1. Clinton has a floor: Despite Obama's successes, he has been unable to make significant inroads with key voting blocs. Women, Latinos, and less-prosperous voters all have continued to support Clinton. Obama is the candidate who is supposed to have the crazed supporters, but when the Washington Post recently asked Democratic voters how adamantly they supported their candidate, it was Clinton whose troops were more committed.
These are the groups that helped sustain Clinton in big states on Super Tuesday after Obama won in Iowa and South Carolina. Obama has had a few scattered wins among them (leading with women in Iowa and Maine), but he has not had great success reaching into these still-for-Clinton groups.
Clinton's support among these key demographics also provides her with her electability argument as she tries to make the case that Obama is a modern-day George McGovern—the pet rock of the party's wealthy liberal wing. "How can we have a nominee who can't win the votes of working-class people?" says one Clinton strategist. It's a good question.
Clinton is banking on her loyal constituencies for her comeback day on March 4, where she hopes working-class whites in Ohio and Latinos in Texas will give her victories. An early test of whether blue collar voters are holding for Clinton might come in pockets of Wisconsin, which votes next week. The college towns will go for Obama, but much of the state resembles Ohio. These areas should back Clinton. If not, she's in trouble.
2. Front-Runner Blues: Who would want to be the front-runner in this race? Every time someone is thus anointed, he or she falters. This isn't just superstition. There are specific pressures that come with being at the front of the field. Buyer's remorse can set in. As more Democrats look at Obama in nominee focus, they might start to worry over his general election liabilities. He may have experience, but he's never really been tested. (These unresolved qualms may explain why voters who make up their mind on Election Day go with Clinton).
The press might start pushing harder on Obama, too. The stories that weren't followed up on during the galloping horse race stage of the early primaries might get a second look. Plus, there are more reporters covering fewer candidates, and perhaps the press will feel compelled to extensively vet a candidate who looks like he's on his way to the nomination.
That's from John Dickerson's "Hillary Comes Alive: The conventional wisdom says Clinton is doomed. Don't believe it" (Slate) and you can expect more of those type of excerpts here. I'm all for holding Hillary accountable. But we haven't had that. We've had non-stop attacks on her while 'independent' media has thrown their lot behind Bambi. It's not just happening, it is orchestrated. Having heard the crap that was Democracy Now! today (read Rebecca tonight, C.I. knew everyone would want certain things and suggested we do a conference call before those who blog at night do. We did that and everyone was able to grab something different so you're not reading the same topic but various opinions tonight), I'm sick of it. Rebecca will point out the bias today. But I'm not taking part in this.
I'm happy to call Hillary out. But I'm not going to do that while she's being trashed. I assumed, wrongly, that the 'independent' media would have a standard and they would apply it fairly to all candidates. They never have. They still don't. It's trash Hillary and praise Bambi. They are not that different on Iraq. The real difference is that if Hillary wants troops home (I don't know that she does), she can get it done. She knows how Congress works from outside and inside. She's a politician and somehow it's a bad thing for a politician to run for president? Somehow someone with no track record (both because of his 'present' votes and because he's done so little) is better than someone with experience?
Think about that. Think about how you run a . . . Baskin & Robins! (We stopped somehwere for ice cream today and that's still on my mind. Ava, C.I. and I are back on the road.) Hillary's eaten ice cream, she's sold ice cream. She worked X number of years at Braum's. While she was working at Braum's, every dirty trick in the world was used against her and it didn't phase her. She didn't cave and crumble. Now you've got a slot open at Baskin & Robins. You've also got Bambi applying. In the interview, you ask the first question and he gives you an answer that goes on for six minutes and it certainly sounds amazing as the words come together but it really doesn't say anything of substance. It's just pretty words. You look at his application. He's only worked at Braum's for a little bit. He used to work at a yogurt stand. Yogurt and ice cream are not the same thing. Then you find out that when he took the Braum's job he publicly stated he would stay with that job for six years. He'd learn the job and he would stay with it. It's exactly two years and a month later when he shows up for a job interview. You ask him about that and he replies with a non-answer. The store needs to be locked up each night by whomever you hire. You point out that he has a guy, a Tony Rezko, down as a reference and ask, "Is this the same Rezko under federal indictmen?" He replies he only did five hours of work for Rezko and barely knows him. He tells you he pushed through some changes at Braum's to protect customers. You find out later that there was a proposal that would protect customers but he wrecked it. It never went through, even though he told you to your face it did.
Do I need to go on?
I don't think so.
Bambi's getting a pass. I'll be happy to go back to holding Hillary accountable when the day comes that Bambi's held accountable. But he's gotten non-stop passes and I'm sick of it.
I'm also thinking how strange it is that, in terms of their age, it's the woman with experience that's ripped apart while the man with so very little experiecne (who happens to be younger) is getting a pass. It's the job-world at large. It's Lily Tomlin training assistants in Nine to Five and them being promoted over her.
Hillary's qualified. Bambi's not. That's not in doubt. Someone may not like her, may not want to vote for her because of the illegal war. That's fair. But fair is also noting that Bambi's record since he got into the Senate is identical to Hillary's. Pretending otherwise is lying.
This is from Paul Krugman's "Hate Springs Eternal" (New York Times):
The bitterness of the fight for the Democratic nomination is, on the face of it, bizarre. Both candidates still standing are smart and appealing. Both have progressive agendas (although I believe that Hillary Clinton is more serious about achieving universal health care, and that Barack Obama has staked out positions that will undermine his own efforts). Both have broad support among the party’s grass roots and are favorably viewed by Democratic voters.
Supporters of each candidate should have no trouble rallying behind the other if he or she gets the nod.
Why, then, is there so much venom out there?
I won't try for fake evenhandedness here: most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody. I'm not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality. We’ve already had that from the Bush administration -- remember Operation Flight Suit? We really don’t want to go there again.
What's particularly saddening is the way many Obama supporters seem happy with the application of "Clinton rules" -- the term a number of observers use for the way pundits and some news organizations treat any action or statement by the Clintons, no matter how innocuous, as proof of evil intent.
For more on this topic, see "Editorial: State of 'Independent' Media" (The Third Estate Sunday Review). For more on how Paul Krugman and others are being treated by 'independent' media, see "What you didn't hear on Pacifica last week" (ibid). Want to see how women are treated (it's not just Hillary), read Ava and C.I.'s "TV: What's the measurement?" where you'll find out how Diane Sawyer was treated by Charlie Gibson on ABC (there were many other examples) and how Bill Moyers decided to explore the Latino vote -- which Bully Boy lost in 2000 and 2004, they went Democratic -- which is backing Hillary -- via a religious conservative who's hero (of mortals) is Ronald Reagan. Note that not only did Moyers book a man, he again ignored gender. For how many weeks this year. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of hours and hours of discussions on race because there's never time to discuss women. As Ava and C.I. point out, were it not for Cokie Roberts on ABC Tuesday night, the gender aspect would not have been discussed. Let's talk about race, I'm all for it. But let's talk about gender as well. The fact that the media won't suggests that they don't think it's important.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
February 11, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the death toll for US service members in Iraq gets closer to 4,000 since the start of the illegal war, Captains Of War meet but who notices that or the protests, yesterday in Iraq saw so many deaths it's been dubbed "Bloody Sunday," Blue-Light special in Iraq, British mothers push for answers regarding the illegal war and more.
Starting with war resisters. Over the weekend, the Captains Of War met in Germany for the 44th Munich Conference on Security Policy. Among the attending was US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Also 'representing' the US were US Senators Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman -- who no doubt made a delightful traveling couple -- with Turkey represented by its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Little Kenny Roth of Human Rights Watch among others. We'll come back to what was stated at the conference. But while Captains Of War gathered to plot continue war, people rose up en mass to protest. Amy Bradley (Indybay IMC) reports that Friday saw "several hundred activits" protesting and the number increased the following day as "several thousand protesters gathered in Marienplatz to continue the protests" including Iraq War veteran and war resister Chris Capps who the Minuch American Peace Committee awarded a peace medal and who is starting an IVAW chapter in Germany. Bradley reports 14 arrests while an estimated "3,700 police monitored the marchers." Bradley provides a number of photos of the two day protests and this one probably depicts the size of the crowd best. Courage to Resist profiles Chris Capps here and a quote we'll note is his stating, "If the politicians refuse to listen to the people, then the people need to take action. If we had resistance throughout the military then we could finally end this war here and now."
Among those who have resisted, the ones in Canada need help. The country's Supreme Court has refused to hear appeals on the issue of safe harbor status and the country's Parliament remains the best hope for safe harbor war resisters may have. You can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (email@example.com -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
Meanwhile IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC action:
In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan
March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'." As part of their fundraising efforts for the event, they are holding houseparties and a recent one in Boston featured both IVAW's Liam Madden and the incomprable Howard Zinn as speakers.
Returning to the Munich Conference on Security Policy for a number of reasons including that it is news. The protests against it are news and what was stated is news. We'll focus on a few speeches briefly and then move to US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
Lindsey Graham was making his tenth trip and apologizing for being "a poor substitute for Senator [John] McCain" and, as if to make clear how poor, he made a non-funny joke about Russia that wasn't well received and his "I'll buy you a beer after" didn't smooth things over. Even with a crowd that didn't boo his white-washing/minimizing Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, he managed to get off on the wrong foot immediately. Graham offered this look-for-the-rainbow praise: "when NATO expands, the war is enriched." Joe Lieberman wants war with Iran very, very badly. It was the focus of his speech and just because there is no "covert work on bomb design" going on, Lieberman's up in arms over the "overt work on enrichment" as Iran established a nuclear power industry. Human Rights Watch's Little Kenny Roth bragged about the "expertise" his organization has allegedly developed. "We do not deal with the nuclear question. But we look at weapons systems that are used," explained Roth. "Cluster munitions caused more civilian casualities," in Iraq, he declared, "than any weapons other than small arms." He spoke of his concern with "the failure rate" of cluster munitions. Yes, that is a serious concern -- those pesky things do not go enough immediately. So he's not opposed to the indiscriminate deaths they cause immediately, just the deaths they cause days, weeks or years later? Someone needs to watch Human Rights Watch. Bobby Gates declared his focus was the Afghanistan War (for his speech -- before the British and Canadian governments protest, it was the focus for his speech only) and that would be the war that started in 2001 and continues today. He offers a revisionary history -- in bulletin points -- on the 'justification' for the war (no, he doesn't mention Osama bin Laden -- which, for anyone with a memory, was why the US began bombing -- after the Tailaban asked for proof of crimes before turning over bin Laden, the US response was to begin bombing). That war celebrated its sixth anniversary last fall so pay attention to this statement by Gates, "As many of you know, a Strategic Vision document is being drafted that will assess NATO's and our parenters' achievements in Afghanistan, and will produce a set of realistic goals and a roadmap to mee them over the next three to five years." Three to five years? The US Secretary of Defense is stating that the Afghanistan War could last through 2013 or even later? He went on to bemoan "bureaucratic hurdles" that "hinder our progress in Afghanistan" and advoacted for the passage of the NATO Commander's Emergency Response Fund which "will, for NATO, require a more flexible approach to budgeting and funding." Considering the millions, billiions and trillions being spent on both the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War presently, it's hard to see what "bureaucratic hurdles" Gates imagines side-stepping unless he means Congress itself? Walter Pincus (Washington Post) reports on US House Rep John Murtha's take on the huge financial cost of the illegal war and whose being effected -- Murtha: "You can't put a trillion-dollar war on a credit card and leave the bills for our children to pay. The same Americans suffering in Iraq today will be paying for this borrowed war for the rest of their lives." Pincus reports, "Noting that the administration is spending $343 million every 24 hours on the Iraq war, Murtha said that 11 hours in Iraq 'could restore $156 million cut by the president's Defense Department budget for the Family Advocacy Program'."
Back in Munich, Secretary Gates insisted that "we are applying a comprehensive strategy" in Iraq and then declared the following:
We have leanred that war in the 21st century does not have stark divisions between civilian and military components. It is a continuous scale that slids from combat operations to economic development, governance and reconstruction -- frequently at the same time.
The Alliance must put aside any theology that attempts clearly to divide civilian and military operations. It is unrealistic. We must live in the real world. As we noted as far back as 1991, in the real world, security has economic, political, and social dimensions. And vice versa. In the future, the EU and NATO will have to find ways to work together better, to share certain roles -- neither excluding NATO from civilian-military operations nor barring the EU from purely military missions. In short, I agree entirely with Secretary General [Jaap] de Hoop Scheffer and Minister [Herve] Morin's comments yesterday that there must be a "complimentarity" between the EU and NATO.
We could go on and on regarding that push for war-more-war-always-war. Instead, we'll note that Oliver Rolofs found Gates "ostentatiously concillatory towards Germany during the conference.In his contribution on the future of Aghanistan on the Sunday morning, he said that he had not intended to point a figner at Germany at all, explaining that the request for more commitment in Afghanistan had been issued to all the members of the Alliance." Secretary Gates next jaunted off to Iraq where, Steve Lannen (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "A few hours before he landed in Baghdad, a big suicide car bomb exploded near a local market in Yathrib, north of Baghdad in Salahuddin province, killing at least 23 and injuring 45. . . . Another car bomb exploded near Ramadi, killing three, and further north two car bombs were reported in Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city. Both of them targeted Iraqi soldiers and four were killed in one of the explosions, police said. To the west of Mosul, 21 people were killed in fighting between insurgents and members of the U.S.-funded local awakening council militia." "Awakening" Councils are the US effort at Rent-An-Ally, whereby they toss coins around in an attempt to buy loyalties from those against centeral government in Baghdad, those against the illegal US occupation of Iraq, etc. They're more like Rent-A-Thugs and Ian Fischer (New York Times) explains, "At least 100 Awakening members have been killed in the last few weeks." Fisher goes on to detail the US government's latest attempt to control the news cycle by having the military selectively releasng two documents one allegedly portions of a diary but it's no The Diary of Anais Nin. Maybe they tell something, maybe they don't. Maybe a full release would. But, to be sure, the US government thinks this is the story to inject into the news cycle. Probably a 'happier' thought than letting people focus on the latest problems with the "Awakening" Council. Steve Lannen (McClatchy Newspapers) reported Saturday that the US collaborators in Diyala Province went on strike and that "A leader of the group said that brigade members, most of them Sunni Muslims, wouldnt' resume working with U.S. and Iraqi government forces until the Shiite police feisng or is indicted." Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) picked up the story on Sunday noting that the Diyala "walkout" wasn't the only problem, there were problems in Anbar Province as well where the conflict is over the outcome of elections which the Iraqi Islamic Party won and that outcome is not pleasing the 'Awakening' Council or helping with the turfs war. (Both the IIP and members of 'Awakening' are Sunni.) In Diyala, Rubin notes, while the 'Awakening' Council members want the police commander gone (he's Shi'ite and they declare he's a bagman for Moqtada al-Sadr while he stated that the problem is that they are "continuing their past activies of killing and displacing Shiite families."
We're not done with Gates. He announced Lieapalooze 2008 today. CNN reports that Gates has held a press conference this morning in Baghdad and declared it "makes sense" to halt the return of US troops from Iraq and "A senior U.S. military official in Baghdad told CNN recently that Petraeus feels strongly there should be a period of review before he makes any decisions about additional troop withdrawals." BBC notes it as well but notes that Gates himself "favours a 'pause' in troop reductions in Iraq". Demetri Sevastopulo and Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) quotes Gates stating, "I think that the notion of a brief period of consolidation and evaluation probably does make sense" and the reporters remind, "Until recently, Mr Gates repeatedly said he hoped the military could continue to pull out troops at the same pace over the second half of 2008, which would have left about 100,000 forces in Iraq when the next US president takes office in January 2009." Yes, he did take that position publicly . . . once. Apparently, despite Gates quoting Alexis de Tocqueville in Munich, he actually packed Jerry Hopkins' trashy No One Here Gets Out Alive? That seems to be US Senator John Ensign's opinion as well. CBS and AP report that the senator "rejected calls Saturday for the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq by the end of the year".
Meanwhile Alex Spillus (Telegraph of London) reports on Senator John McCain, in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, voicing his regrets that British forces withdrew (somewhat) from the southern part of Iraq -- that's how to appear presidential, whine about the actions of one of the US allies! "Obviously I would like to have seem stay longer and larger," declared McCain who previously stated (video link) that if the US remained in Iraq for 100 years it "would be fine with me." No word yet on whether he's prepping for a role in Broadway bound musical of Dr. Strangelove. Two would disagree with McCain are UK citizens Rose Gentle and Beverley Clarke. Michael Herman (Times of London) reports the two women were in the House of Lords today with their attorneys who "will argue before an enlarged panel of nine law lords that the Government is obligated to hold an independent review of the decision to go to war under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) which protests the 'right to life'. They will argue that the Government is bound by the convention to safeguard soldiers' lives by not sending them to fight in an illegal war. If the mothers win their appeal, it could result in Tony Blair, Lord Goldsmit, QC, the former Attorney-General, and Geoff Hoon, the former defence minister, called upon to give evidence in public." Beverley Clarke's son David Clarke died in Basra in March 2003 while Rose Gentle's son Gordon Gentle died in Basra June 2004 (both men were 19-years-old). The Express & Star notes, "The hearing at the Lords is expected to last three days." Tim Castle (Reuters) states it "will continue for the rest of the week after which judgement will be reserved to be given in writing later, probably in two to three months' time." ITN quotes Rose Gentle stating, "I think Tony Blair sent our boys to war on a lie. He just agreed with George Bush right away. They didn't even give it a second thought" and the father of the late Shaun Brierley, Peter Brierley, stating, "My son always used to say he would defend his country. This was not defending his country. The country was not under any threat of attack." Hasan Suroor (The Hindu) notes concerns that British troops were not also not supplied with adequate equipment (the inquiry into Gordon Gentle's death found he would have lived had the vehicle he was in been up to standard) and quotes Rose Gentle explaining, "It's really important to us to find out why my son was sent there and why he was killed in this right equipment, we believe they should never have been there in the first place." BBC cites attorney Rabinder Singh and notes, "Mr Singh said it had become clear the overwhelming body of legal advice had been the invasion would not be lawful without a second resolution from the UN Security Council, in addition to Resolution 1441 on 8 November, 2002." The UK's Military Families Against The War notes Rose Gentle's speaking at the London College of Communication as part of an action that includes the screening of the documentary Battle for Haditha directed by Nick Broomfield.
CBS and AP term yesterday in Iraq "Bloody Sunday" and adds today, "In all, 70 people were reported killed or found dead by police on Sunday, one of the highest nationwide death tolls in recent months." Today?
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 1 life and left two people wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded two people, a Baghdad car bombing that wounded three people as well as two police officers, a Mosul mortar attack that left two people wounded, a Mosul roadside bombing that wounded "a woman and a child" and what may be a coordinated Baghdad car bombing where one went off not far from a Sheikh's office and, five minutes later, as police were headed there, another car bombing took place at an intersection resulting in at least 11 deaths and thirty more people wounded including Sheik Ali Hatem. Steve Lannen (McClatchy Newspapers) notes that the Sheik is with the US collaborating 'Awakening' Council, that Sheik Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha ("Ali Hatem's predecessor") was assassinated in September (two weeks after meeting with the Bully Boy of the United States) and describes the bombing scene, "In neighborhoods nearby, dark gray smoke could be seen lifting in the air from the site of the bombs. Gunshots from security forces trying to ward off crowds were also heard."
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an armed clash in Diyala Province in which 3 apparent assailants were killed by the Iraqi army, a shooting outside of Mosul that left one person wounded, an armed clash in Mosul where 3 people were killed and an Iraqi soldier was wounded.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Dr. Ahmad Al Jubouri was kidnapped in Muqdadiyah in Diyala Province and also, "Gunmen kidnapped a foreign journalist and his translator Sunday night. An Iraqi police captain identified the kidnapped to be a journalist who works for CBS news and said the gunment using two civilian cars kidnapped the two men near Qasr Al Sultan hotel in Basra." On the latter, CBS and AP note, "Two journalists working for CBS News in Basra are missing and efforts are underway to find them. A statement released by the network said CBS News had been in touch with the families and asked that their privacy be respected." Reuters notes, "The Committee to Protect Journalists in a recent report called the Iraq war 'the deadliest conflict for journalists in recent history,' with 125 journalists and 49 support workers killed since the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion."
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad.
Today, the US military announced: "DIYALA PROVINCE, Iraq -- A Multi-National Divison -- North Soldier was killed Feb. 10 when the Soldier's vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. Two MND-N Soldiers were wounded and were evacuated to a Coalition Force medical facility for treatment." So on the 11th day of the month, 16 US service members have thus far been announced dead. And the total since the start of the illegal war is currently 3960 which is 40 from the 4,000 mark.
And as the illegal war drags on, never forget what's being fought for -- Roland Gribben (Telegraph of London) explains, "Foreign investors are being offered joint venture and production-sharing agreements in 400 state-owned factories and plants in Iraq in an effort to break the industrial reconstruction log jame. Forty contracts, described as the 'most productive and lucrative', are being offered in an initial programme that Fawzi Hariri, minister of industry and minerals, hopes will yield $2bn in foreign investment." They paved paradise . . . and held a tag sale. Worked so well in Argentina -- oops, didn't. Selling off the people's property -- a puppet government is selling off the people's property (or at least trying to). The theft of Iraq continues. Roula Khalaf (Financial Times of London) notes, apparently with approval, that "The US has been bypassing the Iraqi government, trying to revitalise economic life at the community level. Charles Ries, the US co-ordinator for economic transistion in Iraq, says the US has given grants of $1,000 to shopkeepers in pacified areas and employed 70,000 in community programmes." Note the salary for 'Awakening' Council members (approximately 60,000 people): $300 a month -- this when unemployment is at over 35% in Iraq.
Turning to US politics -- mainly because 'media critic' Amy Goodman didn't see it as news on Democracy Now! today -- Feminist Wire Daily explains:
MSNBC anchor David Shuster was suspended from the network last week following his offensive comments about Chelsea Clinton's work for her mother's candidacy. While guest hosting on "Tucker," Shuster remarked that Chelsea's efforts to support her mother were unseemly and that it was like she is being "pimped out" by the campaign. Shuster has been suspended from all NBC network appearances other than to issue his apology. He also apologized to the Clinton family. NBC News President Steve Campus said in a statement: "David Shuster . . . made a comment about Chelsea Clinton and the Clinton campaign that was irresponsible and inappropriate. . .NBC News takes these matters seriously, and offers our sincere regrets to the Clintons for the remarks." "I am a mom first and a candidate second and I found the remarks incredibly offensive," said Senator Clinton said at a news conference over the weekend, reports Reuters. "I have sent a letter to the head of NBC expressing the deep offense that I took." Senator Clinton did not say whether or not she would participate in the debate scheduled for February 26th on MSNBC. Take Action to tell network presidents that sexist comments like Shuster's are not acceptable.
Apparently the treatment of women by the media is of little concern to Amy Goodman? Meanwhile Liliana Segura (via CounterPunch) examines Barack Obama's endorsement from "Habeas Lawyers for Obama" and explains how constitutional lawyer Bambi just doesn't get what's going on at Guanatanamo and Segura notes, "In April of 2007, Obama gave a speech in Chicago at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in which he outlined five ways he would lead if he were elected to the White House. Restoring habeas corpus was not among them. Neither was eradicating torture in the War on Terror. Neither for that matter, was closing Guantanamo. To be fair, this does not mean he wouldn't do these things. But his argument rested on a sort of benevolent militarism and an expansion of U.S. involvement across the world -- as Noam Chomsky called it, 'the military humanism'."
Goodman did make time today to wrongly state that a US army sniper was convicted of "killing" an Iraqi. No, he was convicted of murder. You expect bravery from independent media and they had none. But they didn't even need bravery, they just needed to use the same terms that the US military did in this instance. M-NF's announcement on the verdict:Sgt. Evan Vela was found guilty Feb. 10 on one specification of unpremeditated murder during a general courts martial at Camp Liberty Courthouse.Vela, a Soldier in 1st Battalion, 501st Airborne, was on trial for the murder of an Iraqi man as part of operations May 11 in Jurf as Sakhr.Vela was found guilty under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline -- wrongfully placing an AK-47 on the remains of a deceased person.He was also found guilty under UCMJ Article 107 for making a false official statement.The proceedings are currently in the sentencing phase.From M-NF's announcement of the sentencing:Sgt. Evan Vela was sentenced Feb. 10 in a general court-martial at Camp Liberty Courthouse.Vela was sentenced to 10 years confinement. He was also sentenced to a reduction in rank to E1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge from the Army.Vela, a 24-year-old Soldier in 1st Battalion, 501st Airborne, was on trial for the murder of an Iraqi man during operations May 11, 2007 in Jurf as Sakhr, Iraq.Vela was found guilty on one specification of unpremeditated murder.In addition, Vela was found guilty under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline (wrongfully placing an AK-47 on the remains of a deceased).He was also found guilty under UCMJ Article 107 for making a false official statement.The next step in the process is an automatic appeal. Solomon Moore (New York Times) reports, "Sergeant Vela, of Idaho, slumped in his chair as he heard the verdict, and his wife, Alyssa Carnahan, broke down in tears." Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) report, "Outside the courthouse, the brother of Ghani Naser Janabi, the man killed by Vela, rejoiced at the ruling. 'It is proof that my brother is not guilty. It was the sergeant,' Fadl Janabi said."
iraq veterans against the war
the new york times
alissa j. rubin
solomon mooreian fisher
steve lannenmcclatchy newspapers
the los angeles timesned parker
walter pincusthe washington post