Thursday, September 19, 2019

Australopithecine skull

Some really interesting science reporting at WSWS.  First up, this is from an article by Frank Gaglioti:



The discovery of a nearly complete australopithecine skull has greatly extended our understanding of the earliest period of human evolution. The fossil find was reported on August 28 in the science journal Nature in a paper titled “A 3.8-million-year-old hominin cranium from Woranso-Mille Ethiopia.” Hominins include modern humans and all species considered ancestral to them.
Australopithecus, or southern apes, emerged in Africa around Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania about four million years ago and are known to have survived to two million years ago. They had a small brain similar in size to a chimpanzee, but had a hand with an opposable thumb enabling them to use tools. This is considered to be the crucial feature diagnostic of humans. The use of tools led over millions of years to the development of a larger brain and other traits such as language.
Over this period, the east African climate was drying out, leading to the shrinking of the forested areas. Australopithecus were an evolutionary adaptation to the new conditions, as they evolved to walking upright rather than dwelling in trees.
The discovery of a nearly complete skull from this period is incredibly rare. It will enable a reassessment of what is known of the earliest period of hominin evolution, particularly the development of the australopithecine species and their development into true humans.
The lead scientist was Yohannes Haile-Selassie, a paleoanthropologist from Cleveland Museum of Natural History, aided by a researcher from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology Stephanie Melillo.

And here is video of where it was discovered.

  1. "The oldest skull ever found of an australopithecine, a group of early human ancestors that lived between 1.5 and four million years ago. It’s also the first skull ever found of Australopithecus anamensis, one of the earliest members of that genus."


  1. *fascinating piece, by , on … —nearly complete skull oldest ever found of Australopithecine, pivotal group of early human ancestors (between 1.5 and 4 million years ago). …
  2. In Ethiopia, researcher unearths oldest skull ever found of an australopithecine, a critical group of early human ancestors. "It takes you back about 3.8 million years to think about what our ancestors looked like at that time."


And consider this related:


  1. Taung child discovery site, Taung World Heritage Site, Buxton mines, Taung •Indicates where the Taung child’s skull was found in 1924. •Located on the Taung World Heritage Site which is currently being developed. •Taung child was an Australopithecine (Human ancestor).







"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, September 19, 2019.


A week ago, Democratic Party presidential hopefuls debated in Houston.  It seems so long ago.  Joe Biden alone has made more gaffes than we can count since then.

In the post-debate polls, Senator Kamala Harris has plunged in the polls.  Of course, she has.  She was an idiot in the debate.  Some -- including Margaret Kimberley -- have Tweeted or reTweeted that Kamala sounded drunk.  She didn't come off drunk to me but she did seem to have dry mouth.  (I'm being serious and I'm not making fun of her about that.  I think she has blood sugar issues.  I say that as a diabetic myself.)  That was not her problem.

Her problem is she's trying to become the party's nominee and she's a woman.  Hillary Clinton is the only woman who's achieved that feat so far.  Right or wrong, there are ways women are seen.

What the hell was that debate performance?  'C'mon, guys, on everything, Trump is worse!'  Was she a candidate for the nomination or trying to be den mother to the lost boys?  She rose in the polls following the June debates because she appeared to be a fighter.  That's something people can relate to and see in a president.  The nonsense she displayed last week did not look presidential.  She refused to play to her strengths and instead played like she was going to get everyone to circle up and do a feelings check.  Whomever helped her come up with that strategy should leave her campaign immediately.

Let's talk Amy.  Amy's plump.  Senator Amy Klobuchar is plump.  And as she tries to nice-guy it through every debate as a result of all the press about how one group of employees thought she was a bitch and hated working for her, she fails to grasp what Tina Fey once said, "Bitches get things done."  And Americans could probably get behind that.  Certainly more could than currently support her.  But as she grins and lumbers around, she doesn't look presidential.

Amy called the ACLU a liar in last week's debate.  That's what she did.  Confronted with her own record, she insisted the ACLU was lying.

It's a sign of how important she is and how useless she is that she didn't come under fire for that.  She should have.

But everyone's watching the fat history teacher trying to get through another day of middle school before she goes home to work on her young adult fiction and feed her cats and no one really gives a damn.

The president is an important job.

You need to project strength.  Amy's not doing it and hasn't done it.  Kamala rose in the polls when she projected strength in June and has fallen since as she's stumbled around to be the positivity cheerleader.

That leaves, in the race, US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard, Marianne Williamson and Elizabeth Warren.

Let's start with Marianne.  She was slammed a few weeks ago for something she Tweeted.  I have no idea of the exact wording and don't really care.  But it was about the hurricane and it was about positive thinking.  And she was ridiculed for it.  Some people believe in positive thinking and believe it can impact others.  Some people believe in the same thing and call it prayer.

We have lived through the ridiculous.  Day after day, week after week, where so-called journalists spend forever fretting about this or that and it's never anything that matters.  It's not about curing people, it's not about ending wars, it's not about a decent wage.  It's outrage over Donald Trump.  What did he say? And if he didn't say it, let's massage the words and make it even worse.  Over and over, the outrage machine never ends.

That's not positive thinking.  But I hope we can see how that nonsense builds and builds and builds.

Does positive thinking have an effect?

I'm sure it does have some effects.

There was never a reason to slam Marianne over something like that.

One effect would include calming your ass down and instead of running around like Chicken Little, which, for the record, many of the people slamming Marianne have been doing since the moment Donald Trump was elected.

Tulsi.  Tulsi is a joke.  She made herself a joke.  Last Thursday, Bernie took on Joe over his support of the Iraq War.  That's what Tulsi refused to do in the July debate.  That's what she refused to do in the days after when she was briefly a media darling and used her time to minimize War Hawk Joe's actions and to give him a pass.  Tulsi's a damn joke and those people on the left who want to pretend that she's anti-war need to stop lying.  She had her chance to make a case and she failed.

They also need to stop kidding that she's a real candidate.

I'm not talking about the fact that America has seen and has rejected her.  That's true but I'm talking about "I serve! I believe in public service!" Tulsi.  She's in the national reserves.  That means Donald Trump is her commander in chief.  He's not mine.  That is the role of the president over the military.  I'm not in the military.  Tulsi is.  Her remarks about Donald have always been borderline because he is her commander in chief so she is limited in how she can speak publicly.

But recently she's given up any pretense of following the rules.  She's called him Saudi Arabia's "bitch," she's publicly told him that he is not her "pimp" and the military is not his "whore."  These are grounds to drum her out of the reserves.  I don't know in what world she's allowed to make comments like that while she is in the service and remain in the service.

That's disqualifying.  She wants to run on her service and have you respect her but she doesn't want to give Donald the respect that he is owed (from her) as her commander in chief.

Tulsi has real problems.  This one is a lot like her whining that she wasn't at last week's debate.  The rules were so unfair!!!!  But these rules were in place before the debates started and she didn't complain about them in June or July.  So the rules only became a problem to her when she wasn't able to meet them.  Seth Moulton probably could have pulled 5% easy if he'd made even one of the debates.  But Tulsi didn't defend Seth or anyone else who didn't make the June or July debates.  But when she couldn't make this one, it was all about how unfair things were.

She's a bit of hypocrite and it goes to her lack of maturity.  (Mayor Pete has the same problem.)

Which leaves us with Elizabeth Warren.  She's providing proposals and plans and selling herself as a workhorse who will get things done.  Who does that remind you of?

It reminds me of Hillary Clinton when she ran in 2008.

That was a popular template.  Hillary didn't get the nomination -- and we'll never know how many delegates she would have had since Nancy Pelosi stopped the vote at the convention -- but she did have a strong run in 2008 that inspired many.

Five women remain in the race for the nomination.  Three have been making the debates.  Only Elizabeth is presenting a consistent image that voters can see as presidential.

Julie Hollar and Jim Naureckaes (FAIR) took at look at the debate and we'll note this section of their analysis:

In the section reserved for foreign policy and national security issues, the moderators displayed a hawkish agenda, continually pushing the candidates to take a more adversarial and militant line with other countries. This was most obvious in David Muir’s line of questions on Afghanistan, which he prefaced by saying: “Many of you on this stage have said you’d bring the troops home in your first term. Others have said in your first year.” He then asked Warren, “Would you keep that promise to bring the troops home starting right now with no deal with the Taliban?”
When Warren gave the only possible answer to that question—yes—George Stephanopoulos broke in to make it clear that that was the wrong one:
Top US leaders, military leaders on the ground in Afghanistan, told me you can’t do it without a deal with the Taliban. You just said you would, you would bring them home. What if they told you that? Would you listen to their advice?
The same assumption that civilian presidents should normally defer to the judgment of the military was the basis for the next question, to Pete Buttigieg, which cited the authority of Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Gen. Joseph Dunford:  “If he’s not even using the word withdrawal, would you put your promise to bring troops home in the first year on hold to follow the advice?”

Joe Biden and Sanders were given versions of the question of whether they would “pull out US troops too quickly from Afghanistan”—meaning after 19 years, which is how long the US would have occupied the country by the time either would be sworn in as president. (See FAIR.org, 9/11/19, on media’s obsession with a “premature” withdrawal from Afghanistan.)



IN THESE TIMES' Branko Marcetic has been covering Joe Biden's lies about Iraq for some time and he did so again regarding last week's debate:

If Biden truly believed that his vote in October 2002 wasn’t meant to pave the way for war, he likely wouldn’t have embarked on a world tour two months later that involved meeting an Iraqi resistance leader in Germany, talking to the King of Jordan, and making pit stops in Israel and Qatar. Nor would he have spoken to the Kurd Parliament in Kurdish-controlled Northern Iraq, telling Saddam’s bitter enemies that the United States would “stand with you in your effort to build a united Iraq.”
Nor does Biden’s description of his actions after the war began tell the full story. It’s true that Biden frequently criticized Bush for the way the war was conducted. But Biden was also one of the increasingly lonely Democratic voices insisting that war had been the right decision all along, despite Bush’s bungling of its prosecution.
In June 2003, Biden told “Fox News Sunday” host Tony Snow that “it was a just war.” The next month he said he’d “vote to do it again” and gave remarks to the Brookings Institution in which he charged that “anyone who can't acknowledge that the world is better off without [Saddam] is out of touch.” In August, he called for sending 20,000-50,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq. And in a September speech to the National Press Club, he criticized “the knee-jerk multilateralists in my own party who have not yet faced the reality of the post-9/11 world.” The list goes on.

The U.S. public must make sure the person they select to be president not only demonstrates wisdom, but also won’t be swept away in a tidal wave of pro-war fervor. By allowing Biden to mislead voters on his Iraq War record, his rivals (and the debate moderators) are doing a disservice to the American public. 


Joe's history is long and analysis can't include everything, I know.  However, we have spent several years now being fed outrage over the myth that our election stolen by Russia.  So the topic of a stolen election?  THat's a topic the media needs to explore.  "The question Joe Biden needs to be asked about Iraq" went to that.  Nouri al-Maliki's second term brought about the rise of ISIS in Iraq.  How did Nouri get a second term?

Don't say the voters.  The Iraqi people voted in March of 2010 and thug Nouri lost.  For over 8 months he refused to step down -- this was the political stalemate.  Instead of backing the winner, the US government went around the Iraqi people and negotiated a contract, The Erbil Agreement, that gave Nouri a second term.

Who loves to brag that Barack "tasked" him with Iraq?  Joe Biden.  And who went over to Iraq to sell that contract?  Joe Biden.  It's time Joe Biden was asked about that decision and about all that followed that horrible decision.



Margaret Kimberley (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) observes:

The idea of electability is especially important to black voters, who have fearfully tossed their own political needs under the bus in exchange for guaranteeing Democratic Party victory. They are particularly susceptible to being swayed in this regard due to their desire to be rid of Donald Trump.
But the game is rigged yet again. In televised debates Joe Biden nearly lost his dentures, had an eye fill with blood, told black people to play records to improve their kids vocabulary, and tried to live down past racist statements.Yet we are told that black voters prefer him to other candidates. If that is true it is only because the electability propaganda has done its job. 

The dreadful trap that black voters find themselves in has only tightened since Trump’s election. After the Democrats’ 2016 debacle all of their rank and file should be extremely skeptical of their claims and black people should be leading that charge. Instead most Democrats are even more obedient to the people who failed them so badly. They live and die by any and every idea that speaks to the possibility of Trump’s defeat.



The following sites updated:


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Science fact?

Leah Douglas (NPR) reports:

Americans eat an average of 16 pounds of fish each year, and that number is growing. But how to meet our demand for fish is a controversial question, one that is entering a new chapter as the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to approve the nation's only aquaculture pen in federal waters.
Fish farming has been positioned by its boosters as a sustainable alternative to wild-caught seafood and an economic driver that would put our oceans to work. So far, restrictions on where aquaculture operations can be located have kept the U.S. industry relatively small. In 2016, domestic aquaculture in state-controlled waters accounted for about $1.6 billion worth of seafood, or about 20 percent of the country's seafood production.
But the biggest potential home for aquaculture, federally controlled ocean waters, has so far been off limits. States control up to three miles offshore from their coastlines, but between three and 200 miles falls under federal control. Attempts to introduce aquaculture in federal waters have so far been stymied by concerns about aquaculture's impact on ocean ecosystems and wild fisheries.


And I think they should be stymied.  But that's my opinion.  Madeleine Stone (NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC) reports:

When the remnants of Europe’s second summertime heat wave migrated over Greenland in late July, more than half of the ice sheet’s surface started melting for the first time since 2012. A study published Wednesday in Nature shows that mega-melts like that one, which are being amplified by climate change, aren’t just causing Greenland to shed billions of tons of ice. They’re causing the remaining ice to become denser.
“Ice slabs”—solid planks of ice that can span hundreds of square miles and grow to be 50 feet thick—are spreading across the porous, air pocket-filled surface of the Greenland ice sheet as it melts and refreezes more often. From 2001 to 2014, the slabs expanded in area by about 25,000 square miles, forming an impermeable barrier the size of West Virginia that prevents meltwater from trickling down through the ice. Instead, the meltwater becomes runoff that flows overland, eventually making its way out to sea.
As the ice slabs continue to spread, the study’s authors predict more and more of Greenland’s surface will become a “runoff zone,” boosting the ice sheet’s contribution to global sea level rise and, perhaps, causing unexpected changes.

We have no idea, again just my opinion, how much we are screwing up our world and how awful things are going to get.  No idea at all.  ELYSIUM is going to look like science fact in a few years, not science fiction.


"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, September 18, 2019.  The US government continues to growl for more war, a War Whore dies and Nina Totenberg wants us to mourn the whore, Elizabeth Warren's on the rise in a new poll and much more.

Starting with the push to go to war on Iran.  Bill Van Auken (WSWS) points out:

The threat that Washington will unleash a major new war in the Middle East continued to escalate Tuesday as US intelligence and military officials—speaking not for attribution—claimed to have established that last Saturday’s attacks on Saudi Arabian oil installations were launched from southwestern Iran.
Not a shred of evidence has been provided to substantiate this charge, and, according to Pentagon officials who spoke anonymously to National Public Radio, the evidence claimed is “circumstantial,” consisting of satellite surveillance imagery showing activity at supposed Iranian launch sites in advance of the attack on Abqaiq, the world’s largest crude oil processing facility, and the Khurais oil field, both in eastern Saudi Arabia.
Despite the failure of US authorities to make public any of their alleged evidence, the US corporate media is reporting the charge against Iran as incontrovertible fact.
Iran has denied any responsibility for the attacks, which were claimed by the Houthi rebels in Yemen as an act of retaliation for the near-genocidal war waged by Saudi Arabia against the impoverished Arab country for the past four-and-a-half years.
An unrelenting bombing campaign, waged with indispensable US supplies of arms, ammunition and logistical support, is responsible for the bulk of the nearly 100,000 Yemeni deaths in the course of the war. The Saudi attacks, combined with a blockade enforced with the aid of the US Navy, has driven some 8 million Yemenis to the brink of starvation.
The Houthis claimed to have staged the attacks with a swarm of 10 weaponized drones, weapons that they publicly unveiled last July. The strikes cut Saudi Arabia’s oil production in half, reducing it by 5.7 million barrels daily, or more than 5 percent of global crude production.


The US is involved in endless wars.  That would include Iraq, yes, and Afghanistan as well -- but it would also include so many more.  In 2014, Timothy McGrath (PRI) counted 134 wars the US was then currently involved in.  The last thing the US needs is another war.  The last thing the world needs is another war.

To Iran today is not the of 1987. Richer better armed and far more influential in large part because of the US invasion of Iraq that you so enthusiastically supported. No more US blood for oil.
 
 



Donald Trump?  How does he go to war publicly?  He would likely lose his Libetarian support.  He would like lose a large part of his popular support.  For Bully Boy Bush -- and, let's be honest, craven Democrats in 2002 -- supporting war was an easy re-election bid.

But that's not the case for Donald Trump.  Going to war to 'defend' Saudi oil?  Does he really think the populist support he got in 2016 will stay with him?  It won't.  He talked about restoring America, he signaled that his moves would be moves to put America first -- and you really can't reconcile that with war on Iran to 'defend' Saudi oil.

There is no 'pivot' room for Donald on this issue.

He is treating this attack, claimed by the Housthis, as though it is 9/11 and, again, the American people will neither buy nor embrace that.  9/11 was not an attack on an oil field.  People died horrible painful deaths.  In the towers, some were trapped as they burned, some jumped to their death.  Those were horrible and haunting memories.  An oil field being attacked by a drone?  Not really the same thing, not at all.

William Rivers Pitt (TRUTHOUT) notes:

“In short: it’s all super unclear,” writes Jack Crosbie for Splinter News, “but the president’s public vow to bomb whoever Saudi Arabia tells us to is not reassuring. The Saudis are perfectly capable of fighting their own battles — we’ve sold them more than enough weaponry — but Trump’s stance throughout the crisis has been that, essentially, the U.S. military stands by to defend our favorite brutal authoritarian theocracy at any cost.”
If Trump does commit the U.S. to a war in Iran on behalf of Saudi Arabia, it would unsurprisingly be one of the worst calamities of an administration made of calamities. The only surprise here is the fact that John Bolton will have to watch it all on his flat-screen at home, or from the office of his now-anti-Trump super PAC. Maybe irony has a pulse after all.

Not only would an attack on Iran over the Houthis attacking Saudi Arabia weaken Donald Trump's support in the US, it would harm him historically.  Saudi Arabia is not going to come off well in the history books.  It's an authoritarian regime.  There's no real win for Donald Trump in attacking Iran.  That, of course, doesn't mean he won't do it.

Jake Johnson (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

With President Donald Trump firing off menacing tweets and the White House working to blame Iran—on the basis of flimsy evidence—for attacks on Saudi oil facilities over the weekend, Rep. Ilhan Omar said Monday night that Congress must act urgently to prevent Trump from launching another catastrophic military conflict in the Middle East.
"Congress has the constitutional right to declare war," the Minnesota Democrat told CNN's Erin Burnett. "The president doesn't have it. The secretary of state doesn't have it. And Saudi Arabia certainly doesn't have it."

Omar pointed to the Trump administration's decision last year to violate the Iran nuclear deal as the source of growing military tensions over the past several months, which on at least one occasion nearly resulted in a full-scale conflict.


This isn't 2002.  Meaning the American people is sick of war.  Democrats in Congress can't blindly support war thinking it will be the smart re-election strategy.  And they also can't stick their heads in the sand.  Ilhan's approach is the approach the party is going to have to take.

Failure to do so will suppress voter turnout more than anything else.  The Democrats better draw a clear line between themselves and the party in the White House if they want voters to support them at the polls in 2020.


Except for the time when Joe voted for NAFTA, PNTR with China, the Wall Street bailout, the Iraq War, bankruptcy “reform,” welfare “reform,” and cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans benefits while fighting to cut pension benefits for 1.5 million union members
 
 


Yes, we're gearing up for another election.  November 2020 will be here before we know it.  Nicholas Wu (USA TODAY) reports:

A new NBC/WSJ poll released Tuesday shows former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., continuing to make gains over the rest of the Democratic field. 
Biden remains the highest-polling candidate, coming in at 31%, a five-percentage-point gain from July. Warren jumped by six percentage points, from 19% to 25%. 
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., inched up from 13% to 14%, and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg remained steady at 7%. 
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., on the other hand, fell from a high of 13% in July to 5%. 
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang moved from 2% to 4%, putting him in sixth place, behind Harris. 


The poll has a 4.4% margin of error which means Warren and Biden remain neck-and-neck in that poll.   NBC notes of their poll, "Important, however, only 9 percent of all Democratic respondents say their minds are definitely made up."  That's an important point.  But here's another: the poll is based on the media propping up Joe after the debate.  That's not reality.  And now the voices of the people -- including the voices of Latinos -- are weighing in.  Joe understands this problem.  He looked like a hero to some when he betrayed Anita Hill all those years ago.  People thought he and the others would get away wit it.  I said they wouldn't.  I said we saw what we saw and we wouldn't forget it and we would talk about it away from the media and the tide would turn.  Joe remembers that.  He was one of the people I said that too.  And the tide did turn and his treatment of Anita Hill continues to be a sore spot for his image to this day.

The media defended him.  They did so by lying.  They were bullies -- the pundits.  Americans don't like that at all.

We're going to quote Ruben Navarrette Jr. (USA TODAY) one more time:


A lot of people of color are fed up with the old school white liberalism that Biden represents. It’s not just his past opposition to forced busing in the 1970s because, as he said then, he didn’t feel “responsible for the sins” of past generations. It’s also recent gaffes. During last week's debate, Biden answered a question about atoning for slavery with a condescending stemwinder about “problems that come from home” and social workers showing parents how to parent by having “the record player on at night” so kids pick up vocabulary. 
Harris and Booker got a pass for going after Biden, yet Castro is being walloped. White pundits know better than to scold African Americans about race, but they’re not afraid of Latinos, whom they often treat like their gardeners. 

While discussing competing health care plans, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development mischievously poked at Biden by asking — repeatedly — whether the 76-year-old was forgetting what he said two minutes earlier.
Critics — including the news media and Biden supporters — are calling it “ageism” and a “cheap shot” by Castro. They say the 45-year-old should have shown more “respect” to his elder. 

That’s a thing in politics? Since when?

That's the opinion that's going to win out.  And we're already seeing that on campuses this week as we speak to various groups.  The media did what they always do, group-think, herd mentality and lie, especially lie.  That's going to bite them in their ass.

On the media, Cokie Roberts died . . . clutching her pearls as always.  I don't have any sympathy for her.  She was an alarmist who didn't just scream for Bill Clinton to be impeached and removed from office, she supported war and was addicted to war porn.  Her death is no great loss.  She broke no major story.  She did nothing with her life but act as a handmaiden to those who destroy.  She worked for NPR and ABC an accomplished nothing in her trade.

Let’s all remember Cokie Roberts as NPR’s champion cheerleader for the disastrous and criminal invasion of Iraq. WMD my ass.


Cokie Roberts of NPR media fame that pushed the Iraq war beyond the pale. And every other war. She is dead and will not be missed by anyone that values truth.
 
 

Cokie Roberts called anti-Iraq War figurehead Cindy Sheehan an "unsophisticated woman." Guess that Sheehan wasn't a mainstay on the Beltway cocktail party circuit.
 
 
Cokie Roberts was a pro Iraq War voice. Years later she said leaving would be "irresponsible." She was rich & a huge apologist for war criminal GWB. In 2019 she falsely claimed Bernie & can't win - and that it'd be awful if they did. Earth is better off without her.
 
 

I wish it was easy to find old clips of Cokie Roberts being a right wing reactionary bitch, but here's a little taste, where she complains about politicians who were "against the Iraq War from the beginning". Cokie is very bored and unimpressed
 
 

Ask Cokie Roberts if she regrets saying, in late '02, that pending invasion of Iraq was not opposed by "anybody that matters."
 
 



That's the real Cokie Roberts.  Shame on those who want to applaud her as a 'first' and pretend she accomplished something.  She was a daughter of power who never challenged power.  She, her mother and her brother all struggled with ethics.  She was a War Hawk and people are dead because of her.  I'm appalled by those rushing to prop up her memory.


An old whore had a long career of peddling her tired wares in the service of empire.  Nina Totenberg thinks it's time to now mourn -- well, Nina would think that, wouldn't she?

Iraq remains a failed state, many children there suffer birth defects, over a million Iraqis are dead, many more displaced.  Sorry, Nina Totenberg, but Cokie Roberts doesn't get a pass.

AFP reports:

 It has been a shaky 11 months for Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government since it was painstakingly stitched together in the prolonged wake of May 2018 elections.
The administration’s power rests on the curious coupling of firebrand cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr with Fatah, the political arm of the Hashd Al-Shaabi armed network.
But a cocktail of new pressure points — from Sadr’s frustration with the Hashd to purported Israeli strikes targeting the force — are fraying this tenuous deal, said Ihsan Al-Shammari, head of the Iraqi Center for Political Thought.
“The situation is messy. The political parties are repositioning themselves and the major alliances have broken apart,” Shammari told AFP.

He predicted the “tactical partnership” between Sadr and Fatah will collapse amid the cleric’s escalating criticism of the Hashd’s possession of arms and moves to create its own air force.



The following sites updated: