Friday, August 29, 2014

Joan Rivers

Following problems with surgery, Joan Rivers has been placed in a medical coma.

She's expected to be out of it by Saturday.

But who knows, right?

I like Joan and hope she'll be alright.

She is hilarious and I want to note one thing tonight: "The Girl Most Likely To . . ."

Joan Rivers wrote the funniest TV movie ever.  It stars Stockard Channing as the girl most likely to . . . get even with those who tormented her.

It's a hilarious movie from start to finish -- I always laugh when Heidi tumbles out the window.

But it is a great movie.  Far too good to be a TV movie.

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

Thursday, August 28, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack speaks about Iraq, we note Chris Hill's continued stupidity as he continues to lie about Iraq, over 800 civilians in Falluja have been killed from Nouri al-Maliki's bombings, and much more.

Today on a KPFA newsbreak, Mark Mericle noted:

Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee is one of three lawmakers who have sent a letter to Republican House Speaker John Boehner calling for a debate and a vote on an authorization for the use of military force in Iraq when the House of Representatives returns on September 8th.  In a statement, Lee says that it's clear that the current US mission in Iraq is extended beyond the limited, specific and targeted scope of preventing genocide and ensuring the security of US personnel there.  Lee said the president must seek Congressional authorization before the situation escalates further. She was joined by Democrat Jim McGovern and Republican Walter Jones.  The three were the principle co-sponsers of a resolution that overwhelming passed the House with 370 votes.  It said the president should not deploy or maintain United States armed forces in a sustained combat role in Iraq without the specific authorization from Congress.

Time's Jay Newton-Small explains:

There are some in Congress who are calling on Obama to push through a War Powers Resolution. Article II of the Constitution grants the President the power to defend the country. But Article I gives only Congress the power to declare war. So, what in a post-war-on-terrorism era constitutes an actual war? In 1973, afraid of Vietnam mission creep, Congress passed the War Powers Act, which requires the President to consult Congress 60 days after engaging in hostilities. If you count bombing a foreign country as hostile — as the U.S. did against militants in northern Iraq on Aug. 7 — then the 60 days expires Oct. 7.
Theoretically, if Congress cares about not further weakening its oversight of the President’s ability to bomb whatever country he pleases, lawmakers will move to pass a War Powers Resolution in the next month. Presidents, including Obama, have argued that the War Powers Act is unconstitutional. But a turf fight over who gets to go to war is the last thing on Congress’ mind weeks before the midterm elections.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama insisted today that "throughout this process, we've consulted closely with Congress, and the feedback I've gotten from Congress is, is that we're doing the right thing."

He was speaking this afternoon at the White House -- in the suit that gave Cedric and Wally pause.

US President Barack Obama:  Second, in Iraq, our dedicated pilots and crews continue to carry out the targeted strikes that I authorized to protect Americans there and to address the humanitarian situation on the ground.  As Commander-in-Chief, I will always do what is necessary to protect the American people and defend against evolving threats to our homeland.  Because of our strikes, the terrorists of ISIL are losing arms and equipment.  In some areas, Iraqi government and Kurdish forces have begun to push them back.  And we continue to be proud and grateful to our extraordinary personnel serving in this mission.   Now, ISIL poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region.  And that’s why our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader, comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL.  And that starts with Iraq’s leaders building on the progress that they've made so far and forming an inclusive government that will unite their country and strengthen their security forces to confront ISIL.  Any successful strategy, though, also needs strong regional partners.  I'm encouraged so far that countries in the region -- countries that don't always agree on many things -- increasingly recognize the primacy of the threat that ISIL poses to all of them.  And I've asked Secretary Kerry to travel to the region to continue to build the coalition that’s needed to meet this threat.  As I've said, rooting out a cancer like ISIL will not be quick or easy, but I'm confident that we can -- and we will -- working closely with our allies and our partners.  For our part, I've directed Secretary Hagel and our Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare a range of options.  I'll be meeting with my National Security Council again this evening as we continue to develop that strategy.  And I've been consulting with members of Congress and I’ll continue to do so in the days ahead.

Barack was several minutes late for the appearance which is strange until you realize he was supposed to begin speaking at four but had been scheduled to meet, also at four, with US Vice President Joe Biden and the National Security Council.  Barack is said to have met for four minutes ahead of the meeting.  A quick four minutes.  And, as he noted in his remarks, he was meeting with them later that evening as well.

"Them" was identified in this White House press release:

Readout of the President’s Meeting with the National Security Council on Iraq and ISIL

This afternoon the President met with his National Security Council to discuss the situation in Iraq, our ongoing efforts to support the Iraqi government, and our comprehensive strategy to counter the threat posed by ISIL in Iraq and Syria.  The President will continue to consult with his national security team in the days to come.  
 Participants in today’s meeting included:
The Vice President (via secure video)
Secretary of State John Kerry (via secure video)
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (via secure video)
Attorney General Eric Holder
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson (via secure video)
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough
National Security Advisor Susan Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power (via secure video)
White House Counsel Neil Eggleston
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey (via secure video)
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff James Winnefeld
Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Matthew Olsen
U.S. Central Command Commander Lloyd Austin (via secure video)
Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shaun Donovan
Deputy National Security Advisor Antony Blinken
Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco
Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Caroline Atkinson
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns
White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and Gulf Region Philip Gordon
Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs Katie Fallon
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran Brett McGurk
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Robert Stephen Beecroft (via secure video)

Suzanne George, Executive Secretary and Chief of Staff of the National Security Council

In an embarrassing article for the Guardian (Barack is seen as torn -- deer in the headlights, little puppy, etc.), Spencer Ackerman does note, "Obama’s national security team convened at the White House Thursday afternoon to discuss the contours of a still-inchoate strategy. Administration officials have recently begun describing Isis in apocalyptic and near-hysterical terms, even as they decline to endorse additional military action against it, a discrepancy that has prompted confusion in Washington and beyond."

Maybe these sketchy meetings explain in part why the 'mission' in Iraq still lacks a mission?

Josh Jordan Tweeted the following today:

  • Pew Poll - Obama approval on the issues: Economy 39-55 Immigration 31-61* Russia/Ukraine 35-52 Israel 37-48 Iraq 35-56* * = all time low

  • Francis Matthew (Gulf News) notes:

    This alarming lack of purpose is reflected in how the world’s superpower is confused about what it is trying to do. President Barack Obama has offered some deeply contradictory messages as he first authorised humanitarian support on a strictly limited basis, but then talked of refusing to allow Isil to continue and the necessity of a long drawn-out struggle.

    It is clear that the growing acceptance of the importance of defeating Isil is creating some very uneasy alliances, as the Iranians and Bashar Al Assad regime in Syria offer to work with the Americans and Saudis. This fits into the new pragmatic search for stability that will dominate the Arab world for the next few years, as regional and world powers work with any non-Islamist who can regain control of a nation state and impose an end to civil war and chaos.

    Here are some Tweets in reaction to Barack's speech:

  • Be fair re: President's admission we have no IS strategy: only been in office dealing w Iraq 6 yrs, Syria for 3, IS took Fallujah in Jan.

  • Where are people getting that Obama is an isolationist? Drone wars, extended Iraq War, stay in Afghanistan until 2024, Syria, Libya, etc.

  • We'll come back to Barack's event later in the snapshot.

    Let's knock out the discussion at the State Dept today in the press briefing moderated by spokesperson Jen Psaki:

    QUESTION: We talked about – yesterday on Iraq we talked about the situation for – of the Turkmen in the north of the country.

    MS. PSAKI: Sure.

    QUESTION: Do you have any more information about the supposedly dire situation they’re in and what the United States might be planning?

    MS. PSAKI: Sure. I have a little bit on information. We are very concerned about the dire conditions for the mainly Turkmen population in Amirli as well as the ongoing humanitarian situation throughout northern and central Iraq. We’re focused on reviewing options to assess how we can best help alleviate the situation in Amirli. Our embassy and military personnel at our joint operation centers in Iraq are already working closely with the Iraqi Government to share information and discuss ways to provide relief to those in need, and certainly we’re having ongoing internal discussions as well.

    The Turkmen are the latest in-need in Iraq.

    It's a real shame when the in-need included gay and perceived gay teenagers that the US government couldn't and wouldn't do a damn thing.  Since Hillary was Secretary of State then, should she run for the presidential nomination, let's hope reporters have done their work and are willing to ask her why she failed so many in need?

    And will the in-need ever include the civilians of Falluja?

    We've noted repeatedly that Nouri is shelling civilian neighborhoods in Falluja and has been since the start of this year.  We've noted repeatedly that this is a War Crime and is legally defined as such.

    At what point does the White House intend to object to ongoing War Crimes?

    Mustafa Habib (Niqash) reports:

    Many of the buildings are damaged or completely destroyed. Anyone who manages to get into Fallujah will see a city that looks as though it’s out of a picture taken just after World War II.

    “Some areas – such as al-Hay al-Sinaie and Nazzal – have been completely levelled,” one of the city’s tribal leaders, Ahmed al-Halbusi, told NIQASH. “It would be almost impossible for people to go back and live in those areas again because they are so damaged. Additionally the Iraqi air force is still shelling those areas even though we have no idea why.”

    Al-Halbusi was now looking after a five-year-old boy named Othman. “His whole family was killed in the Nazzal area,” al-Halbusi explains. “He was playing in his garden and his family were in the house when the house was hit. He was the only survivor.”

    There are dozens of similar stories. The Iraqi army has been attacking Fallujah since the beginning of the year. Every day the army shells the city two different ways – with ground artillery from their camps near the city. One of the major camps is the nearby Mazra camp.

    The people of Fallujah say that this method seems to be fairly ineffective and doesn’t cause a lot of damage. They are far more concerned about the second method the Iraqi army is using: air bombardment.  

    Military helicopters bomb the city too – some of these helicopters are old ones, dating back to Saddam Hussein’s army, and some are new Russian-made machines, received recently. The helicopters often use barrel bombs, locals say. When these land and don’t explode, they try to disarm them.

    Niqash can do a major piece on this, why are they the only ones who can?

    These War Crimes take place every day.

    We used the April 16th snapshot to demonstrate this, covering Nouri's bombings in January, February, March and April.

    Do we need to do that again?

    Spend an entire snapshot documenting these bombings and how many are left wounded or dead?

    Nouri gets away with it because it is often just a few this day and a few that.

    But we've pointed out that, over a prolonged period, these small daily numbers add up.

    Doubt it?

    National Iraqi News Agency reports:

    Spokesman for the hospital in Fallujah Dr. Ahmed Al-Shami said on Thursday that the number of the martyrs in Fallujah since the beginning of military operations by more than 8 months amounted to 812 people, while the total number of wounded to 2488 people.
    He told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that this is not the final statistics due to the continued bombardment of the city in addition to that a number of the martyrs were buried without arriving to the hospital and the wounded were treated in homes and health centers.
    He added that 16 percent of the martyrs are children and 19 percent of them women, while the injured proportion of children reached 11 percent and women 17 percent. 

    What is the number that will prompt disgust and lead to vocal rejection of Nouri's assault on Sunni civilians?

    The embarrassing UNHCR wanted to whine about 'terrorism' in Iraq.

    What is terrorism but not being safe in your own home?

    Read Mustafa Habib's piece for Niqash -- it's very clear that those civilians in the city are pretty much stuck there.

    They shouldn't have to leave their homes to begin with but now they have no choice.

    And these are the civilians Nouri kills and wounds daily.

    When does this become an issue?

    When the number killed hits a thousand?

    At the end of February, I was speaking to a friend in the administration about these murders -- they are murders, Nouri is a murderer.  And it was just so small, I was told, these deaths, and, besides, the US was working with him on getting a cease fire.  They'd eventually get a '48' hour cease fire.  But Nouri couldn't even honor that.

    I want to know what the magic number is that leads to an international outcry?

    I would have thought, myself, that the fact that these are War Crimes would prompt outrage.


    Very few acknowledge what's taking place.

    What continues to take place.

    And the silence that surrounds it goes to Nouri's enablers.  Patrick Cockburn is only one of many who have been silent.  Nouri has had many, many enablers.

    Take Barack's first US Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill.

    Chris Hill was a joke.  A lazy idiot who showed up for his confirmation hearing with his hair sticking out at all angles and food stains on his shirt (see the March 25, 2009 snapshot and the March 26th one).

    The Pig-Pen Ambassador


    Isaiah captured the moment in  The World Today Just Nuts "The Pig-Pen Ambassador."
    That alone should have raised alarms.

    Hill's answers were even worse than his failure to dress to impress for a Senate hearing.

    And once he became ambassador, he dresses up as a Secret Service agent with some tawdry idiot dressing  as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy to spoof the assassination of JFK.

    chris hill

    That's what trashy Chris Hill thinks passes for professional.  (Peter Van Buren  posted the photo to his blog here and here.)

    I'd love to leave Chris alone but he can't stop being a danger to himself and others.

    Gulf News runs Chris' latest crap today.  It opens:

    Nouri Al Maliki’s fitful departure from Iraq’s premiership recalled many other cliffhanger exits by unpopular political leaders. His leaving did not come a moment too soon for the many Iraqis who have laid all of the country’s current troubles at his doorstep.

    Do we see a problem already?

    Sunday morning, we offered "Nouri's not gone yet -- as Falluja civilians can attest."

    Chris is an idiot, over and over he's an idiot.

    When he left Iraq August 13, 2010, he swore to Anthony Shadid (New York Times) that the political stalemate he'd been no help in resolving was nearly over and that a power-sharing agreement "was just weeks away."

    Weeks away?

    Did he mean 12 weeks -- which is also known as three months -- because that's how much longer Nouri drug out the political stalemate.

    The idiot told NPR that Nouri would abide by the results of the 2010 election.

    But Nouri didn't.

    Over and over, Chris Hill has been wrong.

    Now he writes:

    Al Maliki, according to this view, was endlessly divisive, driven by authoritarian tendencies, lacking in elementary political skills, and incapable of leading an army in disarray. But his greatest failure was his inability to grasp that successful governance in Iraq requires reaching out to other communities, notably the Sunnis and Kurds.
    Instead, Al Maliki ordered preventive arrests of young Sunni men, supposedly in anticipation of their defection to terrorist groups, and hounded his political opponents, in some instances driving them out of government (and in one case into exile).

    No doubt, much of this narrative has a basis in fact. But if it were the whole story, the mild-mannered, western-educated prime minister-designate, Haider Al Abadi, would have an easy task in stitching things back together. After all, Iraq’s Sunnis would have every reason to support Al Abadi now that Al Maliki has gone.

    Chris needs to spare Nouri because he enabled him.  Calling him out now is calling out himself.

    If you don't get what a liar Chris -- or Patrick Cockburn or any of Nouri's concubines -- don't listen to me.  I've talked this issue to death.

    Let's instead hear from Barack again.  Here's what he said today:

    Keep in mind we had been in communications with the Iraqi government for more than a year indicating that we saw significant problems in the Sunni areas.  Prime Minister Maliki was not as responsive perhaps as we would have liked to some of the underlying political grievances that existed at the time.There is no doubt that in order for Iraq security forces to be successful, they're going to need help.  They're going to need help from us.  They're going to need help from our international partners.  They're going to need additional training.  They're going to need additional equipment.  And we are going to be prepared to offer that support.
    There may be a role for an international coalition providing additional air support for their operations.  But the reason it’s so important that an Iraqi government be in place is this is not simply a military problem.  The problem we have had consistently is a Sunni population that feels alienated from Baghdad and does not feel invested in what’s happening, and does not feel as if anybody is looking out for them.
    If we can get a government in place that provides Sunnis some hope that a national government serves their interest, if they can regain some confidence and trust that it will follow through on commitments that were made way back in 2006 and 2007 and 2008 and earlier about how you arrive at, for example, de-Baathification laws and give people opportunities so they're not locked out of government positions -- if those things are followed through on, and we are able to combine it with a sound military strategy, then I think we can be successful.  If we can't, then the idea that the United States or any outside power would perpetually defeat ISIS I think is unrealistic.
    As I’ve said before -- I think I said in the previous press conference -- our military is the best in the world.  We can route ISIS on the ground and keep a lid on things temporarily.  But then as soon as we leave, the same problems come back again.  So we’ve got to make sure that Iraqis understand in the end they're going to be responsible for their own security.  And part of that is going to be the capacity for them to make compromises.

    Barack needs to rebuke Chris Hill publicly.

    The White House fired Chris.

    Fired him for cause, in fact.

    Hill was a failure who couldn't hold onto his job.

    Now he's going to be presented as a trusted source?

    We'll close with this,   Zeke Miller (Time magazine) asking Barack a question and Barack's response:

    Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Last year, you said that you believe our democracy is stronger when the President acts with the support of Congress.  In response to Chuck’s question you said you don’t have a strategy yet, but you’ll reconsider that going forward.  But why didn’t you go to Congress before this current round of strikes in Iraq?  Do you not believe that that’s the case anymore, what you said last year?  And throughout your career you’ve also said that -- you raised concerns with the expansion of powers of the executive.  Are you concerned that your recent actions, unilaterally, had maybe -- have cut against that?

    THE PRESIDENT:  No.  And here’s why:  It is not just part of my responsibility, but it is a sacred duty for me as Commander-in-Chief to protect the American people.  And that requires me to act fast, based on information I receive, if an embassy of ours or a consulate of ours is being threatened.  The decisions I made were based on very concrete assessments about the possibility that Erbil might be overrun in the Kurdish region and that our consulate could be in danger.  And I can’t afford to wait in order to make sure that those folks are protected.
    But throughout this process, we’ve consulted closely with Congress, and the feedback I’ve gotten from Congress is, is that we’re doing the right thing.  Now, as we go forward -- as I’ve described to Chuck -- and look at a broader regional strategy with an international coalition and partners to systematically degrade ISIL’s capacity to engage in the terrible violence and disruptions that they’ve been engaging in not just in Syria, not just in Iraq, but potentially elsewhere if we don’t nip this at the bud, then those consultations with Congress for something that is longer term I think become more relevant.
    And it is my intention that Congress has to have some buy-in as representatives of the American people.  And, by the way, the American people need to hear what that strategy is.  But as I said to Chuck, I don’t want to put the cart before the horse.  And in some of the media reports the suggestion seems to have been that we’re about to go full scale on an elaborate strategy for defeating ISIL, and the suggestion, I guess, has been that we’ll start moving forward imminently and somehow Congress -- still out of town -- is going to be left in the dark.  That’s not what’s going to happen.

    We are going to continue to focus on protecting the American people.  We’re going to continue, where we can, to engage in the sort of humanitarian acts that saved so many folks who were trapped on a mountain.  We are going to work politically and diplomatically with folks in the region.  And we’re going to cobble together the kind of coalition that we need for a long-term strategy as soon as we are able to fit together the military, political and economic components of that strategy.  There will be a military aspect to that, and it’s going to be important for Congress to know what that is, in part because it may cost some money.


    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    So that's what it takes to get crap cancelled

    While shows I've loved like "The Cape" and "No Ordinary Family" get cancelled, crap like "Sons of a Gun" stay on the air. 

    Not anymore.

    "Sons of a Gun" is getting the axe.

    And all it took was the reality-TV series's star being accused of screwing his 12-year-old daughter.

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

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri claims there is a "plan B" to keep him on as prime minister, Nouri verbally attacks a high ranking US official, a new wave of refugees sweeps Iraq, a coalition of something wants increased war on Iraq, and much more.

    Tonight the Washington Post published a column by Anbar Province Governor Ahmed Khalaf al-Dulaimi which notes:

    We are struggling in this war against the forces of darkness, but we are a people who can see the light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is thousands of miles away. No matter how dim the light, we hope that it will shine brighter every day.

    Iraqis have the right to live in peace. Our young people have the right to enjoy all the wonderful things that life has to offer. And we have a responsibility to give them hope that will empower them to live life to the fullest, to reach out to their counterparts in other nations and to turn away from death and extremism. 

    The Iraqi people are a strong group who has overcome repeatedly the attacks and 'help' from outsiders.  And, of course, they managed to survive two terms under the despot and tyrant Nouri al-Maliki.

    We frequently note he's not gone here and sometimes add that Nouri will only be truly gone when he's in the ground.

    Some e-mails insist that's too harsh.  Nouri's shown a kinder side in recent days and weeks, one e-mailer argued.

    Has he?  Well that certainly erases his sending his goons into middle schools and high schools to liken gay men to vampires and to encourage the students to bully, harm and kill and Iraqi gays they might know.  Right?  And doesn't it wipe away all the Sunni protesters he killed?

    And doesn't it just vanish all the civilians in Falluja he's killed and wounded with his bombing of residential -neighborhoods?  (National Iraq News Agency notes the bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods today left 3 civilians dead and seven more injured.)

    And we could go on and on.

    Nouri's a thug.

    I'm not kind to thugs, so sorry.

    And my belief that Nouri's not gone yet -- even though the world press tells us he is outgoing -- gone, gone, gone?

    Hamza Mustafa (Asharq Al-Awsat) reports:

    Iraq’s outgoing Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki said on Wednesday he was prepared to form a new government from among Iraq’s Shi’ite parties if ongoing talks on the shape of the new government fail.
    Speaking in his weekly national address, Maliki claimed that the Shi’ite-led National Alliance—which includes his State of Law coalition, parties loyal to firebrand cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI)—had a “Plan B” in place if Prime Minister-designate Haider Al-Abadi was unable to make progress in talks on forming a government with Sunni and Kurdish factions.

    Still think Nouri's packed it in?  Or, and this is a better guess, are you thinking Nouri's actively working to ensure that Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi fails so that he can be named to the position and take 30 days to form a government?

    Mustafa notes the National Alliance says they have no plan B involving Nouri.  Is he lying?

    Most likely.  He usually does, after all.

    But his personal Eva Braun was on Democracy Now! this week and Sunni-hater Patrick Cockburn couldn't stop making excuses for his beloved:

    Well, I think, you know, that Maliki is finished. I think he’s been finished for some time. The question was: Would he fight it out? He had military units that were personally loyal to him, but he found that after the new prime minister had been appointed, the Iranians had turned against him. They wouldn’t support him. He didn’t have any outside political support. His own party was disintegrating or would no longer support him. So I think that the transition will happen.
    But I think what is wrong is to think that—almost everything now is being blamed on al-Maliki, both inside and outside Baghdad, that he was the person who provoked the Sunni uprising, he was the hate figure for the Sunni, he produced an army that was riddled with corruption. But I think that it’s exaggerated, that it’s as if there was a magic wand that would be used once al-Maliki had gone. But there were other reasons for this uprising, for the creation of ISIS—notably, the rebellion in Syria in 2011. This changed the regional balance of power. That was a Sunni rebellion, which Iraqi politicians over the last couple of years were always telling me, if the West supports the opposition in Syria, this will destabilize Iraq. And they were dead right. It wasn’t just al-Maliki.

    He did provoke the Sunni uprising?  I realize it's difficult for Patrick to speak with Nouri's cock down his throat but the Sunnis were protesting in 2011 and were promised by Nouri that corruption ends in 100 days and it was another lie from Nouri.  They took to the streets again as December 2012 rolled around and they ended up being attacked and savaged.

    And Patrick, if you can hear us over the sucking noise you're making, who do you think had Sunnis rounded up and tossed into prison?  The Easter Bunny?

    Who created military forces without the authorization of Parliament?

    The man whose pubes your nose is in.  That's right.

    Because you're a worthless person who hates the Sunnis, you never bothered to report any of this over the years.  That's on you.  Lying about it now won't help you any.

    In yesterday's snapshot, we noted The Progressive published an article on Iraq by Stephen Zunes. With Patrick Cockburn's latest spin for Nouri still fresh, let's see what Zunes has to say on the same topics:

    The biggest division among Iraq’s Arabs, however, is not between Sunnis and Shias but between nationalist and sectarian tendencies within both communities. Under the corrupt and autocratic U.S.-backed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Shia sectarians dominated. This resulted in an initially nonviolent Sunni backlash, which was met by severe government repression. This backlash was eventually hijacked by ISIS, which rid the major Sunni-dominated cities of government control.

    Yeah, that's pretty much the way most of us who've paid attention to Iraq over the last four years feel it went down.  You won't find it in Patrick Cockburn's 'reporting.'  You can find it in our archives.  Over and over. But I don't hate Sunnis and I was never vested in lying for Nouri al-Maliki (or any other official).  Sadly, Patrick Cockburn can't say the same.

    There's so much he can't say -- can't or won't.  You have governments vying to be by Barack's side in the latest wave of the Iraq War.  Paddy Cock Burn got anything to say about that?

    Of course not.

    Jen Psaki, State Dept spokesperson, had to address it and other topics in today's State Dept press briefing:

    QUESTION: We have a story out today that cites officials talking about the United States considering a new humanitarian mission in Iraq. This one would be to the north for the ethnic Shiite Turkmen. Do you have any – anything to share about this? Why is the situation so dire? What’s being planned?

    MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t have any new information for you, Brad. I will say, broadly speaking, we’re very focused on addressing the humanitarian concerns across Iraq. Obviously, this is something we continue to asses with our Iraqi partners. We’re also working at the same time on an effort to put together a coalition of countries in Europe, in the Arab world, and beyond that who might be able to contribute to taking on the threat of ISIL and the causes that have resulted, which, of course, is some of the humanitarian results that you mentioned.
    And as you all know, there’s many ways to contribute. There’s humanitarian, military, intelligence, diplomatic, and we know this is an effort that is going to require significant focus and all hands on deck – not just the United States, but a range of countries. And you’ve already seen that there are a range of countries that have offered a range of assistance in Iraq, whether it’s humanitarian assistance or other countries who have taken strikes. We’ve seen the efforts of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, and many, many others, who have given assistance. And this is an effort that we think needs to be over the long term to take this on.

    QUESTION: Do you have any – I mean, are you concerned about the situation, particularly of the Turkmen right now, in the north of Iraq?

    MS. PSAKI: Well, I think it’s a situation we’re watching closely, just as we’re watching any humanitarian situation in Iraq that raises concerns. And as you know, we continue to assess necessary steps to take.

    QUESTION: Are you – sorry, go ahead.

    QUESTION: Just – Said, thank you. Just in terms of the coalition-building, have you anything more to say about other countries that might help on the military side of it?

    MS. PSAKI: Well, I think it’s really important to note that this is about many areas of contribution. They include military. They include humanitarian. They include intelligence. They include diplomatic efforts. We’re not going to make announcements for other countries, of course, about what they may or may not do. You’ve seen some countries take steps in Iraq to take on the threat of ISIL. Obviously, we’re having conversations with a range – dozens of countries about what contribution they’re able to make.

    QUESTION: Who’s taking on ISIL militarily in Iraq --

    QUESTION: Yeah, besides the Americans.

    QUESTION: -- besides you and Iran, which I assume is not part of your coalition?

    MS. PSAKI: Well, what I mean, Brad, is that obviously there are countries who are all considering what options they can take and they may be willing to take to take on the threat of ISIL, whether it’s Iraq or across borders.
    More on this? Let’s finish this issue. Go ahead.

    QUESTION: Are you aware about the desperate situation of the people in the town of Amirli in north Iraq – northern Iraq?

    MS. PSAKI: Well, I think as I said in response to Brad’s question, we are watching closely the humanitarian situation in Iraq; that’s obviously impacting many communities. And we continue to assess how we can provide the best assistance. And obviously this is not a short-term effort, this is a long-term effort, which is why it’s so important to work through a coalition of countries in a coordinated manner, with regional and international partners to see how we can address.

    QUESTION: But to help the people of Amirli match the – one of the goals of the President’s mission in Iraq, right – humanitarian relief?

    MS. PSAKI: Certainly, one of the goals is humanitarian relief. You’ve seen contributions we’ve already made. We continue to assess what more we can do.

    QUESTION: Yeah. On ISIL in Syria, you have said that you will not coordinate with the Assad Government because it has allowed a vacuum that has fostered ISIL. That’s still correct?

    MS. PSAKI: Yes.

    QUESTION: Now with the Iranian Government, they have fostered sectarianism in Baghdad, which you said contributed – is a political problem that’s possibly greater than the military problem. They have funded, they have armed, they have trained the Assad Government. And yet, the Secretary has said explicitly we’re open to them playing a constructive role numerous times. Is that a --

    MS. PSAKI: But I think we’ve also said, clearly – and I think the context of his remarks are important – that there’s many ways you can play a constructive role, and certainly supporting a unified Iraqi Government – which I think is what his reference was to at the time – and one that takes into account the views of all parties, is one that many countries can play a productive role in. And if Iran was able to play a productive role in moving that process forward when that statement was made months ago or weeks ago, then that’s something we would certainly support.
    We’ve also talked about our concern about certain kinds of outside intervention in Iraq as well.

    QUESTION: Okay. But in terms of ISIL generally – Iraq or Syria – the comments that he made are not relevant in terms of Iran’s ability to play a constructive role in the military fight against the organization.

    MS. PSAKI: I would encourage you to look back at the context, which I recall was about the formation of a governing – of a government in Iraq, which certainly has moved forward several steps since then.

    David Williams and Jason Groves (Daily Mail) report, "America is poised to ask Britain to support air strikes against jihadi positions in northern Iraq, it was reported last night."  While England plays coy, Australia is apparently desperate to be invited to the ball.  Daniel Hurst (Guardian) reports:

    Australia has signalled its willingness to contribute Super Hornets to US-led air strikes in Iraq, with the defence force “at a high state of readiness”.

    The defence minister, David Johnston, said Australia was yet to be approached to provide assistance other than humanitarian relief, but would continue to talk to the US about steps to preserve civilian life from the threat posed by the Islamic State (Isis).

    And Australians are apparently all in for anything.  Pak Yiu (4BC 1116 Talk) speaks with Neil James the Executive Director of the Australian Defense Association:

    Mr James said an intervention like the one in 2003 is unlikely, but it could be possible.
    “There may be a fair bit of air support to the new Iraqi government but I can’t see a similar type of multinational intervention there was back in 2003.”

    Unlikely . . . but maybe, he says.

    Who's in charge of the war?

    Not the US Congress which can't find a voice one way or the other.

    How about the White House?

    New York Times' columnist Maureen Dowd offers this take:

    As he has grown weary of Washington, President Barack Obama has shed parts of his presidency, like drying petals falling off a rose.
    He left the explaining and selling of his signature health care legislation to Bill Clinton. He outsourced Congress to Rahm Emanuel in the first term, and now doesn't bother to source it at all. He left schmoozing, as well as a spiraling Iraq, to Joe Biden. Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, comes across as more than a messagemeister. As the president floats in the empyrean, Rhodes seems to make foreign policy even as he's spinning it.

    Meanwhile National Iraqi News Agency reports:

    A security source in Anbar said on Tuesday that, an unknown military plane bombed a school, which includes a number of displaced people from the city of Falluja, west of Anbar.
    The source told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA/ that the school is located amid Kubaisa in Hit district, west of Anbar were bombed by unidentified aircraft, without knowing the size of the losses caused by the bombing. 

    Kitabat reports an American aircraft crashed to the west of Baghdad International Airport -- as they describe the craft, it was a remote control drone. Kitabat also reports 27 corpses were discovered dumped to the north of Baghdad.   And in Baghdad?  Iraq Times notes the corpse of 1 woman and 6 men were discovered throughout Baghdad today.  Alsumaria reports 1 Iraqi soldier was shot dead in Baghdad, a bombing in a booby-trapped Ramadi home left 1 police member dead, and 1 civilian was shot dead in western Baghdad.  All Iraq News adds 1 health department employee was shot dead in Raibya,  National Iraqi News notes the handcuffed corpses of 2 young men were dumped on the road in Tuz Khurmato.  Margaret Griffis ( reports 168 violent deaths took place in Iraq today.

    As the violence continues, it impacts the country.  Sean Callebs (CCTV -- link is video) reports 1.5 million have been displaced by violence from the Islamic State. Iraq has seen waves of both external and internal refugees throughout the war.  Alsumaria notes the General Secretariat of the Council of Minister Mohammed Taher al-Tamimi is calling for the Iraqi schools to take in the displaced children.

    We'll try to grab the topic of religious minorities tomorrow.  For now, let's return to the topic of Nouri.  He announced the alleged plan B today in his weekly speech.  He did more than that in the speech.

    Among other things, he attacked US Vice President Joe Biden.

    Kitabat notes Nouri accused Joe of attempting to divide Iraq into three separate regions -- Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurd.  Al Mada also notes Nouri's "attack" (they use the term) on Joe. All Iraq News notes he called on Joe "to respect the Iraqi people and constitution" -- to which Joe Biden could reply, "You first."

    Monday, August 25, 2014


    That's Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Golfing"  from last night.


    We got the Emmys.

    Best win?

    Tight race but I'd say Jessica Lange for "American Horror Story."

    She's great in it and she deserved it.

    And otherwise?

    Well, I cover "The Good Wife" so I should note Juliana won.

    But . . .

    Why not Kerry Washington?

    I'm also getting really sick of the cable nominations for crap like Breaking Bad.

    Thank God that show's off the air now.

    But "Arrow" doesn't deserve an award?

    It just seems like a lot of good work gets ignored -- include "Once Upon A Time" here as well -- because people just don't care for the genre.

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

    Monday, August 25, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the State Dept's 'concerned' about killings in Iraq (now they're concerned), Nouri's War Crimes continue, Nouri's also yet again accidentally or 'accidentally' bombing Iraqi soldiers, Dan Rather makes a stupid remark, his fellow idiots try to serve it up as a 'peace' statement, and much more.

    Let's start with the obvious: Dan Rather is an idiot.

    I have no use for 'big left' Dan of today because when he occupied the anchor chair for years and years on CBS, he didn't do a damn thing.

    Now he's got nothing left so he pretends he's left.  He's not.

    Jeffrey Meyer, of the right wing media site Newsbusters, notes:

    Dan Rather, former anchor of the CBS Evening News, appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources to harshly criticize those in Congress calling for the U.S. to take military action against the terrorist group ISIS.
    Speaking to anchor Brian Stelter on Sunday, August 24, Rather proclaimed that he will only listen to those who advocate boots on the ground “if you tell me you are prepared to send your son, your daughter, your grandson, your granddaughter to that war of which you are beating the drums.”

    While some idiots will applaud that, they shouldn't.

    It's the same pompous and discriminatory b.s. that prompted Dan Rather to treat Connie Chung like crap and get her fired when she was briefly made his co-anchor.  Make no mistake, Dan Rather is a nasty, dirty person.

    Members of Congress should not support war, Rather says, unless they are willing to send their loved ones into war.

    It's not the ancient days of Dan Rather's boyhood.

    Children are not chattel, they will not be sent somewhere.

    They will make up their own minds.

    If Connie Chung were in the Senate and pounding the drums of war, that's on Connie.

    Dan's a stupid piece of s**t and the continued embrace of his sexist and out of date notions does not need encouragement.

    Matthew Povich is his own person.  What his parent Connie or Maury does?  That's on them.  That's not on him.  If Matthew wants to join a war, wants to oppose a war, wants to ignore a war, that's on him.

    This is b.s. and Dan Rather needs to be called out on it.

    Here's Jessica Lange speaking at a 2005 peace rally:

    JESSICA LANGE: There have been twice as many terrorist attacks in the three years since 9/11 than in the three years preceding 9/11. All their reasons for waging war on Iraq have been proven to be manipulation of facts, untruths and lies, lies, and more lies. And then he dares accuse us of being guilty of wrong thinking, a man who traffics in deadly lies, the front man for an administration who came into office with the intention of taking out Saddam and becoming an occupying force in Iraq, members of the Project for the New American Century, who promote an ideology of U.S. domination through the use of force, who have imposed their politics of scorch and burn on the American people and made us complicit against our will in their regime of shame.
    And who are these men? Who are these men? Let’s talk for a minute about these masters of war, these same men that are sending our sons and our daughters, our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers to fight an undeclared and unconstitutional and unwinnable war for them. Let’s talk about their service records. Karl Rove did not serve. Paul Wolfowitz did not serve. Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams, Newt Gingrich did not serve. Jeb Bush did not serve. The list goes on and on. And we know George W. did not really serve.

    Click here to stream it or read it in full at Democracy Now!

    Did you notice what Jessica did?

    She held people accountable for their actions.

    Jenna Bush is not responsible for what her father does.  Malia Obama is not responsible for what her father does.  Both women may agree with their father's choices, may disagree, may not care one way or the other.  That's their right.  That's every person's right.

    Jessica Lange rightly pointed out that the War Hawks pushing the Iraq War didn't serve in the military.  She didn't attack the children or grandchildren of War Hawks.

    Dan still believes in chattel.

    Shame on those who promote that nonsense.

    Furthermore, the whole point of Dan's little stunt is to say what?

    If Dick Cheney had forced Mary into the military (against her will) it would be okay for the US to go to war on Iraq?


    It wouldn't have made the illegal war right.

    No one should die in this illegal war.  Many have.  I'm really not into wishing that the death toll rises but I guess when the career's over, when you're name is a disgrace, when you're a hateful old man with nothing to look forward but death, I guess then you just want everyone to die, eh, Dan?

    Dan Rather's nonsense is wrongly seen as 'antiwar' or 'peace' only because there's no peace movement in the country.

    Friday, United for Peace and Justice finally issued a statement on Iraq . . . and Gaza . . . and Ferguson.  We'll note the section on Iraq:

    The dual tragedies playing out in Gaza and Iraq are graphic reminders of the catastrophic costs of militarism. Each has multiple causes, but paramount among them, American military power and Washington’s decades-old build up of Israeli military power have caused unimaginable suffering among civilian populations.
    Neither story is at an end. And the need to speak up for peace and diplomacy remains urgent. Since 2001, the United States government has dealt with the problem of “terrorism” by engaging in various forms of warfare against other countries and groups, while building up the military might of its Israeli ally. And the results have been costly, harmful and counter-productive.
    The staggering oppression of Palestinians, the millions of people in the Muslim world killed, injured or displaced, and the level of anger now directed at the United States attests to the immorality and futility of this approach.
    Responding to the crisis in Gaza and Iraq, we call for:
    • Cessation of US bombing in Iraq and a cease-fire in Gaza and Israel
    • Immediate end to the blockade of Gaza
    • Increased humanitarian assistance to victims of violence in Iraq and Gaza
    • Suspension of US military aid to Israel and an arms embargo across the region
    • United Nations sponsored diplomacy which includes all regional parties
    What can be done?

    Members of Congress are back in district this month. This is an excellent time to express concern over US policy in Gaza and Iraq — meet with your Reps, send a letter to the editor of your local paper, demonstrate, or vigil. UFPJ is urging that in whatever action you organize, you incorporate concerns about Gaza and Iraq. Please keep us posted on your plans:

    If you thought other organizations would suddenly find their voices, you were wrong.

    Let's survey the ruins of the peace movement of the '00s.

    CODEPINK?  They called for aid not bombs -- on August 8th, they made that call.  They've done nothing since.  It's hard to be a faux activist, you understand.

    It's even harder for cowards and the spineless to call out US President Barack Obama.

    Which is why the so-called Iraq veterans of Iraq Veterans Against the War didn't call out Barack.  The little tykes last whined and pissed their diapers back on June 19th when they ran an open letter to non-US President John Kerry.  It was about Iraq.  It was their last statement about Iraq.  June 19th.

    I know John.  I've still got the spine to call him out but our big brave babies of IVAW can't call out Barack.  Poor little useless babies.  Maybe they can change their name to Iraq Veterans Against the War Except When A Democrat's In The White House?

    Military Families Speak Out?

    Against what?

    Against what do they speak out?

    They've completely ignored Barack sending waves of troops into Iraq in the last weeks as well as the US bombings.  So exactly what do they speak out against?

    A.N.S.W.E.R. spoke out.  Back on June 23rd.  Two months ago.

    Guess Iraq fixed itself without any need for effort on the part of A.N.S.W.E.R. which left the organization free to pursue other things -- like Hobby Lobby.

    A.N.S.W.E.R. quoted their own Eugene Puryear stating, "They don't ask anyone from the anti-war movement to come on the Sunday shows, and that's because we were right in 2003 and we're right now, and they don't want to be exposed."


    Or maybe an assistant is farmed out the task of finding the people speaking out and the assistant goes to all the websites to see something current and passionate that would make you want to see this person or organization on TV.

    And the assistant finds . . . weak statements that are weeks old.

    August 1st, Veterans for Peace announced their solidarity with the people of . . . Gaza.

    Can we all please just agree to say a silent prayer, light a candle until all US men and women serving in Gaza make it home safely?


    US troops aren't deployed to Gaza?

    Then why are Veterans for Peace vocal on Gaza and on so many other things while they're unable to speak of Iraq -- let alone take action?

    They couldn't speak out about Iraq this month.  They couldn't last month.

    They did whine like little babies on July 2nd about how tough it was for them to feel patriotic.

    Oh, poor babies.

    I have no problem finding things of wonder in the US but then I'm not a coward on my knees before the allegedly powerful.  I see the beauty and strength and, yes, grace of the United States in the people of the country who -- as is the case with so many populations -- are much greater than the government which allegedly represents them.

    But, by all means, play the victim, embrace being powerless, whatever it takes for Veterans for Peace to blow one last load, right?

    Hey, remember in the Bully Boy Bush years when we stood alone in calling VFP official who was griping about his son being a war resister?

    Yeah, I'm not scared of calling out Barack or Bully Boy Bush or the vastly immature VFP leadership.

    But the leaders of these organizations, how do these scared bunny rabbits ever become 'leaders'?

    Not everyone's silent.

    “What goes around, come around. Stop the Iraq War” 

    Quick note:  The White House insists that US President Barack Obama has not made any official -- but as yet undisclosed -- plans to attack Syria. Katie Zezima (Washington Post) reports, "The press secretary [Josh Earnest] said Obama is 'committed' to coordinating military action with Congress, and has done so with the airstrikes that are currently taking place in Iraq."  We may pick up on that tomorrow.  In Tuesday's snapshot, we will discuss Chris Hill.  I promised we would today but I wasn't in the mood to examine the sewer that is Chris Hill.

    Let's instead note this Tweet from the State Dept's Brett McGurk:

    Brett's so silly, isn't he?

    We quoted from a 2005 speech Jessica Lange gave earlier.  Jessica won her first Academy Award for her performance in the film classic Tootsie. The screenplay everyone worked on -- including Elaine May -- was rock solid.  But the film also benefits from some improvisation from Bill Murray who is the roommate of Michael Dorsey -- the actor who poses as a woman to get a job on a soap opera.   (In what is probably his finest performance ever, Dustin Hoffman plays Michael Dorsey who pretends to be actress Dorothy Michaels who plays soap opera character Emily Kimberly.)

    At one point, when Michael wants off the soap, Bill's character tells Michael, "You know, maybe there's a moral's clause in your contract?  Perhaps if Dorothy did something really filthy or disgusting, they have to let you go.  But I really can't think of anything filthy and disgusting that you haven't already done on your show."

    And reading Brett's Tweet, shouldn't we be reminded that what Brett's so appalled by has been going on in Iraq under Nouri al-Maliki and yet Brett and the US government didn't say one damn word.

    And killing civilians?

    Nouri may be outgoing prime minister (he may not be) but he's still killing civilians in Falluja.

    Over the weekend, National Iraqi News Agency reported that Saturday Nouri's bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods left 4 civilians dead and thirteen more injured.  And today?  Alsumaria reports Nouri's bombing of Falluja has left 11 civilians dead with twenty-seven more injured -- the wounded and dead were taken to Falluja General Hospital.

    Where's Brett's Tweet on those deaths?

    Where's his outrage over the murder of civilians?

    Nouri's been carrying out these bombings -- these legally defined War Crimes -- day after day since the start of this year.  If Brett's so bothered by the murder of civilians, why has he yet to call these War Crimes out?

    Other violence today?

    Nouri wasn't just bombing civilians, he was also bombing Iraqi soldiers.

    National Iraqi News Agency reports 2 Iraqi soldiers are dead, six more injured, as a result of a bombing "mistake" that hit, get this, the "military headquarters."   In addition, Alsumaria reports a car bombing in Utaifiyya left 7 people dead and 18 more injured, a bombing of a village north of Tikrit left a family -- including three children -- injured, an Aziz roadside bombing left 2 police members dead and six more injured,  and 3 corpses were discovered dumped in Kirkuk.  AFP reports a suicide bomber attacked a Shi'ite mosque in Baghdad, taking his own life and the lives of at least 11 other people.  NINA notes the corpses of 3 women were found dumped outside Kirkuk.

    Turning to politics,  Alsumaria notes Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani declared today that Iraq's new government must include all.  Haider al-Abadi is the prime minister-designate, currently in the 30 day period to form a government in order to move from prime minister-designate to prime minister.

    At his Facebook page, he posted the following on Sunday:

    حدد رئيس الوزراء المكلف الدكتور حيدر العبادي في رسالة وجهها للكتل السياسية الشروط الواجب توفرها في مرشحيهم لشغل المناصب الوزارية في الحكومة المقبلة "ممن تتوفر فيهم عدد من الشروط لنتمكن من وضع الشخص المناسب في المكان المناسب".
    واضاف الدكتور العبادي ان الشروط التي يجب ان تتوفر في المرشح تتمثل في ان يكون كفوءا ومهنيا ويمتلك خبرة ادارية ومؤهلات قيادية وان يكون حسن السيرة والسمعة والسلوك وان لا تكون عليه مؤشرات فساد ولا قيد جنائي.
    واضاف كما يجب ان لا يكون مشمولا باحكام قانون المساءلة والعدالة وان يكون حائزا على شهادة جامعية في الاقل

    He's explaining that for ministers in his Cabinet, he's selecting people who are right for their positions, that they must be ethical and professional with experience in management and leadership qualities.  He also is choosing based upon reputation.

    If he's successful, it will be a new kind of Cabinet for Iraq.

    Nouri never worried about qualifications for his friends or about their reputations.

    Which is how you get a Cabinet that, only months ago, was trying to lower the age of marriage for girls down to eight-years-old.  Not for boys, of course.  But for girls.  Because that's the kind of sick pedophile Nouri al-Maliki and the kind of sickos he surrounded himself with.

    Nouri also repeatedly created problems leading to ministers in his Cabinet repeatedly walking out.

    The most recent walkout was last month when he called the Kurds terrorists and they responded by walking out on the Cabinet.  It was just the latest throwdown in Nouri's long war with the Kurds.

    By way of contrast, Haider al-Abadi  Tweeted the following Sunday:

    It's a statement of his intent to resolve the outstanding disputes between the Baghdad-based central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

    On the topic of statements, Alsumaria reports US Vice President Joe Biden declared today that al-Abahdi has the full support of the US government.  Alsumaria also reports al-Abahdi met with a delegation of Kurds from Erbil today to discuss the future of the country and the needs of the Iraqi people.  There is no expected movement on the issue in the immediate future since, as All Iraq News notes, Parliament has now "adjourned the session to next Tuesday, 2nd of September."