Nadhim Khalil is the topic of Anthony Shadid's "New Paths to Power Emerge in Iraq" (Washington Post) and Khalil indicates the point Joe Biden was making in the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee meeting in April of last year about how the US was doing nothing but arming thugs who would continue the civil war:
Imbued with the swagger of youth, lording over this oasis-like town on a bend of the Tigris River, Khalil has power, the fruits of a singularly Iraqi odyssey that has taken this scion of a religious family from the leadership of the local branch of al-Qaeda in Iraq, responsible for a reign that saw residents executed in the streets, into the generous arms of the American military and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, his erstwhile foes.
Khalil's analysis is blunt: He used to be on the losing side.
His formula is simple: With God, guns and money, he is now the authority in town.
"I'm sure the Americans will leave after a little while, and there's nothing I achieve by killing them now. I could kill them anytime, anywhere, and so what?" he asked. "In the beginning, the thought was that you could achieve your goal with weapons, but honestly? That investment has shown no return. That company has shown no profit."
While the thugs consolidate their power, the people suffer. Electricity -- which can't be counted on for more than four hours -- sees a price increase, the rations programs remain under attack and a civil war that created the world's largest refugee crisis continues. Iraq's internal and external refugees number over four million. The internal ones are displaced within the country and had to abandon their own homes. Some of them have become squatters. IRIN reported yesterday:
A parliamentary committee and local NGOs have called on the government to delay implementing its decision to evict all squatters from government property (land and buildings).
"It is the government's right to evict these people but in our opinion the government should take into consideration the plight of squatters and offer them alternatives, for example, land or good financial aid," said Abdul-Khaliq Zankana, head of parliament’s Displacement and Migration Committee.
"The law must prevail, but I do believe the best way to deal with this issue is to postpone the implementation until the middle of the year as it is winter now and we can't turf those people out onto the street. This will affect the attendance of their children at schools," Zankana told IRIN on 11 January.
The ministries of finance, and displacement and migration, should work out appropriate compensation for these people based on the number of family members and their economic situation, he said, adding: "we shouldn’t create more problems when solving a problem."
In the aftermath of the US-led invasion in 2003, hundreds of homeless people scrambled to find somewhere to live. Many moved into government-owned property - especially buildings damaged in attacks by US-led coalition forces and vacated by officials of Saddam's regime.
Meanwhile John Nichols -- serial liar -- shows up as a sort of Lonely Hearts Queen serving up his version of The Rules: How To Woo and Win Barack (click here for the garbage at Information Clearing House). The pathetic little girl writes:
What Internet activists such as OpenLeft.com's Matt Stoller and Firedoglake.com's Jane Hamsher did during the FISA fight was roughly equivalent to what Obama told Dr. Young to do back in 2005: "Pick up the phone and call me." They were undermined by a rally-round-the-candidate mentality that protected Obama during the campaign season. Yet netroots activists made themselves heard and earned a response from candidate Obama. And they can do much more with respect to President Obama. As Hamsher notes, "We can get the public engaged."
Golly, don't recall John Nichols doing a damn thing during that. Guess he was playing rally-round-the-candidate? Like he did during Barack's cave on public finance, thereby undermining one of the most beloved of all 'progressive' causes. There's John cheering Barack on in Isaiah's "Wheel of Greed:"
He tosses out a few tidbits that explain his long love (previously undisclosed this campaign go-round long love) for Barack:
I first covered Obama a dozen years ago, when he was running for the Illinois state senate as a candidate endorsed by the New Party, the labor-left movement of the mid-1990s that declared "the social, economic, and political progress of the United States requires a democratic revolution in America-the return of power to the people." When we spoke together at New Party events in those days, he was blunt about his desire to move the Democratic Party off the cautious center where Bill Clinton had wedged it. And when we spoke in the years that followed, as he positioned himself for a 2004 U.S. Senate run, Obama told me that he saw Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold-the lone dissenter against the Patriot Act-as the best role model in the chamber.
He's got a cute little summary of the New Party. In an honest moment, Carl would admit it was not a Democratic party. It was an effort to influence that party (subvert it?) by a bunch of rag tags who were kicked out of the CPUSA and assorted other groups. Their rivalry with the Green Party was over the fact that the Greens actually wanted to be a political party and the Communists and Socialists of the New Party thought they could form the 'fusion' party to press the Democratic Party. John Nichols tells a lot more than he realizes in his bad, bad article. Which, naturally, appears in The Progressive because Katrina vanden Heuvel's a lot of kinds of dumb but she's not so dumb that she'd ever waive that telling article through.
Here's the fey John Nichols, perfume dabbed behind both ears, advising the ladies on the ways to Barack's heart:
The way to influence Obama and his Administration is to speak not so much to him as to America. Get out ahead of the new President, and of his spin-drive communications team. Highlight the right appointees and the right responses to deal with the challenges that matter most. Don't just critique, but rather propose. Advance big ideas and organize on their behalf; identify allies in federal agencies, especially in Congress, and work with them to dial up the pressure for progress. Don't expect Obama or his aides to do the left thing. Indeed, take a lesson from rightwing pressure groups in their dealings with Republican administrations and recognize that it is always better to build the bandwagon than to jump on board one that is crafted with the tools of compromise.
In other words, Johnny wants you to back the hell off his man. It's a real shame the so-called left feels the country needs manuals on how to love a president as opposed to activism. But John Nichols has shamed himself throughout 2008. He's flat out lied for Barack, he smeared Hillary with a rumor he knew was a lie -- did that on Democracy Now! and did it at Amy Goodman's request. He's trash. No one should believe a word out of his lying mouth ever again. For more Nichols' embarrassments, you can see "John Nichols employs 'girl power' for Sammy Power" and "2008: The Year of Living Hormonally (Year in Review)."
Here's reality, Barack ran for president. He ran a dirty campaign and may or may not have broken finance laws. But he ended up the president. All these foolish liars need to check themselves real damn quick: A president works for the people.
The people are his boss. Not the other way around. Liars like John Nichols increase the feelings of powerlessness in America because they insist upon distorting the power relationship. In America, the people run the country and the people ought to be asking why John Nichols and all the rest keep attempting to shield Barack from pressure. He wanted the damn job, he works for us now.
Staying with reality, Scott Michael's "AWOL Soldier Wanted in Kidnappings, Rape" (ABC News) details the search for Nathan Ryan Smith:
Staff Sgt. Nathan Ryan Smith, 29, has been charged with kidnapping, rape, arson and tampering with evidence.
Smith's unit at the Fort Lewis Army base reported him AWOL Jan. 5. Smith, who served as a calvary scout in Iraq from September 2006 to Octobrt 2007, has military and wilderness survival skills and is considered extremely dangerous, said Ed Troyer, a Pierce County, Wash., sheriff's spokesman.
"He has no ties to the area and it's a huge state. He could be anywhere," Troyer said. After he allegedly raped one woman, Smith told her, "I have killed several people in Iraq. I'm crazy in the head, and if I get caught by police I will come looking for you and kill you," according to a probable cause statement from Pierce County.
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