Saturday, May 19, 2018


MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD will be back in the fall.  It wrapped up the season.

What did you think?

Hugely disappointed.

That's my reaction.

Fitz is dead.

Although I'm guessing he's not.

Deke is not around so I'm guessing he vanished when the time loop changed.

If you remember, the others (Daisy, Colson, Mac, Yo Yo, Gemma and Mae) were transported to the future.  Fitz?  He showed up after taking a long journey to find them.  They all then went back in time.  Do you follow that?

So Fitz that died trying to save Robyn and her mother is the Fitz who found his way to the future.  Our Fitz is still around because we're in 2018 so he's floating around in space somewhere trying to figure out how to get to the future.


Daisy is not team leader.  She stepped down saying it should be Mac.

Colson's supposedly dying -- we can't be that lucky.  The whole episode played out like a series finale because they didn't know then if the series would be renewed.

So dying Colson went off to the beach with Mae to live his few final days.

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

The final results of the Iraq election, not formally confirmed yet: • Sa’iroon (Muqtada Sadr) 54 seats • Nasr (Haider Abadi) 52 seats • Fateh (PMFs) 49 seats • SOL (Maliki) 24 seats • Hikmah (Ammar al-Hakim) 22 seats (h/t , according to Sumaria TV)

The election was a topic in yesterday's US State Dept press briefing conducted by spokesperson Heather Nauert:

MS NAUERT: I will certainly see if I can find something for you on it.
Hi, Laurie.

QUESTION: Hi. There have been major complaints about fraud in the Iraqi voting, and the UN Mission there has called on Iraq’s Electoral Commission to investigate them, quote, “immediately and fully.” What is your position on this?

MS NAUERT: Yeah. So we spoke about this a little bit the other day. The vote tally is still underway at this time. We’re certainly aware that there have been some challenges with that. We agree with the UN special representative who – the individual has called on the Independent High Electoral Commission to immediately and fully investigate those complaints, the complaints that you’re referring to, concerning the overall electoral process in Iraq. We call for the release of final election results just as quickly as possible and just as quickly as they’re ready. We understand the concerns that some people have had about that, and that’s why we call on them to quickly do this and resolve it.

QUESTION: Okay, and a question on Turkey. The foreign minister has said that there was a preliminary agreement about Manbij that was reached under Secretary Tillerson. At that time, you said that there was no such agreement. Is it still your position that there’s no agreement between the U.S. and Turkey on Manbij?

MS NAUERT: That’s correct. The talks about Manbij are ongoing, and nothing has been concluded. This is something that we addressed at NATO when the Secretary had met with his counterpart in Brussels as well, and so we just don’t have any new updates for you on that.

QUESTION: On Iraq --

MS NAUERT: And I will also point out that we do have a new Secretary, and so he has the ability to have conversations with the Government of Turkey, and then they can decide a new way forward if they should want to.

QUESTION: Sorry, Heather, a quick question on the election in Iraq because --


QUESTION: Are you disappointed in the level of turnout because it was very low? I mean, I worked back during the civil war and the turnout was much, much bigger. Are you disappointed? Do you think that people have lost faith in the democratic process in Iraq?

MS NAUERT: I don’t see it as that at all. We have seen from time to time when we’ve had higher or lower election turnouts in the United States, and many other countries have experienced that as well. But what is significant here is that the Iraqis held this successful election. The election went off with very, very limited violence. That is a tremendous success. And if we just wind back the clock to where Iraq was just a few years ago, when ISIS had controlled large swaths of that country, and now here people are turning out to vote and the biggest complaint we can find is a low turnout? Well, I’d say congratulations to the Iraqi people for pulling off a successful election. 

Complaints or not, the process moves on.  Borzou Daragahi (FOREIGN POLICY) looks at the landscape and comes up with ten potential prime ministers.  We'll note three that are not heavily mentioned elsewhere:

Ali Dawai Lazem: The 53-year-old governor of southern Iraq’s impoverished Maysan province since 2009 is said to be the choice for prime minister of the Sadr list, which — with an estimated 54 seats — received the largest bloc in the May 12 election. “Having the backing of the winning list and Sadr is a big added advantage,” says another Iraqi scholar.
Lazem was the Sadrists’ nominee for prime minister in 2014, and he is seen as hardworking, honest, and a man of the people. Whereas most Iraqi politicians shuttle between barricaded compounds in armored cars, he is famous for donning coveralls, heading into the streets of Amara, the capital of Maysan province, and sweating alongside construction workers.
His accomplishments as governor have made him something of a national folk hero. Maysan now has electricity for more hours each day than Baghdad. Still some say he lacks substance and traditional credentials. According to a report in the New York Times, he grew up in Iraq’s southern marshlands, served time in jail under Saddam Hussein’s regime, and got a job working at a sugar factory despite having a university degree in Islamic studies. Still, he has his critics. “How does it make sense for a governor to spend his time sweeping streets?” wonders one Iraqi analyst. “If he was effective, he would be spending his time shaping policy and making sure that other people are picking up the trash.”
In the rough-and-tumble of Iraqi insider politics, his popularity and name recognition could also hurt him. “Either it’s the incumbent getting another term, or it’s a compromise candidate who everyone else sees as weak and obscure enough to be nonthreatening or manipulable,” says an Iraqi energy-sector analyst.

Tariq Najm: The 72-year-old Dhi Qar province native and Islamic scholar is another Dawa Party loyalist, and a potential dark horse candidate for the premiership. He served as Maliki’s chief of staff and was considered a potential replacement in 2014. He spent his exile years studying and teaching in the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt, and he maintains constructive ties with Washington, Tehran, and Ankara, as well as the senior Shiite clergy in Najaf. Crucially, he could unite Abadi and Maliki wings of the Dawa Party. “Najm — who is already secretary of the Dawa Party — may emerge as an acceptable candidate to both those men if it means keeping the party together,” says one analyst.

Dia Asadi: The 49-year-old Basra lawmaker is a forceful and eloquent advocate of Moqtada al-Sadr. Fluent in English, he serves as a bridge between the movement’s urban underclass and diplomats and international media. “He would be out of his depth as a prime minister,” says one Iraq expert. “But so would all the others.”

He also notes that Iraq has a pattern of getting surprise prime ministers.  Nouri wasn't expected, Hayder wasn't expected . . .

Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is known for his long history of calling for all foreign troops (including US troops) to leave Iraq.

It's a detail that escapes some low information cultists.  Yes, we're talking about the Hillary Clinton obsessed crowd known as The Flatulence.  Yes, where Hillary goes, there is always The Flatulence.

Hillary Clinton was never President but she was blamed for the Iraq war and Bengahzi, she took full ownership, testified twice for over 16 hours and most importantly apologized more than she should have personally but the men, President, was both re-elected. Now that's sexism.

Republicans are scammers. Obama inherited recession. Took stock market from 7,000 to 20,000. Unemployment from 8.3% to 4.6%. Consumer confidence from 25.3 to 107.1. Ended IRAQ war. Crippled ISIS and MS-13. They just “noticed” and Trump is trying to take credit

Leave aside sentence construction, one says Hillary was blame for Iraq and she took full ownership.  No, she did not.  She wouldn't even apologize for the longest -- not even a weak apology.  Here's Jeff Gerth (PRO PUBLICA) from June 2014 reviewing Hillary's HARD CHOICES:

Having co-authored a 2007 biography of Hillary Clinton, I know that Iraq is not one of her favorite subjects. But with the bloodshed and sectarian division now crippling Iraq, I wondered what her new memoir, "Hard Choices," had to say about a country that's long been a political minefield for her.
The answer is not a lot. There is no chapter on its own for Iraq, like there is for Gaza, or Burma or Haiti. The discussion of Iraq is scattered throughout the 632-page book, and it is mostly about old battles. Clinton does not delve into the challenges she faced as secretary of state in 2011 as her department inherited responsibility for Iraq's security assistance when American troops withdrew.
Instead, the book has made headlines for her admission, for the first time in 12 years, that she made a "mistake" when voting to authorize the Iraq war when she was still a senator in 2002.
A closer look at what Clinton wrote—and didn't write—about that vote, about her views on the Iraq troop surge and about the country's ongoing sectarian strife is revealing. Clinton continues to misstate parts of her record on Iraq, while failing to address some of the tough choices she took as America's chief diplomat.

Continue reading Gerth for more on Hillary's real record on Iraq.  By 2016, she was now insisting that her 'mistake' was to trust that Bully Boy Bush would send enough troops to Iraq.  That's ownership?  And grasp what she's arguing for -- this woman who opposed the 'surge' -- she's arguing that even more US troops should have been sent to Iraq.

We could spend all day with lying politicians and the fools that are sexually attracted to them but let's move to the second Tweet.  Barack ended the Iraq War?


Helene Cooper and Gardiner Harris (NEW YORK TIMES) report:

Over the past four years, American military planning in Iraq has counted on working with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a moderate Shiite Muslim who has managed to rebuild the country’s army, restore sovereignty and partner with both the United States and Iran to defeat the Islamic State.
But the results of the weekend’s national elections in Iraq have torn the American assumptions asunder.
[. . .]
Mr. Trump has already expressed his desire to bring American troops home soon from Syria; officials said the president has given the Defense Department six months to wrap up its mission there. Military officials had hoped that an American troop presence in Iraq could keep in contact with allied forces across the border in Syria.
And what would Mr. Trump do if Mr. Sadr again demands an American troop withdrawal from Iraq?
“The Pentagon is already on the clock to get out of Syria,” said Derek Chollet, a former senior Defense Department official in the Obama administration. “Who’s to say what happens in Iraq after?”

Again, Barack didn't end the Iraq War.

BREAKING: Denmark to withdraw its troops from Iraq

Will the US be next?

Among the people mentioned as a future prime minister of Iraq is former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki.  Mohamed Mostafa (IRAQI NEWS) reports Nouri met up with Brett McGurk this week:

A statement by his office said Maliki received Thursday Brett Mcgurk, envoy of the United States president to the international coalition against Islamic State.
“During the meeting, both discussed the political and security situation in Iraq and the region, and means to reinforce bilateral ties between the two friendly countries,” the statement read.

Maliki “stressed that the post-election period shall be that of reconstruction and upgrade of services, especially at regions affected by the war against  terrorism”, highlighting “the necessity of joint cooperation between Baghdad and Washington in all fields.

Nouri tortured and secretly imprisoned, he misused the Iraqi military by sending it to circle the homes of Sunni politicians in an attempt to intimidate them, he attacked journalists, he bombed residential areas . . .  He did so many vile and criminal things and his actions resulted in the rise of ISIS.  That he can even be mentioned as a possible prime minister this year goes to how little accountability there is in the world.

The following community sites -- plus PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:

  • Thursday, May 17, 2018

    Tom Rogan crossed a line

    Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case against an American journalist who wrote an editorial calling on Ukraine to bomb Russia’s newly-opened bridge to the annexed Crimean peninsula.
    Tom Rogan urged the Ukrainian government to “launch air strikes” and “destroy elements” of the bridge to Crimea in a Washington Examiner magazine op-ed published on Tuesday. Kiev, the United States and the European Union criticized the opening of the road-and-rail bridge and called it a violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
    And they should open an investigation.  Why would you say such a thing to begin with?  I loathe a lot of people: Alyssa Milano, Bully Boy Bush, Alyssa Milano, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Alyssa Milano, Bill O’Reilly, Alyssa Milano, Adolf Hitler, Alyssa Milano, Augusto Pinochet, Alyssa Milano, William The Terrible, Alyssa Milano . . .
    But I’ve never suggested that anything should be done to them or their property for that matter – not even to Alyssa Milano.
    That a journalist and he should know better.  I think he’s a right-winger, but don’t know that.  That doesn’t really matter, we have bad people on all sides – look at Hitler and Alyssa Milano. 
    That said, you have to wonder why a paper – right, left, whatever – would publish something like that to begin with?
    It’s strange – like Alyssa Milano.
    Kat's "Kat's Korner: Dashboard Confessional knows it's gonna be alright"  -- Dashboard Confessional has a new album.  Did not even know until I read Kat’s review.  I immediately downloaded it.  I love it!  This is the best thing from DC since the mid-90s.  I am so loving this album.


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

    Thursday, May 17, 2018.  Moqtada madness all around.

    Let's start with this graph.

    Some critics are challenging my global projections on Iraq future Government and Iran influence. Fine: do your maths...

    So we have photos and percentages of the vote.  What does this have to do with Iran?

    First of all, Iran shares a border with Iraq.  They are neighbors, there will be influence, that's a given.

    Second, the faces are not new.  Except for Faith with their 50%, all the above have been running each cycle.  Faith is the militias and they are indebted to the government of Iran, I don't disagree, but I don't know what a graph like that is supposed to prove.  The only person who might be against Iran -- against -- above is Ayad Allawi and that's due to the 2010 election which isn't a detail the graph above goes into.  Nor does the PUK's 15% note that Hero Talabani regularly visited Iran while her husband (then-president Jalal Talabani) was unable to speak or move but they were concealling that (for 18 months) from the Iraqi people.

    Iran will have influence, it's a neighbor.

    It's influence, by some western observers, is always seen as sinister.  The US interest is seen as benign by the same observers.  I'd argue that both judgments overdue it.

    Tuesday, the US State Dept held one of those rare 'daily' press briefings (only the second 'daily' press briefing for the month so far).  Spokesperson Heather Nauert was asked about the Iraqi elections and their outcome.

    QUESTION: Yeah. On Iraq and the Iraqi – and the parliamentary elections. Do you have any comment?

    MS NAUERT: Yeah. I think it’s certainly notable, first of all, that Iraq held elections that were largely free of violence. Imagine, think about not long ago, ISIS had controlled large swaths of that country. And the fact that they were able to pull off elections that were relatively free of violence is certainly a pretty amazing feat and a testament to the Iraqi people. We congratulate Iraq and the Iraqi people for participating in the democratic process yet once again. Iraqis are certainly eager to build a safe and prosperous future for themselves in the context of a government that’s sovereign and stable. So we’d like to congratulate them for doing that.

    QUESTION: I have two more on this, Heather. Do you have any comment on Moqtada al-Sadr, who emerged as the big winner in these elections?

    MS NAUERT: Yes. Let me just remind folks that he wasn’t an actual candidate on any of the ballots, but yet his slate of people were candidates. Iraq is still finalizing its election results right now. They’re likely to have to form some sort of coalition government, so I don’t want to get ahead of the process and presume how things are going to look in the end. But I think the overarching theme right now is congratulations to Iraq for holding democratic and free elections.

    QUESTION: And on the formation of the new government, Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s commander Qasem Soleimani is in Baghdad to discuss the formation of the new government. How do you view this Iranian role in the formation of the government?

    MS NAUERT: We have a good relationship – bless you – with the Government of Iraq, and we believe that we will continue to do that. There have been many – in Iraq and in other countries as well – that have been concerned about Iran’s reach into many other countries. That is certainly always a concern of ours, but we have a great deal of trust and faith in the Iraqi people and whoever ends up governing, whatever the structure is, the governing of that country going forward.

    QUESTION: Is Brett McGurk – is he still --

    QUESTION: Are you concerned --

    MS NAUERT: Sorry.

    QUESTION: Is Brett McGurk there for the talks along relations to the elections?

    MS NAUERT: I can confirm he is in Iraq right now; I don’t have the details of his entire itinerary and why he’s there. I can see if I can get more for you on that. Okay. Hey, Laurie.

    QUESTION: And also some are – one more here.

    MS NAUERT: Okay.

    QUESTION: And also, some of the political parties are charging that the election was rigged by groups in – that were probably backed by Iran. Do you have any comment on that?

    MS NAUERT: Yeah. I can just say the Independent High Electoral Commission – that’s basically the Iraqi equivalent of the Federal Election Commission – they are investigating; they are taking a close look at allegations of fraud and intimidation. There were civil society observers who were participants or who – involved in watching the process. And there were also international observers who were on the ground as well, and they have reported to us that they found the elections to be credible. Okay.

    QUESTION: What --

    MS NAUERT: Hi, Laurie.

    QUESTION: What do you see as next steps in this political process? And are you concerned that if it takes too long that there may be a resurgence of Islamic State or other insecurity?

    MS NAUERT: I’ll just say we’re not going to get ahead of that process right now. We have faith in the Iraqi Government, and so we’re just going to wait and see how this all plays out. They’re still finalizing the election results, so I don’t want to get ahead of that.

    QUESTION: And you’re comfortable that the leading two party lists include people who were opposed to the United States presence in Iraq up to 2011?

    MS NAUERT: We are very well aware of Moqtada al-Sadr and his background and his positions now, yes.

    QUESTION: And as well as the Conquest list, which includes figures like Qais al-Khazali?

    MS NAUERT: I don’t have any information on the so-called list that you mentioned.

    QUESTION: They were number two.

    MS NAUERT: Okay. I don’t have any information on that, Laurie. I’ll see if I have anything more. 

    'The State Dept is not clutching the pearls over Moqtada's victory.  Nor is former US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad.  NPR's Mary Kelly spoke with him this week for ALL THINGS CONSIDERED:

    KELLY: Right. He has refashioned himself, reinvented himself as a crusader against corruption. And I want to ask you, do you believe this is a sincere transformation?

    KHALILZAD: Well, it is possible he has evolved. He was against the political process, at one point resorted to military force. We fought him. He thought the U.S. occupation was a mistake, that we had said we had come for liberation and we ended up occupying Iraq. And now embracing the political process and participating in it at one level can be seen as a success because if someone who was a warrior now becomes a politician, that is itself a positive development.

    KELLY: But this - he wasn't just a warrior. He has blood on his hands for the deaths of U.S. soldiers, many U.S. soldiers. How do you reconcile that person with a man who may now hold the reins of power in Iraq?

    KHALILZAD: Well, of course you're right about that. He does have the blood of American soldiers on his hand. And we killed a lot of his people. We were on the verge of killing him when Ayatollah al-Sistani intervened. And...

    KELLY: Ayatollah al-Sistani, the most senior Shiite cleric in Iraq.

    KHALILZAD: Indeed. And arranged for him, for Muqtada, to leave Iraq and go to Iran for a while. But now he says he has changed. He is improving relations with the Middle Eastern countries. He's participating in the political process. He's even saying politicians should not be in government, they should control the government from Parliament, that technocrats should address the issues of concern to the people. So perhaps he is on a journey from becoming a militant fighter to becoming a political leader. And if that truly happens, it will be positive because that's the definition of success - to turn enemies into constructive partners.

    KELLY: You sound, Ambassador Khalilzad, cautiously optimistic about the way this vote appears to be turning out. And I guess that surprises me a little bit given this is not an outcome the U.S. would have predicted, certainly not one that the U.S. would have hoped for back in the days when you were ambassador to Baghdad.

    KHALILZAD: Well, I would have - in the days that I was ambassador would have liked to see Muqtada become what he has become, for his forces to abandon war and for his forces to join politics and for politics to break out.

    We'll note some of Moqtada's history via this series of Tweets:

    Tired of seeing people trying to re-invent the image of a tyrannical madman. A man known for violence, corruption & sectarianism. In 2007, the Mahdi Army replaced Al-Qaeda as the most dangerous accelerant of potentially self-sustaining sectarian violence in Iraq. THREAD
    He is being rebranded as anti-Iran but they forget to mention that Sadr has receiving Iranian aid, the Iranian Quds Force supplied the Mahdi Army with weapons and financing. Iran also harbored Sadr in Qom, allowing him to run Mahdi Army operations from their territory.
  • The morally-corrupt Sadr issued a fatwa in 03 that allowed theft & racketeering on the condition that perpetrators pay the requisite Khums to Sadrist Imams The Mahdi Army used extortion, car theft, weapons trafficking, armed protection of businesses, & kidnapping to finance ops
  • Sadr's Mahdi Army often beat, raped and killed Sunni civilians forcing many to relocate. His militia sponsored death squads during the sectarian civil violence that targeted Sunni neighbourhoods, their aim was to drive Sunnis out from their land.
  • Sunnis who were 'lucky' enough to remain in Mahdi Army controlled areas were often denied important resources.
  • June, 2008, the Mahdi Army detonated a car bomb in a Shia neighbourhood in Baghdad - 51 civilians were killed and 80 wounded.
  • August, 2007, the Mahdi Army engaged in a firefight with the Badr Brigade which resulted in the death of 50 Shia pilgrims and injuring over 200.
  • August, 2007, The Mahdi Army assasinated the governors of the Muthanna and Qadisiyah provinces. The Govenors were killed in two separate roadside bombings - 6 killed
  • October, 2007, Mahdi Army clashed with the Iraqi military and Police in Basra - 50 soldiers were taken hostage, 4 killed in the line of duty and 10 wounded
  • June, 2007, the Mahdi army launches a series of attacks targeting Sunnis in Baghdad in an effort to force Sunni citizens to relocate.
  • May, 2007, Mahdi Army attack the Nasiriyah Mayor's office with mortars and explosives and launch RPGs at a police officers nearby home - 12 killed, 75 wounded.
  • October, 2006, the Mahdi Army attack Iraqi police stations in Amara, 15 killed, 90 wounded
  • August, 2006, the Mahdi Army clashed with Iraqi soldiers in Diwaniya - 28 killed, 70 wounded
  • October, 2005, a group of Mahdi Army militiamen set several homes northeast of Baghdad on fire - 20 killed
  • The Mahdi Army also benefited financially from its involvement in Iraqi politics. General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, AstraZenca, & Roche Holding A.G. won contracts w/ the Iraqi Ministry of Health w/ the understanding that they also provide addition medical supplies &/
  • free medicine. Sadr's politicans controlled the ministry when the contracts were awarded, and they later sold these additional supplies on illicit markets in order to fund Mahdi Army operations.
  • You can read more on Sadr politicians exploitation of Iraq's Ministry of health in this informative thread by
  • Also important to note that more civilians died in 2006 (29,517) and 2007 (26,078) than any year during the ISIS conflict.
  • Do not be fooled by the PR! This is nothing more than a brief summary of what this man stands for. There are hundreds of crimes linked to Sadr and the Mahdi Army but I don't have the time to list them all. Feel free to add to this thread.

    Lastly, at approximately 6:02 a.m. EST, THE NEW YORK TIMES published a column by THE NATIONAL's Mina al-Oraibi.  Strange, they've never been interested in Mina's opinion before.  But THE NEW YORK TIMES, as Gore Vidal used to note repeatedly, is the voice of the US State Dept.  Strange that the paper of a bad record finally notices Mina when she's claiming -- with no evidence to back her up -- that Moqtada will form an alliance with Hayder al-Abadi.  Very strange.  Dropping back to yesterday's snapshot:

    The US State Dept is starting a whisper campaign that Moqtada will side with Hayder so Hayder can have a second term -- that is what the US government wants.  But there's no indication that this is what Moqtada would want or support.  Watch the press to see who presents that US government created rumor as word that's supposedly developing in Iraq -- it's not brewing in Iraq.  They hope they can plant it in Iraq and have it pick up speed but it's a US created rumor with no current basis in fact.

    Imagine that.  The State Dept, as we noted yesterday, was attempting to spread a false rumor in the hopes that it would make the rumor come true, force Moqtada to go along with the rumor, maybe pick up popular support for the rumor.  Mina just happens to present the rumor as fact in her piece and suddenly THE NEW YORK TIMES is interested in her.

    Strange how that worked.


    165 seats in Parliament.  That's how many are needed to become prime minister.  Moqtada does not need to form an alliance with Hayder to achieve that.  He has 55 seats right now (if the current count holds).  He could, for example, go with the minor parties that won 52 seats (classified as "other" in the chart we noted at the top of the snapshot).  That puts him at 107 and he needs 58 more seats.  He could align with Ayad Allawi (as he did in the move to have a no confidence vote on then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki) and the KDP (ibid) and that would give him 45 seats.  Take on the PUK and he's got 15 more and more than enough to form the coalition government.

    That would allow him to avoid third place Hayder (who is seen as inept when it comes to fighting corruption -- the issue that determined this election cycle), to avoid Hadi al-Ameri (who I don't believe he is as at odds with as the press tries to play up) and Nouri al-Maliki (who is corrupt and a real foe of Moqtada's).

    The scenario in the second paragraph above is only one way he could avoid forming a coalition with Hayder.  There are many other ways he could do so.

    There's no proof that he won't end up forming an alliance with Hayder but there's no proof that he will.  And right now Iraq is more focused on Ramadan than on politics.  It would probably be better for the US State Dept and its minions to let the process play out and stop attempting to steer it.

    The following community sites -- plus PACIFICA EVENING NEWS and BLACK AGENDA REPORT --  updated: