Thursday, July 5, 2018

Real choices

This is from Ann Garrison (Black Agenda Report):

What will Democrats do when they can’t campaign as the “least-worst” option, then shame and blame anyone who dares to vote Green? Greens are running against incumbent Democrats in three California congressional races with no Republican bogeymen in sight. The names of all three Greens will appear right alongside the Democrats’ names on the November ballot, so voters will readily see that they have a choice besides writing in their cat, their cousin, a Green, or some other marginalized candidate. In Districts 13, 34, and 40, there’ll be no Republicans, no least-worst Democrats, and no excuse for shame and blame. In these races Democrats have to make their case on its own merits instead of arguing that Green voters risk electing a Republican and should therefore suffer eternal damnation.The argument that anyone to the left of Donald Trump owes their vote to a Democrat, no matter how despicable, has always been stupid and arrogant, but in these races it’s not even relevant.
In these races Democrats have to make their case on its own merits.”
Want Medicare-for-All? Free public college tuition and the cancelation of student debt? Sustainable energy and agriculture? Economic human rights? The end of homelessness, gentrification, mass incarceration, and police and border militarization? Want to stop the wars, close the empire of bases, radically cut the military budget, and repurpose resources to meet human needs and build sustainable infrastructure? Want to live in a world where everyone has dignity and purpose, and society respects and protects the life of every individual? No problem if that’s what you’d like to say with your vote in November and you live in the Golden State’s Districts 13, 34, and 40. There’s no need to vote for the least of what you want or against the worst of what you fear. You can vote your conscience by voting Green—for Laura Wells in D13, Kenneth Mejia in D34, or Rodolfo Cortes Barragan in D40.

California Districts 13, 34, and 40 are so solidly Democratic that no Republicans bothered to pay the $1740 filing fee or gather the 2000 signatures required to put their name on the ballot. Green candidate Laura Wells advanced to the general election by handily winning the write-in vote against Republican, Libertarian, and American Independent write-in candidates.

There are real choices and we need to have more of them.

We'll have to battle a lot of stupid to get there.  Stupid like this idiot:

  1. Why would associate herself with who helped creating this mess? We wouldn’t have to march, protest and worry every night what’s going to happen next if we had our right now!

Susan Sarandon was not going to vote for Hillary.  That's reality.  Grow up.  She voted for who she wanted.  She didn't owe Hillary a vote.  And what she says there?  About Hillary's record of corruption?  I'm right there with her.

Kiss my Black ass if you don't like it.

Never think you own my vote because you don't.

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

Madeline Albright is responsible for criminal sanctions that killed over 500,000 children in . She told “60 minutes” it was “worth the cost.” She considered the govt to be . This kind of “” is not Progressive.

Mad Maddie Albright is the one who should come with a warning label.  Her actions should have resulted in a mass shunning.  Instead, she's allowed to pose as a humanitarian and someone worth listening to.

People like Maddie destroy the world and then stand around as though they have done something worthy of applause.  Booing is too kind for the likes of Maddie.

Returning to the topic of the drought in Iraq,  Philip Issa (AP) reports:

Iraq has banned its farmers from planting summer crops this year as the country grapples with a crippling water shortage that shows few signs of abating.
Citing high temperatures and insufficient rains, Dhafer Abdalla, an adviser to Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources, told The Associated Press that the country has only enough water to irrigate half its farmland this summer.

But farmers fault the government for failing to modernize how it manages water and irrigation, and they blame neighboring Turkey for stopping up the Tigris and Euphrates rivers behind dams it wants to keep building.

A water shortage in the summer?  It's been a 118 degrees Fahrenheit day for Iraq today.  And they suffer a water shortage.

The water issue is not a new one.  So why didn't Hayder al-Abadi do anything over the last four years as prime minister to address the issue?  Last February, some were sure that a hard summer would be avoidable due to some heavy rains that had fallen.  Now that notion is so outrageous that we'll be kind and not name the non-Iraqi outlets that pimped that lie.

The big lie, of course, is that voting helps Iraq.  Over and over, Iraq's prime ministers do nothing.  The problems are known.  They are identified.  Then four years fly by and nothing has been done.  Over and over this happens.  Starting to grasp why so few bothered to vote last May?

's treasured amber rice crop devastated by drought

How does this happen?

As Patrick Cockburn observes, this is a human-made drought.

It did not happen overnight.

Nor was it a surprise.

In other news, Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) notes, "Unidentified gunmen killed a top aide to Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr at his home in Najaf. Shawqi Hadad was also a commander of Saraya al-Ashura, one of the Shi’ite militias."

Moqtada's bloc came in first in the May elections.  Partial recounts are currently taking place.  Apparently, there are no real changes because Kirkuk is the only thing anyone's pointing to.

And any issue with Kirkuk's votes would not be a surprise.  They were questioned the day of the election by the governor of Kirkuk who imposed a curfew and called for a manual recount.

So the partial recount appears to be producing no real changes.

Which means the politicians will have less excuses for foot dragging.  We're now nearing two months since the election and still no government has been formed.

Lastly . . .

US Iraq war veteran: ‘To prevent veterans’ suicide, US should stop waging wars across the globe’

Check out the RT article.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Greens in 2 strong races

"Protest vote" is a phrase used by Dems to trivialize why people vote 3rd-party. I and others voted for because we supported Jill, Platform & Green New Deal, and wanted to help the GP grow. Clinton didn't represent us.


I've said it before, I was raised a Green.  My parents are Green.  Those simple minded fools who think they own votes better wake up to the reality that some of us are Greens.

I get it, they finally got a candidate that even Republicans could support.  Well good for them and Hillary.  But Greens aren't Republicans and we'll never support Hillary.  Never.  She's a War Hawk.  She's a Corporatist.

Here are two candidates you can support.  First Ohio:

  1. Getting ready for DooDah with some handmade signs! I hope to see you all at the parade tomorrow in Columbus! Got any better signs or ?
  2. Our Lt. Governor candidate is live on YouTube NOW talking about his big plans for a green Ohio.
  3. Ohioans are clamoring for more voices and more choices. The current candidates from the Democrats and Republicans represent corporate interests and not the interests of the people. It is a mockery of our democracy. We have a right to know who to vote for.

Then in California:

Y'all, is up against a 13-term incumbent in California's 40th Congressional District - he is the only challenger. We can win this.

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

Tuesday, July 3, 2018.  Chaos and violence continue as US troops remain on the ground in Iraq, the drought continues, and the never-ending 2018 election sees ballots recounted today.

AFP reports:

Standing on his farm in southern Iraq, Amjad al-Kazaali gazed sorrowfully over fields where rice has been sown for centuries -- but which now lie bare for lack of water.
For the first time, this season Kazaali has not planted the treasured amber rice local to Diwaniyah province.

's treasured amber rice crop, also known as ‘royal rice’ devastated by drought

What's going on?  The drought that's being caused by Iran and Turkey diverting water.  Patrick Cockburn (INDEPENDENT) notes, "Dams built upriver in Turkey, Syria and Iran since the 1970s have reduced the flow of water that reaches Iraq by as much as half and the situation is about to get worse."  Last month, Joshua Levkowitz (MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE) explained last month:

Iraq is in a drought, and with warming temperatures, declining rainfall and ongoing dam construction, “the situation will only become more serious,” says Ali Alkarkhi, a member of Iraq’s Save the Tigris campaign. In the run-up to Iraq’s May 12 parliamentary elections, water policy has been noticeably omitted. It is problematic yet understandable that water has become a secondary concern in the wake of Iraq’s declared victory over ISIS in 2017. This is particularly urgent given that violent disputes related to water scarcity have flared up across Iraq and will only intensify, according to Alkarkhi. All this underscores the vital importance of water security in Iraq.
Hassan Janabi, Iraq’s Water Resources minister, said the amount of water flowing in Iraq’s rivers has fallen by at least 40 percent in recent decades, largely due to irregular rainfall and the construction of dams. The Waterkeeper Alliance’s Iraq branch conducted a threat assessment and found that dams were one of the major threats to the lower Zab River’s ecosystem. According to Musa, “While rivers have historically connected us, dams are dividing us.”

Of Iraq’s water resources, 70 percent come from rivers and marshes shared with its neighbors. Turkey, Syria and Iran control the flow of water into Iraq, and all three countries have plans to build dams that will further decrease water flow to Iraq, exacerbating the water crisis further.

Catastrophic drought threatens Iraq as major dams in surrounding countries cut off water to its great rivers

As we noted last week, "Summer has already begun and summer, for Iraq, is especially hot.  In July 2017, there were eight days where the temperature reached 122 degrees Fahrenheit.  Imagine a water shortage when the temperature hits 122."  As I dictate this, the temperature in Iraq is 117 degrees Fahrenheit and tomorrow the high is expected to be 199 degrees Fahrenheit.

Iraq is facing a perfect storm of drought, resulting from war, climate change and construction of dams

The war has destroyed Iraq in countless ways.  And, yet, the war continues.

Yesterday afternoon the US Defense Dept issued the following:

Strikes in Iraq
On July 1, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of three engagements against ISIS targets near Asad. The strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed three ISIS caves.
On June 30, coalition military forces conducted three strikes consisting of three engagements against ISIS targets.
-- Near Makhmur, a strike engaged one ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS-held building.
-- Near Qaim, two strikes destroyed two ISIS supply routes.
There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq on June 28-29.
On June 27, coalition military forces conducted three strikes consisting of three engagements against ISIS targets.
-- Near Rutbah, two strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed two ISIS vehicles.
-- Near Jalawla, a strike destroyed an ISIS-held building and three ISIS caves.
On June 26 in Iraq, coalition military forces conducted two strikes consisting of eight engagements against ISIS targets.
-- Near Asad, a strike destroyed 15 ISIS caves.
-- Near Hawijah, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS-held building.

There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq on June 25.

And the US troops continue to battle on the ground.  On Monday evening's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED (NPR) this was noted:

We go now to Iraq, where there are still roughly 5,000 U.S. troops even though ISIS has been largely driven out. NPR's Jane Arraf traveled with the U.S. military for an exclusive look at one of the more remote American bases near the Syrian border.

JANE ARRAF, BYLINE: To get to the firebase, you fly by helicopter over Mosul, the city retaken from ISIS a year ago after nine months of fighting along Sinjar Mountain, where minority Yazidis fled to escape genocide in 2014. And then just a little more than a mile from the Syrian border, there's a collection of tents and armored vehicles in the desert. For the last month, that's been home to about 150 American soldiers and Marines working with Iraqi forces to fire artillery at ISIS in Syria.

SERGEANT JASON POWELL: This is the M777 Alpha 1. It shoots the 155 round as we have here. They weigh about a hundred pounds each. And sometimes we get up to 12-round fire missions. So with your gear on and hauling these rounds, these guys are fricking animals.

As the war continues, so does the long, drawn out process of post-election counting.

The manual recount of votes cast in ’s parliamentary elections has begun at 500 polling stations in northern (📷 AFP).
’s state TV: Hand recount of vote from May's national begins in Kirkuk province. It shows dozens of ballot boxes lined on the ground of a covered sports hall with employees counting the sheets. The recount will extend to six other provinces in the coming days.
elections manual recount starts in on Tuesday. The committee from Baghdad, supervising the recount, are not letting journalist in to cover the process except for the state TV. correspondents on site
  • The Iraqi High Electoral Commission began on Tuesday (July 3) a manual recount of votes cast in for ’s May 12 elections 📸
    ‪The Iraqi High Electoral Commission began on Tuesday (July 3) a manual recount of votes cast in #Kirkuk for #Iraq’s May 12 elections ‬

    May 12th, Iraq held national elections.  Ahead of the elections, there had been big hopes -- these hopes included a large turnout.   Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) noted, "A total of 24 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their ballots to elect members of parliament, who will in turn elect the Iraqi president and prime minister."  RUDAW added, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs."  AFP explained that the nearly 7,000 candidates includes 2014 women.  THE SIASAT DAILY added, of the nearly 7,000 candidates, "According to the electoral commission, only 20 percent of the candidates are newcomers." Ali Abdul-Hassan and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reported, "Iraqi women account for 57 percent of Iraq’s population of over 37 million, according to the U.N. Development Program, and despite government efforts to address gender inequality, the situation for Iraqi women has declined steadily since 2003.  According to the UNDP, one in every 10 Iraqi households is headed by a widow. In recent years, Iraqi women suffered further economic, social and political marginalization due to decades of wars, conflict, violence and sanctions."   On the day of the election, the big news was how so few were turning out to vote.  NPR reported, "With more than 90 percent of the votes in, Iraq's election commission announced voter turnout of 44.5 percent. The figure is down sharply from 60 percent of eligible voters who cast their ballots in the last elections in 2014." AP pointed out the obvious, "No election since 2003 saw turnout below 60 percent."  AFP broke it down even more clearly "More than half of the nearly 24.5 million voters did not show up at the ballot box in the parliamentary election, the highest abstention rate since the first multiparty elections in 2005 [. . .]."

    Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr came in first, the militias led by Hadi al-Ameri came in second, Hayder al-Abadi (current prime minister) came in third.  The three have no formed an alliance to form the next government.

    Who'e left in the cold?  Former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki.  MIDDLE EAST MONITOR reports:

    Iraq’s Prime Minister and Leader of Al-Nasser Coalition (Victory Alliance), Haider Al-Abadi, has been trying to avoid making a coalition with his predecessor, Nouri Al-Maliki, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Monday. Working with the Sa’eroon Coalition leader Muqtada Al-Sadr, Al-Abadi has been exerting efforts to avoid such a deal. Al-Nasser and Sa’eroon are the largest coalitions in the new Iraqi parliament.
    Meanwhile, another Coalition, Al-Fateh, formed mainly by Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi (the Popular Mobilisation Forces), has been trying to bring Al-Maliki closer to the largest groups. “Al-Fateh Coalition, headed by Hadi Al-Ameri, is trying to bring the ex-Prime Minister closer to the coalition of Sa’eroon, Al-Nasser and Al-Fateh,” explained one Sa’eroon official. He noted that such an effort “will bring the Shia home together again.”

    The official, who refused to give his name, said that all three groups have the same stance towards Al-Maliki, but they have set conditions for him to join the coalition. One of these, he explained, is that he will not be given any of the sovereign ministries to run. This and other conditions are expected to be unacceptable to him.

    Nouri fueled the rise of ISIS via his persecution of the Sunnis.  That's why then-president Barack Obama stopped speaking to him in late 2012 (going so far as to refuse to take Nouri's call of congratulations the day after the 2012 elections, Barack insisted the call be passed over to then-Vice President Joe Biden).  By June 2014, Barack knew Nouri had to go and by August he was gone.

    Corrupt and inept, Nouri still has dreams of becoming prime minister again.  It's not working out for him.

    The following community sites -- plus LATINO USA, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS and BLACK AGENDA REPORT --  updated: