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12 Feb

United States Wars, News and Casualties

DANNY BOY by Jackie Evancho

A TRIBUTE TO THOSE LEFT BEHIND AT THE END OF A WAR
A family invests years of love and devotion in a child and watches that little one grow to adulthood and serve our beloved country . . . In the end we get a tri-folded flag that will never fly again . . . Ironic ? . . . Let there be no more war

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See also: Iraq – A Peoples Photo Journal

War News

Iraq News

ALJ: Syria war: Powers agree on ‘cessation of hostilities’

World leaders agree to set in place gradual truce but some say it is not a breakthrough

ALJ: Kerry, Lavrov say Syria ceasefire to begin within one week

2 brigades of Iraqi army arrive in Makhmour to liberate Mosul

(IraqiNews.com) Nineveh – The Provincial Council of Nineveh announced on Wednesday the arrival of two brigades of the army’s…

US army conducts 13 airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq

(IraqiNews.com) Baghdad – The US army announced on Thursday, that the US-led coalition conducted 13 air strikes on ISIS…

Civilian killed in armed attack east of Baghdad

(IraqiNews.com) Baghdad – On Thursday, a security source in the Iraqi police revealed, that a civilian was killed in…

Amiriyah Fallujah Council: Hundreds of displaced families have no habitation

(IraqiNews.com) Anbar – On Thursday the head of Amiriyah Fallujah Council in Anbar Province Shaker Mahmoud al-Eissawi announced, that…

22 ISIS militants killed, wounded in coalition bombardment in Kiruk

(IraqiNews.com) Kirkuk – A security source in Kirkuk Province revealed on Thursday, that 22 members of the so-called ISIS…

Afghanistan News

ALJ: Opinion Afghanistan: Pity the children

Conflict, poverty, and flawed policies are killing Afghan children. On February 2, the Taliban proudly assumed responsibility for the assassination of Wasil Ahmad. The boy they had murdered, with two bullets to the head, was only 10 years old.

TLW: Al Qaeda seizes more territory in southern Yemen

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula expanded the territory under its sphere of influence after capturing five towns in southern Yemen over the past two weeks.

MT: In fight over ISIS strategy, Clinton and Sanders debate last Iraq war

Facing questions about how to deal with the Islamic State group, the Democrats’ two presidential candidates on Thursday mostly debated the previous Iraq war instead.

CBS: U.S. airstrikes target ISIS in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials say there have been about 20 airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in eastern Afghanistan in the past three weeks, as the U.S. expands its fight against the insurgent group beyond Iraq and Syria.

More U.S. troops heading to Helmand province
Military Times
“We are increasing our number of advisers in Helmand, and the force protection that will be there for those troops will be what is appropriate given the number of troops we have down there,” Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, a U.S. military spokesman in …
More US troops to help Afghan forces fight Taliban in HelmandStars and Stripes
US to Send More Troops to Aid Afghan Forces Pressed by TalibanNew York Times
Situation Report: US troops heading to Helmand; Canadian …Foreign Policy (blog)

US Forces in Afghanistan Up Anti-IS Strikes, Presence in Helmand
Voice of America
Advisers to Helmand. In addition to more strikes in the east, Shoffner said the U.S. military is increasing its footprint in Helmand province. Afghan special forces are increasing operations in Helmand so that the regional Afghan Army 215 Corps there
US to Deploy More Troops to Afghanistan as Airstrikes Target ISISMilitary.com
US airstrikes target Islamic State in AfghanistanABC FOX Montana News

Northern Helmand district of Sangin on the brink of falling again
IHS Jane’s 360
Afghan National Army (ANA) officers in the district of Sangin in northern Helmand province have warned they are under heavy pressure from the insurgency and that the district is on the brink of falling once again. However, while government officials …

 

Afghanistan Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians

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11 Feb

Clinton’s Exaggerated Wall Street Claim

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Clinton’s Exaggerated Wall Street Claim
By Eugene Kiely and Raymond McCormack..

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Hillary Clinton exaggerated when she claimed Bernie Sanders “took about $200,000 from Wall Street firms” through the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The DSCC did provide about $200,000 to support Sanders’ 2006 Senate race, but a relatively small percentage of the DSCC’s contributions came from “Wall Street.”

In fact, the DSCC’s largest single contributor that year was Friends of Hillary — which was Clinton’s Senate campaign.

Clinton has been criticized by Sanders for accepting large donations and speaking fees from financial companies. In response, Clinton has said the donations have not influenced her decisions — which was the point she made at an event at Manchester Community College in New Hampshire a day before that state’s primary (see the 45:40 mark):

Clinton, Feb. 8: Senator Sanders took about $200,000 from Wall Street firms. Not directly but through the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. You know, there was nothing wrong with that. It hasn’t changed his view. Well, it didn’t change my view or my vote either.

The DSCC did support Sanders, as Clinton says. In 2006, then Rep. Sanders defeated Republican Richard Tarrant to win the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the retiring Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont. Although he ran as an independent, Sanders was backed by the state Democratic Party and supported by both the state and national Democratic committees.

During the 2006 campaign, the DSCC gave $37,300 to the Sanders campaign and spent an additional $60,000 supporting him in campaign advertising. It also gave $110,000 to the Vermont Democratic Party to help Sanders, making eight separate committee transfers (the last coming on Oct. 4, 2006).

That adds up to $207,300 — a little more than the $200,000 claimed by Clinton.

However, Wall Street of course wasn’t the sole source of the DSCC’s money in 2006. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the DSCC raised $121.4 million in the 2006 campaign cycle and roughly $10 million of that came from what the center defines as “Wall Street.” (That would include donations from the political action committees and employees of companies in two industries: securities and investment, and commercial banks.) That’s a little more than 8 percent in Wall Street money.

Clearly, Clinton’s assertion that Sanders “took about $200,000 from Wall Street” is an exaggeration.

In fact, the DSCC received $2 million in 2006 from Friends of Hillary in two $1 million donations. That made Clinton’s Senate campaign committee the single largest contributor to the DSCC for the 2006 campaign. Goldman Sachs ranked fifth at $685,050.

By Clinton’s logic, Sanders “took about $200,000? from Friends of Hillary.

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11 Feb

Clinton Foundation received subpoena from State Department investigators

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Clinton Foundation received subpoena from State Department investigators

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Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Huma Abedin, stops at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Manchester, N.H., on Feb. 7. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

By Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman February 11 at 12:18 PM

Investigators with the State Department issued a subpoena to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation last fall seeking documents about the charity’s projects that may have required approval from the federal government during Hillary Clinton’s term as secretary of state, according to people familiar with the subpoena and written correspondence about it.

The subpoena also asked for records related to Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide who for six months in 2012 was employed simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation, Clinton’s personal office, and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons.

The full scope and status of the inquiry, conducted by the State Department’s inspector general, were not clear from the material correspondence reviewed by The Washington Post.

A foundation representative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing inquiry, said the initial document request had been narrowed by investigators and that the foundation is not the focus of the probe.

A State IG spokesman declined to comment on that assessment or on the subpoena.

Chelsea Clinton defends Clinton Foundation

At a Council on Foreign Relations event on women’s rights in New York City, Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, fielded questions about recent controversies over foreign donations to the foundation. (Council on Foreign Relations)

Representatives for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and Abedin also declined comment.

[How Huma Abedin operated at the center of the Clinton universe]

There is no indication that the watchdog is looking at Clinton. But as she runs for president in part by promoting her leadership of the State Department, an inquiry involving a top aide and the relationship between her agency and her family’s charity could further complicate her campaign.

For months, Clinton has wrangled with controversy over her use of a private email server, which has sparked a separate investigation by the same State Department inspector general’s office. There is also an FBI investigation into whether her system compromised national security.

Clinton was asked about the FBI investigation at a debate last week and said she was “100 percent confident” nothing would come of it. Last month, Clinton denied a Fox News report that the FBI had expanded its probe to include ties between the foundation and the State Department. She called that report “an unsourced, irresponsible” claim with “no basis.”

During the years Clinton served as secretary of state, the foundation was led by her husband, former president Bill Clinton. She joined its board after leaving office in February 2013 and helped run it until launching her White House bid in April.

Abedin served as deputy chief of staff at State starting in 2009. For the second half of 2012, she participated in the “special government employee” program that enabled her to work simultaneously in the State Department, the foundation, Hillary Clinton’s personal office and Teneo, a private consultancy with close ties to the Clintons.
View Graphic
Originally founded in 1997, the foundation has since grown to include a vast number of initiatives. Here is how it all stacked up over the last 18 years.

[The inside story of how the Clintons built a $2 billion global empire]

Abedin has been a visible part of Hillary Clinton’s world since she served as an intern in the 1990s for the then-first lady while attending George Washington University. On the campaign trail, Clinton is rarely seen in public without Abedin somewhere nearby.

Republican lawmakers have alleged that foreign officials and other powerful interests with business before the U.S. government gave large donations to the Clinton Foundation to curry favor with a sitting secretary of state and a potential future president.

Both Clintons have dismissed those accusations, saying donors contributed to the $2 billion foundation to support its core missions: improving health care, education and environmental work around the world.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic primary, has largely avoided raising either issue in his campaign. Last spring, Sanders expressed concerns about the Clinton Foundation being part of a political system “dominated by money.”

Sanders has batted away questions about the email scandal, famously saying at a debate last fall that, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

The potential consequences of the IG investigation are unclear. Unlike federal prosecutors, who generally use subpoenas issued by a grand jury, inspectors general frequently subpoena documents without seeking approval from a grand jury or judge.
Click here for more information!

But their power is limited. They are able to obtain documents, but they cannot compel testimony. At times, IG inquiries result in criminal charges, but sometimes they lead to administrative review, civil penalties or reports that have no legal consequences.

The IG has investigated Abedin before. Last year, the watchdog concluded she was overpaid nearly $10,000 because of violations of sick leave and vacation policies, a finding that Abedin and her attorneys have contested.

Republican lawmakers, led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), have alleged that Abedin’s role at the center of overlapping public and private Clinton worlds created the potential for conflicts of interest.

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11 Feb

The DNC Just Screwed Over Bernie Sanders and Spit in Voters’ Faces

RACHEL MADDOW 11 2 2016 Hillary Clinton’s NH loss softened by delegate math

You may have heard of superdelegates before today, but you may not have realized how antithetical the idea is to democracy itself until now.

Bernie Sanders took 60% of the popular vote among the Democratic race on Tuesday, but because of the delegate process, Bernie Sanders will leave with a minimum of 13 delegates, but very likely 15. At the same time, challenger Hillary Clinton (who lost by more than a 20-point margin among the electorate) also walks aways with 15.

So how does that work?

To break it down, New Hampshire has 24 “pledged” delegates determined by the vote, of which Sanders won 13 and Clinton won 9. However, the state also put forward 8 “superdelegates,” who are insiders in the state’s Democratic party who are free to vote how they choose. Six of these are already pledged to Clinton, with the other two remaining undecided, meaning Sanders can only (at best) tie with Clinton, despite his commanding lead.

In the national race, Clinton already has 394 delegates out of a total of 4,763, compared to only 42 for Bernie Sanders. Of those pledged to Clinton, 360 are superdelegates, whereas Sanders has only picked up 8 in this category. 2,382 total delegates are needed to win the party’s nomination.

Clinton and the DNC aggressively courted the Democratic establishment long before the primaries began, creating a bulwark against the actual democratic process by using Clinton’s deep connections within the political establishment to shore up superdelegates.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, has repeatedly revealed her bias for Hillary Clinton in dealing with the primary election, and a long string of party officials and establishment members have fallen in line. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was also Clinton’s campaign co-chair during her 2008 run.

Schultz also still refuses to acknowledge the need to hold more debates, despite the fact that after overwhelming pressure from voters and the Sanders campaign, four unofficial debates have been added due to the lackluster coverage provided by the DNC. The all-time low number of six debates were all scheduled for the weekend and usually during football games, a distinct recipe for the lowest viewer turnout possible.

Furthermore, she showed animosity in denouncing Bernie Sanders’s campaign during the DNC data breach, first by being the party who took the story public and unfairly shutting Sanders out of his own campaign database, and then by mocking and insulting the senator on television in a completely impartial and sophomoric display, claiming he has “nothing but bluster.”

Clinton and the DNC want to silence the will of the people and snuff out the political revolution Bernie Sanders is promising before it has a chance to start. Be sure to make your voices heard, both at the polls and beyond, to ensure that an election isn’t stolen this year.

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The silver lining to all this is that the superdelegates’ pledge to Clinton is not finalized, and each one can still change their vote prior to the final vote following the last state primaries. Typically, superdelegates vote in line with the popular vote when the time comes, but there is nothing requiring them to do so.

Superdelegates: Don’t Deny Democracy

Sign this petition created at MoveOn.org to call out the superdelegates and urge them to change their vote in line with the people’s choice.

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