Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Miller Statement on House Passage of Veterans Bills


US House Rep Jeff Miller (above) is the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  His office issued the following today:

Dec 7, 2016

Press Release

For more information, contact: Curt Cashour, (202) 225-3527

Today the House passed two veterans-related bills:

H.R. 5099, as amended, the Communities Helping Invest through Property and Improvements Needed for Veterans Act of 2016, also referred to as the CHIP IN for Vets Act of 2016, would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program to allow non-federal entities - including state or city governments, nonprofit organizations and benefactors - to donate up to five facilities to VA.

H.R. 6435 would allow directors of VA’s regional networks to enter into a contract with an appropriate non-VA entity with expertise in health care evaluation to investigate any VA medical center within that director’s jurisdiction.

These bills now await consideration by the Senate. Following House passage of the bills, Chairman Miller released the below statement.

“The support and involvement of outside stakeholders is absolutely crucial to VA’s success, and these bills would help facilitate more of that. H.R. 6435 allows vital third party oversight of VA facilities, and the CHIP IN for Vets Act would broaden the pool of resources available to VA for its infrastructure needs. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in passing these bills and urge the Senate to consider them without delay.” - Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
114th Congress

Isakson: Help us Pass this ‘Down Payment’ to our Veterans


Senator Johnny Isakson (above) is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  His office issued the following today:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Contact: Amanda Maddox, 202-224-7777

***In Case You Missed It***
Isakson: Help us Pass this ‘Down Payment’ to our Veterans
Urges Senate to approve veterans reform package to improve access to health care, disability, education, homelessness benefits
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, is urging his colleagues to pass urgent legislation that will help improve veterans’ access to health care, disability benefits, education and homelessness assistance, among other important benefits.
Shortly after the Jeff Miller and Richard Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016 (H.R.6416) was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, Isakson delivered remarks on the Senate floor imploring “members of the United States Senate to help us pass this down payment on the promise and the debt that we owe to the veterans of the United States of America.”
“We’re a team of Americans, not Republican Americans or Democratic Americans, but committed Americans that want to see to it that our veterans get what was promised to them,” said Isakson during his remarks. “This bill addresses homelessness. It addresses [veterans’] health care issues. It addresses [research on] the possible passage of exposure to toxic waste…. The measure addresses the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims…by adding two judges in the appeals process and we need to do more to expedite the appeal process.”
“We’re going to work together to reach the dreams we all have to see to it that our veterans have seamless services and we pay back to them what we owe to them equal to what they sacrificed and pledged for us, their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor,” Isakson continued.
The Jeff Miller and Richard Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016 includes 76 bipartisan provisions that address a variety of areas in veterans’ services that are in need of reforms or improvements. It incorporates language from a number of previously introduced House and Senate bills, including several provisions from the Veterans First Act, which unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in May 2016.
The measure is named after retiring chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., as well as outgoing Senate VA committee ranking member, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., in tribute to their years-long commitment to serving veterans in Congress.
Following Tuesday’s overwhelming House vote of 419-0, the measure now comes to the Senate for a vote.


Iraq snapshot

Wednesday, December 7, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the Mosul slog continues, where's that political solution, a veteran walks across America to raise awareness, a Canadian veteran is released from a KRG jail, the Matt Lee State Dept Press Corps laughs at teachers, and much more.

REUTERS reports that the Baghdad-based Iraqi government has approved the 2017 budget.

This is big news.

There were times under former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Maliki that Iraq would be well into a calendar year and still have no approved budget.

The budget was not supported by the Kurds who note that their fighting force (the Peshmerga) and their government employees are not fully covered in the budget.

This is said to be punishment for the Kurds selling their own oil.

It may not be a success for the Kurds (and we'll certainly note any criticism they continue to offer of the budget) but in terms of Barack Obama-installed prime minister Hayder al-Abadi it is one thing he can call a success.

It may be the only thing -- but never say when didn't give him credit when he actually accomplished something.

And then there's Mosul.

On day 51 of the operation to liberate or 'liberate' Mosul, the slog continues.

And, please remember, the Islamic State took the city in June of 2014.

Only 51 days ago did the Iraqi government begin trying to move the Islamic State out.

Turns out the government of Iran was more strategic on the Mosul battle plan than the Iraqi government (or the US government) according to REUTERS.

How sad that something as basic as circling the city couldn't come to Hayder's mind (or his generals) during all this time.

How embarrassing for admirers of the Iraqi government that Iran was able to solve what Iraq could not.

More to the point, how embarrassing that even success in Mosul would mean so little.  Saad Aldouri (ANADOLU AGENCY) offers:

The campaign to liberate Mosul has seen an unprecedented coalition of military and paramilitary forces come together to fight ISIS [. . .], but so far this level of cooperation has not been reflected politically.
Without a comprehensive political settlement agreed upon by all invested political factions, any post-[Islamic State] setting in Iraq would be left extremely vulnerable to failure, which could bring catastrophic consequences with it.
The Iraqi government faces several challenges in setting aside vying political ambitions among competing interest groups involved in the fight against [Islamic State].
The early signs are that little progress has been made on this front, with high-profile Kurdish, Shia and Sunni leaders making contradictory statements on what governance structures and arrangements should be put in place.
If a sustainable victory against [Islamic State] is to be achieved, a political agreement over a roadmap for state re-building and reconciliation must be reached in the near future. Any long-lasting future solution must address fundamental issues to encourage greater social and economic inclusion among Iraq’s local populations.

And the above is accurate and true.

Where is that political solution?


It's the one US President Barack Obama insisted June 19, 2014 was the only solution for Iraq.

And nothing's been done on it.

But the White House continues to supply the government of Iraq with US troops and with weapons.

Turning to veterans . . .

This Iraq war veteran is walking nearly 6,000 miles from Maryland to California in search of hope and healing

Ben Bamsey (CNN) reports:

He was a combat veteran who had simply seen too much -- too many brother Marines dead on the battlefield in Iraq. When he came home he faced fresh battles: alcohol, arrests and a suicide attempt.
He chose a date that resonated -- and on September 11, 2015, Jonathan Hancock set out to prove that hurt would no longer define him.
Carrying 70 pounds of gear, he hit the road to walk 5,800 miles from Maryland to California and many backroads in between. He was searching for hope and healing. 

Some may remember Iraq War veteran Troy Yocum also hiked across America.


(Troy Yocum photo taken by John Crosby)

Hike for our Heroes was a non-profit started by Iraq War veteran Troy Yocum who is hiking across the country to raise awareness and money for veterans issues.  Hike for our Heroes has been replaced with Active Heroes.

That was in 2010.  In 2014, C.J. Lin (STARS AND STRIPES) reported what had happened since:

The journey spanned 7,800 miles, 37 states and 17 months. Hike for Heroes raised $1.3 million, which was distributed to help pay the bills of 1,800 military families, many of whom were about to have their homes foreclosed on, he said.
“Every step I took meant it would support veterans and their families,” he said. “It mostly centered around a lot of my (veteran) friends not being able to find good jobs to take care of their families and then getting behind. Luckily for me, just the hike across America raised so much awareness and funds for that cause that I felt like that was my reward.”
But just like that, the money was gone, and there were more struggling military veterans. Yocum couldn’t keeping hiking across America.

“I see so many Vietnam, Korean, World War II veterans who are wounded or disabled that are not necessarily tended to as much as the younger wounded veterans,” he said. “So we wanted to make sure that the new post-9/11 wounded veterans were going to be helped years and years and years down the road.”

I wish we had room to note all Active Heroes' "our story" statement but we will note this part:

Yocum came up with a plan to raise awareness and funds to help military families by hiking across America. He began the 17-month journey, dubbed the “Hike for Heroes”, on April 17, 2010 and finished more than 7,800 miles across 37 states on September 3rd, 2011. Yocum became the first veteran to ever walk the length of 3 times across America and was awarded the Citizen Honors Medal by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. The hike garnered national attention for veteran suicide awareness, raised $1.3 million for military families and helped to create the charity named Active Heroes to continue a mission to end veteran suicide.
Since the inception of Active Heroes, the programs have adapted to identify the triggering points associated with veteran suicide. Active Heroes has national programs in every state and regional programs serving with locations.

  • Active Challenges – Free events, seminars and Team Leader trainings for every state.
  • Peer mentors, business partners and resources in every state
  • A Military Family Retreat Center located in Shepherdsville, KY
  • A Military Family Community Center in Louisville, KY

We'll try to note Active Heroes regularly in the future.  I did know it existed until  CNN's story about Jonathan Hancock made me think of Troy.

 Meanwhile, a Canadian veteran has been released in Iraq.

Link to headline article

VOCM explained yesterday, "Kay Kennedy has confirmed for VOCM News that her son, Michael, was released today.  Kennedy told VOCM that her son would not leave others he was travelling with when they were arrested for visa infractions, even though his visa had not expired."  Colin Farrell (TELEGRAM) added:

 “He called me and he said, ‘Mom, I’ve been released. I’m good, I’m in good health and I’ll be home for Christmas.’”
She explained that her son had been travelling as part of a group when they were arrested.
“The five guys he was travelling with, three Americans and two Germans, their visas were expired,” she explained. “So it was a visa violation, Michael’s visa was not expired. It didn’t expire till January.”
Kennedy explained her son was given an option to go free or stay with the group.
“He turned around and said, the option for me, I am going to stay with my buddies, I am not abandoning them.”

The KRG is standing by their decision to arrest Michael. Murray Brewster (CBC) reports:

But Kurdish authorities, while not disputing the account, say Kennedy's side-trip into Syria was a serious violation that warranted his detention.
"He is arrested because he came from Syria and crossed [the] Iraq and [Kurdish Regional Government] borders illegally [at] Shingal," Dindar Zebari, the assistant head of foreign relations in the semi-autonomous region, told CBC News on Tuesday.

Zebari said Kennedy had been dealt with under Iraqi law.

And the five others that were arrested as well?  Garrett Barry (CBC) reports, "Though the other fighters have yet to be released, Kay Kennedy says their governments -- Germany and the United States -- have begun to work on the file."

I hope those in the United States realize how much they owe Kay Kennedy.

Three Americans.

Being held by the KRG.

And where's the focus on that in the US?

The US State Dept should be working to secure their release.

But at yesterday's State Dept press briefing, no one asked spokesperson Mark Toner about it.

No one said one damn word.

About that.

Please be clear, Matt Lee had his usual b.s. questions and "chest thumping" derision of the government of Iran.  And he had lots of questions about what Trump will do.

Donald Trump has not been sworn in as president.

I wish Toner would stop indulging this crap.  Or is he, in fact, encouraging it -- will more embarrassing e-mails for Matt Lee turn out that explain he is yet again coordinating with the State Dept to figure out what topics and questions to emphasize ahead of time in order to assit the current administration?

There was time for that nonsense from the Matt Lee State Dept Press Corps.

There a bunch of men and few women who want to be men (or, in Elise's case, sleep with the Secretary of State).

They're not people that anyone should take pride in.

Yesterday, they couldn't ask about three Americans being held in Iraq.

They did find time to mock teachers.

QUESTION: Let me just add one more question.


QUESTION: I met today with this Palestinian teacher. She won the best teacher award in the world and she’s in town. She actually has a very creative program --

MR TONER: Did she really win the best teacher of the – in the world award? Is that right?

QUESTION: In the world. Yeah, she --

QUESTION: She gets a mug. It says “World’s -- ” (Laughter.)

QUESTION: She has – oh, yeah, she did. Last year --

MR TONER: No, that’s amazing, actually.

QUESTION: -- it was an American teacher, this year it’s a Palestinian teacher.

MR TONER: World’s Greatest – well, okay.

QUESTION: And she has a creative program where she teaches kids to reject violence and so on and all these things. But – and she said – she told me that at one point you guys talked – or the State Department, someone, wanted to invite her over, and then – and they – like they did not disinvite her, but they stopped the process. Are you aware of that? Would you like to see someone like this come and visit with people and --

MR TONER: I apologize. So we’re talking about a different person now. This is not the individual that was just denied entry.

QUESTION: No, no. She was not – she’s here, actually.

MR TONER: She’s here.

QUESTION: She was not denied --

MR TONER: I’m not aware of this case, so we’ll look into it. I promise.

Oh, how funny it was to them.

I guess if I were nothing but a cheap whore who presented the administration's views and opinions as factual events, if I were that much of a liar and coward, I wouldn't like teachers either.

Because good teachers instill ethics and honesty.

Good teachers bust their asses doing actual work -- unlike the Matt Lee fluffers covering the State Dept.

Good teachers make a good difference.

Unlike the Matt Lees who pave the way for war by unquestioningly repeating lies over and over.

They think teachers are something to laugh at?

Have they looked in the mirror?

AFP reported earlier this year:

The Palestinian woman who this week won a $1 million “World’s Best Teacher” award returned home Wednesday and pledged to use part of her winnings to help students and educators.
Hanan al-Hroub, who grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem and now teaches at a school near Ramallah in the West Bank, was awarded the Global Teacher prize at a Nobel-style ceremony in Dubai on Sunday.
She received congratulations from Pope Francis, who announced the winner in a video message.

Here's Pope Frances announcing the award:

Here's Bill Clinton congratulating the finalists.

Here's Hanan al-Hroub.

They think she, her work and the award she won are funny?

What service do they provide?

With the continuing demise of print, they can't even claim to provide good fish wrapping these days.

Their 'work' is forgotten in an instant.

It has no value.

And they want to mock a teacher?

And a great teacher at that?

Talk about out of touch with the rest of America.

Oh, and a million dollars?

Can you imagine how many people in the administration Matt Lee would have to give head to in order to make that kind of money?  His lips would fall off before he got to $2,000.

Go ahead and laugh it, fat boys, you're the ones who look ridiculous with your frat boy ways at a State Dept press briefing.

Your outlets should be monitoring your behaviors and pulling in your for corrective discipline.

You disgrace both yourselves and them when you act like that in a public press briefing.

From Global Teacher Prize:

2016 Winner

Hanan Al Hroub from Palestine received her Global Teacher Prize award from Sunny Varkey of the Varkey Foundation.


Hanan grew up in the Palestinian refugee camp, Bethlehem, where she was regularly exposed to acts of violence. She went into primary education after her children were left deeply traumatised by a shooting incident they witnessed on their way home from school. Her experiences in meetings and consultations to discuss her children’s behaviour, development and academic performance in the years that followed led Hanan to try to help others who, having grown up in similar circumstances, require special handling at school.
With so many troubled children in the region, Palestinian classrooms can be tense environments. Hanan embraces the slogan ‘No to Violence’ and uses a specialist approach she developed herself, detailed in her book, ‘We Play and Learn’. She focuses on developing trusting, respectful, honest and affectionate relationships with her students and emphasises the importance of literacy. She encourages her students to work together, pays close attention to individual needs and rewards positive behaviour. Her approach has led to a decline in violent behaviour in schools where this is usually a frequent occurrence; she has inspired her colleagues to review the way they teach, their classroom management strategies and the sanctions they use.
Hanan has shared her perspective at conferences, meetings and teacher training seminars. She hopes that, with education, her people can reclaim their homeland.

  • Grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp; motivated to teach by her experiences as a mother of children traumatised by a shooting incident
  • Offers specialist care to pupils exposed to violence
  • Focuses on providing a safe space in the classroom and pays attention to individual needs
  • Has shared her approach at Ministry conferences and teacher training seminars

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and BLACK AGENDA REPORT-- updated:

  • New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in "Intelligence" Act (David Swanson)

    New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in "Intelligence" Act

    By David Swanson

    I don't know why we didn't pick playing with live electrical wires and call that "intelligence" instead of the stuff we do. I think I'll stick with calling what the U.S. government does "counter-intelligence." So, here's the latest from the counter-intelligence community.

    Section 501 of the Counter Intelligence Act creates a "Committee to Counter Active Measures by the Russian Federation to Exert Covert Influence Over Peoples and Governments."

    This is followed by Section 502 which limits Russian and only Russian diplomats in the United States to traveling no more than 25 miles from their offices.

    I suspect there may have been a Section 503 in an earlier draft that required CNN to show a photo of Vladimir Putin without his shirt and make fun of him at least once every 4 hours. If so, that section would have been stripped out as unnecessary.

    The establishment wants more and more hostility with Russia. Trump wants to ever so slightly tweak the establishment and focus more hostility on China. That shift is obviously not one toward enlightenment. But when there is a chance for better relations between the U.S. and Russian governments, Congress should not be allowed to inject its counter-intelligence.

    Of course countering active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence over peoples and governments sounds like a good thing. But it's not a good thing if those active measures do not exist. This is like putting weapons in space to "counter" others doing it, when nobody else is. 

    It's offense under the banner of defense. And offense will be taken.

    It's also not a good thing if the active measures (real or imagined) are not countered in the wisest manner. One way to counter assassinations, for example, would be to expose them, prosecute them as crimes, and seek reconciliation. Another would be to empower a special committee to engage in "counter-assassinations."

    Contrary to good liberal faith, there is zero public evidence that Russia has been engaging in these activities listed in the Counter Intelligence Act:

    (A) Establishment or funding of a front group.
    (B) Covert broadcasting.
    (C) Media manipulation.
    (D) Disinformation and forgeries.
    (E) Funding agents of influence.
    (F) Incitement and offensive counterintelligence.
    (G) Assassinations.
    (H) Terrorist acts.

    Are there Russian front groups in the United States? Name one. Prove it. Is there covert broadcasting underway? Is that where you broadcast to nobody? Presumably it is where you create television and radio content purporting not to be Russian but actually serving the Russian government. Where is that? May we see a 30 second clip of it, please? Has the media been manipulated? By disinformation and forgeries? Expose one, for godsake, this is an emergency! Don't let those forgeries go on deceiving us a moment longer! "Funding agents of influence" sounds more like overt broadcasting. Russia does do that using Russian television and radio networks (something the United States would never ever engage in!) -- but how will this committee counter those? "Incitement" to what? "Offensive counterintelligence"? Offensive to whom? "Assassinations"? Of whom? Has someone been assassinated? "Terrorist acts"? Wouldn't we, almost by definition, have heard of these?
    Now I realize that most people don't give a rat's ass about stirring up hostility with the other major nuclear nation. So, here's another problem with this bill that people may want to object to, as they should. This committee is empowered to do anything the president tells it to, and it sends occasional reports to Congress, not the public. Most, if not all, of the people it counter-intelligently counters will not have anything to do with the Russian government.

    The Washington Post has already published a ludicrous but dangerous list of supposed Russian front group media outlets. If this committee does the same, and especially if it does so in secret, what recourse will the falsely accused have? This committee, selected by presidential appointees, will not be publicly accountable.

    If the New-McCarthyite Anti-Russia Committee secretly labels you a Russian agent and accuses you of media manipulation, will it then manipulate the media to destroy your reputation? If it accuses you of "disinformation and forgeries" will it "counter" that with disinformation about you and forgeries incriminating you? Will it confiscate your funding as being that of an "agent of influence"? What will it do if it accuses you of assassinations? And will all the Russian agents of influence turn out to be Democrats during Republican presidencies, and vice versa?

    Presumably the CIA hasn't challenged Congress to a duel over this new committee horning in on its territory because it's not technically supposed to spread its counter-intelligence domestically. Same with USAID and the rest. And the FBI is not supposed to be at war with foreign nations. But the lines between the military policing of the globe and the police militarization at home are ever blurring. And that's part of what's wrong with this bill. All's fair in war, meaning there is no requirement of fairness. Don't expect any. Resist instead.

    David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

    Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

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    Tuesday, December 06, 2016

    Iraq snapshot

    Tuesday, December 6, 2016.  Chaos and violence continue, the Mosul slog continues, the lack of western coverage of the action Iraqi women staged in Baghdad yesterday goes to the ongoing and never-ending sexism in the US media, and much more.

    It's day 50 of the never ending operation to liberate or 'liberate' Mosul.

    Ahmed Rasheed and Patrick Markey (REUTERS) report, "Iraqi army units advanced from southeast Mosul towards a bridge across the Tigris in the city center on Tuesday, in an attack that could give fresh impetus to the hard fought, seven-week battle for Islamic State's northern Iraq stronghold."

    With record numbers of military deaths last month, the Iraqi military is reeling.  But don't worry, as we noted Saturday, the United Nations doesn't work for the world, it works for the Iraqi government and, therefore, will no longer keep count of military fatalities because the Baghdad-based government wants to bury that.

    They've already buried the huge numbers of desertions as soldiers flee the Mosul slog.

    I remember when Obama was simultaneously at war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and his wicked supporters had ZERO problem with it.

    Fake news?

    It's been around for years, decades.

    It helped start the Iraq War and it helped it continue.

    DIGITAL JOURNAL has a press release we're going to quote the opening paragraph of:

    As the Iraq War’s official end on December 18, 2011 marks its fifth anniversary, many questions remain on its fallouts.

    For the record, American businesses are whining about how they were hurt, in New York, by the boycott of french fries. 

    Yes, that is right up there with the children in Falluja born with birth defects.

    (That was sarcasm.)

    The Iraq War did not end on December 18, 2011.

    There are US troops in Iraq today.  Since Barack began sending them back in, we've seen US troops die in the ongoing Iraq War.

    I don't expect a lot of whining business owners to grasp reality.

    I do express the press to.

    And they've often repeated that lie as well -- that the Iraq War ended.

    If they're going to repeat that lie and not be 'fake news,' then it's incumbent upon them to ask one question: Where was the parade?

    Barack will leave office in January.

    There were no parades for the returning veterans.

    There was no parade to celebrate the so-called end of the war.

    Like many a namby pamby bulls**t piece of crap ingrate, Barack bought into the lie about how awful the peace movement was to veterans during Vietnam.

    He repeated that lie over and over in one campaign appearance after another in 2007 and 2008.

    We could be specific but I don't want to promote the lies he pimped.

    I do want to underscore that having rode his high horse into town, it's very clear that he betrayed the veterans of today's wars.

    He never held one parade.

    Not one.

    While castigating those in the Vietnam era for their actions, he did much worse than anyone could imagine.

    Not one parade.

    And it's not as though veterans groups and service organizations weren't asking for the parades.

    In his first term, he lied -- let's use the right word -- and said that they would come.

    Didn't in his first term.

    Haven't in his second term -- which winds down next month.

    Where are the parades, Barry?

    All that grandstanding before the VFW and you don't think they notice there's no parade.

    No president has ever been more protected by the press.

    He wasn't ready for the job.

    He might have become ready if the press had done their job.

    But instead they fawned and petted and treated a presidency like it was an experiment in social engineering.

    Even now they refuse to hold him accountable for any of his failures.

    His promise was to end veterans homelessness by the end of 2015.

    2016 is almost over and we still have homeless veterans.

    He failed.

    And he lied.

    And if you want to lecture others about fake news or pretend you're so brave to call Donald Trump a liar -- a bit like calling him loud -- does it get more obvious? -- then you better go back to your little pet Barack and start applying the same standards.

    Hell, apply any standards.

    No one ever got an easier ride from the press.

    That's one reason there was so much anger out there and why 2016 was a change election.

    The media make excuses for Barack that shouldn't have been made.

    Matt Lee of AP coordinated with the State Dept spokespersons to determine his questions and to figure out how to kill the Benghazi reports.

    Outside the media bubble, this is how it looks:

    1. Keep your Doctor YouTube video JVTeam Not a smidgen Iraq is stable Decimated On the run Transparent IRS innocence Fixed V.A.

    The press can pretend otherwise but they played favorites and picked sides.

    They did that for the last eight years non-stop.

    They didn't show skepticism, they didn't report.

    They acted as the p.r. firm of the administration and practiced advocacy not journalism.

    This was outrageous behavior.

    So is the western media blackout on what took place in Baghdad yesterday.


    Every fat gutted, balding American male reporter in Iraq has tried to treat soccer like the second coming of democracy.

    But let women risk something -- and it was a risk to do what they did -- and you've got your thumbs your asses?

    The rank sexism in coverage of Iraq is one of the least noted press critiques that have been offered.  (We've covered it here from day one -- beginning with THE NEW YORK TIMES go-go boys coverage of Iraq.)

    Yet again, rank sexism has prevented a story that should have been told from reaching American news audiences.

    New topic . . .

    General James Mattis is president-elect Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of Defense.  Mattathias Schwartz (THE INTERCEPT) reports:

    “Ladies and gentlemen,” Mattis said, “we will probably look back on the invasion of Iraq as a mistake — as a strategic mistake.”
    Mattis was one of the Iraq campaign’s most important ground commanders. He led the 1st Marine Division during the invasion and later oversaw the bloody retaking of Fallujah from insurgents in 2004.
    As for the Pentagon’s view on the Iraq invasion at the time, Mattis said this: “I think people were pretty much aware that the U.S. military didn’t think it was a very wise idea. But we give a cheery ‘Aye aye, sir.’ Because when you elect someone commander in chief — we give our advice. We generally give it in private.”

    And here's one response to that news:

    Rule: If you think Iraq was only "probably" a mistake, you'll probably make the same mistake again.

    In other news, AP reports that 43-year-old Iraq War veterans Luis Carolos Montalvan has died and his body was discovered on Friday in an El Paso hotel.  THE DAILY MAIL adds:

    The medical examiner's office has not completed a preliminary autopsy report.
    'He was an extremely dedicated activist nationwide for multiple causes, including rights and benefits of veterans and the disabled, as well as the promotion of service dogs,' a statement from his family reads.

    Still on Iraq War veterans, a Canadian in Iraq has been arrested.

    Feds working for release of Canadian veteran held in Iraq |iPolitics

    The CANADIAN PRESS reports:

    A former Canadian soldier being held in Iraq is in good health and Canadian Embassy officials are working to win his release, federal cabinet minister Judy Foote confirmed Monday.
    Foote, the senior minister responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador, spoke to Mike Kennedy’s mother in Newfoundland earlier in the day, said press secretary Jessica Turner.
    Kay Kennedy told radio station VOCM her son was arrested in Erbil in northern Iraq while taking part in what she called a humanitarian mission. She said she was speaking with him on Tuesday evening when she realized something was wrong.

    The following community sites updated: