Saturday, July 11, 2020

James Dean was gay

Today, you can say "James Dean was gay" and most people just nod and shrug.

That's not how it always was.

I thought about that while reading this article at THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER where a director who knew Dean was talking about his affairs with men.

I grew up knowing my brother was gay so it was never anything I had to adjust to. 

But I've watched the press adjust -- adjust slowly and poorly.

In the 80s, James as gay was a sentence or two in a book.  Often followed by paragraphs of how those were rumors and he never had sex with a man and . . .

BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS -- which also contained a new photo of James (the one referred to in Cher's COME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN) -- in 1994 was one of the first books to deal with reality.

And we still had that actress who played Jerry's mother on SEINFELD insisting he was straight and they had an affair.  Yeah, that doesn't seem likely -- him being straight or his being attracted to her.

I always thought James Dean was cool and I always thought he was gay -- the two weren't in opposition for me.

But even to this day, there are members of the press who insist he was straight and will write a profile on him, all these years after his death, and pretend he was straight.

You can see it with Katharine Hepburn today -- they still won't deal with reality.

Kate probably slept with John Ford.  She and Howard Hughes did not sleep together.  Did she go down on him?  Maybe, I doubt it though.  (Bette Davis did and so did other women -- he preferred oral sex -- with both women and men.)  Spencer Tracy slept with men and women -- mainly men later in his life.  Katharine, after Spencer's death, promoted a lie of a great, physical love that didn't exist but did allow her to hide in the closet.  She was a lesbian who sometimes slept with men.  Laura Harding was her longtime lover for years and years.  After Laura, Claudette Colbert became one of Katharine's recurring lovers.  When Scotty Bowers came forward in the '00s to tell his story as a pimp for Hollywood and talked about the "hundreds" of women he supplied to Hepburn, people wanted to have a heart attack and brand him a liar.

That's what it was like in the 80s and 90s with James Dean.

He couldn't be cool and gay to the MSM press members.

That Katharine was a lesbian is one of the things that I like about her. 

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, July 10, 2020.  We look at presidential candidates in the US and note the increase (again) in deaths from COVID in Iraq.

Starting in the US where a presidential election is set to take place in November.  Among those running for the presidency?  Gloria La Riva who is the presidential nominee of the Party for Socialism and Liberation as well as for the Peace and Freedom Party.  LIBERATION notes:

In an exciting development for the Party for Socialism and Liberation, on July 2 the PSL was officially designated by the New Mexico Secretary of State as a qualified political party in the state of New Mexico. This despite the onerous requirement of signature gathering, made even tougher in time of the pandemic.
Now, when New Mexicans register to vote or update their registration, they can make their party affiliation the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Also, when they go to the polls in November, New Mexicans will be able to vote for a grassroots socialist presidential campaign!
Karina Aracely, New Mexico PSL organizer, stated, “Soon, the Statewide Convention of the PSL-NM will be held. There, delegates of the party will officially nominate our 2020 socialist candidates for the November 3 presidential election: the national candidates of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Gloria La Riva for president and her running mate, Native activist and political prisoner Leonard Peltier. Our campaign is raising Leonard Peltier’s freedom struggle and in support of his longtime defense efforts. In reality, he should have never spent one day of his 44 years in prison.
“We are excited about the opportunity to talk with people throughout New Mexico, of an alternative not only for the election, but the urgent need for the system we are fighting for, socialism, which puts the people first, not profits.”
In addition to being the PSL candidates in several states, La Riva and Peltier will be the 2020 candidates for the Peace and Freedom Party of California, and the Liberty Union Party of Vermont.
The U.S. electoral system is rigged to give only the two ruling-class parties a competitive chance to win. Third-party candidates are subject to exclusionary and expanding obstacles in every state. For more than two years, the Democrat and Republican candidates have had non-stop media coverage, while the people only get realistic exposure to third-party candidates at their polling place, due to strict media censorship.
Still, the PSL nationally is running an energetic campaign to put forth our 10-point program, while also marching in the streets against racism and police brutality, holding car caravans to Cancel the Rents and more.

Milan Simonich (SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN) also notes: "The Party for Socialism and Liberation also has received minor-party status. It has a presidential candidate, Gloria La Riva."  Also fighting for ballot access is the Socialist Equality Party and their presidential candidate Joesph KishoreAt WSWS, Kishore writes:

On Wednesday, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Michigan denied the Socialist Equality Party’s challenge to the state’s 12,000 physical signature ballot access requirement during the coronavirus pandemic.
The judge, Sean F. Cox, a Republican, sided with the Democratic administration of Governor Gretchen Whitmer in ruling that the coronavirus pandemic did not seriously “burden” our constitutional rights or the rights of those Michiganders who want to vote for our campaign.
Cox issued his ruling as the deadly coronavirus pandemic is spiraling out of control. Yesterday, the official global death toll surpassed 550,000, and the number of infections increased to more than 12.3 million.
The United States is the epicenter of the virus, which is now spreading without restraint. Already, COVID-19 has claimed more than 135,000 lives in the United States. More than 61,000 people tested positive yesterday, a new record, and the daily death toll is approaching 1,000.
Hospitals in Texas, Florida and Arizona are overwhelmed, and nurses are again facing critical shortages of personal protective equipment and ventilators. Cases are increasing in most states, including in Michigan, where they are at levels not seen since the end of May.
The surge in cases and deaths is the direct and predictable outcome of the criminal policies of Trump and the entire political establishment, including the Whitmer administration. Even as the pandemic exacts its horrific toll, the White House is demanding that schools reopen in the fall, threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of teachers and students, as part of the overall back-to-work campaign.
It is under these conditions that Judge Cox declared his full support for the argument of the state of Michigan that SEP should have been gathering signatures and that it still should be doing so.
Cox’s decision is not a serious legal ruling grounded in jurisprudence or reasoned analysis. It is a political decision aimed at barring socialists from the ballot, with the legal rationalization serving to justify a conclusion determined in advance.
Cox asserts that it is not the coronavirus pandemic or the governor’s stay-at-home orders that have prevented signature gathering, but the candidates’ own lack of “diligence.”
In fact, it is the “diligence” of the SEP that required that it not attempt to gather signatures. If we did make this attempt, we would have been violating our own political principles and our warnings of the dangerous consequence of the reckless policies of the ruling class—warnings that have now been completely confirmed.

Julianna Forlano interviewed Joseph for ACT TV yesterday.

Yesterday, Joseph Tweeted about the Democratic Party's presumed presidential nominee Joe Biden and Joe's athletic supporter Bernie It Lifts And It Separates Sanders:

Sanders' political revolution--ends not with a bang, but a whimper. "The task forces did not recommend... 'Medicare for all,' tuition-free public college for everyone or canceling all student debt." Not surprising, and they are meaningless anyway.

