Friday, September 21, 2018

ROLLING STONE gets it wrong again

Ann Wilson has a new album, her second solo album.  ROLLING STONE reports:

“I got serious about making a record after Chris Cornell passed,” Wilson says. “It was just one too many for me to not do anything. All of these people seemed to just get up and leave all at once — David Bowie, Tom Petty, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Lesley Gore and others whose songs I really admired.” On Wednesday night, Wilson returned to the Kimmel set with a physical manifestation of a year’s reflection. Her debut solo album, Immortal, which was released in September, is a moving selection of covers by recently departed rock stars, one of the tracks naturally being “I Am The Highway,” Cornell’s unchained masterpiece.

Catch the mistake?  Debut solo album.

Uh, no.

In December of 2007, I reviewed Ann Wilson's first solo album.

Here's the cover.


Here's the track list for her new album IMMORTAL:

1. You Don't Own Me (feat. Warren Haynes)

  2. I Am The Highway

  3. Luna (feat. Warren Haynes)

  4. I'm Afraid of Americans

  5. Politician

  6. A Thousand Kisses Deep (feat. Ben Mink)

  7. Life In The Fast Lane

  8. Back to Black (feat. Ben Mink)

  9. A Different Corner

  10. Baker Street

So "Back to Black" is honoring Amy Winehouse, "A Different Corner" honors George Michael, "You Don't Own Me" honors Leslie Gore, etc.

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

Thursday, September 20, 2018.

If the obscene militarism, violence & death perpetrated by the US empire is one of your top issues, never let anyone shame you for not supporting Democrats.

Let's start with a voter issue.  I support war resisters.  I have no problem with someone going to Canada rather than take part in a war.  Make a life there, it's fine.  It's even heroic.  But if you make a life there, make a life there.

Melanie Green (TORONTO STAR) reports on efforst in Canada to register voters for the US elections:

“We’ve met Americans who came here 50 years ago as Vietnam War resisters, have never voted in the U.S. but are determined to cast their ballot this time around,” Mivasair said. “We’re going to be on the sidewalk across from Trump Hotel at lunchtime on Monday to tell all U.S. citizens that their vote can tip the balance.”

I'm bothered by that.  I'm also bothered by the possibility that childish temper tantrums -- take the We Move To Canada crowd who fled the US because they didn't like the outcome of an election (staying and fighting was just too much for that tepid crowd) -- who are now Canadian citizens, but apparently did not denouce their US citizenship in the process, will be eligible to vote.

But let's stick with war resisters.  You left for good reason.  You left knowing there was a chance that you could never return to the US.  You were making your life in Canada.

I've repeatedly objected to the efforts of refugees to the US -- such as the anti-Castro crowd -- coming to this country and then using it as a base to try to mount a military attack on their former country of residence.  If you've been lucky enough to be accepted by another country, make your life there.  Don't use that new host country as a staging platform for war.  You need to let it the hell go.

That's true of the war resisters who went to Canada -- during Vietnam.  (During the ongoing Iraq War?  Canada has not granted permanent status to these veterans.  If they want to vote in the US elections, that's different.)

If you stepped on US soil, you would be arrested.  I'm not saying you should be but I am saying that is the law.  If you deserted the US military or avoided the US military draft and went to Canada, you will be arrested if you are caught on US soil.  (Gerald Ford offered an 'audition' process and members of the two types of war resisters who participated in that program all the way through are not going to be arrested.  Most who participated -- I believe the Carter adminstration argued it was 77% -- chose to live in the US.  Jimmy Carter offered asylum -- to those who applied -- if they were drafted but not if they had been inducted.)

I argued, in real time, for a blanket amnesty and one that would not require any process.  People like US House Rep Elizabeth Holtzman betrayed the war resisters of the Vietnam era.  In fact, Liz went on PBS to sell the betrayal -- THE NEWSHOUR, of course.   She lied repeatedly to the press insisting that Carter's plan was just the start and there would be more.  There was never more.  She distracted from the moment knowing it had to happen immediately or never.

We didn't get the blanket amnesty.  Which means the law remains that -- unless you successfully went through Ford or Carter's program -- if you step on US soil you will be arrested.

So I'm not understanding why you believe you would have a right to vote in a US election?  You have made your life in Canada.  As far as I'm concerned, your participation in the 2018 election would be as a foreign actor/agent.  You chose to leave the US and go to Canada where you made a life.  The law doesn't let you come back -- without being arrested and imprisoned -- so why do you feel you have a right to vote in a US election now, all this time later?

Many Americans would not agree with you on that 'right'.  That's in part because so little is known about war resisters -- in part because organizations that took money to help them during the Iraq War and pretended to care about the topic -- yes, Courage To Resist, I mean you -- haven't focused on the Iraq War in forever.  They make their cause around, for example, Reality Winner or whatever that woman's name is.  She did hideous things.  Her only claim to 'fame' is that she released a document on the 2016 election that might or might not be accurate.  But in terms of war --  war that Courage to Resist supposedly opposes -- Reality Winner was a willing tool of imperialism and was actively responsible for the deaths of dissidents -- including in Iraq and Afghanistan.  That's who they rally around because they're not about stopping wars.  They're those disgusting Socialists who want to take over the Democratic Party.  I'm not referring to Democratic Socialists with that statement.  If you're confused as to what I'm referring to, educate yourself.  They've always been around, these tricksters.  They're unwilling to stand up and fight but they latch on to anything that might be a mounting cause because they want to pretend they have momentum.  So they're hitchikers on the highway of causes.  They've existed forever.

And Courage To Resist, sadly, is among those people.

I support war resisters.  I have helped war resisters.  In the current era, I didn't worry about proving my points regarding the Iraq War.  Sadly, some couldn't get away from that.  And when war resisters hit a wall in Canada, they often stayed at that wall because their support -- such as it was -- needed to prove a point in Canada.

No, get the war resisters safety in Canada.  Fight the war absolutely, but when it came to the lives of war resisters get them safety.  I did.  And when people kept asking how -- resisters who were in Canada or wanted to go there -- I explained how in one post that remains up here.  The method that my group used worked and the war resisters we worked with -- during this Iraq War era -- have Canadian citizenship.  They can't be expelled.  Sadly, the same can't be said for the other group who seemed less concerned with getting asylum for war resisters -- who needed asylum -- and more concerned with litigating the Iraq War through immigration procedures and court cases.

When I posted here how easy it was -- and it is very easy -- I worried because the Iraq War was still going on (and still is).  I had advised a few war resisters of the method in person and in e-mails -- war resisters in Canada who were frustrated because their supporters were not helping them.  (Again, these supporters wanted condemnation from the Canadian government of the Iraq War.  That was not going to happen.  Indochina was a French imperial war that the US grabbed the baton on.  That's why Canada could go ahead with asylum then.  It was a different reality with Iraq.)  But I was seriously worried about putting it up here because I had no second strategy.  That was the only one that worked -- and as I noted, I built on the advances of the LGBT community.  Posting it, I thought, "It's going to be everywhere and I would prefer it remain underground."  Because when it was everywhere, it wasn't going to be useful anymore.  But after I outlined how any US war resister could get citizenship in Canada -- and how the group of war resisters I helped got that citizenship by using this method -- I didn't see any of the US organizations rushing to repost or steal the method.  I wasn't surprised by the Candian reaction.  I'd spoken with Candian politicians -- including Olivia Chow -- about it for sometime and knew that the position of the Canadian organizations would be to ignore it because they wanted their legal victory on the Iraq War more than they wanted asylum for the war resisters.  But I was surprised that Courage To Resist and the few others who pretended to be interested in war resisters didn't move to popularize the method or even use it quietly.

I'm trying to be very clear as to where I stand on war resistance because I should have started dictating this snapshot an hour before I did.  The delay was over this issue.  Do we include it?  If so, do we bury it deep in the snapshot?  No.  That's hypocrisy.  My point has always been that if you go to another country and make a life there, that's where your life is.  I support war resisters, I do not support those who have left a country -- any country -- doing what THE STAR reports is happening.

In Iraq, the country has a Speaker of Parliament -- as of last Saturday -- but it still does not have a prime minister or a persident.

Yesterday, the US State Dept issued the following:

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 19, 2018

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Heather Nauert: ‎
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke with Mohammed Halbusi, Iraq’s new Speaker of the Council of Representatives. The Secretary congratulated Speaker Halbusi on his new position and underlined that the United States looks forward to working with him in this most important new role. The Secretary pledged to continue to stand with Iraqis as they pursue security, prosperity and stability. The Secretary emphasized his support for Iraq’s territorial integrity and sovereignty especially at this critical time. Finally, the Secretary noted his support for Iraq’s efforts to form a moderate, nationalist, Iraqi government, pursuant to the constitutional timeline, that is responsive to the aspirations of the Iraqi people. 

So that's the Speaker of Parliament.  Let's turn to the post of the presidency.  The PUK thinks they get to dictate this post.  They don't.  But they are floating Barham Saleh and he's so thrilled to be their nominee that he's rejoined their party after leaving it in 2017.

RUDAW noted some Tweets about Saleh -- including these two Tweets:

Last election @BarhamSalih with his not even 1 year old party CDJ, campaigned against PUK/KDP as being corrupt. But when ppl didn't fall for this farce in last election and you as a vein politician need a party to put you in power - principles don't matter, perfect man for

@BarhamSalih should be ashamed of himself. Only 5 months ago, he publicly and strongly denied rejoining PUK even if they offer him Iraqi presidency. Many senior members of other parties split to join his party, now he left them all. This tells you enough about the guy.

Of course, he left -- fled -- Iraq in 1979 and didn't return until after the US-led invasion of 2003, so he's used to returning.  Following the Gulf War, the KRG was semi-autonomous and even a coward like Barham Saleh could have returned to the KRG and would have been safe there.  But some cowards are such big cowards that they have to wait until the US invades to return.

There are huge efforts taking place to make Saleh look like the choice.  That includes efforts by the US and oil empires as well -- remember, Saleh sold the Kurds out to ExxonMobil.  Most recently, IRAQI NEWS joined the effort:

Iraqi Kurdish politician Barham Saleh has obtained approval from the head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Masud Barzani, to be the Kurdistan Region’s nominee for the presidency of Iraq.
A KDP source told Baghdad Today that Saleh, a former prime minister of Kurdistan, who was reinstated on Wednesday as a member of the region’s second ruling party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, had met with Barzani twice away from media coverage and won the latter’s approval of his nomination for Iraq’s Presidency.
The source said the KDP is expected to officially declare its support for Saleh within the next few days.

Massoud Barzani doesn't even like Saleh.  Never has.  Now he's going to back Saleh?  Saleh's seen as an impediment to Kurdistan autonomy and Barzani is going to back him?

KURDISTAN 24 reports:

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) will have its own candidate for the Iraqi presidency, a spokesperson for the party said on Wednesday.
Mahmood Mohammed, the spokesperson for the KDP, said in a statement that the Iraq president position should be shared by the people of Kurdistan and not a single party.
According to the spokesperson, officials from the KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) had agreed in a recent meeting that the Kurdish parties should agree on one candidate for the Iraqi president role.
“The Kurds should decide on one candidate similar to the united position and program we had in Baghdad,” he stated.

The PUK was supposed to inform the KDP of their candidates before making a final decision, but after the return of Barham Salih to the party, he was nominated for the Iraqi presidency unilaterally, Mohammed explained.

Let's move over to the topic of prime minister.  Who will it be?  Unknown at this time.  We do know that it won't be Hayder al-Abadi or Hari al-Amari -- or that both have stated that publicly.  Hayder's meanwhile launched another bid for the post this week despite his announcement last week.

RUDAW notes:

Hadi al-Amiri, the head of Fatih Alliance withdrew from the race, while former Oil Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and former head of the Hashd al-Shaabi committee Falih Alfayyadh are potential Shiite-party nominees for prime minister.

"I think it is a sacrifice when Hadi al-Amiri, who was to a large extent the only candidate for al-Bina bloc, is withdrawing and rejecting to become a nominee for prime minister, just in order to protect the situation in the state," said Ahmed al-Jarba, an MP from the al-Bina bloc, on Thursday.

Burhanadin al-Ishaq, an MP from Fatih which encompasses al-Bina, also spoke highly of Abdul-Mahdi.

"Dr. Adil Abdul-Mahdi is one of the prominent Iraqi politicians. He had worked in the previous governments and in many prominent blocs... He is an admired person,” Ishaq said. 

He added they would not stand against any other nominee, indicating al-Bina is open to other candidates.

