Tuesday, April 24, 2018


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: