Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Crimes?

From Zach Haller's latest at MEDIUM:

After using her shady family Foundation as a favor factory to rake in cash while serving as Obama’s top diplomat while at State, Clinton used this and other money laundered through the Hillary Victory Fund to buy Obama’s debt-ridden Democratic Party to ensure her nomination. Here, we see she went so far as to finance a fake Dossier to be used by Obama’s administration to illegally surveil and ultimately usurp Donald Trump. Her use of law firm Perkins Coie to launder payments for the infamous Dossier has, by now, long served the public as a clear indication Clinton is soberly aware of her place as frontwoman of a scandal that makes Watergate look like spilled milk.
It is difficult to fathom how anyone could argue against Clinton being held accountable for the ways her misconduct put national security at risk; Clinton’s ability, until now, to remain free of prosecution and stave off three FBI investigations is perhaps the most offensive display of America’s two tiered justice system in the country’s history.
With former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani, a Trump surrogate and accomplished prosecutor of major cases against the American Mafia and against corrupt corporate financiers, joining Trump’s legal team, the crooked Robert Mueller investigation will soon come to a close. Whether Clinton’s criminal referral will be sent to a U.S. attorney sooner or later, Americans and all good people of the world can rest assured that her time will come, and take solace having seen the earnest steps the IG has taken toward reforming America’s failing federal law enforcement agencies and policing the egregious malfeasance of former President Obama that allowed Clinton’s corruption to contaminate American government institutions as deeply as it has.
Grasping at their last straw, the Democrats have now sued Trump, Wikileaks, and the Republicans for the election interference they are guilty of. Like many of their shortsighted and naive strategies, this too will backfire; the last thing the Democrats need is for more details of their scandals to be laid bare in discovery in court. Regardless, for the way Clinton, Obama, and the Democrats undermined democracy and robbed Americans of a legitimate election in 2016, Clinton and her cronies must be subject to an interrogation so righteous after all the harm they’ve caused to America and the world. Fortunately, Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes remains committed to this most urgent American crisis.



In our weekend roundtable, C.I. said that discovery was something they never seemed to have thought of when they filed that ridiculous law suit.


"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Tuesday, April 24, 2018.

RUDAW reports:


Some residents in the Iraqi capital are voicing their dissatisfaction with the current government's empty promises to improve services like sewers and roads.

"The state is financially strong. Its net worth surpasses billions of dollars. The whole world is eyeing our country due to our oil. In other words, we are the richest country in the world, but at the same time we are the poorest people in the world," Halim Hatam, a resident from Tariq neighborhood in Baghdad

Residents there and in the Muntazar neighborhood have complained of litter piling up on the streets — grounds where children play.

"[The government] does not implement what we are asking for. Nobody cares about us. We do not know who we should turn to. Look, we are just asking them to pave a single street with asphalt," said another man in Tariq.
These are serious issues -- the litter, the roads.

But especially serious are the sewers in parts of /Baghdad.  All areas of Iraq were destroyed by the US-led invasion.  But parts of Baghdad, the poorest areas, especially suffer because of the sewers.  When the rains come, the water in these areas does not drain quickly and it can quickly be knee level or even higher.  This leads to the areas flooding.  This is not a new development.

From back to the November 21, 2012 snapshot:


In Iraq, the rains have been falling with significant consequences.  Tuesday, All Iraq News reported that the rest of the week would be rainy and foggy.  And Iraq had already seen heavy rain fall.  Sadr City was one of the areas effected.   Joseph Muhammadwi and Mahmoud Raouf (Al Mada) reported on the flooding of Sadr City and included a photo of the water up to the frame of a mini-van. Despite the flooding and continuing heavy rains, traffic police stand outside directing vehicles. One resident jokes that Nouri can replace the food-ration cards with free small boats.  The water's flooded the streets and also gone into homes and schools and a makeshift bridge of bricks has been constructed to allow access to one school.  Dar Addustour noted that many of the cities, such as Kut, have been hit with the heavy rains.  Baghdad residents protested the lack of public services -- proper sanitation (i.e. drainage) would alleviate a great deal of the standing water. Nouri's had six years to address Baghdad's sewer system and done nothing.  AFP reports today the heavy rains in Kut led to houses collapsing resulting in the death of six children and leaving one adult male injured.



From December of the same year:

All Iraq News notes that Baghdad is receiving the most rainfall it's seen in thirty years. Alsumaria adds that the last days alone have seen the amount of rainfall Baghdad usually receives in a full year (note the picture of the three men walking down the street with water up to their knees). Kitabat notes that the rain is destroying the infrastructure (check out the photo of the man who's apparently  trying to get home with bags of groceries).

This is not just due to rainfall.  This is also the result of Iraq's crumbling infrastructure -- infrastructure Nouri al-Maliki has had six years to address and he's done nothing.

Alsumaria notes yesterday's rains have caused 3 deaths and two people to be injured in Baghdad -- two deaths from a house collapsing due to the rain and one from electrical death (with two more injured in that as well) and that main streets in the capital are sinking.   All Iraq News notes Baghdad has been placed on high alert because of the torrential rains.

You could mistake Baghdad for Venice in this All Iraq News photo essay which notes that students are forced to walk through the high standing water to get to schools.   They also note of Tuesday's rainfall:  Baghdad had the most yesterday (67 mm) followed by Hilla, Azizia and Karbala (rainfall was also recorded in Samawa, Rifai and Basra -- of those three, Basra was the highest and Baghdad's rainfall was three times Basra's).   It's not just Baghdad.  Alsumaria notes that after ten house collapses in Wasit Province village, the Iraqi Red Crescent began evacuating the entire village. Dar Addustour notes Nouri issued a statement yesterday that he's going to oversee a committee that will try to address the situation.



Big words from Nouri.  That's all he ever offered.  No actions, just words.

From the November 12, 2013 snapshot:




As for thug Nouri?  It's not been a period of good opticals for Nouri.   Sunday, we noted:


Al Mada reports that cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr called on his followers to participate in the parliamentary elections expected to be held in April 2014.  He stated voting is a right and that Iraqis must use their rights for the good of the people.  He encouraged his followers to vote for those who will serve the people.
Clearly that person couldn't be Nouri. We've noted why many times but click here and look at All Iraq News' photo of a section of Baghdad today.  The cars are almost underwater.  And why?  Rain.  Rain in a country that Nouri's 'led' for over 7 years and never bothered to improve the sewage system.  So when it rains, the water doesn't drain, it stands and floods.


Monday,  Wael Grace (Al Mada) reported that in addition to drainage and sewage issues, Baghdad is sinking.  This has to do with a channel from fifty years ago and the government's aware of it and, at one point in the last few years, had $500 million to spend on it but didn't spend it on fixing the problem.And you can check out the photo in this report by Alsumaria -- a report which notes the current sewage system -- in the capital of the country -- dates back to the 1960s.  It's over five decades old and further destroyed by war but Nouri's done nothing to update it.  Alsumaria also reports the flooding is taking place in Anbar Province as well and that roads are being cut off.


How bad is the problem -- this problem that's worsened with 7 years of Nouri's neglect?

All Iraq News reports Nouri's announced "a meeting with Governors to discuss the raid-related floods."



And from the meeting Mr. Big Talk Nouri announced?  Nothing.  Not one damn thing.

We could provide many, many more examples.

Corruption is a big issue in Iraq because the Iraqis see their lives continue suffering and degrade.  The public services have only worsened.  In the safety of the fortified Green Zone, corrupt politicians haven't had to suffer.

May 12th, elections are supposed to take place in Iraq.  Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) notes, "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 adds, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs."  AFP explains that the nearly 7,000 candidates includes 2014 women.   RUDAW also notes that 60 Christian candidates are competing for the five allotted minority seats.  The chief issues?  Mustapha Karkouti (GULF NEWS) identifies them as follows, "Like in previous elections, the main concerns of ordinary Iraqis continue to be the lack of security and the rampant corruption."



As noted in the April 3rd snapshot, pollster Dr. Munqith Dagher has utilized data on likely voters and predicts that Hayder al-Abadi's Al-Nasr will win 72 seats in the Parliament, al-Fath (the militias) will get 37 seats, Sa'eroon (Moqtada al-Sadr's new grouping) will get 27 seats, Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law will get 19 seats, al-Salam will get 18 seats (KDP and PUK parties for the Kurds), Ayad Allawi's Wataniya will get 15 seats. There are others but Dagher did not predict double digits for any of the other seats. The number are similar for the group of those who are extremely likely to vote (Hayder's seats would jump from 72 to 79 seats).  Other predictions?  The Middle East Insstitute's Fanar Haddad insists to Sammy Ketz (AFP) that the post of prime minister will come down to one of three people: Hayder al-Abadi (current prime minister), Nouri al-Maliki (two time prime minister and forever thug) or Hadi al-Ameria "a leader of Hashed al-Shaabi, a paramilitary network that played a pivotal role in defeating IS. Ameri comes from Diyala province and is a statistics graduate from Baghdad University. He fled to Iran in 1980 after Saddam executed top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Sadr. The 64-year old is widely viewed as Tehran's favoured candidate."





XINHUA reports:


Iraq's firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Monday called for the people of Iraq to actively participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections to rid the country of corruption.
A statement issued by Sadr office said that Sadr's repeated calls for active turnout is aimed at eliminating Iraq from corruption and corrupt politicians.
Sadr followers are taking part in the competition for the parliament seats under a political party known as Istiqama, or Integrity Patriotic Party (IPP), headed by former lawmaker Jaafar al-Musawi.
IPP joined umbrella coalition under the name of Sa'iroun, which includes some smaller political groups, in addition to the Iraqi Communist Party.


Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr has led protests against corruption.  But, as the turnout for the protests have suggested, corruption is an issue that rallies more than just his base.  It is an issue that, like security, is important to all Iraqis.



IRAQ : New electronic voting machines will announce the elections results a few hours after the voting period ends and that will prevent any fraud or rigging attempts.





IRAQ : New electronic voting machines will announce the elections results a few hours after the voting period ends and that will prevent any fraud or rigging attempts.



Yesterday, REUTERS noted, "A new electronic system will deliver the results of Iraq’s upcoming national election within hours of polls closing, the country’s chief electoral officer said, a marked improvement from previous years when it took weeks to announce the outcome."

This is only an improvement if the vote is secure.  That means that the voting is protected and verifiable.  The Iraqi people should be sure that they own the machines, that there is a paper ballot trail should recounts need to take place and that the machines are inspected to ensure security.  Without taking these and other measures, the machines can be hacked -- just as easily as any other machine can be.  The only real benefit is quick results but quick results mean nothing if the results are questionable.

So much about the campaigns thus far have been questionable, Seth J. Frantzman (JERUSALEM POST) offers:

This time, eyes will be on what happens in mostly Sunni Arab districts that were liberated from ISIS over the last several years. Abadi visited Fallujah, a Sunni city devastated by the conflict, on April 22. There are almost 100 seats up for grabs in Kirkuk, Ninewa, Diyala, Salah a-Din and Anbar governorates, where most of Iraq’s Arab Sunnis live. Turnout will also be watched closely in Kurdish regions.

Some Kurds have been calling to boycott the elections since Baghdad sent its army into Kirkuk, a largely Kurdish city in northern Iraq. Baghdad sought to reassert Federal control after the September 2017 Kurdistan independence referendum.

IRAQ’S 2005 constitution reserves a quarter of the seats in parliament for women, but in practice, women hold only about 17%. In this election women candidates, who feature prominently on many electoral posters, have been targeted by misogynistic attacks. A purported sex video circulated online ended the candidacy of Prof. Intidhar Ahmed Jassim, a member of Abadi’s party. Another video of Dr. Heshu Rebwar Ali, a KDP candidate, was circulated allegedly showing her in a short dress.



In another bizarre episode, two tribes in Najaf came into conflict after a video showed a 20-year old male from one tribe kissing the campaign poster of a female candidate from the other. In the end, $84,000 was paid to satisfy the “honor” of the woman’s tribe. The instances of targeting women illustrates the use of salacious rumors to harm candidates and tends to target successful women, reducing their chances of running and of other women’s willingness to do so.



In the US, it's also election year.  First comes the primaries.  In June, California holds its primary.  Kevin de Leon is running for the US Senate (I am supporting Kevin).






The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, DISSIDENT VOICE and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:





  • The Artic


    Let’s kick the week off with science.  New development in the Artic, Chris Ciaccia (FOX NEWS) reports:




     


    A NASA aircraft has spotted something in the Arctic that it can't explain and it has "never seen before."


    On April 14, NASA's Operation Ice Bridge captured images over the Beaufort Sea, 50 miles northwest of the Mackenzie River Delta. The images, taken by mission scientist John Sonntag, show unusual or "curious" circles that the government agency can't explain.


    “We saw these sorta-circular features only for a few minutes today,” Sonntag wrote from the field, according to NASA. “I don’t recall seeing this sort of thing elsewhere.”


     


    Dartmouth College sea ice geophysicist Don Perovich thinks the sea ice in the picture is young.


    "The ice is likely thin, soft, and mushy and somewhat pliable. This can be seen in the wave-like features in front of the middle 'amoeba.'" What's more, there might be a left-to-right motion of the new ice as indicated by the finger rafting — which occurs when two floes of thin ice collide — on the right side of the area.


    "It's definitely an area of thin ice, as you can see finger rafting near the holes and the color is gray enough to indicate little snow cover," adds Nathan Kurtz, a project scientist from the IceBridge mission.


    The circles remain a mystery, and NASA even says they're difficult to fully explain. One speculation suggests that they may have been not so much formed but gnawed out by seals to create pockets where they can habitually use to breathe. This seems more plausible when looking at similar photographs of breathing holes crafted by ring and harp seals.


     

    Meanwhile Oliver Milman (GUARDIAN) covers a new development:

    While the North Meadow Lake near Utqiaġvik, formerly known as Barrow, may be relatively nondescript, it will be the staging ground this month for an ambitious attempt to safeguard the Arctic’s rapidly diminishing sea ice and stave off the most punishing effects of global warming.


    Tiny spheres of reflective sand will be sprinkled upon the lake to see if this can prevent the lake ice from melting or slow the process down. Should testing prove successful, the project, called Ice911, has the grand vision of slathering around 19,000 sq miles of sea ice – equivalent to the size of Costa Rica – with trillions of sand grains in order to stem the loss of ice cover and prevent runaway climate change.


    Even if it was just able to slow the process down, that would be amazing.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Monday, April 23, 2018.  19 days until Iraq is scheduled to hold elections and so many problems remain.




    In a report RT has filed this morning, they note check points in Iraq.




    RT CORRESPONDENT:  As a fairly regular fixture of life in Iraq, you learn fairly quickly to get used to the fact that you end up spending most of your day stuck in a car.  Part of the reason for this is the checkpoints.  They are all over Iraq.  In fact, if you pan the camera right now, we are approaching one right now.  Now these security officers are checking for suspicious people, perhaps car bombs.  They're supposed to be making Iraq safer but attacks continue despite the checks.  Now it looks like the officers want to check us.

    Driver speaks with security officer.

    RT CORRESPONDENT:  Passport?  Okay.  So I'll hand over my passport now.  Here you go, sir.

    SECURITY OFFICER:  Welcome to Iraq.

    RT CORRESPONDENT:  Thank you.  So it looks like we've been allowed to pass through.  Despite this routine search.  Thankfully, we didn't get detained for too long.  Iraqis do find these to be frustrating but at the end of the day it's probably better than facing another suicide bomb attack.

    These checkpoints serve another purpose every four years -- preventing people from voting.  Those who've left their homes due to sectarian tensions and other security issues will be told at their closest polling center that their ID cards must be used at their own polling station.  The checkpoints will prevent a number of people from voting -- as happens each election cycle though it remains the most ignored story when it comes to the western press.


    AP does note campaign billboards.






    They're not the only ones noting the campaign posters.  Adnan Hussein (AL-ARABYIA) explains:



    What is also terrifying is that the light in the end of the tunnel seems dim and very pale. This is what we can tell from the photos showing the campaign posters for candidates for the upcoming elections. These posters have filled the country’s streets and squares.
    There are dozens and perhaps hundreds of candidates, especially on the lists of influential parties, blocs and coalitions, who are corrupt par excellence. The problem is that these people’s victory is guaranteed thanks to the “haram” earnings they, along with their parties and blocs, made from looting annual budgets or other sources and thanks to the political support they have from the leaders of these parties and blocs!
    How do we fight corruption when we open the doors of the most important and supreme authority in the state for the corrupt?


    On the issue of corruption, many may turn to the words of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.  Ali Mamouri (AL MONITOR) reports:

    During the April 13 Friday sermon, the representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Ahmed al-Safi, reiterated how the Shiite religious establishment in Najaf insists that politicians who have previously failed to live up to executive or legislative responsibility not be elected.
    Safi warned against voting for those who have not provided any services to the people, saying, "Don't vote for those you voted for before and who failed.” He stressed the importance of choosing individuals who have the ability to “swiftly respond” and solve problems.
    Sistani's representatives took to explaining his opinion, calling on voters to be careful and spare Iraq the dangers of choosing an ineffective parliament and government.
    Rashid al-Husseini, a high-ranking cleric close to Sistani, told Al-Furat TV on April 14, “The corrupt people we have voted for have robbed the nation. We ought to not vote for them again, even if they are members of our clan or sect.”
    Husseini said, “I would rather trust a faithful Christian than a corrupt Shiite. A person who does not pray and fast but can be trusted with the money of the people and the nation is deserving of my vote. Even if a person prays and fasts, I can never vote for them if they steal.”


      




    May 12th, elections are supposed to take place in Iraq.  Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) notes, "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 adds, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs."  AFP explains that the nearly 7,000 candidates includes 2014 women.   RUDAW also notes that 60 Christian candidates are competing for the five allotted minority seats.  The chief issues?  Mustapha Karkouti (GULF NEWS) identifies them as follows, "Like in previous elections, the main concerns of ordinary Iraqis continue to be the lack of security and the rampant corruption."



    As noted in the April 3rd snapshot, pollster Dr. Munqith Dagher has utilized data on likely voters and predicts that Hayder al-Abadi's Al-Nasr will win 72 seats in the Parliament, al-Fath (the militias) will get 37 seats, Sa'eroon (Moqtada al-Sadr's new grouping) will get 27 seats, Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law will get 19 seats, al-Salam will get 18 seats (KDP and PUK parties for the Kurds), Ayad Allawi's Wataniya will get 15 seats. There are others but Dagher did not predict double digits for any of the other seats. The number are similar for the group of those who are extremely likely to vote (Hayder's seats would jump from 72 to 79 seats).  Other predictions?  The Middle East Insstitute's Fanar Haddad insists to Sammy Ketz (AFP) that the post of prime minister will come down to one of three people: Hayder al-Abadi (current prime minister), Nouri al-Maliki (two time prime minister and forever thug) or Hadi al-Ameria "a leader of Hashed al-Shaabi, a paramilitary network that played a pivotal role in defeating IS. Ameri comes from Diyala province and is a statistics graduate from Baghdad University. He fled to Iran in 1980 after Saddam executed top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Sadr. The 64-year old is widely viewed as Tehran's favoured candidate."


    In the KRG, the three dominant parties are the Barazani's KDP (primary party), Goran (emerged as the second most popular political party in the 2014 elections) and the Talabani's PUK (which went from one of the two main parties to a distant third).  In terms of predictions for the Kurdistan Region?



    Sources shows that, will maintain its top position of the parties in the upcoming , whereas, the competition will remain between the Union ,the and for Justice and Democracy.
    will be the center of this competition.








    Goran is expected to do well; however, it is under attack.  Most recently . . .



    election campaign office was set on fire in Haji Omaran area!

     






    The PUK is facing its own problems -- mainly internal.   RUDAW reported this weekend that Ala Talabani is running as part of the Baghdad Coalition -- a national entity -- and that she is no longer part of any political party.  The niece of former president Jalal Talabani states that PUK leaders -- including family member Hero Ibrahim Ahmed (her aunt) that she was no longer part of the PUK.  The falling out came when she backed removing Hoshyar Zebari as the Minister of Foreign Affairs following the discovery of his corruption and the vote in Parliament to remove him.  RUDAW notes:



    Talabani said in her video message that PUK leaders tried to expel her from the party’s leadership but failed to get enough votes, at which point they made the decision to freeze her out. She added that she has asked the party to explain why they want her out, but has not yet been given an answer. This is the latest defection from the beleaguered PUK. Former second deputy leader Barham Salih is expected give the party some strong competition with his newly-formed Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ).  



    Away from the predictions there is the reality that national reconciliation is still needed in Iraq.  Erika Solomon (FINANCIAL TIMES OF LONDON) reports:


    Healing Iraq’s society, fractured by thousands of deaths and devastating destruction, is one of the toughest challenges facing Iraq when the next government takes office after May elections. Reconciliation is crucial to ensuring the return of some 2.2m people displaced by the conflict, including thousands with family ties to the militants. Yet in Yathrib, as elsewhere, locals often try to block the return of families related to militants. Aid groups and western powers all acknowledge the importance of suturing Iraq’s divisions, but few are willing to co-ordinate with Baghdad on the problem. They worry that some of the government’s methods — like walling suspected Isis relatives in displacement camps, while forcing other families to return home before they feel safe — violate international law, and are a recipe for another round of radicalisation. That leaves much of the work to civil society groups, tribes and politicians with competing interests. “This is urgent,” one diplomat says. “And watching the groups trying to help can feel like watching people rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic.”












    Saturday, April 21, 2018

    So much to talk about roundtable

    Ava: We're roundtabling again, on topics including Donald Trump, the Iraq War, romaine lettuce, prisons, Hillary Clinton and probably much more.  I'm Ava with  The Third Estate Sunday Review, and I'm speaking with Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills);  Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ;  and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. This will be a rush transcript.  Okay, let's go.  Dumbest thing you’ve ever heard of?


    C.I.:  Per Nicole Gaudiano and Fredreka Schouten (USA TODAY), the Democratic Party is suing Russia, Donald Trump’s campaign and WIKILEAKS.  They say that there was a conspiracy among the three parties to ‘influence the election.’ 



    Rebecca: I would agree that’s very dumb but probably for a different reason than C.I. I would say it’s very dumb because it’s 2018, the presidential election is two years away, quit litigating the last election and start focusing on this one.

     
    Ruth: Agreed.
     
    Ava: Anyone else before C.I.?

    Trina: Just to back up Rebecca on this, you look like sore losers if you can’t let go.  The country has moved on.  Hillary’s popularity is something like 27% in the latest poll.  She has a very vocal following but they aren’t that big.  The media amplifies them because they’re in the bag for Hillary.  But the country itself has moved on.  Hillary and her Vaginal Secretions haven’t but each month they refuse to move on, they look more and more ridiculous. 
     
    Ava: All good points.  So, C.I., that was your point?  I’m guessing not.  We’re all guessing not.
     

    C.I.: No, that wasn’t my point.  But those are good points.  My point was legal.  The DNC has refused to turn over their servers to the FBI while maintaining they were hacked.  They dealt with the e-mail leak by refusing to address the content of the e-mails and acting as though they weren’t confirming.  Denial and obfuscate has been their pattern.  Agreed?


    Betty: Absolutely.  They’ve refused to be transparent. 


    C.I.: And if that’s the position they want to keep, too bad, they just lost it.  You can’t bring this lawsuit without being bound by discovery   They are now subject to all normal legal processes.  That’s how it works.  Questions they have avoided will now have to be answered, evidence they claim to have will have to be turned over.  This is bad from an image perspective as Rebecca, Ruth and Trina pointed out.  But legally they’re now in a position where they just can’t make claims and be backed up by the media.  What’s worse for them is that even evidentiary privilege will pretty much be null and void.  It’s going to be really hard to bring a case, to be the filing party – and have the burden of proof on you,  and then claim privilege on communications revolving around an election that is over.
     
    Ruth: Over by nearly two years.
     
    Rebecca: But remember, it’s not over to them.  It’s never over to them.  They’ll keep griping and whining about this election for another two years.
     
    Betty: Try twenty years.
     

    Rebecca: You are probably right.


    Ann: Let me quote Aaron Mate "After losing Congress & 100s of statewide seats, losing to Trump should’ve been Dem leaders’ rock bottom. All of us have the capacity for avoiding self-reflection to the detriment of ourselves & those around us; their avoidance of self-reflection has become a driving force."


    Ava: Okay, so staying with elections, let's move over to Iraq and, stealing from C.I., "May 12th, elections are supposed to take place in Iraq.  Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) notes, '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 adds, 'Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs.'  RUDAW also notes that 60 Christian candidates are competing for the five allotted minority seats."  So any thoughts?

    Marcia: Yesterday morning's snapshot noted a candidate from Hayder al-Abadi's slate,  Ahmed Jassim, who dropped out of the campaign because a sex tape surfaced and they were saying it was her in the video.  Last night, CNN picked up the same story and Mohammed Tawfeeq and Joe Sterling quote from her statement, "Everyone knows my family and knows my husband Dr. Saad Salih al-Hamdani, the professor at Dijla University.  I am the daughter of your country, professor Intidhar Ahmed Jassim. Please, please don't listen to rumors."  She was taken down by a sex tape.

    Ann: Which may or may not have been of her.

    Marcia: Right.  A sex tape killed her campaign.  In Iraq of all places.  Talk about fighting dirty.  Someone worked hard to destroy her -- fake tape or real -- they worked really hard to destroy her.  And why her?  Of all the candidates, the majority of whom are men, why her?

    Kat: I would say because she is a she but this is Iraq.  A sex tape of a male candidate could have brought him down.  But it is interesting that someone wanted to take her down.  Was it because she was a member of Hayder al-Abadi's political slate?  Is it about preventing him from being prime minister?  It just seems hard to think this is  something that wasn't planned out.


    Ann: And it could be a false tape.  But it also could be that she is actually on the tape.  It's weird for such a story to emerge from Iraq.  Humanity's the same all over but, real or fake, a tape like this could be highly damaging in a society like Iraq.  So-called 'honor' killings still take place in Iraq.

    Trina: And US troops still remain in Iraq.

    Betty: Which wasn't supposed to happen, remember?  Barack Obama was going to end the war.

    Elaine: His infamous campaign commercial of 2008, "We want to end the war and we want to end it now."  Then he's elected to two terms as president of the United States.  The war's still going.

    Marcia: And they wonder why this con they pulled on the American people, the Democratic Party, couldn't last forever?  The political parties promise this or that and they fail to deliver.  Newt Gingrich, an example of the 90s, led a mini-revolution on the right but he was brought down for a number of reasons including his failure to deliver.  That's the Democratic Party.  They didn't just fail to deliver an end to the Iraq War, they failed to even try once Barack became president.

    Betty: Faking and shaking Barbara Lee.  She spent all that time, "If by next year, Barack hasn't ended the Afghanistan War, I'm going be saying something, I'll be saying something, you watch, you listen, I be doing something."

    Marcia: She ain't done s**t.

    Betty: Exactly.  Faking and shaking.

    Marcia: And you can't pull that off forever.  You either deliver at some point or we know you're faking and shaking.

    Ava: And, Marcia, what happens then?  When they make promises they don't keep?

    Marcia: People don't show up to vote.  You've lied and you're a known liar.  Why am I going to take time out of my busy day, dealing with my job I hate, raising my three kids by myself, looking after my parent at the same time, why am I going to make time to file on down to my voting district's polling place to vote for you?  If you're the candidate, you're asking for our time.  Unlike you, we don't have an entourage to make every little thing work out and massage us and our needs.  So you need to be able to tell us how you're going to make our lives better.

    Ava: And you didn't feel that with Hillary?

    Marcia: In 2008, yes.  In 2016, no.  I think you and C.I. nailed it in  "So, uh, we weren't with her? (Ava and C.I.)" -- she went from trying to be one of the people in 2008 to hob knobbing with the celebs as she galloped to what she thought would be her coronation.  They're two different campaigns completely.

    Ruth: Possibly influenced by her 2008 loss.  In 2016, she tried to run a Barack 2008 campaign and that's not who she was and it was not a good fit.

    Elaine: Who is she now?  That's the story of her life.

    Betty: Exactly.

    Ava: And to be clear, because C.I. handed me a note, Marcia voted.  Before someone does some angry e-mail, "How dare Marcia not vote in 2016," she voted.

    Marcia: And I don't have three children.  I was talking about what a lot of people face.

    Ava: Okay.  Going to Trina.  Tell us, since you cover food, what we won't be finding at a lot of supermarkets.

    Trina: Romaine lettuce.  You're not going to find it on the shelves due to the E coli contamination.  What can you do?  You can substitute spinach, a healthy choice.  You can fall back on iceberg which is a less nutritious choice.  You can go with kale or Boston lettuce or butter lettuce.  But what you should be doing, absolutely, is asking why it's considered acceptable, in 2018, that our food -- our basic food, a vegetable that's not even been cooked or processed -- is contaminated.  We should be asking about that.

    Ava: Good point.  And that's related to another issue.   Actually, that's related to the Iraq War, now that I think about it.  Why are we settling for our food being contaminated? Why are we settling for this never ending war on Iraq?  And that goes to something Ann wrote about earlier this week, the prison riot.

    Ann:  The state of South Carolina was in the news this week because of a riot at Lee Correctional Institute and 7 inmates were killed Eddie Gaskins, Joshua Jenkins, Corneilus McClary, Michael Milledge, Damonte Rivera, Corey Scott and Raymond Scott.  In addition, at least 22 more inmates were injured.  Now this was national media news at the start of the week.  You and C.I. have done a great job critiquing the media in the last weeks with  "TV: Neither humanity nor honesty factor into corporate news," and "TV: 60 MINUTES of gossip" and I saw again the feckless media with this story.  The national media immediately moved on before the bodies of the dead were even cold.  But that's not the story.  The story is how this riot took place, the story is the conditions in this prison.  The story is are there other prisons where populations are in danger.  But the media is not interested in anything these days other than Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous.

    Kat: Over 2.2. million people are incarcerated in the US.  This supplies free labor for many -- not just for Hillary Clinton when her husband was governor.  This is a societal problem with the secret being that these days the US government needs the prison population.  We're not protecting people, we're not protecting them when they're on trial or when they end up in prison.  We're certainly not protecting them when the first cry for help is heard.  This is a scandal that will be as embarrassing and shameful in another century as slavery is today.

    Ava: Good points.  We need to wind down.  One more topic, Scooter Libby was pardoned by Donald Trump.  Valerie Plame is outraged, CNN reports.  Comments?

    Ruth: I am so very glad that the noted Jew hater Valerie Plame has come out of seclusion to share her thoughts -- her so very important thoughts.  She is despicable and disgusting and really needs to go away.

    Trina: She needs to find herself a hobby.  I really don't care to hear her whinings.  Scooter Libby was convicted -- but not of outing her.  Richard Armitage leaked Plame's name.  No great loss.  But Armitage did it and admitted to doing it.  As we all know, Plame had no need or desire to go after Armitage.  She's a filth, which is why she worked for the CIA to begin with -- nothing but a gang of thugs who kill people all over the world.  She might want to get honest about that.

    Betty: She pretends to care, doesn't she?  Every now and then she'll make a statement supposedly about Iraq but actually about herself.  She's one of the worst attention whores around.  She's done nothing to help end the Iraq War.  She's done nothing to highlight the war -- the ongoing war -- in any of the last ten years.  She's just a whore for attention.  She thought she was going to be all important.  Then her hatred for the Jews finally took her down.  Now she's desperate to be somebody again.  She needs to fall to her knees and beg for forgiveness for her work in the CIA.  A trashy attention whore.

    Marcia: I'm going to fall back on a point that C.I.'s repeatedly made -- we want more presidential pardons, not less.  I'm not going to fret over a presidential pardon and say, "Oh, no!"  There are people I want to see pardoned.  It's a power the president is given.  If he or she determines someone has suffered, so be it.  I will not go into outrage theater over pardons.  It's counter-productive and only harms us on the left in the end.


    Ava: Okay.  Good points.  We're closing with this, October 20 and 21st Cindy Sheehan and others will be leading a Women's March on the Pentagon.  Spread the word.







    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Friday, April 19, 2018.

    Mustafa Habib (NIQASH) reports the sad news:

    Last week, the Speaker of Iraq’s parliament, Salim al-Jibouri announced that the last session of the current parliament would take place on April 30. This is despite the fact that the session should by rights, continue until June 30. However politicians in Iraq have already failed to attend sessions regularly because they are getting started with their election campaigning. Iraq will hold federal elections on May 12.
    Last month, the Iraqi parliament sat only five times and this month there have been no official sessions. This is despite the fact that internal rules say there should be eight sessions every month. In fact dozens of sessions have resulted in inaction because of absenteeism and the resulting lack of quorum – that is, not enough MPs were there to make any vote on laws binding.
    The official parliamentary website shows that 165 laws have been passed and 108 laws have not been approved, over the past four years since this parliamentary session started. The laws that were passed and which got the most attention included those that looked at parliamentary rules, political parties, the national oil company’s activities and how Iraq’s Shiite Muslim militias and its counter-terrorism forces should be regulated. None of these really had much to do with improving the lives of ordinary citizens though.
    “Parliament has failed to pass important laws that touch on core social issues. In that regard, it has ignored laws that deal with the economy and the country’s wealth, as well as other important legal rulings that have been being ignored for years,” well known political analyst, writer and commentator, Ghalib al-Shahbandar, told NIQASH. “A lot of the MPS didn’t even bother to show up – an insult to the Iraqi voters. And the questioning of officials or ministers by parliament was just a formality. Some MPs only support this questioning for the purposes of election propaganda.”


    As Iraq again gears up for elections, that's the sad result of the last four years.  One of the many reasons for the apathy and/or anger some are expressing in Iraq.


    There is absolutely no reason to believe that this election will be different than all previous elections and that Iraqis will end up voting for what is best for Iraq rather than what is best for their religious sect etc.





    Welcome to Iraq, year 2018, 13 years after dictatorial regime of Saddam. An angry man hitting posters of candidates for upcoming elections. No one trusts and sees a future for failed state of Iraq. I don’t blame them. Iraq was and still is a failed state. It’s time to divide.

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    Another reason for the anger and/or apathy is the US government's repeated intrusions into the election process.  Most infamously, in 2010, US President Barack Obama overturned the votes of the Iraqi people to give Nouri al-Maliki a second term as prime minister after the people had used the ballot box to call for change.  (Barack used The Erbil Agreement to overturn the votes.)  As YENI SAFAK reports this morning, Iraqis still detect US interference:


    Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh, visited Iraq’s Mosul on Thursday in a move seen as part of a ploy before Baghdad’s May 12 election. McGurk has held a series of meetings in Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Baghdad and Mosul.
    “McGurk’s activities deepen instability and sow seeds of unrest. The U.S. has extended its hand into our ballot box. It’s a dangerous development for Brett McGurk’s number of meetings to rise a month before the elections,” said Fayha Bayatlı, a former Iraqi member of parliament in an exclusive interview with Yeni Şafak daily.
    “The U.S. and European countries always want chaos to prevail in Iraq. They all take advantage of the instability in the region. Iraq’s Central Government made a series of decisions regarding Kirkuk and Mosul and took military, political and economic steps. We know that the U.S. and Western bloc is disturbed by these decisions,” Bayatlı added.

    On the campaign posters, Mustafa Habib notes:



    The other scandal that arose around the posters was the fact that some pictures of candidates and posters were torn down almost as soon as they were put up, by apparently organised groups. It appeared to be a systematic campaign.
    Most of the tearing down was done by groups of teenagers who appeared to have been motivated by certain political parties, Hamid Abdul-Rahim, a senior member of the Baghdad police, told NIQASH. The police have now issued orders to their officers that they should keep an eye on the posters and notify their superiors if there are further organised attempts to tear them down. “This will continue until election day,” Abdul-Rahim said.

    But it’s not just organized gangs who are opposed to the posters. A number of ordinary people filmed themselves in front of certain candidates’ posters and then criticized or abused them, before loading the results onto social media.




    Each election sees most of the same people re-elected and nothing gets done.

    Will this go round be any different?


    May 12th, elections are supposed to take place in Iraq.  Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) notes, "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 adds, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs."  RUDAW also notes that 60 Christian candidates are competing for the five allotted minority seats.


    Hayder al-Abadi is hoping to be prime minister for a second term.  He also hoped to campaign on his claim that he destroyed ISIS.  However, Richard Spencer (TIMES OF LONDON) reports:


    Mr Abadi declared victory over Isis in December but Iraqi intelligence believes that 3,000 militants are still operating in semi-governed areas in the former “jihadist belt”.
    Isis was defeated once before in Iraq but has returned to devastating effect. The distractions of other conflicts in Iraq and Syria, and questionable priorities in their capitals, are once again allowing the group to live on, just as it was supposed to have been quashed.
    Hayder also promised, at the start of his term in 2014, to take on corruption.  That hasn't happened either.  This week, his campaign saw another set back when a candidate on his slate was accused of conduct unbecoming.  He may have made matters worse by refusing to stand with the candidate who denied the rumors.  RUDAW reports:

    The Victory (Nasr) Coalition of Haider al-Abadi has withdrawn the candidacy of one of its members after an alleged sex tape of her was circulated online. The candidate said the video is a fake and a plot against her, but has submitted her resignation.

    “Every faction and coalition reserves the right to revoke the [membership] of any candidate who does not meet the laws and conditions. This female candidate has worked contrary to the laws of the Nasr Coalition,” Hussein al-A’dily, spokesperson for the list told Rudaw.

    The candidate, Intidhar Ahmed Jassim, is a professor of economy and administration at al-Muntansaryah University in Baghdad and has a PhD in the same field. She is married and has three children.

    She said the video shared online allegedly showing her having sex with another man is a fake.

    “Some fake pages, supported by some parties, talked about a fabricated and photo-shopped video to ruin my reputation. I don’t ever fall. Iraq progresses forward,” she posted on Facebook.

    She reminded her followers that she has served Iraq as a professor for a long time and has held other positions as well.




    Already some are disputing the decision:

    Replying to  
    Great work cleaning the city! Would Naser campaign sack a male candidate if he was accused of extra martial affairs or appear in sex video?






    In other news, the US government continues to act as though only some American citizens have rights.  It goes to the point Chris Hedges makes in this essay.  If the person needs to be tried, he needs to be tried in a US court, not hidden away.


    BREAKING: A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration from transferring an American held by the U.S. military in Iraq since September to another country.





    Ryan Lucas (NPR) reports:

    U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan issued the preliminary injunction Thursday evening, minutes before an 8 p.m. deadline to stop the transfer. The government had provided 72-hour notice, as required by the court, earlier this week that it planned to send the man, whose name has not been made public, to a third country.
    The detainee is a dual U.S.-Saudi citizen who surrendered in September of last year to a Syrian militia backed by the United States. The militia handed him off to the American military, which has held him as an enemy combatant at a U.S. military facility in Iraq since then.

    The government suspects the man of being a member of the Islamic State.


    Meanwhile a real terrorist, a true killer, walks the US promoting another poorly written book.  Mad Maddie Albright, responsible for the deaths of over a half million Iraqi children is being wrongly hailed as a 'feminist.'  I get it, she's ugly, she's loud, she's pushy.  She meets the 70s media stereotype of a 'feminist.'  But she's not a feminist.  She's a murderer.


    Lesley Stahl: We have heard that a half million children have died [as a result of sanctions on Iraq]. That’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it? Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.





    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated: