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The Common Ills


Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Iraq snapshot

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, October 28, 2014. Chaos and violence continue, the murder of civilians in Falluja continue, the State Dept gets asked about the empty words, Erik Prince tries to rewrite history, and much more.



Erik Prince is back in the news but all those who had "glory hole scandal" haven't won -- yet.  No, Prince has a book and is busy promoting it.  Justine Drennan (Foriegn Policy) reports:


In his book Civilian Warriors, as well as in a relatively rare interview ahead of its paperback release Tuesday, Prince vehemently rejected such claims and argued that Blackwater was scapegoated by vindictive Democrats and a State Department and Pentagon that couldn't come to terms with the government's growing dependence on private contractors. "I'm no hero. The world knows all too well about my mistakes. But I was never meant to play the villain," he wrote in his book. "Seeing the company I'd built torn down for no reason was almost too much to bear." 



Really?


Democrats kicked his Blackwater out of Iraq?


The State Dept and the Pentagon sued his mercenary company Blackwater?


He doesn't own Blackwater anymore.


He sold it to escape legal culpability.


Now he attempts to escape reality.


Ali Abbas Mahmoud can't escape the reality of what Blackwater did back in September of 2007.  Last week, Ali Abbas Mahmoud spoke about it to Jonathan S. Landay (McClatchy Newspapers) following the convictions of four men who had worked for Blackwater and took part in the attack:

One of the dead boys was Mahmoud’s 11-year-old nephew, Qasim Muhammad Abbas. Qasim’s father, Muhammad Abbas Mahmoud – Ali Abbas Mahmoud’s elder brother – also died. The boy’s mother was wounded.

The family was sitting inside a pickup when the shooting broke out. Members of Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority, they were hauling furniture to a new home in a Shiite neighborhood after tensions with minority Sunni Muslims forced them to leave their old house.
Ali Abbas Mahmoud, a 52-year-old Ministry of Housing employee who agreed to speak by telephone but refused a face-to-face interview, said he’d never forget how his sister-in-law, frantic with grief and terror, called him as she sat bleeding inside the pickup.
“She made me hysterical when she called me and told me that my brother had just been killed,” he recounted. “She was in the vehicle. She screamed, ‘They slaughtered your brother and they slaughtered your nephew and I’m injured.’ She made me as hysterical as she was.”

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/10/23/244476/in-iraq-blackwater-verdict-provides.html?sp=/99/117/416/103/#storylink=cpy







Is Ali Abbas Mahmoud a Democrat?


A Pentagon official?

A State Dept official?

No, he's an Iraqi citizen.



Erik Prince is very good about rewriting history.  Some day, the pool may pay off and he may get busted on his knees in a truck stop men's room -- at which point, he'll try to rewrite that as well.


But all the revisions don't change the fact that his company killed innocent Iraqis.


His company was out of control.


It was out of control because that's the way he wanted it.


There was no training on the need to avoid wounding or killing civilians.


Iraqis, the same people who do not matter to him today, did not matter to him when he ran Blackwater and the actions of his employees reflected that.




At the Pentagon today, spokesperson Rear Adm John Kirby declared, "While we recognize that a major Iraqi offensive against ISIL may still be a ways off, these are encouraging reports that highlight Iraq's determination to take the fight to ISIL."


They continue to spin the inability of the Iraqi military to do its job as 'good news.'


But every day that the Iraqi army fails to do its job, more US taxpayer dollars are thrown away in Iraq, "millions a day," Kirbay declared today.


And the tab for the latest wave of the never-ending Iraq War just keeps growing.



Q: On ISIS. Does the department anticipate forwarding a request for additional money to Congress for 2015 for the ISIS fight?


REAR ADM. KIRBY: I think you've heard [Defense] Secretary [Chuck] Hagel and the chairman [of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsy] talk about this. I think certainly there's going to have to be some considerations going forward, but I wouldn't get ahead of specific budget moves that haven't been made yet.

I think, you know, we've gone to the Hill, we've testified to the operations, and again, Secretary Hagel has been very clear that certainly considerations for added funding are going to have to be part of the calculus going forward. But we're just not in a position right now where we can detail what that would look like, what form it would be, how much it would be, that kind of thing.


Going to nail down the cost someday soon, huh?  Like they nailed down what was happening in Iraq?

The administration failed to heed warning, failed to listen to intelligence, failed to use common sense and was completely surprised this summer to discover the Islamic State in Iraq.


Tonight PBS' Frontline examined the Islamic State and how they came to be major players in Iraq.  Michael Iskikoff (Yahoo News) recaps:



The film, reported by correspondent Martin Smith, offers a richly detailed account of how the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki alienated the country’s disenfranchised Sunni population, making reckless accusations of terrorism against Sunni leaders — including the country’s Vice Prime Minister Tariq al-Hashimi. Those allegations flatly denied by al-Hashimi on camera — were based on the testimony of bodyguards who, it is strongly suggested, were tortured.

With little pressure or engagement from Washington, al-Maliki’s anti-Sunni agenda driven by his  “paranoia,” as one of Smith’s interlocutors says — paved the way for ISIS radicals to march through huge swaths of Iraqi territory this spring, seizing arsenals of U.S.-made weapons from a collapsing Iraqi army. This, of course, was the same army that the U.S. spent billions arming and training. In fact, terrorism expert Ken Katzman suggests in the film, they were a phantom led by do-nothing officers.


Nouri was only in office, in his first term as prime minister, for a few months when we noted in 2006 his paranoia which the US government thought (at that time) would make him more "manageable" (as the CIA analysis termed it).  By the time WikiLeaks was publishing the State Dept cables in 2010, the US government's knowledge of Nouri's paranoia was on full display for anyone who wanted to see.

Yet the White House, Barack's White House, continued to support Nouri.

They demanded he get a second term as prime minister even though he lost the 2010 elections.

To get around the voters and the election results, the US brokered The Erbil Agreement, a legal contract singed by the political leaders -- including Nouri al-Maliki -- which gave Nouri a second term in exchange for Nouri making promises -- legal ones -- as well.  But Nouri used the contract to get his second term and then refused to honor it.

As Rafi al-Essawi told Frontline, "All the commitments that Maliki gave to the politicians in what’s called the Erbil Agreement -- that’s the agreement that formed the government at that time -- nothing from that agreement was fulfilled or implemented."

The US government swore The Erbil Agreement was legally binding and had the full backing of the US government.  When Ayad Allawi walked out of Parliament following the signing of the agreement -- and Nouri announcing he couldn't implement it immediately -- US President Barack Obama personally spoke to Allawi on the phone to get him to drop the boycott and return to Parliament.

But when it became obvious, months and months later, that Nouri was never going to honor his part of The Erbil Agreement, the White House said nothing.

They said nothing.

And they did nothing.

And things got worse and worse.

At Frontline, Priyanka Boghani gathers various comments from four Sunni officials reflecting on how Nouri targeted the Sunni community.  We'll not the Minister of Finance Rafi al-Essawi.

RAFI AL-ESSAWI: The environment was really very, very poisoned because of the behavior of Maliki and the government. And everyone, Shiites and politicians, advised Maliki that this is not the way of dealing with Sunnis.
There was no direct relationship at all between the demonstrations and tribes from outside and Al Qaeda on the outside. People got very upset, very angry about the government’s behavior and the Iraqi army’s behavior. … The people started to look at the army as an enemy rather than as a national army.
Everyone participated in the demonstrations, every Sunni. I can say every Sunni, not as a person, but as groups, because everyone felt that they were either not represented in the new Iraq or felt that they didn’t receive a just trial.
No one thought that the Iraqi army could attack demonstrators in Hawija. They were demonstrating for months at a time, peaceful, calling for their rights.

So when they brought their tanks, heavy army vehicles, and SWAT teams, the security forces of the ministry of interior attacked. They killed the people in a very criminal model. This added to the upset of the people. This was not their government. And the people who killed them, these were not Iraqi army personnel. These were militias who were killing them.


And the White House continued to back Nouri.

For four long years, throughout his second term, they allowed him to break the legal contract they brokered and they allowed him to target the Sunni population.  They looked the other way until the spring of this year when they finally pulled support for the US-installed puppet.

Nouri was using the security forces to violently attack protesters -- wound them, kill them.  And the US government looked the other way.



RAFI AL-ESSAWI: [For Sunni people] participation in the political process ended in nothing. Demonstration ended in nothing. Asking the government constitutionally to change their province into region was not accepted. They started to be convinced that there is no benefit of constitutional solutions.
So the government pushed and squeezed people towards supporting the terrorists. And I can’t say that it is — again, it is not direct support. It is only creating an environment — and this was a very fatal mistake of the government.
When ISIS came as defenders of Sunnis, we knew that they were criminals, that they were not Sunni defenders. When they presented themselves, people said, “Well, it may be possible to save us from the government, from the army which is not a professional national army, but one that killed and arrested Sunnis.” That is why people in these provinces stayed silent. They are not supporting ISIS. They are not opposing ISIS.
No one wants to fight against ISIS now, [because they would] appear to be pro-Maliki or supporting the militia that is killing Sunnis in Baghdad. You see, when [Sunnis] fight ISIS, people would blame them for fighting Sunnis who are protecting you, while no one is fighting Shia militias that are killing our brothers, Sunnis in Diyala.
If the government came to the Sunnis now to fulfill their requirements, the rights of the Sunnis, no one would accept ISIS. By the way, even now, despite being very upset against the government, Sunnis are not accepting ISIS.

To me, at the end of the day, it is the Sunnis who will defeat ISIS, exactly like in 2007 and ’08 when the Sunnis made the decision of fighting Al Qaeda.


The administration continues to spin.

But things don't always go there way.  Even the press doesn't always cooperate.

At today's US State Dept press briefing, spokesperson Jen Psaki faced some questions from Al Quds' Said Arikat.


QUESTION: Can I ask a question on Iraq?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Before Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was sworn in, I remember Brett McGurk, your colleague, had a hearing on the Capitol Hill.

MS. PSAKI: He’s above me in the food chain, but keep going. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Okay. Yeah, he told senators that, quote/unquote, “it was unacceptable” for Baghdad to stop sending the revenue share of the Kurdistan region. He said it was unacceptable. But months have passed since he made that statement, and the Kurds don’t receive their budget yet from Baghdad. I mean, one could wonder whether the United States has done anything concrete to make sure that that decision by Baghdad would be reversed, or you just made that promise in order to make sure that you had a government in place to fight ISIS?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I would completely disagree with the premise of your question, which I’m sure you’re not surprised by. This is an issue we have raised many times publicly. It comes up in meetings that we have on the ground. And our position hasn’t changed on this; we’re continuing to press on that. But obviously, it’s up to the officials on the ground to make progress.

QUESTION: But why hasn’t Baghdad done anything? Is Baghdad not willing to listen to what you are telling them?

MS. PSAKI: I think, obviously, there are a range of steps that the central government is working to implement. I’d point you to them for more answers on that question.

QUESTION: Considering that this is 17 percent of the budget, why, in your opinion, is the Baghdad government withholding all that for so many months?


MS. PSAKI: Said, you’re familiar with the history here. I would point you to the government there. I don’t have any more analysis for you.




As noted in yesterday's snapshot:


Barack spent the summer insisting that Iraq required a political solution.  His point then was that the second term of Nouri had left the Sunnis 'estranged' from their own government and that a new government needed to demonstrate it was inclusive.  Iraq has a new prime minister today, Haider al-Abadi, but where is the progress on the political?
Nouri should have put through a 2014 budget no later than September 30, 2013.  That's because the 2014 Fiscal Year kicked off October 1, 2013.
Fiscal Year 2015 kicked off at the start of this month.
Guess what?
Iraq still has no 2014 budget.
Yes, al-Abadi's only been prime minister for a short time but he's been prime minister long enough to push through a budget.  Certainly he could have done that if the US government had made helping him on that a focus.  But they didn't.



There's been no real work on any political solution for Iraq, not by the US government.

They've instead poured all their time and energy to get other countries to agree to bomb Iraq.

That's the military procedure Barack once declared wasn't a solution.


Let's go back to what Said said today at the State Dept:

Okay. Yeah, he told senators that, quote/unquote, “it was unacceptable” for Baghdad to stop sending the revenue share of the Kurdistan region. He said it was unacceptable. But months have passed since he made that statement, and the Kurds don’t receive their budget yet from Baghdad. I mean, one could wonder whether the United States has done anything concrete to make sure that that decision by Baghdad would be reversed, or you just made that promise in order to make sure that you had a government in place to fight ISIS?



Yeah, it does appear that the White House "just made that promise in order to make sure that you had a government in place to fight ISIS."



They do nothing to help the Iraqi people

September 13th, Haider al-Abadi declared an end to the ongoing War Crimes of bombing civilians in Falluja as payback, Collective Punishment, for what the Islamic State has done.  NINA notes Falluja General Hospital today recieved the corpses of 7 civilians and treated 14 people injured from these ongoing bombings -- these bombings that the new prime minister declared an end to but yet they continue.

Because the forces aren't listening to the new prime minister.

And the White House doesn't give a damn.

The same White House that did nothing while Nouri targeted Sunnis from 2010 to this year wants to pretend they're 'helping' but they're not, they refuse to.  They do nothing but add to the violence.


So it's no surprise that Middle East Monitor reports:


A prominent member of Al-Ahrar (Freedom) parliamentary bloc of Al-Sadr movement, led by Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, said today that his bloc is determined to end the presence of American advisors in more than one Iraqi province. He pointed out that his bloc would take all necessary measures to end what he called "the new American occupation".
In a statement to a reporter from Anadolu Agency, Mithaq Al-Mozani said: "No legal cover justifies the presence of US advisors in Iraq and their presence is part of a plan for occupation different to the 2003 occupation."

And that was before news broke about US efforts to establish a new base in Iraq.  National Iraqi News Agency reports:

On the news of the establishment of a US military base along the lines of the Turkish Incirlik base, in the Kurdistan region, the spokesman for the provincial government, said that "in this regard the talks are continuing," but he also said, "they did not take a final decision in this regard yet.
It was a high-ranking source in the government of the Kurdistan Region, recently revealed talks by the regional government on using the al-Harir / silk / airport located within Erbil province near Iraq's eastern and northern borders as a military base for US forces in the framework of the international coalition operations to fight the IS in Iraq.



Asked about the base at today's Pentagon press briefing, John Kirby played dumb.


Q: Some reports from the Iraqi Kurdish region of -- particularly Iraq Kurdistan region, say that the U.S. is going to establish a military base in Irbil. Can you confirm this, Admiral?


REAR ADM. KIRBY: I don't have anything for you on that today? Sorry.



 We continue to see that these combined targeting efforts are disrupting ISIL and forcing them to consider changes -- more changes in their tactics to try to avoid being targeted.












  
mcclatchy newspapers 




pbs
frontline

Posted at 10:16 pm by thecommonills
 

The Whines of Uninformed or Hypocritcal Men

The Whines of Uninformed or Hypocritcal Men

In yesterday's snapshot, I called out Murtaza Hussain and the sexism at The Intercept which allowed today's US military -- including those who died serving in Iraq and Afghanistan -- to be portrayed as male only.  I noted:


And it's why the Intercept is such a lame venture.
It's a bunch of   sexist jerks like Murtaza Hussain, Glenn Greenwald (if his sexism is news to you, where have you been the last decade), Jeremy Scahill and so many others.
And when you hire sexists, you get garbage like what Hussain's offering, garbage that renders the US female service members who've fought in the ongoing Iraq War -- and who've died in it -- invisible.
It is a complete, 100% tragedy that Sean Neal is dead.  It is a huge loss.  But Hussain makes an ass out of himself by reducing it to "men."
If the Intercept wants to have any future at all -- most likely it doesn't, Libertarians online have long been sexist -- it's going to have to accept the fact that half the world is female.
Shame on all the useless jerks (Dan Froomkin, that means you) who have treated Hussain's sexist rambles as manna from heaven.  Shame on you.
Last May, The Daily Beast offered Kate Hoit's "The Names You Don't Hear: Nearly 200 Women Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan."  Froomkin, who has made time to attack female artists, didn't really have time to give props to Hoit for that piece.
Too bad.  The sexism needs to end and it needs to end now.
It is insulting to the women who have served -- and to the memory of the women who died -- to write such sexist nonsense as Hussain did.  Hussain, The Intercept and every man who Tweeted that article without pointing its fatal and sexist flaw should issue an apology -- but they won't.  The day will come when sexists are shunned in the same way that racists are.  That day is in the future.  When it does come, history will not be kind to the many men -- including those at Intercept -- who regularly engaged in sexism -- history will not be kind, nor should it be.



An e-mail from a knuckle dragger who addresses me as "little girl" throughout wants to insist that "like most feminists, you don't know the first thing you're talking about.  No women died serving in Iraq because the US military didn't send any women to Iraq, not even nurses this go round.  And, little girl, you need to stop confusing G.I. Jane and Demi Moore with the real world.  There are no women in the Marines.  Never will be.  I will never cease to be amazed by how many stupid people show off their ignorance online."

Nor will I, Knuckle Dragger, nor will I.

In yesterday's snapshot, I noted the October death of Sean Neal and the presumed death of Jordan Spears and pointed out:

I have no idea about Sean Neal's unit, but the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Jordan Spears' unit, there are women in that unit -- I know that would shock Murtaza Hussain -- there are several women who are part of the current deployment of that unit.


Knuckle Draggers wants me to know that there are no women in the Marines, let alone in the unit Spears served in.

Well, goodness, if little old me doesn't feel embarrassed now.

Lying yesterday about women being Marines, let alone in Sparks unit.




I guess I just need to pack it in, having shamed myself with such lies, right?




Wait.

What are those photos?

Oh, yeah, those are photos you can find of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit at their Facebook page.  (Here for the first one, here for the second.)

Oh, so I wasn't wrong?

So women are in the Marines and, specifically, they are in the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Those don't look like publicity stills from Demi's GI Jane film, so sorry, Knuckle Dragger.

Now we can't expect much from an idiot who e-mails what he thinks -- including his stupid and idiotic belief that no women have died serving in Iraq or Afghanistan -- and he shared this in response to yesterday's snapshot despite the fact that  it noted Kate Hoit's "The Names You Don't Hear: Nearly 200 Women Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan."  Maybe links are too hard for him?

Men like that idiot believe crap like the nonsense that was written published by The Intercept.

We all suffer from sexism.  It's not cute, it's not sexy and it's really damaging.

As Knuckle Dragger pointed out, so many people flaunt their ignorance online.  How sad that it's especially true of The Intercept -- supposed 'new media' that's taking old media's discrimination into a new technology.

In other stupidity, State of Law MP Abbas al-Bayati is whining that the budget has not been passed in Iraq, the 2014 budget.

He's concerned.

Now we express concern about that all the time, most recently in yesterday's snapshot.

But the difference here?

We've been calling out that failure to the 2014 budget for months and months now.

al-Bayati never said "boo" while Nouri al-Maliki was prime minister.  The budget should have been submitted and passed October 1, 2013.  Nouri was prime minister.  Through July of this year, Nouri's been prime minister.

Never a word when Nouri, who heads al-Bayati's State of Law, was prime minister.

But now that a non-State of Law (though still Shi'ite and still Dawa) is prime minister?  Now that it's Haider al-Abadi?

Suddenly, State of Law al-Bayati's concerned about the fact that the 2014 budget still hasn't passed.

The following community sites -- plus Susan's On the Edge and Jody Watley --  updated:
















  • The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.


    iraq






    iraq



    Posted at 01:25 pm by thecommonills
     

    Monday, October 27, 2014
    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Monday, October 27, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Iraq still has no budget, but the cost of US President Barack Obama's 'plan' continues to increase, we note Sean P. Neal and Jordan L. Spears who died in Barack's operation this month, we note the sexism -- the ingrained sexism -- of The Intercept, and much more.


    Let's start with inflation.  Sky News notes that the US Defense Dept stated previously that the Iraq and Syria air strikes were costing "more than $7 million" per day but now the cost has risen to $8.3 million per day.  US President Barack Obama still has no actual plan -- supposedly, it will be proposed after the US-midterm elections -- but he's spending US tax dollars freely in his non-stop bombings.

    Non-stop bombings that aren't accomplishing anything, non-stop bombings that even the Pentagon notes has led the Islamic State to both adapt and anticipate.   The 'plan' is a failure.  Ali Mamouri (Al-Monitor) notes:

    Since Oct. 13, IS has moved on Baghdad from the northern and western sides. At the same time, it relies on the southern and sympathizing areas where large Sunni segments reside. The group has recently dominated most parts of Anbar province, and still retains many areas in the provinces of Diyala and Salahuddin, north and east of Baghdad. It killed Anbar police chief Maj. Gen. Ahmed Saddak al-Dulaimi on Oct.12, upon whom the government relied to control the province, given his tribal affiliation with the area and his long military experience and harsh manner in dealing with terrorists.

    August 8th.

    That's when Barack's 'plan' was implemented.  In 12 days, Barack's 'plan' will have been carried out for three months and there's so little to show for it.

    Earlier this month on Meet The Press, administration liar Susan Rice declared that rescuing the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar had been a success.

    But (a) the rescued were rescued by the Kurdish Peshmerga and (b) as the world learned last week, the 'rescue' did not rescue all the Yazidis.  At least 700 families are said to remain trapped on Mount Sinjar.


    Where are the successes in Barack's 'plan'?

    The White House struggles to find them, the State Dept as well.

    Yet Barack continues his (failed) open-ended war, wasting millions of US tax payer dollars despite the fact that he, as a US Senator, attacked Bully Boy Bush for his failure to clearly present an economic price tag on the Iraq War.  Now that he occupies the White House, he's fine with using the US Treasury as his personal ATM to fund the illegal war.

    Where are the questions, where are the demands on Barack?

    Maybe more will be made after tomorrow night's broadcast of Frontline?  The PBS program examines the rise of the Islamic State in the episode most PBS stations will be broadcasting Tuesday night.

    It'll be a surprise to so many -- and a number of whores will pretend to find it surprising -- but the reality is that what took place was not a surprise.  The broadcast makes that clear but so do our archives here.

    While whores like Jane Arraf (remember, she whored for Saddam Hussein when he was in power too) treated chief thug and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as, at worst, a scamp, we were pointing out he was breeding terrorism with his attacks on the Sunni population.  We were pointing out that they'd tried the ballot box (Nouri lost the 2010 elections but the White House demanded he get a second term as prime minister), that they tried peaceful protest and at what point do you lose faith in the process?  That's the time when you turn a blind eye to the Islamic State or maybe you help them or maybe you even enlist.

    The Islamic State did not appear in the blink of an eye.

    Years and years -- you could say Nouri's entire second term -- brought Iraq to where it is now.

    It's an interesting hour of TV.

    More interesting, of course, will be failed journalist Robert Parry.  Frontline is his only connection to respectability at this late date.  Will he yet again lie and whore to protect Barack?  Doing so would require him to attack Frontline.

    Again, it's his only link to respectability.

    And if he loses it, he loses everything most likely.

    So what will Robert Parry do?

    Such a sad sack.  Such a tiny, shriveled sad sack.  Remember, Cedric and Wally are sending the tired whore up in their series of joint-posts where Parry proclaims he's pregnant and carrying Barack's baby.  Thus far, that ongoing novelization includes:

     "THIS JUST IN! OCTOBER SURPRISE!," "The shocking news," 
    "THIS JUST IN! THE OCTOBER SURPRISE ARRIVES!," "Parry talks of naming the expected First Child," 
    "THIS JUST IN! PARRY TALKS BIRTH NAMES!," "It's about the babies!," 
    "THIS JUST IN! HE WANTS TO BE WELCOME AT THE WHITE HOUSE!," "Child birth fears
    and "THIS JUST IN! FRIGHTENED MOMMY-TO-BE ROBERT PARRY"


    Parry has no questions for Barack -- other than what night he gets to be concubine -- but some questions are starting to emerge.

    Elizabeth Norling writes the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times wanting to know, "What is the perspective of the Yazidi or Christian woman who has seen her husband murdered, her daughters taken captive, her sons decapitated, and who has been sold into sexual slavery?"


    The Yazidis are only one religious minority under fire in Iraq currently.    Cathy Otten (Religion News Service via Huffington Post) reports on the Iraqi city of Alqoosh:

    The Assyrian Christian town of around 6,000 people sits on a hill below the seventh-century Rabban Hormizd Monastery, temporarily closed because of the security situation. Residents of Alqosh fled this summer ahead of Islamic State militants. Around 70 percent of the town’s residents have since returned. Still, a sense of unease hangs in the air.
    Below the monastery in the boarded up bazaar a lone shopkeeper waits for customers. At the edge of town local Christian fighters staff lookout posts, checking for danger. With Islamic State fighters just 10 miles away, these men and most residents of the town are scared that they may have to flee again.
    In August, the Christian town of Qaraqosh, 18 miles east of Mosul, was overrun, along with neighboring villages, home to Iraqi Christian communities for centuries. Islamic State forces came close but never entered Alqosh.

    The targeting of Iraqi Christians has been non-stop since the US-invasion of 2003.  Currently, there are efforts to aid the Christian community in Iraq and displaced from Iraq.  Syndicated right-wing columnist Cal Thomas notes:


    Reality television producer Mark Burnett and his actress wife, Roma Downey, are trying to raise awareness and money to help displaced and threatened Iraqi Christians who survived the genocidal attacks against them.
    Burnett and Downey, who produced the highly rated “The Bible” for The History Channel and are working on another biblical epic, “A.D.”, which NBC will broadcast next Easter season, have announced a campaign to raise $25 million to aid homeless Christians in the region with housing, food and clothing. They say they are donating the first $1 million and have set up a website called “The Cradle of Christianity Fund” through which people can give. They promise the money will go directly to the churches for distribution to those in need.


    Last week, Catholic News Agency noted another effort to aid Iraqi Christians:



    Crowdfunding campaign aims to raise $1 million for Iraqi Christians



    The crowdfunding campaign will run from Oct. 14-Nov. 24, and can be found on Indiegogo, which is one of the largest crowdfunding platforms in the world. Almost $5,000 of the $1 million goal has been raised so far.

    “We invite all of our brothers and sisters in Christ to join us and contribute, from as little as $10, to the crowdfunding campaign that we have initiated,” stated Eduardo Paz, co-founder of La Filotea Productions.



    There are so many tragedies in Iraq.


    And Barack should be asked about them.  Why is there no televised prime time press conference focusing on Iraq?

    Oh, that's right.

    Because the US press can't focus on Iraq.


    If Helen Thomas were still around, you can be sure she'd be asking about one topic  everyone should be asking about?





    That's Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal (photo from Facebook).   We noted his death in Saturday's snapshot.

    Missy Ryan (Washington Post) notes, "The Pentagon said Neal’s death was the first U.S. casualty in Iraq since the Obama administration began its 'Inherent Resolve' mission, which now includes airstrikes against the extremist group in Iraq and Syria and a growing number of U.S. military personnel on the ground in Iraq in August."

    Murtaza Hussain (Intercept) offers:

    Cpl. Neal was only 19 years old. He would have only been eight at the outset of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and merely six on 9/11 – a child at the time of both these events.  The fact that he ended up losing his life in Iraq is on one hand tragic, and on the other completely absurd.
    The tragedy here is that a young man with a long future ahead of him ended up dying in a distant country before even reaching the age of twenty. The absurdity is that men such as him are still losing their lives as a result of still-inexplicable decisions made over a decade ago. The Iraq War never ended, but now it’s being fought by men who were just children when it started. Walter Lippman once said, “I don’t think old men ought to promote wars for young men to fight.” In our time, old men have been promoting wars that kids would ultimately end up fighting.

    You know what?

    Those statements are offensive.

    And it's why the Intercept is such a lame venture.

    It's a bunch of   sexist jerks like Murtaza Hussain, Glenn Greenwald (if his sexism is news to you, where have you been the last decade), Jeremy Scahill and so many others.

    And when you hire sexists, you get garbage like what Hussain's offering, garbage that renders the US female service members who've fought in the ongoing Iraq War -- and who've died in it -- invisible.

    It is a complete, 100% tragedy that Sean Neal is dead.  It is a huge loss.  But Hussain makes an ass out of himself by reducing it to "men."

    If the Intercept wants to have any future at all -- most likely it doesn't, Libertarians online have long been sexist -- it's going to have to accept the fact that half the world is female.

    Shame on all the useless jerks (Dan Froomkin, that means you) who have treated Hussain's sexist rambles as manna from heaven.  Shame on you.

    Last May, The Daily Beast offered Kate Hoit's "The Names You Don't Hear: Nearly 200 Women Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan."  Froomkin, who has made time to attack female artists, didn't really have time to give props to Hoit for that piece.

    Too bad.  The sexism needs to end and it needs to end now.

    It is insulting to the women who have served -- and to the memory of the women who died -- to write such sexist nonsense as Hussain did.  Hussain, The Intercept and every man who Tweeted that article without pointing its fatal and sexist flaw should issue an apology -- but they won't.  The day will come when sexists are shunned in the same way that racists are.  That day is in the future.  When it does come, history will not be kind to the many men -- including those at Intercept -- who regularly engaged in sexism -- history will not be kind, nor should it be.


    Spencer Ackerman (Guardian)  points out, "Technically, Neal may not have been the first US fatality of the Iraq-Syria war against the Islamic State. Naval forces assigned to US Central Command, which has operational control of the war, acknowledged on October 3 that a Marine, Corporal Jordan L. Spears, went missing at sea in the North Arabian Gulf after bailing out of his MV-22 Osprey. Spears took off from the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, which carried Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, assigned to support the war in Iraq and Syria."  UPI notes Spears was (or is) 21-years-old.  RT notes that the commander of Spears unit wrote online, "Cpl. Spears was a cherished member of our MEU family, and he fulfilled a key role in our aviation combat element."  Stars and Stripes notes:



    Cpl. Jordan L. Spears, 21, of Memphis, Ind., was one of two aircrew members who went into the water when the Osprey’s pilot lost control of the aircraft, which the Navy said was participating in flight operations in support of the missions over Iraq and Syria. The pilot regained control of the Osprey, and the other aircrew member was recovered.


    I have no idea about Sean Neal's unit, but the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Jordan Spears' unit, there are women in that unit -- I know that would shock Murtaza Hussain -- there are several women who are part of the current deployment of that unit.

    Turning to violence . . .

    Michael Georgy, Dasha Afanasieva,  Isabel Coles and Angus MacSwan (Reuters) report that a Jurf al-Sakhar suicide bomber took his own life and the lives of "at least 27 Shi'ite militamen" today.  BBC News notes it was a car bombing and a Humvee was used, one "likely to have been captured from government forces, reports say."



    Al Jazeera notes it was a suicide car bomber and the reason Jurf al-Sakhar is so important at this moment:


    Jurf al-Sakhar is part of a predominantly Sunni strip of territory that runs just south of Baghdad and lies on a road usually taken by Shia pilgrims, when they head in large numbers to the holy Shia city of Karbala further to the south.
    Pilgrims will be taking the route again next week in order to commemorate the death of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson, Imam Hussein --  one of the most revered Shia martyrs.


    In addition, Iraqi Spring MC reports a central Baghdad car bombing left 9 dead and twenty-seven injuredBBC News notes the death toll rose to 10.  In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports  1 person was shot dead in Baghdad while World Bulletin News notes "a bomb-laden motorcycle killed two and injured 20 in Tuzhurmatu district of Salah ad Din Province."  Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) notes, "At least 317 people were killed, mostly militants. Another 145 were wounded, about half of them security members."


    Barack spent the summer insisting that Iraq required a political solution.  His point then was that the second term of Nouri had left the Sunnis 'estranged' from their own government and that a new government needed to demonstrate it was inclusive.  Iraq has a new prime minister today, Haider al-Abadi, but where is the progress on the political?

    Nouri should have put through a 2014 budget no later than September 30, 2013.  That's because the 2014 Fiscal Year kicked off October 1, 2013.

    Fiscal Year 2015 kicked off at the start of this month.

    Guess what?

    Iraq still has no 2014 budget.

    Yes, al-Abadi's only been prime minister for a short time but he's been prime minister long enough to push through a budget.  Certainly he could have done that if the US government had made helping him on that a focus.  But they didn't.

    National Iraqi News Agency reports:

    MP for the Kurdistan, Abdul Bari Zebari held the federal government responsibility for the delay in the adoption of the current year's budget. 
    He told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that "the Parliament has long been calling for the federal government to quickly accomplish what is required from its side in the budget, including the employees' salaries in Kurdistan after the Parliament put its remarks upon in order to bring it back and start reading and approve it as soon as possible."


    All Iraq News notes that MP Wafaa Kadhim states the Council of Ministers is supposed to send the 2014 budget bill to the Parliament on Tuesday.  Whether it's sent or not, it won't be discussed tomorrow.  All Iraq News points out the budget didn't make the topics on the agenda.



    Here's the State Dept's Brett McGurk getting giddy on the fumes of a nasty jock worn by a member of the US military:




    Yeah, Brett, you should be working on diplomacy.

    There's something very sad about a grown man, a middle aged man, who's obsessed (sexually obsessed?) with the military that he never elected to serve in.

    I have a relative who's even more gung ho that Brett about the military but the difference?  My relative enlisted.

    Brett's just an old man trying to look manly by standing close to the US military.  Someone needs to ask him to step out of the picture, explain that it's only for those who served in the military.













    iraq





    missy ryan







    Posted at 09:33 pm by thecommonills
     

    Jurf al-Sakhar is liberated?

    Jurf al-Sakhar is liberated?


    Michael Georgy, Dasha Afanasieva,  Isabel Coles and Angus MacSwan (Reuters) report that a Jurf al-Sakhar suicide bomber took his own life and the lives of "at least 27 Shi'ite militamen" today.  Jurf al-Sakhar?  Yes, that is the same town AP was (and still is) filing reports on this morning -- reports that the Iraqi military have retaken the city.  At some point, AP will play catch up and note the bombing.  Right now, they're still too busy spinning 'good news!' and 'turned corner!' and all the other crap that keeps losing wars going.

    Al Jazeera notes it was a suicide car bomber and the reason Jurf al-Sakhar is so important at this moment:


    Jurf al-Sakhar is part of a predominantly Sunni strip of territory that runs just south of Baghdad and lies on a road usually taken by Shia pilgrims, when they head in large numbers to the holy Shia city of Karbala further to the south.
    Pilgrims will be taking the route again next week in order to commemorate the death of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson, Imam Hussein --  one of the most revered Shia martyrs.


    Meanwhile, CodeStink's latest efforts to be Annette Bening in Mars Attacks face a monkey wrench.  As they Tweet non-stop in favor of the Iranian regime, urging whatever supporters they have left to contact politicians (and Hillary Clinton), Iran faces more charges in the media.  Al Arabiya News reports:


    Shiite militias, linked to the Iranian government, continue to commit war crimes and human rights abuses in Iraq in retribution to attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to a report by Amnesty International.

    Reports suggest that these militias, which the Iraqi government is reportedly dependent on, are being funded and supported by Iranian authorities.

    At The Hill, Heshmat Alavi makes similar points:

    In the heat of the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State, a Sunni extremist group that has invaded large parts of Iraq and Syria, a recent report by Amnesty International gives a stark warning that not addressing extremism in its entirety and making the wrong decisions can lead to the deepening of the sectarian rift in Iraq and eventually trigger an irreversible disaster.
    The document, which is based on thorough research in war-torn areas in Iraq, gives horrendous accounts of crimes recently committed in Iraq by Shiite extremist groups against the background of the fight against the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS or ISIL). Groups sanctioned, backed and funded by the Iranian regime, and agents of the administration of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have been targeting the Sunni community seemingly in reprisal or revenge for Islamic State attacks and at times also to extort money from the families of those they have abducted.


    Poor CodeStink.  Poor Medea, Jodie, all the losers.  If they actually worked on peace, they might serve the world a little better.  Instead, they're just a non-stop waste of time.

    On the militias, Human Rights Watch's Sarah Margon penned a column for the Washington Post last week which noted:


    The lines between Shiite militias and official security forces have been blurred for years. But with the Iraqi army’s near-total collapse this summer, their strength has increased. Politicians, security force personnel and civilians alike have told Human Rights Watch that these militias “control security” throughout much of Iraq, a point only reinforced by the recent appointment of Mohammed Ghabban, a Shiite politician with strong links to the Badr Brigade, a notorious militia, as Iraq’s interior minister.
    In certain parts of Iraq under siege by the Islamic State, the militias continued the fight even after U.S.-led coalition airstrikes shifted to other targets. They did this primarily by attacking Sunnis who didn’t flee the Islamic State advance, considering any remaining families “collaborators,” and ransacking, burning and even demolishing scores of Sunni villages. In some cases, they traveled from village to village in U.S. Army-issued Humvees, which were probably obtained from the Iraqi government.

    This relentless arson and pillaging has resulted in death, destruction and, according to local sources, the displacement of more than 7,000 families in recent months. When we pulled over to the side of the highway to speak with a family living in an abandoned strip mall, a man in his late 40s told me, “I am no more afraid of Daesh” — the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State — “than I am of the Shiite militias and the Iraqi government.” 



    Back to CodeStink, they've got a soft spot in what passes for their brains when it comes to the government in Iran.  My remarks are not calling for an attack on Iran or indicting the Iranian government as the worst in the world, they are, however, noting that the constant white washing CodePink gives the Iranian government is appalling.  Reza Fiyouzat has called out their nonsense from the left, such as in "Code Pink in Iran" (Dissident Voice):


    Code Pink has gone to Iran (starting, I believe, November 22), on a friendly, people's diplomacy kind of mission. According to LA Progressive's Linda Milazzo (Nov. 24) and according to Code Pink’s blog, their entourage is having a wonderful time in Iran, being led in part by Rostam Pourzal, a lobbyist for the Iranian government (at least, that's what he should legally register as, really!). He has taken the Code Pink activists to some ministries, as well as (on the civil society side) cafes, restaurants, bazaars, and places of gathering where they have met with so many amazing women and men, all of whom were really cool, compassionate and intelligent, and above all peace-loving. People have acted generally enthusiastically toward the American people --diplomats upon learning that they, Code Pink's Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin, were on a people's mission for peace. It's like, Oh my god! They want peace!
    Benjamin's descriptions are at times patronizing and at times quite frustrating to read, though I should admit she sounds sincere in her intent. I do doubt their judgment though. Code Pink did support Obama, and Jodie Evans, in an interview on Air America radio program, Clout, sounded ecstatic about Obama’s election, saying, "War is over!" (Meaning it not literally, of course, but believing that with Obama as president, the whole mess will soon come to a speedy end.) As if!
    Anyway, on the patronizing side … Here’s the problem: Benjamin sounds surprised to have met so many interesting, intelligent people who like and want peace!



    While CodeStink again trolls for the Iranian government, the alleged peace group has still not noted the latest US death in Iraq.



    Kat's "Kat's Korner: Stevie Nicks' 24 Karat Classic" and "Kat's Korner: Aretha Knew You Were Waiting For This" and Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Barack Prepares" went up Sunday.



    The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.


    iraq






    Posted at 09:28 pm by thecommonills
     

    Sunday, October 26, 2014
    Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Barack Prepares"

    Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Barack Prepares"





    Isaiah's latest The World Today Just Nuts "Barack Prepares."  A confused Josh Earnest asks, "What's he doing?"  Valerie Jarrett explains, "Ballet slippers on the ground are not boots on the ground."   Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.










    Posted at 10:51 pm by thecommonills
     

    Hejira

    Hejira

    Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) reports, "At least 238 were killed today and 18 more were wounded. Most of the casualties were militants. Iraqi forces reclaimed several more villages today."


    As the violence continues, questions should be popping up about Iraqi forces.


    For example, Adnan Abu Zeed (Al-Monitor) reports:


    [T]housands of young Iraqi men who are unemployed are enticed by the announcement of the new security formations, which they see as an opportunity to express their religious beliefs fueled by the "righteous jihad" fatwa on the one hand, and to meet their financial needs on the other. The "righteous jihad" is a fatwa issued by Shiite cleric Ali al-Sistani after the fall of Mosul on June 10, according to which people join the security forces, which lack members, in the fighting.
    The Iraqi government is tasked with forming the National Guard, which is to include the volunteer armed forces that support the army in its fight against the Islamic State (IS), in a bid to impose security in the provinces.
    When Hassan showed his friends, who are looking for similar jobs, the application form to volunteer with the National Guard, they were immediately interested. “Most of the young people in the popular mobilization will join the new forces,” Hassan told Al-Monitor.
    Meanwhile, many people are wondering about the “feasibility” of these formations, and whether or not they will lead to the creation of more militias that would pave the way for dividing the country and fueling armed conflicts.

    The idea of a national guard with three divisions -- Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurd -- has been bandied about and especially found support in the US among various commentators.

    But it's less popular in Iraq.  And it's equally true that it may not fly at all.  Mustafa Habib (Niqash) reported earlier this month on how the Sahwa have largely washed their hands of efforts to co-opt them in the ongoing battles:


    Attempts were recently made to convince moderate Sunni Muslims, and their armed factions, to join the fight against the IS group during negotiations held in Amman, Jordan, and in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. Unfortunately these negotiations were mostly unsuccessful.



    A source at the US embassy in Baghdad told NIQASH that there had been secret negotiations taking place between various Sunni Muslim armed factions, via Arab and Iraqi Kurdish intermediaries, for the past three months. At the request of US diplomats and military personnel, officials from the Iraqi government have been meeting with the leaders of these groups in Erbil and Amman.



    US military man, General John Allen – officially the US' Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter IS – had been trying to contact the tribal factions and leaders who were his friends and allies when he was a soldier in Anbar, the source said. Allen was also the brains behind Iraq's “Awakening Movement”, a group of Sunni Muslim fighters, funded and formed by the US government, to get Al Qaeda out of their hometowns, post 2003.




    “But it was surprising,” the source said. “Most of them [General Allen's former allies] refused to cooperate with us. And some of them are actually now living outside of Iraq because of the previous Iraqi government's policies.”



    The White House blew it.

    For four years, they failed to stand up for Sahwa as Nouri targeted them, refused to pay them, arrested them.  Now they need the Sahwa and the fighters have decided they won't leap just because the White House says "jump!"

    So who does that leave?

    The militia plagued Iraqi army.

    And the Peshmerga, the elite Kurdish security force.


    AFP reports:

    Iraq`s Kurds unveiled plans Friday to send fighters to help defend the Syrian border town of Kobane, amid uncertainty over a separate deployment of Syrian rebels announced by Turkey.
    [. . .]
    An official in the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Arbil said peshmerga fighters will head for Kobane next week.

    Halgord Hekmat, the spokesman for the ministry responsible for the peshmerga, said the lightly armed reinforcements will "not exceed 200 fighters". 

    Kitabat carries an AFP report about members of Iraq's Parliament expressing doubt that the KRG can independently send Peshmerga outside of Iraq without the permission of the Iraqi Parliament.  (The Kurdistan Regional Government is a group of three or four provinces in northern Iraq which are semi-autonomous.)  Kitabat also features Hussein Zangana's argument that the deployment is legal and does not require a stamp of approval from the Iraqi Parliament.

    I don't doubt the legality of the KRG's move.

    I just question why you send the Peshmerga out of Iraq when they should be needed in Iraq?

    Shouldn't their efforts right now be focused on, for example, Mount Sinjar where the Yazidis continue to be held hostage?

    The UN is calling it a possible genocide and yet the Peshmerga has forces to spare to send out of the country?

    It makes no sense.

    And expect huge outrage if the Islamic State stages a major attack in the KRG while Peshmerga forces to the Syrian border.







    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

     The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4491.  (It's actually 4492 but they haven't updated the toll since the most recently announced death.)



    New content at Third:




    The following community sites updated:





  •  

  • Kat's "Kat's Korner: Stevie Nicks' 24 Karat Classic" and "Kat's Korner: Aretha Knew You Were Waiting For This" went up earlier today.  Isaiah's latest goes up after this.







    The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.






     

    Posted at 10:47 pm by thecommonills
     

    Kat's Korner: Aretha Knew You Were Waiting For This

    Kat's Korner: Aretha Knew You Were Waiting For This

    Kat: Being Aretha Franklin can be a lonely thing.

    As Lady Soul, she's one of the gang, a highly talented member of the crew, but one of the gang.  Elevated, due to her talent, to the Queen of Soul, she's suddenly the target of one pot shot after another and, since Natalie Cole's emergence in the early seventies, one artist after another has showed up eager to knock her off the throne.

    When everyone's gunning for you, it's easy to turn bitter.

    But Aretha's latest album demonstrates she's anything but.

    Leave it to Lady Soul to honor her female peers.

    At last, someone has.

    It sure wasn't Judy Collins.

    As I noted in 2007:


    Judy's now decided to record three albums that celebrated two songwriters and one song writing team. Is anyone else noticing that they are all men? Is anyone else wondering why, since "Both Sides Now" more or less made her for most of the public, she's off covering Dylan, Cohen, Lennon and McCartney instead of Joni Mitchell?
    If women can't be counted on to celebrate female songwriters, who are we supposed to count on?
    Laura Nyro, Nina Simone, Carly Simon, Aimee Mann, Ani DiFranco, Tracy Chapman, Holly Near, Meshell Ndegeocello, Rickie Lee Jones, Chrissie Hynde, Janis Ian and, of course, Joni Mitchell are just some of the women with a body of work worth exploring. So there's something very sad that Judy's off on her third album and appears unaware any female songwriter might have a body of work worth exploring. At the rate Judy's going, we'll have Judy Sings The Songs of Neil Young, Judy Sings The Songs of Paul Simon, Judy Sings The Songs of John Denver and, yes, even Judy Sings The Songs of Tiny Tim before she takes a moment to honor the accomplishments of women.



    The male-identified/obsessed feminist -- or 'feminist' -- Judy has recorded one collection after another celebrating male songwriters (an album of Bob Dylan, an album of Lennon and McCartney and an album of Leonard Cohen) while refusing to do the same with the works of Carly Simon, Laura Nyro or Joni Mitchell -- Joni, of course, wrote the only top ten hit Judy's had in her entire career.


    When it comes to recognizing female artists, Judy takes a pass and, as usual, the real work was left to a strong woman: Aretha.





    The new album is Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics.

    It's an exceptional album and one of her finest, certainly a late-career masterpiece.

    And it's being well received . . . .

    Or Aretha's singing is.

    See, there are a lot of reviews proclaiming things like, "Cyndi Lauper only borrowed 'At Last,' Aretha steals it from Etta James . . ."

    There's a lot of effort, in other words, to pit one woman against another, to turn a review into a catfight of dueling song versions.

    That sort of review completely undermines the point of the project, Aretha celebrating some of popular music's all time great female vocalists.

    "At Last" kicks things off with a splendid cover which finds Aretha exploring the song in a way she hasn't since her cover of the Doobie Brothers' "What A Fool Believes" back in 1981.

    And that's the key to this album, what a lot of people seem to miss in reviews (despite praising the album), Aretha's having fun.


    In 1968, Aretha and the Sweet Inspirations were having fun in the studio, riffing on Dionne Warwick's hit song "I Say A Little Prayer For You" while recording Aretha Now, never intending their amusement to be a track on the album, just having fun riffing off one another and exploring other spaces in the song.  In the end, the song did get recorded and included on the album, it also a top ten hit on the pop charts and a number 3 hit on the rhythm and blues chart.

    It's in that spirit that the album is intended.


    Aretha's not trying to be or replace Etta James anymore than she was trying to take on Dionne.

    She's just embracing a group of women and the songs they sang, putting a bit of a personal stamp on them.

    If you miss that, you'll be among those carping about her version of "Nothing Compares To U."


    Aretha's not trying to compete with Sinead O'Connor.

    She's doing it as jazz song to try to open it up to a different approach.

    Of all the tracks on the album, many reviewers seem to be most disappointed with that song, expecting that Aretha would try to powerhouse it.  Instead, she takes a lighter approach and reminds everyone just how versatile a vocalist she is -- she can sing soul like no one, she can also do classical, jazz, torch songs, you name it.

    The powerhouse vocal everyone wants is probably best realized on her version of Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" which is entitled "Rolling In The Deep (The Areatha version)."  But even while some critics appreciate that vocal, they yet again miss the point.

    Aretha's merging it with the Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson classic "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."  Sporting both sexism and ignorance (the two do go hand-in-hand), many reviewers are claiming, as the pigs at Wikipedia put it, "contains an itnerpolation of 'Aint No Mountain High Enough' by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell."

    Oh, Crapapedia, when will you learn to just shut your ignorant mouth?

    Marvin and Tammi had a number of top ten pop singles: "Your Precious Love," "If I Could Build My Whole World Around You," "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" and "You're All I Need To Get By."  "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"?  Not one of their big hits.  It only made it to number 19.

    It was a woman who took the song to number one -- on the R&B charts and the pop charts (on the pop charts for two weeks at number one) -- Diana Ross.

    And it's that version, the slowed down and dramatic one, that Aretha's referencing in "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" -- and the first clue was the tempo -- leading one to wonder if Crapaperdia has ever even heard the Marvin and Tammi version or if they missed the title of Aretha's album Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics?

    Like Judy Collins, Crapapedia can't stop ignoring women in their rush to celebrate men.

    But Aretha's not playing that game.  She's secure enough to celebrate other women, to take a moment to get you to hear their hits one more time and, hopefully, catch something new in the songs you know and love.


    With "Rolling In The Deep (The Aretha Version)" (already a hit on the hip-hop charts), Aretha's offering an ambitious take which  provides a new dimension to the song.  She does something similar when she covers Gloria Gaynor's hit "I Will Survive" and brings in Destiny's Child's "Survivor."

    Aretha's saluting a wide range of women including Barbra Streisand -- whose "People" (from Funny Girl) is covered in a manner that honestly reminds me of Aretha's early seventies hit "Angel" -- and Dinah Washington -- "Teach Me Tonight" is Aretha coy and frank all at once, a vocal that makes you wonder if she's planning a jazz album as a follow up?


    With Alicia Keys' "No One," she takes a reggae approach, one not explored since "Ain't Nobody Ever Loved You" on her Who's Zoomin' Who album.  As with that earlier effort, she demonstrates she excels in every music genre and this should be a follow up single because it's radio ready and then some.


    The album is one success after another.


    That includes the track "You Keep Me Hangin' On."  Her cover of the Diana Ross & the Supremes classic number one smash did not grab me immediately.  I think it takes 59 seconds into the track before she begins putting her own mark on it and it's only then that the song really starts to work.  By one minute and forty seconds, she's soaring.

    And she does this, again, not by trying to copy Diana's vocals or compete with them, but by finding other spaces in the song.  It's what she's done at major moments throughout her career including when she recorded her first classic, "Respect," a song written by and already recorded by Otis Redding.


    It's a classic album from start to finish and one that probably a lot of listeners doubted she had in her.  That's the problem with being the Queen of Soul, someone's always trying to topple you, hoping you'll abdicate your throne.

    Instead, Aretha reclaims her reign and does so by celebrating women.  Judy Collins ought to be paying attention.  So should Barbra Streisand whose so-so new album suffers in part because she does twelve duets and every single one is with a man.  The woman whose biggest chart hit remains a duet with the late Donna Summer ["Enough Is Enough (No More Tears)"] and last significant pop chart duet is "Make No Mistake, He's Mine" with Kim Carnes, should have found, in twelve tracks, a chance to perform with a few women.  With feminists like Judy and Barbra, female artists are left isolated and invisible.

    Aretha's Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics is not just an excellent album, it's also an antidote to too many men and, yes, women who work to render the art of women invisible.  In her sixth decade of recording, Aretha's part of the Guerrilla Girls movement and the woman who demanded respect proves that she can give her peers their proppers as well.
























    Posted at 03:58 pm by thecommonills
     

    Kat's Korner: Stevie Nicks' 24 Karat Classic

    Kat's Korner: Stevie Nicks' 24 Karat Classic

    Kat:  The voice of countless solo hits and countless Fleetwood Mac classics writes songs, Stevie Nicks writes thousands and thousands of songs.  In fact, the solo career resulted from all these songs, far too many to wait for the occasional Mac album.

    It was my fault, my move, my game
    If I'd have known a little more
    I'd have run away
    It was dark out and I held the cards
    I was the dealer
    And it wasn't hard
    I was the mistress of my fate
    I was a cardshark
    If I'd have looked a little ahead
    I'd a run away
    I was the mistress of my fate
    I gave it all out
    If I'd really known you then
    You'd a had had to watch out


    "The Dealer" is a song of such control and confidence, you have to wonder how it ended up on hold.  But that's the reality of so many of Stevie's songs over the years.  Her outtakes ("Reconsider Me" which was hidden away until the boxed set Enchanted), her B-sides ("One More Big Time Rock and Roll Star") and her unreleased ("What Has Rock and Roll Ever Done For You") rival some of her all time greats -- solo hits like "Stand Back," "Edge of Seventeen" and "Rooms On Fire" or Mac ones like "Dreams," "Sara" and "Gypsy."


    And "The Dealer" is one of fourteen tracks on Stevie's latest solo album, 24-Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault.








    In the liner notes, she explains:

    Most of these songs were written between 1969 and 1987.  One was written in 1994 and one in 1995.  I included them because they seem to belong to the special group.  Each song has a soul.  Each song has a purpose.  Each song is a love story. . . . They represent my life behind the scenes -- the secrets, the broken hearts, the broken-hearted -- and the survivors.  This music is not new.  It is like going through my mother's things and finding the things she did not share with me because she left so suddenly.  These songs are the memories, the 24 karat gold rings in the blue box.



    As the set celebrates the songwriting, it does more than that.

    Stevie Nicks has the most distinct voice in the world of rock.

    Even today, there's no one else like her.

    She started with a silky soprano which he shredded on the road with the Mac performing high intensity versions, extended flights of "Rhiannon" and other early songs.  What she was left with was a contralto with more thickness and body.

    It wasn't the voice of the young ingenue and, in its power and glory, it pretty much demanded that songs like "Leather and Lace" (her hit with Don Henley) would be wispy memories as she took on harder realities of life.


    Sometimes late at night
    I turn on the radio
    Your music fills the room
    I just can't seem to get away from you
    Saw a life-size paper doll of you
    In a record store
    My friends as well as me
    Can't seem to let you go
    It was finished long ago
    Sometimes he's my best friend
    Even when he's not around
    But the sound of his voice
    Well it follows me down
    And reminds me 


    "Hard Advice."  The young damsel who first starred in "Landslide" couldn't pull it off. 

    Stevie can, the Stevie who found strength in what non-stop touring left her with.

    And, yes, "Landslide" is a movie.

    Few song writers produce epics the way Stevie does.

    She's not writing story songs, she's writing films.

    One listen to  "Beauty and the Beast" (on 1983's solo album Wild Heart) should have made that clear to those who didn't catch that reality early on with her compositions like "Landslide," "Gold Dust Woman" and "Crystal."

    And many times, these films come with sequels.  Which is how her monster Mac hit "Dreams" continued in 1981's "Outside The Rain," for example, or 1983's "Enchanted" continues in 1995's "Destiny."  Stevie's created her own lexicon and annotations.

    On the title track of the new song, she sings:

    There were dreams to be sold
    (Chain of chains)
    My 24 karat gold
    (Chain of chains)
    There was a love to be sold
    (Chain of chains)
    You said you might be coming back to town
    (Chain of chains)

    The backing vocals are indicated by parenthesis.

    The backing vocals.

    How can you not note the backing vocals?

    Yes, Lady Antebellum joins her for the magnificent "Blue Water" (and Mick Fleetwood should be kicking himself for the Mac having passed up on this instant classic).

    But, with the possible exception of the late Freddie Mercury, no rock star has ever appreciated vocals the way Stevie has.

    The woman who first harmonized with Lindsey Buckingham at a high school social, and did so on the John and Michelle Phillips classic "California Dreamin'" (the Mamas and the Papas), never succomed to a lead singer's desire to kill the backing vocals.

    Even in the 80s, when one artist after another multi-tracked themselves into Xeroxed vocal hell (see especially the solo work of Buckingham), Nicks embraced harmonies.

    And can it, at this late date, be a Stevie Nicks album without her sisters in song Lori Nicks and Sharon Celani?

    The interplay, the call and response and the unison of the three voices remain the story of harmony in the last decades of modern rock.

    A different form of interplay takes part on Vanessa Carlton's "Carousel" which finds Stevie sharing vocals with Vanessa and with her niece Jessi Nicks which is fitting since it's the only song on the album that Stevie didn't write or co-write.   With Mike Campbell and Waddy Wachtell, she wrote "I Don't Care" and "She Loves Him Still" was written with Mark Knopfler.  (The other eleven are solo Stevie compositions.)

    And the album is seamless.

    It has the kind of simplicity and naturalness of, for example, The Cowboy Junkies' Trinity Sessions or Joni Mitchell's For The Roses or Aretha Franklin's I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You.  The album displays a confidence and ease, even humor (see especially the playful "Cathouse Blues"), that many artists display moments of at the start of their career but lose as these years and recordings pile up.

    What fans gain is one of the year's best albums and instant classics with "The Dealer," "Mable Normand," "Blue Water," "Lady," "Belle Fleur," "She Loves Him Still" and "Cathouse Blues."















    Posted at 05:46 am by thecommonills
     

    Saturday, October 25, 2014
    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Saturday, October 25, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, a US Marine is killed in Baghdad, thug Nouri tries to push through legislation destroying the right to protest, judgments on new prime minister Haider al-Haidi are forming, were chemical weapons used in Iraq recently, and much more.



    The numbers on Barack Obama's kill list just keep growing.  Add another American to the list.

    Yesterday, the Defense Dept released the following:


    IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Release No: NR-539-14
    October 24, 2014

    DoD Identifies Marine Casualty


      The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

    Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal, 19, of Riverside, California, died Oct. 23, in Baghdad, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation.

    He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, whose headquarters element deploys from Camp Pendleton, California.
    For more information, media may contact the I Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs Office at (760) 763-7039 or after hours at (760) 207-5865.



    Well, of course, he didn't die in combat.  Hasn't US President Obama insisted US troops would not see combat in Iraq?  And hasn't the press gone along with that lie?


    However he died in Baghdad, Lance Cpl Sean P. Neal died in Baghdad.

    And Barack's the one who sent him there.

    Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?

    Barack sent Neal and many others into Iraq.

    Any deaths are on Barack's hands.

    Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?

    And the deaths of Iraqis are on his hands as well.

    Especially the ones killed by Iraqi forces.

    Barack hopped in bed with previous prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and is in bed with current prime minister Haider al-Hadi.  Under both, civilians have been terrorized by Iraqi forces throughout Iraq.

    This includes, but is not limited to, the ongoing bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods -- a legally defined War Crime.  One that has been taking place since January of this year.

    Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?


    Will this awaken the so-called peace 'leaders' in the United States?

    Or will they continue to direct their outrage at Bully Boy Bush -- a man who left the White House in January 2009?

    Maybe they'll continue to obsess over Hillary Clinton?

    Anything to avoid growing the hell up and calling out the person running the wars today.


    Lance Cpl Sean P. Neal's death is on Barack's hands but never forget CodePink, Win Without War and so many other fake ass organizations are culpable in Neal's death and the deaths of so many Iraqis.


    Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?


    Reason notes US Secretary of State John Kerry has declared he's looking into "extremely serious" charges "that IS [Islamic State] attacked Iraqi police officers with chlorine gas last month."  Mohammed Shafiq (Alsumaria) adds that Kerry stressed the allegations had not been confirmed.

    The issue was also raised in Friday's US State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Jen Psaki.




    QUESTION: I know that the --

    MS. PSAKI: Go ahead, Roz.

    QUESTION: -- Secretary was asked about the reported chlorine attack against Iraqi forces in the past month. Is there any thinking in this building or in consultation with the Pentagon about how this affects the way that the coalition tries to deal with ISIL fighters? Does this change the strategy? Does this change the training of Iraqi forces to deal with any sort of NBC attack – nuclear, biological, chemical?

    MS. PSAKI: That’s a good question, Roz. I think the most appropriate place to pose it is probably to the Pentagon. Not that I have been briefed on. As you – the Secretary noted this morning, we’re certainly aware of the alleged attacks. We take them very seriously, as we do any allegations. We can’t confirm the details. We’re seeking additional information. Obviously, the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon is an abhorrent act. In terms of what it would in term – of training, I would point you to my colleagues at the Pentagon.



    Qassim Abdul-zahra (AP) writes, "The use of chlorine gas as a weapon adds a new concern to the turmoil in the country."

    For reals?


    The US government is responsible for birth defects in Iraq resulting from the illegal use of White Phosphorus, depleted uranium and other substances.  At Global Research this month, Dahr Jamail noted:

    Contamination from depleted uranium (DU) munitions is causing sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq, according to numerous Iraqi doctors.
    Iraqi doctors and prominent scientists believe that DU contamination is also connected to the emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs and liver, as well as total immune system collapse. DU contamination may also be connected to the steep rise in leukaemia, renal and anaemia cases, especially among children, being reported throughout many Iraqi governorates.
    There has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah during 2004, and Basra during the 1991 US war on Iraq.

    It is estimated that the United States used 350 tons of DU munitions in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation.



    Earlier this month, Amabedl Karoub (Michigan Daily) reported on a public presentation on this issue:


    Muhsin Al-Sabbak, a physician at Iraq’s Basra Maternity Hospital, and Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist who resides in Ann Arbor, presented a one-hour lecture centered on their research, which links the increase in congenital birth defects in Iraq over the last two decades to the use of U.S. and coalitions force weapons there.
    Al-Sabbak referenced his study that found a 17-fold increase in children with birth defects between the years 1995 and 2003, a jump from 1.37 birth defects per 1,000 children to 23 per 1,000. By 2008, the number had increased to 48 per 1000, and in 2014 it was 37 per 1000.

    Savabieasfahani attributed the spike to an increase in pollutants caused by U.S. weapons and the presence of military bases.


    Thomas Gaist (WSWS) spoke with Muhsin al-Sabbak:


    “Birth anomaly rates will likely continue to rise,” Al Sabbak told the WSWS.
    “Another assault is coming to Iraq, by both ISIS and those who created ISIS. More fighting will increase toxicity levels in the population,” he added. The well-documented support of the US and its allies for armed Islamist militias like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the war for regime change in Syria has been followed by the use of ISIS’s spread across Iraq as the justification for another imperialist war in the region.
    “I am not even political,” Al Sabbak added. “I just want to reverse the spread of this catastrophe. I am tired of hearing mothers ask whether they should even try to have another child, and not knowing the answer myself.”

    Dr. Al Sabbak is visiting the US as part of an effort to bring to the attention of both the US scientific community as well as the broader public the horrific impact of decades of US war in terms of the surge of genetic anomalies and disease in Basra. He cited data showing that the Iraqi city experienced a 17-fold increase in child birth defects between 1995 and 2003.


    Though the US government yet again mounts the high horse, there's no higher ground for them to scramble to.  If the Islamic State used chemical weapons -- if -- they've yet to use them on the scale that the US government has.

    But the Iraqi government, the new Iraqi government, surely they have some ethical ground to stand on.



    : احد الجرحى الذين اصيبوا جراء القصف العشوائي المتعمد من قبل الجيش الحكومي على منازل المدنيين في الفلوجة. 







    Is the new government's ethical ground embedded in the wounds of that child?


    It was Iraqi forces that left that child wounded this week.

    The child's crime?

    Living in Falluja.

    The Iraqi forces began bombing residential neighborhoods in January of this year.  This is "collective punishment" and it's a legally defined War Crime, recognized as such by the international community and, yes, by the United States government.


    When Nouri al-Maliki began it, the US turned a blind eye and unofficially took the position of being-a-bystander-means-we-can-stay-silent.  They weren't a bystander, the US government was supplying Nouri with weapons -- weapons he used on the Iraqi people.

    But now Haider al-Abadi is prime minister and now the US government has sent the US military into Iraq to aid and assist the Iraqi military.  That makes the White House complicit in War Crimes.

    And the continuation of Iraqi forces targeting -- killing and wounding -- Iraqi civilians for the 'crime' of living in Falluja gives the Iraqi government little higher ground to take to and finger point from.

    September 13th, Haider declared these attacks were over.

    They didn't stop.

    Nouri al-Maliki brought in Shi'ite militias and these militias, still loyal to Nouri, refuse to follow Haider's orders.


    That's a reality the western press has attempted to ignore.

    On the new prime minister, Gulf News argues:

    Haider Al Abadi has not started well in his tenure as the new Prime Minister of Iraq. It has been just over six weeks since he was appointed and his cabinet is an unfortunate gathering of the same old faces. There is no sense of any new inclusive spirit, which was hoped would replace Nouri Al Malilki’s legacy of a country torn apart by sectarian violence with Sunnis facing discrimination, arbitrary arrests and violent crackdowns by government forces supported by Shiite militias.

    US President Barack Obama was grasping at straws when he gave Iraq’s new leader a ringing endorsement after they first met in September and he described Al Abadi as “the right person” to lead Iraq as it was under attack by the militants of Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). Obama was speaking of his hopes and not the reality when he went so far as to say that Al Abadi had “reached out systematically to all the people of Iraq”. 


    The time was always limited, the brief chance for Haider al-Abadi to demonstrate that he was different from Nouri al-Maliki.  Instead of expending efforts to help him do that, Barack has focused all efforts on attacks that do nothing to stem the reasons for the popularity (or at least acceptability) of the Islamic State.  The only thing that stops the Islamic State, is pulling the reasons for their existence.  They represent one of the few responses to the targeting of Sunnis in Iraq (as well as Syria but our focus is Iraq).

    For four long years, Nouri was allowed to target the Sunnis.  He was allowed to kill Sunni politicians and get away with it, he was allowed to attack their homes, to have their homes surrounded by tanks.  And this was what he did to the elected Sunni leaders.  What he did to the average Sunni was far worse.

    And this is what created an environment in which the Islamic State could publicly walk into knowing that many Iraqis would either welcome them or stay silent because there was no other defense for the Sunnis in Iraq.

    Nouri's forces illegally arrested them.  That's illegal due to a lack of arrest warrant but it also goes to if Nouri wanted Sunni X arrested and his forces showed up at Sunni X's home and Sunni X was not present, Nouri's thugs grabbed the wife, or mother, or father, or child, or grandparent, or sibling.

    And these grabbed persons were then tossed in jails and prisons.

    Despite no arrest warrant and despite being charged with nothing, they rotted in jails and prisons.

    This is what Nouri got away with.  This is what whores like Jane Arraf stayed silent about.  This is what the White House was willing to go along with.

    For four years.

    The Islamic State did not spring up overnight.

    And Barack can bomb forever and a day and that will not change a damn thing in Iraq, not for the better.

    You want to end the Islamic State?  Pull the reasons which support their very existence.

    There was a chance to do that with a new prime minister, if the prime minister acted quickly and made a few grand gestures.

    Instead, Haider's done damn little.

    Again, the most important thing he could do write now is publicly appeal the (illegal) conviction of former Iraq Vice President (from 2006 to this year) Tareq al-Hashemi.  He could note that no trial should have taken place because, as a member of Parliament, al-Hashemi had immunity.  (To be tried, the Iraqi Constitution requires Parliament strip him of his immunity first.)  He could note that before the trial started, the Baghdad judges held a press conference announcing Tareq's guilt.  He could point out that one of Tareq's bodyguards was tortured to death by Nouri's forces (and, up to his death, refused to lie and claim Tareq was guilty).  He has a whole host of reasons to call for the conviction to be overturned or ignored, he can also issue a pardon to put the matter rest.

    That would be a grand gesture.

    And grand gestures were needed over a month ago.

    Now, with Haider seen as so ineffectual, grand gestures are required for the Sunni population to believe there's a chance that their new prime minister really does believe in an inclusive government.


    The alternative to a political solution?

    More of the same nonsense Barack tries to pass off as a plan.

    Arab News notes:


    US and allied aircraft have flown nearly 6,600 sorties in the air war against the IS group and dropped more than 1,700 bombs, the American military said Thursday.
    The flights for “Operation Inherent Resolve” include thousands of mid-air fueling runs, surveillance sorties and 632 air strikes in Iraq and Syria, according to US Central Command.



    And it's done nothing, if people are honest.  The bombing has accomplished nothing.  The Journal of Turkish Weekly quotes US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel declaring Thursday, "We believe that our strategy is working. There will be mixed and various outcomes daily. But this is not a daily measurement; this is an overall, strategic, longer term measurement of how well they’re doing."

    While Hagel may be confident, others pointedly are not.  Iraq Times notes that the US forces have been carrying out air strikes for over two months now and that doubts are growing about both how effective these efforts and how serious they are as well.  The paper notes this week's drop of weapons to security forces with one of those drops landing in the hands of the Islamic State and the US government's efforts to spin and lie about it.  The paper also notes the lack of end date on the part of the US government and statements that it could last years or decades which do not inspire confidence and suggest a kind of meandering, try-anything approach to the 'effort.'


    Why are people joining up or supporting the Islamic State?  Kjell Anderson (Arab News) explores the possibilities while reminding, "It is satisfying, but ultimately misleading, to believe that perpetrators possess certain inborn pathological traits. Rather, their motivations are not so different from our own: The desire for community, respect, and security, and the fear of standing apart from the crowd."  A basic reality on the topic is noted in Alice Fordham's report for Morning Edition (NPR, link is text and audio) from Abu Ghraib:


    The Islamic State may be unpopular among many local residents, but so too is the Iraqi Army. The Iraqi military is being supported by the United States, but it's not winning over all the local people.
    "They put military garrisons among us, they stormed our house in the night. Who gave them permission?" says a furious Khadouja Sihel, a local resident.
    Her daughter is with her, plump and pretty in pink lipstick, carrying a tray of eggs.

    Ignoring the soldiers standing a few feet away, Sihel says, "I've got seven daughters, and they harass them in a filthy way. Why are they doing this? Aren't we Iraqis like them?"


    Abu Ghraib is not just an area outside of Baghdad, it is also home to an infamous torture prison -- run first by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and then later by the US government.  It's the second manager that's in the news.  Danny Biederman and Noel Brinkerhoff (AllGov.com) report:


      A federal judge has given the Obama administration less than two months to explain in detail why 2,100 photographs depicting torture by U.S. agents and others should be kept hidden from public view.

    A deadline of December 12 was set by Judge Alvin Hellerstein in the aftermath of his ruling (pdf), in August, denying the government’s claim that it is legally allowed to bar release of the photos. Those images are reportedly of detainees tortured at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and at other U.S. detention centers during the George W. Bush administration.



    In other news, rabid dog Nouri al-Maliki may be out of the prime minister post but he remains in the presidential palace refusing to leave and he continues his efforts to strip Iraqi citizens of their rights.  A rabid dog, if not put down, at least needs to be caged behind bars (for life) or run out of the country.  Sadly, Nouri's been made one of Iraq's three vice presidents instead.  In that post and as a member of Parliament, Thug Nouri is attempting to continue his attacks on protesters.  Al Mada notes he's reintroduced his October 2012 bill insisting that protests in Iraq should be of limited duration.  Such a move would impact continuous protests -- like those against Nouri which kicked off in December 2012 and ran through January 2014.  The bill specifically targets civil disobedience such as sit-ins and hunger strikes.  Al Mada explains that people are also concerned about the wording in the bill such as demonstrations must meet "public morals" and how these loose words go undefined as does the issue of who would determine this and how.

    It's interesting that this bill is even being discussed.  It was introduced in October 2012.  It died in the previous Parliament.  Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has not sent the bill to the Parliament.

    Yet when thug Nouri was prime minister, he repeatedly stated -- and a whorish western press backed him up -- that only his Cabinet had the authority to write and introduce bills.

    He lied, and the whorish press backed him up, that Parliament couldn't write or introduce bills, they could only vote on bills that were introduced to them by the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

    It was a lie.

    I'm not a liar.

    I won't now say, "Nouri can't do this!"

    Of course he can.

    Any member of Parliament can introduce a bill.

    But, unlike Thug Nouri and the whorish western press, I said that when Nouri was prime minister.

    Nouri's a thug and a liar and belongs behind bars.  I'm sure the rumors of his sexually transmitted disease are just rumors but they are also understandable on Arabic social media because he is a vile and disgusting man who has harmed and killed thousands, so it's only natural people would wish he would be plagued with a disease.




    Meanwhile, when not playing Inspector Clouseau as Chemical Inspector, John Kerry likes to do meet-ups.  Friday, he and US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with the Republic of Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo in DC and, following the meeting, issued a statement which included:

    Acknowledging the grave humanitarian situation in Iraq, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to assisting the people of Iraq against the threat of ISIL and Foreign Terrorist Fighters. The United States thanked the ROK for its recent commitment of an additional $4 million in humanitarian assistance to Iraq. Both countries condemned the brutality of ISIL, underscoring that their actions violate the basic norms of humanity and civilization, and expressed their support for the international community fighting against the threat of ISIL. 




    Lastly, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration. We'll close with this from Bacon's "CENTRAL AMERICAN CHILDREN WILL CHANGE US - Part 1" (Social Policy):



    "When I heard Father Romero was killed I began to weep," Bishop Bobadilla told me.  "I saw that the forces of evil had won. He wanted change, but not through violence.  The bitter truth today, though, is that in Guatemala we are still living the legacy of that violence."
     
    Rodolfo Bobadilla was the bishop in Huehuetenango when I last saw him.  During the civil war he'd been a hero to poor Guatemalans in the indigenous Qanjobal and Mam towns where the worst massacres took place.  He was a friend of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero in San Salvador, when Romero headed the church at the beginning of El Salvador's civil war.  When Romero denounced the death squads and called on soldiers not to obey orders to violate human rights, members of the U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battalion charged into a hospital chapel where he was celebrating mass, and gunned him down.   

























  • Posted at 01:18 pm by thecommonills
     

    VFW Election Day Advice

    VFW Election Day Advice

    This is from the VFW:



    VFW Election Day Advice

    Remember those who vote for war but not the warrior


    WASHINGTON — The House and Senate overwhelming passed an emergency funding package in late July to help the Department of Veterans Affairs overcome its nationwide crisis in care and confidence. H.R. 3230, the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, was passed in the House by a vote of 420-5, and in the Senate by 91-3.


    With federal midterm elections just weeks away, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States wants America to remember the names of the eight legislators who voted against disabled veterans: Reps. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and Steve Stockman (R-Texas), and Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Not on the Nov. 4 ballot are Kingston and Stockman, Coburn, because he is stepping down, and Corker, whose six-year term doesn’t expire until 2018.


    The hypocrisy of the “no” votes, according to VFW National Commander John W. Stroud, is that between 2003 and 2010, five of them voted to approve more than a half trillion dollars in supplemental war funding with little regard to corresponding offsets or spending oversight, yet in July they would vote against $16 billion to improve the care and services the VA provides to wounded, ill and injured veterans. The three not in office at the time of those war funding votes are Crawford, Sanford and Stockman. Sanford, however, was the governor of South Carolina from 2003-2011, a state that experienced tremendous active, Guard and Reserve deployments, as well as combat casualties.  


    “By voting no, those eight members failed to stand with America’s wounded, ill and injured veterans,” said Stroud, a retired Air Force first sergeant from Hawthorne, Nev. “Failing to support America’s veterans is inexcusable, and I hope every voting constituent in every home district and state remembers that, because the VFW will do our best to remind them,” he said.  


    “The VFW has a long memory when it comes to remembering those who vote for war but not the warrior, and though we will never tell our members and supporters who to vote for, we will always tell them who in Congress does — or does not — support veterans, service members and their families.”  


    The 13 members of the House and Senate who were not present to vote on H.R. 3230 — for reasons their constituents should ask — are Reps. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.), Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and Albio Sires (D-N.J.), and Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).   



    Along with Kingston and Stockman, Hanabusa will not be on the November ballot, nor will Senator Harkin. The three representatives lost their Senate primary challenges, and Harkin is retiring after serving five terms in office.












    Posted at 01:17 pm by thecommonills
     


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