Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, September 20, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, 2008 comes back for Hillary Clinton as her aid Sidney Blumenthal is exposed as the one whispering Barack Obama was born in Kenya, Barack meets with Hayder al-Abadi, Seth MacFarlane tries to tell America how to vote, and much more.

In 2000, even Democrats were outraged by the way Karl Rove smeared John McCain with lies (see Richard Gooding's "The Trashing of John McCain," VANITY FAIR).

Now it's learned that, in 2008, to help his longtime enabler Hillary Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal (a MEDIA MATTERS 'scholar') was spreading the lie that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

As Rebecca's  "things get worse for sidney blumenthal,"  Ruth's "Sidney Blumenthal spread lie that Pres. Obama was born in Kenya" and Kat's "Let's hope Sidney Blumenthal doesn't really beat his wife" note, former MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS DC bureau chief James Asher and Larry Johnson (NO QUARTER) have both come forward to insist that Blumenthal spread the lie to them while insisting it was true.

When will Hillary Clinton rebuke Blumenthal?

Or does she have no interest in healing the divisive wounds of campaign 2008?

The polls would suggest that she could use every vote she can get.

So why has she failed to rebuke Blumenthal?

Oh, that's right, she doesn't make mistakes.

Or, at least, won't admit to them until years and years after the fact.

Also living it up in the land of fantasy, Hayder al-Abadi and Barack Obama.  The two met at Lotte New York Palace Hotel -- as Mama Cass Elliot said at Monterey, "Shhh, no rumors."  The White House issued the following transcript:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Let me begin by just commenting on the events that have unfolded today. This morning, I talked about the fact that there was a person of interest that the FBI and law enforcement had identified with respect to the bombs that had been planted in the New York and New Jersey area. As everybody is now aware, that individual has been apprehended.
And I just want to start by commenting on the extraordinary work and coordination that's taken place between the FBI and local enforcement. For us to be able to apprehend a suspect in just a little over 24 hours after an event takes place like this, it is outstanding police work, outstanding law enforcement work.
I, in particular, want to give a heartfelt thanks to the New Jersey police officers who were able to apprehend this individual. I had a chance to talk to them briefly before I came down to my meetings here. They are going to be fine. They have sustained some modest injuries, but ones that they'll rapidly recover from. They were in good spirits. And I communicated to them how appreciative the American people were, as well as people in the region. It's just one more reminder of the extraordinary skill and sacrifice and courage of our law enforcement officers and what they put on the line every single day to make sure that we are safe.
Beyond that, obviously information is still unfolding about what might have motivated the suspect. I'm going to leave it to the FBI and local law enforcement authorities to discuss those details with you. I will also comment on the fact that, with respect to the Minnesota stabbings that occurred, I had a chance to talk to the off-duty police officer there who undoubtedly saved a lot of lives and prevented further injury because of his quick and effective action. And I told him that, once again, the American people were appreciative of his work and his heroism.
Now, one of the challenges that we face is -- in addition to being an open society in which individuals who are disturbed in some fashion can carry out violence against the American people -- the big danger we have right now is, is that we have an organization in ISIL that is actively trying to radicalize and promote extremism of this sort. In addition, they are directly carrying out and planning constant attacks not only overseas, but within Iraq and within Syria.
And so it is with great appreciation that I welcome Prime Minister Abadi here, along with his delegation. Thanks to the sacrifices of the Iraqi people and the Iraqi armed forces, since I last met with him face-to-face a year ago, we have significant progress in rolling back ISIL. They have now lost over half of the populated territory that they had gained and were still maintaining as recently as last year. And what we've seen now is just steady progress as the Iraqi security forces have gained more confidence as they have coordinated with the 67-member coalition against ISIL.
And now, what we have been discussing and what we're focusing on is to go right at the heart of the ISIL operations in Mosul. Now, this is going to be a challenging battle. Mosul is a large city, and ISIL has embedded itself deeply within that city. But because of the prepositioning of forces, because of the cooperation between the coalition and the Iraqi security forces, because of the cooperation and courage of the Kurdish Peshmerga, we feel confident that we will be in a position to move forward fairly rapidly.
Now, it will be a tough fight. And once it is initiated, one of the things that we discussed is the importance of not just driving ISIL out of Mosul but making sure that the population there that invariably is going to be displaced and will have suffered, and is going to be looking for warmth and food and water and shelter, that we are prepared to help provide rapid humanitarian assistance, and that we can rebuild the city in a way that assures not only ISIL does not come back, but extremist ideologies born out of desperation do not return.
And so a lot of our work today has been focused on making sure that that happens. I am very grateful that Prime Minister Abadi has consistently operated in a way that indicates his commitment to an inclusive Iraq that treats everybody fairly, respects human rights. And the work that we're doing with the Iraqi government will adhere to those principles, not just in the Mosul campaign, but beyond.
But this is going to be hard. This is going to be challenging and will require resources. We're going to be asking Congress to step up in support of this effort, and we're going to be asking other countries to step up in support of this effort.
And my thanks go out not only to the Iraqi forces that have borne the brunt of the progress that's been made inside of Iraq, as well as the Kurdish Peshmerga, but also obviously our outstanding men and women in uniform. Although they are not on the front lines of the fight and not involved directly in combat, it's still a dangerous area to operate. And I think Prime Minister Abadi would be the first to say that our men and women from all branches of our armed forces have operated with incredible effectiveness and courage in providing the training and the assistance that has allowed us to make these gains.
So, hopefully, by the end of this year, we will have seen further progress with respect to Mosul, and that we will continue to see further progress with respect to economic and political stabilization inside of Iraq.
Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your good work, and thank you to all the members of your team for the excellent work that they've done, as well.

PRIME MINISTER ABADI: Thank you, Mr. President. I think [the Islamic State] is a huge threat -- a terrorist threat to the whole world, not only for Iraq. Two years ago, we had been battling [the Islamic State] to take back Baghdad. Today, we are battling [the Islamic State] in the last stronghold in Mosul. And we hope within the next few months we're going to kick [the Islamic State] out of Mosul, and we'll deliver a huge blow to what [the Islamic State] believes in. This is very important to remove this terrorist organization and to crush it. It's a very dangerous organization. It has a very dangerous ideology. It has very dangerous instruments and means of recruiting young people. It has a huge influence in the Internet and other social media. So they must be crushed on the ground, and our heroic fighters are doing that.
Of course, the support which has been given to Iraqis by the United States and other coalition partners is very important for us in terms of training, logistical support, providing air cover to our fighters on the ground, and of course preventing [the Islamic State] from having more recruits and more financial support. This is very important. I think our next challenge is how we stop these terrorists from recruiting other young people from all over the world. I think we have listed something like 100 countries where these terrorists are coming from. Some of them are not probably disadvantaged; probably some of them are from middle-class families, some of them from families who are well off. So I think this a huge challenge for all of us -- how we can stamp out this terrorism, which is probably affecting the whole world, and not only for Iraq.
The damage in Iraq is huge due to [the Islamic State]. But the liberation of the areas, bringing refugees back to these liberated areas is a huge reward not only for these refugees, but for every one of us. This is my job, to bring all the Iraqis together, to treat all the Iraqis the same in Iraq. Now we don’t have first-class and second-class citizens in Iraq. All Iraqis are first-class citizens, regardless of their affiliation, regardless of their religion, regardless of their sect, regardless of their ethnic origin. We treat Iraqis the same. I hope everybody in Iraq will do the same.
There are new challenges in Iraq. [The Islamic State] has caused a lot of damage in the relationship between communities. They have killed Yezidis, they have killed Shia, they have killed Christians, they have killed Sunnis, as well. So they have even caused divisions between the same tribe in the same area. So it's a huge task, I think, on our shoulder.
We believe in reconciliation. Mr. President, I called for national reconciliation in the day after liberation of Fallujah. And I still believe in reconciliation of the country. People have to live together. But, of course, those who have committed crimes, they have to be punished. But we have to be very careful in bringing the law. We have to follow the rule of law. And we're entitled to do that. And I think we have been managing well in the areas which have been liberated. There are excesses, which are unacceptable to us. And we are prepared, and we have the resolve to stamp them out. And we are doing this exactly.

Thank you very much for the support that was given to Iraq. And Iraq, of course, is fighting on behalf of all the world to defeat [the Islamic State], and we will do it soon. Thank you.

Two dopes who should be tested for doping.

Hayder's done nothing.

Flapped his gums, that's about it.

Nouri al-Malki made it possible for the Islamic State to flourish in Iraq by persecuting Sunnis.  One of the things he'd done was bombed Falluja daily -- bombed the residential neighborhoods in Falluja.  Shortly after become prime minister, in September of 2016, Hayder held a press conference announcing these bombings -- legally defined War Crimes -- were stopping.

And the next day . . .

. . . the bombings . . .

. . . continued.

Hayder's a liar or someone everyone blows off.

And to speak of the 'courage' of the security forces?

Mosul's been held for over two years now.

Some courage.

And the Islamic State will not be defeated in Iraq -- or driven out -- until you stop the persecution of the Sunnis.

Stop that and the ISIL has every reason to go elsewhere.

To the US?

The US government will probably have to stop bombing Muslim countries to keep the Islamic State out.  In other words, they won't keep the Islamic State out because whether it's a Democrat or a Republican in the Oval Office, we keep seeing one Muslim country after another bombed.

But stopping the Islamic State does not appear to be the goal (certainly not with the US government using them in Syria and Libya).   And with no clearly defined goals, don't expect things to improve in Iraq.  Daniel L. Davis (POLITICO) observes:

Despite that fearful prospect, what concerned me most was is what Yassin said about what could happen after the liberation of Mosul. This is going to be a “coalition” offensive—but the coalition isn’t one of different countries. Everyone involved is Iraqi, but they consist of the fractious, mutually mistrustful constituents—Kurdish Peshmerga, Shia militias, the mixed-sectarian bag that is the Iraqi army—of a country that could still easily fall into civil war again after ISIS is defeated. Yassin said one of his major concerns is that binding political agreements won’t be in place prior to the fighting, and if there aren’t clearly articulated limits and responsibilities for each of the attacking forces, it’s not hard to imagine Sunni militias butting heads with Shia militias during the fighting, potentially coming to blows with each other.
The result could be an Aleppo-style quagmire.
And there is little in place right now to prevent that. Thanks to the continuing weakness and corruption of the Iraqi government, there is presently no central command authority for the operation to recapture Mosul. Thus, while optimistic press releases coming from U.S. military and government sources give the impression that the looming battle of Mosul “is the end game in Iraq,” the truth is far different. Rather than marking the end of the war in Iraq, the fall of Mosul— if it even happens—is likely to mark the beginning of the next nasty conflict.

Who is Josh Lederman?

Either AP's hiring comedy writers or Josh is the hardest worker in the bordello.

Monday morning, he insisted, "Increasingly, and not without irony, Iraq has become the bright spot in Obama's campaign against the Islamic State group, though profound challenges remain."

The War Crimes and persecution of the Sunni people apparently do not matter.

  1. Iraqi Sunni civilians burned tortured and killed by shia militias backed by Iran in IRAQ

It's a bright spot!

Of blood apparently.

He goes on to quote Ben Rhodes (Barack's deupty on national security) insisting, "We've always believed that progress on the battlefield needs to be accompanied by continued political progress among Iraq's different communities."

Have you always believed it, Ben?

Because the White House has bombed Iraq every day since August 2014.

But you've done nothing to make demands on the Iraqi government to become inclusive.

And with cash and weapons being handed over, the White House was in the position to make demands.

They were also in the position to infuse Iraq with a diplomatic surge but they chose not to do that as well.

Instead, they stood by as Sunnis were persecuted, targeted and slaughtered.

For AP, this is what 'success' looks like.

1 in 10 children is displaced in . They live in camps like this one near Fallujah.

Moving over to the topic of whistle-blower Ed Snowden, the film SNOWDEN is now in theaters.

  1. Immerse yourself in the captivating story of , with & , NOW PLAYING. Tix:
  2. . praises 's cinematic achievements in :
  3. Movie review: 'Snowden' is best Oliver Stone film in years
  4. Only could make this thriller. See , w/ & , NOW PLAYING.
  5. We reviewed Snowden: engrossing and masterfully told ★★★★★

The Oliver Stone directed film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Ed Snowden.  Ava and my piece at THIRD went up early this morning "MEDIA: Fred Kaplan and other Scurrilous Whores."

Two things.  1) Why is it up?  We're not waiting any longer.  We wrote this on Sunday and THIRD's still not ready to publish.  We need to note Ed in snapshots, we need this up now and THIRD's audience is more likely to go to the movies during the week than on the weekend so it needs to be up now. 2) We're not critiquing the film.  It's a good film, it's riveting, we say that in our piece.  But this is about media and it's about how films with messages that institutions don't like get attacked.

Amnesty International notes:

Edward Snowden is a hero not a traitor

He stood up for our rights, prompting a global debate on mass surveillance that changed the world – yet he faces decades in prison for it.

When Edward Snowden shared US intelligence documents with journalists in June 2013, he revealed the shocking extent of global mass surveillance. He showed how governments were secretly scooping up huge chunks of our personal communications, including private emails, phone locations, web histories and so much more. All without our consent.
His courage changed the world. He sparked a global debate, changing laws and helping to protect our privacy. Edward Snowden is a human rights hero, yet he faces decades in prison under charges that treat him like a spy who sold secrets to enemies of the USA.
Please sign our petition, which we have launched in partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Pardon Snowden campaign.

Tell President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden, a whistleblower who acted solely in the public interest. 

Dear President Obama
When Edward Snowden shared US intelligence documents with journalists in 2013, he did so because he believed that the government and citizens of his country – and the world – needed to confront the truth. That truth was the existence of a global mass surveillance system deployed by governments to spy on our personal communications, including private emails, phone locations, web histories and more.
In choosing to share this information, Edward Snowden prompted a global debate, changing laws and helping to protect our privacy. For the first time in nearly 40 years, the USA passed laws to restrict government surveillance. Globally, technology companies including Apple and WhatsApp, are now doing more to protect our personal information.

None of this would have happened without Edward Snowden. Former US Attorney General Eric Holder admitted that Snowden “performed a public service”. Even you, Mr President, have said that this debate about surveillance “will make us stronger”. And yet, Edward Snowden still faces decades in prison under laws that equate whistleblowing in the public interest with selling secrets to enemies of the USA.

I am confident that history will remember Edward Snowden for the reforms he helped bring about. But there is no need to wait for history’s judgement.
President Obama, I call on you to pardon Edward Snowden, a whistleblower who acted solely in the public interest. 

Sadly, not everyone's supporting Ed Snowden.

  1. So won a Pulitzer Prize for publishing info provided, but now they won't stand up for him?

Jill Stein does see Ed Snowden as a whistle-blower.  She's the Green Party's presidential candidate.

Remember: voting for "lesser evil" has gotten you the worst 2 candidates ever. Stop blaming people who are resisting this downward spiral.

Poor Seth.  It's exactly that kind of thinking that makes FAMILY GUY the longest running animated program on Fox never to win an Emmy.  Oh, well, it's only been on for 15 seasons -- maybe someday, eh, Seth?

If Hillary Clinton can't get enough votes, that's on her.

If she doesn't earn your vote, that's on her.

Your vote is no one's vote but your own.

You can vote or not vote.

If you vote, you can vote for whomever you want.

No one else owns your vote.

If the electoral college chooses to award the election to someone other than Hillary, that's on her.

And if Seth's so damn worried about voting, he should be calling for an amendment to abolish the electoral college.

You know why that call's not being made by the Republican and Democratic parties, right?  It lets them take states like California, New York and Texas for granted.  They don't have to run real campaigns.

We don't have one-person, one-vote in this country.  We vote in elections and then the electoral college votes for us.

Seth's not worried about that.

But he does want to lie and tell you a vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein is a vote for Donald Trump.

No, it's not.

A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for Donald Trump.

A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for Hillary Clinton.

A vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Jill Stein.

A vote for Gary Johnson is a vote for Gary Johnson.

A vote for Jerry White is a vote for Jerry White.

A vote for Gloria La Riva is a vote for Gloria La Riva.


When you leave the issue of legalizing pot, you leave the only political issue Seth understands.

Vote for who you want.

(Or don't vote.)

Just don't take marching orders from Seth.  He's so dated and boring that even the rumors that he's gay have died (not unlike his career -- Fox learned the hard way it couldn't build a night around Seth's programs).  And at some point, he will have to deal with the charges of racism.

If you are voting for Hillary, be proud of your vote.  But listen to someone like Cher.

Oct so busy😱Going back out 4 Hillary,Going 2Canada 2speak about our animal-rescue Charity. Then announcement,LA & Round-Table Discussion NY

Seth likes to pretend he's down with Hillary but no one twisted his arm into doing an episode of FAMILY GUY where he called Bill Clinton a pig f**ker, or have we all forgotten that?

That's about Seth's level when it comes to politics.

So if you're a proud Hillary supporter, good for you.  But listen to someone with a lot more wisdom -- Cher and not Seth.