Naif al-Shamary from former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s Wataniya said the next prime minister should have a "strong" personality and be a "good decision maker" in order to save Iraq from all the crises engulfing it.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the largest in the Kurdistan Region, seems to agree for Abdul-Mahdi to run for premier considering him to be an experienced political for the current situation in Iraq.  

Abdul-Mahdi has long been a favorite of the US intelligence community; however, he's never managed to become prime minister.  He has been a vice president of Iraq.  He stepped down in 2011.  Remember why?  It's a good reason in 2018.

In 2011, he quit, resigned.  Nouri al-Maliki was prime minister.  Iraqis were protesting corruption and Nouri was concerned because of what was taking place in neighboring countries.  He asked the protesters to stop protesting, give him 100 days and he would end corruption.  They did.  He didn't.  And Abdul-Mahdi stepped down over the government corruption.

That was a brave stand in 2011.  In 2018, with Iraqis even more outraged by the corruption, it's an even braver stand.  Weakening the stand?  Prior to resigning, American officials had noted Abdul-Mahdi regularly stopped investigations into corruption when they were targeting his own staff.  This might be a dead issue were it not for Nouri al-Maliki thinking he stands a chance at returning as prime minister.  As a result of that belief, Nouri has started a whisper campaign against Abdul-Mahdi that's expected to grow louder over the next few days.

New content at THIRD:

The following community sites updated:


  • Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    Kevin de Leon

    Who are you voting for in November? 

    Me, I'm voting for Kevin de Leon, the Democrat running for the US Senate in my home state of California.

    1. Help spread our video across the internet. 100% of your donation will go to getting the word out and contacting swing and likely voters. We are relying on the grassroots, so thank you!
    2. Californians have the choice of voting for a good Senate candidate in November, Kevin de Leon! Dianne Feinstein's handling of the Kavanaugh sexual assault allegations is absolutely inexplicable at best and sinister to the nth degree at worst.
    3. quick reminder, folk: Kevin de Leon, , is running against Feinstein in November as a principled progressive fierce activist.
    4. Kevin de León is the real deal. He wants healthcare for all, an end to the persecution of immigrants, sensible gun control, and he WOULD eat at In-N-Out.

    1. Kevin de Leon is not great, but at least he is not a horrible ghoul who dreams of nothing more than a citizenship that is being spied on by its own government 24/7
    2. Replying to 
      A great way to celebrate would be to support Kevin De Leon in his bid to unseat Feinstein.
    3. "During his speech, de León talked about how he authored SB 54, which made California into a sanctuary state, and SB 100 which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday and which requires that California rely on 100 percent clean energy by 2045."
    4. "These are very dangerous times. We need a voice who will be on the front lines for climate change, the environment, workers rights, health care for all, and I want to be that voice for California."

    1. Dianne Feinstein really is showing how old guard she is in the way she deals with the Dr. Blasey allegations, huh? I don’t care if she’s a powerful senator. I hope Kevin de Léon takes her down in November and the Democratic party pushes a bit further left.
    2. Intense ad from Kevin de Leon going after Dianne Feinstein on immigration. W old clips of her juxtaposed with Trump. Just in case there wasn’t enough going on for her this week.

    Kevin de León, a progressive state Senator challenging Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), released his first campaign advertisement on Tuesday.

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

    Wednesday, September 19, 2018.  More money for war or, rather, more US taxdollars sent overseas.

    Congress votes 93-7 to approve $607B military budget, a $17B increase, reports This appears to be the biggest military budget outside height of the Iraq War No votes: 6 conservatives (Paul, Toomey, Sasse, Lee, Flake, Perude), & Sen. Sanders


    Hugh Hamilton: Speaking of 17 years of warfare, you refer to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as the most -- as-as the worst strategic mistakes that the country has made in its history. Talk a little about that.

    Chris Hedges: Well because we're trapped.  I mean, even out of the Pentagon, they're talking about endless warfare, infinite warfare, these are their terms.  And it is characteristic of late empires that they make horrific military blunders -- the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which contributed immensely to the collapse of the Soviet Union.  This is true of every empire -- the Austro-Hungarian Empire starting the war with Bosnia in WWI, four years later it doesn't exist.  Of course, the Kaiser [Wilhelm II] doing the same thing in Germany, go all the way back to the ancient Greeks where they invade Sicily and the Athenian empire, their entire fleet is sunk, thousands of their soldiers are killed, the empire disintegrates.  Great Britain in the 1956 Suez Crisis, [Gamal Abdel] Nasser [Hussein] in Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal, the British go in to retake it and have to retreat in humiliation.  So the British Empire was on a long descent after WWI but that was the culmination.  And then what happened was the pound sterling was dropped as the world's currency and that is the death blow.  So it is the day the dollar is no longer the world's reserve currency that there has to be a huge contraction of the American military machine overseas, imports become expensive and the economy goes into a tailspin. Alfred McCoy, who is a fine historian, actually gives it a date, 2030 [in his book IN THE SHADOW OF THE AMERICAN CENTURY, THE RISE AND DECLINE OF US GLOBAL POWER] -- I've just been a newspaperman too long to play Nostradamus with dates but that that is coming is without question.

    Chris was discussing themes explored in his new book AMERICA: THE FAREWELL TOUR (here for AMAZON, here for BARNES & NOBLE).

    There is something fundamentally immoral about the U.S. state and its military being able to impose death and destruction on so many with almost no opposition from the public. This is why building an Anti-war movement is imperative because the "steady state" is committed to war.

    If you agree with him, remember next month is the Women's March on the Pentagon.

    Happening soon!

    For more on the march . . .

    The Women's March on the Pentagon & Confronting the Bi-Partisan War Machine | Guest: Emma Fiala ()
    611 viewers
    This Sunday, September 16th, Join FURIE-Feminist Uprising to Resist Inequality and Exploitation to grow the Anti-War Movement in Chicago! This is a follow-up/planning meeting for the Womens March on the Pentagon on Oct. 21, 2018 in Washington DC.
    women's march on the pentagon + women's march on the pentagon + women's march on the pentagon + women's march on the pentagon + women's march on the pentagon + women's march on the pentagon + women's march on the pentagon + women's march on the pentagon
    Watch what happened at 15:32 in 's broadcast: The Women's March on the Pentagon & Confronting the Bi-Part…
    🔸Anti-war icon Cindy Sheehan joins Nick Brana to discuss the Womens March on the Pentagon! 9/19 Watch Live: March on Pentagon:

    In Iraq, people are gathering to protest in Basra and have been doing so for months now.  Yesterday afternoon, ALL THINGS CONSIDERED (NPR) noted the protests:

    A lack of basic services led to protests this summer in Iraq's second-largest city. They turned violent recently, revealing further the underlying problems not only in Basra but in the entire country. Protesters burned down government buildings along with the offices of an Iranian-backed militia and the Iranian consulate. Several protesters were killed. NPR's Jane Arraf traveled to Basra and sent this report.


    UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #1: (Chanting in Arabic).

    UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Speaking Arabic).

    UNIDENTIFIED CROWD #1: (Chanting in Arabic).

    UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Speaking Arabic).

    JANE ARRAF, BYLINE: Through Basra's sweltering summer and now into the fall, crowds of mostly young men have come out every night demanding change. The protesters call it their revolution. In a city where temperatures often top 120 degrees, the demonstrations started with anger over power cuts and tap water so contaminated you can't wash or cook with it. And then it widened.

    NASSER JABAR: The beginning of the protests, people started demanding electricity and water. There's lack of services. But now people know the truth. This government is a group of militias, scavengers, murderers. We want to change them, all of them.

    ARRAF: That's Nasser Jabar, one of the protesters. He's 25, and he's one of the few people here who has a job. He works with Basra Oil Company, but he says only politicians benefit from the oil.

    JABAR: The government needs oil to live. They don't care about people. They let people die.

    Jane Arraf lets a law enforcement member speak.  She doesn't question him because that would be reporting and she's really up to the task.  But in the face of his claims of protecting the protesters, we'll note this Tweet.

    Activists & protesters in are being arrested without arrest warrants. Some cannot be located. Local NGOs are condemning the arrest campaign. Reports also indicate that protesters are being tortured and forced to sign confessions. A complete state of terror.

    Harith Hassan explores the protests at Carnegie Middle East Center:

    “Why should we remain silent, the water has become scarce and all the wealth you have stolen belongs in the pocket of Basra.”
    These are the opening lyrics of a new song by a singer from Basra. They describe what has become a common sentiment in the oil-rich governorate, which provides a staggering 80 percent of Iraq’s revenues and contains 60 percent of the country’s proven oil reserves. Furthermore, Basra is where Iraq’s only port is located. Among its inhabitants, there is an increasing awareness of the contrast between Basra’s immense wealth and their own daily reality of poverty, neglect, crumbling infrastructure, and shortage of electricity and drinking water. Basra, once called the Jewel of the Gulf, is today far removed from the Gulf, and from its past as a vital commercial and political hub for the region.
    The city of Basra, which once was the capital of an autonomous region under the Ottoman Empire, later became a hostage of Baghdad politics after oil was discovered there. It grew dependent on financial allocations from the central government, although most of the government’s budget relied on revenues from Basra’s oilfields. Moreover, from the perspective of many of its inhabitants, the Shi‘a political class is dominated by Islamists from Baghdad, Najaf, and Karbala, while Basra itself is not adequately represented by prominent politicians. The gap has been constantly widening between Basra’s imagined past and grim present, but also between its indispensable role in securing Iraq’s economic survival and its marginal role in Iraqi politics and decisionmaking.
    This summer, rising temperatures in Basra, which reached 52° Celsius [C.I. note, that would be 125.6 degrees Fahrenheit], were accompanied by long power outages and a dearth of drinking water. This sparked anger and protests. The public’s disillusionment with the system only increased following the last election, which confirmed that real change does not necessarily come through the ballot box. As protests escalated, the protesters’ feelings of victimhood pushed many of them to construct a new narrative about the city and its relationship with the rest of Iraq. Basra’s unemployed youth complained about the lack of basic services and economic opportunities, motivating some of its intellectuals, politicians, and traders to demand more autonomy from Baghdad.
    “Today, Basra incubates new sentiments that are opposed to Baghdad’s authority,” notes Sarmad al-Ta‘ee, a prominent Basra journalist; “With every new barrel of oil exported from the governorate, the feeling that Basra should become the master of its own house grows more appealing.”

    These sentiments are still only emerging now and will take a long time to translate into more elaborate political demands. Yet, they were strong enough to compel members of Basra’s provincial administration to sign a petition demanding the transformation of the governorate into an autonomous region. Additionally, Basra’s parliamentarians, who belong to parties led from Baghdad or Najaf, formed a parliamentary committee to unite their positions on the current crisis and to define Basra’s relationship with the federal government.

    These protests are not ending, they are only intensifying.

    Employees [ public sector] Cooperation Committee announce date of sit-in protests at Sunday, 23 September through statement recently posted.

    Now let's note Sarah Leah Whitson who is finally Tweeting about Iraq.

    Think Turkey is just bombing Syria? Think again, because it's also bombarding Iraq, killing Iraqi civilians in unlawful airstrikes. New report

    She's steering people to this Human Rights Watch report:

    Four apparent Turkish military operations against the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq dating back over a year should be investigated for possible violations of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said today. The attacks killed at least seven non-combatants and wounded another, witnesses and relatives said.
    Speaking to Human Rights Watch by phone, witnesses and relatives said that what appeared to be Turkish air and ground attacks during four operations between May 2017 and June 2018 killed at least six men and one woman and injured another man. They said there were no apparent military objectives near the strikes. Human Rights Watch was unable to visit the sites but obtained photographs and death certificates to corroborate the allegations.
    “As Turkey steps up operations in Iraq, it should be taking all feasible precautions to avoid harming civilians there,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Turkey should investigate possible unlawful strikes that killed civilians, punish those responsible for wrongdoing, and compensate victims’ families.”
    The PKK, an outlawed armed group active in Turkey, has long maintained a presence in northern Iraq near the Turkish, Iranian, and Syrian borders. Turkish forces have conducted operations against the PKK in Iraq for over a decade. Since March, Turkish forces appear to have extended their presence into northern Iraq by at least 15 kilometers, establishing multiple outposts, including in rural areas of Dohuk and Erbil governorates under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

    Residents say the Turkish Armed Forces have declared the areas surrounding their outposts out of bounds for civilians. However, local people depend on these sparsely populated agricultural areas.
    On May 3, 2017, apparent Turkish forces started shelling farmland six kilometers south of the Turkish border as six farmers were working their land, without any apparent warning, said one farmer present at the time. He told Human Rights Watch that the second projectile killed his uncle and wounded his cousin, both civilians. He said that as far as he knew PKK fighters were about 30 kilometers away at the time, but he did not hear any fire coming from the direction where he believed the PKK to be based.
    On November 13, outside a village in the Sidekan area, an apparent Turkish airstrike hit a car, killing the one man inside it, his wife said. She said she had heard planes overhead all day, and that there had been daily strikes in the area for months. She said there was an unnamed PKK base two kilometers away, but her husband was not driving nearby.
    On March 22, 2018, an apparent Turkish nighttime airstrike killed four men, all cousins visiting their family home in a village in the Choman area. They allegedly had no PKK links, according to neighbors, and three were members of the regional government’s Peshmerga forces, which are not engaged in an armed conflict with Turkey. Their neighbor and relative said that the nearest PKK presence was in the mountains about five kilometers away and that this was the first airstrike on the village.
    Apparent Turkish shelling at around 4 p.m. on June 30, hit and killed a 19-year-old civilian about seven kilometers from the border. Her father said she was with her family and a large group of villagers harvesting nuts and wild herbs. He said there was a Turkish base about three kilometers away, and no PKK presence nearby as far as he knew.

    Media coverage as well as witnesses who said they saw aircraft and the direction that shelling came from suggested the Turkish Armed Forces were the source of all four attacks. The witnesses said that they had not received any warning from Iraq, the KRG, or Turkey about staying away from ongoing military operations. All four families who lost relatives said that no officials had contacted them to investigate the attacks or provide any reparations, and that they did not know how to request an investigation or compensation.

    Hayder al-Abadi's failures as prime minister include allowing Turkey to keep Turkish soldiers on Iraqi soil -- something Iraqi politicians (at least publicly) oppose -- and not calling out the continued bombs dropped from Turkish war planes.

    Winding down, we'll note this from Senator Johnny Isakson's office (Isakson is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee):

    Isakson, Tester Applaud Senate Passage of Bill to Continue Critical Veterans Services, Benefits
    Bipartisan bill reauthorizes dozens of VA programs, including support for homeless, disabled veterans;
    Makes permanent VA employment training authority for injured service members
    WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, today applauded the Senate passage of bipartisan legislation they introduced to ensure veterans continue to have access to critical programs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
    The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2018 reauthorizes numerous programs and services at the VA for fiscal year 2019, which begins on Oct. 1, 2018. The legislation ensures that many important programs, including veterans homelessness prevention, adaptive sports programs for disabled veterans, and workforce training for injured service members, continue to be available. A number of authorizations included in the bill were set to expire at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, while others were set to expire in 2019.
    The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2018 represents a bipartisan, bicameral agreement reached with U.S. Representatives Phil Roe, R-Tenn., and Tim Walz, D-Minn., Isakson and Tester’s counterparts in the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
    “I’m pleased my colleagues in the Senate supported this bipartisan bill to help ensure that vital VA services, such as programs to help homeless, disabled, rural and minority veterans, continue into the new fiscal year,” said Isakson. “I thank Ranking Member Tester, Chairman Roe, Ranking Member Walz and members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee for their efforts in reaching this bipartisan agreement. The Senate has now passed 21 major pieces of veterans’ legislation this Congress, a remarkable achievement and a true testament to our teamwork. By working together, we are truly making progress for our nation’s veterans.”
    “Rural, disabled and homeless Montana veterans rely on these initiatives every day,” said Tester. “By making sure that veterans can get to their doctor appointments on time and get back on their feet, we are making good on the promises we have made to our veterans and their families. This bipartisan agreement shows what Congress can get done when we work together.”
    The Senate approved S.3479, the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2018, by voice vote. The measure now heads to the full U.S. House of Representatives for a vote.
    This is the 21st piece of legislation passed by the Senate – including 20 bills that have already been signed into law – that aim to strengthen veterans’ health care, benefits and protections.
    A full section-by-section summary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2018 is available here.
    The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 115th Congress. Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the armed services as well as more than 750,000 veterans.

    THIRD?  My understanding is that everything's written (Ava and I wrote our piece and I did the piece I noted Sunday night here that I would be doing).  As I understand it, they are waiting for an illustration to dry.  I would guess around noon PST it would be up, certainly no later than three.  (Okay, four.)  The following community sites updated: