Sunday, September 28, 2014

He'll put out

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

FADED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O WILL GO TO WAR BUT ONLY SO FAR.

HE'S BEING CALLED THE OVER THE SWEATER PRESIDENT WHEN IT COMES TO WAR BUT DC INSIDERS SWEAR THAT WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE "NO ONE SPREADS LIKE BARRY!"


FROM THE TCI WIRE:

Let's hold on a second to describe the 'plan' for anyone not paying attention in the last weeks.  The US military will bomb all over Iraq (and now in Syria as well -- Syria is the new Laos) to 'defeat' the Islamic State -- a group of Sunni fundamentalists who have received some backing (in terms of concealment as well as in terms of aiding in violence) by some Iraqi Sunnis as a result of the oppression of the Sunni community in Iraq which includes but is not limited to, false imprisonment, arrests without warrants, arrests of known innocents (arrested because the police couldn't find the suspect so they arrested a mother, or a wife, or a child, or a . . .), torture and rape in Iraqi prisons, etc.

Barack has repeatedly stated in public that Iraq requires a political solution.

When he makes those statements, he's referring to the need for a government that is inclusive and represents all Iraqis.  He's basically trying to turn the clock back to 2010 when Iraqis had again (see the 2009 election results) expressed a growing belief in a national identity and a rejection of a country made up of warring sects.  Nouri al-Maliki (with the White House's backing) came close to destroying such a possibility.


Nouri wanted a third term and Barack (wisely, in my opinion) worked to ensure that it did not happen.

The whole point of that was so that Iraq could get a new prime minister, a new leader, so that people could have hope that maybe a new Iraq was possible.

A hope like that doesn't survive months.

It's either confirmed or it's a fleeting hope that quickly passes.

Sometimes I get that feeling and I want to settle and raise a child up with somebody
I get that strong long and then I want to settle and raise a child up with somebody
But it passes like the summer
I'm a wild seed again
Let the wind carry me
-- "Let The Wind Carry Me," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on Joni's For The Roses


Passes like the summer.

And what's happened in Iraq.

Haider al-Abadi was named the new prime minister.

Despite not having a Minister of Interior (over the federal police) or a Minister of Defense (over the military) in his Cabinet.

Just like Nouri.

Who went four years without filling those slots.  Yes, Americans being asked to support bombings today, Nouri went his entire term without a Minister (Secretary) of Defense.

Unlike Nouri, Haider has nominated people for the posts.  The Parliament's just refused to confirm them.

What else has Haider done?

Well, since the start of this year, back in January, under Nouri's orders residential neighborhoods in Falluja have been bombed killing and wounding thousands of Iraqis.  (Falluja's a Sunni-dominated city.)

Near the start of this month, Haider announced that the bombings were over, he had ordered it.

But . . .

the next day the bombings continued and they continue every day.

So his words may be different than Nouri's words, but the results are the same.

He has retained Nouri in the government.

Even Barack didn't do that.  For all the (accurate) critiques of Barack failing to prosecute Bully Boy Bush and his cronies, Barack didn't make Bully Boy Bush Secretary of State, for example.

But tyrant Nouri serves in Haider's government as one of three Vice Presidents (the other two are former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and former Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi).

So Nouri's policies continue, the security ministries continue to remain leaderless and Nouri continues in the government.

Where's the change?

Hope's fleeing.  Joni sings "it passes like the summer."


There are a few new freckles on your shoulders
The hammock swings lower and touches the grass
The apples are ripe and the corn is past
Everyone says summer goes by so fast
And we just got here
-- "We Just Got Here," written by Carly Simon, first appears on her Have You Seen Me Lately?


Joni sings it passes like summer, Carly sings summer goes by so fast.

Friday, NINA reported 3 civilians are dead and nine more injured.  In addition, Iraqi Spring MC noted  Falluja General Hospital received the corpses of 2 children and eight more people who were injured from last night's bombings of the residential neighborhoods.

And how were Friday prayers in Anbar celebrated?  With more civilian bombings.


NINA reports:

Chairman of Anbar provincial Council Sabah Karhot called army troops to focus on the bombing of the IS sites and not targeting residential areas.
Head of the Council Karhot told the National Iraqi News Agency / Nina / that the city of Fallujah exposed to shelling of rockets and explosive barrels that claims the lives of many innocent civilians.
The city of Fallujah exposed, daily, to the bombing of the explosive barrels and mortar shells and rockets, and about 12 civilians were killed and injured in today's bombing, which targeted residential neighborhoods in Fallujah. 



And NINA notes a Friday Mosul bombing by US war planes killed 4 civilians.

So is Haider al-Abadi a liar or powerless?

A number of people are saying powerless and noting articles like this one at Kitabat which maintains that Nouri is refusing to leave the palace he's lived in since 2006, the housing of the prime minister.  And that even high ranking members of Dawa (Nouri's political party) attempting or persuade Nouri that he must leave and allow al-Abadi to move in have failed.

An image is taking hold.  I'm not surprised.

Right now there's a call on Arabic social media for a massive protest in Baghdad on September 30th against Haider al-Abadi.  If it is large, this will not help his image one bit.

The window for Haider to make a difference, to show he was different from Nouri, is closing.


Who will they look to
So innocent they don't know
Life, life isn't always fair
There's always someone who cares
Who will they look to
In whose hands will their future lie
Whose going to tell them stand up again
Why not, why not give them one more try
Who will they look to
-- "Who Will They Look To," written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, first appears on Ashford & Simpson's Street Opera



The White House spent all these weeks shoring up foreign support for bombings and they did nothing to push on the political scene.

So it's a failure in the same way Bully Boy Bush's 'surge' is a failure.




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"THIS JUST IN! HE HAS AN IMAGE!"

  • Friday, September 26, 2014

    Come get your prize

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

    HE'S A FAILURE AS A WAR PRESIDENT AND, THE ECONOMIST REMINDS, HE'S A FAILURE ON THE ECONOMY.

    REACHED FOR COMMENT BY THESE REPORTERS, FADED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF, BARRY O INSISTED, "IT'S GOOD TO MAKE AN IMPRESSION AND I HAVE MADE AN IMPRESSION.  I'VE LEFT MY IMPRINT.  ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY. KIND OF LIKE URINE STAINS.  I'M THE OLD CAT TOO BLIND TO GO IN THE URINE BOX THAT YOU PUT UP WITH FOR A YEAR OR SO BECAUSE YOU KNOW HE'LL BE GONE SOON."

    FROM THE TCI WIRE:



    If you want to know how poorly the US efforts at diplomacy are, you need look no further than press briefings.

    The State Dept's "daily press briefing"?  They haven't done one since September 19th.



    Q: Since the -- since the strikes began a few days ago in Syria, have you seen any evidence of Assad forces taking any ground that was previously held by ISIS? And the corollary to that, in Iraq, have -- to what extent has the Peshmerga or the Iraqi forces been able to retake territory because of American airstrikes? If you could just update us on that situation, as well.

    REAR ADM. KIRBY: I haven't seen any movement by Assad regime forces to move into facilities or infrastructure that we've hit. We've also seen -- not seen a lot of -- to be quite honest, haven't seen much in terms of reaction by ISIL inside Syria as a result of these attacks. In other words, were not seeing a lot of movement or major muscle movement changes by them in just the last couple of days.

    In Iraq, the -- I could point to the preservation of Haditha Dam. I could point to their ability to work with Kurds, to retake the Mosul Dam facility. I can point to the town of Amerli, which we prevented with them a humanitarian disaster. We could go on and on and on.

    I would also note -- and this gets forgotten a little bit -- that Baghdad is still relatively secure. I mean, there's been a couple of minor IED attacks inside Baghdad, but the ISF, the Iraqi Security Forces, in and around the capital are still defending the capital. And it's not like ISIL hasn't posed a threat there. You may have noticed that some of the strikes that we've taken lately in the last week or so have been south and southwest of Baghdad, because we know they continue to threaten the capital.




    That is from a press briefing today.  But it's the Pentagon's press briefing.  Even though the State Dept can't or won't do press briefings so far this week, the Pentagon can.

    I guess when you do nothing, you have nothing to talk about?


    Does it bother anyone?

    And does anyone have a memory or have we all erased our brains?

    The US government was supposed to go heavy on diplomacy before.

    It was 2007.

    Bully Boy Bush called for a 'surge' in the number of US troops.

    Anyone remember why?

    This was, the White House insisted, to give the Iraqi officials time to work on political solutions.  And the US was going to help.

    But all the US government has ever done is supply weapons and utilize the weapons and stir up the violence.

    And, just as back then, no one wanted to point out that while the military was doing their part of the surge, the US' diplomatic effort was half-hearted and a non-starter.

    As it was then, so it is now.

    It's not as if Iraq is dealing with only one political crisis, it's multiple crises.  On today's Fresh Air (NPR -- link is audio and text), Dexter Filkins discussed Iraq with Terry Gross:


    GROSS: This is FRESH AIR and if you're just joining us, my guest is Dexter Filkins. He's a writer for The New Yorker. He covered the Iraq war for The New York Times, won several awards for doing that. He's covered the whole region for many years. He just went to Kurdistan in the north of Iraq from a period of June through August. He made two trips during that period for a total of about a month's time. And now he has a piece in The New Yorker called "The Fight Of Their Lives: The White House Wants The Kurds To Help Save Iraq From ISIS, The Kurds May Be More Interested In Breaking Away." That's the title and subtitle of the piece.
    So why did you want to go to Kurdistan for this piece that you just wrote?


    FILKINS: Well the - you know, the Kurds are - I mean, when everybody looks at Iraq including me and you just say Iraq, what do you think of? I mean, you think of chaos, and car bombs, and bloodshed, and political strife and stalemate and everything else. And when you go to Kurdistan, this small corner of Iraq, there's nothing - it's nothing like that. And it really struck me when I was there writing the piece earlier this year when I was there doing a piece on Maliki in Baghdad and I was in Baghdad and I wanted to go to Kurdistan. And I had been in Baghdad for about three weeks - and Baghdad in 2014 looks pretty much the way it did in 2004. It's - despite the fact that the Iraqi government is pumping enormous amounts of oil and making tons of money, they're the second-largest producer in OPEC. We're talking tens of billions of dollars, $85 billion a year. There's just not much evidence of that oil money being spent and I think frankly, it's because a lot of it's being stolen. But, it's not a happy story - but, Baghdad's a wreck. I mean, it looks pretty much the way it did during the war.
    And then I got on a plane and I flew to Erbil, which is the capital of Kurdistan. And it's like - you know, you feel like Dorothy (laughter) and it's amazing. You know, there's a Jaguar dealership in Erbil and there's sushi restaurant and there's dance clubs. And I remember one night I'd been out of town and I drove back in at 3 a.m. and I found a liquor store open and bought a six-pack of beer at 3 o'clock in the morning in the Middle East. I mean, that's impossible anywhere for a thousand miles. So it's such a shock when you see it. You think, oh, my God, I can't believe I'm still in Iraq. And in a way - and really that's what the story's about - in a way, it's not part of Iraq, not anymore.


    GROSS: And they don't want to be part of Iraq anymore.



    FILKINS: No, I mean, sort of technically - technically they're part of Iraq, but, you know, they don't want to be and, you know, a de facto way, in a very real way, they're not, they're not part of Iraq. I mean, they're pulling away. And I think they want to make it official and I think probably - I mean, you can never foretell the future in that part of the world - but probably it will be independent, I think, sooner rather than later, although it's hard to tell exactly when.


    There are so many problems in Iraq, so many crises, destroying unity and what's the new prime minister doing?


    While he's unable to build political unity at this time,   Haider al-Abadi, is willing to make waves internationally.  Kristina Fernandez (China Topix) reports he declared today that Iraq had "credible intelligence" that the Islamic State was plotting an attack on the subway systems in Paris and NYC.

    He insisted the information was reliable because it had come from suspects in Iraqi custody.

    Huh?

    The Iraq interrogations are known as torture sessions -- they even killed a bodyguard of then-Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi during one of them.

    So, at best, whatever al-Abadi thinks or thought he has was most likely the product of torture.

    Terry Atlas and Angela Greiling Keane (Bloomberg News) quote White House National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden declaring, "We have not confirmed such a plot, and would have to review any information from our Iraqi partners before making further determinations.  We take any threat seriously and always work to corroborate information we receive from our partners. We're obviously very focused on the issue of foreign fighters."  The State Dept's Marie Harf went on CNN and suggested maybe it was true.




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    "THIS JUST IN! HOLDER'S OUT! OVER A CRAWLER!"


  • Thursday, September 25, 2014

    Bye, bye Holder

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


    FADED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O THIS AFTERNOON WAS ALL SET FOR A CRAWLER BUT AS HE MOSIED OVER TO THE FOOD TABLE, ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER HAD ALREADY GRABBED IT AND WAS CHEWING AWAY.

    "DARN IT!" BARRY O EXCLAIMED.  "DARN IT ALL TO HECK!  I AM SO TIRED OF BEING DISRESPECTED!  I AM SO SICK OF IT!  YOU ARE FIRED!"

    "ME?" ASKED HOLDER.

    "YOU! GET OUT!"



    FROM THE TCI WIRE:



    I don't understand how we can be so stupid to think these 'precision' bombings are accomplishing thing.  They're not.

    I don't favor US boots on the ground.  But if Barack was announcing that the boots on the ground -- which already there and, yes, already engaged in combat -- if he were announcing/admitting that and coming up with someway to use them, it wouldn't be a plan I'd back but I wouldn't dispute that it was a plan.

    What Barack's doing is nonsense on every level.

    If you want the US to 'defeat' the Islamic State militarily (I don't think that's possible), then you're going to have to do something more than selective bombing.

    Let's stop being stupid about that at least.

    I don't believe there is a military answer.  I believe that bombing is just going to breed more terrorism.  I believe a number of Islamic State men who have been killed (some of who were Islamic State and some of whom were not) have loved ones they've left behind and I don't believe that the loved ones are saying, "Thank goodness he got killed!"  I think resentments and anger are being bred by Barack's actions.

    I also think civilians are being put at risk.  Some are being killed and there's no point in kidding around about that.  There's never been a series of ongoing strikes anywhere that didn't result in the death of at least a few civilians -- which is why terms like "collateral damage" were invented in the first place.

    So what's the solution.

    For years now, with the prison breaks in Iraq and the prisoners who don't get recaptured -- and most don't -- we've repeatedly pointed out here that the escapees are able to blend and elude capture because the communities are sympathetic.

    It's not, "Oh, you're a Sunni?  I'm a Sunni too!  I won't rat you out to the police for that reason!"

    The sympathy comes from the fact that, under thug and prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Sunni community was targeted.  Sunnis were taken away, many times without arrest warrants only to vanish into the jails and prisons of Iraq -- jails and prisons infamous -- even post-Saddam Hussein -- for torture and abuse.

    Add in that not only were Sunni suspects arrested but so were relatives of suspects.

    The Iraqi forces show up at a home looking for 28-year-old Ali Hammadi.  Ali's not home.  But his wife is.  Or his dad.  Or his mom.  Or his grandparents or maybe even a child.  There was a protest this week in Iraq calling for the Sunni children to be released from Iraq's prisons and jails.

    That may shock you.  It shouldn't.

    The US government instituted this practice in the early years of the Iraq War -- showing far less ethics than even the mob.  And Nouri carried it over.  If he couldn't get you, he'd arrest one of your relatives.  No arrest warrant for them, maybe no hearing for them, and they disappear into Iraq's overpopulated jails and prisons.

    And that's why many Sunnis don't give a damn when there's a prison escape.  That's why their attitude is, "Good."  Too many of them have family members or friends who have been wrongly imprisoned.

    This and other mistreatment is why some Sunnis join the Islamic State, join with the Islamic State in actions (worded that way because they assist in actions but do not join the Islamic State) and/or look the other way when they might otherwise alert authorities to suspicious persons.





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    "THIS JUST IN! HE JUST DOESN'T LIKE 'EM!"


    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    It's not personal

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


    FADED CELEBRITY AND FOREVER HIMBO BARRY O HAS NOW GONE TO WAR ON 7 MUSLIM COUNTRIES.

    REACHED FOR COMMENT BY THESE REPORTERS, BARRY O INSISTED IT WAS NOTHING PERSONAL AND THEN DECLARED, "I JUST DON'T LIKE THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE STINKY-POOS.  THEY UPSET ME.  BUT IT'S NOTHING PERSONAL.  I JUST WISH THEY WOULD ALL DIE.  BIT OLD STINKY POOS."

    FROM THE TCI WIRE:



    Michael Crowley (Time magazine) documents the US mission creep in Iraq:


    From a podium in the White House’s state dining room on the night of Aug. 7, Obama gravely described his authorization of two military operations. One was to stop ISIS’s advance on the Iraqi city of Erbil, which Obama described as a threat to Americans stationed there. The other was to rescue thousands of Yezidi people besieged by ISIS fighters atop Sinjar Mountain.
    [. . .]
    On a Sunday afternoon ten days later, the White House quietly issued a statement announcing air strikes with the goal of liberating the Mosul dam from the clutches of ISIS militants. 
    [. . .]
    Then, on Sept. 7, came word of still another mission: A Pentagon statement said the U.S. was now bombing ISIS around the Haditha dam, in western Iraq—far from Erbil, Sinjar and Mosul. By now, American drones and planes had conducted about 150 strikes in the country. The U.S. was conducting a de facto air campaign against ISIS in support of Iraq’s government.


    Crowley continues with his documentation but for those who need a single example of the mission creep, Michelle Tan (Army Times) reports:

    As the U.S. expands its war against the Islamic State, the Army is preparing to deploy a division headquarters to Iraq.
    Officials have not identified the division that will deploy — the first division headquarters to go to Iraq since the U.S. withdrawal in 2011.
    An official announcement is expected in the coming days. But Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno recently confirmed the Army “will send another division headquarters to Iraq to control what we’re doing there, a small headquarters.”


    Yeah, that never-ending Iraq War is expanding.  David Corn(nuts) and all the other trashy whores can toss aside ethics and offer justifications but the reality is there for anyone who wants to see it.



    Flash from Mexico
    The Toreadors have all turned gay
    Roman whores have quit to seek a better way
    Dope has undermined the morale of
    The Buckingham Palace guards
    Motorcycle gangs ride naked down Hollywood Boulevard

    If through all the madness
    We can stick together
    We're safe and sound
    The world's just inside out and upside down

     -- "Safe and Sound," written by Carly Simon and Jacob Brackman, first appears on Carly's Hotcakes

    In the crazy, upside down world we live in, Christi Parsons and WJ Hennigan (Los Angeles Times) can report:


    President Obama said Tuesday that he will "do what's necessary" to fight the Sunni Muslim extremists targeted in a fierce round of U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria and that he'll do so with the support of regional partners whose coordinated bombing makes it "clear to the world that this is not America's fight alone."
    Speaking just before his departure for New York to meet with world leaders at the United Nations, Obama said the bombings he ordered overnight had the support of Arab coalition partners.

    So how long does this crazy last?

    The 'plan' is nothing but bombing.

    If the US wasn't taking part in the bombings in Iraq and Syria (along with France), the White House would be decrying these actions, would be insisting that the country or countries carrying them out needed to be punished.

    In what world is bombing a country a 'plan' for peace?


    In New York today, NINA notes, Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari met up with the Danish Foreign Minister Martin Legurd.  And Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is in New York today for the United Nations' General Assembly.

    Iraq's President Fuad Masum didn't arrive in New York today.  Because he was already there. All Iraq News notes he arrived on Monday.

    With so much of the government out of the country, maybe it's good that Iraq now has three vice presidents?

    Of course, with Nouri al-Maliki being one, that means the other two, Osama al-Nujaafi and Ayad Allawi, must spend the bulk of their time ensuring Nouri's not carrying out a coup.




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  • Tuesday, September 23, 2014

    Look who's lecturing

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

    FADED CELEBRITY AND BIG BLATHERER BARRY O IS DETERMINED TO KNOCK KRIS AND BRUCE JENNER OUT OF THE NEWS CYCLE AND SO HE DECLARED TODAY THAT THE REST OF THE WORLD SHOULD FOLLOW AMERICA'S LEAD ON CLIMATE CHANGE.

    SO, CHINA, GET WITH THE PROGRAM.  SET YOUR A/C DOWN TO 65 DEGREES BECAUSE YOU'RE PLANNING ON BARBECUING LATER AND CAN LEAVE THE SLIDING GLASS DOOR OPEN TO COOL OFF THE PATIO WHERE YOU'VE SET THE GRILL UP.

    AND, ITALY, NO MORE NEARBY WORK.  BUY A GAS GUZZLING CROWD AND HIT THE HIGHWAY.  ANYONE DRIVING LESS THAN AN HOUR FROM HOME TO WORK SHOULD BE PUT BEHIND BARS.  AND ANYONE CAUGHT CAR POOLING SHOULD BE IMMEDIATELY SHOT.

    YES, THE REST OF THE WORLD HAS MUCH TO LEARN FROM THE U.S. ABOUT HOW TO WASTE ENERGY AND, YES, ABOUT HOW TO POLLUTE.



    FROM THE TCI WIRE:




    David D. Kirkpatrick and Omar al-Jawoshy (New York Times) report, "After six weeks of American airstrikes, the Iraqi government's forces have scarcely budged the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State from their hold on more than a quarter of the country, in part because many critical Sunni tribes remain on the sidelines."  The two go on to note that it may have stopped or diverted a "march toward Baghdad" but the bombings have not stopped the Islamic State which has seized Sichar.

    They write that today "the government acknowledged that it had lost control of the small town of Sichar" and they note the large number of Iraqi soldiers the Islamic State continues to kill.



    Where do you go from there?



    Let's go to a former US President: Jimmy Carter who declared today in video posted at WoodTV.com:


    Because when ISIS forces go into a city and take it over and then the United States goes over there with bombers and drops bombs, we are likely to kill more civilians than we do ISIS members.  And that's why it's very necessary to have our own people on the ground that can give us -- give us accurate information about exactly where to let a missile land or a bomb land to make sure it kills the ISIS terrorist instead of normal civilians.



    At least Jimmy noted civilian casualties.

    Because civilian casualties -- though overlooked by the press and ignroed by the White House -- do exist.


    Sunday, NINA reports, the military's (continued) bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods left 1 civilian dead and ten more injured.  Monday, mortar and rocket attacks left 7 civilians dead ("including a woman and a child") and twelve more people injured.


    Again, David D. Kirkpatrick and Omar al-Jawoshy (New York Times) report, "After six weeks of American airstrikes, the Iraqi government's forces have scarcely budged the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State from their hold on more than a quarter of the country, in part because many critical Sunni tribes remain on the sidelines."



    It's not working.



    Is it legal?



    Probably not.



    On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed included  the legality of Barack's current war actions.


    Heidi Boghosia:  Michael, the US recently began bombing the Islamic State or ISIL with the promise that there will be no ground troops. Let's talk a bit about the legality of this.

    Michael Ratner:  I think the legality of this is important but of course the first thing is this was a promise not to use any ground troops that was -- Obama made that publicly -- and a few days later, perhaps two days later, Gen Martin Dempsey, who's head of the Joint-Chiefs of Staff, said he would not rule out the use of ground troops and said, that if necessary, he would recommend that to the president.  The Times then wrote a very strong editorial saying, here we go again, a slippery slope into a ground war, an endless war in the Middle East.  Not that I didn't think they had ground troops in there already, they did.  They called them advisors.  Who knows what they are doing?  I know my experience with "advisors" whether back in Vietnam or El Salvador is they don't just stand there with no weapons.  They often accompany the troops.  They give advice. And, if fired upon, they have the right to fire back. 

    Heidi Boghosian:  And are they -- the advisors -- sort of top level military personnel?  Who are they exactly?

    Michael Ratner:  I don't think they're necessarily top level  Some are, but some are training units, etc. So I think already we are having a certain number of so-called "ground troops" there.  But certainly, Gen Dempsey's statements indicate that we're only seeing the beginning and, as usual, the US population is "being lulled into" another major ground war in the Middle East.  One question as lawyers -- and this is technically a lawyers' show -- is the question of the legality of what the president is doing.  I've spent -- a number of us have -- a lot of our lives trying to restrain US war powers and the US, particularly the president or the Congress together, going to war around the world.  And it's been a task that's been particularly unsuccessful starting with Vietnam where we brought case after case and only at the end of the war really did Congress finally act to restrict the president, after there were secret wars carried out in Cambodia, in Laos, not just Vietnam.  As the devastation became too great, as the opposition here became great, and, really, as the Vietnamese started to win the war. 


    Heidi Boghosian:  Now, Michael, lets just give a basic lesson in government structure.  Right now, what could Congress do to restrain the president?

    Michael Ratner:  Let's step back one second, Heidi, and that is where I'm going.  Right now, the president has not asked for any authority from Congress to either bomb targets in Iraq that he claims are Islamic State targets or, presumably, if they've begun it, bombing in Syria -- again targets that they claim are Islamic State targets.  He has not asked for any authority.  He has , of course, had to use some funding that Congress, I think,  will  approve if he asks for more.  That is not considered "giving authority" by Congress just because they fund a war, that's some specific legislation.  But let's talk about what the president should be required to do and essentially how my office, other people, and I've litigated a dozen case around the world have utterly failed to be able to force the president to obey the Constitution or to force the president and the Congress to obey the UN Charter which also has a prohibition on the use of force. Coming out of Vietnam, Congress did a sort of mea culpa.  They said, 'Well, the president dragged us into this war.  We passed this Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which was this open-ended resolution that the president said he could do whatever he wanted in Vietnam.  And he kept fighting the war based on this one broad authorization the Congress gave him over a false incident that took place when one Vietnamese boat supposedly -- but did not -- actually fire on a US ship.  President went to the Congress and they passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. They fought that war for years based on that open-ended resolution. 


    Heidi Boghosian: Sort of like the Weapons of Mass Destruction justification. 

    Michael Ratner:  Like that exactly.  That resolution, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, you could liken to the authority that Congress gave the president to go to war in Afghanistan called The Authorization To Use Military Force.  But let's keep stepping back to Vietnam.  So after Vietnam, it cost some 50,000-plus  American lives, possibly 2 million Vietnamese lives, the devastation of our country politically and in the streets but particularlly of course in Vietnam where it's still paying a very heavy cost from Agent Orange to the numbers of people killed.  So Congress then passes what's called a War Powers Resolution.  People here that bandied about a lot.  What the War Powers Resolution did was Congress said, "Look it, we don't want to be in the situation of Vietnam again.'  The president, yes, is required to go to Congress before he can go to war with any country.  That's Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the US Constitution.  The framers were very clear, 'We don't want a president making war on his own.  We want war to be harder to make not easier.  We think it's harder to make if the people who are actually representatives of people and who are paying the costs and are losing their children will have to consent to that war.

    And we'll pick up from there later in the week (hopefully tomorrow).



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    "THIS JUST IN! THE AUTOMATED PRESIDENCY!"



    Friday, September 19, 2014

    Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto,

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

    IN BELL FLORIDA, DON CHARLES SPIRIT ALLEGEDY SHOT DEAD HIS DAUGHTER AND HER SIX CHILDREN (HIS GRANDCHILDREN).

    REACHED FOR COMMENT TODAY AT THE WHITE HOUSE, FADED CELEBRITY BARRY O BARELY LOOKED UP FROM HIS ANGRY BIRDS GAME AS HE DECLARED, "MICHELLE AND I ARE DEEPLY SADDENED BY THE LOSS.  HE COULD HAVE BEEN OUR SON OR DAUGHTER.  YADA YADA YADA AND GOD BLESS AMERICA."




    FROM THE TCI WIRE:


    Yesterday in the US, the House of Representatives voted to approve funding for the training and arming of so-called 'rebels' in Syria.  Today it was the Senate's turn.

    And they also passed funding more war and destruction and a 'plan' that just isn't there.


    22 members of the Senate voted against it:

    Senators Tammy Baldwin, Bernie Sanders,  Mark Begich, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Barrasso, Sherrod Brown, Tom Coburn, Joe Manchin, Mike Lee, Patrick Leahy, Dean Heller, Ron Paul, Jeff Sessions, James E. Risch, Pat Roberts, Elizabeth Warren, Ted Cruz, Mike Crapo, Ed Markey, Jerry Moran, Chris Murphy and Mike Enzi.



    The other 78 US senators voted for it -- no one abstained.

    Senator Sanders' office issued the following statement:



    Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday voted against the United States training and arming Syrian rebels. Sanders said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria “is a brutal and dangerous extremist organization which must be defeated, but this war cannot be won by the United States alone. There needs to be a real international coalition led by the countries most threatened – Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey and Iran. The worst thing that we can do now is allow ISIS to portray this struggle as East vs. West, as Muslim vs. Christian, as the Middle East vs. America. That is exactly what they want and that is exactly what we should not be giving them.”
    The senator faulted wealthy Middle East nations for doing too little to protect their own interests, especially when Saudi Arabia has the fourth largest military budget in the world. He also questioned why American taxpayers are footing the bill when royal families that rule those Mideast nations are worth hundreds of billions of dollars. 
    “This is not just a question of whether young men and women in Vermont and across America should be putting their lives on the line in another Mideast war.  It is not just about whether the taxpayers of our country should once again pay for a war in the Middle East. It is about the reality that, long term, this struggle will never be won by the United States alone.  It must be won with the active participation of the Muslim countries in the region,” Sanders said.
    Sanders said he supports President Barack Obama’s judicious use of airstrikes which already have shown some success, but in opposing the resolution Sanders said, “I fear very much that supporting questionable groups in Syria who will be outnumbered and outgunned by both ISIS and the Assad regime could open the door to the United States once again being dragged back into the quagmire of long-term military engagement.”
    The provision to fund forces battling the ISIS terrorist group was included in a stopgap spending bill to fund the government through Dec. 11. The measure, approved by the Senate, had passed the House on Wednesday.




    US President Barack Obama insisted the vote demonstrated that Americans were united, Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney (Reuters) report..

    Uh, no, it didn't.  America didn't get to vote.  Members of Congress voted.

    And AFP reports:

    For the first time since President Barack Obama took office, more Americans disapprove than approve his handling of terror threats, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing a new poll.
    The slide in the president’s approval ratings on terrorism comes as the White House ramps up its fight against the Islamic State group that recently beheaded three Westerners, including two US journalists.  The New York Times-CBS poll found that 50 percent hold a negative view of how Obama is generally dealing with terrorism, while only 41 percent approve.



    US Senator Rand Paul got to vote and he voted against the measure while declaring "make no mistake arming Islamic rebels in Syria will only make it harder to destroy ISIS."  We'll close the snapshot with Rand Paul's remarks in full but it's much too long to drop in at the start of the snapshot.



    Sharif Nashashibi (Information Clearing House) notes:

    Like Bush, Obama is accused of abusing executive authority by saying he does not need the approval of Congress. The White House cites the 2001 Authorisation for Military Force against al-Qaeda and its affiliates, which was passed by Congress after the 9/11 attacks.
    However, this applies to nations and organisations that "planned, authorised, committed or aided" the attacks. The IS did not exist at that time, and was disavowed by its parent organisation, al-Qaeda in February this year.
    "It's preposterous to suggest that a congressional vote 13 years ago can be used to legalise new bombings in Syria and additional (non-combat) forces in Iraq," Bruce Ackerman, professor of law and political science at Yale University, wrote in the New York Times. Obama's "refusal even to ask the Justice Department to provide a formal legal pretext for the war on ISIS is astonishing."


    Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) points out that Secretary of State John Kerry also cited the 9/11 authorization and went further by insisting Article II of the Constitution provides Barack with all the authorization he needs:

    Kerry’s invocation of Article Two is eerily reminiscent of the rationales offered by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and their Justice Department lawyers, who claimed that the President in time of war could do anything he wanted abroad and even at home. (John Yoo, the White House is on the line…)
    For liberals, it was an embarrassing day. Senator Barbara Boxer of California was there to defend the President and his misuse of the AUMF. And the most ardent defender of the Constitution and Congress’s power to declare war was not a Democrat but Senator Rand Paul.




    John Kerry appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee today and he declared:


    Early this summer, the ISIL threat accelerated when it effectively obliterated the Iraq-Syria border and the Mosul Dam fell. And there are complicated reasons for why that happened. It’s not just a straightforward they-ran-over-them deal. It has to do with the kind of army that Prime Minister Maliki began to create. It has to do with Shia and Sunni. It has to do with a lot of other ingredients. But as a result of that, we further surged our ISR missions immediately over Iraq. We immediately set up joint operation centers in Baghdad and Erbil. And our Special Forces conducted immediately a very detailed assessment of the Iraqi Security Forces, because we needed to know in order to be able to answer your questions and the questions of the American people what might we be getting into here. Do we have an Iraqi army that’s capable of fighting? To what degree? What will it take to reconstitute it? So whatever judgments are coming to you now are coming to you as a consequence of that assessment. And in addition to that, I’m proud to say that thanks to American engagement, ISIL’s movement, which was rapid at that point in time and perilous, was stopped. Together with the Peshmerga and the brave, courageous souls, the Kurds who stood up, we were able to not only stop them there but to liberate Amirli, which had been under siege, liberate Sinjar Mountain, to begin to bring our efforts to bear on Haditha Dam and make a difference. And by the time ISIL had launched its offensive in the north, President Obama began airstrikes to begin with on a humanitarian basis to protect American personnel and prevent major catastrophes such as the fall of Haditha Dam or the maintenance of the Mosul Dam and also to bolster the Iraqi Security Forces and the Kurdish forces.  To date, we’ve launched more than 150 airstrikes. And I know that sounds like – it doesn’t sound like – that’s very few compared to the 16,000 that was mentioned earlier. But it’s a different deal right now, because I believe we rightfully, absolutely needed to get in place a structured, clear, Iraqi-chosen Iraqi effort that provided a government with which we can work going forward. If you didn’t have a government with which you could work going forward, nothing that we tried to do would have had the impact necessary. So the platforms we put in place last June have enabled us to be able to do what we’ve done now, and there’s absolute clarity to the fact that we blunted ISIL’s momentum, created the time and space to be able to put together a comprehensive strategy, get the inclusive government, and build a broad coalition. And that’s the way we ought to go at this.



    It's amazing how far they'll go to spin.

    Reality, Barack's actions have led the Islamic State to more than double its membership -- and that's according to CIA figures.


    All his attacks have done is act as a recruiting tool.

    Tom Perry and Larry King (Reuters) report::

    Islamic State has won new recruits in Syria since President Barack Obama signaled last week that air strikes against the group will be expanded from Iraq to its strongholds in northern and eastern Syria, a group monitoring the war said on Wednesday.
    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 162 people had joined Islamic State training camps in Aleppo province since Sept 10, when Obama said he would not hesitate to strike Islamic State in Syria.


    Barack's very good at turning out new members for the Islamic State.  He's yet to prove himself to be good at 'decimating' the Islamic State



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    Thursday, September 18, 2014

    Does he ever shut up?

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


    IT'S OFFICIAL, FADED CELEBRITY BARRY O IS A BITCH.

    HE CAN'T SHUT UP, HE HAS TO WEIGH IN ON EVERYTHING.

    LITTLE PRINCESS MUST HAVE BEEN PROTECTED IN INDONESIA -- MAYBE HIS NANNY DRESSED HIM AS A GIRL -- BECAUSE SOMEONE WHO CAN'T STOP FLAPPING THEIR GUMS TENDS TO GET THE S**T KICKED OUT OF THEM IN SCHOOL -- REPEATEDLY.

    THIS OBVIOUSLY NEVER HAPPENED TO BARRY O WHICH IS HOW HE CAME TO WEIGH IN ON THE ISSUE OF SCOTLAND AND HOW HE'S AGAINST THEIR INDEPENDENCE.

    HE'S NOT A CITIZEN OF THE COUNTRY, SO WHY DOESN'T HE JUST SHUT THE F**K UP?

    SERIOUSLY.

    THE LITTLE BITCH NEEDS TO LEARN THE WORLD DOESN'T NEED HIS THOUGHTS ON SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE OR ON WHAT KANYE DID OR THIS OR THAT.

    HE WAS ELECTED TO DO A JOB.

    HE'S MADE TIME FOR EVERYTHING BUT THAT.


    FROM THE TCI WIRE:




    This afternoon in Florida, US President Barack Obama declared,  "The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission.  They will support Iraqi forces on the ground as they fight for their own country against these terrorists."

    Barack was attempting to push back against remarks Gen Martin Dempsey, Chair of the Joint-Chiefs of Staff, made yesterday when he and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Dempsey made comments such at this:


    Gen Martin Dempsey:  At this juncture, our advisors are intended to help the Iraqis develop a mindset for the offensive and the actions to match it. Our military advisors will help the Iraqis conduct campaign planning, arrange for enabler and logistics support, and coordinate Coalition contributions. To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisors should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President. 


    In response to that and other remarks yesterday, Barack declared today,  "The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission.  They will support Iraqi forces on the ground as  they fight for their own country against these terrorists."


    I don't understand how he can say that.


    US troops are in Iraq.  Iraq War veteran J.R. Salzman Tweeted:


  • Why does POTUS keep saying we won't have combat troops in Iraq when we already do, and why won't the media call him out on it? Come on.



  • Why indeed?  They're there and they have a combat mission in Iraq.

    Dempsey acknowledged that in the hearing yesterday.

    Gen Martin Dempsey: First of all, I think everyone should be aware when we talk about "combat forces," that's all we grow.  When we bring a young man or woman in the military, they come in to be a combat soldier or a combat Marine or a combat -- We don't bring them in to be anything else other than combat capable.  But that's different than how we use them.  And in the case of our contributions in Iraq right now, the airmen, as the Chair -- as the Ranking Member mentioned, are very much in a combat role. 


    That is a combat role.


    And it sounded like one in Barack's speech today when Barack stated, "So, last month, I gave the order for our military to begin taking targeted action against ISIL.  And since then, our brave pilot and crews -- with your help -- have conducted more than 160 airstrikes against these terrorists.  Because of your efforts, we’ve been able to protect our personnel and our facilities, and kill ISIL fighters, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory.  They’ve helped our partners on the ground break ISIL sieges, helped rescue civilians cornered on a mountain, helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children."


    It sounds like combat because it is combat.


    US Senator Kelly Ayotte Tweeted:


  • POTUS said today our troops in Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission. What do you call dropping bombs from planes?


  • Trevor Timm Tweeted:







  • And The Atlantic's David W. Brown offers:







    Dempsey's remarks appears to have stripped the pretense off what's taking place in Iraq.


    Mark Landler and Jeremy W. Peters (New York Times) note:

    The general’s statement lays bare the challenge the president will face in selling an expanded military campaign to a war-weary American public. Mr. Obama, seeking to allay fears of another Iraq war, has promised that American ground troops will not be involved in fighting the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. In a sign of the administration’s mixed message, the president pointedly did not call it a war, while his advisers later did.
    But the realities of a prolonged campaign, General Dempsey said, could make such a hands-off approach untenable, particularly if the battle against the militants moves into densely populated cities where airstrikes are less effective and the chances of civilian casualties are much higher. His candid testimony, hours before a divided House of Representatives began debating whether to approve Mr. Obama’s request for authority to arm the Syrian rebels, drew expressions of concern from antiwar groups and could further complicate the political dynamic for the president.


    All Iraq News adds:

    The U.S. already has hundreds of advisors on the ground in Iraq. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told the Senate panel he cannot rule out combat troops returning to Iraq, albeit in a limited role.
    "If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific (militant) targets, I will recommend that to the president," Dempsey said.
    Such actions, he added, would be considered "close combat advising."
    President Barack Obama has maintained U.S. combat troops would not be returning to the country. U.S. ground troops left the country in 2011 after nine years.
    "At this point, (the president's) stated policy is we will not have US ground forces in direct combat," Dempsey said. "But he has told me as well to come back to him on a case-by-case basis."


    As David Jackson (USA Today) notes, "President Obama doubled down Wednesday on an increasingly questioned pledge."

    Barack's push back today was especially surprising since he was aware of what Dempsey was going to say and knew of the opening remarks.  Jim Acosta and Kevin Liptak (CNN) note the White House was briefed on Dempsey's opening claim:

    Gen Martin Dempsey:  At this juncture, our advisors are intended to help the Iraqis develop a mindset for the offensive and the actions to match it. Our military advisors will help the Iraqis conduct campaign planning, arrange for enabler and logistics support, and coordinate Coalition contributions. To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisors should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President. 


    Briefed ahead of time.  Elaine noted it at her site, we noted it in the snapshot, these were prepared remarks, submitted in writing before the hearing began.  Dempsey read from the written statement word for word.  These prepared remarks went around the administration -- including to the White House -- before they were allowed to be submitted to Congress.




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