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          Accord with Russia signed for training of Pakistani troops       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Russia on Tuesday signed an agreement that allows for training of Pakistani troops at Russian military training institutes.

“Both countries signed the Contract on Admission of Service Members of Pakistan in RF’s (Russian Federation) Training Insti­tutes,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

The agreement was signed at the conclusion of the first meeting of Russia-Pakistan Joint Military Consultative Committee (JMCC), described by the defence ministry as the highest forum of defence collaboration between Pak­istan and the Russian Fede­ra­tion. The two countries had earlier this year, during the visit of the then foreign minister Khawaja Asif to Moscow, agreed to set up a commission to boost military cooperation.

Russian Deputy Defence Minister Col Gen Alexander Fomin led his side at the talks while Pakistani Defence Secretary retired Lt Gen Zamirul Hassan Shah headed the host side.

The two sides, during the talks, reviewed the progress made in bilateral defence cooperation since they signed the defence cooperation pact in November 2014. Subsequently, Pakistan and Russia in October 2015 signed the military-technical cooperation accord providing for arms supplies and cooperation in weapon development.

Russia has over the past three years provided four Mi-35M combat and cargo helicopters to Pakistan and the militaries of the two countries also held joint drills codenamed ‘Friendship’.

“A comprehensive issue based review was also carried out during which the two countries expressed satisfaction on the milestones achieved,” the defence ministry said, adding that the two sides deliberated on areas for cooperation in future.

The talks also featured a discussion on the situation in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

One of Russia’s key concerns in its security dialogue with Pakistan had been the growing foothold of the militant Islamic State (IS) group, also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh, in Afghanistan and the relocation of IS fighters from Iraq and Syria to the land-locked country.

Meanwhile, Gen Fomin visited General Headquarters for a call on Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

During his meeting with Gen Bajwa, the Russian deputy defence minister “expressed requirement” of cooperation to defeat extremism, according to the Inter Services Public Relations.

The two had a discussion on “regional security situation, and matters of mutual interest including enhancement of bilateral defence and security cooperation”.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2018


          the good mother      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
fooling around on amazon with my daughter - she found 3 movies to put in amazon library - and i saw 1 i wanted.

'the good mother.'

this was a wonderful movie based on amazing book by sue miller.

diane keaton should have won another oscar for this 1.  she is amazing as anna.  the basics are she and her husband divorce.  they have a daughter.  anna's raising her daughter and working.  she ends up having a boyfriend (liam neeson) and that ticks the ex-husband off. 

the daughter ends up in a custody battle - i'm providing as few spoilers as possible.

it's a really good movie.  leonard nimoy directed it.

i think 'shoot the moon' is probably diane's most amazing performance ever.  but 'the good mother' is probably close.   diane's a great comedy actor but she can deliver in a drama and has repeatedly.  she's just an all around strong actress. 

she's made some films that will stand the test of time.  those include the 1s with woody allen, the godfather movies, 'something's got to give,' 'reds,' 'shoot the moon,' 'looking for mr. goodbar,' '1st wives club' and many more.  and let's name the woody classics - 'sleeper,' 'love & death,' 'annie hall,' 'manhattan' and 'manhattan murder mystery.'

she really is something amazing.

oh, and she just co-starred in the summer's biggest comedy: 'book club.'



let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'


Tuesday, August 7, 2018.

We're going to start with something non-Iraq at all (we'll also be ending with something non-Iraq).  I know Illeana Douglas and have known her for years.  As Rebecca noted last month, I first heard of Leslie Moonves' assault of Illeana years ago.  At THIRD this week, we did "Unlike Alyssa Milano, we'll stand with Illeana Douglas."  (Ann offered "Alyssa Milano reveals she doesn't give a damn about women" last night.)

Alyssa Milano is not who she claims or self-presents as.  Rose McGowan rightly called her a lie.  Though Corey Feldman was sympathetic to her, he publicly mocked her -- rightly so -- when she claimed she never had any idea that he or Corey Haim had been molested as children.  She knew.  She claims she never knew that Brad Kern was abusive to women on the set of CHARMED -- where she was a producer.  Everyone else knew.  There were complaints.  Repeated complaints.  She took a producer's credit (and pay) and it was her job to provide a safe work environment.  She failed.  To TIME magazine and others, she has presented herself as the head of #MeToo (after stealing the phrase from African-American  woman Tarana Burke -- one of her many cultural appropriations).  Yet though she Tweets over and over daily, she's still not Tweeted about Illeana or any of the other women who spoke out in Ronan Farrow's NEW YORKER piece.


Not one Tweet.  CAA is the reason I'm not part of #MeToo.  CAA pimped out women constantly.  There's a foreign actress who appeared in several hit films and was used by CAA before and after.  They pimped her out.  She remains destroyed today.  (If she chooses to tell her story publicly, I will support her.  Currently, she's still in therapy attempting to deal with what they put her through.)  Alyssa's married to CAA's David Bugliari and Alyssa's a "CAA speaker" that you can 'book.'

Alyssa's silence backs up everything many of us have long said.  She's is not a friend to women, she is stilted actress determined to self-promote, desperate for a career.  She is not about empowering women.  She's is about co-opting anything she can.

As for CBS, Leslie is part of a long pattern there that began with William Paley and the hell he put his wife (Babe Paley through) -- one affair after another, while he stopped having sex with her early in their marriage, his refusal to allow her to raise their children or even hug them in front of him.  He was pure filth and set the tone all those years ago.  CBS has always been hostile to women.  Most networks would be thrilled to have a hit show but CBS has always only been thrilled to have a hit show if it starred men.  Whether we're talking DESIGNING WOMEN, CAGNEY & LACEY, CYBILL, THE NANNY or the now returning MURPHY BROWN, CBS repeatedly undercuts and undermines their programs with female leads, undercutting them, pushing them through one time change after another, etc., etc.  At THIRD, Ava and I have long documented the institutional sexism at CBS and we've done it for a reason.

Leslie is guilty and if I were Julie Chen, sleeping with my married boss and then lucky enough to get him to leave his wife for me, I guess I'd rush forward to defend him too.  I mean, what career would Julie have if she hadn't slept with Leslie?  None at all.  I could go on and on here.

The point is Illeana told the truth and has been telling it to a number of us over the years.  And CBS has made clear that they do not take harassment seriously by allowing Moonves to remain on the job while he is under investigation.  He should be put on administrative leave.  Anything less goes to CBS not taking the issue seriously.  He is accused of harassment and attempted rape.  These are serious charges.  If you take them seriously, you put him on administrative leave until the investigation is over.  Otherwise?  You're saying work safety and the right of women to be safe at work does not matter.

Grasp that fake ass Alyssa is not just refusing to stand up for Illeana, she's refusing to stand up for women who may encounter Leslie.  He needs to be removed during the investigation.


Meanwhile, protests continue in Iraq.

Why?  Each year, Iraq rakes in billion from oil sales.  And the World Bank estimates the current population of Iraq to be 37.2 million.

With that kind of money coming in and that small of a population, meeting the needs of the people should be easy.

But it hasn't been.  The World Bank notes, for example, "The poverty rate increased from 19.8 percent in 2012 to an estimated 22.5 percent in 2014."  How does that happen?  Government corruption.  Politicians and officials stealing the public's money.

And it leaves nothing for the people.  Hence the video below.


Another video of Iraqi children eating from the garbage.


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Live Right: The Protests Pockets of are ongoing throughout cities in the south of the country, perhaps not as large as in recent weeks, but will the same demands of electricity, potable water and employment. looks at the situation. 🇮🇶💪🏼


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The corruption has enriched many.  Nouri al-Maliki's son, for example, has some really swank living spaces in England and some really sporty cars.  That's nice for a man who's never really worked in his life.  But that's awful for the Iraqi people.

The Iraqi people are protesting to save their lives.  They are risking their lives with these ongoing protests and 14 have already died.


The excessive violence and cruelty used by the Iraqi security forces ended the lives of 14 demonstrators in 10 days of ongoing protests calling for economic and service improvements," the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said."




They are demanding basic rights including access to electricity and potable water, including jobs.

These protests are now a month old and it's amazing how many of the Twitter 'social justice warriors' have ignored these protests.

Why do they have to protest?

Among other things because the US government destroyed Iraq with the (ongoing) war.  The US still bombs Iraq.  Monday, the US Defense Dept announced:



Strikes in Iraq
There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq yesterday.
On Aug. 4 near Dulab, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of an engagement against ISIS targets, destroying two ISIS tunnels.
On Aug. 3 near Wadi Ashai, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of an engagement against an ISIS tactical unit.
There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq on Aug. 2.
On Aug. 1 near Wadi Ashai, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of five engagements against ISIS targets, destroying two ISIS-held buildings and three ISIS supply caches.
On July 31 near Wadi Ashai and Wadi Zagatoon, coalition military forces conducted two strikes consisting of two engagements against ISIS targets, destroying an ISIS-held building.

On 30 July 30 near Wadi Ashai, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of an engagement against ISIS targets. The strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit.

The US government turned Iraq into a land of widows and orphans.  And it compounded the problems by 'selecting' Iraq's prime ministers.  Yesterday, we went over Nouri al-Maliki and Barack Obama, then-US president, selected Hayder al-Abadi to replace him in 2014.  (After Nouri's actions led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq.)


Supporting Abadi "was the easy way for the US to try to protect the gains it has made in Iraq over the last four years without having to do the substantial groundwork that would have been required to build up a range of political alternatives"
          Oklahoma’s Congressional Delegation Reacts To Travel Ban Order      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation have largely been supportive of President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily bans travel of certain foreign nationals to the United States. Under the order, citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen would not be allowed to enter the United States for 90 days. Over the weekend, permanent resident visa holders were detained at airports, which led to protests across the country. The White House later said permanent resident visa holders are from those 7 countries will be allowed. The order also places a 120 day freeze on the admission of refugees, and an indefinite halt on resettling Syrian refugees in the United States. Congressman Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, says he supports the executive order. Russell is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel who saw combat in Iraq. He wants to make sure exemptions will be available for military interpreters, informers, and ousted political allies in the seven countries.
          Four Of Five Oklahoma Congressmen Vote To Arm Syrian Rebels      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine was the only member of Oklahoma's U.S. House delegation to vote against President Obama's request to train and arm rebels fighting Islamic State militants in Syria. Bridenstine says that if the Islamic State is deemed a threat, the United States should "eliminate it," not train and arm rebels. U.S. Reps. Tom Cole, James Lankford , Frank Lucas and Markwayne Mullin all voted in favor of the plan, which passed the House on a 273-156 vote Wednesday. Lankford said the plan is similar to recent proposals in Iraq. Watch: U.S. Rep. James Lankford explains his vote on the amendment to arm Syrian rebels, followed by his remarks on the House floor "ISIS would have already overrun Iraq if we had not trained the Iraqis and the Kurds in the years past," Lankford said. "So we need to be able to do the same thing in Syria for them to be able to defend themselves and be able to defend for what is uniquely American values as well, and for uniquely American priorities." But
          8/8/2018: FRONT PAGE: Protesters may decide Abadi’s fate      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

baghdad — Sustained protests in Iraq’s Shiite heartland this summer have dimmed the prospects that the nation’s staunchly pro-American prime minister will wrest a second term, with demonstrators channeling their frustration about poor basic services...
          The Uninhabitable Earth      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   


The Uninhabitable Earth
Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think.

By David Wallace-Wells

In the jungles of Costa Rica, where humidity routinely tops 90 percent, simply moving around outside when it’s over 105 degrees Fahrenheit would be lethal. And the effect would be fast: Within a few hours, a human body would be cooked to death from both inside and out. Fossils by Heartless Machine
July 9, 2017

I. ‘Doomsday’
Peering beyond scientific reticence.

It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas — and the cities they will drown — have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.

Indeed, absent a significant adjustment to how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.

Even when we train our eyes on climate change, we are unable to comprehend its scope. This past winter, a string of days 60 and 70 degrees warmer than normal baked the North Pole, melting the permafrost that encased Norway’s Svalbard seed vault — a global food bank nicknamed “Doomsday,” designed to ensure that our agriculture survives any catastrophe, and which appeared to have been flooded by climate change less than ten years after being built.

The Doomsday vault is fine, for now: The structure has been secured and the seeds are safe. But treating the episode as a parable of impending flooding missed the more important news. Until recently, permafrost was not a major concern of climate scientists, because, as the name suggests, it was soil that stayed permanently frozen. But Arctic permafrost contains 1.8 trillion tons of carbon, more than twice as much as is currently suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere. When it thaws and is released, that carbon may evaporate as methane, which is 34 times as powerful a greenhouse-gas warming blanket as carbon dioxide when judged on the timescale of a century; when judged on the timescale of two decades, it is 86 times as powerful. In other words, we have, trapped in Arctic permafrost, twice as much carbon as is currently wrecking the atmosphere of the planet, all of it scheduled to be released at a date that keeps getting moved up, partially in the form of a gas that multiplies its warming power 86 times over.

Maybe you know that already — there are alarming stories in the news every day, like those, last month, that seemed to suggest satellite data showed the globe warming since 1998 more than twice as fast as scientists had thought (in fact, the underlying story was considerably less alarming than the headlines). Or the news from Antarctica this past May, when a crack in an ice shelf grew 11 miles in six days, then kept going; the break now has just three miles to go — by the time you read this, it may already have met the open water, where it will drop into the sea one of the biggest icebergs ever, a process known poetically as “calving.”


Watch: How Climate Change Is Creating More Powerful Hurricanes

But no matter how well-informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough. Over the past decades, our culture has gone apocalyptic with zombie movies and Mad Max dystopias, perhaps the collective result of displaced climate anxiety, and yet when it comes to contemplating real-world warming dangers, we suffer from an incredible failure of imagination. The reasons for that are many: the timid language of scientific probabilities, which the climatologist James Hansen once called “scientific reticence” in a paper chastising scientists for editing their own observations so conscientiously that they failed to communicate how dire the threat really was; the fact that the country is dominated by a group of technocrats who believe any problem can be solved and an opposing culture that doesn’t even see warming as a problem worth addressing; the way that climate denialism has made scientists even more cautious in offering speculative warnings; the simple speed of change and, also, its slowness, such that we are only seeing effects now of warming from decades past; our uncertainty about uncertainty, which the climate writer Naomi Oreskes in particular has suggested stops us from preparing as though anything worse than a median outcome were even possible; the way we assume climate change will hit hardest elsewhere, not everywhere; the smallness (two degrees) and largeness (1.8 trillion tons) and abstractness (400 parts per million) of the numbers; the discomfort of considering a problem that is very difficult, if not impossible, to solve; the altogether incomprehensible scale of that problem, which amounts to the prospect of our own annihilation; simple fear. But aversion arising from fear is a form of denial, too.

In between scientific reticence and science fiction is science itself. This article is the result of dozens of interviews and exchanges with climatologists and researchers in related fields and reflects hundreds of scientific papers on the subject of climate change. What follows is not a series of predictions of what will happen — that will be determined in large part by the much-less-certain science of human response. Instead, it is a portrait of our best understanding of where the planet is heading absent aggressive action. It is unlikely that all of these warming scenarios will be fully realized, largely because the devastation along the way will shake our complacency. But those scenarios, and not the present climate, are the baseline. In fact, they are our schedule.

The present tense of climate change — the destruction we’ve already baked into our future — is horrifying enough. Most people talk as if Miami and Bangladesh still have a chance of surviving; most of the scientists I spoke with assume we’ll lose them within the century, even if we stop burning fossil fuel in the next decade. Two degrees of warming used to be considered the threshold of catastrophe: tens of millions of climate refugees unleashed upon an unprepared world. Now two degrees is our goal, per the Paris climate accords, and experts give us only slim odds of hitting it. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issues serial reports, often called the “gold standard” of climate research; the most recent one projects us to hit four degrees of warming by the beginning of the next century, should we stay the present course. But that’s just a median projection. The upper end of the probability curve runs as high as eight degrees — and the authors still haven’t figured out how to deal with that permafrost melt. The IPCC reports also don’t fully account for the albedo effect (less ice means less reflected and more absorbed sunlight, hence more warming); more cloud cover (which traps heat); or the dieback of forests and other flora (which extract carbon from the atmosphere). Each of these promises to accelerate warming, and the history of the planet shows that temperature can shift as much as five degrees Celsius within thirteen years. The last time the planet was even four degrees warmer, Peter Brannen points out in The Ends of the World, his new history of the planet’s major extinction events, the oceans were hundreds of feet higher.*

The Earth has experienced five mass extinctions before the one we are living through now, each so complete a slate-wiping of the evolutionary record it functioned as a resetting of the planetary clock, and many climate scientists will tell you they are the best analog for the ecological future we are diving headlong into. Unless you are a teenager, you probably read in your high-school textbooks that these extinctions were the result of asteroids. In fact, all but the one that killed the dinosaurs were caused by climate change produced by greenhouse gas. The most notorious was 252 million years ago; it began when carbon warmed the planet by five degrees, accelerated when that warming triggered the release of methane in the Arctic, and ended with 97 percent of all life on Earth dead. We are currently adding carbon to the atmosphere at a considerably faster rate; by most estimates, at least ten times faster. The rate is accelerating. This is what Stephen Hawking had in mind when he said, this spring, that the species needs to colonize other planets in the next century to survive, and what drove Elon Musk, last month, to unveil his plans to build a Mars habitat in 40 to 100 years. These are nonspecialists, of course, and probably as inclined to irrational panic as you or I. But the many sober-minded scientists I interviewed over the past several months — the most credentialed and tenured in the field, few of them inclined to alarmism and many advisers to the IPCC who nevertheless criticize its conservatism — have quietly reached an apocalyptic conclusion, too: No plausible program of emissions reductions alone can prevent climate disaster.

Over the past few decades, the term “Anthropocene” has climbed out of academic discourse and into the popular imagination — a name given to the geologic era we live in now, and a way to signal that it is a new era, defined on the wall chart of deep history by human intervention. One problem with the term is that it implies a conquest of nature (and even echoes the biblical “dominion”). And however sanguine you might be about the proposition that we have already ravaged the natural world, which we surely have, it is another thing entirely to consider the possibility that we have only provoked it, engineering first in ignorance and then in denial a climate system that will now go to war with us for many centuries, perhaps until it destroys us. That is what Wallace Smith Broecker, the avuncular oceanographer who coined the term “global warming,” means when he calls the planet an “angry beast.” You could also go with “war machine.” Each day we arm it more.

II. Heat Death
The bahraining of New York.

In the sugar­cane region of El Salvador, as much as one-fifth of the population has chronic kidney disease, the presumed result of dehydration from working the fields they were able to comfortably harvest as recently as two decades ago. Photo: Heartless Machine
Humans, like all mammals, are heat engines; surviving means having to continually cool off, like panting dogs. For that, the temperature needs to be low enough for the air to act as a kind of refrigerant, drawing heat off the skin so the engine can keep pumping. At seven degrees of warming, that would become impossible for large portions of the planet’s equatorial band, and especially the tropics, where humidity adds to the problem; in the jungles of Costa Rica, for instance, where humidity routinely tops 90 percent, simply moving around outside when it’s over 105 degrees Fahrenheit would be lethal. And the effect would be fast: Within a few hours, a human body would be cooked to death from both inside and out.

Climate-change skeptics point out that the planet has warmed and cooled many times before, but the climate window that has allowed for human life is very narrow, even by the standards of planetary history. At 11 or 12 degrees of warming, more than half the world’s population, as distributed today, would die of direct heat. Things almost certainly won’t get that hot this century, though models of unabated emissions do bring us that far eventually. This century, and especially in the tropics, the pain points will pinch much more quickly even than an increase of seven degrees. The key factor is something called wet-bulb temperature, which is a term of measurement as home-laboratory-kit as it sounds: the heat registered on a thermometer wrapped in a damp sock as it’s swung around in the air (since the moisture evaporates from a sock more quickly in dry air, this single number reflects both heat and humidity). At present, most regions reach a wet-bulb maximum of 26 or 27 degrees Celsius; the true red line for habitability is 35 degrees. What is called heat stress comes much sooner.

Related Stories
Michael Oppenheimer: Only 10 Percent Chance We Meet Paris Targets
Actually, we’re about there already. Since 1980, the planet has experienced a 50-fold increase in the number of places experiencing dangerous or extreme heat; a bigger increase is to come. The five warmest summers in Europe since 1500 have all occurred since 2002, and soon, the IPCC warns, simply being outdoors that time of year will be unhealthy for much of the globe. Even if we meet the Paris goals of two degrees warming, cities like Karachi and Kolkata will become close to uninhabitable, annually encountering deadly heat waves like those that crippled them in 2015. At four degrees, the deadly European heat wave of 2003, which killed as many as 2,000 people a day, will be a normal summer. At six, according to an assessment focused only on effects within the U.S. from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, summer labor of any kind would become impossible in the lower Mississippi Valley, and everybody in the country east of the Rockies would be under more heat stress than anyone, anywhere, in the world today. As Joseph Romm has put it in his authoritative primer Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know, heat stress in New York City would exceed that of present-day Bahrain, one of the planet’s hottest spots, and the temperature in Bahrain “would induce hyperthermia in even sleeping humans.” The high-end IPCC estimate, remember, is two degrees warmer still. By the end of the century, the World Bank has estimated, the coolest months in tropical South America, Africa, and the Pacific are likely to be warmer than the warmest months at the end of the 20th century. Air-conditioning can help but will ultimately only add to the carbon problem; plus, the climate-controlled malls of the Arab emirates aside, it is not remotely plausible to wholesale air-condition all the hottest parts of the world, many of them also the poorest. And indeed, the crisis will be most dramatic across the Middle East and Persian Gulf, where in 2015 the heat index registered temperatures as high as 163 degrees Fahrenheit. As soon as several decades from now, the hajj will become physically impossible for the 2 million Muslims who make the pilgrimage each year.

It is not just the hajj, and it is not just Mecca; heat is already killing us. In the sugarcane region of El Salvador, as much as one-fifth of the population has chronic kidney disease, including over a quarter of the men, the presumed result of dehydration from working the fields they were able to comfortably harvest as recently as two decades ago. With dialysis, which is expensive, those with kidney failure can expect to live five years; without it, life expectancy is in the weeks. Of course, heat stress promises to pummel us in places other than our kidneys, too. As I type that sentence, in the California desert in mid-June, it is 121 degrees outside my door. It is not a record high.

III. The End of Food
Praying for cornfields in the tundra.

Climates differ and plants vary, but the basic rule for staple cereal crops grown at optimal temperature is that for every degree of warming, yields decline by 10 percent. Some estimates run as high as 15 or even 17 percent. Which means that if the planet is five degrees warmer at the end of the century, we may have as many as 50 percent more people to feed and 50 percent less grain to give them. And proteins are worse: It takes 16 calories of grain to produce just a single calorie of hamburger meat, butchered from a cow that spent its life polluting the climate with methane farts.

Pollyannaish plant physiologists will point out that the cereal-crop math applies only to those regions already at peak growing temperature, and they are right — theoretically, a warmer climate will make it easier to grow corn in Greenland. But as the pathbreaking work by Rosamond Naylor and David Battisti has shown, the tropics are already too hot to efficiently grow grain, and those places where grain is produced today are already at optimal growing temperature — which means even a small warming will push them down the slope of declining productivity. And you can’t easily move croplands north a few hundred miles, because yields in places like remote Canada and Russia are limited by the quality of soil there; it takes many centuries for the planet to produce optimally fertile dirt.

Drought might be an even bigger problem than heat, with some of the world’s most arable land turning quickly to desert. Precipitation is notoriously hard to model, yet predictions for later this century are basically unanimous: unprecedented droughts nearly everywhere food is today produced. By 2080, without dramatic reductions in emissions, southern Europe will be in permanent extreme drought, much worse than the American dust bowl ever was. The same will be true in Iraq and Syria and much of the rest of the Middle East; some of the most densely populated parts of Australia, Africa, and South America; and the breadbasket regions of China. None of these places, which today supply much of the world’s food, will be reliable sources of any. As for the original dust bowl: The droughts in the American plains and Southwest would not just be worse than in the 1930s, a 2015 NASA study predicted, but worse than any droughts in a thousand years — and that includes those that struck between 1100 and 1300, which “dried up all the rivers East of the Sierra Nevada mountains” and may have been responsible for the death of the Anasazi civilization.

Remember, we do not live in a world without hunger as it is. Far from it: Most estimates put the number of undernourished at 800 million globally. In case you haven’t heard, this spring has already brought an unprecedented quadruple famine to Africa and the Middle East; the U.N. has warned that separate starvation events in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen could kill 20 million this year alone.

IV. Climate Plagues
What happens when the bubonic ice melts?

Rock, in the right spot, is a record of planetary history, eras as long as millions of years flattened by the forces of geological time into strata with amplitudes of just inches, or just an inch, or even less. Ice works that way, too, as a climate ledger, but it is also frozen history, some of which can be reanimated when unfrozen. There are now, trapped in Arctic ice, diseases that have not circulated in the air for millions of years — in some cases, since before humans were around to encounter them. Which means our immune systems would have no idea how to fight back when those prehistoric plagues emerge from the ice.

The Arctic also stores terrifying bugs from more recent times. In Alaska, already, researchers have discovered remnants of the 1918 flu that infected as many as 500 million and killed as many as 100 million — about 5 percent of the world’s population and almost six times as many as had died in the world war for which the pandemic served as a kind of gruesome capstone. As the BBC reported in May, scientists suspect smallpox and the bubonic plague are trapped in Siberian ice, too — an abridged history of devastating human sickness, left out like egg salad in the Arctic sun.

Experts caution that many of these organisms won’t actually survive the thaw and point to the fastidious lab conditions under which they have already reanimated several of them — the 32,000-year-old “extremophile” bacteria revived in 2005, an 8 million-year-old bug brought back to life in 2007, the 3.5 million–year–old one a Russian scientist self-injected just out of curiosity — to suggest that those are necessary conditions for the return of such ancient plagues. But already last year, a boy was killed and 20 others infected by anthrax released when retreating permafrost exposed the frozen carcass of a reindeer killed by the bacteria at least 75 years earlier; 2,000 present-day reindeer were infected, too, carrying and spreading the disease beyond the tundra.

What concerns epidemiologists more than ancient diseases are existing scourges relocated, rewired, or even re-evolved by warming. The first effect is geographical. Before the early-modern period, when adventuring sailboats accelerated the mixing of peoples and their bugs, human provinciality was a guard against pandemic. Today, even with globalization and the enormous intermingling of human populations, our ecosystems are mostly stable, and this functions as another limit, but global warming will scramble those ecosystems and help disease trespass those limits as surely as Cortés did. You don’t worry much about dengue or malaria if you are living in Maine or France. But as the tropics creep northward and mosquitoes migrate with them, you will. You didn’t much worry about Zika a couple of years ago, either.

As it happens, Zika may also be a good model of the second worrying effect — disease mutation. One reason you hadn’t heard about Zika until recently is that it had been trapped in Uganda; another is that it did not, until recently, appear to cause birth defects. Scientists still don’t entirely understand what happened, or what they missed. But there are things we do know for sure about how climate affects some diseases: Malaria, for instance, thrives in hotter regions not just because the mosquitoes that carry it do, too, but because for every degree increase in temperature, the parasite reproduces ten times faster. Which is one reason that the World Bank estimates that by 2050, 5.2 billion people will be reckoning with it.

V. Unbreathable Air
A rolling death smog that suffocates millions.


By the end of the century, the coolest months in tropical South America, Africa, and the Pacific are likely to be warmer than the warmest months at the end of the 20th century. Photo: Heartless Machine
Our lungs need oxygen, but that is only a fraction of what we breathe. The fraction of carbon dioxide is growing: It just crossed 400 parts per million, and high-end estimates extrapolating from current trends suggest it will hit 1,000 ppm by 2100. At that concentration, compared to the air we breathe now, human cognitive ability declines by 21 percent.

Other stuff in the hotter air is even scarier, with small increases in pollution capable of shortening life spans by ten years. The warmer the planet gets, the more ozone forms, and by mid-century, Americans will likely suffer a 70 percent increase in unhealthy ozone smog, the National Center for Atmospheric Research has projected. By 2090, as many as 2 billion people globally will be breathing air above the WHO “safe” level; one paper last month showed that, among other effects, a pregnant mother’s exposure to ozone raises the child’s risk of autism (as much as tenfold, combined with other environmental factors). Which does make you think again about the autism epidemic in West Hollywood.

Already, more than 10,000 people die each day from the small particles emitted from fossil-fuel burning; each year, 339,000 people die from wildfire smoke, in part because climate change has extended forest-fire season (in the U.S., it’s increased by 78 days since 1970). By 2050, according to the U.S. Forest Service, wildfires will be twice as destructive as they are today; in some places, the area burned could grow fivefold. What worries people even more is the effect that would have on emissions, especially when the fires ravage forests arising out of peat. Peatland fires in Indonesia in 1997, for instance, added to the global CO2 release by up to 40 percent, and more burning only means more warming only means more burning. There is also the terrifying possibility that rain forests like the Amazon, which in 2010 suffered its second “hundred-year drought” in the space of five years, could dry out enough to become vulnerable to these kinds of devastating, rolling forest fires — which would not only expel enormous amounts of carbon into the atmosphere but also shrink the size of the forest. That is especially bad because the Amazon alone provides 20 percent of our oxygen.

Then there are the more familiar forms of pollution. In 2013, melting Arctic ice remodeled Asian weather patterns, depriving industrial China of the natural ventilation systems it had come to depend on, which blanketed much of the country’s north in an unbreathable smog. Literally unbreathable. A metric called the Air Quality Index categorizes the risks and tops out at the 301-to-500 range, warning of “serious aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly” and, for all others, “serious risk of respiratory effects”; at that level, “everyone should avoid all outdoor exertion.” The Chinese “airpocalypse” of 2013 peaked at what would have been an Air Quality Index of over 800. That year, smog was responsible for a third of all deaths in the country.

VI. Perpetual War
The violence baked into heat.

Climatologists are very careful when talking about Syria. They want you to know that while climate change did produce a drought that contributed to civil war, it is not exactly fair to saythat the conflict is the result of warming; next door, for instance, Lebanon suffered the same crop failures. But researchers like Marshall Burke and Solomon Hsiang have managed to quantify some of the non-obvious relationships between temperature and violence: For every half-degree of warming, they say, societies will see between a 10 and 20 percent increase in the likelihood of armed conflict. In climate science, nothing is simple, but the arithmetic is harrowing: A planet five degrees warmer would have at least half again as many wars as we do today. Overall, social conflict could more than double this century.

This is one reason that, as nearly every climate scientist I spoke to pointed out, the U.S. military is obsessed with climate change: The drowning of all American Navy bases by sea-level rise is trouble enough, but being the world’s policeman is quite a bit harder when the crime rate doubles. Of course, it’s not just Syria where climate has contributed to conflict. Some speculate that the elevated level of strife across the Middle East over the past generation reflects the pressures of global warming — a hypothesis all the more cruel considering that warming began accelerating when the industrialized world extracted and then burned the region’s oil.

What accounts for the relationship between climate and conflict? Some of it comes down to agriculture and economics; a lot has to do with forced migration, already at a record high, with at least 65 million displaced people wandering the planet right now. But there is also the simple fact of individual irritability. Heat increases municipal crime rates, and swearing on social media, and the likelihood that a major-league pitcher, coming to the mound after his teammate has been hit by a pitch, will hit an opposing batter in retaliation. And the arrival of air-conditioning in the developed world, in the middle of the past century, did little to solve the problem of the summer crime wave.

VII. Permanent Economic Collapse
Dismal capitalism in a half-poorer world.

The murmuring mantra of global neoliberalism, which prevailed between the end of the Cold War and the onset of the Great Recession, is that economic growth would save us from anything and everything.
But in the aftermath of the 2008 crash, a growing number of historians studying what they call “fossil capitalism” have begun to suggest that the entire history of swift economic growth, which began somewhat suddenly in the 18th century, is not the result of innovation or trade or the dynamics of global capitalism but simply our discovery of fossil fuels and all their raw power — a onetime injection of new “value” into a system that had previously been characterized by global subsistence living. Before fossil fuels, nobody lived better than their parents or grandparents or ancestors from 500 years before, except in the immediate aftermath of a great plague like the Black Death, which allowed the lucky survivors to gobble up the resources liberated by mass graves. After we’ve burned all the fossil fuels, these scholars suggest, perhaps we will return to a “steady state” global economy. Of course, that onetime injection has a devastating long-term cost: climate change.

The most exciting research on the economics of warming has also come from Hsiang and his colleagues, who are not historians of fossil capitalism but who offer some very bleak analysis of their own: Every degree Celsius of warming costs, on average, 1.2 percent of GDP (an enormous number, considering we count growth in the low single digits as “strong”). This is the sterling work in the field, and their median projection is for a 23 percent loss in per capita earning globally by the end of this century (resulting from changes in agriculture, crime, storms, energy, mortality, and labor).
Tracing the shape of the probability curve is even scarier: There is a 12 percent chance that climate change will reduce global output by more than 50 percent by 2100, they say, and a 51 percent chance that it lowers per capita GDP by 20 percent or more by then, unless emissions decline. By comparison, the Great Recession lowered global GDP by about 6 percent, in a onetime shock; Hsiang and his colleagues estimate a one-in-eight chance of an ongoing and irreversible effect by the end of the century that is eight times worse.

The scale of that economic devastation is hard to comprehend, but you can start by imagining what the world would look like today with an economy half as big, which would produce only half as much value, generating only half as much to offer the workers of the world. It makes the grounding of flights out of heat-stricken Phoenix last month seem like pathetically small economic potatoes. And, among other things, it makes the idea of postponing government action on reducing emissions and relying solely on growth and technology to solve the problem an absurd business calculation.
Every round-trip ticket on flights from New York to London, keep in mind, costs the Arctic three more square meters of ice.

VIII. Poisoned Oceans
Sulfide burps off the skeleton coast.

That the sea will become a killer is a given. Barring a radical reduction of emissions, we will see at least four feet of sea-level rise and possibly ten by the end of the century. A third of the world’s major cities are on the coast, not to mention its power plants, ports, navy bases, farmlands, fisheries, river deltas, marshlands, and rice-paddy empires, and even those above ten feet will flood much more easily, and much more regularly, if the water gets that high. At least 600 million people live within ten meters of sea level today.

But the drowning of those homelands is just the start. At present, more than a third of the world’s carbon is sucked up by the oceans — thank God, or else we’d have that much more warming already. But the result is what’s called “ocean acidification,” which, on its own, may add a half a degree to warming this century. It is also already burning through the planet’s water basins — you may remember these as the place where life arose in the first place. You have probably heard of “coral bleaching” — that is, coral dying — which is very bad news, because reefs support as much as a quarter of all marine life and supply food for half a billion people. Ocean acidification will fry fish populations directly, too, though scientists aren’t yet sure how to predict the effects on the stuff we haul out of the ocean to eat; they do know that in acid waters, oysters and mussels will struggle to grow their shells, and that when the pH of human blood drops as much as the oceans’ pH has over the past generation, it induces seizures, comas, and sudden death.

That isn’t all that ocean acidification can do. Carbon absorption can initiate a feedback loop in which underoxygenated waters breed different kinds of microbes that turn the water still more “anoxic,” first in deep ocean “dead zones,” then gradually up toward the surface. There, the small fish die out, unable to breathe, which means oxygen-eating bacteria thrive, and the feedback loop doubles back. This process, in which dead zones grow like cancers, choking off marine life and wiping out fisheries, is already quite advanced in parts of the Gulf of Mexico and just off Namibia, where hydrogen sulfide is bubbling out of the sea along a thousand-mile stretch of land known as the “Skeleton Coast.” The name originally referred to the detritus of the whaling industry, but today it’s more apt than ever. Hydrogen sulfide is so toxic that evolution has trained us to recognize the tiniest, safest traces of it, which is why our noses are so exquisitely skilled at registering flatulence. Hydrogen sulfide is also the thing that finally did us in that time 97 percent of all life on Earth died, once all the feedback loops had been triggered and the circulating jet streams of a warmed ocean ground to a halt — it’s the planet’s preferred gas for a natural holocaust. Gradually, the ocean’s dead zones spread, killing off marine species that had dominated the oceans for hundreds of millions of years, and the gas the inert waters gave off into the atmosphere poisoned everything on land. Plants, too. It was millions of years before the oceans recovered.

IX. The Great Filter
Our present eeriness cannot last.

So why can’t we see it? In his recent book-length essay The Great Derangement, the Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh wonders why global warming and natural disaster haven’t become major subjects of contemporary fiction — why we don’t seem able to imagine climate catastrophe, and why we haven’t yet had a spate of novels in the genre he basically imagines into half-existence and names “the environmental uncanny.” “Consider, for example, the stories that congeal around questions like, ‘Where were you when the Berlin Wall fell?’ or ‘Where were you on 9/11?’ ” he writes. “Will it ever be possible to ask, in the same vein, ‘Where were you at 400 ppm?’ or ‘Where were you when the Larsen B ice shelf broke up?’ ” His answer: Probably not, because the dilemmas and dramas of climate change are simply incompatible with the kinds of stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, especially in novels, which tend to emphasize the journey of an individual conscience rather than the poisonous miasma of social fate.

Surely this blindness will not last — the world we are about to inhabit will not permit it. In a six-degree-warmer world, the Earth’s ecosystem will boil with so many natural disasters that we will just start calling them “weather”: a constant swarm of out-of-control typhoons and tornadoes and floods and droughts, the planet assaulted regularly with climate events that not so long ago destroyed whole civilizations. The strongest hurricanes will come more often, and we’ll have to invent new categories with which to describe them; tornadoes will grow longer and wider and strike much more frequently, and hail rocks will quadruple in size. Humans used to watch the weather to prophesy the future; going forward, we will see in its wrath the vengeance of the past. Early naturalists talked often about “deep time” — the perception they had, contemplating the grandeur of this valley or that rock basin, of the profound slowness of nature. What lies in store for us is more like what the Victorian anthropologists identified as “dreamtime,” or “everywhen”: the semi-mythical experience, described by Aboriginal Australians, of encountering, in the present moment, an out-of-time past, when ancestors, heroes, and demigods crowded an epic stage. You can find it already watching footage of an iceberg collapsing into the sea — a feeling of history happening all at once.

It is. Many people perceive climate change as a sort of moral and economic debt, accumulated since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and now come due after several centuries — a helpful perspective, in a way, since it is the carbon-burning processes that began in 18th-century England that lit the fuse of everything that followed. But more than half of the carbon humanity has exhaled into the atmosphere in its entire history has been emitted in just the past three decades; since the end of World War II, the figure is 85 percent. Which means that, in the length of a single generation, global warming has brought us to the brink of planetary catastrophe, and that the story of the industrial world’s kamikaze mission is also the story of a single lifetime. My father’s, for instance: born in 1938, among his first memories the news of Pearl Harbor and the mythic Air Force of the propaganda films that followed, films that doubled as advertisements for imperial-American industrial might; and among his last memories the coverage of the desperate signing of the Paris climate accords on cable news, ten weeks before he died of lung cancer last July. Or my mother’s: born in 1945, to German Jews fleeing the smokestacks through which their relatives were incinerated, now enjoying her 72nd year in an American commodity paradise, a paradise supported by the supply chains of an industrialized developing world. She has been smoking for 57 of those years, unfiltered.

Or the scientists’. Some of the men who first identified a changing climate (and given the generation, those who became famous were men) are still alive; a few are even still working. Wally Broecker is 84 years old and drives to work at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory across the Hudson every day from the Upper West Side. Like most of those who first raised the alarm, he believes that no amount of emissions reduction alone can meaningfully help avoid disaster. Instead, he puts his faith in carbon capture — untested technology to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which Broecker estimates will cost at least several trillion dollars — and various forms of “geoengineering,” the catchall name for a variety of moon-shot technologies far-fetched enough that many climate scientists prefer to regard them as dreams, or nightmares, from science fiction. He is especially focused on what’s called the aerosol approach — dispersing so much sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere that when it converts to sulfuric acid, it will cloud a fifth of the horizon and reflect back 2 percent of the sun’s rays, buying the planet at least a little wiggle room, heat-wise. “Of course, that would make our sunsets very red, would bleach the sky, would make more acid rain,” he says. “But you have to look at the magnitude of the problem. You got to watch that you don’t say the giant problem shouldn’t be solved because the solution causes some smaller problems.” He won’t be around to see that, he told me. “But in your lifetime …”

Jim Hansen is another member of this godfather generation. Born in 1941, he became a climatologist at the University of Iowa, developed the groundbreaking “Zero Model” for projecting climate change, and later became the head of climate research at NASA, only to leave under pressure when, while still a federal employee, he filed a lawsuit against the federal government charging inaction on warming (along the way he got arrested a few times for protesting, too). The lawsuit, which is brought by a collective called Our Children’s Trust and is often described as “kids versus climate change,” is built on an appeal to the equal-protection clause, namely, that in failing to take action on warming, the government is violating it by imposing massive costs on future generations; it is scheduled to be heard this winter in Oregon district court. Hansen has recently given up on solving the climate problem with a carbon tax alone, which had been his preferred approach, and has set about calculating the total cost of the additional measure of extracting carbon from the atmosphere.

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Hansen began his career studying Venus, which was once a very Earth-like planet with plenty of life-supporting water before runaway climate change rapidly transformed it into an arid and uninhabitable sphere enveloped in an unbreathable gas; he switched to studying our planet by 30, wondering why he should be squinting across the solar system to explore rapid environmental change when he could see it all around him on the planet he was standing on. “When we wrote our first paper on this, in 1981,” he told me, “I remember saying to one of my co-authors, ‘This is going to be very interesting. Sometime during our careers, we’re going to see these things beginning to happen.’ ”

Several of the scientists I spoke with proposed global warming as the solution to Fermi’s famous paradox, which asks, If the universe is so big, then why haven’t we encountered any other intelligent life in it? The answer, they suggested, is that the natural life span of a civilization may be only several thousand years, and the life span of an industrial civilization perhaps only several hundred. In a universe that is many billions of years old, with star systems separated as much by time as by space, civilizations might emerge and develop and burn themselves up simply too fast to ever find one another. Peter Ward, a charismatic paleontologist among those responsible for discovering that the planet’s mass extinctions were caused by greenhouse gas, calls this the “Great Filter”: “Civilizations rise, but there’s an environmental filter that causes them to die off again and disappear fairly quickly,” he told me. “If you look at planet Earth, the filtering we’ve had in the past has been in these mass extinctions.” The mass extinction we are now living through has only just begun; so much more dying is coming.

And yet, improbably, Ward is an optimist. So are Broecker and Hansen and many of the other scientists I spoke to. We have not developed much of a religion of meaning around climate change that might comfort us, or give us purpose, in the face of possible annihilation. But climate scientists have a strange kind of faith: We will find a way to forestall radical warming, they say, because we must.

It is not easy to know how much to be reassured by that bleak certainty, and how much to wonder whether it is another form of delusion; for global warming to work as parable, of course, someone needs to survive to tell the story. The scientists know that to even meet the Paris goals, by 2050, carbon emissions from energy and industry, which are still rising, will have to fall by half each decade; emissions from land use (deforestation, cow farts, etc.) will have to zero out; and we will need to have invented technologies to extract, annually, twice as much carbon from the atmosphere as the entire planet’s plants now do. Nevertheless, by and large, the scientists have an enormous confidence in the ingenuity of humans — a confidence perhaps bolstered by their appreciation for climate change, which is, after all, a human invention, too. They point to the Apollo project, the hole in the ozone we patched in the 1980s, the passing of the fear of mutually assured destruction. Now we’ve found a way to engineer our own doomsday, and surely we will find a way to engineer our way out of it, one way or another. The planet is not used to being provoked like this, and climate systems designed to give feedback over centuries or millennia prevent us — even those who may be watching closely — from fully imagining the damage done already to the planet. But when we do truly see the world we’ve made, they say, we will also find a way to make it livable. For them, the alternative is simply unimaginable.

*This article appears in the July 10, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.

*This article has been updated to provide context for the recent news reports about revisions to a satellite data set, to more accurately reflect the rate of warming during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum, to clarify a reference to Peter Brannen’s The Ends of the World, and to make clear that James Hansen still supports a carbon-tax based approach to emissions.


          2.7 million Americans have served in Iraq, Afghanistan      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Have American tax payers got their money’s worth? In early October the Afghan war will be 17 years old. What’s been gained by the West intervening? Would Afghanistan be better off now if they’d been left alone to solve their own problems? The Pentagon’s failed campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan left a generation of soldiers … Continue reading 2.7 million Americans have served in Iraq, Afghanistan
          War Without End      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The Pentagon's failed campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan left a generation of soldiers with little to fight for but one another.
          Digital Locks – Are Locksmiths the Future of Domestic Security?      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Archeologists uncovered the oldest known lock, in palace ruins on the outskirts of Nineveh, in today’s Iraq. The lock is estimated to be some 4000 years old and consists of a large bolt with pegs in its upper surface to prevent unlocking. Locks and keys made from wood were the standards until the Industrial Revolution […]

The post Digital Locks – Are Locksmiths the Future of Domestic Security? appeared first on TechAtLast.


          China, Germany Defend Iran Business Ties as US Sanctions Grip      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
China and Germany defended their business ties with Iran on Wednesday in the face of President Donald Trump’s warning that any companies trading with the Islamic Republic would be barred from the United States. The comments from Beijing and Berlin signaled growing anger from partners of the United States, which reimposed strict sanctions against Iran on Tuesday, over its threat to penalize businesses from third countries that continue to operate there. “China has consistently opposed unilateral sanctions and long-armed jurisdiction,” the Chinese foreign ministry said. “China’s commercial cooperation with Iran is open and transparent, reasonable, fair and lawful, not violating any United Nations Security Council resolutions,” it added in a faxed statement to Reuters. “China’s lawful rights should be protected.” The German government said U.S. sanctions against Iran that have an extra-territorial effect violate international law, and Germany expects Washington to consider European interests when coming up with such sanctions. The reimposition of U.S. sanctions followed Trump’s decision earlier this year to pull out of a 2015 deal to lift the punitive measures in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program designed to prevent it from building an atomic bomb. Iran’s highest authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said meanwhile the country had nothing to be concerned about, a report on his official website said in an apparent reference to the imposition of the U.S. sanctions “With regard to our situation do not be worried at all. Nobody can do anything,” Khamenei said recently, the website reported. “There is no doubt about this.” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, speaking in a meeting with North Korea’s foreign minister, said that America could not be trusted, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency. “Today, America is identified as an unreliable and untrustworthy country in the world which does not adhere to any of its obligations,” Rouhani said. Tuesday’s sanctions target Iran’s purchases of U.S. dollars, metals trading, coal, industrial software and the auto sector. Trump tweeted on Tuesday: “These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level. Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States.” Europeans withdraw European countries, hoping to persuade Tehran to continue to respect the deal, have promised to try to lessen the blow of sanctions and to urge their firms not to pull out. But that has proved difficult: European companies have quit Iran, arguing that they cannot risk their U.S. business. Among those that have suspended plans to invest in Iran are France’s oil major Total, its big carmakers PSA and Renault, and their German rival Daimler. Danish engineering company Haldor Topsoe, one of the world’s leading industrial catalyst producers, said on Wednesday it would cut around 200 jobs from its workforce of 2,700 due to the new U.S sanctions on Iran, which made it very hard for its customers there to finance new projects. The chief executive of reinsurance group Munich Re said it may abandon its Iran business under pressure from the United States, but described the operation as very small. Turkey, however, said it would continue to buy natural gas from Iran. “Simplistic idea” In Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted by an Iranian newspaper as saying that a U.S. plan to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero would not succeed. U.S. officials have said in recent weeks that they aim to pressure countries to stop buying oil from Iran in a bid to force Tehran to halt its nuclear and missile programs and involvement in regional conflicts in Syria and Iraq. “If the Americans want to keep this simplistic and impossible idea in their minds they should also know its consequences,” Zarif told the Iran newspaper. “They can’t think that Iran won’t export oil and others will export.” Rouhani hinted last month that Iran could block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, if the U.S. attempted to stop the Islamic Republic’s oil exports. Trump responded by noting that Iran could face serious consequences if it threatened the United States. “The Americans have assembled a war room against Iran,” Zarif said. “We can’t get drawn into a confrontation with America by falling into this war room trap and playing on a battlefield.” Iran has dismissed a last-minute offer from the Trump administration for talks, saying it could not negotiate while Washington had reneged on the 2015 deal to lift sanctions. In a speech hours before the sanctions were due to take effect on Tuesday, Rouhani rejected negotiations as long as Washington was no longer complying with the deal. “If you stab someone with a knife and then you say you want talks, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife,” Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television.
          China, Germany defend Iran business ties as US sanctions grip - Reuters      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Reuters

China, Germany defend Iran business ties as US sanctions grip
Reuters
BEIJING/BERLIN (Reuters) - China and Germany defended their business ties with Iran on Wednesday in the face of President Donald Trump's warning that any companies trading with the Islamic Republic would be barred from the United States.
What It Would Take for Iran to Talk to TrumpThe Atlantic
US military warns Iran over naval activity in the Strait of HormuzWashington Post
US braces for possible cyberattacks after Iran sanctionsYahoo News
NBCNews.com -The Guardian -BBC News -FRANCE 24
all 1,615 news articles »

          Book Review and Interview: Mike4      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The following review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. Mike4 by J. R. Seeger brings to life the work of a CIA operative. Using his own experiences, he is able to tell a realistic story. His accomplishments include, having served as platoon leader, company commander, and multiple staff assignments in the Airborne Infantry from 1981 to 1985, as well as Chief of Station, Chief of Base, and Unit Chief for the CIA from 1987 to 2004. The fictional plot finds Sue O’ Connell deciding to follow in her parents’ footsteps and become an operative for the CIA. Her assignment is to find terrorists so that SOF assault teams can “finish” the target. Just as the author came from a military background, before joining the CIA, so has Sue. An injury forces O’Connell to leave the military and join other SOF operators training to become counterterrorism intelligence collectors. But as she continues her training, given the code name Mike4, and after joining the surveillance world, she finds her family held secrets. Beyond just the covert world of their profession, they have a history that includes both counterintelligence secrets and a 60-year old Russian vendetta. This riveting tale allows someone to take the journey with Sue as she goes from the CIA training at the Farm to a field operator. Anyone wanting to understand the shadowy often hard-edged world of counter-terrorism within a mysterious plot should read this novel EC: Russia is the adversary in your story? JR Seeger: The Russians’ purpose is to create sufficient chaos in the West, doing whatever they please in what they would call “the near abroad.” The Russians are taking active measures all across Europe, the UK, and the US. The objective to have the Western world totally focused on the political chaos within their systems instead of Russian expansionism. This geo-political perspective is very much consistent with what was going on during the Cold War in the 1950s, 1960s.The difference is they are using inexpensive yet sophisticated methods, doing it with the Internet instead of tanks. EC: Can you explain the quote about Russia, which is very timely today? JRS: You are referring to the book quote, ‘Americans believes in open-source intelligence and think tanks. Russians understand the outside world is a created reality… and understand that the real world is a world of secrets, backroom deals, deceit, and theft.’ I wanted to explain that every Russian I ever met lived in a world where nothing could be trusted, and everything was manipulated at the Kremlin level. Their two newspapers are described, one is supposed truth and the other is supposed news. Yet, people would say there is no truth and no news. The complete and utter control is with the power. EC: When did you write the book? JRS: The story was written in 2013 and it takes about two years for the PRB to clear the book. The O’Connell family is a metaphor for the rest of the world. Sue thinks she knows everything that goes on within her family, but finds out all kinds of things she never knew. EC: You give a shout out to amputees? JRS: When I did special ops training I met people who had amputations below the knee (BTK). They were previous special operators who were injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Refusing to be victims, and wanting to stay in the game, they became human intelligence collectors. The guys and gals I worked with did not reveal until after the fact that they were BTKs. Just as with my character Sue, they did not want anyone to know and pity them. They were as hard as a woodpeckers’ lips. EC: What is based on your experiences? JRS: The way the characters talked and thought is based entirely on my experiences. The feedback of those in the game said this is how they talked and thought. I wanted to make sure this book is as realistic about this community as I know. The people in the story are based on a compilation. EC: Can you explain the book quote, “Ginger Rogers had to do everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels”? JRS:I wanted to write something that captured women in the Special Operations Forces and intelligence communities. I know the current CIA Director, Gina Haspel, who is a good friend of mine. I have known her since 1991. She is a fascinating person. All the women from Gina’s era through the present-day focus on just doing the job. Barbara O’ Connell, the mom, showed how spectacular women did the job. The current generation are succeeding because the previous one had courageous women who paved the way. As Sue says, once you get through selection that is it. It does not matter your sex, sexuality, race, color, or religion, because it becomes all about performance. If the operator holds up their part of the bargain, they are a part of the team, and if someone does not, then it is RTU, return to unit. EC: Can you describe Sue? JRS: Aggressive, independent, and sometimes a rule breaker. She is learning how to apply her skills. BTW: I did not physically describe any of the characters on purpose, although I put in this book quote to show her feelings, ‘To survive life in an SOF unit she always had to be tougher, faster, and smarter than the guys if she was going to get any respect.’ EC: So did she earn her team’s respect? JRS: Yes. As I said earlier, she finally realized she has nothing to prove, that she earned her place. Anyone who tried to cause trouble for her because she is a woman would be gone. I describe it as all the different parts of the military: Army red, Airforce sky blue, Navy navy blue, and Marine...

          Centcom Commander: Afghan Government Will Prosecute ISIS-K Terrorists      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan members held in Afghanistan will be tried as war criminals and the Afghanistan government will ensure those found guilty will be held to account for their war crimes, the commander of U.S. Central Command said.
General sits at table briefing reporters.

          Da casa di Dio ad agenzia di lavoro?      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

LA CHIESA DI SAN BERNARDINO


XXIV - Omaggio alle chiese natie: San Bernardino. Seminascosta da un maestoso "Cedrus deodara", la chiesa di San Bernardino da Siena, è la chiesa del seminario arcivescovile, e quindi non ha mai avuto una funzione parrocchiale 
di Francesco Lamendola  

Il discorso sulla crisi delle vocazioni è molto complesso e ci porterebbe lontano; pure, è giusto e doveroso dedicarvi almeno qualche riflessione. Tanto per cominciare, parlar di crisi delle vocazioni, come si faceva quaranta o cinquant’anni fa, è decisamente riduttivo: non ci troviamo di fronte a una semplice crisi, perché la crisi è un evento drammatico ma temporaneo; ci troviamo di fronte, molto probabilmente a una tendenza strutturale della società moderna, a una tendenza costante e, forse, irreversibile, la quale sta raccogliendo quel che ha sempre seminato: incredulità, materialismo, irreligiosità, consumismo, idolatria del mondo, dei suoi miti (anche politici), dei suoi pseudo valori.

 Se è chiaro, da un lato, che nella società secolarizzata non esistono più le condizioni perché un giovane sia incoraggiato a seguire la sua vocazione religiosa, e le famiglie siano indotte a sostenerlo nella sua scelta, dall’altro ci sembra si possa dire che la peggior risposta possibile a questo stato di cose consiste nell’inaugurare la stagione dei saldi di fine stagione, vendere a prezzi stracciati la merce della fede e reagire al distacco degli uomini dal sacro, togliendo il sacro e laicizzandolo perfino più di quanto non pretendano di fare i nemici della Chiesa. Mettiamoci nei panni di un giovane dei nostri giorni. Per il tipo di società in cui vive, per la famiglia da cui proveniente, per l’educazione che ha ricevuto, per gli amici ha frequentato, per i film che ha visto e per i libri che ha letto, i casi sono due: o è diventato un perfetto deficiente, un prono adoratore del consumismo, un individualista di massa che biascica le giaculatorie del politicamente corretto, sì all’accoglienza, no al razzismo, Vade retro Salvini, eccetera (e il merito di averlo ridotto così va tutto, o quasi tutto, alla generazione degli adulti, insulsi e banali come lui), oppure, caso ovviamente più raro, anzi quasi miracoloso, ma non infrequente, ha sviluppato gli anticorpi contro l’idiozia sociale programmata, si è formato una propria coscienza, ha difeso la propria anima, e allora potrà essere e diventare qualsiasi cosa, ma non l’ennesimo cagnolino scodinzolante del sistema di menzogne in cui viviamo. Sarà generoso, appassionato, affamato e assetato di verità, di giustizia, di Parole di vita terna. Forse sarà arrivato a Gesù Cristo per una strada tutta sua; ma se pure avesse avuto un’educazione cattolica, l’avrà ripensata, si sarà guardato intorno, avrà fatto le sue deduzioni e si sarà accorto che qualcosa non torna, che i conti sono tutt’altro che in ordine e che, per dirla tutta, la Chiesa non è affatto quel che dovrebbe essere, quello che era ed è sempre stata, ma che è diventata una cosa nuova, ibrida, indefinibile, una gelatina che chiunque può stirare o accorciare secondo i propridesiderata, ma che, nel complesso, si trova in ostaggio di un clero eretico e apostata, che ha tradito, scientemente o meno, la propria vocazione, per farsi servitore e annunciatore di questo mondo (bella novità: lo fanno già, da almeno tre secoli, i laicisti e i nemici dichiarati dalla Chiesa: non si sentiva proprio la mancanza di questi adulatori tardivi, che si presentano festanti a tempo scaduto e a tavola ormai da anni sparecchiata). In lui vi è un fortissimo bisogno di raccoglimento, interiorità, spiritualità: non gl’interessa, né sa che farsene, di una chiesa che sia una brutta scimmiottatura del mondo, di una Messa che somiglia una kermesse, di un catechismo che si può cambiare in qualsiasi momento, di una pastorale che si riduce ad approvare tutto, a benedire tutto, anche il peccato, anche il male. Un giovane come quello che abbiamo delineato non sa che farsene di un monsignor Sosa che dice di non sapere cosa disse Gesù, perché all’epoca non c’erano i registratori: sono discorsi storicisti e razionalisti vecchi di tre secoli, sanno di muffa, altro che novità; via, nella spazzatura! E non sa cosa farsene di monsignor Paglia, che ha affrescare il duomo di Terni con una apoteosi del peccato e dei peccatori, tutti portati in Cielo senza conversione, né pentimento, né riparazione: via, robaccia di bassa lega, merce avariata, ammuffita e rosa dai vermi! Né sa cosa farsene di monsignor Galantino, che parla sempre e solo dei migranti, del loro diritto all’accoglienza, e che definisce lo scisma protestante un dono dello Spirito Santo: anche lui è in ritardo di cinque secoli, tanto valeva farsi luterani nel 1500; oggi è ridicolo, per non dir penoso. E meno di tutto sa che farsene di un papa che non fa il papa, che fa l’antipapa; che non incoraggia e non rafforza la fede, ma la mina e la mette in crisi; che non dà certezze ai fedeli, ma instilla continuamente dubbi; che passa il tempo a dir male dei cattolici, a insultare le loro credenze, e a cambiare a suo talento la dottrina, e intanto si profonde in lodi, dichiarazioni di stima e genuflessioni per tutti i peggiori nemici della Chiesa e della morale cristiana: per una signora che ha procurato personalmente migliaia di aborti, per un giornalista che da sempre capeggia il partito massonico, per gli imam che non sanno neppure cosa sia il terrorismo islamico, tanto sono pacifici e bene intenzionati verso i cristiani, si vede che li milioni di cristiani perseguitati a morte e costretti a fuggire dalla Siria, dall’Iraq e da altri Paesi sono un’invenzione dei fondamentalisti cattolici, una fisima dei conservatori.

0 seminario udine
L'imponente ingresso del seminario (o piuttosto ex seminario) di Udine.

No, di tutta questa gente, di questi discorsi, di questi esempi, un giovane che si senta spinto a entrare in semiario, oggi, per amore di Gesù, per servite il Vangelo e diffonderlo nel mondo, non sa  cosa farsene: anzi, li detesta addirittura. Di questo sentimento abbiamo le prove, avendone parlato con numerose persone. A un giovane prete abbiamo chiesto che ne pensa di Bergoglio; ha risposto: Quando lo vedo alla televisione, provo un fastidio fisico e devo spegnere o cambiar canale. Anche se i mass media ci dipingono una realtà completamente diversa, anche se per L’Avvenire e Famiglia Cristiana questo è il papa migliore della storia, e vorrebbero farlo santo subito, ancora in vita, e già gli tributano un culto come se lo fosse, la realtà è che moltissimi cattolici, e anche un certo numero di sacerdoti, non lo sopportano più: non sopportano di vedere la sua faccia, di udire i suoi discorsi, quel suo tono di provocazione e di sfida, quel suo perverso gusto di scandalizzare, di turbare, di confondere. Non lo percepiscono come il buon pastore, ma come un lupo travestito da pastore. Sanno perché è stato eletto e da chi è stato eletto, e per fare cosa; vedono che sta facendo quel che gli è stato prescritto di fare, e ne sono inorriditi. Vedono chiaramente che costui sta distruggendo la Chiesa, sta polverizzando l’opera di duemila anni di storia, e che è stata scritto col sangue e coi sacrifici di generazioni e generazioni di santi, di vergini, di mistici e di martiri. Certo, non sta facendo tutto da solo: la situazione era matura per vibrare il colpo.

0 mani bergoglio
Come un divo del cinema? A molti cattolici ormai la sua faccia dà solo fastidio.

Ora possiamo riconoscere almeno tre forze che concorrono a distruggere la Chiesa. La prima è la forza della secolarizzazione, che è passata dalla società profana al clero e soprattutto ai teologi, e che, attraverso i teologi, e facendo leva sulla loro superbia intellettuale, ha gettato la confusione e lo sconforto dentro il popolo cristiano, abbassando la prospettiva dell’altro mondo alle dimensioni di questo mondo, riducendo le verità eterne a verità storiche, la fede nella vita eterna in una fede nella vita presente. La seconda forza è la massoneria ecclesiastica, una cui importante diramazione è la lobby gay del Vaticano: un piccolo ma potentissimo gruppo di cardinali, vescovi e superiori di ordini religiosi, che hanno il compito di distrugger dall’interno la morale e la dottrina. La terza forza è data dal conformismo, dall’insipienza, l’opportunismo e l’ambizione di tutti quei personaggi, grandi e piccoli, consacrati e laici, che assecondano il colpo di mano dei gesuiti, per conservare le loro poltrone, le posizioni di potere e le carriere. Tuttavia il nostro giovane si chiede che senso abbia seguire Gesù, per imitare le cose più discutibili di quaggiù. Edonismo per edonismo, non è meglio la discoteca del seminario?...
estsratto da:

                             XXIV - Omaggio alle chiese natie: San Bernardino

di Francesco Lamendola


Vaticano, ufficio di collocamento anti-suicidi. Vademecum per Bergoglio

Il Papa: “Suicidi, dipendenze e uscita verso la guerriglia sono le tre opzioni che i giovani hanno oggi, quando non c’è lavoro”

Suicidi, dipendenze e uscita verso la guerriglia sono le tre opzioni che i giovani hanno oggi, quando non c’è lavoro”. La frase, non è uscita dalla bocca di un indefesso marxista  antagonista del turbocapitalismo, da un discepolo di Sigmund Freud o da un operatore del Sert, bensì da papa Francesco. Mercoledì 1 agosto scorso durante un discorso a braccio tenuto in occasione dell’incontro con i partecipanti al corso European Jesuits in Formation, Bergoglio ha precisato che "i giovani senza lavoro hanno solo tre opzioni: suicidio, cocaina o arruolamento nell'isis".
Prima della clamorosa rivelazione del capo della chiesa, ci avevano fatto credere che il suicidio è il gesto autolesionistico più estremo tipico delle persone affette da  disturbi mentali e psichiatrici; che il tossicodipendente si droga per inquietudine, smarrimento, solitudine, noia e incapacità di dare un senso alla vita; che i giovani che si arruolano nel califfato lo fanno per servire la causa di Allah, sconfiggere gli infedeli e soprattutto, in caso di morte, per accompagnarsi nell'aldilà con 72 vogliose vergini.
Generalmente si dice che alle parole devono seguire i fatti. Se come ha detto il capo della chiesa, la radice di tutti i mali è la disoccupazione, non sarebbe cosa buona e giusta che trasformasse il vaticano da ufficio catechistico a ufficio di collocamento e le chiese da casa di Dio ad agenzia di lavoro? Drogati e suicidi cesserebbe, lo stato islamico sparirebbe, e la terra troverebbe pace. Grazie papa Francesco.

 di Gianni Toffali
http://www.affaritaliani.it/cronache/vaticano-ufficio-di-collocamento-anti-suicidi-vademecum-per-bergoglio-554746.html?ref=rss

Le parole di Bergoglio e il sogno di don Bosco... Il futuro della Chiesa è nell'Eucaristia e in Maria!

Amici, un articolo di qualche mese fa che non conoscevo e che, penso, valga la pena riproporre perchè assolutamente attuale...

Il portale canadese di lingua francese Radio-Canada.ca riporta un'intervista con il vescovo di Rouyn-Noranda, mons. Dorylas Moreau, il quale riferisce nei termini che seguono la risposta che gli sarebbe stata data da papa Francesco a una sua preoccupazione circa la mancanza di sacerdoti nelle piccole comunità: «Senta, Lei dimentica due cose: il futuro della Chiesa è più attorno alla parola di Dio che attorno all'Eucaristia"». Per la parola di Dio, prosegue l’arcivescovo riportando il pensiero del Papa, «non c'è necessariamente bisogno di sacerdoti per esprimerla e metterla in opera nei nostri ambienti». Il Papa, secondo mons. Moreau, avrebbe «insistito molto sulle opere di misericordia. Ma questo è nuovo, è fare il bene, prendersi cura dei poveri, essere aperto sul piano della giustizia, ecc. E questo che darà la testimonianza della Chiesa».

Questa è una notizia per la quale attendiamo con viva ansia un'immediata smentita o una precisazione da parte di chi di dovere. Da queste parole, infatti, potrebbe sembrare che il Papa veda, nel futuro della Chiesa, l’Eucaristia passare in secondo piano per mettere al centro incontri di preghiera per ascoltare la parola di Dio. Il sacrificio eucaristico, vale a dire la Messa, finirebbe poi per scomparire del tutto, poiché molti penserebbero che ciò favorisce un cammino comune con i protestanti. Questo è del resto ciò che fanno non pochi cattolici in Germania, che vanno a domeniche alterne alla Santa Messa e alla funzione luterana, quasi che una valesse l’altra. In entrambe, così essi pensano, i fedeli cristiani si riuniscono per ascoltare la parola di Dio.

Non è buona cosa che dalla bocca del Papa escano tali “profezie”, quasi che tutto questo fosse ineluttabile, e dopo tutto quasi accettabile.

Vale la pena quindi ribadire che la Santa Messa, riproposizione incruenta della Passione e della morte in Croce di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo, è il centro della vita del cristiano, e non è sostituibile, quanto a valore, da un ascolto qualsiasi della Parola di Dio o incontro di preghiera, e ciò vale e varrà sempre, indipendentemente dal numero di sacerdoti che operano tra i fedeli.

Per una completa e vera testimonianza cristiana non è sufficiente neppure la sola carità verso il prossimo - sarebbe solo ed esclusivamente una testimonianza umana - giacché essa deve essere compiuta in comunione con il sacrificio redentivo di Cristo.

Essa infatti non sostituisce né la Santa Messa né la preghiera, poiché il Primo Comandamento è l'amore per Dio, seguito da quello che esige l'amore per il prossimo, il quale rappresenta la naturale e immediata conseguenza - ma solo una conseguenza – del vero amore che abbiamo per Dio con tutto il nostro essere. Così come non c'è amore per Dio se non si amano i fratelli, egualmente non c'è amore per i fratelli se al centro della nostra vita non c'è Dio, e se manca la celebrazione eucaristica che ripropone il supremo atto di amore e di misericordia di Gesù Cristo, Dio fatto uomo. Infatti è proprio dal nutrirsi del Corpo e del Sangue del Signore che riceviamo la forza, tra l’altro, per prenderci cura dei poveri, che non sono solamente le persone che versano in difficoltà di natura economica, bensì anche quelle che non conoscono l’amore di Dio.

Un esempio in questo senso ci viene dato dai martiri cristiani di Abitina, in Africa, che nel III-IV secolo dicevano al giudice che li stava per condannare a morte: «Sine dominico non possumus», intendendo per “domenica” la celebrazione eucaristica che si celebrava il giorno del Signore.

La riforma liturgica postconciliare ha di fatto reso non più evidente, come lo era prima, la totale trascendenza e alterità di Dio rispetto all'uomo, nonostante le quali, per la sua infinita misericordia, il Dio fatto uomo si fa pane e vino per nutrirci del suo Corpo e Sangue.

Tale processo è poi proseguito con la Comunione distribuita sulla mano dei fedeli, e con lo spostamento del tabernacolo dal centro dell'altare in angoli spesso invisibili delle chiese e altre numerose modifiche liturgiche che vanno nella medesima direzione. Ora moltissimi fedeli fanno la Comunione senza confessarsi o confessarsi bene - don Leonardo Maria Pompei, un parroco della Diocesi di Latina noto per le sue catechesi e omelie molto ascoltate sul web, dice che secondo la sua esperienza pastorale l'80% dei fedeli che si recano a fare la Comunione non si sono confessati bene, e farebbero bene a non alzarsi neppure dai banchi.

La situazione è ulteriormente peggiorata dopo Amoris Laetitia. Molti fedeli che vivono situazioni irregolari non sanate, per ricevere la Comunione, dalla decisione di vivere in castità assoluta, vengono accolti a fare la Comunione, e delle coppie che continuano a osservare l’obbligo di castità testimoniano di come ormai moltissimi sacerdoti li invitino a vivere come se fossero sposati in chiesa, poiché con l’esortazione post-sinodale di papa Francesco, asseriscono questi sacerdoti, tutto sarebbe cambiato.

Così come in altri Paesi occidentali, anche in Canada il numero dei sacerdoti è drammaticamente basso rispetto alle esigenze pastorali. Nella diocesi retta da mons. Moreau vi sono parroci che gestiscono contemporaneamente fino a otto parrocchie, e non è stato di grande aiuto neppure l'utilizzo di sacerdoti stranieri, provenienti principalmente dall'Africa francofona. Non è un caso che proprio nella Diocesi di Rouyn-Noranda il vescovo è ricorso a una suora per la “celebrazione” di un matrimonio, e c'è da credere che questa scelta farà scuola anche là dove non sussistono problemi di carenza di sacerdoti e rappresenterà un pretesto per assegnare a donne compiti pastorali quasi sacerdotali, con tutte le conseguenze che possiamo bene immaginare.

La soluzione al problema c'è e non è per nulla complessa. La Chiesa deve tornare alla purezza della dottrina quale essa ha sempre insegnato e che oggi, molto spesso, è stata abbandonata per cedere ai desiderata del mondo, negli ultimi tempi soprattutto con il pretesto della falsa misericordia.

Non è un caso che nelle comunità religiose legate alla Tradizione nascano e crescano moltissime vocazioni religiose e sacerdotali, segno che laddove la dottrina cattolica è sana, i fedeli hanno più possibilità di convertirsi, e percorrendo il cammino della conversione, chi è chiamato sente distintamente e segue l’invito del Signore a una vita di totale consacrazione a lui.

In questo senso ci viene incontro il sogno profetico di san Giovanni Bosco, quello della Chiesa, rappresentata da una nave in tempesta, che il Papa salva facendola ancorare a due colonne, l’Eucarestia e Maria Santissima.

Dobbiamo quindi essere attorno all’Eucaristia con Maria, che ci guida a suo figlio Gesù e salva la Chiesa dalle tempeste.

Fonte:

www.lanuovabq.it/it/il-futuro-della…

          Iraqi consulate ordered to pay $20,000 for unfair dismissal of worker      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The Consul General of Iraq has been ordered to pay $20,000 in compensation for the unfair dismissal of a domestic worker.
          Can Hayes stop a deadly attack by a jihadi group with tentacles that stretch from northern Iraq all the way to the Palace of Westminster?Mark Arundel’s action thriller Spitfire (Meriwether Files Book 5)       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Don’t miss today’s KND Thriller of the Day “Spitfire catapults Mark Arundel to the very top of the thriller genre.” –The Standard Spitfire (Meriwether Files Book 5) by Mark Arundel 5.0 stars – 1 review Kindle Price: 99 cents Everyday Price: $3.99 Text-to-Speech: Enabled Follow author Mark Arundel on BookGorilla Don’t have a Kindle? Get […]
          "First Iraq, Then Iran": Prof. Michel Chossudovsky      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Damning evidence refuting Colin Powell’s official intelligence report was revealed by Cambridge Lecturer Dr. Glen Rangwala (image right) on Britain’s Channel 4 TV following Secretary of State Colin Powell’s historic Iraq WMD presentation to the UN Security Council:

According to Rangwala, the British intelligence document was fake. It had not been prepared by British intelligence. It was copied and pasted from the internet by members of Tony Blair’s staff:

The Downing Street authors state they drew “upon a number of sources, including intelligence material” (p.1, first sentence). In fact, they copied material from at least three different authors and gave no credit to them. Indeed, they plagiarized, directly cutting and pasting or near quoting.

A close textual analysis suggests that the UK authors had little access to first-hand intelligence sources and instead based their work on academic papers, which they selectively distorted. Some of the papers used were considerably out of date. This leads the reader to wonder about the reliability and veracity of the Downing Street document.

It was a fake document prepared on the instructions of prime minister Blair with a view to building a “credible” justification to wage war on Iraq. And the media failed to report the Big Lie.




[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, August 9th, 2018.]
          Con procesión cristianos iraquíes agradecen a Dios por liberarlos del ISIS      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
ROMA, 08 Ago. 18 (ACI Prensa).- En el cuarto aniversario de la invasión del Estado Islámico (ISIS) a la Llanura de Nínive (Irak), los cristianos de la ciudad de Karamlesh realizaron una procesión para agradecer a Dios por permitir la expulsión de los terroristas musulmanes en agosto de 2016 e iniciar así el retorno de las familias cristianas.
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map for iraq

          rivers in iraq map      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
rivers in iraq map

          John Kiriakou, When Twitter Decides Who Speaks (or Not)      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

John Kiriakou

ensorship has become such a normal part of daily American life that most people either don’t pay attention to it or don’t care. But it’s taken on a life of its own, and it’s beginning to spin out of control. We must take back our constitutional right to freedom of speech and our civil liberties. 

     Many Americans laughed this week when Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube suspended the accounts of Alex Jones and InfoWars. Jones is well-known for his bombastic, conspiracy-laden, often offensive views on just about everything from the Sandy Hook massacre (no children were killed; they were all “crisis actors”) to the United Nations (it’s a hostile foreign power that maintains a secret army and will launch a war to install a one-world government) to so-called “chemtrails” and space aliens. (In the interest of transparency, I have appeared three times on InfoWars’ The Real News with David Knight. David is a mainstream Libertarian and a great supporter of whistleblowers.)
But the decision to ban Jones was not funny at all. You don’t have to agree with a single thing the man says to believe that he has the same fundamental right to freedom of speech that you and I have. When news of the ban broke on August 6, I was surprised at how few of my friends objected to it. Indeed, many gloated over it. I felt exactly the opposite. I was infuriated. And the next day, on August 7, Twitter permanently banned my friend Peter Van Buren from the site.
Van Buren is a renowned State Department whistleblower and 24-year Foreign Service veteran who also led a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Iraq. He has written extensively about waste, fraud, and abuse at the State Department, and he published a well-received memoir in 2012 entitled, “We Meant Well: How I Helped to Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People.” As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton tried mightily to fire Van Buren for that memoir, even though the State Department’s publications review staff approved its release. She tried to confiscate his pension. Only after a lawsuit on his behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Government Accountability Project was he allowed to retire and to keep his pension.
Twitter, however, doesn’t have to answer to anybody. It’s a private company and it can do what it wants. Last week, Van Buren got involved in an acrimonious exchange about government lying with mainstream journalist Jonathan Katz, a freelancer who writes primarily for The New York Times, Politico, and Slate. Katz apparently reported Van Buren to Twitter, which quickly banned him for life, saying he had “harassed, intimidated, or used fear to silence” Katz. No such thing ever took place. Because of the permanent nature of the ban, every one of Van Buren’s tweets from the past seven years has been deleted.
Twitter’s action turns out to not have been limited to Alex Jones and a buddy of mine. The company went on yesterday to suspend the accounts of Scott Horton, a prominent radio host, director of Antiwar.com, and great friend of whistleblowers; and Dan McAdams, a highly-respected former congressional staff member and executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. I know both of these men well and I would stake my reputation on their decency, honesty, and integrity. Twitter suspended them because they came to Van Buren’s aid.
There’s an even worse result from Twitter’s actions. InfoWars this week had promoted a petitionasking President Trump to pardon Julian Assange. In just 48 hours, the petition was signed by nearly 40,000 people. It was all but killed when removed from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
There’s a very serious issue at play here. Put aside your feelings about Alex Jones, about crisis actors, and about chemtrails. This is an issue of free speech. It’s an issue of corporate censorship. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other tech mega-companies are telling us that they get to decide what we see and don’t see. They get to decide what we say and don’t say.
I won’t live like that. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a group of retired intelligence officers, diplomats, military officers, and FBI agents, is writing a letter to Twitter’s leadership to protest these heavy-handed, anti-democratic actions. I’m proud to be a member of VIPS and I think that our collective voice will be heard. But VIPS can’t do it alone. Twitter and the others must be called to account. I, for one, don’t want to live like a North Korean, an Iranian, or even an Israeli or a Brit, where my government or a company tells me what to think or to say. I will boycott Twitter and speak out against it everywhere until it remedies these egregious attacks on civil liberties.





John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act - a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration's torture program.

          The fighters : Americans in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq by Chivers, C. J. (Christopher John), author.      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
"Almost 2.5 million Americans have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001. C.J. Chivers has reported from both fronts from the beginning, walking side by side with combatants for more than a dozen years. He describes the experience of war today as it is endured by those most at risk--the camaraderie and profound sense of purpose, alongside courage, frustration, and moral confusion mixed with technical precision. In these remote places where the reason for their presence is someti
          Iraqi consulate ordered to pay $20,000 for unfair dismissal of worker      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The Consul General of Iraq has been ordered to pay $20,000 in compensation for the unfair dismissal of a domestic worker.
          Amid ‘volatile’ environment, UN mission chief urges Iraqi leaders to ‘listen to the voice of the people’      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Despite a myriad of “long-neglected social, economic and development needs”, the Head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) on Wednesday said progress had been made towards recovery and stability in the battle-scarred country, and called for Iraqi political leaders to continue to “work for national reconciliation” through “inclusive” solutions.
          Report on Human Rights in Iraq: July to December 2017      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Publisher: UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) - Document type: Country Reports
          Payam TV      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Streaming online Payam TV, channel kurdistan, iraq, iran, turkey Live Streaming
          Đột phá từ người Kurd, Nga muốn chốt hạ chiến trường Syria      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Một phái bộ của Liên đoàn quốc tế cộng đồng người Kurd , đứng đầu là ông Knyaz Mirzoyev, đã gặp Thứ trưởng Ngoại giao Nga kiêm Đặc phái viên đặc biệt về Trung Đông và châu Phi Mikhail Bogdanov vào ngày 6/8, Bộ Ngoại giao Nga cho biết trong một tuyên bố trên trang web của cơ quan này.

Đột phá từ người Kurd, Nga muốn chốt hạ chiến trường Syria - Ảnh 1.

Thứ trưởng Ngoại giao Nga kiêm Đặc phái viên đặc biệt về Trung Đông và châu Phi Mikhail Bogdanov. (Nguồn: Sputnik)

"Các thành viên của phái bộ đã thông báo cho ông Bogdanov về kết quả thi bang lai xe a2 của cuộc họp sáng lập Liên đoàn quốc tế cộng đồng người Kurd tổ chức tại Moscow vào ngày 4/8 và hoan nghênh sự hiệp tác và kết đoàn của các đại diện từ các tổ chức phi chính phủ người Kurd, bao gồm cả những người Kurd ở Nga và Trung Á.

Các đại biểu cũng luận bàn về các vấn đề bít tất tay ở Trung Đông với sự tụ họp về những vấn đề của người Kurd trong bối cảnh có nhiều diễn biến ở Iraq và Syria, bao gồm sự cấp thiết củng cố các núm quốc tế chống ISIS và các nhóm khủng bố khác", tuyên bố của Bộ Ngoại giao Nga cho hay.

Theo Southfront, sự tăng cường mối hệ trọng giữa Nga và các tổ chức người Kurd diễn ra trong bối cảnh chính phủ Damascus và các phe phái người Kurd ở Syria đang siết chặt quan hệ.

Vào ngày 27/7, một phái đoàn của Hội đồng Dân chủ Syria (SDC) [một phe cánh chính trị thuộc Lực lượng Dân chủ Syria SDF được Mỹ hậu thuẫn] do Ilham Ehmed dẫn đầu đã đến Damascus để thương lượng với chính quyền Syria.

Điều quan yếu cần lưu ý là SDF và SDC trên thực tế nằm dưới sự dẫn đầu của lực lượng dân quân người Kurd YPG.

Vào ngày 2/8, một nhóm người Kurd khác, Đảng mai sau Syria (FSP), thông tin sẽ mở văn phòng tại khu vực do chính phủ Syria kiểm soát.

Ngày 5/8, tư lệnh Các đơn vị bảo vệ dân chúng Kurd YPG, Siban Hamo, nói với tờ báo Asharq al-Awsat có hội sở tại Anh rằng, các lực lượng của ông sẵn sàng tương trợ quân đội Syria chống lại các phần tử khủng bố ISIS tại đông al-Suwayda.

Những diễn biến này là một dấu hiệu quan trọng cho thấy nhiều cuộc thương thảo đang diễn ra trong nội bộ các lực lượng Syria, trong đó Moscow đóng một vai trò quan yếu như người hòa giải. Dù Nga vẫn chưa thể hướng đến nhận thức chung với Mỹ về ngày mai của Syria, thì có thể họ đang tận dụng ảnh hưởng của mình để thúc đẩy một quá trình hòa bình trên mặt trận.


          العراق يغلق “الباب الاقتصادي” مع إيران ويبدأ بالتفاوض مع السعوديّة والكويت - صوت العراق      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

دار الحياة

العراق يغلق “الباب الاقتصادي” مع إيران ويبدأ بالتفاوض مع السعوديّة والكويت
صوت العراق
بغداد/ محمد صباح. توقفت التحويلات المصرفية بين البنوك العراقية والإيرانية وشُلّت الحركة التجارية بسبب العقوبات التي فرضتها الولايات المتحدة على إيران. هذه العقوبات دفعت الحكومة العراقية للتوجه نحو الأسواق الخليجية لسد الحاجة الى مصادر الطاقة والسلع الاستهلاكية، تفادياً لأية انعكاسات سلبية في الأسواق الداخلية. ووصل حجم التبادل التجاري بين بغداد وطهران خلال السنوات الماضية إلى أكثر من عشرة مليارات دولار سنوياً. وحالياً، تواصل الحكومة العراقية مشاورات غير معلنة مع المملكة العربية السعودية والكويت لتوريد ...
تباين بين القوى العراقية بخصوص العقوبات الأميركية على إيرانالعربي الجديد
حيدر العبادي في مرمى مزايدات قادة الفصائل الشيعية بسبب العقوبات على إيرانAl Arab (بيان صحفي)
الميليشيات العراقية تهدد بكسر الحصار على إيرانالعربية نت
صحية تواصل الإلكترونية (سخرية) (بيان صحفي)
جميع المقالات البالغ عددها 40 »

          The necessary priorities      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Kate Randall (WSWS) offers a really important article:
 
For an increasing number of older Americans, life in retirement is the diametric opposite of the “golden years.” Instead of being comfortably cushioned by a pension and Social Security, a significant section of the senior population faces dwindling income, vanishing pensions, inadequate savings, mounting health care costs and rising debt. Debt collectors are visiting them at their low-paying jobs or knocking at their door.
A new study by the Consumer Bankruptcy Project finds that this “perfect storm” of adversity is translating into desperation. “When the costs of aging are offloaded onto a population that simply does not have access to adequate resources, something has to give,” the study states, “and older Americans turn to what little is left of the social safety net—bankruptcy court.”
The research documented in “The Graying of US Bankruptcy: Fallout for Life in a Risk Society,” finds that the rate of people 65 and older filing for bankruptcy is three times what it was in 1991. The same age group also accounts for a far greater share of all bankruptcy filers. The study suggests that this surge in filings by seniors is being driven by a three-decade-long shift of financial risk from the government and employers to individuals.
Seniors must wait longer for full Social Security benefits (age 70 rather than 65), defined benefit pensions have been replaced with 401(k)s, and older people are spending more out of pocket for medical care not covered by Medicare. Stagnant and declining incomes, job loss and the inability to find a decent-paying job to make ends meet are compounding the problem. Many seniors are one illness, accident or income drop away from financial ruin.

That is so frightening.  And I immediately thought of several relatives and friends who are in that risk category.

There's no reason for this.  There is more than enough money for war.  There should be more than enough money to take care of the American people.

We really need to demand politicians start prioritizing our real needs -- we don't need a dime for war.

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


Tuesday, August 7, 2018.

We're going to start with something non-Iraq at all (we'll also be ending with something non-Iraq).  I know Illeana Douglas and have known her for years.  As Rebecca noted last month, I first heard of Leslie Moonves' assault of Illeana years ago.  At THIRD this week, we did "Unlike Alyssa Milano, we'll stand with Illeana Douglas."  (Ann offered "Alyssa Milano reveals she doesn't give a damn about women" last night.)

Alyssa Milano is not who she claims or self-presents as.  Rose McGowan rightly called her a lie.  Though Corey Feldman was sympathetic to her, he publicly mocked her -- rightly so -- when she claimed she never had any idea that he or Corey Haim had been molested as children.  She knew.  She claims she never knew that Brad Kern was abusive to women on the set of CHARMED -- where she was a producer.  Everyone else knew.  There were complaints.  Repeated complaints.  She took a producer's credit (and pay) and it was her job to provide a safe work environment.  She failed.  To TIME magazine and others, she has presented herself as the head of #MeToo (after stealing the phrase from African-American  woman Tarana Burke -- one of her many cultural appropriations).  Yet though she Tweets over and over daily, she's still not Tweeted about Illeana or any of the other women who spoke out in Ronan Farrow's NEW YORKER piece.


Not one Tweet.  CAA is the reason I'm not part of #MeToo.  CAA pimped out women constantly.  There's a foreign actress who appeared in several hit films and was used by CAA before and after.  They pimped her out.  She remains destroyed today.  (If she chooses to tell her story publicly, I will support her.  Currently, she's still in therapy attempting to deal with what they put her through.)  Alyssa's married to CAA's David Bugliari and Alyssa's a "CAA speaker" that you can 'book.'

Alyssa's silence backs up everything many of us have long said.  She's is not a friend to women, she is stilted actress determined to self-promote, desperate for a career.  She is not about empowering women.  She's is about co-opting anything she can.

As for CBS, Leslie is part of a long pattern there that began with William Paley and the hell he put his wife (Babe Paley through) -- one affair after another, while he stopped having sex with her early in their marriage, his refusal to allow her to raise their children or even hug them in front of him.  He was pure filth and set the tone all those years ago.  CBS has always been hostile to women.  Most networks would be thrilled to have a hit show but CBS has always only been thrilled to have a hit show if it starred men.  Whether we're talking DESIGNING WOMEN, CAGNEY & LACEY, CYBILL, THE NANNY or the now returning MURPHY BROWN, CBS repeatedly undercuts and undermines their programs with female leads, undercutting them, pushing them through one time change after another, etc., etc.  At THIRD, Ava and I have long documented the institutional sexism at CBS and we've done it for a reason.

Leslie is guilty and if I were Julie Chen, sleeping with my married boss and then lucky enough to get him to leave his wife for me, I guess I'd rush forward to defend him too.  I mean, what career would Julie have if she hadn't slept with Leslie?  None at all.  I could go on and on here.

The point is Illeana told the truth and has been telling it to a number of us over the years.  And CBS has made clear that they do not take harassment seriously by allowing Moonves to remain on the job while he is under investigation.  He should be put on administrative leave.  Anything less goes to CBS not taking the issue seriously.  He is accused of harassment and attempted rape.  These are serious charges.  If you take them seriously, you put him on administrative leave until the investigation is over.  Otherwise?  You're saying work safety and the right of women to be safe at work does not matter.

Grasp that fake ass Alyssa is not just refusing to stand up for Illeana, she's refusing to stand up for women who may encounter Leslie.  He needs to be removed during the investigation.


Meanwhile, protests continue in Iraq.

Why?  Each year, Iraq rakes in billion from oil sales.  And the World Bank estimates the current population of Iraq to be 37.2 million.

With that kind of money coming in and that small of a population, meeting the needs of the people should be easy.

But it hasn't been.  The World Bank notes, for example, "The poverty rate increased from 19.8 percent in 2012 to an estimated 22.5 percent in 2014."  How does that happen?  Government corruption.  Politicians and officials stealing the public's money.

And it leaves nothing for the people.  Hence the video below.



Another video of Iraqi children eating from the garbage.



0:19

142 views










Live Right: The Protests

Pockets of are ongoing throughout cities in the south of the country, perhaps not as large as in recent weeks, but will the same demands of electricity, potable water and employment. looks at the situation. 🇮🇶💪🏼



28 views
0:08 / 1:29


1:21

28 views







The corruption has enriched many.  Nouri al-Maliki's son, for example, has some really swank living spaces in England and some really sporty cars.  That's nice for a man who's never really worked in his life.  But that's awful for the Iraqi people.

The Iraqi people are protesting to save their lives.  They are risking their lives with these ongoing protests and 14 have already died.




The excessive violence and cruelty used by the Iraqi security forces ended the lives of 14 demonstrators in 10 days of ongoing protests calling for economic and service improvements," the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said."







They are demanding basic rights including access to electricity and potable water, including jobs.

These protests are now a month old and it's amazing how many of the Twitter 'social justice warriors' have ignored these protests.

Why do they have to protest?

Among other things because the US government destroyed Iraq with the (ongoing) war.  The US still bombs Iraq.  Monday, the US Defense Dept announced:




Strikes in Iraq
There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq yesterday.
On Aug. 4 near Dulab, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of an engagement against ISIS targets, destroying two ISIS tunnels.
On Aug. 3 near Wadi Ashai, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of an engagement against an ISIS tactical unit.
There were no reported strikes conducted in Iraq on Aug. 2.
On Aug. 1 near Wadi Ashai, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of five engagements against ISIS targets, destroying two ISIS-held buildings and three ISIS supply caches.
On July 31 near Wadi Ashai and Wadi Zagatoon, coalition military forces conducted two strikes consisting of two engagements against ISIS targets, destroying an ISIS-held building.


On 30 July 30 near Wadi Ashai, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of an engagement against ISIS targets. The strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit.

The US government turned Iraq into a land of widows and orphans.  And it compounded the problems by 'selecting' Iraq's prime ministers.  Yesterday, we went over Nouri al-Maliki and Barack Obama, then-US president, selected Hayder al-Abadi to replace him in 2014.  (After Nouri's actions led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq.)




Supporting Abadi "was the easy way for the US to try to protect the gains it has made in Iraq over the last four years without having to do the substantial groundwork that would have been required to build up a range of political alternatives"
          Knights of Columbus pledge support for persecuted Christians      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Baltimore, Md., Aug 7, 2018 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson pledged the fraternal organization’s continued efforts to aid and rebuild persecuted Christian communities in the Middle East, during his Aug. 7 address at the 2018 Knights of Columbus convention in Baltimore, Maryland.

Anderson also unveiled a new pilgrim icon, “Our Lady Help of Persecuted Christians,” created for the Knights by Italian artist Fabrizio Diomedi. The icon will travel from parish-to-parish across the country to raise awareness, show solidarity, and inspire support for persecuted Christians.

In his opening remarks at the convention, taking place August 7-9, Anderson said that he hopes that this “pilgrim icon program” will “focus the eyes of our Church on the sacrifice of so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Anderson’s remarks highlighted the pivotal role that the Knights of Columbus have played in supporting Christians in the Middle East, where they have committed more than $20 million since 2014 to provide “food, shelter, and clothing to our neighbors who lost everything in Iraq and Syria because they refused to give up their love of Christ.”

“It is clear that without the support of the Knights of Columbus, Christianity might have died in Iraq,” said Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Iraq, in a video shown during Anderson’s speech. The Chaldean archbishop’s community was driven from their historic home in the Nineveh Plains by repeated attacks from the Islamic State starting in 2014.

Vice President Mike Pence also thanked the Knights of Columbus for their support of minorities in the Middle East in a video message shown at the convention. Anderson said that the Knights are working with the vice president to ensure that these minority communnties are included in U.S. and U.N. assistance in Iraq.

“When the conflict between Kurdistan and the Government of Iraq threatened an ancient Christian town that had just been rebuilt, we alerted the State Department and the White House.  We worked with them to help de-escalate tensions and avoid a bloody conflict that could have ended the Christian presence in Iraq,” said Anderson.

The Supreme Knight also thanked Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria, who was in attendance at the Baltimore convention, for his courageous leadership.

Anderson said that he is challenging the Knights of Columbus to raise $1 million this year to finish a project to provide housing for both Syriac and Chaldean Christian families. The 140-unit apartment building will be called the McGivney House, in honor of Father Michael McGivney, the Connecticut priest who founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882.

Anderson commended the Knights for meeting last year’s challenge of raising $2 million for the rebuilding of the Iraqi town of Karamles, which he said had been “a Christian town for centuries before ISIS overran it, drove out its inhabitants, destroyed their homes, and desecrated their churches.”

One Knights of Columbus council in Nebraska, St. John the Baptist Council 10-305, raised $163,000 for the families of Karamles at a dinner and auction.The funds will be used to rebuild more than 80 homes of Christians in Iraq.

“If we value only self-interest, we will get discord and division. But if we value charity — if we value unity and fraternity — we will build a society where the common good is protected,” said Anderson.

He highlighted the many other charitable initiatives the Knights have funded throughout the world, including providing for 950 ultrasound machines, 7,649 new wheelchairs, 105,000 new coats for children, and a pilgrimage that brought over 200 wounded veterans and military personnel to Lourdes, France. Last year, the Knights also contributed $4.2 million dollars for disaster relief after hurricanes hit Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida.

The Knights of Columbus’ total charitable contributions last year exceeded  $185 million dollars with its members providing 75.6 million volunteer hours.

Internationally, Anderson also announced that the Knights of Columbus is expanding, with its newest territory in now in South Korea and a new State Council designation for Ukraine. He also noted that the Knights have experienced a considerable growth in membership both in France and the Philippines.

This year, membership totalled 1,967,585 - a new high, according to Anderson.

Addressing attendees in the Baltimore Convention Center, Anderson quoted a speech delivered by Saint Pope John Paul II at the Baltimore Orioles Park at Camden Yards next to the center:

“Catholics of America,” St. John Paul II proclaimed, “Always be guided by the truth — by the truth about God who created and redeemed us, and by the truth about the human person, made in the image and likeness of God.”


          UN envoy urges Iraqi leaders to form inclusive government      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. envoy for Iraq is urging its political leaders to listen to the people and seize the opportunity to form “a patriotic, inclusive and non-sectarian national government that will use the country’s resources including its vast oil reserves to benefit all Iraqis. Parliamentary elections on May 12 were marred by […]
          Safety and Security Manager , Iraq      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Employer: Careem Location: Iraq The purpose of the Safety & Security Manager (Iraq) is to take...

This is content summary, for full job details visit : http://internationalsecurityjobs.blogspot.com .

          Information Security Advisor 28/28 rotation      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Employer: NES Global Talent Location: Iraq Salary: USD300 - USD420 per day, Benefits: 35% uplift +...

This is content summary, for full job details visit : http://internationalsecurityjobs.blogspot.com .

          Blueprint News Celebrates 250 000 Visitors      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

The registration of visitor statistics for "blueprint news" started in May 2010 and reported about 250.000 visitors in August 2018. Here are some numbers that remain incomplete, however, because only the leading 10 visitor nations are given, together with information about browsers and systems applied by visitors. Some rare browsers that came to my attention during the years are not included in the overall statistics as they present only a low number of visitors i.e. < 1%. Same goes with the computer systems where the list is too long to integrate it entirely into the following chart, and there are, as well, some visitors who withhold part of the Information. An increasing trend to data anonymization makes it even more difficult to collect visitor data.



Overall visitor statistics for August 8, 2018.


However, more important than mere numbers should be the following choice of highlights of visitor activity during all those years and which might give an idea of the global acceptance my rather tiny blog achieved.


Visitor Highlights



Chinese visitors coming from River Yangtse and from Hangzhou, both places being
near to Shanghai. A closer look on the satellite images provides interesting features.



The former Portuguese colony of Macao which is now a part of PR China. Two
long bridges, connecting the main parts of Macao, might attract your attention.



Living the Chinese Dream



Economic prosperity and military strength are integral parts of China's global dream. While
facing maritime disputes with other nations, China is enforcing a modernization of its navy.



Japan and North Korea



One visitor came from the diplomatic quarters of Tokyo (above) and which is near to
the Imperial Palace. Another visitor called from Ground Zero in Hiroshima where the
first atomic bomb had been dopped in 1945.



Earlier this year Japanese authorities launched a missile alert via Japan National TV
when a North Korean test missile was heading toward Japanese territory. As tensions
with North Korea were high at the time, I was just watching Japanese news on satellite
TV. I immediately took a photo from my TV screen and posted it. My blogspot was then
available on the internet while the North Korean missile was still in the air over Japan !



One of the rare visitors from North Korea is indicating he came from the Ryugyong
neighbourhood in Pyongyang and which is not far away from the central compound
of North Korea's ruling Workers Party. The internet access point, however, remains
difficult to localize in this case.



In August 2017 two US military bases on Guam were threatened by North Korea which said
it would create an "enveloping fire" around the US territory using four Hwasong-12 missiles
that should detonate 30-40 km off the island. The US side made clear this would mean war.



Nuclear Research

The CERN Institute in Geneva, Switzerland, is operating the greatest particle accelerator
ever built. It was there that a predicted elementary entity, the Higgs boson, was detected
for the first time.



The center for nuclear research in Dubna is situated in the neighbourhood of
Moscow, Russia. In Soviet times it was the most important facility of its kind.



Washington and Israel

No, it's not at all a call from the President but rather from a
public hotspot facing the White House in Washington DC :



In the hustle of the 2016 pre-election times I simply forgot to publish the below picture.
Sorry for that ! The picture can be named "Grabber King at the Chicago Trump Tower".



The US Department of State noticed my translation of a political poem originally written by
Guenter Grass, one German laureate of the Nobel Price for Literature. It's all about Israeli
militarism directed against Arab neighbours (i.e. their Semitic brethren...) and against Iran.



In the week after the author's death, my translation
of his poem was addressed by different US visitors :



US - Iranian Enmity



The National Defense University NDU in Washington DC, a US government institution,
visited a blogspot of mine and which is dealing with a scenario of mutual threats that
has steadily developed between Iran and the USA.

All

All of Central Asia and the Middle East
is under control of The Empire.
Well, not entirely ..........


An Iranian visitor enjoyed, as well, my visualization of the conflict.



One visitor coming from the faculty of law at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, made
a Google search by simply entering the timeless adage of justice to be found above the
entrance of a Cairo law court, and found ..... my blogspot about decisive battles in Syria.
What an amazing coincidence !



After the ousting of Libyan dictator Muammar al-Ghadafi, a visitor called from some
internet access point nearby to Martyrs Square in Tripoli, the former capital of Libya.
It is on Martyrs Square that a shrine was established for the heroes of the revolution.



A "postcard" from the holy places of Makkah in Saudi-Arabia :



In August 2014 Islamic fighters were threatening Kurdish residents in the
Kirkuk region of Northern Iraq. People fled into the nearby mountaineous
area while Islamists headed further to Mosul. After the fall of Mosul, the
Islamist leader al-Baghdadi declared his caliphate in the great mosque
of Mosul.



Visitors coming from Northern Pakistan took immediate interest in the Iraqi developments.
They came from Islamabad, its southern environment, from Quetta and Peshawar (below).



Mongolia - Chingis Khan and the "Art of War"



A smiling Mogolian leader once presented his Mongolian horsemen to US president Bush.
When a Mongol horde invaded and destroyed the Caliphate of Baghdad in 1258, they left
a gigantic regional chaos similar to what did the US Cavalry under US president Bush. The
difference, however, is: The Mongol horde robbed what they could carry on horseback and
returned home, while the US sat and waited as oil wells cannot be so easily carried away.



Other "cold warriors" can be found on Elmendorf Air Base in Alaska, USA, .....



..... while some people are peacefully fighting the cold in an Inuit community on Greenland :



The "University of the South Pacific" on the lonesome island of Fiji, however, is a real "hotspot".
No wonder they provide a swimming pool needed to cool off the heated brains of young folks.



In comparison, the "Harvard Business School" in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, might make a point with a better reputation.




          بیانیه وزارت خارجه عراق پس از سخنان غیرمنتظره العبادی درباره ایران      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   


وزارت خارجه عراق با صدور بیانیه ای به اعمال مجدد تحریم های آمریکا ضد ایران واکنش نشان داد.


          Trump-backed Iraq War veteran John James wins Republican nod to take on Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow this fall      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
DETROIT (AP) — Trump-backed Iraq War veteran John James wins Republican nod to take on Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow this fall .
          The Captain's AMERICA Third Watch For August 7...      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
itunes pic
Enjoy the Tuesday Podcast of "The Captain's AMERICA Third Watch" hosted by Retired Captain Matt Bruce heard LIVE 2-6 AM ET broadcasting across America from Tampa, FL.... "The Captain's AMERICA Third Watch" is on the Radio with Breaking News from across America & around the World as it happens! ***Tomorrow's News, TONIGHT!*** Where it's ALL about America & WE the PEOPLE with 'The Captain' LIVE Friday August 3rd from 2-6 AM ET broadcasting from Tampa, FL in the #MausNissan Studio of our Salem Media Group Flagship Radio Station #am860theanswer in the #19 Radio Market of America. Our Radio Show is also heard on the #TalkAmericaRadio Network. The Radio Show is heard in over 130 Countries around the World via our Digital Internet Streams. We proudly support our Nations Active Duty Military, Veterans, EMT's, Firefighters, Police & ALL First Responders... Our Guests Tonight Are: Kyle Warren - The Professor of Politics, Ms Rosemary - Prayer Intercessor, Denise Simon - Founders Code, Ron Edwards - The Edwards Notebook & Veterans News along with the Truckers 'National Highway Report' every hour. We're also happy to take your phone calls on the air LIVE at 1-877-969-8600... We are currently heard on 80 radio affiliates in 28 States & more new affiliates coming in 2018! Atlanta, you hear us on our Salem Radio Affiliate AM 920 The Answer. Orlando, we're on AM 660 & FM 105.5 The Answer. We are also heard on our Salem Media Group Tampa Sister Stations: 930 The Answer Sarasota, FM 103.1 Bradenton, FM 93.7 Bayshore Gardens & 1380 The Biz in St Petersburg FL. Talk America Radio Network Stations 92.1 WDDQ FM in Valdosta GA, Talk 107.5 WJHC in Jasper FL, & AM 1330 WLBB in Carrollton GA. Seattle you hear us on #Megatalk 920 KGTK AM and 1400 KITZ AM in Seattle-Olympia-Tacoma-Bremerton WA. You can also hear the show on the Internet via these websites: The Captain's AMERICA Third Watch, Cowboy Logic Radio, Freedom In America Radio, iHeart Radio, IPBN-FM, iTunes, KTalk Radio, Radioways in Germany, ROKU, Talk Stream Live, Top Talk Radio & TuneIn... Download our FREE app for your iPad, iPhone, Laptop or Personal Computer by going to the AM 860 The Answer website. Find Out Why We Are The FASTEST Growing Overnight News Talk Radio Show On Your Radio Dial!!!!! #America #Afghanistan #Border #Congress #Conservative #DonaldTrump #EchoInRamadi #Economy #Guns #Iran #Iraq #Israel #Immigration #Military #Mueller #NATO #News #Korea #Politics #Russia #Socialism #Syria #Terrorism #Truckers #Veterans #walkaway
          For Iraqi Christians, bypassing the system is usually the key      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Crux has this story here.
          Afghanistan Becomes Ground Zero for an ISIS Resurgence      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

ISIS in Afghanistan has received significant manpower for its expansion from Syria and Iraq where the terrorist group’s self-proclaimed caliphate was recently defeated.

The post Afghanistan Becomes Ground Zero for an ISIS Resurgence appeared first on MintPress News.


          “Who Are You Calling ‘Mate’, Mate?”      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Newspeak? It is Washington’s new “Indo-Pacific” strategy, that is driving the current “Century of Mateship” propaganda exercise out of Canberra. Australia’s foundation and development as a collection of British colonies is being barefacedly elided in favour of the Orwellian contention that: “Australia and the United States are mates. Australia and the United States have been mates for 100 years. Australia and the United States will always be mates.”

NEW ZEALAND’S RELATIONSHIP with Australia is under considerable strain. Though they have yet to state their position openly, Australia’s leaders are clearly less than enthusiastic about the tradition of “automatic entry” for New Zealand’s economic migrants. It is certainly difficult to read the Australian Government’s denial of non-emergency health care, higher education and social welfare benefits to Kiwi citizens as anything other than a pretty strong signal of Australia’s rising impatience with the ANZAC myth of eternal “mateship”.

Indeed, if the programmes currently featuring on Sky TV’s “History Channel” are anything to go by, there is a concerted effort underway to attach the “mateship” label to Australia’s relationship with the United States. Under the rubric of “One Hundred Years of Mateship” Australian documentary-makers are advancing the far-from-convincing argument that the Commonwealth of Australia – one of the British Empire’s most important economic and strategic “dominions across the seas” – and the United States of America have been bosom buddies from the moment they clapped eyes on each other across the battlefields of the Western Front in 1918.

It is rare in the English-speaking nations of the twenty-first century to witness such a blatant attempt to re-write history. Up until the Second World War, elite Australia’s attachment to British imperialism was as fervent as it was unquestioning. The Aussie working-class, much of it Irish and Catholic, may have had little cause to love the English and the Scots-Irish Orangemen from Ulster, but its dangerously radical opinions were vigorously rejected by the “respectable” settlers of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. For these sons and daughters of the Empire, “Mother England” was the source of all economic, military and cultural power. The USA and its teeming millions were impertinent upstarts – not “mates”.

That all changed, of course, when a squadron of Japanese navy bombers, almost nonchalantly, sank the two great British battleships, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, off the Malaysian coast on 10 December 1941 – just three days after Japan’s surprise attack on the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour. The fall of “impregnable” Singapore, which followed soon after, on 15 February 1942, brought home to Australians just how far away Mother England really was and forced them to shift their strategic gaze eastward to the United States. Every Australian understood that if the Japanese were going to be defeated, it would not be by the British, who had proved to be a busted-flush, but by the Americans. For most Aussies, therefore, the Yanks were more than their “mates” – they were Australia’s bloody saviours!

Post-World War II, however, the case for US-Australian “mateship” grows progressively stronger. The two countries have fought alongside each other in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. The view from Canberra is unequivocally that of a steadfast ally upon whom Washington can rely without the slightest hesitation or doubt. The Liberal Party Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, confirmed this subaltern status by describing his country as America’s “deputy-sheriff”.

Howard’s Liberal successor, Malcolm Turnbull, has developed this relationship to the point where Australia now sees itself as a geostrategic bridge between the Pacific and Indian oceans. The Australian landmass is thus being presented to Washington as not only an unassailable thoroughfare for American power, but also as a barrier against the further extension of Chinese influence into either ocean.

It is this, Washington’s new “Indo-Pacific” strategy, that is, almost certainly, driving Foxtel’s “100 Years of Mateship” propaganda exercise on the History Channel. Australia’s foundation and development as a collection of British colonies is being barefacedly elided in favour of the Orwellian contention that: “Australia and the United States are mates. Australia and the United States have been mates for 100 years. Australia and the United States will always be mates.”

Which just leaves New Zealand, Australia’s former “mate”, positioned strategically off the lucky country’s eastern seaboard like an unsinkable aircraft carrier which has, unaccountably, pushed all its fighter aircraft into the sea. An unreliable aircraft carrier, whose unreliable crew has, for more than 30 years, been bloody rude to Australia’s best mates – the Americans. A crew which insists on taking shore leave in Brisbane and Sydney and Melbourne where it spreads its downright subversive views about the rights of indigenous people and nuclear disarmament and practical feminism and need to do something big and meaningful about climate change among Australia’s dangerously persuadable citizens.

Right-wing Australia would like nothing more than to close its borders to these damned annoying Kiwis. Unfortunately, that would involve tearing up the Australian-New Zealand Closer Economic Relationship and toppling New Zealand into a full-scale economic and social crisis.

Now, there are some Aussies who’d like to say “tough luck, Kiwi” and walk away. Fortunately for New Zealand, however, there are wiser heads in the discussion who warn that a New Zealand in the grip of a life-or-death struggle for survival might feel it had no choice but to extend the hand of “mateship” to its largest remaining trading partner. That if Australia goes on mistreating Kiwis, then it just might wake up one morning to discover that unsinkable aircraft carrier across the Tasman Sea bristling with Chinese bombers.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blogof Friday, 3 August 2018.

          UN envoy urges Iraqi leaders to form inclusive government      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

The U.N. envoy for Iraq is urging its political leaders to listen to the people and seize the opportunity to form "a patriotic, inclusive and non-sectarian national government that will use the country's resources" to benefit all Iraqis

The post UN envoy urges Iraqi leaders to form inclusive government appeared first on FederalNewsRadio.com.


          Civil War 2.0 Looms, But It Won't Be A Race War      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Authored by Kevin Barrett via Unz.com,

When we get tired of blowing up Muslims for Israel, will we turn on ourselves?

Scenarios for a second American Civil War have existed ever since the first one ended. Some hyperbolists called Reconstruction the Second Civil War. Alt-history novelists have imagined the ascension of Huey Long or George McGovern to the presidency as Civil War II trigger. The real-life (?!) ascension of Trump has inspired similar fantasies, leading red state partisans to gleefully thump their chests and imagine how easy and fun it would be to take San Francisco—a fantasy that triggers the hell out of the SF-based blue staters.

How might civil unrest spill over into civil war?

One common scenario is race war. The late Charles Manson, we are told, staged his killer-hippie mass knifings because he thought the Beatles were sending him secret orders to start a black-vs. white apocalypse. Obviously Manson must have been taking some really, REALLY bad acid while playing Beatles records backward in hopes of hearing John sneering “Paul is dead”—then suddenly grokked that the White Album, whose mysterious title does not appear on the record and makes no sense anyway, is really about white power! Manson lieutenant Tex Watkins explained: “and what it (the song ‘Helter Skelter’) meant was the Negros were going to come down and rip the cities all apart…Before Helter Skelter came along, all Charlie cared about was orgies.”

Though Manson was a raving nut, his vision of race war was inspired by contemporary reality. Indeed, while the hippies carried on with their orgies, “the Negros” did rip cities apart. Even before the Deep State murdered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., blacks in New Jersey, Detroit, Minneapolis, and many other cities had been tearing things up and burning neighborhoods down. The “Long, Hot Summer” of 1967 featured 159 race riots in dozens of US urban centers, and elements of the National Security State were drawing up contingency plans for a race based civil war.

William Pepper - the King family’s attorney who proved in a court of law that the CIA, FBI, and US army killed Dr. King with the help of their organized crime assets - once spoke with a US Army Colonel who admitted to helping plan the assassination. The Colonel said that the military had done extensive focus group style interviews with participants in the 1967 race riots and determined that Dr. King’s charisma was the biggest factor driving the riots. Counterintuitively, the apostle of nonviolence was inspiring the psychological liberation of black people in such a way that a certain percentage felt empowered to act out their repressed anger. So when King determined to bring half a million followers to Washington, DC and stay there until the feds pulled out of Vietnam and declared a real war on poverty, the Colonel and his friends immediately envisioned the nation’s capital erupting into mass violence that could spread nationwide on a scale many orders of magnitude beyond what had happened during 1967’s Long Hot Summer, perhaps precipitating a real civil war culminating in the revolutionary overthrow of the American State. This, the Colonel explained to Pepper, was the primary reason King had to be terminated…with extreme prejudice.

Predictably, the Deep State’s murder of Dr. King did not solve the racial violence problem. The assassination itself set off a wave of new riots in cities including Chicago, Baltimore, and - sorry, Colonel - Washington, DC. White-dominated forces of the State retaliated with escalating repression. Black communities felt increasingly under siege, and have continued to feel that way until the present day. Whether it is panicky white police shooting down black people during traffic stops, on sidewalks, or in the black people’s own backyards, or whether it is black people “acting out” against whites (an interesting and under-reported case is the possibly-Cointelpro-orchestrated[*] Zebra killings discussed here by Ron Unz) the simmering racial violence in America is a seemingly unavoidable component of most projections for a New Civil War.

Most red state vs. blue state scenarios, of course, have a race war component. When Trump’s red-staters invade San Francisco, for example, it will not only be to punish the latté liberals and happy homos for their mushy-headedness and luxuriously deviant lifestyles, but more importantly to “make America white again” by ending the sanctuary city movement and deporting the illegal immigrants…while presumably also putting any black people who have managed to remain in America’s highest-rent city, as well as the déclassé ones across the Bay, in their properly subservient place. In other words, just as the first Civil War was really about race (i.e., slavery) the second one will build on the same theme.

American War

Or will it? Omar al-Akkad’s notable 2017 novel American War begs to differ.

In El-Akkad’s dystopian vision, the War on Muslims mutates into the War on Southerners—but has nothing to do with race. Instead, the Yankee Terror State turns its savagery against the New Rebels of the Free Southern States because those good ole boys and girls (of all shades of skin pigmentation and sexual preference) refuse to give up fossil fuels, choosing instead to secede from the Union.

Al-Akkad’s vision of blue vs. red global-warming-driven war run amok in a near-future America that has completely forgotten about the whole concept of race is surprisingly plausible, at least while you are reading it. (Civil War I, after all, was really about economics not race, so why shouldn’t Civil War II also be over an economic issue?) The plot turns on the adventures of Sarat, a young Red State woman of mixed and meaningless (near-black Chicano and po’ white trash) ancestry who awakens politically and goes after the Blue State occupiers in pretty much the same way the Iraqi resistance went after George W. Bush’s storm troopers.

Unlike most dystopian science fiction, American War is not just showing us a terrible future that is really an exaggerated (we hope) depiction of the present-day world we live in. Al-Akkad’s fictional 2074 America is not so much a pessimistic caricature of actual 2017 America as a wish-fulfillment dream of Americans karmically reaping what they’ve sown in their War on Muslims, euphemistically known as the “war on terror.” The horrors that Sarat and other southerners experience under Yankee occupation - drone killings, rape, massacres, torture, internment camps, orange jumpsuits - are precisely those that Muslims have been experiencing since the false flag event of September 11th, 2001. Sarat’s fictional resistance, which culminates in a fantastically horrific act of revenge against the Yankees, represents gratifying fantasy payback for the real-life Terror War’s murder of 32 million Muslims, and a prescient and timely warning about what GWOT is likely to lead to. The whole thing is premised on helping the American/Western reader empathetically imagine what the post-9/11 world looks like to Muslims in general and resistance fighters in particular: Al-Akkad fosters empathy and identification with our victims by casting the archetypal victim-turned-resistance-fighter as ordinary American rather than exotic foreigner.

Zone 23

An even better dystopian “new civil war” novel, C.J. Hopkins’ Zone 23, hasn’t yet garnered the kind of mainstream support that helped American War collect positive reviews in such outlets as The New York Times, win awards, and generally get noticed and sell plenty of copies.

Perhaps that shouldn’t surprise us, since Hopkins, a regular contributor to Unz Review, is on the red side in the real red-vs.-blue civil war that is raging all around us. (I’m talking about the red-pill vs. blue pill war, of course, not the phony culture wars thing ginned up by the Deep State.) Omar El Akkad, despite the subversive aspects of his book, is basically a blue pill kind of guy: His global warming alarmism, gratuitous decision to make his heroine a lesbian, denial of the existence of race, and general penchant for victimology (not to mention his complete avoidance of 9/11 truth in a Muslim-POV takedown of the “war on terror”) all go down well with the Establishment.

C.J. Hopkins offers a deeper, more accurate, vastly funnier, more genuinely subversive vision. His far-future America, which bears an uncanny resemblance to our nightmarish present, features drone-patrolled hyper-surveiled cities, each of which is divided by an Israeli-style Wall complete with Israeli-style checkpoints and incursions featuring Israeli-style killings of hapless untermenschen. But instead of Israelis vs. Palestinians, the divide here is between the Normals on one side of the wall and the Anti-Socials on the other.

The Normals -  good corporate citizens who are submitting to pharmaceutical and genetic correction so they can work and consume and conform and live meaningless lives like everybody else without batting an eyelash - are conditioned to fear and loathe the Antisocials, who retain enough humanity to rebel, in whatever pathetically insignificant way, against corporatist dystopia.

Zone 23, like American War, imagines the future as post-racial: Hopkins’ Normal vs. Antisocial divide isn’t about race. But it is, nonetheless, very much about behavioral genetics. In this (not so) far future, the Hadley Corporation of Menomonie, Wisconsin has developed a variant-corrected version of the MAO-A gene. Inserted into embryos via germline genetic engineering, this patented DNA produces “clears”: people who are intelligent but incurious, incapable of emotionally-driven fight-or-flight aggression (including the most common defensive variety), “easily trained, highly responsive to visual and verbal commands,” and so on. In other words, perfect corporate citizens!

The corporatist state naturally strives to perfect itself, imposing a “final solution” to the ASP (anti-social person) problem by mandating that henceforth no non-genetically-engineered babies may be born. The result is a very one-sided “race war” in which a few antisocial malcontents try to hold out against what amounts to a genocide against “uncorrected” humanity. The plot follows two of those ASP antiheroes as they throw rocks at the Israeli bulldozer of corporatist genocide.

Hopkins’ ferociously funny yarn is not just a satire on our ever-worsening techno-dystopia. In imagining a genetic basis to the difficulties many of us experience adjusting to hyperconformist “technologically-enhanced” lifestyles, and in portraying individuals struggling and flailing against the uber-civilization around them like flies caught a spider web, Zone 23 resonates with the great critiques of technological civilization. According to this tradition, which runs from Taoist Chinese hermits through Middle Eastern prophets and Marxian critics of “alienation” to contemporary scientists who insist that humans are genetically suited to be hunter-gatherers not high tech city dwellers, we are grossly unsuited for living the kind of lives that most modern humans are, for all practical purposes, forced to lead. Through the Brechtian device of estrangement, Hopkins forces us to recognize ourselves in his beleaguered ASP antiheros.

The apostles of race war, from Hitler to Charles Manson to today’s ultra-Zionists, are hugely bothered by what they see as a supposed basic and massive incompatibility between races, i.e. broad, loosely-identifiable swathes of the human genome. According to their bleak vision, we are doomed to fight and kill our cousins whose slightly different average genetic profiles mark them as Other.

Perhaps there is some truth to this notion. Perhaps our nature includes a strong tendency to in-group vs. out-group hostility. And perhaps we tend to divide in-group from out-group on the basis of ascribed ancestry, that is, along tribal lines.

But those who are hugely bothered by other races (or their own race), like those who loathe people of a different ideology or religion or language, may be getting all worked up over nothing. They may in fact be projecting their own experience of a much deeper alienation. They may simply be natural-born hunter gatherers caught in the trap of modern technological civilization, living fantastically comfortable yet somehow miserable lives, desperately seeking someone Other to blame for their predicament.


           Must Watch Interview – Iraq War Whistleblower Banned from Twitter Tells His Story       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Here’s where what Twitter did becomes extremely problematic. When the company, or its secret algorithms, banned Van Buren it sent all his tweets down the memory hole. Thus, we can’t go back and look at the history of everything that happened in this specific incident, nor can we review his history of tweets. He just gets vanished with no recourse for writing something pretty innocuous in the grand scheme of things.


          Program Intern - 4points Group Iraq - Cheyenne, WY      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Craft promotional materials for external use, including donor briefs, success stories, and brochures. Assist the Project Coordinator in writing and formatting... $1,000 a month
From Indeed - Mon, 09 Jul 2018 10:54:16 GMT - View all Cheyenne, WY jobs
          Iraq turned into an "Iranian bank" .. the conflict of two parties within its territory .. Deny of th      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Iraq turned into an "Iranian bank" .. the conflict of two parties within its territory .. Deny of the dollar .. Iraq between two extremes The political scene  Wednesday, August 08, 2018 at 10:04 am (1212 views) Iraq turned into an "Iranian bank" .. the conflict of two parties within its territory .. Deny of the dollar .. Iraq between two extremes Baghdad / Sky Press Iraqi President Fuad Masum declared that the circumstances of Iraq and the nature of his relations with ...
          International Development Bank Opens First Representative Office in Dubai      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
International Development Bank Opens First Representative Office in Dubai Held a ceremony at the opening of the representative office in Dubai  08 August 2018 11:33 p Mubasher: The International Development Bank ( BIDB ), listed on the Iraqi Stock Exchange, has opened its first representative office in Dubai. The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank, in a statement to the Iraqi Stock Exchange, said on Wednesday that Dubai has been selected because it is a major trading ...
          World's Tallest Building Planned in Iraq      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
[size=13]​ World's Tallest Building Planned in Iraq ​ [/size]A skyscraper planned for Iraq's Basra Province will be the tallest building in the world if it is completed as proposed, rising 1,152 meters (3,780 feet) into the sky, passing the current tallest building, the 829-meter Burj Khalifa in Dubai, as well the future tallest building, the under-construction Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which will be 1,008 meters tall. The Bride tower, as it has been named, is designed by ...
          Iraq receives the money of Saddam Hussein from Lebanon .. And 4200 balance in the process of researc      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
[size=13]​ Iraq receives the money of Saddam Hussein from Lebanon .. And 4200 balance in the process of research and restoration ​ [/size]The Association of Lebanese Banks announced on Wednesday the transfer of funds held by the government of Saddam Hussein to the Iraqi government through the Federal Reserve Bank of America. According to Al Jazeera. According to the Association of Lebanese Banks, "These funds have been transferred to the benefit of the Iraqi authorities, which claim ...
          Dr.. Appearance of Muhammad Saleh *: Response to an article containing an unprovoked personal attack      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
[size=52]Dr.. Appearance of Muhammad Saleh *: Response to an article containing an unprovoked personal attack[/size] [size=45]Submission of editorial board[/size] [size=45]The senior Iraqi economist, Dr. Mohamed Saleh, has been exposed since 2012 to frequent waves of diction and media incitement, raising many questions about the motives of these campaigns and those behind them. In 2012, the first of these campaigns led to his dismissal from the position of Deputy Governor of the Central Bank ...
           The outstanding debts between Iraq and Lebanese companies ... have been closed      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The outstanding debts between Iraq and Lebanese companies ... have been closed The media office of the Minister of State for Combating Corruption in the caretaker government, Nicola Tueni , confirmed that he received the news of a financial transfer from the Central Bank of Iraq to the Lebanese banks by paying a deposit from the Central Bank of Iraq Branch of Erbil.  "We thank Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi , Acting Minister of Finance Maher Hammad Johan, Director of the Central ...
           "Central Bank": currency sales rise two million dollars      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
"Central Bank": currency sales rise two million dollars Total sales totaled $ 174.14 million  08 August 2018 01:53 PM Direct sales of the Central Bank of Iraq from foreign currency, on Wednesday, to 143.12 million dollars, compared to sales of 140.71 million dollars on Tuesday auction , about 2.41 million dollars. The Central Bank said in a statement that the exchange rate was 1190 dinars per dollar in the auction held with the participation of 33 banks only. The ...
           of the Central Bank of Iraq repaid $ 83 million to Lebanon      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
[size=32] of the Central Bank of Iraq repaid $ 83 million to Lebanon[/size] [size=18] Twilight News      29 minutes ago[/size] The Lebanese government has officially received a report from the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) to Lebanese banks to pay a debt of $ 83 million.  The Office of the Minister of State for Anti-Corruption Affairs in the caretaker government, Nicola Tueni, the news, pointing out that the financial transfer paid from the deposits of the Lebanese banks ...
          Tensions in the Iraqi political arena ahead of the election results      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
[size=32]Tensions in the Iraqi political arena ahead of the election results - 2 Minutes [/size] [size][url][/url][/size] BAGHDAD - There is no change in the court's interpretation of the larger parliamentary bloc, which has the right to form a government, unless there is an amendment to the constitution, at a time when Iraqis are waiting to ratify the results of parliamentary elections controversial, On 12 May. Article 76 / I of the Constitution stipulates that "the President ...
          The most corrupt countries in the world .. Facts and figures amazing about the size of corruption in      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
[size=21]The most corrupt countries in the world .. Facts and figures amazing about the size of corruption in Iraq August 08 2018 04:10 p[/size] [rtl][size=12][rtl]Corruption[/rtl][/size] [/rtl]Baghdad Post [rtl] Iraq news   Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi referred a number of ministers and officials to the Integrity Commission on charges of corruption.  Abadi's decisions coincide with massive protests in central and southern cities and towns for nearly a month demanding protesters ...
          Iraq seeks to open two border ports with Turkey      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Iraq seeks to open two border ports with Turkey Iraq and Turkey discussed the opening of border crossings between the two countries to promote economic cooperation and trade movement.The Iraqi Commission for Border Exits, in a statement received by "Economy News", that the executors are Fishkhabor and Avakoy I of the Iraqi side and the other of the Turkish.The two sides set out next September to visit the two technical team implementers to prepare and submit a feasibility study ...
           Al-Fares: An emergency government is better than a parliament and a government that they are corrup      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Al-Fares: An emergency government is better than a parliament and a government that they are corrupt and fake said former MP from the coalition of Iraqi forces Knight Knight, Wednesday, to go to the emergency government is "better and better" than the formation of a parliament and government of corrupt and forgers, adding that they would look for compensation for what they lost from the funds to purchase receivables from the theft of public money .  The knight said in an ...
          America condemns the Syrian regime for the crimes of torture of prisoners and detainees      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
[size=21]America condemns the Syrian regime for the crimes of torture of prisoners and detainees August 08 2018 02:09 p[/size] [rtl][size=12][rtl]US State Department spokeswoman Heather Neuert[/rtl][/size] [/rtl]Baghdad Post [rtl] Iraq news   The United States condemned the atrocities of the Syrian regime and demanded that it abide by international laws and norms in the treatment of detainees, including allowing independent monitors to access them.  "The recent warnings of ...
          Abadi announces referral of accounting officials .. Observers: "Formal measures"      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
[size=21]Abadi announces referral of accounting officials .. Observers: "Formal measures" August 08 2018 01:48 p[/size] [rtl][size=12][rtl]Haidar Abadi[/rtl][/size] [/rtl]Baghdad Post [rtl] Iraq news   On the backdrop of the decision of the last Abbadi, varied reactions around him, where the director of the Center, "orbit" for political analysis in the name of al-Awadi, the names of officials referred by Prime Minister Haider Abadi to the Integrity Commission, pointing ...
          A new blow to Tehran's mullahs: Sweden is gradually freezing relations with Iran      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
[size=21]A new blow to Tehran's mullahs: Sweden is gradually freezing relations with Iran August 08 2018 07:00 p[/size] [rtl][size=12][rtl]Ali Khamenei[/rtl][/size] [/rtl]Baghdad Post [rtl] Iraq news   Sweden has officially announced that its companies have gradually reduced dealings with Iran in a new blow to the Iranian regime as US sanctions against Tehran come into force.  "The Swedish companies we have contacted confirm that they have reduced their business in Iran so ...
          National Security Adviser reveals significant economic consequences of sanctions on Tehran      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
[size=21]National Security Adviser reveals significant economic consequences of sanctions on Tehran August 08 2018 03:02 p[/size] [rtl][size=12][rtl]John Bolton Saqr Iranian diplomacy discusses practical plan to change mullahs[/rtl][/size] [/rtl]Baghdad Post [rtl] Iraq news   US President Donald Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, said the reactivation of sanctions against Iran was aimed at pressuring Tehran to back down from its support for international terrorism, its ...
           Source: Government ministers and Abadi , carrying two certificates Mzortin      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
[size=32] Source: Government ministers and Abadi , carrying two certificates Mzortin[/size] [size=18] Twilight News      one hour ago[/size] An official source said on Wednesday that the presence of two ministers in the current Iraqi government headed by Haider Abadi bear false testimony. For his part, a former member of the House of Representatives Kazem Sayadi said in a written statement to him on one of the platforms of the Iraqi media, that Abadi are required to scrutinize ...
          Iraq and Turkey intend to open two border crossings through Kurdistan      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
[size=32] Iraq and Turkey intend to open two border crossings through Kurdistan[/size] [size=18] Twilight News      2 hours ago[/size] Iraq and Turkey have discussed the opening of two border ports to boost economic cooperation and trade movement between the two countries, the border crossings authority said Tuesday. Kadhim al-Aqabi met the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad, Fatih Yildiz. "The two sides discussed activating the prospects for cooperation and strengthening the ...
          Specialists warn of "fake" dollars appeared on social networking sites      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
[size=28]Specialists warn of "fake" dollars appeared on social networking sites 09:16 - 08/08/2018 0 [/size] Information / Baghdad ..Financial experts on Wednesday warned against dealing with some currencies (dollar), which appeared on some pages of social networking sites, especially after the launch of this money to discharge at a price completely contrary to the Iraqi price."The foreign money (the dollar), which is discharged at a price lower than the Iraqi stock ...
          Economist: Foreign exchange between Iraq and Iran will be cash      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
[size=28]Economist: Foreign exchange between Iraq and Iran will be cash 09:03 - 08/08/2018 0 [/size] Information / Baghdad ..Iraq and Iran have great trade ties, US economic sanctions can not limit trade between the two neighbors, the economic expert said on Wednesday."Iraq and Iran are two neighboring countries and it is difficult to control the issue of goods and goods between them, since these issues can not be controlled except by satellite," said the picture, "noting ...
          Interior reveals an electronic passport      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
[rtl]Interior reveals an electronic passport[/rtl] [rtl][size=10]Release Date: 2018/8/8 8:20 • 413 times read[/rtl][/size] [rtl] (Baghdad: Al Furat News) The Ministry of the Interior set up a committee to develop the mechanism of work with the new electronic passport and approved in a number of countries in the world, while plans to send teams to issue passports to the Iraqi communities within four new countries.  The Directorate of Passports Affairs Brigadier Ahmed Abdul Sattar said in ...
          Fighting Violent Extremism by Teaching Tolerance      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Doug Bandow

Although terrorism understandably has become the focus of U.S. foreign policy, the problem of religious intolerance and violence is far broader. As Islamic extremism has erupted throughout the Middle East, most dramatically in Iraq and Syria, Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities are being driven from their historic homes.

What to do? U.S. “public diplomacy” has been ineffective, essentially attempting to put lipstick on a pig in terms of selling American foreign policy. Washington has spent millions on foreign aid to promote education and provide social services for supposedly at-risk Islamic youth, without any evident impact on violent behavior.

America’s military response has turned into endless war, which appears to create as many terrorists as are captured or killed. Indeed, America’s multiple interventions and wars have both spawned violent extremists and created chaos in which they thrive. The Islamic State, the fount of so much horror, was merely the most notable beneficiary of misguided U.S. war-making.

However, the fact that there is no simple, quick answer doesn’t mean there is nothing to do. Education can work, but of a unique kind. The group Hardwired, run by Tina Ramirez, a former Capitol Hill staffer, engages in what it calls “rights-based education,” which has had notable if small-scale success in building support for religious tolerance and liberty.

Washington has spent millions on foreign aid to promote education and provide social services for supposedly at-risk Islamic youth, without any evident impact on violent behavior.

I witnessed the group’s approach at a conference held in Erbil, Kurdistan. Hardwired brought together people of varying, even contentious faiths and backgrounds — most of whom had suffered persecution at the hands of Islamic radicals. Although divided in beliefs, they came to recognize their shared interest in respecting the rights of others.

Hardwired also has targeted children, efforts detailed in a new study by Lena Smith, Tina Ramirez, and Mary Anne Rea-Ramirez, “Protecting Children from Violent Extremism.” The report reviewed Hardwired’s efforts in Iraq, Lebanon, and Morocco, in which the group taught 56 teachers and 1161 students at 46 different schools. The overall assessment: “students demonstrated greater acceptance of the rights of others, greater respect for the equal rights of women and minority communities, were less intimidated by public expression of belief, and reflected greater resiliency to extremist thinking.”

As almost everyone recognizes, kids are the most important target for purveyors of violence. Explained the group, “The threat of intolerance, extremism, and radical ideology is evident everywhere, and children throughout the Middle East and North Africa are particularly vulnerable to its influence.”

The problem is not just that children are exploring their way, gaining new experiences, and coming under new influences. With conflict and oppression widespread throughout much of the Islamic world, Muslim kids are particularly vulnerable. Thus, one of the principle fronts for defending against persecution and terrorism is at the school level. However, most teachers, no matter how well-intentioned, are ill-prepared for such a battle.

Hardwired noted some of the shortcomings of existing efforts. For instance, in Iraq, organizations working on educational reform “did not take into account the key misunderstandings about each community that may need to be addressed for people at different beliefs to better understand different religious communities.” Proposals to address “problematic religious texts and teachings” also ran into problems: “given the sensitive nature of religious teachings and religious authority, reforms focused on the removal of certain texts have not been well received by members of society-from both majority and minority religious communities.”

Into this breach stepped Hardwired. It explained: “To make children resilient to radicalization and reduce the likelihood that they will repeat the violent extremism they have witnessed or experienced, we must change the way they see and treat others.” This takes intensive effort.

But it is Hardwired’s specialty. At the seminar I attended, Tina helped lead the diverse attendees who worked together on various exercises. That generated strong personal bonds and practical experience in working with those of radically different backgrounds and beliefs. Out of that came an appreciation for working together to ensure respect for the lives, dignity, and faiths of others.

Hardwired took a similar approach with schoolchildren and their teachers. Explained the group, “Nearly 1,200 children from three countries were taught to value the dignity and freedom of others through simple lessons that used analogies to encourage them to have tough conversations about their beliefs, misconceptions and fear of others.” Much of the effort was directed at kids who had suffered horrific persecution.

For instance, Hardwired sought to help them deal with their fears, including “misconceptions of people who may have attacked them or other communities different from their own.” Even more important, though, “for the first time, these severely traumatized children learned that they were valued, regardless of what they believed, and deserved to be treated with respect and dignity.” Doing so is necessary for them to move on with their own lives, as well as improve their communities and reduce threats to others.

The group provided several courses, with simple, understandable themes. For instance, “The Peaceful Garden: A Lesson in Valuing the Rights of Others,” builds a lesson around children going to a garden. Another is “Sanctuary Island: A Lesson in the Importance of Religion or Belief in Human Life,” which forces students to consider how to maintain peace among different groups on an island.

Notably, the program does not attempt to challenge or change religious teachings. Rather, it emphasizes the need to respect others’ lives and dignity. And the objective is not to transform people’s culture or religion, but to change the way people think. That is, “to help individuals develop new ways of understanding their religion and culture compared to the rights of people of different religions and beliefs.”

Reaching teachers is an important aspect of Hardwired’s efforts. Explained the recent report, “the objective of Hardwired’s educational program is to provide teachers with tools to build a more peaceful and inclusive society by leading youth toward a greater respect for the dignity and freedom of people of different religions or beliefs, while at the same time helping teachers promote a positive counter-narrative to the ideas that inspire intolerance and violent extremism.” The idea is to empower kids to not just tolerate, but defend, those with different beliefs.

The organization’s efforts in this case were just the start. On their own teachers were able to continue and even expand the program. Moreover, noted Hardwired, educators “are eager to replicate and expand the program and train other teachers in their communities.” Governments have sought Hardwired’s aid to reach more teachers, and other nations have approached the group about bringing its courses to them.

The program is just a start, a pilot, but could become a model for much broader use. Most important: the program’s results warrant expansion.

Hardwired’s new report details how “educating children to value the rights and freedoms of people of different religions and beliefs can influence positive, sustainable changes in their communities. Importantly, children consistently exhibited positive movement in their perspective of and behavior toward others that made them more inclusive of others.”

Explained the group, children became:

  • More resilient to the ideas of hate and intolerance that fuel extremism,
  • More likely to mitigate conflict through dialogue and understanding,
  • More likely to defend and actively engage people of different religions and beliefs,
  • More supportive of the role of religion in the public and private life of individuals,
  • More likely to support women, girls, and minority groups from discrimination, and
  • More empathetic of others, particularly those who were different from them.

It’s an impressive list. Yet it understates the potential for personal change and growth. In Erbil I watched Christians, Yazidis, Sunni and Shia Muslims, and even a Jew, who had lost a hand in a terrorist bombing, work together. Obviously, the problems of persecution and terrorism are huge and reflect broader ideological, political, and spiritual trends. Nevertheless, personal transformation offers the only sure, long-term answer to build a more tolerant, less violent world.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Beyond Good Intentions: A Biblical View of Politics.
          UN envoy urges Iraqi leaders to form inclusive government      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. envoy for Iraq urged its political leaders on Wednesday to listen to the people and seize the opportunity to form “a patriotic, inclusive and non-sectarian national government” that will…
          War Without End: The Pentagon’s failed campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan left a generation of soldiers with little to fight for but one another.      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
C.J. Chivers paints a grim but realistic picture: Second Platoon did not hide its dark mood as its soldiers waded across the Korengal River in the bright light of afternoon. It was early in April 2009 and early in the Pentagon’s resumption in earnest of the Afghan war. The platoon’s mission was to ascend a […]
          Comment on Primary Season Musings by Balthasar      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
it's not like his successor can't erase his every pen stroke in a full afternoon of historical cleansing If only that were so! Unfortunately Presidents have an unfortunate habit of leaving skid marks that aren't easily washed out. Gitmo. Iraq. Afghanistan. International reputation. State Department expertise. The CFPB, the EPA. SCOTUS. I could go on, but I'm sure you get the point.
          Ten Bombshell Revelations From Seymour Hersh's New Autobiography       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Among the more interesting revelations to surface as legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh continues a book tour and gives interviews discussing his newly published autobiography, Reporter: A Memoir, is that he never set out to write it at all, but was actually deeply engaged in writing a massive exposé of Dick Cheney a project he decided couldn't ultimately be published in the current climate of aggressive persecution of whistleblowers which became especially intense during the Obama years.

Hersh has pointed out he worries his sources risk exposure while taking on the Cheney book, which ultimately resulted in the famed reporter opting to write an in-depth account of his storied career instead — itself full of previously hidden details connected with major historical events and state secrets

In a recent wide-ranging interview with the UK Independent, Hersh is finally asked to discuss in-depth some of the controversial investigative stories he's written on Syria, Russia-US intelligence sharing, and the Osama bin Laden death narrativewhich have gotten the Pulitzer Prize winner and five-time Polk Award recipient essentially blacklisted from his regular publication, The New Yorker magazine, for which he broke stories of monumental importance for decades.

Though few would disagree that Hersh "has single-handedly broken more stories of genuine world-historical significance than any reporter alive (or dead, perhaps)" — as The Nation put it — the man who exposed shocking cover-ups like the My Lai Massacre, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, and the truth behind the downing of Korean Air Flight 007, has lately been shunned and even attacked by the American mainstream media especially over his controversial coverage of Syria and the bin Laden raid in 2011.

But merely a few of the many hit pieces written on this front include The Washington Post's "Sy Hersh, journalism giant: Why some who worshiped him no longer do," and elsewhere "Whatever happened to Seymour Hersh?" or "Sy Hersh's Chemical Misfire" in Foreign Policy — the latter which was written, it should be noted, by a UK blogger who conducts chemical weapons "investigations" via YouTube and Google Maps (and this is not an exaggeration). 

The Post story begins by acknowledging, "But Sy Hersh now has a problem: He thinks 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue lied about the death of Osama bin Laden, and it seems nearly everyone is mad at him for saying so" — before proceeding to take a sledgehammer to Hersh's findings while painting him as some kind of conspiracy theorist (Hersh published the bin Laden story for the London Review of Books after his usual New Yorker rejected it). 

Seymour Hersh broke the story of CIA's illegal domestic operations with a front page story in the New York Times on December 22, 1974.

However, the mainstream pundits piling on against his reporting of late ignore the clearly establish historical pattern when it comes to Hersh: nearly all of the biggest stories of his career were initially met with incredulity and severe push back from both government officials and even his fellow journalists, and yet he's managed to emerge proven right and ultimately vindicated time and again. 

* * *

Here are ten bombshell revelations and fascinating new details to lately come out of both Sy Hersh's new book, Reporter, as well as interviews he's given since publication...

1) On a leaked Bush-era intelligence memo outlining the neocon plan to remake the Middle East

(Note: though previously alluded to only anecdotally by General Wesley Clark in his memoir and in a 2007 speech, the below passage from Seymour Hersh is to our knowledge the first time this highly classified memo has been quoted. Hersh's account appears to corroborate now retired Gen. Clark's assertion that days after 9/11 a classified memo outlining plans to foster regime change in "7 countries in 5 years" was being circulated among intelligence officials.)

From Reporter: A Memoir pg. 306 — A few months after the invasion of Iraq, during an interview overseas with a general who was director of a foreign intelligence service, I was provided with a copy of a Republican neocon plan for American dominance in the Middle East. The general was an American ally, but one who was very rattled by the Bush/Cheney aggression. I was told that the document leaked to me initially had been obtained by someone in the local CIA station. There was reason to be rattled: The document declared that the war to reshape the Middle East had to begin "with the assault on Iraq. The fundamental reason for this... is that the war will start making the U.S. the hegemon of the Middle East. The correlative reason is to make the region feel in its bones, as it were, the seriousness of American intent and determination." Victory in Iraq would lead to an ultimatum to Damascus, the "defanging" of Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization, and other anti-Israeli groups. America's enemies must understand that "they are fighting for their life: Pax Americana is on its way, which implies their annihilation." I and the foreign general agreed that America's neocons were a menace to civilization.

* * *

2) On early regime change plans in Syria

From Reporter: A Memoir pages 306-307 — Donald Rumsfeld was also infected with neocon fantasy. Turkey had refused to permit America's Fourth Division to join the attack of Iraq from its territory, and the division, with its twenty-five thousand men and women, did not arrive in force inside Iraq until mid-April, when the initial fighting was essentially over. I learned then that Rumsfeld had asked the American military command in Stuttgart, Germany, which had responsibility for monitoring Europe, including Syria and Lebanon, to begin drawing up an operational plan for an invasion of Syria. A young general assigned to the task refused to do so, thereby winning applause from my friends on the inside and risking his career. The plan was seen by those I knew as especially bizarre because Bashar Assad, the ruler of secular Syria, had responded to 9/11 by sharing with the CIA hundreds of his country's most sensitive intelligence files on the Muslim Brotherhood in Hamburg, where much of the planning for 9/11 was carried out... Rumsfeld eventually came to his senses and back down, I was told...

3) On the Neocon deep state which seized power after 9/11

From Reporter: A Memoir pages 305-306 — I began to comprehend that eight or nine neoconservatives who were political outsiders in the Clinton years had essentially overthrown the government of the United States — with ease. It was stunning to realize how fragile our Constitution was. The intellectual leaders of that group — Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle — had not hidden their ideology and their belief in the power of the executive but depicted themselves in public with a great calmness and a self-assurance that masked their radicalism. I had spent many hours after 9/11 in conversations with Perle that, luckily for me, helped me understand what was coming. (Perle and I had been chatting about policy since the early 1980s, but he broke off relations in 1993 over an article I did for The New Yorker linking him, a fervent supporter of Israel, to a series of meetings with Saudi businessmen in an attempt to land a multibillion-dollar contract from Saudi Arabia. Perle responded by publicly threatening to sue me and characterizing me as a newspaper terrorist. He did not sue. 

Meanwhile, Cheney had emerged as a leader of the neocon pack. From 9/11 on he did all he could to undermine congressional oversight. I learned a great deal from the inside about his primacy in the White House, but once again I was limited in what I would write for fear of betraying my sources...

I came to understand that Cheney's goal was to run his most important military and intelligence operations with as little congressional knowledge, and interference, as possible. I was fascinating and important to learn what I did about Cheney's constant accumulation of power and authority as vice president, but it was impossible to even begin to verify the information without running the risk that Cheney would learn of my questioning and have a good idea from whom I was getting the information.

4) On Russian meddling in the US election

From the recent Independent interview based on his autobiography — Hersh has vociferously strong opinions on the subject and smells a rat. He states that there is “a great deal of animosity towards Russia. All of that stuff about Russia hacking the election appears to be preposterous.” He has been researching the subject but is not ready to go public… yet.

Hersh quips that the last time he heard the US defense establishment have high confidence, it was regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He points out that the NSA only has moderate confidence in Russian hacking. It is a point that has been made before; there has been no national intelligence estimate in which all 17 US intelligence agencies would have to sign off. “When the intel community wants to say something they say it… High confidence effectively means that they don’t know.”

5) On the Novichok poisoning 

From the recent Independent interview — Hersh is also on the record as stating that the official version of the Skripal poisoning does not stand up to scrutiny. He tells me: “The story of novichok poisoning has not held up very well. He [Skripal] was most likely talking to British intelligence services about Russian organised crime.” The unfortunate turn of events with the contamination of other victims is suggestive, according to Hersh, of organised crime elements rather than state-sponsored actions –though this files in the face of the UK government's position.

Hersh modestly points out that these are just his opinions. Opinions or not, he is scathing on Obama – “a trimmer … articulate [but] … far from a radical … a middleman”. During his Goldsmiths talk, he remarks that liberal critics underestimate Trump at their peril.

He ends the Goldsmiths talk with an anecdote about having lunch with his sources in the wake of 9/11. He vents his anger at the agencies for not sharing information. One of his CIA sources fires back: “Sy you still don’t get it after all these years – the FBI catches bank robbers, the CIA robs banks.” It is a delicious, if cryptic aphorism.

* * *

6) On the Bush-era 'Redirection' policy of arming Sunni radicals to counter Shia Iran, which in a 2007 New Yorker article Hersh accurately predicted would set off war in Syria

From the Independent interview: [Hersh] tells me it is “amazing how many times that story has been reprinted”. I ask about his argument that US policy was designed to neutralize the Shia sphere extending from Iran to Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon and hence redraw the Sykes-Picot boundaries for the 21st century.

He goes on to say that Bush and Cheney “had it in for Iran”, although he denies the idea that Iran was heavily involved in Iraq: “They were providing intel, collecting intel … The US did many cross-border hunts to kill ops [with] much more aggression than Iran”...

He believes that the Trump administration has no memory of this approach. I’m sure though that the military-industrial complex has a longer memory...

I press him on the RAND and Stratfor reports including one authored by Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz in which they envisage deliberate ethno-sectarian partitioning of Iraq. Hersh ruefully states that: “The day after 9/11 we should have gone to Russia. We did the one thing that George Kennan warned us never to do – to expand NATO too far.”

* * *

7) On the official 9/11 narrative

From the Independent interview: We end up ruminating about 9/11, perhaps because it is another narrative ripe for deconstruction by sceptics. Polling shows that a significant proportion of the American public believes there is more to the truth. These doubts have been reinforced by the declassification of the suppressed 28 pages of the 9/11 commission report last year undermining the version that a group of terrorists acting independently managed to pull off the attacks. The implication is that they may well have been state-sponsored with the Saudis potentially involved. 

Hersh tells me: “I don’t necessarily buy the story that Bin Laden was responsible for 9/11. We really don’t have an ending to the story. I’ve known people in the [intelligence] community. We don’t know anything empirical about who did what”. He continues: “The guy was living in a cave. He really didn’t know much English. He was pretty bright and he had a lot of hatred for the US. We respond by attacking the Taliban. Eighteen years later… How’s it going guys?”

8) On the media and the morality of the powerful

From a recent The Intercept interview and book review  If Hersh were a superhero, this would be his origin story. Two hundred and seventy-four pages after the Chicago anecdote, he describes his coverage of a massive slaughter of Iraqi troops and civilians by the U.S. in 1991 after a ceasefire had ended the Persian Gulf War. America’s indifference to this massacre was, Hersh writes, “a reminder of the Vietnam War’s MGR, for Mere Gook Rule: If it’s a murdered or raped gook, there is no crime.” It was also, he adds, a reminder of something else: “I had learned a domestic version of that rule decades earlier” in Chicago.

“Reporter” demonstrates that Hersh has derived three simple lessons from that rule:

  1. The powerful prey mercilessly upon the powerless, up to and including mass murder.
  2. The powerful lie constantly about their predations.
  3. The natural instinct of the media is to let the powerful get away with it.

* * *

9) On the time President Lyndon B. Johnson expressed his displeasure to a reporter over a Vietnam piece by defecating on the ground in front of him

From Reporter: A Memoir pages 201-202 — Tom [Wicker] got into the car and the two of them sped off down a dusty dirt road. No words were spoken. After a moment or two, Johnson once again slammed on the brakes, wheeling to a halt near a stand of trees. Leaving the motor running, he climbed out, walked a few dozen feet toward the trees, stopped, pulled down his pants, and defecated, in full view. The President wiped himself with leaves and grass, pulled up his pants, climbed into the car, turned in around, and sped back to the press gathering. Once there, again the brakes were slammed on, and Tom was motioned out. All of this was done without a word being spoken.

..."I knew then," Tom told me, "that the son of a bitch was never going to end the war."

10) On Sy's "most troublesome article" for which his own family received death threats

From Reporter: A Memoir pages 263-264 — The most troublesome article I did, as someone not on the staff of the newspaper, came in June 1986 and dealt with American signals intelligence showing that General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the dictator who ran Panama, had authorized the assassination of a popular political opponent. At the time, Noriega was actively involved in supplying the Reagan administration with what was said to be intelligence on the spread of communism in Central America. Noriega also permitted American military and intelligence units to operate with impunity, in secret, from bases in Panama, and the Americans, in return, looked the other way while the general dealt openly in drugs and arms. The story was published just as Noriega was giving a speech at Harvard University and created embarrassment for him, and for Harvard, along with a very disturbing telephone threat at home, directed not at me but at my family. 

* * *


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The U.N. envoy for Iraq urged its political leaders on Wednesday to listen to the people and seize the opportunity to form "a patriotic, inclusive and non-sectarian national government" that … Click to Continue »
          Senators, Military Specialists Say Army Report On Dismissed Soldiers Is Troubling      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
An Army review concludes that commanders did nothing wrong when they kicked out more than 22,000 soldiers for misconduct after they came back from Iraq or Afghanistan – even though all of those troops had been diagnosed with mental health problems or brain injuries. The Army's report, ordered by Secretary Eric Fanning , seeks to reassure members of Congress that it's treating wounded soldiers fairly. But senators and military specialists say the report troubles them. "I don't think the Army understands the scope of this problem," says Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. "And I don't think they've conveyed the seriousness to get it right." The Army's report is "unbelievable," says psychiatrist Judith Broder. "It's just bizarre." Broder was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Obama for organizing the Soldiers Project, a network of hundreds of psychotherapists and others who help troops and their families. NPR asked Fanning for an interview, but he declined and sent a statement:
          Vietnam War Study Raises Concerns About Veterans' Mental Health      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: A new study of veterans from the Vietnam War has troubling implications for troops who have fought much more recently in Afghanistan and Iraq. The study suggests that while it's been 40 years since the Vietnam War ended, hundreds of thousands of those vets still struggle every day with mental health problems linked to their war experiences. Here's NPR's Daniel Zwerdling. DANIEL ZWERDLING, BYLINE: Researchers have been studying Vietnam veterans longer than they've studied anybody else who's fought in wars. Congress has ordered these studies to find out how war affects soldiers over their whole lives. Charles Marmar led the latest look at almost 2000 vets. He's chairman of the psychiatry department at the NYU medical school. He says, first, let's focus on the encouraging findings. Seventy to 75 percent of the Vietnam vets they studied have never suffered mental illness linked to the war. They did not get PTSD or depression. They
          New Shooting Revives Old Questions About Mental Health In Military      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: At a Senate hearing this morning, the secretary of the Army, John McHugh, talked about the Fort Hood shooting and the shooter, Ivan Lopez. He did have two deployments, including one four-month, approximately four-month deployment to Iraq as a truck driver. His records show no wounds, no involvement - direct involvement in combat. NPR's Daniel Zwerdling has been trying to uncover more of Ivan Lopez's past, and he joins me now. And, Danny, it sounds like this is not a case of a soldier's mental health problems being linked to service in Iraq. DANIEL ZWERDLING, BYLINE: Robert, I think it's way too early to say that. Military officials have been saying that to reporters all day long. And the implication seems to be that Lopez's mental health troubles had nothing to do with his service in the Army or the war. As you know, military officials have been very sensitive about this issue because their own studies have shown that large
          Army Takes On Its Own Toxic Leaders      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Top commanders in the U.S. Army have announced publicly that they have a problem: They have too many "toxic leaders" — the kind of bosses who make their employees miserable. Many corporations share a similar problem, but in the Army's case, destructive leadership can potentially have life or death consequences. So, some Army researchers are wondering if toxic officers have contributed to soldiers' mental health problems. One of those researchers is Dave Matsuda. In 2010, then-Brig. Gen. Pete Bayer, who was supervising the Army's drawdown in Iraq, asked Matsuda to study why almost 30 soldiers in Iraq had committed or attempted suicides in the past year. "We got to a point where we were exceptionally frustrated by the suicides that were occurring," Bayer says. "And quite honestly feeling — at least I was — helpless to some degree that otherwise good young men and women were taking their lives." Matsuda might seem like an unconventional choice to study Army suicides. He's an
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Hundreds of Iraqi Christians in Karamles took part in a procession last night, to commemorate the night four years ago earlier, when IS/Daesh drove many tens of thousands of Christians from the towns and villages of the Nineveh Plain.
          Assyrian Mayor in Iraq Who Was Illegally Removed Reinstated      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Basim Bello, the Assyrian mayor of Tel Kepe.Tel Kepe, North Iraq (AINA) -- Basim Bello, the Assyrian mayor of Tel Kepe, an Assyrian town in north Iraq, has resumed his duties as the mayor of Tel Kepe after he won his case in the Iraqi federal court.
          Poet Confronts Chicago Violence And "Demagogue" President      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The next four years will be very good for poetry. That's according to Susan Azar Porterfield, who says our nation's current political divisions echo previous tempests, which sprouted an abundance of biting verse. In 2003, Robert Bly, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and more than 8,000 other poets submitted their work to a global movement opposing the Iraq invasion. The book Poets Against the War collected 262 of those poems. In 1967, poet Langston Hughes and singer Nina Simone collaborated on "Backlash Blues," a song that criticized the reaction of many white Americans to the civil rights movement. "I know a lot of poets don't agree with me," Porterfield says, "but I think it's one of the duties of poetry to confront issues that we find dismaying." Lately, Porterfield is dismayed by the current occupant of the White House. We'll get to that in a bit. In her new poetry collection Dirt, Root, Silk , Porterfield looks for truth in all kinds of human relationships. The book won the Cider Press
          Iraq may be about to go all in with Iran      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

Heading in the wrong direction

The post Iraq may be about to go all in with Iran appeared first on Hot Air.


          D.C.'s Answer Coalition preps "Unite the Right" response      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
{{embed|t=alqZB_1533782448}} WASHINGTON - An upcoming white nationalist rally is set to be counter-protested by thousands, in what could be one of the busiest single days of protest in recent memory. Inside a seemingly unremarkable rowhouse in D.C.'s Shaw neighborhood, several dozen activists presided over a long wooden table, in a makeshift production line churning out hundreds of picket signs. They declared, in no uncertain terms: "Shut down white supremacy." "We're going to demonstrate just how tiny and isolated the fascists are," Walter Smolarek, an Answer Coalition activist, told News2Share. "We think that the most effective way to fight fascism is to bring out the masses of people, to bring out the majority of people who reject racism, and reject the hatred of the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan." {{embed|t=9vNrR_1533783176}} The Washington-based Answer Coalition is one of several progressive, left-wing social movements seeking to confront Kessler's rally. Rooted in anti-war activism, Answer - an acronym for "Act Now to Stop War and End Racism" - rose to prominence in the wake of the September 11 attacks and rallied thousands across the country against the Iraq War. On Wednesday, the National Park Service approved the group's permit to set up a sound stage in the northeastern corner of Lafayette Square, making Answer one of the first organizations with an approved permit to demonstrate on Sunday. Organizers said they expected up to 400 people to pack into their permit area beginning at 1 pm. "What we plan on having is a disciplined demonstration, one that people can come to and feel that they're secure," Smolarek said. Though he described a sense of solidarity with anti-fascist organizers who might opt for more direct confrontation, Smolarek stressed that Answer sought to remain peaceful and make a decisive statement against far-right through sheer numbers alone. Smolarek also pushed back against media narratives portraying anti-fascist protesters as miscreants and violent deviants. "We think that the demonization of anti-racist and anti-fascist protest is part of a move to actually give the Klansmen and Nazis room to breathe," Smolarek said. "They're created this whole media phenomenon, this scare tactic that if you try to rally in the streets for progressive and left-wing values, it's just going to be a riot because these scary antifa people will be there." "We plan to drown out their messages of hate on Sunday, just like when we went out to vote and Trump lost the popular vote," said Yasmina Mrabet, who holds the counter-demonstration's permit. "We're all just average, working-class people in the United States from all different ethnicities, and we know that the vast majority of people totally oppose this message, just like the vast majority of people totally oppose the Trump agenda." {{embed|t=twvd_1533782493}}
          Black Republican Backed By Trump Wins Victory In Michigan Senate Primary      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
DETROIT (AP) — Michigan businessman John James, a black Iraq War veteran who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, won the Republican nomination Tuesday and will take on Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow this fall. James, a political newcomer, convincingly defeated buyout firm founder Sandy Pensler in the GOP primary. The two traded barbs over their […]
          9.08.18 05:55 Kenton  >  Кутузов 5.03.04 15:55      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
I'm on a course at the moment <a href=" [link] ">what to do if viagra doesnt work</a> Mother Pelagia Sayah, the head of Saint Tekla monastery in Maaloula, denied earlier reports that churches and monasteries had been attacked. But the recent kidnappings of prominent Orthodox bishops, plus the Christian peace activist Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, have raised disturbing parallels to the height of sectarian violence in Iraq, and fears that Syria’s Christian minority may not survive the war.
          Obama Immigration Assistant To Speak At Dayton Conference      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Representatives from more than a dozen rust belt cities are gathering in Dayton Thursday to talk about immigration and economic development. The “Welcoming Economies” conference will include a keynote speech by Felicia Escobar , Special Assistant to the President for Immigration Policy. Global Detroit is one of the organizations sponsoring the event—the group has pushed for more immigrant-friendly policies in the city for several years. Raquel Andersen, the group’s VP of External Affairs, says groups providing services for immigrants have a lot to consider. For example, she works on homeownership and spoke with a client, a woman from Iraq, who was confused by the idea of a mortgage. “There are no mortgages in Iraq, you save for four years, you live with your family, and you buy a house outright,” Andersen says. “So it’s about really finding out what each community needs and how we might best describe all of these new concepts.” Organizations and cities at the Welcoming Economies
          Dayton Honors Refugee Populations      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The United Nations established World Refugee Day to honor people forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, conflict and violence. In 2013, there were an estimated 10.4 million refugees around the world. In 2014, with situations in Syria, Somalia, Iraq and other places, those numbers are likely to grow drastically. (Update: According to NPR, "At least 51.2 million people are now living under forced displacement, a U.N. agency says, announcing its tally of people who are seeking refuge or asylum, or who are internally displaced. It's the first time the number has topped 50 million since World War II." ) On Sunday, June 22, 2014, the city of Dayton will celebrate World Refugee Day by honoring its own refugee populations. The city has provided temporary refuge, or become a permanent home, to a number of refugee groups over the years. Sunday they’ll recognize them with music, food, dancing, and other activities at McIntosh Park. Melissa Bertolo, Program Coordinator with
          Man in Colorado Springs cop shooting was set for deportation      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
DENVER — A refugee from Iraq charged with shooting a Colorado police officer last week was set for deportation before a federal appeals court ruled in 2016 that a portion of immigration law defining violent crime was too vague, according to a Department of Homeland […]
          UN envoy urges Iraqi leaders to form inclusive government      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
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          Nov 14: Advocating for Veterans: The Basics on VA Benefits, Discharge Upgrades and Veteran Cultural Competency 2018 (Free Webcast)      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
The Practising Law Institute is offering a free webcast of a live presentation from San Francisco entitled Advocating for Veterans: The Basics on VA Benefits, Discharge Upgrades and Veteran Cultural Competency 2018 on November 14, 2018 from 12:00 pm-8:00 pm Eastern. IMPORTANT! If you get accredited by the VA before you attend this training, the first three hours will satisfy the VA’s CLE requirement. Attorneys and other advocates must be accredited to practice before the VA. To obtain accreditation you must complete this form: www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA21a.pdf. Accreditation by the VA may take several weeks, so do not delay filing your application. You can speed up the process by emailing the form to OGCAccreditationMailbox@va.gov. Within 12 months after accreditation you are required to complete three hours of qualifying CLE. The morning session of this program satisfies that requirement, but only if you have already received your accreditation from the VA. If you have not received it, you should still watch this program, but keep in mind that you will need to complete three additional hours of CLE within 12 months after receiving your accreditation. Attorneys and other advocates who become accredited will be listed on a national VA list, and are entitled to represent veterans in their claims for benefits, on a pro bono basis, and for attorney’s fees on appeals, where they are available. Why You Should Attend There are over 21 million veterans in the U.S.; many of them are not aware of the benefits to which they are entitled. Medical and financial assistance are available to those who have served in the military, but many veterans most in need are not receiving VA benefits. Navigating the VA claims system and applying for discharge upgrades before the Department of Defense are difficult and complex processes. Attorneys play an essential role in removing barriers to VA benefits, such as: Lack of evidence to “service-connect” their injuries or disabilities. Lack of current medical or mental health evidence documenting severity of symptoms for accurate disability ratings. VA eligibility determinations for those given less than fully honorable discharges for behaviors that were related to minor disciplinary infractions or symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress or other service-related disabilities. What You Will Learn Nearly 45% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seek compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for service related injuries; 30% of these veterans who file for VA benefits include claims for Post-Traumatic Stress. Many of those who should receive benefits will be denied. Many servicemembers who may be VA eligible are unaware of their legal right to pursue VA benefits, and of those who do apply, more than 90% will be denied. All of them will wait months or years for the VA to issue decisions on their claims. Learn how to navigate the VA claims process and to become an effective advocate for veterans in need. This all-day program will provide an overview of VA disability law and military discharge review law. You will gain an understanding of different types of military discharges, why they are important, and how you can help veterans with less than Honorable discharges. The three one-hour preliminary sessions provide the basics you need to represent veterans before the VA. It will also cover the interactions between VA benefits and other public benefits, such as SSI and SSDI. The morning session fulfills the VA’s requirement for qualifying CLE within the first 12 months of your VA accreditation. The 4:45 session, Veteran Cultural Competency: Combat to Community will help veterans’ advocates to understand the challenges that veterans face in their transition to a noncombat community, and provide tips on interviewing and providing legal services to veterans with disabilities. The 5:45 to 8:00 sessions will provide attorneys with the tools that they need to assist veterans in upgrading their discharge status and removing stigmatizing information from their discharge documents. Who Should Attend Attorneys seeking meaningful pro bono opportunities and any advocate who wants to help change the life of a veteran with a disability. Attorneys seeking to meet VA’s CLE requirements for new and continuing VA accreditation should also attend. Finally, attorneys who hope to expand their practice areas to include veterans’ cases where fees are available should register for one or more of the sessions.
          On tariffs, Trump’s reckless ignorance can no longer go unchallenged      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

(This is the second essay in a series challenging Trump’s tariffs)

Presidents make decisions of global importance that affect millions of lives. As a result, they are expected to know something of the substance of their preferred policies, or at least be reasonably well-informed by their advisors. On trade issues, Trump is the opposite of this. He is misinformed on a level unprecedented for a President on any topic, let alone one that affects over 20% of the US economy and about which he is enormously far from the expert consensus. Imagine if President Obama, when negotiating the Iran deal in 2015, continually referred to Iran as Iraq or argued that the deal was necessary to prevent Iranian conventional weapon build-up even though the treaty dealt with nuclear proliferation. This is the level of ignorance that Trump displays, in tweets and speeches, on an almost daily basis on trade issues.

First, Trump continually argues that revenue from the tariffs he has imposed will play an important role in paying down the national debt. On Sunday, he tweeted, “Because of Tariffs we will be able to start paying down large amounts of the $21 Trillion in debt that has been accumulated.”  This is a truly astounding claim. Trump has so far imposed tariffs on $85 billion of foreign imports at an average rate of 25%, meaning that the tariffs will provide $21 billion in additional revenue, or 0.1% of the country’s $15.7 trillion publically-held debt. When you subtract the $12 billion in aid to tariff-hit farmers, Trump’s tariffs this year will be able to pay off only 0.06% of the national debt. For context, this revenue is equivalent to 1/200th of the revenue lost as a result of his tax cut bill.

Second, Trump constantly argues that other countries are taking advantage of the US and our “uniquely” open trade laws, implying that other countries provide much more unfair protection to their economies than the US does. Another brazen mistruth. According to the World Bank, the European Union imposes an average tariff of 1.96% compared to one of 1.69% in the US, hardly a significant difference. Further, both Canada and Australia, countries targeted by Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, impose average tariffs lower than the US average. But even this doesn’t do Trump’s lie justice. Tariffs play only a small part in trade disputes among advanced economies today, with non-tariff barriers such as subsidies and buy-local provisions also serving to protect domestic economies. According to the Heritage Foundation, hardly an anti-Trump group, the EU and Canada both have higher (less protectionist) “trade freedom” scores than the US, when taking both tariffs and non-tariff barriers into account.

Third, Trump likes to argue that the US trade deficit means that the country is “losing” money to other countries, tweeting last month that “we are the “piggy bank” that’s being robbed” and “lost $817 billion on trade last year”. This is perhaps the most basic of trade economics mistakes and one that is taught to every Econ 101 college class. The trade deficit has little to do with competitiveness or tariff levels, but instead reflects the level of saving and investment in a country. Investment levels in the US are higher than national savings, forcing us to borrow investment funding from abroad which, in turn, is financed through foreign imports. In effect, we are running a trade deficit in return for higher levels of domestic investment. As a result, while our multilateral trade deficit is almost 2.9% of GDP, our capital account surplus (the level of investment coming into the US minus the level going out) is definitionally also 2.9% of GDP, with no “loss” of wealth by either the US or other countries.

It is clear that Trump has no clue what he is talking about when he loudly proclaims that his trade wars will pay off the national debt or that the US is losing a lump sum of wealth each year through trade deficits. But this ignorance is more sinister and worrying than commonly understood. Trump’s trade wars are not only hurting American workers and consumers, but also are corroding the American-led international order. America’s democratic allies, especially in Europe, are finding it politically destructive to support the President on anything given his abysmal standing amongst their home voters. As a result, Trump has no political capital to accomplish any of America’s foreign policy goals, from a new Iran deal to negotiating revised trade agreements. History shows us that long sustained fights over tariffs can lead to a collapse in international diplomacy and greater conflict between nations (take the Smoot-Hawley tariffs in 1930 for instance), and Trump will continue to push the US down this road as long as he chooses to live in a make-believe world on trade.

The first essay in this series argued that Congress must take action to rescind Trump’s tariffs because they are illegal. Even further, Congress must step in because Trump has shown himself to fundamentally misunderstand the issues at stake. This is not an honest error, that can be fixed by surrounding the President with better people. Trump has many advisors who care deeply about free trade, such as former National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn (who likely lost his job due to trade disagreements with the President) and current NEC Chairman Larry Kudlow. They have explained the nuances of trade deals to Trump many times and shown him that his tweet tirades about tariffs are patently untrue. And yet Trump doesn’t care. He would rather live in his own make-believe world, and create real policy from these fake beliefs, than actually care about the many genuine economic issues facing Americans. A President that cannot be bothered to learn any semblance of the truth cannot be trusted to act in the best interests of Americans, on trade and much else. When they re-enter session this fall, Congress has an obligation to put pressure on the President to rescind these tariffs that are both illegal and wreaking havoc on the world America created.  


          Australia strips five of citizenship over Islamic State links      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Five people have been stripped of their Australian citizenship for fighting alongside the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, with officials saying Thursday the country was a better place without them.
          Comment on Kushner E-Mails Reveal Attempt to Abolish UNWRA and Palestinian Refugee Status by Richard Silverstein      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
@ Papok: <blockquote>You keep talking about justice like it’s something that can be measured and determined to be true or false. What qualifies as justice for one man in injustice to the other.</blockquote> Indeed it can. That's why nations have laws and why there are international laws of war. There are ratified standards of justice. So no, I'm afraid you can't substitute your bastardized defintion for the real thing. <blockquote>I don’t think any one from my family have a wish to live in Iraq, but I’m sure my grandmother would very much like to be confensaited for the loss of possession.</blockquote> That is precisely the choice that Palestinian expellees demand: either to return to their homes or be compensated for their ethnic cleansing at Israel's hands. <blockquote>I have no disre to comment if there is no real debate</blockquote> Gimme a break. Enough with the whining. There are tens of thousands of comments on this site from hasbaroids like you. You're nothing special. You can comment here or not. But if you violate the comment rules your stay will be short. The length is up to you.
          Revolution is positive and civil war is negative: "Civil Wars" 3 of 3: by David Armitage      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
AUTHOR. (Photo: Mass meeting in New York City April 20, 1861, to support the Union.) http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/contact http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/schedules Twitter: @BatchelorShow Revolution is positive and civil war is negative: "Civil Wars" 3 of 3: by David Armitage [](https://www.amazon.com/Civil-Wars-David-Armitage/dp/030745617X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1533779701&sr=1-1&keywords=david+armitage+civil+wars) [https://www.amazon.com/Civil-Wars-David-Armitage/dp/030745617X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1533779701&sr=1-1&keywords=david+armitage+civil+wars](https://www.amazon.com/Civil-Wars-David-Armitage/dp/030745617X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1533779701&sr=1-1&keywords=david+armitage+civil+wars) A highly original history, tracing the least understood and most intractable form of organized human aggression from Ancient Rome through the centuries to the present day. We think we know civil war when we see it. Yet ideas of what it is, and what it isn't, have a long and contested history, from its fraught origins in republican Rome to debates in early modern Europe to our present day. Defining the term is acutely political, for ideas about what makes a war "civil" often depend on whether one is a ruler or a rebel, victor or vanquished, sufferer or outsider. Calling a conflict a civil war can shape its outcome by determining whether outside powers choose to get involved or stand aside: from the American Revolution to the war in Iraq, pivotal decisions have depended on such shifts of perspective.  The age of civil war in the West may be over, but elsewhere in the last two decades it has exploded--from the Balkans to Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, and Sri Lanka, and most recently Syria. And the language of civil war has burgeoned as democratic politics has become more violently fought. This book's unique perspective on the roots and dynamics of civil war, and on its shaping force in our conflict-ridden world, will be essential to the ongoing effort to grapple with this seemingly interminable problem.
          Is a civil war generative? "Civil Wars" 2 of 3: by David Armitage      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
AUTHOR. (Photo:The meeting of the Estates General on 5 May 1789 at Versailles ) http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/contact http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/schedules Twitter: @BatchelorShow Is a civil war generative? "Civil Wars" 2 of 3: by David Armitage https://www.amazon.com/Civil-Wars-David-Armitage/dp/030745617X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1533779701&sr=1-1&keywords=david+armitage+civil+wars A highly original history, tracing the least understood and most intractable form of organized human aggression from Ancient Rome through the centuries to the present day. We think we know civil war when we see it. Yet ideas of what it is, and what it isn't, have a long and contested history, from its fraught origins in republican Rome to debates in early modern Europe to our present day. Defining the term is acutely political, for ideas about what makes a war "civil" often depend on whether one is a ruler or a rebel, victor or vanquished, sufferer or outsider. Calling a conflict a civil war can shape its outcome by determining whether outside powers choose to get involved or stand aside: from the American Revolution to the war in Iraq, pivotal decisions have depended on such shifts of perspective.  The age of civil war in the West may be over, but elsewhere in the last two decades it has exploded--from the Balkans to Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, and Sri Lanka, and most recently Syria. And the language of civil war has burgeoned as democratic politics has become more violently fought. This book's unique perspective on the roots and dynamics of civil war, and on its shaping force in our conflict-ridden world, will be essential to the ongoing effort to grapple with this seemingly interminable problem.
          How do you know you are in a civil war? "Civil Wars"1 of 3: by David Armitage      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
AUTHOR. (Photo: ) http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/contact http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/schedules Twitter: @BatchelorShow How do you know you are in a civil war? "Civil Wars"1 of 3:  by David Armitage [https://www.amazon.com/Civil-Wars-David-Armitage/dp/030745617X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1533779701&sr=1-1&keywords=david+armitage+civil+wars](https://www.amazon.com/Civil-Wars-David-Armitage/dp/030745617X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1533779701&sr=1-1&keywords=david+armitage+civil+wars) A highly original history, tracing the least understood and most intractable form of organized human aggression from Ancient Rome through the centuries to the present day. We think we know civil war when we see it. Yet ideas of what it is, and what it isn't, have a long and contested history, from its fraught origins in republican Rome to debates in early modern Europe to our present day. Defining the term is acutely political, for ideas about what makes a war "civil" often depend on whether one is a ruler or a rebel, victor or vanquished, sufferer or outsider. Calling a conflict a civil war can shape its outcome by determining whether outside powers choose to get involved or stand aside: from the American Revolution to the war in Iraq, pivotal decisions have depended on such shifts of perspective.  The age of civil war in the West may be over, but elsewhere in the last two decades it has exploded--from the Balkans to Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, and Sri Lanka, and most recently Syria. And the language of civil war has burgeoned as democratic politics has become more violently fought. This book's unique perspective on the roots and dynamics of civil war, and on its shaping force in our conflict-ridden world, will be essential to the ongoing effort to grapple with this seemingly interminable problem.
          Comment on China’s 055 Destroyer Better than All Others Except US Zumwalt by Anonymous      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
Why is Zumwalt better than Type 005 you ask? Answer: China's Type 055 has an aluminum alloy superstructure where most modern warships today use steel. Zumwalt is made of steel. The British built a few frigates with aluminum in the 1970s. However during the Falklands war, one of these ships, the HMS Sheffield, was hit by a single Exocet anti-ship missile. The damage was not fatal since the missile failed to explode, but its rocket fuel torched the Sheffield's aluminum hull, which ignited and burned until it sank. In contrast, the steel hull frigate USS Stark was hit by two Iraqi Exocet missiles in 1988 and survived. The Type 055 would be subject to catastrophic fires in the event of combat damage.
          Rawanda      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
tiny hayder

That is Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Tiny Hayder's Plea" from Tuesday night.


Ann Garrison has an important article at BLACK AGENDA RADIO:

I’m not one to pray, but if I were, I’d pray that Rwanda won’t suffer another ethnic bloodbath. I’ve met so many gracious, intelligent, and talented Rwandans of both ethnicities that I hate to imagine it. However, if there is another bloodbath, the blood will all be on US officials’ hands. Rwanda has been a longstanding US ally and military partner ever since it helped Kagame seize power in the war of 1990 to 1994. US officials, including President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Ambassador Samantha Power, and UN Ambassador/National Security Advisor Susan Rice, have all helped Kagame and his cronies perpetuate the myth of ethnic reconciliation when nothing could be further from the truth. The classified diplomatic cable reached the State Department in August 2008. The next year Bill Clinton gave Kagame one of his Global Citizenship Awards and described him as “one of the greatest leaders in the world today.”
All former presidents have security clearance to review classified documents, but Rwanda has been one of Bill Clinton’s personal projects ever since Kagame seized power, and he no doubt knew the score long before 2008.
Kagame is the biggest crook of them all and the desire to turn him into a hero is really disgusting.  I remember being hugely disappointed in Laura Flanders for promoting the lies in the film HOTEL RAWANDA.  It was shocking.




Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Wednesday, August 8, 2018.

War, it brings big bucks to corporations.






In other stupidity . . .


People forget that the rate of tragic deaths in Iraq under Saddam was way higher than post war. They also forget that the biggest participation free elections ever in the country took place in 2007.
 
 



People forget?

People forget about national elections in Iraq in 2007?

Maybe because they didn't take place.  Parliamentary elections were at the end of 2005.  Provincial (or governorate) elections took place in January 2005.  Is he talking about either of those?  Iraq didn't have elections in 2007.

Guess he forgot that.

He also seems to have forgotten that Saddam Hussein has been labeled a War Criminal and that the Americans, the British, the Australians, et al, didn't go in promising 'we'll make it a little better,' they went in promising freedom.

He seems to forget a great deal -- and to remember even less.

On elections, let's go first to the KRG where parliamentary elections are supposed to take place in September.  This has been the plan.  But the US government isn't pleased so they once again insert Brett McGurk into the process.  He's been promising and more to try to stop these elections.

Remember in the spring of 2012?  Nouri al-Maliki refused to honor his promises in The Erbil Agreement (the 2010 agreement that the US negotiated to give Nouri a second term after the Iraqi voters said no).  He refused to form a power-sharing government (among other things).  As a result, the politicians spoke out.  Then they began a Constitutional effort to oust him.  This was Kurd Massoud Barzani, Shi'ite Ayad Allawi, Sunni Osama al-Nujaifi . . ..  It even included Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

Moqtada repeatedly said that they would drop the effort if Nouri would implement his side of the contract (The Erbil Agreement).  Nouri refused.  So they went forward.  The Constitution required that after the appropriate number of signatures were collected, the petition was turned over to the President of Iraq who had the purely ceremonial act of introducing it into Parliament.  The president was Jalal Talabani.  Under pressure from the US and offered bribes, Jalal refused to introduce the petition.  He then announced he needed emergency surgery and had to leave immediately for Germany.  (He had elective knee surgery.  Karma would bite him in his fat ass as the year closed out and he actually had a stroke and had to be taken to Germany.)

Where there's a dollar tossed, there's a Talabani.

Brett McGurk may not know much but he knows his way around a whore or two.

Which is how he got the Qubad Talabani to insist that the vote must be postponed.

Baxtiyar Goran (KURDISTAN 24) reports:


Qubad Talabani has no right to speak on behalf of all the political parties in the Kurdistan Region regarding the date of the upcoming parliamentary elections, a spokesperson for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) said on Monday.
KDP spokesperson Mahmood Mohammed said in a statement that the party is against postponing the parliamentary elections, scheduled for Sep. 30, and that Talabani should not speak on behalf of other political parties.
Talabani, a senior member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said all political parties are for postponing the elections.
Speaking at the opening of Sulaimani Airport’s new terminal on Monday, he claimed nobody had the courage to discuss postponing the elections publicly.
Talabani was assigned as head of the PUK electoral list for the upcoming parliamentary elections after the removal of Arsalan Baiz.
“[Talabani] should not have spoken on behalf of all the parties because every party has its own position that it is going to convey through its own institutions,” the KDP spokesperson said in the statement.


Maybe the PUK wouldn't do so poorly in the elections if one of the Talabanis had a spine?

As it is, they've destroyed the party.

And they lied to the entire country.

In 2012,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 (see the December 18th snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany.  He remained there for a year and a half.  He was incapacitated.  But the Talabani family lied to everyone so that, as the Iraqi Constitution requires, Jalal wouldn't be removed from office.

They lied to the country.  They deceived the Iraqi people.  They propped him up and posed him for pictures -- leading Arabic media to mock it as WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S -- but they couldn't offer video because he couldn't speak.

He never spoke in public again.  Not even when he returned to Iraq 18 months after his stroke.

And yet a Talabani thinks they have a place to speak for the government today?

Iraq needed a president.  Yes, it's a ceremonial post.  But Iraq was in a very difficult position and it needed a president.  It's president was in a German sick bed and unable to speak or move.  Had the Iraqi people known that, they would have followed the Constitution and stripped him of his post.

This huge lie will not vanish.

Nor will the fact that Qubad is married to an American woman who, up until the marriage, worked for the US State Dept (far more controversial in Iraq is the fact that Sherri Kraham is Jewish).  Qubad already had the mark against him that he grew up in Europe, not the KRG, then he goes off and marries a foreigner and he's seen as even less representative of the Kurds.

Naturally, that's the one Brett would go after.


Will the KRG postpone their elections?  Hopefully not.  And the US government has done nothing for them.  It even attacked them for the non-binding referendum they held last September.



Hayder al-Abadi was a wee little man 
And a wee little man was he
He climbed up on the empire's coat tails
Cause his soul he wanted to sell 



Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Tiny Hayder's Plea" went up last night.

US puppet Hayder is in trouble -- as Tamer El-Ghobashy and Mustafa Salim's (WASHINGTON POST) reporting has made clear.

Then-US President Barack Obama installed him as prime minister in 2014.  He came into office with a lot of promises -- including that he'd end corruption.  Four years later, he's got nothing to show for it.

He announced last December that he'd defeated ISIS but ISIS has refused to play along with that claim.




May 12th, Iraq held national elections.  Ahead of the elections, there had been big hopes -- these hopes included a large turnout.   Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) noted, "A total of 24 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their ballots to elect members of parliament, who will in turn elect the Iraqi president and prime minister."  RUDAW added, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs."  AFP explained that the nearly 7,000 candidates includes 2014 women.  THE SIASAT DAILY added, of the nearly 7,000 candidates, "According to the electoral commission, only 20 percent of the candidates are newcomers." Ali Abdul-Hassan and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reported, "Iraqi women account for 57 percent of Iraq’s population of over 37 million, according to the U.N. Development Program, and despite government efforts to address gender inequality, the situation for Iraqi women has declined steadily since 2003.  According to the UNDP, one in every 10 Iraqi households is headed by a widow. In recent years, Iraqi women suffered further economic, social and political marginalization due to decades of wars, conflict, violence and sanctions." 


The other big hope?  For the US government, the biggest hope was that Hayder al-Abadi's bloc would come in first so that he would have a second term as prime minister.  It was not to be.  Mustapha Karkouti (GULF NEWS) identifies the key issues as follows, "Like in previous elections, the main concerns of ordinary Iraqis continue to be the lack of security and the rampant corruption."

As we noted the day of the election:

Corruption is a key issue and it was not a topic explored by candidates outside of Moqtada al-Sadr's coalition.  Empty lip service was offered.  Hayder al-Abadi, current prime minister, had been offering empty lip service for four years.  He did nothing.  Iraqis were supposed to think that, for example, Hayder's focus on ISIS in Mosul mattered.  All life was supposed to stop because of Mosul?  All expectations were to be ignored because of Mosul?

Arabic social media today and yesterday was full of comments about the lack of improvement in services.  It noted how the elections had not mattered before and, yes, how in 2010 the US government overturned the elections because they didn't like the outcome. 



So it was probably only surprising to the US government and their press hacks that Hayder wouldn't come in first.  But that was after the votes were counted.  On the day of the election, the big news was how so few were turning out to vote.  NPR reported, "With more than 90 percent of the votes in, Iraq's election commission announced voter turnout of 44.5 percent. The figure is down sharply from 60 percent of eligible voters who cast their ballots in the last elections in 2014." AP pointed out the obvious, "No election since 2003 saw turnout below 60 percent."  AFP broke it down even more clearly "More than half of the nearly 24.5 million voters did not show up at the ballot box in the parliamentary election, the highest abstention rate since the first multiparty elections in 2005 [. . .]."

Repeatedly in the months ahead of the election, the western press assured us Hayder would win re-election, he would lead, he was a shoe-in, he was . . .

A loser.

He didn't come in first.  He didn't come in second.  He came in third.

The sitting prime minister came in third.

That's a huge rejection.

And protests have been taking place since the start of last month because Iraqis are tired of the corruption, tired of the lack of jobs, tired of not having electricity or potable water.

Hayder's tried some for-show measures to end the protests.  They've not been successful.  He's tried using the military to intimidate and attack the protesters (and at least 14 protesters have been killed).

Hayder is a failure.

The US government wants their puppet to stay in place.  The Iraqi people do not want that.

In 2010, the US government went around the Iraqi people to give Nouri al-Maliki a second term.  Will they do that this year with Hayder?  It's really important to grasp that it is Nouri's second term that allowed the Islamic State to take hold in Iraq.

In other violence, Belkis Wille (Human Rights Watch) notes:


The horrific case of an Iraqi woman apparently murdered at home should prompt Iraq’s new parliament, once formed, to finally pass a draft domestic violence law which has been pending since 2015.
According to Iraqi media and BBC Arabic, one day last week a bridegroom returned his bride to her parents the day after their wedding, complaining that she was not a virgin. Media reports claim that upon hearing the accusation, a family member beat her to death. Media reports say that police have arrested a male relative.
While the man will likely now face trial for murder, it is possible that he may benefit from a reduced sentence under a provision in Iraq’s penal code allowing for shorter sentences for violent acts – including murder – for so-called “honorable motives.” But there is no “honor” in such brutal and needless killing. Moreover, the murdered bride would be just one of hundreds of women and children who suffer violence at the hands of their families in Iraq each year.
If passed, Iraq’s new domestic violence law would oblige the government to protect domestic violence survivors, including with restraining orders and penalties for breaching them, and the creation of a cross-ministerial committee to combat domestic violence. It would also require the government to provide shelters so women at risk of violence have a safe place to go if they are forced to flee their home.
The draft law is not perfect. It contains several flaws, including a preference for families to address violence through “reconciliation committees” rather than prosecution, and could be improved. Iraqi authorities should also set clear penalties for the crime of domestic violence, and close the loophole that lets abusers receive reduced punishments for so-called “honor” crimes, both not addressed in the draft law.

If improved, this draft law is the best chance Iraq’s new parliament has to tackle the scourge of violence in the home, fulfill its international legal obligations on domestic violence, and save the lives of countless Iraqi women and children.



Lastly, in the US, Peter Van Buren has been banned from Twitter for the crime of free speech.



Peter Van Buren: Twitter Suspends Me Forever
 
 
Scott Horton, Peter Van Buren, and Dan McAdams have been suspended from Twitter. If you go to their accounts, you will see their old tweets, but they are prohibited from making new tweets. They were reported by for criticizing his posts. Please complain to Twitter.
 
 
Dear please immediately restore the account of Peter Van Buren . He hasn't done anything wrong and hasn't broken any of Twitter's rules or Terms of Service.
 
 

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, BLACK AGENDA REPORT and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:





  •           soldiers carry casualty on stretcher to armoured vehicle by Milmotion      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
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    U.S. Army soldiers with the 321st Sustainment Brigade and the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps conducted a mass casualty exercise at Camp Taji, Iraq on July 26.


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    U.S. Army soldiers with the 321st Sustainment Brigade and the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps conducted a mass casualty exercise at Camp Taji, Iraq on July 26.


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    U.S. Army soldiers with the 321st Sustainment Brigade and the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps conducted a mass casualty exercise at Camp Taji, Iraq on July 26.


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              Continuation of National Emergency in Iraq      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   

    On May 18, 2018, President Trump issued a notice to continue for 1 year the declared national emergency with respect to the stabilization of Iraq.  (See the President’s notice at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/notice-regarding-continuation-national-emergency-respect-stabilization-iraq-2/.)  As a result of this notice, agency heads may continue to apply—through the end of 2018—a special premium pay cap waiver authority for eligible civi


               Australia strips five of citizenship over Islamic State...       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
    Five people have been stripped of their Australian citizenship for fighting alongside the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, with officials saying...
               UN envoy urges Iraqi leaders to form inclusive government       Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
    UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The U.N. envoy for Iraq urged its political leaders on Wednesday to listen to the people and seize the opportunity to form "a...
              Rethinking info in an age of spying      Cache   Translate Page   Web Page Cache   
    Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Tiny Hayder's Plea"

    tiny hayder

    We installed Hayder al-Abadi.  He did a lousy job for the Iraqi people.  But we want him to have a second term.  Let's not pretend the US government cares about democracy.  Hayder came in third in the May 12th elections but Brett McGurk is in Iraq trying to get Hayder a second term.

    This is from Margaret Kimberley's latest at BLACK AGENDA REPORT:

     Of course Black Agenda Report utilizes social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to communicate with readers. Any individual or organization who needs to connect with large groups of people does so as well. But our adversaries know that too and have embarked on unprecedented efforts to diminish black and left voices or silence them altogether. The change was announced quite publicly in November 2016 when the Jeff Bezos owned Washington Postpresented the infamous Propornotlist. This anonymous group claimed that some 200 sites, including Black Agenda Report, were susceptible to Russian propaganda, hence the propaganda or not label.
    Now the attack is a bit more subtle but quite effective. Individuals and groups find themselves “ghost banned,” unable to post on social media platforms but never given a reason why. YouTube subscribers find themselves unsubscribed. YouTube channels are demonetized and unable to earn revenue if they cover left leaning political issues. The search engine reach of organizations like Black Agenda Report have been diminished on Google.
    [. . .]
    It is time to take a serious look at our dependence on Facebook, which Julian Assange called, “The most appalling spy machine ever invented.” Every serious activist should take a look at how they contact other people. It isn’t necessary to give up social media altogether but it is essential to have phone numbers, email and written addresses for anyone we may wish to contact. Old fashioned address books gathering dust need to be resurrected.



    She is exactly right.  Awhile back, probably 2007 or 2008, I wrote about how we were spied on -- C.I. and I -- back in the whole Watergate era.  I noted that they never knew the important things because C.I. and I developed a code.  A few people wrote in back then asking what it was.  I spoke with C.I. and she said, "Do you really think we're not going to have to use that again?"

    I honestly had.  I honestly thought those days were over.  They're not.

    So many of us have been too trusting.  We need to seriously reconsider what we make available and what we don't.

    Okay, go read Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Those summer offerings" where they score the summer's TV programming.


    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
    Wednesday, August 8, 2018.

    War, it brings big bucks to corporations.






    In other stupidity . . .


    People forget that the rate of tragic deaths in Iraq under Saddam was way higher than post war. They also forget that the biggest participation free elections ever in the country took place in 2007.
     
     



    People forget?

    People forget about national elections in Iraq in 2007?

    Maybe because they didn't take place.  Parliamentary elections were at the end of 2005.  Provincial (or governorate) elections took place in January 2005.  Is he talking about either of those?  Iraq didn't have elections in 2007.

    Guess he forgot that.

    He also seems to have forgotten that Saddam Hussein has been labeled a War Criminal and that the Americans, the British, the Australians, et al, didn't go in promising 'we'll make it a little better,' they went in promising freedom.

    He seems to forget a great deal -- and to remember even less.

    On elections, let's go first to the KRG where parliamentary elections are supposed to take place in September.  This has been the plan.  But the US government isn't pleased so they once again insert Brett McGurk into the process.  He's been promising and more to try to stop these elections.

    Remember in the spring of 2012?  Nouri al-Maliki refused to honor his promises in The Erbil Agreement (the 2010 agreement that the US negotiated to give Nouri a second term after the Iraqi voters said no).  He refused to form a power-sharing government (among other things).  As a result, the politicians spoke out.  Then they began a Constitutional effort to oust him.  This was Kurd Massoud Barzani, Shi'ite Ayad Allawi, Sunni Osama al-Nujaifi . . ..  It even included Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

    Moqtada repeatedly said that they would drop the effort if Nouri would implement his side of the contract (The Erbil Agreement).  Nouri refused.  So they went forward.  The Constitution required that after the appropriate number of signatures were collected, the petition was turned over to the President of Iraq who had the purely ceremonial act of introducing it into Parliament.  The president was Jalal Talabani.  Under pressure from the US and offered bribes, Jalal refused to introduce the petition.  He then announced he needed emergency surgery and had to leave immediately for Germany.  (He had elective knee surgery.  Karma would bite him in his fat ass as the year closed out and he actually had a stroke and had to be taken to Germany.)

    Where there's a dollar tossed, there's a Talabani.

    Brett McGurk may not know much but he knows his way around a whore or two.

    Which is how he got the Qubad Talabani to insist that the vote must be postponed.

    Baxtiyar Goran (KURDISTAN 24) reports:


    Qubad Talabani has no right to speak on behalf of all the political parties in the Kurdistan Region regarding the date of the upcoming parliamentary elections, a spokesperson for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) said on Monday.
    KDP spokesperson Mahmood Mohammed said in a statement that the party is against postponing the parliamentary elections, scheduled for Sep. 30, and that Talabani should not speak on behalf of other political parties.
    Talabani, a senior member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said all political parties are for postponing the elections.
    Speaking at the opening of Sulaimani Airport’s new terminal on Monday, he claimed nobody had the courage to discuss postponing the elections publicly.
    Talabani was assigned as head of the PUK electoral list for the upcoming parliamentary elections after the removal of Arsalan Baiz.
    “[Talabani] should not have spoken on behalf of all the parties because every party has its own position that it is going to convey through its own institutions,” the KDP spokesperson said in the statement.


    Maybe the PUK wouldn't do so poorly in the elections if one of the Talabanis had a spine?

    As it is, they've destroyed the party.

    And they lied to the entire country.

    In 2012,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 (see the December 18th snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany.  He remained there for a year and a half.  He was incapacitated.  But the Talabani family lied to everyone so that, as the Iraqi Constitution requires, Jalal wouldn't be removed from office.

    They lied to the country.  They deceived the Iraqi people.  They propped him up and posed him for pictures -- leading Arabic media to mock it as WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S -- but they couldn't offer video because he couldn't speak.

    He never spoke in public again.  Not even when he returned to Iraq 18 months after his stroke.

    And yet a Talabani thinks they have a place to speak for the government today?

    Iraq needed a president.  Yes, it's a ceremonial post.  But Iraq was in a very difficult position and it needed a president.  It's president was in a German sick bed and unable to speak or move.  Had the Iraqi people known that, they would have followed the Constitution and stripped him of his post.

    This huge lie will not vanish.

    Nor will the fact that Qubad is married to an American woman who, up until the marriage, worked for the US State Dept (far more controversial in Iraq is the fact that Sherri Kraham is Jewish).  Qubad already had the mark against him that he grew up in Europe, not the KRG, then he goes off and marries a foreigner and he's seen as even less representative of the Kurds.

    Naturally, that's the one Brett would go after.


    Will the KRG postpone their elections?  Hopefully not.  And the US government has done nothing for them.  It even attacked them for the non-binding referendum they held last September.



    Hayder al-Abadi was a wee little man 
    And a wee little man was he
    He climbed up on the empire's coat tails
    Cause his soul he wanted to sell 



    Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Tiny Hayder's Plea" went up last night.

    US puppet Hayder is in trouble -- as Tamer El-Ghobashy and Mustafa Salim's (WASHINGTON POST) reporting has made clear.

    Then-US President Barack Obama installed him as prime minister in 2014.  He came into office with a lot of promises -- including that he'd end corruption.  Four years later, he's got nothing to show for it.

    He announced last December that he'd defeated ISIS but ISIS has refused to play along with that claim.




    May 12th, Iraq held national elections.  Ahead of the elections, there had been big hopes -- these hopes included a large turnout.   Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) noted, "A total of 24 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their ballots to elect members of parliament, who will in turn elect the Iraqi president and prime minister."  RUDAW added, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs."  AFP explained that the nearly 7,000 candidates includes 2014 women.  THE SIASAT DAILY added, of the nearly 7,000 candidates, "According to the electoral commission, only 20 percent of the candidates are newcomers." Ali Abdul-Hassan and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reported, "Iraqi women account for 57 percent of Iraq’s population of over 37 million, according to the U.N. Development Program, and despite government efforts to address gender inequality, the situation for Iraqi women has declined steadily since 2003.  According to the UNDP, one in every 10 Iraqi households is headed by a widow. In recent years, Iraqi women suffered further economic, social and political marginalization due to decades of wars, conflict, violence and sanctions." 


    The other big hope?  For the US government, the biggest hope was that Hayder al-Abadi's bloc would come in first so that he would have a second term as prime minister.  It was not to be.  Mustapha Karkouti (GULF NEWS) identifies the key issues as follows, "Like in previous elections, the main concerns of ordinary Iraqis continue to be the lack of security and the rampant corruption."

    As we noted the day of the election:

    Corruption is a key issue and it was not a topic explored by candidates outside of Moqtada al-Sadr's coalition.  Empty lip service was offered.  Hayder al-Abadi, current prime minister, had been offering empty lip service for four years.  He did nothing.  Iraqis were supposed to think that, for example, Hayder's focus on ISIS in Mosul mattered.  All life was supposed to stop because of Mosul?  All expectations were to be ignored because of Mosul?

    Arabic social media today and yesterday was full of comments about the lack of improvement in services.  It noted how the elections had not mattered before and, yes, how in 2010 the US government overturned the elections because they didn't like the outcome. 



    So it was probably only surprising to the US government and their press hacks that Hayder wouldn't come in first.  But that was after the votes were counted.  On the day of the election, the big news was how so few were turning out to vote.  NPR reported, "With more than 90 percent of the votes in, Iraq's election commission announced voter turnout of 44.5 percent. The figure is down sharply from 60 percent of eligible voters who cast their ballots in the last elections in 2014." AP pointed out the obvious, "No election since 2003 saw turnout below 60 percent."  AFP broke it down even more clearly "More than half of the nearly 24.5 million voters did not show up at the ballot box in the parliamentary election, the highest abstention rate since the first multiparty elections in 2005 [. . .]."

    Repeatedly in the months ahead of the election, the western press assured us Hayder would win re-election, he would lead, he was a shoe-in, he was . . .

    A loser.

    He didn't come in first.  He didn't come in second.  He came in third.

    The sitting prime minister came in third.

    That's a huge rejection.

    And protests have been taking place since the start of last month because Iraqis are tired of the corruption, tired of the lack of jobs, tired of not having electricity or potable water.

    Hayder's tried some for-show measures to end the protests.  They've not been successful.  He's tried using the military to intimidate and attack the protesters (and at least 14 protesters have been killed).

    Hayder is a failure.

    The US government wants their puppet to stay in place.  The Iraqi people do not want that.

    In 2010, the US government went around the Iraqi people to give Nouri al-Maliki a second term.  Will they do that this year with Hayder?  It's really important to grasp that it is Nouri's second term that allowed the Islamic State to take hold in Iraq.

    In other violence, Belkis Wille (Human Rights Watch) notes:


    The horrific case of an Iraqi woman apparently murdered at home should prompt Iraq’s new parliament, once formed, to finally pass a draft domestic violence law which has been pending since 2015.
    According to Iraqi media and BBC Arabic, one day last week a bridegroom returned his bride to her parents the day after their wedding, complaining that she was not a virgin. Media reports claim that upon hearing the accusation, a family member beat her to death. Media reports say that police have arrested a male relative.
    While the man will likely now face trial for murder, it is possible that he may benefit from a reduced sentence under a provision in Iraq’s penal code allowing for shorter sentences for violent acts – including murder – for so-called “honorable motives.” But there is no “honor” in such brutal and needless killing. Moreover, the murdered bride would be just one of hundreds of women and children who suffer violence at the hands of their families in Iraq each year.
    If passed, Iraq’s new domestic violence law would oblige the government to protect domestic violence survivors, including with restraining orders and penalties for breaching them, and the creation of a cross-ministerial committee to combat domestic violence. It would also require the government to provide shelters so women at risk of violence have a safe place to go if they are forced to flee their home.
    The draft law is not perfect. It contains several flaws, including a preference for families to address violence through “reconciliation committees” rather than prosecution, and could be improved. Iraqi authorities should also set clear penalties for the crime of domestic violence, and close the loophole that lets abusers receive reduced punishments for so-called “honor” crimes, both not addressed in the draft law.

    If improved, this draft law is the best chance Iraq’s new parliament has to tackle the scourge of violence in the home, fulfill its international legal obligations on domestic violence, and save the lives of countless Iraqi women and children.



    Lastly, in the US, Peter Van Buren has been banned from Twitter for the crime of free speech.



    Peter Van Buren: Twitter Suspends Me Forever
     
     
    Scott Horton, Peter Van Buren, and Dan McAdams have been suspended from Twitter. If you go to their accounts, you will see their old tweets, but they are prohibited from making new tweets. They were reported by for criticizing his posts. Please complain to Twitter.
     
     
    Dear please immediately restore the account of Peter Van Buren . He hasn't done anything wrong and hasn't broken any of Twitter's rules or Terms of Service.
     
     

    The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, BLACK AGENDA REPORT and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated:



  • tiny hayder



    That's Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Tiny Hayder's Plea" and it's from Tuesday night.


    I kept looking for something to write about and kept stopping to watch TV (on a little corner on the laptop).  We have the HULU live package.  And what I really like is going to HGTV -- HOME AND GARDEN TV -- and watching people look for houses.

    LOVE IT OR LEASE IT is one of my favorites (and I always root for Hillary).  But I especially love the tiny home shows.  Especially TINY HOUSE HUNTING.  The people in those shows are easy to root for. 

    Now there's a tiny house show where they look at homes that are just mobile or something.  I don't always like those ones.

    There was this one episode, for example, where this woman was a single mother with 2 teenage kids -- a boy and a girl.  And home after home, three in all, her question was always if her stupid (and ratty) couch would fit in the new home.  At least one of these tiny homes was furnished.  But even then she's whining about her stupid couch. 

    On that same series, there was another woman, a wife, who really ticked me off.  Her husband was six feet but she had to have the tiny loft.  He couldn't sit up in it.  Why would you whine and whine to get that one when there were cheaper ones -- that were nice -- that he could fit into?

    Seriously, if I was that tall and my husband had done that, I would not be married today.  I could not stay married to someone who didn't even take into account that I was not going to be able to sit up in a loft, that I would have to crawl into it and angle my body just to get on the bed.

    But the TINY HOUSE HUNTING always has great people to root for.  The two guys looking for their dream place in Ohio, for example.  Or the cute family looking for something near the beach in Pensecola.  They had the cutes little girl.  I can get really involved with the families and individuals on this show.  I don't think they make new episodes anymore.  I wish they did. 



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


    Wednesday, August 8, 2018.

    War, it brings big bucks to corporations.






    In other stupidity . . .


    People forget that the rate of tragic deaths in Iraq under Saddam was way higher than post war. They also forget that the biggest participation free elections ever in the country took place in 2007.
     
     



    People forget?

    People forget about national elections in Iraq in 2007?

    Maybe because they didn't take place.  Parliamentary elections were at the end of 2005.  Provincial (or governorate) elections took place in January 2005.  Is he talking about either of those?  Iraq didn't have elections in 2007.

    Guess he forgot that.

    He also seems to have forgotten that Saddam Hussein has been labeled a War Criminal and that the Americans, the British, the Australians, et al, didn't go in promising 'we'll make it a little better,' they went in promising freedom.

    He seems to forget a great deal -- and to remember even less.

    On elections, let's go first to the KRG where parliamentary elections are supposed to take place in September.  This has been the plan.  But the US government isn't pleased so they once again insert Brett McGurk into the process.  He's been promising and more to try to stop these elections.

    Remember in the spring of 2012?  Nouri al-Maliki refused to honor his promises in The Erbil Agreement (the 2010 agreement that the US negotiated to give Nouri a second term after the Iraqi voters said no).  He refused to form a power-sharing government (among other things).  As a result, the politicians spoke out.  Then they began a Constitutional effort to oust him.  This was Kurd Massoud Barzani, Shi'ite Ayad Allawi, Sunni Osama al-Nujaifi . . ..  It even included Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr.

    Moqtada repeatedly said that they would drop the effort if Nouri would implement his side of the contract (The Erbil Agreement).  Nouri refused.  So they went forward.  The Constitution required that after the appropriate number of signatures were collected, the petition was turned over to the President of Iraq who had the purely ceremonial act of introducing it into Parliament.  The president was Jalal Talabani.  Under pressure from the US and offered bribes, Jalal refused to introduce the petition.  He then announced he needed emergency surgery and had to leave immediately for Germany.  (He had elective knee surgery.  Karma would bite him in his fat ass as the year closed out and he actually had a stroke and had to be taken to Germany.)

    Where there's a dollar tossed, there's a Talabani.

    Brett McGurk may not know much but he knows his way around a whore or two.

    Which is how he got the Qubad Talabani to insist that the vote must be postponed.

    Baxtiyar Goran (KURDISTAN 24) reports:


    Qubad Talabani has no right to speak on behalf of all the political parties in the Kurdistan Region regarding the date of the upcoming parliamentary elections, a spokesperson for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) said on Monday.
    KDP spokesperson Mahmood Mohammed said in a statement that the party is against postponing the parliamentary elections, scheduled for Sep. 30, and that Talabani should not speak on behalf of other political parties.
    Talabani, a senior member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), said all political parties are for postponing the elections.
    Speaking at the opening of Sulaimani Airport’s new terminal on Monday, he claimed nobody had the courage to discuss postponing the elections publicly.
    Talabani was assigned as head of the PUK electoral list for the upcoming parliamentary elections after the removal of Arsalan Baiz.
    “[Talabani] should not have spoken on behalf of all the parties because every party has its own position that it is going to convey through its own institutions,” the KDP spokesperson said in the statement.


    Maybe the PUK wouldn't do so poorly in the elections if one of the Talabanis had a spine?

    As it is, they've destroyed the party.

    And they lied to the entire country.

    In 2012,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 (see the December 18th snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany.  He remained there for a year and a half.  He was incapacitated.  But the Talabani family lied to everyone so that, as the Iraqi Constitution requires, Jalal wouldn't be removed from office.

    They lied to the country.  They deceived the Iraqi people.  They propped him up and posed him for pictures -- leading Arabic media to mock it as WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S -- but they couldn't offer video because he couldn't speak.

    He never spoke in public again.  Not even when he returned to Iraq 18 months after his stroke.

    And yet a Talabani thinks they have a place to speak for the government today?

    Iraq needed a president.  Yes, it's a ceremonial post.  But Iraq was in a very difficult position and it needed a president.  It's president was in a German sick bed and unable to speak or move.  Had the Iraqi people known that, they would have followed the Constitution and stripped him of his post.

    This huge lie will not vanish.

    Nor will the fact that Qubad is married to an American woman who, up until the marriage, worked for the US State Dept (far more controversial in Iraq is the fact that Sherri Kraham is Jewish).  Qubad already had the mark against him that he grew up in Europe, not the KRG, then he goes off and marries a foreigner and he's seen as even less representative of the Kurds.

    Naturally, that's the one Brett would go after.


    Will the KRG postpone their elections?  Hopefully not.  And the US government has done nothing for them.  It even attacked them for the non-binding referendum they held last September.



    Hayder al-Abadi was a wee little man 
    And a wee little man was he
    He climbed up on the empire's coat tails
    Cause his soul he wanted to sell 



    Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Tiny Hayder's Plea" went up last night.

    US puppet Hayder is in trouble -- as Tamer El-Ghobashy and Mustafa Salim's (WASHINGTON POST) reporting has made clear.

    Then-US President Barack Obama installed him as prime minister in 2014.  He came into office with a lot of promises -- including that he'd end corruption.  Four years later, he's got nothing to show for it.

    He announced last December that he'd defeated ISIS but ISIS has refused to play along with that claim.




    May 12th, Iraq held national elections.  Ahead of the elections, there had been big hopes -- these hopes included a large turnout.   Ali Jawad (ANADOLU AGENCY) noted, "A total of 24 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their ballots to elect members of parliament, who will in turn elect the Iraqi president and prime minister."  RUDAW added, "Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the May 12 poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs."  AFP explained that the nearly 7,000 candidates includes 2014 women.  THE SIASAT DAILY added, of the nearly 7,000 candidates, "According to the electoral commission, only 20 percent of the candidates are newcomers." Ali Abdul-Hassan and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reported, "Iraqi women account for 57 percent of Iraq’s population of over 37 million, according to the U.N. Development Program, and despite government efforts to address gender inequality, the situation for Iraqi women has declined steadily since 2003.  According to the UNDP, one in every 10 Iraqi households is headed by a widow. In recent years, Iraqi women suffered further economic, social and political marginalization due to decades of wars, conflict, violence and sanctions." 


    The other big hope?  For the US government, the biggest hope was that Hayder al-Abadi's bloc would come in first so that he would have a second term as prime minister.  It was not to be.  Mustapha Karkouti (GULF NEWS) identifies the key issues as follows, "Like in previous elections, the main concerns of ordinary Iraqis continue to be the lack of security and the rampant corruption."

    As we noted the day of the election:

    Corruption is a key issue and it was not a topic explored by candidates outside of Moqtada al-Sadr's coalition.  Empty lip service was offered.  Hayder al-Abadi, current prime minister, had been offering empty lip service for four years.  He did nothing.  Iraqis were supposed to think that, for example, Hayder's focus on ISIS in Mosul mattered.  All life was supposed to stop because of Mosul?  All expectations were to be ignored because of Mosul?

    Arabic social media today and yesterday was full of comments about the lack of improvement in services.  It noted how the elections had not mattered before and, yes, how in 2010 the US government overturned the elections because they didn't like the outcome. 



    So it was probably only surprising to the US government and their press hacks that Hayder wouldn't come in first.  But that was after the votes were counted.  On the day of the election, the big news was how so few were turning out to vote.  NPR reported, "With more than 90 percent of the votes in, Iraq's election commission announced voter turnout of 44.5 percent. The figure is down sharply from 60 percent of eligible voters who cast their ballots in the last elections in 2014." AP pointed out the obvious, "No election since 2003 saw turnout below 60 percent."  AFP broke it down even more clearly "More than half of the nearly 24.5 million voters did not show up at the ballot box in the parliamentary election, the highest abstention rate since the first multiparty elections in 2005 [. . .]."

    Repeatedly in the months ahead of the election, the western press assured us Hayder would win re-election, he would lead, he was a shoe-in, he was . . .

    A loser.

    He didn't come in first.  He didn't come in second.  He came in third.

    The sitting prime minister came in third.

    That's a huge rejection.

    And protests have been taking place since the start of last month because Iraqis are tired of the corruption, tired of the lack of jobs, tired of not having electricity or potable water.

    Hayder's tried some for-show measures to end the protests.  They've not been successful.  He's tried using the military to intimidate and attack the protesters (and at least 14 protesters have been killed).

    Hayder is a failure.

    The US government wants their puppet to stay in place.  The Iraqi people do not want that.

    In 2010, the US government went around the Iraqi people to give Nouri al-Maliki a second term.  Will they do that this year with Hayder?  It's really important to grasp that it is Nouri's second term that allowed the Islamic State to take hold in Iraq.

    In other violence, Belkis Wille (Human Rights Watch) notes:


    The horrific case of an Iraqi woman apparently murdered at home should prompt Iraq’s new parliament, once formed, to finally pass a draft domestic violence law which has been pending since 2015.
    According to Iraqi media and BBC Arabic, one day last week a bridegroom returned his bride to her parents the day after their wedding, complaining that she was not a virgin. Media reports claim that upon hearing the accusation, a family member beat her to death. Media reports say that police have arrested a male relative.
    While the man will likely now face trial for murder, it is possible that he may benefit from a reduced sentence under a provision in Iraq’s penal code allowing for shorter sentences for violent acts – including murder – for so-called “honorable motives.” But there is no “honor” in such brutal and needless killing. Moreover, the murdered bride would be just one of hundreds of women and children who suffer violence at the hands of their families in Iraq each year.
    If passed, Iraq’s new domestic violence law would oblige the government to protect domestic violence survivors, including with restraining orders and penalties for breaching them, and the creation of a cross-ministerial committee to combat domestic violence. It would also require the government to provide shelters so women at risk of violence have a safe place to go if they are forced to flee their home.
    The draft law is not perfect. It contains several flaws, including a preference for families to address violence through “reconciliation committees” rather than prosecution, and could be improved. Iraqi authorities should also set clear penalties for the crime of domestic violence, and close the loophole that lets abusers receive reduced punishments for so-called “honor” crimes, both not addressed in the draft law.

    If improved, this draft law is the best chance Iraq’s new parliament has to tackle the scourge of violence in the home, fulfill its international legal obligations on domestic violence, and save the lives of countless Iraqi women and children.



    Lastly, in the US, Peter Van Buren has been banned from Twitter for the crime of free speech.



    Peter Van Buren: Twitter Suspends Me Forever