|BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE|
TODAY ERIC HOLDER WAS CONFIRMED BY THE SENATE AS THE NEW ATTORNEY GENERAL. HE IS THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN TO HOLD THE POST. STRANGELY HE HAS NO KNOWN TAX PROBLEMS.
EARLIER HILLARY CLINTON WAS CONFIRMED BY THE SENATE AS SECRETARY OF STATE. STRANGELY SHE HAS NO KNOWN TAX PROBLEMS.
TOM DASCHLE WANTS TO BE CONFIRMED BY THE U.S. SENATE AND HE HAS TROUBLE PAYING HIS TAXES JUST LIKE TIMOTHY GEITHNER. WHAT IS IT WITH THESE MIDDLE-AGED WHITE BOYS?
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Yesterday, Matt Lauer offered the equivalent of journalistic footsie with US President Barack Obama on NBC (link has text and video):
Matt Lauer: Let's talk about some of those men and women who are serving this country overseas in Afghanistan, other locations, in Iraq and I'm sure they're watching today. It's a big event for the armed services and a lot of those people have a vested interest in one of your campaign promises, to end this war and get home as soon -- within 16 months or so -- as humanly possible. So when you look at them, can you say that a substantial number of them will be home in time for next Superbowl Sunday?Barack Obama: Yes, uh, er, I mean we're gonna roll out in a very, very formal fashion what our intentions are in Iraq as well as Afghanistan. But in conversations that I've had with the Joint Chiefs, with people -- the commanders on the ground, uh, I think that we have a sense, now that the Iraqis just had a very significant election, with no significant violence there, that we are in a position to start putting more responsibilities on the Iraqis and that's good news for not only the troops in the field but their families who are carrying an enormous burden.
That's the entire Iraq 'exchange' and despite the efforts of reporters to put Lauer's words into Barack's mouth, Barack's reply does not indicate what they've endlessly hyped. Barack's words are also remarkably similar to the previous White House occupant's words -- in tone and the fact-free nature. There were tribal fights, bombings, and much more during the elections.
Saturday in Iraq, provincial elections were held in fourteen of Iraq's eighteen provinces. In his January 10, 2007 radio address, George W. Bush declared, "To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year." Two years later and they still weren't able to meet the benchmark of provincial elections in all the provinces. Though the three provinces that make up the KRG did not hold elections, the Kurdish Regional Government did issue a statement Saturday noting, "Although there are no elections scheduled in the three KRG goernorates and Kirkuk, the KRG supports all citizens who are voting today and is facilitating the voting process for those displaced individuals currently residing within the Region but casting absentee ballots for their original districts. In Suleimaniah, Erbil and Dohuk there are 15, 23, and 33 voting centres, respectively." Reuters reports today the Kurdish Naional Assembly Speaker Adnan Mufti announced that the Kurdish region will hold their elecitons May 19th. That would still leave Kirkuk out of the mix.
There were 14,428 candidates vying for 440 seats. Saturday the print version of the New York Times included a look at three of the candidates. Sam Dagher profiled Zeinab Sadiq Jaafar, an attorney running in Basra: "Over the last month, she hunted for votes in the city's worst neighborhoods. An independent, Ms. Jaafar makes the case that she is an 'authentic' daughter of Basra who better understands her city's anxieties and needs. She empahsizes that unlike many candidates, she is not backed by some big shot from Baghdad. She also wants to prove that women can compete and win in politics in Iraq on their own merit. Alissa J. Rubin profiled Haithem Ahmed Alam Khalaf who is a "38-year-old sheik" and is running in Abu Ghriab. He says: "There were many violations of human rights in our area by the Iraqi Army; it is better now, but honestly, the official departments of the government were not at the level we were expecting." He's an "Awakening." Timothy Williams profiled Khalid Shakar al-Dulaimi who is a 44-year-old man running in Baghdad and is running as a member of the Gathering of Iraqi Nationalists and Labor. He states: "The Sunnis and Shiite religious parties failed their opprotunity and involved the country in unrest. People want new faces and new ideas." The paper provided these graphs regarding the elections. Timothy Williams predicted that the campaign posters will be the visual image of these elections (while the ink stained fingers were the visual in 2005). He covers expectations as well. Alissa J. Rubin and Sam Dagher explore Moqtada al-Sadr's low profile which includes no slate of candidates but "the movement is backing two parties." Those who prefer audio, click here and scroll down the left side of the page for Alissa J. Rubin offering analysis of the players.
The New York Times live blogged the elections (the live blog is one continuous entry in terms of link, they break it up into sections but it's one link and you scroll through). Correspondent Mohammed Hussein wrote of walking over three miles and visiting four polling stations before he was allowed to vote -- repeatedly he was told he wasn't on that polling station's list. At the fourth station, he wasn't sure of the nominees listed. His wife gave up after repeatedly bing told she wasn't on that station's list to vote. Hatim Hameed tells the paper of experiencing similar problems in Falljua where it took trips to five polling centers "before I found my name. I had to walk for more than an hour." And, Abu Abdullah al-Jubouri explained, "There is no transportation to bring people to the voting centers. Don't they think about how the people will get to the places where they have to vote? I'm going to vote by myself because I won't bring my family that far." In today's paper, Stephen Farrell and Alissa J. Rubin report Nasreen Yousif went to three different polling centers in Baghdad before she gave up, "Now I am going home. Maybe there is a fourth school, but it is too far and I can't walk anymore." At the paper's blog, Timothy Williams explains western Baghdad voters were searched three times before they were even allowed to enter the polling center.
The paper's Alissa J. Rubin observed Sunday, "In the United States, many Americans view the war as already over, even though more than 140,000 American soldiers remain on Iraqi soil." Omar al-Dulaimi offers his take on the illegal war, "The American military presence brought nothing to our streets but destruction and chaos." Stephen Farrell and Rubin noted of Saturday, "Driving was banned in most of the country to prevent suuicide bombers from attacking any of the more than 6,000 polling places and security checkpoints, often spaced just yards apart. The tight security, couples with confusion over where voters should cast their ballots, appeared to have reduced turnout in many districts across the country." They estimate Nineveh Province saw 75% turnout of registered voters while Basra saw only 50%. Deborah Haynes (Times of London's Inside Iraq) reported on one get-out-the-vote attempt: texting:I was being inundated, like everyone else in Baghdad, by mass text messages from hopeful candidates pitching for votes ahead of provincial elections tomorrow. A confusing array of more than 14,400 candidates from 407 different parties, independent entities and individuals are vying for just 440 seats on 14 provincial councils across the country. In a bid to make sense of the huge choice, the candidates are on lists -- either independent or for a party. The list has a number, which is what I stupidly mistook to be the varying price of my monthly phone bill.One voter-wooing text (received multiple times) read like this: "Vote for 302, the list of Prime Minister Maliki who achieved security and restored national sovereignty." Another one went: "With your vote we will hold them accountable and build our country. Elect from the list of Mithal Allusi, 292."A third message (I could go on forever) read:"Vote for a Baghdad with everyone living with freedom and security. Tawafuq 265." The votes are still being counted but AP notes election commission chair Faraj al-Haidari estimates turnout across the country to be at 51%. al-Haidari is an ass who won't take accountability, "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." If the percentage remains low when all votes are counted, that not only rejects the hype that the elections had captured Iraqi's fascination and that they were wild to vote. The reasons for the low percentage -- if that number holds -- may include not feeling vested in the puppet government or in their occupied country, not trusting the system or voter suppression. Votes can be suppresed, as 2004 voters in Ohio can attest, if you create chaos and frustration. Certainly having people forced to walk from polling station to another repeatedly and requiring they be frisked multiple times before enterting each polling center can be seen as security or as harassment. Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) pins it on reluctance to embrace 'democracy' on the part of Iraqis (how could they embrace what they don't have?) and she notes, "Voter turnout in Iraq's provincial elections Saturday was the lowest in the nation's short history as a new democracy despite a relative calm across the nation. Only about 7.5 million of more than 14 million registered voters went to the polls." It's cute the way the press reported nearly 15 million registered voters when they thought the turnout would be huge and now that it wasn't huge, they stop using "nearly 15 million" to run with "more than 14 million".
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Matt Lauer is not Barack Obama"
"Provincial elections Saturday and votes still be counted"
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Greedy Pig"
"And the war drags on . . ."
"NYT examines provincial elections and offers special online features"
"Provincial elections (in 14 of 18 provinces)"
Truest statement of the week
A note to our readers
Editorial: The fear paralysis
TV: Fate laughs at 2006's handicappers
Military sexual assault
Congrats America, you elected a Jewish mother
And that's why you don't let Republicans in the door
The Shirley goes to . . .
The backstory on the White House press briefings
Hypocrisy Corrente Style
ETAN says drop charges against Jose Belo