Friday, December 19, 2014

Idiot of the week early edition

Looks like the Idiot of the Week is Dave Zirin.

Hairy back and I go way back.

I used to like Dave.

Then I lightly criticized him -- and quoted what he actually said -- and Dave went all bitch in a series of e-mails to me.

Whatever, right?

So Dave's idiot of the week not because of his bitchy ways but because I'm at ZNet and see "The Importance of the Activist Athlete."

The same column.

The same one he's been writing since 2005 when I first discovered his writing.

Always the same damn colum.

And always so superficial that it could appear in a Scholastic magazine for young readers.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, December 18, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, more US troops will be going into Iraq, a US general predicts a three year training mission in Iraq (at least), the Ministry of Women still has no funding, the Islamic State beheads a man accused of . . . witchery, and much more.

Barack Obama's 'plan' for Iraq continues to remain sparse on details.  But some are attempting to sketch it the outline out.  Andrew Tilghman (Navy Times) quotes US Lt Gen James Terry stating that US troops will spend a "minimum of three years" training Iraqi soldiers. Terry also declared more US troops would be going into Iraq.

On the subject of US troops in Iraq, the Washington Post's Erin Cunninham Tweeted the following:

  1. 350 U.S. troops now at Ain al-Asad base in Iraq's Anbar province.

On the topic of training the administration and the military brass keep spinning, others are less impressed.  At Rudaw a comment offers this take, "The USA teach them to take their boots off so they can run faster."

It's hard to tell who that is more insulting to -- the US government or the Iraqi military?

The Iraqi miliary continues to struggle but the Peshmerga continues to do well.

BBC reports that the Kurds have broken the Islamic State's siege on Mount Sinjar.

  • Well good for the Peshmerga.

    It's good that Mount Sinjar is finally liberated.

    Wait -- something's wrong here.

    The name Susan Rice . . . .


    Oh, that's right.

    In the October 15, 2014 snapshot, we were taking on her many lies uttered on NBC's Meet The Press.  Let's zoom in:

    Offical Benghazi Liar Dirty Rice: Our air campaign is off to a strong start and we've seen very important successes in places like Mosul Dam, Sinjar Mountain, where we were able to rescue many tens of thousands of civilians at risk. And this is going to take time. So it can't be judged by merely what happens in one particular town or in one particular region. This is going to take time and the American people need to understand that our aim here is long-term degradation and building the capacity of our partners.         

    So two months and three days after the liar claimed Mount Sinjar was liberated and it was a US success, Mount Sinjar is liberated and it's a Kurdish Peshmerga success

    Poor Susan Rice.  No one ever gets more egg on their face from the Sunday Chat & Chews.

    Wanting to grab some of the Kurdish luster, US officials keep getting cozy with the Kurds.

    Case in point?

    The White House issued the following today:

    This afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Iraqi Kurdistan Regional President Masoud Barzani. The Vice President and President Barzani discussed recent security and political developments. The Vice President discussed with President Barzani the passage of congressional legislation that removes certain undue restrictions on members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) under U.S. immigration laws. This new law should help ease the process for many Iraqi Kurds who wish to visit the United States. The Vice President commended the courage of the Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi Security Forces fighting against ISIL, and President Barzani thanked the United States and the international community for their support. Both the Vice President and President Barzani noted the renewed cooperation between Erbil and Baghdad and agreed to work together, alongside other Iraqi leaders, to sustain and deepen collaboration among Iraq’s different communities. The Vice President underscored America’s enduring support for the Kurdish people and for the security of Iraq.

    Enduring support?

    Joe's always good for a few laughs.

    While the Kurds continue to succeed, the Iraqi military is lucky to just struggle.

    And questions continue to swirl around that failure.

    Rudaw notes Parliament is holding hearings to attempt to figure out the breakdown of the Iraqi army.  News of the Parliamentary investigation.  Rudaw readers leave some interesting comments including, "When will Maliki be questioned?"  Another offers this wish:

    I hope they publicize everything they find in this commission and arrest Malaki, it's not only in Mosul the Iraqi army collapsed completely, what about all the other regions?  Malaki had hand picked the generals in Mosul, he ignored repeated warnings about IS activity months before Mosul fell.  Just 2 days before Mosul fell he deliberately put a Kurdish general in charge of one of the (empty) brigades, this was the only brigade that had no weapons or even ammunition, he not only wanted Mosul to fall but wanted to pin it on Kurds."

    Those two aren't the only ones mentioning former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki.  Al Arabiya News reports:

    The president of Iraq’s northern Kurdish region, Masoud Barzani, blamed on Monday former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for the collapse of the Iraqi army in the face of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) earlier this year.
    In an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya's Rima Maktabi, Barzani also said the swift collapse of the Iraqi army came after substantial years of international support to train and equip the military.

    During the interview, he also said that were it not for the Peshmerga forces, the northern, oil-rich city of Kirkuk would have fallen to ISIS, which occupies almost a third of Iraq.

