Saturday, July 16, 2016

Another endorsement for Jill Stein

Haleth: "They say it is hopeless, my lord." Aragorn: "There is always hope."




Viggo Mortensen is supporting Jill Stein:


“If you want a woman then vote for Jill Stein,” he says. “If you really want a woman president—if that’s what you want—vote for Jill Stein. I trust Hillary about as much as I trust Donald Trump. I think she’s dishonest, I don’t think she has the interests of working people at heart, and I think she’s shown that time and again. All the things that Bernie Sanders said about her I agree with.”




It's the only real choice unless you love a War Hawk.

If you want a War Hawk,  vote Hillary.




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


Thursday, July 14, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the bombings continue, talk of even more US troops headed to Iraq, Bernie's betrayal of his supporters, and much more.



Today, the US Defense Dept announced:


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

-- Near Baghdadi, five strikes struck an ISIL beddown location, an ISIL staging area, two ISIL weapons caches and an ISIL weapons storage facility.

-- Near Qaim, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL staging area.

-- Near Beiji, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Habbaniyah, a strike destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun.

-- Near Haditha, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL bunker, four ISIL tents and an ISIL petroleum, oil and lubricant site.

-- Near Hit, a strike destroyed an ISIL artillery piece.

-- Near Kisik, two strikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Mosul, a strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

-- Near Qayyarah, two strikes destroyed an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL checkpoint and an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Ramadi, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Rawah, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.


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.


Monday, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter visited Baghdad.  Paul D. Shinkman (US NEWS & WORLD REPORTS) notes the visit:

Along the way, Carter has solidified through promises and plans what most Americans have feared since the rise of the Islamic State group and the resurgence of Taliban aggression, both amid political upheaval throughout the region: that President Barack Obama cannot follow through on his campaign pledges to end U.S. wars in the Middle East. 
In truth, these conflicts are ramping up in intensity. And from Carter's perspective, there's no immediate end in sight to America's participation.

Iraq, for example, has witnessed the continual slow trickle of U.S. advisers and special operations troops back into training bases and combat operations. Carter's announcement this week in Baghdad that the U.S. will deploy 560 additional troops raises the total number of American forces in the country to 4,657. 



The Iraq War is not ending.


Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2008 on the promise that he would end it within 16 months of taking office.

That did not happen.


The editorial board of THE PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE points out, "Mr. Obama, in principle, withdrew all American forces from Iraq at the end of 2011, as President George W. Bush had pledged and he had affirmed in his 2008 campaign his intention to do. So what, exactly, is going on now? Should it be called mission re-creep? Or just stupid, unnecessarily risky and expensive?"

The next president will preside over the Iraq War.  If that president is Hillary Clinton, it's doubtful the Iraq War will end anytime soon.  This week, Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders gave up his bid for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  Instead, the senator announced he was backing War Hawk Hillary.

Activist Gloria La Riva is the presidential nominee of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and she responds to Bernie's move below:


Hillary Clinton was a champion of the Iraq invasion. One million Iraqis died as did thousands of U.S. service members. She demanded the bombing of Libya in 2011 and now Libya, like Iraq, is in fragments. She is currently leading a militant struggle to criminalize the BDS movement that stands in solidarity with Palestinian people. The leading Republican neoconservative imperialist “experts” are supporting Clinton in 2016 and raising money for her campaign. You cannot support an imperialist war hawk and have a political revolution at the same time.
Our campaign stands with those people in the Bernie Sanders movement who do not agree with the idea of supporting Hillary Clinton. Even though I am running an independent socialist campaign for president I was hoping that Sanders would win the Democratic nomination. I urged registered Democrats to vote for Sanders in the closed primaries in the critical states of New York and California. I knew how much the Democratic establishment and Wall Streets billionaire bankers were trying to crush Bernie in their support for Clinton.
Now Bernie Sanders has officially endorsed Hillary Clinton, just weeks away from the the convention in Philadelphia. Those who have declared themselves “Bernie or Bust” and “Never Hillary” now face intense pressure to unite behind Clinton. It is unfortunate that Sanders himself felt that pressure. The whole impetus and attraction of the Sanders campaign was to fight the 1% and the status quo, of which Clinton is the complete embodiment and preferred candidate!
In his endorsement of Hillary Clinton, Bernie extolled Hillary Clinton’s virtues in addition to arguing that people must unite to stop Trump. Yes, Trump is an odious bigot, racist and misogynist and we should continue to organize a mass movement against him. But every four years the “progressives” are told to prevent the greater evil by supporting the corrupt capitalist politicians who use the Democratic Party branding and then implement the same anti-people policies as the Republicans once they are elected. This is precisely why one of every two people in this country now lives in or near poverty. We need a real political revolution against both ruling class political parties.
I urge Sanders’ supporters to not only vote socialist but to get involved with our socialist campaign, and to help build a powerful grassroots people’s movement to fight the billionaire class before and after the elections.
The entire rigged primary process has demonstrated the utter bankruptcy of the Democratic Party as a vehicle for real social change.

Only the people organized and fighting together can truly make history. Millions of people, especially young people, now look to socialism as an alternative to the capitalist system that is robbing them of a future.



Glen Ford (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) also reacted to Bernie's warm embrace of Hillary:


Bernie Sanders this Tuesday consummated his sheepdog agreement with the Democratic Party, delivering a formal endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president.  The capitulation script that Sanders read in New Hampshire, with the cackling Banshee of War at his side, could have been written back in the spring of last year, when he formally threw his hat into the race. From the very start, Sanders was firm in his allegiance to the Democratic wing of the corporate duopoly, and any indications to the contrary were purely products of his supporters wishful imaginations.
Bernie Sanders did not lie to his followers; they deceived themselves, just as most of them – the ones that were old enough – had fooled themselves into believing that Barack Obama was a peace candidate and a political progressive back in 2008, although Obama’s actual record and policy pronouncements showed him clearly to be a corporate imperialist warmonger – a political twin of his principal primary election opponent, Hillary Clinton and her philandering, huckster husband.

Back then, phony leftists like Bill Fletcher and Tom Hayden swore on their mothers’ honor that Obama’s campaign was really a people’s movement, a prelude to revolution – as if the Democrats, a militarist corporate political party, could give birth to an anti-corporate, anti-militarist people’s revolution.


Gary Leupp (COUNTERPUNCH) offers:

The worst disservice Sanders has done to his supporters, other than to lead them on a wild goose chase for real change, is to virtually ignore his rival’s vaunted “experience.” He need not have mentioned Hillary Clinton’s Senate record, since there was nothing there; her stint as law-maker was merely intended to position her for a run for the presidency, according to the family plan. But there was a lot in her record as Secretary of State.
As she recounts in her memoir, she wanted a heftier “surge” in Afghanistan than Obama was prepared to order. Anyone paying attention knows that the entire military mission in that broken country has been a dismal failure producing blow-back on a mind-boggling scale, even as the Taliban has become stronger, and controls more territory, than at any time since its toppling in 2001-2002.

Hillary wanted to impose regime change on Syria in 2011, by stepping up assistance to armed groups whom (again) anyone paying attention knows are in cahoots with al-Nusra (which is to say, al-Qaeda). In an email dated Nov. 30, 2015, she states her reason: “The best way to help Israel…is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.”



Patrick Martin (WSWS) observes, "In his remarks Tuesday in New Hampshire, Sanders declared that his campaign would continue, in the form of an all-out effort to elect Hillary Clinton president and elect Democratic majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives. To call such an outcome a 'political revolution' is, to say the least, a cynical fraud."



Bernie's betrayal leaves many wondering who to vote for.


Along with Gloria La Riva, the alternatives include Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.


Gary Johnson is the presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party.



If joining Sen. Sanders in the Clinton Establishment isn't a good fit, there IS another option...








Jill Stein is the front runner for the Green Party's presidential nomination.



Top Sanders supporter Cornel West endorses Jill Stein:






So honored to have Dr. Cornel West's support!





















Earlier this week, Rebecaa offered "put jill stein and gary johnson in the debates:"



glenn asks a good question:



How can third-party candidates be excluded from the debates when the 2 leading ones have a combined 15% in polls?

 
 
 



jill stein (presumed green party presidential candidate) and gary johnson (libertarian presidential candidates) belong in the debates.

is this america or not?

if it's america, open up the debates.

democracy requires openess.

open up the debates.

that should be the rallying cry: open up the debates.





Returning to the topic of Ash Carter's visit to Baghdad, dropping back to Monday's snapshot:


Today, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter visited Iraq and declared, "And I'm pleased to report today in that connection that we agreed for the United States to bolster the Iraqi efforts to isolate and pressure Mosul by deploying 560 additional troops in support of the ISF and especially at the Qayyarah West airfield."
[. . .]
Dan Lamothe and Loveday Morris (WASHINGTON POST) explain, "The decision to deploy more service members will elevate the number of U.S. troops the Pentagon counts in Iraq to 4,647. Unofficially, that figure is probably closer to 6,000 when considering a variety of American troops who deploy on temporary assignments that the Pentagon does not include in its official tally."


Close to 6,000 -- before you count the US contractors.


Close to 6,000 -- and more will likely be added.  Phil Stewart (REUTERS) notes:


The U.S. military expects to seek additional troops in Iraq, even beyond the hundreds announced this week, as the campaign against the Islamic State advances, the head of the U.S. military's Central Command told Reuters.

"As we continue on the mission, I think there will be some additional troops that we will ask to bring in," U.S. Army General Joseph Votel said in an interview in Baghdad on Thursday, without disclosing a number.



Thomas Gaist (WSWS) summarizes the Iraq War:


The seizure of large areas of Iraq by ISIS-led Sunni insurgents and the threatened collapse of the Baghdad government of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi have forced the Obama administration to authorize a slow-motion reinvasion of the country, as the only way to maintain Washington’s hold over the highly strategic country. Having reduced the official troop presence to barely 100 after declaring the war “over” in 2011, President Obama now routinely signs off on new deployments of hundreds more US troops, destined to oversee, guide and participate in large-scale warfare, across Iraq.
Prime Minister Abadi, touted as a stalwart US ally upon his installation as prime minister in September 2014, in contrast to the more Iran-aligned Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (2006-2014), has presided over a constantly deepening crisis of the Iraqi state. Already reeling from the takeover of large areas of northern and western Iraq by insurgents, Abadi’s government was roughly shaken in early May, when the militarized central government compound in Baghdad was temporarily overrun by opposition protests organized by the Shia-based Sadrist movement.
The invasion of the fortress-like “Green Zone,” erected by the Pentagon to defend the neocolonial Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) installed by US forces after the 2003 invasion, has forced the Abadi government to impose new militarized check points and martial law measures throughout Baghdad. Just weeks after the Green Zone incident, Abadi made clear his commitment to the US neocolonial agenda in Iraq, proclaiming the “liberation” of Fallujah in late June from the center of the ruined city, while sporting the uniform of the Pentagon-controlled Iraqi Counter Terror Services.

The US ruling elite is determined to offset the political weakness of the Abadi government through a constantly growing military intervention, one that now includes thousands of combat troops and growing amounts of heavy weaponry.








Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Gen X-ers you need to support Jill Stein

I'm Gen X.

Like so many of us, I had to take out student loans for college.

Many of us have crippling debt.

It has placed lives on hold.

Our generation needs debt relief.

One candidate is talking about that.

There are 43 million Americans trapped by crushing student debt right now. No other candidate will say this: we need to bail them out now.


Jill Stein, Green Party, appears to be our only choice.

Think about it.


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


Wednesday, July 13, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the persecution of Sunnis continues, the Iraq War continues with the same goal of keeping the puppets propped up (not protecting the Iraqi people), Tony Blair remains reviled, we argue that he bears the most responsibility for the Iraq War, and much more.


The report from the Iraq Inquiry continues to dominate the news on/from Iraq despite being released last Wednesday, one week ago.


Wes and Helen Holmes (BELFEST TELEGRAPH) write a letter to the editor noting that the blame can be spread around beyond Tony Blair:

Ours is a parliamentary democracy and the resolution to go to war was determined by our political representatives.
As the decision was a shared one, the blame also must be shared.
Given that vast numbers of innocents are dead as a consequence of the invasion it is not sufficient for those responsible to claim they were duped.


They're certainly correct about their type of government.

And I do agree that many share blame.  I would include Gordon Brown (who replaced Blair as prime minister and could have ended the UK involvement much sooner), I would include Barack Obama who has not ended the Iraq War despite being elected on the promise that he would.  I would include members of the US Congress such as Hillary Clinton who voted for it.  I would include members of Congress who pretended to be against it but did nothing to stop it once it started -- US House Rep Barbara Lee poses so well she should be in a wax museum, not in Congress.  Former US Senator Mike Gravel in 2007 and 2008 repeatedly outlined how anyone in Congress could stop the war.  (Gravel was not in Congress during the Iraq War.)  I would include a lot of people.

But of all of them: Bully Boy Bush and Tony Blair would be at the top.  (Barack would be immediately below them because the Iraq War goes on.)

As for who would be at the top?

Tony Blair.

Bully Boy Bush was a laughingstock on the world stage.

He needed Blair as an ally to sell the war.

The so-called coalition of the willing would have been next to nothing without Blair.

Blair had an image -- a false one, but an image -- for being upstanding and forthright.

Blair was deceitful and a liar -- as most of New Labour is and was.

He sold out the people in one neoliberal scheme after another.

But he could have held onto the myth were it not for the Iraq War.

Had he not made the promise long before the war started -- as documented in the report from the Iraq Inquiry -- to stand with Bully Boy Bush no matter what, it's very possible the war would not have started.

France already was thought unwilling to take part (the report throws doubt on Blair and Bush's assumptions there).  To have also not had the longterm ally of England?

It would have been much harder to get the war off the ground.

The war machine in the US -- which does include the media, never forget that:

The 'mainstream' media are guilty of burying facts and stifling dissent on .

 
 
 

The war machine had already slimed the French.  If they had then done the same with the British, late night comics would have had a field day with who was next and Americans would have been even more suspicious of the impending war.

Bully Boy Bush was seen as a deranged cowboy.

Blair was seen as a wise and thoughtful leader.

Without Blair by his side, a case can be made that the Iraq War would not have started.

A case can be made.

That's not: This is what would have happened.

I have no crystal ball.

But we're talking blame and having to go by likelihood so we make a case to determine who deserves more of it and, I would argue, that's War Criminal Tony Blair.


The Iraq War continues.

SPUTNIK reports, "Swedish authorities plan to increase twofold the number of its military personnel deployed in Iraq to train Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, local media reported, citing Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist."  THE LOCAL adds, "Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told Swedish radio's current affairs show Ekot on Wednesday that Sweden had been asked to increase its troops in Iraq from 35 to 70 soldiers."



This increase follows the announcement of the US increase on Monday.  Dropping back to that day's snapshot:


Today, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter visited Iraq and declared, "And I'm pleased to report today in that connection that we agreed for the United States to bolster the Iraqi efforts to isolate and pressure Mosul by deploying 560 additional troops in support of the ISF and especially at the Qayyarah West airfield."
[. . .]
Dan Lamothe and Loveday Morris (WASHINGTON POST) explain, "The decision to deploy more service members will elevate the number of U.S. troops the Pentagon counts in Iraq to 4,647. Unofficially, that figure is probably closer to 6,000 when considering a variety of American troops who deploy on temporary assignments that the Pentagon does not include in its official tally."


Bit by bit, the numbers increase.  This is the definition of mission creep.

The Iraq War continues.

Some lie -- or maybe they're just that ignorant -- and insist this is not the Iraq War, this is about fighting the Islamic State to defend the Iraqi people.


The Iraq War was never, ever about defending the Iraqi people.

There was never concern for them and that remains true today.

This was about putting a group of US-friendly men in charge of Iraq.

Shi'ite men who were blazen cowards.

They fled Iraq -- unconcerned about saving their country, just worried about saving their own ass.

They fled Iraq.

Once safely out of Iraq, they agitated for decades to get someone to attack Iraq.

During that time, they nursed their grudges and remembered every slight -- real and imagined -- to feed their hatred of Sunnis, to project their anger at Saddam Hussein onto the Sunni people.

Once the US-led invasion began, these cowards returned to Iraq (around the time Baghdad was 'liberated').

And the US government put them in charge and drove the Sunnis out of the government.

Even over objections from the British (check out the Iraq Inquiry report and wonder why we're not talking about that section -- which was one of the biggest points in the public testimony, check the archives here) this was done.

If this isn't the same Iraq War, why is the US supplying weapons to these returned exiles -- these returned exiles who persecute and oversee the persecution of the Sunni population.


alKhafaji Shia militia commander Abu al Fadl al Abbas threatens to kill all prisoners in Nasiriyah prison

 
 
 


Iraqi Sunni child Victim of Iraqi army air strikes painful
 
 
 



 
 
 
Iraqi government crimes طفله عراقية سنيه قطع الحشد الشيعي يدها وقدمها وقتل اختها فقالت موعدي يوم القيامه
 
 
 






The Sunnis are persecuted -- openly.

And the US government is not protecting them.

The US government is not demanding that they be brought into the political process though Barack's repeatedly given lip service to that in speeches directed to Americans.

There is no diplomatic effort despite Barack promising that.

So let's stop pretending that the fight against ISIS is about protecting the Iraqi people.

It's about protecting the US-installed leaders.

There's a big difference.

And that's why Mosul's been held by the Islamic State for over two years now -- no US-installed leaders to protect there.



Annie Slemroad (IRIN) covers militias in Iraq and we'll note this:


Asaib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Family of the Righteous) Having split off from the Mahdi Army with leader Qais al-Khazali before it was disbanded, AAH are considered to be one of the more brutal groups on the battlefield.
Khazali himself was captured by coalition forces and released after three years in 2009, reportedly in exchange for British citizen Peter Moore.
AAH is seen as close Iran, and Khazali has boasted that his fighters honed their skills on the battlefields of Syria. Former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki is also an important ally.
Human Rights Watch singled out AAH and another militia for criticism after it said they abducted and killed “scores” of Sunnis and demolished Sunni homes, stores, and mosques as retribution for a January bombing claimed by IS.

At the time, HRW’s deputy Middle East director Joe Stork said: “again civilians are paying the price for Iraq’s failure to rein in the out-of-control militias”.



Not reportedly, it happened, Barack made a deal with the terrorists.

Sorry if you're late to the party but let's drop back to the June 9, 2009 snapshot:


This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."


Well -- well that was just reported in 2009!!!

Stop sputtering.

It was confirmed in 2011.



This is from the July 9, 2011 entry entitled "League of Righteous tells Barack the deal is off:"


Al Mada reports they have issued a statement where they savage the US government for not honoring -- and quickly honoring -- the agreement made with them. As a result, they say Alan McMenemy will not be released.

Peter Moore, the only one released alive, was a computer tech working in Iraq. Four British bodyguards were protecting him. The bodyguards were McMenemy, Jason Swindlehurst, Alec MacLachlan and Jason Cresswell. The families of the four have continued to publicly request that Alan McMenemy be released.

They condemn the "procrastionation" of the US government after the deal was made and state that a promise was also broken when "US forces did not stop attacks" -- apparently Barack made very grand promises -- so now Alan McMenemy will not be released. The statement is credited to Akram al-Ka'bi.

What the statement really does is demonstrate what many condemned in 2009: The US government, the administration, entered into an agreement that did not benefit the US or Iraq. They freed known killers from prison. Killers of Iraqis, killers of American citizens. There was nothing to be gained by that act for Iraq or the US. At some point, history will ask how Barack Obama thought he was fulfilling his duties of commander in chief by making such an ignorant move?




Their leaders were captured.

This deal was brokered and it was covered in the Arabic press -- which even has an interview -- published in English -- with the Iraqi brokering the deal.

This isn't 'reported' or 'alleged' its confirmed by the League of Righteous.

Today, AFP reports a Hussainiyah checkpoint (near Baghdad) was attacked by a suicide bomber who took their own life and the lives of 4 others with at least twenty-one people left injured.  AP updates with 8 dead and states it was a suicide car bomber.


And there's also this:

30 |i army soldiers killed and injured in a VBIED attack north Baghdad..
 
 
 















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