BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O NEEDED SOME PRETTY WORDS TO TOSS TO ANGRY GAY SUPPORTERS AS HE SPOKE AT THE HRC TONIGHT. [SEE "Barack's all about the boys" AND "THIS JUST IN! HE'S FOR THE BOYS!"]
"I WILL END DON'T ASK-DON'T TELL!" BARRY O INSISTED AND THE IGNORANT AND SELF-LOATHING CROWD LAPPED IT UP. OF COURSE, HE LONG AGO PROMISED HE WOULD END IT AND, BY THAT PROMISE, IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE OVER.
HE COULD END IT WITH THE FLICK OF A PEN. BUT HE TOLD THE CHEERING CROWD THAT THEY WOULD HAVE TO WAIT.
THEY CHEERED, THEY DROOLED AND THEN THEY WENT BACK TO THEIR S & M CLUBS FOR MORE ABUSE. PATHETIC.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Let's deal with realities and the first that the Iraq War has no end-date at present. Despite spin and lies and assertions, there is no end-date. In fact, if the SOFA truly eneded the Iraq War -- as the popular narrative and press fools claim -- then Bush couldn't have skipped the Congress. There would be no debating that it was a treaty if ended a war. That's what treaties historically have done. But let's deal in what is known.
Matthew D. LaPlante (Salt Lake Tribune), reporting on new deployments to Iraq for Utah units and, almost as a whispered aside, drops this explosive word-bomb: "And some Utah units have been told to anticipate deployments to Iraq as far off as 2012." As far off as 2012?
B-b-b-but my TV told me the Iraq War ends most certainly as 2011 draws to a close! My TV said so!!! Imagine that. A press that lied a nation into war might also lull a nation into a false belief that the Iraq War was ending. For the record, the press tried that during Vietnam as well. You can't learn about it in Norman Solomon's books because he always misses that point and fails to grasp the conflict between stateside editors and reporters stationed in Vietnam. It would be shocking that Norman might not know that . . . unless you grasped he's lied that the Iraq War ends in 2011 along with so many other gas bags. The pledged delegate for Barack Obama gave it up for his crush and was left with nothing but a wet spot and sullied reputation. Norman you kind of picture right about now peeing on a stick and waiting to see what color it turns.
The Dept of Defense released a statement on October 8th. AC W (Gather) examines the release, "The first thing to note is that all four elements mentioned in the press release are COMBAT forces. The three brigade combat teams (the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team from the 3rd Infantry Division, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team from the 25th Infantry Division, and the 4th Brigade Combat Team from the 1st Cavalry Division) are just what their names say they are: brigade COMBAT teams. They are made up of COMBAT troops with weapons designed for COMBAT. The armored cavalry regiment, the 3rd ACR, is a combat unit with tanks and infantry troops. How will all COMBAT troops be out of Iraq by mid-next year if we are sending COMBAT troops to Iraq in mid-next year?"
Today, filing a rare report from Iraq, Marc Santora (New York Times) opens with, "There is no more visible sing that America is putting the Iraq war behind it . . ."
Is America putting Iraq behind it? That's not only factually incorrect, it's also highly insulting. Did we not hear yesterday from Russell Powell, an Iraq War veteran, explaining to the Senate about how exposure to Sodium Dichromate in Iraq has seriously destroyed his health? Is Russell Powell "putting the Iraq war behind" him?No, the New York Times wants to put the war behind it.Why? Because they sold the illegal war. Little liars -- and it went far beyond Judith Miller who, for the record, was woefully misguided but did not lie because she honestly thought there were WMDs in Iraq and that's why she commandeered that squadron while in Iraq to 'discover' the non-existent WMDs -- sold that illegal war. And it wasn't just the Times but it was the Times which never got accountable for their actions. There was the mini-culpa, the meaningless tiny item that might as well have been a blind item for all the weight it carried. And the promise of a later investigation into their errors. Where's that later coverage? Oh, right, they never did it.The New York Times would love to put the Iraq War behind it. First of all, it damanged their reputation in ways Jayson Blair can only dream of. Second of all, they can't sell a new war -- and, make no mistake, the New York Times always sells wars -- effectively while the Iraq War is still on people's minds. Look at the pushback the current administration is experiencing on their desire for war with Iran. What keeps getting brought up? Iraq. The lies that led to that war. So, yeah, the paper wants to put the Iraq War behind it. And the media at large does.But shame on all of them for pimping that when you have people suffering (including Iraqis but as John F-ing Burns explained so long ago, the paper's only concerned with Americans) and so many dead. Shame on them. It's not just that they lied to sell an illegal war, it's that they never owned the consequences of their decision to do so, let alone taken accountability.Marc Santora and the New York Times want to put the Iraq War behind them. How sweet for them. In the real world? William Cole (Honolulu Advertiser) notes that an estimated 4,300 members of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Schofield Barracks has received orders to deploy to Iraq "in the summer of 2010." Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) adds, "They are part of the three brigades and one armored cavalry regiment with 15,000 soldiers that the Pentagon said will be sent to Iraq next year." But don't worry, Marc Santora and the New York Times have put Iraq 'behind' them.Many Iraqi and American families don't have luxury of putting that (ongoing) illegal war behind them; however, the Times has never been known for having a sense of perspective. Among the many who won't be 'putting it behind them' so quickly will be Iraqi refugees. This week Human Rights Action and the Human Rights Institute at Georgetown Law Center issued [PDF format warning] a new report entitled "Refugee Crisis in America: Iraqis And Their Resettlement Experience." Behind them? "Across the United States, many resettled Iraqi refugees are wondering how, after fleeing persecution at home to seek refuge in a country that barely tolerated them, they have found themselves in 'the land of opportunity' with little hope of achieving a secure and decent life." Iraq is the MidEast refugee crisis with an estimated total of 4.7 million external and internal refugees (figure from the March 31st snapshot covering the Senate subcommittee hearing Senator Bob Casey Jr. chaired where the issue of the numbers was addressed at length). The report notes:
Under pressure from advocacy groups and increased reporting on the plight of Iraqi refugees, the United States ultimately began resettling more Iraqis. In the fall of 2007, Congress passed the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act, providing admission for Iraqis that worked for the United States or its contractors in Iraq, and allowing in-country processing for at-risk Iraqis. In 2008, the United States appointed two Senior Coordinators for Iraqi Refugees, one at the Department of State and one at the DHS, to strengthen the American humanitarian commitment to refugees with a particular emphasis on resettlement. In FY [Fiscal Year] 2008, the United States resettled 13,822 Iraqi refugees. As of August 31, 2009, the United States has resettled 16,965 Iraqi refugees in FY 2009, totaling over 33,000 since the 2003 war.
Fiscal Year 2009 is over. It ended with the month of September. So the study tells us that by August 31st, only 16,965 Iraqi refugees were granted resettlement into the US? Let's drop back to the August 19th snapshot and Eric Schwartz (Asst Sect of Population, Refugees and Migration) State Dept press conference. He asserted in that press conference, regarding Iraqi refugees being accepted by the US, "The numbers -- let me -- I think I may answer your next question. The numbers for fiscal year 2008, I think are on the order of about 13,000. I'm looking to my team here. And the numbers for fiscal year 2009 will get us -- will probably be up to about 20,000." Click here for transcript and video of the press conference. About 20,000? August 19th, he claimed that. In the last month of Fiscal Year 2009 (which would be September), did the US manage to resettle over 3,000 Iraqi refugees? Great . . . if they did. But it's highly unlikely. Following the November 2008 election, Sheri Fink (ProPublica) reported on the issue and noted, "A State Department official contacted by ProPublica said, 'We really do recognize a special responsibility.' The official said that resettling 17,000 Iraqi refugees in fiscal 2009 was a minimum target. 'We hope to bring in many more.' The U.S. will also be accepting Iraqis who worked for the US through special immigrant visas, a program  that resulted from legislation introduced by Senator Ted Kennedy (discussed  recently by Ambassador James Foley, the State Department's senior coordinator on Iraqi refugee issues)." They 'hope'd to bring in any more. 2009, when Americans learned the definition of "false hopes." So they most likely met the minimum target. What a proud, proud moment . . . for an under achiever.
The Georgetown study notes that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees created "11 resettlement elegibility criteria for Iraqi refugees" and that the US government signed off on them:
(1) Survivors of torture and violence, including sexual and gender based violence;
(2) Members of minority groups and persons targeted due to their ethnicity or sect;
(3) Women at risk in country of asylum;
(4) Unaccompanied or separate children;
(5) Dependents of refugees living in resettlement countries;
(6) Elderly refugees;
(7) Refugees with medical needs;
(8) High profile cases;
(9) Iraqis who fled due to their associations with U.S. or other foreign institutions;
(10) Stateless persons;
(11) Iraqis at risk of refoulement.
Despite the US government agreeing to these criteria, the study notes that "the USRAP [US Refugee Admissions Program] expects the most vulnerable refugees will find employment and become self-sufficient almost immediately. Thus, the United States offers resettlement to those refugees with particular vulnerabilities that can inhibit their ability to achieve self-sufficiency while expecting them to quickly become self-sufficient."
Today Avi Selk (Dallas Morning News) reports on the approximately 865 Iraqi refugees who are now in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. Selk notes a study on Iraqis who have experienced torture and how they "and their family members" are very likely to have "suffered post-traumatic stress disorder". They're not seeking treatment for PTSD in part because they don't know what resources are out there for them. That's really a shameful comment on the government process for Iraqi refugees.
Chris Hill, US Ambassador to Iraq, thinks he's Ann Wilson's lover talking to the refugees: "'Come on home, girl,' he said with a smile, 'You don't have to love me yet, Let's get high awhile'" ("Magic Man" written by Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson and recorded by the Wilson sisters' band Heart). But Chris Hill is apparently the one who needs to try to understand, try to understand, try, try, try to understand. On the subject of repatriation, the report notes that "international humanitarian groups agree that Iraq is still not safe enough to allow return. And though some are returning, there is 'still no big flow back into Iraq.' The International Commission of the Red Cross informally estimates the flow at close to one percent of the total refugee propulation and believes that 'most come in to look and see if it's safe, if their property is still there, [and so], then quickly [go] back [to countries of asylum].' There are no credible reports of Iraqi refugees returning home in significant numbers."
Twenty families -- a small number -- were in the news this week for returning to Iraq. But they're not the refugees the report is talking about (or that were sold as part of the Myth of the Great Return). Chelsea J. Carter (AP) reported this week that the approximately 250 people were exiles . . . during Saddam Hussein's reign. They returned from Iran.
The external refugees of the current conflict settle in countries such as Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The majority of the refugees in Jordan interviewed for Jordan's study want to move to the United States but "[w]hile the situation in Jordan is quite bad for many Iraqi refugees, the news of struggling friends and family in the United States is causing more and more Iraqi refugees to wonder whether choosing resettlement is really worth the risk."
Along with a lack of coordination among the government agencies helping refugees who arrive in the US, other issues include lack of vehicles and poor or no public transportation in the areas they are resettled in, difficulties with the maze of the DMV in order to get a driver's license and cash assistance being far too small. The study notes, "As it exists now, the totalk package of assistance to refugees amounts to between just seventeen to forty precent of the federal pvoerty line. Although a family of six may receive up to $2,500 in R&P assistance to cover living costs for the first ninety days, a single adult receives only $425, or less than $5 a day."
Those are only some of the problems facing Iraqi refugees resettling to the US. We'll go over more next week but we'll note the study's recommendations:
• Refugee resettlement should be decoupled from U.S. anti-poverty programs andtailored to the unique needs and experiences of refugees. Refugee assistance should be increased from eight to eighteen months, and programs designed to promote the long-term self-sufficiency and integration of refugees should be better funded. A stronger emphasis should be placed on the core barriers to self-sufficiency and integration, including lack of English language skills, lack of transportation, and lack of opportunities for education and recertification.
• Funding for employment and social services should be tailored to estimates ofincoming refugee arrivals and secondary migration, as well as the unique needs of these particular groups. Funding should not be based on the number of past refugee arrivals.
• All actors within the USRAP must improve planning and information sharingcapabilities. Planning should anticipate and prepare for the unique needs of eachrefugee group prior to arrival. In order to tailor services for refugees, actors musttake into account important information on refugees collected in the resettlementprocess, such as health status and professional background.
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