Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Lourde and SOUTH PARK




That's Lorde's "Green Light."

Mainly noting it because I just watched the episode of SOUTH PARK where Stan's dad is really Lourde, Cartman is Erica and wants his own bathroom away from the cis genders and Butter is upset about his penis size (as was Eric before he decided to become Erica).

I love that episode.

In fact, the only one I love more is when Eric wants the iPad and throws a fit in Best Buy because his mom will only buy him the Toshiba.  :D

So he starts screaming that she's trying to f**k him.

And later, in the car, he tries to manipulate her.  :D

Cartman's hilarious.



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


Tuesday, June 27, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, Tony Blair's biggest groupie continues to throb for the War Hawk, and much more.




Drone video shows the immense destruction as civilians flee ISIS in Mosul, Iraq
 
 




Day 247 of The Mosul Slog.


Yes, it still drags on.


IS counterattacks in retaken parts of Mosul stall Iraq push
 
 




Stall?


247 days and counting.


And it was supposed to be over in weeks (not by the end of 2016 as REUTERS maintains here).


247 days.

: Iraqi PM al-Abadi is expected to announce victory in Mosul within hours.
 
 




He can announce it in five seconds, won't change the fact that this operation took 247 days.

Nor will it change the fact that Mosul is destroyed from US-led coalition bombings.

Would he have done that to a Shi'ite majority city?

Of course not.



In war squeezed amongst the bombs and bullets are little bodies
 
 





SO many look the other way as the destruction continues.

How?




Not as dark as the skies over Iraq in 2003.
 
 



John Rentoul is a propagandist who writes for THE INDEPENDENT.

He whored for Tony Blair before the start of the Iraq War and all the way to this very day.

There's no accountability.

He's held to no standard.

And that's part of the problem.

That's in England.

In the US, MOTHER JONES hires pro-war pundits who promoted the Iraq War.

There was no accountability on any level.

And the lesson was: Look the other way.

Which is what happened on so many levels.

The DNC spent the last election cycle trying to bully and push around young people.

What they didn't get was that it's easy for old whores to look the other way but the young were not going to do the same.

We saw it on campus after campus in the last years.

We saw the young people turning against so-called 'independent media' that were nothing but propaganda mills for the Democratic Party.

This should be a time for independent media to flourish but it whored out.

Whether we're talking THE NATION or PACIFICA RADIO, they whored out.

And we spent many years warning that the young were watching.

The Iraq War demonstrated many things and it surely destroyed faith in corporate media.

But, as the years passed, it also demonstrated that so-called independent media was no better.

Norman Solomon thinks he can sneak back in.

He's laughed at on campuses, he's the punchline to a dirty joke.

They had professors who used his book on war or referenced Norman's 'activism.'

But that was long ago.

And he went into hiding when Barack Obama was president.

Eight years as the Iraq War raged.

How stupid does a Norman Solomon think people are?

And while some older people will go along, the enthusiasm and passion of the youth will not play.

They haven't been co-opted and beaten down for years the way so many have.









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  • Monday, June 26, 2017

    The Motels

    The Motels.

    A great new wave group that managed to get radio play.

    New wave?

    It was around and then kind of went away.

    Which is too bad.

    The Thompson Twins were new wave.

    Adam Ant was as well.

    New wave came around when Rev. Jesse Jackson was attacking punk music.



    The Motels were new wave.

    "Suddenly Last Summer" was probably their most amazing song but they were on a streak during the early 80s.

    In terms of new wave greats, I'd say Blondie's at the top of the list.

    Then?

    Culture Club, The Motels, Duran Duran, Thompson Twins, Depeche Mode and Human League would also make the list of greats.


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


    Monday, June 26, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, Brett McGurk says a lot but none of it about diplomacy, and much more.



    ALJAZEERA reports:

    Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters launched a string of counterattacks in a western Mosul neighbourhood, setting off clashes that continued overnight, Iraqi officials said on Monday.
    An unknown number of suicide bombers and gunmen targeted the Hay al-Tanak and Yarmuk neighbourhoods, and set fire to houses and cars in Tanak, military officials told news agencies.
    The area had been declared free of ISIL in May.
    Several people are reported to have died in the attacks, which sowed panic among residents who had returned to the area, and prompted hundreds of families to flee overnight.



    Yes, The Mosul Slog continues.

    Day 246 of The Mosul Slog.

    And, yet again, press reports circulate that it will be over shortly.

    ASHARQ AL-AWSAT reports this morning, "The battle to take full control of Mosul from ISIS will be over in a few days, a general said Monday as Iraqi forces searched neighborhoods of west Mosul they retook weeks ago after a surprise jihadist attack on their rear that left several dead."



    Searched neighborhoods of west Mosul they retook weeks ago . . .


    How it repeats.

    Over and over.

    Here's the White House's special envoy Brett McGurk, speaking last week, trying to explain ISIS:


      
    So what is ISIS? It is the largest, most sophisticated, and most global terrorist organization the world has ever seen.
    Only two years ago, it controlled what was effectively a quasi-state, its so-called caliphate, with territory the size of Lebanon spanning across Iraq and Syria.
    It controlled millions of people, entire cities, dual capitals in Raqqa and Mosul, generating revenue through oil and gas, taxes, antiquities trade, hostage taking, of more than a billion dollars per year.
    It enslaved thousands of young girls, committed acts of genocide against minority groups, Yazidis and Christians, and sought to destroy our common human heritage, from Palmyra in Syria, to the Ninewa plains in northern Iraq.
    It also established franchises, seven in all, from Sinai just to our west, to Afghanistan, Libya, and Nigeria, all with central direction and planning from ISIS’s capital in Raqqa.
    And it sought to spread terrorism to all of our homelands, directing attacks from Raqqa … in Paris, Istanbul, and Brussels, and inspiring them from London, to Berlin, to Garland, Texas.
    Its manpower at its height in 2015, while hard to pinpoint specifically, was in the upper tens of thousands – hard core fighters, at least.
    The figures we can pinpoint are staggering: more than 40,000 foreign fighters, Jihadists, flooded into Syria between 2013 and 2016 from over 100 countries all around the world. The world had never really seen anything like it – the supercharged global Jihad.
    General Gilead, many of us in this room, were extremely alarmed by this phenomenon as early as 2013. Many of us in Washington, some of my former colleagues here, were also discussing it with extreme concern.
    Foremost attention among many, however, in those years, I think we have to be honest, there was a belief, by some, that this flood of Jihadist fighters could somehow be tamed and contained – after Bashar al-Assad was removed from power. I think that was a false assumption and it carried some tragic consequences.
    The flood of extremist fighters and weapons into Syria combined with the crimes of the Asad regime created an explosive environment for al Qaeda, from which ISIS sprung.
    ISIS rapidly spread, in 2013, across eastern Syria, killing anyone who sought to confront it. It spread openly into Iraq in early 2014, capturing Fallujah, and laying siege to Ramadi in Anbar province.
    Suicide attacks in Iraq nearly all of whom at the time were committed by foreign fighters, people coming from around the world into Syria and Iraq to blow themselves up – rose from five to ten per month in 2012 to sometimes 60 per month in 2014, targeting markets, mosques, soccer games, local officials – mayors, town councils – and security personnel.
    In June, 2014, Mosul, a city of nearly 2 million people, fell to ISIS; and its leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi, declared a caliphate from the grand Mosque of Al Nuri in Mosul’s old city. And late yesterday, as Iraqi Security forces closed in on that mosque, about 100 meters away, ISIS blew it up. A mosque which sat there since the 12th century, ISIS blew it up. The last month in Mosul is really telling. Summer of 2014, Baghdadi announces from that mosque that he’s the caliph creating a caliphate—the caliph proclaims his legitimacy by this ability to protect people in his so called caliphate. All of this was a false lie. But that’s what he said in the summer of 2014.
    In the last month, as Iraqi Security forces closed in on that last district in Mosul, ISIS has killed any civilian trying to leave. They used a hospital on some high ground, just north of the old city, as a killing tower—with snipers killing any civilians trying to leave. We’ve actually been accused, our forces, of using white phosphorus for example, in Mosul. And I defer to our military professionals, but they use white phosphorus not to target anybody, not to kill anybody, but as a shield to allow civilians to escape. We were somehow declared of using this ammunition which was harming civilians. In fact, we were helping civilians escape as ISIS sat in a tower—a hospital which we did not want to target—and killed anyone that tried to leave. And last night they blew up the mosque in which Baghdadi declared his caliphate, I think it was a very significant moment here in the last 24 hours.
    But back in 2014, if you rewind the tape, this announcement of a caliphate accelerated recruitment from around the world, with thousands of men, women, and even children, traveling through Turkey and into Syria through established smuggling networks.
    About a month later in July 2014, ISIS broke through the western Iraqi border at al Qaim and approached Baghdad down the Euphrates valley, and also in the north along the Tigris valley.
    Near Tikrit that summer in 2014, ISIS terrorists rounded up One Thousand Seven Hundred young Iraqi military cadets, and murdered them one-by-one, and they filmed the scene on YouTube.
    I was in Iraq at the time. Newspaper headlines declared Baghdad was about to fall. There were reports of an ISIS “zero hour” in the capital and it was causing a panic among the population. We in fact reduced our embassy personnel and dusted off contingency evacuation plans given the uncertainty.
    President Obama early in this crisis asked for my recommendation among others, some that are in this room, Elissa Slotkin among others, about what we should do. And our only response was we had to fight back – and fight back soon because there we had no other choice.
    But we had to fight smartly, not with U.S. forces in Iraqi and Syrian towns and villages; but by strengthening local forces – Syrians and Iraqis – to take on the fight themselves, combined with devastating air power, and importantly with a political strategy that empowered people at the local level to secure their own communities, with a government in Baghdad that was responsive to its people.
    We had to rally the world – particularly the Muslim world – to take on the fight themselves, combating ISIS’s poison in the mosques and online and in the media 24/7.
    We had to ensure that what came after ISIS was more stable, creating the conditions for people to return to their homes and rebuild their devastated communities.
    And we had to prepare a campaign that targeted ISIS financing, foreign fighter networks, global affiliates, and propaganda.
    In the summer of 2014, that seemed a nearly impossible task –the Iraqi Security Forces had just completely and totally collapsed and we had almost nobody to work with on the ground in Syria--but we got to work.
    We built a global coalition against ISIS, that is now the largest of its kind in history with 71 members, including 67 nations, plus NATO, INTERPOL, the EU, and the Arab League.
    Early on, we organized this grand coalition around five specific lines of effort, each focusing on a particular aspect of the ISIS problem and pooling global resources to confront it:
    First, we provide military support to our partners on the ground;
    Second, we work to stop the flow of foreign fighters, by securing the border between Syria and Turkey and severing the international networks.
    Third, halting ISIS access to financial support;
    Fourth, we address the humanitarian and stabilization in areas cleared of ISIS to allow the population to return;
    Fifth, we combat ISIS’s poisonous ideology.
    The first airstrikes by our coalition were launched in September, 2014. There have been nearly 30,000 since, it’s been the most precise air campaign in history, and combined with aggressive and innovative global initiatives along each of the lines I just mentioned.

    And while this war is far from over, the results to date are promising. 



    Are the results promising?


    Many observers note the destruction of Mosul.

    That's promising?





    Brett outlines a now three year program above.

    But where's the diplomacy?

    Where's the work beyond military?


    Nothing has been done.

    At some point, you have to argue that this was intentional.

    The Islamic State rose in Iraq because then-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki was persecuting the Sunnis.

    Has that persecution ended?

    No.

    Even now there are reports -- and photographs -- of Sunni civilians being tortured and killed.

    When does that get addressed?

    Smart people argued the time to address it was years ago.

    But, under Barack Obama, the White House rewarded Nouri.


    Even when the voters gave him the heave-ho in 2010, Barack still supported Nouri for a second term and had US officials ont he ground in Iraq negotiate The Erbil Agreement to give Nouri a second term.


    ISIS didn't rise in a vacuum.

    The conditions that allowed it to take root still exist.

    So now what?


    Sarhang Hamasaeed and Michael Yaffe (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) offer:

    That will require sustained attention to the "Three Rs:" Relief, Reconstruction and Reconciliation, all of which are needed concurrently. Relief means not only continued humanitarian aid but also security assistance to protect reconstruction and reconciliation and to facilitate the return of 3 million displaced people.
    Political and social reconciliation, in turn, will be needed to prevent violence and reprisals and make way for sustainable reconstruction. The U.S. should develop a plan to help resolve fundamental national and regional political issues that will allow Iraq's constellation of groups to co-exist in peace.

    Already, unity is fraying among forces that stood against ISIS. Sinjar, Tel Afar and Tuz Khurmatu have emerged as flashpoints of incipient conflict. Wrangling between the Kurds and Baghdad over oil, territory and Kurdish independence continues as regional powers such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey— as well as Iraqi groups — jockey for influence. Since the ISIS onslaught in 2014, for example, Popular Mobilization Forces militias, most supported by Iran, have established offices all over Iraq — 16 just in one town south of Mosul, Iraqis tell us — in a bid to gain control in areas recaptured from ISIS. As next year's parliamentary elections approach, they'll be well positioned to buy cooperation, exert authority and support to candidates, further solidifying their grip.



    Maybe the time to start this sort of work was in 2014 and not in a mad rush to beat the next election?



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    Saturday, June 24, 2017

    Oh, Loretta!

