Friday, March 3, 2017

Pelosi and her corrupt cronies

What did the 2016 election say to you?

To me it said the two corporate parties didn't give a damn about the voters.

We had two of the worst nominees of all time.

But that's apparently not the lesson.


Dave Lindorff (CounterPunch) explains:

The Democratic Party leadership, both in the Democratic National Committee and in Congress, is full of bad ideas these days, and they’re risking disaster because of it.


After the November election fiasco, you’d think a party that left controlling the governments of just 13 states of the 50 states, compared to 32 for Republicans, and that has just lost every lever of power in Washington — the White House, the Senate, the House and the Supreme Court — would be rethinking its whole approach to reaching American voters and trying to figure out where it went wrong over the last several decades.


Instead we’re hearing a whole lot of the same old bad ideas, and some new ones that are even worse than bad.


Take Nancy Pelosi, the dinosaur representative from San Francisco who once was the House speaker, back when Democrats controlled that lower chamber of Congress. She says Democrats should “just wait” until Trump voters realize that they have been misled by their candidate, on the assumption that they will then flock to the Democratic Party in 2018.


Just wait?  Doesn’t Pelosi get it yet? America’s working class — black, hispanic and white — has for years been “waiting” years in vain for the Democratic Party to come back to its roots and start helping them, instead of helping the toney entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and the toney hedge-fund managers on Wall Street to get richer?  Wait for what? Voters both independent and Democratic abandoned the Democratic Party in droves in November because they finally woke up and realized it had abandoned them, and that “just waiting” for them to come back to a party that betrayed them is not going to work at all.


As I’ve written, plenty of those “deplorables” who voted for Trump in states that used to be reliably Democratic first voted in the Democratic primary for Bernie Sanders, either as Democratic Party registrants or as independents. They only turned to Trump when the choice was Trump or Clinton, whom they recognized as corporatist Democratic party hack. Many have told pollsters and interviewers that they voted for Trump and the Republicans not because they liked them, but to “shake things up” because the Democrats have been ignoring their plight.


Exactly.

When Hillary lost to Donald, it should have been obvious that the Democrats need to rethink.

Instead, they just want to keep doing the same thing.

Nancy Pelosi is so corrupt and she's far from alone.

That's why she supported US House Rep. Corrine Brown all that time.

The inability to replace this woman who has led the party in Congress through one defeat after another goes to the corruption.

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


Friday, March 3, 2017.  Chaos and violence, Congress goes rah-rah for forever war on Iraq, laments that Donald Trump may be harming the chances for a permanent US military presence in Iraq, and much more.


Senator Bob Corker:  Just based on the people you talk with, you get no sense that there's not a longer term commitment, do you?  Every US official I'm talking to understands what you just said about the fact that we've got to be there for some time.  You get no sense of that from anyone you talk with do you, to the contrary?

Hardin Lang:  No, sir.  I guess the question is the need to actually sequence and start the negotiations as soon as possible, while we're still at this moment of high level leverage.

Senator Bob Corker:  I think -- I think they understand what needs to be left behind.  I think those conversations are underway and I get, uh, no sense, for what it's worth, that there's anyone  that wishes to have another 2011 type activity [the US military drawdown].  I would just like to ask, are you'll getting any different signals from anyone?


Michael Knights: So it's true that there is a new understanding and willingness to continue the mission including with the coalition partners as well as US.

Senator Bob Corker: Yeah, no question.






Corker is the Chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Senator Ben Cardin is the Ranking Member.  On Tuesday, the Committee held a hearing on Iraq and the two witnesses were The Washington Institute's Michael Knights and the Center for American Progress' Hardin Long. And there you have the tiny range of dialogue from the slightly right-wing Knights to the center-right Long and the organizations they represent.

No where in the hearing were you going to get common sense.

Taken for granted was that, because billions had been spent, more billions must be spent.

And they only mentioned the money -- the four -- they didn't mention the lives lost.

The Iraq War, which hits the 14 year mark later this month, must not end.

Not only was that the only position the Committee elected to express, no one was even allowed to question that premise.

If you're an idiot who, at this late date, blames the Iraq War solely on Republicans, let's note  a few of the disgusting remarks by Ranking Member Ben Cardin, a Democrat.


Ranking Member Ben Cardin:  There's no question we've made a great investment in Iraq and it's in our national security interest to make sure that Iraq becomes a stable country, does not become an Iranian-client state which is one of the fears I think many of us have.  We don't want to see the type of collapse we saw in the Iraqi Security Forces that we saw in 2014 so it does require the attention of the United States and our coalition partners in order to give Iraq a chance for uh a national government to represent all of its people and a security force that can maintain the security in the region.  So I want to point out a couple of challenges we have and then see whether you think we should be doing.  One challenge is whether we will get the Iraqi cooperation on the maintaining of our troops or a military presence in their country. There is political considerations here. When the president's executive order named Iraq as one of the countries we would not accept refugees that makes it difficult for the Iraqi government to work with the United States on the continued military presence.  Or when statements are made about taking the Iraqi oil, that certainly is not conducive to the type of political support that we need from the Iraqi government.


Oh, you grand standing bitch.

As a member of the House in 2002, you represent the people and vote against the Iraq War.

You join the Senate (2006) and you can't stop supporting it.

Ben is an embarrassment.

So is the US Congress as a whole.

Whatever happened to the Out of Iraq Caucus in the House?

Whatever happened to US House Rep Barbara Lee decrying the Iraq War?


At least Lynn Woolsey can say she's no longer in Congress.

But others can't make the same claim.

John Lewis, Charles Rangel, Jan Schakowsky, Maxine Waters, (again) Barbara Lee, Keith Ellison, Sheila Jackson Lee . . .

It's a huge list.

Even now with Jim Moran out of office, for example, or Tammy Baldwin now a US Senator.

Where is the sanity?

The discussion in Congress currently is even more narrow than it was from 2003 to 2006.

Nothing ever gets solved but how they thunder on today as though they have answers, as though they are the solution.

They are not the solution.

They are never the solution.

Let's just use one example.


Chair Bob Corker: So let me ask you this.  The Kurds are obviously moving towards independence.  We spent a great deal of time with them [on the recent visit to Iraq].  I know they're not quite as strident with their conversations with [Iraq's Prime Minister Hayder al-] Abadi but they're strident when they come see us here and certainly very strident in Kurdistan.  Give us a sense of the impact of that should they move, uhm, to uh-uh further cause themselves to be independent from-from Baghdad.


Michael Knights:  So, at the moment, the discussion in Kurdistan around independence, I think, has a very economic flavor.  There's an understanding that, if relations with Baghdad break down, the Kurds would lose access to a number of-of economic aid supports.  They would also potentially have more complicates access to international security assistance and that they might well face greater legal challenges at exporting their oil.  I don't detect inside the Kurdish leadership a near term ambition to push quickly for independence -- more to kind of negotiate a kind of amicable divorce over a period of five to ten years with the Baghdad government.

Chair Bob Corker: You want to say anything to that?



Hardin Long:  No, I would only add that at the moment when one spends time in Kurdistan you get the feeling that there's a tremendous amount of internal house cleaning that needs to be done.  There's a lot of political friction and difficulties between the different Kurdish parties.  And much of the economic state building program in Kurdistan is on hold. 

Chair Bob Corker: Mmm-hmm.


Hardin Long:  So in terms of Kurdistan becoming a viable state anytime in the immediate future, again, there seems to be a separation from the rhetoric that we hear from the Kurds and then the closed door conversations about what they really think is in the realm of the possible.

Chair Bob Corker: I think the fact that they'd have to ship their oil through Turkey and could well become a sub-state of Turkey if they're not careful obviously causes concern.  And so to have a non amicable relationship with Iraq would be very much not in their interest.


It is 2017.

Two weeks away from the start of this never-ending war that began in 2003.

And US politicians are still dickering around about the fate of Kurdistan?

It's the northern region, it's semi-autonomous.

The fate of the KRG should have been resolved back in 2007.

The Iraqi Constitution declared that (Article 140).

The US State Dept has never supported it while, on every other issue, insisting that 'the law' must be respected.

It's in the Iraqi Constitution.

It needs to be implemented.

But why has that not happened?

Because of the conversation we transcribed above.

Oh, no, Turkey might have a greater say . . .

It's not about peace.  It's about control of the oil.

And Ben can have a fit in Congress all he wants playing the elderly drama queen.

Reality: If US President Donald Trump's remarks meant that the Iraqi government would not allow a permanent US military presence in Iraq?  That would be a good thing.

Reality: His remarks don't matter.  The US installed the Iraqi government, it can't survive without US troops.  That's why Barack was able to get the Memo of Understanding -- that no one wants to report on despite the fact that it continues to govern the US military presence in Iraq.  He got that after the SOFA expired.

And Nouri al-Maliki did not say "no" to renewing the SOFA, he said no to the what he saw as the limited number of US troops Barack was offering (that would have protected Nouri's government).  Nouri did want a few thousands, he wanted at least 15,000.


That was the breaking point.

And we should also note that over five years ago, the RAND Corporation was noting that the unresolved issue of Kirkuk was one of the great fault lines in any future of Iraq.

But no one pays attention until they're forced to.

When things 'calm down' in Iraq, they'll be forced to.




Chair Bob Corker: Let me ask you, the PMF.  One of you mentioned those that are aligned with Iran.  Certainly, they should not be a part.  Look, most of them are aligned with Iran so?  I mean there's a law that's been passed relative to the popular mobilization forces.  It looks like they're going to be a part of the security infrastructure there.  They are very much aligned with Iran -- most of them.  There are a few that aren't, as you alluded to Mr. Lang [Long], but I mean this is a fact of life there.  I'm just wondering.  Uhm - uh, I don't see this not being a fact of life and are you guys sensing there's something, some different outcome, that may occur with the PMF other than them being part of the security infrastructure there?


Hardin Long: I think the real danger at this stage would be if you see the PMF -- or elements of the PMF, particularly the 3 or 4 large ones that are backed by Iran -- the extent to which they remain outside of the ISF [Iraqi Security Forces] -- and I think that there probably is a degree of intention inside of them to do so -- that becomes a danger point.  And then, for us, it's the danger of the investment that we make in the Iraqi Security Forces going forward to serve as a balance against that that becomes crucial.


Michael Knights: I know that the PMF are very splintered, they're very difficult to consolidate under one electoral banner or under one common control arrangement.  So splintering them down to their irreconcilable elements like Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq versus other elements related to the [Shrine?] militias -- and even Bard, there's always a potential   that a group like Badr which is the largest PMF entity could be mainstreamed over time and could be broken down into subcomponents with a clever policy.  Also anywhere where the Iraqi Security Forces is present, they're able to effectively counter-balance the PMF presence.  In a place like Basra for instance where there has been no major Iraqi army since 2013, we see true breakdown and true militia control.


War Crimes don't get discussed.

Apparently, it would 'sully' the halls of Congress.

Instead we fret that the ones carrying out War Crimes are 'too close' to Iran.

It's all a big dog and pony show and it's all depressing and disgusting.


However, Congress isn't the only place for whoring.


There's always THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Judith Miller, at her worst, wasn't as bad as Rukmini Callimachi, a War Hawk who's now covering Iraq and can't stop slobbering over the Iraqi military -- I've been told that Rukmini has seen War Crimes carried out as she has been embedded and has not reported those -- that comes from two journalists in Iraq.

She's a whore.

If you doubt it, read this . . .



Sometime I feel embarrassed by the extent of Iraqi hospitality. Here's the spread we were treated to after knocking on this commander's door

 






They feed you?

They feed you and you whore a little more?

You're supposed to be detached from your subjects.

Not Rukmini.  She's the ultimate embed.


Oh, and day 137 of The Mosul Slog.  Yes, it continues.


The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan and the House Veterans Affairs Committee -- updated:





























































  • Thursday, March 2, 2017

    The war mind

    I hope you caught Darius Shahtahmasebi's piece at IHC.  Here's the opening:

     


    March 02, 2017 "Information Clearing House" -  "Antimedia" - In order to determine the truth when it comes to the mainstream media’s coverage of American-led offensives in the Middle East, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of any article. This is where the most important information can be found. As can be seen in a  BBC report on the U.S.-backed offensive to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State, the last line of the article reads:
    “The UN said in late January that almost half of all the casualties in Mosul were civilians. At least 1,096 have been killed and 694 injured across Nineveh province since the start of October.” [emphasis added]
    Compared with a separate BBC report on the Russian-backed offensive to retake the Syrian city of Aleppo, the media’s coverage of these two military operations can hardly be viewed as balanced. In that report, the idea that Russia is constantly killing civilians is laid out in almost every paragraph.
    A spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)  reportedly told Russian state-owned news site RT that the situation in Mosul is “incredibly desperate.”
    In Mosul, 650,000 civilians are reportedly at risk, and as the U.N. has indicated, half of those being killed in the U.S.-backed operation are civilians. The notion that American bombs are safer and more precise than Russia’s has no evidentiary basis, nor does any suggestion that the troops the U.S. military is fighting alongside are less violent than Russian or Syrian authorities. In fact, the troops fighting alongside the U.S. in Iraq are more or less aligned with those attempting to liberate parts of Syria from terrorist groups, anyway. This demonstrates America’s completely bipolar approach to the Middle East given the U.S. has consistently opposed advances made by these troops in Syria.

    War is something too many Democrats embrace.

    They didn't just embrace it under Obama.

    They did so under Bush as well.

    If they hadn't given him the votes in Congress, he wouldn't have gotten his approval for the Iraq War.

    The Congress, sadly, represents the party.

    Pathetic and willing to grovel daily.

    That may be harsh but it's how I see the Democratic Party.  (I'm a Green.)

    They cave and cave and then take a moment to cave again.


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


    Thursday, March 2, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, if the frequently reported dead Abu Baghdadi is dead he apparently returned as a ghost to issue a message, what is the State Dept not doing, and we look a burn pits.





    Iraq War veteran Amie Muller died last month.  Her death is most likely related to her exposure to the burn pits.  Jennifer Mayerle (WCCO) speaks with her family including her widow Brian Muller:

    The Mullers believe Amie’s diagnosis is linked to her time in the Air National Guard. She did two tours in Iraq, in 2005 and 2007. And during that time she was exposed to toxic burn pits — where it’s documented that chemicals, paint, aluminum cans, munitions, petroleum, among other things, were constantly burned.
    “Environmental, that’s the biggest cause of cancer, so there’s no question that a 36 year old with pancreatic cancer, with no history of pancreatic cancer in her family, that had to be related,” Brian said.
    During her journey, Amie had the strength to stand up for veterans who were also exposed. She worried the answers will come too late for many.

    “My dedication to her is to honor that and to keep that story alive and make sure that veterans get taken care of,” Brian said. 



    June 13, 2012, Senator Mark Udall explained burn pits while speaking to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee:



    In both Afghanistan and Iraq, open air burn pits were widely used at forward operating bases.  Disposing of trash and other debris was a major challenge.  Commanders had to find a way to dispose of waste while concentrating on the important mission at hand.  The solution that was chosen, however, had serious risks.  Pits of waste were set on fire -- sometimes using jet fuel for ignition.  Some burn pits were small but others covered multiple acres of land. Often times, these burn pits would turn the sky black.  At Joint Base Balad Iraq, over 10 acres of land were used for burning toxic debris.  At the height of its operations, Balad hosted approximately 25,000 military, civilian and coalition provision authority personnel.  These personnel would be exposed to a toxic soup of chemicals released into the atmosphere.  According to air quality measurements, the air at Balad had multiple particulates harmful to humans: Plastics and Styrofoams, metals, chemicals from paints and solvents, petroleum and lubricants, jet fuel and unexploded ordnance, medical and other dangerous wastes.  The air samples at Joint Base Balad turned up some nasty stuff. Particulate matter, chemicals that form from the incomplete burning of coal, oil and gas garbage or other organic substances, volatile organic compounds such as acetone and benzene  -- benzene, as you all know, is known to cause leukemia --  and dioxins which are associated with Agent Orange.  According to the American Lung Association, emissions from burning waste contain fine particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and various irritant gases such as nitrogen oxides that can scar the lungs. All of this was in the air and being inhaled into the lungs of service members.


    Udall was championing a burn pit registry in the Senate.  It was a long battle and included many supporters in Congress (such as former Senator Evan Bayh and former US House Rep Todd Akin) and veterans, VSOs, family members and more.

    And while that was ultimately successful, all that has happened thus far has been a registry.

    And people are suffering and dying.


    Last week, Mark Brunswick (STAR TRIBUNE) reported:

    On Feb 24, more than 800 of her friends and family gathered at a memorial service in Woodbury to remember the life of the 36-year-old mother of three. A pastor noted her loss was both painful and seemingly incomprehensible.
    "I wish there was a simple way to explain what has happened to Amie. Why Amie is gone," said Pastor Lisa Renlund. "Life truly isn't that simple. It can get messy. It can feel complicated. It can seem unfair."

    But others also are remembering Muller's battle to win recognition from the U.S. government for victims of the burn pits, which have the potential of becoming the Iraq and Afghanistan wars' equivalent of the Vietnam War's Agent Orange. It took nearly three decades for the U.S. government to eventually link the defoliant used in Vietnam to cancer.



    And when that happened, please note, it ended Jim Webb's political career.

    Webb had been the rising star Democrat because there's nothing the press likes better than a 'moderate' (in this case, a Republican who switched to the Democratic Party to run for office).  And they made him a star.

    But Webb slit his own political throat by opposing the victims of Agent Orange.

    Let's drop back to the September 23, 2010 report on that day's Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing:


    Today we heard US Senator Jim Webb babble on and, when he's insincere, his voice cracks.  It was like the episode of The Brady Bunch where the kids are set to record a song but Peter's voice begins changing and won't stop cracking.  As he used opening remarks to recount his entire resume at length -- everything but working the counter one night and giving a veteran a free milk shake -- that voice cracked and cracked.  Why was that such a hard thing for him.  "We have a duty," Webb insisted as he added coughs to his bag of tricks.  And "this is not simply a cost item."  Oh, now you may be getting why Webb was freaking out.
     
    If not, join us as we drop back to the June 15, 2010 snapshot:
     
     WAVY reports (link has text and video) that victims of Agent Orange (specifically Vietnam era veterans) could recieve addition beneifts for B-Cell Leukemia, Parkinson's disease and coronary heart disease.  Could?  A US Senator is objecting to the proposed changes by VA.  Jim Webb has written VA Secretary Eric Shinseki that ". . . this single executive decision is estimated to cost a minimum of $42.2 billion over the next ten years. A regulatory action of this magnitude requires proper Congressional review and oversight."  Besides, Webb wrote, "Heart disease is a common phenomenon regardless of potential exposure to Agent Orange." That is really embarrasing and especially embarrassing for the Democratic Party (Webb is a Democrat today, having converted from a Reagan Republican).  It also goes a long way towards explaining Webb's refusal to get on board with Senator Evan Bayh's bill to create a national registry that would allow those Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans to be able to receive treatment for their exposures without having to jump through hoops repeatedly.
     
    And if you doubted that Webb was about to try to pull out the axe on Vietnam veterans benefits, you had to only give him a few more seconds as he began bemoaning that the law was written one way (yes, he is a 'framers' intent' and 'original construction' type politician)  and then expanded (to "dual presumptioms both based on very broad categorizations").  What are the expansions?  It's been expanded to allow payments to Vietnam Veterans suffering from Parkinson's disease, ischemic heart disease and hairy cell leukemia.  VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is not someone we praise blindly here (to put it mildly) but the hearing was really about Shinseki's 'performance,' specifically with regards to expanding the categories -- based on medical and science evidence -- qualifying for payments. 
     
    There's a whole dance going on beneath the hearing that few will ever notice.  If there was anything sadder than Webb's remarks it was Senator Jon Tester who felt the need to praise Webb "for asking some very tough questions."  To watch some of the  senators today was to be aware they appeared to think leukemia, heart disease and Parknson's is little more troubling than adult acne.
     

    Senator Roland Burris was one of the most straightforward and it's too bad that the Democratic Party establishment loathed him because, as usual, when veterans needed an advocate on the Committee, Senator Burris could be counted on.  "There's no price that we could put on what we can do with those veterans suffering from those chemicals that were sprayed throughout that country."  "Budget shortfalls," Burris noted, were no excuse for not providing for veterans.   Was it telling that Jon Tester walked out while Burris was making that statement?  Maybe he was just needed elsewhere.  Although that certainly doesn't explain the ugly glare visible on his face as he left, now does it?
    These moves are what destroyed Webb's career.  Veterans and veterans groups followed what The Debra Messings never do.  They didn't need a meme or Instagram to give them marching orders, they merely followed actual events.
    And the backlash is why Webb did not seek re-election and why his attempt to secure the Democratic Party's presidential nomination was so brief.
    He destroyed his own political career by refusing to honor the victims of Agent Orange.
    That should be true for all those who refuse to honor the victims of the burn pits.
    Again, there is a registry now.  That's really it.  It's time for real Congressional action and America should be watching to see who supports the veterans and who betrays them -- the latter group should be sent packing as swiftly as 'rising star' Jim Webb was.


    WDIO notes:

    Senator Amy Klobuchar said over the phone on Monday that 36 is far too young, to lose someone like Amie. She also said in a statement, "We owe her our gratitude. My heart goes out to her family and friends. There are an increasing number of our brave men and women returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan citing illnesses potentially caused by burn pits exposure. I am going to keep fighting so that these veterans receive the support and care they need."
    There is a Burn Pit registry, which nearly 100,000 veterans have signed up for. Klobuchar has introduced legislation that would create a center of excellence, so the information from the registry can be used to help these vets.




    Day 136 of The Mosul Slog.  There are reports (such as here) that Abu Baghdadi, supposed leader of the Islamic State, has declared that ISIS has been defeated.  Of course, over the last two years, there have been repeated reports that he has been killed.

    If he is alive, possibly he has admitted defeat.

    Regardless, the fighting goes on.

    And the dying.

    MIDDLE EAST MONITOR reports:

    A number of civilians and suspected [Islamic State] members were killed in an attack that hit a mosque that was being attended by residents and damaged neighbouring houses in the west of the Iraqi city of Mosul yesterday, three residents said today.
    The Omar Al-Aswad mosque, in the Al-Faruq district of the old city centre, was hit by an airstrike, three residents in the same area told Reuters by phone.

    Neighbouring houses were damaged or collapsed because of the blast, they said without giving a precise estimate of the casualties as their moves are restricted by the militants and also Iraqi government shelling and aerial attacks.


    The 'success' -- it's also noted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees today:

    191,826 persons internally displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since military operations to retake the city resumed on 17 October 20161
    21,770 UNHCR kits of core relief items (CRIs) distributed to families in camps, assisting some 129,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Mosul and surrounding areas
    7,167 family plots are currently occupied out of 14,781 family plots (for some 88,000 people) in UNHCR built camps that are ready to receive IDPs displaced from Mosul corridor.
    3 million IDPs since January 20142

    250,952 Iraqi refugees registered and hosted in countries in the region, in addition to 13,768 Iraqis received in Al Hol camp in Syria since 17 October 2016



    UNAMI kind of made an announcement today -- shifting it to FACEBOOK instead of their usual outlet:


     
    On the release of news -- are we going to be the only ones noting that the entire month of February passed without a single US State Dept daily press briefing.
    There was none.
    There was not one yesterday, March 1st, and there's not one scheduled for today.
    Are we going to be the only ones noting this?
    We covered the State Dept under Bully Boy Bush and under President Barack Obama.
    There was never a month taken off.  Outside of Christmas holidays, there was never a week taken off.
    The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS, BLACK AGENDA REPORT and DISSIDENT VOICE --  updated:
  •  




    Wednesday, March 1, 2017

    The story of the African-American woman

    I saw this Tweet and thought, "Seriously?"

    I mean are people this short on fuel that they have to try to be outraged like this?



    Kelly Anne couldn't be bothered to be the slightest bit respectful or professional in a room full of black men for this meaningless Photo Op


    I really don't care that the woman is on the couch Tweeting.

    Do you?

    Is it really the end of the earth?

    And I'm even more offended by the "Black men" comment.

    As usual, African-American women know the drill.

    Come on, sisters, I'll lead us all to the back.

    Do you not see women in the photo?

    Women of color?

    And yet the person who Tweeted saw only African-American men.

    How telling?

    Hidden Figures?

    It's not just a movie, it's the story of the African-American woman.


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


    Wednesday, March 1, 2017.  The Mosul Slog continues, the so-called press continues to flounder, and much more.


    THE DAILY BEAST remains one of the sorriest sites online.  They lost Nancy A. Youssef (to BUZZFEED) and how does that happen?

    You have a journalist who can actually do the work required and write it up in a way that informs.

    And you're not smart enough to grasp how rare that is?

    Instead, they let Nancy move on and they kept Kimberly Dozier.

    Dozier had some talents in TV.  She can condense a story into 90 seconds or less.  It never imparts anything of value but TV news blips really aren't supposed to provide context or illumination.  From CBS, she went to AP where she floundered but got a pass due to some of the topics.

    Now she's at DAILY BEAST (and CNN) where all her flaws are on full display.

    Such as in her latest piece of junk.


    She's reporting on what she's being told about US President Donald Trump's plan for Iraq.

    What she's being told.

    She hasn't read it.

    So she's left to do what she always does, half-assed work.

    And, goodness, does it show.

    Context?

    She has none.

    She yammers away in desperate need of a camera operator to signal 'wrap it up' or a copy editor to tell her she's covered no new ground.

    The Iraq War?  It's about to enter year fourteen this month.

    If you're covering it today, rote really isn't the way to go.

    She tries to pretend that saying Donald Trump's plan is just a copy of Barack Obama's while forgetting that Barack's was just a copy of Bully Boy Bush's plan.


    The plan is three parts, she's told.

    1) Military battles

    2) targeting ISIS finances and recruitment

    3) "defeating the ideology"

    Like the kid bluffing his way through an oral report on a book he never read, Kimberly blathers away and only makes clear that she has no understanding or grasp of any issue.

    The third issue is the one she breezes past.

    It's really the only issue to focus on.

    Yesterday, the US Defense Dept announced:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Coalition military forces conducted 16 strikes consisting of 81 engagements in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Baghdad, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS-held building.

    -- Near Mosul, five strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units and an ISIS staging area; destroyed seven mortar systems, four vehicles, four fighting positions, three ISIS-held buildings, two anti-air systems, two rocket-propelled grenade systems, two vehicle bombs, a supply cache, a vehicle bomb facility and an unmanned aircraft control station; damaged six tunnels and six supply routes; and suppressed 21 mortar teams and an ISIS tactical unit.


    -- Near Qaim, 10 strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed two vehicle bomb factories, two ISIS media facilities, an improvised explosive device factory, a weapons storage facility, an anti-air artillery system, a vehicle, a fuel storage tank, an ISIS staging facility and an ISIS financial facility.




    I think everybody grasps that.

    Barack initiated that in August 2014 and the strikes have taken place daily.

    The freezing of assets, though less covered, is understood.

    On the root causes, Kimberly focuses on social media.

    Social media is not the root cause of the Islamic State.

    Stigmatizing it on social media -- possible but not probable -- doesn't change a thing.

    As everyone paying attention has been noting -- Kimberly Kagan, Patrick Cockburn, us, etc -- there are already new groups coming up in Iraq.

    If the Islamic State is defeated, it's going to be replaced.

    And then it's do the same thing all over again?

    The problem is the government.

    The problem is the persecution of the Iraqi people.

    Bully Boy Bush demanded national reconciliation in his 2007 benchmarks but it never happened.  Barack was insisting on the need for it throughout his two terms and most specifically in his June 19, 2014 speech.

    Until Iraq represents the Iraqi people -- and not just the interests of a few -- there is going to be one group after another rising up.

    Let's be honest why: The leaders aren't Iraqis.

    If you consider an Iraqi person someone who lived there, these cowardly exiles fled in the 70s and 80s.  They only returned after the US-led invasion of 2003.

    And the US government propped them out.

    This allowed them to weaponize their grudges and all they've done is try to avenge the past -- or their perverted version of the past.

    The Iraqi people didn't want to be led by a group of cowards who fled the country decades before.

    Had these exiles made any real efforts at inclusion, the anger would have been stemmed long ago.

    But it hasn't happened.

    The persecution of Sunnis, Christians, every minority, continues.

    The Iraqi forces carry it out while the world watches.

    Every now and then Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi insists that there will be an investigation.

    Like every other investigation in Iraq, nothing ever comes of it.

    Kimberly Dozier mocks Donald for doing the same but she's the one who has the power to change and refuses to do so.

    She's the paint-by-number 'reporter' who lacks all curiosity and skepticism.

    At THE NATIONAL INTEREST, Libertarian Doug Bandow weighs in on a lengthy (permanent?) US presence in Iraq:


    There’s no reason to believe that renewed U.S. involvement will create an honest, effective, nonsectarian government. Nor to think that ongoing payments and training will create a dramatically better and more competent military and other security forces. We’ve already seen the movie and the ending was the Islamic State taking over Anbar, Fallujah, Mosul, Ramadi and much more. In some cases, the Iraqi forces refused to fight. That’s not going to change if Washington sticks around longer.
    [. . .]
    Worse, the sectarian political crisis continues. Iraq’s government remains Shia-dominated and therefore is distrusted by minority Sunnis. After choosing seventh-century brutes over twenty-first century sectarians three years ago, the horrors of ISIS rule caused many Sunnis to back away from the Islamic State. Absent reform, however, they could switch again if they find another group willing to act as their supposed protectors against an abusive central government and sectarian security forces.
    Indeed, post-liberation killings, especially by Baghdad’s militia allies, have accompanied Iraq’s recent victories. These abuses undermine the prospect of reconciliation in Iraq and taint Washington’s reputation as well. Yet the problem could grow in the future. Warned the Washington Post: “If and when the Islamic State is defeated, there is no fully developed plan for how these armed groups can be brought under state control and prevented from exacerbating the sectarian divisions that brought about the militant group’s rise.” If Sunnis are not included in their nation’s future, another sectarian war looms on the horizon.



    You address that or you stop pretending you're addressing anything.

    You don't need boots on the ground to address it.

    You need to use the diplomatic tool box.  You make aid conditional.

    It's day 135 of The Mosul Slog and AP insists, "Troops were approaching Mosul's main government complex in the Iraqi city's western half as they continue to battle the Islamic State group."

    Maybe the claim's true, maybe it isn't.

    Here's some truth:



    : Surge in displacement from -
     
     



    This week, over 4K IDPs from West Mosul arrived in IOM emergency sites: exhausted, need assistance. IOM provides health care&non-food items.
     
     




    In the US, Donald Trump spoke last night.  He didn't mention Iraq, we've got no need to cover it.  (We'll note a statement on it later today -- much later.)



    The following community sites -- plus the House Veterans Affairs Committee and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:





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