Saturday, January 21, 2012

THIS JUST IN! BUTCHING UP BARRY!

BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

LOOKING LIKE A CHEAP WHORE BEGGING MULTIPLE JOHNS FOR MONEY (WAS HE PREPARING FOR A GANG BANG?), CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O SANG "LET'S STAY TOGETHER" THIS WEEK AT A FUNDRAISER.

AND THE PRESS CAN'T STOP TRYING TO BUTCH THEIR LITTLE GIRL UP.

"IT'S AL GREEN!" THEY HOLLER AT THE WASHINGTON POST, AT THE NEW YORK TIMES AND ALL THE WAY DOWN THE FOOD CHAIN TO THE DETROIT FREE PRESS.

BUT WHORES OF THE PRESS CORPS, YOU TOLD US IN 2008 THAT BARRY O WAS "TOO YOUNG" TO KNOW ABOUT THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND AND IT'S EARLY 70S ACTIVITIES. HE COULDN'T BE RESPONSIBLE, YOU INSISTED.

SO HOW WOULD HE BE SO FAMILIAR WITH A 1972 SONG?

HE WAS IN COLLEGE IN THE 80S. THE SONG HIT IN THE 80S, MADE IT TO THE TOP FIVE OF THE R&B CHART AND THE TOP 5 OF THE DANCE CHART. AND IT WAS SUNG BY TINA TURNER.

OLDIES RADIO, CLASSIC RADIO, NOT REALLY EXISTING THEN, R&B STATIONS NOT REALLY PLAYING 70S WAX THEN. WHEN BARRY O CAME OF AGE, HE KNEW THE SONG FOR ONE REASON: TINA TURNER.

BUT HOW YOU TRIED TO BUTCH UP THE LITTLE PRINCESS IMAGE.

LITTLE PRESS WHORES WHO COULDN'T TELL THE TRUTH THAT BARRY O TOOK TO THE STAGE AND TRIED TO DO HIS BEST TINA TURNER AFTER HAVING ALREADY DONE HIS BEST DIONNE WARWICK AND ARETHA FRANKLIN.


YEP, BARRY O LOVES TO SING LIKE A WOMAN, BUT, REMEMBER PRESS WHORES, HE BREAKS . . . JUST LIKE A LITTLE GIRL.





Iraq is a young nation. The years of war and sanctions have ensured that. If you never grasped how young it was, understand that it has a CIA estimate of roughly 26 million people currently and Aswat al-Iraq reports, "The Iraqi Education Ministry announced today that about 8 million students of primary, intermediate and secondary schools will have their mid year examinations tomorrow." A little less than a third of the population will be taking exams in Iraq tomorrow. The CIA figure for the country's median age is 20.9 years -- for Iraqi males it's 20.8 years and for Iraq females it's 21 years.

Which is why the hatred Nouri al-Maliki fosters is all the sadder. Unlike the exile the Americans put in charge, most Iraqis aren't carrying decades old grudges. They simply aren't old enough to have done so.

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear
You've got to be taught
From year to year
It's got to be drummed
In your deaf little ear
You've got to be carefully taught
-- "You've Got to be Carefully Taught," written by Rodgers & Hammerstein, first appears in their musical South Pacific

And though he's a failure as a prime minister, Nouri excells at teaching hate.

And teaching fear by constantly screaming about "Ba'athists" all around just waiting to overthrow the government. Referring to his rivals as "ants" that he must apparently crush.

Always with the melodrama, like last October when Nouri repeatedly commented on the "terrorists" and "Ba'athists" that he was 'forced' to arrest because they were plotting an overthrow of the government. His spokesperson insisted the information was solid and had come from the newly installed Libyan government. Dropping back to the October 27th snapshot:


But back to those eyes and ears al-Asadi was claiming,
Al Mada reveals that the government is stating their source for the 'tips' about the alleged Ba'athist plot to take over Iraq came from the Transitional Government of Libya. The so-called rebels. A number of whom were in Iraq killing both Iraqis and US troops and British troops, several years ago. And supposedly prepping to rule Libya currently so you'd assume they had their hands full.


Tim Arango (New York Times) maintains that "secret intelligence documents" were discovered by the so-called 'rebels' that provided a link between Libya's late president Muammar Gaddafi and Ba'ath Party members and that Mahmoud Jibril made a trip to Baghdad to turn over the info. Jibril was acting prime minister who stepped down October 23rd. (We're back to when puppet regimes meet!) One would have assumed he had other things to focus on. It's also curious that this 'rebel' would have 'learned' after the fall of Tripoli of a plot. Curious because, unlike a number of 'rebel' leaders in Libya, Langley didn't ship Jibril in from Virginia, he was Gaddafi's hand picked head of the National Economic Development Board (2007 to 2011). One would assume he would have been aware of any big plot long before the so-called rebels began the US war on Libya.



Yet January 5th, Al Mada reported that hundreds of those arrested were now being released. And that officials say the government is expected to release every one arrested. When the arrests started taking place weeks ago, the press estimate was over 500, with some noting over 700 but most going with the lower figure. Dar Addustour informed 820 Iraqis were arrested in that crackdown..


Critics of the arrests noted that it appeared Nouri was targeting Sunnis. Of those recent mass arrests, McClatchy Newspapers states "Western diplomats scoff at the idea that the arrests were aimed at thwarting a coup" and quotes one unnamed diplomat stating, "This is just paranoia." AP notes that a spokesperson for Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani declared that the country "cannot bear further tensions among politicians."

The Bush administration was wrong to install him as prime minister in 2006 (the Iraqi Parliament wanted Ibrahim al-Jaafari) and Barack Obama's administration was deadly wrong when they chose to insist that he be given a second term in 2010.

He fled Iraq and Saddam Hussein and lived in exiles for years, decades. Nursing his hatred, telling himself that some day he had his vengeance. And when he got what he wanted, the death of Saddam Hussein, he still couldn't move forward. Fahad Abdullah tells Jasim Alsabawi (Rudaw), "Maliki should have used the opportunity after the withdrawal of the US forces to begin a new era for the rise of Iraq and embrace everyone under one Iraq." There is nothing left in him but the hatred as he chases ghosts.

It's just the ghost of what you really want
And it's the ghost of the past that you live in
And it's the ghost of the furture you're so frightented of
-- "Ghosts," written by Stevie Nicks and Mike Campbell, first appears on Stevie's The Other Side of the Mirror


All he has are the ghosts of the past. He goes after political rivals and threatens Iraq's internal safety. Already he's declared Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi a terrorist and demanded Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his title. al-Hashemi and al-Mutlaq are both Sunni and members of Iraqiya. The Iraqiya aspect goes to the political rivalry (Iraqiya bested State of Law in the March 2010 elections -- Ayad Allawi heads Iraqiya, Nouri heads State of Law). The Sunni aspect could further the divisions between the sects and, some fear, return Iraq to the days of 2006 and 2007 when the sects were in an open war against one another.

Ali al-Tuwaijri (AFP) reports that Nouri's forces arrested Ghabdan al-Khazraji, the Deputy Governor of Investments Diyala Province, and attempted to arrest the Deputy Governor of Administrative Affairs Talal al-Juburi.but he's now in the Kurdsitan Regional Government. The two are Sunni and they are also members of Iraqiya. The arrest follows Wednesday's arrest. Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) explained, "Baghdad Provincial Council Vice President Riyadh al-Adhadh was arrested on terrorism charges and stands accused of financing a terrorist group in Abu Ghraib. Adhadh is a Sunni doctor who founded a free clinic in Adhamiya and is the focus of an English-language documentary on Iraq. The Iraqi Islamic Party condemned the action and called it an "unprecedented escalation" in the political arena."

As the political crisis continues, Roy Gutman, Sahar Issa and Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) report:


Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki's security services have locked up more than 1,000 members of other political parties over the past several months, detaining many of them in secret locations with no access to legal counsel and using "brutal torture" to extract confessions, his chief political rival has charged.
Ayad Allawi, the secular Shiite Muslim leader of the mainly Sunni Muslim Iraqiya bloc in parliament, who served as prime minister of the first Iraqi government after the Americans toppled Saddam Hussein, has laid out his allegations in written submissions to Iraq's supreme judicial council.


The reporters call the above "the second major broadside this week" and note: "London's Guardian newspaper reported Monday on an extortion racket involving Iraqi state security officials who systematically arrest people on trumped-up charges, torture them and then extort bribes from their families for their release." From the Guardian article by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad:


"Look," he added, "the system now is just like under Saddam: walk by the wall, don't go near politics and you can walk with your head high and not fear anything. But if you come close to the throne then the wrath of Allah will fall on you and we have eyes everywhere."
He described the arrest of the Sunni vice-president Tariq al-Hashimi's bodyguards who, it was claimed by the Shia-dominated government, had been paid by Hashimi to assassinate Shia officials. (Hashimi was on a plane heading to Kurdistan when government forces took over the airport, preventing him from leaving. After a standoff, he was allowed to fly but his men where detained.)
"Look what happened to the poor bodyguards of Hashimi, they were tortured for a week. They took them directly to our unit and they were interrogated severely. Even an old general was hanging from the ceiling. Do you know what I mean by hanging?"
In the constricted space of the car he pulled his arms up behind his back.
"They hang him like this. Sometimes they beat them with cables and sticks and sometimes they just leave them hanging from a metal fence for three days. They are torturing them trying to get them to confess to the bombing of the parliament."



Al Mada reported, yes, another secret prison run by Nouri. The Human Rights Committee in Parliament declared Wednesday that another secret prison ("Briagde 56") exists and it is run by Nouri (as were the others). They do not yet know the location of the prison.





RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Thug Nouri and Idiot Chris Hill"
"Military suicides and other issues"
"I Hate The War"
"Spicy Chicken and Rice in the Kitchen"
"There is NO economic recovery"
"Beat Meryl? I hope so."
"Whitney"
"4 men, 2 women"
"5 men, 1 woman"
"grimm"
"revenge"
"A truest?"
"Semi-scandal? Is that like semi-sweet?"
"Ani's awful album"
"AniDiFranco is petty and jealous of other women"
"Does Robert Redford use a curling iron?"
"Whitney"
"Checks"
"No credit cards"
"Take Three"
"The failure"
"Idiot of the Week: Danny Schechter"
"Syria"
"Well they'll worry about the economy tomorrow"
"THIS JUST IN! IT'S A TEEN FAN CLUB!"

Friday, January 20, 2012

THIS JUST IN! IT'S A TEEN FAN CLUB!

BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O HAS HIS PRIORITIES STRAIGHT, THE MOST IMPORTANT TASK FOR THE WHITE HOUSE IS CONGRATULATING OTHER B-LIST CELEBRITIES ON THEIR BIRTHDAY.

MEANWHILE BARRY O STILL FINDS TIME TO HISS AT THE PRESS FOR HIS BEING ALOOF. LIKE THE SUB-PAR AND BRA-LESS STARLET HE IS, BARRY O IS BRAINLESS.


Yesterday at the Pentagon, something major happened (here for video, here for transcript), a sitting Secretary of Defense called a press conference to talk about sexual assault in the military. That was Leon Panetta who noted, "Let me close bys peaking directly to the victims of sexual assault in this department. I deeply regret that such crimes occur in the US military. And I will do all I can to prevent these sexual assaults from occurring in the Department of Defense. I'm committed to providing you the support and resources you need and to taking whatever steps are necessary to keep what happened to you from happening to others. The United States military has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault. And we will hold the perpetrators appropriately accountable. I expect everybody in this department to live up to the high standards that we have set and to treat each other with dignity and respect. In a military force, where the promise is to help each other in battle and to leave nobody behind, that promise must begin by honoring the dignity of every person on or off the battlefield."
Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates preceded Panetta in the office. The rate of sexual assault has been on the rise since the 90s. Yet Rumsfeld and Gates never addressed it publicly. If questioned by Congress in a hearing, they would offer some empty words. The same at a press conference. But they did not call press conferences to address the issue. Prior to Panetta, the pattern has been ignore it and know damn well that the press will assist you in ignoring it. Robert Gates spent several months in 2011 on a farewell tour with the press allegedly examining his performance but they never noted the military suicide rate and they never noted sexual assault.
So what the hell were they grading him on? (The answer was, they graded him on if they really, really loved him or just loved him. I was present for the "off the record" farewell photo ops between Gates and the press.)
Secretary Leon Panetta: When I was sworn into the office of Secretary of Defense, I said that I had no higher responsibility than to protect those who are protecting America. Our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line every day to try to keep America safe. We have a moral duty to keep them safe from those who would attack their dignity and their honor. That's why I've been so concerned by the problem of sexual assault in the military. Sexual assault has no place in this department. It is an affront to the basic American values we defend and it is a stain on the good honor of the great majority of our troops and their -- and our -- families. As leaders of this department, we're committed to doing everything we can to ensure the safety, dignity and well-being of our people. These men and these women who are willing to fight and to die, if necessary, to protect and serve our country, they're entitled to much better protection. Their families and their dependents also sacrifice and serve and so, for that reason, we have to spare no effort in order to protect them against this heinous crime. The number of sexual assaults in the military is unacceptable. Last year, 3,191 reports of sexual assault came in. But I have to tell you that because we assume that this is a very underreported crime, the estimate is that the number actually is closer to 19,000. One sexual assault is too many. Since taking this office, I've made it a top priority to do everything we can to reduce and prevent sexual assault, to make victims of sexual assault feel secure enough to report this crime without fear of retribution or harm to their career and to hold the perpretrators appropriately accountable.
There's more but we'll stop there. There was no Tailhook exposed this week. There was no rush to defuse a just breaking scandal. Panetta did what the last two serving as Secretary of Defense should have done, he showed that the Department took it seriously by making it a focus, not an aside.
Had Gates or Rumsfeld done the same at any point in their lengthy time in office (Panetta became Defense Secretary last July), they might not be the plantiffs in a law suit right now. As Burke PLLC notes:
On Feb. 15, 2011, we filed a lawsuit in Virginia federal court on behalf of 16
active duty military and veteran victims of sexual trauma, including persons
who allege they were raped by their military colleagues. The case is Cioca
et al v. Rumsfield and Gates, C.A. 11 cv 151 in the U.S. District Court of Eastern District of Virginia. Our investigation in this case continues.
Additionally, [Susan] Burke has been invited to speak on institutional failings
that have led to extensive rape and sexual assault in the military at the 2011 National Conference on Civil Actions for Criminal Acts hosted by The
National Crime Victims Bar Association and The National Center for Victims
of Crime. The conference will be held from June 20 to June 22, 2011 at the
Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Her presentation will discuss potential solutions for these issues.
If you are interested in potentially participating in this lawsuit, please contact Susan Sajadi. Read more about military rape litigation.
As disclosed before, I know Susan Burke and I know Leon Panetta. Knowing Leon is why I took a pass on this yesterday. I figured we'd string together various reports and I wouldn't have to say anything personally. But that required news actually being covered. And, of course, that so rarely happens.
At the increasingly embarrassing CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, they gave thanks for the wrecked ocean liner over the weekend. There was no news there but they had footage and opened the broadcast with it. Three days of coverage out of this, it's been a gift for Scott Pelley and for CBS Evening News . . . if not for viewers. The story was no different at ABC or NBC or PBS. (And ABC and Chris Cuomo will turn the wreck into a 'special' Friday night. Pick the bones, pick them dry. But don't pretend you've supplied news.)
Women and men in the military are at risk of sexual assault; however, victims are more often women. And, as we've seen over and over, when a story's focus can be seen as female, over and over, it gets ignored. (When Katie Couric anchored the CBS Evening News, sexual assault, breast cancer and other issues that might be seen as effecting primarily women did get covered.) The networks had plenty of time for the snow in Seattle -- a story that really only effected Seattle. They just didn't have time for major news in terms of sexual assault in the military which also included policy changes.
Secretary Leon Panetta: Over the holidays, we announced two new policies that provide greater support for the victims of sexual assault. The first policy gives victims who report a sexual assault an option to quickly transfer from their unit or installation to protect them from possible harassment and remove them from proximity to the alleged perpetrator. Second, we will also require the retention of written reports of sexual assault to law enforcement to be retained for a period of 50 years. The reason for that is to have these records available so that it will make it easier for veterans to file a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs at a later date. These two policies are the first of a broader package of proposals that we will be presenting in the coming months, many of which will require legislative action by the Congress. Today, I want to announce some additional steps that we are taking. First, I've directed the establishment of a DoD sexual assault advocate certification program which will require our sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates to obtain a credential aligned with national standards. This will help ensure that the victims of sexual assault receive the best care from properly trained and credentialed professionals who provide crucial assistance from the moment an assault is committed. Second, I have directed the department to expand our support to assault victims to include military spouses and adult military dependents, who will now be able -- this was not the case before -- they will now be able to file confidential reports and receive the services of a victim advocate and a sexual assault response coordinator. In addition, we're going to ensure that DoD civilians stationed abroad and DoD US citizen contractors in combat areas receive emergency care and the help of a response coordinator and a victim advocate. Third, because sexual assault cases are some of the toughest cases to investigate and to prosecute, I've increased funding for investigators and for judge advocates to receive specialized training. We're also putting in place one integrated data system. The data systems, frankly, were spread among the various services. We're going to put them together into one data system in order to track sexual assault reports and monitor case management so that we'll have a comprehensive data base for information available later this year. And, finally, in addition to our focus on taking care of victims and holding perpetrators appropriately accountable, we've been focusing on what more can we do to try to prevent sexual assault. Our leaders in uniform, officers and enlisted are on the front lines of this effort -- they have to be. We must all be leaders here. For this reason, I'm directing an assessment -- due in 120 days -- on how we train our commanding officers and senior enlisted leaders on sexual assault prevention and response and what we can do to strengthen that training. It's important that everyone in uniform be alert to this problem and have the leadership training to help prevent these crimes from occuring.
They missed all the above. But don't worry, that because, for example, ABC World
News with Diane Sawyer couldn't cover the sexual assault story, they missed the big news stories. No, they had time, they made time, to show the very important YouTube video of a bird playing in the snow.
My opinion? A great deal more is needed by the Defense Dept and I would include the firing of one woman we've regularly advocated for the firing of (if you refuse to testify to Congress, you should be fired, end of story). I think the words will be measured months from now in terms of whether, in practice, much changed.
But I give Leon Panetta applause for addressing the topic. Until a sitting Secretary of Defense is willing to use time to address the topic, nothing's going to change. Until a Secretary of Defense makes clear that this issue matters at the top, it's not going to matter. Leon Panetta sent a strong signal yesterday, a needed one, and became the first sitting Secretary of Defense to do so. Much more needs to be done and I hope it is but I give Leon Panetta credit for doing more than any of his predecessors have. (And I've said here and face-to-face that I will measure his performance based on this issue and the issue of suicides in the military. Those are the issues that the press should have been grading Robert Gates on.)
Another issue veterans face is exposure to Burn Pits -- veterans, service members and contractors. Stony Brook University holds the first ever Burn Pit Scientific Symposium February 13th and, in addition, there is a move towards a citizen registry:
BurnPits360 is serving as a pathway of advocacy to assist veterans, their families, and civilian contractors who have been negatively affected by toxic burn pits. Contractors were assigned the task of properly disposing of any and all trash on military installations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations in the Middle East. Unfortunately, instead of using incinerators, the contractors disposed of the waste through toxic burn pits and now thousands of veterans have been put at serious risk.
BurnPits360 is inviting anyone that has been affected from exposure to toxic burn pits and environmental hazards to sign up on the registry. We are conducting a voluntary cohort anonymous study with Dr. Szema at Stony Brook University. The study simply requires self-reporting your information on the online registry, providing a proof of military service (DD-214), a signed legal consent form, and additional questionnaires. This study will help to provide vital information to doctors and researchers that will help properly diagnose and treat the vast array of medical complications arising from these exposures. It will provide the Department Of Defense and the Department Of Veteran Affairs with data that will allow them to develop a healthcare model for specialized healthcare specific to toxic exposures and environmental hazards.
The importance of this registry is to serve as a model for all military personnel, civilian contractors, and their families to self-report injuries and deaths from toxic exposure from burn pits and other environmental hazards. It will also assist in proving causation and the correlation between the exposure and the illness, as well as determine all areas of possible exposure. It will provide the VA with the data needed to develop legislative language for the development of a compensation and pension category specific to toxic exposures.
Most importantly, this study is completely anonymous. None of your personal information will be shared at any time. (In such cases where information would ever need to be made public, it would not be done so without the members written consent, whereas the veteran, contractor, and/or their family have the option to decline to participate at that time.)
Should you be interested in participating in the study, please contact Burn Pits 360 via email [burnpitadvocates@burnpits360.org] or by telephone [361-816-4015].
Still on veterans issues,
Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Her office notes:

For Immediate Release
January 19, 2012
Contact:
Murray: 202-224-2834
Filner: 202-225-9756


Murray, Filner Request GAO Review of VA's Sterilization of Reusable Medical Equipment Policies and Procedures

(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA) sent a letter to Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comptroller Gene Dodaro expressing concern over reports of shortcomings in the sterilization of reusable medical equipment. In the letter, they urge the GAO to investigate whether VA's leadership is taking appropriate actions to address these problems across the system.

"On numerous occasions, VA has reported to Congress about the various investigations it has conducted and the problems these investigations have identified, which they claim have led to the development of new processes and procedures to reduce the risk of these problems reoccurring," Senator Murray and Congressman Filner said in the letter. "However, we continue to hear about the same types of quality of care incidents at VA medical facilities and we are concerned that this is an indication that VA is not effectively learning from these incidents and subsequently translating those lessons into system-wide improvements."
The full text of the letter follows:

January 19, 2012



The Honorable Gene L. Dodaro

Comptroller General of the United States

Government Accountability Office
441 G Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20548

Dear Mr. Dodaro:

We know of repeated quality of care problems throughout the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system. Some of these problems, such as shortcomings in the sterilization of reusable medical equipment, reoccur with unacceptable frequency. This raises concerns as to whether VA's leadership is taking appropriate actions, including the appropriate disciplinary actions, to effectively address the problems across the system. On numerous occasions, VA has reported to Congress about the various investigations it has conducted and the problems these investigations have identified, which they claim have led to the development of new processes and procedures to reduce the risk of these problems from reoccurring. However, we continue to hear about the same types of quality of care incidents at VA medical facilities and we are concerned that this is an indication that VA is not effectively learning from these incidents and subsequently translating those lessons into system-wide improvements.

Therefore, we request that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a review of VA's processes and procedures for responding to quality of care incidents that occur within its health care system. Specifically, we request that GAO review the following:

1. What processes and procedures does VA use to respond to quality of care incidents that occur at its medical facilities, including quality assurance reviews and disciplinary actions? To what extent do these processes and procedures compliment and inform each other? What, if any, gaps or inconsistencies exist?

2. How does VA determine which processes and procedures to use to respond to quality of care incidents? What factors contribute to why certain processes and procedures are chosen by VA over others?

3. What challenges, if any, do VA staff face when using these processes and procedures?

4. To what extent are the processes and procedures carried out consistently across VA's health care system?

5. What data, if any, does VA systematically collect with regard to its employees' involvement in quality of care incidents, including clinicians and others? How, if at all, are these data trended and analyzed? To what extent are these data used to determine what actions to take in response to these incidents?

6. To what extent does VA use the data to identify opportunities for system-wide quality improvement?


As a follow-on to the above work, we also request that GAO perform an in-depth assessment of the extent to which VA medical facilities follow the processes and procedures used to respond to quality of care incidents.

Thank you for your work to improve the care and services our veterans receive. We look forward to reviewing your findings.

Sincerely,


PATTY MURRAY
Chairman Ranking Democratic Member
Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs


BOB FILNER
Ranking Democratic Member
House Committee on Veterans Affairs
###

Thursday, January 19, 2012

THIS JUST IN! SAVE IT FOR THE BEDROOM!

BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE


newsweak



THE RIDICULOUS AND OFFENSIVE ANDREW SULLIVAN GOT SPANKED PUBLICLY BY THE TELEGRAPH OF LONDON YESTERDAY.

MORE THAN LIKELY, THAT'S WHAT THE FREAK ON THE LEASH WAS GUNNING FOR ALL ALONG.



Nouri al-Maliki is a liar. He cannot be trusted. He proves that with each passing day. The Tehran Times reports:
Arrest warrants have been issued for 120 members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced in a televised interview late on Tuesday.
During his remarks, Maliki described the MKO as a "terrorist" group and said the it has committed terrorist acts in Iraq and Iran for many years.
He also reiterated the Iraqi government's decision to expel the members of the group and to bring an end to the issue.
That refers to the Camp Ashraf residents. If true, Nouri has now violated his promise to the United Nations and to the United States. If true, Senator Carl Levin, Chair of the Armed Services Committee, and Senator John McCain, Ranking Member, need to follow up on what they were discussing in an open session at the end of last year.
Adnkronos International English reports Turkey's embassy in Baghdad was attacked today. Reuters quotes an unnamed Iraqi security official who states, "There were two Katyusha rockets. The first one hit the embassy blast wall, and the second one hit the second floor of an adjacent bank." An unnamed Turkish embassy employee states there were three rockets. Today's Zaman provides this context, "The attack comes amidst a deepening political crisis between Turkey and Iraq. On Monday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned Iraq's ambassador to Turkey, Abdulemir Kamil Abi-Tabikh, to its headquarters in Ankara to inform him of Turkey's unease over recent Iraqi criticism, just a day after Iraq made a similar move regarding Turkey through Turkey's ambassador to Baghdad. Abi-Tabikh was summoned to the Foreign Ministry by the ministry's undersecretary, Feridun Sinirlio─člu, regarding Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's verbal assault on Turkey for what he characterized as interference in Iraqi affairs." Euronews offers a video repot here which includes, "In Turkey the AK party's vice president blamed Iraq's Prime Minister Maliki for caring more about making aggressive speeches about his country than in protecting Turkey's embassy in his capitol." Nouri unleashed the crazy on Turkey last Friday and his thuggettes in State of Law joined in the following day. And Al Mada reported earlier today that the National Alliance (Shi'ite coalition -- Moqtada al-Sadr's in this group but if he has something to say, he generally sends out his own spokesperson to say it) accused Turkey of 'being on the side of the Sunni.' A common trait in the English language press and the Arabic press out of Iraq: No condemnation of the attack from Nouri.
No condemnation of the attack from Nouri. The Turkish Embassy just joined other targeted groups in Iraq that Nouri's gotten away with looking the other way on in all the years he's been prime minister. It took non-stop outcries from the Vatican for Nouri to finally start offering his meager words when Iraqi Christians were attacked -- and even then, it has to be a major attack (more then 20 dead and/or injured) to prompt a remark from Nouri. Journalists, Iraq's LGBT community, Iraqi women, so many groups targeted under his 'leadership' -- under his orders? -- and he says nothing. Making clear to his thuggettes what's allowed and what's not. And so it's been for six years in April.
Now the world sees how it works. Nouri's lashing out is the early roll out, days later his surrogates attack. And how 'comforting' Nouri's silence must be to countries with their own embassies in Baghdad. Reuters notes that the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued the following statement:
We strongly condemn the atrocious attack on our embassy and we expect the Iraqi authorities to arrest the attackers and take them before the court, as well as to take every necessary measure to ensure such an attack does not take place again.
And the attack on the embassy does nothing to improve Iraq's political crisis. AFP reports Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi has declared the Erbil Agreement must be respected. The leader of the political slate that came in first in the March 2010 elections stated today that if Nouri can't honor the agreement, he must go: "If Maliki was not prepared to abide by the deal, then either his National Alliance should name a replacement premier who was prepared to or a caretaker administration should be installed to organize fresh elections, Allawi said." Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports, "In a press conference in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, Allawi, also the head of Sunni-backed parliamentary bloc of Iraqia, stressed that his bloc supports holding a national conference for the Iraqi political blocs if there is goodwill to solve the problems." AP quotes him declaring at today's news conference, "Iraq is at a crossroads and I say that Iraq needs forgiving leaders, who will raise above their personal hatred." Mohammad Akef Jamal (Gulf News) offers:
The country is experiencing its first crisis after the US withdrawal. The paralysis that has inflicted the political process is due to the deep disagreements between the State of Law coalition and the Al Iraqiya List and, to a lesser degree, between the Kurdish coalition and State of Law.
Signs of collapse of the political process and moves towards an overt confrontation between different political blocs could have been seen even on April 9, 2003. They have taken different forms ever since.
After the blow received by Al Iraqiya, in the form of the arrest warrant against Vice-President Tarek Al Hashemi, it is expected that Al Maliki will target other leaders in the same political bloc in order to remove them from the political arena.
Al Mada reports that Iraqiya has been meeting with the National Alliance and the Sadr bloc (the Sadr bloc is part of the National Alliance) and that they are supposedly close to ending their boycott of Parliament. They are reportedly asking that the issue of Saleh al-Mutlaq be addressed. He is the Deputy Prime Minister that Nouri wants stripped of his post. Parliament has refused Nouri's request so far. He can not strip anyone of their office without the approval of Parliament. Yesterday at the US State Dept, spokesperson Mark C. Toner was asked about Iraq's ongoing political crisis:

QUESTION: But these arrests notwithstanding, Mark, there has been a more belligerent policy by Maliki toward the United States. We have seen it almost in every aspect of the application of policy -- by not filling the cabinet seats, by -- Allawi came the other day on a program and basically said that Maliki's driving the country down the abyss of a civil war. And so what is your position on that? What kind of negotiations are you involved in?
MR. TONER: You mean us directly with --
QUESTION: Yes. The United States of America.
MR. TONER: -- the Iraqis?
QUESTION: It was there for nine years. It invested $800 billion and so on.
MR. TONER: Look, we are -- as of December 31st, we've embarked on a new relationship with the Iraqi Government. There are bureaucratic elements of this relationship that need to be refined and worked out and obviously coupled with a very changeable security environment, that these individuals, that -- rather the Iraqi officials are trying to maintain security but also make sure that they're following the letter of the law. So I wouldn't read too much into these detentions, if you will. In terms of the broader political situation in Iraq, we've continued to press on senior Iraqi politicians the importance of dialogue to work out their differences, and that continues to be our message to them.
QUESTION: But you --
MR. TONER: And we obviously are talking to them on a daily basis. But this is --
QUESTION: Okay. Are you --
MR. TONER: Sorry.
QUESTION: Sorry.
MR. TONER: This is -- no, that's okay. This is an internal political situation. Our concern is that as it -- as they work through this process that it be done in a clear and transparent way that makes sense to the Iraqi people.
QUESTION: Yeah. But are you more in contact with the president of the country, Jalal Talabani, or with the prime minister of the country, Nuri Maliki? Because Talabani has been in Iraq trying to organize some sort of reconciliation conference, but apparently his sort of suggestions have been sort of dismissed by Maliki.
MR. TONER: Well, again, I think that we've -- it's incumbent on us to remain in close contact with all elements of the political spectrum.
QUESTION: Mark, Iraqi prime minister has decided today suspend the Sunni ministers from the government after boycotting its sessions. And a government spokesman, Ali Dabbagh, has said that the ministers are no longer allowed to manage ministries and all decisions that will be signed by them are invalid. How do you view this step?
MR. TONER: Again, putting it in the broader context here, there's some very clear tensions underway in Iraq on the political scene. They're working through these tensions. It's important that they continue, all sides of the political spectrum talk to each other and work constructively together.
QUESTION: But does this step help?
MR. TONER: Again, I don't want to -- I'm trying to put it in a broader context. This is an internal Iraqi political process, so it's important that -- it's less important our comment or opining on what's going on there and more important that they roll up their sleeves, talk to each other, and work through it.
That's very interesting and we will return to it later this week but in terms of what Nouri did yesterday -- barring Cabinet members, that was Nouri 'creating' a new power for himself. KUNA reports, "The Iraqi government has decided to prevent Iraqiya List's cabinet ministers, who boycotted cabinet meetings, from doing their job at their ministries." Mohammed Tawfeeq and CNN note, "Iraqiya spokeswoman Maysoun Damluji said the Iraqiya bloc is not surprised by the prime minister's move, calling it unconstitutional and illegal. She said it has become obvious that al-Maliki is not interested in sharing power."
She is correct, the move is unconstitutional and illegal.
Each branch has powers. The Constitution recognizes three branches and it invests each with unique powers -- unique powers, not absolute ones.
So the Prime Minister-Designate (or Prime Minister if it happens after the transition) has the power to nominate people to be in his or her Cabinet. This is not a power to be taken lightly. The use of that power will demonstarte a great deal about the prime minister-designate in the 30 days period before he or she is replaced with another prime minister-designate or before he or she is transitioned to prime minister.
What does that time period say about Nouri?
Despite the fact that this was his second time naming a Cabinet (the US installed him in April 2006 after Iraqis wanted Ibrahiam al-Jaafari to be prime minister and the US government said no), so he should have had experience at it and known what to do, despite the fact that for eight months, he refused to step down and let Allawi have first crack at organizing a ruling coalition (as the Constitution specified; but screw the Iraqi Constitution when Barack Obama decides Nouri is his man), he was named prime minister-designate in November 2010 and couldn't come up with a full Cabinet. In part, this was due to the fact that he'd created so many more Minister and Deputy Minister posts- he had to in order to come close to keeping all the promises he made in horse trading over the eight month political stalemate.
Nouri only had the power to nominate. The Parliament has to vote and approve each nominee. In this case, Parliament approved everyone nominated.
The only obstacle was Nouri himself.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

THIS JUST IN! VALERIE JARRETT GOES NUTS!

BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

PINT-SIZED WHEN IT COMES TO ETHICS AS WELL, VALERIE JARRETT, SHE FINALLY GOT HERSELF TO CHURCH BUT USED THE FORUM FOR PARTISAN ATTACKS. AND RIGHT WING MEDIA IS ALREADY SAYING JARRETT VIOLATED I.R.S. GUIDELINES. FORGIVE HER, SOME SAY IT WAS HER FIRST TIME IN A CHURCH.

FOR AN ELECTION THAT'S SUPPOSEDLY GOING TO BE A BREEZE FOR BARRY O, HIS SURROGATES SURE ARE DESPERATE.


If you see someone shot dead in front of you on a city block and you turn that into "Person falls," you're stupid, you're useless and you should probably limit your social contacts because you have nothing to offer to anyone. Meet Reuters and AFP. They're wire services, supposely reporting news. But you wouldn't know that when they fail to cover what happens accurately.
Nouri al-Maliki has yet again claimed power he doesn't have. That's the story unless you're being willfully stupid. If you're being willfully stupid -- like Reuters and AFP -- you instead 'report' that the Cabinet has decided to bar three Iraqiya ministers.
There is no such power in the Constitution. If you want to get rid of minister, you have to go through Parliament. There is no power to put a minister on suspension or to block them or to penalize them. They are a minister or they are not one.
Saddam Hussein wouldn't have risen to power if the press had done their watchdog role. But they don't do it. And they waste everyone's time with nonsense and garbage while at the same time allowing Nouri to break the laws. Again.
Nouri's position allows him to nominate people to head ministries and they become ministers if Parliament then agrees with the nomination and votes in favor of it. Then they are ministers and remain ministers unless/until (a) they die while serving, (b) they choose to resign or (c) the prime minister asks Parliament to remove them and Parliament agrees to. That process was not followed. Nouri has yet again refused to follow the law.
The Minister of Finance Rafie al-Esawi, the Minister of Science and Technology Abdul Karim Ali Yasin al-Samarrai and the Minister of Education Dr. Mohammed Ali Mohammed Tamim Jubouri. Reuters identifies al-Esawi but fails to identify the other two. Were the posts barred? No, the people were. So your job, pay attention, requires that you name the three. Those are the three (if Reuters identified the offices correctly -- big if judging by their other work today). [Reuters is capable of much stronger reporting -- see this piece on the drone war by former New York Times correspondent David Rohde.]
When Nouri breaks the law and/or circumvents the Constitution, if the press doesn't call him out, a message is sent. And it's the same little pieces of encouragement that helped create Saddam Hussein. That's not to let the US government off the hook (Saddam Hussein was a US ally for years) but it is noting that the press has tremendous power -- or rather the potential for tremendous power -- which is repeatedly fails to use. There's a reason for the current crawl across al-Samarrai's website but the press can't tell you that because the press can't even tell you his name.
We explained how this works (or doesn't) January 4th:
Today Nouri manages to break the Constitution again. Khalid Al Ansary and Nayla Razzouk (Bloomberg News) report that he placed "all eight government ministers from the Sunni Muslim-backed al-Iraqiya alliance on leave" according to his spokesperon Ali al-Musawi. Where in the country's constitution does that power exist?
Oh, right, it doesn't. Those eight ministers were confirmed in their posts by Parliament (in other words they're not 'acting' anything, they are the ministers, per the Constitution). His only power after a minister is confirmed by Parliament? Outlined in Article 75:
The Prime Minister is the direct executive authority responsible for the general policy of the State and the commander in chief of the armed forces. He directs the Council of Ministers, and presides over its meetings and has the right to dismiss the Ministers on the consent of the Council of Representatives.
He is not allowed to strip a minister of their post without the consent of Parliament. Iraqiya has been boycotting the Cabinet and Parliament -- this started last month over the failure of Nouri to live up to the Erbil Agreement that ended the eight month political stalemate following the March 2010 elections. If Nouri now wants the ministers dismissed -- for any reason -- he needs to go to Parliament.
He has no right to put them on "leave." There is nothing in the Constitution that gives him this right. Per the Constitution, a Minister can only be stripped of their post (which would include their duties) if the Parliament agrees to it. The Parliament still hasn't set a date on hearing Nouri's demand from last month (December 17th) that Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his post. They certainly haven't agreed to strip eight ministers of their post.

Since then, Al Mada has quoted Nouri's advisor Adel Berwari admitting that Nouri doesn't have the power to replace ministers. Nor does he have the power to suspend or bar them. If Baghdad had a functioning and independent court, the smartest thing for any of the three would be to file charges against Nouri on this issue and a real court would rule that "barring" a minister is the same as "firing" one, that the Constitution outlines how you remove a minister and that the process has not been followed. Martin Chulov (Guardian) offers this analysis of the political crisis:

The move by the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, in mid-December against the country's Sunni vice-president, Tariq al-Hashemi, was always going to be provocative. Maliki, who in a recent interview said his primary identity was Shia, insists Hashemi was directing hit squads. He said he had known about the vice-president's "terror activities" for years, but had waited for the right time to go after him. The moment he chose could not have been more potent – the US army had hardly shut the gate into Kuwait behind them. The remaining strongman in town was marking his patch. The rest of Iraq would have to live with it.
Maliki would surely have expected a backlash. He has never been popular with the country's disenfranchised Sunnis and has had a workable, though strained, relationship with the increasingly disengaged Kurds. Yet he doesn't seem to have factored in the strength of the resentment -- and its capacity to seriously undermine the power base he seems intent on building for himself.
Iraq now finds itself at a juncture that in many ways is more dangerous and instructive than the darkest days of 2006, when all remnants of state control crumbled as sectarian war took hold. Back then there was no expectation the state could lead Iraq to a better place. Six years on, and with violence much lower, Iraqis have even less faith in the state, despite it being much better placed -- at face value -- to provide for its citizens.
A political crisis is a serious issue and it does matter whether or not the law is followed. Reporters do no one any favors by refusing to note when someone attempts a power-grab.
AP doesn't give a number of ministers 'suspended' but their report indicates it was more than three and they quote Iraqiya spokesperson Maysoun Damluji stating, "It's an escalation by al-Maliki to push Iraqiya away."
Nouri kicked off the political crisis last month by demanding that Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his post and that al-Hashemi be charged with terrorism. Both al-Mutlaq and al-Hashemi are members of Iraqiya, Nouri's political rivals and the political slate that came in first place in the March 2010 elections. Gavriel Queenann (Israel National News) reports that Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq is calling for Nouri to step down and quotes him stating, "The longer Al Maliki stays in power, the higher the possibility of a divided Iraq."
Al Mannarah's Talk interviews Iraqi Vice President Tareqq al-Hashemi and the first question is, if you're innocent why did you flee arrest? al-Hashemi explains he did not run away (he went to the KRG for meetings, after he was in the KRG, the arrest warrant was issued, he's remained in the KRG since). On holding a trial in Baghdad, he states he doesn't trust the Baghdad judiciary. He is asked why the call for transferring the hearing to Erbil switched to Kirkuk and he explains that Baghdad and Kirkuk are part of the same legal system while the KRG is an independent judiciary (apparently meaning, Kirkuk would just require a transfer of locations; whereas Erbil couldn't execute a trial based on charges from Baghdad). But if Baghdad and Kirkuk are under the same umbrella, why not the same concerns about Kirkuk that he has regarding Baghdad? He replies that Kirkuk (and the judiciary in Kirkuk) has its own security operations and is not dependent upon Nouri for security. He states he doesn't trust the government, meaning Nouri al-Maliki, and that Nouri cannot tolerate opposition voices, Nouri can't stomach criticism of his failed administration. He notes the human rights violations that take place in Iraq under Nouri's leadership. He does not call Nouri a dictator when asked, saying that they would have to agree on the definition first.


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