Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, May 6, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri's War Crimes continue to result in the deaths of civilians, more calls for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign, another whistle-blower steps forward to talk about the Phoenix VA's secret wait list, the State Dept press briefing today does a better job handling Benghazi, and much more.

This is from the Feminist Majority Foundation:

May 6, 2014
Contact: Stephanie Hallett,
Diane Cutri,

(310) 556-2500

Celebrities Join Women's, LGBT Rights Groups to Protest Brunei's "Kill-A-Gay, Flog-A-Woman" Penal Code

Los Angeles, CA – Celebrities, including Jay Leno and Frances Fisher, joined Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, Mavis Leno, and a host of women’s rights and LGBT leaders in a rally Monday across from the Beverly Hills Hotel to demand the Sultan of Brunei rescind a Taliban-like Brunei penal code that includes the stoning to death of gay men and lesbians and the public flogging of women who have abortions.
Eleanor Smeal
"'Kill-a-gay' laws, or laws that allow the flogging of women for abortion, violate international law and have no place in civilized society," said Mavis Leno, who is on the board of the Feminist Majority.
"The United Nations must condemn the government of Brunei’s plans and explore additional options, including sanctions, if Brunei fails to rescind this decree," said Eleanor Smeal.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed deep concern about the new penal code and stated that such draconian punishments would contravene international law and international human rights.
FMF launched a massive petition drive and social media campaign calling on the government of Brunei to immediately rescind the new code and asking the United Nations to take action if these laws go into effect as planned. Supports can find the petition at feminist.org/action and are encouraged to share it on social media using the hashtag #StopTheSultan.
The new penal code is set to be implemented in three phases over three years. The first phase, which began May 1, 2014, includes fines and prison sentences. The second phase includes corporal punishment such as amputations and flogging women who have abortions. The stoning to death of gay men and lesbians is slated for the third phase.
Brunei is an industrialized, petroleum and natural gas country in Southeast Asia. It has been a member of the United Nations since 1984. The Brunei Investment Agency owns the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Bel-Air Hotel, and other Dorchester Collection Properties. The Agency is managed by the Brunei Ministry of Finance which is controlled by the Sultan.
  • Mavis Leno, Board member, Feminist Majority Foundation
  • Jay Leno
  • Eleanor Smeal, president Feminist Majority Foundation
  • Frances Fisher, actor and activist
  • Andreas Meyer, President, Equality California EQCA
  • Lorri L. Jean, CEO Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Services Center
  • Dolores Huerta, president Dolores Huerta Foundation/co-founder United Farm Workers
  • Vince Wong, Vice Chair of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
  • Betsy Butler, California Women’s Law Center
  • Ada Briceno, secretary-treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 11
  • Alan Uphold, Human Rights Campaign
  • Katherine Spillar, executive editor Ms. magazine/Feminist Majority Foundation
Photo by Jillian Ellis.

That's an important issue.  We're moving to an equally important one.  Yesterday, the American Legion called for the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki over the latest VA scandal.  Today, two US Senators joined that call.  Senator Jerry Moran's office issued the following:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today spoke on the Senate floor about the systemic dysfunction within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the need for leadership. After sharing several examples of Kansas veterans who have been disregarded by the VA, Sen. Moran demanded accountability from VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and called for his resignation.
"Veterans are waiting for action and yet the VA continues to operate in the same old bureaucratic fashion, settling for mediocrity and continued disservice to our nation’s heroes,” Sen. Moran said. “There’s a difference in wanting change and leading it to happen. Today I am demanding accountability and true transformation within the VA system in its culture from top to bottom and all across the country. Secretary Shinseki is seemingly unwilling or unable to do so and change must be made at the top. I ask the Secretary to submit his resignation and I ask President Obama to accept that resignation. We must never forget that our nation has responsibility to its veterans… We need a department of Veterans Affairs worthy of your sacrifice."
Click here to watch Sen. Moran's full speech on the Senate floor.
Sen. Moran joins the American Legion and Concerned Veterans for America in calling on Secretary Shinseki to step down amidst the failures of the VA system and the Department’s unwillingness to provide answers and take action. The ongoing claims backlog, medical malpractice, mismanagement, lack of oversight and unethical environments all contribute to the VA’s failure.
During his remarks, Sen. Moran stated that the problem is not a lack of resources – the problem is with leadership and the lack of will to change. VA funding levels have increased more than 60 percent since 2009. President Obama himself recently stated that “we’ve resourced the Veterans Affairs office more in terms of increases than any other department or agency in my government.” To date, these increases have not equaled an increase in service and support to veterans.
Sen. Moran has been a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee for 18 years, chaired the Health Subcommittee in the House for two years, and has worked with nine VA Secretaries. 
# # #