But assessing just how much Biden’s task force’s plan would improve the lives of patients depends on details we simply don’t have. The proposal stipulates that premiums will be capped at 8.5% of income (more for a family), which could potentially mean that a slate of relatively robust public option plans would force private plans to improve substantially to compete. Or, more likely, private insurers could take a cue from Medicare Advantage and find ways to cherry-pick healthier patients while off-loading sicker ones onto the public program.
Cost-sharing is also partially unresolved—a public option plan with zero deductibles, for example, may well entail higher copays and coinsurance, perhaps going so far as to foist enrollees into private supplemental plans parallel to “Medigap” coverage for Medicare recipients.
Furthermore, the crucial issue of provider networks goes unmentioned. As networks have narrowed in recent years with insurers trying to save money by covering fewer and fewer providers, many ACA plans have failed to adequately cover certain types of care, like mental health. Traditional Medicare, by contrast, doesn’t have networks and thus affords patients free choice of providers. What kinds of benefits and cost-sharing will be applied to which public option plans will make a world of difference—and will require even more expertise to suss out than the notoriously confusing ACA exchanges already do.
Ultimately, however beefy a public option turns out to be, there are things it can never do. By offering one more insurance product to a list of several others—even if it’s the best of the bunch—the public option does little to alleviate the misery of navigating the administrative quagmire endemic to our healthcare system. It still leaves gaps for patients to fall into, and forces them to beg claims assessors for coverage by phone. And it still casts us as healthcare consumers, shopping for the best-valued access to a foundational human need that shouldn’t be commodified to begin with.

Also at IN THESE TIMES, Hamilton Nolan notes the labor and working rights platform:

Perhaps the most notable part of the platform, however, is an omission. It asks to “ensure that all private-sector workers' right to strike... is vigorously protected.” But for public sector workers, it asks only to “Provide a federal guarantee for public sector employees to bargain for better pay and benefits and the working conditions they deserve.” In other words, despite the fact that the public sector is much more heavily unionized than the private sector, and has been under legal attack from the right for decades, there is no demand that public sector workers be granted the right to strike—the single most potent weapon in any union’s toolbox.
More remarkable is the fact that Lee Saunders, one of America’s most powerful public sector union leaders and an Obama confidante, represents the faction that was not seeking to give his own members the right to strike. “In the public sector, AFSCME has taken the position that… in order to come to a conclusion if there are difficult negotiations, we should have binding arbitration in place of the right to strike,” Saunders told In These Times. “Public sector unions believe binding arbitration is better because we provide valuable public services.”
Saunders acknowledged that the issue of the public sector’s right to strike was discussed in the task force’s negotiations, but his view, unsurprisingly, carried the day. Sara Nelson, a leftist in the labor movement who is often mentioned as a future candidate to lead the AFL-CIO, pushed unsuccessfully for public workers to have the same right to strike as their counterparts in the private sector. “My mind wasn't changed during this process on any issue we brought forward. I fundamentally believe in the right to strike. The strike is a necessary component of collective bargaining,” she told In These Times. “If federal workers had the right to strike, there would never be a government shutdown ever again.”

To dethrone the overtly racist and imperially undependable Donald Trump, the oligarchs ensured the presidential nomination of hapless Joe Biden, who vows to veto Medicare for All, opposes defunding the police, and whistles tunes of war with Russia (but doesn’t remember the words). Biden personifies ruling class determination to double down on endless war, Race to the Bottom austerity, and an ever-expanding national security state, including the local police component -- the same policies that led to the Crisis of Legitimacy of 2020. (The Covid mass deaths and accompanying economic shutdown is the result of privatization and austerity). The oligarchs get what they pay for. Therefore, the Democrats will wipe the clown paint from their faces, fold up their kente cloths, and apologize to the cops for joining in the “dozens” circle (“Your cops so brutal…”), as soon as the movement has been sufficiently exhausted or co-opted.  
If the “Black Lives Matter” movement is to be neutralized, it will be by capture/cooptation by the Democratic Party – just as befell the great mass Black movement of half a century ago. The oligarchs are now vastly more concentrated and powerful than in the previous era, and their Democratic duopoly apparatus has thoroughly infested every nook and cranny of Black civic life. The Democrats are the capitalist enemy within Black America, ultimately answerable to the same forces that pull Republican strings. The main difference is that Democrats, like most of the oligarchy, have seen the advantages of a diversified, multiracial management of Black grassroots unrest and repetitive capitalist crises. Send in the Kente squads.
Half a million or more protesters in the streets, resisting the police, brought people’s politics back to life, but the Black movement will be asphyxiated by the ubiquitous fingers of the Democratic Party if it does not build independent nexuses of people’s power. ‘Defunding the police” may result in some reshuffling of local budget funds to social services, but does not in itself transfer power over those services -- or the police -- to the people. Movement-speak is replete with the word “transformational,” but only people’s power can transform the relationship between the Black masses and the oligarchs’ state. Cutting police budgets does not alter the anti-Black nature of the police mission, and neither does adding Black cops to the blue ranks. Only community control of the police can create the institutional people power to transform, and eventually do away with, policing as we know it. The cops will still be the cops, whatever their numbers and pay scales, unless they are made accountable to the communities they “serve,” who will shape the security force’s mission and manage and evaluate its performance. 
Community control of the police is a project in democracy and Black self-determination, while defunding the police – inevitably, in practice – is an immersion in Democratic Party budgetary dickering that legitimizes the imposition of the police upon the people. It will suck the righteous energy out of the movement, while failing to transform any power relationships of importance. Along the way, key operatives will be “captured” as they form alliances with the “better” Democratic politicians in divvying up the budgetary spoils. 

Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate.  Earlier this week, her campaign issued the following:

GREENVILLE, S.C.—July 7, 2020. An article in the Guardian, a British newspaper, featuring a picture of Dr. Jo Jorgensen, attempts to smear the Libertarian Party presidential candidate by associating her with a movement known as boogaloo, because of her appearance on a podcast hosted by some members of the movement. The Guardian describes boogaloo by detailing its most radical elements.
The boogaloo movement has no organization and no leadership. Participants within vary widely, from white supremacists, at one extreme, to those who vehemently condemn both racism and white supremacy. Their unifying characteristic is the belief that citizens have the right to rise up against an oppressive government, and in particular, one that denies their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, or their right to self-defense.
This view is enshrined in America’s Declaration of Independence from, coincidentally, Great Britain. It states that whenever a government becomes destructive of human rights, “it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.”
The Guardian article fails to distinguish between anti-government and anti-authoritarian government sentiment, the latter of which better describes the views of boogaloo members.
As both the Libertarian Party and the Jorgensen campaign have made consistently and abundantly clear, and as the Guardian‘s journalist surely knows, libertarians vehemently oppose the initiation of force, whether by government or civilian forces.
As Dr. Jorgensen explained to the reporter, the Libertarian Party has a membership requirement unlike that of any other U.S. political party. To be eligible to join, each individual must sign a pledge attesting that they oppose the initiation of force for the purpose of achieving social or political goals.
“I reject violence and bigotry, and I advocate non-aggression, peaceful persuasion, and voluntary cooperation,” Jorgensen said. “At the same time, I and my fellow libertarians reject so-called cancel culture, which denies people their right to free speech.”

THE GUARDIAN is a UK publication that is controlled by New Labour -- a right-wing element of the Labour Party.  That's why THE GUARDIAN did not come out against the Iraq War and why they never reported on The Downing Street Memo.  They employ centrists and right-wing American Democrats as columnists and that tells you all you need to know.  

The Green Party kicks off it's presidential nominating convention Saturday, July 11th.  Howie Hawkins is the party's presumed presidential nominee.  Louise Boyle (INDEPENDENT) reports:

Mr Hawkins, 67, a longtime grassroots organiser, has run for office two dozen times. He was the Green Party’s candidate for New York governor in 2010 and 2014, where he received 5 per cent of the vote, one of the highest for an independent progressive party candidate in the state’s history. 
His campaign aims to pull together disillusioned liberals, the Bernie Sanders “refugees”, he says, and beyond.
“Our main target is the 100 million voters who sat out the 2016 election. They are disproportionately working class, people of color, and young. They are the future of independent left politics in the US,” Mr Hawkins writes.
He gives short shrift to both the main parties’ nominees. President Trump is a “loser”, and a “modern Typhoid Mary” who is willing to risk infecting his own supporters at his “super-spreader rallies”.
Joe Biden’s “conservative policies … would fit comfortably into the centre-right parties of Europe”. 
Boyle is reporting on -- but fails to link to -- this column Howie wrote for THE INDEPENDENT.  From the column:

But where is Joe Biden? As the Democrats’ presumptive nominee, he has the national stage. When you think of Biden, what issue is he the champion of? Biden should be mobilising the public behind a federal test, trace, and isolate programme to suppress the virus like most other organised countries are doing – and he should be the driving force behind universal mail-in balloting so everyone can vote in this pandemic. 

Turning to Iraq, a country still shattered by the decisions Joe Biden made as US senator and Vice President.  KURDISTAN 24 reports:

The Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment on Thursday announced that health officials had confirmed more than 2,000 new COVID-19 infections and the death of over 100 patients across the country within the previous 24 hours.
The ministry’s daily statement on the current health crisis noted that it had conducted 11,809 coronavirus tests in a single day, 2,170 of which returned positive.
According to the statement, since the spread of the virus to Iraq in late February, 69,612 people have been infected, 39,502 have recovered, and a total of 2,889 individuals have died from its complications.
Iraq faces multiple issue.  Paul Iddon (ARAB NEWS) notes:

In an act that shocked the Arab world late on Monday, unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle shot and killed Hisham Al-Hashimi, a leading Iraqi expert on Daesh and other armed groups. As with so many unsolved murders of prominent public personalities in Iraq since 2003, there is no dearth of suspects. The big question is what action Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi can afford to take under the circumstances.
The 47-year-old Al-Hashimi was a well-respected Iraqi academic and political analyst. His expertise on Daesh earned him the position of adviser to the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. After the destruction of Daesh’s self-styled caliphate in 2018, he shifted his focus to the workings of the Hashd Al-Shaabi (or Popular Mobilization Forces) units that participated in the anti-Daesh campaign.
Al-Hashimi had expressed fears in recent weeks that Iranian-backed constituents of Hashd had him in their crosshairs. A medical source at the hospital where he was taken after Monday’s shooting said he had suffered “bullet wounds in several body parts.”
 Iraq witnessed a spate of deadly attacks on intellectuals, academics and moderate politicians at the height of the insurgency. More than 500 people have been killed since protests erupted in Oct. 2019, demanding an end to corruption and Iran’s overarching influence. But analysts believe that with Al-Hashimi’s killing, a loud warning shot has been fired across Al-Kadhimi’s bow.
“The assassination is intended to signal militia displeasure with Al-Kadhimi and his inner circle,” said Michael Knights, a noted Iraq analyst and Lafer Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
“They are saying that there is a cost to the Al-Kadhimi team for arresting militia members and disrupting militia money-making enterprises,” he added.

Remember when ISIS took Mosul?  Remember years later when Iraq claimed to have finally liberated Mosul?  There's no real progress there.  AFP reports:

Iraq gathered $30 billion in pledges from international donors in Kuwait in 2018 to rebuild, but virtually none of the funds have been disbursed.

The lack of progress has been widely blamed on Iraq's infamous bureaucracy, corruption that has siphoned off reconstruction funds and polarised city politics.

Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and plummeting oil prices, Iraq's government is struggling to rake in enough monthly revenues to break even – pushing rebuilding even lower on its priorities list.

"Politicians keep telling us we need to go home," Hamed said, slamming the government's insistence on closing down the camps where more than one million Iraqis, rendered homeless by the fighting, are still seeking shelter.

"But how? Our homes are destroyed and there isn't a single public service that works."

According to a Norwegian Refugee Council survey in Mosul, over 270,000 people remain unable to return home and of those living there, 64 percent said they would be unable to pay rent in the next three months.

The following sites updated:

Thursday, July 09, 2020

A better world

I know many people who love animals.  They care for them, they embrace them.  I know people who love animals so much, they refuse to eat meat.  I know people who protest puppy mills and only adopt animals who are rescue animals. 

I could go on and on but my point is that there is a lot of love -- around the world -- for animals.

So if we won't save our planet for ourselves, could we try to save it for others?

Jessica Corbett (COMMON DREAMS) reports:

The U.S.-based Center for Biological Diversity warned Thursday of the "urgent action needed to save life on Earth" in response to a new global assessment revealing that nearly 27% of over 120,000 analyzed plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction.
"This assessment shows that one in four mammals are facing extinction, and although we don't prefer to think of ourselves as animals, we humans are mammals," Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at CBD, said in a statement. "We have to take bold and rapid action to reduce the huge damage we're doing to the planet if we're going to save whales, frogs, lemurs, and ultimately ourselves."
"We know what we need to do to end extinction," she added. "At this point it's a matter of political will to rapidly move away from fossil fuels, stamp out the wildlife trade, and overhaul the toxic ways we produce food. We really can do all of these things, but we need world leaders to stand up and do them."
Curry's comments came after the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Thursday announced an update to its Red List of Threatened Species, revealing that 32,441 of 120,372 assessed species are at risk.

The earth is in danger  We can't keep pretending otherwise. 

We have let corporations destroy our planet and they don't care, they just want as many pennies as they can grab. 

Can we imagine a better world?  Can we work for one?

Like Ben Harper, I believe in a better way.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, July 9, 2020.  Assassination, drawdown, terror, Iraq.

Starting with this ALJAZEERA report.

From Tuesday's snapshot:
In other news, AL-MONITOR notes:

Notable Iraqi security analyst Hisham al-Hashimi was assassinated in Baghdad today, according to multiple reports.
On Monday, Agence France Presse reported that Hashimi was walking out of his Baghdad home when three gunmen on two motorcycles shot and killed him at close range.
Hashimi was a known and respected commentator on Iraqi affairs who was particularly knowledgable on the Islamic State. Just about an hour before his death, he tweeted that division in Iraq was the result of the ethnic and religious quota system put in place following the 2003 US invasion. The tweet, which some shared after his death, has now been liked more than 11,500 times.

Horrifying video of the assassination today of #Iraq security expert Hisham al-Hashimi. Washington Post reports about threats al-Hashimi had received from #Iran-backed militia groups recently. 1/2

Oraid al-Rantawi (MEMO) explains, "Days before he was killed, Al-Hashimi announced the birth of a parliamentary bloc, which may be a base for Al-Kadhimi and his project, as he is a man without a bloc behind him. The bloc was duly formed with more than thirty members." Arwa Ibrahim (ALJAZEERA) notes, "Last month, al-Hashemi provided updates and insights to tens of thousands of his social media followers after Iraq's Counter Terrorism Service raided a Baghdad base of Kataib Hezbollah (KH), one of the groups under the umbrella of the PMF, over allegations it was behind rocket attacks on US and other diplomatic interests in Iraq."   AFP observes, "The killing of jihadism expert Husham al-Hashimi has stirred fears Iraq is entering a dark and violent phase, as boiling tensions between pro-Iran factions and the government reach new heights." Hammam Latif (ARAB WEEKLY) offers, "Observers say that with Hashemi’s assassination, the Iran-backed militias have killed more than one bird with the same stone. They got rid of a constant thorn in their side and a highly influential voice in directing public opinion against them, while also sending a warning to anyone who dares to criticise them."  Isabel Coles (WALL STREET JOURNAL) reports, "Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Iraq to hold to account those responsible for the assassination of a prominent Iraqi security analyst who had been threatened by Iran-backed militias, raising pressure on the new government to rein in the powerful paramilitary groups."  Pompeo was speaking at a press briefing.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo:  On Monday, Iraq tragically lost a patriot, prominent scholar, and journalist when Hisham al-Hashimi was brutally assassinated in front of his home in Baghdad.
Dr. Hashimi had devoted his life to a free and sovereign Iraq, and gave voice to the aspirations of the Iraqi people.  In the days leading up to his death, he was repeatedly threatened by Iran-backed armed groups.
And the United States joins partner nations in strongly condemning his assassination, and call for the Government of Iraq to bring to justice the perpetrators of this terrible crime and bring them swiftly to justice.

A peaceful protest was held on Tuesday evening in Baghdad's Tahrir Square to honour Al Hashimi as Iraqis and international colleagues mourned his loss.
Protesters held signs which read: "They assassinated the voice of truth with a fake bullet", and on social media videos circulated of TukTuk drivers sounding their horns outside his home in a show of solidarity and support.
The killing triggered fears that Iraq could enter a violent phase, as tensions between pro-Iranian factions and the government of Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi increase.
Mustafa spoke with al-Hashimi's family. Khaled Yacoub Oweis and Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) report:

"Do not cry. Your father was a hero, you'll grow up and become really proud of him," Mr Al Kadhimi told Al Hashmi's four children as he visited their home to pay his condolences.
"The world is proud of him, everyone, whether they are in Iraq or out, they are proud of him because he used to challenge terrorism in order to build a better future for you."
He told the boys that he would be responsible for them, ensuring they got a good education and were supported. "I will be your father and brother," he said.

The assassination of al-Hashmi, as we noted at THIRD, is one of those rare Iraqi deaths that actually get attention from the world media.  AFP reminds, "Already, there has been no accountability for more than 550 people killed in protest-related violence since October, when mass rallies slammed Iraq’s government as corrupt, inept and beholden to neighboring Iran. Among them are around two dozen activists who were shot dead, often by masked assailants on motorcycles."  In a separate report, AFP notes:

Hashemi’s killing appears to be a new challenge, said Iraqi politician Raed Fahmi.
“This is a political assassination that represents both the silencing of freedom of speech and a challenge to the government, its prime minister and any reform plan,” he said.
Other Iraqi activists said they had long feared being targeted for speaking out against Iran-backed groups.
“This could have been any one of us. Our friends have already been notified to leave immediately,” said Omar Mohammad, a historian who documented atrocities in Mosul under ISIS.
“If (Kadhimi) will not take a strong step, civil life in Iraq will vanish. But I’m afraid he won’t do it. It’s a suicidal mission,” he told AFP.

In other news, there was talk of a US withdrawal from Iraq.  We guessed it would actually be a drawdown.  The Pentagon made the distinction in 2011 when all US troops did not leave Iraq.  Much of the media ran with the lie that they were all removed.  Ted Koppel, on a short lived NBC news magazine and on NPR's now cancelled TALK OF THE TOWN, was one of the few to accurate report what was taking place.  Again, both programs he reported reality on are no more.  When talk started this year about a withdrawal, there were the usual idiots on the faux left telling us withdrawal was coming.  Turns out, being skeptical was a good position to take.  Ellen Mitchell (THE HILL) reports:

The top U.S. general in the Middle East predicts that a small amount of U.S. troops will remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future.
“I believe that going forward, they’re going to want us to be with them,” U.S. Central Command head Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie told reporters Tuesday after he met with Iraq’s new prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, according to The Associated Press.
“I don’t sense there’s a mood right now for us to depart precipitously. And I’m pretty confident of that.”

McKenzie is just the latest to predict that everyone would want US troops to remain at the end of the day, and he too cited the battle with ISIS, which Iraq’s government has presented as over for months. The US structured the talks on presence to tie it to diplomatic and economic ties, allowing the US to threaten isolation for expelling the unwelcome troops.

Since the parliament’s call for the US ouster, Iraq has gone through multiple PMs, and the post is now held by a pro-US official, which may add to the US sense that they can continue to push allies to keep troops there.

First paragraph?  Who the hell cares what the Iraqi government says about ISIS being vanquished when the reality is that it's not?  ISIS remains active in Iraq.  We've noted that reality has been ongoing.  I don't argue that the US military needs to stay in Iraq for ISIS -- that's Iraq's battle to fight.  But I also don't lie about ISIS and that's what Jason's doing when he cites a claim by the Iraqi government that is false and known to be false.  He cites their claim and presents it as fact when it's not.  I try to be nice but I'm so sick of liars.  I want the Iraq War over (I want this website over) but I'm not going lie.  

Second paragraph, that's not a valid vote in the Parliament.  Sunnis and Kurds boycotted and they didn't have a quorum.  

Now if you read 'reporting' on it -- I'm sure Jason did -- you might have gotten that impression because a bunch of US idiots not capable of writing headlines farmed out on the topic.

I get so damn tired of doing the work required while the Jason Ditzy are able to just write whatever lie they want.  Here's another lie he serves up in the article, " Iraq’s parliament had unanimously voted to call on the US to leave, though the US has not recognized that vote, and has ruled out leaving repeatedly."  Even the people leaving comments at ANTIWAR.COM call Ditzy out for that lie.

This is how ANTIWAR.COM's ''news editor'' 'reports'?  

No wonder the Iraq War never ends.

It's cute, like the way they pretend they're fair and they all have their agendas.  I don't know what the Kurds ever did to so many US outlets but it's apparently so awful that they don't ever have to report accurately on the Kurds.  They can -- and, after all, did -- attack the Kurds for holding a non-binding referendum.

And they can -- and do -- ignore Turkey's continued assault on Iraq.

Iraqi President Barham Salih reiterated Wednesday that  neighboring Turkey must suspend its recent offensive against alleged Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in the Kurdistan Region and disputed territories of Iraq, describing the ongoing operations as a “military violation” on Iraqi soil.

Receiving a number of Arab countries’ ambassadors to Iraq, Salih stressed that Iraq maintains its sovereignty and “reiterated that Turkey has to suspend its military violations on the Iraqi soil,” according to a statement from his office. 

Click here for garbage and trash.  We may take that apart next time.  We may not -- life is too short.  Not that the writer of the piece would note -- notice how the deaths of Iraqis are ignored except for a sweeping statement but the claims of the Turkish government are presented as fact.  Garbage. Trash.

Turkey is not trying to end terrorism, the government is actively terrorizing Kurds -- in Iraq and in Turkey.  Pinar Tremblay (AL-MONITOR) explains:

Picture this: A woman is home alone in Diyarbakir province in Turkey's Kurdish-majority southeast. At 5 a.m., 100 policemen from counterterrorism and special forces units storm the apartment, instructing the neighbors to stay inside and not communicate with anyone. Then they sledgehammer the door and unleash two police dogs to attack Sevil Rojbin Cetin. But that is only the beginning. 
Cetin is an activist in women’s movements and a former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) mayor, elected in 2014 and replaced by a government appointee in 2016.
Cetin was interrogated for 3½ hours in her apartment while her legs were bleeding from multiple dog bites. The apartment was turned upside down, while she was blindfolded and beaten.
She was stripped half naked with her hands tied, while photos were taken of her. The physical and sexual torture was coupled with verbal abuses; a gun was held to her head. “At one point she was taken to the balcony and the officer told her, ‘If your apartment was on the 5th floor, you would have jumped by now and we would not have to deal with you,” said Meral Danis Bestas, a pro-Kurdish HDP lawmaker.
Cetin’s Attorney Gulistan Ates, who took photos of her injuries after the ordeal and shared them with the press, was called to the police station and an investigation has been launched against him. 

We'll wind down with this webinar. 

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

NETFLIX's latest trouble


Are you surprised?  I'm really not.  They cancel everything these days.

The days of them having long running shows like ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, GRACE AND FRANKIE and HOUSE OF CARDS is over.

They think they can build a loyal audience -- of paying subscribers - by offering shows that only last 3 or 4 seasons -- and remember, this is not a season of 22 episodes or more.  This is a season of 8 to 13 episodes.

I don't think it's going to work for them.

DEAD TO ME, another NETFLIX series, will have it's last season next year with season 3.  That's what they think builds an audience.

I think it just runs people away.

Long running shows have always had loyal audiences -- the LAW AND ORDER progrmas, GUNSMOKE, THE SIMPSONS, FRIENDS, CHEERS, WILL & GRACE, THE COSBY SHOW (which remains popular despite Bill Cosby being in prison), etc.

When you cancel a person's favorite TV show, you piss them off.  NETFLIX is pissing off a lot of people.  This is going to impact whether or not people want to pay each month to have a service that cancels their favorite shows over and over.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, July 8, 2020.  Assault in the US military is a common thing, it's a known thing, it's something that the Congress enables and encourages by looking the other way.

I'm not real fond of regular occurences being reported as isolated events.  Or in hosts who'd rather give shout outs to their personal favorite members of Congress than actually explore an ongoing issue.

"AOC also Tweeted about it . . ." "Tulis Gabbard led on it . . ."

Oh, just the shut the f**k up.

I am so tired of so-called public affairs programs that don't know a damn thing.

Where's Claire McCaskill's name?

If you can't call out Claire, sit your tired and stupid ass down.

Claire is the one who blocked this issue,  Senator Kirsten Gillibrand knows that very well.  Claire was supposed to be a supporter but when Kistern was working -- with veterans groups -- to get this matter moved to real courts -- not 'military justice' -- Claire's the one who blocked that.

There's that.

There's Suzanne Swift.

America didn't want to address that, did they?

Bully Boy Bush was in the White House when Suzanne self-checked out of the military.  Why?  Command rape.  And she reported it.  And nothing was done.  

There is no 'military justice.'  There are 'good old boys' who cover for one another and even getting convicted in a military court of rape just means it can't be wiped away by a high serving military official -- can be and has.  Let's get back to Suzanne.  Here she is speaking with Courage to Resist:

Courage to Resist: So -- so then you got to Iraq.  Now tell me, when did the difficulties start? 
Suzanne Swift: Almost immediately.  We weren't even too Iraq yet.  We were still staging in Kuwait and I had a platoon sergeant proposition me basically for sex and I was just completely in shock because, you know, these people are supposed to be like your parents -- especially when you're brand new, or like a brand new, young soldier.  It's really appalling that someone would do that.
Courage to Resist: And how did you respond?
Suzanne Swift: Oh I told him no and then I told a couple of other people what had happened and kind of just like put it out there to see if he'd get any advice back.  And I ended up talking to the Equal Opportunity Representative about it and he said that he would -- he would talk to the commander and that he would figure out what to do about it and then nothing ever came of that.  Ever.
Courage to Resist: Nothing ever came of it? And did the propositions continue?
Suzanne Swift: Not from that particular person but from another person -- yeah, it sure did. 
Courage to Resist: So you went from Kuwait to Iraq and where were you stationed in Iraq? 
Suzanne Swift: Karbala, Iraq.
Courage to Resist: And that's where your more serious troubles began, is that right?
Suzanne Swift: Yeah.
Courage to Resist: Do you want to talk about some of that?
Suzanne Swift: Um.  I -- it's kind of hard to talk about.  I guess I've done it before though.  I was basically coerced into a -- into a sexual relationship with -- with my superior.  And when I tried to end it -- it went on for a few months -- when I tried to end it, he used every -- every resource he had available to make my life miserable -- to punish me for it.
Courage to Resist: And tell me the ways that he punished you.
Suzanne Swift: He would just -- he would tell me the wrong times to be at somewhere and then punish me for being late or not being at the right place and just do little things that would make me look bad.  And he'd like spread rumors about -- about me and then like, I don't know.  He just made me look bad in every possible way.  And then would punish me for making me look bad.
Courage to Resist: Now what was his position in your unit?
Suzanne Swift: Uh, he was a squad leader.  He was in a staff sergeant position but he was as a sergeant as an E-5.
Courage to Resist: So he was your squad leader and as your superior he did everything he could to make your life miserable when you refused to continue the relationship he had coerced you into?
Suzanne Swift: Right.
Courage to Resist: And what did you do about that?
Suzanne Swift: Nothing, honestly, you know, I just kept my head down and tried to stay out of trouble.
Courage to Resist: Did he continue his sexual pursuit of you? 
Suzanne Swift: Not once the punishment started, no.
Courage to Resist: Did you ever try to report this?
Suzanne Swift: I told a bunch of people.  Look, everybody knew what was going on.  Just nobody wanted to fix it and plus what was the point?  That was my frame of mind then.  And he had -- he had also made it like -- with the way he was treating me -- he made it look like I was just a bad soldier.  So even if I had reported it, he could have just told them like, "Oh, she's just not -- because I punish her, she's making it all up." 
Courage to Resist: So he really had you in a bind.
Suzanne Swift: Yeah.  I mean, I could have reported it but it probably wouldn't have come of anything even if it did, I also would have got in trouble, so what was the point?
Courage to Resist: And this continued all the time you were there? 
Suzanne Swift: Mmm-hmm.  It stopped right before we were heading back to the States and then he just pretended I wasn't there.
Courage to Resist: Were there any other incidents with your other superiors or was that it?

Suzanne Swift: Yeah, once we got back to the States I moved to a new unit that was standing up and I had a squad leader who -- he didn't proposition me for sex, he would just say little nasty things to me
Courage to Resist: Did you have the sense that he knew about the other situation?
Suzanne Swift: No, I never really thought about it.
Courage to Resist: And the things he said to you, were they sexual innuendos?
Suzanne Swift: Right, he would -- yeah.  He was my team leader and he would -- he would just say, he'd call me at night and be like, "What are you wearing?" And like he'd call me for work-related stuff and be like, "Oh, what color of panties do you have on?" Like, "What are you doing right now?  Oh, you just got out of the shower?  So you're naked right now?"
Courage to Resist: Oh my goodness.
Suzanne Swift: Yeah, he was just a pervy, little guy.
Courage to Resist: Did you report this guy?
Suzanne Swift: I absolutely did.  I was in the States and I had been -- I had just been through enough that I was like, "You know what? This guy is not getting away with it."
Courage to Resist: And who'd you report him to?
Suzanne Swift: I reported it to the Equal Opportunity Representative and he did his job for once and took it up higher to the commander.
Courage to Resist: What did the commander do?
Suzanne Swift: They did an investigation during which they accused me of sleeping with him and gave me a class from my commander on how to prevent sexual harassment from happening to me.
Courage to Resist: And they did nothing to the guy that was harassing you?

Suzanne Swift: He got -- he got a very harshly worded letter of reprimand.  But that was it.
Courage to Resist: That was it and you were seen as colluding in his sexual aggression.  You were treated the way many women are when the victim of sexual aggression is blamed.
Suzanne Swift: Yeah.  'Okay, let me figure out really quick how to prevent sexual harassment -- cause it's my fault when it happens, right?'

I remember Suzanne Swift's mother wondering publicly where were the feminist leaders?

None came forward to defend Suzanne Swift.

The way the military treated Suzanne Swift is appalling and inexcusable; however, it needs to be noted that this is typical and for those who doubt it, zoom in on a class to 'teach' women how not to be sexually harassed which goes to the problems with the military.  The person who needs instruction is not the victim.  By pushing the burden off on the victim, the military is stating that harassment has two willing parties -- the harasser and the harasseree.  As long as they're allowed to push that lie, don't ever expect the culture to improve. 

Do we want to talk about how the US military created a program that Congress went along with?  A program that gave rapists a pass?  We were at those hearings and we remain the only one to ever call the woman over the program out.  

The program would 'allow' (encourage) a woman to report an assault anonymously.  This would keep it out of the official record.  It would also prevent prosecution of the rapist.  Now prosecution needs to be moved to the civil courts -- the military has made clear that they can not handle assault.

Grasp that five men gang raped Abeer.  Oh, that's right, it's time to spoonfeed again since so many outlets ignored the gang rape and the military hearings that took place in Iraq and the US hearings.  

May 7, 2009 Steven D. Green was convicted for his crimes in the  March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the murder of her parents and the murder of her five-year-old sister while Green was serving in Iraq. Green was found to have killed all four, to have participated in the gang-rape of Abeer and to have been the ringleader of the conspiracy to commit the crimes and the conspiracy to cover them up. May 21, 2009, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty.

Alsumaria explained, "An ex-US soldier was found guilty for raping an Iraqi girl and killing her family in 2006 while he might face death sentence.  . . . Eye witnesses have reported that Green shot dead the girl’s family in a bedroom while two other soldiers were raping her. Then, Green raped her in his turn and put a pillow on her face before shooting her. The soldiers set the body afire to cover their crime traces."

Evan Bright reported on the verdict:

As the jury entered the court room, Green(red sweater vest) let out a large sigh, not of relief, but seemingly of anxiety, knowing the weight of the words to come. As Judge Thomas Russell stated "The court will now publish the verdict," Green interlaced his fingers and clasped them over his chin. Russell read the verdict flatly and absolutely. Green went from looking down at each "guilty" to eyeing the jury. His shoulders dropped as he was convicted of count #11, aggravated sexual abuse, realizing what this means. A paralegal at the defense table consoled Green by patting him on his back, even herself breaking down crying at the end of the verdicts.
After Russell finished reading the verdicts, he begged questions of the respective attorneys. Wendelsdorf, intending to ensure the absolution of the verdict, requested the jury be polled. Honorable Judge Russell asked each juror if they agreed with these verdicts, receiving a simple-but-sufficient yes from all jurors. Green watched the jury flatly.

From the September 4th, 2009 snapshot:

Turning to the United States and what may be the only accountability for the crimes in Iraq.  May 7th Steven D. Green (pictured above) was convicted for his crimes in March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the murder of her parents and the murder of her five-year-old sister while Green was serving in Iraq. Green was found to have killed all four, to have participated in the gang-rape of Abeer and to have been the ringleader of the conspiracy to commit the crimes and the conspiracy to cover them up. May 21st, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty and instead kicking in sentence to life in prison. Today, Green stood before US District Judge Thomas B. Russell for sentencing. Kim Landers (Australia's ABC) quotes Judge Russell telling Green his actions were "horrifying and inexcusable."  Not noted in any of the links in this snapshot (it comes from a friend present in the court), Steven Dale Green has dropped his efforts to appear waif-ish in a coltish Julia Roberts circa the 1990s manner.  Green showed up a good twenty pounds heavier than he appeared when on trial, back when the defense emphasized his 'lanky' image by dressing him in oversized clothes.  Having been found guilty last spring, there was apparently no concern that he appear frail anymore. 
Italy's AGI reports, "Green was recognised as the leader of a group of five soldiers who committed the massacre on September 12 2006 at the Mahmudiyah check point in the south of Baghdad. The story inspired the 2007 masterpiece by Brian De Palma 'Redacted'."  BBC adds, "Judge Thomas Russell confirmed Green would serve five consecutive life sentences with no chance of parole."  Deborah Yetter (Courier-Journal) explains, "Friday's federal court hearing was devoted mostly to discussion of technical issues related to Green's sentencing report, although it did not change Green's sentence. He was convicted in May of raping and murdering Abeer al-Janabi, 14, and murdering her parents, Kassem and Fakhriya, and her sister, Hadeel, 6, at their home outside Baghdad."
Green was tried in civilian court because he had already been discharged before the War Crimes were discovered.  Following the gang-rape and murders, US soldiers attempted to set fire to Abeer's body to destroy the evidence and attempted to blame the crimes on "insurgents."  In real time, when the bodies were discovered, the New York Times was among the outlets that ran with "insurgents."  Green didn't decide he wanted to be in the military on his own.  It was only after his most recent arrest -- after a long string of juvenile arrests -- while  sitting in jail and fearing what sentence he would face, that Green decided the US Army was just the place he wanted to be.  Had he been imprisoned instead or had the US military followed rules and guidelines, Green wouldn't have gotten in on a waiver.  Somehow his history was supposed to translate into "He's the victim!!!!"  As if he (and the others) didn't know rape was a crime, as if he (and the others) didn't know that murder was considered wrong.  Green attempted to climb up on the cross again today.  AP's Brett Barrouguere quotes the 'victim' Green insisting at today's hearing, "You can act like I'm a sociopath.  You can act like I'm a sex offender or whatever.  If I had not joined the Army, if I had not gone to Iraq, I would not have got caught up in anything."  Climb down the cross, drama queen.  Your entire life was about leading up to a moment like that.  You are a sociopath.  You stalked a 14-year-old Iraqi girl while you were stationed at a checkpoint in her neighborhood.  You made her uncomfortable and nervous, you stroked her face.  She ran to her parents who made arrangements for her to go live with others just to get her away from you, the man the army put there to protect her and the rest of the neighborhood.  You are one sick f**k and you deserve what you got.  Green play drama queen and insist "you can act like I'm a sex offender" -- he took part in and organized a gang-rape of a 14-year-old girl.  That's a sex offender.  In fact, "sex offender" is a mild term for what Green is.
Steven D. Green made the decision to sign up for the US military.  He was facing criminal punishment for his latest crimes, but he made the decision.  Once in the military, despite his long history of arrests, he didn't see it as a chance to get a fresh start.  He saw it as a passport for even more crimes.  What he did was disgusting and vile and it is War Crimes and by doing that he disgraced himself and the US military.  His refusal to take accountability today just demonstrates the realities all along which was Green did what he wanted and Green has no remorse.  He sullied the name of the US military, he sullied the name of the US.  As a member of the army, it was his job to follow the rules and the laws and he didn't do so.  And, as a result, a retaliation kidnapping of US soldiers took place in the spring of 2006 and those soldiers were strung up and gutted.  That should weigh heavily on Steven D. Green but there's no appearance that he's ever thought of anyone but himself.  He wants to act as if the problem was the US military which requires that you then argue that anyone serving in Iraq could have and would have done what he did.  That is not reality.  He does not represent the average soldier and he needs to step down from the cross already.
 AFP notes, "During closing arguments at his sentencing, Green was described alternately as 'criminal and perverse' and deserving of the death penalty, and as a 'broken warrior" whose life should be spared'."  Brett Barrouquere (AP) has been covering the story for years now.  He notes that Patrick Bouldin (defense) attempted to paint Green as the victim as well by annoucing that Green wanted to take responsibility "twice" before but that Assistant US Attorney Marisa Ford explained that was right before jury selection began and in the midst of jury selection.  In other words, when confronted with the reality that he would be going to trial, Steven D. Green had a panic moment and attempted to make a deal with the prosecution.  (The offer was twice rejected because the 'life in prison' offer included the defense wanting Green to have possible parole.)  Steve Robrahn, Andrew Stern and Paul Simao (Reuters) quote US Brig Gen Rodney Johnson ("Commanding General of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command") stating, "We sincerely hope that today's sentencing helps to bring the loved ones of this Iraqi family some semblance of closure and comfort after this horrific and senseless act."

Green went into the military to avoid criminal charges on another issue.  He was one of many that the military lowered the standards for.

May 28, 2009, the family of Abeer gave their statements to the court before leaving to return to Iraq.WHAS11 (text and video) reported on the court proceedings:

Gary Roedemeier: Crimes were horrific. A band of soldiers convicted of planning an attack against an Iraqi girl and her family.

Melissa Swan: The only soldier tried in civilian court is Steven Green. The Fort Campbell soldier was in federal court in Louisville this morning, facing the victims' family and WHAS's Renee Murphy was in that courtroom this morning. She joins us live with the information and also more on that heart wrenching scene of when these family members faced the man who killed their family.

Renee Murphy: I mean, they came face to face with the killer. Once again, the only thing different about this time was that they were able to speak with him and they had an exchange of dialogue and the family is here from Iraq and they got to ask Steven Green all the questions they wanted answered. They looked each other in the eye. Green appeared calm and casual in court. The victims' family, though, outraged, emotional and distraught. Now cameras were not allowed in the courtroom so we can't show video of today's hearing but here's an account of what happened. (Video begins] This is a cousin of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl raped and killed by Steven Green. He and other family members in this SUV were able to confront Green in federal court this morning. Their words were stinging and came from sheer grief. Former Fort Campbell soldier Steven Green was convicted of killing an Iraqi mother, father and their young daughter. He then raped their 14-year-old daughter, shot her in the head and set her body on fire. Today the victim's family was able to give an impact statement at the federal court house the young sons of the victims asked Green why he killed their father. an aunt told the court that "wounds are still eating at our heart" and probably the most compelling statements were from the girls' grandmother who sobbed from the stand and demanded an explanation from Green. Green apologized to the family saying that he did evil things but he is not an evil person. He says that he was drunk the night of the crimes in 2006 and he was following the orders of his commanding officers. In his statement, Green said if it would bring these people back to life I would do everything I could to make them execute me. His statement goes on to say, "Before I went to Iraq, I never thought I would intentionally kill a civilian. When I was in Iraq, something happened to me that I can only explain by saying I lost my mind. I stopped seeing Iraqis as good and bad, as men, women and children. I started seeing them all as one, and evil, and less than human." Green didn't act alone. His codefendants were court-martialed and received lesser sentences. Green will be formally sentenced to life in prison in September. [End of videotape.] The answers that Green gave were not good enough for some of the family members. at one point today, the grandmother of the young girls who were killed left the podium and started walking towards Green as he sat at the defendant's table shouting "Why!" She was forcibly then escorted to the back of the court room by US Marshalls. She then fell to the ground and buried her face in her hands and began to cry again. The family pleaded with the court for the death sentence for Green. but you can see Green's entire statement to the court on our website and coming up tonight at six o'clock, we're going to hear from Green's attorneys. 

Steven D. Green was convicted of War Crimes.  February 18, 2014, Green killed himself in prison.  Don't feel safe.  Four others were involved and they now roam the US freely.  Maybe you see them at the grocery store?  Paul Cortez, Jesse Spielman, Bryan Howard and James P. Barker faced 'military justice.'  Which is why they walk free -- Howard was 'just' the lookout.  For the planned gang-rape, for the planned murders.  Cortez, Barker and Spielman were participants in the gang-rape.  

All four get to walk freely in the US today.  

Abeer doesn't.  She was gang raped and murdered.  Her parents and her younger sister were killed -- in the next room, so that Abeer would hear it -- while Abeer was being gang raped.

The four and Green and Howard plotted this action ahead of time.  They watched.  They figured out the family schedule and when would be the best time to strike.  Then they went off base and did so.

They are pedophiles, they are rapists, they are murderers.

And America's 'safer' with them on the street?

The only one who faced real justice was Green.


Because he was tried in a civilian court.  He had already discharged when the crimes emerged so he faced a real court.  The other four got 'military justice' which apparently says you can rape a young girl, you can kill her, you can kill her family, you can plot this whole thing ahead of time and you can go on with your lives. 

War Hawk Joe Biden Tweeted something stupid that I thought would be the focus of this snapshot.  He Tweeted that the greatest duty the government has to those who serve is to keep them safe.

Well, Joe, you were in the Senate for how many decades?  And you did nothing to help women in the military.  You were in the Senate when the gang rape and murder of Abeer surfaced and you did nothing -- chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, you should have done something.

Dropping back to the July 1st snapshot:

In other news,  Vanessa Guillen is dead.  Her body has been found.  She went missing in April.  She had told her family she was a victim of assault.  Christine Carrega (ABC NEWS) reports:

The remains, which will undergo an identification process, were found near where a previous search was conducted on June 22, officials with the Army Criminal Investigation Division said.
"After receiving additional information, agents have discovered what has been described as partial human remains after analysis from a forensic anthropologist," said CID Chief of Public Affairs Chris Grey.
"Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, no further information will be released at this time," Grey said.
The discovery came on the same day that Guillen's family announced they were seeking a congressional investigation into the 20-year-old's disappearance.
Guillen was last seen in the parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron headquarters at the Fort Hood military base on April 22, and has not been heard from since.

Before Guillen went missing, she had told her family that she was being sexually harassed by one of her sergeants at Fort Hood, according to the website her family set up to promote the search. She did not identify the sergeant.
    Guillen, a private first class, was last seen wearing a black T-shirt and purple fitness-type pants, according to the Army CID. Her car keys, room key, identification card and wallet were later found in the armory room where she was working earlier that day.
    Guillen is described as 5 feet 2 inches, 126 pounds with black hair and brown eyes, according to the Army CID statement.

    FOX West Texas Tweets:

    That day I was reminded of another woman and I'm sure community members were as well.  Dropping back to January 10, 2008:

    Maria Lauterbach is missing.  AP reports she is eight-months pregnant and a Lance Corporal marine whose mother filed a missing person report on her December 19th.  CNN reports that she "was assaulted by a superior officer" and, according to Sherrif Ed Brown, that she was due to give testimony about the assault.  WARL reports, "Lauterbach's debit card was used on Christmas Eve to withdraw money from an automated teller machine, according to an affidavit attached to a search warrant in the case.  The white man who used the card tried to cover the ATM camera with a rag, the affidavit said."  Margo Rutledge Kissell (Dayton Daily News) reports, "Onslow County Sherriff Ed Brown said in a news conference Thursday that the Marine sergeant who had been deployed to California is being brought back to North Carolina 'so we can look him in the eyes and ask him some questions.'  Brown said the decision to return him came after authorities met Wednesday with the commander at Camp Lejeune, where Lauterback is stationed."  Rutledge Kissel also notes that Lauterbach's baby "is due Tuesday".  

    Marine Corporal Cesar Laurean was the man who murdered her.  He was the father of the child she was expecting.  He murdered her and buried her in a pit in his backyard.

    This is not an isolated event and, were the more time, we could easily note 20 other women who were  assaulted in the last 15 years while the US military looked the other way.

     Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Lady Liberty" went up last night.  New content at THIRD:

    The following sites updated: