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 --


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 --


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.


MS. HARF: Correct.


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.

mohammed tawfeeq

 mcclatchy newspapers

Read on ...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Gayle

 Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Gayle"

The Gayle


From April 17, 2011 that's "The Gayle."  C.I. noted:

 In his continued efforts to appear presidential, Barack's sitting down with Oprah for another interview. In this one, She-Hulk shares, "Yes, he is the Gayle. His job is just to look pretty." Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

Michelle is the Oprah in that couple and Barack is The Gayle.

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

Friday, July 18, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Americans weigh in on possible continued involvement in Iraq, Nouri's forces have mastered their leader's habit of the empty boast, Iraq's minorities continue to suffer, and much more.

Pew Research notes the findings of their latest polls:

As violence and chaos spreads in Iraq, the public is wary of U.S. involvement in the country. A 55% majority says the United States does not have a responsibility to do something about the violence in Iraq; 39% do see a responsibility to act.
Overall public awareness of the situation in Iraq is high: 45% say they have heard a lot about the violence in Iraq and takeover of large parts of the country by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Covering the poll, Aaron Blake (Washington Post) offers, "The poll reinforces that Americans have very little appetite for any significant involvement in Iraq, with just 39 percent saying the United States has a responsibility to do 'something' about the violence there."

Iraqi thug and prime minister Nouri al-Maliki repeatedly refused to provide Iraqi Christians in Baghdad with the security needed.  This was most obvious in the October 31, 2010 attack on Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad.  Many Iraqi Christians fled the country.  Many of those who stayed moved to northern Iraq which was considered to be more tolerant of and welcoming to Christians.

BBC News reports Christians are now fleeing the northern city of Mosul because the Islamic State has declared that Christians have one of two choices -- "convert to Islam or pa[y] a 'protection tax'."  There is the third choice: Do neither and be slaughtered.  They have until Saturday afternoon to leave, convert or face "the sword."

In response to the threats, Nickolay Mladenov Tweeted the following:

Mladenov is United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Representative in Iraq.

Hamdi Alkhshali and Shelby Lin Erdman (CNN) explain the warnings/threats were put into writing which was then "distributed in recent days to the leaders of the dwindling Christian minority in Iraq's second largest city." Reuters adds, "A resident of Mosul said the statement, issued in the name of the Islamic State in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, had been distributed on Thursday and read out in mosques."  Al Jazeera notes that before the last few weeks,  "Mosul's Christian community was estimated at 3,000. Many are believed to have already fled the city as part of an exodus of up to one-third of the population. Churches and Christian-owned shops in the city were reported smashed by those who fled."  Press TV offers, "The United Nations said in a new report on Friday that at least 5,576 civilians have been killed and 11,665 others wounded in Iraq since January."

And the US State Dept issued the following statement:

Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Washington, DC
July 18, 2014
The United States condemns in the strongest terms the systematic persecution of ethnic and religious minorities by the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). We are outraged by ISIL’s recent announcement that Christians in Mosul must either convert, pay a tax, leave, or face execution in the coming days. We have also seen photos of reportedly Christian houses in Mosul marked with pejorative terms for Christians, as well as reports that Shia and Shabak houses have been similarly marked. ISIL also continues to target Sunni clerics and tribal sheikhs who disagree with its dark vision for Iraq.
These abominable actions only further demonstrate ISIL’s mission to divide and destroy Iraq and contradict Islam’s spirit of tolerance and peaceful co-existence. It should be clear that ISIL is not only a threat to the stability of Iraq, but a threat to the entire region. This growing threat exemplifies the need for Iraqis from all communities to work together to confront this common enemy and to take all possible steps to isolate these militant groups from the broader population.
We encourage government officials in Baghdad and Erbil to take every possible effort to assist Iraq’s vulnerable populations and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions in a manner consistent with the rule of law. The United States stands with all the Iraqi people against the threat from ISIL.

John Kerry is the head of the US State Dept.   Their equivalent in Iraq?  Hoshyar Zebari heads the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  He has been the Minister of Foreign Affairs since July 13, 2003.  July 11th, Nouri began making noises and, as usual, a stupid and craven western press dropped to all fours for Nouri and began treating Nouri's edicts as laws and facts.  From that day's snapshot:

There are reports that Nouri's replaced Zebari.
No, he really hasn't and can't.  Were he to nominate someone -- questionable with Iraq's caretaker state currently -- that person couldn't be confirmed because that requires the Parliament.
Now he did something similar in a previous time when a government hadn't yet formed.  When he did that before, he took someone already confirmed by Parliament to the Cabinet and just taxed that person with additional duties and an additional office.
Deputy Prime Minister Hussain Shahristani has never been confirmed to head a Ministry so it's a stretch to call him "acting" or "interim" anything.  You can call him "illegal" or "unconstitutional."  But that's about it.

Rudaw speaks with Zebari today and the first issue they raise in the interview?

On whether he is still foreign minister of Iraq:

I am still the foreign minister of Iraq.  He (Hussein Shahristani) has been appointed as acting (foreign minister). Based on the Iraqi constitution, removing ministers requires parliamentary approval. The prime minister or the council of ministers have no such authority.

So maybe in the future, the foreign press (including many Americans) could either tell the truth or just sit their tired asses down?  The foreign press has lied about Iraq more than enough at this point in time?
For those who failed to grasp why their is a boycott in the Cabinet, we'll note this:

Whether the Kurds are boycotting Baghdad:

The decision of the (Kurdish) leadership is to take part in the political process. We have not boycotted the political process. Otherwise, the Kurdish members of parliament would not attend the parliament. Our withdrawal from the cabinet meetings resulted from Prime Minister Maliki's accusations against the Kurdistan Region of harboring IS (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda, and that Erbil has become a haven for terrorists. I personally told Maliki, ‘it’s a shame for you and us that we sit together and still make such accusations against us. For this reason we will not take part (in the government), so that the whole world knows about this.’ It is unacceptable to accuse your partner of terrorism and conspiracies. But we all (Kurdish) ministers united in our stance. We have not boycotted the government; we have only suspended our presence there. In the next step, we might leave the government and submit a mass resignation. Now, there are lots of pressures by the US and others. We have told everyone that we are Peshmergas in Baghdad, and with one phone call from our leadership we pack up and return to Kurdistan.

Nouri's verbal attack on the Kurds took place Wednesday, July 9th and we noted it in that day's Iraq snapshot and how outrageous it was.  We returned to the topic July 10th when Gwen Ifill and The NewsHour (PBS) picked up the story to blame the Kurds for walking out of the Cabinet -- the 'news' program failed to cover Nouri declaring the Kurds terrorist.

Grasp please that Nouri's accusations did just that.  It was not just an offensive statement to make, it was one that could kick in certain legal aspects.

Nouri's remarks were inflammatory and never should have been made.

Thanks to Gwen, we saw how a whorish western press repeatedly acts.

Nouri smears the Kurds as terrorists in his televised weekly address and The NewsHour ignores it.  The next day they're 'interested' and treat the Kurdish response (the walkout) as the starting point and fail to note how offensive and outrageous Nouri's remarks were.

This is what they have done over and over and why there is blood on the hands of the US press.

They have whored for power, they have been stenographers jotting down Nouri's every word and presenting it as fact.

Willy is my child, he is my father
I would be his lady all my life
He says he'd love to live with me
But for an ancient injury
That has not healed
He said I feel once again
Like I gave my heart too soon 

-- "Willy," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her Ladies of the Canyon.

As always, Joni can nail down the human condition better than anyone.  But while we might have those feelings about a lover, it's really sad to grasp how the US press has had them about a tyrant and how easily those lyrics can be reworked:

Nouri is my child, he is my father
I would be his lady all my life . . . 

Over and over the western press -- especially the American press -- has distorted and disguised reality in Iraq to benefit Nouri.  When he went on his killing spree targeting Iraqi youth who were or were thought to be gay, the big press in the US ignored it.

Who made that story in the US?

The music press did.

And once they grabbed -- and thank goodness they did -- it forced other US news outlets who had ignored it for weeks and weeks to suddenly (and briefly) report on it.

If Barack Obama, US President, sent one of his Secretaries into schools to advocate to children and teenagers that gay people be killed?  It would be huge news.  If Barack then denied sending people in to do that?  It would also be news.  If, during Barack's denials, a copy of the information sheet -- on official government letterhead -- was printed by the press, it would be huge news.

Nouri is very lucky to have western groupies posing as reporters -- hey, Jane Arraf, we especially mean you -- who have repeatedly ignored real news stories because they would paint Nouri in a bad light.

Nouri is equally lucky that -- whether he's attacking the Kurds or Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi -- that the press never starts the story where it begins -- with Nouri's actions -- but drops in midstream so they can present Nouri as the injured and wronged party.

How did Iraq get to the point it is currently?

One reason is that the western press has coddled a tyrant and covered for him.

And it's not just the professional press.  Scott Horton has spent most of 2009 to the present on his Antiwar Radio show endorsing Nouri.  Joel Wing will never own his actions but the reality is he's been thrilled to attack and call out KRG President Massoud Barzani while writing fan fic about Nouri.

Apparently, it's okay with those and other Americans if Nouri tries to incite hate crimes against Iraqi gays and lesbians (and those wrongly thought to be gay or lesbian).

Apparently, a country's leader ordering his staff to go into the school system and repeat lies about gays and lesbians (they were called Satanists and vampires -- and this was on the official Iraqi government document that the Ministry of Interior handed out in the schools) isn't enough to rile up a Scott Horton or a Joel Wing.

They just don't care.  They'll keep covering for their personal tyrant.

Last week, we saw it yet again as Nouri smeared the Kurds as terrorists.

And the western press wasn't interested but the next day when the Kurds walk out of the Cabinet, suddenly it's 'oh those bad Kurds!'

Nouri's actions have brought Iraq to the brink.

A whorish western press that has refused to hold Nouri accountable has allowed this to happen.

And they need to take responsibility for their actions.

In the summer of 2006, the whoring was obvious.

Nouri had already proven to be inept and a man of words and vanity and, yes, paranoia.

But the press was whoring for him.  Even though he was attacking the press.  His big solution for Iraq at that time was stealing an idea that others came up with and were already implementing (local control of protection) and silencing the press.

But when 'reporting' on this plan, one western outlet after another ignored Nouri's attempt to criminalize reporting.  Only the BBC had the guts and integrity to include Nouri's assault on the press.

Over and over, Nouri's actions have been filtered by the press to remove his most extreme statements and actions so that US readers and audio and video news consumers will never grasp how out of control Nouri is, how criminal he is.

Unlike Nouri's temple whores, we've never played that game here.

Which has made the US government's exhaustion with Nouri so interesting in the last weeks.  Even the White House is realizing that Nouri likely has to go -- no third term as prime minister for Nouri -- if Iraq is going to move forward.

This realization leaves the US press in a pickle because they've got to find a way to call out Nouri to be on the same 'team' as the White House but they've spent so long covering for him.  (The editorial board of the New York Times has spent the last years calling Nouri out.  They have been an exception among editorial boards and US columnists.  On columnists, the only one with a real record of calling Nouri out has been the Philadelphia Inquirer's Trudy Rubin.)

The western press needs to be held accountable.

That includes those who hate Sunnis and think it's alright to act on their own prejudices.  Amy Goodman does a two part segment on Iraq this week and never calls out Nouri?  Never even notes the attack on the Kurds, Zebari or anything.  But she does have time to let Patrick Cockburn foam at the mouth with his Saudi Arabia conspiracy talk.  Patrick's Sunni hatred is widely known and documented in the Arab world.  Amy Goodman wants to talk what's wrong in Iraq but, cheap whore that she is, that talk never gets to Nouri.  Two segments on how awful Sunnis -- in Iraq and in neighboring countries -- are but no accountability for Nouri?

The problem is not just that Nouri is a despot and tyrant in the grand tradition of Augusto Pinochet,  it's that the western press has refused to be honest about who and what he is.

Some in the US media lied because they're lazy and they're stupid.  The inept are always with us.  Others though?   Some in the US lied about Nouri because they always lie to reflect the position of whomever occupies the White House.  Others lied because they thought Nouri was their guy (a number of fringe radicals in the US fall under that category -- don't worry they know who they are).  Others lied because in their S&M masturbation fantasies they need someone who dominates the US government and they've wrongly portrayed puppet Nouri as someone who stood up to the US government.  Others lied because they're part of The Mighty Wurlitzer.

If you're late to the party on The Mighty Wurlitzer, you can refer to Carl Bernstein's 1977 expose "The CIA And The Media:"

In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America’s leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.
Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty‑five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists’ relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services—from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go‑betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without‑portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring‑do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full‑time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations.

The CIA's connections to Nouri run deep and their argument for him, in 2006, included their assessment that Nouri was deeply paranoid (he is, we first noted it here the same year) and his paranoia would make him easy to control.

Again, he is this decade's Augusto Pinochet.

In other tales of the press treating the outrageous as normal . . .

December 2012,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 following Jalal's argument with Iraq's prime minister and chief thug Nouri al-Maliki (see the December 18, 2012 snapshot).  Jalal was admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany.  He remains in Germany currently.

The latest spin is that he will return to Iraq on Saturday.  If he does, it will be one year and seven months later.  If he does, it will not be for the good of Iraq and Iraqis but because the Talabani family wants to maintain their hold on the PUK political party.   Rudaw reports:

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has officially submitted its candidate for Iraq’s presidency, as politicians desperately struggle to put together a government in the middle of a Sunni rebellion and militant control of a third of Iraq.
Sources told Rudaw that the PUK has chosen Fuad Massoum, who is from Halabja, as a compromise candidate. But that was not immediately confirmed. Massoum is a long-time associate of Jalal Talabani, the PUK leader and Iraqi president who has been in Germany since a stroke in December 2012.

Jalal's been fine hiding out in Germany.

And the western press has been fine with treating this as normal.

Despite the fact that January 2013 should have seen Jalal return to Iraq or be stripped of his post.

The presidency can not be vacant.  The Constitution makes it clear that if a president is to ill to carry out the duties of the office, the person is replaced.

His wife and the rest of his family publicly lied, repeatedly claiming Jalal would return in a few weeks.  They began pimping that lie in January of 2013 in order to ward off cries for Talabani to be replaced.

As Iraq has faced one crises after another, it's done so without the help or aid of Jalal Talabani.  He should have been stripped of his post.

If he does return Saturday, he returns under a cloud.  He has brought shame to the nation and allowed his only desires to trump what was good for Iraq.

Iraq needed a president and Jalal deprived the country of that for 19 months.

Turning to the topic of violence, Mitchell Prothero (McClatchy Newspapers) reports:

Islamic State gunmen overran a former U.S. military base early Friday and killed or captured hundreds of Iraqi government troops who’d been trying to retake Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, the worst military reversal Iraqi troops have suffered since the Islamist forces captured nearly half the country last month.
The defeat brought to an end a three-week campaign by the government in Baghdad to recapture Tikrit, which fell to the Islamic State on June 11. Military spokesmen earlier this week had confidently announced a final push to recapture the city.

Read more here:

In addition, National Iraqi News Agency notes today's violence also includes a Kirkuk roadside bombing which left two people injured, a battle in al-Dhuluiya left 8 rebels dead, a Sinjar battle left 6 rebels dead, an Albu Gleb attack left 6 rebels dead, Jurf al-Sakhar battles left 23 rebels dead, and Nouri's continued bombing of civilian targets in Falluja left al-Furqan mosque cleric Sheikh Mohammed Kadhim injured and his home and the homes of others damaged.

We'll close with this from BRussells Tribunal:

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The EU has moral and legal obligations towards Iraq after several of its member states ignored the warnings of the anti-war voices not to attack the country in 2003.

On the occasion of the meeting on Iraq in the European Parliament on July 16th 2014

Open letter to Members of the European Parliament

On the occasion of the meeting on Iraq in the European Parliament on July 16th 2014

The EU has moral and legal obligations towards Iraq after several of its member states ignored the warnings of the anti-war voices not to attack the country in 2003.

The failure to protect the ordinary citizens of Iraq, the deliberate harm inflicted on certain communities as well as the gross human rights violations being committed by the Iraqi government’s forces on a daily basis with total impunity have been met with silence. According to Human Rights Watch 255 Sunni prisoners were murdered mainly by militia supporting prison guards in the last four weeks. All detainees must be protected immediately!

The reality of the situation is bleak: Prime Minister Maliki has built an authoritarian state where ruthless paramilitary groups such as Assaib Ahel Al Haq have more military weight than the regular army. These sectarian militias are given a free hand to terrorise communities, to commit kidnapping, to torture and to carry out extra judicial killings with impunity. The militias have been carrying out sectarian cleansing in Baghdad against the Sunnis, as reported by the media and NGOs. It is Maliki´s policies of discrimination, repression and exclusion that also bears responsibility for the increase of acts of terrorism by sectarian groups like ISIS. Neither Maliki nor his allies are really fighting terrorism but rather are using them as a pretext for their policies. These attempts are doomed to failure and have only alienated and terrorised even more communities.. Only the Iraqi people, united in defence of their nation, can defeat terrorism.
There are tens of other armed groups and militias - some of them linked to the Prime Minister's Office - that are involved in indiscriminate killings and are responsible for creating a sectarian bloodbath in Iraq. The national, non-sectarian forces leading the uprising against Maliki have strongly condemned, as we do, all terrorist actions.

The use of air strikes allegedly in order to fight terrorism is also a failed strategy. This policy has led to the indiscriminate killing of thousands of innocent civilians and the destruction of their homes .The US occupation tried it and the subsequent Green Zone governments of Iraq also tried it. Even as all observers agree that the solution in Iraq is not a military one, the US, Iran and others rush to aid Maliki with weapons and personnel. This strategy acts as a hatching machine for hatred and resentment as a result of the wholesale criminalisation of communities. We urge you therefore to speak up against the bombing of Iraqi villages, towns and cities.

One of the main reasons for the peaceful protests that began in Fallujah, Anbar, Tikrit, Mosul and other places in December 2012 was the news that women, arrested arbitrarily in lieu of their men folk, were being tortured and raped in detention. The peaceful protesters had well documented, clear demands starting with the release of all female detainees, the cancelling of article 4 of the Terrorism Law which is often used as a pretext for arbitrary arrests/torture and rape (see HRW report No One is Safe), the repeal the de-baathification decree introduced by Paul Bremer, and an end to all sectarian/ethnic discrimination and the rejection of partition of the country. The government met the peaceful protests with bombs and even massacres,) including the assassination of unarmed and injured protesters.

We call for :

1) the immediate ban on the flow of arms to Maliki's government.

2) a halt all airstrikes and military operations in Iraqi towns and cities.

3) the creation of safe corridors to deliver aid and humanitarian supplies to the civilians in areas of conflict.

4) an end to all measures of collective punishments such as the cutting off of water/electricity/withholding food stuffs and payment of salaries.

5) the protection of prisoners, the release all detainees not charged or tried and the end to all forms of arbitrary arrests, maltreatment and torture.

6) the undertaking of immediate measures to protect civilians (especially the displaced) and the safeguarding of their human rights.

7) the establishment of a new, non-sectarian government that rejects the imposed political process and constitution imposed by the occupation. Only such a government can guarantee Iraq´s borders and security.

8) the encouragement and active support from the EU, respecting the UN Security Council resolution to defend the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq, for immediate negotiations to establish such a government.

Through these measures the EU can assume its moral and legal responsibility to the people of Iraq.

International Anti-Occupation Network and the BRussells Tribunal - July 14, 2014

(1)“The jihadi surge is the tragic, violent outcome of steadily deteriorating political dynamics. Instead of a rash military intervention and unconditional support for the Iraqi government, pressure is needed to reverse sectarian polarisation and a disastrous record of governance.” International Crisis Group
(2)”.. the Obama administration has announced several waves of troop movement into the region and into Iraq specifically. As of last week, the announced number heading for Iraq now totals 770” How Nearly 800 U.S. Troops Spent Their Fourth Of July In Iraq
(3)”Two battalions of the Quds Forces, which is the overseas branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, moved to Iraq on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported. There they worked jointly with Iraqi troops to retake control of 85 percent of Tikrit, security forces from both countries told the Journal. “ RT: US airstrikes to support Iranian Revolutionary Guard's offensive in Iraq? Foreign combat aircraft pour into Iraq
(4) Toby Dodge Iraq from war to New Authoritarianism “Years of ethnic cleansing have changed the sectarian balance of Baghdad strongly in favour of Shia” FT:City on edge as Baghdad residents await Isis attack #collectivepunishment article in English #Maliki army burn orchards and kill sheep
(5) Torture session in Mousel Iraq: Government Blocking Residents Fleeing Fighting collective punishment: Iraqi government decided NOT to pay Salaries in ‘hot areas’ not under its control
50 sunni detainees in Baquba/at least 7 in Mousel/46 in Tel Afar (Amnesty report) have been killed by the Maliki forces before withdrawing.
(6)Though it received little global attention, unrest in Fallujah, a primarily Sunni city, began in late 2012 with protests against the hardline policies of Nouri al-Maliki, the Shiite prime minister. Like many residents, Wardi sees the military campaign, which began in January, as retribution. “This started under the banner of fighting terrorists but changed to attacking the city,” she said. “It’s punishment for the people.” “They describe government artillery fire raining down on the city, targeting even the hospital, as Human Rights Watch documented in May. Army helicopters have also used barrel bombs — crude and inexact explosives that level surrounding homes along with intended targets when they fall from the sky. “They’re completely indiscriminate — if not actively targeting Sunni civilians,” Erin Evers, the Human Rights Watch researcher in Iraq, said of the government’s military campaign in Fallujah and elsewhere in Anbar, such as the city of Ramadi, which has seen a similar cycle of protests and violence.” Shades Of Syria: Fears Maliki Will Follow The Assad Model In Iraq. Call on UN Security Council, U.S. and EU to prevent the bombardment of civilians in Iraq Struan Stevenson President, European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)
(7) “Maliki never appointed a permanent, parliament-confirmed interior minister, nor a defense minister, nor an intelligence chief. Instead, he took the positions for himself.” “In short, Maliki’s one-man, one-Dawa-party Iraq looks a lot like [Saddam]Hussein’s one-man, one-Baath Party Iraq. But at least Hussein helped contain a strategic American enemy: Iran. And Washington didn’t spend $1 trillion propping him up. There is not much “democracy” left if one man and one party with close links to Iran control the judiciary, police, army, intelligence services, oil revenue, treasury and the central bank. Under these circumstances, renewed ethno-sectarian civil war in Iraq was not a possibility. It was a certainty” - Why we stuck with Maliki — and lost Iraq
(8)The United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials state that security forces in policing situations shall “apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms. Iraq: Investigate Violence at Protest Camp Fighting Erupts in Anbar Province After Security Forces, Protesters Clash.
Frustrated with living in fear and in constant violation of their rights, the people of Iraq took to the streets to demand that their basic human rights be respected. Their action took the form of peaceful demonstrations, which began on 25 December 2012 in Al-Anbar province. Since then, the demonstrations have grown in geography, expanding to cities throughout the country, and in number with hundreds of thousands of participants. The protests first called for the release of female detainees who are subjected to inhumane treatment, but now encompass a range of demands including the immediate release of fellow protestors; the abolition of anti-terrorist laws; the cessation of house raids without legal warrant and the end of financial, administrative and legal corruption. GICJ requests that an independent international investigation mission be dispatched to Iraq
“The main reason for the fall of the city of Mosul – the second largest city in Iraq – is that the Maliki government did not respond to the demands of the citizen protestors who demonstrated in Mosul, Anbar, Salahuddin, Diyala and Hawija over a year ago and so the citizens did not support the Iraqi army.The policy of the Iraqi government headed by Nouri al-Maliki has been totally sectarian in the way it has operated in the Iraqi provinces. The government has almost totally excluded representatives of the Sunni population from the sovereign ministries, or left them with no real authority. Even the new Iraqi army was formed on this basis. The Iraqi army unfortunately does not support a doctrine of loyalty to the homeland (or an Iraq that is inclusive of all people); instead it is loyal to the Madhhab or Shia doctrine. It deals with citizens according to their religious sect. The armed forces have attacked people in the cities of Mosul, Anbar, Salahuddin, Diyala and Hawija. They have carried out arrests, torture and extortion. There have also been many cases of rape by members of the army, both outside and inside prisons.”

Read on ...

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Second Run (and why Bob's Burgers should win)

Disappointment You Can Believe In

From April 10, 2011, that's  "The Second Run." 

C.I. wrote:

 Barack Obama explains, "I'm announcing my decision to run for a second term as president. Now I know a lot of you are disappointed because I've broken all my campaign promises but I promise you if I get four more years, you won't feel the way you do now. No. I promise you will instead feel even more disappointed. Disappointment you can believe in!" Then Barack declares, "I'm Barack Obama and I'm just crazy enough to approve this message." Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

Now, since I do a comic and since the Emmy nominations were announced yesterday, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on the best animated program nominees:

Outstanding Animated Program
Archer • Archer Vice: The Rules Of Extraction
FX Networks • FX Productions

Bob’s Burgers • Mazel Tina
FOX • 20th Century Fox Television

Futurama • Meanwhile
Comedy Central • The Curiosity Company in association with 20th Century Fox Television

South Park • Black Friday
Comedy Central • Central Productions

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Manhattan Project
Nickelodeon • Nickelodeon

I think there are four worthy nominees and then Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Instead of it, I would have nominated Adventure Time or Johnny Test or The Simpsons (which I think had a very good season -- one of the strongest since season 15).

Futurama is not a show that calls to me but I do watch it and do think it does some outstanding visuals.  Of the nominees, it would, for me, be Bob's Burgers.

I think South Park had a strong season (though not as strong as the one before -- I still watch the iPod spoof repeatedly).  But Bob's Burgers is a show that stands out.

It's not Seth with one of his lame attempts.  Family Guy can't stop ripping off films to create 'plots' for the shows.  American Dad lost its fun around the time Seth was doing Christmas episodes around the rapture.  

Bob's Burgers is a real show, with real characters.

As for Archer?

I loved season one and really liked season two.

Then came season three and those hideous first three episodes.  The show never recovered.  

And the crap that's been airing since January?  Where the spies are now trying to unload cocaine?  It's so far from the show's premise that past moments like the Russian bionic agent now seem almost relatable. 

I will give it credit for trying something different.

But I really do think the award should go to Bob's Burgers.

(And Louise is my favorite character -- though I love them all.  Favorite episode?  When Tina was a party planner and Louise got stuck in a plaster human head because she wanted to use guacamole to make 'snot' run out the nose of the plaster head.)

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

Thursday, July 10, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, The NewsHour covers for Nouri, assessments by US 'advisors' in Iraq should be done shortly, Nancy Pelosi brags about how and why she made sure Bully Boy Bush didn't get impeached, the House Veterans Affairs Committee hears from parents whose children took their own lives after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and much more.

Iraq was noted at today's US State Dept press briefing by spokesperson Jen Psaki.

US House Rep Krysten Sinema:  Thank you, Mr. Miller and Mr. Michaud for allowing me to participate in today's hearing.  And special thanks to my colleague from Arizona Ms. [US House Rep Ann] Kirkpatrick who represents our state's veterans so well on this Committee.  I want to thank all of today's panelists for joining us.  In particular, thank you to Daniel's parents Howard and Jean for being here.  We've worked together quite closely since learning of Daniel's suicide.  And it is an honor and a privilege to be with you here today.  Unfortunately, Daniel's story and the story of the other young man who committed suicide is just all too familiar in our country.  And 22 veterans a day are still committing suicide even after we have heard the tragedies of the young men who lost their lives here and their brothers all across the country.  And, as we heard from Mr.[US House Rep Tim] Walz, Congress has addressed this issue before, has passed legislation before, has said they were going to fix it before and yet the problem has not only not gotten better, it's gotten worse.  I have heard a lot of testimony today about ideas to actually reform the system and make it better.  The Hippa  issue is one I think the Committee would agree needs to be addressed.  I am particularly interested in the pilot program that Sgt [Josh] Renschler participated in.  And my question, to Dr. and Jean Somers, would be about Daniel.  Daniel's experience at the Phoenix VA -- like many, many veterans' experience at the Phoenix VA -- was one of lack of concern, lack of care, lack of follow through and a discombobulated system that didn't allow veterans to receive the care they needed.  In particular, one of the struggles Daniel faced was as an individual who had served in classified service.  He was unable to participate in group therapy because he was not able to share the experiences he experienced while in service.  And yet, at the Phoenix VA, he was unceremoniously put in group therapy and when [he] requested private therapy was not able to get that care.  And of course as we know he took his own life as a result of being unable to get that care.  One medical home model, I believe, in the private  community, has provided an opportunity to create patient-centered care and allow civilians to get the care they need in one home easily that's centered directly on their needs.  While the pilot program in Washington was ended because of -- Well I don't understand why.  They say they really didn't have enough money for it which I think is outrageous -- horrible, horrible reason to stop providing care that we knew was effective.  My question for Dr. and Jean Somers is do you believe a medical home model would work or could be helpful to veterans like Daniel?  We know that many of our post-9/11 veterans face co-occurring disorders --  PTS, TBI, anxiety, depression, physical maladies.  Would a medical home model have been a model that may have worked better for Daniel than what he faced?  

Jean Somers: Absolutely.  As Daniel's irritable bowel syndrome worsened, he didn't feel he could physically leave the house.  I can't imagine that embarrassment.  [Long pause.]  And then, as Howard mentioned, at the time, Phoenix had the speed traps set up on the major highway to get from his home to the Phoenix VA.  So he had to actually find a way to get off the highway so that the flashing lights would not effect him.  So absolutely, I can see that it would have been very helpful to him just to have the privacy capability. 

Dr. Howard Somers:  I-I completely agree.  I think that not only the medical home model but what we talked about -- the ability within the facility for the different people because of his IBS and his TBI and his PTSD.  You're being treated, as we learned here, the term is in "silos."  And what you have to do is get out of the silos and you have to combine resources, combine knowledge.  And we have heard of programs such as was mentioned that are very successful and  that people can have problems and, for whatever reasons, you have an optometrist or an ophthalmologist in there and they say, 'Well, it sounds like it's not this but this.'  And it's something you might not have thought of.  So the medical home model, the ability to create these panels of care, I think anything like that would be overwhelmingly positive.  

US House Rep Krysten Sinema:  Thank you. And, Mr. Chair, while Mr. [US House Rep Dan] Benishek has already left, I do want to take a moment to thank him for co-sponsoring legislation [H.R. 3387: Classified Veterans Access to Care Act] that we drafter with the Somers to address the issue specifically of service members who have served in classified settings and who need appropriate care when they return to the VA.  And I want to thank the Committee and the Subcomittee for supporting just a part of the solution to this issue.

That was from today's House Veterans Affairs Committee.  US House Rep Jeff Miller is the Committee Chair and US House Rep Mike Michaud is the Ranking Member.  The Phoenix VA is, of course, only one part of the national scandal in the VA's failure to provide timely and needed to care to veterans who have been left to suffer.

Chair Jeff Miller:  Following a Committee investigation which uncovered widespread data manipulation and accompanying patient harm at the Dept of Veterans Affairs' medical facilities all across this nation, this Committee has held a series of full Committee oversight hearings  over the last several weeks to evaluate the systemic access and integrity failures that have consumed the VA health care system.  Perhaps none of these hearings have presented the all too human face of VA's failures so much as today's hearing will in fact do.

Jean and Dr. Howard Somer are the parents of the late Daniel Somers, an Iraq War veteran who took his own life following his facing multiple obstacles while he attempted to receive care.  His parents, in their opening statement, cataloged some of these obstacles:

A1.    At the start, Daniel was turned away from the VA due to his National Guard Inactive Ready Reserve status.
A2.    Upon initially accessing the VA system, he was, essentially, denied therapy. 
A3.    He had innumerable problems with VA staff being uncaring, insensitive and adversarial.  Literally no one at the facility advocated for him. 
A4.    Administrators frequently cited HIPAA as the reason for not involving family members and for not being able to use modern technology.
B1.    The VA’s appointment system known as VISTA is at best inadequate. It impedes access and lacks basic documentation.
B2.    The VA information technology infrastructure is antiquated and prevents related agencies from sharing critical information.  There is a desperate need for compatibility between computer systems within the Veterans Health Administration, the Veterans Benefits Administration, and the DOD. 
B3.    Continuity of care was not a priority.  There was no succession planning, no procedures in place for “warm handoffs”; no contracts in place for locum tenems; and a fierce refusal to outsource anyone or anything.
B4.    At the time Daniel was at the Phoenix VA, there was no pain management clinic to help him with his chronic and acute fibromyalgia pain.
B5.    There were few coordinated inter-Agency goals, policies and procedures.  The fact that the formularies of the DOD and VA are separate and different makes no sense since many DOD patients who are stabilized on a particular medication regimen must re-justify their needs when they transfer to the VA.

B6.    There were inadequate facilities and an inefficient charting process.

His parents were on the first panel along with the parents of Clay Hunt -- Susan and Richard Selke -- and the mother of Brian Portwine -- Peggy Portwine -- and retired Sgt Josh Renschler.

Clay Hunt was an Iraq War veteran and an Afghanistan War veteran, a member of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.  He took his own life following a move to Houston where he was unable to get the prescription for his Post-Traumatic Stress and was told he'd have to wait two months to see a psychiatrist.  Committee Chair Jeff Miller's suicide bill is named in the memory of Clay Hunt.

Brian Portwine was an Iraq War veteran.  His mother Peggy Portwine explained that Brian's first deployment to Iraq found his unit patrolling Haifa Street in Baghdad and that 8 of his fellow service members would die during this deployment.  He survived a 2006 RPG attack.

Peggy Portwine: Brian suffered a blast concussion and had lacerations to his face and legs from shrapnel. This was Brian’s first episode of Traumatic Brain Injury. During another mission Brian and his 1st Sgt were on patrol in a Humvee and had switched seats so Brian was now in the passenger seat. Twenty minutes later an IED hit the Humvee and his 1st Sgt was killed and Brian was thrown from the Humvee and injured his back. Besides these two  incidents Brian was involved in five other IEDs during his 15 month deployment.  After coming home after his 1st deployment Brian had trouble with short term memory. When his friends were going somewhere he would often say "Where are we going again?  You know I have scrambled brains." To help cope with this he would post everything he had to do on his calendar or computer. In 2010 Brian was recalled to the Army and deploying from Fort Shelby, Miss. During this deployment Brian did not email or call home or to his friends. Little did we know how he was struggling with PTSD and TBI. He had panic attacks being on the same roads he had traveled on the 1st tour where IEDs went off often. He had nightmares 3 x a week and would wake up his unit and someone would have to wake him up. He suffered with anxiety, depression, insomnia, poor concentration, and hypervigilance. But he was never sent home.

Peggy Portwine noted Rose Kennedy [mother of President John F. Kenney, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy -- among others] once stated that "time heals all wounds."  Peggy Portwine declared, "I disagree.  The wounds remain.  In time, the mind -- to protect its sanity -- covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens.  But it is never gone."

She would like to see S. 2182: Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act (introduced by Senator John Walsh) passed.

Sgt Josh Renschler is an Iraq War veteran.  He served in the military for almost six years. He was medically retired from injuries he sustained in Iraq   He did not receive treatment, he received drugs from the VA to mask the pain, not to help make him healthier.  His doses of Percocet were repeatedly increased until his tolerance for the drug was so strong that they had to switch him to methadone. He was placed on a cocktail of over 13 drugs ingested daily.  Among his many pains, there were pains resulting from nerve damage -- something his VA physical therapist (or 'therapist') had not considered or raised but would be discovered in an MRI.  Renschler has suffered a liver scare and remains in intense pain.  Acupuncture was thought to be a possibly viable treatment for relief from some of the pain, however, it would require him to travel one hour to treatment and one hour back which would defeat any relief he might experience as a result of the treatment.

On the topic of alternative treatments, let's note this exchange from the hearing.

US House Rep David Jolly:  You've raised concern about personalized care and it would seem to me that's clearly lacking.  I don't know what your impressions would be -- if you could speak to that.  And also, simply whether or not alternative therapies have ever -- your sons had that discussed perhaps, or Sgt, in your counseling, the ability to get alternative therapy?  And I say that based on a personal experience as well.  At VA Intake Day, I had a man in my office who said, "Equine therapy works." Well that was good enough for me. But it wasn't good enough for the VA.  So can you speak to any discussions about alternative therapies?  Availability of?  Your opinions to that?  

Sgt Josh Renschler:  Yes, sir.  So again, within the VA medical center, they-they had at one time available to poly-trauma, those who suffered from comorbid conditions, we were able to access recreational therapy and I was put on a six month waiting list.  And when the six months came up, they lost the recreational therapist. That was my only experience there.  Never had a chance to engage in that because I was downgraded from poly-trauma care when the VA determined that my Traumatic Brain Injury had reached a plateau of recovery and it probably would not get better.  That's a completely separate hearing day but as far as the efficacy of alternative therapies, we could -- Again, it really helps and the VA --

US House Rep David Jolly:  The availability? 

Sgt Josh Renschler:  The availability is not there through VA channels.  It's private community is where you have to go. 

US House Rep David Jolly: Doctor and Ms. Somers, do you?

Jean Somers: Yeah, yeah.  I would agree with that.  Daniel himself was a musician so it was easy for him.  He got a piano and a guitar and that was his therapy.  But I would totally agree with that.  At the San Diego VA, I know that they have pottery classes which we were thrilled to hear about and a guitar program.

Dr. Howard Somers: And-and when you talk about evidence-based, it's certainly not just medications.  I mean there are in the psychological treatments that are out there but they are only using two of them when  there are so many potentials out there.  And the other thing that we had mentioned was the MDMA Ecstacy and LSD for pain -- the MDMA for PTSD and the LSD for pain.  Because of our national phobias against these particular chemicals, we're making it very difficult to do trials with these, uh, potential-potential benefits. 

There were three panels. The above is only regarding the first panel and it's not even a real sample because, as Chair Miller noted at the end of it, the first panel had gone on for over three hours.  Just the first panel.  I would love to return to this hearing in tomorrow's snapshot.  That will be dependent upon events going on in Iraq.

Chair Miller noted a veteran shared a story with him about being in need of medical attention and visiting the VA for it.  The veteran was told he could get an appointment in six months.  But, the veteran was informed, if he were to say right now that he was thinking of killing himself, he could get an appointment much sooner,  "three months instead of six."

That story is appalling on so many levels including that if every veteran used it the ones who were seriously considering taking their own lives would be waiting the same length of time as those who were not.  But the thing that appalled me the most is a veteran is told it will be six months for an appointment.  That's unacceptable. If VA can't do better than that, you schedule an appointment with an outside provider -- VA schedules and VA pays, to be clear.  But what adds another layer of sadness to this is the fact that if you are thinking of killing yourself, you still wait three months.  Three months for help.  The whole thing is disgusting.

Ranking Member Mike Michaud:  I know that speaking about the loss of a loved one -- particularly a child  -- can be an incredibly difficult and exhausting experience.  But, in this case, I think we have to listen to their stories, identify what went wrong, and we can take action to ensure those failures aren't repeated again. So I want to thank you very, very much for joining us today and sharing your stories. Eighteen to 22 veterans commit suicide each day. In my opinion, that is 18 to 22 brave men and women each day who our system has let down in some capacity.  It is a totally unacceptable.

Moving over to Iraq which was noted at today's US State Dept press briefing by spokesperson Jen Psaki.

QUESTION: I want to go to Iraq if I can.

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: ISIS recently said that it has acquired a chemical weapons facility and 2,500 degraded weapons. Does the State Department have a comment on that, and what is the potential fallout over acquiring those weapons and this chemical facility?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. I do have something on this. Give me one moment.
Well, first, let me note that there was a copy of a letter – and I know you’re aware of this, but just so everybody is aware – of a letter that the Iraqi permanent representative to the United Nations sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon which was circulated yesterday to members of the Security Council, which outlined this. The purpose of the letter was to notify the international community of the seizure of University of Mosul facilities containing nuclear materials in June and to request international assistance.
In typical fashion, these requests are sent just directly to the IAEA and they look into them. And that is, of course, the natural process at this point. I would point you to the comments and the statement made by the IAEA today, that they believe the material involved to be low-grade and not presenting a significant safety, security, or nuclear proliferation risk. Of course, they’re the appropriate identity to make any decision about whether there is a risk or concern, but it doesn’t seem that is the case at this point in time.

QUESTION: But what do you say that – if you see the letter – in that it says that – from the Iraqis – that “threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad.” So how – what do the Iraqis say about it?

MS. PSAKI: Well, they sent the letter that was referenced and the – they took responsible action by informing the UN Secretary General and the international community and it’s been referred, of course, to the IAEA. They, of course, made initial comments. I would leave it to them if they have more to say about it. I would point out that the letter also notes that this is material used for scientific and medical purposes, which is an important contextual point on our level of concern or their level of concern.
Go ahead.


MS. PSAKI: Oh. Go ahead.

QUESTION: So are you worried that some other kind of materials that – weapons that can go into these hands. And they were also – in the letter they say it can be used in Iraq or it can be taken abroad. So --

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, I would just highlight the fact that the Iraqi Government and the United States Government are not the experts like the IAEA is on this type of material and what risk it may or may not pose. So it’s in their hands. They’ve made an initial statement. I would point you to that and I would refer to them if there’s more they plan to say on this.
Go ahead.

Psaki rightly notes that the US isn't an expert and refers to the IAEA call.  That's correct because the US hasn't examined the materials and the material may or may not pose a risk.  If it did pose a risk, there's a small chance the IAEA might wait to reveal that until efforts had been made to reacquire the material.  The US government cannot vouch for material they haven't vetted.  And the world hopes the IAEA is being upfront about the material.

Tom Coghlan and Deborah Haynes (Times of London via The Australian) report:

Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former army officer and expert on weapons of mass destruction, confirmed that the uranium could not be turned into a nuclear bomb. “The most likely terror use for it would be some dirty bomb, but a dirty bomb is not terribly effective anyway except for the psychological impact ... You are more likely to die from shrapnel,” he said.

Other experts disagreed. “This material is not good enough for a dirty bomb,” said Olli Heinonen, a former IAEA chief inspector. “You cannot make a nuclear explosive from this amount, but all uranium compounds are poisonous.” In a dirty bomb scenario, terrorists could detonate a device mixing conventional explosives and radioactive material in an effort to scatter radiation in a major western capital.
The capture of the uranium represents a psychological coup for Isis. “The real victory is the kind of fear it will instil,” said Dina Esfandiary, a research associate in the non-proliferation program at the international institute for strategic studies. Far more worrying was the takeover by Isis of a base north of Baghdad that holds Iraq’s old but still lethal stockpile of chemical weapons — hundreds of warheads containing sarin and mustard gas, according to Colonel de Bretton-Gordon, who is chief operating officer at SecureBio, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear consultancy.

There are some outlets who have taken a 'case closed' stance on the possibility of the material being used for a dirty bomb.  It's really not that simple and they would do well to take the approach Jen Psaki did in today's press briefing.

Iraq was briefly noted today on The NewsHour (PBS, link is text, audio and video):

GWEN IFILL: In Iraq, the rift between Kurds and Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki deepened today. Kurdish ministers announced they will boycott weekly cabinet meetings after Maliki accused them of harboring Sunni militants who’ve captured Iraqi territory.

ROZ NOURI SHAWEZ, Deputy Prime Minister, Iraq (through interpreter): We declare that we will not take part in the upcoming cabinet sessions to show our protest, and we cannot endure any more such behavior, statements and stances.

GWEN IFILL: The Kurds have infuriated Maliki by seizing Kirkuk and its oil reserves and moving toward a referendum on independence from Iraq.

I'm sorry, is Gwen an agent of a foreign government?

She's certainly not speaking as a journalist.

Note her false construct. (A) Today the rift "deepened" because Kurdish Cabinet members say they will boycott the weekly Cabinet meetings.  (B) The Kurds have infuriated Nouri, Gwen says, by seizing Kirkuk and its oil reserves and exploring independence.

Does that ridiculous skull cap wig she wears create a Vitamin D deficiency for Gwen?

Let's drop back to The NewsHour's Wednesday's coverage of Iraq in full:

GWEN IFILL: In Iraq, security forces found the bodies of 53 men blindfolded and handcuffed. The corpses were near a mainly Shiite village about 60 miles southeast of Baghdad. Most of the victims had been shot. The motive for the attack remains unclear, but the discovery comes amid a Sunni insurgency in Northern and Western Iraq.

Now let's pull this from Wednesday's Iraq snapshot:

If you're not grasping it, right now, while Barack's insisting the country needs a "political solution," Nouri's yet again attacking political rivals.  Rudaw reports:

Hours after Iraq’s embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused the Kurds of harboring insurgents, the Kurdistan Region decided that Kurdish ministers appointed to the Iraqi cabinet will not be going to Baghdad.
“As a first response to Maliki’s threats, the Kurdish leadership has decided that our ministers will not attend any meetings of the Iraqi cabinet,” said an official from the dominant Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
The official said that there is a consensus among all Kurdish political parties, including the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), to boycott Baghdad.

Nouri is begging the US for help and US President Barack Obama has provided him with weapons and now with US troops.  And Nouri says "thank you" by attacking the Kurds?

If you use the link to yesterday's snapshot, you'll also see that Jen Psaki addressed the charges Nouri made.

The NewsHour elected to ignore it.

But today, when the Kurds respond to the attack on their reputation and integrity, The NewsHour is suddenly interested and 'report' as though the Kurds started something.

Contrast Gwen's nonsense with Hamza Mustafa's report for Asharq Al-Awsat which opens:

Recent remarks by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki in which he accused Erbil of harboring fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have provoked the ire of Kurdish politicians, who have dismissed the accusations as “unfounded.”

“It is unfortunate that the prime minister has descended to the level of Hanan Al-Fatlawi, the State of Law coalition MP, who has always levelled unfounded accusations at Kurds for no apparent reason, accusing Erbil of harboring [fighters from] ISIS,” former Kurdistan Alliance spokesman Moayad Tayeb told Asharq Al-Awsat.
In his weekly televised speech on Wednesday, Maliki lashed out at the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), branding its capital, Erbil, as being “a headquarters for ISIS, [the] Ba’ath [Party], and Al-Qaeda and terrorist operations.”
The accusation has provoked Kurdish lawmakers who have in turn accused Maliki of failing to deter Islamist fighters.

“ISIS is not in Erbil but . . . [is approaching] Baghdad, and if he [Maliki] wants to fight and expel it, it is but a stone’s throw away from him,” Tayeb added.

AAP adds:

Iraq's Kurds say Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is "hysterical" and not fit to run the country, further dimming the prospect of a new leadership uniting to face jihadist fighters.
The worsening political discord comes three days ahead of a planned parliamentary session, meant to revive the process of replacing what has effectively been a caretaker government since April elections.

Maliki "has become hysterical and has lost his balance", a statement from the office of Kurdish regional president Massud Barzani says on Thursday, reacting to accusations by the prime minister a day earlier that his administration was harbouring militants.

You can also refer to the end of Tom Coghlan and Deborah Haynes' report to see how you accurately cover the events Gwen mangled.

A major story was reduced by Gwen in such a way that Nouri was the injured party.  If PBS wants to air The PropagandaHour, they should be sure and give Gwen much more airtime.

Jason Ditz ( observes, "Tensions between Iraq’s central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are soaring further today, with reports that Prime Minister Maliki has imposed a ban on all cargo flights into Kurdistan, after accusing the Kurds of aiding ISIS in their takeover of western Iraq."

On the topic of tyrant Nouri, NINA reports Falluja General Hospital released numbers today on the dead and injured from Nouri's bombings of Falluja's residential neighborhoods (which is legally defined as a War Crime).  Since January 1st, Nouri has killed 542 civilians in Falluja and injured 1880 more.

Yet, Nouri keeps getting more bombs and missiles from the US government -- in violation of treaties, laws and the Leahy Amendment.

After the hospital's announcement, another of Nouri's bombings killed 3 civilians in Falluja and left four more injured.

In other violence,  National Iraqi News Agency reports Lt Gen Qassim Atta declared that armed forces killed 25 suspects in Jurfis-Sakhar, Atta also declared 47 suspects were killed in Tikrit, a Kirkuk motorcycle bombing left seven people injured, a mortar shell attack on Jurf al-Sakar left five people injured, a Baiji mortar attack left 3 people dead and sixteen injured, an armed attack in Ramadi left 3 people dead, 11 farmers were kidnapped in Al-Gelam, and 3 bombings south of Tikrit left 4 police members dead and two more injured.  Reviewing the violence today, Margaret Griffis ( notes 151 deaths and 86 people left injured.

Hannah Allem (McClatchy Newspapers) reports:

An official from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s office confirmed Thursday that a high-stakes standoff is unfolding at the country’s largest oil refinery, but he disputed details of a McClatchy report that said only 75 commandos were holed up inside and that the government wasn’t sending food or reinforcements.
The Iraqi official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he isn’t authorized to make public statements on sensitive military operations, said that up to 1,500 counterterrorism forces are inside the Baiji refinery, a sprawling, 300-acre compound about 150 miles north of Baghdad.

Read more here:

At the Pentagon on Tuesday, spokesperson Rear Adm John Kirby was asked about the status on the assessments US troops have been making in Iraq:

REAR ADM. KIRBY:  What I -- what I would tell you is that we're taking a very measured, deliberate approach here to a very complicated problem inside Iraq. And right now, there are two missions for the U.S. military -- providing some static security for our diplomats so that they can continue to do their very important work, the embassy, and our facilities there at the airport. And the second mission is to advise -- I'm sorry, to assess -- to have six assessment teams on the ground, mostly in and around Baghdad, to assess the cohesiveness of the Iraqi security forces, the situation on the ground, and, again, the follow-on advisory mission.
We also have a small number of people that are working in two joint operations centers, one in Baghdad and one up in Erbil, all designed to help us get a better sense of what's going on, on the ground before any follow-on military decisions are made. That's the mission that we've been given; that's the strategy that we're pursuing. And I won't -- I won't go into...

Q: (OFF-MIC) timeline to assess -- to finish the assessment that the U.S....

REAR ADM. KIRBY: Yeah. I mean, as I said at the outset, it was going to -- we expected the assessment teams to take about two to three weeks. We think that they're nearing the end of -- of that initial assessment phase.

Q: What have they found so far?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: Well, the reports that we've been -- we've been staying in touch with them. I'm not going to prejudge or get ahead of the assessments as they -- as they come in through more official channels. But -- but they have done most of the work, completed most of the work, assessed most of the units that -- that we asked them to go look at.

Q: What have they found so far?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: Well, the reports that we've been -- we've been staying in touch with them. I'm not going to prejudge or get ahead of the assessments as they -- as they come in through more official channels. But -- but they have done most of the work, completed most of the work, assessed most of the units that -- that we asked them to go look at.

Q: Can you characterize what they found?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: No, I'm not going to do that from here. No, I'm not going to -- I'm not going to get ahead of a decision-making process that -- that hasn't even started yet. So we need to let the work finish. It's almost done. The assessments will come up and then leadership will get a chance to take a look, and we'll go from there.

Q: Will it be done this week?

  REAR ADM. KIRBY: I think it'll be done very soon, Justin, very soon.

The assessments shouldn't be too rosy.  Nouri's lost chemical weapons, nuclear material, cities and so much more. He's also attacked the Kurds verbally while continuing War Crimes in Falluja.

Nouri is a failure.

So is Nancy Pelosi.

She lost her post as Speaker of the House and the Dems lost their majority.  But the Queen of Plastic Surgery didn't have to step down her leadership role because few can whore for corporations the way Nancy does.  She can make it rain.

However, her ethics, like her fact, appear botched.

As if a bad wig and a pathetic refusal to accept her age isn't bad enough, Nancy demonstrated just how trashy she is today -- link is video and text:

Nancy Pelosi: The argument against President Bush was about a president and an administration that sent us into a war based on a false representation of a threat of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That's a major accusation against the president, and I, myself, said that at the time. You know, in 2002 when the bill came up. The intelligence does not support the threat that the president -- not the president, his administration is contending.

Having said that, it's not about impeaching the president. It's about putting the country through that. I thought what the Republicans did to President Clinton was shameful, irresponsible, and wrong for the country. And what he did was stupid, but it had nothing to do with public policy and his office, his responsibility and his office.

I do think people could have made a case about President Bush, but I did not want to go down that path because of what it would mean for the American people. We've just tried to impeach -- well, we did impeach but did not remove from office one president in a very irresponsible manner in my view on the part of the Republicans in the House at the time.

And I thought it was time for us to address -- try to end that war, which we voted to do, and the president vetoed our bill, but to deal with it in a policy way rather than take us down that path. 

Nancy didn't want to go down that path.  She had to get her elderly tits lifted off her knees and three inches pulled back on her face.

That was path Nancy wanted.

An Oval Office occupant lying to the American people didn't rise to high crimes and misdemeanors for Pelosi.  She didn't want to put the country through an impeachment.

What a lousy failure she is.

It's really time for Nancy tired ass to stay home. Maybe by dropping out of Congress, she could use her free time to find something else to have tightened?  Maybe her vagina?  Maybe her anus?

But what she clearly cannot do is serve the country or honor the oath she took to the Constitution.

Bully Boy Bush should have been impeached.

Nancy is a coward, Nancy is a fool.

She should go down in history as the biggest enabler to War Crimes.  And maybe people will start to also remember Nancy's participation in torture.  She tried to act surprised and, with the pop-eyes from all that plastic surgery, some may have believed she was surprised.  However, the truth always was that Nancy was briefed in full on water boarding and other forms of torture.

jason ditz
Read on ...
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