Wednesday, May 14, 2014

F**k you, Julie Bowen and double for Modern Family (Ruth)

Ruth here. I am reposting my post regarding Modern Family and the homophobia it embraces.

F**k you, Julie Bowen and double for Modern Family

ABC's Modern Family is a sexist show and a deeply homophobic one as well.

It is not a funny show, it is not cute. 

It is thirty minutes of ugly.

We have had to endure this stupid show where no woman works until, finally, last season Claire went to work for . . . her father.

When thirty-something pulled this crap, people called it out.

They are too chicken to call out Modern Family.


Because it is pro-gay!

No, it is not.

Mitch and Cam are not characters, they are gay stereotypes.

And the show thinks it can get away with that by trafficking in stereotypes but putting quotes around it -- making it 'irony' -- by having Mitch, for example, realize he is a stereotype.

But Modern Family is not a documentary.  It is a scripted program so all the insulting stereotypes of gays are scripted.

The show wants to have its cheap laugh at the expense of gay people and it always does.

Mitch is a bitch.

They do not do that with any other character.

Phil and Claire love each other as do Gloria and Jay.

But Mitch is forever insulting and putting down Cam behind Cam's back.

Mitch and Cam also have other problems.

They are never in bed together, never trying to have sex.

That is the homophobia of the show that offers the straight couples non-stop.

There is also the start-and-stop nature of their storylines.

Gloria and Jay are the parents of Joe.

Do you remember when Gloria found out she was pregnant?

The episode was broadcast May 23, 2012.

Two years ago.

In that episode, Mitch and Cam think they might have found the second child to adopt, remember that?

Because the show does not.

Two years later and where is the storyline of Mitch and Cam's efforts to adopt a second child?

Two years later, where is it?


U.S.A. Today reports today on the wedding episode that will end this season:

Still, Jay must come to terms with it, O’Neill says: “He realizes that he has to if he wants to keep his son’s love.”
Jay’s perspective is important, says Julie Bowen, who plays Mitchell’s sister, Claire: “He gives a voice to audience members who aren’t on board.”

He is a voice?

To no one.

I am so sick of this crap.

Jay's son is gay and has been living with Cam for five seasons.  They have a daughter together (Lily).  They have been planning this wedding for two long seasons.

And now we get that Baby Jay (played by the same guy who played Al Bundy on Married With Children) is upset and bothered by his son marrying a man.

The same Jay who, when brother Mitch and sister Claire were planning to have a baby (Cam's sperm, Claire's egg) said that no matter what he told them, they would do what they want.

But on this, Jay has a hang up?

I am so damn tired of this crap.

As most of you know, my grandson Jayson is gay.

So that Drama Queen Ed O'Neal can have his Emmy nod, we are stuck with this crap.

This crap that will play for infinity in syndication.

Jay is Mitch's father, there is no need for this nonsense.

He should be on board with his son.

He should not have to come on board, he should be on board.

And there is nothing original about the 'writing' of this show or even this episode.  This episode with Jay's reluctance is not unlike The Simpons' episode years ago when Marge had a problem with her sister marrying a woman or The Family Guy episode where Lois was not sure about gay marriage or . . .

It has been done and redone.

How very sad that we cannot say the same of TV show episodes where there is no objection to same-sex marriage, only happiness from friends and family.

And Julie Bowen?

She is never going to be a star.  She is too old, too long in the tooth.

So like everyone else with this bad show, she tries to rake in the dough with product endorsements.

Guess what, Ms. Bowen?

You can lose those.

And your efforts to glorify homophobia can be seen as counterproductive for the Olive Garden and that eye cream you plug.

Ms. Bowen thought she would be a good foot soldier for the homophobes who make Modern Family.  In doing so, in justifying this series imposing homophobia for decades to come, Ms. Bowen may have harmed her shot at other endorsements.

And, again, she has no career.  She is the mother on Home Improvement, she is Hope on thirty-something.  She is all the middle-aged women who never distinguished themselves and ended up having no career after their performance in an ensemble cast got them a little bit of attention.

Ms. Bowen, my grandson is gay. 

I do not approach the issue for cheap laughs or dirty innuendo or sniggering or anything else.

So that makes me different from you.

