Thursday, May 02, 2013

Americans lost their homes because of her




Penny Pritzker. The woman the Cult of St. Barack didn't want to talk about. The Chicago Sun Times reported the following in 2008:

White House hopeful Barack Obama talks a lot on the campaign trail about how failing banks have used subprime loans to victimize customers.
"Part of the reason we got a current mortgage crisis has to do with the fact that people got suckered in to loans that they could not pay," he told a crowd in Reading, Pa., last week. "There were a lot of predatory loans that were given out, a lot of teaser rates. Banks and financial institutions making these loans were making money hand over fist."
At the helm of Superior Bank was Obama's national finance chairwoman, Penny Pritzker, an heiress to the Pritzker fortune.

One of the banks that went under after making a lot of subprime loans -- leaving 1,400 of its customers without part of their savings -- was Chicago's Superior Bank.
At the helm of Superior Bank at least some of the time was Obama's national finance chairwoman, Penny Pritzker, an heiress to the Pritzker fortune.
Obama's campaign notes that Pritzker stepped down as chairwoman of the bank's board in 1994, seven years before it failed. She then went on the board of the bank's holding company.
But a letter obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times shows that until the end, Pritzker appeared to be taking a leadership role in trying to revive the bank with an expanded push into subprime loans.



Iraq Body Count announces April violence claimed 561 lives.  Not since August 2009 has a monthly death toll been higher in Iraq (614).  And the violence continues today.  National Iraqi News Agency reports a Baquba roadside bombing left two people injured, a Falluja bombing has claimed 5 lives and left twelve injured, a Mosul roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier and left two more injuredthree people were injured by a Falluja sniper, a Husayniaya ("northeast of Baghdad") car bombing injured five people1 person was shot dead in Baquba, and a police officer's home was blown up in Hilla.   All Iraq News adds an attack on the Tarmiya Police station left 4 members of the police dead and eight more injured, a Falluja suicide bomber took his own life and that of 6 Sahwa and "many others" were injured, and a Ramadi car bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer.  Of the Falluja suicide bombing, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) explains the Sahwa were gathered to collect their paychecks at the time of the attacks.   Zhu Ningzhu (Xinhua) notes a Kirkuk roadside bombing injured three police officers and that "gunmen using silenced weapons shot dead a cleric of a Sunni mosque" in Baquba.  (This is not the civilian noted earlier by NINA -- Xinhua also notes the civilian shot dead.)

Of the violence, WG Dunlop (AFP) observes, "The majority of the deaths came during a wave of unrest that began on April 23 when security forces moved on Sunni anti-government protesters near the northern Sunni Arab town of Hawijah, sparking clashes that killed 53 people.  Dozens more people died in subsequent violence that included revenge attacks on security forces."  Tuesday, April 23rd, Nouri al-Maliki's federal forces stormed a sit-in in Hawija, Kirkuk. Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.  Last night, Kat reminded, "As things get worse daily in Iraq, we need to remember who kicked off the destruction: Nouri al-Maliki."  She noted UPI's anlaysis:

The gloves came off April 23 when Maliki's Shiite security forces stormed a Sunni protest rally in the northern village of Hawija in Kirkuk province. More than 50 Sunnis were killed and 110 wounded.
"Retaliatory assaults against the security apparatus threaten to trigger an even tougher reaction from authorities," observed the International Crisis Group, a conflict resolution organization in Brussels.
"Only by credibly addressing the protesters' legitimate demands -- genuine Sunni representation in the political system -- can ... Iraq stem a rising tide of violence that, at a time of growing sectarian polarization throughout the region, likely would spell disaster."
Sunni protests have been building since late 2012 as Maliki displayed an increasing authoritarianism but the massacre at Hawija ended what was seen as a period of restraint.

On the Hawija massacre, Trina wondered last night why, yet again, the Christian Science Monitor can't get the basic facts right (Ryan Lenora Brown being the latest to miss the facts).   Betty pointed out harmful Nouri is: "He's in his seventh year as prime minister and has repeatedly failed to provide security, to improve public infrastructure (drinkable water is not a given, electricity still goes off and on), he can't provide jobs, he can't provide relief.  He is completely useless.  Worse than useless, he is destructive and harming Iraq." Betty noted this from RT:

SOS Iraq coordinator Dirk Adriaensens echoes the London-based expert. “I think the situation in Iraq will go from bad to worse and it’s only the fault of Mr al-Maliki,” he says before adding: “The government should be held to account. After ten years of occupation there are still no basic services. People are randomly arrested, locked up without charge, tortured, women, children and men are being raped. The talk about sectarianism is wrong. These are not sectarian protests. These are protests against the unbearable situation for the Iraqi people. There is poverty, there is unemployment, there is no healthcare, the education system has collapsed.”
“I think it’s a war between the people of Iraq and the government. There were elections last week, but one third of the provinces couldn’t vote because of the so-called security reasons. How can this vote be legitimate? Al-Maliki is always talking about unity but he is the one, who forces people into sectarian activities. Iraqi people say it’s not the protesters who go into the streets and plant bombs. The people of Iraq suspect that the government itself and the militias that are linked to the political parties are planting the bombs themselves. I don’t know whether it’s true or false, but I tend to believe it,” Adriaensens argues.

On the protests, Ruth noted the superficial summary Patrick Cockburn offered and wondered  why the western press keeps avoiding the issue of rape but "on Inside Story (Al Jazeera), Salah Hashimi was describing the protesters goals and names this one second:  'to free the women prisoners because the government of Iraq has proven itself not to be worthy of holding women prisoners because while they were in detention, they were raped and tortured. And within Iraqi society which can be actually described as a conservative society this thing cannot go on because people are very, very sensitive towards women's issues'."

Thug and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki tasked Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq with heading a committee to investigate the massacre.  al-Mutlaq attempted to get off the committee last week but, after strong words were exchanged with Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi (who wanted al-Mutlaq on the committee), he agreed to stay on it.  Adam Schreck (AP) interviewed Saleh al-Mutlaq.   al-Mutlaq is quoted stating, "We have found that extra and extensive force was used, and it was not needed."  As for the government's claim that the massacre was in response to a soldier killed not at the sit-in but 'near' the sit-in, al-Mutlaq is quoted stating, "To lose one soldier, or one officer, that does not mean that you kill such a huge amount of people."

Nouri's forces slaughtered citizens participating in a sit-in.  They did so with training provided by the US government.  The US government is also providing the thug with weapons.

Jim Fuquay (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) is in a state of bliss as he declares today, "Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth will keep building F-16s a bit longer, thanks to an $839 million contract to suppy 18 of the jeft fighters to Iraq.  According to the announcement this week from the Air Force, the contract is expected to run through April 30, 2014."

A lot of people lost blood and life in the Iraq War but a lot of companies cleaned up.  A friend who was on the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan always expresses disbelief that "the chump change" of the former Blackwater became the obsession of so many on the left while the corporations that really got rich were allowed to remain largely uncriticized.  They got rich, Iraq got destroyed.

The ICRC's Pierre Reichel notes, "Today, the situation remains very volatile and we are worried that tensions could escalate further and lead to more casualties."  Arwa Damon (CNN) offers an analysis which includes:

For those closely following what has been happening in Iraq, this is not a surprise. To a certain degree the Iraqi government and other parties have been trying to dial back these tensions, but some steps taken by the Iraqi government serve only to aggravate them. Tensions are higher now than they have been for years.

Iraq's underlying problems have never been adequately addressed. There is a growing discontent within the Sunni minority and a growing number demonstrations against the predominantly Shia government.

Last week, the US Congressional Research Service published "Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights."  The report was written by Kenneth Katzman.

Ten years after the March 19, 2003 U.S. military intervention to oust Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, increasingly violent sectarian divisions are undermining the fragile stability left in place after the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq will collapse.  Sunni Arab Muslims, who resent Shiite political domination, are in increasingly open revolt against the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.  The revolt represents an escalation of the Sunni demonstrations that began in December 2012.  Iraqi Kurds are increasingly aligned with Sunnis, based on their own disputes with Maliki over territorial, political, and economic issues.  The Shiite faction of Moqtada Al Sadr has been leaning to the Sunnis and Kurds, and could hold the key to Maliki's political survival.  Adding to the schisms is the physical incapacity of President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd who has served as a key mediator, who suffered a stroke in mid-December 2012 and remains outside Iraq.  The rifts have impinged on provincial elections on April 20, 2013, and will likely affect national elections for a new parliament and government in 2014. Maliki is expected to seek to retain his post in that vote.

There's a great deal in the report.  A lot of it covered here already and we'll note some of it throughout the week.  But with regards to unrest, the report was raised in today's US State Dept press briefing by State Dept spokesperson Patrick Ventrell.

QUESTION: Yes. On Iraq, the congressional study number RS21968 that was submitted to the Congress on the 26th of April paints a very bleak picture of Iraq and it calls what’s going on in Iraq – their words – an open rebellion by the Sunnis and the Shias.

MR. VENTRELL: Who are their words?

QUESTION: That the congressional study RS21968, okay? Maybe you want to take a look at it. It’s a lengthy study. But it draws a very bad – I mean, a very bleak picture of what’s going on in Iraq and closed an open road between the Sunnis and the Shias. Have you been able to sort of look at the study and perhaps hone your policy as a result of such drastic allegations or statements?

MR. VENTRELL: Well, Said, I haven’t seen this particular congressional study. But let me just say that the current situation in Iraq is concerning, and it’s a reminder of the formidable challenges Iraq continues to face. As I said yesterday, U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad – we’ve been in constant contact with a wide range of senior Iraqi leaders to help resolve ongoing political and sectarian tensions. And these talks have focused on specific steps to avoid further violence and resolve key issues peacefully and through constructive engagement in the political process.
And I do want to highlight a couple of specific things. We were encouraged to see over the weekend this constructive meeting senior federal and Kurdistan KRG government officials on Monday – I guess this was not over the weekend; this was on Monday – and reports that the Kurdish ministers will return to the cabinet tomorrow in Baghdad. So we urge all parties to build on this positive step by promptly addressing issues raised in a constructive and effective manner. And in addition, we’ve seen positive and encouraging statements from both Baghdad and Sunni leaders on the need to work together to isolate violent extremists whose only goal is to make – is to stoke sectarian tensions, to make it worse.

QUESTION: Mr. Maliki is accusing two of your closest allies in the Arab world, Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, of fomenting sectarian struggle and aiding Wahhabi sects and (inaudible) types in Iraq. Would you sort of lean on your friends to stop whatever aid, if you agree that there is aid in terms of arms and money going to these groups?

MR. VENTRELL: I’m not familiar with those particular allegations, but we’ve been clear where we stand in terms of sectarian violence and extremism in Iraq, and the support that we are providing as facilitators for the political process so that Iraqis can resolve their issues through the political process.

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