Why Was Suleimani Killed? Deep Dive By BBC World Services Adds Surprising Details In Only 23 Minutes

I highly recommend this short 23-minute radio documentary – it covers a lot of surprising details to round out the portrait of Lt. Gen Qasim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s QUDS force. His assassination via US drone-fired missiles at Teheran’s airport set off a cascade failure of tragedy: Iran fired missiles at US bases, and then  a passenger airliner was shot down in error by Iranian defense forces.

The BBC World Services pulls a lot of narrative threads together, including the surprising fact that just after the 9/11 attacks, the US and Iran were actually cooperating against a mutual enemy in Afghanistan…and Suleimani provided crucial tactical information. But this short respite in the two countries’ contentious relationship ended abruptly in 2003 when Pres. George W. Bush named Iran as a part of his “Axis of Evil” in a speech. No more cooperation. 

Imagine what might have been if we had left that door open instead of slamming it shut. Even all this time later, GWB’s disastrous presidency is still causing human misery.

There’s plenty more covered in the doc – it’s a very thorough look, up to and including the current US presidential campaign, and Trump’s likely motivation for strengthening his position ahead of next week’s impeachment trial in the Senate.

It’s so tragic. Now that Iran has admitted human error, families and governments in Canada, Ukraine, and many other countries will have to mourn, demand compensation, and try to move on. I’ve been trying to avoid news stories showing the aftermath of the crash; a short clip showing a burned stuffed animal absolutely devastated me.

It’s easier to listen than to see, in this case.

I’m better informed on the back story of Lt Gen Suleimani now – he was a very, very, very bad guy. But at one time, for a short year or two, his political aims aligned with ours; the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and that sort of thing. But we Americans made the typical mistake of lacking nuance in how we viewed Iran, maybe filtered by the old dispute over the hostage crisis during the Carter presidency (which we now know was used to Reagan’s advantage). 

What a damn shame. We almost went to war over a stupid mixture of Trump’s ego, his impeachment woes, and posturing on both sides. And 176 innocent people died (plus more that were not so innocent).

Lt Gen Qasem Soleimani of Iran QUDS force

Lt Gen Qasim Suleimani

 

President Trump’s decision to assassinate Qasem Soleimani came as a shock to America’s foes and allies alike. He was Iran’s top general and has been described as one of the country’s most powerful figures, second only to the Supreme Leader Ayotollah Ali Khamenei. He was, effectively, head of Iran’s foreign policy. He’s been credited as being instrumental in the fight against ISIS but has also been accused of arming and supporting terror groups. But why did Donald Trump order his death?

— Read on www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csyth6

This Is Bad. Really Bad. And Also A Great Distraction

Imagine! A third war about to begin as a distraction from impeachment, polls, North Korea, and everything else that’s going wrong.

Meanwhile, did anyone think to check on whether there were big, mysterious purchase of futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exxhange in the last few days? Just sayin’.

U.S. strike killed Iran Quds Force chief Soleimani: U.S. official https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-blast-usa/u-s-strike-killed-iran-quds-force-chief-soleimani-u-s-official-idUSKBN1Z203V?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews

Please Don’t Pardon Blago

Disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich rang in the new year by penning an editorial for a conservative website arguing that current House Democrats who have impeached President Donald Trump also would have tried to impeach Abraham Lincoln.
— Read on www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-rod-blagojevich-abraham-lincoln-donald-trump-impeachment-20200102-6xsmxdh3dfhcharumgncizgpna-story.html

The No Good, Very Bad News Day For tRUmp

On the day the New York Times story on Fred Trump’s decades-long tax fraud comes out, PBS Frontline drops a major investigative report on the Trump-Russia connection

Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father – The New York Times

In the end, the transfer of the Trump empire cost Fred and Mary Trump $20.5 million in gift taxes and their children $21 million in annuity payments. That is hundreds of millions of dollars less than they would have paid based on the empire’s market value, The Times found.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/10/02/us/politics/donald-trump-tax-schemes-fred-trump.html

The Year-Long Week

It’s become common in my circles on Twitter  to joke that time moves extremely slowly in Trumpland, but at the same time the news cycle moves at light speed. Every day, every night, something new happening.

 

This nomination brawl for Brett Kavanaugh has become all-consuming. I don’t want hard-right, anti-abortion, partisan operative on the Supreme Court. Politically, for me, he’s the worst choice I can think of for women, minorities, the disabled, the poor, labor, and anyone who opposes the issues that the donor class wants.

That’s BEFORE all of the allegations started coming out. The events of the last two days have shown me, and America, who Brett Kavanaugh really is: a mean, angry, vindictive, and entitled man who is unfit for the Federal bench, let alone the Supreme Court of the United States. 

I believe Dr Blasey Ford. I don’t think she’s mistaken in her identification of Kavanaugh as her attacker. I don’t believe Kavanaugh’s protestations. I think he’s forgotten a long-ago, fumbling attack on a young girl…and not merely because he and his friend Mark Judge drank to blackout stage. I think her testimony was extremely effective and sincere. And I think his testimony was appalling – revealing him to be temperamentally unfit for the office. 

Brett Kavanaugh reacts smugly to Lindsey Graham’s calculated tirade.

I think that either it was so commonplace and trivial for him that he can’t possibly pick out this single instance out of all the others.

OR, he didn’t think “humping” a smaller, weaker female counts as an assault. He didn’t get any, so it didn’t happen. So he forgot about it, as she wasn’t one of the elite girls he had to treat with more respect.

It’s been a rough week for assault and abuse survivors. I’m one of the lucky ones that didn’t suffer anything more serious than being poked and groped by “handsy” boys. And yes, dammit, it’s not right that those boys thought they could touch girls without consent. Somehow, I escaped anything worse once I went on to college. I heard dark rumors of things happening out of sight at frat parties, but I do remember feeling the need for groups of girls to look out for each other at parties (especially when leaving).

The turmoil of today’s Senate Judiciary committee meeting, with the odd flakiness of Senator Flake’s fakeout vote, which both enabled Kavanaugh to proceed on to the full Senate for a vote, but with a week’s delay for the FBI to finally reopen the background check to look into “current allegations.”

And Trump has actually authorized this, but I suspect Mitch McConnelll still controls the floor vote and could disregard the “pause” for the FBI.

The other allegations that are currently out there? I don’t know how far they’ll go toward coming in to testify or not.

Meanwhile, I have questions.

What’s the reason the Rs were all screaming about holding the SCOTUS seat open until 2020? As far as I know, the Ds hope to defeat this nominee’s confirmation…. but delaying until after the midterms is a pipe dream, let alonge until 2020. Is it because the Rs fear they will not only lose big in the midterms, but lose the White House in 2020? And what should they worry? Trump won’t stick around long enough for that, he’lll resign in a hissy before the Dems get a chance to air his dirty-money laundry.

Why did the Rs think having a female prosecutor asking questions for them was a good idea? They dumped her as soon as she got too close to the truth about a very intriguing date: July 1, 1982.

Finally, who else thinks Lindsey Graham’s job interview for AG went well? 

The American Bar Association had concerns about Kavanaugh 12 years ago. Republicans dismissed those, too.: History repeated itself. At least it had a spell of deja vu when the American Bar Association released an extraordinary statement at a crucial moment that raised concerns about Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to a powerful judicial position — just as it had done 12 years earlier. – by AVI SELK – Tags: politics – https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/28/american-bar-association-had-kavanaugh-concerns-years-ago-republicans-dismissed-those-too/

Survivors feel both hope and fear after Kavanaugh hearing, advocates say: (Reuters) – For sexual assault survivors, Christine Blasey Ford emerged as a new hero on Thursday, triggering a surge in calls to a national rape hotline as she told senators that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were teenagers. – by Jonathan Allen, Gabriella Borter – Tags: politics – https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-kavanaugh-women/survivors-feel-both-hope-and-fear-after-kavanaugh-hearing-advocates-say-idUSKCN1M82VH

Under pressure, Trump orders FBI Kavanaugh probe, causing week delay: WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump, under intense pressure from moderates in his own party over his Supreme Court nominee, on Friday ordered an FBI investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh at the request of Senate Republicans, a move that will delay the con – by David Morgan, Richard Cowan – Tags: politics – https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-kavanaugh/under-pressure-trump-orders-fbi-kavanaugh-probe-causing-week-delay-idUSKCN1M8174

That’s it for this batch. Thanks for reading!

Get Ready. Long Blog Post Percolating.

It seems like forever since I wrote anything longer than a tweet. Especially since @Twitter went from 140 to 280 characters. And I’ve stayed off of Facebook mostly to avoid seeing propaganda ads (sorry friends and family).

And even “forever” is longer now in the Drumpf era. Today on Twitter, I joked that if dog years are 7 human years, 1 newscycle day is 24 years, and one newscycle year is 14,600 human years. How long ago was it that we thought “One Scaramucchi = 11 days” was funny?

I haven’t even touched my desktop computer in months (ie., several thousand years) because I’ve been avoiding some necessary tasks, so even blogging after a long Drumpf-inspired hiatus is a form of procrastinating.

Events of the last few weeks/experiential years have had me pondering various topics and themes – the #MeToo movement, the current debate in the national press and online communities over the #Kavanaugh nomination, and the insidious influence of the Washington elite old-boy network that seems to secretly run the Kabuki-theater proceedings, at least on the Republican/Theocrat side.

Phew, that last paragraph was exhausting. As is life as a sentient, progressive American these days.

My extreme Twitter addiction can be seen over there in the right column. Gradually, over the last 2 years, I’ve been spending more and more time on the microblogging platform, because of the immediacy of breaking news, crazy fads, and the possibility of interacting with celebrities. As in “ZOMG that one time @Rosie retweeted me!” Or the time @Lawrence “liked” my comment reacting to a recent @TheLastWord commentary.

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My Twitter addiction goes hand in hand with my @maddow dependency. Not long after returning from our 2016 vacation (we were in Hawaii, so we filed absentee ballots), I met new friends at church who were looking for a spiritual home with a side of progressive community. The older lady exclaimed “I can’t get to sleep now unless I watch Rachel to tell me what the hell is going on!”

And I have to agree, except that the last few months, I’ve been staying up later and later watching Rachel and Lawrence on @MSNBC, I’ve been watching former GOP operatives who’re now #NeverTrumpers (and who are responsible for getting people like Roberts, Gorsuch, and McConnell confirmed are re-elected) till all hours. And I keep checking Twitter through the night, hoping for some late-breaking ray of hope.

And aside from such delightful distractions as the #MPRraccoon and #CivilWarPotluck it’s really not good for me or my health.

Bike? I haven’t ridden any of my bikes since July, and very little before that.

Self care? I’ve been eating crap food, and let’s not speak of my love for Payday bars.

Laundry? My husband David does most of it. My clean but unfolded laundry is everywhere.

Much of what I’ve read, commented on, and brooded over has been pinging around in my head, not all of it to do with the travails of women who report being sexually assaulted or raped whenever they damn well decide is the right time to declare it. I don’t have much to report on the #MeToo front, fortunately. I certainly partied and took risks by accepting rides, etc. I never fit the profile of the easy target, so I survived my young womanhood mostly unharmed except for unwanted buttgrabs.

The recent piece on obesity and self-acceptance struck a chord, though. Especially with the photographs of the interview subjects, who got to direct their own photoshoots to show them exactly as they wanted to be portrayed. The images are revelatory.

“My son and I both like to play the hero. There wasn’t necessarily any intentional symbolism in the costumes we chose, but I am definitely a member of the rebellion, and I see my role as an eating disorders researcher as trying to fight for justice and a better world. Also, I like that I’m sweaty, dirty and messy, not done up with makeup or with my hair down in this picture. I like that I’m not hiding my stomach, thighs or arms. Not because I’m comfortable being photographed like that, but because I want to be—and I want others to feel free to be like that, too.”— ERIN HARROP

I love this image. This is Erin Harrop and her son. So much awesome strength.

All of this makes higher-weight patients more likely to avoid doctors. Three separate studies have found that fat women are more likely to die from breast and cervical cancers than non-fat women, a result partially attributed to their reluctance to see doctors and get screenings. Erin Harrop, a researcher at the University of Washington, studies higher-weight women with anorexia, who, contrary to the size-zero stereotype of most media depictions, are twice as likely to report vomiting, using laxatives and abusing diet pills. Thin women, Harrop discovered, take around three years to get into treatment, while her participants spent an average of 13 and a half years waiting for their disorders to be addressed.

Woops, this sounds disturbingly familiar. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment next week that I’ve canceled and rescheduled once already because I’m supposed to be setting up several routine but not particularly pleasant “checklist” health procedures. I haven’t lost weight, I stopped exercising and eating right (in contrast to 2-3 years ago when I was much more motivated and less obsessed with Drumpfian corruption). I don’t want to be lectured by the doc for my “noncompliance.” Maybe I’d better figure out my login for the medical practice website to see her recommendations again.

Some of the other peoples’ quotes about being bullied for being bigger resonated with me. I’m bigger than an average-sized woman; taller and heavier, with an appearance best described as “unconventionally not too horrible.” I was bullied as a kid for being bigger than most, looking different than almost everyone, and not going to the right church in order to fit in. Still, I had it easy, compared to some.

Not fitting in seems to be the common thread for young (and older) women who speak out about being abused or raped. Dr Christina Blasey Ford is currently in hiding, getting death threats and more for going public with her allegation of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh dating back to the early 80’s. She was popular then, but she’s sure getting the outcast treatment now.

Compare that to Amber Wyatt, a young woman who was raped in high school in Arlington, Texas (rather horribly). Back then, she didn’t fit in socially with the well-to-do kids whose parents enabled them to throw massive drunken parties, although she was a cheerleader and was about to move up in the social strata. After the awful event, she became a pariah, was eventually forced to transfer to another school, spiraled down into drugs and self-destruction, and eventually recovered.

More than a decade later, a very thoughtful piece by a reporter who happened to go to the same high school has resulted in Amber receiving an outpouring of support, compassion, and even apologies from some of the people who tormented her AFTER her assault, because she reported it immediately.

Apparently, in America, if you speak out against your attackers, it’s almost a worse crime than being violated….if you’re female and they’re male.

So all this has been on my mind, and has been the big narrative of the last couple of week-centuries. Thinking about the bullying now happening to Dr Ford (by the US Senate, various patriarchal/theocratic astroturf groups, and the Idiot in Chief) led me to think on my own experiences as a bullied or ostracized kid.

It could have been a lot, lot worse. It was bad enough at the time. But thanks to Google, I just stumbled across the current name of my worst old childhood nemesis, the person who made grade school and junior high a daily gauntlet of taunts, physical abuse, humiliation, and desperate attempts to escape any way I could.

But that’s for the ACTUAL long blog post. This was just a foreword; I’m just happy to have survived yet another Infrastructure Week.