BARAK OBAMA ENGAGED IN A FARCE WORTHY OF MOLIERE THIS EVENING: A STAGED PRESS CONFERENCE THAT DESPITE THE QUESTIONS BEING SUBMITTED AHEAD OF TIME RESULTED IN NO REAL ANSWERS FROM BARACK.
ASKED AFTER ABOUT HIS PERFORMANCE, BARACK SAID HIS FLY WAS ZIPPED UP AND HE HAD ON "A REAL NICE SHADE OF LIP GLOSS, SO I WOULD SAY IT WAS A SUCCESS."
WHEN THESE REPORTERS POINTED OUT THAT HE HAD SAID NOTHING, BARACK SAID, "YOU'RE JUST NOW REALIZING THAT A POSH BOI REPLACED A FRAT BOY! HA HA! JOKES ON AMERICA! I AM TARTUFFE!"
In the deadly hot spot that Mosul has become the US military loses multiple lives today. M-NF announces: "Three U.S. Coalition Soldiers were killed, and another Soldier later died of wounds when a suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle in Mosul, Iraq Feb. 9. One interpreter was also injured in the attack and later died of wounds. The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the U.S. Department of Defense." This follows Saturday's announcement: "TIKRIT, Iraq -- A U.S. Soldier died as a result of a non-combat related injury near Balad Ruz, Iraq, Feb. 6. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is under investigation." It also comes on the heel of yesterday's announcement: "BAGHDAD -- A Multi-National Division–Baghdad Soldier died from a non-combat related incident Feb. 8. The Soldier's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The incident is currently under investigation." The announcements brings the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4243.
AP calls the Mosul attack "the deadliest single attack against U.S. troops since May 2, 2008" (and explains they're seeting the January 26 helicopter crashes aside since the military states no enemy fire was involved). Peter Graff, Michael Christie and Tim Pearce (Reuters) add of Mosul, "Violence there remains high, though it has fallen in most of the country to the lowest level since the war began. U.S. and Iraqi officials had hoped that violence in Mosul might subside after provincial elections in January in which Sunni Arab parties won the largest share of the vote in surrounding Nineveh province." (In their report, BBC states, "The US currently has around 147,000 troops based in Iraq.") Ernesto Londono and Qais Mizher (Washington Post) inform, "U.S. and Iraqi officials said they planned to launch what would be the fourth crackdown in less than a year in the weeks after the Jan. 31 provincial election, during which Sunni Arabs gained control of the province from Kurds." Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newsapapers) reports that three Iraqis were also wounded in the bombing, two of which were police officers.
Meanwhile the press continues trying to grade like George W. Bush. Just as he lied and shaded to hail 'success' on his benchmarks for Iraq, they do the same. At the start of 2007, Bush stated that Iraq would meet the benchmark for provincial elections -- in ALL provinces -- by the end of that year. They didn't. They didn't meet it in 2008 and, despite the press hoopla, they didn't meet it this year. Fourteen of Iraq's eighteen provinces have held elections. The press, like Bush, is so eager to twist the truth and hail 'democracy' in Iraq that they regularly ignore all the violence that took place in the lead-up to the election and following it. Reuters reported Saturday, "Gunmen kidnapped Talib al-Masoudi, who ran in Jan. 31 provincial elections as a candidate from the Shi'ite Fadhila party, from the Husseiniya neighbourhood in Kerbala, 80 km (50 miles) south of Baghdad, police said." A comprehensive look at the violence aimed at candidates would be disturbing so, day after day, tidbits on one incident after another are offered with no attempt to pool them together and note just how much violence has taken place.
Democracy requires checks and balances and Iraq has none but no one's supposed to notice that either. There is no independent judiciary and the Parliament has become a bigger joke. The Parliament has been without a speaker since December 23rd when they ousted Mahmoud al-Mashhadani. 49 days later, who is the Parliament's speaker? Still no one. AFP reported Sunday that there "are five candidates" but that Parliament remains "deadlocked." KUNA reports today that attempts have failed again and that the issue will be raised next on Wednesday and: "The failure to elect a speaker will not allow parliament to debate or approve a new budget and oil law, deemed crucial to the reconstruction of the country." That means that possibly Wednesday, 51 days after they decided to oust their Speaker, they may vote in a new one. As noted in the January 12th snapshot, "Willam Brockman Bankhead was the Speaker of the US House of Representatives for over four years. He died unexpectably of a heart attack on September 15, 1940. (For those unfamiliar with Bankhead, he was the father of Tallulah Bankhead.) The following day, Sam Rayburn became Speaker of the House." 51 days. Results are still not official in the laughable elections. Apparently counting ballots isn't the difficult thing, it's rigging the results that's creating the hold up. Moqtada al-Sadr apparently didn't learn the only real lesson of the elections: Threaten violence to get your way the tallies. Which is why AP explains al-Sadr is appealing the results of the elections: "The allegations are among a chorus of questions raised by Shiite religious parties and Sunnis about the outcome of provincial elections, in which allies of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki won a sweeping victory." Tahir al-Kinani is quoted citing two sets of number: one from al-Sadr's observers in the provinces and the other from Iraq's laughable and discredited "electoral commission."
"It's not our fault that some people couldn't vote because they are lazy, because they didn't bother to ask where they should vote." That's the 'electoral commission''s chief speaking. And al-Sadr should have taken a lesson from that. To widely documented problems that is Faraj al-Hadiari's response. To the thugs of Anbar's allegations that couldn't be proven and the thugs threats? al-Hadiari leaps into action and 'massages' the results. Because heaven forbid thugs aren't pleased with the results. Heaven forbid that while giving lip service to democracy, no one actually expects in Iraq.
Nawal Al Samarrai announced last week that she was resigning as Iraq's Minister of Women's Affairs noting that it was a for-show position that was drastically underfunded. AFP reports today that she has revealed "her budget was slashed from $7,500 (BD2,8282) to $1,500 (BD566) per month as part of this year's government spending cuts due to plunging oil prices." We'll get back to the reality of what the puppet government spends money on but first let's note that a country with over 25 million people (CIA estimate) and more females than males -- especially among the adult population -- really should be ashamed for spending only $7,500 -- forget for cutting it to $1,500. $7500 was never going to be enough for a monthly budget. The US military had nearly 100,000 "Awakenings" on the payroll (a huge number still remain on the payroll) and paid $300 a month. That was $300,000 a month being paid to thugs so they wouldn't attack the US military -- the infamous fork-over-your-lunch-money-in-the-playground 'strategy.' In other words, 35 Awakening members a month were making the same amount of money as the entire monthly budget for the Ministry of Women's Affairs. 35 men. In 'good' times, al-Maliki thought $7,500 was more than enough for a ministry (dealing with women) to have as a monthly budget. Now he's slashed it to $1,500. But not everything gets slashed. And not everything gets underfunded. Dropping back to the December 11th snapshot:
October 31st, AP reported the puppet government in Baghdad's latest boo-hoo: Oil prices had dropped and their budget for 2009 had to be cut by $13 billion. The Guardian of London (via Iraq Directory) was writing that there was talk of raising production due to the drop from the expected $80 billion 2009 budget to the $67 billion budget. In 2008, they couldn't meet their spending targets and sat on a ton of money while infrastructure remained unrepaired and Iraqis suffered without electricity and potable water. This week they're on a spending spree. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency made several announcements yesterday [all links of announcements take you to PDF format]. DSCA announced: "On Dec. 9, the Dfense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of 36 AT-6B Texan II Aircraft as well as associated support. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $520 million." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of 400 M1126 STRYKER Infantry Carrier Vehicles as well as associated equipment. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $1.11 billion." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of 20 T-6A Texan aircraft, 20 Global Positioning Systems (GPS) as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $210 million." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of (20) 30-35 meter Coastal Patrol Boats and (3) 55-60 meter Offshore Support Vessels as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $1.010 billion." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of 140 M1A1 Abrams tanks modified and upgraded to the M1A1M Abrams configuration, 8 M88A2 Tank Recovery Vehicles, 64 M1151A1B1 Armored High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV), 92 M1152 Shelter Carriers, 12 M577A2 Command Post Carriers, 16 M548A1 Tracked Logistics Behicles, 8 M113A2 Armored Ambulances, and 420 AN/VRC-92 Vehicular Receiver Transmitters as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised could be as high as $2.160 billion." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of 26 Bell Armed 407 Helicopters, 26 Rolls Royce 250-C-30 Engines, 26 M280 2.75-inch Launchers, 26 XM296 .50 Cal. Machine Guns with 500 Round Ammunition Box, 26 M299 HELLFIRE Guided Missile Launchers as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $366 million." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of (80,000) M16A4 5.56MM Rifles, (25,000) M4 5.56MM Carbines, (2,550) M203 40MM Grenade Launchers as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $148 million." And they announced: "On Dec. 9, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq of (64) Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelters (DRASH), (1,500) 50 watt Very High Frequency (VHF) Base Station Radios, (6,000) VHF Tactical Handheld Radios, (100) VHF Fixed Retransmitters, (200) VHF Vehicular Radios, (30) VHF Maritime 50 watt Base Stations, (150) 150 watt High Frequency (HF) Base Station Radio Systems, (150) 20 watt HF Vehicular Radios, (30) 20 watt HF Manpack Radios, (50) 50 watt Very High Frequency/Ultra High Frequency (VHF/UHF) Ground to Air Radio Systems, (50) 150 watt VHF/UHF Ground to Air Radio Systems, (50) 5 watt Multiband Handheld Radio Systems as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $485 Million." That is over six billion dollars being committed "if all options are exercised" -- which is a little over 10% of their entire budget for 2009. There's always money to spend when it comes to weapons. And human life is always done on the cheap.
Sandy Sand (Digital Journal) explains, "Feeling frustrated and abandoned herself, Nawal al-Samarraie left her post as Iraq's minister for women's affairs after six months on the job due to severe cutbacks in her ministry's funding. Not counting staff salaries, her budget, which was meager to begin with, was slashed from $7,500 a month to $1,500." Samarraie is quoted stating, "I reached to the point that I will never be able to help the women. The budget is very limited ... so what can I do?" Kim Gamel (AP) reports:
Al-Samarraie's resignation has cast a spotlight on the overwhelming problems facing Iraqi women, tens of thousands of them left poor or widowed by war.
An untold number have lost their husbands or other male relatives to violence or detention since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, often leaving them alone with children and virtually no safety net or job opportunities.
Al-Samarraie claimed Iraq has 3 million widows, calling it "a full army of widows, most of them not educated." The figure, which she said came from a government survey, includes those who lost their husbands under Saddam Hussein's regime and was impossible to verify.
All Iraqis have undergone difficulties, but women face the additional danger of being sidelined in a male-dominated society. Widows in Iraq, for example, traditionally move in with their extended families, but many families find it increasingly difficult to care for them.
Other problems for women include homelessness, domestic violence and the random detention of women caught up in U.S.-Iraqi military sweeps.
Sami Moubayed (Asia Times), apparently high off huffing the fumes emitting from Nouri al-Maliki's crotch, informs that Nawal al-Samarai didn't support the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement (smart move on her part) and insists her walkout has nothing to do with any apparent 'mythical' issues of funding but is part of a Sunni plot to bring his lover-boy Nouri al-Maliki down ("Her walkout puts the prime minister in a tight position, having already lost six Sadrists, three members of the secular Iraqi National List and six of the Iraqi Accordance Front, in addition to the Shi'ite party, al-Fadilah."). Less giddy of 'forceful' Nouri and a little less conjecture might make Sami a real reporter some day. IRN reports:
"My office is inside the Green Zone with no affiliated offices in other provinces and not enough funds to hold conferences, invite experts for studies and implement development plans," Al-Samaraie said. "How can I work and serve women under such circumstances?"
Al-Samaraie said there was "an army" of uneducated women, widows, victims of domestic violence and female internally displaced persons in dire need of assistance.
"My resignation is a warning to the government and a protest against its inability to evaluate the needs of women," she said. Al-Samaraie's frustration is echoed by a group of women's rights activists led by prominent female member of parliament and women's activist Safia al-Suhail. "When we talk about the women of Iraq, we are talking about nearly 65 percent of the population. They need a national and comprehensive strategy to help them enjoy their legal, health and social rights," Al-Suhail said.
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