Prairie Chapel Ranch

Prairie Chapel
Remember the ranch in Crawford? Governor Bush purchased it in 1999 to enhance his cowboy, good ol’ goober boy image for his presidential run. Rancher Bush was all hat and no cattle. President Bush pretended to be something he was not, a leader. Lieutenant Bush couldn’t lead a troop of Girl Scouts to cookies. The face of the Texas Rangers for five years until 1994, the front man, he was uninvolved with baseball operations. Sure, he’s the affable kind of guy you’d like to have a beer with, but he’s an alcoholic. Cowboy Bushie never rode a horse, unlike his model, Ronald Reagan.

Notice the cattle?

crawford texas ranch

In 1999 Dubya expressed the desire to attack Iraq to look presidential.

I’ll tell you, he was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999, [Mickey] Herskowitz told [Russ] Baker. One of the things he said to me, is ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.’ And he said, ‘My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of (Kuwait) and he wasted it.’

George Bush’s ulcer in Iraq continues to be painful for ordinary citizens here and overseas. It contributes to our debt crisis. Public services in Baghdad are sporadic; security is non-existent. Hardship and death are daily expectation for Iraqis.

The March election has failed to produce a democratic result. Individuals and factions vie for power in order to serve their parochial interest. After taking a 20 minute oath, the Parliamentarians were in office. Fuad Massum acting speaker of the Parliament declared an “open” session. Operationally, the “Surge” succeeded by reducing the violence but strategically it has failed. Democracy in Iraq remains a neo-Con nightmare.

Savoring Baghdad, Where Each Night Is a Battle

Published: November 6, 2010

BAGHDAD — Who owns the Iraqi night?

As Iraq’s violence ebbed, it seemed that the country’s tea-sipping, hookah-smoking revelers had reclaimed the evening hours, casting off the siege mentality of the war’s worst days as they repopulated nightclubs, speakeasies and public parks.

Then came a recent barrage of attacks that clawed apart scenes of Iraq’s reawakened nightlife. Insurgents blew up restaurants and cafes, public squares and shopping stalls, in what felt to many Iraqis like a deliberate attempt to drive them back behind their front gates after the sun sets.

And so, a new struggle for Iraq’s nightlife has begun to play out in Baghdad. It pits the resolve of Iraqis to stroll their streets against insurgents who have used car bombs, suicide vests and automatic weapons to stalk them where they unwind.

“Whenever I leave the house,” said Alan al-Kuri, 27, “it is like going to war.”

A night on Baghdad’s streets offers little certainty about which side is prevailing.

On Thursday night — the end of Iraq’s workweek and just two days after the latest attacks — shoppers filled the sidewalks of Baghdad’s Karada neighborhood. They peered into the gleaming windows of furniture stores and perfumeries. Merchants unfurled bolts of flower-painted fabric, and vegetable-sellers haggled over the price of eggplants and tomatoes. Men clustered around fire pits and masgouf, the barbecued carp that is a favorite among Iraqis, and mothers tugged their children away from arrays of pirated DVDs.

“Day or night, life has to go on,” said Nebra al-Attar, as he held his 5-month-old daughter, Nardine, on his knee in a gleaming new four-story restaurant. “If we only thought about bombs, we would never do anything. We have to stand up for our rights.”

Plush new nightclubs and restaurants have been opening across Baghdad, and Iraqis who spent many evenings ensconced in their homes in past years have been going out.

But full as the sidewalks were on Thursday, few people paused anywhere for more than a moment. Teahouses where men gather to smoke and argue about Iraq’s dysfunctional politics were all but abandoned. Tables at street-level restaurants were empty, and bored waiters leaned against the walls or rearranged the cutlery.

And when they ventured out, several people said that they tried to avoid large crowds, and that they had gotten in the habit of sending a stream of reassuring text messages to nervous family members at home:

Yes, we’re all right. We’re eating now. Everything is O.K. We’ll be home soon.

Heidar Laith, 23, saw the residue of fear in the empty patio of his Ice Pack ice cream parlor. On any normal Thursday, he said, the tables would have been crowded with families and clusters of young couples and single men.

It had been a bloody week. Nearly 60 people had died on Sunday night in a siege on a Syrian Catholic church not far from Mr. Laith’s shop. Two evenings later, 16 bombs ravaged neighborhoods across the city. Karada was spared more bloodshed, but the police swarmed the streets and ordered people home under an emergency curfew.

“You see it now,” Mr. Laith said. “It’s almost empty. They want to keep people in their homes, like a prison.”

He estimated that sales at this shop had fallen by 75 percent in the previous few days, and said that he was too worried about being killed to check in on his two branches about 20 minutes from Karada and its relative stability.

“I’m so afraid,” he said, and recounted how he had almost died a year ago when a mortar round fell onto a friend’s home. “In one second, it could be gone, just like that.”

Iraqis savoring the cool night expressed notes of defiance and fatalism. The government, they said, is hopeless, too wrapped up in its own leadership struggles to protect Iraqis or even turn on enough lights so people can navigate the dark streets. Attacks will come when they come. Until then, they said they would step out into the dark.

“No one can stop us from loving Baghdad at night,” said Haidar Abu Fatma, 39, smoking cigarettes at a friend’s otherwise empty outdoor cafe. “No one will stop us from living.”


Last Tuesday was one of the most frightful days in my life.

I was 115 miles away from my family sharing my uncle’s family their sorrow for losing my uncle who died last Sunday. It was the second day of the funeral when I heard about the bloody explosions in Baghdad. More than 20 explosions swept the capital killing dozens of innocent people less than 24 hours after the bloody attack that targeted the in downtown Baghdad. I called my wife to check about the situation in my neighborhood when she said “ we are not really good because there is a car bomb only few meters from our house.” I was shocked by the news and could not believe it for a while. My first reaction was a very big (WHAT). She confirmed the news adding “our neighbor’s young son saw the car near their house. He asked all the neighbors about it and no one could recognize the car. His curiosity pushed him to check the car. He laid down under the car. He saw a blinking green light. He shouted “car bomb” and run and told the security forces.”

At that point, the images of the bloody explosions that I covered during my seven years of work came to my mind. I started giving her some safety instructions. She told me that my brother gathered all the family in the rare rooms which is the safest. While I was talking to my wife, I heard the sound of shooting and when I checked with her, she told me that the police forces evacuated all the houses near the car bomb and they prevented people from coming closer by shooting in the air.

More than two hours of horror passed. I prayed to God for my family and my neighbors. After long suffering, my wife called and told me the good news. The experts defused the car. They found Different kinds of explosives including C4 and TNT. My brother talked to the police patrol which was near our house. A lieutenant told him that the explosives in the car were enough to destroy seven to ten houses.

The incident was one more evidence that the security procedures conducted by the Iraqi security authorities are not the reason for saving our lives. Its only God mercy saved my family and all the innocent people in my country. I’m sure the car bomb didn’t fall from the sky. Someone drove the car from somewhere in Baghdad and passed through many security checkpoint. All the checkpoint use the detecting devices but these devices can detect shampoo, dishes washing liquids, oil and perfumes but not explosives.

The 2nd of November was not the first bloody day in Iraq and although I pray it would be the last but I am afraid it’s not. Positions and power are the main concern and the at the top of the politicians’ priorities while Iraqis’ safety is the very bottom of their schedule. This is why we don’t trust the politicians and the political parties but IN GOD AND ONLY GOD WE TRUST

Posted by Laith at 11:58 AM
November 02, 2010

Lady of Salvation

More than 50 innocent worshipers were killed and dozens were injured after they were taken as hostages in the Church of Lady of Salvation in Karrada neighborhood on Sunday.

Several gunmen, about ten, some wearing vest bombs stormed into the church and took more than one hundred worshippers as hostages.

Iraqi security forces stormed, about three hours later, the church and freed many of the hostages but the operation was not as we hoped; many of the hostages were killed as terrorists detonated their vest bombs inside the church.

Those killers killed a mother and her six months old baby because the baby was crying, what kind of animals that we are dealing with!

Anger and sorrow for the children who were killed with cold blood, pregnant women, old women, men and priests who lost their lives is not fading away.

To our brothers, who lost their beloved ones, and sisters who watched their sons, husbands and brothers being killed with cold blood in front of their eyes, by God the killers will not escape punishment. By God we will not sit and watch. For myself, as a journalist, I will not let this go without reminding Iraqi officials of their failure and their duty towards you.

I have not seen our people as united as now in supporting the . The tragedy of the Church of Lady of Salvation will not be forgotten and your blood is not cheap and will never be so.

On Sunday Iraq’s face carried a scar that will never heal. I feel ashamed of having this government. I feel ashamed that I cannot do anything to bring those who helped and planned this operation to justice.

Iraqi government should be hold responsible for not protecting the Iraqi citizen. The Iraqi security forces along with the American troops should be also hold responsible and an investigation must be started.

This genocide must stop.

Even more, the Iraqi government decided to close the offices of Al Baghdadiya TV for its coverage of the incident and for receiving a call of demands from inside the church. What kind of freedom of speech that the Iraqi government is proud of, why the victims lost their lives for the freedom that they should enjoy, the freedom that the American administration promised the Iraqi people with!

For me and others we will not be celebrating this coming Eid, and this day will be for the rest of my life a day of shame on the Iraqi government and those who brought this former opposition to take over in this country and to replace a dictator with these politicians.

Our people also share responsibility for voting for these incompetent politicians.

Al Qaeda must pay the price for these atrocities, they must pay the price.

Posted by Dulaimy at 09:02 AM
October 26, 2010

One more pain

After decreasing the items of the ration food card, after increasing the prices of fuel for many times and in the middle of the political crisis which re caused by the ruling parties, the Iraqi government decided to add one more pain to our long list of pains and troubles. The Iraqi ministry of electricity increased the prices of its super electricity service. The old prices were doubled in a very strange way and it might cost Iraqi families hundreds of dollars a month especially if the families use AC units and electrical water heaters. In its press release, the ministry mentioned the new monthly prices for 24 hours electricity as the following

1- $11 for 5 amperes.
2- $ 35 for 10 amperes
3- $ 70 for 20 amperes
4- $ 119 for 25 amperes
5- $ 250 for 30 amperes
6- $ 500 for 45 amperes
7- $ 582 for 50 amperes

The ministry says the increasing aims to urge people to conserve electricity.

Normally, the families need 20 amperes a day because they need to turn on the water heaters in winter and AC units in summer. According to the new prices and since most of the houses in Iraq include two families or even more, Iraqi families need to allocate a special budget for electricity.

I don’t have any clue about the new way of measuring electricity but I am sure its not a good step because we have enough troubles to care about. Increasing the prices of electricity might have real bad consequences. Such a decision might push Iraqis for more corruption to provide more money for one more basic need.

The decision reflects one fact, the government failed in its promises of better life for Iraqis. Seven years after the US invasion and we still do not have 24 hours electricity. In addition to the bad service, now we need to pay more money for this bad service.

Posted by Laith at 10:15 AM

Iraqis sue to stop paying lawmakers until leaders are seated

By Ernesto Londoño and Ali al-Qeisi
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, November 6, 2010; 4:24 PM

BAGHDAD – A group of Iraqi activists said Saturday that they have filed a lawsuit demanding that lawmakers return back pay and forgo future pay until they break the stalemate that has prevented the seating of a new government.

Iraqi’s 325 parliament members, elected March 7, have met once since they were sworn in last June. They have conducted no business other than closed negotiations over who is entitled to the prime minister’s post and other top jobs.

Lawmakers collected a $90,000 yearly bonus and began receiving more than $22,000 per month, a sum that includes base pay and security stipends.

“Do you think it’s right to give money to an employee who sits at home and doesn’t do his or her job?” said Kifah al-Jawaheri, one of the plaintiffs.

The filing underscores the growing anger being directed here at elected officials, whom many Iraqis say are putting their personal ambitions before the greater good of the country.

The plaintiffs, who include civic society and human rights organizations, filed their suit in the Baghdad District Court. It is unclear how soon the court might rule on it, but the move could add to the pressure on disputatious lawmakers as negotiations continue.

The same groups won a favorable ruling last month from the country’s highest court, which compelled lawmakers to start meeting again. A session has been scheduled for Thursday, though if a compromise is not reached before then, dozens of lawmakers are expected to boycott it.

The same groups won a favorable ruling last month from the country’s highest court, which compelled lawmakers to start meeting again. A session has been scheduled for Thursday, though if a compromise is not reached before then, dozens of lawmakers are expected to boycott it.

“Members of parliament have failed in their constitutional, patriotic and ethical duties,” said Ali al-Anbori, the head of the Iraqi Gathering Organization, another plaintiff. “Public funds are sacrosanct, and their protection is the duty of each citizen.”

Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his chief rival, former prime minister Ayad Allawi, are at odds over who is entitled to lead the new government.

Iraqiya, the Sunni-backed bloc led by Allawi, a secular Shiite, won 91 seats, two more than Maliki’s State of Law coalition. Neither bloc has secured enough allies to achieve the simple majority required under law to appoint a prime minister.

Coalition leaders on both sides have met with senior Kurdish officials in recent days, and more meetings are scheduled ahead of Thursday’s session. The Kurds are seen as the key swing group whose support will propel the next prime minister to power.

There has been no sign, however, that the parties are any closer to agreement over the top jobs and related power-sharing questions.

Many Iraqis fear that insurgents are exploiting the stalemate. On Saturday, more than 30 people were wounded in the northern city of Kirkuk in car bombings that appeared to target prominent Kurds, including politicians, Iraqi security officials said.

Iraqi political leaders scramble ahead of mandated parliament session

By Leila Fadel
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, November 9, 2010; 6:37 PM

BAGHDAD – Iraq’s four main political blocs met for just the second time Tuesday in an effort to end a months-long political impasse ahead of a looming parliamentary deadline.

On the eve of a court-mandated session of parliament Thursday, substantial obstacles remain to the formation of a new government, as the Kurds press their claim to the presidency and as Iraqiya, the Sunni-backed bloc that won the most votes in the March 7 elections, struggles to limit the next prime minister’s power and secure the presidency for itself.

Top Iraqi political leaders discuss forming new government
Their first meeting since elections in March ends without an agreement, but more sessions are scheduled. Meanwhile, blasts kill 28 people in three cities.

By Raheem Salman and Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times
November 8, 2010|3:12 p.m.

Reporting from Baghdad —
Iraq’s top political leaders met Monday for the first time since inconclusive national elections in March. But the session, held in the Kurdish north, ended with little hint that they were on the verge of forming a new government.

The meeting, which included Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and his chief competitor, Iyad Allawi, amounted to an icebreaker for the leaders before two more sessions scheduled in Baghdad. If the talks go well, the sides would reach agreement on a prime minister, president and speaker of parliament and start the formal process of assembling a government in a parliamentary session Thursday.

As the politicians huddled, a string of explosions killed 28 people in the Shiite Muslim pilgrimage cities of Najaf and Karbala and the southern port city of Basra. The continued violence has only heightened Iraqis’ disenchantment with the lack of political progress.

At Monday’s 90-minute gathering, Iraqi leaders delivered speeches that politely underscored their differences. Their political blocs had been holding almost daily sessions in Baghdad to pave the way for the meetings. Despite the preparations, no one appeared ready to make significant compromises.

One official who attended the talks questioned whether anyone was capable of making concessions.

“If they agreed on the power-sharing, on the national reconciliation, on accepting each other, the groups could agree in five minutes; everything has been written [down] for a long time,” the official said in reference to the months of talks among parties.

The official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks, dismissed the day’s session as purely ceremonial and described the lunch of Iraqi cuisine as arguably the most meaningful achievement that day.

The Kurdistan Alliance, with at least 49 seats in parliament, has become in effect the kingmaker. The Kurdish group has refused to throw its weight behind Maliki, a Shiite Islamist who heads a coalition holding at least 148 seats in the 325-member parliament and is closest to forming a government.

The Kurdish region’s president, Massoud Barzani, has refused to endorse a new government led by Maliki without the inclusion of Allawi’s Iraqiya list, a secular bloc heavily backed by Sunnis that won the largest single share of parliamentary seats. Barzani, Iraqiya and smaller Shiite parties also have called for limiting the prime minister’s powers for fear Maliki would use another four years in office to ensure a state dominated by his Shiite religious party, Dawa.

Despite their ambivalence toward Maliki, his opponents have not been able to successfully challenge the prime minister with an alternative candidate.

Maliki’s supporters have said his powers are granted to him in the constitution and were needed when he worked to hold the country together during the sectarian war that raged a few years ago.

Monday’s session was also complicated by the quarrel between Iraqiya and the Kurds over who should be the president of Iraq: the Kurdish incumbent, Jalal Talabani, or Allawi. Iraqiya members believe that the post would guarantee a significant role for Allawi and serve as a check on Maliki as prime minister. The rancor over the presidency spilled out in news conferences after the talks as Kurds and Iraqiya officials insisted upon their group’s right to the office.

The political stalemate has angered ordinary Iraqis who are frustrated by the continuing lack of security and poor basic services in their neighborhoods.

The violence Monday was alarming as it occurred in the relatively quite Shiite south. A car bomb killed eight Iranian pilgrims in Karbala, and a second attack killed another eight in Najaf. In Basra, 12 people died in a car bomb blast, security sources said.

One survivor in Karbala criticized Iraq’s political leaders. “Where is the government? We faced all these hardships and danger and we went and elect them,” Hossam Jabr said. “Eight months passed now! Where are they? I want to say something. Do they think about these people? Do they think about the children?”

About Jerry Frey

Born 1953. Vietnam Veteran. Graduated Ohio State 1980. Have 5 published books. In the Woods Before Dawn; Grandpa's Gone; Longstreet's Assault; Pioneer of Salvation; Three Quarter Cadillac
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