Friday, March 02, 2018

Gloria and the CIA

Here's Gloria Steinem talking about her work as a CIA agent [later she dated Kissinger during his Nixon appointment]

That's an important video (I highlighted it in 2016).

I wish everyone would watch it.

Gloria has pooled the wool over the eyes of so many.

She's not a hero.

She's not noble.

She's corrupt and complicit.

At best, she spent her college years and the immediate years after spying on students and reporting back to the CIA.

And that's at best.

At worst, she's lied for years and she's still entangled with the CIA.

She has derailed the movement -- intentionally or not -- and she's refused to step aside.

She appointed herself the leader of the women's movement and ran off Betty Friedan.

Betty was "too old" and "out of touch."  But Betty was half the age Gloria is now.

Gloria's been the 'leader' throughout the seventies, the eighties, the nineties, the oughts and now.

Why doesn't she step aside?

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, March 2, 2018.

Kevin de Leon is running for the US Senate.

In the CA Dem labor caucus, the energy for Kevin de Leon was enormous. “I am one of you,” he told them. “It’s your time Kevin,” someone in the audience shouted.

Dennis J Bernstein spoke with Kevin de Leon on FLASHPOINTS (KPFA) and a transcript of the interview is available at CONSORTIUM NEWS:

Dennis Bernstein: With everyone watching Washington and wondering whether humane immigration reform can be passed, what are you expecting from Congress?

Kevin de León: These are very difficult times for many of us.  As a nation, we are grappling with the resurgence of ugly, hateful ideologies, including white supremacy, spewing from the highest levels of our federal government.  We are confronting something we have never had to come to terms with before in our political history.
At the same time, I have never been more proud to be a Californian.  In November 2016, Californians rejected the politics fueled by resentment and bigotry.  The DACA issue is very dear to my heart.  In California, we have the vast majority of DACA beneficiaries, the vast majority of Dreamers, and we have the vast majority of beneficiaries of the TPS [Temporary Protected Status] program, primarily from El Salvador.   We are also home to the majority of immigrants in the nation, both those who became naturalized US citizens and those who have yet to normalize their status because of the dysfunction in Washington, D.C.

In this context, the DACA program is really a low-hanging fruit.  Both Democrats, as well as Republicans among the national electorate, strongly support the Dreamers and DACA.  Why the issue should seem so complex is beyond me, except that there is political gamesmanship being played and the DACA beneficiaries have been taken as hostages.  I hope that a common sense settlement can be reached to give these young men and women the protections they deserve.  We need sensible comprehensive immigration reform for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants across the nation.

Kevin de Leon would be a needed change for California.  He's running against Dianne Feinstein who, never forget, voted for the Iraq War.

That would be the still ongoing Iraq War.

Wednesday, we noted how the call for US troops to leave Iraq could become an election issue.  On Thursday, that happened.  Ghassan Adnan and Isabel Coles (WALL STREET JOURNAL) report:

Iraq’s parliament on Thursday called for a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops, putting pressure on the country’s leader ahead of May elections as he seeks to prevent a resurgence by Islamic State militants.
[. . .]

A majority of lawmakers who attended a parliament session on Thursday voted in favor of a motion obliging Mr. Abadi to draw up a clear timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops. The motion isn’t binding but promises to become a campaign issue for Mr. Abadi, who is seeking a second term in parliamentary elections in May.

When we noted this likely possibility on Wednesday, I had no idea it would pick up and move so quickly.  But it has which goes to just what an issue this is -- a rallying issue -- in Iraq.

The Iraq War's over?

Then why does the legislature need to demand that the troops leave?

It's a war and it's an occupation.

And expelling US troops is the popular opinion and the vote getter in the May 12th elections.

MIDDLE EAST MEMO explains, "Thursday’s vote, backed by all but a handful of the 177 lawmakers present, was sponsored by lawmakers from the ruling Shi’ite Muslim bloc in parliament."

Hayder al-Abadi, like Nouri al-Maliki before him, was selected by the US government.  Also true, he believes he needs US troops on the ground to stay in power.

Neither man was in Iraq in 2002.  Both are cowards who fled Iraq decades ago and only returned in 2003 after the US-led invasion.

They are not of the Iraqi people.

They are two cowards who fled the country when they felt threatened and only returned to Iraq when they could hide behind US troops.

The Iraqi people want US troops out of the country.

Hayder al-Abadi's re-election campaign just hit a significant snag that's he will have to try to dance around.  THE DAILY STAR notes, "The Iraqi Parliament’s demand underscores the balancing act Abadi must conduct between the U.S. and Iran, his two biggest military allies who are themselves archadversaries.  There are no Iranian regular forces in Iraq but there is the Iranian-backed Shiite militia, Al-Hashd al-Shaabi, which is allied with Abadi’s government."

Guy Taylor (WASHINGTON TIMES) reports the US government's response:

The U.S. military says the fate of its ongoing presence in Iraq will be decided in “coordination with” and will depend on the “approval of” the government in Baghdad.
The comments by Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition that battled the Islamic State in Iraq, came in response to Iraqi parliament’s demand Thursday that a timeline be set for the pullout of foreign troops from the country.

That's a reflection of the attitude that legislatures do not matter -- not in Iraq, not in the US.  In the US, President Donald Trump's attitude (like Barack Obama before him) is that there is no need for any authorization for US troops to be in Iraq, arguing that this is all justified by a decades ago vote.  The legislature is supposed to represent the will of the people but the US government -- in both the US and in Iraq -- ignores the will of the people.

Departing?  Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) observes, "That’s potentially going to be a problem though, because while the other nations are all making clear their presence is very temporary, the US has been very public from the start that this is a permanent deployment, and they don’t plan to ever leave."  Bel Trew (TIMES OF LONDON) points out, "There are believed to be more than 5,000 US soldiers stationed in Iraq to fight Islamic State. American troops make up the largest foreign presence, although Washington formed a 74-country coalition to help fight Isis. The US has been reluctant to significantly reduce those numbers."

And the war drags on.

It's time for the people to step up and say "ENOUGH!"

March 1, 2018
For immediate release:
What: Women's Peace March on the Pentagon Against the bi-Partisan War Machine
When: October 20-2, 2018
Who: Women (and their allies) who are sick and tired of the US military war machine waging multiple wars and military misadventures around the world. 
Dozens of prominent antiwar activists, groups, and journalists have endorsed the Women's March on the Pentagon on October 20th and 21st.
The Women's March on the Pentagon was envisioned by noted Peace Activist Cindy Sheehan (whose oldest son Casey was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004) in direct contrast to the more democrat party oriented Women's March that has so far refused to address out of control US militarism as one of the root causes of violence against women.
From her home in Vacaville, CA, Cindy Sheehan stated, "There are many social ills in the US and globally which will not be addressed as long as the US slaughters innocents around the world and spends hundreds of billions of tax dollars doing so."
"A women led movement to address out of control militarism and the rampant patriarchy that causes it must arise so our children will stop fighting, dying, and killing the children of other mothers."

April 5th in Washington DC
April 9th in Boston
April 10th in NYC
April 12th in Long Island

Times and Places TBD
National Conference Call on March 14th.

Cindy Sheehan and other lead organizers are available for interviews, or for further questions. 

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan -- updated:

  • Thursday, March 01, 2018


    Scientists have identified a new species of tardigrade after it was discovered in a Japanese parking lot. The bizarre little creatures are distinguished by their weird, bulging legs and the string-like filaments that grow from their eggs.
    The new species is described in a research paper published Wednesday in PLoS One by Daniel Stec from the Jagiellonian University, Poland, and colleagues.
    Tardigrades are short, plump, eight-legged micro-animals measuring around 0.02 inches long. Sometimes called water bears or moss piglets, the critters pop up everywhere from the deep sea to rainforests. Famed for their resilience, some species can survive extreme radiation, air deprivation and even the vacuum of space. Fossilised tardigrades date back more than 500 million years.
    That is really interesting but what caught my attention was the photograph.
    It looked like the thing the kids find on season one of STRANGER THINGS – that thing from the other side. 
    Which reminds me I still haven’t caught season two of STRANGER THINGS and yet Stan was telling me March 8th we get season two of JESSICA JONES.
    I’ve heard complaints about season two. 
    I watched the first episode before I heard complaints and it seemed like all that happened was Seven (that’s her name, right?) was getting yelled at by the sheriff who was raising her and trying to keep her safe.  I just couldn’t take all the yelling.
    If it’s funny, I can take it.  If it’s people really yelling and serious?

    Reminds me of my former marriage – no, thank you.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Thursday, March 1, 2018.  US and other foreign troops on the ground in Iraq is now a political issue, what's going on with voter cards and much more.

    Starting in California where Kevin de Leon is running for the US Senate (primary is in June -- top two vote getters then advance to the November general election).

    Who is Kevin?

    In many ways, Senator de León embodies the promise of America. From a childhood of poverty to community activism, to the upper echelon of the California Legislature, his respect and commitment to working families and the betterment of all Californians has never diminished.
    Senator de León is the son of a single immigrant mother who supported her family in the San Diego barrio of Logan Heights working as a housekeeper and other pick-up jobs. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college.
    He attended U.C. Santa Barbara and graduated from Pitzer College at the Claremont Colleges with honors. He is a Rodel Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a guest lecturer at the University of Southern California. He has one daughter.
    Before entering into politics, Kevin served the public as a community organizer, taught English as a Second Language and U.S. Citizenship, and advocated for public schools.
    Working for both the National Education Association and the California Teachers Association, Kevin fought for additional funding for schools in low-income neighborhoods, more school construction, and health insurance for children. He fought against schemes to take funds from public schools through taxpayer-funded vouchers and academic censorship in public schools. 
    Senator de León was elected by his colleagues to lead the Senate in 2014, making him the first Latino to hold that position in over a century. Prior to that, Kevin served four years in the Assembly before his election to the Senate in 2010.
    Leader on the Environment and Clean Energy
    With his leadership and landmark legislation, Senator de León has established California’s reputation as a recognized global leader in the battle against climate change and a pioneer in creating a clean energy economy.
    He played a central role in crafting a bipartisan deal this year to extend California’s cap-and-trade program with $1 billion of the generated revenue to tackle diesel pollution and bolster electrification of our transportation and vehicles.
    Continuing steady progress in energy efficiency, Kevin has put California on a path to 50 percent renewable energy by 2030 – the largest state in the nation to do so – with an eye toward becoming 100 percent renewable by 2045.
    California is by far the nation’s clean-energy leader and it is paying workforce dividends with the creation of well over 500,000 clean energy jobs in the Golden State – 10 times more than there are coal jobs in the entire nation.
    With SB 1275 (2014), he created a rebate initiative to make electric cars more accessible to working families with the goal of placing one million low-emission vehicles on the road.
    Recognizing the disproportionate suffering from pollution and climate change in disadvantaged communities, Senator de León successfully passed SB 535 (2012) which requires California to spend at least 25 percent of cap-and-trade revenue to benefit low-income communities. This law is resulting in new transit, energy efficiency, renewable energy and affordable housing projects across the state.
    Also in 2012, Senator de León co-chaired the successful Proposition 39 campaign closing a corporate-tax loophole and creating a $2.5 billion revenue fund for energy-efficiency upgrades in schools.
    Exemplifying his longtime commitment to increasing access to the environment, Kevin’s first legislative measure when he arrived in Sacramento allocated park funds for communities lacking parks and green space, resulting in 126 park projects across the state - the largest initiative of its kind in the nation.
    Tackling pollution in his district, Senator de León was instrumental in bringing attention and accountability to the hazardous pollution caused by the Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon, which for years had operated illegally while contaminating nearby communities with lead, arsenic, and other toxins. Senator de León has since secured millions of dollars for cleanup, while implementing oversight and reform measures at the Department of Toxic Substance Control to prevent similar future occurrences.
    Kevin’s record on the environment and energy has been studied by international leaders as they lay out their own steps to confront climate change and build clean-energy economies. He led the California delegation to the U.N. Climate Talks in Peru and Morocco and accompanied Governor Brown to Paris in 2015 to showcase California’s landmark accomplishments.

    As we were saying yesterday, the issue of foreign troops on the ground could become a political issue in Iraq's upcoming elections.  Mohamed Mostafa (IRAQI NEWS) reports:

    Iraq’s parliament has urged the government to set a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, two months after the government declared victory over Islamic State militants.
    The parliament voted on Thursday for a decision to oblige the government to set a schedule for the withdrawal of foreign troops, NRT reported.

    AFP quotes the statement from the Speaker of Parliament's office, "The Iraqi parliament expresses its gratitude to all countries which have supported Iraq in its fight against [. . .] (the Islamic State group) and calls for the government to draw up a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops."

    This is a popular position to run on in an election year.

    Yet somehow in the United States, many still believe US troops are 'helping' in Iraq and are wanted there.  Of course, these people also tend to believe the Iraq War ended.

    Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) counts the violent deaths from last month:

    During the month of February, at least 1,294 were killed or found dead, and another 266 were wounded. Although major outbreaks of fighting have ceased, there were still a considerable number of Islamic State-related and other attacks. Also, many of the fatalities were people who had been found in mass graves that were scattered mostly around Mosul. This explains why the number of dead was significantly higher than in January, but the number of reported wounded fell. In January, at least 747 people were killed, and 389 were wounded.

    The breakdown is as follows: 411 civilians, 66 security personnel, and 761 militants were reported killed. Separately, 49 Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.) and five Turkish personnel were killed in their conflict; another nine Turks were wounded. Also, one U.S. servicemember and one British servicemember died in separate non-combat incidents. 

    No, that's not the way it adds up if a war is over.

    Last month also saw the death of another US service member.

    Sgt. Christina Marie Schoenecker, 26, of Arlington, Kan., died in a noncombat incident Monday in Iraq while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

    Her obituary runs today at THE HUTCHINSON NEWS:

    Christina Marie ‘Tina’ Schoenecker, 26, died Monday, February 19, 2018, in Baghdad, Iraq. She was born February 5, 1992, in Kingman, Kansas, the daughter of Scott Wade and Amy Jolene (Martin) Schoenecker. Tina was a 2010 graduate of Fairfield High School. She proudly served, with honor, in the United States Army Reserve from 2009-2018, and was promoted to Sergeant in 2015.
    Her hobbies included fishing, drawing, gardening, crocheting, calligraphy, and spending time with family and friends.
    She is survived by: father, Scott Schoenecker and Andrea Gordon; mother, Amy and husband Rick Allbright; siblings, Eric, Wayne, and Hannah Schoenecker, all of Arlington; stepbrother, Dylan Allbright; stepsister, Amber Allbright, both of Hutchinson; grandmother, Carolyn Marsh of Arlington; grandparents, Henry Jr. and Charlotte Hall; great-grandparents, Henry Sr. and Naomi Hall, all from Sylvia; aunts, Sammi Nickell, Becky Burns, and Angela Schaefer and their families; uncles, Shannon Schoenecker and David Hall and their families; and numerous loving cousins.

    Per THE DAYTONA BEACH NEWS-JOURNAL, she was the 4535 US service member to die in Iraq (another 32,310 have been injured).

    The war's over?  Strange because while the western press ignores it, Kirkuk is a topic in Iraq.  Wael Grace (AL MADA) reports that planning for the battle of Kirkuk is taking place.  This battle would be over control of Kirkuk.

    Strange that -- in this 'war is over' claim and climate -- that Iraqi Constitution cannot be used to determine what happens to Kirkuk -- it's outlined in the Constitution.  But, of course, something like a vote might mean that Kirkuk decides to go with the KRG and not the central government out of Baghdad.

    In today's violence, ALSUMARIA reports a second fisherman has been found dead in Diyala Province -- the latest also was dead from gunshot wounds.

    On the upcoming May 12 elections, ALL IRAQ NEWS reports that the number of electronic voting machines being used will be at 100%.  This will allow the voting to be counted much sooner but it also allows for the vote to be hacked and while the speed of counting has been discussed (many times) little attention has been paid to the discussing the security (or lack of security) the machines may provide.  Considering that each election in Iraq has resulted from talk of cheating and stolen votes (then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, for example, made those charges following both the 2010 and 2014 elections), it's surprising that the topic has not been seen as worthy of exploration.

    Mohammad Sabah (AL MADA) reports that the Independent High Electoral Commission insists it is planning (scrambling?) to address the issue of the displaced being able to vote and is attempting to devise polling stations.  Interesting.  How will they vote?  Because the new electronic machines?  They're already assigned to voting centers.

    Free and fair elections?

    Political parties in several Iraqi provinces involved in "buying" people's voter ID cards to win their votes for the parliamentary elections in May 12 - via al-Sharqiya TV.


    Maybe not.

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated: