Thursday, July 18, 2019

Do not forget this crime and how it hurt the country

I was asked to note this.



That was a year ago.  We need a real investigation into Robert F. Kennedy's murder.

1968: Robert F. Kennedy's funeral takes place at the St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City



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

 
Thursday, July 18, 2019.  We review public dialogue, HRW issues an alert about Iraq and more.


25 candidates are seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  One is US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard who is also an Iraq War veteran.  Yesterday, we posted David Swanson's "Is Tulsi Gabbard Qualified?" and an uproar is taking place in the e-mails.

In terms of David, if he doesn't plan to vote for Tulsi, he doesn't plan to vote for her.  I don't think that was the point of his piece.  He shared his take and, if you disagreed, then you disagreed.  It is not a clutch the pearls moment, no need to gasp or shriek.

He raised things that bothered him about her.  That's a public exchange.

We all need to grow up.  The press should be antagonistic to everyone.  It's not.  It plays favorites, absolutely.  But some of our clutch the pearls moments are really stupid.

I disagree with Tulsi over her appearance on ABC's THIS WEEK.  She and Glenn Greenwald appear to believe George crossed a line by 'bringing up' THE DAILY BEAST report.  That was his job as a journalist.  THE DAILY BEAST published an article that was not kind to Tulsi and he gave her the opportunity to respond to it.  If she wants to be president, she should be able to respond to it.  There's no reason to get bent out of shape or gasp in horror.

FAIR and other biased outlets in 2008 had a hissy fit with George over a debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  George, they felt, was too easy on Hillary and too mean to Barack.  Examples?  They asked about William Ayers!!!!!  Barack's official statement was that he knew Bill because their children were friends.  That was a lie.  The Obama daughters were no where near the ages of Bernardine's children.  It was a lie.  And it had become an issue.  So he was asked about it and FAIR had a hissy fit.

That's nonsense.  The press is supposed to ask questions and that relationship was becoming an issue.

Idiots like Alyssa Milano still Tweet "her e-mails" -- their attempt to whine that the press focused on Hillary's e-mails in the 2016 election.

The press has nothing to apologize for on that.

Hillary gave one explanation after another.  Each time she pretended to be honest and upfront and then, woops, turns out she carried more than one device!

Hillary never got honest about it.

More to the point, she was the subject of a criminal investigation by the FBI.  The FBI only does criminal investigations.  We noted that in real time when the press was being managed and coaxed into calling it something else.  It was a criminal investigation and she was running for elected office.

David does not want Tulsi running for president.    He wants her at the debates but he doesn't want her running for president.

I will disagree on that -- and this is just my opinion.  I don't think anyone who's not doing a real run should be at the debates.  If Mike Gravel is admitting he's just in it to be on stage, love Mike, but he shouldn't be up there.

I've long griped about candidates who say they're just in it to raise issues.  If you're not going to run to win, you're not a candidate.

Now you can run and lose and raise issues. That's fine.  Only one person is ever going to win in an election -- even a tie will result in a run-off.  But if you're not running to win then you are not a real candidate and you don't belong on the stage.

Tulsi, as far as I know, is running to win.  I'm not referring to her.  I'm talking about in general.

Mayor Pete freaks got their little feelings hurt over an article at THE NEW REPUBLIC last week (Ava and I cover that in "TV: R-e-s-p-o-n-s-i-b-i-l-i-t-y").  If they disagreed, that should have been the end of it.  It wasn't.  They had to scream homophobia -- at the gay writer of the piece.  It wasn't homophobia and a lot of people screaming it probably already knew it.  The article was rooted in historic Queer Liberation Theory.

Because of ignorance and because of a desire to shut down any opinion we don't agree with, TNR didn't just apologize for publishing the article, they removed it from their website.  That's censorship and shame on Clara The Cow Jeffrey and all the other bullies who caused that to happen.

David's piece has caused an uproar.  Good.  If you're a Tulsi supporter who was offended, maybe reading it made your own view of Tulsi sharper because you disagree with his opinions.

In terms of putting it up here, do I regret it?  No.  It was an opinion piece.  I doubted it was favorable from the title but it didn't really matter to me.  Not everything that goes up here is my opinion -- or 100% my opinion.  We highlight many things that I have no opinion on or that I may disagree with.

We don't highlight known liars.  John Nichols, for example, is a known liar.  The lies he told about Hillary in 2008 were disgusting.  We documented them here and at THIRD.  He lied about her over and over.  There are many people who didn't want Hillary in 2008 and that's fine.  Some strongly critiqued her.  John made crap up.  He flat out lied and not once, not twice, but over and over.

If John lies about his own life, I could care less.  But to use his position at THE NATION or as a guest on the hideous DEMOCRACY NOW! to lie?  I have no use for him.  Or for Amy Goodman who lied repeatedly herself -- including presenting Barack supporters on her show without revealing that they were supporting Barack.  Melissa Lacewell Lieface Harris Perry was only one example.  But if you don't get how wrong what Melissa and Amy did was, trust me, Princeton did when Ava and I reviewed Melissa's behavior with them -- and that's why they dropped her ass.

I still wrestle with Ava and I deciding not to call her out for her parentage.  But, again, a John Nichols can lie about their life and I don't care but if they're lying about issues, I do care.  (For those late to the party, Melissa's mother is White and that's a detail that she left out of her public discourse.  Considering her attack on Gloria Steinem and other White women, Melissa appears to have Mommy issues.  That's only one aspect where it might have been necessary for us to note her parentage.  There's also the 'vouching' she did for Barack in "all my Blackness" -- her words -- when criticism about authenticity were being raised by African-American activists.)

People can disagree.

None of the above should be read as a defense of David Swanson.  Rebecca is my friend and has been for many decades.  Community members will know what I'm talking about.  I'm not here to defend David Swanson.  But his opinion was a serious one and, whether you agreed with it or not, it was worth airing.



Let's move over to Iraq.  This Tweet.

please come to iraq because we love and need you so much please iraqi armys love you very much and want you to visit iraq we purple you all bts😭😭😭💜💜💜💜
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There is a serious push by some Iraqis to bring BTS -- a South Korean pop band -- to Iraq.

We bring this up because of the Iraqi government's previous war on Emo which was a war on the music, the look, vampires (yes, Nouri al-Maliki's official literature used the term "vampires") and gay males as well as any male who appeared gay.  That war -- which resulted in many young males being killed -- was during Nouri al-Maliki's second term as prime minister (that ended in 2014).  BTS, visually, represents everything Nouri went to war on.  The strong push to get BTS to perform in Iraq is a rejection of Nouri's stance.  I would argue Nouri was out of touch with Iraqi sentiment even then (there's a reason the Iraqi people refused to vote him into a second term and that he only got a second term because Barack and Joe Biden overthrew the 2010 election results with The Erbil Agreement).  It's also a reminder that there is the people and there is the government -- the two may not always be identical.

At YAHOO NEWS, Casey Darnell reviews some of Joe Biden's Iraq War history:


“I do not believe this is a rush to war,” Biden said in 2002. “I believe it is a march to peace and security.”
There was no peace. As the U.S. struggled to stabilize Iraq, Biden declared in a 2005 interview that the war was a mistake. He claimed that the Bush administration misused Congress’s war authorization.
A year later, he proposed a plan to split Iraq into three autonomous regions for Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. The idea was to save Iraq by decentralizing its government, but the plan was quickly rejected as undermining the Bush administration’s efforts to stabilize the country. Polls conducted in Iraq showed that the proposal was deeply unpopular.

Joe gave a major policy address, Casey notes elsewhere, and didn't even mention Iraq.

Well the press lets him get away with that.  They also either don't know their facts or don't care to be very factual.  They should be hitting Joe much harder on Iraq and that includes on The Erbil Agreement and the 2010 election.  Yes, we called it out in real time but others have called it out as well.  Emma Sky's THE UNRAVELING should be required reading for the press during Joe's current campaign.

At the very least, they should be asking, "How do you claim to support democracy in Iraq when, in 2010, you were part of the effort that overthrew the votes of the Iraqi people?"


We'll wind down with this from Human Rights Watch:


Iraqi military have accompanied police in entering a camp for displaced people south of Mosul and started “screening” over 3,500 households there, Human Rights Watch said today. The screenings appear to include questioning camp residents about the actions and whereabouts of their relatives who are suspected of Islamic State (also known as ISIS) affiliation.
The arrival of the armed men, who occupied a school in the camp, is causing panic among camp residents, who have told Human Rights Watch that they fear arrest over the acts of their relatives, and in some cases sexual exploitation. Iraqi authorities have said they plan to conduct similar screenings at other camps for displaced people in the governorate.
“While Iraqi police forces should be taking reasonable actions to improve security for everyone, the military should not be occupying schools or even entering camps for the displaced,” said Lama Fakih, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “No one should become a criminal suspect just because of their relatives.”
Nine residents of Hammam al-Alil 1 camp, 30 kilometers south of Mosul, told Human Rights Watch that on July 6, agents arrived from Military Intelligence, the National Security Service (NSS), the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) forces under the Ministry of Interior, and local police.
The camp houses over 3,500 families who have been displaced for years, since fighting between ISIS and Iraqi forces broke out in the area. The families in the camp were screened when they arrived.
After some discussion, the residents said the security agents decided to conduct the screenings from the school inside the camp, which is closed for summer recess. Given the involvement of military forces, this violates international humanitarian principles and is contrary to the Safe Schools Declaration, a commitment Iraq endorsed to protect education in conflict by refraining from the use of schools by military forces. Human Rights Watch has found that the presence of fighting forces in schools endangers students and teachers, can lead to the damage and destruction of education infrastructure, and can interfere with students’ right to education.
Two witnesses told Human Rights Watch that there is already a screening site next to the camp. Aid workers at the camp said they protested the use of the school, but that security forces ignored their concerns and began using the school to screen residents on July 9, calling on families to start coming in in groups of 25.
After the first day of screening, security forces halted the process because of the objections from the aid groups, three aid workers said. As of July 17, Human Rights Watch was informed that authorities in Baghdad had decided that the screenings would relocate to the nearby screening site in coming days. 
Three witnesses also said the security forces were carrying arms when they arrived and during the screening, including at the doorway into the school caravan. An army colonel who manages security at the screening site adjacent to the camp told Human Rights Watch that they needed to be armed because his forces do not have a presence inside the camp, and because of fears that camp residents are potentially armed, smuggle drugs and alcohol into the camp, and are engaged in criminal activity like prostitution.
Former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued a decree in 2017 reiterating orders that security forces are not allowed to enter camps with weapons.
Three aid workers said the authorities told camp management they intended to conduct screenings to gather the details about the families inside the camp including their governorate of origin and to identify which families were ISIS-affiliated. The aid workers said the managers implied that families might be hiding ISIS relatives, saying they had been informed that some women in the camp with supposedly missing husbands had become pregnant in recent months, and they said they wanted to issue civil documentation to those without it.
The witnesses said they saw security forces give a group of informal community leaders in the camp forms and told the leaders that they had to give one form to each family and would risk legal action if they missed anyone. Human Rights Watch has obtained copies.
The forms tell each family to list all family members, with names, birthdates, gender, and marital status, the family’s home address, type of vehicle, and date of displacement. The forms tell families to list every family member who joined ISIS and to provide details on when they died, disappeared, or were arrested. The forms provided do not say why this information is being gathered, or by which authority.
The military colonel who manages security at the screening site outside the camp also told Human Rights Watch on July 11 that the authorities wanted to ensure that all families in the camp missing civil documentation could obtain it. However, two families who underwent the screenings on July 9 said that they told security forces they had children without civil documentation and the security forces did nothing to register the children or facilitate their access to documentation.
One woman said that she told security forces that her husband, who had joined ISIS, died in September 2017. She said: “They asked me if I was sure he was dead, and I said yes. Then they threatened – we will check that and if it turns out that you lied, we will take legal action against you.”
Another resident said: “The screenings triggered a panic in the camp, with families fearing arrest just because they have a relative who joined ISIS.” He said he knew of families who fled the camp upon hearing about the screenings, even though their home had been destroyed during military operations and they had nowhere to go.
Human Rights Watch has documented dozens of arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances in the context of screenings linked to counterterrorism operations over the last three years in Iraq, including of family members of people perceived to have been affiliated with ISIS.

“Women near my tent were saying to me they were scared of what might happen to them going into that school alone to be screened by a group of male security forces,” the second resident said.








The following sites updated:





Wednesday, July 17, 2019

John-John

  1. Trove of never-before-seen photos of John F Kennedy Jr are revealed in new book about his life and tragic death
  2. Twenty years after John F. Kennedy Jr.'s death, reports on the final tragic years of America’s prince
  3. From his luscious hair to being a practical joker, John F. Kennedy JR. had many sides to him. Hear from the people who knew him best and don't miss the premiere of : JFK JR - The Final Year tomorrow at 9PM.
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    6,432 views
  4. July 16, 1999: John F. Kennedy Jr. died when the light aircraft he was flying crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Martha's Vineyard. Kennedy's wife, Carolyn Bessette and sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette were also on board and died.



I enjoyed last night's NIGHTLINE on ABC that was all about John-John -- as he was known when I was in college. 

That iconic photograph of him with his little salute as a boy probably meant people of my generation were always going to see him as the American boy we would root for. 

Sadly, he died way too soon.


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

 
Wednesday, July 17, 2019.  Joe Biden lies about Iraq while a US Senate Subcommittee holds a hearing on Iraq.


"If you noticed, when I was Vice President, the President gave me all the easy jobs. (laughter) Like, take care of getting all our troops out of Iraq, which we did. Take care of it etc."


That's Joe Biden speaking on the campaign trail.  Bently Elliott (GRABIEN NEWS) notes he's lying.  At least he didn't use "withdrawal" again.  Leon Panetta and Martin Dempsey had real problems with him tossing out that word back in the day.  It wasn't a withdrawal, it was a draw down.  And about the only reporter who got that right in real time was Ted Koppel who reported on at NBC (on their quickly cancelled program ROCK CENTER WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS) and on NPR (primarily on the also cancelled TALK OF THE NATION).  We covered it in real time.

Joe's lying again.  All US troops never left Iraq -- that's why it was a "draw down" and not a "withdrawal."  And more were sent back in.  Now Joe's bragging about his accomplishment in Iraq and he's lying so it's time for the press to get serious about Joe and Iraq.  Will they?  Probably not.  They've lied so long, they don't know what the truth is.

The Iraq War started with lies and it's needed lies to keep it going.

Apporva Mittal (MILITARY TIMES) offers:

To counter Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East, the U.S. must maintain a strong diplomatic and military presence in neighboring Iraq, experts from the State Department and the Pentagon said at the first Senate hearing on Near East subcommittee Tuesday.
Over the years, Iran has expanded control in the Middle East region by investing heavily in Iraq, according to Joan Polaschik, deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department.

The U.S. spent $20 billion between 2003 and 2011 on the Iraqi military, but it wasn’t enough to stop the rise of the Islamic State group and its attacks against Iraq, which required spending another $5 billion, Michael P. Mulroy, deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He noted that expenditure on U.S. troops in Iraq had gone down from $150 billion years in 2008 to $15 billion in 2019.
Yesterday afternoon, the hearing took place and was entitled "Iraq: A Crossroads of US Policy."
Near East Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  The Subcommittee Chair is Senator Mitt Romney and the Ranking Member is Chris Murphy.  Appearing before the Subcommittee was the State Dept's Joan Polaschik (Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs) and the Defense Dept's Michael P. Mulroy (Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East).
Getting to the point of the war, Mitt early on lamented, "We note that Iraq has significant natural resources but it fails to exploit them."  He also lamented that a $53 billion deal made with ExxonMobil "was placed on hold."  He was back to lamenting the ExxonMobil deal in his first question as he offered that the deal would have been "a major connection between our nations."  Mitt Romney, the Senator from ExxonMobil.
Let's note that Senator Chris Murphy admitted, "ISIS is not fully defeated."  The press lied about that.  We didn't lie here.  When 'victory' was being proclaimed by every US outlet, we said ISIS wasn't gone.  It took US President Donald Trump attempting to take a victory lap on ISIS' 'defeat' for the press to finally tell the truth.  
Let's note that Barack sent more US troops back into Iraq because the US 'had' to defend Iraq from ISIS.  ISIS has been the latest lie/excuse/cover for US troops being in Iraq.  This hearing was a 'pivot' where the 'need' is now to prevent Iranian influence in Iraq.
Prevent Iranian influence in Iraq?  Maybe Donald can 'build that wall' between Iraq and Iran because they are neighbors who share a border -- and that was sarcasm.
Ranking Member Chris Murphy:  Of course there can't be any enduring victory over ISIS in Iraq without political stability.  The Iraqi government will need to rebuild decimated cities and help millions of civilians that are displaced. The Iraqi government will need to resolve territorial and resource disputes with the Kurdistan Regional Government. They need to tackle corruption, improve service delivery, diversify the economy, integrate militia groups. If this sounds like a familiar prescription for success, it's because it is.  The political mission inside Iraq is the one that America has unfortunately failed at over and over. The military successes, they come a little bit easier. We’ve spent a lot of money in Iraq, averaging about $1.2 billion annually in recent years to train and equip Iraqi security forces and billions more in economic assistance, humanitarian aid, and lines of credit.  But, looking back on the trends of U.S. assistance to Iraq, there's a pattern. Huge spikes in military and non-military assistance levels in response to outbreaks of violence in the country. And then dramatic drop-offs once victory is declared, only to see this cycle repeat.


It does sound familiar, Chris, and it has taken place over and over.  The 'surge' is only one infamous example.  Bully Boy Bush sent more US troops into Iraq.  They were supposed to address the instability -- this was actually ethnic cleansing -- which would allow the Iraqi politicians to address the issues that needed addressing.  And, of course, to meet those benchmarks.  Remember the benchmarks?  No more US funding if the Iraqi government didn't meet those benchmarks.

They never met them.

The US military did provide 'stability' or whatever but the military push was not matched by Iraqi government movement or a diplomatic push.

So the 'surge' was a success in terms of the military but a failure in terms of its overall intent.

That has happened over and over.

And what about those benchmarks?

Iraq's never met them.  To this day.  Why are we still funding that corrupt government -- let alone providing US troops to protect it?

What is success in Iraq?  What ends this war and allows US troops to return home for good?

If you think Chris Murphy is going to provide any solution, you're kidding yourself.

Ranking Member Chris Murphy:  Listen, I opposed the Iraq war. But I also understand that we have a moral obligation as a country to help fix a nation that we played a leading role in breaking. So we need to reassure the Iraqis that we're invested in their long term stability and success.

We're back to that nonsense?


Back in December of 2004 (in "SHOULD THIS MARRIAGE BE SAVED?"), we were addressing that nonsense.  We'll use the shorter comparison instead of going into that again.  You come to my home for a party and you spill red wine on my white carpet.  You then try to 'fix' it and only succeed in making the stain worse.  I don't want you to stay, I don't need your 'help.'  I want you out of my home and out now.

Chris Murphy is an idiot.  We are what has prevented any resolution in Iraq.  Nouri al-Maliki and all the ones after him know that the US will protect the prime minister and the puppet government he surrounds himself with.  Because of that, they refuse to address the needs of the Iraqi people.

These are not leaders the Iraqi people have selected, grasp that.  In no country would people vote over and over to be ruled by cowards who fled their country.  That's all Iraq's had for prime ministers.

Chris wants to talk "moral obligations" when he can't even be honest.  What a liar.

Where are the benchmarks?

They were never met.  They were put in place to justify continued support for Iraq.  But they were never met.

Joe Biden and other idiots are saying we can't have Medicare For All in the US.

Medicare For All should be a right.  Joe wants to offer nothing but the past and his plan doesn't work and doesn't protect.



  • New study from ’s concludes: “During the first 10 years of Bidencare, over 125,000 unnecessary deaths will occur from uninsurance.”


    Joe Biden’s New Health Plan Isn’t Just Bad — It’s Deadly


    125,000 people is a lot of people






    People like Joe say there's not money for Medicare For All.  Well where's the money going? Americans pay taxes.  Where's the money going?  At yesterday's hearing, Chris Murphy noted that up to 2011, the US government spent 20 billion on training the Iraqi military and "Since 2014, we've spent another five billion dollars."

    That's just for training the Iraqi military.  That doesn't count billions given to the corrupt government -- billions that never benefited the Iraqi people.


    "So the logical question is what are we doing differently?" Chris asked.  He should be demanding measures for success.  That's what led to the benchmarks that were never met.  To this day, they have not been met.  Why are we still funding this nonsense?


    And why are US troops still in Iraq?  When do they get to leave?  The closest thing to an answer was provided by Mulroy who insisted that once Iraq has "economic development that lasts" that will mean they are "not so dependent upon US military support."

    We'll probably cover more of the hearing later this week.  If you hear that the US has only 15 State Dept "staffers" in Iraq, note that the number was repeated over and over in the hearing but Polaschik refused to confirm that or any other number in an opening hearing -- she cited safety concerns.  The number of State Dept staff has dropped in Baghdad -- how much it has dropped was not established on the record.

    Before we leave the topic of Iraq, we'll note this violence in breaking news.

    BREAKING: Three Turkish diplomats killed in Iraq's Erbil - security sources


    Turkish diplomat killed in shooting in Iraq's Arbil: police



    BREAKING — 1 Turkish diplomat was killed, 2 others wounded in an armed attack at a restaurant in Iraq's Irbil: Anadolu Agency






    Joe Biden is one of 25 candidates seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  With all the billions the US government has spent on Iraq and the billions it continues to spend, this is not a minor issue.

    It's a shame that press continues to treat it as a minor issue.  Joe Biden needs to be asked serious questions about what he did on Iraq -- especially on the decision to overturn to the vote of the Iraqi people in 2010 and especially on all that followed as a result of that decision.  Yes, that includes the rise of ISIS but that's not all that it includes.


    Even JACOBIN's recent look on Joe and Iraq did not go far enough.


    Joe Biden didn’t just vote to invade Iraq — he worked hard alongside George W. Bush to persuade the public to back it.







    The following sites updated: