Saturday, April 21, 2018

We cover evertyhing roudtable

Ava: We're roundtabling again, on topics including Donald Trump, the Iraq War, romaine lettuce, prisons, Hillary Clinton and probably much more.  I'm Ava with  The Third Estate Sunday Review, and I'm speaking with Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills);  Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ;  and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. This will be a rush transcript.  Okay, let's go.  Dumbest thing you’ve ever heard of?

C.I.:  Per Nicole Gaudiano and Fredreka Schouten (USA TODAY), the Democratic Party is suing Russia, Donald Trump’s campaign and WIKILEAKS.  They say that there was a conspiracy among the three parties to ‘influence the election.’ 

Rebecca: I would agree that’s very dumb but probably for a different reason than C.I. I would say it’s very dumb because it’s 2018, the presidential election is two years away, quit litigating the last election and start focusing on this one.

Ruth: Agreed.
Ava: Anyone else before C.I.?

Trina: Just to back up Rebecca on this, you look like sore losers if you can’t let go.  The country has moved on.  Hillary’s popularity is something like 27% in the latest poll.  She has a very vocal following but they aren’t that big.  The media amplifies them because they’re in the bag for Hillary.  But the country itself has moved on.  Hillary and her Vaginal Secretions haven’t but each month they refuse to move on, they look more and more ridiculous. 
Ava: All good points.  So, C.I., that was your point?  I’m guessing not.  We’re all guessing not.

C.I.: No, that wasn’t my point.  But those are good points.  My point was legal.  The DNC has refused to turn over their servers to the FBI while maintaining they were hacked.  They dealt with the e-mail leak by refusing to address the content of the e-mails and acting as though they weren’t confirming.  Denial and obfuscate has been their pattern.  Agreed?

Betty: Absolutely.  They’ve refused to be transparent. 

C.I.: And if that’s the position they want to keep, too bad, they just lost it.  You can’t bring this lawsuit without being bound by discovery   They are now subject to all normal legal processes.  That’s how it works.  Questions they have avoided will now have to be answered, evidence they claim to have will have to be turned over.  This is bad from an image perspective as Rebecca, Ruth and Trina pointed out.  But legally they’re now in a position where they just can’t make claims and be backed up by the media.  What’s worse for them is that even evidentiary privilege will pretty much be null and void.  It’s going to be really hard to bring a case, to be the filing party – and have the burden of proof on you,  and then claim privilege on communications revolving around an election that is over.
Ruth: Over by nearly two years.
Rebecca: But remember, it’s not over to them.  It’s never over to them.  They’ll keep griping and whining about this election for another two years.
Betty: Try twenty years.

Rebecca: You are probably right.

Ann: Let me quote Aaron Mate "After losing Congress & 100s of statewide seats, losing to Trump should’ve been Dem leaders’ rock bottom. All of us have the capacity for avoiding self-reflection to the detriment of ourselves & those around us; their avoidance of self-reflection has become a driving force."

Ava: Okay, so staying with elections, let's move over to Iraq and, stealing from C.I., "May 12th, elections are supposed to take place in Iraq.  Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) notes, 'A total of 24 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their ballots to elect members of parliament, who will in turn elect the Iraqi president and prime minister.'  RUDAW adds, 'Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs.'  RUDAW also notes that 60 Christian candidates are competing for the five allotted minority seats."  So any thoughts?

Marcia: Yesterday morning's snapshot noted a candidate from Hayder al-Abadi's slate,  Ahmed Jassim, who dropped out of the campaign because a sex tape surfaced and they were saying it was her in the video.  Last night, CNN picked up the same story and Mohammed Tawfeeq and Joe Sterling quote from her statement, "Everyone knows my family and knows my husband Dr. Saad Salih al-Hamdani, the professor at Dijla University.  I am the daughter of your country, professor Intidhar Ahmed Jassim. Please, please don't listen to rumors."  She was taken down by a sex tape.

Ann: Which may or may not have been of her.

Marcia: Right.  A sex tape killed her campaign.  In Iraq of all places.  Talk about fighting dirty.  Someone worked hard to destroy her -- fake tape or real -- they worked really hard to destroy her.  And why her?  Of all the candidates, the majority of whom are men, why her?

Kat: I would say because she is a she but this is Iraq.  A sex tape of a male candidate could have brought him down.  But it is interesting that someone wanted to take her down.  Was it because she was a member of Hayder al-Abadi's political slate?  Is it about preventing him from being prime minister?  It just seems hard to think this is  something that wasn't planned out.

Ann: And it could be a false tape.  But it also could be that she is actually on the tape.  It's weird for such a story to emerge from Iraq.  Humanity's the same all over but, real or fake, a tape like this could be highly damaging in a society like Iraq.  So-called 'honor' killings still take place in Iraq.

Trina: And US troops still remain in Iraq.

Betty: Which wasn't supposed to happen, remember?  Barack Obama was going to end the war.

Elaine: His infamous campaign commercial of 2008, "We want to end the war and we want to end it now."  Then he's elected to two terms as president of the United States.  The war's still going.

Marcia: And they wonder why this con they pulled on the American people, the Democratic Party, couldn't last forever?  The political parties promise this or that and they fail to deliver.  Newt Gingrich, an example of the 90s, led a mini-revolution on the right but he was brought down for a number of reasons including his failure to deliver.  That's the Democratic Party.  They didn't just fail to deliver an end to the Iraq War, they failed to even try once Barack became president.

Betty: Faking and shaking Barbara Lee.  She spent all that time, "If by next year, Barack hasn't ended the Afghanistan War, I'm going be saying something, I'll be saying something, you watch, you listen, I be doing something."

Marcia: She ain't done s**t.

Betty: Exactly.  Faking and shaking.

Marcia: And you can't pull that off forever.  You either deliver at some point or we know you're faking and shaking.

Ava: And, Marcia, what happens then?  When they make promises they don't keep?

Marcia: People don't show up to vote.  You've lied and you're a known liar.  Why am I going to take time out of my busy day, dealing with my job I hate, raising my three kids by myself, looking after my parent at the same time, why am I going to make time to file on down to my voting district's polling place to vote for you?  If you're the candidate, you're asking for our time.  Unlike you, we don't have an entourage to make every little thing work out and massage us and our needs.  So you need to be able to tell us how you're going to make our lives better.

Ava: And you didn't feel that with Hillary?

Marcia: In 2008, yes.  In 2016, no.  I think you and C.I. nailed it in  "So, uh, we weren't with her? (Ava and C.I.)" -- she went from trying to be one of the people in 2008 to hob knobbing with the celebs as she galloped to what she thought would be her coronation.  They're two different campaigns completely.

Ruth: Possibly influenced by her 2008 loss.  In 2016, she tried to run a Barack 2008 campaign and that's not who she was and it was not a good fit.

Elaine: Who is she now?  That's the story of her life.

Betty: Exactly.

Ava: And to be clear, because C.I. handed me a note, Marcia voted.  Before someone does some angry e-mail, "How dare Marcia not vote in 2016," she voted.

Marcia: And I don't have three children.  I was talking about what a lot of people face.

Ava: Okay.  Going to Trina.  Tell us, since you cover food, what we won't be finding at a lot of supermarkets.

Trina: Romaine lettuce.  You're not going to find it on the shelves due to the E coli contamination.  What can you do?  You can substitute spinach, a healthy choice.  You can fall back on iceberg which is a less nutritious choice.  You can go with kale or Boston lettuce or butter lettuce.  But what you should be doing, absolutely, is asking why it's considered acceptable, in 2018, that our food -- our basic food, a vegetable that's not even been cooked or processed -- is contaminated.  We should be asking about that.

Ava: Good point.  And that's related to another issue.   Actually, that's related to the Iraq War, now that I think about it.  Why are we settling for our food being contaminated? Why are we settling for this never ending war on Iraq?  And that goes to something Ann wrote about earlier this week, the prison riot.

Ann:  The state of South Carolina was in the news this week because of a riot at Lee Correctional Institute and 7 inmates were killed Eddie Gaskins, Joshua Jenkins, Corneilus McClary, Michael Milledge, Damonte Rivera, Corey Scott and Raymond Scott.  In addition, at least 22 more inmates were injured.  Now this was national media news at the start of the week.  You and C.I. have done a great job critiquing the media in the last weeks with  "TV: Neither humanity nor honesty factor into corporate news," and "TV: 60 MINUTES of gossip" and I saw again the feckless media with this story.  The national media immediately moved on before the bodies of the dead were even cold.  But that's not the story.  The story is how this riot took place, the story is the conditions in this prison.  The story is are there other prisons where populations are in danger.  But the media is not interested in anything these days other than Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous.

Kat: Over 2.2. million people are incarcerated in the US.  This supplies free labor for many -- not just for Hillary Clinton when her husband was governor.  This is a societal problem with the secret being that these days the US government needs the prison population.  We're not protecting people, we're not protecting them when they're on trial or when they end up in prison.  We're certainly not protecting them when the first cry for help is heard.  This is a scandal that will be as embarrassing and shameful in another century as slavery is today.

Ava: Good points.  We need to wind down.  One more topic, Scooter Libby was pardoned by Donald Trump.  Valerie Plame is outraged, CNN reports.  Comments?

Ruth: I am so very glad that the noted Jew hater Valerie Plame has come out of seclusion to share her thoughts -- her so very important thoughts.  She is despicable and disgusting and really needs to go away.

Trina: She needs to find herself a hobby.  I really don't care to hear her whinings.  Scooter Libby was convicted -- but not of outing her.  Richard Armitage leaked Plame's name.  No great loss.  But Armitage did it and admitted to doing it.  As we all know, Plame had no need or desire to go after Armitage.  She's a filth, which is why she worked for the CIA to begin with -- nothing but a gang of thugs who kill people all over the world.  She might want to get honest about that.

Betty: She pretends to care, doesn't she?  Every now and then she'll make a statement supposedly about Iraq but actually about herself.  She's one of the worst attention whores around.  She's done nothing to help end the Iraq War.  She's done nothing to highlight the war -- the ongoing war -- in any of the last ten years.  She's just a whore for attention.  She thought she was going to be all important.  Then her hatred for the Jews finally took her down.  Now she's desperate to be somebody again.  She needs to fall to her knees and beg for forgiveness for her work in the CIA.  A trashy attention whore.

Marcia: I'm going to fall back on a point that C.I.'s repeatedly made -- we want more presidential pardons, not less.  I'm not going to fret over a presidential pardon and say, "Oh, no!"  There are people I want to see pardoned.  It's a power the president is given.  If he or she determines someone has suffered, so be it.  I will not go into outrage theater over pardons.  It's counter-productive and only harms us on the left in the end.

Ava: Okay.  Good points.  We're closing with this, October 20 and 21st Cindy Sheehan and others will be leading a Women's March on the Pentagon.  Spread the word.

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

Friday, April 19, 2018.

Mustafa Habib (NIQASH) reports the sad news:

Last week, the Speaker of Iraq’s parliament, Salim al-Jibouri announced that the last session of the current parliament would take place on April 30. This is despite the fact that the session should by rights, continue until June 30. However politicians in Iraq have already failed to attend sessions regularly because they are getting started with their election campaigning. Iraq will hold federal elections on May 12.
Last month, the Iraqi parliament sat only five times and this month there have been no official sessions. This is despite the fact that internal rules say there should be eight sessions every month. In fact dozens of sessions have resulted in inaction because of absenteeism and the resulting lack of quorum – that is, not enough MPs were there to make any vote on laws binding.
The official parliamentary website shows that 165 laws have been passed and 108 laws have not been approved, over the past four years since this parliamentary session started. The laws that were passed and which got the most attention included those that looked at parliamentary rules, political parties, the national oil company’s activities and how Iraq’s Shiite Muslim militias and its counter-terrorism forces should be regulated. None of these really had much to do with improving the lives of ordinary citizens though.
“Parliament has failed to pass important laws that touch on core social issues. In that regard, it has ignored laws that deal with the economy and the country’s wealth, as well as other important legal rulings that have been being ignored for years,” well known political analyst, writer and commentator, Ghalib al-Shahbandar, told NIQASH. “A lot of the MPS didn’t even bother to show up – an insult to the Iraqi voters. And the questioning of officials or ministers by parliament was just a formality. Some MPs only support this questioning for the purposes of election propaganda.”

As Iraq again gears up for elections, that's the sad result of the last four years.  One of the many reasons for the apathy and/or anger some are expressing in Iraq.

There is absolutely no reason to believe that this election will be different than all previous elections and that Iraqis will end up voting for what is best for Iraq rather than what is best for their religious sect etc.

Welcome to Iraq, year 2018, 13 years after dictatorial regime of Saddam. An angry man hitting posters of candidates for upcoming elections. No one trusts and sees a future for failed state of Iraq. I don’t blame them. Iraq was and still is a failed state. It’s time to divide.


Another reason for the anger and/or apathy is the US government's repeated intrusions into the election process.  Most infamously, in 2010, US President Barack Obama overturned the votes of the Iraqi people to give Nouri al-Maliki a second term as prime minister after the people had used the ballot box to call for change.  (Barack used The Erbil Agreement to overturn the votes.)  As YENI SAFAK reports this morning, Iraqis still detect US interference:

Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh, visited Iraq’s Mosul on Thursday in a move seen as part of a ploy before Baghdad’s May 12 election. McGurk has held a series of meetings in Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, Baghdad and Mosul.
“McGurk’s activities deepen instability and sow seeds of unrest. The U.S. has extended its hand into our ballot box. It’s a dangerous development for Brett McGurk’s number of meetings to rise a month before the elections,” said Fayha Bayatlı, a former Iraqi member of parliament in an exclusive interview with Yeni Şafak daily.
“The U.S. and European countries always want chaos to prevail in Iraq. They all take advantage of the instability in the region. Iraq’s Central Government made a series of decisions regarding Kirkuk and Mosul and took military, political and economic steps. We know that the U.S. and Western bloc is disturbed by these decisions,” Bayatlı added.

On the campaign posters, Mustafa Habib notes:

The other scandal that arose around the posters was the fact that some pictures of candidates and posters were torn down almost as soon as they were put up, by apparently organised groups. It appeared to be a systematic campaign.
Most of the tearing down was done by groups of teenagers who appeared to have been motivated by certain political parties, Hamid Abdul-Rahim, a senior member of the Baghdad police, told NIQASH. The police have now issued orders to their officers that they should keep an eye on the posters and notify their superiors if there are further organised attempts to tear them down. “This will continue until election day,” Abdul-Rahim said.

But it’s not just organized gangs who are opposed to the posters. A number of ordinary people filmed themselves in front of certain candidates’ posters and then criticized or abused them, before loading the results onto social media.

Each election sees most of the same people re-elected and nothing gets done.

Will this go round be any different?

May 12th, elections are supposed to take place in Iraq.  Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) notes, "A total of 24 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their ballots to elect members of parliament, who will in turn elect the Iraqi president and prime minister."  RUDAW adds, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs."  RUDAW also notes that 60 Christian candidates are competing for the five allotted minority seats.

Hayder al-Abadi is hoping to be prime minister for a second term.  He also hoped to campaign on his claim that he destroyed ISIS.  However, Richard Spencer (TIMES OF LONDON) reports:

Mr Abadi declared victory over Isis in December but Iraqi intelligence believes that 3,000 militants are still operating in semi-governed areas in the former “jihadist belt”.
Isis was defeated once before in Iraq but has returned to devastating effect. The distractions of other conflicts in Iraq and Syria, and questionable priorities in their capitals, are once again allowing the group to live on, just as it was supposed to have been quashed.
Hayder also promised, at the start of his term in 2014, to take on corruption.  That hasn't happened either.  This week, his campaign saw another set back when a candidate on his slate was accused of conduct unbecoming.  He may have made matters worse by refusing to stand with the candidate who denied the rumors.  RUDAW reports:

The Victory (Nasr) Coalition of Haider al-Abadi has withdrawn the candidacy of one of its members after an alleged sex tape of her was circulated online. The candidate said the video is a fake and a plot against her, but has submitted her resignation.

“Every faction and coalition reserves the right to revoke the [membership] of any candidate who does not meet the laws and conditions. This female candidate has worked contrary to the laws of the Nasr Coalition,” Hussein al-A’dily, spokesperson for the list told Rudaw.

The candidate, Intidhar Ahmed Jassim, is a professor of economy and administration at al-Muntansaryah University in Baghdad and has a PhD in the same field. She is married and has three children.

She said the video shared online allegedly showing her having sex with another man is a fake.

“Some fake pages, supported by some parties, talked about a fabricated and photo-shopped video to ruin my reputation. I don’t ever fall. Iraq progresses forward,” she posted on Facebook.

She reminded her followers that she has served Iraq as a professor for a long time and has held other positions as well.

Already some are disputing the decision:

Replying to  
Great work cleaning the city! Would Naser campaign sack a male candidate if he was accused of extra martial affairs or appear in sex video?

In other news, the US government continues to act as though only some American citizens have rights.  It goes to the point Chris Hedges makes in this essay.  If the person needs to be tried, he needs to be tried in a US court, not hidden away.

BREAKING: A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration from transferring an American held by the U.S. military in Iraq since September to another country.

Ryan Lucas (NPR) reports:

U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan issued the preliminary injunction Thursday evening, minutes before an 8 p.m. deadline to stop the transfer. The government had provided 72-hour notice, as required by the court, earlier this week that it planned to send the man, whose name has not been made public, to a third country.
The detainee is a dual U.S.-Saudi citizen who surrendered in September of last year to a Syrian militia backed by the United States. The militia handed him off to the American military, which has held him as an enemy combatant at a U.S. military facility in Iraq since then.

The government suspects the man of being a member of the Islamic State.

Meanwhile a real terrorist, a true killer, walks the US promoting another poorly written book.  Mad Maddie Albright, responsible for the deaths of over a half million Iraqi children is being wrongly hailed as a 'feminist.'  I get it, she's ugly, she's loud, she's pushy.  She meets the 70s media stereotype of a 'feminist.'  But she's not a feminist.  She's a murderer.

Lesley Stahl: We have heard that a half million children have died [as a result of sanctions on Iraq]. That’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it? Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated: