Friday, September 17, 2021

Idiot of the week goes to . . .

First up, Jimmy Dore.

Idiot of the week?  Bill Fletcher Jr., come on down.  Grab your award!

Ajuma Baraka wrote an important column at BLACK AGENDA REPORT earlier this month which included:

Appealing to “white saviorism,” Western interventions are now framed as “humanitarian.” Already corrupted by material privileges and infused with assumptions of white supremacist biases, elements of the Western left fell into alignment with neoliberal justifications for imperialist actions in the global South.  

This sentiment is being captured dramatically with the situation unfolding in Afghanistan. The decision on part of elements in the U.S. foreign policy community to redeploy U.S. forces from Afghanistan has sparked an ahistorical and hypocritical cry from liberals and the pro-war corporate press that the U.S. and the West are abdicating their “responsibility to protect” “oppressed” populations. This fantastic flight from reality by liberals is compounded by an equally, and even more absurd stance taken by large sectors of the radical left in the U.S. and Europe who also seem to believe, like some of their predecessors from the second international that supported Western colonialism, that the West and Western imperialism can have some beneficial results for the natives in the global South. 

While this short commentary will not attempt to delve into the complexities of how the radical left ended up as collaborators with their imperialist bourgeoisie, I will discuss the divergent approaches to the current crisis by the international bourgeoisie and the Western left, with a particular focus on the U.S. left.

Having a clear understanding of the objective interests of U.S. led imperialism and the strategies being deployed to protect and advance those interests is imperative for colonized and oppressed peoples and classes.  We do not have the luxury of confusion.  The Western bourgeoisie still under the hegemony of U.S.-based finance and corporate capital has demonstrated through practice that, notwithstanding secondary conflict of interests among them, they have a common objective interest to act as a block to counter political challenges from the global South to the Pan European colonial/capitalist white supremacist patriarchy.  

Biden and the Post-Trump reconsolidation of Global White supremacy

As a result of the incessant propaganda from neoliberal corporate press in the U.S., Biden and democrats are considered to be the nice, rational friends of people of color globally, and Trump the mean massa, the proto fascist at the head of a violent, irrational movement committed to white supremacy and capitalist hegemony.

Of course, as I have said on many occasions, the reality is much more complex, with neoliberalism actually representing a more dangerous threat to colonized and working-class peoples in the U.S. and globally. This is because within the context of the U.S., Democrats have been successful in perpetuating the myth that they represent “progressivism.” This perception usually leads to substantial demobilization and actual liberal – left alignment with neoliberalism objectively when Democrats occupy the Executive Branch.

Yet, as the late Glen Ford said on numerous occasions, the democrats are nothing more than the more effective evil, especially when it comes to advancing a white supremacist imperialist agenda.

Get what the column's about?  Get that Baraka is analyzing?

Billy Jr. got his feelings upset because some of his crowd got called out so he takes to COUNTERPUNCH to attack the column.  I had planned to link to Junior's nonsense so you could read it and enjoy.  I'm not going to now -- I looked at it again and saw that Billy Junior didn't link to Baraka's article.  So why should I link to Junior's nonsense?

It's a ridiculous article.  My favorite dumb moment?  Junior whining that Baraka didn't provide answers.  It's an analysis, Junior, buy a clue.

He's passive aggressive throughout his bad article where he tries to 'educate' Baraka and the rest of us.  He's the one who need some education.  He hasn't been this ridiculous since 2008 when he co-founded Progressives for Obama and spent the next years making excuses for Barack.  He's pathetic.

 Junior, come claim your prize . . . Wait!

It's . . . It's a tie!  Also being awarded?  Paul Street.  The stupid idiot read Glenn Greenwald's latest column and didn't grasp sarcasm.  What a f**king moron.    He's an idiot and he shares Idiot of the Week with Bill Fletcher Jr.

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

 Friday, September 17, 2021. Elections, elections.

Starting with the failed recall in California.  Wasn't planning to go back to that but everyone wants to find lessons.  And they don't know what they're talking about.  These are the same people who tried to convince people that Larry Edler had a chance at becoming the next governor of California.  Granted, whores have to turn tricks so the press needs to create drama and tension to keep their jobs but that was no excuse for some of the lunacy that made it into 'informed' 'commentary.'

The recall was the ninth proposed recall.  

Only one ever made it to the ballot and that was in 2003.  It's also the only one thus far that has been successful.  Gray Davis was the governor.  He had no personality and was so bland he appeared to have stumbled into the job.  And might have kept it in less angry times.  But he made many angry.  The rolling blackouts were a source of rage.  Arianna Huffington would attempt to run for governor but before that she was already charging that Gray was influence by corporate money and ties to the energy industry.  His efforts to address California's energy crisis were seen as too little and too late.  His bland appearance and demeanor added to the anger because he seemed indifferent to the issue even when he attempted to speak passionately.  

Gray was elected because he was the Democratic Party nominee.  He had no natural constituency.  He had failed to live up to promises from the campaign trail that could have led groups to stick with him.  And he never did anything brave in office though he'd been in office for most of his life.

So a recall was held and he lost.  

The lie the gasbags told you in the last weeks as they hyped this nonsense was -- in 2003! The governor got recalled! And California ended up with a Republican! And it's going to happen again!

California ended up with a Kennedy.  Let's not pretend that Larry Elder was anything like the eventual winner.  Ahnuld was a movie star.  As such, he had name recognition.  He grinned a lot and seemed thick headed so he could seem well intentioned but misinformed.

Especially when he had Maria Shriver.

It's amazing that Susan Sarandon is still blamed for Hillary Clinton's loss in 2016 (Hillary's loss is on Hillary) and a bunch of little nobodies acting on partisan fealty feel attacking Susan makes them seem informed and insiders.  They're just trash at the door trying desperately to be let in but they never will be.

If they meant what they said, we'd hear about Maria Shriver constantly.  Because Maria did what Susan's didn't do.  Maria turned that election and she did so with lies.

The argument she made was: I'm a Kennedy (Shriver) and you know my family (I'm flying them in to campaign) and you know our politics so you know Ahnuld really isn't a Republican.  Trust me, I'm close to my Uncle Teddy (trust me, but don't get in a car with me).  

He was coasting to victory when his harassment came out.  Everyone knew about it.  Even Maria.  But she put on her lie face and publicly insisted that this was no true, all these women were liars, all of them, she knew her husband and we knew her.

She's a bitch.

That's what she is and what she always was.  

When her faithful husband ended up having a child with the house keeper, laughter was heard across the country because Maria finally got what she deserved.  A power hungry woman who was afraid to grab the reigns for herself lied and whored for her husband and then she got publicly humiliated.  She got what she had coming.

And if you don't believe that, look at what she did to Sondra Locke.  Sondre was her best friend.  They were on the phone multiple times daily.  They saw each other at least once a week they vacationed together, they did this together and that together.  Clint Eastwood dumps her and so does Maria.  Maria can't be bothered to return Sondre's calls.  She has to dump her, she insists because, well, Ahnuld.

So she dumped a friend -- didn't reach out to her when Sondra had her cancer scare, didn't do a thing to help her or comfort her -- because her husband asked her to (he was good friends with Clint).  She stabbed Sondre in the back.  Maria got publicly humiliated?  Good.  That's the kind of woman she was.  Clint cheats on Sondre and has a baby with another woman and Maria doesn't care and won't maintain her friendship with Sondre.  Then the bitch wants sympathy a few years later when the shoe's on the other foot?

She got what she deserved.

And if people were really upset that someone  fixed an election for a Republican, they'd be mad at Maria.  But they won't take on a Kennedy (Shriver) because they're only going after Susan because she's not a Democrat.

Larry was not Ahnuld.  He didn't have the name recognition.  He didn't have an image to most and the image he did have was as right-wing and political.  That wasn't going to fly currently in California.  

Elder is anti LGBTQ and anti-abortion.  He has a long history of making sexist remarks about women.  He wasn't going to be the next governor.  Even if the recall had succeeded -- and it didn't and wasn't going to as was obvious weeks before it took place -- Larry would not be governor of California.  

Alexandra Datig's charges of abuse and the past harassment accusations against him -- which he himself once found worth discussing -- meant he wasn't getting to the governor's mansion.

Ahnuld wouldn't have if he hadn't had Maria lying to the state and pulling him across the finish line.  

Since we're on the recall.  E-mails to the public account said that in Wednesday's snapshot I attacked THE CONVO COUCH and Rose McGowan.

A) I didn't attack THE CONVO COUCH.  I noted that they hated Gavin Newsom.  I noted that I posted every video they did against Gavin.  I did not use this site (misuse it) to promote Gavin.

B) I didn't attack Rose.  I noted that I was accused of censoring her because I didn't carry her endorsement of Larry.  That's all I said besides her endorsement came far too late to make any difference.  I didn't bring up the abuse of women and harassment and ask, "How could you, Rose!"  I didn't do that because Rose can make up her own mind.  I'm sure she knew of the charges.  She may have looked into them and found them to be questionable or not real. She's a grown woman, she can make her own evaluations.  

What she said of Gavin's wife?  Bothered that she felt she could accuse someone based upon a story she presents as a woman (Gavin's wife) calls her, says one sentence to her and Rose, by her story, hangs up on the woman.  Then Rose goes on to tell that story with the motives  behind the call -- from one sentence, mind you -- known by Rose and the motives being pure evil.

It seems a bit much.  If Rose wanted to characterize the phone call, then maybe she should have stayed on it long enough to find out what it was about?

(I'm concerned about Rose but as a mutual friend said, "After [the story about the phone call with Gavin's wife] I'm scared to death to call her.")

That's not an attack on Rose -- I think that's common sense advice to anyone.

I am not upset with Rose.  She's been under intense pressure and a lot of people have worked to destroy her.  It's natural that she's going to inspect every interaction.    She needs to center herself.  Since THE KATIE HALPER SHOW appearance, I've been worried about Rose.  She kept talking over Katie -- and she continues to do that in every appearance.  Why is that?

She doesn't feel heard.  I understand that.  But you watch and she is being heard.  Katie, Jimmy Dore, the others are listening and trying to have a conversation.  She's been wronged repeatedly since coming forward.  But she needs to center herself because not everyone's out to destroy her.  

Rose is a great actress and she's shown true bravery.  If she continues as she is at present, she's going to burn herself out.  That's my concern for Rose.  And I don't hate her, I don't dislike her, and I'm not attacking her.  I'm proud of her and I want to know she's going to find joy and happiness again.  

Sidebar, Rose took on Harvey Weinstein and deserves immense credit for that.  I am not noting David Swanson this week.  He's in the penalty box.  For the record, I'm not required to note him or anyone.  I don't really like him (because he forwarded an e-mail response Rebecca sent him to someone else -- he was too stupid to realize he'd included her on the forward -- Rebecca's moved beyond it, I haven't).  I usually post his stuff here because he's always e-mailing the public account.  And I don't read it because he doesn't use any language that would raise flags.  I read the first e-mail of the week because "feminist" was in the title.

I'm not in the mood for that s**t.  He's attacking "White feminists."  He doesn't write about women, he doesn't write about feminism, he's never written about Rose's bravery.  A non-White feminist has a beef and it's probably a valid beef.  But her beef is not with feminism.  It's with what would probably be termed "liberal feminism" today.  How many times have Ava and I said -- since 2005, that we present a feminist view of the media at THIRD -- "a" -- not "the" because there are many branches of feminism.  I'm really not into race-based attacks.  Then David wants to note a Harvey Weinstein led campaign.

That's what it was.  People on the left, some brave and strong , to be sure, took money from Harvey and used their names -- such as they were -- to attack a film.  That is what brought Harvey down.  Rose wouldn't have gotten traction without Harvey's history of turning the Academy Awards into a blood sport.   Everyone knew he was a monster who assaulted women and time and again the stories were killed because he had friends who could call in favors.  After a long history -- starting with his attacks on Ron Howard's film -- the industry had felt Harvey had crossed certain lines and no one was going to protect him anymore.  

I'm sure David wasn't paid off by Harvey.  He wouldn't have been seen as 'powerful' enough.  In that attack, Harvey primarily employed Iraq War veterans to attack the film David mentions in his column.

But David doesn't know what he's writing about.  And I'm damn sick of men who ignore women over and over until they're ready to attack us.  

I'm not noting him this week.  I may or may not note him next week.

Staying with elections but moving to Iraq where national elections are supposed to take place October 10th.  

A powerful mix of insecurity and traditional prejudice against more liberal female politicians put Awatef Rasheed off running for parliament when she returned to Iraq in 2014 after years abroad.

Seven years later, with Iraq less unstable, Rasheed has decided to contest a Oct. 10 election for the assembly, even if abuse and intimidation of women would-be lawmakers persist.

    Today, she is one of the 951 women, representing close to 30% of the total number of candidates, running for election to the country’s 329-seat Council of Representatives.

Passing a new domestic violence law, and more representation for women in the executive branch of government, are among the goals of some of the would-be female lawmakers.

For Iraq’s women politicians, elections can be an excruciating experience.

Rasheed scrolled through her smartphone and looked at pictures of one of her campaign banners that had been ripped up, with the tear precisely crossing the image of her face.

“Out of 38 banners we put up in my city of Basra, 28 were damaged and four disappeared”, she said. 

THE DENVER GAZETTE runs photos of candidates Nada al-Jubori, Awatef Rasheed, and Ola al-Tamimi.

Ten months ago, ALJAZEERA filed that report and it remains true.  Few expect change via the elections and turnout may be as low as 30% according to some observers.  

Which brings us to Mina.  Oh, Mina.  You could be an independent journalist.  Maybe some day.  She's filed another oen of those pieces that reads like a US government press release.  She co-wrote this one.  Read it if you want.  She and her co-writer mainly focus on a protester who thinks it's possible to speak for everyone -- you knew he was a man, didn't you?  Yeah.  So he wants to tell you what protesters think because, having a penis, he knows everything.  The protest movement behind The October Revoltuion was a diverse group of Shi'ites but leave it to a man to speak for all of them.  The only thing worse than that self-important and deluded man is the two writers who should be noting up front that some leaders of that revolution have called for boycotts of this election.

Now the press initially reported that as "the leaders."  We never did that here.  We said "some" because it's a diverse movement.  Now the press is finding -- or those in the press who owe favors to the US State Dept are finding people who will rally the vote.  Lots of luck with that.

Khazan Jangiz (RUDAW) reports:                

The leader of the European Union’s election observation mission on Thursday urged Iraqis to vote in this year’s parliamentary elections, saying not participating will make turning Iraq into a democratic country difficult.

“All the voters who still have doubts and might not go and take part in the elections will only make it more difficult for Iraq becoming a real democratic country ... I know it is sometimes difficult to understand - I’m a politician myself - for voters “why shouldn’t we go, if I don’t go it doesn’t make a difference” but I can tell you it makes a difference,” mission leader Viola Von Cramon said at a press conference in Baghdad.

“I would like to force each and every voter, each and every citizen, to think twice before you stay at home, rather go and make a good choice for this country,” she added.


The following sites updated:

Thursday, September 16, 2021

AOC's fake ass gets called out by Jimmy Dore and Glenn Greenwald

AOC and her attention seeking behavior. Her pointless attention seeking behavior. Jimmy Dore calls it out.

Glenn Greenwald really nails AOC here:

An avalanche of similarly repugnant imagery poured forth on Monday night at the most gluttonous and opulent royal court spectacle of them all: the annual Met Gala held by long-time Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. Town and Country has lamented that the once-elevated-and-dignified event has become quite gauche ever since it became overrun by cultural celebrities and nouveau riche tycoons -- “these days, the gala is a highly commercialized, celebrity-driven media circus that celebrates sensationalist preening by individuals who couldn’t be less interested in the museum.” Yet despite this degradation, the magazine nonetheless still regards the affair as “the fashion and society event of the year.” In 2014, Wintour complained that the event was insufficiently exclusive and raised the ticket prices to $25,000 per person in order to keep out the riff-raff who had been able to get in the prior year for the middling price of $15,000 per ticket. Tickets this year cost as much as $35,000 per person. It is, pronounced Wintour's Vogue this week, “the fashion world equivalent of the Oscars.”
While event organizers, in an act of noble self-sacrifice and social duty, sadly cancelled the gala in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Wintour was determined this year not to let unpleasant matters like overflowing ICU wards, ongoing school closures, looming mass evictions, and pervasive mask mandates ruin the immense enjoyment bequeathed to the world's serfs as they watch their beloved bejeweled class pose in designer gowns. Following Pelosi and Obama's examples, a long list of America's most glittering stars bravely risked exposure to a deadly virus by appearing without masks, all to ensure that Americans would never again be deprived of such a richly gratifying moment for them. Co-chaired by Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka, honorary chairs included Tom Ford, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri, and Wintour herself.
Much of the attention on Monday night was devoted to the appearance on the red carpet by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). The usual horde of embittered online nay-sayers and envious party-poopers tried implying that there was something incongruous about a socialist politician gleefully participating in the most vulgar tribute to capitalism and social inequality to emerge since the walled-off galas thrown by the French aristocracy at the Palace of Versailles. Some petty, resentful critics even suggested that AOC's latest star turn somehow illustrated what Shant Mesrobian has disparagingly described as “the Squad’s brand of highly educated, professional-class cultural leftism,” which "now offers elected officials a path to fame and pop culture status that circumvents much of the old, hand-dirtying business of politics,” pursuant to which "elected office itself has become merely a stepping stone to social media celebrity” and “maintaining a social media influencer empire rivals, or even surpasses, the priority of being a successful legislator."
Fortunately, many of AOC's most devoted socialist supporters stepped forth with passionate defenses of their leader. As they pointed out, AOC had painted onto the back of her pristine white gown — in perfectly proportioned and tastefully scrolled red ink highlighting the stunning virtues of the designer dress' silhouette -- a leftist phrase, Tax the Rich, that not only assaulted the Biden-supporting liberal celebrities in attendance but made them feel endangered in their own habitat, as if their wealth and privilege were being imperiled not from afar but from one of their own, from within. Far from being what AOC's dirty and petty critics tried to malign this as being — an attention-seeking, celebrity-building, branding opportunity in which AOC yet again lavished herself in the multi-pronged rewards of the very economic and cultural hierarchies she claims to despise and vows to combat -- she was actually engaged in a revolutionary and subversive act, injecting into aristocratic circles a beautifully artistic yet hostile message.
This was not, contrary to the grievances of her small-minded and jealous critics, AOC reveling in one of Louis XVI's court festivities. Instead, she was storming the Bastille: not with weapons or fire but with the graceful designer elegance of the insurgent Marxist renegade, which made her presence all the more deceptively disruptive. While it may have appeared that Vogue's perfectly-coiffed red-carpet correspondents and other Met luminaries were gushing with admiration and awe at her bold fashion statement, they were actually shaking with fear over what AOC had wrought. They were quivering with rage and fear, not swooning with delight as it appeared.
Besides, as AOC herself put it with her trademarked class consciousness, the very fact that she can attend the Met Gala while you cannot is proof of the potency of the left-wing movement she leads.

I do not get why so many bought into AOC. Granted, I'm part of THE COMMON ILLS community and C.I. called AOC out from the beginning, noting that she wasn't poor, that she was running on a fake background, etc. Then she called AOC a glossy individual who hadn't stood out much and former Senator Claire MacCaskill echoed that on CNN.

But a lot of people did buy into the lies around AOC. She really is a fake ass. And if you can't see that by now, you're living in a land of self-delusion.

 Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 Thursday, September 16, 2021.  Elections gear up in Iraq, War Criminals get praised in the US.

Journalist, activist, theorist Glen Ford passed away recently.  BLACK AGENDA REPORT notes:

The memorial service for Glen Ford will be held on Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. eastern time. The event will be live streamed on Youtube.

Richard Medhurst notes BLACK AGENDA REPORT and Glen Ford this video from yesterday.

The opposite of truth telling?  Lying, whoring, the people working overtime to make War Criminals look better.  Whether it's throwing soft balls to War Criminal Condi No One Could Have Guess Rice like THE WASHINGTON POST did at the start of the week  or now NEWSDAY publishing Cathy Young's lunatic ravings entitled "Reconsidering Bush . . . for the better."  No link to a text version of the work of Leni Riefenstahl.

Jack Tajmajer (Brown's DAILY HERALD) notes a recent panel on the cost of war:

Discussing the costs of the war in Iraq, Nadje Al-Ali, director for the Center for Middle East Studies and professor of Anthropology and Middle East Studies at the Watson Institute, said Iraq had already been “decimated radically” through “thirteen years of the most comprehensive sanction system ever imposed on a country” by the time the U.S. invaded. 

That reality escapes Cathy Young.  She has no time to study.  She has no time to research.  But reconsider?

It sure is nice that Cathy Young can reconsider.  The dead in Iraq don't have that luxury, do they?  Nor do the ones who continue dying in the US.  An obit on a man under fifty that doesn't include the cause of death?  Six ran this week.  All men were single.  The youngest was in his 30s.  All were former US service members who served in Iraq.  

Did they all kill themselves?  I have no ida.  I know two did because I heard from family members about it.  Unlike Cathy Young, those two had to live with the effects of Bully Boy Bush's actions.  Cathy just has to reflect on how much she can get paid for whoring.  

There are people in need in this country -- in need in so many ways, but, don't worry America, Cathy Young's going to use her space in a daily newspaper to try to clean up the reputation of a War Criminal and to act as though he's someone society should embrace.

Condi, Colin, Bully Boy Bush and the rest are War Criminals.  They lie about their crimes and pretended they helped when all they did was hurt.  Tracy Keeling (THE CANARY) observes:

The International Witness Campaign is remembering the last 20 years of the “failed War on Terror”. This decades-long war has seen its fair share of illegality and incompetence by those who’ve waged it. As with all wars, it’s hawks also paid no regard to the huge environmental costs involved.

Now, after these decades of war, the Middle East is facing another security threat: the climate crisis. Indeed, authorities around the world are increasingly recognising the environmental emergency as the greatest security threat we face.

As In These Times recently contemplated, imagine if those who waged the War on Terror had spent the last 20 years fighting the climate crisis instead. The populations targeted in the failed war, and the global community as a whole, would undoubtedly be better equipped to deal with the crisis if they had.

Indeed, there might not be a crisis to speak of if the vast amounts of money spent on the war had been directed to tackling the climate crisis from the start of the millennium onwards.


Paul Antonopoulos (ANTIWAR.COM) notes the 'success' lying brings for some:

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq saw entire infrastructures destroyed, hundreds of thousands of civilians killed, millions of refugees, and over $6 trillion of American taxpayer money wasted. Much of this devastation was caused by American soldiers, often with impunity. In fact, the Americans were not alone in such war crimes, with many British, Australian and other soldiers from partnered countries responsible for murder, rape, extortion and theft in Afghanistan and Iraq.

What is most concerning though is that the upper echelons of the US military had little to no concern for the war crimes perpetrated by NATO forces. Instead, they focused on creating a narrative, portraying the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq as constantly improving. Journalist Craig Whitlock’s new book, "The Afghanistan Papers," provides evidence that military leaders knew the war in Afghanistan was failing but lied about it. Colonel Bob Crowley claims in the book that "every data point was altered to present the best picture possible" and Whitlock described the military’s positive assessments as "unwarranted and baseless" that "amounted to a disinformation campaign."

The main question is why the top military leaders were adamant in their claims that the war situation in Afghanistan and Iraq was improving. It can be suggested that their lies about the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq was motivated by self-interest to advance their own careers and capital. They were certainly not going to allow the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as over 1.3 million cases of ill-discipline in the military, including rape, torture and murder, ruin their prospects.

Take for example the current US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Austin was the assistant commander of the 3rd Infantry Division. The Intercept recounts an exchange in May 2013, just weeks after the US captured Baghdad, between Austin and Dathar Khashab, director of the Daura oil refinery. No matter about Khashab’s insistence that Baghdad was more crime-ridden under US occupation then under Saddam Hussein’s rule, Austin could only say that "two months ago was a brutal dictator who killed thousands of people."

Austin, who from the very beginning of Iraq’s occupation insisted everything was fine, eventually became the commander of US forces in Iraq, then took charge of Central Command that covers all operations in the Middle East, retired with a $15,000 a month pension, and then joined several corporate boards, including the board of directors of United Technologies Corporation, the military contractor that merged with Raytheon in 2020. With these corporate gigs, he became a multimillionaire with a $2.6 million mansion that boasts seven bedrooms, a five-car garage, two kitchens and a pool house in the Washington D.C. area.

 People got rich off the ongoing war.  The Iraqi people suffered.  The people sent to Iraq to fight, invade and occupy suffered.  Iraq is a failed-state where secret prisons are once again on the rise.  Big rumor currently: State Of Law is considering airing that dirty laundry ahead of the planned October 10th elections but are concerned about the blowback -- Nouri al-Maliki is the head of the Sate of Law coalition.  He was a two-time prime minister of Iraq and ran secret prisons and torture centers during both terms.  

The current prime minister Mustafa al-Kahdimi is backed by the US government.  Turnout for the election is expected to be low.  Some have announced that they are boycotting the elections.  Others face obstacles to voting.  Human Rights Watch notes one such grouping:

People with disabilities in Iraq are facing significant obstacles to participating in upcoming parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021, due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Without urgent changes, hundreds of thousands of people may not be able to vote.

The 36-page report, “‘No One Represents Us’: Lack of Access to Political Participation for People with Disabilities in Iraq,” documents that Iraqi authorities have failed to secure electoral rights for Iraqis with disabilities. People with disabilities are often effectively denied their right to vote due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places and significant legislative and political obstacles to running for office.

“The government should ensure that polling places are accessible to all voters,” said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch. “While some steps will take time, like amending legislation, others are easy, and the Independent High Electoral Commission has no excuse to continue to fail to address accessibility.”

Between January and August, Human Rights Watch interviewed 14 people with disabilities as well as activists, authorities, and the staff of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC).

While the Iraqi government has not collected any reliable statistics on the number of people with disabilities, in 2019, the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities said that Iraq, plagued by decades of violence and war, including the battles against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) from 2014-2017, has one of the world’s largest populations of people with disabilities.

Iraq’s Parliament acceded to the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2013. Article 12 requires state parties to “recognize that persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life” and article 29 calls on states to respect the political rights of people with disabilities. Iraq’s domestic law, however, falls short. The 1951 civil code does not recognize the right to legal capacity for people with disabilities, allowing the government to deprive people with intellectual, psychosocial (mental health), visual, and hearing disabilities of their legal capacity. People without legal capacity are not allowed to vote.

Article 29 of the covenant requires states to ensure that voting facilities and materials are “appropriate, accessible and easy to understand and use.” However, Iraqi authorities offer little to no accessible information to people with intellectual, visual, and hearing disabilities. Electoral materials are not presented in accessible formats such as audio, Braille, large print, sign language, and easy-to-read. Videos on the website are not accessible for people with hearing and visual disabilities. Because of the complete ban on operating vehicles on election day for security reasons, people who use mobility assistive devices can face difficulties reaching polling places.

The election commission almost exclusively uses school buildings, many of which are inaccessible, for polling places. It locates many ballot boxes on the second floor in buildings without elevators. It has no mobile voting stations, electronic voting, or postal voting, perhaps because of Iraq’s weakened postal system.

“Every election day is the most depressing day for me,” said Suha Khailil, 44, who uses a wheelchair and who has never participated in an election. “Everyone goes to vote and I am stuck at home waiting for the day to end,” she said.

People with disabilities said they sometimes must rely on assistance to reach the polling place. When that assistance comes from political party members, they sometimes try to influence how the person votes. The need for some people to get assistance to fill in their ballot or reach a ballot box raises concerns about privacy.

Ahmed al-Ghizzi, director of Voice of Iraqi Disabled Association, a Baghdad-based organization, said that his group’s survey of 2018 parliamentary elections found that only 200 members out of the about 5,000 who replied said they had been able to vote.

Available evidence suggests that people with disabilities also face significant obstacles to running for public office. Despite extensive research, Human Rights Watch was only able to identify eight people who had run for public office since 2005, including six in parliamentary elections and two in governorate elections. All candidates were men, and all had physical disabilities. The obstacles stem from discriminatory legislation, including provisions that require candidates to be “fully competent” or “fully qualified,” a lack of financial resources, and the unwillingness of political parties to seek out and support people with disabilities as candidates.

“It really makes me sad when I see all the members of parliament and there is no one to represent us,” said Naghim Khadir Elias, 47, who uses a wheelchair.

The commission has defended its policies. “Our institution is an executive one that is only concerned with implementing the electoral law that organizes all details of the electoral process,” the commission told the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in December 2020, in response to critical findings from the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. But the commission has the authority to select accessible voting sites and to offer transportation and disseminate accessible information.

For election day, the commission should ensure that transportation is available and that polling places are accessible. It should ensure that its election information materials are accessible and easy to understand for persons with intellectual, visual, and hearing disabilities. It should also ensure that assistance is available to those who need it and that it does not interfere with the right to cast a private and independent vote.

Iraq’s newly elected parliament should amend the relevant legislation to comply fully with the covenant. It should amend the civil code on legal capacity so the right to legal capacity is respected for anyone with a disability and that they have access to supported decision-making, if needed.

People with disabilities and their representative organizations should be consulted and included in all these efforts.

The United Nations and European Assistance Missions’ election monitoring bodies should include people with disabilities as expert monitors and include in their monitoring mandate documentation and reporting on discriminatory treatment and limitations that people with disabilities face.

“Countries financially supporting Iraq’s elections and monitoring missions, including those who have been part of the conflict, should ensure that they help make Iraq more accessible for people with disabilities, including its political system,” Wille said.

Meanwhile, there's a call to postpone the election in one oil-rich area of Iraq.  RUDAW reports:

Three members of the Iraqi parliament who identified themselves as representatives of the city’s Arab and Turkmen communities have called for the postponement of the Iraqi election for a week in the disputed city of Kirkuk.

Turkmen MP Ersat Salih and Sunni Arab MP Mohammed al-Tamimi held a press conference on Wednesday in Kirkuk, attended by a number of other politicians, including Hasan Turan, the head of the Turkmen front. 

A statement read by Khalid al-Mafraji, a Sunni Arab member of Iraqi parliament, claimed that Peshmerga forces are trying to move into Kirkuk territories under the guise of fighting remnants of the Islamic State in the disputed areas. It called on Iraqi forces to take on the ongoing threat posed by ISIS without the support of their Kurdish partners.

Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) notes, "On July 8, the IHEC approved the final list of candidates eligible to contest the elections. There are a total of 3,249 candidates, including 951 women, competing for 329 seats. Nine seats are reserved by minorities and there are 67 candidates vying for these spots."

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Jimmy Dore, Jonathan Cooke

First, Jimmy Dore.

Not sure if I noted that one before. But why are we still in Syria? It's a question to ask.

Jonathan Cooke? I like him. He's got a new one up at COUNTERPUNCH where he loses me.

1) If you tell me that someone flew threw the air like Spider-Man at the start of your argument, I'm going to spend your whole argument thinking, "Spider-Man doesn't fly." And then I'm going to think, "Why did he mention it all? Was he trying to reach me with a pop culture reference? But he didn't want to put the work in and get it right?"

He says AOC is wearing a dress like Marilyn Monroe. Huh? Marilyn Monroe never wore a dress like this. Name the film, Cook. She didn't wear it in THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH. Yes, she wore a white dress but it was supported at the top -- straps? -- and it didn't hide her legs. AOC is wearing a dress with a top that looks like a peasant blouse and the dress goes down to her ankles.

2) AOC doesn't resemble Marilyn at all. She doesn't have the body for it.

3) Why even bring poor Marilyn into it? Marilyn was on the right side of politics. She was pro-integration, she was anit-nukes, etc. She was very ahead of the curve. So leave her be, Cook. It's not her fault she out-acted the crown prince of your country in THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL.

4) Are you attacking everyone with your column? The left did this, the right did that. Apparently, Goldilocks, no one is 'just right' enough for you. His criticism of AOC that he finally makes isn't that different than what the left has already said.

5) A politician attacking someone in public is a big deal and it goes beyond any issue because it's an issue all in and of itself -- especially if it's a man physically attacking a woman And for you, Cook, not to grasp that or that it is a serious issue really disappoints.


Here's a better article by Jonathan Cooke.

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

 Wednesday, September 15, 2021.  The lies, like the war, continue.

Starting with California.  Gavin Newsom remains governor of California.  That will make some people mad -- some out of California.  To those who predicted his demise, sorry you were so stupid.  I don't know what else to say.  You were an idiot?  I'm not saying that to those who don't like him but I am saying that to those of you who 'just knew' he was going down.  As long noted, I've known Gavin for years.  Yes, I did do outreach for him for this vote.  No, I did not turn this site into: We must support Gavin!!!!

Three e-mails to the public account ( whined that I didn't note Rose McGowan's support for one of Gavin's opponents.  When did I note Gavin's supporters?  I haven't turned this site into a recall website.  Second, if Rose endorsed she did so on Monday of this week. That's a little late in the game to have any effect.  At least three weeks ago, it was obvious from internal polling that Gavin stood no real threat of being turned out from the governor's mansion.  I wasn't 'censoring' Rose.  We weren't using THE COMMON ILLS to promote the recall.  If I'm not going to be noting, "Support Gavin" here, I'm certainly not going to be noting, "Rose McGowan is supporting Gavin's opponent . . ."  If Rose wanted to make an impact, she should have endorsed at least three weeks ago and turned up at some functions for her candidate of choice to get attention for that campaign.

During this time, we noted every clip THE CONVO COUCH did (they hate Gavin) about Gavin.  So this site was not used as a campaign site.

The only 'censorship' I'm aware of was that I didn't note a passing here.  The last few weeks have been really busy with news out of the Middle East so I might not have noted it anyway.  But a relative -- once, by marriage -- of Gavin's passed away.  JACOBIN, among others, was in tears over the passing.  The man was a raging homophobe.  His beef with Charlton Heston is purposely misremembered, for example.  It was political.  And then the man called, in front of the press, Heston a "cocksucker."  That's part of why the man's show was cancelled.  The man's politics had been tolerated -- leftwing -- but the network was not going to tolerate that.  The man realized he'd gone too far and tried to then lie, a day after, to the press that it was a term of affection.  Mm-hmm.  He was trash his whole life.  I don't care what his politics were.  He was a known homophobe and everyone looked the other way.  Then he did that to Heston and that was a step too far.  Ask Molly Ringwald who, a few years later, ended her own career by making remarks about a living film legend who was a lesbian -- it involves a LIFE magazine photo shoot.  Most people outside the industry don't know about that either but that is what killed Molly's career.

And not because the industry cared so much about LGBTQs in the 80s but because the industry was determined to hush up their existence as had been the m.o. since the 'pictures started to talk.'  Nancy Reagan's godmother Nazimova could be a star in the silent films, but the industry went reactionary shortly there after. 

(The man calling Heston a "cocksucker" was intending it as an insult.  Whether Heston was gay or bi or whether the man was just trying to land the worst insult he can imagine, I don't know.  I never met Heston and I have no knowledge of what he did or didn't do in the bedroom.)

Gavin still holds his post.  A lot of time and energy was wasted by people outside California who just knew he was going to be ousted.  This is why I don't endorse in elections I can't vote in.  What may be perfectly obvious on the ground may not be obvious from a distance.  

Those who hate him on the left have their reasons and I'll assume they are solid ones.  But I have reasons for supporting Gavin and every time I spoke to a group -- in person or virtual -- I was able to list many reasons to support him, many things I am proud of him for.  I was not scripted -- by the campaign nor did I use my own list of talking points.  I think Gavin's done a solid job.  

I also understand the difference between what our state legislature can do and what our governor can do and I'm not sure that all of Gavin's critics on the left grasped that difference -- again, if you're not able to vote in the election you may not grasp what's going on.

I'm happy for Gavin and I'm happy for the state of California.  If Gavin had been ejected?  I'd be upset but the state would have gone on and it wouldn't have been the end of the world despite the hype and drama so many try to bring to political races.  I'm sure it's gotten worse but since THE NATION dubbed an election "the torture election," I've been immune to the hysteria.

Iraq is gearing up for elections which are scheduled to take place next month.

Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) reports:

With only weeks to go until a parliamentary election, Iraq's politicians are not merely putting on their best smiles and making promises but also providing services the government was supposed to.

The election on October 10, the fifth since the end of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in 2003, is an important test for Iraq’s fledgling democracy amid widespread sentiment against its political elite. A mass protest movement that began in October 2019 forced a change of government last year and elections are to be held early under a new electoral law.

Iraqis will cast their ballots to choose among 3,249 contenders for the 328 seats in Parliament. The new electoral law means independent candidates are standing for the first time. Out of about 25 million registered voters, slightly more than 23 million have updated their information to become eligible to take part.

Candidates are using every possible method to attract voters, from the traditional billboards and shaking of hands to sponsored advertisements on social media and holding rallies with speeches, song and poetry.

Some candidates are even paving streets, replacing electricity transformers and repairing or installing water treatment plants in rural areas at their own expense.

Bribery?  ARAB WEEKLY notes:

At least 30,000 former members of Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Forces-PMF) are to be reinstated and receive their salaries, the paramilitary coalition announced Monday.

The announcement, which came weeks before the country’s October 10 parliamentary elections, follows months of demonstrations by ex-members whose jobs had been terminated.

Faleh al-Fayyad, a senior Hashed official, said on television that the organisation would use its own funds to finance the rehiring operation and urged the government to re-enrol others who had been laid off.

Observers said the move comes at a crucial timing as Iraq prepares for the October 10 elections and just a few days after the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi approved a draft law for compulsory military service, 18 years after its abolition, in attempt to end sectarian polarisation caused by such powerful groups as the Hashed.

The Hashed decision to reinstate former members, observers added, is a direct message to Kadhimi, who has been struggling to restore the government’s control over the security file, something that the Hashed does not accept and sees as a threat to the militias’ influence.


Back in June, Brookings offered an assessment by Marsin Alshamary:

To understand the likely and unlikely outcomes of Iraq’s early parliamentary elections, scheduled for October, we need to understand both who is running and who is voting. Although these early elections were an answer to the demands of the October 2019 protest movement, they are likely to be boycotted by the same activists who demanded them due to an inhospitable pre-electoral environment. The impact of the boycotts will be tempered by the formal and informal coalitions being formed among established political parties but will likely result in outcomes similar to the previous elections in 2018.
Among the established party leaders in Iraq, only former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Ammar al-Hakim have formally formed a coalition, the Power of the National State Coalition. Al-Hakim, who is both a cleric and a politician, formerly headed the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq before breaking away from it to establish the National Wisdom Movement (al-Hikma), claiming to be a “civic” rather than Islamist party.
The informal coalitions, expected to form post-hoc, are between Muqtada al-Sadr’s movement and Massoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and between Hadi al-Ameri’s Fateh coalition and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), co-led by Lahur and Bafel Talabani. While the former may style themselves as the anti-Iran coalition, both al-Sadr and the Barzanis enjoy close ties to Iran. Al-Sadr is a populist cleric with a cult-like following and a reputation for being politically inconsistent. In Iraq’s 2018 elections, his Sairoon alliance won the most seats, largely due to low voter turnout as a result of the boycott movement. Mohammed al-Halbousi, the current speaker of parliament, is expected to align with them. Such a coalition would be disastrous for the already waning freedom of speech in Iraq, as both the Sadrists and the KDP have been known to curtail freedoms.
For these established parties and big-name politicians, Iraq’s new and smaller electoral districts — a demand of the 2019 protests — means that they are less inclined to run many candidates, but rather to focus on the districts in which they can win. This has resulted in a precipitous drop in the number of candidates registered from 7,178 candidates in 2018 down to 3,532 parties in 2021. The ability to win at the provincial level, but not district level, will deter some party leaders from running for office. Though this is a positive development, it comes with repercussions including the fear amongst activists that they are easier to target when running in smaller communities.

Amnesty International's Donatella Rovera Tweets:

 Head of #Iraq’s Electoral Security Committee says a comprehensive plan has been developed to provide the highest and unprecedented level of security for the upcoming elections on Oct. 10, with specially trained forces in charge during the #elections.

Turning to violence, Layal Shakir (RUDAW) reports:

Unknown airplanes targeted Iranian militias based on the Syrian-Iraqi border late Tuesday night, reported a conflict monitor. The US-led coalition has denied involvement.

Sounds of explosions were heard in Deir ez-Zor province, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, adding there was no immediate information on casualties of material damage.

Telegram channels affiliated with Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) claimed that “US airstrikes targeted PMF bases.”

The US coalition said they are not responsible for the attacks. “We can confirm these are NOT our airstrikes,” it said in an email sent to Rudaw English.

Morgan Artyukhina (SPUTNIK) adds, "Lebanese outlet Al-Mayadeen reported that two vehicles were on fire, citing a reporter in Baghdad. They reported no casualties, but noted three explosions were heard. Video posted on social media showed two fires raging in the night purported to be the struck vehicles." ABNA offers that SABEREEN NEWS "said the convoy was struck by four missiles fired from US F-15 fighter jets, and that the attack left no casualties."  NEWSWEEK's Tom O'Connor states, "The official Syrian Arab News Agency contradicted the Popular Mobilization Forces position, claiming to cite a member of the Iraqi militia collective in Iraq's Al-Anbar province as saying 'warplanes and drones directed four missiles at the headquarters of the Popular Mobilization regiments that are securing the Syrian-Iraqi border strip'."

Moving to more claims, MEMO notes, "Terror threats emanating from Somalia, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq pose a greater danger to the United States than those that might emerge from Afghanistan, the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said yesterday."  Is that their assessment?  Take it about as seriously as you would a pronouncement from Condi Rice.  Or, for that matter, one from Colin Powell.


Collie and his 'blot.'  All the lies of Bully Boy Bush and Tony Blair.  At Australia's NEW AGE, Mohammad Abdur Razzak reminds:

TONY Blair, who was then prime minister of the United Kingdom, at a joint media briefing at Camp David in the United States on September 7, 2002, said, ‘The threat from Saddam Hussein and [his] weapons of mass destruction chemical, biological and potentially nuclear weapons capability, that threat is real.’ US president George W Bush supported the statement, adding, ‘I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were finally denied access to a report… that they were six months away from developing weapon.’

In addressing the British parliament on September 24, 2002, Tony Blair said, ‘… Iraq has chemical and biological weapons, that Saddam has continued to produce them, that he has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes, … he is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability…. The history of Saddam and WMD is not American or British propaganda. The history and the present threat are real.’

Fifteen days before the invasion of Iraq, US secretary of state Colin Powell went to the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003 ‘with evidence of WMD in Saddam’s arsenal and his terror link with al-Qaeda’. But his ‘ham-fisted speech and pictorial evidence’ in multimedia presentation lacked credibility. Consequently, the Security Council did not authorise the Untied States to invade Iraq.

The idea of attacking Iraq was floated in the late 1990s and the plan to invade Iraq began in 2001. President George W Bush’s State of the Union address on January 29, 2002 was the formal public disclosure of making the case for war against Iraq. Besides linking Saddam Hussein to terrorism, the US president also deliberated on Iraqi president’s decade-long resolve to develop anthrax, nerve gas and nuclear weapon. The president delivered the speech after making the decision, ‘Saddam Hussein must be removed’ before the election of 2004.

After the US president’s State of the Union speech, Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defence, said on February 4, 2002 that ‘they had no choice but to change the regime.’ US deputy secretary of defence Paul Wolfowitz said on May 9, 2002, ‘It was fair to say that Saddam’s days were numbered.’ During a press briefing on September 3, 2002, Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary told journalists, ‘The policy of the United State is regime change with or without [UN] inspectors.’



A lot of lives were lost because of those lies.  But, hey, a lot of money was made for the greedy.  David DeCamp notes:

    Brown University’s Costs of War Project released a new report Monday detailing post-9/11 spending by the Pentagon. The study found that of the over $14 trillion spent by the Pentagon since the start of the war in Afghanistan, one-third to one-half went to private military contractors.

The report, authored by William Hartung of the Center for International Policy, said $4.4 trillion of the total spending went towards weapons procurement and research and development, a category that directly benefits corporate military contractors. Private contractors are also paid through other funds, like operations and maintenance, but those numbers are harder to determine.

Out of the $4.4 trillion, the top five US weapons makers — Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman — received $2.2 trillion, almost half. To put these huge numbers into perspective, the report pointed out that in the 2020 fiscal year, Lockheed Martin received $75 billion in Pentagon contracts, compared to the combined $44 billion budget for the State Department and USAID that same year.

Besides getting paid for weapons and research, US corporations profit from private contractors that are deployed to warzones. The most notorious private security contractor previously employed by the Pentagon is Blackwater, the mercenary group whose employees massacred 17 people in Iraq’s Nisour Square back in 2007.


The following sites updated: