FADED CELEBRITY BARRY O WAS WOOED IN JAPAN BY THE PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE AND SCARFED DOWN 14 PIECES OF SUSHI.
"I NEVER SAW ANYONE SWALLOW SO QUICKLY," SAID ONE TABLE MATE.
AND WHAT HAPPENED AFTER?
ONLY THE HOUSE KEEPING LAUNDRY KNOWS FOR SURE.
BUT ONE JAPANESE POLITICIAN, KAZUYUKI HAMADA, INSISTS BARRY O IS INDULGING IN AFFAIRS.
WHICH MAY EXPLAIN WHY AGING CLOSET QUEEN GEORGE CLOONEY HAD A FIT IN LAS VEGAS WHEN ONE OF HIS FRIENDS TRASH TALKED BARRY O.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
As I stated in yesterday's snapshot:
If Joel Wing or Reidar Visser see themselves as left, my apologies to them. Although both have bent to Nouri's will too often for my tastes, I don't see them as right or left but more centrist analysts.
And Visser bends to it again today. Dexter Filkens' New Yorker article led Visser to rush -- yet again -- to Nouri al-Maliki's defense.
And his dishonesty means I'm forced to defend Dexter Filkins.
Skepticism of any report is a good thing when approaching one. But after you've read it -- I'm not sure Visser read it all -- your criticism needs to be sound.
A colleague of Nouri al-Maliki's says he never smiles. That's in the opening of the article. As I noted on Sunday: "His intro should have been redone, it's a nightmare, but otherwise the writing is better than okay." The never smiles remark is what as known as hyperbole.
Yet Visser makes this his first 'fact check' and maintains, "This assertion can be easily falsified by a simple Google Image search, and one assumes the longstanding Maliki associate is talking to Filkins because he is not any longer such a close associate and that maybe that, in turn, may explain the perceived absence of smiles."
Again, it is hyperbole. Visser calls his own competence as a media critic into question by failing to grasp hyperbole.
Then Visser wants to insist:
In his description of the 2010 government formation process, Filkins asserts that the Iraqi federal supreme court ruling that formally enabled post-election coalition forming “directly contradicted the Iraqi constitution”. This is just untrue. The problem is that the Iraqi constitution is mute when it comes to the relationship between electoral lists and parliamentary blocs. It just says the biggest parliamentary bloc will nominate the premier, and the supreme court simply repeated that sentence, with the addition that pre-election and post-election formation should be considered on an equal footing.
Visser's wrong and I can quote him. Why can't he -- or more importantly -- why won't he quote Filkins?
This is the section that Visser badly summarizes:
In parliamentary elections the previous March, Maliki’s Shiite Islamist alliance, the State of Law, had suffered an embarrassing loss. The greatest share of votes went to a secular, pro-Western coalition called Iraqiya, led by Ayad Allawi, a persistent enemy of the Iranians. “These were election results we could only have dreamed of,” a former American diplomat told me. “The surge had worked. The war was winding down. And, for the first time in the history of the Arab world, a secular, Western-leaning alliance won a free and fair election.”
But even though Allawi’s group had won the most votes, it had not captured a majority, leaving both him and Maliki scrambling for coalition partners. And despite the gratifying election results, American officials said, the Obama Administration concluded that backing Allawi would be too difficult if he was opposed by Shiites and by their supporters in Iran. “There was no way that the Shia were not going to provide the next Prime Minister,” James Jeffrey, the American Ambassador at the time, told me. “Iraq will not work if they don’t. Allawi was a goner.”
Shortly after the elections, an Iraqi judge, under pressure from the Prime Minister, awarded Maliki the first chance to form a government. The ruling directly contradicted the Iraqi constitution, but American officials did not contest it. “The intent of the constitution was clear, and we had the notes of the people who drafted it,” Sky, the civilian adviser, said. “The Americans had already weighed in for Maliki.”
Now Reidar Visser, I've tried to be nice. I haven't been linking to my piece "A crackpot runs AFP, Al Jazeera and the Christian Science Monitor" about how you thought you were being followed, that FBI posed as CIA, that you were harassed in US libraries and all the other things we should just leave behind. But when you wrote your nonsense today, Reidar, you indirectly slammed me with voice mails as various friends in journalism called to tell me how accurate my call on you in that piece was.
Flikins is correct, Emma Sky is correct.
And, yes, I was correct. This was one of the big things that I can remember Reider and 'others' getting wrong in real time that we went over and over.
It was a violation of the Constitution and maybe Reider doesn't quote Emma Sky from Dexter's report because he realizes she has a lot more credibility than he does?
Reidar doesn't not know the law. When we're making arguments about the Iraqi Constitution here, it's usually pointed out to me by one of two Iraqis who actually worked on the Constitution (and one of them was a source for Dexter's article, by the way). I then look at the points they're making, walk through them with friends and then present them here. And unlike Reidar Visser, I understand Constitutional Law and aced that and other legal courses.
Equally true, until Nouri made public the secret judgment (which he sought before the election but didn't share), the operating belief was clear -- and was used in 2006 after the December 2005 parliamentary elections. Also true, the judges don't make law in Iraq. But that's what they did with their ruling for Nouri.
Filkens is correct in his report, Reidar Visser is wrong and he's so appalling wrong that he's already chopping off the legs to any sort of comeback he might have. His devotion to Nouri al-Maliki is apparently greater than his own need for self-preservation.
He's as embarrassing as the eunuchs attempting to serve War Criminal Tony Blair.
Take the ridiculous Jonathan Russell (Left Foot Forward) who screeches, "Tony Blair’s Bloomberg speech yesterday on the Middle East has been roundly criticised from various commentators, most of whom seemed to have not read or heard the actual speech. Brand Blair is considered toxic because of his legacy in Iraq, but the danger is that his valid arguments about Islamist extremism are lost." We covered that speech in yesterday's snapshot.
Here's a little tip for Jonathan Russell, something most people know -- all of those who don't suffer from wet dreams about Tony Blair. He's not Einstein. Tony Blair's not even an original thinker. There's nothing he adds that's particular to him. His message is already being tossed around -- by neoconservatives.
Of Blair, Betty pointed out, "Tony Blair's the danger. Today, he tried to paint others as being dangerous." The Daily Mail notes, "[. . .] as his speech yesterday made clear, he remains in denial over his own role in inflaming terrorism by leading us into a bloody war in Iraq on the strength of a lie." Arun Kundnani (Guardian) observes, "Blair's supporters say he has discovered nuance. But the shift in his latest speech is not towards subtlety but a step back to the rhetoric of stability, and the abandonment of the post-9/11 neoconservative slogan of reordering the world. What remains is the hypocrisy of denouncing an ideology as inherently violent, and then launching a grand ideological war against it that results in far more violence."
All of the above goes to the fact that Tony Blair's a lousy megaphone for any idea -- even if it was a good one. Stop the War's Lindsey German and Robin Beste note 10 facts about Blair and we'll include the first four:
1. Tony Blair has never shown a shred of remorse for the extremism of mass slaughter and destruction for which he was directly responsible, not least in Iraq.
2. Tony Blair is a supporter of extremism around the world, whether it be the dictators in Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan, the despots ruling the oil states Kuwait and Bahrain, or Israel’s apartheid regime that occupies Palestinian land in contravention of international law and countless UN resolutions. When prime minister, not content with waging illegal wars, he was up to his neck in CIA torture and kidnapping ’every step of the way’.
3. Tony Blair defends and applauds the military coup that overthrew the democratically elected government in Egypt, saying that it ‘was the absolutely necessary rescue of a nation’. He was a supporter of the Egyptian dictator Mubarak, calling him “immensely courageous and a force for good”,right up to the day he was overthrown in a popular revolution by the Egyptian people.
4. Tony Blair blindly ignores the catastrophes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, as he endlessly promotes more western military intervention, whether it be in Syria, Iran or beyond.
Repeating, Tony Blair is not an original thinker. His only value would be to popularize some theme or argument; however, his image is so negative that he can't even manage that. His attempts to act as a megaphone will only harm any message someone wants to get out.
Let's stay on this cult of personality nonsense for a moment.
Anyone can get taken in, that's always a possibility. But rational adults can realize they've been conned. Equally true, someone can support a Blair and then a Blair -- or a Nouri -- can morph into something else. At which point, the rational adult can walk away from supporting the person.
I won't support Hillary Clinton if she runs for president.
That's their choice, that's their business.
For me, I think it was a slap in the face to her supporters for her to serve in Barack's administration. It was four years of her supporters having to defend her daily because the partisans blamed her for everything. They worked overtime to deny her the presidential nomination but then treated the Secretary of State as though she were the president and slammed her for what the administration did. Barack hid behind her skirts and I think Hillary betrayed the support she had by playing 'good soldier.'
As a US senator she opposed the so-called 'surge' in Iraq. As we now know from former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Hillary only opposed it for political reasons/posturing.
That's actually fine with me. And it's one of the few things she truly shares with her husband. He was ridiculed for polling when he was president. But that was about listening to the American people. So Hillary listening to the people and opposing the surge? I applaud that.
It's why, in January of 2008, I realized I'd support her for president. 1) She would poll, she would listen. 2) She wasn't being fawned over. Her supporters wanted her to fight for them. They weren't ooohing and aaaweing over the baby fawn emerging from the forest.
So she'd be held accountable -- by the right, by the left, by the center. We've not seen with Barack. We've seen a craven media fawn over him (and CBS really needs to address Sharyl Attkison's charges -- with one Rhodes brother in the administration and the other over CBS News, the network really needs to address this). We've seen a faux left spend his first four years in office attacking Hillary so as not to say an unpleasant word about Barack.
Medea Benjamin writes and co-writes entire articles on The Drone War that overlook the person in charge of it: Barack Obama.
This is exactly what so many of us expected if he won the nomination.
That was 2008.
It's 2014 and Hillary's time in the administration coarsened her and amplified her bad habits. When she went into her screaming fit before Congress -- that's not how you act before Congress, especially not when you're serving in an administration -- it was obvious how far gone she was.
If I were a Cult of Personality -- or a liar -- I'd just smile and say, "Hillary's so wonderful . . ."
Reider can't walk away from Nouri.
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