Friday, February 17, 2012

Don't go to U of Houston for a degree in journalism

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


THE EDITORIAL BOARD OF THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON'S STUDENT PAPER THE DAILY COUGAR DEMONSTRATES THAT THE UNIVERSITY'S MAIN MAJOR IS IGNORANCE.

THE WHITE HOUSE TWEETED: "LINE OF THE DAY FROM WAPO'S DANA MILBANK: 'THE CHIMICHANGA? IT MAY BE THE ONLY THING REPUBLICANS HAVE LEFT TO OFFER LATINOS." AND SOME ARE OFFENDED BY THE REMARK WHICH SEEMS TO PLAY INTO OFFENSIVE STEREOTYPES.

EAGER TO RESCUE CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O, THE DAILY COUGAR INSISTS:

There’s just one problem with their cries of liberal racism — the offensive portion of Messina’s tweet was a partial quote from a speech Sen. John McCain gave on the floor of the U.S. Senate. That quote ended up in an article by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank before ending up on Messina’s twitter.

NO. SENATOR MCCAIN TALKED UP HIS STATE SAYING:


THE LETTUCE IN YOUR SALAD THIS MONTH ALMOST CERTAINLY CAME FROM ARIZONA. IT'S ALSO BELIEVED THAT THE CHIMICHANGE HAS ITS ORIGIN IN ARIZONA.


NO, "THE CHIMICHANGA? IT MAY BE THE ONLY THING REPUBLICANS HAVE LEFT TO OFFER LATINOS" IS NOT A QUOTE OR PARTIAL QUOTE OF WHAT JOHN MCCAIN SAID.


STUPID, IGNORANT AND OFFENSIVE. THAT'S WHO THE UNIVERSITY HOUSTON CHOOSE TO PUT IN CHARGE OF THEIR CRAPPY STUDENT PAPER.




Big news out of Iraq today and apparently it's so big that the press can't handle it. Doubt it? Here's Sinan Salaheddin and Lara Jakes (AP) reporting, "An Iraqi judicial panel said Thursday the country's Sunni vice president and his employees ran death squads that killed security officials and Shiite pilgrims. The findings offer the first independent assessment of accusations that have thrown the nation into political chaos and threaten to re-ignite sectarian tensions." Suadad al-Salhy (Reuters) misses it too. Here's al-Salhy's opening, "A panel of Iraqi judges detailed Thursday 150 attacks they said were carried out by death squadsunder the command of Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, in accusations likely to reignite political conflict."
What follows is how the announcement could have been covered:
IRAQI VICE PRESIDENT PROVEN CORRECT
After many claims that he could not receive a fair trial, Tareq al-Hashemi's
assertions were backed up today by the Iraqi judiciary.
BAGHDAD -- Today a nine-member Iraqi judiciary panel released results of an investigation they conducted which found the Sunni Vice President of Iraq was guilty of terrorism. Monday, December 19th, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki swore out an arrest warrant for Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi who had arrived in the KRG the previous day. Mr. al-Hashemi refused to return to Baghdad insisting he would not receive a fair trial. Instead, he was the guest of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and KRG President Massoud Barzani.
During the weeks since the arrest warrant was issued, Mr. al-Hashemi has repeatedly attempted to get the trial moved to another venue stating that Prime Minister al-Maliki controlled the Baghdad judiciary. Mr. al-Maliki insisted that the vice president return and that he would get a fair trial.
Today's events demonstrate that Mr. al-Hashemi was correct and there is no chance of a fair trial in Iraq. This was made clear by the judiciary's announcement today.
A judiciary hears charges in a trial and determines guilt; however, what the Baghdad judiciary did today was to declare Tareq al-Hashemi guilt of the charges and to do so before a trial was held.
Not only do the events offer a frightening glimpse at the realities of the Iraqi legal system, they also back up the claims Mr. al-Hashemi has long made.
Get it? You can't be the judiciary and declare -- before a trial -- that someone is guilty. Tareq al-Hashemi is absolutely correct. He has been proven to be correct. Whether he was or was not guilty isn't an issue because there's been no trial yet. But what is known is that the judiciary has already issued a finding of guilt before a trial took place. There is no reputable legal organization in the world that would support Nouri's argument that al-Hashemi can have a fair trial in Baghdad. The court's own actions have demonstrated that will not be the case.
The Iraqi Constitution is very clear on this point -- and it's really past time that Iraqi officials started following their Constitution. Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The judiciary chose to skip the trial and just declare him guilty. They violated their own Constitution. They didn't hem and haw and treat it like an indictment where they found cause to hold a hearing. No, they declared him guilty. That is in violation of the Iraq Constitution. If they had a functioning Parliament, Iraq should be moving to impeach everyone of those nine judgesand remove them from the bench. Clearly, they do not understand the Constitution that they are supposed to be interpreting.
Article 19th's fifth clause is very clear: "The accused is innocent until proven guilty in a fair legal trial. The accused may not be tried on the same crimefora second time after acquittal unless new evidence is produced." The judiciary issued a finding today publicly declaring Tareq al-Hashemi guilty. In doing so, they violated his right to a fair legal trial and if they'll violate his legal rights -- a vice president of Iraq -- they'll violate any Iraqis legal rights. Today the judiciary of Iraq has given the Iraq legal system a black eye.
We're being very remedial and highly redundant in an attempt to make clear that what just took place demonstrates that Tareq al-Hashemi cannot have a fair trial in Baghdad. There are other points that can be made -- Mike made some this afternoon including that the judiciary releases their finding and provides no evidence -- but in terms of the news value of these events, the news value is that Tareq al-Hashemi's repeated assertions that he would not receive a fair trial in Baghdad have been proven to be correct as evidenced by the fact that, without a trial -- without even a defense, nine members of the Baghdad judiciary have declared him guilty.
So what's going on Iraq? How did a vice president (now in his second term) end up charged with terrorism? Marina Ottaway and Danial Kaysi's [PDF format warning] "The State Of Iraq" (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) offers a few clues. From the opening summary:
Within days of the official ceremonies marking the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moved to indict Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi on terrorism charges and sought to remove Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq from his position, triggering a major political crisis that fully revealed Iraq as an unstable, undemocratic country governed by raw competition for power and barely affected by institutional arrangements. Large-scale violence immediately flared up again, with a series of terrorist attacks against mostly Shi'i tragets reminiscent of the worst days of 2006.
But there is more to the crisis than an escalation of violence. The tenuous political agreement among parties and factions reached at the end of 2010 has collapsed. The government of national unity has stopped functioning, and provinces that want to become regions with autonomous powers comparable to Kurdistan's are putting increasing pressure on the central government. Unless a new political agreement is reached soon, Iraq may plunge into civil war or split apart.
To conservatives in the United States, particularly the architects of the war and of the ensuing state-building exercise, the crisis into which Iraq plunged after the U.S. withdrawal was final proof of the ineptitude of the Obama administration in failing to secure an agreement with Maliki that would have allowed a residual U.S. force to stay. But the lesson is more sobering: Iraq demonstrates the resilience of domestic political forces in the face of even an eight-year occupation, thus the futility of nation-building and political engineering efforts conducted from the outside. The U.S. occupation tried to superimpose on Iraq a set of political rules that did not reflect either the dominant culture or the power relations among political forces. And while cultures and power relations are not immutable, they do not change on demand to accomodate the goals of outsiders.
For the second timethe 2003 U.S. intervention brought down Saddam Hussein and his regime, Iraq is facing a real threat of political disintegration. In 2007, the United States held the country together forcibly, but the infusion of new troops could not secure a lasting agreement among Iraqis. This time, the outcome depends on whether the political factions that dominate Iraq and tear it apart find it in their interest to forge a real compromise or conclude that they would benefit more from going in separate directions.
Whether you accept their conclusions or not, the observations should make you wonder if the US is effectively using money in Iraq with the 'diplomatic' brigade or if more US taxpayer money is being wasted?


RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"

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