Friday, September 11, 2020

Maria McKee

crazy lady

 That is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Crazy Lady" about the insane lunatic E. Jean Carroll.

Maria McKee is one of my favorite artists.  She is a singer-songwriter. Back in 1998, the Dixie Chicks recorded her song "Am I The Only One To Ever Feel This Way," Laura Branigan recorded her song "Show Me Heaven," Bette Midler recorded her songs "The Last Time" and "To Deserve You," Feargal Sharkey recorded her songs "A Good Heart" and "To Miss Someone."

She's worked with many big artists -- U2 (toured with), Bono individually ("Sweet Jane'' is done as a duet with him on LONE JUSTICE's THIS WORLD IS NOT MY HOME -- a collection of tracks previously unreleased), Bob Dylan, the Counting Crows, Bruce Springsteen (toured with), -- Click here for Lone Justice's supposed tour history.  It's wrong.  There's one date where they appear with the Pretenders.  That's not right.  I asked C.I. and she said, "They opened for the Pretenders in 1986."  She also said Maria was at 1986's Farm Aid concert performing "Pink Houses" with John Mellencamp.  I said, "Really?"  I would've thought that would have been included.  She said, "Go search it on YOUTUBE."  I did.  C.I.'s right.

So, the Pretenders, John Mellencamp, Bono solo, U2, Bob Dylan, Counting Crows, Bruce Springsteen, Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, Robbie Robertson, Sharleen Spiteri, Gavin Friday, Stuart A. Staples and Emmylou Harris.  Thanks to C.I. for the last one, I didn't know that.  "Put It Off Until Tomorrow" is the duet (a song Dolly Parton co-wrote) that Emmylou and Maria did together.

Like most in California, I first became aware of her when she fronted the group Lone Justice which was one of the finest club bands in the state.  Lone Justice would go on to sign with GEFFEN RECORDS and release two albums.  Tom Petty and Mike Campbell wrote "Ways To Be Wicked" for Maria to sing (on the self-titled debut album).  It was 1985 and country rock was a genre that did not fit in.  It was the age of synthesizers music and MIAMI VICE detached songs.  The group was on tour opening for U2.  That also didn't end up helping them. 

But they were back in 1987 with a new album, often heavy on those 80s synths, entitled SHELTER -- the title track was a hit on rock radio and made it onto BILLBOARD's HOT 100 as well.  But the group was pretty much over.

Maria stayed with GEFFEN and released her first album, 1989's self-titled debut.  This was followed by YOU GOTTA' SIN TO GET SAVED (with photographs by the late Dennis Hopper).  For me, SIN TO GET SAVED is Maria's finest album.  I love most of her albums but with her second solo album, she really achieved something with her voice.  

While chart success has eluded her in the US, in the UK, she went to number one with the single "Show Me Heaven" (from THE DAYS OF THUNDER soundtrack).  "I'm Gonna Soothe You" is her other UK hit single -- it made it to number 35 on the charts.  

This year, she released her seventh solo album, LA VITA NUOVA.  I hope to review that this weekend.  

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

 Friday, September 11, 2020.  An opinion journal makes the call for US troops to come home (it's not THE NATION) and we look at the non-duopoly presidential campaigns.

"Bring Them Home."  A column by Michael Brendan Dougherty.  It runs at THE NATION?  Nope.  At the conservative NATIONAL REVIEW.  Over at THE NATION, they continue to flounder and wallow in a cesspool.  We've got British Jew Sasha Abramsky explaining the US to Americans because, gosh, isn't that what everyone needs?  Elie Mystal frets over 'poor' E. Jean Carroll.  She was the topic of Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Crazy Lady" that went up last night.  You may remember Carroll, she was elevated to hero status for claiming that Donald Trump raped her -- in some year, she's not sure of which year it was, but it was a department store, she knows that.  As the latest in a long of questionable characters was embraced by the faux resistance, they realized that they had another character issue on their hands like with Michael Avenatti.  Of course, it took Carroll going on CNN live with Anderson Cooper for them to realize there was a problem with Carroll.  While an open mouthed Anderson stared in shock, Carroll went on to 'educate' the American public that rape was (her exact word) "sexy."

Anderson quickly cut to commercial   It was too late to save Carroll. 

Rape is not "sexy" and once someone makes a statement like that on live TV, I don't really think they can be defamed at that point.  She's a lunatic and she was always seen that way in the industry.  She never had her head on straight and she had no real support from her peers.  She floundered from one job to another, burning bridges repeatedly.

Can someone like that be raped?  Absolutely.  Anyone can be raped.

But there are survivors out there who can use our help and someone who claims she was raped and also wants the world to know that she finds rape "sexy"?  That's someone who needs to fight her own battles.  She clearly has issues that go beyond whatever did or did not happen to her in a department store and she's not allowed to insult the survivors of rape and also expect us to all rally around her at the same time.  She's on her own as far as most of us are concerned.

But that desperate, in-bred group which calls itself the 'resistance' won't let her case die because they've got no real issues to address.  Either they lack the mental abilities to do so or they just don't see the world around them.

Which goes a long way towards explaining why the week that it's announced 2,200 US troops will be leaving Iraq (only 3,000 remaining -- CORRECTION, this sentence has been fixed to note 3,000 remaining -- at least 3,000), THE NATION has nothing to offer on its front page about that.  

Grasp that they have three articles about Vietnam.  Babyboomers are aging and apparently the WWII trough has been gone to one time too many so THE NATION is ready to pivot to . . . Vietnam.

There was a time when THE NATION announced -- in an editorial that ran on the cover of the magazine -- that they could not support anyone who voted for the Iraq War.  That was so long ago that many have forgotten and most never knew about it.  The tiny number of people who continue to read THE NATION may have no idea that US troops are in Iraq.  The rag certainly doesn't encourage them to acknowledge it.

War and peace?  Not a concern for THE NATION.  In fact, it stopped being a concern the minute Democrats were no longer the minority party in the House and the Senate.  It's a rag of misfits who can't be employed anywhere else.  That's why SALON and MSNBC reject Joan Walsh writes (badly) there currently.  

It was a success in terms of circulation and web views when they pretended to be interested in the Iraq War.  Even then, it made itself a joke.  Naomi Klein had a column there.  It also ran at THE GUARDIAN.  She did a two-part column on people profiting from the war and THE NATION gladly ran the one on Republican James Baker and gladly refused to run the one on Democrat Madeline Albright.  Things like that started to get attention.  Or rolypoly Katha Pollit who presents as a feminist but refused to write about one of the biggest US crimes in Iraq -- when a group of soliders plotted to leave base, break into the home of an Iraqi family, gang-rape the 15-year-old Abeer and kill her, her parents and her younger sister.  They then attempted to make it look as though 'rebels' had committed the crimes.  That is a horror all on its own.  And maybe if the ring-leader Steven D. Green hadn't been given the choice of going behind bars or going to Iraq, it wouldn't have happened.  An attack on US troops took place in response to this.  There were so many ways to cover it.

So THE NATION elected to ignore it.  And fat girl Katha chose to ignore it.  After months of being publicly rebuked, Katha put down the fork and spoon and wrote about Abeer -- she wrote a single sentence.  Thanks for the 'sisterhood,' Katha.

We covered it here.   We covered it the minute the news emerged.  We covered it the minute Green was arrested on US soil.  We covered the article 32 hearing for those who were still in Iraq.  We covered the civilian trial in the US for Green.  There were many, many times anyone could have picked up the ball and run with the story.

Katha didn't.  And Elie Mystal, so nervous today over 'poor' E. Jean Carroll, never gave two s**ts about an Iraqi girl who was gang-raped by US troops while she heard her sister and parents killed, an Iraq child who had to know that the gang-rape would also end with her own murder.

But, hey, privileged Carroll thinks that in some year -- she's not sure which -- she was raped by Donald and, golly, gee, rape is "sexy."

Die on that mountain, Elie -- but die quickly because we don't need you.

Hey, if Abeer had been a British Jew, would THE NATION have cared?  This is the magazine that's been repeatedly called out not just for its anti-Palestinian coverage but for its running of hate speech in the form of ads against the Palestinians.  Free speech claimed Katrina vanden Heuvel -- chief s**t stain at the magazine (are we surprised? her family money comes from stealing from Lena Horne and many other African-American entertainers).  It's a funny sort of defense -- free speech that only allows the Palestinians to be portrayed in an ugly light, one attack after another, either in columns or in advertisements.  

If you're late to the party, this is not: Why isn't THE NATION applauding Donald Trump!!!!

We've spent the week noting that this is a drawdown, not a withdrawal.  A withdrawal?  I'd applaud Donald for that.  Even I would applaud him for that.  But that's not what's taking place.  

It's a shame that THE NATIONAL REVIEW can weigh in on the news but THE NATION can't.  Don't worry, in 40 more years, Joan Walsh will write a bad column about what was on TV the week of 9/11/2020 -- and she'll bungle those facts too -- like she does in her latest.  No one fact checks at THE NATION.

The US is headed towards a November presidential election.  The press -- including THE NATION -- focuses on the duopoly refusing to educate or inform the public that there are other choices.  One such choice is Howie Hawkins, the Green Party presidential candidate.  His campaign issued the following:

Nineteen years after more than 3,000 people were killed on 9/11, there remains a bipartisan commitment to fight an endless “war on terrorism,” instigate regime change coups, increase military spending, enhance US nuclear weapons, deport undocumented residents, curtail civil liberties, and militarize the police.

The September 11, 2001 attacks on the US have obscured “The Other 9/11,” the US attack on Chilean democracy in the US-backed coup on September 11, 1973. The two 9/11s are connected by what the CIA calls “blowback.” The CIA first used the term in describing the unintended negative consequences of the US and UK sponsored coup against the democratically-elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953. The September 11, 2001 attacks were blowback from decades of US intervention in the Middle East. That doesn’t justify the terrorism, but it does explain it. If we want peace and security for our nation, we should respect the peace and security of other nations.

Contrary to Trump’s lies about ending the endless wars, his administration has escalated the “Long War” in the Middle East and North Africa with increased troop deploymentsdrone strikes, and Special Operations.

Trump is also morphing the War on Terror abroad into a war against dissent at home. He encourages and uses law enforcement to attack nonviolent protesters, calling them “thugs” and “antifa terrorists.” He encourages white racist vigilante militias that show up armed to menace Black Lives Matter demonstrators and to intimidate local and state governments in armed protests against climate action (Oregon) and COVID-19 public health measures (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina, Wisconsin).

Trump encourages these actions with statements that amplify paranoid far-right fantasies that call climate change and COVID-19 hoaxes perpetrated by secret elite conspiracies. Trump has instructed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) and Border Patrol to violate immigration laws and subject immigrants and asylum seekers to unspeakable brutality, including separating children from their parents and internment in concentration camps where COVID-19 is running rampant. He stokes racial fears and civil strife to justify authoritarian rule. He calls the news media “fake,” the elections “rigged,” and promotes conspiracy fantasies on Twitter. Trump is sowing confusion and demoralization so people will not be able to resist repression by sections of law enforcement and the racist militias should Trump decide to resist a peaceful transfer of power. The ultimate blowback against US coups and wars abroad against democracy threatens to be a coup against democracy at home.

End the Wars on Terrorism Abroad and Dissent at Home

One of my first steps as President would be to end the wars on “terrorism” abroad and at home. Neither major party calls for ending the endless wars against “terror” abroad even though the top priority in the official National Security Strategy of the United States has changed to “Great Power Competition” with the goal of preventing the emergence of strong regional powers in Eurasia, namely China, Iran, and Russia. This New Cold War, like the War on Terrorism, is about the profits of US-based global corporations abroad, not the security of the people of the United States at home.

The nuclear modernization program initiated under Obama and continued under Trump with bipartisan support has destabilized the nuclear balance of terror and kicked off a new nuclear arms race. The nuclear threat, coupled with inaction by the great powers on the climate emergency and the proliferation of disinformation propagated by state actors on all sides that makes it difficult for publics to come to agreement on what to demand of their governments, has prompted the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to move their Doomsday Clock the closest it has ever been to midnight.

I would end the saber rattling against Russia, China, and Iran in the Great Power Competition strategy and focus on diplomacy. We need to partner with other major powers to address our common problems, notably nuclear arms, climate, and cyberwar.

I would also end the bipartisan repression of dissent at home. With Trump’s encouragement, law enforcement is using militaristic tactics to suppress peaceful protests against police brutality and systemic racism. Both major parties are united in suppressing whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and publishers like Julian Assange, whose real crimes in the eyes of the National Security State is that they exposed its secret wrongdoings.

The US should speak out against violations of human rights and democracy wherever they occur, but that should not preclude also working with authoritarian governments to resolve life-or-death global issues like climate change and nuclear arms. War and threats of war are the most powerful destroyers of civil liberties, democracy, and human rights. Military threats, economic sanctions, and covert meddling in the politics of other countries only reinforces the nationalist rationalizations of authoritarian governments for repression at home in order to ward off threats from abroad.

The most powerful way to promote human rights is to set a good example. If the US wants its advocacy of human rights to be credible and effective, it must set the right example at home, where police killings of Black people are seen on social media around the world.  A country where there is mass incarceration in the largest prison system in the history of the world, and from where the US military is deployed in some 800 foreign military bases for its endless wars, making the US the nation that the world’s people consider the biggest threat to peace.

The Other 9/11: Chile

Thirty years before the United States’ 9/11, the CIA orchestrated the violent overthrow of the democratically-elected socialist government of Chile on September 11, 1973.

It is a tragic coincidence of the US bloody intervention history in Latin America that President Salvador Allende was overthrown and pushed to suicide on the same date that decades later would affect US soil by a terrorist attack. The same feelings that American felt of being violated by the first foreign attack since Pearl Harbor were felt in Chile that September 11 in 1973. The sin of Salvador Allende in the eyes of Nixon, Kissinger, and CIA Director Richard Helms was to advance deep socialist reforms that would create a more equal society, a just distribution of incomes, real freedom of expression, and a truly democratic framework that could allow, finally, the participation and voices of all sectors, specially the impoverished workers of Chile.

Sound familiar? These are exactly the challenges that the US faces today, problems that have riddled the US throughout its history and become worse in the Trump era – the authoritarian duopoly of Republicans and Democrats, voter suppression, third party suppression, deep inequality from coast to coast, and chronic poverty. It is the same kind of repression that Chile suffers today under the conservative millionaire Sebastián Piñera when people again advance the same reforms that Allende worked for and paid for with his life. It is the same social, economic, and political oppression that the two countries share on this anniversary of 9/11.

Aid, Not Arms – Make Friends, Not Enemies

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the United States, the Green Party of the United States warned against the danger that the two major parties and the corporate media would turn this horrific crime into a rationale for destructive wars abroad and political repression at home.

Instead of treating the 9/11 attackers as criminals to be brought to justice, the US used the attacks as a pretext for a long series of regime change wars in the Middle East and North Africa. The foreign policy leadership of the Bush administration had already written about the need for a “new Pearl Harbor” in order to provide the pretext for an invasion of Iraq to seize its oil fields. They wasted little time in getting started after 9/11.

The Authorization To Use Military Force (AUMF) against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks passed Congress on September 18 with only one dissenting vote. The US invasion of Afghanistan started on October 1. The AUMF legislation is still the legal basis for today’s endless wars.

The Patriot Act, which gave the federal government broad new intrusive surveillance and investigatory powers that weakened civil liberties, was overwhelmingly voted through Congress by October 25.

The Bush administration, joined by the Democratic amen corner led by Senator Joe Biden, lied about weapons of mass destruction and about Iraq’s alleged role in 9/11 to start a second war in Iraq by March 2003.

After 19 years, US combat troops are now engaged in 14 wars. At least 37 million people, and as many as 59 million people, have been displaced by these wars, creating the greatest refugee crisis since World War II.

The annual observation of 9/11 has been turned by politicians into a militaristic celebration of American power that is used to garner public support for US military spending and imperial aggression abroad. Right after 9/11, the world was united in its grief for our country. It was a moment that should have been used to build peace based on mutual cooperation and respect.

Let us remember 9/11 this year by demanding that the US withdraw from its endless wars, prioritize diplomacy to resolve conflicts, end arms sales to belligerents, and provide humanitarian aid for war refugees, including reopening immigration to the US from these countries.

Let’s turn the US into the world’s humanitarian superpower instead of its global military empire. Providing aid instead of arms is the best way to promote peace and security. It is time for the US to make friends instead of enemies.

This week, he and his running mate Angela Walker took questions.

Joseph Kishore is also running for president.  He represents the Socialist and Equality Party.  This week, he reTweeted David Vine's Tweet:

Very happy to see our estimate of 37 million displaced by the US Post-9/11 Wars picked up widely in the press. Thank you to everyone who is helping to remind people of the catastrophic damage caused by 19 years of war. We must demand the US repair the damage + end endless wars.

Jo Jorgensen is running for president on the Libertarian Party's ticket.

Earlier, her campaign issued the following:

GREENVILLE, S.C.; Sept. 5, 2020— Libertarian presidential nominee Dr. Jo Jorgensen today begins a four-city tour of Alaska to rally supporters, meet with local business owners, and take media interviews. She is resuming her duties as candidate following a respite to mourn the recent passing of her mother. 

Tonight campaign staff will kick off her Alaskan outreach with a meet-and-greet event in Anchorage. Speakers will include Jon Briggs Watts, chair of the Libertarian Party (LP) of Alaska, and two of Jorgensen’s down-ballot colleagues: Scott Kohlhaas, candidate for state house (Dist. 16), and Carolyn “Care” Clift, running for state senate (Dist. N).

Clift’s campaign includes a call for fair elections with more choices, and a demand that Alaskans be permitted to go back to their normal work. She appreciates Dr. Jorgensen’s pledge that “a Libertarian administration wouldn’t put everybody under house arrest, but instead would step aside and let private medical research flourish. Government bureaucrats and politicians have no place treating Americans as children with their intrusions such as quarantining healthy people.” 

Clift said, “While I support Alaska Gov. Dunleavy’s handling of the CoVid-19 crisis statewide—for example, encouraging the wearing of masks without mandating it—I feel that local mandates are costing precious tourism dollars, at the expense of Anchorage’s small businesses.”

Jorgensen has garnered support throughout her nationwide tour for her platform of creating a truly free market in health care—optimizing people’s chances against a virus during a pandemic—ending the war on drugs, recalling U.S. military men and women home to defend America’s own shores, and protecting the Second Amendment.

If elected, she plans to abolish the ATF: “I am dedicated to the unalienable right of individuals to keep and bear arms, and I will work to repeal every federal law passed in the last 100 years that infringes on this fundamental right.”

Dr. Jorgensen’s campaign stops in Alaska feature down-ticket candidates, include media availability, and are scheduled as follows (subject to change; times shown in local time zone):

Saturday, September 5; Anchorage
7:30–9 P.M.: Mixer & rally: 49th State Brewing, 717 W. 3rd Ave., Anchorage 
Sunday, September 6; Anchorage
4–5 P.M.: Private meet-and-greet (selected media availability by appointment), 
Sunday, September 6; Wasilla
6–7:30 P.M.: Meet & greet, rally: Iditapark (Green Pavilion),  500 W. Nelson, Wasilla
Monday, September 7; Ketchikan 
11:30–12:30 P.M.: Panel discussion with local business leaders: Stoney Moose, 127 Stedman St., Ketchikan
1–3 P.M.: Meet & greet: Bar Harbor Ale House, 55 Schoenbar Ct., Ketchikan
4:30–6:45 P.M.: Veterans’ barbecue and town hall: American Legion Post 3, 631 Park Ave., Ketchikan
Tuesday, September 8; Juneau 
1–2 P.M.: Pick-up hockey game with Jo: Treadwell Ice Arena, 105 Savikko Rd., Lena Beach, Juneau (Douglas)
6 P.M.: Meet & greet: Lena Beach (Lena Point Park Shelter), Juneau

Jorgensen’s vice-presidential running mate, Jeremy “Spike” Cohen, is in the Pacific northwest campaign on a bus tour, this Labor Day weekend. For a full list of the candidates’ upcoming campaign events, visit

Media advisory: Rain or shine! The candidate will have media availability at most tour stops. A mult box will be available at the rallies, although no risers. Personal distancing protocols will be followed; hand sanitizer and masks will be provided.  

For questions or to schedule an interview with Dr. Jorgensen during her visits, contact: 

  • Sat., Sept. 5; Anchorage: Jess Mears, Jorgensen-Cohen 2020 deputy campaign manager, via e-mailat or by phone at (727) 262-8061
  • Sun., Sept. 6; Anchorage & Wasilla: Jess Mears, Jorgensen-Cohen 2020 deputy campaign manager, via e-mailat or by phone at (727) 262-8061
  • Mon., Sept. 7; Ketchikan: Paul Robbins, Jr., MPS, Alaska LP communications chair, via e-mailat or by phone at (760) 586-8065
  • Tues., Sept. 8; Juneau: Jess Mears, Jorgensen-Cohen 2020 deputy campaign manager, via e-mailat or by phone at (727) 262-8061

Gloria La Riva is running for president as well.  She represents the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

Earlier this week, Gloria Tweeted:

These are the people of Lake Charles, Louisiana, a city devastated by Hurricane Laura. We know that the government has plenty of resources because the working class produces all that wealth. Federal relief for Lake Charles NOW!

And the Minneapolis chapter of the PSL Tweets:

Thanks to the hard work of many committed organizers in the PSL, we've succeeded in getting Gloria La Riva on the ballot in Minnesota! #VoteSocialist! The need for a socialist transformation of society has never been more urgent!

New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated:

  • Thursday, September 10, 2020

    A Good Heart (Maria McKee)

     That's Maria McKee.  The song is "A Good Heart."  Just been listening to a lot of Maria this week -- including her new album.


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


     Thursday, September 10, 2020.  Iraq remains a US designed mess and look who shows up to whine about (some) US troops leaving Iraq.

    The big Iraq story remains the drawdown of US forces in Iraq.

    When the reduction takes place, it is said there will be 3,000 US troops in Iraq.  Of course, that count won't include US special-ops.

    Paul Reickhoff is displeased by the move.  If that surprises you, you're unaware of who Paul is.  He's a bloody War Hawk and always has been.  He's an MSNBC figure and he's that because he supports wars.  When Paul's doing his IAVA work, we tend to ignore his other side.  Our only criticism of him was his repeated need -- for years -- to present himself to the media expert on all topics to do with veterans.  We especially called him out for making himself the IAVA 'expert' for the media on assault in the military.  Paul's never been raped or assaulted.  Most who are?  Women.  But time and again -- because of his macho bulls**t -- he'd try to speak to issues that female veterans should be speaking to.

    Again, that's about it when it came to IAVA.  Well, one more thing.  Paul and MSNBC need to be clear on something.  Paul serves on the board of directors of IAVA.  That's really all he does now.  Stop presenting him as the leader of IAVA -- that would be Jeremy Butler and it has been Jeremy since IAVA made the January 29, 2019 announcement.  That's nearly two years ago.  Stop lying.

    Outside of IAVA how did the macho pig that we used to call Mommy's Pantyhose because of the ridiculous way he dressed his bald head, how did he conduct himself.

    As a War Pig.  For example, he went to any outlet that would have him (MSNBC will always have him) to trash Lt Ehren Watada.  Paul doesn't know the law, not even military law.  Paul was wrong in everyone of his predictions about what would happen legally to Ehren.  

    For those who don't remember Ehren, he was an officer who refused to comply with the order to deploy to Iraq.

    Lt Ehren Watada took a courageous stand and he is a hero.

    Paul is a war monger who has for years tried to speak for women -- shut up, Paul -- and he's now trying to pretend he's still running IAVA.  Poor Jeremy Butler.  Know it all Paul's not going to let him lead IAVA apparently.  

    Paul believes that the troops are being used as "props'' by Donald Trump.  Or that's the garbage he spewed on MSNBC yesterday.  Better props than cannon fodder.  He will scream and whine and have his hissy fit over and over.  And each time he does, he will get closer and closer to being outright rejected by IAVA.  Paul's decision to step down as leader wasn't Paul's decision but do we want to go into that?

    The US military has accomplished nothing in Iraq.  That's the reality.  Training?  That's what they supposedly do now.  They have been training and retraining the Iraqi forces since 2003.  

    Let's drop back to the December 1, 2011 snapshot:

    US House Rep Dana Rohrabacher: This whole episode in American history is a very disturbing thing to look at.  And I think when people look back, they're going to wonder why the hell did we ever go into Iraq?  And there will be no question, even in our minds today, whether or not the money that was expended and the lives and the blood that was expended there was worth it?  It was not.  And whatever we are spending now should be terminated and as soon as we can get those troops out, the better.  When you find yourself in a bad situation, you don't try to mess around to make it a little bit less bad, you just step over and try to get in a good situation somewhere else where you can accomplish things.


    Yeah, some can speak the truth and not shy from it. Rohrabacher was speaking at a hearing yesterday, one about the State Dept's plan to spend or waste billions training the Iraqi police or supposedly training since DoD contracts set the pattern for a lack of accountability that it has now handed off to State. 
    "Number one, does the government of Iraq -- whose personnel we intend to train -- support the program?" asked US House Rep Gary Ackerman yesterday. "Interviews with senior Iraqi officials by the Special Inspector General show utter disdain for the program. When the Iraqis suggest that we take our money and do things instead that are good for the United States, I think that might be a clue."
    That was Ackerman's important question yesterday afternoon at the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia hearing on Iraq.  US House Rep Steve Chabot is the Chair of the Subcommittee, US House Rep Gary Ackerman is the Ranking Member.  The first panel was the State Dept's Brooke Darby.  The second panel was the Inspector General for the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart W. Bowen and SIGIR's Assistant Inspector General for Iraq Glenn D. Furbish.  Chabot had a few comments to make at the start of the hearing.  They often echoed comments made in the November 15th Senate Armed Services Committee hearing [see the November 15th "Iraq snapshot," the November 16th "Iraq snapshot" and the November 17th "Iraq snapshot" and other community reporting on the hearing included Ava's "Scott Brown questions Panetta and Dempsey (Ava)," Wally's "The costs (Wally)" and Kat's "Who wanted what?" ]. But while Senators Joe Lieberman, John McCain and Lindsey Graham made their comments during rounds of questions, Chabot made his as the start of the hearing in his opening remarks. 
    Chair Steve Chabot: Unfortunately, these negotiations failed due to, in my opinion, mismanagement by this White House.  Amazingly, the White House is now trying to tout the breakdown and lack of agreement as a success in as much as it has met a promise President Obama made as a candidate. This blatant politicization calls into question the White House's effort to secure an extension.  Fulfilling a campaign promise at the expense of American national security  is at best strategic neglect and at worse downright irresponsible.  And the White House tacitly admits this in negotiating an extension in the first place. I fear, however, that our objective is no longer to ensure that Iraq is stable but merely to withdraw our forces by the end of this year in order to meet a political time line. Saying that Iraq is secure, stable and self-reliant -- as Deputy National Security Advisor Dennis McDonough  recently did -- does not make it so.  And to borrow a quote from then-Senator Hillary Clinton , It requires "the willing suspension of disbelief" to believe that withdrawing our forces from Iraq at a time when Iranian agents seek to harm at every turn our country and its allies advances our strategic interests.  Although I understand that Iraq is a sovereign country, I believe there is much more we could have done to secure a reasonable troop presence beyond the end of this year.
    McCain was wrongly criticized for not grasping Iraq was a sovereign nation in some press accounts. Wrongly.  McCain grasped that fact and acknowledged it repeatedly in the hearing.  Chabot may have wanted all of that at the start of the hearing to ensure that he was not misunderstood.  In addition, Chabot noted the "reports of obstruction and noncooperation on the part of the Department of State during SIGIR's audit.  This is extremely distressing and, to echo the sentiments of several of my colleagues in the other body which they recently expressed in a letter to Secretary of State Clinton, the Department of State is legally obliged to cooperate fully with SIGIR in the execution of its mission; jurisdictional games are unacceptable." In his opening remarks, the Ranking Member weighed in on that topic as well.
    Ranking Member Gary Ackerman:  He [Bowen] has testified before other bodies of Congress, he has released written quarterly reports, as well as specific audits and the message is the same: The program for which the Department of State officially took responsibility on October 1st is nearly a text book case of government procurement -- in this case, foreign assistance -- doesn't buy what we think we're paying for, what we want and why more money will only make the problem worse.  Failed procurement is not a problem unique to the State Department.  And when it comes to frittering away millions, Foggy Bottom is a rank amateur compared to the Department of Defense. As our colleagues on the Armed Services committees have learned, the best of projects with the most desirable of purposes can go horribly, horribly off-track; and the hardest thing it seems that any bureaucracy can do is pull the plug on a failed initiative.  How do we know the Police Development Program is going off-track?  Very simple things demonstrate a strong likelihood of waste and mismanagement.  Number one, does the government of Iraq -- whose personnel we intend to train -- support the program? Interviews with senior Iraqi officials by the Special Inspector General show utter disdain for the program. When the Iraqis suggest that we take our money and do things instead that are good for the United States, I think that might be a clue.
    Ackerman went on to note how "the program's objectives remain a mushy bowl of vague platitudes" and how  it had "no comprehensive and detailed plan for execution, there is no current assessment of Iraqi police force capability and, perhaps most tellingly, there are no outcome-based metrics.  This is a flashing-red warning light."

    Every thing Gary Ackerman said in that hearing remains true today.  It was true in 2008 and we could quote from multiple hearings we covered -- especially the Petraeus and Crocker hearings -- to back that up.  

    Paul can't back up anything because he's an idiot who never does the work required.  ''You need someone to talk about combat rape?  Give me ten seconds to Google it and then I'll go on air!"

    There's a reason that IAVA didn't lead on many issues and that reason is Paul.

    I'm not going to pretend that Donald Trump's drawdown is a withdrawal -- any more than I pretended that Barack Obama's drawdown was a withdrawal -- but I'm also not going to pretend it's nothing.

    If further action follows, we might finally see a withdrawal and that would be something to applaud.

    The Iraqi people do not want foreign forces -- that includes US forces -- on their soil.  But in Paul's world, they don't matter because they're not American.  US forces have never had a clearly defined mission after the first few weeks of the war.  They have been tasked with objective that are not military objectives.  The military and the diplomatic side has never gotten along in Iraq.  That's most true when Gen Ray Odierno was the top military commander and Chris Hill was the napping ambassador but it's been true throughout.  (For those who forgot or didn't know, Chrissy Hill threw a temper tantrum at one point, insisting to the White House that Odierno was getting too much media attention and wanted them to order him to 'stand down' in terms of the press so that Chrissy could get some camera time.)  Iraqi forces don't want the US training.  That was obvious in 2007 -- and many US trainers told the press that.  It became more obvious when the US State Dept was supposed to take over the training and the Ministry of the Interior made clear that they didn't want training or help.

    Paul's missed all of that.

    He has nothing to offer but "boo Donald Trump!"  He's become a really pathetic individual.

    Is the US going to stay in Iraq forever?  It's 18 years this March.  Are Americans ever going to get honest about why US forces are kept on Iraqi soil?  Oil?  Well sure.  But more to the point since the invasion, US troops are kept on Iraqi soil to prop up a government that doesn't represent the Iraqi people and never has.

    Do you really think that in a country of nearly 40 million, the Iraqi people are never able to find a prime minister who wasn't a chicken?

    Every choice that has been imposed on them -- by the US and Iran -- has been someone who fled the country under Saddam.

    Would you want to have cowards rule you?

    No, no one would.  But time and again, that's who gets imposed.  And we all play dumb in the US and pretend like we don't notice.  

    When Mosul was taken by the Islamic State in 2014, the security forces collapsed for the same reason that they did when thug Nouri al-Maliki sent them into Basra in 2008.  You had mass desertion in 2008 because why give your life for a pay check?  That's all it was.  There is no national identity. (Current Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is attempting to bring back a day to honor Iraq's national spirit -- but to do so on a day that is not the anniversary of the creation of the Ba'ath Party).

    The government does not serve the Iraqi people (something many in the US should be able to relate to).  It rips off the national resources and let's the people suffer over and over.

    US forces are needed to protect the Iraqi government (that is what prompted Barack to send many more in back in 2014 -- they were afraid the Green Zone would fall).  The Iraqi government is non-responsive to the needs of the people.  When the people demand their needs be met, the Iraqi government begins wounding and killing them.

    There is no point in keeping US forces on the ground in Iraq.  Nothing has been accomplished in the 18 years and nothing is going to be accomplished with 18 more.  The Iraqi people are a young population but they can't be tricked.  At one point, Donald Rumsfeld was convinced that if the US just stayed in Iraq for six years, the Iraqis would be exhausted and embrace the rulers forced on them.  That has not happened and I don't see how it happens.  (Nor should it happen.  If you believe in self-rule, you don't pull stunts like that.)

    Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) reports:

    Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi has abolished sectarian considerations in deciding admissions to military colleges and hiring at state institutions.

    The move is seen as an attempt by Mr Al Kadhimi to curb sectarian divides and unite the war-torn country.

    “The Prime Minister has requested the cancellation of classification of students based on their sectarian affiliation, this will also apply to all state institutions,” the prime minister's office said on Wednesday.

    That's one of Mustafa's efforts at building national unity.  I don't see it working in the short term.  There was a time when national unity could have been built.  That was 2010 when the Iraqi people went to the polls and made it clear that they wanted a national identity.  But since the US hadn't been involved in that and since they didn't care about democracy, Joe Biden and the rest overturned the votes of the Iraqi people.

    Every time Joe opens his damn mouth with some suggestion that Donald won't accept the results in November, a functioning press would bring up how Joe led the US effort that overturned the votes of the Iraqi people and instead gave a thug a second term.  Nouri's second term is what gives birth to ISIS in Iraq.

    Bryan Dyne and Andre Damon have an important article at WSWS.  It would require a snapshot of its own. Maybe we'll do something on it at THIRD.

    The following sites updated: