The Common Ills

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

    Media Availability with Secretary Mattis and General Townsend in Baghdad, Iraq

    Media Availability with Secretary Mattis and General Townsend in Baghdad, Iraq

    [Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis hosts a joint press conference with U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, at Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq, Feb. 20, 2017. (DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)]

    SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JIM MATTIS:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

    General Townsend and I have been spending some time together here and -- and getting current on the political military situation as the Iraqi army continues to surge against the enemy on the west side of Mosul.  Despite the casualties they've taken, this is an army that's learned to fight in the middle of a real tough battle against our common enemy and the coalition commander, General Townsend, has briefed me up on the situation -- the current situation there today.

    I would just tell you that by, with and through our allies is the way this coalition is going against Daesh.  We're going to continue to go after them until we destroy them and any kind of belief in the inevitability of their message.  Their message is going to be proven to be false on the battlefield as well as how we deal with their mythology of somehow they are the brave new way.

    They're going to be shown to be at fault, they're going to be shown to be exactly what they are, which is a bunch of murderous relics, to put it bluntly.  So the Iraqi army is in the fight with the coalition supporting them with full support, and as we go through this fight, Daesh will not be over with.  We all know that.  There'll be more fights ahead, we'll stick together.  And as we look at the future, we're going to continue to stand by the Iraqi army, the Iraqi people, who are fighting this enemy.

    So at that point, I would just throw it open to your questions.  We learned a lot here and aligned ourselves politically and militarily for the current fight and the future.  So what's on your mind?  Go ahead.

    Q:  (Off mic)

    LIEUTENANT GENERAL STEPHEN TOWNSEND:  It is true that we're operating closer and -- and deeper into the Iraqi formation, so we adjusted our posture during the east Mosul fight and we embedded advisers a bit further down into the formation.  That is true.  I do not need -- I have all the authorities that I need to prosecute our fight and I'm confident if I need -- if I were to need more, that my leadership would provide those.

    Q:  For both of you also, as you look ahead to -- (inaudible) -- fight and the upcoming difficult fight in Raqqa, what do you see as the key (inaudible) and -- and -- (inaudible) -- to be able to -- (inaudible)?

    SEC. MATTIS:  We are going to prosecute this fight against Daesh, against ISIS, in the areas you mentioned and more areas than that, actually.  We'll accommodate any request from the field commanders.  Right now, our allies are carrying, as you can tell from the casualty list, the overwhelming burden of this fight in their own territory and we'll work by, with and through allies from the coalition.  And that coalition, as you know, has got more than 60 nations at varying levels.

    So we owe some degree of confidentiality on exactly how we're going to do that and the sequencing of that fight so that we don't expose to the enemy what it is we have in mind in terms of the -- the timing of the operations.  But you -- you summed up some of the issues that we'll be dealing with as we go forward and we'll be addressing each one of them, from intelligence, to tactics, to logistics as we sustain the fight going into this.

    Q:  You said -- you mentioned a number of things that you're looking at, but you have seven days left to provide your thirty-day review to the president.  Did you learn anything here that you could share with us -- (inaudible) -- what you're gonna -- (inaudible)?

    SEC. MATTIS:  I would -- what I specifically learned here is the resilience of this army.  Recognize it took casualties, it has reconstituted itself both equipment and personnel wise, and as you know, has already crossed the line of departure going against the enemy and west Mosul.  This is not something that was a forgone conclusion for an army that only a year ago, many people were questioning.

    And you can see the level of capability they've constituted in the middle of a war with the kind of operation that you're right now witnessing today underway.

    Q:  If I could ask General Townsend. What happens after Mosul? (off mic)

    GEN. TOWNSEND:  Jennifer -- it's good to see you again, by the way.  We rode together in Baghdad a couple times a few years ago.

    I don't anticipate that we'll be asked to leave by the government of Iraq immediately after Mosul.  I think that the government of Iraq realizes this is a very complex fight and they're gonna need the assistance of the coalition even beyond Mosul.

    Q:  (Off mic)

    GEN. TOWNSEND:  I wouldn't want to put a timeline on it.

    Q:  (Off mic)

    SEC. MATTIS:  Yeah, this is a partnership, Jennifer.  Your question is very appropriate because there's been a lot of rocky times out here.  But there is no doubt, from my discussions today, the Iraqi people, the Iraqi military and the Iraqi political leadership recognizes what they're up against and the value of the coalition and the partnership in particular with the United States which has been, as you know, developing very well in terms of this military's capability.

    So I imagine we'll be in this fight for a while and we'll stand by each other.

    Q:  (Off mic)

    SEC. MATTIS:  That's a political issue, an internal political issue right now what we've seen.  But there is only one country in the near proximity where the security forces actually protect the people when they're out protesting the government policies.

    And I say -- think that says a great deal about how this country has matured in a pretty difficult neighborhood, that their military is actually seen as a protector of people who protest at times against government policies.  That's what militaries are supposed to do under civilian control in a democracy.

    Q:  I have a version of the same question. In your meetings today, did you hear anything that made you confident that while the military’s successes-- (inaudible)and for you General Townsend, do you see (inaudible)?

    SEC. MATTIS:  Yeah, your -- both your questions are related because without political progress, you can't set the conditions institutionally, organizationally in a government that earns the people's respect, holds their aspirations close and actually allows a country to be resilient and resistant to this sort of threat.

    So, what we've seen here is actually I think a new =found understanding among the Iraqi people about what it means to be an Iraqi country against this kind of threat, how they have worked together.  You've seen the Peshmerga and the Iraqi security forces working together.  You've seen some of the militias working alongside them.  So there's -- there's something coming together here in terms of political and military maturation, I think, that shows exactly what you're talking about so we're not back here five years with that sort of a situation.

    At the same time, this is not a threat that's going to go away overnight, so it's going -- we all recognize that it's going to be a long-fought battle.

    You have anything to add to that?

    GEN. TOWNSEND:  Nothing to add, Mr. Secretary.

    SEC. MATTIS:  All right.  We'll take one last one, there you go.

    Q:  Thank you.  Thank you, sir -- (inaudible).

    I wanted to ask you about the advance  of Raqqa, in particular -- (inaudible) -- question about whether or not -- (inaudible)?

    SEC. MATTIS:  Yeah, we're still sorting it out.  The allies are working together.  They're sharing planning and that's ongoing right now, but the planning is still underway so there's not -- it's not been all decided on who's going to do what and where.  We're working together to sort it out.

    Q:  (Off mic)Can I ask you a personal question, Mr. Secretary? This is your first arrival as secretary of defense and you spent many years here as a combat commander. How do you feel returning here (inaudible)?

    SEC. MATTIS:  Yeah.  Well, coming back here after the years that we've fought alongside each other through good times and bad times, it's just a privilege to come back and look out the helicopter door and see what's going on down below, to see an Iraqi military that can fight as truly valiantly as this one has considering the situation they faced as -- as ISIS rose to occupy much of their country and to see that in spite of the casualties, it's not only held together, it's come back stronger and is now winning.

    It's now freeing up and I'll have the general say how much they've freed up in terms of area, but he's got better awareness of that.  But look at what the map looked like eight months ago where ISIS was, where they are today and the attack that's underway here.  It's very heartening to come back at this point in my new capacity.

    Steve, if you want to just talk about some of the progress that this army's made during this time which gives more than just my words, it gives objective data for why I would be heartened by it.  Steve?

    GEN. TOWNSEND:  I think the secretary alluded to it a couple of questions ago when he talked about where this army has come over the last year.

    If you look back just a little over two years ago, this army was broken and defeated and barely able to hold their capital when they asked the coalition, the world for assistance.  That army has done this remarkable turnaround in just two years and now they're running a multi-divisional operation involving 40,000 or 50,000 Iraqi security forces up around Mosul 400 kilometers from their capital and their logistics base.

    It is an incredible turnaround.  They've liberated approaching half of their lost territory and they're -- they're about to liberate their second-largest city, the largest population city center held by ISIS anywhere in the world.

    The Iraqi security forces are going to take that city back, no doubt about it.  I think that's a remarkable achievement and it just -- some examples of what the secretary is talking about what the Iraqi security forces have done.

    SEC. MATTIS:  Well done, Steve.  Thanks very much.

    Thanks, everybody.

    Posted at 05:38 pm by thecommonills

    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017.  Illusions fall away.

    Let's start with useless.

    Those that tell me not to tweet politics because I'm an uninformed celebrity are the same people that voted for... an uninformed celebrity.

    Actually, no.

    Alyssa, I'm telling you not to Tweet politics.  And I didn't vote for Donald Trump.

    I'm telling you it because you have (a) a herd mentality and (b) you are so woefully uninformed.

    Calling you "ignorant" would be generous.

    You've never done the work required.  And, Alyssa, I know you.

    You have every right to Tweet about anything you want -- we all can weigh in.

    But for your own image, I'd urge you to find something else to Tweet about.

    You're a misguided and misinformed stooge whose Tweets are reactionary and back up war while you're not even aware of it.

    From a professional point of view, it's not smart to take money from Atkins and to offer Tweets that insult a good portion of the American people but your people have already told you that.  (Atkins is also considering parting ways with you at the end of your current arangement.)  They hired you to popularize their product.  That's why a lot of us don't do advertising -- it's whoring.

    But you wanted to keep you name out in front of your public -- such as it is -- and so you agreed.  But you're not living up to the bargain, are you?

    However, my concern is your deep stupidity and lack of curiosity which leads you to accept simplistic pronouncements that encourage violence and war.

    Simplistic pronouncements.

    I was having a debate with a friend last night on the phone that turned into an argument.

    She's an actress who can't stop her nonsense Tweets about Donald Trump being evil and the Democrats being salvation.

    Is Donald Trump evil?

    He may or may not be.  Time will tell.

    Are Democrats the salvation?


    And she was raised in a Socialist family.

    And we both used to listen to Gore Vidal go on (constantly) about the boiled frog.

    Gore was right.

    The Democrats are not the answer.

    Could they be?

    Maybe if they were pushed.

    Susan Sarandon's pushing them.  Which is why hacks like Debra Messing get so angry.

    Everyone should be pushing them.

    No, you don't have a right to our votes.

    You earn them.

    And if the Democratic Party wants our votes, it damn well better try to earn those votes.

    The country doesn't need pretty words, it needs action.

    It needs jobs.

    Real jobs.

    If all your money goes to rent and food, you're not making a living and we need to stop kidding otherwise.

    Alyssa, my friend and I live very fortunate lives.

    We need to be aware that many others are not so fortunate.

    These are the people the Democratic Party has abandoned -- a party that can't even publicly mention the poor, a party that should have declared one of their so-called wars on the issue of the homeless long ago.  If 10% of what's been spent on the 'war on drugs' in any year was spent on addressing the homeless, the people would be better off.

    The Democratic Party has joined the corporations in fleecing the American people.

    That's not going to turn out any votes.

    And Alyssa and others can tell themselves they're so damn superior to Trump or whomever because they say the right things but words don't keep a roof over your head or food on your table (unless you're a paid writer).

    The Democrats need to be pressed to earn votes.

    They don't need to be defended.

    They have lined their pockets with corporate donations.  Nancy Pelosi is a lousy leader but gets to hold on (for now) because she brings in so much corporate cash to each election cycle.

    The party's entirely about greed.

    I doubt that will change.

    But you can pressure them to make concessions to We The People.

    And you don't do that by castigating Susan Sarandon.

    You do that by saying more people are going to walk -- like Susan -- if you don't start addressing the basic needs, the reason political parties exist, which is jobs.  You're going to keep losing if you can't defend the safety net -- which needs to be increased, not gutted.

    Alyssa's very good at fingering pointing at others.  She's just not very good at introspection  -- true of far too many.

    From Danny Haiphong's "Trump's Foreign Policy: Continuity or Break?" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT):

    Some on the left political spectrum in the US are suspicious of Trump's foreign policy, and for good reason. US imperialism's war agenda is non-negotiable. Trump's status as a billionaire champion of American (white) exceptionalism does not necessarily breed confidence in Trump’s rhetorical gestures to scale back key points in US foreign policy. His Administration should be resisted at every turn for current and future war provocations against Iran and China. His Administration should be held accountable for the deaths of thirty people in Yemen during the late January Commando raid just as Obama's Administration should have been held accountable for killing thousands of people in Yemen, Pakistan, and Afghanistan by drone strike over the course of eight years. 
    But the anti-war movement died the day Obama was elected, leaving the contradictions that were brought to the fore throughout the Presidential electoral cycle unaddressed. One does not have to support Trump or refrain from struggle against the GOP to recognize that Trump's rhetorical gestures against regime change in the Middle East and Russia came from somewhere. These statements are the product of a rapidly changing world. In this world, the US can no longer call itself the only most influential or dominant global power. Russia's geopolitical significance, China's unprecedented economic growth, and the stagnation of the US economy have forever changed the international order of things.

    How's that Iraq War that Saint Barack didn't end going?

    W.J. Hennigan and Nabih Bulos (LOS ANGELES TIMES) report:

    U.S. military advisors are now fighting alongside Iraqi forces near the front lines against Islamic State, a sign of President Trump's willingness to grant more latitude to American commanders than they've had since Iraq’s ground war against the militants was launched more than two years ago.
    The Trump administration has not yet granted new authorities, but has loosened the reins for U.S. generals running the war, allowing hundreds of U.S. troops to join advancing Iraqi forces as they embark on their most complex mission to date: liberating Mosul, their second largest city. 

    Thank you, Cult of St. Barack.

    When he sent US troops in back in 2012, you said nothing.

    Let me spoon feed you:

    There's the fact that Barack sent a brigade of Special-Ops in during the fall of 2012. Tim Arango (New York Times) 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." 

    That was reported right before the 2012 presidential debates.

    But no one 'moderator' brought it up.

    And in 2014, when Barack sent in 'advisors' and 'trainers,' people were only slightly more vocal.

    Where were you, Alyssa?

    This didn't happen overnight.

    And those of us who have been covering it have long noted that US troops have been in combat from day one.

    As the then-Secretary of Defense noted, dropping bombs from planes is also combat.

    And the US government had bombed Iraq daily since August 2014.

    Again, where have you been?

    Off with The Cult of St. Barack?

    Hands off the man, flim flam man
    His mind is up his sleeve and his talk is make believe
    Oh, Lord, the man's a fraud, 
    He's a flim flam man
    He's so cage, he's a flim flam man
    Hands off the man, flim flam man
    He's the one in the Trojan horse making out like he's Santa Claus

    "Hands Off The Man" (also known as "The Flim Flam Man") was written by Laura Nyro and she performed it on her debut album MORE THAN A NEW DISCOVERY (now known as THE FIRST SONGS).  It was covered by many including Peggy Lipton.

    Peggy covered many of Laura's songs (they were friends from before Peggy did THE MOD SQUAD) and let's note "Stoney End" because no one did a better cover of that than Peggy.

    "Now I don't believe I want to see the morning" -- indeed.

    Of the US troops fighting in Iraq, Dan Lamothe (WASHINGTON POST) notes:

    Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said that the advisers, numbering about 450, are “operating closer and deeper into Iraqi formations” as a new assault on western Mosul gets underway. U.S. commanders made the adjustment during the fight for the eastern side of the city, which began in October and ended last month, and the deployment has continued with the attempt, beginning Sunday, to capture western Mosul, Townsend said.

    It marks the first time the U.S. military has acknowledged how close American service members are to the front lines as it assists what Townsend characterized as a force of more than 40,000 Iraqi police officers and soldiers fighting to retake Mosul. The battle for the western half of the northern Iraqi city is likely to stretch for months in urban neighborhoods where up to 1,000 militants are believed to be entrenched, U.S. military officials said.

    It's day 127 of The Mosul Slog, the operation to liberate or 'liberate' Mosul from the Islamic State -- the operation that only began in October (despite the Islamic State seizing Mosul in June of 2014).

    Only 180 more days, the Defense Dept has insisted.  Apparently they have based that judgment on the fact that deploying US troops into combat (officially) can accomplish that.  (Of course, they've been wrong before.

    Making official what's been happening all along may be one of the reason for US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis' trip to Baghdad.


    That's him yesterday, meeting with Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi.

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated:

    Posted at 05:36 pm by thecommonills

    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Monday, February 20, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, the US Defense Secretary visits Iraq, and much more.

    US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is in Baghdad.

    "We're not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil." - US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis distances himself from Pres. Trump's media bashing:

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis: No plan to seize Iraqi

    U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says there's no plan to seize Iraq's oil

    We'll have a full report tonight on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visit to Baghdad on

    US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis lands in Baghdad on unannounced trip

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis just landed in Baghdad; will meet commanders and Iraqi leaders for update.

    Mattis visit comes days after meeting with Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani.

    Of that meet-up, the US Defense Dept noted:

     WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2017 — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani in Munich yesterday, a Defense Department spokesperson said in a statement.
    The two men affirmed their commitment to their partnership to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the statement said, and they discussed the latest developments in the Mosul operation and the key role Peshmerga forces have played in the counter-ISIS fight.
    Mattis and Barzani both noted the important military cooperation between the government of Iraq and the KRG, the statement said. They agreed battlefield success over the past year was made possible by strong cooperation between the government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government and the United States.

    Donald Trump has not said he would seize Iraq's oil.

    But the press loves to act as though he did.

    It's actually great when they repeat it.

    They remind the world that wars are about resources.

    Even better would be if they'd explain how Iraq's oil has been seized by the IMF and the World Bank.

    But that would require actual reporting.

    Fortunately, Iraqis who listen to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani are aware of what took place, even if the western media blacks it out.

    While Mattis is in Baghdad, US Vice President Mike Pence recently met with Iraq's prime minister Hayder al-Abadi.

    Personally thanked Iraqi PM for sacrifices in shared fight against ISIS & discussed long-term partnership.

    Posted at 05:22 pm by thecommonills

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