Monday, June 10, 2013

Hedges rushes to do the work he should have done earlier

Earlier today,   Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "When Hypocrite Met Hypocrite" went up and Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.

when hypocrite met hypocrite 001

Big joke Chris Hedges has a column at Global Research where he notes:

Manning showed us through the documents he released that Iraqis have endured hundreds of rapes and murders, along with systematic torture by the military and police of the puppet government we installed. He let us know that none of these atrocities were investigated. He provided the data that showed us that between 2004 and 2009 there were at least 109,032 “violent deaths” in Iraq, including those of 66,081 civilians, and that coalition troops were responsible for at least 195 civilian deaths in unreported events. He allowed us to see in the video “Collateral Murder” the helicopter attack on unarmed civilians in Baghdad.

Did he?

Well then maybe people like Chris Hedges should have written about that -- in depth.  But they didn't.  Self-proclaimed 'live blogger' of WikiLeaks Gregg Mitchell never did.  The reality is when WikiLeaks issued the documents Bradley passed on, C.I. covered it.  'Live blogger' Gregg was no where to be found.  C.I. covered the revelations and spent two weeks on them, we did an editorial in real time about how the left media needed to be doing that because if the leak mattered, it mattered for what was revealed.

But Mr. Hedges and Mr. Mitchell and so many others were too busy having their 'fun' and wasting everyone's time.  Now, a week after the useless court-martial has started, Mr. Hedges rushes to try to report what he should have been covering some time ago.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Monday, June 10, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, the revelations of Barack Obama's spying on the American people continue to reverberate, an instant poll is large meaningless (as these right after the scandal breaks polls are) but it's also wrongly interpreted, Nouri goes to the KRG, at least 70 die across Iraq, Iran and Iraq debate sheep, and more.

Today on CBS This Morning, Major Garrett reported on US President Barack Obama's latest scandal.

MAJOR GARRETT: The White House knows that this is an intelligence crisis that could become a political crisis. Now, in face of revelations about secret phone snooping and internet data mining, President Obama authorized the declassification of some information about both of the programs and he asked the Director of National Intelligence [James Clapper]  to explain with some detail the underlying legal justification for the surveillance and some of the guidelines built around that. Now many of these explanations have been defensive -- asserting what the snooping and surveillance is not. That's designed to hold the political line in Congress so the White House can assess just  how much of a political firestorm this is going to generate.  But through this all, Charlie and Norah, the White House has had to admit a politically and tactically startling truth: It conducts more surveillance than the Bush White House.

Yesterday,  Amy Davidson (The New Yorker) reviewed the basics:

 So far, the leaks have revealed that the N.S.A. is collecting records from Verizon Business (and, it emerged, from any number of other companies) for every phone call placed in the United States; that, with a program called Prism and some degree of coöperation from technology companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Apple, it is looking at the private data of both foreigners it targeted and—“incidentally”—Americans a degree or even two removed from them; that another program, called Boundless Informant, processed billions of pieces of domestic data each month, and many times that from abroad. We also learned that James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, flat-out lied to the Senate when he said that the N.S.A. did not “wittingly” collect any sort of data on millions of Americans. And we were reminded of how disappointing President Obama can be. These were all things the public deserved to know.

While some do journalism,  Jon Cohen (Washington Post) regurgitates, "A large majority of Americans say the federal government should focus on investigating possible terrorist threats even if personal privacy is compromised, and most support the blanket tracking of telephone records in an effort to uncover terrorist activity, according to a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll."  Did it say that, Little Jonny?  Did you tucker yourself out typing that? That's not a story, though it has a headline and several paragraphs.  It may be an attempt, like this embarrassing column by the Washington Post's Richard Cohen, to manipulate public opinion.

The gross stupidity of the Amreican press can never be underscored enough.  A friend who was Academy Award nominated for playing an airhead never tires of telling one and all that she based her performance on reporters who had interviewed her.  Amen.  As a group, they think they know everything when they know nothing.  They've taken no polling classes but they just 'know' polling.

Monday, May 13th kicked off a week of  minor press coverage but, as minor as it was, what was also the most critical the press had ever been of US President Barack Obama and his administration.  The press almost had to do their job that week that kicked off with news that the Associated Press' phone records had been secretly seized, which was followed by the news that the IRS had been targeting political groups thought to be critical of Barack and the Benghazi e-mail dump which revealed that Victoria Nuland had argued for deletions and (this part hasn't been picked up on) that Nuland went over the heads of the other people working on the talking points to get the deletions she wanted.  (When you read the e-mails, you note quickly that twice Nuland objects and makes clear that not only is she objecting, but oops, she already objected higher -- like a little tattle tale -- and those communications have not been released.)

In the wake of all of that?  Enter the gas bags.

That week of the press semi doing their job ended on May 17th.  Let's check in with the first hour of The Diane Rehm Show (NPR) that morning (the 'domestic' 'news' hour).

Diane Rehm:   I wonder how people across the country are seeing this, whether there have been polls taken on this IRS issue and what they look like. 

Susan Page (USA Today):  You know, I saw a poll that Gallup came out with this morning and one that -- a similar one that Pew, I think, came out with yesterday or the day before that showed relatively low public interest in all these scandals. And you know why? It's because people are worried about their jobs and their health care and sending their kids to college.

Diane Rehm: Exactly.

Susan Page:  And that is something to remember as well. And then that is why President Obama, today, is not talking about these scandals. He's going to Baltimore. He's going to an elementary school. He's going to go to a job training program because, of course, that is what Americans are most focused on. 

With one poll, our 'faith healers' and 'tea leaf readers' of the press 'knew' what was what.  They didn't know a damn thing.   For the record, Susan Page is a smart journalist except when she attempts to read tea leaves.  She was far from the only offender.  With that poll and polls taken over the May 18 and 19th weekend, various 'journalists' stepped forward -- and former 'journalists' who seemed to think their work at People magazine qualified as 'news' experience -- to proclaim there was nothing to see her because polling demonstrated low interest in the scandals.  You don't determine news by polling, first of all.  'News' by polling not only would have buried the Watergate story while Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward were pursuing it, it would lead to nothing but cat pictures. And isn't ABC World News already close enough to that with their insipid 'found on the web' stories?

 I don't care for Washington Week but let's note host Gwen Ifill properly summarized what was going on May 17th, "Good evening.  This week saw a remarkable collision of outrage and investigation, printing and politics.  And as the week ends, we still haven’t really gotten to the bottom of the unfolding messes at the Justice Department, the State Department, the IRS, and ultimately, the White House."   Even more important, and why I'm noting Washington Week (PBS),  John Dickerson (Slate and CBS News) grasped polls.

JOHN DICKERSON:  There’s a way also in which this IRS scandal in particular bleeds over into other things.  Seventy three percent of the country already doesn’t trust government, so is already a pretty small group of people who still trusted their government.  But the argument from conservatives for ages has been even if there’s no wrongdoing, this is what happens when you have a big government.  So let’s leave aside the question whether these people were politically motivated at the IRS.  Just big government does things to get in the way of –

He's citing a different poll!  Right, he's citing an established poll.  A poll that you can look at and you can look at the ones before it and you can see a trend.  And the poll was taken before the scandals emerged in the press.  Let's stay with Washington Week for a moment because it's so rare I ever praise them but Gwen and company deserve praise on this.  From the May 24th show (two Fridays after the scandals emerged):

MS. IFILL: OK. We’re going to move on to another nagging policy problem, the targeting of the political sort. And that’s at the IRS. The official in charge of the mess took the fifth rather than testify before Congress, then was placed on paid leave. But the uproar continued, and in the end you could be forgiven for not knowing whom to trust. With all the shifting accounts surrounding this, is government losing the credibility wars in this, Dan?

MR. BALZ: Well, I mean, Gwen, there are a lot of angles, you know, from which you can look at this IRS scandal, but that’s clearly one of them. Even before this, we know that the trust in government was at a low ebb. The Pew Research Center did a survey that came out a month ago or so that said the image of the federal government was at the lowest that they had ever found. The trust in government to do the right thing most of the time is at or close to its historic lows. That was all before this.   You know, I had a conversation with President-elect Obama in December of 2008. And one of the things I asked him was, in essence, do you think your election meant that there is greater receptivity to bigger government and more activist government. And he said to me at the time – he said, I don’t think it’s a question of bigger or smaller government. And he said, I think there is skepticism of government that’s kind of been baked into the system since Ronald Reagan or if not a little before. He said, the real question is, can we have smarter government or more effective government?  And I think if you look at where we are today, you have to say he’s failed that test. I mean, you’ve got the IRS problem. You’ve got the – you know, the Defense Department under scrutiny because of sexual assaults that they’ve not been able to bring under control; the State Department because of Benghazi and the lack of security. You’ve got – you know, you’ve got a variety of big, important agencies that have either ethical lapses, legal problems or managerial flaws that the public is seeing. And I don’t think there’s any way that in this environment people are going to say, I have a lot of confidence that government is going to do good things or the right things.

That's Dan Balz of the Washington Post.  He's talking about the same poll that John Dickerson did.
Diane Rehm was completely wrong.  The poll Susan Page cited was meaningless.  We could provide many others who cited many other just completed polls and gas bagged over them wasting time and leaving audiences with the wrong impression.  But what happened on The Diane Rehm Show May 17th was typical.  What happened on Washington Week the same day and the next Friday was not typical for the press.  (Though it does seem to be typical for this year of Washington Week.)

 If you don't get that those citing instant polls were wrong, let's drop back to the June 6, 2013 snapshot:


 On the scandals, a new NBC News - Wall St. Journal poll has been released.  Chuck Todd was on NBC's Today show this morning discussing it with Savannah Guthrie (here for video).  Todd noted "major erosion over independents -- political independents -- over a three month period.  The President's support among independents has gone from 41% to a very paltry 29%.  That is an ominous sign."  Last week, Rebecca noted the erosion of independents and last night she noted Jake Miller (CBS News) reporting on the new Bloomberg News poll which finds 47% of Americans surveyed do not believe Barack is being truthful with the American public.

Chuck Todd:  But then if you look at certain presidential characteristics, you sort of see how this trio of controversies in Washington -- IRS, Benghazi -- have impacted the president.  His ability to handle a crisis -- confidence in this, all down.  Strong leadership qualities -- down.  Being honest and straight forward -- public down.  All of these areas not looking good as far as the public is concerned.  And this is the way you can see the public is just not happy with the way the President is running the country.

Here are the numbers displayed onscreen about the three most prominent scandals:


                                              RAISES DOUBT         NO DOUBT
BENGHAZI                                         58%                     27%
DOJ MEDIA SUBPOENA                 58%                     23%
IRS                                                        55%                     26%

A different set of numbers.  Less than a week after Anita Hill testified before Congress in 1991, a friend who was a senator said to me he was so glad that the storm had been "weathered."  (This was a Democratic senator.)  I told him he was insane.  He pointed to a poll that had just come out.  I spent the rest of that year saying it was not going away and it didn't.  The Gender Quake of the 1992 elections can be traced directly to Hill.

Instant polling is meaningless.  Diane Rehm is supposed to be a journalist but she's saying, to Susan Page above, "Exactly."  But people really aren't focused on health care, sorry Susan.  They had, at that point, bought into the lie of a 'recovering economy,' so the notion that they were obsessed with that is dubious as well.   And a real host would have pointed that out.  Instead, Diane rushed in with, "Exactly!"  Because it made her feel good.  And that's what the instant polling is about.  You're not measuring what people really think because they haven't had time to reflect.

You're measuring what they hope.  I say this over and over, but as someone who took research methodology classes and demographics and statistics, I can't believe how ignorant of polling the media is.  Greeted with bad news, a large segment (and this is true of polling from the beginning of polling) of the population will enter denial unless there is a confession from the authority figure accused.  Even then, you can get up to 30% denial.

In the aftermath of Hill - Thomas (law professor Anita Hill came forward to testify of how her then-boss at the EEOC, Clarence Thomas, had harassed her), the public 'supported' Clarence Thomas.  Thomas was a Supreme Court nominee.  Diane Rehm's "Exactly!" response of dismissing bad news was at play.  People didn't want to believe that a nominee for the Supreme Court -- who got confirmed -- could have done what Clarence Thomas did.

That's the immediate reaction.  But people mull things over, they deliberate in their heads as they would on a jury.  And that's why instant polling on an issue is so stupid because most don't understand how to interpret it.  The only thing to watch for in an instant poll is those with no vested interest.  Is there any movement there?  If there's any movement there to one side by that group, that generally tells you the direction things will trend in.  So, if you're talking politics, in the poll you study independent voters -- who may be 'swing' voters or may be undecideds but are not vested to a partisan game.  They are still vested with the American notion of deference to authority figures.  That's why you're looking for any movement there in an instant poll -- big or small.   Is there any movement there?

Given a few weeks to play out, other segments in the poll will tend to trend in the same direction as those with no vested interest.  That's what's happened and why last week's NBC News - Wall St. Journal poll found what it did.

The most important part of polling, which most journalists never seem to grasp, is what it tells us -- polling as a whole -- about human nature.  Until you can talk about those trends, you really shouldn't speak of poll that's just been released because you honestly lack the skill to speak with any knowledge.

The Washington Post bills Jon Cohen as "Cohen is polling director for Capital Insight, Washington Post Media’s independent polling group. Capital Insight pollsters Peyton M. Craighill and Scott Clement contributed to this report."  Really?  Because most "polling directors" would immediately know to identify the margin of error in the poll -- not in paragraph ten.  Of course, identify the plus/minus 4.5% margin of error would question all of Cohen's conclusions.  But you don't even need the margin of error to question.  Just look at these two assertions by Jon Cohen:

* Fully 45 percent of all Americans say the government should be able to go further than it is, saying that it should be able to monitor everyone’s online activity if doing so would prevent terrorist attacks. A slender majority, 52 percent, say no such broad-based monitoring should occur. 

*  Overall, 56 percent of Americans consider the NSA accessing telephone call records of millions of Americans through secret court orders “acceptable,” while 41 percent call the practice “unacceptable.”

The two claims are in conflict with one another indicating a polling problem.  What was being measured is not clear to those being surveyed if 52% say (in first claim) "no such broad-based monitoring should occur" and (in the second claim) 56% see it as "acceptable."  Why is that?  Look at the actual questions and you find that it's presented as an abstract and an either or -- either you're 'protected' by the government from 'terrorism' or you have your rights.  These are charged questions and I would argue this is an example of push-pulling.

Even with push-polling, they don't really get the results that they should (indicating the public is and will be rejecting of the 'protection' rationale).  Look at this question (the worst in the survey):

What do you think is more important right now - (for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy); or (for the federal government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats)?

Those are false choices and meant to encourage an emotional response.   Democrats went with the first choice (69% -- 28% for the second choice); Republicans went with the first choice (62% -- 37% for the second choice) and Independents went with the first choice (59% -- 38% for the second choice).  Those figures should be much higher due to the falsehood and fear factor built into the question.  That a third of those surveyed rejected it indicates fear is no longer as powerful as a motivator on this issue.

Did you notice the highest figure was independents?  Yes, that is key and it is telling.  Yet
Cohen babbles on at length about the flip for Democrats and Republicans -- more Dems were outraged in 2006 by Bully Boy Bush's spying than are today by Barack's; more Republicans are outraged today than were outraged under Bully Boy Bush -- but he never manages to  look to the one group that could provide a real trend: Independents.

Despite using eleven paragraphs, Cohen never notes independents.  Here's the more specific question.

As you may know, it has been reported that the National Security Agency has been getting secret court orders to track telephone call records of MILLIONS of Americans in an effort to investigate terrorism. Would you consider this access to telephone call records an acceptable or unacceptable way for the federal government to investigate terrorism?

That's a more specific question.  And the results are more specific.

Acceptable: Democrats 64% say the reveled actions are "acceptable,"  52% of Republicans say it's acceptable and 53% of Independents say it's "acceptable."  Unacceptable?  34% of Democrats, 47% of Republicans and 44% of Independents.  And that's where the danger signal is most visible.   The biggest support is from the party that occupies the White House.  The least stated support?  Republicans and Independents are basically in a tie.  The same with regards to those who find it unacceptable.   When the opposition party and independents track, it's never good news for the party in power.

Another revealing question is the one "ASKED JUNE 7-9, 2013 ONLY):

Do you think the U.S. government should be able to monitor everyone’s email and other online activities if officials say this might prevent future terrorist attacks?

 45% say yes, 52% say no.  Again, fear tactics have lost their appeal.  That breaks down to the largest support from Democrats 53% (43% of Democrats say no).  45% of Republicans say yes and 51% say no.  Independents?  Only 38% say yes (60% say no).  Again, the tell in an instant poll is always the least vested group. 

With these right after the fact polls, you're dealing with more reluctance to call something wrong then you will see a few weeks later, polls where the "exactly!" is exclaimed in relief as people attempt to ignore the facts and see the situation as brightly as possible.  Diane Rehm's "exactly" is embarrassing.  But she was on live radio and, to her credit, she's continued to pursue the stories, devoting full programs to them -- such as this morning.  Excerpt.

Diane Rehm:  A 29-year-old former CIA employee came forward yesterday as the source of the explosive information on the NSA's gigantic data collection and analysis programs. Criminal charges could be filed. The leaks have galvanized national attention on privacy expectations and rights in the modern age. Joining me to talk about the disclosures and their implications: Stewart Baker, attorney and former general counsel at NSA, Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and Siobhan Gorman of The Wall Street Journal. [. . .]   Go ahead, Siobhan. 

Siobhan Gorman:  Well, one interesting thing that this whole episode has revealed, particularly with the phone records program where the NSA has agreements with the major telephone companies to take phone call records... 

Diane Rehm:  And that's the PRISM program. 

Siobhan Gorman:  No, that's actually a separate -- that's the phone record program. I just -- but it applies to both. 

Diane Rehm:  Okay.

Siobhan Gorman:  There's sort of a -- there's a new legal theory -- and I'd be interested what Stewart has to say about this -- that you are now applying the investigative requirements of reasonable suspicion to the analysis of the data that's being received rather than the collection of it. So it's collect first and then determine later whether or not you can meet reasonable suspicion, which is a new way of approaching it. 

Diane Rehm:   Stewart. 

Stewart Baker:   That's true. There really are two very separate things here, and I think that The Washington Post did a real disservice to the public by treating PRISM in the way it did. At most we know about the PRISM case is that the government has set up an arrangement with a number of companies that get a lot of FISA court orders. Say, they discover that Hotmail is being used by al-Qaida, they can serve a FISA Court order on the owners of Hotmail and say, please provide all of the contents of these emails.  And the only thing that we know PRISM seems to do is it allows for an electronic delivery of the request in the information, not exactly a big difference from what we always understood the government could do with FISA court orders. So in that area, there is really not much new, and The Post had a number of inaccuracies that made this seem like a much bigger deal than it did.  Plus, it came on the heels of the discovery that the government had gathered all of the call data, the numbers called and calling in to Americans, which made it sound as though the government had also gathered all of the email communications of Americans, which is not true so far as we can tell from what's been leaked so far. 

Diane Rehm:  Marc Rotenberg, you look a little skeptical. 

Marc Rotenberg:   Well, I'm a little surprised by Stewart's comment. I actually think Siobhan raised the right point in addressing this concern that the government has adopted a legal position, which says, in essence, we will gather all the data in the first instance and then meet the legal standard afterward as to the data that we intend to look at. And this is a particular problem putting the PRISM matter to the side for just a moment with the Verizon request. And I looked at that order.  I've been studying, you know, the FISA court for many years, and I had never seen an order from that court where a judge said it was fine to compel a U.S. phone company to turn over records on U.S. customers engaged in solely domestic communications. And you have to take a step back and understand just how far removed that is from the purpose of the court or the purpose of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  There is, even in the Patriot Act, a requirement that the request be reasonably related to some investigation. Well, it can't be the case that all telephone records on Verizon customers in the United States are reasonably related to an investigation. 

Diane Rehm:   It does sound pretty broad. 

They're discussing the revelations of last week.  Glenn Greenwald (Guardian) broke the news June 5th that Barack was having all the Verizon phone calls seized (who was called, who did the calling, how long the calls lasted).  As Matthew Mosk, James Gordon Meek and Lee Ferran (ABC News) pointed out yesterday, "In the case of Greenwald's phone monitoring report, The Guardian published a Top Secret order by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which was extraordinary in part because it was the first known leak in the super secret court's 35-year history, according to insiders."  A day after the Verizon revelation came news of the spying Barack authorized of the internet.

Ed Snowden is the whistle-blower who supplied the Guardian and the Washington Post with the documents for their stories.  He was in Hawaii but left for Hong Kong before the stories broke.  The first story broke online, late on Wednesday, June 5th.   The night of June 5th, Elaine noted the news in "More spying, more abuse from the government" and Mike in "Time to start discussing impeachment."  Wednesday, June 5th is important in light of Tammy Mori (KHON -- link is text and video) reporting, "Honolulu Police reportedly came to the house Wednesday, looking for Snowden but he had already moved out on May 1."  Why were Honolulu Police looking for Snowden on June 5th when he wasn't identified until yesterday when he wasn't identified until yesterday by the Guardian and the Washington Post?  For more on Ed Snowden and why he decided to go public with the revelations and why he decided to go public as the whistle-blower, you can refer to Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill and Laura Poitras (Guardian -- link is text and video) and to Barton Gellman, Aaron Blake and Greg Miller (Guardian) reported.

Iraq was slammed with violence today.  A Judaida al-Shat market --  west of Baquba -- was targeted.  AFP notes the bombings "struck a predominantly Shiite town as fruit and vegetable stall owners were crowding the market, purchasing goods for the day's trading, a police officer and a medic said."  Samer al-Bassam (CNN) reports three car bombs and 15 people dead with another thirty injured.  All Iraq News notes that the road from Baquba to Baghdad has been closed as a result of the bombing in the "central market in Jadidat al-Shat."  The road can carry traffic from Baghdad to the KRG when open.   Kitabat reports that one car was parked on the left and one on the right side of the market and the third car bomb was driven into the market by a suicide bomber.

Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports on the violence for AP -- and that link goes to the Miami Herald because it's a McClatchy newspaper and McClatchy didn't care enough to keep their Iraqi reporters on the payroll.  Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) adds another attack, "Shortly after midday, another car bomb went off near a fish market in the northern Baghdad suburb of Taji, killing seven shoppers and wounding 25, police said."  Alsumaria notes the death toll has now climbed to 8 and they note there was a failed attempt to blow up oil wells north-west of Kirkuk.  BBC News notes a Tuz Khormato car bombing claimed 3 lives and left twenty-two injured (link includes video of the aftermath of the bombing).  National Iraqi News Agency adds that an armed Mosul attack left 1 police officer dead and another injured, a Mosul roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left another person injured,  and 2 men were kidnapped outside of Kirkuk.  London's Daily Mail notes that a curfew was imposed on Mosul.

That's 25 reported dead and another fifty-seven injured.  CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq Tweeted today:
  1. Explosions and shootings across killed nearly 60 people and wounded more than 170 others on Monday, police officails told
Mohammed Tawfeeq and Samer al-Bassam (CNN)  note a Mosul suicide car bombing on a checkpoint which claimed 9 lives and that "Overall around Mosul on Monday, at least 36 people were killed and 122 wounded in car bombings, shootings and clashes, the officials said."  AFP counts 70 dead and 230 injured today.  Through Sunday, Iraq Body Count counts 112 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month.

National Iraqi News Agency notes that Ayad Allawi, head of Iraqiya, issued a statement today declaring, "Iraq actually is not ruled by any one, and the street is in a state of chaos and there is a serious worsening of security."

Yesterday,  Nouri al-Maliki hit the international news cycle (AP, Reuters, etc.) as the Iraqi prime minister visited the Kurdistan Regional Government which, for the record, is not half a continent away but the northern section of Iraq.  The press treated it like a historic visit.  What it really says is Nouri's on the ropes.  He wouldn't go to Erbil to meet with KRG President Massoud Barzani otherwise. As Al Mada delicately put it, Nouri's visit was a first of its kind for Nouri.  National Iraqi News Agency notes of Nouri:

He said in a press conference held today after his meeting with the President of Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani: "we discussed the latest developments in the region, and the files that were discussed during the visit of the head of the provincial government to Baghdad." 
He explained that "we named the characters that will be in charge to continue the discussions to resolve the outstanding issues." 

That's one of the reasons it was important to clarify the rumor or 'rumor' that US Vice President Joe Biden was implementing a plan to divide Iraq into three parts -- for such a division to take place, Nouri would have to meet with Barzani.  Nouri could -- and most likely would -- cut Iraqiya leadership out of such a meet-up, avoiding Ayad Allawi and Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi to instead meet with the far less important Saleh al-Mutlaq.  The failure of the White House to address the rumors (denials came late -- last week -- and only from the US Embassy in Baghdad) have allowed them to once again take root in Iraqi social media with many asserting that the real purpose of the visit was about the division.
Xinnhua notes, "The top UN envoy in Iraq on Monday welcomed Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's first visit to the capital of the autonomous region of the Middle East country 's Kurdistan, describing it as 'a positive step in the right direction'."  They're referring to Martin Kobler.   Reuters notes that Kobler is now outgoing Iraq envoy, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has put him over a Congo mission -- news that will please a number of UK MPs who have maintained Kobler should be fired and that he had betrayed the Camp Ashraf residents.
In continued tensions between Iraq and Iran (which usually involve fisherman), a new development. Alsumaria reports that Iran has seized approximately 1000 head of sheep that were in Iraq but which Iran is insisting were on their side of the border.  Which should serve to remind that Iraq and Iran still haven't agreed to where their shared border is.  Meanwhile Hurriyet reports, "The Turkish Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK) approved the applications of two Turkish companies, Aksa and Kartet, to export power to Iraq. The volume of the power trade to Iraq is estimated at around 400 million Turkish Liras, Hasan Köktaş, the head of the EPDK, announced in the Black Sea province of Trabzon."  Which should remind that although Iraq is among the top three oil producing countries, Nouri's failure to spend any of the billions on Iraq's infrastructure makes it necessary for them to import electricity. 
Back to the US,  Peter Hart (FAIR) has an important post on Iraq and Samantha Power.  Time permitting, we'll note it again in tomorrow's snapshot and hopefully we'll be able to address The Drone War as well.   Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee.  Her office notes:

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES                        CONTACT: Murray Press Office

Monday, June 10th, 2013                                        (202) 224-2834

TOMORROW: Murray to Press Secretary Hagel, General Dempsey on WA State Military Installations, Mental Health Issues

Murray will discuss importance of Washington’s major military installations for DoD’s long-term strategic focus on Asia-Pacific Region

Murray will continue push for completion of military-wide mental health review

(Washington, D.C.) – Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 11th, 2013, U.S. Senator Patty Murray will attend a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defense. At the hearing, Murray will question Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the ways they are working with military installations in Western states as part of the military-wide shift in focus to the Asia-Pacific region.  Murray will also ask Secretary Hagel when he expects to deliver the military-wide mental health review she asked former-Secretary Panetta to begin last year. She will again stress the urgent need to identify gaps in care and improvements that need to be made in how the Department diagnoses the invisible wounds of war.

WHO:          U.S. Senator Patty Murray
         Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
         General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
WHAT:        Senator Murray will question Secretary Hagel and General Dempsey on issues relating to the future role of WA state military installations and urge
          quick completion of the military-wide mental health review she requested to examine the invisible wounds of war
WHEN:        TOMORROW: Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
          10:00 AM PT
WHERE:     Dirksen 192
Sean Coit
Press Secretary
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
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Lastly, as noted at Third yesterday:

This week, the must hear comes from Canada.  Legendary artist Joni Mitchell will be the guest on the CBC radio program Q with Jian Ghomeshi:

Next week on Q, we present a feature interview with Canadian folk icon Joni Mitchell. Jian travelled to Los Angeles to interview her at her home. It was a wide-ranging conversation and we'll be devoting a full hour of Q to it on Tuesday, June 11. Joni Mitchell be honoured by the Luminato Festival with a tribute show in Toronto on June 18 and 19. But for now, click through for a photogallery of her remarkable career.