Friday, August 14, 2015

They just need to toss her in prison









This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Thursday, August 13, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Haider al-Abadi is in a tizzy over remarks by US General Ray Odierno, Haider's military bombed a maternity hospital killing dozens including infants, media criticism is not partisan whoring, Hillary Clinton's bloodlust appears to be never ending, and much more.




Haider al-Abadi can't stop shooting his stupid mouth off.

He's always declaring war on someone -- mainly logic and intelligence are the targets whenever Haider opens that stupid mouth of his.

Reuters notes Abadi's "media office said it was surprised at the comments attributed to Odierno, which it considered 'irresponsible and reflecting ignorance of the Iraqi situation'."


There was nothing irresponsible or ignorant about Odierno's remarks.

There was something grossly irresponsible about someone threatening to kill Americans over what Congress might do and the person making those threats publicly was a member of Haider's cabinet and yet the grossly obese Haider had no comment on that.  (See May 4th's "Barzani visits the US and did the Badr militia just threaten the US?" about the remarks of the Transport Minister Hadi al-Amiri.)


Public threats of violence made by a member of his Cabinet and Haider didn't open his yap for one second.


Here's the actual exchange that has Haider soiling his underwear and screaming his head off.



[Q:] General, given your experience in Iraq, and you talked earlier about the growing conflict between Shia and Sunni, and the increased influence now of Iran inside Iraq, even militarily, do you see any possibility that there can be any reconciliation in Iraq between the Sunni and Shia?



GEN. ODIERNO: I think it's becoming more difficult by the day. And I think there might be some alternative solutions that might have to come into this sometime in the future, where Iraq might not look like it did in the past. But we have to wait and see how that plays out.
I think we have to deal with ISIL first, and then we have to decide what it will look like afterwards.


Q: Are you talking about the possibility of partitioning?



 GEN. ODIERNO: Well, I mean, I think that is for the region and politicians to kind of figure out, diplomats to figure out how we want to work this, but that is something that could happen. It might be the only solution, but I'm not ready to say that yet.



He was asked his opinion and he answered.

And now Haider wants to whine like the little bitch that he is.

Haider doesn't want to stop bombing civilians in Falluja.

The fat ass liar pretended he did on September 13, 2014 when he opened his big mouth and announced that those bombings were wrong (they are wrong, they're War Crimes) and that he had ordered the Iraqi military to stop the bombings.

And how the press rushed to prop the puppet up.

But 24 hours later it was September 14, 2014 and the bombings continued.

Continued, never stopped.

Continue to this day.

And honestly, is the US government unable to find one thin Iraqi politician to put in power?

What is this obsession with one grossly obese figure after another being put in power?

Maybe the White House needs to start shipping treadmills to Iraq?

And if  Florida's Cabana Bay Beach Resort hotel can open a Jack LaLanne fitness center, maybe it's time to open one in the Green Zone as well?

If I were one of the millions of struggling Iraqis, I don't think I'd be looking at the likes of never-miss-a-meal Haider or Jalal Talabani or Nouri al-Maliki or . . . favorably.


Odierno did not bring up the topic, he was asked about it and he offered an opinion.

In that opinion, he did not call for Iraq to be partitioned and noted that if the day came for that it would be a decision for the region.

The US is not in the region.

Does Haider not get that?

I get that some outlets -- such as Iraq Times -- went with screaming headlines proclaiming that Odierno had just called for Iraq to be partitioned.  But even those outlets in their actual reports went beyond the hysterical headlines.

Of course, Haider al-Abadi is a fake ass and his latest public tantrum is a distraction -- one that Reuters plays along with -- which allows the press to avoid addressing what took place in Falluja today.

These bombings by the Iraqi military that began in January 2014 and target the civilians are War Crimes.  Kitabat reports that today 70 civilians were wounded or killed by the warplane bombings which targeted a maternity hospital in western Falluja -- at least 23 children were killed.  Dr. Fadel Ahmed states that premature infants in incubators were "charred beyond recognition."

B-b-b-ut I don't read Arabic!  I have to take your word for it.

Russia Today notes:

Iraq’s Air Force has bombed a maternity hospital in Fallujah, located west of Baghdad in Al Anbar province. Over 20 people died in the blast, including women, children and medical personnel, according to local media. Another 30 were injured. “Iraqi army planes dropped three barrel bombs on the city’s maternity hospital, killing 31 people, including 23 women and children, and injuring 39 others,” al-Araby quoted Dr. Fadil Ahmad from the hospital as saying. “Some of the bodies are so badly burnt it is difficult to identify them, especially the babies. The maternity hospital is far from the fighting and it’s an old building and known by everyone.”


Where is the outcry?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Where is the outrage?          



army crimes today bombed Hospital by barrels in Falluja killed 25 child & woman


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           









  • When I hear American idiots and asses rush to prop up this politician they drool over or that one they want to finger them, I think their hypocrisy is revealed by their inability, after 20 months and counting, to speak out against the bombings of civilians in Falluja.

    They can't be bothered.

    They can jerk off in public to everything else.

    They can waste our time on their erotic fantasies of Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton (or Barack Obama or Bully Boy Bush), they just can't move beyond faux outrage to real outrage over the killing of innocent civilians by the Iraqi military which is intentionally targeting the Sunni civilians.

    So spare me all your pretense that you are an ethical or caring person because you're just another whore in the main room of a bordello looking to turn tricks for the night.


    Case in point: Elderly Prostitute Bob Somerby.


    Here's Bob showing his wares, a hint of nipple on display, as he attempts to entice you (he just repulses me):

    ---------------------------------------------

    First, a minor puzzlement. Early on, in paragraph 7, the two reporters offered the highlighted statement:

    SHANE AND SCHMIDT (8/9/15): Mrs. Clinton, who has said she now regrets her unorthodox decision to keep private control of her official messages, is not a target in the F.B.I.’s investigation, which is focused on assessing security breaches. Against the backdrop of other current government computer security lapses, notably the large-scale theft of files from the Office of Personnel Management, most specialists believe the occasional appearance of classified information in the Clinton account was probably of marginal consequence.
    Say what? Most specialists believe the matter is probably of marginal consequence?


    ------------------------------------

    This thrills Bob.

    He's thrilled.  He's happy.

    Let's be clear what has him thrilled and happy: The newspaper just made a claim it does not back up and uses unnamed and unidentified sources ("most specialists").

    So in other words, unnamed sources are allowed to speculate and the paper presents it as fact.

    And Bob's thrilled.

    But, at the end of last month, when the newspaper did the same thing but what got repeated wasn't pro-Hillary, Bob had a hissy fit.

    How do you reconcile the two?

    You don't.

    He's not a media critic.

    He hates unnamed sources when they don't back his beloved but when they do back his beloved Bob's jerking off and moaning in public.

    One reason nothing changes for the better in terms of American media is because of this whoring.

    When Bob puts his Clinton crack pipe down and is actually semi-functional, there's nothing he does that hasn't already been done by someone else -- and done better.

    Take Nora Ephron.

    The late film maker left journalism -- left media criticism -- specifically because of this crap.

    Daniel Schorr was a damn liar.

    But the left wanted to build him up into a hero.

    He had a Congressional report, as a CBS News employee, entitled The Pike Report.  The Congressional committee decided not to release it.

    He took it to The Village Voice which published it.

    No problem there and you could even hale him as a whistle-blower.

    Except the story didn't end there.

    CBS News wanted to know who leaked it.

    Schorr could have remained silent and that would have been fine.

    What was not fine was for him to lie that Lesley Stahl was the one who gave the report to The Village Voice, to use as 'proof' that she was dating Village Voice reporter Aaron Latham (he and Lesley have been married since 1977, at the time they were not married).

    The person responsible was going to be fired.

    Daniel Schorr knew that.

    And he deliberately lied.

    His not confessing it was him?

    Fine.

    Stay silent.

    But when you lie to cover your own ass?

    That's not a whistle-blower and his actions were outrageous.

    Nora wrote about them in the essay "Daniel Schorr."

    She was then the media critic for Esquire magazine -- which paid her to be provocative and initiate debate.

    But Esquire refused to run that column and she had to take it to More magazine to get it published (that was a 70s journalism review magazine and not the Cosmo wanna be that's published today under that same title).

    Nora named names and the press acted as though she didn't.

    Not only did Esquire refuse to print it, but as Ava and I noted in April 2014, the 557 paged The Most of Nora Ephron (published after her death) refused to include the June 1976  essay.

    This despite the fact that it was something Nora was very proud of.

    It led her to leave media criticism -- the reaction to this essay -- and turn to screen writing and directing, so she saw it as important for that reason.  But she was also glad, in the face of all the how-could-yous, that she had the courage to write the piece in the first place.

    And she should have been proud -- it's a strongly written piece, it's a truth telling piece.

    It did more than Bob Somerby could accomplish in 20 years.

    You may be aware that he's always whining that the press won't name each other's names.

    But when one does name, he ignores it.

    He is completely ignorant of Nora Ephron's career as a media critic or why it ended.

    But he wants to drone on endlessly about his college roommate Al Gore and pretend like that makes him a media critic.

    He's just a partisan whore.

    And he's far from alone.

    I thought, for example, we were seeing something important in the Bully Boy Bush years as there was a revival of interest in the work of the late I.F. Stone.

    But, you'll notice, we on the left lost interest in the truth teller once Barack Obama was sworn in as president.

    When a Republican's in the White House, Pacifica Radio and The Nation feel the need to 'educate' the country (indoctrinate?) about how an I.F. Stone stood up to government, said not to trust any politician (not just don't trust Republicans) and how his work mattered.

    But when Barack -- whom they rush to cover and excuse -- is in the White House, they're not so eager to 'educate' their listeners and readers about the importance of speaking out.

    In "Oh, Obama," Elaine noted Glenn Greenwald's latest:

    As everyone knows, “closing Guantánamo” was a centerpiece of the 2008 Obama campaign. In the Senate and then in the presidential campaign, Obama repeatedly and eloquently railed against the core, defining evil of Guantánamo: indefinite detention.
    On the Senate floor, Obama passionately intoned in 2006: “As a parent, I can also imagine the terror I would feel if one of my family members were rounded up in the middle of the night and sent to Guantánamo without even getting one chance to ask why they were being held and being able to prove their innocence.” During the 2008 campaign, he repeatedly denounced “the Bush Administration’s attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantánamo.”
    In the seventh year of Obama’s presidency, Guantánamo notoriously remains open, leaving one of his central vows unfulfilled. That, in turn, means that Democratic partisans have to scrounge around for excuses to justify this failure, to cast blame on someone other than the president, lest his legacy be besmirched. They long ago settled on the claim that blame (as always) lies not with Obama but with Congressional Republicans, who imposed a series of legal restrictions that impeded the camp’s closing.


    Bob Somerby and Kevin Drum planning on writing those truths?


    Of course not.

    Truth doesn't matter to partisan whores.

    For a prostitute like Somerby or Drum, words are things you twist and use against your enemy.

    Which is why, as Rebecca noted in "mother jones and other fakes,"  Tuesday's 'battle' was reduced to 'idiot Jeb!'


    Jeb Bush attacked Hillary for the current crises in Iraq maintaining she had responsibility for them due to having been US Secretary of State from 2009 to 2014 -- to be clear, Jeb was not blaming her for her 2002 vote backing war on Iraq.

    That is a stupid charge -- and we went over that in Tuesday's snapshot.

    That's not all we went over because, honestly, the 'news' that a Bush says something stupid really isn't news at this late date.  It's expected, to be sure.  It's common place.  But it's not breaking news that's going to shock the world.

    But Mother Jones based their only report on the exchange or 'battle' on how stupid Jeb was.

    I'm not debating or questioning Jeb's stupidity.

    But the news factor in the 'battle' was Hillary dispatching Jake Sullivan to speak for her and Sullivan declaring not that Hillary believed her 2002 vote was a mistake but that the problem with the Iraq War was that Bully Boy Bush did not send enough troops in.

    This claim was made despite the fact that as Senator Hillary Clinton, she opposed Bully Boy Bush's 2007 'surge' (sending more US troops into Iraq).

    Hillary's position has changed repeatedly and twists and turns and coils against itself.

    There is no consistency, there is no logic and she's looking more and more like a politician who will say anything to be elected and never sticks to her word.

    That was the big story of the 'battle.'

    But partisan whores didn't want to tell their readers, listeners, et al that Vote-for-me-Hillary-because-I-realize-finally-that-my-2002-vote-was-a-mistake was now insisting that the real problem was not the war and the lies told about it but instead the real problem was now that Bully Boy Bush didn't send enough US troops in.

    How many exactly did or does Hillary want to have died in Iraq?

    What number of kills will satisfy her blood lust?

    Those were questions to ask.

    Especially after Leo Shane III (Military Times) reported last week, "About 3,500 U.S. troops are stationed in Iraq, and seven have lost their lives in connection to the new military operations there."

    How many more deaths does the Vampire Clinton need to feed on before she's satisfied her blood lust?

    The media will never get better in this country because too many supposed media critics are nothing but partisan whores who only call out the media to advance their special gal or fella.

    None of that whoring has ever helped Iraq and it never will.


    Maybe sometime after January 2017, when Barack is finally and thankfully out of the White House, we can discuss how President ____ [whomever] is backing an Iraqi prime minister whose army is bombing civilians?

    Maybe we can discuss how international treaties the US government has signed on to and how US law (including but not limited the Leahy Amendment) requires that the US government immediately stop supplying the government of Iraq with weapons and military aid as a result of these weapons being used to attack Iraqi civilians?

    Maybe.

    Or as Cat Power sang, "Maybe Not."

    Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 282 violent deaths across Iraq today.








     







    Thursday, August 13, 2015

    Let the crying begin

    Somebody better stock up on tissue -- David Brock's going to need it.

    The right wing hitman who became a left wing assassin is really going to need it as he boo-hoos himself to sleep over Hillary Clinton's dramatic decline.

    Bill Van Auken (WSWS) reports:

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has been compelled to turn over the private email server that she used as the Obama administration’s secretary of state, her campaign revealed Tuesday.
    The handover represents a reversal of her previous refusal to surrender the server to federal investigators probing whether its use included the improper storing of unsecured classified information.
    Previously, Clinton had insisted that she had fulfilled her responsibilities by turning over approximately one half of the 62,320 email messages she sent or received as secretary of state. The rest, she and her lawyers claimed, concerned private matters and not official business.
    Possession of the server could allow the FBI to recover deleted emails that Clinton claimed were private.
    The sudden reversal came on the same day that the inspector general for the intelligence community, I. Charles McCullough III, sent a letter to leaders of a congressional oversight committee indicating that at least some of the emails received via the server, which was kept at Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, New York, contained top secret information.


    She did nothing wrong!

    If you really believe that, she's got some land in Arkansas she'd love to sell you.





    This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"



    Wednesday, August 12, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, US Gen Ray Odierno talks about more US troops being sent into Iraq, Haider al-Abadi's reforms or 'reforms' continue to be greeted with giddy hype as opposed to actual analysis, and much more.


    Gen Ray Odierno is the Army Chief of Staff.  He was also the top US commander in Iraq from September 2008 through September 2010.  He retires as the Army Chief of Staff at the end of the week.  He held a press conference today and Barbara Starr and Jim Sciutto (CNN) report:

    "If we find in the next several months that we aren't making progress, we should absolutely consider embedding some soldiers (in Iraq)," Gen. Raymond Odierno, outgoing Army chief of staff, said in response to a CNN question about putting troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria at his final press conference. He called it an "option we should present to the President."

    David Alexander and Bill Rigby (Reuters) add:

    Odierno, the outgoing Army chief of staff, backed the current strategy against Islamic State, telling his last Pentagon news conference that while U.S. troops could defeat the militants, they could not solve the broader political and economic problems besetting Iraq and Syria.
    "We could probably go in there with a certain amount of American force and ... defeat ISIL. The problem is we would be right back where we are today six months later," he told reporters, using an acronym for Islamic State.

    "For me it's about changing the dynamics, the political dynamics, the economic dynamics, and it has to be done by those in the region," he said.


    Lolita C. Baldor (AP) quotes Odierno stating, "The U.S. cannot solve this problem for the region."  Dan Lamothe covers the press conference for the Washington Post and AFP covers it here.


    Odierno's remarks come as there is an increasing refusal to pretend that US President Barack Obama's plan or 'plan' for Iraq is working.

    For those who may not remember, June 19, 2014, Barack spoke of Iraq.  It was the first time in months that he had noted the topic as anything other than a passing aside.

    Iraq had descended into one crises after another and the biggest news for those paying only fleeting attention was that the Islamic State had taken control of the major city of Mosul.

    Barack noted at the time that the only answer for Iraq would be a political one, that the country needed a government that was inclusive and that didn't target any segment of the population.

    Somehow this goal of a political solution fell by the wayside and Barack began bombing and sending more US troops into Iraq.

    How bombs dropped from war planes flying over Iraq were to bring about peace was never explained and never really questioned.

    The State Dept dropped any pretense of diplomacy in Iraq and instead focused on gathering foreign countries to take part in a bombing Iraq.

    For over a year now, these bombings have taken place and the Islamic State still controls Mosul, still terrorizes Iraq, still does what it was dong before the bombings started.

    Other than destroying Iraq -- homes, businesses, leaving civilians wounded and dead -- there is nothing the bombings have accomplished.

    We spent the bulk of the July 18th snapshot noting the failure that is Barack's plan or 'plan' with regards to combating the Islamic State in Iraq.  Saturday, Trevor Timm (Guardian) observed the failures:


    This Saturday marks one full year since the US military began its still-undeclared war against Islamic State that the government officials openly acknowledge will last indefinitely. What do we have to show for it? So far, billions of dollars have been spent, thousands of bombs have been dropped, hundreds of civilians have been killed and Isis is no weaker than it was last August, when the airstrikes began.
    But don’t take it from me – that’s the conclusion of the US intelligence community itself. As the Associated Press reported a few days ago, the consensus view of the US intelligence agencies is that Isis is just as powerful as it was a year ago, and they can replace fighters faster than they are getting killed.



    It is in that context that Odierno made his remarks today.


    If you're opposed to war -- or further war -- on Iraq (and I am), it's really not enough to point out the failure of the bombing campaign.

    You need to be underscoring that the political solution Barack claimed was the only answer for Iraq's crises has not been worked, that there has been no serious effort by the US government to aid and assist on that.

    You need to decry the use of the State Dept for a militarization campaign and Secretary of State John Kerry's absurd war posturing.

    You need to be demanding that all the US government's efforts stop being focused on bombings and troops being sent into Iraq and instead that some actual diplomatic work be done.

    I like General Ray Odierno.


    He wasn't David Petraeus.

    Petraues and his groupies have a long history with this site where they attempted first to curry favor, then to launch non-stop attacks.

    This included Petraues himself -- a man whose devotion to his own ego brought him down.

    Had he not been so concerned about shaping the way the world saw him, he never would have passed classified documents to his mistress who was also his court biographer.

    Petraeus was a nightmare in Iraq for US troops due to his diva like ways.

    The press looked the other way but we frequently didn't.

    Which led to his attempts -- and the attempts of those serving under him -- to take control of the way he was portrayed at this site.

    It's really not pretty to me to see a grown adult acting like a starlet desperate for copy to advance her career.

    But that was Petraeus.

    When Odierno took control, the diva theatrics ended.

    And that was noticed not just by those paying attention (he immediately told the press it was just "Ray," not "Raymond") but also by those serving immediately under him.

    The same people who regularly lodged objections to me about Petraeus now felt respected by Odierno and felt that the general in charge had a purpose that went beyond shaping his own image for the world.

    From near daily e-mail efforts by Petraeus and company, we saw only one e-mail regarding the portrayal of Odierno here from anyone serving under him (Odierno has never contacted this site himself).

    My dictated e-mail in response to that noted that (a) Odierno was not being raked over the coals the way Petraeus was because (b) I was not hearing complaints of diva like behavior, (c) he had raised morale, (c) he seemed more responsive to the press (whereas Petraeus was 'expansive' to the press -- about himself) and that (d) Odierno's role and my role (critic of the illegal war) would always be at odds but if he continued to focus on the work and not his own ego he would not be receiving the treatment Petraeus did here.

    And Odierno then and to now has done that.

    I completely disagree with him on US troops in Iraq.

    I understand why he's saying it.

    I understand he's sincere on it.

    He may eve be right about it.

    I don't know.

    I'm not stupid enough to pretend I know everything.

    Nor am I stupid enough to accuse everyone I disagree with of being either 'for us or against us' or 'wrong on this like they were wrong on that.'

    Odierno may very well be right that US troops need to be on the ground in Iraq in large numbers in the near future to turn the tide in Iraq.

    I don't agree.

    And I think before that's even considered, there need to be demands made on the US government assisting with diplomacy first.

    (And, please note, Odierno's call for US troops comes with the acknowledgment that US troops alone will not work.)

    It's really sad that we're back to considering sending even more US troops into Iraq when the diplomatic effort has never been launched by the White House despite Barack's own words on June 19, 2014.



    The violence continues in Iraq as RT notes, "A powerful truck bomb blast has reportedly killed dozens of people and injured about 200 in Baghdad, reports say. The blast hit the Shia-dominated Sadr-City district of the Iraqi capital. "  The truck is said to be a "refrigerated truck packed with explosives."  AP counts 58 dead with over sixty more people left injured.

    In addition to that violence, Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 74 violent deaths in Iraq today.


    Meanwhile, did everyone just get played?

    Iraqi protests resumed recently over the lack of public services and objecting to the current corruption.

    Near immediately there was a 'response' from that great saint Haider al-Abadi.

    Before that happened, oh, the press, the great western press, couldn't stop celebrating how the protesters were being treated.

    Unlike past protests when Nouri al-Maliki was prime minister, this go round the security forces didn't attack the protesters.

    It was a sea of change.

    And Haider was responding.

    Strangely, the response wasn't about what he claimed he was doing.

    He asked for no mandate to go after corruption.

    He initiated no task force.

    But he did manage to hijack the political process, didn't he?

    He did manage to use these protests to destroy any real opposition to him or anyone else in the post of prime minister.

    He initiated a series of changes that did away with quotas which means no real minority voice in Iraq and certainly no power-sharing agreement.

    He did away with the checks and balances on his own position.

    He did so with no objection.


    Yesterday, UNAMI joined the praise circle as they rushed to announce  their pleasure with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's proposed reforms or 'reforms.'  They did so via  a statement from Deputy Special Envoy Gyorgy Busztin.  Since Jan Kubis is the Special Representative to Iraq for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, some on Arabic social media are wondering why Busztin made the announcement and where Kubis is?  Today is International Youth Day and, in Iraq, Busztin also delivered a speech for that occasion.

    Along with wondering where Kubis is, Arabic social media is abuzz with questions over Haider's reforms or 'reforms' -- and with good reason.





    No one knows what is taking place but everyone's treating the proposals as a good thing.






  • We welcome PM Abadi's sweeping initiative to improve government services & combat corruption, now endorsed unanimously by Iraq's parliament.



  • Are they a good thing?


    The US Congress has been repeatedly told this year that Haider was giving more power to local areas and how important this was and how it demonstrated that he was not another Nouri al-Maliki but someone who wanted to share power.  Despite this repeated claim, Al Mada notes the reforms or 'reforms' will give Haider the power to fire the local heads of government.

    This is a power the prime minister has not had previously.

    In addition, Alsumaria reports that he's now declaring he next plans to alter Iraq's Constitution.


    While we cautioned here and noted that the political system was going to immediately change to one in which the prime minister was basically a president with sole control of everything, Brookings gushed and issued p.r. copy.


    More and more, it's looking like the protests and the protesters were used by Haider and others to push through changes in the political system that do create a more responsive and accountable government.


    Mustafa Habib (Niqash) reports:

    At the end of July thousands of locals took to the streets of Baghdad to protest against the lack of state services – and especially the breakdown in electricity supply, which was making their lives very difficult in summer temperatures over 50 degrees Celsius. Most of the organisers of these demonstrations were civil society activists and other prominent local personalities and their aims were clearly stated. They wanted the Ministry of Electricity reformed and an end to corruption there.
    The demonstrations took place peacefully and there were no clashes with police or military on site; these forces actually distributed water bottles to the demonstrators.
    Two days after the first demonstrations, Qais al-Khazali, head of the League of the Righteous militia group, appeared on television proclaiming his support of the demonstrators. The League of the Righteous is one of a dozen or so unofficial armed groups, made up mostly of local Shiite Muslims, that have played an essential role in fighting against the extremist Islamic State group in Iraq. However the League of the Righteous is also known as one of the more extreme of these groups. And most recently the militia has also become known for its support of, and patronage from, former Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki.
    On television, al-Khazali announced the creation of civilian units associated with the Shiite Muslim militias. “The demonstrators should set firm goals,” al-Khazali said, “because the problems in Iraq are not only about the Ministry of Electricity. The problems are part of the whole political system.”
    Once again al-Khazali then recommended that Iraq's political system be changed from a parliamentary one to a presidential one. This would in effect give al-Maliki, one of the League of the Righteous' sponsors, more power again; al-Maliki tried to hang onto power after the last elections but was denied by other Iraqi politicians and he has been seen as trying to undermine his successor, current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, ever since.
    Some of the civil society activists who had first organised the popular protests in Baghdad were upset at al-Khazali's statements. They felt he was trying to hijack the protests to push his own agenda and as a result, some said they would boycott the next lot of protests.
    Three days before the second demonstration, which was to take place on August 7, supporters of the League of Righteous in Baghdad began to prepare to take part in the protests.

    “A formal letter from the League’s head office was sent to all of our offices,” Karim al-Lami, one of the militia's members based in the Sadr City neighbourhood in Baghdad, told NIQASH by phone. “The letters emphasised the importance of all members and employees participating. Additionally, al-Lami explains, the letter said that militia members shouldn't carry banners or clothing or badges that indicated they were militia members. “They should only use anti-government and anti-Parliament slogans and condemn the poor services,” al-Lami says.


    A Shi'ite dominant government led by a Shi'ite prime minister spent the last days eliminating the roles of minorities in the government -- roles the Constitution guaranteed.

    The president of Iraq, a Kurd, objected and said what was taking place was unconstitutional.

    We noted that here.

    Surprisingly, western news outlets ignored such criticism.


    Breaking the silence today, Noah Feldman (Bloomberg) offers:

    The problem is that there’s no plan to substitute some new guarantor of national cohesion or at least something less than civil war. With Sunni Arabs largely out of the political picture in Baghdad, and the Kurds satisfied for the moment with their de facto autonomy and gradual expansion, there’s no one to tell the Shiite majority that it better find some way to bring the country together again.
    One possibility is that, at this point, the Shiites just don’t care. The area controlled by Islamic State doesn’t have significant oil reserves. For the moment, the militant group isn’t immediately threatening Baghdad. From the Shiite perspective, the status quo perhaps doesn’t look so bad. A Shiite statelet in the rump of the former Iraq would include Baghdad as well as the Persian Gulf refineries and ports.
    But if Abadi is thinking that he doesn’t need to give Iraqi Sunnis any incentive to take part in a unified Iraq, he’s making a big mistake. Islamic State won’t be satisfied in the long run with a desert enclave. It’ll eventually make a play for Baghdad, with its significant Sunni population. If Baghdad’s Sunnis see no future in a Shiite Iraq, they’ll side with Islamic State when that day comes. That could turn Baghdad into Beirut circa 1975.



    What happens now that Haider has what Nouri always wanted?

    The representation is no longer what it was.  Minority rights are no longer guaranteed.

    Haider is firing people that he really doesn't have the legal right to fire.

    Today, it was a cabinet secretary.

    What about when he fires a Cabinet member?

    Because the Constitution specifically forbids this but it's the exact direction that a giddy western press is urging him to move towards.











    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    More debates

    Alex Seitz-Wald (MSNBC) says:

    In an escalation of Martin O’Malley’s war on the Democratic National Committee over the party’s primary debate process, an attorney for his presidential campaign is saying the DNC’s plan may run afoul of federal election rules.
    In a memo shared with msnbc, O’Malley attorney Joe Sandler, who formerly served as the DNC’s general counsel, calls the DNC’s debate plan “entirely unprecedented” and “legally problematic.”

    The DNC last week announced the schedule for its six presidential primary debates, including four before the Iowa Caucuses and two afterwards. O’Malley and fellow candidate Bernie Sanders came out against the schedule, demanding, as they have for months, more chances to face off on stage against front-runner Hillary Clinton.

    Says?

    An idiot who's next paragraph complains that 2008 had too many debates is not a reporter.

    We need more debates.

    Not less.

    They're trying to become the President of the United States.

    That should require a lot more work than manning the counter at Subway.

    This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


    Tuesday, August 11, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, Haider al-Abadi's reforms pass, no one's quite sure what that means, Jeb Bush blames Hillary for Iraq's crises, Hillary 'responds' by letting a man speak for her, Hillary leaves behind her my-vote-for-the-Iraq-War-was-a-mistake to now argue that there Bully Boy Bush sent too few troops into Iraq, and much more.


    Hillary Clinton is a feminist.

    Doesn't mean she's a good one.

    What she's doing right now on Iraq isn't feminism.

    Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and contender for the GOP's 2016 presidential nomination, has slammed her for the state of Iraq today.  Ben Kamisar (The Hill) reports:


    Sullivan accused the administration of George W. Bush, Jeb’s brother, of sending in too few troops, pushing out Sunnis that later became radicalized and adding to Iranian influence within the Iraqi government. 
    He added that Bush, not President Obama, set the withdrawal date for U.S. forces in Iraq.
    So the little princess Hillary not only can't speak for herself  but, out of all her advisors, goes with a man, Jake Sullivan, to defend her?

    That's not feminism.

    Jeb Bush made a charge.  If Hillary's suddenly 'too delicate' to deal with it, well then hand the nation the vapors and let's all clutch the pearls together.

    Let's deal with Jake Sullivan, noted liar.

    Bully Boy Bush did not set the withdrawal date.

    This is a lie repeated by the stupid both in real time and ever since.

    The US invasion was not authorized by any legal body.  The United Nations did authorize the occupation that followed.

    The United Nations did it on a yearly mandate.

    The yearly mandate was getting Nouri al-Maliki in trouble.  At the end of 2006, he had extended it without input from the Iraqi Parliament and they were outraged.  He insisted that, the next year, he would get their approval first.  But 2007 was drawing down and he again didn't get their approval further outraging the Parliament.

    This is why, when the UN was refusing to continue providing cover for the occupation (the British government was in the same boat as the US government and had to enter into agreements directly with the Iraqi government to continue the occupation), Bully Boy Bush went with a three year agreement and not a one year agreement.  It would go through once and could cover three years.  This would help Nouri al-Maliki avoid having to ask every year for permission from the Parliament (or having to face outrage if he again ignored them).

    The three year agreement, the Status Of Forces Agreement, did not mean that at the end of three years no more agreements could be made.

    That's the talk of the stupid and the lying whores.

    Barack Obama never believed that nonsense which is why he attempted to extend the US military presence in Iraq beyond the end of 2011.

    Nouri wasn't opposed to that.

    Nouri, and a few other Iraqi politicians, opposed the grief they would get if it was only for three thousand or so troops.

    Nouri wanted the US military presence.  He feared the Iraqi military (he sacked most of the commanders out of constant fear that they would stage a coup against him).

    The US military is how he remained in power.

    Without them, he would have been toppled.  That's true as early as the summer of 2006 when the Green Zone was almost breached.

    Nouri nixed a small number of troops.  He wanted at least 8,000 US troops by most Congressional testimony and would have preferred 15,000.

    If you don't know that at this late date and you're yammering on, you're a stupid, little liar.

    If you don't know that Barack thought the December drawdown (the military never called it a "withdrawal" for obvious reasons) was not the 'end of story,' you didn't pay attention very well, did you?

    You missed then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta telling the Senate that negotiations continued and that they hoped to have something in the new year (January 2012).

    If you missed that, you missed the November 15, 2011 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, and you can play catch up by reviewing the real time coverage of that hearing that this community offered:   "Iraq snapshot,"  "Iraq snapshot,"  "Iraq snapshot."  Ava reported on it with "Scott Brown questions Panetta and Dempsey (Ava), Wally reported on it with "The costs (Wally)" and Kat reported on it with "Who wanted what?").


    Again, I don't have time for stupid liars like Jake Sullivan.

    I can't believe we're having to take the blowhard seriously enough to fact check his lying ass.

    As for two more charges Sullivan made above.

    Did Bully Boy Bush push Iraq into the arms of Iran?

    Possibly.

    It's a complicated conversation but, overall, we can say "yes."

    We can also note that Bully Boy Bush did not make deals with Iranian-backed terrorists groups in Iraq.  It wasn't Bully Boy Bush in 2009 who released terrorist leaders in US captivity for the deaths of 5 American troops.

    That was Barack.

    And it wasn't Bully Boy Bush who allowed Iran to attack Camp Ashraf residents repeatedly.

    That too was Barack.

    And it wasn't Bully Boy Bush who had Iranian-backed militias on bases with US forces.

    That's Barack.

    But let's zoom in on the "too few troops."

    Hillary's apparently decided she wins in 2016 by presenting as a strange little girl.

    That's what Jake Sullivan's just done.

    Hillary lost the 2008 nomination in part because of her 2002 vote for war on Iraq.

    She's made mealy mouthed statements about the vote being a mistake and offered it with a read-my-latest-book-for-more attitude.

    But now voting for the war is not even a "mistake," Hillary?

    Now the problem is that not enough US troops were sent into Iraq?

    Which is it, Hillary Clinton, you were wrong to vote for the Iraq War or the problem was really that not enough US forces were sent in?

    Again, she's playing the strange little girl card and let's hope it bites her in her fat ass.

    Her mealy mouthed words about a "mistake" were never convincing especially after her War Hawk cries as Secretary of State.


    Hillary doesn't talk about the over 4994 US troops who have lost their lives in the ongoing Iraq War.  That's not part of the "mistake" she wants to take the blame for.

    But she's more than happy to now have her aides/surrogates/pit bulls insist the problem with the Iraq War is that not enough US troops were sent in.

    Wait.

    Not enough US troops were sent in?

    Then why the hell did she, as US Senator, oppose Bully Boy Bush's "surge"?

    If she felt there weren't enough troops she should have backed him.

    Oh, wait.

    She did.

    Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates revealed that in his book Duty:


    Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. . . . The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.
    Okay, so since around 2007, she's been offering weak ass statements about her 2002 vote approving the Iraq War was a "mistake" and indicating she regretted it but now her campaign is arguing that the mistake was sending too little US troops into Iraq.

    And yet when Bully Boy Bush tried to 'surge' in 2007, she publicly opposed increasing the number of US troops in Iraq.

    Is there any position that she won't take, any lie that she won't tell?
    We need to stress one more time that good feminism is not hiding behind a man.

    If Jeb Bush makes a charge against Hillary, she needs to be able to respond.

    Herself.

    Throughout Tuesday morning, it was said Hillary would be responding in the afternoon.

    Apparently not.

    Apparently, she's too much of a delicate flower to respond.

    Who knew that the woman who snarled "What difference, at this point, does it make?" was such a fragile little orchid?


    Sullivan also insists the criticism of Hillary on Iraq is unfair because she wasn't responsible.   Wally's "THIS JUST IN! IT'S NEVER HER FAULT!" and Cedric's "Cranky's ready to share the blame" earlier today addressed that defense.


    But you know what?

    There Sullivan is correct.

    When the Iraqi Parliament and the President of Iraq (Jalal Talabani) and Nouri agreed to begin negotiations for US troops to remain in Iraq beyond 2011, we noted in the August 3, 2011 snapshot:


     James Jeffrey, the US Ambassador to Iraq, is the public face of negotiations (as Ryan Crocker was when he was the US Ambassador to Iraq).  He is assisted by State Dept employees the administration has tasked for this issue.
    This is not who Hillary Clinton has selected, it's not her issue.  Joe Biden and Samantha Power are tasked with Iraq on the orders of Barack Obama.  Hillary is not involved.  You see her with her Iraqi counterpart from time to time, she does receive most visiting Iraqis but she and Nouri are not close and anyone who can't grasp that can't remember Hillary's public remarks about Nouri when she was in the Senate.  That's the practical reason Hillary's not over Iraq.  There are other reasons as well.  Samantha Power is elevated to her position because, although Joe Biden has a great relationship with many Iraqi politicians (including the Kurds), he also made comments, when he was a senator, about Nouri that Nouri has not forgotten.  (Hillary and Joe both rightly called Nouri a despot at one point or another and it's not forgotten on Nouri's side.  And they were not one time remarks.  Nor were they unique remarks in the Senate.  Back then, Baraba Boxer was among the many calling out Nouri as a Little Saddam.)


    If you check the archives, you will find us repeatedly noting while Hillary was Secretary of State that she was not over Iraq.

    We also repeatedly noted that she tended to fudge that fact and needed to get honest or would be left holding the bag on Iraq.

    Holding the bag on Iraq?

    2010, Barack Obama determined the fate of Iraq by nullifying the votes and will of the Iraqi people to insist that Nouri get a second term after he lost the election.

    That set Iraq on its current course.

    The idiot Jake Sullivan wants to blame Bully Boy Bush for the rise of the Islamic State.

    Nouri al-Maliki is to blame for that as he used his second to persecute Sunnis and the Islamic State (in Iraq) is a response to that persecution.  (In Syria, it's also seen as a response to the persecution of the Sunnis by the Syrian government.)

    Hillary's involvement in that was minor.

    If she voiced an opinion, it most likely wasn't an honest one.

    She'd publicly called Nouri a "thug" in 2008 -- we can spoonfeed you the hearing, we covered it in real time while Spencer Ackerman -- whoring for Barack -- 'missed' Hillary's testimony in his coverage of the same hearing.

    She knew what Nouri was and it's doubtful she argued for him to have a second term.

    Samantha Power made the case that Nouri would do as they wanted (the White House) with regards to a new SOFA and Chris Hill argued that Iraq needed a strong man and not democracy (Hill was the idiot Barack appointed as US Ambassador to Iraq).

    Vice President Joe Biden was the point-person on Iraq and he backed Hill and Power.

    Hillary's only significant involvement in this issue comes when, after the election of 2010 and in the midst of the political stalemate, she joins with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to vouch for the then-top US commander in Iraq, Gen Ray Odierno.

    Hill had thrown a tantrum and had Odierno shut out of the process.

    Hillary joined with Gates to argue to Barack that Odierno was not the problem and that he needed to be listened to.  Once this was put in motion, Barack would ask Hill for his resignation.  Hill did not choose to step down as US Ambassador to Iraq, he was asked to step down.

    There are State Dept issues that Hillary was over in terms of Iraq.

    These were budgetary issues, largely.

    But in terms of policy, Hillary had no say and was not part of it.

    It's a shame she refused to be honest in real time and preferred to be a glory hog.

    It would be karmic to allow her to now take the blame for Iraq but, in all honesty, she was not leading policy or even one of the chief policy advisors on Iraq.

    Iraq was noted at today's US State Dept press briefing moderated by Mark Toner.


    QUESTION: Iraq’s parliament approved Prime Minister Abadi’s wide-ranging reforms. How much did the United States know about these reforms, and are there any sort of redlines, because there seems to be some concern that if the reforms go too far they could alienate the Sunnis and the political process? If you could comment on that.

    MR TONER: Well, first in terms of the reforms, we certainly applaud the unity that was shown by Iraqi leaders from across the political spectrum in moving forward on Prime Minister’s Abadi’s proposals, which, as you know, were aimed at streamlining the government and addressing corruption. And we’d note that these measures were unanimously approved by the Council of Ministries – Ministers, rather, earlier today.
    So we certainly commend Prime Minister Abadi’s initiative to promote improved transparency and government services, and this is certainly something he pledged when he came into power to govern more inclusively. So we certainly believe that he’s doing so through these measures that were adopted, and expect he’ll continue to do so.

    QUESTION: There were specific people in the list, including former Prime Minister Maliki, who was removed. Do you share Mr. Abadi’s concern or Mr. Abadi’s position that those people are corrupt people that had to be removed?

    MR TONER: Well, first of all, I think the efforts were designed, as I said, to streamline the government. Those are obviously – this is an internal issue for the Iraqi Government. What we’re looking at, the bigger picture, is – as I said, is his efforts to govern more inclusively, and we think that these measures, as adopted, will do that. But --

    QUESTION: So you don’t have any issue with those specific people who have been fired, basically, or removed from power?

    MR TONER: Again, I think I spoke to what we’re looking for here – more inclusive governance, a more streamlined process, better transparency. And certainly, as you mentioned, one of the goals is to fight corruption, but I’m not going to speak to individuals. I’m just going to say that as a matter of a broader concern to us – please, go ahead, Elise.

    QUESTION: Can I move on to Syria?


    MR TONER: Are we done with Iraq? Great.



    "Are we done with Iraq?  Great."  That's pretty much the administration's approach to Iraq.


    In Iraq today, the Parliament has approved Haider al-Abadi's 7-point plan to address waste and corruption.  AFP reports all 297 MPs in attendance voted in favor of the proposal (there are 328 MPs in the Parliament).

    The reforms or 'reforms' are thought to be in response to the recent protests demanding accountability.  Whether they are a true response or just fakery attempting to stop the protests remains to be seen.  BBC notes,  "Many Iraqis have cautiously welcomed the passing of the reform package, seen as a victory for Mr Abadi. But he still faces pressure to ensure the measures are properly implemented."


    While many western outlets note the 7-point plan, only a few note the Speaker of Parliament's plan which includes insisting that certain ministers (those over electricity and water) be removed.  All Iraq News reports that the Speaker's plan passed today as well before Parliament adjourned (they are scheduled to next meet on Thursday).  Alsumaria notes that vote was unanimous as well.  The Minister of Electricity is scheduled to face questions from Parliament on August 25th.

    National Iraqi News Agency notes that Vice President Ayad Allawi is calling for more:

    He said in a press conference today that he had submitted a memorandum to the President and Prime Minister to implement a series of reforms, including the formation of an international body to investigate the hundreds of billions of dollars that have been spent since 2003.

    He added that he called for the formation of this body to check in the financial corruption and to bring the corruptors to justice and uncover the details through the media.

    Allawi called for reducing the personal protection of the officials and send the redundant of protections team to fight the terrorists in the battlefield.



    Bas News reports that Iraq's President Fuad Masum is said to have told his vice presidents that "the reforms violate the Iraqi constitution, and al-Abadi should have consulted the president."



    Under the sweeping reforms, the three positions of vice president and three deputy prime ministers will be scrapped, removing offices that had become vehicles for patronage for some of the most powerful people in the country.
    Several ministries will be combined to eliminate cabinet posts: the planning and finance ministries will be merged, water will be combined with agriculture and the environment will be combined with health.
    Mr Abadi will be given the power to fire provincial governors and regional officials, who often wield more power in their territories than the central authorities.


    Despite gushing from Brookings and others, no one really knows what -- if anything -- al-Abadi's plan will mean.

    In actual practice, Haider could have just re-invented the political system in Iraq and removed checks and balances built into the system.  

    Denise Hassanzada Ajiri (Christian Science Monitor) offers that the changes are a rejection of "the US-backed model" implemented years ago.
     
    Again, at this point, no one really knows what this plan actually means. 


    Erika Solomon (Financial Times of London) offers:


     


    Some analysts say Mr Abadi’s move may be aimed less at reform than taking advantage of Mr Sistani’s backing to bolster himself against political opponents such as former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. The latter has publicly supported the reform plan but was widely criticised during his rule for entrenching sectarian governance and corruption.


    Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 156 violent deaths across Iraq today.
    Senator Tammy Baldwin's office issued an important press release last Friday








    ***MEDIA RELEASE***
    For Immediate Release                                                          
    Friday, August 07, 2015
      (202) 224-6225
     
    U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement in response to VA Inspector General Report on the Death of Marine Corps Veteran Jason Simcakoski at the Tomah VA Medical Center
     
    “Those responsible for this tragic failure should never again serve our veterans and their families.” 
     
    WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin released the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General Office released a healthcare inspections report regarding the death of Marine Corps veteran Jason Simcakoski at the Tomah VA Medical Center on August 30, 2014:
     
    “This report confirms that the Tomah VA physicians entrusted with Jason's care failed to keep their promise to a Wisconsin Marine and his family.  I have all the evidence I need to conclude that the VA prescribed Jason a deadly mix of drugs that led to his death and that those responsible for this tragic failure should never again serve our veterans and their families.  The sacred trust we have with those who faithfully serve our country has been broken and it needs to be fixed.
    “I have introduced bipartisan legislation in Jason’s name that has earned the support of his family and a number of veteran service organizations to provide the VA with the tools it needs to help prevent this type of tragedy from occurring to other veterans and their families. This report highlights the need for the reforms we have proposed to give veterans and their families a stronger voice in their care and put in place stronger oversight and accountability for the quality of care we are providing our veterans. Change is possible and I will continue my fight for it.”
     
    Learn more about Senator Baldwin’s bipartisan legislation, the Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act here.
     
    View an online version of this release here.


    ###


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