    Joe Biden's not the only one trying to steal the Kurds' luster.  The Iraqi Embassy in DC issued the following today:

    Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi penned an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal on [December] 18, 2014, to outline progress in defeating ISIS and rebuilding a secure and stable Iraq since the formation of the new government three months ago.
    The Prime Minister discussed efforts to empower local communities in order to effectively combat ISIS. "We are restoring relationships with the Sunni tribes that are based in areas now under Islamic State domination. These tribes are being armed and are currently fighting alongside Iraqi security forces."
    On the political front, Prime Minister Al-Abadi hailed the "long-sought, long-term agreement" with the Kurdistan Regional Government as a historic step that "provides for fair sharing of oil revenues, as well as sharing the resources and responsibilities to defend and serve all our people."
    He also highlighted key steps that his government has taken to implement reforms that will serve to address the grievances of local populations.
    "Because every citizen must have confidence in our system of justice, I have signed a decree requiring our security forces and the Ministry of Justice to safeguard the constitutional and human rights of the detainees in Iraqi jails. There will be a central record for all detainees, including the reason for their arrests and the timeline for their trials."
    The Prime Minister noted significant gains against ISIS on the battlefront through close coordination between the Iraqi Security Forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga and the international coalition. He called on international partners to step up efforts in order to accelerate the defeat of ISIS.
    "We need air support, training and armaments for Iraq’s security forces. We need our neighbors and allies to stop the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq. And we need the international community, through its financial institutions, to freeze the funding of Islamic State."
    Prime Minister Al-Abadi explained his government's approach moving forward: "Only by rebuilding a secure and stable Iraq can we defeat the terrorists who draw upon discontent and feed on failure."
    To read the Arabic translation of the Prime Minister's Wall Street Journal editorial click here.
    The above is a summary of a December 18, 2014 article from The Wall Street Journal. To see the full article, click here.

    While that's what Haider wrote, what the song he sang in his heart to the Kurds went something like this:

    I have your poster close to my bed
    Earphones glued to my head
    But I'd rather have you in my arms instead
    And I'd be better than I was before
    If only I had you
    If only I had
    If only I had
    If only I had your
    Your glamour is golden
    I'd feel so important
    If only I knew you
    I want to be near you

    -- "Stardust," lyrics by Carly Simon, music by Carly and Mike Mainieri, first appears on Carly's Come Upstairs 

    Along with Joe Biden's call, the White House also issued a read out of US President Barack Obama's call with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi:

    President Obama spoke by phone today with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to discuss the political and security situation in Iraq and the progress of Iraqi Security Forces in their efforts to counter ISIL.  The President commended the steps that Prime Minister al-Abadi has taken in the first three months of his administration to govern inclusively and begin building a united front among Iraqis to combat ISIL.  The President congratulated the Prime Minister on the conclusion of the recent oil revenue-sharing arrangement with the Kurdistan Regional Government and reiterated his commitment to supporting the Iraqi Security Forces’ success through train and assist programs, provision of weapons and equipment, and airstrikes.  He also noted U.S. support for the Iraqi government’s ongoing efforts to integrate Sunni tribal fighters into Iraq’s security institutions.

    While Barack was happy to talk about that, he remains silent on whether or not US troops in Iraq were in combat this week.

    The Inquisitor reported yesterday:

    American troops in Iraq had their first actual battle with ISIS troops after the Islamist militants tried to overrun a base, an encounter that left the ISIS troops decimated and in retreat.
    The attack took place near the Ein al-Asad base, which includes close to 100 U.S. military advisers. The U.S. troops, armed with “light and medium weapons,” and were able to inflict casualties against the ISIS fighters, forcing them to retreat, Shafaq News reported. The American troops were also aided by fighter jets, which directed air strikes against the ISIS troops that “silenced their heavy sources of fire.”
    “US forces intervened because of ISIS started to come near the base, which they are stationed in so out of self-defense,” said Sheikh Mahmud Nimrawi, a prominent tribal leader.
    Since he has promised US troops on the ground in Iraq would not be in combat, if they were in combat, the White House needs to be the first to note what took place.

    Let's change topics . . .

    Who is the master
    A man and woman on a star stream
    In the middle of a snow dream
    Show me the high life
    Come over
    Let me put you on ice 

    -- "Sorcerer," words and music by Stevie Nicks, first appears on her Trouble in Shangri-La 

    AFP reports:

    The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Thursday beheaded a man publicly on charges that he was a "sorcerer," north of their bastion of Tikrit, the Islamist militant organization and residents said.
    The group released pictures of the execution on a square in Nahyat al-Alam, a town a few kilometers north of Tikrit.

    The Islamic State killing people for being sorcerer is actually less shocking that Nouri al-Maliki sending his Ministry of Interior employees into schools to tell Iraq's young adults and children that emo youth were actually vampires who sucked people's blood.  And that was Nouri's Ministry.  He refused to nominate anyone to head it so he could control it.

    Yesterday, the laughable Muhammad Mahdi al-Bayati met with British Foreign Ministry staff to discuss "women's rights conditions in Iraq and ways to develop them."

    What a load of nonsense.

    There are no real women's rights in Iraq.  The US government pretty much destroyed those with the invasion of Iraq and the installation of fundamentalists as well as efforts in the original drafts of the Iraqi Constitution -- overseen by the US government -- to strip women of all rights.

    If the meeting was at all serious, wouldn't they need the Minister for the State of Women's Affairs to be present?

    She was present for an interview.  Alaa Latif (Niqash) interviewed Bayan Nouri about her post and women's issues in Iraq:

    NIQASH: Most international studies are critical of the status of Iraqi women. What plans does your Ministry have to improve this situation? 

    Bayan Nouri:   We have a strategy with six different platforms and these are legal, educational, health-related, professional and leadership-related as well as assisting institutions that work on women’s issues.

    There is no doubt that the situation for women has worsened over the past four years and it certainly cannot be repaired in four years. However, we will continue to try, in all areas, to improve the situation by paying more attention to family protection units, assisting them to reduce domestic violence. We also want to improve the economic status of Iraqi women by granting small loans in coordination with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. We will also coordinate with the Ministry of Education in order to look more closely at the education of females because there is a big gap between the number of females and males who complete middle and secondary school. We are also coordinating better with the Ministry of Health, paying better attention to women’s health and to infant mortality rates. We also care about female participation in decision making.

    NIQASH: After decades of conflict, Iraq has a huge number of widows – an estimated one million. Can your Ministry help them?

    Nouri: I have only been in office for about 50 days and during that time, the federal budget for 2014 wasn’t even approved. We do have plans for 2015 though and these involve seeing a percentage of these widows employed or to have them improve their own financial situation through small business loans. We also want to provide residential units at discounted prices.

    NIQASH: At one stage, you said that domestic violence was actually the most common kind of violence in Iraq – despite all of the fighting that is going on.

    Nouri: We’re trying to hold training courses in this area, we have established family protection units and we also have draft family protection law before the Cabinet. When this law is passed, it’s going to have a big impact.

    Like Nouri al-Maliki, Haider al-Abadi refuses to fund the Ministry of Women.

    For those who've forgotten, this became a public issue in Nouri's first term.

    All this time later, with a new prime minister, there's still no fund for the Ministry of Women.

    Margaret Griffis ( counts 142 violent deaths throughout Iraq today.

    All Iraq News reports Haider's dropped all lawsuits against journalists.  These were Nouri's lawsuits.  Haider issued the following statements:

    "Based on the freedom of journalism and supporting the journalists, Abadi decided to cancel all the judicial complaints submitted by the CoM against the journalists in order to have a bigger role for the media outlets to contribute in building Iraq and serving the Iraqis."

    That is great . . .

    except . . .

    Nouri didn't always sue.

    He had no respect for the press -- something only the BBC would note in July of 2006 and, yes, we can go back to that because that was a shameful period for the western press.

    But he only started filing lawsuits -- most infamously against the Guardian newspaper -- after he'd been in office awhile and had gotten a taste of negative press.

    Haider's had nothing but flowers and chocolates from the western press.


    He's dropping Nouri's lawsuits.

    Big deal.

    They were over when Nouri was forced out as prime minister anyway.

    He issued some flowery words and that's really all it was.

    No one knows how he will react to negative press.

    It's silly to pretend a politician who's gotten nothing but high praise from supposed to be skeptical reporters is a friend of the press.

    Thursday, December 18, 2014

    The torture report

    Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee released the report on torture.

    And it's a lot to absorb.

    So much so that WSWS is doing a three-part series on the report.

    This is from Tom Carter's part one report:

    The US Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s “enhanced interrogation program” exposes the CIA as a globe-spanning enterprise of criminality, deceit, and violence—as well as rank incompetence, petty intriguing, and porno-sadistic depravity.
    With the support of the political establishment in the US and its international accomplices, the CIA operates without accountability or restraint—lying, brutalizing, and bungling its way around the world in pursuit of the interests of American imperialism.
    From a legal standpoint, the war crimes and crimes against humanity that are documented in the report warrant the immediate arrest, indictment and prosecution of every individual involved in the program, from the torturers themselves and their “outside contractors” all the way up to senior officials in the Bush and Obama administrations who presided over the program and subsequently attempted to cover it up. The Watergate scandal, which resulted in Nixon’s resignation, pales in comparison. However, the perpetrators remain at large and nobody has been held accountable.

    I'd also recommend you read Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Gross Obscenity from Torture to Peter Pan."

    At Third, we tried to do a piece on the report and it failed.  So Jim asked Ava and C.I. to set aside their piece on an ABC sitcom and write about the torture report.

    And they did it in a manner that attracted a great deal of attention -- this is now the second most read piece they've done this year and it's not even been up four days.

    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Wednesday, December 17, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue,  the targeting of religious minorities continues, look which senator refused to call it out, a lot of spin on Iraq insists things are improving, reality argues otherwise, and much more.

    We'll start with a letter senators have sent to Secretary of State John Kerry.  From Senator Roger Wicker's office:

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, today led a bipartisan effort calling on Secretary of State John Kerry to assist religious minorities facing persecution in Syria and Iraq, such as Christians and Yazidis, to find refuge in the United States. The Senators also urged the State Department to provide these minorities with better access to U.S. humanitarian aid.

    “The oppression of Christians and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq has led to an unspeakable humanitarian crisis,” Wicker said. “Tens of thousands have had to flee their homes to seek sanctuary from the Islamic State – whose savage treatment of these people is well-documented. The United States has historically protected minorities facing similar circumstances. We should do so again now.”

    “We have an obligation to stand up for human rights,” Brown said. “The U.S. has pledged humanitarian assistance for relief in Iraq and Syria, and that should include refugee assistance for persecuted religious minorities facing persecution.”

    The Senators’ letter specifically calls for “the creation of a Priority 2 (P-2) group under the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for religious minorities from Iraq and Syria.”

    This new classification would provide a process for Christians, Alawites, Druze, Yazidis, and others to be considered for resettlement in the United States. In the past, this designation has been used for groups of humanitarian concern, including religious minorities from the former Soviet Union, Cuba, and Iran.

    Wicker and Brown were joined in their letter by Senators Dan Coats, R-Ind., Carl Levin, D-Mich., James Inhofe, R-Okla., John Thune, R-S.D., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Mark Kirk, R-Ill.

    The full text of the letter:

    December 16, 2014

    The Honorable John F. Kerry
    Secretary of State
    2201 C Street NW
    Washington, D.C. 20520

    Dear Secretary Kerry,

    We write to encourage you to take expeditious action to protect Christians and other vulnerable religious minorities from the unprecedented level of violence in Iraq and Syria.

    The creation of a Priority 2 (P-2) group under the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for religious minorities from Iraq and Syria would provide a structured process for Christians, Alawites, Druze, Yazidis, and others to be considered for resettlement in the United States. This designation has been used for groups of humanitarian concern, including religious minorities from the former Soviet Union, Cuba, and Iran.  Although the Administration has announced that it will create more places for Syrian refugees, we have not stated that religious minorities such as Christians will be considered for admission to the United States.

    Religious minorities also have difficulty accessing humanitarian assistance due to the hostility and discrimination that they face from other citizens, including other refugees.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has acknowledged that religious minorities avoid camps for this reason. As such, we encourage you to direct the U.S. Agency for International Development to ensure that religious minorities have sufficient access to the nearly $2 billion in aid that the United States has pledged for humanitarian relief efforts in Iraq and Syria.

    Religious cleansing has reached historic levels in the Middle East.  Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria in 2011, President Bashar al-Assad, Syrian rebels, and terrorist groups have targeted religious minorities for violence.  In Iraq, Christians, Yazidis, and Mandeans have lived in fear of terrorist groups for the last decade.  Now, the brutal Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has openly vowed to end the existence of religious minorities in the Middle East. Accordingly, we urge you to act swiftly to help protect religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.

    Thank you for your consideration.


    Senator Roger Wicker
    Senator Sherrod Brown
    Senator Dan Coats
    Senator Carl Levin
    Senator James Inhofe
    Senator John Thune
    Senator Marco Rubio
    Senator Rob Portman
    Senator Mark Kirk

    You notice anything?

    I did immediately.

    Where's the Senate fraud?

    Where's Rand Paul?

    Where's God's personal friend Rand Paul?

    In the December 10th snapshot, we noted the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing which featured Rand Paul's embarrassing grandstanding and his incessant caterwauling about Syrian Christians (while ignoring Iraqi Christians).

    We called it because it came off fake ass.

    And I could have been wrong in that call.

    But where's Senator Rand Paul's signature on the letter?

    Staying on the topic of fake ass, the Wall St Journal's round up of corruption reporting includes one on Iraq:

    Iraq’s prime minister is quoted saying he’s willing to be assassinated, if that’s what it takes to effectively fight corruption. (NY Times)

    That's from Tim Arango's report we've noted already this week.

    Haider al-Abadi only looks more ridiculous when he makes statements like that.

    In 2016, the United States will vote on a new American president.

    That person will be sworn in during the month of January 2017.

    And that person (and his or her family) will move into the White House.

    You can find similar situations in other countries with elected leaders.

    Where does Haider al-Abadi live?

    Not in the home of the prime minister.

    In August, he was named prime minister.

    But the previous one refuses to vacate the home.

    Thug Nouri al-Maliki continues to live in the home of the prime minister.

    Haider, that's corruption.

    Nouri is not the prime minister and he needs to vacate the home immediately.

    Haider's either too much of a chicken or in league with Nouri.

    (A video of the two emerged last week that records how close the two actually are.)

    Tim Arango's article notes Nouri continues to occupy the residence of the prime minister.

    The Iraqi people foot the bill for that housing occupation.

    That's corruption.

    And if Haider can't even weed that out, lots of luck seeing him punish those officials who've stolen money from Iraq (that would also include Nouri).

    Tim Arango's article also noted Nouri's plane but insisted he'd surrendered the private jet.

    No, he hasn't.

    It's parked at Baghdad International airport but it's not been handed over -- and this point has been firmly established repeatedly by both Iraq Times and Kitabat.

    I have no idea whether or not Ibrahim al-Jaafari is a fake ass but he's a joke.

    In December 2005, Iraqis voted.  No one was named prime minister-designate for months because the Iraqi Parliament wanted to name Ibrahim al-Jaafari to the post but Bully Boy Bush and his administration didn't want that.  They didn't care for al-Jaafari, they feared his personal militia, didn't want him to have a second term as prime minister, etc.

    So they forced the pockmarked faced thug Nouri off on Iraq.

    Ibrahim never really stood up to Nouri in the eight years that followed despite the hopes of Ibrahim's followers that their leader would discover a spine.

    Now Ibrahim has a post.

    Foreign Minister!

    Yeah, it is a huge step down.

    All that's left below it is parking valet.

    Hoshyar Zebari held the post for 8 years.  It's photo ops and nothing more.

    Xinhua reports of Jaafari:

    Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government has been in power for only months' time, and the city of Mousl is still in the hands of the IS militants, yet Iraq has made "great" progress in political reforms and the security situation is improving, he said, adding that the IS terrorists have started to pull back.

    That's a sweet little dream.  It's not reality but fairy tales have lulled many at bedtime.

    In the real world, Hamza Mustafa (Asharq Al-Awsat) notes:

    The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is boosting its presence in Iraq’s restive Al-Anbar province in a bid to turn Baghdad’s attention away from the liberation of Mosul, a senior Iraqi military commander said on Wednesday.
    The senior Iraqi military officer, who spoke on the condition that his name and rank would not be disclosed, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the battle for Mosul, which government forces are presently gearing up for, would be “critical” to the defeat ISIS. Mosul, the provincial capital of neighboring Nineveh governorate, has been under ISIS control since June.

    “We can say that the fate of ISIS is tied to the result of the battle of Mosul, more than any other battle, whether in Iraq or Syria,” the officer said. 

    And AFP reports, "ISIS militants forced Iraqi forces to retreat Wednesday after fierce fighting in the city of Beiji, close to the country’s biggest oil refinery, a local official and tribal leader said."

  • And then there's this:

  • The link goes to a Reuters report by Ned Parker and Ahmed Rasheed who are both strong reporters and have many Iraq bylines to point to with pride.

    I wouldn't include the latest article on a list of pride.

    Six paragraphs before what the picture captures is touched on?

    And an article that buries the main point?

    In addition, there's what reads like the acceptance of murder.

    Suspects who are tortured -- which is what Parker and Rasheed are reporting though they refuse to name it -- and then murdered?  That's not democracy.  And if you can't report what's happening, if that's beyond your scope, you pick up the phone and dial Dr. Who's It at Generic University who teaches on ethics and human rights and get a quote from him or her explaining how repugnant and offensive the slaughter of suspects is.

    If the thugs had done the same thing in Iraq to a collie and it had been reported, I believe there would be global outrage.

    How sad that when it's done to humans, there's an acceptance and willingness to move on to the next topic.

    At the Boston Globe, Stephen Kinzer observes, "In Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States has failed to achieve any of the goals we set when we first invaded. Both countries are consumed by violence and terror. This is the very definition of defeat. Yet even President Obama, who did not launch these wars, seems reluctant to end them by saying simply, “We can’t win, so let’s admit it and withdraw.” Whatever the reality, Americans do not like admitting that we can lose at anything. Yet persisting in lost causes weakens us as a nation. Our enemies gleefully wear us down while our friends lament our shortsightedness."


    Wednesday, December 17, 2014

    Ashleigh Banfield is trash

    A reader e-mailed a suggestion, why don't I blog about CNN?

    I can't stand it for the most part.

    Anderson Cooper does a lot of soap opera.

    He can do news well.

    He rarely covers news.

    But I don't hate him.

    And if there's a real news story, I'll watch him.

    Jake Tapper knows what he's doing.

    He's the best thing CNN has and the only one I make a point to watch.

    I will never watch Ashley Banfield.

    She was a cry baby, remember?

    Whining in the early '00s about how mean people said mean things about her.

    Called her a "slut."

    And I was sympathetic to her whine.

    Until Lara Logan was assaulted and Banfield wouldn't defend her and went out of the way to support and defend the pig who Tweeted glee about the assault.

    So a woman is assaulted and Ashleigh can't defend her.

    But Ashleigh wants everyone to share her pain over being called a "slut"?

    I can't stand that piece of trash.

    She's also hard on the eyes.

    What is it with that weird collar bone and neck?

    It's like she's an oxen.

    Anyway, I have no desire to blog about CNN.

    Here's this week's content at Third

    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Tuesday, December 16, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the US government remains in no rush on assisting Iraq, the Sunnis don't have to choose between an Iraqi government that targets them and the Islamic State, the so-called Human Rights Ministry of the Iraq government spins a fantastic tale they can't back up (watch to see who runs with it as fact), US Senator Tom Coburn is called out by veterans, and much more.

    The White House pretends they're doing something -- anything -- in Iraq.

    Not only is their no plan, there's no sense of urgency.

    From today's Pentagon press briefing by spokesperson John Kirby.

    Q: John, thanks.
    Could you bring us up to date on Iraq? The flow of troops that are going to be going in now that the funding has been approved? Can you give us an idea of sort of the pace and over what time period can we expect to see those -- that additional -- those 1,400?

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: The Iraqi train and equip fund, as you know, is part of the NDAA. It has not been signed yet into law. That said, we do know it's -- we're grateful for the support that we got from Congress, and we know it's coming.
    There have been no -- they are -- we are still working through sourcing solutions on all of or as many of those troops as possible. So, no troops have been given orders to go yet, nor have any actually started the process of deploying. But the sourcing solutions are being worked out.
    And as I said last time, General Austin has taken advantage of resources that he has in the region already to begin to set the stage for that. So, he's done a couple of things. He's got a small number that are already doing some advise and assist operations and missions. They're in Anbar, a small number, 50, 60, something like that.
    And then he has another nearly 200 or so that are beginning to -- to build out the infrastructure and set the conditions so that when we fall into those four other locations to do more hands on training with Iraqi brigades, they'll -- they'll be ready.
    So, while no training has started yet, no formal training, we are doing advise and assist in keeping with that program, and are getting ready and setting the stage for the trainers that will follow. And I would like to add, you know, as I said before, that many other nations are -- are planning to contribute trainers as well. This won't be a U.S. mission.

    Q: But what's the target? I guess at least, you know, general target date for when that training -- the troops might be in and the training might start?

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: I'm not aware of a specific date on the calendar, that it will be ready to start, and I -- my guess is it won't be a shotgun start, Lita. We'll -- we'll start it when and where we're able to over the next few months.
    But I think it's going to be a period of several months before we're actually ready to, you know, to get it launched and get it going.

    Q: Several months for the first -- for the beginning of it?

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: I think so. I think so. But again, we'll -- we'll keep you updated. As I said I would last week, we'll keep you updated as -- as we know. And certainly when units are deployed, you'll know because we always inform you and the public about that. So once we're in that -- at that position, we'll -- we'll be able to talk to it.

    Do that, keep us updated.  On how, some day real soon, the administration's start date will arrive.

    Boot licker Roger Shanahan (Interprter) thinks time is a luxury the US government has:

    In Iraq, the US finds itself in the rather unusual situation where ISIS has all the watches but the Coalition has all the time. While ISIS consists mostly of Iraqis, it also has a growing number of foreign fighters in its ranks. If the Shi'a-dominated Iraqi forces who were in charge before ISIS swept in were seen as occupiers in the Sunni heartlands, the rule of ISIS is now starting to be viewed as something similar, and perhaps worse.

    The Coalition does not have all the time -- no one does.

    The reality is, as DoD has admitted, the Islamic State has now adapted to the bombings.  That's the whole 'plan' so to pretend the US is in the lead with 'all the time,' is just ridiculous.

    It's also ridiculous to assume that the Islamic State is going to send Sunnis into the arms of the Shi'ites.

    Nothing the Islamic State is doing is that shocking to the Sunnis.

    It's frightening to the rest of the world but, for example, raping and torturing women?

    Real sorry you just woke the f**k up today but the Sunnis have been dealing with that for years.  It was one of the main things fueling the protests that kicked off in December 2012.

    But Barack Obama was still playing footsie with thug Nouri al-Maliki so the world looked the other way.

    But Sunni women and girls were being tortured and raped in Iraqi prisons and jails.

    And when it did become a big issue in Iraq -- and only in Iraq because US Senator Barbara Boxer and all the other fake asses suddenly worried about Iraqi women -- Nouri's response was a for show release or 'release' of a few women.

    And the western press that did cover the for show incident were far too squeamish and delicate when it came to rape to even properly cover that.

    We can go down the list piece by piece, the offenses of the Islamic State currently (in a few isolated areas they control) and the widespread offenses by the government of Nouri al-Maliki for eight long years.

    The alleged difference between the two -- the Islamic State and the government of Iraq -- that boot lickers like Rodger see aren't necessarily seen by the Sunnis.

    Barack kept chirping "political solution" which didn't mean what so many fools seem to think it did.

    It meant a Sunni buy-in of the government.

    That required massive changes.  Rodger thinks a new prime minister was the trick.


    Rodger's a stupid idiot.

    We said, before Nouri was forced out, that a new prime minister would not be the answer but would provide Iraq with some time to rebuild, a restart.

    And we didn't just say that when Barack stopped backing Nouri.

    We said it before the April parliamentary elections.

    A new prime minister provided a brief chance to restart, to show a new Iraq.

    Haider al-Abadi has been prime minister since August and he's done damn little.

    Don't throw out the Kurd and Baghdad oil deal.  Not only is it a victory for the Kurds but that wasn't really the issue.

    So when Brett McGurk stroking himself before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the oil deal, he's not just lying about the 'victory,' he's lying about what it means.

    Because of Massoud Barzani, KRG president, the Kurds are getting much of what they want.

    But they weren't going to split off anyway, not this year or next.

    The clear priority was the Sunnis.

    But there's been nothing -- oh, wow, a minister post -- tossed to them.

    They've been lied to.

    Haider insisted, September 13th, that the bombing of Sunni homes in Falluja by the Iraqi military was over.

    Nouri started those bombings in January of this year.

    Daily, these bombings have resulted in Sunni civilians being wounded and killed -- and their homes turned into rubble.

    Haider said September 13 that the bombings were over.

    And September 14th, they continued.

    And they continue to this day.

    The only promise he made to the Sunnis and he failed to keep it.

    Asharq Al-Awsat reports today:

    Reconstruction in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, large parts of which remain under the control of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters, will cost more than 18 billion dollars, a local official said on Tuesday.
    Arkan Khalaf Al-Tarmouz, head of the Anbar Reconstruction Committee, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that ISIS remains in control of more than 85 percent of territory in Anbar, adding that there has been large-scale destruction across Iraq’s largest province in the fighting between ISIS and government forces.

    “Initial estimates indicate that 40 percent of Anbar’s cities have been destroyed, including major infrastructure and residential areas,” Tarmouz said.

    The bulk of the destruction is coming from the the militaries (Iraq, US, etc) and not the Islamic State.  The Islamic State flies no planes over Iraq, drops no bombs from the air.

    But idiots like Rodger don't just miss that point, they miss the reality that it's not an either/or world.  Sunnis can continue to reject that Iraqi government that attacks them and they can also reject the Islamic State.

    People can, and sometimes do, have two enemies.

    While dumb asses like Rodger ignore reality, others don't.  Noting the efforts to build a Sunni military component, Susannah George (Global Post) also notes the reality of Sunni and Baghad-based government relations:

    When the US announced its intention to support Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State (IS), it did so on the condition that the government undergo serious reforms to reach out to the country’s Sunni population, who were severely marginalized under the sectarian rule of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

    US-backed legislation to create an Iraqi “national guard” — first proposed in September — was aimed at diluting Sunni support for IS by promising Sunni fighters, including tribal forces, weapons and supplies from Iraq’s central government. A former Iraqi National Guard force was absorbed into the army a decade ago.

    It was hoped that these groups would recapture the Sunni areas held by IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in western Iraq.

    But with the Iraqi government failing to make headway in the fight, and the national guard legislation languishing in parliament, the US has begun to work behind the scenes to train and prepare to arm Iraq’s Sunnis on its own.

    There isn't all the time in the world.

    Well there is all the time in the world for Rodger to make an ass of himself.

    But in terms of Iraq, time is limited.  The window for Hadier to show change is closing quickly.

    On the issue of the US training forces, let's go back to today's DoD briefing:

    Q: Back on Iraq, could you give us more details about the train -- training program of the Iraqi forces? How many U.S. members will be involved in that program? And also, if you -- if you -- if you are aware of any contacts between this building, the U.S. military, and the Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq.

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: Okay, Joe, hold on a second. So we talked about the fact that we don't have a -- you know, we don't have the -- to Lita's question, we don't have sourcing solutions on the -- the 1,500 additional. And remember, it could be up to 1,500. It may not be 1,500.
    But the way it'll break down -- and I think I actually put this out when we initially announced this. So you'll have roughly, for the advise and assist mission, about 630 roughly. Again, it may not go that high. Some of those will be enablers. They'll be people that do logistics command and control, intelligence support.
    And then you'll have in the building partner capacity mission, the training mission, about 870 of those. Again, those numbers are flexible because we may not go up to that 1,500. The training hasn't begun yet. Again, my -- I think -- I think I dealt with the status when I answered Lita's question.
    On your other -- on your other question, there's been no direct -- from the few advisers that we have out in Anbar, there's been no direct involvement with Sunni tribal leaders from them. Now, they are advising Iraqi leaders. And one of the things that we're working with Iraqi leaders on is to encourage their outreach to Sunni tribal leaders. But there's been no direct contact out there between the very small number of advanced advisers we have there and Sunni tribal leaders. I -- that said, now, in the Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq out of Baghdad, which is -- has had a footprint there since 2011 when -- when we ended our combat operations there in Iraq, they have had some contact with -- as -- as the due course of their duties, they have had some contact with tribal -- Sunni tribal leaders in that part of -- of Iraq. But there's been no direct advising, assisting, training of Sunni tribal leaders.

    Q: But that -- excuse me. Just to follow up, there is a plan to arm the -- the -- the tribal -- the Sunni tribes...

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: It is something -- it is something that we've been in discussion with Iraqi leaders about, and we've stressed the importance of inclusiveness here with Sunni tribal leaders.

    Q: But I mean, there is a U.S. plan to equip and arm the tribes in Iraq.

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: No, as we said before, that that could be one iteration of the plan further down the road. But it wasn't going to be the out -- at the outset. The outset is to train Iraqi brigades, nine, and then three Pesh brigades. That's the focus at the outset.
    We have opened the door. We've said it could be possible that later on down the road, there may be an equipping program or a part of it that would include some equipping of -- of Sunni tribes. But that was something that hadn't been decided yet. It was something under discussion, and we just aren't at that point right now.

    Q: (inaudible) in a briefing at CENTCOM for several reporters here from the Pentagon, the CENTCOM leadership there told us that it was up to the Iraqi government to reach out to the Sunni leaders and not the U.S.
    Is -- is the U.S. going to be involved in -- in trying to revive a Sunni awakening? Or is this going to be up to the Iraqis to do?

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: No, Jim, it's, as I said to Joe, this is something we want the Iraqis to do. And we're not in direct communication and coordination with Sunni tribal leaders right now. We want the Iraqis to do that. And frankly, that's part and parcel of the whole advise- assist mission itself is to help them be more inclusive, to be more comprehensive, and to be better at -- at what they're doing in terms of defending their own people out there in Anbar.
    So, there's no plans right now for a -- a new awakening, as you saw during the -- during Operation Iraqi Freedom. We want the Iraqis to do this. But we are encouraging that. We have been encouraging that. We were encouraging Prime Minister Maliki to do that before he left office.

    Q: Since -- since the Sunni -- since some of these Sunni leaders have already made it clear that they still don't trust the Iraqi leadership in Baghdad, do you see a role for the U.S. to serve as some kind of middle man, a mediator?

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: Well, you know, now you're asking a question that may be better put to my colleagues at the State Department. I don't see a U.S. military role in that regard. Again, we want to advise and assist them to be more inclusive and for them to be better at what they're doing. And that's where the focus is on, is helping them get to that point where they're more inclusive of Sunni tribal leaders.

    Q: Following up on that, what was Secretary Hagel's assessment of the Iraqi progress on the front that Mick has been asking about, about how well the new government is doing reaching out to the Sunnis?

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: Sure. I think the secretary, as he said to you guys when we left Baghdad, he came away from those meetings encouraged that Iraqi leaders understand the importance of doing exactly that, Julian, of being more inclusive and reaching out to the Sunni tribes.

    But the secretary also understands that that requires some energy and some -- and some leadership out there in Baghdad. And again, he's encouraged that they -- that they understand the need for it and that they will exert that leadership. But he knows that this is -- you know, some -- for -- this is a new government, so this is new ground that they have to -- that they have to tread.

    MEE carries a write up which opens, "At least 150 women who refused to marry fighters belonging to the Islamic State (IS) group have been executed in the western Iraqi province of Anbar, the country's Ministry of Human Rights reported."

    Do you believe it?

    Anyone who presents it as fact should be a question mark in your judgment.

    The so-called Human Rights Ministry in Iraq is a propaganda front.  That was true under Nouri, it's been true since Nouri.

    They make statements rejecting claims of abuse by the government that news outlets uncover, that Human Rights Watch uncovers, that Amnesty International uncovers.

    They've yet to expose any crimes committed by the government.

    These days they concern themselves with what they say are the actions of the Islamic State.

    The story may very well be true.

    But it's coming from a propaganda outlet.

    When did these events happen?

    There it gets sketchy.

    Okay, where did they happen?

    Supposedly in Falluja.

    Where the Iraq government is not in control.

    So where did the details come from?

    And the numbers?

    At best, the ministry got some gossip they couldn't confirm.

    But would the Islamic State, if they wanted 'jihad' brides, really target visibly pregnant women?

    They're fundamentalists.

    And yet we're supposed to believe, from the Ministry, that the Islamic State didn't just go after women to force into marriage, they went after pregnant women.

    Extreme fundamentalism sees women as property to be taken by men.  Women have little standing in that view.  In one of the few times, with those types of people, when women do have stature?  When they're pregnant.

    The story doesn't ring true.

    The story was clearly not verified by the Ministry or the Iraqi government -- nor could it be.

    But it is part of an ongoing effort to create alarm by the Iraqi government.

    If the Iraqi government's looking for false tales maybe they could revisit the 90s lie about babies being tossed out of incubators?

    From Iraqi government tales to US government Tweets, US Vice President Joe Biden issued the following today:

    Congrats to my close friend, Tony Blinken, the new Dep. Secretary of State. Admired in every corner of the world. -vp

    0 replies 98 retweets 123 favorites

    We'll close with this from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America:

    Gretchen Andersen
    Press Secretary
    Tel: 212-982-9699

    Washington, D.C. (December 15, 2014) – Due to the action of one U.S. Senator, critical legislation that would address the epidemic of veteran suicide was today blocked in the Senate. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), which spearheaded the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, blasted Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) for objecting to passage of this vital legislation that would support the veterans community. The legislation, unanimously passed last Tuesday by the House, is named after Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran Clay Hunt, a Marine who died by suicide in 2011.

    “As parents who experienced the pain of losing a veteran to suicide, it is shocking to see this bill blocked because of one lone Senator’s agenda,” said Susan Selke, mother of Clay Hunt. “Too many veterans are facing the same bureaucratic red tape Clay confronted years ago, and they are looking to our elected leaders for hope. While throughout this process we have been so thankful for the widespread and sincere support from our Congressional leaders, today, once again, vets like my son were failed. I am grieving thinking of those young men and women who will be delayed receiving help because of this inaction. The VA’s mental health care system needs urgent change as more veterans die from suicide than on the battlefield, and Senator Coburn’s action today just delays that reform.”

    “It’s a shame that after two decades of service in Washington, Sen. Coburn will always be remembered for this final, misguided attack on veterans nationwide. It’s sickening to think another 22 veterans will die by suicide today and every day we fail to expand mental health care for our vets. While we appreciate the many Senators who have stood up to support our bill and our nation’s veterans, we join them in expressing our dismay that Senator Coburn would block this fiscally responsible bill,” said IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff. “While we recognize Senator Coburn’s reputation as a budget hawk, clearly the minor cost of this bill would have a tremendous payoff to help save lives in our community. This isn’t about spending new money – it’s about honoring the commitment we owe to the men and women who put on the uniform. With the suicide crisis continuing, it is unconscionable for a lone Senator to block a fair vote and for Congress to leave Washington without dealing with this crisis. This fight is not over because the suicide crisis is not over. If it takes 90 days for the new Congress to re-pass this bill, the statistics tell us another 1,980 vets will have died by suicide. That should be a heavy burden on the conscience of Senator Coburn and this Congress. Have no doubt, we will be back with reinforcements when the next Congress arrives.”

    IAVA and its members do appreciate the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for bringing the bill to the floor for a vote. IAVA also thanks the Senate sponsors of the bill, Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), as well as all those who signed on to support the measure. A total of 21 co-sponsors — 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats — supported the Clay Hunt SAV Act.

    Note to media: Email or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.