Monday, August 31, 2015

Iraq snapshot

Monday, August 31, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the State Dept is too busy to follow the news, Bernie Sanders smoke and mirrors game grows tired, and more.

Starting with this:

  1. reinforced that all must ; it is our collective responsibility.

  • I'm sorry, sweetheart, which Disney princess are you?

    I kind of thought you were Secretary of State.

    But to be that, you'd need to be doing something on Iraq.

    You haven't.

    But you think you have time for Climate Change so you must be a Disney princess, right?

    I happen to believe in global warming.

    And that the issue needs to be addressed.

    But, John Kerry, your plate is full.

    And after a year of US taxpayers footing the bill for billions more on Iraq, you should be Tweeting about Iraq and focusing on Iraq.

    If that's too much for you, maybe you should apply at Disney?

    As a Vietnam veteran, you'd benefit because Disney believes in hiring veterans.

    But if you want to be Secretary of State, it's past time you started focusing on Iraq.

    Your lack of leadership is evident at the State Dept.

    From Friday's snapshot:

  • 's celeb militiaman Abu Azrael was filmed mutilating corpse of -er he allegedly burned to death. He's one of the good guys, right?

  • As noted, this thug is treated by the western media as something heroic -- a Rambo.

    It's that sort of whoring by the press that allows so many around the world to never grasp what's going on in Iraq or how things got to the point they are now.

    Clear enough, right?

    And the story received attention from the media all weekend.

    Despite that attention . . .

    When the issue was raised to State Dept spokesperson Mark Toner at today's press briefing, he pleaded ignorance.

    QUESTION: I want your reaction for a video that circulated over the internet of a celebrated Shia militia in Iraq, whose, like, his graphic pictures are seen basically burning an ISIS member and slicing off his flesh. I wanted to know whether the United States has a position on the anti-ISIS forces taking basically what seems to be from ISIS playbook in fighting the ISIS fighters?

    MR TONER: Sorry, so you’re speaking to a video that shows --

    QUESTION: Of a very famous militia man named as the Rambo of Iraq in Western press. He’s seen basically in the video like desecrating the body of an ISIS fighter. Is it okay for anti-ISIS forces to practice --

    MR TONER: I mean, we wouldn’t – I’m not aware of this actual incident that you’re speaking about. But the desecration of any --

    QUESTION: But in general, you are not --

    MR TONER: In general, no, we don’t support --

    QUESTION: Against ISIS. Against ISIS.

    MR TONER: Regardless of who it is, we don’t support the desecration of bodies of fallen enemy or anyone, frankly.

    Again, Princess John, you're not doing your job and it's effecting those working under you.

    For Toner to go into a briefing on Monday and not know about a major Iraq story that broke on the previous Friday and was covered all weekend in the press goes to John Kerry's lackadaisical  -- I'll get there when I get there -- attitude about Iraq.

    Analyst Kirk Sowell Tweets the following:

  • The article is in Arabic.

    It notes reality.

    First of all, stripping Nouri al-Maliki, Ayad Allawi and Osama al-Nujafi of their posts as Vice President (which may or may not be Constitutional) and the deputy prime ministers -- including Saleh al-Mutlaq -- of their posts (ibid) does not strip them of their membership in Parliament.

    They remain MPs.

    This is only confusing if you're one of the idiots who thought what happened to Tareq al-Hashemi -- starting in December of 2011 -- was legal.

    It wasn't.

    And if Nouri was treated the same way he treated Tareq, there would be a trial right now for Nouri.

    I loathe Nouri al-Maliki but I support the rule of law.

    We maintained from December 2011 forward that Tareq could not be tried because he remained a member of Parliament (as well as Vice President, he was never stripped of that title) and, as such, he had legal immunity until the end of that Parliament.

    Nouri was elected to Parliament in the last go round last year.

    Until the current Parliament dissolves -- either at its natural time or via an early move to dissolve the Parliament and hold new elections -- Nouri can't be put on trial unless the Parliament votes to strip him of his immunity.

    Nouri didn't care about the law when it came to persecuting Tareq.

    But you better believe that now that he's the one who might go on trial and he and his love slaves will all be screaming about the immunity -- the same immunity they refused to recognize when persecuting Sunni politicians.

    Politicians . . .

    Senator Bernie Sanders appeared on ABC's This Week Sunday and Martha Raddatz had some questions for him.  Not the right questions, but some questions.

  • He   citied his 2002 vote against the Iraq War.  Repeatedly.

    In 2015, you need to have a little bit more to offer than a 2002 vote.

    Thirteen years ago, Bernie managed to vote against authorizing the Iraq War.

    After that, he really did nothing.

    Despite calling it the worst foreign policy mistake (crime), he never filibustered.

    He never did anything.

    But that is the suck-up Bernie.

    He's just a little suck ass and the idiots supporting him -- I'm calling you idiots because you are idiots, we were kind in 2008 to The Cult of St. Barack and look where that got us -- know nothing about Bernie besides his TV appearances.

    Bernie does nothing.

    Over and over.

    We're going to the May 1, 2014 snapshot:

    Senator Bernie Sanders: Within the veterans' community -- and in fact, the nation both in the public sector and the private sector -- we face a very serious problem as a nation of overmedication. The result of that overmedication is that significant numbers of people treated in the Department of Defense facilities, in VA facilities and in the private sector become dependent upon those medications intended to help them and ease their pain. Pain relief is a huge problem in the country and how we treat that pain in the most effective way is really what we're discussing today. Some people who are treated with a whole lot of medication become addicted -- and I think we all know what happens when people become addicted -- and some in fact will end up taking --  losing their lives through overdoses. And in my state and throughout this country this is a huge problem as well. So this is a major issue which has been discussed in this committee during the last year and we're really glad we have such a distinguished panel to discuss this issue.

    We're starting in the US and dropping back to yesterday for a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Iraq voted in parliamentary elections yesterday, we focused on that, there wasn't room for the Wednesday hearing.  Senator Bernie Sanders is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and Senator Richard Burr is the Ranking Member.

    The big news of the hearing?

    The big news was about the allegations of deaths.

    What allegations of death?

    Dropping back to the April 9th snapshot to note this from that day's House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing:

    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 is the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  Like Miller, Sanders takes this issue seriously and noted it in his opening remarks.  He noted, "I just spoke to the VA's Inspector General yesterday.  There is a thorough investigation taking place in Phoenix and Richard Griffin who is the VA's Acting Inspector General told me that he has the resources that he needs to thoroughly investigate that situation."

    Keep that in mind.

    The big disgrace that is the VA's Dr. Robert Petzel told the Committee, "I need to say that to date, we found no evidence of a secret list.  And we have found no patients who have died because they were on a wait list."

    Did you grasp what just happened because the press didn't?

    I've heard Jen Psaki, Marie Harf, Victoria Nuland, Jay Carney, Robert Gibbs, Dana Perino and many more explain, when asked, that they couldn't what?


    Pick any controversial and embarrassing topic and what do they say, "I'm sorry.  I can't comment on an ongoing investigation."

    But Petzel didn't say that -- despite it being an ongoing investigation.

    So, in fact, we now know that they can comment on an ongoing investigation, they just don't want to.

    After denying any guilt, Petzel then declared, "We think it's very important that the Inspector General be allowed to finish their investigation before we rush to judgment as to what has actually happened."  But he rushed to judgment when he denied it.

    But Bernie didn't deal with it, did he?

    He spent that hearing talking about holistic medicine.

    He wasted everyone's time.

    It was said veterans were dying -- and they were -- because of what the VA was doing.

    But Bernie wanted to talk holistic medicine.

    Now he did promise, in that hearing, that he would be holding a hearing on this issue.

    And who knows, someday he might.

    He lied April 30, 2014 when he said he'd be holding a hearing on the matter.

    May 15, 2014, he announced at the start of a hearing that the investigation was going on and they should wait for the facts before trying to determine what happened.

    July 16, 2014, it still wasn't time -- according to Bernie.  Another hearing refusing to hold the VA accountable.

    September 9, 2014 -- five months after the scandal broke -- he finally held some sort of hearing.  It didn't try to hold VA accountable and Bernie offered excuses throughout for the VA.

    He was known as the VA apologist in the Senate.

    Covering the May 14, 2014 hearing,  Wally noted, in "More talk, no action (Wally),"  that after the hearing Sanders went on CNN and was so craven in toadying up to the VA that host Chris Cuomo even pointed it out.

    That's your 'brave' and 'independent' Bernie Sanders who has repeatedly failed to show leadership.

    Yes, he can be convincing for a soundbyte or two; however, he never does anything.  What's his track record on legislation?  Something like 1 out of every 200 bills he introduces gets passed?

    That's your Bernie Sanders who, by the way, looks a lot like Colonel Sanders of KFC fame.