Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nouri says US military needs to stay as 'trainers'

Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) reports that the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart W. Bowen, has documented in his latest "quarterly report to Congress and the Obama administration" that Iraq is more dangerous today than it was a year ago. You may remember the non-stop false claims that Iraq was actually safer and that violence was going down. O'Keefe does as well:

The findings contrast with public statements by U.S. diplomatic and military officials in Iraq and come as Washington awaits a final decision by Iraqi leaders on whether they want U.S. troops to stay in the country beyond the expiration of a three-year security agreement in December. U.S. officials have said they are willing to extend the American military presence into 2012 only after receiving a formal request from Iraqi leaders.

Apparently so shocked by the news, Reuters falls silent on today's violence -- which is an improvement over the constant lies that violence is down. Aswat al-Iraq finds a great deal of violence in Iraq. The police report a shop keeper was kidnapped in Kirkuk, police state a Kirkuk rocket attack killed 1 person, and, dropping back to Friday night, a "joint U.S.-Iraqi air landing on al-Rifeiat tribe's village in Balad township of Salahal-Din Province" today resulted in the deaths of 4 Iraqi civilians (and six being injured), 3 Baghdad bombings have left 2 dead and five injured,

Still on the topic of violence, Spero News reports that a group of Iraqis held an even ttoday to call it out:

The Free Union of Women (Christian) of Bethnahrain (Mesopotamia) in Kirkuk, northern Iraq, today held a conference focusing on "violence against women" in the great hall of the Chaldean cathedral. The event was attended by more than 100 Christian and Muslim women, along with personalities from the government and civil society. Ahead of the event, the Union carried out a survey on a thousand women in the city of Kirkuk to understand the incidence of phenomena of violence suffered in the past. The vast majority of respondents (88% of the total) said they had suffered some form - more or less serious - of violence and the tendency of continuous growth clearly emerged.

Today Iraq's Parliament held a much anticipated session and Aswat al-Iraq reports that 222 MPs (out of 325) attended. Nouri al-Maliki appeared before Parliament to advocate for trimming his Cabinet. Dar Addustour reports his explaining, in a press conference after his appearance, that he's eliminating the ministries of state with the exception of the Ministry of Women, the Ministry of the House of Representatives and the Ministry of Provincial Affairs and that he plans to merge remaining ministries together in a plan that's yet to be made fully clear. The plan will cut the 46 ministries down to 29. [The Los Angeles Times states: "reducing the Cabinet from 44 to 33 ministries."] 46 was an excessive number but he needed to increase the size of the Cabinet during the nine month Political Stalemate I to create positions for all the people he told he'd give a job if they'd support him as prime minister.

Nouri told the press he also presented a report on the status of Iraqi forces and that it was necessary for the US to remain as "trainers." While he stated that the extensions was up to Parliament, Dar Addustour is clear that Nouri stated that the US needed to remain as "trainers" with no qualifiers. Al Mada also catches this claim that the US remaining or not is up to Parliament and political blocs, on the one hand, while Nouri then states that the US military must remain in Iraq as "trainers" on the other hand. Raheem Salman and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) report Nouri made time today to announce that the purchase of "36 US fighter jets" was back on. This purchase would also require US troops to remain in Iraq. As with the helicopter contracts, the jet contract includes a training provision. They don't mention that part of the contract but it is in there. Dar Addustour notes he also made clear that despite his failure to win support Thursday on his plan to do away with the Electoral Commission, he plans to have his political slate (State of Law) bring it up again and he declared the Electoral Commission unconstitutional.

Out of all of that and more that took place in the Parliament, Reuters only notes the cutting of the ministries and screws that up: "The measure could stir tension in his cross-sectarian government, where critics accuse Maliki of seeking to consolidate his position by doing away with posts belonging to opposition parties such as the Sunni Muslim-backed Iraqiya."

The Sunni Muslim-backed Iraqiya?

The 2009 provincial elections demonstrated clearly that Iraqis were tired of sectarianism and sectarian politics. This was further established March 7, 2010 in the parliamentary elections. Iraqiya's success is not due to being "Sunni backed." Sunnis are outnumbered by Shi'ites in Iraq, is Reuters unaware of that or do they just smear and libel?

Iraqiya is a political slate which includes Sunnis, Shi'ites and others. Those voting for Iraqiya in the March 7th elections were also diverse.

Again, Iraqiya would not have ended up the winner in those elections (as it did) if it was "Sunni backed." Sunnis are in the minority.

Reuters gets more disgraceful every day. It's to the point that it really seems deliberate. Is no one in charge there? Oh, right, Girlie In The Green Zone. That's why they do nothing but make one serious mistake after another these days.

And if you're not getting how offensive this is, Iraqiya's win came about because Iraqis came together. But the lie Reuters keeps promoting is one that promotes divisions. It's not just dishonest, it's also divisive and someone needs to call it out.

It's amazing that a little wire service thinks they can piss on the Iraqi people. The Iraqis should be applauded for rejecting sectarianism. Instead, that action is stripped away in Reuters increasingly worthless reporting from Iraq.

Aswat al-Iraq reports on another issue raised in Parliament today:

Parliamentary Security and Defence Commission submitted today its report on US bombardments in Babil and Misan provinces, according to field visits made by commission members.
The report proposed not allowing US forces to conduct any military without the knowledge or approval of Iraqi forces and allocating a judge with every military division.
It added that it is permissible for the US forces to conduct a military operation only in case of self-defence, as stipulated by the security agreement, in coordination with Iraqi forces and knowledge of local government.

Meanwhile Walter Pincus (Washington Post) reports on another development, the US military is contracting/outsourcing with a private company (undetermined at presented) to train Nouri and his thugs in electronic eavesdropping: "The proposed system would allow Iraqi officials to monitor and store voice calls, data transmissions and text messages and would be installed with the acquiescence of the three current cellular communications providers in Iraq, according to documents accompanying the solicitation."

The big meet-up that was repeatedly postponed is now back on according to Dar Addustour which reports that the political blocs are supposed to meet Monday. Maybe they can discuss Iraq's territorial integrity? Iran continues shelling and possibly crossing into Iraq. Aswat al-Iraq reports that Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi (the Sunni vice president) has called out Iran's actions:

Hashimy said that Iraq’s foreign policy “does not allow using Iraqi territories to undermine the security and stability of neighboring states, being a constant position by Iraq, but it won’t allow neighboring states to do the same thing.”
The Iraqi Vice-President, meanwhile, “has called on Iran to allow the Wand River and other rivers, stemming from Iran, to flow into Iraq,” calling for the signing of a joint agreement to share the border rivers waters, in order to satisfy a suitable share for Iraq.

