Friday, September 21, 2018

Sally Field's new book

Go get Sally Field's book.

I've been in pain all week waiting for Friday morning when I'd be at the dentist office.  I'm better now but when I was talking to the receptionist -- my friend Renee -- she asked me, "Is Sally Field's book really that good?"  Huh?

I didn't see C.I.'s review of it last night -- "Sally Field IN PIECES."  I didn't know anything about it.  So I read C.I.'s review on my phone and ended up stopping to get the book on the way home.  Renee told me Wal-Mart had it.  So I stopped there on the way home.  I wasn't in the mood -- still drugged from the procedure (if this doesn't work, we'll do a root canal, I hope this works) -- to look all over for it.

in pieces


I then went home, took a long nap and woke up with my mouth really dry.  I drank about 24 ounces of water and also started the book.  It really is amazing.  I'm only on page 51 but this is really something.  Grab Sally's book because it's definitely one of the greatest books of the year.

Let me also note "Made In Paris," "John Carpenter's They Live," "Venom" and "PROUD MARY" -- movie coverage from Ann, my cousin Marcia and Kat.


Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Thursday, September 20, 2018.



If the obscene militarism, violence & death perpetrated by the US empire is one of your top issues, never let anyone shame you for not supporting Democrats.





Let's start with a voter issue.  I support war resisters.  I have no problem with someone going to Canada rather than take part in a war.  Make a life there, it's fine.  It's even heroic.  But if you make a life there, make a life there.


Melanie Green (TORONTO STAR) reports on efforst in Canada to register voters for the US elections:


“We’ve met Americans who came here 50 years ago as Vietnam War resisters, have never voted in the U.S. but are determined to cast their ballot this time around,” Mivasair said. “We’re going to be on the sidewalk across from Trump Hotel at lunchtime on Monday to tell all U.S. citizens that their vote can tip the balance.”

I'm bothered by that.  I'm also bothered by the possibility that childish temper tantrums -- take the We Move To Canada crowd who fled the US because they didn't like the outcome of an election (staying and fighting was just too much for that tepid crowd) -- who are now Canadian citizens, but apparently did not denouce their US citizenship in the process, will be eligible to vote.

But let's stick with war resisters.  You left for good reason.  You left knowing there was a chance that you could never return to the US.  You were making your life in Canada.

I've repeatedly objected to the efforts of refugees to the US -- such as the anti-Castro crowd -- coming to this country and then using it as a base to try to mount a military attack on their former country of residence.  If you've been lucky enough to be accepted by another country, make your life there.  Don't use that new host country as a staging platform for war.  You need to let it the hell go.

That's true of the war resisters who went to Canada -- during Vietnam.  (During the ongoing Iraq War?  Canada has not granted permanent status to these veterans.  If they want to vote in the US elections, that's different.)

If you stepped on US soil, you would be arrested.  I'm not saying you should be but I am saying that is the law.  If you deserted the US military or avoided the US military draft and went to Canada, you will be arrested if you are caught on US soil.  (Gerald Ford offered an 'audition' process and members of the two types of war resisters who participated in that program all the way through are not going to be arrested.  Most who participated -- I believe the Carter adminstration argued it was 77% -- chose to live in the US.  Jimmy Carter offered asylum -- to those who applied -- if they were drafted but not if they had been inducted.)

I argued, in real time, for a blanket amnesty and one that would not require any process.  People like US House Rep Elizabeth Holtzman betrayed the war resisters of the Vietnam era.  In fact, Liz went on PBS to sell the betrayal -- THE NEWSHOUR, of course.   She lied repeatedly to the press insisting that Carter's plan was just the start and there would be more.  There was never more.  She distracted from the moment knowing it had to happen immediately or never.

We didn't get the blanket amnesty.  Which means the law remains that -- unless you successfully went through Ford or Carter's program -- if you step on US soil you will be arrested.

So I'm not understanding why you believe you would have a right to vote in a US election?  You have made your life in Canada.  As far as I'm concerned, your participation in the 2018 election would be as a foreign actor/agent.  You chose to leave the US and go to Canada where you made a life.  The law doesn't let you come back -- without being arrested and imprisoned -- so why do you feel you have a right to vote in a US election now, all this time later?

Many Americans would not agree with you on that 'right'.  That's in part because so little is known about war resisters -- in part because organizations that took money to help them during the Iraq War and pretended to care about the topic -- yes, Courage To Resist, I mean you -- haven't focused on the Iraq War in forever.  They make their cause around, for example, Reality Winner or whatever that woman's name is.  She did hideous things.  Her only claim to 'fame' is that she released a document on the 2016 election that might or might not be accurate.  But in terms of war --  war that Courage to Resist supposedly opposes -- Reality Winner was a willing tool of imperialism and was actively responsible for the deaths of dissidents -- including in Iraq and Afghanistan.  That's who they rally around because they're not about stopping wars.  They're those disgusting Socialists who want to take over the Democratic Party.  I'm not referring to Democratic Socialists with that statement.  If you're confused as to what I'm referring to, educate yourself.  They've always been around, these tricksters.  They're unwilling to stand up and fight but they latch on to anything that might be a mounting cause because they want to pretend they have momentum.  So they're hitchikers on the highway of causes.  They've existed forever.

And Courage To Resist, sadly, is among those people.

I support war resisters.  I have helped war resisters.  In the current era, I didn't worry about proving my points regarding the Iraq War.  Sadly, some couldn't get away from that.  And when war resisters hit a wall in Canada, they often stayed at that wall because their support -- such as it was -- needed to prove a point in Canada.

No, get the war resisters safety in Canada.  Fight the war absolutely, but when it came to the lives of war resisters get them safety.  I did.  And when people kept asking how -- resisters who were in Canada or wanted to go there -- I explained how in one post that remains up here.  The method that my group used worked and the war resisters we worked with -- during this Iraq War era -- have Canadian citizenship.  They can't be expelled.  Sadly, the same can't be said for the other group who seemed less concerned with getting asylum for war resisters -- who needed asylum -- and more concerned with litigating the Iraq War through immigration procedures and court cases.

When I posted here how easy it was -- and it is very easy -- I worried because the Iraq War was still going on (and still is).  I had advised a few war resisters of the method in person and in e-mails -- war resisters in Canada who were frustrated because their supporters were not helping them.  (Again, these supporters wanted condemnation from the Canadian government of the Iraq War.  That was not going to happen.  Indochina was a French imperial war that the US grabbed the baton on.  That's why Canada could go ahead with asylum then.  It was a different reality with Iraq.)  But I was seriously worried about putting it up here because I had no second strategy.  That was the only one that worked -- and as I noted, I built on the advances of the LGBT community.  Posting it, I thought, "It's going to be everywhere and I would prefer it remain underground."  Because when it was everywhere, it wasn't going to be useful anymore.  But after I outlined how any US war resister could get citizenship in Canada -- and how the group of war resisters I helped got that citizenship by using this method -- I didn't see any of the US organizations rushing to repost or steal the method.  I wasn't surprised by the Candian reaction.  I'd spoken with Candian politicians -- including Olivia Chow -- about it for sometime and knew that the position of the Canadian organizations would be to ignore it because they wanted their legal victory on the Iraq War more than they wanted asylum for the war resisters.  But I was surprised that Courage To Resist and the few others who pretended to be interested in war resisters didn't move to popularize the method or even use it quietly.

I'm trying to be very clear as to where I stand on war resistance because I should have started dictating this snapshot an hour before I did.  The delay was over this issue.  Do we include it?  If so, do we bury it deep in the snapshot?  No.  That's hypocrisy.  My point has always been that if you go to another country and make a life there, that's where your life is.  I support war resisters, I do not support those who have left a country -- any country -- doing what THE STAR reports is happening.

In Iraq, the country has a Speaker of Parliament -- as of last Saturday -- but it still does not have a prime minister or a persident.

Yesterday, the US State Dept issued the following:


Readout
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 19, 2018





The below is attributable to Spokesperson Heather Nauert: ‎
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke with Mohammed Halbusi, Iraq’s new Speaker of the Council of Representatives. The Secretary congratulated Speaker Halbusi on his new position and underlined that the United States looks forward to working with him in this most important new role. The Secretary pledged to continue to stand with Iraqis as they pursue security, prosperity and stability. The Secretary emphasized his support for Iraq’s territorial integrity and sovereignty especially at this critical time. Finally, the Secretary noted his support for Iraq’s efforts to form a moderate, nationalist, Iraqi government, pursuant to the constitutional timeline, that is responsive to the aspirations of the Iraqi people. 


So that's the Speaker of Parliament.  Let's turn to the post of the presidency.  The PUK thinks they get to dictate this post.  They don't.  But they are floating Barham Saleh and he's so thrilled to be their nominee that he's rejoined their party after leaving it in 2017.

RUDAW noted some Tweets about Saleh -- including these two Tweets:




Last election @BarhamSalih with his not even 1 year old party CDJ, campaigned against PUK/KDP as being corrupt. But when ppl didn't fall for this farce in last election and you as a vein politician need a party to put you in power - principles don't matter, perfect man for


@BarhamSalih should be ashamed of himself. Only 5 months ago, he publicly and strongly denied rejoining PUK even if they offer him Iraqi presidency. Many senior members of other parties split to join his party, now he left them all. This tells you enough about the guy.


Of course, he left -- fled -- Iraq in 1979 and didn't return until after the US-led invasion of 2003, so he's used to returning.  Following the Gulf War, the KRG was semi-autonomous and even a coward like Barham Saleh could have returned to the KRG and would have been safe there.  But some cowards are such big cowards that they have to wait until the US invades to return.

There are huge efforts taking place to make Saleh look like the choice.  That includes efforts by the US and oil empires as well -- remember, Saleh sold the Kurds out to ExxonMobil.  Most recently, IRAQI NEWS joined the effort:



Iraqi Kurdish politician Barham Saleh has obtained approval from the head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Masud Barzani, to be the Kurdistan Region’s nominee for the presidency of Iraq.
A KDP source told Baghdad Today that Saleh, a former prime minister of Kurdistan, who was reinstated on Wednesday as a member of the region’s second ruling party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, had met with Barzani twice away from media coverage and won the latter’s approval of his nomination for Iraq’s Presidency.
The source said the KDP is expected to officially declare its support for Saleh within the next few days.
Really?

Massoud Barzani doesn't even like Saleh.  Never has.  Now he's going to back Saleh?  Saleh's seen as an impediment to Kurdistan autonomy and Barzani is going to back him?


KURDISTAN 24 reports:

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) will have its own candidate for the Iraqi presidency, a spokesperson for the party said on Wednesday.
Mahmood Mohammed, the spokesperson for the KDP, said in a statement that the Iraq president position should be shared by the people of Kurdistan and not a single party.
According to the spokesperson, officials from the KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) had agreed in a recent meeting that the Kurdish parties should agree on one candidate for the Iraqi president role.
“The Kurds should decide on one candidate similar to the united position and program we had in Baghdad,” he stated.

The PUK was supposed to inform the KDP of their candidates before making a final decision, but after the return of Barham Salih to the party, he was nominated for the Iraqi presidency unilaterally, Mohammed explained.


Let's move over to the topic of prime minister.  Who will it be?  Unknown at this time.  We do know that it won't be Hayder al-Abadi or Hari al-Amari -- or that both have stated that publicly.  Hayder's meanwhile launched another bid for the post this week despite his announcement last week.

RUDAW notes:



Hadi al-Amiri, the head of Fatih Alliance withdrew from the race, while former Oil Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and former head of the Hashd al-Shaabi committee Falih Alfayyadh are potential Shiite-party nominees for prime minister.

"I think it is a sacrifice when Hadi al-Amiri, who was to a large extent the only candidate for al-Bina bloc, is withdrawing and rejecting to become a nominee for prime minister, just in order to protect the situation in the state," said Ahmed al-Jarba, an MP from the al-Bina bloc, on Thursday.

Burhanadin al-Ishaq, an MP from Fatih which encompasses al-Bina, also spoke highly of Abdul-Mahdi.

"Dr. Adil Abdul-Mahdi is one of the prominent Iraqi politicians. He had worked in the previous governments and in many prominent blocs... He is an admired person,” Ishaq said. 

He added they would not stand against any other nominee, indicating al-Bina is open to other candidates.

Naif al-Shamary from former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s Wataniya said the next prime minister should have a "strong" personality and be a "good decision maker" in order to save Iraq from all the crises engulfing it.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the largest in the Kurdistan Region, seems to agree for Abdul-Mahdi to run for premier considering him to be an experienced political for the current situation in Iraq.  

Abdul-Mahdi has long been a favorite of the US intelligence community; however, he's never managed to become prime minister.  He has been a vice president of Iraq.  He stepped down in 2011.  Remember why?  It's a good reason in 2018.

In 2011, he quit, resigned.  Nouri al-Maliki was prime minister.  Iraqis were protesting corruption and Nouri was concerned because of what was taking place in neighboring countries.  He asked the protesters to stop protesting, give him 100 days and he would end corruption.  They did.  He didn't.  And Abdul-Mahdi stepped down over the government corruption.

That was a brave stand in 2011.  In 2018, with Iraqis even more outraged by the corruption, it's an even braver stand.  Weakening the stand?  Prior to resigning, American officials had noted Abdul-Mahdi regularly stopped investigations into corruption when they were targeting his own staff.  This might be a dead issue were it not for Nouri al-Maliki thinking he stands a chance at returning as prime minister.  As a result of that belief, Nouri has started a whisper campaign against Abdul-Mahdi that's expected to grow louder over the next few days.




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  • Tuesday, September 18, 2018

    Two who need to be told it's over

    Michael Che and Colin Jost hosted the least watched Emmys ever.

    It was truly the worst show ever.  Che and Jost have ruined SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.  Weekend Update worked with Cecily Strong but Lorne Michaels is a sexist and he couldn't stand not having 'the boys' behind the desk.

    It's time to retire Lorne Michaels from everything.  Yes, that includes SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.  He is 73-years-old.  He is played out and tired.  Not a solid new idea since KIDS IN THE HALL.  He's destroyed SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.

    It thinks it's some social critique.  It's not.  It's also not funny anymore.  If NBC wants the show to continue, they have to grasp that Lorne is too old to be in charge of it.

    And what does it say about Lorne?

    He's as pathetic as Debra Messing.  He can't find success anywhere else so he returns to SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE?  And he holds on like a crazy person.  Retire.

    Debra?  She failed at everything, everything.  Had to go running back to WILL & GRACE.  Sean Hayes?  He's a successful producer.  He didn't have to go back.  Megan?  She's got a career (and was Emmy nominated this year).  She didn't have to go back.  Eric?  He's got a NETFLIX series and I don't know what else.

    But Debra?

    She's got nothing.

    I'm glad to see she's doing a side part for the upcoming season.  The middle part was just showing how she was going bald.  That's sort of funny because the second to last episode of the original run of the show had Grace in the future going bald.  Turns out, they got that right.



    Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


    Tuesday, September 18, 2018.  The Iraq War continues, despite pretense otherwise.

    "We want to end the war and we want to end it now!"  Barack Obama spent most of the first half of 2008 yelling that at rallies as he sought to secure the Democratic Party's nomination.  Remember those days?

    He clobbered Hillary Clinton over the head for her 2002 vote for the Iraq War.  Remember that?  Kimberle Crenshaw and so many others rushed forward to pile on.  Fair enough . . . if they gave a damn about Iraq but, as their actions have demonstrated, they didn't.

    And they didn't give a damn that Barack refused to follow his campaign promise.  And they didn't give a damn that he did a drawdown, not a withdrawal, at the end of 2011.  And they didn't give a damn when he sent a unit of special-ops back into Iraq in September of 2012.  And they didn't give a damn when Tim Arango got that reality into print in THE NEW YORK TIMES.  And they didn't give a damn that he kept sending more and more US troops into Iraq in the last two years of his presidency.  They just didn't give a damn.

    "We want to end the war and we want to end it now!"


    Don't forget, we're still in Iraq, which means the Iraqi military is also doing bad stuff




    The US remains in Iraq.  So does, as RT AMERICA did a good job of pointing out yesterday, the United Kingdom.  And the two aren't the only foreign forces occupying Iraq.  For example,  Anna Whyte (TVNZ) reports:


    The Government are extending New Zealand's military training deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as renewing three peacekeeping missions in Middle East and Africa.


    The Prime Minister announced the extension today, with the Iraq deployment extended to June 2019 and reducing the number of military personnel from 143 to 121 from November this year.


    Emma Hurley (NEWSHUB) reports:


    Green co-leader James Shaw grilled the Minister of Defence about New Zealand's deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan on Tuesday afternoon, calling it a "seemingly never-ending military engagement".
    It follows the Government's announcement on Monday it would extend the deployments until June 2019, despite Labour calling it "mission creep" in opposition.
    Mr Shaw asked if the Minister agreed "that continued military involvement of outside forces has actually further destabilised the region and made it easier for terror groups to recruit and has led to an increase in violence rather than a decrease".


    Marta Subat (INFOSURHOY) adds:

    Most personnel are based at Taji Camp, but there are also three intelligence officers working out of Qatar.


    Ms Ardern said the deployment will be reviewed again in early 2019, to assess New Zealand’s options to contribute to stability in Iraq beyond next June.


    So New Zealand could keep troops in Iraq beyond June.  Apparently, no one ever leaves.  Also at Camp Taji?  Germany.  REUTERS notes:

    German forces will be needed in Iraq for a long time to help rebuild the country’s military as it struggles to ensure that Islamic State militants do not regroup in underground cells, German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday.
    Germany, which has about 125 soldiers in Iraq, is committed to supporting Baghdad as it rebuilds now that the fight to reclaim territory formerly held by Islamic State (IS)militants is largely over, she said during a visit to German troops at the Taji military base about 30 kms north of Baghdad.

    And along with the military multitutdes, there are the mercenaries, the contractors.  Zack Kopplin and Irvin McCullough (DAILY BEAST) report:

    The U.S. government has paid Sallyport Global, a military contracting company, over $1 billion since January 2014 to provide security, life support, training and other basic operations at Balad Air Base in Iraq. But the results, according to 17 current and former Sallyport employees, have been chaotic, bizarre, in many cases sinister, and posed major risks to the personnel on the base at a time when the so-called Islamic State controlled swathes of territory nearby.
    Sallyport employs roughly 1,850 people at Balad. Its company headquarters is in Virginia, but it also has a corporate presence in Bermuda.
    What Sallyport runs in Iraq is basically a small army of private military contractors, known in the trade as PMCs, recruited from around the world. Employees are paid handsomely to survive insurgent attacks, blistering heat and crushing boredom for a few years while supporting American international military and policy objectives.


    As Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil explained decades ago:

    We gotta get out of this place
    If it's the last thing we ever do
    We gotta get out of this place
    'cause girl, there's a better life for me and you



    Instead of getting out, the US government continues to occupy Iraq and attempt to control it.




    U.S likes to see Barham Salih as Iraq president.
    Salih has some rivals -- most compettive is Mala Bakhtyar.
    Salih has to officially agree to rejoin PUK
    Even if this happens, he has to convince KDP to support his bid for Iraq presidency.
    KDP sees Salih as more Iraqi than Kurdish



    KDP values Kurdish nationalism and probaly would like to see someone as president that if he would not further Kurdish nationalism, he would not at least hurt it. Salih is seen as a libality for this. If Salih is nominated, KDP could have his own nominee, too. PUK has to decide.




    Salih?

    Why?

    What the hell has that piece of trash ever accomplished?  Selling the Kurds out to ExxonMobil?

    More to the point, the position of prime minister has traditionally been reserved for a Chicken Ass Coward who fled Iraq.  Now the post of president will also go to such a person?

    First, in 1979, Chicken Ass Salih fled to England.  Then he fled to the US following the Gulf War. When did he finally return to Iraq?

    After the US-led invasion of 2003.

    This is a president?

    This is a coward.  This is an embarrassment.  From 1979 until the fall of Baghdad in 2003, he lived outside the country, cowering in fear, begging other countries to invade Iraq.

    And that behavior is to be rewarded?

    Recipe: Chicken Ass Coward Salih Salad
    1) Check to ensure that all of Salih's bones have been removed (this is just a safety step, the spine was removed years ago).
    2) Add corporate backing from his corporate masters such as ExxonMobil.
    3) Stir in US backing.
    4) Add a dash of empire and a touch of chauvinism.
    5) Serve immediately because with Salih, as with all cowards, there's a huge chance he'll flee quickly.


    The US government repeatedly backs the weakest and most controllable Iraqis.  It's not interested in an independent Iraq.  That's why they backed the weak Hayder al-Abadi.  They installed him in 2014.  Then they backed his weak ass over and over.  The Iraqi people didn't back him.  They saw him as the failure that he is.

    For example, Iraq is facing a huge water crisis.  The US press never wanted to tell you that, but it is reality.  And Hayder had four years to address it but did nothing.





    Iraq is running out of water - 90% of its land is now desert





    Even now, the US press tries to pretend that Hayder was something to admire.  Nabih Bulos (LOS ANGELES TIMES) maintains:



    It was only a few months ago that Haider Abadi, Iraq’s avuncular prime minister, seemed to do no wrong.


    He had been credited with defeating Islamic State, among other accomplishments, and was expected to easily net a second term in parliamentary elections in May. He had the backing of the U.S. and others in the West. He looked to be Iraq’s first genuinely post-sectarian leader.
    In Arabic, Nabih means "intelligent."  Apparently, in THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, Nabih means "liar."  Hayder did nothing but wrong and only an apologist for imperialism would pretend otherwise.  Hayder came to office with Nouri al-Maliki bombing residential homes in Falluja -- a legally defined War Crime.  And Hayder insisted, in September (2014) that he was stopped these bombings because they were wrong.  It made for headlines in the western press.  But the reality, as opposed to the presstitution, was that the very next day, these bombings continued.

    Nabih lies that he stopped the Kurds.  Stopped them from doing what?  Holding their non-binding measure?  They held it.  The Kurds want their freedom and independence.  And it will happen.  It will probably have to wait until the US finally leaves, but that it the future.  Hayder stomped his feet and threatened but he didn't stop the referendum.

    He did not end the Islamic State.  Only US presstitutes ever believed that lie.  The US and Iran were part of the operation and the operation was not a success, it was a War Crime.  As Carl Boggs notes at INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE this week:


    It is easy to forget that it was the Obama administration that planned and carried out the first phases of the Mosul operation (begun in October 2016) which produced hundreds of thousands of casualties (with at least 40,000 dead), left a city of two million in Dresden-like state of rubble, and drove nearly a million civilians into exile. The same fate, on smaller scale, was brought to other Sunni-majority cities in Iraq, including Ramadi, Tikrit, and Fallujah (already destroyed by U.S. forces in 2004). Whatever the official goal, and however many secondary collaborators were involved, these were monstrous war crimes by any reckoning.



    The Iraq War continues, the death and destruction continues.  The politicians aren't really that interested -- certainly not interested enough to end it.  Women's March on the Pentagon next week is about ending the wars.




    Happening soon!






    October 20 and 21st.  Women's March On The Pentagon.





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    October 20-21: Women's March on the Pentagon



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