Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm starting to get why his father bailed on him

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


YOU CAN'T SAY THERE WEREN'T REPEATED WARNINGS OVER THE YEARS. IN FACT, WARNINGS AROSE AGAIN JUST LAST MONTH.

AMERICA'S PRINCESS, THE OVER EXPOSED CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O, WILL DRAG YOUR CAMPAIGN DOWN IF YOU ARE A DEMOCRAT.

IT'S A LESSON A FEW ARE GETTING BUT MANY CANDIDATES ARE MISSING.

YESTERDAY, NOT ONCE, BUT TWICE, VOTERS SENT THE MESSAGE "WE ARE SO OVER YOU" AS THEY REJECTED BARRY O AND ELECTED REPUBLICANS.

DEMS FACING VOTERS NEXT YEAR BETTER START DRAWING DISTANCE RIGHT NOW BETWEEN THEMSELVES AND THE TOXIC WHITE HOUSE.

VOTERS ARE TRIED OF MR. PRETTY WORDS, TIRED OF HIS VACATIONS, TIRED OF HIS EXCUSE OF 'BLAME THE OTHER GUY,' TIRED OF HIS BROKEN PROMISES AND TIRED OF HIS 'PLANS' THAT NEVER MANAGE TO BENEFIT ANYONE NOT RUNNING A CORPORATION.

A DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGN CONFERENCE ALL YESTERDAY AFTERNOON FOUND DEMS FEELING "BETRAYED, DISAPPOINTED, FURIOUS, DISGUSTED, HOPELESS" AND THAT WAS BEFORE THE RESULTS FOR THE TWO RACES CAME IN.

REACHED FOR COMMENT BY THESE REPORTERS TODAY IN THE MIDST OF HIS MORNING DAY FACIAL ("CUCUMBER MASK, THANKS FOR ASKING"), BARRY O DECLARED HE WAS TIRED OF THE CARPING, "PEOPLE SAY WHY DON'T YOU CREATE JOBS? YOU NEVER CREATE ANY JOBS? UH, HELLO. HERE I AM PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. THE MOST UNDERQUALIFIED CANDIDATE EVER AND QUICKLY BECOMING THE MOST UNPOPULAR. THAT I CREATED THIS JOB FOR MYSELF SURELY SHOWS SOME TALENT!"



FROM THE TCI WIRE:

We're going to start in the US and with veterans issues, specifically what they've been promised. By way of introduction, we'll note Nicole Brodeur (Seattle Times) has an important column about how veterans and their issues are vanishing from the press while their numbers are inreasing. She notes:

Part of the problem is that veterans have fallen out of public focus, now centered on the economy. Foreclosures. Paychecks.
The New York Times used to publish a weekly list of the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. I haven't seen it in months.
She's correct. But a veterans issue that should have been news last week wasn't. Ava and I covered it Sunday at Third. Leon Panetta, US Secretary of Defense, appeared on The Charlie Rose Show (PBS and Bloomberg) and was asked a specific question about veterans benefits and he responded. It should have been news. Here's the exchange:
Charlie Rose: So are you saying you draw the line at changing retirement benefits for members of the armed services?

Leon Panetta: You know, having been OMB director and Chairman of the Budget Committee in the Congress, uh, I have always approached, uh, these issues by saying, 'We've got to put everything on the table. We've got to look at everything.' I think that's the way to do it.


Charlie Rose: From retirement benefits to weapons systems, to weapons systems --


Leon Panetta: To weapon systems --


Charlie Rose: -- to making sure that your priority is having mine resistant vehicles, especially --

Leon Panetta: I --

Charlie Rose: -- something that service men --

Leon Panetta: I --

Charlie Rose: -- have been talking about for years.

Leon Panetta: You have to look -- you have to look -- you have to look at everything. You've got to be able to talk it through, you've got to look at those systems. You've got to decide what's important to keep, what's not, you know, important, what reforms can be made. Uh, you know, when you're facing a $400 billion reduction over 12 years, if you're going to do it right, you've got to look at every area.


As we note, he would then appear to backtrack on his comments above by making comments about promises made. He did not speak (above) briefly. He never took back what he said above. If the US Secretary of Defense goes on national televsion and declares that veterans retirement benefits are on the table, it should be news.
Moving over to today's lesson for pundits? You need to read, you need to read widely. So many of you are making one mistake after another and revealing yourself to be very limited in your reading. I can't imagine that you made it through college single-sourcing claims so I have no idea why you now think that's good enough when you're posing as experts on the world stage?
Micah Zenoko, you get credit for writing about Iraq repeatedly and not just when it's a momentary hot topic of the day. We don't even hold your opinions or the fact that you're with the Council on Foreign Relations against you. But we will hold the following against you:
Last month, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was asked if the Iraqi government would request that U.S. troops stay in country beyond the mutually-agreed upon withdrawal date of December 31, 2011. Panetta replied: "My view is that they finally did say, 'Yes.' " Soon after, Ali al-Moussawi, adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, corrected Panetta's statement and affirmed that there would be no discussion of extending U.S. troop presence in Iraq beyond year's end.
So we're all on the same page, August 19th snapshot:
Kevin Baron (Stars & Stripes) notes that the Iraqi response is that they have not agreed to trainers but US Secretary of Defense "Leon Panetta said Friday that Iraq has already said yet to extending noncombat U.S. forces there beyond 2011, and that the Pentagon is negotiating that presence [. . . that] there is unanimous consent among key Iraqi leaders to address U.S. demands. Those demands include that Iraqis begin negotiating internally what type of U.S. training force they would like, begin a process to select a defense minister, craft a new Status of Forces Agreement and increase operations against Iranian-backed militants." Reid J. Epstein (POLITICO) refers to a transcript and quotes Panetta stating, "My view is that they finally did say yes, which is that as a result of a meeting that Talabani had last week, that all of the, it was unanimous consent among the key leaders of the country to go ahead and request that we negotiate on some kind of training, what a training presence would look like, they did at least put in place a process to try and get a Minister of Defence decided and we think they're making some progress on that front."
When there was Iraqi objection to the claim, we opened with, noted it before the claim. But that story didn't end on the 19th. More importantly, that spokes person isn't Nouri's pre-approved spokesperson. Ali al-Dabbagh is and those who follow Iraq closely will remember when Nouri gave out a short list of who could and could not speak for the government earlier this year. Ali al-Dabbagh's name was on that list.
As we noted Saturday, Al Mada reports on Panetta's remarks and on Nouri's spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh denying an agreement has already been made. But while denying it, Ali al-Dabbagh also stated that when "the polical blocs met, they approved the need to train security forces and the Iraqi military" which would be Panetta's point that it was now a done deal. So despite his denial, Ali al-Dabbagh's actual remarks back up what Panetta said. Dar Addustour also offers Ali al-Dabbagh's quote and, in addition, they report that the only perplexing issue in the negotiations is how many US troops remain. As we noted in Third's "Editorial: US will be in Iraq beyond 2011, Panetta and Iraqi government explain," Ali al-Dabbagh may claim he's refuting Panetta, but his remarks are backing up everything Panetta said Friday. Both agree that a deal's been agreed to in order to extend the US presence in Iraq beyond 2011 and both agree that the number of US service members that will remain in Iraq has yet to be determined.
Panetta and al-Dabbagh both agreed that the Iraqi government was in negotiations and that the only issue to be resolved was numbers.
Last week, we again learned about the ongoing neogitations. And Zenko quickly moves to that . . . without ever seeing a contradiction in the claim "that there would be no discussion of extending U.S. troop presence in Iraq beyond year's end." It's also not clear whether Zenko's aware that "Iraq" is Nouri. The decision was made that Nouri would be the negotiator (and he quickly accepted). Nor that Nouri has since decreed an agreement would not need to be signed off by Parliament. Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) has long covered and noted that. Al Mada most recently noted it on September 9th when they yet again explained Nouri's view that in the event of an agreement on trainers between the Iraqi government and the US, this agreement would be under the jurisdiction of the Council of Ministers [Cabinet], only the agreement on combat troops would require the House of Representatives's agreement.
Again, you're going to need more than single-sourced claims. You're going to need to do some actual reading. Whether I agree with him or not, Micah Zenko's usually done the work required. Not today. And there are, as we noted at Third Sunday, already too many pundits in need of dunce caps currently.
It's not a minor point. If Parliament has to vote, it takes much longer. The US Embassy and White House in 2008 spent over a month strong arming, bribing and persuading for the November 2008 vote. If it's just the Council, a Council Nouri wants to reduce and which he has two 'acting' ministers serving on (not approved by Parliament and subject to firing by Nouri at any moment), this can go through as quickly as Nouri's renewals of the UN mandates at the end of 2006 and 2007. (Yes, there was a reason we've repeatedly provided the remedial on those.)
Onto 'safe' and 'safer' Iraq. Today the US State Dept issued a warning:

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq given the dangerous security situation. Civilian air and road travel within Iraq remains dangerous. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated April 12, 2011, to update information and to remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns for U.S. citizens in Iraq, including kidnapping and terrorist violence.

[. . .]

Some regions within Iraq have experienced fewer violent incidents than others in recent years, in particular the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR). However, violence and threats against U.S. citizens persist and no region should be considered safe from dangerous conditions. Attacks against military and civilian targets throughout Iraq continue, including in the International (or "Green") Zone (IZ). Methods of attack have included magnetic bombs placed on vehicles; roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs); mortars and rockets; human- and vehicle-borne IEDs, including Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs); mines placed on or concealed near roads; suicide attacks; and shootings. Numerous insurgent groups remain active throughout Iraq. Although Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) operations against these groups continue, attacks against the ISF and U.S. forces persist in many areas of the country. U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at a high risk for kidnapping.

While sectarian and terrorist violence occurs at levels lower than in previous years, it occurs often, particularly in the provinces of Baghdad, Ninewa, Salah ad Din, Anbar, and Diyala.

The security situation in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR), which includes the provinces of Sulymaniya, Erbil, and Dohuk, has been more stable relative to the rest of Iraq in recent years, but threats remain. U.S. government personnel in northern Iraq are required to be accompanied by a protective security detail when traveling outside secure facilities. Although there have been significantly fewer terrorist attacks and lower levels of insurgent violence in the IKR than in other parts of Iraq, the security situation throughout the country remains dangerous. Increasingly, many U.S. and third country business people travel throughout much of Iraq; however, they do so under restricted movement conditions and almost always with security advisors and teams.

And staying with the topic of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Mohammad Akef Jamal (Gulf News) observes, "Border areas in Iraqi Kurdistan are being shelled almost daily. Turkish and Iranian forces also carry out other land and air offensives, as though Iraq were a country without sovereignty. As a result of these military operations, many villages adjacent to the Iranian and Turkish borders have been destroyed and their inhabitants forced to flee, leaving everything behind." Despite widespread protests in Iraq against the bombings of northern Iraq by the Turkish and Iranian armies (last week saw protests against the bombings in, among other places, the KRG, Baghdad and Falluja), Reuters reports the Turkish government feels what's needed is to 'beef up' the attack via ground attacks which are already in the planning stages. Today's Zaman adds, "Interior Minister ─░dris Naim ┼×ahin said in response to questions from reporters as to whether Turkey is pondering a ground operation in northern Iraq that talks with the Kurdish regional administration in northern Iraq are still under way and that a cross-border ground offensive could be launched at any time just like aerial strikes." Hurriyet quotes Turkish Minister of the Interior Idris Naim Sahin stating, "An evaluation [for a cross-border operation] is still in the works. But our operations continue to battle crime and criminals on land, as well as maintaining control. A cross-border incursion may be conducted depending on talks with the neighboring countries." August 17th, the Turkish military began the latest assault on northern Iraq. They like to claim a certain number of killed terrorists (they're referring to the PKK) while the PKK disputes that number. What is known is that the real victims of the Turkish warplanes are the farmers and shepherds who have been forced to flee their homes or killed by the bombings. The Turkish government is outraged by an attack over the weekend and are trying to p.r. the attack by referring to the dead as "people" -- it was an attack on Turkish forces (a PKK atack). Having faced condemnation from around the world for the way their bombings are effecting Iraq's civilian population, Turkey's now trying to present attacks on their forces as attacks on civilians. (Yes, security forces are people. The point is that in the past the Turkish government has repeatedly identified these forces as forces -- police officers, soldiers, etc. -- but they're now trying to manage public opinion and are using "people." You will see that in multiple reports because this is a wave of p.r. that they are just commencing.) Suzan Fraser (AP) reports the Turkish government is saying the dead include 3 civilians. Turkish media will have to resolve the latest change in the story. The PKK is a Kurdish group that fights for Kurdish independence. (Iran is targeting another Kurdish rebel group, PJAK.) Over the weekend, Craig Whitlock (Washington Post) reported that the Turkish government has requested "a fleet of Predator drones" from the White House, drones they would use on northern Iraq. If such a request is honored (and done so publicly), Barack may see a backlash from the US Kurdish population. The PKK is one of many Kurdish groups which supports and fights for a Kurdish homeland. Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described them in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk." The Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq has been a concern to Turkey because they fear that if it ever moves from semi-autonomous to fully independent -- such as if Iraq was to break up into three regions -- then that would encourage the Kurdish population in Turkey. Mohammad Akef Jamal (Gulf News) points out "Both Turkey and Iran are against the Kurdish project which proved to be successful in Iraq, where the Kurds set up their regional and federal entity inside the country. The success of the Iraqi Kurdish model has become an inspiration to the Kurds in other countries in the region. Kurds in Turkey and Iraq make up the second-largest ethnic group while they are the third-largest ethnic group in Iran."

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