Wednesday, May 24, 2017


NETFLIX has a series entitled DEAR WHITE PEOPLE.

I was lukewarm on the film.

I'm even less enchanted with the series.

Joanne Laurier (WSWS) has some strong points to make:

Feeling sorry for oneself is a miserable starting-point for any artistic or dramatic endeavor. Furthermore, it is impossible to present an honest, objective picture of the world when one’s overriding goal, at any cost, is to “get ahead.”
The first season of the new Netflix series Dear White People, an expansion of Justin Simien’s 2014 movie, concerns a group of African American students at a fictional, predominantly white, Ivy League college.
The 10-episode first season of Dear White People has the aim of exposing the supposedly oppressive nature of “whiteness” at Winchester University. It is obvious from the choice and arrangement of incidents that the creators mean to refer to events that occurred at Yale University (and other institutions, such as the University of Missouri) in the autumn of 2015.
At that time, a series of protests by a section of black students erupted in response to a number of isolated and anecdotal episodes. There were no reports of racist rallies or any similar activities. Claims that the white student population or the white population in America as a whole was seething with racial animosity were false and politically motivated.

The participants in the protests for the most part came from privileged social layers. There was nothing progressive about their demands, which included calls for separate “safe” spaces for African American students, more black faculty, more money for Africana studies and so on. The protesters had no difficulty with the Obama administration, its murderous violence overseas, or the growth of vast social inequality and poverty in America.

That is just her opening.

But I think she nails the series.

It's also true that we saw this already -- done as comedy -- on BLACKLISH when the oldest daughter, Zoe, took a visit to the college she'll be attending this fall.

DEAR WHITE PEOPLE is too smug, too self-serious and too short on story telling preferring to preach instead.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, May 24, 2017.  The Mosul Slog continues, the Islamic State may be relocating in Iraq, US House Rep Walter Jones addresses endless war, and much more.

Starting in the US, US House Rep Walter Jones' office issued the following regarding an event today:


WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, May 24, 2017, Congressmen Walter B. Jones (NC-3) and John Garamendi (CA-3), along with John Duncan (TN-2), will host a press conference regarding H.R. 1666, to prohibit funds for activities in Afghanistan, and the importance of debating the 16 year war in Afghanistan, the longest war in America’s history.

Wednesday, May 24th at 1:30 pm:

What: Press Conference regarding H.R. 1666 and the necessity to debate the 16 year war in Afghanistan.

Who:  Representative Walter B. Jones (NC-03)
          Representative John Garamendi (CA-03)
          Representative John Duncan (TN-02)
          Will Fischer, VoteVets
          House cosponors of H.R. 1666


When: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Where: House Triangle
(Rain/inclement weather location to be announced)

For additional information, please contact Allison Tucker in Congressman Walter Jones’ office at (202) 225-3415 or Dante Atkins in Congressman John Garamendi’s office at (202) 225-1880.

The Afghanistan War started in 2001 and it continues.

Has the US government forgotten how to end wars?

Or does it just see endless war as the desired outcome?

Meanwhile the Iraq War also continues.

: Iraqi forces advance in offensive against . The battle for the city leaves behind utter destruction. 📷 Ahmad Al-Rubaye

Day 217 of The Mosul Slog.

Yes, it continues.

map update. Green= completely liberated. Orange= frontline clashes. White= control.

How much longer?

When Mosul's finally liberated?

When the Islamic State is gone?

Because those are two different things.

In fact, Mohamed Mostafa (IRAQI NEWS) reports that ISIS has relocated to Hawija:

The Islamic State’s stronghold town of Hawija, Kirkuk, is almost becoming the group’s central haven as new headquarters open replacing others conquered by Iraqi forces in other provinces, said a local source.
Alsumaria News quoted the source saying Tuesday that IS had opened alternative headquarters for its so-called “Nineveh State, “Dijlah State”, “Salahuddin State” and “Diyala State” in Hawija. He said senior leaders had entered the town in armored vehicles after having fled battles with security forces in Nineveh. The source added that IS militants cut a number of main roads and subjected them to a curfew.

“Hawija has now become the group’s main haven, with members split between Hawija and Tal Afar an Baaj (west of Nineveh),” said the source.

If the rumors of the relocation are true, another slog is on the horizon.

If that's the case, maybe people will finally ask why the US decided to start bombing Iraq in August of 2014 instead of intensifying diplomacy?

That might have helped move the country towards reconciliation.

Replying to 
Solutions? Strive for political & economic settlement for Sunni Arab communities in Iraq & Syria. Address the alienation that ISIS exploits

Bringing Sunnis into the full political process is the only way of getting rid of the Islamic State.

As the war drags on, Amnesty's UK chapter issues the following:

Hundreds of Humvees and 10,000s of assault rifles unaccounted for
‘Sending millions of dollars’ worth of arms into a black hole and hoping for the best is not a viable counter-terrorism strategy’ - Patrick Wilcken
The US Army failed to keep tabs on more than $1 billion worth of arms and other military equipment in Iraq and Kuwait according to a now declassified US Department of Defense audit obtained by Amnesty International following freedom of information requests. 
The audit, from last September, reveals that the Department of Defense “did not have accurate, up-to-date records on the quantity and location” of a vast amount of equipment pouring into Iraq and Kuwait to provision the Iraqi Army.
The equipment - which include hundreds of Humvee armoured vehicles, tens of thousands of assault rifles and hundreds of mortar rounds -  was destined for use by the central Iraqi Army, including the predominantly Shi’a Popular Mobilisation Units, as well as the Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
The audit revealed several serious shortcomings in how equipment was logged and monitored from the point of delivery onward, including:
·    Fragmentary record-keeping in arms depots in Kuwait and Iraq, with information logged across multiple spreadsheets, databases and even on hand-written receipts.
·    Large quantities of equipment manually entered into multiple spreadsheets, increasing the risk of human error. 
·    Incomplete records meaning those responsible for the equipment were unable to ascertain its location or status.
The military transfers came under the “Iraq Train and Equip Fund” (ITEF), a key part of US-Iraqi security cooperation. In 2015, US Congress allocated $1.6 billion for the programme to combat the advance of the Islamic State armed group.
The audit also appeared to show that the Department of Defense did not have responsibility for tracking ITEF transfers immediately after delivery to the Iraqi authorities, despite the fact that the department’s own “Golden Sentry” programme is mandated to carry out post-delivery checks. Meanwhile, a previous Department of Defense audit in 2015 pointed to the fact that the Iraqi armed forces applied even laxer stockpile monitoring procedures. In some cases, the Iraqi Army was unaware of what was stored in its own warehouses, while other military equipment - unopened and uninventoried - was stored out in the open in shipping containers.

Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty International’s Arms Control and Human Rights Researcher, said:

“This audit provides a worrying insight into the US Army’s flawed - and potentially dangerous - system for controlling millions of dollars’ worth of arms transfers to a hugely volatile region.

“It makes for especially sobering reading given the long history of leakage of US arms to multiple armed groups committing atrocities in Iraq, including the armed group calling itself the Islamic State.

“The need for post-delivery checks is vital. Any fragilities along the transfer chain greatly increase the risks of weapons going astray in a region where armed groups have wrought havoc and caused immense human suffering.
“This should be an urgent wake-up call for the US, and all countries supplying arms to Iraq, to urgently shore up checks and controls. Sending millions of dollars’ worth of arms into a black hole and hoping for the best is not a viable counter-terrorism strategy; it is just reckless.”

Iraq: a ‘black hole’ for weapons

Amnesty’s research has repeatedly documented lax controls and record-keeping within the Iraqi chain of command. This has resulted in arms manufactured in the USA and other countries ending up in the hands of armed groups known to be committing war crimes and other atrocities - including ISIS and paramilitary militias now incorporated into the Iraqi army. 
In response to the audit, the US military has pledged to tighten up its systems for tracking and monitoring future transfers to Iraq. However, the Department of Defense made almost identical commitments in response to a report for Congress as long ago as 2007 that raised similar concerns. 

Amnesty is urging the USA to comply with the “Leahy Law”, which prohibits the supply of most types of US military aid and training to foreign security, military and police units credibly alleged to have committed “gross human rights violations”. Amnesty is also calling on both the USA and Iraq to accede to the global Arms Trade Treaty, which has strict rules in place to stop arms transfers or diversion of arms that could fuel atrocities.

Another unresolved issue?

The fate of the Kurds.

‘Not if, but when’ Kurdish secession from Iraq imminent - US intel chief

New content at THIRD:

The following community sites updated:


  • Tuesday, May 23, 2017

    Dina Merrill

    I did not like Dina Merrill when I was a pre-teen.

    DEADLINE notes:

    The family of Dina Merrill Hartley confirmed Tuesday morning that the actress and philanthropist, an icon of taste and sophistication in both worlds, died at home Monday in East Hampton, NY, surrounded by her family. The cause was Lewy Body dementia, the family said. She was 93.
    Merrill’s remarkable career – it could aptly be described as exquisitely curated – spanned more than half a century and included memorable roles in films from the serious (Daniel Mann’s 1960 BUtterfield 8) to the comic (Blake Edwards’ 1959 Operation Petticoat); on Broadway (notably as Peggy Porter in George Abbott’s 1983 revival of his, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s On Your Toes); and the Golden Age of live television as well as a stint as Oscar Madison’s love interest in an episode of The Odd Couple.

    Dina Merrill was among the actors in Robert Altman's film A WEDDING.

    She played Toni.

    Toni was part of the snooty family that was so rude to poor Carol Burnett's character (I was a huge Carol fan from way back).

    And Toni was also crudely using a death (Lillian Gish's character) in the film.

    I did not like Dina Merrill.

    I was young and confused the character with the actress.

    It wasn't until I watched DESK SET (and liked her) that I was able to really tell the difference.

    She was very good in the comedy DESK SET.

    She has a small but important role in Robert Altman's THE PLAYER.

    I doubt anyone else could have pulled the role off.

    She has to go along to keep her job but she has to have some sort of ethics.  It's a tight rope and she walked it very well.

    She wasn't a star but she was a very fine actress.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Tuesday, May 23, 2017.   Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, US troops continue to deploy to Iraq and much more.

    KCEN reports, "Around 250 Fort Hood soldiers from III Corps are set to deploy to Iraq and Kuwait in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.  As part of the regular rotation of forces, III Corps will replace the 18th Airborne Corps in their mission against ISIS. The 18th Airborne is based at Fort Bragg, N.C."


    Every day that should be the question: Why?

    The US government kicked off this ongoing war in 2003.

    It's 2017.


    Why are US troops still going into Iraq?

    Why does the Iraq War continue?


    We need to think and we need to ask questions.

    And we need to hold people accountable.

    Alleged civilian casualties in Iraq & Syria up under Trump. Data here: . New analysis here:

    Are we supposed to cheer Colin?

    If so, why?

    He was perfectly happy taking part in the death of civilians during Barack's presidency, remember?

    Now he's offended because the number of civilians killed -- "alleged civilians," he tells us -- has increased?

    It was a crime to begin with.

    Whether it's increased, decreased or stayed the same, it was a crime to begin with.

    Colin Kahl is War Trash and people need to think.

    Human Rights Watch notes:

    As civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria rise in the battle against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), the Australian government should take all feasible measures to protect civilians during military operations and improve the transparency of its operations, Human Rights Watch said today. The Australian government is an active member of the United States-led coalition against ISIS and has dropped thousands of munitions on targets in Iraq and Syria since August 2014, but has been one of the least transparent members of the coalition.
    On May 8, 2017, the Australia Defence Force (ADF) began releasing fortnightly reports on strikes taken by the Australian air force as a member of the US-led coalition, but more detailed reporting is urgently needed.

    “The rise in reports of civilian casualties raises questions about the precautions and procedures in place to protect civilians,” said Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch. “New fortnightly Australian defense reports are a welcome step, but the government needs to provide more detailed information to ensure greater transparency and accountability for its military operations in Iraq and Syria.”

    It's day 216 of The Mosul Slog.

    The United Nations News Centre notes:

          22 May 2017 – With the liberation of Mosul imminent, the international community must maintain a dual focus on defeating the remaining Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da'esh) forces in Iraq, and on working towards post-conflict security and reconstruction, the United Nations envoy for the country told the Security Council today.

    “The days of the so-called Da'esh caliphate in Iraq are numbered” and discussions on how to rebuild the country had begun, Ján Kubiš, Head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), said in a “briefing to the Council, where he announced that UN Secretary-General António Guterres recently received the long-awaited submission of the Iraqi Forces Coalition's vision of a national settlement.

    Moreover, the recent “Turkmen Forum” held in Baghdad served as an inclusive platform for the sharing of reconstruction visions.

    Mr. Kubiš went on to stress that the imminent defeat of ISIL must also provide an urgent impetus to address the needs of minorities, especially their ability to return to their homes.
    The return of all internally displaced persons to all liberated areas must be a top priority, as should tackling increasing incidents of kidnapping and paying sustained attention to upcoming elections in 2017 and 2018.

    “National reconciliation can only succeed if it reflects the aspirations of the population, including women and youth,” he said, adding that women and youth, who make up more than half of Iraq's population, are key constituencies. With this in mind, he noted that UNAMI has convened seven separate forums across the country: in Basra, Erbil, Najaf, Diyala, Sulaymanyah, Kirkuk, and Baghdad, bringing together over 750 young participants from all Iraqi provinces.

    Urging Baghdad and Erbil to leverage their joint efforts against ISIL and to address such issues as border disputes and building a “functional federation” based on partnership, Mr. Kubiš noted that senior officials in Kurdistan recently announced their intention to hold a referendum on the region's future later in 2017.
    They had indicated, he continued, that their aim was to “show the world the will of the people” on the status of Kurdistan, rather than assert independence immediately.
    Meanwhile, Turkey's Armed Forces maintained their relentless air attacks against PKK fighters, he said, citing Ankara's declarations that they would continue in order to deny sanctuary to the PKK. The Prime Minster had deplored the attack, he added.

    Noting that the overall rule of law remained weak, Mr. Kubiš said kidnapping was becoming an increasing problem, recalling that the National Intelligence Cell had met on 11 May to discuss the link between terrorism and organized crime, including kidnapping. The international community must vigorously pursue accountability for crimes committed by ISIL in Iraq, he said.

    Meanwhile, the issue of internally displaced persons remained critical, with some 700,000 people having fled their homes since mid-October, he noted. Hundreds of thousands of others remain in ISIL-controlled areas, suffering lack of food and water and often finding themselves caught in crossfire.

    Mr. Kubiš concluded by reporting on his recent visit to Kuwait, saying he had met with officials there on the issue of missing Kuwaiti nationals and property. They had voiced concern about the lack of progress on the ground, he said, urging the Government of Iraq promptly to fulfil its obligations under that file.

    In other news . . .

    VP "We are not responsible for what he did" criticising ’s one-man rule

    What measures are in place to prevent a repeat of Nouri al-Maliki?


    The persecution of Sunnis continues.

    There is no national reconciliation.

    The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, NPR, PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated: