Friday, February 12, 2016

How stupid is Ron Jacobs?

Seriously, how stupid?

He's prattling on about yet another Bruce Springsteen tour, this one emphasizing THE RIVER and he lists a number of songs from it while ignoring the only one that was musically of note.

I like THE RIVER and can sing along with all the tracks.

But . . .

I'm fully aware that "Drive All Night" is the musical stand out.

It calls to mind the vibe that Van Morrison and Rickie Lee Jones can conjure on their best work.

And it was something for Bruce -- his first truly sexy vocal.

But it didn't have enough politics -- or faux politics -- for Ron Jacobs who appears to measure every song by the word and the lyrics damn well better give lip service to veneer politics (as opposed to real ones).

So he proves that he's the idiot so many of us always knew he was.

I guess we should applaud him.

Having obsessed non-stop over Bob Dylan his moving to granddaddy Bruce is supposed to be progress.

I'm really sick of these White men who obsess over #BlackLivesMatter and then turn around and write another piece on Dylan or Springsteen.


Then how about a career piece on Diana Ross or Aretha Franklin?

At this rate, for these White men, it would be revolutionary.

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

Thursday, February 11, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, War Hawk Hillary Clinton continues to be pushed on her vote for the Iraq War, her War Hawk buddies also becomes an issue, and much more.

Let's start with the ongoing Iraq War .  Specifically, let's start with the decision to support it to begin with.

Yesterday, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on Iraq, Syria and Libya.  Appearing before the Committee was President Barack Obama's Special Envoy Brett McGurk.  The original decision to support the Iraq War was raised.  First . . .

US House Rep Dana Rohrabacher: You know, frankly, we Republicans made a mistake when we backed our president when he said: "We have to get rid of Saddam Hussein."  And frankly it looks like to me that all of this chaos and confusion that you're describing today that is unfortunately in your lap to  try to correct started when we made a mistake [that] 'we have to get rid of Saddam Hussein because he's a bad guy and he's committing crimes against his own people and that's destabilizing the whole area.' [. . .]  

Secondly . . .

US House Rep Gerry Connolly:  I certainly want to concur with my friend from California and his critique of the mistake by Republicans in supporting the reckless foreign policy of George W. Bush.  And I certainly want to associate myself with those remarks.

US House Rep Dan Rohrbacher: Absolutely. 

Those darn Republicans, supporting, in 2002, the move to go to war on Iraq.

Darn Republicans.

  • . wise vote against War is one reason why endorsed him over

  • What?

    Oh, right.

    Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War.

    And she's not a Republican -- not anymore, right?

    She was on stage tonight in Milawukee (wearing another ridiculous outfit -- is 'business professional' just beyond her understanding?).  It was the Democratic Party debate, the latest one.  This one hosted by PBS and THE PBS NEWSHOUR with news anchors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff actings as moderators while Hillary debated Senator Bernie Sanders.

    Wouldn't you know it?  Iraq was an issue.

    Specifically, Hillary's vote for the United States to go to war with Iraq.

    This is from the transcript provided by THE WASHINGTON POST (which is annotated online).

    SANDERS: Let me just say this. What a president of the United States has got to do -- and what is his or her major, I think, responsibility -- is to, A, make certain that we keep our people safe, that we work with allies around the world to protect...
    ... president of the United States has got to do, and what is his or her major, I think, responsibility, is to, A, make certain that we keep our people safe. That we work with allies around the world to protect democratic values. That we do all that we can to create a world of peace and prosperity.
    I voted against the war in Iraq because I listened very carefully to what President Bush and Vice President Cheney had to say and I didn't believe them. And if you go to my Web site,, what you find is not only going to help lead the opposition to that war, but much of what I feared would happen when I spoke on the floor of the House, in fact, did happen in terms of the instability that occurred.
    Now I think an area in kind of a vague way, or not so vague, where Secretary Clinton and I disagree is the area of regime change. Look, the truth is that a powerful nation like the United States, certainly working with our allies, we can overthrow dictators all over the world.
    And God only knows Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator. We could overthrow Assad tomorrow if we wanted to. We got rid of Gadhafi. But the point about foreign policy is not just to know that you can overthrow a terrible dictator, it's to understand what happens the day after.
    And in Libya, for example, the United States, Secretary Clinton, as secretary of state, working with some other countries, did get rid of a terrible dictator named Gadhafi. But what happened is a political vacuum developed. ISIS came in, and now occupies significant territory in Libya, and is now prepared, unless we stop them, to have a terrorist foothold.
    But this is nothing new. This has gone on 50 or 60 years where the United States has been involved in overthrowing governments. Mossadegh back in 1953. Nobody knows who Mossadegh was, democratically-elected prime minister of Iran. He was overthrown by British and American interests because he threatened oil interests of the British. And as a result of that, the shah of Iran came in, terrible dictator. The result of that, you had the Iranian Revolution coming in, and that is where we are today. Unintended consequences.
    So I believe as president I will look very carefully about unintended consequences. I will do everything I can to make certain that the United States and our brave men and women in the military do not get bogged down in perpetual warfare in the Middle East.


    CLINTON: If I could just respond. Two points. One, Senator Sanders voted in 1998 on what I think is fair to call a regime change resolution with respect to Iraq, calling for the end of Saddam Hussein's regime.
    He voted in favor of regime change with Libya, voted in favor of the Security Council being an active participate in setting the parameters for what we would do, which of course we followed through on.
    I do not believe a vote in 2002 is a plan to defeat ISIS in 2016. It's very important we focus on the threats we face today, and that we understand the complicated and dangerous world we are in.
    When people go to vote in primaries or caucuses, they are voting not only for the president, they are voting for the commander-in- chief. And it's important that people really look hard at what the threats and dangers we face are, and who is best prepared for dealing with them.
    As we all remember, Senator Obama, when he ran against me, was against the war in Iraq. And yet when he won, he turned to me, trusting my judgment, my experience, to become secretary of state.
    I was very honored to be asked to do that and very honored to serve with him those first four years.


    SANDERS: Judy, if I can, there is no question, Secretary Clinton and I are friends, and I have a lot of respect for her, that she has enormous experience in foreign affairs. Secretary of state for four years. You've got a bit of experience, I would imagine.
    But judgment matters as well. Judgment matters as well. And she and I looked at the same evidence coming from the Bush administration regarding Iraq. I lead the opposition against it. She voted for it.
    But more importantly, in terms of this Libya resolution that you have noted before, this was a virtually unanimous consent. Everybody voted for it wanting to see Libya move toward democracy, of course we all wanted to do that.

    SANDERS: That is very different than talking about specific action for regime change, which I did not support.

    "I do not believe a vote in 2002 is a plan to defeat ISIS in 2016," Hillary grumped.

    Nor is saying "I made a mistake" owning your destructive vote.

    Hillary has refused to address the needs of the Iraqi people.

    Yet again, she insisted she was a champion of women -- those who didn't claim to sleep with her husband, to be raped by her husband or to be harassed by her husband.

    Well no woman from Iraq has ever claimed Bill Clinton made unwanted advances so what's Hillary's excuse for do nothing to help the women of Iraq?

    She's the woman who calls herself a champion of women.  She's the woman who now says her vote for the Iraq War was a mistake.

    A mistake?

    Wearing that ugly canary yellow top that looked like it was from the Chairman Mao collection to a professional debate was a mistake.

    The birth defects in Iraq?  That's not a mistake.  That's a tragedy brought on by a crime.

    What's Hillary going to do about that?


    For nearly 8 years now, she's given lip service to "I made a mistake" but she's never once explained how she would correct that mistake, what she's doing to atone for it.

    We're all supposed to be thrilled that Hillary can now call her vote to endorse a criminal war of aggression was a "mistake."

    Hillary's a neocon.

    It's why she made Victoria Nuland the spokesperson for the US State Dept and why she made Nuland's husband Robert Kagan an advisor.

    Here's Leslie Kelb writing at DEMOCRACY JOURNAL:

    Robert Kagan, the neoconservative extraordinaire, sees this shift as an opportunity to change the political center of gravity and is trying to shape the new consensus. In his latest book, The World America Made (2012), and other writings, he is reaching across the decades-old political abyss to tempted Democrats. And there, he has found Hillary Clinton, the unannounced Democratic nominee for President, among others, carefully reaching back. This potential embrace on international matters is not beyond the means of such experienced players. Foreign-policy alignments have shallower roots than domestic policy differences, and historically, the parties have enjoyed considerable overlapping of hawks and doves, activists, and de facto isolationists. Moreover, these positions can change on a dime.
    Kagan’s courtship of Clinton has been quite open. “I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy,” he told The New York Times in June. “[I]t’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that.” He himself tellingly prefers the term “liberal interventionist.”
    Kagan has his reasons for saying this publicly, not least the shifting sands of his own Republican Party. The Obama years have bared new conflicts among conservatives, particularly between the majority that still backs strong U.S. military responses to terrorist threats in the Mideast and a vocal minority of self-styled Tea Party libertarians who share left-wing Democrats’ disdain for foreign military entanglements. Accordingly, Kagan is hedging his bets by trying to fashion a new home, virtually constructing it himself—a de facto coalition of activist Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans in this ad hoc group are unlikely to campaign for Clinton, but they will be careful about attacking her foreign-policy views and will be well positioned to support her national-security positions if she wins.
    [. . .]
    For much of this period of neoconservative ascendance, Robert Kagan has been their intellectual tribune. This is why his courtship of Clinton is so interesting. Kagan’s open flirtation with Clinton has been coyly accepted and even reciprocated. While continuing to clutch the liberals’ new priorities like women’s rights, democracy, and climate change in her left hand, she is extending her right hand to the hawks. Few failed to notice when she selected Kagan to sit on her bipartisan State Department advisory group or when she picked his wife, Victoria Nuland, a very accomplished diplomat in her own right, as her spokeswoman. And it’s no accident that the much-admired former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, a friend to the Clintons and Kagans, keeps Kagan on at the venerable Brookings Institution as a senior fellow.

    She calls her vote a 'mistake' yet she continues to pal around with and seek the counsel of those who advocated for that 'mistake.'

    Hillary's a liar.

    And who she hangs with says a great deal about her lack of ethics.

    Back to tonight's debate:

    SANDERS: Judy, one area very briefly...

    WOODRUFF: Just a final word.

    SANDERS: Where the secretary and I have a very profound difference, in the last debate -- and I believe in her book -- very good book, by the way -- in her book and in this last debate, she talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger. Now, I find it rather amazing, because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country.


    I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger. And in fact, Kissinger's actions in Cambodia, when the United States bombed that country, overthrew Prince Sihanouk, created the instability for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to come in, who then butchered some 3 million innocent people, one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. So count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.


    IFILL: Secretary Clinton? 

    CLINTON: Well, I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy, and we have yet to know who that is.

    SANDERS: Well, it ain't Henry Kissinger. That's for sure.

    CLINTON: That's fine. That's fine.


    You know, I listen to a wide variety of voices that have expertise in various areas. I think it is fair to say, whatever the complaints that you want to make about him are, that with respect to China, one of the most challenging relationships we have, his opening up China and his ongoing relationships with the leaders of China is an incredibly useful relationship for the United States of America.


    So if we want to pick and choose -- and I certainly do -- people I listen to, people I don't listen to, people I listen to for certain areas, then I think we have to be fair and look at the entire world, because it's a big, complicated world out there.

    SANDERS: It is.

    CLINTON: And, yes, people we may disagree with on a number of things may have some insight, may have some relationships that are important for the president to understand in order to best protect the United States.


    SANDERS: I find -- I mean, it's just a very different, you know, historical perspective here. Kissinger was one of those people during the Vietnam era who talked about the domino theory. Not everybody remembers that. You do. I do. The domino theory, you know, if Vietnam goes, China, da, da, da, da, da, da, da. That's what he talked about, the great threat of China.

    And then, after the war, this is the guy who, in fact, yes, you're right, he opened up relations with China, and now pushed various type of trade agreements, resulting in American workers losing their jobs as corporations moved to China. The terrible, authoritarian, Communist dictatorship he warned us about, now he's urging companies to shut down and move to China. Not my kind of guy. 

    Henry Kissinger made have played footsie with the likes of Gloria Steinem (another Hillary supporter) but he's better known for being a caged American citizen.

    By which I mean that Henry is not free range.

    He can't travel to this country or that country for fear that they might extradite him and he might go on trial at the Hague for War Crimes.

    His War Crimes are too numerous to offer even a sweeping overview.

    Instead, we'll just focus on Chile.

    In 1998, he faced criticism for his War Crimes.  Bill and Hillary stood by him.

    Here's Martin McLaughlin (WSWS):

    If Augusto Pinochet deserves detention, trial and punishment for mass murder, then what about his American controllers--Henry Kissinger, then-CIA director Richard Helms and other US government officials who inspired, directed and supported the 1973 military coup in Chile?
    The official American reaction to the detention of Pinochet has been sympathetic to the former dictator. The Clinton administration is opposing his extradition out of concern that a public trial in Spain would bring to light the extensive involvement of US intelligence agencies in Pinochet's bloody deeds.
    Pinochet's seizure of power on September 11, 1973 was the product of a protracted US campaign of political manipulation and destabilization in Chile. In 1964 the Johnson administration poured tens of millions of dollars into a covert campaign to insure the election of Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei as president, over the Socialist Party candidate Salvador Allende.
    In 1970, with Frei ineligible to succeed himself and Allende the favorite to win the next election, Chile became a problem for the Nixon administration. The super-secret 40 Committee, a high-level body chaired by Henry Kissinger, with representatives from the State Department, CIA and Pentagon, decided that a massive electoral intervention would likely spark a backlash. US Ambassador Edward Korry urgently recommended a CIA covert operation to prepare a preemptive military coup.
    Kissinger declared, "I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people." But he and CIA Director Helms blocked the proposed pre-election coup as unworkable. More time was needed, they argued.
    Allende won the election on a reformist program, but his victory sparked a mass movement of the working class and poor peasants which had immense revolutionary potential. Allende and his Stalinist backers in the Chilean Communist Party spent the next three years restraining, discouraging and disorienting the mass movement, blocking any decisive challenge to the Chilean ruling class and American imperialism, while the right-wing and fascist elements prepared their counterattack. During this period there were six unsuccessful right-wing coup attempts, most of them with direct American aid.
    The US involvement in coup planning began even before Allende's election victory, under the codename FUBELT, with action plans prepared for Kissinger's consideration. One group of officers working under CIA direction carried out the assassination of General Rene Schneider, a pro-Allende officer, in an unsuccessful attempt to spark a full-scale coup before Allende could take office.

    A CIA cable from October 16, 1970, released under the Freedom of Information Act, spells out US government objectives: "It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup.... We are to continue to generate maximum pressure toward this end utilizing every appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG and -American hand be well hidden."

    In 2002, Jonathan Franklin and Duncan Campbell (GUARDIAN) noted:

    Henry Kissinger may face extradition proceedings in connection with the role of the United States in the 1973 military coup in Chile.
    The former US secretary of state is wanted for questioning as a witness in the investigation into the events surrounding the overthrow of the socialist president, Salvador Allende, by General Augusto Pinochet.
    It focuses on CIA involvement in the coup, whether US officials passed lists of leftwing Americans in Chile to the military and whether the US embassy failed to assist Americans deemed sympathetic to the deposed government.
    Chile's Judge Juan Guzman is so frustrated by the lack of cooperation by Mr Kissinger that he is now considering an extradition request to force him to come to Chile and testify in connection with the death of the American film-maker and journalist Charles Horman, who was killed by the military days after the coup.
    Horman's story was told in the 1982 Costa-Gavras film, Missing, starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek.
    Judge Guzman is investigating whether US officials passed the names of suspected leftwing Americans to Chilean military authorities. Declassified documents have now revealed that such a list existed. Sergio Corvalan, a Chilean lawyer, said that he could not divulge the "dozens" of names on the list.
    At the time of his death, Horman was investigating the murder of Rene Schneider, the chief of staff in the Chilean army whose support for Allende and the constitution was seen as an obstacle to the coup.

    Time and again, Hillary sides with the wrong people -- Kagan, Kissinger, Mad Maddie Albright.

    It's a pattern with her.

    She repeatedly befriends people whose actions demonstrate contempt for human life and for participatory democracy.

    Her addiction to regime change is rooted in the belief system she shared with Albright, Kagan and Kissinger.


    In tonight's debate, she insisted, "I do not believe a vote in 2002 is a plan to defeat ISIS in 2016. It's very important we focus on the threats we face today, and that we understand the complicated and dangerous world we are in.  When people go to vote in primaries or caucuses, they are voting not only for the president, they are voting for the commander-in- chief. And it's important that people really look hard at what the threats and dangers we face are, and who is best prepared for dealing with them."

    Now she's claiming she's fit to be commander-in-chief?

    She who would send US troops into any war at a moment's notice, without reading intel or carefully vetting a decision of what is the best option?

    And should she become president and send thousands more US troops to their deaths, will she blame that "mistake" on Bully Boy Bush as well?

    The Iraq War she endorsed and sought continues to this day.

    Today, the US Defense Dept announced/claimed/asserted/bragged:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 13 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Albu Hayat, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Kirkuk, a strike destroyed eight ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL tunnel.

    -- Near Mosul, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL checkpoint, seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL assembly area.

    -- Near Ramadi, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL bunker and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Albu Hayat, one strike struck inoperable coalition equipment, denying ISIL access in support of coalition operations.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

    Thursday, February 11, 2016

    Music to anticipate

    A friend of C.I.'s played me two tracks that blew me away.

    I like Chaka Khan.

    I did not know she was doing a Joni Mitchell tribute album.

    It's apparently close to finished.

    The two tracks I heard were raw and I hope they stay that way.

    Chaka really brings Joni to life.

    If this is what the album's going to be -- basically guitar and musical accents backing her powerhouse vocals -- this could end up being 2016's finest album.

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

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Hillary Clinton continues to embrace destruction and death, Brett McGurk spins to Congress, and much more.

    Starting with US politics, yesterday Hillary Clinton suffered a stunning loss in New Hampshire as voters in that state's Democratic Party primary overwhelmingly chose Senator Bernie Sanders while rejecting her to be the party's presidential nominee.
    Among her problems with voters?  Her 2002 vote for the Iraq War.
    While Hillary eventually would term the vote a "mistake," that only created more problems for her.
    When most people were taught by parents and/or guardians about mistakes, they were taught not only to admit to their mistake but to make some good faith effort to fix the mistake.
    Hillary keeps insisting she has some fabled foreign policy knowledge.
    But if her vote for the war on Iraq was a mistake -- and if she's so smart -- where is the effort to make good on her mistake? 

    Abandoned buildings, schools & makeshift camps, these are the places thousands of kids call home in today.
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    She's done nothing to help or advocate for the children pictured above.
    She has, however, used her own status -- recent status -- as a grandmother to campaign on.  It bit her in the ass when she was insisting she's just like an "abuela." She's also repeated used her status as a grandmother to insist she'd be a better leader.
    Adam Carlson (PEOPLE) quoted Hillary stating, "It will affect my being, not just my thinking. [. . .] Having that next generation right there and thinking about everything you want to do both personally but in our cases, publicly and professionally, to give that child the best chance in life to be all he or she can be, that is profoundly moving to me."
    Is it profoundly moving to her?
    It's a tiny and limited sort of 'profound,' one that doesn't go beyond her own family.

    A mistake, she insists, she made but she's not doing anything to help the children in Iraq with birth defects.

    "Findings suggest the enriched Uranium exposure is either a primary cause or related to the cause of the congenital anomaly and cancer increases," says a recent scientific report on the incidence of birth defects in Fallujah [Dr Samira Alani]

     That's from Al Jazeera.

     This is from Justice for the Babies of Fallujah:

    Another male born in FGH 2 days ago with multiple gross congenital anomalies in addition to CHD , he is the 1st baby to 2 young healthy couples with no previous history of any anomaly

    In 2014, Dahr Jamail (TRUTH OUT) reported on the increase in birth defects and how "Iraqi doctors and prominent scientists" argue this is the result of the US using Depleted Uranium:

    It is estimated that the United States used 350 tons of DU munitions in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation.
    Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the first Gulf War in 1991, the country's rate of cancer cases was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the trend continuing.
    The actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research and reporting of cases.

    Frederick Reese (MINT NEWS PRESS) also reported on the tragedy:

    According to Iraqi government statistics, the rate of cancer in the country has skyrocketed from 40 per 100,000 people prior to the First Gulf War in 1991, to 800 per 100,000 in 1995, to at least 1,600 per 100,000 in 2005.
    The culprit behind all of these health issues is depleted uranium, a byproduct of uranium enrichment. With a mass fraction a third of what fissile uranium would have, depleted uranium emits less alpha radiation — up to 60 percent less than natural uranium, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. This “relative” safety offered a rationale for many nations — particularly, the U.S. — to put the waste material to use.

    Hillary insists she made a mistake and should be forgiven for that mistake.

    But she's made no effort to make good on her mistake.

    She insists she's fueled in her motivation by being a grandmother but she has no concern for the children of Iraq.

    Her "mistake" cost lives.

    She's given lip service to the issue of Iraq, she's made no real effort to make amends for her vote.

    Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama continues bombing Iraq to bring about 'peace.'  Today, the US Defense Dept announced/claimed/bragged:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 18 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, a strike destroyed an ISIL supply cache.

    -- Near Huwayjah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb and two ISIL vehicles.

    -- Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Haditha, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Kirkuk, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Mosul, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed 15 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL checkpoint.

    -- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun position, an ISIL vehicle bomb facility and cratered an ISIL-used road.

    -- Near Sinjar, three strikes destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and suppressed two separate ISIL mortar positions.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

    Barack's been bombing Iraq from the air since August of 2014.
    Nothing's really changed.
    Before he started bombing Iraq, Barack was stating that the only answer to Iraq's crises was a political solution.
    However, the US has done damn little to ease the government of Iraq towards a political solution.
    It just been bomb, bomb and bomb again.
    And the persecution of the Sunni people in Iraq by the government has continued.
    The simple fact is that there’s a huge population of Sunni Arabs in particular who’ve been totally abandoned by the political regimes of Mesopotamia. In Iraq, Shiites have consolidated power in Baghdad, while Alawites and other Syrian minorities have hunkered down in the regime-controlled portions of Syria. Meanwhile Kurds on both sides of the border have coalesced into their own quasi-autonomous regions.
    And today in DC, US House Rep Eliot Engel declared, "I have one final question.  I have been having discussions -- in fact, the Chairman and I have been having discussions -- with some of our Sunni Arab friends and they express to us frustration at the United States not being more of a player that's deeply involved, that we seem to be reluctant to be -- to be involved.  They paint a picture of the fact that they're ready to come forward, if we come forward, if we lead, they're ready to do it.    They describe a reluctance on the part of the United States to get involved."
    He was speaking at the House Foreign Relations Committee to Barack's Special Envoy Brett McGurk.  Engel is the Ranking Member of the Committee, US House Rep Ed Royce is the Chair.
    Brett's generic non-response to Engel's question isn't worth noting.
    Instead, we'll note this exchange from today's hearing.

    US House Rep Ron DeSantis: Mr. McGurk, you just said that there will still be a global jihadist problem and I agree with that [if the Islamic State is defeated].  And I notice that in your written testimony, that there was not any reference explicitly to either Iran or Hezbollah -- particularly with respect to the destabilizing role they both play in Iraq and in Syria.  You know, they've murdered Sunni civilians and Assad obviously drives people, Sunni Arabs, who if the choice is between a militant Shi'ite force or government backed by Iran or ISIS -- which is at least Sunni -- many of them are driven to ISIS.  So is the exclusion of Iran's contribution to the problem deliberate or is it just something that you omitted?

    Special Envoy Brett McGurk:  No, certainly not.  Let me -- uh, let me take it on directly.  Uhm, you now when-when Mosul fell in the summer of 2014, Grand Ayatollah [Ali al-] Sistani in Najaf issued a fatwa saying 'everybody rise up and protect the country.'  And it was a really critical moment and had he not done that, I think that it would have  been very hard  to check what ISIL was doing because they were on a rampage and  caused a massive panic in the country.  You had about 80,000 volunteers kind of rise up and join the ranks to defend Iraq. Most of them in those early days are Shia from the south, most of them are nationalists, they answer to the government.  But there is a segment of them -- you know, maybe 10 to 15,000 --  who are actually answerable to militias who are better  controlled by Iran. And this is a huge concern for us, it's a huge concern for the government of Iraq and it's a huge concern for prime minister [Haider al-] Abadi.  Prime Minister Abadi, when he was here in Washington, said publicly that if Iran is operating a militia on Iraqi soil outside the command of the Iraqi government that would be a hostile act against Iraq.  So he has been very clear about this. When we see abuses and violations of human rights, the government of Iraq has acted.  Most recently, there were reports of some Shia militia violence in Diyala Province -- which has always been a hotbed of extremism on both sides of the sectarian divide.  Prime Minister Abadi went to the site twice.  Just last week, they arrested nine individuals from some of these militias as part of that investigation.  So this is a serious problem, it's something that we're focused on all of the time.  But we don't want to paint all of these volunteers, many of whom are Shi'ite, in the same brush because that simply wouldn't be true -- 

    US House Rep Ron DeSantis:  Well what about something like in Al Anbar Province?  Yeah, there's been -- the administration has touted some of the advances in places like Ramadi but my understanding is that is powered a lot by Shi'ite forces -- including some of the Iranian backed forces. And so what are you doing to empower the Sunni tribal forces and the Sunni elders?  Because it seems to me that driving ISIS out of places like Ramadi is obviously something that's desirable but the notion that those Sunni Arabs are going to be happy living under forces or a government that they see as being dominated by Iran and Shia?  That's going to probably be a tough sell.

    Special Envoy Brett McGurk:  So -- very much agree with you.  So when it came to Ramadi, it was the government of Iraq's decision to ensure that that operation was conducted by the Iraqi security forces, the Iraqi counter-terrorism forces, and local Sunni tribal fighters -- 

    US House Rep Ron DeSantis:  So they were integrated with the security forces --

    Special Envoy Brett McGurk: They were integrated in the campaign and the Popular Mobilization Forces [Shi'ite militias] from the Shi'ite side of the street were not a part of that campaign.  And, uh, that was very important because we wanted to show that the Iraqi security forces can do that and because what's so important -- Sunni or Shia -- is that local forces who know their territory and know their neighborhood and who know what it's like, who know the streets and alleys, you've got locals invested in the fight.  So you've got locals now, we've got about 10,000 of these tribal forces, they're invested in the fight, they're getting paid, I gave figures earlier in my testimony.  But you know -- but we have full support from the new government in Iraq and Prime Minister Abadi.  We have full support from the governor of Anbar Province, Governor [Sohaib] al-Rawi -- and they're working closely with us.  And we've got two platforms in Anbar province.  One at al-Asad airbase and one at al-Taqaddum air base where we're working every day with the Iraqi security forces and these fighters to get them in the fight.  And, you know, they're making real gains.  They were just on defense, now they're on offense, they're doing operations, so it's-it's -- they're moving the right way.
    Not everyone agreed with Brett's fairy tale spin today.
    For example . . .
  • Tuesday, February 09, 2016

    Hillary lost

    The loss on New Hampshire does not bring back any dead Iraqis but it does prove there is some level of justice in this world.


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

    Tuesday, February 9, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Canada announces when they'll leave Barack's bombing campaign, Ramadi is finally liberated (all these weeks after it was first proclaimed liberated), the voters of New Hampshire overwhelming choose Bernie over Hillary, and much more.

    Today, the US government continued its bombing of Iraq in US President Barack Obama's efforts to bring peace to Iraq.  The US Defense Dept claimed/bragged/announced:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Coalition forces used rocket artillery and attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct 18 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, seven strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and three ISIL staging areas, denied ISIL access to terrain, and destroyed two ISIL rockets, an ISIL weapons cache, an ISIL front-end loader, an ISIL heavy machine gun, and an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Huwayjah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Fallujah, a strike destroyed an ISIL-used bridge.

    -- Near Mosul, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL mortar tube, and an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Qayyarah, two strikes struck an ISIL logistics facility and destroyed four ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Ramadi, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, denied ISIL access to terrain, and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL staging area, and two ISIL boats.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Tal Afar, a strike suppressed an ISIL rocket position.
    Additionally, a strike in Iraq from Feb. 7 was not included on the Feb. 8 strike release:

    -- Near Ramadi, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun, and an ISIL boat.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is a strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

    Barack just keeps bombing.

    Nothing but bombing.

    Today, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared, "It is important to understand that while airstrike operations can be very useful to achieve short-term military and territorial gains, they do not on their own achieve long-term stability for local communities."

    Trudeau was quoted by Susana Mas (CBC News) who reports that he has announced February 22nd as the day "Canada will cease all coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria."

    Merrit Kennedy (NPR) adds:

    Canadian troops will now "focus on training and advising local security forces to take their fight directly to ISIL," according to a government statement.

    Canada says it will still assist with aerial refueling and surveillance activities associated with the airstrikes.

    At his Twitter feed, Trudeau went over the basics:

  • We’ll also contribute $270 million to help provide basic social services in countries that have accepted large numbers of refugees.
  • Nous verserons aussi 270 millions $ pour offrir des services sociaux de base dans les pays qui ont accueilli beaucoup de réfugiés.
  • Our plan commits $840m over three years in humanitarian support to those hit hardest by the conflict:
  • Notre plan affecte 840 m$ sur 3 ans en soutien humanitaire pour les gens les plus durement touchés par le conflit :
  • Canada’s aerial refuelling and surveillance operations will continue. CF-18 airstrikes will cease no later than February 22.
  • Les opérations canadiennes de surveillance et de ravitaillement aériens continuent. Les frappes des CF 18 cesseront dès le 22 février.
  • Canada will triple the size of its train, advise and assist mission to help Iraqi security forces plan and execute operations.
  • Le Canada triplera la taille de sa mission pour aider les forces de sécurité irakiennes à planifier et à exécuter leurs opérations.
  • Our plan in Iraq & Syria increases the number of Canadian personnel supporting coalition members fighting against ISIL.
  • Notre plan pour l’Irak et la Syrie augmente l’effectif canadien qui soutient la lutte des membres de la coalition contre l’EIIL.
  • Our efforts will better reflect what Canada is all about: Defending our interests and freedoms with our allies, and helping those in need.
  • Nos efforts reflèteront mieux l’intention du Canada : défendre nos intérêts et libertés avec nos alliés et aider ceux qui en ont besoin.

  • Meanwhile, Barack's been dropping bombs on Iraq in the latest wave of the never ending Iraq War -- and Barack's been doing that since August 2014.

    If you're not getting what a failure Barack's plan or 'plan' has been, today the US State Dept presented the USAID request for fiscal year 2017.


    They trumpeted the following:

    Strengthen reforms in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with $1.45 billion to sustain gains made in these strategically important countries, from improving the performance and legitimacy of the Afghan government to promoting a stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan that counters violent extremism. The budget will also support work to continue strengthening each country’s economy, and advance ambitious reforms in a variety of sectors, including energy, agriculture, education and health.

    Afghanistan and Pakistan?

    Where's Iraq?

    There are no reforms to strengthen in Iraq.

    Sure, in June 2014, Barack declared the only solution to Iraq's various crises was a political solution.  But State's pretended it's the Defense Dept and John Kerry, Secretary of State, has made a spectacle of himself on the international stage and is little more than a laughable stooge these days.

    As we've noted before, he's gone around pressing foreign governments to send troops into Iraq instead of working on diplomacy and fostering a better government in Iraq.

    His efforts with other countries?

    They're a bit of bust.

    And that's why Barack's contemplating putting even more US "boots on the ground."

    And it's why, at NEW ZEALAND's SCOOP, Gordon Campbell notes the reality of what the US is attempting to force others into doing:

    Foreign news services are being more forthcoming about what those “next 12 months” will entail – essentially, the defence ministers will be under US pressure to increase their “training” role preparatory to an assault on the city of Mosul in northern Iraq:
    US officials – who have been pushing Iraq to launch an assault on Mosul following recent successes including the recapture of the city of Ramadi – have repeatedly highlighted the need to increase the number of Western trainers in Iraq. The question is expected to be taken up during a February 11 meeting of coalition defence ministers. 

    A failure.  That's what Barack's 'plan' has been.  THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER reports today that Ramadi and its surrounding areas are finally liberated.  Susannah George (ASSOCIATED PRESS) words it this way, "Iraqi government forces have regained full control of Ramadi after pushing Islamic State group fighters out of the city's outskirts, according to Iraqi security forces and the U.S.-led coalition. The announcement, more than a month after Ramadi was first declared liberated in December, underscores the slow nature of Iraqi ground operations despite heavy backing from U.S.-led coalition airstrikes."

    "Ramadi is liberated, or it is if you change the meaning and definition of liberated, even in congratulations Secretary of State John Kerry notes that Ramadi is not liberated, none of the bombings address the root causes of the Islamic State, and much more."  That's from the December 28, 2015 snapshot -- as is the following:

    Ramadi, they say, is liberated.
    As we noted this morning, any announcement of Ramadi being liberated should have come from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.  Instead, it came from the military underscoring how precarious Haider's position actually is.  (It was only weeks ago that US senators, in a public hearing, were wondering how much longer Haider would be able to hold on.)
    Six hours after the military announced 'liberation,' someone thought to toss Haider before the cameras.
    Stephen Kalin and Maher Chmaytelli (REUTERS) report that he declared Ramadi liberated and insisted they would be tackling Mosul in the near future.

    That was December, this is February.  Not only is Ramadi only now liberated but Mosul's still not tackled.  Guess "near future" means something other than "near future."

    Barack's 'plan' has only focused on bombing the Islamic State (sometimes hitting them, sometimes hitting civilians) and on (yet again) training Iraqi forces.  Alice Fordham (NPR) points out, "But ISIS is just one of many groups trying to carve out power for itself in a country where the central government is looking ever weaker."

    And nothing's being done to address the persecution of the Sunnis -- the very thing that fueled the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq.  Former European Parliament Struan Stevenson writes at Scotland's THE HERALD:

    The city of Ramadi in central Iraq was captured by so-called Islamic State (IS) in May last year. It was a city of more than one million, mostly Sunni, people. Last month, most of the city was recaptured by the Iraqi military, with the assistance of Shi’ia militias, funded and led by commanders from the Iranian Quds Force, a listed terrorist organisation.
    Nine months under the control of [the Islamic State] was devastating enough for Ramadi but the final onslaught during the battle for its recapture has seen virtually every building in the city destroyed; only a handful of women, children and elderly men remain. Some estimates state that the population numbers less than 1,000. The ruthless Shi’ia militias have waged a genocidal campaign against the Sunni population, torturing, burning and butchering at will. Thousands of civilians have been killed. The men of Ramadi between the ages of 14 and 70 have simply disappeared. Some say they are being held in secret prisons; others claim they have been murdered.

    Shocking reports have emerged of the organised slaughter and execution of Sunni citizens in Diyala Province and the blowing up of Sunni mosques in the town of Meqhdadiya. Regrettably, the government of Iraq and the US administration have been silent in the face of these atrocities perpetrated by the militias affiliated to Iran who operate under the leadership of Hadi al-Ameri, commander of the terrorist-listed Badr Organisation. Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, has faced a humiliating climb-down over his efforts to secure a nuclear weapon. Iran’s economy was crumbling under the combined weight of international sanctions and the collapsing oil price, forcing it to seek a deal with the West. In a bid to buttress his beleaguered regime, Khamenei is trying to extend Iran’s influence in the Middle East. His efforts to shore up the gore-encrusted regime of Bashar al-Assad have fuelled the civil war in Syria for the past five years, creating the perfect environment for IS to exploit and expand. Khamenei, in turn, uses IS as his excuse to provide money, men and material to bolster the scorched-earth campaign by the Shi’ia militias in neighbouring Iraq. Western silence on this carnage has simply contributed to the spiralling sectarian war that threatens to tear Iraq apart. 

    It's a shame nothing's been done to address issues like that.

    It's more than a shame, it's a crime -- and falls under the legal definition of War Crimes.

    Moving over to one specific War Criminal, Hillary Clinton.

    Cranky Clinton is yet again having trouble sealing the deal when it comes to garnering the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

    This go round, she's competing against Senator Bernie Sanders.

    Today, they faced off in the first primary the United States holds: New Hampshire.

    While 2008 saw New Hampshire delivering Hillary a solid win and elevating her then-troubled campaign, today New Hampshire went to Bernie Sanders.

                        Liked 18,545 times

    When we stand together, we win. Thank you, New Hampshire!
    Embedded image permalink

  • David Sirota (IBT) offers his take on the night which includes:

    Just as notable, New Hampshire Democratic voters revealed a party that appears to have become more left-leaning than ever. According to the New York Times , a full “two-thirds of voters in the Democratic primary said that they are liberal, up from 56 percent who said the same in 2008, the last time there was a contested Democratic primary.” Clinton tried to appeal to more centrist Democrats by, for instance, dismissing Sanders’ push for a single-payer Medicare-for-all health care system, but two-thirds of the increasingly liberal Democratic electorate told exit pollsters that they support such a system.
    Sanders’ laser-like focus on populist economics and confrontational anti-Wall Street themes resonated with Democratic voters who said the top two issues they were concerned about were inequality and the state of the economy — a shift by a party that during Bill Clinton's administration often elected more corporate-friendly candidates who downplayed inequality and promoted a so-called “third way” of cooperation with the financial sector.

    And we'll note this Tweet which reflects the mood of many:

  • Hillary?  The defeated rush to insist, "I still love New Hampshire."


    Such heartfelt emotions.

    But not everyone was as underwhelmed by Hillary's speech . . .

  • Everyone's saying 's concession speech was great. Can't wait to hear the one when she concedes the nomination.

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