Monday, August 09, 2021

Iraq snapshot

 Monday, August 9, 2021.  Barack Obama is a super spreader and, for a change, we aren't talking about his legs, Iraq continues to suffer electricity issues during the midst of an exceedingly hot summer, Joe Biden's word tricks have misled a Shi'ite militia in Iraq who is promising violence if Joe's words do not bear out, and much more.

Starting with Glenn Greenwald:

A NYT reporter on CNN justifying Obama's huge maskless birthday bash because he only invited "a sophisticated, vaccinated crowd" is about as emblematic of liberal discourse as it gets. What happened to all the concerns about vaccinated people passing Delta to the unvaccinated?

Annie Karni embarrasses herself by insisting it was "a sophisticated, vaccinated crowd."

Either we are taking measures or we are not. The US needs higher rates of COVID 19 vaccinations per the current administration.  

For Princess Barack -- the original Princess Tiny Meat -- to occupy Martha's Vineyard for his maskless birthday party is outrageous.   How dare he put the workers on Martha's Vineyard at risk.  We do get that, right?  That most who own property (including me) do not live there.  We visit, usually in the summer.  But the island isn't empty.  There are workers who make it their life.  And the people of Martha's Vineyard have done a very good job of following the government's ever-changing recommendations and getting vaccinated.  It is outrageous for this group of entitled elites to go to this island -- to descend upon it like a plague of locust -- and put them at risk.

Barack is not of Martha's Vineyard and never will be.  The residents do not like him -- you have to be willing to mingle and to spend to be liked by the residents.  Otherwise, you're not helping their community.  

Princess held a large event that shouldn't have been held anywhere but how typical of Princess Barack to risk the lives of the working class -- that is the bulk of the year-round inhabitants of Martha's Vineyard.  It is outrageous.  It is perfectly in keeping with his grand ego but (a) it wasn't safe and (b) it shouldn't have taken place.

Don't whine -- US media -- about people not masking up in a grocery store or wherever while you're applauding this outrageous -- and excessive -- event.

In the midst of a pandemic, a former so-called public servant holds that outrageous event?

Oh look, there's Erykah Badu embarrassing herself as part of the party.

Erykah's used to embarrassing herself, right?  Didn't think I'd tell this story, Erykah?  Oh, how wrong you were.

What does Erykah really think about the government?

She thinks that the people who work for the government are to be screamed and screeched at.  She thinks they are to bend to her will and hop in a time traveling machine to meet her demands.

Erykah loves to live large . . . but on the cheap.  See, she really doesn't have a lot of money.  That's how she ended up purchasing a grand but dilapidated mansion in Oak Cliff in a notorious run-down, drug infested neighborhood.  She paid pennies on the dollar because no one, driving by the home was interested in it -- unless they had a shotgun aimed out the car window.

This run down home was decades old.  But Erykah goes on to terrorize the city workers.  Where are the original building plans!  She laughs about how they get red faced at her tantrum and start talking about how Oak Cliff wasn't always part of Dallas and when it was incorporated   Not good enough for Bitch Erykah who throws a screaming fit. (Added: Also true, they don't keep residential plans after a project is completed.

She then finally has plans drawn up -- for a remodel.  And starts the process of taking out permits.  But she doesn't finish the process -- which, yes, would include paying the fees.  After several months, the city tosses the plans.  As they do on all residential projects.  Erykah now has a holy fit because she finally scrapped up enough change to be able to pay the fees and schedule the inspections.

She brags about how she shouted and bullied and screamed to get her way.

That's Erykah Badu.

And reality, the only thing above she's really going to be offended about me repeating?  The reality that she doesn't have money.  "Tyrone" is years ago.  And though it was an "airplay" hit, it really didn't sale.  And she hasn't done an album in over ten years.  Glad she gathered enough scratch to fly to Martha's Vineyard but don't loan her money, she's not good for it.  She still, over a decade later, hasn't finished the 'improvements' to that dilapidated place she calls "home."

I could do this all day long, by the way.  Go through each of the guests at Barack's party and tell you some truths about them.  I went with Erykah because she was the first one I saw and also because she borrowed several thousand dollars from a mutual friend only three months ago (a record producer) and still hasn't paid him back.  Again, don't loan her money -- she has none to pay you back with.  The gravy train dried up for her.  Which is probably why she wore that old outfit that we'd all seen her in before about twenty to thirty times over.

Life is hard, Erykah -- especially when you try to pass for the elite and you're only keeping your head above water with personal loans.

We could talk about, for example, Bruce Springsteen who explained to me that he had to go back on Broadway because his albums no longer sale and, in today's streaming and radio market, he really doesn't get 'plays' because he's over 60 and his core audience apparently abandoned music for talk.  His label has already made clear that with every album stiffing of late, there will be concessions when they discuss the next contract -- concessions on his part.  He long ago stopped being Bruce Of The People and to live the high life that he and Patty now expect, he's got to go on Broadway where a bunch of out of touch people think they'll look cool seeing a washed up 71-year-old musician.

Again, I could do this all day.  I could tell you about the actor whose marriage is over but they keep it up for appearances and also because the only thing worse than only have X amount of dollars would be having to split X amount of dollars in a divorce settlement.  So she continues to see her singer-songwriter lover every Tuesday and Thursday and he amuses himself on those days and others with hired escorts.

What a crowd that flocks to Barack -- the depressed, deprived and depraved.

And then there's Barack himself.  He depends on others whoring.  His book didn't sell.  Not enough to justify that outlandish advance.  And his other big deal, the one with NETFLIX?  Well the Barack-ers NETFLIX installed are not working out.  Some like Channing have already been fired -- others soon will be.  And Barack himself is a liability.  The US market is saturated with NETFLIX subscribers.  They're dependent upon foreign markets.  What they didn't stop to consider was partnering up with Barack doesn't endear them overseas where people are much more likely to note that he murdered thousands with his drone war, that he never ended any wars, that he was a tool of corporatists and that he delivered nothing for the people.

By the way, with all his money, he better not have stuck the American people with the security price tag for that outrageous birthday party.  Seriously, the American people have a right to know (a) whether we had to pay for that event that shouldn't have taken place and (b) how much it is costing us.

It's easy for Barack to live large on our dime but it's neither fair nor ethical.


Funniest part of the party?  That Trap Beckham -- if you don't know him, you're not missing anything -- performed his awful "Birthday Bitch" at the party.  

Sample lyric:

I'm trying to get you to the birthday bed
You can even get the birthday head
That's what you call birthday sex
You don't need no love from ya birthday ex

Trap, did you tap?  You get you some of that Princess Barack coochie?  Oh, don't tell.  It's better that we all wonder.

Doesn't appear he scaled his 'super spreader' party back much at all.

How outrageous.  What a poor example he continues to be.  And sympathies to the residents of Martha's Vineyard, the people who actually live there, that their health is now at risk because of Barack's preening ego and his idiotic guests.

This morning, Morgan Chalfant and Amie Parnes (THE HILL) report:  "The White House is grappling with a resurgence of coronavirus cases that Democrats see as a real political threat given the central role getting the pandemic under control plays for President Biden. "  And there's supporter Barack hosting his super spreader event.  Think of how that played to the country.  Or around the world?  In Iraq, which the CIA estimates has a population of 40 million (no census has been done in Iraq in decades), only 5% of the people have been vaccinated.

But, hey, Princess got her big birthday party and isn't that all that matters . . . to Barack?

As I dictate this snapshot, the temperature in Baghdad is 113 degrees F.  This in a country that does not have dependable electricity, where the residents have to rely -- if they're lucky enough -- on generators.  The government fails them and does so as the out of date electrical grid is also being attacked.  AHRAM ONLINE reports:

A power transmission line in Iraq's Nineveh has been stopped due to a sabotage act, INA reported Monday.

A statement by the General Company for Northern Electricity Transmission stated that the line east of Mosul - Mosul Dam with a voltage of 400 kV was stopped due to an act of sabotage, by detonating the tower numbered (23) type (XYB) with IED; which led to its fall and a cut in the wires in Salamiyah area near the village of Al-Kasr, Nineveh province.


Experts are warning of a "severe medium-term existential crisis" in Iraq as government corruption, neglect, heat waves and a resurgent ISIS leave Baghdad with too many challenges all at once

And we'll note this Tweet from Ameera Baadia:

#Iraq has urged #Syria to increase water releases to compensate for a lack of rain and scorching heat, which have resulted in a revenue shortage.

At MIDDLE EAST MONITOR, Haifa Zangana offers:

Despite spending more than $50 billion since 2003 in Iraq, official Iraqi, British and American statements, as well as specialised reports, justify power outages by citing technical reasons, some of which date back to the 1990s. They also cite the destruction inflicted on the country after the US-British invasion, followed by the emergence of Daesh. The increase in population, air conditioning, a rise in consumption and the non-payment of electricity and gas bills are also given as reasons for power cuts. These point to a deteriorating political and economic reality, at all levels, that requires immediate and strategic solutions to ensure the preservation of the life and dignity of Iraqi citizens rather than blaming them. This will not be achieved unless there is independent political action on the part of the government in Baghdad, which in turn requires Iraq to have control over its own sovereignty and be free of corruption.

The latter is a major factor in the lack of projects being implemented in Iraq. Fraud is commonplace in government contracts with external parties on the one hand, and the generator mafia at a local level on the other. This mafia controls everything related to electricity, including its price and distribution; politicians and militias alike have stakes in it. As a result, the rate of meeting per capita electricity needs in Iraq is still one of the lowest in the Middle East.

As for foreign contracts, a recent Chatham House report — "Politically sanctioned corruption and barriers to reform in Iraq" — provides examples of fraud in government contracts by using shell companies. One of these is the contract signed by the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity with the British company Power Engines to build 29 power stations in the city of Nasiriyah, in southern Iraq. The government paid a total of $21 million only to find that the company was fraudulent. Nobody was dismissed or punished for this, and nor was legal action taken. Another official document revealed a loss of $8 million from the General Directorate of North Energy Production.

Anyone watching the television interviews of Iraqi politicians will find that accusations of corruption related to foreign contracts pass without question or accountability. The lack of accountability for corrupt Iraqis is not limited to those within their country; it extends to the US and Britain if the official involved holds dual nationality or a residency permit.

As we wind down, let's turn to the non-withdrawal.  US President Joe Biden is not withdrawing troops from Iraq.  He's pretending to.  He's changing their label but they will remain in Iraq.  His stunts aren't appealing in the US.  They also do not play well overseas.  His words were taken at face value by some who don't speak English.  Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) reports:

The recent agreement between the US and Iraq to withdraw American combat troops is insufficient, the spokesperson of an Iran-backed militia group told Rudaw, promising an “appropriate response” should all US forces not withdraw. 

“The talks that took place between Baghdad and Washington, and the outcomes they produced, did not achieve the Iraqi ambition, which is the exit of all US forces,” Sheikh Kadhim al-Fartousi, spokesperson for Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, a militia part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, or Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic) told Rudaw on Sunday.

“Changing clothes and appearance is not a withdrawal … the US and foreign forces withdrawal from Iraq has to be in full,” Fartousi said, adding that if that is not achieved there will be an “appropriate response.”

US President Joe Biden received Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi late last month, and announced that the US combat mission in Iraq will be over by the end of the year. “The delegations decided, following recent technical talks, that the security relationship will fully transition to a training, advising, assisting, and intelligence-sharing role, and that there will be no U.S. forces with a combat role in Iraq by December 31, 2021,” read a joint statement.

There are currently 2,500 US troops in Iraq, including in the Kurdistan Region. As the US formally shifts to an advisory role, it is not immediately clear if this will change the number of American soldiers in the country.

Uh, thanks, Joe Biden?  He's created this situation with his own lies.

The following sites updated: