Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2016's astroturf

I saw this and remembered how awful 2016 was.

Coordinated tweeting from DNC, Hillary SuperPacs and Media. This is how they control the narrative and the social network.

All over again, it came back.

The astroturfing of the internet.

They were her supporters.

'Leaders' but they cannot lead because they are incapable of making their own moves.

They need someone else calling the shots and handing them marching orders.

And all they did was turn their websites and Twitter feeds over to talking points written by others.

How very sad.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017.  Illusions fall away.

Let's start with useless.

Those that tell me not to tweet politics because I'm an uninformed celebrity are the same people that voted for... an uninformed celebrity.

Actually, no.

Alyssa, I'm telling you not to Tweet politics.  And I didn't vote for Donald Trump.

I'm telling you it because you have (a) a herd mentality and (b) you are so woefully uninformed.

Calling you "ignorant" would be generous.

You've never done the work required.  And, Alyssa, I know you.

You have every right to Tweet about anything you want -- we all can weigh in.

But for your own image, I'd urge you to find something else to Tweet about.

You're a misguided and misinformed stooge whose Tweets are reactionary and back up war while you're not even aware of it.

From a professional point of view, it's not smart to take money from Atkins and to offer Tweets that insult a good portion of the American people but your people have already told you that.  (Atkins is also considering parting ways with you at the end of your current arangement.)  They hired you to popularize their product.  That's why a lot of us don't do advertising -- it's whoring.

But you wanted to keep you name out in front of your public -- such as it is -- and so you agreed.  But you're not living up to the bargain, are you?

However, my concern is your deep stupidity and lack of curiosity which leads you to accept simplistic pronouncements that encourage violence and war.

Simplistic pronouncements.

I was having a debate with a friend last night on the phone that turned into an argument.

She's an actress who can't stop her nonsense Tweets about Donald Trump being evil and the Democrats being salvation.

Is Donald Trump evil?

He may or may not be.  Time will tell.

Are Democrats the salvation?


And she was raised in a Socialist family.

And we both used to listen to Gore Vidal go on (constantly) about the boiled frog.

Gore was right.

The Democrats are not the answer.

Could they be?

Maybe if they were pushed.

Susan Sarandon's pushing them.  Which is why hacks like Debra Messing get so angry.

Everyone should be pushing them.

No, you don't have a right to our votes.

You earn them.

And if the Democratic Party wants our votes, it damn well better try to earn those votes.

The country doesn't need pretty words, it needs action.

It needs jobs.

Real jobs.

If all your money goes to rent and food, you're not making a living and we need to stop kidding otherwise.

Alyssa, my friend and I live very fortunate lives.

We need to be aware that many others are not so fortunate.

These are the people the Democratic Party has abandoned -- a party that can't even publicly mention the poor, a party that should have declared one of their so-called wars on the issue of the homeless long ago.  If 10% of what's been spent on the 'war on drugs' in any year was spent on addressing the homeless, the people would be better off.

The Democratic Party has joined the corporations in fleecing the American people.

That's not going to turn out any votes.

And Alyssa and others can tell themselves they're so damn superior to Trump or whomever because they say the right things but words don't keep a roof over your head or food on your table (unless you're a paid writer).

The Democrats need to be pressed to earn votes.

They don't need to be defended.

They have lined their pockets with corporate donations.  Nancy Pelosi is a lousy leader but gets to hold on (for now) because she brings in so much corporate cash to each election cycle.

The party's entirely about greed.

I doubt that will change.

But you can pressure them to make concessions to We The People.

And you don't do that by castigating Susan Sarandon.

You do that by saying more people are going to walk -- like Susan -- if you don't start addressing the basic needs, the reason political parties exist, which is jobs.  You're going to keep losing if you can't defend the safety net -- which needs to be increased, not gutted.

Alyssa's very good at fingering pointing at others.  She's just not very good at introspection  -- true of far too many.

From Danny Haiphong's "Trump's Foreign Policy: Continuity or Break?" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT):

Some on the left political spectrum in the US are suspicious of Trump's foreign policy, and for good reason. US imperialism's war agenda is non-negotiable. Trump's status as a billionaire champion of American (white) exceptionalism does not necessarily breed confidence in Trump’s rhetorical gestures to scale back key points in US foreign policy. His Administration should be resisted at every turn for current and future war provocations against Iran and China. His Administration should be held accountable for the deaths of thirty people in Yemen during the late January Commando raid just as Obama's Administration should have been held accountable for killing thousands of people in Yemen, Pakistan, and Afghanistan by drone strike over the course of eight years. 
But the anti-war movement died the day Obama was elected, leaving the contradictions that were brought to the fore throughout the Presidential electoral cycle unaddressed. One does not have to support Trump or refrain from struggle against the GOP to recognize that Trump's rhetorical gestures against regime change in the Middle East and Russia came from somewhere. These statements are the product of a rapidly changing world. In this world, the US can no longer call itself the only most influential or dominant global power. Russia's geopolitical significance, China's unprecedented economic growth, and the stagnation of the US economy have forever changed the international order of things.

How's that Iraq War that Saint Barack didn't end going?

W.J. Hennigan and Nabih Bulos (LOS ANGELES TIMES) report:

U.S. military advisors are now fighting alongside Iraqi forces near the front lines against Islamic State, a sign of President Trump's willingness to grant more latitude to American commanders than they've had since Iraq’s ground war against the militants was launched more than two years ago.
The Trump administration has not yet granted new authorities, but has loosened the reins for U.S. generals running the war, allowing hundreds of U.S. troops to join advancing Iraqi forces as they embark on their most complex mission to date: liberating Mosul, their second largest city. 

Thank you, Cult of St. Barack.

When he sent US troops in back in 2012, you said nothing.

Let me spoon feed you:

There's the fact that Barack sent a brigade of Special-Ops in during the fall of 2012. Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence." 

That was reported right before the 2012 presidential debates.

But no one 'moderator' brought it up.

And in 2014, when Barack sent in 'advisors' and 'trainers,' people were only slightly more vocal.

Where were you, Alyssa?

This didn't happen overnight.

And those of us who have been covering it have long noted that US troops have been in combat from day one.

As the then-Secretary of Defense noted, dropping bombs from planes is also combat.

And the US government had bombed Iraq daily since August 2014.

Again, where have you been?

Off with The Cult of St. Barack?

Hands off the man, flim flam man
His mind is up his sleeve and his talk is make believe
Oh, Lord, the man's a fraud, 
He's a flim flam man
He's so cage, he's a flim flam man
Hands off the man, flim flam man
He's the one in the Trojan horse making out like he's Santa Claus

"Hands Off The Man" (also known as "The Flim Flam Man") was written by Laura Nyro and she performed it on her debut album MORE THAN A NEW DISCOVERY (now known as THE FIRST SONGS).  It was covered by many including Peggy Lipton.

Peggy covered many of Laura's songs (they were friends from before Peggy did THE MOD SQUAD) and let's note "Stoney End" because no one did a better cover of that than Peggy.

"Now I don't believe I want to see the morning" -- indeed.

Of the US troops fighting in Iraq, Dan Lamothe (WASHINGTON POST) notes:

Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said that the advisers, numbering about 450, are “operating closer and deeper into Iraqi formations” as a new assault on western Mosul gets underway. U.S. commanders made the adjustment during the fight for the eastern side of the city, which began in October and ended last month, and the deployment has continued with the attempt, beginning Sunday, to capture western Mosul, Townsend said.

It marks the first time the U.S. military has acknowledged how close American service members are to the front lines as it assists what Townsend characterized as a force of more than 40,000 Iraqi police officers and soldiers fighting to retake Mosul. The battle for the western half of the northern Iraqi city is likely to stretch for months in urban neighborhoods where up to 1,000 militants are believed to be entrenched, U.S. military officials said.

It's day 127 of The Mosul Slog, the operation to liberate or 'liberate' Mosul from the Islamic State -- the operation that only began in October (despite the Islamic State seizing Mosul in June of 2014).

Only 180 more days, the Defense Dept has insisted.  Apparently they have based that judgment on the fact that deploying US troops into combat (officially) can accomplish that.  (Of course, they've been wrong before.

Making official what's been happening all along may be one of the reason for US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis' trip to Baghdad.

That's him yesterday, meeting with Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi.

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

Monday, February 20, 2017

They are nuts

Did you catch Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Chelsea's Days of Faux Rage"?


The 'resistance' is the biggest joke of 2017.

They don't resist anything because they stand for nothing.

  1. Repeat after Krugman and his Deep State pals: "We are being governed by people who take their cues from Moscow. We are being governed ..."
  2. Repeat after : "A foreign dictator intervened on behalf of a U.S. presidential candidate. A foreign ..."

Paul Krugman has gone nuts.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, February 20, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, the US Defense Secretary visits Iraq, and much more.

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is in Baghdad.

"We're not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil." - US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis distances himself from Pres. Trump's media bashing:

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis: No plan to seize Iraqi

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says there's no plan to seize Iraq's oil

We'll have a full report tonight on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visit to Baghdad on

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis lands in Baghdad on unannounced trip

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis just landed in Baghdad; will meet commanders and Iraqi leaders for update.

Mattis visit comes days after meeting with Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani.

Of that meet-up, the US Defense Dept noted:

 WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2017 — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani in Munich yesterday, a Defense Department spokesperson said in a statement.
The two men affirmed their commitment to their partnership to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the statement said, and they discussed the latest developments in the Mosul operation and the key role Peshmerga forces have played in the counter-ISIS fight.
Mattis and Barzani both noted the important military cooperation between the government of Iraq and the KRG, the statement said. They agreed battlefield success over the past year was made possible by strong cooperation between the government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government and the United States.

Donald Trump has not said he would seize Iraq's oil.

But the press loves to act as though he did.

It's actually great when they repeat it.

They remind the world that wars are about resources.

Even better would be if they'd explain how Iraq's oil has been seized by the IMF and the World Bank.

But that would require actual reporting.

Fortunately, Iraqis who listen to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani are aware of what took place, even if the western media blacks it out.

While Mattis is in Baghdad, US Vice President Mike Pence recently met with Iraq's prime minister Hayder al-Abadi.

Personally thanked Iraqi PM for sacrifices in shared fight against ISIS & discussed long-term partnership.

No, the photo has not been doctored.

Hayder really is that short.  (Pence is five feet and eleven inches tall.)

It's said his small stature helped him escape Iraq in the 80s as he posed as a tiny peasant woman, gathering himself up in a large shawl.  He'd remain out of Iraq for decades, returning only in April of 2003 -- like so many other cowards -- once the foreign forces sent Saddam Hussein out of his Baghdad home.

When not clothed as a woman, Hayder supported armed insurrection in Iraq though, as far as anyone knows, he was not plotting against the US or killing US troops the way former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki had done while he was out of Iraq.

In 2014, FRONTLINE (PBS) briefly noted:

Maliki climbed the ranks quickly, rising to lead the Dawa branch in Damascus, an assignment that has fueled questions about what role -- if any -- he played in several high-profile attacks carried out by the group. In 1981, for example, Dawa operatives launched a suicide attack that killed 61 people at the Iraqi embassy in Beirut. Two years later, they struck the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait.

That's the Dawa political party -- which Hayder belongs to as does Nouri al-Maliki.  And which the US government has embraced repeatedly throughout the administrations of Bully Boy Bush and Barack Obama.

Is it any wonder that today is day 126 of The Mosul Slog?

Back in June of 2014, the Islamic State seized the city of Mosul.

Only last October did Hayder al-Abadi launch an operation to liberate or 'liberate' the city.

The 'success' has been the semi-liberation of east Mosul -- only semi due to the renewed violence there in the last 14 days.

Now useless tag alongs (embedded with the Iraqi military) try to sell the operation as dynamic.

They're idiots.

As Shelly Culbertson and Linda Robinson (RAND) noted earlier this month:

 The liberation of Mosul will not be complete with the military operations that oust ISIS. Failing to get the civilian response right risks a short-term pyrrhic victory and widening civil war in Iraq.
This should concern the U.S., as instability in Iraq threatens U.S. foreign policy interests in the Middle East and violence that continues to create large numbers of refugees. 
 Steps are required to manage the needs of displaced civilians and get them back home. Since the start of the conflict with ISIS, a peak of 3.4 million Iraqi civilians were displaced by violence, and 3 million remain displaced today. An additional half million people may be displaced during the fight to take back remaining parts of Mosul.
On our recent trips to Erbil and Baghdad, where the military and humanitarian responses to Mosul are being managed, we spoke with numerous stakeholders and identified key challenges that will need to be resolved to stabilize Mosul and get its civilians back home.
The government of Iraq is sending displaced persons from Mosul into camps instead of allowing them to move to other urban areas due to concerns that there might be ISIS collaborators among the displaced.

The civilians' identification documents are taken from them for as long as they stay in the camp. They are permitted to return to their homes when it is considered safe, but widespread destruction of public, residential, commercial and agricultural infrastructure means that it may be years before they can go home. 
 While security concerns are understandable, a solution must be found that respects international norms against holding displaced civilians in detention.
We visited two emergency camps a short distance from Mosul. Khazer is a tent city of over 32,000 people, next to Hassan Sham with a similar number. Despite the valiant efforts of aid workers to supply basic needs, these emergency camps are not equipped to house Iraqis for more than a few months.

In addition to the flimsy tents without electricity, only outdoor pumps for water, no 24-hour health care services, and no spaces where people could prepare hot food, community activities and psychosocial treatment is lacking for these traumatized people who fear for their futures. 

Important issues.

And ones regularly missing in the western press coverage.

But the embedded 'reporters' are too busy bedding down with Iraqi forces to think about the Iraqi people.

New content at THIRD:

And Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Chelsea's Days of Faux Rage" went up earlier this morning.