Thursday, October 15, 2015

Eleanor Smeal destroys Ms. magazine

If you mised it, yeah, I'm calling the bitch that, just used her position at Ms. magazine to endorse war, continued war, the Afghanistan War.

I have no respect for her.

She's earned no respect.

She's nothing but a cheap whore for the Democratic Party.

Barack announces the extension of the Afghanistan War today and cheap whore Ellie shows up to give her stamp of approval.

May Ms. magazine die.

May  it f**king go into the grave.

It's useless now.

Just an empty rag being used to sell war.

That's not a feminist answer.

Death to Ms. magazine!

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

Thursday, October 15, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the State Dept notes religious issues (and targeting) in Iraq, we continue to discuss the Democratic Party debate with a focus on Hillary and Bernie, and much more.

Wednesday morning at the US State Dept, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the release of an annual report.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, today we present the department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2014.
And I particularly want to thank David Saperstein and his entire team for producing a report that reflects a vast amount of objective research and that will provide a uniquely valuable resource for anybody who cares about religious freedom in all of its aspects. And I am very grateful for David’s willingness to come on board. He has provided important new energy and focus on this, is building a terrific team, and I think you’re going to hear more and more from the Department with respect to our fight to protect people’s right to exercise religious freedom.
The message at the heart of this report is that countries benefit when their citizens fully enjoy the rights to which they are entitled. And this is not a hopeful theory; this is a proven reality. No nation can fulfill its potential if its people are denied the right to practice, to hold, to modify, to openly profess their innermost beliefs.
I should emphasize that the concept of religious freedom extends way beyond mere tolerance. It is a concept grounded in respect for the rights and beliefs of others. It is deeply connected to our DNA as Americans – to everything that we are and everything that we came from. It’s a concept that is based on respect, and respect, in turn, demands legal equality. It demands that the practitioners of one faith understand that they have no right to coerce others into submission, conversion, or silence, or to literally take their lives because of their beliefs.
The purpose of this annual report is to highlight the importance of religious freedom not by lecturing but through advocacy and through persuasion. Our primary goal is to help governments everywhere recognize that their societies will do better with religious liberty than without it. The world has learned through very hard experience that religious pluralism encourages and enables contributions from all; while religious discrimination is often the source of conflicts that endanger all.

By issuing this report, we hope to give governments an added incentive to honor the rights and the dignity of their citizens; but the report also has the benefit of equipping interested observers with an arsenal of facts.

The report notes:

Iraq declined precipitously this year as the collapse of government security structures in parts of the country prevented leaders from stopping ISIL’s territorial offensive and subsequent atrocities. Likewise in Syria, the effective control by various non-State groups of portions of the country’s territory contributed to a precipitous decline in religious freedom. On both sides of the border, ISIL sought to elimina­­­­­te members of any group it assessed as deviating from ISIL’s own violent and destructive interpretation of Islam. It has forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands of people, conducted mass executions, and kidnapped, sold, enslaved, raped and/or forcibly converted thousands of women and children—all on the grounds that these people stand in opposition to ISIL’s religious dogma.
Shia militias in Iraq also committed abuses, targeting some Sunnis with abductions, execution-style killings, torture, and threats, as well as destruction of homes and businesses. In some instances, these militias reportedly prevented internally displaced Sunnis from returning home. The Prime Minister has emphasized a zero-tolerance policy for human rights violations and abuses and called for the protection of religious minorities, but the government’s capacity to protect civilians from the ongoing conflict was limited.

And further in, we'll note this section:

Legal Framework
The constitution recognizes Islam as the official religion, mandates Islam be considered a source of legislation, and states no law may be enacted contradicting the established provisions of Islam, though it does not differentiate between Sunni and Shia Islam. It also states no law may contradict principles of democracy or the rights and basic freedoms stipulated in the constitution. The constitution guarantees freedom from religious, intellectual, and political coercion.
Apparent contradictions between the constitution and other legal provisions remain. For example, the law prohibits the practice of the Bahai Faith, and a 2001 resolution prohibits the practice of the Wahhabi branch of Sunni Islam. Although constitutional provisions on freedom of religion may override these laws, no court challenges have yet invalidated them, and there is no pending legislation to repeal them.
Personal status laws and regulations prevent the conversion of Muslims to other religions and require conversion of minor children to Islam if either parent converts to Islam. In the IKR, there were several cases of Christian single-parent families affected by the conversion policy, which applies to all religious minorities. In some cases, the Christian parent fled with the minor children to avoid conversion of the children to Islam.
National identity cards denote the holder’s religion, but do not differentiate between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Passports do not specify religion. Bahais and Kakais may only receive identity cards if they self-identify as Muslims. Without an official identity card, Bahais and Kakais cannot register their marriages, enroll their children in public school, acquire passports, or access some government services.
The Council of Iraqi Christian Church Leaders, an independent group formed by church leaders in 2006, consists of representatives from each of the 13 officially recognized churches and requires Christian groups to register. To do so, the group must have a minimum of 500 adherents in the country. Without formal registration, religious groups cannot qualify for government funding or official recognition from the government’s endowment for Christian, Yezidi, Sabean-Mandaean, and “other” religions.
The constitution guarantees citizens the right to choose which court (civil or religious) will adjudicate matters of personal status, including marriage, divorce, child custody, inheritance, endowments, and other personal matters. The Personal Status Law stipulates that civil courts must consult the religious authority of a non-Muslim party for its opinion under the applicable religious law and apply that opinion in court.
The constitution requires the government to maintain the sanctity of holy shrines and religious sites and guarantee the free practice of rituals. The penal code criminalizes disrupting or impeding religious ceremonies and desecrating religious buildings.
The law specifies that constitutional guarantees providing for reinstatement of citizenship do not apply to Jews who emigrated and gave up their citizenship under a 1950 law.
Of the 328 seats in the Council of Representatives, the law reserves eight seats for members of minority groups: five for Christian candidates from Baghdad, Ninewa, Kirkuk, Erbil, and Dahuk; one for a Yezidi; one for a Sabean-Mandaean; and one for a Shabak. In the 2014 national parliamentary elections, six minority candidates won parliamentary seats outside of the quota allocation, bringing total minority representation to 14 seats. The Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament reserves 11 seats for minorities: five for Christians, five for Turkmen, and one for Armenians.
The constitution states that followers of all religions are free to practice religious rites and manage religious endowments (waqf), endowment affairs, and religious institutions. The government maintains three waqfs: the Sunni; the Shia; and the Christian, Yezidi, Sabean-Mandaean, and “other.” Operating under the authority of the prime minister’s office, the endowments disburse government funding to maintain and protect religious facilities.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) also maintains three waqfs: the Sunni, the Christian, and the Yezidi endowments. The KRG Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs operates the endowments, which pay the salaries of clergy and fund the construction and maintenance of religious sites. To receive assistance, religious groups are required to register with the ministry. While funding is available for registered Christian groups, some churches choose not to register and, therefore, fund themselves. The KRG also provides funding to some religious groups without endowments. For example, monthly government stipends fund temple maintenance and cultural activities for the Sabean-Mandaean community in the IKR.
The government provides support for Muslims desiring to perform the Hajj, organizing travel routes and immunization documents for entry into Saudi Arabia. The government also provides funding to Sunni and Shia waqfs, which accept Hajj applications from the public and submit them to the supreme council for the Hajj. The council, attached to the prime minister’s office, organizes a lottery process that selects pilgrims for official Hajj visas.
The constitution provides that the federal Supreme Court is made up of judges, experts in Islamic jurisprudence, and legal scholars. The constitution leaves the method of regulating the number and selection of judges to legislation that requires a two-thirds majority in the Council of Representatives. The federal Supreme Court’s composition continues to be governed by a law that does not require that Islamic jurisprudence experts be included on the court. The federal Supreme Court is presently comprised of nine members, representing a cross-section of ethnicities and religions.
The government requires Islamic religious instruction in public schools, but non-Muslim students are not required to participate. In most areas of the country, primary and secondary school curricula include three classes per week of Islamic education, including study of the Quran, as a graduation requirement for Muslim students. During the year, the Ministry of Education (MOE) approved the inclusion of Syriac and Christian religious education in the curricula of 152 public schools in Baghdad, Ninewa, and Kirkuk. Private religious schools operate in the country, but must obtain a license from the director general of private and public schools and pay annual fees.
Many Christians who speak the Syriac language consider the right to use and teach it to their children a question of religious freedom. The constitution establishes Arabic and Kurdish as official state languages but guarantees the right to educate minority children in their own languages, and makes Turkmen and Syriac official languages in “the administrative units in which they constitute density populations.” The MOE includes an office for Kurdish and other language education, which aims to ensure that minority communities are taught in their native languages.
The KRG MOE funds Syriac-language public schools (elementary and high school) in its territory, and the curriculum does not contain religion or Quranic studies.

Government Practices

Because religion, politics, and ethnicity are often closely linked, it is difficult to categorize many incidents as being solely based on religious identity. There were reports the central government engaged in killings, kidnappings, arrests, detentions, restrictions, and discrimination based on religious affiliation. Misuse of official authority based on sectarian identity continued to be a concern. There were relatively fewer reports of official abuse and discrimination based on religious affiliation in the IKR, but similar reports based on ethnic affiliation. Official investigations of abuses by government forces, illegal armed groups, and terrorist organizations were infrequent, and the outcomes of investigations that did occur were often unpublished, unknown, or incomplete. The government also publicly called for tolerance for all religious communities and developed a committee that implemented reforms to rectify sectarian imbalances in the ministries and implement fair hiring standards, and issued and began implementing an executive order to enforce legal rights related to detainees, a key concern of Sunnis. Religious and ethnic minorities residing within the territory of the disputed internal boundaries in north-central Iraq blamed the central government and the KRG for the lack of security in the area. This sharpened following ISIL’s incursion into Mosul in June when the ISF retreated and when KRG forces withdrew from Sinjar and parts of the Ninewa Plain in early August.
There were some reports that Iraqi police or the ISF either killed Sunni detainees or failed to prevent deadly attacks on Sunni detainees by Shia militias. These reports increased in the wake of ISIL’s advances into northern Iraq in June.
Conflict between the ISF and ISIL in other locations also led to fighting along sectarian lines. In one example, on March 25, media reported that the ISF, accompanied by Shia militias, entered Buhruz, Diyala Province, to challenge an ISIL force for control of the predominantly Sunni town. ISF soldiers reportedly watched while Shia militia members rounded up and killed a group of Sunni men, including teenagers and elderly persons. Three Sunni mosques were reportedly burned during the confrontation, along with shops and homes of Sunni residents.
Yezidi and Christian political and civil society leaders stated that Kurdish Peshmerga and Asayish forces harassed and committed abuses against their communities in the portion of Ninewa Province controlled by the KRG or contested between the central government and the KRG. Both activists and members of the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament stated that KRG security officials held some Yezidis in arbitrary detention both before and after ISIL occupied the Sinjar district of Ninewa.
Sunni Muslim groups stated there was an ongoing campaign of revenge by the Shia majority in retribution for the Sunnis’ favored status and abuses of Shia during the Saddam Hussein regime. Complaints included reports of discrimination in public sector employment due to de-Baathification. This process was originally intended to target loyalists of the former regime. According to Sunnis and local NGOs, however, the Accountability and Justice Law (de-Baathification law) has been implemented selectively and used to render many Sunnis ineligible for government employment. According to sources in Basrah, Sunnis were, in limited cases, passed over for official positions solely on the basis of their religious affiliation. Unrest over Sunni political disenfranchisement and unresolved grievances continued from 2013, with violent clashes between the ISF, police, and anti-government protesters in Anbar Province in January.
Sunnis also reported that central government security forces targeted them for harassment, illegal searches, arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture and abuse. International and local NGOs cited the government’s use of the anti-terrorism law as a pretense for detaining Sunni men – and their female relatives – for extended periods of time without access to a lawyer or due process. Human Rights Watch (HRW) and AI reported evidence of torture and ill-treatment of Sunni detainees, as well as deaths in custody of Sunni men detained under the anti-terrorism law. In one case cited, the body of a man who died in custody showed bruises, open wounds, and burns consistent with the application of electricity.
Human rights NGOs and Yezidi leaders stated KRG authorities discriminated against some groups of Yezidi, Christian and Kakai IDPs in providing humanitarian assistance in the IKR. There were also reports that KRG authorities prevented individuals whom they deemed security threats from entering the IKR. While Kurdish authorities generally admitted ethnic and religious minority IDPs, entry for male Arabs, particularly Sunnis, was more difficult than for others. As Kurdish forces regained territory from ISIL, media reports and government officials noted the Peshmerga were preventing Sunni Arabs from returning to their homes in some areas of reclaimed territory. Kakai IDPs in Erbil also reported pressure from provincial authorities to move from a primarily Christian suburb to IDP camps. In September a provincial official reportedly threatened to move Kakai IDPs to a camp by force if they did not go voluntarily.
Members of religious minority groups, community activists, and media related that many non-Muslims chose to reside in the IKR and areas under KRG control because they considered these areas to offer greater security, tolerance, and protection for minority rights. Some Christians in the Disputed Internal Boundaries Areas reported that false claims of land ownership by local officials blocked Christians from building on land that the Christians said was their property. According to a human rights NGO, one such dispute near Shaqlawa prevented the construction of dwellings for primarily Christian IDPs. A Yezidi activist stated that local Kurdish officials in the village of Ain Sifne in the Shaykhan district of Ninewa continued to pressure local Yezidis to swap their land for larger amounts of poorer quality land elsewhere, in an effort to “Kurdify” the area.
The Iraqi cabinet, the Council of Ministers (COM), had one Christian minister while the KRG’s COM had no minority ministers. Members of minority religious groups were underrepresented in government appointments, public sector jobs, and elected positions outside of the Council of Representatives. Members of minority religious groups held senior positions in the national parliament and central government, as well as in the KRG, although they were proportionally underrepresented in the unelected government workforce, particularly at the provincial and local levels. Minority group leaders said this underrepresentation limited minority groups’ access to government-provided economic opportunities.
Non-Muslims throughout the country, including Christians, Yezidis, and Sabean-Mandaeans, stated they were being politically isolated by the Muslim majority because of religious differences.
In the IKR, some evangelical Christian groups chose not to register with the government-run endowments, despite requirements to do so to operate legally. They reported they preferred to avoid increased government scrutiny of their internal operations, and to avoid KRG regulations for registration that indirectly constrained proselytization.
The combination of corruption, attacks against non-Muslim businesses, uneven application of the rule of law, and nepotism in hiring practices throughout the country by members of the majority Muslim population had a detrimental economic effect on non-Muslim communities and contributed to their emigration. The deputy chairman of the Council of Sabean-Mandaeans in Dhi Qar Province, for example, attributed his group’s increased emigration rate to the lack of security and limited economic opportunity. Advocacy groups and representatives of religious minority communities said the failure of the ISF, including the Kurdish Peshmerga, to ensure protection for minority communities against ISIL in Mosul and across the Ninewa Plain also led to the departure of Christians and other religious minority communities from northern Iraq during the year.
Government policy continued to recognize Christians’ right to observe Easter and Christmas without interference. The government also provided increased protection to Christian churches during these holidays. Local Bahais were able to celebrate the festivals of Naw-Ruz and the Festival of Ridvan without interference or intimidation. Provincial governments have also designated religious holidays in their localities; for example, in 2013, the Maysan provincial council recognized a Sabean-Mandaean holiday as an official holiday. The Maysan provincial council also provided physical protection for the Sabean-Mandaean community during times of worship, formally excused the group from Shia Muslim dress codes during times of mourning, and granted land for places of worship.
An advocacy group reported that the Ministry of Antiquities initiated an investigation into the destruction of the home of the founder of the Bahai Faith and the government sent a notice halting construction work on the site. Discussions between the government and the various groups involved in the possible reconstruction of the site were ongoing at year’s end.

From the holy and sacred to the profane: Politicians.

Democratic hopefuls gathered in Las Vegas Tuesday night to make the case for why they should be the party's 2016 presidential nominee . . . or something.

Senator Bernie Sanders shamed himself -- that is his natural color -- and provided proof to many who had long suspected he was only in the race to provide cover for front runner Hillary Clinton while playing sheep herder to disaffected leftists.

Colonel Sanders stood on the stage and announced he was tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton's "damn e-mails."

If you're thinking he took the time to talk about the implications of some idiot dumb enough to use a non-secure e-mail server for government business and that the same fool now thought they could be trusted with security codes for bombs, for example, you're wrong.

Colonel Sanders was sidestepping his strained (at best) relations with the African-American community to step forward and defend the liar supreme Hillary Clinton.

The defense didn't help.

Katie Zezima (Washington Post) points out:

Despite this, the issue has, and will, continue to dog Clinton. The FBI is investigating the security of Clinton's e-mails, and the inquiry recently grew in scope to include a second technology company. Clinton will testify later this month before the House Select Committee, which has said that her e-mail use pertains to their investigation. Concerns over the security of her system have been mounting; a technology subcontractor who worked on Clinton's e-mail setup expressed concerns that the system was vulnerable to hackers, and Clinton and the State Department have given different accounts of why they turned over e-mails.

It's not over for Hillary.

It might be over for Bernie.

An ongoing federal investigation -- two, in fact -- really isn't when you weigh in on anyone but a sibling or a spouse.  If you weigh in on one of those and you end up wrong, the world forgives you.  If you defend a criminal you're not related to and the criminals crimes are exposed an investigation it goes to character and your lack of judgment.

Hillary's e-mail scandal just became Bernie's e-mail scandal.

Conor Friedersdorf (The Atlatic) offers:

Using contested intelligence, a powerful adviser urges a president to wage a war of choice against a dictator; makes a bellicose joke when he is killed; declares the operation a success; fails to plan for a power vacuum; and watches Islamists gain power. That describes Dick Cheney and the Iraq War—and Hillary Clinton and the war in Libya.

Hillary's Libya lies were among the biggest lies of the night -- a tough call to be sure.

As we explained Wednesday morning:

A number of e-mails note that Muammar Gaddafi was a contained and limited threat and had been brought to the table by the previous administration (Bully Boy Bush).
That's true.  It's also true that Gaddafi had first normalized relations with the United Kingdom and then with the US (and was taken off the terrorist list in 2006).
I think most of Hillary's 'history' is as short-sighted as she is.
I highlighted the above in last night's snapshot because there she was (yet again) promising she would "get to that" (the dead Americans) and there she was (yet again) ignoring the dead.

Back to Conor taking on Hillary's revisionist history:

That is about as misleading as summarizing the Iraq War by saying that the Iraqis had a terrible leader; they had a free election after the war; and they voted for moderates. It elides massive suffering and security threats that have occurred in postwar Libya.
Yet the answer didn’t hurt the Democratic frontrunner. That’s because neither CNN moderators nor prospective Clinton supporters understand the magnitude of the catastrophe that occurred amid the predictable power vacuum that followed Ghadafi’s ouster. “Libya today—in spite of the expectations we had at the time of the revolution—it’s much, much worse,” Karim Mezran, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, told Frontline. “Criminality is skyrocketing. Insecurity is pervasive. There are no jobs. It’s hard to get food and electricity. There’s fighting, there’s fear … I see very few bright spots.”

Though a non-stop parade of lies and a televised embarrassment, a number of people did tune in for the train wreck.  In fact, David Zurawik (Baltimore Sun) notes that 15.3 million viewers tuned in making it the largest audience for a cable TV broadcast Democratic Debate -- although still far short of the 25 million that tuned in for the Fox News broadcast of the GOP debate earlier this year (25 million viewers).

Susan (On The Edge) weighed in with a take which includes, "The real dark horse is [former Maryland Governor Martin] O'Malley, who gave a credible performance and great closing statement although I believe HRC is probably unbeatable to get the nomination, assuming Biden doesn't step in. I fully expect her to be elected the next president."

Community coverage of the debate includes Wally's "THIS JUST IN! CRANKY'S SELF-LOVE!" and Cedric's "She says she'll vote for herself" (joint-post), Marcia's "The winner was . . .," Rebecca's "hillary liar clinton," Ruth's "The laughable 'debate'," Elaine's "Hillary or Anderson -- who was more disgusting?," Betty's "1 Tweet to catch," Trina's "The 'reality' debate" and Ann's "I've seen the future and it is butt ugly."

The convention wisdom for gas bags in the press is that Hillary owned the debate.

This ignores the fact that terms like "pushy" and "arrogant" and "entitled" (and, yes, in one focus group reported on last week, "bitch") are regularly applied to Hillary.

A little humble mixed into her performance would have gone a long way.

This is the same gaggle that cheered on her now infamous "What difference, at this point, does it make!" screech.  (We called that out the day it happened.  It was even more appalling if you were sitting in the hearing than it came off on air.  People -- not reporters -- visibly recoiled from her screech.)

She proved she could out macho any man on the stage in Las Vegas but has anyone doubted Hillary's butch in the last six or so years?

It was not a good moment for her.

Joseph Kishore (WSWS) focuses on Bernie Sanders and notes:

As he rises in the polls, Sanders very deliberately seeks to reassure the other main center of power in the United States—the military-intelligence apparatus. On Tuesday, he declared that he is “prepared to take this country into war if that is necessary.” Insisting that he is “not a pacifist,” Sanders pointed to his support for the war in Kosovo under Clinton, the war in Afghanistan launched by the Bush administration, and the Obama administration’s present war policy in Syria and Iraq.
These statements followed on previous comments that he would make use of drones, Special Forces “and more,” and that the United States “should have the strongest military in the world.” On Tuesday, he added a call for the prosecution of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Sanders’ support for imperialist war abroad says far more about his politics than his proposals for social reforms at home. All of the wars he backs are being waged in the interest of the ruling class and its program of global domination. It is impossible to oppose the economic policy of the corporate and financial elite at home and support its policy abroad.

The violence never ends in Iraq.  And Barack Obama's part of that as he continues to bomb Iraq to 'save' Iraq.  Operation Inherent Failure, DoD announced yesterday, resulted in multiple bombings with many unverifiable claims:

Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter, ground attack, remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 16 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the government of Iraq:
-- Near Baghdadi, one strike hit an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL homemade explosives cache.
-- Near Beiji, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL building, an ISIL resupply vehicle, and two ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Kisik, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Mosul, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and two ISIL heavy machine guns.
-- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed five ISIL buildings, five ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL tactical vehicle, two ISIL improvised explosive clusters used as minefields, and denied ISIL terrain at three separate locations.
-- Near Samarra, one strike destroyed two ISIL weapons caches.
-- Near Sinjar, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed eight ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles, ten ISIL bunkers, and two ISIL tunnel systems.

-- Near Tal Afar, one strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Suck on it, Tom Hayden, and other fake asses

Bill Van Auken (WSWS) writes:

How is the demise of the antiwar movement to be explained? It is not a reflection of lessening opposition to war among working people. Rather, its death can be ascribed to the actions of those who previously led the protest movements—pseudo-left political tendencies that palmed off their politics as radical, anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist, when they were nothing of the sort.
In the US, these tendencies worked deliberately to channel antiwar sentiment behind the Democratic Party, which represents US finance capital. They wound down protests in advance of each election, and terminated them altogether once Obama won the White House.
This was a matter not only of the political affiliation of the American president, but, more importantly, the politics of the pseudo-left tendencies themselves.
These groups emerged largely out of the mass protests against the war in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, a movement dominated by sections of the middle class that rapidly receded with the end of the draft in the US and the withdrawal of American troops.
Their subsequent rightward evolution tracked that of the ruling class itself, with their politics becoming firmly rooted in the material class interests of better-off layers of the middle class. The personal fortunes of these social layers rose along with the stock market and real estate prices, the product of the growth of financial parasitism, which was, in turn, bound up with the global eruption of American militarism.
This new constituency for American imperialism was expressed in the turn by large sections of what passed for the left to support, under the cynical banner of “human rights,” the imperialist intervention in the Balkans during the Western-provoked civil wars that dismembered Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
The International Socialist Organization (ISO) in the US, in its domestic politics, espouses a sort of left reformism, in sync with a section of the Democratic Party, liberal layers of the upper-middle class, academia and the trade union bureaucracy.
In its foreign policy, however, its class nature appears most nakedly. Here it is among the most rabid advocates of war, objectively aligned with the factions of the state, the Pentagon and the CIA that are pushing most aggressively for military escalation.

Some of us on the left have spent every year decrying the Iraq War.

But some of us are just cheap whores.

Tom Hayden's a cheap whore.

A womanizer, a drunk, a fake, a fraud.

He's far from the only peace 'leader' who proved himself to be a worker drone for the Democratic Party.

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

Tuesday, October 13, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the cholera cases increase, Hillary Clinton's war mongering continues to haunt her, and much more.

Wearing a ridiculous outfit that made her look alternately like a Puritan as well as someone who forgot her witch's hat, Hillary Clinton snarled and bellowed throughout tonight's Las Vegas debate.  The pan collar was a ridiculous as her responses.

The debate was a huge joke as Anderson Cooper (moderator) played favorites and allowed Hillary to set the agenda repeatedly.  He was her water boy and she ordered him around throughout the debate.  That's not going to help her image or his.

At the heart of her failure in tonight's debate was not her 2002 vote for the Iraq War but her refusal to ever take accountability for it.

You saw a liar supreme, the equivalent of a cheating spouse who feigns remorse when caught but intends to keep on cheating.

Hillary voted for the illegal war and continued to support it until the majority of the American people had turned against it.

She's never apologized for that vote.  She's offered mealy mouthed words and, when offered in person, she's done so in a rude and dismissive manner.

The Iraq War continues to this day.

To this day she continues to refuse to take accountability.

At the debate, her rivals for the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nomination refused to allow her to wall off the topic the way she generally does.

So Hillary was left to resort to pre-planned sound bytes.


That became obvious as she introduced her latest 'defense' for her lousy 2002 vote: Barack picked her anyway!

"Well, I recall very well," she huffed, "being on a debate stage -- I think about 25 times with then-Senator Obama debating this very issue.  After the election, he asked me to become Secretary of State.  He valued my judgment and I spent a lot of time with him in the Situation Room going over some very difficult issues."

What a liar.

Barack selected many War Hawks for his administration.

Why did he select Hillary?

To keep his enemies close.

He might not have been re-elected in 2012 if Hillary had made a run for the nomination that year -- it might have left him wounded.

He knew the best way to shut her (and Bill) up was to offer her a role.

He knew the best way to stomach her was to give her a role that would keep her out of the country as much as possible.

If he trusted her judgment on Iraq, he wouldn't have removed Iraq from her and made Joe Biden and Samantha Power the leads on Iraq.

Equally true, she left the State Dept with a lengthy  travelogue but no serious accomplishments.

The story of her life, she always pushes her way to the front when cameras are around but she never can point to any accomplishments.

We're going to note a lengthy section of the debate -- this is the Washington Post's transcript:

COOPER: I want to go to Dana Bash. Dana?

BASH: Governor Chafee, you were the only Republican in the Senate to vote against the Iraq war. You say Secretary Clinton should be disqualified from the presidency because she voted in favor of using force in Iraq. She has since said that her vote was a mistake. Why isn't that good enough?

CHAFEE: Well, we just heard Senator Sanders say that it's the worst decision in American history. That's very significant, the worst decision in American history, I just heard from Senator Sanders.
So, as we look ahead, if you're going to make those poor judgment calls, a critical time in our history, we just finished with the Vietnam era, getting back into another quagmire -- if you're looking ahead, and you're looking at someone who made that poor decision in 2002 to go into Iraq when there was no real evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- I know because I did my homework, and, so, that's an indication of how someone will perform in the future. And that's what's important.


BASH: Secretary Clinton, he's questioning your judgment.

CLINTON: Well, I recall very well being on a debate stage, I think, about 25 times with then Senator Obama, debating this very issue. After the election, he asked me to become Secretary of State.
He valued my judgment, and I spent a lot of time with him...

(APPLAUSE) the Situation Room, going over some very difficult issues.
You know, I -- I agree completely. We don't want American troops on the ground in Syria. I never said that. What I said was we had to put together a coalition -- in fact, something that I worked on before I left the State Department -- to do, and yes, that it should include Arabs, people in the region.
Because what I worry about is what will happen with ISIS gaining more territory, having more reach, and, frankly, posing a threat to our friends and neighbors in the region and far beyond.
So I think while you're talking about the tough decision that President Obama had to make about Osama bin Laden, where I was one of his few advisers, or putting together that coalition to impose sanctions on Iran -- I think I have a lot of evidence...


BASH: Senator Sanders -- Senator Sanders, I want to bring you in here. My question for you is, as a congressman, you voted against the Iraq War. You voted against the Gulf War. You're just talking about Syria, but under what circumstances would a President Sanders actually use force?

SANDERS: Let me just respond to something the secretary said. First of all, she is talking about, as I understand it, a no-fly zone in Syria, which I think is a very dangerous situation. Could lead to real problems.
Second of all, I heard the same evidence from President Bush and Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld about why we should overthrow Saddam Hussein and get involved in the -- I would urge people to go to, hear what I said in 2002. And I say, without any joy in my heart, that much of what I thought would happen about the destabilization, in fact, did happen.
So I think... 

BASH: All right.


SANDERS: I think the president is trying very hard to thread a tough needle here, and that is to support those people who are against Assad, against ISIS, without getting us on the ground there, and that's the direction I believe we should have (inaudible).

COOPER: But, Senator Sanders, you didn't answer the question. Under what -- under what circumstances would you actually use force?

SANDERS: Well, obviously, I voted, when President Clinton said, "let's stop ethnic cleansing in Kosovo," I voted for that. I voted to make sure that Osama bin Laden was held accountable in Afghanistan.
When our country is threatened, or when our allies are threatened, I believe that we need coalitions to come together to address the major crises of this country. I do not support the United States getting involved in unilateral action.

(UNKNOWN): You're at work with our allies.


COOPER: I'm gonna bring you all in on this. Governor -- Governor O'Malley, Secretary Clinton...

SANDERS: I don't believe that any...


COOPER: Secretary Clinton voted to authorize military force in Iraq, supported more troops in Afghanistan. As Secretary of State, she wanted to arm Syrian rebels and push for the bombing of Libya. Is she too quick to use military force?

O'MALLEY: Anderson, no president -- no commander in chief -- should take the military option off the table, even if most of us would agree that it should be the last option.
What disturbed people so much about -- and I would agree with Senator Sanders on this -- leading us into Iraq under false pretenses and telling us, as a people, that there were weapons of mass destruction there was -- was one of the worst blunders in modern American history.
But the reason why people remain angry about it is because people feel like a lot of our legislators got railroaded in a war fever and by polls. And I remember being at a dinner shortly before that invasion. People were talking at -- and saying, "it'll take us just a couple years to rebuild democracy," and I thought, "has this world gone mad?"
Whenever we go -- and contrary to John Quincy Adams' advice -- "searching the world for monsters to destroy," and when we use political might to take a -- at the expense of democratic principle, we hurt ourselves, and we hurt our (inaudible).

COOPER: Does she -- does she want to use military force too rapidly?

O'MALLEY: I believe that, as president, I would not be so quick to pull for a military tool. I believe that a no-fly zone in Syria, at this time, actually, Secretary, would be a mistake.
You have to enforce no-fly zones, and I believe, especially with the Russian air force in the air, it could lead to an escalation because of an accident that we would deeply regret.
I support President Obama. I think we have to play a long game, and I think, ultimately -- you want to talk about blunders? I think Assad's invasion of Syria will be seen as a blunder.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley, just for the record, on the campaign trail, you've been saying that Secretary Clinton is always quick for the -- for the military intervention. Senator -- Secretary Clinton, you can respond.

CLINTON: Well, first of all, I...

WEBB: Anderson, can I come into this discussion at some point?

COOPER: Well -- yes, you'll be coming in next, but she was directly quoted, Senator.

WEBB: Thank you. I've been standing over here for about ten minutes, trying.


WEBB: It's just -- it's gone back and forth over there.

COOPER: Secretary?

CLINTON: Well, I am in the middle, here, and...


Lots of things coming from all directions.

WEBB: You got the lucky (inaudible).

[I'm taking out Hillary's flapping gums and will explain why in a second . . . ]

COOPER: Senator Webb, you said as president you would never have used military force in Libya and that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was, in your words, "inevitable." Should Secretary Clinton have seen that attack coming?

WEBB: Look, let's start -- I've been trying to get in this conversation for about 10 minutes -- let's start with why Russia is in Syria right now. There are three strategic failings that have allowed this to occur. The first was the invasion of Iraq, which destabilized ethnic elements in Iraq and empowered Iran. The second was the Arab Spring, which created huge vacuums in Libya and in Syria that allowed terrorist movements to move in there. And the third was the recent deal allowing Iran to move forward and eventually acquire a nuclear weapon, which sent bad signals, bad body language into the region about whether we are acquiescing in Iran becoming a stronger piece of the formula in that part of the world.
Now, I say this as someone who spent five years in the Pentagon and who opposed the war in Iraq, whose son fought in Iraq, I've fought in Vietnam. But if you want a place where we need to be in terms of our national strategy, a focus, the greatest strategic threat that we have right now is resolving our relationship with China. And we need to do this because of their aggression in the region. We need to do it because of the way they treat their own people.

COOPER: Senator...

WEBB: And I would say this. I've been waiting for 10 minutes. I will say this.

COOPER: You're over your time as of now.

WEBB: I will -- well, you've let a lot of people go over their time. I would say this...

COOPER: You agreed to these debate rules.

What rules, Anderson?

That the subject is Iraq and Hillary switches it to Syria and you don't redirect her or challenge her?

That you let her run the debate?

Others don't get to speak and you're providing her even more air time?

That was embarrassing.

Anderson Cooper and CNN should be embarrassed.

Hillary did what cheap liars always do when they're caught, try to change the subject.

And Anderson let her.

Where was her plan for Iraq?

She has none.

The cheap trash from Illinois helped destroy Iraq.

Pressed on her vote for war, she changes the topic to Syria and Anderson too entranced with his own reflection on a monitor to insist she stay on topic and answer the question.

If you're not getting (a) what a failure Anderson was or (b) what an avoider Hillary was, let's note this section:

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, on the campaign trail, Governor Webb has said that he would never have used military force in Libya and that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was inevitable. Should you have seen that attack coming?

CLINTON: Well, let's remember what was going on. We had a murderous dictator, Gadhafi, who had American blood on his hands, as I'm sure you remember, threatening to massacre large numbers of the Libyan people. We had our closest allies in Europe burning up the phone lines begging us to help them try to prevent what they saw as a mass genocide, in their words. And we had the Arabs standing by our side saying, "We want you to help us deal with Gadhafi."
Our response, which I think was smart power at its best, is that the United States will not lead this. We will provide essential, unique capabilities that we have, but the Europeans and the Arabs had to be first over the line. We did not put one single American soldier on the ground in Libya. And I'll say this for the Libyan people...

COOPER: But American citizens did lose their lives in Benghazi.

CLINTON: But let -- I'll get to that. But I think it's important, since I understand Senator Webb's very strong feelings about this, to explain where we were then and to point out that I think President Obama made the right decision at the time.
And the Libyan people had a free election the first time since 1951. And you know what, they voted for moderates, they voted with the hope of democracy. Because of the Arab Spring, because of a lot of other things, there was turmoil to be followed.
But unless you believe the United States should not send diplomats to any place that is dangerous, which I do not, then when we send them forth, there is always the potential for danger and risk.

COOPER: Governor O'Malley?

WEBB: Can I...


"I'll get to that"?

Anderson says, "But American citizens did lose their lives in Benghazi."

And the liar Hillary responds, "I'll get to that."

She never does.

Yet again Anderson Cooper fails.

This is classic Hillary.

She and only she was Secretary of State.

State refused requests for beefed up security.

Four Americans died -- she can't even name them.  Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Chris Stevens.

Actually, in some public appearances, Hillary indicates more than four died.

At any rate, she says she'll get to the dead Americans -- in tonight's debate -- but never does.

Because it's not about the dead Americans to Hillary, it's about her will to power (Nietzsche, "A living being wants above all else to release its strength; life itself is the will to power."), it's about her struggle to make herself front and center on everything.

Four dead Americans matter to her as little as the Dallas police officer that died protecting her in 2008 while she campaigned for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

She's never bothered by these deaths, she's never haunted by them.

The 'lessers' must give their lives for inevitable coronation.

And that's why the people of Iraq and the foreign soldiers sent into Iraq (some of whom died, some of whom left injured) never matter to her.

It's all about the road to Hillary's success.

And that's the churlish aspect she presented on the stage throughout tonight's debate.

The War Whore Clinton was quick to insist that whistle-blower Ed Snowden "face the music" during the debate while yet again making clear that she believes she herself is above both criticism and the law.

She is Richard Nixon reincarnated, nothing less and certainly nothing more.

Throughout the debate, she did something weird with her mouth -- a health problem or a manifestation of her inner rage -- and repeatedly used a finger pointing gesture -- neither of which made her look rational or sane.

It's little surprise that Slate's online poll currently finds 78% of voters declaring Senator Bernie Sanders the winner of the debate while only 18% felt Cranky Clinton won.

Over a million Iraqis dead as a result of the illegal war Hillary supported and the violence never ends.  Today?  Alsumaria reports 1 person was shot dead in front of his central Baghdad home,  3 corpses were fished out of the Euphrates River while a woman attempting suicide by drowning in the river was grabbed by police, 1 person was shot dead in eastern Baghdad, and 1 person was shot dead in Tuz.  NINA adds that the Iraqi military announced they killed 6 people in an Anbar Province airstrike, a PUK source states that 6 members of the Islamic State were killed in a Sinjar battle, 1 corpse was discovered dumped in the streets of Baghdad and 1 person was kidnapped in Tuz.

In other developments, Dave Boyer and Rowan Scarborough (Washington Times) report:

Iraq has begun bombing Islamic State fighters with the help of a new intelligence center operated by Russia, Iran and Syria, a cooperation that is raising concerns in Washington about the threat to U.S. interests in the region.
The center has been operational for about a week and already has provided intelligence for airstrikes on a gathering of middle-level Islamic State figures, Hakim al-Zamili, the head of the Iraqi parliament’s defense and security committee, told Reuters on Tuesday.

In a possible response to that news, Xinhua reports that US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter declared today, "We [the Pentagon] are not able to associate more broadly with Russia's approach in Syria, because it is wrongheaded and strategically shortsighted."

Elsewhere, Outbreak News Today notes that there are now 1,263 confirmed cases of cholera spread out in 15 of Iraq's 18 provinces and that the ways of addressing the epidemic include "distribution of bottled water, water kits, hygiene kits, bleaching powder and chlorine tablets; establishment of water distribution points [. . .]"  Rudaw notes that figure, 1,263 confirmed cases, was updated today by a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Ahmed Rideni, who announced, "Up until the night of Monday, October 12, the number of infections of cholera in Iraq reached 1,430, out of which one person died."

Lastly, we've been noting the fading influence of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for some time now (most recently, September 25th). The International Crisis Group's Joost Hiltermann has an interesting essay at The New York Review of Books entitled "Iraq: The Clerics and the Militias."  In it, he notes various factors and the result:  "Sistani's ability to influence the direction of the country is tenuous." And a friend at The Nation asks that we highlight Andrew J. Bacevich's "Iraq and Afghanistan Have Officially Become Vietnam 2.0."