The Common Ills

Friday, June 02, 2017
Death threats? Maybe they're 'jokes' (Ava and C.I.)

Death threats? Maybe they're 'jokes' (Ava and C.I.)

Drama queen and hacktress Kathy Griffin crossed a line earlier this week.

We ignored it.

We had other things to talk about and cover.

But we're commenting now.

She held a press conference blaming everyone but herself.

We don't give a damn whether she got paid for the photo shoot or not.

Nor are we surprised that the failed actress did not get paid for it.

We were surprised by the photos -- all those lines around her lips and chin.

How bad is it?

If they remake RAWHIDE, she should audition, she should really go for it.

Her face, like her career, is a train wreck.

But there she was, drawing attention to it at the press conference as she cried and boo-hooed.

She is the one who, earlier this week, held up a bloody mask of a sitting president.

She thought that was funny.

People disagreed.

She apologized.

And then today she whined like a little brat.

Today, she and her attorney wanted the world to know that Barron Trump (an 11-year-old child) was "allegedly" upset by her actions.

"Allegedly," her attorney Lisa Bloom insisted.

Okay, you've already traumatized a child and now you want to debate it?

You weren't sincere in your apology.

You crossed a line and now you're paying for it.

GRAB A CLUE, the bulk of the Democratic celebs have repeatedly been crossing the line.

Not the left.

On the left, we focus on issues.

But cry babies who can't get over the election think the thing to do is to antagonize half the country.

And they each try to push it further and further.

Kathy is to blame for what she did.

No one else.

And this time, she went so far out with her hatred that it went beyond Donald Trump supporters.

Jake Tapper (CNN) called her out.  CNN dropped her as their co-host on New Year's Eve.

Those are the breaks, Kathy.

Stop being a baby and own what you did.

She can't so she invents this conspiracy of White men out to get her.

That's not accountability.

She is not being persecuted.

She is getting a response she courted.

She was not being 'political.'

She even went beyond partisan.

She offended a lot of people.

That's on her.

And to now try to cast doubt on an 11-year-old boy?

Yes, we know, she insists that Donald Trump lies about everything so he may be lying about his son being traumatized.

If there's even a chance that you're ugly 'joke' upset an 11-year-old kid, leave him the hell out of your attempts to justify your actions.

And as for the death threats she says she's receiving?

Maybe they're jokes -- you know, the way she says holding up a bloody head that looked like Donald Trump's was just a joke.

She needs to own what she did.

She surely needs to shut up about an 11-year-old child.

-- Ava and C.I.

Posted at 06:52 pm by thecommonills

Iraq snapshot

Iraq snapshot

Friday, June 2, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, NATO sets up in Iraq, The Mosul Slog continues and much more.

Ishaan Tharoor (WASHINGTON POST) notes:

It's a truism that the world has grown numb to terrorist attacks outside the West. When the Islamic State set off a car bomb on Tuesday outside a popular ice cream shop in Baghdad, killing 13 people and wounding dozens more, no candlelight vigils took place in Western cities. No imperial monuments were lit up in Iraqi colors in European capitals. When militants set off a devastating explosion in Kabul's diplomatic enclave on Wednesday, killing at least 80 people and injuring hundreds more, no CNN anchor uploaded the flag of Afghanistan on social media. No pop stars organized solidarity concerts.

Part of the contrast, of course, is the extent to which we are used to hearing these stories. In the global news cycle, a bombing in Baghdad or a Taliban strike in Kabul is like a typhoon in the Pacific or a Sean Spicer gaffe. These things happen. If we pay attention at all, we do so fleetingly, grimace at the calamity and move on.

Tharoor blames lays out a lot of blame for why that is in his column but neglects the media.

How do you do that?

How do you ignore the media?

The media is how the information is transmitted.

And the media is the problem.

You need huge numbers to feel moved if all you have is numbers.

The ice cream parlor bombing found 1 victim worthy of naming -- an Australian girl.

Hope that she would be the first named proved false because she was the only one named.

The Iraqi victims were left unnamed, rendered invisible.

And this happens over and over.

Deaths matter because life matters.

If you're not conveying the life lost, you're not doing the job.

The media is not doing its job.

Iraq and Afghanistan are US wars but the press can't be bothered with them on most days.

That's a media issue.

Governorate tops casualty figures for May 2017 with 312 casualties (86 killed and 226 injured) -

Those deaths have been largely off the media radar.

The rare attention the western media gives to Iraq usually focuses on Mosul (and usually works overtime to paint that battle as a success).

The United Nations' count for May:

Baghdad, Iraq, 01 June 2017 – A total of 354 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 470 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in May 2017*, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

The number of civilians killed in May (not including police) was 345, while the number of injured (not including police) was 446.

Of those figures, there were 160 civilians killed and 52 injured in Ninewa Governorate, 86 killed and 226 injured in Baghdad Governorate, and 13 killed and 41 injured in Basra.

According to information obtained by UNAMI from the Health Directorate in Anbar, the Governorate suffered a total of 136 civilian casualties (47 killed and 89 injured). Figures are updated until 31 May, inclusive.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Ján Kubiš, decried the terrorists’ continued targeting of civilians, before and in the early days of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

“The terrorist[Islamic State] is in its death throws in Mosul, but it has continued to stretch its wicked arm there and in other areas to relieve the military pressure on it, deliberately aiming to kill and maim the maximum number of civilians. [The Islamic State] has attacked with explosives a busy ice cream shop in Baghdad where families gathered at night after Iftar. The terrorists also hit on a street outside a government pension office in the capital, and struck as far as the city of Basra in the south.”

The SRSG lamented the loss of civilian lives as a result of the many bombings but he was confident that the carnage committed by [the Islamic State] will not derail the efforts of the Iraqis to rid their country of the terrorists.

“The people of Iraq are resolute in their drive to liberate their land. As painful as they are, these despicable attacks will serve to only increase this determination,” Mr. Kubiš said.

*CAVEATS: In general, UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in conflict areas. Figures for casualties from Anbar Governorate are provided by the Health Directorate and are noted in the May casualty report. Casualty figures obtained from the Anbar Health Directorate might not fully reflect the real number of casualties in those areas due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground and the disruption of services. In some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. UNAMI has also received, without being able to verify, reports of large numbers of casualties along with unknown numbers of persons who have died from secondary effects of violence after having fled their homes due to exposure to the elements, lack of water, food, medicines and health care. Since the start of the military operations to retake Mosul and other areas in Ninewa, UNAMI has received several reports of incidents involving civilian casualties, which at times it has been unable to verify. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

For more information, please contact: Mr. Samir Ghattas, Director of Public Information/Spokesperson
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Phone: +964 790 193 1281, Email:
or the UNAMI Public Information Office:

It's interesting how they've not only dropped the count of the Iraqi forces at the orders of the Iraqi government but they've also adopted the language of the Baghdad-based government.

Even more interesting, they continue their 2014 practice of being unable to give reliable figures for Anbar.  Three years and counting.

The above undercount still manages to convey that this is an ongoing war and that -- though Mosul may steal the spotlight -- it going on across Iraq.

The Pentagon is asking for more a billion dollars in a multi-year commitment to the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), in a sign the U.S. role in Iraq and Syria is likely continue for the majority of President Donald Trump’s first term.
The budget provision is likely a facet of Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Trump’s overarching strategy to defeat the Islamic State. The new budget request will provide the ISF with hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons to help the ISF contain the fall out from the Islamic State’s defeat in the city of Mosul.

Fourteen years and counting, it's a never-ending war.

For any doubting that reality, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) announced yesterday:

 NATO marked an important step in its deepening relations with Baghdad on Thursday (1 June 2017), as Mr. Paul Smith of the United Kingdom assumed office as NATO Senior Civilian in Iraq. Mr. Smith will represent the NATO Secretary General and the Alliance at large, as NATO continues to help strengthen the Iraqi security institutions in their fight against terrorism. Mr. Smith succeeds Mr. Richard Froh of Canada, who served in the same capacity over the past months.
Mr. Smith will liaise with a range of interlocutors, including high-level Iraqi officials, representatives of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, the diplomatic community, and members of international organizations, including the United Nations and the European Union. He will also be at the helm of the NATO Training and Capacity Building presence in Iraq (NTCB-I). This includes a Core Team of eight civilian and military personnel as well as mobile training teams – provided by NATO nations – who travel to Iraq, as required, to provide specific courses agreed with the Iraqi authorities.
NATO’s support to Iraq is aimed at increasing Iraq’s training capacity in the medium and long term. It includes courses on countering improvised explosive devices, explosive ordnance disposal and de-mining; civil-military planning in support of operations; civil emergency planning; training in military medicine; technical maintenance of Soviet-era military equipment; and reform of the Iraqi security institutions.
NATO-Iraq relations are underpinned by an Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme signed in September 2012, which provides a framework for political dialogue and tailored cooperation in mutually agreed areas, and a Defence Capacity Building Package for Iraq, agreed in 2015.
Prior to taking office as NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Iraq, Mr. Smith served in senior roles at the NATO Communications and Information Agency; Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe; and the UK Ministry of Defence.

When does it end?

United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) in Richmond VA in 4 weeks. Register now. .

The UNAC conference is approaching fast
June 16-18, 2017
Greater Richmond Convention Center
403 North 3rd Street, Richmond, VA 23219

              Have you registered yet?  Register here:

                        UNAC's founding conference in 2010

This will be the place where the antiwar and social justice movement will come together this spring to discuss, map strategy and organize for the coming period.  Antiwar leaders from across the country and across the world will be in attendance including: Ajamu Baraka, Medea Benjamin, Glen Ford, Bernadette Ellorin, Bruce Gagnon, Lawrence Hamm, Jaribu Hill, Jonathan W. Hutto, Sr, Margaret Kimberley, Ray McGovern, David Swanson, Ann Wright, Kevin Zeese and many more.  For a more complete list of participants, please go to

See the conference web site:  http://www.unacconference2017.orgJoin and share the Facebook event:
To see a report on UNAC's last conference, please go here:

Day 226 of The Mosul Slog.

ALJAZEERA reports:

More than 140 civilians have been killed in less than a week while trying to flee western Mosul, according to military sources, as the Iraqi army seeks to close in on fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) in the armed group's last stronghold in Iraq.
According to the military on Thursday, most of the fatalities were women and children. 

The UNHCR's Andrej Mahecic notes:

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, urgently needs US$ 126 million to meet critical needs of vulnerable children, women and men displaced from, and returning to, Mosul, until the end of the year. A shortage of funds threatens to undermine our humanitarian response at this critical time. Heavy fighting is continuing, and UNHCR is expecting more large movements of people from the west of the city where the fighting is currently concentrated.
Iraqi authorities say that more than three quarters of a million Iraqis have been forced to flee Mosul since military operations started in October.
The vast majority of the internally displaced are families with children and babies – groups that are especially vulnerable and would be most affected by aid shortages should international support wither. Nearly half of the urgently requested funds – US$ 60 million - is required to assist more than 100,000 newly displaced Iraqi families with emergency shelter in the camps, legal assistance to replace lost and missing documents, child protection, prevention of sexual and gender based violence, as well as to provide them with blankets, mattresses and other core relief items. UNHCR has so far established 12 camps in support of the overall efforts by the Iraqi authorities to provide shelter to currently 316,000 internally displaced Iraqis in relative proximity to Mosul.
A further US$ 24 million is needed to assist and support Iraqi families returning to their homes. It is estimated that 125,000 internally displaced people have returned to their homes, many in east Mosul and on the outskirts of the city. Most of the returnees are living in damaged buildings and need shelter assistance as well as cash support. In areas of return, UNHCR and partners will provide material assistance, including emergency shelter and sealing-off kits to help returnees living in unfinished buildings, as well as essential protection services, including psycho-social support, replacement of missing and lost documents and protection monitoring.
Lastly, US$ 42 million is required for on time procurement of shelter and aid materials for next winter. To cope with eventual drops in temperatures, UNHCR plans to assist 135,000 displaced and returnee families with a range of core winter items including blankets, fuel, jerry cans and heating stoves. This includes the provision of one-time cash assistance of US$ 150 per family to 100,000 IDP and returnee families to help them buy fuel to get through the winter.
Since 2014, Iraq has suffered massive internal displacement. It is estimated that up to three million Iraqis are still internally displaced and another quarter of a million live as refugees in the neighbouring countries.

Overall UNHCR protection and assistance programmes in Iraq amount to 578 million in 2017. These are currently 21 per cent funded which is a cause for concern halfway through the year.

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "The Rebel Hillary" went up last night.

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

  • Posted at 06:48 pm by thecommonills

    Saturday, April 08, 2017
    Back In The Day (Puff) (Erykah Badu)

    Back In The Day (Puff) (Erykah Badu)

    Erykah Badu performing her hit "Back In The Day (Puff)" (first appears on her album WORLDWIDE UNDERGROUND).

    Posted at 08:47 pm by thecommonills

    It's as if time stopped (Margaret Kimberley)

    Liberal: Wow, this is just terrible news Leftist: Yeah.. Because you're anti-war? Liberal: No, because Hillary should be doing the bombing
    It's very strange that there are so many liberals for whom Trump was the new Hitler only up until the moment he actually started killing.
    Impending Clash Between U.S. and Russia Ominous title but Mike Whitney is on the money.
    Margaret Kimberley Retweeted CounterPunch
    Great work by . A worthwhile read.
    Margaret Kimberley added,
    The Obama regime was a Potemkin village but Trump is Potemkin.
    Pink pussy hat folks, Trump may start WWIII. Will you march again? But democrats are on board with war. You'll be marching against them too.
    "Trump is a fascist! Impeach him! Oh wait, he risks WWIII? A great leader. Not fascist at all. That whole Putin thing? Forget I said that."
    New on : On Barbados, the First Black Slave Society by Sir Hilary Beckles

    Posted at 08:46 pm by thecommonills

    Stop the wars. Take our money back from the 1% (Ajamu Baraka)

    Had a great time at New Jersey Green Party convention. Clear politics and serious people. Thanks for inviting me.
    Stop the wars. Take our money back from the 1% let them and their children fight wars to maintain their privilege.
    Its interesting. Many condemned Trump for his dictatorial style. But now they are silent on his arbitrary war making.
    Guess who are raising constitutional and political questions regarding U.S. attack on Syria? Democrats? No the far right. Demos are sad.
    Where did U.S. right to be the world's policemen come from? Answer: the arrogant, white supremacist idea that U.S. is the exceptional nation
    Many thought Trump would push an infrastructure bill to build public support. But trump understands the American people and choose war. USA!
    Two days after 50th anniversary of King's anti war speech war drums are beating again. U.S. has no moral right to wage war on Syria.
    We have launched this 21st right moment in history.

    Posted at 08:45 pm by thecommonills

    Where is the outrage? (Rania Khalek)

    CAIR basically endorses trump's airstrikes in Syria and calls for more they also lobbied for regime change in Libya
    Replying to 
    No one will shame me into not calling Arabs who support U.S. bombing of our countries what they are: shameless treacherous cowards.
    Replying to 
    Nothing in the whole world justifies an Arab supporting U.S. bombing of our countries, whichever side the bombing is happening on. Nothing.
    Residents near Syrian airbase hit by US say the base was instrumental in protecting them from ISIS
    Leith Abou Fadel Retweeted Rania Khalek
    Dafuq is wrong with these ignorant people. How disrespectful and disgusting to treat a woman like this.
    Leith Abou Fadel added,
    The Lebanese Communist Party released a statement condemning US aggression against Syria
    What A Fool Believes (Aretha Franklin)

    What A Fool Believes (Aretha Franklin)

    Aretha delivering the version of "What A Fool Believes."

    Posted at 08:42 pm by thecommonills

    Iraq snapshot

    Iraq snapshot

    Friday, April 7, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, The Mosul Slog continues, the partisan liars continue and let's learn to tell the difference between a partisan piece of crap and a peace activist.

    There's a chance peace will come, in your life please buy one
    There's a chance peace will come, in your life please buy one

    For sometimes when I am feeling as big as the land
    With the velvet hill in the small of my back
    And my hands are playing the sand
    And my feet are swimming in all of the waters
    All of the rivers are givers to the ocean
    According to plan, according to man

    Well sometimes when I am feeling so grand
    And I become the world
    And the world becomes a man
    And my song becomes a part of the river
    I cry out to keep me just the way I am
    According to plan, according to man
    According to plan, according to man
    According to plan, according to man
    According to plan, according to man
    According to plan
    -- "Peace Will Come (According to Plan)," written by Melanie Safka, first appears on her album LEFTOVER WINE

    There's a chance that peace will come . . . but not as long as people lie.

    Take this idiot, "Peace Is Active."

    Bush Said Iraq Would Welcome Us As Liberators... Many Lives Lost... Civil War We Sparked Bled Into Syria...



    Where's Barack on that list?

    I get that D Cheney smirk when I see orgs quote Dr. King today that said nothing during Obama's 8 years of bombings.

    If he hadn't overturned the 2010 Iraqi vote -- talk about foreign interference in an election -- Nouri al-Maliki wouldn't have gotten a second term and Iraq might not have witnessed the rise of the Islamic State.

    Where's Bill Clinton?

    Do a half million dead Iraqi children not matter?

    Or, like Madeline Albright (Bill's Secretary of State and Destruction), do you think killing them was "worth it"?

    There's a special in place for hell for Madeline Albright and plenty of spots for those who lie and cover for her as well.

    Where's Jimmy Carter?

    Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

    Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

    Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

    Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

    Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

    Brzezinski: Regret what?

    That's  Mika Brzezinski's dirty ass father Zbigniew Brzezinski who served as Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor.

    Peace will never come when whores and liars pretend the problem is Republicans.

    John Kerry voted for the Iraq War.  John Edwards voted for the Iraq War.  Joe Biden voted for the Iraq War.  Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War. 

    What do they hold in common?

    They're all Democrats for one thing.

    And they were all on presidential tickets after their votes for war.

    The 2004 Democratic presidential ticket was Kerry - Edwards (or John and John -- two toilets for twice the flushing).

    Joe Biden was the running mate on the 2008 and 2012 ticket.

    Hillary Clinton was the presidential candidate on the 2016 ticket.

    Before you start cheering on Barack Obama and Tim Kaine for not voting for the Iraq War, remember that neither was in the US Congress -- House or Senate -- in 2002.

    And add in that Barack told THE NEW YORK TIMES in 2004, during the national convention in Boston, that he didn't know how he would have voted had he been in the Senate.

    And yet someone claiming to want peace, is pimping the wars as the responsibility of the sole Republican Party?

    That's a lie. 

    And peace will never come while we continued to allow ourselves to be hijacked for partisan purposes.

    Grasp that in 2006, Democrats promised they would end the war in Iraq if they were given control of a house of Congress.

    At the time, they were in the minority in both houses.

    In those November elections, the American people gave them control of both houses.

    January 2007 saw that Congress sworn in.

    Did the Iraq War end?


    Did it end in 2008?


    Give us one house of Congress and we'll end the war . . . 

    A lie.

    Nancy Pelosi, elevated to Speaker of the House, tried to pin the blame on then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

    What a load of nonsense.

    She didn't say, "Give me both houses of Congress," she said one.

    They thought they had a chance at winning back the House.  That was the promise she was making.  So she expected the Senate would obstruct -- that it would be controlled by Republicans. 

    Instead, it ended up controlled by Democrats.

    And she whined -- the the editorial board of THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- that she only had control of the House herself so she couldn't end the war.

    What a lying sack of s**t.

    Shame on everyone who provides cover for politicians who start and/or continue illegal wars.

    Shame on those who use it as a partisan issue.

    This is about human life and you're lying to churn out the vote for a political party?

    That includes Peace Is Active who doesn't give a damn about peace -- check out the Twitter feed -- just about slamming Republicans and praising Democrats.

    You are the problem.

    You are the cause of continued war.

    Because you whore.

    I'm hoping Chris Hayes is just stupid.

    Remember: US re-involvement in Iraq started with humanitarian mission to save Yazidis from slaughter on Mt Sinjar.

    No, Chris, it didn't.

    You refused to report what happened but Tim Arango reported it, we've covered it here hundreds of times and, in your magazine THE NATION, Tom Hayden even wrote about Tim Arango's report.

    So are you stupid?  Are you lying? Or are you whoring?

    The drawdown (not withdrawal) was at the end of 2011.  The Yazidi 'rescue' began in 2014.

    Where's Barack sending special-ops into Iraq in 2012?  Oh, Chris ignores it.

    From November 7, 2012's "Let the fun begin (Ava and C.I.):"

     If you doubt that, September 26th, the New York Times' Tim Arango reported:

    Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.

    September 26th it was in print.

    Days later, October 3rd, Barack 'debated' Mitt RomneyAgain October 16thAgain October 22nd.
    Not once did the moderators ever raise the issue.

    If Barack's sitting before them and he's flat out lying to the American people, it's their job to ask.  They didn't do their job.  Nor did social menace Candy Crowley who was apparently dreaming of an all-you-can-eat buffet when Barack was babbling away before her about how he wouldn't allow more "troops in Iraq that would tie us down."  But that's exactly what he's currently negotiating.

    Maybe Candy Crowley missed the New York Times article?  Maybe she spends all her time pleasuring herself to her version of porn: Cooking With Paula Deen Magazine?

    That is possible.

    But she was only one of the three moderators.  Bob Schieffer and Jim Lehrer also moderated.  Of course, they didn't foolishly self-present as a fact checker in the midst of the debate  nor did they hit the publicity circuit before the debate to talk about how they were going to show how it was done.

    Poor Crowley, a heavy weight strutting into a non-competition will always look woefully misdressed.

    Barack lied and Americans will face that or not.

    Chris Hayes appears to indicate that America will not face that.

    Let's all hope he's wrong.

    Meanwhile . . .

    President Erdogan: It is not appropriate to raise the Kurdistan flag alongside the Iraqi flag.

    Must be wonderful to be Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey, so few problems that you can stick your nose into other countries' business and do so over issues like whether or not they should raise a flag.

    What's that?

    Erdogan's Turkey has thousands of problems -- most of them stemming from Erdogan.

    And when he's out of office, he will be seen as a butcher for all the civilians he's killed in his so-called efforts to bomb the PKK.  (He's killing Kurds.  He knows it.  The Kurds know it.  He's thinning out the population.  His policies in Turkey are the same only less obviously violent.)

    Repeating, when he's out of office, he will be seen as the butcher he is.

    And he can shut down every last TV channel, newspaper and blog in Turkey and he still won't be able to silence that truth.


    Meanwhile it's day 171 of The Mosul Slog.  

    How's that going?

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees offers this:

    314,268 Iraqis currently internally displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since military operations to retake the city began on 17 October 2016
    37,455 core relief item (CRIs) kits distributed to families in camps, assisting some 224,000 IDPs from Mosul and surrounding areas
    7,814 family plots currently occupied out of 12,497 family plots (for some 75,000 people) in UNHCR built camps ready to receive IDPs displaced from the Mosul corridor
    3 million IDPs since January 2014
    250,952 Iraqi refugees hosted in countries in the region, and 14,878 Iraqis received in Al Hol camp in Syria since 17 October 2016
    USD 578 million requested for IDPs and Iraqi refugees in the region in 2017

    And remember that this week, the civilians in Mosul were again instructed to remain in their homes.  There is no safe passage out.  But we can be sure that when the next civilian massacre gets attention we will suffer through members of the US Congress insisting it's all ISIS' fault.

    The war continues in Iraq, Trump's attacking Syria and the thing all the 'intelligent' people are doing?  Mocking Jared Kushner for wearing a flack jacket.

    No, your priorities aren't screwed up at all.  (That was sarcasm.)

    Tulsi Gabbard Retweeted Hawaii News Now
    While flying home to Hawaii, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard issues statement: Trump's air strikes on Syria are reckless and short-sighted. –Team Tulsi
    Tulsi Gabbard added,

    US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard is correct.

    By the way, the US State Dept will not have a press briefing today: "There will NOT be a Press Briefing today."  And they haven't held once since March 21st.  The State Dept press briefing is a daily event.  How sad that Donald Trump's people are too scared to face the press.  How sad, but how telling.

    So much to work on but so little willing to do the work.

    We don't need another war but, by all means, let's not focus on that or Iraq or anything that matters because we can be snotty about Jared!  (Snotty, not bitchy.  It's not mature enough to pass for bitchy.  It's the stuff of 3rd graders.)

    Who's for peace?

    That should be the question of the day.

    The following community sites updated:

  • Posted at 08:38 pm by thecommonills

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017
    Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne

    Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne

    I'm traveling in some vehicle
    I'm sitting in some cafe
    A defector from the petty wars
    That shell shock love away
    -- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

    This should be news covered by all outlets.

    Fort Hood soldier from Massachusetts dies in Iraq

    Instead, I see a lot of junk and, worse, opinion passed off as news all over the net.

    Another death.

    DATE: February 21, 2017 12:13:25 PM CST

    Death of a Fort Hood Soldier

    Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne

    Pfc. Brian P. Odiorne  
    FORT HOOD, Texas -- The Department of Defense announced Feb. 21 the death of a Fort Hood Soldier who died Feb. 20, in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.
    Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne, 21, whose home of record is listed as Ware, Massachusetts, entered active-duty military service in October 2015 as a cannon crewmember.
    He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas, since May 2016.
    Odiorne's awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Medal. He will be posthumously awarded the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal and Overseas Service Ribbon.
    Circumstances surrounding the incident are currently under investigation by Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.
    No further information will be released at this time to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigative process.

    For more information contact:
    Fort Hood Public Affairs Office
    (254) 287-9993
    (254) 287-0106
    1001 761st Tank Battalion Ave
    Suite W105
    Fort Hood, TX 76544

    The announcement comes on the same day that THE NEW YORK TIMES runs a letter from a LA reader whose comments include:

    Despite these principles, the armed forces of the United States and its allies have killed tens if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, a large number of them civilians, including women and children. And our country has suffered the death and injury of tens of thousands of our own sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives by waging this war in Iraq.
    But for what purpose? We know that there were no weapons of mass destruction threatening our peace and security. We had no plan to bring peace and security to Iraq and its neighbors. So yes, our soldiers and sailors are valiant and represent the best in our country, but I still do not know what we’re fighting for.

    Why is the US still in Iraq?

    Why didn't Barack end the war he promised to?

    These are questions we're apparently not supposed to be asking.

    Which is sad and strange -- because they are the questions that matter.

    They're just there to try and make the people free,
    But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
    Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
    That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
    And the war drags on.
    -- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

    The e-mail address for this site is

    Posted at 05:38 pm by thecommonills

    Media Availability with Secretary Mattis and General Townsend in Baghdad, Iraq

    Media Availability with Secretary Mattis and General Townsend in Baghdad, Iraq

    [Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis hosts a joint press conference with U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, at Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq, Feb. 20, 2017. (DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)]

    SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JIM MATTIS:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

    General Townsend and I have been spending some time together here and -- and getting current on the political military situation as the Iraqi army continues to surge against the enemy on the west side of Mosul.  Despite the casualties they've taken, this is an army that's learned to fight in the middle of a real tough battle against our common enemy and the coalition commander, General Townsend, has briefed me up on the situation -- the current situation there today.

    I would just tell you that by, with and through our allies is the way this coalition is going against Daesh.  We're going to continue to go after them until we destroy them and any kind of belief in the inevitability of their message.  Their message is going to be proven to be false on the battlefield as well as how we deal with their mythology of somehow they are the brave new way.

    They're going to be shown to be at fault, they're going to be shown to be exactly what they are, which is a bunch of murderous relics, to put it bluntly.  So the Iraqi army is in the fight with the coalition supporting them with full support, and as we go through this fight, Daesh will not be over with.  We all know that.  There'll be more fights ahead, we'll stick together.  And as we look at the future, we're going to continue to stand by the Iraqi army, the Iraqi people, who are fighting this enemy.

    So at that point, I would just throw it open to your questions.  We learned a lot here and aligned ourselves politically and militarily for the current fight and the future.  So what's on your mind?  Go ahead.

    Q:  (Off mic)

    LIEUTENANT GENERAL STEPHEN TOWNSEND:  It is true that we're operating closer and -- and deeper into the Iraqi formation, so we adjusted our posture during the east Mosul fight and we embedded advisers a bit further down into the formation.  That is true.  I do not need -- I have all the authorities that I need to prosecute our fight and I'm confident if I need -- if I were to need more, that my leadership would provide those.

    Q:  For both of you also, as you look ahead to -- (inaudible) -- fight and the upcoming difficult fight in Raqqa, what do you see as the key (inaudible) and -- and -- (inaudible) -- to be able to -- (inaudible)?

    SEC. MATTIS:  We are going to prosecute this fight against Daesh, against ISIS, in the areas you mentioned and more areas than that, actually.  We'll accommodate any request from the field commanders.  Right now, our allies are carrying, as you can tell from the casualty list, the overwhelming burden of this fight in their own territory and we'll work by, with and through allies from the coalition.  And that coalition, as you know, has got more than 60 nations at varying levels.

    So we owe some degree of confidentiality on exactly how we're going to do that and the sequencing of that fight so that we don't expose to the enemy what it is we have in mind in terms of the -- the timing of the operations.  But you -- you summed up some of the issues that we'll be dealing with as we go forward and we'll be addressing each one of them, from intelligence, to tactics, to logistics as we sustain the fight going into this.

    Q:  You said -- you mentioned a number of things that you're looking at, but you have seven days left to provide your thirty-day review to the president.  Did you learn anything here that you could share with us -- (inaudible) -- what you're gonna -- (inaudible)?

    SEC. MATTIS:  I would -- what I specifically learned here is the resilience of this army.  Recognize it took casualties, it has reconstituted itself both equipment and personnel wise, and as you know, has already crossed the line of departure going against the enemy and west Mosul.  This is not something that was a forgone conclusion for an army that only a year ago, many people were questioning.

    And you can see the level of capability they've constituted in the middle of a war with the kind of operation that you're right now witnessing today underway.

    Q:  If I could ask General Townsend. What happens after Mosul? (off mic)

    GEN. TOWNSEND:  Jennifer -- it's good to see you again, by the way.  We rode together in Baghdad a couple times a few years ago.

    I don't anticipate that we'll be asked to leave by the government of Iraq immediately after Mosul.  I think that the government of Iraq realizes this is a very complex fight and they're gonna need the assistance of the coalition even beyond Mosul.

    Q:  (Off mic)

    GEN. TOWNSEND:  I wouldn't want to put a timeline on it.

    Q:  (Off mic)

    SEC. MATTIS:  Yeah, this is a partnership, Jennifer.  Your question is very appropriate because there's been a lot of rocky times out here.  But there is no doubt, from my discussions today, the Iraqi people, the Iraqi military and the Iraqi political leadership recognizes what they're up against and the value of the coalition and the partnership in particular with the United States which has been, as you know, developing very well in terms of this military's capability.

    So I imagine we'll be in this fight for a while and we'll stand by each other.

    Q:  (Off mic)

    SEC. MATTIS:  That's a political issue, an internal political issue right now what we've seen.  But there is only one country in the near proximity where the security forces actually protect the people when they're out protesting the government policies.

    And I say -- think that says a great deal about how this country has matured in a pretty difficult neighborhood, that their military is actually seen as a protector of people who protest at times against government policies.  That's what militaries are supposed to do under civilian control in a democracy.

    Q:  I have a version of the same question. In your meetings today, did you hear anything that made you confident that while the military’s successes-- (inaudible)and for you General Townsend, do you see (inaudible)?

    SEC. MATTIS:  Yeah, your -- both your questions are related because without political progress, you can't set the conditions institutionally, organizationally in a government that earns the people's respect, holds their aspirations close and actually allows a country to be resilient and resistant to this sort of threat.

    So, what we've seen here is actually I think a new =found understanding among the Iraqi people about what it means to be an Iraqi country against this kind of threat, how they have worked together.  You've seen the Peshmerga and the Iraqi security forces working together.  You've seen some of the militias working alongside them.  So there's -- there's something coming together here in terms of political and military maturation, I think, that shows exactly what you're talking about so we're not back here five years with that sort of a situation.

    At the same time, this is not a threat that's going to go away overnight, so it's going -- we all recognize that it's going to be a long-fought battle.

    You have anything to add to that?

    GEN. TOWNSEND:  Nothing to add, Mr. Secretary.

    SEC. MATTIS:  All right.  We'll take one last one, there you go.

    Q:  Thank you.  Thank you, sir -- (inaudible).

    I wanted to ask you about the advance  of Raqqa, in particular -- (inaudible) -- question about whether or not -- (inaudible)?

    SEC. MATTIS:  Yeah, we're still sorting it out.  The allies are working together.  They're sharing planning and that's ongoing right now, but the planning is still underway so there's not -- it's not been all decided on who's going to do what and where.  We're working together to sort it out.

    Q:  (Off mic)Can I ask you a personal question, Mr. Secretary? This is your first arrival as secretary of defense and you spent many years here as a combat commander. How do you feel returning here (inaudible)?

    SEC. MATTIS:  Yeah.  Well, coming back here after the years that we've fought alongside each other through good times and bad times, it's just a privilege to come back and look out the helicopter door and see what's going on down below, to see an Iraqi military that can fight as truly valiantly as this one has considering the situation they faced as -- as ISIS rose to occupy much of their country and to see that in spite of the casualties, it's not only held together, it's come back stronger and is now winning.

    It's now freeing up and I'll have the general say how much they've freed up in terms of area, but he's got better awareness of that.  But look at what the map looked like eight months ago where ISIS was, where they are today and the attack that's underway here.  It's very heartening to come back at this point in my new capacity.

    Steve, if you want to just talk about some of the progress that this army's made during this time which gives more than just my words, it gives objective data for why I would be heartened by it.  Steve?

    GEN. TOWNSEND:  I think the secretary alluded to it a couple of questions ago when he talked about where this army has come over the last year.

    If you look back just a little over two years ago, this army was broken and defeated and barely able to hold their capital when they asked the coalition, the world for assistance.  That army has done this remarkable turnaround in just two years and now they're running a multi-divisional operation involving 40,000 or 50,000 Iraqi security forces up around Mosul 400 kilometers from their capital and their logistics base.

    It is an incredible turnaround.  They've liberated approaching half of their lost territory and they're -- they're about to liberate their second-largest city, the largest population city center held by ISIS anywhere in the world.

    The Iraqi security forces are going to take that city back, no doubt about it.  I think that's a remarkable achievement and it just -- some examples of what the secretary is talking about what the Iraqi security forces have done.

    SEC. MATTIS:  Well done, Steve.  Thanks very much.

    Thanks, everybody.

    Posted at 05:38 pm by thecommonills

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