Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Don't start nothing, there won't be nothing
My date says I need to get on and write about Roland Burris. She is outraged that Barack's trying to deny Burris a seat in the US Senate.
Barack won't know this saying: "Don't start nothing, there won't be nothing." But he may learn it real damn quick.
Barack is starting something. He is attempting to deny a qualified African-American a seat in the US Senate.
Barack is not of the African-American community or he would grasp real damn quick how we are and how we close ranks. Barack better be ready for the hell that will rain down if Burris is prevented from the Senate seat he's now been appointed to.
Let me explain it to Barack. Barack's the third cousin who showed up at Thanksgiving and everyone smiles and it's really great to have an extended family member here and have some turkey and relax.
Now Barack's been drinking and has just started antagonizing the family's uncle. Oh no we ain't standing for it. It's now, "You don't have to go home but you got to get the hell up out of here."
Roland Burris has been appointed to the US Senate. This is a great moment for African-Americans. Burris is only the fifth Black person in US history to be a Senator. If Barack tries to piss on this parade, it's going to get ugly.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Wednesday, December 31, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces deaths, hype passes for hope and neither are realistic, and more.
Today the US military announced: "A U.S. Soldier died, Dec. 31, in Balad, Iraq from injuries sustained during combat operations, Dec. 30." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier died from wounds sustained during a mortar attack in Baghdad Dec. 31." The announcements bring the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4221. The toll for the month thus far is 14. You could say, "The death toll so far is the same as the media reported for October" but . . . 14 was the October death toll; however, the media rushed to insist it was 13. So it'll be cute to see if anyone references the October death toll in their reporting and, if so, how they do it. If your outlet reported 13 and never corrected it, you're really pushing it to just say, "The same number as in October." 13 was the death toll for July -- the lowest monthly death toll for 2008.
Speaking of bad reporting . . . The Philadelphia Inquirer's Trudy Rubin wrote a laughable column (another one) that was published in the US on Christmas Eve and was published Monday in Taiwan. Trudy sees "signs of change on the streets of Baghdad" but, silly fool, she also believes that the US treaty with the puppet government in Baghdad will be followed. There are puppets in Baghdad smarter than Trudes. Where to start?
The "US Troops Withdrawal Agreement" is what the treaty was called by al-Maliki and what foolish idiots believed it was. It was no such thing. The treaty was needed to grant another one-year extension. The United Nations' Security Council could have extended the mandate for a year but the White House didn't want that. (Nor did al-Maliki who had -- two years in a row -- already gone around Parliament to get the mandate extended twice.) The treaty needed to cover a year. When the US began addressing it (in 2007), they frequently spoke of that reality. Trudy (and Patrick Cockburn) must have been sleeping. 2009 is the only year that both sides have to follow. 2010 can find the contract altered or cancelled. The same with 2011. In 2010, both parties may choose to replace it with a new treaty. It is a one-year contract with two options for renewal.
In mid-November, al-Maliki took to Iraq TV (state TV) to declare, "The pact stipulates that U.S. troops are to withdraw from cities and towns by June 30, 2009. And it is a deadline that will not be extended. It also says that [the US] should withdraw from Iraqi land, water and air space by January 1, 2011 -- which is a deadline that will not be extended." That was back when he was calling it the "US Withdrawal Agreement."
Nouri and Bully Boy were shoulder-to-shoulder recently. Remember that? At al-Maliki's palace? Maybe people forget because the one-shoe, two-shoe incident attracted so much attention? But check the transcript at the White House and see what al-Maliki's calling it? Is he calling it the "US Withdrawal Agreement"? No. He's using the same term the White House did "SOFA" -- Status Of Forces Agreement. It's not a withdrawal agreement. And at the December 20th Green Zone press conference, Iraqi Maj Gen Qassim Atta called the treaty the "US Withdrawal Agreement"? No. He referred to the June 2009 'withdrawal' as being "according to what's been said during -- the agreements, an agreement, the security agreement".
The US Withdrawal Agreement was just a brand al-Maliki slapped on it in November when he was attempting to pressure Parliament to vote for it. Since then, that 'term' is no longer used, not even by al-Maliki. Now let's deal with the June claim Trudy's pimping. From the December 22nd snapshot:
Today Elisabeth Bumiller (New York Times) examines the realities of the so-called US withdrawal from Iraq and it's not a pretty sight. Bumiller and Thom Shanker reported last week on how the 'plan' presented to president-elect Barack Obama -- the Petraeus-Odierno plan -- wouldn't allow for that campaign 'promise' of a US withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq. Friday Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) reported that word games could allow for the impression that promises were being kept -- including what the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement allegedly promised. For context, Sudarsan Raghavan and Qais Mizher (Washington Post) explained last week, "American combat troops will remain inside Iraqi cities to train and mentor Iraqi forces after next summer, despite a security agreement that calls for their withdrawal from urban areas by June 30, the top U.S. military commander said Saturday." With all that as the backdrop, Bumiller explains today that "a semantic dance" has begun at the Pentagon over what qualifies as a combat soldier and, with regards to the treaty, "Even though the agreement with the Iraqi government calls for all American combat troops to be out of the cities by the end of June, military planners are now quietly acknowledging that many will stay behind as renamed "trainers" and "advisers" in what are effectively combat roles. In other words, they will still be engaged in combat, just called something else." Bumiller notes that "trainers" and "advisers" will be the renaming terms for "combat troops" in order to keep them in Iraq: "In other words, they will still be engaged in combat, just called something else." Of Barack, she notes, "it has become clear that his definition of ending the war means leaving behind many thousands of American troops."
So that means we've taken care of The Trudys and their "withdraw from major cities in June!" nonsense. (And it's already been learned that even the private contractors/mercenaries clause may not stand.) With the well known history of US treaties, you really had to be naive to think it would work out any differently. Naive or a liar.
So let's back up to this 'safer' claim. The same December 20th Green Zone press conference found Maj Gen Atta expounding on what's in store for the coming year: "The year of 2009 is going to witness a lot more coordination between Baghdad Amanat and the BOC and also the traffic police to reopen all the closed roads and streets and to also lift or remove all the concrete barries or security barriers, and [. . . .]" Really? And the security's going to hold? Hmmm. It's very likely that some of the news outlets pulling reporters from Iraq and sending them to Afghanistan may have to alter those plans at some point in the new year.
Meanwhile Campbell Robertson (New York Times) reports on some things that actually are planned to happen. On January 1st, warrants will be needed. Arrest warrants and detention warrants. The former must be received before arrests, the latter can be granted as late as 24 hours after a detention. So, Robertson explains, the US military is doing the house-to-house searches and other activities they can still do before the January 1st date when they will (may)be required to consult the Iraqi judiciary.Robertson notes that Company C of the "First Battalion [,35th Armor Regiment] has been trying to complete missions, like general house-to-house searches, that will soon become far more complicated, if not impossible" but, this month, as they were attempting to gather the backing that they hoped would result in a warrant being issued in January on one suspect, they came across him and "did what they had been doing freely for nearly six years: they detained him on the spot."
"(may)be"? As Capt Lloyd B. Osafo points out in the article, "Who knows if the Iraqis are going to follow all of this to a T? That's my personal opinion about all of this: who knows?" And the doubt is only increased by Iraqi Maj Hasson S. Hussein al-Zoubadi whining about how the Iraqi military will now have to follow these new rules. Robertson points out, "Actually, the agreement changes almost nothing for the Iraqi security forces: they are supposed to have been operating under the warrant-based system since 2007." When they haven't been it backs up Osafo's opinion.
Also expected in the new year is the holding of provincial elections. They are scheduled for January 31st and Maj Gen Atta was talking them up in the December 20th press conference as well. Missy Ryan and Andrew Dobbie (Reuters) report Mowaffaq al-Hamdani was shot dead in a Mosul cafe today and that al-Hamdani was "a candidate for the Sunni Arab party Iraq for Us". Following the shooting, police pursued the killers and 1 police officer was shot dead while another was injured. The reporters note, "The results of the vote, which will choose provincial council leaders in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces, will set the tone for parliamentary elections due at the end of 2009. The government of Nineveh province, where Mosul is located, has been in the hands of minority Kurds since many of the Sunni Arab majority boycotted the last provincial elections in 2005."
Turning to some of today's other reported violence . . .
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul bombing that followed another bombing (apparently the first was to draw people in for the second bombing) that left 4 dead and seven people wounded while a Sinjar car bombing claimed 5 lives and left forty-five wounded.
Reuters drops back to Tuesday to note 1 corpse discovered in Mosul and another just outside of Mosul.
CBS and AP note that New Year's Eve is being celebrated around the world. But not in the allegedly 90% democracy Iraq, Sam Dagher (New York Times) reports that Baghdad residents will not be allowed to celebrate the New Year tonight. It's been outlawed.Dagher explains that hotels and clubs have been ordered to close down (and cancel reservations). Why? Shi'ites have a holiday. Remember the back-patting al-Maliki just received last week? "Christmas is a legal holiday in Iraq for the first time ever!" was what the headlines screamed at many outlets. Murharram is going on! All must be placed on hold for this Shi'ite religious period (Shi'ite but not Sunni).
Turning to US politics. Roland Burris has been appointed to the US Senate by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich is governor and the state constitution gives him the right to appoint the replacement for Barack Obama who has left the Senate for the White House.The Illinois legislature has already taken the issue of Blagojevich to the state court and the court took a pass. The legislature had it in their power to impeach Rod Blagojevich and still might. However, they have yet to impeach him.He has appointed Burris. That appointment can't legally be overturned. And though the Illinois Secretary of State insists he will not confirm Burris, that's not really allowed in the state constitution. The Secretary is not allowed to override a governor's choice. Those egging the SoS on should be ashamed because they're applauding the subversion of the law. On the front page of today's New York Times, Monica Davey offers up "Defiant Illinois Governor Names Pick for Obama Seat" which includes an offensive statement:The choice of Mr. Burris immediately injected the issue of race into the appointment process, which may very well have been party of the governor's calculation. Representative Bobby L. Rush, Democrat of Illinois, who was called to the lectern at the news conference by Mr. Burris said he did not believe any senator "wants to go on record to deny one African-American from being seated in the U.S. Senate." The offensive statement is Davey's first one and we'll be using "Black" and not African-American in this entry, just FYI.Barack Obama is a person of color, he is bi-racial. He was the person holding the seat. Of course a person of color should have been considered to replace Barack. More importantly, appointments have often been a traditional road to address disenfranchisement. What's especially offensive about Davey's sentence is that she writes for the New York Times. New York which has their first Black governor, David Paterson. And they may have Hillary's Senate seat up for grabs but no one at Davey's paper has advocated for the governor to appoint a person of color to the Senate seat should Hillary become the next Secretary of State. Not only has the paper refused to advocate for it, they haven't even suggested it. (Marcia has raised the issue here and she's noted a qualified woman of color here.)Blagojevich may or may not be innocent. The courts will decide that. But the state legislature could have removed him if they had the votes and the will to do so. They did not. His powers include naming a replacement senator. If they didn't want him to do so, they should have impeached him (or at least tried).Blagojevich has exercised his powers and named the new US Senator from Illinois: Roland Burris. It is too late now and no loophole should give the legislature a second chance. They have had weeks and weeks to take action and they haven't done so. Too bad if they don't like the results.Shouldn't have dragged their feet.Talk of not seating Burris is offensive. The Times offers Carl Hulse's "Democrats Seek to Black Appointee to Obama's Seat, but Authority Is in Question" which addresses the disgraceful efforts now with Burris and in 1969 with Adam Clayton Powell. It really doesn't matter what Harry Reid thinks he wants, he is not the governor of the Illinois. Rod Blagojevich is and he acted within his (state) constitutional duties in appointing Burris who is qualified. The US Senate is being offensive with their threats and their claims now that they'd do this with anyone appointed by Blagojevich. No they wouldn't. And they probably won't be able to do it with Burris. The only thing that could have stopped the appointment was for the governor to be impeached. The legislature didn't do that.Roland Burris is Black. And if they're going to try to deny him his Senate seat -- which he was legally appointed to -- they are going to look very offensive and very racist. Barack Obama -- bi-racial -- has already issued a statement saying Burris shouldn't be seated. A bi-racial man with all the breaks, spoiled from youth and barely out of his youth, wants to deny a Black man who took part in the Civil Rights struggle of the sixties? He wants to deny a Howard University graduate? He better check himself real quick because this will not play well and someone better remind Barack that racism allows him to be considered "Black" but that's a day pass, a temporary one, and it can be pulled at any point. Attempting to deny Roland Burris a seat in the US Senate could result in some of the most pointed criticism Barack's yet to receive.Roland Burris will be only the fifth Black person to become a US Senator. Hiram Revels was the first (1870, from Mississippi), Blanche K. Bruce (1874, Mississippi),Edward Brooke (1967 - 1979, Massachusetts) and Carol Moseley Braun, the first Black woman elected to the US Senate (1993-1999).Barack is bi-racial, he is not Black. (That's why we're using "Black" and not "African-American" for this entry.) Burris would be the fifth Black US Senator. And someone thinks he can be denied just because they're all huffy over Rod Blagojevich?What Blagojevich did was legal and within his rights. Efforts to deny Roland W. Burris his Senate seat will be seen as racism due to the historical pattern.Trivia note, like Burris, Edward Brooke was a Howard University alumni.Andrew Malcom's blog post "Inside Blagojevich's bold, brash &*%$^# pick to replace Obama" (Los Angeles Times' Top of the Ticket) does a better job than Davey's overly long article in addressing some of the realities involved. As Mike wrote last night, "I hope he does well by his state and its citizens and I say, 'Congratulations, Senator Burris'."Disclosure: I've known Bobby Rush for years (and years). The only participant in this (that I'm aware of) whom I know. (I don't know Burris, I don't know Blagojevich.)
Barack remains in the news despite his tropical vacation. While he vacations, Gaza is under assault. Rebecca has been following that and noted last night Cynthia McKinney joined doctors and human rights activits on the Dignity to take medical supplies and help to the Palestinians however the ship was attacked by the Israeli navy. Black Agenda Report points out:
President-Elect Obama has been silent on the Israeli attacks, while President George Bush has supported Israel's actions.
"I would like to ask my former colleagues in the United States Congress to stop sending weapons of mass destruction around the world," said McKinney, who was the Green Party's presidential candidate in November. "As we are about to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, let us remember what he said. He said that the United States is the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet. And guess what: we experienced a little bit of that violence, because the weapons that are being used by Israel are weapons that were supplied by the United States government."
Vacationing Barack also remains dogged by the controversy he created when he invited homophobe Rick Warren to preside as some sort of anti-gay activist at the inauguration. Margaret Kimberly (Black Agenda Report) observes:
Obama has been courting Warren and other conservative evangelicals for some time. In June of 2006 Obama gave a speech that purported to show Democrats how to reach out to religious voters. At that time he had not yet officially declared himself a presidential candidate, but he very clearly showed his strategic hand and his political plans. He smeared religious progressives by saying that they didn't even exist and he smeared all progressives by claiming that they were hostile to religion. The much talked about speech consisted of one right wing talking point after another.
The Warren invitation is vintage Obama. Like Bush, Obama believes that he is the decider and that opinions differing from his own are to be ignored. Unlike Bush, he is savvy enough to pretend otherwise, and his smooth talking feel goodism fools many into maintaining a vow of silence about anything he does. The Warren invitation is yet another instance of the patronizing Obama telling the left that they shouldn't worry their pretty little
And Dr. Violet Socks (Reclusive Leftist) observes:
I wrote about the Warren thing when it broke, and noted at the time that -- ahem -- there's a hell of a lot more wrong with the guy than just the gay marriage thing. But who am I kidding? Women's rights don't matter. My Google news feed is full of articles and editorials on how Warren's presence at the Inauguration is an insult to right-thinking liberals everywhere -- but only because of his homophobia. There is no mention of the sexism. Thinking that women are born-to-obey is fine, apparently, but the anti-gay thing is just beyond the pale. Golly, Richard Cohen's sister even canceled her Inauguration party.
And you know what? Homophobia is awful. It's ugly primitive bigotry. Kind of like racism, which is also awful. Ridiculous to think that skin color or sexual orientation makes some humans inferior to other humans.
But sexism? Thinking women are inferior? Even preaching that women were put on earth to serve men? Eh. Whatever. Different strokes.
Forty years after the Second Wave started, and we're still at the back of the bus.
Socks' point is valid but it also needs to be noted that homophobia effects women. It effects women who are lesbians, it effects women targeted for being or suspected of being lesbians. It effects women with LGBT friends and family members and Richard Cohen's sister is a lesbian which is why he emphasized the homophobia when writing of his sister's decision to cancel a planned party to celebrate president-elect Barack's inauguration.
"2008 in books (Martha & Shirley)" -- Martha and Shirley's book commentary -- went up yesterday and Ruth's "Ruth's 2008 Public Radio Report" went up today.
the new york timeselisabeth bumiller
the washington postsudarsan raghavan
the los angeles timesjulian e. barnes
campbell robertsonsam dagher
andrew malcolmthe los angeles times
laith hammoudimcclatchy newspapers
sex and politics and screeds and attitudemikey likes itruths reportsickofitradlz
But I've been reading over and over one entry C.I. did this morning. I logged on late and started with Ruth's wonderful commentary. Then I cross-posted it here. Now I've had time to go back and read over the rest and understand why my office mates were on my case to "hurry up."
C.I. has a really important entry up that's not about Iraq. C.I. does many, many important entries but they're often about Iraq (which is the focus of TCI). So I'm reading this and it's got so much in it. It's really important and I'm reposting it in full.
In my office, it's a huge hit and I think it's wonderful. Roland Burris should be the US Senator.
Congratulations, Senator Burris
The above is the announcement released yesterday from the Illinois Governor's office.
Roland Burris has been appointed to the US Senate by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich is governor and the state constitution gives him the right to appoint the replacement for Barack Obama who has left the Senate for the White House.
The Illinois legislature has already taken the issue of Blagojevich to the state court and the court took a pass. The legislature had it in their power to impeach Rod Blagojevich and still might. However, they have yet to impeach him.
He has appointed Burris. That appointment can't legally be overturned.
On the front page of today's New York Times, Monica Davey offers up "Defiant Illinois Governor Names Pick for Obama Seat" includes an offensive statement:
The choice of Mr. Burris immediately injected the issue of race into the appointment process, which may very well have been party of the governor's calculation. Representative Bobby L. Rush, Democrat of Illinois, who was called to the lectern at the news conference by Mr. Burris said he did not believe any senator "wants to go on record to deny one African-American from being seated in the U.S. Senate."
The offensive statement is Davey's first one and we'll be using "Black" and not African-American in this entry, just FYI.
Barack Obama is a person of color, he is bi-racial. He was the person holding the seat. Of course a person of color should have been considered to replace Barack. More importantly, appointments have often been a traditional road to address disenfranchisement. What's especially offensive about Davey's sentence is that she writes for the New York Times. New York which has their first Black governor, David Paterson. And they may have Hillary's Senate seat up for grabs but no one at Davey's paper has advocated for the governor to appoint a person of color to the Senate seat should Hillary become the next Secretary of State. Not only has the paper refused to advocate for it, they haven't even suggested it. (Marcia has raised the issue here and she's noted a qualified woman of color here.)
Blagojevich may or may not be innocent. The courts will decide that. But the state legislature could have removed him if they had the votes and the will to do so. They did not. His powers include naming a replacement senator. If they didn't want him to do so, they should have impeached him (or at least tried).
Blagojevich has exercised his powers and named the new US Senator from Illinois: Roland Burris. It is too late now and no loophole should give the legislature a second chance. They have had weeks and weeks to take action and they haven't done so. Too bad if they don't like the results.
Shouldn't have dragged their feet.
Talk of not seating Burris is offensive. The Times offers Carl Hulse's "Democrats Seek to Black Appointee to Obama's Seat, but Authority Is in Question" which addresses the disgraceful efforts now with Burris and in 1969 with Adam Clayton Powell. It really doesn't matter what Harry Reid thinks he wants, he is not the governor of the Illinois. Rod Blagojevich is and he acted within his (state) constitutional duties in appointing Burris who is qualified. The US Senate is being offensive with their threats and their claims now that they'd do this with anyone appointed by Blagojevich. No they wouldn't. And they probably won't be able to do it with Burris. The only thing that could have stopped the appointment was for the governor to be impeached. The legislature didn't do that.
Roland Burris is Black. And if they're going to try to deny him his Senate seat -- which he was legally appointed to -- they are going to look very offensive and very racist. Barack Obama -- bi-racial -- has already issued a statement saying Burris shouldn't be seated. A bi-racial man with all the breaks, spoiled from youth and barely out of his youth, wants to deny a Black man who took part in the Civil Rights struggle of the sixties? He wants to deny a Howard University graduate? He better check himself real quick because this will not play well and someone better remind Barack that racism allows him to be considered "Black" but that's a day pass, a temporary one, and it can be pulled at any point. Attempting to deny Roland Burris a seat in the US Senate could result in some of the most pointed criticism Barack's yet to receive.
Roland Burris will be only the fifth Black person to become a US Senator. Hiram Revels was the first (1870, from Mississippi), Blanche K. Bruce (1874, Mississippi),
Edward Brooke (1967 - 1979, Massachusetts) and Carol Moseley Braun, the first Black woman elected to the US Senate (1993-1999).
Barack is bi-racial, he is not Black. (That's why we're using "Black" and not "African-American" for this entry.) Burris would be the fifth Black US Senator. And someone thinks he can be denied just because they're all huffy over Rod Blagojevich?
What Blagojevich did was legal and within his rights. Efforts to deny Roland W. Burris his Senate seat will be seen as racism due to the historical pattern.
Trivia note, like Burris, Edward Brooke was a Howard University alumni.
Andrew Malcom's blog post "Inside Blagojevich's bold, brash &*%$^# pick to replace Obama" (Los Angeles Times' Top of the Ticket) does a better job than Davey's overly long article in addressing some of the realities involved. As Mike wrote last night, "I hope he does well by his state and its citizens and I say, 'Congratulations, Senator Burris'."
Disclosure: I've known Bobby Rush for years (and years). The only participant in this (that I'm aware of) whom I know. (I don't know Burris, I don't know Blagojevich.)
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.
the new york times
the los angeles times
mikey likes it
Ruth's commentary on 2008 for public radio
Ruth's 2008 Public Radio Report
In the Democratic Party primary, I supported Senator Clinton. When the nomination was stolen from her, I supported Ralph Nader. Throughout it all, I had admiration for Cynthia McKinney and Rosa McKinney running on the Green Party presidential ticket and for G.O.P. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. What a significant moment -- even though public radio was never interested in it or anything to do with women. Of all the photos during the election, this one made me happiest.
the diane rehm show
like maria said paz
the third estate sunday review
the common ills
["2008 in books (Martha & Shirley)" -- Martha and Shirley's book commentary went up yesterday. Ruth's commentary today will be followed tomorrow with additional year-in-review commentaries.]
2008 in books
2008 in books (Martha & Shirley)
Nothing in print for the left.
No big treaties, no big thoughts. A few managed to piece together clip-jobs throughout the year. For example, Amy and David Goodman managed to churn out another clip-job and about the only good thing we can say for Standing Up To The Madness is that it provided Ava and C.I. with the raw material for a thousand jokes. Our personal favorite: "Standing Up To The Madness' slogan is 'It Takes Two.' The Donny and Marie of the faux left return to handle a cut-and-paste clip job so daunting it truly does take two."
There was ____ who 'entertained' in Chicago and thought they could do so under the radar but Elaine caught that little performance and wrote it up for the gina & krista round-robin. You can be sure that should ____ release a book in 2009, Ava and C.I. will tear the little cheerleader a new one.
Because that's really all the left was, a bunch of Barack cheerleaders. When the man now known as Coward Zinn elected to endorse the Corporatist War Hawk Barack, the only question was whether the left was carp or catfish? Regardless, it rotted at the top.
You really have to wonder who these 'writers' expect to sell books to in the future? The people spending money on their books were hardly DLC-ers. So it should be really interesting to watch the Norman Solomons show up with their next bad book and attempt to interest anyone in it.
It got so bad that, by June, one of us would participate in the round-robin's roundtable solely to ask Ava and C.I., "So ___'s putting out a book this month. Kool-Aid drinker or independent thinker?" As all know, nothing but Kool-Aid drinkers.
It really is amazing how little Iraq mattered to the alleged left after they had used the 2002 vote to tar and feather Hillary Clinton. They stayed silent as Barack immediately began backing off his 'pledge' in June. They stay silent today as Barack and Joe Biden -- two who grandstanded against the so-called SOFA throughout 2008 -- did nothing to halt the White House from ramming that treaty through or, in fact, even publicly offered a word of objection after the election.
2008 was truly about thinning your shopping choices and that had nothing to do with the failing economy but everything to do with, as Bob Dylan once sang, "Seeing the real you at last."
Which brings us to music, doesn't it? A good thing because the first book published in 2008 that members got excited about was a music book, Janis Ian's Society's Child: My Autobiography. It can be purchased at Amazon where it's currently selling for $16.98 ($26.95 list price). You can read an excerpt from the book here (HTML) or here (PDF).
Janis Ian is a gifted singer-songwriter who began her recording career long before she was an adult. (The title of her book comes from the song she first made her name with.) Kat reviewed Janis Ian's Folk Is The New Black in 2006. Those who prefer or need audio can click here for NPR, where she discussed the book with Robert Siegel for All Things Considered.
At her site, a fact sheet notes:
JANIS' SONGS HAVE BEEN RECORDED BY (partial list):
Elisabeth Andreasson, Chet Atkins, Charles Aznavour, Joan Baez, Suzi Beatty, Glen Campbell, Cher, Chicago, Cynthia Clawson, Barbara Cook, Charlie Daniels, Roberta Flack, Kye Fleming, Ronnie Gilbert, Amy Grant, Lee Greenwood, Nanci Griffith, Michael Johnson, Marti Jones, Ute Lemper, Eddie Marnay, Hugh Masakela, Kathy Mattea, John Mellencamp, Bette Midler, Misao, Buddy Mondlock, Nana Mouskouri, Nick Mundy, Holly Near, Maura O’Connell, Maria Ortiz, Michele Pilar, Puff Daddy, Katja Riemann, Judy Rodman, Diane Schuur, Marilyn Sellars, Nina Simone, Spooky Tooth, Dusty Springfield, Jeff Stevens & The Bullets, Lisa Stewart, Russ Taff, Mel Torme, Conny V.D.Bos, Vanilla Fudge, Cheryl Wheeler, Windows, Mare Winningham, Phil Woods, Michelle Wright.
Inspired by Jim's questioning in Third's book feature on Sunday, we asked C.I. to name one other artist, not listed, who has recorded Janis Ian's songs? "Read the names to me again," C.I. said. "Okay, here's one not on the list. Barbi Benton. She did a surprisingly strong cover of 'In The Winter' back in the mid-seventies."
All of the above adds up to how Ian is able to write an autobiography so moving just as the life she's lived has provided her with so many amazing songs.
In a year crowded with choices, Society's Child would have stood out. In 2008, it's a rare blessing. We hoped Chris Hedges would release a book, Hedges being one of the few independent voices the left had left. He has two due out in 2009. 2008 could have ended with only Ian but two books published in September grabbed the interest of the community. David Bacon's Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) was puzzling especially when compared to Janis Ian's book. Ian has spent a lifetime managing to put the heart's feelings into words so her ability to write such a moving book was a non-surprise in retrospect. Bacon, however, is a photo-journalist as well as a text-journalist and while his images are always rich with power and emotions, we were honestly surprised by his ability to do so much with words on such a complex subject. His book was informative and a real journey.
If you haven't had time to pick this book up yet, make a point to do so. Laura Carlsen and Mary Bauer explored this powerful book at Foreign Policy in Focus.
Which brings us to the third book. Paul Street was one of the most consistent independent voices of 2007 and 2008 that the left had. So in September when his Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics was released there was a variety of responses. Marci spoke for more than herself when she noted on her ballot that she waited "about four weeks" before buying the book "out of fear that I'd open it and realize, 'They got to him too'." A number of members expressed similar feelings. However, a larger group also expressed frustration and Street's book might have ranked even higher were it not for the economy. A number of members wrote they'd like to vote for it but were still waiting for it at their library. And Dallas community members waiting have the bad news that although the book is in their library's computer system with one copy at a branch, the book has never arrived at the branch. Those lucky enough to read the book can consider themselves very fortunate indeed. Is this site still going to be around this time next year? C.I. planned to take it dark right after the election but we've got a six-month extension and C.I. may extend again. If that does happen, we will make an exception for Street's book and allow it to be voted on in next year's poll as well because there are so many members waiting for it at libraries. Eli, Jonah, Trina and Keesha helped us count the votes and they each have a copy which they are more than willing to pass on to members who have been waiting for a copy as are we. Eli and Keesha are going to coordinate that list so e-mail them if you've been able to get a copy and would like to read it. Keesha asks that anyone who receives a copy remembers, "It's a book, not a Holy Bible. If a page gets bent or stained, it's not the end of the world and you do not need to replace it before passing it on to the next in line." But it is a big book, with big ideas and Street and Bacon were the only thinkers on the left to produce anything in book form in 2008.
So those are the three books the community found worthy of recommending for 2009 -- the only books the community found worthy.
all things considered
the third estate sunday review
like maria said paz
the common ills
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
But we know Oprah stepped in it three times now. This is from wowOwow:
Oprah Winfrey has been had -- again.
When the talk-show queen recommends a book to her fans through her show and her book club, this is quite possibly the biggest endorsement an author could get. But she’s now been thrice bitten by authors who aren’t exactly telling the truth in their memoirs.
First it was Margaret Seltzer and her fake-yet-said-to-be-true story about being a biracial gangbanger, then it was James Frey with A Million Little Pieces. Now, it’s Herman Rosenblat with his Angel at the Fence. Winfrey called that book "the single greatest love story" she’s ever promoted on her show.
I would actually add a fourth one: Hiring a sexual predator to work at her all-girls school in Africa.
And what about the quack plastic surgereon she promoted. Whose mother ended up going to him and died? Was it Kanye West's mother? Yep, I just Googled. It was Dondra West. And that quack surgeon is the one the Big O pushed on her show.
I really think Oprah needs to retire already. She's never coming out of the closet (I do believe she's gay and most lesbians I know believe it as well) so she's really got nothing left to offer other than her dopey, psuedo empowerment nonsense.
We need real leaders. Instead we get distractors. That's how the illegal war hits the six year mark this March.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Tuesday, December 30, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the refugee crisis gets serious attention, the Green Zone comes under fire, "Awakening" Council members are still not under Iraqi control, warnings of Kurdish and Arab conflict come from the puppet government in Baghdad, and more.
As noted yesterday, the refugee crisis is covered today. The largest global refugee crisis remains Iraq with over four million internal and external refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees places the number of refugees at over 4.7 million with 2.7 million being internal refugees and notes, "In 2006, Iraqis became the leading nationality seeking asylum in Europe." The List Project notes, "The Iraq refugee crisis is now among the fastest growing refugee crises in the world. 15% of Iraq's population is in flight, either displaced internally or forced to flee across international borders to neighboring countries."
Matthew Hay Brown (Baltimore Sun) reported on Najim Abid Hajwal Sunday, an Iraqi refugee who moved with "his wife and their seven children" to Jordan due to violence and threats and he thought they'd be in Jordan for a few "weeks. That was four years ago." The Hajwal family remins in Jordan and Najim explains, "Every day, I'm waiting for things to improve, but I don't see it. I feel as if, in one moment, I lost everything." The bulk of the externally displaced Iraqi refugees have settled in either Jordan or Syria where they "are blamed for crowding schools, straining hospitals and health clinics and driving up the costs of housing, fuel, food and other basics. With pressure building on Iraq to support its citizens abroad, the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is offering cash payments for refugees to return. Iraqi embassies in Syria and Egypt have organized flights and bus rides home. They have found few takers." That began the first installment of a three-part series by Matthew Hay Brown. He also explores the US response which we'll note in moment.
The UNHCR has also termed it the "largest population movement since 1948 in the Middle East." That factoid is noted by Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) which released a report on Iraq's internal refugees yesterday entitled "Challenges of forced displacement within Iraq" (here for HTML, here for PDF).
* 4.3 million is the number of Iraqis IDMC classifies as "forcibly displaced, internally or in other countries"
* 2.8 million is the number of Iraqis who are internally displaced according to IDMC
* Both numbers come with a cautionary note due to continued security issues and "fluctuation in the displacement situation"
* The bulk of those internally displaced (60%) are said to have come from Baghdad
* The bulk of the internally displaced are Shi'ia Arab (58%)
* Sunni Arabs make up the next largest category of the internally displaced (30%) followed by "Shabaks, Christians Assyrians, Chaldeans, Amernians, Faeeli Kurds, Yazidis, and Sabean Mandeans"
* At least 1.5 million Iraqi refugees are estimated to be residing in Syria currently with another 500,000 estimated in Jordan.
Since the start of the illegal war, the report notes that displacement has resulted from military operations and from sectarian violence. On the former, the report reminds, "During the first months of the invasion, thousands of people were displaced by air strikes and urban warfare in Anbar, Thi'Qar, Basra and Baghdad. Across the country, small numbers of people living in areas considered strategically important were forcibly displaced by US led coalition forces". Later years of the illegal war result in other regions being targeted as well. On sectarian violence, the report explains, "In 2006, 80 per cent of sectarian violence occurred within a 55-kilometre radius of Baghdad (UNSC, 11 December 2006). There was already evicendence during 2005 of growing numbers fleeing Baghdad's mixed neighbourhoods to places where their community predominated". The report notes:
The MNF-I and ISF have conducted large-scale counter-insurgency operations in Basra, in the Sadr City area of Baghdad, Amarah, Baquba, Diyala, and Mosul. These operations, particularly in Basra and Baghdad, were marked by heavy fighting in densely populated urban areas, curfews, roadblocks and access difficulties for humanitarian agencies (IRN, 30 March 2008). Military operations and ongoing violence in heavily populated civilian areas have featured a lack of respect for the principles of proportionality and distinction, they have put civilians at risk and in certain instances led to mass displacement. In April and May 2008 operations against the Madhi militia in Sadr City led to the temporary displacement of approximately 4,700 families (IOM, June 2008).
Furthermore, there continues to be prolonged and multiple displacement due to insecurity, lack of adequate housing, and access to basic services and employment opportunities. The evolving situation has also entailed risks of new patterns of displacement emerging such as displacement of returnees or secondary displacement of occupants of private and public properties. IDPs in private and public properties increasingly face secondary displacement through evictions (IOM, October 2008). Sometimes these evictions orders only affect a small group of families, in other cases such as in the former military camp of Taji in Baghdad close to 1,000 IDP families (estimated 7,000 individuals) are under threat of eviction (IDP WG, 27 June 2008).
The report notes that the United Nations "and the humanitarian community continue to report human rights abuses against civilians by militias, criminal gangs, and security and military forces". The Iraqis turned into refugees are often forced to relocate in "areas where public services are limited, overstretched or non-existent" which only further adds to the problems for the refugees. They also lack adequate shelter and access to needed food. The problems with food access also includes the issue of ration cards which are issued to a family for a location and which, once they become displaced, requires red-tape to have the registrations transferred. The report notes, "While most provincial authorities allow IDPs to enter, various restrictions bar them from registering on security, economic and demographic grounds. These restrictions limit their capacity to rent or purchase property and access essential basic services and specific welfare assistance to IDPS".
One section of the report zooms in on women and children and we'll note it in full:
Women and children represent over 70 per cent of the displaced population (IOM, January 2008). Thousands of women and childred have been killed, maimed or injured; a large number of children have lost one or both parents, while the violence has left a notably high number of widows (US SR, April 2008). Female heads of household, women and children show the highest indicators of socio-economic vulnerability amongst the displaced. Attaining employment has been even more difficult for women and widows, especially in increasingly conservative areas (IDP WG, 27 June 2008); a significant number of women have no sources of income (IDP WP, November 2008).
Economic hardship has taken its toll on displaced children. Reports note that children are increasingly forced to work to support themselves or their families. Internally displaced children live in substandard conditions, without proper access to education and health care services, and there is a lack of support available to children whith disabilities or suffering from trauma. Absenteeism from schools among IDP children is reportedly high due to financial difficulties and problems accessing and registering in schools. Schools also lack sufficient resources and staff to accommodate the influx of children, while IDPs in the north encounter difficulties finding Arabic-language schools (IDP WG, March 2008 and November 2008).
Sexual and gender-based violence, including against children, has been widespread. This has involved discrimination, intimidation, beatings, mutiliations and "honour killings" (UNAMI, March 2008). Among the displaced, early marriages, domestic violence and also prostitution, including of children, has been reported (IDP WG, June 2008; IDP WG, March 2008). Displaced women living in camp or camp-like situations are more likely to be exposed to sexual assault and abductions (IOM, 11 January 2008). The lack of access of children and pregnant women to primary health and nutritional support has led to increased morbidity as well as child and maternal mortality for displaced and non-displaced alike. Among the displaced, there has been a reported rise in the incidence of unattended births and miscarriages (IOM, 11 January 2008). The mental health of conflict victims including IDPs, and especially women and children, represents another major issue. In 2007, 70 per cent of displaced mothers consulted by IMC reported that their children suffered from psychosocial distress (IOM, 30 June 2008; IMC, January 2007).
The report notes that some 184,000 people are said to have returned to their homes as of September 2008 (167,000 IDPs, 17,000 EDPs); however, "these figures nevertheless represent less than six per cent of all IDPs in Iraq." The report reminds that both the United States government and the Iraqi government have insisted refugees should return home and that this is not what the international humanitarian community urges. "In contrast," the report explains, "members of the humanitarian community remain acutely concerned about the apparent manipulation for political purposes of the questions of returns of IDPs and refugees (NCCI, January 2008). The United Nations, including UNHCR, and NGOs have repeatedly warned of the dangers of premature return and the disastrous consequences for both the displaced and for the stability of Iraq (UNHCR, September 2008; RI, July 2008). Failure of the government to take heed of these warnings will affect sustainability of returns, and put at risk the fragile gains acquired to date. UNHCR does not encourage returns to Iraq at the moment, due to the fragile security situation, though they do provide some assistance including cash grants to those voluntarily returning (UNHCR, 23 September 2008)."
The report addresses secondary occupation which does include a refugees home being occupied by someone else. A program offers squatters on private property the US equivalent of $250 a month for half a year to assist in finding another home. Secondary occupation also includes the squatters who have taken over abandoned public properties. The report notes that al-Maliki's government is moving towards more evictions with "the highest reported cases of evictions" being in Baghdad and Basra.
Iraqis fleeing their country do not just go to Syria or Jordan. Some have settled in other areas such as Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Europe. On Lebanon, Crosswalk notes:
The Chicago Tribune reports that Iraqi Christians with enough means are fleeing to Lebanon, preferring the longer journey for the greater freedom at the end. Lebanon's population is 40 percent Christian - much greater than Syria or Turkey, where many Iraqi refugees go. Rev. Joseph Malkoum in Beirut says the number of refugees is only increasing. "There was a period when we felt the numbers were going down, but after the recent troubles in Mosul the movement is picking up again," said Malkoum, who holds a special mass every Sunday for Iraqi Chaldeans. "Five years from now there won't be any Christians left in Iraq. It's happening quietly but also very quickly," said retired Gen. Michel Kasdano, a researcher and spokesman at the Chaldean Archbishopric.
The United States, which instigated the illegal war, has been far from welcoming. It has allotted very few slots for Iraqi immigrants and, despite that, until this fiscal year, it never met the meager quotas set. You can see [PDF format warning] the discrepancy by studying the UNHCR chart on the number of Iraqis they help apply to the US each month compared to the number of Iraqis accepted. Last week, NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (Morning Edition) reported on NPR's Iraqi staffers who are applying for refugee status in the US including Ali Hamdani who will be moving to Syria while he waits to hear if the US will accept him. Since the start of the Iraq War, Hamdani has been "a translator for NPR, the New York Times and Times of London . . . But by training he is a medical doctor. . . . He hopes to get his medical specialization after he arrives in America." Hamdani explains, "Going to the State is a dream for everyone, but for an Iraqi person who's been trhough all of this I think it's not just a dream . . . it's just life. It's a chance to have a proper life, a real life."
Possibly, if granted refugee status, Hamadi's story will turn out differently than that of Muhammad Shumri. Matthew Hay Brown concluded his Baltimore Sun series today with a look at refugees who made it to the US. Dr. Shumri, "48-year-old physician," and once "a high ranking official in the Iraqi Ministry of Health" who moved to the US. He explains, "I thought, 'I am a doctor, they know me, I work with them, I can get a job, they will help me. I didn't think I would have the same job. But maybe I would take a job as a physician or teach at a university. I ws shocked when I got here." Why was he shocked? Because like other Iraqi professionals, he's found that the US "bureaucracy . . . doesn't recognize their credentials." Dr. Shumri is now "a medical interpreter at Johns Hopkins Hospital" which does not pay enough to cover his living expenses. [C.I. note, all the more appalling when you consider that Johns Hopkins cheerleaded this illegal war. They'd prefer to pretend otherwise today but they actively encouraged their neocon staff to whore out the facility by cheerleading the impending war and continuing to do so in its early days. They were especially popular guests on PBS' NewsHour where they could advocate for destruction and killing as 'medical professionals'.] Dr. Zena Jalal worked at a Baghdad hospital. Here? Hay Brown explains, "A general practitioner in Iraq, Jalal is taking classes at Baltimore City Community College so she can work as a pharmacy technician while she studies for her licensing exam. Her 29-year-old sister, Sausan, a biologist, has found a job as a cashier, their widowed mother is not working." The mother was an attorney in Iraq and her deceased "husband was a cardiologist." May Jalal tells Hay Brown, "We used to live rich. We find it difficult to live in this situation."
In the second part of the series, Matthew Hay Brown quoted Joost Hiltermann (International Crisis Group) explaining that the US was not doing enough despite claims (from the US State Dept) that they are: "The United States is responsible for this mess, frankly. It certainly was responsible for allowing the chaos that enveloped Iraq. It should therefore bear the responsibilities." The State Dept's James Foley offered excuses to Hay Brown.
In fairness, I'll note that Foley is new to the program, in fairness, and that he came on board right as the US was again missing the admittance target for the last fiscal year. The only year he's overseen was the 2008 fiscal year and the US did meet its target for admissions. In February, US House Reps John Dingell and Alcee Hastings sent a letter to US Secretary of State and Anger Condi Rice: "While we commend you for your appointment of Ambassador James Foley as Senior Coordinator for Iraqi Refugee Issues, we remain concerned that not enough attention and resources have been focused on the situation deemed by many the most pressing humanitarian crisis in the world. Most disconcerting is the fact that our government does not appear to have a long-term strategy to address this crisis." Dingell and Hastings can look at Matthew Hay Brown's three-part series and ask, "Was our letter even read?" The same problems remain.
The Baltimore Sun sketches out the process Iraqis go through in attempting to be admitted to the US. Yesterday Matthew Hay Brown reported on Tina Raad who was working "with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Baghdad" until her family became concerned she was being targeted for collaboration. Tina Raad made it to the US and is the coordinator for the List Project To Resettle Iraqi Allies. The List Project explains:
The List Project's mission is to help these Iraqi allies get to the United States and build a life once they arrive. In this section, you can explore the genesis of the crisis, its key players and statistics, statements from leaders on both sides of the aisle, historical precedents for major resettlement action, Iraqis explaining their situation in their own words and other frequently asked questions. The List Project also maintains a growing library of important documents relating to the crisis and a news page/blog with daily updates about the crisis and the Project.
Turning to Iraq, CNN reported this morning, "Muntadhir Al-Zaidi was due to go on trial Wednesday, but the Criminal Court postponed it pending an appeal filed by his lawyers with the Federal Court of Appeal, a spoekseman for the Supreme Judicial Council, Abdul Sattar Bayrakdar, said. . . . Al-Zaidi threw both of his shoes at Bush two weeks ago during a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad." Al Jazeera adds, "His lawyer, Dhiya al-Saadi, lodged a request for the trial to be cancelled on the grounds that court action would breach al-Zaidi's constitutional right to freedom of expression." al-Saadi is quoted stating, "Our appeal is based on the fact that Zaidi simply expressed his rejection of the occupation and the policy of repression against Iraqis. Zaidi's action falls within the framework of freedom of expression." AGI declares that the Central Criminal Court is for terrorism cases and that al-Zaidi's attorneys are attempting to have the case moved to another court. Ned Parker, Raheem Salman and Saif Hameed (Los Angeles Times' Babylon & Beyond) quote Muntader's brother Thigram al-Zaidi stating, "They wanted to have his trial . . . before the New Year and Bush's last day in the White House. That is what those politicians wanted. Thank God the judge was neutral." Deborah Haynes (Times of London) offers this perspective, "Thousands of people have rallied across Iraq to call for Mr Zaidi's release, while his shoe-throwing antics generated much praise across the Arab world. The incident even inspired several online shoe games. Speaking to The Times today, Mr al-Zaidi's family said that they were proud of his action, which has turned his brother, Maithm al-Zaid, a 28-year-old law student, into a mini celebrity in Baghdad."
Today, Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, the Green Zone came under fire. This as KUNA notes the US military plans a ceremony on Thursday to "handover . . . the International Zone (Green Zone) to the Iraqi authroities." Yesterday's snapshot noted, "Over the weekend Adam Ashton (McClatchy Newspapers) reported on the plans to turn Diyala Province over to Iraqis on January 1st where the big news was that despite the November 1st headlines of Baghdad taking over the 'Awakening' Councils, approximately half the members are still under US control." Today the US military announces January 1st Iraq "will take over control of the Sons of Iraq from Coalition forces in four key provinces across the country -- including Diyala, one of the most diverse provinces, where al-Qaeda in Iraq once terrorized and intimidated local residents. In all, 76 percent of the nation's SoI members will be under Iraqi government responsibility by New Year's Day." Considering that the spin at the start of November was that the handover was taking place then, maybe it still not have taken place is not 'progress'? And if the stated prediction comes true, that means all these months later, 24% will still not be under Iraqi control.
In some of today's reported violence . . .
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an Ayadhiyah "suicide car bomber" who took his/her own life and left four police officers wounded.
Hussien Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 police officer shot dead in Mosul today (and one shot dead yesterday). Reuters notes 1 "civilian" shot dead in Mosul and 1 "ribal leader" shot dead in Jalawla.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses were discovered in Baghdad.
Provincial elections in Iraq (in most of Iraq) are currently scheduled for January 31st. Today the United Nations announced, "A new United Nations-supported blog site just launced in Baghdad is the latest initiative to engage voters in the nascent democracy and motivate them to go to the polls on 31 January 2009 during the country's provincial elections. The blog, called 'Vote for Iraq', was launched with the support of the UN-led International Election Assistance Team (IEAT)." Elections -- if they take place -- will be closely watched for signals of power shifts. AFP reports that Barham Saleh (Deputy Prime Minister) is sounding alarms of a coming "Arab-Kurdish conflict": "There are vicisous and dangerous attempts to convert the political and economic problems in Baghdad on a number of issues to an Arab-Kurdish conflict." Saleh is a Kurd.
Meanwhile Deng Shasha (Xinhau) reports that Hussein al-Shahristani, Minister of Oil, declared today that a "second licensing round" will take place tomorrow on "ten oil fields". al-Shahristani was speaking on Iraqia TV and declared there would be a December 31st press conference in which he would announce the spoils of war now up for grabs. Gulf Times states, "Iraq has invited international oil companies which haven't been qualified yet by the country's oil ministry to take part in tomorrow's announcement of the second round of tenders to develop its vast oil and gas fields, a senior ministry official has said."While the tag sales continues, Iraq's assets are currently safe from seizure by foreign creditors. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs released "Foreign Minister's Statement in Security Council on Ending the Mandate of the Multinational Forces" yesterday:The UN Security Council voted unanimously for adopting a resolution to take Iraq out of Chapter VII and to terminate the mandate of the multinational forces in Iraq. Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari gave a speech in the Council and stated that Iraq has laid the foundations for stability and democracy since 2003.The minister expressed the gratitude of the Iraqi Government to the members of the Security Council for the continued support for Iraq and its people, adding that Iraq has taken advanced steps in the process of national reconciliation, security and stability in the country.The new resolution No. 1859 contains the protection of the Development Fund for Iraq and other Iraqi funds and stresses Iraq's obligations under Security Council resolutions. That wasn't the only statement the ministry released. In protest of the current slaughter in Gaza, the Ministry released "Foreign Ministry Condemns Israeli Brutal Aggression on Palestinians:"The Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Iraq condemns the Israeli brutal attack against Palestinians that caused many civilian casualties. The act of the Israeli authorities is incompatible with basic international human law and human rights.The Foreign Ministry calls for the United Nations, Arab League, other organizations and the International and Human institutes to stop this aggression. We call for the Palestinian parties to join forces with all good people in the world to protect the rights and interests of the Palestinians and enable them to practice their legal rights according to International Law.
And, as Betty noted last night, wowOwow was among the few to pick up on the Washington Post's Amit R. Paley and Andrea Bruce exploration of female mutiliation in Iraq. Andrea Bruce's photos are here and Amit R. Paley's text report is here. From wowOwow's "Female Circumcision Rampant in Kurdistan, Women's Groups Don't Know Why:"The group Stop FGM in Kurdistan notes that in 2005, cutting rates of at least 60 percent were reported in some areas of the region."The practice has a tremendous cost: Many girls bleed to death or die of infection. Most are traumatized. Those who survive can suffer adverse health effects during marriage and pregnancy. Women and girls are enclosed by a wall of silence," according to Stop FGM. "Experts agree that a strict taboo prevents them from speaking about their experiences -- which is all the same a main factor for the continuance of the practice."The Kurdish parliament won't outlaw the practice -- even though this region is considered more progressive than the rest of Iraq. But one female lawmaker and doctor last month told AFP that parliament was preparing to outlaw female circumcision. The government is expected to debate the bills in the new year.
In non-Iraq news, John Walsh (CounterPunch) explores the recent US election and observes:
The great fear among the Naderites was that without the help of the GPUS, Nader could not get on the ballot in a sufficient number of states since the GPUS already had ballot access in many places due to the work of many at the grass roots (this author included) . So how did the election work out? The statistics are quite revealing. Starting from scratch and raising money as he went, Nader got on the ballot in 45 states plus DC. McKinney using the Green "infrastructure" got on the ballot in only 32 states, less than Barr for the Libertarians (45 states) or Baldwin and the Constitutionalists (37 states). Nader did better on his own with his own activist following than did the Greens. In fact he got on the ballot in more states than he did in 2000 when he was the GPUS nominee. If one looks at fundraising the contrast is just as stark, with Nader raising $4,496,180 and McKinney a skimpy $240,130 which is not even sufficient for a decent Congressional campaign. And the popular vote among third party candidates was: 736,804 for Nader, 524,524 for Barr, 196,461 for Baldwin and 161,195 for McKinney. These numbers alone are testimony to the abject failure of the GPUS as an electoral force.
But the behavior of the GPUS toward McKinney was downright insulting. The insult to McKinney came in two ways. First of all, DemoGreens went over to Obama, giving Cynthia a pat on the head as they went. A good example is Green guru Ted Glick who proclaimed that, although he "supported" McKinney, he hoped Obama would win and was contributing to the Obama campaign, said dollar contribution being a first for him. What kind of party i turns on its own candidate? But the insult came in another way. Cynthia McKinney took many extraordinarily courageous positions in Congress over the years. She was an outstanding leader there on issues of peace and justice. But this record was always secondary in the campaign that the GPUS ran. She was first and foremost a black woman candidate running with another minority female candidate. Now that in itself is a very good thing, although Obama upstaged them with this kind of Identity Politics. But what about McKinney's other achievements? Most notably she is the first major Democratic politician and the first Congressperson to jump ship on the Democrat Party. Of course the DemoGreens wanted no such cutting edge claim to a GPUS campaign. So the GPUS was happy to see the color of McKinney's skin as more important than the content of her character! This is the road down which "gonadal politics" leads us. (It is also hard to comprehend why Ralph Nader, gets no credit from the Gonadal Politicians for being an Arab American, perhaps the group suffering most discrimination these days.)
Today Martha and Shirley covered books for the year and the community choices were "Janis Ian's Society's Child: My Autobiography. It can be purchased at Amazon where it's currently selling for $16.98 ($26.95 list price). . . . David Bacon's Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press)" and Paul Street's Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics.
matthew hay brownthe baltimore sun
lourdes garcia-navarromorning edition
the los angeles timessaif hameedraheem salman
the washington postamit r. paleyandrea bruce
booksjanis iansociety's child
thomas friedman is a great man