    Let's note this press release from Senator Charles Grassley:

    Judiciary Committee Probes Reported Lynch Assurances to Stifle Clinton Email Investigation

    Jun 23, 2017
    WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham and Ranking Member Sheldon Whitehouse sought information about alleged political interference by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch during the FBI’s investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. The bipartisan inquiry comes as the Judiciary Committee is examining the circumstances surrounding the removal of James Comey as FBI Director.
     
    In April, The New York Times reported that the FBI came into possession of a batch of hacked documents, one of which was said to be authored by a “Democratic operative who expressed confidence that Ms. Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far.”  Chairman Grassley then requested a copy of the document from the Justice Department, which has failed to respond.  A month later, The Washington Post reported similar facts and provided further details about individuals involved in these communications.  The Post reported that the email in question, sent by then-chair of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Leonard Benardo of the Open Society Foundations, indicated that Lynch had privately assured Clinton campaign staffer Amanda Renteria that the FBI’s investigation wouldn’t “go too far.”
     
    Comey was reportedly concerned that the communication would raise doubts about the investigation’s independence and began discussing plans to announce the end of the Clinton email investigation rather than simply referring it to the Department for a prosecutorial decision. Comey’s extraordinary action to announce the end of the investigation was a break from Justice Department protocol, and was later cited as justification for his removal from the FBI.
     
    In their letters to Benardo, Open Society Foundations’ General Counsel Gail Scovell, Renteria and former Attorney General Lynch, the Senators seek details about the reported communication, copies of any related documents and whether the FBI contacted them to investigate the alleged communication.
     
    The reports come amidst numerous allegations of political inference in controversial and high-profile investigations spanning the current and previous administrations. The Senate Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over the FBI and Justice Department and is obliged to oversee any potential misconduct or inappropriate political influence at these agencies.
     
    Full text of the letters can be found at the following links.
     
     

    And this comes as THE HILL reports, "A majority of voters say former Attorney General Loretta Lynch should be investigated for an election-year meeting with former President Bill Clinton that took place while the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server from her time as Secretary of State."

    Oh, Loretta.

    I stood up for you and defended you here.

    I thought you took your oath of office seriously.

    Turns out, you may have been just another partisan.

    I hope not.

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


    Friday, June 23, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, a judge weighs in on Iraqi Christian refugees in the US, The Mosul Slog continues and much more.



    Starting with the topic of refugees . . .


    Replying to 
    From Syria to Libya to Iraq and beyond, millions of refugees wouldn't have fled if the US, the UK and co. didn't destabilize their homelands




    They didn't create themselves.

    Before the start of this decade, the Iraq War had already created the largest refugee crisis in the Middle East since 1948.

    And that's only continued through this day.

    Some of the displaced stay in other parts of Iraq.

    Some leave for other countries.

    Those who turn to other countries arrive hoping they've found a place where they can create a home.


    For a number of Iraqi Christians, the US may not be that place as they've been informed that they are being deported.

    Some hope emerged yesterday.


    BREAKING: Detroit judge temporarily halts deportation of more than 100 Iraqi Christians who fear torture if sent back.



    A Detroit judge has temporarily halted deportation of 100+ Iraqi Christians who fear persecution if returned. ICYMI:




    US judge halts deportation of more than 100 Iraqi Christians





    Federal judge temporarily blocks Iraqi Christians’ deportation








    Meanwhile, it's day 247 of The Mosul Slog.




    Mosul to be liberated in a few days as [the Islamic State] on the verge of defeat says Iraqi PM
    Thousands of civilians trapped in Mosul as fighting continues
    Mosul's Old City is being reduced to rubble. More than 100 thousand people are believed to be trapped as the battles continues. Iraqi PM says forces will retake Mosul within days.





    Of course, prime minister Hayder al-Abadi has been making the "within days" claim for 247 days, over eight months.

    247 days.

    And the operation only kicked off after Mosul had been occupied by the Islamic State for over two years.


    The Islamic State seized control in June of 2014.


    The liberation has resulted in increasing the refugee population and civilians being targeted.




    This is what, the Iraqi army, U.S and France allies in the region is doing...








    Iraq's late for provincial elections.  They were supposed to be held in April.

    National elections are to be held next year -- or supposed to be.

    Protests are taking place over the Independent High Electoral Commission.

    Which is a good thing.

    It's impacted each election negatively.

    And usually the complaints are on hold until after the election is days away.



    What's happening? ماذا حدث؟






    These protests could make a difference.

    Meanwhile, the violence continues.


    XINHUA reports, "Six civilians were killed and 11 wounded on Friday when four suicide bombers attacked the town of al-Baghdadi in Iraq's western province of Anbar, a provincial police source told Xinhua."  AFP notes that the death toll has now increased to nine.














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