Saturday, October 11, 2014

Old Man Somerby is off his rocker again

Crotchety Old Man Somerby took time out from yelling at kids walking on the sidewalk in front of his house to spend Thursday and Friday at The Daily Howler yet again writing thousands of words about his former roommate Al Gore and how Al was mistreated by the press in 2000.

Who gives a f**king s**t?


Are Democrats that disgusting -- I hope not, I'm married to one -- that they really think the most important issue in the world in 2014 is how Al Gore was treat in 2000?

And Bob Somerby is such a liar.

I'm a Green.  I voted for Nader.  I believe Gore Vidal did as well.

And it was Gore Vidal who provided the takedown of Al Gore -- Gore's a distant relative and he explained how Al was in terms of the family.

He was fake, he was phony, he was a liar.

That was Gore Vidal's take on Al Gore.

Bob may not like it but that goes a long way towards explaining the image the press created for Al Gore.

And maybe if Al wasn't so off putting, he could have had a better image.

He was stiff in 1992, he was stiff when 2000 rolled around.

And that's really all I have to say on the matter because it's 2014 and there are serious issues in the world like the bombing of Iraq.

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

Saturday, October 11, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, 4 Iraqi soldiers are killed by . . . the Iraqi military, women are targeted in northern Iraq, Iraqi journalist Raad al-Azzawi is assassinated by the Islamic State, and much more.

Despite a BBC media whore spinning (we'll get to it), violence remains common place in Iraq.

For example, Baghdad was slammed by two bombings today.  Reuters notes the car bombing left 19 people dead and twenty-nine more injured.  AP reports one was a car bombing and the other a suicide car bombing.  Al Jazeera adds, "Also on Saturday, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives belt in a market 28km north of Baghdad, between the towns of Tarmiyah and Mishahda, killing at least seven people and wounding 25 others. The area has been the scene of clashes between Iraqi forces and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters, who have taken control of large sections of northern and western Iraq this year."

AFP adds "The Islamic State group has executed at least four women, including two doctors and a politician, in their northern Iraq strongholds this month, relatives and rights activists said on Saturday." The politician was MP Iman Mohammed Yunnis, the name of the woman who was a law school graduate has not been released but the two doctors are Maha Sabhan and Lamia Ismail.  Activist Hanaa Edwar, of Al-Amal Association. tells AFP, "After going after the ethnic and religious minorities, they are now hunting down Sunni members of civil society groups and anyone remotely connected with the government.  [. . .] When you abduct and kill women, you are really spreading horror."

Along with the above, there was certainly much damage in bombs dropped from the sky.  CENTCOM announced today:

In Iraq, an airstrike north of Tal Afar struck a small ISIL unit and destroyed an ISIL armed vehicle. Two airstrikes northwest of Hit struck two small ISIL units. These strikes, in which the Netherlands also participated, employed attack and fighter aircraft deployed to the Centcom area of operations.
All aircraft exited the strike areas safely, officials added.
At the Iraqi government’s request, U.S. aircraft from several air bases in the Centcom area of operations airdropped 36 container delivery system bundles containing 7,328 halal meals, 2,065 gallons of water and 16,000 pounds of ammunition to Iraqi security forces near Bayji, officials said, and left the airdrop zone safely.

 The airdrops were intended to support the Iraqi forces, which continues to control Bayji, Centcom officials said, noting that areas outside the city remain contested, as ISIL continues to conduct operations in the area.

Oh, those 'precision strikes.'  Another 'precision strike' has left 4 people dead.  The four were Iraqi soldiers.  Wounded Iraqi soldiers, in fact.  Their killers?

The Iraqi militaty.

Al Jazeera explains, "The soldiers, who had been wounded by ISIL fighters, were being taken to hospital when Shia volunteer fighters mistook them for ISIL fighters and fired a rocket-propelled grenade at their vehicle, police and medical officials said."

And actually, that's Reuters explains -- specifically Ahmed Rasheed, Raheem Salman, Ned Parker and Raissa Kasolowsky -- though Al Jazeera forgets to credit the journalists.

Even when the not-so-precise 'precision strikes' hit their intended targets, there's still the problem with ensuring that the people targeted are indeed 'terrorists.'

The four Iraqi soldiers are just the latest in a long list of Iraqis who were wrongly killed.

On Friday, Margaret Griffis ( reports that 197 people died in violence with another twenty left injured.

AP also notes that Iraqi journalist Raad al-Azzawi with Salahuddin Television was killed yesterday in Tikrit according to Salahuddin Province Governor Raed Ibrahim. All Iraq News adds, "The Islamic State (IS) militants executed on Friday a cameraman works for an Iraqi television and three of his relatives in Iraq's central province of Salahudin, a provincial police source said. Raad al-Azzawi, 37, cameraman for local news Sama Salahudin satellite channel, was kidnapped about month ago with his brother and two relatives by the IS militants for alleged collaboration with Iraqi security forces, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity."  Al Jazeera speaks to the family who states Raad and his brother were killed along with two other people who are not identified.  An unnamed relative of Raad's tells Al Jazeera, "They came to his home and took him and his brother.  He did nothing wrong; his only crime was to be a cameraman. He was just doing his job."

September 11th, Reporters Without Borders noted the kidnapping of Raad in a press release:

Reporters Without Borders expresses grave concern over the fate of Raad Mohamed Al-Azaoui, an Iraqi journalist taken prisoner by ISIS on 7 September and threatened with beheading. The Islamic State offensive in Iraq that began last June, shows journalists more unprotected than ever in the face of mounting danger.
The Islamic State since its emergence has made journalists a terror target,” said Virginie Dangles, assistant research director of Reporters Without Borders. “The terrorist organization, in setting up an apparatus for kidnapping and executing news professionals, is attempting to eliminate all those who refuse to swear allegiance to ISIS.”
Al-Azaoui, a camerman for Sama Salah Aldeen TV, was captured by members of the Islamic State, accompanied by about 20 Iraqi nationals, in Samara, in Salahuddin province, north of Baghdad. The jihadist organization has announced that it plans to carry out its decapitation threat because the journalist refused to work for the Islamic State.
Three weeks earlier, on 15 August, members of the jihadist organization had captured Ahmed Khaled Al-Dlimi - known as Bassem Ahmed Al Watani – in Tikrit. His fate remains unknown.
Metro Center, an Iraqi journalists’ rights NGO based in Suleimaniya in Iraqi Kurdistan, has expressed concern following the 13 August capture of journalist and Yazidi activist Tarek Salah Shankali. According to some information from people close to him, Shankali was killed soon after he was taken. But other sources claim he remains a prisoner of the Islamic State.

Iraq’s Journalistic Freedoms Observatory – RWB’s partner organization in Iraq – confirms that ISIS publicly threatened nine journalists by name in Mosul and Salahuddin provinces. The jihadist organization demanded that they stop their professional activities and join ISIS ranks or face execution. In addition, rumours are circulating to the effect that ISIS has seized digital files with personal data on journalists in the two provinces.

 Much has been made over the recent deaths of two American journalists -- you could make a strong argument that their deaths were used by the US government to sell the latest wave of the Iraq War (especially considering the grave disrespect the White House has shown the families of James Foley and Steven Sotloff.).  The two were executed by the Islamic State.  Two British aid workers were also executed -- Alan Henning and David Haines  -- but they received very little attention because they didn't feed into the deep-seated narcissm at the heart of modern-day journalism.  Will Raad fare better in terms of coverage and recognition from western media because he was also a journalist or will his being Arab result in the western press (and governments) largely ignoring his execution?  Online, Conflict Nred is attempting to ensure that he is not overlooked.

In other news, is John Simpson the new Judith Miller?

Set aside the fact that Simpson, unlike Miller, is shockingly obese and looks a great deal like a more feminine Bea Arthur and the answer comes back:  YES!

In fact, "YES!" screams throughout his propaganda report for BBC News where John sees success as he's hauled around safe areas outside Baghdad:  "The other day I was driven in a convoy of awkward but heavily armoured Humvees through the scene of a recent battle near the village of al-Yusufiyah, 20 miles (32km) south-west of Baghdad."  Much closer to the Green Zone than al-Yusufiyah is Abu Ghraib and Jason Ditz ( points out, "Though it is still nominally controlled by the Iraqi military, the key Baghdad suburb of Abu Ghraib continues to have a significant ISIS presence, meaning the fighters are just eight miles away from the runways of Baghdad Airport."

John makes perfectly clear that Brigadier Jabbar Karam al-Taee (who, John squeals, has "his personal Humvee" -- sounds like love!) can eat crackers in his bed any time and John will gladly sleep in the wet spot.
Mainly, he makes clear that there needs to be a new classification for these 'embeds' -- reporters who travel with the military -- and, in John's honor, we'd suggest "spreads."

While he's seeing success as he rides around in Jabbar's Humvee, an unsigned BBC report notes, "Iraqi officials have made an urgent appeal for military help in the western Anbar province, saying the area could fall to Islamic State (IS) militants. The jihadist group has been attacking the provincial capital Ramadi, and has seized army bases in the area."  Jim Sciutto and Greg Botelho (CNN) also report on the Islamic State's continued hold on Anbar (a hold that's continued for months) and offer what appears to be a mini-wave of Operation Happy Talk:

The first official said the U.S. military is more confident right now about the Iraqi military's ability to protect Baghdad. The Iraqi brigades defending the capital are more capable and include U.S. military advisers, so at least Washington should have a better sense there if there's any imminent danger.

That splash in the kiddie pool appears to argue that although Barack's plan is a failure in Anbar, the positive is that the heavily armored Green Zone of Baghdad will continue to resist and repel attacks.

AP quotes the Rand Corporation's Richard Brennan stating, "It's not plausible at this point to envision ISIL taking control of Baghdad, but they can make Baghdad so miserable that it would threaten the legitimacy of the central government."

On Anbar Province, Erin Cunningham (Washington Post) reported Thursday:

The Islamic State’s offensive in Anbar has received less attention than its assault on the Syrian border city of Kobane, which has played out in view of news photographers standing on hills in nearby Turkey. But in recent weeks, Islamic State fighters have systematically invaded towns and villages in Anbar, besieged army posts and police stations, and mounted attacks on Iraqi troops in Ramadi, the provincial capital.
The Islamic State secured a major foothold in Anbar province in January when it seized the city of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi. It pushed farther into the province in June, but Iraq’s government was able to maintain small pockets of authority in the majority-Sunni region.

That was Thursday.  Today?  Laura Smith-Spark, Ben Wedeman and Kareem Khadder (CNN) report:

The situation in Anbar, just to the west of Baghdad, is "very bad," the president of Anbar Provincial Council told CNN by phone on Saturday.
Sabah Al-Karhout said the council has intelligence that ISIS has dispatched as many as 10,000 fighters to Anbar from Syria and Mosul in northern Iraq.
The council's deputy head, Falleh al-Issawi, told CNN that it had asked the central government to intervene immediately to save the province from imminent collapse -- and to request the deployment of U.S. ground forces there.

Of the appeal coming from the officials, Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr states, ""They believe that it is just a matter of days, up to 10 days, and ISIL can control the whole province of Anbar." Friday, the State Dept was asked if there was any thought of moving beyond airstrikes to ground forces and spokesperson Marie Harf replied, "Well, our strategy hasn’t changed and it’s not just airstrikes. If you – I mean, we have said there will be no American boots on the ground in combat roles in Iraq or Syria. That has not changed, period."

That has not changed.



At the same press briefing on Friday, Anbar came up.

Of course, Harf didn't raise the issue, the press had to.

She was too busy attempting to spin the 'success' of Barack's 'plan' which, as we noted Thursday, is taking hits from across the political spectrum.  Excerpt:

QUESTION: Not that the criticism hasn’t been there almost from the beginning of the airstrikes back on August 8th, but there seems to be a cresting of criticism of the Administration’s strategy on confronting ISIL, primarily focused on the airstrikes from quarters as varied as David Ignatius in The Washington Post, Frederick Kagan writing in The LA Times, Congressman Buck McKeon speaking on one of the cable channels in the past couple of days, a former top advisor to General David Petraeus who was with him in Iraq, all suggesting that the airstrikes really need to be backed up at this point by U.S. ground forces.
And my question to you is: Are these people coming from different perspectives wrong? Is the criticism misplaced? What are they and the American public not understanding about the Obama Administration’s strategy?

MS. HARF: Well, a couple of points, Roz. I think, first, it’s easy to sort of try to be an armchair general and look at a very surface level of the strategic picture in Iraq and Syria and offer suggestions. I think that what we are confident in is the strategy as outlined by this President is being implemented by the Department of Defense, by other agencies working on the different five lines of effort, has a very comprehensive and clear path forward here. This is going to be a long fight. No one phase of it will be decisive. That’s how these fights happen. We only – how long ago was it that we started airstrikes? Not that long ago.
As of this week, the Defense Department and our coalition – the U.S. and our coalition partners have conducted a total of 398 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. We have continued to say that we will make every effort to degrade ISIL’s capabilities, to take out their command and control, to go after their sources of financing with the oil facilities, and to really push them back out of parts of Iraq. This is a long-term fight, and looking at any one day or any one week or any one town by no means gives a comprehensive picture of (a) what the fight looks like or how we’re going to take it on.
So I appreciate some of the commentary and understand where it comes from, but it’s just not a comprehensive look of what we’re facing, how we’re facing it, and how we’re fighting it. That’s what the Pentagon is doing. We’re obviously playing a role in some of the other lines of effort. And if you look at other conflicts we’ve faced, these are long-term efforts here. They can’t be driven by any one cable news cycle; that’s just not how it works.

QUESTION: But it’s not just the focus on what’s happening with the status of Kobani. There’s also concern about what is happening in Iraq, which some could argue isn’t getting as much headline attention because of the fighting in Kobani.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But there is concern in particular about the status of Anbar province –

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- where ISIL has been quite aggressive in its –

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- efforts to take large parts of that province.

MS. HARF: And you’re not wrong, Roz, in that ISIL is going to be aggressive. We didn’t think that as soon as we started airstrikes and taking out their fighters and their positions and their tanks that they would just stop fighting. They’ve shown themselves to be brutal, aggressive. That’s why we’re taking the fight to them. But nobody thought as soon as we would take airstrikes they would stop fighting. We know there will be intense fights as part of this conflict in the days and months ahead. We should all be prepared for that. This is a tough fight.
But I will say when it comes to the fact that we are taking direct U.S. military action in Iraq and in Syria with our coalition partners, I just named at the top of the briefing all of the countries even since UNGA that have signed up to take strikes. This is a global effort here to do so. We don’t see an imminent threat to Baghdad at this time. I know there’s been speculation in the press about this.
Iraqi Security Forces in and around Baghdad are strong. They’re under constant assessment. The Embassy remains open and we continue to conduct business. We’ve deployed a significant number of our own military personnel to Iraq and to the region for the protection of American personnel and to advise and assist Iraqi forces.

When it comes to Anbar, it’s difficult to speculate as it has been under severe threat – you are absolutely right – since the beginning of this year. The situation remains very fluid. I’m probably not going to be providing battlefield updates from the State Department podium. But we continue to support efforts by Iraqi Security Forces, working in conjunction with the tribal fighters, directed against ISIL in Anbar. So this is going to be a tough fight. We are committed to it. Our partners are committed to it. You’ve seen us take almost – what did I say? – 400 strikes now. Those are going to continue.

The spin never ends.  If you doubt it, RT reports:

American intelligence officials are trying to blame news reports for failed military attacks against shadowy jihadist groups, arguing that the articles alerted a new terror group to impending air strikes.
Last month, the United States fired 46 cruise missiles at eight locations in northern Syria to target the Khorasan group’s training camps, a munitions center and other sites. However, the attacks only killed one or two key militants, US officials told the Associated Press.
The strikes near a compound in Aleppo didn’t cripple the group because members were able to scatter – something they blamed on news reports highlighting US missile plans. This led to the escape of a French-born jihadi with military skills that officials say they were interested in targeting.

So the problem is the press?

That's actually not even the first time the US government's blamed the press this week.  Dropping back to Monday's snapshot:

And the US government's response to this latest setback -- humiliating setback?  To claim that this is an issue inflated by local media.  Holly Yan, Michael Pearson and Ingrid Formanek (CNN) note:

And the Pentagon, the [unnamed "senior military"] official said, believes there's a media outcry about the situation in Kobani because reporters are there. Many other towns have fallen to ISIS without TV crews present, the official said.

Oh, it's the fact that "TV crews [were] present," that's the problem -- not that Kobani was taken.  In other words, if an Iraqi city falls in the forest when no one is around, it doesn't make a sound.

If the US government didn't have the media to blame, they might have to address the fact that the real problem is Barack's 'plan' is an outright failure.

Note the way the first sentence starts in what Mohamad Bazzi (Mint Press) offers:

As the new Iraqi government grows more dependent on US air strikes and military aid to defeat Islamic State (IS) jihadists, the country’s most revered Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has emerged as an important voice of moderation.
Sistani called on the Shia-led government to keep Iraq united and reconcile with Sunnis. But he has also forcefully declared that foreign powers should not interfere in Iraq’s political affairs.

As the new Iraqi government grows more dependent.

That's not how you build strong governments.

But there's no effort to help build a political solution.

Instead Barack Obama has wasted everyone's time by using not only Defense Dept officials but also State Dept officials to try to round up people to join in the attacks on Iraq.

The 'plan' is a failure.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Vera on 30 Rock

30 Rock was not a great show.

But a few people did manage to score on the show.  They were generally guest stars.

Carrie Fisher, for example, was former Laugh In writer Rosemary in one episde and she was wonderful as she insisted they would have done a sketch about a "mulatto" at an abortion clinic on The Mandrell Sisters.  That still makes me laugh.

Another who scored was Jan Hooks.

Hooks has just passed away.  She was only 57 years old.  She was famous for many things starting with Saturday Night Live.

But for me, she was best guesting on 30 Rock as Vera, Jenna's pushy and selfish mother.

I love it when she tries to endear herself to Jenna.  Jack is on to her.  But Vera's determined, so much so that she and Jenna perform "Do That To Me One More Time" -- and Jack's the only one appalled (it's a song about seduction).

Vera wants to become a reality TV star at one point.

At another her primary goal is to get money for breast surgery.  Just to firm them up, she insists to Jack, because they've slid a bit and "I've already got the meat."

Jan Hooks repeatedly brought joy to so many of us and for me Vera was the perfect part to showcase her many talents.

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

Thursday, October 9, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, World Can't Wait calls out the continued Iraq War, Barack Obama's 'plan' for Iraq is shot down across the political spectrum, 'trend stories' aren't news, 'trend stories' are frequently insulting to women, there's no such thing as a heroic or good suicide bomber, one country's media whores may have to find real jobs (yes, I wish it were the US but it's not) and much more.

Let's start with The World Can't Wait this is from their most recent statement where they point out the problems were not caused by the drawdown of US forces at the end of 2011:

The U.S. withdrawal left what had been a relatively secular country split along sectarian lines, with a weak puppet government, and a huge opening for Islamic fundamentalists to push for religious rule.
No party in this fight, not Islamic militias, not the new Iraqi government — paid for by the U.S. — and certainly not the war machine of the U.S. itself, has "right" on its side. Tomahawk missiles fired from US carriers in the Persian Gulf, drone strikes and bombs can only bring unimaginable suffering to the Iraqi people.
We in the U.S. must speak out against any U.S. attacks on Iraq & Syria. By exposing and standing against the lies and crimes of our government, whether by Bush or Obama, we can make a difference in how people see what's going on.
Months of cable "news" repeating Pentagon press releases, has created a situation where people in the U.S. are  supporting more war on Iraq - and now on Syria - based on lies.   Huge numbers -- enough to elect a Democrat as president in 2008 -- had come to oppose the Bush regime's unjust and immoral war on Iraq.
But now too many people are drawn back into accepting new wars, on the basis that "something has to be done about ISIS."
The Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) is both a response to U.S. occupation of the region, and also literally, in some cases, was created by torture in U.S. prisons in Iraq; by billions of dollars in U.S. arms strewn about the region; and funded by close U.S. allies Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, societies where people also have scarcely any rights.  The Islamic State offers a disastrous future for the people, and is no damn good.
But U.S. occupations, bombs, economic exploitation, and support of every reactionary regime in the region have done more damage, by far, than any Islamic fundamentalist group in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It was the Bush regime that sold the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq — countries which never attacked the U.S. — on the basis of defeating the Taliban and al Qaeda, only to have strengthened the basis on which they operate.
The U.S. military cannot do anything to stop the violence of ISIS. NOTHING good can come from U.S. bombing, and we need to say so immediately and widely. Join us.

Download PDF (half-page, double-sided).


Good for World Can't Wait -- and I mean that.

Too many people are silent, a fact Elaine noted in her last post:

For two years now, I've called out Medea [Benjamin]'s 'protest' literature on The Drone War for slamming this or that person but never Barack Obama.  There are articles she's written condemning The Drone War that don't even mention Barack.
She's a dirty whore.  She was just in Latin America a few months back saying we in the US had to worry because the next president might be worse than Barack.
We're spied on, he kills people with drones, he's apparently after Julian Assange and Ed Snowden, he's started one war after another.
If there's not a movement in the US -- and there really isn't -- that's on the heads and asses of whores like Medea who've spent the last six years applauding Barack and refusing to call him out.

And Elaine's right.

And when others refuse to speak it pushes the work off onto those of us who will and we're already doing all we can.

I'm tired and I'm tired of being online.

But good news, I don't have to be.

No, a man e-mailed today to inform me that, "since you claim to be a feminist," I have to write about Nicholas Vinocur and Pauline Mevel (Reuters) report which opens:

Foad, a French truck driver of Moroccan origin, traveled alone through Syria to rescue his 15-year-old sister from an Islamist group she said was holding her captive. But when they finally stood face to face, in tears, she would not leave.
Foad is convinced that his sister Nora, whom he described as an impressionable teen who loved Disney movies before leaving for Syria one afternoon in January, stayed on because she was threatened with execution by the French-speaking commander, or emir, of the group she joined.

The former high school student is among dozens of European girls, many of them her age, living with such groups in Syria. It is an aspect of the conflict that is beginning to worry European governments previously more focused on the flow of young men to join the ranks of Islamic State and others.

Do I have to write about that?

Well it's good to know I can step down and hand off the baton, or at least the curling wand, to a man so capable and knowing that he knows what I must do as a feminist.

Except I don't see the feminist value in that story.

I guess you can argue that it proves women can be into destruction and killing but is that really a newly emerging detail?  Did we miss all of human history as well as Hillary Clinton's 'diplomatic' efforts in and out of office?

There's nothing a woman can't do -- whether it's doing good or doing bad.

The Reuters story?

It's the sort of 'trend' story Susan Faludi's documented so well in Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women.

It's heavy on anecdotes and it's short on facts.

More to the point though, it's one of those It Sings stories.

They don't celebrate women, they don't note women.  The hook of these stories, the very narrative, is, "Look at what it can do" (or has done).  Women are "it."  Or maybe it's our vaginas are "it."

We've ignored two similar stories.

A female peshmerga went into an Islamic State area in Iraq and blew herself up.

She completed a suicide mission.

I don't get where I applaud that.

There were many people -- men and women -- e-mailing that this 'heroic' act had to be celebrated.

My own feelings about suicide would be if that's what someone wants to do, it's what they want to do and some of us carry more pain or handle it worse or whatever.  I'm not going to condemn anyone who's taken their own life.

But I'm also not going to celebrate suicide bombing as heroic.

If it's heroic for one side to do it, it's heroic for another side to do it.

I don't want to live in a world where suicide bombing is applauded or considered heroic.

Had the woman fought to the death, it wouldn't have surprised me.  Many women throughout history have.  However, I would have agreed that could be heroic.

But I don't want suicide bombers all over the world because some nut jobs in the peshmerga think this is a cool way to kill.  There's nothing cool about it and if we applaud it in Iraq, we'll need to applaud it in the United States and elsewhere.

There was nothing heroic about what the woman did.  I wouldn't even call her a "human bomb" -- she was divorced from humanity when she took part in that effort.

And that has nothing to do with her gender, I'd feel the same way if it was a man.

I'm very bothered that the press tried to present her actions as glamorous or brave because if a suicide bomber goes off in Denver, it won't be glamorous or brave.

The other one we ignored was women fighters and how they may terrify the Islamic State.

We've covered women fighters before.  We may be the only who regularly noted the Daughters of Iraq. And we noted them and treated the development as something serious.  But then, repeatedly, the Daughters of Iraq popped up and disappeared based on whether or not they could be packaged as a 'trend story.'

We use "police officer" or "police member" here.  We realize the power of words and we know in spite of all the women in Iraq who had been part of the police force prior to the start of the illegal war in 2003, there was an effort to make it a job only men could do as Iraq was controlled by fundamentalists like Nouri al-Maliki.

And make no mistake, when you can't appoint women to your Cabinet, when even your Minister of Women's Affairs is a man, you're a fundamentalist.  You're actually much worse than that but we'll keep it clean.

My plan was to avoid these awful recent stories because at least women were getting recognized and the real story of Iraq reporting in the last eleven years is how western reporters have repeatedly ignored women and presented the story of Iraq as taking place in men's prison.  But this repeated nonsense in the e-mails where some drive-by insists this or that 'trend story' is about feminism or women's advancement is grating.

I don't know how to explain it with any more clarity but, no, feminism is not turning yourself into a walking bomb.

Now I am a feminist voice, not the feminist voice, but I'd be more than happy to have an exchange with any feminist that thought becoming a walking bomb was feminism -- mainly due to hearing just how they could shore up such a weak argument.

Speaking of weak arguments, Barack Obama's 'plan' for Iraq.

It's being called out across the political spectrum.

RIA Novosti quotes former Russian Ambassador to Libya Veniamin Popov stating, "Airstrikes alone are not enough to win against the Islamic State organization.  This is the US that lifted the lid, because they actively tried to overthrow [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, and thought that all means are good. So that, they directly or indirectly supported the terrorist organizations [in Syria]. And they got what they created."

In the US, Bill Van Auken (World Socialist Web Site ) notes yesterday's meeting Barack had with US military officials and explains, "As the meetings took place, there was further evidence that American policy in the region is in a state of disarray, beset by the immense contradictions in US policy, which had backed Islamist militias in the war for regime change in Syria, and is now attempting to curb the largest of these sectarian-based armed groups, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), after its overrunning of roughly a third of Iraq’s territory. American policy is further roiled by the conflicting agendas of the so-called “international coalition” that Obama has assembled to support the US-led war."

The Washington Examiner's editorial board weighs in noting, "Even where the casual deployment of air power can tip the balance of a war, it cannot establish a just or stable peace afterward. The best possible outcome of this strategy in Iraq and Syria might well be prolonged war among most of the same parties, but with a different balance in terms of their relative strength and odds of victory."


The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal offers:

A senior Obama Administration official headlined a leading story in Wednesday’s New York Times about American frustration with Turkish “inaction” in Syria. “There’s growing angst about Turkey dragging its feet to act to prevent a massacre less than a mile from its border,” this anonymous official said. “This isn’t how a NATO ally acts while hell is unfolding a stone’s throw from their border.” The charge was repeated in other media outlets.
It’d be nice to know why the White House thinks a public spat with a crucial NATO and Middle Eastern partner helps the war against ISIS. The U.S. “angst” over “dragging its feet” applies far better to what the French and British, the Arab Gulf allies, Jordan and above all Turkey have thought about American inaction on Syria while hundreds of thousands died and an Islamist ISIS army emerged to take huge chunks of territory.

Outside of the ever shrinking Cult of St. Barack, questions are being asked about the 'plan' and how it even qualifies as a plan.  On the issue of Turkey, Karen DeYoung and Liz Sly (Washington Post) report:

In a sign of their reluctance to directly antagonize Turkey on the eve of a key diplomatic meeting, U.S. officials sent mixed signals on Ankara’s demand that the United States establish a protected buffer zone along Turkey’s border with Syria.
“It is not now on the table as a military option that we’re considering,” said Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.

Separately, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said the idea of a buffer zone was “worth looking at very, very closely” and that it would be discussed when retired Gen. John Allen, coordinator of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria, holds high-level meetings in Turkey on Thursday.

The paper's Liz Sly Tweets:

Back to DeYoung and Sly's report, if the administration isn't sending mixed signals, they're antagonizing allies or would be allies.

They're also antagonizing the Iraqi people.  All the propaganda in the world can't hide that.  Yes, CENTCOM notes:

In Iraq, an airstrike south of Sinjar destroyed an ISIL bunker and ammunition cache and a small ISIL unit. Another airstrike, south of Sinjar Mountain, destroyed an ISIL armed vehicle and a small ISIL unit. To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed attack aircraft deployed to the Centcom area of operations. All aircraft exited the strike areas safely.

 The strikes were conducted as part of President Barack Obama's comprehensive strategy to degrade and destroy ISIL.

Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports:

In Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, more than 20 people were killed and some 30 others wounded in the morning air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition against buildings believed to be IS headquarters in the eastern part of the provincial capital city of Mosul, some 400 km of Baghdad, an official from the security committee of Nineveh's provincial council told Xinhua.

Which is a polite way of saying the US just bombed civilians (again).  Still on violence, NINA notes a Baquba car bombing left 9 people dead and ten more injured and an Abu Dshir roadside bombing left 2 people dead and eight more injured.

Of course, today's Iraq news wasn't all bad.  Ibrahim Saleh (Niqash) reports:

Media organizations that fostered close links with and, some say, published or broadcast propaganda, for Iraq’s former Prime Minister are finding that their funding has dried up. Analysts and other suitably qualified individuals who used to defend al-Maliki in the media are having the same problems.

While his bosses searched for a new investor, young Iraqi journalist Hussein Aslawi was forced to resign. As the search for extra funding went on, the satellite TV channel Aslawi worked for had decided to cut down on its number of staff.

“And I tendered my resignation because things just are not the same anymore,” explains Aslawi, who worked as a news editor. “All of this is happening because the channel’s administrators have strong links to [former Iraqi Prime Minister] Nouri al-Maliki. So this is the result of his election loss,” Aslawi notes.

The media organisation’s administrators had pinned all their hopes – and the future of their operating budget - on al-Maliki winning a third term. “And despite our warnings, they didn’t do anything to protect themselves in case al-Maliki lost,” Aslawi says. “That’s why things have gotten so bad.”

Shortly before the last general elections in Iraq, held at the end of April this year, Aslawi says the satellite channel, whose name he did not want to reveal for fear of repercussions, received a lot of money from al-Maliki and his allies from out of a special campaign budget. “The money was paid on the condition that the channel changed its policies and supported al-Maliki,” says the young journalist, who adds that he and his colleagues were all shocked when they heard about the deal.  

“The channel became like al-Maliki’s spokesperson,” Aslawi says. “And it stayed that way up until Haider al-Abadi [the new Iraqi prime Minister] was assigned to form a government.”

At that stage, the channel was forced to stop broadcasting for almost two weeks. “And today its fate lies in finding somebody to finance it,” Aslawi notes. “But that seems very unlikely to happen.”

Whores forced out of their jobs?  Forced to work real ones or starve?

It could happen here!

Pacifica Radio could be taken down -- largely because of the waste and theft at WBAI throughout the '00s  and because All Media Whore Amy Goodman scammed Pacifica and walked away with millions.  The Nation has the coffers filled enough to continue online but print is iffy by the financial projections they hope no one leaks to the media.  (Will I or won't I? -- that is the question.) Others are even more worse off.

And should be.

Your loyalty should be to your listeners and readers.  You shouldn't whore yourself out for the powerful.  When someone's in the Oval Office, they have not just the Secret Service but also a team of rabid attack dogs to defend them.  They don't need the so-called press whoring to protect them.

But democracy does need a real press.

And Panhandle Media has failed the country and if dried up and disappeared what would we really miss?

Not much at all.

They don't report, they don't do much of anything except explain how awful Republicans are (or anyone who criticizes Barack) and look the other way.

They don't deserve to be on the air and they certainly don't deserve your money.

In Iraq, whores are being sent packing.

Too bad we can't say the same for the United States.

Lastly, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration. We'll close with this from Bacon's "Tribunal Takes Up Mexico's Migrant 'Hell'" (The Progressive):

MEXICO CITY (10/8/14) -- Just before judges heard testimony on migration at the Permanent People's Tribunal in Mexico City last week, the Mexican government announced a new measure that might have been deliberately intended to show why activists brought the Tribunal to Mexico to begin with, three years ago.  Interior (Gobernacion) Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong told the press that the speed of trains known by migrants as "La Bestia" (The Beast) would be doubled.

Photos of "La Bestia" have become famous around the world, showing young migrants crowded on top of boxcars, riding the rails from the Guatemala border to near the U.S. It's a slow train, but many boys and girls have lost arms and legs trying to get on or off, and wind up living in limbo in the Casas de Migrantes -- the hostels run by the Catholic Church and other migrant rights activists throughout Mexico.  Osorio Chong said Mexico would require the companies operating the trains - a partnership between mining giant Grupo Mexico and the U.S. corporation Kansas City Southern - to hike their speed to make it harder for the migrants.

In the Tribunal, young people, giving only their first names out of fear, said they'd see many more severed limbs and deaths as a result, but that it wouldn't stop people from coming.  Armed gangs regularly rob the migrants, they charged, and young people get beaten and raped.  If they're willing to face this, they'll try to get on the trains no matter how fast they go.  "Mexico is a hell for migrants already," fumed Father Pedro Pantoja, who organized the Casa de Migrantes in Saltillo.



Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Let me note this from the UK Socialist Worker:

Intervention by Turkey or the US won’t help the Kurds

by Ron Margulies in Istanbul

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) meets US navy admiral Mike Mullen
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) meets US navy admiral Mike Mullen (Pic: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Flickr)

The Islamic State is a clear and present danger in Turkey, not a distant threat. Islamic State tanks and heavy artillery are just on the other side of the country’s long south-eastern border with Syria, a stone’s throw from the town of Suruc and several villages.
Wayward Islamic State mortar shells frequently land on the Turkish side of the border. Yesterday, three people were injured when a house in Suruc was hit.
The population in this part of Turkey, and on the Syrian side of the border, is mostly Kurdish. People have family on both sides and, in normal times, the border tends to be porous.
Islamic State has been attempting, for three weeks now, to take the Syrian town of Kobane. Kurdish resistance has been fierce, but the odds are stacked against them.
Initially, the Turkish government refused to open the border to escaping civilians, but was forced into letting 160,000 refugees in under pressure from public opinion at home.
The US-led coalition has been bombing ISIS positions outside Kobane for the past few days. Kurdish forces on the ground report it to have hardly any effect at all.
This battle puts the Turkish government in a difficult position.
It doesn’t want a second autonomous Kurdish entity on its borders (the first being in Northern Iraq), but the fall of Kobane would both endanger the peace process with Turkey’s own Kurdish movement, led by the PKK and make the unpredictable ISIS a direct neighbour.
After considerable arm-twisting by Washington, Turkey has taken sides with the US coalition. Parliament voted to authorise the government to send troops abroad and to allow foreign troops to launch operations from Turkish soil.
While the predicament of the Kurds in Kobane makes it difficult for the anti-war movement to argue against US bombs and Turkish military involvement, it is important that the argument is put forward.
US bombs have never solved  any problem in the Middle East or elsewhere. Neither the US nor Turkey are likely ever to do any favours for the Kurds.

Tomorrow, I may write about the uninformed attack on The Mindy Project by a Ms. blogger but right now I'm too angry and would just use one swear word after another.

So I'm just highlighting the Socialist Worker.

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

Wednesday, October 8, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue,  Barack's 'plan' continues to fail, another helicopter is shot down in Iraq, Americans are unimpressed with the 'plan,' Jimmy Carter joins Leon Panetta in criticizing the 'plan,' the State Dept struggles to find success with the 'plan,' Brett McGurk ignores the lack of success by Tweeting about the US military, apple polisher Michael Cohen attacks Panetta, Save The Children calls for attention to the possibility of civilian casualties, A.N.S.W.E.R. organizes a protest for October 10th, and much more.

If you're a cross-eyed loser with a douche goatee, you learn to lie to yourself daily.  But that still doesn't excuse Michael Cohen lying to the rest of us.  In a column for The Daily Beast, Little Mikey attacks because that's what fat bitches do when the objects of their lust are in trouble.  That's how Michael came to blame not Barack but the American people for Barack's lie that "If you like your health care you can keep your health care."  I really don't like overgrown children who masturbate in public and pretend like they've made a logical argument.

Like an incontinent beast, Cohen just sprays all over the floor:

When Panetta became CIA director in 2009, he was demonstrably unqualified for the job. He had no background in foreign policy, intelligence or national security. His most apparent and highly-touted skill was that he understood his way around bureaucratic Washington.

I'm sorry, a member of the US military has no background in foreign policy, intelligence or national security?

A First Lieutenant in the Army has no background in foreign policy, intelligence or national security?

I'm sorry what was Leon Panetta doing at Fort Ord?

Oh, that's right, intelligence.

Cohen's such a sad little man.

Panetta dared to criticize Barack Obama and that's too much for Cohen.

So he damns Panetta for . . . advocating for a big budget for the Defense Dept when he headed the Defense Dept and for advocating for a bigger budget for the CIA when he headed the CIA.

These are not shocking developments but the natural aspect of the job.

Cohen lies throughout and deliberately distorts Panetta's remarks and statements.

The reason for that is, Cohen's point is to ensure that no one explore what Panetta's arguing.

Cohen wants to shut him down, wants to destroy him.

People like Cohen do the world no good at all.

He can string together words but he can't actually write and his plodding prose is an embarrassment.

He can't present ideas or even repeat them.

His thinking is simplistic and infantile.

Panetta favors US troops in Iraq.

I don't.

Panetta believes that US troops on the ground will assist Barack's (thus far faltering) military operation.

I've seen this before, we all have, Bully Boy Bush did it with the 'surge.'

With the 'surge' -- as with Barack's 'plan' -- the focus was on the toys not on the work.  Both men see/saw the US military as toy soldiers to be played with.

Both men swore a political solution was the answer but couldn't stop playing war games and do the damn work required to get to a political solution.

Putting US troops on the ground in Iraq -- and, yes, they already are -- is putting their lives in danger.


For a political solution that the administration wants but can't define and refuses to work towards?

US troops will do their mission -- they did during the surge -- and it will be for naught because Barack's got no plan for how a political solution comes about.

Troops will be used, as they were by Bully Boy Bush, to defocus from the real issues.

That's misusing the military.

I'd argue it's grounds for impeachment.

Panetta would argue that US troops on the ground will make a difference because you'll not just be causing scattering by bombing but you'll have forces on the ground to fight, round up, capture, etc in the aftermath of bombing.

And I'll gladly allow Panetta's points may be accurate.

Yet none of that provides a political solution for Iraq.

And so why is the US military being (mis)used?

There is no military solution in Iraq -- even Barack admits to that.  Barack repeatedly states the situation requires a political answer.

So how about you figure out how that comes about?

Instead, Barack wastes time getting more nations to agree to bomb Iraq.

John Pilger (Independent of Australia) observes, "As Barack Obama ignites his seventh war against the Muslim world since being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the orchestrated hysteria and lies make one almost nostalgic for Kissinger’s murderous honesty."

If bombing is the point, the US military can bomb Iraq over and over for years.  There's no need to round up other nations.

I can take on Leon's points.  (And can and have done so face to face -- I know and like Leon.)

Cohen can't.

And won't.

Because he exists solely to worship Barack Obama.

There is nothing more disgusting than a teacher's pet and that's only more true after the age of 20.

Tomorrow, Michael Cohen will probably work on attacking the American people (again) and attacking Jimmy Carter.  Justin Sink (The Hill) reveals the fairy tales are losing their luster with the American people:

Some 51 percent of respondents in the CBS News poll released Wednesday said they disapprove of the job the president is doing with the radical jihadist group, while just four in 10 approved. Those numbers are slightly worse than a month ago, when 48 percent disapproved of how Obama was approaching the situation.

Among those disapproving?  Former US President Jimmy Carter.  Cheryl K. Chumley (Washington Times) explains, "Former president Jimmy Carter took a harsh jab at President Obama this week, telling the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the commander-in-chief dragged his feet on confronting Islamic State terrorism."

Carter's disapproval appears to be primarily over dropping bombs on an inhabited land without having trained people on the ground to call in those strikes.  He and Panetta both argue, in different ways, that Barack is not properly using the military or engaging the military command.
Today at the Pentagon, spokesperson Rear Adm John Kirby declared, "This afternoon, as you know, President Obama will also be coming to the Pentagon to meet with the senior DOD leadership, including the combatant commanders. I know Secretary Hagel is very much looking forward to hosting the Commander-in-Chief here in the building. There will also be a full meeting of the president's national security team here this afternoon to provide the president with an update on the campaign to degrade and destroy ISIL."
From that press briefing:
Q: Another question on the president's meetings today at the Pentagon. Do you think those meetings could result to a change in the strategy against ISIL? Can we see -- can we expect more U.S. advisers going to Iraq soon?

ADM. KIRBY: The purpose of today's meeting is to update the commander-in-chief on our progress across a wide variety of fronts. Yes, he'll be updated by General Austin on the campaign against ISIL. He'll get an update from General Rodriguez on what we're doing with Ebola. And the other combatant commanders will have a chance to speak, as well, for their regions and what they're doing.

It'll be a -- it'll be a global update. Clearly those two very hot topics will be discussed. I won't -- I can't speak for the president and what he will or won't decide as a result of the updates he's getting. We're not expecting any change to our strategy as a result of today's meetings.

Over two months after the start of bombing, it's news that Barack finally gets his ass to the Pentagon.

Carter has previously noted the possibility of civilian casualties.  It's a reality most refuse to acknowledge. Save The Children notes:

As Australian fighter jets drop their first bombs over Iraq, aid agency Save the Children stresses that military action by all must remain in line with humanitarian law and prioritise the protection of children and other civilians.
Aram Shakaram, Save the Children’s Program Director in Iraq said: “Children are already the innocent victims bearing the brunt of this war. Traumatised by the brutality of fighting even before the latest bombing, children are also at risk of being injured or killed as these air strikes are scaled up. It is the responsibility of all parties involved to make sure children and other civilians are kept safe.”
The children’s aid agency is particularly concerned about the on-going use of explosive weapons in populated areas, including Fallujah and Kirkuk, which have seen constant bombardment and fighting for weeks. This is the largest contributor to the killing and maiming of children in conflict.
“Air strikes, artillery fire, mortars and shelling are being used in towns and villages and risk killing innocent children. The impacts of these explosive weapons are indiscriminate: they kill and maim children and destroy hospitals and schools. The lethal nature of these deadly weapons prohibits our teams from delivering life-saving aid to children and families that need it,” Mr Shakaram added.
Save the Children has been working in Iraq for 23 years and was already supporting thousands of Syrian refugees in the country before the latest fighting erupted. The aid agency has launched a large-scale emergency response to support hundreds of thousands of the 1.8 million people who have been forced to flee their homes because of the conflict. More than 200,000 people have fled in recent months, many forced to live in abandoned or unfinished buildings, churches, mosques and schools.
“On the ground we’re seeing a dire situation – every day more people are forced from their homes fleeing brutal violence and fearing for their lives. Families are crammed into already-packed classrooms in schools being used as makeshift camps or living in unfinished buildings, completely unprotected from the elements. They are running out money and harsh winter weather is just around the corner. Yet, in some ways those that have escaped are the lucky ones – those left behind face even greater dangers as the fighting escalates.”
Save the Children is calling on the Australian Government to use all of its relevant diplomatic and advisory powers to ensure that all parties to the conflict and those considering military interventions to make the following commitments:
· Not to target civilians or civilian objects, including schools and hospitals
· Not to use explosive weapons in populated areas
· Not to use children in any role in armed groups or forces, including non-combat roles
· Not to use schools or hospitals as military assets
For interviews with Aram Shakaram call Olivia Zinzan on 0416 355 851

 Among many realities most refuse to acknowledge.   From this morning:

In other reality-based news, All Iraq News notes an Iraqi helicopter went down in Baiji. IANS adds:

Technical malfunctioning during landing apparently caused the chopper to crash while it was flying over al-Seiniyah area, just west of the refinery city of Baiji, some 200 km north of Iraq's capital Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The crashed chopper was one of the three carrying food and ammunition to an army force stationed at the besieged oil refinery outside Baiji. The besieged troops have been fighting the Sunni militant groups, including the Islamic State (IS), inside the vast refinery area for months.

Iraqi Spring MC notes rebels are saying they downed the helicopter -- and they were in the area bombing a Baiji refinery.

Downed by mechanical failure or by an attack, it's a possible outcome that really hasn't been addressed.  Last Friday an Iraqi helicopter was shot down.  If that happens to a US helicopter, I guess the media will finally be interested in exploring possible outcomes.

So what did happen to the helicopter?

This evening, Kirk Semple and Omar al-Jawoshy (New York Times) report:

Insurgents from the Islamic State militant group shot down an Iraqi military helicopter on Wednesday near a refinery town, Baiji, killing two onboard, Iraqi military officials said.
It was the second time in less than a week that the militants had shot down an Iraqi helicopter, raising the stakes for the Iraqi forces and the United States-led coalition fighting the group, which have dominated the sky during a campaign of airstrikes.

Barack's 'plan' is a failure.

Attacking Panetta won't change that.

At the State Dept today, spokesperson Jen Psaki made another attempt at defining success:

QUESTION: Secretary Kerry acknowledged today there were some setbacks and some successes with the Iraqi Security Forces. You were going to discuss yesterday some of the successes that --

MS. PSAKI: Sure, I talked about a few of them. And I think, obviously, there have been – as he said today, there have been some successes and there have been some areas where we know more work needs to be done. And we’re continuing to work with the Iraqi Security Forces to strengthen them. As you know from the assessment that we’ve done, we’ve assessed that there are certainly some that need more training, there are some that are fully prepared to fight. And so we’re working within those constraints. But let me just give you a few.
I think I mentioned these yesterday, but just in case you weren’t there for it, we’ve already seen Iraqi Security Forces retake and hold land at the Mosul Dam, Amirli, and push back ISIL forces around the Haditha Dam. They’ve also refortified around Baghdad. We’ve seen reports, as I mentioned yesterday, that Kurdish forces, with the support of Sunni tribes, retook the Iraq-Syria border crossing at Rabia last week, which fell to ISIL in June. This is an encouraging development as it will make it harder for ISIL to operate across the border.
And there were also reports within the last week that Iraqi Security Forces, working in conjunction with Sunni tribes, have pushed back ISIL in the town of Dhuliya. And so those are some of the areas where we’ve seen some successes. But obviously, we’re not naive of – about this and there’s much more work that needs to be done, which is why we’re working closely with them.

Well that's not impressive.

More to the point, what does any of that have to do with a political solution?

Not a damn thing.

For the State Dept, Brett McGurk is the lead on the diplomatic effort for Iraq.

But you'd never know it to follow him on Twitter.  Today's Tweets included:

What does any of that have to do with reaching a political solution in Iraq?

Not a damn thing.

But the State Dept, like the White House, can't point to any real accomplishments in Iraq.

In 2003, Barack's efforts -- done by Bully Boy Bush -- would have been called out loudly by the peace movement.  Today?  Not so much.   While so many are silent in the US, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition is calling for action:

At his fundraiser with SF’s “elite”, let’s tell President Obama: No War!

Date: October 10, 2014
Time: 4:00 - 7:00 pm
Location: "W" Hotel
3rd and Howard Sts.
San Francisco, California
Contact: ANSWER Coalition at or 415-821-6545              
Join us to demand:
• Stop bombing Syria and Iraq!
• U.S. out of the Middle East!
• End U.S. aid to Israel!
• Money for jobs, housing, healthcare,  education, not war and occupation!

President Barack Obama is coming to San Francisco to raise tens of millions of dollars for the Democratic Party’s “war chest” and upcoming elections, as the peoples of the Middle East suffer a new U.S. bombing war, this time expanding into Syria and deepening in Iraq. The Pentagon generals are demanding “boots on the ground” in Washington’s quest for total domination of the oil-rich region. Gaza is still under rubble and blockaded by Israel, due to both Democrats’ and Republicans’ military aid to Israel. We urge everyone to come and protest Obama’s visit, to say: Stop bombing the people of the Middle East, U.S. Out! Money for Jobs and Housing, Not War!