Wednesday, November 30, 2016


What is RANSOM?

I had no idea but I knew it was important.

CBS is putting new episodes of it on Saturday nights -- yes, new TV on Saturday night.

This is what I found at WIKIPEDIA:

Ransom is an upcoming internationally co-produced drama television series created by David Vainola and produced by Frank Spotnitz, starring Luke Roberts, set to air on Global (Canada) and CBS. Ordered straight-to-series with 13 episodes on June 6, 2016,[2] the series is a co-production between Canadian Global and French TF1, American CBS[3] and German RTL.[4] The series is set to premiere on CBS on January 7, 2017.[5]


The series follows Eric Beaumont, an experienced crisis and hostage negotiator, and his team, who solve kidnap and ransom cases with the most dangerous criminals in the world.

Main cast[edit]

I hope people give it a chance.

Tune in for at least one episode.

I'd love to see the networks go back to doing their jobs and actually scheduling seven nights a week of programming.

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Mosul remains a slog, War Crimes continue, Elise Labott continues to be useless and much more.

In Iraq, the operation to liberate or 'liberate' Mosul is now on day 44.

Hayder al-Abadi is insisting it will (finally) wrap up by the end of the year.

This despite Elise Labott of CNN making like she was at a county fair pig hollering contest by hollering "NO!" in the midst of an October State Dept press briefing when a reporter offered that it was a slog.

It's not a slog?

Day 44 and it's not a slog, Elise?

Mosul was seized by the Islamic State in June of 2014.

Despite having over two years to plan an effort, the Baghdad based-government and the White House did not bother to factor in the refugees that would be created by this effort or the suffering of the civilians who remained in Mosul.

WORLD BULLETIN notes, "Up to 500,000 civilians in Mosul face a 'catastrophic' drinking water shortage as Iraqi forces advance on the ISIL group in the city, the United Nations warned on Wednesday."  AL JAZEERA adds:

"We are facing a humanitarian catastrophe," said Hussam al-Abar, member of Mosul's Nineveh provincial council, adding that 1.5 million people were still inside Mosul.
"Basic services such as water, electricity, health, food are non-existent."

AFP notes, "Some residents said the sudden water shortage was caused by air strikes from the US-led coalition that damaged the main carrier bringing water from the western side of the city."

So not only are they suffering, some are saying it's because of the US-led coalition.

(It may or may not be because of the US-led coalition.  That'll be determined at a later date most likely.  Right now, the point is that the actions of the US-led coalition have been so destructive that some residents believe this is also their fault.)

The refugees, the ones who have made it out?

They're not fairing any better.

Iraq refugees: 'We are dying here. The dirt is consuming us.'

Where was the planning?

Why wasn't the US State Dept leading on this?

Where's the outcry?

None of that troubles Elise Labott.

The woman who wants to be the third Mrs. John Kerry is too busy lusting after the Secretary of State -- doubt it, check out her Twitter feed.

Secretary comments on U.S. leadership at .
Secretary Kerry Comments on the Importance of U.S. Leadership
Secretary of State John Kerry comments on U.S. leadership at the Women's Foreign Policy Group Conference on November 29, 2016. - U.S. Department of State

This is the speech where Kerry gets his little jab in.

Not mentioning by name, aims criticism toward using "pithy tweets" to address global concerns

Pithy Tweets?

Poor John.

For years he wanted to be America's chief diplomatic officer.

The highest he made was Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

But then he got it, he finally got it.

And once he became Secretary of State -- possibly still hurting over the mocking of his war record -- all he wanted to do was pretend he was Secretary of Defense. 

And as he leaves office, all he wants is full out war with Syria.

John Kerry was supposed to prize diplomacy and offer a sure hand but instead he lurched around the globe like . . . Well, like Lurch on THE ADAM'S FAMILY.

And US President Barack Obama was forced to ice John out of key decisions and to elevate Brett McGurk to a higher post and, for all practical purposes, let Brett be Secretary of State.

Disgraced and with his tail between his legs, John will soon be heading home.

