Tuesday, November 21, 2017


In a fitting farewell to the planet that had been its home for over 13 years, the Cassini spacecraft took one last, lingering look at Saturn and its splendid rings during the final leg of its journey and snapped a series of images that has been assembled into a new mosaic. 
Cassini's wide-angle camera acquired 42 red, green and blue images, covering the planet and its main rings from one end to the other, on Sept. 13, 2017. Imaging scientists stitched these frames together to make a natural color view. The scene also includes the moons Prometheus, Pandora, Janus, Epimetheus, Mimas and Enceladus.

Between Cassini and Curiosity, we have learned so much of late about Saturn and Mars.

This is the sort of thing I was talking about last week when I was talking about how I wish I had a reset button to hit because so much more is known now than when I was in high school.

Charles Q. Choi (SPACE) reports that Saturn’s “mysteriously cold vortex of air whirling above the south pole of Saturn’s moon Tiatan may result from its atmosphere’s unique chemistry.” And Mike Wehner (BGR) notes:

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft was an incredibly reliable machine, providing an incredible amount of data and relaying countless observations from its orbit around Saturn. It also took some glorious photos during its extended mission, and even though the spacecraft made the ultimate sacrifice by plunging into Saturn in a blaze of glory, we can all still enjoy its last great image of the entire planet and its iconic rings.

Amazing.  And probably some day, our great-great grandchildren will be able to travel to these planets.  (Yeah, that makes me want a re-set button too.)

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Tuesday, November 21, 2017.

Starting in the United States.

It's not the 1990s.

Meaning your crap is not going to work today the way it did for the Clinton White House.

You want to call out 'fake news'?

Start addressing the swill online regarding Leeann Tweeden.

She was the first woman to come forward publicly and explain that she had been assaulted by Al Franken.

Someone seems to think her alleged sexual history matters.

It doesn't.

And we need to lose that bulls**t right now.

I can blow every man in America and that doesn't mean my behavior gives a man a greenlight to assault me.

Though attorneys may look for the 'ideal' case, the reality is that there are not grades of victims.  If you're wronged, you're wronged.

And there are not acceptable assaults.

We're seeing that with some of the commentary -- not only with regards to Leeann but also with regards to Juanita Broaddrick.  Kathleen Wiley is not as 'serious' as what happened to Juanita.

Juanita says she was raped and I believe her.

Kathleen Wiley says she was grabbed in the Oval Office by Bill Clinton.

That doesn't mean he gets a pass on Kathleen.

"Oh, well she wasn't raped so we don't have to deal with this one."

No, that's not how it works.

Leeann was 'only' groped so we can hang on to Al!

People are not grasping what took place.

Maybe they lie to themselves all the time, I don't know.

But Leeann took part in a USO tour.  She did that for the troops.  She did that for her country.  There was no reason for her to believe she'd be assaulted.  But that's what happened.

Al Franken was the headliner and he had all the power.

He didn't just write a bad little scene where they kiss and then force her to rehearse it over and over.  He waited until she was asleep and grabbed her breasts.  He did that in front of others.  He did that in front of others to 'assert his power' and to ridicule her.  That's not a surprise, he's always been threatened by women who didn't coo over him.

What he did was wrong.

And it brings shame to the USO.

Al Franken assaulted a woman on a USO tour.

This is not minor and was not minor before the second woman stepped forward yesterday.

A USO tour is supposed to be something wonderful.  It allows a civilian to interact with the military and it is supposed to uplift everyone.  Al Franken disgraced the USO.

If someone serving in the military had done what Al did and there was the photograph of them that there is of Al, they would be facing serious consequences up to and including being tossed out of the military.

One liar online wants to insist that Leeann is a liar and that 'besides' Al does so many great things.

Oh, okay.

Can you give me that list?

I ask that not just because Al doesn't do great things.  (He's been an embarrassment on Iraq since before the illegal war started.)

I ask that also so that we can all benefit.

Take for 'good things' from column A and three from column B, for example, and you can kill someone and walk because you're 'good things' outweighs your crime.

What Al did is a crime.  In both cases.

An e-mail insists that I've never called out Trump.

I've called out Donald many times.  I do not like him.  I have not liked him -- long before he became president, I did not like him.

The "grab them by their p**sy" remark?

Sorry, I don't give a damn about that.

It was crass.

The ridiculous reaction to it was embarrassing.

They will let you does not mean that he did that.

He's referring to the power of celebrity.

By overplaying that, the laughable 'resistance' has made themselves useless.

Are we supposed to be offended by his use of the p-word?

Maybe we are.

I was offended by the use of the c-word.

When the head of THE PROGRESSIVE magazine Matthew Rothschild used it on Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Where were the brave defenders of Hillary and/or women then?

(It was called out here in real time.)

After that was allowed to fly on the left, little shocks me with regards to language.

Has Donald assaulted women?

I wouldn't be at all surprised.  If it took place, I'd imagine it did on 'sex island' or whatever that strip of land is known as -- the one Donald and Bill Clinton both visited by airplane, the one the convicted child molester owned.

Roy Moore.

Is that the creep's name?

I don't live in Alabama.  The press has taken him on strong enough that I don't need to learn who he is.  But those who say the voters will decide?  That is correct.

I like Sandy Berger.  I've known him for years.  As I've said here repeatedly, after the incident involving the papers (he smuggled classified papers out in his pants), that should be it for any appointed office ever.  That was a betrayal of public trust.  However, if he chooses to run for office and the people choose to vote him in, that's a different deal.  The people can decide who they want to represent them.

By that token, Roy Moore's running for public office.  Everything that is known should factor into people's decisions.  If they don't believe what he's accused of matters, they can vote for him.  If they do believe the issues matter but they don't believe Moore is guilty, they can vote for him.  They can make whatever decision they want.

And voters did on Trump.  The election is over.  If you have something new, bring it up.  If you've got something that can result in criminal charges, even better.

But that's a dead issue because the voters spoke.

They can re-evaluate that decision -- both in 2020 and historically.

But for now it's over.

Well what about Bill!!!!!

Bill Clinton ran for office (national) in 1992 and 1996.

The public did not know about Juanita Broaddrick or Kathleen Wiley.

They did know of Paula Jones' charges.  But he would go on to settle with Jones.  And it's equally true that the White House engaged in slander and assault on Jones and others.

Bob Somerby continues to practice those slurs at THE DAILY HOWLER.  He doesn't get that it's not the 90s and he's never understood the nature of assault.

Juanita says Bill raped her.  I believe her.  You can join me in that or believe she's lying or reserve judgment or whatever.  That's your right.

Bill Clinton's never discussed that charge.  He's hidden behind one spokesperson who made one statement.

All these years, Bill has allowed the charge that he raped Juanita to go unanswered.

That's rather telling for a man who's known to talk the ears off of everyone.

In the 90s, those of us on the left have much to be embarrassed and ashamed of.  That includes me as well.  But let's hope that, as a country, we've since learned that.

The ongoing effort to smear Leeann suggests that we haven't learned from it.

Al Franken doesn't get a pass because you like him or because you feel he's needed as a Democratic vote in the Senate (he'd be replaced with a Democrat if he resigned, Minn.'s governor is a Democrat (Mark Dayton, Democrat-Labor-Farmer Party).

This goes down to whether or not women control their own bodies.  If they do, then assault is wrong.  If they don't, then we really do need all of you liars who rush forward to explain to us which assaults are wrong and which women assaulted are worth listening to.

I don't believe that.

I believe women own their own bodies and not one of them 'deserves' to be assaulted.

In the 21st century, this is not a controversial notion.

But apparently it's one we, as a society, can give lip service to up until the point when we might actually have to stand by it -- and stand against one of our 'heroes.'

Put me on the Al Franken must resign list.

This week in Iraq, the Supreme Court has declared that the September 25 referendum carried out by the Kurdistan Regional Government is not valid.

Reactions are piling up -- including:

Iraq# Federal Supreme Court is not constitutional since no law enacted by a 2/3 majority of Iraqi # COR to form it. Its decisions political

ICYMI: says Iraqi Federal Court politicized, not neutral, has no legal grounds

  1. : President : federal court is politicized and not neutral. It was established before the approval of the 2005 in which the article 92 urges the establishment of a new federal court.

While it's hard to argue with the above, it's also true that the Court had no business weighing in.  What jurisdiction did they have over a non-binding measure?

The fact that they weighed in on a non-binding measure indicates both abuse of power and failure to abide by their job duties.  The Iraqi courts are still grossly backlogged and that members of the Supreme Court of Iraq thought they had the time to weigh in on a non-binding vote -- a survey, in fact -- goes to the reality that they are not fit for their jobs.

This is not a new finding.

Thursday, February 16th 2012, an incredible act of judicial abuse took place as the 'independent' Supreme Court in Baghdad issued a finding of guilt against Tareq al-Hashemi. Was a trial held? Because Article 19 of Iraq's Constitution is very clear that the accused will not be guilty until convicted in a court of law. No. There was no trial held. But members of the judiciary -- who should damn well know the Constitution -- took it upon themselves not only to form an investigative panel -- extra-judicial -- but also to hold a press conference and issue their findings. At the press conference, a judge who is a well known Sunni hater, one with prominent family members who have demonized all Sunnis as Ba'athists, one who was then demanding that a member of Iraqiya in Parliament be stripped of his immunity so that the judge can sue him, felt the need to go to the microphone and insist he was receiving threats and this was because of Tareq al-Hashemi, that al-Hashemi was a threat to his family.

They have made a mockery of justice and done so for years.

They are not independent but instead under the control of whomever the US government installs as prime minister.

Also true, each US-installed prime minister targets the country's Sunni population.

Today, Ghait Abdul-Ahad (GUARDIAN) reports on what is termed "an orgy of killing" that civilians in Mosul now face.  From ISIS?  No, from the Iraqi forces.  'Justice' is being served by the forces and it's not just.

Meanwhile,  Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal "The Uncounted" (THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE) on how the US government has counted civilians as "terrorists" continues to have an impact.  Neil Macdonald (CBC) observes:

The authors of the Times story, over an 18-month period ending last June, visited the sites of 150 bomb strikes in Iraq, and collected detailed data on 103 of them. The Times says its data clearly shows that every fifth American airstrike in Iraq kills a civilian, a rate about 31 times higher than that acknowledged by the Pentagon.
The revelations didn't surprise Larry Korb, a Washington academic who once served as an assistant secretary of defence under Ronald Reagan. Trump, Korb told me, has given the military what it longed for but was denied under the Obama administration: full licence to carry out airstrikes in any manner it sees fit.
Naturally, conservative hawks and pro-Trump news outlets have basically ignored the Times account. Trump has not commented on it, and if he ever does, it will likely be in a tweet about unpatriotic fake news.

That's an observation.

It's also fake news.

How does this crap get printed?

Did Macdonald read the report itself?

The June date is for April to June of this year when the reporters visited airstrikes going back years -- September 2015 in one case.

This isn't a reflection on Donald Trump.  This deals with Barack Obama's bombings.

But Madonald would rather lie about that -- as would Lawrence Korb.

Stop lying.

Learn to read.

From the report:

It did not include western Mosul, which may have suffered the highest number of civilian deaths in the entire war. Nor did it include any strikes conducted after December 2016, when a rule change allowed more ground commanders to call in strikes, possibly contributing to a sharp increase in the death toll.

Read Macdonald and grasp that neither he nor Korb understands that Trump's strikes aren't covered in the report by THE TIMES:

Nor did it include any strikes conducted after December 2016, when a rule change allowed more ground commanders to call in strikes, possibly contributing to a sharp increase in the death toll.

There's no reason to lie but people like Madonald can't resist the urge.  Nor can Korb who is identified as someone who worked in the Reagan administration but not as someone who works for the Democratic front organization The Center for American Progress.

Working there means never having to tell the truth or, for that matter, never having to learn to read.

The following community sites -- plus BLACK AGENDA REPORT, Cindy Sheehan, DISSIDENT VOICE, Tavis Smiley and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- reports:

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