Friday, January 13, 2017

The Guardian is concerned with selective fairness

Not real fairness.

They don't give a damn.

And let's talk about what they are, first off.

They are not an independent paper.

Some people say that.

They are a house organ of the Neoliberal party in England.

That's why they did not call out the Iraq War.

That's why it was a Rupert Mudcoch paper (The Times of London) that broke that story on The Downing Street Memos and why The Guardian never, ever reported on it.

Over here in the US, we were outraged when various papers ignored The Downing Streep Memos.

But in England, where the story mattered as well, The Guardian ignored it.

It's a very cowardly house organ for neoliberalism.

Julie Hyland (whose work I thought I knew from FAIR) has a good article at WSWS which opens:

In Britain, the Guardian newspaper is at the forefront of the McCarthyite witch-hunt against Russia.

Utilising unsubstantiated claims of Russian hacking of the Democratic Party the paper has allied with the most hysterical warmongers in the political and military-intelligence apparatus in the United States and Britain.

The Guardian’s hostility to Russia is not new. It supported the western-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014, employing allegations of Russian aggression to press for punitive sanctions against Moscow. The debacle of US and British imperialism in Syria, and the crisis in US foreign policy exemplified by the accession of Donald Trump to the presidency, has seen its sabre rattling become ever more frantic.

A January 8 editorial, “Trump and Russia: playing Putin’s game—again,” treats as good coin the allegations of Russian interference in the US election. Aware of widespread scepticism over the claims, the comment consists of a barely concealed polemic against its own readership.

The Guardian asserts that there is a long history of the US and the Soviet Union trying, “mostly surreptitiously, occasionally bloodily, sometimes successfully, to shape elections in many parts of the world.”

“So, whatever else there is to say about Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 US election, do not make the mistake of saying that such a thing is unprecedented—because it is not.”

This sleight of hand is typical of the Guardian’s dishonest approach. Based on the allegation that Russia has interfered in elections in the past, it insists that the same must be true today and that, “However you slice and dice it, Russia’s apparent involvement in America’s 2016 election is indefensible.”

The editorial naturally says nothing about the content of the material that was leaked, which showed that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee conspired against her challenger in the primaries, Bernie Sanders. This evidence of a deliberate intervention into the electoral processes with the aim of rigging the outcome is ignored by the Guardian.

This is outrageous and should be yet another warning to those of us in the United States that this is not a newspaper, it's a biased, house organ for neoliberalism.

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

Friday, January 13, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, the Canadian government won't answer to whether or not their soldiers receiving treatment in Iraq were injured in battle, when do we ever arrive at what passes for 'victory' and much more.

More and more, I think what any occupant of the White House needs is a car with twin 11-year-olds in the backseat, bored, hopped up on Monster and kicking the seat in front of them while repeatedly asking, "Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?"

Are we there yet?

That's one of the most important questions that president-elect Donald Trump will face once he's sworn in as President of the United States.

And someone needs desperately to define where ''there" is.

The Iraq War, or at least this century's installment, started in March of 2003.

Two months shy of 14 years, the war continues and US troops are still engaged in it -- from the air and on the ground.

As a point of reference, WWI and WWII did not last as long -- did not last as long combined.

Yet still the Iraq War continues.

Erik Gustafson (THE HILL) offers four things to remember regarding Iraq.

1) Victory in Mosul does not mean the ISIS threat is over.
2) Young democracies like Iraq are not the place for strongmen.
3) Reconstruction must address the longterm needs of the Iraqi people.
4) Iraq's ability to secure its future is limited by serious economic shortcomings.

A fifth?

Maybe . . . don't take your eyes off Iraq?  Don't ignore it?

Terrorism in Iraq gets far less attention, but Iraq was the site of the deadliest terrorist attack in 2016.

Yep, it does get less attention.

Why is that, Kenny boy?

Because you used your Twitter feed to campaign for Hillary Clinton?

I'm sorry, I thought Human Rights Watch was politically neutral.

Had you just focused on Iraq, maybe it would get the attention it needs.

Had you just Tweeted about HRW's Iraq reports, it might have gotten attention.

But before the election you thought you were slyly promoting Hillary and post-election you've had a tantrum or two.

Maybe if you'd focus on human rights and the work of HRW, Iraq could get the attention it deserves.

If you're part of the problem, that's on you.

So maybe we could also try to avoid dumb assery as well?

The Isis campaign against Iraq’s Shia Muslims is not politics. It’s genocide | Ranj Alaaldin

That's dumb assery.

At best, that's dumb assery.

The Islamic State is a terrorist organization.

As we've long noted, it is not the problem.

The issues in Iraq that allowed it to take root are the problem.

Destroy ISIS today and something will quickly replace it.

I'm not in the mood to be nice about this.

I warned it was coming over and over, day after day and week after week while 'smart' people either ignored what was coming or insisted everything was fine.

Sunnis are persecuted in Iraq.

Stop persecuting them.

Long before the Islamic State took root we were the only ones, here at this website, just us, pointing out the very strange issue around prison breaks: Prisoners weren't being caught.

Why not?

Because they were usually Sunni and the local residents protected and hid them.


Because of the persecution taking place in Iraq.

It was so bad that escapees could be hidden.

The Islamic State wanted power -- somewhere, anywhere.

They made Iraq a focus because Sunnis were persecuted.

And that's why they either got support from Sunnis or the Sunni reaction was: This is between the government that persecutes us and ISIS, it's not my battle.

If you missed that sentiment, you missed a whole lot.

And if you can't acknowledge it today, you are a dumb ass contributing dumb assery and no one really needs you at this point.

Maya Mailer (INDEPENDENT) reports:

“Isis is like a mushroom. It was able to grow here, in Iraq, because there is a fertile environment. It didn’t just come from nowhere.” That is what one Iraqi activist told me, with an edge of anger and passion in her voice, when I was in Iraq late last year. She went on to say that Isis could not be – and should not be – eradicated through bombs and fighting. Instead, Iraq desperately needed to embark on a national programme of reconciliation and reform.
“Isis is like a mushroom. It was able to grow here, in Iraq, because there is a fertile environment. It didn’t just come from nowhere.” That is what one Iraqi activist told me, with an edge of anger and passion in her voice, when I was in Iraq late last year. She went on to say that Isis could not be – and should not be – eradicated through bombs and fighting. Instead, Iraq desperately needed to embark on a national programme of reconciliation and reform.

If that's shocking or surprising to you, then let me join you in shock and surprise.

Where the hell have you been?

June 19, 2014, even President Barack Obama stated that the only solution to Iraq's crises was a political solution.

He said that.

And then did nothing to help there.

He started dropping bombs on Iraq.

He put "boots on the ground."

He surged the military.

He just didn't surge the diplomacy.

For the record, it's the same failure Bully Boy Bush made earlier.

Also for the record, we repeatedly made that point throughout 2014 and 2015 and 2016.

But nothing was done.

And there's no reconciliation in Iraq still.

There's no effort to end the persecution.

So defeat ISIS with the military and you haven't defeated anything.

They'll regroup or something else will replace them.

The Mosul slog continues.

It's 88 days since the operation began.

Mosul was seized by the Islamic State in June of 2014.

88 days ago, the liberation or 'liberation' effort began.

The International Organization of Migration notes:

Nearly 13 weeks into the Mosul military operation against the Islamic State (ISIL) – which began on 17 October – over 144,500 Iraqis are currently displaced. The majority are in desperate need of life-saving humanitarian assistance, especially in the cold winter weather and rain.

According to IOM Iraq’s Displaced Tracking Matrix (DTM) the displacement count from 17 October through 12 January stands at 144,588 people. The latest Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Emergency Tracking figures on displacement from Mosul operations are available at:

This is what success looks like?


National Defence is refusing to disclose details about several Canadian soldiers treated at a military hospital in northern Iraq in recent weeks, including whether any of them were wounded on the battlefield.
The soldiers were among 120 patients who were seen at the medical facility since it began operating near the Kurdish city of Erbil at the end of November, according to figures provided to The Canadian Press.

Again, the question, this is what success looks like?

This morning, the US Defense Dept announced:

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

-- Near Haditha, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Mosul, nine strikes engaged five ISIL tactical units; destroyed five vehicles, three mortar systems, two unmanned aircraft launch sites, three fighting positions, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, a vehicle bomb manufacturing and armoring facility, a heavy machine gun, a supply cache and an anti-air artillery system; and damaged 18 supply routes and two bridges.

-- Near Rawah, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle, a command-and-control node and a weapons storage facility.

-- Near Sinjar, a strike destroyed a mortar system.

-- Near Tal Afar, three strikes destroyed a vehicle, a vehicle bomb facility and an unmanned aircraft launch site.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

It's past time someone in charge was able to answer the question of "Are we there yet?" with something more than "Not yet."

The following community sites updated:

  • Dear Lord, let it go

    I turn on the TV and it's on MSNBC -- blame my husband on that.

    Dear Lord, they're still whining about Comey.

    Let it go.

    Hillary lost.

    The idiot was going basically, 'Look at the polls, she was at 50% here and here and then . . .'

    Grow the f**k up.

    I believe Hillary got something like 51% of the vote -- maybe even 52%.

    That wasn't her problem.

    Her problem was she forgot the electoral college.

    It's like in 2008 when the idiot didn't grasp the way the caucuses worked.

    She got more votes than Barack in that primary but she lost it too.

    In part because her stupid campaign didn't understand how the caucuses worked.

    She's an idiot.

    Let it go!!!!

    This  C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Thursday, January 12, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, the Iraq War continues, big tenting with some is simply not possible, and much more.

    Starting with Conor Friedersdorf.  Conor is a talented writer for THE ATLANTIC -- talented in both thought and writing.  But I'm calling out this piece:

    A large cohort of Americans have reservations about the presidency of Donald Trump, who lost the popular vote by 2.9 million, strikes many who did vote for him as a highly flawed “lesser of two evils,” and has a dismal 37 percent approval rating. These ideologically diverse skeptics must cooperate if they hope to minimize the damage they believe the Trump Administration will do to America if left unopposed. But so far, they are easily divided. In fact, they cannot even refrain from attacking or alienating one another on matters where they are mostly in agreement.
    This self-defeating approach was illustrated earlier this week when Never Trump conservatives who fully believe that Donald Trump is a bully watched Meryl Streep level that criticism. Rather than embracing a rare moment of narrow convergence with a Hollywood liberal, they let the mutual antagonism between their cultural tribes drive their reaction and wound up furiously attacking the actress over perceived hypocrisy. Doing so advanced none of their ends. It was a missed opportunity.

    A large cohort?

    When is that news?

    I and many others opposed Ronald Reagan (and George H.W. Bush -- in fact, the best thing the Bush family ever did was get his son to run for office, it's allowed George H.W. to be seen in a better -- and artificial -- light).  On the other side of the spectrum, the right felt that way about Bill Clinton before he'd even been sworn in.

    What's going on is not new and we need to stop acting like it is --  or that we're novel or original.

    So that's A.

    Let's move to B.

    Conor, you're not the industry.

    I am.

    That speech was inappropriate -- at best.

    This was a lifetime achievement award.  Yes, it was at the tacky Golden Globes which are sold to the highest bidder and always have been.  But it's still an industry function -- one that no one takes too seriously.

    But a lifetime achievement award is supposed to result in a speech of reflection -- ideally on the industry but most often on the individual's own personal career.

    Her speech was hideous.

    Tom Middleton was political in his speech -- granted he won an award -- a competitive award.

    I disagree with him on Sudan.

    I wasn't offended by the position he took or the words he said.

    I was offended by the outrage expressed afterwards.

    This is an industry function so the nonsense of some people about: Oh, his show was streamed in Sudan, he's so shocked?

    Just sit down.  You're allowed to watch, but guess what, at the end of the day you're not part of the industry.

    Which is why you made such idiotic Tweets and attacks.

    Working of a film or TV set is removed -- unless you tape in front of a live studio audience.

    You have no idea what the effect will be, what the reach will be.

    It's very easy to think of one massive glob: "the audience."

    Tom, at an industry function, was making a very solid point and he got shamed for it.

    Biggest problem, I would argue -- as someone who has repeatedly championed Tracee Ellis Ross for an Emmy -- is that Tracee's wonderful speech and her award for BLACKISH got lost.

    Julie Louis Dip**it did not deserve five consecutive Emmys for joking her way through the same series.  There's no character there.  There's no inspiration.  But five Emmys in a row?

    I'm sorry Tracee has not gotten the attention she deserves.

    Meryl wanted to whine because Hillary didn't win.

    Sorry, Conor, Hillary is not the second coming of FDR.

    Nor was Barack.

    And objecting to Meryl's ahistorical bulls**t will always be valid.

    As someone who's written about The Drone War and the spying, Conor, I'd think you'd understand why things can't be wished away.

    As for our need to resist Donald Trump?


    Donald Trump is qualified to be president.

    He met all the Constitutional qualifications and the voters approved him.

    He's fit.

    Will he be a good president?

    I don't think so.

    But that's how I operate.

    I never had a problem on auditions because I went in with the attitude of "I'm going to bomb" and I left with the attitude of "I bombed."

    Ask anyone and they'll tell you that.

    That freed me up from a lot of stress and a lot of worry.

    Didn't worry about their expectations, just went in and did what I wanted.

    So I don't expect that Trump will be good.

    I know the man and I don't like him.

    As a person, I've known him for some time.

    I did not vote for him, I would not vote for him.

    But with all that said, I'll wait for him to do something as president before I start protesting him.

    And I'll protest him the same as I would anyone else in the White House.

    I will call him out as I did Bully Boy Bush, as I did Barack Obama.

    The president is a public servant.

    The press, fey lap dogs that they are, will treat these people like kings or gods.

    They're not.

    We'll call him "Donald" because that's his name.

    He works for us.

    And if he does a poor job -- which is what I expect, but I could be wrong -- I'll call Donald out.

    But, no, I'm not an idiot like Meryl Streep who is going to pretend that the last eight years have not been hideous -- hideous in terms of wars, in terms of drone killings, in terms of illegal spying, in terms of a war on the press and whistle-blowers -- or that we lost something wonderful when War Hawk Hillary wasn't named president.

    Conor then goes on to talk about the post-inauguration march.

    A White woman and her daughter were gong to attend but are not now because on of the leaders, who is African-American, feels that African-Americans have suffered and that White people new to suffering should grab a spot at the back of the line and listen.

    Conor frets over identity politics.

    He thinks the bumper sticker "Yes We Can" is so much better.  Look, Conor, "Yes We Can" didn't even really work as a Pointer Sisters song in the seventies -- and I love the Pointers.

    The African-American woman?

    I'm not going to call her out.  I feel the same way regarding the peace movement.  All of you dirty whores -- that includes Meryl -- who couldn't say a word in the last 8 years better not try to push your way to the front of the line.

    That's what the African-American woman is saying with regards to racial discrimination: Where have you been and, more importantly, you're sudden interest doesn't allow you to commandeer this march.

    I understand what's she's saying.  I don't think it's identity politics.  I think it's about the life she's lived and the struggle she's had and I think calling that "identity politics" trivializes what she and others have lived through and experienced.

    I also understand the White woman's objection.

    Her notion was that this was a march against Trump and she wants to be against Donald -- as does her daughter.  She hears that message and, no surprise, feels she doesn't want to participate.

    It's not an inclusive message.

    But it's not an inclusive march.

    Conor's acting like all those loons who thought if they kept repeating OCCUPY WALLSTREET they could hop on that bandwagon and ride it to their own personal nirvana.

    They tried to co-opt it.

    The march isn't defined.

    One reason the march isn't defined is because people don't know what Donald will do.

    People have been encouraged to protest before he takes office.

    That's never a smart thing to do.

    They're going to be the Sour Grape Kids as a result.

    By failing to wait for some action to protest, they're just people against Donald and the press, in a year or two, will be noting that they've objected since before he became president, that they aren't critic but just haters, etc.

    I have friends who are participating and, since they're friends, I wish them luck.  But since they're friends, I also honestly state, "I think the action's a little ridiculous."

    I think the African-American woman is right to try to carve out some sort of platform or message beyond "We will resist."  She's protesting over what she feels were derogatory remarks and disrespect that Donald has shown so many during the campaign.  That's why her attitude is that those who have not lived in fear their whole life should not think they're going to be center stage at this protest.  I get that.  I also think if the protest followed her intent it would actually have meaning.

    Instead, it's a useless, watered down assembly.

    Conor wants us to big tent.

    Like Hillary and the necons did in 2016?  Shall we also hold hands with David Frum?  Maybe do some heavy petting with Henry Kissinger?

    Exactly where do we draw the line?

    So many different kinds of people 
    Trying to be the same 
    "No way," baby 
    He said "Baby, baby, there's no way" 
    If we could start again 
    Well, who knows 
    Have we really changed? 
    Some say we have 
    Reflecting our past 
    Who can say? 
    Who can say? 
     Races are run 
    Some people win 
    Some people always have to lose 
    Oooh, yeah
    -- "Races Are Run," written by Stevie Nicks, first appears on the album BUCKINGHAM NICKS

    Stevie's song still applies today.

    And for the last eight years -- no matter how much a Meryl Streep tries to pretend otherwise -- it's the Iraqi people who have lost due to a war started by the United States that continues to this day despite Barack insisting, as he campaigned for president in 2008, that he would end the Iraq War.

    In Iraq, thousands of terrorism's victims go unnamed via

    Moni Basu (CNN) writes:

    Throughout the morning, the death toll kept rising: 100, 115, 140. It would be many weeks before the final count would be known: 382.

    Among all the terrorist attacks of 2016 worldwide, the Karrada bombing on July 3 stood as the year's deadliest.

    And yet to Westerners accustomed to news reports about violence in Iraq, it would be just another bombing in which the numbers, not the victims, would be front and center. Media outlets would report what happened, who claimed responsibility and how many were killed and injured. And then the world would move on. 

    And then the world would move on.

    Like the shallow and detached Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes.

    AP notes, "In its annual report, the London-based Iraqi Body Count reported that 16,361 civilian Iraqis died in 2016, with the northern province of Nineveh the worst hit at 7,431 people killed. The Iraqi capital, Baghdad, was next with 3,714 civilians killed, the research showed."

    It does matter Conor.  And these people's lives mattered.  They aren't here anymore.  The very least the rest of us can do is stop lying that the Iraq War ended.

    A lie that's all over Twitter.

    Barack didn't end the Iraq War.  He actually made it worse.

    In 2010, the Iraqi people had enough of Nouri al-Maliki.

    Even with Nouri's bribes and well documented dirty tricks (such as refusing to allow some candidates to run and such as refusing to simplify voting in order to depress Sunni turnout), he still lost.

    Ayad Allawi won.

    He should have been named prime minister-designate.

    Nouri refused to step down.  For over eight months after the election, Iraq was at a stand-still.

    Instead of backing the winner, Barack had the US broker a contract (The Erbil Agreement) that nullified the votes of the Iraqi people and gave Nouri a second term.

    That's on Barack.

    And it gave Nouri and his paranoia the ability to persecute everyone.  He had military tanks circle the homes of members of Parliament who were Sunni or who disagreed with him.  He ordered a pre-dawn raid of the home of one Sunni MP and the MP's brother was killed in the raid.  He refused to follow the Constitution and packed a kangaroo court to declare Iraq Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi a terrorist and  him to death (six times sentenced to death).  Barack never uttered a word -- certainly not about the witness who died from torture or any other detail of the ridiculous trial -- ridiculous and illegal.

    Nouri was disappearing the Sunnis.

    He would give an order to arrest Habib Hammid (made up name for this example).  There was no arrest warrant.  His forces would go to Habib's home.  Habib's not there.  But his son or daughter is or his wife or mother or . . .  Whomever is home gets taken away.

    There was no arrest warrant.

    Not even for Habib.

    Now the person they've grabbed disappears -- maybe into one of Nouri's many secret torture cells.

    Or if it's a woman or girl and she ends up in one of the prisons (as she waits for a trial that may or may not ever come), she can be tortured and raped.

    Barack had no problem with that.

    Finally, in 2012, Barack's feelings were miffed.  So when Nouri called him after the November 2012 US election to congratulate him (Barack), Barack refused the call.

    That's taking a stand, big boy!!!!!

    It would be two more years before Barack would tell Nouri that it was time to step down.

    And that's when Barack would start publicly sending troops back in.

    So let's all stop pretending Barack ended the Iraq War.

    It did not end.

    For those not getting it, this morning the US Defense Dept announced:

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

    -- Near Beiji, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle.

    -- Near Huwayjah, two strikes engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL-held buildings and a command and control node.

    -- Near Mosul, five strikes engaged three ISIL tactical units; destroyed three fighting positions, three ISIL-held buildings, two heavy machine guns, two mortar systems, a command-and-control node, a vehicle bomb factory, a vehicle bomb, an ISIL unmanned aircraft, a supply cache and an artillery system; and damaged 24 supply routes and an ISIL-held building.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

    It should be clear, even to Meryl, that the Iraq War has not ended.

    Even to Meryl.

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated:

  • Wednesday, January 11, 2017

    Ralph Nader

    I voted for Ralph in his runs for president.

    Calm down, Debra Messing, I'm a Green.  My parents are Green.  (I am married to a Democrat.)

    I believed in Ralph.  I liked Ralph.  I respected him.

    And then came the Barack years.

    I think Ralph did a good campaign in 2008.

    I think he raised real issues.

    And yet then he was silent.

    Or he was talking 'consumer issues.'

    The world's on fire, we've got Barack not ending the Iraq War and where is Ralph?

    Wishing some millionaire or billionaire would provide money for the left -- seriously, he wrote columns about that and a book about that.

    Why didn't he write about the wars?

    Why didn't he call Barack out?

    He was such a coward.

    And he is the most disappointing person to me of the last eight years.  I trusted him.  I was wrong.

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

    Wednesday, January 11, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, the Mosul slog continues, US troops may remain in Iraq beyond the defeat (if it happens) of the Islamic State, Barack cries in public during his farewell speech, I defend Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and more.

    We're starting with the issue of when I know someone.  I have not written once of Joe Biden's wife.  I may after Joe's out of office and she's in private life.  I have nothing but praise for her.  But if I ever wrote about her here that would mean if something went wrong I might have to call her out.

    I still consider Bob Filner a friend.  I am so sorry for the women who were hurt by him.  I hope their lives are better today not that they've spoken out.  I would have loved not to have to ever mention that Bob harassed those women.  But I wrote about him and when, to my shock, those revelations came out, we covered it.

    Nothing like that would have happened with Joe's wife but the press loves to create drama so I've avoided mentioning her here in case they went to town on her.  That way I could always respond to someone who knows me, "I've never mentioned her name before, why would I now?"

    And though I like Joe, he's Vice President, and I've torn him apart here.  He's also gotten praise here but when he was wrong -- or my opinion was he was wrong -- we didn't put on the kid gloves.  I didn't try to be nice like The Cult of St. Barack did with their personal savior.

    If he did something idiotic -- or John Kerry -- they got called out.

    I know RFK Jr.  I've disclosed that before.

    Were he to serve in any capacity on a commission or panel on vaccinations or oversee a study, it would be a benefit to the nation.

    I get that this a country where historical amnesia is instilled.

    I get that the corporate press will always go along with big business -- whether it's Big Pharma or Big Tobacco.

    As someone who has spent decades doing fund raising on the issue of autism, I am aware of and versed in the debate on vaccines.

    My role is to gather money for research and treatment of autism.

    In that capacity, I need to show respect -- not have tantrums in public like Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes.

    There are many people with many strong opinions on this topic.

    I do not have a strong opinion on vaccines.  But I do listen to those who insist that they do not cause autism and I do listen to those who insist that they do.

    I get very tired of these 'science' devotees -- they don't know science but maybe listened to a Rooster Teeth podcast -- whose lives have not been effected reel off this or reel off that.

    Cigarette smoking is probably on the way out.  (I smoked for years.  I miss it every day.)  If the known truth about cigarettes had been put out long, long ago, less and less people would smoke today.  We've have less cancer deaths, less this, less that.

    Are we getting the full truth on the vaccines?

    I don't know.

    I don't presume to know.

    One of the largest donor families, with regards to autism, has been split down the middle by this debate.  Both the parents and the adult daughter care deeply about this issue.  I do not believe either the parents or the daughter (I know both and have raised from money from both) are crazy or idiots or uninformed.  They care passionately about this issue.

    You can't work on this issue and work with everyone if you're taking sides.

    That's the reality.

    And I've sometimes said, "Why are men weighing in" on abortion "it's a woman's body."

    Similarly, I'm tired of the fake scientists weighing in -- and those are the people with no skin in the game and no scientific background.  But they want to mock a Jenny McCarthy or whomever.

    I'm sorry, who in your family is autistic?

    (I do have family members which is why this is a cause I've worked on all my life.)

    If no one is, how about you stop insulting people?

    Let's say for the sake of argument that Big Pharma's been completely honest and that your dumb little podcasts that you listen to truly did give you a doctorate in science and you're now an expert.

    Let's say that.

    So what?

    If you're such an expert you should be fully aware that beyond your science is the reality of what families have to live through are effected by autism.

    If the group that believes vaccines caused it are completely and 100% wrong, so what?

    You're not the one who has a child with autism.

    You're not dealing with that stress and those fears.

    To you it's all abstract.

    To them it's reality and very personal.

    So maybe you can just stop talking about an issue that doesn't effect you if all you have to do is slam someone who is suffering?

    Robert Kennedy Jr. is a very wise person.  I think of him as a friend but I think I would see him that way regardless.

    As someone willing to question -- "skeptic" the press hisses, as though it's a bad thing -- his serving on a panel/committee/whatever would give it an authenticity that it wouldn't otherwise have.

    He's also seen as honest -- for good reason.

    I don't believe he would lie, he would be forthright.

    I'm very angry that someone who could do so much may now be denied that chance because a lot of idiotic loudmouths won't shut the hell up.

    If you don't have someone with autism in your family?

    Just close your mouth and sit down.

    This issue doesn't effect you and you cannot begin to know the struggle that so many families have with it.  And many of them believe vaccines are safe (and they may be) and many believe that vaccines aren't safe (and they may not be) and there's a middle that doesn't know what to think and a section that doesn't want to think about it at all.  Those are the people that matter in this discussion because they are dealing with these issues.

    In other words, the Whoopi Goldbergs of the world -- idiots paid to pontificate despite having no ethical framework to speak of (pro-torture Whoopi wants to talk about ethics?) -- need to turn their motor mouths off because this does not pertain to them.

    It is an explosive issue within a community and if you're not part of that community don't speak for it.
    If you're not living through it, it doesn't effect you and you do not what you're talking about.

    You haven't had to see some beautiful boy or girl who, for whatever reason, has been divorced from the world we want to be a part of.  You haven't had to ask yourself, "Why?"  Or "Did I do something wrong?" Most importantly, "What can I do now to help my child/brother/sister/etc?"

    As far I'm concerned, the only crackpot in this discussion is Mia Farrow who claims one of her children was autistic (I know which one) and that she cured him via the color red.  I'm not joking about that.

    That's a crackpot.

    (As always, Mia's stories supposedly about other people are really stories that glorify herself -- fantasies she hopes will be repeated when she dies and lead to her beatification.)

    In my role, I cannot take a position.  To do so would impact fund raising and further a split in a community.  And that's not, "I cannot take a public position."  I don't even tell a friend like Elaine where I would fall on the spectrum.

    My role is to fund raise and to try to help heal the divide -- not to solve it, I'm not a scientist.  But to try to help heal it so that, for those of us involved personally, there's a space where we can show respect for everyone regardless of their viewpoint.

    Robert could do a great deal to heal this divide and he could do a great deal in many other ways.

    I am disgusted by the tabloid press -- NYT, that includes you -- and their nonsense attacks.

    I rarely write about autism here -- but have a standing offer to anyone in the autistic community -- regardless of where they are on the spectrum of beliefs -- that if they want something published they can e-mail it or, if they know me personally, they can hand it to me, and will go up without me weighing in.  A friend is being treated very poorly by the press and this is an autism issue so I'm weighing in.

    I am taking Robert's side on his decency, his honesty and his character.  I am praising him for his ability to question.  I am not saying his views are my views but I am saying he has the personal integrity to go by truth and if truth doesn't support his personal views, he's not going to lie about it. (And if truth backs up his personal views, he's not going to lie about.)

    I think he is the ideal person and the tabloid press needs to back the hell off because all they're doing is preventing a voice that could heal from helping.

    Turning to the Mosul slog . . .

    It's day 85 of the operation to liberate or 'liberate' the city seized by the Islamic State in June of 2014.

    AFP reports, "Iraqi forces have retaken at least 80 percent of east Mosul from the ISIL Takfiri group, the spokesman of the special forces spearheading the campaign said on Wednesday."

    So in about 20 more days, Mosul will be liberated?

    Uh, not so slow-fast.

    AP reports:

    A top Iraqi commander told The Associated Press that the operation to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group could be complete in three months or less.

    "It's possible" that Mosul will be liberated in in that time frame, Lt. Gen. Talib Shaghati said in an interview with the AP on Tuesday evening. However, he warned it is difficult to give an accurate estimate of how long the operation will take because it is not a conventional fight.

    AP goes on to note that the Iraqi government (Hayder al-Abadi) claimed awhile back that the operation would be done at the end of 2016.  That didn't happen.

    AP fails to note that the original end-date, before the operation started, was to be before the US presidential election.  This was to be the October surprise to deliver the election to Hillary.

    POLITICO'S Mark Perry reported at the start of August that Barack was planning to start the battle to retake Mosul in early October and, "If Mosul is retaken, it would both mark a major political triumph for Barack Obama and likely benefit his party’s nominee at the polls, Hillary Clinton, undercutting Republican claims that the Obama administration has failed to take off the gloves against the Islamic State."

    Yeah, that failed too.

    Barack failed at his promise to end the Iraq War as well.

    He delivered a farewell address last night.

    1. Tam McColl Retweeted ABC News
      No tears for the families murdered by US bombs.
      Tam McColl added,

    It was notable for his crying.

    But not for the people he killed, for his wife.

    There was a time when a sitting president did something like that, people would question his mental state.  This will no doubt be written off as another charming moment from Barack.

    Niles Niemuth (WSWS) observes of the speech:

    As with every address Obama has delivered over the last eight years, his speech in Chicago was full of clichés, his rhetoric padded with empty phrases and delivered with a false gravitas, signaled by his trademark pursed lips and affected whisper.
    The speech was rife with contradictions, the starkest being the juxtaposition of Obama’s boasting of the great social progress achieved by his administration and his warning of threats to American democracy arising from ever-growing social inequality and economic insecurity.
    The president declared: “If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history… if I had told you that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, and take out the mastermind of 9/11… if I had told you that we would win marriage equality, and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens—you might have said our sights were set a little too high.
    “By almost every measure, America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started.”
    He made no attempt to explain why, given this impressive record of social progress and foreign policy success, his party was routed in the elections and the billionaire demagogue Donald Trump was preparing to succeed him in the White House.
    A basic component of the answer, of course, is the grotesquely false rendering of his record and the state of American society as he leaves office. Hardly a week goes by without a new report on signs of extreme social crisis or ever-more obscene levels of wealth among the financial elite. Just in the past month, studies have been published showing the first decline in US life expectancy in 23 years, plunging pay for young adults, a 72 percent surge in deaths from synthetic opioids, and home ownership rates at historic lows for young people.
    Other surveys have documented a $237 billion increase in the wealth of the world’s richest 200 billionaires, driven largely by the US stock market boom under Obama, and an acceleration of the transfer of wealth from the bottom half of the US population for the top one percent.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2017

    Say it, say it again

    Grateful citizens of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen bid farewell to Barack Obama and his prize-winning drones of peace.

    In the words of Diana Ross, "Say it, say it again" ("Someday We'll Be Together").

    Remember that as he starts speechifying tonight.

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

    Tuesday, January 10, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the Mosul slog continues, Barack Obama's legacy of war continues, all that and Meryl Streep.

    Hail to the departing Celebrity In Chief.  Having appeared on Samantha Bee's poor copy of THE DAILY SHOW on October 31st, our braless starlet Barack Obama had exhausted all

    Celebrity President
    From March 22, 2009, that's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Celebrity President." A bra-less Barack, in a slinky little number, sits next to Jay Leno explaining, "Life in the bubble, Jay, everyone's Simon Cowell. Let me tell you about my motorcade or, if you want, I can make fun of the front row kid in the wheel chair." Jay responds, "How about your tasteful nude scene? You want to take a break and answer that when we come back?" [Added: Isaiah says refer to Third's "Editorial: Barack's too immature to apologize" and "TV: The War Goes Ignored" and Friday's "Barack has not apologized and people need to quit making excuses."] Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

    My favorite moment of all his airhead TV appearances?

    It would still be with Jay but it would be the October 25, 2011 appearance on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO.

    Barack Obama: The entire national security team that we've had has been outstanding. And it's not just rivals within the Democratic Party.  My Secretary of Defense, Bob Gates, is a Republican.

    Jay Leno: Right.

    Barack Obama: He was a carryover from the Bush Administration. He made an outstanding contribution. 

    As noted in the October 26, 2011 snapshot, if Ronald Reagan had made similar remarks, he would have been called senile.

    It was October of 2011.

    The Secretary of Defense was?

    Leon Panetta.

    And had been since July 1, 2011 when he was sworn into office (the Senate confirmed his nomination June 21, 2011).

    Barack, three months after Panetta became Secretary of Defense, went on TV and made clear he had no functioning knowledge of his cabinet since he had no idea who was Secretary of Defense.

    How out of touch can you be?

    And how whorish can the corporate media be that they couldn't make the same observation I did -- couldn't make it then and can't make it to this day?

    Tonight, he gives his last speech as president.

    Joseph Kishore (WSWS) notes Barack's legacy as the president prepares to address the nation tonight:

    US President Barack Obama’s “farewell address to the nation,” scheduled for tonight, has been preceded by a concentrated media buildup on the theme of Obama’s legacy. This has included fawning tributes portraying the president as a brilliant orator, progressive reformer, visionary and man of the people.

    Seeking to mold the narrative of Obama’s presidency, the White House put out a video over the weekend featuring comedians Ellen DeGeneres and Jerry Seinfeld, actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, former basketball star Michael Jordan and other celebrities extolling the “historic moments that prove, yes, we can create progress.” Such absurd and nauseating effusions testify not to the qualities or accomplishments of the 44th president, but to the intellectual, political and moral debasement of the American cultural establishment.

    For Obama and the privileged social layers that surround the Democratic Party, a legacy can be crafted with honeyed phrases and clever marketing. Millions of people, however, will judge the administration by its actions.

    It would take far more space than is available here to outline in detail the real record of the Obama White House. However, any objective appraisal of the past eight years would have to include the following elements:

    1. Unending war

    Obama is the first president in American history to serve two full terms in office with the nation at war. This includes the continued bloodletting in Afghanistan and Iraq, the bombing of Libya, the six-year-long war for regime change in Syria, and support for the Saudi-led destruction of Yemen. A recent survey reported that in 2016, US Special Operations forces were deployed in 138 nations, or 70 percent of the countries of the world.

    The “wars of the 21st century,” begun under Bush and expanded under Obama, have killed more than a million people and driven millions more from their homes, producing the worst refugee disaster since the Second World War. Obama’s “pivot to Asia” has inflamed tensions from the South China Sea to India and Pakistan. The current president will leave the White House as NATO troops deploy to Eastern Europe in the midst of an anti-Russia war hysteria stoked by the media and the Democratic Party.

    Obama is the “drone” president, supervising the killing of some 3,000 people in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya by means of unmanned aerial vehicles, along with several thousand more in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    At COUNTERPUNCH, John Steppling also reflects on the sudden interest in ethics now that War Hawk corporatist Hillary Clinton did not make it to her coronation:

    And yet here they all are wringing their hands in dismay that Hillary lost. Here they are constantly repeating the litanies of Trump evil and never noticing the crimes of earlier democratic presidents and administrations. So, yes Trump’s appointments are awful. But I refuse to even dig into that until a discussion of Obama’s appointments are dissected. First came Rahm Emanuel, former memeber of the IDF, all around thug and bully and lover of never ending war to help expand Israeli power. Penny Pritzker, heiress and elitist and friend to the 1%, or Robert Rubin or Tim Geithner (!!!) or Tom Daschle, the senator from Citibank. I’m just scratching the surface. Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. The point is that I am coming to feel that almost any focus on Trump feels misplaced. Certainly now it does since he isn’t even president yet. The deconstruction of liberal Obama is far from complete and the propaganda apparatus is working overtime to rewrite not just recent history, but the present. And the anti Russian propaganda is so absurd, so transparent, that this feels far more important than the predictable stupidity of Trump. I mean Obama is massing troops near the Russian border. Obama is ramping up the building of purpose built navel bases near China. Obama is still looking to prosecute Chelsea Manning and every other whistleblower. And he is still signing draconian legislation to curb free speech and institutionalize legitimacy for the new McCarthyism. Talking about Trump is a form of forgetting. I can’t do it. And if there is an easier target for parody or even non parodic narrative than Donald Trump, I havent met them. And easy is never an act of rigorous self examination.

    And that's why Meryl Streep garbage matters.

    I understand Michael Tracey's attitude that it doesn't.

    But it does matter to me.  And I'd argue it matters to many more.

    Let's stay with the industry first.

    Meryl Streep is not a star and  never has been.

    She has 'femme' appeal among eastern seaboard critics -- 'femme' appeal as VARIETY used to word it in the fifties.

    Most people will not pay to see Meryl which is why she can't open a film and why her films are flops.

    She's made 66 films and her average domestic box office is $33 million.

    That's ticket sales.  That is a joke.

    She is a joke.

    Not one of her last five films has even made $30 million at the box office.

    She is not a star.

    She's an overpraised actress.

    Try to imagine a reel of Meryl highlights?

    Does anyone remember anything?

    There's DEATH BECOMES HER -- but credit for that goes to Robert Zemeckis and Goldie Hawn.

    DEATH BECOMES HER goes to Meryl's problems.  In the late 80s, she'd finally found a way to fill in her otherwise hollow characters (this happens when she moves into comedy) but in 1992's DEATH BECOMES HER -- and all that's followed, Meryl's projecting into her own palm.  She can't interact with other characters and it's as though she has no body.

    We're not talking about sex appeal.  She lacks that and few men or women ever become stars without sex appeal.

    But we're talking about a performer divorced from her body.

    There are many finer actresses than Meryl.  Lily Tomlin immediately comes to mind.  Every scene is a work to marvel with Lily.  That's especially true when Lily co-starred with Meryl in Robert Altman's last film.  You watched Meryl do all the same things, same fussy business she does with each role, all the mechanics (as Pauline Kael long ago pointed out) and you never feel reality, you just feel like Meryl's doing yet another performance that her drama teacher will applaud.  Yawn.

    Lily's creating a new character.

    Meryl may do accents but her characters are all the same.

    Lily's Margo in THE LATE SHOW and Violet in 9 TO 5 and Linnea in NASHVILLE and Edweena in ALL OF ME and Doreen in SHORT CUTS and Elle in GRANDMA and Frankie in GRACE AND FRANKIE are all different and distinct characters.  They move differently, they gesture differently, Lily alters her body and her voice for each role.

    Lily's co-star in GRACE AND FRANKIE is Jane Fonda.  Meryl has done 66 films.  Where is her Bree Daniels? 

    I always argue that Jane gave the best performance of any actress in the second half of the 20th century with KLUTE.

    Meryl's never matched that moment on screen, let alone surpassed it.

    Back to Lily.

    Lily's been nominated once for an Academy Award -- only once. 

    OSCARSOWHITE# got it wrong.


    And don't complain about the actresses denied nominations -- worthy actresses -- unless you want to face the reality that Meryl doesn't deserve 19 nominations.

    But she's received them.

    Not because she's outstanding like Lily Tomlin or because she's given an amazing all out performance like Jane Fonda, but because of the class system -- an upper, middle class, eastern seaboard woman who went to Vassar and Yale.

    Debra Winger is a better actress then Meryl but Debra's background's working class.  So the fussbudgets among the 'critics' don't rush to crown Debra.

    It's a class issue.

    And when Meryl won for her awful portrayal of Margaret Thatcher (in the fact challenged film), that meant Viola Davis lost for THE HELP.  Viola's performance had life, passion and believability.

    So, yes, it is an issue that matters.

    Because Meryl's a WASP, she doesn't have to excel, she merely has to be adequate.

    And when she goes on TV and presents herself as 'the left' that's a lie that needs to be called out.  She is not opposed to war.  She is not concerned with illegal spying.  She is hack for the Democratic Party.

    1. Keep It Whole Retweeted Trap Bernie Sanders
      Keep It Whole added,

    joey4track Retweeted Trap Bernie Sanders
    This kid says it all.
    joey4track added,

    Meryl Streep blasted Trump at the Golden Globes. Where are her tears over Obama's policies? New Award: Best Selective Outrage by an Elite! 😒

    Michael Tracey's a great writer and he doesn't have to cover any topic he's not interested in.

    But I disagree with this:

    Meryl Streep's speech at the Golden Globes and Trump's subsequent Twitter rebuttal is a great example of a controversy to simply ignore.

    The attacks on Trump are taste attacks -- include Meryl in that.  He's too crude for them.

    He has implemented no policies and not been sworn in as president, but Meryl will go TV and present as the left slamming him while ignoring the crimes -- yes, crimes -- of Barack Obama. 

    Trump's response?  He called her over-praised and this led to non-stop monologues on the late night shows defending Meryl's honor.

    She is over-praised.

    Other than DEATH BECOMES HER and SILKWOOD, nothing she's done will be remembered.  And in both those movies, she's not giving the strongest performance (that would be Goldie Hawn in the first and Cher in the second). 

    But it's apparently a heresy to use critical abilities to point out that she's failed repeatedly at the box office, that she's not a star, that she's a WASP who's benefitted from class, etc?

    And Meryl's world view is frightening and needs to be called out.

    1. Streep’s blasts “violence” in Golden Globes speech, forgetting ’s wars in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine

    Where has Meryl Streep been for the past 8 yrs as bombed 7 countries?

    Meryl's made herself a joke and it wasn't just that plunging neckline worn despite the lack of cleavage. So, yes, it does matter.  For all the reasons above not to mention I have to attend the Academy Awards and I'm not in the mood for a bunch of partisan hacks making the night all the longer as they whine about how Hillary Clinton didn't make it into the White House.

    Iraqi Sunni Sheikh Jawad Amam of Alravh Mosque killed by Iraqi army in

    Mosul.  Seized by the Islamic State in June of 2014.  85 days ago, Iraq's prime minister Hayder al-Abadi finally initiated a liberation or 'liberation' effort.

    The Mosul slog.

    85 days and counting and civilian casualties are mounting.

    John Davison and Stephen Kalin (REUTERS) report, "The United Nations said civilian casualties had streamed into nearby hospitals in the last two weeks as fighting intensified in the jihadist group's last major stronghold in Iraq."

    The Islamic State is a terrorist group.

    Sadly, so are the militias 'liberating' Mosul.

    Let's move over to yesterday's US State Dept press briefing by lovely lashes John Kirby:

    QUESTION: Okay. So can I switch to Iraq or --

    MR KIRBY: Go ahead.

    QUESTION: Okay. The – couple days ago of Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim visited Iraq and he met with Kurdish and Iraqi leaders in Baghdad and Erbil. One of the topics they talked about is the military and deployment – Turkish military deployment in Iraq and that issue. So if you would just comment on that – on the visit in general and on were you involved in any way, because you – previously you have asked both sides to de-escalate the tensions they had over the --

    MR KIRBY: Yeah, we --

    QUESTION: -- Turkish army --

    MR KIRBY: I think I talked about this last week. I’m not going to – I don’t have a readout to offer to you. We weren’t party to these meetings. Certainly, as we’ve said over and over again, we respect the sovereign right of the government in Baghdad to meet and discuss and have dialogue with neighbors and partners in the region, including Turkey. We obviously look favorably on dialogue between Turkey and Iraq on a number of issues, but I’d leave it to leaders from both those countries to speak to what was discussed and what the outcomes were.

    QUESTION: Okay.

    MR KIRBY: That’s not for us to speak to. But I said all that last week, so that’s – I’m not giving you anything different.


    So he believes he answered that last week so he doesn't have to answer it this week?

    Does that mean that we the US taxpayers can pay him for last week but since he doesn't want to actually work this week, we don't have to pay him for this week?

    Seems fair.

    At least it wasn't another briefing where he talked about his son.  Talked about?  Slobbered over.  There's family pride and then there's crossing dangerous boundaries.

    On June 19, 2014, Barack Obama declared that the only answer to Iraq's crises was a political solution.  But instead of working on that, the US government has just dropped bombs and sent US troops into Iraq.

    Too bad that things can't be postponed forever.

    Mustafa Habib (NIQASH) reports:

    Last month, Iraq’s unpopular former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki paid a visit to the southern Iraqi provinces of Maysan, Basra and Nasiriya. But instead of a welcoming committee he was met by thousands of Iraqis demonstrating against him. Most of these were affiliated with, or followers of, another political leader, the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
    In Basra, dozens of the protestors, who chanted that al-Maliki was corrupt and a thief, even went so far as to try and storm the hall where al-Maliki was giving a speech, forcing security staff to cancel the event. After the cancellation, al-Maliki threatened to launch a new version of a 2008 military operation called Sawat al-Fursan, or Operation Knight’s Charge, against the protestors. This was a military operation sent into Basra to purge Basra of militias affiliated with al-Sadr’s movement at the time.
    This may have been an idle threat – the 2008 operation did not succeed and a truce between the two Shiite Muslim leaders was eventually brokered by Iran. But the real repercussions of the protests began to be played out some days later on Iraq’s latest, and increasingly important, political battleground: The country’s provincial councils.

    Because of various new legislation that gives provincial councils more power to make their own decisions on security, finance and politics, Iraq is moving slowly toward a more decentralized system. Competition for power on these councils will only increase in the future.
    And competition for seats on the provincial councils in southern Iraq, populated mainly by the country’s Shiite Muslims, will be divided between two main Shiite Muslim groups: The State of Law coalition, led by Nouri al-Maliki of which the current prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is also a member, and the forces led by two younger clerics, Ammar al-Hakim and Muqtada al-Sadr. The pair represent a new Iraqi generation in political Islam.
    Al-Maliki’s next response to the humiliation he suffered in front of al-Sadr’s protestors in southern Iraq was to instruct the members of the Baghdad provincial council belonging to the State of Law coalition, to question their governor, Ali al-Tamimi, a member of al-Sadr’s Sadrist movement.
    The governor was to be called to answer special questions about financial and administrative corruption, including questions about a security system to monitor vehicles in Baghdad, to try and stop car bombs, that was planned but never carried out. Money for the system was collected from the people of Baghdad.
     “Calling Baghdad’s governor in for questioning at this time is clearly politically motivated,” council member Fadel Al-Shuwaili, also a member of the Sadrist movement, told NIQASH. “Why did they choose this moment? What have they been doing for the past few months?”
    But, al-Shuwaili said, the alliance between the Sadrist members of the council and other parties is strong and the State of Law members won’t be able to sack the governor. The State of Law has 20 out of 58 seats on the provincial council but would need over 29 to be able to dismiss the governor.
    “This questioning of officials is both legal and constitutional,” says Saad al-Matlabi, a senior member of Nouri al-Maliki's party and one of his supporters, in reply to the criticism. “If the Sadrist movement trusts their governor, then why are they afraid of having him questioned?”

    A few days later the next campaign against a provincial Sadrist politician began. This time it was Maysan’s popular governor, Ali Dawai, also a Sadr supporter, in the spotlight.

    Thug Nouri wants back in power.  Barack overruled Iraqi voters in 2010 and gave the thug a second term.  In 2014, as Nouri's persecution of various people had led Iraq yet again to the brink, even Barack could no longer back him.  Since being ousted, Nouri has plotted his return.

    The following community sites -- plus Tavis Smiley -- updated:

  • Hypocrisy
    13 hours ago