Saturday, September 11, 2021

What led to what?

First, Jonathan Turley:

In the law, it is called an admission against interest or an out-of-court statement by a party that, when uttered, is against the party’s pecuniary, proprietary, or penal interests. In politics, it is called just dumb. White House chief of staff Ronald Klain offered a doozy this week when he admitted that the announced use of the authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a vaccine mandate was a mere “work around” of the constitutional limit imposed on the federal government. The problem is that the thing being “worked around” is the Constitution. Courts will now be asked to ignore the admission and uphold a self-admitted evasion of constitutional protections.

Notably, before inauguration, Klain publicly assured the public that Biden would that, on “his first day in office, I will issue a nationwide masking mandate, requiring that people wear masks where the federal authority extends and then urging governors and other local officials to impose mask mandates in their states.” That statement was then walked back due to the lack of legal authority to issue such a mandate.

Klain retweeted MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle, who posted, “OSHA doing this vaxx mandate as an emergency workplace safety rule is the ultimate work-around for the Federal govt to require vaccinations.”

The “work around” was needed because, as some of us have previously during both the Trump and Biden Administration, the federal government does not have clear authority to impose public health mandates. Authority for such mandates has traditionally been recognized within state authority.

Food for thought. 

Julian Borger has an article at THE GUARDIAN entitled "How 9/11 led the US to forever wars, eroded rights and insurrection."

First off, Julian, insurrection? Calm down, boy, calm down.

Second, don't be so stupid.

This is the most passive bunch of hogwash I ever saw.

9/11 was a pretext for what followed. It did not 'lead.' 9/11 was not a president of the United States nor a member of Congress. I love how we let so many people off the hook. 9/11 didn't lead to anything.

What has happened in the US since 9/11 is appalling. How about holding the people responsible for it accountable.

 "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Friday, September 10, 2021.  Donald Trump should be publicly shunned for the latest revelation, others played a role in that as well, elections gear up in Iraq, and much more.

ALJAZEERA reports:

A former Pentagon spokeswoman has said the White House under former President Donald Trump had pressured the military to downplay injuries sustained by 110 US troops following a 2020 Iranian missile attack on a base in Iraq.

Alyssa Farah, speaking on the One Decision podcast, said there was pressure from the White House to downplay the success of the attack on the Ain al-Asad base in Iraq, which came in retaliation to the US killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike at the Baghdad airport on January 3.

There are so many issues with the above.  

First, it's wrong to 'downplay' (lie) the number of people wounded and/or killed.

Second, Donald Trump needs to be condemned for that.

Third, others need to be condemned to.  That would include Joe Biden who is currently president, it would include Barack Obama who was president before Donald.  There's really not a difference between lying about that and refusing to provide an accurate count of how many troops are in Iraq or wherever.  I don't believe Bully Boy Bush.  He did something similarly dishonest by trying to keep the coffins of the fallen hidden so let's condemn him for that and let's grasp that when you hide the truth, each step of the way builds up to something bigger.  

Donald Trump should be condemned for that.  I would hope it would impact his money raising ability -- he's still sending out pleas for money.  Like his July 9th e-mail begging entitled "I need YOU" which opened:

The RADICAL Democrats and their friends in BIG TECH are doing everything in their power to SILENCE real Americans like you and me.

For the record, I don't support Big TEch's censorship efforts -- or censorship -- but I've yet to use that opposition to beg for money.  Oh, excuse me, ask you to buy a 'membership'  in TRUMP LIFE MEMBERSHIP.

Donald needs to be condemned.  But we're still not done with the above topic.  Fourth, yes, we're on fourth, does life matter?  Because they've all undercounted civilian deaths and undercounted them while pretending they weren't keeping a count.  "We don't do body counts" or some other foolish lie Donald Rumsfeld said early on in the Iraq War.  But they did od a body count.  Nancy A. Yousef broke that story and most people don't know about it.  We corrected Phyllis Bennis when over six weeks after the fact she went on radio to complain about the US not keeping a body count.  They did keep one.  They just pretended they didn't.  Nancy broke that story -- which we treated as the major report it was -- the last day KNIGHT RIDDER existed before being consumed by the awful MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS which had whored like all the other outlets in the lead up to the war but then, having bought (silenced) KNIGHT RIDDER, paraded around two male reporters (overlooking the female reporter who'd also pushed back against the officials pin) as they promoted their paper chain -- again, the paper chain that existed in 2002 and could have done actual reporting but didn't.  

It has been accepted -- and it shouldn't be -- that we have no right to know about civlian deaths.  We have every right to know.  We're the ones paying off the financial costs of war, we and about the next three generations -- at least.  The government works for us -- maybe it's past time we sat Congress down for a performance evaluation?

Each step of disrespecting life leads to where Trump took us.  It wasn't an accident.  It was a steady progression.

Fifth, Alyssa Farah?  Are we going to try her for treason?  Are we going to go after her?  No, I don't think we should.  But is there a great deal of difference between the exposure she just made and what Julian Assange, as the publisher of WIKILEAKS, revealed?

Last year, Paul Daley (GUARDIAN) reported:

US prosecutors have failed to include one of WikiLeaks’ most shocking video revelations in the indictment against Julian Assange, a move that has brought accusations the US doesn’t want its “war crimes” exposed in public.
Assange, an Australian citizen, is remanded and in ill health in London’s Belmarsh prison while the US tries to extradite him to face 18 charges – 17 under its Espionage Act – for conspiracy to receive, obtain and disclose classified information.
The charges relate largely to the US conduct of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including Assange’s publication of the US rules of engagement in Iraq.
The prosecution case alleges Assange risked American lives by releasing hundreds of thousands of US intelligence documents.

Dean Yates was the head of REUTERS' Baghdad beureau when the July 12, 2007 attack took place killing REUTERS journalists Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh -- the attack carried out by the US government.  Daley quotes Yates stating, "What he did was 100% an act of truth-telling, exposing to the world how embarrassing Collateral Murder is, how shameful it is to the military – they know that there’s potential war crimes on that tape."

Alyssa Farah has done nothing wrong by sharing the information she did.  She should be applauded.  By the same token, the actions Julian Ssange exposed were the actions of others, not of Julian's.  We should be outraged by what our government attempted to hide not outraged at Julian for getting the truth out there.  

Aleksmit Tweets:

Stop torturing Julian Assange❗ Journalism is not a crime. #FreeAssangeNOW

Earlier this week, Richard Medhurst spoke with Julian Assange's father.

And below is Kevin Gosztola (SHADOW PROOF) reporting on the big news this week.

Donald Trump deserves to be condemned for the revelations but  but if we're condemning him for hiding the truth, why are so many -- including the US government -- attacking Julian Assange for freeing the truth?

Is fair fair or just fair for some?  Let's stay on that topic of a second more.  PRESS TV reports:

Iraqi authorities have decided to double the number of visas issued for Iranian nationals heading to the holy city of Karbala to commemorate Arba’een, the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shia Imam.

The media bureau of the Iraqi prime minister’s office said in a statement that Mustafa al-Kadhimi had ordered officials to increase the quota for pilgrims from 40,000 to 80,000, including 60,000 for Iran.

I've got no objection to anyone taking part in their religious traditions or practices.  I have no problem with grown adults deciding to go on a pilgrimage (and take their children along with them) if they want.  But I'm bringing the above up because the western media has still not taken accountability for the way they tried to shame the Pope for visiting Iraq.  They framed the story that way from the moment the trip was announced.  How dare he!  We're in a pandemic!  How dare he!  Well, that year, the pilgrimage took place and did so without any outcry from the western media and it's happening again with no outcry.  

Is it that the media thinks this is safe but a Sturgis Rally isn't?  If so, what's the difference?  I don't know but I do know that they went to town on the Pope -- so much so that I was offended.  And I know a lot of Catholics were and remain offended by the way the media slammed the Pope for that visit.

A cardinal said on Tuesday that Pope Francis’ historic visit to Iraq in March had a profound impact on the country.

Delivering his testimony at the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, Hungary, on Sept. 7, Cardinal Louis Raphaël Sako explained that the pope’s trip had changed the atmosphere in the Middle Eastern country.

“The pope touched the hearts of all Iraqis by his messages, especially Muslims. And now, something has changed in the streets, in the mass, the population,” he commented.

“Christians are proud of that and now they are very appreciated also.”

In his testimony at the Hungexpo Budapest Congress and Exhibition Center, the main congress venue, the 73-year-old leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church recalled the landmark meeting between the pope and Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

I didn't slam the Pope.  I applaud him for visiting Iraq.  I applaud the pilgrims who will be practicing and celebrating their religious beliefs.  But let's not pretend that the western media did the same.

While we're on PRSS TV, let's note their report on the Iranian attack on Kurdistan (northern Iraq):

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has pounded the positions of terrorists in northern Iraq days after warning against anti-Iran movements, Tasnim news agency reports. 

The IRGC Ground Force used suicide and combat drones as well as smart and precision-guided artillery on Thursday morning to target the terrorists in the semi-autonomous region's rugged mountains.

We already noted that act of war in yesterday's snapshot.  We're noting it again because PRESS TV reporting on it allows us to note that Iran did come up in yesterday's US State Dept press briefing as a trained monkey brought up Iran to pose such talking points as "What if the Iranians do not want to restart the talks in Vienna?"  But no one asked about Iran bombing their neighbor Iraq.  No one in the room.  In fact, most US outlets haven't even bothered to report on it.

Before we jump to a different topic -- "suicide drones"?  I saw that in yesterday's report but thought it was a mistake due to deadlines.  PRESS TV is using the term today.  A suicide bomber is someone with a bomb strapped to them who takes their own life in the explosion.  I get that a drone could have a bomb strapped to it but it is not a suicide drone -- (a) it doesn't have a life to give and (b) it's not making the decision.  A dog has a life.  But if you strap a bomb to a dog -- even a trained dog -- and send it into a crowd, that doesn't make it a ''suicide dog.'' The dog's not going there to blow people up or to take its own life.  I don't get the usage of "suicide drone."

Iran now joins Turkey in bombing Kurdistan.  Both countries are engaging in illegal actions.  Yousif Musa (RUDAW) reports:

Villages and resorts in northern Duhok province have lost more than a million dollars this summer because of Turkey's offensive against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Villages have been evacuated and damaged, and resorts are empty of tourists.

“We invested $7,000 in this [house] but Turkey damaged it and now it is gone,” said Ali Muhsin, a former resident of Bihere village located within the Zakho sub-district.

Bihere, along with 21 other villages, has been affected by Turkish military operations that were launched in April, according to the mayor of Zakho’s office. 

“We fled to Darkar, selling our 600 goats,” Muhsin added. 

When Turkey bombarded the yard of his house in May and injured his brother, they and five other families fled the village. Since then, no one has returned, except for brief visits to their property.

Additionally, 28 resorts have been affected by the bombardment, the Sharansh waterfall being one of them. It used to see 20,000 tourists annually, however, that was not the case this year. 

RUDAW also Tweets:

Iraq elections: Nearly 4.7 million voter cards printed before 2014 and 2018 elections but never picked up by registered voters are being destroyed to prevent electoral fraud - UNAMI 📸: UNAMI/Facebook

 October 10th, elections are supposed to take place in Iraq.  ARAB WEEKLY offers their take on the present situation:

Iraq’s Al-Fatah Alliance, which serves as a political umbrella for Shia militias led by the Badr Organisation, announced the name of its candidate to head the next government in the country, prompting an early race for the premiership among Shia forces and political parties ahead of the October 10 parliamentary elections.

Al-Fateh Alliance parliament member Naim Al-Aboudi said that Hadi al-Amiri is a frontrunner to head the next government, a position that can only be held by a Shia, according to Iraq’s power-sharing agreement.

Amiri heads the Badr Organisation, which was established in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war to fight alongside Iranian forces against the Iraqi army.

The head of the Badr Organisation leads the Al-Fateh Alliance, which brings together the majority of the Shia militias that make up the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), particularly those who announced their loyalty to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

“If we get the seats that qualify us to ally with the political blocs, we will participate and we will present our candidate in a clear and unambiguous way. Those who will support us are welcome and those who oppose us can join the opposition,” Aboudi said,

The MP’s statements seemed to be an attempt to take the pulse of the other Shia forces, who have joined the race for the leadership of the next government, at a time when Iraqis are questioning the significance of the elections, which will likely restore the same political forces and faces that have been long accused of corruption and mismanagement.

Halgurd Sherwani  (KURDiSTAN 24) notes this regarding the upcoming elections:

Anyone caught removing, tearing down, or vandalizing election campaign billboards could face imprisonment or a fine, or both under Iraq's election law. 

As Iraq's parliamentary elections in October nears, candidates are scrambling to win enough votes to get into parliament. Competition becomes sometimes so fierce that political billboards and posters in public spaces have been torn apart. 

Most of the time, the perpetrators of such vandalism are not apprehended. Nevertheless, candidates accuse their rivals' followers of complicity.

Under Article 35 of the election law, anyone caught ripping apart or vandalizing an electoral candidate's billboard could be punished with imprisonment for at least a month but no longer than a year, Joumana Ghalad, the spokesperson for the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), told a press conference on Wednesday.

The law also allows judges to fine offenders with no less than a million Iraqi dinar but no more than five million. Also, both punishments could be applied simultaneously, Ghalad explained.

It's a pity Big Tech can't be fine.

The following sites updated:


Thursday, September 09, 2021

Jonathan Turley tries to set the record straight (is anyone paying attention?)

Jonathan Turley:

[. . .] Garland was pledging to enforce a law that has long been robustly enforced. The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) to “protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services.” It specifically protects against the use or threat of force and physical obstruction that injures, intimidates, or interferes with a person seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services or to exercise the First Amendment right of religious freedom at a place of religious worship.

That is not the basis of the new threat posed by the Texas law to abortion services. The Texas law exposes providers to private enforcement of a rule that sets an abortion bar during the pre-viability stage of a pregnancy.

The fanfare given by the DOJ to the use of the FACE reflects the limited range of possible options for the Justice Department. Indeed, as I previously wrote, efforts to create a new federal law or new federal enforcement effort to create a new basis for challenges by pro-life litigators.

The fact is that a greater challenge to Roe is not coming from Texas but Mississippi. The Court already has a case on the docket, Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, that could roll back on Roe and allow for greater pre-viability limitations. Conversely, the Court could ultimately decline to review the Texas law which is likely to be declared unconstitutional under existing case law by the lower courts.

It doesn't seem like we're being accidentally or mistakenly misled, it seems like we're being intentionally misled.  

These distortions others are putting on what passed seem more about trying to outrage people than to inform them, outrage them and get them to the voting booths.  

I don't like being manipulated.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, September 9, 2021.  Iran bombs the Kurds, Iraq struggles to engage the electorate in next month's elections, and much more.

Chelsea Manning has been having a snit fit over Glenn Greenwald's TV appearances.  Marcia's "Chelsea and Glenn " and our "Talking post" dealt with it last week and I thought that was it but I want to respond to a whiny e-mail to the public account and hopefully this will close the discussion on Chelsea Manning.  She has publicly stated that she wishes she could give the $10,000 back to Glenn.  She can't.

Because its not just $10000.  What eh fool doesn't grasp is that standing up for her wasn't easy.  The LGBTQ community wouldn't support her enough to make her an honorary martial in a gay parade -- that sounds like something Karen would say on WILL & GRACE, but it's honestly the truth.  Over and over, she divided the gay community and this was when she was Bradley Manning.  Being imprisoned during this, she may not be aware of it.  But ask anyone who stood up for her when she was in a military jail and they'll tell you very clearly that a lot of people hated her.  A lot.  

Let's also discuss the lack of gratitude.  Se was desperate for money and people were fundraising for her.  There was no "Please don't donate if in the future you might go on FOX NEWS'' or any other qualifiers.  She was desperate and people stepped up to help her.  It goes beyond bad manners for her to now attack and insult the people who stood by her.

It's not surprising, but it's appalling.  That's why we walked away from her the day she attacked Ann Wright.  Like Glenn, Ann had been tireless in her support for Chelsea.  And her thanks? To be insulted and rebuked publicly by Chelsea.

So let's get this straight, Glenn's wrong for going on FOX NEWS and Ann's wrong for what?  Retiring from the State Dept in protest of the Iraq War?  I mean, who is it that is pure enough for Chelsea now.  

That bitch needs to get her s**t straight.  We all have lives.  Around the world, people who never met her gave to her -- gave time, gave money, gave support.  And there's no gratitutde.  We've had many, many public statemetns from Chelsea.  We've never seen a thank you.

She's an ungrateful bitch and that's why she's so miserable.  By her own words, after she was sentenced, her actions were wrong.  She's not anti-war, she made clear when attacking Ann Wright.  She's so stupid and vapid that over ten years after the Iraq War started she said publicly she still didn't know where she stood on it.

Hey, that's your first sign to shut your damn mouth and figure out what's going on in your head.  You clearly haven't arrived at a point where you need to lead others.  

Life is very hard for Chelsea, we're to understand, and she suffered.  No, she really didn't.  Barack Obama let her out early.  The Iraqi people suffered.  You know, the group of people she can never talk about.  She can never issue a statement in support of them.  She can never note their pain.  

She wants to act as though she's been betrayed?  She's the biggest betrayer of all.  Maybe her next announcement can find her begging forgiveness from the Iraqi people?  Or at least acknowledging the very real harm that they suffered and continue to suffer in a war that she's largely apathetic to.

If her foes had their way back when she was on trial, she'd be in a military prison for life.  It was thanks to the work of everyone that she got released, that her story was known in the first place.  The lack of gratitude?  It's just one more bad feature making her a very ugly person.

Let's move on to a topic that matter, I AM SAMUEL.

That's the trailer for the new documentary.  After seeing the film, Kurdish activist Zhiar Ali spoke with Queer Film Festival Utrech:


Zhiar, after the movie I Am Samuel you spoke with Tessa from Shelter City Utrecht. First of all… What did you think of the movie? Were you able to see it?

The movie was wonderful. I was really touched by Samuel’s story. I think on many levels, LGBT+ people somehow relate to his story.

I myself have had a very troublesome relationship with my family because of my sexuality. It got to a point where I was kicked out of my home and received death threats from my own brother. They ended up disowning me for the simple fact that I am gay. A lot of other LGBT+ youth share the same story, and I think that being afraid to be who you are should no longer be a thing in the 21st century.

Why were you invited to this conversation? What did you talk about?

The movie was really relatable to what is currently happening in Iraq, even though it focuses on Kenya. I was invited to the QFFU by Justice and Peace Netherlands, a project by Peace Brigades International, to help raise awareness about how the same thing is also happening in other middle eastern countries.

For example, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, a lot of real estate brokers refuse housing to LGBT+ youth, who are forced into the streets when they are kicked out of their family homes. In fear of sharing the same fate, a lot of gay men end up marrying women against their will, only for the feeling of security and having a roof over their heads.

This kind of discrimination exists in the work field too: LGBT+ youth either get low paying jobs where they usually face harassment from co-workers, or don’t get any jobs at all.

Zhiar Ali Tweets:

I was honored to participate in the screening of #IAmSamuel by #QFFU. I had the opportunity to speak with them on my journey as an openly gay LGBT+ rights activist and the community’s struggle towards freedom and social equality in Iraq.

Here's Eli Lieb's "Boys Who Like Boys"

And one of the many things I like about Eli's song is that it throws the responsiblity where it belongs: What's your problem?  

Persecution of LGBTQs -- and those suspected of being one -- continues in Iraq -- even when the press moves on to whatever hot topic everyone else is chasing at the moment.

They never really addressed the Turkish government's continual bombing of Iraq or sending in foot soldiers or putting up bases.  Their laid back attitude to this breach of national sovereignty and these acts of war always meant other governments would feel emboldened.  Layal Shakir (RUDAW) reports:

Iranian warplanes and at least one suicide drone attacked bases of Kurdish opposition groups located within Iraqi borders in Erbil province on Thursday morning, a top party official said. There are no reports of casualties.

“We have recovered the remains of a drone that was used in the attack on one target and we have photos,” Kawa Bahrami, top Peshmerga commander of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) which was the target of the attack, told Rudaw English.

The attacks started at 6:00 in the morning. Iranian warplanes, drones, and artillery targeted several locations in the Sidakan and Choman areas of Erbil province where several Kurdish opposition groups have small bases.

Top commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) this week ratcheted up their threats and called on civilians in the Kurdistan Region to avoid areas where these groups have their bases. 

The actions of the Turkish government made the above possible.  Boycott Turkey notes:

"There are no PKK forces in that region. These are just the fields of the villagers. They’ve hit these fields. They hit a house. There was also a place of worship in the vicinity. It got hit too. The target of this war is clearly not only the PKK."

Turkey keeps claiming that they're harming and killing terrorists but the people on the ground don't match the claims of the Turkish government.  For example, Karwan Faidhi Dri (RUDAW) notes:                                                                             

A family of three was hospitalized in northern Duhok province this week after Turkish forces bombed near their home. The family said the bomb produced a bad-smelling smoke. Authorities are investigating the cause of their health problems.

Turkey dropped six bombs in the vicinity of Hirore village in Kani Masi sub-district on Saturday. They landed nearly a kilometer from Abdullah Hassan’s house, which is located on the edge of the village.

Hassan, his wife Hadiya Mustafa, and their daughter Zhiman were hospitalized two hours after smoke from the bombs reached their house.

“A Turkish bomb brought this to me. Smoke came towards me and I said ‘go inside as this smoke stinks.’ I went into the house,” Mustafa, 66, told Rudaw.


#Turkish bombing creates fires in four villages in #Nohadra (#Duhok) in Kurdistan Region of #Iraq | #Turkey #KRI

Turkey bombs homes, hospitals and refugee camps and the world is largely silent.  It's no surprise that now the government of Iran thinks it can get away with doing the same.  

Next month, Iraq is set to hold elections.  THE WASHINGTON POST's Louisa Loveluck Tweets:

As Iraq prepares for elections, chronic mistrust in country's political class will likely result in low voter turnout. In remarks here, suggests it could be around 30%.

Mustafa Saadoun (AL-MONITOR) reports on The October Revolution:

Emerging Iraqi political movements declared their open opposition to the political system formed after 2003, calling instead for substantial reforms.

On Sept. 4, an expanded conference was held in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, by a group of forces that reportedly emerged from the October 2019 protests.

The groups declared their opposition to the country’s political system and signaled they would not be participating in the election.

The conference, titled “The Opposition Forces Gathering,” tackled the “disadvantages” of the Iraqi political system.

It announced the boycott of the elections, saying “[the elections] lack integrity, fairness and equal opportunities.”

It also called for commemorating the start of the protests on the first of next month with a “million-man” demonstration.

Contrary to some protest forces and movements, this conference did not raise the slogan of “overthrowing the regime” or finding an alternative. Rather, it indicated the need for reforms, which is what most large and small political parties in Iraq are calling for.

In a statement on Aug. 26, Bassem al-Sheikh, a spokesman for the opposition forces, said, “The opposition is working to reform the regime, and it may take bigger steps than those that were taken in the 2019 protests.”

According to the spokesman for the forces, the opposition gathering includes 40 movements and groups of movements and gatherings that emanated from the protests witnessed in Iraq over the past two years.


The following sites updated: