Friday, August 15, 2014

Family Affair



Family Affair


Have you ever thought about how embarrassing Barack's family is?

From May 8, 2011, that's "Family Affair." And it doesn't even include the uncle who was drunk in the afternoon, on a chicken run in Boston, when he got pulled over and, turns out, he's not in the country the proper way either.

Yet Barack keeps deporting others.

The only immigrants who can get in and stay in are his relatives.

On the comic, C.I. wrote this to go with the comic:

Abon'go Malik Roy Obama introduces himself, "Hi. I'm Abon'go Malik Roy Obama. I'm embarrassing my half-brother Barack these days with charges of tax fraud for my foundation. I hope I haven't embarrassed Barack." Another half-brother explains, "No problem. I'm half-brother Sampson and I missed the 2009 inauguration because rape charges kept me out of the country." And futher confirmation comes from Aunt Zeituni, "And no, it's not Tim Meadows in a dress. It's me Aunt Zeituni. I was in the US for years living on welfare illegally. Then they tried to deport me back to Kenya and I lied that, unlike the rest of my relatives, I'd be targeted." Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.



Aunt Tim Meadows has passed away.

And not every one of Barack's relatives is an embarrassment.  For example, Mark Ndesandjo hasn't gotten into any trouble and he's written books -- including the recent corrective to Barack's Dreams From My Father.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Thursday, August 14, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack talks Iraq, Nouri's stepping down, we talk about what promise had to be made for that to happen, and much more.


This afternoon US President Barack Obama delivered a speech from Martha's Vineyard.  We'll note the section on Iraq.



First of all, we continue to make progress in carrying out our targeted military operations in Iraq.  Last week, I authorized two limited missions:  protecting our people and facilities inside of Iraq, and a humanitarian operation to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians stranded on a mountain.
A week ago, we assessed that many thousands of Yezidi men, women and children had abandoned their possessions to take refuge on Mount Sinjar in a desperate attempt to avoid slaughter.  We also knew that ISIL terrorists were killing and enslaving Yezidi civilians in their custody, and laying siege to the mountain. Without food or water, they faced a terrible choice -- starve on the mountain, or be slaughtered on the ground.  That’s when America came to help.
Over the last week, the U.S. military conducted humanitarian air drops every night –- delivering more than 114,000 meals and 35,000 gallons of fresh water.  We were joined in that effort by the United Kingdom, and other allies pledged support. Our military was able to successfully strike ISIL targets around the mountain, which improved conditions for civilians to evacuate the mountain safely.
Yesterday, a small team of Americans -– military and civilian -– completed their review of the conditions on the mountain.  They found that food and water have been reaching those in need, and that thousands of people have been evacuating safely each and every night.  The civilians who remain continue to leave, aided by Kurdish forces and Yezidis who are helping to facilitate the safe passage of their families.  So the bottom line is, is that the situation on the mountain has greatly improved and Americans should be very proud of our efforts.
Because of the skill and professionalism of our military –- and the generosity of our people –- we broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar; we helped vulnerable people reach safety; and we helped save many innocent lives.  Because of these efforts, we do not expect there to be an additional operation to evacuate people off the mountain, and it’s unlikely that we’re going to need to continue humanitarian air drops on the mountain.  The majority of the military personnel who conducted the assessment will be leaving Iraq in the coming days.  And I just want to say that as Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder of the men and women of our military who carried out this humanitarian operation almost flawlessly.  I’m very grateful to them and I know that those who were trapped on that mountain are extraordinarily grateful as well.
Now, the situation remains dire for Iraqis subjected to ISIL’s terror throughout the country, and this includes minorities like Yezidis and Iraqi Christians; it also includes Sunnis, Shia and Kurds.  We’re going to be working with our international partners to provide humanitarian assistance to those who are suffering in northern Iraq wherever we have capabilities and we can carry out effective missions like the one we carried out on Mount Sinjar without committing combat troops on the ground. 
We obviously feel a great urge to provide some humanitarian relief to the situation and I’ve been very encouraged by the interest of our international partners in helping on these kinds of efforts as well.  We will continue air strikes to protect our people and facilities in Iraq.  We have increased the delivery of military assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting ISIL on the front lines. 

And, perhaps most importantly, we are urging Iraqis to come together to turn the tide against ISIL –- above all, by seizing the enormous opportunity of forming a new, inclusive government under the leadership of Prime Minister-designate Abadi.  I had a chance to speak to Prime Minister-designate Abadi a few days ago, and he spoke about the need for the kind of inclusive government -- a government that speaks to all the people of Iraq -- that is needed right now.  He still has a challenging task in putting a government together, but we are modestly hopeful that the Iraqi government situation is moving in the right direction.



How smart is Barack?

He's been hailed as a genius.

I don't think he is.  I know he was a so-so student -- in a manner that indicates boredom, not a lack of intelligence.  And he has the gift of timing which has allowed him to seize moments in the past.  He now holds a position that tends to make people believe they are infallible and fills them with hubris.

He's at a fork in the road.

The smart thing to do is walk out, hail the efforts on behalf of the Yazidis as a success (and I have no problem with that call) and walk out.

Mitchell Prothero and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) fret:



Humanitarian aid workers warned Thursday that it was too soon to declare the U.S. mission to aid Yazidi refugees in northern Iraq a success, noting that at least 100,000 residents who fled the Islamic State’s capture of Sinjar now crowd cities and refugee camps and will need humanitarian assistance for months to come.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/08/14/236526/obama-says-yazidi-mission-accomplished.html#storylink=cpy

And your point is?

There are tons of farmers in the US.  Plenty of crops.  Humanitarian aid is not expensive, it can help American farmers, it can do so much to help people in need.

I'm confused as to why humanitarian aid workers are complaining?  What do they want that hasn't happened?

Did they want boots on the grounds -- US troops?  Do they still?

Did they want an open-ended, undefined mission?

If so, they're not really humanitarian aid workers.


Bully Boy Bush started an illegal war.  That hangs around his neck forever.

But he had a tiny window of opportunity where he could have made his image just a little better.  If he'd pulled US troops out of Iraq early on in 2003, his image might not be in tatters now.

There's a vanity when it comes to leaders, it tells them that, "Sure, every one else has screwed up and destroyed their own legacies but I'm different, I'm special, I'm smart and can pull this off."

Sadly, that's rarely the case.

This was a good moment for the US.  Image wise, it was a good moment.

Good p.r. even.

Along with hubris, there's also the addiction to applause -- which Barack clearly suffers from.  That addiction can allow you to repeat, can have you singing the same once loved song over and over for the next 30 years.

So in addition to believing that he can 'take on' Iraq, Barack could also fall into the trap of thinking Iraq's the way for easy bursts of applause.

Either or both could lead the growing US presence in Iraq to increase even further.

Barack should take the win, continue humanitarian aid, continue diplomatic relations but not pursue military solutions in Iraq.

The temptation is there.  To show it can be done 'right' is very tempting and why leaders and officials in Australia, France and England this week and last have been making comments about how they should be involved in the current actions or how they would be more involved than the US government is.

Everyone wants to be smarter than Bully Boy Bush.

When it comes to resorting to war, so many lose their intelligence even faster than they lose their reputations.

Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times) observes:

Last week, when Obama first announced that he had ordered military action against the Islamists, his language was all about limits. These were "targeted airstrikes," he said, with carefully limited goals: protecting American personnel in Kurdistan and rescuing terrified displaced Iraqis on Mt. Sinjar.
But it didn't take long for the mission to grow. By the weekend, Obama was already talking about "a broader strategy in Iraq," one that would help a new, improved government in Baghdad repel the fighters of the Islamic State entirely.
"We will continue to provide military assistance and advice to the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces as they battle these terrorists, so that the terrorists cannot establish a permanent safe haven," he said, and added, "This is going to be a long-term project."



Language did change very fast.  Sarah Mimms and Matt Berman (National Journal) report:


Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, told reporters on Wednesday that the U.S. is considering sending ground troops into Iraq to help the humanitarian mission to rescue the Yazidis. Military advisers will give their recommendations on the use of troops to the White House in the next few days, following an assessment from about 130 Marines and special-operations forces now in Iraq.
The distinction here is that these would not be combat troops, as much as ground forces with the specific mission of helping rescue Yazidi refugees. Ground combat with ISIS would not be part of the plan. Whether the humanitarian troops would be forced into combat scenarios is another question entirely, and Rhodes admitted that best laid plans don't always work out. "There are dangers involved in any military operation," Rhodes said.




I don't buy the idea of Barack The Original Innocent.  Nor do I buy the ludicrous fantasies of some embarrassments on the left (the news dumpster, for example) that Barack would do this or that if he wasn't being controlled by unknown and hidden elements of the government.

Good or bad, they are his actions and he's responsible for them.

He went beyond air drops and he got lucky.

Luck does run out.

It certainly ran out for Nouri al-Maliki.

The chief thug and prime minister of Iraq thought he'd had a third term.  He thought that in the lead up to the April 30th elections, he thought that after.  His co-conspirators like 'reporter' Jane Arraf did their part to promote that lie.  He never won the required amount of seats.

He barely increased his showing from 2010 and that might not have happened if other blocs, seeing a pattern of small blocs benefiting in the 2010 parliamentary elections, hadn't decided to run as part of smaller slates this go round.

He was not a done deal but damned if his liars didn't tell you he was getting a third term.

A lot of lies from a lot of places.  Patrick Cockburn bias against Sunnis is well known which is why it was shocking to see Glen Ford citing him favorably in this week's column.

To repeat, Arabic social media documented Cockburn's bias.  We didn't.  We picked up on it and amplified it for those who read English but not Arabic. His bias is now so widely known that it's noted in Arabic newspapers.

A lot of people have been misled by him over the years.

Misled?  Like the greedy woman who wants to bankrupt Pacifica Radio?

The Goody Whore what's she up to?

Mishandling Iraq among other things.

From yesterday's awful broadcast:


AMY GOODMAN: The situation of what’s happening now in Baghdad with the new prime minister, the current prime minister, and what this all means, who will be the actual prime minister?


PATRICK COCKBURN: Well, I think, you know, that Maliki is finished. I think he’s been finished for some time. The question was: Would he fight it out? He had military units that were personally loyal to him, but he found that after the new prime minister had been appointed, the Iranians had turned against him. They wouldn’t support him. He didn’t have any outside political support. His own party was disintegrating or would no longer support him. So I think that the transition will happen.
But I think what is wrong is to think that—almost everything now is being blamed on al-Maliki, both inside and outside Baghdad, that he was the person who provoked the Sunni uprising, he was the hate figure for the Sunni, he produced an army that was riddled with corruption. But I think that it’s exaggerated, that it’s as if there was a magic wand that would be used once al-Maliki had gone. But there were other reasons for this uprising, for the creation of ISIS—notably, the rebellion in Syria in 2011. This changed the regional balance of power. That was a Sunni rebellion, which Iraqi politicians over the last couple of years were always telling me, if the West supports the opposition in Syria, this will destabilize Iraq. And they were dead right. It wasn’t just al-Maliki.


NERMEEN SHAIKH: Patrick Cockburn, you mentioned that the current Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is obviously not solely responsible for the situation there now. You’ve also pointed out in a piece that he still retains the support of Iraq’s Shia majority. What do you think the consequences of that will be with this shift in power to Abadi?



PATRICK COCKBURN: I think he did have that support. I don’t think it’s going to last very long, because he had it because he had portrayed himself as the Shia leader who protected their interests, and he tried to get away from the fact he had presided over one of the greatest military defeats in history, when ISIS took Mosul, by claiming that he’d been stabbed—the army had been stabbed in the back by the Kurds, that there had been treachery. But he still had support because he had power, because he controlled the budget, $100 billion, because he controlled millions of jobs. I think once he’s no longer in control of the executive and the money, that support will diminish very fast. There are millions of Iraqis who have their jobs through Maliki. Now that’s changed, and so will their support.

First off, there is no "new prime minister."  Please get your damn facts right.

For the first time ever, the Constitution (Iraqi Constitution) may be followed and enforced.  al-Abadi is the prime minister-designate.  He has a task to complete, a pilgrimage to make.  He must form a Cabinet -- that's nominate for each post and have Parliament vote each one in* and do so in 30 days from his being named prime minister-designate (he was named that Monday).  If not, there will be a new prime minister-designate named by the president of Iraq.

(*If, for example, he nominated Amy Goodman to be Minister of Misinformation and CIA Liason and the Parliament said no, provided the 30 days were up, he could nominate someone -- or many someones -- for the post and have Parliament vote.)

As for Patrick Cockburn's ridiculous lies, I'd probably say them too if I had rotten egg all over my face, if I'd whored for Nouri like Patrick did over and over.

Nouri's not to blame for everything!

What's even funnier than Patrick's sexual obsession with Nouri -- which leads him to 'magic wands' -- is that part of Nouri's failure -- which whorish Paddy won't note -- is due to magic wands.

Remember those?  The idiot and crook who sold those around the world is in prison for that.  They supposedly were bomb detectors (and golf bomb finders!).  You held the magic wand and basically jogged in place and it dipped or not depending on whether a car had a bomb or not.

They do not work.  It was established in court.

Yet as of this month, Nouri was still making the forces use them in Iraq.

He couldn't fix the infrastructure or provide potable water but he did provide magical wands.  And his decision to keep using them over a year after the UK verdict means he can't win in a lawsuit.  That money is now lost.  When a huckster sells you something and a court finds his actions were illegal, you immediately file charges and stop using the product.  If you continue using it, you're not going to have any legal standing and Nouri destroyed Iraq's legal standing.  The government's legal standing.  An Iraqi family who lost a loved one due to those magic wands being used at checkpoints would have standing to sue the maker/distributor as well as the Iraqi government -- and Nouri himself once he's out of office.  Remember suing Nouri, we're coming back to that topic.


If you're not getting how whorish and dishonest Patrick Cockburn is, look at this statement closely:


I think he did have that support. I don’t think it’s going to last very long, because he had it because he had portrayed himself as the Shia leader who protected their interests, and he tried to get away from the fact he had presided over one of the greatest military defeats in history, when ISIS took Mosul, by claiming that he’d been stabbed—the army had been stabbed in the back by the Kurds, that there had been treachery. 


Is that what he did, Patrick?

Hmm.  That's a sanitized version of what he did.  He didn't claim the military was stabbed in the back or treachery, he took to the airwaves and accused of harboring terrorists and of terrorist actions, inciting them.

This is why Kurds walked out of the Cabinet.  And this isn't 'ancient' history, this took place just weeks ago.




In a column, Peter Van Buren appears to agree with Patrick.  We should care about Peter's opinion why?  Sexism is the least of his problems.  He writes:


Despite Maliki throwing the last serious U.S. reconciliation plan under the bus, America stood by and watched the Iranians broker a deal after the 2010 elections that gave Maliki another four years as prime minister. American eyes were on the exit, and Maliki was the devil we knew — a quick fix to declare enough democracy in Iraq so we could get out.


It takes a whore, Peter proves it takes a whore, in fact, it takes a bordello to keep the lies alive.

Iran did not "broker a deal after the 2010 elections that gave Maliki another four years as prime minister."

Wrong.

The US government brokered The Erbil Agreement.  Peter was low level, yes, but he also knows how to read -- or I thought he did -- and should have caught up on reality a long damn time ago.

For over eight months the political stalemate continued in Iraq after the March 2010 parliamentary elections.  In October of 2010, the Iranian officials did their backing of Nouri.

Nouri didn't become prime minister then* -- he became it in November, the day after all the political leaders signed off on the US-brokered Erbil Agreement.

The US gave Nouri his second term via The Erbil Agreement.

Stop trying to pin everything on the Iranians.  I'm so sick of people who will go to such lengths to erase their own government's actions and rush to blame them on another country.

I'm also sick of people who don't know how to say "I was wrong."

I've said it many times.  I've said it many times here.

I said I was wrong when I disagreed with Justin Raimondo about an issue then-Bradley Manning's attorney was raising.  When I am wrong, I'm okay admitting it.

I expect to be wrong more than I'm right.

That's not false modesty (it may be low self-esteem).

Justin seems to struggle with the words "I was wrong."

What happens when that's the case?  When you're wrong and events prove you wrong, what happens if you can't say you're wrong?

Some just act like it never happened and re-adjust their stance or remain silent.

But Justin appears to belong to the group that digs their heels in, lies -- flat out lies, and tells you night is day.

That explains his nonsense in his latest column.

I wanted to like it.

I saw the headline and thought we might disagree but it would still be a column worth highlighting.

Wrong. He molests the facts.  That's the only term for it.

He's flat out lying, cherry picking bits and pieces of broken facts to try to pretend he was right.

We get it, Justin.  You hate Jesus and you hate any religion that's linked to it even if it's just remotely linked to Jesus.  (And, of course, Justin hates the Jews as well.)

We get it.

Every day, you are so damn scared that you might be wrong, that there might be a god of some kind, that you have to rip apart anyone who believes.  We get it.

I practice no religion.

That's on me.

I don't ridicule people who do.

I don't have to.

I'm secure in my beliefs.  I don't need to attack people who practice religion or to hate or dislike them.

So many disappointments.


Okay, let's go lawsuit.

Jim Michaels (USA Today) reports, "Embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced Thursday night that he is stepping down, ending a political crisis at a time when Islamist militants have seized large swaths of the country and remain on the offensive."

What happened?

Nouri's a criminal.

While Patrick Cockburn's still going down on Nouri, others aren't.

And Nouri's big problem was solved this evening when he received a series of promises that he wouldn't be prosecuted or sued.

See, Nouri has a list of people he plans to get even with.  And he was hoping two of those MPs wouldn't be re-elected.  One wasn't.  And a third term for Nouri was going to include persecuting and prosecuting that (now former) MP.

But Nouri realized something similar could happen to him.

He's already set a precedent where MPs can be tried.  It's illegal but he's done it.

Per the Constitution, no one serving in the Parliament can be sued while serving.  The Parliament can vote to strip the person of their office and then they can stand trial.  Otherwise, you're supposed to wait until they're out of office.

Nouri was afraid of what might befall him.  As an MP but former prime minister, could he be sued?  Or would the new government ignore the Constitution the same way Nouri did?

In a series of talks, Nouri made clear this was his biggest obstacle to surrendering the office.  It was a minor part of a written list he'd agreed to last week when he agreed to not seek a third term.  However, as Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc noted, Nouri then broke that agreement.

So with a lot of hand holding and promises, Nouri finally agreed to step down.

Does everything become perfect now?

No, it does not.

But when someone is named prime minister, Iraq will collectively hold its breath to see if they have another Nouri or not.

Another Nouri means intensified fighting across the country.

A leader who is inclusive and speaks to the Iraqi identity that voters embraced in the 2009, 2010 and 2013 elections could help pull support from the more extremist elements in the country.

US Secretary of State John Kerry issued the following statement today:


Press Statement
John Kerry
Washington, DC
August 14, 2014


We commend the important and honorable decision by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to support Prime Minister-designate Haider Al-Abadi in his efforts to form a new government and develop a national program in line with Iraq’s constitutional timeline. This milestone decision sets the stage for a historic and peaceful transition of power in Iraq.
We urge Mr. Abadi and all Iraqi leaders to move expeditiously to complete this process, which is essential to pulling the country together and consolidating the efforts of Iraq’s many diverse communities against the common threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Consistent with our Strategic Framework Agreement, the United States stands ready to partner with a new and inclusive government to counter this threat, and we will encourage other countries in the region and international community to do the same.



And that's where we're going to leave it.  The stuff about Nouri's fears on prosecution comes from 1 White House friend and three State Dept friends.  There's more that's not being discussed and we may go into that in Friday's snapshot.











nancy a. youssef


Read on ...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mouser and Glory Hog


mouser and glory hog
 

From May 5, 2011, that's   "Mouser and Glory Hog." 

C.I. wrote:


 At Ground Zero, Barack shows up with a mouse. Three Seals are present. First: "Well lookie lookie. The president as mouser." Second: "Yeah but we did all the work." Third: "Mouser and glory hog." Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

No false modesty, I love that comic.  I love the colors Barack is wearing.  I love that I took his big boasting point and turned it into a joke.

For those who've forgotten, Barack was trying to score points on the backs of others. 

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Thursday, August 7, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Marie Harf fails to represent, Justin Raimondo gets a lecture after his tacky attitude towards the Yazidis, the US is involved in air drops of relief for the Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar, and much more.

It was a rough day for State Dept spokesperson Marie Harf, she had to field questions on Iraq at today's State Dept press briefing (here for it in full -- and we've excerpted the Iraq section here).



QUESTION: ISIL seized this dam up in Mosul and I was wondering if you all could put that in perspective in terms of developments there. Also, what can you tell us about the Administration’s thoughts about how to help these trapped Iraqi civilians, these religious minorities that are kind of in trouble? There’s some discussion right now about humanitarian aid and whether or not that might include airstrikes or – what can you tell us about that?


MS. HARF: Well, I’ll start with the dam and then let’s go to the broader question. Obviously, the situation on the ground remains fluid, but the latest information is that ISIL has advanced on Mosul Dam and taken control of it. We are extremely concerned by this development. The dam is a vital part of Iraq’s infrastructure, as it controls water levels on the Tigris River. It is also a key source of water and electricity generation for the Iraqi people. So we’re closely coordinating with the Iraqis – with Iraqi officials in both Baghdad and Erbil to counter this development. But also writ large, I’d just say a few points. I know there’s a lot of interest out there on this today, a lot of questions and information floating around.  We are actively considering what we could do in support of Iraqi efforts – what more we could do – and particularly to provide additional support for the Yezidis, also the Christian communities we’ve talked about. Look, this is a huge humanitarian crisis. You have thousands and thousands of people at risk of death from starvation. We’re reviewing what more we can do. Obviously, we’ve talked a lot about this over the past few weeks. We’re working politically with the Iraqis on the government formation process. We’ve seen some progress, and hopefully we’ll see more. But we are right now actively considering what else we can do given the extremely grave humanitarian situation that we see on the ground. You’ve heard my colleague at the White House who I think just talked about this as well, so we’re looking at options.


I want to establish a point here so let's stay with the above and then move quickly through other sections on Iraq from today's briefing.



QUESTION: A few questions. Marie, on the question of the Yezidis, do we have any estimate of the – a number of people in peril?


MS. HARF: It’s a good question. I’m trying to get some information from our folks on that. We know it’s – there – I’ve seen reports of 15,000.


QUESTION: Right.


MS. HARF: I’ve seen a number of reports. I’m trying to get a little more clarity from our folks, and let me see if I can do that after the briefing. We do know it’s not just the Yezidis, though. It’s also these Christian communities. I mean, ISIL has come out and said they have a desire to kill people because of their sect or their ethnicity or their religion, and that they’ve been doing so. And so what we’ve seen on the ground is just really horrific, and that’s why right now, immediately, we are trying to find more ways to help.


QUESTION: And is – policy-wise, is stopping ethnic cleansing or is fear of potential ethnic cleansing a core national security interest of this Administration?


MS. HARF: I think you’ve seen throughout this Administration that when we have the ability to prevent humanitarian crises, or when we have the ability to help once there is a humanitarian crisis, ease the suffering of people through whatever means possible, right – we have a number of tools at our disposal – that has been a core principle for what guides our action. It’s certainly not the only one.


[. . .]


QUESTION: But ISIL could continue its advance. It could turn on the Yezidis; it could turn on the Christian minority.


MS. HARF: It already has.


QUESTION: It – yeah. Well, it could step it up.


MS. HARF: That’s true.



Marie Harf says IS is turning on Yazidis and Christians.  Does she say much else?

I really don't think this would fly under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or, for that matter, under Secretary of State Condi Rice.

If a group is being attacked, they need to be defended.

Did Marie issue a statement expressing outrage over the asaults?


In the entire press briefing, she used the term Yazidis only once and the only time she mentioned Christians was with the phrase "Christian communities" -- she used that phrase twice.

Given the chance to amplify outrage or register objection, a bored Marie takes a pass, mustering all the enthusiasm to decry religious intolerance as she'd offer deciding between roasted cherry and candy-shell red at her next manicure.

This is exactly how the administration has ended up with such a lousy reputation among many Christians, Jews and other groups.  The argument goes, a video on YouTube insults Muslims and Barack and others (including Hillary) are all over the media expressing dismay.  But Yazidis and Christians in Iraq are not targeted with videos, they're targeted with bullets, bombs, knifes, etc.  They're being killed not misentertained.

And where is the administration?

Why isn't Barack back on The View?  Why isn't he denouncing this religious persecution the same way he does a video on YouTube?

I don't disagree that Barack has many things to do on any day.  But if it's a question of too little time in his day, that's all the more reason that spokespeople like Marie Harf need to be strongly objecting.  (For those wondering why we're not quoting Josh Earnest, White House spokesperson, the White House needs to stop being so lazy and post text and video of today's press briefing.  They're lazy and embarrassing.  It's Thursday and their most recent posted briefing is from Tuesday.)

There is a cultural difference that is repeatedly ignored.  Most Americans have the attitude of get-over-it when a joke misfires or offends.  So the notion that you would apologize -- as a leader of the free world -- over some video posted to YouTube when you won't speak out loudly and condemn killing people for their religious beliefs?

I'm sorry, Barack chose to be president of the United States.  That does require you understand groups of people, not just your personal favorites.

And it is not shocking that some Christians in the US are dismayed by Barack's inability to address religious persecution -- especially when it is expressed in violence.

The gathering storm was finally spotted by the White House today.

Sky News reports, "A US official has said an 'effort has begun' to make humanitarian air drops over northern Iraq in the wake of ongoing jihadist offensive."  Benjamin Landy (MSNBC) adds, "The U.S. has been flying F-18 fighter jets, B-1 bombers and Predator drones over Iraq for several weeks on surveillance missions, which could be used as cover for the humanitarian mission or to protect the 40 U.S. personnel currently in Irbil."  David Jackson and Jim Michaels (USA Today) explain, "Iraqi aircraft have attempted to air drop supplies to the Yazidis but with limited success. Dropping supplies, particularly on a mountain top, is difficult as packages of food and water break open on impact. The U.S. Air Force has extensive experience with air dropping supplies, which they regularly do in the mountains of Afghanistan with accuracy."


You can credit Iraqis, Iraqi-Americans, CNN and Fox News (the only networks that took the issue seriously -- CBS Evening News did have a strong report -- one -- on the persecution), and even Samantha Power with the fact that the US is finally helping the Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar by dropping aid -- they need water, food, blankets and much more.  Alison Meuse (NPR) notes, "Up to 40,000 members of the community are stranded on barren mountain cliffs and encircled by the Islamic State, the extremist group that's been advancing rapidly across Iraq this summer. Dozens of Yazidi children have already died of dehydration, according to UNICEF, and many more risk a similar fate."


Let's note Samantha Power's statement from earlier this week:



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
I condemn in the strongest possible terms the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) recent attacks on Sinjar and Tal Afar in Ninewa province that have reportedly led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people, many from vulnerable minority communities, deepening Iraq’s already acute humanitarian crisis. ISIL’s reported abuse, kidnapping, torture and executions of Iraq’s religious and ethnic minorities and its systematic destruction of religious and cultural sites are appalling.
The United States supports the Iraqi Security Forces and Peshmerga Forces working to defend these areas against ISIL. We urge all parties to the conflict to allow safe access to the United Nations and its partners so they can deliver lifesaving humanitarian assistance, including to those Iraqi families reportedly encircled by ISIL on Mount Sinjar. The United States is committed to helping the people of Iraq as they confront the security and humanitarian challenges in their fight against ISIL. Iraq’s leaders must move swiftly to form a new, fully inclusive government that takes into account the rights, aspirations and legitimate concerns of all of Iraq’s communities. All Iraqis must come together to ensure that Iraq gets back on the path to a peaceful future and to prevent ISIL from obliterating Iraq’s vibrant diversity.
###


That is the strongest statement anyone in the administration made and it is the tone others should have been expressing.  I don't care for Samantha Power but if she does something right, I have no problem noting that and giving her credit.

Justin Raimondo (Antiwar.com) weighs in:

Now the War Party is trying the same stunt again, this time in – of all places! – Iraq. And it looks like they’ve succeeded, at least for the moment. Or maybe not: looks like the fog of war is already spreading and obscuring our view of facts on the ground. What we do know, however, is that the mysterious group known as ISIS (Islamic State in al-Sham/Syria), having invaded Iraq and taken great swathes of the country under its control, is now threatening the Yazidis, an obscure religious sect in the northern provinces that practices an exotic mix of Islam, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism.
Yes, folks, it’s another "humanitarian disaster" staring us in the face – and, we’re being told, we have little choice but to go in and save the day. Whether or not President Obama – who was reported to be "considering" air strikes – decides to go all in, we’ve already sent in hundreds of Special Forces to "advise" the nearly nonexistent Iraqi army we spent billions arming and training. The military infrastructure is there, ready and waiting.
So what should we do to help Iraq stave off an invasion by ISIS, which is now holding some 40,000 Yazidis in the northern part of the country?

The answer is: nothing. Not every problem has a solution. Not every mistake – in this case the mistake of invading Iraq in the first place – can be rectified.


I don't get it.  We can all be a little bitchy -- me more so than many -- but why would you belittle people under attack?  "Obscure"?  What is the purpose of that?  To say their lives might have more value if they were "obvious" (to use but one antonym for obscure)?

Antiwar.com does much good and the country is lucky the website exists but sometimes Justin can be a little cruel to the victims when he should be punching up (aiming at officials and rulers).

As for what the US should do?  They should oversee airdrops of aid.

Should they provide ground forces?

I say no.

I also say no to the US providing bombings -- which they're doing now.

But that's a debate that needs to take place and (a) enough people aren't paying attention and (b) when Justin gets bitchy about the victims of violence, he makes it very difficult to rally support to his side.  There are some who, reading the remarks, will think, "Well I don't mock people who are being killed so I must be for a re-invasion."

And, honestly, that's what it can come down to in a national discussion.

Maybe some feel there's no need for such a discussion?  After all, CBS News and AP report, "Even as the White House weighed potential military options, [Joshua] Earnest said Obama would stand by his pledge to not put U.S. combat troops back on the ground in Iraq.  'There are no American military solutions to the problems in Iraq,' he said. "

So some may avoid the discussion for that reason.  But Josh Earnest didn't say one word about air strikes -- Barack's preferred method of attack as evidenced by The Drone War as well as his assault on Libya.

And there are reports that air strikes have already started. Marina Koren, Kaveh Waddell and Matt Berman (National Journal) report:

A New York Times report, which cited Kurdish officials, said American military forces launched airstrikes on at least two targets from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Thursday night. The Pentagon denied any such action.
Now, CNN reports that U.S. forces have begun dropping humanitarian aid by air over northwestern Iraq, where tens of thousands of the country's religious minorities are stranded. U.S. officials tell NBC News that U.S. aircraft are standing by and ready to launch airstrikes to defend refugees and American resources. ISIS targets of these airstrikes, they say, are "lined up," and U.S. forces have their "fingers on the trigger."

Other reports suggest that the airstrikes reported by the Times may have come from the Iraqi air force.


Eric Pfeiffer (Yahoo News) notes, "Minutes after several reports surfaced that the U.S. had conducted airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic State forces, the Pentagon denied the story.  A spokesman for the Kurdish armed forces said that U.S. aircraft had bombed two targets in Northern Iraq."

So bombings (by the US) may or may not have started.  The discussion starts when?

US House Rep Frank Wolf's office issued the following today:


     Aug 7, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) today asked President Obama if the Atrocities Prevention Board he created in 2012 has been convened to discuss the genocide taking place in Iraq.
In a pointed letter to the president, Wolf reminded him of the speech he gave at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial where he said the Atrocities Prevention Board would make the deterrence of genocide and mass atrocities “a core national security interest and core moral responsibility.”
Over the last two weeks, Wolf has spoken on the House floor, issued statements and written letters to the president in an effort to raise awareness about the atrocities taking place in Iraq.  He also has been openly critical of the Obama Administration’s failure to speak out about the systematic targeting of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq for extinction.
“It is now clear to the nation and the world that your words were hollow; your ‘presidential directive’ apparently was nothing more than a token gesture,” Wolf wrote.  “You will come to sincerely regret your failure to take action to stop the genocide in Iraq.  Your conscience will haunt you long after you leave office.  Mr. President, say something; do something.” 
Below is the complete text of Wolf’s letter:
The Honorable Barack H. Obama
The President
The White House
Washington DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:
In 2012, during an address at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, you announced the convening of the Atrocities Prevention Board, led by the White House, which would make the deterrence of genocide and mass atrocities “a core national security interest and core moral responsibility.”  You also stated “We're making sure that the United States government has the structures, the mechanisms to better prevent and respond to mass atrocities.”  Throughout your speech, you repeatedly said "never again" would the world allow mass atrocities to occur.  
Tragically, mass atrocities are happening again today – and on your watch.  Genocide is taking place today in northern Iraq, where the Christian and Yezidi populations are being exterminated by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  There is no question that systematic and targeted brutality is occurring.  Yet, as I said on the House floor last week, the silence from you and your administration is deafening. Why have you not spoken up, and why has the Atrocities Prevention Board not taken action?  Just today, the editorial page of The Washington Post described your administration's response to this emergency as “listless.” 
Over the weekend, approximately 200,000 Yezidis were forced to flee their homes.  Your own administration has reported that anywhere from 35,000 to 60,000 of these Yezidis took refuge in the Sinjar Mountains without any protection from the elements and little access to food and water.  Children and the elderly are dying of thirst, families are being separated and women and young girls are being raped and sold into slavery.
As I wrote in my letter to you earlier this week, ISIS has systematically destroyed and looted churches, monasteries, mosques and other significant historic landmarks, including Jonah's tomb.  The homes of Christians and other religious minorities have been marked with spray paint to target those who live there.  Families have been force to flee, often on foot, with nothing but literally the shirts on their backs.
We cannot pretend these atrocities aren’t taking place; there are now videos on the Internet being promoted by those sympathetic to ISIS proudly displaying their brutal and grotesque slaughter and abuse of Christians, Yezidis and other religious minorities in Iraq. 
Your administration is aware of what is going on, yet you are doing nothing.  Just what is the point of having an “Atrocities Prevention Board” if it takes no action to prevent or stop atrocities?  When was the last time this board has met?  Has the board even been convened to address the genocide taking place in Iraq? 
Much like President Clinton has deeply regretted his failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, I believe you will come to regret your inaction for years to come.  
I want to remind you of one other thing you said at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2012: 
“And finally, 'never again' is a challenge to nations.  It’s a bitter truth -- too often, the world has failed to prevent the killing of innocents on a massive scale.  And we are haunted by the atrocities that we did not stop and the lives we did not save. 
 “Three years ago today, I joined many of you for a ceremony of remembrance at the U.S. Capitol.  And I said that we had to do 'everything we can to prevent and end atrocities.'  And so I want to report back to some of you today to let you know that as President I’ve done my utmost to back up those words with deeds.  Last year, in the first-ever presidential directive on this challenge, I made it clear that 'preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.
“That does not mean that we intervene militarily every time there's an injustice in the world.  We cannot and should not.  It does mean we possess many tools – diplomatic and political, and economic and financial, and intelligence and law enforcement and our moral suasion –  and using these tools over the past three years, I believe –  I know – that we have saved countless lives.”    
It is now clear to the nation and the world that your words were hollow; your “presidential directive” apparently was nothing more than a token gesture.  You will come to sincerely regret your failure to take action to stop the genocide in Iraq.  Your conscience will haunt you long after you leave office.  Mr. President, say something; do something. 
Best wishes.
Sincerely,
Frank R. Wolf
Member of Congress


Wolf cares about the situation and has addressed it repeatedly.  So I won't mock him.  But I don't see what good is accomplished by the US government sending troops in or bombing.

If troops are sent in -- I'm opposed -- I would hope a discussion would have taken place and it would have outlined (a) what counts as success, (b) what's the end-point and (c) what prompts the US to leave early.  The last one means, for example, if the Iraqi government is not meeting its goals, the US military is not there to protect it.

That's why I don't see the point in sending troops in.

Is someone, some country, going to hold the Nouri's hand forever?

What's going on right now is a reaction to Nouri al-Maliki.

Justin Raimondo works his grudge f**k against John McCain and blames the senator.  Really, Justin, that bitchy you think you're doing so well?  It's not working.  And if I were a Libertarian (I'm not, I'm a liberal) so touchy about charges of 'isolationist,' I think I'd work harder at not coming off so damn bitchy and unfeeling.  That really feeds into the negative image of Libertarians that the GOP tries to hang on them.

Nouri is the cause.

If US troops had stayed in Iraq in large numbers, today's violence might be less (it might not be). But that just means the US military would again be used to fight Nouri's battles for him.

He can't stay in power without the help of other countries' armed forces.

That is the point of today and it should be the part of any discussion about the possibility of US troops going back into Iraq -- more US troops going back into Iraq.

Nouri could have fashioned the government he promised to in 2010 -- a power-sharing government.
He could have been the leader of all the Iraqi people.

Barack gets a little bitchy -- speaking of bitchy -- when it comes to Republicans forgetting that he's not President of Democratic America, he's President of all of America.  He should be a little more respectful of Republicans -- being in the fray constantly is really the job for Harry Reid and people like that.

But even at his bitchiest, Barack hasn't spewed hatred at any Americans.

Nouri spews hatred non-stop -- at Sunnis, at Kurds, at everyone who isn't State of Law.

He's called so many people "terrorists" and done so so often that the word has no meaning.

And the US-installed leader refused to lead in a fair manner.  He punished Sunnis, he put Shi'ite militias on the payroll -- and did so before last month --  though McClatchy Newspapers apparently missed Tim Arango (New York Times) breaking that story back in September of last year.

He targeted the Kurds, he targeted women, he targeted the LGBT community and so much more.


And the Iraqi people tried to send him packing in 2010.  But suddenly the votes didn't matter.  The US brokered the power sharing agreement and then refused to insist Nouri honor it.  It was left to the Kurdish leaders, Ayad Allawi and his Iraqiya and cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr to publicly demand that Nouri follow it -- which they did in the summer of 2011.  And he blew them off.  So they eventually announced that if he did not implement The Erbil Agreement, they would take a vote in Parliament and Nouri might lose his post via a vote of no confidence.  They did everything the Constitution dictated for such a vote.

Then fat ass Jalal Talabani mistook the petition for a pizza and chowed down on it.

No, no, no.  Jalal just created powers for himself and refused to introduce the petition into Parliament.  That was his job, per the Constitution.  It was a formality, a bit of ceremony.  And he refused to do it.

Months after this, for the second time in Nouri's second term, massive protests took place around Iraq.

We said it, we warned about it.

You deny people their votes.  You deny them their leaders.  When you've destroyed every institution that might speak to and for the people, what is left?

Violence.

That's all that's left.

When you've voted, when you've followed the law (the attempt at a no-confidence vote), when you've protested and nothing improves -- the only change is Nouri gets more open about killing people -- such as with Hawija massacre in April of 2013 -- what resource do you have left?

Violence.

Justin Raimondo can babble away about John McCain.  It's pure stupidity and a waste of time but maybe that's what Justin wants to do.

We've covered Iraq every damn day here.  Justin hasn't.  Even if you count Antiwar.com, they haven't covered it every day since the drawdown of US forces in December of 2011. If you consider yokel Scott Horton part of Antiwar.com (he hosts Antiwar Radio), then, in fact, Antiwar.com spent a lot of time praising Nouri al-Maliki in the last four years.

So maybe Justin has a learning bloc?

I don't know.  But I know I don't like John McCain -- I always feel bad for Cindy when I dictate or write that -- and that I've called him out when I felt it was needed and I've given credit when I felt it was needed.  I don't get Justin's hatred for McCain.

But I don't get any of his hatred right now.

Does he not get that what's taking place in Iraq is the most valid argument for sending US troops in -- the most valid argument of the last 30 or so years?

It's more valid than mythical WMD or  'babies tossed from incubators!' or any such nonsense.


Justin doesn't believe this is something the US should send forces into Iraq over.

Okay, can he make that point in a grown up manner?

This is the nonsens that the balding Bill Maher pulls (Bill's hit that age where every year he looks more and more like a woman).  And some on my side (the left) eat it up.  Oh, we love to eat up hating the other.

But Justin's supposedly antiwar -- Bill's not.

If he's antiwar, he needs to ask himself, "Does anyone take me seriously when I say we shouldn't go into Iraq to protect religious minorities -- do they take me seriously if I mock the religious minorities?"

No, they don't.

You're mocking victims.

No one's taking you seriously.

A few God haters out there are probably applauding Justin's latest attack on religion and gods.  But outside of those people?

No.

Justin has so much potential power and he abuses it so often.

Do most people want to see people killed for their religious beliefs?

No.

So the fact that Yazidis, Christians and other minorities in Iraq are being threatened with death is an appeal for something to be done.

When an antiwar voice like Justin thinks belittling the targeted is funny, he just walls himself off from people searching for a position on whether or not to send US troops into Iraq.

Nouri is the problem.

A friend at the White House swears Barack gets this.  Said to note that.  Said noting it might get people -- including Barack -- publicly speaking about this.

If Nouri is the problem -- and he is -- then the answer is not US troops into Iraq.

There's a fight taking place and it's taking place because of Nouri's actions.

People are being hurt as a result.

That's very sad.

But if US troops go in to protect Nouri's government, nothing is fixed.

The day of reckoning just gets pushed back.

Unless the US intends to keep troops in Iraq forever.

Supposedly, Barack is resisting sending more US troops into Iraq right now (I think he's already sent too many) because he gets that a protected (by the US military) Nouri only gets worse.  Supposedly, Barack genuinely thinks -- or at least hopes -- that Nouri will get the message: Step down to save Iraq.

I don't think Nouri will get that message.

But Barack apparently does and he's delaying on 'more' -- however that's defined -- because he knows Iraq doesn't get better under Nouri.

There is pressure within the White House for 'action' of a violent nature.

If mature people want to have a discussion on this issue, that's great.  But mature is not calling a people "obscure."  And the obvious response to that is that the people aren't "obscure" -- nor is their religion -- you're just too damn stupid and xenophobic to grasp that you are not the center of the world and you are not the means by which we grade every other person on the face of the planet.  In other words, get over your damn self.

And if that seems harsh, Justin Raimondo, I'm sorry.  But we don't need Medea Benjamin and her nonsense.  She's a fake and fraud.  Justin, you're someone who could speak and be believed and applauded.  But it's not going to happen when you're tossing jabs at a victimized people.

That's what Republican comedians never get.  They think they can make fun of the victimized and the downtrodden and are always surprised when an audience turns on them.

Justin's not a Republican or a comedian.  Supposedly, he wants to stop wars and I don't see how he gets to be part of the discussion when, at the big table, no one wants to sit by him because he's known for picking on people in need.

In fairness to Justin Raimondo, there are many people doing what's he's doing wrong.  Most of them aren't Libertarians, they're lefites.  And if I thought any of them had the hope of convincing even one person that the US shouldn't send more troops to Iraq, I'd have tailored the remarks above to them.  But they're worthless and they've made themselves so.  Justin hasn't whored himself out for a politician the way most of the left did when they were inducted into The Cult of St. Barack.

If you're wondering, no, there was no new prime minister of Iraq named today.


New topic, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration  is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press).  This is from his photo essay "LIVING ON THE STREETS OF OAKLAND" (East Bay Express):




I live in a camp on the side of the freeway. I've been kicked around from camp to camp by Caltrans for years - my own personal diaspora. Many times I've had a camp full of feeble people, old people, people with dementia. Think of how hard it is to march everyone to a different camp, with all of their bedding and belongings in shopping carts. So I form an advance party, and clear out a space somewhere along the freeway. We all move in together, like a family. Sometimes we move back into the same camp, if the police aren't involved. Many homeless people do that.

Caltrans workers are very pragmatic about the whole thing. They understand there's homelessness, and they're hoping you'll cooperate. They usually give a warning, but I've had experiences of going back to camp and discovering everything missing, including the people. I have to search for them, and bring them to a safe haven somewhere. All my library books, suddenly gone, because Caltrans takes them.

There are different types of homeless people. Many homeless have personality disorders and find it very difficult to be around people or hold down jobs. They have no choice but to be on the streets, because they're ill-equipped to deal with the requirements of life. That should inspire mercy in us, and compassion.

Of course, there are people on the streets who got there because of drugs and alcohol. That is also something that should require compassion in us, because people don't always understand the consequences when they get involved. There are relatively few people who want to be on the streets. I know I don't want to. I'd rather be inside with a nice warm bed, a shower, a toilet, and everything else.












Read on ...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

White House Correspondents Dinner


White House Correspondents Dinner

 
From May 1, 2011, that's "White House Correspondents Dinner." C.I. wrote:


 Barack jokes, "Donald Trump forced me to release documents. Don't you wish Donald Trump would dog me about the economy so I'd get off my lazy ass." She-Hulk stands to the side while Seth Meyers sees something he likes. Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

If you missed it, Seth's open mouth is crotch level on Barack.  :D

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Friday, July 25, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri refuses to step aside, the State Dept refuses to break it off with him, and much more.




Wednesday morning, the State Dept's Brett McGurk and the Defense Dept's Elissa Slotkin appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to talk about Iraq.  Thursday, they appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to talk again about Iraq.  We're going to spend another day on the Senate hearing and we'll kick things off with this lengthy exchange.


Senator John McCain: So if we did initiate an air to ground campaign, without including Syria, they would have a sanctuary in Syria.  Would you agree with that?

Brett McGurk: One of the reasons I defer to my colleague Elissa, we're focused on training the moderate opposition and have a face that's able to deny safe haven and deny space to the -- to the ISIL networks in Syria.

Senator John McCain:  Well probably so but the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have both stated publicly that the Iraqi security forces are not capable of regaining the territory they lost to ISIS on their own, without external assistance.  Do you agree with the Secretary of the Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs?

Brett McGurk: The Iraqi security forces have moved, uh, a little bit out of -- We had this snowballing effect out of --

Senator John McCain: Again, asking if you agree or disagree with the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who both stated publicly that the Iraq security forces are not capable of regaining the territory they've lost to ISIS on their own without external assistance?  Do you agree or disagree?

Brett McGurk:  They could not conduct combined operations -- which it would take -- without some enabling support.

Senator John McCain: So, since we all rule out boots on the ground, that might mean the use of air power as a way of assisting them.  Would you agree with that?

Brett McGurk:  Uh, Senator, I just -- uh, all of these options, potential options for the president, are being looked at and, as Elissa said, we're not going to crowd the table --

Senator John McCain: And how long have we been "looking at them," Mr. McGurk?

Brett McGurk:  Uh, well --

Elissa Slotkin: Sir, the assessments came in last week and --

Senator John McCain: So the assessments came in last week.  How long have we been assessing?

Elissa Slotkin:  I think we assessed for two solid weeks.

Senator John McCain:  I think it's been longer than that since the collapse of the -- of the Iraqi military, Ms. Slotkin.

Elissa Slotkin:  I think the president made his announcement on June 19th.  And then he instructed that assessors go to Baghdad.  They flew there and began their assessments immediately.

Senator John McCain: I see.  And so far we have launched no air strikes in any part of Iraq, right?

Elissa Slotkin:  That's correct.

Senator John McCain:  And you stated before that we didn't have sufficient information to know which targets to hit.  Is that correct?

Elissa Slotkin: I think we have adequately improved our intelligence --

Senator John McCain: But at the time, did you believe that we didn't have sufficient information in order to launch airstrikes?

Elissa Slotkin:  I think that we -- given our extremely deliberate process about launching any airstrike we would --

Senator John McCain:  You know, it's interesting.  I asked: Do you think at that we didn't have sufficient information to launch airstrikes against ISIS?

Elissa Slotkin: I think given the standards the United States has for dropping ordinance, no, we did not have the intelligence we would ever want at that time.

Senator John McCain: I find that interesting because none of the military that I've talked to, that served there -- and even those who flew there -- they're absolutely convinced, as I am, that when you have convoys moving across the desert in open train, you can identify and strike them.  We know that they were operating out of bases in Syria -- out in the open, in the desert.  So with those of us who have some military experience in the advocacy of air power, we heartily disagree.  And that isn't just me, it comes from military leaders who served there.   


There are a number of reasons to note the above.  One reason we did?

Jonathan S. Landay (McClatchy Newspapers) reports one aspect of the hearing:

Like the rest of the world, the U.S. government appeared to have been taken aback last month when Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, fell to an offensive by jihadis of the Islamic State that triggered the collapse of five Iraqi army divisions and carried the extremists to the threshold of Baghdad.
A review of the record shows, however, that the Obama administration wasn’t surprised at all.

I don't like people who lie.

In the House hearing especially, there was a pretense of 'I am so shocked!'  Often with a claim of 'It turns out that late last year, Nouri al-Maliki asked the White House for air strikes.'

John McCain is no friend of the White Houses.  That is a large chunk of his exchange in the Senate hearing.

You can agree or disagree with the points he raises.  But you will notice he does not pretend he is shocked or act like he just learned of Nouri's request from last year for air strikes.

You can refer to the November 1, 2013 snapshot covering Nouri's face-to-face meet up with Barack Obama to grasp that there's no way anyone can pretend to be shocked by today's events.

Yet a number of House members pretended and played -- and lied -- during Wednesday's hearing.  And a number of reporters are eager to join them in pretending and playing.

Another topic that came up repeatedly was Nouri's failures.

For example, former US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey told the Senate Committee on Thursday:

Despite the election of a moderate Sunni Arab speaker of the Iraqi parliament two weeks ago, there is no certainty that Iraqi political leaders and parliament can overcome their deep divisions to create an inclusive new government as rightly demanded by the U.S. Government. For starters, any such government must not be headed by PM Maliki. He has lost the trust of many of his citizens, including a great many Shia Arabs, yet is still trying to hold on to power. In this uncertain situation, while pushing the traditional approach, we must simultaneously prepare to deal with an Iraq semi-permanently split into three separate political entities, and to shape our approach to the Sunni Arab, Shia Arab, and Kurdish populations and to the central government on that basis.

Nouri "is still trying to hold on to power"?  Michael Gregory and Larry King (Reuters) reported Friday morning that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistanti's Friday message was that politicians must stop "clinging to their posts, in an apparent reference" to Nouri who refuses to step aside.

Jeffrey thinks the answer is "an inclusive new government" and one that "must not be headed by PM Maliki."  In the same Thursday hearing, it was wondered if the State Dept was backing Nouri and at what cost?


Senator Jeff Flake:  Is it possible at all, in the State Dept's view to move ahead with Maliki in charge?  Will there be sufficient trust -- any trust -- in the Sunni population that he'll be inclusive enough?  His government?  Or does our strategy rely on somebody else coming in?


Brett McGurk: Again, it's going to be very difficult for him to form a government.  So they're -- they're facing that question now -- now that the president's been elected to face the question of the prime minister.  Any prime minister, in order to form a government, is going to have to pull the country together.  And so who ever the leader is, it's someone who's going to have to demonstrate that just to get the votes he needs to remain -- or to, uh, uh, be sworn into office.  So that's something that's going to unfold fairly rapidly over the coming days.  Again, there's a 15 day timeline to nominate a prime minister [designate] and then whomever the nominee is then has to form a Cabinet and present it to the Parliament to form a government.

 While Nouri has lost the support of many -- including, reportedly, the support of the Iranian government, the US government continues to support him and not just as evidenced by Brett's slip-up ("he needs to remain") but also by the exchange in Friday's State Dept press briefing moderated by Marie Hark

QUESTION: Right. Yeah, I wanted to ask you if there’s any progress on the forming of the new government. Do you have any updated --

MS. HARF: Well, they selected a president and --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: -- they have up to 15 day – excuse me, up to 15 days, I think, to name candidates for prime minister. And then after that, I think up to 30 to actually form a government. I can check on the dates. But they have now a speaker, they have a president, and then next up is a prime minister.

QUESTION: Should we read from the testimony that Mr. McGurk did on Capitol Hill that you are losing patience with Mr. Maliki, you’d like to see someone else take his place?

MS. HARF: You ask this question a different way every day. We don’t support --

QUESTION: Yes.

MS. HARF: -- and I’ll give you the same answer, so let’s – for consistency, let’s do that again today. We don’t support any one candidate, any one person to be prime minister. We’ve said it needs to be someone who is interested in governing inclusively. We’ve also said we’ve had issues in the past with how Prime Minister Maliki has governed. But again, it’s not up for us to decide. It’s up for the Iraqis to decide.

QUESTION: Right. But your confidence in Maliki’s abilities to rule inclusively, as you said, is --

MS. HARF: Well, we’ve had issues in the past.

QUESTION: -- not ironclad.


MS. HARF: We’ve had issues in the past.


The State Dept has "had issues"?  With a War Criminal, they've "had issues"?

Prime Minister and chief thug of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki killed 4 civilians  and left eight more injured in his latest bombing of Mosul on Friday, NINA reports.  Thursday, NINA reported:

Head of the doctors resident at the Fallujah Educational Hospital Ahmed al-Shami said on Thursday that the outcome of the bombing on the city of Fallujah since / 7/ months reached / 2696 / martyrs and wounded, including women and children.
He told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that the final outcome to this day for the victims of the bombing suffered by residential neighborhoods in the city of Fallujah was / 610 / Martyrs and / 2086 / wounded, including women and children.


Nouri's a War Criminal.

But the State Dept is happy to stand next to him, hold hands with him and, provided with enough booze, have a hot and sticky, back seat make out session with him.

While a War Criminal gets embraced, some argue an ally gets mistreated.

Dropping back to Thursday's hearing:


Senator Barbara Boxer:  I want to ask you about the Kurds.  Both of you.  I don't know which.  Either of you could answer.  The Kurds in northern Iraq have long been a strong ally of the United States and they have played an important role in countering the rapid advance of ISIS.  When I went to Iraq a very long time ago, the bullets were flying.  The Kurds?  I found them to get what this was all about.  And there's so much prejudice against the Kurds.  The Kurdish militia offered to support Iraqi security forces when ISIS began its offensive in Mosul.  Kurdish forces have kept much of northern Iraq out of terrorists hands.  Kurdistan has beome a destination for hundreds of thousands of Iraqis fleeing from ISIS controlled territory.  And, you know, I have to say as I watch Mr. Maliki, I don't think he appreciates it.  As the Iraqis work to determine their future, I'm asking you, what role can the Kurds play?  And should the United States acknowledge that the Kurds should have a significant amount of autonomy?  I think they've earned it and I wondered what the administration's position was vis a vis the Kurds and more autonomy for the Kurds?


We'll ignore all the pretty words Brett McGurk offered Boxer because Marie opened her mouth in the State Dept press briefing.

QUESTION: Okay. Reuters has reported that a tanker loaded with oil from the Kurdistan region of Iraq is near Texas and is apparently heading for a potential buyer there.

MS. HARF: Well, we are aware there’s a tanker off the coast of Florida currently. But our policy here has not changed. Iraq’s energy resources belong to all of the Iraqi people. The U.S. has made very clear that if there are cases involving legal disputes, the United States informs the parties of the dispute and recommends they make their own decisions with advice to counsel on how to proceed. So I’d obviously refer you directly to the parties in terms of any arbitration here. I know that’s what the stories have focused on.

QUESTION: Are you actively warning the – say, the U.S. firms or other foreign governments to not buy Kurdish oil specifically?

MS. HARF: Well, we have been very clear that if there are legal issues that arise, if they undertake activities where there might be arbitration, that there could potentially be legal consequences. So we certainly warn people of that.

QUESTION: Do you keep doing that now too?

MS. HARF: We are repeatedly doing that, yes.

QUESTION: So why – I mean, if you think it’s illegal or that --

MS. HARF: I didn’t say it was illegal. I said there’s a legal dispute process here, an arbitration mechanism. There will be a legal ruling on it. I’m not making that legal determination from here.

QUESTION: So you’re not sure if it’s – the sale of Kurdish oil independent from Baghdad is legal or illegal?

MS. HARF: Correct. So we know – we have said what our – the United States position is, is that the Iraqis – people own all of Iraq’s energy resources and that the Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government need to reach an agreement on how to manage these resources. There is separately a legal arbitration procedure that can take place if there are legal questions about oil in this – such as in this case, which is a separate question from what our policy is. And there will be a legal ruling made that’s separate from us.

QUESTION: But if you don’t – if you’re not sure if it’s legal or --

MS. HARF: It’s not that we’re not sure. It’s that there’s a separate process.

QUESTION: Yeah, there’s – it’s a separate process, but it seems to me that you are taking the side of Baghdad – or Baghdad, you are, like --

MS. HARF: Taking the side of all of Iraq, a federal Iraq.

QUESTION: Because you’re saying if the federal government does not approve of it, then the – you are discouraging U.S. firms or other international buyers from --

MS. HARF: We said there could be potential legal disputes that arise from it.

QUESTION: But you’re warning them, right?

MS. HARF: We are warning them that there could be potential legal disputes. These are commercial transaction. The U.S. Government is not involved in them. Our position, from a policy standpoint, is that Iraq’s oil belongs to all Iraqis and that the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government need to work together on an accommodation and come to an agreement here. And so that’s been our position for a very long time, and we do warn individual entities that there could be legal actions that come from some of these actions we’ve seen.

QUESTION: So you’re saying your position regarding Kurdistan, as it’s been reported by a couple of media outlets, has not been softened regarding Kurdistan’s export --

MS. HARF: I’m not sure exactly what – in terms of our oil?

QUESTION: Yeah, oil.

MS. HARF: Our oil position has not changed.

QUESTION: At all?

MS. HARF: Correct.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: Yes, Said.

QUESTION: In fact, your position is that all oil contracts should be done through the central government, but let me ask you --

MS. HARF: Well, I meant the central government should come to an agreement --

QUESTION: Right, yeah.

MS. HARF: -- with the Kurdistan Government about how to --

QUESTION: Exactly --


MS. HARF: -- go forward, mm-hmm.

Dropping back to June 28th:


Repeatedly, the State Dept has insisted they weren't taking sides on the oil issue and more gifted speakers have been able to walk the line so that there was the possibility that State wasn't choosing sides.  Their actions made clear they were backing Nouri but their words gave the indication that maybe that wasn't the case and actions were accidental or the product of chaos and not a plan that State was following.

Then Marie Harf clomps into the room and makes clear, it is an anti-Kurd position and that it always has been.

But a hiccup, this week, a hiccup.

A legal victory for the Kurds.  The KRG notes:

On 23rd June 2014, the Court convened a special meeting to address the Minister’s request and, after examining the reasoning behind his request, the Court decided unanimously to reject the request of the Minister “for being contrary to the applicable legal contexts in Iraq.”
It is worth noting here that the Minister’s claims were based on his own interpretation of constitutional provisions to claim that the oil and gas affairs fall within the exclusive powers of the federal government. In so claiming, the Minister was relying on the centralized laws enacted prior to 2003, thus ignoring the fact that current constitutional provisions do not incorporate any oil and gas matters within Article 110, which defines the  exclusive powers of the federal government.

With this Court decision, the Kurdistan Regional Government has another important clarification of its acquired rights as stated in the Constitution.  The Court ruling was taken by a unanimous decision of all its members, and it explicitly rejected the request made by the Minister. Such a decision by the highest court in the land is binding on the Minister and cannot be challenged in any way.
This is a clear victory for justice and for upholding KRG’s rights, despite the Iraqi Federal Oil Ministry‘s interferences and unjustifiable interventions. This decision clearly demonstrates that the Federal Oil ministry and its marketing arm (SOMO) will also fail on all their reckless efforts on the international level.

  This judicial decision by the Supreme Federal Court must be respected, and now we call upon the Federal Oil Ministry, SOMO and all their helpers to abandon their illegal and unconstitutional interventions to prevent oil exports from the Kurdistan Region. They must also cease sending intimidating and threatening letters or making false claims to prospective traders and buyers of oil exported legally by the Kurdistan Regional Government for the benefit of the people of Kurdistan and Iraq.

And that decision came down before Marie's latest flapping of the gums on this issue.

Marie and State should have been aware of the verdict.

They should also be aware that their active support and embrace of Nouri -- which was never backed by the law as they tried to claim -- looks even more repugnant and ill thought.

The Kurds are not only an oppressed people, they've been the ones to attempt to work with the US government for decades -- even though the US government has repeatedly turned on them.  What a slap in the face the US government has repeatedly delivered to the Kurds over the oil issue.

Nouri's failure to pass an oil law is the US government's failure since he's repeatedly promised to pass one since 2006 and now, 8 years later, there's still no oil and gas law.

Marie and State should be pressed now, with a legal verdict being delivered, on where they stand? And why this verdict is not supposed to change anything?



No, Marie -- on Friday -- was not going to call the Kurds' actions "illegal" because, as we just noted above, a court has ruled that the Kurds can do as they're doing.

An honest spokesperson would note that.  Marie's just a joke.



Iraq was briefly noted on the second hour of The Diane Rehm Show (NPR) today.  Iraq grandstander Nancy A. Youssef and other guests were certainly defensive when -- forty-nine minutes into the hour -- caller Terry raised the issue of Iraq.

Diane Rehm:  All right. To Terry in Florence, Ky. You're on the air.

TERRY: Good morning. I wanted to bring to the attention of the panel about the different groups that are being kicked out of Mosul as ISIS takes over there. And I wanted to ask, why is the media not really interested in talking about the different groups that get pushed out and what happens to them? In America, you know, we pay special attention to the Christian communities, but even beyond that there are several different variations on Islam in there. And they're -- the stories that are coming out are very, very worrisome.

HIRSH: Well, I would not agree that the media is ignoring it. There's obviously a lot of smoke and debris coming from all these other stories we've been discussing. It's hard to focus on everything at once, which is a big problem for Obama. But just in the last day or so, the ISIS militants in Mosul blew up the Shrine of Yunus, the so-called -- supposed grave place of Jonah, the Prophet Jonah, a place revered by all three major religions. Clearly, this is a brutal group. And the scariest thing about them is that they are not just destroying things. They are also -- are governing in a very repressive fashion. I mean, they've killed, in the last several days, three Sunni clerics in Mosul who urged resistance to them. And they're a Sunni group. So this has been horrific. We, you know, the media is paying attention to it. But again, it's hard to focus on everything at once.

Nancy A. Youssef:  I know, Terry, it might seem like ignoring. But think about the issues that have come up, the countries, the crises that have come up this summer. By my list -- Nigeria, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, in addition to the issues that we've been talking about today, Ukraine and Gaza and the Israeli conflict. And so it's been such a tumultuous summer and so many places are erupting that what might seem like ignoring is really I think a world overwhelmed by the number of crises confronting it.

Let's stay with this topic for a moment and we'll circle back to the trash that is NPR to wrap the topic up.

Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports on the apparent bombing of a Sunni mosque which apparently destroyed Jonah's tomb:


The holy site is thought to be the burial place of the prophet Jonah, who was swallowed by a whale or fish in both the Islamic and Judeo-Christian traditions.
Militants belonging to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, planted explosives around the tomb and detonated the explosion remotely Thursday, civil defense officials there told CNN.

NINA notes:


In a statement issued today Mottahidoon said : " With hearts rupturing of pain, and eyes full of blood of the terrible scene of blowing up the shrine and mosque of the Prophet Yunus peace be upon him, the Mosalion the whole world with them farewell a memorial combining history, civilization and sacred values, that is what it means the sublime edifice of Prophet Yunus peace be upon him which is located on Talit-Tawbah / hill of repentance/ in the left side of the city of Mosul.

Mottahidoon is the political party of Osama al-Nujaifi who was the Speaker of Parliament from 2010 until this month.  Mosul, of course, is where Iraqi Christians have most recently been targeted.  Alex McClintock and Scott Spark (Religion and Ethics Report, Australia's ABC Radio -- link is text and audio) report:


‘It's a very difficult time, Mosul is empty of Christians,’ says Father Andrzej Halemba, Middle East coordinator for Aid to the Church in Need. ‘Two thousand years of beautiful history, where the Christians and Muslims for centuries had helped each other, but now it’s the end of Christianity in Mosul. It's dreadful news.’
Christians were reportedly given a choice by ISIS militants: convert to Islam, pay an undisclosed tribute to their new rulers or be ‘put to the sword’. Up to 30,000 elected to flee to safer Kurdish-controlled areas, mainly on foot and often without access to fresh water. According to Father Halemba, even more radical Sunni clerics are arriving from the Gulf states, and they are urging militants to cut off water to Christian villages. Appalling  photos of decapitated Muslims and actual crucifixions of Christians in ISIS controlled areas are emerging on social media today.
‘They lost everything,’ he says. ‘They lost houses, they lost cars, they lost property, they lost money, they lost mobiles: whatever they had.’


Vatican Radio notes that Islamic leaders outside of Iraq have not remained silent either:


The most explicit condemnation came from Iyad Ameen Madani, the Secretary General for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the group representing 57 countries, and 1.4 billion Muslims.
In a statement, he officially denounced the "forced deportation under the threat of execution” of Christians, calling it a "crime that cannot be tolerated.” The Secretary General also distanced Islam from the actions of the militant group known as ISIS, saying they "have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, kindness, fairness, freedom of faith and coexistence.”


While these events are important and are news, other events -- events ignored -- are as well.


Human Rights Watch's Letta Taylor Tweeted this week:


Than you for caring about atrocities by all sides in . interview with me on this:




We'll assume she means "thank you," but notice the interview and how Terry just wants to dish on IS and has no interest in exploring Nouri's War Crimes.












cnn
mohammed tawfeeq





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