Saturday, January 29, 2011

One mistake after another for Barry

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

FAILED WRITER AND FAILED DIRECTOR AND CURRENT GRAD SCHOOL STUDENT MITCHELL BARD WAS ON THE SCENE LAST NOVEMBER WHEN SARAH PALIN MISSPOKE SWITCHING SOUTH AND NORTH KOREA AND HE INSISTED THAT IT MATTERED GRAVELY BECAUSE, AMONG OTHER REASONS, SHE SAID "TWO YEARS AGO" THAT SHE WAS "QUALIFIED TO FILL A JOB THAT IS A HEARTBEAT AWAY FROM THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY."

HE MUST HAVE BEEN BUSY ATTENDING CLASSES AND TRYING TO FIND A PLACE TO PARK AND ASKING MOM IF SHE'D DO HIS LAUNDRY THIS SEMESTER BECAUSE I A YOUTUBE INTERVIEW, CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O MADE IT CLEAR HE WAS CONFUSED AS TO WHICH WAS IRAQ AND WHICH WAS AFGHANISTAN.

CNN'S TOM COHEN RUSHED IN TO PROTECT THE MAN WHOSE ASS HE COVETS, INSISTING IT WAS "A RARE SPEAKING STUMBLE" FOR BARRY O AND CONTINUED:

The president twice referred to Afghanistan when clearly talking about the situation in Iraq.

He said that the United States would withdraw all combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2011 and that combat operations there had ended, which actually describes the situation and policy for Iraq.

It was unclear whether Obama realized his mistake.


IT'S NOT CLEAR WHETHER TOM COHEN REALIZED HIS MISTAKE. IF YOU'RE GOING TO INSIST THAT BARRY O MERELEY GOT IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN CONFUSED THAT STILL WOULDN'T EXPLAIN INSISTING THAT "THE UNITED STATES WOULD WITHDRAW ALL COMBAT TROOPS FROM AFGHANISTAN BY THE END OF 2011" -- UH, DUMB ASS TOM COHEN, IF YOU CAN'T STOP JERKING OFF WHILE MOANING "BARRY!" FOR A SECOND, EXPLAIN TO US WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END OF LAST AUGUST?

OH, THAT'S RIGHT THE U.S. WITHDREW "COMBAT" TROOPS FROM IRAQ.



FROM THE TCI WIRE
:

Starting with Iraqi refugees. Jacques Clement (AFP) reports that the number of Iraqi refugees -- internal and external -- returning fell in 2010. And other than that, you're going to have to ignore AFP. I have no idea why it so confusing to so very many and with Clement, he's reporting breaking news and has that excuse. But many others don't. The UN will be releasing a breakdown of the numbers and that's not going to help either. A number of outlets, even using the official UN breakdown, haven't been able to get it right. PDF format warning, click here to see the numbers for January 2010 through August 2010. External refugees -- Iraqis who left the country -- who came back to Iraq are listed under "Refugees" on the "Returning Iraqis 2010" graph. Furthermore, you're using the "IND" numbers (individuals) and not "FAM" (families). From January through August, 18,240 Iraqis refugees returned to Iraq. UNHCR says the numbers continued to drop in the last months of the year. If we've all followed that, let's return to the AFP article: "According to UNHCR figures, the number of Iraqis returning to their home country peaked in March, with a total of 17,080 returns in the same month Iraq held its second parliamentary polls since dictator Saddam Hussein was ousted." What does that sentence say to you?
It appears to say that 17,080 Iraqi refugees who had left Iraq returned in the month of March. That is incorrect. Go back to the chart. How many Iraqis returned from outside of Iraq? 2450. So where's the 17,080? Look at the number of internally displaced Iraqis (Iraqis in Iraq but not in their own homes) for the month of March: 14,630 were able to return to their homes. You add those two numbers and you'll get 17,080. 17,080 is not the number of Iraqis who returned to Iraq in March. Are reporters not understanding the figures or are they deliberately distorting them? I don't know. We dealt with this last November 28th but we've dealt with it over and over since the start of The Myth of the Great Return. If you're looking for an example of someone who has and does consistently grasp the numbers, Kim Gamel's AP report today is the usual strong work from Gamel who explains, "Most returnees were internally displaced people who had fled to other parts of the country. Only 26,410 returned from Syria, Iran and Jordan and other countries, down from 37,090 in 2009, according to the report."
Alsumaira TV reports, "With the participation of Iraqi and foreign organizations and in the presence of Ambassadors to Iraq and officials from Kurdistan and Baghdad, Arbil hosted a conference on the role of women in building peace and reconciliation in Iraq. The conference criticized the political parties in Iraq and the central government over 'marginalizing' women in the new government." The conference ends today, it was a two-day conference. It was an international conference. And it says a great deal about the English-speaking press, or rather, the lack of coverage does.

Were this a business conference, there would be the financial press covering it as well as write ups in the general press. Were it on cholera or any of the illnesses that so frequently plague Iraq, the health press would cover it and the general press would do a few write ups. Were it on 'security,' the entire press would be ga-ga over it 'reporting' with advertising copy. But when the conference deals with women, where's the press?

If you're late to it, we covered the conference in yesterday's snapshot. Today on Morning Edition (NPR), Kelly McEvers and Isra al Rubeii report on Iraqi women married to 'terrorists' -- dubbed terrorists by the government of Iraq, a government that itself terrorizes its own people. Whether they're forced into the marriage by families or not, it's the women's fault in the eyes of the 'government' of Iraq. Their husband takes an action, well, the women are responsible because they should have known. It's a real damn shame that the US-government installed so many exiles to begin with but it's even more surprising how grossly ignorant the exiles are. Excerpt:
Kelly McEvers: Um Salah says that with her husband now in jail and accused of being a terrorist, she has no money and no hope. While she talks, [her two-year-old son] Salah hangs on her shoulder.
UM SALAH: (Through translator) Sometimes, you know, when she is so much fed up with her situation, she would just pray for God: God, take my life. I mean, okay. I mean, let me die with my son, now.
MCEVERS: Aid groups say there are more than a hundred women like Um Salah in Diyala Province alone. With that in mind, the Iraqi government recently launched an anti-al-Qaida media campaign.
(Soundbite of a video)
Unidentified Man #1: (Foreign language spoken)
Unidentified Man #2: (Foreign language spoken)
Unidentified Man #1: (Foreign language spoken)
MCEVERS: A video showed authorities digging through a bomb-making factory, and it urged women not to marry insurgents. Marry a terrorist, and your children will have no rights, the campaign goes. Marry a terrorist, and you'll be shunned by society.
The program, broadcast on state TV, featured two women who said they were forced to marry foreign fighters.
Unidentified Woman #2: (Foreign language spoken)
MCEVERS: This woman says her uncle arranged a marriage with a Palestinian-born militant from Syria. The man was later killed in a raid by Iraqi troops. About 20 women who once were married to militants have recently been detained. Ministry of Defense spokesman Mohammad al-Askari says he finds it hard to believe that any of them are totally innocent.
So they deny these women social services ensuring the women are punished for crimes they took no part in and the children are raised in situations that breed anger and create future strife -- which is a petri dish brimming with the potential for an endless cycle of violence. Again, it's a real shame that idiots were installed by the US government to run (and ruin) Iraq. In related news, Michael Grossberg (Columbus Dispatch) reports: on Heather Raffo's attempt to give voice to Iraqi women via her play Sounds of Desire:

An Iraqi-American actress and playwright developed an off-Broadway hit by creating nine diverse portraits of Iraqi women.
[. . .]
Raffo, raised in Michigan as a Roman Catholic with an Iraqi father and an American mother, created her characters as composites - culled from dozens of interviews she conducted with Iraqi women and their families. She met the women over more than eight years and on four continents.
"All of them have different points of view about the situation they're living in that are surprising to an American audience," she said.
Among her characters: a girl who wants to attend school but is stuck at home because of the military occupation of her country; a m ullaya, a woman who leads the call and response at funerals; a bedouin who ponders a move to London; an expatriate in London; a painter who seeks freedom amid the regime of Saddam Hussein; and a woman in America, with family in Iraq, who watches the war on television.

Manal Omar is the author Barefoot in Baghdad: A Story of Identity -- My Own and What it Means to be a Woman in Chaos. Starting in the 1990s, she has done humanitarian work in Iraq. NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq interviewed her this week about the status of women's rights in the new 'democratic' Iraq. Excerpt:

NCCI: As the former Regional Coordinator for Women for Women International in Iraq, what do you feel are some of the greatest obstacles facing NGOs which operate in the sector of women's rights?

Manal Omar: The biggest challenge is when women become the negotiating chip. One of the titles of my chapters in my book is "Negotiating Chip," because I witnessed too often how women's rights were used during political or social bargaining. For example, you may have high-level Kurdish representatives that believe 100% in women's rights. However, during political debates, or when it's time to vote on a resolution, they will not vote pro-women. When I would challenge them, they often would say that their primary issue is federalization, and as a result, they would strike a deal on a resolution for women if more conservative parties would vote on the resolution of federalization. The second challenge is what I call the "not now" argument. This argument usually states that because of overall violence and instability, it is not an appropriate time to discuss women's issues. I have witnessed how the "not now" easily becomes the "not ever." Women must maximize the window of opportunity to push their rights forward.


NCCI: When was the last time that you were in Iraq? Did you notice any changes in women's status in the country at that time?

Manal Omar: The last time I was in Iraq was December 2010. Unfortunately, during my trip there was the announcement of the new government ministries. It was very sad to see that Iraqi women were not part of the list of ministries at all. Many of the women's organizations I have worked with for the last seven years called me and were in shock to see how Iraqi women continue to lose rights rather than gain them! After the previous elections, there were 6 female ministers; now there are none. Even the Ministry for Women's Affairs has an interim male Minister. This highlights that the challenge facing women is stronger than ever.

NCCI: Who do you consider as the most vulnerable groups of women today in Iraq? What special protection should NGOs and the government seek to provide them with?

Manal Omar: The most vulnerable groups would be women heads of households; this usually means widows, divorc├ęs, or unmarried women. They do not have the access or mobility than men generally have. They are often more vulnerable in times of limited security and have less access to income. A lack of security remains the primary obstacle limiting women's ability to attain economic self-sufficiency. Naturally, women in that category who are either internally displaced people (IDPs) or refugees in neighbouring countries are at twice the riskk. NGOs should focus on programs that are accessible for these women. The best programs will not be able to succeed if women are not able to come, and that is often the case with the vulnerable women. They have very limited mobility. The more the program is available with limited transportation time and costs, the more accessible it will be for these groups. Overall, the Iraqi government is still the primary duty bearer and should have programs targeting the most vulnerable groups. These programs should be easy to access, with minimum bureaucracy and clear application steps.

On the issue of Nouri al-Maliki's Cabinet, from the December 29th snapshot:
There are also calls from the National Alliance for the process to be speeded up and for more women to be named with the latter calls being led by the Virtue Party's Kamilp Moussawi who notes that the last Cabinet had 7 women ministers. In addition, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has received a letter from female MPs formally protesting the marginalization of women in the Cabinet. As noted last Wednesday, among the female MPs protesting the inequality is Ala Talabani, Jalal's niece.
Nouri does not have a complete cabinet. There are 42 posts. 32 are filled. 29 if you're honest. Besides being prime minister, Nouri appointed himself to three posts -- Minister of Defense, Minister of the Interior and National Security Minister. Despite this, Noui had the nerve to claim, December 22nd, when he finally held his first Cabinet meeting, that security was one of "his three top priorities."


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Friday, January 28, 2011

Somebody check his pants, they're on fire

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

CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O HAS BEEN CAUGHT IN YET ANOTHER LIE. DESPITE CLAIMING THAT "AS MANY AS 129 MILLION AMMERICANS -- HALF OF THOSE UNDER AGE 65 -- COULD BE DENIED COVERAGE OR CHARGED MORE" WITHOUT OBAMACARE, THE REALITY IS: NOT TRUE!!!

REACHED FOR COMMENT, BARRY O'S LATEST BOY TOY, JAY CARNEY, DECLARED THAT SOON "WE'LL BE DOING THINGS THE EGYPTIAN WAY AND JUST SHUTTING DOWN THE INTERNET AND THEN WHERE WILL YOU BE! HUH!"


FROM THE TCI WIRE:

Today Baghdad was slammed with bombings. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports, "Three people were killed and 14 others injured Thursday morning when three bombs exploded in different neighborhoods in Baghdad, the Interior Ministry said." All three were roadside bombings and Hamid Ahmed (AP) also reported on those bombings. However, those bombings were soon dwarfed by another Baghdad bombing. BBC News reports a Baghdad car bombing "near a funeral ceremony" has claimed at least 30 lives and left approximately fifty more people injured. Last week, waves of bombings began targeting various cities in Iraq and that has continued this week (Baghdad, Tikrit, Karbala, etc). Ned Parker and Salar Jaff (Los Angeles Times) provide this context, "The explosion was the fifth major attack in the last 10 days, leaving a death toll of nearly 200 people. The relentless pace of bombings was something the country has not seen in more than two years."
BBC, like many others, had to update the death toll throughout the day, including when it reached 37 and to note that, "Angry mourners attacked police who rushed to the scene, accusing them of failing to provide protection." Laith Hammoudi and Shashank Bangali (McClatchy Newspapers) report, "Perhaps inspired by the protest movement that's sweeping the Arab world, demonstrators fired guns in the air, hurled stones and shouted curses at police officers who responed to the scene of the funeral attack, residents said." Al Mada notes that roads leading into that section of Baghdad (Shula) were immediately closed. Laith Hammoudi and Shashank Bangali (McClatchy Newspapers) note that before that happened the demonstrators made clear that their anger was "that Iraqi police had allowed the attack, because Shaula is relatively small and has only one entrance" and that the police, faced with the crowd, withdrew. Al Jazeera reports, "The military sent in soldiers to restore order." Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) adds, "Iraqi troops have since sealed off the area, and have ordered residents to stay in their homes. There is as yet no indication of the number of casualties in the post bombing clashes, nor any claim of responsibility for the bombing itself."
Of the funeral bombing, Reuters adds, "Iraq's deputy health minister Khamis al-Saad said 35 people were killed and 65 wounded. An official at a hospital gave the same death toll after the explosion in the Shula district, a former stronghold of anti-US cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, but now thought to be controlled by a violent splinter group called Asaib al-Haq." Al Jazeera reports, "The military sent in soldiers to restore order." Ammar Karim (AFP) notes, "Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered the arrest of the area's security chief, army Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed al-Obeidi, in the immediate aftermath of the attack." Al Rafidayn calls it "the deadliest blast in the capital of Iraq for months" and they note, "Witnesses said the bomber blew himself up in a mourning tent filled with mourners and relatives [. . .] in the Shula district of Baghdad, which was formerly a stronghold of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is believed to be now under the control of the League of the Righteous splinter group that advocated violence." Al Mada states the Baghdad police released a press statement that the car bombing at the funeral had resulted in a death toll of 60 with ninety people injured.
Meanwhile Basaer News reports the "so-called Baghdad Operations Command" has declared that it will have completed construction on the Baghad security fence this year and that there will be "cameras and observation towers" throughout Baghdad. The newspaper notes the fence is constructed "under the pretext of control in a security situation which has remained uncontrollable" and is being rammed through "regradless of the problems it causes citizens." In other 'defense' news, Ahmed al-Zubaidi (Iraqhurr.org) reports Nouri and his Cabinet have agreed to purchase 18 F16 fighter aircraft from the US in order to strengthen the air force fleet that they hope to be functioning within two to three years. The 18 are "part of a plan by the Iraqi Air Force to buy an estimated 96 F16 airplanes from the US over the next ten years."
Abdel Hamid Zebair (Iraqhurr.org) reports that members of Iraq's Parliament and the Kurdistan Regional Government's Parliament are taking part in an international conference in Erbil which started today and focuses on "the role of women in peace-building, reconciliation and accountability in Iraq." Aswat al-Iraq adds that the conference ends tomorrow and is being attended by "international female personalities and a number of world activists in women affairs and representatives of international organizations." No Peace Without Justice explains:
The International Conference, which is the culmination of a long programme of reconciliation and accountability related advocacy and research undertaken by the organisers, both in Iraq and abroad, will be a major international event and represent a significant step towards securing Iraqi women an equitable voice within their country's political, judicial, economic, and other public institutions. Achieving these aims, and thereby promoting and mainstreaming gender equality within Iraq's ongoing reconciliation and accountability process, is one of the preconditions of its success.
The Conference aims to provide a venue for high-level political discussions involving Iraqi politicians, policy makers, civil society activists, and other opinion leaders, as well as international experts from across the world with first-hand experience of promoting women's rights and organising women's organisations in the pursuit of positive social change.
Most importantly, the Conference will provide a wide range of Iraqi women's groups and participants with a very significant opportunity to work together and organise in pursuit of their common goals of protecting and promoting the rights of women in Iraq, and leading their country's ongoing accountability and reconciliation process. The recommendations for institutional, legislative, and organisational reform that will emerge from the Conference will provide a crucial foundation for future initiatives promoting gender equality, and consolidate progress towards securing an inclusive democratic future for Iraq on the basis of comprehensive accountability and reconciliation. The organisers aim to repeat this event in Baghdad next year.
Abdulla Sabri (AK News) notes that the conference comes as Nouri al-Maliki faces criticism over "the lack of women" in his Cabinet. Iraq Daily Times points out, "Only one woman was named to Maliki's 42-member cabinet, sparking an outcry in a country that once was a beacon for women's rights in the Arab world and adding to an ongoing struggle over the identity of the new Iraq. Whether this fledgling nation becomes a liberal democracy or an Islamist-led patriarchy might well be judged by the place it affords its women."
Al Rafidayn reports on US State Department documents WikiLeaks has which state that the CIA helped officers of Saddam Hussein's elite Republican Guard leave Iraq via Turkey and resettle in the US in 2003. On the issue of WikiLeaks, John Wihbey (On Point with Tom Ashbrook, NPR) provides this news and link resource:
Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times and a past guest of ours, is publishing a detailed account in the Sunday magazine of the Times' relationship with Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange. The Times was one of several news outlets that reported on diplomatic cables given to them by Wikileaks.
It's all part of a controversial new chapter in the history of the First Amendment and its limits. Some U.S. lawmakers have called for Assange's prosecution. The real-world blowback from the leaked cables stretches all the way to the Arab world, where anti-government sentiment in places like Tunisia and Yemen has been fomented by cables that were damning of their leaders. (See our memorable show in which John Perry Barlow and John Negroponte debated issues around secrecy.)
Listen back to our interview with Keller; see his very interesting On Point blog debate over coverage of Catholic issues [. . .]
Bill Keller appeared on The Takeaway today and spoke with John Hockenberry and Celeste Headlee about WikiLeaks. Excerpt:
John Hockenberry: How has this relationship evolved to one of enough credibility for the Times and the Guardian to proceed?
Bill Keller: Uhm. Well, we -- We sort of knew from the get-go -- because WikiLeaks had already started to establish a profile -- that this was going to be a tricky relationship. You know, sources -- You don't get to pick your sources, they tend to come to you with complications, agendas of their own. So you -- You know what you really do is foces on the material. Is it -- Is it genuine? Is it legit? Is it newsworthy? And what he brought to the Guardian and the Times and Der Spiegel and a few other papers ultimately was the real deal. I mean -- And genuinely, I think, important.
Celeste Headlee: Bill Keller, there is a lot of talk -- and I imagine there will be studies to come over the motives and agendas of Julian Assange. This is a man who, obviously, seems to like privacy of his of his own in terms of his own address. But many people say he's motivated by an agenda against the US government. Does that change the motivations or the missions of WikiLeaks?
Bill Keller: I -- I mean, he clearly has a strong distaste for the US government, regards it as more a force for evil than for good in the world. And that's one factor in why he's developed such a kind of large, cult following -- particularly in parts of Europe where the United States is resented for throwing its weight around too much. And that's certainly added an extra layer of caution in dealing with WikiLeaks and the material. But you know I think he came into believing that one effect of all this transperancy would be to embarrass and compromise the United States. At one point he called for [US Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton to resign in shame. In fact, a lot of people have been surprised that particularly the documents that relate to the State Dept show diplomates behaving in pretty compentent and-and well motivated ways.



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"THIS JUST IN! ABBY PHILLIP IS NO REPORTER!"
"It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a whore to lie"

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a whore to lie

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

IT TAKES A LOT TO LAUGH, IT TAKES A WHORE TO LIE. AND, BOYS AND GIRLS, HAVE YOU MET HER? ABBY PHILLIP FOR POLITICO GETS AN EARLY LEAD ON WHORE OF THE YEAR WITH A LITTLE PIECE ON CAMPAIGN FINANCE WHERE SHE GETS ALL KINDS OF CREATIVE:

In the 2008 campaign, however, President Barack Obama opted out of the public financing system during the general election, becoming the first major-party candidate to do so. Instead, his campaign raised more than $1 billion in donations, a record-breaking haul that funded a successful 50-state strategy to win the White House.

At the time, Arizona Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, accused Obama of reneging on his promise to publicly fund his campaign. But Obama’s campaign said it raised its money from millions of individual donors who contributed small amounts of cash.

NOTE THE SECOND PARAGRAPH, FULL OF ALL KINDS OF LIES. JOHN MCCAIN SAYS BARRY O BROKE HIS CAMPAIGN PROMISE. DID HE?

ABBY CAN'T TELL YOU, SHE'S TOO BUSY WHORING.

(HE BROKE HIS CAMPAIGN PLEDGE.)

BUT SHE SPINS IT INTO: "BUT OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN SAID IT RAISED ITS MONEY FROM MILLIONS OF INDIVIDUAL DONORS WHO CONTRIBUTED SMALL AMOUNTS OF CASH." REALLY? IS IT OCTOBER 1, 2008? HELL NO, ABBS! AND ALL THE DATA FOR THE 2008 CAMPAIGN HAS LONG AGO BEEN FILED, YOU STUPID LITTLE WHORE.


ANDREW MALCOM, NOVEMBER 28, 2008, REPORTED FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES -- ABBY, IF YOU'RE NOT WITH A JOHN RIGHT NOW, PAY ATTENTION:

Everybody knows how President-elect Barack Obama's amazing campaign money machine was dominated by several million regular folks sending in hard-earned amounts under $200, a real sign of his broadbased grassroots support.

Except, it turns out, that's not really true.

In fact, Obama's base of small donors was almost exactly the same percent as George W. Bush's in 2004 -- Obama had 26% and the great Republican satan 25%. Obviously, this is unacceptable to current popular thinking.

But the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute just issued a detailed study of Obama's donor base and its giving. And that's what the Institute found, to its own surprise.

YOU UNDERSTAND THAT, ABBY PHILLIP? IS THE CLEAR ENOUGH FOR EVEN A LITTLE LIAR LIKE YOURSELF?

YOU'RE THE ONE WHO CHOSE TO INCLUDE JOHN MCCAIN'S CHARGE (THAT BARRY O BROKE HIS CAMPAIGN PLEDGE TWO YEARS AGO) AND, INSTEAD OF EVALUATING THAT CHARGE (MCCAIN WAS CORRECT), YOU RUSHED TO BRING UP THAT THE BARRY O CAMPAIGN LIE OF THE MYTH OF SMALL DONORS. AND YOU CAN'T EVALUATE THAT EITHER. SEEMS LIKE YOU CAN'T MAKE A SINGLE JUDGMENT CALL IF IT POTRAYS YOUR CHRIST CHILD BARRY O IN A BAD LIGHT. GROW THE HELL UP, WHORE, AMERICA AND DEMOCRACY CAN'T AFFORD YOU. REPORT OR RETIRE. IT'S THAT BASIC, NO ONE NEEDS YOUR WHORING.

THE ONLY 'SMALL DONORS' BARRY HAD THAT WERE SIGNIFICANT WERE THE ONES NO ONE COULD TRACE.


FROM THE TCI WIRE:

We'll get to Iraq in a moment but we'll start with community. Last night, Marcia's "Dandelion Salad pushes abortion lies" and Rebecca's "dandelion salad pimps abortion lies and islamophobia" went up. They are correct. There will be no correction from them. Dandelion Salad wants Marcia to issue a correction. She's not going to. Dandelion Salad wants Marcia to post a comment at Dandelion Salad. That won't happen either. Martha's passed on that Vanessa e-mailed and is outraged that a comment she left at Dandelion Salad calling out that post was edited by Dandelion Salad so that anyone reading her comment cannot follow what she's saying. There will be no correction from Marcia, from Rebecca and certainly not from me. At the backup site -- where Rebecca, Cedric and myself cross-post -- Rocket has attempted to leave comments. Sorry, Rocket. We don't do comments. But I'll give you one here: "I knew Anais Nin, you didn't and you can shut your damn mouth about her." (Rebecca also knew Anais and so did Elaine.) I love that a man who never knew Anais Nin wants to lecture me about her. I love that. That's the thing about certain men, not having any facts at all has never prevented then from rushing to weigh in.
Marcia and Rebecca both plan to address the topic tonight. I checked with them to make sure their points didn't include what I wanted to call out. The man who wrote the offensive article? Rocket? He's even more offensive in his comments, specifically his January 25th 4:03 pm comment:
i agree. that is why woman needs to look at these daring role models of old. not look to these career uppity woman that snuff their own children out to get ahead in life.
That comment by that man Rocket reeks of sexism. Do not type that -- as Rocket did -- and then claim you're not a right-winger. You are a right winger. You may not know it, but when you write tropes like that, you are a right winger and you're a sexist pig so why don't you oink-oink-oink all the way home? I'm really getting sick of men attacking women to begin with. I'm getting even sicker of men who think they're experts on either abortion or feminism when they so clearly don't know what they're speaking of. Mary Wollstonecraft (mentioned by Rocket in another comment to his own article) dying in child birth does not prove a damn thing except that the birth (her second) went wrong. That was in 1797. Shall we now go back to the surgeries men had in 1797? Hey, how about a moratorium on open heart surgery because I'm sure we can round up some men from 1797 who were opposed to cutting of any kind, let alone surgery. And, of course, all prostate procedures should be on hold as well. Stay out of my doctor's examination room and I'll stay out of yours.
Rocket wants to claim he's not a right winger. Rebecca's already demonstrated that his main link is to an organization that feels Jesus is the only true God and all others are false -- and that's on the organization's about page. Most would say, "Yeah, right wing source." True also of the church sources and it is right-wing to dictate a religous 'morality' on anyone else's life so that rules out Consistent Life. Ron Paul? He's right-wing.
Dandelion Salad will not be linked to again community wide because it presents as left and it just one more site selling out women's rights. Now we will link to Antiwar.com which is a right-wing site. But they're not hiding what they are. And if they go off on abortion, I really don't care. But I do care about these people on the left who are so quick to sell out women's rights. We have always called that out at this site and we always will. You can click on this March 2, 2005 entry for one example. I don't have time for the lefties repeating right-wing lies and spin. Dandelion Salad has demonstrated it is not a site that believes in equality and it will never be linked to again -- a community wide ban. I also offer my apologies for having linked to it before. I had no idea that they weren't left and that they attacked the rights of women. We do not support attacks on women's rights. We never have, we never will. As for Feminists for Life, long called out by Rebecca, we'll note this from Katha Pollitt's 2005 column on the group:
Can you be a feminist and be against abortion? Feminists for Life claims to be both, and if you listen long enough to its voluble and likable president, Serrin Foster, you might almost think it's true. FFL is on a major publicity roll these days, because Jane Roberts, wife of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, is a pro bono legal adviser, former officer and significant donor (she gave between $1,000 and $2,499 in 2003). When I caught up with Foster at the end of a long day that included an hour on NPR's On Point, she talked a blue and quite amusing streak, and although it can be hard to follow an aria that swoops from Susan B. Anthony to telecommuting to water pollution, while never quite answering the actual question, I'm sure she means every word of it. How can you argue with FFL's contention that America does not give pregnant women and mothers the support they need? Feminists, the prochoice kind, have been saying this for years. So far as I can tell, FFL is the only "prolife" organization that talks about women's rights to work and education and the need to make both more compatible with motherhood. It has helped bring housing for mothers and children to Georgetown University and supports the Violence Against Women Act; Foster reminded me that she and I had been on the same side in the mid-1990s in opposing family caps, the denial of additional benefits to women who had more children while on welfare. Why, she wondered, couldn't we all just work together to "help pregnant women"?
[. . .]
Exposing the constraints on women's choices, however, is only one side of feminism. The other is acknowledging women as moral agents, trusting women to decide what is best for themselves. For FFL there's only one right decision: Have that baby. And since women's moral judgment cannot be trusted, abortion must be outlawed, whatever the consequences for women's lives and health--for rape victims and 12-year-olds and 50-year-olds, women carrying Tay-Sachs fetuses and women at risk of heart attack or stroke, women who have all the children they can handle and women who don't want children at all. FFL argues that abortion harms women--that's why it clings to the outdated cancer claims. But it would oppose abortion just as strongly if it prevented breast cancer, filled every woman's heart with joy, lowered the national deficit and found Jimmy Hoffa. That's because they aren't really feminists -- a feminist could not force another woman to bear a child, any more than she could turn a pregnant teenager out into a snowstorm. They are fetalists.
Again, that's from Katha Pollitt's 2005 column. If you suffered through the garbage up at Dandelion Salad, especially make a point to cleanse yourself by reading Katha.
And if you don't like abortion? Don't have one. And for most of the pro-life crowd, including writer Rocket, that's not too difficult since they're men. But if you're a woman and don't want an abortion, you don't have one. It's that simple. They want to bring up (under "see") China and the government forcing a woman to have an abortion. (Just one woman forced?) China does not have a monster government that decided one day, "How can we screw over our citizens?" China implemented that policy due to population concerns. Population concerns could likely end up being one of the biggest concerns of the 21st century throughout the world. Which means other countries could do the same as China. Could it happen in the US? Not currently.
Currently, the law of the land is that an abortion is a woman's decision. It is not the government's decision. It is the woman in question and only she can decide. However, if these idiots who want to repeal Roe v. Wade get their way, they're saying that government can outrank a woman and say "NO" on abortion. Any government that has the power to say "NO" also has the power to say "YES." So if you're truly concerned that the US might some day try to force women to have abortions, then you'd be doing everything you could to support Roe v. Wade because that law prevents the government from deciding on abortion. That's reality. And it's only difficult to grasp if you're one of those who sets out to destroy women's rights and women's lives.
Last night US President Barack Obama took to the airwaves again and delivered a "State of the Union" address -- either to flaunt his ignorance or his ability to lie with a straight face, you be the judge. Alsumaria TV notes, "In the annual State of the Union address, US President Barack Obama praised the progress made in Iraq in the political process and the new government formation." The government really wasn't formed. If the Constitution were followed to the letter and intent, Nouri wouldn't be prime minister. He didn't form a Cabinet, he left spots empty and filled 3 himself. That's not what the Constitution allows. But with pressure from the US government, the Iraqi Parliament waived him through. Over a month later and he still hasn't filled that Cabinet. It's less tha two months away from the one-year anniversary of the March 7th elections and Iraq still doesn't have a full Cabinet.

That's before you get into the power-grab Nouri's currently attempting. People's Daily Online reports (link has text and audio), "The Iraqi parliament warned that a court ruling of linking the central bank, election commissions and other independent bodies to the cabinet is a threat to the country 's democracy and overseas savings, an official news paper said on Wednesday."


In a month that's not yet ended but has already seen more spectacular bombings than Iraq's seen in one month in a long, long time, even though the death toll for this (ongoing) month has already passed the official toll for last month, Barack wanted to stand up last night and insist that violence was down.

We've heard this sort of lying before from George W. Bush. Barack only demonstrated last night that he was worse than even Bush. Congratulations to the White House for that proud moment. NPR analyzed the speech, Tom Gjelten taking the Iraq and Afghanistan part, "But the level of violence in Iraq remains high, and the seeds of renewed sectarian strife and political instability have been planted with the return to Iraq of Moqtada al-Sadr, whose Iran-backed Shiite militia was responsible for much anti-Sunni violence in earlier years."

Progress insisted Barack but Walter Pincus (Washington Post) reports this morning:

A top U.S. oversight office has recommended that the United States halt further funding for a $26 million education academy for senior Iraqi security officials after discovering that the Iraqi government had never agreed to operate or maintain the facility.
The United States has spent more than $13 million on the project.


Barack declared, "Look to Iraq, where nearly 100,000 of our brave men and women have left with their heads held high; where American combat patrols have ended; violence has come down; and a new government has been formed. This year, our civilians will forge a lasting partnership with the Iraqi people, while we finish the job of bringing our troops out of Iraq. America's commitment has been kept; the Iraq War is coming to an end." And ignored that he is actively seeking an extension to the SOFA and that the back up plan is to switch the military over to the US diplomatic staff in Iraq and call that a 'pullout.'



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The insurance lobby's little puppet

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

CELEBRITY IN CHEIF BARRY O WASTED 2009 AND A LOT OF EASY PRESS ON PUSHING FOR THE GIFT TO THE INSURANCE LOBBY KNOWN AS OBAMACARE. HE FAILED TO WORK ON THE ECONOMY OR END THE WARS BUT HE PUSHED HARD ON TAKING AWAY AMERICANS RIGHT TO BUY INSURANCE AND FORCING THEM TO BUY INSURANCE.

THEN CAME 2010 WHEN, EVEN THOUGH THE PEOPLE DIDN'T WANT HIS CRAP (THEY WANTED SINGLE PAYER, UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE), BARRY O INSISTED ON SLINGING HIS TIRED ASS FOR THE INSURANCE LOBBY AGAIN AND OBAMACARE WAS RAMMED THROUGH.

IT REMAINS IMMENSELY UNPOPULAR, SO MUCH SO THAT HE WASTED TIME IN LAST NIGHT'S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS DEFENDING IT AGAIN.

SOMEWHERE BEFORE THIS MOMENT, NATURAL LEADERS WOULD HAVE BOUGHT A CLUE.

FROM THE TCI WIRE:

Last night Hari Sreenivsan (PBS' NewsHour, link has text, audio and video) noted, "At least 26 people died in Iraq today when twin car bombs targeted Shiite pilgrims south of Baghdad. The blasts occurred just outside Karbala, where annual religious rituals were being held. Some 75 people were wounded. A recent surge in violence has claimed the lives of more than 170 people in Iraq in just the last week." In this morning's New York Times, John Leland adds, "American and Iraqi security forces have regularly reported discovering collaborations between former Baathists and Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a Sunni extremist group, though the two groups are radically different in their orientations and goals. Recently Lt. Gen. Robert W. Cone, second in command of American forces in Iraq, said he had seen little evidence of such collaboration, though some Baathists might work for Al Qaeda for money."
Despite the violence, Abdelamir Hanoun (AFP) reports Shi'ite pilgrims poured into Karbala today, "Arbaeen marks 40 days after the Ashura anniversary commemorating the slaying of Imam Hussein, one of Shiite Islam's most revered figures, by the armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Throngs of mourners overflowed Hussein's shrine in Karbala, demonstrating their ritual guilt and remorse at not defending him by beating their heads and chests in rituals of self-flagellation. Sad songs blared from louspeakers throughout the city and black flags fluttered alongside pictures of Hussein and his half-brother Imam Abbas, both of whom are buried in the city." Muhanad Mohammed, Ahmed Rasheed, Jim Loney, Michael Christie and Tim Pearce (Reuters) quote several pilgrims including 57-year-old Abdul-Khaliq al-Hathal who states, "It's my first visit . . . and I feel stunned by the vision of a sea of pilgrims. I can't say I'm not afraid, but how long should we be deprived of practicing our rituals?" 38-year-old Aqeel Fadhil states, "I'm happy to finish the rituals and I'm not afraid at all because when I left Baghdad I was expecting death at any moment, but that would never deter me." Alsumaria TV notes, "Iraqi Forces tightened security in the city of Karbala to protect pilgrims coming from inside Iraq, Arab and Islamic countries. The annual Arbain pilgrimage draws hundreds of thousands of Shiite Muslims from Iraq, neighboring Iran and other Shiite communities in the Muslim world." Nabil al-Haidari (Iraqhurr.org) reports this year's pilgrimage saw a marked increase in the number of participants and that the estimates from locals on the number of visitors was ten milliong with approximately 300,000 being non-Iraqis. England's Press and Journal notes that in the wake of this week and last week's violence, "Followers of anti-US Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who have been blamed for some of the worst sectarian violence in past years, criticised Mr al Maliki for not naming new defence, interior and national security ministers. Mr al Maliki formed a new government on December 21 after months of deadlock but has said he needs more time to find security ministers who are apolitical. He meantimes controls the ministries."
He controls a great deal more. Over the weekend, Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) reported that the easily manipulated court system in Iraq had again bended to Nouri al-Maliki's will in what some are terming a "coup" as independent agencies -- such as the Independent Higher Electoral Commission, the High Commission for Human Rights and the Central Bank of Iraq -- put under the control of Parliament by the country's Constitution are being turned over to Nouri by the Supreme Court. Ned Parker and Salar Jaff (Los Angeles Times) quoted opposition group Iraqiya's statement, "The decision of the federal court to connect the independent boards to the council of ministers directly instead of the parliament . . . is considered as a coupl against democracy." Prashant Rao (AFP) reports today, "Several of the agencies affected have already criticised the supreme court ruling, noting it harms their non-partisan reputation, while opponents of the decision have said it was a move by the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to consolidate power. Among the most prominent critics of the move was central bank governor Sinan al-Shebibi, who warned on Tuesday that the ruling threatened Baghdad's assets overseas." AFP explains al-Shebbi is arguing that tying the Central Bank to Nouri al-Maliki, as opposed to allowing it to be an independent body, might lead to claims and/or seizures from Iraq's creditors -- "a host of potential claims, dating from the 1991 Gulf War, from several countries and many businesses and individuals" in five months when it no longer has the United Nations Security Council to protect the monies. Alsumaria TV notes that the Central Bank has requested "the Supreme Court [. . .] issue a second explanatory ruling that clarifies its first ruling placing it under the supervision of the cabinet, and not of parliament." Shashank Bengali and Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) note, "The controversy illustrates the widespread anxiety over Maliki's tendencies toward authoritarian rule, two months into his second term, even after he unveiled a Cabinet last month that includes members of rival parties. It underscores the fragility of Iraq's democratic institutions less than a year before U.S. troops are to complete their withdrawal." And they quote Judge Qassim al Aboudi (and Independent High Electoral Commission member) stating, "The move has no legal basis. This will have very grave consequences for the course of democracy in this country." Liz Sly (Washington Post) explains, "The ruling, sought by Maliki in an unpublicized case brought in December and posted without fanfare on the court's Web site late last week, went largely unnoticed for several days because it coincided with a major Shiite holiday. But as the holiday winds down, opposition is building, with critics denouncing the ruling as further evidence that Maliki, a Shiite, is bent on consolidating power at the expense of democratic institutions." And Nizar Latif and Phil Sands (The National) provide this perspective:
Since starting his second term as prime minister last month, Mr al Maliki already had unprecedented personal control over the ministry of defence, ministry of interior and ministry of national security. After this latest move, he is now also in charge of overseeing how elections are run in Iraq, how the central bank allocates funds and how human rights abuses and corruption inside his government are to be investigated.
Civil servants as well as Mr al Maliki's political opponents - and even some of his allies - have reacted with alarm, saying Iraq's fledgling democracy may have been fatally undermined.
"It's a coup," said Leyla Khafaji, a National Alliance MP, part of the coalition that Mr al Maliki heads. "How can you have a working democracy if the institutions monitoring the government are under government control?
"From this moment onwards, we cannot know if elections will be fair and independent, and if the integrity commission answers to the government, how will it fight the legions of corruption that stand behind that government?"
In addition, Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) reported that Nouri's Baghdad Brigade "is holding detainnes in miserable conditions for months at a time" at Camp Honor. Khalid Walid (Iraqhurr.org) reports that the Deupty Minister of Justice, Busho Ibrahim, continues to deny the charges of abuse and mistreatment including during an interview with Radio Free Iraq. He insists they are being dealt with a timely and fair manner and that their families and attorneys can visit them in the prison within the Green Zone but Walid notes that just to get into the Green Zone you have to have special identification and this can prevent many from entering which has led human rights activists such as Hassan Shaaban to argue that the prison needs to be moved outside the Green Zone.



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"They would've let Bush play dress up!"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

They would've let Bush play dress up!

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

ON THE MORNING OF HIS STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS, CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O HAS REPORTEDLY BACKED DOWN.

INSIDERS SAY HE DROPPED HIS PLAN TO GUT SOCIAL SECURITY AFTER HE WAS INFORMED HE COULDN'T WEAR HIS CHEERLEADER OUTFIT (PICTURED IN BELOW).

State of the Union

SAID ONE PORTLY UNNAMED WHITE HOUSE SPEAKER, "WITHOUT THE OUTFIT, HE JUST WASN'T INTERESTED IN ANYTHING."


FROM THE TCI WIRE
:

The violence never ends in Iraq. Yesterday, Jane Bradley (Scotsman) reported Baghdad experience "a series of car bombs" resulting in 6 deaths and twenty-nine more people left injured. Aziz Alwan and Liz Sly (Washington Post) noted the death toll rose to 8 and that the bombs "ripped through the city and its environs over a three-hour period starting shortaly after 7 a.m., and primarily seemed to target eitehr security forces or Shiite pilgrims setting out to attend rituals associated with the Arbaeen religious holiday." Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) explains, "The Arbaeen is the culmination of 40 days of mourning for Imam Hussein, a grandson of Mohammed who died in a 7th century battle in Karbala." John Leland (New York Times) observes, "Other parts of the country have recently been hit by large-scale attacks, mainly against security forces and religious pilgrims, but until Sunday Baghdad had been spared." DPA adds, "Iraqi Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi said Sunday the country should brace itself for an increase in attacks ahead of an Arab League summit scheduled to be held in Baghdad in March" and they quote him stating, "We should anticipate a possible escalation of terrorist attacks as we get closer to the date of the coming Arab summit in Iraq." Peter Walker (Guardian) points out, "Despite the security, there have been a series of bomb attacks during the pilgrimage period, killing at least 159 people. Last week, a triple suicide attack along the main roads leading up to Karbala killed 56 people, mainly Shia pilgrims." Global Post adds, "On Sunday, an Al Qaeda front group in Iraq claimed responsibility for the series of suicide bombings north of Baghdad last week, in Baquba and Tikrit."
The emphasis today is on Kerbala. Reuters notes a Kerbala bombing claimed 6 lives with twelve people left injured followed by a second bombing with both blasts resulting in at least 14 dead and one-hundred and forty-one injured. AFP quotes Province Vice Chief Nusayef Jassem stating, "There were three car bomb explosions, two at 8:30 AM (05:30 GMT) and another 30 minutes later." Ned Parker and Salar Jaff (Los Angeles Times) quote eye witness Mohammed Thayish stating, "Many charred bodies were there, women, children and men. It was so sad and horrible. Blood was everywhere. It's so frustrating to have car bombs every few days against Imam Hussein pilgrims. Where are the security forces? They should have better measures and intelligence to prevent such terrorist acts." BBC counts 25 dead and later John Leland (New York Times) counted 30 dead while noting, "The attacks led to a flurry of theories and recriminations. Some Iraqis speculated they were meant to undermine confidence in security before the Arab League Summit, which is scheduled to be held in Baghdad in March. Others offered conspiracy theories involving foreigners and Saddam Hussein loyalists. Saad Abdul-Kadir (AP) counts "at least 18". In addition, Reuters notes two Baghdad roadside bombings resulted in 1 death and nine people being injured and a Tirkit roadside bombing injured five of Governor Ahmed al-Jubouri's bodyguards, Taha Othman was injured after being shot outside his Mosul home, 1 Imam was shot dead in Falluja and the corpses of 2 Sahwa members turned up in Riyadh.
Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) reports that the easily manipulated court system in Iraq has again bended to Nouri al-Maliki's will in what some are terming a "coup" as independent agencies -- such as the Independent Higher Electoral Commission, the High Commission for Human Rights and the Central Bank of Iraq -- put under the control of Parliament by the country's Constitution are being turned over to Nouri by the Supreme Court. Ned Parker and Salar Jaff (Los Angeles Times) explain:

But some parties were suspicious of Maliki and the high court, remembering how the prime minister requested a ruling last year over who had the right to form the next government after an election that saw Maliki and his secular rival, Iyad Allawi, finish in a dead heat.
The court's ruling that the largest bloc in parliament could form the government after a vote effectively allowed Maliki to create a majority with the other main Shiite bloc in parliament.
Allawi's Iraqiya bloc expressed its alarm over the latest ruling in a statement Saturday.
"The decision of the federal court to connect the independent boards to the council of ministers directly instead of the parliament … is considered as a coup against democracy," the bloc said.

Wow. Imagine Nouri doing a power grab after he secured the post of prime minister. Who could have ever seen that happening? Good thing Moqtada al-Sadr is in Iraq, right? Oh wait, as noted in Friday's snapshot, Moqtada al-Sadr is back in Iran. For a visit or another two-year-plus stay no one knows. BBC News notes he was only in Iraq for two weeks (and think of all the press he got for what might have been a vacation). Moqtada al-Sadr's presence didn't make a damn bit of difference (only the ruling came down Friday, Nouri's the one who brought the case). We're dropping back to the January 10th snapshot for 11 paragraphs where we explained that, having gotten the post, Nouri didn't care about anyone else or the laws and that this was evidenced by his first term as Prime Minister:
Last night, we wrote: "He's reporting on al-Sadr's threats to leave Maliki's government should the US stay beyond 2011. Guess what, Chulov, al-Sadr left Maliki's government in 2007 for just that reason. It didn't topple then either. We'll address that and Rebecca Santana's conclusions for AP and Gulf News' opinions in a snapshot this week (hopefully tomorrow)." He was Martin Chulov. Moqtada al-Sadr has no power now in terms of the government, not if you judge by the past experience. He pulled out of the government in April 2007, remember?
In Iraq today the six cabinets filled by Moqtada al-Sadr's block are now vacant. Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) explains: "A key Shiite Muslim bloc in Iraq's governmental pledged Sunday to quit over Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's refusal to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, a move that would further weaken the country's leadership at a time of soaring sectarian violence." Edward Wong and Graham Bowley (New York Times) listed "protest at the refusal of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to set a timetable for American troops to withdraw from Iraq." (No link. Currently the New York Times has 'withdrawn' the story. You can find it quoted here.) AFP quotes a statement issued by the puppet of the occupation: "Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki welcomed the announcement of his eminence Muqtada al-Sadr." The puppet was the only putting up a brave front, the Turkish Press quotes White House flack Dana Perino who steps away from her stand up schtick on the beleaguered US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales long enough to declare, "Doalitions in those types of parliamenty demoncracies can come and go." That funny Perino! "Democracies"! She cracks herself up. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted: "The Sadr movement controls six cabinet posts and a quarter of seats in Iraq's parliament. The pullout follows one of Iraq's bloodiest weekends in months. McClatchy newspapers is reporting nearly 300 people were killed in violenace around Iraq Saturday." [CBS and AP's count on Sunday for the Karbala bombing Saturday was 47.] Jim Muir (BBC News) offers analysis, "Nobody expects Mr Sadr's move to bring the government down. Nor did observers believe that was his intention. Rather than leave the cabinet seats empty, he himself suggested that the six abandoned portfolios be given to non-partisan independents, and some of his aides urged that competent technocrats be appointed. . . . The Sadr bloc has 32 of the 275 seats in the current parliament, and intends to continue its activities there and in the Shia coalition, despite withdrawing from government. Another member of the Shia coalition, the Fadhila party, announced early last month that it was pulling out of that alliance because of the government's poor performance and sectarian quota composition. But only if other major factions such as the main Sunni bloc and Iyad Allawi's secular Iraqi List were also to walk out of the government, would it be at risk of collapse." Ross Colvin and Yara Bayoumy (Reuters) note "concerns about whether Sadr's Mehdi Army, which Washington calls the biggest threat to Iraq's security, will maintain the low profile it has so far duing a U.S.-backed security crackdown in Baghdad."
Kawther Abdul-Ameer and Mussab al-Khairall (Reuters) reported April 17, 2007 on his withdrawal of support (the ministers from his bloc left Nouri's Cabinet) and how Nouri al-Maliki told the reporters, "The withdrawal (of the Sadrist bloc) does not mean the government is witnessing weakness." Nor did it mean the government collapsed. Iraq's Constitution is not being followed by Nouri. Did no one grasp that at all during his first term?
The only power anyone had to stop Nouri was to stop him from forming a government. He's done it. He's now going to ride through the second term. If ministers walk, so what? It's not led to a vote of confidence by Parliament and it most likely won't. Nouri never had a full Cabinet. And he still doesn't, he's starting off his second term without a full Cabinet. Rebecca Santana notes that, "Many Iraqis and U.S. officials are believed to want an American presence beyond the end of 2011, as currently planned under a U.S.-Iraqi agreement, to do such things as control Iraq's airspace and monitor the borders. But al-Sadr's remarks made clear it will be difficult for al-Maliki to renegotiate that deal." Moqtada's remarks suggest no such thing. Moqtada's ministers left (in 2007) because? The continued US presence was the reason give publicly. They walked and the government continued. If that's how Nouri behaved in his first term, why would anyone expect he would accept new impositions in his second term? How do you logically infer that?
I don't see how you do. Gulf News insists, "But Al Maliki's confidence comes from a very fragile base, and the political unity achieved so painfully around the new government could easily fall apart." How? Do we mean military coup? That's a possibility.
But if we're talking about the government falling apart because X walks out -- however many units you apply to X -- that doesn't seem likely because it's not what happened before or what's already happened. During the many months without any government -- when the UN should have imposed a temporary government -- the Minister of Electricity resigned. Nouri just made the Minister of Oil also the Minister of Electricity. There is no Constitutional power that allows him to do that. There is no "circumvent Parliament one time only" card that exists. Currently, there are 13 empty spots -- 3 of which Nouri has appointed himself (temporarily, he insists). And for those saying, "Well Moqtada has a lot of seats in this Cabinet!" He has says 7 seats in this Cabinet. And before some fool cries, "Well, see, it's one more than last time!" Uh, not really. They had 6 when there were 32 Cabinet positions (plus the Prime Minister). Now they have 7 when there are 45 Cabinet positions (plus the Prime Minister). Now that's just dealing with the 2007 walk out. That was far from the only walk out of Nouri's Cabinet. There was, for example, the great Sunni walk out of 2008. It doesn't matter who walked out, it never crippled Nouri or even made him pause.
So you can have the opinion that Moqtada al-Sadr or even Ayad Allawi hold power in the executive branch of the government today but, based on pattern, that's not a sound opinion. You may say, "In spite of pattern, I think this go round if A happens then B and C band together and . . ." But the pattern's already established and until you acknowledge the pattern, if your opinion goes against it and you can't explain why that is, your opinion's not a sound one.
At any time during the walk outs of Nouri's first term, Parliament could have toppled the government with a vote of no-confidence. They didn't. That was due to the fact that Nouri was able to offer 'rewards' to those who were loyal and he didn't have to offer rewards to many because so few MPs were ever present for votes. Now you can say, "Things will be different now, Parliament will be prepared to do a no-confidence vote." And maybe they will and maybe they won't but if you're not acknowledging that Parliament refused to do so before then your opinion's not sound.
Nouri's not a new face. How he's going to govern is no great mystery. He's just started his second term. Ayad Allawi's supporters will hate this but when Allawi (or rather Iraqiya) agreed to go forward without the security council being established, that was a huge mistake. (Allawi did protest that. He himself did not go along with that.) Once Nouri got the vote and moved from prime minister-designate to Prime Minister, he didn't need them anymore. That's why he could launch an assault on al-Sadr's supporters -- jump the gun on the US an launch an assault, as Gen David Petreaus testified to Congress repeatedly in April of 2008 -- without fears of reprisal.
There will be unexpected and surprises but the pattern's established and those sure that a pear tree is going to bear apples this year can hope all they want but, based on what we know from past experience, that's just not going to happen. Equally true, human development is A to B, A to C or A to D for most people. Few of us ever experience an A to Z change. In other words, Nouri today is basically the same Nouri he was from 2006 through 2010.
End of excerpt and, again, don't say you're surprised unless you want to admit how foolish you were to have ever believed that Nouri in term two would be vastly different than Nouri in term one.


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