Sunday, 20 July 2008

PELOSI USES THE MALIKI LIE, TO LIE SOME MORE

Ken Berwitz

I sometimes wonder if, during one or another of Nancy Pelosi's cosmetic face surgeries, they took out a few chips.  If so, one of them apparently was her honesty chip (how did they ever find one that small?)

Here, via www.politico.com, is Pelosi's immediate, jubilant use of the Der Speigel interview I blogged about earlier today - the one that the Maliki government says was mistranslated and denies.  I've put the key part in bold print:

Pelosi calls for high-level meeting with Iraqis

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama now has a major ally in his push for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki tells a German outlet that he'd like to see troops leave "as soon as possible, as far as we are concerned." He then added: "U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama is right when he talks about 16 months."

Amanda Terkel with Think Progress is down in Austin
live-blogging former Vice President Al Gore's address to the lefty blogosphere. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) introduced Gore and also took questions, one of which was about Maliki's declaration.

"So with the prime minister saying its time for you to go," she told the crowd, "I think its time for our country to sit down with the Iraqis and work that plan out. [We need to be] respectful of what the prime minister says, and respectful of the will of the American people, who have been against this war for a long time...[We should] have a high-level meeting with the Iraqis to work out the terms of our deployment out of Iraq...So, the end could be in sight."

Yeah, Nancy.  Thanks.  In all the excitement of thinking you've finally found a way to work us into a defeat in Iraq, you managed to ignore the fact that maliki has put out a subsequent statement indicating that is not at all what he said.

I showed the Reuters story with maliki's denial earlier.  But just you know it wasn't some fluke from one press agency, here is the Agence France Presse version.  Again, the bold print is mine:

Iraq denies PM backed Obama troop cut plan

BAGHDAD (AFP) Iraq on Sunday denied Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had made remarks backing US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obamas plan to withdraw troops from the country and demanding a quick pullout.

The German weekly Der Spiegel reported that Maliki in an interview had supported Obamas plan to withdraw most US troops from Iraq within 16 months if he took office next January.

This would be the right timescale for withdrawal, allowing for minor adjustments, Maliki reportedly told the news magazine in the interview to be published on Monday.

Der Spiegel also said that Maliki demanded that American forces leave Iraq as soon as possible.

To date, the United States is struggling to agree on a concrete date for withdrawal because they view such a step as an admission of defeat, which is not the case, Maliki was reported as saying.

But on Sunday Baghdad government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh denied Maliki had made the remarks, saying they had been misunderstood and mistranslated and not conveyed accurately.

Dabbagh said that any statement by Maliki or member of Iraqs government should not be understood as support for any US presidential candidate.

And who did Pelosi get her information from?  Those fiercely neutral keepers of the flame at www.thinkprogress.com?  Click on the link and see if you would accept anything this bunch says at face value.

So here we have the Speaker of the House, second in line to succeed to the presidency (after the VP), either accepting a lunatic-left blog's spew as being factual, or just lying on her own.

What a pathetic loser Pelosi is. 

Now let's see if the mainstream media make her pay for it in tomorrow's editions.  Or if Couric, Williams and Gibson can take time off from their regularly scheduled drooling over Barack Obama to talk about it.

Lamentably, I think I already know the answer to both questions.


MALIKI'S MALARKEY

Ken Berwitz

I swear to you, I did not read what you are about to see before I put up the previous blog.  I read it about one minute afterwards.  I don't play games like that.

Here, courtesy of Reuters, is nouri al-maliki backing off what he apparently said about supporting Barack Obama's withdrawal position:

 Iraq PM did not back Obama troop exit plan: government

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki did not back the plan of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and his comments to a German magazine on the issue were misunderstood, the government's spokesman said on Sunday.

Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement that Maliki's remarks to Der Spiegel were translated incorrectly.

The German magazine said on Saturday that Maliki supported Obama's proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within 16 months. The interview was released on Saturday.

"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right time frame for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes," Der Spiegel quoted Maliki as saying.

Dabbagh said statements by Maliki or any other member of the government should not be seen as support for any U.S. presidential candidate.

Obama is visiting Afghanistan and is set to go to Iraq as part of a tour of Europe and the Middle East.

Maliki's remarks were published a day after the White House said he and President George W. Bush had agreed that a security agreement currently being negotiated between them should include a "time horizon" for withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Bush has long opposed setting a timetable for withdrawal, and the White House said the time horizon agreed by the two leaders was not as specific as a time frame pushed by Democrats and could be adjusted based on conditions on the ground.

Well well well. 

If you believe this version, maliki didn't say anything of the kind.  He's just misunderstood.

What we seem to have here is a classic have-your-cake-and-eat-it routine.  First maliki builds up his population's collective ego with comments that suggest they don't need any help sustaining the fragile democracy that the USA provided them with.  Then he assures us he is being misunderstood. 

Do you doubt that he will use the first headline in Iraq and the second one in Washington DC?

What a clumsy liar nouri al-maliki is.


BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR

Ken Berwitz

nouri al-maliki is the Prime Minister of Iraq for one reason and one reason only:  The United States gave Iraq the opportunity to vote in a free election.  Period.

And now, after a year of the surge of OUR troops with OUR soldiers spending OUR money why is he talking as though we are his problem? 

Can maliki possibly think the Iraqi army now, or for certain in the next 16 months, will be able to sustain this freedom by itself - a freedom most of the rest of the Arab world despises and al-qaeda was willing to send fighters from so many other countries to destroy?

Here is the interview with maliki just published in the German magazine, Der Spiegel.  In writing this blog I am taking it at face value (subject to revision if I find out afterwards that it was framed differently than he said it).   The bold print is mine:

Iraq Leader Maliki Supports Obama's Withdrawal Plans

In an interview with SPIEGEL, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Barack Obama's 16 timeframe for a withdrawal from Iraq is the right one.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki supports US presidential candidate Barack Obama's plan to withdraw US troops from Iraq within 16 months. When asked in and interview with SPIEGEL when he thinks US troops should leave Iraq, Maliki responded "as soon as possible, as far as we are concerned." He then continued: "US presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes."

Maliki was careful to back away from outright support for Obama. "Of course, this is by no means an election endorsement. Who they choose as their president is the Americans' business," he said. But then, apparently referring to Republican candidate John McCain's more open-ended Iraq policy, Maliki said: "Those who operate on the premise of short time periods in Iraq today are being more realistic. Artificially prolonging the tenure of US troops in Iraq would cause problems."

Iraq, Maliki went on to say, "would like to see the establishment of a long-term strategic treaty with the United States, which would govern the basic aspects of our economic and cultural relations." He also emphasized though that the security agreement between the two countries should only "remain in effect in the short term."

The comments by the Iraqi leader come as Obama embarks on a trip to both Afghanistan and Iraq as well as to Europe. Obama was in Afghanistan on Saturday to, as he said prior to his trip, "see what the situation on the ground is and thank our troops for the heroic work that they've been doing." The exact itinerary of the candidate's trip has not been made public out of security concerns, but it is widely expected that he will arrive in Iraq on Sunday to meet with Maliki.

Maliki has long shown impatience with the open-ended presence of US troops in Iraq. In his conversation with SPIEGEL, he was once again candid about his frustration over the Bush administration's hesitancy about agreeing to a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops. But he did say he was optimistic that such a schedule would be drawn up before Bush leaves the White House next January -- a confidence that appeared justified following Friday's joint announcement in Baghdad and Washington that Bush has now, for the first time, spoken of "a general time horizon" for moving US troops out of Iraq.

"So far the Americans have had trouble agreeing to a concrete timetable for withdrawal, because they feel it would appear tantamount to an admission of defeat," Maliki told SPIEGEL. "But that isn't the case at all. If we come to an agreement, it is not evidence of a defeat, but of a victory, of a severe blow we have inflicted on al-Qaida and the militias."

He also bemoaned the fact that Baghdad has little control over the US troops in Iraq. "It is a fundamental problem for us that it should not be possible, in my country, to prosecute offences or crimes committed by US soldiers against our population," Maliki said.

At least he acknowledged that a prescribed withdrawal would be because we won the war - at least so far - and not because we lost it.  The problem, however, is that if we leave this way our win might very well turn into a loss because of  how we leave.

I would like to think that this is all political -- that maliki is saying this publicly to boost up his people's self esteem and make them feel that they, rather than the USA, are responsible for the level of freedom which now exists in Iraq. 

But I have a lot of trouble convincing myself of this, knowing that maliki's comments could facilitate the election of Barack Obama.  Because if that happens, his false nationalistic bravado might result in a "who cares what happens to 'em, we're outta here" policy that will make him and his country rue the day this interview was given.

Be careful what you wish for.  You might just get it.  There's a saying nouri al-maliki should think about.


MASSACHUSETTS: THE CORRUPTION OF A ONE-PARTY STATE

Ken Berwitz

Jeff Jacoby has written a great column for today's Boston Globe.  

Since it is talking about corruption in the one-party state of Massachusetts, and that one party is the Democratic Party, you won't see much about it anywhere else.  So read Mr. Jacoby's fact-fillled column below and either feel pity for or be infuriated by the biased media which allow it to continue virtually unreported:

 ARE WE ANGRY ENOUGH TO FIGHT BACK?

By Jeff Jacoby

TheBoston Globe

 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

 

"Friends, red-necks, suckers, and fellow hicks," he would say, leaning forward, leaning at them, looking at them. . . . "That's what you are. And me -- I'm one, too . . . Oh, I'm a sucker, for I fell for that sweet-talking fellow in the fine automobile . . . But I'm standing here on my own hind legs, for even a dog can learn to do that, give him time. I learned. It took me a time but I learned, and here I am on my own hind legs." And he would lean at them. And demand, "Are you, are you on your hind legs? Have you learned that much yet? You think you can learn that much?"

            - From "All The King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren

 

     Jaws clenched, blood pressures spiked, and radio talk-show hosts spontaneously combusted when the Boston Globe reported last week that the $15 billion Big Dig -- formerly known as the $12.2 billion Big Dig, and more formerly as the $7.7 billion Big Dig, and even, once upon a time, as the $2.5 billion Big Dig -- will in fact cost a staggering $22 billion and not be paid off until 2038.

 

 

Photo: Ted Williams Tunnel

 

The four-lane Ted Williams Tunnel, which runs under Boston Harbor to Logan

Airport, was the first major element of the Big Dig to be completed. Originally budgeted

at $2.5 billion, the Big Dig is now expected to cost at least $22 billion.

 

 

     The Page 1 story was filled with infuriating details, such as the revelation that 80 percent of Massachusetts Highway Department employees are being paid with borrowed money. Bay State politicians originally sold voters on the Big Dig in part by assuring them that Washington would pick up 90 percent of the cost. In reality, nearly three-fourths of the tab is coming from the pockets of Massachusetts drivers and taxpayers. What we were told in the 1980s would set us back about $350 million will actually cost us more than 50 times as much.

 

     Well, as Willie Stark would say, are you on your hind legs yet? Are you good and angry?

 

     Last week also brought the story of Albert Arroyo, a Boston firefighter who applied for disability retirement in March on the grounds that he was left "totally and permanently disabled" after tripping on a staircase in March. He went on injured leave and continued to collect his full salary, tax free. But Arroyo's "total and permanent disability," it appears, wasn't very disabling. In May he entered a men's bodybuilding competition, and finished eighth. When the fire commissioner learned of Arroyo's bodybuilding prowess, he shifted him from injured leave to regular sick leave. He continued to receive a paycheck without working, but it was now taxable. (Not until Friday was Arroyo finally ordered to return to work.)

 

     Does it infuriate you to learn that this was not the first time Arroyo went on leave for an "injury," but the sixth? Or to learn that more than 100 Boston firefighters have recently won lucrative disability pensions under circumstances so suspicious that the FBI has opened an investigation?

 

     Then there are all the other public employees milking the Massachusetts pension system. Dozens collect payouts of more than $100,000 a year -- former state Senate president William Bulger, for example, rakes in more than $197,000, a fitting cap to a long career spent gorging at the public trough. Scores of "double-dippers" retire early on full pensions, then get themselves hired back on the public payroll at full salaries. When ex-Big Dig director Michael Lewis retired last year, his pension was tripled and became immediately payable under a nutty state law that rewards government employees whose positions are eliminated. For the rest of his life, Lewis will receive more than $72,500 annually, despite the fact that he is only 46, and is making $130,000 a year as Rhode Island 's secretary of transportation.

 

     Column after column could be filled with the ways the Massachusetts political class and its hangers-on play taxpayers for suckers -- the gold-plated tax breaks for moviemakers, the insanely lucrative sick-time buybacks, the indefensible police details, the public-sector-only paid holidays, the "temporary" tax hikes that last forever, the state budgets that keep growing even as family budgets shrink.

 

     It will never end -- not until the suckers get riled up enough to fight back. Not until they start throwing incumbents out of office, instead of blindly re-electing them. Not until they stop letting themselves be treated as ATMs for politicians and doormats for public-employee unions. Not until they force their public "servants" to defer to them, instead of the other way around.

 

     "Are you on your hind legs?" Willie Stark would say. "Have you learned that much yet?" Well, have you?

Sadly, I am certain the voters of Massachusetts have not learned a thing yet.  And won't for a long time.  Too bad for them.  On the other hand, I'm not sheeding any tears;  they are getting exactly what they deserve.

But does this teach the rest of us about the danger of electing one party governance -- especially the Democratic Party, which is what Massachusetts is suffering with? 

I guess we'll find out in November, won't we?


QUICK, GET THEM SOME MEAT!

Ken Berwitz

I'll let Steve Gilbert at www.sweetness-light.com take this one -- although with the word "light" anywhere in sight I have to wonder if he's the right guy for the job:

NPR: For Some Ohioans, Meat Out Of Reach

July 19th, 2008

From a heartbroken National Public Radio:

[NPR caption:] Angelica Hernandez (left) and her mother, Gloria Nunez, struggle to make ends meet on a very limited budget.

For Some Ohioans, Even Meat Is Out Of Reach

by Yuki Noguchi

All Things Considered, July 17, 2008 A generation ago, the livelihood of Gloria Nunezs family was built on cars.

Her father worked at General Motors for 45 years before retiring. Her mother taught drivers education. Nunez and her six siblings grew up middle class.

Things have changed considerably for this Ohio family.

Nunezs van broke down last fall. Now, her 19-year-old daughter has no reliable transportation out of their subsidized housing complex in Fostoria, 40 miles south of Toledo, to look for a job.

Nunez and most of her siblings and their spouses are unemployed and rely on government assistance and food stamps. Some have part-time jobs, but working is made more difficult with no car or public transportation

I Just Cant Get A Job

Nunez, 40, has never worked and has no high school degree. She says a car accident 17 years ago left her depressed and disabled, incapable of getting a job. Instead, she and her daughter, Angelica Hernandez, survive on a $637 Social Security check and $102 in food stamps.

Hernandez received her high school diploma and has had several jobs in recent years. But now, because fewer restaurants and stores are hiring, she says she finds it hard to find a job. Even if she could, she says its particularly hard to imagine how shell keep it. She says she needs someone to give her a lift just to get to an interview. And with gas prices so high, shes not sure she could afford to pay someone to drive her to work every day.

People tell Nunez her daughter could get more money in public assistance if she had a child.

A lot of people have told me, Why dont your daughter have a kid?

They both reject that as a plan.

Im trying to get a job, Hernandez says. I just cant get a job.

Whats Going To Happen To Us?

Most of their extended family lives in the same townhouse complex

The only one with a car is Irma Hernandez, Nunezs mother

Shes now two car payments behind.

Im about to lose my car, she says on her way to pick up one of her daughters to take her to Toledo. So then whats going to happen to us?

So Nunez and her daughter are mostly stuck at home.

The rising cost of food means their money gets them about a third fewer bags of groceries $100 used to buy about 12 bags of groceries, but now its more like seven or eight. So they cut back on expensive items like meat, and they dont buy extras like ice cream anymore. Instead, they eat a lot of starches like potatoes and noodles.

Gosh, this is horrible. Its just like the famines in Ethiopia or Biafra.

Only different.

People tell Nunez her daughter could get more money in public assistance if she had a child.

A lot of people have told me, Why dont your daughter have a kid?

They both reject that as a plan.

There you have it. The indomitable human spirit at work.

What courage.


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