Friday, August 11, 2017

No more Cherry Garcia

I thought Ben and Jerry were our friends.

Ben & Jerry's ice cream now comes with a side of Monsanto's glyphosate....

Can you believe this?

No more Cherry Garcia for me.

It was my favorite kind of ice cream.

It cost a little more but it was a good product by people who cared.

But they're now working with Monsanto.

Which means they're not working for me.

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

Friday, August 11, 2017.

Elections were supposed to take place in Iraq this year.

First in Mach but they were pushed back.

Then in September but again pushed back.

Former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki has used the time trying to look impressive.  That was behind his recent underwhelming trip to Russia.

Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr has also used the time -- he's visited Saudi Arabia and restarted his protests against corruption.

On the former,  Fanar Haddad (WASHINGTON POST) offers:

Though previously known as a “firebrand cleric” with a Shiite populist and militant line in Iraq, Sadr today presents himself as a moderate, nationalistic champion of change. His visit to Saudi Arabia was likely designed with two audiences in mind.
A message to Iraq’s Shiite population
Sadr’s visit was a message to his competitors in Iraq’s increasingly fragmented Shiite political scene. The Riyadh visit and the fact that Sadr was hosted at the highest levels of the Saudi establishment will underline his international relevance and burnish his prestige and credentials as an Iraqi statesman. This kind of political plumage is especially useful as Sadr and his rivals jockey for position ahead of next year’s Iraqi elections.
A message to Iran
Sadr’s visit demonstrated to Iran — and to Iran’s allies and proxies in Iraq/Sadr’s political rivals — that he not only has options, but he can even push back against Iran and has the power to potentially hurt Iranian interests in Iraq. If nothing else, this enables Sadr to present himself as the face of Arab (non-Iranian) Iraqi Shiism.

This is a position that resonates with his base — although the extent to which they will accept a Saudi embrace remains to be seen — and further differentiates him from his competitors. Having already announced a political alliance with Ayad Allawi, an anti-Shiite-Islamist figure, this visit will further polish Sadr’s credentials as a nationalist political figure who can rise above the politics of sect and ethnicity.

Ammar al-Hakim has also appears to be campaigning.  The Shi'ite leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq has formed a new party called National Wisdom; however, he has insisted that this does not mean he's left ISCI.

Ali Nasseri (NIQASH) reports:

The provincial government in Dhi Qar has been unstable for some time, with members of different parties and blocs defecting at will or forming new alliances. The most recent change saw seven members of the Muwatin, or Citizen bloc, join a brand new party created by the cleric Ammar al-Hakim.
 At the end of July al-Hakim, who had led one of the country’s largest Islamic parties, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, or ISCI, since 2009, announced he was leaving the party to form a new one. Called the National Wisdom party, Al-Hakim has said the new party, which has dropped Islamic from the name, is a project to rejuvenate Shiite Muslim politics in Iraq and to appeal to younger supporters. Al-Hakim had been at odds with older members of the ISCI for years.
As one commentator has noted, al-Hakim’s new party kept all the ISCI’s assets, essentially “stripping [them] of both the symbolism and the assets”.

Politicians in Dhi Qar appear to agree with al-Hakim’s new stand. The new party is about the creation of a new political generation,” said Adel al-Dukhili, the deputy governor of the province, one of those who defected to the National Wisdom party. ” A movement that believes in rapid change and turning challenges into opportunities, by adopting a clear manifesto.”

Will elections come in 2018?


Maybe not.

They've been twice postponed this year with no outrage expressed on the part of the global community.

Maybe Hayder al-Abadi will decide to postpone them yet again, say they'll hold elections in 2019?

Maybe he'll just play kick the can over and over.

He certainly hasn't suffered any outrage -- or consequences -- over the decision.

One election that may take place this year is on the fate of the Kurdistan region.

Will the semi-autonomous region move on to full autonomy?

RUDAW notes a new voice in the debate:

Iraqi Sunni politician and leader of the Ummah Party Mithal al-Alusi says that Iraq has failed its people and that the Kurds are justified in their quest for separation and the establishment of a state of their own.

“This is a cardboard state,” says al-Alusi in an interview with al-Iraqiya state television. “The Kurds have the right to say: I don’t want to be part of such a failed state.”

Al-Alusi, who describes himself as a secular politician from Anbar, cites the interference of regional countries as proof of Iraq’s failure.

“Is Qasem Soleimani entering Iraq on a visa? Does he have residency permit?” he asks. “Iranian intelligence working as advisors is this sovereignty? Saudi money piling up with the Sunnis, is this Iraqi sovereignty and an intact state?”

Soleimani is the commander of Iran’s Quds Force who is said to have been hired by the Iraqi government as an advisor to the defense ministry.

Al-Alusi who has been elected twice to the parliament and is a proponent of good relations with the West, including Israel, believes that Iraq has violated its own constitution which has given the Kurds a reason to seek a path of separation.

“We all voted for and agreed on this constitution that stipulates the unity of Iraq, but where has it got now and what democracy have we Iraqis got?” he says.

The move for self-determination is outlined in the Constitution.

Among the fear if the Kurds attempt it?

Neighbors like Turkey which regularly crush their own Kurdish population fear this will set an example.

The other fear in the room?

That Kurds taking this step might lead other areas of Iraq to do the same.

The following community sites updated:

  • iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq Iraq

    Thursday, August 10, 2017

    Stevie Nicks

    Stevie Nicks.

    1. Replying to 
      Stevie Nicks - her HAIR - Rhiannon - a total Gemini - white winged doves are her spirit animal - thick af
    2. stevie nicks man, her voice gives me life
    3. Replying to 
      Harry singing landslide with Stevie Nicks!! 2 legends on one stage!!! 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼😍😍😱

    Last time, I wrote about my love for Stevie's album ROCK A LITTLE ("ROCK A LITTLE -- go on, Lilly").

    Dean e-mailed to tell me (a) one "l" in Lily.  Good catch, Dean.  And (b) HD (I may have that wrong, it's Mark Cuban's channel) had the ROCK A LITTLE concert on last night.

    He felt it was very timely.

    He also wondered -- as did five others -- if Elaine and I had discussed Stevie yesterday?


    I last spoke with Elaine on Sunday.

    She wrote "You really do have to have friends" which is a great look at Stevie's songs.  She explains why she loves Stevie's songwriting.

    It's a great post.

    And we both love Stevie and talk music often.

    But last night was just a 'crystal vision' for us both -- :D.

    And Stevie's done a new track:

    1. Stevie nicks and Lana Del Rey have a song together and now I can die a fulfilled individual
    2. Lana Del Rey muses with collaborator and self-proclaimed “witchy sister” Stevie Nicks about her anthemic new album.
    3. *listening to the new Lana Del Rey album* Is that...Stevie Nicks? *checks* Yep that's Stevie Nicks.
    4. I want a remake of Mamma Mia with Stevie Nicks as Donna & Lana Del Rey as Sophie
    5. Lana Del Rey talks to about her fans, Stevie Nicks and Lust For Life
    6. Lana Del Rey AND Stevie Nicks?? I'm actually crying rn💔😭❤️
    7. lana del rey / beautiful people beautiful problems (ft. stevie nicks).
    8. How did I just find out that Stevie Nicks and Lana Del Rey did a song together????
    9. Replying to 
      Makes sense. I mean Lana is like a modern Stevie Nicks so... And yeah that's a favourable comparison. I like Lana Del Rey.
    10. This is probably my new favourite song, Stevie Nicks and Lana Del Rey I don't know if it could get better

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

    *movie preview voice* from the producers of Iraq War comes a new blood-soaked debacle, this time with *record scratch* real nuclear weapons

    Eli Lake: "Leaving aside means and only looking at outcome, regime change for North Korea would be a great outcome from a humanitarian perspective."

    It's as though the last fourteen years never happened or happened without Eli Lake.

    Iraq had regime change.

    There's been no benefit -- that's across the board but certainly when it comes to "a humanitarian perspective."

    Iraq still lacks a stable government -- forget one that governs fairly.

    It remains one of the most corrupt nations in the world.

    Population wise, it's a young country now with a median age of 19.9 years.

    It's a country of orphans in many respects due to the never-ending violence.

    A country of widows and orphans.

    Without an income + often with children to support, Mosul’s war widows are among most vulnerable displaced in :

    Areas of Iraq will produce birth defects for decades due to the weapons used there.  (Used there by foreign forces -- the US-led coalition.)

    Humanitarian includes medical and the US has bombed hospitals throughout the war as has the Iraqi government.  In addition, doctors have been repeatedly targeted and threatened leading to many of them fleeing the country.

    The education system is as frayed as everything else from the war.  In the next 20 years, Iraq needs to build at least 20,000 schools as a result of many things including (a) the destruction of schools from bombings and (b) 'aid' that resulted in faulty construction.

    I'm failing to see any benefits "from a humanitarian perspective."

    And the Iraq War was supposed to be 'quick.'

    Instead, it's 14 years later and still going.

    : attacks army positions in the area of Diyuub in northern , kills several soldiers & burs 4 bulldozers.

    In pictures: sharpshooters sneak up on Iraqi Army checkpoints near Tal Afar

    This is Iraq right now:

    US-backed Iraqi troops and militias assaulting and executing starved civilians found under the rubble in Old

    Confused as to how this qualifies as a 'success' "from a humanitarian perspective."

    Overturned Blackwater conviction evokes darkest days of Iraq War: | looks back to that day.

    Darkest days?

    What a load of nonsense.

    THE WASHINGTON POST can call it the "darkest days" because it's a contractor and further removed from the US military.

    Falluja in April or November of 2004.

    The gang-rape and murder of Abeer by US soldiers.

    The use of illegal weapons by the US-led coalition.

    But Blackwater is the "darkest days"?

    Far be it from THE WASHINGTON POST to ever call out the US government.

    And speaking of which, shame on any US journalist writing about Blackwater today and still not telling reporters who was being protected.

    Remember that?

    Supposedly, a US official was being escorted by Blackwater that day.

    All these years later, we can't even be told (a) if that was true and (b) if true, who it was?

    The following community sites updated:

  • iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq Iraq