20 August 2017

Yeah, That Would Be Great

It appears that the House of Saud has finally noticed that the majority of the citizens of Iraq are Shia, and they are determined to reestablish Sunni hegemony in the region, because, after all, it's worked so f%$#ing well in Syria and Yemen:
Iraq and Saudi Arabia are negotiating a new alliance that would give Riyadh a leading role in rebuilding Iraq’s war-torn towns and cities, while bolstering Baghdad’s credentials across the region.

Meetings between senior officials on both sides over the past six months have focused on shepherding Iraq away from its powerful neighbour and Saudi Arabia’s long-time rival, Iran, whose influence over Iraqi affairs has grown sharply since the 2003 ousting of Saddam Hussein.

Iraq and Saudi Arabia have long been considered opponents in the region, but a visit by the Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to Riyadh last week and a follow-up trip to the UAE further thawed relations which had already been much improved by high-profile visits between the two countries.

………

“This visit was an important step in ensuring that Iraq returns to the Arab fold and is supported in doing so by friendly partners,” said the former Saudi minister of state Saad al-Jabri. “This necessitates limiting Tehran’s continued attempts to dominate Iraq and spread sectarianism. Broader engagement between Riyadh and Baghdad will lead the way for enhanced regional support for Iraq, especially from the Gulf states. This is essential after the capture of Mosul from Isis and as Iraq looks towards national reconstruction.” 
The House of Saud created ISIS, and now these arsonists want a piece of the action rebuilding after the conflagration.

A rapprochement between Sunni and Shia in Iraq is essential to the nation's future as a unitary state.

Involving Riyadh in this process would be an unmitigated disaster.

19 August 2017

Asshole Loser of the Day: Vinod Khosla


A California court has ordered a Silicon Valley billionaire to restore access to a beloved beach that he closed off for his private use, a major victory for public lands advocates who have been fighting the venture capitalist for years.

An appeals court ruled on Thursday that Vinod Khosla, who runs the venture capital firm Khosla Ventures and co-founded the tech company Sun Microsystems, must unlock the gates to Martins Beach in northern California by his property.

The decision is a major blow to Khosla and other wealthy landowners who have increasingly tried to buy up the internationally celebrated beaches along the California coast and turn public lands into private property.

The beach was a popular destination for fishing, surfing and other recreational activities for nearly a century, and the previous owners provided a general store and public restroom. But Khosla eventually bought the property and in 2010 closed public access, putting up signs warning against trespassing.

Khosla, who has a net worth of $1.55bn and does not live on the property, has faced multiple lawsuits and legislative efforts to get him to open up the gate to the beach near Half Moon Bay, about 30 miles south of San Francisco. The law in California states that all beaches should be open to the public up to the “mean high tide line”.

The decision this week, affirming a lower court ruling, stems from a lawsuit filed by the Surfrider Foundation, a not-for-profit group that says the case could have broader implications for beach access across the US.

“Vinod Khosla, with his billions of dollars, bought this piece of property and said, ‘No, no, the public isn’t going to use this anymore. End of story,’” the Surfrider attorney Joe Cotchett said by phone on Thursday. “He got away with it for many years … This is probably one of the most important public right-of-access cases in the country.”
You know, maybe if we actually enforced the rules against the rich, we would have a better society.

18 August 2017

Outside the Tent Pissing In

As you may have heard, Steve Bannon has left the White House.

So, as the saying goes, he has gone from inside the tent pissing out to outside the tent pissing in.

The interesting thing here is whether or not Bannon actually likes Trump and sees him as a means to an end.

His behavior over the next few months should tell us that.

I expect attacks against his former White House rivals, it's whether those attacks extend to the Donald.

17 August 2017

Damn! I was Hoping for a Trial in Open Court

The lawsuit agaisnt the CIA's torture psychologists has been settled, so the rest of us won't find out what they did:


A settlement in a lawsuit against two psychologists who were paid tens of millions of dollars to design torture techniques used by the CIA in black-site prisons was announced on Thursday. The terms of the settlement were undisclosed.

Two of the plaintiffs in the case, Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ben Soud, were held and brutalized in 2003 in a secret CIA facility in Afghanistan that prisoners called “The Darkness”. Salim, who is Tanzanian, and Ben Soud, who is Libyan, were eventually released and are now living in their home countries with their families.

A third plaintiff is a young Afghan computer engineer whose uncle, Gul Rahman, was tortured to death in November 2002 in the same facility.

The three filed the lawsuit in October 2015 against James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, contract psychologists who devised a menu of abusive interrogation methods and billed the CIA between $75m and $81m. The plaintiffs sought damages from the men for allegedly aiding and abetting torture, non-consensual human experimentation and war crimes.
You may recall that these were the guys whose lawyers inaccurately claimed that the maker of Zyklon-B weren't held liable for their aiding genocide.

I'm not happy.  Their misdeed should have been revealed to the world.

Honestly, they should be spending the rest of their lives in jail.

Headline of the Day

Removing Confederate Statues Isn't Sanitizing History—It's Fumigating History
Charlie Pierce
Insert cockroach metaphor here.