Thursday, January 26, 2017

Time to end the assault on Syria

Here's US House Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (on CNN's THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER) discussing going to Syria:

"They asked me, why is the United States and its allies supporting these terrorist groups who are destroying Syria when it was al Qaida who attacked the United States on 9/11, not Syria. I didn't have an answer for them,” Gabbard said.
“The reality is... every place that I went, every person that I spoke to, I asked this question to them, and without hesitation, they said, there are no moderate rebels. Who are these moderate rebels that people keep speaking of?

Regardless of the name of these groups, the strongest fighting force on the ground in Syria is al Nusra, or al Qaida and ISIS. That is a fact,” Gabbard said.

The war on Syria has been going on and on with no authorization or rational sense of purpose.

It's long past time that we demanded and end to it.

Only the Alyssa Milanos want war.

Good for Gabbard.

"Iraq snapshot?" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, January 26, 2017.  So much to unpack . . .

CIA contractor Juan Cole writes another useless piece of garbage.  And, of course, this is the war cheerleader who turned against it later but tries to pretend he was always against it -- and bit Steve Rendall's head off on FAIR's COUNTERSPIN when Steve wouldn't play along with the lie.

Juan's always serving so many interests and today he's bursting at the seams:

Since his inauguration, Donald J. Trump has not been making a good impression in Iraq, where the US has 6,000 troops, according to al-Zaman (The Times) of Baghdad. 
The prime minister has forcefully rejected Trump’s talk of “taking Iraqi oil.”  And the Shiite clerical leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, has taken on Trump over his plan to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

On Hayder al-Abadi -- the prime minister whom Juan's unable to name -- what's up with that? -- Mike took that issue on two days ago noting:

PM Abadi says Iraq's oil is for Iraqis, in reaction to Trump via



Then start giving it to the people.

Stop stealing billions each year, Hayder al-Abadi.

The Iraqi people should live high on the hog.

Their oil brings in billions.

And they're only around 30 million people.

So why the hell do so many of them live in poverty?

Because corrupt officials like Hayder still the money.

And all they've done since 2003 is try to chip away at the program that's like food stamps -- where Iraqis get so much rice, sugar, tea, etc each month.

Pennies is what that program costs.

But time and again, they've tried to kill it.

For those not up to speed, Mike's talking about the rations card  program that faces cuts over and over and over.

But that's Hayder.  That and more recently that he's confused by the statement President Donald Trump made.

So Juan plays hysterical drama queen on the first.

On the second?

Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr denounced Donald Trump.

As he did Barack Obama.

As he did Bully Boy Bush.

Moqtada doesn't want US forces in Iraq.

That's a consistent position for him.

That's why the US government has seen him as an 'enemy' whether the Secretary of State was Condi Rice, Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell or John Kerry.

Juan knows all of this.

But still he types up "How Trump Is Endangering U.S. Troops in Iraq and Essentially Aiding Islamic State."


By words?

Do we want to go there?

I don't have a problem with free speech.

But if Juan does maybe he should be writing articles about American security?

Maybe he should be pondering the effects of protests against the brand new president -- not even in office a week yet -- and all the trashing of him in the media and how that plays out on the world stage?

Maybe he should be asking, "Is this weakening the US in the eyes of the world?"

Or what does it mean when US citizens protest Donald in Iraq?

How are they there?

Most via the State Dept.

That didn't stop them from protesting, did it?

Anti- demonstartors gather in to speak out for equal

Maybe it's time we ponder that if we're going to fret over words that (a) left Hayder al-Abadi confused and (b) found Moqtada al-Sadr staking the same ground he always stakes?

Bully Boy Bush is someone I protested.  And I killed a piece at THIRD early on where we were doing a roundtable because I was offering a political explanation for BBB that I didn't want to be putting out there (did not want it used to excuse him).  Jim later wrote about that in one of his columns -- ask him which one, I didn't read it (no offense to Jim, I was opposed to the issue being raised which was why I had killed the roundtable to begin with).

But the madman on the world stage, the loose cannon, can be effective in some scenarios.

Was that what Bully Boy Bush was attempting to portray?

My guess would be no -- but I don't know him.

When you're the mad dog, everyone knows you'll bite and they steer clear.

I was always surprised none of his followers explored that.

But my hunch would be that they didn't because they didn't see him as mad.

At any rate, if Bully Boy Bush was intentional in his bellicose ways, that could be a form of protection.

I would argue it's a limited protection, even then.

What's Donald Trump doing?

Being Donald Trump.

Which is why I didn't vote for him, which is why I do not like him as a person (prove me wrong, Donald, I'll gladly eat my words).

What is all the nonsense outrage and "Fake News" and the rest doing?

In the eyes of the world, what is being seen?

When you stage a fauxtest against a leader the day after he's sworn in, what does it say?

Dr. Marsha Adebayo (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) takes on the celebrity fauxtests from last weekend:

If the size and passion of the Women’s March is indicative of a collective realization in the Black and progressive community that the time to wake up from the eight-year coma is upon us, then the election of Trump is an opportunity to mobilize thousands who couldn’t be reached under the previous administration. Sadly, many Black parents enter the Trump era with children murdered by police with impunity throughout this country.  The Democratic Party is counting on Obama amnesia and hoping that four years from now the new ground swell of activists will return the Dems to power. The larger question, however, is where were the white women and white progressives that we witnessed demonstrating after the election when Black youth were being gunned down in the streets across America? Where were the hats, money, media, buses, and entertainers when Trayvon, Michael, Sandra, Eric, John, Tanisha and Tamir were being hunted down and killed like animals?
In fact, the Women’s March didn’t focus on victims of the Obama/Clinton administration, such as environmentalist Tennie White.  Who was Tennie White?

Tennie White was targeted by the Obama Administration because of her tenacious commitment to protecting her rural Mississippi community from deadly and cancerous chemical pollution.  According to an Intercept article, Tennie is “the only person connected to two huge environmental contamination cases in Mississippi to ever serve prison time.”  Tennie’s “crime,” was that she was a community activist and not a polluter. She paid a heavy price for attempting to save her community.

You can also refer to "Celebrity Lives Matter!!!"

But what do these protests say?

What does it say about national security?

What does it say about the way foreign leaders view the country.

You don't like Donald as the president?

I don't either.

But he is the president.

And he won.

Don't start that b.s. about Hillary won the popular vote -- the popular vote doesn't count.  I have always called for destroying the Electoral College.  It wasn't ended.  It continues.  It's part of the process.  And Donald won.

So get over it.

There have been many presidents and one occupant of the Oval Office that I couldn't stand.

You move on.  You get on with life.

Donald Trump is a legitimate president.

You can lie all you want but he is.

Losing the popular vote is not what made Bully Boy Bush and occupant -- I don't apply the "p" word to him and never have.  He was an occupant because we have laws in place on how to determine elections.  The Supreme Court is not a part of that.  They tossed the White House to Bully Boy Bush.

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's expressed disgust on the night of the 2000 election when Al Gore was thought to have won should have demanded she recuse herself from the case.

She did not.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's comments about Donald Trump -- which she later apologized for -- crossed a line that should never have been crossed.

2016 was all about people tossing aside ethics to derail Donald.

I get why you're all such cry babies.

You threw everything you had at him and he's still the president.

Get over it.

He's in the White House and he'll probably be there for four years (maybe 8).


Could he be assassinated?

I hope not because I don't think the country could stand it and while I have personal distaste for Donald, I know that I'm not the all knowing person and my judgment could be wrong.  He may have changed over the years -- we all have, he could have.  He may not have changed one bit but my judgment of him might be completely wrong.

But if he was assassinated, they'd make him a martyr and that's what will probably keep him safe.

(Again, I hope he's safe.  I also hope he proves me wrong and becomes the president of the people.  He has the chance to speak as an outsider and if he uses that he'll have even more support than he had in the election.)

My guess, if he doesn't last four years, is impeachment.

They're already eager to impeach him.

Were the Republicans this eager to impeach Barack?

I don't know.

Not, I don't remember, I don't know.

I pay attention to Iraq.

If these idiots like Juan Cole, et al would keep their peanut butter out of Iraq, I wouldn't have to even know what they're doing.

Some have attacked Senator Elizabeth Warren for supporting a nominee.  I only know about that because the idiots here in the US try to link it to Iraq.

I don't care who she votes for in the Cabinet.

I pretty much agree with former Senator Russ Feingold's position that they should have who they want in the Cabinet.

I do not feel that way about the Supreme Court.

The Cabinet is assisting the administration and it goes when the president goes.

A Supreme Court seat is for life.

Juan writes his attack piece as only someone as hideous as Juan could -- Donald Trump is endangering the US troops in Iraq!!!!

Being in Iraq is endangering them.

But Juan was never one to holler "Out of Iraq!," was he?

I'm also concerned about the Elizabeth Warren trashing.

No one has to like Warren.

Trina doesn't.  That's her senator.  She's never liked Elizabeth and she can explain why.

And that's fine.

But what concerns me is the orchestrated attacks on Elizabeth that seem to be going down in an effort to ensure she won't be the 2020 nominee.

I'm not saying she should be the nominee but I am saying there's a group of faux left already attempting to push one man to the front of the race.

Bruce A. Dixon (BLACK AGENDA REPORT) explains:

Hillary is history, but her big stinking tent is still there, and Democrats are crying for a “united front” against Trump, led by spokespeople who can stick to the corporate script.
Cory Booker is a great fit. As Glen Ford, who has followed his career in Black Agenda Report and Black Commentator since 2002 notes, charter school sugar daddies from the Olin, Bradley and Walton Family Foundations and the Manhattan Institute funded his early career. Cory’s wealthy friends bankrolled and promoted a slick Hollywood documentary, “Street Fight” to ensure his 2006 election to Newark’s City Hall.
Booker hired Garry McCarthy, an NYPD expert at fixing stats to head that city’s cop shop, where he oversaw a paper decline in violent crime, with no decline in police brutality and disrespect toward Newark’s citizens. Cory’s millionaire friends created a Sundance TV series, Brick City to promote his re-election and further political career depicting him and his police chief as a new kind of urban superhero team.
Rahm Emanuel afterward brought Booker’s top cop to Chicago where he also cooked the books to make murders and serious crimes go away, and presided over a crime wave on the part of police against citizens that included Homan Square, Chicago’s own law-free black site. The Brick City team went on to make a CNN series for Rahm Emanuel too.

In 2010 on the Oprah show, Booker announced a $100 million “gift” from Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg to Newark’s public schools, whose budget was still controlled by statehouse Republicans, to implement the latest “run the school like a business” nostrums of Cory’s old friends. Three years later, when Booker left Newark for the US Senate there was little to show for the money.

I'm not a fan of Elizabeth's.  I have no idea if she'd make a good president or not.

I am a fan of people expressing themselves.

I'm not alarmed by a Glenn Greenwald, for example, calling her out on something because that's his job.  I am bothered by some of the voices who seem to be less than genuine and part of an early echo machine being put in place in an attempt to assure Corey Booker gets the nomination.

Tomorrow we'll hopefully be able to focus more on Iraq.

But if you want to protect US troops, get them out of Iraq.

If you want to protest and not be considered a fauxtest, stop your whining and embrace those in need.

And stop putting celebrities on stage to speak.  Ashley Judd stumbled across a poem.  Guess that's good since she had nothing to offer herself because she doesn't know about social justice or work towards it.

There are real issues in this world.

Iraqi Sunni Civilians tortured by Sectarian Iraqi army in

When you're ready to march for those issues and not because War Hawk Hillary got defeated, you might have the makings of a real protest.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated:

  • No proof
    13 hours ago 

  • Wednesday, January 25, 2017

    Fake News

    So is it fake news or not?
    Justin Raimondo Retweeted Anna Fifield
    After today's fakes news about the "black sites" executive order that doesn't exist, I automatically disbelieve anything from the
    Justin Raimondo added,

    Justin Raimondo is a Libertarian, if anyone needs to know that.

    Though we're not on the same political fence, he's never been dishonest that I know of.

    So I'm inclined to believe that if Justin Raimondo says the "black sites" was fake news, it was fake news.

    REUTERS says that  Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is stating the document is not from the Trump administration.

    So that's two who argue otherwise.

    SPUTNIK reports:

    The Washington Post and The New York Times reported Wednesday that President Trump is set to sign an executive order lifting a ban on the CIA’s use of black sites. “I have no idea where it came from. It is not a White House document,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a daily briefing.

    So that should be that.

    Please make a point to read Elaine's "Roberta Flack" which takes on the ridiculous Alyssa Milano (and praised the wonderful Roberta Flack).

    I wish I could write about Mary Tyler Moore passing away.

    I loved THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW but I'm really upset.

    A lot of us are, I know.

    Maybe tomorrow night.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Wednesday, January 25, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, day 100 as The Mosul Slog continues, the War Crimes continue, President Donald Trump may announce a ban on refugees while new vetting policies are devised, and much more.

    Julia Edwards Anthony (REUTERS) provides the gossip:

    U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign executive orders starting on Wednesday that include a temporary ban on most refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries, say congressional aides and immigration experts briefed on the matter. Trump, who tweeted that a "big day" was planned on national security on Wednesday, is expected to ban for several months the entry of refugees into the United States, except for religious minorities escaping persecution, until more aggressive vetting is in place.
     Another order will block visas being issued to anyone from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, said the aides and experts, who asked not to be identified.

    I have no respect for 'reporters' who pretend to be objective but aren't.  Julia goes running to a former Obama officials who says what Trump is doing is legal but . . . wah wah wah.

    I'm sorry, it's not her place to print lies.

    As someone who cares about the refugee issue, I know she printed a damn lie.

    So do a lot of other people who worked on the Iraqi refugee issue.

    Differences is, I wasn't afraid to call out Barack.

    Various groups 'supporting' refugees kept their mouth shut.

    And of course CNN's embarrasing Elise Labott stopped asking the State Dept about the issue when it was clear that they were not going to meet their states goals.

    When Senator Ted Kennedy died, Barack walked back on his promises regarding refugees.

    Couldn't do it while Ted was alive, he owed Ted way too much.

    But the moment he died . . .

    So Trump's going to make an announcement?


    That's already makes him more transparent on this issue than Barack ever was.

    And maybe dumb ass 'reporters' could try offering the correct context there?

    We called Barack out here.  We called it out offline.

    Offline, we were pointed to the refugee who killed his own daughter as an example of problems.  We were pointed to various other crimes committed by refugees.

    Crimes will happen in a refugee population.

    You're dealing with people new to a country, struggling economically.

    The debate/discussion I had with State Dept friends on this had us both acknowledging that.

    But stealing isn't murder, it was stressed to me.

    Violent crimes were taking place.

    Okay, that's fine, I allowed.  But what about the program that was supposed to be bringing refugees in from Iraq -- people who'd worked with the press or with the military.

    That got put on hold too.

    Barack increased the vetting, etc., etc.

    Donald Trump's doing it publicly.

    I agree with Barack Obama about the Islamic State being j.v.

    But there's been a full hysteria whipped up about it.

    As a result, it's not shocking that there are calls for stricter vetting.

    Political reality is also that Congress will go along.

    Democrat or Republican, you'll find few who will come out today or tomorrow arguing, "We need less vetting before we allow people to come to the United States."

    There will be a handful but only a handful.

    Yes, 9-11 impacts things but I'm not even going there.

    If you're old enough to remember the boat people -- Vietnamese who began fleeing after 1975 -- the ones who spoke of horrors -- the ones Joan Baez defended and the ones that caused Jane Fonda to declare publicly that she was not going to be an apologist for the Vietnamese -- in other words, don't ask her about the boat people.

    Remember what was done to them after the UN 'helped' with then-US Vice President Walter Mondale's assistance?

    The process was not speeded up.  Instead, the boat people would eventually be asked to return to Vietnam and to go through a process by which the US would determine whether they would accept them or not.

    That was the condition.

    You had to return to the country you'd fled.

    I don't find Donald Trump's move shocking.

    I'm not thrilled with it but it is what it is and he's being more open and upfront about it than was Barack.

    Where, historically, We The People could have impact is what type of restraints/guidelines are put on.

    If he indeed announces it, that's where the focus should be.

    There have always been laws, guidelines and rules governing who could immigrate to the US.  That someone wants to change those is not surprising.

    What they will be changed to is something we should all watch -- regardless of where you stand on the issue.  It's a decision for the nation what the rules should be and everyone should weigh in.

    Well, maybe not everyone.

    I know many Americans with Iraqi, Iranian, Syrian, Sudanese, Somali, Yemeni, or Libyan origins. All have more American values than Trump.

    Good for you, Moustafa Bayoumi, glad you know so many people.

    But, here's the thing, Donald's not talking about Americans, he's talking about people wanting to come to America.

    There's a difference.

    And if you're going to confuse the issue then maybe you shouldn't weigh in.

    There will be enough hysteria from all sides, we need a rational conversation.

    Christopher Hayes Retweeted Samuel Oakford
    Restricting from Iraq is particularly rich:

    But, Chris, did you cover what Barack did?


    Your wife had a good job for the administration, didn't she?

    For the record, Chris Hayes stood by his word and covered the Iraq Veterans Against the War's hearings in 2008.

    As a result, I've given him a pass for eight years.  The pass has termed.

    (Chris was the only one who kept his word.  Various 'lefties' promised to cover it and didn't.  Among them?  Matthew Rothschild.)

    I don't dislike Chris but it's been eight years, his pass is revoked.

    Samuel Oakford Retweeted Douglas Silliman
    10 hours ago the US ambassador to Iraq congratulated Iraqi forces for capturing eastern Mosul. Tomorrow Iraqis are banned from the US.
    Samuel Oakford added,

    Sam works for AIRWARS which does good work.

    Sam's Tweet is a mess.

    Iraqis are not banned.

    More to the point, did he think the Iraqi forces were wanting to immigrate?

    Was it a poor attempt at humor?

    I have no idea.

    And while some are blindly cheering the Iraqi forces -- as authoritarian types always do -- others aren't so keen on them.

    This army killing Iraqi people every day.. and government say we are fighting isis.. Iraqi government don't say truth..

    This screaming child must pay the world price

    Nonstop activity against humanity

    Vivian Salma (AP) reports on Donald Trump's aside in a speech to the CIA about Iraq's oil ("Maybe you'll have another chance" to seize it) and at least notes no one knows whether to take it seriously.  Good for her there, bad for her here:

    The statement ignores the precedent of hundreds of years of American history and presidents who have tended to pour money and aid back into countries the United States has fought in major wars. The U.S. still has troops in Germany and Japan, with the permission of those nations, but did not take possession of their natural resources. And taking Iraq's reserves, the world's fifth largest, would require an immense investment of resources and manpower in a country that the United States couldn't quell after spending more than $2 trillion and deploying at one point more than 170,000 troops. 

    Salma ignores that the US government did not go to war with Iraq officially.

    The US government went to liberate the Iraqi people.

    Salma also ignores exactly what the US government has done repeatedly with natural resources.

    You don't have to have caught every installment of OLIVER STONE'S UNTOLD HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES or read every page in Howard Zinn's A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES to grasp how laughable and wrong Salma's 'history' is.

    And let's quote Zinn regarding WWII:

    It was a war waged by a government whose chief beneficiary- despite volumes of reforms-was a wealthy elite. The alliance between big business and the government went back to the very first proposals of Alexander Hamilton to Congress after the Revolutionary War. By World War II that partnership had developed and intensified. During the Depression, Roosevelt had once denounced the "economic royalists," but he always had the support of certain important business leaders. During the war, as Bruce Catton saw it from his post in the War Production Board: "The economic royalists, denounced and derided . . . had a part to play now. ..."
    Catton (The War Lords of Washington) described the process of industrial mobilization to carry on the war, and how in this process wealth became more and more concentrated in fewer and fewer large corporations. In 1940 the United States had begun sending large amounts of war supplies to England and France. By 1941 three-fourths of the value of military contracts were handled by fifty- six large corporations. A Senate report, "Economic Concentration and World War II," noted that the government contracted for scientific research in industry during the war, and although two thousand corporations were involved, of $1 billion spent, $400 million went to ten large corporations.
    Management remained firmly in charge of decision making during the war, and although 12 million workers were organized in the CIO and AFL, labor was in a subordinate position. Labor- management committees were set up in five thousand factories, as a gesture toward industrial democracy, but they acted mostly as disciplinary groups for absentee workers, and devices for increasing production. Catton writes: "The big operators who made the working decisions had decided that nothing very substantial was going to be changed."
    Despite the overwhelming atmosphere of patriotism and total dedication to winning the war, despite the no-strike pledges of the AFL and CIO, many of the nation's workers, frustrated by the freezing of wages while business profits rocketed skyward, went on strike. During the war, there were fourteen thousand strikes, involving 6,770,000 workers, more than in any comparable period in American history. In 1944 alone, a million workers were on strike, in the mines, in the steel mills, in the auto and transportation equipment industries.

    Remember the 'turned corner' last week?

    Last Wednesday when they announced eastern Mosul had finally been 'liberated.'

    Well it's Wednesday again so time for another announcement.

    Iraqi forces retake last area of Mosul east of the Tigris River after 100 days of deadly fighting

    Okay, okay, but this time eastern Mosul is like really liberated.

    For reals.



    100 days and still the operation goes on.

    100 days.

    It was supposed to take a few weeks.

    100 days.

    And War Crimes reported constantly.

    Iraqi Sunni Civilians tortured by Sectarian Iraqi army in


    Iraqi Sunni Civilians tortured by Sectarian Iraqi army in
    من جرائم الجيش الايراني في تعذيب المدنيين وقتلهم .. تمارس الارهاب على السنة..
    من مأساة تعذيب المدنيين الأبرياء في مدينة الى إختطاف 45 مدني في منطقة الطارمية شمال .. هذا هو جيشنا..!!
    فقط انسخو هذا الهشتاق الانكليزي وارفقوا معه صور وفديوات جرائم الجيش الشيعي بالعراق اوصلوا صوتنا للعالم بكل الطرق لاتسكتوا
    اللهم عليك بـ فانهم لااا يعجزونك
    innocent Iraqi Sunnis civilians killed by Iraqi army in save Iraqi Sunnis ppl
    innocent Iraqi Sunnis civilians killed by Iraqi army in save Iraqi Sunnis ppl
    Iraqi army lacks military morals, deliberately kills civilians, live executes youngsters in Mosul ops.
    Iraqi Sunni Civilians tortured by Sectarian Iraqi army in

    The following community sites -- plus BLACK AGENDA REPORT -- updated: