Saturday, August 09, 2014

The Dream Is Over

We were doing the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin when Barack was giving his bombing speech on Iraq.  I found out about it after and my first thought was: "The dream is over."

From John Lennon's song "God."

He offers a long list of things he no longer believes in including the Beatles.  Then he concludes:

The dream is over
What can I say?
the Dream is Over
I was the Dreamweaver
But now I'm reborn
I was the Walrus
But now I'm John
and so dear friends
you'll just have to carry on
The Dream is over 

I didn't believe in Barack, I didn't vote for him.  I knew he was a lying sack of s**t and I supported Ralph Nader.

But what about the Cult of St. Barack?

Are the devoted finally ready to deal with reality?

Is the dream over for them?

Can they admit their blessed hero, their chosen one, is and was a fake?

Probably not.

Which is why we're so screwed.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, August 8, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Barack bombs Iraq, he comes to the decision after Riding In Cars With Boys, no strategy is apparent to his so-called plan so he dusts off Vietnam justications, and much more.

Speaking at the US State Dept today, spokesperson Marie Harf declared, "As you saw this morning, the Defense Department put out a statement that at approximately 6:45 a.m. the U.S. military conducted a targeted airstrike against ISIL terrorists with two F/A-18 aircraft dropping 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a mobile artillery piece near Erbil that ISIL was using to shell Kurdish forces defending Erbil, where, of course, U.S. personnel are located. As the President has made clear, the U.S. military will continue to take direct action against ISIL when they threaten our personnel or facilities."

Last night, US President Barack Obama announced he would be authorizing air strikes on Iraq. Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) observes, "Less than 12 hours after he finished speaking, the United States had already struck twice and a third bombing run was just a few hours away. The quick series of airstrikes raised fears among some of mission creep _ a term coined during the Vietnam War to describe a growing commitment of men and materiel after initial steps failed to produce the desired result."

US House Rep Barbara Lee is one who has noted mission creep.  Her office released this statement today:

Washington, DC - Congresswoman Lee issued this statement upon receiving news of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq:
“I support strictly humanitarian efforts to prevent genocide in Iraq.
While the President has existing authority to protect American diplomatic personnel,  I remain concerned about U.S. mission creep in Iraq and escalation into a larger conflict, which I oppose.
There is no military solution in Iraq. Any lasting solution must be political and respect the rights of all Iraqis.
I am pleased President Obama recognized this in his statement last night, when he said: ‘there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.  The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security forces.’
I will continue to call for the President to seek congressional authorization before any combat operations. For too long, Congress has abdicated its Constitutional role in matters of war and peace. The President should come to Congress for authorization of any further military action in Iraq.”

When's he going to come before Congress?

Next week?

Are they holding Congressional sessions on Martha's Vineyard because Barack's embarking on a two week vacation.

Last night he declared:

Today I authorized two operations in Iraq -- targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death.  Let me explain the actions we’re taking and why.    
First, I said in June -- as the terrorist group ISIL began an advance across Iraq -- that the United States would be prepared to take targeted military action in Iraq if and when we determined that the situation required it.  In recent days, these terrorists have continued to move across Iraq, and have neared the city of Erbil, where American diplomats and civilians serve at our consulate and American military personnel advise Iraqi forces. 
To stop the advance on Erbil, I’ve directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward the city.  We intend to stay vigilant, and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Erbil and our embassy in Baghdad.  We’re also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL.
Second, at the request of the Iraqi government -- we’ve begun operations to help save Iraqi civilians stranded on the mountain.  As ISIL has marched across Iraq, it has waged a ruthless campaign against innocent Iraqis.  And these terrorists have been especially barbaric towards religious minorities, including Christian and Yezidis, a small and ancient religious sect.  Countless Iraqis have been displaced.  And chilling reports describe ISIL militants rounding up families, conducting mass executions, and enslaving Yezidi women. 
In recent days, Yezidi women, men and children from the area of Sinjar have fled for their lives.  And thousands -- perhaps tens of thousands -- are now hiding high up on the mountain, with little but the clothes on their backs.  They’re without food, they’re without water.  People are starving.  And children are dying of thirst.  Meanwhile, ISIL forces below have called for the systematic destruction of the entire Yezidi people, which would constitute genocide.  So these innocent families are faced with a horrible choice:  descend the mountain and be slaughtered, or stay and slowly die of thirst and hunger.
I’ve said before, the United States cannot and should not intervene every time there’s a crisis in the world.  So let me be clear about why we must act, and act now.  When we face a situation like we do on that mountain -- with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale, when we have a mandate to help -- in this case, a request from the Iraqi government -- and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye.  We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide.  That’s what we’re doing on that mountain.

I’ve, therefore, authorized targeted airstrikes, if necessary, to help forces in Iraq as they fight to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and protect the civilians trapped there.  Already, American aircraft have begun conducting humanitarian airdrops of food and water to help these desperate men, women and children survive.  Earlier this week, one Iraqi in the area cried to the world, “There is no one coming to help.”  Well today, America is coming to help.  We’re also consulting with other countries -- and the United Nations -- who have called for action to address this humanitarian crisis. 

Late last night, he declared that and more.  Kicking it off with the statement that he made his decision "today."  But he didn't inform Congress of it until Friday (today).

When did he make his decision?  Margaret Talev (Bloomberg News) reports he made his decision "[d]uring a five-minute limo ride back to the White House from the State Department with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey" in which "Obama's fears were confirmed."  AP also notes Barack's Riding In Cars With Boys moment which they say took place Wednesday.  BBC News' Jonathan Marcus offers, "Analysts say the relentless advance of IS fighters, together with the continuing failure of Iraqi politicians to agree on a new government, after an inconclusive election in April, may have swayed Mr Obama into deciding to act now."

Another hypothesis is offered by BBC News' Paul Danahar.  Friday morning on The Diane Rehm Show (NPR), Diane asked him about the strikes.

REHM: Paul Danahar, President Obama authorized the airstrikes against Iraq to begin this morning. What was his rationale? 

DANAHAR: Well, I think we can guess that finally, he's found a conflict that he thinks is fairly localized, has a clear objective, and will stop him getting so much flack for not doing any of the things he's always talked about, which is having a high moral value in America that will stop bad things happening around the world. When there is an American interest, and there is an American interest in this, because there are American personnel in Erbil. 

REHM: How many? 

DANAHAR: Around about 40 we think. So, that's a good reason to intervene. And we do have what may literally be a genocide of these people, these Yezidis, because they are a very small group of people, between 70,000, maybe a couple hundred thousand. And they're all pretty much located in one place in Iraq, so if they were taken over by ISIS. And ISIS considers them to be devil worshippers. They would wipe them out, so this is an intervention that I think Obama is probably comfortable with, because he can see a beginning and an end. 

40?  Did he mispeak?

The number issue was raised at the Friday press briefing.

QUESTION: I’ll go back to the humanitarian situation --

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: -- in a second. But first, just a couple of quick questions. How many American citizens are at the consulate in Erbil, absent the military presence right now?

MS. HARF: So we don’t give exact numbers. Let me just give a quick update. I know there are a lot of questions about the status of our consulate there. It is operating normally. There’s been no change to the current status of our consulate. We continue to monitor the security situation and will take appropriate steps to mitigate the risk to our colleagues. Obviously, we do this on a continuing basis. We don’t comment on specific numbers, are always reviewing staffing levels in light of the security posture. But I would note that the – one of the reasons, obviously, not just to protect Erbil but that we want to keep our people there is so they can keep working in this joint operation center to help the Iraqis fight this threat. We don’t want to have to pull them out. We’re constantly reevaluating the security.

QUESTION: I understand the reluctance to talk about specific numbers. I don’t need a specific number.

MS. HARF: It’s not a reluctance. We just never do it, as you know.

QUESTION: Well, we know there are about 5,000 people in the U.S. mission in Iraq right now. The vast majority of them are in Baghdad. So can you give some kind of – for example, I’ve been told somewhere between two to three hundred are in --

MS. HARF: I’m just not going to give any number ranges for security reasons. I understand the desire to have them. We do have a large presence still in Baghdad as well. You are correct on that.

Really, Marie?

When did it become classified?

This week?

I was at a Congressional hearing this summer where the State Dept official addressed the topic Marie claims must be kept secret.

Norwalk's The Hour has an online poll currently asking: "Do you support the latest airstrikes in Iraq?" The answers to choose from are yes, no and unsure.

The people don't support it.  And where is the Congress?

Does Barbara Lee have anything to offer other than words?  It's a question to ask.  But I won't slam her without offering this context:  She issued a statement that contained objections.

Where's our Socialist in the Senate Bernie Sanders?

Brave Bernie had nothing to say.

Not a statement, not even a Tweet.

Sami Ramadan (Stop the War UK and the Guardian) offers thoughts such as these, "It is sickening to see Obama and the Western media shedding crocodile tears for the Iraqi people, after the US-led occupation pulverised Iraq as a society and killed a million of its people. It is obscene to now suggest that the US will fight terrorism and protect the Iraqi people, when the rise of terrorism was the direct result of the US-led invasion of the country."

That's a bit of common sense in an otherwise mindless media.

Another bit of common sense popped up in today's State Dept briefing:

QUESTION: You said – first off, just to follow up on something you just said, you said that this strike comes as it would have whenever U.S. personnel are threatened. And I would just note that there have been attacks in Baghdad that are within hearing and feeling range of the U.S. Embassy there, and I wonder why this is happening now to protect personnel in Erbil, when U.S. personnel in Baghdad have been under threat for years.

MS. HARF: Well, first, what we’ve seen over the past several days really, but also several weeks, but really in the past several days is that there has been an ISIL fairly rapid advance towards Erbil. They’ve had access to heavy weapons. So basically, at this point, what we are trying to do is stop this advance, to give expedited support to the Iraqis as they fight this – obviously there’s a political process ongoing as well – also to provide humanitarian assistance.
And look, we’re focused on Erbil today because that’s where ISIL has been advancing. If – look, we have a very significant diplomatic presence in Baghdad, so, of course, the same principle would apply if we saw ISIL advances on Baghdad that would threaten our personnel as well. So obviously, it’s something we constantly monitor, but we’re focused on Erbil operationally right now.

QUESTION: But as you know, there have been ISIL bombings in Baghdad for years.

MS. HARF: There have been. But obviously, we look at the threat and look at the picture, and we saw here both a humanitarian situation where the U.S. military had unique capabilities to bring to bear that could be brought very quickly to bear in a very urgent crisis, and also a situation where you had ISIL advancing on Erbil, where, again, we have some military capabilities that we can use. I would also note that the Iraqis have been taking strikes of their own. We’ve been working in very close coordination with them out of our joint operation center at Erbil and the one in Baghdad as well.

Is there a plan here?  Is there a means to measure with?

Not really.

Japan Times quotes former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker stating,  "Two FA-18s dropping some 500-pound bombs on (militant) artillery is not going to turn the tide of this conflict. I don’t know what their strategy is."

The lack of strategy makes it all the more likely that US military involvement grows.

No, that it continues to grow.   The troops sent in the last few weeks have grown, the bombings are just another part of that growth.

Robert Burns and Lara Jakes (AP) insist it's a "strategy" and that it's containment.


So it's back to the 'domino theory.'

That's reassuring, right?  That was used to justify so many misadventures -- including Vietnam.

While the State Dept doesn't think Baghdad's at risk, cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr disagrees.  AFP reports:

One of Iraq's most influential Shiite clerics, Moqtada Sadr, claimed Friday that jihadists were poised to attack Baghdad and he vowed to send his men to defend the capital.
"There are terrorist groups that have completed their preparations for a breakthrough into Baghdad," the cleric said in a statement.
"We are ready to defend the city, we are ready to supply forces and coordinate with the authorities to face any scenario," said Sadr, who announced the creation of the Saraya al-Salam (Peace Brigades) group in the aftermath of the jihadist offensive that began in June.

 Turning to today's violence, Margaret Griffis ( reports, "It is impossible to know how many militants were killed in the U.S. airstrikes today; however, the Iraqi military claimed that over 800 militants were killed in a number of operations. Some of them may have involved U.S. forces. Only five people, civilians or security forces, were killed in other violence."  In addition, AFP reports Kurdish reporter Deniz Firat was killed by shrapnel in an attack in Makmur.

Last word goes to Senator Richard Blumenthal:

(Hartford, CT) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today released the following statement on military and humanitarian operations in Iraq:

“I oppose open-ended military commitments, which the President’s actions in Iraq could become. Humanitarian relief is necessary to prevent genocide and provide food and water to meet an urgent emergency, but the President owes the American people a better, fuller explanation of the scope and strategy of military actions. I am deeply concerned that these actions could lead to prolonged direct military involvement, which I would strongly oppose. As a condition for any military aid in Iraq, I have said that there must be a new government that is inclusive and unifying. I continue to believe that the current situation in Iraq is a failure of Iraq’s leaders, who have used the security forces – with training and equipment we provided – for their own sectarian ends, rather than uniting their country. It is also a consequence of the failure of the international community to contain the ongoing civil war in Syria. I support the President’s diplomatic effort to work with Iraqi leaders and the countries in the region to support stability in Iraq.”

Senator Blumenthal is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

mcclatchy newspapers
bloomberg news
margaret talev

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Tori Amos

I hope you read Elaine's post about Tori Amos' "Promise."

It was really something.

Where are my reviews?

I haven't heard anything that was really something.

Tom Petty's album may be.  I plan to listen to it this weekend.

But I probably won't have any new review until two Sundays from now.

And that may just be a packaging issue.  I'll tell you more about that if I write the review.

I think there have been some really great albums come out this year but I do think Tori's is the year's best so far.

The Toronto Star notes she has a concert there on Friday:

Tori Amos. This tour around May release Unrepentant Geraldines has Amos performing solo at the keyboards. After that, it’s pretty much wide open whether she’s tackling her own ever-changing work or reconfiguring someone else’s into something quite new and thrilling. Her commitment to charting her own always inventive course takes the night over up and comer FKA Twigs (Cousins at the Silver Dollar and Devin Cuddy at the ’Shoe are worth a look too): pick of the week and one of this summer’s top shows. (Massey Hall, 8 p.m.)

Not only do I think she's released the best album of the year so far, I think she's probably the artist of the year.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, August 7, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Marie Harf fails to represent, Justin Raimondo gets a lecture after his tacky attitude towards the Yazidis, the US is involved in air drops of relief for the Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar, and much more.

It was a rough day for State Dept spokesperson Marie Harf, she had to field questions on Iraq at today's State Dept press briefing (here for it in full -- and we've excerpted the Iraq section here).

QUESTION: ISIL seized this dam up in Mosul and I was wondering if you all could put that in perspective in terms of developments there. Also, what can you tell us about the Administration’s thoughts about how to help these trapped Iraqi civilians, these religious minorities that are kind of in trouble? There’s some discussion right now about humanitarian aid and whether or not that might include airstrikes or – what can you tell us about that?

MS. HARF: Well, I’ll start with the dam and then let’s go to the broader question. Obviously, the situation on the ground remains fluid, but the latest information is that ISIL has advanced on Mosul Dam and taken control of it. We are extremely concerned by this development. The dam is a vital part of Iraq’s infrastructure, as it controls water levels on the Tigris River. It is also a key source of water and electricity generation for the Iraqi people. So we’re closely coordinating with the Iraqis – with Iraqi officials in both Baghdad and Erbil to counter this development. But also writ large, I’d just say a few points. I know there’s a lot of interest out there on this today, a lot of questions and information floating around.  We are actively considering what we could do in support of Iraqi efforts – what more we could do – and particularly to provide additional support for the Yezidis, also the Christian communities we’ve talked about. Look, this is a huge humanitarian crisis. You have thousands and thousands of people at risk of death from starvation. We’re reviewing what more we can do. Obviously, we’ve talked a lot about this over the past few weeks. We’re working politically with the Iraqis on the government formation process. We’ve seen some progress, and hopefully we’ll see more. But we are right now actively considering what else we can do given the extremely grave humanitarian situation that we see on the ground. You’ve heard my colleague at the White House who I think just talked about this as well, so we’re looking at options.

I want to establish a point here so let's stay with the above and then move quickly through other sections on Iraq from today's briefing.

QUESTION: A few questions. Marie, on the question of the Yezidis, do we have any estimate of the – a number of people in peril?

MS. HARF: It’s a good question. I’m trying to get some information from our folks on that. We know it’s – there – I’ve seen reports of 15,000.


MS. HARF: I’ve seen a number of reports. I’m trying to get a little more clarity from our folks, and let me see if I can do that after the briefing. We do know it’s not just the Yezidis, though. It’s also these Christian communities. I mean, ISIL has come out and said they have a desire to kill people because of their sect or their ethnicity or their religion, and that they’ve been doing so. And so what we’ve seen on the ground is just really horrific, and that’s why right now, immediately, we are trying to find more ways to help.

QUESTION: And is – policy-wise, is stopping ethnic cleansing or is fear of potential ethnic cleansing a core national security interest of this Administration?

MS. HARF: I think you’ve seen throughout this Administration that when we have the ability to prevent humanitarian crises, or when we have the ability to help once there is a humanitarian crisis, ease the suffering of people through whatever means possible, right – we have a number of tools at our disposal – that has been a core principle for what guides our action. It’s certainly not the only one.

[. . .]

QUESTION: But ISIL could continue its advance. It could turn on the Yezidis; it could turn on the Christian minority.

MS. HARF: It already has.

QUESTION: It – yeah. Well, it could step it up.

MS. HARF: That’s true.

Marie Harf says IS is turning on Yazidis and Christians.  Does she say much else?

I really don't think this would fly under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or, for that matter, under Secretary of State Condi Rice.

If a group is being attacked, they need to be defended.

Did Marie issue a statement expressing outrage over the asaults?

In the entire press briefing, she used the term Yazidis only once and the only time she mentioned Christians was with the phrase "Christian communities" -- she used that phrase twice.

Given the chance to amplify outrage or register objection, a bored Marie takes a pass, mustering all the enthusiasm to decry religious intolerance as she'd offer deciding between roasted cherry and candy-shell red at her next manicure.

This is exactly how the administration has ended up with such a lousy reputation among many Christians, Jews and other groups.  The argument goes, a video on YouTube insults Muslims and Barack and others (including Hillary) are all over the media expressing dismay.  But Yazidis and Christians in Iraq are not targeted with videos, they're targeted with bullets, bombs, knifes, etc.  They're being killed not misentertained.

And where is the administration?

Why isn't Barack back on The View?  Why isn't he denouncing this religious persecution the same way he does a video on YouTube?

I don't disagree that Barack has many things to do on any day.  But if it's a question of too little time in his day, that's all the more reason that spokespeople like Marie Harf need to be strongly objecting.  (For those wondering why we're not quoting Josh Earnest, White House spokesperson, the White House needs to stop being so lazy and post text and video of today's press briefing.  They're lazy and embarrassing.  It's Thursday and their most recent posted briefing is from Tuesday.)

There is a cultural difference that is repeatedly ignored.  Most Americans have the attitude of get-over-it when a joke misfires or offends.  So the notion that you would apologize -- as a leader of the free world -- over some video posted to YouTube when you won't speak out loudly and condemn killing people for their religious beliefs?

I'm sorry, Barack chose to be president of the United States.  That does require you understand groups of people, not just your personal favorites.

And it is not shocking that some Christians in the US are dismayed by Barack's inability to address religious persecution -- especially when it is expressed in violence.

The gathering storm was finally spotted by the White House today.

Sky News reports, "A US official has said an 'effort has begun' to make humanitarian air drops over northern Iraq in the wake of ongoing jihadist offensive."  Benjamin Landy (MSNBC) adds, "The U.S. has been flying F-18 fighter jets, B-1 bombers and Predator drones over Iraq for several weeks on surveillance missions, which could be used as cover for the humanitarian mission or to protect the 40 U.S. personnel currently in Irbil."  David Jackson and Jim Michaels (USA Today) explain, "Iraqi aircraft have attempted to air drop supplies to the Yazidis but with limited success. Dropping supplies, particularly on a mountain top, is difficult as packages of food and water break open on impact. The U.S. Air Force has extensive experience with air dropping supplies, which they regularly do in the mountains of Afghanistan with accuracy."

You can credit Iraqis, Iraqi-Americans, CNN and Fox News (the only networks that took the issue seriously -- CBS Evening News did have a strong report -- one -- on the persecution), and even Samantha Power with the fact that the US is finally helping the Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar by dropping aid -- they need water, food, blankets and much more.  Alison Meuse (NPR) notes, "Up to 40,000 members of the community are stranded on barren mountain cliffs and encircled by the Islamic State, the extremist group that's been advancing rapidly across Iraq this summer. Dozens of Yazidi children have already died of dehydration, according to UNICEF, and many more risk a similar fate."

Let's note Samantha Power's statement from earlier this week:

I condemn in the strongest possible terms the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) recent attacks on Sinjar and Tal Afar in Ninewa province that have reportedly led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people, many from vulnerable minority communities, deepening Iraq’s already acute humanitarian crisis. ISIL’s reported abuse, kidnapping, torture and executions of Iraq’s religious and ethnic minorities and its systematic destruction of religious and cultural sites are appalling.
The United States supports the Iraqi Security Forces and Peshmerga Forces working to defend these areas against ISIL. We urge all parties to the conflict to allow safe access to the United Nations and its partners so they can deliver lifesaving humanitarian assistance, including to those Iraqi families reportedly encircled by ISIL on Mount Sinjar. The United States is committed to helping the people of Iraq as they confront the security and humanitarian challenges in their fight against ISIL. Iraq’s leaders must move swiftly to form a new, fully inclusive government that takes into account the rights, aspirations and legitimate concerns of all of Iraq’s communities. All Iraqis must come together to ensure that Iraq gets back on the path to a peaceful future and to prevent ISIL from obliterating Iraq’s vibrant diversity.

That is the strongest statement anyone in the administration made and it is the tone others should have been expressing.  I don't care for Samantha Power but if she does something right, I have no problem noting that and giving her credit.

Justin Raimondo ( weighs in:

Now the War Party is trying the same stunt again, this time in – of all places! – Iraq. And it looks like they’ve succeeded, at least for the moment. Or maybe not: looks like the fog of war is already spreading and obscuring our view of facts on the ground. What we do know, however, is that the mysterious group known as ISIS (Islamic State in al-Sham/Syria), having invaded Iraq and taken great swathes of the country under its control, is now threatening the Yazidis, an obscure religious sect in the northern provinces that practices an exotic mix of Islam, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism.
Yes, folks, it’s another "humanitarian disaster" staring us in the face – and, we’re being told, we have little choice but to go in and save the day. Whether or not President Obama – who was reported to be "considering" air strikes – decides to go all in, we’ve already sent in hundreds of Special Forces to "advise" the nearly nonexistent Iraqi army we spent billions arming and training. The military infrastructure is there, ready and waiting.
So what should we do to help Iraq stave off an invasion by ISIS, which is now holding some 40,000 Yazidis in the northern part of the country?

The answer is: nothing. Not every problem has a solution. Not every mistake – in this case the mistake of invading Iraq in the first place – can be rectified.

I don't get it.  We can all be a little bitchy -- me more so than many -- but why would you belittle people under attack?  "Obscure"?  What is the purpose of that?  To say their lives might have more value if they were "obvious" (to use but one antonym for obscure)? does much good and the country is lucky the website exists but sometimes Justin can be a little cruel to the victims when he should be punching up (aiming at officials and rulers).

As for what the US should do?  They should oversee airdrops of aid.

Should they provide ground forces?

I say no.

I also say no to the US providing bombings -- which they're doing now.

But that's a debate that needs to take place and (a) enough people aren't paying attention and (b) when Justin gets bitchy about the victims of violence, he makes it very difficult to rally support to his side.  There are some who, reading the remarks, will think, "Well I don't mock people who are being killed so I must be for a re-invasion."

And, honestly, that's what it can come down to in a national discussion.

Maybe some feel there's no need for such a discussion?  After all, CBS News and AP report, "Even as the White House weighed potential military options, [Joshua] Earnest said Obama would stand by his pledge to not put U.S. combat troops back on the ground in Iraq.  'There are no American military solutions to the problems in Iraq,' he said. "

So some may avoid the discussion for that reason.  But Josh Earnest didn't say one word about air strikes -- Barack's preferred method of attack as evidenced by The Drone War as well as his assault on Libya.

And there are reports that air strikes have already started. Marina Koren, Kaveh Waddell and Matt Berman (National Journal) report:

A New York Times report, which cited Kurdish officials, said American military forces launched airstrikes on at least two targets from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Thursday night. The Pentagon denied any such action.
Now, CNN reports that U.S. forces have begun dropping humanitarian aid by air over northwestern Iraq, where tens of thousands of the country's religious minorities are stranded. U.S. officials tell NBC News that U.S. aircraft are standing by and ready to launch airstrikes to defend refugees and American resources. ISIS targets of these airstrikes, they say, are "lined up," and U.S. forces have their "fingers on the trigger."

Other reports suggest that the airstrikes reported by the Times may have come from the Iraqi air force.

Eric Pfeiffer (Yahoo News) notes, "Minutes after several reports surfaced that the U.S. had conducted airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic State forces, the Pentagon denied the story.  A spokesman for the Kurdish armed forces said that U.S. aircraft had bombed two targets in Northern Iraq."

So bombings (by the US) may or may not have started.  The discussion starts when?

US House Rep Frank Wolf's office issued the following today:

     Aug 7, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) today asked President Obama if the Atrocities Prevention Board he created in 2012 has been convened to discuss the genocide taking place in Iraq.
In a pointed letter to the president, Wolf reminded him of the speech he gave at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial where he said the Atrocities Prevention Board would make the deterrence of genocide and mass atrocities “a core national security interest and core moral responsibility.”
Over the last two weeks, Wolf has spoken on the House floor, issued statements and written letters to the president in an effort to raise awareness about the atrocities taking place in Iraq.  He also has been openly critical of the Obama Administration’s failure to speak out about the systematic targeting of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq for extinction.
“It is now clear to the nation and the world that your words were hollow; your ‘presidential directive’ apparently was nothing more than a token gesture,” Wolf wrote.  “You will come to sincerely regret your failure to take action to stop the genocide in Iraq.  Your conscience will haunt you long after you leave office.  Mr. President, say something; do something.” 
Below is the complete text of Wolf’s letter:
The Honorable Barack H. Obama
The President
The White House
Washington DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:
In 2012, during an address at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, you announced the convening of the Atrocities Prevention Board, led by the White House, which would make the deterrence of genocide and mass atrocities “a core national security interest and core moral responsibility.”  You also stated “We're making sure that the United States government has the structures, the mechanisms to better prevent and respond to mass atrocities.”  Throughout your speech, you repeatedly said "never again" would the world allow mass atrocities to occur.  
Tragically, mass atrocities are happening again today – and on your watch.  Genocide is taking place today in northern Iraq, where the Christian and Yezidi populations are being exterminated by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  There is no question that systematic and targeted brutality is occurring.  Yet, as I said on the House floor last week, the silence from you and your administration is deafening. Why have you not spoken up, and why has the Atrocities Prevention Board not taken action?  Just today, the editorial page of The Washington Post described your administration's response to this emergency as “listless.” 
Over the weekend, approximately 200,000 Yezidis were forced to flee their homes.  Your own administration has reported that anywhere from 35,000 to 60,000 of these Yezidis took refuge in the Sinjar Mountains without any protection from the elements and little access to food and water.  Children and the elderly are dying of thirst, families are being separated and women and young girls are being raped and sold into slavery.
As I wrote in my letter to you earlier this week, ISIS has systematically destroyed and looted churches, monasteries, mosques and other significant historic landmarks, including Jonah's tomb.  The homes of Christians and other religious minorities have been marked with spray paint to target those who live there.  Families have been force to flee, often on foot, with nothing but literally the shirts on their backs.
We cannot pretend these atrocities aren’t taking place; there are now videos on the Internet being promoted by those sympathetic to ISIS proudly displaying their brutal and grotesque slaughter and abuse of Christians, Yezidis and other religious minorities in Iraq. 
Your administration is aware of what is going on, yet you are doing nothing.  Just what is the point of having an “Atrocities Prevention Board” if it takes no action to prevent or stop atrocities?  When was the last time this board has met?  Has the board even been convened to address the genocide taking place in Iraq? 
Much like President Clinton has deeply regretted his failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, I believe you will come to regret your inaction for years to come.  
I want to remind you of one other thing you said at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2012: 
“And finally, 'never again' is a challenge to nations.  It’s a bitter truth -- too often, the world has failed to prevent the killing of innocents on a massive scale.  And we are haunted by the atrocities that we did not stop and the lives we did not save. 
 “Three years ago today, I joined many of you for a ceremony of remembrance at the U.S. Capitol.  And I said that we had to do 'everything we can to prevent and end atrocities.'  And so I want to report back to some of you today to let you know that as President I’ve done my utmost to back up those words with deeds.  Last year, in the first-ever presidential directive on this challenge, I made it clear that 'preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.
“That does not mean that we intervene militarily every time there's an injustice in the world.  We cannot and should not.  It does mean we possess many tools – diplomatic and political, and economic and financial, and intelligence and law enforcement and our moral suasion –  and using these tools over the past three years, I believe –  I know – that we have saved countless lives.”    
It is now clear to the nation and the world that your words were hollow; your “presidential directive” apparently was nothing more than a token gesture.  You will come to sincerely regret your failure to take action to stop the genocide in Iraq.  Your conscience will haunt you long after you leave office.  Mr. President, say something; do something. 
Best wishes.
Frank R. Wolf
Member of Congress

Wolf cares about the situation and has addressed it repeatedly.  So I won't mock him.  But I don't see what good is accomplished by the US government sending troops in or bombing.

If troops are sent in -- I'm opposed -- I would hope a discussion would have taken place and it would have outlined (a) what counts as success, (b) what's the end-point and (c) what prompts the US to leave early.  The last one means, for example, if the Iraqi government is not meeting its goals, the US military is not there to protect it.

That's why I don't see the point in sending troops in.

Is someone, some country, going to hold the Nouri's hand forever?

What's going on right now is a reaction to Nouri al-Maliki.

Justin Raimondo works his grudge f**k against John McCain and blames the senator.  Really, Justin, that bitchy you think you're doing so well?  It's not working.  And if I were a Libertarian (I'm not, I'm a liberal) so touchy about charges of 'isolationist,' I think I'd work harder at not coming off so damn bitchy and unfeeling.  That really feeds into the negative image of Libertarians that the GOP tries to hang on them.

Nouri is the cause.

If US troops had stayed in Iraq in large numbers, today's violence might be less (it might not be). But that just means the US military would again be used to fight Nouri's battles for him.

He can't stay in power without the help of other countries' armed forces.

That is the point of today and it should be the part of any discussion about the possibility of US troops going back into Iraq -- more US troops going back into Iraq.

Nouri could have fashioned the government he promised to in 2010 -- a power-sharing government.
He could have been the leader of all the Iraqi people.

Barack gets a little bitchy -- speaking of bitchy -- when it comes to Republicans forgetting that he's not President of Democratic America, he's President of all of America.  He should be a little more respectful of Republicans -- being in the fray constantly is really the job for Harry Reid and people like that.

But even at his bitchiest, Barack hasn't spewed hatred at any Americans.

Nouri spews hatred non-stop -- at Sunnis, at Kurds, at everyone who isn't State of Law.

He's called so many people "terrorists" and done so so often that the word has no meaning.

And the US-installed leader refused to lead in a fair manner.  He punished Sunnis, he put Shi'ite militias on the payroll -- and did so before last month --  though McClatchy Newspapers apparently missed Tim Arango (New York Times) breaking that story back in September of last year.

He targeted the Kurds, he targeted women, he targeted the LGBT community and so much more.

And the Iraqi people tried to send him packing in 2010.  But suddenly the votes didn't matter.  The US brokered the power sharing agreement and then refused to insist Nouri honor it.  It was left to the Kurdish leaders, Ayad Allawi and his Iraqiya and cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr to publicly demand that Nouri follow it -- which they did in the summer of 2011.  And he blew them off.  So they eventually announced that if he did not implement The Erbil Agreement, they would take a vote in Parliament and Nouri might lose his post via a vote of no confidence.  They did everything the Constitution dictated for such a vote.

Then fat ass Jalal Talabani mistook the petition for a pizza and chowed down on it.

No, no, no.  Jalal just created powers for himself and refused to introduce the petition into Parliament.  That was his job, per the Constitution.  It was a formality, a bit of ceremony.  And he refused to do it.

Months after this, for the second time in Nouri's second term, massive protests took place around Iraq.

We said it, we warned about it.

You deny people their votes.  You deny them their leaders.  When you've destroyed every institution that might speak to and for the people, what is left?


That's all that's left.

When you've voted, when you've followed the law (the attempt at a no-confidence vote), when you've protested and nothing improves -- the only change is Nouri gets more open about killing people -- such as with Hawija massacre in April of 2013 -- what resource do you have left?


Justin Raimondo can babble away about John McCain.  It's pure stupidity and a waste of time but maybe that's what Justin wants to do.

We've covered Iraq every damn day here.  Justin hasn't.  Even if you count, they haven't covered it every day since the drawdown of US forces in December of 2011. If you consider yokel Scott Horton part of (he hosts Antiwar Radio), then, in fact, spent a lot of time praising Nouri al-Maliki in the last four years.

So maybe Justin has a learning bloc?

I don't know.  But I know I don't like John McCain -- I always feel bad for Cindy when I dictate or write that -- and that I've called him out when I felt it was needed and I've given credit when I felt it was needed.  I don't get Justin's hatred for McCain.

But I don't get any of his hatred right now.

Does he not get that what's taking place in Iraq is the most valid argument for sending US troops in -- the most valid argument of the last 30 or so years?

It's more valid than mythical WMD or  'babies tossed from incubators!' or any such nonsense.

Justin doesn't believe this is something the US should send forces into Iraq over.

Okay, can he make that point in a grown up manner?

This is the nonsens that the balding Bill Maher pulls (Bill's hit that age where every year he looks more and more like a woman).  And some on my side (the left) eat it up.  Oh, we love to eat up hating the other.

But Justin's supposedly antiwar -- Bill's not.

If he's antiwar, he needs to ask himself, "Does anyone take me seriously when I say we shouldn't go into Iraq to protect religious minorities -- do they take me seriously if I mock the religious minorities?"

No, they don't.

You're mocking victims.

No one's taking you seriously.

A few God haters out there are probably applauding Justin's latest attack on religion and gods.  But outside of those people?


Justin has so much potential power and he abuses it so often.

Do most people want to see people killed for their religious beliefs?


So the fact that Yazidis, Christians and other minorities in Iraq are being threatened with death is an appeal for something to be done.

When an antiwar voice like Justin thinks belittling the targeted is funny, he just walls himself off from people searching for a position on whether or not to send US troops into Iraq.

Nouri is the problem.

A friend at the White House swears Barack gets this.  Said to note that.  Said noting it might get people -- including Barack -- publicly speaking about this.

If Nouri is the problem -- and he is -- then the answer is not US troops into Iraq.

There's a fight taking place and it's taking place because of Nouri's actions.

People are being hurt as a result.

That's very sad.

But if US troops go in to protect Nouri's government, nothing is fixed.

The day of reckoning just gets pushed back.

Unless the US intends to keep troops in Iraq forever.

Supposedly, Barack is resisting sending more US troops into Iraq right now (I think he's already sent too many) because he gets that a protected (by the US military) Nouri only gets worse.  Supposedly, Barack genuinely thinks -- or at least hopes -- that Nouri will get the message: Step down to save Iraq.

I don't think Nouri will get that message.

But Barack apparently does and he's delaying on 'more' -- however that's defined -- because he knows Iraq doesn't get better under Nouri.

There is pressure within the White House for 'action' of a violent nature.

If mature people want to have a discussion on this issue, that's great.  But mature is not calling a people "obscure."  And the obvious response to that is that the people aren't "obscure" -- nor is their religion -- you're just too damn stupid and xenophobic to grasp that you are not the center of the world and you are not the means by which we grade every other person on the face of the planet.  In other words, get over your damn self.

And if that seems harsh, Justin Raimondo, I'm sorry.  But we don't need Medea Benjamin and her nonsense.  She's a fake and fraud.  Justin, you're someone who could speak and be believed and applauded.  But it's not going to happen when you're tossing jabs at a victimized people.

That's what Republican comedians never get.  They think they can make fun of the victimized and the downtrodden and are always surprised when an audience turns on them.

Justin's not a Republican or a comedian.  Supposedly, he wants to stop wars and I don't see how he gets to be part of the discussion when, at the big table, no one wants to sit by him because he's known for picking on people in need.

In fairness to Justin Raimondo, there are many people doing what's he's doing wrong.  Most of them aren't Libertarians, they're lefites.  And if I thought any of them had the hope of convincing even one person that the US shouldn't send more troops to Iraq, I'd have tailored the remarks above to them.  But they're worthless and they've made themselves so.  Justin hasn't whored himself out for a politician the way most of the left did when they were inducted into The Cult of St. Barack.

If you're wondering, no, there was no new prime minister of Iraq named today.

New topic, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration  is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press).  This is from his photo essay "LIVING ON THE STREETS OF OAKLAND" (East Bay Express):

I live in a camp on the side of the freeway. I've been kicked around from camp to camp by Caltrans for years - my own personal diaspora. Many times I've had a camp full of feeble people, old people, people with dementia. Think of how hard it is to march everyone to a different camp, with all of their bedding and belongings in shopping carts. So I form an advance party, and clear out a space somewhere along the freeway. We all move in together, like a family. Sometimes we move back into the same camp, if the police aren't involved. Many homeless people do that.

Caltrans workers are very pragmatic about the whole thing. They understand there's homelessness, and they're hoping you'll cooperate. They usually give a warning, but I've had experiences of going back to camp and discovering everything missing, including the people. I have to search for them, and bring them to a safe haven somewhere. All my library books, suddenly gone, because Caltrans takes them.

There are different types of homeless people. Many homeless have personality disorders and find it very difficult to be around people or hold down jobs. They have no choice but to be on the streets, because they're ill-equipped to deal with the requirements of life. That should inspire mercy in us, and compassion.

Of course, there are people on the streets who got there because of drugs and alcohol. That is also something that should require compassion in us, because people don't always understand the consequences when they get involved. There are relatively few people who want to be on the streets. I know I don't want to. I'd rather be inside with a nice warm bed, a shower, a toilet, and everything else.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Nouri attacks

Iran's Trend News Agency notes:

Relations between Amman and Baghdad have become strained after leading figures in Iraq's Sunni opposition recently met in Jordan, where they vowed to continue their fight to "retake" the Iraqi capital from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Al Jazeera reported.

He just can't stop attacking.

And he needs to be able to work with others.

Especially those who neighbor him.

All he can do is breed tension and destruction.

Iraq needs more than Nouri al-Maliki  -- so much more.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, August 6, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the targeting of Yazidis and other religious minorities continues, the White House silence continues, rumors fly about Nouri, and much more.

The Yazidis remain targeted in Iraq.  In fact, 40,000 are said to be trapped on a mountain  Laura Smith-Spark (CNN) explains:

 When radical Islamist fighters stormed the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar over the weekend, the Yazidi minority who call it home fled into the surrounding mountains in fear of their lives.
Now, trapped without food, water or medical care in the summer heat, thousands of families are in desperate need of help.

It's already too late to save dozens of children who've died of thirst.

Martin Chulov (Guardian) notes that 40,000 are thought to be at the top of Mount Sinjar and quotes UNICEF's Juliette Touma stating, "It's not like this is a one-off incident.  We are almost back to square zero in terms of the preparedness and the supplies.  Enormous numbers of people have been crossing the border since June.  The stresses are enormous, dehydration, fatique, people sometimes having to walk for days.  The impact on kids is very physical, let alone the psychological impact."

We should note that Nouri reportedly attempted to drop supplies -- including water -- on the mountain top over the weekend.  The drops failed.  They missed the targets.

This does not instill confidence in Iraq's pilots.  (Why helicopters were not used in the attempt is not known.  Nouri used planes.  Today, Al Jazeera reports helicopters were used by Nouri on Tuesday.)

Meanwhile the Financial Times' Borzou Daragahi Tweets:

  • Glen Carey (Bloomberg News) speaks with Housam Salim ("head of the Solidarity and Brotherhood Yezidi Organization") who states, "It is a humanitarian tragedy.  Men were executed in the streets, women were kidnapped and raped. When we are captured, they kill us immediately, and they take our women."  Time magazine's Bobby Ghosh (Quartz) points out, "Leaders of all these minority groups have sent increasingly desperate pleas—to the Maliki government, to the US, to the UN—for help. But while some appeals have gone viral online, and the UN has engaged in its usual pro-forma hand-wringing, the SOS has gone largely unanswered as the world focused on Gaza. Now that the ceasefire there appears (fingers crossed) to be holding, there’s no excuse not to respond."

    The US government could help but US President Barack Obama chooses not to.  This isn't about sending US forces into Iraq.  This is about dropping supplies onto a mountain.

    Mick Krever and Ken Olshansky (Amanpour, CNN) report:

    The foreign minister of Iraqi Kurdistan on Wednesday issued a desperate plea for American and Western intervention to halt the advance of ISIS extremists.
    “We are left alone in the front to fight the terrorists of ISIS,” Falah Mustafa Bakir told CNN’s Fred Pleitgen, in for Christiane Amanpour.

    “I believe the United States has a moral responsibility to support us, because this is a fight against terrorism, and we have proven to be pro-democracy, pro-West, and pro-secularism.”

    Tuesday, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Samantha Power issued the following statement:

    I condemn in the strongest possible terms the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) recent attacks on Sinjar and Tal Afar in Ninewa province that have reportedly led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people, many from vulnerable minority communities, deepening Iraq’s already acute humanitarian crisis. ISIL’s reported abuse, kidnapping, torture and executions of Iraq’s religious and ethnic minorities and its systematic destruction of religious and cultural sites are appalling.
    The United States supports the Iraqi Security Forces and Peshmerga Forces working to defend these areas against ISIL. We urge all parties to the conflict to allow safe access to the United Nations and its partners so they can deliver lifesaving humanitarian assistance, including to those Iraqi families reportedly encircled by ISIL on Mount Sinjar. The United States is committed to helping the people of Iraq as they confront the security and humanitarian challenges in their fight against ISIL. Iraq’s leaders must move swiftly to form a new, fully inclusive government that takes into account the rights, aspirations and legitimate concerns of all of Iraq’s communities. All Iraqis must come together to ensure that Iraq gets back on the path to a peaceful future and to prevent ISIL from obliterating Iraq’s vibrant diversity.

    That I don't like Samantha Power should be a known -- I've called her out here and in pieces at Third.  I don't care for her.

    But I'm not going to pick apart her statement (a) at least she said something and (b) I don't really expect to be as one mentally with Samantha.

    But if the US 'stands' with Iraqis, why can't they organize an air drop for those suffering on top of the mountains?

    It makes no sense, the refusal.  Yes, US planes (commercial) are flying at higher altitudes over Iraq due to safety concerns, but the military could easily do a drop.

    Not only would it be a humanitarian mission, it could also be used to do some spying on various groups as it passed over a portion of Iraq.

    I don't care for Samantha Power, I think she argues for death and murder at the drop of a hat, I think she grossly misunderstood Rawanda as well as the after-effects.  But a drop of supplies, is not a call for war.  And if the administration cares, why is it Catholic Samantha speaking and only her?

    What's happening to the Yazidis echoes what is happening to the Christians who were forced out of Mosul.  Mike Stechschulte (Catholic News Service) reports the attack on the Mosul Christians led to a march this month in Detroit where participants shouted, "Obama, Obama, where are you?  Iraqi Christians need you!"  Another CNS report notes Chaldean Bishop Francis Kalabat in Southfield, Michigan:

    Bishop Kalabat had especially pointed words for President Barack Obama, whom he said has not done much to address the problem.
    "I don't understand President Obama's words, 'The situation is an Iraqi problem.' Since when? How many thousands of American soldiers were sacrificed? Bloodied, lost limbs, lost their souls, lost their lives. How is this not an American problem?" Bishop Kalabat said.
    He said the inaction by the White House has prompted the Chaldean community to pursue direct humanitarian aid instead, including via bills currently before Congress.
    "This community, you have responded in the most beautiful way," he said, referring to a $60,000 collection taken up by local Chaldean parishioners about a month ago. "It was a drop in the bucket (compared to what's needed), but it did help."
    He thanked the senators and representatives who traveled to Iraq to visit with refugees, especially from Michigan and San Diego, where the two largest concentrations of Chaldeans exist in the United States.

    Unlike Barack, some members of Congress have been willing to speak out.  Catholic San Francisco notes a rally in San Francisco earlier this month:

    Assyrian Catholics came via bus from the Central Valley and San Jose. Republican Rep. Jeff Denham of Fresno, whose district has 25,000 Assyrian Catholics, also spoke, criticizing leaders “for allowing a genocide to go on against the Christians of Iraq and Syria at the hands of ISIS without any action,” DeKelaita said.

    But Barack won't address it and, as we saw in a State Dept press briefing this week, even when the targeting of religious minorities is raised to the State Dept, the spokesperson prefers to ignore the issue.

    Who will help the persecuted?

    James Reinl (Rudaw) offers:

    Three dozen charities and faith groups have called on the US Government to cooperate more with Iraq’s Kurdish region in an effort to address a growing refugee crisis from Islamist-linked violence.
    A letter from the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, the National Council of Churches USA and other influential groups urges Washington to lay out a “clear, long-term strategy” on Iraq’s worsening humanitarian situation.

    Barack's cratering in one poll after another on the issue of foreign policy and he's also taking a hit on likability -- maybe it's time Hillary Clinton repeated his infamous 2008 sentence back to him?  "You're likable enough." -- and how much Iraq plays into it is a question only we're raising.  Where's everyone else on this topic?

    He was supposed to be right on Iraq, that's what he ran on in 2008.  He was supposed to be so smart.  But Iraq is in flames.

    Iraq War veteran JR Salzman Tweets:

    That sentiment is only going to multiply if Barack's public response is silence -- Barack's and so many of the people under him.  I don't care for Samantha Power but I do give her credit for issuing a statement and one that actually sounds like her own words.

    The White House and the State Dept are failing at their jobs when it comes to Iraq.

    That failure produces this sort of Tweet:

    That is the perception out there.

    A smart administration addresses perception.

    This is not a smart administration.

    Last night, Ruth noted (and quoted) the reporter raising the rumor/allegation that the US created ISIS (IS) and how spokesperson Jen Psaki refused to address the question.

    Why did Psaki do that?

    I have no idea.

    Maybe the White House created ISIS and she didn't want to lie?

    I have no idea.

    I do know her job requires her to respond.

    She didn't do her job.  Naharnet reports that the US Embassy in Libya tackled the allegations in a Tweet -- denying them.  Real shame they couldn't have quoted the State Dept spokesperson but Psaki was clearly too tired to do her job.

  • How sad that people believe they have to sign a petition to get the White House to okay emergency provisions being dropped to the Yazidis.

    How weak is the White House that it will take pleading from Americans to get it to act?

    Nouri's still backed by the White House despite all the above conflict, despite Sameer N. Yacoub and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reporting Baghdad bombings today left at least 51 people dead.

    Nouri al-Maliki, the despot that will destroy Iraq if he gets a third term as prime minister.

    Note this Tweet:

  • Hearing from Iraq that Maliki had 28 conditions to be met before he steps down. Shia bloc accepted them all but Maliki then changed his mind

  • If true, this would be yet another example of Nouri breaking his word.

    Nouri al-Maliki gave his weekly televised address today.  As usual, it was the sound of a fanatic raving, a rabid dog frothing at the mouth.

    Alsumaria notes that he declared the biggest bloc should be allowed to nominate the candidate for prime minister-designate.  He insisted that the post isn't elected by Parliament, it's merely the one with the largest bloc.  (Yes, that's in complete conflict with both his position in 2010 and the court ruling in 2010.)

    In his speech, Alsumaria notes, Nouri also insisted that the will of the people must be respected.  No word on whether or not that line was drowned out due to all the laughter.

    In the speech's most provocative remarks, Nouri lays down a threat.  Alsumaria quotes him declaring that any violations of the (don't laugh) "Constitutional process" will open the gates of hell.

    No, Nouri's never cared about the Constitution before.  This is most obvious in his attack on Iraq's two term Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi whom Nouri forced out of the country with false charges of terrorism and then staged a kangaroo court trial -- despite the fact that Tareq retained his office (he still does until vice presidents are named).  As such, Tareq can't be charged with anything, per the Constitution, unless the Parliament strips him of his office.  Parliament refused to.  Nouri's actions were illegal.  He repeated them with other rivals.

    But today, in a speech filled with lies, he attempts to make the case that the Constitution guarantees him a second term and then he closes by insisting any efforts to prevent him from a third term will open the gates of hell.

    Here's a Tweet on the topic of Nouri and his hell remarks.

    1. as if the country is n't hell already, # Maliki warns that new government could open "gates of hell"

    And Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) reports members of Parliament are saying that if Nouri pushes for a third term -- or his supporters push him for it -- that there will be walk outs in Thursday Parliament session, that Nouri is widely rejected because of his policies.