The Common Ills

Sunday, October 01, 2017
Does Congress need one more crooks?

Does Congress need one more crooks?






Yesterday, we focused on the first panel of this week's hearing on veterans suicides by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Today, we'll look at the second panel.  The Committee Chair is Senator Johnny Isakson, the Ranking Member is Senator Jon Tester.  The witness for the second panel was VA Secretary David J. Shulkin (Dr. Shulkin).

Senator Patty Murray did a great job providing leadership when she was the Committee Chair and she continues to do important work on the Committee.

It we report on a committee in more than one snapshot, I usually look at the press after the first snapshot to see what was covered and what wasn't and I'm not seeing a lot on women veterans.

The first part of the exchange we're highlighting?

It's outrageous.

It's more of the same from the VA.

Senator Patty Murray:  But I do remain deeply troubled by the IG's findings from May 2017 that VA is not complying with a number of policies including 18% of facilities not meeting the requirement for five outreach activities each month, 11% of high risk medical patients did not have a suicide safety prevention plan, and for 20% of inpatients and 10% of outpatients no documentation that the patient was provided a copy of the  safety plan.  There were several shortcomings in the use of patient record flags, coordination of care for patients at high risk of suicide and critical improvements for patients, after discharge.  16% of non-clinical employees did not receive suicide prevention training and more than 45% clinicians did not complete suicide risk management training within the first 90 days.  So when it comes to suicide prevention policy, anything less than 100% isn't acceptable.  So when will all the IG's recommendations be fully implemented?

Secretary David Shulkin: Well, so, first of all, this is exactly why the IG is valuable -- pointing this out.  I have no other mechanism to get data that comprehensive.  So we have committed to addressing the IG concerns.  The reason why we have made suicide prevention our number one priority and made all our leadership this month sign off on the declaration is to fix those issues.  We've committed to training.  So over this year -- Look, 100% is the right goal, but I can't tell you exactly what date we're going to reach that.  But we're going to be working really hard to get as close to that as possible as quickly as possible.

Senator Patty Murray: Well Senator Moran alluded to it.  At the veteran suicide hearing at the appropriation committee back in April, I asked for monthly updates until all of the problems at the crisis line are resolved.  VA has not done that and that is really unacceptable.  So I want a commitment from you today -- to all of us -- that we will get those updates starting right now.

Secretary David Shulkin: I think you have that committment, yes.

Senator Patty Murray:  Okay, well we intend to see that happen. 

Again, more of the same.

How does VA give their word to provide the Senate with updates in April and now, in September, it's still not being done.

Do VA officials need to be handed paperwork in hearings to sign in order to get them to comply with the verbal promises they repeatedly make to Congress but somehow fail to follow up on?

There is no excuse for giving your word to Congress in April and failing to deliver five months later.

It's outrageous and so typical of the VA's repeated interaction with the VA -- Allison Hickey was infamous for this nonsense.

Now let's move to women veterans.

Senator Patty Murray:  Let me ask about women veterans -- this is something I've asked about many times.  I am really disturbed in the increase in suicide rate among our women veterans.  Between 2001 and  14, the rate of suicide for women veterans who do not use VA care increased by 98%.  Now I've heard from women veterans many times that they don't think of themselves as veterans and  I hear far too often from women who don't feel welcome at VA facilities, don't feel that that is their place.  It is a significant problem actually that the RAND Corporation testified in April as well.  But this increase in suicide is the most important reason yet that I believe  VA has to redouble its efforts to reach out to women  and get them into care.  So I wanted to ask you what are we doing to address that?

Secretary David Shulkin: Well, you gave a really important statistic -- which is that those   over the last 15 years between 2001 and 2014 -- those women that did not receive care in the VA that the rate of suicide went up by an extraordinary number.  You said 98%.  Those that did use the VA, we actually saw a decrease -- a decrease in suicide rates over that 15 year period of  2.6%  So we know that particularly in this situation, but for all veterans -- getting care makes a difference and saves lives.  The issue about making the VA more welcoming to women is a critical issue.  It's a cultural issue.  And we have worked hard to create women centers and to chance the culture and environment.  I speak about this, so does our center for women veterans, all the time.  But, of course, we are absolutely -- at this is our number one priority -- committed to doing much more and to be more progressive and to put more resources into this.

Senator Patty Murray: Okay, well this is something we have to keep working on because if a woman doesn't consider herself as a veteran she doesn't think about going to the VA.

Secretary David Shulkin: Right.

Senator Patty Murray: This is something we have to keep working on because if a woman doesn't consider herself as a veteran, she doesn't think about going to the VA.

Secretary David Shulkin: Right.

Senator Patty Murray:  If she is not welcome at the VA or doesn't feel that veterans facility is welcoming to her, she won't go.   If she has other issues -- child care, work -- it's doubly hard.  This is not an easy problem to solve but we really have to put  hearts, minds and resources and -- as a country -- really recognize women veterans.

Senator Murray has been working on this issue for years.  I can remember back to 2006 and it probably pre-dates my memory.  (John Hall, when he was in the House, also worked hard on this issue.  His book STILL THE ONE, came out last year.)

Why might women not feel welcomed?

There are many cultural reasons.  But to cite some of the issues that Murray and Hall raised -- a lack of changing tables in the restrooms, either no doors on the examining rooms or the doors to the examining room being left open during an exam.

There are many issues that thought seems to have stopped at the VA on.

Murray, Hall and others have led the VA into the 21st century.  But more still needs to be done.

And while there are things that valuable members of Congress like Patty Murray can lead on, there are also things we can lead on outside of Congress in our every day lives.

Chief among them?


It can easily be she.

Grasp that veterans (and service members) can be men or be women.

Grasp that, despite policies, women have been in combat.

Iraq, for example, was a war zone -- not a part of Iraq, not a section, the entire country.


Women have been serving at record numbers. In fact, women make up an unprecedented eight percent of all U.S. veterans. That is close to two million women. The situation has become so dire that the Department of Veterans Affairs had to take action. They formed a Women Veterans Task Force to address these unique issues.
According to the task force, there are six critical areas facing women veterans today.

Women Veterans Issue #1 – Health Care

Neither the Department of Veterans Affairs nor The Department of Defence can handle the specific health issues that women veterans face. Hospitals and medical centers are too understaffed to deal with the volume of patients. Especially in the areas of gynecology and obstetrics. In fact, one-third of the VA’s medical centers do not have a gynecologist on staff. Even though the demand for such care continues to increase.
Regardless of the staffing issues the VA and DoD face, they still lack the facilities and specialty equipment needed. Research conducted by the VA shows a staggering lack of care. Almost one in five women veterans have delayed or gone without needed care in the prior 12 months.

Where and how to get help – VA Health Care for Women Veterans

At each VA medical center nationwide, a Women Veterans Program Manager (WVPM)is available. The WVPM is an individual designated to advise and advocate for women Veterans. The WVPM can help coordinate all the services you may need. From primary care to specialized care for chronic conditions to reproductive health.
Women Veterans interested in receiving care at the VA should contact the nearest VA Medical Center and ask for the WVPM.
Learn more about the VA Health Care for Women Veterans.
Physical Mental Emotional

Women Veterans Issue #2 – Military Sexual Trauma

Sexual abuse, harassment, and even rape are reaching epidemic proportions in the military. In fact, 20% of women enrolled in VA health care screen positive for MST (military sexual trauma.) Yet, over 31% of VA centers say they can’t provide adequate services. Often times the chain-of-command is part of the problem. As a result, neither active duty women service members nor veterans know who to turn to for help.

Where and how to get help – Military Sexual Trauma Coordinator

Every VA facility has a designated MST Coordinator who serves as a contact person for MST-related issues. This person is your advocate. They can help you find and access VA services and programs. Additionally, they can help you sign up for state and federal benefits, and access to community resources. This includes free, confidential counseling and treatment. Even if you don’t qualify for other VA care, you can still get the help you need. You don’t even have to have reported the incident or have documentation that it occurred. Just contact your local area coordinator and get the help you need.
Learn more about MST and other violence and abuse from the “Make the connection” website.
wvcc logo small

Women Veterans Issue #3 – Mental Health

The VA and DoD have difficulty providing gender-specific care. In particular, a lack of specialized inpatient mental health care designed to meet the needs and preferences of women. This includes peer support and group therapy.
Where and how to get help – Mental Health
As mentioned above, each VA medical center nationwide offers a Women Veterans Program Manager (WVPM). The WVPM is available to help you. Women Veterans interested in receiving care should contact the nearest VA Medical Center and ask for the WVPM.
Learn more about the VA Health Care for Women Veterans.
DAV Logo

Women Veterans Issue #4 – Disabled Vets

Women who have lost one or more limbs may not receive support and care tailored to their needs. Furthermore, women are less likely to have a prosthetic that fits properly. Unfortunately, the VA has not been able to keep up with the number of women veterans returning with such disabilities.

Where and how to get help – Disabled Vets

The good news is that there a number of civilian organizations who have stepped in to fill the gaps left by the VA health care system.
The Disabled Veterans National Foundation exists to provide critical support to disabled and at-risk vets.  Veterans who leave the military wounded—physically or psychologically—after defending our safety and our freedom.
Also, there is the Disabled American Veterans Organization.  The DAV is a nonprofit charity. They provide a lifetime of support for veterans of all generations – including their families. The DAV helps more than 1 million veterans with positive, life-changing benefits each year.
Of course, you should always start with your Women Veterans Program Manager (WVPM). We cannot overstate this. They have access to the most current information and can point you in the right direction.
Gold Card

Women Veterans Issue #5 – Unemployment

Post-9/11 women veterans have higher unemployment rates than male veterans and non-veteran women. Challenges in the labor market are exacerbated by medical and mental health concerns.

Where and how to get help – Unemployment

Believe it or not, the best place to start with unemployment issues is with the US Department of Labor. The “Gold Card initiative” helps provide post 9/11 veterans with intense services and follow-ups. Something needed to succeed in today’s meager job market. This initiative is a joint effort of the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), and the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS).
Soldier Looking for Job

Women Veterans Issue #6 – Homelessness

Women veterans are at least twice as likely to be homeless as non-veteran females. Furthermore, women veterans are also more likely to be single parents. This makes life extraordinarily difficult for women veterans.

Where and how to get help – Homelessness

No veteran, regardless of gender, should be without a place to call home. As such, the Department of Veterans Affairs has created an entire department designed to help deal with homelessness.
Homeless veterans and those at imminent risk of becoming homeless should call or visit their local VA Medical Center. Additionally, they can reach out to their Community Resource and Referral Center where VA staff are ready to help.

In conclusion:

The good news is that the VA is making progress. In addition to the resources listed above, the Department of Veterans Affairs has created the Center for Women Veterans. Here you can find an entire section dedicated to resources designed to help with the issues listed above and more. There are also Women Veteran Coordinators (WVC’s) located in every regional VA office. They are your primary point of contact.
There are also innumerable private agencies and nonprofit organizations that can help. The best place to start is with the National Resource Directory. The DoD maintains this directory. Here, you can find over 17,000 organizations to help you. Every one of these resources has been thoroughly vetted and approved by the DoD.
If you have an emergency, need assistance, or want more information, the VA has established a Women Veterans hotline: 1-855-VA-WOMEN (829-6636.)

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    Posted at 05:35 pm by thecommonills

    Friday, June 02, 2017
    Death threats? Maybe they're 'jokes' (Ava and C.I.)

    Death threats? Maybe they're 'jokes' (Ava and C.I.)

    Drama queen and hacktress Kathy Griffin crossed a line earlier this week.

    We ignored it.

    We had other things to talk about and cover.

    But we're commenting now.

    She held a press conference blaming everyone but herself.

    We don't give a damn whether she got paid for the photo shoot or not.

    Nor are we surprised that the failed actress did not get paid for it.

    We were surprised by the photos -- all those lines around her lips and chin.

    How bad is it?

    If they remake RAWHIDE, she should audition, she should really go for it.

    Her face, like her career, is a train wreck.

    But there she was, drawing attention to it at the press conference as she cried and boo-hooed.

    She is the one who, earlier this week, held up a bloody mask of a sitting president.

    She thought that was funny.

    People disagreed.

    She apologized.

    And then today she whined like a little brat.

    Today, she and her attorney wanted the world to know that Barron Trump (an 11-year-old child) was "allegedly" upset by her actions.

    "Allegedly," her attorney Lisa Bloom insisted.

    Okay, you've already traumatized a child and now you want to debate it?

    You weren't sincere in your apology.

    You crossed a line and now you're paying for it.

    GRAB A CLUE, the bulk of the Democratic celebs have repeatedly been crossing the line.

    Not the left.

    On the left, we focus on issues.

    But cry babies who can't get over the election think the thing to do is to antagonize half the country.

    And they each try to push it further and further.

    Kathy is to blame for what she did.

    No one else.

    And this time, she went so far out with her hatred that it went beyond Donald Trump supporters.

    Jake Tapper (CNN) called her out.  CNN dropped her as their co-host on New Year's Eve.

    Those are the breaks, Kathy.

    Stop being a baby and own what you did.

    She can't so she invents this conspiracy of White men out to get her.

    That's not accountability.

    She is not being persecuted.

    She is getting a response she courted.

    She was not being 'political.'

    She even went beyond partisan.

    She offended a lot of people.

    That's on her.

    And to now try to cast doubt on an 11-year-old boy?

    Yes, we know, she insists that Donald Trump lies about everything so he may be lying about his son being traumatized.

    If there's even a chance that you're ugly 'joke' upset an 11-year-old kid, leave him the hell out of your attempts to justify your actions.

    And as for the death threats she says she's receiving?

    Maybe they're jokes -- you know, the way she says holding up a bloody head that looked like Donald Trump's was just a joke.

    She needs to own what she did.

    She surely needs to shut up about an 11-year-old child.

    -- Ava and C.I.

    Posted at 06:52 pm by thecommonills

    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Friday, June 2, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, NATO sets up in Iraq, The Mosul Slog continues and much more.

    Ishaan Tharoor (WASHINGTON POST) notes:

    It's a truism that the world has grown numb to terrorist attacks outside the West. When the Islamic State set off a car bomb on Tuesday outside a popular ice cream shop in Baghdad, killing 13 people and wounding dozens more, no candlelight vigils took place in Western cities. No imperial monuments were lit up in Iraqi colors in European capitals. When militants set off a devastating explosion in Kabul's diplomatic enclave on Wednesday, killing at least 80 people and injuring hundreds more, no CNN anchor uploaded the flag of Afghanistan on social media. No pop stars organized solidarity concerts.

    Part of the contrast, of course, is the extent to which we are used to hearing these stories. In the global news cycle, a bombing in Baghdad or a Taliban strike in Kabul is like a typhoon in the Pacific or a Sean Spicer gaffe. These things happen. If we pay attention at all, we do so fleetingly, grimace at the calamity and move on.

    Tharoor blames lays out a lot of blame for why that is in his column but neglects the media.

    How do you do that?

    How do you ignore the media?

    The media is how the information is transmitted.

    And the media is the problem.

    You need huge numbers to feel moved if all you have is numbers.

    The ice cream parlor bombing found 1 victim worthy of naming -- an Australian girl.

    Hope that she would be the first named proved false because she was the only one named.

    The Iraqi victims were left unnamed, rendered invisible.

    And this happens over and over.

    Deaths matter because life matters.

    If you're not conveying the life lost, you're not doing the job.

    The media is not doing its job.

    Iraq and Afghanistan are US wars but the press can't be bothered with them on most days.

    That's a media issue.

    Governorate tops casualty figures for May 2017 with 312 casualties (86 killed and 226 injured) -

    Those deaths have been largely off the media radar.

    The rare attention the western media gives to Iraq usually focuses on Mosul (and usually works overtime to paint that battle as a success).

    The United Nations' count for May:

    Baghdad, Iraq, 01 June 2017 – A total of 354 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 470 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in May 2017*, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

    The number of civilians killed in May (not including police) was 345, while the number of injured (not including police) was 446.

    Of those figures, there were 160 civilians killed and 52 injured in Ninewa Governorate, 86 killed and 226 injured in Baghdad Governorate, and 13 killed and 41 injured in Basra.

    According to information obtained by UNAMI from the Health Directorate in Anbar, the Governorate suffered a total of 136 civilian casualties (47 killed and 89 injured). Figures are updated until 31 May, inclusive.

    Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Ján Kubiš, decried the terrorists’ continued targeting of civilians, before and in the early days of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

    “The terrorist[Islamic State] is in its death throws in Mosul, but it has continued to stretch its wicked arm there and in other areas to relieve the military pressure on it, deliberately aiming to kill and maim the maximum number of civilians. [The Islamic State] has attacked with explosives a busy ice cream shop in Baghdad where families gathered at night after Iftar. The terrorists also hit on a street outside a government pension office in the capital, and struck as far as the city of Basra in the south.”

    The SRSG lamented the loss of civilian lives as a result of the many bombings but he was confident that the carnage committed by [the Islamic State] will not derail the efforts of the Iraqis to rid their country of the terrorists.

    “The people of Iraq are resolute in their drive to liberate their land. As painful as they are, these despicable attacks will serve to only increase this determination,” Mr. Kubiš said.

    *CAVEATS: In general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas. Figures for casualties from Anbar Governorate are provided by the Health Directorate and are noted in the May casualty report. Casualty figures obtained from the Anbar Health Directorate might not fully reflect the real number of casualties in those areas due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground and the disruption of services. In some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. UNAMI has also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care. Since the start of the military operations to retake Mosul and other areas in Ninewa, UNAMI has received several reports of incidents involving civilian casualties, which at times it has been unable to verify. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

    For more information, please contact: Mr. Samir Ghattas, Director of Public Information/Spokesperson
    United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Phone: +964 790 193 1281, Email:
    or the UNAMI Public Information Office:

    It's interesting how they've not only dropped the count of the Iraqi forces at the orders of the Iraqi government but they've also adopted the language of the Baghdad-based government.

    Even more interesting, they continue their 2014 practice of being unable to give reliable figures for Anbar.  Three years and counting.

    The above undercount still manages to convey that this is an ongoing war and that -- though Mosul may steal the spotlight -- it going on across Iraq.

    The Pentagon is asking for more a billion dollars in a multi-year commitment to the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), in a sign the U.S. role in Iraq and Syria is likely continue for the majority of President Donald Trump’s first term.
    The budget provision is likely a facet of Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Trump’s overarching strategy to defeat the Islamic State. The new budget request will provide the ISF with hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons to help the ISF contain the fall out from the Islamic State’s defeat in the city of Mosul.

    Fourteen years and counting, it's a never-ending war.

    For any doubting that reality, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) announced yesterday:

     NATO marked an important step in its deepening relations with Baghdad on Thursday (1 June 2017), as Mr. Paul Smith of the United Kingdom assumed office as NATO Senior Civilian in Iraq. Mr. Smith will represent the NATO Secretary General and the Alliance at large, as NATO continues to help strengthen the Iraqi security institutions in their fight against terrorism. Mr. Smith succeeds Mr. Richard Froh of Canada, who served in the same capacity over the past months.
    Mr. Smith will liaise with a range of interlocutors, including high-level Iraqi officials, representatives of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, the diplomatic community, and members of international organizations, including the United Nations and the European Union. He will also be at the helm of the NATO Training and Capacity Building presence in Iraq (NTCB-I). This includes a Core Team of eight civilian and military personnel as well as mobile training teams – provided by NATO nations – who travel to Iraq, as required, to provide specific courses agreed with the Iraqi authorities.
    NATO’s support to Iraq is aimed at increasing Iraq’s training capacity in the medium and long term. It includes courses on countering improvised explosive devices, explosive ordnance disposal and de-mining; civil-military planning in support of operations; civil emergency planning; training in military medicine; technical maintenance of Soviet-era military equipment; and reform of the Iraqi security institutions.
    NATO-Iraq relations are underpinned by an Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme signed in September 2012, which provides a framework for political dialogue and tailored cooperation in mutually agreed areas, and a Defence Capacity Building Package for Iraq, agreed in 2015.
    Prior to taking office as NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Iraq, Mr. Smith served in senior roles at the NATO Communications and Information Agency; Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe; and the UK Ministry of Defence.

    When does it end?

    United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) in Richmond VA in 4 weeks. Register now. .

    The UNAC conference is approaching fast
    June 16-18, 2017
    Greater Richmond Convention Center
    403 North 3rd Street, Richmond, VA 23219

                  Have you registered yet?  Register here:  

                            UNAC's founding conference in 2010

    This will be the place where the antiwar and social justice movement will come together this spring to discuss, map strategy and organize for the coming period.  Antiwar leaders from across the country and across the world will be in attendance including: Ajamu Baraka, Medea Benjamin, Glen Ford, Bernadette Ellorin, Bruce Gagnon, Lawrence Hamm, Jaribu Hill, Jonathan W. Hutto, Sr, Margaret Kimberley, Ray McGovern, David Swanson, Ann Wright, Kevin Zeese and many more.  For a more complete list of participants, please go to

    See the conference web site:  http://www.unacconference2017.orgJoin and share the Facebook event:
    To see a report on UNAC's last conference, please go here:

    Day 226 of The Mosul Slog.

    ALJAZEERA reports:

    More than 140 civilians have been killed in less than a week while trying to flee western Mosul, according to military sources, as the Iraqi army seeks to close in on fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) in the armed group's last stronghold in Iraq.
    According to the military on Thursday, most of the fatalities were women and children. 

    The UNHCR's Andrej Mahecic notes:

    UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, urgently needs US$ 126 million to meet critical needs of vulnerable children, women and men displaced from, and returning to, Mosul, until the end of the year. A shortage of funds threatens to undermine our humanitarian response at this critical time. Heavy fighting is continuing, and UNHCR is expecting more large movements of people from the west of the city where the fighting is currently concentrated.
    Iraqi authorities say that more than three quarters of a million Iraqis have been forced to flee Mosul since military operations started in October.
    The vast majority of the internally displaced are families with children and babies – groups that are especially vulnerable and would be most affected by aid shortages should international support wither. Nearly half of the urgently requested funds – US$ 60 million - is required to assist more than 100,000 newly displaced Iraqi families with emergency shelter in the camps, legal assistance to replace lost and missing documents, child protection, prevention of sexual and gender based violence, as well as to provide them with blankets, mattresses and other core relief items. UNHCR has so far established 12 camps in support of the overall efforts by the Iraqi authorities to provide shelter to currently 316,000 internally displaced Iraqis in relative proximity to Mosul.
    A further US$ 24 million is needed to assist and support Iraqi families returning to their homes. It is estimated that 125,000 internally displaced people have returned to their homes, many in east Mosul and on the outskirts of the city. Most of the returnees are living in damaged buildings and need shelter assistance as well as cash support. In areas of return, UNHCR and partners will provide material assistance, including emergency shelter and sealing-off kits to help returnees living in unfinished buildings, as well as essential protection services, including psycho-social support, replacement of missing and lost documents and protection monitoring.
    Lastly, US$ 42 million is required for on time procurement of shelter and aid materials for next winter. To cope with eventual drops in temperatures, UNHCR plans to assist 135,000 displaced and returnee families with a range of core winter items including blankets, fuel, jerry cans and heating stoves. This includes the provision of one-time cash assistance of US$ 150 per family to 100,000 IDP and returnee families to help them buy fuel to get through the winter.
    Since 2014, Iraq has suffered massive internal displacement. It is estimated that up to three million Iraqis are still internally displaced and another quarter of a million live as refugees in the neighbouring countries.

    Overall UNHCR protection and assistance programmes in Iraq amount to 578 million in 2017. These are currently 21 per cent funded which is a cause for concern halfway through the year.

    Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Rebel Hillary" went up last night.

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated:

  • Posted at 06:48 pm by thecommonills

    Saturday, April 08, 2017
    Back In The Day (Puff) (Erykah Badu)

    Back In The Day (Puff) (Erykah Badu)

    Erykah Badu performing her hit "Back In The Day (Puff)" (first appears on her album WORLDWIDE UNDERGROUND).

    Posted at 08:47 pm by thecommonills

    It's as if time stopped (Margaret Kimberley)

    Liberal: Wow, this is just terrible news Leftist: Yeah.. Because you're anti-war? Liberal: No, because Hillary should be doing the bombing
    It's very strange that there are so many liberals for whom Trump was the new Hitler only up until the moment he actually started killing.
    Impending Clash Between U.S. and Russia Ominous title but Mike Whitney is on the money.
    Margaret Kimberley Retweeted CounterPunch
    Great work by . A worthwhile read.
    Margaret Kimberley added,
    The Obama regime was a Potemkin village but Trump is Potemkin.
    Pink pussy hat folks, Trump may start WWIII. Will you march again? But democrats are on board with war. You'll be marching against them too.
    "Trump is a fascist! Impeach him! Oh wait, he risks WWIII? A great leader. Not fascist at all. That whole Putin thing? Forget I said that."
    New on : On Barbados, the First Black Slave Society by Sir Hilary Beckles

    Posted at 08:46 pm by thecommonills

    Stop the wars. Take our money back from the 1% (Ajamu Baraka)

    Had a great time at New Jersey Green Party convention. Clear politics and serious people. Thanks for inviting me.
    Stop the wars. Take our money back from the 1% let them and their children fight wars to maintain their privilege.
    Its interesting. Many condemned Trump for his dictatorial style. But now they are silent on his arbitrary war making.
    Guess who are raising constitutional and political questions regarding U.S. attack on Syria? Democrats? No the far right. Demos are sad.
    Where did U.S. right to be the world's policemen come from? Answer: the arrogant, white supremacist idea that U.S. is the exceptional nation
    Many thought Trump would push an infrastructure bill to build public support. But trump understands the American people and choose war. USA!
    Two days after 50th anniversary of King's anti war speech war drums are beating again. U.S. has no moral right to wage war on Syria.
    We have launched this 21st right moment in history.

    Posted at 08:45 pm by thecommonills

    Where is the outrage? (Rania Khalek)

    CAIR basically endorses trump's airstrikes in Syria and calls for more they also lobbied for regime change in Libya
    Replying to 
    No one will shame me into not calling Arabs who support U.S. bombing of our countries what they are: shameless treacherous cowards.
    Replying to 
    Nothing in the whole world justifies an Arab supporting U.S. bombing of our countries, whichever side the bombing is happening on. Nothing.
    Residents near Syrian airbase hit by US say the base was instrumental in protecting them from ISIS
    Leith Abou Fadel Retweeted Rania Khalek
    Dafuq is wrong with these ignorant people. How disrespectful and disgusting to treat a woman like this.
    Leith Abou Fadel added,
    The Lebanese Communist Party released a statement condemning US aggression against Syria
    What A Fool Believes (Aretha Franklin)

    What A Fool Believes (Aretha Franklin)

    Aretha delivering the version of "What A Fool Believes."

    Posted at 08:42 pm by thecommonills

    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Friday, April 7, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, the partisan liars continue and let's learn to tell the difference between a partisan piece of crap and a peace activist.

    There's a chance peace will come, in your life please buy one
    There's a chance peace will come, in your life please buy one

    For sometimes when I am feeling as big as the land
    With the velvet hill in the small of my back
    And my hands are playing the sand
    And my feet are swimming in all of the waters
    All of the rivers are givers to the ocean
    According to plan, according to man

    Well sometimes when I am feeling so grand
    And I become the world
    And the world becomes a man
    And my song becomes a part of the river
    I cry out to keep me just the way I am
    According to plan, according to man
    According to plan, according to man
    According to plan, according to man
    According to plan, according to man
    According to plan
    -- "Peace Will Come (According to Plan)," written by Melanie Safka, first appears on her album LEFTOVER WINE

    There's a chance that peace will come . . . but not as long as people lie.

    Take this idiot, "Peace Is Active."

    Bush Said Iraq Would Welcome Us As Liberators... Many Lives Lost... Civil War We Sparked Bled Into Syria...



    Where's Barack on that list?

    I get that D Cheney smirk when I see orgs quote Dr. King today that said nothing during Obama's 8 years of bombings.

    If he hadn't overturned the 2010 Iraqi vote -- talk about foreign interference in an election -- Nouri al-Maliki wouldn't have gotten a second term and Iraq might not have witnessed the rise of the Islamic State.

    Where's Bill Clinton?

    Do a half million dead Iraqi children not matter?

    Or, like Madeline Albright (Bill's Secretary of State and Destruction), do you think killing them was "worth it"?

    There's a special in place for hell for Madeline Albright and plenty of spots for those who lie and cover for her as well.

    Where's Jimmy Carter?

    Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

    Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

    Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

    Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

    Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

    Brzezinski: Regret what?

    That's  Mika Brzezinski's dirty ass father Zbigniew Brzezinski who served as Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor.

    Peace will never come when whores and liars pretend the problem is Republicans.

    John Kerry voted for the Iraq War.  John Edwards voted for the Iraq War.  Joe Biden voted for the Iraq War.  Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War. 

    What do they hold in common?

    They're all Democrats for one thing.

    And they were all on presidential tickets after their votes for war.

    The 2004 Democratic presidential ticket was Kerry - Edwards (or John and John -- two toilets for twice the flushing).

    Joe Biden was the running mate on the 2008 and 2012 ticket.

    Hillary Clinton was the presidential candidate on the 2016 ticket.

    Before you start cheering on Barack Obama and Tim Kaine for not voting for the Iraq War, remember that neither was in the US Congress -- House or Senate -- in 2002.

    And add in that Barack told THE NEW YORK TIMES in 2004, during the national convention in Boston, that he didn't know how he would have voted had he been in the Senate.

    And yet someone claiming to want peace, is pimping the wars as the responsibility of the sole Republican Party?

    That's a lie. 

    And peace will never come while we continued to allow ourselves to be hijacked for partisan purposes.

    Grasp that in 2006, Democrats promised they would end the war in Iraq if they were given control of a house of Congress.

    At the time, they were in the minority in both houses.

    In those November elections, the American people gave them control of both houses.

    January 2007 saw that Congress sworn in.

    Did the Iraq War end?


    Did it end in 2008?


    Give us one house of Congress and we'll end the war . . . 

    A lie.

    Nancy Pelosi, elevated to Speaker of the House, tried to pin the blame on then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

    What a load of nonsense.

    She didn't say, "Give me both houses of Congress," she said one.

    They thought they had a chance at winning back the House.  That was the promise she was making.  So she expected the Senate would obstruct -- that it would be controlled by Republicans. 

    Instead, it ended up controlled by Democrats.

    And she whined -- the the editorial board of THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- that she only had control of the House herself so she couldn't end the war.

    What a lying sack of s**t.

    Shame on everyone who provides cover for politicians who start and/or continue illegal wars.

    Shame on those who use it as a partisan issue.

    This is about human life and you're lying to churn out the vote for a political party?

    That includes Peace Is Active who doesn't give a damn about peace -- check out the Twitter feed -- just about slamming Republicans and praising Democrats.

    You are the problem.

    You are the cause of continued war.

    Because you whore.

    I'm hoping Chris Hayes is just stupid.

    Remember: US re-involvement in Iraq started with humanitarian mission to save Yazidis from slaughter on Mt Sinjar.

    No, Chris, it didn't.

    You refused to report what happened but Tim Arango reported it, we've covered it here hundreds of times and, in your magazine THE NATION, Tom Hayden even wrote about Tim Arango's report.

    So are you stupid?  Are you lying? Or are you whoring?

    The drawdown (not withdrawal) was at the end of 2011.  The Yazidi 'rescue' began in 2014.

    Where's Barack sending special-ops into Iraq in 2012?  Oh, Chris ignores it.

    From November 7, 2012's "Let the fun begin (Ava and C.I.):"

     If you doubt that, September 26th, the New York Times' Tim Arango reported:

    Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.

    September 26th it was in print.

    Days later, October 3rd, Barack 'debated' Mitt RomneyAgain October 16thAgain October 22nd.
    Not once did the moderators ever raise the issue.

    If Barack's sitting before them and he's flat out lying to the American people, it's their job to ask.  They didn't do their job.  Nor did social menace Candy Crowley who was apparently dreaming of an all-you-can-eat buffet when Barack was babbling away before her about how he wouldn't allow more "troops in Iraq that would tie us down."  But that's exactly what he's currently negotiating.

    Maybe Candy Crowley missed the New York Times article?  Maybe she spends all her time pleasuring herself to her version of porn: Cooking With Paula Deen Magazine?

    That is possible.

    But she was only one of the three moderators.  Bob Schieffer and Jim Lehrer also moderated.  Of course, they didn't foolishly self-present as a fact checker in the midst of the debate  nor did they hit the publicity circuit before the debate to talk about how they were going to show how it was done.

    Poor Crowley, a heavy weight strutting into a non-competition will always look woefully misdressed.

    Barack lied and Americans will face that or not.

    Chris Hayes appears to indicate that America will not face that.

    Let's all hope he's wrong.

    Meanwhile . . .

    President Erdogan: It is not appropriate to raise the Kurdistan flag alongside the Iraqi flag.

    Must be wonderful to be Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey, so few problems that you can stick your nose into other countries' business and do so over issues like whether or not they should raise a flag.

    What's that?

    Erdogan's Turkey has thousands of problems -- most of them stemming from Erdogan.

    And when he's out of office, he will be seen as a butcher for all the civilians he's killed in his so-called efforts to bomb the PKK.  (He's killing Kurds.  He knows it.  The Kurds know it.  He's thinning out the population.  His policies in Turkey are the same only less obviously violent.)

    Repeating, when he's out of office, he will be seen as the butcher he is.

    And he can shut down every last TV channel, newspaper and blog in Turkey and he still won't be able to silence that truth.


    Meanwhile it's day 171 of The Mosul Slog.  

    How's that going?

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees offers this:

    314,268 Iraqis currently internally displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since military operations to retake the city began on 17 October 2016
    37,455 core relief item (CRIs) kits distributed to families in camps, assisting some 224,000 IDPs from Mosul and surrounding areas
    7,814 family plots currently occupied out of 12,497 family plots (for some 75,000 people) in UNHCR built camps ready to receive IDPs displaced from the Mosul corridor
    3 million IDPs since January 2014
    250,952 Iraqi refugees hosted in countries in the region, and 14,878 Iraqis received in Al Hol camp in Syria since 17 October 2016
    USD 578 million requested for IDPs and Iraqi refugees in the region in 2017

    And remember that this week, the civilians in Mosul were again instructed to remain in their homes.  There is no safe passage out.  But we can be sure that when the next civilian massacre gets attention we will suffer through members of the US Congress insisting it's all ISIS' fault.

    The war continues in Iraq, Trump's attacking Syria and the thing all the 'intelligent' people are doing?  Mocking Jared Kushner for wearing a flack jacket.

    No, your priorities aren't screwed up at all.  (That was sarcasm.)

    Tulsi Gabbard Retweeted Hawaii News Now
    While flying home to Hawaii, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard issues statement: Trump's air strikes on Syria are reckless and short-sighted. –Team Tulsi
    Tulsi Gabbard added,

    US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard is correct.

    By the way, the US State Dept will not have a press briefing today: "There will NOT be a Press Briefing today."  And they haven't held once since March 21st.  The State Dept press briefing is a daily event.  How sad that Donald Trump's people are too scared to face the press.  How sad, but how telling.

    So much to work on but so little willing to do the work.

    We don't need another war but, by all means, let's not focus on that or Iraq or anything that matters because we can be snotty about Jared!  (Snotty, not bitchy.  It's not mature enough to pass for bitchy.  It's the stuff of 3rd graders.)

    Who's for peace?

    That should be the question of the day.

    The following community sites updated:

  • Posted at 08:38 pm by thecommonills

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017
    Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne

    Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne

    I'm traveling in some vehicle
    I'm sitting in some cafe
    A defector from the petty wars
    That shell shock love away
    -- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

    This should be news covered by all outlets.

    Fort Hood soldier from Massachusetts dies in Iraq

    Instead, I see a lot of junk and, worse, opinion passed off as news all over the net.

    Another death.

    DATE: February 21, 2017 12:13:25 PM CST

    Death of a Fort Hood Soldier

    Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne

    Pfc. Brian P. Odiorne  
    FORT HOOD, Texas -- The Department of Defense announced Feb. 21 the death of a Fort Hood Soldier who died Feb. 20, in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.
    Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne, 21, whose home of record is listed as Ware, Massachusetts, entered active-duty military service in October 2015 as a cannon crewmember.
    He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas, since May 2016.
    Odiorne's awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Medal. He will be posthumously awarded the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal and Overseas Service Ribbon.
    Circumstances surrounding the incident are currently under investigation by Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.
    No further information will be released at this time to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigative process.

    For more information contact:
    Fort Hood Public Affairs Office
    (254) 287-9993
    (254) 287-0106
    1001 761st Tank Battalion Ave
    Suite W105
    Fort Hood, TX 76544

    The announcement comes on the same day that THE NEW YORK TIMES runs a letter from a LA reader whose comments include:

    Despite these principles, the armed forces of the United States and its allies have killed tens if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, a large number of them civilians, including women and children. And our country has suffered the death and injury of tens of thousands of our own sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives by waging this war in Iraq.
    But for what purpose? We know that there were no weapons of mass destruction threatening our peace and security. We had no plan to bring peace and security to Iraq and its neighbors. So yes, our soldiers and sailors are valiant and represent the best in our country, but I still do not know what we’re fighting for.

    Why is the US still in Iraq?

    Why didn't Barack end the war he promised to?

    These are questions we're apparently not supposed to be asking.

    Which is sad and strange -- because they are the questions that matter.

    They're just there to try and make the people free,
    But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
    Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
    That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
    And the war drags on.
    -- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

    The e-mail address for this site is

    Posted at 05:38 pm by thecommonills

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