Saturday, March 02, 2013

Fat does not equal feminist

Lena Dunham's an ugly female.  Inside and outside.  Rolling Stone was stupid enough to put her sour puss on the cover -- Jann overrode objections and now they have the worst selling issue.  Look for a staff clearing because too many people told Jann it was a mistake and they're right.  If you know anything about Rolling Stone in the last thirty years -- its all time worst years -- you know that bad editors and reporters can stay on staff as long.  They're nonsense doesn't hurt them. It doesn't even hurt to disagree with Jann -- provided you're proven wrong.

But be right and it will never be forgiven.

No, surprise, an unattractive and pudgy woman on the cover of Rolling Stone doesn't sale.  She's also got that nasty reputation.

But I ignore the creep and her paper dolls.

Then along comes Susan Jhirad (CounterPunch) claiming Lena's being overweight and a sloppy dresser makes her a feminist.

A feminist doesn't produce a show in NYC that's got an all White class.  Lena's a little bitch whose parents babied her and then she used their connections to become an 'instant' star.  One day she leaves HBO -- which will hail a million viewers as a hit -- and goes somewhere else.  That's the day she learns about food stamps.

Susan claims she is a feminist.  Really?  She's not a feminist.  She's another ugly woman who thought she could sell ugly as feminism.  Like we'd see her ugly face and think, "Oh, it's okay, she's a feminist."

Fat does not mean feminist.  Ugly does not mean feminist.

Let's all try to ignore the surface -- whether it's flashy or fashionably dour.

Suze and Lena are not feminists.  The realities about ugly Lena were addressed in an essay by four feminists:

"We do not embrace sexism (Marcia, Ann, Ava and C.I.)," "We do not embrace sexism (Marcia, Ann, Ava and C.I.)" and  "We do not embrace sexism (Marcia, Ann, Ava and C.I.)"

That's Marcia, Ann, Ava and C.I.

Now for Suzey the Loser.  If Susan were a feminist, she'd be writing about feminism, right?

Well Suze has a blog.  Do you know what tags are?

At the end of your post, you can put tags.  So if I were writing about Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell, for example, I'd put their names at the end as tags and probably "music" as well.  If I tagged, on the side of my blog, you'd see a list of tags.  These tags allow people searching and going through various feeds to find topics that interest them.  So a tag is sort of like a commercial for you post.  Do you follow that?

Good.  Let's look at Suzie's tags at her blog:

You see feminism in there?


Because she's not a feminist.  She's a Communist (poosibly pretending to be a Socialist) and like all the other political closet cases, she doesn't value women.

You may remember her from 2008.

That's when 'feminist' Suze explained she didn't support Hillary and was voting for Barack.

She explained that it was more important to support Barack.  And she cautioned women against voting for John McCain.

When she needs women, she's suddenly a feminist.  Writing at her own site about anything she wants?  She has no time for feminism.

That's because she's a closet-case Communist.  There's nothing wrong with being a Communist.  Those who are not in closets are pretty cool.  And those not in closets have largely rejected the sexism and homophobia at the heart of 20th century Communism.

But Suze and her kind? They were raised on the idea that they were special and needed for a coming revolution so they saw themselves as sleep cells.  You see them, rise up, their withered bones creaking, to applaud Occupy or any other passing fancy.

Real activists, people like Cindy Sheehan, say, 'Occupy, you need to put forward demands.'

Closet Communists say not to.  They say you have to trick the public, you have to trick the people.

That's what Suze and her kind are all about.

That's why 21st century Communists have no use for the Cowardly Suze and her Kind.

They had 100 years in the 20th century to make a difference in this country.  Instead, they hid in the shadows and supported anything they thought was popular in the hopes that they could later claim, "Communism did this!"  That's why they institutionalized sexism and homophobia.  They were worried about how they would be seen.

So today's Communists have no use for the likes of Suze.  She uses feminism as a cover and it's a bad one because she's always forgetting it.

Thursday night, she saw Lena on the cover of Rolling Stone and thought, "It's popular!"  So she made up her mind then and there to latch onto it with a piece of bad writing.

By the way, this Lena she loves and this show she loves, she's never bothered to write about either at her blog.

But she didn't know about it until Lena made the cover of Rolling Stone.  Now she's writing about it.  She's like the really old uncle hanging around a teen's pool party trying to talk about "Fresh Prince and the rap."

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

Friday, March 1, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, protests take place throughout Iraq, the Finance Minister resigns,  Bradley Manning gets some attention, and more.

We're starting with Iraq War veteran Bradley Manning who confessed yesterday that he passed on documents to WikiLeaks.  Alexa O'Briean has transcribed his statement in full.  We're going to note a section at the top:

The CIDNE system contains a database that is used by thousands of Department of Defense--DoD personel including soldiers, civilians, and contractors support. It was the United States Central Command or CENTCOM reporting tool for operational reporting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two separate but similar databases were maintained for each theater-- CIDNE-I for Iraq and CIDNE-A for Afghanistan. Each database encompasses over a hundred types of reports and other historical information for access. They contain millions of vetted and finalized directories including operational intelligence reporting.
CIDNE was created to collect and analyze battle-space data to provide daily operational and Intelligence Community (IC) reporting relevant to a commander's daily decision making process. The CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A databases contain reporting and analysis fields for multiple disciplines including Human Intelligence or HUMINT reports, Psychological Operations or PSYOP reports, Engagement reports, Counter Improvised Explosive Device or CIED reports, SigAct reports, Targeting reports, Social and Cultural reports, Civil Affairs reports, and Human Terrain reporting.
[. . .]

I felt that we were risking so much for people that seemed unwilling to cooperate with us, leading to frustration and anger on both sides. I began to become depressed with the situation that we found ourselves increasingly mired in year after year. The SigActs documented this in great detail and provide a context of what we were seeing on the ground.
In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.

I don't get -- or I didn't -- why people still aren't covering counter-insurgency.  Bradley Manning's been behind bars for over 1000 days because he hoped to spark a national dialogue.  24 hours after he states that, there's still nothing in the media. 
For those late to the party, Monday April 5, 2010WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. Bradley has yet to enter a plea. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the November 2012 election but it was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a record of his actual actions. adds, "A court martial is set to be held in June at Ford Meade in Maryland, with supporters treating him as a hero, but opponents describing him as a traitor."

At Rolling Stone, Janet Reitman asks, "Did the Mainstream Media Fail Bradley Manning?" And suddenly it falls together.  Not because of what Reitman finds -- she finds nothing.  Not because of Kevin Gosztola's hypothesis that the Washington Post and the New York Times might have been too scared to publish it.

Check the archives, but we covered the WikiLeaks releases in real time.  Today, a lot of people like to pretend they did but they didn't.  In Little Media, they wrote for magazine websites and for magazines and they had their own programs but they never used them to explore what was released.  They didn't have time for it.  They didn't give a damn until they got their postage of Julian Assange.

They still don't give a damn about Bradley.  But Julian they could get behind. 

Janet Reitman wants to know if the press failed Bradley?  It wasn't about Bradley.  It was about Iraq.

And, yes, the US press failed Iraq.  Failed before the start of the war, failed it after.

Did you pay attention to the recap earlier.  People pretend like there was great interest in the WikiLeaks 2007 video.  No, there wasn't.  There should have been but there wasn't.  And there was even less interest when they began publishing various documents.

The question to ask is "Did the press fail Iraq?"  Yes, it did.  By the time WikiLeaks released the Iraq information, there had been a withdrawal from Iraq -- a press withdrawal.  ABC closed down their operation and lied that they'd grab BBC if there were any developments.  (Use the BBC for their evening news.) They didn't really.  NBC was out.  The networks pulled out.  McClatchy Newspapers was pulling out.  No one gave a damn in the US press about Iraq. 

And if you complained -- and I did to many producers and editors -- you were told that the viewers were tired of Iraq.  I didn't then and don't now see how that's possible.

Among the trash that passes for 'independent' media in the US, Demcoracy Now! couldn't be bothered with the topic, nor could The Nation magazine, nor could The Progressive.

In the spring of 2009, Steven D. Green went on trial.  We covered it every day here.  May 7th Steven D. Green was convicted for his crimes in March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the murder of her parents and the murder of her five-year-old sister while Green was serving in Iraq. Green was found to have killed all four, to have participated in the gang-rape of Abeer and to have been the ringleader of the conspiracy to commit the crimes and the conspiracy to cover them up. May 21st, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty and instead he was sentenced to life in prison. 

This was a War Crime.  It should have been covered widely.  Instead it was Kentucky media.  It was the Associated Press' Brett Barrouquere and Time magazine's Jim Frederick.  That was it for the national mainstream press.  Arianna Huffington deserves credit for sending a reporter down there (Gail Mellor) and even more for realizing the best reporting was coming from high schooler Evan Bright and carrying his coverage at The Huffington Post.  We interviewed Evan for a May 3, 2009 piece at Third.  Evan was covering every day of the trial.  Evan wasn't shy.  Why wasn't he on Democracy Now! during the trial?  Why did Pacifica Radio waste all that money on the garbage that was Mitch Jeserich's Letters from Washington but fail to send even one reporter to Kentucky for a War Crimes trial?  Why wasn't Matthew Rothschild or Katrina vanden Heuvel at all concerned with the gang-rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by US soldiers? 

It's in that climate that Bradley Manning tries to interest the media in what he has.  It wasn't about Brad, it was about the complete lack of interest on the part of the press with anything to do with Iraq by 2010.  If you need a 'reputable source' making that observation, here's PEW on Iraq War coverage in 2010:

The ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were on the periphery of both the American public’s and news media’s radar in 2010. Just 1% of the total news coverage last year was devoted to events related to and policy debates about the Iraq war. In no single week did Iraq consume more than 10% of the newshole. With the exception of a week in September, during a large troop withdrawal, most of the public reported they were not following events in Iraq very closely when surveyed throughout the year.

Get it?  The media didn't fail Bradley.  Long before Bradley tries to interest the media, it had already failed Iraq.

And the Amy Goodmans and Greg Mitchells can pretend they did something but they didn't.  They didn't treat the WikiLeaks releases seriously in real time.  After Julian Assange became a folk hero to some, once they had their poster on the wall, the Goodys and Mitchells suddenly could give a damn . . . about Julian Assange.  Not about Iraq, not about Iraqis, never about Iraq, never about Iraqis.

And what we're seeing yet again, right now, is an attempt to posterize.  We're not talking about the War Crimes, we're not writing about the War Crimes, we're rehashing this and that and blah blah blah.  I'm not going into counter-insurgency today.  Unlike Amy Goodman, we've covered it here (and called it out) regularly.   I don't have the time or space for/in this snapshot today to go over counter-insurgency again.

But we've covered it (including yesterday -- and we first covered it in 2006 when the ridiculous Montgomery McFate got her first press via The New Yorker.  These are the issues of substance.  A whole rag-tag assembly wants to pretend that they support Bradley.  Yet they still won't take the time to write and talk about counter-insurgency.  Even now, 24 hours after Bradley outlined his hope/intent to spark a debate on the policy.

You can't argue whether Bradley was in the right or in the wrong to release the documents if you can't address the importance of the documents.  Support him?  Then kick-start the national dialogue on counter-insurgency.  Yeah, it might take a little work and, goodness knows, a little work's too much for our Panhandle Media.  But if we want the mainstream to cover it and if we want people to know the importance of Bradley's actions, then we're going to need to do a little work. 

Let's stay in the US and turn to a loser named James Fallows sets the low mark -- the all time low mark -- for 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq rambles.  The cowardly scribbler for The Atlantic cowers as only the spineless truly can.  The invasion, Fallows whimpers "was the biggest strategic error by the United States since at least the end of World War II and perhaps a much longer period."

What nonsense.  It's not an "error," it's a crime. And if you can't say that, why the hell are you scribbling today to begin with? 

And could you maybe learn to write Jimmy Fallows?  Stop resting on work you did before many readers were born and learn to write today? "The biggest strategic error by the United States since at least the end of World War II and perhaps a much longer period" -- what is that?  Cover your ass in case senility's set in and you're not remembering some major event?  And what is that wording?  Are you aware you're suggesting -- via your construction -- that the worst strategic errors were invading Iraq and ending World War II?  Do you need someone to remind you to take your meds?

If my claim to fame was being a speechwriter for then-President Jimmy Carter -- one of the most bland and boring speakers of all time, I think I'd be trying real hard for another credit to put by name.   And in Fishbowl Idiot, Fallows may have finally found another credit.

This is just completely a puzzle to Fallows, this Iraq War.  "Vietnam," he writes, "was costlier and more damaging, but also more understandable.  As many people have chronicled, the decision to fight in Vietnam, was a years-long accretion of step-by-step choices, each of which could be rationalized at the time."  Anything can be rationalized at any time.  Second, Vietnam, for the US government, was not just criminal, it was more stupid than Iraq because the US followed France's failure in Vietnam but kidded itself that it was so much better at War Crimes that it would be victorious over the Vietnamese.  The US government was wrong.

By contrast, the Iraq War is completely understandable.  September 11, 2001 was an attack on the United States.  We could have dealt with it as we had other attacks.  We could have followed the law.  We could have been grown ups and had honest discussions.  We didn't follow the law and we demonized those who wanted to speak honestly (such as Susan Sontag).  By refusing to address what happened, the events that follow are completely understandable.

We put aside thinking, logic, processing and everything else and were left with nothing but injury and hurt and we looked for someone in a weaker position to last out at to feel better.  Strip the tired colloquialisms from Thomas Friedman's bad writing and TV appearances and what your left with is a tiny, impotent and angry man raging with violence.

Where in the world did you think that rage would go?  Because it had to go somewhere.

Bully Boy Bush stoked the rage, encouraged the rage and he and his administration attacked anyone and everyone who questioned in any way or tried to use actual thought.  The rage had to go somewhere.  And they knew what they were doing having decided early on to use 9-11 to push for war with Iraq.  (September 11, 2001 -- though repeatedly linked to Iraq by Bully Boy and his administration -- had nothing to do with Iraq.  While Saddam Hussein was President of Iraq, al Qaeda didn't even have a base in Iraq because secular Hussein and fundamentalist al Qaeda were at complete odds with one another.)

Bully Boy Bush repeatedly picked away at 9-11 because it had to be an unhealed wound, it had to be gaping, for him to misuse the horror of it to push for the Iraq War.

I'm sorry that James Fallow is confused.  I truly am sorry that he's such an imbecile because, after 10 years, if we still can't recognize and name what happened and how, there's not much hope for any of us.  All these years later and we still can't be honest?  The refusal to honestly address what happened allowed emotions to be manipulated and played to.  If we can't be honest about that, we're never going to learn from it so forget about any talk of preventing  it from happening again.

Let's go to someone far wiser than James Fallows: Joan Didion.  In 2003, The New York Review of Books published her Fixed Ideas: America Since 9.11.  From that slender book overflowing with wisdom.  Excerpt.

And yet, all through the summer of 2002, the inevitability of going to war with Iraq was accepted as if predestined.  The "when" had already been settled.  "Time is getting short," The New York Times had warned us in July, "for decisions that have to be made if the goal is to take action early next year, before the presidential election cycle intrudes."  That last cause bore study.
"Before the presidential election cycle intrudes."  In case the priorities were still unclear.
The "why" had also been settled.  The President had identified Saddam Hussein as one of the evildoers.  Yes, there were questions about whether the evildoer in question had the weapons we feared he had, and yes, there were questions about whether he would use them if he did have them, and yes, there were questions about whether attacking Iraq might not in fact ensure that he would use them.  But to ask those questions was sissy, not muscular, because the President had said we were going to do it and the President, if he were to back down, risked losing the points he got on the muscular "moral clarity" front.
"I made up my mind," he had said in April, "that Saddam needs to go."  This was one of many curious almost petulant statements offered in lieu of actually presenting a case.  I've made up my mind, I've said in speech after speech, I've made myself clear.  The repeated statements became their own reason: "Given all we have said as a leading world power about the necessity for regime change in Iraq, "James R. Schlesinger, who is now a member of Richard Pearl's Defense Policy Board, told The Washington Post in July, "our credibility would be badly damaged if that regime change did not take place."

Why can we not be honest?  What purpose does James Fallows' nonsense serve?  He wants to brag about 2002 nonsense.  It won a National Magazine Award.  2002 and 2003 are the worst years for American journalism.  So you can imagine the kind of nonsense he wrote to win.  Of that garbage, he says today, "I feel I was right in arguing, six months before the war in 'The Fifty-First State,' that invading Iraq would bring on a slew of complications and ramifications that would take at least a decade to unwind."  Oh, the bravery.  (That was sarcasm.)  He wrote an article in October 2002 proclaiming points of interest if the Iraq War happened.  You know Jim Hoagland was doing the same thing in a Washington Post column in June of 2002?  In fact, the topic was all over the place long before Fallows used it to offer his centrist tour of potential things to look for after the war starts.  A real journalists should have been working on questioning the claims.  But James Fallows isn't a real journalist.  There was no money to be made off telling the truth.  During Vietnam, he couldn't be counted on to do anything either, except lie to avoid serving there.  Couldn't rally, couldn't organize the war but didn't want to go there.  How sad that as the days wind down, Fallows is as timid and ineffectual as he was in his college years.

The kind of garbage he provides, we don't need.  If you're writing about Iraq on the 10th anniversary of the start of the illegal war, you should be doing to explain how things are today or to explain how the illegal war was sold.

How things are today? 

Protests across Iraq.  The Iraqi Spring Media Center proclaims:

Here the People of Iraq Revolt against Tyranny and Oppression
It is not important which sect you belong to or race
What is important is that you seek to regain your Iraqi Identity
What is important is you regain your Honour, and live in your
                                 country with dignity!!!

Of all the protests across Iraq, Ramadi received the most attention due to a high profile speaker.  Alsumaria notes  Minister of Finance Rafie al-Issawi attended and, in his speech, resigned his office.  Hamdi Alkhshali (CNN) adds, "The finance minister resigned because the government has not met the demands of the demonstrators to end the marginalization, spokesman Aysar Ali told CNN."

Zaid Sabah (Bloomberg News) quotes al-Issawi telling the protesters, "I am with you, I am your son.  I will not return to this government."  Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) quote al-Issawi telling the crowd, "I am presenting my resignation in front of you. I do not care about a government that does not respect the Iraqi blood and its people." Sabah notes the protesters chanted back, "We are with you! We are with you!"
al-Issawi tells Reuters, "More than 70 days of demonstrations and this government hasn't fulfilled our people's demands.  It doesn't honor me to be part of a sectarian government.  I decided to stay with my people."  Alsumaria notes that Nouri al-Maliki has declared he will not accept the resignation until a legal and financial investigation is completed.  Ayad Tamimi (Al Mada) reports that Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi states that there are secret arrest warrants Nouri is holding on Iraqiya politicians.  Allawi states the members are innocent and this is part of an effort to silence Nouri's political rivals.  Iraqiya came in first in the 2010 provincial elections, besting Nouri's State of Law in the process.

In Mosul, Nouri's forces refused to allow journalists access to the protestNouri's forces also raided a mosque in Mosul to prevent morning prayers. Journalists trying to report on the morning prayers in Baghdad's Adhamiya section were arrested by Nouri's forces.   Nouri's State of Law sees other reasons for the protests.  MP Abdul al-Abbas, for example, insists to All Iraq News that the protests are a plot to run the economy of Iraq.  Iraqi Sping MC notes that protests took place today in Baquba,  in Jalawla, in Samarra and in DuluiyaAl Mada reports that participation in the protests increased today in Falluja and Ramadi and that Samarra protesters are calling for a general strike in the cities throughout the province.

The Washington Post's Liz Sly Tweets:

  1. "Iraqis are still to some extent prisoners of a self-image the US fashioned and left behind..." 10 years on:
  2. To understand Iraq 10 years on - and the real tragedy of the US legacy - read nothing but this. Brilliant and true

Muhammad Yassine (translated by Nicolas Dagher for World Meets US) offers a look at Iraq's crises:

Prime Minister Maliki, commander-in-chief of the armed forces and primarily responsible for the security situation in the country, refuses to descend from the fragile throne he ascended to years ago through an open agreement between America and Iran. Nouri al-Maliki was put there as a cover for their mistakes. Citing the Constitution, which he says gives him all rights and authority, Maliki has refused to give up even a small measure of influence or administrative authority to his political partners. With his poor judgment, he has lost many of his partners and allies, particularly among the Kurds.
Maliki's gambit to remain in power by relying on the Americans and Iranians was misplaced. When he ignored the demands of anti-government demonstrators on February 25th, 2011, he laid the groundwork for a worsening of the crisis between the corrupt political class and the disenfranchised public. No one can deny the success Maliki has had cutting down to size his political partners, who obeyed his deranged demands to resign in return for personal favors and privileges. With privileges granted by marginalizing and excluding huge segments of the Iraqi people, these partners conspired against the voters and their constituents, hiding under the cloak of Maliki's dictatorial powers.

The violence never ends in Iraq. Probably because Nouri al-Maliki has been as much a failure at Iraqi security as he has been at Iraqi unity.   Today Alsumaria speaks with Diwaniya Poice Chief Brigadier Abdul Jalil al-Asadi who explains 2 car bombs went off in a livestock market (cattle and sheep) resulting in 5 deaths and forty people being left injured.  Imad al-Khuzaie, Suadad al-Salhy, Isabel Coles and Patrick Graham (Reuters) quote butcher Jassim Khalid stating, "I came to buy some calves and was checking them when the explosion happened, I threw myself on the ground, then the second explosion happened."  AFP reminds, "The blasts came a day after at least 26 people were killed and more than 60 wounded in a series of bomb attacks in the Baghdad area and shootings in northern Iraq."  Alsumaria notes a home invasion just to the south of Baquba (8 kilometers to the south) in which Ghalib Abdul Ali was shot dead by machine guns and his son was left wounded and a Mosul sticky bombing claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiersAll Iraq News adds that Kaen Saleem, Commander of Salah-il-Din Emergency Regiment, was targeted with three Dijail bombings leaving him and one civilian injured and a Babel car bombing targeted a kindergarten (but there are no reported injuries).

AFP's WG Dunlop Tweets on violence:

  1. Day-by-day breakdown of Feb. attacks in , based on reports from security and medical sources

Finally, David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll close with this from Bacon's "MERCADO WORKERS PROTEST SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND FIRINGS" (Truth-Out):

Valentine's Day sometimes brings chocolates and sometimes flowers. But Valentine's Day in Oakland, California, brought angry women out to the Mi Pueblo supermarket in the heart of the barrio. There they tried to speak to the chain's owner, Juvenal Chavez, not about love, but about the sexual harassment of women who work there.
As they gathered next to the parking lot holding pink placards, Latino families in pickup trucks and beat up cars honked and waved. Laura Robledo then stepped up to an impromptu podium and told her story. As she spoke, her teenage daughter held her protectively around the waist, and stared angrily at the doorway where managers stood waiting for trouble.
Robledo used to work at the Mi Pueblo market in San Jose. She lost her job when she complained to the company that she'd been sexually harassed by a coworker. "I had two witnesses who heard everything he said," she recalled angrily. "The words were so low and degrading it was horrible just to hear them. He even tried by force to kiss and embrace me."
So she complained to the company. That was unusual, because workers at the markets complain about intimidation by managers, and that those who complain lose their jobs.
Fear at Mi Pueblo has been high since last August, when the company announced it was using the E-Verify database to check employees' immigration status. Then in October company lawyer Julie Pace said the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was auditing Mi Pueblo's personnel records. Almost all the chain's workers are immigrants.
In each store employees were herded into meetings, where they were shown a video in which Juvenal Chavez told them that if their immigration status was questioned they would be fired. "The possibility of losing one of our employees will hurt my heart," he assured them. "And it will feel like losing a family member."
When Robledo went to the company to report the harassment, however, she says it didn't feel at all like a family. "They said they'd investigate it," she recounted. "But they did nothing. After two weeks they gave me a letter saying they'd finished their investigation and that nothing had happened and that workers were always treated with respect. For me this was terrible. I felt very humiliated because I could see they didn't respect my rights as a woman."
Robledo was a new employee, having only started working at the store that October. The harassment began almost immediately, she says. Despite getting the letter claiming she had no basis for her charges, she continued working. Robledo is a single mother of three children, and couldn't afford to quit.
The company then made that decision for her. "I worked a couple of weeks after getting the letter," she recalls. "Then they accused me of getting into an argument with another worker, which wasn't true. It was just a pretext. They fired me because I kept complaining about sexual harassment. They knew that because I know my rights and I'm willing to defend myself that eventually I'd expose the truth."

zaid sabah

qassim abdul-zahra

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Praise for Charlie Savage

Good for Charlie Savage.  He's one of the few reporters to be honest about Bradley Manning.  His article went up an hour and a half ago (and is a huge improvement over his earlier one):

 Private Manning said the first set of documents he decided to release consisted of hundreds of thousands of military incident reports from Afghanistan and Iraq. He had downloaded them onto a disk because the network connection at his base in Iraq kept failing, and he and his colleagues needed regular access to them.
Those reports added up to a history of the “day-to-day reality” in both war zones that he believed showed the flaws in the counterinsurgency policy the United States was then pursuing. The military, he said, was “obsessed with capturing or killing” people on a list, while ignoring the impact of its operations on ordinary people.        

And like C.I.'s snapshot from earlier tonight, Savage also includes the name of Mike McElroy -- only Savage calls him Michael McElroy.  (C.I. got the information, as she notes in the snapshot, from an editor at the New York Times.)

When she was doing the snapshot, only the AP was including Bradley's opposition to the counter-insurgency -- Ben Nuckols was the reporter -- and this is central to why Bradley did what he did.  How can you ignore it?

A lot of people are ignoring it.

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

Thursday, February 28, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, Bradley Manning speaks, he decries the US counter-insurgency in Iraq, he notes he tried to speak with two newspapers before he utilized WikiLeaks, Nouri and his State of Law insult the protesters, the UN meets with protesters, and more.

Medina Roshan, Barbara Goldberg, Paul Simao and Tim Dobbyn (Reuters) report, "The U.S. Army private accused of providing secret documents to the WikiLeaks website pleaded guilty on Thursday to misusing classified material he felt 'should become public,' but denied the top charge of aiding the enemy."  He has now been held by the US government for 1005 days.  Janet Reitman (Rolling Stone) explains, "It was only the second time Manning had spoken in court (the first, in November 2012, I detail extensively in my article) and the first time he was allowed to explain his motives. Dressed in his Navy blue Army dress uniform, Manning, in a clear, strong voice, read out a 35-page-long statement in which he described himself as a conscience-stricken young man who, appalled by what he saw as illegal acts on the part of the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan, refused to play along."

This all goes back to  Monday April 5, 2010, when WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. Bradley has yet to enter a plea. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the November 2012 election but it was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a record of his actual actions. adds, "A court martial is set to be held in June at Ford Meade in Maryland, with supporters treating him as a hero, but opponents describing him as a traitor."

Free Speech Radio News' Dorian Merina spoke with journalist Kevin Gosztola about today's events:

Dorian Merina:  So what exactly did Bradley Manning plead guilty to today?

Kevin Gosztola: He was pleading to elements of the original charges.  It's easier to say what he didn't plead guilty to committing.  He didn't plead guilty to aiding the enemy, to violating the espionage act, to violating The Computer Fraud and Abuse act, or to committing violations of a federal larceny statute.  So he didn't say that he was stealing or that he'd committed a theft when he [had] the information and it became information he had in his position.  So, uh, what that leads is pleading to the possession of the information, pleading to giving it to an unauthorized person -- someone who wasn't authorized to receive the information and then engaging in conduct that would be service discrediting the military.

Brendan Trembath (Australia's ABC -- link is video and text) picks up there.

Brendan Trembath: He pleaded guilty to ten of the lesser charges of misusing confidential information.  That information included diplomatic cables, it included combat videos -- all sorts of material that the United States wanted to keep private.  He has admitted to these lesser charges but what he hasn't admitted to is the most serious charge of aiding the enemy.  That charge carries a life sentence.

Different reporters emphasize different things.  Speaking to The World's Marco Werman (PRI) today, Arun Rath brought up some important points others left out.

Arun Rath:  It was actually a 35-page written statement that he had worked on.  It took him over and hour to read and, honestly, it's going to be a while that we'll be digesting all of this.  But mainly he talked about the reasons why he did what he did.  He admitted to leaking information to WikiLeaks.  He talked about his time in Iraq and how he grew more and more disturbed over time with what he saw in Iraq, what he considered to be abuses.  He said the US became obsessed with killing and capturing people rather than cooperating. He complained to his superiors and he said that they did nothing.  And most interestingly he said that he actually took some of this information both to the Washington Post and the New York Times  and was essentially ignored.  That's why he went to WikiLeaks.

For England's Channel 4 News, Matt Frei reports (link is video):

Matt Frei: He also told us that he had tried to contact the New York Times and the Washington Post and Politico here in Washington first before going to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.  Now he left a recorded message on the answering machine of the New York Times ombudsman [public editor -- they don't have an ombudsperson at the Times and resisted that title when they created the position], their kind of editorial watchdog.  He talked to a junior reporter at the Washington Post  who didn't return his call and he never got to see Politico because the weather was too bad.  Had he done any of those three, just imagine how different history would be because they would have presumably leaked some of those documents but they would have filtered them first, they would have protected their source Bradley Manning and this would have indeed become a debate about America's foreign policy and military policy which is what Bradley Manning said he always wanted.

A few things on Frei's remarks.  There is no ombudsperson at the New York Times.  When the post of public editor was created, the ombudsperson title was rejected.  In addition, it's not just a title that a paper can bestow.  To be an ombudsperson, you're supposed to belong to The Organization of News Ombudsmen. Second, if "he talked to a junior reporter at the Washington Post who didn't return his call" then he did not talk to a reporter, he left a message for a reporter.  Third of all, Julian Assange can be faulted for some things to do with WikiLeaks.  He cannot be faulted with regards to protecting Bradley Manning.  Check his statements from the start.  He has stated he did not know who the source was.  Julian Assange did not give up Bradley Manning.  Adrian Llamo snitched and got a little pay day from the government for doing so.  Presumably, had Bradley gone to the other outlets, he still would have found himself needing to talk by chat room and still mistaken con artist Adrian Llamo for someone who could be trusted.

Andrew Beaujon (Poynter) notes that the New York Times' spokesperson Eileen Murphy as has the then-public editor Clark Hoyt.  I can't speak to the public editor issue but on his attempt to contact anyone else at the Times?  Eileen Murphy has not had time -- nor has the paper -- to have certainty behind the claim that no one knows anything of such contact at the paper.  During the early days of the Go Go Green Zone, a New York Times reporter was contacted by an enlisted American soldier with a serious story that the Go-Go Boy in the Green Zone deemed too hot.  I know of that because the soldier then contacted this site.  I wrote about that here shortly after the scandal broke.  He wrote this site and I teamed him with a reporter I knew who was more than happy to have the story.  When I go after someone here, it's usually for several reasons and that 'reporter' then with the Times is someone we will never stop ridiculing for many, many reasons including his running from a 100% real journalism scoop because he didn't want to upset his friends in the US military brass.  So if Bradley says he contacted any reporter at the paper, I believe him because of what happened before when a reporter was presented with a story, with supporting evidence and not just verbal hearsay, and the NYT scribe said that it was "too hot to handle" and would get him in trouble with certain US military officers so he was passing on the article.  For anyone who says I wasn't present for that conversation, I wasn't.  The soldier who contacted this site supplied the e-mails back and for to the NYT reporter.  Again, I can't speak to the public editor, but if Bradley tried to contact a reporter at the paper, I can easily see him being blown off.  Actually, I can speak to the public editor.  I knew Daniel Okrent had an assistant but I really haven't followed any of the public editor's since.  (Daniel Okrent was the paper's first public editor and any mea culpa from the paper on their Iraq 'reporting' resulted from the work Okrent did in his public editor columns.)  I just got off the phone with a friend who's an editor at the New York Times.  Hoyt's public remarks are he doesn't remember speaking to Bradley.  Hoyt has not stated his assistant didn't.  I was told over the phone (over the other phone, I'm dictating the snapshot in one cell phone) that Hoyt's assistant was Mike McElroy.  McElroy could have spoken to Bradley or heard a message Bradley left.

Politico?  Bad weather is probably the best excuse for that rag.  As for the Washington Post.  There were many stories today.  What did the paper focus on?  Something important and news worthy?  No, they let their bloggers play with their own feces publicly at the website.  Until mid-day when finally the adults stepped in and told the 'reporters' to stop filing pieces attacking Bob Woodward. (Late to the party on Woodward?  Click here and click here for Marcia.)   If you were one of those monkey bloggers, let me tell you right now, it's not over and you should be on your best behavior because your work is now being seriously monitored by adults way up above you in the chain of command -- as it should be.  So clearly, a "junior reporter" at the Post doesn't necessarily know news the way a Dana Priest, an Ann Scott Tyson, an Ernesto Londono or, yes, a Bob Woodward would know news. Erik Wemple made clear that he does not know news.  First with his bitchy attack on Bob Woodward earlier today and then with his 'report' late this afternoon which we'll link to because it's so damn awful and so damn stupid.  First off, he worked the phones . . . to call the Times.  Golly, Erik, I just made one call to the Times, to a friend and I got Mike McElroy's name, the fact that Mike could have spoken to Bradley or heard the message.  These are details that you, a supposed professional journalist missed.  You also 'forgot' to speak to anyone at your paper to see about Bradley's call to the Post.  Then again, I understand a lot of people at the Washington Post don't want to speak to you -- and I understand why they don't -- I really, really understand why they don't.  Keep writing crap like the 'report' we're linking to and, Erik, you'll be gone from the paper before the year's up.  With regards to your earlier attack on Bob Woodward, tell me, Erik, what I just put in bold, was it a threat? 

[Oh, look, Erik, Julie Tate and Ernesto Londono manage to do the job you failed at, "Staying with an aunt in the Washington area as a blizzard blanketed the region, Manning said he called The Post, seeking a journalist willing to examine documents detailing security incidents in Iraq. He said he spoke to a female reporter who didn’t seem to take him seriously."]

It appears only one US outlet is emphasizing a very important and news worthy aspect.  Ben Nuckols (AP) quotes Bradley telling the military court:

I felt we were risking so much for people who seemed unwilling to cooperate with us, leading to frustration and hatred on both sides. I began to become depressed at the situation we found ourselves mired in year after year. In attempting counterinsurgency operations, we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists.  I wanted the public to know that not everyone living in Iraq were targets to be neutralized.
It's amazing how only AP has that aspect of the story among US outlets -- Ed Pilkington reports the remarks for England's Guardian newspaper.  It's probably the most important part.  The weakest report from a name outlet was going to be compared and contrasted but a friend with ABC News just told me that the editor of that paper wrote a thoughtful piece on the attacks on Bob Woodward.  As a result, a really bad reporter gets a pass from me today.  David Martin (CBS Evening News -- link is text and video) notes, "Depressed and frustrated by the wars, he used his job as a low-ranking intelligence analyst in Baghdad to download onto a CD hundreds of thousands of classified documents -- pus a few videos, like this  helicopter gunship attack that killed two journalists in Iraq -- which he found 'troubling' because it showed 'delightful bloodlust'."  CNN's Larry Shaughnessy and Mark Morgenstein (CNN) report:

After Manning's guilty pleas, Army judge Col. Denise Lind asked the defendant questions to establish that he understood what he was pleading guilty to.
In addition, she reminded him that his lawyer had filed a motion to have the case dismissed on the grounds that he was denied his right to a speedy trial -- a motion that Lind denied Tuesday. By entering guilty pleas, Manning loses his right to have an appellate court consider that ruling, if he chooses to appeal.

So today, a little more about Bradley Manning is known.  As Janet Reitman (Rolling Stone) observes:

For the past two and a half years, Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of giving hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks, has been the quiet enigma at heart of the largest and most contentious intelligence leak case in American history. As I write in "The Trials of Bradley Manning," my story for the latest issue of Rolling Stone, this silence – imposed by a lengthy pretrial detention that included nearly a year spent in "administrative segregation," the military equivalent of solitary confinement – made it possible for a legion of interested parties on both sides of the political spectrum to graft their own identities and motivations onto Bradley Manning. They have portrayed him variously as a hero, a traitor, an emotionally-troubled misfit and a victim of prison abuse.


And maybe, if people pay attention, a little more is know about US policy.  Counter-insurgency.  Again, Bradley's remarks:

I felt we were risking so much for people who seemed unwilling to cooperate with us, leading to frustration and hatred on both sides. I began to become depressed at the situation we found ourselves mired in year after year. In attempting counterinsurgency operations, we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists.  I wanted the public to know that not everyone living in Iraq were targets to be neutralized.

Counter-insurgency is war on a native people.  It's an attempt to trick them, to deceive them, to harm them in order to 'pacify' them.  James Dobbins wrote a ridiculous piece for the Council on Foreign Relations' Foreign Affairs magazine where he lamented counter-insurgency falling out of favor during Vietnam:

The dominant lesson drawn from this costly and ultimately futile war was to avoid similar missions in the future. As a result, counterinsurgency was eliminated from the curriculum of American staff and war colleges. When faced with a violent insurgency in Iraq three decades later, U.S. soldiers had to reacquire the basic skills to fight it. During the several years it took them to do so, the country descended into ever deeper civil war.
As American commanders relearned in Iraq, counterinsurgency demands a more discreet and controlled application of force, a more politically directed strategy, greater knowledge of the society one is operating in, and more interaction with the local civilian population than conventional combat. Perhaps the most essential distinction between the two forms of warfare is that successful counterinsurgency focuses less on killing the insurgents and more on protecting the population from insurgent violence and intimidation.
There is a legitimate debate over how deeply the U.S. military should invest in counterinsurgency capability at the expense of conventional capacity. But no one seriously argues that counterinsurgency tactics are not necessary to resist insurgencies.

That's so inaccurate but do we expect accuracy from Dobbins?  He served under George H.W. Bush which means he knows all about lying.  Counter-insurgency in Vietnam included such 'wonders' as: To save the village, we had to burn the village.  In Vietnam, they were a little more open about what took place and that was kill the ones you think are seen as leaders to get the native population to fall in line.  In addition, it fell out of favor because of all the War Crimes -- all the indiscriminate killing, the rapes, you name it. 

Dobbins claims that counter-insurgency was needed in Iraq.  Then why was it developed before the war?  If commanders 'relearned' the importance of this War Crime technique, then who 'knew' to include it before the war started?

"A more discreet and controlled application of force" is a polite way for saying "targeted killings."  In addition, Iraq and Afghanistan saw new War Criminals.  Anthropologists willing to betray the teachings and ethics of their profession agreed to act as spies and snitches on native populations.  They carried guns and they lied.  They did not identify themselves as anthropologists.  They're supposed to practice informed consent.  That means, if I'm an anthropologist and I'm studying your culture, I tell you what I am and I tell you I have some questions and ask you if you'd like to answer.  You're free not to.  But there are no ethics for War Criminals.  So you had them in military garb, carrying guns, going door to door with the US military, leading native populations to believe these foreigners with guns were military and had to be answered.  If they'd known they didn't have to answer, they might have rightly told these Montgomery McFates and others losers, "F**k off" -- and then slammed the door in their faces.

But the US military knew that as well which is why informed consent wasn't practiced.

They forced their way into the lives of a native population, they acted as spies and informers -- for a foreign force that wanted to dominate the country.  That's not anthropology, that's not social science.  That's a betrayal of everything the social sciences are supposed to stand for.  As Elaine pointed out Tuesday night, "Counter-insurgency needs to be loudly condemned.  I fully support stripping people of professional accreditation if they use their academic training to trick or deceive native populations.  The social sciences are supposed to be scientific and professional.  They are not supposed to be used to harm people."  Serena Golden (Inside Higher Ed) reports on the resignation from the National Academy of Sciences by "eminent University of Chicago anthropologist Marshall Sahli:
Sahlins further noted his objection to several recently announced collaborations between the NAS and the U.S. military. One of the projects involves "measuring human capabilities" and "the combination of individual capabilities to create collective capacity to perform"; another seeks to study "the social and organizational factors that present external influences on the behavior of individuals operating within the context of military environments." Both have the stated goal of utilizing social science research "to inform U.S. military personnel policies and practices."
Because of "the toll that military has taken on the blood, treasure, and happiness of American people, and the suffering it has imposed on other peoples," Sahlins said, "the NAS, if it involves itself at all in related research, should be studying how to promote peace, not how to make war."
Sahlins' resignation highlights two serious and ongoing debates within anthropology: one, the appropriate relationship -- if any -- between anthropologists and the military (Sahlins has previously expressed his opposition to any such involvement); two, the role of hard science within the discipline.
Dobbins says no one seriously argues that counter-insurgency techniques aren't necessary.  It has a Cokie Roberts "none that  matter" ring to it, doesn't it?  It just doesn't have the ring of truth to it.

Anthropologist David H. Price has been a leading voice -- I'd argue the leading voice -- in calling out social scientists helping the military conduct war on a native people.  At CounterPunch, he interviews anthropologist Marshall Sahlins about Sahlins decision to resign from the National Academy of Sciences:

In late 1965 Sahlins traveled to Vietnam to learn firsthand about the war and the Americans fighting it, work that resulted in his seminal essay “The Destruction of Conscience in Vietnam.”   He became one of the clearest and most forceful anthropological voices speaking out against efforts (in the 1960s and 70s, and in again in post-9/11 America) to militarize anthropology.
In 2009 I was part of a conference at the University of Chicago critically examining renewed efforts by U.S. military and intelligence agencies to use anthropological data for counterinsurgency projects.  Sahlins’ paper at the conference argued that, “in Vietnam, the famous anti-insurgency strategy was search and destroy; here it is research and destroy.  One might think it good news that the military’s appropriation of anthropological theory is incoherent, simplistic and outmoded – not to mention tedious – even as its ethnographic protocols for learning the local society and culture amount to unworkable fantasies. ”

Are you getting what Bradley Manning found offensive.  He was sent to Iraq with the same lie everyone else was -- liberation, to help, etc.  And what he found were innocents being tricked and deceived -- innocent Iraqis being targeted:

I began to become depressed at the situation we found ourselves mired in year after year. In attempting counterinsurgency operations, we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists.  I wanted the public to know that not everyone living in Iraq were targets to be neutralized.

The deaths never stopped.  Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports, "Two car bombs ripped off back to back in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad on Thursday night, killing at least 16 people and wounding 30 others, a local police source said.Al Jazeera reports the death toll has risen to 19 dead (thirty injured).  In other violence today, the National Iraqi News Agency reports two Baghdad bombs left 8 people injured, another eight are injured in a al-Azizia car bombing (Wasit Province) All Iraq News updates the injured toll for Wasit to fourteen.  And Reuters is stating that 3 people are dead.  That's another thing to watch for, seriously injured may pass away. On the Baghdad bombing, Reuters reports that in addition to the eight injured, 1 person was killed. Aslumaria notes 1 Sahwa leader was shot dead in a Kirkuk attack that also killed 1 bodyguard and left another injured.  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 316 violent deaths this month in Iraq.

Alsumaria reports that MP Magdy Rady (of Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc) stated that the current government would not survive one week if the Sadrists were to begin demonstrating in all the provinces.  Possibly but the ongoing protests are pretty powerful as is.  Doubt it?  Nouri's State of Law can't stop trashing them.  The National Iraq News Agency reports State of Law MP Kamal al-Saadi told the outlet that the Ba'ath Party is behind the unrest with the help of "regional powers."  State of Law MP Najaf Sadiq tells Alsumaria that "deviants" are the reason for the protests.  The Iraqi people are the protesters.

The deviance is to be found in the government, not in the people.  They want the government to stop allowing women and girls to be tortured and raped in prison, they want basic services that work -- like potable water. Really most of the things they were demanding in 2011 are what they're calling for today.  Layla Anwar (Arab Woman Blues) notes the protesters demands:

- End of Sectarian Shia rule
- the re-writing of the Iraqi constitution (drafted by the Americans and Iranians)
- the end to arbitrary killings and detention, rape and torture of all detainees on basis of sect alone and their release
- the end of discriminatory policies in employment, education, etc based on sect
- the provision of government services to all
- the end of corruption
- no division between Shias and Sunnis, a one Islam for all Iraqi Muslims and a one Iraq for all Iraqis.

Those aren't unreasonable requests.  And the protests have been going on since December with each Friday seeing an increase in the turnout -- last Friday saw over 3 million people take part in the protests -- that's 10% of the country's population.   Iraqi Spring MC notes that Samarra has just seen day 60 of their sit-in.

They protesters had the support of clerics and tribal leaders.  And the United Nations is meeting with the them.  Dar Addustour notes that the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Iraq Martin Kobler met with officials and protesters in Kirkuk and that Governor Najmoldeen Omer Kareem told him yesterday that they support the protesters in Kirkuk and Hawija and that they understand the demands the protesters are making.   NINA adds that Kobler states the demands of the Kirkuk protesters include holding local elections.

All Iraq News reports Nouri al-Maliki arrived in Karbala Province today.  The province, in the center of Iraq, has an estimated one million residents and the capital, Karbala, is one of the holy cities in Iraq that pilgrims travel to regularly.  NINA notes that Nouri gave a speech about today's Iraq and declared that there was no place in it "for militias, armed groups and warlords."  Of course not!  It would appear he's recruited all of the thugs to be his military and his police.  That would explain the 11 deaths when Nouri's forces opened fire  on them January 25th in Falluja.

Two US State Dept Tweets.

First is because a Sour Grape Girl felt the need to insult new Secretary of State John Kerry on the radio this week.  Sour Grape Girl just doesn't feel safe, as a woman, with Kerry as Secretary of State.  Sour Grape Girl needs to get a life.  Women are not vanishing because the new Secretary of State has a penis.  Under Hillary Clinton, the State Dept did not ignore men.  Sour Grape Girls really hurt themselves when they open their uninformed mouths but they also hurt the cause and maybe some leaders do need to step away from the microphones after the ages of 70.  (See Kat's argument here and Rebecca's here -- and I'm not referring to Gloria Steinem as the Sour Grape Girl -- it was Robin Morgan.)  John Kerry is in Italy.  Tomorrow he goes to Turkey.

Bulet Aras and Emirhan Yorulmazlar (The Hill) offer their take on the region and note of Iraq:

Ankara-Baghdad relations turned sour after Maliki paradoxically perceived the Turkish position to promote consensual politics not only in Iraq, but also in Syria as threatening. At home he shied away from power sharing, abroad he feared yet another Sunni ascendancy. The resultant equation is the U.S.-encouraged Maliki coalesces with Iran and the Baathist Assad. Turkey sided with the KRG and Sunni minority against an “oppressing” Maliki majority bloc, yet acted reservedly not to alienate other Shiite groups. Iran’s policy has been to aggravate
Shiite-Sunnite tensions in Iraq and the region to hedge against its political losses after the Arab Spring. Meanwhile, Turkey’s burgeoning energy and security needs entailed a rapprochement with the KRG, which was earlier advocated by the Americans but went even further than U.S. projections. Overall, for Ankara, the U.S. siding with Maliki in the name of political stability is a faux pas that requires reparation. This is while the U.S. came out vocal in opposing Turkish-KRG cooperation particularly on energy. Maliki’s ties with Ankara seem irreparable and until US pretension about political stability in Iraq ends both sides will continue to differ on Iraqi affairs.

Cindy Sheehan is a world famous peace activist, an author, the host of Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox and a lot more. She's gearing up for a new action, the Tour de Peace.


Contact: David Swanson  202-329-7847

Sheehan and other riders are available for interviews.

WHAT: Gold Star Mother and "peace mom" Cindy Sheehan will lead a Tour de Peace bike ride across the United States
from the grave of her son Casey in Vacaville, Calif., to Washington, D.C., following the mother road, historic Route 66 to Chicago, and other roads from there on to D.C.  Bicyclers will join in for all or part of the tour, which will include public events organized by local groups along the way.  Complete route:

WHEN: The tour will begin on April 4, 2013, nine years after Casey Sheehan was killed in Iraq, and 45 years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was killed in Memphis.  It will conclude on July 3, 2013, with a ride from Arlington National Cemetery to the White House.

WHY: This August will mark 8 years since Cindy Sheehan began a widely reported protest at then-President George W. Bush's "ranch" in Crawford, Texas, demanding to know what the "noble cause" was for which Bush claimed Americans were dying in Iraq.  Neither Bush nor President Obama has yet offered a justification for a global war now in its 12th year.  The Tour de Peace will carry with it these demands:

To end wars, To end immunity for U.S. war crimes, To end suppression of our civil rights, To end the use of fossil fuels, To end persecution of whistleblowers, To end partisan apathy and inaction.
Watch the trailer:


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