CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O DID NOT HAVE A GOOD YEAR AS VOTERS GREW EVER TIRED OF HIS INABILITY TO ADDRESS THE ECONOMY.
IN ADDITION, HE REPEATEDLY BLAMED CONGRESS FOR HIS PROBLEMS -- APPARENTLY ONLY AS 2011 ENDED DID HE REALIZE THAT HE COULDN'T USE BULLY BOY BUSH AS A 2012 ARGUMENT FOR HIS OWN RE-ELECTION.
BUT ALONG WITH MANY MISTAKES IN 2011, HE ACTUALLY DID SOMETHING RIGHT THIS YEAR THAT HAD MANY AMERICANS APPLAUDING.
YES, 2011 WAS WHEN THE 50-YEAR-OLD MAN WITH BOTH AN EATING DISORDER AND SAGGY TITS DECIDED NOT TO STRIP FOR THE PRESS AND THEREFORE SPARED AMERICA YET ANOTHER ROUND OF PHOTOS OF HIM AND HIS PENDULOUS MAN BOOBS.
THANK YOU, BARRY O, IF ONLY FOR THAT.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
The continued crackdown on protests in Iraq. Excuse me, the continued crackdown on protests in supposedly 'free' Iraq. Nouri's goons grab cameras (Karadsheh's cell phone) and target reporters attempting to do their jobs, the Iraqis beg the reporters to stay out of fear of what happens when no witnesses are around and then the Iraqis disappear. That's Nouri al-Maliki's Iraq and the US installed him and kept him in power in 2010 even when the Iraqi people rejected him by voting Iraqiya into first place in the March 2010 elections with Nouri's State of Law trailing in second place.
On November 11th, the new Parliament held their first real session. They voted Osama al-Nujaifi Speaker of Parliament (he was from Iraqiya and that was part of the Erbil Agreement), Jalal was named president and Nouri was named prime minister designate (but we were all informed in the following days that this was 'unofficial' -- once named prime minister-designate, you have 30 days, per the Constitution, to put together a Cabinet and get the Parliament to sign off on each member). But what of the security council? It and other promises were forgotten as Nouri refused to abide by the agreement.
He refused to name the security posts: National Security, Interior and Defense. His defenders (including the White House) swore those posts would be named in a matter of weeks. His detractors saw the refusal as part of a pattern of power grabs on Nouri's part and stated he wouldn't fill the posts. This is the start of Political Stalemate II. And it's where Iraq remains, still in a stalemate and now in a political crisis. In the latest embarrassment for Nouri al-Maliki, Alsumaria TV reports that State of Law MP Adnan Mayahi, who serves on Parliament's Security and Defense Commission, has declared that the bulk of Iraq's security services have been infiltrated and that a great many working in prisons practice torture. After a year of refusing to name heads to the Ministery of the Interior, the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Defense, you'd think stories like this would lead for widespread calls for Nouri to stop holding those posts and instead fill them. And Alsumaria TV has now reported more on this story on their English version site:
Iraqiya List headed by Iyad Allawi revealed, on December 14, that random arrests are still occuring in all Iraqi regions which contradicts human rights' basics. Our members are holding constant meetings regarding this issue, Iraqiya indicated.
Iraqi Government is not executing most of its international agreements and conventions concerning human, women, children and prisoners' rights, Representative of Secretary General of the United Nations in Iraq Walter Kalin accused in his report on June 3.
In its report issued last February, Amnesty International revealed that there are secret prisons in Iraq where detainees are being tortured for confessions used in their convictions.
In addition, Al Mada reports al-Nujaifi is denying having made a deal with President Jalal Talabani to oust Nouri via a vote of no confidence. Al Rafidayn notes that he declared the meet-up with Talabani was to discuss a national conference to be held shortly to address issues (including the political crisis) and the need to resolve the Tareq al-Hashemi issue via the judiciary. On the first issue, Al Mada notes Talabani says the conference will be held within two weeks and, on thesecond issue, Al Mada adds that the political blocs are currently debating the proposal that al-Hashemi's case be transferred to the Kurdish judiciary.
Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, a member of Iraqiya, has been accused by Nouri al-Maliki of being a terrorist. If convicted of that charge, the punishment is life in prison or execution. Tareq al-Hashemi is currently in the KRG and a house guest of President Talabani. al-Hashemi is not the only member of Iraqiya that Nouri has targeted recently. He's also demanding that Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his office. Were al-Mutlaq stripped of his office, he would lose immunity and Nouri could sue him for statements Nouri did not like. (Nouri is highly litigious. Along with suing other Iraqi politicians, he likes to sue news outlets such as the Guardian.) The targeting of the two members of Iraqiya comes as rumors swirl that others will be targeted -- including supposed arrest charges for Financial Minister al-Issawi -- and after the November arrests of over 500 alleged "Ba'athists." In an introduction to a new profile on the Financial Minister, Jack Healy and Michael R. Gordon (New York Times) observe:
A politician in Maliki's own National Alliance told McClatchy yesterday that Maliki holds "complete" sway over the Supreme Court. It was the Supreme Court's "interpretation" of the constitution that enabled Maliki to retain his position as PM and form a government after the last elections, although Iraqiya bloc had the highest take. It was also through the Supreme Court that Maliki all but stopped the legislative powers of the parliament by its "interpreting" the constitution to say that legislation can only stem from the executive branch (cabinet and presidency) and that the parliament could only make "suggestions".
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