If only John had confined himself to Tweets -- pithy or otherwise -- the world might be a safer place.  Instead, he was constantly trying to egg on war -- with Syria, with Russia . . .

What a sad and embarrassing end to the career of a one-time grandstander (tossing those medals doesn't look so brave now as John ends his career, it just looks like another example of rank hypocrisy -- and that was the best moment in his life).

He'll be the one who looked the other way as War Crimes took place in Iraq -- carried out by the people the White House supported.

  1. Iraqi army crimes
    عاجل الحشد الشيعي الارهابي يذبح العراقيون السنه التركمان في تلعفر
    تطهير عرقي واباده جماعيه بتواطىء ودعم
    حسبنا الله

pics from Tal Afar
Genocide and ethnic cleansing
Iraqi Sunnis civilians killed by Iraqi army

John Kerry is an embarrassment and will have to live with the shame of his inactions for years to come.

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Recount" went up last night and the following community sites updated:

  • And we'll close with this press release

    Indie singer and decorated war veteran, John Preston, will release his new song, Superman Falls, for presale mid-December. Preston said, “My whole purpose in life is to create music that heals the souls of veterans who have served. It is a battle every day for so many to stay mentally healthy after serving our country. There are too many men and women who have fought for our freedom that end up taking their lives because of depression and PTSD. This cycle needs to stop. Working in partnership with the Valkyrie Initiative to release this song has been a step in the right direction in helping those who need healing. I am truly grateful for this opportunity.”
    Preston has had his life experience with PTSD after returning from Iraq. He struggled with alcohol and depression for 15 years before pulling himself out of it. His brother was not as lucky; he ended up taking his life in January. “My brother was so strong mentally and physically I just didn’t see his suicide coming,” said Preston. “We are taught in the military not to show weakness, but they need to know it’s okay to ask for help. I don’t want anyone ever to think they are weak because they have PTSD and need some extra support services.”
    Preston partnered with the Valkyrie Initiative because it is a non-profit aligned with his purpose to help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress by treating the mind, body, and soul. The proceeds from the CD will all go to help fund programs for Veterans. The CD will feature ten artists and 14 tracks. Some of the other well-known artists include Dave Bray, the Scooter Brown Band, Ryan Weaver, and Dee Rock.
    About the Valkyrie Initiative:
    It is a non-profit dedicated to the to successfully facilitating the transition of Veterans, First Responders and their families using jobs and life skills training, animal therapy, systems education, and stress reduction for those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress.
    About Singer John Preston:
    John Preston is a Pacific Records recording artist and full-time firefighter. Preston was a Marine Corps field wireman from 2000 to 2004 achieving the rank of Sergeant in his 4 years of service and with Second Battalion Seventh Marines (2/7) served as a mission squad leader for 2/7 H&S running over 100 combat missions while in theater. 
    John began his music career while in Iraq writing his song "Good Good America" which became an overnight success and gave him his first shot at the music industry signing a record deal upon his return from Iraq. The song and video inspired by Iraqi school children was a national media topic and was viewed hundreds of thousands of times in 2004. 
    John returned to the music industry in 2014 signing with Pacific Records and quickly releasing his first single "this IS war" in October of 2014. The song also became a national media topic when the Marine veteran made a call to action to veterans across the nation to stand against ISIS which had just made a surge through Syria and Iraq. The music video had thousands of views and secured a second release with Pacific Records. 
    Later in 2014, Preston released his Los Angeles Music Awards nominated EP "Your War is Over.” In 2015, he released in the Top 100 New Alternative Albums chart with his second EP "Day to Night." The album released on the one-year anniversary of the death of the Marine for whom he had written the song. John's video for Day to Night has had hundreds of thousands of views.
    John's life took a turn of tragic irony when in January of 2016 his brother fell victim to post-traumatic stress and took his own life. The passing of his brother was enough to make him consider ending his career, but has instead fueled his passion.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016



    At the urging of reader Joy, I made a point to catch QUANTICO one more time.

    SPOILER -- don't read if you haven't seen Sunday's episode.

    I hated it.

    I especially hated it when Ryan was revealed to be one of the terrorists.

    Can we all stop pretending this show is plotted out.

    There is no foreshadowing because nothing makes sense.

    Season one found them with a tight story.

    Now they just seem eager to try anything.

    They don't know what they're doing, they switch characters around constantly.

    There's no motivation.

    There's no real writing.

    It's like each week they try to come up with a shocker -- and it doesn't have to make sense, just shock us.

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

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Human Rights Watch self-soils in public, AP lets Hayder al-Abadi get away with lying, and much more.

    Human Rights Watch has self-disgraced yet again.

    No, we're not referring to their war on Fidel Castro in the last days.

    My opinion -- agree or disagree, I don't care: Cuba did not experience a revolution, it experienced a rebellion.  You cannot have one person in charge for decades and call it a revolution. This apt description, grounded in political theory, led to a poli sci professor trying to bar me from his grad class because he worshiped Fidel.

    I've called out abuses in Cuba for years and also noted the ways in which Fidel improved education and health for the people of Cuba.  His record is a complex one and he will remain a fascinating character in history who will be the subject of many competing biographies.

    I'm not a Fidel devotee and never have been.

    So when I say Kenneth Roth's Twitter feed has been appalling on Fidel, I'm not saying that as someone who wants to defend Fidel or pretend that he didn't have serious human rights issues.

    But if Kenneth wants to get into US healthcare -- as his idiotic Tweets suggest -- then he needs to acknowledge the good Fidel did with healthcare.

    Instead, it's been one attack after another and people should be asking themselves, "Golly, I guess Cuba was one of the main focuses of Human Rights Watch, right?"


    Maybe that's what has HRW's executive-director in such a tizzy?

    Maybe he realizes HRW has blood on its hands with regards to the Cuban people?

    If so, HRW has blood on the whole body

    Human Rights Watch is soaked in blood.

    Read this Tweet from HRW's Belkis Willie from earlier today.

    is setting up offices in hospitals under its control , putting patients at risk of attack

    Belkis is insane.

    It doesn't matter what ISIS does, international law is clear that health facilities are not to be targets.

    If that's too complex for the increasingly cartoon-like Human Rights Watch, let's go to the International Committee of the Red Cross for a speech that ICRC president Peter Maurer gave last may:

    In a war, people are injured, malnourished and sick. Yet the greater the need for medical treatment, the more difficult it is to obtain such treatment, because the few places and people that can help, come under attack.
    The ICRC found that within three years, 2,400 attacks against patients, health personnel, facilities and transports occurred in 11 conflict-affected countries. That's more than two attacks per day, every day, for three years. And it is only 11 countries we were looking at.
    Last year, the World Health Organization announced that 60% of health-care facilities in Syria had been damaged or destroyed, while 25,000 people were wounded every month.
    In Yemen, the ERC Stephen O'Brien said, that after a year of fighting, one quarter of the country's health services had been destroyed or shut down.
    In Afghanistan, in 2015, the ICRC recorded a 50% increase in incidents against health staff and facilities, compared to the previous year. That means one incident every three days, without considering how many incidents go unreported.
    Not always, but far too often, these incidents, attacks and destruction, constitute outright violations of international humanitarian law.
    It is no coincidence that the very first Geneva Convention of 1864 pertained to the amelioration of the condition of the wounded and sick. To be precise, the wounded and sick in armed forces in the field.
    As wars and armed conflicts have evolved from open battlefields to urban areas, and from pistols to mass shelling and bombardment by air forces, the wounded and sick are no longer just those in uniform.
    The wounded and sick now include Ramish, who was nine years old when he stepped on a mine in Afghanistan. They include Mathilde, who was raped by fighters while she was harvesting her fields together with her husband in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They included the wife of Khaled, in Syria, who died during childbirth because there was no midwife or doctor to tend to her. And they include all the nameless patients in the hospital I mentioned at the beginning.
    These are just a few examples of the human beings, and their stories, that the staff and volunteers of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are confronted with in the field, every day, around the world.
    They show the impact of war on people, but more importantly, they show that medical treatment and health care at large are crucial in times of war.

    International humanitarian law therefore specifically protects medical personnel, facilities and transports, precisely because they are indispensable in times of war. Not doing so risks multiplying the impact on health systems, which in turn risk unravelling with an impact far beyond the region concerned, a burden on future generations.

    Get it?

    Because Human Rights Watch does not.

    HRW begins distorting in the first two paragraphs of the alert that Belkis links to:

    An airstrike targeting Islamic State, also known as ISIS, fighters hit a clinic south of Mosul on October 18, 2016, Human Rights Watch said today. The attack destroyed half the clinic, killed eight civilians, and wounded at least two more.
    Two ISIS fighters and the ISIS transport minister were also killed, a witness told Human Rights Watch. A healthcare worker said ISIS fighters had forcibly taken over an office at the clinic and were holding meetings there regularly, putting civilians at risk of attack.

    Who put civilians at risk?

    The people who decided to bomb a clinic.

    The Islamic State is a terrorist group.

    They're not bound to any laws -- their actions are illegal.

    The US-led coalition is bound by laws.

    And their decision to bomb a clinic led to the deaths of 8 civilians.

    That's the story that Human Rights Watch tries to ignore.

    Since George Soros injected his blood money into HRW, it's become more and more of a joke but today it is even worse.

    (Sidebar, I don't know if we'll go back to the backup sites.  I can explain, at another time, publicly why we had to stop using them.  But one great thing is knowing that if Soros and his flunkies want to monitor what we say, they have to come here each day -- as opposed to signing up for the alerts they did on the original back up site.  George Soros made his money from people's misfortune.  He's no different than any other robber baron.)

    Repeating: The crime that took place was that western governments violated international law by bombing a health clinic.

    If that's confusing to you, you shouldn't be at an organization that calls itself Human Rights Watch.

    Maybe Ken can change the name to Western Government Protectors?

    And let's stress, this is not my opinion, this is not some abstract desire that the multitudes want, this is international law.

    It has been violated.

    It could be prosecuted -- and in 20 years from now, it may be.

    Human Rights Watch didn't make themselves useless this morning, they turned the organization into a joke.

    Another joke is Iraq's prime minister Hayder al-Abadi.  In a lengthy interview with the ASSOCIATED PRESS, Hayder insists, " If you look carefully at the Mosul operation, I have not received a single claim or complaint against the PMF."

    November 20th, Human Rights Watch noted:

    Iraqi government-backed Hashad al-Asha’ri militias detained and beat at least 22 men from two villages near Mosul. The militias also recruited at least 10 children in a camp for displaced people as fighters against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.  

    And Hayder is aware of that.

    It's why he went on his rage against the press and human rights organizations culminating in his

    Dropping back to the November 21st snapshot:

    ALSUMARIA reports that Iraq's prime minister Haider al-Abadi took to state media today in order to attack the media.
    He's not talking about the WHO report that was falsely reported.
    He's saying the media -- and human rights organizations -- are undermining his war effort by reporting on the various War Crimes taking place in the operation to liberate or 'liberate' Mosul.

    It's a shame AP didn't bring that up in their interview with him.

    But they don't appear to know much about Iraq these days.

    Despite these War Crimes, the Parliament gave them legal coverage last week.

    Though we've covered it repeatedly here, it's barely made a ripple in the US press.

    That's not the case in the Arab world.

    Mshari Al Thaydi (AL ARABIYA) notes today:

    The Popular Mobilization - and without any exaggerations or intimidation - is a structure that's deeply into Khomeini ideals, sectarianism and financial corruption. It wants to follow the example of its counterpart, the Revolutionary Guard, or the guards of Khomeini revolution in Iran. Iran's revolutionary guards are in control of the state as they're in control of arms, money, media outlets, hawza programs, ayatollahs, banks, ports, oil, gas, foreign policy and everything else.
    Iraq is not like Iran despite attempts by former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his comrades among the leaders of Iraqi Shiite parties to transform it. There is the independent Kurdish bloc, the Peshmerga, with its government, region and army. There are also Arab Sunni powers and although they're dispersed now, this will not last forever as it's only due to current circumstances and this will end once the circumstances change. Finally, there is a big percentage of Iraqi civil nationalists who reject the governance of fundamental groups, whether Sunnis or Shiites, and they are the spirit of the awaited Iraq.
    Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi would have gained glory and won the Iraqis' support and love if he had rejected this law legalizing the Popular Mobilization Units.
    Unfortunately, he did not reject it but only minded it a little bit requesting them to be patient before approving it and transfering the law to the cabinet. However Shiite parties did not listen to him and the law was passed amid Sunni MPs and other MPs' boycotted the session. The law passed support from the MPs of Maliki's, Ammar al-Hakim's, Muqtada al-Sadr's and other Shiite leaders' blocs, and Abadi therefore giving their blessing for the move.

    AL JAZEERA reports this morning:

    Iraq is at risk of partition and the worst sectarian bloodletting since the 2003 US-led invasion, if Shia paramilitary units get involved in the fight against ISIL for Mosul, a senior Iraqi politician warned.
    Iran-backed Popular Mobilisation forces, or Hashid al-Shaabi in Arabic, are supported by the Shia-led Baghdad government and want to play a bigger role in the offensive to regain ISIL's last major stronghold in Iraq.

    But Khamis Khanjar, a Sunni politician and businessman who financed the 3,000 strong Turkish-trained force known as the Nineveh Guards Force, said it should lead the offensive, alongside the Iraqi army, and take control of the city after ISIL is driven out.

    Mohammed Tawfeeq and Salma Abdelaziz (CNN) add:

    Critics argue this effectively legitimizes a militia, which does not maintain the same standards of training or battlefield conduct as the national military. Of the 328-seat Parliament, 208 voted in favor of the law. A majority of the Sunni members boycotted and left the chamber.
    "I believe this committee has been politically motivated and it will have similar impact as Iran's Revolutionary Guards, and aims to weaken the Iraqi army," Raad al Dahlaki, a Sunni member of Parliament, said Monday. 

    The issue was raised at yesterday's US State Dept press briefing causing spokesperson John Kirby to dance around multiple issues.

    QUESTION: Over the weekend, the Iraqi parliament passed a law making the Hashd al-Shaabi part of the official Iraqi Armed Forces. What’s your view on this? Are you concerned it will influence – it will increase Iranian influence in Baghdad?

    MR KIRBY: Well, look, let me just talk about a couple of things in here. We think that the passage of this law, like all internal legislation, is an internal Iraqi matter. So I’m going to refer you to the Government of Iraq for details on that. That said, the United States continues to support a sovereign, inclusive, unified, and democratic Iraq that serves the aspirations of all Iraqis, and we continue to support Prime Minister Abadi as he controls, commands, and organizes the campaign to go after [the Islamic State] inside the country.

    QUESTION: Well, there’s concern that’s been expressed by both Kurdish and Sunni Arab politicians that the Hashd al-Shaabi will be used as a military force outside of Iraq. Do you have any concerns about that?

    MR KIRBY: Well, I think, as I said, we’ve been clear that we want all forces fighting [the Islamic State] in Iraq, all indigenous forces to be under the command and control of the Iraqi Government and Prime Minister Abadi, and we support his efforts to do that. This proposed legislation is certainly in keeping with what Prime Minister Abadi has said is important to him, which is having command and control over all the forces that are fighting [the Islamic State] inside the country. So I think – again, I’m not going to speculate about hypothetical outcomes here except to say that we continue to support a sovereign Iraq that has the resources, the organizational capabilities, and the support of the international community to do so in a sovereign way.
    Now, I didn’t answer your question about Iran. And what I would tell you, though, is that we agree with Prime Minister Abadi’s statements on the importance of ensuring that all participants in the fight against [the Islamic State] in Iraq are regulated under the control of the Iraqi Government and held to the same accountability standards. We’re concerned, for our part, with helping Iraq rid the country of [the Islamic State], and who, as you know, just last week murdered scores of innocent civilians at a rest stop.
    So the only other thing I’d say is – and we’ve said this before – that to the degree anybody is going to assist in the efforts to go after [the Islamic State] inside Iraq – now I’m talking about outside Iraqis – we want that to be done in a way that doesn’t further inflame sectarian tensions. Okay?

    QUESTION: Are you – would you be satisfied that bringing al-Hashd al-Shaabi under the Government of Iraq and under the authority of the Government of Iraq is a safety valve or enough safety valve against interference and the influence of Iran?

    MR KIRBY: I don’t know if I could possibly answer that question, Said.

    QUESTION: Right, but I mean, from past efforts – I mean, if we look at Tikrit where they – basically, they have played a big role in liberating Tikrit and they had – they were a part, let’s say, to some excesses or even – maybe even massacres, some say, against the Sunni population, so they were not exactly, at the time – at the time of the liberation of Tikrit, a quite – quite disciplined.

    MR KIRBY: So, look, a couple of points on that. I mean, we obviously take any allegations or reports of human rights violations very, very seriously, as does Prime Minister Abadi. And he has said – and he has started investigations on various such reports. And we think that’s important to let those investigations go through. And it doesn’t matter to us who is reported to have done it. It – those kinds of reports need to be taken seriously and need to be investigated. And if found that individuals or units are guilty of that, then they need to be held accountable for it. But again, I don’t want to get too far down the road on this legislation. It’s internal Iraqi legislation that they should speak to. But in general, we continue to support all forces in the – of the Iraqi Government that are arrayed against Daesh to be under Iraqi command and control. Okay?

    QUESTION: Do you not have concerns that including groups accused of human rights abuses under the control of the Iraqi Government would alienate the Sunni population and sort of leads of the same --

    MR KIRBY: No, of course we do. Like I said, we don’t want anything – we don’t want anybody participating in this fight in a manner that would inflame sectarian tensions any more than they already are a problem. So yes, of course we have concerns about that.

    QUESTION: If – and if this law were to be finalized and passed, would – or when it goes into effect, if it goes into effect, does this then affect the kind of assistance that the U.S. can give the Iraqi military?

    MR KIRBY: Well, I don’t want to speculate here about an outcome we don’t know is going to be the case. But we have very strict regulations, very strict laws that we have to obey when it comes to aid and assistance to foreign units – the Leahy law, which I think you’re familiar with – and we follow that law scrupulously. And U.S. aid and assistance cannot and will not go to units that have been proven to have participated in human rights violations. We take that very, very seriously. So if you’re asking me could that be the case – could units in the future, if they’re found to be guilty of human rights violations – Iraqi units, could they be – could be held – aid and assistance suspended due to the Leahy law – the answer is yes, of course. But I’m in no position right now to speculate that this law would lead to that outcome, okay?

    John Kirby knows damn well that the Leahy law has been ignored repeatedly by the White House.

    It's day 43 of the Mosul slog and no end in sight.

    But the government slog continues as well.

    In 2014, Hayder was installed as prime minister of Iraq by the US White House.  At the time US President Barack Obama was noting the need for a political solution.

    There has been no solution.

    There has been no reconciliation.

    In his interview with AP, Hayder pushed the issue off on others (and AP let him):

    Q -You came to office over two years ago promising to unite Iraq. You have won a string of military victories, but have passed very little legislation to make Iraq a more inclusive country. Do you feel like you have lived up to the promises you made when you first became Prime Minister?

    A - Well, legislations, we have sent legislation to parliament but parliament staled some of them. It is not a matter of legislation, it's a matter of practice. What you do on the ground. The main message to the Iraqi population, is this government working for the whole of Iraq, is it working toward providing services and security to the whole population regardless of their sect, their religion, their ethnic origin? This is the main question. I think in this sense, we are successful. We are much more successful than before. It is a huge departure from before, where now many Sunnis in these areas are welcoming the Iraqi government. They want to be with the Iraqi government, they want to support Iraqi security forces. They now consider the Iraqi army as a national hero. They want the Iraqi army to be in their areas. They want the Iraqi federal forces to be in their areas. 

    Hayder lives in a fantasy world.

    The protests will be returning in Iraq shortly.

    The following community sites updated: