Rep. IIhan Omar (D., Minn.) lashed out at Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson for blocking a ballot measure that would replace with Minneapolis Police Department with a new department of public safety. Omar alleged that Anderson was part of a “network” working to frustrate “progress.” Underlying this dispute is an interesting question of the court’s role on the ballot question and, while she is wrong in her attack on the court, Omar may have a legitimate objection if the ballot question is blocked despite revisions.
I have previously noted how Democrats are now increasingly attacking judges in the same way that former president Donald Trump did during his term. I have criticized both sides for such attacks.
I don't know why the Democratic Party members of Congress continue to attack the courts. Maybe because judges poll higher in trust among the people? Maybe they're jealous? Maybe they're just going for a scorched earth policy? There will be fall out from this. You can be sure of it.
Neil Haggerty (INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE) reports on a proposal Joe Biden's trying to push through:
Opposition is mounting to a Biden administration plan to require financial institutions to report customers’ account flow data to the Internal Revenue Service, with banks, credit unions and some consumer advocates warning it would be a massive invasion of consumer privacy.
The Treasury Department outlined a proposal in its recent budget request for a regime requiring banks and other financial institutions to report inflows and outflows in consumer accounts with more than $600. The goal is to crack down on tax evasion by high earners and narrow the so-called tax gap between what Americans pay and what they owe.
Financial institutions sounded the alarm over the new plan — meant to help the administration pay for the American Rescue Plan and infrastructure overhaul — before it was formally unveiled on May 20, noting the potential regulatory burden. But criticism has intensified from a broader array of stakeholders over concerns that consumers' private information could be compromised.
Is privacy just going to end up a relic of a forgotten time? I fear it will.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, September 16, 2021. Elections gear up in Iraq, War Criminals get praised in the US.
Journalist, activist, theorist Glen Ford passed away recently. BLACK AGENDA REPORT notes:
The memorial service for Glen Ford will be held on Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. eastern time. The event will be live streamed on Youtube.
Richard Medhurst notes BLACK AGENDA REPORT and Glen Ford this video from yesterday.
The opposite of truth telling? Lying, whoring, the people working overtime to make War Criminals look better. Whether it's throwing soft balls to War Criminal Condi No One Could Have Guess Rice like THE WASHINGTON POST did at the start of the week or now NEWSDAY publishing Cathy Young's lunatic ravings entitled "Reconsidering Bush . . . for the better." No link to a text version of the work of Leni Riefenstahl.
Jack Tajmajer (Brown's DAILY HERALD) notes a recent panel on the cost of war:
Discussing the costs of the war in Iraq, Nadje Al-Ali, director for the Center for Middle East Studies and professor of Anthropology and Middle East Studies at the Watson Institute, said Iraq had already been “decimated radically” through “thirteen years of the most comprehensive sanction system ever imposed on a country” by the time the U.S. invaded.
That reality escapes Cathy Young. She has no time to study. She has no time to research. But reconsider?
It sure is nice that Cathy Young can reconsider. The dead in Iraq don't have that luxury, do they? Nor do the ones who continue dying in the US. An obit on a man under fifty that doesn't include the cause of death? Six ran this week. All men were single. The youngest was in his 30s. All were former US service members who served in Iraq.
Did they all kill themselves? I have no ida. I know two did because I heard from family members about it. Unlike Cathy Young, those two had to live with the effects of Bully Boy Bush's actions. Cathy just has to reflect on how much she can get paid for whoring.
There are people in need in this country -- in need in so many ways, but, don't worry America, Cathy Young's going to use her space in a daily newspaper to try to clean up the reputation of a War Criminal and to act as though he's someone society should embrace.
Condi, Colin, Bully Boy Bush and the rest are War Criminals. They lie about their crimes and pretended they helped when all they did was hurt. Tracy Keeling (THE CANARY) observes:
The International Witness Campaign is remembering the last 20 years of the “failed War on Terror”. This decades-long war has seen its fair share of illegality and incompetence by those who’ve waged it. As with all wars, it’s hawks also paid no regard to the huge environmental costs involved.
Now, after these decades of war, the Middle East is facing another security threat: the climate crisis. Indeed, authorities around the world are increasingly recognising the environmental emergency as the greatest security threat we face.
As In These Times recently contemplated, imagine if those who waged the War on Terror had spent the last 20 years fighting the climate crisis instead. The populations targeted in the failed war, and the global community as a whole, would undoubtedly be better equipped to deal with the crisis if they had.
Indeed, there might not be a crisis to speak of if the vast amounts of money spent on the war had been directed to tackling the climate crisis from the start of the millennium onwards.
Paul Antonopoulos (ANTIWAR.COM) notes the 'success' lying brings for some:
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq saw entire infrastructures destroyed, hundreds of thousands of civilians killed, millions of refugees, and over $6 trillion of American taxpayer money wasted. Much of this devastation was caused by American soldiers, often with impunity. In fact, the Americans were not alone in such war crimes, with many British, Australian and other soldiers from partnered countries responsible for murder, rape, extortion and theft in Afghanistan and Iraq.
What is most concerning though is that the upper echelons of the US military had little to no concern for the war crimes perpetrated by NATO forces. Instead, they focused on creating a narrative, portraying the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq as constantly improving. Journalist Craig Whitlock’s new book, "The Afghanistan Papers," provides evidence that military leaders knew the war in Afghanistan was failing but lied about it. Colonel Bob Crowley claims in the book that "every data point was altered to present the best picture possible" and Whitlock described the military’s positive assessments as "unwarranted and baseless" that "amounted to a disinformation campaign."
The main question is why the top military leaders were adamant in their claims that the war situation in Afghanistan and Iraq was improving. It can be suggested that their lies about the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq was motivated by self-interest to advance their own careers and capital. They were certainly not going to allow the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as over 1.3 million cases of ill-discipline in the military, including rape, torture and murder, ruin their prospects.
Take for example the current US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Austin was the assistant commander of the 3rd Infantry Division. The Intercept recounts an exchange in May 2013, just weeks after the US captured Baghdad, between Austin and Dathar Khashab, director of the Daura oil refinery. No matter about Khashab’s insistence that Baghdad was more crime-ridden under US occupation then under Saddam Hussein’s rule, Austin could only say that "two months ago was a brutal dictator who killed thousands of people."
Austin, who from the very beginning of Iraq’s occupation insisted everything was fine, eventually became the commander of US forces in Iraq, then took charge of Central Command that covers all operations in the Middle East, retired with a $15,000 a month pension, and then joined several corporate boards, including the board of directors of United Technologies Corporation, the military contractor that merged with Raytheon in 2020. With these corporate gigs, he became a multimillionaire with a $2.6 million mansion that boasts seven bedrooms, a five-car garage, two kitchens and a pool house in the Washington D.C. area.
People got rich off the ongoing war. The Iraqi people suffered. The people sent to Iraq to fight, invade and occupy suffered. Iraq is a failed-state where secret prisons are once again on the rise. Big rumor currently: State Of Law is considering airing that dirty laundry ahead of the planned October 10th elections but are concerned about the blowback -- Nouri al-Maliki is the head of the Sate of Law coalition. He was a two-time prime minister of Iraq and ran secret prisons and torture centers during both terms.
The current prime minister Mustafa al-Kahdimi is backed by the US government. Turnout for the election is expected to be low. Some have announced that they are boycotting the elections. Others face obstacles to voting. Human Rights Watch notes one such grouping:
People with disabilities in Iraq are facing significant obstacles to participating in upcoming parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021, due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Without urgent changes, hundreds of thousands of people may not be able to vote.
The 36-page report, “‘No One Represents Us’: Lack of Access to Political Participation for People with Disabilities in Iraq,” documents that Iraqi authorities have failed to secure electoral rights for Iraqis with disabilities. People with disabilities are often effectively denied their right to vote due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places and significant legislative and political obstacles to running for office.
“The government should ensure that polling places are accessible to all voters,” said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch. “While some steps will take time, like amending legislation, others are easy, and the Independent High Electoral Commission has no excuse to continue to fail to address accessibility.”
Between January and August, Human Rights Watch interviewed 14 people with disabilities as well as activists, authorities, and the staff of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC).
While the Iraqi government has not collected any reliable statistics on the number of people with disabilities, in 2019, the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities said that Iraq, plagued by decades of violence and war, including the battles against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) from 2014-2017, has one of the world’s largest populations of people with disabilities.
Iraq’s Parliament acceded to the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2013. Article 12 requires state parties to “recognize that persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life” and article 29 calls on states to respect the political rights of people with disabilities. Iraq’s domestic law, however, falls short. The 1951 civil code does not recognize the right to legal capacity for people with disabilities, allowing the government to deprive people with intellectual, psychosocial (mental health), visual, and hearing disabilities of their legal capacity. People without legal capacity are not allowed to vote.
Article 29 of the covenant requires states to ensure that voting facilities and materials are “appropriate, accessible and easy to understand and use.” However, Iraqi authorities offer little to no accessible information to people with intellectual, visual, and hearing disabilities. Electoral materials are not presented in accessible formats such as audio, Braille, large print, sign language, and easy-to-read. Videos on the website are not accessible for people with hearing and visual disabilities. Because of the complete ban on operating vehicles on election day for security reasons, people who use mobility assistive devices can face difficulties reaching polling places.
The election commission almost exclusively uses school buildings, many of which are inaccessible, for polling places. It locates many ballot boxes on the second floor in buildings without elevators. It has no mobile voting stations, electronic voting, or postal voting, perhaps because of Iraq’s weakened postal system.
“Every election day is the most depressing day for me,” said Suha Khailil, 44, who uses a wheelchair and who has never participated in an election. “Everyone goes to vote and I am stuck at home waiting for the day to end,” she said.
People with disabilities said they sometimes must rely on assistance to reach the polling place. When that assistance comes from political party members, they sometimes try to influence how the person votes. The need for some people to get assistance to fill in their ballot or reach a ballot box raises concerns about privacy.
Ahmed al-Ghizzi, director of Voice of Iraqi Disabled Association, a Baghdad-based organization, said that his group’s survey of 2018 parliamentary elections found that only 200 members out of the about 5,000 who replied said they had been able to vote.
Available evidence suggests that people with disabilities also face significant obstacles to running for public office. Despite extensive research, Human Rights Watch was only able to identify eight people who had run for public office since 2005, including six in parliamentary elections and two in governorate elections. All candidates were men, and all had physical disabilities. The obstacles stem from discriminatory legislation, including provisions that require candidates to be “fully competent” or “fully qualified,” a lack of financial resources, and the unwillingness of political parties to seek out and support people with disabilities as candidates.
“It really makes me sad when I see all the members of parliament and there is no one to represent us,” said Naghim Khadir Elias, 47, who uses a wheelchair.
The commission has defended its policies. “Our institution is an executive one that is only concerned with implementing the electoral law that organizes all details of the electoral process,” the commission told the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in December 2020, in response to critical findings from the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. But the commission has the authority to select accessible voting sites and to offer transportation and disseminate accessible information.
For election day, the commission should ensure that transportation is available and that polling places are accessible. It should ensure that its election information materials are accessible and easy to understand for persons with intellectual, visual, and hearing disabilities. It should also ensure that assistance is available to those who need it and that it does not interfere with the right to cast a private and independent vote.
Iraq’s newly elected parliament should amend the relevant legislation to comply fully with the covenant. It should amend the civil code on legal capacity so the right to legal capacity is respected for anyone with a disability and that they have access to supported decision-making, if needed.
People with disabilities and their representative organizations should be consulted and included in all these efforts.
The United Nations and European Assistance Missions’ election monitoring bodies should include people with disabilities as expert monitors and include in their monitoring mandate documentation and reporting on discriminatory treatment and limitations that people with disabilities face.
“Countries financially supporting Iraq’s elections and monitoring missions, including those who have been part of the conflict, should ensure that they help make Iraq more accessible for people with disabilities, including its political system,” Wille said.
Meanwhile, there's a call to postpone the election in one oil-rich area of Iraq. RUDAW reports:
Three members of the Iraqi parliament who identified themselves as
representatives of the city’s Arab and Turkmen communities have called
for the postponement of the Iraqi election for a week in the disputed
city of Kirkuk.
Turkmen MP Ersat Salih and Sunni Arab MP Mohammed al-Tamimi held a press conference on Wednesday in Kirkuk, attended by a number of other politicians, including Hasan Turan, the head of the Turkmen front.
A statement read by Khalid al-Mafraji, a Sunni Arab member of Iraqi parliament, claimed that Peshmerga forces are trying to move into Kirkuk territories under the guise of fighting remnants of the Islamic State in the disputed areas. It called on Iraqi forces to take on the ongoing threat posed by ISIS without the support of their Kurdish partners.
Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) notes, "On July 8, the IHEC approved the final list of candidates eligible to contest the elections. There are a total of 3,249 candidates, including 951 women, competing for 329 seats. Nine seats are reserved by minorities and there are 67 candidates vying for these spots."
The following sites updated: