mr. whiskers - the new cat

mr. whiskers is our new cat.  a neighbor had to move for a job and will be out of the country for at least 2 years.  (it's england so there's a quarantine on taking pets into the country.)

so we have a new cat.

mr. whiskers joined us at 8 yesterday morning. 

my daughter attempted to pet it but he was not interested in playing.

his room will be the sun room. 

or was to be.

the plan was he'd stay in there because i am allergic to cats.

i wasn't always and i love cats.

so mr. whiskers was getting accustomed to his surroundings.

he bellows.

a single meow every 10 minutes or so when he's awake.

it's a low meow.

in the afternoon, flyboy attempted to play with him but mr. whiskers was not interested.

he also wasn't interested in food (the same that his originl family was feeding him).  or in drinking.

clearly, he was upset by the change in location and the absence of his family.

so around 9 last night, i pull out the laptop to blog and who enters the room bellowing?  mr. whiskers.  i match his low 'meow.'

he comes over and starts rubbing against me.  the only 1 allergic to cats, right?

and because i love cats, i start petting him.

i got down on the floor with him and talked with him and stroked him for about an hour until i got up and walked to the kitchen.  i thought he would follow me, but he didn't.

so i went back to the living room and tried asking him to follow me.  he wouldn't. i then tried clicking to him and that had no effect.  so finally i snapped my fingers and that had him leap to his feet and come towards me.  we then walked to the kitchen.

i gave him a can of tuna in a bowl and he quickly devoured that.  i then tried milk which he did not want before giving him water. 

i don't think he'll be using the sun room.  he seems to prefer the living room.

my daughter said she'll vaccuum after him - i'm referring to cat hair. 

if i spend time like last night around him, i'll take a shower before my eyes start itching and i should be fine.

mr. whiskers is already a wonderful character and a great addition to the family.  he's got his own laidback personality. 

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

Friday, June 1, 2018.  So many shade the truth -- the UN when it comes to the monthly deaths in Iraq; NYT and it's Hobby Lobby journalist who announce they're returning stolen items to Iraq out of the goodness of their little old hearts when, in fact, the are returning the items because the Iraqi government has ordered them returned.  Ayi-yi-yi.  Let's get started.

With the start of a new month, the United Nations celebrates with yet another undercount of the deaths in Iraq.

  1. UNAMI Retweeted UNAMI
    was the worst affected Governorate, with 117 civilian casualties (45 killed, 72 injured), followed by with 9 killed and 35 injured, and with 20 killed and 16 injured.
    UNAMI added,

  2. الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة يعين البريطاني كريم أسعد أحمد خان مستشاراً خاصاً لفريق التحقيق المشكل بموجب قرار مجلس الأمن 2379 (2017)

Back in the real world, Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) notes, "At least 1,906 people were killed or found dead, and 265 more were wounded during violent attacks in May. The number of casualties is close to April’s figures, when 1,970 were killed, executed, or recovered. Another 194 more were wounded then. These figures should be considered estimates, as the true number of casualties is impossible to know."

 I can't believe that twenty or so years from now, the UN undercounts will enhance the body's image or reputation.  No one should allow them then to dismiss their actions.  It should always be remembered that they were called out in real time -- that it was known in real time that they were dishonest.  Dishonesty helps perpetuate the war.  That wasn't a concern for the UN.  But they were happy to change their counts anytime they were criticized by the Iraqi government -- changes that repeatedly lowered the count.

Musical break, Rebecca Ferguson's "Uncrazy" (acoustic version).

Iraq held elections May 12th.  Journalist David Bacon (LOBE LOG, IPS) offers this analysis:

The U.S. media quickly dismissed the results of Iraq's national elections on May 12. Journalists were puzzled by what the followers of Muqtada al-Sadr and the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) might have in common, and even more, by why they garnered more Iraqi votes than any other electoral list.

Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army fought the U.S. early in the occupation, and his political base is mostly among poor and disenfranchised Iraqis, especially in Baghdad's Sadr City. This vast neighborhood of 3.5 million people, half the population of Baghdad, was known originally as al-Thawra, or Revolution, built for poor people migrating from the countryside by radical nationalist Prime Minister Abdul Karim Qassim in 1959. For many years it was a stronghold of the ICP. Later, after the Baathist coup that overthrew Karim Qassim and eventually brought Saddam Hussein to power, it was renamed Saddam City. Then, after the 1999 assassination of Muqtada al-Sadr's father, Ayatollah Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, it became popularly known as Sadr City.

The New York Times labeled Muqtada al-Sadr's partners in the Sairoon coalition "Iraq's moribund Communists, Sunni businessmen and pious community activists." Actually, besides al-Sadr and the ICP, Sairoon (meaning Forward or the Alliance for Reforms) includes the Youth Movement for Change Party, the Party of Progress and Reform, the Iraqi Republican Group, and the State of Justice Party.

Oversimplifying politics and ignoring history, however, is not just a matter of names. It reveals blindness to the long process in which Iraqi civil society has been rebuilding itself, to the popular anger that has motivated this, and to the growing support for the political alternative this alliance proposes.

The 329 parliamentary deputies chosen in the May election will vote for a new prime minister. Sairoon won the most 55 deputies, with 1.3 million votes. It was followed by the Fatah Party of Hadi al-Amiri, whose base rests on militias with ties to Iran, with 47 seats and 1.2 million votes. Voters rejected the parties of both the current Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi (Victory Coalition with 40 seats) and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (State of Justice Party with 25). Turnout was low, at 44% nationwide and only 33% in Baghdad itself (where Sairoon won 23%, almost twice that of any of its rivals).

The program of the Sairoon alliance calls for an end to the system that divided political positions and government support along sectarian lines, a system imposed by the U.S. after its occupation of Iraq in 2011. Basing a governmental structure on sectarian political parties led to a system of patronage and division of spoils, and consequently enormous corruption. Al-Sadr explained, "I'll say this despite the amama [turban] on my head. We tried the Islamists and they failed miserably. Time to try independent technocrats."

Sairoon also called for independence from foreign domination by the U.S. and Iran. In advance of the election, a senior Iranian politician, Ali Akbar Velayati, visited Iraq and threatened Iranian reprisals if voters chose Sairoon: "We will not allow liberals and communists to govern in Iraq," he said. Many secular politicians condemned the statement as interference in Iraq's internal affairs.

Following the election, because no group got anywhere near a majority, negotiations began between Sairoon and two runners-up, al-Amiri's Fatah bloc and al-Abadi's Victory Coalition. Inside Sairoon this has produced tension between the Sadrists and the ICP. Some coalition members are calling for it to go into opposition rather than agree to power-sharing with parties and politicians still committed to the hated sectarian quotas.

Thierry Meyssan (VOLTAIRE) offers

The programme of Chiite religious leader Moqtada al-Sadr is simple – the withdrawal of all foreign presence (except diplomatic), whether from the the USA, Turkey or Iran. Without taking into account what might become of the Turkish troops illegally stationed in Bachiqa, and aware of the fact that the Iranians have no need to send troops into Iraq in order to be represented there, this message is addressed in priority to the 100,000 US personnel still present, a fifth of whom are regular soldiers.
The other message of Moqtada al-Sadr – who is supported by the Communist Party – is the end of sectarianism. It appears that Iraqis have assimilated the idea that in the absence of a despotic régime like that of Saddam Hussein, only national union can enable the defence of the country. This is why, before the vote, Moqtada al-Sadr turned to Saudi Arabia and to the other Sunni powers in the Persian Gulf. He describes himself as a nationalist in the sense of original Ba’athism – not as an Iraqi nationalist, but as an Arab nationalist.
It is also the reason why voters did not offer massive support to the Prime Minister’s « Victory Alliance ». By referring to his victory over [the Islamic State], Haider al-Abadi rejected the ex-Ba’athists who had supported the terrorist organisation by default [2].
The propaganda broadcast by the Bush administration had assimilated Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athists with the Nazis. Washington had qualified the Iraqi Ba’ath Party as a « criminal organisation » and forbade its members from taking part in politics. Fifteen years later, this decision is still the primary cause of the troubles which destabilise the country. To that we must add the sectarian constitution, drawn up by the Israëlo-US Noah Feltman and imposed by the Pentagon, which maintains the fear of the division of the country into three distinct States (Chiites, Sunnis and Kurds). In any case, the time has passed when the CIA could organise civil war in secret and channel anti-US anger into communitarian persecution.

We said earlier this week of the elections that so-called 'experts' in the west forgot the reality that all elections are local.  CSIS' Anthony Cordesman gets at that in his analysis:

The U.S. has largely abandoned efforts to help Iraq develop and improve its governance since 2011, but Iraq's civil development raises equally important issues. Since late 2013, U.S. strategy in Iraq has focused on the threat from IISS, Iranian influence and the internal divisions between Iraq's sectarian and ethnic factions. It has focused on fighting ISIS and rebuilding Iraq security forces. The Iraqi election, however, has highlighted the fact that the near defeat of ISIS has led Iraqis to focus on their own internal concerns, the economic problems they face, the poor performance of the government, the lack of national unity, and the corruption and self-seeking nature of much of Iraq's political leadership. Civil issues have become as important as security ones, and no policy or strategy towards Iraq that ignores its civil side, and emphasize security alone, can succeed.
You can access the complete report here.

Some statistics on the elections.

New statistic from Iraq's elections. Here's the return rate of the 329 parliament members: - 215 of newly elected MPs (65% of overall members) are first-timers. - 69 are two-time winners. - 32 are three-time winners. - 13 are four-time winners.

Of those numbers, RUDAW reminds, "Prior to elections, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the highest religious authority for the Shiites in Iraq advised his countrymen not to choose those who have already been tried."

Now a new development about Rukmini Callimachi and her trashy ways.  We long noted the 'journalist' for THE NEW YORK TIMES was worse than Judith Miller.  More recently, we've taken to calling her the Hobby Lobby of journalists after she stole thousands of documents.

The paper of no record can't afford anymore criticism so they've announced they will return the stolen documents.  ALJAZEERA reports:

The New York Times plans to return thousands of documents its journalists "recovered" from Iraq
The newspaper, which came under fire for removing the documents from the country, also said it would digitise the files and make them available to the public.
According to a statement on Thursday, NYT correspondent Rukmini Callimachi, who has been covering the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), noted that the newspaper is "seeking a partner to digitize" the documents and make them publicly available online. 
Before you think everything's now going to be alright, this is THE NEW YORK TIMES so there are still problems.

NYT conceals the ID of the perpetrator but publish the biographical information of the victims. Aren't Iraqi civilians worthy of the same kindness the NYT bestows onto ISIS? The ISIS files are in the hands of reckless journalists & must be returned to Iraq

Also, this is NYT so it turns out that they got their (own) story wrong.  They didn't just decide to return it, they were ordered to by the Iraqi government:

EXCLUSIVE: I've obtained a letter from Iraq's National Intelligence Service requesting that the returns the 15,000 "ISIS Files" illegally seized and smuggled out of by and her team. NYT said today that they plan to "donate" the files back to Iraq.

Good think they eliminated their public editor post -- that could've made for a messy column.

The following community sites updated:


nyt - parent of all fake news

  1. Huh, that boy with the beef must have had relatives who and the helped ship to an illegal war in , don’t you suspect?

julie davis is a real idiot - as is any 1 working for nyt who wants to whine about 'fake news.'

they put 'fake news' on their front pages to sell war on iraq.

they have no right to finger point.

they should be mocked. 

and let's not forget that nyt long ago shut down interest in the doings of nyt.  they're a glossy lifestyle newspaper now.  they have been since around the time john hess left.

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

Thursday, May 31, 2018.

I met a guy from Iraq yesterday. Very kind. He said before 2003 it wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty darn good, beautiful. I nonchalantly said “Don’t worry it’ll come back.” He looked at me and said in a somber tone “It can’t. Nothing’s left.” NO MORE UNNECESSARY WAR

Iraq held elections May 12th.  There has been a strong effort to destroy the legitimacy of them.

An example?  This Tweet.

The head of the United Nations Mission in Iraq , has demanded a recount in a number of areas including Kirkuk.

Jan Kubis demanded a recount?  Really?  Because "demand" is a pretty strong word.

And Jan appeared before the United Nations Security Council yesterday to brief them on Iraq.

On 12 May 2018 – within the constitutional time-frame- Iraq held elections to its national parliament, the Council of Representatives. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, after the close of the polls, noted that τhe country held the elections on time, that people were able to cast their votes and select their representatives freely and safely and that the liberated areas witnessed a free voting process for the first time after the victory of the Iraqi forces and the defeat of [the Islamic State].
The Secretary-General on 13 May congratulated the people of Iraq on the holding of parliamentary elections and stated that following the military defeat of [the Islamic State], the elections represent further progress in building a stronger Iraqi democracy. He saluted the tireless efforts of electoral officials, party agents and the security forces in making the elections largely peaceful and orderly.
Following the elections, international partners, including the governments of Kuwait, Qatar, Iran, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, United Kingdom, and European Union also congratulated the Iraqi people.
Madame President,
The elections held in a generally calm and stable environment were marked by a low voter turnout: the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) informed about the participation of 44.52%, just 10.8 million out of 24.3 million eligible voters, a significant decrease in comparison with previous national elections in Iraq after 2003. The new parliament will also witness a massive turn-over - according to the preliminary results less than 100 of the over 300 incumbent MPs have secured their place in the new Council of Representatives (CoR). The decision by more than half of the voting population not to exercise their democratic right sends a strong signal to the elites ruling the country since 2003. I urge the Iraqi political elites to draw the necessary conclusions on the need for improved representation, justice for all, democratic accountability and good governance void of corruption, sectarian quota system, nepotism and patronage.
I also urge political leaders to ensure the full participation of women in negotiations on the formation of the next ruling coalition and the government, and their representation at the highest levels in Iraq’s political and decision-making structures in the parliament and the government as pledged by many political leaders in the election campaign.
Madame President,
Following the closure of the polls and the announcement of the preliminary results, many Iraqi political leaders publicly endorsed the electoral process including the Prime Minister and the President. They continue to urge a timely conduct and conclusion of the complaint process, certification and acceptance of the results, and speeding-up of the formation of the new government, within the constitutional timeline and in accordance with relevant legal procedures. Some other political forces and leaders have raised concerns over some of the technical shortfalls encountered with the electronic vote tabulation devices, as well as reports of fraud and vote rigging, active intimidation of voters including by some armed formations, and political interference. They have demanded the recount of votes in some governorates, the annulment of results of out of country voting and voting of the IDPs, and even fresh elections. Amidst questions about the legality of their decisions, including from the IHEC, on 28 May the Council of Representatives voted to request the IHEC to undertake the manual counting of 10 per cent of the ballot boxes that could trigger the manual counting of all the ballots in case of a discrepancy of 25 percent and above. It also requested cancellation of the Out of Country and IDP voting.
On 24 May, the Council of Ministers (CoM) decided to form a High Commission to investigate reports and documents pertaining to the elections. The High Commission already referred the IHEC to the Integrity Commission, a move rejected by the IHEC as an interference in its independence.
Six Kurdistani parties have questioned the credibility of the electoral process in the Kurdistan region and have been calling for a recount of the votes in the Kurdistan governorates, and even for the re-run of the elections. On the other hand, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan have announced their satisfaction with the outcome of the elections and their intention to start dialogue on coalition building with political parties in Baghdad.
In Kirkuk governorate – one of several hotspots of complaints - the situation remains volatile, with Turkmen and Arab parties, demanding manual recounting of the election results while the IHEC has complained that they have obstructed their work.
On 17 May, I called on the Electoral Commission to act expeditiously and seriously to address all complaints including, as necessary, the conduct of a partial manual recount in selected locations, notably in Kirkuk. I stressed the importance of undertaking such measures in full transparency, witnessed by stakeholders, to strengthen confidence in the process. I also called on all political actors to uphold the peace and to remain committed to resolving any electoral disputes through the established legal channels.
We urge the independent electoral management bodies to adjudicate all appeals properly, fully and in time, to enable corrections of the problems, justice and the timely certification of the final election results. I also wish to highlight the readiness and availability of United Nations electoral advice and expertise, in support of any activities and measures that may be required to retain confidence in the process, also in the light of the forthcoming Provincial Council elections across Iraq on 22 December and Kurdistan Regional elections on 30 September this year.
Given the controversies around the CoR elections, the regional Kurdistan High Electoral and Referendum Commission has decided not to use electronic vote tabulation machines. UNAMI stands ready to advise and support that electoral process.

I'm sorry, where in the above does he call for a recount -- let alone "demand" one?  He doesn't.

Nor does UNAMI imply he does.

UN Representative says elections were held in generally calm and stable environment, urges calm as electoral appeals are being adjudicated through established legal channels Press Release:

The United Nations -- with or without Jan -- does not demand recounts.  Why is that so difficult for KIRKUKNOW to grasp?  Or is it that they do grasp it but figure most people will read their Tweet, see the photo and have no idea this was a regular update to the UN Security Council?

The efforts to discredit the results of the elections is troubling many.  The current prime minister Hayder al-Abadi has insisted -- as have many Iraqi legal experts -- that any questioning of the elections must take place in court because Parliament has no jurisdiction over the results.  The Constitution requires Parliament to pass an election law.  That is it for them the election.  After the election is over, they are supposed to seat and name a president and then a prime minister designate is named who has 30 days to form a Cabinet (that's nominate each Cabinet member and have each approved by the Parliament in thirty days).

Displeasure with the results does not allow for rewriting the country's Constitution.

Iraqi president Fuad Masum: Annulling election results, ordering manual recount ‘unconstitutional’

The results are the results and politicians should focus on forming a government.  It's May 31st.  How long are they planning to take?  In 2010, it took over eight months to form a government. 

Who did you think you were fooling
Said you were missing me blind
But the truth is I knew you were lying
You were using me time after time

When people lie about what the UN did or did not say, it's obvious that more than a few believe they can fool others.  "I can live without you," Tina Turner sings on "When The Heartache Is Over" and that's certainly true of the Iraqi people who've seen politicians put forward their own interests while ignoring the Iraqi people.

Still on the elections . . .

congress designating Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq militias as a terrorist group, but i wonder if is aware of that Asa'ib got 15 seats in elections? US policy is worth to worry about in .

Who is the "US"?  The government?  The people?

The US media has done very little but cover the "shock" over Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr's victory.  Even that coverage has been vastly limited.  Americans who know anything about the elections are most likely to know about Moqtada's victory but most probably are unaware that elections even took place earlier this month.  It was not a 'big' story in the media.

That's why we need licensing for all channels.  This was almost an issue on Laura Flanders' AIR AMERICA radio show last decade.  A listener had a question regarding the cable channels and what could be done in terms of bringing them to the same terms as broadcast.  But the FCC Commissioner (one we applauded on the left) was such an idiot he couldn't get the question and instead went off on 'decency standards.'

But there does need to be some overseeing body.  Not for 'decency' or other nonsense.

The US is at war.  There are US troops in Iraq.  Tons of dollars -- taxpayer dollars -- have been sent to Iraq.  But the media doesn't feel Iraq is a story to cover?  In what world?

Licensing of some form could force, for example, MSNBC talk shows to address the topic of Iraq.  That might not be a good thing considering the output on MSNBC but at least the average American would be aware that US troops remain in Iraq.

In terms of the Congressional delegation, Bryant Harris (AL-MONITOR) reports:

The House of Representatives unanimously voted last week on legislation requiring President Donald Trump to sanction “persons that are officials, agents, affiliates of or owned and controlled by” two prominent Iran-backed militias that operate in Iraq and Syria. The amendment from Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, to a must-pass annual defense authorization bill targets Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, both of which are part of the Shiite-led Popular Mobilization Units battling the Islamic State.
Both militias joined with other Iran-backed military forces as part of the Fatah, or Conquest, political coalition, which came in second in the May 12 elections with 47 out of 329 parliamentary seats. Asaib Ahl al-Haq won 14 of those 47 seats, according to Iraq analyst Kirk Sowell, while Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba did not field any candidates.
“The US Department of Treasury will ultimately determine if the political wing constitutes an affiliate or entity controlled by” Asaib Ahl al-Haq, a Poe aide told Al-Monitor. “Congressman Poe believes [Asaib Ahl al-Haq] will likely be subject to these penalties unless it completely breaks all ties with the armed wing, renounces violence and acts solely as [an] Iraqi political party with no backing from Iran.”
“Political parties are about engaging in peaceful civil discourse, not about representing armed thugs who commit violent atrocities to achieve political ends,” the aide added.

The AL-MONITOR article leaves some questionable impressions -- intentionally or not.  First, this, at present, has nothing to do with Donald Trump (president of the US).  This has nothing to do with the Senate at present.  The House of Representatives unanimously voted -- that's pretty clear.  If anyone's confused, that means every member of the House present voted for it -- regardless of party identification.

The article also talks about (some of the) past history of Asaib Ahl al-Haq.

This isn't past.

November 25th, six months ago, Asaib Ahl al-Haq made clear that they saw US troops in Iraq as the enemy and that, with ISIS defeated, US troops should leave and those who did not were worthy targets.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, DISSIDENT VOICE, CCR and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated: