CONSIDERING ALL THE MILLIONS ARIANNA HUFFINGTON RAKED IN FOR THE WRITINGS OF OTHERS WHEN SHE SOLD HUFF AND PUFF TO A.O.L., YOU'D THINK SHE'D BE ABLE TO FINALLY PAY A DECENT WAGE.
APPARENTLY NOT. INSTEAD SHE OUTSOURCES THE WRITING OF 'POLITICAL PIECES' ABOUT U.S. POLITICS TO UNINFORMED OUTSIDERS.
CASE IN POINT, INDIA'S STEEDHAR PILLAI WHO WASTES PARAGRAPH AFTER PARAGRAPH EXPLAINING HOW, HAVING WON LAST WEEK'S ELECTION, CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O NEEDS TO RUN AGAIN IN 2016.
STEEDHAR PILLAI ACTUALLY SAYS BARRY O WILL REALIZE HE NEEDS TO RUN FOR A THIRD TERM.
SOMEONE TRANSLATE AND EXPLAIN THE 22ND AMENDMENT TO THE CONSITUTION TO STEEDHAR, SOMEBODY TELL PILLAI IT FORBIDS HIS BELOVED BARRY O FROM HAVING A THIRD TERM.
THEN SOMEBODY EXPLAIN TO ARIANNA THAT AT LEAST CALL CENTERS THAT OUTSOURCE MAKE THE EMPLOYEES ANSWER WITH PHRASES LIKE, "HOWDY, THIS ROY DUANE, HOW MAY I HELP YOU?"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Then-General David Petraeus became a high profile figure when he was the top US commander in Iraq from February 2007 to September 2008. The press followed him around with their tongues hanging out. And not just the female reporters that he 'flirted' -- in fact he never 'flirted' Thomas E. Ricks though, clearly, few reporters have spent as many fevered nights, tossing on sweaty sheets moaning David's name. Sounding like the woman not asked to bed down, Ricks posts a clutch-the-pearls response at his Foreign Policy blog -- it's actually a clutch-the-pearls hide behind a clutch-the pearls response as he hides twice behind by posting a statement he made to Reuters. Clucking so loudly you picture him wearing one of Barbra Bush's ugly blue moo-moos, Ricks wants to wonder why sex can't be private?
It's not really about sex, it's about a CIA Director stepping down three days after a presidential election. Supposedly, a CIA Director stepping down to avoid being compromised on national security issues. It's about a CIA Director putting himself in the spotlight with actions that apparently threatened US security.
Was Petraeus a risk for blackmail? I think a strong case could be made for that and I didn't believe that until I read the report today by Sari Horwitz, Kimberly Kindy and Scott Wilson (Washington Post). According to the report, his "closest advisers" told the journalists that Petraeus had no plans to resign even after he admitted the affair to the FBI. What changed? When he found out that the affair was going public, he decided to resign. He wasn't bothered by it being known by the FBI or others in the government. But he didn't want it to go public. If the report is accurate, that would indicate that there was the potential for blackmail and that does make him a security risk.
There are other issues as well. It's about how the White House could not have known about the investigation or the impending resignation prior to the election. It's about how Petraeus is a potential security risk and the administration -- as far as we know currently -- had no idea that was the case. It's about what happened in Benghazi. Especially since the mistress is now all over YouTube in an October speech she gave where she asserts that the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi September 11, 2012 -- the attack that killed Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith and Chris Stevens -- was a result of the CIA holding Libyan prisoners. Here's one example at YouTube.
Paula Broadwell: I don't know if a lot of you heard this but the CIA Annex had actually -- had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the Consulate was an effort to get these prisoners back.
And that could be the tip of the iceberg. If Broadwell's claims about the CIA holding detainees in Benghazi also turns out to be true, that whole separate scandal is potentially far bigger, as keeping that secret, along with the administration's already shaky history of truth-telling on Benghazi, could suggest there really was a cover-up in the wake of the attack on the consulate, that the Obama Administration lied about ending the use of CIA black sites, and got their own ambassador killed in doing so.
The possible fallout of all that, even coming after the presidential election, is virtually unfathomable, and as a part of the story continues to center on a sordid affair the real information about very really issues seems to be coming out as well.
In addition, Kevin Johnson, Jim Michaels and Carolyn Pesce (USA Today) reported this afternoon, "On Monday, FBI agents searched the Charlotte, N.C., home of Broadwell, who is also Petraeus' biographer. Broadwell had high security clearances as part of her former job as a reserve Army major in military intelligence. But those clearances are only in effect when a soldier is on active duty, which she was not at the time she researched the biography. FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch said agents arrived shortly before 9 p.m. at Broadwell's home. Lynch declined to elaborate on what prompted the search." And Andrew Tilghman (Navy Times) reports that General John Allen is now the focus of an investigation. The US Defense Dept issued the following statement from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta today:
On Sunday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation referred to the Department of Defense a matter involving General John Allen, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
Today, I directed that the matter be referred to the Inspector General of the Department of Defense for investigation, and it is now in the hands of the Inspector General. I have informed the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The House Armed Services Committee has also been notified.
While the matter is under investigation and before the facts are determined, General Allen will remain Commander of ISAF. His leadership has been instrumental in achieving the significant progress that ISAF, working alongside our Afghan partners, has made in bringing greater security to the Afghan people and in ensuring that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists. He is entitled to due process in this matter.
In the meantime, I have asked the President - and the President has agreed - to put his nomination on hold until the relevant facts are determined. I have asked both Senators Levin and McCain that the confirmation hearing on General Allen's pending nomination to be Commander of United States European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe be delayed.
The President has nominated General Joseph Dunford, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, to succeed General Allen at ISAF. I respectfully requested that the Senate act promptly on that nomination.
These are real issues and that's why it was the topic on the first hour of The Diane Rehm Show today, Diane and her guests Mark Jacbosn (Truman National Security Project), Michael O'Hanlon (Brookings), Evan Perez (Wall St. Journal) and Rachel Smolkin (POLITICO) discussed the issues involved. With any story, someone will always go smutty (such as John R. Talbott at Huffington Post today). Equally true, there will always be shrieking harpies like Thomas E. Ricks who are more devoted to an individual (always a man, in Ricks' case) than they are to the truth so they will clutch-the-pearls and pretend that there's no story there and someone's being persecuted. Spare us all from the Drama Queens like Thomas E. Ricks.
US News & World Reports takes the issue to their Debate Club for three views. In a rare instance for the Debate Club, all are of the same mind (but for different reasons).
At the Los Angeles Times, conservative Max Boot offers a column on what he sees as Petraeus' accomplishments.
Oliver Stone is a film director and screenwriter (directing credits include JFK, Platoon, Nixon, Wall Street, Savages, W. and Alexander) He and historian Peter Kuznick have created Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States, a documentary mini-series airing on Showtime (first run episodes of each of the ten chapters begin airing each Monday night) and also a book. Disclosure, I know Oliver. He addressed the topic of Petraeus on Piers Morgan (CNN -- link is video) last night. Excerpt.
Oliver Stone: Well the American media has come up with narrative that he's an American hero who was betrayed by the woman. He takes the fall. It's the classic. It sales well. It's a good soap opera. But it's not true. I see no evidence of his heroism. There has been no success in Iraq. The so-called 'surge' has been over-hyped by the media as a success when, in fact, Iraq was trashed almost from the beginning to the end. And it was in worse shape when he left. He didn't leave it well. And then when he went to Afghanistan, he -- First of all, he conned Obama into adding 30,000 troops -- was in Afghanistan with a plan that he'd win with this counter-insurgency program. Well where is it? Where are the results? They're non-existent. Afghanistan is worse off. He's supervised the Predator explosion [the Drone War] and the missiles not only into Pakistan and Afghanistan. And he's exaserbated the entire region and the people that are there are going to hate us, more so for civilian damage, collateral damage. And top of it, he's built up this reputation -- I mean, first of all, as a military man, I really think he's overdoing it as a show man because he goes in front of Congress to talk about the counter-insurgencies wearing -- if you notice, the ribbons grow every year. He's got now like a regular fruit salad up here [holds right hand to left pectoral] and it's disgusting. General [George] Marshall who was one of the greatest heroes of WWII is famous for having been a modest man and going in front of Congress and wearing hardly anything
Piers Morgan: I mean he had this reputation as King David --
Oliver Stone: Very much so.
Piers Morgan: That was what a lot of people in the forces -- and didn't always mean it as a compliment
Olive Stone: No.
Piers Morgan: It meant as he was slightly regal.
Oliver Stone: But success? America values success. What's success in Iraq and Afghanistan? He's left many weeping widows out there. And it's not worked, counter-insurgency. Our involvement in a foreign country -- whether it's Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq I, Iraq II -- it doesn't work. We go in, we have a lot of money, we make a lot of friends -- temporary friends -- they know we're leaving. And when we leave, which they know we will leave, they value their lives so they are our tempory friends.
Oliver continued the conversation on CBS This Morning (link is text and video) today with Gayle King, Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell. Excerpt.
Oliver Stone: In American media, they're praising him as a hero. I don't see the hero. I see a misguided policy in Iraq, an even more misguided policy in Afghanistan. I don't think the 'surge' worked, I think that was a lot of media hype. And I -- And I -- And I don't trust his credientials. He never was in Vietnam but he wrote -- He made his reputation writing about counter-insurgency in Vietnam -- in which his main recommendation, a US military man told me, was, "You know what? Get the press on your side." That was his counter-insurgency proposal. And he's very good at that. So when he appears on Congress, I don't know if you saw the rows of medals the first time, he appeared.
Gayle King: I saw them, yes.
Oliver Stone: He seemed to woo the Congressmen. They were falling at his feet. The military worship in this country has reached unhealthy proportions.
On videos. A number are asking that we note a video report. I agree that normally we would. We're not noting it. "Off the record" is off the record. I don't think the person discussing an e-mail they received from a _____ at ____ (military institution) grasped what they were doing on camera. That is great work. But someone still in the military? That person would be off the record for a reason. He or she could be drummed out. Could be punished. I like the person doing the report and we have noted the person before and will many times again and this is surely a topic I support and believe in. But I don't think the person doing the report grasped that he or she had just outed someone and, if not outed, started an investigation on the base. I'm hopeful that no one else will notice. I think we're the last website left in the US that gives a damn about that issue. So I doubt it will be amplified by others. But I really think that report needs to be taken down and edited. My opinion. When someone in the military tells you something that could get them in trouble and they tell you it is off the record, you don't need to be sharing what base they're on and what position they hold. It is very easy, from there, to narrow down the _____s on the base and to check their computer history and determine which one it is without even asking any witnesses (who are also identified indirectly, if you think about it). If this confused you, we'll note it Saturday without noting what installation, what rank or where the report came from.
Onto Iraq and the never-ending political crisis where tensions remain high among the various political blocs. Yesterday, Alsumaria reported that State of Law MP Sami al-Askari is calling Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi a failure and he told Alsumaria that the Kurds are playing up the Sunni - Shi'ite divide. Today Kurdistan Alliance MP and leader Muhsin al-Sadoun tells Alsumaria that al-Askari's remarks are not helpful and that the suffering that has taken place has been under Nouri al-Maliki's leadership as people have increasingly lost confidence in the government's ability to provide as a result of the vast corruption and the failure to provide security. al-Askari hasn't stopped trashing politicians. Al Rafidayn reports he went on Alsumaria television tonight and trashed Iraqiya's Osama al-Nujaifi who is the Speaker of Parliament. He stated that al-Nujaifi is indebted to the Kurds who pushed for him to be Speaker of Parliament, implying that he does their bidding. Iraqiya came in first in the 2010 parliamentary elections. After Nouri refused to honor the Constitution and give up the post of prime minister and Jalal was bound and determined to remain prime minister, that only left one post for the political bloc that got the most votes. Iraqiya was always going to get the spot and al-Askari knows that, he's just attempting to inflame tensions with his bitchy nature.
Yesterday Al Mada reported that Kurdistan Alliance MP Mahma Khalil had announced 150 members had signed on to the bill to limit the prime minister to two terms. At the start of 2011, when Iraq had protests going on across the country about Nouri's inability to deliver basic services or jobs and the disappearance of so many into Iraq's 'justice' system, Nouri announced he would not seek a third term. Almost immediately this was retracted though outlets like the New York Times that rushed to 'report' Nouri wouldn't seek a third term went on to 'forget' to report that the pledge had been withdrawn. Since then Nouri's attorney has repeatedly reminded the press that there is nothing that can prevent Nouri from seeking a third term. The proposed bill is an attempt to make it illegal. Among those who support this proposal? Iraqiya and Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc.
Suadad al-Salhy (Reuters) reports on the bill and notes, "Since the last American troops left Iraq nearly a year ago, the country's Shi'ite, Sunni Muslim and ethnic Kurdish parties have been caught up in a power-sharing stalemate that has left key oil and investment laws paralyzed in parliament. Kurdish parties, the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc and even some rivals in Maliki's own Shi'ite coalition failed earlier this year to trigger a vote of no confidence against a prime minister whom they accuse of consolidating power at their expense." Failed or were betrayed? Iraqiya MP Hamza Allrtani tells All Iraq News that the people should not forget that when the political blocs came up with a plan to withdraw confidence and merely needed Talabani to pass it on to Parliament, Jalal refused to do so. Dar Addustour adds that Kurdish MP Moahmmed Chihod is calling for Jalal to appear before Parliament to give a status report on his months -- since the middle of September -- of talks with political blocs to resolve the crisis. Meanwhile All Iraq News reports Jalal has declared his support of Nouri al-Maliki.
Recommended: Iraq snapshot"
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