THESE REPORTERS CAUGHT UP WITH BARACK PARTY GIRL LESLIE CAGAN, LEAD SOCIALITE OF UNITED FOR PATHETIC AND JUVENILE, AS SHE PREPARED FOR A BARACK BALL.
FROM THE GOODWILL DRESSING ROOMS, SHE HOLLERED AT THESE REPORTERS, "GET AWAY! I WILL NOT ANSWER WHETHER OR NOT I AM A COMMUNIST! HOW DARE YOU ASK ME THAT!"
WE HADN'T ASKED THE GUILTY BARKING DOG A THING AT THAT POINT. BUT WE DID HAVE A QUESTION: DID SHE REALLY THINK INFORMING ON OTHERS TO THE F.B.I. DURING VIETNAM WOULDN'T HAUNT HER?
LEAPIN' LIZARDS LESLIE SUDDENLY WANTED TO TALK ALL ABOUT WHAT SHE DESCRIBED AS HER "FLIRTATIONS AND, YES, HEAVY PETTING WITH HARD LINE COMMUNISM" -- HARD LINE? -- AS SHE ATTEMPTED TO AVOID ANSWERING THE QUESTION WE'D ASKED HER.
WE OFFERED UP THREE SPECIFIC DATES WE WERE AWARE OF AND ASKED, "WERE YOU SAVING YOUR OWN ASS? WERE YOU TRICKED AND UNAWARE YOU WERE SPEAKING TO A F.B.I. AGENT? OR WERE YOU A PAID AGENT?"
LESLIE DUCKED OUT LEAVING US WITH TOM HAYDEN STANDING OUTSIDE THE DRESSING ROOM IN HIS SOILED BVDS AS HE WAITED TO TRY ON SOME "GROOVY" LOVE BEADS (IT WAS A CANDY NECKLACE, POPS NEEDS GLASSES IN HIS OLD AGE) AND "THREADS" THAT HE WAS "DYING" TO WEAR AT BARACK'S INAUGURAL.
"DON'T BE ASKING ME ABOUT COMMUNISM OR THE F.BI.," TOM JOKED, "BESIDES ARE THEY ACTUALLY THE SAME THING!"
AND SOME SAY TOM'S ONLY FUNNY IN BED.
AND, ACTUALLY, BED WAS WHAT WE WANTED TO ASK HIM ABOUT. HE'S WRITTEN HOW MANY 'MEMOIRS' NOW AND WE JUST WONDERED WHEN HE WAS GOING TO GET HONEST ABOUT THE REALLY FREAKY SEX HE WAS PARTAKING IN? WE DON'T MEAN VANILLA WITH A SPLASH OF GINGER, WE MEAN TOTALLY F**KED UP, OUTRAGE THE WORLD, FREAK SEX?
"A LADY NEVER KISSES AND TELLS," SAID TOM DARTING INTO THE FIRST AVAILABLE DRESSING ROOM.
You Just Need a Dilettante To Know Which Way The Wind Blows. And Tom Hayden is one -- a greying, dottering one, but a dilettante none the less. At ZNet (link provided so you can visit the scene of his crime), Tommy list a series of wants: "our new president to succeed, restore hope, and launch a new New Deal at home, not to be distracted by a quagmire abroad." Tom, you are now as officially nutty as Leslie Cagan and both of you should exit stage right immediately. These are not the voices of peace, these are the hormonally charged teenagers trying to figure out why their panties and briefs get damp when Barack walks by (as outlined in the year in review). Where in Tom's 'noble' laundry list do you see the least bit of concern for Iraqis? Poor Iraqis, Tom's all out of hope for them.
This is not a voice of peace, it's the sound of a suck-up who's finally spent the bulk of his divorce settlement (we always said, "Give it time, it will happen."). And Tom's no longer interested in Iraq. You get that from his praise for Dexter Filkins (the Falluja liar Dexy). You get that from his 'judgment' (don't bring up his record when it comes to judgments, we'll all be laughing for days and never get a thing accomplished). His judgment is that Iraq War is, so, like, totally over, you know, and all the way cool kids are sporting Afghanistan these days. Tom-Tom writes, "The conditions for a massive social movement against the Iraq War are ebbing, for now, unless large-scale fighting suddenly resumes or President Obama unexpectedly caves in to the Pentagon and blatantly breaks his promise to withdraw combat troops in 16 months and all troops by 2011." Poor Tom-Tom, he always rushed-rushed. In all areas of life. And now Tom-Tom ditches Iraq to move over to talking about Afghanistan because he's so very sure it's the next great frontier for the Barack Obama Movement. Not for the peace movement, mind you. And what's with 16-months, Tommy? I certainly haven't forgotten when you took one line of Barack's from that absurd Houston, Texas speech and insisted (in a full column -- fool column?) that Barack needed your votes now (more than ever!) because he'd just offered a new 'plan' -- Withdrawal in 10 months! Remember that? "In his victory speech in Texas Tuesday, Barack Obama promised to end the Iraq war in 2009, a new committment that parallels recent [gas baggery] in The Nation." Remember those words?
He's lied for so long and lied so much, he can't even keep it straight anymore. He's honestly as manic as he was when he was rightly kicked out of the commune. And that's only more obvious when he decides he wants to 'comfort' readers with his opinion that Iraq will now be "a low-visibility counterinsurgency war like those that ravaged Central America in the 1970s." And that, apparently, requires no protest and doesn't disturb Tom Hayden. Poor Iraq War, someone should have told you that Tom-Tom loses interrest in causes as quickly as he does women.
Thanks for playing Tom. Go form a B-O circle jerk with Leslie Cagan. The two of you can argue over whether it's better to stare at the seat of Barack's pants or that really tight crotch. And use the link to laugh. I haven't laughed so hard since his August piece ("Dreams of Obama") where he used his children as accessories to shore up his faltering image but, somehow, forgot his adopted daughter. Was no one supposed to notice? Can we all expect 2009 to bring a Tommy Dearest page turner? Apparently everyone was too busy dropping their jaws at his slur against bi-racial children in that column to notice how quickly he disappeared family. As quickly as he tries today to disappear Iraq.
The Old Sell-Out can't be counted on but thank goodness we have an 'independent' media, right? No, we have a Panhandle Media and somehow FAIR forgot to call out the little stunt taking place January 20th -- see Third Sunday for more on that.
Instead we'll drop back to November 28th when Amnesy International issued this warning, "Thousands of Iraqis detained by US forces are at risk of torture or even execution, following the ratification of a security agreement between the US and Iraqi governments. Under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which will take effect on 31 December, around 16,000 prisoners held by the US will be transferred to Iraqi custody. Those at particular risk . . ." We'll stop right there. No need to worry because those prisoners will remain US prisoners. They are not being transitioned. Yes, the treaty supposedly guaranteed the handover but no one was foolish enough to fall for the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement, right? Oh, some did. Anyway, Peter Graff, Ahmed Rasheed, Khalid al-Ansary and Jon Boyle (Reuters) report, "Some prisoners held indefinitely without charge by US forces in Iraq may not be freed or given trials, even though U.S. forces lost the authority to hold them at the beginning of this year, a U.S. military spokesman said. . . U.S. forces are holding 15,000 prisoners, most of whom have been detained without charge under the authority of a U.N. Security Council resolution which expired on Dec. 31."
Earlier this week (Tuesday), US House Rep John Conyers, as chair of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced the "National Commission on Presidential War Power and Civil Liberties" with Jerry Nadler, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Bill Delahunt and Eddie Bernice Johnson among the co-sponsors. The bill argues for the establishment of "a Blue Ribbon Commission comprised of experts outsdie government service to investigate the broad range of policies of the Bush adminstration that were undertaken by the Bush administration under claims of unreviewable war powers." Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Patrick Leahy, released three documents [PDF format warning] from the Office of legal Counsel -- one on the White House authority to use force against Iraq, a second on the UN Security Council from November 8, 2002 and a third entitled "Re: 'Protected Persons' in Occupied Iraq" (March 18, 2004) which is the one we're focusing on.
This memo (25 pages plus Appendix) was written by then Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith. The lie the White House repeated was that Geneva didn't apply to Afghanstian (legally, it should have applied) but Iraq was a war and they were following the Geneva Conventions. That was a lie. They were selectively following it. Goldsmith found, W"e conclude that the following persons, if captured in occupied Iraq, are not 'protected persons' within the meaning of GC article 4: U.S. nationals, nationals of a State not bound by the Convention, nationals of a co-belligerent State, and operatives of the al Qaeda terrorist organization who are not Iraqi nationals or permanent residents of Iraq." The White House honored Geneva selectively. They lied to the American people yet again. Equally disturbing is the legal opinion including pages 22 through 24 where the conditions arguing for the protection of members of a resistance movement are selectively noted by Goldsmith who attempts to impose limitations via revisionary history. Acknowledging the need for resistance against the Nazis, he does allow Geneve would protect Germans but, by his argument, members of the resistance in Germany or Poland who were French would not be protected. The Nazis were not limited to Germany and the resistance movement against the Nazis was an European movement -- a fact Goldsmith is either ignorant of or pretends to be. It's an appalling and shoddy legal opinion. He distorts or selectively ignores historical facts and when you're dealing with the Holocaust, that is especially offensive. This is a glimpse at just how sick the 'minds' at work in the current White House were.
So along with the approximately 16,000 prisoners the US was holding in Iraq that Amensty International was aware of, there are who knows how many others captured in Iraq and taken elsewhere? And, no, the expiration of the UN Security Council mandate does not mean that any of them are now turned over to the Iraqi puppet government.
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
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Saturday, January 10, 2009
THIS JUST IN! TOM AND LESLIE'S INTERESTING ADVENTURES!
Friday, January 09, 2009
THIS JUST IN! BARACK GETS COZY WITH LOBBYIST!
DURING THE PRIMARY CAMPAIGN, SENATOR SWEET CHEEKS BARACK OBAMA LIKED TO PRETEND NO LOBBYISTS WORKED ON HIS CAMPAING -- OF COURSE THEY DID BUT HE HAD A PRESS TO LIE FOR HIM.
TODAY, HE ANNOUNCED HIS NUMBER 2 AT THE PENTAGON WOULD BE WILLIAM J. LYNN III -- SENIOR VICE PRESIDNET FOR RAYTHEON AND A REGISTERED LOBBYIST UNTIL 6 MONTHS AGO. IN 2008, HE LOBBYIED FOR MORE FUNDS FOR MISSILES BECAUSE WHEN THINGS GO BOOM -- EVEN IF PEOPLE DIE -- WILLY LYNN GETS A BONER.
IT'S ANOTHER CRUSHING BLOW FOR THE WORKING PRESS WHICH WAS HOPING TO SAIL THROUGH THIS MONTH DRESSING THEIR BARACK PAPER DOLLS.
Today Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, informed the UN Security Council about the refugee crisis in the world and noted that the total number of refugees falling under the UNHCR is 11 million -- up from 9 million in 2006 -- with the numbers being driven by Somalia and Iraq. The United Nations notes of his briefing, "In Iraq, UNHCR was working hard to help the Government create appropriate conditions for the voluntary return and sustainable reintegration of refugees and the internally displaced, he said. Two million Iraqis were hosted mainly by Jordan and Syria, and a similar number remained displaced inside their own country. UNHCR called on the more prosperous States to offer full support to countries and organizations bearing the brunt of the Iraqi exodus. To prepare for returns, UNHCR had redeployed its represenatives for Iraq from Amman to Baghdad and established an international presence in Erbil, Mosul and Basra. Beyond security, sustainable return to Iraq would require effective action in the areas of property restitution or compensation, and full and equitable access to welfare services and public distribution systems."
Yesterday the US Department of Defense announced "the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Staff Sgt. Anthony D. Davis, 29, of Daytona Beach, Fla., died Jan. 6 in Northern Iraq, of wounds suffered when he was shot by enemy forces. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia." Audrey Parente (Daytona Beach News-Journal) has a strong article on Davis's life. M-NF never announced that death. The way it works -- when it works -- is that M-NF announces a death has occurred. Later, after the family has been notified, DoD issues the name of the deceased. 4223 is the current number of US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war.
Repeating, 4223. Not 4213, as Eric Owles maintains in a New York Times blog post allegedly written today: "Will it be the Iraq where 4,213 American service members and an estimated 90,000 Iraqis have been killed?" Christmas Day, the death toll was 4217. When did Owles write that 'think' piece? Again, the date on it says today but today's death toll is 4223. As for 90,000? If he can't even get the US death toll correct, don't expect miracles when it comes to Iraqis. Approximately 1.3 million Iraqis have died since the start of the illegal war. Owles is using the numbers from the laughable Iraq Body Count -- numbers embraced by Bully Boy, in case anyone forgot. SourceWatch notes of Iraq Body Count, "However, as Medialens notes: 'In reality, IBC is not primarily an Iraq Body Count, it is not even an Iraq Media Body Count, it is an Iraq Western Media Body Count'." Having tired himself out handling bad numbers, Owles steers readers this post by Thomas E. Ricks (Foreign Policy) where Ricks predicts that 2009 will be "tougher" in 2009 than it was in 2008 and that "Obama's war in Iraq may last longer than Bush's". Ricks also notes, "The recent Status of Forces Agreement also means less than it seems. For example, U.S. forces are supposed to get out of major bases in the cities later this year. But there really aren't major big bases in the cities now -- the last time I was in Iraq I was told there is really only one -- and U.S. military advisors will remain in urban outposts along with Iraiq forces. I suspect the SOFA really is most meaninful for the political help it will give Prime Minister Maliki in getting re-elected at the end of 2009 by taking the American presence off the table as a wedge issue for Iraqis."
A presence kind-of departing Iraq is the Denmark military. The Copenhagen Post reports that the last six Danish military officers have left: "The UN mandate for the force ran out at the start of the year and the Iraqi authorities have not asked the Danes to remain in the country." But the paper reports, "Between 40 and 50 members of the armed forces remain in Iraq providing security for the embassy, connected with the UN and on a Nato training mission." As Stevie Nicks once sang, "No one ever leaves, every one stays, close til the fire fades" ("Fireflies," written by Nicks, on Fleetwood Mac Live). Sidebar: Stevie joins bandmates Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Lindsey Buckingham for the group's first tour which kicks off March 1st in Pittsburgh (March tour dates are up at Fleetwood Mac's site).
No one ever leaves . . . Elaine Brower (World Can't Wait) reports what happened to those who protest the illegal war in 2009. Tuesday when Congress did it's first day of 'business' (Its business, so very rarely ever the people's business), Activist Response Team staged a March of the Dead which found 70 or so activists in "white masks and wearing all black signifying the souls of those who will be haunting the criminals who are sending bombs to kill Iraqis, Afghanis, Palestinians and members of the military who are the lethal arm of this government's quest for empire" begam marching in the rain through DC, stopping at the Supreme Court before moving onto the Senate Hart Building where they unfurled banners in the atrium as the names of some of the dead were read out loud. The banners read "THE AUDACITY OF WAR CRIMES," "IRAQ," "AFGHANISTAN" and "PALESTINE" and "Capitol Police, who were present when the march came into the building, quickly responded to remove the words that were so hurtful to those who were guilty of committing these war crimes. Within seconds, the banners were pulled up, but it gave press and other independent media a chance to photograph it all. An everlasting message to the murderers who keep spending taxpayer dollars to kill innocent people. At that point seven people were arrested for unfurling the words of truth, but those on the ground floor of the Hart Buidling remained reading the names of the dead. The police were gathering in force, and just as a secure perimeter was formed around the masked readers, another banner announcing 'WE WILL NOT BE SILENT' was dropped. Quickly, three people were carted off by the police, and the banner was cut down." In all, 17 activsts were arrested including those 'guilty of the crime' of reading the names of the dead outloud.
Though democracy is never 'exportable' possibly the White House had such a difficult time with 'giving' it to Iraq because it wasn't to be found in much of the US? But they will try again January 31st when provincial elections are scheduled. Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that yesterday's Holy day was seen as a campaign tool for "Iraq's ruling Shiite Muslim parties" and they conducted a poster war "from Baghdad to the southern city of Karbala" in anticipation of the provincial elections in "14 of the country's 18 provinces." Fadel notes that a number of voters state they will not vote for "their sects or their ethnicity" due to no progress on the ground in terms of basic services. A former school teacher, Widad Hamid, offers another reason, "Unfortunately it seems that when all is told it is Shiite support Shiite." (Hamid is Sunni.) Fadel judges the race in "the Shiite south" to be chiefly between Nouri al-Maliki's United Iraqi Alliance-Islamic Dawa Party and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and notes some were not pleased to see the Holy day co-opted by political campaigns. Basheer Aoun al Anbari states, "Under the past regime God cursed us. Now God curses us again. It upsets us that they use our religion. They did not apply what Imam Hussein symbolizes: justice." Kimi Youshino (Los Angeles Times' Babylon & Beyond) observes that the "concrete blast walls make the perfect blank canvas for election posters" and that, "Judge Qasim Hasan Abodi, head of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission, said several candidates and political parties have been warned about defacing posters -- as well as putting them in areas off-limits for posters, including government buildings and security checkpoints." Sam Dagher (New York Times) reports that many, many men celeberated the Holy day in honor of Iman Hussein -- allegedly a holiday for all Shi'ites but al-Maliki refused to allow women to participate. Allegedly, the fact that suicide bombers are women resulted in them being blocked from the ceremonies. Of course, many, many more suicide bombers are men and no one blocked them from celebrating.
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Wednesday, January 07, 2009
THIS JUST IN! SON OF A NEWT GINGRICH!
HE TOLD PEOPLE DURING THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARIES THAT HE THOUGHT THE REPUBLICANS WERE THE PARTY OF IDEAS AND HE WAXED ON AND ON ABOUT RONALD REAGAN.
SO IT SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRISE THAT DEMOCRAT IN NAME ONLY -- OR AS MICHELLE HAS TAKEN TO CALLING HIM, "DEMONCRAT" -- BARACK OBAMA HAS REVEALED TODAY THAT HE INTENDS TO 'FIX' SOCIAL SECURITY.
THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH SOCIAL SECURITY. BUT THAT'S BARACK, BUYING INTO RIGHT-WING TALKING POINTS SO HE CAN DESTROY THE SAFETY NET.
WHEN REACHED FOR COMMENT, BARACK SAID, "HEY DO THEY STILL MAKE THE PISS-CHRIST? I WAS THINKING I COULD CUT FUNDING FOR THE ARTS NEXT?"
Starting with the press. As Kat noted last night, incoming and outgoing White House occupants love their fake news. For some strange reason, people are looking the other way. Carol Marin (Chicago Sun-Times) explained Sunday that she and her colleagues in the press have been "[d]eferential, eager to please, prepared to keep a careful distance" and that at Barack's 'news' conferences, "The press corps, most of us, don't even bother raising our hands any more to ask questions because Obama always has before him a list of correspondents who've been advised they will be called upon that day." For those who've forgotten, the staged, fake 'news' conference has a direct relationship to the Iraq War.
"This is scripted," joked Bully Boy in the Mrach 6, 2003 press conference (link has text, audio and video) and it was one of the most pathetic performances by the press ever. It was so bad Saturday Night Live parodied it having Rachel Dratch play the dean of White House correspondents Helen Thomas trying to ask real questions and being prevented. "How can you justify bombing innocent Iraqis for oil" led to Helen being chlorformed and she gets hit with a poisoned dart when she points out, "Mr. President, you have not dealt with the main issue! You have yet to speak on the fact that half the people in this country do not want this war!" You can see the dart at NOW on PBS when that bit of the skit was played during David Brancaccio's profile January 16, 2004 of Helen Thomas. The New York Press offered, "After watching George W. Bush's press conference last Thursday night, I'm more convinced than ever: The entire White House press corps should be herded into a cargo plane, flown to an altitude of 30,000 feet, and pushed out, kicking and screaming, over the North Atlantic. . . . Abandoning the time-honored pretense of spontaneity, Bush chose the order of questioners not by scanning the room and picking out raised hands, but by looking down and reading from a predetermined list. Reporters, nonetheless, raised their hands in between questions -- as though hoping to suddenly catch the president's attention. In other words, not only were reporters going out of their way to make sure their softballs were pre-apporved, but they even went so far as to act on Bush's behalf, raising their hands and jockeying in their seats in order to better give the appearance of a spontaneous news conference."
That was an important moment and the PRESS FAILED. They failed in their jobs, they failed journalism, they failed the country and they failed democracy. Was it just too difficult of a moment for them?
The press that caves today and play-acts a 'news' conference for Barack before he's even sworn in is telegraphing that they will not stand up for a free press any more than they did during the last eight years. It is disgusting and it needs to be called. Barack also needs to be called out for his fraudulent practices. That is deceitful. And he's demonstrating that he is just as craven as his predecessor. The press wants to tie a bow around the Iraq War or -- more likely -- shove it in a Hefty trash bag and leave it out on the street, they want to insist they're done and the war is over. That is not reality but it will benefit a president who never technically promised to withdraw all US troops (expect Barack to get a lot of "It depends what your definition of 'is' is" jokes in two years) and has no plans to end the illegal war.
Staying with the responsibilities of the press, the US broadcast networks want to end their coverage from Iraq. Paul J. Gough (Hollywood Reporter) reports that ABC will hand-off day-to-day coverage for the American Broadcasting Company to the BBC, increasing the ties between the two in sharing coverage that began in 1994: "ABC News president David Westin announced the change Wednesday morning in Baghdad in an email to employees obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. He wrote in the email that Iraq would continue to be an important story for ABC News and 'we will devote all the resources necessary to do the story justice.' ABC hopes that the expanded partnership will free ABC News' resources from daily stories." When Brian Stelter (New York Times) reported on the move by ABC, CBS and NBC to pick up shop in Iraq and move their on-air correspondents to Afghanistan and Pakistan, he noted that a deal for BBC to pick up the slack for ABC might be in the offing but that no one was talking about that at the time. And we'll note this from article: "Joseph Angotti, a former vice president of NBC News, said he could not recall any other time when all three major broadcast networks lacked correspondents in an active war zone that involved United States forces."
From the December 18th snapshot: "The Committee to Protect Journalists released their end-of-year analysis today and 'the deadliest country in the world for the press' is . . . For the sixth year in a row, the 'honor' goes to Iraq". Yesterday the International News Safety Institute (INSI) released their numbers and they "counted 109 casualties in 36 countries" -- guess who came in first? Iraq with 16 deaths counted by INSI and they note, "A total of 252 news personnel, most of them Iraqi, have now died covering that conflict since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003."
Still on the issue of the press, but turning to Iraq's press. Alive in Baghdad wonders, "Iraq's Free Press?" in this week's report. Nabeel Kamal and Huda Muhammad explain at the start of the report, "Since Baghdad fell in April 2003, all manner of newspapers have become commonplace. Every opinion or issue has its own newspaper, and many Iraqis are wondering, is this what a free press looks like?" They then ask Iraqis, "What is the impact of these newspapers since 2003?"
Male Iraqi newspaper vendor on the street: There are good and bad, some were good for people, although most of their topics are taken from the internet or satellite TV, and most of the news is fake, most of the time their talk is irrational. It's hard to find in any of the daily newspapers something to educate people about elections, or cholera, or anything that helps people.
Iraqi Male #2: There were still four newspapers before the regime's fall, then there were more coming. I can say the number increased in a terrible way. It's "chaos." Chaos with unlimted freedom, and the difference was clear, due to the shortage of media.
One of the most specific critiques
Iraqi Male #3: We need opposition journalism, journalism that shows the truth. We need journalism to show the suffering of this population. I don't mean to keep talking about the bad things during the ex-regime, but also now there are many bad things, with any government's fall there are plenty of bad things that come to the surface or facilities that break down, so we need true journalism that can clarify the facts and show the destruction, the corruption that is happening, now we need this journalism to educate a new culture.
Their press fails them and refuses to provide the information they need. So democracy never took hold in Iraq but the US did manage to export its press system. Timothy Williams and Suadad al-Salhy (New York Times) note the upcoming provincial elections scheduled for January 31st, "Provincial councils are roughtly the equivalent of state legislatures in the United States, and the balloting for them is expected to correct underrepresentation in local governments among Sunni Arabs, particularly in areas where there has been heavy insurgent and sectarian violence, including Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala and Nineveh Provinces. Sunni Arabs largely boycotted the 2005 provincial elections." Provincial elections were declared a benchmark by the White House. As 2007 came and went without them, they began pretending otherwise. In September of 2007, Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) reported, "Largely gone from the president's speech Thursday was his January insistence that the Iraqi government meet 18 benchmarks and sort out its differences on the most divisive issues in Iraq. In January, the talk was tough: 'America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced,' Bush said then. 'I've made it clear to the prime minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people -- and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act'." This was the so-called "New Way Forward" and it was quickly abandoned. Bully Boy will leave the White House this month and will do so before the January 31st elections are held (if they're held -- this is a puppet government that most recently called of New Year's Eve at the last minute -- damaging a local hotel industry that can't afford to absorb any more losses). The same month Bully Boy was suddenly ignoring the benchmarks (his 18 benchmarks), the US Government Accountability Office was reporting, "The government has not enacted legislation on de-Ba'athification, oil revenue sharing, provincial elections, amnesty, and militia disarmament." That's September 2007. Let's jump a year forward to the September 16, 2008 snapshot for that day's US House Committee on the Budget hearing on Iraq's Budget Surplus and this exchange is between US House Rep Lloyd Doggett and the GAO's Joseph A. Christoff:
Lloyd Dogget: All of us remember, except maybe President Bush, that in January of 2007, he selected the benchmarks, the guidelines by which to measure success, by which to measure victory in Iraq and when we sought an analysis so we would have an objective information instead of just the propaganda from the administration about whether those benchmarks had been met the Congress turned to the Government Accountability Office. And my recollection is that when you came out with your report on August the 30th of last year that you determined that . . . 11 of the 18 benchmarks that President Bush had set were not met. Is that correct?
Joseph Christoff: Based on that prior report correct.
Lloyd Doggett: Yes, sir. And you found that of the 18 benchmarks the president set himself to measure success in Iraq that only three had been met as of August 30, 2007. Now this year, a year later, you did some evaluation again. You did not evaluate every single benchmark but you really found that there had been very little progress in the year. We know that fortunately fewer Americans are being killed there. But in terms of the objective of the Bush policy in Iraq, you had a grand amount of success in that they met one more benchmark than they had the year before, isn't that correct?
Joseph Christoff: Well we didn't go through a benchmark by benchmark analysis but we did provide a report that talked about progess on the security front, the legislative front and the economic front in our June report.
Lloyd Doggett: Right and I believe you found one more benchmark met than the year before.
Joseph Christoff: Again we didn't do a benchmark by benchmark analysis, sir.
Lloyd Doggett: Well if you look at the -- it may not have been called a benchmark analysis -- but you looked at some of the same factors you had the year before. Just to begin to go through them, on the Constitutional Review Committee, you found that they'd formed the committee but the committee hadn't done anything. Right?
Joseph Christoff: And that's still true.
Lloyd Doggett: Well they hadn't met that. On enacting and implementing legislation on de-Baathification you found that they had enacted the legislation but they hadn't implemented and of it, right?
Joseph Christoff: That's correct.
Lloyd Doggett: Well they hadn't met the second benchmark. On the question of enacting the hydrocarbon or oil legislation, you concluded that they had not met that again this year, did you not?
Joseph Christoff: Correct, and no progess this year either.
Lloyd Doggett: On enacting and implementing legislation on procedures to form semi-autonomous regions -- that was the fourth benchmark President Bush had -- you found that that was only partially met. Again they passed a law to allow the provinces to act but it hadn't been implemented.
Joseph Christoff: Well on that one it will be implemented when provinces come together to form regions so that's an open --
Lloyd Doggett: Right, but we're not there yet.
Joseph Christoff: Well no provinces have voted to form regions other than the KRG originally.
Lloyd Doggett: On enacting and implementing legislation for an Independent High Electoral Commission you found only partially meeting it. Again, they passed a law but hadn't implemented it.
Joseph Christoff: The commission was established. The provincial election law -- the date was established for October 1 but the implementing laws have not been enacted.
Lloyd Doggett: Right. And they won't have the elections they've been promising us they'd have for a year in October.
Joseph Christoff: October 1, they will not meet that date.
And even if the provincial elections take place January 31st, they will not be in all the provinces. Iraq has 18 provinces. Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reported in October, "Iraq's presidency council passed a critical law Wednesday to organize provincial elections that were originally scheduled for Oct. 1 and now are likely to be held sometime early next year. . . . Despite the law's stated deadline of Jan. 31 for elections in 17 of Iraq's 18 provinces, there may be a further postponement, according to the Independent High Electoral Commission." Not only will the January 31st elections not take place in Kirkuk, they also will not take place in Irbil, Dohuk or Suleimaniyya. Only 14 of the 18 provinces will be holding elections and, no, that's not meeting the benchmark even after Bully Boy is out of the White House. Andrea Stone (USA Today -- link has text by Stone and USA Today video by Stone adn Rene Alston) reminds, "And there is the threat of violence. Two candidates have been killed in the northern city of Mosul, including one who was gunned down in a cafe on New Year's Eve. Friday, a suicide bomber killed 23 people at a campaign event south of Baghdad."
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Tuesday, January 06, 2009
THIS JUST IN! SENATE ROUND UP, JEB AND CLANSMAN HARRY!
THE FORMER GOVERNOR WAS OVERHEARD TELLING FRIENDS, "I'VE BEEN GOVERNOR. IF THIS CAROLINE KENNEDY THINKS SHE CAN BE APPOINTED INTO THE SENATE WITHOUT EVER HAVING HELD ELECTED OFFICE AND, HONESTLY, HAVING LESS OF RECORD THAN EVEN MY BROTHER, WHY THE HECK SHOULD I RUN FOR ANYTHING?"
IN OTHER SENATE NEWS, GRAND DRAGON HARRY REID IGNORED DWAYNE WICKHAM'S WARNING AND REFUSED TO ALLOW THE QUALIFIED SENATOR ROLAND BURRIS TO BE SEATED. DEMONSTRATING JUST HOW RACIST THAT DECISION WAS, THE ALWAYS TONE-DEAF WONKETTE (REMEMBER A CLICK KEEPS WONKETTA IN PANTIES AND PEANUTS) ATTEMPTS TO TURN THE WHOLE ISSUE INTO A JOKE THEREBY MAKING THE WORLD GLAD WONKS WAS AROUND TO OFFER 'INSIGHT' DURING THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENTS.
A cursory examination of Senator Reid's political record shows, when it comes to promoting prospective candidates for office, Harry sure seems to prefer white people. The Nevada Senator even felt compelled to make the Sunday morning talk show circuit protesting, perhaps too loudly that the record is misleading, really he wants Americans to know he likes black folks just fine, and we ought not to read racism into his past decision to promote white candidates over blacks in every instance.
HARRY REID, THE DRY CLEANER CALLED TO SAY YOUR WHITE SHEETS WERE WASHED AND PRESSED AND THAT THEY GOT MOST OF THE BLOOD OUT OF THEM.
In Iraq, the latest attack on women's rights takes place under the guise of security, always under the guise of security. AFP reports that ALL women are banned "from visiting a Baghdad district which is home to the city's most famous Shi'ite tomb" and why is that? Because of the Sunday suicide bombing which, you may remember, Sam Dagher and Mudhafer al-Husaini (New York Times) maintained Monday was carried out by a man despite statements to the contrary. So you've got confusion as to the gender of the bomber. But you've also got the fact that no men were banned from shrines and these bombings have been going on for over five years now. Regardless of whether Sunday's bomber was or was not a woman, there's never been a similar effort to ban just men. It's only women that get screwed over and always while being told that it's for the 'security' of all. It's not for security. It has nothing to do with security and when you grasp that this is a pilgrimage and that the pilgrims come from all over Iraq and outside of Iraq, this is blatantly offensive. It is yet another effort to curtail the mobility of women and even in the 'logic' being offered, there's no excuse for it. They have still not established the gender of Sunday's bomber. Dagher and al-Husaini as well as LAT's Usama Redha and Kimi Yoshino provided statements by Iraqis outraged by the lack of security. What you have is a band-aid measure that will not fix a damn thing but the government wants to scapegoat someone and, just like their allies in the US, the Iraqi government will gladly scapegoat women. And Reuters is now reporting: "Initial reports said Sunday's bomber was female, although the government later said he was male." But who's being barred from worshipping? Monday, the United Nation's Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, Staffan de Mistura, made a point of condemning the attacks on pilgrims and decreeds bombings like Sunday's "appalling and unjustified crimes." Will de Mistura call out the barring of women from worship or is he only interested in speaking up for the male pilgrims?
Statistically female bombers really are not an issue (August 21st, LAT was reporting that "the number has jumped to 30" for the year 2008 -- still not a huge number) but if Iraq's so alarmed, well maybe they should pay more money? "Awakening" Council members are also known as Sons of Iraq and they do have Daughters of Iraq but they pay them over 20% than they do men. If they are saying female bombers are just so earth shattering and such a great threat, maybe they shouldn't have been so sexist and cheap? Maybe they should paid women doing the exact same work the exact same amount? And "they" is the US. The US military set up that pay scale, the US military endorsed and embraced sexism.
Dropping back to the June 6th snapshot and Badkhen is Anna Badkhen who was filing that report for the San Francisco Chronicle::
Badken observes: "The US military pays each member $300 a month to man thousands of checkpoints throughout Iraq. The Americans have credited Sons of Iraq for the waning Sunni insurgency and the decline in sectarian violence in Baghdad. But questionable loyalties, often brutal conduct and an uncertain future make these groups a wild card in the ongoing effort to stabilize Iraq. In April, Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., said these U.S.-funded militias may one day 'turn their guns on us'." But that cautionary note is dismissed by the White House and, on Friday, Jim Frederick (Time Magazine) reported on the lastest twist to the "Awakening" Council: Female recruits! US Capt Michael Starz told Frederick that "this is an employment program" and that "many of the women around here are widows and have no way of supporting themselves." What a load of crap.
If the concern was providing women with opportunities, the US could have done so long ago, could have fought to protect and ensure women's rights instead of installing radical thugs in the puppet government. Most importantly, while the men make $300 a month, they're paying the women eight dollars a day -- that would be two dollars a day less than their male peers while claiming that there "are widows" who "have no way of supporting themselves." The US government wants credit for 'creating' employment opportunites for Iraqi women but the US is paying them $2 less a day than the males while claiming that the women needs these jobs because they're supporting themselves and children. Can you say "exploitation"? The real reason the US is using women, as Capt Starz readily admits is that female bombers are now an issue. The women are being trained to 'inspect' and search other women. And apparently that's not a job important enough to warrant equal pay -- at least not according to the US. And the reason for including Senator Boxer's April remarks was to make it clear that the US government is the one paying the "Awakening" Council members, nothing has changed on that since April. So the US government is sending the message in Iraq that a woman's work is worth 20% less than a male's. If that figure sounds familiar, Nancy Clark (Womens Media, link has audio) was noting that figure last year: "Women are paid 80 cents for every dollar men are paid and that does NOT include any part-time workers! If it did, it would be even lower." The women in Iraq are being asked to do the exact things the males are being asked to do and the US government is sending the message that, for the same work, it is okay to pay a woman 80 cents while paying a man a dollar. Capt Starz tells Frederick that the increase in female bombers means, "It is a critical security issue that we find a way to have women searched at high-traffic areas." It's 'critical' but, apparently, work but apparently not critical enough to offer the same rate of pay. Repeating, US tax dollars are paying for this program. (US Ambassador Ryan Crocker repeatedly bragged in April, before Congress, that paying them off meant attacks on US service members was down. It's the hand-over-your-lunch-money-to-the-bully-and-you'll-be-safe-in-the-playground 'strategy.') Should it be funded by the US? I don't think so but as long as the US funds it, it certainly doesn't need to endorse gender discrimination. But that is what's taking place.
And, pay attention, the US put it in place. That's June. If today the puppet government wants to say it takes so long to search women (which AFP quotes them doing today), well then they damn well should have hired more women back in June. The female suicide bombers result in alarmist headlines (here for US News & World Reports) because, "Oh goodness! It's a woman!" As if Pirate Jenny was an obscure character from a never heard of play? As if Pirate Jenny doesn't have her roots in any revolution (including the American revolution). But, "Oh no, it's a woman!" So when a female bomber executes a bombing, it's a big deal to the press. When a man does, it's a single sentence and there's no hand wringing or pondering WHY????? It's obvious why and the one's pretending otherwise are the same ones pretending that something good can yet come from this illegal war. And it's pretty obvious that there is HUGE sexism involved in the coverage. This summer Time offered up "The Mind of a Female Suicide Bomber." I'm sorry, are female bombers unheard of in illegal wars and occupations? They become the norm. And pretending otherwise is not only historically ignorant and sexist, it's damaging to anyone's grasp of what is actually taking place on the ground in Iraq. They're attempting to make it some sort of pathological sickness in the minds of some woman when this is a natural response to a people occupied, under attack and prevented from self-governance. There's nothing pathological about it. Historically, it is a common response. Mythologically, even more so. Will Time next offer us "The Mind of Areto"? Was there any difference in Areto attempting to avenge the murder of Hippolyte and Iraqi women today attempting to avenge the murders of their famillies? Aztec mythology includes many similar examples, such as La Llorona who acts to avenge the murders of her children. It's really disgusting that we rush to pathologize a normal response on the part of women that has been historically charted and culturally taught. The sickness is not inside the women in Iraq who decide to wear a bomb, the sickness is the illegal war and continued occupation and you have to historically and culturally ignorant or else a liar who hopes others are historically and culturally ignorant to push these women's responses off as something unheard of and completely unexpected.
By contrast, think about the "biggest" Iraq "news." Meaning the tid-bit that caught everyone's attention and produced water cooler talk. A reporter throws his shoes. A male reporter. He had a thriving career. He had to know he was risking throwing that away. Did we get "Inside the Mind of the Shoe Tosser"? No. No, there was never an effort made to pathologize him (or any male suicide bombers, for that matter). All the clucking is dishonest and needs to stop. Those doing it are either liars or the most uneducated and uninformed people in the world. Grasping that reporters are, for the most part, glorified general studies majors, World Civ is taught for a reason. It's not a set of facts to be remembered, there are lessons to impart from it.
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SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID AWOKE THIS MORNING AND RUSHED AROUND GRIPING TO LANDRA GOULD REID, "I TOLD YOU I WANTED A GOOD, CLEAN, FLAT ONE. ALL I SEE IN THE CLOSET ARE FITTED!"
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Today the US Embassy in Baghdad held their grand opening ceremony. Missy Ryan, Peter Graff, Tim Cocks (Reuters) report that John Negroponte (Deputy US Sec of State, former US ambassador to Iraq) and Jalal Talabani (President of Iraq) were on the guest list for the highly exclusive get-together -- well the Embassy is in the highly fortified Green Zone and Al Jazeera notes the "tight security". The three rocked rocked the house with nearly one-thousand additional guests. The Embassy's press releases brags, "The largest American Embassy structure to date, its scale reflects the importance of the U.S.-Iraq bilateral relationship. Construction began in 2005 and was completed in 2008 at a total cost of $592 million." $592 million would prevent a huge number of home foreclosures here in the US, but, hey, at least they didn't try to hide the cost today, right? Oops, they did try to hide the price tag. CNN plays party pooper informing that the $592 million was "the original price tag" but "the cost could end up $144 million higher" according to a 2007 Congressional report.
The Embassy notes that the guests gather to watch the US flag being raised by six Marines with music provided by the Army's 4th Infantry Division Band. That seven-person band is made up of "Commander, Iraq and Texas, Steadfast and Loyal Chief Warrant Officer Robert Nixon," "Commander, Fort Carson Colorado, Fit For Any Test Chief Warrant Officer Marvin Cardo," "First/Sergeant/Enlisted Band Leader, Fit For Any Test First Sergeant Jeremy Smelser," "Chief; Plans, Operations & Training Division/Rock Band Vocalist/Drum Major Sergeant First Class Dewayne Butcher," "Fit For Any Test, 'Nuf Said Sergeant First Class Troy Hascall," "Bringer of Rock, Burner of Things, Thrower of Towels, Fit For Any Test Sergeant First Class Sean Kerley" and "Trumpet Player, Chief, Logistic & Resource Management Division Sergeant First Clas Henry Reyna"
US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker went with a dark suit for the occassion and used the standard GOP red tie for a splash of color while Jalal Talabani demonstrated, that fatty arteries or not, he's still going to eat what he wants and be damn proud of it. Which is how he turned a dark coat into a mumu. Well done, Jalal! Jalal knows the staff of the Mayo Clinic will suck the fat out of those arteries as often as necessary. Party like it's January 2007, Jalal! John Negroponte decided to indulge his Indiana Jones fantasy by wearing a hat (which he did remove for the US national anthem and the flag raising). And that was just outside!!! Tom A. Peter (Christian Science Monitor) drops the 411 on all the wack goings on including who played "the diplomatic equivalent of a Wal-Mart greeter": "A US Army lieutenant colonel". Peter explains that the embassy has a schoolhouse; however, no need to worry that cramped the party mood today: "Although it's currently occupied by coalition forces representatives, embassy officials hope that one day, when the situation here normalizes, Iraq will be a family-friendly posting for diplomats. Just how far off that day is, embassy spokespeople are not willing to speculate". Alaa Majeed (UPI) points out, "But the transfer does not suggest the Iraqi government is competent beyond the walls of the Green Zone, which houses most of the state ministries. The Green Zone, since 2003, has split the capital, Baghdad, in two and emerged as a symbol of the inability of the government to bring dignity to the Iraqi people."
Deborah Haynes (Times of London) describes the backdrop to Crocker's speech, "As he spoke, the sound of helicopters buzzed overhead, a reminder of the ongoing US military presence in Iraq despite the shift in power. All US forces in the country came under the authority of the Iraqi Government on January 1 after a UN Security Council resolution authorising their presence expired." Talabani may have hit the party punch a little too hard because RTT quotes him declaring the US Embassy "will searve as a model for other peoples of the eastern world." Declared . . . or warned? Apparently Negroponte was hitting the party punch as well which is why Reuters quotes him stating, "It is from here men and women, civilian and military, will help build the new Iraq."
And maybe Dick Cheney, president of vice, started celebrating the opening of the embassy early because "drunk" would probably be an improvement over "liar" which is how he came off yesterday on CBS' Face The Nation (link has text and video) as he insisted of Iraq, "I think we are close to achieving most of our objectives. We've seen a significant reduction in the overall level of violence; it's lower now than virtually anytime since we've been there in the spring of '03. We've seen the elimination of one of the world's worst regimes. We've seen the Iraqis write a constitution and hold three national elections. We've now entered into a strategic framework agreement with the Iraqis that calls for ultimately the U.S. completion of the assignment and withdrawal of our forces from Iraq. All of those things I think by anybody's standard would be evidence of significant success. And I think we're very close to achieving what it is we set out to do five years ago when we first went into Iraq." The never met the benchmarks, Cheney, the ones defined by the White House. Two years later and they still can't claim to have met the benchmarks for progress -- as defined by the White House. These weren't longterm benchmarks. These were benchmarks they were actually supposed to have completed at the end of 2007. Two years later and they never managed to meet them. You can fudge it and say "partial" (as the White House did) but, for example, a de-de-Baathification law that not only provides no oversight but is never implemented. And if you're not grasping the reality of those benchmarks -- which the White House has treated as open-ended and the press has gone along with that lie . . . May 16, 2007, Democratic Policy Committee, "In September, the Iraqi government publicly committed to meet a series of political benchmarks by the end of 2006 or early 2007, for advancing the national reconciliation process, including measures for amending the constitution; holding provinical elections; reforming de-Baathification laws; regulating the oil industry; and disbanding sectarian militas." Dick Cheney wants to talk 'improvement,' refer to the benchmarks set by the White House and honestly tell the American people what was achieved.
And on the issue of getting honest about Iraq, Condi Rice, get honest. December 18, 2008 the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued [PDF format warning] "MEMORANDUM Re: The President's Claim that Iraq Sought Uranium from Niger". Background, there was no attempt by Iraq to obtain yellow-cake uranium from Niger. Former US Ambassador Joe Wilson went to great lengths to explain that fact and was 'thanked' by having his wife Valerie Plame outed as an undercover CIA agent. Bully Boy LIED in his 2003 State of the Union speech and also in a September 12, 2002 speech and a September 26, 2002 speech. The September speeches July 8, 2003, Bill Hemmer (CNN) spoke with Joe Wilson:
HEMMER: We'll take that answer as a bit of a foundation for this interview. Listen to what Condoleezza Rice said about a month ago, early June on "Meet the Press." I'm quoting right now. She says, "We did not know at the time -- no one knew at the time in our circles -- maybe someone knew down in the bowels in the agency, but no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery" -- Condoleezza Rice back on June 8. You say that is not possible. Why not?
WILSON: Well, when I was at the National Security Council, and before I wrote my piece for "The New York Times," I actually checked with very senior officials of the National Security Council from the time I was there, as well as very senior officials in the vice president's office just to refresh my memory.
September 28, 2003, Condi sat back down on Meet The Press and this exchange took place between her and Tim Russert:
MR. RUSSERT: That was in January. And in June -- June 8 -- you were on MEET THE PRESS; I asked you about that, and this was your response.
(Videotape, June 8, 2003):
DR. RICE: The president quoted a British paper. We did not know at the time, no one knew at the time in our circles -- maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency, but no one in our circles knew -- that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery. Of course, it was information that was mistaken.
MR. RUSSERT: "No one in our circles." That has proven to be wrong.
DR. RICE: No, Tim, that has not proven to be wrong. No one did know that they were forgeries. The notion of the forgeries came in February or in March when this was--when this came to the CIA. It is true that we learned, subsequent to my comments to you, that Director Tenet did not want to stand by that statement. And I would never want to see anything in a presidential statement -- speech -- that the director of Central Intelligence did not want to have there.
And I'm the national security adviser. When something like this happens, I feel personally responsible for it happening because it obscured the fact that the president of the United States did not go to war over whether Saddam Hussein tried to acquire yellow cake in Africa. He went to war over a threat from a bloody tyrant in the most volatile region of the world who had used weapons of mass destruction before, and was continuing to try to acquire them. And so, of course, this should not have happened.
That's all American has because as the Committee On Oversight and Government Reform note, Condi refused to provide them with testimony -- repeatedly. At one point Alberto Gonzales (then US Attorney General) showed up allegedly offering remarks on her behalf and, in that capacity, Gonzales insisted Condi stated the CIA cleared the inclusion of the uranium claim in both September 2002 speeches. Not true. The Committee explaines John Gibson ("Director of Speechwriting for Foreign Policy at the National Security Council) testified that "Michael Gerson, chief White House speechwriter, and Robert Joseph, the Senior Director for Proliferation Strategy, Counterproliferation, and Homeland Defense at the NSC" were pushing to include it in the September 12, 2002 speech and the CIA objected. More importantly for Condi, this section of the memo:
On September 26, 2002, President Bush delivered remarks in the White House Rose Garden urging Congress to authorize the use of force in Iraq. During an interview with the Committee, Jami Miscik, the Deputy Director of Intelligence at the CIA, stated that NSC officials "woulnd't take [the uranium claim] out of the speech." As a result, she was asked to explain directly to Dr. Rice "the reasons why we didn't think this was credible." Ms. Miscik stated that "[i]t was clear that we had problems or we at the most fundamental level wouldn't have been haveing the phone call at all." According to Ms. Miscik, the CIA's reasons for rejecting the uranium claim "had been conveyed to the NSC counterparts" before the call, and Dr. Rice was "getting on the phone call with that information." Ms. Miscik told Dr. Rice personally that the CIA was "recommending that it be taken out." She also said "[i]t turned out to be a relatively short phone call" because "we both knew what the issues were and therefore were able to get to a very easy resolution of it."
So would Condi like to amend her public statement: "We did not know at the time, no one knew at the time in our circles -- maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency, but no one in our circles knew -- that . . ."? She clearly did know. The Deputy Director of Intelligence told her. Is Condi going to be pressed on that before she leaves the State Dept?
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