Force. No militarization of space.

We need to dismantle the privatization of space. We need to invest in NASA and work towards global cooperation.

End the surveillance state!

Protect Whistleblowers!

The Commission on Presidential Debates is a private entity controlled by the Dems and GOP. It is NOT a public government agency.

We need Full Public Campaign Financing

Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate.

Despite residents in all fifty states being able to vote for Jo, she is not allowed into the mainstream debates.  How scared are Donald Trump and Joe Biden of Jo Jorgensen?  Little, cowardly boys is all they are.

Jo's been campaigning around the country.  Below is her speaking at a campaign rally in Philadelphia.

Michelle Obama wants to limit your choice.  She wants to make it a two-man race.  Of course, she does.  She was a sexist pig at the DNC in 2008 -- and we called that crap out (and her decision to wear granny panties that were visible through her dress -- see Ava and my "TV: The endless non-news").  She's now yet again working overtime to erase women.  Gloria La Riva is a solid choice and she's a woman.  Jo Jorgensen is a solid choice and she's a woman.  Angela Walker -- Howie's running mate -- is a solid choice and she's a woman.

Michelle doesn't support women.  And she never has.  "Our girls" is about the height of activism from Michelle.  She works overtime to betray women and to keep the patriarchy going.  She doesn't instill pride, she just offers scolding and nagging and bullying.  

You have choices.  You need to listen to yourself and decide who represents you.  If it's Joe Biden, great.  If it's Gloria La Riva, great.  Whomever it is -- even Donald Trump -- if that's the person who best represents your views and opinions, that's who you need to vote for.  And if no one represents you, you have every right to not vote (either just on the presidential or on the whole ballot).  That's what a democracy is supposed to be about.


At THE GUARDIAN, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports on the militia:


According to Abu Hashem and other commanders, Iranian flights soon started delivering weapons to the newly opened airport in Najaf.

“One of the ministers in the government at that time used to be head of logistics in the [Shia political party and military group] Badr Corps. He sat on the floor in a white dishdasha, picked up phones and arranged for shipments of pickup trucks, munitions and weapons, then distributed them among the different factions.”

With weapons, cars and men came Iranian advisers. They dispersed across the country in a wide geographic arch from Diyala in the east to the western border with Syria. Their voices could be heard on the military radio directing mortar fire in Falluja, installing thermal cameras in a small besieged village in the west of Mosul and accompanying the advance of an Iraqi special forces brigade in Tikrit.

“The reality is, without the Iranians we wouldn’t be able to do anything,” Abu Hashem said. “If the Iranian advisers weren’t there, the battalions wouldn’t attack. Their presence gave the men confidence in the early days.

We last noted the militia's in Monday's snapshot:  We were noting how they were attacking the protesters:

This result was completely expected by any of us paying attention in real time.  That would leave out the likes of THE NEW YORK TIMES which, in 2019, offered that the "militia's independence" would be "chip[ped] away" by this move.  They were wrong.  The move to bring the militia forces under the umbrella of the Iraqi forces was first proposed by thug Nouri al-Maliki in his second term.  But it would be the laughable Hayder al-Abadi who would actually do it.  One of the few to call the militia nonsense out in real time was Ranj Alaaldin (Brookings) who observed:

But such beliefs were met with a new reality on Monday, as were (unrealistic) hopes that al-Abadi could rebuild Iraq and bring the country together: His coalition announced that he will join forces with Iran-aligned militias that spear the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the umbrella Shiite militia organization established in 2014 to fill the vacuum that was left by the collapse of Iraq’s armed forces when ISIS seized Mosul.

Just a day later, the Iran-aligned militias—contesting the elections as the al-Fatih (Conquest) bloc—withdrew from the electoral alliance, not out of principle but because of differences over participation and electoral strategy (there were not enough seats to go around). Indeed, Hadi al-Ameri, the head of the Badr Brigade—Iraq’s most powerful militia, which Iran established in the 1980s and which controls the Interior Ministry—has even hinted they could join forces after the elections to form a government.

Folding the militias into the Iraqi government did not put any controls on the militias.  They terrorize the Iraqi people as they did before they were part of the government.  They refuse to take orders and they issue threats against the Iraqi government.

At The Atlantic Council (a pro-war body), Andrew Peek makes an argument which includes:

The issue is that Sunni extremists are no longer a determinative geopolitical priority. For the moment, the fire has gone out of the radicals. ISIS is not gone but has gone underground like its sister organizations. Though it can still bite, it is utterly discredited in the heartland of Iraq and Syria. ISIS pulled the Sunni world to the brink and it drew back. Outside of a catastrophic black swan event—a mass release from the al-Hol prison in Syria, a Houthi breakthrough in Yemen, some implosion in Pakistan or Afghanistan—it is not clear what would resurrect the mass political appeal of Sunni extremism.

Adding to this challenge is that the Shia community’s radicals are radical in a very different way than the Sunnis. They form the political bodies from which structured, directed militant groups emerge, but there are virtually no lone wolves.  Terror, such as it exists, is carefully controlled for state ends. Lebanese Hezbollah will still conduct bombings in Israel, Syria, and Europe—like the Bulgarian attack for which it was blamed in 2012—and Iran will kill dissidents, but this is structurally a far different phenomenon than the explosion of hydra-headed Sunni radicalism that the US faced at the end of the twentieth century.

The great bureaucratic success of the Trump administration has been to make Iran the US’s top priority in the Middle East, allowing for America’s great big counter-Sunni extremist machine to shift focus to Shia groups. Iranian-backed Shia militant groups have begun to be sanctioned more regularly—even those that had fought against ISIS. President Donald Trump’s targeting of Iranian and Iran-backed targets and his administration’s increased risk tolerance of operating against such actors in battlespaces where they dominate is a signature bureaucratic achievement. Neither the State Department nor the Defense Department readily changed course.

Nevertheless, the public engagement work has not caught up with the new focus on Iran. In other words, the US lacks virtually any engagement with the Shia body politic. We normally do not host Shia religious leaders at official events, Iftar dinners, and the like, particularly not members of the Marjayiya. The Bush administration was actually forward-leaning with this: for example, sending a plane in 2007 to fly a senior Iraqi cleric to Houston for medical treatment. But, other than that (and some very quiet meetings held by myself with one or two others), there has not been much engagement with them, besides the occasional over-the-top communiqué to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Iraq—usually when the walls in Iraq are about to come crumbling down. 

The following sites updated:

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Turley on Antifa

 Jonathan Turley:

As we have previously discussed, there has been a bizarre denial in the face of Antifa violence throughout the country. It is particularly difficult to understand since one can acknowledge the violence of Antifa groups while recognizing the violence of far right groups. Yet, that does not fit the narrative in this political environment where every allegation seems to be part of a some zero-sum game of blame.  The latest example is Professor of Criminology and Terrorism Studies at UMass-Lowell Arie Perliger, who told The Lowell Sun, that there is absolutely no evidence of organized violence by Antifa.  The assertion is astonishing given the extensive evidence of such violence for years on the campuses and streets of the country.

Perliger has been marketing his new book, American Zealots: Inside Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism. When asked about left-wing violence by such groups as Antifa, Perliger is immediately dismissive: “As for Antifa, currently there is no evidence that the group was involved in any planned campaign of violent attacks.” He insisted that, while he had studied left-wing groups extensively, “if new data will show differently then, as any reasonable person does, I will need to reevaluate my views.”

I think that such a serious reevaluation in order.

testified in the Senate on Antifa and its history of violence on our campuses and streets. As I have written, Antifa is indeed more of a movement than a specific organization, but it has members and associated groups. Indeed, it has long been the “Keyser Söze” of the anti-free speech movement, a loosely aligned group that employs measures to avoid easy detection or association.  FBI Director Wray told Congress “And we have quite a number — and I’ve said this quite consistently since my first time appearing before this committee — we have any number of properly predicated investigations into what we would describe as violent anarchist extremists and some of those individuals self-identify with Antifa.”

I agree with Turley.  I think it's a shame that some people are so one-sided or partisan or willfully blind that they can't admit basic truths.  ANTIFA is built around violence.

To me that's a basic.  I'm not going to resort to violence but I do understand why some do and that a rigged system (such as we have in the US) is going to lead to violence.  

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

 Wednesday, October 7, 2020.  NEWSWEEK continues its lousy history of 'trend' stories, more trouble in Iraq's KRG, Joe Biden doesn't want to debate, Australia's 60 MINUTES covers Tara Reade's charges, and more.

At NEWSWEEK, Daniel Villarreal offers this useless factoid, "The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has now claimed more American lives than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed during historic conflicts in Vietnam, Korean, Iraq, Afghanistan and World War I."

What the hell is that supposed to tell us?

The Coronavirus is deadlier than war?  

You're comparing the numbers for a pandemic in the US (and only in the US, ''American lives") to wars fought on foreign lands.  But it's not even that.  It's just Americans killed in wars fought on foreign lands.

Soldiers sent into a foreign country will always be a smaller population.

Let's look at war fought on US soil.  The estimated death toll for The Civil War -- an underestimate, war death tolls always are -- is 618,222.  Have an equal number of US lives been lost in the pandemic thus far?


Even if it had, comparing a war (usually thought out and planned) to a disease is stupid because it produces no insight, no real knowledge, just a useless factoid.

And if you're going to count the dead in a war and not want to look like a xenophobe, you don't count just the US forces.  You count forces on all sides, you count civilians, etc.  This is nonsense and the sort of garbage that NEWSWEEK has long trafficked in for years -- going back to its earliest stages as a front for the CIA in Europe.

You have to wonder why, after the 2018 office raid and seizure of computers, the rag didn't just shut down then.

In the real world, Jeff Schogol (TASK AND PURPOSE) reports:

The U.S. military has completed its drawdown from about 5,200 to fewer than 3,000 troops in Iraq, said Army Col. Wayne Marotto, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., head of U.S. Central Command, first announced on Sept. 9 that the reduction of U.S. forces in Iraq was expected to be completed by the end of the month.

“This reduced footprint allows us to continue advising and assisting our Iraqi partners in rooting out the final remnants of ISIS in Iraq and ensuring its enduring defeat,” McKenzie said during a speech in Iraq. “This decision is due to our confidence in the Iraqi Security Forces’ increased ability to operate independently.”

Even though Marotto told Task & Purpose that the U.S. military had fewer than 3,000 troops in Iraq as of Sept. 30, a Pentagon spokeswoman issued a statement on Tuesday that appeared to indicate the drawdown is ongoing.

In other news out of Iraq, Human Rights Watch has issued the following:

Kurdish authorities have unlawfully closed two offices of a private media outlet, NRT, for over a month, apparently for covering protests and for broadcasts critical of the ruling party, Human Rights Watch said today.

The Kurdish authorities had no court order and only imposed the shutdown in Erbil and Dohuk, the areas controlled by the Kurdistan Democratic Party, raising concerns that the closure is politically motivated.

“If NRT broke the law, surely the authorities would have taken the appropriate measures to take the outlet to court,” said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch. “But party officials have instead chosen to take actions outside of the scope of the law.”

The harassment of NRT and its reporters follows a pattern of regional government attacks on the media. In June, Human Rights Watch published a report on the range of defamation and incitement legal provisions that Baghdad and Kurdish regional authorities have used against critics, including journalists, activists, and other dissenting voices.

On August 11, 2020, Shaswar Abdulwahid Qadir, the leader of the opposition New Generation Movement political party in the Kurdish Region, issued a call on NRT, a private media outlet with TV and radio stations and a website that he owns, for public protests to demand better education, employment opportunities, and anti-corruption measures. On August 12, his call triggered protests across the region that lasted for about a week. NRT, which has both Kurdish and Arabic language channels, was the only outlet to cover the protests in any detail.

On August 19, NRT’s news director, Rebwar Abd al-Rahman, and another employee who was there told Human Rights Watch that the Asayish – the regional government’s security forces – raided their office in Dohuk and held the staff there for several hours, then ordered them to go home, seemingly in response to the protest coverage.

Al-Rahman said the security forces did not present a court order but said that they had instructions from a Kurdistan Democratic Party official to close down the offices. Al-Rahman said the Asayish also closed their Erbil offices on the same day, again without presenting any court documents. The offices have remained shut, though the channel has remained on the air as authorities did not close its headquarters in Sulaymaniyah down. This has meant that reporting teams in Dohuk and Erbil have been unable to report from the field and appear on TV spots.

Dindar Zebari, the regional government’s coordinator for international advocacy, alleged in a statement to Human Rights Watch on August 23 that NRT and Qadir “consistently aimed to exploit the freedom media agencies enjoy in [the KRI] for their own political agenda … they usually resort to provocative propaganda campaigns amid critical circumstances, such as during the war against terrorism and coronavirus outbreak.”

He said the outlet had violated article 2 of Law No. 12 (2010), which he said makes it a crime for a media outlet to encourage “public disturbance and harm social harmony.” The law allows the Youth and Culture Ministry to close the outlet for 72 hours as an initial penalty, then one week if the violation continues, and finally to withdraw the outlet’s license, he said.

Zebari said that in this case the attorney general had called for suspending NRT’s broadcasts for “encouraging citizens to violate the preventative and social-distancing measures issued by the government,” at the request of the ministry. Human Rights Watch was unable to determine which law Zebari was referring to, given that the law he cited relates to the regional government’s Municipalities and Tourism Ministry.

Zebari said the Youth and Culture Ministry had issued several warnings to NRT, most recently on June 3. However, the head of the Youth and Culture Ministry, Shirwan Aula, said on September 8 his ministry had issued no warnings. On September 9, Zebari accused NRT in a Facebook post of “inciting people to protest and rebel against authority … NRT is always violating the laws by provoking protests and public disorder,” and said that the outlet would be charged under the regional government’s Press Law.

One of NRT’s lawyers, who asked to remain anonymous, told Human Rights Watch on September 17 that the authorities had not sent the company any official warnings or summons to court. He said another lawyer had gone to the Erbil courthouse to confirm whether any legal suits were pending against the company but that court authorities said there were none.

Al-Rahman and the lawyer pointed out that NRT’s headquarters in Sulaymaniyah had not been closed down, which they said indicates that the decision to close the Erbil and Dohuk offices was political, as those governorates are controlled by the Kurdistan Democratic Party, while Sulaymaniyah is not. A court-ordered closing would have to apply throughout the region, including in Sulaymaniyah.

The authorities have taken other measures to intimidate NRT’s staff. On August 19, the Asayish arrested an NRT reporter in Zakho under the KRI’s Law for the Organization of Demonstrations (11/2010), which prohibits people from participating in protests for which the organizers have not sought advanced permission from authorities.

They held him for 11 days, then released him on bail and later dropped the charges, acknowledging he had been covering the protests as a journalist, al-Rahman, the news director, said. He said they also confiscated video equipment of two other reporting teams in Akre, one as a team passed through a checkpoint to report on a Turkish airstrike and the other at a checkpoint outside of Amadiya.

While international human rights law allows governments to place restrictions on the media for national security reasons, these restrictions must be prescribed by legislation and be “necessary in a democratic society.” Any limitation must respond to a pressing public need and be compatible with the basic democratic values of pluralism and tolerance. Restrictions must also be proportionate – that is, balanced against the specific need for the restriction.

Restrictions may not be used to suppress or withhold information of legitimate public interest not harmful to national security, or to prosecute journalists for reporting such information. For the government to fulfill this responsibility, journalists should be able to report on all viewpoints, including those which are in conflict with authorities, without fear of arrest.

Authorities should immediately allow NRT to reopen its offices, and refrain from further acts of intimidation.

“The Kurdistan government has no right to silence coverage of protesters and their demands,” Wille said. “And it definitely does not have the right to shut down an entire outlet, illegally, just for covering protests.”

As noted in the September 24th snapshot, Iraq's Kurdish president Barham Salih has a reporter arrested.  The Committee To Protect Journalists issued the following on the day Salih addressed the United Nations:

New York, September 23, 2020 – Kurdish authorities in Iraq should immediately release journalist Bahroz Jaafer, drop all charges against him, and allow the press to cover and write critically about politicians without fear of detention or legal action, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Yesterday, police arrested Jaafer, a columnist for the independent news website Peyser Press, in the northeastern Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah and transferred him to the Azmar police station, where he remains in detention, according to news reports and a statement by the Metro Center for Journalists’ Rights and Advocacy, a local press freedom group.

Authorities charged Jaafer with criminal defamation, according to the Metro Center. If tried and convicted under Article 433 of Iraq’s penal code, Jaafer could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to 100 dinars (about 8 US cents).

The arrest was sparked by a defamation complaint filed by the lawyer of Iraqi President Barham Salih, in response to a column by Jaafer criticizing the president, according to those reports.

“Iraqi authorities should develop a thicker skin and stop resorting to the criminal code to stifle critical reporting and commentary,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa representative, Ignacio Miguel Delgado. “Iraqi President Salih should immediately drop the defamation complaint against journalist Bahroz Jaafer, and local authorities should release him unconditionally.”

On August 29, Jaafer published a column titled “How much longer will the president be driving the wrong side?” in which he criticized Salih, also an ethnic Kurd, for allegedly failing to support Iraqi Kurdistan amid disputes with the national government over land, oil, and the autonomous region’s budget.

Karwan Anwar, head of the Sulaymaniyah branch of the government-funded Kurdistan Journalists’ Syndicate, told local broadcaster Rudaw that Jaafer, a member of the syndicate, is required to remain in detention until a hearing scheduled for September 30, unless he is granted bail beforehand.

The Iraqi president’s media office did not immediately reply to CPJ’s request for comment sent via messaging app. Dindar Zebari, the Kurdish regional government’s coordinator for international advocacy, did not immediately reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment.

Salih's done nothing to help the Iraqi people -- that includes the Iraqi activists.  Sunday we noted the kidnapping of activist Sajjad al-Iraqi.

Turning to the US where a presidential election is weeks away, Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden has declared that there should be no second debate if President Donald Trump, Republican nominee, has COVID.

There's so much wrong with that.  For starters, a debate should bring in all candidates who have a statistical chance of winning based on ballot access.  That means Jo Joregensen of the Libertarian Party should absolutely be there.  Is Joe scared to debate Jo?  Yes, he is.  Also present should be Howie Hawkins who has the statistical chance of winning.  

So there's that.

There's also the issue that Americans have COVID and have had COVID.  Is Joe going to spit on them, disrespect them, call for them to be shunned, maybe rounded up and locked up?

I get that it's confusing for Joe Biden, a man who thinks it's appropriate to grab a woman from behind, sniff her hair, touch a little girl's chest were her nipples are, etc.

Donald's a man.  Joe may be confused and think that he has to wrap himself around Donald the way he wraps himself around women and girls.

Here's NBC NEWS with a video of some of his inappropriate moments.

Here's CNN's footage.

Here's ABC NEWS reporting on women coming forward.

Here's CBS NEWS interviewing one of the women Joe was inappropriate with.

Here's Samantha Bee's take.

Tara Reade has credibly accused Joe of assault.  While 60 MINUTES in the US has ignored the story, 60 MINUTES in Australia covered the news this week.

"Governing," he insisted when trying to defend his inappropriate behavior, "is about contact.'' His words.  His choice.  He said them in the video response he taped.  

Now he wants to call off a debate by claiming otherwise?

When the going gets tough, Joe goes running.  He cowardly ran from Vietnam.  (Yes, cowardly.  He has voted to send others to war and he has postured as though he himself were a veteran so his actions are cowardly.)  He ran from Vietnam pretending he had asthma -- asthma that didn't prevent him from being on sports teams in high school or college (football and baseball).  

Now the coward wants to run from the debates?  

Not very presidential. 

At least he has illegal support from foreigners -- I'm referring to the in-kind donations that are the coverage coming out of the UK's GUARDIAN.  The most recent garbage is that Joe can carry Texas!!!!

Far from the whoring by the pro-war GUARDIAN, you have former US House Rep and former candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination Beto O'Rourke Tweeting three days ago:

Biden must make Texas a priority. By spending resources here, visiting the state and reaching Latino voters, he can end the national nightmare on election night. We make the case with

By the way, THE GUARDIAN bases their story on Dallas County with a nod to McAllen.  Dallas County?  We have a ton of community members from Dallas County.  What would they tell you?  I'm on the other phone with Sabina right now (one phone to dictate the snapshot, one to talk to Sabina).  She wants you to grasp that this is the part of Texas, her home, where they have elected a Latina sheriff, an openly gay Latina.  She states this is not reflective of all of texas and points to Ron Kirk's disaster -- when he ran for the US Senate.  Kirk had been the Mayor of Dallas.  His run for the Senate was a joke (and East Texas community members pointed out in real time that he didn't even air commercial in East Texas).  Dallas is one city -- a majority-minority city.  It is not Texas.  It is a part of Texas.

Beto knows Texas, his home state, much better than reporters for a foreign outlet.  He's stating what needs to be done.  And yet THE GUARDIAN's offering puff pieces and fantasy fiction.  

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

George Monbiot has always lived in Castle Fake Ass

Jonathan Cook (DISSIDENT VOICE) writes:

Faced with a barrage of criticism from some of his followers, George Monbiot, the Guardian’s supposedly fearless, left-wing columnist, offered up two extraordinarily feeble excuses this week for failing to provide more than cursory support for Julian Assange over the past month, as the Wikileaks founder has endured extradition hearings in a London courtroom.

The Trump administration wants Assange brought to the United States to face espionage charges that could see him locked away in a super-max prison on “special administrative measures”, unable to have meaningful contact with any other human being for the rest of his life. And that fate awaits him only because he embarrassed the US by exposing its war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq in the pages of newspapers like the New York Times and Guardian – and because Washington fears that Assange, if left free, would publish more disturbing truths about US actions around the globe.

But there is much more at stake than simply Assange’s rights being trampled on. He is not simply the western equivalent of Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist and dissident who notably offered his own support to Assange during the hearings. Weiwei covered his mouth outside the Old Bailey courtroom in protest at the media’s blanket silence over the crimes being perpetrated against Assange.

Assange faces a terrifying new kind of extraordinary rendition – one conducted not covertly by US security services but in the full glare of publicity and, if the London court approves, with the consent of the British judiciary. If extradition is authorised, a precedent will be set that allows the US to seize and jail any journalist who exposes its crimes. Inevitably, that will have a severe chilling effect on all journalists investigating the world’s only super-power. It will not only be the death of journalism’s already enfeebled role as a watchdog on power but a death blow against our societies’ commitment to the principles of freedom and openness.

The barest minimum

This should be reason enough for anyone to be deeply concerned about Assange’s extradition hearing, most especially journalists. And even more so a journalist like Monbiot, whose work’s lifeblood is the investigation of unaccountable power and its corrosive effects. If any British journalist ought to be shouting from the rooftops against Assange’s extradition, it is Monbiot.

And yet, he has failed to write a single column in the Guardian on Assange, and in response to mounting criticism from followers pointed to three retweets backing Assange during the past four weeks of extradition hearings. All three, we should note, were of articles published in his own newspaper, the Guardian, that broke with its hostile coverage and could be considered vaguely sympathetic to Assange.

I'm really not surprised and I doubt Jonathan Cook actually is.  Many of us learned of Monbiot when he was being attacked before 2005 as "Moonbat."  He was attacked by the right so there was an instinctual rush to defend him from the left.  By 2006, it was clear that he was no friend of the left.  He's a fake ass and most of us long ago realized that and realized that he was on his own.  

He'll never stand up for anyone out of power or anyone in need.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Tuesday, October 6, 2020. 

We're having problems with the website so we're doing a workaround. Hopefully, links can be put in as usual later today. In yesterday's snapshot, we were noting the militia issue. An hour or so after the snapshot went up, Hamdi Malik weighed in at The Atlantic Council:

Notwithstanding Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s desire to bring all of Iraq’s armed groups under the authority of the state, Iran-backed Shia militias have stepped up their relentless campaign of undermining the state’s sovereignty yet again. This comes despite the fact that they are suffering from a lack of leadership after the United States assassinated Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the most influential commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), and Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, and diminished resources due to the US “maximum pressure” policy on Iran. However, because of these circumstances, Kadhimi has a historic opportunity to reclaim Iraq’s sovereignty. Can he be successful?
Kadhimi’s reaction to the militias’ escalation of tensions
On September 13, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s highest Shia authority in Iraq, met with Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations (UN) Assistance Mission for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, in his humble house in Najaf. During this meeting, Sistani offered a rare expression of support to Kadhimi’s efforts to end pro-Iran militias’ incursion on Iraqi sovereignty. “The current government is required to continue and proceed firmly to… impose the prestige of the state and withdraw unauthorized weapons” said Sistani.
Unsurprisingly, pro-Iran militias disapproved of Sistani’s message. Four days after the meeting, on September 17, they targeted the American Institute for English Language in the middle of the night with an IED, damaging the building. The private language school, located a couple of miles from Sistani’s house, is unaffiliated with the United States. In spite of this, Telegram channels affiliated with pro-Iran militias accused the language school of working for US intelligence services.
Since Kadhimi assumed office in early May, the number of attacks against US interests has increased. Furthermore, British interests and even UN convoys have been targeted; there were some twenty-five attacks on the latter in September alone. Some of the Iran-backed groups behind these acts are not ordinary militias. They go about their activities with a brazen assertion, confident that they are above the law. In late June, Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) arrested fourteen members of Kataib Hezbollah (KH) on suspicion of planning to fire rockets at Baghdad airport and the US embassy. The pro-Iran militia quickly gathered together a force of around 150 heavily armed fighters in nearly thirty pickup trucks and drove to the prime minister’s residence, demanding the release of their comrades who were in custody. Later, all fourteen arrested members of KH were freed and the rocket attacks only increased.
Fearing the worst Baleegh Abu Galal, a member of the Political Bureau of the National Wisdom Movement, an influential Shia political party, stated in an August 16 interview that if Iraq fails to bring unregulated arms under the control of the state, the country will either witness a civil war or foreign military intervention. The main foreign power which might intervene in Iraq is the United States. Abu Galal’s concerns in this regard feel more realistic after reports of the US intention to close its embassy in Baghdad, which will be likely followed by airstrikes on pro-Iran militias. This is what prevents Kadhimi from escalating against the militias. He has, however, began implementing changes among the civilian and military leadership to strengthen the security forces and fight the corruption that is the economic lifeline for rogue militias. Alterations in the military leadership include the selection of Lieutenant General Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi—a widely praised commander who is known for his competence and professionalism—as head of the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS). Changes in the leadership of the Iraqi central bank and other financial organizations target widespread corruption. For years, corrupt officials have used these organizations to enrich themselves along with the political parties and militias they belong to. The new reshuffle aims at cracking down on these activities.

So use the link that's not embedded at this time to continue reading Malik's essay. [Link now embedded]

Iraq is going to have to deal with the militias. Right now, they're a threat to US troops, yes, but they have always been a threat to the Iraqi people. Had the US government been more concerned about the Iraqi people, they would have loudly protested when Hayder al-Abadi made the militias part of the government forces. Now the issue has come back to bite them in the ass. This was a clear danger for the Iraqi people, giving the militias the cover of authority. And this was known early in the war. It's why certain figures were forced to disband their militias if they wanted to run for Parliament. The failures of Barack Obama were many.

And they were totally expected. It's why we advocated -- Ava and I -- to members of the transition team in November or 2008, that Barack announce that he was beginning the withdrawal of all US forces out of Iraq, that he point out that this is the will of the American people as evidenced by their votes in the general election.

If something went wrong, we were told, people would blame Barack. No, we said, if you have him state that this is the will of the American people and they expressed it in their votes, it's not on Barack. All he's doing is carrying out the wishes of the American people who are the true rulers in a democracy.

Well, we were told, he will do the withdrawal he promised (he never did, he instead did what he promised Michael R. Gordon in a little read NYT interview). But that's what it is and it's not going to cause him any problems.

Look it, we said, the temptation will be there to tinker. The foolish thought of this incoming administration will be, "Sure it was a disaster but we are actually intelligent, unlike the Bully Boy Bush administration, and we can pull this off." They can't pull it off and once the tinkering starts? Barack owns the Iraq War as much as Bully Boy Bush. They didn't listen to us.

And they did tinker, almost immediately. They thought they knew best and they didn't. He created an administration of hawks and when they pressed him with idiotic ideas, he didn't have the fortitude to reject the ideas or the intelligence.

What was Barack's big stand in the administration?

Following the 2012 US elections, the day after, thug and then-prime minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki called him to congratulate him on his victory. Big strong Barack did what? Flailed his arms at his assistant and whined, "Send it to Joe! Send it to Joe!" He refused to take the call. That was his 'protest' over the secret torture cells and jails that Nouri was running, the way Nouri was persecuting the Sunni people, etc. That's how Barack 'stood up' to a tyrant: "Send it to Joe!"

They lied to the American people and called a drawdown a "withdrawal" -- no one sold that lie more than the whores of MSNBC but really, few had clean hands. In the MSM, the only ones who told the truth were Ted Koppel and THE NEW YORK TIMES' Elisabeth Bumiller. The rest were committed to not wanting to harsh the mellow. So you didn't learn that, as then-Senator Kay Hagen pointed out in an open hearing, the US was really just restationing large numbers of US military members around Iraq -- putting them in Kuwait for example. Or that, of course, not everyone was leaving and that some would remain for 'training purposes.'

Left unstated in the reports of the whorish media was that the Iraqi officials didn't want any US training. The US State Dept was supposed to oversee the training at this point. But then-US House Rep Gary Ackerman would point out to the State Dept's Brooke Darby that the Iraqi government had already made clear that they did not want any help from the US in training their police or military. In fact, classes had already 'started' at that point and the Iraqi were not showing up.

All of this and so much more could have been avoided. But Barack and his team wanted to 'tinker' and all they did was make it worse.

This was especially clear in 2010. In March of that year, the Iraqi people went to the polls to vote. It was very violent at the time and they risked their own safety to vote. The incumbent was Nouri al-Maliki. He attempted to win by, among other things, bribing. Areas without potable water were suddenly gifted, by him, with ice. That's just one example. It was already known that he was a thug. We knew he was paranoid. In fact, his CIA profile stressed the paranoia and that's why Bully Boy Bush made him prime minister in 2006. It was thought that his paranoia could be used to control him.

He was persecuting journalists, Sunnis and rival Shi'ite politicians. Nouri fought against everyone.

The mood in the country was that Nouri needed to be replaced.

You wouldn't know that from western coverage. Despite an incredible accurate analysis by Deborah Amos (then on leave from NPR), NPR, for example, featured Quil Lawrence, right after the election, declaring that Nouri had won. The votes were still being counted.

Nouri did not win. He immediately stamped his feet and screamed -- so much so that the UN tossed him a few more votes but that still didn't allow him to be the winner.

What did he do?

He refused to step down.

Who could have guessed?

No one?

The top US commander in Iraq at the time guessed. Gen Ray Odierno was very concerned that Nouri might lose the election and refuse to step down. But the worst Ambassador the US ever had, Chris Hill, had shut Odierno out of the process and Barack let Chris get away with it. Chris was offended that the western press were quoting Odierno and interviewing him and no one seemed overly interested in Chris -- who did not nap all the time, after all. He took a 'siesta' (his term) in his office daily but he wasn't napping when, for example, he went to a Halloween party. That was disgusting and offensive and he should have been forced to leave the State Dept over that -- he went as a Secret Service Agent accompanying a woman dressed as Jaqueline Kennedy in her outfit from the day of JFK's assassination. That's disgusting and offensive and a member of the State Dept should not be dressed that way -- let alone a US ambassador. How disrespectful.

Nouri dug in his feet for eight months.

Now the US was 'gifting' Iraq with democracy. So a few individuals in Barack's administration insisted that votes count, votes matter. Iraqiya won the election and, therefor, Ayad Allawi, the leader, should be named prime minister-designate and given the chance to form a government.

But they were the few. Joe Biden and others felt that Nouri was there guy. The SOFA would run out and Nouri would give them a renewal. Nouri was there guy. Sure, he murdered people, sure he was a thug, but he was their thug, their murderer.

So instead of demonstrating that every vote counts, that in a democracy, the will of the people is supreme, what happened?

Joe Biden led negotiations on a pact, The Erbil Agreement, between the heads of Iraq's political parties. The Erbil Agreement was formalized pork -- everyone agreeing to let Nouri have a second term was promised something in exchange in writing. The Erbil Agreement overturned the votes of the Iraqi people.

Joe wants to lecture about Donald Trump possibly refusing to step down? Well Nouri did refuse and instead of confronting him, Joe made it possible for Nouri to have a second term.

Nouri's a thug and a liar and he used The Erbil Agreement to grab the second term and then he refused to honor it -- to live up to the promises made to the other political blocs. Why? Through his spokesperson, he declared the US-brokered contract illegal.

The second term saw Nouri go even more out of control.

As he persecuted everyone, ISIS began appearing in Iraq. As he threatened the Sunni protesters who were shutting down the highway out of Baghdad to Anbar, ISIS appeared promising they would protect the Iraqi people. That's how they publicly started in Iraq. Nouri was kidnapping and killing protesters and ISIS arose saying that they were there to defend the Iraqi people.

ISIS came about because of Barack and Joe refusing to stand up for democracy, for the vote, for the Iraqi people.

Iraqiya was a success because it offered a national identity. Imagine if the US government had fostered that instead of thwarting it? Imagine how much further along Iraq might be right now.

Rami G. Khouri (NEW ARAB) reports on another national identity forming among the protesters and their supporters.

They never should have tinkered. They were never as smart as they thought they were and their 'judgments' were made not based on facts but on impulse. Barack owns that war as much as Bully Boy Bush.

By 2014, he was sending US troops back into Iraq publicly (in the fall of 2012, as reported by THE NEW YORK TIMES' Tim Arango, Barack had already begin sending in more special ops). And he was finally ready to do what he should have done four years earlier: force Nouri to step aside.

By that time, of course, ISIS had run across Iraq and had taken control of Mosul. All of that disaster could have been avoided, had Barack and Joe stood up for the Iraqi people in 2010.

It was one mistake after another. And it's why the Iraqi people continue to suffer.


Iraq yesterday pledged to take measures to protect personnel belonging to foreign diplomatic missions in the country.
Satellite station Alsumaria TV quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying in a statement that the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, had contacted his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein, “to express his concerns about Washington’s intention to shut its embassy in the capital city of Baghdad.”
During the call, Hussein pointed to his government’s concerns about the US’ warning that it “may lead to results that are neither in the interest of Iraq or the US.”
He stressed that his government has taken a “number of security, political and diplomatic measures to stop the attacks on the Green Zone and the Baghdad airport,” pledging “tangible positive results in the near future.”

That's what they report. Do you see it happening? Mustafa al-Kadhimi became prime minister of the country on May 7th. He promised to protect the protesters. In the last weeks, two more have been kidnapped. The security forces have repeatedly attacked the protesters. But they're going to protet the US embassy personnel?

Interesting because MIDDLE EAST MONITOR also reports that two rockets hit Baghdad's International Airport.

They're not able to stop rocket attacks on the airport but they're going to be able to protect US embassy personnel? They can't protect Iraqi protesters but they'll be able to protect US embassy personnel. It's an interesting claim.

Again, we can't log into the website this morning so this is being sent via e-mail. Links will be fixed once we can log in and you'll also see the sites that had updated.


The following sites updated: