WHAT A GIRL! OUR MISS BARRY O, CELEBRITY IN CHIEF, HAS A PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN DESIRE TO DRESS LIKE ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF PRESUMED G.O.P. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY.
WHEN CONFRONTED WITH PHOTOS BY THESE REPORTERS EARLIER THIS MORNING, MISS BARRY O TOLD THESE REPORTERS HE DOESN'T REALLY CARE IF HE'S RE-ELECTED OR NOT.
"I HAVE ALREADY BEEN THE FIRST 'BLACK' PRESIDENT, RATHER MORGAN FREEMAN AGREES WITH ME OR NOT AND HE'S JUST BITTER BECAUSE AFTER DEEP IMPACT, EVERYONE CALLED HIM THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT. BUT I'VE DONE THAT. I'VE DONE THAT," HE REPEATEDLY SLOWLY.
"WHAT I REALLY WANT TO DO IS JUST KEEP LIVING IN THE WHITE HOUSE, YOU KNOW, STAYING IN CHARGE OF THE CHOOM GANG AND I THINK THAT BEING MRS. MITT ROMNEY WOULD ALLOW ME TO BECOME THE FIRST BLACK FIRST LADY."
WHEN THESE REPORTERS INFORMED MISS BARRY O THAT, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER HE WAS THE FIRST MIXED PRESIDENT OR NOT, MICHELLE OBAMA WAS THE FIRST BLACK FIRST LADY, HE GREW IRRITATED.
"THERE SHE GOES AGAIN, MESSING UP ALL MY PLANS. WELL. FINE. FINE. BUT -- HEY, I WOULD BE THE FIRST BLACK REPUBLICAN FIRST LADY, RIGHT? CONDI AND BULLY BOY BUSH NEVER MADE IT LEGAL, RIGHT? SO HERE'S WHAT LET'S DO, I'LL OFFER MITT THE CHANCE TO RUN UNOPPOSED AS PART OF MY DOWRY -- WE HAD THOSE IN INDONESIA -- AND THEN HE GETS TO BE PRESIDENT AND I GET TO BE FIRST LADY. OH! AND I'LL TELL HIM THAT WHEN HE DIVORCES ANN, HE BETTER GET CUSTODY OF HER CLOTHES SO I CAN WEAR MORE OF THEM!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
One News Now reports that the KRG is considering a "blasphemy law" and that:
The draft bill calls for up to 10 years in prison and closing a publication for vaguely worded offenses such as "portraying the prophets inappropriately." It is expected to be voted on in the near future.
The legislation came about after the publication of an article in May 2010 that was an imaginary discussion with God that included profanity. Outrage over the article boiled into rioting that caused property damage and led to arrests and injuries.
Because it was an apparent response to a free speech issue, there were concerns that the bill would also limit free speech. Estabrooks says, "Basher Hadad, the head of the committee that's drafting this bill in Iraq, has told different news services that this is not going to be any kind of censorship," but he believes that's a total front.
By the vague nature of the bill's wording, it will do exactly that, even though people are assured that they will still be free to criticize mullahs, scholars, Islam, or the history of Islam. Estabrooks says,
Still on the issue of proposed laws, a major organization is calling out a different proposed law. Human Rights Watch released a new report today entitled [PDF format warning] "Iraq's Information Crime Law: Badly Written Provisions and Draconian Punishments Violate Due Process and Free Speech." From the opening summary of the report:
Iraq's government is in the process of enacting what it refers to as an Information Crimes Law to regulate the use of information networks, computers, and other electronic devices and systems. The proposed law had its first reading before Iraq's Council of Representatives on July 27, 2011; a second reading is expected as early as July 2012. As currently drafted, the proposed legislation violates international standards protecting due process, freedom of speech and freedom of association.
This is not a minor point and HRW connects the law with the broader attack on liberties taking place in Iraq:
Since February 2011, Human Rights Watch has documented often violent attacks by Iraqi security forces and gangs, apparently acting with the support of the Iraqi government, against peaceful demonstrators demanding human rights, better services, and an end to corruption. During nationwide demonstrations on February 25, 2011, for example, security forces killed at least 12 protesters across the country and injured more than 100. Iraqi security forces beat unarmed journalists and protesters that day, smashing cameras and confiscating memory cards. On June 10 in Baghdad, government-backed gangs armed with wooden planks, knives, iron pipes, and other weapons beat and stabbed peaceful protesters and sexually molested female demonstrators as security forces stood by and watched, sometimes laughing at the victims.
Given this backdrop, the draft Information Crimes Law appears to be part of a broad effort to suppress peaceful dissent by criminalizing legitimate activities involving information sharing and networking. Iraq's Council of Representatives should insist that the government significantly revise the proposed Information Crimes Law to conform to the requirements of international law, and the council should reject its passage into law in its present form. Without substantial revison, the proposed legislation would sharply undercut both freedom of expression and association.
Further in, the report notes:
Among other things, the law threatens life imprisonment and large fines for those found guilty of "inflaming sectarian tensions or strife;" "defaming the country;" "[u]ndermining the independence, untiy, or safety of the country, or its supreme economic, political, military, or security interests;" or "[p]ublishing or broadcasting false or misleading events for the purpose of weakening confidence in the electronic financial system, electronic commercial or financial documents, or similar things, or damaging the national economy and financial confidence in the state." The law also imposes imprisonment and a fine on anyone who "encroaches on any religious, moral, family, or social values or principles," or "[c]reates, administers, or helps to create . . . any programs, information, photographs, or films that infringe on probity or public morals or advocate or propagate such things."
And let's point out this under Thug Nouri. Nouri who sued the Guardian newspaper in England because he didn't like their story on him where some officials were talking about his power grabs. Nouri who has tried to shut down press outlets repeatedly -- most recently wanting to close a list of outlets -- which included the BBC -- because they didn't have the correct 'papers.'
Let's remember this is Nouri al-Maliki, Little Saddam.
The man who had barely become prime minister in 2006 before he was stating that reporters covering bombings were terrorists and tried to stop all coverage of violence in the country. It's a detail that so many of the foreign (non-Iraqi) press overlooks today -- probably because they were covering something else (another country, another beat) in 2006. This is the thug who has repeatedly targeted one news outlet after another. One example, dropping back to November 2, 2011:
In other news, Iraq continues its crackdown on a free press. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports:
On Monday, the Iraqi Communication and Media Commission accused al-Baghdadiya television of having a link to the church kidnappers and ordered the station to close, state television reported. Iraqi security forces surrounded the bureau of al-Baghdadiya TV in Baghdad.
Two of the station's employees were detained, according to a statement posted on the al-Baghdadiya TV website. It said the two employees had received a call from the church kidnappers demanding the release of female prisoners in Egypt in return for the hostages' freedom. The demand was later broadcast on al-Baghdadiya TV.
The station, which which is an Iraqi-owned, Egypt-based network, subsequently reported that its employees had been released.
Daily News World adds:
Al-Baghdadia, the TV station in Baghdad that said it was contacted by gunmen during Sunday's church hostage drama, has been taken off air.
It stopped transmitting shortly after its building was taken over, reportedly by a large number of government troops.
The station says its director and another employee have been charged with terrorism-related offences.
[. . .]
Al-Baghdadia – an independent station based in Egypt – says its public hotline number was phoned by the gunmen who requested it broadcast the news that they wanted to negotiate.
As the station was being taken over, it broadcast pictures of security forces surrounding the building, before the screen went blank. Transmission then resumed from al-Baghdadia's Cairo studio. The station says its office in Basra has also been taken over by security forces.
It has called a sit-in at the building and appealed to local and foreign media to attend in soldidarity.
Nouri's long pattern of attacks on the press and what appears to be at best weak 'evidence' would indicate that the station's biggest 'crime' was broadcasting news of an event that was internationally embarrassing to Nouri. Reporters Without Borders issued a statement today which includes:
Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday's decision by the Iraqi authorities to close the Baghdad, Kerbala and Basra bureaux of Cairo-based satellite TV station Al-Baghdadia in connection with its coverage of the previous day's hostage-taking in a Baghdad church, which ended in a bloodbath.
Two of the station's employees, producer Haidar Salam and video editor Mohammed Al-Johair, were arrested under article 1/2/4 of the anti-terrorism law. Al-Johair was released today, after being held overnight, but Salam is still being held in an unknown location, Reporters Without Borders has learned from Al-Baghdadia representatives in Egypt.
That's Nouri and it takes the world's attention to stop him. Grasp that. Grasp that if this bill becomes a law, as bad as Iraq is now, it will get a lot worse. Let's also remember this is Nouri who is waiting for the current Parliament to finish its term so he can use one MP and this is also the same Thug Nouri who tried to have Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq stripped of his post for saying Nouri was becoming a dictator.
The Human Rights Watch report notes that it threatens all Iraqis -- all Iraqis and yet the news cycle is obsessed with one defector today -- journalists, activists, everyone due to it being vaguely written and due to the harsh punishments proposed. It would threaten and intimidate free speech, a major issue in a society already struggling against a government that seems allergic to openess.
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