Wednesday, May 17, 2017

They try distracting us while they screw us over

Joseph Kishore (WSWS) has a must read which opens:

With each passing day, it becomes increasingly evident that the political crisis gripping Washington involves a conflict between two reactionary factions of the ruling class and state apparatus.

The Trump administration poses a grave danger to the democratic and social rights of the working class. His administration, composed of oligarchs and generals, is seeking to establish a form of political dictatorship based on a presidency with unlimited powers. In terms of its social physiognomy, the Trump administration directly embodies the gangsterism that characterizes the corporate/financial aristocracy which rules America.

Trump’s opponents in the media and political establishment, headed up by the Democratic Party, represent another faction of the ruling elite. They are not raising a single progressive or democratic issue in their campaign against Trump. Their appeal is not to the working class, but to the military-intelligence apparatus, particularly the FBI, NSA and CIA. It has an unstated agenda, developed behind the scenes, and centered largely on foreign policy issues.

If their effort to bring Trump into line or remove him from office succeeds, it will only strengthen the position of the corporate-financial elite and the “deep state” of intelligence officials and generals. The main consequence will be to immediately shift foreign policy toward aggression against Russia, escalating the drive to world war and, bound up with this, social counterrevolution.

While this conflict unfolds in Washington, something else is taking place throughout the country, separate from and opposed to the bitter infighting in Washington. Far from sharing the desire for a confrontation with Russia, masses of people are hostile to war. It is not “Russian hacking” that is on their minds, but unemployment, inequality, the destruction of health care and pensions, indebtedness and other manifestations of a deepening social crisis.

What is happening in the real world of the vast majority of Americans?

Despite Democratic Party claims that the economy has never been better, and Trump’s demagogy about “making America great again,” workers face low wages, a declining standard of living and persistent unemployment. Nearly nine years after the 2008 economic meltdown, the real jobless rate is 8.6 percent, taking into account those who have stopped looking for work or are forced to work part-time. Job cuts are devastating both the retail sector (81,000 since the election of Trump) and manufacturing. On Tuesday, Ford announced it was cutting 10 percent of its global workforce, following thousands of layoffs at GM.

Wages are stagnant, growing at barely the official inflation level.

While the cat's away, the mice will play.

Mike was five or six when one of his uncles got a divorce.

The wife had been cheating on my brother-in-law.

It's not the sort of thing we would discuss in front of the children.

But one day when it was official and we were talking about it, Mike was sitting at a table off on the side coloring a Scooby Doo coloring book and, without looking up, just sighed and said, "Well when the cat's away, the mice will play."

It caused a lot of laughter but I bring it up because I think we can often instinctively know or feel that we're being wronged or robbed.

And I think that feeling is the reason for the discontent with both of the duopoly parties.

We're tired of being screwed over.

And we know it's taking place.

Even as the media and the corporations (which is the media, after all) work overtime to distract us.

From the end of Kishore's article, "For information on joining the Socialist Equality Party, click here."

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

Wednesday, April 17, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, time for a new SOFA, and much more.

Iraqi troops on the brink of recapturing Mosul from ISIS

On the brink.

It's day 210 of The Mosul Slog.

210 and they're "on the brink."

Finally "on the brink."

And what a huge 'success' it's been.

Hundreds of thousands who fled the fighting in have abandoned everything. They need help & protection:

"It’s a particularly important moment [to] keep Iraq on the radar screen."UNICEF Director of Emergency Ops . visits E Mosul.

The supposed point of finally moving to 'liberate' Mosul last October (the city was seized by the Islamic State in June of 2014) was to rescue the civilians.

That's really not been a concern to judge by what's taken place.

This also includes the Iraqi forces taking it upon themselves to decide who is ISIS and who is a civilian and who lives and dies.  Daniel Brown (BUSINESS INSIDER) reports:

ISIS fighters are sometimes executed at the front lines, while others are executed after being interrogated, a Mosul-based commander told Integrated Regional Information Networks, a nonprofit media site that focuses on conflict zones.
Extrajudicial killings of ISIS fighters have been emerging pretty much since the fight for Mosul began about seven months ago.

[. . .]
"[K]illing captured combatants or civilians is a war crime, as is the mutilation of corpses," Belkis Wille, Human Rights Watch's senior researcher in Iraq, told IRIN.

It is a War Crime.

Mohamed Walid and Serhad Shaker (ANADOLU AGENCY) report, a suicide bomber in Mosul today took his own life and the lives of 3 Iraqi soldiers, 2 Mosul car bombings left 4 police officers and 3 Iraqi soldiers dead and:

Meanwhile, 25 civilians were killed in a U.S.-led coalition raid in western Mosul, according to Iraqi officer Sadoun Fahd.

He said the airstrike targeted a group of Daesh militants in the city's western side. "The militants were preparing to carry out an attack against Iraqi forces in al-Refai district," he said.

He said nine women and three children were among the victims of the attack. 


The Mosul Slog continues with so little to show for it.

In the meantime, where's the reconciliation in Iraq?

See? I wasn't just making things up. Senior Iraqi Shia cleric holds views about Christians similar to ISIS

As we noted Saturday:

The Islamic State has been the most wonderful gift to empire and its whores in the western press.

It's allowed everyone to indulge in historical amnesia and pretend that, goodness, if it just weren't for the Islamic State, Iraq would be wonderful.

The Islamic State was never the problem.

It's a terrorist organization.

It could have been taken apart by the people.

But for that to happen, the reasons for its existence would have to be demolished.

Persecution in Iraq allowed it to rise.

Continued persecution in Iraq means it will continue or something similar will take its place.

And this should have been obvious to everyone.

For those who still can't see reality.

: Christian MPs condemn a speech by head of Shi'ite endowment says: Christians should either convert to Islam, pay Jizya or be killed.

ALSUMARIA reports that Alaa al-Moussawi, head of the Shi'ite Endowment, declared that Iraqi Christians could convert to Islam, pay or a tax or be murdered.

For those who've forgotten, these were the same terms the Islamic State gave to the citizens of Mosul when they took over the city in June 2014.

The Islamic State is a Sunni terrorist organization.

Repeating, Alaa al-Moussawi is Shi'ite.

Want to keep pretending the problem is the Islamic State?

Let's see how many more have to die before you wake up to the reality that the leaders (most installed by the US -- few chosen by Iraqis) have got to call for one-Iraq-for-all or the future is never ending violence in Iraq.

As this takes place, the KRG and US White House officials meet up.

PRESS RELEASE - KRG delegation led by meets tops White House officials

. - is an island of stability in tumultuous region, as result of our people & competent security services

Many details to firm up.

Apparently, these details also include a Status Of Forces Agreement.  Carlo Munoz and Dan Boylan (WASHINGTON TIMES) report:

With U.S. and Iraqi officials talking of the imminent defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq, President Trump faces a challenge to swing a deal that President Obama failed to nail down: an agreement with Baghdad to keep U.S. forces in Iraq after the fighting ends.
Negotiations between Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and U.S. officials in Baghdad on a new status of forces agreement began in earnest this month, senior U.S. officials said. The deal would outline the legal and diplomatic parameters underpinning a long-term U.S. military presence in the country, and avoid the power vacuum that critics say developed after American forces pulled out in December 2011.
The issue is sensitive in Iraq, and Mr. al-Abadi this month insisted that there would be no “combat troops” in Iraq once the Islamic State is defeated, even though both sides said talks on the long-term role of the U.S. military in the country continue. An official who traveled to Baghdad with Defense SecrNetary James Mattis recently said “nothing has been finalized.”

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