I hope you and the producers of Modern Family get exactly what is coming to them.  I believe in karma.

The program wants to teach that families can come together despite a family member being gay?

How very early 90s of them.

Society is far beyond Modern Family today -- society and the law. 

It is a real shame that the program decided to take a pass on the notion that we have progressed and do not need little stunts to justify showing a same-sex marriage.

And, for the record, there was more progress in the 90s.  It was, after all, January 18, 1996 when Friends aired "The One With The Lesbian Wedding."

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapsot" for today:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Massoud Barzani does not want Nouri to have a third term, Barack Obama loves to lecture but does he listen (apparently not when it comes to Falluja -- he doesn't even listen to himself), this year Barack termed Iraq "a failed state," the US has a failed VA, CBS News breaks the latest VA scandal of another facility with alleged fake wait lists, a War Crimes investigation is launched by the ICC,  Chair of the US House Veterans Affairs Committee Jeff Miller calls for the creation of "a bipartisan commission on VA medical care access" and much more.

Major news breaks in the US today.  Wyatt Andrews (CBS News -- link is text and video) reports the latest on the never-ending VA scandals. Similar to the wait lists at the Phoenix VA -- two sets, the real one and the cover one to make it look like vets are getting timely treatment -- Chicago steps into the spotlight.  Whistle-blower Germaine Clarno has stepped forward.

Wyatt Andrews:  Germaine Clarno is a VA social worker and employee representative in Chicago.  She alleges there are multiple waiting lists for veterans kept here at the Hines VA Medical Center.  Which divisions of the hospital kept these secret waiting lists

Germaine Clarno:  Well employees are coming to me from all over the hospital -- from outpatient, inpatient, surgery, radiology.  

Wyatt Andrews:  Clarno says veterans were put on a secret waiting lists when they called for an appointment but wouldn't formally get an appointment booked in the computer until one came up within the VA's goal of 14 day The purpose of the list, she says, was to hide how often veterans were not being seen on time.  Is it too strong to call this fraud?

Germaine Clarno: No.

Wyatt Andrews:  To what purpose 

Germaine Clarno:  To make the numbers look better for their own recognition and for bonuses

Wyatt Andrews:  The VA grants bonuses to executives and doctors partly based on wait times.  Whistle-blowers, including Dr. Sam Foote who revealed the scandal in Phoenix where up to 40 veterans may have died, believe that bonuses give an incentive to conceal delays in care. Clarno says it's easier for bosses to claim short wait time and collect the reward than it is to explain the targets cannot be met. And you think, throughout the VA, people were faking these numbers to get bonuses? 

Germaine Clarno:  Yes.

Wyatt Andrews:  And never mind how long veterans truly waited for care?

Germaine Clarno:  Correct.

And this is when Eric Shinseki needs to go.

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs needed to resign in the fall of 2009.

That's when many veterans attempting to attend college were suffering.

The VA lied.

They flat out lied in every damn way possible and, in a functioning administration, Shinskei wouldn't have resigned, he would have been fired.

'We care about veterans, support the blah, blah, we'll do a parade . . .'

Save all your b.s.

When you let veterans suffer, when some aren't able to provide their children Christmas because of your screw up that you don't fix month after damn month, stop pretending you give a damn.

Veterans were waiting for fall tuition checks.  Many didn't get them.

For those who've forgotten, VA tried to blame colleges and universities.

They lied.  The outright lied.

They knew it wasn't the colleges.

What's even worse, they knew months ahead of time the new program wouldn't work for all veterans.  And they didn't inform veterans and they didn't inform Congress.

From the October 14, 2009 snapshot, reporting on that day's House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing:

Erick Shinseki: A plan was written, very quickly put together, uh, very short timelines, I'm looking at the certificates of eligibility uh being processed on 1 May and  enrollments 6 July, checks having to flow through August.  A very compressed timeframe. And in order to do that, we essentially began as I arrived in January, uh, putting together the  plan -- reviewing the plan that was there and trying to validate it. I'll be frank, when I arrived, uh, there were a number of people telling me this was simply not executable. It wasn't going to happen. Three August was going to be here before we could have everything in place. Uh, to the credit of the folks in uh VA, I, uh, I consulted an outside consultant, brought in an independent view, same kind of assessment.  'Unless you do some big things here, this is not possible.'  To the credit of the folks, the good folks in VBA, they took it on and they went at it hard. We hired 530 people to do this and had to train them. We had a manual system that was computer assisted. Not very helpful but that's what they inherited. And we realized in about May that the 530 were probably a little short so we went and hired 230 more people. So in excess of 700 people were trained to use the tools that were coming together even as certificates were being executed.  

He came and was told of a serious problem and didn't alert Congress.  He hired an outsider to evaluate and was told the plan in place "was simply not executable."  He still didn't inform Congress.  He tried training additional employees but, if you remember, that wasn't the problem.  And maybe if he'd been honest with Congress about what was looming, the issue could be addressed.

Instead, veterans had to take out loans.  They had to work with landlords on delaying rent.  Even after lying to Congress -- and he lied -- in October that this was going to be wrapped up quick, as late as December, some veterans had to delay Christmas for their kids because they still were waiting for the check that shouldn't have come months ago.

Shinseki should have been fired.

There has been one scandal after another including the backlog which has not been fixed, which is a shell game and VSOs are only now starting to grasp this due to complaints from their members.

It's only going to get worse.

And Barack Obama doesn't have another term as president of the United States.  This is it.  He's in the second year of his second term.

Through one scandal after another, he's allowed Shinseki to continue as VA Secretary.

How does Barack think that will look in the history books?  His infamous paragraph that he's spoken of?

It's not going to look good at all.  VA and DoD still aren't integrated so that they can produce the one electronic record -- a record which would be created for a service member and, when the service member became a veteran, the record would follow the veteran into the VA.  This would help with claims, this would reduce paperwork, you name it.

While Shinseki's been VA Secretary for Barack's full first term and now into his second, the Secretary of Defense was Robert Gates, then it was Leon Panetta, then it was Chuck Hagel (who remains in the position today).  Shinseki wasted Gates' time with a plan for the electronic record.  He never implemented it.  Then Shinseki wanted to start at square one when Panetta came in.  He'd probably still be delaying if he hadn't pissed off Hagel by lying to Congress and insisting the delay was Hagel's fault.

Hagel hit the roof (and had every reason to) and went to the White House.  That's the only reason there's been any movement (finally) on this issue.

May 5th, the American Legion called for the resignations of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, VA's Dr. Robert Petzel and the VA's Allison Hickey.

In front of local media and a live Internet audience, American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger today called for the resignations of Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, Under Secretary of Health Robert Petzel and Under Secretary of Benefits Allison Hickey.
Dellinger cited poor oversight and failed leadership as the reason for calling for the resignations – something The American Legion hasn’t done regarding a public official in more than 30 years.
“Gen. Eric Shinseki has served his country well,” Dellinger said. “His patriotism and sacrifice for this nation are above reproach. However, his record as the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs tells a different story. The existing leadership has exhibited a pattern of bureaucratic incompetence and failed leadership that has been amplified in recent weeks.”
Dellinger pointed to allegations from multiple whistleblowers of a secret waiting list at the Phoenix VA Health Care System that may have resulted in the death of approximately 40 veterans, that VA previously had acknowledged that 23 veterans throughout the health-care system have died as a result of delayed care in recent years, and a the findings of an investigation by VA’s Office of Medical Inspector that clerks at the VA clinic in Fort Collins, Colo., were instructed last year how to falsify appointment records so it appeared the small staff of doctors was seeing patients within the agency's goal of 14 days, according to the investigation.
“These disturbing reports are part of what appear to be a pattern of scandals that has infected the entire system,” said Dellinger, noting issues that have come up in Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Augusta, Ga. “Those problems need addressed at the highest level – starting with new leadership. The existing leadership has exhibited a pattern of bureaucratic incompetence and failed leadership that has been amplified in recent weeks.”
Dellinger said that the failure to disclose safety information or to cover up mistakes is unforgivable – as is fostering a culture of nondisclosure. “VA leadership has demonstrated its incompetence through preventable deaths of veterans, long wait times for medical care, a benefits claims backlog numbering in excess of 596,000, and the awarding of bonuses to senior executives who have overseen such operations,” he said. “Some veterans have waited years to have their claims decided. That same leadership has failed to provide answers to why these issues continue to occur.”
Dellinger said that while errors and lapses can occur in any system, “The American Legion expects when such errors and lapses are discovered, that they are dealt with swiftly and that the responsible parties are held accountable. This has not happened at the Department of Veterans Affairs. There needs to be a change, and that change needs to occur at the top. “
When asked by media what the Legion would do if the trio didn’t resign, Dellinger said a draft of the request was being sent to the White House. “This is a very serious situation,” he said. “The administration needs to take steps now. It’s long overdue. Whenever you’re talking about a patient’s life – a veteran’s life – in jeopardy, it’s always serious.”

Dellinger also wrote an op-ed piece calling for the resignations. Read it here

It needs to happen.

The latest scandal?

If true, there's nothing that ties it to Eric Shinseki . . .

except lack of leadership.

One scandal after another indicates he's not leading and he's certainly not demanding accountability.

If the worst that can be said is that Shinseki may have encouraged fudging of the numbers, the best that can be said is he's incompetent, unable to properly review those employees under him and completely unaware of what's taking place in the department he heads.

US House Rep Jeff Miller is the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  His office issued the following:

May 13, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. --  Today, Chairman Jeff Miller wrote President Obama to request that he establish a bipartisan commission on VA medical care access. Afterwards, he released the following statement:
“Judging by the throngs of veterans, families and whistleblowers who keep courageously stepping forward, VA’s delays in care problem is growing in size and scope by the day. That’s why I am asking for President Obama’s personal involvement in helping fix this crisis. For nearly a year, we have been pleading with top Department of Veterans Affairs leaders and the president to take immediate steps to stop the growing pattern of preventable veteran deaths and hold accountable any and all VA employees who have allowed patients to slip through the cracks. In response, we’ve received disturbing silence from the White House and one excuse after another from VA. Right now, President Obama is faced with a stark choice: take immediate action to help us end the culture of complacency that is engulfing the Veterans Health Administration and compromising patient safety, or explain to the American people and America’s veterans why we should tolerate the status quo.”  – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Chairman Miller letter to President Obama
May 13, 2014
Chairman Miller letter to President Obama
May 21, 2013

The scandal plagued VA is not a star on Barack's record and Shinseki's excuses/failures/both are now apparently costing lives.  It's past time this issue was addressed.

In other news, Matt Maupin  was captured April 9, 2004 in Iraq. In a briefs roundup, March 30th, 2008,  the Washington Post noted:

The father of a soldier listed as missing-captured in Iraq since 2004 says the military has informed him that his son's remains were found in Iraq.
Keith Maupin said that an Army general told him Sunday that DNA was used to identify the remains of his son, Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin, who went by "Matt."
Matt Maupin was a 20-year-old private first class when he was captured April 9, 2004, after his fuel convoy was ambushed west of Baghdad. Arabic television network al-Jazeera aired a videotape a week later showing Maupin sitting on the floor surrounded by five masked men holding automatic rifles.

Friday, Amanda Lee Myers (AP) reported that a trial date has been set in Iraq for next Tuesday for an Iraqi whom Lt Col Alayne Conway states has "confessed to killing Maupin."  An unnamed Iraqi judge states the confession took place in 2009 and led to a conviction and sentence of death; however, the conviction's set aside or reversed as a result of some paperwork issue resulting in the need for a new trial.  Central Illinois' 31 News (link is video and text) reported Matt's father Keith Maupin "is traveling to the Pentagon on Monday to learn more about the confession." Jessica Jerreat (Daily Mail) adds this will involve Keith Maupin speaking "to the [Iraqi] judge through a translator."  Monday, Karin Johnson (WLWT -- link is video and text) spoke with Keith Maupin at the airport before he left for DC. I'm not going up there for revenge.  I'm going up there for accountability and just justice, I guess."

Brad Evans (WLWT) speaks with Keith Maupin today and Maupin tells him, "Well I think maybe it might be just a shade a little bit closer (for closure) because what I always thought was that I got justice or I got resolve having them bring Matt home.  I really thought it would all go away after that but it didn't, so this comes up and it will I think when this guy is finally, whatever happens to him, I think it will. [. . .] They got the guy that actually pulled the trigger. That’s important to me."

The lies that led to the Iraq War are important to many.  In England, the Iraq Inquiry was held and was long ago supposed to have published its results.  That has still not taken place.  James Chapman (Daily Mail) reports:

Tony Blair was blamed yesterday for a delay in publishing an official report into the Iraq War.
Norman Baker, a Home Office minister, accused the former premier of trying to block the release of secret communications between him and George W Bush.
He has told Sir John Chilcot, who is heading the inquiry, of his deep concern at the length of time it is taking.
A letter from the former Whitehall mandarin – seen by the Daily Mail – shows that publication of notes sent by Mr Blair to former US president Bush, and records of their conversations, is an issue.

Let's stay with England for a moment.  Ian Cobain (Guardian) reports:

Allegations that British troops were responsible for a series of war crimes following the invasion of Iraq are to be examined by the international criminal court (ICC) at the Hague, officials have announced.
The court is to conduct a preliminary examination of around 60 alleged cases of unlawful killing and claims that more than 170 Iraqis were mistreated while in British military custody.

Gavin Cordon (Scotsman) observes, "The inquiry will be the first time the UK has been the subject of an ICC investigation."  BBC News' Jonathan Beale offers:

There'll be a mixture of emotions in government to today's news.
There'll be anger, frustration as well as a sense of embarrassment.
When Britain signed up to the International Criminal Court it would not have envisaged itself being the subject of any investigation - albeit the earliest "preliminary examination" stage.

Britain joins the likes of Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Guinea and Georgia. 

KUNA reports the International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda held a press conference today explaining "that she cannot go after American forces who allegedly committed war crimes in Iraq during the same period, because the US is not party to the Rome Statue."  Press TV explains, "In January, her [Bensouda's] office received documents from the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) together with the Birmingham-based Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), alleging British involvement in torture. The documents were based on interviews with over 400 Iraqi prisoners."  Jill Reilly and Ian Drury (Daily Mail) expand on that:

It took the first step towards a formal investigation after studying more than 400 allegations of beating, sexual assault, mock executions and electric shocks of Iraqi captives.

The claims are made in a 250-page dossier compiled by Phil Shiner’s Public Interest Lawyers.
It raises the prospect of soldiers, commanders and politicians, including four former Labour defence secretaries – Geoff Hoon, John Reid, Des Browne and John Hutton – who are named in the file being put on trial for war crimes.

Chris Ship (ITV News) files a video report which includes Phil Shiner declaring,  "Many of these cases are deaths in custody so they couldn't be more serious.  People taken into British military facilities very much alive coming out a few hours or days later very much dead in body bags."
The International Criminal Court issued the following statement: 

Today, 13 May 2014, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”), Mrs Fatou Bensouda, announced that she has decided to re-open the preliminary examination of the situation in Iraq, previously concluded in 2006, following submission of further information to the Office of the Prosecutor in January 2014 in accordance with article 15 of the Rome Statute. The new information received by the Office alleges the responsibility of officials of the United Kingdom for war crimes involving systematic detainee abuse in Iraq from 2003 until 2008.  Iraq is a not a State Party to the Rome Statute, however, the ICC has jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed on the territory of Iraq by nationals of States Parties. The re-opened preliminary examination will analyse, in particular, alleged crimes attributed to the armed forces of the United Kingdom deployed in Iraq between 2003 and 2008.
During the preliminary examination, the Prosecutor shall consider issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice, in order to decide whether or not the criteria to open an investigation under article 53(1) of the Rome Statute have been met.  No decision on the opening of an investigation will be taken until a thorough analysis of all the relevant information is completed by the Office.
On 9 February 2006, Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the then Prosecutor of the ICC announcedhis decision not to seek authorisation to initiate an investigation of the situation in Iraq because based on the information available to the Prosecutor at the time, the required gravity threshold of the Rome Statute was not met. In that decision, the Prosecutor indicated that this conclusion could be reconsidered in the light of new facts or evidence, in accordance with article 15(6) of the Rome Statute.
On 10 January 2014, the Office of the Prosecutor received a new communication from the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (“ECCHR”) together with the Public Interest Lawyers (“PIL”), alleging the responsibility of officials of the United Kingdom for war crimes involving systematic detainee abuse in Iraq from 2003 until 2008. The United Kingdom deposited its instrument of ratification of the Rome Statute on 4 October 2001. The ICC has therefore jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed on the territory of the United Kingdom, or by UK nationals as of 1 July 2002, representing the date of the entry into force of the Rome Statute.
Based on an initial assessment of the information received, the 10 January 2014 communication provides further information that was not available to the Office in 2006. In particular, the communication alleges a higher number of cases of ill-treatment of detainees and provides further details on the factual circumstances and the geographical and temporal scope of the alleged crimes. The Prosecutor will therefore conduct a preliminary examination in order to analyse the seriousness of the information received, in accordance with the requirements of article 15(2) of the Rome Statute, and ultimately determine whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation.

Mike Corder (AP) adds, "War crimes cases at the ICC are not considered admissible at the Hague-based court if a country can prove it is prosecuting them itself."

It would be great if the issue of War Crimes could aim a little bit higher than boots on the grounds and zoom in on the master criminals who plan and carry out illegal wars. Public Interest Lawyers agrees and issued the following statement today:

There are considerable reasons to allege that those who bear the greatest responsibility for the crimes are situated at the highest levels, including all the way up the chain of command of the UK Army, and implicating former secretaries of state for defence and ministers for the armed forces personnel.

Jonathan Owen (Independent) notes, "Some of Britain’s most senior military and political figures came a step closer to facing a war crimes inquiry today, as the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it would make a “preliminary examination” into claims of “systemic” abuse by British forces in Iraq."

Nouri's War Crimes continue.  Maybe he'll be next at the Hague?  As he continues the shelling of residential neighborhoods in Falluja, NINA reports 1 civilian was killed by this and five more injured.

As this slaughter continues daily, it's worth noting this from David Reminick's  New Yorker profile of Barack last January: regarding the issues of Falluja and 'terrorists':

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.
“Let’s just keep in mind, Falluja is a profoundly conservative Sunni city in a country that, independent of anything we do, is deeply divided along sectarian lines. And how we think about terrorism has to be defined and specific enough that it doesn’t lead us to think that any horrible actions that take place around the world that are motivated in part by an extremist Islamic ideology are a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.”

He went on, “You have a schism between Sunni and Shia throughout the region that is profound. Some of it is directed or abetted by states who are in contests for power there. You have failed states that are just dysfunctional, and various warlords and thugs and criminals are trying to gain leverage or a foothold so that they can control resources, populations, territory. . . . And failed states, conflict, refugees, displacement—all that stuff has an impact on our long-term security. But how we approach those problems and the resources that we direct toward those problems is not going to be exactly the same as how we think about a transnational network of operatives who want to blow up the World Trade Center. We have to be able to distinguish between these problems analytically, so that we’re not using a pliers where we need a hammer, or we’re not using a battalion when what we should be doing is partnering with the local government to train their police force more effectively, improve their intelligence capacities.”

So why did the US government choose sides on Falluja and why is the White House arming Nouri?

Follow up: Does Nouri know Barack's called Iraq a failed state?

And why has no one pointed that out?

Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 376 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month.

Along with Nouri's killing of civilians, National Iraqi News Agency reports an Albo-Nimir battle left 4 Sahwa dead and four more injured, a Mosul roadside bombing left 1 Iraqi military officer dead, 1 person was shot dead in Doura, Joint Operations Command announced they killed 5 suspects in Falluja, 1 man was shot dead in an attack on a Mosul barbershop, an al-Yarmouk roadside bombing left two people injured, an al-Ghufran roadside bombing left four college students injured, an attack on a Mosul elementary school left 1 student dead, a Balad car bombing left 11 people dead and sixteen injured, 1 man was shot dead in Latifiya, a southern Baghdad shooting left one attorney injured, and 1 corpse was discovered dumped in Baghdad ("handcuffed and blindfolded").  In addition, AP reports 28 people were killed in a wave of Baghdad car bombings this evening.

Wednesday, April 30th, Iraqis voted in parliamentary elections. Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission has named May 25th as the date the tally of the votes will be released. All Iraq News notes that the Independent High Electoral Commission stated today they are investigating complaints about the election process.

Ned Parker and Isabel Coles (Reuters) report, "The president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani, said Iraq had been led in an authoritarian direction by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and threatened to end the oil-rich autonomous region's participation in the federal government."  National Iraqi News Agency notes Barzani met with the US State Dept's Brett McGurk today to discuss "the political situation and the general election and the formation of the next Iraqi government."   Rudaw speaks with Kurd Muhsin Abd al-Hamid about the elections.  al-Hamid was "head of the Iraqi Governing Council after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003."  Exceprt. 

Rudaw: How do you see the situation in Iraq after the elections? Will a coalition be easily formed this time if they choose Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister?

Muhsin Abd al-Hamid: The situation in Iraq is an incentive to make some changes after the elections and creating new alliances, because many of the political groups have realized that the old sectarian alliances have pushed Iraq backward. The old alliances have harmed Iraq a great deal by disintegrating the social fabric, causing bloody crimes, causing failure of economic projects and spreading sectarianism. Now is the chance for Maliki and the other groups to form a broad-based national alliance. This will include the entire political process and the constitution as its source.

Rudaw: Is the Kurdish and Sunni concern about a third term for Maliki justified?

Muhsin Abd al-Hamid: The Kurds have been through many issues with Baghdad. They are worried about a third term for Maliki as the Iraqi PM because they do not believe that the issues can be solved with Maliki. Therefore, they insist on their positions.

Saad Jawad (The Conversation) offers his take on the election here.  All Iraq News notes Ammar al-Hakim, head of the Islamic Supreme Council in Iraq -- and the new Citizen Coaliton -- declared that the Citizen Coalition is the best way to end the ongoing crises and to be a path to change.

Moving over to the US State Dept.  Today's press briefing was handled by spokesperson Jen Psaki.  We'll note this on the issue of the subpoena of Secretary of State John Kerry:

QUESTION: All right. And then I have one more housekeeping issue before people can go to Ukraine or Syria or whatever.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: And that is: Yesterday, there seemed to be some conflicting statements coming from the Hill and then from you about the subpoena issue. Has this been resolved in a way that is agreeable to both sides? Because the committee spokesman seemed to say that you guys had said, “Well, let’s just reschedule Secretary Kerry for after he returns from Mexico,” but then your statement suggested that Secretary Kerry might not be the most appropriate witness at all.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So can you enlighten us as to where you are on this?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as both of our statements noted, we’ve been in close touch with the Hill. We’ve noted several times from here that Secretary Kerry was previously scheduled to be in Mexico on the day he was subpoenaed to testify, and we have not yet made arrangements for a hearing date. Obviously, satisfying the request and the needs of the committee is an utmost priority for us and has been for months, but no, there hasn’t been a resolution at this time.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, so when you said that there – you’re – you want to work with the committee, but the committee seems to be – at least this committee in this instance seems to be focused on document production issues.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: You suggested yesterday in the statement that the Secretary’s time would – he’s spending most of his time conducting important foreign policy business, and that perhaps – or not perhaps, but there might be – there would be a more appropriate witness. Is that still your position? And if there would be a more appropriate witness on document production issues, who might that be?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t have any specifics on that. Obviously, that’s part of our discussions we’ll continue to have with the committee. And there’s been some issues around which committee has oversight over these types of issues, so we simply want to be responsive to the committee, but the person who testifies and what information we provide, of course, will be dependent on a range of factors on their end.

QUESTION: So my – okay. So my last one on this: So you will provide someone, a witness of some – an appropriate – what you would consider an appropriate witness to the committee to answer their questions? Is that in response to their --

MS. PSAKI: Certainly, we’re open to doing that. We haven’t made a determination yet in terms of how this will be resolved.

That is a how a spokesperson responds.  Not with nonsense about 'rules' that have nothing to do with the Constitution or any law in the United States, not by citing what a Republican did a million years ago, not by being a smart ass, not by being rude.  Last week, Marie Harf was clowning at the podium and it was unworthy behavior for a State Dept spokesperson.  We called her out.  Whether you agree with Psaki's comments or not, that is how a government spokesperson should speak.  She's not ridiculing anyone, she's not taking partisan swipes.  Jen Psaki's comments went to the dignity her position and her department is supposed to demonstrate.

Lastly, we'll note Alice Fordham's NPR report in tomorrow's snapshot.