Sunday, November 29, 2015

Government announcement

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued the following on Friday:

    ODNI Announces Transition to New Telephone Metadata Program

Friday, November 27, 2015
November 27, 2015

In January 2014, in a speech at the Department of Justice to address domestic and international concerns regarding U.S. intelligence activities, President Obama announced that the Intelligence Community would end the NSA bulk telephony metadata program conducted under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. The President directed the Intelligence Community and the Attorney General to develop options for a new approach to match the capabilities and fill the gaps that the Section 215 program was designed to address without the government acquiring this  metadata in bulk. Based on a recommendation from the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General, and after carefully considering the available options, in particular accepting one of the key recommendations of the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, the President announced in March 2014 that the government should no longer acquire this data in bulk. Instead, the President indicated that the data should remain at the telephone companies with a legal mechanism in place that would allow the government to obtain data pursuant to individual orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approving the use of specific numbers to serve as the basis for the targeted production of telephony metadata.

The President also noted, however, that legislation would be required to implement this new approach and the administration worked closely with Congress to enact the President’s proposal. On June 2, 2015, Congress passed and the President signed the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015. The Act reauthorized several important national security authorities; banned bulk collection under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, under the pen register and trap and trace provisions found in Title IV of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), or pursuant to National Security Letters; adopted the new legal mechanism proposed by the President regarding the targeted production of telephony metadata; made significant modifications to proceedings before the FISC; and built on the U.S. Government’s unprecedented transparency about intelligence activities. With respect to the new mechanism for the targeted production of telephony metadata, to allow sufficient time to implement a new system while at the same time avoiding any lapse in a national security program, the USA FREEDOM Act provided for a 180-day transition period during which the existing NSA bulk telephony metadata program may continue.

On November 29, the transition period ends. Beginning Sunday, November 29, the government is prohibited from collecting telephone metadata records in bulk under Section 215, including of both U.S. and non-U.S. persons. And, while under the prior program NSA collected metadata in bulk and sought court approval for individual queries, the USA FREEDOM Act requires that the government must now base any application for telephone metadata records under FISA on a “specific selection term”—a term that specifically identifies a person, account, address, or personal device in a way that limits the scope of information sought to the greatest extent reasonably practicable. This further ensures that collection of information for intelligence purposes is appropriately focused and targeted, and is limited to information that telephone service providers have historically used for their internal billing and operational needs.  Moreover, under the Act, the Government will report annually to Congress and to the public, among other things, the total number or orders issued under this authority and the number of targets of such orders.

As previously stated, NSA analytic access to the historical metadata collected under Section 215 has ceased. However, NSA has requested limited access to historical Section 215 metadata until February 29, 2016, limited to technical personnel and solely for the purpose of verifying that the new targeted production mechanism authorized by the USA FREEDOM Act is working as intended. The FISC is currently considering this request.

Separately, NSA remains under a continuing legal obligation to preserve its bulk 215 telephony metadata collection until civil litigation regarding the program is resolved, or the relevant courts relieve NSA of such obligations. The telephony metadata preserved solely because of preservation obligations in pending civil litigation will not be used or accessed for any other purpose, and NSA will destroy the Section 215 bulk telephony metadata as soon as possible upon expiration of its litigation preservation obligations.

With the transition period ending, the Intelligence Community has fulfilled an important Presidential commitment that allows national security professionals to retain the capabilities necessary to continue protecting the country, while strengthening the civil liberties protections that the American people cherish.

View the “Implementation of the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015″ Factsheet

What do you think?

I'd love to believe a change has come but I'm just not that naive.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Hillary Ready" addresses the craven nature of Cranky Clinton.


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Saturday, November 11, 28, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the Anbar Provincial Council objects to the war planes bombing Falluja, Haider al-Abadi appears to be slipping, and much more.

Today, the US government announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Bomber, fighter, attack, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Baghdadi, two strikes destroyed two ISIL rocket rails and damaged a third ISIL rocket rail and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Albu Hayat, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Mosul, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL mortar position and four ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Ramadi, seven strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL home-made explosives cache, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL boat, an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb, two ISIL buildings, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL ammo cache, two ISIL weapons caches, and an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Sinjar, four strikes struck three separate tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and three ISIL vehicles.

The bombings have no positive effect.

They do, however, terrorize the Iraqi people.

For example, ALSUMARIA reports the Anbar Provincial Council issued a statement today decrying the bombing by warplanes flying over Falluja and notes that these bombs are effecting the lives of civilians and contributing to the deaths of "women and children and the elderly."  Civilians in Falluja are calling for an end to the bombings and safe passage out of Falluja.

Anbar is largely Sunni and what's taking place there in the so-called name of 'liberation' is not seen as such by everyone.

  • It's funny, isn't it, how when Iraqis object to actions by Bully Boy Bush, we on the left rush to insist that they be heard.  But when they're not pleased with Barack, we turn our backs on them and act like they weren't speaking.

    Or we whine about the US government interfering in an election but when Barack Obama overturned the results of Iraq's 2010 election, we fall silent.

    It's because so many of us lack ethics and integrity.

    Did someone say whore?

    Why facts matter/How Big Media Failed Us in Iraq via @BillMoyersHQcounturl= via

    Oh, can you tell us again about Bully Boy Bush?

    Please, ugly Grandma, can you tell us one more time about that?

    Bully Boy Bush is a War Criminal.

    He's also out of office.

    Even the cheapest whore or coward can now call out Bully Boy Bush.

    But remember Katrina's grand standing because it's why THE NATION is sinking.

    And things will only get worse.

    The digital age means Barack's two terms won't be like Bill Clinton's for THE NATION.

    They can pretend -- and do -- that they held Bill's feet to the fire and led the fight for the left.

    But they didn't.

    Their whoring then is protected as it existed at the early stages of the internet.

    Their whoring under Barack?

    It's all over the internet.  Not just us, but WSWS and many others have called them out.

    They have failed to fight against Barack's continued war but Katrina sticks her ugly, big nose into Iraq anytime she thinks she can score points against Bully Boy Bush which, let's all be honest, is her attempt to turn the 2016 election to the Democrats.

    She doesn't care about Iraq.

    She never has.

    That's why she repeatedly ignored Americans who refused to fight -- or continue to fight -- in Iraq.

    War resisters found no support from Katrina.

    And we documented that in real time.

    So the ugly, old whore -- with a racist grandfather who got the family rich by ripping off African-American entertainers (including Lena Horne) --  needs to grasp that she's not fooling anyone.

    And her father's connections to the intelligence community -- which, when noted on her Wikipedia page, she has her interns scrub -- are part of the control of the left and she needs to be rejected completely by the left.

    She lies so well from her Harlem mansion.

    In the real world, Loveday Morris (WASHINGTON POST) reports:

    In a mansion tiled with salmon-pink marble, Sunni politician Osama al-Nujaifi greets visitors in an expansive meeting room. From a chair flanked by the national flag, he insists he is still vice president of Iraq — even though Iraq’s prime minister says he is not.

    Nujaifi’s position and Iraq’s two other vice presidencies were eliminated by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in purported cost-cutting measures announced this summer. But there is little change at Nujaifi’s office. His staff is still paid, he said, and he is working as normal.
    Nujaifi’s defiance highlights Abadi’s weak hand as he fails to execute anything but superficial changes after pledging wide-ranging reforms in response to street protests. Smelling blood as he flounders, his political rivals have turned on him, while ­Iranian-backed militias leverage what they can from him.

    Barack backed Nouri (after Bully Boy Bush installed him).  He gave Nouri the second term that the Iraqi voters had denied him.

    Then when Nouri's strident hatred of Sunnis became even more intolerable even Barack had to walk away.

    Not too far, he can't tire himself out, after all.

    He stayed in Nouri's political party (Dawa) when picking the new prime minister of Iraq in August 2014.

    He didn't pick well.

    That's become obvious with each passing month.

    Haider al-Abadi's a failure.

    In a speech today, ALL IRAQ NEWS notes, Haider declared that he has accomplished reforms and cited opening up (a tiny) part of the Green Zone and Baghdad's night life as successful reforms.  He also spoke of the necessity to prosecute corruption . . . but offered no examples of success with that goal.

    Opening a small spot of the Green Zone -- and not even open to all Iraqis -- was treated as a major move by the press -- those who actually reported on the opening, however, tended to note how nothing had really changed.

    And Baghdad's night life was already doing well before Haider became prime minister.

    In fact, the biggest problem for Baghdad's night life was -- and remains -- Shi'ite police that regularly try to shut down clubs for 'morality' reasons.

    As Barack continues to back Haider, it's interesting to note that the  only real support he receives in Iraq comes from the man the US government has branded a threat to the US.

    ALL IRAQ NEWS reports Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr has called for Haider al-Abadi to continue his push for reforms even in the face of the appeal that a coalition led by Osama al-Nujaifi has filed with the Federal Court of Iraq to overrule Abadi's move to cancel the posts of vice president.  ALSUMARIA notes this follows an October 24th decision upholding Haider's move.  However, Wael Grace (AL MADA) reports Parliament's stating that despite voting to pass the bill they have never received the official legislation on this move.

    Nothing gets sorted out.

    On the political front, US Senator John McCain is in Iraq and has Tweeted the following on his meet-ups.

  • Starting imp't trip to w/ visiting PM & discussing fight vs
    Embedded image permalink

    1. Will be live from tomorrow w/ , discussing latest on fight vs terror

    Media Matters has their Soros-bought panties in a wad as usual.

  • yes, has invited two GOP senators to discuss Iraq tm. No panel scheduled re: PP terror attack

  • It's all binary and political games to Bitch-boi Boehlert and the other Soros whores at Media Matters.

    Real critics would point out that the two senators support more war on Iraq.

    They'd note that this means to war hawks will be on and that there will be no voices of peace.

    But for Boehlert isn't about actions or opinions, it's just about team jerseys.

    They don't do media critiques at Media Matters, they just spread the text equivalents of venereal diseases.

    Turning to some of today's violence,   IRAQI SPRING MC reports government forces shelled Salman Village today resulting in the deaths of several civilians.  ALSUMARIA notes a suicide car bomber in Tuz took his own life and the lives of 5 other people with fifteen more left injured,, a Tarmiya roadside bombing killed 1 person, and former MP Mishan al-Jubouri's cousin was kidnapped in Hillah and then found dead hours later.  al-Juburi is also a Sheikh in the al-Jiburi tribe and he is part of the Sunni community in Iraq.  In addition, AFP reports, "A bomb-rigged mass grave believed to hold the remains of more than 120 people killed by the Islamic State group has been found in north Iraq, an official said today."

    Meanwhile, David Pugliese (OTTAWA CITIZEN) reports newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will reportedly keep Aurora surveillance jets and at least one military refuelling aircraft in Iraq:

    The move would placate coalition allies, particularly the United States, who view the refuelling plane and the surveillance aircraft as valuable contributions to the ongoing air campaign.
    The move would also allow Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to continue to say he is keeping his election promise of withdrawing Canada’s six CF-18 fighter jets. Trudeau promised to end Canada’s combat mission in Iraq and Syria by bringing the CF-18s home before March. Sources have said that there is a good chance the Polaris and the Auroras will stay… is unclear at this point how many Canadian Forces personnel will remain in Kuwait to support the planes.


    Thursday, November 26, 2015

    The Mindy Project

    Okay, I watched several episodes of The Mindy Project.

    Is it awful?


    And sometimes I laugh loudly.

    But I really don't need that baby.

    I don't know how many episodes I watched but the last one was where Danny was headed for California because his father had a stroke or heart attack.

    Beverly and Tamara were funny as always.

    I liked how Mindy couldn't remember Jeremy's name and called him Jeremarie.

    I liked the woman from Orange Is The New Black being Tamara's friend and their Tweets back and forth when Tamara thought Jeremey's girlfriend Whitney was cheating on him and the White House was trying to figure out what to do about Syria?  That was hilarious and the best moment of the season so far.

    I'll probably stream again just to catch Adam Palley's return.

    If I do, I may blog a little more in depth.

    But I'm just not into the baby.

    This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Thursday, November 26, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Ramadi is still not liberated, the US continues bombing Iraq, UK Prime Minister David Cameron insists only bombing can keep the UK safe, the Defense Dept Tweeted what?, and much more.

    Thanksgiving was celebrated today in the United States and Canada.  The US government celebrated by dropping bombs on Iraq.  The Defense Dept announced:

    Strikes in Iraq

    Bomber, fighter, attack, ground attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 23 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, one strike destroyed two ISIL rocket positions.

    -- Near Albu Hayat, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Kisik, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles and five ISIL bunkers.

    -- Near Mosul, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and an ISIL checkpoint and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, and an ISIL building.

    -- Near Ramadi, seven strikes struck five separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL mortar, two ISIL structures, an ISIL boat, an ISIL front-end loader, cratered an ISIL road, suppressed an ISIL vehicle’s movement, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sinjar, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL heavy machine gun, two ISIL fighting positions, damaged an ISIL vehicle, suppressed an ISIL heavy machine gun, and wounded an ISIL fighter.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.

    Bombings have gone on since August of 2014 and haven't solved a thing.

    Isn't this almost verbatim what Tony Blair told us in 2003?

    Photo published for David Cameron says bombing IS in Syria will make UK 'safer' - BBC News

    Bombing the Islamic State, David Cameron insists, will make Iraq safer?

    What safety has come from all these bombings?

    ARUTZ SHEVA notes, "The US has been bombing the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria since mid-2015, accounting for the vast majority of the coalition's air strikes."

    Nothing's come of it, the Islamic State continues.

    Iraq's being destroyed as a result.

    Who knows what environmental damage is being done.

    The US government's previous use of depleted uranium has resulted in massive birth defects who knows what these bombings will result in?

    Right now, it's just supposed to be a wonderful gift -- bombs falling on your country.

    That's not all the US government is doing in Iraq though.

    For example, US President Barack Obama sent US troops into Iraq to train or 'train.'

    The Defense Dept Tweeted the following confusing item today:

  • I'm sorry, who is that US Marine training?

    I don't see training in that photo.

    I see a US Marine standing guard.

    Back in July, Hope Hodge Seck (MARINE TIMES) reported on Al Taqaddum Air Base and how 400 troops were there.  Of course, their presence doesn't really go to the airy training Barack insisted was going on.

    So many lies, so many deceptions.  This week, the US Embassy in Baghdad announced the following:

    On November 22-23, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Iraq to discuss a range of political, security, and economic issues with government officials. While in Baghdad, Deputy Secretary Blinken met with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri, and other senior officials. During his meetings, Deputy Secretary Blinken reaffirmed the U.S.-led Coalition’s continued support to Iraq and praised the recent successes of the Iraqi Security Forces- including the Peshmerga and Popular Mobilization Forces – in the campaign to degrade and ultimately defeat Da’esh.  Deputy Secretary Blinken also announced $38.7 million in additional economic assistance to Iraq, which will support government reform initiatives as well as post-conflict stabilization efforts.
    Deputy Secretary of State Blinken also traveled to Erbil, Iraq, for meetings with Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, and other senior leaders in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.  During his visit to Erbil, the Deputy Secretary also met with internally displaced persons from various parts of Iraq, in both camp and non-camp locations, underscoring the United States’ ongoing commitment to working with its international partners, the Government of Iraq, and the Kurdistan Regional Government to facilitate humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons and refugees.‎

    On this topic, National Iraqi News Agency reports:

    It is said that Anthony Blinken visited Iraq last Sunday to discuss a range of political, security and economic issues with government officials.

    During his stay in Baghdad, he met Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jubouri and other senior officials.

    He also visited Erbil and held meetings with the President of the Kurdistan region Massoud Barzani and Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and other senior leaders in the region

    Nearly $39 million for reforms?

    What reforms?

    What has Haider al-Abadi done that's a reform?

    I guess he eliminated the positions of vice president, right?

    RT reports today:

    Turkey could bring the world to the brink of the next global conflict, Iraq’s vice President Nuri al-Maliki said in the wake of the downing of a Russian bomber by Turkish air forces.
    "Erdogan's double standards and aggressive policies are threatening a new world war," al-Maliki said in a statement as he criticized the policies of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, AFP reported.
    The Iraqi politician, who is a former prime minister of the country, also accused Turkey’s leader of hypocrisy as he commented on Turkey’s claims of a short violation of Turkish airspace by the Russian warplane which was downed by the country’s air forces.

    Here's the AFP report and they also refer to thug Nouri as "vice president."


    It was mere months ago that Rudaw reported:

    In an effort to implement a series of political reform Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi decided Sunday morning to eliminate the post of Vice President and other high-ranking positions, and reduce the excessive number of official bodyguards.

    A statement from Abadi’s office read that “The posts of Vice President and deputy prime minister would be eliminated immediately,”

    Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) reported it this way:

    After weeks of protests demanding better government and a call by leading Shi'ite Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for tougher action, Abadi proposed cancelling Iraq's multiple vice president and deputy prime minister positions, currently shared out along sectarian lines.
    Iraq has three vice presidents, two Shi'ites and a Sunni, and three deputy prime ministers, a Shi'ite, a Sunni and a Kurd. Critics say the set-up say hands high office to unqualified candidates and encourages corruption.
    Mounting public anger at the state of politics, expressed in protests in Baghdad and several southern cities, risks hampering Abadi's efforts to rally support for the fight to push Islamic State militants from territory in the north and west.
    One of the vice presidents, Nuri al-Maliki, who stepped down as prime minister last August after eight years of what critics said was ethnically divisive rule, backed the proposal.
    Wait, what was that last part?

    Maliki, who belongs to the same party as Abadi and still wields significant influence, said Saturday evening -- before Abadi outlined his plan publicly -- that he supported the reform drive.
    So Abadi's big reform was sacking the three posts of vice president?
    And Nouri al-Maliki agreed with that?
    But the three remain vice president -- including Nouri?
    Guess that $38 million of US tax dollars -- for support of non-existent reforms -- won't be wasted.

    Violence continues, as always.  THE JOURNAL OF TURKISH WEEKLY notes, "Twelve people were killed and another 42 injured late Wednesday in separate attacks in Iraq’s Baghdad, Anbar and Diyala provinces, according to local police sources."

    Tuesday, the US Embassy in Baghdad issued the following statement:

    November 24, 2015

    The U.S.-led Coalition has consistently encouraged the Iraqi Security Forces to liberate Ramadi as soon as possible, and will continue to provide devastating air power in support of Iraqi ground operations against Da’esh in Ramadi and elsewhere in Iraq. Media reports suggesting that the Coalition has delayed or placed conditions on the Ramadi liberation operation are completely inaccurate.  As Coalition military spokesperson Colonel Steve Warren has repeatedly said, “All the elements are in place to liberate Ramadi.”

    April 15th, Ramadi was seized by the Islamic State.

    It's still not liberated all these months later.

    Press TV says areas are being liberated.  Isn't that sweet.  At this rate, Iraqi forces will be able to 'liberate' Mosul in 2017 or 2018, right?

    Lastly, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Hillary Ready" went up earlier today.

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

    The Mindy Project

    Ever since I announced I was done with The Mindy Project, it's been one series of e-mails after another.

    So here's the plan, I'll try to watch a show or two or three on Thanksgiving.


    I've got a small child, we'll be the holidays with my folks and then my husband's. 

    I may or may not have time.

    But to be clear -- or try -- my issue was I have a baby.

    I don't need to see Mindy raise a child.

    The Mindy Project was about a starry-eyed woman who dreamed of having the rom-com life she saw on the big screen.

    That was funny and a good escape.

    Now that she's a mom and with Danny?

    That's really not the sitcom I signed up for. 

    But, to stop the avalanche of e-mails, I will try to grab some episodes Thursday and write about them here on Friday. 

    This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Tuesday, November 24, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the US government announces more bombs dropped on Iraq, one service member who died in Iraq is identified while another is remembered by those who knew and loved him, Barack Obama apes John Kerry (not a good thing), and much more.

    Russell Hulstine (News On 6) reports on a memorial service planned for today to honor Master Sgt Joshua Wheeler who died in combat last month in Iraq, "The 39-year-old was killed October 22 when he and dozens of U.S. special operations troops and Iraqi forces raided a compound near the city of Kirkuk, freeing approximately 70 Iraqi prisoners."  US Senator Jim Inhofe posted the following to his Facebook page:

    Senator Jim Inhofe
    Government Official28,162 Likes
    November 18 at 7:02am
    Today at 11AM Eastern, an American hero and Oklahoman will be laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery. Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler of Roland, Okla., gave his life in Iraq helping to release 70 individuals that were being held hostage by ISIS. Senator James Lankford and I spoke on the Senate floor in remembrance of Wheeler and shared stories we learned from his friends, family, and fellow soldiers of the selfless life he led in dedication to his country. I hope you will take a moment to watch here:

    Mitch De Leon (Gospel Herald) reports on the memorial:

    "He was a soldier, but I didn't realize he had all of these accomplishments, all these achievements - it just blows my mind," said Zack, the brother of Master Sgt. Wheeler, during the memorial tribute held in his honor in his hometown in Roland, Oklahoma, according to 5News TV. The mourning family member added, "He's an American hero. That's just how Josh was. He just wanted to take care of people. I just hope his sons know how big of a hero he was."
    Master Sgt. Wheeler graduated from Muldrow High School in 1994. He became part of the US Military in May 1995 when he entered as an infantryman. Throughout his career, he garnered some awards for his service to the nation. These included 11 Bronze Stars in which four had been for valor as well as a Purple Heart, which was given posthumously.

    Joshua Wheeler's memorial tribute comes a day after another US service member who died in Iraq was identified.  Fox 5 News reports, "A soldier from Fort Drum in northern New York died on base in Iraq last week, according to the Department of Defense.  Pvt. Christopher J. Castaneda, 19, of Fripp Island, South Carolina, died November 19, 2015, in a non-combat-related incident at Al Asad Air Base, the DoD said. He and his unit were in Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve."  The office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued the following:

    Governor Cuomo directed flags on state government buildings to be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, November 24, in honor of a Fort Drum Soldier who died in Iraq on Thursday, November 19.

    Pvt. Christopher Castaneda died in a non-combat related incident at Al Asad Air Base. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, of the 10th Mountain Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team. He was a resident of Fripp Island, South Carolina.

    "On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend our deepest sympathy to Pvt. Christopher Castaneda's loved ones," Governor Cuomo said. "We are saddened by his loss and join his fellow soldiers, his family, and his friends in honoring his service to our nation."

    Governor Cuomo has directed that the flags on all State buildings be lowered to half-staff in honor of and in tribute to New York service members and those stationed in New York who are killed in action or die in a combat zone.

    While others have dealt with loss, the White House has embraced spin and worse.

    Jason Ditz ( observes, "President Obama, in Malaysia as part of his long-planned trip to Asia, was supposed to be focusing heavily on the Pentagon's 'Asia pivot' as the military component of his visit, but instead is finding himself talking non-stop about the ISIS war, eager to defend his existing strategy in the conflict."

    So eager that he's launching attacks -- baseless ones.

    Josh Feldman (Mediaite) notes Barack declared last week, "I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that's coming out of here during the course of this debate."

    So Barack is aware of the power of rhetoric?

    Would never know by his refusal to curb John Kerry's ugly, vile mouth.

    The Islamic State is most likely not overly upset that the US House of Representatives is currently calling for more safeguards for any refugees from Syria or even if they decide to bar the refugees.

    But they probably do take offense to being called "Da'esh" which is seen as a slur.

    John Kerry's been using the term for a year now.

    At the start of 2015, Joshua Keating (Slate) was pointing out how Barack wasn't joining John in that game. But as Jon Levine (Mic via Yahoo! News) observes, those days are gone.

    Paris gets attacked, Barack gets criticized and suddenly he tosses aside his common sense to act like a hysteric.

    The immigration issue has no real impact on the Islamic State or on who they recruit.

    Barack using the d-word?

    Can we say this has no effect?

    Last month, Lydia Wilson (The Nation) published the results of her interviews with captured Islamic State members being held by Kurdish authorities in Iraq:

    Many assume that these fighters are motivated by a belief in the Islamic State, a caliphate ruled by a caliph with the traditional title Emir al-Muminiin, “Commander of the faithful,” a role currently held by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; that fighters all over the world are flocking to the area for a chance to fight for this dream. But this just doesn’t hold for the prisoners we are interviewing. They are woefully ignorant about Islam and have difficulty answering questions about Sharia law, militant jihad, and the caliphate. But a detailed, or even superficial, knowledge of Islam isn’t necessarily relevant to the ideal of fighting for an Islamic State, as we have seen from the Amazon order of Islam for Dummies by one British fighter bound for ISIS.
     In fact, Erin Saltman, senior counter-extremism researcher at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, says that there is now less emphasis on knowledge of Islam in the recruitment phase. “We are seeing a movement away from strict religious ideological training as a requirement for recruitment,” she told me. “If we were looking at foreign fighter recruits to Afghanistan 10 or 20 years ago, there was intensive religious and theological training attached to recruitment. Nowadays, we see that recruitment strategy has branched out to a much broader audience with many different pull factors.”
    There is no question that these prisoners I am interviewing are committed to Islam; it is just their own brand of Islam, only distantly related to that of the Islamic State. Similarly, Western fighters traveling to the Islamic State are also deeply committed, but it’s to their own idea of jihad rather than one based on sound theological arguments or even evidence from the Qur’an. As Saltman said, “Recruitment [of ISIS] plays upon desires of adventure, activism, romance, power, belonging, along with spiritual fulfillment.” That is, Islam plays a part, but not necessarily in the rigid, Salafi form demanded by the leadership of the Islamic State.
    [. . .]
    These boys came of age under the disastrous American occupation after 2003, in the chaotic and violent Arab part of Iraq, ruled by the viciously sectarian Shia government of Nouri al-Maliki. Growing up Sunni Arab was no fun. A later interviewee described his life growing up under American occupation: He couldn’t go out, he didn’t have a life, and he specifically mentioned that he didn’t have girlfriends. An Islamic State fighter’s biggest resentment was the lack of an adolescence. Another of the interviewees was displaced at the critical age of 13, when his family fled to Kirkuk from Diyala province at the height of Iraq’s sectarian civil war. They are children of the occupation, many with missing fathers at crucial periods (through jail, death from execution, or fighting in the insurgency), filled with rage against America and their own government. They are not fueled by the idea of an Islamic caliphate without borders; rather, ISIS is the first group since the crushed Al Qaeda to offer these humiliated and enraged young men a way to defend their dignity, family, and tribe. This is not radicalization to the ISIS way of life, but the promise of a way out of their insecure and undignified lives; the promise of living in pride as Iraqi Sunni Arabs, which is not just a religious identity but cultural, tribal, and land-based, too.

    Is it hard to grasp reality or have too many just ignored reality for too long?

    The Islamic State spreads because of the way Sunnis are persecuted in the region.

    The Islamic State spreads and grows because no one will stand up for the Sunnis on the world stage.

    Those sympathetic to IS feel Sunnis are being humiliated.

    So how the hell is the answer to start using a term that is seen as derogatory to describe a Sunni group?

    You want to push those sympathetic to IS even closer to the Islamic State?

    Mock the Islamic State.

    Let Barack play your basic moron on Comedy Central instead of president, let him go into the gutter and who do you think wins that battle?

    Barack acting like a braying ass will help how?

    Barack should be trying to maintain dignity while making calm and rationale statements against the Islamic State and its actions.

    Doing that will allow him a shot at being heard by those who might be attracted to the Islamic State.

    Contrast that with his using the d-word and mocking.

    At a time when the driving force for IS recruitment is the persecution and humiliation, in what world is the answer to be seen as bullies talking trash?

    Wilson appeared on Democracy Now! last week:

    AMY GOODMAN: What drove the ISIS prisoners that you talked to? And describe the setting where you talked to them.

    LYDIA WILSON: So, they were prisoners. They had been through due process. They had been found guilty of terrorism for various vehicle explosions and assassinations within Kirkuk. And so, I was given access by the police, and I was interviewing them before they were serving their sentence.
    And so, they were quiet, to begin with. And when I gave them a chance to talk and to ask more open-ended questions, it became very clear that they were fueled by a lot of anger, anger primarily against the Americans, but also against their government, that they perceived as Shia, sectarian, and anti-Sunni. They perceived that everybody was against them, that they weren’t given a chance in their own country. And many of them were poor. They were very low education rates—one was illiterate entirely—and big families and often unemployed. So, ISIS was not only offering them a chance to fight for their Sunni identity, but they were offering them money. They were being paid to be foot soldiers. And, I mean, one of them was the eldest of 17 siblings, and his story was that he hurt his back and couldn’t earn any money as a laborer, which he had been doing.

    Now, this money was greatly appreciated by them all, but that’s not to say it’s only economic need. There was this driving anger against Americans, against the occupation—but not in terms of this ideology that we see coming out of the ISIS official publications or through social media. It was anger—it was much more personal. It was much more about their own childhoods and adolescences, that they had been blocked from having a normal life because, as they saw it, of the American occupation.


    There are some serious issues to address.

    John Kerry is clearly not qualified to address them.

    Hopefully, Barack is.

    He's in the White House until late January 2017.

    Hopefully, he can do something during that time.

    He needs to.

    Guy Taylor (Washington Times) reports:

    Key tribal leaders from Iraq’s Sunni Arab population say U.S. officials have failed to work with them in the fight against the Islamic State and assert that Russia is now increasingly eager to fill the void — even inviting influential sheikhs to visit Moscow and air their grievances.
    While the Obama administration admits its push for a “Sunni Awakening 2.0” to break the Islamic State’s hold on Iraq has gone more slowly than hoped, the claims made by five separate Sunni tribal sheikhs in interviews with The Washington Times paint a far bleaker picture, one in which Washington appears to have bungled a chance to recreate an approach that worked against the terrorists in the past.

    How does this address the perception that no one will stand with the Sunnis?

    It doesn't.

    It pushes the message that no one cares about the Sunnis.

    Certainly Lara Logan didn't give a damn about them on Sunday when she did the report on 60 MINUTES which only acknowledged the Sunnis when speaking of . . . the Islamic State..

    Sunni fighters against the Islamic State don't apparently exist -- not in Lara's report.

    So Sunnis risk their lives in Anbar Province to fight against the Islamic State and Lara Logan can't even acknowledge them?

    And you wonder who's winning hearts and minds.

    The United States government has refused -- repeatedly -- to stand up for the Sunnis.

    This was most obvious with regards to spring massacre.

    The April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

    The US could have stopped that.

    One call to Nouri saying, "Cut it out or we cut the funding."

    That's all it would have taken.

    But the US government -- the White House -- was still determined to stand with Nouri.

    (Hawija is over 98% Sunni.)

    Time and again, crimes against the Sunnis were ignored and/or tolerated by the US government.

    Barack has a lot of work to do to make up for the impression he's already set.

    Mocking the Islamic State to the giggles of various Shi'ite thugs will not help Barack but it will make some Sunnis even more hostile towards those they see as degrading and attacking the Sunni population.

    Meanwhile new developments in the war on the Islamic State?  Pacifica Evening News puts it mildly, "Turkish Military Downs Russian Jet, Complicating Global Response to Syrian Civil War."

    The US Defense Dept claimed/bragged yesterday:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 19 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Abu Hayat, one strike struck an ISIL staging area.

    -- Near Rutbah, one strike struck an ISIL vehicle bomb facility.

    -- Near Fallujah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles and wounded two ISIL fighters.

    -- Near Habbaniyah, one strike destroyed an ISIL artillery piece.

    -- Near Kisik, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Makhmur, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and two ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Mosul, one strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Ramadi, five strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle, eight ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL house bomb, two ISIL recoilless rifles, an ISIL weapons cache, an ISIL building, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sinjar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL fighting position, and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Hit, one strike destroyed an ISIL bridge section.

    Today, they added:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, one strike stuck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL staging area and an ISIL building.

    -- Near Fallujah, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb and three ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Mosul, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Ramadi, eight strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL excavator, an ISIL bunker, five ISIL weapons caches, five ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL buildings, an ISIL mortar position, an ISIL bomb, an ISIL staging area, damaged three ISIL entrenchments, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sinjar, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed one ISIL fighting position and an ISIL supply cache.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL light machine gun and three ISIL fighting positions.

    It's not working.

    And it's past time Barack devoted significant resources to diplomacy to work out an actual political solution.

    Turning to the arts, Friday, Carly Simon's SONGS FROM THE TREES was released -- Kat reviewed it here (she also reviewed Adele's 25)-- and it's the musical companion piece to Carly's memoir BOYS IN THE TREES which went on sale today.

    Boys in the Trees

    A Memoir

    Carly Simon
    Flatiron Books

    Simon's memoir reveals her remarkable life, beginning with her storied childhood as the third daughter of Richard L. Simon, the co-founder of publishing giant Simon & Schuster, her musical debut as half of The Simon Sisters performing folk songs with her sister Lucy in Greenwich Village, to a meteoric solo career that would result in 13 top 40 hits, including the #1 song "You're So Vain." She was the first artist in history to win a Grammy Award, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award, for her song "Let the River Run" from the movie Working Girl.

    The memoir recalls a childhood enriched by music and culture, but also one shrouded in secrets that would eventually tear her family apart. Simon brilliantly captures moments of creative inspiration, the sparks of songs, and the stories behind writing "Anticipation" and "We Have No Secrets" among many others. Romantic entanglements with some of the most famous men of the day fueled her confessional lyrics, as well as the unraveling of her storybook marriage to James Taylor.

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