27 Jul

Bernie Sanders Holds Back Tears As Brother Memorializes Their Parents During DNC Vote


Bernie Sanders Holds Back Tears As Brother Memorializes Their Parents During DNC Vote

“They would be immensely proud of their son and his accomplishments,” Larry Sanders said.

The O’Leary: I’ve got to stop crying. I am becoming dehydrated.

Presidential nomination roll calls are normally dull, procedural affairs in which each state presents their delegates’ votes to the secretary, often accompanied by some saccharine line that may as well have been written by the state tourism board.

Which is to say: They do not often move people to tears, as Larry Sanders – Bernie Sanders’ brother – did Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Larry cast the final vote as a representative of Democrats living abroad, and with it, he shared a heartfelt message with his fellow delegates.

“I want to read, before this convention, the names of our parents, Eli Sanders and Dorothy Sanders,” said Larry. “They did not have easy lives, and they died young. They would be immensely proud of their son and his accomplishments. They loved him.”

Scott Audette / Reuters

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane, react to his brother making the presidential nomination roll cal

“They loved the new deal of Franklin Roosevelt and would be especially proud that Bernard is renewing that vision,” he continued. “It is with enormous pride that I cast my vote for Bernie Sanders.”

Throughout the touching moment, the camera cut back and forth between the brothers, who both struggled to hold back tears.

27 Jul

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


Court hears of comment made by Stephen Rankin, charged with murder in the 18-year-old’s death, in reference to another unarmed man he killed years earlier

Stephen D. Rankin

Stephen Rankin is charged with first-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony for the fatal shooting of William Chapman Photograph: Brian J Clark/The Virginian-Pilot

A Virginia police officer who will stand trial for murder this week told a witness “this is my second one” after shooting dead an unarmed black 18-year-old, a court heard on Tuesday.

Stephen Rankin, who had killed another unarmed man four years earlier, was recorded by his Taser’s camera making the remark to a Walmart staff member seconds after killing William Chapman in the store’s parking lot in the city of Portsmouth in April last year.

At a final pretrial hearing on Tuesday, Rankin’s defense team argued unsuccessfully that the comment should be censored during his trial for first-degree murder at Portsmouth circuit court. “This statement is not probative of anything,” said James Broccoletti, his lead attorney.

But their motion was denied by judge Johnny E Morrison after prosecutors argued that they should not have to “sanitize the evidence” around the deadly shooting.

“The defendant made the comment not just in the presence and earshot of a witness, but to the witness,” said Stephanie Morales, the commonwealth’s attorney, who is leading the case against Rankin………………

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Government says hostility from Madrid has left it with no choice but to use democratic mandate to pursue independence

People wave Catalonian separatist flags during a rally in Barcelona

People wave Catalonia flags at a rally in Barcelona. A recent poll showed that 47.7% of Catalans support independence. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

The Catalan government has intensified its war of words with Spain by vowing to use its democratic mandate to forge a separate Catalan state with or without the approval of Madrid.

Catalonia is preparing to defy Spain’s constitutional court this week by debating the conclusions of a working group on sovereignty, nine months after the Catalan parliament put forward a resolution calling for the “beginning of a process of the creation of an independent Catalan state”.

Carme Forcadell, the president of the parliament, and Raül Romeva, the minister of foreign affairs, told the Guardian enduring hostility from Madrid had left Catalonia with no choice but to press ahead with the independence agenda.

“The [Spanish state] has left us feeling that we just don’t have an alternative,” Romeva said. “We have always said that we would have preferred a Scottish-type scenario, where we could negotiate with the state and hold a coordinated and democratic referendum. We keep talking to Madrid, but all we get back from them is an echo.”

Forcadell pointed to a recent scandal as evidence of the Spanish government’s attitude towards Catalonia. Last month, Spain’s interior minister, Jorge Fernández Díaz, and the head of Catalonia’s anti-fraud office, Daniel de Alfonso, were apparently recorded discussing possible investigations that could be launched against pro-independence politicians in the region.

Forcadell said she was incredulous at the idea that the acting Spanish government, led by Mariano Rajoy, could simply brush aside the alleged incident and say nothing was going on…………

Collapse of BPV has left citizens with nothing and the ramifications could damage the whole of Italy and the eurozone

in Vicenza

Ponte San Michele in Vicenza, Veneto Italy

Behind the serenity of Vicenza is real financial hardship where not even the mayor has been spared. Photograph: Hedda Gjerpen/Getty Images

From a distance, Vicenza does not look like a city engulfed in turmoil. On the elegant Corso Andrea Palladio, named after the Renaissance architect whose work defines this city, a finely dressed woman clutches a Chanel handbag during her evening passeggiata. Locals sit back and enjoy their Campari spritz cocktails in the July heat. A black Maserati rolls slowly down the street.

But this apparent serenity belies an ugly truth. The regions of Veneto, where Vicenza is located, and Tuscany are the epicentres of Italy’s banking crisis, which has cost citizens hundreds of millions of euros.

Even the city’s mayor, Achille Variati, was personally hit when shares in the city’s bank, Banca Popolare di Vicenza (BPV), tanked earlier this year.

The mayor lost €25,000 (£20,904), money that he said he would never likely see again. The fear now is that the issues that gripped Vicenza will have damaging ramifications for all of Italy and the entire eurozone. The country’s third-largest lender, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, is expected to fail a stress test whose results will be released on Friday night, and a heated debate is under way between Rome and Brussels on how to save the bank.

For waiter Francesco Bertolda, 43, the problem started two years ago, when a local BPV bank manager told him and his father that they would be eligible for financial assistance – loans for everything ranging from homes to cars and businesses – if they each bought a minimum of €6,000 in bank shares.

Today, the combined €12,000 investment is worthless, but Bertolda – a father of three – tries to keep his troubles in perspective. “Many people, companies, have lost much more; they have lost millions,” he said. “Still, I do have my boys. That is money I could have used.”…………

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15 southern African countries have asked for $2.8bn to help feed nearly 40 million people hit by one of the worst regional droughts in 35 years

Villagers attempt to collect water from a dry river bed in drought-hit Masvingo, Zimbabwe on 2 June 2016.

Villagers attempt to collect water from a dry river bed in drought-hit Masvingo, Zimbabwe, on 2 June 2016. Photograph: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

Southern African countries have launched an emergency appeal for $2.8bn (£2.1bn) to help feed nearly 40 million people hit by one of the worst regional droughts in 35 years.

According to the South African Development Community, which comprises 15 countries, 23 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance and a further 13 million are food insecure following the strongest El Niño event recorded.

Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have already declared national drought emergencies, South Africa has a drought emergency in eight of its nine provinces, and Mozambique declared a 90-day “red alert” for some areas.

Food shortages are expected to peak between October, when supplies will run lowest, and March, when the next harvest is due, so the number of people in extreme need is expected to rise significantly if insufficient assistance is given.

The US has pledged $127m (£97m), lifting its contribution to the region to about $300m. Britain has delivered $250m to Africa since July 2015 as part of its El Niño response, and the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy last week announced pledges totalling $22m.

But the gap between funds needed and pledged is thought to have risen to more than $4bn. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, $6bn has been requested by the governments of the 60-odd countries affected by El Niño but less than $2bn has been pledged………….

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US politics

Election 2016

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Donald Trump masks

‘It is preposterous that Donald Trump should end up in charge of a nuclear arsenal. Yet it is possible that he will.’ Photograph: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

When politics was reliably serious, parliament’s summer recess would open the silly season. It was a time for sightings of Cornish sharks, the beast of Bodmin, kittens that resemble Hitler. The tradition seems obsolete. News as light entertainment lost its charm when politician-entertainers started making serious news. If only it were just cats that looked like fascists.

The idea of silliness requires shared assumptions about what is sensible. The ridiculous must be self-evidently transgressive to still be ridiculous. But in the rise of Donald Trump there is a new, sinister kind of absurdity that simultaneously defies reason and demands reasoned engagement. Because plainly, to millions of people, it is not absurd at all.

It is preposterous that this man, who radiates infantile petulance, narcissistic spite and tyrannical racism should end up in charge of a nuclear arsenal. Yet it is possible that he will. Theories abound as to how this has happened. Trump as the expression of a cultural marginalisation of the white working class; Trump as the manifestation of economic insecurity in an age of dysfunctional globalisation; Trump as a symptom of Republican anti-government rhetoric eating itself.

The phenomenon requires a rational explanation but also somehow doesn’t deserve one. It feels as if the act of dispassionate elucidation is too flattering. To paint a maniac as the conduit for genuine grievance risks sanitising insanity. It is a problem that Hannah Arendt observed in 1951 in the preface to The Origins of Totalitarianism. She warned that causal analysis of extremism risks becoming a moral anaesthetic.

“Comprehension does not mean denying the outrageous, deducing the unprecedented from precedents or explaining phenomena by such analogies and generalities that the impact of reality and the shock of experience are no longer felt.” The same sentiment was voiced by EJ Dionne, a columnist for the Washington Post, earlier this year. It would be easy to get used to Trump’s repetitive offences, to be numbed by them. The challenge, he wrote, is “staying shocked”.

In a milder way, the UK also shows symptoms of losing its sense of politically absurdity. Not long ago Boris Johnson was a comedy subplot in British politics, the ribald swaggerer with self-belief that vastly outstripped capability. But somewhere along the way, obvious unsuitability for high office stopped being obvious. This fairground Falstaff is now foreign secretary. Nigel Farage was once a nationalist mosquito, consequential only because his high-pitched whine made bigger beasts flail around trying to swat him. Now Farage is the toast of Trumpian ultras, the prophet of the implausible fringe breakthrough. Labour was recently a serious party of government. Now it is a chaotic nest of delusion and conspiracy theory.

Absurdity used to be self-punishing in politics in the same way that being caught telling flagrant lies used to have consequences. Politicians gave evasive answers to avoid saying things that were diametrically opposed to reality, which was a bit slippery but showed at least some respect for the aspiration to be truthful. In the new, vaudevillian style of politics, words needn’t retain even a tenuous connection to facts, any more than the lines in a play are expected to be the transcription of real-life events. What matters is the effect the words produce. So Penny Mordaunt, a pro-Brexit Tory minister, when asked whether Britain would have a veto over Turkish membership of the EU could say no, when the correct answer was yes. And there is no penalty, no shame.

Mark Twain wrote that no political church “can face ridicule in a fair field and live”. Perhaps that was so in 1889. Today ridicule bounces off the ridiculous. It was gratifying to watch Jon Stewart make a one-off guest appearance on the Late Show last week, lambasting Trump and his Fox news cheerleaders. It was a comic-polemic tour de force. The clip whizzed round liberal silos on social media. But the wits have been wielding their rapiers against the same target for years, leaving barely a scratch……….

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27 Jul

United States Wars, News and Casualties


See also: Iraq – A Peoples Photo Journal

War News

Iraq News

War ISIS Iraq – War Documentary

War Documentary

 WaPo: The U.S. is apparently using anti-drone rifles against the Islamic State

Read Full Article Australia on attack with IS in retreat

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 IraqiNews: 48,000 Iraqi displaced families return to Anbar

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 IraqiNews: Shia militia headquarters in Karada destroyed

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 BBC: Baghdad bomb site now a shrine to the dead

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 Reuters: Suicide bombing north of Baghdad kills 16, Islamic State claims attack

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cost of iraq

Click above to update

ISIS claims responsibility for France church attack

( BAGHDAD –  An 84-year-old French priest was killed by two armed attackers at a church in Normandy on Tuesday, which the French president François…

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48,000 Iraqi displaced families return to Anbar

( Anbar – The Ministry of Migration and Displacement announced that 48,257 families have returned to their homes in Anbar Province. Ministry spokesman, in a…

Nineveh Council: 1,500 ISIS members escape Mosul and head towards Riqqa

( NINEVEH – Nineveh provincial council member Hossam al-Abbar revealed on Tuesday that over 1,500 ISIS members including several of its senior leaders have escaped from…

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Washington allocates over $20 million for rehabilitating Qayyarah airbase

( Nineveh – Member of the National Coalition Haneen al-Qadu informed that the United States has allocated over 20 million US dollars for rehabilitating Qayyarah airbase,…

Family of five killed in bomb blast at Sharqat Island

( SALAHADDIN – A security source in Salahaddin province informed on Tuesday that a family of five- a mother and four children- were killed in…

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Afghanistan News

afghan cost

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Afghan intelligence arrest explosives expert of ISIS in Nangarhar

The Afghan intelligence operatives have arrested a key member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group in eastern Nangarhar province. The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said the detained individual has been identified as Azizullah son of Omid Gul who was operating as explosives expert of ISIS loyalists. According to a …….

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Afghanistan need modern Mi-35 gunships to rebuff terrorism groups: Atmar

The National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar has said Afghanistan need modern Mi-35 gunship helicopters in order to rebuff the terrorist groups in the country. Atmar is currently on an official visit to Russia to discuss issues of bilateral interest as well as we expanding ties between Kabul and Moscow. “We need combat helicopters and ………

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US to deploy 800 aviation troops to Afghanistan

The United States will deploy at least 800 soldiers from an aviation unit to Afghanistan in a bid to support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), it has been reported. According to Washington based Stars and Stripes newspaper, the unit will utilize Blackhawks, Chinooks and Apache helicopters with a primary mission of supporting ……..

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Taliban claim they have shot down drone in Kandahar

The Taliban militants group in Afghanistan has claimed the fighters of the group have shot down a drone in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan. The group shared a photo of the downed drone captured which is apparently a reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle used by the Afghan forces. The Taliban said the drone was shot down ………….

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Afghanistan Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians

afgh 72116

Recent Casualties


Iraq Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians

iraq 72116

Recent Casualties:

1st Lt. Anais A. Tobar, 25, of Miami, Florida, died July 18 in Southwest Asia from a non-combat-related injury. She was assigned to the 4th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

26 Jul

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


The first lady proved the perfect Trump antidote and drew a ‘wow’ from Bill Clinton as she declared: ‘Because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters … take for granted that a woman can be president’

in Philadelphia

The McGlynn:

“The story of generations of people who have felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation but who kept on striving and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves and I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”

Truly a bone chilling talk,  destroying the opposition without demeaning them.

She is a wise, honest, and decent woman.

 The problem is that wisdom and decency is still incompatible with today’s  politics, and has been for much too long. But the rise in popularity of Bernie Sanders hopefully signals an increasing appetite for social and political change.

The McGlynn

Video provided by The McGlynn via C Span

Michelle Obama’s stirring speech

Here, at last, the profound, moving and devastating riposte to Donald Trump that many in America, and the world, had been waiting for. And the antidote to the non-politician came from another non-politician – a mother.

Michelle Obama, the first black first lady in American history, gave a 15-minute address to the Democratic national convention that drew cheers, left some delegates openly weeping and did more than any governor or congressman to unite and fire up the party for November’s presidential election.

It also added a chapter to the dynastic saga of the Obamas and the Clintons, coming four years after Bill Clinton gave an extraordinary speech to help Barack Obama get re-elected.

The former president was in the audience on Monday – caught on camera mouthing the word “wow” as Michelle Obama delivered one of the most passionate speeches of election year. On Twitter, President Obama wrote: “Incredible speech by an incredible woman.”

She made reference to a speech made by Hillary Clinton when she conceded defeat to Barack Obama in 2008, saying: “We weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time” after a bruising primary campaign.

Clinton “has the grace and the guts to keep coming back and put cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling until she finally breaks through, lifting all of us with her”, the first lady told a packed arena in Philadelphia. “That is the story of this country. The story that has brought me to this stage tonight.”

The election of the first African American president, and now potentially the first female president, were testament to the true America and a repudiation of all Trump stands for, she continued.

“The story of generations of people who have felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation but who kept on striving and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves and I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”………

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