Finally, Simon Walters (Daily Mail) reports that the upcoming report from the Iraq Inquiry is said to be damning for War Hawk Tony Blair:

The Mail on Sunday has been told that the former Prime Minister will be held to account on four main failings:

* Bogus claims that were made about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
* Not telling the British public about his secret pledge with George Bush to go to war.

* Keeping the Cabinet in the dark by his ‘sofa government’ style.

*Failing to plan to avoid the post-war chaos in Iraq.

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Journalists say the darndest things

Aren't they cute?

Like newborns.

Joan Smith writes a column for the Independent
about her and her best gal-pal and thinks she's really on to something but what she's actually done is out a really ugly reality of the British press.

Sarah Helm has written Loyalty and is getting deserved yawns from most for her too-late, too-little onstage soap opera. And Joan's just not going to stand for that, you understand.

Joan insists, "The strain it placed on people who cared deeply about each other may go some way to explain why Sarah decided to write Loyalty. She's been accused of the opposite, but I think that is unfair. She's been true to her passionate conviction that the war was wrong and to her belief in her husband, despite disagreeing with him on one of the most controversial foreign policy decisions of our lives. Her drama says more about the psychological processes enabling the conflict than any number of factual accounts of how it started."

If you're yawning, imagine having to face the actual play.

The soap opera is about the British War Criminals who started the Iraq War. And the author is married to Jonathan Powell (Tony Blair's Chief-of-Staff) and was his live-in as the planning for war began. Helm's probably has a trashy, page-turner paperback in her but she doesn't have a play.

And part of the reason for her bad play may be karma.

See Sarah Helm wasn't just sleeping with Jonathan Powell, she was also a grand standing journalist for the Independent -- prone to insisting she was a "journalist, not a biographer!" while promoting her . . . well, biography on Vera Atkins five years ago. The whole time she was in bed with Powell -- pre-marriage and post -- as the Iraq War started and continued, she was a journalist allegedly working for the newspaper the Independent.

Of course, she had no breaking news stories filed on the impending war or, later, on the ongoing war nor did she quietly feed other reporters at the paper scoops she was afraid to write herself.

Today's she's not much of playwright, back then she wasn't much of a journalist, now was she?

And all the above is pretty damn appalling.

Then along comes Joan Smith with a column for tomorrow's paper in which she tries to stick up for Sarah Helm but ensures that she herself is down in the mud with Helm, ". . . it reminded me that Tony Blair once glared at me at a No 10 party when I reminded him that I wrote for the paper.) The play is described as a 'fictionalised memoir' and it has clearly puzzled critics, who seem to have missed the extraordinary insights it offers into Bush and Blair's relationship; they don't seem to realise either that the painful conflict between Laura and Nick (the Powell character) was played out between other political couples who found themselves on opposite sides of the argument. My partner at the time was a government minister, and I recall Blair's clique forever insisting 'everyone knew' Saddam had WMD."

Was Tony Blair's staff bedding the entire British press?

I'm sorry Joan and Sarah were two horny little girls who didn't understand the wall between observer and participant or the notion of conflict of interest. I'm even sadder that a paper that boasts independence in its title employed journalists who apparently thought you sleep with your sources and that's how you advance. We shouldn't forget the Guardian, both women write for that paper as well.

Joan's suddenly circumspect about who she was f**king. It was Denis MacShane. And how long? From 2003 through 2010. By which time, she would argue, her work was little more than book reviews; it should also be pointed out that this means her f**king Denis took place immediately after the 2002 attempted coup (CIA-backed) in Venezuela and Denis' very public verbal attack of Hugo Chavez in 2002 and continuing to today. That's a detail which more than questions her self-inflated claims of being a human rights advocate.

Denis MacShane did a little column for the Independent in 2010 in which he attacked various witnesses to the Iraq Inquiry and insisted that no one objected in real time (a lie, as the Inquiry found out in public testimony) and he even added, "There was also a cross-media consensus. Today the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph give full coverage to every remark at Chilcot which casts a bad light on Blair. But at the time, the Murdoch-Rothermere-Black Brothers press was rooting for war." Well goodness, when you're f**king nearly every journalist, I guess you get good press.

This year he took to blaming Tony Blair's actions on the Parliament (specifically the House of Commons). MacShane appeared before the Iraq Inquiry. As David Blackburn (Spectator) noted, he told the inquiry one thing but reality was another.

Right now Sarah Helm's play isn't doing too well and a recent attempt to interest US-backers did not go over well though no one's supposed to talk about that (I spoke with the would-be backers before and after they saw the tacky little melodrama). And that might be why Joan shows up in Sunday's paper to defend Sarah and the 'play.' It opened Thursday July 14th and you don't usually find pieces like Sarah's printed 17 days after the play opens (again, it appears in tomorrow's Independent). It might explain why Joan's ex-lover Dennis MacShane also felt the need to praise it this week.

Of course, to many others it will just look those who abused the system are now continuing to do so and using their connections to pimp a play by their friend.

Pimp a play, pimp a war. What's the diff to the British press?

War Hawk Dennis MacShane loves the play. That helps explain to you what garbage it is. Joan Smith loves it. Ditto. It's a bunch of soap opera crap about the struggle . . . for love . . . for commitment . . . the cost war puts on love. What a load of crap. And it underscores that Sarah and her ilk said nothing in real time because they had nothing to say. The stilted dialogue is abstractions and bromides. You quickly discover through the stand-ins for Sarah and Jonathan that their oh-so-rare 'debates' on the Iraq War were never really about war but something to bitch about in order to fill their otherwise dull nights when they weren't trashing one another's mother.

A conservative and a liberal can have a relationship and have many political disagreements. But a couple whose disagreements is on the subject of war? And one of them is in the government pushing an illegal war?

If you're anti-war and your partner is not just pro-war but a part of the government push for war, that's not going to last, not if you have real objections and not just "Oh people are complaining about the war, I better too. I like to see myself as a latter day hippie. I wonder if I could bring back love beads? I bet I could. You know who'd look good in love beads . . ."

No, if you have a real objection to illegal war, you're not f**king the enemy. That's not how it works.

And when journalism works, it does so without the government and the press being in bed together.

Wally and Cedric posted earlier today:

And in their joint-post, they note the community site posts from Thursday, Friday and today:

Blogger/Blogspot is still not reading the feed from all sites (Ann, Mike and Betty's are the ones currently). We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "FBI/CIA TRIED TO GET AMERICAN LAWYER TO BETRAY ARAB AND MUSLIM CLIENTS" (Veterans Today):

Federal agents from the FBI and CIA/FBI Joint Terrorist Task Force tried to get a distinguished international lawyer to inform on his Arab and Muslim clients in violation of their Constitutional rights to attorney-client privilege, this reporter has learned. When the lawyer refused, he said the FBI placed him on a "terrorist watch list."
Law professor Francis Boyle gave a chilling account of how, in the summer of 2004, two agents showed up at his office (at the University of Illinois, Champaign,) “unannounced, misrepresented who they were and what they were about to my secretary, gained access to my office, interrogated me for about one hour, and repeatedly tried to get me to become their informant on my Arab and Muslim clients."
"This would have violated their (clients) Constitutional rights and my ethical obligations as an Attorney," Boyle explained. "I refused. So they put me on all of the United States government's 'terrorist watch' lists."
Boyle said his own lawyer found "there are about five or six different terrorist watch lists, and as far as he could determine, I am on all of them." Despite a legal appeal to get his name removed, Boyle said, "I will remain on all of these terrorist watch lists for the rest of my life or until the two Agencies who put me on there remove my name, which is highly unlikely."
"Whatever people might think about lawyers, we are the canary-birds of democracy. When the government goes after your lawyer soon they will be going after you," Boyle warned. "Indeed," he added, "the government goes after your lawyer in order to get to you, which is what happened to me. This is what the so-called 'war against terrorism' is really all about. It is a war against the United States Constitution."
Boyle is a leading American professor and practitioner of international law. He holds doctorates in both law (cum laude) and Political Science from Harvard and has more than two decades of experience representing pacifist anti-war resisters, suspects in the so-called "War on Terror" and foreign governments such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is the author of numerous books, including "Protesting Power," (Rowman & Littlefield), "Biowarfare and Terrorism,"(Clarity) and "Destroying World Order"(Clarity).
Writing of the attorney-client privilege, the American Bar Association has defined it as “the right of clients to refuse to disclose confidential communications with their lawyers, or to allow their lawyers to disclose them.” It further states the privilege “is viewed as fundamental to preserve the constitutionally based right to effective assistance of legal counsel, in that lawyers cannot function effectively on behalf of their clients without the ability communicate with them in confidence.”

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends

Friday, July 29, 2011

Iraq snapshot

Friday, July 29, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, tensions continue to rise between Iraq and Iran, is Iraq being run by an Iranian general?, protests take place in Baghdad, Tony Blair continues to think he has something to say, and more.
Starting with the Libyan War, yesterday on Flashpoints (KPFA, Pacifica), guest host Kevin Pina spoke with Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya who has left Canada to report from Libya on the illegal war.  Flashpoints Radio airs live on KPFA from 5:00 to 6:00 pm PST, Monday through Friday. Kevin Pina noted, "Today it was announced that the former Minister of the Interior of the Libyan government, Abdul Fatah Younis, who is now serving as the chief of staff of the rebels -- that's right, he had defected from the Libyan government to then become chief of staff of the so-called Transitional Council of the rebels in Libya hs been killed."  On Tuesday's show Mahdi Nazemroaya had noted there were rumors Younis was near Tripoli and in the western mountains.
Kevin Pina: And we turn our attention once again to the ground in Libya where a NATO bombing campaign continues.  There has also been a lot of talk that the dealine for Muammar Gaddafi to step down has passed there is even the introduction of the concept or trial balloon of landing ground troops in order to solve the 'crisis.'  We also know that the United States has accelerated and sort of shown its hand as the force behind the rebels in Libya also known as the Transitional Council.  Now joining us on the ground in Tripoli, Libya to talk about all of this more  is our special correspondent Mahdi Nazemroaya    Mahdi is also a research assistant at the Centre for Research on Globalization based in Montreal, Canada. Mahdi, welcome back to Flashpoints.
Mahdi Nazemroaya: Thanks for having me, Kevin.
Kevin Pina: So lets talk about the first thing, let's talk about the fact that now we're hearing that the bombing campaign is continuing, we're hearing that there's a possibility that there might even be ground troops landing in Libya.
Mahdi Nazemroaya: Well if there are ground troops, like I said, they'd have to be fools.  Everybody is armed, all the territories that are under the control and jurisdiciton of the Libyan government, people are armed there and they are more than willing to fight for their home land.  So they will see this as a colonial invasion and it would only bring more blood.  And it would be so far from a 'humanitarian intervention' and 'no fly zone.'  The only way I could see them doing that is if they tried to say that the so-called Transitional Council which they've recognized as the legitimate government of Libya now -- I'd like to point out that this is an unelected and secretive and corrupt body.  And the only way I could see them trying to invade is by saying they've gotten permission from the government in Benghazi [Transitional Council].  But I cannot see that happening. I can only see them going to certain strategic areas and I don't think the US wants to be seen in another war that's going to end like the quagmire in Iraq or Afghanistan. 
Kevin Pina: And that's the voice of Mahdi Nazemroaya, our special correspondent, coming to us direct from Tripoli, Libya. Mahdi, again, is also a research assistant at the Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal, Canada. Mahdi, I also understand that there was a high level, former Gaddafi official, a member of the Libyan government that had actually defected over to the rebel side who now, it's being announced, has actually been killed.
Mahdi Nazemroaya: Yes. I'm at the Swiss al Nasr  which was formerly the Rixos al Nasr, so sometimes you'll catch me calling it the Rixos because the name change was very recent.  This is where the foreign media center is and right now the international press is gathering for a press conference and there's been a lot of hustle and bustle here about the topic.  Abdul Fatah Younis has been declared dead.  The circumstances around it exactly aren't known.  We'll know at the press conference.  And CNN will be present, BBC, Sky News, as well as various international news services. 
Kevin Pina: Well Mahdi, explain to us who this man was and why it's so important. And obviously this is a breaking news story, you're breaking news on Flashpoints that this man was confirmed dead.
Mahdi Nazemroaya: Well this man was the former Interior Ministry of the government in Triopoli. He's a longtime friend of Col Gaddafi as well and he's also a member of the group of young Arab officers who started the revolution with Col Gaddafi.  So it was actually a big surprise when he defected and joined the Transitional Council in Benghazi.  Now his death, as I mentioned, the circumstances around it aren't known. I've heard different things I'm going to have to confirm.  I was told that the rebel forces, the so-called rebels, have claimed that they killed him themselves because he was about to defect --
Kevin Pina:  Defect back?
Mahdi Nazemroaya: Yes.  He was going to do a second defection.  Because a lot of the rebels are also tired of the fighting and I've heard that there might have even been negotiations for them to end the fighting and to come back.  But anyways, I've also heard that he probably could have been killed by the government side.  So this is not clear and it has to be confirmed.
Staying with that topic, Ivan Watson (CNN -- link has text and video) reports: on the death and this is included in the text report:
[Marina] Ottaway, the Carnegie Endowment scholar, said the killing raises questions about the rebel council.
"It's clear there are divisions" within the Transitional National Council, she said. "There are suspicions of some of the people who went from being close allies (of Gadhafi), as Younis was, to joining" the rebels.
The motives of those who switched sides have been questioned by people who weren't sure whether they had truly made the transition or were just pretending to have changed. There has been speculation, she said, that Younis might have been dealing somehow with Gadhafi.
"The main point perhaps is that the unity at the Transitional National Council is tenuous at best. This is a strange coalition at best," she said. "They are very aware of the fact that they are not an organization that represents the entire country."
Today Terry Gross flaunts her stupidity and her smutty by re-airing one of her stupidest interviews ever -- one of the reasons Fresh Air was pulled from several radio stations last year -- with a "dominatrix."  No one needs that s**t on the public airwaves, do you understand?  There's enough going on in the world that NPR doesn't need to work the blue room. Terry goes there repeatedly.  And it was her laughing (and playing) her 'comedian' friend using the word fa**ot over and over on her sho last year that was the last straw for some stations.  Please note, that "comedian" went public weeks ago saying Tracy Morgan's homophobic rant as funny and fine.  Of course he did.  He's a homophobe himself.  Terry Gross awful show needs to be pulled.  The woman's an idiot, ill-informed and plays to the lowest common denominator repeatedly. She's also a little War Hawk as anyone who followed her coverage should be aware (including the way Ehren Watada was covered -- and if Terry's so wise how come she and her guests were SO WRONG about what would happen to Ehren?).  In 2010, as Ann, Ava and I documented at Third, only 18.546% of Terry's guests were women.  Yet another reason her tired ass needs to be retired.  But it was yesterday's show with CJ Chivers of the New York Times and Transitional Council that we're noting right now. Chivers is in bed with the so-called rebels.  No, the paper didn't do that in Iraq.  From the interview.
Mr. CHIVERS: I don't know exactly what the air power is up in the air. I've been trying to get it at that. And the governments that are involved, when they sign on for NATO, some of them seem to get sort of nondisclosure agreements with NATO. So I don't really know. I'd rather - they also almost bombed me one day...
GROSS: Oh, my G**. Really?
[. . .]
Mr. CHIVERS: Well, we later approached - I mean it was one of those situations. We came back and, you know, I was suffering from some headaches and having trouble hearing. And so we came back and I, you know, I called the paper and let them know very briefly what had happened - told them I was fine. And then we started to ask a few questions. Because, you know, it struck me as unusual that they would bomb something that was very blown up. They would bomb something that was, in this case, behind rebel lines.
Oh, you poor baby.  How awful for you, the American, visiting someone else's country and free to leave anytime you want. to experience what so many Libyans are going through right now as a result of that war.  [We censored Terry's use of a religious deity's name in vain because we don't allow that here out of respect for all religions and those people who are religious.]  I'm also confused as to why we need a history of Libya from CJ Chivers.  Meaning whatever did or did not happen years and years ago.  Is that supposed to be "perspective"? If so the biggest perspective and the only one that matters right no is that Barack said this would be a few weeks and it has been months, that Libya is an established and recognized government, that the CIA has backed the so-called rebels and that this is part of the AFRICOM dream.  Don't expect CJ Chivers to ever put that in perspective while working for the New York Times or to acknowledge that his little scare is the sort of thing Libyan children are living with every damn day in and near Tripoli and for no legal reason at all.
Staying with NPR. today on The Diane Rehm Show's second hour, guest host Susan Page (USA Today) and panelists, Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers), Joby Warrick (Washington Post) and Jill Dougherty (CNN) discussed Iraq.
Susan Page: In Iraq, there's been another bomb blast targeting police this time in Tikrit. Do we see a pattern emerging, Jill? What's happening in Iraq?

Jill Dougherty: Well, Iraq, I guess you'd have to say the big thing is when do the Americans pull out? I mean, we know, according to the Status of Forces Agreement, that they're supposed to be out, the troops must leave Iraq by the end of this year, December 31st. But you do have some movement now among the Iraqis and certainly the U.S. would be open to that to keep the U.S. as trainers for a longer period. But, you know, with the mood about the war, it seems, you know, in both countries, it could be a problem to try to continue them. And so if, let's say, Afghanistan and Iraq, if the local military cannot take care of the security situation, then things can fall apart. It's a real dilemma.

Susan Page: And, in fact, these -- the bombing came just hours after the Iraqi prime minister was talking on the phone to Vice President Biden about the withdrawal of U.S. troops. What is the issue there? We need Iraqis to make some decisions, Nancy?

Nancy A. Youssef: Well, the real issue is that no Iraqi wants to come out publicly and say he asked for the occupation forces to stay on, however beneficial they may be to Iraqi security. And so al-Maliki came out and said the parliament must vote on this.

Susan Page: So that's a way for him to say I'm not asking, let's have the parliament?

Nancy A. Youssef: Yes, I mean, let's -- Really there's a game of chicken going on where the Iraqis are trying to see how close they can get to not asking and having the Americans still stay. And so we heard from Hoshyar Zebari this week who is the foreign minister. He said something quite interesting. He said, well, maybe we could work out a deal defense ministry to defense ministry. And so I went to the Pentagon and I said, would that be acceptable or do you have to have parliamentary support? And there's a debate going on right now about that and my sense is that no, they'd have to have the backing of the parliament. Because remember, the parliament is the one who approved the Status of Forces Agreement that allows us to stay until the end of 2011. And so what the Iraqis are looking for is the least they have to do to get the Americans to stay without having the onus of going to the public and saying, I asked for the forces to stay.

Susan Page: But do we want to be asked to stay? Or would we prefer to be able to go?

Joby Warrick: Yeah. It's there is a push within the administration to try to get some residual force there beyond the end of 2011 because of the regional concerns, because of Iran and all the things that it's doing in the region. We'd like to have a counter-balance to that. And -- but again, we have to be asked and now this, the whole negotiation process appears to be frozen. There's no movement in sight and if we are going to leave at the end of 2011, there's a lot of logistical things involved in that and we have to start moving now.

Nancy A. Youssef: You know, Jill talked about the cost of this and the financial pressures essentially to bring down war costs. The Congressional Research Service released a study earlier this year and they found that with fewer troops, it actually costs more per trooper in Iraq. In 2006 and 2007 at the height of the violence, it cost about $500,000 per trooper and that is the logistics, the equipment and getting that trooper there. We're now in 2010 and it was at $800,000 and so there is a cost factor in this. It is actually more expensive per soldier to keep them in Iraq even if there are fewer of them.

Susan Page: President Obama campaigned as a candidate on a promise to get the U.S. forces out of Iraq. So Jill, what if he fulfils that promise? We see troops coming out and the situation there really deteriorates. Does that mean we would go back in or do we just leave the Iraqis to themselves?

Jill Dougherty: I shudder to think what they would do. I'm not quite sure because, you know, you have legal issues governing the relationship between the two countries. You have the financial realities in the United States budget, which -- It's a perfect day to be talking about that. You have the American public, I think the last I looked, 30 percent support the war or the conflict. So it would be very, very hard to begin that over again.

Nancy A. Youssef: And also I think the question becomes what could the U.S. do to mitigate whatever emerges in that period because you're starting to see Iraqis sort of positioning themselves for the post-U.S. period and so the relevancy, the impact of the United States diminishes with every brigade that the United States pulls out. So if you keep 10,000, which is the number we hear tossed around at the Pentagon, what real impact could they have to stopping whatever the momentum ends up being in Iraq post 2011?
The Los Angeles Times reports that unnamed U.S. officials say the White House is prepared to keep as many as 10,000 U.S. troops around Baghdad and elsewhere in the country. That would be on top of the nearly 50,000 Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force personnel the Pentagon reports deploying "around Iraq" as of March 31 of this year.
The Pentagon is putting "multiple plans" in place to support U.S. troop operations in Iraq in 2012, Alan Estevez, the Pentagon's nominee to lead its logistics and materiel readiness office, told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee at his confirmation hearing July 19. As contracts expire on food services, fuel, and logistics support, he said, the Department of Defense can almost immediately turn "the volume on [them] back up."
The U.S. embassy, which opened on new grounds in January 2009, is by far the largest in the world -- about the size of 80 football fields and 10 times bigger than any other U.S. embassy.
Saturday was to be the meet-up of political blocs at Jalal Talabani's home to discuss a number of issues including whether or not to extend the presence of US troops.  , Ahmad al-Rubaye (AFP) reports that meeting has been axed. (Jane Arraf noted yesterday that people were saying the meeting wouldn't take place.) al-Rubaye explains Ali Mussawi delivered the news that the meeting was off: "He said the talks were postponed because President Jalal Talabani, who was to lead them, had to visit the northern city of Arbil to attend condolence ceremonies for the mother of Massud Barzani, president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region. She died on Wednesday." And as the White House pushes for an extension, there is silence.  Dennis "DJ" Mikolay (Populist Approach) observes:
Apparently, despite the current president's tenacity for waging war, the once thriving anti-war left is uninterested in opposing him. Why? Were the peace-seeking activists of the past decade motivated more by a hatred of George W. Bush than they were a love of human life? Perhaps they believe that, unlike his predecessor's wars, the current president's are somehow morally justified?
Whatever the case, opposition to American interventionism seems to have gone the way of the Furby or the Pet Rock, meaning President Obama can wage as many wars as he likes with minimal criticism. That is a truly frightening realization. Who will the United States wage war with next? Iran and Syria seem likely contenders for that dubious honor.
One must wonder how much blood must be shed before the American public demands a revamping of the "War on Terror?" How many Americans have to die before voters turn their backs on both the neo-conservative Republican and Progressive Democratic war machines?
Given the neutralization of anti-war sentiment in the United States, coupled with the lack of viable Republican presidential contenders, the probability that the United States will remain engulfed in war until at least 2016 is becoming increasingly likely. The sad moral of this entire affair, however, is that by casting their ballots for a pro-war candidate the American public got exactly what they asked for. And they don't even seem to realize it.

Al Mada has an interesting story
on a statement released by Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi. In the statement, Allawi's stating that the problems (Political Stalemate II) are not between Iraqiya and Nouri's State of Law but "our real problem" results from agreeing to a move that left them in a lesser position (Iraqiya won the March 2010 elections) and accepting tokens instead of real partnership. He notes the Erbil Agreement was not implemented. (He is correct. The Erbil Agreement ended Political Stalemate I -- the nine months after the March 2010 elections -- and when Nouri trashed the agreement, Political Stalemate II began.) Al Mada also reports that six deputies withdrew from Iraqiya yesterday for a number of reasons but chief among them the fact that they did not support Salman Jumaili as president of Iraqiya's bloc in Parliament. The paper also reveals that yesterday's efforts by State of Law to attack the Electoral Commission with a no-confidence vote found only 94 of the 245 MPs present voting in favor of the proposal.
Turning to Iraq and its neighbors, today AFP reports a 10-year-old boy was killed in Iraq by the shelling from Iranian forces.  Haj Omran's mayor Maghdid Aref Ahmed explains, "Mohammed Antar Zerrar, who is 10 years old, was killed on Thursday evening at around 7:00 pm (1600 GMT) by Iranian shelling of the village of Battas." Iran's Fars News Agency reports, "Iran's Police Chief Brigadier General Esmayeel Ahmadi Moqaddam announced that the country's law enforcement forces have adopted tight security measures along Iran's Northeastern borders with Turkey and Iraq to confront insecurities and terrorist groups in border areas." In addition, Reuters notes a border clash between the Iranian military and PJAK resulted in the death of 1 shepherd.
Iran maintains that the military action is to defend itself from Kurdish rebels PJAK.  Protests have taken place in Iraq over Iran's attacks.  This week Foriegn Minister Zebari called out the attacks but it was a meaningless statement.  Zebari doesn't run the country.  Nouri al-Maliki has not condemned the attacks publicly.  In addition to Nouri being prime minister and tight ith the Iranian government, there's the fact that Zebari is a Kurd and the Iranian government has shon no respect for them via the treatment of the Kurds in Iran and also their treatment of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani when he visited the country which Talabani's office found so dimissive and insulting that they publicly aired their complaint.  Zebari and a host of others can decry the attacks but Nouri's the only person the Iranian government might listen to.  Meanwhile Iraqis watch the attacks and remember their past with Iran (the Guardian provides a timeline here) and remember that whatever they think of the Camp Ashraf residents, Iraqis have not been calling for their forced expulsion, the government of Iran has.  It feeds into further distrust of Nouri and his government.  Ahmad Farhardpour (Kurdish Aspect) offers:
Iraqi Kurdistan border regions have come under intermittent ground and aerial assaults by neighboring powerful countries. These threats further escalated in the wake of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. At present, Islamic Republic of Iran has resumed such confrontational attacks once again, killing scores of innocent civilians. The international community is observing, but not reacting to it. Iranian perpetuation of crimes should not go unnoticed.
To pacify public rage, Kurdish leaders and representatives dismiss their part of answerability by maintaining that there are accords and protocols in effect that constitutionally hinder Kurdish Regional Government from taking unilateral actions to defuse any menace confronting Kurdistan, apparently leaving them with the only alternative to hinge on the leniency of the incumbents in federal government in Baghdad to rush to their aid. Whether it is Kurdish Regional Government's fragility or limitations, in either case, it does not resolve the setback. 
If Kurdistan is part of a federalist, democratic and pluralistic Iraq as claimed by KRG officials, then so should the burden of security provision and preservation of its territorial integrity remain those of the federal government? Iraqi citizens would like to know what has been rendered so far by their so-called federal government as regards protecting them. If the federal government is unwilling or pathetic to guard them, then who is? Has not yet the Iraqi Army or Kurdish Regional Government Army been effectively trained and empowered adequately to cope with foreign threats after elongated 8 years? And if not, where and how have all the allocated funds been expended. How long more time and what other means do they require achieving their goals.

Meanwhile Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports on rumors that Iranian military officer Qassem Suleimani is calling the shots in Iraq adding, "In Baghdad, no other name invokes the same sort of reaction among the nation's power base -- discomfort, uncertainty and fear."  True or not, while it's NO reason for the US military to stay in Iraq, just the talk of it adds to more discomfort for Nouri as Iraqis have yet another reason to distrust him.  His biggest problem, which he fails to grasp, is that the Iraqi people do not feel he even attempts to serve their needs or interests.  This appears to be illustrated by the fact that, all these years later, they still don't have basic services and they still don't have jobs.  When you add in what Chulov is reporting, true or false doesn't matter, it feeds into the pre-existing image of the way Nouri 'runs' (ruins) Iraq. 
It's why the protests take place each Firday.  Today?  Al Jazeera and the Christian Science Monitor's Jane Arraf Tweeted:
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The Great Iraqi Revolution notes, "Our Correspondent in Tahrir Square: A journalist in Tahrir catches the officer responsible for the infiltrators and photographs him giving them orders which led to an attempt to kidnap the journalist that failed, but they broke his camera, dragged him some distance and tore up his clothes." And they report, "Our Correspondent in Tahrir Square:The Young Rebels in Tahrir help the jounalist to escape from the infiltrators and stop the attempted kidnapping."
Turning to Iraq and another neighbor, Al Sabaah reports that Iraq  and Syria concluded their eight meeting yesterday and came up with a cooperation agreement between the two countries.  A statement by Iraq's Minister of Trade, Khairul Hassan Babiker praises the agreement as good for both sides.  Syria borders Iraq and, throughout the Iraq War, has been a place many Iraqis attempting to escape violence have gone to.  Recently, Syria has had its own turmoil and many media outlets have wrongly reported that a major exodus from Syria back to Iraq was taking place.  When these claims proved false, they switched to 'reports' that it was going to happen, about to happen, give it time.  That's actually not reporting and you'd think, for example, that someone at NPR would hear that report and ask how the hell it made it on air?  Today Tim Arango (New York Times) provided reality explaining that the few Iraqis that have returned from Syria do not outnumber the amount of Iraqis continuing -- even no -- to go to Syria. He speaks with Iraqis visiting Iraq and no returning to Syria who, even ith the current problems in Syria, portray a better life there than in Iraq such as barber Ali Mohammed who notes that, "You can relax there.  You don't need to worry about electricity, the heat."
In news of violence, Reuters notes 1 Sahwa and 1 police officer were killed in Baquba by unknon assailants, a Baghdad car bombing injured three people, a Kirkuk roadside bombing injured two police officers, 1 corpse as discovered in Kirkuk ("gunshot wounds") and, dropping back to Thursday night, a Mosul sticky bombing claimed 1 life and 1 person was shot dead in Mosul.
Turning to the British War Hawk Tony Blair who felt he had some 'authority' with which to address people, he was in New Zealand this week and the New Zealand Press Association reports that there was a citizen-led effort to arrest him but the "heavy police presence kept protesters out of Eden Park" allowing Tony Blair to continue to present himself as the victim of the Iraq War by responding to a question about doing anything differently with the comment that he wished that back then he'd had know that replacing Saddam Hussein would require a "long struggle."

Tony never regrets the loss of life, of course. TVNZ quotes him stating, "You can't govern by protest . . . you've got to do what you think is right." So lying was right? Attempting to scare the British people with the claim that Iraq could attack England in a matter of minutes was the right thing to do?

Earlier this week, Chris Greenwood (Daily Mail) reported that for Tony Blair's two days of appearaning before the Iraq Inquiry, British tax payers had to fork over five-hundred-thousand pounds to cover his security. That's a good thing. 3 News reports that his New Zealand appearance required the hiring of extra security as well. Tony Blair goes to events like the one in New Zealand because he's paid big money. If it requires big money to keep the protesters away, someone's got to pay that. It's not going to be Tony. He's too damn cheap. So if tax payers in New Zealand or the organizing body gets the bill, maybe Tony won't be invited back. And maybe at some point the War Hawk will be hemmed in and unable to travel freely? He belongs in prison for his War Crimes but if that's not possible, life can at least be made uncomfortable for him.  And should be.  He's now moved on to Brisbane where the Brisbane Times reports he declared there's a "confidence crisis" in the West.  Why not?  Didn't he lie to start an illegal war?  Didn't the UN reward him for that lie by making him the Middle East Envoy when he belongs behind bars?  A liar is probably the last one to lament a crisis of confidence.  The paper notes, "Before he spoke, a small group of protesters gathered outside the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre to exercise their right to free speech. Activists waved placards and chanted slogans, accusing Mr Blair of genocide for supporting the Iraq war."   Brian Jones (Iraq Inquiry Digest) notes:
From declassified documents released in May, it has become clear that, in early 2002, Tony Blair's overriding wish was to use Iraq as the next step in the application of the political philosophy of "liberal intervention" to which he had become wedded in his first term of office. This was made plain in a minute from Blair to Jonathan Powell, his chief of staff, and Sir David Manning, his foreign policy adviser, in March 2002, shortly before Blair's visit to Crawford. The Crawford summit, for which Blair appears to have been thoroughly and accurately briefed, is thought by many to have been the meeting at which Blair pledged his determination to provide British military support for an invasion of Iraq.
In the minute to his closest confidants, the prime minister does not cite any need to tackle the "threat" of Saddam's putative WMD stockpiles or to support US action for wider political or security reasons. The former is not surprising because he had been repeatedly advised that intelligence on Iraq's WMD would not justify the military action he seemed to anticipate. He also appears to acknowledge that Iraq "hasn't any direct bearing on [UK] national interest".
In a speech in Chicago in April 1999, at a time when he believed he needed to persuade a reluctant President Clinton to take more direct military action in the Balkans, Blair had argued for a "political philosophy that does care about other nations". It advocated that, in a post cold war environment free of threats to national security, the west could afford to do this. For example, where appropriate they could pursue military action to achieve regime change in order to free oppressed people from unscrupulous dictators, eliminate regional dangers and restore stability.
Even in his March 2002 minute to his closest aides Blair feels the need to rehearse the case for "liberal intervention" in Iraq by reference to his successes in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone and appears to suggest it was right to be "gung-ho on Saddam". By defining things in this way he tacitly acknowledges that he did not consider as particularly serious, any current or possible future threat from Iraq and its WMD, or the consequence of an increased threat from terrorists such as al Qaida that might arise in the future or directly as a consequence of any such action. Indeed he said his greatest fear was about oil prices because: "Higher petrol prices really might put the public off."
None of this should surprise us since Blair has latterly made no secret of the fact that he was always much more than a compliant supporter of George Bush in pursuit of the policy on Iraq. It puts a little more flesh on the bones of the implication inherent in his admission to Fern Britton in 2009 that if he had known before the Iraq war that Saddam had no WMD he would have found another way to persuade people the invasion was appropriate.
All this is very strong, if not conclusive, evidence that the WMD "threat" was deliberately exaggerated as immediate (or current) to boost public, political and international support for military action because neither humanitarian considerations nor a potential future WMD threat from Iraq or terrorists would have been enough.


Another crackdown on the protests in Iraq

At a roadside station here, where buses bound for Syria leave dozens of times a week, the space between two troubled nations is measured by notions of prosperity and security.
"Here it is very hot and Ramadan is coming," said Majid Shamis, a middle-aged Iraqi who was headed with his wife and two children, ages 4 and 5, for a two-month summer vacation in Syria. "Electricity is better there. Even the security situation is better."

That's from Tim Arango's strongly written "Despite Its Turmoil, Syria Still Looks Like an Oasis to Iraqis" (New York Times) and we open with it because it's well written and as I just said on the phone to a friend at the paper, "It's so nice not to kick Snoopy." NPR, among other outlets, has been in "It's coming, this wave is coming, it's almost hear" 'reporting' on the huge wave of Iraqi refugees returning from Syria that just hasn't emerged.


It's Friday which means protests in Iraq. Today is dubbed Rehabilitation of Iraq's Dignity Friday and you can click here for more photos like the one above from the Great Iraqi Revolution. Al Jazeera and the Christian Science Monitor's Jane Arraf has Tweeted on the protest in Baghdad noting:

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In other news, Ahmad al-Rubaye (AFP) reports the cancellation of Saturday's meet-up at Jalal Talabani's of the political blocs to discuss a variety of topics including continuing the US military presence in Iraq. (Jane Arraf noted yesterday that people were saying the meeting wouldn't take place.) al-Rubaye explains Ali Mussawi delivered the news that the meeting was off: "He said the talks were postponed because President Jalal Talabani, who was to lead them, had to visit the northern city of Arbil to attend condolence ceremonies for the mother of Massud Barzani, president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region. She died on Wednesday."

Al Mada has an interesting story
on a statement released by Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi. In the statement, Allawi's stating that the problems (Political Stalemate II) are not between Iraqiya and Nouri's State of Law but "our real problem" results from agreeing to a move that left them in a lesser position (Iraqiya won the March 2010 elections) and accepting tokens instead of real partnership. He notes the Erbil Agreement was not implemented. (He is correct. The Erbil Agreement ended Political Stalemate I -- the nine months after the March 2010 elections -- and when Nouri trashed the agreement, Political Stalemate II began.) Al Mada also reports that six deputies withdrew from Iraqiya yesterday for a number of reasons but chief among them the fact that they did not support Salman Jumaili as president of Iraqiya's bloc in Parliament. The paper also reveals that yesterday's efforts by State of Law to attack the Electoral Commission with a no-confidence vote found only 94 of the 245 MPs present voting in favor of the proposal.

Finally, who did the young, attractive man below grow up to be?


US House Rep Bob Filner. Arrested below as a participant in the Freedom Rider movement which took place 50 years ago. For more on that effort to end segretation, you can visit this page for PBS' American Experience on their Freedom Rider which features not only the documentary that aired in May but also many online bonus features.

The e-mail address for this site is

Huffington Post insists "Oh those darn Republicans"

Amanda Terkel (Huffington Post) tackles the not-so-strongly worded letter (plea) from 93 members of Congress to Barack on the Iraq War and Terkel correctly notes:

The Status of Forces Agreement signed by Iraq and the United States during the Bush administration says all U.S. troops must leave Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011. But the contract also leaves the door open to further negotiations that would delay withdrawal.

But she ends with, "However, if the Obama administration does agree to keep troops in Iraq, it will likely find support from other members, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who have already said they would back such a plan." Apparently space limitations didn't allow her to include the other bad 'other' Joe Lieberman?

Reality: Boehner and Graham aren't the problem. Where's Barbara Boxer on the list? Where's John Kerry? You know, silent on Iraq John Kerry? Where are the names of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee members who signed off on [PDF format warning] "IRAQ: THE TRANSITION FROM A MILITARY MISSION TO A CIVILIAN-LED EFFORT"? Lindsey's name there. But where are the rest? Certainly where are the Democrats? We've covered it at length, that report. Do Huffington Post readers know about it? I don't know. Their writers don't seem to.

Let's note two sections of the Committee report:

But regardless of whether the U.S. military withdraws as scheduled or a small successor force is agreed upon, the State Department will take on the bulk of responsibility for their own security. Therefore, Congress must provide the financial resources necessary to complete the diplomatic mission. Consideration should be given to a multiple-year funding authorization for Iraq programs, including operational costs (differentiated from the State Department's broader operational budget), security assistance, and economic assistance programs. The price tag will not be cheap -- perhaps $25 - 30 billion over 5 years -- but would constitute a small fraction of the $750 billion the war has cost to this point.


If a vigorous regional presence is necessary to support Iraq's stability, a mechanism for a continued but restricted follow-on military presence should be considered to help secure American diplomats. But it is not yet clear that the Iraqi Government desires such an arrangement on terms compatible with American interests.

Wow and Barbara Boxer, who used to like to strike a troops-must-come-home-now attitude (under Bush), signed off on that report.

"Wait! I've gone all through the report and don't see authors! This is not about the Democrats on the Committee."

Okay, you close your eyes and go back to sleep if that lie is really necessary to your well being. For the rest of us, the Chair of the Committee is John Kerry and he stated, "This report sheds light on the important tradeoffs involved as we consider the sustainability of progress in Iraq." And you can click here for the press release from the Committee quoting Kerry about the report and the press release helpfully explains, "Members of the Committee's majority staff went to Iraq to examine the military-to-civilian transition in detail and this report is the result of that trip." Majority staff. That would be the Democrats otherwise John Kerry couldn't be Chair of the Committee.

In the years Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House, we were repeatedly told Democratic law makers really, really wanted to end the Iraq War and that they would if they only had the chance. For the 2006 mid-terms, it was turned into a get-out-the-vote effort with Dems noting that if they just had control of one house of Congress, they could end the war.

They were given control of both houses of Congress in that mid-term election. They did not, however, end the illegal war.

Barack was sworn in and suddenly they didn't feel the need to even acknowledge the Iraq War, let alone call for it to be ended. I've been at Congressional hearings the day after some awful attack took place in Iraq or X number of US service members died and it's not noted by Democrats. It's just slipped their mind, this ongoing war.

And if we want to be stupid voters, we can let it slip our minds too.

We can't get taken in again because we weren't smart enough to see that, when they had the power, Democrats didn't care about ending the Iraq War.

Reading Terkel's piece, I had to wonder is the dichotomy between Arianna Huffington's stated goals and what her site actually preaches or between Arianna's always behind the times moves and the people's stance? (Prior to her most recent makeover, Arianna's always caught the fad after it was dying out.)

Meaning, Arianna -- since her transformation from chunky GOP spiritual advisor to whatever you'd call her today (but she is slimmer and that includes the nose, good work, doctor) -- has repeatedly insisted that it's not about left or right but about blah blah. But her site does not nothing but repeatedly undermine the entire effort she supposedly promotes. So what's going on?

Many years ago, a friend once marveled over Arianna (at a time when no one had heard of so the friend had to provide a sketch as well), "It was as though a buttefly decided to revert to a catepillar."

And that, more than anything else, is Arianna.

She spent forever -- after the break with Newt -- preaching that it wasn't about a political party and it wasn't about creating heroes outside of you and all the other stuff she supposedly cared about. Those topics would actually matter today. But, as usual, she's positioned herself so far to the extreme and so quickly done her makeover that she can no longer return to what she supposedly believed in. Call it something lost in her Return to Cocoon.

Community sites updated?

They did. Blogger/Blogspot continues to struggle, not my problem. If it had been working yesterday, we would have noted these posts:

When it's working, we'll note the current ones but I do not have time to go through and pull each one over. Sorry.

We'll close with this from David DeGraw's "How The Two-Party Oligarchy Uses The Democrat Vs Republican Charade To Loot The Country – 'The Greatest Increase In Poverty And Hardship Produced By Any Law In Modern US History' – Non-Hyperbolic Edition:"

First a note on the use of hyperbole: People often think I’m using hyperbole when I talk about “financial terrorism,” our descent into “neo-feudalism,” the “two-Party oligarchy,” our confirmed “banana republic” status or the fact that President Obama is a “bankster puppet.” I’m aware that most people will think I’m being overly extreme, but in these extreme times, all these terms are technical descriptions of our unfortunate political reality. Career wise, I would be better off, over the short-term, if I censored this harsh reality and used more delicate language, but I’m not interested in making a career out of this, or being accepted into some status quo supporting groupthink organization. I’m here to sound the alarm. So I have much respect for people who are also speaking bold truth to power, whatever the consequences may be. Fortunately, more people are starting to speak up.

The tragic comedy that is the deficit debate is helping to further expose the opening salvo of another “brutal campaign of economic shock and awe,” or as journalistic appeasers would say, “austerity.” This debate also helps people to understand how the Democrat Vs Republican charade and the “lesser of two evils” game is played by the banksters – all you have to do is spend about an hour researching it.

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