BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O FOUND OUT JUST HOW QUICKLY FAME FADES ON HIS TRIP TO GERMANY.
CROWDS FAILED TO GATHER, THE SEAS FAILED TO PART. HE WAS JUST ANOTHER CROOKED POLITICIAN IN A COUNTRY THAT KNOWS WHAT ONE LOOKS LIKE AND THEY REFUSED TO EXTEND HIM A WELCOME.
REACHED FOR COMMENT TODAY, WHITE HOUSE PLUS-SIZE SPOKESMODEL JAY CARNEY DECLARED, "THAT WAS A BAD TRIP. AND I KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT BAD TRIPS. I ONCE ROAMED THE GROUNDS OF YALE IN A PAIR OF WET, BAGGY TIGHTY WHITIES WHILE HOPPED UP ON TWO TABLETS OF FLINTSTONES CHEWABLES AND A SWIGGING FROM A BOTTLE OF ROBITUSSIN. AND THAT WAS JUST LAST YEAR!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Proving that War Hawks need lots of (ego) feeding to survive, Andy Bowers of Slate (a War Hawk who got in the faux antiwar club as a result of the circle jerk) gushes today, "George Packer, a New Yorker staff writer known for his brilliant coverage of the Iraq War, turns his attention to problems here at home in his new book The Unwinding. " No, no one who gave a damn about Iraq would ever note Packer's "brilliant coverage of the Iraq War" because it just wasn't there. George Packer is a War Hawk. Oh, he wrote a (bad) play. Who the hell cares? He cheerleaded the Iraq War whined in a book that there wasn't enough military on the ground because, hey, the war's not wrong, it was just fought wrong, we can fight it better next time! That's what these people sell over and over. There is no awareness, there is no awakening, there is only attempts to defend war and insist any mistakes must result not from the decision to start a war but from the way it was fought. In his awful 2006 'book,' he wanted to argue that , even though the Iraq War was a war of choice, "this didn't make the war immoral by definition."
From the classic comedy sketch (about the quiz show scandal) . . .
Mike Nichols: It's a moral issue.
Elaine May: Yes!
Mike Nichols: A moral issue.
Elaine May: Yes! Yes! Yes! It is a moral issue.
Mike Nichols: A moral issue.
Elaine May: And to me that's always so much more interesting than a real issue
Always be skeptical of those who talk 'morality' but ignore the law.
The War Hawks love to conceal their true natures. Norman Solomon (Huffington Post) calls War Hawk Thomas Friedman out and when Friedman attempts to spin, Norman quotes Friedman.
National Iraqi News Agency reports 1 person was killed by a mortar attack on an Anbar Province polling station and another was left injured. and that, according to the Nineveh Province Police Brigadier General Khaled al-Hamdani, bombings are taking place in various areas of that province in order to prevent voting.
Iraq has 18 provinces. 3 of the 18 are the KRG -- a semi-autonomous region that will hold provincial elections in September. Being semi-autonomous it votes on its own schedule (and did during the 2009 provincial elections as well). The exception being the parliamentary elections when all Iraqi provinces that are voting vote at the same time.
So the 3 KRG provinces didn't vote in the April 20th provincial elections.
In addition, Kirkuk (again) did not get to vote. This is because, long story short, Kirkuk is disputed territory -- claimed by the central government in Baghdad and by the KRG.
The United Nations was pressing the case for allowing Kirkuk to vote. Even so, that was unlikely to happen. It's even more unlikely now that the UN Secretary-General Special Representative to Iraq is an empty seat. Next month, Martin Kobler is placed over the Congo. No one has been named (still) as Kobler's replacement.
That adds up to four provinces. There are 18. So 14 should have voted, right?
Only 12 voted. Nouri decided to penalize the two provinces where he is most unpopular -- Anbar and Nineveh -- by refusing to allow them to vote in April. Kirk H. Sowell (Foreign Policy) rightly observed, "Iraq's April 20 provincial elections were like two elections in one country. They included all provinces outside the Kurdistan region except Kirkuk, due to a long-standing dispute over election law, and the predominately Sunni provinces of Anbar and Ninawa, where the cabinet postponed elections under the pretext of security following a series of candidate assassinations."
Today, they were finally allowed to vote. The US Embassy in Baghdad issued the following statement:
The United States congratulates Iraq for conducting successful provincial elections in Anbar and Ninewa today, ensuring that the citizens of these two provinces have the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights at the ballot box. This was an important step toward solidifying Iraq’s democratic future.
We also congratulate Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), which managed and organized the elections in the face of a challenging security environment. Iraqi police and military forces should be commended for their work in securing polling sites and protecting voters as they cast their ballots at over 1,000 polling centers in Anbar and Ninewa.
This day did not pass without violence, however. We condemn the attacks that occurred at polling stations in both provinces that wounded a number of Iraqis.
Wang Yuanyuan (Xinhua) reports, "The state-run television Iraqia showed Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi entered a polling station to cast his vote in his hometown city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province. Iraqi security forces spread into the cities of the two provinces, cordoned off polling centers and imposed a traffic ban on vehicles."
AFP notes that the two provinces have nearly 3 million registered voters and that there are at least 1185 politicians competing for 69 seats. Alsumaria reports that there were over 1107 polling stations in the two provinces. In the two provinces. You catch that right? Apparently there was no concern over refugees who fled the provinces being able to vote. When the 12 provinces were allowed to vote in April, there were polling stations set up in Anbar and Nineveh -- but just for refugees from the 12 provinces who had moved in to Anbar and Nineveh to vote. The Independent High Electoral Commission announced that there were "special polling centers" set up for displaced persons from Nineveh and Anbar . . . if they were in the KRG. Only, if they were in the KRG. Now if you were a member of the armed services and resided in Anbar or Nineveh in your downtime but were deployed to other provinces, IHED had 266 polling stations in 15 of the other provinces for you to vote. But if you were a resident of Anbar or Nineveh who had been displaced and went to any province other than the three in the KRG, you were out of luck on voting.
As Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi told BBC World Service's Sarah Montague interviewed yesterday, only 30% of registered voters voted in the April 20th elections. Safety concerns and disillusionment may be the reason for the low turnout in April.
Today, AFP quotes Mosul college student Fahd Ismail stating, "I have come to the polling centre not to vote, but just to destroy my ballot. I saw that students who graduated before me got nothing from the government, and now we are in the same situation." Last week, Mustafa Habib (Niqash) quoted voters in the two provinces with reasons why people might not vote. Candidate Imad Zakariya stated, "The hot weather at this time of year will make people reluctant to vote. In spring, when it is cooler, people are more inclined to get out and vote." It was 105 degrees (F) in Ramadi this afternoon and 'dropped' to 100 degrees at nightfall. Ramadi is a major city in Anbar Province. Mosul is a major city in Nineveh Province. The high in Mosul today was 104 degrees (F). Anbar Province resident Harith al-Ani told Niqash last week, "The changes in the election dates and in voter registration centres has also caused confusion."
The Journal of Turkish Weekly notes, "A vehicle ban was imposed in major cities in the two provinces and thousands of policemen have been deployed" and "The United Nations reported 17 candidates were assassinated ahead of this year's election, more than half of them in Anbar and Nineveh. Adam Schreck and Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) also note, "A total of 17 candidates have been assassinated ahead of this year's election, with the bulk of them from Ninevah, according to Jose Maria Aranaz, the chief electoral adviser at the United Nations mission to Iraq."
Despite all of that and much more, it appears the voting in Anbar and Nineveh was successful today. Alsumaria reports that the Independent High Electoral Commission states 37.5% of registered voters turned out in Nineveh and that 49.5% turned out in Anbar. Alsumaria notes that UNHCR assisted with the elections and were at polling places. At five o'clock, when voting was scheduled to end, UNHCR checked to make sure that all voters were out of the polling stations and then locked the doors and, with IHEC, secured the ballot boxes. All Iraq News notes that IHEC's Electoral Office head Muqdad al-Shiriefi declared in a Baghdad press conference this evening, "There are no violations in the PCs elections of the provinces." NINA reports that the Mottahidoon Coalition issued a statement declaring the high rate of turnout in the two provinces was an indication that the protesters, who "have suffered various severe conditions in order to get their demands and recover their usurped rights," believe in their democratic rights.
The United Nations notes:
20 June 2013 – The United Nations envoy in Iraq today congratulated the men and women of the Anbar and Ninewa governorates on casting their votes on local elections that were delayed two months ago over mounting concerns about security.
“The people of Anbar and Ninewa overcame threats to cast their vote today, and violence failed to disrupt the democratic process,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler.
Most Iraqi governorates held their local elections two months ago. However, voting was delayed by officials in Anbar and Ninewa because of security concerns.
The past couple of months have been some of the deadliest on record for Iraq, with a series of bombings killing hundreds and injuring many more across the country. Candidates have been regularly targeted, and on Wednesday a suicide bomber reportedly blew himself up as he embraced a political leader in northern Iraq, killing the candidate and four of his relatives.
In addition, a roadside bomb targeted a bus carrying five officials from the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) in the town of Baiji in Ninewa today, killing one of them.
“Despite the best efforts of the security forces, it is very sad that lives were also lost in this process,” Mr. Kobler said. “Several candidates were targeted in the lead-up to today’s vote, while an IHEC staff member was tragically killed in an attack on a bus today and several IHEC colleagues were wounded.”
Delegations from the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) visited a number of polling centres, and Mr. Kobler commended the professionalism and commitment of the IHEC in carrying out the elections. He also welcomed the efforts of Iraqi Security Forces under the command of the High Electoral Security Committee in assuring safe conditions for voting.
Mr. Kobler extended his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded.
The violence didn't end when the voting was completed. Reuters reports, "A[Ramadi] suicide bomber killed seven people at an Iraqi vote counting centre on Thursday evening, police said, hours after polls closed in two Sunni Muslim-dominated provinces." 4 of the 7 "were members of Iraq's electoral commission." Alsumaria notes the death toll rose to 9 and that twelve people were also injured. They also explain the bombing occurred directly outside the polling station. In addition, Alsumaria reports a Kirkuk bombing targeting a military convoy left 1 military officer dead and another injured. Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 333 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month.
On the topic of the ongoing violence, Rudaw reports:
An upsurge of violence and deadly car bombs in Iraq in the past few months appear to have served as a wake up call to some Iraqi leaders, among them former Vice President Adil Abd Al-Mahdi.
“Terrorism is clear in its message, but we are not clear in our plans and reactions,” Abd Al-Mahdi wrote last week on his personal Facebook page.
Abd Al-Mahdi is from the Supreme Islamic Council (SIC) and is considered one of Iraq’s most influential Shiite leaders.
His party controls many important security and army posts. But Abd Al-Mahdi believes that the government does not quite know how to deal with the problem of terrorist attacks.
“We either react to it on a sectarian basis or only give it more popular support and space, which it doesn’t deserve,” he wrote, “Or we deal with it haphazardly and kill the innocent instead of the culprit.”
Abd Al-Mahdi served from 2006 to 2010 as vice president -- alongside Tareq al-Hashemi -- and was named for a second term in November 2010. He left the post in the summer of 2011 after Nouri had asked the Iraqi people to give him 100 days to clear up corruption and after Nouri had let the 100 days expire without ever addressing the corruption.
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