Wednesday, January 6, 2021


 Non-political tonight.  Or maybe political -- getting healthy and strong can be political especially for women.

We've got a challenge at work -- two month challenge.  I'll probably only last a week but I am on a team with four others -- two guys and two women plus me.  There are ten teams and we'll be competing to see who can get the most steps in during the two months and who can lose this most weight and who can lose the most inches -- those are three different awards (cash).

I hope we win one but I can see myself dropping out before month two.

This video is being passed around by people on my team.

So that's what I'm sharing tonight.  

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

 Wednesday, January 6, 2021.  Michelle Goldberg's selective outrage gets called out as the issue of US troops in Iraq remains in the news.

Let's start with some common sense, Andrew Mitrovica (ALJAZEERA) explains:

The posh enablers of America’s empire have always required that the grunts do the maiming and murdering in pursuit of their disastrous geopolitical adventures.

The corollary to this, of course, is the same posh enablers rush for the exits when, occasionally, the grunts end up in the dock for all the maiming and murdering done to enforce America’s dominion over nations the posh enablers have insisted – with obdurate certainty – require emancipation.

For more prima facie evidence of this axiom, you need only digest the reaction among the posh enablers of the US destruction (sorry, emancipation) of Iraq to news of Donald Trump’s pardon of four mercenaries (aka grunts) convicted in connection with the murder of 17 Iraqis, including two children, in Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007.

One mortified New York Times columnist wrote that the pardons, while predictable, were conspicuous not only because of their “depravity” and “grotesqueness”, but are also proof that “the last days of Trump’s reign have been an orgy of impunity”.

That a Times scribe invoked the notion of “impunity” in a lengthy column denouncing the pardons of four killers liable for the massacre, while failing to acknowledge the newspaper’s irrefutable role in championing a “pre-emptive war” that ultimately facilitated the “orgy of violence” in Nisour Square and beyond is as predictable as it is a grotesque example of moral expediency and amnesia.

Mitrovica goes on to outline the paper's long history in ensuring the Iraq War started.  The author of the column he's quoting?  Michelle Goldberg.  Search for Michelle's column ahead of the start of the war calling out war on Iraq.  You won't find it.  You will find, in October of 2002, her attack on the peace movement for SALON, it's entitled "Peace Kooks."  Yes, while the country was marching to war on Iraq, Michelle took the time to . . . attack the peace movement.

There's a lot of blood on her hands.  TASNIM reports:

 Iraq filed a lawsuit against the US for bombing the Arab country with depleted uranium several times over the course of two decades.

On Tuesday, Iraq’s al-Maaloumah news website reported the initiation of the legal proceedings related to the bombing spats that plagued Iraq with rampant and deadly radioactive contamination.

The lawsuit was lodged by Hatif al-Rikabi, the Iraqi parliament’s legal advisor, with a Swedish court in Stockholm on December 26.

The suit demands compensation for the repercussions of the bombings that targeted the country’s former nuclear installations twice in the 1990s and once in the 2000s, said al-Rikabi, who is also a member of Baghdad’s negotiation team with the United Nations.

Michelle Goldberg likes to pretend a lot.  She's a columnist.  Where's her report on the birth defects in Iraq?  Or even on the US troops' children after a parent served in Iraq.  One New York paper did have a columnist who covered that story -- Juan Gonzalez before he retired from THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS.  Michelle pretends to be horrified by pardons of four Blackwater guards.


Another male born in FGH 2 days ago with multiple gross congenital anomalies in addition to CHD , he is the 1st baby to 2 young healthy couples with no previous history of any anomaly
Another male born in FGH with multiple gross congenital anomalies in addition to CHD , he is the 1st baby to 2 young healthy couples with no previous history of any anomaly

And . . .

"Findings suggest the enriched Uranium exposure is either a primary cause or related to the cause of the congenital anomaly and cancer increases," says a recent scientific report on the incidence of birth defects in Fallujah [Dr Samira Alani]

 That's from ALJAZEERA.  Michelle Golberg wants to pretend to care about Iraqis but she's horrified by four Blackwater guards being sprung from prison early but not the babies above, not their families.  It she can use something for partisan gain, she is shocked, she is horrified.  If it requires actual thought, Michelle has nothing to say.  Let's note Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani's 2013 "What's delaying the WHO report on Iraqi birth defects?" (also from ALJAZEERA):

Iraq is poisoned. Thirty-five million Iraqis wake up every morning to a living nightmare of childhood cancers, adult cancers and birth defects. Familial cancers, cluster cancers and multiple cancers in the same individual have become frequent in Iraq.
Sterility, repeated miscarriages, stillbirths and severe birth defects - some never described in any medical books - are all around, in increasing numbers. Trapped in this hellish nightmare, millions of Iraqis struggle to survive, and they call for help.

2500 US troops will have left Iraq by January 15th per US President Donald Trump orders, as noted by Khazan Jangiz (RUDAW).  There are now said/guessed to be 2500 left.  This does not include Special Ops, this does not include the CIA -- which retains the largest base in Iraq -- the largest of any country other than the US.  But excluding those groups -- Special Ops and the CIA -- even excluding private contractors, we still don't know how many US troops are in Iraq -- there is no reliable count and hasn't been for years.  

XINHUA reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said on Tuesday that only hundreds of U.S. troops would remain in Iraq after the withdrawal of half of them from the country.

Al-Kadhimi said, during a televised speech on the eve of the centenary of the Iraqi Army Day, the U.S. troops' withdrawal came due to "the ongoing strategic dialogue between Iraq and the United States that yield in the withdrawal of batches of U.S. troops during the past months. The withdrawal of more than half of them will complete in the coming days."

Will anything change with a new incoming president?  Pro-war Dr. Faleh Alhamrant (THE MEDIA LINE) offers:

American experts believe that President-elect Joe Biden will seek to reduce the American presence in Iraq due to long-term domestic political pressures, and shift the focus of foreign policy toward other arenas, such as China and Russia. This, in turn, will create opportunities for regional actors, especially Iran, to extend their influence in Iraq. On the other hand, the Biden Administration has the option of turning a new page in Iraq, and some experts suggest that the new president will decide to maintain boots on the ground. The Trump Administration helped Iraq complete its campaign to regain all the lands that were captured by the Islamic State. Unlike Trump, Biden will face a weak ISIS that no longer controls significant territory and doesn’t pose a grave threat to the stability of Iraq. But Biden already has made it clear that he plans on reducing military confrontation with Iranian-backed militias in Iraq as part of a broader policy he adopts, aimed at reducing the level of tension with Tehran. This American view of Iraq as a regional partner in combating terrorism means that he won’t withdraw US forces from the country completely. The Biden Administration understands the potential risks in the event of a final US withdrawal from Iraq, and will seek to avoid this by maintaining a limited military presence in the country. 

ISIS is not weak.  That's no reason for US forces to stay in Iraq, ISIS is Iraq's issue to deal with -- and the best way would be to represent their citizens -- ISIS grew out of government persecution carried out by then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.  ISIS is not weak.  'They don't hold territory!'  That's not their aim.  They lucked into that.  Their aim, as terrorists, is violence and they carry that out daily in Iraq.  We've talked about what you use as your baseline before and how when you raise the bar higher than it should be you can pretend like there's been success.  There has been no success.  

Are they still engaged in violence in Iraq?  Yes, they are.  

US troops need to leave Iraq.

From PBS' NEWSHOUR (link has text, audio and video):

  • [Militia supporter] Hussein Ali (through translator):

    We want these decisions to be implemented. The people voted on the decision to remove the American forces. And we want to remove all American forces peacefully. But if they are not achieved by peaceful means, then the people will resist.

  • Jack Hewson:

    With 2,500 U.S. troops still in country, that resistance is made reality by continued attacks on convoys and lands in the form of rockets launched on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

    The U.S. reportedly threatened to evacuate its embassy here, among the largest in the world, last fall. The last attack was on December 20, as eight rockets were fired at the U.S. Embassy. Red tracers from the embassies defense system returned fire.

    No group has claimed responsibility, but government forces arrested members of a prominent pro-Iranian faction called Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, or AAH. In response to the arrests, masked men claiming to be members of AAH made threats against Iraqi prime minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, posted on social media.

    AAH spokesperson Mahmoud al-Rubaie denied the group's involvement, either with the attack or the video threats, and said that one of their arrested associates had been forced to confess.

  • Halgurd Sherwani (KURDISTAN 24) reports: 

    Iraq’s defense minister, ahead of Army Day, warned that the country could be headed to a “civil war” if foreign diplomatic offices continue to be targeted by rogue groups.

    Iraqi Defense Minister Juma Anad’s remarks came on Tuesday in an interview with Al-Arabiyah TV ahead of the Iraqi military’s Army Day on Jan. 6, which marks 100 years of its establishment.

    “The continued attacks on the Green Zone and diplomatic representations will lead Iraq into a civil war,” the defense minister said, warning only “Iraqi citizens would be the victims” if that happens.

    Monday's snapshot noted the UK judge Vanessa Baraitser denied the US government's request to extradite WIKILEAKS publisher Julian Assange. This morning, Baraister denied a bail request for Julian.  Background, Julian is being persecuted for exposing War Crimes of the US government.  Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released  military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Chelsea  Manning and she stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. There was an Article 32 hearing and then a court-martial.  February 28, 2013, Chelsea admitted she leaked to WikiLeaks.  And why.

    Chelsea Manning:   In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
    I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.

    Caitlin Johnstone notes the judge's ruling and what's needed next:

    In the end, though, Baraitser ruled against extradition. Not because the US government has no business extraditing an Australian journalist from the UK for exposing its war crimes. Not because allowing the extradition and prosecution of journalists under the Espionage Act poses a direct threat to press freedoms worldwide. Not to prevent a global chilling effect on natsec investigative journalism into the behaviors of the largest power structures on our planet. No, Baraitser ultimately ruled against extradition because Assange would be too high a suicide risk in America’s draconian prison system.

    Assange is still not free, and he is not out of the woods. The US government has said it will appeal the decision, and Baraitser has the legal authority to keep Assange locked in Belmarsh Prison until that appeals process has been carried through all the way to its end. Discussions on bail and release will resume on Wednesday, and Assange will remain imprisoned in Belmarsh at least until that time. Due to Assange’s bail offense which resulted from taking political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012, it’s very possible that bail will be denied and he will remain imprisoned throughout the US government appeal.

    The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), the Australian trade union to which Assange belongs as a journalist, has released a statement on the ruling which outlines the situation nicely.

    “Today’s court ruling is a huge relief for Julian, his partner and family, his legal team and his supporters around the world,” said MEAA Media Federal President Marcus Strom. “Julian has suffered a 10-year ordeal for trying to bring information of public interest to the light of day, and it has had an immense impact on his mental and physical health.”

    “But we are dismayed that the judge showed no concern for press freedom in any of her comments today, and effectively accepted the US arguments that journalists can be prosecuted for exposing war crimes and other government secrets, and for protecting their sources,” Strom added. “The stories for which he was being prosecuted were published by WikiLeaks a decade ago and revealed war crimes and other shameful actions by the United States government. They were clearly in the public interest. The case against Assange has always been politically motivated with the intent of curtailing free speech, criminalising journalism and sending a clear message to future whistleblowers and publishers that they too will be punished if they step out of line.”

    Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh.  In addition, October 22, 2010, WikiLeaks released 391,832 US military documents on the Iraq War. The documents -- US military field reports -- reveal torture and abuse and the ignoring of both. They reveal ongoing policies passed from the Bush administration onto the Obama one. They reveal that both administrations ignored and ignore international laws and conventions on torture. They reveal a much higher civilian death toll than was ever admitted to. Calls are coming in from officials in many countries for an investigation -- including from the UK, Norway and Israel -- and from the United Nations High Commissoner for Human Rights and the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Torture. 

    This morning, Kevin Gosztola reviewed a new development in the case on SHADOW PROOF regarding the bail decision.

    Now let's try to deal quickly with several issues related to Medicare For All.  The country needs Medicare For All -- this isn't a want, it's a need.  And it's needed only more so in the pandemic.  A lot of e-mails to the public account are asking about this or that.  First, I don't live in front of computer. I can't follow every back in forth that nonsense like Ana, Cenk, Kyle and others do.  

    One e-mailer wanted to know why Ana Kasparian needs to be fired, according to me, but Jimmy Dore doesn't need to be fired for what he said.

    You are confused about many things.  First of all, Jimmy Dore hosts THE JIMMY DORE SHOW.  He can say whatever he wants.  Second, I didn't call for Ana to be fired from THE YOUNG TURKS -- she belongs in that cess pool.  I did call for her to be fired from the weekend program JACOBIN does.  She and Cenk can say whatever they want on TYT -- Cenk can endorse sex with animals -- as he has -- or flaunt his hatred for women -- as he has -- or deny the Armenian genocide -- as he has -- and Ana can stay right next to him being the useless idiot that she is.  (Which we may come back to in a second.)  But when she does a program for JACOBIN, she's representing JACOBIN.  JACOBIN does not need to be pulled into this personal conflict.  Their readers don't need it.  When has Ana talked -- she doesn't report, she just yacks -- about Iraq?  Not on the JACOBIN program.  But she can make time to launch an attack on Katie Halper and Briahana Joy Gray?  And do so on JACOBIN's program?


    She was a problem before that and she was diluting JACOBIN's brand and what it represents and is supposed to represent.  Now she's used their space to launch her personal attack -- an attack that drags the magazine into this.

    She needs to go from JACOBIN.  And that's before you get to her getting kissy-kissy with War Criminal Mad Maddie Albright.

    Her role on TYT?  I don't respect it.  I think you're a bit of whore when you do that.  I felt that way about the actress on HOME IMPROVEMNT that played the wife and mother -- don't remember her name, don't want to.  No career after the show and good for that.  A dumb idiot who existed to say, "Oh, Tim, oh, boys . . ."  I don't respect it when Mika does that on MORNING JOE and I don't respect it when Ana does it on TYT.  Out of control men are coddled by women who exist solely for that purpose.  

    [Added 10:39, HOME IMPROVEMENT -- not LAST MAN STANDING.  Nancy Travis is a strong actress and she does not play a coddler -- in the paragraph above it says HOME IMPROVEMENT but some people are wrongly running with Nancy Travis.  Nancy is a real actress.  Martha & Shirley are seeing some e-mails thinking the above refers to Nancy and it does not.  She is playing a real character that she has fully developed.  Nancy is a strong actress on the set as well and would never allow herself or a  character she played to be a doormat unless it was a critique of doormats.]

    Find your own voice and your own reason for being, stop being so embarrassing.

    There's another aspect I hoped to address this morning but there's not time.  I'll try to grab it tomorrow.  

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