"SOMETIMES, I LIKE TO LOOK AT HIM AND PINCH MY NIPPLES."
THESE REPORTERS WERE SPEAKING WITH ONE-TIME MEDIA CRITIC NORMAN SOLOMON WHO, AS HE PUT IT, "GAVE UP THE GOOD LIFE FOR HIM" AND BECAME A FAN CLUB PRESIDENT. FOR WHO? "HIM." BARAACK OBAMA.
"SOMETIMES, I LIKE TO LOOK AT HIM AND TWIST MY NIPPLES," NORMAN ADDED BREATHLESSLY.
"THIS ONE TIME, AT A FREE PRESS OR INDYMEDIA CONFERENCE, ME AND BILL MOYERS HAD A STROKE OFF. THE ONE WHO NUTTED FIRST LOVED BARACK THE MOST. I WON! FOR AN ELDERLY MAN, BILL MOYERS HAS A LOT OF STAMINA!"
WE ACTUALLY WERE NOT THERE TO GET THE LATEST PANHANDLE MEDIA CONFIDENTIAL.
WE HAD WANTED TO ASK HIM ABOUT HIS LATEST FLUFF FOR BARACK AND ESPECIALLY WHEN HE WROTE OF BARACK'S "ECONOMIC TEAM," "I WANT TO MEET THESE GUYS."
GUYS? CHRISTINA D. ROMER (DIRECTOR OF COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS) IS A GUY? MELODY C. BARNES (DIRECTOR OF THE DOMESTIC POLICY COUNCIL) IS A GUY? HEATHER A. HIGGINBOTTOM (DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE DOMESTIC POLICY COUNCIL) IS A GUY?
"I CAN'T HELP IT!" WHINED NORMAN HOPPING FROM FOOT TO FOOT, "SINCE BARACK CAME INTO MY LIFE, I SEE COCK EVERYWHERE. HIS MAGIC WAND IS ALWAYS ON MYIND, HIS MAGIC WAND IS ALWAYS ON MY MIND. SO WHEN I LOOK AT THESE GIRLS YOU NAME, I AUTOMATICALLY PICTURE THEM WITH PENISES. WHAT'S SO STRANGE ABOUT THAT?"
Starting with the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement. The New York Times notes that there is some doubt as to whether a vote will be called in Parliament Wednesday on the treaty. Last week, it was stated the treaty would come to a voate in the Parliament on Monday. By Saturday, the date had changed to Wednesday at the earliest. Now some are questioning whether it will come to a vote by then. Iran's Press TV reports that a boycott is threatened by the Iraqi Accord Front and quotes Abdelkareem al-Samarraie (of the IAF) stating, "The IAF would not enter the parliament if there was no popular referendum over the agreement or assurances from the US side." In an apparent reaction to that, the puppet is insisting upon action. Caroline Alexander (Bloomberg News) reports Nouri al-Maliki and Iraq's President Jalal Talbani have launced a high-pressure effort to force Iraqi MPs to vote on the treaty tomorrow. Should the treaty be voted on tomorrow and find 'support' in Parliament, it would next go to the presidency council made up of Talabani and his two vice presidents. Press TV notes that the Tareq al-Hashemi, the Sunni v.p., has "also called on the country's politicians not to make any 'hasty' decision on the agreement". Press TV also reports MP Hussein al-Faluji has declared that the treaty should include an obligation on the part of the US "to pay compensation for its 2003 invasion of the country." 'Support' in a vote is still in question because while the US and al-Maliki insist a simple majority vote is all that is needed, leaders and documents (including the country's Constitution) maintain that a two-thirds vote would be needed for the Parliament to pass the treaty. Pepe Escobar (Asia Times) cites press reports which estimate that opponents of the treaty now have 106 votes but require 138 and that "Maliki's government is heavily betting on the pact being approved by a simple majority. There's fierce dispute also on this point - according to the Iraqi constitution, it should be a two-thirds majority (not unexpectedly, the Bush administration has already declared it will violate Article II, Section 2 of the US constitution, claiming that no Senate approval of the pact is necessary. An emasculated US Congress has responded with thunderous silence)."
In terms of US silence, look to the incoming presidential ticket. In terms of Congress, many members of the House have been vocal. Today US House Rep Joe Sestak contributes "Acute flaw in Iraq deal over forces" (Philadelphia Inquirer):
On Nov. 16, the Iraqi cabinet approved a U.S.-Iraqi status-of-forces agreement. This week, as the Iraqi parliament considers it for final approval, I am once again voicing my grave concerns about the agreement.
This is probably the last chance I and other lawmakers will get to voice our objections. President Bush has chosen to craft the document as an executive agreement instead of a treaty, which means it will not require congressional ratification.
I have always believed that the war in Iraq is a tragic misadventure that has siphoned off vital military capability from Afghanistan - especially our ability to patrol the border with Pakistan, where al-Qaeda's leadership has found a long-standing haven. That said, from my 31-year military background, I also understand the need for a deliberate withdrawal from Iraq that does not put our troops in unnecessary danger.
Our continued presence in the region will therefore be necessary for a limited period of time. And due to the imminent expiration of the U.N. mandate that permits U.S. troops to remain in Iraq legally, we must have a new legal agreement to remain after Dec. 31.
However, this status-of-forces agreement is simply not the best means of achieving that.
Americans should be very concerned that, in an attempt to highlight Iraqi autonomy and the increasing bilateral ties between our countries, President Bush has put our uniformed men and women in legal peril.
The final version of the agreement will permit the Iraqi courts to exercise jurisdiction over American soldiers under limited circumstances. What those circumstances are remains unclear, as do the crimes for which they may be prosecuted.
Back in July, US House Reps Bill Delahunt and Rosa DeLauro co-authored "The Wrong Partnership for Iraq" (Washington Post). Last week, DeLauro issued this statement:
"Our brave men and women in uniform have performed brilliantly and after more than five -and-a-half years of war I am pleased to see the Bush Administration finally acknowledge that it is in our national interest to set a timeline to responsibly redeploy our forces out of Iraq. Many questions remain, however, over an agreement that I believe must be approved by Congress in order to have the force of law. Yet, the administration, which has utterly failed to consult with Congress on this issue, has no intention of submitting the accord for approval."
"The Iraqi Parliament is beginning a robust debate over the agreement, literally breaking out into a physical confrontation earlier today. According to the Iraqi Constitution, a 2/3 majority vote is still needed to both pass a law regulating the ratification of international agreements in general and to approve the U.S-Iraq security agreement itself."
"While I applaud efforts in Iraq to uphold the country's new constitution, I am deeply troubled by the Bush Administration's disregard for ours. I have heard from scholars, legal experts and others on this matter and believe there is no precedent for an agreement such as this that authorizes offensive U.S. combat operations without congressional approval."
"It is highly unlikely that the agreement will be approved by the Iraqi Parliament before it recesses in less than a week and by the U.S. Congress before the U.N. Mandate expires on December 31. I strongly urge the administration to once again work with the Iraqi Government and the UN Security Council on a brief extension of the UN Mandate, the sole instrument providing our troops with the legal authority to fight in Iraq, while giving both legislative bodies the necessary time to carefully review, deliberate over and vote on the accord. An agreement of this magnitude for the future of both countries deserves that much."
DeLauro issued that statement the same day Delahunt chaired a Congressional hearing on the issue last week. In the case of the hearing, it wasn't Congress members that were silent, it was the press. The only major daily newspaper coverage of the hearing was Jenny Paul's "US-Iraq security pact may be in violation, Congress is told" (Boston Globe) and no evening network newscast covered it. And NPR didn't cover it nor did Pacifica Radio, not even its fabled "Free Speech" Radio News program. No special broadcast of the hearings live, not a damn thing from Pacifica which wasted more money than they had to waste on their hideous election coverage and are now so in the red they're at risk of losing stations. (That's not a cry for donations, they've so mismanaged listeners pledges that they really don't deserve any more.) (Not to mention abusing the public's trust and LYING on air repeatedly by refusing to identify on air 'independent critics' who had endorsed the candidate they came on to 'analyze.') So Congress, at least the House, really isn't the problem. The problem is the press: All Things Media Big and Small. Congress has not been silent. US House Rep Barbara Lee issued the following statement last week:
"Although a final version of the agreement reached by the Administration and the Government of Iraq has yet to be publicly announced and made available, reports of the content along with leaked copies of the agreement lead to the conclusion that this agreement will be unacceptable to the American people in its current form and should be rejected.
"For starters, the Bush agreement commits the United States to a timetable that could leave U.S. troops in Iraq until Dec. 31, 2011. Aside from the fact that the America people are plainly fed up with this unnecessary war and occupation in Iraq and want to see it ended, occupying Iraq for three more years under the Bush plan would cost American taxpayers $360 billion based on current spending levels. That money obviously could be better spent digging our economy out of the ditch the policies of the Bush Administration has put it in.
"Second, the Bush agreement undermines the constitutional powers of the next president by subjecting American military operations to 'the approval of the Iraqi government,' by giving operational control to 'joint mobile operations command centers' controlled by a joint American-Iraqi committee. Throughout history, American troops have been placed under foreign control in peacekeeping operations only where authorized under treaties ratified by the Senate. No American president has ever before claimed the unilateral power to cede command of American troops to a foreign power.
"When Congress next convenes this week, it should consider and pass H.R. 6846, which I have introduced in the House and Senator Biden has introduced in the Senate, which will prohibit the unilateral deployment of U.S. armed forces or the expenditure of public funds to guarantee the security of Iraq without prior approval of Congress."
The US is pushing hard for the vote to take place tomorrow. This morning on Air Force One, White House spokesperson Dana Perino told the press that US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker was in contact (pressuring) with Iraqi MPs and she stated of the treaty, "We're hopeful. They've had a lot of debate in their country. And I think that if you look at the violence that took place there yesterday that was indiscriminate and killed many people, that it reminds us that the Iraqis have come a long way, but they're not quite there yet to be able to take care of all their security needs on their own. And they need -- they continue to need our support. That's what Prime Minister Maliki has said, their Defense Ministry, amongst others. But they'll have their debate. And this si the process that we knew was going to take a while. But we remain hopeful that the council of representatves will pass it out tomorrow." Alissa J. Rubin and Campbell Robertson (International Herald Tribune) report, "Intensive last-minute negotiations were under way Tuesday to corral votes in the Iraqi Parliament" -- see, Crocker's very, very busy. Deborah Haynes and Wail al-Haforth (Times of London) report that the Iraqi Accord Front has stated "it will only give the nod if the public is allowed to vote on the deal in a referendum next year." Haynes also reports on the various reactions in Baghdad to the allegedly impending vote including this: "Ibti Sam al-Hafaji, an assistant hairdresser and beauticiain dressed in a white overall, plans to switch a small television set in the salon on to watch the Parliamentary vote on Wednesday. 'I am excited. All of us are waiting for the result'." Tina Susman and Saif Hameed (Los Angeles Times) explain, "Sunni lawmakers today listed a host of demands, ranging from sweeping political reforms to amnesty for prisoners, in exchange for supporting a pact to keep U.S. forces in Iraq through 2011, dimming Iraqi leaders' hopes for a smooth victory when parliament votes on the measure."
And the puppet is sweating bullets as he attempts to finally deliver to the White House anything of the things they've announced they must have. Pepe Escobar also notes that "a frantic Maliki keeps threatening that in case of defeat, "extending the presence of the international forces on Iraqi soil will not be our alternative". Maliki goes for the jugular; if the pact is not approved, US forces will be constrained to an "immediate withdrawal from Iraq". Not surprisingly, the US State Department is on the same wavelength. Plus, of course, the Pentagon -- which in a surreal twist has been threatening to evacuate 150,000 troops from Iraq in a flash in case the pact is knocked out; this when the Pentagon had been insisting non-stop that withdrawing within president-elect Barack Obama-proposed 16 months is unrealistic." Yes, but we all learned in 2008 that troops can leave very quickly and, in fact, that if Barack wanted to end the illegal war, he could withdraw all 150,000 US troops before his first 100 days were completed. AP's Hamza Hendawi and Qassim Abdul-Zahra note that, for all of his bluster, "it is improbable that al-Maliki would abandon the idea of a renewal of the UN madate and push out the Americans, given his worries about security." He doesn't have the guts and he doesn't have the power. If the treaty isn't passed by the Parliament or if it isn't passed by the presidency council, al-Maliki will be begging for a UN mandate renewal in full -- and not just the partial aspect he's going to ask for to prevent Iraqi assets from being seized by creditors. Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) reports that the vote is being seen as a referendrum on al-Maliki, that the puppet is seen as "autocratic" and quotes an unnamed "senior Iraqi official" stating, "He doesn't realize that a coalition put him in power."
American Freedom Campaign offers an option for you to be heard by the US Congress:
Does this sound right to you? Next week, the Iraqi Parliament is expected to vote on whether to approve an agreement setting the terms of the ongoing military relationship between the United States and Iraq. So far, so good. A legislative body, representing the people of a nation, shall determine the extent to which that nation's future will be intertwined with that of another. Of course, one would expect that the United States Congress would be given the same opportunity. That, however, is not the case. Or at least it is not what the Bush administration is allowing to happen. Shockingly, the Bush administration is not even letting Congress read the full agreement before it is signed!
We need you to send a message immediately to U.S. House and Senate leaders, urging them to demand the constitutional input and approval to which they are entitled.
The administration has asserted that the agreement between the U.S. and Iraq is merely a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and therefore does not require congressional approval. Yet the agreement goes far beyond the traditional limits of a SOFA, which typically set the terms for bringing materials and equipment into a nation and outline the legal procedures that will apply to members of the military who are accused of crimes. Believe it or not, the current agreement contains terms that will actually give Iraq a measure of control over U.S. forces. No foreign nation or international entity has ever been given the authority to direct U.S. forces without prior congressional approval - either through a majority vote of both chambers or a two-thirds vote in the Senate in the case of treaties.
If this agreement goes into effect without congressional approval, it will establish a precedent under which future presidents can exercise broad unilateral control over the U.S. military -- and even give foreign nations control over our troops. Congress must take immediate action. Unfortunately, they are about to adjourn for at least a couple of weeks. But it is not too late for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to make a statement, signaling their strong belief that Congress will not be bound by and need not fund an agreement that has not been approved by Congress.
Please send an E-mail encouraging such action to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid immediately by clicking [here]
This is truly a dire situation and we hope that you will join us in calling for action. Thank you. Steve Fox
American Freedom Campaign
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"US military announces the death of another solider"
"The Times and that ever changing byline"
"They were not 'pie fights'"
"The fools and the liars"