While the red planet is mostly dry and desolate today, a growing body of evidence shows it used to be covered in large bodies of water above and below ground.
Mars is so interesting. We have so many things to learn from that planet. Joel Hruska (EXTREME TECH) adds:
Substantial amounts of ice are known to still exist at the planet’s north pole, and a lake is believed to still remain beneath the south polar ice cap, similar to the liquid lakes under miles of ice in Antarctica on Earth. Any liquid water still existing on Mars might be better described as being in Mars at this point, given the depths at which it would be located. Traces of liquid are occasionally found at the surface, but no significant amount of free-running water has ever been observed.
The same team also spotted five specific craters where mineral ingredients believed to be common to the rise of life on Earth also exist, including various clays, carbonates, and silicates. Such basins could be prime locations for searching for the life that may have existed on Mars.
It'll be just my luck to have alien life discovered . . . after I've passed away. Wish I could hit the big snooze button and Rip Van Winkle for a few hundred years so I could wake up to all the new discoveries of the next century.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Tuesday, March 5, 2019. No progress in Iraq but the war continues.
Let's start with US House Rep Illhan Omar.
Let's start with US House Rep Illhan Omar.
Dems and Republicans are targeting her because of sexism and racism and Islamophobia?
The same Democrats who welcomed her weeks ago?
I don't see it. The Democrats are going after her to bully her and intimidate her.
It's not about gender or race. They want to shut her up and get her to toe the line.
Now her gender and religion and race may allow the predominately White Democratic members of the House of Representatives to think they can get away with it and to go a little further than they might with a White, Christian male.
They love to be a mad pack, tearing into someone. They tried it with Cynthia McKinney. She wouldn't be intimidated so the Democratic Party worked to get her out of Congress.
Illhan's gender, et al was not an issue until she started speaking.
She has noted that an Israeli lobby has a great deal of influence on the US Congress. She's not wrong. And the fact that she's not wrong has people in Congress hissing at her and ready to participate in a public stoning.
She has not attacked the Jewish people in her remarks, she has not attacked the people of Israel. She has addressed the issue of lobbyists and, if we're at a point in the US where we can't talk about how money controls and dominates, that's truly scary.
Today, the US Congress plans to spend hours on her.
They won't address the ongoing wars.
They won't address the needs of the American people.
But they will spend forever and a day condemning her.
Surviving war gives you perspective on life, I know to not be fearful and work to create a life that alleviates people from fear!
So now Ilhan is to blame for the 57% rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes last year and the deadliest mass shooting in US history? That’s really rich coming from someone who praised Bannon. Do yourself a favor and work on your Anti Blackness
This is about silencing her. This is about putting guard rails around dialogue, enforcing what she will and won't say. Bullying her is about silencing a discussion at a time when walls are starting to crumble.
If you called out apartheid in South Africa (I did) you realize what a time we are at now for the Israeli government. The oppression of Palestinians is not being accepted the way it was even a decade ago. Like South Africa, the apartheid in Israel cannot stand.
Moving over to Iraq . . .
When I say I can bring this country together again, I can back it up: In 2006, I won a 2-to-1 Republican district by campaigning on Medicare for All and getting out of Iraq. I've won blue, purple and red districts. I'm the best candidate to run against Trump, and I can beat him.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is seeking the 2020 Democratic Party's presidential nomination. She says she won by calling for Medicare For All and getting out of Iraq.
She says she won on those issues.
She's probably right. Those are popular positions.
But, here's the thing, Kirsten, we don't have Medicare For All and we are not out of Iraq.
On the latter, IANS reports that US-led airstrikes on Anbar Province have left at least 8 people dead. They hope they were 'militants,' they say they were 'militants,' but, honestly, they don't know. And the US government honestly does not care.
So how, as president, would you ensure that we have Medicare For All and that US troops will be out of Iraq?
Arwa Damon, Ghazi Balkiz, Muwafaq Mohammed and Brice Laine (CNN) observe:
There is a marked disconnect -- one the country has tragically suffered before -- between the changing Iraq described by Baghdad's politicians and military leaders and the reality on the ground for those living in areas once under ISIS rule.
While US-backed forces are on the verge of retaking ISIS's final stronghold in neighboring Syria, Iraq declared victory against ISIS just over a year ago, claiming the group had been reduced to a handful of lawless troops. Now, the militants are waging a fresh guerrilla campaign from their base in far-flung territories of northern Iraq -- launching targeted assassinations, looting villages, planting roadside bombs and training a new "strike force," an Iraqi intelligence source told CNN.
In the vast desert badlands near the Hamrin mountain range, residents remain at the mercy of ISIS "gangs" who rule the night. They know the region well, having embedded themselves here back when they were known as the Islamic State of Iraq, and as al Qaeda in Iraq before that. It is in these lands, which stretch all the way to the Syrian border, that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his terror group once went to ground to bide their time, before emerging more powerful, lethal, and merciless than before.
Minutes after our military escort veers onto a dirt track outside of Mosul, the soldiers stop to check for bombs.
The village of al-Thaya, barely more than a cluster of homes, is one of the most recent victims of ISIS' brutal new campaign. Three days before we arrived, six people were slaughtered there.
Yousuf Hawwas, 72, was still in shock. His older brother, his ailing wife, three of the couple's sons and one daughter-in-law were executed. The killers pried open the metal container where the family hid their money, stole the cash and two guns before trying to make off with a pickup truck, which got stuck in the mud.
"My emotions ... I don't know," Hawwas said, his eyes welling up with tears.
That's reality in Iraq. And it could be reality in any year. The Iraq War has not brought anything of value to the Iraqi people. Nor has there ever been anything that could qualify as progress.
Hey, remember when Iraqis suffered from a lack of electricity? Remember when they had spurts of electricity but nothing they could depend upon?
Guess what? Today, MENAFN notes, "Iraq was reported to be struggling to defeat all its electricity troubles, with the government facing heated criticism over its incapacity to offer a dependable solution."
16 years. In weeks, the Iraq War hits the 16 year mark.
Iraq is the Sisyphus of wars. The same rock is pushed up the mountain day after day. What would Oswald Spengler make of this?
What do we make of it?
I think our collective brain has fried as a result of the ongoing wars. These wars don't end. They don't accomplish anything of human value. But they go on and on and on.
It repeats over and over. The same thing.
Dropping back to the July 18, 2015 snapshot:
Scott Neuman (NPR) notes the Diyala Province bombing has left "at least 11 people" dead and that "Susannah George, reporting for NPR from Iraq, says amateur video shows dazed civilians wandering through destroyed streets and buildings." Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) points out that this is "one of the deadliest single attacks in the country in the past decade."
What's going on?
All that happened when the assault began on Anbar is the violence spread elsewhere. Consider Falluja the middle of a tube of tooth paste. Nouri putting the thumb in the middle of the tube did not make the toothpaste disappear, it only made it increase in opposite ends.
You probably think I wrote that today or this week when the (latest) assault on Anbar began.
That's from February 21, 2014.
When is anyone going to wake the hell up?
I am not the smartest person in the room and never will be.
This week the so-called Center for American Progress offered more useless garbage about Iraq and trying to defend Barack.
There's no defense.
There is experience and there is knowledge.
We have explained the toothpaste metaphor over. I believe the most recent time was April 25th. Equally true, Gen Martin Dempsey picked it up and used it when testifying before Congress this month.
When he did, I thought about including it here. But then I thought, "Am I patting myself on the back?" So we avoided it here.
We can't avoid it anymore.
The United States needs to start paying attention and stop whoring.
Whoring for Bully Boy Bush didn't help Iraq.
Whoring for Barack Obama doesn't help Iraq.
Take your mouth off the cock of which ever of the two men you're in love with and worship and stop your whoring.
(Although some, like Andrew Sullivan, managed to worship and whore for both men.)
If you want a military approach to Iraq -- I do not -- you need to grasp that Barack and Haider al-Abadi's strategy or 'strategy' or plan or 'plan' is doomed.
It does not work.
Even by military standards it will not work.
If you want a military approach to Iraq's political crises, then what you want is not 'degrade and destroy' -- which are two bulls**t terms used to trick the American people -- many of whom want to be tricked, let's be honest.
The two terms are "clear and hold."
That's the military strategy that needs to be carried out in Iraq.
You do not defeat (militarily) an 'enemy' in an area by jumping here (Tikrit) and then there (Ramadi) and then many miles over there and then many miles over here.
If you're trying to defeat an enemy in the borders of country, a state, a province, whatever, you are doing clear and hold.
You are starting from point X and you are methodically working to the next point.
So if we're in California, for example, we don't clear Los Angeles and then jump tons of miles over to Monterey.
If you made Los Angeles your starting point, you would immediately send troops into Ventura and Kern and Orange and San Bernadino because each of those counties border Los Angeles (while keeping forces in Los Angels county to ensure that it is 'held').
You would take Los Angeles county and then grab the immediate surroundings ones -- this is clear and hold.
Once you had secured those counties, you would continue to work outwards.
When you instead, grab Los Angeles county and then jump miles and miles and miles to the north to grab San Francisco, you accomplish nothing. Between the two you have San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, Merced, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, etc., etc.
So if you retake Los Angeles and then jump to San Francisco, all those areas between the two? That's where the 'enemy' will flood to.
That's the point of the toothpaste analogy. You're just pressing on one point of the tube and the toothpaste is just spreading elsewhere in the tube.
(To be successful, you would need to work from the closed end of the toothpaste tube all the way across -- squeezing all the toothpaste out as you do -- to the nozzle.)
The toothpaste in the middle, always. And the US government still has nothing to brag about.
And that's before we get to the ineffective puppet government the US keeps installing.
One thing that you learn following Iraq for any period of time is that when bodies start popping up in the streets, the violence is increasing.
We noted the brain drain last Thursday so let's note this:
Iraq is desperately short of doctors. 70% doctors are considering emigrating due to threats made against them. 20,000 doctors have already fled Iraq since 2003. Attacks against health care put everyone's lives in danger: ow.ly/siVc30nUQJx
Let's close by noting Human Rights Watch's Belkis Wille:
Last week, the US-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) transferred at least 280 suspected Islamic State (ISIS) members to Iraq, following their arrest in Syria. Though the detainees are overwhelmingly Iraqi, there were reportedly at least thirteen French ISIS suspects among them. Their transfer to Iraq raises a critical issue: where exactly should these detainees be held?
On February 25, Iraqi President Barham Salih announced that the Iraqi justice system would be prosecuting at least thirteen French ISIS suspects “according to Iraqi law.” His statement marks the first transfer of foreign ISIS suspects to be publicly recognized by the Iraqi government, and also comes after many European government have refused to bring home and prosecute their nationals who joined ISIS.
Iraq’s judiciary convened on February 28 to discuss how it would “examine the cases of terrorism suspects – both national and foreign – recently handed over to Baghdad by the SDF.
Despite Salih’s assurance that Iraq is acting within the confines of international law, the record of previous ISIS trials in Iraq shows that these transfers may instead violate it, as detainees risk torture in detention. Furthermore, detainees are subject to unfair trials that could still end in the death penalty. Human Rights Watch opposes the death penalty in all countries and under all circumstances, but in Iraq, where the trials of ISIS suspects fail to meet even the most basic markers of due process, its application is particularly concerning.
Until now, trials of ISIS suspects in Baghdad, which have lasted as short as 5 minutes, have consisted of a judge interviewing the suspect, usually relying on a confession, often coerced, with no effective legal representation. Authorities have also made no efforts to solicit victim participation in the trials, even as witnesses.
It would be galling if France, a member of the European Union, with a key foreign policy goal of eradicating the death penalty globally, did not speak out publicly even as its citizens risk prosecution and death in unfair trials that deny victims their day in court. Any country allowing Iraq to receive and prosecute its citizens should press the government to take urgent measures to improve the quality of these prosecutions. Otherwise, it should take its nationals home and investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute them in trials that meet internationally-accepted fair trial standards.
The following sites updated: