Saturday, September 07, 2019


When some people pass, it's not a time for mourning.  Some deaths mean freedom -- or at least a little less oppression.  Bill Van Auken (WSWS) reports:

Robert Mugabe, the first elected leader of Zimbabwe who ruled the country for nearly four decades, died Friday at the age of 95. His death was reported from Singapore, where he had gone for medical treatment.
Mugabe was the last surviving leader of Africa’s anticolonial struggles who subsequently came to power in a newly independent nation. As with those who preceded him in death—Ghana’s Nkrumah, Guinea’s Sékou Touré, Kenya’s Kenyatta, Tanzania’s Nyerere, Mozambique's Machel and South Africa’s Mandela among them—Mugabe’s rule exposed the organic incapacity of Africa’s bourgeois nationalists to realize the aspirations of the African masses for freedom from foreign domination, democracy and social justice.
There were mixed responses to the death of Mugabe, who was ousted from power in a November 2017 palace coup led by his longtime ally Emmerson Mnangagwa and the military. Washington and London both issued statements offering personal condolences to those mourning the former president, while the State Department charged that “his human rights abuses and gross economic mismanagement impoverished millions and betrayed his people’s hopes for their nation”, and the Foreign Office stated that “Zimbabweans suffered for too long as a result of Mugabe’s autocratic rule.”
One would never guess that Henry Kissinger was among those promoting Mugabe’s rise to power, which was hailed by Washington, or that the UK played a similar role going so far as bestowing upon him an honorary knighthood in 1994. Nor would one suspect that the brutal sanctions regime imposed by both imperialist powers exacerbated the conditions of the “impoverished millions.”
Various African heads of state paid fulsome tribute to Mugabe’s memory. President Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s liberation leader and first president, whose estimated worth is $500 million, ordered flags to be flown at half-mast for three days and hailed the former Zimbabwean president as “an embodiment of the Pan African spirit” who insisted that “African problems required African solutions.”
Similarly, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the former trade union leader turned corporate executive whose personal wealth is estimated at $550 million, mourned “the passing of a liberation fighter and champion of Africa’s cause against colonialism.”

They recognize Mugabe as one of their own, a collection of corrupt heads of state who have enriched themselves at the expense of masses of African workers and oppressed subjected to extreme oppression and grinding poverty.

No real surprise but the US State Dept. had a statement of mourning which they then deleted.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, September 6, 2019.  Joe Biden continues to stumble and bumble while, in Iraq, a new air force may be formed.

Starting in the United States where Joe Biden, seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, continues to come under fire for lying about the Iraq War.  At POLITIFACT, Miriam Valverde examines his recent lie and then walks you through the public record before concluding:

Referring to the Iraq War, Biden said, "immediately, the moment it started, I came out against the war at that moment."
That’s not the case. The public record shows that immediately before and after the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003, Biden supported the president. He also on multiple occasions for years justified his vote on a resolution that authorized the use of force against Iraq.
Biden lamented that the United States did not have the support of more nations and gradually criticized the Bush administration’s strategy. But his claim of an "immediate" opposition to the war isn’t accurate.

We rate his statement False.

At ANTIWAR.COM, Daniel Larson observes, "There has been virtually no accountability in all the time since the invasion, and the war’s original supporters would prefer it if we just forgot about the role they played. It is important that we don’t forget what they did, and when one of them tries to reinvent himself as an opponent of the war when he was nothing of the sort he needs to pay a political price for that attempt at deception."  Joe's been able to weasel his way out of many lies recently but this one has been harder for him to skate away from.

It’s one thing to have a well-earned rep for goofy, harmless gaffes. It’s another if you serially distort your own record. is in danger of creating a more damaging meme.

Tagged a liar yet again.


Link to headline article

Reed Richardson (MEDIAITE) reports on another problem for Joe "Biden Declares He's 'Committed to Not Raising Money' from Fossil Fuel Execs . . . at Fundraiser Hosted By Fossil Fuel Company Founder."  Maybe Joe didn't know where he was?  Wouldn't be the first time.  EURASIA REVIEW notes that when this issue was raised at the CNN townhall and Joe stumbled through his answer, that's when he had the issue with his eye (the blood filling one eyes), "By now, in the video-clip, the left side of Biden’s left eye had become — during just this four-minute grilling of him — very visibly overtaken with blood-redness, replacing the normal whiteness there. Clearly, this brief event, precipitated in his body a physiological danger. It’s, by now in the videos, very visible, right there."

You can use this clip for the rest of 2020, you’re welcome.


Meagan Day (JACOBIN) offers, "On CNN's climate town hall last night, Joe Biden promised a return to the old status quo, Elizabeth Warren promised carrots and sticks, and Bernie Sanders promised to wrest control of the future from corporations. The clock is ticking, and the choice couldn’t be clearer."  From her article:

Whatever else Biden said — and it was mostly gibberish like this — his insistence that the climate crisis begins and ends with Trump, and that the Obama administration provided adequate stewardship on climate issues, is unacceptable and incommensurate with the threat we face. If Joe Biden wins the presidency, we’re toast.
Next up was Bernie Sanders, whose Green New Deal is the most comprehensive plan to address climate change put forward by any presidential candidate, not just in this race but in US history.
Sanders performed well in his segment. With characteristic directness, he covered about three times as much ground as Biden. Reasonable people may disagree with his views on nuclear energy (he doesn’t see investing in nuclear as the path to sustainability) or his great love of energy efficient light bulbs (Warren made a good point later that the conversation about light bulbs, straws, and cheeseburgers is a distraction). But primarily Sanders focused on the contours of his Green New Deal, a national mobilization plan that treats the climate emergency with the gravity it deserves.
Sanders’s plan is aggressive and its timelines are short. It goes after the profits of climate-destroying corporations, proposing a ban on imports and exports of oil and gas, a ban on fracking, and a ban on public-lands drilling. His plan also boldly proposes to build new federal agencies, modeled after the Tennessee Valley Authority, that can provide cheap and reliable public utilities and begin to free our energy grid from the strangulation of private corporations. It proposes to create twenty million new jobs, putting people to work building infrastructure and restoring the environment. For those whose jobs will be lost in the transition, Sanders’s plan proposes five years of guaranteed income and retraining, leaving no worker behind.
Sanders hit most of these points during his climate town hall segment. He demonstrated the depth of his vision right off the bat when he was asked how he would pay for it all. Sanders laid out a four-point plan for paying for the Green New Deal: First, we will end subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. Second, bringing private utilities under public ownership will generate revenue for the federal government while also guaranteeing that no one will go without light and heat. Third, we will slash the enormous defense budget and stop paying to protect US corporate oil interests abroad. And fourth, the mass provision of new jobs — good, public sector, unionized jobs — will mean fewer people on public assistance. He threw in a bonus: We’re going to tax the s[**]t out of Jeff Bezos.

Host Anderson Cooper asked Sanders if he would prioritize his Green New Deal plan over his other ambitious plans, like Medicare for All, tuition-free public college, and student and medical debt cancellation. His answer testified to his holistic vision for change. “To my mind, it’s not prioritizing this over that. It is finally having a government which represents working families and the middle class rather than wealthy campaign contributors.”

I saw Joe's portion and she's correct in her assessment.  I didn't see Bernie (we were speaking during most of the townhalls) but I caught a small section of Elizabeth Warren's (Marcia covered her here "Elizabeth and climate change") and I will note Elizabeth is correct that 'personal responsibility' is a slogan pushed by an industry determined to avoid accountability.  Ava and I called out that nonsense in July of 2007 with "TV: Global Boring" and more recently ADAM RUINS EVERYTHING took on the refusal of corporations to take responsibility for their actions.

Corporate pollution is a serious issue and good for Elizabeth to speak out on that issue.

At RASMUSSEN REPORTS, Patrick Buchanan provides a look at Joe's campaign:

 Why is the Democratic Party apprehensive about Joe Biden?
Though every poll has him running well ahead of his competitors, the Biden campaign has ranged from dull to embarrassing.
Biden began by speaking nostalgically of his days as a young senator and the warm friendships he formed with segregationist senators Herman Talmadge and Jim Eastland, the latter a Mississippi pillar of "massive resistance" to civil rights legislation.

In the first debate, Biden was skewered by Sen. Kamala Harris for having boasted of opposing the court-ordered busing that, Harris claims, enabled her to get an integrated education in California.

Asked, in Keene, New Hampshire, how it felt to be in the lovely town, Biden volunteered, "Look, what's not to like about Vermont."

Biden spoke of meeting in his vice president's office with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the scene of a horrific school shooting. Only the Parkland massacre did not occur until after he left the vice presidency.

Speaking in the aftermath of shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Biden talked of the recent "tragic events in Houston and also in Michigan the day before." After the shootings in Odessa, Texas, done with an assault rifle, an outraged Joe said it was "absolutely mindless" not to ban all firearm magazines that carry more than a single bullet.

"We choose unity over division. We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts," Biden thundered in Des Moines. 

And that doesn't include his response to making women uncomfortable -- to speak to a largely male group and make jokes about it.  Hard to believe it's not even been five full months since he declared himself to be a candidate.

In Iraq, Kosar Nawzad (KURDISTAN 24) reports:

The deputy chairman of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) militias ordered on Wednesday the formation of a new air force branch following alleged Israeli drone strikes on Iran-backed militia groups within the PMF.
“Based on Diwani Order No. (79) of 2014… the powers vested in us and the interest of the public attributed us to form the Air Force Directorate,” read a document signed by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, whose real name is Jamal Jaafar Al-Ibrahim.

Muhandis, who is on the US' list of designated terrorists, has named Salah Mahdi Hantoush as acting director the air force. In 2012, Hantoush was designated as a global terrorist by the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

STRATFOR offers:

Why It Matters: Establishing an air force in Iraq separate from the federal government's military branch would underscore the Popular Mobilization Forces' defiance against the Iraqi government. The announcement comes after a series of suspicious explosions at the militia's facilities across the country in recent weeks that some group officials blamed on the Israeli government.

The move makes a mockery of the prime minister of Iraq as well as his recent Tweet.

أكدنا في اجتماع مجلس الامن الوطني على حق العراق باتخاذ الاجراءات اللازمة قانونيا ودبلوماسيا من خلال المؤسسات الاقليمية ومجلس الامن الدولي والأمم المتحدة دفاعا عن سيادته وأمنه ووحدة اراضيه وبكل الوسائل المشروعة .

Clearly, his promise to protect the "territorial integrity" of Iraq is not one that's believed.  The government of Israel has bombed Iraq at least four times this year.  The prime minister has been meek to the point that former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki thinks he may have found an issue to ride back into the post of prime minister -- stand strong against Israel!  Whether his words will wipe away his well known past remains to be seen.  While Nouri remains unpopular, his remarks about standing up against Israel have resonated with many Iraqis on social media.

Some Tweets on the reports of the militias forming an air force:

IRAQ - Iraqi militias announce plans for their own air force

Pro-Iran Militia In Iraq Announces Formation Of 'Air Force'

have formed an Air Force Directorate, in what appears to be a response to the recent airstrikes in

“Iran backed Shiite militias in Iraq announces that the Popular Mobilization Forces to create PMF Air Force.” Washingtonians to revisit its strategy in Iraq.

-backed Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF/PMU) militia in Iraq seeking to establish air force. (File Photo)

’s PMF to Form Air Force Directorate

If PMF gets air force, Peshmerga should too: PUK official

Good morning, -In , 'electronic armies' rear heads - via -Ex-Blackwater guards get 1/2 sentence for Nisur Sq. massacre -PMF denies seeking own air force, days after Fayyadh in Moscow. What about own air defence?

  • PMU refuses to create air force in Iraq. This rejection comes after Sadir tweeted that the current Iraqi government must be dissolved.

    Replying to   and
    Not sure if these are one-in-the-same. Ta Qaddum is one of the larger Iraqi Air Force bases. TAQADDUM, IRAQ

    Iraq's Hashd al-Sha’abi to form own air force, to fight against and defeat the filthy, illegal Apartheid Israeli airstrike attacks on Iraq and the Shia Militas fighting ISIS terrorists.

    The following sites