Monday, July 25, 2011


Kat's "Kat's Korner: The Real and The Synthetic" wnet up and Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Spanked on the Global Stage."

spanked on the global stage

I agree with C.I. in the snapshot, Harry Reid needs to get honest. Pretending that the US won't be spending ont he Iraq War after the end of the year is lying.

The whole thing has become an even bigger joke and that just demonstrates how little any one is taking it.

Fine by me but don't start lecturing us again, Barack. No one needs to hear your tired ass.

"TV: The unexamined (American) lives" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):
Barack Obama is worried about the debt ceiling, if you missed it. He wasn't worried about it when he was a senator. As NPR's Mara Liasson (All Things Considered) noted at the start of the month, "President Obama, when he was in the Senate, voted against raising the debt ceiling because, he said, it was a symbol of a failure of leadership on the Republican president."

And he didn't spend the year worrying about it. But he sure did create a crisis out of it, didn't he? One he is manipulating to gut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

In all of the talk of the 'crisis,' we find no one pointing out the obvious: Does the president of the United States acting so alarmist not influence creditors?

If we're all so gosh darn worried about our credit rating and what might happen if the debt ceiling (an artificial creation started to justify war spending in WWI) is reached, should the president be all over the TV insisting doom, doom, doom is upon us?

Or might that sort of Chicken Little behavior actually hurt the country?

It's a valid question and, you'll note, it's one that's gone unasked.

The president is supposed to set a tone. Even when it comes to a ceremonial task, Barack's a failure. He's played alarmist and petulant bully throughout the so-called crisis to the point that the number of people who take him seriously continues to dwindle.

Another question rarely covered is how many other country's have debt ceilings? None that we know of. Again, the debt ceiling was created in the US to justify WWI spending. Liberty Bonds were sold and fears that the whole venture wouldn't bankrupt the country were calmed with the creation of the debt ceiling. Economist James K Galbraith explained that at The Huffington Post and he explained:

What fiscal crisis? The great unasked question in this summer of sound-and-fury is "why?" The United States has many problems at the moment: a high-and-stubborn unemployment rate, a foreclosure catastrophe, a slowing economy that has not recovered and will not recover from the Great Crisis, and the ongoing challenges of infrastructure, energy and climate change. Fiscal crisis? The entire thing is a figment, made up of wise-men's warnings repeated endlessly and linked to the projections of technicians at the Congressional Budget Office and elsewhere.

The projections, as I've written here, are made up of two economically impossible arguments. One is that there will be a big economic rebound, restoring near-full employment by 2013 or so. We're already off that track, as some of us warned from the beginning. Of course, a recovery would reduce the deficit even if nothing were done. But CBO then recreates the exploding debt by assumptions, which include steady growth and low inflation, but sharply higher health care costs and much higher short-term interest rates. These lead the projected debt to compound skyward, soon surpassing all previous records in relation to GDP.

Is this possible? No it is not. The Federal Reserve would never raise the short-term interest rate, as CBO projects, without a prior increase of inflation, which CBO assumes will not occur. If they did, the economy would collapse! And if they don't, the debt does not compound out of control. I have presented these simple numbers here. For what it's worth, if you believe the capital markets signal anything, they signal their disbelief in doomsday forecasts, in the long-term interest rate on U.S. government bonds, every single day.

Yet it's treated as real and legitimate and Barack uses it to scare people in an attempt to enact the recommendations of his Cat Food Commission while left outlets remain silent over and over. Amy Goodman, ZNet, all the whores that put Barack into the White House work overtime to screw over the people today.

Last week, with ten hours of broadcast time to fill, Amy Goodman repeatedly distracted American viewers by focusing on a British scandal. The real scandal is that she got away without offering serious explorations of what's taking place right now in DC. If Barack is successful and manages to gut the safety net, that's going to have more impact on American lives than any other story in 2011. Which is why the silence on this issue is all the more appalling.

That says all that needs to be said and then some.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Monday, July 25, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, Political Stalemate II continues, Iraq might get a Minister of Defence, Harry Reid wants to pretend with the American people that the US leaves Iraq in 2011, the same old complaints (charges) against Iran by the US military surface again, and more.
Starting with violence, Xinhua reports a Muqdadiya motorcycle bombing today claimed 3 lives and left twelve injured. AP cites police Maj Ghalib al-Karkhi stating it was a remote control bombing. Reuters adds a Hawija car bombing went of inside a suspect's home ("killing him"). Aswat al-Iraq reports, " An explosive charge blew off against a U.S. Army patrol in southern Iraq's City of Basra on Sunday night, but losses were not known, whilst police forces arrested six wanted men, One of them wanted for terrorist acts, a Basra police source reported on Monday." In addition, they note, "An Iraqi soldier has been injured in an explosive charge blast west of Mosul, the center of Ninewa Province, on Monday, a Ninewa security source reported."
AP reports Sidkan Mayor Ahmed Qadir states 2 Iraqis were killed last night with another three left injured from Iran shelling the area in their continued assaults on PJAK (Kurdish group). Over the weekend, AFP quoted the International Committee of the Red Cross, "The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has provided humanitarian assistance to over 800 internally displaced people in northern Iraq, all of whom have been driven from their homes by the recent shelling in the mountains of Qandil. Having left behind all their belongings, the majority of these people are now living under makeshift shelters, tents, or sharing crowded houses with relatives and friends, while a few families could afford renting very basic accomodation." This morning IRIN notes, "Nearly 200 families have been displaced in Iraq's self-ruled northern Kurdish region due to Iranian shelling since mid-July of Iranian Kurdish rebels based inside Iraq, say officials."

Meanwhile the Iranian government is claiming complete support from Baghdad for the assault that's displacing (and killing) Iraqis. The Tehran Times reports:

The Iranian ambassador to Baghdad has said that the Iraqi officials are serious in dealing with the terrorist group PJAK (the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan), emphasizing they regard Iran's action against terrorists as justified.
Iraq regards this group as a terrorist one and believes that Iran has the right to take action against the group, Ambassador Hassan Danaiifar told reporters on Sunday.

Though a large number of exiles now in power in Baghad have strong ties to Iran, it's equally true that the Iraqi people as a whole are more likely to remember the Iran-Iraq War -- especially those taught about it in school -- of the eighties. As Iraqis are killed and displaced while Iran violates Iraq's sovereignty in its pursuit of PJAK, don't be surprised if Nouri's image collapses even more. All he really had going for him was the (false) claim that he could provide security. As the last months have demonstrated, he can't provide it internally and he's now allowing Iraq to be invaded by another country.
Still on Iran, Michael R. Gordon partnered with Judith Miller on many of the notorius stories the New York Times published in the lead up to the war. Whereas Judith Miller's 'reporting' just revealed someone who no longer knew how to be skeptical (and was too desperate to fit in with her sources), Gordon's 'reporting' demonstrated a War Lust. So after the Iraq War started, what did Gordo become famous for?
That's right, his incessant proclamations that the Iranian government was equipping Iraqis fighting US troops in Iraq. Today Tim Arango (New York Times) visits Victory Base and sees the presentation the US military has prepared. He observes:
After the 2003 invasion and the failure of the Bush administration to find the unconventional weapons it said was a reason for the war, the subsequent claims by the American military that Iran was supplying weapons and training to Shiite militias to attack American forces were met with abundant skepticism by the American public and other countries.
Nima Shirazi: It seems that every few years if not every few months the news media basically, because of specific orders from government officials, goes on and on and on about how the Iranian government is funneling weapons across the Iran-Iraq border to pro-Iran, pro-Shia militias in Iraq, and that these weapons are responsible for killing US soldiers who are occupying Iraq. So what winds up happening when these reports surface as they have again and again and again for years there's kind of a renewed public sense of this Iranian threat, this Iranian menace, you know, 'They can't even stay in their own country! They have to go into one of the ones we're occupying and then kill us there!' You know, that-that kind of fear mongering. And as is consistently reported after these reports come out -- usually by someone like Gareth Porter who I think you interview a lot -- he consistently debunks all of these myths about these Iranian weapons saying, 'Actually, despite what the US military says, the findings actually show that the majority of the weapons come from China or from Russia or, you know, even if they are in theory from Iran, the Iranian government has no role in this which actually would then be a very important distinction to make if there is a black market weapons trade in that area which undoubtedly there is. Who's "responsible" for it? And when you say Iran is funneling weapons into Iraq to kill US troops, what are you actually saying? So there's a new push with it this summer. It seems like every time the nuclear issue kind of recedes because of new reports or because, you know, the dog days of summer and people want to talk about something new, instead of something new, people just regurgitate something from the past that seems new to kind of get that hype up again.
Scott Horton: Right. Well you know it really was amazing back in 2007 and 2008 when it really was just like that. You know, they would switch off back and forth between whether we were supposed to fear the open, declared, above-board, inspected nuclear electricity program or whether we were supposed to fear some secret program that 'must' exist, that we have to bomb even though we have no idea where any of it is because it's so secret and that's how we know it's there and all of that kind of thing. And then all of the sudden, they just drop the nuclear issue and even pretty much -- I would say before the NIE came out that had pretty much gone on the back burner. And they spent most -- certainly 2007 and the dawn of the surge accusing Iran -- Basically, they just wanted to switch from fighting the Sunni based insurgency to fighting Moqtada al-Sadr's guys at the same time that they were really fighting to put him in power, they were preferring the same guys that Iran preferred at the time, the Supreme Islamic Council, the more professional, upper middle class Hakim clan and there was no sensical reason that made any sense whatsoever why the Iranian government would want to arm up Moqtada al-Sadr more than the Badr Brigade, the one that we were fighting for and with and kicking the last of the Sunni Arabs out of Baghdad. And the whole thing was not just a lie, a pile of assertions unproven, but it made no sense on its face. The whole thing was a giant joke and it went on for a year and a half or something. Now here they are again. They never even have to prove it, do they? They just say it five times. "Oh, a bomb went off, it must have been Iran." And then that's it.
Staying with the US-Iraq topic, the Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe Tweets:

The hearing will feature the views of budget experts from the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office on the long-term costs associated with providing mental and physical health care, supporting caregivers, maintaining prosthetics, and providing benefits. Crystal Nicely, the wife of Marine Corporal Todd Nicely, a quadruple amputee veteran of the War in Afghanistan, will also testify about the lifetime of support her and her husband will require and about the red tape she has already faced in her daily struggle to provide Todd with the care he needs.

(Washington, D.C.) – Next Wednesday, July 27th, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, will hold a hearing to examine the real human and financial costs of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how as a nation we need to plan to keep our promise to these veterans for the rest of their lives.
Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Patty Murray

Crystal Nicely, Wife of Injured Veteran, Marine Corporal Todd Nicely

Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Heidi Golding, Principal Analyst, National Security Division, Congressional Budget Office

James Hosek, PhD, Senior Economist, RAND Corporation
Lorelei St. James, Director, Physical Infrastructure, Government Accountability Office
Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Hearing: Examining the Lifetime Costs of Care for the Newest Generation of Veterans
WHEN: Wednesday, July 27, 2011
10:00 AM EST/7:00 AM PST

WHERE: Dirksen 562 (NOTE this hearing will not be held in the normal Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing room)