Cooking the Books

by matttbastard

So how long before the GAO joins the CIA as a fixture in the rightie pantheon of bureaucratic liberal conspiracies? This is likely why the White House is handling the scripting for the Petraeus report:

The person who provided the draft report to The Post said it was being conveyed from a government official who feared that its pessimistic conclusions would be watered down in the final version — as some officials have said happened with security judgments in this month’s National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. Congress requested the GAO report, along with an assessment of the Iraqi security forces by an independent commission headed by retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones, to provide a basis for comparison with the administration’s scorecard. The Jones report is also scheduled for delivery next week.

Also, that ‘astonishing Anbar success’ meme? Cernig sticks a pin in the inflated claims.

Update: And so it begins

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Carlson Doth Protest WAY Too Much

by matttbastard

Yep – nothing says ‘teh funny’ (and ‘teh masculine’) like bashing a fag’s skull against a bathroom stall. Alright, we get the point Tucker. You’re so not gay; you’re apparently an unindicted (and unrepentant) violent hate criminal.

(Also, take your long-past-the-best-before-date Clenis™ non-sequiturs and shove ’em right up your oh-so-hetero ass, you ex-bow-tie-wearing fuckwad.)

Via TAPPED (with LOTS more @ Memeorandum).

Update: Pam Spaulding points to the following asscovering clarification statement Carlson’s camp sent to Media Matters today:

Let me be clear about an incident I referred to on MSNBC last night: In the mid-1980s, while I was a high school student, a man physically grabbed me in a men’s room in Washington, DC. I yelled, pulled away from him and ran out of the room. Twenty-five minutes later, a friend of mine and I returned to the men’s room. The man was still there, presumably waiting to do to someone else what he had done to me. My friend and I seized the man and held him until a security guard arrived. Several bloggers have characterized this is a sort of gay bashing. That’s absurd, and an insult to anybody who has fought back against an unsolicited sexual attack. I wasn’t angry with the man because he was gay. I was angry because he assaulted me.

Once again:

“I went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the — you know, and grabbed him, and … hit him against the stall with his head, actually.

We report, you decide (yeah, yeah it was on MSNBC – same difference, lately.)

Update 2 (related): ‘GOP’ is to ‘hypocrisy’ as ‘Pope’ is to ‘Catholic’.

Update 08.30 (related): David Ehrenstein on ‘I’m-not-gays’ and the ‘Tearoom Trade’.
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Smoking Guns & Mushroom Clouds, Take Two

by matttbastard

Here we go again:

US President George W. Bush branded the Islamic Republic “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” citing its backing of Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Shiite fighters killing US troops in Iraq.

“And Iran’s active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust,” he told the American Legion veterans group.

Larisa nails it: “Welcome to the next new war.”

More from Kyle, Larry Johnson and Shakes.

Related – Study: US preparing ‘massive’ military attack against Iran; Will Bunch says the foundation for an attack has been laid and Congress is preemptively marginalized.

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PSA: Solidarity with Unison

by matttbastard

via Eric Lee @ LabourStart:

This week’s message is going to be very brief and to the point.

Workers employed in care homes in north London (UK) have been told by their employer — a private company called Fremantle — that their wages are being cut by 30%, their hours are being increased, their sick pay will be a thing of the past, and their pensions are being reduced.

Their union, Unison, is calling for an international campaign of support for those workers.

I actually live in north London, so this campaign is taking place in my own neighborhood.

If you live in the UK, you should be concerned that privatized care homes are treating their workers this way. If you live anywhere in the world and work in the public sector, you should be concerned because this could happen to you next.
It will take you only a few seconds to fill in your name and email address and to send a strong message to the chief executive of Fremantle. If we all take the time to do this, we can flood her inbox today with thousands of messages from all over the world — and we can turn this around.

I know that I can count on you.

Please visit our campaign page now. And please do pass this message on. Thanks.

Eric Lee

More from the Barnet UNISON Blog here and here.

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PSA: Vote for MMP Online drive launched

by matttbastard

Vote for MMP

Press Release:

Vote for MMP today announced the launch of an online pledge and donation drive to reach millions of Ontario voters between now and the historic October 10 electoral reform referendum. On October 10, Ontarians will vote on whether to adopt the mixed member proportional (MMP) voting system recommended by the independent Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.

This morning the first wave of emails went out to tens of thousands of Ontario voters directing them to On the campaign site, visitors are invited to sign the “MMP for Me!” pledge indicating their intention to vote for the mixed member proportional voting system.

In addition, visitors will be asked to donate just $10.10 – a figure reflecting the October 10 (or 10/10) referendum date.

“A single donation of $10.10 will not change the world,” said online campaign co-director Jim Harris. “But if thousands and then tens of thousands of ordinary voters see that together we can make history and build a stronger democracy – then all of those small donations will make a big difference.”

The MMP system was recommended by the Citizens’ Assembly after eight months of intensive study, consultation and deliberation. The Assembly included supporters of all parties and points on the political spectrum, as well as one voter from each riding in the province and reached a near unanimous conclusion to recommend MMP over the current first-past-the-post system. First-past-the-post voting was scrapped by most major democracies last century because it routinely distorts results, creates a huge portion of votes that elects no one, and usually hands majority control to a single party
without majority support.

Vote for MMP is a citizens’ campaign organized to support the recommendation of the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. The campaign is building a multi-partisan network of grassroots supporters, as well as a growing list of prominent Ontarians, who support the move to MMP in the coming referendum.

Vote for MMP

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12,500 Martyrs

by matttbastard

Via Feminist Peace Network, AFP has more details on the so-called ‘stable‘ part of Iraq:

Heshw Mohammed tried to kill herself three times when her father would not let her marry the man she loved, swallowing tablets and surviving only because her stomach was pumped.

Beautiful, timid and abused, she exemplifies what campaigners and medics warn is a disturbing increase in women killing themselves — largely by self-immolation — in northern Iraq’s relatively peaceful Kurdish provinces.

“My father forced me to marry someone else. We were engaged just 15 days, during which I tried three times to commit suicide,” says Heshw, her eyes cast down, her fingers clenching and unclenching.


“My father would kill me if I went home. He killed my boyfriend. I don’t have any hope for the future. I’m just sitting here, waiting,” she says, refusing refreshment, her expressionless voice barely more than a whisper.

Women’s campaigners say Heshw’s story is all too common. What is unusual is that she took pills. Most Iraqi Kurdish women drench their bodies in cooking fuel from head to toe and set fire to themselves.


“Every year there has been an increase in killing. Saying it’s a cooking accident is just a lie. We must put pressure on the government to change the law,” says Aso Kamal, a 42-year-old British Kurdish Iraqi campaigner.

He quotes from newspaper reports that from 1991 to 2007, 12,500 women were murdered for reasons of “honour” or committed suicide in the three Kurdish provinces of Iraq; 350 in the first seven months of this year.

“We want to speak out about this. There is silence in Kurdistan. People say it’s a family matter. We want to change the patriarchal system in Kurdistan. Honour killing is against the law but the law is not being enforced,” he says.

As FPN notes, “women trying to flee the region are, in a word, screwed”, thanks to a national passport law that, as journalist Koral Tofiq reports, forces women to “first obtain the consent of their husband, father, uncle or brother” before they can get a passport.

Keep all this (and more) in mind the next time someone (especially the KRG and their PR reps) offers the Kurdish-controlled regions of Iraq as an example of a rare post-war ‘success story’.


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