Friday, May 14, 2010

No surprise

An English actress who appeared in Roman Polanski's 1986 movie "Pirates" said on Friday that the director sexually abused her decades ago in Paris when she was 16.
Charlotte Lewis made her claim as U.S. authorities pressed for Polanski's extradition from Switzerland to face sentencing for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
"Mr. Polanski knew that I was only 16 years old when he met me and forced himself upon me in his apartment in Paris," Lewis said in prepared remarks at a news conference in Los Angeles.
"He took advantage of me and I have lived with the effects of his behavior ever since it occurred," she said.

That's from ABC News' website and is anyone surprised by the above?

Polanski chased after underage girls during his marriage to Sharon Tate. Why are we surprised that another woman would emerge to say she was chased as well? The real surprise is that more women haven't emerged. People magazine says:

Lawyers for Polanski said in a statement: "We don't have any information about statements made at a Gloria Allred press conference today, but we do know that the District Attorney continues to refuse to provide the Swiss government with accurate and complete information relevant to the extradition issue."

Who is telling the truth? I have no idea. But it does fit Polanski's profile. Something those defending him in the recent past might try remembering before rushing again to minimize claims of crimes.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, May 14, 2010. Chaos and violence continue,

Oh, the stupidity. The Status Of Forces Agreement is a contract (it's a treaty) and as such it can be extended. We've gone over and over that point while idiots who want to pretend they know something about the law gas bag to the contrary. They don't know what the hell they're talking about.

We will spoon food one more time. If the SOFA could not be extended (or replaced with another contract), then you would not have Nouri al-Maliki speaking of US troops ever staying beyond the end of 2011, right? If it ends the war and the US occupation, then that's that. That means, since Thanksgiving 2008, I have been wrong and I have wrongly interpreted the SOFA and I didn't know what I was talking about. Except . . . Let's drop back to the
July 23, 2009 snapshot for this little detail:

Aljazeera reports, "The Iraqi prime minister has admitted US troops could stay in the country beyond 2011." Yeah, he did it today and it's only a surprise if you've never grasped what the Status Of Forces Agrement does and does not do. The Washington Post, for example, has one person on staff who understands the SOFA completely. That's one more than the New York Times has. Drop back to real time coverage (Thanksgiving 2008) and you'll see the Washington Post could explain what it did and didn't do and get it right. No other US outlet can make that claim. (The Los Angeles Times hedged their bets but did appear to grasp it in an article co-written by Tina Susman.) McClatchy Newspapers? Oh goodness, Leila Fadel made an idiot of herself over the SOFA. Even more so than the New York Times (Elisabeth Bumiller -- in December and January -- offered some realities but they were lost on the other reporters at the paper). The Times just got it wrong. Fadel got it wrong and sang praises of it. It wasn't reporting, it was column writing passed off as such. Today, Nouri declared, "Nevertheless, if the Iraqis require further training and support we shall examine this at the time, based on the needs of Iraq." Sound familiar? It should. This month you should have heard Adm Mike Mullen make the same statement, you should have heard General Ray Odierno make it over and over beginning in May and US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has made it many times -- generally he's asked when he's visiting a foreign country because US reporters don't really seem to care. One exception would certainly be Dahr Jamail who was on KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday and explained, "We still have over 130,000 troops in Iraq. Troops are not being withdrawn from Iraq. They are being relocated to different bases, some of the bases still within cities, but they are not being withdrawn thus far." Dahr's latest book The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan has just been released this month. IPA provides this context from Global Policy Forum's James Paul: "For all the talk of 'U.S. withdrawal' from Iraq, the reality on the ground is starkly different. U.S. troops still patrol the cities, in flagrant violation of the U.S.-Iraqi security agreement, while Washington remains hugely influential in the politics of the country. The gigantic U.S. embassy looms large in Baghdad, U.S. forces still hold thousands of Iraqi prisoners in the vast U.S. prison camp in the southern desert, dozens of U.S. military bases remain in place including the sprawling 'Camp Victory' complex in Baghdad and Washington continues to press towards its ultimate goal -- the de facto privatization of Iraq's vast oil resources."

Nouri spoke of US forces remaining beyond the SOFA's 'withdrawal' -- that firm, firm SOFA. Ooops. That's because it's a contract. Both parties can follow every detail on the page and still decide that they want to extend it. That's how contracts work. We'll be kind and not name today's idiot, but, oh, the stupidity.

Idiot wants to pretend he knows the SOFA and he knows the law. He gives no indication that he knows either. First, he's unaware that a contract can be extended by the parties involved the agreement or replaced with another contract. The SOFA only exists to replace the UN mandate (the earlier contract which provided legal cover -- post-invasion -- for the occupation). The SOFA could be replaced with something else. Blathering on like an idiot, Idiot writes about "the governing document here is the bilateral Status of Forces Agreement which calls for a withdrawal of combat forces by the end of the summer and all forces by the end of 2011."

I'm not in the mood kids. Idiot doesn't understand the law. And the quote demonstrates he doesn't understand the SOFA. The SOFA has no call, repeating NO CALL, for a withdrawal of combat foces by the end of the summer. Why would it have that? Bush didn't put it in. That's Barack. And that's not in the SOFA. The SOFA was pushed through the Iraqi Parliament on Thanksgiving day 2008. Barack hadn't been sworn in. So sorry, Idiot, you don't know what the hell you're talking about. Read the SOFA and find the end of summer reference. It's not in there. (If the SOFA's too difficult for you to master, you can refer to
Karen DeYoung's Washington Post report from last March.)

On the topic of the drawdown, we'll note
Brian Montopoli (CBS News) today:

As CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin
reported Thursday, "first the delay in the Iraqi elections and then the dispute over the results has forced Gen. Ray Odierno, the commander in Iraq, to slow down his withdrawal plans."
"Right now, it is still possible to move that many troops - but just barely," wrote Martin. "Any further delay in the drawdown will cause him to miss the deadline."

Justin Raimondo ( weighs in:

With a
complicit Democratic majority in Congress, and a Republican minority all too eager to keep us bogged down in Iraq until Kingdom come, no one is holding the Obama administration accountable -- and the American public, which never hears anything about Iraq in the "mainstream" media, doesn't even know what's happening. They voted for Obama, in the Democratic primaries and the general election, in large part because he promised to end the war. That he now appears to be reneging on his firm pledge comes as no surprise to us foreign policy mavens, never mind observers of the Obama Method -- which is to strike an angular stance, and then come up with all sorts of convincing reasons for abandoning his position. To the majority of Americans, however, the pledge to get out of Iraq is carved in stone, and the only way to erase it is to shatter the tablet on which the President's electoral mandate is written. What the Democrats are counting on is the complicity of the "opposition" party, which is not going to make Iraq an election year issue -- except insofar as they see it as a "model" for how to win the war in Afghanistan. The administration is also counting on the silence of the "antiwar" left, in congress and at the grassroots, simply because these forces -- easily bought off, and/or intimidated -- haven't given them any reason to worry in the past.

Counter-insurgency is war against a native people. It's colonialism and it was used to trick and then attack and slaughter the Native Americans and it was used during Vietnam and at other periods. It has a long, long history and a long, long history of human rights activists calling this war on a people out. But that history sorts drops by the wayside in the last ten years. While some have called it out -- and certainly James Cameron's
Avatar drove the message home on what counter-insurgeny actually is -- people have been grossly silent. Barack groupies, of course, have to remain silent because Samantha Power, Sarah Sewell, Monty McFate, all of those counter-insurgency 'gurus' are Barack boosters and groupies don't call out their own. There is a development on the counter-insurgency front. Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) reports it is now under internal criticism, "The biggest spur, however, is a growing recognition that large-scale counterinsurgency battles have high casualty rates for troops and civilians, eat up equipment that must be replaced and rarely end in clear victory or defeat."

Sahwa ("Awakening" Council and Sons Of Iraq are two other names) can be seen as a form of counter-insurgency or, more honestly, as paying the playground bully not to beat you up. Sahwa are Sunni fighters the US government put on the tax payer payroll because, as General David Petraeus and then-US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker repeatedly explained to the US Congress in April 2008, it stopped the Sahwa from attacking US military equipment and the US military. Nouri was supposed to have put them on the Iraqi payroll. It was announced repeatedly -- including in November 2009 -- but never really happened because "payroll" would mean every one of them would be paid and would be paid regularly.
Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports that the Sahwa remain under threat and their leaders are assigned bodyguards while Nouri continues to distrust them:

Major general Mudhir al-Mawla, the director of the Sons of Iraq file in Iraq's national reconciliation commission, confirmed the scepticism in the government: "Ever since they began, there have been members of Maliki's administration who oppose them," he said. "They said they are like a militia and they all need to be disarmed. But they have played a very important role in giving precise information because they are locals. They know the locals and they know where their allegiances lie."
In March last year, in a move that underscored the distrust, Maliki's troops arrested a Sons of Iraq leader in the central Baghdad district of Fadhil and a two-day battle ensued. Ever since, he has been reluctant to travel to the frontline areas.
"[Maliki] came here once," said Awakening Council leader Sabah al-Mashadani in what was once another no-go zone in Baghdad, the former battlefield suburb of Adamiyeh. "He was very surprised when he was well received. He said: 'I thought everyone hated me here'."
In Arab Jabour, Sheikh Moustafa has never seen the prime minister, but he has seen his special forces, who arrested the sheikh in January on trumped up charges that he had killed five local men in 2007. The US military quickly took responsibility for the killings and Sheikh Moustafa was released in Maliki's name.

Sahwa asserts they protect the region from al Qaeda in Iraq.
Lu Hui (Xinhua) reports, "Iraqi al-Qaida group has nominated its new leader called "minister of war" and vowed to continue deadly attacks with "dark days in blood color," said a statement posted on a militant website on Friday. The so-called "minister of war" of the Islamic State of Iraq was identified as al-Nasser Lideen Allah Abu Suleiman and he will replace Abu Ayyub al-Musri, who was killed in a military operation by Iraqi and U.S. forces last month"

Turning to Iraq,
Liz Sly and Raheem Salman (Los Angeles Times) declare, "In an embarrassing rejection of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's efforts to overturn his rival's lead in Iraq's inconclusive parliamentary election, a laborious manual recount of votes in Baghdad has turned up no evidence of electoral fraud and will not change the final outcome, officials said Friday." I disagree and we'll get to why in a moment. Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) states "it's not good news for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki" and I disagree with that as well. Gabriel Gatehouse (BBC News) reports, "It took 11 days to recount by hand all 2.5m [million] ballots cast in Baghdad and the surrounding area. A spokesman for the electoral commission said the results would be made public on Monday and sent to the court for ratification." Khalid al-Ansary, Waleed Ibrahim, Jim Loney and Matthew Jones (Reuters) quote Independent High Electoral Commission spokesperson Qassim al-Aboudi stating, "There is no proof . . . that there was fraud or manipulation or big mistakes."

This is embarrassing for Nouri how? It be great if it were but how is it embarrassing if it is? Because no fraud was found? International observers were very clear that there was no fraud when Nouri was demanding a recount. If nothing had changed since then, this might be slightly embarrassing for Nouri. His political slate -- predicted to win -- had lost. If that were still the case, the recount results would be a major ha-ha.

But that's not how things stand. And the way it appears is Nouri stomped his feet for a recount but that was only one of the many stalling techniques he utilized to buy time to circumvent the Constitution and build a coalition. Screaming that there was fraud in the Baghdad recounts meant that others wouldn't rush to build a coalition with Ayad Allawi's slate (Iraqiya). Screaming fraud meant others might fear Allawi's lead would disappear. It bought time and Nouri, by that take, doesn't look embarrassed, he looks extremely crafty. Well played, puppet, well played. That hypothesis would explain why
Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) reports, "Mr. Maliki's supporters had once claimed that the recount could reverse as many as 20 seats, but a spokesman, Ali al-Mousawi, said on Friday evening that Mr. Maliki would 'respect the results of the recount in Baghdad, whatever they were'."

Josh Rogin (Foreign Policy) reports on the post-no-fraud-recount scene in Iraq:

If Maliki is confirmed as Iraq's next prime minister, the U.S. will have a partner it knows well and has been carefully handling throughout the process. While some believe Maliki's actions in recent weeks show he will use any means to stay in power, the embassy's view is that he is something of an opportunist and can be encouraged to curb questionable behavior.
"Like any politician, Maliki will use all legal and political tools at his disposal," a senior embassy official said, referring to Maliki's work with the Accountability and Justice Commission, the controversial de-Baathification commission controlled by Ahmed Chalabi and Ali Faisal al-Lami.
Both Hill and his military counterpart, Gen. Raymond Odierno, have said publicly that Chalabi and Lami are heavily influenced by Iran and the embassy has no illusions about their goal. "This is an organization of questionable legitimacy employing less than transparent means to challenge a legitimate election," the senior embassy official said.
He also confirmed
reports that Hill will leave in July and be replaced by Ambassador to Turkey Jim Jeffrey. Stuart E. Jones, a deputy assistant secretary who handles Balkan affairs, will replace Baghdad No. 2 Robert Ford, who is still waiting out his stalled nomination process to become ambassador to Syria. Jones was previously the deputy chief of mission in Cairo.

In Tal Afar today, Iraqis attempting to enjoy a football game were greeted with bombings.
BBC News reports at least 10 people are dead and one-hundred-and-twenty wounded after a car bombing "at the entrance to the stadium" with possible bombings then following the first explosion. Khalid al-Tayi (AFP) notes the deaht toll climbed to 25 (cites Interior Ministry official for that figure) and quotes Hussein Nashad stating, "We heard a loud explosion and the people behind me shielded me from the shrapnel. I ran away, but then I heard someone shout 'Allahu akbar' (God is greatest), and then there was another explosion." Al Jazeera explains, "Friday's attacks follow blasts in the city last October and July that left dozens of people dead. In March 2007, 152 people were killed when truck bombs targeted markets in the town." In other reported violence . . .


Reuters notes a Baghdad bombing which claimed 4 lives and left eight people injured, a Mahaweel bombing which injured seventeen people and a failed bombing attempt in Tuz Khurmato on a provincial council member (who is also a Turkmen).


Reuters notes 1 police officer and one security guard were shot dead in Falluja by unknown assailants with silencers and 1 tailor ("specialising in military uniforms") were shot dead in Mosul.

In other Iraq news, Wednesday the
Center for Disease Control issued an alert for a Q Fever Infection: Increasing reports of Q fever among deployed U.S. military personnel due to endemic transmission in Iraq, as well as a large ongoing outbreak of Q fever in the Netherlands, may place travelers to these regions at risk for infection. Healthcare providers in the United States should consider Q fever in the differential diagnosis of persons with febrile illness, pneumonia or hepatitis who have recently been in Iraq or the Netherlands. Physicians are encouraged to submit samples for proper laboratory testing and contact the CDC for consultation if needed. Q fever cases in travelers should be promptly reported to proper authorities. Background Since Operation Iraqi Freedom commenced in 2003, over 200 cases of acute Q fever have been reported among U.S. military personnel deployed to Iraq. Since several of these cases were identified after returning to the U.S. or when they were no longer serving on active military duty, a heightened awareness for Q fever infection occurring in military personnel and civilian contractors is necessary to ensure prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Q fever is endemic in the Middle East, and transmission may be influenced by hot, dusty conditions and livestock farming practices which may facilitate windborne spread. In addition, a large number of Q fever cases have occurred in the Netherlands since 2007, with over 3,700 human cases reported through March 2010. Infected dairy goat farms are believed to be the source of the outbreak, and the majority of human cases have been reported in the southern region of the country. To date, no imported cases of Q fever have been reported among American travelers returning home from the Netherlands. Because travelers to these countries may have a higher likelihood of exposure to Q fever, the CDC Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch advises that physicians evaluate travelers returning from Iraq (particularly military personnel and civilian contractors) and the Netherlands with febrile illness, pneumonia or hepatitis for potential Q fever infection. Probable and confirmed cases should be reported to their local or state health department. Q Fever Illness Q fever is a zoonotic disease with both acute and chronic phases caused by the pathogen Coxiella burnetii. The primary mode of transmission to humans is inhalation of aerosols or dust contaminated by infected animals, most commonly cattle, sheep or goats. Direct animal contact is not required for transmission to occur as the organism may be spread by dust or wind. Infections via ingestion of contaminated dairy products and human-to-human transmission via sexual contact have rarely been reported. Q fever does occur in the United States, but fewer than 200 cases are reported annually. Although asymptomatic infections may occur, an unexplained febrile illness, sometimes accompanied by pneumonia and/or hepatitis, is the most common clinical presentation. Illness onset typically occurs within 2–3 weeks after exposure. The mortality rate for acute Q fever is low (1–2%), and the majority of persons with mild illness recover spontaneously within a few weeks although antibiotic treatment will shorten the duration of illness and lessen the risk of complications. Chronic Q fever is uncommon (<1% of acutely infected patients) but may cause life-threatening heart valve disease (endocarditis). Patients with pre-existing heart valve disorders, pregnant women, and immunosuppressed persons are at increased risk for developing chronic Q fever. A Q fever vaccine is not commercially available in the United States and antibiotic prophylaxis is not recommended.
Physicians seeing a patient -- particularly military personnel or a civilian contractor - who has an illness consistent with Q fever and who has traveled to Iraq or the Netherlands in the 30 days prior to illness onset should perform appropriate laboratory testing. Serologic testing should be requested for IgG and IgM antibodies against C. burnetii Phase I and II antigen using indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). PCR assays may be conducted on whole blood samples in the early stages of illness and prior to initiation of antibiotic therapy.

TV notes,
Washington Week begins airing on many PBS stations tonight (and throughout the weekend, check local listings) and joining Gwen around the table this week are Charles Babington (AP), Juliet Eilperin (Washington Post), Martha Raddatz (ABC News) and Pete Williams (NBC News). And Gwen's column this week is "The Blog Wars." Remember that the show podcasts in video and audio format -- and a number of people sign up for each (audio is thought to be so popular due to the fact that it downloads so much quicker). If you podcast the show, remember there is the Web Extra where Gwen and the guests weigh in on topics viewers e-mail about. And also remember that usually by Monday afternoon you can go to the show's website and stream it there (including Web Extra) as well as read the transcripts and more. Meanwhile Bonnie Erbe will sit down with Melinda Henneberger, Eleanor Holmes Norton and Genevieve Wood on the latest broadcast of PBS' To The Contrary to discuss the week's events. And at the website each week, there's an extra just for the web from the previous week's show and this week's it's the homophobic 'leader' who traveled with a paid male escort who hires himself out for sex. For the broadcast program, check local listings, on many stations, it begins airing tonight. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes:
The Blow OutScott Pelley investigates the explosion that killed 11, causing the ongoing oil leak in the waters off of Louisiana, and speaks to one of the oil rig platform crew survivors who was in a position to know what caused the disaster and how it could have been prevented. The report contains never-before-seen footage of the minutes after the explosion and new information about what led up to it.
Gustavo DudamelNow that he is the musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel wants to transplant in the U.S. the Venezuelan child orchestra system that changed his life. Bob Simon reports.
60 Minutes, Sunday, May 16, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

the washington postkaren deyoung
cbs newsbrian montopoli
antiwar.comjustin raimondo
the los angeles timesliz sly
bbc newsgabriel gatehouse

jomana karadsheh
the new york timessteven lee myers
mcclatchy newspapers
nancy a. youssef
the guardianmartin chulov
60 minutescbs newsto the contrarybonnie erbe
washington week

Thursday, May 13, 2010

No diversity on NPR, just more of the same

It was the best-selling single of last year, and signalled a radical change of musical direction for Cher -- complete with bizarre vocal processing. Yet, surprisingly, it was produced in a small studio in West London. Sue Sillitoe relates the astonishing tale of 'Believe'. Extra material by Matt Bell.
For most of last year, it looked as though Celine Dion's track 'My Heart Will Go On' was going to be the best-selling single of 1998 -- but this accolade was snatched from the Canadian Queen of AOR at the 11th hour by another female vocalist who not only launched a successful challenge for the title, but did so with a song that was massively different from anything she had ever done before.
For those of you who've been stuck on a radio-less desert island for the last two months, the single in question is Cher's dance hit, 'Believe', which spent seven weeks at the top of the UK charts and -- at the time of going to press -- had already achieved sales of 1.5 million and rising. What's less well-known is that it was produced by two London-based producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling, in their own studio.

That's from Sue Sillitoe's "Recording Cher's 'Believe'" (Sound On Sound). "Believe" was a monster hit and that's reason enough to note it on any given day. But it's important today because Morning Edition (NPR) either needs to get a music editor or stop doing music stories. "Totally" as one of their lame brain critics or 'critics' said the other day. (Totally? Valley Girl talk on NPR?)

Today they aired a stupid story about a stupid man. He's written a book about the Vocoder and thinks he knows something when he knows not a damn thing. Note this:

Mr. DAVE TOMPKINS (Author, "How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop"): Churchill and FDR's conversations were being intercepted by the German intelligence and deciphered in real time. Pearl Harbor really cemented that idea because of the warning, the Japanese ultimatum could not be transmitted by phone because the phones could not be trusted, they were looking for a different way to encode speech. And so Bell Labs was commissioned by the Natural Defense Research Committee, in 1942, to develop this massive speech-encoding machine.
NEARY: Was there ever any trouble understanding what people were saying? Obviously with this technology, you can really distort words and distort whats being said.
Mr. TOMPKINS: Intelligibility was a problem, and particularly with the pitch control. They would send Bell Labs' engineers to the Pentagon to regulate this wild pitch situation. And so, they didnt mind world leaders and generals sounding like robots, just as long as they didnt sound like chipmunks. Eisenhower did not want to sound like a chipmunk.

1942. And Eisenhower was president when?

Then they want to talk Auto-Tune and, as with the Vocoder, they want to give examples. But where is Cher's "Believe"? If you're illustrating something via a song, you use the most well known song. That's how it works. Unless all the people you name check are men.

Thought NPR wanted diverse sources?

Well how do they ignore the biggest selling recording using either a Vocoder or Auto-Tune? Cher's voice, for those who don't know it, is run through Auto-Tune to give it the wah-wah effect similar to what Vocoder does -- making it sound robotic and mechanical.

Cher holds the record but you didn't learn that on Morning Edition. It's a shame the NPR staff don't know s**t about music. It's also a shame that this was a 'technology' story and it really needed to drop a woman's name in. And it could have. But it didn't. Sending the message: Girls don't know technology, girls don't like technology.

Avoid the idiot's book and start demanding NPR stop being so sexist and, honestly, so stupid.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, May 13, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, Allawi has a pow-wow (where's the US media?), what's going on with the drawdown, old words may haunt, and more.

Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of an assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists -- Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. One of the people speaking on the topic is Iraq War veteran Josh Stieber. Paul Jay (Real News Network) has a multi-part interview with Stieber and we'll note this from the second part of the interview.

Paul Jay: We are talking to Josh Stieber. He was a member of the army company in Baghdad that day that everyone has now seen. This is the video where Apache helicopters attacks a group of Iraqis on the ground. Josh was a member of that company. Not there that day. But now we're talking about how Josh came from joining the army to, a couple of years later, applying for conscientious objector status. Thanks again for joining us, Josh.

Josh Stieber: Sure. Thanks for having me.

Paul Jay: So let's just pick up the story where we left off. So you've more or less finished boot camp, what comes next?

Josh Stieber: A couple of more months training with the company I eventually deployed with.

Paul Jay: And in terms of this arc of how you get from joining to conscientious objector status. What took place before you go to Iraq? Is there another kind of moment there for you?

Josh Stieber: I guess another big moment in training that really started making me ask questions -- and a good excuse not to ask too many -- but what initially disturbed me was our leaders would take us to us into a room one at a time, take the new soldiers, and they would ask us a series of questions leading up to this big question that if somebody were to pull a weapon in a marketplace full of completely unarmed civilians and there was only one person with a weapon, would you return fire towards that person? And not only did you have to say "yes" but in this exercise if you even hesitated in your answer then you got yelled out for not being a good soldier and not being prepared to do what it took to keep your fellow soldiers safe?

Paul Jay: So when they asked you, what did you say? Did you hesitate?

Josh Stieber: I hesistated. And after a second or two, they really ripped into me.

Paul Jay: Saying what?

Josh Stieber: Again, I needed to be prepared to fire whenever I was told and I had to keep it -- always be aware of these threats and any hesitation could potentially mean the lives of the other soldiers.

Paul Jay: So the idea of killing women and children is an actual part of the training that you have to internalize that this is acceptable under the right circumstances?

Josh Stieber: Yeah, it's not specifically said that we're going to go out today and kill women and children but if it should happen in the process of doing what we're supposed to --

Paul Jay: But when you put that with what you told us in the first segment of the interview that one of the marching chants was killing women and spewing bullets on children, it seems to be something they know you're going to get into -- these situations with civilians -- and so part of the training is accepting the killing of civilians as part of your job.

Josh Stieber: Yeah, again, it's all very psychological. And I even take that beyond just military training and say there's aspects of our society -- going back and looking at my history class, when I learned about the atomic bombings or bombings in other wars that either intentionally targeted civilians or there were a lot of civilian casualties in the process. Just that same mindset: "This was unfortunate, we don't intentionally do this most of the time but if it should so happen that it happens as we're accomplishing our greater goals, then so be it.

We'll try to note more from the multi-part interview. The plan was to pair the above with something a friend wanted to noted. Can't note the latter. Radio program. Not in the mood for uninformed hosts. Don't talk about past war coverage by broadcast networks if you don't know what you're talking about. I don't care if says a kernal of truth somewhere in that nonsense. He's uneducated and he doesn't know what he's talking about. During Vietnam, you had reporters who were not embedded. The moron seems to believe that the only way reporters have ever covered a war is by being embedded. I'm not noting his program. We'll instead move over to US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: I was just in Iraq last week to visit the troops, in preparation for Memorial Day, to see them and they're so great. There's nothing that's happening there that-that would justify continuation of the policy. In order to bring stability to the region, more security to the American people and restore our reputation, we must redeploy those troops out of Iraq safely, honorably, responsibly and soon. We've lost -- what is it, 4075 -- something like that now. Every one of them precious to us. Tens of thousands wounded, many of them permanently. And I was just at the hospital -- and I'll go to the VA hospital again after I leave here. The loss of repuation in the world. The cost in dollars to our -- taking us into debt, into recession, into a-a -- where the relationship between the war and the economy are becoming more apparent. And if you didn't care about -- well I'm sure you care about all of that -- but if you're just thinking militarily, the undermining of our capability to protect the American people, undermining our military strength is staggering. We don't have one combat ready unit in the United States to go to protect our interests where ever they are threatened or those of our friends. So it has to end. And soon. We just passed another bill. The House keeps passing with deadlines or to accomodate the Senate's sometimes goals We just sent them another one. They sent it back without-without the redeployment language. We'll send something back to them. But it is essential and it will happen. And it will happen, in my view, with a Democratic president and that will begin in a matter of months and that is the optimism that I --

San Francisco Chronicle: Why not put withdrawal dates in this bill to the Senate and stand up to them and just say, "It's got to be this way, we're not going to give in"?

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Well they -- See there is a bipartisan majority for that in the Senate -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- but there aren't sixty votes. So nothing would ever get to the president's desk. And there just isn't a -- That just won't happen.

Not much happened, Nance. Not much at all.
The above -- Nancy claiming a withdrawal of all US troops will take place "soon" -- took place in May of 2008, when Nancy sat down with the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board and reporters. " And it will happen, in my view, with a Democratic president . . ." You got that Democratic president, Nancy, so why is it your remarks are now two years old and yet US troops remain in Iraq? Why is that? And did I miss something? Between now and then did the US economy recover and begin thriving? I don't believe it did. But somehow the fact that the economy is even worse than it was during your interview doesn't demand that the Iraq War end if only for economic reasons?

Wall St. Journal editorial board member and columnist Kimberley A. Strassel notes:

Barack Obama allowed the left to believe he was one of them. Some of his campaign promises certainly fed its hopes: He'd close Guantanamo, pass union "card check," renegotiate Nafta, leave Iraq. Adding to the left's exuberance was the party's filibuster-proof Senate majority.
But Guantanamo is still open, card check is still dead, Nafta is still functioning, and troops remain in Iraq.

Yesterday's snapshot noted Martin Chulov (Guardian) reporting, "The White House is likely to delay the withdrawal of the first large phase of combat troops from Iraq for at least a month after escalating bloodshed and political instability in the country." Today on Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman explained, "The Guardian newspaper reports the White House is likely to delay the withdrawal of the first large phase of combat troops from Iraq for at least a month after escalating bloodshed and political instability in the country. The US commander, General Ray Odierno, had originally expected to give the order within sixty days of the general election held in Iraq on March 7. In a message to Congress yesterday, President Obama said the situation in Iraq continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States." David Martin (CBS News) notes the talk of the pace of the drawdown and provides this walk through, "There are currently 94,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, meaning Odierno will have to send 44,000 home over the next three and a half months to meet the deadline. Right now, it is still possible to move that many troops - but just barely. Any further delay in the drawdown will cause him to miss the deadline." Peter Kenyon reports on the drawdown for NPR's Morning Edition here.

Iraqi journalist Sardasht Osman was kidnapped from his college campus and murdered. His corpse was discovered
last Thursday. Demonstrations have been held to protest the murder and Mihemed Eli Zalla (Hawler Tribune) reports that protests were staged yesterday as well in Sulaimania with demonstrators chanting, "We all are other Sardashts. We are not afraid of dath. Dr. Kamal Kirkuki, who killed Sardasht!" Kamal Kirkuki is the Speaker of the Krudistan Parliament. Yahya Barzani (AP) adds, "There have been nearly a dozen demonstrations over the past week in Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region calling for his killers to be brought to justice." Ranj Alaaldin (Guardian) notes, "Osman, writing anonymously but later revealing his identity, had been critical of the authorities and the patronage and corruption that plague Kurdistan. He pushed the boundaries of freedom in the region by publishing a number of inflammatory articles, insulting senior officials of the ruling Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic party (KDP); and crossed the red line of local taboo by writing of his desire to marry President Massoud Barzani's daughter: a no-go area for any sane Kurd." AFP reports protests continued today and quotes Hawlati editor Kamal Rauf stating, "We are continuing to demonstrate to demand an inquiry to discover the murderers."

Monday May 3rd's snapshot noted the Sunday attack on Christian college students just outside Mosul. At that point, there was one death with approximately seventy wounded. The death toll went on to climb to at least 4. Saif Tawfiq (Reuters) reports today, "Wailing with grief and rage, Iraqi Christians this week buried the teenage victim of a bombing and lamented again their vulnerability in the complex stew of Iraq's sectarian warfare and Arab-Kurd disputes. Thousands turned out for the funeral of Sandy Shibib, 19, a first-year biology student at Mosul University, who died on Tuesday from head wounds caused by shrapnel when bombers struck buses carrying Christian students in northern Iraq on May 2." Spero News notes that the Council of the Christian Church Leaders of Iraq issued a statement which includes:

We, the heads of Christian churches gathered at the College of St. Ephraim in Qaraqosh, express our deep pain in facing this tragedy that has affected our children the Christian students at Mosul University, and we express our full solidarity with them. This attack is one painful episode in a series targeting Christians, especially painful since these students were defenseless. They are the hope for the future of Iraq, and as a group they have nothing to do with politics.
These sad events, affecting the everyday lives of peaceful citizens in all components of the Iraqi people, require a serious review and the concerted efforts of all government officials and political parties in order to give priority to the public interest and the security of citizens. Thus we urgently reiterate our call to expedite the formation of a government of national unity that will work to ensure law, security and safety; any delay will have a negative impact reflecting negatively on the lives of citizens and the task of nation-building. We also call upon the concerned authorities in the province of Nineveh, and especially the members of the parliament from the Hadbaa and Nineveh coalitions, to embrace dialogue and consensus for the benefit of their province and its inhabitants.

The statement is signed by Archbishop Avak Assadourian, Head of the Armenian Orthodox Church in Iraq; Archbishop George Qas-Moussa, the Archbishop of Mosul; Archbishop Louis Sake, Archbishop of Kirkuk for the Chaldean Church; Bishop Athanasius Matta Mtoka, Archbishop of Baghdad for the Syrian Catholic Church; Archbishop Mor Gregorios Saliba Shamoun, Archbishop of Mosul for the Syrian Orthodox Church; Bishop Thomas Georgis, representative of the Patriarchate of the Ancient Church of the East; Bishop Isaac Kames, representative of the Patriarchate of the Assyrian Church of the East; and Father Najib Moussa, Dominican representative of the Latin Church in Iraq. Yesterday the
US Army's press office quoted that the team leader for the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Ninawa (W. Patrick Murphy) stating, "We condemn all violence here. The targeting of minorities and Christians in particular is unacceptable. We are coordinating with Iraq authorities to improve security, so that all citizens here, including Christians and minorities can conduct their lives. These are for the most part young students going to the university trying to improve their lives."

In some of today's reported violence . . .

Reuters notes a Kirkuk roadside bombing injured two Iraqi soldiers, a Tuz Khurmato roadside bombing injured a bodyguard for a Turkmen leader, a Mosul sticky bombing injured six people, a Mosul suicide car bombing injured three people (plus the bomber who was killed), a Baghdad roadside bombing injured seven people and a Mahmudiya roadside bombing claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiers and injured seven people.

Today in the US, Qubad Talabani spoke at the Nixon Center.
Paul Richter (Los Angeles Times) reports that the KRG spokesperson had harsh words for the White House and its 'laid back' attitude towards Iraq. He is quoted stating, "There has got to be serious thought given to how the United States applies its leverage. They've got to help us get our act together." Iraq held elections March 7th. Parliament has still not been seated and, of course, no prime minister has been selected. Alsumaria TV reports that Ayad Allawi (Iraqiya slate) met with Ammar al-Hakim (Iraqi National Alliance) and "After the meeting Allawi said that any alliance between the blocs shall not be perceived as aimed against other parties. Futhermore, Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari and Al Iraqia Senior Official Hassan al-Alawi talked over means to overcome the current crisis." Meanwhile Alsumaria TV reports that Nouri al-Maliki met "with security ministers and senior field officials" to declare that security plans need to be revised.

Senator Byron Dorgan chairs the
Senate Democratic Policy Committee which continues to address the econmy. Yesterday they issued "Whose Side Are They On: Republican Carve-Out For Special Interest Would Hurt Consumers" and we'll note this section of it:

Military families have been a target of unscrupulous lenders. With their first steady paycheck in hand, recently enlisted service members often face their first chance to be lured into easy credit offers. Many experienced military families have also fallen victim to these unfair practices, while struggling with daily expenses such as child care and medical bills in the face of deployments and frequent moves.
In a recent letter to the Treasury Department, Undersecretary of Defense Clifford Stanley outlined the severity of the issue: "personal financial readiness of our troops and families equates to mission readiness." He reported that 72 percent of financial counselors surveyed had counseled service members on auto abuses in the past six months.
Military families deserve a consumer agency that will crack down on abusive auto lending practices. While Republicans would like to preserve the status quo, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act would address:

· Wrong incentives: Like mortgage brokers, auto dealer-lenders are paid more to sell loans with higher rates and fees than borrowers qualify for. This gives dealers a perverse incentive to charge higher rates.

· Bait and switch financing: Sometimes a dealer-lender sends the buyer home with a "purchased" car and calls a few days or weeks later to say that the financing "fell through." The borrower then is trapped into paying a higher interest rate.

· "Packing" loans: Dealers also receive commissions to sell expensive add-ons to the loans, such as extended warranties. Dealer-lenders frequently obscure the cost of add-ons, which can be thousands of dollars, by emphasizing that they only moderately increase the monthly loan payment.

· Discriminatory lending: Among consumers who obtain dealer financing, African Americans are almost twice as likely as whites to pay dealer mark-ups (54.6% of blacks versus 30.6% of whites),
[2] and African Americans are 70% more likely than white men to finance at the dealer rather than a bank or a credit union.[3]

From Debra Sweet's "
Assassination First? Due Process Never? NO!" (World Can't Wait), we'll note this:

"In the past few weeks, it has become common knowledge that Barack Obama has
openly ordered the assassination of an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, because he is suspected of participating in plots by Al Qaeda.

Al-Awlaki denies these charges. No matter. Without trial or other judicial proceeding, the administration has simply put him on the to-be-killed list."

read press relase

So begins the text of a paid ad in The New York Review of Books May 27 issue which arrives on newsstands Thursday. The statement, under the headline
"Crimes Are Crimes - No Matter Who Does Them" poses the challenges:
What would we have done if President George Bush had publicly ordered the assassination of a citizen? And what should we do now as a fever pitch of media calls for the drones to "take out" Al Awlaki?

ObamaCare doesn't help women. Assaults on reproductive rights do not help women. That's reality and there's not a member of this community who is unaware of that. I have to remphasize that because we're noting this from
Ms. magazine:

In the about-to-be-released new Spring issue of Ms., our publisher Ellie Smeal highlights 25 key benefits for women in the new health reform law-some you've heard of, and some you haven't.
Smeal also heralds the far-reaching gender-equity language in the bill. Could this be a Title IX for women's health?

Join Ms. TODAY to get the full story the moment the Spring issue hits mailboxes.
And here's a sneak peek at the rest of the Spring Ms.:
-- Was the murderer of abortion provider Dr. Tiller really a "lone wolf"?
-- What life is like for Haitian women in refugee camps
-- The lawyer who is taking on the U.S. military's disturbing sexual assault problem
-- What can we do about shockingly high global maternal mortality rates?
-- Donna Brazile thanks Nancy Pelosi for health-care reform and mourns Dorothy Height
-- Gloria Steinem remembers long-time friend Wilma Mankiller
Join now to get the next issue of Ms. delivered straight to your mailbox. And you'll be doing your part to support fearless, feminist journalism that you can't get anywhere else.

Ms. hopefully does more than cheerlead a law crafted for and of men. After all, they're still recovering from the embarrassment of putting Barack on their cover and say he was what feminism looks like. But we're noting the above and will note Ms. from time to time. Of course, once upon a time, when they dealt with reality and things that actually mattered, we were able to note them more often. No offense, but we don't need "Bulletins from a funeral home." Translation, when you're focusing more on passings than the present, there's a problem.

the guardianmartin chulov
cbs news
david martin
the guardianranj alaaldinthe hawler tribunemihemed eli zallathe associated pressyahya barzanji
the los angeles times
paul richter

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The video

“’You’re So Vain.’ I think it’s a hit!” exclaimed Carly Simon. The singer received a response of laughs and cheers at Chelsea’s 1 Oak nightclub Thursday night (April 30) among an intimate crowd of fans and industry executives celebrating the first-ever video for the early 70s classic at the 9th Annual Tribeca Film Festival. Filmmaker Brett Bisogno was awarded a $10,000 check from Carly Simon, Iris Records, Tribeca Film Festival and AOL, honoring his winning music video for what is arguably the legendary singer-songwriter’s most iconic anthem.
A glowing Carly Simon welcomed the attendees, channeling her past in an elegant boho-chic dress with metallic boots and thanked Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal for receiving the music video competition so enthusiastically for “You’re So Vain.” Rosenthal addressed the audience briefly and Simon took the stage with her son Ben Taylor for a cover of the blues song “She Caught The KT.” Later, Simon introduced guitarist David Saw prior to a group of musicians playing his tune “Buy My Record,” a bouncy, bluesy, folk-rock song.

That's from Michael Menachem (Blog In The City). I had forgotten about the contest. (I forget about everything!) The winning video is at the link. So be sure to check it out.

And be sure to check out Elaine's "When The Mighty Zionist Gets Here . . ." from last night. Elaine read my piece after ours both went up (we were on the phone yesterday deciding to write about Joni) (Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon, there are your links). She said what two of you (Susan and Ray) also ended up e-mailing about: Kat, you got it wrong!

That's my memory. I don't claim to have a great one.

The pig who had the fit didn't want me to delete what I wrote. He wrote something he wanted me to post here and pretend that I had written it. That's a serious thing to leave out and that's my memory. I'm not C.I. Her memory is scary. Two days later, someone says, "Gosh, I wish I could remember what I was saying I was going to . . ." C.I., "____!" Oh. Okay.

She's like a computer. She forgets nothing. It's really something and I really do not have that ability. Obviously. But her? Elaine'll tell you, if you forget something from years ago, call C.I. She'll say, "Hmm. Okay, that was 20 years ago, you were wearing that blue dress and . . ." It's scary. She has an eye for details and never forgets.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, oil motives back in the news, the Sadr militia regrouping, and more.

We'll open with a segment from today's
Andrea Mitchell Reports (MSNBC):

Senator John Kerry [in a clip]: We're more dependent upon foreign oil today than we were before 9-11 we make America more energy independnet we strengthen our national security.

Andrea Mitchell: Senator John Kerry on Morning Joe today. He and Joe Lieberman now at this hour unveiling their new energy reform bill to combat climate change. But energy independence is also a matter of national security. Retired US Army General Paul Eaton a senior adviser at the National Security Network pushing for climate change, pushing for this legislation. Thanks so much, general, for joining us. Tell us why it is such an important issue for national security for anyone who doesn't-doesn't get it?

Gen Paul Eaton: Andrea, thanks for having me on. When you take a look at the defense budget we're pushing north of a three-quarter trillion dollars and a significant amount of that goes towards protecting our lines of communication, protecting our oil based sources, and we're spending uh-uh our -- our children's future here just to sustain our logistics. And it's -- it is a military issue, it is a budgetary issue and it's a -- it's a future economic issue for the United States.

Andrea Mitchell: But of course this is a terrible climate -- no pun intended -- to be doing this, presenting this bill now. You've lost the support of the one Republican co-sponsor, Senator Lindsay Graham, over side issues, but lost the support over all of the months. At the same time, the oil spill. How do you say to Americans, "This is the time for an energy bill which includes offshore drilling" -- when, in fact, we have no answers from BP after all these weeks as to how to even begin this fix?

Gen Paul Eaton: Well the real argument is because of energy dependence on oil because we're really reliant upon a 19th century fuel source, we are going after more and more dangerous locations and more and more problematic countries to sustain our -- our billion dollar a day habit. And when we spend a hundred million dollars a day and send it to Iran, a primary potential enemy, that is a national security issue. It's a military issue. So we've got to sell that too America. And what happened in the Gulf and this horrific oil spill that's going on, we developed the technology to get after it and as we do so, as our needs grow and we're pushing wellheads down 5000 feet under the water, we're on the edge of our technological capacity to get it and we're beyond, apparently, our technological capacity to -- to right a wrong when disaster strikes. So we're we're going into dangerous regions.

Andrea Mitchell: What about the carbon tax piece of this -- you've got the economy just coming out of a recession and especially in areas of the country where people are so resistant to the carbon tax, how do you sell this very tough political piece to the American people?

Gen Paul Eaton: It's frequently difficult to sell the idea of spendingg money to save greater money in the future. Spending a little bit of money today -- most of which will come back to the consumer in price supports for energy bills that are going to go up and eventually 100% will come back to energy consumers. But it drives us to reliable energy, to sustainable energy to -- to non-oil energy options. It's a job provider. It will ultimately reduce the requirements imposed upon the military as I mentioned earlier to sustain the lines of communication we've got to do.

Andrea Mitchell: General Paul Eaton, thank you so much. We appreciate it. The case for national security on climate change.

We do not support building nuclear plants in this community and we avoid various groups because of it (and various 'activism'). Our noting the above is not an endorsement or a slap about the above. Our focus is on what Eaton's saying. (If you're curious about the legislation, you can
click here for an overview page John Kerry's office has prepared that will provide you with -- PDF format warning -- endorsements -- corporations love it!, the bill itself, and various other options.) Eaton was a war cheerleader (and serving at the time, in training aspect). He's 'anti-war' in that if-you're-stupid-you-believe-it kind of way. Meaning, only those with comprehension issues think he's against the Iraq War. He loves the illegal war, he'd go down on it if he could. But what he didn't like was some of the ways Bully Boy Bush conducted it after it started. He's debating tactics and not condemning the illegal war. He's a War Hawk. He's a War Monger. That's reality. Reality can also be found in his statements. The US government sees energy and access to it as a "national security" issue.

Of course they do. Wars are fought -- especially among empires -- over goods. Over access to and control of resources. That's a historical truth. But any who have dared suggested that the Iraq War was in any way, shape or form about oil have been ridiculed. Andrea Mitchell's husband is Alan Greenspan. Promoting his book, The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World,
the former chair of the Federal Reserve (1987 through the start of 2006) appeared on Democracy Now! (link has text, video and audio) in September of 2007:

Amy Goodman: Alan Greenspan, let's talk about the war in Iraq. You said what for many in your circles is the unspeakable, that the war in Iraq was for oil. Can you explain?

Alan Greenspan: Yes. The point I was making was that if there were no oil under the sands of Iraq, Saddam Hussein would have never been able to accumulate the resources which enabled him to threaten his neighbors, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia. And having watched him for thirty years, I was very fearful that he, if he ever achieved -- and I thought he might very well be able to buy one -- an atomic device, he would have essentially endeavored and perhaps succeeded in controlling the flow of oil through the Straits of Hormuz, which is the channel through which eighteen or ninetten million barrels a day of the world eight-five million barrel crude oil production flows. Had he decided to shut down,s ay, seven million barrels a day, which eh could have done if he controlled, he could have essentially also shut down a significant part of economic activity throughout the world. The size of the threat that he posed, as I saw it emerging, I thought was scary. And so, getting him out of office or getting him out of the control position he was in, I thought, was essential. And whether that be done by one means or another was not as important, but it's clear to me that were there not the oil resources in Iraq, the whole picture of how that part of the Middle East developed would have been different.

In his 2007 book, Greenspan wrote, "Whatever their publicized angst over Saddam Hussein's 'weapons of mass destruction,' American and British authorities were also concerned about violence in an area that harbors a resource indispensable for the functioning of the world economy. I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

Note that not one damn thing when the White House flipped. Not one damn thing. And all the little pieces of trash who used the peace movement as a get-out-the-vote organization, you know the Obama Drama Queens who whored it big time for Barry and then fell silent even though all the conditions for the illegal war -- like the Iraq War itself -- still exist. You know who I'm talking about, the faux activists, who did their little I-Can-Blog-No-More pieces, usually while insulting efforts at peace because they don't want anyone to call out there War Hawk (file it under ' I found the peace movement not very peaceful' -- as so many Liars and Whores did -- usuallyshowing up later to blog again but, you understand, they're focusing on the personal and not the political). Nothing changed. Eaton is a War Hawk. Eaton gets to say on Andrea Mitchell's program what Mitchell's husband wrote and (briefly) discussed.

In England, the Iraq War never stopped mattering.
Danny Schechter writes the ridiculous paragraph below:

My muse, the news, seems to be in hyper-drive these days, with "breaking news" dominating all news. As I write, word has to the Dissector come that Gordon Brown has lost the election after the election as the Lib Dems, Britain's third party, opted to make a deal with the Conservatives, i. e., Tories, pre-empting all future maneuvers. David Cameron will be Prime Minister. Personally I credit Tony Blair, poodle-in-chief, for so trashing/betraying Labor's legacy that it lost its mission and millions of supporters. Brown finished what he started, hardly helped by a devastating economic collapse.

It is ridiculous. He obviously doesn't know enough about the situation to comment. Where is Iraq in that 'analysis.' No where. But then, hey, Danny didn't cover the Iraq Inquiry did he? Apparently unaware of how Gordo went over with Brits over that. Rebecca knew the mood the first time she looked at the raw data. Want to know reality about the elections in England, read Rebecca's "
thank you and goodbye" and "gordo killed the labour streak" -- she may write more, she's got a lot more she can tell. Whether she will or not is her business but she did a lot of work for Labour including spending four to six weeks in England. The election was lost (as we pointed out here) if Brown didn't step down. He never did. He was too tied to Iraq, he was too tied to too many things. He was supposed to provide some fresh air and he never did. All he did -- and there are lessons for the US here -- is degrade the Labour brand. He destroyed it. People have expectations because they are led to believe certain things. You might fool the voters once but they'll come back and show you who really is in charge -- a thought that should frighten Democratic politicians in the US.

Danny says Gordon lost the "election after the election" which is apparently an attempt at "word cute." It's not cute. They elected their Parliament members. The minute the votes were counted Gordon Brown was over. He even went through the motions of announcing his withdrawal (saying it would be effective in September). It was already over and no one -- Labour, Tory or Liberal Democrat -- was going to let that ass save face. Though Danny never covered them, there were huge protests when Gordon Brown and Tony Blair testified in London to the Iraq Inquiry earlier this year. Gordon could have broken with Blair publicly in his testimony -- as he was advised to do. He didn't. He sealed his own fate. Again, there are lessons for Democrats if they care to pay attention.

The Iraq War didn't go away just because the coverage did. It didn't vanish just because a lot of people who used to note it every day or made a film or two on it or wrote a book about it decided more money could be made and attention garnered elsewhere. Amy Goodman is many things but she at least knows how to give lip service to the idea that the Iraq War has lasting effects in the political system and in the media system. England saw the effects of the Iraq War. The US will be seeing it soon. It will play out very much as the effects of Vietnam did. "A Human Rights President will save us! Will wash all our sins away! Yea!" And by 1980, the liar class and their human rights president had ensured Republican domination. History does repeat mainly because so many fools refuse to learn lessons from it.

(If the ones who ran away from Iraq to make money and get attention on something else especially piss you off, take comfort in the fact that they're idiots at commerce. In fact, they should be using the Iraq War to sell their new products. They only have one song and when a recording artist only is capable of one hit, you repackage and remix that thing over and over. Their efforts to beat a hasty retreat are a bit like Donna Summer's efforts to disown her Queen of Disco label -- a career killing move.)

Nothing's changed. That was obvious today sitting through one House Armed Services Committee hearing and two Subcommittee hearings. Take the Strategic Forces Subcommittee which met to markup the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscaly Year 2011. US House Rep James Langevin is the Chair of the Subcommittee.

Subcommittee Chair James R. Langevin: The mark before the subcomittee this morning includes: $15 billion for the Department of Energy's Atomic Energy Defense Activities, not including defense nuclear nonproliferation programs, $10.3 billion for ballistic missile defense programs -- $361.6 million above the President's request, and approximately $9.7 billion for unclassified national security space programs. These three important initiatives will enhance our national security. First, reflecting the President's request to provide a strong and unprecedented investment in our nuclear deterrent, the mark includes a significant increase for the activites of the National Nuclear Security Administration to sustain a safe, secure and reliable arsenal without nuclear testing. Second, the mark includes a significant increase above the President's request for ballistic missile defense systems that counter the most pressing and likely threats to the United States, our deployed troops and our allies and friends. Third, the mark provides for important military space programs that are in critical phases of development or sustainment, including the Operation Responsive Space program and Military Satellite Communications.

And on and on he went. Endlessly bragging about how they were handing over more (tax payer) money than the White House was asking for. In the midst of the Great Recession. When Barack says "everything" is on the table. Everything but military spending. There, they don't even scale back. Instead they rush forward to strut and proclaim they gave more than asked for. And no one rushes forward to obejct to the militarization of space -- something we all found so offensive under Bully Boy Bush. Now Dems and Republicans can -- and on the Subcommittee did -- agree.

Subcommittee Ranking Member Michael Turner: The mark makes sound adjuments in the areas of national security space and intelligence. The mark continues to provide funding for important space aquisition programs in the areas of: satellite communications, GPS, missile warning, space situational awareness, launch and Operationally Responsive Space. The mark recommends a signficant reduction to the NPOESS [National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System] program. Given the recent decision to restructure the program, authorizing full funding of the legacy NPOESS program by DoD seemed premautre absent a clear way ahead.

That was the last one. The first one was the full committee. Chair Ike Skelton made statements that appeared 'new' or 'novel' only if you were just emerging from the womb or coma. Skelton on the surge: "I endorsed this strategy then and I do so now. As I have said many times, while this new strategy cannot guarantee success in Afghanistan, it is the most likely to end with an Afghanistan that can prevent the return of the Taliban and their al Qaeda allies. Six months into the new policy, it is appropriate for Congress to consider how things are going." It all echoes Iraq. But it's supposed to seem fresh and news, as if the Afghanistan War didn't, in fact, start before the Iraq War. "Things may get harder before they get better," testified DoD's Michele Flournoy with a straight face apparently thinking she'd made a novel statement.

Nothing changes.
Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports, "The White House is likely to delay the withdrawal of the first large phase of combat troops from Iraq for at least a month after escalating bloodshed and political instability in the country. [. . .] American officials had been prepared for delays in negotiations to form a government, but now appear to have balked after Maliki's coalition aligned itself with the theocratic Shia bloc to the exclusion of Allawi, who attracted the bulk of the minority Suni vote. There is also concern over interference from Iraq's neighbours, Iran, Turkey and Syria." Meanwhile the Palm Beach Post continues to fancy itself for a peace advocate and maybe that passes for it today? Their latest editorial insists US troops leave and notes the Iraq War was based on lies. If peace activists believe that the deaths of Iraqis and US service members are dismissed so quickly or that the US has 'repaired' Iraq (the country that was torn apart by the ongoing Iraq War) then, by all means, let the Palm Beach Post cut ahead all the rest of us on the next march.

In Iraq,
Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) interviews US Maj Gen Vincent Brooks who states that Moqtada al-Sadr's militia is regrouping and does not dismiss the possibility that they may have been involved in Monday's bombings. Monday's violence, which claimed at least 119 lives, continues to be questioned. Anne Barker (Australia's ABC) reports that "the eputy interior minister admits the government's own security regime was at fault."

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Reuters notes a Baghdad car bombing claimed 7 lives and left twenty-two people injured, a Baghdad bombing in which the assailants killed the shop owner, used his body to draw a cloud and then exploded the bomb claiming 3 lives and leaving 23 wounded.


Reuters notes 1 TV station employee was shot dead in Mosul and, dropping back to yesterday, 1 person shot dead.

Last night, Trina blogged on Iraqi children and noted that the Iraq War "has destroyed their understanding of the world and themselves. They are strong, if they weren't, they couldn't cope. But the war has destroyed their lives and that can't be prettied up." Today on NHPR's Word of Mouth, Virginia Prescott spoke with Mary Ann Cappiello (professor at Lesley University) about a new group of children's books which cover the Iraq War -- many of which cover it from the view of a parent serving in the Iraq War and some covering it from an Iraqi child's experiences of the Iraq War.

In Peter Pan news,
Laura Rozen (Politico) reports Chris Hill, US Ambassador to Iraq, is in the race for Dean "of the Josef Korbel School of International Affairs at the University of Denver." Whatever it takes to get him out of Iraq.

In the US,
Lyda Longa (Daytona Beach News-Journal) reports, "Iraq veteran Joshua Gerard was discharged from the Army last year, but the fighting never stopped within him, his family said Tuesday. That inner struggle -- fueled by post-traumatic stress disorder and bouts of heavy drinking -- came to a head Sunday night when sheriff's officials said Gerard, 29, pointed a shotgun at Sgt. Vidal Mejias." This is an update to Longa's article noted in yesterday's snapshot. Iraq War veteran Joshua Gerard is in "critical but stable condition" and his father Jim Gerard states that service members should be receiving "mandatory" treatment when they are discharged. As Long notes in another article, Joshua Gerard suffers from PTSD. He was shot by law enforcement Sunday following deputies responding to a 9-11 call placed by his wife. Gary Taylor (Orlando Sentinel) speaks to the veteran's family as well:Help may have been available for Joshua James Gerard, but he never got it, his family said Tuesday. That's because the counseling the soldiers need is not mandatory, they said. "It's not just Josh," said his sister, Rachael Sippel. "There's a ton of these scenarios all across the country." People like her brother need long-term counseling and group therapy, she said. "I'm not talking two weeks.Sarah Gerad is his wife and Stephanie Coueignoux (Central Florida News 13 -- link has text and video) reports:In a letter only given to News 13, Sarah Gerard wrote about her husband Josh. She described how his tour in Iraq changed him. "It was because he's not a mindless killer that the things he's been through, haunt him every day," she wrote.Meanwhile John McChesney (NPR's All Things Considered -- link has audio and text) reports on the large influx into the VA system -- a non-surprise and something that should have been addressed some time ago. You can't continue two ongoing wars and not expect the number of veterans to increase.

David Bacon is an independent journalist who covers the labor and immigration beat -- one of a tiny number of actual labor reporters remaining in the US -- and his work is always impressive whether it's his writing or his photography. His photography is, in fact, art and he has an exhibit coming up.
Farm Workers Photographs by David Bacon
Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography University of La Verne La Verne, California through May 21, 2010
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday
Gallery Statement:
While American Agriculture's dependence on migrant farm labor is evident, when placed in contrast with the dire circumstances these essential workers experience while helping make food available for the world market, it is hard to imagine a larger disparity between necessity and compensation.
For nearly two decades, David Bacon has documented the struggles experienced by immigrant workers and their families, detailing the challenges and conditions faced by these often overlooked members of society in a number of highly acclaimed books, articles and photo series, all providing the public a glimpse of a community that otherwise often goes unseen."Farm Workers" shows the hard working conditions faced by these communities. The images highlight the issue of immigration and show the consequences of economic dislocation in Mexico. The exhibit - a partnership between Bacon and California Rural Legal Assistance and its Indigenous Farm Worker Project - is supported by the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB), a network of Mexican indigenous communities in the U.S. and Mexico. The communities documented include Mixtecos, Triquis, Zapotecos, Chatinos, and Purepechas living in San Diego, Coachella, Arvin, Oxnard and Santa Paula, Santa Maria, Fresno and Selma, Salinas and Greenfield, Santa Rosa, Fairfield and Corning.
Bacon is sharing his work with an ongoing photo exhibition at the University of La Verne. The exhibit, "Farm Workers," is on display through May 21, 2010, at the University of La Verne's Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography. This event is also intended to bring attention to the university's photography major.
Admission to the gallery, located on the ground floor of Miller Hall on the university's main campus, is free.Bacon is the author of several books, including "Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants," "Communities Without Borders: Images and Voices from the World of Migration," and "The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border." His work has been exhibited in the U.S., Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom.The Carlson Gallery is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by special appointment. For information on the exhibit, the artist reception or the Carlson Gallery, contact Gary Colby at (909) 593-3511, ext. 4281.
from: "Photo exhibit focuses on laborers"La Verne University Campus Times, April 30, 2010
Rachel Smith, Staff WriterDavid Bacon's photography exhibit "Farm Workers" at the Irene Carlson Gallery exposed the difficult conditions faced by most immigrant farm workers. "The photos are a reality check," Bacon said. "Food doesn't automatically appear on the Safeway shelves."The ULV students that filled the exhibit were affected by the extraordinary images. The ULV staff and students provided great behind the scenes support to help make sure the event was a success. Gary Colby, professor of photography, and Kevin Bowman, photography department manager, were the key staff members that brought the exhibit to life. Colby selected the artist, while Bowman focused on printing the images that Colby and Bacon picked for the exhibit.They capture men and women working side-by-side doing the same very physically demanding jobs. "Some of these images break the stereotype of a farm worker," Bowman said. The images not only focus on male Mexican farm workers, but also touch on immigrants from India and women farm workers.Bacon emotionally reached the students at ULV. He stirred inside them a desire to learn and become aware of the difficult life situations. "It makes me feel like there is a lot going on that I'm not aware of," said Grady Thomas, junior communications major. "I need to be more aware of what's happening." Thomas and fellow communications major Pui Lok Choi helped promote Bacon's exhibit as a school project.
As an adult, Bacon was a union leader and began to see the injustices that immigrants were facing in the labor world. His passion and desire to document the hardships eventually became full-time work for the union organizer turned artist. "We are all here to work," Bacon said. "That's what we have in common no matter the race or work you do."
For more articles and images, see
See also Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press, 2008)
Recipient: C.L.R. James Award, best book of 2007-2008
See also the photodocumentary on indigenous migration to the US
Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006)
See also The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004) David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. Bacon can be heard on KPFA's The Morning Show (over the airwaves in the Bay Area, streaming online) each Wednesday morning (begins airing at 7:00 am PST).

the guardianmartin chulov
politicolaura rozen
the daytona beach news-journallyda longathe orlando sentinelgary taylorstephanie coueignoux
the christian science monitor
jane arraf
david bacon
nhprword of mouthvirginia prescott