Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ron Jacobs the chicken s**t

I left the following comment at IHC on Ron Jacobs' bad article:

This is a bad article. As The Common Ills pointed out, Ron Jacobs uses 900 words but can't mention one living war resister of the modern wars seeking asylum in Canada.
The article babbles on about a TV movie from 1975 but refuses to mention Jeremy Hinzman, Joshua Key, Kyle Snyder, etc.

Right now, to cover Barack Obama's ass, MSNBC is working overtime to insist Bergdahl is heroic or at least sympathetic.

It would be great if those of us on the real left were able to use this moment to pressure the corporate 'left' to cover war resisters.

At the very least, for the brave stand they took, left writers should be acknowledging them when writing about Berhdahl.

I really think that if you give a damn about today's war resisters, you talk about them.

Ron Jacobs, chicken s**t that he is, refuses to include them.

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

Thursday, June 5, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri loses control of Samarra, the KRG continues to maintain their independence with regards to the oil issue, in the US some lawmakers reach a deal on VA efforts, a prisoner trade continues to haunt Barack, Ron Jacobs confuses a TV movie with the attention today's war resisters could use, and much more.

Starting in the US, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued the following statement today:

CONTACT: Gretchen Andersen (212) 982-9699 or


IAVA Applauds Bipartisan Senate Compromise to Begin Reforming the VA 
As Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson admits 18 vets died while waiting for appointments in Phoenix, IAVA calls for presidential leadership and urges Congress to move forward with legislation

Washington DC (June 5, 2014) – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation’s largest non-profit, non-partisan organization representing post-9/11 veterans and their families, today praised Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle for their bipartisan work on addressing critical access issues at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Earlier, Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ), one of two combat veterans in the Senate, announced a bipartisan deal that would address access and care issues for veterans within the VA system. 

The compromise was announced the same day Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson addressed the ongoing VA scandal, saying that 18 veterans died while waiting for appointments with the Phoenix VA Health Care System.

On Monday, IAVA CEO & Founder Paul Rieckhoff, joined by IAVA veterans from across the country, unveiled eight steps the Obama Administration and Congress can take now to restore confidence in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Among the steps are recommendations from IAVA’s 2014 Policy Agenda. IAVA urged Congress and the President to enact all of the recommendations from the plan.

“Reforming the VA requires a bipartisan effort on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. We are very encouraged by the compromise forged by Senators Sanders and McCain,” Rieckhoff said. “Today’s progress shows veterans issues is the one thing that parties can come together on. We hope the Senate and House can move forward to enact legislation that will ensure veterans get the care and benefits they have earned.  However, we still need the President to step up and take a more active role in restoring confidence within the VA and lay out a strategy for the way forward.” 

Rieckhoff added: “Many of the provisions announced in today’s compromise are part of IAVA’s eight-part ‘Marshall Plan’ for veterans. The VA scandal is far from over. We urge Congress and the Administration to embrace all our recommendations. As the VA confirmed how severe mismanagement was in Phoenix, it is imperative that the men and women who served our country never have to wait for care.”

The legislation directly addresses accountability issues at the VA by allowing poorly performing SES employees to be immediately dismissed without pay while also establishing an expedited appeals process to discourage fraudulent dismissals. This legislation will also allow veterans to see providers outside the VA system if the wait times for appointments are too long or if the veteran lives more than 40 miles from a VA hospital or clinic. The need to address the VA's technological capabilities, particularly with scheduling, will also be evaluated through the establishment of a Tech Task Force. In addition to these access and accountability measures, this legislation also includes several other major provisions supported by IAVA’s 2014 Policy Agenda, including much needed major medical facility lease authorizations, in-state tuition for veterans using GI Bill benefits, and increased access to health care for survivors of MST. 

NOTE TO THE MEDIA: IAVA leadership is available for interview. Press can email or call 212-982-9699.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 270,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator. 
# # #

Jake Lefferman and John Parkinson (ABC News) quote Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Bernie Sanders stating, "We have a crisis on our hands.  It is imperative that we deal with that crisis." Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee and, prior to that, she was Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (she still serves on the Veterans Affairs Committee).  Her office issued the following:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Thursday, June 05, 2014                                                                            (202) 224-2834
VETERANS: Murray Statement on Deal to Address VA Accountability, Transparency
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, released the following statement after Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and John McCain (R-AZ) announced a path forward for a legislative compromise to address the serious accountability and transparency deficit at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Today’s announcement is an excellent example of what Congress can do when we work together to put veterans first and work toward substantive solutions to the challenges they face. Finalizing this legislation is a critical step toward addressing some of the immediate accountability and transparency concerns plaguing the VA and fixing its deep-seated structural and cultural challenges.
“I will be working closely with my colleagues to build on this bipartisan momentum. These are not new problems and Congress must continue to take action on them, while addressing the inevitable issues that will be uncovered as ongoing investigations and reviews are completed.
“As we all know, there are serious problems at the VA that will not be solved through legislation alone or by simply replacing the Secretary. However, I am hopeful these steps will spark long-overdue change from the top down in order to ensure our veterans are getting the care and support they expect and deserve.
“I want to commend Chairman Sanders and Senator McCain for working in good faith to put veterans’ needs ahead of political differences.”
Meghan Roh
Press Secretary | New Media Director
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Mobile: (202) 365-1235
Office: (202) 224-2834

RSS Feed for Senator Murray's office

Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) points out that this bipartisan deal was unveiled less than a week after VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned and he writes:

Since Shinseki's departure, the department has reached out to all of the approximately 1,700 veterans that a Phoenix VA hospital placed on unofficial wait lists that hid treatment delays. Acting Secretary Sloan D. Gibson visited the Phoenix facility Thursday. The department is also facing a Office of Special Counsel investigation into allegations that officials retaliated against 37 whistleblowers, including some who tried to report actions related to the recent scheduling scandal.

Richard Simon (Los Angeles Times) adds that Senator Richard Burr, Ranking Member on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has announced his support for the bipartisan deal and that:

As Congress ratcheted up its response to the VA scandal, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday provided funding for the Justice Department to play a bigger role in the investigation of VA employees falsifying records to cover up long waits for medical care.
And the House Veterans Affairs Committee called a Monday night hearing that could shed new light on the scope of the VA mess. The panel asked for an update from the VA inspector general, who has been investigating 42 sites and issued an interim report last week that found a systemic problem nationwide in scheduling veterans for healthcare in a timely manner.

In Iraq, the day started with rumors that the Baghdad-based Iraqi government had lost control of Samarra, a Sunni town with an estimated population of around 350,000 people.  It would be the end of the day before it would be known if Baghdad had lost control.  Fighting took place, regardless of who was in control.  National Iraqi News Agency quoted a police source stating 54 people have been either killed or wounded in the ongoing battles so far.  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports, citing health officials, that 23 people were dead and thirty-three injured.

Mahmud Saleh (AFP) states fighters control parts of Samarra and that they were "travelling in dozens of vehicles, some mounted with anti-aircraft guns, attacked a major checkpoint on the southeast side of Samarra, killing the security forces guarding it and burning their vehicles, witnesses said."  Xinhua adds, "The gunmen raised their black flag belonging to the ISIL on several government buildings and the main Sunni mosque in the city, which located just 1,500 meters away from the Shiite shrine of Imam Ali al-Hadi in central the city. The shrine contains the tombs of Ali al-Hadi, who died in 868 A.D. and his son Hassan al- Askari who died in 874 A.D."

NINA notes Ministry of the Interior spokesperson Saad Maan declared that no "police stations or security sites in Samarra had fallen in the hands of the gunmen."  But the rumors of Baghdad losing control were apparently true.  NINA reports the Ministry of Defense issued a statement announcing they had liberated Samarra.


The Ministry of Defense liberated the city by night fall?

So, to be liberated, Samarra had to first be taken over.

So this is another city Nouri's lost.  He lost control briefly, that is true, but he still lost control.

How humiliating for him.

Nouri has used similar events as an excuse to attack the civilians in Falluja, an attack that began at the start of the year and has now entered its six month.

Is this his 'model' for how to address events in Samarra?  If so, he's failing yet again as a leader.

His War Crimes in Falluja have only outraged many Iraqis.  Aswat al Iraq reported earlier this week:

Deputy Premier, Chairman of Arabia Alliance Saleh al-Mutlaq stressed that "there will be no dialogues with any political bloc without Anbar and Fallujah questions will have the priority". In a statement, he added "We cannot bear the events taking place in these two cities and the killings of women, children and innocent people inside the university campus".

On people killed inside the university campus, yesterday's snapshot included this:

The Iraqi people are being terrorized by Nouri.  And it goes beyond Falluja.  BRussells Tribunal notes Sama Laith Mouayad was shot dead.  The college student was sitting in the exam hall of Ramadi's Al-Anbar University when she was shot dead by a military sniper.
Kent State.  The May 4, 1970 assault is still remembered each year.  And yet Nouri's forces kill a college student, shoot her dead as she's sitting in the exam hall, and that's okay?
In what world?

BRussells Tribunal published this photo of where Sama was sitting when she was shot dead by Nouri's military:

Will any reporter at today's State Dept press briefing have the guts to inquire when it became appropriate to shoot unarmed college students who are seated to take exams?

Or will they prove that the bigger your news outlet, the greater your silence?

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports an Ein al-Jahash Village killed 2 police members,  a Mahmudiya roadside bombing killed 1 person and left six more injured, 1 police member was shot dead in al-Bursa, a battle in ein al-Jahash village left 42 rebels killed, 1 woman was killed in a Mosul home invasion, 1 82-year-old man was killed in an Abu Saif Village home invasion, an eastern Baghdad roadside bombing left three people injured, a Sadr City bombing left 1 person dead and eight more injured, and a Latifiya home invasion left 4 family members dead.  All Iraq News adds an eastern Baghdad car bombing killed 1 person and injured ten more, a Beiji car bombing left 1 police officer and 3 police members dead (two more were injured) and 1 person was shot dead and another left injured in an attack in Khumaisa Village.

Let's drop back to yesterday's snapshot for the political scene:

Nouri's a War Criminal and he wants a third term as prime minister.  The elections were April 30th and there's still no government.  Kitabat reports National Coalition spokesperson Maysoun al-Damlouji states bloc leader Ayad Allawi has not yet aligned himself with Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi's party but he continues to oppose a third term for Nouri. Allawi issued a statement today calling the Parliament weak and noting "the upper hand in any democratic country is the legislative authority, and that this Parliament could not do its role -- even some of the decisions were taken by voting, rejected by the Federal Court." That would be the court Nouri controls, the court that acts as Nouri's rubber stamp.  NINA reports, "The National Coalition called on Tuesday the State of Law Coalition to withdraw their nomination for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for the third term."  All Iraq News adds that Allawi met with Iraqi National Alliance head Ibrahim al-Jaafari and that they discussed the election and the new government.

Today, Hamza Mustafa (Asharq Al-Awsat) reports:

Rival Shi’ite political blocs have reiterated their strong opposition to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s bid for a third term in office, amid claims by each side that they secured the majority required to form a government.
The National Alliance -- comprised of the leading Shi’ite forces, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), the Sadrist Movement, the National Congress and the Reform Trend -- has urged the State of Law coalition to withdraw the nomination of its leader, Nuri Al-Maliki, to head the new government, according to a statement read out by the coalition’s spokesman, Ibrahim Bahr Al-Ulloum, following a meeting by coalition leaders in Baghdad two days ago.

Maliki’s coalition came first in recent parliamentary polls, but failed to win an absolute majority that would enable him to form a government.

Tuesday, Aswat Al-Iraq noted, "The Sadrist affiliate Ahrar bloc and the Kurdish Alliance confirmed their rejection for Premier Nouri al-Maliki to have a third term."  Last month, US Labor Against the War offered a strong analysis of the elections by Ahmed Ali.  Excerpt.

Political groups are currently testing the waters for their future alliances as they wait for the official results to be released. The groups anticipate a long government-formation period and are posturing to maintain their political flexibility. However, the development of an anti-Maliki front is likely to materialize, modeled after the anti-Maliki local governments that formed in Baghdad and Diyala after the 2013 provincial elections. 

Prime Minister Maliki's plan will likely continue to be floating the concept of a majority government and assessing which groups he can play against one another. Additionally, he will likely continue to attack speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, Mutahidun, and the Sadrists. Maliki will enjoy an advantage as he will be a caretaker Prime Minister with full authority. It will be particularly important to watch if Maliki will use the security forces to his own advantage. The current major operation to re-take Fallujah from ISIS may be an example of precisely this, seeking to demonstrate his strength as a Prime Minister. 

Lack of elections in Fallujah and Jurf al-Sakhar can further increase sentiments of marginalization among the Iraqi Sunni population. To mitigate the consequences of these sentiments, the vote-counting that is underway must be transparent and occur without any alteration of results. Importantly, all political groups should work towards producing a government that is representative and inclusive. 

In related news, Anadolu Agency reports:

Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have signed a 50-year deal to export Kurdish oil, the prime minister of the administration has announced amid the ongoing spat between Baghdad and Arbil.
“We have signed an energy deal with Turkey that comprises of 50 years and can be extendable if necessary,” Nechirvan Barzani said June 4 during a speech at the Kurdish Parliament in Arbil.
Relations between Arbil and Baghdad have been strained by disputes over the sale of northern Iraqi oil through Turkey.

Steve Marshall (Upstream) adds, "He [Barzani] denied though the pact was an attempt to split Iraq but was motivated by a need for oil revenues after Kurdistan has seen its share of the federal budget cut due to the ongoing row over independent exports from the region, which Baghdad claims are illegal."  Yesterday, Nechirvan Barzani addressed the Kurdish Parliament.  Al Mada reports he explained it is the right, the Constitutional right, to export the oil and that they have said since the beginning this was a constitutional right and one granted to them by the 2003 and 2004 constitutions.  Not stated in the Al Mada article, but also true, Nouri's failure to ever pass a national oil and gas law also means they have this legal right.

Rudaw quotes him telling Parliament the following:

The problem with the federal government regarding oil is that it wants to control of this dosser. If they [Baghdad] had reached an agreement with us on the distribution of oil revenues, which is the most important law for Iraq, many problems would have been resolved.

Ufuk Sanili (Al-Monitor) adds, "The Kurdish administration in northern Iraq and the Baghdad government are at loggerheads over oil exports. The tanker carrying the first cargo of independently exported oil from northern Iraq is crisscrossing the Mediterranean without any clear destination or buyer, amid threats of legal action from Baghdad."  Hurriyet Daily News noted:

Turkey has insisted that the export of Kurdish Iraqi oil to the world is Iraq’s internal business, downplaying opposition from Baghdad, which has accused Turkey of worsening the row over who controls Iraq’s resources.
“The income to be generated from here [exports] will be distributed with a system that our Iraqi brothers established by themselves,” Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said June 2, answering reporters’ questions after a meeting in Ankara.
“Therefore, I don’t find it right to say things to Turkey that cannot be told to anybody else,” the minister said, when asked about his comments over the issue.

Turning to the controversy in the US over US President Barack Obama's negotiations with the Taliban of Afghanistan which saw Barack surrender five Taliban members held at Guantanamo Bay (they were not classified of prisoners of war -- using that classification would have required the US government to follow certain guidelines the US government didn't want to follow) in exchange for one US soldier.  Today, The Lead with Jake Tapper (CNN) reports:

Republican Sen. John McCain, himself a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, says his "heart goes out" to Bowe Bergdahl, but slammed the deal that swapped five Guantanamo Bay detainees for the captured Army sergeant.
"I wanted him home. I didn't want to risk the lives, and don't want to risk the lives of Americans," said McCain. "I would never agree with that."

The American Legion weighed in with the following:

Legion: Sgt Bergdahl release is good, Gitmo releases are bad
The leader of the nation’s largest veterans service organization raised some concerns about the circumstances surrounding the recent release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban.
“First, to Sgt. Bergdahl, I say, ‘welcome home,’” American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger said today. “Your family has waited far too long to see you and we are happy that your five year nightmare has ended. To the administration, I say The American Legion has some very serious concerns.”
Dellinger, who is visiting troops in Europe this week, asked, “Has the United States changed its longheld policy of not negotiating with terrorists? Will this provide incentives for terrorists to kidnap other Americans? What assurances do we have that the five dangerous detainees being released from Guantanamo will not return to the battlefield?
“While Qatar will institute a travel ban on the released detainees for 12 months, our troops won’t be leaving Afghanistan until 2016,” Dellinger added. “There are many troubling aspects about this deal and the American people deserve some answers. Moreover, we hope the Department of Defense does a complete investigation of the circumstances surrounding Sgt. Bergdahl’s initial disappearance and take whatever steps are warranted by the findings of that investigation.”
With a current membership of 2.4-million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly 14,000 posts across the nation.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars issued this statement:

WASHINGTON (June 3, 2014) -- The White House announced Saturday that America's only known prisoner of war has been released in exchange for five Afghani prisoners being held at the U.S. Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban on June 30, 2009, is great news for his family, and helps to ensure that no American is left behind once the U.S. ends its involvement in Afghanistan. But the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is very concerned that negotiating with terrorists sets a very dangerous precedent. 

At CNN, Frida Ghitis explores some of the competing ethics involved in the deal Barack made.  In "Explaining The Bergdahl Swap Hasn't Been Obama's Finest Hour" (NPR), Frank James explores the way the administration has communicated on this issue to Congress and the American people.

This morning, I noted a government official, low ranking, had acted badly and that we might discuss it in the snapshot.  I stated my hope that he would have apologized and we could move on and deal with other things.  He did apologize.  I'm going to leave it alone.  Three reasons.  1) He did apologize.  2) The media's beyond stupid.  They missed the point of the story -- and that's especially true of conservative outlets. 3) This afternoon, a mutual friend asked me to please consider not weighing in.  I do not know the official.  We do have a friend in common.  That friend, a male veteran, called me about the Tweets to begin with (and thought they were funny).  I was outraged (not for the reason that conservatives were).  He apologized.  I don't have time to correct every false story in the media.  And a friend asked for a favor.  I'm leaving it alone for those reasons.

Surprisingly, I'm not leaving Ron Jacobs alone.

We used to note Ron all the time before he joined The Cult of St. Barack.  In fact, we had to walk away from the all the tools and idiots at US Socialist Worker for their rank hypocrisy.

But Ron decided to weigh in on the issue of the soldier released by the Taliban.  I don't even want to name the soldier.  I've said before I know nothing about him, an investigation is ongoing, and I have no reason to dislike him or comment on him.  His name's here at this site via statements of others.  I don't even want to learn how to spell his name.  He has too much attention on him and, if you've ever felt the crush of the public eye, you know how hard that can be.  So I'm not mentioning his name.

Ron's not so lucky.

Ron decided to weigh in on the matter.

Since Ron's pretty much permanently worn an Ass Face for the last six years, I don't even read him.  But the title of his piece ("Deserters Are Heroes" -- Dissident Voice) wrongly made me believe Ron might still be able to be useful.

This could be a very useful time.  The soldier in question is said to have self-checked out.  As a result of whoring, you have people like Rachel Maddow applauding him.  Let's be really clear that Rachel didn't applaud war resisters on Air America Radio.  She was for the Iraq War and for staying in Iraq.  We'll go over this on Saturday in "I Hate The War."  But the point right now is that those who self-checkout are getting a little bit of attention  because of the soldier in the news.

So with Ron offering a column of 900 words, hallelujah!, war resisters will get attention, right?

Joshua Key, Jeremy Hinzman and others still in Canada need attention.  No one bothers today except Global Research (here for audio) and Courage to Resist.  So how great that Ron Jacob's going to write about them, right?


Though Ron lays it on thick for the soldier whose release Barack made happen, he mentions no other war resister from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.  He does manage to yack on endlessly about a 1975 TV movie starring Martin Sheen.

I wasn't aware Martin walked away from Iraq and went to Canada seeking asylum.

(He didn't.)

It takes a lot of whore to write a column you entitle "Deserters Are Heroes" while failing to mention any of the self-checkouts who have fought for asylum.

Ron Jacobs is useless and just another temple whore in The Cult of St. Barack.

Joshua Key is an Iraq War veteran.  He couldn't go back, not after what he'd seen.  He was raised in poverty here in the United States and he related to the Iraqi people who were suffering, he was appalled by the way house raids were carried out, he just couldn't continue.  So he self-checked out.  And Barack won't pardon these resisters.  And no one even wants to suggest that he does (we've suggested here repeatedly).  Ron's not about defending those who self-checkout, he's about whoring.

January 11th, Michael Welch spoke with Joshua Key for Global Research News Hour.  Excerpt:

Joshua Key: I had a lawyer check into it years ago, you know, if I was sent back to the United States or I went back voluntarily, what would they do?  You know, what would be the realm of prison sentence that I would get? 'Cause we all know -- or anyone who's kept watch on it knows -- that the soldiers who have been sent back to the United States have got anywhere from ten months in prison to sixteen months.  And I think in and around that.  But also, on a big level, the first one that was actually a veteran was Kim Rivera who was sent back and who received ten years and who was pregnant.  My goodness, she had her child while in custody in prison.

Michael Welch: That was ten months, right?

Joshua Key:  Ten months, yes.  But the people that -- what the United States government, the military sees is that, if you're a veteran, you're the worst of the worst because then you went and fought, you came to another country and then now you've talked about it, now you wrote a book about it [The Deserter's Tale].  The lawyer who I had check, he said -- and this was his specific words, "Don't you ever come back to the United States."  And I said, "Well what did they say?  What was there, you know, around?"  And he goes, "You wrote a book.  So it will be around 20 years."  20 years in prison for not wanting to go back and kill people.  I mean, that's just -- there ain't no easier way to break it down.  I didn't want to go back and I didn't want to kill anyone. I didn't see no reason to because basically them people was just like us.  They were just like me back in Oklahoma, doing everything they possibly can to survive and take care of their families.  Uh, I don't see how anyone of us would deserve a day in prison. 

On the topic of Iraq and service members, US Labor Against the War posted the following last month:



We urge you to commit now to not send any U.S. troops back into Iraq. Our national policy has come full circle in 20 years, from arming Saddam Hussein to illegally attacking, invading, and occupying Iraq, and then back to arming another autocratic Iraqi government. The way to break out of this vicious cycle is to stop promoting violence. Do not send U.S. troops back into a disastrous sectarian conflict in support of another ruthless autocrat. Our experience there should have taught us a lesson.

mohammed tawfeeq

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