Saturday, April 16, 2016

Where are her speeches?

Hillary Clinton likes to make demands of others.

But when it comes to herself, she's always, 'Get you next Friday on payday!'

No where is that more evident than in her refusal to release the transcripts of her Wall Street speeches.

G.A. Casebeer (BERN REPORT) notes:

Last night at the Democratic Debate in New York, Hillary Clinton once again ran away from giving a definite answer about releasing the transcripts. This story has been talked about so much that unless you’ve been living under a rock it needs absolutely no context. But here we are 70 days after the first time she was questioned about it on a broad scale and still no transcripts have been released.
She did however pressure Bernie to release his 2014 Tax Return. Sanders, when questioned about it, explained that he and his wife Jane, who does the taxes for the couple, have been a little busy with the campaign. Sanders promised his return would be a little boring. Guess what, he’s right and BTW, right on time. he released it. To view U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2014 federal tax return, click here.
Now that his boring tax return is out of the way, it is time for Clinton to release the transcripts. Why is it a big deal? Well first of all she said she’d look into releasing them and then it turned into, I’ll release them when everyone else does. At this point in the contest, there isn’t much to talk about regarding Wall Street speeches from anyone but her, so that argument is over. Even when pressed by CNN moderator Dana Bash about the fact that she is running for the Democratic nomination and her opponent clearly has no Wall Street speeches Clinton ran from the subject.

This is where the mainstream media can be pretty frustrating, I mean where in the hell are the journalists that could blow this story out of the water? Instead they joke about it and laugh it off like it’s not that big of a deal. Of course we know that she has accepted big money from the media and they are a big part of the reason she is allowed to run roughshod over our democracy. Independent media sources have talked and talked about it but none have the audience that corporate media has, so the story hits the news cycle for a while and then withers again.

Where are the transcripts, Hillary?

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

Saturday, April 16, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the US Secretary of Defense announces the administration's goal of more US forces on the ground in Iraq, the Parliament continues to bicker, and much more.

Saturday, the US Defense Dept announced/boasted:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, ground-attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 15 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

-- Near Fallujah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Hit, two strikes destroyed an ISIL mortar system, 14 ISIL boats and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Mosul, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, 14 ISIL modular oil refineries and two ISIL crude oil stills and destroyed an ISIL assembly area and 10 ISIL boats.
-- Near Qayyarah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 24 ISIL boats, two ISIL rocket rails and two ISIL assembly areas.
-- Near Sinjar, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL mortar system and an ISIL assembly area.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Tal Afar, a strike suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.

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. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike, officials added.

These bombings began in August of 2014 and have continued daily.

And have accomplished so little.

AP reports, "The US wants to do more in the fight, Carter said, and is 'only limited by our own ingenuity' and ideas. Carter expressed confidence that the White House will approve recommendations, saying nothing he has asked President Barack Obama for yet in the conflicts has been turned down."

Or AP 'reports' since that really wasn't the big news of those remarks.

Let's go to the DoD transcript for US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's actual remarks:

SEC. CARTER:  Across the whole spectrum.  You know we're looking to do more, but it ranges from in the air to on the ground.  All consistent with our overall strategic approach, which is to enable local forces ultimately to hold and sustain the defeat of ISIL, after ISIL is defeated, but to enable them to do so and accelerate that process so we continue to look for and identify ways of accelerating that, and as we find those we will do them.  Obviously in Iraq we do that with the permission of the Iraqi government.

But we -- you should expect us to -- to see us doing more, to be consistent with the same approach, but it will be across all the domains, right up to cyber, which I mentioned earlier.

Now over the next few days I'll have an opportunity to talk to our commanders, and also to some in the region here, and obviously look for more good opportunities to accelerate the defeat of ISIL here in Syria and Iraq, which is absolutely necessary.

Q:  When you say "on the ground," do you mean more U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq?

SEC. CARTER:  Yes, I mean, I think some of these have that aspect to it, but I just want to emphasize there's a lot more that goes with this, and our -- and our presence on the ground is -- and will continue to be to enable, not to substitute, for local forces.

So the big takeaway there?

When he says "on the ground," he means "US troops on the ground in Iraq."

". . . We're looking to do more, but it ranges from in the air to on the ground" meaning "more US troops on the ground in Iraq."

The Secretary of Defense is openly addressing the desire of the administration to put more US troops on the ground in Iraq.

Meanwhile in Iraq, the Parliament follies continue.


A group of Iraqi lawmakers said they would not take part in a Saturday parliament session to select a replacement for the speaker, apparently leaving it without the necessary quorum.
Iraq was on course to have two rival claimants to the speakership, further increasing chaos in parliament, which has already seen a vote to sack speaker Salim al-Juburi, a fistfight among MPs and a sit-in this week.


An official session planned for Saturday had earlier been postponed for “security reasons," according to parliamentary spokesman Imad Al Khafaji. The protesting lawmakers gathered at parliament anyway, but later dispersed when it became clear they did not have the numbers to topple the speaker.
The protesting lawmakers vowed to hold the vote next week. An earlier attempt on Thursday had also failed for lack of a quorum.
The lawmakers are demanding that Iraq’s top political leadership, including prime minister Haider Al Abadi, step down – accusing them of failing to reform a political system steeped in patronage. Earlier this week, MPs held a multi-day sit-in at the assembly.

US Special Envoy Brett McGurk Tweets:

  • Conferring w/Speaker Jabbouri on stabilizing areas liberated from & upholding political stability in .

  • ALL IRAQ NEWS reports that Speaker Salim al-Jubouri spoke with Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr today in an attempt to strengthen support for al-Jubouri.  AL MADA notes that Moqtada is calling for the Cabinet of Ministers to be replaced with Haider al-Abadi's latest slate (which is being called a slate of "technocrats").

    ALSUMARIA adds that Moqtada says the quota system is depleting resources.

    Which really means that Moqtada says that the Constitutional system is depleting resources.

    REUTERS notes, "Iraq's powerful Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said on Saturday he would re-start protests in 72 hours if the nation's leaders failed to vote on a technocrats' cabinet proposed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to stem corruption."  ALSUMARIA reports that Moqtada's followers pitched tents in Baghdad's Tahrir Square.

    Meanwhile IRAQ TIMES notes that the Dawa Party has called out "hollow statements and slogans" being mouthed by some politicians.  ALL IRAQ NEWS explains that was a response to Moqtada who had decried the failure of someone's third term as prime minister -- referring to Nouri al-Maliki who was forced out in August 2014 by the White House.

    Nouri is accused of working behind the scenes to destroy any movement one way or another in his efforts to bring down Haider al-Abadi so that he can return as prime minister.

    Suadad al-Salhy (MIDDLE EAST MONITOR)  reports on some of the behind the scenes maneuvers:

    Last week, Amar al-Hakim, head of al-Mouatin Bloc; Osama al-Nujaifi, head of Sunni United Forces; Salih al-Mutlaq, head of al-Hiwar; Hadi al-Amiri, head of Badr; Joubori, speaker of parlamient; Fouad Masoom, the president; Abadi and a few others signed a document called the"National Document of Reformation".
    The document aims to maintain the political power-sharing agreement and deepen the influence of the political blocs over top government posts and decisions. The document, which was obtained by MEE, included 12 items. Most were written in a way that serves to maintain the power-sharing system.
    "Establish a consultative political council alongside the prime minister, president and speaker of parliament, whose members include the leaders of the essential political forces in the country… to be held monthly to discuss strategies of the country," one of the items reads.
    "The political blocs will present their nominees for the cabinet to the prime minister and he can choose them in a way asserting national (power) sharing," another item reads.

    And we'll return to the US to close with this from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America:

    WASHINGTON (April 14, 2016) — Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), its members and other veteran service organization partners joined Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Brad Ashford (D-Neb.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), Gwen Graham (D-Fla.), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) and Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) at the U.S. Capitol to urge Congress to defend the Post-9/11 GI Bill from funding cuts. The greatest education investment in our veterans since WWII has recently come under attack with the House passage of H.R.3016, which calls for a 50 percent cut to the housing allowance that children receive if their military or veteran parent transfers the benefit to them. A similar bill (S.425) is making its way to the Senate floor and IAVA is calling on all Members of Congress to pledge to defend the Post-9/11 GI Bill from this and any future cuts to the vital program. IAVA will oppose the omnibus as a whole and call on the president to veto the bill if it is passed with the cuts intact.

    “It is embarrassing that we have to come here and beg our elected officials not to steal from the pockets of our military, veterans and their families,” said IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff. “As we stand in front of the U.S. Capitol, men and women are fighting in a prolonged war in Afghanistan and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, earning this very benefit. We are once again seeing the impact of a growing civilian-military divide in this country. It is national disgrace that some Members of Congress are willing to use veterans benefits as a piggy bank to pay for other programs. Congress must defend the promise made to our veterans. IAVA’s members — some still in harm’s way — kept their promise to our country; Congress needs to keep theirs to our vets.”

    IAVA was joined at the press conference by veteran and military service organizations representing a diverse cross section of community of those who have served, including Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA), Association of the United States Navy (AUSN) and Commissioned Officers Association (COA).

    “Vietnam Veterans of America has long held that government should never pay for a program for one group of veterans by cutting funding and taking away from any other group of veterans.  Robbing Peter to pay Paul, no matter how important or vital Paul might be, goes against one of VVA’s core principles,” said Rick Weidman, VVA Executive Director for Policy and Government Affairs.

    “Officers in the U.S. Public Health Service fought hard to be allowed to transfer GI Bill benefits to their dependents. Because these officers have one or more college degrees when they join the USPHS, they don’t tend to use the bill’s provisions for themselves as much as do members of other services. Transferability means everything to them, and this proposed legislation would take some of that benefit from them,” said Col. (ret.) James T. Currie, Executive Director for Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service.

    Since IAVA launched the #DefendTheGIBill campaign in March 2016, IAVA members have sent nearly 14,000 letters to Congress asking representatives to oppose any cuts to the Post-9/11 GI Bill. In addition, every Member of Congress has been challenged to take the pledge to defend the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

    IAVA led the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008 and in championing upgrades in 2010 and 2014. These upgrades simplified and improved tuition benefits, expanded eligibility to the National Guard, included vocational programs, and made nationwide in-state tuition rates a possibility for new veterans beginning this year.

    The Post-9/11 GI Bill has been used by nearly one million veterans and their family members to accomplish educational goals and chart new career paths.

    Note to media: Email or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.
    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 11th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 5,800 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.


    Hillary War Hawk Clinton

    Hillary supporters continue to disgrace themselves.

    Take Jane Fonda.

    She grandstanded on Iraq when the cameras were around, pretending it mattered and now she's endorsed Hillary.

    As has her drunk of an ex-husband Tom Hayden.

    They raised Troy, their baby boy.

    To be a non-sexist?

    Is that why he starred in that revisionist crap ass NBC show glamorizing Hugh Hefner?

    I'm just not seeing any integrity or values, sorry.

    Not when you support a War Hawk.

    Not when you pretend to care about ending wars.

    Not when you pretend to care about Latina America.

    Did they miss Hillary's actions in Honoduras?

    No, they didn't, they're just a family of whores.

    This is from RT:

    Lew Rockwell: She is a liar. That’s why she won’t. She is attempting to wiggle out of what she did. She promoted the destruction of Libya, the murder of Gaddafi, and murder of many thousands of people in Libya, sending all kinds of horrendous arms with the approval of the US to the Syrian so-called rebels, to kill people in Syria. This was a criminal act and an imperial act. She was cheering it on… You can’t believe her, she is a liar and now she is trying to wiggle out, but she was, if we want to put this in legal terms, she was an accessory before, during and after the fact. Yes, Obama had the final decision. She was egging him on, she was cheering him on, she was pressuring him and she went right along with it and she is co-responsible for all those deaths, for all that blood and destruction, all the families destroyed, all the mountains of corpses in Libya. Just as of course she is co-responsible for what George W. Bush did in Iraq. She is a very nasty lady.

    RT: What does Clinton think the Libyan people did to, as she put it, “obstruct” western efforts in Libya? She is blaming the Libyan people.

    LR: Because everybody’s job is to salute the US and do what they say. That’s everybody’s job and you better not obstruct US imperial plans: evil, conquering, destructive plans for your country. Or otherwise they are going to kill you. So, she is justifying murder. I was going to compare Hillary Clinton to Lady Macbeth, but Lady Macbeth only killed one person, so she is not in the same category. I am glad to see this attempt at wiggling…it shows us just how her championship of this kind of imperial evil is going over with the American people - they are not liking it. This is one of the great things about this election: all American foreign policy has been questioned for the first time in quite a while and that’s all to the good: the trouble with NATO, the trouble with US bases all over the place, trouble with US troops all over the place, with US intervention all over the world causing constant trouble and death. Maybe we are going to end some of that, fingers crossed anyway. But it is going to have to be over Hillary, she is the most dangerous candidate from a war standpoint I think of anybody running. 

    Don't pretend you care about peace and support Hillary.

    Tell yourself some other lie, sure.

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

    Friday, April 15, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue . . . and that's just in the Parliament!

    Yes, starting with PARLIAMENT GONE WILD.

    On Tuesday, the Iraqi Parliament got wild.

    On Wednesday, it got wilder.

    And Thursday?

    It was off the chain.

    AFP words it this way:

    Iraqi lawmakers voted Thursday to remove the parliament speaker and his deputies from office, increasing political turmoil as the country battles jihadists and struggles with a financial crisis.
    The chaos at parliament is a significant setback for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, overshadowing his efforts to replace the current cabinet and preventing nominees from being brought to a vote.

    The lead up to Thursday was an ongoing sit-in (against the list of proposed ministers).  Wednesday had been an emergency session.  Thursday was supposed to see a vote on the list.

    Instead, it saw a vote on the Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri.

    Mohammad Sabah (AL MADA) calls it a "dramatic" and a "raucous" session.

    REUTERS notes that neither Haider nor al-Jabouri showed up for Thursday's session.

    In fact, a lot of MPs failed to show up.  That's an important detail.

    But those who did show up decided to table the proposed nominees, to table the issue of the three presidencies and instead launch a vote on whether to remove the Speaker.

    Ali al-Badri, of the large Shi'ite block the National Alliance, insists the vote was unanimous.

    But it wasn't agreed to by all the political blocs.

    ALL IRAQ NEWS quotes State of Law Mp Kazem Sayadi declaring that they do not support the vote to remove the Speaker and insisting State of Law is one of the largest blocs in Parliament.

    State of Law is the political alliance Nouri al-Maliki started.  Nouri was prime minister of Iraq from 2006 through 2014 and left unwillingly.  He wants to return to the post.

    It's said on Arabic social media that he's formed alliances with Ammar al-Hakim (leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq) and Ayad Allawi (leader of Iraqiya).

    If so, that would be a powerful group banded together in opposition to Haider al-Abadi.

    ALSUMARIA reports MP Adnan al-Janabi insists that Saturday should see the Parliament voting on a new Speaker and, oh, by the way, Adnan's declared himself the interim Speaker.

    But will such a vote take place?

    These days, you can even question whether a session will be held.

    But in terms of a vote taking place, the reports of the Speaker being voted out of office, while very dramatic, might not be very realistic.

    NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY notes 171 MPs were assembled for the session.

    They have 328 MPs so 171 did not reach a quorum.

    Without a quorum, no real vote took place.

    RUDAW quotes Speaker al-Jabouri declaring, "I have no objections if the parliament wants me to leave my position but the vote was both inconclusive and unconstitutional."

     Pinned Tweet
    sum up today: vote removing speaker, likely invalid, leaves parl't w/o recognized legit leadership. Abadi's 2nd cabinet shuffle fails.

    ALSUMARIA reports that Haider called on the Parliament to wisdom and patience.

    Oh, yeah, he should talk, right?

    His sudden push for a new Constitution not only is unconstitutional, it also showed no patient or restraint.

    His first effort, began March 31st, outright failed.

    Instead of learning from his lesson, he tried to shove through a new list this week.

    That's what's caused the turmoil.

    ALL IRAQ NEWS notes the comments were in a televised address where he offered that this political struggle "could lead, God forbid, Iraq into turmoil."

    As though he were somehow above the fray?

    And exactly when was turmoil absent from Iraq?

    More to the point, what's going on in Parliament is not that disruptive.

    Nouri al-Maliki refusing to step down after the 2010 elections for eight months, thereby refusing to allow a new government to form?

    That was disruptive.

    This just qualifies as lively politics.

    Haider's attempting to replace the Cabinet in a manner that goes around the Iraqi Constitution.

    He's calling it a 'reform' and a way to address corruption -- which is also an insult to every member of the Cabinet.

    What's really going on?

    Erin Banco (IBT) notes one aspect of the issue:

    Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says he is trying to curtail endemic corruption by appointing a new Cabinet filled with technocrats, but his efforts have so far failed: Several of his nominees have refused to accept his appointments and, amid the ensuing chaos, officials are quietly trying to skew the country’s economy for personal gain.
    Ayad Allawi, a former interim prime minister under the U.S. occupation and one of the vice presidents whose position was cut by Abadi in 2015, is one of those officials. The recently released Panama Papers have revealed Allawi’s secret offshore accounts and the scope of his connection to one of the world’s largest energy companies, raising questions not only about his current motivations, but also the motivations of his Kurdish and Sunni confidants.  
    [. . .]
    Although he may not be vying for a leadership position himself, he is looking to put some of his Kurdish allies into power, according to two officials in the Ministry of Natural Resources in Erbil who asked to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak on the matter. 
    If Allawi succeeds, he could get massive financial payouts from energy companies. Many of those companies, including the United Arab Emirates' Crescent Petroleum, have received late payments from the Kurdistan Regional Government. Those companies are also interested in keeping allies in top positions in order to continue to maintain profitable contracts. 

    And that's one aspect -- one oil aspect.

    Of course, there are others.

    We're dropping back to Tuesday because the above is one oil aspect but it's not the only one:

  • After dramatic media hype, PM Abadi & his comrades caged in the Green Zone agreed to continue the etho-sectarian distribution of power

  • It certainly says it all.
    "Dramatic media hype."
    As we noted in last night's snapshot, to push that drama, they had to ignore the pushback which was immediate.
    Our April 2nd snapshot noted at length the various objections to what Haider al-Abadi was proposing.
    REUTERS didn't report it.
    AP didn't cover it.
    But if you read Arabic, you could find coverage from the Iraqi press -- and we did.
    It was obvious immediately that this plan cooked up by the White House was going to fail.
    And it has.
    That hydrocarbons legislation?
    They want it, they want it so bad.
    They being elements of the ruling class in the United States.
    They wanted it when Bully Boy Bush was in the White House.
    And they tried repeatedly to get it.
    Bully Boy Bush even made it one of his 2007 benchmarks -- the passage of that legislation.
    He failed repeatedly.
    As has Barack.
    And bad news -- and, no surprise, unreported by US outlets -- Iraqi officials are calling for the oil wealth to be distributed to the people.
    It's not just Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr -- though he has been the most prominent thus far.
    The story of Iraq's oil is the story the western press is always skittish to cover -- other than how it's doing in the stock market.
    Barack Obama and his underlings tried to present the move as 'democratic' and 'reform.'
    And the western press went along.
    They ignored that the move went completely against the Constitution of Iraq -- both how it was done and what was being proposed.
    They ignored the objections to the proposal.
    They did everything they could to propagandize for the White House.
    But it all imploded.

    ALSUMARIA observes fun and games are to resume on Saturday when Parliament is scheduled to next meet.

    The world waits to see what happens next.

    Meanwhile, yesterday the US Defense Dept announced more bombs dropped on Iraq:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Attack, ground-attack and fighter aircraft conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Hit, four strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units, destroying four ISIL machine gun positions, an ISIL boat, an ISIL boat dock, seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL command and control node and denying ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Kisik, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL bunker.

    -- Near Mosul, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed four ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb, and an ISIL storage facility.

    -- Near Qayyarah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL headquarters and an ISIL financial headquarters and destroyed an ISIL assembly area.

    -- Near Sinjar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL assembly areas.
    Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes destroyed seven ISIL boats and an ISIL mortar position and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Tal Afar, a strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    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.

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated:


    Friday, April 15, 2016

    Diana Ross survives and thrives

    Did you hear about Diana Ross?

    An SUV hit her limo.  She had head and neck injuries.

    1. I was involved in a car accident yesterday, but I'm fine.I ask you not to worry. I will see you tonight at the show in Providence :)

    Diana's one of the legends of music.  A living legend.

    If you haven't heard her latest release, check out my review  "Kat's Korner: Diana Ross releases a masterpiece (belatedly)"  and see if you don't want to go download it immediately.

    (Download only.  Take it up with Motown which refused to release it on CD.)

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

    April 13, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue -- and that's just in the Parliament, threats of dissolving Parliament, bombs dropped, and much more.

    Murtaza Hussain (THE INTERCEPT) reports:

    MORE THAN 90 PERCENT of young people in Iraq consider the United States to be an enemy of their country, according to a new poll.
    After years spent justifying the war as a “liberation” of the Iraqi people, the survey casts further doubt on the success of that endeavor.

    Today the US Defense Dept announced:

    Strikes in Iraq

    Attack, fighter and ground attack aircraft conducted seven strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Huwayjah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL assembly area.

    -- Near Hit, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL machine gun positions and four ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Mosul, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed four ISIL assembly areas and an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb.

    -- Near Tal Afar, a strike produced inconclusive results.

    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.

    These bombings have been carried out daily since August of 2014.

    Again, Murtaza Hussain reports:

    MORE THAN 90 PERCENT of young people in Iraq consider the United States to be an enemy of their country, according to a new poll.
    After years spent justifying the war as a “liberation” of the Iraqi people, the survey casts further doubt on the success of that endeavor.

    And how has this addressed the problem of the Islamic State?

    It has not.

    The editorial board of THE PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE reminds:

    The Iraqi government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has its own problems, considered largely to be a result of the actions of its Shiite Muslim leadership in monopolizing authority in Baghdad, excluding the 35-percent Sunni Muslims who ruled the country from 1932 to the U.S. invasion in 2003. That piece of unwise religious discrimination is bad enough in itself, but it is joined by serious pushing and shoving among the Shiites themselves.

    The refusal to address the persecution of the Sunnis, the refusal to bring the Sunnis into the government fully is what resulted in the rise of the Islamic State.

    Until that's addressed, time's just being wasted.

    Tuesday, the Iraqi government used their time responding to Haider al-Abadi's call for a new Cabinet -- and it was chaos in the Parliament as some supported Haider's push and others opposed it.

    Things did not improve on Wednesday.

    AP words it this way "Iraqi lawmakers have resorted to throwing water bottles and punching each other."  Mustafa Salim (WASHINGTON POST) reports:

    Schoolyard-style chaos descended on Iraq’s parliament on Wednesday as lawmakers scuffled and threw water bottles at one another amid a political crisis that is destabilizing the country.
    In a day of bickering and brawls in Baghdad, more than 100 parliament members signed a petition calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, President Fuad Masum and the speaker of parliament, Salim al-Jabouri, lawmakers said. About the same number are staging a sit-in in the parliament building.

    Saif Hameed and Maher Chmaytelli (REUTERS) report:

    Iraq's parliamentary speaker Salim al-Jabouri may request the dissolution of the assembly after ministers scuffled during a chaotic parliamentary session on Wednesday over a plan to overhaul the government that aims to tackle graft.
    The possibility of holding new elections in Iraq was raised after state TV reported that al-Jabouri was considering the future of the current assembly.
    According to Iraqi constitution, dissolving the parliament requires the approval of the majority of the MPs at the request of one third of the assembly, or the approval of the president at the request of the prime minister.

    How serious could al-Jabouri be?

    That depends.

    He could be dead serious.

    Or this could be a parent bluffing from the driver's seat, "If you kids don't straighten up, I'm turning this car around right now! I'm not joking!"

    Possibly, it's the latter?

    ALSUMARIA reports that his office is denying rumors that he plans to resign.

    One would think if you were really serious about dissolving the Parliament, you'd have other things to do besides refute rumors that you might be resigning.

    But who knows?

    What is known is that the Iraqi Constitution states:

     Article 61:
    First: The Council of Representatives may dissolve itself with the consent of the absolute majority of its members, upon the request of one-third of its members or upon the request of the Prime Minister and the consent of the President of the Republic. The Council may not be dissolved during the period in which the Prime Minister is being questioned.

    Second: Upon the dissolution of the Council of Representatives, the President of the Republic shall call for general elections in the country within a period not to exceed sixty days from the date of its dissolution. The Cabinet in this case is considered resigned and continues to run everyday business.

    We know what general elections are in Iraq, don't we?

    I ask because few seem to grasp that dissolving the Parliament would mean another contest for the post of prime minister.

    That's what general elections are.

    So if the Parliament is dissolved (and the Constitution followed -- always a big "IF" in Iraq), Haider al-Abadi might or might not be chosen to be prime minister of Iraq.

    It's very likely there would be a push to go with someone else.

    Not only does Nouri al-Maliki still covet the post (Nouri was prime minister from 2006 through 2014) but a large number of Shi'ites see Haider al-Abadi as a failure.

    It's only the governments of Iran and the United States that continue to firmly back him.

    The fact that he could lose his post may be why Haider's talking state of emergency.

  • Prime Minister Haider Abadi may declare state of emergency, as chaos rises in political statue.

  • Brawls in Parliament?

    Iraq's seen them before.

    Nothing on Tuesday or Wednesday in the Parliament qualifies as a state of emergency.

    But making such a declaration might be able to temporarily save Haider's job.

    The controversial Zalmay Khalilzad (former US Ambassador to Iraq) has a column at THE NEW YORK TIMES where he offers:

    The Iranians, who usually act as brokers between Shiite groups, have generally been skeptical of Mr. Abadi, whom they regard as too close to the United States. However, Iran has recently opposed unseating the prime minister, perhaps fearing that prolonged negotiations over his succession could drive Shiite parties further apart and divert diplomatic and security resources away from the fight against the Islamic State. Iran might also realize that lasting success against the jihadist group requires addressing Iraqi Sunnis’ concerns rather than encouraging sectarianism.
    The United States has also played an influential role in facilitating agreements among Iraqis in recent years. The United States has had a good working relationship with Mr. Abadi, as Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Baghdad last week affirmed. But officials in Washington are, like their Iranian counterparts, concerned that a political crisis in Baghdad could delay the campaign to retake Mosul from the Islamic State. The political crisis could also derail efforts by the Iraqis to deal with their financial problems.

    Even Zalmay can't pretend there's support among the Iraqi people for Haider to remain in place.

    Meanwhile, Edward Tick writes the editorial board of THE NEW YORK TIMES:

    As a psychotherapist working closely with our military and veterans, I am deeply troubled by your article about a Marine’s death on a secret Iraqi base. I am concerned not only for the family of this fallen Marine, but also for all of us being misled by leadership disguising the realities of war.
    It is tragic enough that another American son has fallen, but when families and the nation are told that he and others are not counted as being deployed in the combat zone because they are on temporary assignment or there less than four months; when the public is told that our Marines are on “fire complexes” rather than fire bases so that they sound safer; when we were told combat operations were over while we are still sending troops to fight and be killed in that same region, we are fed a series of lies.

    Yes, it sounds like the peace movement is reawakening.

    And doing so after years of being in a medically induced coma.  Leslie Cagan and other liars broke up various peace organizations following the November 2008 election.

    They didn't want to challenge or pressure Barack.

    They weren't peace leaders, they were just get-out-the-vote tools for the Democratic Party.

    Now the peace movement is realizing that their 'leaders' were liars with few exceptions (Cindy Sheehan was not a liar and would be high on the list of exceptions -- but if you weren't speaking out like Cindy in the last years, you are on the liar list).

    It's going to be hard for them to assume 'leadership' posts again.

    They're exposed for the tawdry liars they are.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2016

    Brave Cher

    Who ever Cher decides to vote for, this was a good move on her part and a brave one.

    As C.I. noted last week:

    I think it's very telling that in the arts community, those supporting Bernie -- Susan, Tim, Mark Ruffalo, Rosario Dawson, etc -- are the ones who've been outspoken even when it wasn't popular.

    Cher's supporting Hillary.

    I'm Proud 2 Support Hillary‼️ Choose who You"Believe In"& Go 🏈🏀2 The Wall., NO MATTER WHAT PPL THINK.💖+💪🏻

    Other than Cher, I'm finding a hard time seeing a single artist  who's taken an important stand.  (Cher's shown bravery repeatedly.)  Instead, they're self-involved posers who never take a stand until after the popular tide has shifted -- if then. 

    Cher is brave.

    So good for her to be willing to publicly debate herself and grapple with herself over her decision.

    Whomever she decides, it was brave to do what she did.

    Good for her.

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

    Wednesday, April 13, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, Haider al-Abadi's circus of failures continues, the US State Dept makes clear they (still) prefer the Talabanis to the Barzanis, and much more.

    This morning a Tweet is gathering a lot of attention but it has not been confirmed by any news outlets:

  • HUGE NEWS A Number of Marines killed inside their Base in Northern by shelling.

  • Again, no news outlet has yet reported on a shelling or the death of any US Marines.

    It may or may not be accurate.  We'll note it and move on to the chaos that is Haider al-Abadi.

    March 31st, the US-installed Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi proposed a series of 'reforms' that the US government wanted: A new Cabinet filled with people of his choosing.

    The did not go over well.

    In part because he currently has a Cabinet.

    In part because there are two ways to change the Cabinet.

    First, the Parliament can vote individual members out -- one at a time.

    Second, the Parliament can do a no-confidence vote in the prime minister which dissolves the Cabinet . . . but would also remove the prime minister.

    So there was the whole unconstitutional issue to start with.

    Then there was the sheer audacity of what he was proposing.

    Two of his proposed new members would publicly announce that they were no longer seeking the posts -- and would do so within seven days of his announcement.

    It was not a pretty time.

    Tuesday, he appeared before Parliament to announce, wait, wait, I have a new list.  Forget my March 31st list that I insisted was Iraq's best and brightest! Two weeks later, I have a new list to spring on you!

    It was received worse than the last time around. How dramatic was the whole thing?  ALSUMARIA broadcast a special program on the turmoil inside the Parliament.

    Click here for video of the angry reaction in Parliament.  And here.

    Mohammad Sabah (AL MADA) calls the entire response (sardonically calls?) the continuous birth pains of democracy.

    It could have been more of a free for all had more MPs been present.  IRAQ TIMES counts 245 plus the Speaker.  They note strong words between the Speaker and members of Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc.  ALL IRAQ NEWS reports MP Hairth al-Harthy led a sit-in in Parliament calling for immediate action.  He is with the Al-Ahrar Bloc, Moqtada's group.  The photo of the sit-in AL MADA runs shows seven male MPs and nine female MPs seated.  AP notes some Sunni lawmakers also joined in the sit-in.  ALL IRAQ NEWS notes 115 MPs participated at one point or another in the sit-in and that it also included some Kurdish MPs.

    Moqtada is the Shi'ite cleric and movement leader who gave Haider al-Abadi cover to announce his first list through a series of rallies in support of a new Cabinet.

    IRAQ TIMES reports that in exchange for that support, Moqtada was able to name 6 of the 14 proposed ministers.

    Let's hope it was worth it for Moqtada.

    Apparently, others were listening in to Moqtada's conversations with Haider al-Abadi.  IRAQ TIMES notes that sites linked to State of Law have published the dialogue between Moqtada and Haider as a result of their phone conversations being recorded.

    Those paying attention may remember that State of Law led the most public Shi'ite resistance to Haider's proposal of doing away with the current Cabinet.

    State of Law is the creation of Nouri al-Maliki (prime minister of Iraq from 2006 through 2014).

    Meanwhile NINA explains that Kurdish MPs went into a private session to devise a unified front to the proposal.

    IRAQ TIMES notes the whole thing ended without any resolution and with Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jubouri stating they'd vote on the new list Thursday.  However, ALSUMARIA reports that 61 MPs have called on al-Jubouri to hold an emergency session today.  REUTERS reports this morning that the emergency session is currently taking place.

    NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY adds that Citizen Bloc MP Salim Chawki declared that this reviewing the nominees and voting will take time and that Parliament will vote on each one as an individual (and not as one vote for the entire slate).

    No one is commenting on what a revelation the Cabinet proposal is.

    It reveals Haider is uniquely unqualified to be prime minister.

    He proposed that cabinet in the fall of 2014.  Not even two years later, he needs a new Cabinet?

    More to the point, forming a Cabinet is the only requirement for a candidate to move from prime minister designate to prime minister.

    Haider is an all out failure.

    His requests for a new Cabinet demonstrate this.

    Some Sunnis are calling for all three presidencies to be dismissed (Speaker of Parliament, Prime Minister, President of Iraq) and that would be Constitutional.  It would also be the way this is supposed to be handled Constitutionally.

    Yet the White House continues to shore up the disaster that is Haider al-Abadi.

    Yesterday, the US Defense Dept announced:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Fighter aircraft and rocket artillery conducted nine strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Hit, two strikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed 20 ISIL fighting positions, 16 ISIL heavy machine guns, four ISIL rocket-propelled grenade systems, an ISIL anti-air artillery piece and two ISIL staging areas and denied ISL access to terrain.

    -- Near Mosul, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and two separate ISIL headquarters and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL assembly area.

    -- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed three ISIL machine guns and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sinjar, two strikes destroyed an ISIL staging area and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    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.

    And now let's note yesterday's State Dept press briefing (presided over by spokesperson Mark Toner) and what it meant:

    QUESTION: I just want to talk about Iraq.

    MR TONER: Great. Happy to talk about Iraq.

    QUESTION: So there’s a KRG delegation here in the United States. Before they get here, the KRG spokesperson said they are here at the request of the United States. I was wondering if the United States has actually invited them to be here. And they are here, obviously, from what they say, requesting for more financial help for the Peshmerga forces, especially when it comes to the liberation of Mosul. That’s my first question.

    The second question: I think it was last Friday when Secretary Kerry was in Baghdad, and it was notably – he didn’t go to Erbil. So the decision not to go to Erbil by Secretary Kerry – how much this decision has to do with the refusal of President Barzani to step down from presidency?

    MR TONER: Well, a couple things. First of all, on the KRG delegation, there is a delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, who’s in – rather, scheduled to be in Washington. I think they arrived yesterday. They’re scheduled to be here till the 15th. They’re going to meet with Administration officials to discuss the economic crisis facing the Iraqi Kurdistan Region as well as humanitarian assistance and, of course, overall U.S. support for the fight against [the Islamic State].

    As to who invited whom, I can’t speak to that, but I know they’re scheduled to meet with several Department of State officials, including Deputy Secretary Tony Blinken, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq Joseph Pennington, Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Amos Hochstein, and Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall – Sewall, rather.
    In answer to your second question about why the Secretary didn’t travel to Erbil, all I can say is that he was on the ground in Baghdad for a day. Obviously, there are security concerns always when he’s moving about in Iraq. I don’t think it was mean to be – send any signal to the people of the region of – Kurdistan Region, rather – Iraqi Kurdistan Region. We’ve been very supportive of their efforts to combat [the Islamic State]. They have played an absolutely vital role, in fact, within the overall Iraqi command and control structure in pushing [the Islamic State] out of key parts of the country.
    And – sorry – Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk did remain in Iraq, and he also, I believe, met with Iraqi Kurdistan Region officials as well over the last several days. So we’re fully focused on the Kurdistan Region. We’re committed to helping them as much as we can in providing what assistance we can.

    We're going to stop Toner right there because that's an interesting and telling slip.

    And I don't believe Toner's that stupid.

    I do believe he's a liar because he's demonstrated himself to be one repeatedly.

    First off, who's president in the KRG?

    What the hell does it matter?

    Let's be honest.

    The post travels back and forth between two families -- the Barzanis and the Talabanis.

    Part of the reason the CIA's been so successful creating, fueling and backing Goran ("Change'') in the KRG is because of this reality.

    The CIA hasn't had a great deal of success in recent years with political parties overseas.  Goran's emerged as a genuine challenger in the KRG, a true third party.

    And that's because there is genuine resistance on the part of some -- a significant number judging by the most recent KRG elections which saw Goran emerge as the second most popular political party -- to the region being controlled by the two families.

    But at present, that is how the system has been rigged.

    So let's all stop pretending that it matters a great deal whether or not a Barzani is president of the KRG or a Talabani is president of the KRG -- or the prime minister of the KRG.

    Currently, Barazanis are both -- president and prime minister.

    And that's what's so curious about Toner's statement.

    He chooses to bring up a Talabani.  A Talabani is part of the US delegation.

    But he ignores the fact (see the photo above) that Kerry met with a Barzani while in Iraq last week -- Nechervan Barzani who is the nephew of KRG President Massoud Barzani.  The Barzanis control the KDP political party.  The Talabani's control the PUK political party.

    It's curious that Toner failed to note that meet-up or Barzani.

    He did feel the need to, in the same response, note Qubad Talabani.

    Qubad is the son of Jalal Talabani.  Jalal was President of Iraq (not the KRG) starting in 2005.


    Officially in 2014 but the reality is that after December 2012, he was never president -- not acting president.

    December 2012,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 following Jalal's argument with Iraq's prime minister and chief thug Nouri al-Maliki (see the December 18, 2012 snapshot).  Jalal was admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany.

    He remained in Germany well into 2014.  He was brought back only in time for photo ops for the national elections of 2014 -- and that was due to Goran emerging as the second most popular political party in the KRG in the provincial elections (Talabani's PUK ended up in third place).

    Such is the power of the Talabani family that they were able to hold onto the presidential post for nearly 18 months with Jalal out of the country and unable to speak.

    He should have been replaced -- per the Constitution, he should have been replaced.

    It's that kind of corruption that allowed the CIA-backed Goran to find eager supporters in Iraq.

    The State Dept has repeatedly backed the Talabani family over the Barzani family.  Probably because the Barzani family has always wanted US troops in Iraq -- both during the Bully Boy Bush days and during Barack Obama's presidency.

    Toner's elected to choose sides again.

    He can -- and did -- name check Talabani.  And let's note Talabani is Deputy Prime Minister.  Barzani is Prime Minister.

    And while Toner didn't think it was worth noting that Kerry met last week with KRG Prime Minister Talabani, Brett McGurk did Tweet about it:

  • Conferring w/ today in . Key meetings w/PM, Speaker, FM, KRG PM. Focus: uniting forces against .

  • Back to Toner.

    QUESTION: So you’re saying it has nothing to do with the issue of presidency in the Kurdistan Region?

    MR TONER: No.

    QUESTION: Because last time he went to Erbil.

    MR TONER: I understand that. I think it was more a matter of scheduling priorities or scheduling demands.

    QUESTION: And just one more --

    MR TONER: Yes, sir.

    QUESTION: One last thing on the --

    MR TONER: Yes, sir.

    QUESTION: -- KRG delegation.

    MR TONER: Yes.

    QUESTION: Do you have news – financial support of the Kurdistan Region or – I mean, they met with the Secretary in Baghdad and now they are here with a request of more financial help from the U.S. Is there any new humanitarian or military or financial assistance to the KRG --

    MR TONER: I mean, I don’t have anything to announce beyond the 155 million that Secretary Kerry announced when he was on the ground in Baghdad, which is obviously going towards humanitarian assistance for displaced conflict-affected areas. And that’s on top of, I think, nearly 800 million since the start of Fiscal Year 2014. But of course, we’re always looking at ways we can provide more support.

    QUESTION: Thank you.