Saturday, November 19, 2016

Hillary's the loser lost because . . . (tell it to the Debra Messings)

Hillary lost.

People still don't want to accept her.  Instead, they try to offer excuses.

And they mainly convey how shocked they are.

Conor Lynch (SALON) talks about this:

By the time last week’s presidential election was finally called for Donald Trump during the wee hours of Wednesday morning, the initial disbelief felt by the millions of Americans who had been assured of a Clinton victory by the media had turned into shock and panic — if not yet full-blown despair. As pollsters collectively changed their predictions and news pundits started to resemble confused and dejected children, the fight-or-flight response kicked in for countless viewers. Hearts pounded, stomachs turned and some of the more privileged liberals started seriously considering whether to flee the country in the face of a national nightmare that had just become a reality (privileged, because the average American doesn’t have the resources to just pack up and run at will).

The surreal night concluded with Canada’s immigration website crashing from too much traffic, as if every alt-right Twitter troll’s fantasy had come true.

They shouldn't be so shocked.  Michael Brull (NEW MATILDA) explains:

The Democrats lost, because whilst they picked up affluent voters, they lost poorer voters in greater numbers. Working class and blue collar whites either abstained, or voted Trump. If Clinton hadn’t taken them for granted, she would have cruised to victory.
Clinton also took voters of colour for granted. According to Carl Beijer, 27 per cent of voters of colour abstained or voted third party in 2012. In 2016, that number rose to 35 per cent.
Despite Trump’s overt racism, they didn’t back Clinton. The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce head complained that the “young white Ivy League educated kids” took the Hispanic vote for granted. They assumed that all they needed was Tim Kaine’s ability to speak Spanish, and Trump’s offensive comments. Voters of colour still backed Clinton, but not by the margin they gave to Obama, and not by the margin she needed.

Clinton’s campaign didn’t bother making an appeal to working class whites. According to Politico, Clinton’s advisers warned that her paid speeches and glitzy fundraisers “did not paint a picture of a woman connected to the real suffering in the country”. She didn’t care.

It shouldn't be a shock.

You should have noticed it.

Many of us did.

But if you're a Debra Messing, you lived in a self-enclosed bubble and couldn't figure out what was going on because you only listen to yourself and you never see reality.

You had no idea that Clinton was not appealing to working class voters because you have no idea what working class voters are or what they care about.

So you lived in your bubble in ignorance.

And now you wail like a crazed person unable to figure anything out.

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

Friday, November 18, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, an Iraqi politician announces he is not dead, a state of emergency is declared for several spots in Iraq, war resister Andre Shepherd faces a legal setback, and much more.

A state of emergency has been declared in Baghdad, Hit and Haditha as attacks from the Islamic State are anticipated.

This follows the bombing of a wedding late  yesterday.  BBC NEWS notes the bombing took place in Ameriyat al-Falluja and that it left at least 17 people dead in this area of south of Falluja where locals "have joined a Sunni tribal militia which has been fighting IS [the Islamic State]."

Aftermath of attack targeting a wedding in Amryat Al smood in Al anbar province tonight , 15 killed and tens of wounded civilians.

Alsumaria reminds  Falluja witnessed 2 car bombings on Monday which left 9 dead and twenty-six people injured.  AL JAZEERA updates the death toll from the wedding bombing today to 40 dead with sixty more injured.  BBC also points out, "In June, Iraqi forces declared Falluja 'fully liberated' from IS after more than a month of heavy fighting."  Earlier this week a member of Anbar's Provincial Council spoke with AL MADA newspaper about the situation in Falluja, noting that residents are returning daily but that provision of goods and services had yet to reach a sustainable level.

Which brings us to the slog that is liberating or 'liberating' Mosul -- now on day 32.  AP reveals, "As the operation to retake Mosul enters its second month on Thursday, Iraqi forces are preparing for prolonged, grueling urban combat. "

Iraqi forces recapture key air base near from

Of that effort, Wael Grace (AL MADA) reports that a decision was made on priorities -- taking the airport or protecting the people.  The airport won out.  Military leadership decided that the airport was more important to ensure air cover.

How this makes sense, no one stops to ask.

The Islamic State -- whose highest estimated number in Iraq has been 30,000 -- has no helicopters, has no airplanes.  They do have drones.  But you don't need an airport to handle drones.

Most likely, the airport won out because (a) the lives of civilians are of so very little importance to the government of Iraq (Mosul was seized by the Islamic State in June of 2014 and only now, as the year 2016 ends, does the government send in fighters) and (b) with all the desertions in the military taking place during this operation they needed a big (and easy) step that would result in headlines and conceal what a sorry and unsuccessful operation this has been thus far.

While the Islamic State has no war planes, ALL IRAQ NEWS notes that Iraq received four more F-16s from the US.

AFP's W.G. Dunlop Tweets:

Battle for Iraq's Mosul far from over but PM & Kurds already publicly at odds on post-Mosul territorial control

As the slog continues, there is great rejoicing that the Iraqi forces have taken a piece of Tal Afar.

ALL IRAQ NEWS notes that announcement and includes a photo.  Examining the photo of empty space all around, one wonders exactly what was re-taken (a vacant lot)?

Moving to more easily confirmed news, Iraq's Sunni Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi is not dead.  ALL IRAQ NEWS reports that following rumors earlier this week, Osama has had to make a statement announcing that, yes, he is still alive.

On the political front, the largest political bloc is the National Alliance -- a Shi'ite umbrella involving various Shi'ite political groups.  ALL IRAQ NEWS reports that their bloc in Parliament has declared any political settlement will not include those who have blood on their hands or who have been involved in terrorism.  NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY reports that Reform party member Mansour Baaja has stated that Iraqi blood is the red line that will not be crossed in any political settlement.

If you're worried by this talk, you should be.

Any real settlement begins with various outrages forgiven are set aside.

But more to the point for Iraq, vengeance is the fueling principle since the US government put exiles in charge following the 2003 invasion.

It's been one blood bath after another and who started what is often requires a complicated timeline with multiple footnotes.

Shi'ite exiles who flocked by to Iraq following the 2003 invasion and were installed into power, misused their offices to carry out revenge attacks and settled old scores.

That's not what politics is supposed to be about.

But even worse, they didn't do this outright.

Most of their enemies were long gone (because the cowardly Shi'ite exiles had high tailed it out of Iraq decades before).  So they basically used the Sunni people as their punching bag.

This persecution is what fueled the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq.

So when they start talking about who they will settle with and who they won't, the international community should be very concerned.

For those who doubt that, there's always Nouri.

Forever thug and former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

He also has weighed in on the topic.

Excluding the above mentioned is not enough for Nouri.

Is any exclusion list ever enough for Nouri?

ALL IRAQ NEWS reports that he is insisting that no political settlement will include (or forgive) those who participated in peaceful sit-ins.

Let's remember just one example of how Nouri dealt with sit-ins.

The April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

And that's how Nouri dealt with peaceful protests.

Why did the people protest?

In March of 2010, the Iraqi people voted in parliamentary elections.

The results?

Nouri al-Maliki was no longer prime minister.

The party with the most votes was Iraqiya which was led by Shi'ite Ayad Allawi (Iraqiya was a political party which included various sects).

The people voted for inclusion.

But Nouri refused to step down.

(General Ray Odierno had predicted this possiblity ahead of the elections but the White House chose to listen to the idiot Chris Hill, the US Ambassador to Iraq.)

At first, the White House sided with the Iraqi people.

Then, as Nouri continued to refuse to step down, they sided with him.  Nouri would refuse for over eight months.  This would bring Iraq to a standstill.

November 10, 2010, The Erbil Agreement is signed.  November 11, 2010, the Iraqi Parliament has their first real session in over eight months and finally declares a president, a Speaker of Parliament and Nouri as prime minister-designate -- all the things that were supposed to happen in April of 2010 but didn't.

March 7, 2010, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August 2010, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 

Bully Boy Bush installed Nouri as prime minister in 2006.

The Iraqi people suffered.

And in 2010, they went to the polls.

And they voted for something other than Nouri.

Despite his bribery, his bullying, the threats and so much more, they voted Nouri out.

But Barack overturned their votes and insisted Nouri get a second term.

The Erbil Agreement was a power sharing agreement.  Nouri refused to honor it.  He used it to get a second term and then refused to honor it (and his aid would publicly declare it was "illegal" -- this same aid would flee to Qatar a few years later when Nouri tried to blame him on a corrupt deal with Russia that Nouri's son had profited from and been part of).

A year later, the various political blocs -- led mainly by Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr, KRG President Massoud Barzani, Ayad Allawi and Osama al-Nujaifi would move for a no confidence vote in Parliament.  Moqtada would publicly state in the months leading up to this, repeatedly state, that Nouri could stop this move by implementing The Erbil Agreement.

He refused.

As per the Constitution, the participants collected the required signatures needed for a no confidence vote.

Per the Constitution, the president of Iraq then introduces it to Parliament.

This is a mere formality.

But under pressure from the US government, Jalal Talabani created new roles for himself that weren't in the Constitution.

He stated he needed to verify every signature.

Fair enough, possibly.

But when that didn't give him what he wanted -- a way to declare the petition null and void, he then declared he also had the right to ask the signer if they still stood by it?

If not, they could remove their signature -- that they admitted putting to paper -- from the petition.

He then claimed he had enough people saying they wouldn't sign today what they'd already signed.

No, that's not how a petition works.

He refused to say which ones told him they would not sign.

He refused to even reveal an actual number.

All he did was lie that he had a life threatening condition which required immediate surgery in Germany.

He actually had elective knee surgery.

But the lie would come back to him at the end of 2012 when, in a fight with Nouri al-Maliki, Jalal would have a stroke.  The stroke would force him back to Germany -- while the Talabanis denied he'd had a stroke.

He would be left unable to speak or move for over two years.  He'd stay out of the country for over 15 months.  Arabic social media had a lot of fun with a series of photos the Talabani family released where they posed Jalal at a table with people pretending he was carrying on a conversation.  Again, he couldn't speak and he couldn't move.  Arabic social media likened it to the US film WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S.

At this point, the Iraqi people had used the ballot box to change things (and had Barack overturn their votes).  Their leaders had attempted to change things (and had Jalal overturn that).

Before you take up arms, the next step is protesting in the streets.

And that's what they did.

For over a year, they carried out protests -- with most of the US media ignoring it.

The protesters were threatened and targeted.  Some were kidnapped by the police and beaten.

And there were the murders of protesters in public as they peacefully protested.

The Iraqi forces were also going around and grabbing Sunni people.

If they wanted Mohammed Fadel and didn't have an arrest warrant, they didn't care.  They just grabbed him and tossed him in a jail or prison (or secret jail or prison) and he disappeared.

If they were going for Mohammed Fadel and could not find him?  They arrested his brother or his mother or his sister or his daughter or his father or his wife or his child.

This was going on constantly.

All of this is why the Islamic State was able to get a strong foothold in Iraq.

The Sunnis were being persecuted.

The Islamic State presented itself as a protector of the Sunni population.

All of this could have been averted if Barack Obama had honored the Iraqi people's vote and not insisted upon keeping Nouri prime minister for a second term.

Human Rights Watch's Belkis Wille notes what's happening Mosul:

 Many of those fleeing the city are Sunni Arabs, relieved to be free from ISIS, but deeply distressed. Over the last two weeks, dozens of families have told me they are concerned about what will happen to their homes while they are gone.
You would assume that they are concerned that the fighting might destroy their houses, but the fighting is only one of their worries.

In fact, in a previous round of the conflict, between the Peshmerga — the Kurdistan regional government's military, and ISIS in nearby provinces, Arab homes were destroyed largely after the fighting had moved on.
 Our new research, based on visits to villages, interviews with witnesses and analysis of satellite imagery, documents a pattern of unlawful destruction of Arab homes and sometimes of entire Arab villages between September 2014 and May 2016 in areas of Kirkuk and Nineveh governorates as the Peshmerga took back control from ISIS.
In every case, we found no imperative military necessity that would warrant the destruction.

On to a different topic, ALSUMARIA reports on Sarah.  She's a young Iraqi woman who was forced into marriage at the age of 13.  (For those who've forgotten, with no outcry from the US media and no public outcry from the US government, in 2014, then prime minister Nouri al-Maliki tried to lower the age of marriage to 9 or  8-years-old, )  Feminists in Iraq and Sarah are working to get her story out.  She discusses rape and other abuses and the loss of childhood as a result of being forced to marry at 13.

Rape is a problem everywhere -- including the US.  Child marriage in this day and age is nothing but rape.  In this day and age, however, many politicians still have trouble recognizing what rape is.

THE NEW YORK TIMES' Tim Arango re-Tweets:

  1. Document of shame: Ruling party MPs in Turkey put forward motion for amnesty for sexual assailants of minors-should they marry their victims

I saw hundreds of disgraceful amendments during my time in parliament, but this is by far the most nauseating proposal ever.

Yesterday, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter, remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 11 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Huwayjah, two strikes engaged three ISIL tactical units and destroyed nine ISIL compounds and a command-and-control node.

-- Near Haditha, a strike destroyed inoperable coalition equipment.

-- Near Mosul, three strikes engaged three ISIL tactical units; destroyed six mortar systems, four watercraft, three storage containers, two fighting positions, two vehicles, a bunker, a trench, and an ISIL-held building; degraded two tunnels; and suppressed two tactical units and a rocket-propelled grenade system.

-- Near Rawah, three strikes engaged an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL-held building; destroyed two bunkers, two buildings, a bomb storage facility, and a bomb cache; and damaged another bomb cache.

-- Near Sinjar, a strike engaged an ISIL headquarters building.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a fighting position.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

The bombs drop daily.

And don't worry, while diplomacy is ignored, the bombs will continue to drop.

NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY reports Barack's special envoy Brett McGurk declared that there will be no stopping the Iraq operation when Barack steps aside as president in January and president-elect Donald Trump is sworn in.

He's not the only one making such comments.

US State Dept spokesperson John Kirby declared at yesterday's press briefing in DC, "They will have to make decisions about what they want to prioritize in their foreign policy agenda. All I can tell you is that on the foreign policy agenda of the Obama Administration and the one that Secretary Kerry is committed to continuing to pursue for the remainder of time that he’s in office, obviously the fight against [the Islamic State]  is right up there at the top. And I think you – that there was in Berlin over the last couple of days another counter-ISIL coalition meeting Brett McGurk attended a good, wide-ranging discussion about our progress in that fight and also some of the challenges that remain."

We'll close with the topic of war resister Andre Shepherd.  RT reports, "A Munich court has rejected a US soldier’s plea for asylum six years after his application was filed. The soldier deserted his post in southern Germany after being ordered to return to Iraq, where he feared he would be forced to take part in war crimes."

The November 27, 2008 snapshot noted Iraq War veteran Andre Shepherd who self-checked out of the US military while in Germany and held a press conference to explain: "When I read and heard about people being ripped to shreds from machine guns or being blown to bits by the Hellfire missiles I began to feel ashamed about what I was doing.  I could not in good conscience continue to serve. . . . Here in Germany it was established that everyone, even a soldier, must take responsibility for his or her actions, no matter how many superiors are giving orders."   The December 2, 2008 snapshot quoted the following from James Ewinger's Cleveland Plain Dealer article:
Shepherd said he grew up on East 94th Street in Cleveland, attended Lakewood High School and studied computer science at Kent State University until he ran out of money.
He enlisted in 2004 with the hope of flying the Apaches, but was urged to become a mechanic first.
Scharf said he doubts that Shepherd's expected order to return to Iraq would, by itself, constitute an unlawful order.
"His best argument would be that Apaches are used to kill civilians," Scharf said, but he still viewed it as a weak case.
Andre sought aslyum in Germany and has been working with the Military Counseling Network and attorneys on that effort.  In February of 2009,  AP's Patrick McGroarty reports that Andre is one of 71 US soldiers who has self-checked out from "European bases in 2008" (actually, he shouldn't be, he self-checked out in 2007) and his case was scheduled to take place before the Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees today where Andre would be stressing "a 2004 European Union directive that established basic guidelines for refugee status within the 27-nation bloc. Soldiers who face punishment for refusing to commit a war crime or serve in an unlawful conflict are to be granted that status, the directive says."
Andre Shepherd: When I speak to the other asylum seekers in the asylum camp and I explain to them my story, they completely understand it however this doesn't make me any better or any worse than anyone else that's there.  We're all there because we can't go home.
Samantha Haque: As an asylum seeker he is currently in a camp in Germany with people from places like Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq. All in a similar position to him.  The difference is that Andre Shepherd is a US citizen.  And an Iraq War deserter.  For security reasons, we were not allowed to film in the camp.  Shepherd has a friend, a peace activist, who lives within the restricted boundary he's allowed to move in.  He took us there.
Andre Shepherd: I was working on the Apache helicopter.  Those Apaches won't fly unless we take care of them.  The Apache helicopter is a deadly weapon a lot of people call it a flying tank.  What started my doubts was when I saw the Iraqi people, when they would come and help us, the looks that they gave us weren't the looks of heroes or people that you know were bringing freedom. We looked like conquerors and oppressors.  That really bothered me a lot.  So I started to look into the reasons why we were actually there in Iraq. I thought that what we were doing was a great thing and a positive thing.  That we were actually bringing freedom to people and making them happy but what I found out instead was that we completely destroyed an entire country on a pack of lies.  It started to weigh very heavily to the point where my actions when I was a soldier were starting to deteriorate so as this was going on I came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to back to Iraq.
Samantha Haque: None of the criteria that the US military offered for discharge were availble to Mr. Shepherd.  To be a conscientious objector in the US means to be against all wars, something he was not.  While in Germany, he was faced with a second mission to Iraq.  On April 11, 2007 he went absent without leave.  Unable to apply for German residency without official military discharge papers, he decided that applying for asylum was the only way forward.
MCN's Tim Huber: Andre contacted us about a year and a half ago and he asked about asylum  He wasn't the first to ask about asylum but our answer was always the same, we don't know what would happen if you tried aslyum.  We went over the pros and cons of trying it. We noted that we were quite pessimistic that it would actually work, but we said it's an option.
Samantha Haque: His lawyer on the other hand is confident that he will have his application accepted.
Reinhard Marx: It's a specific European law, the so-called directive on qualification of refugees and in this directive it is ruled that deserters of an army who refer to international reasons, refer that the war is conducted in a way which infringes the national law then he has a right to be accepted as a refugee. 
Samantha Haque: His lawyer cites the case of Florian Pfaff, a German officer demoted after refusing to work on a computer program for the US Army in Iraq in 2005.  A federal court overturned his demotion because the Iraq War contravened international law.  But although Germany opposed the war in Iraq and said no to the US resolution backing it, it still allowed its territory to be used as a base for military operations in Iraq.  Here in Heidelberg is the US Army's headquarters in Europe.  There are currently around 51,000 US military service men in Germany If Mr. Shepherd's application for aslyum is accepted, there could be implications for US-German military relations. 
Gas Bag: It would mean that any US soldier in Germany who disagrees with military operations being conducted can basically step out of the base and seek asylum in Germany and that would probably be a situation that would be unacceptable to the US military. 
Samantha Haque: The US is already looking at shrinking its military presence in Germany and possibly moving bases to Europe.
Gas Bag: There is a 60-year tradition, there's many Germans who cherish having the Americans here.  There's also an economic factor, the US bases, particularly in the German southwest provide a lot of jobs.
Samantha Haque: Shepherd is something of a darling for the anti-war movement.  Here at the Miltary Counseling Network, an American center where conscientios objectors go for help, letters of support come in from all over the world.
Tim Huber: He joined for the American dream.  He joined for life, liberty and the pursuit of justice. Suddenly he finds that his pursuit of life, liberty and, most importantly, justice causes him to take a 180 degree turn and walk away from the military.
Samantha Haque: Do you think that there's a danger that Andre's case trivializes the term asylum seeker? 
Tim Huber: Not at all.  I think, if anything, it's causing people to look at the term asylum and put it in a 21st century defenition
Samantha Haque: The US army said that it was aware of the case but that the matter was completely in German hands.  As for Mr. Shepherd it will be some months before he finds out the results of next week's hearing and whether he faces jail in America or exile abroad. 
Andre Shepherd: Not being able to go back?  At this point, that's just something I have to live with if I can make my consc clear then fine that's just a sacrifice I have to make.
RUSSIA TODAY has pointed out the Pentagon claims 5,000 US Army soldiers "are missing from duty" presently and quoted Andre explaining, "When the CIA report came and they said that there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq, that really made me angry.  I wondered if there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the CIA obvioulsy the Bush administration knew about this, then why did we just destroy Fallujah, completely wiped out the entire city?"
Whether Andre's appeals process is exhausted at this point or not is not known.
What is known is that Barack has not pardoned or offered clemency to any of the war resisters of today's wars.
What is known is that the Cult of St. Barack refused to put such a demand on him.
The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan and Pacifica Evening News -- updated:

  • iraq

    Thursday, November 17, 2016

    Hot Trend of the Day!!!!

    Hot trend of the day?

    Calling out psycho Kurt Eichenwald.  C.I. kicked things off early this morning with the Iraq snapshot.

    She did a hilarious job!!! (Snapshot in full at the end of my post.)

    I laughed so hard.

    And it's been the trend of the day.

    Like here.

    In 2016 Commentariat Derby, it's a race to the wire between Krugman & Eichenwald for most deranged liberal response to Trump's win.

    and here.

    kurt eichenwald: my sources tell me that the electoral college was designed to suppress democratic votes... will have a story up shortly...

    And at HUFFINGTON POST,  Tim Black has a strong piece:

    Exhibit A: Kurt Eichenwald
    Ole Twinkle Toes! Kurt Eichenwald’s latest pathetic hit piece in Newsweek proves my point.
    Eichenwald, (which by the way sounds like something you contract from a Truck Stop toilet seat and whose reasoning begs for much needed sanitation) does his best to scapegoat Jill Stein for Hillary’s loss. Why is it Jill’s fault? Isn’t it obvious? Eichewald assumes that without Jill Stein all her voters would’ve immediately voted for Hillary Clinton, I mean there’s no way some would’ve voted for Trump, right?
    Eichenwald’s flawed Liberal Elitism blinds him to this very arguable point: Absent Jill being in the race her voters may have decided to skip voting altogether. They wouldn’t have been alone. As read in the Telegraph article here, Michael McDonald, associate professor at the University of Florida and who runs the US Elections Project website, estimates that 57.9 percent of eligible voters voted in this year’s election, down from 58.6 percent in 2012 and from 61.6 percent in 2008.
    The truth is, Eichenwald will blame anything that breathes, walks or crawls for Hillary’s Aunt Bunny-like fall down the political staircase, except, of course, Hillary Clinton herself. Eichenwald has done what Liberal Elites have done throughout this entire election season: stick their fingers in their ears whenever someone tells them some truth about Hillary Clinton.

    Here's something to check out.

    Forthcoming: Hillary Clinton - The Goldman Sachs Speeches. Foreword by Julian Assange

    If you voted third party and you've got some Hillary nut busting your chops, I think that book would make the ultimate Christmas gift.

    “Obama has deported more people than any president before him,” says Clarissa Martinez de Castro of .

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

    Thursday, November 17, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the Mosul operation is yet again on "pause," Kurt Eichenwald slams everyone (so the world slams back -- ask Debra about her spill), blaming Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, etc let's Hillary and the DNC off the hook and brings about no change . . .

    The question has to be, why is Kurt Eichenwald employed by anyone?

    He's ticked off many Christians with his slurs against them.

    And now our 'objective' reporter is going after We The People.

    I love how whiners who refused to vote 4 the only person who could've beaten trump say they played no role in his victory. Its 2000 again.

    Problem is, some dems view their vote as a gift they bestow on 1 person, insted of a vehicle 2 choose person who is best 2 lead. Narcissism.

    Kurt's coming on a lot of people's radar due to psycho Debra Messing's Twitter feed (heard about the fall, Debra, won't be the last).

    And as they encounter this alleged journalist, they're probably shocked by his Twitter feed.

    "Whether this bullying, or self-sabotage, or hysteria, it's certainly not the behavior of a stable professional journalist."

    That's Walker Bragman and Shane Ryan (PASTE MAGAZINE) on Kurt Eichenwald.

    But it's not just PASTE that's dismayed by Kurt Eichenwald.  Here's John Ridley (NPR) in 2007:

    In March of this year, in the trial of Berry's adult business partner, Greg Mitchel, it is revealed that Eichenwald wrote a check for two grand to Berry before their meeting. Though the money was subsequently repaid to Eichenwald by a relative of Berry's, it is contrary to journalistic ethics and Times practice for reporters to exchange funds with sources.
    Once caught in this severe omission, Eichenwald's excuses for his actions are, frankly, lame. He claims he wrote the check and met Berry as a private citizen trying to help a young man who was caught out. It was only after meeting Berry that Eichenwald — according to Eichenwald — became interested in him as the subject of a story. Be that as it may, Eichenwald still had a responsibility to tell his editors about the financial transaction. Eichenwald writes on the media site Romenesko: "Once the reporting began ... a financial transaction from a month before ... just slipped away amid the 18 hour days, seven days a week of turmoil and chaos."
    You know, I've been under deadline stress before. But never to the point I've forgotten about a two-grand check I've written to a kiddie porn star. Eichenwald did assure the Times that except for one further $10 transaction through a PayPal account, the two grand were the only funds exchanged with Berry.
    While the Times cannot be faulted for being the victim of a lie, there was reason to suspect Eichenwald was being less than candid about his involvement with Berry.
    In January of '06, the Times received an e-mail from Mitchel's mother. Among her accusations was that Eichenwald had "Fed Ex'd several thousand dollars" to help fund Berry's Web site. Eichenwald blew off the accusation, calling it a "crappy lie."
    When the check became public, the Times did report that Lawrence Ingrassia, Eichenwald's editor, had queried Eichenwald about the e-mail. But the Times did not report as to why Ingrassia took Eichenwald at his word without further investigation — remember, this is all post-Jayson Blair, Rick Bragg, Judy Miller ... Ingrassia should have been reflexively concerned. Apparently, he was not.
    That was that with that. But remember Eichenwald assuring that he'd only made the two-grand payment to Berry...?
    Until the eighth of this month, when it's reported that sealed documents in the trial of another of Berry's business partners purport Eichenwald sent at least another $1,100 dollars to a PayPal account maintained by Berry and Mitchel, at times under another name.
    And Eichenwald's newer, lamer excuse for actions he — according to him — may or may not have taken? "If these PayPal payments did occur in June 2005, I am deeply sorry that my inability to remember them has resulted in permitting a series of convicted felons to cast doubt on the nature of my wife's and my efforts to save a young man who was caught in the grip of a cycle of drugs and abuse."

    Alberto Gonzales couldn't have said it better.

    And here's John Cook (GAWKER) talking Kurt in 2012:

    Kurt Eichenwald, the disgraced former New York Times reporter whose career went up in flames after he got caught secretly paying thousands of dollars to a child pornographer he wrote about, is on the comeback trail. 

    Were we Kurt, we could go into deep suggestions about the rumors that Kurt met the kiddie porn star for reasons other than journalism and humanity -- and how those rumors circulate especially at THE NEW YORK TIMES.  How he's supposedly claimed emotional attraction to young men before and insisted they were the product of the strain his disease (epilepsy) puts on him.  We could talk about how in several earlier administrations (most infamously, LBJ's), straight or 'straight' men would make similar claims of their systems being taxed to explain their emotional attachments with young, underage men -- and how the stress was so great that the men must have lost their balance when they were discovered with the boys since the 'straight' men were to be found on their knees in front of the young boys.

    Maybe they were just praying?

    But we'll leave all of that for Kurt and his nasty flame wars.

    Kurt has serious problems and there's no reason in the world for him to be employed by anyone as a journalist.

    His nonsense on Twitter that we've quoted is bad.

    Even worse is a story Kurt tells on himself. Walter Bragman reports it here.

    After the election, Kurt's in an airport and encounters a man.

    Put that scene from HIGH ANXIETY out of your heads, we're going a different way with Kurt.

    The man approaches him (honest, we're going in a different direction).

    Kurt is scared.  (Well, he's passionate, at least.)

    The man tells him he loves Kurt's work.

    Kurt is stunned -- as is everyone reading this.

    Makes you start to think Kurt's made this encounter up as well.

    Kurt still doesn't like the looks of him.

    (Maybe Kurt just had a 20 and the ATM was out of order?  Some pick ups charge more.)

    As the man attempts to walk away from Kurt (as so many have before and will again, Kurt was made to warble "The Man That Got Away"), the man says, "Get back to work."

    Kurt says now he's suspicious.

    So he stops the man and asks him who he voted for.

    The man says Jill Stein.

    Kurt then bellows for the man to go f**k himself.

    And maybe that happened.

    Maybe Kurt only had a 20, the man looked him up and down and said it would cost Kurt 60 even for a half-and-half.

    And then Kurt exploded go f**k yourself?

    That sounds plausible.

    But the whole story sounds made up and, with Kurt's past history, probably is.

    That he would tell someone to f**k themselves because of who they voted for goes to why he should not be employed by any respectable outlet.

    Kurt doesn't appear to grasp the meaning of democracy.

    He's allowed -- and encouraged -- to use his vote in any way he feels.

    But when you're attacking others for voting as they see fit?

    You've got problems.

    As for 2000, all over again.

    Oh, it's not going to be.

    We're too smart for that.

    In 2000, I voted for Al Gore (and donated).

    I did not vote for Ralph Nader.

    I never considered voting for Ralph Nader.

    If I don't like someone, I generally have a reason.

    I didn't and don't like Ralph Nader.

    I have many friends who voted for him including a female producer who beat herself up over it after the election.

    I never said to her -- or to any Nader supporter -- "You cost Al Gore the election!"

    Because Ralph Nader did not cost Gore the election.

    Al Gore cost himself the election in many ways (and the Supreme Court gifted Bully Boy Bush with the election).

    Al could have had Ralph's voters if he'd moved to the left.

    Ralph would suggest that in 2000 as well as in 2004 and 2008.

    Ralph was right.

    But Al was stupid -- and a cheater.

    Worth noting.

    Because he wouldn't use Bill Clinton -- then the sitting president -- in his campaign.

    He wanted to take a 'moral' high ground (again, Al was a cheater, he was cheating at least as far back as 1992).

    Bill was popular with the base.

    Al didn't want to use him.

    Al was running against right wing Bully Boy Bush.

    So he picks as his running mate . . .

    Right wing Joe Lieberam (he was a Democrat then, Joe would leave the party six years later).

    And Al had his own baggage including opposition to abortion when he was in  Congress.

    My friend and others did not cost Al Gore the election.

    He refused to campaign on issues that mattered to them.

    The Supreme Court cost him the election.

    His bad campaigning cost him the election.

    (He couldn't even win his home state?  Come on.)

    I knew he was in trouble during the campaign because I'd already forecast the rise of Bully Boy Bush.

    Molly Ivins had invited me to some party in Texas.  Ann Richards was there.  She was the governor.  It was a late party.  At one point, we were all in the backyard, drinking under the moonlight and someone said something about how Ann would be a two-term governor and then run for president.  And people were happy about that and then someone, Molly, I believe, said that I was good at playing the angles and asked who could defeat Ann.  I played along and came up with Bully Boy Bush except his wife was blonde.  Everything else, including school teacher and librarian, as Ann pointed out in a letter after she lost re-election, was correct.  I had the candidate down, that he would be the son of a famous politician (I wasn't aware of the Bushes connection to Texas) and even the sort of strategies they'd use to run against her.

    I found out about that race as it was finishing -- the real thing.  And was appalled that there was no effort to counter the slanders Bush was running against her because it was everything I said it would be.

    Maybe they couldn't have fought Karl Rove if they'd tried.

    But Ann Richards tried to convey to Gore's campaign throughout 2000 that they weren't hitting back hard enough and that they were taken things for granted.

    Al didn't listen.

    More importantly, the Democratic Party didn't listen.

    2004 rolls around and instead of addressing the problems, it's blame Ralph Nader.

    Which is how you get John Kerry as a candidate and the John Kerry campaign.

    (I supported Kerry in the primaries.  And, of course, in the general election.  But that was the first time in my life that the person I supported in the primaries won.)

    Kerry's campaign was flat footed and tone deaf.

    "John Kerry reporting for duty."

    It was not  a pretty or natural moment and recalled Michael Dukakis in the tank.

    He also wasted time on a vacation.

    To Hawaii.

    Now he could have campaigned there and should have.

    Instead, he went out in public wearing shorts that no man over 40 should be wearing -- let alone a man running for president.

    His visuals were wrong, his response time lagged.

    And he was for it before he was against it.

    Politicians who can't say they're wrong are not leaders.

    But that's who we got.

    And then we got four more years of Bully Boy Bush.

    By demonizing Ralph Nader and those who voted for him, the Democratic Party was able to avoid addressing why they were losing voters.

    If you're a Democrat, you should loudly fight back against blaming Jill Stein or her voters or Gary Johnson or his voters.

    You should instead note the apathetic response to Hillary versus the turn out Bernie Sanders got.

    You should be pushing for the issues that mattered to the Bernie voters.

    You need a passionate turnout when an election rolls around.

    Otherwise, you've got Hillary who couldn't inspire the voters in the states needed.

    She couldn't inspire the voters because she had a lousy campaign.

    "I'm with her!"

    Politicians work for the people.

    They are supposed to make promises to help the people.

    Her campaign was always about her and not about the people.

    It's amazing because in 2008, she campaigned as a populist.

    She spoke about the people in every speech.

    By 2016, she'd apparently taken it for granted that the presidency was her right and she kept the focus on herself.

    In 2020, the Democrats need a candidate who speaks to the people on issues that resonate.

    You can blame Jill or Gary or their voters all you want.  All that's going to do is allow the DNC to drift further right.

    Mohammed Tawfeeq and Ingrid Formanek (CNN) report that the operation of liberating or 'liberating' Mosul continues today with the news that an airport "near Mosul" has been taken by Iraqi forces.

    31 days after this operation began, Mosul still remains unliberated.

    But don't call it a "slog" -- remember CNN's Elise Labott will interrupt the press conference to scream no.

    Even though AP reports that today the operation was (again) put on hold.

    We've noted before that these pauses are said to be due to the huge desertion rates taking place among the Iraqi forces (said on Arabic social media).

    Apparently, that's being indirectly confirmed.

    slowly but steadily dislodging from E Mousal yet need more troops to hold ground yet troops busy to secure arbaeen shia piligrams

    The (disgraced) Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari is saying more troops are needed.

    So it's another pause for the operation.

    Sadly, the occupants of Mosul can't put their lives on hold.

    Even sadder, the Islamic State took Mosul in June of 2014.

    Over two years later the so-called government of Iraq finally attempts to liberate it.

    We'll note this joint statement (appears on UNAMI's FACEBOOK page):

    (Baghdad, 17 November 2016): Today marks one month of intensified military operations to retake the city of Mosul. With tens of thousands of families in newly retaken areas urgently requiring life-saving assistance, the humanitarian community in Iraq faces a massive scope of need. These latest developments further exacerbate a humanitarian crisis in a country where 10 million people already were in need of aid.
    In many newly retaken areas, civilian infrastructure such as water and power plants, schools and hospitals are damaged and medical services often unavailable. Families go hungry due to lost livelihoods, disrupted food production and supply, and increased food prices at markets. Water supply for drinking and agricultural production has been damaged, as has agricultural equipment. Many families are forced to drink untreated water from wells; their children are unvaccinated, without formal education and many are in high need of psychosocial support. Heavy contamination of newly retaken areas with improvised mines and scorched earth tactics employed by members of the armed group controlling Mosul pose immediate and long-term risks for the people and the environment.
    “Wherever we can, humanitarian partners are helping displaced people and vulnerable families in newly retaken communities,” said Ms. Lise Grande, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, in the name of the humanitarian community. “We are working as quickly as we can and in close coordination with Iraqi authorities to help some of the most at-risk people in the world.”
    Nearly 59,000 people have been displaced, about 26,000 of them children. In support of the Government of Iraq, the United Nations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have begun to provide assistance to displaced and resident families in newly retaken areas. More than 40,000 displaced people have found shelter in formal camps in three governorates prepared and managed by the Government, the United Nations and national and international NGOs. More than half of the displaced people are women, girls, and female headed households who often are survivors of sexual and other human rights abuses.
    More than 13,000 displaced people have been taken in by generous host communities or live in public facilities. More than 69,000 people have been given assistance within 48 hours of their displacement, more than 114,000 people have received food rations, more than 14,300 people have been provided with emergency health services and more than 66,000 people were provided with emergency household items and some 124,000 are receiving water, hygiene and sanitation services, including water trucking. Over 6,700 women and girls have received reproductive health consultations, including life-saving assisted deliveries. Some 1,400 sessions have been held to reach survivors of gender based violence. Shelter capacity and services in existing camps are being expanded and improved, and new emergency sites built.
    The United Nations and NGOs are grateful for the support they have received from donors but urgently need additional resources to support the tens of thousands of families who need help. With winter approaching, and temperatures dramatically dropping at night, families, many who fled their homes with virtually nothing, need heaters, blankets and other winter items.
    More than 100 humanitarian partners are currently assisting people affected by the ongoing military operations according to the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
    With military operations imminent in densely-populated sections of Mosul city, humanitarians are increasingly worried about the ability of families impacted by the conflict to reach safety and assistance.
    In a worst case scenario, as many as one million people could be at extreme risk from cross-fire, snipers, contamination with improvised explosive devices, forced expulsions and could be used as human shields.
    Civilian casualties, and the lack of capacity to treat these, are deeply worrying.
    The humanitarian community in Iraq is profoundly concerned about the plight of civilians, and again, at the end of the first month of the Mosul campaign, calls on all parties to the conflict to do their utmost to protect the rights and lives of civilians and uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law.
    Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Resident Representative in Iraq, UNDP
    Altaf Musani, Representative in Iraq, WHO
    Bruno Geddo, Representative in Iraq, UNHCR
    Fadel El-Zubi, Representative in Iraq, FAO
    Ivo Freijsen, Head of Office Iraq, UNOCHA
    Erfan Ali, Head of Iraq Programme, UN-Habitat
    Paulina Chiwangu, Deputy Country Representative, OIC, UN Women
    Peter Hawkins, Representative in Iraq, UNICEF
    Sally Haydock, Country Director, WFP
    Ramanathan Balakrishnan, Representative, UNFPA
    Thomas Lothar Weiss, Iraq Chief of Mission, IOM
    Aaron Brent, Country Representative Northern Iraq, CARE
    Aneta Sarna, Country Director in Iraq, ACF
    Alberto Bocanegra, Country Director, Cordaid
    Aram Shakaram, Deputy Country Director, Save the Children
    Khalil Sleiman, Response Manager in northern Iraq, World Vision
    Wolfgang Gressmann, Interim Iraq Country Director, NRC

    For further information, please contact:
    For further information, please contact:
    HC Office / UNDP, Karim Elkorany,, +964 790 193 1292
    FAO, Karina Coates,, +964 750 875 9701
    IOM, Sandra Black,, +964 751 234 2550
    UNFPA, Mohamed Megahed,, +964 750 342 7036
    UN-Habitat, Alan Miran,, +964 750 342 7036
    UNHCR, Caroline Gluck,, +964 780 920 7286
    UNICEF, Sharon Behn,, + 964 782 782 0238
    UNOCHA, Philippe Kropf,, +964 751 135 2875
    UN Women, Bernice Rumala,, +964 751 583 0045
    WFP, Joelle Eid,, +964 780 929 9910
    WHO, Ajyal Manssour Al-Sultany,, +9647510101469
    ACF, Florian Seriex,, +964 751 012 6492
    CARE, Sandra Bulling,, +49 157 53 60 54 81
    Cordaid, Sarah Baba,, +964 751 135 3194
    NRC, Becky Bakr Abdulla,, +964 751 501 9899
    Save the Children, Sarah Pilchick,, +964 751 124 0109
    World Vision, Kayla Robertson,, +964 751 122 0837
    International Organization for Migration:
    Copyright © IOM. All rights reserved.
    UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
    To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit

    And this . . .

    Over 100 agencies & are providing to people in need in the month since began in .


    Iraq's Sunni Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi has Tweeted today: "we reject the presence of the Popular Mobilization Forces [Shi'ite militias] and the PKK" in Mosul.

    Mosul's not the only problem.

    Tensions remain high between the Baghdad-based government in Iraq and the government of Turkey.

    1. Must coordinate and activate constructive mediation to pacify and and the search for solutions to support the stability and preserve the unity and sovereignty of Iraq with Abdullah Gul
    Tensions must be pacified whilst preserving sovereignty to fight terrorism and promote stability - with

    At least one political leader in Iraq is paying attention to the issue.

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and Cindy Sheehan and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated:


  • iraq