الأربعاء، ديسمبر 21، 2011

Illegal oil drilling and smuggling in Iraq

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Marcus يقول...

Now that would upset any environmentalist something awful.

Freddie Starr يقول...

Marcus ate my hamster!

Petes يقول...

Not sure what the video is showing. They seem to be breaking into an existing pipe or well cap. It's certainly an impressive array of tankers waiting to carry off the spoils.

Petes يقول...

In news closer to home (for some people) there's just been a surprisingly large find in the North Sea. Two recent Norwegian discoveries -- Aldous Major South and Avaldsnes -- have turned out to be part of a single giant field. Estimates of recoverable oil run to 3.3 billion barrels. It could quite likely yield half a million barrels per day for well over a decade. Such a giant field in such a depleted area is rare enough, but the field is particularly shallow too -- in less than 500 feet of water and 6,000 feet of sandstone. By comparison, some recent Gulf of Mexico finds are in 5-7000 feet of water plus 15-18000 feet of salt. Half a million bpd would be a drop in the ocean of current world demand ... but a significant and very welcome drop nonetheless, and good news for European supplies.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Geez! What a waste and evironmental mess. :(

I remember some of our people descibing the pools of oil that resulted from illegal tapping of pipelines. We didn't get that under some control until we hired locals to watch. Or, basically, we were just doing what Saddam did and bribing people not to smuggle the oil.

Yes, Pete, these guys do seem very well equiped. Sooo who's taking the cut? Or is it all sorts of "someones" along the way?

Perhaps Saddam should have looked closer to home before accusing the Kuwaitis of slant-drilling.

verification wordk: "takey" lol!

Petes يقول...

"Yes, Pete, these guys do seem very well equiped."

Yeah ... big shower of truckers :)

Indigo يقول...

Hi Zeyad

Just looked in to wish you and your family well. I often think of you all, and of those Iraqis who went to Syria.

Petes يقول...

Time to send early Christmas wishes to y'all. I'm off to sit by the sea in Portugal and, uh, read physics books. It's a tough gig but somebody has to do it :)

Um Ayad يقول...

At least 63 killed in co-ordinated Baghdad attacks

A wave of apparently co-ordinated bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has killed at least 63 people and injured around 185, say officials.

The interior ministry told the BBC 14 blasts hit various locations, including al-Amil in the south and Halawi and Karrada closer to the centre.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16297707

Petes يقول...

Sad news from Baghdad.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

A belated Merry Christmas to everyone!

Hope you are enjoying a nice trip to Portugal, Pete. Physics books...yeah...right. :)

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

I well remember how Iraqis used to tell our people that we should be doing things the Iraqi way when it came to security. Why do I think that many Iraqis were just biding their time until we left so that they could continue to do things the "Iraqi way"?

Well, you know what? The Iraqi way produced Saddam. And while the control he exerted may have kept the more extremist elements in check, it wasn't so hot for those who wanted to live life outside of a prison. Stop pointing fingers of blame and start working together to find a middle ground.

(Huh! The same advice could be given to politicians in America.)

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Syria...a bad choice for immigration.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "(Huh! The same advice could be given to
      politicians in America.)
"

That's one take on it.  For another take…
I'm looking at congressional Republicans (not to mention their field of presidential candidates) demanding further concessions from Democrats before the Republicans will accept tax cuts.  (This is weird in and of itself.)  Or, more accurately, before Republicans will accept the extension of tax cuts the Republicans once demanded in place of the tax relief the Democrats had already offered.  I speak of the recent payroll tax fight. 
The Democrats had originally proposed, and passed as part of the stimulus, a tax cut for middle income working families.  (Street name ‘Making Work Pay’, and it was a tax credit, not a rate cut, not that this is really important.)  During the fight to extend the Bush tax cuts another two years (which the Republicans somehow managed to oppose at the time), the Republicans successfully fought to replace the existing Obama tax cut (the MWP thing) with a holiday on payroll taxes instead (so the employers could get in on the tax cut too, and it didn't just go to employees).  The Obama tax cut expired and the payroll tax cut replaced it as the Republicans demanded as a condition to extending the Bush tax cuts another two years.  (Still amazes me that Obama had to bribe them to agree to extending the Bush tax cuts, but it happened that way.)
Then, when Obama wanted the payroll tax cut extended yet again, the Republicans fought that right down to the wire, although it was their proposal back when it was passed the first time.

When the Democrats have to bribe the Republicans with further concessions before the Republican will agree to vote for what were Republican supported programs just two years ago, something's gotten seriously weird.  This is something way beyond just ‘not working together’.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

This is something way beyond just ‘not working together’.

A party bent on committing political suicide?

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Note to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad:

Have you learned nothing from what has transpired with former dictators? Do you believe that hiding tanks in buildings is going to fool anyone?

Bashar al-Assad يقول...

Who the fuck are you?

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

A concerned world citizen...

...and watch your mouth.

Bashar al-Assad يقول...

Come say that to my face biatch.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Come say that to my face...

And where exactly are you?

...biatch.

Sounds like American street talk to me...

Bashar al-Assad يقول...

Damascus baby, home of the brave!

Bashar al-Bonehead يقول...

Let's hear it for the brave tank commanders.

Um Ayad يقول...

How to Save Iraq From Civil War

By AYAD ALLAWI, OSAMA AL-NUJAIFI and RAFE AL-ESSAWI
Published: December 27, 2011

IRAQ today stands on the brink of disaster. President Obama kept his campaign pledge to end the war here, but it has not ended the way anyone in Washington wanted. The prize, for which so many American soldiers believed they were fighting, was a functioning democratic and nonsectarian state. But Iraq is now moving in the opposite direction — toward a sectarian autocracy that carries with it the threat of devastating civil war....

We are leaders of Iraqiya, the political coalition that won the most seats in the 2010 election and represents more than a quarter of all Iraqis. We do not think of ourselves as Sunni or Shiite, but as Iraqis, with a constituency spanning the entire country. We are now being hounded and threatened by Mr. Maliki, who is attempting to drive us out of Iraqi political life and create an authoritarian one-party state.

In the past few weeks, as the American military presence ended, another military force moved in to fill the void. Our homes and offices in Baghdad’s Green Zone were surrounded by Mr. Maliki’s security forces....

The New York Times Opinion Pages

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
Bill Kristol is not yet resigned to Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee…

      "Mason City, Iowa
      "Music Man Square in Mason City is named for
      Meredith Wilson, the native son who wrote
The
      Music Man. It’s not a square in the traditional
      sense. It’s a building whose interior is mocked up
      into an elaborate—and quite lovely—version of
      River City’s Main Street. There are fake storefronts
      and brick sidewalks, with the polish of a Disney
      World production. ***  You may recall that
The
      Music Man is a story about a good looking,
      smooth talking phony who comes to town and
      swindles the locals. Whoever thought it would be a
      good idea for Mitt Romney to hold an event
      here—he entered from the far end of the fake Main
      Street and gripped and grinned his way through a
      throng of perhaps 400 people—either has a dark
      sense of humor or no sense of irony.
"
      Weekly Standard

Um Ayad يقول...

Wishing Zeyad and all who post comments here a very Happy New Year. I hope it will be a more peaceful one for everyone.

Um Ayad يقول...

I am feeling sentimental tonight. As so many people say, Christmas is not Christmas without a Morecambe and Wise show, now that both have passed away. But I can't complain this year, there are three programmes tonight, and several others over the last week. On 26th December a special programme on ITV, The "Unforgettable Ernie Wise"......
http://www.itv.com/itvplayer/video/?Filter=297363.

This was a programme in which his dear wife, Doreen, and friends could speak about Ernie Wise, as we saw him, as a friend and not a TV personality.

Ernie always used to tell me he wanted to be a "Song-and-Dance Man". He loved doing the "Singin' in the Rain" sketch, copying the Gene Kelly's dance routine.
I will always treasure the lovely china swan he and Doreen gave me for my birthday. Also his letters, one thanking me and my husband for the pen we bought him for his birthday, in it he writes, it will be great for "The play wot I wrote". (For those who haven't seen a Morecambe and Wise show, this was one of Ernie's catchphrases).
Ernie was a very dear friend, I have many happy memories of the good times we spent together with Ernie and lovely Doreen. I miss him now he is no longer with us.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Happy New Year everyone!

Um Ayad,

My condolences on your loss. It is always hard to lose someone dear to us. But as long as they have good friends or family who keep them in their hearts, they are not really completely gone.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Bashar,

Indeed, Damascus is the home of the brave. One day you may come to realize it.

To all the brave souls who fight for freedom,

May the new year bring hopes and dreams realized.

Um Ayad يقول...

Lynnette,

Many thanks for the condolences. Ernie died some time ago. That was just me being sentimental as we had so many TV programmes about Morecambe and Wise this Christmas and it is hard in some ways to see somebody you cared about looking so well. But it is great to see he has not been forgotten, of course friends and family keep them in their hearts. I often look at photographs of when we were all together. You know he and his wife used to have a holiday home in Florida. That was where he taken ill and flown back to the UK.

Petes يقول...

"A project to catalogue every plant species in Iraq has been restarted, 25 years after it was put on hold because of the political situation in the country."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16317974

Petes يقول...

(I guess there's a few more to study now that Saddam is pushing up daisies).

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
Seems our boy, Petes may have not been the only Catholic learnin’ on some cosmology and physics here recently.  I'm given to understand that the Pope has recently announced that the ‘big bang’ theory of the creation of the universe isn't considered necessarily blasphemous.  (Just in case anybody might have assumed otherwise.) 
I suppose the Vatican may eventually even accept the heliocentric model of the solar system.

Petes يقول...

Seems the resident troll may have missed the news that the Big Bang theory was invented by a Catholic priest 75 years ago. No Pope has ever considered the idea necessarily, possibly, or even potentially blasphemous. Seems like our troll has been reading his usual random sources, or doesn't have the wit to interpret sensible ones. Plus ça change...

Oh, and, the "heliocentric model of the solar system" is an oxymoron. Perhaps the resident troll is referring to the heliocentric model of the universe, which is wrong. Like most folks still hung up on the early 17th century, the troll has not realised that both religion and science have moved on.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "…the Big Bang theory was invented by a
      Catholic priest 75 years ago…


Martin Luther's 95 points, nailed to the church door, were written by a catholic priest too.  Don't mean the Catholic Church bought into it.

      "Oh, and, the ‘heliocentric model of the solar
      system’ is an oxymoron.
"

You seem to be unaware of the meaning of the term 'oxymoron’.  I'll not bother to explain.  It's not important.
However, I actually was aware that Copernicus (I think he claimed the privilege of the name) originally had the sun at the center of the universe and not merely the anchor for the solar system, which is why I put restriction on the term in there myself.
Perhaps there's a more scrupulously nit-picky term for the sun-centered solar system which terminology you've recently picked up from your most recent forays into cosmology, but if there is, quite frankly, I don't give a damn Scarlet.
My point was that I noticed that the Pope had here recently announced that the big bang theory was kosher for catholics.  Science and religion movin’ on as you say.  Ain't it wonderful?

Have they ever admitted Galelio was right?  I know they apologized here awhile back for treating him bad, but has a Pope ever actually come out and admitted that Galileo was right and that the earth does indeed rotate around the sun?

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "Perhaps there's a more scrupulously nit-picky
      term for the sun-centered solar system…
"

Although, I'd almost bet there's not, and you were just lookin’ to expand the field upon which you could pick tangential fights.   (And all the while accusing me of bein’ the one doin’ the trollin’.)

Petes يقول...

What a hoot! The resident troll accuses me of picking tangential fights. I actually don't give a rat's ass if wants to wallow in his ignorance forever. He should direct his inanities toward the Vatican Observatory where they invented astrophysics and see if they give more of a rat's ass than I do. (I doubt it).

"My point was that I noticed that the Pope had here recently announced that the big bang theory was kosher for catholics."

Which, to employ the same style of argumentation as the troll, is not to say that it was ever not kosher. In fact, it wasn't ever. More likely it was a warning not to go down the philosophical dead ends of the Young Earth Creationist loons ... whose intellectual intransigence would make them excellent bedfellows for the resident troll.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      " He should direct his inanities toward the
      Vatican Observatory where they invented
      astrophysics and see if they give more of a rat's
      ass than I do. (I doubt it).
"

So, you figure they'll likewise studiously avoid the question of whether or not the Pope has ever yet actually admitted that Galileo was right and the earth does indeed revolve around the sun?
Science and religion marchin’ forward together; ain't it wonderful?

Petes يقول...

"So, you figure they'll likewise studiously avoid the question of whether or not the Pope has ever yet actually admitted that Galileo was right and the earth does indeed revolve around the sun?"

We might as well ask whether the troll has ever admitted that Einstein was right and the mass-energy equivalence does indeed depend on the special theory of relativity. Having shown himself to be incompetent to rule on the matter through lack of basic mathematical training, it's immaterial whether he admits the point or not.

Likewise, the pope(s) having admitted that the natural order of the physical world is outside their domain of expertise are no more qualified to say whether the earth goes around the sun* than is the man in street.

(* As a matter of fact, it doesn't, which renders the question even more ridiculous)

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
I don't think there's much I can say that'll make you look worse than that last post of yours did.
Reckon then that's a good place to leave ya.

So, ciao for now.

Petes يقول...

"Martin Luther's 95 points, nailed to the church door, were written by a catholic priest too. Don't mean the Catholic Church bought into it."

Trolltastic! Spot the difference: Luther was excommunicated within three years of his 95 theses; Georges Lemaître was president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences until he died.

Petes يقول...

"Reckon then that's a good place to leave ya."

Thank Heaven for that. More than enough trollin' for one afternoon.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
Oh, yeah, and for everybody ‘cept Petes

Ya'll can take that as a negative on whether or not the Catholic Church, or any Pope thereof, ever actually admitted that Galileo was right.

Science and Religion bravin’ the brave new world together; ain't it wonderful?

Petes يقول...

LOL. The troll's outdoin' hisself. Don't think I've ever seen a case of such obsessive trollery over such a non-issue*.

(* Once again, for everyone but the troll, Galileo wasn't right).

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "Likewise, the pope(s) having admitted that the
      natural order of the physical world is outside their
      domain of expertise are no more qualified to say
      whether the earth goes around the sun* than is the
      man in street.
"

Odd then that the Pope thought himself well qualified enough to pronounce the big bang theory to be compatible with Catholic dogma.  Easy stuff is over his head, but the questionable theories he make pronouncements about.  (You sure you wanna try to hold this position Petes?  It don't make a hell of a lot of sense.)

John يقول...

tire·some/ˈtaɪərsəm
1. causing or liable to cause a person to tire; wearisome: a tiresome job.
2. annoying or vexatious.
3. any exchange between Shameous and the 'Goat Roper'.

Synonyms
1. dull, fatiguing, humdrum.

AP: A series of attacks in Iraq on Wednesday targeting the homes of police officers and a member of a government-allied militia killed four people, including two children, officials said.

Police said six roadside bombs planted near houses belonging to security officers in Baqouba exploded as their families were sleeping. Two children died in the blasts and nine people were wounded.

The city, 35 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad, is a former stronghold of al-Qaida militants.

Also, police said gunmen stormed the house of a leader in the anti al-Qaida militia in the predominantly Sunni suburb of Abu Ghraib, west of the capital, killing him and his wife.

The man had been active in the Sahwa, or Sons of Iraq, a Sunni militia that was instrumental in turning the tide against al-Qaida in the country. Medical officials confirmed the casualty toll.

Iraqi officials have warned of a resurgence of both Sunni and Shiite militants and an increase in violence following the U.S. troop withdrawal, which was completed last month.

America's criminal invasion has cost tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives and created irreparable damage to a undeserving population.

Petes يقول...

Bring back Saddam, eh Johannes?

Petes يقول...

"You sure you wanna try to hold this position Petes? It don't make a hell of a lot of sense."

Here, let me fix that for y'all .... it don't make a hell of a lot of sense to YOU. But then, y'all don't care to understand, now do y'all?

Anyway, don't let me distract y'all from y'all's very own homegrown loony Latin mass-going Catholic coming soon to a Republican primary near y'all.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "But then, y'all don't care to understand, now do
      y'all?
"

Not only do I got ya covered already, but I'm already another step ahead.  As I suspect you've figured out.
That's what accounts for you having faded out back there.
Let me outline it for ya, catch you up so to speak…

You keep saying ‘Galileo was wrong’, expecting I'm going to bite, and then you're going to move off in whichever direction seems to offer the most available space, expecting that I'll pursue.
You're still thinkin’ that I'm going to mistake your posturing there for you actually having a point, and that as I try to move in on the point you'll just move away.
But, that's not gonna happen.
Galileo was right; the earth orbits the sun, not the other way ‘round.
I have you down on record already trying to dispute that.  I'm happy to leave it there, leave it just like that.  Far as I'm concerned, things are fine just as they are.

So, ciao for now.

Petes يقول...

"...I'm already another step ahead... So, ciao for now."

Yup. I reckon y'all are. Seems like as good a time to leave it for y'all as it was at 11.04 am, last time y'all promised. Y'all come back now, y'hear? (But not too soon).

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "… last time y'all promised…"

Dumbass sumbitch thinks being dismissed for the time bein’ is somehow the equivalent of me having made him an enforceable promise.  Poor dumbass sumbitch just can't get it through his head that all things ain't always all ‘bout him.

Petes يقول...

Seems like takin' the troll at his word is gettin' him all riled up now. Didn't expect that trollish "ciao" could be taken at face value. Only thing for it now is to switch on "ignore mode" and let him rant 'til he tires hisself out.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
I would suggest that your ‘ignore mode’ might be more convincing if you weren't actively posting about it.

Um Ayad يقول...

Baghdad hit by deadly bomb blasts

At least 24 people have died after explosions in Shia areas of Baghdad, according to Iraq's Interior Ministry.

The ministry told the BBC that at least 66 people were wounded in the blasts, which occurred in the capital's Sadr City and Kadhimiya neighbourhoods.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16420554

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

An interesting article from Fareed Zakaria.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

I see Michele Bachmann dropped out the the race for President. Wise choice. I also see that John McCain has endorsed Romney. Hmmm...well, if I can't have Huntsman at the top of the ticket, a Romney/Huntsman ticket might be tempting. Although I still don't like the fact that Romney signed that idiotic pledge.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

United We Stand, Divided We Fall!

It can work for many people, not just American revolutionaries...

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "…a Romney/Huntsman ticket might be tempting."

Obama could only dream of getting so lucky.  Two Mormons on the Republican ticket.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
And, here's another thought:
The powers that be in whatever's left of the Republican ‘Establishment’ keep insisting that Romney's the most ‘electable’ candidate in their field.
Romney's run for public office 22 times, before this run.  He's lost 17 times.

Petes يقول...

It's all pretty unseemly. The Republican side will spend the next eight months belittling and defaming their own candidates. Then they'll feign unity to jointly defame the other side. The character assassinations will be organised by technically legal subcontracted superPACs with massive financial resources. American electioneering is a tacky horror show :(

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "American electioneering is a tacky horror show :("

And getting worse every cycle.  All efforts to clean it up have so far failed (due in no small part to rulings from our Supreme Court; the recent Citizens United ruling which struck down a 100 year old, and actually very modest, control on money in campaigns being only the most egregious ruling so far).
One can already read the Republican strategists warning that the coming election is going to be exceptionally nasty.  They know this is so, because it is within their power to make it so.

Marcus يقول...

"BAGHDAD — It was one of the deadliest insurgent groups in Iraq in recent years, an Iranian-backed militia that bombed American military convoys and bases, assassinated dozens of Iraqi officials and tried to kidnap Americans even as the last soldiers withdrew.

But now the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is welcoming the militant group into Iraq’s political system, a move that could tilt the nation’s center of gravity closer to Iran."

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/06/world/middleeast/iraqi-moves-to-embrace-militia-opens-new-fault-lines.html?_r=1&hp

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "BAGHDAD — It was one of the deadliest
      insurgent groups in Iraq in recent years…
"

And it has now taken up politicking in lieu of continuing violence.  And still these dedicated cassandras somehow manage to make that sound like a bad thing.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

The powers that be in whatever's left of the Republican ‘Establishment’ keep insisting that Romney's the most ‘electable’ candidate in their field.
Romney's run for public office 22 times, before this run. He's lost 17 times.


Scary thought, eh?

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

So Iran doesn't want us in the Strait of Hormuz?

This is rather ironic then. I wonder if they are going to ask for extradition of the pirates...

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "Scary thought, eh?"

I think Huntsman would stand a better chance of winning the general election than Romney.  Huntsman actually is a conservative.  The teabaggers can't seem to notice that, ‘cause he's not screamin’ hyperbolic nonsense, and they seem to think that's a requirement.

I'm not real clear on Huntsman's theories on economics.  But, depending on whether or not he buys into the supply-sider nonsense, I might have voted for him in the general this round if he'd stood a tinker's chance of ever getting there.  I actually like Obama, but I'm not looking forward to four more years of the right-wingers tryin’ to bring him down, damn the consequences to the nation.  And I wouldn't vote for Obama just ‘cause I like him.  Gettin’ ‘er done is a rather more important consideration.
I'm keepin’ an eye on Huntsman for next time though; by then I'll have a better handle on his economics.  May very well be an early supporter if he shows signs of understanding how things work.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
By the way, Huntsman and Romney do not like one other.  No chance in hell Romney would ever have invited him to run on the same ticket, even without the Mormon problem.

Um Ayad يقول...

Tareq Aziz, Whose Life Hangs in the Balance: “We are all victims of Britain and America. They killed our country.”

Sabah Al Mukhtar, President of the UK-based Arab Lawyers Association, takes a dim view of this Colonial approach: "Under the Geneva and Vienna Conventions, the occupying force has both responsibility and limitations. There is a duty of protection for citizens, children and the environment. The law of the occupied territories cannot be changed."

Holding the British equally responsible, he argues that the occupiers were part of a leadership with: "Huge responsibility, who set up a system of trials that do not meet the basic international standards", in accordance with the Vienna and Geneva Conventions.

Further: "Execution is the ultimate abuse of human rights."

He points out that in the pre-invasion, formerly secular Iraq, where those of all faiths and none, previously shared feasts and celebrations, and where all religious institutions were annually provided maintenance grants by the government equally,Tareq Aziz, a Christian, was in fact charged with undermining Islamic movements.

Referring to a "Kangaroo Court", Al Mukhtar is emphatic that it is incumbent on the Vatican and the Churches also to demand clemency for the seventy four year old.
Aziz of course, visited the Pope in 2003, to plea for the Vatican to intervene, to avert invasion and save his country and people, who had suffered so terribly from 1991 onwards.

Further, says Al Mukhtar: "The US and the UK still have the duty, and indeed the power, to protect Tareq Aziz. This proposed execution is simply vengeance in its lowest form."

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m84581&hd=&size=1&l=e

Um Ayad يقول...

Video: US invasion leaves lasting Iraq scars

While the US military has formally withdrawn from Iraq, doctors and residents of Fallujah are blaming weapons like depleted uranium and white phosphorous used during two devastating US attacks on Fallujah in 2004 for what are being described as "catastrophic" levels of birth defects and abnormalities.

Dr Samira Alani, a paediatric specialist at Fallujah General Hospital, has taken a personal interest in investigating an explosion of congenital abnormalities that have mushroomed in the wake of the US sieges since 2005.

"We have all kinds of defects now, ranging from congenital heart disease to severe physical abnormalities, both in numbers you cannot imagine," Alani told Al Jazeera at her office in the hospital, while showing countless photos of shocking birth defects.

As of December 21, Alani, who has worked at the hospital since 1997, told Al Jazeera she had personally logged 677 cases of birth defects since October 2009. Just eight days later when Al Jazeera visited the city on December 29, that number had already risen to 699.

"There are not even medical terms to describe some of these conditions because we've never seen them until now," she said. "So when I describe it all I can do is describe the physical defects, but I'm unable to provide a medical term."

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m84580&hd=&size=1&l=e

Um Ayad يقول...

Rockets hit Baghdad Green Zone, kill 2

Several rockets have been fired at the heavily fortified Green Zone in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killing at least two people, Press TV reports.

Three rockets hit the outer edge of the Green Zone, home to the US Embassy and the Iraqi parliament, on Friday as Iraq's military was holding a huge parade to mark the 91st anniversary of the founding of the country's armed forces.
According to a Press TV correspondent, dozens of others were also injured in the attack. The Green Zone is regarded as one of Iraq's safest areas.

The attack comes one day after multiple explosions in southern Iraq and Baghdad killed at least 78 people.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/219626.html

Bridget يقول...

" After running various search versions I've come to the conclusion that you did indeed imagine that up, pretty much outta whole cloth.
I'll be waiting with bated breath for the ‘knickers in a wad’ stuff coming from Obama and not Glenn Hannibaugh versions of what Obama was supposedly thinkin’."

I hope your breath has simply been temporarily bated and not held:

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2008/06/16/4439689-obama-to-visit-iraq-afghanistan

Long piece, but the relevant part is a little over half way down:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2008/jan/15/debate-transcript/

Um Ayad يقول...

US Marine says Iraq war was one long atrocity

Ex-Marine Ross Caputi says American soldiers should take "ownership" of the war in Iraq that was one long atrocity.

It's no wonder, he says, that so many returning soldiers are overwhelmed by guilt at what they have done, with a higher rate of suicides than in any previous American war.

"People do not go home and want to kill themselves because they've been helping Iraqis," says Ross Caputi. "They go home and want to kill themselves because they've committed atrocities."

Ross Caputi now campaigns for justice for the city of Fallujah, which as a Marine he helped to destroy in 2004, when thousands of civilians were killed and 200,000 driven from their homes.

http://www.presstv.ir/usdetail/219385.html

Bridget يقول...

I read this financial blog daily. About 50% of it is hard core libertarian/anarchist/gold bug nuttiness, but a lot of real nuggets in there as well. This article about Iran, written from a finance perspective, caught my eye.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/art-cashin-explains-what-really-happening-iran

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "I hope your breath has simply been temporarily
      bated and not held:
"

You don't wanna go back there, Bridget.  So, I'm gonna do you a favor and not notice that posting, just this once.

Bridget يقول...

I think those links show that, in his own words out of his own mouth, Obama had his knickers in a twist on account of he didn't want George Bush to sign a status of forces agreement on the grounds that a) Bush oughtta consult Congress, and b) Bush shouldn't be able to bind the following administration.

Jaded soul that I was at the time and still am, I think Obama wanted to be able to claim credit for committing to withdraw troops from Iraq. Which he did, even though the credit belongs to Bush. I would note that Obama didn't go to Congress for approval of a status of forces agreement, nor did he do so on any of his negotiations to EXTEND THE DEADLINE.

Do I think the result turned out about right? Yep. Do I think THE MESSIAH deserves all the pats on his back he's giving himself? Nope. And no, it has nothing to do with your theory that I'm upset that Obama didn't accelerate the schedule and give me something to bitch about. I just don't like it when people claim credit for things they didn't do.

Bridget يقول...

The short story is:

Bush signed the agreement to withdraw all troops by 12/31/2011.

Obama bitched.

Obama did exactly what Bush had agreed to, and then pretended like he did it all himself just like he promised. Only it was Bush's promise.

Bridget يقول...

I mean, the next thing you know, our graceless, shameless President will be claiming credit with his base for the recently announced cuts to the defense budget. Which cuts were actually part of the spending cuts negotiated by the Republicans during the great debt ceiling debate of last summer in case the super committee failed, as anyone with the sense God gave a rabbit knew it would.
And, in all honesty, defense cuts which many of said Republicans are inexplicably going to backtrack on, because they fail to perceive that their base is now a lot more interested in the debt and deficit than they are in fighting a two front war and maintaining a military that is larger than the next 10 combined. The much maligned Tea Party may have to smack them upside the head yet again.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "I hope your breath has simply been temporarily
      bated and not held:
"

As it turned out, I managed to dismiss it from my mind almost entirely, almost immediately.  And well that I did.
I notice you didn't supply quotes (and I can certainly see why), so I'll fill that in for you:

      "…because Obama had his knickers totally in a
      wad over the SOFA on the explicit basis that he
      didn't want to be bound by any agreement Bush
      signed.
"
      Bridget @ 8:53 AM (previous thread)

      January 2008 (presidential debate)
      CLINTON: Well, I want to ask Senator Obama
      to join me in doing something.
      You know, we both very much want to convince
      President Bush, which is not easy to do, in the
      remaining year to end the war in Iraq, to change
      direction.
      It appears that not only is he refusing to do that,
      but that he has continued to say he can enter into
      an agreement with the Iraqi government, without
      bringing it for approval to the United States
      Congress, that would continue America’s presence
      in Iraq, long after President Bush leaves office.
      CLINTON: I find that absolutely unacceptable.
      And I think we have to do everything we can to
      prevent President Bush from binding the hands of
      the next president.
      So I’ve introduced legislation that clearly requires
      President Bush to come to the United States
      Congress. It is not enough, as he claims, to go to
      the Iraqi parliament, but to come to the United
      States Congress to get anything that he’s trying to
      do, including permanent bases, numbers of troops,
      all the other commitments he’s talking about as
      he’s traveling in that region.
      And I want to ask Senator Obama if you will
      co-sponsor my legislation to try to rein in President
      Bush so that he doesn’t commit this country to his
      policy in Iraq, which both of us are committed to
      end.
      OBAMA: Well, I think we can work on this,
      Hillary.

      (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)
      OBAMA: Because I don’t think — you know,
      we’ve got unity in the Democratic Party, I hope, on
      this.
      OBAMA: The notion that President Bush
      could somehow tie the hands of the next president,
      I think, is contrary to how our democracy’s
      supposed to work and the voices of the American
      people who spoke out in 2006 and I expect will
      speak out again in 2008.
      I have opposed this war consistently. I have put
      forward a plan that will get our troops out by the
      end of 2009. And we already saw today reports
      that the Iraqi minister suggests that we’re going to
      be in there at least until 2018 — 2018, 10 years, a
      decade-long commitment.


                            (to be continued)

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
                            (continued from)           
      June 2008π

      "Asked by NBC's Lee Cowan if a timetable for the
      status of forces agreement was discussed, Obama
      said, 'Well he, the foreign minister, had presented
      a letter requesting an extension of the UN
      resolution until the end of this year. So that's a
      six-month extension.
      'Obviously we can't have U.S. forces operating on
      the ground in iraq without some sort of agreemnt,
      either a further extension of the U.N. resolution or
      some sort of Status of Forces agreement, some
      strategic framework agreement. As I said before,
      my concern is that the Bush administration--in a
      weakened state politically--ends up trying to rush
      an agreement that in some ways might be binding
      to the next administration, whether it was my
      administration or Sen. McCain's administration.
      'The foreign minister agreed that the next
      administration should not be bound by an
      agreement that's currently made, but I think the
      only way to assure that is to make sure that there
      is strong bipartisan support, that Congress is
      involved, that the American people know the
      outlines of this agreement, and my concern is that
      if the Bush administration negotiates, as it
      currently has, and given that we're entering into the
      heat of political season that we're probably better
      off not trying to complete a hard and fast
      agreement before the next administration takes
      office, but I think obviously these conversations
      have to continue. As I said my No. 1 priority is
      making sure that we don't have a situation in which
      us troops on the ground are somehow vulnerable
      to, are made more vulnerable, because there is a
      lack of a clear mandate.'
"

                            (to be continued)

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
I think I'll skip the three or four other ways you've managed to mischaracterize what you found, and simply go for the high point.

A politician that's ‘his knickers totally in a  wad’ doesn't have to be pressed to take up the subject over which he's supposedly got ‘his knickers totally in a wad’.  You got two mentions total, and Obama never broached the subject himself; he had to be directly questioned about it.  Hardly evidence that he was all wound up about it.
The rest I'll let slide for now.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
And, on to another subject:

      "I mean, the next thing you know, our graceless,
      shameless President will be claiming credit with
      his base for the recently announced cuts to the
      defense budget. Which cuts were actually part of
      the spending cuts negotiated by the Republicans
      during the great debt ceiling debate of last summer
      in case the super committee failed, as anyone with
      the sense God gave a rabbit knew it would.
"

Nope, that's not what's gonna happen.  What's gonna happen is the Republican nominee, and Glenn Hannibaugh, and probably your favorite tea-baggers, are all going to pretend that it's Obama who's forcing the military cuts.  And you'll happily join in with that with denouncing the Democrats as ‘soft’ on our enemies on account of the Congress can't get its act together and passed that automatic cutback on DoD and national security spending back when.  Ya'll can't seem to get comfortable with the notion that the four decade long rag ‘bout the Democrats bein’ ‘soft on communism’ ain't workin’ for ya anymore.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "…in case the super committee failed, as anyone
      with the sense God gave a rabbit knew it would.
"

On that subject…  The fix was in on that from the beginning.  There were eight (8) congressmen on the Bowles-Simpson Committee, which pretty much laid out the only reasonable blue-print for deficit reduction we've seen to date.  Of those eight, four voted in favor of the Bowles-Simpson recommendations, and four voted to dissent and issue no recommendations at all.  All four of the dissenters were put on the joint super-committee.  None of the four who actually voted to come up with a workable compromise were put on the joint super-committee.  It was designed to fail.  They picked the guys who'd already proven they could fail.
And, in case that wasn't good enough, Boehner had no sooner appointed his three choices then he announced that they weren't allowed to agree to raise taxes.  Which, of course, meant the Democrats had to respond by putting their hardliners on the committee.
It wasn't supposed to work.  It was a gambit, intended to put off any decisions pending the upcoming elections.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
And, Romney just walked blissfully through another debate tonight, and nobody laid a glove on him; didn't even hardly try.
If I didn't know better I'd think they were all auditioning for Veep candidate.

Bridget يقول...

"Hardly evidence that he was all wound up about it."

So you admit he said it, admit I didn't make it up, and only quibble over whether he volunteered it or had to be asked about it. Ok, fine.


"And you'll happily join in with that with denouncing the Democrats as ‘soft’ on our enemies on account of the Congress can't get its act together and passed that automatic cutback on DoD and national security spending back when.  Ya'll can't seem to get comfortable with the notion that the four decade long rag ‘bout the Democrats bein’ ‘soft on communism’ ain't workin’ for ya anymore."

Huh? I haven't heard anybody tagging about communism in about 20 years.

"What's gonna happen is the Republican nominee, and Glenn Hannibaugh, and probably your favorite tea-baggers, are all going to pretend that it's Obama who's forcing the military cuts.  And you'll happily join in with that "

Not me. I'm the one who just said Obama's gonna claim credit for it and some Republicans are gonna backtrack on it. Not the Tea Party, though. It was the Tea Party's much maligned intransigence over the debt ceiling that made it happen. But when Obama's breaking his arms patting himself on the back over his success in reducing the defense budget, I'm gonna remember who really got it done. Just like I remembered who really got our troops pulled out of Iraq.

Bridget يقول...

Yeah, I know about the super committee being a joke. And what I said at the time was that we'd be sitting pretty if it failed, on account of the automatic spending cuts insisted on by the Republicans. If only they called Obama's bluff on entitlement cuts, we'd be well on our way out of the woods. But nooooo. Everybody got all worked up over the government shut down boogeyman and the debt rating red herring and chickened out.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...
أزال المؤلف هذا التعليق.
   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "Just like I remembered who really got our
      troops pulled out of Iraq.
"

Hmmm.  I don't remember that part.  Just exactly what was it that Bushie Boy did that prohibited a theoretical President McCain from negotiating another SOFA agreement after the last one ran out?
How is that he prevented Obama from knuckling under to Republican pressure and negotiating an extension?
What was it he did that kept Maliki from invoking the clause that says Maliki got to set aside the pull out date on his sole say-so, without Iraqi Parlimentary approval?

How did Bushie Boy manage all that and nobody noticed it but you?

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "…and [you] only quibble over whether he
      volunteered it or had to be asked about it.
"

I don't recall that particular point bein’ quibbled at all, much less it bein’ the ‘only’ quibble. Rather, I recall you tellin’ us that Obama was all wound up on the subject; to wit:

      "…because Obama had his knickers totally in a
      wad over the SOFA…
"
      Bridget @ 8:53 AM (immediately preceding
      thread)


      "I'll be waiting with bated breath for the
     
‘knickers in a wad’ stuff…"
      Lee C. @ 11:23 AM ditto (emphasis in original)

      "I haven't heard anybody tagging about
      communism in about 20 years.
"

Well, technically the keep calling him a Marxist and sometimes a Kenyan anti-colonial Marxist, but it's pretty much the same thing. However, I will admit to not being quite specific enough to keep you from finding a bitch to bitch there.

      "Not me. I'm the one who just said…"

I saw what you wrote. Given the recent example of you modifying your ‘quibble’, I have ample faith in your ability to remember this one differently when the time comes for it to be convenient for you to remember it differently..

      "It was the Tea Party's much maligned
      intransigence over the debt ceiling that made it
      happen.
"

Those clowns haven't been nearly as maligned as they yet need to be.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "Just like I remembered who really got our
      troops pulled out of Iraq.
"

It occurred to me that this statement implies a mistaken belief that without the SOFA we would have been obliged to leave our troops in Iraq forever.
I assure you, Bridget, that is not the case.
Bush's SOFA did not give us permission to leave.  We could leave any time.  SOFA or no SOFA.

Bridget يقول...

We could leave any time. What we did was leave under the terms and conditions and as prescribed by Bush.

"I saw what you wrote. Given the recent example of you modifying your ‘quibble’, I have ample faith in your ability to remember this one differently when the time comes for it to be convenient for you to remember it differently.."

Since this discussion started with my correcting of your assertion that removal of our troops from Iraq in December was Obama keeping his promise, I'd say you are the one who has demonstrated an ability to remember things differently.

The defense budget cuts came about because of the Tea Party insistence that the debt ceiling not be increased without spending cuts being triggered if the super committee failed, which it was clearly going to do. Don't think I'm going to remember it any different than that.

Which isn't to say I'll necessarily like the specific cuts Obama chooses to make. :). I fully expect the Democrats to treat the military like a jobs program or a domestic stimulus package instead of concentrating on preserving our fighting capabilities. But we'll see. The Republicans have proven themselves equally incapable of separating their parochial interests from our national interest in defense.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "What we did was leave under the terms and
      conditions and as prescribed by Bush.
"

You didn't answer my question.  How is it that Bush supposedly proscribed renegotiation of a new SOFA?  (It's done all the time, worldwide--we're certainly not in Germany or Korea or any of those othre places under agreements made during the Cold War.  What makes Iraq any different?)  What's the basis for your claim that Bush somehow locked it down this time?

      "Since this discussion started with my
      correcting of your assertion that removal of our
      troops from Iraq in December was Obama keeping
      his promise, I'd say you are the one who has
      demonstrated an ability to remember things
      differently.
"

I'm afraid your distaste for the notion that Obama might perhaps grab some credit with his base has overcome you again.  You remember what never was.  That is not how this discussion started out.  What I wrote was this:

      "It was the Obama Administration that decided
      to demand that the question be pre-approved by
      the Iraqi Assembly; they could have waived that if
      they'd wanted to, and simply done what the Bush
      Administration had done; agreed to it with the Iraqi
     
‘government’, bypassing the Iraqi legislature.
      "But, it was convenient, politically, on both sides of
      the ocean, for the governments to pretend that this
      was an Iraqi decision.
      "Nevertheless, convenient pretenses notwith-
      standing, the decision was made in Washington.
      Obama had a promise to keep before
his election
      rolled around again.
"
      Lee C. @ 12:37 PM (previous thread--emphasis
      as in original)


All that says is that the Obama administration tanked the negotiations for a new SOFA on purpose.  (One does not start out negations insisting that the other side agree up front to the one single provision one knows they will find the most distasteful, and keep the rest of it up for discussion.  Not if one wants the negotiations to succeed anyway.  Pretty much a stock rule of politics.)
Obama had a promise to keep, to keep his base happy, and that was a convenient way to do it and simultaneously disable (most) Repubican criticism, on account of it was the schedule worked out under Bush.  Easy way out, and he went with the easy way.  At no point did I ever suggest that the schedule was worked out by Obama, not even a hint of that.  You've let your partisanship blind you again.

      "The defense budget cuts came about because
      of the Tea Party…
"

The tea-baggers are fools to believe that.  Quite simply the defense cuts have not come about.  The debt limit was increased and there's as yet been no cuts, neither to domestic nor defense spending, and there's an election coming up, and after that it's a whole new ball game.
They just kicked the can down the road again, and fooled enough of the tea-baggers in the process to get that much done.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
And, this morning's debate is done, and the midgets actually tried to scuff Romney up this time.  Not a sustained effort, but they did at least take some early shots before they sorta tapered off on it.
Didn't do him much in the way of damage though.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "One does not start out negations insisting that
      the other side agree up front to the one single
      provision one knows they will find the most
      distasteful, and keep the rest of it up for
      discussion. Not if one wants the negotiations to
      succeed anyway. Pretty much a stock rule of
      politics.
"

That applies, by the way, equally to the negotiations of the super-committee.  Anybody paying attention knew up front that Boehner had ordered his guys to deadlock as soon as he appointed them and then went public the next day with the promise that his guys would never agree to any tax increases under any circumstances.  There may have been some question about whether or not they'd defy what was, in effect, a publicly issued order to tank the negotiations, but that was highly unlikely.  Made even less likely by the fact that Boehner and McConnell had appointed the guys who'd already proven they were fully prepared to tank the negotiations and force a failure.  And had not appointed the guys who'd shown a willingness to compromise and try to get a deal.
The fix was in on that one from the beginning.

And the tea-baggers got themselves taken in on that one; they got squat ‘cept the opportunity to not have to face re-election after the cuts had actually kicked in.  (And they probably don't even appreciate Boehner and McConnell saving them from themselves on that one.)

Petes يقول...

I see the troll is wisely stickin' to politics. He might fare better with opinion, no matter how yawn-inducin', than he did with matters of fact.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
You got another stupid proposition to propose?  I'm available if it's interesting.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
I know…  Why don't you finally unveil your supposed magic mystery maths?

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
mighty magical mystery maths…  Don't wanna underrate ‘em goin’ in now do we?

Bridget يقول...

"You didn't answer my question.  How is it that Bush supposedly proscribed renegotiation of a new SOFA"

He didn't. The SOFA by it's own terms allowed for renegotiation. Obama and Maliki tried to renegotiate, but broke down over troop immunity. As I said earlier, the fact is that both sides were ready to get it done, so it got done. And you've got a lot of nerve accusing me of making stuff up and then turning around and claiming Obama tanked the whole thing on purpose. your convoluted way, I suppose, of giving Obama credit for doing something other than just passively following along with what had been agreed to before he took office.

      "It was the Obama Administration that decided
      to demand that the question be pre-approved by
      the Iraqi Assembly; they could have waived that if
      they'd wanted to, and simply done what the Bush
      Administration had done; agreed to it with the Iraqi
      ‘government’, bypassing the Iraqi legislature.
      "But, it was convenient, politically, on both sides of
      the ocean, for the governments to pretend that this
      was an Iraqi decision."

Sigh. As I already pointed out to you, the Bush administration did not bypass the Iraqi legislature.

"They just kicked the can down the road again, and fooled enough of the tea-baggers in the process to get that much done."

Let me get this straight. You are bragging that the Democrats kicked the can down the road AND have no intention of implementing cuts go the defense budget they've been bitching about for decades? And yhis makes you proud?      


"they got squat ‘cept the opportunity to not have to face re-election after the cuts had actually kicked in"

What they got was cuts to defense and Medicare that will take place unless both sides agree otherwise. I'm thinking that's not going to happen. Obama's starting with defense cuts, and there's no way the Republicans are going to let the Democrats then wiggle out of Medicare cuts. Although with your odd way of thinking that fleeting political "victory" is more important than actually getting our government's finances under control, no doubt you will be very happy if they do.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "Sigh. As I already pointed out to you, the Bush
      administration did not bypass the Iraqi legislature.
"

Sure they did.
I am fully aware that the SOFA was later approved in their National Assembly, but it wasn't negotiated there.  They sent it over ‘cause they had the votes and could afford to do it.  The Assembly got skipped over until there was a final product with their government's signature already on it; failure to pass it would have resulted in a new legislature on a confidence vote.  The Obama administration could easily have followed the same process if they'd wanted to, although there was no requirement that an extension follow the same process.  They chose to not do that.  Instead they chose to demand legislative pre-approval, in isolation, of what the Iraqi considered the most odious part of the whole proposal.  We been over this before.

      "your convoluted way, I suppose, of giving
      Obama credit for doing something other than just
      passively following along with what had been
      agreed to before he took office.
"

Do you just not read?  Or what's your problem here?

      "Easy way out, and he [Obama] went
      with the easy way.
"
      Lee C. @ 11:16 AM, supra

What part of that did you not understand?

      " And yhis makes you proud?"

I didn't say anything about being proud.  I said the tea-baggers are a batch of clowns and fools and deserve to be magligned rather more than they've suffered so far.  I don't have to be proud of anybody to make that observation.

      "What they got was cuts to defense and
      Medicare that will take place unless both sides
      agree otherwise.
"

What they got was cuts to baseline projections based on the 2011 budget.  What they're gonna get is a new budget for the new year.  (Unless they get around to shutting down the government again, which is what they wouldn't go through with last time; which means they're right back where they were, ‘cept they increased the debt in the meantime whilst they were kickin’ the can down the road.)  Old budget goes away, old projections go with it.  And it's a brand new day.

Here's a final hint for ya, something for you to ponder going forward; neglecting to yammer on ‘bout how Obama is ‘graceless’ and ‘shameless’, and is a secret socialist, intent on destroying America, and all that other stuff, does not constitute praise of Obama.   I haven't applied pejorative adjectives to Boehner or McConnell either, and yet you're not accusing me of bragging them up.
We don't all have to snarl every time Obama's name is mentioned.  Not everyone who fails to do that for you is an Obama ‘drone’.  There is no requirement that I must love Obama just ‘cause I don't hate him as much as you do.  I don't have to choose between black and white just ‘cause those are the only colors you can see.  I can be as dispassionate or as indifferent as I chose to be.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

   
And, just for what it's worth, the cuts from the baseline projections for the year 2013 (which will kick in only if they can't get a new budget and have to do that continuing resolution dodge yet again), those are minimal at best.  There are no big cuts set for 2013, the big cuts are way down the road, years away.  They did that on purpose just in case the 2012 elections don't produce a clear legislative winner and they have to try to negotiate with one another again instead of one side getting enough seats to cram their version through on a party-line vote.

Petes يقول...

"…mighty magical mystery maths… Don't wanna underrate ‘em goin’ in now do we?"

LOL. The troll imagines he's in a position to rate my mathematics after scorin' a zilch on primary school factorisation. Still has an A+ in his opinion of hisself, I note :)

Um Ayad يقول...

Iraq: A country in shambles

Despite promises made for improvements, Iraq’s economy and infrastructure are still a disaster.

Baghdad, Iraq - As a daily drum beat of violence continues to reverberate across Iraq, people here continue to struggle to find some sense of normality, a task made increasingly difficult due to ongoing violence and the lack of both water and electricity.

During the build-up to the US-led invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration promised the war would bring Iraqis a better life, and vast improvements in their infrastructure, which had been severely debilitated by nearly 13 years of strangling economic sanctions.

More jobs, improved water availability, better electricity, and major rehabilitation of the medical infrastructure were promised.

But now that the US military has ended its formal military occupation of Iraq, nearly eight years of war has left the promises as little more than a mirage....

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m84641&hd=&size=1&l=e

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
Bullshit and bravado, but no mighty mystery maths.

Petes يقول...

No surprise that the troll ain't gettin' it, troll nature bein' what it is.

Um Ayad يقول...

Western oil firms remain as US exits Iraq

The end of the US military occupation does not mean Iraqis have full control of their oil.

While the US military has formally ended its occupation of Iraq, some of the largest western oil companies, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, remain....

"Only a naïve child could believe the Americans came here for something besides our oil," Ahmed Ali, an unemployed engineer, told Al Jazeera. "Nor can we believe their being here has anything to do with helping the Iraqi people."

Basim al-Khalili, a restaurant owner in Baghdad's Karada district, agrees.

"If Iraq had no oil, would America have sacrificed thousands of its soldiers and hundreds of billions of dollars to come here?"

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m84645&hd=&size=1&l=e

Um Ayad يقول...

Where is war criminal Tony Blair hiding all his millions?

Tony Blair made £12m in 2011 from dictators, despots and merchant bankers, but why is he so secretive about where he gets his money and why does he pay so little tax?

Tony Blair and the £8million tax 'mystery'

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair channelled millions of pounds through a complicated web of companies and paid just a fraction in tax, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal....

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/8999890/Tony-Blair-and-the-8million-tax-mystery.html

Petes يقول...

[Um Ayad]: "While the US military has formally ended its occupation of Iraq, some of the largest western oil companies, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, remain....

"Only a naïve child could believe the Americans came here for something besides our oil," Ahmed Ali, an unemployed engineer, told Al Jazeera. "Nor can we believe their being here has anything to do with helping the Iraqi people."



They don't "remain". They came in on new contracts, on terms very favourable to the Iraqi people as hammered out by oil minister Shahristani. Furthermore, Shell and BP are not American, neither are Lukoil or CNOC or DNO or a host of other international oil companies operating in Iraq. And further still, the Sunni, Kurdish, and Shi'ite-dominated governorates are separately trying to attract oil companies with more lucrative terms in competition with each other.

Only a naive child would believe that Ahmed Ali the Unemployed Engineer isn't just grinding the same partisan axe that is stopping Iraq from getting its internal shit together on oil issues. By all means, keep blaming the Yanks for a century or two hence, and continue to let those Iraqi politicians off the hook who should be addressing the real divisions. I'm sure the Iraqis with their hands in the till just lurve this sort of divide and conquer propaganda.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
Lynnette,
Skimming the poltical pages this morning I couldn't help noticing that Jon Huntsman was receiving an uncharacteristicly high level of press.  (Which translates into noticing a few articles at least partially about him and few more mentioning him, neither of which almost ever happen.)  The press has finally notice he's out there.  (When they're not head-counting the still-standing challengers to The Mitt, and have to count him.)
He had a fairly good performance in the Sunday mornng debate (and a passable but just passable in the Saturday evening debate).  Or it could be the winnowing field is what's causing the press to taking notice; could be they're wondering if he's gonna be the next not-Mitt to flair up and then fall down (not), could be they've just run outta things to say about all the others.
Whatever it is, Huntsman's been getting some ink today.  Kinda rare, that.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

"We all have to die, so why not die the Islamic way?"

So said a would be suicide bomber arrested in Florida.

Killing innocent people is the Islamic way?

Thankfully some good people in the Muslim community didn't agree on that point. They give me hope for humanity.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...
أزال المؤلف هذا التعليق.
Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

That was me. I saw a typo...

[Bridget] This article about Iran, written from a finance perspective, caught my eye.

Interesting article. They were discussing Iran on Fareed Zakaria's show on Sunday. One of the panelists was Vali Nasr, who commented that he believed sanctions were counter-productive because they could lead to destabilization of the Iranian regime which could cause them to act out militarily. Strangely enough I agree with him on sanctions being counter-productive. But not for the same reason. Like Iraq before them, sanctions only hurt the people. Something a little more creative that actully supported the Iranian people would be better in the long run.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

"If Iraq had no oil, would America have sacrificed thousands of its soldiers and hundreds of billions of dollars to come here?"

Isn't that called Afghanistan?

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

[Lee] Whatever it is, Huntsman's been getting some ink today. Kinda rare, that.

Can't rule out a come from behind horse in a horse race...

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "Can't rule out a come from behind horse in a
      horse race.
"

I suppose.  However, I think the narrative he wants to leave here (assuming, as I am, that he's not suffering from some unique, personal delusions regarding his chances) is a story of a guy who was gaining against Romney there at the end, and deserves a rather more serious second look next time around.

Bruno يقول...

"If Iraq had no oil, would America have sacrificed thousands of its soldiers and hundreds of billions of dollars to come here?"

[lynnette] Isn't that called Afghanistan?

*cough*cough*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Afghanistan_Pipeline

Bruno يقول...

"If Iraq had no oil, would America have sacrificed thousands of its soldiers and hundreds of billions of dollars to come here?"

[lynnette] Isn't that called Afghanistan?

*cough-cough*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Afghanistan_Pipeline

Bruno يقول...

More than 90 people have died in blasts across Iraq in less than a week, including 19 people killed in attacks in the Baghdad area yesterday, while the protracted political standoff between Shi’ite and Sunni leaders shows no sign of ending.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/world/2012/01/10/iraq-political-crisis-violence-put-goals-peril-push-country-toward-sectarian-war/RhX3Q1NzYsjLjIYuQ5RVsK/story.html

Bruno يقول...

"Already seen as having autocratic tendencies in a country where most people have known little but dictatorship, Maliki has long expressed doubt about the efficacy of his brawling partnership government of Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish factions.

But the move to arrest Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi and a demand that parliament remove Maliki's Sunni deputy, Saleh al-Mutlaq, ignited a political storm that threatens Iraq's shaky U.S.-backed coalition and, for some, has called into question Maliki's commitment to any sort of democracy.

"There is no doubt (the arrest warrant) was choreographed to put down the marker, to eradicate any doubt over who was in charge in the wake of the U.S. troop withdrawal," said Ali al-Saffar, an analyst with the Economist Intelligence Unit."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/09/us-iraq-politics-maliki-idUSTRE8081CJ20120109

Bruno يقول...

A US Marine ordered his men to "shoot first and ask questions later," triggering one of the Iraq war's most controversial episodes which killed 24 civilians in 2005, a court heard.

Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich overreacted in orders he gave his squad after seeing the mangled body of a comrade who had been killed in a roadside bombing in the Iraqi town of Haditha on November 19, 2005.

"That image influenced the accused's thinking that day," said prosecutor Major Nicholas Gannon in an opening statement at the start of Wuterich's month-long court martial in California."

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gA-LpmS5c2KiA6PKwiTGrwERD5ZA?docId=CNG.83fcabb172c89120004a1e0d90be7afd.371

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
Trans-Afghanistan pipeline?  You're suggesting we went into Afghanistan to secure a natural gas supply for Pakistan?

That's a bit of a reach, a desperate grab at a stupid conclusion, quite a reach even for you isn't it?

Bruno يقول...

"The two claim the U.S. government's main objective in Afghanistan was to consolidate the position of the Taliban regime to obtain access to the oil and gas reserves in Central Asia.

They affirm that until August, the U.S. government saw the Taliban regime ''as a source of stability in Central Asia that would enable the construction of an oil pipeline across Central Asia'', from the rich oilfields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean.

Until now, says the book, ''the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia have been controlled by Russia. The Bush government wanted to change all that''.

But, confronted with Taliban's refusal to accept U.S. conditions, ''this rationale of energy security changed into a military one'', the authors claim.

''At one moment during the negotiations, the U.S. representatives told the Taliban, 'either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs','' Brisard said in an interview in Paris."

http://archive.democrats.com/view.cfm?id=5166

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
I wondered if you were really fanatic enough to double down on that, try to shore up a position as stupid as that.
I do believe we have our answer.

Bridget يقول...

"What they're gonna get is a new budget for the new year"

Don't hold your breath. The Senate Democrats haven't managed that in several years.


"I haven't applied pejorative adjectives to Boehner or McConnell either, and yet you're not accusing me of bragging them up."

I accused you of bragging up Obama because you bragged up Obama. For something he didn't deserve, but nevertheless took credit for. That, in my book, is a graceless and shameless thing to do. If you want to brag him up for killing bin Laden, getting Qaddafi, ordering the shooting of the Somali pirates, maybe even his current handling of Iran, you'll get no quibble from me.

Bridget يقول...

   
And, just for what it's worth, the cuts from the baseline projections for the year 2013 (which will kick in only if they can't get a new budget and have to do that continuing resolution dodge yet again), those are minimal at best.  There are no big cuts set for 2013, the big cuts are way down the road, years away. "
Yes, I know. They always are. And tax increases are always right here right now, while the "cuts" never seem to materialize. Which puts those who wish to see this government get it's financial house in order at a distinct disadvantage. And allows those who manage to get a few measly reductions to the baseline while holding the line on tax increases because they know how it always ends up to be demagogues.

And oh by the way. Just because I don't use pejoratives like "Teabaggers" to describe the Tea Party, doesn't mean I'm a Tea Party drone. I dispassionately admire a couple of things they've done. Especially ridding us of the abominable Democratic lock on the Senate, House, and White House before the spendthrifts could do more damage.

Bridget يقول...

Demagogued

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "I accused you of bragging up Obama because
      you bragged up Obama.
"

I accused Obama of tanking negotiations for an extension of the Iraq deployment on account of that was the easy way out.  Only in your partisan land would that be considered ‘bragging up Obama’. 
It got him the withdrawal that he'd promised his base, and letting it run out on the Bush schedule mostly disarmed you and yours from the otherwise predictable attacks that would have been coming for ‘abandoning’ Iraq and ‘snatching defeat from the jaws of the Bush victory’ and all that.  (Mostly disarmed such attacks, not completely, a few serious hardliners are still making the noises, but not getting any traction on it.)

His original (campaign) plan was to get ‘em out by late 2009, maybe early 2010.  But, when they pulled back to bases and weren't out patrolling, American casualties dropped precipitously, and American eyes turned inwards towards the fights in D.C. and he got away with letting them ride out the outstanding SOFA.  By that expedient he managed to shut your side down on the partisan attacks over the withdrawal.  (And it has accomplished that quite nicely.)  If I'm gonna ‘brag’ on him for anything, it's for recognizing that, with the reduced casualties, he could steal a partisan attack issue right out from under you.

And that's what he did.
And that's what's got ya pissed.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
    "Just because I don't use pejoratives like
     ‘Teabaggers’ to describe the Tea Party, doesn't
      mean I'm a Tea Party drone.
"

I never accused you of being a ‘drone’.  Intensely partisan, that's another thing.
And there is no ‘Tea Party’.  And the teabaggers coined the name themselves; that's the name they went by originally, picked it themselves, back when the fad first fired up and they were sending teabags through the mail to congressmen and congresswomen.
But, it soon got out that those mailings never got there.  Mail with inclusions like that, which might harbor anthrax or other biologicals, was routinely destroyed in the mailroom.  The anthrax scare in Congress; you remember that don't you?
They switched names after that ‘cause it reminded them of the ridicule it got ‘em when that story was published.  (And, also, they finally realized it sounds considerably less imposing than pretending it's a political party.)
The ‘pejorative’ reference you mention was pretty much unknown to anybody prior to their sudden discovery of their victimhood by the damned liberals working in the Capital mailroom.  At which point they hunted up an obscure pejorative reference and, along with Glenn Hannibaugh, decided to accuse the damned liberals of applying the term to them.

And, just by the way, now that I think of it, the damned liberals didn't make the switch from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’ either, which is another Glenn Hannibaugh created legend.  That change was ordered made by the Bush (Jr.) administration, at the urging of Bush's political pollster, Frank Luntz.  He thought that calling it ‘climate change’ would help defuse the issue and help with making the (false)argument that it's maybe just a natural part of the weather cycle we're seeing here.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
Lynnette,
Huntsman's getting even more ink today.

I have it figured thusly (this has been my thesis from the beginning).  Huntsman needs name recognition, and running for president now gets him some.  He's actually a conservative, a real one, not a right-wing reactionary wearing a mask as a conservative.  Eventually folks will notice that.
Also, the Republicans have a history of picking nominees on their second try.  Goes clear back to Reagan.  Bush Jr was an anomaly.
But, the teabaggers insisted that McCain lost to Obama because he was insufficiently pure, not enough of a raving crazy in demeanor, and not a radical right-winger across the board.  He had heresies on illegal immigrants, and the religious turbos, and on Obama's base and treasonous nature, and several other red meat issues which they well remembered.
Glenn Hannibaugh ran the line for a long time that a ‘pure’, ‘movement’ conservative (read here, ‘right-wing-crazie’) would have won had one been nominated.  That's faded off on the right-winger media in recent years, as they've concentrated on just hating Obama, cleanly and purely, on account of him being Obama.  But, they remember it, and they'll resurrect that argument again if Romney gets the nomination and loses.

So, if Huntman runs now, and splits up the 25-30 percent of Republican primary voters who're not nuts, which percentage Romney was getting, then one of the several radical reactionaries in the race stands a much better chance of getting the nomination this time.  That'll help burn out the teabagger influence faster (landslide losses tend to do that), and make his path easier next time.  If Romney gets the nomination this time they'll resurrect the argument that Romney wasn't crazy enough, and that'll make it harder for Huntsman next time.  Best to let ‘em nominate a wingnut and burn themselves out now.

The plan's not workin’ out for him just yet.  He's not getting any traction so far, but he is getting rather more ink these last few days.  Still time for that plan to work.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
Proper editing would have produced this:  ‘And the teabaggers coined the name ‘teabagger’ themselves…"

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "The Senate Democrats haven't managed that
      (producing a budget on time) in several years."

This is true.  They've not had a filibuster proof majority there.  Republicans filibustered everything.  They set new records there, pretty much locked the chamber up.  But, rules is rules, and them's the rules, for now.

Although, that sort of tactic, blocking everything, ‘party of "no"’ type of stuff, and then wryly observing that the Democrats had failed to overcome their obstructionism and so it was all the Democrats' fault…  That sort of thing makes the argument that Republicans are intentionally stretching out the recession somewhat more credible in some folks' eyes.

It's true that ya'll knocked Obama down several pegs in the public eye, but ya paid for it with even worse numbers for Congress in general and even worse numbers for the congressmen the your side.  This may yet prove to have been a pyrric victory for Republicans.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "…even worse numbers for the congressmen on your
      side.
"

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Gone on vacation and you come back with a pipeline, Bruno?

*shakes head sadly*

You're losing your touch.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Lee,

Sometimes the simple strategy works best. At least you don't have to keep a map on hand to remember how the plan was supposed to work. :)

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

To all those who were afraid that Iran may rise up and become a great nation, squeezing out smaller powers, never fear. Judging by their treatment of someone who was visiting their country to visit his Grandmother, they are aspiring to be mediocre at best. Meanwhile, the United States Navy will continue to try to help those in need.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

P.S.

A word of advice, I would avoid visiting Iran.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

   
      "Gone on vacation and you come back with a
     
pipeline, Bruno?"

A gas pipeline, to Pakistan no less.

      "Sometimes the simple strategy works best."

You mean skip Iowa where he was gonna lose anyway and start from 0% in New Hampshire where he'd play better, take on Romney where he was strongest, at home as it were, and then hope for the best?

Petes يقول...

Lynnette -- you expect a regime to look after its own strategic interests, but the current Iranian one has more than a few wantonly cruel and vindictive f**kers.

Petes يقول...

[Bridget]: "If you want to brag him up for killing bin Laden, getting Qaddafi..."

Huh? Obama had to be dragged to the Libyan intervention. It took him all of exactly two weeks from when Cameron and Sarkozy impressed on Hillary Clinton the need for a Libyan no-fly-zone to when Obama first addressed the issue to the American people on national TV. You can't especially fault him for being cautious about a US intervention in an Arab state, but you also can't get away from the fact that it was primarily British and French planes that resulted in Gaddafi eventually stumbling out of his drainpipe, with the US choosing to lob a few Tomahawks from safely out in the Med early on in the conflict. I wouldn't think it makes a great case for braggin' up Obama (although the resident troll might think otherwise, and in any case has only a petty interest in whether such braggin' has "got ya pissed").

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "…although the resident troll might think
      otherwise, and in any case has only a petty
      interest in whether such braggin' has "got ya
      pissed").
"

I don't even think the imaginary ‘bragging up Obama’ is what pissed her off.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
Lynnette,

      "Huntsman made the showing he needed, but
      he can forget about the Southern states. Not only
      do they not speak Mandarin, but his positions are
      way too sensible to break double-digits in bright
      red Evangelical territory. He'll leave after South
      Carolina with his head high and probably a chance
      at another ambassadorship in the offing.
"
      Gloria Feldt

Me, I figure Huntsman will probably hang on at least through Florida, unless he gets really embarrassed in South Carolina, which I don't expect will happen.  There's a bunch of people for him to introduce himself to down south, and putting in the work through Florida makes sense to me for that reason alone.

Bruno يقول...

I notice replies to my post are long on ad hominem and short on facts. Good. That's about what I expected from the murkin munchkin brigade.

Bruno يقول...

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki continues to purge his opponents and consolidate his authority. He is now on the verge of abandoning last year’s power-sharing agreement, which formed a government of national unity. Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi has fled to Kurdistan after authorities issued a warrant for his arrest, a decision that added to sectarian tensions. In the weeks before the U.S. military withdrawal, Mr. al-Maliki rounded up hundreds of Iraqis accused of being former Baath Party members. Security forces detain and abuse dissenting academics, activists and journalists with impunity, yet they are not being effective against vicious and spectacular assaults by terrorists, such as the ones that killed more than 70 Iraqis, mostly civilians, last week. [... ] The Obama administration is proceeding with the sale to Iraq of almost $11-billion in weapons and training.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/the-risk-of-civil-war-in-iraq/article2295669/

So, even if the worst comes to the worst, that's another 11 BN in the murkin kitty. Yeehaw.

Bruno يقول...

"A former squad mate of a Marine implicated in one of the Iraq War’s highest profile war crimes cases testified Tuesday that the group raced to nearby homes after a roadside bombing, firing rounds and tossing grenades for 45 minutes, even though the Marines did not take gunfire, come across a single insurgent or find a weapon. Still, former Cpl. Stephen Tatum told a military jury at Camp Pendleton that he felt the squad did nothing wrong that day in the town of Haditha in 2005, when Marines killed 24 Iraqis, including unarmed women and children."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/military-investigators-marine-told-squad-in-iraq-war-to-shoot-first-ask-questions-later/2012/01/10/gIQAYTGTnP_story.html

Bridget يقول...

Another article about Iran's economy. Oh, and another Iranian university professor employed in the nuclear program has been killed. There's been a lot of that going around.


http://www.zerohedge.com/news/iran-interest-rates-raised-20-fight-hyperinflation-iran-nuclear-scientist-killed-street-bomb-ex

Bridget يقول...

"Huh? Obama had to be dragged to the Libyan intervention"

I know, I know. Seems to me that "somebody" thought there were constitutional impediments until the UN said it was ok. Or something. I didn't think we ought to get involved in Libya at all, but when Obama let himself get dragged into it, I thought the extent of the involvement was about right. And so far he seems to be resisting calls for nation building.
I could deliver similar faint praise on the killing of bin Laden, a no-brainer if ever there was one, but seeing as how my original mild observation that pulling our troops out of Iraq by December 2011 was George Bush's
promise not Obama's has led me deeply into the rabbit warren, where I stand, as usual, accused of the worst sort of partisanship, of making things up when clearly I did not, I think it's long past time to exit the subject.

Petes يقول...

+1, a Bhríd :)

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "…my original mild observation that pulling our
      troops out of Iraq by December 2011 was George
      Bush's promise…


That's the thing though.  Bush didn't promise to pull the troops out by December 2011.  He never promised that.  What he did was was negotiate the terms under which we'd keep them in Iraq until at least December 2011.  (With a provision for an extension beyond that date whether or not the Iraqi Parliment denounced it; they had no say over the question of the extension).  Bush never promised to get them out of Iraq ever.  That's a whole ‘nother animal.He, his administration, the Republican party in general, and Glenn Hannibaugh inperfect unison consistently rejected the idea of any 'date certain’ for withdrawal on the stated grounds that it told ‘the enemy’ just how long they had to wait, and so they'd just wait and fire up the fight after we left.
The Bush Administration's position was that any promise of a date certain was tantamount to a declaration of our surrender date.
When I (quite mildly) suggested that Bush never actually made that promise (10:53 PM, previous thread) you decided to go for more instead of backin’ off the error.

And, here we are.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
Put another way, to pick up the detail you're gonna come back to although we've gone over it already…

When Bush agreed to put a withdrawal date in the SOFA he negotiated at a point three years after he was out of office, what he did was give Maliki some short term cover.  Bush couldn't promise that.  Bush knew it; Maliki knew it; I knew it, and I suggest you did too.  There was no way he could prevent a President McCain from wiggling out of that.  And, Senator McCain's recent denunciations of the withdrawal suggest that McCain knows it too.

Bridget يقول...

By the way, budget resolutions require only a majority rule to pass, and cannot be filibustered. Accusing Republicans of responsibility for the failure of the Senate to pass a budget is a sort of, well, PARTISAN thing to do, it seems to me.

Bridget يقول...

Recognizing the performance and increasing capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces, the assumption of full security responsibility by those Forces, and based upon the strong relationship between the Parties, an agreement on the following has been reached:

1. All the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.

2. All United States combat forces shall withdraw from Iraqi cities, villages, and localities no later than the time at which Iraqi Security Forces assume full responsibility for security in an Iraqi province, provided that such withdrawal is completed no later than June 30, 2009.

3. United States combat forces withdrawn pursuant to paragraph 2 above shall be stationed in the agreed facilities and areas outside cities, villages, and localities to be designated by the JMOCC before the date established in paragraph 2 above.

4. The United States recognizes the sovereign right of the Government of Iraq to request the departure of the United States Forces from Iraq at any time. The Government of Iraq recognizes the sovereign right of the United States to withdraw the United States Forces from Iraq at any time.

5. The Parties agree to establish mechanisms and arrangements to reduce the number of the United States Forces during the periods of time that have been determined, and they shall agree on the locations where the United States Forces will be present.

Signed by President Bush, agreed to by the Iraqi
Parliament, and binding on President Obama unless modified in accordance with th constitutional procedures of both countries.
The only "error" I've made is in not agreeing with your convoluted explanations of how getting the troops out on the deadline established by Bush is a keeping of Obama's promise because he made Obama secretly made it impossible for himself to torpedo the whole thing, or some such. That may be what you think, but to me it looks like braggin' on the man.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Lee,

My comment regarding strategy planning was a viewpoint meant to cover all sorts of plotting and planning. I would never, ever, want to be a political campaign manager. :(

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

Lynnette -- you expect a regime to look after its own strategic interests, but the current Iranian one has more than a few wantonly cruel and vindictive f**kers.

More than a few, apparently. :(

If I hadn't been sympathetic to those Iranians who were marching to change the regime's way of doing things, I certainly would be now.

Petes يقول...

... on the other hand it's probably not the Iranian regime strapping bombs on Iranian physicists. As a current physics student, I'm quite glad it's not a general occupational hazard.

Petes يقول...

Bridget me dear, how quaint ... surely yer not expecting irrefutable evidence to hold any sway with the resident troll?! :)

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "Signed by President Bush, agreed to by the
      Iraqi Parliament, and binding on President Obama…
"

Not binding on any subsequent president, neither Obama nor anybody else.  As you noted, it was never submitted to our Congress for treaty approval.  We have constitutional requirements.  There is no constitutional provision for one president to strip his successor, even partially, of his powers as Commander-in-chief.  (You should know these things.)

             ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
      "By the way, budget resolutions require only a
      majority rule to pass…
"

I am aware, but you're talking about the final joint bill there.  That's different than the of a Senate budget which is not filibuster proof.   
By Constitutional mandate all real budget bills have to originate in the House.  The process involves taking the Senate budget bill (which is not filibuster proof, and which is where they apply the filibuster) and the House budget bill (the House doesn't have the filibuster rule), and negotiating however much of it they can get in into a joint bill.  That's the one that's filibuster proof.  They never get there; the Republicans would apply, or at least, threaten the filibuster at the earlier stage in the process where it was available.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "My comment regarding strategy planning was
      a viewpoint meant to cover all sorts of plotting and
      planning.
"

I see.  Well, it was a simple enough strategic decision.  It is a simple strategy.  The explanation of why it works can get complicated, depending on the depth of analysis.  Simply put.  Plan is to get known and to simulaneously deny Romney the 2012 nomination by splitting up the comparatively small 'not-right-wing-crazy’ primary vote.  Virtually no downside to the plan.
  1a.  If Romney loses the nomination then they probably nominated a wingnut, and the teabagger crowd would be cowed and discredited by the resulting landslide loss. 
  1b.  Two unsuccessful runs for the nomination and Romney's no longer ‘first in line’; rather, he's damaged goods.  Probably wouldn't even take the third shot.
  2.  On the other hand, if Romney wins the nomination (as currently seems likely) and beats Obama in the general, then Romney's a presumptive lock for the nomination in 2016, and Huntsman's lost his chance for the foreseeable future.  (‘Course there was always the extreme outside chance that Huntsman could take off and actually win the nomination, but I don't think even he thought that was gonna happen.).
All outcomes point to running now to set up a better chance for a run later.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "The only ‘error’ I've made is in not agreeing
      with your convoluted explanations of how getting
      the troops out on the deadline established by Bush
      is a keeping of Obama's promise because he
      made Obama secretly made it impossible for
      himself to torpedo the whole thing, or some such.
"

It would appear that you did not take my point at all.  I'm not sure whether that failure to comprehend was intentional, or not.  Impossible for me to say even after much study of the above.

John يقول...

Bride: "is a keeping of Obama's promise because he made Obama secretly made it impossible for himself to torpedo the whole thing, or some such."

When you consider the difficulty native English speakers might have uncovering any comprehensible element here, it's always a concern that an ESL impaired bed-wetter such as Mucous might decide (after reading it) to give up on the language altogether.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

[PeteS] ... on the other hand it's probably not the Iranian regime strapping bombs on Iranian physicists.

I can't imagine that they would be that stupid. Nope, that's someone else entirely. And I'm sure we all have our theories.

As a current physics student, I'm quite glad it's not a general occupational hazard.

Somehow I don't think you have to worry. Unless your goal is to work in Iran's nuclear program.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

[Lee] All outcomes point to running now to set up a better chance for a run later.

You're probably right. But it's still a ways until the election...anything can happen.

Petes يقول...

[Lynnette]: "Somehow I don't think you have to worry. Unless your goal is to work in Iran's nuclear program."

Eh, no, my interests lie elsewhere. Although I suppose stars could be considered to be (very large) nukes :)

P.S. Science factoid ... Orion is up quite high these winter nights (here's a pic in case you're not familiar). That orange star at top left crosses your meridian at about 11pm local time. That is, it is at it's highest point, due south, although you can see it hours before that, pretty much from when it rises in the south east. Have a look at it some night. It is a so-called red giant, although this one should be called a red monster, with a diameter of some hundreds of millions of miles. If you plonked it down where our Sun us, the Earth -- along with Mercury, Venus, and Mars -- would all be inside it! It's possible, due to uncertainties in its size, that the asteroid belt and Jupiter would be inside there too. It's definitely the stellar McMansion of our near neighbourhood.

Bridget يقول...

Proof that a Jewish Community existed 1500 years ago in Israel:

http://news.discovery.com/history/jewish-kosher-bread-stamp-discovered-120110.html

Tell me again when the Palestinians got there?

Bridget يقول...

Brain fart. Jews were in Palestine long before 1500 years ago. Long before the Palestians too.

Marcus يقول...

John, get back to your pisse-hörna!

Marcus يقول...

Bridget, was it correct or incorrect for the US to acknowledge Kosovo with a largely Albanian government as an independent nation. I mean considering that Albanians are far newer immigrants to Kosovo than Palestinians have been to Palestine?

Bruno يقول...

I wonder if Bridget would recognise Texas with a largely Mexican government as an independent nation ...

Bruno يقول...

Classy American soldiers remind us of what the Iraqis had to go through:

"The video showed the four Marines, in their distinctive sand-colored camouflage, urinating over the three bodies — one covered in blood. One Marine says, “Have a great day, buddy.” "

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/13/world/asia/video-said-to-show-marines-urinating-on-taliban-corpses.html?_r=1

BTW, I notice that the Americans are now seeking negotiations with the formerly uber-evil Taliban

Bruno يقول...

Asia Times nails it again:

" Iraq descends into sectarian puppet show"

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NA14Ak03.html

Petes يقول...

Quel horreur! Mitt Romney speaks French, according to an attack ad, which shows him speaking the language when he ran the Winter Olympics. So Romney is slammed for speaking another language while attracting jobs to his state. It would be hilarious if it wasn't so pathetic. It doesn't say a lot for the voters either, since people wouldn't be spending millions on these ads if they had no effect.

Bridget يقول...

"Bridget, was it correct or incorrect for the US to acknowledge Kosovo with a largely Albanian government as an independent nation. I mean considering that Albanians are far newer immigrants to Kosovo than Palestinians have been to Palestine?"

Marcus, the issue of who immigrated where and when is a pretty silly basis for claiming who currently has a right to govern the territory. But since the Palestinians are always trying to lay claim to Israel based on the status quo immediately ante 1947, I sort of like to point out that the Jews were there before Islam ever started. Which then leads to them yakking about European Jews. From which I must assume that they must think that territorial claims must be based on dna. But I have yet to discover....the dna of which group, and when did they inhabit Israel?

Bridget يقول...

"I wonder if Bridget would recognise Texas with a largely Mexican government as an independent nation ..."

Nope. Nor would I recognize Texas as a Commanche nation. Possession is 9/10's of the law. And a great big military counts for a lot too.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      " So Romney is slammed for speaking another
      language while attracting jobs to his state.
"

FYI  The Winter Olympics were in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Romney lived on the east coast, long way away.  Not that it's a big deal.
I was wondering though, noticing that you choose that particular ad to mention…  Romney your replacement preference now that Gingrich has disqualified himself with you?

Petes يقول...

Thanks for the FYI. I was in Salt Lake City in 2002.

I don't have a Republican preference. I don't like Republican politics. I just generally like Democrats less. Perhaps not my place to say, since I am not a voter, but y'all need to come up with more choices over there.

Bridget يقول...

I hate conservatives, but I really f$&*ing hate liberals.

I'm voting for Ron Paul. He's sort of crazy, and well past his prime, but his economic message is important. If he continues to do well, he could have an impact.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "I was in Salt Lake City in 2002."

Congratulations.  Romney was probably lurkin’ ‘round too, but that doesn't make it his state.  He was east coast by then.

In defense of the average American voter though (again from your 4:42 PM posting), I'd note that ads ragging on Romney for speaking French didn't appear until the closed, Republicans only, primaries in South Carolina and Florida came up next on the schedule.  This sort of stuff plays better with their southern tea-bagger ‘base’ than it does among Americans in general.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "…but his economic message is important."

His economic message includes killing off the Federal Reserve, and a return to the gold standard.  This is lunacy in the modern world economy.

Petes يقول...

"I'd note that ads ragging on Romney for speaking French didn't appear until the closed, Republicans only, primaries in South Carolina and Florida came up next on the schedule."

Yeah, previously there were ads about how he's a ruthless asset stripper, aimed at working class New Hampshirites. I guess these advertisers study their target audience, which is a measure of the condescension with which they view the voting public. (Which is not to say that ordinary Americans, yourself apparently included, don't hold southerners in some contempt for alleged xenophobia among other [worse] things). If I was a voter I'd make it clear to my representatives that I would never vote for someone who did not publicly denounce this style of campaigning (and not merely refrain from doing it themselves, since we all know the apparent independence of the negative ad campaigns is just a cynical device).

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "Which is not to say that ordinary Americans,
      yourself apparently included, don't hold southerners
      in some contempt for alleged xenophobia among
      other [worse] things
."

It's rather more specific than that.  They don't like the French.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
And it tends to run highest among ‘socially conservative’ Republicans, who tend to be congregated in the Old South (and Iowa).

Bridget يقول...

"His economic message includes killing off the Federal Reserve, and a return to the gold standard.  This is lunacy in the modern world economy."

He does not currently advocate a return to the gold standard, but rather advocates adding a hard money currency into the mix and letting people choose whether they prefer that to federal reserve notes.

I used to think killing off the Fed was lunacy. And an independent central bank beats handing over control of monetary policy to (shudder) Washington. But the Fed has gone off the reservation of late and badly needs to be reined in.

But of course, it's Paul's emphasis on reducing government spending that is most important to me, and it's why I'm voting for him. Got to keep stiffening up Republican spines.

Petes يقول...

"And it tends to run highest among ‘socially conservative’ Republicans, who tend to be congregated in the Old South"

They should travel more. They'd find lots of Europeans don't like the French either. (Although this website does seem like an American creation.)

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "He does not currently advocate a return to the
      gold standard…
"

Not all at once and immediately you mean.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "But the Fed has gone off the reservation of late
      and badly needs to be reined in.
"

I tend to disagree with the idea of having a virtually deadlocked congress ‘reining in’ and deadlocking the Fed too.

Bridget يقول...

I said "rein in", not deadlock. Although I can see how it might translate as one and the same in certain minds.

I'd settle for stopping the Fed from making illegal purchases of mortgage backed securities, creating entities such as Maiden Lanes I, II, and III, extending lines of credit to AIG, and such activities as that.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "I'd settle for stopping the Fed from making
      illegal purchases of mortgage backed securities…
"

You seem to have me at a loss.  When did they pass a law making it illegal for the Fed to create corporate entities?

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
I notice that Standard & Poors' has downgraded the debt of nine Euro nations including France, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.  I'm sure they'll be pleased to hear that this is all a fraud, a bogeyman, a red-herring and doesn't really mean anything.  (Bridget @ 11:07 AM, supra)

Petes يقول...

Bizarre. Just caught a documentary featuring these guys in Afghanistan ...

http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/88808/soldiers-secure-afghan-polling-places/

... a squadron out of Bennington, Vermont (which I remember from my travels as snowy and boring). It focussed on one of the guys mentioned, Fennessy. We see his parents back in Brooklyn, NY, an Asian mother and heavily NY-accented father. The bizarre thing ... the documentary's entirely in Irish, and narrated by Fennessy (Séamus Ó Fhianghusa ... I wonder if he's chuffed that his Irish name ends in 'USA' :)

As well as Irish, which he speaks fluently with only a slightly odd accent, he speaks the local Afghan dialect. And when he leads the squad in prayers in English before going out on patrol, he sounds like a common or garden Yank. (Well, a common or garden non-liberal-wuss Yank, that is).

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "I said ‘rein in’, not deadlock. Although I can
      see how it might translate as one and the same in
      certain minds.
"

There some doubt in your mind as to whether or not McConnell's Senate minority would have filibustered the actions of the Fed here recently?
Perhaps you just didn't notice that they filibustered the appointment of a head to the consumer protection agency?  Admitted that the nominee was well qualified and yet refused to confirm him anyway.
Have you not noticed what your presidential hopefuls have been saying on the stump this season?

Some doubt in your mind that ‘reining in’ would translate into ‘locked up’ in very short order?

Bridget يقول...

Last time I checked, the Senate only gets to filibuster Senate votes. They might wish to be able filibuster Fed action. They also might wish to be able to filibuster Papal bulls. But they can do neither.

What a President can do is appoint a Fed chairman who promises to adhere to the Federal Reserve Act, which, among other things, specifies in Section 14 what instruments the Fed can purchase.

"Some doubt in your mind that ‘reining in’ would translate into ‘locked up’ in very short order"

Reining in would translate into confining the Fed to acting within it's statutory authority. And would include repudiating any financial responsibility on the part of the taxpayer for making good any losses incurred by the Fed for actions taken outside of it's charter.

Bridget يقول...

 
"I notice that Standard & Poors' has downgraded the debt of nine Euro nations including France, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.  I'm sure they'll be pleased to hear that this is all a fraud, a bogeyman, a red-herring and doesn't really mean anything.  (Bridget @ 11:07 AM, supra)"

.??? I'm quite certain they richly deserved the downgrades. As did we. I'm pretty sure I never called the S&P downgrade of US debt anything other than deserved and overdue. In fact, now that we have just reached the tipping point before the death spiral, namely that our debt has just reached 100% of our GDP, we richly deserve and are due for another.

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "Reining in would translate into confining the
      Fed to acting within it's statutory authority.
"

Looking over the quarterly reports from the Fed I noticed that they'd clearly listed the Maiden Lanes enterprises on their balance sheet, along with changes in assets and liabilities since the last report.  They also cited the statutory authority under which the Maiden Lanes LLCs were created.

All of this is quite out in the open.
But you would have me believe that if the Fed had exceeded their authority there we'd not already be hearing impeachment talk circlin’ ‘round the name Bernanke, coming out of the dedicated opposition?

      "Reining in would translate into confining the
      Fed to acting within it's statutory authority.
"

And precisely who does this ‘confining’ and how do you propose to guarantee that Democrats don't get elected or appointed to said body?

      "And would include repudiating any financial
      responsibility on the part of the taxpayer for making
      good any losses incurred by the Fed for actions
      taken outside of it's charter.
"

Ah, I see.  You propose then a constitutional amendment, revoking the 14th amendment's clear statement that the debts of the federal government may not be repudiated, and making the application of that revocation applicable ex-post-facto.
Good luck with that.

(I do believe we could guarantee further downgrades of our credit rating almost as soon as anybody more fiscally sane that Ron Paul seriously proposed such a thing.)

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

PeteS,

That orange star at top left crosses your meridian at about 11pm local time.

Thanks, I'll look for it. I haven't done much star gazing since I was a kid. Although with all the "light pollution" now I'm not sure how visible it will be.

Do you have a telescope? I've often thought that might be interesting.

Bridget يقول...

First of all, I said it was the purchase of mortgage backed securities that was illegal. They are not one of the instruments itemized in Section 14.

What statutory authority did they list for the creation of Maiden Lane?

"All of this is quite out in the open."

Never said it wasn't.

"you would have me believe"...
Never said anything about impeachment of Bernanke or any of that you're trying to put in my mouth.

"Who does this confining"

The president through his power of appointment.

Who says that losses incurred by the Fed are debts of yhefederal government? the Fed is a private organization, not the federal government.

Bridget يقول...

Looks like Ron Paul may be taking off in South Carolina. If he hangs in there through all the primaries and the rest drop out, besides Romney, he'll have a good number of delegates at the convention. could be fun! I wonder what qualifications are required to be appointed Fed Chair?

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

[Bruno] BTW, I notice that the Americans are now seeking negotiations with the formerly uber-evil Taliban

I notice the Taliban are quite okay with that...despite the recent incident with the Marines.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

[PeteS} Mitt Romney speaks French...

Had to try to keep up with the Joneses, or in this case Huntsman, who spoke Chinese recently. Wonder which will be the most useful language in the future?

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

[Bridget] I'm voting for Ron Paul.

lol! I noticed he's doing well at the moment. I've been meaning to go see if Kallid Jarrar still has a blog going and mention it to him. He was a fan. Although I suppose his brother, what's his name, may have already told him.

Lynnette In Minnesota يقول...

[Lee} I notice that Standard & Poors' has downgraded the debt of nine Euro nations including France, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

I noticed that too. Bad sign, but not unexpected.

Bridget يقول...

Lynnette,

Bruno is a fan too. Not sure if it's the antiwar thing or the gold thing or both. Just goes to show you that even blind hogs find acorns every now and again. :)

   Lee C.  ―  U.S.A.    يقول...

 
      "First of all, I said it was the purchase of
      mortgage backed securities that was illegal.
"

The Fed hasn't purchased any mortgage backed securities.  They loaned the three Maiden Lanes (created by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, not by the Fed itself) a total of around $85 Bn.  The Maiden Lanes purchased the swaps and the securities.  You should know these things.

      "What statutory authority did they list for the
      creation of Maiden Lane?
"

I didn't write it down, I just noticed that they'd listed the chapter and section of U.S.C authorizing it.  But, I didn't make notes.

      "The president through his power of
      appointment.
"

The president does the appointing already.  The senate does the confirming.  This is how it's already done.  So what is it you're gonna propose besides doing what we're already doing?

      "the Fed is a private organization, not the
      federal government.
"

I believe you mistake ‘independent’ for being ‘private’.  There's no ‘private’ money in the Fed.
 
             ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
      "I notice the Taliban are quite okay with that..."

I remember Bruno trying to make a big deal out of Karzi negotiating with the Taliban.  Now he's discovered we're in on it already.

Bridget يقول...

Further the issue of the legality and/or inadvisability of Fed action:

http://www.law.upenn.edu/journals/jbl/articles/volume13/issue1/Mehra13U.Pa.J.Bus.L.221(2010).pdf

http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cj30n3/cj30n3-3.pdf

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=114x67639

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