Tuesday, September 1, 2015

David Brock is embarrassing

Simply embarrassing.

He will never make up for what he did to Anita Hill.

And you'll notice that he's never offered her a real apology.

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

Monday, August 31, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the State Dept is too busy to follow the news, Bernie Sanders smoke and mirrors game grows tired, and more.

Starting with this:

  1. reinforced that all must ; it is our collective responsibility.

  • I'm sorry, sweetheart, which Disney princess are you?

    I kind of thought you were Secretary of State.

    But to be that, you'd need to be doing something on Iraq.

    You haven't.

    But you think you have time for Climate Change so you must be a Disney princess, right?

    I happen to believe in global warming.

    And that the issue needs to be addressed.

    But, John Kerry, your plate is full.

    And after a year of US taxpayers footing the bill for billions more on Iraq, you should be Tweeting about Iraq and focusing on Iraq.

    If that's too much for you, maybe you should apply at Disney?

    As a Vietnam veteran, you'd benefit because Disney believes in hiring veterans.

    But if you want to be Secretary of State, it's past time you started focusing on Iraq.

    Your lack of leadership is evident at the State Dept.

    From Friday's snapshot:

  • 's celeb militiaman Abu Azrael was filmed mutilating corpse of -er he allegedly burned to death. He's one of the good guys, right?

  • As noted, this thug is treated by the western media as something heroic -- a Rambo.

    It's that sort of whoring by the press that allows so many around the world to never grasp what's going on in Iraq or how things got to the point they are now.

    Clear enough, right?

    And the story received attention from the media all weekend.

    Despite that attention . . .

    When the issue was raised to State Dept spokesperson Mark Toner at today's press briefing, he pleaded ignorance.

    QUESTION: I want your reaction for a video that circulated over the internet of a celebrated Shia militia in Iraq, whose, like, his graphic pictures are seen basically burning an ISIS member and slicing off his flesh. I wanted to know whether the United States has a position on the anti-ISIS forces taking basically what seems to be from ISIS playbook in fighting the ISIS fighters?

    MR TONER: Sorry, so you’re speaking to a video that shows --

    QUESTION: Of a very famous militia man named as the Rambo of Iraq in Western press. He’s seen basically in the video like desecrating the body of an ISIS fighter. Is it okay for anti-ISIS forces to practice --

    MR TONER: I mean, we wouldn’t – I’m not aware of this actual incident that you’re speaking about. But the desecration of any --

    QUESTION: But in general, you are not --

    MR TONER: In general, no, we don’t support --

    QUESTION: Against ISIS. Against ISIS.

    MR TONER: Regardless of who it is, we don’t support the desecration of bodies of fallen enemy or anyone, frankly.

    Again, Princess John, you're not doing your job and it's effecting those working under you.

    For Toner to go into a briefing on Monday and not know about a major Iraq story that broke on the previous Friday and was covered all weekend in the press goes to John Kerry's lackadaisical  -- I'll get there when I get there -- attitude about Iraq.

    Analyst Kirk Sowell Tweets the following:

  • The article is in Arabic.

    It notes reality.

    First of all, stripping Nouri al-Maliki, Ayad Allawi and Osama al-Nujafi of their posts as Vice President (which may or may not be Constitutional) and the deputy prime ministers -- including Saleh al-Mutlaq -- of their posts (ibid) does not strip them of their membership in Parliament.

    They remain MPs.

    This is only confusing if you're one of the idiots who thought what happened to Tareq al-Hashemi -- starting in December of 2011 -- was legal.

    It wasn't.

    And if Nouri was treated the same way he treated Tareq, there would be a trial right now for Nouri.

    I loathe Nouri al-Maliki but I support the rule of law.

    We maintained from December 2011 forward that Tareq could not be tried because he remained a member of Parliament (as well as Vice President, he was never stripped of that title) and, as such, he had legal immunity until the end of that Parliament.

    Nouri was elected to Parliament in the last go round last year.

    Until the current Parliament dissolves -- either at its natural time or via an early move to dissolve the Parliament and hold new elections -- Nouri can't be put on trial unless the Parliament votes to strip him of his immunity.

    Nouri didn't care about the law when it came to persecuting Tareq.

    But you better believe that now that he's the one who might go on trial and he and his love slaves will all be screaming about the immunity -- the same immunity they refused to recognize when persecuting Sunni politicians.

    Politicians . . .

    Senator Bernie Sanders appeared on ABC's This Week Sunday and Martha Raddatz had some questions for him.  Not the right questions, but some questions.

  • He   citied his 2002 vote against the Iraq War.  Repeatedly.

    In 2015, you need to have a little bit more to offer than a 2002 vote.

    Thirteen years ago, Bernie managed to vote against authorizing the Iraq War.

    After that, he really did nothing.

    Despite calling it the worst foreign policy mistake (crime), he never filibustered.

    He never did anything.

    But that is the suck-up Bernie.

    He's just a little suck ass and the idiots supporting him -- I'm calling you idiots because you are idiots, we were kind in 2008 to The Cult of St. Barack and look where that got us -- know nothing about Bernie besides his TV appearances.

    Bernie does nothing.

    Over and over.

    We're going to the May 1, 2014 snapshot:

    Senator Bernie Sanders: Within the veterans' community -- and in fact, the nation both in the public sector and the private sector -- we face a very serious problem as a nation of overmedication. The result of that overmedication is that significant numbers of people treated in the Department of Defense facilities, in VA facilities and in the private sector become dependent upon those medications intended to help them and ease their pain. Pain relief is a huge problem in the country and how we treat that pain in the most effective way is really what we're discussing today. Some people who are treated with a whole lot of medication become addicted -- and I think we all know what happens when people become addicted -- and some in fact will end up taking --  losing their lives through overdoses. And in my state and throughout this country this is a huge problem as well. So this is a major issue which has been discussed in this committee during the last year and we're really glad we have such a distinguished panel to discuss this issue.

    We're starting in the US and dropping back to yesterday for a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Iraq voted in parliamentary elections yesterday, we focused on that, there wasn't room for the Wednesday hearing.  Senator Bernie Sanders is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and Senator Richard Burr is the Ranking Member.

    The big news of the hearing?

    The big news was about the allegations of deaths.

    What allegations of death?

    Dropping back to the April 9th snapshot to note this from that day's House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing:

    US House Rep Jeff Miller:  I had hoped that during this hearing, we would be discussing the concrete changes VA had made -- changes that would show beyond a doubt that VA had placed the care our veterans receive first and that VA's commitment to holding any employee who did not completely embody a commitment to excellence through actions appropriate to the employee's failure accountable. Instead, today we are faced with even with more questions and ever mounting evidence that despite the myriad of patient safety incidents that have occurred at VA medical facilities in recent memory, the status quo is still firmly entrenched at VA.  On Monday -- shortly before this public hearing --  VA provided evidence that a total of twenty-three veterans have died due to delays in care at VA medical facilities.  Even with this latest disclosure as to where the deaths occurred, our Committee still don't know when they may have happened beyond VA's stated "most likely between 2010 and 2012."  These particular deaths resulted primarily from delays in gastrointestinal care.  Information on other preventable deaths due to consult delays remains unavailable.   Outside of the VA's consult review, this committee has reviewed at least eighteen preventable deaths that occurred because of mismanagement, improper infection control practices and a whole host -- a whole host --  of other maladies plaguing the VA health care system nationwide.  Yet, the department's stonewall has only grown higher and non-responsive. There is no excuse for these incidents to have ever occurred.  Congress has met every resource request that VA has made and I guarantee that if the department would have approached this committee at any time to tell us that help was needed to ensure that veterans received the care they required, every possible action would have been taken to ensure that VA could adequately care for our veterans.  This is the third full committee hearing that I have held on patient safety  and I am going to save our VA witnesses a little bit of time this morning by telling them what I don't want to hear.  I don't want to hear the rote repetition of  -- and I quote --  "the department is committed to providing the highest quality care, which our veterans have earned and that they deserve.  When incidents occur, we identify, mitigate, and prevent additional risks.  Prompt reviews prevent similar events in the future and hold those persons accountable."  Another thing I don’t want to hear is -- and, again, I quote from numerous VA statements, including a recent press statement --  "while any adverse incident for a veteran within our care is one too many," preventable deaths represent a small fraction of the veterans who seek care from VA every year.  What our veterans have truly "earned and deserve" is not more platitudes and, yes, one adverse incident is indeed one too many.  Look, we all recognize that no medical system is infallible no matter how high the quality standards might be.  But I think we all also recognize that the VA health care system is unique because it has a unique, special obligation not only to its patients -- the men and women who honorably serve our nation in uniform -- but also to  the hard-working taxpayers of the United States of America.

    Miller is the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  Like Miller, Sanders takes this issue seriously and noted it in his opening remarks.  He noted, "I just spoke to the VA's Inspector General yesterday.  There is a thorough investigation taking place in Phoenix and Richard Griffin who is the VA's Acting Inspector General told me that he has the resources that he needs to thoroughly investigate that situation."

    Keep that in mind.

    The big disgrace that is the VA's Dr. Robert Petzel told the Committee, "I need to say that to date, we found no evidence of a secret list.  And we have found no patients who have died because they were on a wait list."

    Did you grasp what just happened because the press didn't?

    I've heard Jen Psaki, Marie Harf, Victoria Nuland, Jay Carney, Robert Gibbs, Dana Perino and many more explain, when asked, that they couldn't what?


    Pick any controversial and embarrassing topic and what do they say, "I'm sorry.  I can't comment on an ongoing investigation."

    But Petzel didn't say that -- despite it being an ongoing investigation.

    So, in fact, we now know that they can comment on an ongoing investigation, they just don't want to.

    After denying any guilt, Petzel then declared, "We think it's very important that the Inspector General be allowed to finish their investigation before we rush to judgment as to what has actually happened."  But he rushed to judgment when he denied it.

    But Bernie didn't deal with it, did he?

    He spent that hearing talking about holistic medicine.

    He wasted everyone's time.

    It was said veterans were dying -- and they were -- because of what the VA was doing.

    But Bernie wanted to talk holistic medicine.

    Now he did promise, in that hearing, that he would be holding a hearing on this issue.

    And who knows, someday he might.

    He lied April 30, 2014 when he said he'd be holding a hearing on the matter.

    May 15, 2014, he announced at the start of a hearing that the investigation was going on and they should wait for the facts before trying to determine what happened.

    July 16, 2014, it still wasn't time -- according to Bernie.  Another hearing refusing to hold the VA accountable.

    September 9, 2014 -- five months after the scandal broke -- he finally held some sort of hearing.  It didn't try to hold VA accountable and Bernie offered excuses throughout for the VA.

    He was known as the VA apologist in the Senate.

    Covering the May 14, 2014 hearing,  Wally noted, in "More talk, no action (Wally),"  that after the hearing Sanders went on CNN and was so craven in toadying up to the VA that host Chris Cuomo even pointed it out.

    That's your 'brave' and 'independent' Bernie Sanders who has repeatedly failed to show leadership.

    Yes, he can be convincing for a soundbyte or two; however, he never does anything.  What's his track record on legislation?  Something like 1 out of every 200 bills he introduces gets passed?

    That's your Bernie Sanders who, by the way, looks a lot like Colonel Sanders of KFC fame.

    Sunday, August 30, 2015

    The fat lady's warming up

    How bad are things for Hillary Clinton?

    The New York Daily News notes:

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie charged that Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal shows she caught a “disease” of “lawlessness” from the Obama administration.
    “No one is above the law. And unfortunately in the Obama administration, there's been lawlessness going on,” the Republican presidential contender said on Fox News Sunday, citing the lack of enforcement of immigration and marijuana laws.
    “And, apparently now, Hillary Clinton has caught this disease as well. She believes she certain laws only apply to her.”
    Christie said there are grounds for an investigation and possible prosecution of the former Secretary of State - and slammed her dismissal of questions on the issue.

    It's not the fat lady in the opera singing but it may be the closest thing.

    Seems like it's past time for Hillary to bow out.

    Long past time.

    Christie is quoted denouncing her "arrogance" and that pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

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

    Saturday, August 29, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Nineveh Province residents state US forces are engaged in on the ground combat there, the Minister of Electricity gets a pass, the press gets giddy over Haider's latest statement, Iraqi activists are being assassinated (don't look for Antiwar.com to cover it), and much more.

    Starting with the farce that is reform in Iraq,  August 25th, the Minister of Electricity was supposed to appear before Parliament.  After no-showing, he finally appeared today.  Saif Hameed (Reuters) reports Qassim al-Fahdawi, after answering questions, had the "confidence" of the Parliament and adds, "The exoneration of Fahdawi, who took office a year ago, could stir anger among protesters who complain they have yet to see tangible results from reforms announced this month by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi."

    There are no results -- tangible or otherwise -- in any of Haider's announcement.

    Friday saw the fools come out -- not just lunatic Reidar -- exclaiming that the Green Zone was being opened! the Green zone was being opened!

    Here's what had the boys and girls jizzing and creaming in their briefs and panties:

    Prime Minister Dr. Haider Al-Abadi issues orders to the Special Operations forces and the Baghdad Operations Command to carry out the necessary arrangements to open the Green Zone to citizens.


    Aug 28 2015  
    Prime Minister Dr. Haider Al-Abadi issues orders to the Special Operations forces and the Baghdad Operations Command to carry out the necessary arrangements to open the Green Zone to citizens.

    PM Media Office

    Haider ordered it, did he?

    The same way, September 13, 2014, he ordered an ending to the bombing of the residential areas of Falluja?

    Because, despite being a War Crime, the Iraqi military continued -- and continues -- to bomb the residential areas of Falluja.

    Even the giddy BBC News had to express, deep in their report on the 'opening' of the Green Zone, this deflating reality, "It is not clear when the plan will be implemented."

    It never is.

    So maybe next time don't treat an announcement as an action?

    Just saying.

    Or don't treat someone who's exactly the same as his predecessor as though he's a completely different type of leader.

    . & can help STOP death penalty in , for people like Wassan Talib. Tweet them now! 

    . & can help STOP death penalty in , for people like Wassan Talib. Tweet them now!

    Al Jazeera offers a ridiculous report on the suffering of the people of Anbar Province.

    To be sure, they are suffering.

    The ridiculous aspect is the "more than a month" timeline Al Jazeera offers for the Iraqi military operation to liberate or 'liberate' Iraq -- it began May 28th.

    Yes, that is "more than a month."

    In fact, it's more than two months.

    And, today, it's more than three months.

    For all the whiners in the press e-mailing how cruel and mean I am to them of late (of late? seriously, of late?), a musical interlude.

    Oh, Oh, Oh, I
    I learned to wave goodbye
    How not to see my life
    Through someone else's eyes
    It's not an easy road
    But now I'm not alone
    So I, I won't be so hard on myself no more

    Don't be so hard on yourself, no
    Learn to forgive, learn to let go
    Everyone trips, everyone falls
    So don't be so hard on yourself, no
    Because I'm just tired of marching on my own
    Kind of frail, I feel it in my bones
    Oh let my heart, my heart turn into stone
    So don't be so hard on yourself, no
    -- "Don't Be So Hard On Yourself," written by Jess Glynne, Wayne Hector and TMS, first appears on Jess' album I Cry When I Laugh

    Back to Iraq, John Cassidy (New Yorker) surveys the landscape and offers:

    Despite more than a year of air strikes by the United States and its allies, and despite some important battlefield successes by the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga forces during that time, ISIS appears to be as strong as ever. Or, at least, that is what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded, according to a report published a month ago by the Associated Press. And, this week, the Times revealed that the Pentagon is now investigating whether intelligence officials “skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress.”

    Obama Administration officials continue to claim that the policy of air strikes, combined with the deployment of several thousand U.S. soldiers to train Iraq’s army and the supplying of arms to the so-called “moderate rebels” in Syria, will eventually bear fruit. “I’m confident that we will succeed in defeating ISIL and that we have the right strategy,” Ashton Carter, the Defense Secretary, said last week. But Carter also conceded that “it’s going take some time.” Assuming so, that means the task of confronting ISIS, and deciding whether to escalate the level of U.S. involvement, will almost certainly fall on the next President.

    Rudaw interviewed Jeannette Seppen who was in Baghdad for two years as the Netherlands Ambassador to Iraq and who is leaving to become the Netherlands Ambassador to Pakistan:

    What are your best memories of the past years?
    On the one hand it is sad to see what happens to the country, and on the other it’s promising to see how much resilience people show. It was surreal to visit [the Iraqi province of] Wassit and see the happiness of the governor and his people—that they had visitors again. Those are beautiful moments; that even using modest means you can still do something.

    And the way IDPs and refugees try with all their might to regain their lives, the resilient people you meet. On the one hand it is sad normal people always are the victim, and on the other it is admirable how they are able to get through.

    What I told my successor is that we should try to contribute to bring the lives of these people to a more normal level. Let’s realize how good things are for us, compared to so many others, and let’s get the energy and the means from this awareness to share with others that have so much less. 

    The Iraqi people continue their heroic struggle for freedom -- from occupation, from puppet leaders, from corruption, from sectarianism and so much more.

    But the struggle's never easy, especially when activists are assaulted -- as Iraqi Spring MC and Zaid Benjamin note as activist Khaled al-Akili is assassinated.

    1. واسط: ناشطون: الميليشيات الحكومية تغتال أحد ناشطي محافظة واسط الناشط المدني "خالد العگيلي" قرب منزله بمدينة الكوت .

  • Iraq Times notes he was shot dead Saturday night in Kut by unknown gunmen (plural) and that he is one of several activists calling for demonstrations who has been assassinated.

    Protests took place Friday throughout Iraq:

    Incredible photos from by - protestors call for a secular  

    Turning to US politics, Scott Walker is the governor of Wisconsin.  Supposedly, he's seeking the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nomination.

    Supposedly, because I've never seen such a crap ass campaign and we covered Jill Stein's idiotic run in 2012.

    Walker's in the news because he gave a "major foreign policy speech."

    And you can find that out at NBC News, CBS News, etc.

    You just can't really find it at his campaign website.

    They're helpful enough to tell you how you can watch the now past speech "live" and they even offer five bulletin points from it.

    Here's a clue for Scott Walker's campaign, come into the 21st century.

    If you give a major speech, post it on your campaign website, you damn fool.

    If you don't, why did you give it?

    What a moron.

    And that "moron" is due to his idiotic campaign website.

    We long ago noted at Third, ten years ago?, that your website was your online office.  You need to run it effectively.

    Bill Barrow (AP) reports:

    Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker is calling for U.S. forces in Iraq to engage in direct combat to defeat "radical Islamic terrorists" in the Middle East.
    Yet even as the Wisconsin governor predicts a "generational struggle," he continues to avoid calling for additional ground troops beyond the roughly 3,200 military security personnel, trainers and advisers now deployed.

    Is that an accurate portrayal of Walker's view?

    I have no idea.

    He and his campaign were too stupid to post a transcript of the speech online.

    Some partisan outlets (Vox, to name one) are treating the above position sketched out by Barrow as outrageous.

    But this is US President Barack Obama's position -- though they never call him out.

    He's the one who's put over 3,200 US military personnel in Iraq.

    And this is close to the 3,500 to 4,000 he wanted to leave in Iraq after December 2011.

    And their being in combat?

    That's what he told the New York Times when he was first running for the Democratic Party's 2008 presidential nomination -- that after starting a withdrawal, if things went bad in Iraq, he was fine with sending troops back into Iraq.

    Oh, is this news to you?

    It's because the New York Times failed to report it.

    They did a fluffy, frou-frou report based on an extensive interview with Barack.  We took the transcript of the interview and wrote the reality at Third in November 4, 2007's "NYT: 'Barack Obama Will Keep Troops In Iraq':"

    Presidential candidate and US Senator Barack Obama who is perceived as an 'anti-war' candidate by some announced that he would not commit to a withdrawal, declared that he was comfortable sending US troops back into Iraq after a withdrawal started and lacked clarity on exactly what a withdrawal under a President Obama would mean.

    Declaring that "there are no good options in Iraq," Senator Obama went on to explain that even with his 16 month plan for withdrawal, he would continue to keep US troops in Iraq, agreeing that he would "leave behind residual force" even after what he is billing as a "troop withdrawal."

    "Even something as simple as protecting our embassy is going to be dependent on what is the security environment in Baghdad. If there is some sense of security, then that means one level of force. If you continue to have significant sectarian conflict, that means another, but this is an area where Senator Clinton and I do have a significant contrast," Senator Obama offered contrasting himself with his chief opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination. "I do think it is important for us not only to protect our embassy, but also to engage in counter-terrorism activities. We’ve seen progress against AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq], but they are a resilient group and there’s the possibility that they might try to set up new bases. I think that we should have some strike capability. But that is a very narrow mission, that we get in the business of counter terrorism as opposed to counter insurgency and even on the training and logistics front, what I have said is, if we have not seen progress politically, then our training approach should be greatly circumscribed or eliminated."

    The Senator insisted, "I want to be absolutely clear about this, because this has come up in a series of debates: I will remove all our combat troops, we will have troops there to protect our embassies and our civilian forces and we will engage in counter terrorism activities. How large that force is, whether it’s located inside Iraq or as an over the horizon force is going to depend on what our military situation is."

    The positon of the majority of Americans in poll after poll is that all US troops need to be brought home by 2008. Senator Obama's strategy calls for bringing some troops home, should he be elected president, in his first sixteen months; however, he is not, by his own words, an advocate of a "Out of Iraq" strategy.

    While maintaining that he would remove all combat troops in sixteen months he did agree that the forces left behind to fight "terrorists" would be performing "a combat function."

    He also spoke of deployment, and presumably bases, "in places like Kuwait" in order "to strike at terrorist targets successfully."

    Returning the topic of leaving US forces in Iraq even after what he's billed as a "withdrawal," the Senator delcared, "As commander in chief, I’m not going to leave trainers unprotected. In our counterterrorism efforts, I’m not going to have a situation where our efforts can’t be successful. We will structure those forces so they can be successful. We would still have human intelligence capabilities on the ground. Some of them would be civilian, as opposed to military, some would be operating out of our bases as well as our signal intelligence.

    The senator also admitted that he was comfortable with sending troops back into Iraq after what he's terming a "withdrawal" though he wanted to split hairs on what constituted "armed force."  

    Again, if that's news to you, take it up with the New York Times which had the above quotations and chose not to run with them.  As we said at the end of the above:

    That's the story they could have written based upon the interview conducted by Michael Gordon and Jeff Zeleny. As C.I. noted in Friday's "Iraq snapshot," the interview the reporters conducted hit harder than the sop they wrote up on it that ran on Friday's front page of the paper. 

    Walker's position is not significantly different from Barack's.  (And, for the record, I don't support either's position on Iraq.)

    And for those really harping on Walker's position that US forces should be in combat, they already are.  Those bombs dropped from US war planes?

    That's combat.

    In addition, Wael Grace (Al Mada) reported this week on what the people of Nineveh Province were seeing: US forces joining Iraqi forces in combat.

    The residents say this is not 'consulting' or 'advising' but that US forces are actually taking part in on the ground combat.