Saturday, May 10, 2014

I Hate The War

I do love my helpers.

They've always been so kind.

The big-name blogger, for instance, who spent most of 2005 explaining to me in e-mails how I needed to lay off abortion because it wasn't an issue that matter "anymore" and there were "real" things people needed to focus on.

As with most of his 'wise' advice, I threw it in the trash.

We're a pro-choice site and I'm not 8-years-old.

I've seen the Democratic Party try to run from abortion before, I've seen it rush to ignore women completely -- that was what 1988 was about -- all of it.

I love Gary Hart.  He's a nice guy and very smart.  I've known him for years.

But he was brought down in part because of the party's attempt to run from women.

Every candidate has a book that they supposedly write.  Gary actually wrote his -- he's a writer and a very talented one.

Bill Clinton survived sex scandals while running for the presidency (and after getting into the White House) and did so because it was personal.


Bill Clinton had a public record on women.  He had campaign books that had sections on women.

Gary Hart is not a predator, he's a nice person.

But when his scandal hit, he folded.  There was nothing he could point to.

He was a married man, running for president, on a yacht with a woman sitting in his lap.

The DNC thought much like the RNC -- oh, he's gorgeous, that's all he has to be.  Women will vote for him because he's gorgeous.

It was hilarious to hear DNC party types, in the summer of 1988, mock the GOP honchos for saying and thinking Dan Quayle would pull in women voters because he was good looking.

It was hilarious because part of their attack on that was their own sour grapes that it hadn't come to be for Gary Hart.

Had Hart gotten the nomination in 1988, he could have defeated Bush.  He's got amazing verbal skills and amazing analytical skills and would have shined in the debates.

But Hart was destroyed by the 1988 scandal.

It's fair to point out that Hart had no example to analyze.  His was the first time the press climbed over the wall they'd created for insider politicians when it came to sex.

Bill did benefit from seeing what had happened.

And Bill's a natural politician.  He can win over people not just because he's got charm but because he knows how to listen.  Too many politicians don't know how to and they think communication is raising your voice or repeating the same thing over and over.

But with Hart, the takeaway was, "Good looking politician who uses women."

He became a predator in the press.  That's also true because the press was finally climbing that wall and whomever was their first target would be nailed with all the frustration and self-hatred they carried for every story (sexual or otherwise) about a politician that they'd covered up over the years.

Bill valued women voters.

Bill campaigned to them, Bill campaigned for them.

And before some stupid ass says, "Yeah, to get in their panties," Bill's sex life is probably better known than any politicians and there's no allegation of him ever using the campaign as a way to meet women and pick them up.

Bill cared about women.  He was a sea of change politician.  He had a strong and remarkable mother and he had the good sense and luck to have grown up realizing that.

So he never saw women as a chore or something to be palmed off to someone else on the ticket or to his wife.

Hillary -- in the 60 Minutes appearance, for example -- was important to saying let's focus on real issues.  But if Bill's record (political record) had been like Gary's at this point, Bill would have struggled in 1992.

Instead, the gender quake election saw Bill benefiting from a changed electorate.

It's been really hard for a segment of Dems to grasp the changing landscape.

Take another blogger, an interesting-times blogger (that's your hint, long time community members will know who I'm referring to here).  The answer, after the 2004 presidential loss, was to walk away from women and abortion and anything to do with women i-t posted online.

That was sheer stupidity and he's a stupid, stupid man.

I felt that way before he tried to 'correct me.'

Brief backstory.  He not only called for that, he insulted a friend of mine in his post.  He implied that she was too stupid to know politics and needed to shut up.  Her crime?  Being part of a group of Democrats who supported reproductive rights.

Creep (who no longer blogs -- proof of divine providence?) and the blogger I was referring to earlier felt the need to offer unwanted and unrequested tutorials.

Women were destroying the Democratic Party.  The party needed to find core issues and stop trying to please "women and Blacks."  Well I guess I should give the two men credit for typing "women" and not "girls."

Both men, of course, would blog their support -- to the point of online groping -- for bi-racial Barack Obama.

And that was hilarious considering their e-mails -- which I still have -- which were nothing but 'various constituencies better learn their place beneath the White man.'

So one of them, the one who still blogs, shows up this week with a few others.  I'm not sure what to make of the circle jerk's new and refound concern for this website?

But I'm blowing it.

That's what they tell me.

All I did this week was blog about abortion.  And that's a dead issue, they tell me.  And it runs off readers.

"You're really at risk of losing any hits," big blogger warns me.

I do love all the 'help' -- faux that it is.

It's not like they've ever linked to me, for example.

It's also not like they ever known anything as basic as a fact.

Abortion only came up once last week.

Once was enough to set them off and convince them that it was non-stop.

Not only did they have their numbers wrong, I also didn't write about it.  It was a press release from the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Martha and Shirley love idiots like this so they engaged in e-mails with these blogger boyz.

(If you're late to the party, a number of people help out with the public e-mail account including Martha and Shirley. I don't have time to respond myself.)

They tried to argue with Martha and Shirley but confronted (repeatedly) with the facts, they all fell silent except for big blogger.

I'm quoting a sentence from him, "That doesn't change that she is blowing it.  She's become a TV website and no one will take her seriously."

Except you, right?

You wrote 17 e-mails throughout the week to this website.

That seems to indicate -- as do your attempts to control what I write -- a level of fear and a level of seriousness.

We've covered TV here forever.  Before Huffington Post came along, we would do an entry every week, for example, noting the Sunday Chat and Chews.  It was so rare back then that we heard from the producers of two of the shows in e-mails.

(And one of them made a point to correct an error on their website.  Thank you for that.)

HuffPost came along and started doing that which was fine with me because we had other things to focus on.

In the snapshots, I've noted many programs.  When Iraq got noted on a scripted show, we covered it.

So the idea that TV is new here?

Or that writing about TV would harm this site?

Is big blogger even aware that, since 2005, every week since 2005, Ava and I have written a commentary on TV at The Third Estate Sunday Review?

Some weeks it's been two TV articles there, some weeks it's been three.

It's not harmed this site.  It's actually led to more visitors to this site.

Martha and Shirley (after getting the numbers from Jim) e-mailed Big Blogger to let him know the stats on Ava and my top ten most viewed pieces at Third.  It's not harmed this site one bit.

To which he then replied that he really meant the TV pieces by others.  Excuse me, by women.

Here's the week's entries up to this one:

Mike and Stan are not women.

They were reposted.

Not complaining, a number of people have written about the reposts.  That's visitors and community members.  They were wondering about it.

There are two things.

The first is, back in 2008 and 2009, I tried to sell everyone on one site.  It didn't have to be this one, it could be someone else's or a new site we created.  But we'd do one site and with all of us that would mean new content throughout each day.

It would be sort of like what Corrente had been before 2008, when it had multiple pieces going up by multiple authors.

I wanted that because it would allow me to do a lot less and because I don't like my voice being so prominent.  I'd rather be the aside.

That didn't sell.  Which is too bad because if I weren't responsible for posting something up here every day, I might not be so eager to shut this site down.  (No day off since it started.)

Second, I like other voices.

Because Rebecca asked for it, we highlight David Swanson now.  We also highlight David DeGraw, David Bacon, Francis A. Boyle and others.

And those are other voices and that's good.

But where's my promotion of this community that I'm a part of and also why aren't there women asking to have their stuff highlighted?

We did note a lot of TV this week because this community covers a lot of TV.  And because a lot of shows were winding down with finales.  And because a lot of shows were going to be renewed or cancelled.

But we highlighted strong posts from the community.

And, despite the alarm of 'caring men' who blog, our numbers didn't fall.  They increased.  As I knew they would.

Every community site carries the daily Iraq snapshot.  They do that at Keesha's request.  When the community kept pressuring for more Iraq coverage -- as other sites walked away from the topic -- I came up with the snapshot which grew and grew and grew to nightmarish proportions.  When it started, Keesha raised the issue (in the gina & krista round-robin) of reposting it.

She argued that if all the community sites reposted, then Iraq got attention.  The other sites didn't even have to write about Iraq if they'd just repost the snapshot to amplify the attention to Iraq.

Rebecca, who made her money in p.r., knows a great deal.  And she knows how to attract readers.  And she was the first to offer and prove that writing about television would bring a greater number of eyeballs to her site.

So finding a topic other than Iraq and reposting the snapshot was a way to reach even more people who otherwise wouldn't know anything was going on in Iraq because the country fell off the media radar.

Reposting them this week?  It was a no brainer.  The elections took place last week and already the press was drying up on the topic of Iraq.

Reposting some of the community TV coverage would bring new eyeballs to this site.  And did.

It also allowed me to support the community because there are people who didn't know what other sites had.  I'm not talking about community members, I'm talking about readers and drive bys.

This community is pro-woman and I'm a feminist.  And the reposting -- which wasn't just TV -- also allowed us to have a better number of women represented.

In case you're late to the party, this is a list of the community sites:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

In 2004, when this site started, there weren't a lot of women doing sites that addressed anything political.  I'm very proud of the community that we have built and that there are so many great voices, strong voices, women and men.  But I'm especially glad that so many women have stepped forward and started their own websites (and I'm also thrilled with the community newsletters).

What happened this week?  It's what's going to happen from now on.

I was less worried about highlighting Wally and Cedric because I sometimes join them in a joint-post and that goes up here as well when that happens.

We've always said more voices not less.  That's the key.

And, no offense to the people highlighted prior to this week, I'm just not in the mood to be the minority voice at this site.  Kat will have three reviews going up by Monday -- three album reviews here.  I'm thrilled.  But I'm not so thrilled about the fact that day after day, there's this man and that man at the site I started and -- unless I've found a woman at Workers World -- I'm the only woman.

So we'll be supporting the community and since the community includes so many women, it will also allow a better balance to come back to this site.  No offense to the Davids or Francis, but I did not create a site, I did not give up so much time, so that it could be overtaken by men.

With the exception of their ObamaCare press releases, we've noted everything the Feminist Majority Foundation has ever asked for.  And we'll continue to.

But where are the other women.

David Swanson's writing important pieces -- the few times I've caught his radio show, he's had important discussions.  (The few times?  I cover TV with Ava.  I watch a ton of programs and read a ton of scripts every week.  I am sick with all the crap from the serial cheater's upcoming show.  And trying to decide whether to cover that awful show because I'd be doing so in part because that asshole destroyed a friend of mine.  Anyway, point being, I don't have a lot of time.) He's also comeback from the abyss when too many of us on the left are eager to slam ourselves against the rocks and die whoring.

Francis is "controversial."  A friend at The Nation, about six weeks ago, told me I "really" needed to stop highlighting Francis A. Boyle.  He's just too "controversial."

Good.  We've always courted controversy.

I don't think he's controversial at all, though.  I think he's telling some truths that we'd be embracing if a Republican was in the White House.  But because it's a Democrat, we say Francis is "controversial."  Just like Seymour Hersh has gone from applauded investigative journalist to a man who can't be published in the US and who is slammed by various partisan whores on the left.

David DeGraw is killing himself to get attention to Occupy and to help it rebuild.

As someone who puts so much time into trying to get attention for Iraq, I know the struggle.  More than I admire Occupy, I admire DeGraw's efforts.

We've always noted David Bacon, as far back as 2005 at least.  David is the last of labor reporters we'll probably see.  He does great work on that and on immigration.  And he keeps his head down with regards to whatever the 'hot topic' of the week is supposed to be on the left. He stays focused on his mission.

So there's no reason not to highlight the Davids and Francis.

But there needs to be more women because I did not create a site and pour so much time into it for it to become like every outlet on the left:  More men than women.

Elaine and Trina outraged Blogger Boy.  In his final e-mail, he trashed them.

How come?

See, it's never what these bossy sexist say it is.  They lie, they whore, they spin.

It usually boils down to the fact that some woman refused to be controlled by a man.

Elaine and Trina's posts that were reposted here?

Neither had a thing to do with TV.

They were weighing in on the Lois Lerner contempt citation.

That's what Blogger Boy found threatening.

Regardless of whether it's posts like that or TV or music or whatever, what happened this week will continue.  I want more voices up here and I don't want this site to suffer from The Deanna Durbin Syndrome (100 Men and a Girl).

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.

The e-mail address for this site is

The blood letting (Dracula and more cancelled) (Ruth)

Ruth here, reposting my piece from my site.  Hope you enjoy.

The blood letting (Dracula and more cancelled)

This has not been a good week for TV viewers.  I was waiting to blog to find out about one show.  Now I have and I am sad. 

First though, Marcia covers Revolution and it is cancelled ("Unforgettable and Revolution" -- Unforgettable fans, don't panic, Marcia's also noting its latest episode, it has not been cancelled), Rebecca covers Community and it is cancelled ("the end of community"), Mike covers Dracula and The Tomorrow People both of which were cancelled, and Betty covered Star-Crossed and Dracula which was cancelled.

Those are not the only shows that were cancelled since Thursday.  Crisis and Believe were cancelled, Growing Up Fischer was cancelled, Betty noted the cancellations of "The Neighbors, Suburgatory, Super Fun Night," Surviving Jack, Rake, Enlisted, Almost Human, The Carrie Diaries, Trophy Wife, Mixology, Friends With Better Lives, The Crazy Ones, and Bad Teacher were all announced cancelled this week.

That is 21 shows and there were actually more cancellations this week.  22 -- looking at what I have listed, I see I forgot Hostages.

As the blood letting was taking place today, Mike posted "Dracula, second season or not?" and I felt really bad because (a) that was a good show (Ann also liked that show) and (b) I had the feeling it was going to be cancelled.  I knew its ratings were actually better than Hannibal but I knew Hannibal would be renewed (and it was).

It is nothing but gore, it is the glorification of serial killers and violence.  It has nothing to redeem it and I would call it porn (The Following is soft porn).  I think the impact that Hannibal will have on society will be negative and violent.

So I knew a network like NBC would rush to renew it because NBC is pure garbage.

But I thought I would wait to blog after NBC cancelled Dracula.  I see Trina had the same thought "Grilled Cabbage Wedges in the Kitchen" and I called her when the news came down.  Trina's Mike's mom so she was sad for him but she was also kind of surprised.  She said, "I really thought the show had survived as this morning turned to this afternoon and still no news."

If your show was Dracula or any cancelled, I am sorry for you.

I have so been there so many times.

The New Adventures of Old Christine.

I will never, ever forgive CBS for cancelling that show.

It was hilarious.  It was funny.  It was pro-woman.  There was nothing else like it on TV and that remains true to this day.

Kari Lizer, you created a hilarious show that only got better with each season.  Your show touched a lot of lives.  The humor made my life better on a few weeks when my family was dealing with things.  And no matter how bad things might be, I always knew Christine (Christines! -- old and new!) would make me laugh for 30 minutes and do so in a way that did not insult me.

I do not watch Veep.  It is a man's show.  I look at Julia in a different way now because she has chosen to abandon women and be a puppet for men.  I also note that while The New Adventures of Old Christine featured strong African-American actors (the brilliant Wanda Sykes whose addition to the cast took the show to a new level and Blair Underwood as the dream date Mr. Harris, the Cary Grant of TV), Veep really only has a token character that is really written like a 1970s TV stereotype.

The show is so White.  But it is on HBO and from the 'left' so we are not supposed to ever notice that or point out that a show in D.C. should have a significant number of characters played by people of color.  Some choose to miss that, some miss it by accident.

What you cannot miss is how it is not about a woman and it is nothing but a man's view of the world.

Yes, I know after Ava and C.I. publicly criticized Julia ("TV: Feminism is telling painful truths"), it stung and she finally demanded that her TV show hire women writers.  It took Ava and C.I. publicly pointing that out, that the show had aired two seasons and not one episode was written by a woman.  Even now, in its third season, Julia's show has had no female director.

Clearly, the pro-woman parts of The New Adventures of Old Christine were Kari Lizer. 

Again, my praise to Ms. Lizer.

I have not really been into blogging about TV shows since CBS cancelled a hit show and did so due to sexism. 

This summer, Stan and I will return to covering ABC's Mistresses. That is a summer show.  I have watched Alyssa Milano grow up on TV -- the whole country has.  From little Samantha on  Who's The Boss, to the young scamp on Melrose Place, to the wonderful Phoebe on Charmed.  So Stan and I decided last summer that we would blog about Ms. Milano's new show.  If you missed the show last summer, I hope you will check it out this summer.

For those of you who were rooting for a show to return and it is returning?

My apologies to you.


Elaine covered Smash and she loved the first season only to find NBC screw the show up in season two.  NBC also screwed up Up All Night in season two.  Remember that?

A hilarious show revolving around Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph became so deeply sexist that both women lost their jobs at the start of season two.  This allowed them to be stay-at-home-Moms!  Only Maya's Ava did not have any children.

A strong show about women's friendships became a show about how balding and vain Will Arnett gets a new job -- not returns to being an attorney.  That would be too 'girly.'  No, he had to be a 'manly' fey man who starts a contracting business.

They destroyed that show and destroyed it in the most sexist way.

Ava went from talk show host, author and life coach to a nut job who needed to hold garage sales because she could not get work.  While Christina went from producer of a talk show to struggling Mommy who was too stupid to know how to raise her own daughter. 

We generally saw this crap at the end of a film -- see Katharine Hepburn fall apart in Woman of the Year, for example -- but season two of Up All Night was all about destroying women.

And to really drive that point home, they brought in that disgusting Luka Jones who needed a bath and a shave but never got either as he nut scratched his way through attempts to help the fey Mr. Arnett discover manhood.

Mr. Arnett discovered it enough to realize he could find success in a show about what a castrating bitch mothers are -- that is all The Millers is. 

Lifetime did not screw up The Client List in season two.  That was all Jennifer Love Hewitt who seemed to think that because she loved an actor offscreen she could inflict him on viewers of her show and we would say, "Okay, you're sleeping with him!  That changes everything!   We will immediately stop hissing and booing him -- as the scripts have called for -- and fall in love with him just because, in real life, he's slipping you a little dick."

So if the network does not destroy your favorite show, the star of it may.

I do not know.

It has been a rough week for many.

(And thank you to Ann and to C.I. who read over three drafts of this and made comments and C.I. who said, "I won't let you not use your 'slipping you a little dick' line -- it's hilarious and part of the context of your whole piece."  Ann backed that up and pointed to multiple examples in the above and said, "Ruth, don't weaken this in editing!")

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

Friday, May 9, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri tries to storm Falluja and fails, a US general is supposed to visit Iraq next week to talk about US forces and weapons, there's a call for the Iraqi elections to be declared fraudulent, and much more.

December 2011 saw the drawdown in Iraq.  The Pentagon used the term and only that term.  The media ran with "withdrawal."  All US troops never left.  Some were transitioned to Kuwait -- where thousands remain.  Some stayed in the country.  Ted Koppell was reporting on this -- for NBC News and NPR -- in December 2011 but it was apparently too much for most to handle.

While thousands remained inside Iraq -- those who would be 'trainers' on weapons purchases, CIA, FBI, Special-Ops, etc -- there's been movement on bringing more in -- in fact more have come but that's been too much for a whorish 'progressive' community to handle, cope with or even recognize.

Let's drop back to yesterday's snapshot for the following:

Gordon Lubold has long covered the Iraq War -- including for the Christian Science Monitor.  He has a post with disturbing news at Foreign Policy -- on the discussions of sending (more) US troops into Iraq:

But the nature of the fight the Maliki government confronts in western Iraq is such that officials say Baghdad is looking not only for better reconnaissance and surveillance capability, but also for more robust, lethal platforms. Iraq has been unwilling to accept American military personnel in the country in any operational form, but the willingness to revisit that policy appears now to be shifting. A spokesman for the Iraqi Embassy declined to comment on the issue of allowing American military personnel into the country to conduct drone operations, but acknowledged that the U.S. and Iraq share a "common enemy" in al Qaeda.
"Iraq's view is that all available tools must be utilized to defeat this threat, and we welcome America's help in enhancing the capabilities we are able to bring to bear," the spokesman said.  

You need to put that with other news because Lubold isn't smart enough to.  There's the fact that all US troops never left Iraq.  There's the fact that Barack sent a brigade of Special-Ops in during the fall of 2012. Tim Arango (New York Times) reported, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."  And let's include the news from the April 25th snapshot:

Mark Hosenball, Warren Strobel, Phil Stewart, Ned Parker, Jason Szep and Ross Colvin (Reuters) report, "The United States is quietly expanding the number of intelligence officers in Iraq and holding urgent meetings in Washington and Baghdad to find ways to counter growing violence by Islamic militants, U.S. government sources said."  It was 1961 when US President John F. Kennedy sent 1364 "advisors" into Vietnam.  The next year, the number was just short of 10,000.  In 1963, the number hit 15,500.  You remember how this ends, right?

If we're all up to speed, at today's State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Jen Psaki, the issue of Iraq came up.

QUESTION: Talking about the drones, Foreign Policy has reported today that Iraqi Government is actively seeking armed drones from the U.S. to combat al-Qaida in Anbar, and it would welcome American military drone operators back in the country to target those militants. Are you in discussions with the Iraqi about having American troops going back to Iraq with the drones?

MS. PSAKI: We are – we have seen, of course, this report. It does not reflect discussions we are having with the Government of Iraq. We are not in discussion with the Iraqi Government about the use of armed, unmanned aerial systems, nor are we considering such options. So it sounds like they need some better sources on that one.

QUESTION: Are you ready to discuss this option in case the Government of Iraq asked for?

MS. PSAKI: We’re not in discussion with it, so I’m not going to – about it, and I’m not going to predict or answer a hypothetical.

QUESTION: Is the U.S. discussing the return of any troops to Iraq to help with its ongoing security challenges?

MS. PSAKI: You’re familiar with the steps we’ve taken. That’s what we’re continuing to implement. As you know, we remain deeply concerned about the increased levels of violence in Iraq and the situation in Anbar. Our assistance has not been limited to the security sphere; we’ve worked on a consistent basis to develop a holistic approach and – with a focus on recruiting local tribal fighters, insuring resources are reaching areas that need them.
We also acknowledge that Iraq will not succeed unless its security forces are well supplied, trained, and equipped. And as you know in here, because we’ve talked about it a bit, we’ve also provided additional assistance, including the delivery of 300 Hellfire missiles, thousands of rounds of tank ammunition, helicopter-fired rockets, machine guns, grenades, flares, sniper rifles, M-16s and M-4 rifles. We also delivered additional Bell IA-407 helicopters late last year, and 10 ScanEagle surveillance platforms. So obviously, our assistance is expansive. I don’t have anything else to predict for you about the future, but that’s not something we’re considering, no.

QUESTION: Has the U.S. expedited the delivery of F-16 to Iraq?

MS. PSAKI: We have talked about that a little bit in here in the past. I don’t think I have any additional specific update for you today.

Who's doing this talking?  One person is said to be gearing up for talks.  Dar Addustour reports that US Gen Lloyd Austin is expected to visit Iraq next week and meet with Nouri to discuss weapons and US forces.

The article also notes Stuart Jones.  The White House has yet to announce US Ambassador to Iraq Robert S. Beecroft is going to become the new Ambassador to Egypt.  That has been reported and Laura Rozen was the first on it (weeks ago) and it's pretty much a given.  Stuart Jones is who Barack would like to replace Beecroft with.

Some in the Iraqi press are confused on this and I don't mean that as a slam.  There are many process issues I get wrong on Iraq and people kindly call and e-mail to let me know that.  US President Barack Obama may name Stuart Jones as the nominee for US Ambassador to Iraq.  That doesn't mean Jones becomes it.  Just as Nouri can only nominate people to serve in his Cabinet and requires Parliament to actually make someone a Cabinet Minister, Barack requires the US Senate's support.  They did not give it -- and would not -- to Brett McGurk which is why Barack had to find a different nominee (Beecroft).  All Iraq News offers a bio of Stuart Jones here.

Kitabat reports the proposed nomination comes a dangerous time for Iraq, when people speak of civil war as a real possibility in Iraq's near future and reminds that in their last meeting (November 1, 2013), Barack told Nouri al-Maliki that Iraq needed the participation of all the blocs in the decision-making process and that the attempts to marginalize the Sunnis and the Kurds needed to cease.

Wednesday, April 30th, Iraqis voted in parliamentary elections. "For the first time, the Iraqis utilized an electronic voting system," Iraq's Ambassador to the US Lukman Faily in a NCUSAR podcast.

He also bragged, "There was not a single security incident in Baghdad."  Why would there be?  Not only were the usual checkpoints maintained, additionals ones were added in Baghdad.  Traffic was banned.  Stores were forced to close.  Baghdad was a ghost town.

That there were no security incidents there?

Why are you bragging?

And why are you boasting of Baghdad?

Baghdad isn't Iraq.  It's just where the failed leaders hide out.

Across Iraq on election day?  Let's go Iraq Body Count:

Wednesday 30 April: 22 killed

Khanaqin: 3 killed by suicide bomber at polling station.
Baiji: 5 by suicide bombers.
Dibis: 4 by IEDs.
Falluja: 2 by shelling.
Muqdadiya: 3 by IED.
Udheim: 2 by IED.
Ramadi: 3 by mortars. 

Is Lukman the Ambassador of Baghdad or is he supposed to represent the country of Iraq?

If it's Iraq, he damn well should have -- but didn't -- note what happened throughout the country.

But, hey, he's a puppet from thug Nouri's party so it's not like we can expect anything but propaganda from him.

Ahead of the elections, Ayad Allawi Tweeted the following:

It's 10 days since the elections and people continue to wait for the results.  The Financial Times of London's correspondent Borzou Daragahi Tweeted the following this week:

election commission says 20% of ballots counted so far; at this rate, two weeks before fully counted 

Supposedly, the Independent High Electoral Commission will announce results May 25th (though they've noted the vast amount of complaints regarding irregularities and alleged violations could push the announcement back).  We're not interested in covering leaks or alleged leaks on vote totals.  The leaks of 2010?  They were false.  There's no reason to believe that the leaks four years later aren't false as well.

For those who just can't seem to let these illusions go, we'll note Ned Parker's Tweet from earlier this week (Ned Parker is now with Reuters):

  • False is also supposed to be rumors that Nouri al-Maliki has made a secret visit to Tehran to plead with Iranian officials for them to back him for a third term as Iraq's prime minister.  Trend News Agency quotes Iran's Deputy Foriegn Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian stating, "Mr. Maliki . . . is the highest-ranking official in Iraq.  His visits to the Islamic Republic of Iran have always been official and public.  No confidential visit has been made to Tehran by Mr. Maliki and any [future] visit will take place within official and legal framework."

    Kitabat reports that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi met with US Ambassador to Iraq Robert Stephen Beecroft today in Baghdad and complained about what is being seen as fraudlent ballot boxes.  The two are said to have discussed the large number of reported violations and that some voting centers did not open their doors.  (On the latter, there have been reports that voting centers in Sunni majority districts turned away all voters for over half the day -- often with the orders coming from Nouri's military -- and when this was reported to the IHEC, the centers that were supposed to open in the morning managed to open by mid-day. al-Nujaifi has been among those making that complaint publicly so it is likely that he would bring that issue up to Beecroft in a face-to-face.)  Struan Stevenson is the President of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq and he writes at The Hill about the elections:

    Now Ayad Allawi, leader of al Iraqiya, has said that 2 million ballot papers are missing, raising deep suspicions that major electoral fraud has taken place. News that all Iraqi police and army personnel were issued with two ballot papers each, one in their camps and the other sent to their homes, has compounded fears that the election was rigged.
    [. . .]
    The UN, US and EU should intervene and declare that this was not a free and fair election. They must not stand back and wash their hands of this affair. The people of Iraq have suffered enough. They need a democratic election that will provide them with a government that can restore freedom, democracy, justice, human rights and women's rights to Iraq. Four more years of corrupt dictatorship by Maliki will be in no-one's interest.

    May 2nd, Kurdish News Network carried accounts of fraud in the voting in northern Iraq.  We'll note journalist Muhammed A. Ahmed and elections observer Chya Khdir's comments:

    “I was attacked by a group of PUK supporters who were in a public uniform and stood in front of Gojar School polling station in Ranya. I had the official IHEC badge and was officially allowed to cover the voting process for Iraq Oil Report, a leading foreign organization that provides business, political and security news and analysis on Iraq‌." Muhammed A. Ahmed, a freelance journalist who covered the elections for Iraq Oil Report.
    “I took my camera out to take a picture of the school when I heard someone say, "take him; he is recording." Around 30 to 40 people came to me and violently grabbed my camera. One of them had a knife. Many of them were recognized PUK intelligence members and Peshmarga. Asaysh intervened. However, instead of detaining these people who were unlawfully stood there to threaten people, Asaysh detained me and deleted my photos.” Ahmed charged. 
    “We were taking food and drink to the staff and observers but the PUK forces hit my head with a revolver,” a Gorran‌'s observer who is badly wounded told KNNC correspondent on the scene. 
    “We as the observers of the political entities having been allowed officially by the IHEC, took food and drink to the staff and workers, but the PUK forces wearing casual clothes harassed and attacked us” Chya Khdir, observer of the election, told KNNC. 

    Iraq Times reports MP Hussein Sharifi, with the Sadr bloc, declared again today that the Sadr position is no on a third term as prime minister for Nouri al-Maliki.  State of Law is Nouri's coalition.  Iraq Times reports State of Law MP Ihsan al-Awadi insisted today that State of Law will not allow Speaker of Parliament al-Nujaifi to hold any position in the next government.

    Mohammed Sabah (Al Mada) reports that the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq Ammar al-Hakim met today with cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr and how they state that the prime minister is not shielded from the rule of law and that they oppose Nouri being given a third term.  They dismiss Nouri's claims of forming a government and note that no one bloc or party is expected to have won enough seats in the Parliament to form a government on its own so Iraq will need a power-sharing government and the prime minister will be selected by Shi'ites, by Sunnis and by Kurds.  Mushreq Abbas (Al-Monitor) explains that "the movements of Sadr and Hakim have been clearly trying, since the provincial elections in 2013, to find a balance among the Shiite forces’ alliance to face Maliki’s rise that is happening at their expense in the Shiite street."  And Hamza Mustafa (Asharq Al-Awsat) adds, "Both the Sadrist Movement and the ISCI were highly critical of the prime minister during his second term in office, particularly over his security record. They are now trying to block the coalition endorsing his premiership."

    Dar Addustour columnist As Sheikh notes today his belief that beyond this discussion and others, the need is for Iraq to build and become a nation of citizens.

    Imran Khan (Al Jazeera) offers today:

    By 2006 the SCIRI had morphed into ISCI and then Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim died ‎of cancer in 2009. Ammar al-Hakim took on the leadership of ISCI and a new chapter was born. Hakim the younger had seen the influence of the party wane and sought to reverse that trend. He reached out to all political players and began to change the image of ISCI and build alliances with other religious Shia groups, including traditional rivals like the Sadrists led by cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
    In many ways Hakim has the perfect credentials. He has a religious law background and studied in seminaries in Iran where he became a Sayyid or cleric. It's a powerful title which gives him religious authority. He's also from a well-known family. Generations of Hakims have been involved in politics and religion.
    Hakim also has an almost mythical status among his supporters. ‎One Iraqi I asked, Mahmoud, who lives in Baghdad, said: "Hakim is a man who commands respect. He isn't a dirty politician, he is a man of God and he shows us the right path for Iraq. He is our bridge, our guiding light."
    Hakim's style of leadership is also winning him support in the international arena. One Western diplomatic source said: "Hakim is inclusive. He reached out to the youth, to women and that's impressed us. He isn't just talk."
    Others agree. I asked one European diplomat what her embassy thought of Hakim. "We love him" was her reply. Clearly it was meant as a light-hearted comment but in all seriousness it's very difficult to find open critics of Hakim who aren't political rivals or driven by sectarian rage.
    Hakim is a smart operator and under his leadership he has rebuilt ISCI into a very influential and powerful organisation. Before last month's elections he launched the citizen coalition with a simple and clear message that Iraq needs reform, both country-wide and throughout government. Many politicians flocked to his call and his bloc is very powerful. So then, why is this young, charismatic and well respected ‎man not the leader of Iraq?

    Nouri al-Maliki's four months of killing civilians in Falluja in what is collective punishment (a legally defined War Crime) gets far less attention.  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) notes the assault today increased as Nouri attempts to 'retake' Falluja (when was Nouri ever in charge of Falluja?).  Tawfeeq notes, "About 700,000 people live in Falluja, a Sunni city in Anbar province west of Baghdad. More than 300 people, most of whom are civilians, have been killed in Falluja since the beginning of the year."  NINA notes the military's shelling of residential neighborhoods today left 7 civilians dead and thirteen more injured.  Wael Grace (Al Mada) speaks to Falluja General Hospital's Dr. Ahmed Chami who states 310 civilians have been killed and 1322 injured in the last months from the military shelling residential neighborhoods.

    Friday began with news of an assault.  Press TV reported, "Iraqi army and tribal fighters have launched an operation to retake militant-held areas in the city of Fallujah in Anbar province."  JC Finley (UPI) puts it this way, "Iraq's Ministry of Defense announced Friday that a full-scale military operation is underway in the embattled Sunni city of Fallujah."  How'd that turn out for Nouri?

  • Nouri always gets excited when he can wound or kill a Sunni child.

    So maybe the day's a success for that?

    Maybe.  But even Nouri may have a difficult time clutching to that alone.

    World Tribune reports, "The sources said ISIL led tribal forces in expelling the last bastion of Iraq Army troops and pro-government militias from the city, located in the Anbar province." Kitabat notes it was a failed military operation.

    Another failure for Nouri.  His list of failures continues to grow.  He began his assault on Anbar Province December 30th.  He kept avoiding Falluja.  His forces would surround it.  But actually entering it?

    Nouri was a coward.  But a smart coward because he couldn't win by storming the city.  As Kitabat notes, he tried to storm it today.  Nouri pretended for weeks and weeks that he was seeking other means.  He wasn't.  But he was too chicken to call for the attack until today.  And he was too chicken to go to Falluja.  Remember when he attacked Basra in 2008?  He went there. He said, as commander in chief, it was his duty to be there.

    But it's not his duty to be in Falluja for this attack?

    Well it's different.

    See, in 2008, he went to Basra with US forces to protect him.  That's not a possibility right now for Falluja (though maybe he and Gen Lloyd Austin can work out something with regards to that).

    In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports 4 Yezidis were shot dead in Karanah Village, an al-Qayyarah roadside bombing left 3 police members dead and two more injured, a Tammooz roadside bombing left three police members injured, a Tikrit roadside bombing and armed attack left 3 police members dead and one police officer injured, and Joint Operations Command announced they killed 2 suspects.

    Iraq War veteran Matt Maupin who was captured April 9, 2004. In a briefs roundup, March 30th, 2008, in a briefs round up of various news, the Washington Post noted:

    The father of a soldier listed as missing-captured in Iraq since 2004 says the military has informed him that his son's remains were found in Iraq.
    Keith Maupin said that an Army general told him Sunday that DNA was used to identify the remains of his son, Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin, who went by "Matt."
    Matt Maupin was a 20-year-old private first class when he was captured April 9, 2004, after his fuel convoy was ambushed west of Baghdad. Arabic television network al-Jazeera aired a videotape a week later showing Maupin sitting on the floor surrounded by five masked men holding automatic rifles.

    Today, Amanda Lee Myers (AP) reports that a trial date has been set in Iraq for next Tuesday for an Iraqi whom Lt Col Alayne Conway states has "confessed to killing Maupin."  An unnamed Iraqi judge states the confession took place in 2009 and led to a conviction and sentence of death; however, the conviction's set aside or reversed as a result of some paperwork issue resulting in the need for a new trial.

    Central Illinois' 31 News (link is video and text) reports Matt's father Keith Maupin "is traveling to the Pentagon on Monday to learn more about the confession." Jessica Jerreat (Daily Mail) adds this will involve Keith Maupin speaking "to the [Iraqi] judge through a translator."

    Lastly, I like Hilda Solis, former Secretary of Labor.  That means when you're in hot water, we don't look the other way.  I like Sandy Berger and called him out over his stuffing classified documents into his pants to smuggle them out of a secure room.  Hilda has stepped down as Secretary of Labor and is now running to be elected a Los Angeles County supervisor.  She's also the subject of a criminal investigation.  Paul Pringle and Abby Sewell (Los Angeles Times) report:

    A letter sent last year to Solis by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency that investigates allegations of administrative violations of fundraising rules by federal officials, said it began an inquiry after receiving a complaint that Solis had solicited a donation from a Labor Department employee. According to the letter, the complaint alleged that in March 2012, Solis "left a voicemail message on a subordinate employee's government-issued Blackberry in which you asked the employee to contribute toward and assist with organizing others to attend a fundraiser for the President's reelection campaign."
    Solis has declined to comment on the investigation, but a spokesman reiterated Friday that she believes she has done nothing wrong.

    I hope Solis did nothing wrong.

    mushreq abbas