Dec 01 2015

Six In The Morning Tuesday December 1

AirAsia crash: Faulty part ‘major factor’

A faulty component was a “major factor” when an AirAsia plane crashed into the Java Sea last December, killing 162 people, Indonesian officials say.

The first major report into the crash found that actions by the crew in response to the malfunction also contributed to the disaster.

The Airbus A320-200, going from Surabaya to Singapore, was 40 minutes into the flight when contact was lost.

The report is the result of a year-long investigation.

Officials pinpointed the fault to the plane’s rudder control system, which caused it to send warning alerts to the pilots repeatedly. It was a pre-existing fault known to AirAsia maintenance crew.

The pilots responded to the warning alerts by resetting the system – a method used previously to address the fault.

This, however, caused the autopilot system to disengage and the plane began to roll to the left.

The pilots were unable to right the aircraft, which stalled and then crashed.


Kurdish fighters say US special forces have been fighting Isis for months

US denies peshmerga claims after Obama last year announced redeployment of 300 military advisers to Iraq, saying US combat troops would ‘not be fighting’

and Shalaw Mohammad in Kirkuk and in Washington

On a damp afternoon in Iraqi Kurdistan, a 29-year-old peshmerga fighter named Peshawa pulls out his Samsung Galaxy mobile phone, flicks hurriedly through his library until he finds the video he wants, and presses play.

The clip, filmed just after dawn on 11 September, shows four tall and western-looking men in the heat of a battle against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq. “These are the Americans,” says Peshawa in a secretive tone.

One is crouched behind a machine gun firing round after round from the top of a fortified mound; another lies on his front a few feet away, legs outstretched and taking aim at the enemy with a long rifle. A third wields a long-lens camera taking photo after photo, and the last stands back, apparently overseeing the others during the combat south-west of the city of Kirkuk.

Russia accused of ethnic cleansing of Turkmen in Syria air strikes

Far from targeting Isis, Russia’s air force is trying to drive the Turkmen minority from north-west Syria in order to carve out safe territory for its ally Bashar al-Assad, the ethnic group’s leader tells Laura Pitel in Istanbul 



Moscow is waging a relentless campaign of aerial bombardment intended specifically to “drive out” the Turkmen minority from north-western Syria, the community’s political leader has warned.

Abdurrahman Mustafa, who as president of the Syrian Turkmen Assembly is the figurehead for the ethnic minority, accused the Russian air force of trying purge the area in order to carve out a safe enclave for its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, amid growing global pressure for an end to the conflict.

In an interview with The Independent, Mr Mustafa said thousands of Turkmen civilians had been forced from their homes in the region known as Bayirbucak. “There are not many left,” he said. “It is nearly impossible to survive amid this bombing.”

The Turkmen of Syria found themselves at the centre of world attention after Turkey shot down a Russian SU-24 jet last week, igniting a major row and plunging the prospects of a co-ordinated global push against Isis into doubt.


Ex-US Intelligence Chief on Islamic State’s Rise: ‘We Were Too Dumb’

Interview Conducted By and

Without the Iraq war, Islamic State wouldn’t exist today, former US special forces chief Mike Flynn openly admits. In an interview, he explains IS’ rise to become a professional force and how the Americans allowed its future leader to slip out of their hands.

Michael Flynn, 56, served in the United States Army for more than 30 years, most recently as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, where he was the nation’s highest-ranking military intelligence officer. Previously, he served as assistant director of national intelligence inside the Obama administration. From 2004 to 2007, he was stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, where, as commander of the US special forces, he hunted top al-Qaida terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, one of the predecessors to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who today heads the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq. After Flynn’s team located Zarqawi’s whereabouts, the US killed the terrorist in an air strike in June 2006.

In an interview, Flynn explains the rise of the Islamic State and how the blinding emotions of 9/11 led the United States in the wrong direction strategically.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: In recent weeks, Islamic State not only conducted the attacks in Paris, but also in Lebanon and against a Russian airplane over the Sinai Peninsula. What has caused the organization to shift its tactics and to now operate internationally?

Flynn: There were all kinds of strategic and tactical warnings and lots of reporting. And even the guys in the Islamic State said that they were going to attack overseas. I just don’t think people took them seriously. When I first heard about the recent attacks in Paris, I was like, “Oh, my God, these guys are at it again, and we’re not paying attention.” The change that I think we need to be more aware of is that, in Europe, there is a leadership structure. And there’s likely a leader or a leadership structure in each country in Europe. The same is probably similar for the United States, but just not obvious yet.


Syria, Yemen, Libya — one factor unites these failed states, and it isn’t religion

By Jack Goldstone

As world leaders gather in Paris this week to address climate change, they will labor under the shadow of recent attacks by Islamic State. Yet as they think about climate issues, they should remember that the connection between climate change and Islamic State — and more broadly, between climate change and political instability — is not just a coincidence. It may instead be the key reality of the 21st century.

The rise of IS was a direct result of the failure of the Syrian regime, as it was beset by urban uprisings in 2011. Yet those uprisings did not come out of nowhere, and were not merely inspired by protests in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Syria was an increasingly prosperous country in the 1990s, with its various ethnic and religious groups working together in cities.

Yet between 2006 and 2009, Syria was crippled by its worst drought in modern history. A recent article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that this drought was not natural. Rather, hotter temperatures and the weakening of winds that bring moisture from the Mediterranean were likely the region’s reflection of rising greenhouse gas emissions, according to computer simulations.

Can clean energy save the gorillas of Virunga National Park?

Updated 0638 GMT (1438 HKT) December 1, 2015

We’re surrounded by shades of deep green, hiking up hill, following the rhythmic sound of machete slicing a small path through thick forest.

“We’re two minutes away now,” says Virunga National Park’s southern sector head Innocent Mburanumwe. “Actually maybe one minute,” he corrects himself. Time to put on our masks.

Mountain gorillas share 98% of their DNA with humans. Even a common cold could have dire consequences for the troop we are about to visit. With only around 800 left in the wild, these are some of the last remaining mountain gorillas in the world.

Mburanumwe spots a massive silverback chewing on a pile of bamboo and begins a series of gorilla-like grunts. “I just want him to know that we are friendly, that we aren’t an enemy.”

Mburanumwe knows gorillas. His father habituated the first troop here in 1987 and took him when he was just 11 to see gorillas for the first time. He says he was struck by how human they seemed.



Nov 30 2015

The Daily Late Nightly Show (Lysistrata)

The New Guy


A Constituency Of One

Trevor’s guests this week-

Spike will be on to talk about Chi-Raq, just as he will on Wednesday with Larry.

Mr. Continuity

Technically it’s still Long Island

This weekly’s guests-

No Stephen except for repeats. I did warn you.

Nov 30 2015

Managing Anger

I’ve been really much too angry to talk about many of recent events both here in the US and overseas. Since the bombing of the Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctor Without Borders) hospital by the US military in Kunduz, Afghanistan to Friday’s mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, trying to remain objective has been pretty damned difficult.

The US military continues to insist that the deliberate bombing of the only trauma center in Afghanistan was a mistake, now blaming a series “human error” and “equipment failure.” MSF and Human Rights watch aren’t buying the military’s report and are still calling for an independent nonmilitary investigation.

“The U.S. version of events presented today leaves M.S.F. with more questions than answers,” said Christopher Stokes, the organization’s general director. “The frightening catalog of errors outlined today illustrates gross negligence on the part of U.S. forces and violations of the rules of war.”

Human Rights Watch reiterated its call for a criminal investigation. “The Kunduz strike still warrants a criminal investigation into possible war crimes, but the Pentagon did not clarify whether recommendations made to senior commanders include possible criminal investigations,” said John Sifton, the Asia policy director for Human Rights Watch. “We are deeply concerned that any decision making about any possible criminal charges, if they are made, remains within the chain of command responsible for military operations in Afghanistan.”

This is tantamount to letting the murderer investigate his own crime.

In the wake of the terror attack in Paris, France, the French government declared a state of emergency that gave the government that was only to last for three days. This gives the authorities extraordinary powers to set curfews, limit the movement of people and forbid mass gatherings, establish secure zones where people can be monitored and close public spaces such as theatres, bars, museums and other meeting places. Those measures were extended for three months by French parliament by President François Hollande. Now under those powers, demonstrations and gatherings to protest the climate talks, which start tomorrow in Paris, have been banned and climate activists are under house arrest.

So much for liberté.

In Chicago, it has been revealed that the police, the state prosecutor and the mayor’s office has been covering up the murder of a black 17 year old Laquan McDonald by a white police officer, Jason Van Dyke. for 14 months. In a chilling video from the police car dash cam, which is for unknown reasons is devoid of sound, you can see Van Dyke shoot the young man 16 times, emptying his clip. The officer was on the scene for less than 30 seconds before opening fire on the teen who was only carrying a 3 inch pocket knife and was walking away from the police. It took the state’s attorney over a year to finally indict Van Dyke for 1st degree murder.

The cover-up of this murder by cop would have continued if it were not for the tenacity of two independent journalists and a lawyer. The police have also been accused of erasing surveillance video from a nearby Burger King that would have shed further light on the shooting. There are now calls for the resignations of Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Actually, they should all be indicted for obstruction of justice and some police officers for aiding and abetting.

On Friday while the demonstrations were taking place on Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile,” In Colorado Springs, Colorado, a lone gunman shot his way into a Planned Parenthood clinic and held off police for over 5 hours. The white male suspect, Robert Lewis dear, a loner originally from South Carlina, killed a police officer and two civilians, wounding nine others. According to authorities, Dear said “no more baby parts” after his arrest. Never mind the obvious, that Dear was more than likely influenced by the hateful rhetoric used by anti-abortion activists, some who call for the killing of abortion doctors and clinic workers, the right wingers are in full denial. The mainstream media has to start calling these extremists exactly what they are terrorists, whose actions are fueled by the hateful rhetoric of anti-abortion extremists.

The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).

The argument by the Republican and right wing that both sides do it, is not just a false equivalency, it’s a blatant lie. When has anyone from the pro-choice movement bombed or killed anyone from the anti-choicers side? Or ever threatened it? They are wrong when they say the hate filled doesn’t fuel these acts. It does and it’s well documented. Not that this was right or, for that mater, even legal, nor am I advocating it, but the Obama administration has already assassinated an American citizen, who was Muslim cleric, for allegedly inciting terrorism, but then, he wasn’t a Christian.

From the generals covering up their war crimes, the French destroying their constitution to the officials and politicians making excuses for terrorist acts and covering up for murderous police, they all have blood on their hands. I will probably be very angry for a very long time but I am managing.

Nov 30 2015

Sure, Let’s Just Start Another War!

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Despite a notable lack of success in the 4 or 5 wars we already have going in the Middle East (I might be missing some) it seems there is an endless amount of enthusiasm within the D.C. Beltway and especially among the Versailles Villagers of our boot-licking toady media class for more of them.

Glenn Greenwald explains it all

Many have observed that no American journalists or pundits (let alone political officials) other than Judy Miller paid any career price whatsoever for their dissemination of falsehoods about Iraq and the use of their platforms to vocally cheer for one of the worst, most destructive crimes of their generation. That’s true, but it’s worse than that.

To this day, being regarded in establishment circles as a serious and credible foreign policy expert for a journalist or pundit all but requires that one have supported the Iraq War along with subsequent military actions. The few public figures who opposed the war and are admitted to such circles are admitted despite that opposition, and a requirement is that they opposed the invasion on pragmatic and strategic grounds, not moral or legal ones.

This dynamic is particularly thriving right now in the U.K., as scores of political and media figures who cheered Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq malign Jeremy Corbyn, who opposed it, as an “extremist.” In order to be a serious “moderate” in Western imperial capitals, one must endorse the right of your government to invade, bomb and attack countries that haven’t attacked yours; only an “extremist” would oppose such a radical precept (anger at Corbyn is currently at its peak because he opposes U.K. bombing of Syria against ISIS). To see how this mentality works, watch this amazing 2003 BBC program as one of the U.K.’s most despised-among-the-establishment figures, George Galloway, debated the invasion of Iraq with numerous still-respected pro-war pundits; virtually everything Galloway said in opposition to the war proved prescient and virtually everything the war cheerleaders said proved utterly false, and yet they are still regarded as credible and serious while he is loathed and dismissed as an extremist.

At least The Donald is upfront and honest about it. Torture? Sure, they deserve it. Drone more, bomb more, boots on the ground because there is no amount of lives that are too many to sacrifice to defend our right to spy on all of our citizens all of the time.

  • War is Peace
  • Freedom is Slavery
  • Ignorance is Strength

More war is not the answer.

I’m not calling you an idiot or a sell out (though your choice is between stupid or evil and I lean evil) or even a racist (but you do notice that it always seems to be brown people, right?), however I am certainly calling you incompetent. This is not working, even in your self defined frame.

Nov 30 2015

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Chris Hedges: The Age of the Demagogues

The increase in nihilistic violence such as school shootings and Friday’s lethal assault on a Planned Parenthood clinic, the frequent executions of poor people of color by police, and the rise of thuggish demagogues such as Donald Trump are symptoms of the collapse of our political and cultural institutions.

These institutions, which once made possible piecemeal and incremental reform, which sought to protect the weak from the tyranny of the majority and give them a voice, acted as a safety valve to ameliorate the excesses of capitalism and address the grievances of the underclass. They did not defy the system of capitalism. They colluded with the structures of privilege and white supremacy. But they provided some restraints on the worst abuse and exploitation. The capturing of major institutions by corporate power and the moral bankruptcy of our elites, especially members of our self-identified liberal class, have shattered this equilibrium.

Paul Krugman: Inequality and the City

New York, New York, a helluva town. The rents are up, but the crime rate is down. The food is better than ever, and the cultural scene is vibrant. Truly, it’s a golden age for the town I recently moved to — if you can afford the housing. But more and more people can’t.

And it’s not just New York. The days when dystopian images of urban decline were pervasive in popular culture — remember the movie “Escape from New York”? — are long past. The story for many of our iconic cities is, instead, one of gentrification, a process that’s obvious to the naked eye, and increasingly visible in the data. [..]

But why is this happening? And is there any way to spread the benefits of our urban renaissance more widely?

Robert Kuttner: Black Lives Matter — and Beyond

College campuses, from Yale to Claremont, are awash in black protest, to a greater extent than any time since the 1960s. It has struck conservatives as odd that protest against lingering racism is coming from the most privileged of African-Americans, most of them on full scholarships at elite universities, places that are about as accepting and politically correct as white America gets.

But think again. The several police murders since Ferguson have reminded blacks of all ages and stations just how little has changed in terms of the elemental vulnerability of even the most mannered and well educated of African-Americans. You can play by all of the rules of white society and still be blown away if a cop gets trigger-happy or mistakes a black honor student for a black intruder.

Nomi Prins: The American Hunger Games: Top Republican Candidates Take Economic Policy Into the Wilderness

Fact: too many Republican candidates are clogging the political scene. Perhaps what’s needed is an American Hunger Games to cut the field to size. Each candidate could enter the wilderness with one weapon and one undocumented worker and see who wins. Unlike in the fictional Hunger Games for which contestants were plucked from 13 struggling, drab districts in the dystopian country of Panem, in the GOP version, everyone already lives in the Capitol. (Okay, Marco Rubio lives just outside it but is about to enter, and Donald Trump like some gilded President Snow inhabits a universe all his own with accommodations and ego to match.) [..]

Perhaps with such a field of candidates, the classic Hunger Games line will need to be adapted: “Let the games begin and may the oddity of it all be ever in your favor.” Certainly, there has never been a stranger or more unsettling Republican campaign for the presidential nomination or one more filled with economic balderdash and showmanship. Of course, at some point in 2016, we’ll be at that moment when President Snow says to Katniss Everdeen, “Make no mistake, the game is coming to its end.” One of these candidates or a rival Democrat will actually enter the Oval Office and when that happens, both parties will be left with guilt on their hands and all the promises that will have to be fulfilled to repay their super-rich supporters (Bernie aside). And that, of course, is when the real Hunger Games are likely to begin for most Americans. Those of us in the outer districts can but hope for revolution.

Allen Frances: The Harmful Hypocrisy of the ‘Right to Life’ Movement

The hypocrisy displayed by radical ideologues in their ruthless effort to end abortion (and/or to use the abortion issue for political gain) is breathtaking. Most fundamentally hypocritical is their strident espousal of the principal that all human life is sacred from conception to delivery, while simultaneously showing callous indifference to life once it has taken its first extra-uterine breath.

There could not be a more dramatic example of hypocrisy than “right-to-lifers” who commit murder. Spurred on by hate spewing political and religious leaders, deranged and anger-filled followers somehow find justification for cruel and criminal violence. How tragically ironic are the gun toting “lovers-of-life'”who are willing to murder innocents, as in the recent Planned Parenthood slaying.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the killings occurred in Colorado Springs, the fourth most right wing city in the U.S., center of radical speech directed against abortion in general and specifically against Planned Parenthood.

Nov 30 2015

The Breakfast Club (We are Family)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Pink Floyd releases its best-selling album “The Wall”; Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, Dick Clark born; World Trade Organization’s meeting met by 40-thousand protesters;

Breakfast Tunes

Remembering Cynthia Robinson

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

Winston Churchill

Breakfast News

Climate change protests take place around the world on eve of summit

From Melbourne to Mexico City, tens of thousands of people worldwide hit the streets this weekend for a global climate march, pressing world leaders to push for a bold international agreement at the upcoming climate summit in Paris.

The center for the demonstrations was supposed to be Paris, where nearly 150 world leaders are gathering for a U.N. global summit on climate change that kicks off Monday. But after the terrorist attacks there more than two weeks ago that killed at least 130 people, French police banned large protests.

Colorado Victims Identified as Iraq Veteran and Woman From Hawaii

As an Army specialist in Iraq, Ke’Arre M. Stewart lived with fear and saw tragedy, a friend said. At home in the United States, he felt safe. Then a man in a trench coat opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic here — and shortly after, Mr. Stewart, 29, along with two others, was dead. [..]

In a post on Facebook on Sunday, John Ah-King announced the death of his daughter, Jennifer Markovsky, 35, in the attack. “To my daughter Jennifer I’m going to miss so much,” he wrote. “Life was to short my beloved daughter.”

Europe, Turkey seal deal to stem flow of migrants

Turkey will help stem the flow of migrants to Europe in return for cash, visas and renewed talks on its joining the European Union in a deal struck Sunday that the Turkish prime minister called a “new beginning” for the uneasy neighbors.

Leaders of the 28 European Union states met Turkish premier Ahmet Davutoglu in Brussels on Sunday evening to give their collective political blessing to an agreement hammered out by diplomats over the past few weeks.

A key element is $3.2 billion in EU aid for the 2.2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. The money is intended to raise the refugees’ living standards so that more will stay put rather than attempt often-perilous crossings to the Greek islands and the EU.

Sea Shepherd Blasts Japan’s Plan to Slaughter 4,000 Minke Whales

Environmental activist group Sea Shepherd warned Japan against resuming “research” whaling in the Antarctic in defiance of an international court of justice ruling that it cease the practice and called on the Australian government to intervene.

After a decade of activism by Sea Shepherd and other groups, Japan was forced to abandon its 2014-15 Southern Ocean hunt after the International Court of Justice said the annual expedition was a commercial activity masquerading as research.  But on Saturday, Japanese media reported it would start again soon, despite a call by global regulators for more evidence that the expeditions have a scientific purpose. Japan’s  Yomiuri Shimbun and other media said the Japanese fleet could depart possibly by the end of December.

Despite international disapproval, Japan has hunted whales in the Southern Ocean under an exemption in the global whaling moratorium that allows for lethal research.

Town demolishes veteran’s house while he has surgery

When a Navy veteran traveled from Long Island to Florida for a knee replacement, his house was the last thing on his mind. But now his memory of it is all he can think about.

Philip Williams’s home was demolished in the spring by town officials while he spent about six months recuperating from surgical complications in Fort Lauderdale. Back in New York, officials in the town of Hempstead deemed his modest two-story home unfit for habitation and knocked it down.

The 69-year-old has waged a legal battle against the suburban New York town. He wants reimbursement — for the house and all the belongings inside.

’12 Days of Christmas’ Items Top $34K, up 0.6 Percent

Lords a-leaping is the U.S. economy slow to recover!

The cost of 10 lords a-leaping increased 3 percent over last year, but nine of the other 12 gifts listed in the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” stayed the same price as last year, according to the 32nd annual PNC Wealth Management Christmas Price Index released Monday.

The index is a whimsical way the Pittsburgh-based bank tracks inflation.

The set of gifts spelled out in the final verse of the song would cost $34,131 this year, or 0.6 percent more than the adjusted 2014 price of $33,933. PNC decided to adjust the historic prices of turtle doves and swans after realizing the prices quoted by vendors didn’t reflect the birds’ overall value on the open market over the years.

Nov 30 2015

Six In The Morning Monday November 30

COP21: Poor countries fear being ‘left behind’ in rush for deal

A critical UN conference aimed at agreeing a new global approach to climate change has begun in Paris.

Negotiators from 195 countries will try to reach a deal within two weeks aimed at reducing global carbon emissions.

Leaders from 147 nations will address the meeting, known as COP21, on Monday. Initiatives aimed at boosting clean technologies are due to be launched.

But the world’s poorest countries say they fear being “left behind” in the push for a new treaty.

The French government will officially take over the running of the talks during Monday’s opening ceremony.

COP21 live: The latest updates from Paris.

Police have locked down the conference centre in Le Bourget, closing roads amid strict security for the leaders’ visit.

Presidents and prime ministers will address the gathering with organisers hoping high-level appearances will boost the chances of reaching a deal to cut emissions.

Europe split over refugee deal as Germany leads breakaway coalition

Angela Merkel holds surprise mini-summit in Brussels with nine EU countries willing to take large numbers after meeting resistance to mandatory sharing scheme


Months of European efforts to come up with common policies on mass immigration unravelled on Sunday when Germany led a “coalition of the willing” of nine EU countries taking in most refugees from the Middle East, splitting the union formally on the issues of mandatory refugee-sharing and funding.

An unprecedented full EU summit with Turkey agreed a fragile pact aimed at stemming the flow of migrants to Europe via Turkey.

But the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, frustrated by the resistance in Europe to her policies, also convened a separate mini-summit with seven other leaders to push a fast-track deal with the Turks and to press ahead with a new policy of taking in and sharing hundreds of thousands of refugees a year directly from Turkey.


Sinjar: Three more mass graves discovered in northern town recently retaken from Isis

The latest exhumed graves are believed to contain between 80 and 100 bodies

Kurdish officials said Sunday three more mass graves have been found in the northern town of Sinjar, where Kurdish forces backed by heavy U.S.-led airstrikes drove out Isis militants earlier this month.

The discovery brings the total number of burial sites in the area to five and the total number of bodies uncovered to between 200 and 300, according to local officials.

While experts say proper excavation and identification of the bodies could take months, Sinjar residents are expressing frustration with the process so far, complaining that their requests from the Kurdish Regional Government for expert help have gone unanswered.


South Korean author of ‘comfort women’ book taken aback by indictment

SEOUL — South Korean author Park Yu-ha told the Mainichi Shimbun in an interview on Nov. 29 that her indictment on charges of libel in connection with her book “Teikoku no Ianfu” (Comfort women of the empire), took her by surprise.

South Korean prosecutors indicted Park, a professor at Sejong University in Seoul, without arrest. They accuse her of damaging the reputation of former “comfort women” through her book.

On Nov. 26, a group of 54 Japanese and U.S. politicians and experts including former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama released a statement in protest against Park’s indictment. Her supporters in South Korea are expected to release a similar statement on Dec. 2.


Change hits Saudi Arabia: 900 women run for office

Updated 0836 GMT (1636 HKT) November 30, 2015

More than 900 women are campaigning for public office in Saudi Arabia — a first in the kingdom’s history.

The December 12 municipal election will be the first opportunity for Saudi women to exercise their vote since a 2011 order by the now deceased King Abdullah that granted women some opportunities for political participation in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

According to the State Department, Abdullah issued a royal decree in 2013 mandating the Consultative Council, a royally appointed body that advises the King, be at least 20% women.

Critics have described the change as anywhere from modest to inconsequential. Women will only participate in elections at the municipal level.

At least two women’s rights activists announced on Twitter that they had been disqualified as candidates.

In Arkansas, a growing population of ‘climate change refugees’

Rising sea levels have prompted thousands of natives from the Marshall Islands to flee their homes and relocate to Springdale, Arkansas.

Valentino Keimbar, a native of the Marshall Islands, moved 6,000 miles away from his home in the Pacific Ocean last year to Springdale, Arkansas because of climate change.

Located between Hawaii and Australia, the Marshall Islands are made up of 29 atolls and five islands with a population of about 70,000, all of whom live about six feet above sea level.

And another 10,000 Marshallese live in northwest Arkansas. The government of the Marshall Islands even has an official consular office in Springdale.

“Arkansas is the land of opportunity,” Josen Kaious, from the Marshall Islands town of Laura, told the Associated Press.

Nov 29 2015

Zeno’s Paradox

If at every instant in it’s flight an arrow has a distinct and measurable position, when does it move?

The answer is, of course, that it’s an object in motion and so has a quality of change that you are ignoring when you merely measure the position. This is why God, Liebniz, and Newton invented Calculus.

Thus I am skeptical of these “frame by frame” video deconstructions that show every instance of police murder is justified. They ignore the change that is the undisputed fact less than 2 seconds after getting out of the car, rookie patrolman Timothy Loehmann shot 12 year old Tamir Rice dead.

Cleveland prosecutor releases analysis of Tamir Rice surveillance footage
Associated Press
Sunday 29 November 2015 08.07 EST

The family’s experts said bad police tactics led to Tamir’s death. Roger Carr, a consultant from Santee, California, noted in his report that Garmback, Loehmann’s training officer, should have stopped the cruiser a distance away from Tamir to give the officers time to assess the situation.

“The officers created the alleged danger here,” Carr wrote in his report.

Carr criticized the prosecutors’ experts for assuming that Loehmann warned Tamir to raise his hands before he shot him, which a Cleveland deputy chief told reporters shortly after the shooting. Investigators from the Cuyahoga County sheriff’s office noted in a report that there was no evidence Loehmann shouted anything.

Nov 29 2015

The Breakfast Club (Here Comes the Sun)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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AP’s Today in History for November 29th

President Johnson names commission to investigate JFK’s assassination; U.N. passes resolution calling for the British Mandate of Palestine to be partitioned; First flight over the South Pole; Natalie Wood, Cary Grant and George Harrison die. (Nov. 29)


Breakfast Tunes Beatles’/George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” on 5-string Banjo


Something to Think about, Breakfast News & Blogs Below

Supreme Court justice blocks Native Hawaiian vote count
The Associated Press

A U.S. Supreme Court justice on Friday issued a temporary stay blocking the counting of votes in an election that would be a significant step toward Native Hawaiian self-governance.

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s order also stops the certification of any winners pending further direction from him or the entire court.

Native Hawaiians are voting to elect delegates for a convention next year to come up with a self-governance document to be ratified by Native Hawaiians. Voting ends Monday. …

Turkish human rights lawyer shot dead during press conference
The Associated Press

A prominent lawyer and human rights defender, who faced a criminal charge for supporting Kurdish rebels, has been killed in an attack in south-east Turkey in which a police officer also died, officials said.

Tahir Elci was shot on Saturday while he and other lawyers were making a press statement. Two policemen and a journalist were also injured.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack and there were conflicting reports about what led to the incident. …

Black Friday sales fall 10% from last year
The Associated Press

Total sales in the US on Black Friday fell 10% to $10.4bn this year, down from $11.6bn in 2014, according to research firm ShopperTrak.

The decline in sales on the traditional busiest shopping day of the year has been blamed on shops opening the day before. But this year, sales on Thanksgiving also dropped, and by the same percentage, to $1.8bn.

A big reason for the decline is increased online shopping, as Americans hunt down deals on their smartphones, tablets and computers. Many retailers are also offering bargains long before Thanksgiving, limiting the impact of Black Friday specials. …

Exposed: ‘Full Range of Collusion’ Between Big Oil and TTIP Trade Reps
Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams

Amid warnings that the proposed TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could undermine global attempts to rein in runaway climate change, new documents reveal that EU trade officials gave U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil access to confidential negotiating strategies considered too sensitive to be released to the European public.

The documents, obtained by the Guardian, offer “an extraordinary glimpse into the full degree of collusion between the European commission and multinational corporations seeking to use TTIP to increase U.S. exports of fossil fuels,” said John Hilary, the director of the UK organization War on Want. “The commission is allowing the oil majors to write the proposed energy chapter of TTIP in their favor.”

According to the Guardian: “Officials also asked one oil refinery association for ‘concrete input’ on the text of an energy chapter for the negotiations, as part of the EU’s bid to write unfettered imports of U.S. crude oil and gas into the trade deal.” …







Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Brazilian police hunt Santa Claus who stole Sao Paulo helicopter

RIO DE JANEIRO- Brazilian police are hunting for a Sao Paulo Santa Claus who kicked off the Christmas shopping season by stealing a helicopter.

The thief rented the aircraft late Friday from an air taxi service at the Campo Marte airport in Sao Paulo for a Black Friday “surprise,” the Sao Paulo state security secretariat said on Saturday.

During the flight, the Santa forced the pilot to fly to a small farm outside of Sao Paulo city, where they were met by a third person, the secretariat said. …

Nov 29 2015

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests this Sunday are: Republican presidential candidates Dr. Ben Carson and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH).

The roundtable guests are: ABC News’ Cokie Roberts; Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol; Dewey Strategy Group principal Maria Cardona; and Matt Bai, Yahoo News.

Face the Nation: Host John Dickerson’s guests are: Republican presidential candidate former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL); in special interview from Baghdad are war hawks Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Joining him on the panel are: Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal; Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic; and David Ignatius and Michael Gerson, both columnists at The Washington Post.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests on this week’s “MTP” are: Republican presidential candidates Dr. Ben Carson and real estate mogul Donald Trump; and NH Union Leader Publisher Joe McQuaid.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper: Mr. Tapper’s guests are: Republican presidential candidate former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR); and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX).

His panel guests are: Sean Spicer, RNC’s chief strategist; Donna Brazile, Democratic strategist; former SC state Rep. Bakari Sellers (D) and S.E. Cupp, The NY Daily News.

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