Democrats and Republicans have both stressed since 2009 that they would fund VA requests.  It is very rare that officials go before Congress and are asked, as then-US House Rep Stephanie Herseth Sandlin did at a Subcommittee hearing she chaired, what more do you need?  Every request has been funded.

And the VA has yet another scandal.  House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller noted it on April 9th.  From that day's snapshot:

US House Rep Jeff Miller:  I had hoped that during this hearing, we would be discussing the concrete changes VA had made -- changes that would show beyond a doubt that VA had placed the care our veterans receive first and that VA's commitment to holding any employee who did not completely embody a commitment to excellence through actions appropriate to the employee's failure accountable. Instead, today we are faced with even with more questions and ever mounting evidence that despite the myriad of patient safety incidents that have occurred at VA medical facilities in recent memory, the status quo is still firmly entrenched at VA.  On Monday -- shortly before this public hearing --  VA provided evidence that a total of twenty-three veterans have died due to delays in care at VA medical facilities.  Even with this latest disclosure as to where the deaths occurred, our Committee still don't know when they may have happened beyond VA's stated "most likely between 2010 and 2012."  These particular deaths resulted primarily from delays in gastrointestinal care.  Information on other preventable deaths due to consult delays remains unavailable.   Outside of the VA's consult review, this committee has reviewed at least eighteen preventable deaths that occurred because of mismanagement, improper infection control practices and a whole host -- a whole host --  of other maladies plaguing the VA health care system nationwide.  Yet, the department's stonewall has only grown higher and non-responsive. There is no excuse for these incidents to have ever occurred.  Congress has met every resource request that VA has made and I guarantee that if the department would have approached this committee at any time to tell us that help was needed to ensure that veterans received the care they required, every possible action would have been taken to ensure that VA could adequately care for our veterans.  This is the third full committee hearing that I have held on patient safety  and I am going to save our VA witnesses a little bit of time this morning by telling them what I don't want to hear.  I don't want to hear the rote repetition of  -- and I quote --  "the department is committed to providing the highest quality care, which our veterans have earned and that they deserve.  When incidents occur, we identify, mitigate, and prevent additional risks.  Prompt reviews prevent similar events in the future and hold those persons accountable."  Another thing I don’t want to hear is -- and, again, I quote from numerous VA statements, including a recent press statement --  "while any adverse incident for a veteran within our care is one too many," preventable deaths represent a small fraction of the veterans who seek care from VA every year.  What our veterans have truly "earned and deserve" is not more platitudes and, yes, one adverse incident is indeed one too many.  Look, we all recognize that no medical system is infallible no matter how high the quality standards might be.  But I think we all also recognize that the VA health care system is unique because it has a unique, special obligation not only to its patients -- the men and women who honorably serve our nation in uniform -- but also to  the hard-working taxpayers of the United States of America.

Miller will be holding a hearing on the issue later this week.  One employee, Dr. Sam Foote, of the Phoenix VA has already revealed the secret list.  Rebecca Thomas (CBS5 -- link is video and text) reports that Troy Burmesch has stepped forward to back Foote's assertions.

He said the secret list might have been a secret to the Veteran's Administration, but everyone on the Phoenix campus knew about it.
Burmesch, who worked as a medical support assistant from November 2012 to September 2013, said most support staff just didn't know exactly how the list was being used.
"I kept asking," he said. "Why are we having patients come in here, print their page, write on the back of it, put it in a folder,  folder gets collected, then it gets put in a stack of paper, then somebody else goes through it, then they finally schedule the appointment? Why don't we just put them in the electronic wait list? It makes no sense."
Burmesch said he never got an answer.

But he said the so-called secret list was standard protocol.

Wow.  Electronic wait list?  Why wasn't that used?

Because it would be harder to conceal.  (Yeah, we raised that issue here on April 9th).

Today Senator John Coryn's office issued the following:

WASHINGTONU.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) today called for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki after multiple reports have surfaced detailing how VA officials kept secret wait lists and falsified records at multiple clinics across the country while veterans waiting for care died.
The full video of his remarks can be found here.  Excerpts of his remarks are below.
“I wish the White House, instead of traveling around the country, talking about the urgency of climate change, would talk with equal urgency about this failure of leadership and incompetence at the VA. 
“We need a point person, appointed by the White House to get to the bottom of this, and we need the Majority Leader to hold emergency committee meetings to get to the bottom of this and to stop it, as soon as possible.
“But I agree with the American Legion that General Shinseki’s time as Secretary of Veterans Affairs has come to an end, and he needs to step down.  The President needs to find a new leader to lead this organization out of the wilderness, and back to providing the service our veterans deserve.”
Sen. Cornyn wrote an op-ed in today’s Waco Tribune-Herald regarding recent failures at the VA and the need for America to live up to its promises to our veterans. 

Let's move over to Iraq. Why does KUNA lie or are they just that stupid?

Today, the Kuwait News Agency insists, "Iraqi Minister of Defense Saadoun Al-Dulaimi met Representative of UN Secretary General for Iraq Nickolay Mladebnov on Tuesday to discuss the insurgency in the western governorate of Al-Anbar and other parts of Iraq."


That didn't happen.  Stop lying.

Oh, Mladebnov met with al-Dulaimi.  That's correct.

But al-Dulaimi is not the Minister of Defense.

Iraq has no Minister of Defense, stop lying.

Back in July, 2012, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed, "Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a lasting power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions, including the ministers of defense, interior and national security, while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support."

That remains true.

Grasp that he went through his entire second term without ever nominating anyone to head the three security ministries.

Grasp that violence was down at the start of his second term.


It's at 2008 or 2007 levels depending upon the outlet.

So stop whoring.

Nouri refused to nominate people to head these ministries -- this is a supreme failure that goes to his grave incompetence and how he has failed Iraq.

Even after violence began to increase, he refused to nominate anyone for the three security posts.


If Parliament confirms a nominee, they hold that post -- whether Nouri wants them to or not.  They can only be removed by a vote in Parliament.

Nouri refused to nominate people because he wanted control of the security ministries.

He got control.

And Iraq is yet again mired in ongoing violence.

That's on Nouri.

He should be charged with incompetence and maybe even treason.

How do you refuse to obey the Constitution?

And when you refuse to and your refusal drags the country into violence?

That sounds to me like treason.

I don't use the 't' word lightly.

Nouri's failures go to his incompetence and his paranoia is now a threat to the people of Iraq.

He needs to be removed from office.

From the prime minister's office to the office of President of Iraq,   Aswat al-Iraq reports, "The Kurdish Union Party nominated today the special physician of President Jalal Talabani and the Governor of Kirkuk to assume Iraqi presidency office": Dr. Najm al-Deen Kareem.

The who did what?

The Kurdish Union Party.  A minor player in the KRG (and one that's been angling cabinet positions in the KRG's government).  The two dominant parties in the KRG now are the KDP and Goran.  I don't see why they would back a minor party -- especially one closely associated with the PUK -- Jalal Talabani's party.

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

His absence from the country has hurt his political party and it has hurt the country so it seems a little strange to think that his "special physician" would be warmly received by the bulk of Kurds.  He is, after all, one of the people repeatedly claiming every six or so weeks for the last every 16 months that Jalal would be returning 'shortly.'

Dr. Kareem has earned applause for many things.  For example, he denied Nouri's thugs entry into Kirkuk.

Hawija is in Kirkuk Province.  Nouri wanted to attack the protester but needed to get more forces in during the five-day siege of Hawija.  The problem for him was that Kirkuk forces would not let Nouri's SWAT forces enter. Dr. Najm al-Din Karim discussed this with Shalaw Mohammed (Niqash):

NIQASH: The incidents in Hawija, where protestors were killed by the Iraqi military, also seems to have seen more Iraqi army forces enter Kirkuk.

Al-Din Karim: Actually those forces did not come through Kirkuk - they entered Hawija by helicopter. They tried to come through Kirkuk but we prevented them from doing so. I know the Prime Minister disapproved of this – he told me so last time we met.

He was right to refuse entry.  In 2013, Nouri's method of 'communicating' with protesters was already well known.  He'd denounce them as "terrorists," his people would follow the protesters to their homes, his people would arrest the protesters and they'd wound or kill the protesters.

 January 7th, Nouri's forces assaulted four protesters in Mosul,  January 24th,  Nouri's forces sent two protesters (and one reporter) to the hospital,  and March 8th, Nouri's force fired on protesters in Mosul killing three.

All of that and more appeared to be a trial run for what was coming, the April 23rd massacre of a peaceful sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll rose to 53 dead.  UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

The doctor was more than right to stand up to Nouri.

But he's not the only high profile Kurdish politician to do so.  Yes, KRG President Massoud Barzani has stood up to Nouri but that's true of pretty much all the Kurdish politicians except for Hoshyar Zebari.  The embarrassing Minister of Foreign Affairs is practically Nouri's lapdog.

Nouri has many lapdogs -- including US President Barack Obama.  I believe that's a first, for a puppet to make their controller a lapdog.

Al-Monitor runs an interview the outlet Azzaman did with the chief of the US Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq, Lt Gen Michael Bednarek.  Excerpt.

Azzaman:  How do you follow up on the developments in Iraq?

Bednarek:  We are following up on the situation in Iraq, and on the Iraqi efforts to fight terrorism. We are cooperating in this field by communicating with the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. Lately, we supplied Iraq with the necessary weapons to counter terrorism.
Since the eruption of the security problem and its aggravated ramifications in December 2013, and late January 2014 in Anbar, the US government has assisted the Iraqi armed forces, through the Iraqi federal government, by providing information and arms to resolve the battle against terrorism and enable Iraq to counter this grave danger. Since Jan. 17, 2014, the US has sent 14 million shells and rounds. The munitions consist of rifle rounds and Hellfire missiles. The US has also delivered nearly 7,000 pieces of weapons, namely rifles, rockets and rocket launchers. All of these shipments were sent to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and armed terrorist groups, and they came in response to the Iraqi government’s demands to urgently fight terrorism.
The latest shipment of weapons arrived on April 23, and we have shipped 800 cannon rounds. The next shipment consists of 99 Hellfire rockets and 1,000 tank rounds. Regardless of the amount and type of weapons, the US is still committed to its obligations in the US-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement. It is a clear evidence to the partnership with Iraq, because we do not have any other ally that receives such a significant support in the security and defense sector.

Yes, the blood is on the White House which has pleaded for Nouri to receive weapons and shares 'intel' with him.

What does that mean?  Barack's a butcher -- assisting a War Criminal which, in fact, makes him a War Criminal.

The ethically challenged administration has looked the other way for over four months now as Nouri has bombed the homes of civilians in Falluja. Today's targets?  NINA notes 2 civilians dead and three more injured from the shelling of an apartment complex.  We're not done yet.  NINA notes that the bombing of the residential neighborhoods in north and south Falluja left 5 civilians dead ("including women and children") with ten more wounded.

This is being carried out with US weapons and US 'intel.'  These War Crimes are on the orders of Nouri al-Maliki who Barack Obama made prime minister in 2010 even though Nouri lost the elections.

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports the Ministry of the Interior announced 3 suspects were killed in Falluja, Joint Special Operations Command announced they killed 3 suspects and set a fuel tank on fire (the fuel tank, no doubt, looked suspicious), a Baghdad motorcycle drive-by left 1 person dead, 2 civilians were injured in a Falluja battle, a Latifiyah roadside bombing left 1 commander of the regiment of army 17th band dead and eleven serving under him were injured, 2 Jurfis-Sakhar roadside bombings left 3 Iraqi soldiers dead and six more injured, a Taji sticky bombing left 1 police member dead, the military killed four suspects in Kisik, a Mosul bombing left 1 police member and two civilians wounded, a Hit suicide bomber left 3 Iraqi soldiers dead and four more injured, a Ramadi suicide car bomber took his own life and the life of 1 Iraqi soldier with four police members injured, nd a Mosul roadside bombing left three police members injured.

Now let's move over to Benghazi.  Jen Psaki was in charge of the US State Dept's press briefing today and we'll congratulate her on more awareness and professionalism than Marie Harf demonstrated yesterday.  Excerpt.

QUESTION: -- and it’s not Ukraine. I just want to know, has the – one, will they be talking about the Benghazi issue and the subpoena? And two, has there been an accommodation reached with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on his appearance or nonappearance?

MS. PSAKI: All I have on the detail is – of course, what they’ll talk about is Nigeria – I wouldn’t expect that to be a topic of conversation, if I were to guess. I spoke with – as you know, in terms of what’s happening with the request, as you all know, Secretary Kerry returned late last night from his trip to Africa. Obviously, while we were there, we spent far more time on South Sudan and the ongoing process in the Great Lakes than on the process in the latest effort to reignite a debate on – about Benghazi on the Hill.
We did talk with him about it. He’ll spend – he’ll be engaged with his team here in the coming days to discuss the request from HOGR. He was surprised to see that after serving 29 years in the Senate and working with both parties for decades that he was sent a subpoena before a request to testify.
He committed, from the beginning of this process, as some of you have noted, to be cooperative in providing briefings and materials to Congress. And after seven investigations, 13 hearings, dozens of transcribed interviews, and more than 50 briefings, the numbers speak for themselves. But at this time, there are still questions related to – that members need to determine within their own caucus about who has jurisdiction over these issues. There’s been HOGR, there’s been the Armed Services Committee, there have been reports of a select committee, of course. Obviously, I would point you all to statements that have been made by Speaker – or by Leader Pelosi and by others in Congress, and they’ll, of course, work through those.
We remain – our belief remains that there’s little evidence that a select committee is going to be a legitimate vehicle for congressional oversight. And our focus remains in the Secretary’s view, from talking with him about this, is that the focus of Congress should be on continuing to take steps to protect the men and women who are serving overseas in high-threat posts where we have requested assistance, we’ve requested effort – or help in implementing – continuing to implement the ARB. And that’s what his focus is on.

QUESTION: Okay. That was a very expansive answer, thank you. But all I really wanted to know was if there had been an accommodation reached with the committee about the subpoena and his possible appearance. And if not --


QUESTION: -- has there been any contact between the – his staff and the committee staff to see – I mean, has the conversation begun?

MS. PSAKI: Our team has obviously been engaged with the Hill as would be expected, but there’s no specific updates I have to provide today.

QUESTION: So at this point, he still plans to be in Mexico on the 21st?

MS. PSAKI: He does, yes.
Go ahead, Lucas.

QUESTION: Last evening, Congressman Trey Gaudi called on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify. Would the State Department support her testimony?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, Secretary Clinton is a private citizen, but she also testified, I believe, for about five hours on this case. And again, I’d point you to the level of cooperation both under Secretary Clinton and under Secretary Kerry with Congress, so --

QUESTION: Also, last evening a seven-page email was released with the title, “Fox News: U.S. officials knew Libya attack was terrorism within 24 hours, sources confirm.” This email was sent out approximately September 27th. Are you aware of this email?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not sure. I don’t have that specific email in front of me, Lucas, but --

QUESTION: Is it common when news breaks that emails go out with the source, CNN, Fox News, ABC, NBC?

MS. PSAKI: We do have a clips process in the Administration, where we track what all of you report, yes.


MS. PSAKI: Every outlet.

QUESTION: In hindsight, does the State Department still say intervention in Libya was a good idea?

MS. PSAKI: Well, look, our position hasn’t changed. Are you getting at a specific component, or what is your specific question?

QUESTION: Just in hindsight – the Administration ran on a policy of not intervening in other countries, and this kind of intervention in Libya was seen as something the government would not do. And I’m just wondering, in hindsight, would the State Department support going into Libya again?

MS. PSAKI: Well, obviously, I would point you to those in the White House about what the President ran or didn’t run on, despite the fact that I was personally there. But I don’t think there’s any belief that they would change what efforts they’ve supported. Obviously – and this is a point I was making in the last point I made in response to Matt’s question – you look at, and there have been, because of the number of investigations and the ARB process, there have been steps taken to ensure that our men and women serving overseas are better protected, that we’re requesting the kind of resources and financial support we need, that that is all taken into account, so certainly that we have reflected and the changes we’ve made since then.

QUESTION: Despite all the testimony and all the questions in the ARB, one of the questions that remains, is still out there is: Was it the State Department or the White House that briefed Susan Rice before she appeared on the talk shows?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Lucas, I would have to tell you that from participating in a number of briefings for Sunday shows, it can have a range of officials, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise. And as many have stated, the information provided was the best information provided by the CIA to members of Congress, same talking points, that we had available at the time.

QUESTION: Right, but so nobody knows to this day who briefed Susan Rice and suggested that this line about the video was something she should go out and talk about?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, Lucas, I would point you to Mike Morell’s testimony where he conveyed that’s the information we had available at the time, and that’s what the intel community assessed at the time.

QUESTION: But he mentioned demonstrations; he never mentioned the video.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I’m not – I don’t think I’m going to play much further into looking back into the rearview mirror on this.

Do we have any more on this topic?

Well we have facts, how about facts?

April 17, 2013, Kerry appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  This is from Ruth's "Kerry pressed on Benghazi:"

Chair Ed Royce: This Committee has been frustrated in obtaining documents and other information from the Department concerning the Benghazi terrorist attacks.  Of course, our investigation pre-dates your tenure so I am hopeful we will be able to resolve this as you get your team in place so that we can move forward on this important issue. 

Secretary John Kerry:   On the subject of Benghazi, look, I-I -- I'm -- I was on the other side of the podium the day, just a short time ago, when that was a big issue and we held hearings in the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate and we wanted materials and we got a lot.  In fairness, I think the administration has testified 8 times, has briefed 20 times, Secretary Clinton spent five hours answering questions for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 25,000 documents have already been turned over, video of the actual event has been made available to members to see.  If you haven't seen it, I urge you to see it because it is enormously helpful in understanding events and the flow of what happened.  And the people who were all involved have all been interviewed and not only interviewed, but those FBI interviews were made part of the record and in an unprecedented way have been made available to the Congress in order to read those-those testimonies.  So if you have addition questions or you think-think there's some document that somehow you need, I'll work with you to try to get it and see if we can provide that to you --

Chair Ed Royce:  Yeah but my -- I have to just disagree for a minute.  Instead of handing over copies of the documents and records that we've requested, as has always been customary practice in the past, the Department has insisted that the Committee staff sift through thousands of pages of material in a room in which they are monitored by the Department.  And they can't remove any or make electronic copies of those documents.  Mr. Secretary, these are unclassified documents that relate to the critical issue of embassy security and the Department is literally spending thousands of taxpayers' dollars a week to slow the progress of the Committee's review.  So this has resulted in a great deal of wasted time of the and money.  I think it runs contrary to the administration's promise of increased transparency.   And I hope you will reconsider the Department's position on this issue. 

Secretary John Kerry:  Well I didn't know that there was a position that does what you're describing.   There's certainly no position by me to delay anything and I was not aware that -- If there's anything that's appropriate to turn over -- What I want to check, Mr. Chairman, is what is the historical precedent with respect to investigative document, FBI document, which we don't control.  I just want to find out what the story is on that. I'll work with you.  And you'll have me up here again and if I haven't worked with you, I'm sure I'll know about it so I promise you we'll work together to try to do that.

And he didn't follow up on his word which is at the heart of the issue and why he's been subpoenaed to testify.

If he'd kept his word, there would be no reason to seek his testimony.

Jon Stewart  forgot funny yet again in his never ending attempts to 'trend.'  Four Americans died in Benghazi: Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Ambassador Chris Stevens.  I didn't realize their deaths were a punchline.  But desperation is all Jon has to offer these days.  John Oliver's going to HBO, Stephen Colbert's replacing David Letterman and Jon Stewart's going . . . Well nowhere.

Rosewood?  It's a mess right now and in need of real editor to make sense of the mess.  Even if it becomes coherent, the film will be a flop at the box office.  Jon better prepare for the fact that his directing career died on that one film.

He's got nothing and he's too long in the tooth for Comedy Central.  Which is why his humor left long ago.  What the hairy little monkey does now is clap greatest hits on his cymbals.  That's all he's got, not laughs, not actual humor.  He's just a tired little whore reduced to performing moldy, oldy greatest hits.

As Joni Mitchell told Cameron Crowe in 1979:

Here's the thing. You have two options. You can stay the same and protect the formula that gave you your initial success. They're going to crucify you for staying the same. If you change, they're going to crucify you for changing. But staying the same is boring. And change is interesting. So of the two options, I'd rather he crucified for changing. 

Old man Stewart is about as relevant in 2014 as Falco.  And that will only be more true when Jon tries to promote Rosewood -- a film guaranteed to piss a lot of leftists off and bring accusations that Stewart is little more than a tool for the government of Israel.  Lots of luck holding onto your aging base when that happens, Jon.  So 'trend' while you can, old man, your funny days are gone and the last holdouts who pimp you because -- though not funny -- you say what they want to hear politically will soon be leaving.

You can catch Jon's proselytizing in this post by John Aravosis (American Blog) where John gushes, "Jon Stewart does a masterful job showing how Lindsey Graham and Fox News didn't give a lick of 'outrage' over the Bush administration intelligence failures that led to 9/11 and to the disastrous war in Iraq."  I have no desire for S&M games with the short and sqaut Stewart so I can't comment on 'masterful' and will leave Aravosis to his fantasies of Jon; however, the segment's not funny and it also's unintentionally self-indicting.

And self-defeating.

To 'work,' the 'hilarity' comes from the fact that Republicans are calling for action on A but they didn't call for action on B.  It's supposed to underscore the hypocrisy of The Other.

But by turning four deaths into a joke, isn't Jon Stewart -- so outraged by the Iraq War (that he did initally embrace) -- as guilty of what accuses the Republicans of -- being outraged by A but not by B?

More to the point, since when, on the left, do we set the right up as the norm?  That's self-defeating.  And when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House, we called out treating Republicans as the norm.

Now we're so pathetic we even have the US State Dept insisting that the actions of Republicans in Congress under Bully Boy Bush are "the rule."

This is one of those moments where smart people would call a pause and make an effort to regroup around core principles and beliefs.  But smart people are in short supply.

And this is why the left is unable to win.  We're too damn stupid.

We refuse to make our demands and we become so servile that we'll yuck it up about four dead Americans -- we'll turn that into a punch line.  And to the rest of the country, it doesn't play funny.

To the rest of the country, we look like unfeeling assholes.

Keep waging your 'trend' wars and pretend that this unseemly mockery will somehow lead to more support for left positions.

It won't.  This is the same destructive path that too many of us on the left set out on in the 70s.  And the response?  12 years of Reaganism (8 under Ronald Reagan, 4 under George H.W. Bush).

So yuck it up.  Please get all the cheap laughs you can because in a few years when you realize that you blew it, let's at least hope you can look back and remember the huge laugh you had as you destroyed all our hopes for a better country by alienating others in this country with you sad and pathetic whoring.

And get this: At some point this year, Republicans are going to realize the response to Stewart and others isn't to reply with a critique.  The response, the winning response, one William Bennett's usually arrived at by now, is to cluck in pity that some people will make fun of the dead.  That's how this plays across America and the minute the Republican Party attempts to make this a 'moral' issue all the White House spin and all the ha-has from Jon Stewart no longer work.

On our side, on the left, it's always the male arrogance that kills us.  Maybe next go round, women can be the leaders -- not ones who ape men, but ones who don't repeatedly treat the world and the discourse as a drunken frat party.

mohammed tawfeeq