Wednesday, October 22, 2014

47% of Americans living at poverty or lower

Andre Damon reports the disturbing news at WSWS:

Forty-seven percent of Americans have incomes under twice the official poverty rate, making half of the country either poor or near-poor, according to figures released last week by the Census Bureau.

These figures are based on the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which takes into account government transfers and the regional cost-of-living in calculating the poverty rate. According to that calculation, there were 48.7 million people in poverty in the United States, three million higher than the official census figures released last month. The US poverty rate, according to the SPM, was 15.5 percent.

Our government is not currently working for us.

It is robbing us.

It is stealing from us.

It is spending our money on wars and more wars.

And this happened under a Republican (Bully Boy Bush) and now under a Democrat (Barack Obama).

I don't know how long this can continue, this corruption, this destruction of the safety net, this willful disregard for the condition so many Americans try to live in.

We need real politicians but instead we have whores who sell us out for this or that donation.

It's really sad.

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the US 'precision' drops from the air results in the Islamic State getting a cache of weapons, the Yazidis may be facing genocide (didn't Susan Rice claim they were a success story?), new scare tactics regarding the US mid-terms should be rejected, doomsday scenarios actually contain some possible seeds of change, and much more.

Jordain Carney (National Journal) explains, "The U.S. military is trying to determine if an air-dropped bundle of weapons intended for Kurdish fighters in Syria is now in the hands of ISIS militants.A video posted Tuesday to a YouTube account affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria appears to show militants with the weapons bundle, which included grenades and mortars."  Diaa Hadid (AP) adds, "The cache of weapons included hand grenades, ammunition and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, according to a video uploaded by a media group loyal to the Islamic State group."

At today's Defense Dept press briefing, Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby was asked about the video.

Q: On Kobani, as well, there was a video that was released earlier today on YouTube that showed -- seemed to show some ISIS fighters and they -- with one of these bundles. Have you been able to in any way verify, has the U.S. military verified that? Was that the one that went astray and then was later blown up? Do you have any details?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: The short answer is, Courtney, we don't know. The analysts in Tampa and here in the Pentagon are examining that video right now, as a matter of fact, and we're still -- we're still taking a look at it and assessing the validity of it. So I honestly don't know if that was one of the ones dropped and whether it is, in fact, or the contents of it are, in fact, in the hands of ISIL. We just -- we don't know. We're still looking at it.

Q: Can you even say whether -- like, it shows some mortars, some grenades, like some RPG parts. Were those the kinds of things that were even dropped?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: They are -- they are certainly of the -- of the kinds of material that was dropped, was small-arms ammunition and weaponry. So it's not out of the realm of the possible in that regard. But, again, we're taking a look at this, and, you know, we just don't know. And when we have something definitive that we can provide in terms of an assessment on that, we'll do that.

  I do want to add, though, that we are very confident that the vast majority of the bundles did end up in the right hands. In fact, we're only aware of one bundle that did not. Again, we'll -- if we can confirm that this one is or isn't, we'll certainly do that and let you know.

The issue was also raised at the State Dept briefing presided over by spokesperson Marie Harf:

QUESTION: Can we go back to the air drops?

MS. HARF: Yeah, and then I’ll go to you. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Yeah. Yesterday the Pentagon said that it had tried to deliver 28 bundles of weapons from the Iraqi Kurds to the fighters in Kobani. Twenty-seven made it; the twenty-eighth went off course. They destroyed it so that it wouldn’t fall into people’s hands.

MS. HARF: And – yeah, mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Now there’s YouTube video of ISIL fighters claiming that they, in fact, did recover that wayward bundle, and they have grenades and RPGs and other small weapons. Given that the Pentagon says no, we took that out because we did not want that to happen, how prepared is the U.S. and its allies to deal with the propaganda value of whatever it is ISIL will do to try to change what the coalition says are the facts?

MS. HARF: Well, a few points: The first is we’ve seen that video, and we can’t confirm that what is in it is actually accurate. There’s obviously a lot of false information, particularly propaganda on the internet, and this may fall into that category. We’re seeking more information at this point, though. So can’t confirm it; seeking more information.

We know that part of ISIL’s strategy here is to wage a propaganda campaign. And that’s why one of our lines of efforts has been delegitimizing ISIL’s propaganda. And so that is something other countries can do; it’s something religious leaders can do. But that’s why, if you look at our five lines of effort, that’s one of them, which I think is pretty extraordinary.

One of the things, the most obvious points, no reporter appears able to make?

An operation that can misdrop weapons?

They also have a struggle hitting targets.

An operation that can't even get weapons into the hands of the side they're supporting?  They really can't be trusted to drop bombs on populated areas.

As the US government tries to spin the wrongly dropped weapons, Al-Shorfa reports the Islamic State has seized more than an air drop and quotes Anbar Provincial Council spokesperson stating, "The terrorist group seized nine trucks loaded with humanitarian and food aid for about 40,000 citizens in Anah, Rawah and al-Qaim, attacking the accompanying relief workers."

While the radical group appropriates various items in Iraq, Daily Sabah and Anadolu Agency report the Islamic State is awash in cash:

According to the US based energy consultancy firm IHS's report, annual revenues of the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) militant group from oil production reached up to 800 million USD.
The report states that the illegal production and sales of crude oil and petroleum products by the terrorist group brings a 2 million USD daily income.
Around 50-60 thousand barrels of oil is being produced per day in the areas controlled by the ISIS in Iraq and Syria out of a 350 thousand barrel potential cannot be used due to technical capabilities.

Turning to some of today's reported violence, Iraq Times reports that the Islamic State hit the Green Zone in Baghdad with mortars.

National Iraqi News Agency reports that Hijaj Village bombing has left 6 people dead and two more injured and 2 east Baghdad car bombings have left 3 people dead and nine more injured.  Iraqi Spring MC updates the Baghdad toll to 9 dead and thirty-two injured while noting reports that a third car bombing has gone off in the same eastern area of Baghdad.

Yesterday, Karbala saw five car bombings.  Today, Alsumaria reports, Karbala Provincial Council member Mohammed Hamid al-Moussawi has announced he is resigning to protest the weak security situation in the province.  Al Mada reports more is going on than just a resignation.  The paper reports that the council is planning to present a motion that the governor of the province be fired.  And there are charges and counter-charges flying back and forth amid the council.  The strongest charge comes from a group that is berating a number of members from failing to show for council meetings.  Today's attempted council meeting, for example, did not take place because so few attended that the council wasn't able to form a quorum.

In other news, AP quotes United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic stating the targeting of the Yazidis may be "an attempt to commit genocide."  AFP adds, "In the case of the Yazidis, he said the killings could be qualified as an attempted genocide because there was evidence of an intent to exterminate them if they refuse to convert."

What?  What?

Earlier this month, the White House's official liar Susan Rice took to NBC's Meet The Press to specifically cite Mount Sinjar as one of the "very important successes" in Barack Obama's 'plan' to confront the Islamic State.   Yet just yesterday, Alsumaria reported that Yazidi MP Haji Kndorjsmo is calling for the government to rescue 700 families who are still trapped on Mount Sinjar.

The Yazidis were raised in the Pentagon press briefing.

Q: Admiral Kirby, staying in Iraq, could you confirm that ISIS have taken three villages, Yazidis' villages in the Mount Sinjar in the last few hours? Also, if you could give us a broad picture in Iraq, how successful were the airstrikes since they have begun in August 8, I think, until now? Can we talk about success? And I have a follow-up question.

REAR ADM. KIRBY: I don't have any detail on the towns you're talking about. That said, we certainly have been tracking ISIL's interest in and around Mount Sinjar. And you've seen of late -- there's been a couple of airstrikes done in and around there, so we're watching that. I don't have anything today to confirm whether this village or that town has been retaken, but we do know ISIL continues to operate in that area and continues to want to grab ground and territory. They want to ground -- they want to grab ground and territory elsewhere in Iraq, too.
So I appreciate the question. And I'll try not to get too longwinded here, but it's a good one. If you looked at the press release that CENTCOM put out earlier today, you'll notice that virtually half the airstrikes that were conducted over the last 24 hours were in Iraq. Now, it wasn't a great number. It was -- you know, I think, seven and five or seven and six, something like that, but -- but just about half of them were conducted inside Iraq.
And if you take a look at the ones that were done in Iraq and look at where they were, you had one near Fallujah, you had -- you had one up by Mosul Dam, you had another near Baiji. And what that tells us -- a couple of things. One, the weather is starting to get better, so we're getting -- we're getting ISR platforms, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms are able to fly a little bit more now. The weather's gotten better. So we get more eyes on, which is permitting more freedom from the air, and so that's some -- one indication you're seeing.
The other thing that I want to point out about that is that if you look at where we're hitting, that's where ISF is, too, right? The ISF is -- and the -- Kurdish forces specifically are still in control of the Mosul Dam complex. ISIL wants it back. And they still threaten it. They don't have it, but they still threaten it. And the one strike was up there.
Fallujah, we've talked all about Anbar and Fallujah and Ramadi and all that, so one of the strikes was in Fallujah in direct support of ISF that are on the move inside Fallujah. And then the other one near Baiji, the -- General Austin talked about this last week, Iraqi security forces are advancing to try to help reconnect to Iraqi forces that are in control of the oil refinery there.
Their advances over the last few days have been slowed by the weather, which is clearing, and so they're moving again, but it also has been slowed by IEDs, almost 30 IEDs that they found and cleared, which has slowed their advance.
So they are moving. They are taking the fight to the enemy, and those strikes last night are indications that we're trying to support them, too. So the whole narrative out there that we've just turned our back on Anbar is completely false. There have been real challenges in terms of what we can do there largely because of the weather, but also because of some of the defensive mechanisms that ISIL has thrown up in the way.

  So, you know, things are starting to -- things are starting to move. And I think you're going to continue to see that momentum there inside Iraq.

Yes, all those words that followed his admission of 'I don't know' were an attempt to distract from the plight of the Yazidis.

On the topic of distractions, did you catch Kathleen Miles (Huffington Post) serving up sop yesterday?  The queen of the pig sty wanted you to know that if the GOP wins control of the Senate in the November mid-term elections, Senator John McCain will call for ground troops in Iraq.

Oh, good heavens!

Where are the pearls?

We must clutch the pearls!

And fan ourselves!

Oh the shock . . .

It's so unsettling.

And what a surprising plot twist!

John McCain, who has been calling for ground troops in Iraq will, after November, continue to call for ground troops in Iraq.

Yes, that's right.

He's already calling for troops in combat in Iraq.

(And, yes, ground troops -- US ground troops -- are already in Iraq and US troops flying missions where they drop bombs in Iraq are already taking part in combat missions.  Don't say it too loudly, though, it might lead Kathleen Miles to piss her panties in public.)

No one's expecting or predicting a huge swing in the Senate.

It's thought that two seats may be in seriously play and could go to the Republicans giving them control of the Senate.

47 or 48 Democrats (we'll count Bernie Sanders in that number) can't stand up to the GOP?

Can't or won't?

If Miles wants to panic, she should panic over the fact that Democrats in the Senate are most likely poised to sell out the American people yet again on Iraq.

And, shocker, that's probably true regardless of who controls the Senate after the mid-term elections.

Shame on anyone who believes the crap Miles is churning out.

Shame on anyone who believes the Democratic Party when it comes to Iraq.

It was, after all, the 2006 mid-term elections that proved the Democratic Party is a craven whore who will say anything -- while doing nothing.

Ahead of the election, Nancy Pelosi (and others) declared that if the voters gave the Democrats control of even one house of Congress, the Democrats would end the Iraq War.

The voters gave them control of both houses: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

January 2007 saw that Congress sworn in and, November 2007, all US forces left Iraq and the war was declared over and . . .

What's that?

Oh, right.

The Democrats did nothing.

The war ground on.

The Democrats did nothing.

Nancy likes to blame Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

I was present when she insisted to the San Francisco Chronicle that she did everything she was supposed to do but Harry Reid refused to rally support in the Senate and, in fact, quashed any efforts to end the war.

I wasn't the only one present.  And audio exists of her remarks.

But somehow we're the only site that's ever managed to report what Nancy said, to acknowledge her accusations.

Miles appears to want to use the Iraq War to scare up votes for the Democratic Party.

I believe America bought that game in 2006.  I don't think anyone's still wanting to play it today.

The GOP Senate would be a great thing.

It would allow whores like Medea Benjamin and CodeStink and Robert Parry and all the others to rail against power.

They don't now.

They haven't in years.

They are War Hawks in their own silence and in their own refusal to call out Barack Obama who is the President of the United States but for whom they've made excuses for six years now.

It was Hillary's fault and then it was this person's fault or that person's fault (or the conspiracy cabal that loony Robert Parry is seeing yet again -- when he plays like the contra story got him drummed out of the real press, he forgets to talk about his wild eyed, nutty conspiracy tales he presented as fact at Sarah McClendon's home over and over and over and over . . . .  I have over twenty letters from Sarah stapled in journal volumes from those years where she documents Parry's 'creative' thinking.).

A GOP-controlled Senate could let these lazy ass whores pretend they're taking on the power again as they railed against the legislative body (while still failing to hold Barack accountable for his own actions).

A GOP-controlled Senate could also expose the whorish nature of the Democratic Party.

The power of "no."

We wrote about it before Barack came into power.

As I noted years ago, in the entertainment industry, the "no" is the only power you may ever have.

If a project doesn't feel right at the start, you say "no."

Bad things don't tend to get better, they just get worse.

And, industry truism, it wants what it can't have.  Your "no" not only speaks of power -- the power to walk away no matter how much money is on the table -- it also attracts a fascination (if not respect).

Now Tom Hayden mocks the power of no.

Of course, he would.

Speak to any woman Mr. Grabby Hands has gotten too 'friendly' with and you'll understand just how much he disrespects the power of no.

But it's not to be disrespected.

It is true power and it is real power.

Just as we can affirm, we can also negate.

And instead of whining that the GOP has been 'obstructive,' real leaders (obviously not Tom Hayden) of the left would be asking the very obvious question: Where were the Democrats when the Iraq War was being started?

They could have used the power of no.

Instead, they whined that they were out of power, they didn't control either house of Congress, they didn't this and they didn't that and . . .

It's all lies.

They could have buried the war before it started in so many ways.

Former US Senator Mike Gravel, in 2007 and 2008, repeatedly listed ways the Democrats in Congress, if they wanted to end the war, could.

They didn't follow his suggestions.

But then, he wasn't saying anything they didn't already know.

They knew they had the power but they chose to do nothing.

So if the GOP takes control of the Senate and John McCain gets his way, the reality is that this will be further proof of how corrupted the Democratic Party has become.  It will be further proof that letting money grubbers like Nancy Pelosi rise to power because she could haul in large amounts of money was a huge mistake.

A good pimp's 
Gonna rob you blind
Money money money
I feel like a pawn
In my own world
I found the system
And I lost the pearl
-- "Money," written by Laura Nyro, first appears on her album Smile.

The Democratic Party deosn't stand for the safety net today.  It doesn't stand for the workers.  It doesn't stand for the environment.  It doesn't stand for peace.

And if the Republicans win control of the US Senate by one or two members and the Democrats can't stop more US troops from being sent to Iraq?

It will only reveal just how hollow the party has become.

It's time for someone to emerge with something more than platitudes (ocean's rising and other garbage should be scoffed at).  The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee should be someone who does in the Democratic Party what Jesus is said to have done in the money changer tent.

From the Book of Matthew:

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there.  He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

From the Book of John:

So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.

It's amazing how, for example, Hillary Clinton will self-present as pious and a follower of the Bible yet she feels no need to emulate the hero of that book even though I believe that was the whole point of the book?

(I'll be honest, I never read the last chapter.)

Hillary's not going to change the party.

She'll continue the corruption of the party.  She won't take it on, she won't try to root it out.

And each year, there will be less and less reason for the Democratic Party to exist as it moves further and further from the core beliefs that were supposed to be the heart of the party.

Yesterday's snapshot contained me calling out the idiot Brit 'of the cloth' who'd come over to the US to tell Americans how to vote.

Some thought I was offended that he (or anyone) would campaign for Republicans.

I have no problem with people advocating on behalf of the Republican Party -- or the Democratic Party or the Green Party or the Socialist Party or . . .

I have real problem with foreigners who can't vote in the US election thinking their voices are needed or wanted.

Take your nose out of everyone else business.

Surely there's some other problem in the world that you can focus on instead of attempting to tell people how to vote in an election you can't vote in.

It reminds me of all the whiners around the world focusing on Bully Boy Bush.  The Australian blogger -- you know who I mean if you've been around long enough -- who blogged venom at BBB daily . . . while staying silent on his own prime minister John Howard who sent Australian troops into Iraq.

It sure is easy to hold the leaders of other countries accountable, isn't it?

Easy and safe.

It's far more difficult to hold your own leaders accountable.  But thing is, doing that is at the heart of democracy.

Then there were the self-impressed members of a US bordering country.

Remember them throughout the BBB years, especially the contingent that moved there from the US?

They couldn't stop bragging.

Even though they had a conservative leader.

Bully Boy Bush is gone.  But somehow that nation still has a conservative leader -- the same one.

And they've sent troops to Iraq.

And I don't hear the boasting from the north these days.  Do you?


But maybe if, instead of obsessing over the leader of another country, they'd gotten to work in their own country, they might not have a conservative leader (still).

In "On voting," Mike shared his thoughts last night and I agree with him 100%.

But I would add that those who can't vote in an election shouldn't be sticking their nose in.

We could also apply that to Gary Younge -- the closet Socialist who calls Barack out in (some) Socialist publications while fawning over him in The Nation and other rags.  The same Gary who is not an American citizen and really needs to find something to obsess over.

Tend to your own gardens.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Paul Krugman is so full of s**t

Sunday Kat did two music reviews: "Kat's Korner: Lenny chooses to strut" and "Kat's Korner: Prince, you wonder if you take him h..." -- and I enjoyed reading both but I love Prince's Art Official Age.  I strongly recommend the album.

Download it, order it online, pick it up at Target, Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, wherever.

It's a great album.

Okay, so Paul Krugman's a dishonest whore.

He didn't have to become that but that's what he wanted to be.

And he wrote that awful Rolling Stone article about how great ObamaCare is.

And yet on Saturday, the New York Times published some hard truths about ObamaCare.

A lot of people got conned and they're not happy.  The Times spoke to people who bought the crap and thought, "Insurance!"

Now they realize that crap insurance is no good.

If you have to meet a $6000 a year deductible for one person, you just bought crap insurance.

And that's all ObamaCare ever was, crap insurance.

It's going to get worse because people don't realize still what a con he pulled.

People in my state should have.  We had RomneyCare.

But grasp what a whore Paul Krugman is, his nonsense in Rolling Stone is still on magazine stands and yet the paper he pens a column for exposed the truth (some of it) about ObamaCare on Saturday.

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

Monday, October 20, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the State Dept blows it again, Susan Rice is caught in another Sunday morning lie, for the second day in a row a suicide bomber detonates inside a Baghdad mosque, and much more.

There's a lot of embarrassment to cover today so let's open with something strong.  US Senator Patty Murray's office issued the following today:

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES            CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Monday October 20, 2014                                            (202) 224-2834
JBLM: Murray to Deliver Remarks at Washington State Service Member for Life Transition Summit
Murray will commend JBLM for leading the charge in helping servicemembers transition successfully to civilian life
Will lay out steps to build on progress, ensure all veterans are connected with care, professional opportunity
(Washington, D.C.) – Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 21st, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) will deliver remarks at the Washington State Service Member for Life Transition Summit, a three-day conference focused on connecting veterans, transitioning servicemembers, and their families to meaningful professional opportunities.
In her remarks, Murray will reflect on the progress made so far toward helping servicemembers in Washington state and across the country transition successfully to civilian life, lay out specific steps to build on this progress going forward, and call for continued commitment to uphold our responsibility to those who have bravely served our nation.
WHO:             Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
WHAT:          Senator Murray will deliver remarks at the Washington State Service
Member for Life Transition Summit.
WHEN:         Tuesday, Oct. 21st
                       12:00 PM PST
WHERE:       Joint Base Lewis-McChord
                        American Lakes Conference Center (Access directed once on base)


So that's tomorrow and that's the strong.

Let's turn now to the weak and embarrassing.

Andrew White.

We ignore the British creep.

We don't take known liar's seriously.

In 2006, the repugnant White testifed that there were no Jews present in Iraq.  It was a lie and when he learned reporters had been present, he had a hissy fit.

Not that he lied under oath, no.

He had a hissy fit that reporters might report he lied under oath.

(Only one outlet did.)

White's the White Bwana of Baghdad.  He presents himself as Lady Bountiful, ministering to the Iraqis.  But he's also cooperated with the regime, passed on information, ratted out people.

All of which is why he's not wanted in Baghdad currently.

We usually ignore all of that and ignore him.

But Adam Ashton (McClatchy Newspapers) chose to report on White or 'report.'

White's in the US.

Campaigning, apparently, for Republicans in the 2014 mid-terms.

Doing so at US churches.

Oh, if only Lois Lerner were still around, no doubt she'd be on the phone to immigration seeing how to toss White out of the country.

From Ashton's report or 'report':

His blamed the latest plight of Iraqi Christians on the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in December 2011.
“The reason we had this tragedy now is because you came in and you left us too soon. We weren’t ready to be left,” he said, in encouraging the Life Center congregation to vote for politicians who would not have left Iraq.

Read more here:

For those who don't know the fake ass, White cheered on the Iraq War.  When it grew very unpopular, he tried to publicly pretend otherwise.

For a so-called man of the cloth, he sure lies frequently.

I wasn't aware that was now allowed and encouraged in the Anglican Church.

He supported the Iraq War, cheering it on.  And now he's come to the United States to spread the 'good' word that Iraq needs more war and that Americans should vote for politicians who want more US troops in Iraq.

Is it really true that the fake ass couldn't pass an audit if his books were looked at?  There have been lots of improvements to his British home in recent years that have neighbors scratching their heads in wonder over the ability of a 'simple man of the cloth' to repeatedly foot the bills for.

Moving from one fake ass to another, Susan Rice. In the October 15, 2014 snapshot, we were taking on her many lies uttered on NBC's Meet The Press.  Let's zoom in:

Offical Benghazi Liar Dirty Rice: Our air campaign is off to a strong start and we've seen very important successes in places like Mosul Dam, Sinjar Mountain, where we were able to rescue many tens of thousands of civilians at risk. And this is going to take time. So it can't be judged by merely what happens in one particular town or in one particular region. This is going to take time and the American people need to understand that our aim here is long-term degradation and building the capacity of our partners.         

The success of Mount Sinjar!

Kind of like the 'success' of Benghazi, eh, Susan?

Rice has a habit of spinning people left behind and forgotten as a mission accomplished.

Alsumaria reports today that Yezidi MP Haji Kndorjsmo is calling for the government to rescue 700 families who are still trapped on Mount Sinjar.

700 families?

If we pretend all are limited to three people, we've got 2100 Yazidis still trapped on Mount Sinjar all these months later and only one week after Dirty Rice went on national TV and lied.


Ahmed al-Hamadani (Al Arabiya) reports, "Local Sinjar Protection Forces holding back ISIS militants are quickly running out of supplies and ammunition and have sent out emergency appeals to U.S.-led coalition forces for help, the source said."  The Washington Post's Loveday Morris Tweeted:

  • Last night, BBC News noted a suicide bomber detonated in a Baghdad mosque taking his own life and the lives of 18 other people.  Xinhua added the toll rose to 22 dead (with twenty-five more injured).  Sunday's violence also included 12 people killed in Falluja.  Iraqi Spring MC reports that the Iraqi forces continue to shell residential neighborhoods in Falluja and these bombings killed 12 civilians with ten more left injured.

    Violence continues in Iraq.  And it's not just the hundreds the US and others kill via dropping bombs -- all of whom the US insists were 'terrorists.'  Violence also includes other incidents.  Such as, National Iraqi News Agency notes that Karbala has been slammed with car bombings repeatedly today.  Al Jazeera counts five bombings in all with at least 15 people killed and their correspondent Imran Khan states, "The month of Muharram has seen a spike in violence, particularly sectarian violence in the past. But since ISIL took over huge swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, we are expecting this to be much more bloodier than we've seen in previous years."  Alsumaria reports that two men were strangled and their bodies dumped in Kirkuk.

    AFP notes that for the second day in a row a suicide bomber has targeted a Baghdad mosque and today's bombing left 11 dead (plus the bomber).

    All Iraq News notes a Mosul suicide bomber who took his own life and the lives of 7 Peshmerga with twenty-six more Peshmerga injured.  National Iraq News Agency notes a Mosul roadside bombing left 2 people dead. and an al-Jubouri home invasion left Nimrod Police Chief Mohammed Hassan al-Jubouri and his son dead.

    In addition, they note that 1 person was shot dead in Baghdad and "A police source said that a suicide bomber, wearing an explosive belt, blew himself up inside the Kayrat Husseiniah in the Syed Sultan Ali area in central Baghdad, killing four and wounding 12 others."

    Press Association reports:

    Prime minister Haider Abadi, who took office last month, met on Monday with top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in the southern city of Najaf. He said after their talks that Mr Sistani welcomed the recent formation of the government that Mr Abadi now leads.
    The spiritual leader wields considerable influence among Iraq's Shia majority, and the meeting carried symbolic significance because Mr Sistani has shunned politicians in recent years to protest at how they run the country.

    All Iraq News quotes al-Abadi stating, "Ayatollah Sistani hailed the formation of the Iraqi government and agreed with it over rejecting the deployment of the international troops in Iraq."

    al-Sistani was applauding Saturday's news: the Iraqi Parliament voted in a Minister of Defense and a Minister of Interior -- the first time since spring 2010 that the positions have been filled.  Mohammed Ghaban is the new Minister of Interior (over the federal police and prisons) and Khaled al-Obeidi is the new Minister of Defense.

    Saturday, in Boston, US Secretary of State John Kerry noted the accomplishment, "And on another note, I might just report we had a very positive step forward in Iraq today with the selection of a minister of the interior and a minister of defense. These were critical positions to be filled in order to assist with the organizing effort with respect to ISIL. So we’re very pleased. We congratulate Prime Minister Abadi and we look forward to working with them as we continue to grow the coalition and move forward."  Vice President Joe Biden's office issued the following:

    Readout of the Vice President’s Call with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi

    Vice President Biden spoke this morning with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.  The Vice President congratulated Prime Minister Abadi on the selection and approval of seven new cabinet ministers, including new Ministers of Defense, Finance, and Interior.  For the first time since 2010, Iraq now has a full slate of national security ministers approved by the Council of Representatives.  The Prime Minister and Vice President discussed the work ahead, including steps to rebuild Iraq’s security forces and enlist all of Iraq’s communities in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
    France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the following statement Saturday:
    France congratulates the Iraqi prime minister on the appointment of the ministers of defense and interior, thereby completing the government that was formed on September 8, and on the swearing in of the Kurdish ministers. When he spoke to the press yesterday in Beijing, Mr. Laurent Fabius welcomed the formation of this inclusive government, which will guarantee unity and effectiveness in Iraq’s fight against Daesh.
    The conditions are now right for the government to start working toward resolving, in a spirit of unity, the numerous challenges facing the country. The fight against Daesh requires resolute action with respect to security. In order to build trust, gestures must be made toward the various components of Iraqi society.
    In these difficult circumstances, France continues to stand alongside Iraq. 

    Also weighing in was cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr.  National Iraqi News Agency reports:

    The cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr said nomination the ministers of defense and interior is an important step towards improving the political and security situation and service, calling what he described as "jihadist forces" to hand liberated territories to the army and police.
    He said in a statement that "the government's success in the inauguration of the security ministries is another important step towards improving the political and security situation and the service, after the failure of the previous government."

    Of Khaled al-Obeidi, Al Jazeera notes, "Obeidi belongs to the party of Vice President Usama al-Nujaifi and is a confidant of his brother Atheel al-Nujaifi, the governor of Nineveh province that was overrun by Sunni ISIL forces." They quote their reporter Imran Khan declaring the two appointments "will be relieving to the international community, especially countries involved in the coalition fighting the ISIL."

    On the topic of Mohammed Ghaban, Loveday Morris (Washington Post) offers:

    Iraq’s parliament voted Saturday to put an affiliate of an Iranian-backed paramilitary group in charge of a key security ministry, a move that could strike a serious blow to efforts to unite Sunnis and Shiites to wrest back their country from Islamist extremists.
     The new interior minister is Mohammed Ghabban, a little-known Shiite politician with the Badr Organization. But there is little doubt that Hadi al-Amiri, head of the party and its military wing, will wield the real power in the ministry.

     At the US State Dept today, spokesperson Marie Harf failed yet again at her job.  This was the first press briefing since last Friday.  This is when she should have announced movement on the political front as evidenced by the completion of the Cabinet.  Instead, she completely ignored the topic while noting two US officials were going to gallivant around the globe working (yet again) on the military aspect.

    Did US President Barack Obama insist that the only solution for Iraq was a political solution or didn't he?

    You'd never know by the constant screw ups of the State Dept but, yes, Barack did say that it required a political solution.

    When they finally have something to trumpet, the State Dept yet again misses the point and confuses themselves with the Defense Dept.

    Lelia Fadel has a strong report for All Things Considered (NPR -- link is audio and transcript) and we may note it tomorrow but we'll link to it tonight regardless.  All Iraq News notes Parliament is in session today and only 205 MPs attended.  Alsumaria adds that Parliament is supposed to receive a budget by Wednesday.

    For those who missed it, the previous prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, never managed to present a 2014 budget.

    Yesterday,  UNAMI noted:

    A report published Sunday by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) documents the alarming rise in executions carried out by Iraq since the restoration of the death penalty in 2005.

    The report documents that the number of executions carried out in Iraq rose substantially between 2005 and 2009. In 2009, 124 people were executed. Despite a drop in the implementation rate in 2010, the number of executions significantly increased between 2011 and 2013, culminating in the hanging of 177 individuals in 2013. Between 1 January and 30 September 2014 at least 60 people have been executed. Executions are often carried out in batches in Iraq – on one occasion in 2013, up to 34 individuals were executed in a single day.
    As of August 2014, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Justice, some 1,724 prisoners are awaiting execution. This number includes those sentenced to death at first instance, those on appeal, and those awaiting implementation of their sentences.
    “UNAMI and OHCHR have repeatedly voiced concerns about observed weaknesses of the Iraqi justice system,” the report states. “Criminal investigations and judicial proceedings in death penalty cases frequently fail to adhere to international and constitutional guarantees of due process and fair trial standards.”
    In over half of the trials involving the death penalty monitored by UNAMI, judges systematically ignored claims by defendants that they were subjected to torture to induce confessions, and in the remainder of cases they took little or no action. In nearly all cases, judges proceeded to convict the defendants and sentence them to death based solely, or substantially, on the weight of disputed confession evidence or the testimony of secret informants. Most defendants appeared in court unrepresented, and where the court appointed an attorney, no time was granted to the defendant to prepare adequately a defence.

    Lastly, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration (Beacon Press). We'll close with this from Bacon's "LETTER FROM MEXICO #2, A Hero of Tlatelolco" (NACLA Reports):

    MEXICO CITY (10/10/14) -- Every year on October 2 thousands of Mexican students pour into the streets of Mexico City, marching from Tlatelolco (the Plaza of Three Cultures) through the historic city center downtown, to the main plaza, the Zocalo.  They're remembering the hundreds of students who were gunned down by their own government in 1968, an event that shaped the lives of almost every politically aware young person in Mexico during that time.

    This year, just days before the march, the municipal police in Iguala, Guerrero, shot students from the local teachers' training college at Ayotzinapa.  More demonstrations and marches are taking place all over Mexico, demanding that the government find 43 students still missing.  Many speculate that graves found in Iguala contain their bodies - murdered by the same police, acting as agents of the local drug cartel.  Students marching on October 2 were in the streets for them as well, aware that the bloody events of 1968 were not so far away in some distant past. 

    leila fadel

    Sunday, October 19, 2014

    I love Ann

    I love Ann.

    For many reasons.

    But online, I love her because she's always fighting the good fight.

    This week, I repeatedly read outrageous columns and would be stunned that these people could lie so freely only to scroll through the comments and see Ann had already called them out.

    I don't know how she does it.

    She must have covered 15 articles alone this week -- in addition to blogging at her own site, working a paid job and raising her little baby.

    I love Ann because she fights for a better world.

    I love her because she doesn't get caught up in the partisan nonsense.

    And I love her spirit.

    We need an army of Anns to make this world a better place and I think they're already out there, I think they're saying "enough" and stepping forward.

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

    Saturday, October 18, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Iraq finally has a Minister of Defense and a Minister of Interior, Human Rights Watch has concerns, we look at the lie of WMD in Iraq, and much more.

    Let's start with the biggest nonsense of the week.

    CJ Chivers wrote poorly this week -- no surprise.  Chivers is a New York Times no-star who has clocked  more miles than a bald tire and all those years of working for the paper have really never amounted to anything of note.  The paper that creates and spits out journalistic 'stars' couldn't do anything with Chivers.

    This was demonstrated yet again when he had an assignment fall in his lap.  Michael Gordon or Judith Miller could have created shockwaves with it.  A number of others could have painted it for what it was -- a story of government indifference to the suffering of soldiers sent into a risky situation (without appropriate gear) and then ignored as they suffered.  All Chivers could do was go rote and hope he'd pleased an old college professor.

    It was left to the right wing media to do what Miller (no longer with the paper) or Gordon might have done, run around like Chicken Little insisting the sky was falling and it was falling WMDs!


    And we waited to see if the Forest Gump of White House occupants, Bully Boy Bush (the original, "I am not a smart man . . ."), would prove to be as dumb as he was so often thought to be.


    Bush was actually rather smart this week.

    He kept his mouth shut and let others stick their necks out and claim he was right and that he had been vindicated.

    He let others lie.

    He kept his mouth shut because the chemical weapons US troops encountered in Iraq were not WMDs.

    They were not what Bully Boy Bush sold the war on.

    What were they?

    What you can find in Russia today.  What you can find in parts of Eastern Europe still.

    Old stockpiles that should be destroyed.

    (But how do you destroy them?  Even 'safe' procedures will damage the environment -- a reality that should be considered when these monsters create weapons to begin with.  And 'monsters' refers to the multinational corporations.)

    Counting those decaying -- and largely unusable -- artifacts would have been like Bully Boy Bush pointing the vast number of landmines littering Iraq and claiming they too were a threat to US lives.

    Like the landmines, the aged stockpiles were not 'deployable' and were only a threat for any unlucky enough to stumble upon them (or live in the area -- those weapons degrade slowly and release chemicals into the immediate area as they do degrade).

    Bully Boy Bush did not declare, "With a lot of elbow grease and chewing gum, Saddam Hussein is hoping to glob together some decaying chemical weapons and, with a really big slingshot, aim them at Philadelphia."

    March 19, 2003, Bully Boy Bush insisted:

    The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of firefighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.

    The US troops suffering -- 17  plus seven Iraqis according to Chivers -- wouldn't have had to 'meet that threat' if Bully Boy Bush hadn't sent them into Iraq.  (And the bulk of what was discovered, as Chivers noted, were supplied by the US government.)

    While so many wasted time on fantasies and lies this week, Iraq suffered as usual.

    Today the Parliament met.  And, in real news, the Parliament voted on the security ministries.  National Iraqi News Agency reports Mohammed Ghaban is the new Minister of Interior (over the federal police and prisons) after winning the votes of 197 MPs while Khaled al-Obeidi is the new Minister of Defense after securing 173 MP votes.

    The Parliament voted on other positions as well and they matter also.  For example,  All Iraq News reports Bayan Nouri is now the Minister of Women Affairs, Hoshyar Zebari (who served 8 years as Foreign Minister) is now Minister of Finance, Faryad Rawandozi has been voted Minister of Culture, Dirbaz Mohamed was voted Minister of Immigration, Saman Abdullah was voted Minister of State, and Adil al-Shirshab was voted Minister of Tourism.

    These are all important posts.  These all should have actually been voted on some time ago. But while those posts and others are important, there is a special importance to the security ministries at present.

    National Iraqi News Agency notes: Osama al-Nujaifi (Speaker of Parliament for the last four years before becoming one of Iraq's three vice presidents currently) issued a statement congratulating the Parliament on their work today:

    He said in a statement read by his press office that this Saturday has witnessed an event of positive connotations, which is to complete the formation of the Iraqi government, and the approval of the House of Representatives on the ministers who were proposed by Dr. Haider Abadi.
    He added that this involves a fundamental and important stage in the process of starting to achieve reform and implementation of the political agreement according which the government of Mr. Abadi emerged.
    He stressed that "the success of al- Abadi in completing the formation of the government confirms the determination to meet the challenges and realize the process of change that all citizens await.

    NINA notes the Vice President offered his congratulations to those voted into office today by the Parliament and, along with those we named above, Rose Nuri Shaways was also voted on today and is now Deputy Prime Minister.

    US State Dept spokesperson Jen Psaki issued the following statement:

    We congratulate the Iraqi people and their elected representatives in the Iraqi parliament on the selection of seven new cabinet ministers today. These ministers, including new Ministers of Defense, Finance, and Interior, represent the diversity of Iraq, and complete an inclusive cabinet led by Prime Minister Abadi. Significantly, this is the first time since 2010 that Iraq has had a full cabinet with security ministers confirmed by the Iraqi parliament. Today's vote is another important step in the long-term campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and restore stability to Iraq.
    The United States looks forward to further strengthening our partnership with Prime Minister Abadi, his new cabinet, and the Iraqi people. We also look forward to working with all the new ministers, in the many fields outlined in our Strategic Framework Agreement, including security, economic, educational, and cultural cooperation. Our commitment to Iraq is long-term, and this new cabinet, representing all communities inside Iraq, is a key step in overcoming the many challenges confronting Iraq.

    Jen sugar coats it -- or maybe she's being diplomatic.

    Iraq has not had a Minister of Defence or Minister of the Interior since spring 2010.

    Let's go over what happened today.

    Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi nominated Mohammed Ghaban to be Minister of Interior and Khaled al-Obeidi to be Minister of Defense.  Parliament voted on the nominations and named the two to those posts.  They are now over those ministries, they run them.  They continue to run them for the next four years unless (a) they die, (b) they chose to resign or (c) Parliament votes them out.

    In the US, if US President Barack Obama wants someone out, they're out.  (Ask Julia Pierson, former head of the Secret Service.)  Iraq has a different government set-up and the Cabinet heads have a level of authority and independence that their American equivalents would not and do not have.

    Haider hopefully chose well because he's pretty much stuck now with the two he nominated.

    In his eight years at prime minister of Iraq, thug Nouri al-Maliki fought with everyone.  He wanted this MP legally prosecuted for comparing him to Saddam Hussein (the MP wasn't prosecuted, he had immunity).  He wanted Tareq Ali, then Vice President of Iraq, stripped of his office.  Tareq served his full term.  In exile, yes.  But Tareq remained Vice President.  Parliament refused to strip him of his title.  When Nouri went after Tareq, he also went after Saleh al-Mutlaq (aka The Turncoat, more on Saleh later in the snapshot).  For approximately five months, he attempted to have Saleh stripped of his post but Parliament refused to do so.

    Once Parliament votes you in, only they can remove you.

    In 2010, Nouri decided to get around this and break the law (the Constitution of Iraq) by refusing to nominate people to head the security ministries.

    Those great western outlets told their readers and viewers that this was a temporary measure and that, in a few weeks, Nouri would nominate people for these posts.  Ayad Allawi, leader of Iraqiya and now one of Iraq's three vice presidents, spoke the truth in January 2011 when he said this was a power grab by Nouri and that Nouri had no intention of ever nominating people to head the security ministries.

    Allawi was right.

    Nouri went his entire second term without heads of the security ministries.

    He wanted to control those ministries so he sent no names to Parliament.

    That's actually grounds for removal of office and should have triggered a no-confidence vote.  But the White House was backing Nouri until May of this year and they worked to ensure no such vote took place -- including when the diverse group of Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraqiya leader Allawi (Iraqiya was non-sectarian political grouping), Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani, then-Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi (a Sunni) and others came together in April and May of 2012 to push forward a no-confidence vote on Nouri.

    (They did all that was required by the Constitution.  The final step was for Iraqi President Jalal Talabani to introduce the request in a session of Parliament.  Under US pressure -- and a victim of his own grand ego -- Jalal refused to do so and declared that he had the duty -- not written anywhere in the Constitution -- to consult with all who signed the petition, counsel them, query them and ensure that their signature was something that, even after badgering from him, they meant to put on paper.)

    Since 2010, Iraq had been without a Minister of Interior or a Minister of Defense.

    This as the violence climbed yearly.

    So the confirmations of Mohammed Ghaban and Khaled al-Obeidi  are major news and hopefully will result in some sort of change.

    For Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's, this is monumental.

    It shouldn't be.

    Because Nouri never should have been allowed to complete a second term (to even start one) without having the security ministries confirmed.

    But he did.

    It could have set an awful precedent had al-Abadi also refused to obey the Constitution.

    Instead, his efforts to have the offices voted on (efforts that began months ago) demonstrate that the Constitution remains the supreme law in Iraq and that even office holders must obey the law.

    On Monday, at the State Dept press briefing, Psaki or Marie Harf can rightly hail this as a major accomplishment.

    And if it doesn't seem like one, it's because the people unimpressed aren't aware of the struggle under Nouri's last four years.

    The State Dept's Brett McGurk Tweeted the following today:

    United Nations Secretary-Genral Ban Ki-moon's Special Envoy to Iraq Nickolay Mladenov Tweeted the following:

    On the Cabinet, it'll be interesting to see if there's more than one woman in it.  One does, however, put al-Abadi ahead of Nouri al-Maliki who began his second term with no woman in the Cabient and with (male) Hoshyar Zebari as 'acting' Minister of Women's Affairs.

    Equally true, is that neither person confirmed as security heads may be qualified or fit.

    Only time will tell that.

    Kenneth Roth heads Human Rights Watch.  He feels the above is important enough to Tweet twice.

    I agree it's important and if he or HRW has more on it, we will note it.

    If it's true about Mohammed Ghaban?

    I don't think there's any if.

    I think it's true.

    Roth's not an alarmist or one to go out on a limb.

    But my position?

    As one thug after another has been brought into the Iraqi government -- usually at the US government's behest -- and as there's been no justice commission*, what do you do?

    Hopefully, Ghaban will see this as a moment to go bigger than himself, to go beyond sectarian feelings, to prove that he can move forward -- and, therefore, so can Iraq -- and work towards unity and abandon the destructive cycle of never-ending revenge.

    That was the hallmark of Nouri's two terms.

    A chicken s**t coward who fled the country rather than take on Saddam, Nouri advocated for the US to attack Iraq (again, something he was too cowardly to do himself) and only after that happened did he return to the country.  Once named prime minister, he attempted to assault the Sunni community in revenge reprisals.

    It's all nonsense at some point and you just have to let the past go.  That doesn't mean you forget, that does mean that you work towards the future and not spend every waking hour trying to avenge the past.  The past is, after all, past, gone.

    I support a justice commission but I'm also leery of one.

    The Justice and Accountability Commission was not a truth commission but it fancied itself as such.  All it did was persecute Sunnis.  If that's what's going to pass for a truth commission or justice commission in Iraq, the country might as well not even bother.

    If they want to address actual crimes against humanity, and put Sunnis and Shi'ites (and maybe even Kurds) on trial, fine.  They should certainly start with Nouri al-Maliki.

    But I don't see such a commission being created.

    I'm not dismissing Kenneth Roth's concerns and I'm glad that he's calling attention to Mohammed Ghaban's history.  Maybe such attention will help move Ghaban away from sectarianism and towards unity.

    And maybe such attention will allow Iraq to arrive at a point in the near future where their government is made up of their citizens who chose to fight for the country, not to run from it.  Maybe at some point, actual Iraqis in the government will outnumber the exiles who only returned after the US military ran Saddam Hussein out of Baghdad.

    Kenneth Roth's concerns are not 'pie in the sky.'  They are very real concerns that should be taken seriously and Ghaban's actions should always be tested against that past record.  I am also not claiming that I'm being 'realistic' or 'real politic' or any such thing.

    I'm just saying that my position is, Iraq needs to move forward.  I didn't pick Haider al-Abadi's nominee.  But he was picked and he's been confirmed.  And it's good, Constitutionally speaking, that someone now holds the office.  Ghaban has a chance to show he's more than what Roth or I think of him.  He has a chance to represent Iraq -- all of Iraq -- and to take part in the creation of unity.  We should know in a matter of months -- or weeks -- whether or not he's up to that challenge and up to the honor of the office.

    Again, I'm not presenting myself as a 'realist.'

    If anything, I'm just a concerned and exhausted observer.

    And exhausted explains Saleh al-Mutlaq's latest troubles.

    The man who has been dubbed the Whore of Babylon on Arabic social media saved his own ass multiple times but, in order to do so, he had to burn a lot of bridges.

    As noted earlier, in December 2011, Saleh was targeted along with Tareq al-Hashemi by Nouri.

    While Tareq continued to be targeted, Saleh fell before Nouri, dropped to his knees and begged mercy.

    Lay down with dogs, get fleas.  Lay down with Nouri, get pubic lice.

    And it's itchy for Saleh now.

    Long rumored to have enriched his own pockets with government money while serving as Deputy Prime Minister (2010 to 2014), Saleh's now facing more than rumors.

    All Iraq News notes that Speaker of Parliment Saleem al-Jobouri announced today that Saleh will face questions from the Parliament about rumors of corruption and crimes.

    Like Saleh, the Speaker is a Sunni.  In the past, that might have been enough to protect Saleh.  Not after he got in bed with Nouri and burned his bridges.  Since then, he's had objects hurled at him by Sunni protesters and his face has been prominently featured at Sunni protests -- his face with a large red X over it.

    Saleh may really be on his own.

    If so, he may be the first to be punished for corruption.

    On another topic, I was going to do this for its own entry but an HRW friend asked why I didn't highlight this by Erin Evers and why I didn't highlight Amnesty International's report this week.

    On HRW, will note it in a moment and I honestly was unaware of their piece.

    It came out ahead of Amnesty International's piece.

    We did highlight Amnesty and link to it.

    Normally, I would have done a lot with it.

    We would have gone over it in two or more snapshots.

    But I'm just really damn tired.

    I'm tried of being here online and I'm tired of having to lobby Amnesty International to do their damn job.  I had one phone call after another with them over this for over a month now.  I got two friends who fundraise for them to lodge objections as well.

    This all started back in September (see "The death of Amnesty International?" ) and I know Amnesty International US branch is bulls**t.  It's nonsense, it's garbage.  If you need something done, you know you lobby the UK branch which does have some concern about human rights.

    But this time, even those doors were closed.  I had to yell and scream at friends with AI, I had to pull in two friends to join me and then finally AI responds with a report that they should have issued months ago.

    Now it's issued and everyone from  CBC to Stars and Stripes has covered it -- by carrying the AP report on it.  So that's a good thing.

    But the efforts on my part, the time I had to put in, the yelling I had to do (I was hoarse one day from yelling on the phone) and, yes, the threat I had to make about funding drying up if AI was seen as anti-Arab, after all of that, I wasn't in the mood to spend time on a report which basically notes what we've been covering forever and a day.  We'll probably use it as a reference but that's about it.

    Now this is from Erin Evers' Human Rights Watch piece at the end of September:

    The spectacular conquests by the Islamic State have held much of the world’s attention ever since it took control of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. Adding to this attention are the US airstrikes in northern Iraq, where the group targeted minority populations, kidnapping and killing hundreds - maybe thousands - and displacing thousands more.
    But these high-profile killings and abductions are only part of the story of the horrendous abuses Iraqi civilians are suffering, including from government troops and Shiite militias. I met in recent days with more than 40 residents of Latifiyya, a town in the area known as the ‘Baghdad Belt’ whose population size, they said, has been reduced from approximately 200,000 to 50,000 in recent months. The town is majority Sunni with a sizeable Shia population.
    The town is strategically located at the crossroads connecting four provinces – Baghdad, Babel, Wasit and Anbar. During the US-led occupation of Iraq, US troops named Latifiyya and the neighbouring towns Yousifiyya and Mahmoudiyya the ‘triangle of death’ because of the strong al-Qaeda presence. Though Latifiyya is particularly vulnerable right now, the abuses residents described are very similar to what we’ve been finding in the Baghdad Belt and other parts of Iraq for months.

    The area’s majority Sunni population is paying a high price for the town’s location and its reputation for being restive. Residents told me that Shia militias, still operating under the control of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, are laying siege to the town, especially the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haqq militia. Sunni residents of other towns to the north accused that group and other militias of carrying out summary executions there after the militas took control in the wake of US air strikes against the Islamic State.

    Erin always does strong work and my apologies for missing that report.

    Margaret Griffis ( counts 142 violent deahts in Iraq on Friday with another 122 left injured.

    At her site, Trina's noted  "Sibel Edmonds and the Deep State (SOAPBOX PODCAST 10/19/14)"  and we'll note it here as well.  As Trina points out:

    It should be a wide ranging discussion because Cindy's no Amy Goodman.
    Amy's not interested in Sibel or issues that really matter.
    What I like about Cindy's show is Cindy just doesn't give a damn about so-called respectability.
    She's going to have an interesting discussion with her guests and if they go to places that aren't Ford Foundation approved, oh well.
    So make a point to catch this.

    Lastly, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration (Beacon Press). We'll close with this from Bacon's "GLOBALIZATION AND NAFTA CAUSED MIGRATION FROM MEXICO" (The Public Eye/Political Research Associates):

    When NAFTA was passed two decades ago, its boosters promised it would bring "first world" status for the Mexican people.  Instead, it prompted a great migration north.

    Rufino Domínguez, the former coordinator of the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations, who now heads the Oaxacan Institute for Attention to Migrants, estimates that there are about 500,000 indigenous people from Oaxaca living in the U.S., 300,000 in California alone.1

    In Oaxaca, some towns have become depopulated, or are now made up of only communities of the very old and very young, where most working-age people have left to work in the north. Economic crises provoked by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other economic reforms are now uprooting and displacing these Mexicans in the country's most remote areas, where people still speak languages (such as Mixteco, Zapoteco and Triqui) that were old when Columbus arrived from Spain.2 "There are no jobs, and NAFTA forced the price of corn so low that it's not economically possible to plant a crop anymore," Dominguez says. "We come to the U.S. to work because we can't get a price for our product at home. There's no alternative."