Saturday, March 17, 2018

Glad McCabe got fired

BBC NEWS reports:

Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe has been sacked days before he could retire with pension rights.
He was fired by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said an internal review found he leaked information and misled investigators.

NBC NEWS adds:

Unlike Trump's removal of Comey last year, which produced widespread resentment inside the FBI, McCabe's termination was recommended by the agency he served for 21 years.
Sunday is McCabe's 50th birthday, which would have made him eligible for certain substantial retirement benefits.
The FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility proposed the termination, based on the findings of the Justice Department's inspector general. That office has been examining the bureau's handling of the Clinton e-mail investigation.

Good.  I'm glad he's fired.

I said earlier this week that he should be.

And I'm tired of their little scams.

No public servant should be getting a million dollar pension.

He'll probably still get his.

But this has to stop.

The middle class is being destroyed in this country, pensions are under attack and those at the top are seeing to it that they get million dollars pensions?  Oh, hell no.  Fire him and pull his damn pension.

He violated the rules, he deserved to get fired.  We need accountability -- a lot more of it.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, March 16, 2018.  Seven more US service members dead in Iraq.

The Iraq War hits the 15th year anniversary in a matter of days and the ongoing war was brought to the world by so many -- most of whom have never faced any real accountability.  Take US Senator Dianne Feinstein.  From the state of California, she voted to support the war.  Opposing the war was no problem in California.  Barbara Boxer, for instance, was also in the Senate at the time and she voted against the Iraq War.

California US House Reps who voted against it?  Susan Davis, Loretta Sanchez, Hilda Solis, Bob Filner, Joe Baca, Lois Caps, Juanita Millender-McDonald, Maxine Waters, Grace Napolitano, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Diane Watson, Xavier Becerra, Gary Condit, Sam Farr, Zoe Lofgren, Mike Honda, Anna Eschoo, Pete Stark, Barbar Lee, Nancy Pelosi, George Miller, Lynn Woolsey, Robert Matsui and Mike Thompson.

Her vote is not forgotten.  For example, in October 2017 this letter was published by THE LOS ANGELES TIMES:

To the editor: Feinstein has made a highlight-free Senate career out of the feckless "third way" triangulation that treats bipartisanship as though it were an end in and of itself.
She lost my vote in 2002 when she voted for the Iraq War. Now, she says we should give the race-baiter-in-chief a chance. What brave, bipartisan sentiment.
California has now wasted 25 years of precious Senate representation on someone who thinks the best outcome is the precise midpoint between right and wrong. Feinstein needs to retire, but since she refuses to do what's best for her constituents, I'll be casting a vote to send her packing.
Branden Frankel, Encino

Feinstein has remained in office all this time because she's never had a serious challenger.  Now she does: Democrat Kevin de Leon who is currently the leader in the California state senate.  The primary is in June and Dianne will likely be on the general ballot in November.  But this is California and our state doesn't operate like every other state.  The June primary?  The top two vote getters -- regardless of party i.d. -- will be on the November ballot.  If the primary were held today, the top two would probably be Kevin de Leon and Dianne Feinstein.

Last month, Alexei Koseff (SACRAMENTO BEE) reported:

Then de León launched into a list of policies he would never vote for, obliquely highlighting some of the most controversial moments of Feinstein’s tenure in the Senate: supporting school vouchers in Washington D.C., authorizing the Iraq War, and voting for a law that allows intelligence agencies to sweep up Americans’ communications without a warrant as they are spying on foreign nationals. De León also criticized Feinstein for using young undocumented immigrants as “bargaining chips” with Trump.
“I’m running because California’s greatness comes from acts of human audacity, not congressional seniority,” he said. “Who do you trust to have the courage of your convictions?”

Kevin was on CSPAN's WASHINGTON JOURNAL yesterday.

While he was talking about how we move forward, the state was reminded last night of how Dianne Feinstein is our past and not a pleasant past at all.

Dianne stood for -- and continues to stand for -- the Iraq War.

That would be the ongoing war, that would be the war that cost another 7 US lives yesterday.

Thanks, Dianne.

. mourns the loss of personnel in yesterday's helicopter crash in western Iraq. Our thoughts are with the families, friends, and fellow service members of our fallen troopers.

All 7 troops onboard a U.S. military helicopter died when their helicopter crashed near the Iraq-Syria border on Thursday evening
JUST IN: All 7 US military members on board a helicopter that crashed Thursday in western Iraq near the Syrian border were killed, a US military official says

Again, thanks Dianne Feinstein.  You made your choices.  Your choices came with consequences.  Others have paid for their choices, it's time Dianne did as well.

Tomorrow, THE DAYTONA BEACH NEWS-JOURNAL will run their count of the US service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It's one of the few US outlets that regularly notes the US dead in these wars.  Their count should be 4542.  The seven who've died from the helicopter crash will bring the total number of US service members who've died in Iraq since the 2003 invasion to 4542.

Let's do some more figures because the US media ignores those killed in Iraq -- the Iraqi civilians and the US service members.

We are in the third month of 2018.  And?  Already more US service members have died in Iraq in 2018 than died in 2012 in Iraq, than died in 2013 in Iraq, than died in 2014, than died in 2015, than died in 2017.  Of recent years?  Only 2016 has had more deaths.  That number is 17.  We're only in the third month of the year and the number of US service members who have died in Iraq for the year is 9.

Along with the seven from last night's crash, two had already passed in Iraq: Sgt Christina Marie Schoenecker and Spc Javion S. Sullivan.

Melanie's "Till They All Get Home" (first appears on her album CRAZY LOVE):

Pray that the souls of the 7 U.S. servicemen who passed away in western Iraq RIP and their families and units have the strength to cope.

7 US service members killed in Iraq helicopter crash

Senator Dianne Feinstein turns 85 this year (June 22nd).  She's gotten to live a long life.  How sad that her actions have ensured that so many others did not have that same opportunity.  She's supported this war -- this ongoing war -- since 2002.

Time should be up for Dianne when it comes to serving in the Senate.  She should be sent packing.

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

  • Friday, March 16, 2018

    Upload your brain?

    There’s just one tiny catch – it will kill you.  From THE GUARDIAN:
    Illustration of a brain-shaped printed circuit board.
    Blood flow to the brain will be replaced with embalming chemicals that preserve the neuronal structure, even as they kill the patient. Photograph: Alfred Pasieka/Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF
    A US startup is promising to upload customers’ brains to the cloud using a pioneering technique it has trialled on rabbits.
    The only catch, according to the company’s cofounder? The process is “100% fatal”.
    Nectome, founded in 2016 by a pair of MIT AI researchers, hopes to offer a commercial application of a novel process for preserving brains, called “aldehyde-stabilised cryopreservation”. The process, which results in the brain being “vitrifixed” – the startup’s self-named term for essentially turning it into glass – is promising enough that it has won two prizes from the Brain Preservation Foundation, for preserving a rabbit’s brain in 2016 and a pig’s brain in 2018.

    Either way, you should pay attention to Nectome. The company has won a large federal grant and is collaborating with Edward Boyden, a top neuroscientist at MIT, and its technique just claimed an $80,000 science prize for preserving a pig’s brain so well that every synapse inside it could be seen with an electron microscope.
    McIntyre, a computer scientist, and his cofounder Michael McCanna have been following the tech entrepreneur’s handbook with ghoulish alacrity. “The user experience will be identical to physician-assisted suicide,” he says. “Product-market fit is people believing that it works.”
    So, at any rate, you won’t be brought back to life, nor will your brain.  What you have seen, smelled, heard and sensed will be preserved.  But you’ll have to be ready to die for this transfer to take place.
    It seems a little like the movie BRAINSTORM, doesn’t it?


    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Thursday, March 15, 2018.  Election madness all over the world.

    Let's start with elections.

    This year, those of us in California, have a chance to make a real change.  We can jettison the Iraq War supporting, torture hand holding Senator Dianne Feinstein and support Kevin de Leon to be our next US Senator.  In June, we will hold a primary and all running for the US Senate will be on the ballot.  The top two vote getters will then face off in the November general election.  Kevin de Leon is a Democrat.  Dianna says she's a Democrat.  Yes, they can face off.  Don't believe rat f**kers from Canada who hide in New York after their art galleries fail (fail like everything else in their lives).  This is how the election will work in California.

    As noted in yesterday's snapshot, Dianne can't decide whether to vote against "Bloody Gina" Haspel or go to third base with her.  Kevin de Leon has made clear that torture is not a value we want to embrace or to teach.

    Feinstein, who oversaw the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation of the CIA's torture program, said Gina Haspel has been "a good deputy director."

    I just asked Kevin de Leon about this tweet. He tells me he would vote NO on confirming Gina Haspel if he were elected to the U.S. Senate and notes that following orders is a poor excuse for carrying out policies and practices that tear at the fabric of our democracy.

    It's amazing how so many who cannot vote in the election want to influence it.  It's amazing how stupid they are.

    Remember that time California Senator Kevin De Leon admitted that half his family fraudulently assumed fake identity & didn't apply for citizenship?

    Maverick says he lives in Indiana.  He's not hurting Kevin.  It might hurt him in Indiana, I don't know, I don't live there.  But in California?  If his family did not go through the recommended process to come to California (and the US)?  It's not a blow against him.  I guess Mavrick's home area is 'pretty White' (all White?).  But I don't think you can live in California without knowing a first generation American whose parent or parents did not jump through whatever hoops.  That's why Dreamers is not a divisive issue in California the way it might be in Iowa (95% Anglo White).  So while Maverick thinks he's hurting Kevin with that Tweet, he's actually helping to make Kevin even more relatable to those of us who vote in California.

    Kevin is an American citizen.  The worst Maverick is saying for those of us in California is that Kevin had a parent who so loved the United States that they were willing to do anything to get here.  Don't see why we'd hold that against Kevin.  Is Maverick anti-American?

    The should not equivocate on rejecting Trump’s pro-torture CIA nominee. John McCain understands that. Why doesn’t Dianne Feinstein?
    PHOTOS: California Advocates Condemn Trump as He Visits Golden State for First Time as President via with
    Thank you to State Senator for speaking up about Haspel's unacceptable record of torture. Congress, take note: The only vote on Haspel is no.

    Now let's move over to another US election.

    Mission: enlisted at 19, became a combat medic and served with the SEAL teams in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now this veteran will be part of the , running for Congress in California’s 50th district.

    Josh Butner was in Iraq.


    That's reason to vote for him?

    Doubt it.

    But, help us out, Vote Vets, what did he do there?

    He is, after all, using that time as 'experience.'  So what exactly did he do there?

    As Patrick Martin (WSWS) pointed out earlier this month, he is among many people the Democrats are running as "experienced" but they can't seem to talk about their experience:

    Josh Butner, running in the 50th District of California against Republican Duncan Hunter, Jr., “served for 23 years in the United States Navy where he saw multiple combat deployments, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The career Navy SEAL says almost nothing about what he actually did in the top military assassination unit, but that is to be expected. His campaign website features the slogan “Service, Country, Leadership,” alongside a photograph of Butner in desert fatigues.

    I cannot endorse him or not endorse him.  I don't live in that district (Nancy Pelosi's my House Rep).  But if you're running for election on your "service" and your "leadership," you damn well should explain what that is.  If you can't explain, you shouldn't run on it.  And be sure to check out all three installments of Patrick Martin's "The CIA Democrats:"


    Iraq is gearing up for elections as well.  They will hold elections May 12th.

    Hayder al-Abadi?  He wants a second term as prime minister.  In the fall of 2014, Barack installed Hayder as prime minister prompting the world to ask: "Hayder who?"

    The watery figure hasn't grown any clearer in the years since.

    But the US installed him and still backs him which prompts Tweets like this:

    America will rig Iraqi elections for Abadi. Hopefully it won’t be a success.

    Hayder wants a second term and is running on defeating ISIS.

    It's shaky ground for him to stand on.

    Adnan Abu Zeed (AL-MONITOR) reports:

    The Islamic State (IS) appears to be staging a comeback in parts of Iraq, which could endanger the country's oil deal with Iran.
    Hamid Hosseini, the Iranian secretary-general of the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce, warned in late February that the countries' plan can't be implemented fully because of security concerns. The countries signed a bilateral agreement in July 2017 to install a pipeline to transport Kirkuk’s crude oil to Iran to be refined. In the meantime, the oil is being transported by trucks, which are vulnerable to attacks.
    The Kurdish military, or peshmerga forces, took control of Kirkuk in 2014 after Iraqi forces fled as IS swept through the area. But in October, Iraqi forces reclaimed the oil-rich territory from the Kurds.
    IS has been blamed for numerous recent attacks in the area. On Feb. 19, IS fighters ambushed a convoy of the Baghdad government's Shiite Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) in the Hawija district, southwest of Kirkuk, killing 27. On Feb. 27, gunmen had targeted the Turkmen Front with a rocket shell. Since Hosseini's warning, security has deteriorated both in Kirkuk and Hawija. Local authorities have called for military enforcement.
    Masrour Barzani, the head of Kurdistan security, stressed that the “IS offensive in Kirkuk province is not coming to an end anytime soon.”



    And XINHAU reports:

    Iraqi security forces on Wednesday killed at least seven Islamic State (IS) militants in clashes at a village near the city of Shirqat in Iraq's central province of Salahudin, a provincial security source said.
    The clashes erupted at dawn when about 10 IS militants attacked a military base at the village of Mseihli in southern Shirqat, some 280 km north of Iraq's capital Baghdad, Col. Mohammed al-Jubouri from the media office of the provincial police command told Xinhua.

    Again, oops.

    It was always a mistake for Hayder to run for re-election with nothing to show for it.  Even worse was to run claiming ISIS was defeated.  That might have worked for two weeks but for a campaign that's going to last months, it was a big mistake.

    We've noted Moqtada al-Sadr's election alliance for two weeks now but here's a video report so let's include that.

    Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada will be teaming with the Communist Party in this election cycle.  His followers and the Communists will be joined by four other groups -- at least four -- for a political slate (the way Nouri al-Maliki has a political slate State of Law made up of various Shi'ite groups).

    MIDDLE EAST MEDIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE has posted the following clip from a BBC ARABIC broadcast earlier this month of an interview with the co-founder of the Iraqi Council for Interfaith Dialogue Jawad al-Khoei.

    Jawad al-Khoei: Violence in our region has its origins here.  We are all in the same boat.  There is no difference between Syria, Iraq, and so on.  Some of the violence is the outcome of the injustice of the dictatorships that ruled us.  Poverty, ignorance, deprivation and oppression all stem from that.  Some of the violence is religious violence.  It exploits religion.  The birth of ISIS is not an anomaly.  ISIS is deeply rooted in Islam. It's roots can be traced back 1400 years to the first century of Islam. When you read history, you find that people would kill someone, then exhume the body, cut off his head, and then burn the body.

    BBC ARABIC presenter: But all nations experienced this kind of violence.

    Jawad al-Khoei: Fine. But violence is a bad thing. And when it dons the cloak of religion, it is a hundred times more evil.

    BBC ARABIC presenter: From what you are saying, it sounds as if violence is predestined to remain in this region because it is so deeply rooted.

    Jawad al-Khoei: No.  This depends on our determination, our resolve, and the will of our rulers.  If our rulers really want -- I mean, is it really conceivable that to this day there is not a single page in the religious curricula in Iraq about Christianity or about the Yazidi faith?

    BBC ARABIC presenter: Even though the first Christians were --

    Jawad al-Khoei: They were the owners of this land and the Muslims came in as their guests

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