Thursday, November 06, 2014

The rich could stop Ebola in a day

Socialist Worker front page
The number of billionaires has doubled, while Ebola could be halted with just £600 million. We need to take their wealth off them.

The world’s 85 richest fat cats are getting £50,000 richer every second, a new report from the Oxfam charity reveals.
The number of billionaires has doubled.
Ebola could be halted with just £600 million - we need to take their wealth off them.
The Ebola crisis which has already killed 5,000 people in west Africa could be halted with £600 million, the World Health ­Organisation has said. 
If we took the increase alone, this sum could be raised in 34 hours.
That would mean enough quarantine beds could be set up.
And it could provide food so that no one had to break quarantine to avoid starving.
In some areas of Sierra Leone infected people die in the streets.
There are not enough protective suits for people who collect the bodies.
These suits cost just £38. 
Elsewhere overcrowded treatment centres turn people away.
Once this crisis was contained, the money the rich hoard would still be more than enough to develop a cure for Ebola.
It could stop the spread of other terrible diseases, and make sure that everyone has enough to eat.
But the rich will never give back the wealth that workers have created. 
We need to force them to give it up.

That's something to think about it and think about seriously.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, November 6, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack tosses more US taxpayer dollars down the drain as he repeats Bully Boy Bush's mistake, the State Dept manages to yack and Tweet but fails to do their job, Iraq's president says something worth saying, and much more.

AFP reports, "United States President Barack Obama will ask lawmakers on Friday for an additional US$3.2 billion (S$4.14 billion) to pay for the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including funds to train and arm Baghdad government forces, officials said on Thursday."


Not: "Why does AFP report it?"

AFP reports it because it's news.

Why does Barack want to waste more billions on the Iraq War?

It's not his money.

He works for the taxpayer so the why is blowing their money?

It's not his to blow and it's not Congress' to blow.

In yesterday's snapshot, we noted:

Matt Bradley and Ghassan Adnan (Wall St. Journal) report on the budgets (2014 and 2015) today and also on the conflict between the KRG and Baghdad while getting it right -- something few do -- about what came first (Nouri's withholding the 17% of the federal budget the Kurds are entitled to) in this economic battle.  As the 2014 budget continues to elude the Iraqi government, new prime minister Aider al-Abadi is making weapons and violence his spending priority and slashing everything else:

Mr. Abadi’s cuts have pushed budget expenditures this year down to 137 trillion Iraqi dinars ($117.9 billion) from a projected outlay of 171 trillion ($147.16 billion).
The cuts have been painful. Plans were scrapped to hire some 37,000 new government employees—including doctors and teachers—and raises were delayed for existing ones. The government has also postponed plans for new student loans and scholarships, said Majda al-Tamimi, who represents the government-allied Sadrist bloc on the finance committee.
There’s even talk in parliament of cutting spending on orphans and on elementary-education projects, according to some lawmakers.

That helps no one, that's nonsense and it's outrageous but set aside the ethical issues.
It's also stupid politics.
Deeply stupid.
Iraqis need jobs.  Iraq needs doctors and teachers.
The inability to create jobs in the recent past in Iraq led to what?
Oh, that's right, Sunnis joining al Qaeda in Iraq.
Gutting student loans and scholarships?
Exactly what the hell is al-Abadi doing.
And let's stop lying that he's protecting the country.
Getting foreigners to bomb your own country from airplanes -- and tossing a few of your war planes into the air -- is not providing safety or addressing any issues.

That's how Iraq has to suffer due to their inept government.

What is with all this money wasted on bombs?

Do Barack and Haider al-Abadi really think people are that stupid?

It's money wasted.

It's money wasted ethically, yes.

It's money that could be spent elsewhere, yes.

But it's money wasted in the most basic sense.

Bombs from the air are not going to stop the Islamic State.

The only thing that will is a political solution.

But in terms of military actions?  Bombing from the air is a waste of time.

Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports:

The Iraqi government asks foreign counties for military support, including equipment and training of security forces, but the country does not want foreign troops in its territory to fight the Islamic State (IS), Iraq Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said in the Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday.
"Only Iraqi people will fight in territory of Iraq," al-Jaafari, who is paying a visit to Turkey, said at a conference in the International Strategic Research Organization in Ankara.

Only Iraqi people will fight.

Some say:  If only Iraqi people would fight.

The Sunnis have been targeted, hunted down and killed.  And this took place for four years, throughout Nouri al-Maliki's second term.  (It also took place in the first term but that's a reality few wanted to face.  The press called ethnic cleansing a "civil war" and as millions of Sunnis were displaced, pretended it wasn't happening.)

The Sunnis have no reason to "buy in" on a government that's hunted them and killed them and imprisoned them.

But as usual the press misses that point.

The point about the Sunnis?

We've been making it here for years even if most western outlets only picked it up earlier this year.

When Nouri attacked Basra in 2008, the press played up a 'coward' angle on the Iraqi military.

The ones leaving, weren't cowards.

They're the same ones who didn't fight in Mosul.

And elsewhere.

The press ignores that fact.

The White House insists that the answer is training.

How stupid are we and how stupid do we want to remain?

No, Shi'ites aren't targeted by the Iraqi government the way that Sunnis are.

But the government hasn't served them either.

It's not cowardice that makes them say, "It's not worth it."

They walk away because they have no investment in the government because the government hasn't done a damn thing for them.

Barack and spend a billion a day 'training' the Iraqi military, it doesn't mean a damn thing.

Are Iraqis willing to die for their government?

Many are not and the reason's simple: It's not their government.

It's a bunch of fat cats who've gotten rich since the start of the illegal war.

It's largely a bunch of cowards who fled Iraq until after the US military sent Saddam Hussein running from Baghdad.  Then the cowards came back.

(Being officials, they are 'protected' by the press which will immediately call an Iraqi soldier a "coward" but won't dare apply the term to an official.)

Iraq was not empty land.

The US efforts to install these exiles into the government are not just an insult, they make the Baghdad-based government seem foreign.

And while Shi'ites, Sunnis, Kurds, Yazidis, Christians, et al are at risk daily, the politicians live in the Green Zone.  While so many Iraqis live in poverty, the Green Zone politicians live high on the hog.

As you and your family struggle and the government does nothing for you, why would you be willing to die for it?

It's a government with no real standing.

Again, the Shi'ites haven't been targeted and hunted by it the way that the Sunnis have.  But the average Shi'ite also hasn't been served by the government.

Training isn't the issue.

A government worth fighting for is what's needed and what Baghdad has failed to provide Iraqis with.

Hundreds of thousands of foreign troops -- US, UK, etc -- had to spend years on the ground to give the government a chance to do something, a chance to prove it was legitimate.

It failed repeatedly.

Now Barack's making the same mistake Bully Boy Bush made.  Time and again, the focus was going to be political.  The 'surge'?  Remember that failed effort?

Bully Boy Bush said the increased number of US troops sent into Iraq would provide the Iraqi government with space to work towards political solutions.

But it never happened.

The 'surge' was a failure.

Not because of the US military.  The military did all it was asked.

But it did that, in Bully Boy Bush's own words, to create a space for Iraqi politicians to move forward on issues facing the country.

Barack has wasted over a half billion dollars bombing since August 8th and there's nothing to show for it.

There's no political solution.

Barack's wasting the money of the US taxpayer.

He's wasting in on war, yes.

But he's wasting it on idiotic, stupid moves.

The US State Dept is supposed to be over diplomacy.

But they apparently don't know how to do their job or else they're to busy trying to become the Defense Dept.

At another useless State Dept press briefing, the talk was all about the Islamic State.

Not a thing about political solutions, not a thing about diplomacy.

NINA reports:

President Fuad Masum said on Thursday that reconciliation is not a goal but a means to peace, which is an important necessity.

He said in his speech in "the Middle East forum for dialogue and reconciliation" today that unfortunately, reconciliation was formerly a recruitment mission to visit some provinces and meet some of the tribal leaders and staff, then it ends.

He added that "all the world is interested in supporting Iraq in the face of the IS organization, and even countries that did not participate the international alliance against terrorism interested in helping Iraq, but we as Iraqis, are we ready for this confrontation? adding I think we have not yet reached this level because of a old divisions and sensitivities.

The president called to "reconsider some of the laws and procedures," and urged people to take advantage of the experiences in South Africa and Ireland.

That's exactly the message the US State Dept should be fostering, should be advancing.

When not partaking in edging (shhhh, no one's supposed to talk about the sexual controversy in his present, only in his past), Brett McGurk loves to Tweet.

He didn't Tweet about what Iraq's President said, did he?


But he did Tweet today:

Maybe all that time edging drains too much blood from Brett's brain?  That might be why he forgets that his titles are: Ambassador, Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs (Iran and Iraq).

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Oh, Barbra Streisand, really?

I didn't want to look.

But everyone kept calling me and laughing at Barbra Streisand.

These are some of her Tweets:

Golly, Babs, I don't know that I'd quote the man who dropped nukes on Japan -- when the war was over -- a mongrel, a piece of human filth like Truman.

You'd think even a whore like Barbra would have some limits.

But she's just a whore these days.



Barbra's a Jew and she's applauding Truman?  Who put Nazis to work in the US government?

It's funny because of:

"Ruth's Report: Harry Truman's fondness for War Criminals" and  "Ruth's Report: Barbra: A few thoughts"

Ruth wrote about her disgust with Truman and with Barbra recently and now Babs is defending the Nazi-lover Truman.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, November 5, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack wants to talk Iraq, there's talk of trying to get Congress to authorize his bombing of Iraq,  Haider al-Abadi looks ever weaker, the Iraqi people will suffer greatly under his proposed budget and much more.

In DC today, US President Barack Obama held a rare (and brief) press conference.

President Barack Obama: Ed Henry.  I missed you guys.  I haven't done this in a while.

Q    I know, I’ve missed you.  Thank you, Mr. President.  I haven't heard you say a specific thing during this news conference that you would do differently.  You’ve been asked it a few different ways.  I understand you’re going to reach out, but you’ve talked about doing that before.  It’s almost like you’re doubling down on the same policies and approach you’ve had for six years.  So my question is, why not pull a page from the Clinton playbook and admit you have to make a much more dramatic shift in course for these last two years?
And on ISIS, there was pretty dramatic setback in the last few days with it appearing that the Syrian rebels have been routed.  There are some Gitmo detainees who have rejoined the battlefield, helping ISIS and other terror groups, is what the reports are suggesting.  So my question is, are we winning?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think it’s too early to say whether we are winning, because as I said at the outset of the ISIL campaign, this is going to be a long-term plan to solidify the Iraqi government, to solidify their security forces, to make sure that in addition to air cover that they have the capacity to run a ground game that pushes ISIL back from some of the territories that they had taken, that we have a strong international coalition that we’ve now built, but that they are on the ground providing the training, providing the equipment, providing the supplies that are necessary for Iraqis to fight on behalf of their territory.

I understand what Barack means when he says "long-term plan to solidify the Iraqi government," but I understood him when he was talking about how the only answer was a political solution.

So my question is, is he sincere or lying?

If he's sincere, it would those supposedly working with him or either stupid or working to subvert his aims.

Barack held today's press conference in an attempt to move the focus off away from Tuesday's election results which saw wins for the Republicans and losses for the Democrats with debate as to how much Barack impacted the Democrats' losses.

How bad were the election returns seen for Barack?

So bad that he wanted to talk Iraq.

We'll join him in moving the focus to Iraq here.

Tuesday morning, we noted:

Word is the Kurds have about had it with al-Abadi.
But you don't see that in the press do you?
Last week, not covered in the US or western press, former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani sent a delegation to Baghdad to speak about serious issues and how the rift between the KRG and the central government out of Baghdad was again widening.  Among the issues resurfacing are the failure of al-Abadi to pass a budget for 2014 or 2015 (he inherited the failure to pass the 2014 budget) and the attempts to prevent the Kurds from selling their own oil.
At a time when the KRG is denied federal funds and when the KRG's fighters (the Peshmerga) are carrying a heavy load, Talabani's delegation expressed the opinion that now is not the time to be pursuing Nouri's failed politics.
Though pleasantries were exchanged, the delegation wasn't stupid enough to be mollified by pretty words.  If the rift widens, look for things to get even worse in Iraq -- and who would have thought that was possible?

Matt Bradley and Ghassan Adnan (Wall St. Journal) report on the budgets (2014 and 2015) today and also on the conflict between the KRG and Baghdad while getting it right -- something few do -- about what came first (Nouri's withholding the 17% of the federal budget the Kurds are entitled to) in this economic battle.  As the 2014 budget continues to elude the Iraqi government, new prime minister Aider al-Abadi is making weapons and violence his spending priority and slashing everything else:

Mr. Abadi’s cuts have pushed budget expenditures this year down to 137 trillion Iraqi dinars ($117.9 billion) from a projected outlay of 171 trillion ($147.16 billion).
The cuts have been painful. Plans were scrapped to hire some 37,000 new government employees—including doctors and teachers—and raises were delayed for existing ones. The government has also postponed plans for new student loans and scholarships, said Majda al-Tamimi, who represents the government-allied Sadrist bloc on the finance committee.

There’s even talk in parliament of cutting spending on orphans and on elementary-education projects, according to some lawmakers.

That helps no one, that's nonsense and it's outrageous but set aside the ethical issues.

It's also stupid politics.

Deeply stupid.

Iraqis need jobs.  Iraq needs doctors and teachers.

The inability to create jobs in the recent past in Iraq led to what?

Oh, that's right, Sunnis joining al Qaeda in Iraq.

Gutting student loans and scholarships?

Exactly what the hell is al-Abadi doing.

And let's stop lying that he's protecting the country.

Getting foreigners to bomb your own country from airplanes -- and tossing a few of your war planes into the air -- is not providing safety or addressing any issues.

It's actually both stupid and cowardly.

It's the Chicken Hawk way for War Hawks to cowardly to fight on the ground.

You want to run the 20,000 or 30,000 people out of country with over 30 million people?

You don't need bombs falling from the skies.

You need people on the ground willing to rebuke, forget fight, the Islamic State.

In 2010, the Iraqi people cast votes to stand for a national identity and that's still possible.

But that embarrassing budget won't do a damn thing to pull the country together.

If the US government, if Barack wanted to help, he would have a US diplomatic delegation in Iraq explaining how to utilize the budget in a manner to pull the country together.

Equally true, the Iraqi government needs to be going after Nouri al-Maliki and Nouri's son whose theft of public monies is an open secret and Iraqis suffering in poverty aren't going to embrace further poverty measures while thieves like Nouri remain unpunished.

He doesn't just remain unpunished, he remains in the presidential palace despite not being prime minister.  He refuses to leave.

If Haider al-Abadi had any sense, he's send the military to force Nouri out and you better believe Iraqis would cheer him on.

When Haider can't even reside in the prime minister's housing because former prime minister Nouri won't leave, he looks weak and inept.

He's looked weak and inept since his September 13 announcement that he had ended the bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods -- since he made the announcement and the bombings continued.  NINA notes 9 civilians were killed today and twenty-three more ("including women and children") were left injured from the security forces' bombings.

Let's go back to Barack's press conference.  Here Phil Mattingly is asking a question.

Q    Also if it is your feeling that you have the power to implement any type of agreement that's reached without any action from Congress?  And then, also I just wanted to quickly touch on the AUMF that you mentioned earlier.  Is that going to be more of a codification of the limits that you've put in place for the mission up to this point?  Or what should we be looking for on that when you send it to the Hill?  Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT:  On the AUMF, the leaders are going to be coming here on Friday.  It will be an expanded group, not just the four leaders, but a larger group who all have an interest in the issues we're discussing today.  And I’m actually going to invite Lloyd Austin, the CENTCOM Commander, to make a presentation about how our fight against ISIL is proceeding and I think to answer questions and assure that Congress is fully briefed on what we're doing there.
With respect to the AUMF, we’ve already had conversations with members of both parties in Congress, and the idea is to right-size and update whatever authorization Congress provides to suit the current fight, rather than previous fights. 
In 2001, after the heartbreaking tragedy of 9/11, we had a very specific set of missions that we had to conduct, and the AUMF was designed to pursue those missions.  With respect to Iraq, there was a very specific AUMF.
We now have a different type of enemy.  The strategy is different.  How we partner with Iraq and other Gulf countries and the international coalition -- that has to be structured differently.  So it makes sense for us to make sure that the authorization from Congress reflects what we perceive to be not just our strategy over the next two or three months, but our strategy going forward.

And it will be a process of listening to members of Congress, as well as us presenting what we think needs to be the set of authorities that we have.  And I’m confident we're going to be able to get that done.  And that may just be a process of us getting it started now.  It may carry over into the next Congress.

US House Rep Adam Schiff supports Barack's continued war on Iraq and today's Schiff's office issued the following:

Washington, DC –Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a senior Member of the Intelligence Committee and author of legislation providing a limited and narrow authorization for use of military force against ISIL, sent a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner calling on him to schedule a debate and vote on a new war authorization against ISIS during the lame duck session after the midterm election.  During his press conference today, President Obama called for Congress to approve a new authorization for use of military force against ISIS.
The letter is below:
Dear Speaker Boehner:
As you prepare for the session that will close out the 113th Congress, I urge you to schedule time for consideration of an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL.
As you know, American forces have been engaged in combat against ISIL since early August with operations currently underway against targets in both Iraq and Syria.  President Obama has made repeated reports, as required by the War Powers Resolution, detailing these operations.  Now, after three months of presidentially-directed airstrikes and other activities undertaken to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” ISIL, Congress must meet the obligations of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution by deciding whether to grant the president the power to conduct this new war in the Middle East.
The use of the 2001 AUMF as legal justification for current the military action requires an extraordinarily broad and problematic reading of that measure. While ISIL may share al Qaeda’s hatred for the United States and the West, the group did not exist in 2001 and had no role in the 9/11 attacks. Nor is ISIL affiliated with or aiding al Qaeda, having been expressly repudiated by the Zawahiri leadership, and, despite reports of talks between the two groups, little evidence of an alliance between them.   
Vehement opposition to Bashar al Assad’s brutal government in Syria and the harshly sectarian policies of Nouri al Maliki in Iraq, not 9/11 or allegiance to Osama bin Laden, has fueled the rise of ISIL and allowed it to capture a huge swathe of territory in those two countries.  From this redoubt, ISIL threatens tens of millions and the group’s extreme violence and barbarity, including the recent mass murder of a Sunni tribe in Iraq’s Anbar province, cannot be underestimated.
I believe that the threat to core American foreign policy interests and our national security from ISIL is sufficient to warrant military force as an element of a multifaceted campaign.  But, I also believe that no President has the power to commit the nation’s sons and daughters to war without authorization from Congress.  This is not a decision that can or should wait until 2015; this action was begun during the sitting of the 113th Congress and it well within our ability to authorize it properly before adjourning sine die. 
In September I introduced a draft Joint Resolution (HJ Res 125) that provides for an 18 month authorization for continued airstrikes and limited special operations activities in Iraq and Syria and against ISIL.  While I believe that my proposal merits consideration, whether it, or some other  form of authorization, is ultimately taken up, the most important thing is for us to do our duty to American people and the Constitution.  I look forward to working with you on this most important issue.

Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

In Iraq, an airstrike near Mosul destroyed ISIL-occupied buildings, including one housing a generator used for oil production and another used to manufacture explosive devices. Three airstrikes near Bayji struck two small ISIL units, destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL-occupied bunker and an ISIL anti-aircraft artillery piece.

 Also in Iraq, an airstrike near Fallujah struck a small ISIL unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle. Three airstrikes near Ramadi damaged an ISIL vehicle and destroyed an ISIL checkpoint.

Didn't stop any of the (other) violence but violent responses only breed further violentce. National Iraqi News Agency reports Shiekh Abdul Rahman Abboud Shabib was shot dead as he left a mosque in Muqdadiyah, the Islamic State "kidnapped /46/ members of the Albu Nimr tribe, mostly women and children, west of Ramadi," a Kut bombing left four people injured, rocket and mortar attacks in Baiji Village and Sada Village left 11 people dead (including two children) and four more people injured, and a Baiji suicide car bomber left 4 Iraqi soldiers dead and seven more injured.   Dropping back to Tuesday, Margaret Griffis ( counts 141 violent deaths with sixty-nine people left injured.

Finally, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America note:

***Media Alert*** IAVA to Hold 10th Anniversary Heroes Gala on November 13th

CONTACT: Gretchen Andersen (212) 982-9699 or
Admiral Mike Mullen, 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Will Receive Awards; Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald to speak, NBC and MSNBC co-anchor Willie Geist Will Emcee
WHAT: On Thursday, November 13th, 2014, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) will hold IAVA’s Annual Heroes Gala Celebrating Our 10th Anniversary at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. Taking place for the eighth year in a row, and when U.S. troops are still at war, this year’s Heroes Gala will honor those who have made a unique and lasting contribution to IAVA’s mission to improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families.
WHO: IAVA will honor Admiral Mike Mullen, 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the IAVA Veteran Leadership Award, and Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick with the IAVA Civilian Service Award. Willie Geist, co-anchor of NBC’s “TODAY” show and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” will host the event. 
Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald will also be speaking at the event.
Veterans and supporters will attend, as well as representatives from leading sponsors Victory Motorcycles (Hero Sponsor); TriWest Healthcare, Turner Broadcasting, and USAA (Dinner Sponsors); Robert Cohn, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, HBO, JPMorgan Chase, Miller High Life, Uber, Western Asset Management, Wheel's Up, and WME/IMG (Support Sponsors). Southwest Airlines, IAVA's official airline partner, will also be in attendance. 
New York City Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Loree Sutton, Lone Survivor director Peter Berg, actress Michelle Monaghan and more will also be in attendance. 
WHEN: Thursday, November 13, 2014 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
          Press check-in: 5:15 - 6:15 p.m.  (Cipriani 42nd Street)
          Sponsor Reception 5:30 - 6:30pm (Cipriani 42nd Street)
          Cocktail Reception 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. (Cipriani 42nd Street)
          Dinner & Award Presentation: 7:30 – 9:30pm (Cipriani 42nd Street)
WHERE: Cipriani 42nd Street, 110 E. 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017
Livestream the gala at
Note to media: A mult box will be provided at the venue. Please RSVP by emailing if you would like to cover the Gala.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Who is the bigger loser: Wendy Davis or Lizz Winstead?

As noted here, Lizz Winstead said Wendy Davis would lose the governor's race in Texas due to redistricting.

Each state has districts.  My district, for example, elects Nancy Pelosi to the US Congress.

But in my district, or any other California district, we all vote for governor.

Governor is a state wide office.

It has nothing to do with districts, redistricting or gerrymandering.

Lizz Winstead is an idiot.

She already looked like the Chicken Lady from Kids In The Hall, now she 'thinks' like the Chicken Lady too.

Lizz used to be so bright.

It's so sad.

As for the idiot Wendy Davis, read on through the snapshot that follows.  C.I. quotes the piece she and Ava wrote last Match about how Wendy was losing the governor's race.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Tuesday, November 4, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Iraq is not a political football, one US citizen makes a fool of himself while trying to prove he's smarter than his political opponents, US veterans clean up in the midterms, FAIR calls out those who cheered on the Iraq War except when the cheerleaders work for Mother Jones, Ava and I called it on Wendy Davis (yeah, I waited 8 months to say, "We told you so"), and much more.

Today is election day in the United States, the midterms.  All seats in the US House of Representatives are being voted on and 1/3 of the Senate seats.  Many citizens will choose to vote -- some will have early voted.  Some will be wise, some will be smart, some will be average and some will be really stupid.

Wanting to grab the title of "really stupid," Dave Mills writes the editorial board of the Lansing State Journal wanting to set "right wing nuts" straight but only embarrasses himself and, sadly, the rest of us on the left by association:

 Obama got Bin Laden, ended the war in Iraq, will be ending our involvement in Afghanistan. The direct cost of the two wars is $3 trillion, the indirect cost is $5 to $6 trillion.

He didn't end the war in Iraq.

You damn well need to stop lying or sporting your stupidity.

You're a moron.

You need to sit your stupid ass down.  You have nothing to share.

There are problems with pretty much everything you say.  But we focus on Iraq here.

You don't know what the hell you're saying and you need to sit your dumb ass down.

When Americans made statements like this last year, it was racist and xenophobic because the US didn't end the Iraq War, Barack just ended (most) direct US involvement in the war.

The war went on.

And Americans looked really stupid insisting the war was over.

But things changed last month.

That's Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal (photo from Facebook).   We noted his death in October 25th snapshot.

That's Cpl Jordan Spears (photo from Marine Corps).  Last week, he was reclassified as the first death in 'Operation Inherent Resolve.'

When not one but two American service members lost their lives last month, don't claim the Iraq War ended. It never did for the Iraqis and, as the two deaths demonstrate, it hasn't for Americans either.

I'm really sorry that you're so damn stupid.

I don't know that this claim -- "if Sadam Hussein was still alive, there would be no Islamic States (ISIS)" -- can be backed up.  First off, the Islamic State is also in Syria.  Second, Saddam Hussein ruled over a secular state, the Islamic State is fundamentalist and there's no proof that they wouldn't have targeted Iraq.  (You can argue it would be harder for them to take root in Iraq if Saddam Hussein were still in power but that neglects the reality that the Islamic State does a form of social services which is another way they endear themselves.)

But I do know Iraq is not your political football.

I say that over and over.

It's not my political football either.

It is a country that has been attacked and betrayed repeatedly by the US government.

Those attacks and betrayals predate Barack Obama being sworn in as US President and they continue after he becomes president.

Iraq is a country filled with people -- millions even now despite the US-led wars having turned so many people into refugees.

Iraq is not a political football and people look stupid and ignorant when they forget that fact and attempt to 'spike' what is a global tragedy and a global crime.

Another thing, telling your opponents this also makes you look really ignorant, you "are entitled to your opinions, but not the facts."

Everyone's entitled to the facts.

Saying someone's not entitled to the facts defeats your own argument.

What you were trying to say -- but were too stupid to say -- was "you are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts."

Someone who trots out Iraq, tries to spike it like a political football and doesn't know 2 US service members died in the ongoing war just last month?

A real moron who needs to slink off silently.  There's nothing to left to say.  Just close your mouth and go, you've done enough damage.

On elections, my state's polls won't close before this goes up but Texas did close.  And I mention that because a number of e-mails (Ty stopped counting at 100) came in declaring how wrong in our March 2, 2014 "TV: Another idiot for the idiot box" for writing the following:

Texas women are strong and proud and they go about their lives as best they can.  Like women everywhere, they know a thing or two about discrimination.  But they keep going.
Where Texas is different than many other states is that you will see Democratic and Republican women pull together for strong women -- especially strong women who have persevered despite sexism, despite setbacks.  Hillary was that in 2008.  Ann was that when she ran for governor.
It's not just that Wendy Davis' resume is so light or that's she backed away from the stance that brought her national attention.
It's mainly that the national media created a narrative that would play on the national stage but won't play in Texas.
Davis is poorly trailing Greg Abbott currently.
That could change, the election is way off.
But unless Abbott implodes, he will likely beat her because she and her campaign don't know what the hell they're doing.
She can be strongly pro-choice and win Republican women in Texas -- they're not all anti-choice.
But Wendy Davis' big problem isn't her positions (except for backing off from them).
It's that she's a superstar.
She's a winner.
She's so very many things, crowned by the media.
Ann Richards?
Like many other successful Texas female politicians, Ann Richards was a fighter who battled.
She got knocked down and she got back up, over and over.
Did any woman take the failure to pass the Equal Rights Amendment more personally than Ann did?
They might have taken it as personally but it's hard to think they could have taken it more personally.
Ann fought and fought and fought again.
A minority of her supporters tried to dub her Queen Ann.  (This move was led in particular by a man named Dennis -- does Cecile even know this story, does she even know her mother?)  Ann very nicely told the group not to call her that.  She was governor, she explained, and she was so happy to be that. Dennis then suggested governor and queen.  And Ann lost the glowing smile she was famous for and used terms like "buster" and a loud voice to make clear that she didn't see being called a "queen" in a democracy as a compliment and that she had fought hard for every elected office she had held so don't insult her by calling her the "queen" of Texas.
Ann was never crowned.
Women -- Democrats and Republicans -- gave Ann the boost her campaign needed and she became governor and she's the last Democratic governor Texas has had.
Do not compare Ann to Wendy Davis.
If Wendy's got any real strength, she's yet to show it.
Texas women will bandy together around a female candidate if the woman reminds them of themselves or their mothers.  Because they are bonding over hardships and setbacks.  They will cross party lines if the woman reminds them of themselves.
Davis needs to lower the stardom and demonstrate how she can be a work horse.
She needs to lose the ridiculous hair, she's not Donald Trump's ex-wife, and either pull it into a ponytail (which Texas women relate to) or get it cut.
She needs to tone down the make up as well.
She's a little too 'starish' currently for Texas.
And Greg Abbott?
Greg Abbott is in a wheel chair.  He has been since 1984.  From that wheel chair, he's been on the state supreme court and successfully and repeatedly run for attorney general.  That's the kind of can-do spirit that Texans admire.
Cecile Richards is deeply stupid.
Making Wendy Davis a media star only made her a vapid blond with big hair.
If Cecile knew a damn thing about Texas politics, she would have already realized that Greg Abbott's not going to be beaten by a glossy 8 x 10 photograph.

Sorry, Ava and I were right.

And I have no desire to rescue Barack but the Texas election was not really about Barack (yes, I know the Abbott campaign -- especially in East Texas -- did heavy ad buys saying Barack was on the ballot).  I have no idea what happened elsewhere in the country but when people say I'm wrong -- and I can be wrong -- I pay attention to the race.  Wendy Davis lost it all on her own.  She was a media creation with no real courage or guts and, in the last month, she's yet again attacking Abbott for being in a wheel chair.  It was low and it was disgusting.  Equally true, she forgot the Howard Dean rule of: campaign everywhere.  She thought she could cobble together a victory by focusing solely on big metro areas like Dallas-Fort Worth.  She completely ignored the East Texas media market -- large cities like Tyler and Longview just written off as well as smaller cities and towns in the area.    When I say she completely ignored that market, I mean she didn't buy any ads from October 1st forward in that market.

She never gave people a reason to vote for her other than that she was a celebrity created by the national media, one who went fundraising in California which always has a backlash in Texas.  Sally Field is beloved by many but even she, when she campaigns for her friend US House Rep Lloyd Doggett, knows she has to walk a line -- it's partly a distrust of the entertainment industry, it's partly a rivalry between two of the biggest states in the union.

On other races, Stars & Stripes Leo Shane Tweets:

  • Now at 10 Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans in Congress, 9 GOP & 1 Dem. At least two more guaranteed (head-to-head races)

  • And Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America's Paul Rieckhoff Tweets:

  • Barack may impact other races or he may not.

    I haven't followed them.

    But he is not responsible for Wendy Davis loss.  She lost it all on her own. (And Abbott's campaign commercials struck a chord -- his late in the campaign ad featuring his Latina mother-in-law tested off the charts with all races and ethnicities.  People found her warm, touching and truthful.)

    And her problems were all evident in March of this year if anyone wanted to go beyond the gloss and pay attention.

    Barack has his own problems.  Spencer Ackerman (Guardian) reports, "The Pentagon has denied that the US strategy against Islamic State (Isis) is in disarray after a series of setbacks as the war known as Operation Inherent Resolve stretches into its fourth month."

    The argument that Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby made today was that the Syrian government, particularly Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is not benefiting from the 'focus' the US government is placing on Iraq.


    As Akerman points out:

    US military officials frequently describe their strategy as “Iraq first”, reflecting what some in the administration suggest is a more realistic ambition, compared to the complexity of the neighbouring Syria conflict. The US has renewed its mentorship of the Iraqi military it built during the 2003-2011 occupation. But the administration is signaling that a counteroffensive to oust Isis from Iraq, led by the Iraqis and backed by US airpower and Iranian-supported Shia militias, will not proceed until spring 2015

    Until spring of 2015?

    Barack plans to keep bombing and pretending that's a 'plan'?

    Long after Barack leaves the White House, Iraqis will have to rebuild.

    And what Arabic social media is noting, though the western press has avoided, it is the Sunni areas that are being destroyed with these bombings.  When the bombing finally ends, it is the Sunnis who will be living in destroyed, shelled neighborhoods.  There are many Arabic commentators on social media who don't feel this is an accident but part of the continued persecution of the Sunnis.

    Changing topics . . .

    Who in the world do you think that you are fooling?
    Well I've already done everything that you are doing
    -- "Two Kinds of Love," written by Stevie Nicks, first appears on her Rooms On Fire

    The always laughable (and always sexist) Kevin Drum wags his tiny cock-lette at Iraq and figures out there's no 'plan.'  Did the universe just offer a collective "Duh!"  How many weeks, how many months have we been pointing that out?

    I was going to be kind and ignore David Zucchino's nonsense for the Los Angeles Times.

    But his ridiculous report is what 'enlightened' Kevin Drum.

    So let's note that it's a miserable 'report' that's ahistorical and embarrassing.

    The article fails to address that the military has been without a head.  In the US, we call it the Secretary of Defense (currently Chuck Hagel).  In Iraq, they call it the Minister of Defence.  And from 2010 until his ouster this summer -- four long years, Nouri al-Maliki refused to nominate anyone to head the Ministry of Defence (it was a power grab -- Ayad Allawi was the first to rightly call it that).

    So for four years they had no one.

    But, even more importantly, the Los Angeles Times has reported on the Defense and Interior Ministries (Interior is a security ministry, it is not parks and wildlife -- Nouri also refused to nominate anyone to head that ministry).

    Ned Parker -- often on his own, often with others -- repeatedly reported on the corruption and crime in the ministries.  He did spectacular reporting, in fact, on one particular floor in the Interior, the corruption there.

    With all that to build on, Zucchino's article was disappointing.

    He's a strong reporter and he'll do strong reporting again, I'm sure.

    But Kevin Drum finds a stitched together article that fails to get at the realities -- which includes ignoring Nouri not wanting training from the US (for those who've forgotten, Barack was told to find other uses for the money the White House planned to spend training the Iraqi police in 2012) -- wonderful and inspiring.

    Kevin would, wouldn't he?

    He did, after all, cheer on the Iraq War.

    Which makes you wonder why Mother Jones keeps trying to turn him into a star (he's too ugly for TV), why two women running the magazine and website are bound and determined to turn an elderly White man into a media star instead of devoting those resources to men of color or women?

    Related, every now and then FAIR and others will gripe about how those people who were wrong about Iraq in 2003 continue to be respected voices in the media.  But they never have the guts, do they, to point out all the 'left' voices (like Drum) who cheered on an illegal war and yet are employed by left sites like Mother Jones?

    If FAIR's really worried about accountability, they need to call on Mother Jones to ditch Kevin Drum who helped sell the illegal war.

    Just last June, FAIR was whining about CNN bringing back on pundits who cheered on the Iraq War -- so when does FAIR find the guts to call out Mother Jones for hiring Drum?

    Until they do, they look like whiny, little hypocrites.

    There should be much more anger that a supposed left publication like Mother Jones is providing a forum for these pundits who got it wrong than the supposedly 'neutral' or 'mainstream' or 'middle' CNN.

    Not everyone's ahistorical.  Ellen Knickmeyer Tweets:

  • Man, had his eye on the ball. 2009 story behind Iraq prison says was birthplaceof ISIS

  • In other developments, Deborah Haynes and Michael Evans (Times of London) report England is planning to send troops into Iraq while Nick Perry (AP) reports that New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key announced today he was open to sending troops into Iraq to help 'train.'

    National Iraqi News Agency reports today's fatalities include shoppers at a market, "A security source told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / An Iraqi warplane bombed the Qai'm market amid the district, which resulted in the killing of five civilians and wounding / 35 / others, pointing out that this is a preliminary outcome due to the intensity of the shelling."  The expected massacre of Shi'ite pilgrims by the Islamic State did not take place today.

    Christiane Amanpour interviewed the State Dept's Brett McGurk on Amanpour (CNN) and we'll note it tomorrow.