I didn't know.
I don't watch the duopoly conventions. (I'm a Green.)
But as a mother, I'm more than fine with posting one woman speaking of her son and her loss:
My name is Patricia Smith. My son Sean was one of four brave Americans killed during the 2012 terrorist attack at Benghazi. Sean was a wonderful son and father to my two amazing grandchildren, Samantha and Nathan, now 10 and 11.
He was proud to serve his country with the United States foreign service.
The last time I talked to Sean, the night before the terrorist attack, he told me, ‘Mom, I am going to die.’
All security had been pulled from the embassy, he explained. And when he asked why, he never received a response. Nobody listened. Nobody seemed to care. The very next day, he was murdered by radical Islamic terrorists.
To this day, I don’t even know why a computer guy like Sean was sent to Benghazi. That night, we lost sons, brothers, fathers and husbands. We lost four brave Americans, who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country they chose to serve. And the American people lost the truth.
For all of this loss, for all of this grief, for all of the citizens and the tragedy of Benghazi has brought upon America, I blame Hillary Clinton!
I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son. Personally!
In an email to her daughter shortly after the attack, Hillary Clinton blamed it on terrorism. But when I saw
Hillary Clinton at Sean’s coffin ceremony two days later, she looked me squarely in the eye and told me a video was responsible.
Since then, I have repeatedly asked Hillary Clinton to explain to me the real reason why my son is dead.
I’m still waiting.
Whenever I call the state department, no one would speak to me, because they say I am not a member of the immediate family.
Sean is my son.
Hillary Clinton is a woman, a mother and a grandmother of two. I am a woman, a mother and a grandmother of two. How could she do this to me? How could she do this to any American family?
Donald Trump is everything Hillary Clinton is not. He is blunt, direct and strong. He speaks his mind and his heart. And when it comes to the threat posed by radical Islamic terrorism, he will not hesitate to kill the terrorists who threaten American lives.
He will make America stronger, not weaker.
This entire campaign comes down to a single question: If Hillary Clinton can’t give us the truth, why should we give her the presidency?
That’s right: Hillary for prison. She deserves to be in stripes.
I'm not going to vote for Trump.
Again, I'm a Green.
But one woman talking about her loss is always more than welcome at my site. Pat Smith and her late son Sean are in my prayers.
Thank you to reader Tom for e-mailing it to me.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Saturday, July 23, 2016. Chaos and violence continue, secret dealings on behalf of Hillary Clinton get exposed by WikiLeaks, questions arise about where the money for the Iraqi people will actually go, and much more.
Presumed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton -- or, as Mike bills her, the repulsive nominee -- is back in the news.
Presumed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton -- or, as Mike bills her, the repulsive nominee -- is back in the news.
You'll see Hillary in the White House With My Vote—When Pigs Fly! Watch her pander to Blacks at the Convention.
No, not because the War Hawk chose Tim Kaine.
Her cult will look the other way and pretend like Tim Kaine's abortion stance doesn't matter the same way they ignore the way Hillary has chipped away at abortion rights since she first stepped onto the national stage.
No, no one's talking about Tim Kaine because no one -- probably not even his own mother -- has ever found Tim Kaine remotely interesting.
Gee, Bernie Sanders, are you carrying about these "damn e-mails"?
Because you really should.
Theodore Schleifer (CNN) reports:
Nearly 20,000 emails sent and received by Democratic National Committee staff members were released Friday by Wikileaks, with one message in particular raising questions about the committee's impartiality during the Democratic primary.
The revelation threatened to shatter the uneasy peace between the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders camps and supporters days before the Democratic convention kicks off next week.
The leaks, from January 2015 to May 2016, feature Democratic staffers debating everything from how to deal with challenging media requests to coordinating the committee's message with other powerful interests in Washington.
Michael Sainato (OBESERVER) points, out, "In its recent leak of 20,000 DNC emails from January 2015 to May 2016, DNC staff discuss how to deal with Bernie Sanders’ popularity as a challenge to Clinton’s candidacy. Instead of treating Sanders as a viable candidate for the Democratic ticket, the DNC worked against him and his campaign to ensure Clinton received the nomination." Tom Hamburger and Karen Tumulty (WASHINGTON POST) add, "One potential complication is that Sanders’s supporters are crucial to Democratic hopes of retaining the White House in the fall. They bring to the contest both passion and a potentially vast donor base."
And when not attempting to derail the Bernie Sanders campaign, the e-mails reveal attempts at subverting journalism.
Queen Bee Debbie Wasserman Schultz, for example, cannot handle criticism anymore than she can handle bathing.
She sees this item in a brief from an MSNBC newsletter (sent to all who sign up for them):
>>> On Wednesday, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski called for DNC Chair Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) to “step down” over her handling of this year’s Democratic presidential primary. >>> After playing a clip of Wasserman Schultz, Brzezinski said, “This has been very poorly handled from the start. Ot has been unfair, and they haven’t taken him seriously, and it starts, quite frankly, with the person that we just heard speaking. It just does.” >>> Brzezinski added of Wasserman Schultz, “She should step down.” >>> Brzezinski’s co-host, former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough wondered why Sanders would “get in line” for the Democratic Party, given that they “rigged the entire thing,” and that if he was in Sanders’ position, “I’d say, ‘Go straight to hell, I’m running as an independent.'”
Wasserman Shcultz then copies that item and fires an e-mail off to Chuck Todd:
On May 18, 2016, at 9:19 AM, "email@example.com"
She titles this e-mail "Chuck, this must stop."
Todd is trying to spin this as just the normal thing that can happen when you do coverage.
That's a lie. There's nothing normal about him declaring this of Mika in an e-mail to Debbie's DNC staffer (Communications Director Luis Miranda):
I don't know. She can do 180s after these calls. It can't get worse
Who's paying Chuck Todd?
I thought it was ComCast but it appears he believes he's being paid by the Democratic National Committee.
In that e-mail, he's just a little bitch, isn't he? "She can do 180s after these calls. It can't get worse."
So good to know Chuck's got the backs of the other NBC employees.
He was contacted in his position as the Political Director of NBC News.
If he's going to sell out employees, he better advise NBC News and ComCast of that decision.
The media was entirely too close with Clinton and her campaign. This is Marcia's "Fire Kenneth Vogel:"
As this report details, POLITICO 'reporter' Kenneth Vogel made a deal with the DNC that they would see his article before he submittted it to his editors and, not only that, he also then asked for their thoughts.
This is not reporting.
And who knows how many other 'reporters' made similar deals?
A pall is cast on all journalism and the only answer is to fire Kenneth Vogel for violating journalistic integrity and ethics.
Hillary loves to claim the press is against her and her cult loves to make that claim as well.
But Hillary's always used the press. Ava and I'll probably address how she got what was coming to her in the 90s after what she did. It seems history has been forgotten there.
Turning to Iraq, Hannah Allam (MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS) surveys the scene:
The news sounded just as good this week as it did in 2007: With U.S. backing, Iraqi forces have pushed savage extremists out of key territories in what seems to be a turning point in the campaign to rout the insurgency.
The lesson of 2007, however, was that such victories can be fleeting. The jihadist movement that today is known as the Islamic State found fertile ground in areas the U.S. government thought had been pacified.
Now, diplomats and analysts warn, the same toxic mix of a security vacuum and sectarian governance could threaten the gains against the Islamic State that the Obama administration touted this week at gatherings in Washington of officials from the anti-Islamic State coalition.
We've been noting the lack of attention given to a political solution for over two years now.
The White House is all on board with sending more US troops into Iraq, more weapons there, more everything military.
That's the only thing they've done.
Today, the US Defense Dept announced:
Strikes in Iraq
Rocket artillery, attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 10 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Albu Hayat, a strike destroyed an ISIL mortar system.
-- Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Mosul, three strikes struck three ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL unmanned aerial vehicle, an ISIL mortar system, ISIL-used engineering equipment, an ISIL tunnel system, and two ISIL assembly areas and suppressed and ISIL rocket position.
-- Near Ramadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Tuz, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Ar Rutbah, a strike struck an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb storage facility.
-- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike destroyed an ISIL weapons storage facility.
Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.
Dropping back to Thursday morning's snapshot;
Sorry to interrupt the chorus of "We Are The World" but how will it be ensured that the money goes to those in need?
Kerry's comments included, "The goal of our pledging conference is to raise money to help Iraqis in four priority areas: humanitarian aid, de-mining, immediate stabilization, and longer-term recovery."
These would have been questions to pursue but Elise Labbot didn't.
CNN's reporter got the first question -- when you're the State Dept's pet you get those sort of favors -- and immediately turned a briefing on Iraq into Turkey.
No one was surprised.
When everyone's whispering -- true or false, I don't know -- that you're sleeping with John Kerry, presumably, you're calling the shots. He is after all married (to a very good friend of mine, so watch your back, Elise, if the rumors are true and say prayers of thanks that you don't live in China). And if the rumors aren't true, stop pretending flirting is part of a reporter's arsenal.
Iraq's attending this conference with government officials. Presumably their hands are out.
And Iraq is one of the most corrupt countries in the world and has been for over a decade -- see the rankings on Transparency Index.
Yes, the students are angry, as are the people of Iraq.
Iraq is an oil rich country raking in billions in oil revenues each year -- billions more than they have millions of people. Yet government corruption is so great that this oil rich country now has to beg the International Money Fund for dollars. You don't catch oil rich Saudi Arabia doing that.
Where is the money going?
That's an important question also in terms of who benefits.
It is an important question.
And it got asked in Friday's State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau:
QUESTION: It seems the State Department did a great job hosting all those international conferences on Iraq.
MS TRUDEAU: Thank you. We appreciate it. It was a good team.
QUESTION: No, terrific, and I was very pleased to see the Kurdish – KRG representative was there as well.
MS TRUDEAU: She was.
QUESTION: And that was terrific. And you even raised more money – somewhat more money.
MS TRUDEAU: Over $2.1 billion for Iraq.
QUESTION: And you said, if I recall correctly, 2 billion was the goal. So you raised more than your goal?
MS TRUDEAU: That’s correct.
QUESTION: So I have a question for the next phase.
MS TRUDEAU: Yeah.
QUESTION: Because the Iraqi Government’s a – well, it ranks 161 out of 168 countries for corruption in Transparency International’s index, and it’s not known particularly for its honest government. What mechanisms are in place to make sure that this money is spent correctly, and since the Kurdistan region hosts two-thirds of the displaced persons and the refugees from the war with [the Islamic State], to ensure that the Kurdistan region gets its fair share of the – this humanitarian aid?
MS TRUDEAU: Well, I’d start off by saying that the United States is grateful for each of the countries and organizations who were represented at the conference. As you know, this was a tremendous success, so thanks for recognizing that. These countries and organizations who participated are demonstrating important leadership, and they’re making it possible for Iraqi citizens displaced by [the Islamic State] to return – to choose to return – to their homes, to receive the services they need in order to rebuild their community.
Speaking specifically about the money, because I do want to discuss that a little, pledges from these international donors will go to four critical need areas in Iraq: humanitarian assistance, de-mining, the UNDP Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization, and the Funding Facility for Expanded Stabilization. The latter, it’s my understanding, functions as a bridging effort between the Iraqi Government and the coalition in areas liberated by [the Islamic State].
In terms of the Iraqi Government’s work on this, our partnership with the Iraqi Government is deep and it’s strong. This is something that we’ve spoken frequently about in our support of the government as they seek to reform their own efforts in doing this, so it’s something that we’re very closely invested in.
In your question on what money is going where, the conference just wrapped up, so I’m not going to get ahead of that. What we will say, which we have always said, is that funding and the support will go through Baghdad, but we are very aware of the impact that certain areas of the country have experienced at the hands of [the Islamic State].
QUESTION: And doubtless you have in mind measures to make sure that Baghdad spends the money appropriately and it doesn’t go into people’s pockets?
MS TRUDEAU: So that’s one of the conversations that we continue to have with U.S. aid regardless of where it goes in the world.
Did you notice Trudeau's long, long response which finally boiled down to "I'm not going to get ahead of that."
She has no answer.
They held a conference, raised money and are now handing it over with no checks or balances on it to ensure that the money goes where it's needed.
This is the country Transparency Index ranked Iraq the 161st most corrupt country out of 167 countries.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is concerned that, while it hosts nearly 2 million internally displaced Iraqis and is a key force on the frontlines in the war against the Islamic State, it will not get its share of the $2.1 billion pledged for Iraq at a conference in Washington this week.
“We are talking to the international community to respect the great responsibility that the Kurdistan Region is facing regarding the ISIS war and the refugee crisis,” Falah Mustafa, head of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s foreign relations department, told Rudaw English.
In other news, XINHUA reports:
Islamic State (IS) militants launched bomb attacks targeting civilians fleeing the militant-seized town of Shirqat in Iraq's Salahudin province on Saturday, killing 13 and injuring 19 others, a provincial security source said.
In one attack, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest among a crowd of families in western Shirqat, some 280 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, after they left their homes to seek help from the security forces outside the besieged town, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The blast left 11 people dead and nine others wounded, most of them women and children, the source said.
In another attack, a bomb planted on a road outside Shirqat went off near a group of fleeing families, killing two children and wounding 10, the source added.
The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated: