Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ongoing stalemate, ongoing scandals

In Iraq, protests return to Tahrir Square in Baghdad on September 9th (protests were halted during Ramadan). The Great Iraqi Revolution notes today, "In an attempt to sabotage the coming demonstrations, the deputy of PM Maliki's party, the State of Law Coalition, stated that 'there are internal and external parties that will try to use the demonstration in 9/9 to overthrow the government, calling on all political forces to unite to thwart these external and internal challenges' !!" Meanwhile Political Stalemate II continues and gets closer to nine months. At this rate, it may end up surpassing Political Statement I in terms of length of time. Al Mada reports that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is again planning on hosting the leaders of the various political blocs at his home in an attempt to end the ongoing political stalemate. Their last meeting was August 2nd and the major leaders -- including Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Najaifi, Iraqiya's Ayad Allawi and State of Law's Nouri al-Maliki -- attended that meeting. It is said that the recent series of meetings culminating with the August 2nd meet-up led the blocs to all agree to resume the Erbil Agreement which would mean, among other things, creating a national council which Allawi would serve on and head. However, the problem with that last time was Nouri (who ignored the Erbil Agreement after he got what he wanted) and no sooner was Talabani receiving praise in the press at the start of this month than members of State of Law were publicly complaining about the proposed national council.

While Political Stalemate II has continued, the violence has increased. Aswat al-Iraq reports a Kirkuk bombing left "a woman and her daughter" wounded and a Baquba bombing has left five police officers injured.

Meanwhile the latest wave of the Turkish military bombing the KRG continues. Alsumaria TV notes, "Kurdistan Parliament called to close all Turkish military and intelligence bases in Kurdistan. Kurdistan Parliament rebuked Turkish violations against Kurdistan territories, a source told Alsumaria." Sebnem Arsu (New York Times) notes the Kurdish military continues to boast of its kills -- or at least some of them, others they deny (such as two Sundays ago when they killed 8 civilians while bombing a village) -- and how they rushed out the boast of 150 dead on Monday. Today's Zaman reports, "A leading executive of Iraq's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has stated that the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq has been planning to deploy peshmerga troops along the borders with Iran and Turkey -- two neighbors that have launched operations inside northern Iraq targeting Kurdish terrorist organizations that have bases there."

Meanwhile Al Rafidayn, citing a customs source, reports that a US service member was stopped at Baghdad International yesterday as he was trying to leave the country and is being detained for attempting to smuggle $80,000 out of Iraq. In other scandal news, Alsumaria TV reports, "Iraq Ministry of Oil said on Sunday that it found falsified correspondences in order to provoke international companies. The letters use the names of Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate and the Ministry of Finance over the fourth round of bids. The Ministry stressed that these letters aim at undermining the work of the Ministry and stressed that it will follow the parties who are involved in this issue. Iraq Minister of Oil Assem Jihad told Alsumarianews that Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate found a number of falsified papers used to exploit its name and that of the Ministry of Finance addressed to international Oil Companies that qualified to the fourth round of bids asking for money from these companies. However, these parties are still unknown he added."

We'll close with this from Chris Hedges' "The Election March of the Trolls" (Information Clearing House):

We have begun the election march of the trolls. They have crawled out of the sewers of public relations firms, polling organizations, the commercial media, the two corporate political parties and elected office to fill the airwaves with inanities and absurdities until the final inanity—the 2012 presidential election. Journalists, whose role has been reduced to purveyors of court gossip, whether on Fox or MSNBC, descend in swarms to report pseudo-events such as the Ames straw poll, where it costs $30 to cast a ballot. And then, almost immediately, they blithely inform us that the Iowa poll is meaningless now that Rick Perry has entered the race. The liberal trolls, as they do in every election cycle, are beating their little chests about the perfidiousness of the Democratic Party and Barack Obama. It is a gesture performed not to effect change but to burnish their credentials as moralists. They know, as do we, that they will trot obediently into the voting booth in 2012 to do as they are told. And everywhere the pulse of the nation is being assiduously monitored through polls and focus groups, not because our opinions matter, but because our troll candidates understand that by parroting back to us our own viewpoints they can continue to spend their days lapping up corporate money with other trolls in the two houses of Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court and television studios where they chat with troll celebrity journalists.

The only commodity the troll state offers is fear. The corporate trolls, such as the Koch brothers, terrify the birthers, creationists, militia lovers, tea party militants, right-to-life advocates, Christian fascists and God-fearing red-white-and-blue patriots by proclaiming that, unless they vote for Perry or Mitt Romney or Michele Bachmann or some other product of the lunatic fringe of our political establishment, the American family will be destroyed, our children will be corrupted and the country will turn socialist. Barack Obama, who they whisper is a closet Muslim, will take away their guns, raise their taxes and bring homosexual couples into kindergartens.

For those, usually liberals, still rooted in a reality-based world, one that believes in evolutionary science, the corporate trolls offer a more refined, fear-based message of impending doom. If you abandon the Democrats we will be governed by Bible-thumping idiots who will make us chant the Pledge of Allegiance in mass rallies and teach the account of Genesis as historical and biological fact in our nation’s schools.

And underneath it all runs the mantra chanted in unison by all the trolls—terror, terror, terror. The troll establishment spins us like windup dolls and laughs all the way to the bank. What idiots, they think. And every election cycle we prove them right.

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