Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ann Powers' history of sexism

Well what do you know, Ann Powers gets called a Judas to all women by me and she quickly reTweets Dolly Parton to try to make it look like she cares about women.  All she's doing is yacking about men (and trashing Miley Cyrus) but she reTweeted Dolly so we're supposed to pretend she cares about women.

Most of you e-mailed to point out that in July, August and September, her NPR work was notable for either focusing exclusively on men or on one man and one woman.  But for her to devote time to just women?  No time for that.

Ann Powers is a Judas.

She will wax over any man over 50 who can still record but when Cher releases her first studio album in 12 years, Powers has nothing to say about it.


Power's not a music critic, she's a groupie out for cock.

Let's be honest.

Back in March, Ann was drooling over David Bowie's 'comeback' with The Next Day.  (One good week of sales does not make for a 'comeback.')

The album did not even go gold in the US.

Wednesday, the next Billboard chart comes out, it will have Cher's debut for the new album, as Billboard points out:

Cher's return to the music scene after a long absence is paying off, as her new effort, "Closer to the Truth," is aiming for a No. 3 debut with around 65,000. If it starts at No. 3, it will mark not only her highest debut ever, but her highest-charting album as a solo artist. During release week, she played NBC's "Today" show (Sept. 23) and "The Late Show With David Letterman" (Sept. 24). On the latter program, she was the only guest for the evening and also performed the album's new single, "I Hope You Find It."

I need to point out that Ruth's "The praise keeps coming in for Cher" went up Wednesday and contained more coverage of the reviews for Cher's new album.

I've called Powers out before and three of you e-mailed asking that I note when I called her out last year:

  • Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills): Further on sexist Ann Powers
    Feb 9, 2012 - Last night's post ("Sexist Ann Powers won't review Roberta Flack") resulted in a number of e-mails. I'm responding here. Thanks to all who have ...
  • Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills): Sexist Ann Powers won't review ...
    Feb 8, 2012 - Roberta Flack's new album, just out this week, is Let It Be Roberta: Roberta Flack Sings the Beatles and I reviewed it here. Right now, as I type, ...

  • Ann Powers refused to review or even note Roberta Flack's first solo studio album in 18 years (not counting holiday/Christmas albums).

    How does she explain that?

    Oh, right, she doesn't.  She just hopes no one else will call her out on it.

    As it stands, I appear to be the only one not to chicken s**t to call Ann Powers out.

    We all need to be calling her out.  She harms women with her writing.

    By going ga-ga over David Bowie's weak release, she says to NPR listeners and society, "He matters."  By staying silent on Cher, Roberta Flack and countless other women, she says to NPR listeners and society, "Women don't matter."

    She's a sexist pig and she needs to be called out.

    She had one defender who e-mailed me to say that I don't cover women very often.

    I don't know what he's talking about.  At least once a month, I write here about Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell or Janis Ian.  I don't write about any male artist every month.  I probably write here about Diana Ross, Heart, Stevie Nicks and Roberta Flack at least twice a year -- at least.

    So he's wrong.

    Then I wondered if he was talking about my reviews?  For this year, I've written:

    The last was a music review piece.  That leaves 12 reviews.  Lets count the group Maps as male (male front person) and Shannon and the Clams as female (female front person).

    That's four men and 8 women.  (Sam Phillips is a woman for those who didn't read the review.)

    Let's look at my 2012 writing:

    Again, the last one is an overview of the previous year.   There are 16 reviews.   5 are of male artists, 11 are of female artists.

    I'd further note that with the exception of 2006, I've declared a woman to have been the top artist of the year every year that I've been doing my year "in music" pieces at The Common Ills. (In my look back at the '00s, this was different.  There are 10 acts -- with Neil Young and Ben Harper sharing a year and my belief that 2001 contained no best of.  So you can look at that and add it up.  There are four solo women, five men and male groups and White Strokes.  So that's five women and six males, more or less.  Again, Neil and Ben share a year otherwise the count would most likely be equal.)

    So, no, I'm not Ann Powers.  I write about women -- big artists, lesser known ones.  Women are covered by me.  Ann really can't say the same.

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

    Friday, September 27,  2013.  Chaos and violence continue, protests continue, Moqtada calls for his followers to take to the street (and they do), Tim Arango reports Nouri's support of Shi'ite militias (that would be death squads), Iraq may make history in one province next year, Barack still wants war on Syria, we look at how WBAI threatens Pacifica Radio's survival, and more.

    We start with independent media and how it is at risk of going under in the United States.  This morning, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) announced, "The independent, daily half-hour news program Free Speech Radio News is airing its last edition today due to funding shortfalls. According to its website, FSRN is looking into the possibility of restructuring its organization in the future."  That's dishonest.

    FSRN explained in a public statement on their website, "FSRN is currently carrying just over $200,000 in accounts receivable. For much of the year, our major funder Pacifica has not been able to pay us and its past-due balance to FSRN is about $198,000. "

    Amy Goodman doesn't have to worry about these things because she found a way to leverage an attempted takeover of Pacifica Radio into riches.  This led to the 2002 deal in which Amy got ownership of the program (which had been owned by Pacifica) and hundreds and thousands in funding.

    So maybe it's guilt that made Amy lied this morning.  I don't know, I don't give a damn.

    She's just one of many WBAI thieves in the '00s who've destroyed Pacifica.

    WBAI in the '00s aired one substandard, embarrassing program after another.  This really isn't a story about a Saturday schedule without news, with tired old records or the programs of a dead man that were rarely topical when he was alive (Al Lewis), or wasting the airwaves with a program about "your PC" at a time when laptops and tablets were the new norm. 

    Pacifica Radio started with KPFA.  In 1949, KPFA began broadcasting in the Bay Area.  Pacifica was KPFA, KPFA was Pacifica.  It was the first listener-supported radio.  Long before NPR, there was Pacifica.  It had a commitment to diversity and to peace.  When Amy Goodman pimps Samantha Power and the UN resolution on Syria this morning, she's betraying the roots of Pacifica, so it's actually good in many ways that Democracy Now! is not a Pacifica program anymore.

    A decade later, 1959, Los Angeles' KPFK started.  No problem there, like KPFA, KPFK pulled its own weight.  Then came WBAI in 1960 and the troubles emerge.  No group worked to put together WBAI and that's why it's been trash on the airwaves for decades.  They arrived with a feeling of entitlement.  In the Bay Area and in Los Angeles, work had to be done to create KPFA and KPFK.  In Washington DC, work had to be done to create WPFW (1977) and in Houston, Texas, work had to be done to create KPFT (1970).  Those four stations contributed and never had a sense of entitlement.

    But unlike the other four, WBAI was a donation.  It's officially donated to Pacifica in January 1960 (it had been a commercial radio station) and broadcasting in the first week of the month.

    It has always pulled stunts that have risked the work of the entire network.  They knew, for example, that broadcasting the George Carlin 'naughty words' routine was risky but they did it.  Fortunately, the Supreme Court sided with Pacifica but it could have gone the other way and risked the entire network. 

    You do not get that cavalier F**K YOU WE DO WHAT WE WANT from the other four stations.  They have a history of work, not of entitlement.   That is not to claim that life is perfect and wonderful at the other four.  It is to note that if they take a stand, it's on a real issue -- a news issue, a broadcast issue -- whereas WBAI does stunts.

    And that's created the culture at WBAI that has been so destructive.  Greed and incompetence has been the hallmark of those who chose to stay with the station (as opposed to the many who elected to move on).  I'm not going to embarrass a '00 on air here.  But she was a woman of color, she was a very talented broadcaster and she was ousted from her job by the little junta which controlled WBAI in the '00s.  This same group -- a mixture African-Americans and Anglo Jews -- are the first to scream racism, but their own actions targeting people of color were racist.

    Doug Henwood hosts Behind The News (whch originated at WBAI and now airs on KPFA Thursdays at noon PST).  He characterizes the '00s at WBAI:

     Charges of “racism” were lobbed constantly. A succession of managerial mediocrities drove the station into the ground. Excruciating stupidity was embraced in the name of populist programming. For several years in the mid-2000s, the station was run by a cabal of black nationalists of an antique and alienating sort. They were forced out by Pacifica central, only to be replaced by an even less distinguished (though not black nationalist) set of sub-mediocrities.

    That probably includes the people who caused Henwood to leave.  In 2010, major changes were implemented and leadership forced on to WBAI.  Bernard White felt the need to whine publicly.  Strangely enough, White felt it was okay to use WBAI's airwaves in 2008 to promote and endorse Barack Obama for president.  In his role as program manager of WBAI, that endorsement was both questionable and potentially harmful.  As the daytime voice, he did bumpers between the morning programs, stupid musings without merit that would be embarrassing in any city but especially in New York City where so much media was present to catch the stupidity.

    It was in one such 'bumper,' that he mused on the violence that would arrive should Barack not become president.  Pacifica has a certain tax status and has that because it's non-partisan.  To have the daily announcer -- who is also the program manager and was the voice of WBAI at that time -- make such a stupid statement was appalling to the Pacifica board.  It was unprofessional and it could have resulted in the network losing its tax status.

    WBAI was not pulling its own financial weight and had not been for some time.  White's stunt set in motion his 2009 dismissal (which he claimed publicly was a COINTEL plot and "non-progressive, what I consider to be racist people").  What followed was the usual stupidity of 'poor Bernard was fired because he was Black!'  It's interesting how color 'matters' when White's cabal screams racism.  It didn't matter when White fired Robert Knight (who is African-American -- Knight would go on to do Flashpoints on KPFA with Dennis Bernstein and Nora Barrows-Friedman before returning on air at WBAI after White left), it didn't matter when they got rid of the woman of color I wrote of earlier.  But when White loses his job, it's 'racism.'

    No, it was about not paying the bills.  It was about draining Pacifica's cash with your station no one listened to.  In 2010, serious measures were taken.  It was necessary to get money and listeners immediately.  Pacifica was in danger of going under -- that was chiefly due to monies WBAI owed.  All stations suffered and had to make concessions.  KPFA, for example, had to do away with The Morning Show.  (A blessing in disguise.  It allowed for diversity in programming and thought to replace an increasingly soft pseudo news show.)  For WBAI, it meant experimenting with new programs -- a long overdue need.  That meant moving some programs currently airing and how the hosts did howl. 

    Mya Shone and Ralph Schoenman provided a real service with Taking Aim.  (Doug Henwood would disagree, he despises shows that question the 9-11 narrative.)  They did a first-rate program.  But when they learned their Tuesday show was moving from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm, they had a hissy fit.  They dubbed ten p.m. "the bedtime hour."  Excuse me?  10 pm is bedtime in NYC?  WBAI was attempting, through the efforts of interim director Tony Bates, to bring in listeners.  They had to shake up the schedule.  They were not burying Taking Aim at midnight or later, they were airing it during the last hour of prime time.  (Don't ask Mya or Ralph what happens on ABC's Scandal -- which returns this coming Thursday at 10:00 pm EST, 9 central -- because they're already in bed and can't watch.)   The anger of Mya and Ralph was misplaced but quickly adopted by the Bernard White crowd with calls of 'take back WBAI!'  Under Bates, the station was actually listenable.  (Law and Disorder is the only WBAI show the station had that was consistently listenable in the '00s.)

    They never succeeded and they won't.  Goodman's gotten what she wants (she got it immediately -- two airings daily of Democracy Now! on WBAI).  They have no real leaders (in the past, people stood behind White, real leaders, pulling the strings).  And they're in a position of weakness.  August 13th, I filled in for Stan at his site and wrote "WBAI troubles."

    Oh, how the deluded don't like reality.  I got a real taste of the hatred the Bernard White crowd has heaped on Robert Knight (he had dared to call out Barack's Drone War, war on Libya and more).  To suggest that WBAI should be sold!!!! Gasp!!!! How dare I?

    Here's some of what I wrote:

    It has been a worthless radio station.  I don't slam the shows about "conspiracy theories" the way Henwood does.  I think they gave WBAI some diversity in thought.
    But the garbage, I call that crap out and have for some time.  We wrote about a lot of this in real time.

    For example, Saturdays and Sundays on WBAI was crap with one dee jay oldies music show after another.
    After Grandpa Munster passed away his Saturday time slot should have gone to needed news programming.  Instead Al Lewis was kept on the air (via old programs) for a year after he died.
    Now this garbage on the weekend?
    WBAI gets credit for airing Winter Soldier put on by Iraq Veterans Against the War.
    But it didn't air them.
    It aired Friday's proceedings.  They skipped Saturday and Sundays proceedings to air their crappy programs where they spin old records.  Actual news was taking place -- and KPFA was airing it -- but WBAI wasn't.
    Doug Henwood apparently is uncomfortable calling that out.  I have no problem.  I called them out on the Saturday it happened.
    WBAI's news has been a damn joke forever.
    They are in the media capitol of the world and yet their news played like the worst local news in the worst and smallest market in the country.
    The news only aired Monday through Friday and for a half hour.
    So if any news broke on the weekend, WBAI couldn't cover it.
    While KPFA has hourly news breaks during the day -- at the top of the hour (except during Democracy Now!) -- WBAI considers 'news' to be telling people the time and temperature.
    They are an embarrassment.  So is the DC station.
    And if you can't carry your weight and you're risking destroying the 'network' (five stations) you need to go.

    Law and Disorder Radio will go on if WBAI doesn't.  The rest of programming offers nothing.  It's weak minded hosted by the weak minded and so far from Lewis Hill's intent with Pacifica that they should all be ashamed.  It's not just the falling asleep on air twice in 2012 by Tom Wisker (who was then hosting Weaponry on WBAI).  They are an embarrassment.  More importantly, they are not carrying their weight.  They owe Pacifica money and they risk the entire network going under as a result.

    Free Speech Radio News was actual news.  It wasn't garbage.  It wasn't, "Let me interview my friend about their new book while we pretend on air like we're not best friends."  This was actual reporting -- a foreign concept to WBAI, granted.  The loss of this half-hour show is tremendous.  Free Speech Radio News covered everything that was news and did so professionally.

    A few weeks ago (a few days before I wrote the post at Stan's blog), a friend called about what was going to happen to FSRN.  Couldn't we, he suggested, all kick in and take care of that?  We could.  And normally I'd be the first to write that check.  But I'm sick of paying WBAI's bills.  And rescuing FSRN would just give Pacifica another excuse not to address the WBAI problem.

    WBAI is not pulling its weight.  It needs to publicly be informed it has X number of days to turn that debt around or its station will be sold.  Pacifica cannot risk going under to save that awful station.  Today, the world lost Free Speech Radio News.  If the problem's not addressed, it will be something else in a few months.  If the problem's not addressed, it will eventually be announced that Pacifica is going under.  One station should not be allowed to destroy the whole network.  KPFA, KPFK, KPFT  pull their own weight.  WBAI needs to make money quickly or be cut lose and the same is true of WPFW. 

    Pacifica is supposed to be a network which supports peace.  Its purpose is too important.  Losing FSRN is a huge blow, losing Pacifica would be even more so. 

    If you want to help Pacifica, you might also start demanding Amy Goodman write off the two million she's expecting Pacifica to pay her.  As Pacifica Treasurer Tracy Rosenberg noted at Matthew Lasar's Radio Survivor:

    It’s not correct that Democracy Now hasn’t been paid a penny by Pacifica. It’s been paid millions of dollars, just not the last million. Since 2002, when the initial contract is signed, through the current day, the total amount Pacifica contracted to pay Democracy Now is over $5 million dollars. The problem is signing contracts that go up every year regardless of whether the pledges received during the airing of the program go up or down, and they have gone down substantially in the last decade. Pacifica, unfortunately, has gotten a lot of bad legal advice over the years and tends to make decisions emotionally. Emotional ties to DN were not a good enough reason to sign a contract which was not advantageous to both parties involved. And in the end, it hasn’t proven that advantageous to DN either. Pacifica’s then-ED Greg Guma objected to the terms during the renegotiation in 2007 because he could see the numbers weren’t trending in support of the terms, but no one listened to him at the time.

    Goodman's very good at enriching herself.  It's really time for her 'to give back.'  It's also time for Pacifica to either enter a new contract with her or else drop her from the airwaves.  It wouldn't be a loss.  As Cindy Sheehan has pointed out, since Barack Obama has become president, she's been on Democracy Now! only once for a few seconds.  Amy puts on CIA contractor Juan Cole but ignores Cindy?  That's not Lew Hill's mission statement.

    It's Friday in Iraq which means protests -- as it has now for over nine months.  Iraqi Spring MC reports protests took place in Falluja, in Adhamiya, Mosul, Rawa, Tikrit, Samarra, Ramadi and JalawlaNINA adds:

    Preacher and Imam of Samarra Fri-Prayers Dr. Sheikh Mohammed Taha Hamdon called on Iraqis to obtain legitimated rights.

    Hamdon also appealed the international community, Arab countries and international media to come out for silent about what he described as "ethnic cleansing suffered by Iraq's Sunni component at the hands of militias.

    Addressing the people of Diyala and Baghdad provinces in addition to Kirkuk , Salahuddin and Anbar , saying: "What is happening to you of killing and displacement caused of your demands of legitimated rights."

    Protests have been taking place non-stop since December 21st.  Someone tell the world media.  Al Mada notes that protesters in Falluja spoke of how they did not trust the government anymore -- not to protect them, not to represent them.  The newspaper reports Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister and chief thug of Iraq, was called out in Diyala Province for marginalizing and excluding Sunnis.  He was denounced in Samarra and Ramadi where his insults of protesters was tossed back at him with protesters noting he was one the one practicing sectarianism.  Kitabat notes Nouri was also denounced by protesters across Iraq for allegedly taking marching orders from Iran.

    Those ongoing protests were not the only protests in Iraq today.  Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) notes that the Sadr movement states they have at least 700 members in prison with at least 100 sentenced to death and they are in prison for resisting the US occupation of Iraq.   Some of them have been held since 2004.  Thursday, Moqtada al-Sadr called on his followers to protest these detentions.  Kitabat notes Moqtada's followers in Baghdad and across Iraq took to the streets to protest and demand the release of the imprisoned and that a mosque in Kufa had an especially strong turn out of participants.  What happened to the amnesty law which was supposed to address this.  An unnamed Sadr MP tells Al Mada that Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law bloc  is blocking it.

    On protests, Adnan Abu Zeed (Al-Monitor) reports:

    Many Iraqi activists have been coordinating events to provide further impetus for a new campaign, spearheaded by the youth movement, that is calling for the cancellation of pensions for lawmakers and members of parliament. Organizers have called for demonstrations throughout Iraq on Oct. 5, 2013. Riad al-Husseini, one such activist, has begun posting new banners and ads calling for support for these protests.
    It seemed as if many Iraqis like Husseini have become so addicted to demonstrations and protests as the only available democratic means to achieve their goals that if their attempts were unsuccessful, they would consider democracy a failed project altogether.

    Husseini described the demonstrations on Aug. 31 during which protesters called for the cancellation of politicians’ and MPs’ pensions. However, their demands were not met, just as in all previous protests, and security forces cracked down on demonstrators and blocked the roads.

    Speaking to Al-Monitor, he said, “I was overcome with despair. I felt that those protesters were heading toward a dead end and wouldn’t achieve their goals. The government’s procrastination harms protests more than blocked roads or security officers, who have closed off all entrances in every demonstration.”

    However, Husseini discarded his despair and decided to take to the streets once again.

    Meanwhile mass arrests continue.  However, two arrests will probably garner more attention.   NINA notes, "Aljazeerah and Badiyah operations forces arrested late lastnight the Dean of Imam Aadham Faculty [Dr. Imad Kareem Hamad] of Aanah district western Anbar province."  Two nurses were also arrested.   NINA also notes, "Eyewitnesses told NINA that a military force arrested Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abdul Jabar [of Abu Hanifa NMosque] and one of his assistants after Friday Prayer, without knowing the reason."  Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi is asking why the Sheikh was arrested.

    The mass arrests help breed the continuing and ongoing violence.   AFP reports, "Two bombs exploded near Sunni mosques in the Iraqi capital as worshippers left after Friday prayers, killing at least six people, as four more died in other attacks, officials said."  Xinhua explains, "The first roadside bomb exploded near Al Tawheed mosque in the Dora district in southern Baghdad after Friday prayers, killing five worshippers and wounding 16 others, a police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Another roadside bomb went off near Shanshal mosque in the Jihad district in southwestern Baghdad, wounding five worshippers, the source said."  Iraq Times notes the final death toll from the two Baghdad bombings was 7 with twenty-eight injured.   In addition, NINA notes a Mosul bombing targeting a police patrol claimed the lives of 3 police officers and left three people injured.  Alsumaria reports a suicide bomber targeting Mosul military headquarters claimed 2 lives (3 counting the bomber) and left eleven injured.  The Iraq Times adds that 1 corpse was discovered on Palestine Street in Baghdad late Thursday night showing signs of torture.  Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) notes, "Gunmen also shot and killed police Col. Ghazi Ahmed after storming his house in the former insurgent stronghold of Hawija, 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Baghdad, police said."

    On violence, Tim Arango (New York Times) has a strong report (there's one flaw) which includes the rising Shi'ite anger in Sadr City following last Saturday's bombing attack on a funeral:

    As the government tries to put down the Sunni insurgency, it now faces rising unrest among members of the country’s Shiite majority, who are becoming more determined to take up the fight themselves. This is perhaps expressed most vividly in the sentiments stirring Sadr City, home to many former fighters in Mr. Sadr’s militia, the Mahdi Army, who had largely put down their weapons in recent years and put their faith in the political process.
    But now that their community faces a deadly streak of terrorist violence, and believes the government incapable of protecting them, that is changing, demonstrated by the protests and unrest this week in Sadr City.
    “The whole city is angry,” said Razak Jassim, 43, a friend to Mr. Jabar who joined him in mourning on Wednesday.

    Arango goes on to note that Nouri al-Maliki is backing Asaib al-Haq, a Shi'ite militia rival to the Mahdi Army:

    In supporting Asaib al-Haq, Mr. Maliki has apparently made the risky calculation that by backing some Shiite militias, even in secret, he can maintain control over the country’s restive Shiite population and, ultimately, retain power after the next national elections, which are scheduled for next year. Militiamen and residents of Shiite areas say members of Asaib al-Haq are given government badges and weapons and allowed freedom of movement by the security forces.

    And he's also probably hoping to neutralize cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr who has huge popularity in Iraq and who is Nouri's strongest rival in the next bid for prime minister.  Arango's report is the first thing in weeks to justify the claims his paper makes in the new round of TV advertisements -- we've all seen them right?  If Arango were given a little more space, he probably could have addressed Nouri's attacks on the Sunnis.  Not the 'Sunni insurgency' (a media catch all for rebels, militants, al Qaeda and more) but to the Sunni population in general.   And those attacks?  That's why he's backing Asaib al-Haq -- who do you think that militia is attacking?  The protesters have repeatedly maintained the Sunni community is being targeted by Shi'ite militias backed by Nouri al-Maliki.  Al Mada reports this was again raised in Friday's protests with speakers in Falluja demanding Nouri curb his militias.

    And this behavior?  It really demands that aid from the US be cut off.

    Iraq Body Count's death toll for September through yesterday?   1035 violent deaths.  Though media reports might want to pretend otherwise, there are a lot of Sunnis in that number.  The two mosques bombed in Baghdad today were Sunni mosques.  Equally troubling, the corpse on Palestine Street.  That's a sign of how bad the violence is getting, corpses are being discovered yet again, in the last weeks, dumped on the streets of Baghdad.

    Matt Hoh, Michael Shank and Danny L. Davis (CNN) survey the war fronts and notes:

    Iraq threatens to explode into all out civil war, with suicide bombings still all too frequent. Earlier this month, for example, 30 worshippers were killed at a mosque near Baquba, while late last month, several dozen people were killed in a string of bombings in and near Baghdad. Afghanistan, meanwhile, is still riven by insurgent attacks as well as tribal, religious and sectarian disputes.

    John Glaser ( observes:

    Not only is Iraq on the verge of all out civil war, but the U.S.-backed Shiite government in Baghdad is increasingly authoritarian and is contributing to the country’s ongoing demise. The Sunni-Shia violence in Iraq is, as the International Crisis Group (ICG) puts it, “as acute and explosive as ever” primarily because “Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has implemented a divide-and-conquer strategy that has neutered any credible Sunni Arab leadership.”
    Maliki has had his security forces detain and brutally torture thousands of political opponents in secret prisons and denied them access to legal counsel. Amnesty International reported this week that Iraq executed 13 men following unfair trials plagued by allegations of torture. “Iraq is one of the world’s most prolific executioners,” the report states.

    In this environment, Iraq is supposed to hold parliamentary elections early next year.  But they can't pass an election law, as we noted in Thursday's snapshot:

    Cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr's the one leading the push for Parliament to pass the election law on the Shi'ite side (in Iraq, the law is passed before each election or the elections are not held).  And the one saying no?  Members of Nouri's political slate (State of Law) and Nouri's political party (Dawa).  Guess what group Khudheir Al-Khuzaie?  Right.  All Iraq News reports that the vote on the election law did not take place today and was postponed until Monday.  Alsumaria quotes an unnamed source stating that there are disagreements about the electoral system and the quota system.

    All Iraq News notes independent MP Safiya al-Siheil is concerned and she stated today that she fears the elections may be delayed.  If elections are held, Diwaniyah may make history next year.  Al Mada reports feminists in the province are planning to form a collective to run for office with the goal of advancing women in all fields.  Dad Hasnawi tells Al Mada that the slate would be the first of its kind in the province, in Iraq and in the Arab world and that it would embrace women's issues.

    Saturday the KRG held provincial elections.  Exit polling places the Kurdistan Democratic Party (led by KRG President Massoud Barzani) in the lead.  The surprise from the polling is that the other dominant political party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, is no longer dominant.  Second place, according to the exit polling, has gone to Gorran (Change).  The Independent High Electoral Commission has still been unable to release the vote totals.  Only three provinces voted.  It shouldn't be that difficult.  Here are some of the latest Tweets on the election:  Kitabat notes allegations that the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) is attempting to rig the results of the elections and that UNHCR has sent a delegation into Sulaymaniyah to investigate.  Mushreq Abbas (Al-Monitor) reports:

    The preliminary figures cited by the parties, observers and independent organizations were based on polling station counts. The results showed the KDP in first place with 37.4% of the vote, which would give the party about a third of the total seats. Parliament is comprised of 111 seats, in addition to the 11 seats reserved for non-Kurdish minorities, which have traditionally been close to Barzani.

    The KDP’s main ally, Talabani’s PUK, slipped to third place with 16.6% of the vote. The Movement for Change came in second place with 24.7%, followed by the Kurdistan Islamic Union with 9.8 %, the Islamic Group with 6.1%, al-Haraka al-Islamiyya with 1.2% and 4.2% for the other parties.

    These figures are subject to change. A source from the Electoral Commission in Erbil told Al-Monitor that approximately 40% of the 150,000 votes of the security forces and of the Iraqi Kurdistan guard — the Peshmerga — will go to Barzani’s party.

    The official results are expected to be announced on Sept. 30, but the overall standings are not expected to be affected, prompting some within the PUK — including the deputy head of the party, Barham Salih — to recognize the party’s decline. He said, “The loss is harsh, but denying the people’s will would be shameful,” in reference to accusations by the Movement for Change that the PUK and the KDP are trying to rig the results.


    Today, US Secretary of State John Kerry declared at the United Nations, "So tonight, we are declaring together, for the first time, that the use of chemical weapons, which the world long ago determined beyond the bounds of acceptable human behavior, are also a threat to international peace and security anywhere they might be used, anytime they might be used, under any circumstances. As a community of nations, we reaffirm our responsibility to defend the defenseless, those whose lives remain at risk every day that anyone believes they can use weapons of mass destruction with impunity. Together, the world, with a single voice for the first time, is imposing binding obligations on the Assad regime requiring it to get rid of weapons that have been used to devastating effect as tools of terror. This important resolution reflects what President Obama and President Putin and colleagues around the world set out to do."

    Of course, he didn't mean it.  He's perfectly fine with the chemical weapons the US used in Iraq and sleeps without any sorrow over the hundreds of Iraqi children born with cancers and birth defects as a result of the chemical weapons.  Before the resolution passed, World Can't Wait's Debra Sweet noted at War Is A Crime:

    Wrapped in some benign sounding words about prosperity, peace, and “shifting from a perpetual war footing,” the core of Barack Obama’s message to the United Nations yesterday made clear that if the U.N. doesn’t pass a resolution the U.S. wants against Syria, he still could execute a strike.
    Here’s the take-home:
    “The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region. We will confront external aggression against our allies and partners, as we did in the Gulf War.
    “We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world. Although America is steadily reducing our own dependence on imported oil, the world still depends on the region’s energy supply and a severe disruption could destabilize the entire global economy.”

    The UN News Centre notes that Iraqi Vice-President Khudheir Mussa Al-khuzaie spoke at the UN today:

    Turning to the situation in neighbouring Syria, Mr. Al-khuzaie called the conflict a “serious threat to our security, stability and the integrity of our land and people.” He urged a peaceful solution to the conflict warning that otherwise, “the region will forge ahead towards the unknown.”

    law and disorder radio

    mohammed tawfeeq

    Thursday, September 26, 2013


    Lot of e-mails about how others agree Ann Power is a Judas.  I'll probably come back to that topic on Friday in some form.  Tonight, let's note the idiot Bono.  Harry Browne (CounterPunch) explains:

    The interview with Bono by Tim Adams published in the Observer last Sunday was blessed, or cursed, with interesting timing. Within a couple of days of the piece appearing, with its headline quoting Bono’s defensive “There’s a difference between cosying up to power and being close to power”, Bono was literally jumping into Bill Clinton’s seat at a Clinton Global Initiative conference to offer his loving imitation of the ex-president’s voice. (Bono’s version of Clinton was, by happy coincidence, flattering Bono.) You gotta admit, it looks pretty cosy.
    The scene was all the more ironic because Adams’ interview, and Bono’s answers, rested heavily on the proposition that the mega-rich rock star, whose access to the world’s media is as unobstructed as his route to its corridors of power, is nonetheless a beleaguered and misunderstood figure, fighting to have his ideas heard and his Bono-fides respected in a hostile world. In the Bono-Adams parallel universe, the singer is under attack not merely by lefties, but even by liberals.
    Funnily enough, this proposition, while somewhat peculiar when viewed from the US, is not delusional, at least not in the pages of a Guardian newspaper, which the Observer is. While it is true that the Guardian’s ““global development’ section is conspicuously supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which also happens to be the chief sponsor of Bono’s African work, the U2 frontman occasionally takes fierce abuse in the paper’s pages. This may come in the form of barbs from Marina Hyde, or a more sustained critique from George Monbiot, who wrote last June that Bono’s “ONE campaign looks to me like the sort of organisation that John le Carré or Robert Harris might have invented. It claims to work on behalf of the extremely poor. But its board is largely composed of multimillionaires, corporate aristocrats and US enforcers.”

    Bono's so full of it, you get the idea even he doesn't believe his crap anymore.

    Is anyone else bothered by the fact that the Rolling Stones release more albums than U2 these days?

    Their last album was in 2009.  I noted:

    U2's new album is finally out, their first since 2004's disappointing How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. For those who thought that was the lowest U2 could go, welcome to No Line On The Horizon.

    You're clued for disappointment when you play the first track and hear the recycled music of "Desire" with a non-melodic chorus placed on top which sounds like Gilda Radner doing her impersonation of Patti Smith (Candy Slice) on Saturday Night Live.

    The guitar work throughout is worth noting. David Evans is especially effective with descending chords. David Evans? That's how the Edge is credited on songs he wrote. Since an e-mail came in asking why U2 was recording outside songs and noted "Moment of Surrender" written by David Evans, I should probably clear that up. Lyrically, it is a song that's crafted to their cloying, hog calling lead singer's Bono As Jesus pose. "I tied myself with wire to let the horses roam free . . ." Oh, you are so sensitive, Bono, so very sensitive. You suffer the world and then some, drama queen. How very lucky we are to have the brave Bono Vox, right?

    It'll be at least five years before the next U2 album.

    But do we care anymore?

    They haven't had a top 20 hit since 1997's "Last Night On Earth."  (Even "Beautiful Day" stalled at number 21 in the US.)

    They made themselves useless.

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

    Thursday, September 26, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri buys more weapons from the US, the Iraqi government should have no claim on the Jewish archives the US has restored, the US counter-insurgency program is plagued with theft and sexism and racism (what a proud moment for American anthropologists), Samantha Power stinks up the room as she grows excited over war on Syria, and more.

    Starting with issues of cultural heritage.  At the start of the month, the Washington Post reported on the Jewish archives the US rescued from Iraq in May 2003.  The material was badly damaged and in need of restoring:

    The material, found when U.S. troops invaded Iraq a decade ago, includes a 400-year-old Hebrew Bible and a 200-year-old Talmud from Vienna. There is also a small, hand-inked 1902 Passover Haggada, a colorful 1930 prayer book in French and a beautifully printed collection of sermons by a rabbi made in Germany in 1692.

    The attention on the topic is due to the upcoming National Archives event.  May 16th the National Archives (in the US) issued the following:

    Washington, DC…On Friday, October 11, 2013, the National Archives will unveil a new exhibition, “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage.” The exhibit details the dramatic recovery of historic materials relating to the Jewish community in Iraq from a flooded basement in Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters, and the National Archives’ ongoing work in support of U.S. Government efforts to preserve these materials. Located in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, “Discovery and Recovery” is free and open to the public and runs through January 5, 2014.
    In both English and Arabic, the 2,000 square foot exhibit features 24 recovered items and a “behind the scenes” video of the fascinating yet painstaking preservation process. This exhibit marks the first time these items have been on public display.


    On May 6, 2003, just days after the Coalition forces took over Baghdad, 16 American soldiers from Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha, a group assigned to search for nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, entered Saddam Hussein’s flooded intelligence building. In the basement, under four feet of water, they found thousands of books and documents relating to the Jewish community of Iraq – materials that had belonged to synagogues and Jewish organizations in Baghdad.
    The water-logged materials quickly became moldy in Baghdad’s intense heat and humidity. Seeking guidance, the Coalition Provisional Authority placed an urgent call to the nation’s foremost conservation experts at the National Archives. Just a week later, National Archives Director of Preservation Programs Doris Hamburg and Conservation Chief Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler arrived in Baghdad via military transport to assess the damage and make recommendations for preservation of the materials. Both experts share this extraordinary story and take you “behind the scenes” in this brief video []. This video is in the public domain and not subject to any copyright restrictions. The National Archives encourages its use and free distribution.
    Given limited treatment options in Baghdad, and with the agreement of Iraqi representatives, the materials were shipped to the United States for preservation and exhibition. Since then, these materials have been vacuum freeze-dried, preserved and photographed under the direction of the National Archives. The collection includes more than 2,700 Jewish books and tens of thousands of documents in Hebrew, Arabic, Judeo-Arabic and English, dating from 1540 to the 1970s. A special website to launch this fall will make these historic materials freely available to all online as they are digitized and catalogued. This work was made possible through the assistance of the Department of State, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Center for Jewish History.
    The Jews of Iraq have a rich past, extending back to Babylonia. These materials provide a tangible link to this community that flourished there, but in the second half of the twentieth century dispersed throughout the world. Today, fewer than five Jews remain.

    Display highlights include:

    • A Hebrew Bible with Commentaries from 1568 – one of the oldest books in the trove;
    • A Babylonian Talmud from 1793;
    • A Torah scroll fragment from Genesis - one of the 48 Torah scroll fragments found;
    • A Zohar from 1815 – a text for the mystical and spiritual Jewish movement known as “Kabbalah”;
    • An official 1918 letter to the Chief Rabbi regarding the allotment of sheep for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year);
    • Materials from Jewish schools in Baghdad, including exam grades and a letter to the College Entrance Examination Board in Princeton regarding SAT scores;
    • A Haggadah (Passover script) from 1902, hand lettered and decorated by an Iraqi Jewish youth ; and
    • A lunar calendar in both Hebrew and Arabic from the Jewish year 5732 (1972-1973) - one of the last examples of Hebrew printed items produced in Baghdad.

    The plan is to exhibit the material and then send it to Iraq.  Not return it because there's no way to return it.  Who would you return it to?  To the Iraqi government which spied on the Jews and stole this material?  No, that government's history.

    Why would you return them to Nouri's government?  Where are the Jews in Iraq?

    This is their property and their cultural heritage.  We've made that argument here for years.  It upsets some.  Tough.  That is not "Iraqi" property.  It is Jewish property.  The Jews have fled Iraq or been killed off in Iraq since 2003.  You allow a people to be targeted and you think you have a right to their cultural heritage?

    No, you damn well don't.  The field of anthropology doesn't support this.  The social sciences do not support this.  A government does not own a group's cultural heritage.  The material should be forwarded on to Israel. That county has a very good record of taking in the Iraqi Jews who have fled both in the last ten years and in earlier waves of Iraqi Jews fleeing for safety.

    Earlier this month, Sandy Rashty (Jewish Community) reported on a growing objection to the US government handing the trove over to the Iraqi government:

    Harold Rhode, who worked as an analyst for the Pentagon for 28 years, is incensed by the decision after he risked his life to recover the artefacts from Saddam’s secret police.
    The 63-year-old said: “It’s a mistake. It’s like the police who come up with something and then decide to give it back to the thief.
    “The artefacts do not belong to the Iraqi authorities who stole it from the Jewish community, who had lived there for over 2,500 years.”

    Ben Cohen (JNS) offers a history of the Iraqi governments mistreating the internal Jewish population for decades and notes:

    The archive of books, photographs, scrolls, writings and communal documents, including one item that dates back to 1658, was discovered by American troops in Baghdad in 2003, as they combed through the flooded basement in the headquarters of Saddam Hussein’s much-feared mukhabarat, or secret police. Lyn Julius, a London-based writer and advocate on behalf of Jewish communities from the Arab world, has noted that the archive was seized by Saddam’s henchmen from the Bataween synagogue in Baghdad, in 1984. If the archive was stolen from its Jewish guardians at gunpoint, why on earth would the State Department, which has spent millions of dollars lovingly restoring its contents, return it to the Iraqi government? Simply because that government has suddenly decided that the archive constitutes, as one Iraqi representative put it, “part of our identity and history”? Or because the U.S. feels duty bound to respect an agreement it made at the time to return the archive?
    Julius and other advocates on behalf of Iraqi Jews make a strong case that returning the archive essentially involves restoring stolen property to those who stole it. Instead, they say, the archive should sit with its rightful owners themselves, the close-knit Iraqi Jewish communities spread around Israel and the countries of the West.

    This would be theft and the US would be aiding in theft if it were to hand over the trove to the Iraqi government.  They have no cultural or legal right to the trove.  Government theft of property does not give the government a legal right to the property, it just indicates how out of control a government is and how victimized a people are.

    Cultural betrayal cannot be supported by the world community.  But it has been.  In the US, there has been a strong reluctance to call out the abuse of the social sciences by the US government.  We're talking about the military's Human Terrain System which maintains its mission is:

    The Human Terrain System develops, trains, and integrates a social science based research and analysis capability to support operationally relevant decision-making, to develop a knowledge base, and to enable sociocultural understanding across the operational environment.

    No, what they did was war on a native people, they are the trash betraying their training and their field, bringing dishonor to academia.  Tom Hayden's called this out and David Price has repeatedly.  We first called it out in December of 2006 (see "When Dumb Ass met Dumb Ass").

    The field of anthropology is not to learn about a people in order to attack and harm them.  To participate in counter-insurgency should result in someone losing their professional accreditation.  Instead, the only 'harm' has been one woman telling George Packer that her work has resulted in her being shunned at cocktail parties. 

    Tom Hayden noted:

    The new doctrine was jointly developed with academics at the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard. The Carr Center's Sarah Sewell, a former Pentagon official, co-sponsored with Petraeus the official "doctrine revision workshop" that produced the new Army-Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual [U.S. Army Field Manual No. 3-24, Marine Corps Warfighting Publication No. 3-33.5, 2007]. The workshop was held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, onFeb. 23-24, 2006, and can be accessed here.

    This is not an academic text but, in the Marine Corps' title, a "warfighting doctrine", complete with hundreds of recommendations
    ranging from how to "clear, hold and build", how to use secret agents in calling in air strikes, even advice on public speaking ["avoid pacing, writing on the blackboard, teetering on the lectern, drinking beverages, or doing any other distracting activity while the interpreter is translating."

    The new counter-insurgency approach purports to be more civilized and humane than conventional kinetic war. It seeks to save the population ["winning hearts and minds"] from the insurgents. It attempts to minimize civilian casualties and avoid torture of detainees. It promotes social programs. These no doubt were the attractions of the collaboration for Harvard's "humanitarian hawks". The introduction to the Manual is thoughtful and balanced, even raising questions whether the effort can work at all. She tastefully avoids any references to the brutal though targeted suppression necessary for the mission to succeed, [. . .]

    Again, David Price (Concerned Anthropologists) has repeatedly called this betrayal out.  Here is one example of him doing so at CounterPunch in 2009:

    Like a mad scientist’s slime monster that will not die in a 1950s B Movie, the Human Terrain System’s counterinsurgency teams not only somehow remains alive in the face of extensive devastating criticism, but the program’s existence remains firmly publicly boosted by a seemingly endless series of uncritical mainstream news and features stories that frame the program as America’s last best hope to win the hearts and minds of the occupied peoples of Iraq and increasingly Afghanistan.  If this were a B monster movie, such prolonged survival would be due to remarkable adaptive abilities, but Human Terrain has no such extraordinary power; its success has been guaranteed by the support it receives from the corporate media as it fawns over HTS in a flurry of glowing formulaic profiles ignoring the program’s fatal flaws.  If this were a 1950’s B monster movie, this situation would like finding those we depend on to open fire on the monster shooting blanks (and feeding it table scraps) while abundant cases of live ammo lay at their feet.  
    The Human Terrain program embeds social scientists, such as anthropologists, with troops operating in battle theatre settings as members of Human Terrain Teams.  These teams are part of counterinsurgency operations designed provide military personnel with cultural information that will help inform troop activities in areas of occupation.  Since the first public acknowledgement of HTS two and a half years ago, it has been criticized by anthropologists for betraying fundamental principles of anthropological ethics, as being politically aligned with neo-colonialism, and as being ineffective in meeting its claimed outcomes.  For the most part, the mainstream media has acted as cheerleaders for the program by producing a seemingly endless series of uncritical features highlighting what they frame as kind hearted individuals trying to use their knowledge of culture to save lives; while misrepresenting the reasons and extent of criticism of the Human Terrain program.

    Slowly, criticism has somewhat emerged in the press this year.  In February, Tom Vanden Brook (USA Today) reported US House Rep Duncan Hunter was calling out the program in a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh, maintaining that the military had lost control of the program and was unable to effectively oversee it.  Also in February, Tom Vanden Brooks reported:

    A 2010 Army investigation shows the program was plagued by severe problems, including:

    • Team members were encouraged to maximize their pay and comp time by inflating time sheets.
    • Allegations of sexual harassment and racism were made against the government contractors who recruited and trained Human Terrain teams and a soldier who worked in the program.
    • The program relied on unaccountable contractors and inadequate government oversight.

    And many commanders deemed worthless — or worse — the reports the teams produced. In one case, the commander of a brigade combat team in Iraq told the Army investigator that he "relied very little on his (Human Terrain team) and viewed them as incapable and of little value. He never looked at his team's products and believed their survey efforts actually created anxiety among the local Iraqi populace."
    [. . .]
    In one case, a team member with military experience made a statement under oath that the training staff at Fort Leavenworth was overwhelmed and that problems, including sexual harassment, flowed from bad leadership.
    "Teams were hurriedly deployed to Iraq and subsequently without exception failed either as a team or in the quality of the product delivered," the statement said. "This atmosphere was reflected in the staff's struggles in dealing with the continuous deluge of unqualified students and severe personnel issues. ... This gross lack of leadership and oversight sowed the seeds for the chaos and malfeasance to come."
    One of those leaders, according to the statement, was "one of the worst misogynists I have ever encountered in my career." Sexual innuendo was commonplace, the official wrote. "One woman upon giving (the trainer) a goodbye hug and peck on the cheek received the comment, 'How about a little tongue with that next time.' "

    This week Tom Vanden Brook continues to cover the scandals with the program:

    Several former and current members of the program told investigators and the paper, on condition of anonymity, that they regularly filed for hours they didn't work, taking home more than $200,000 a year and months of comp time for little effort. The Army's internal investigation showed that supervisors directed team members to claim the maximum amount of overtime and comp time possible, earning them salaries topping $280,000 and entitling them to six months paid leave upon returning to the United States.
    By contrast, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel earns a salary of about $200,000.

    Are we really surprised that the program is plagued with theft, sexism and racism?  These are people who can't live up to the ethics of their own field.  Why hasn't the program already been shut down?  Maybe because people like Sarah Sewall support it.  That trash bragged on TV about being able to put words into Barack Obama's mouth (see Ava and my "TV: Charlie Rose by any other name would still be as bad") and today she serves on the Secretary of Defense's Defense Policy Board.  She also wrote the introduction to the military's counter-insurgency manual.

    What's that stink?

    Oh, it's the Samantha Power drifting from between someone's knees.  The Problem From Hell Samantha Power blurbed the counter-insurgency manual.  Today the War Hawk Tweets:

    1. The draft UNSCR establishes that 's use of CW is threat to international peace & security & creates a new norm against the use of CW.

    Sammy will have her war if it kills her. World Bulletin reports, "A mortar shell hit the Iraqi consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus on Thursday, killing an Iraqi woman and wounding four other people, witnesses said. State news agency SANA quoted a source at the consulate as saying the shell had also damaged the building."  If the embassy was the intended target, the attacker was not the Syrian government or army.  It was Barack's beloved 'rebels' (al Qaeda).  The Iraqi government has repeatedly stated that a military action would not help Syria and would harm Iraq.  Just today, prior to the attack, Alsumaria reported Nouri al-Maliki was again stressing the military was not an answer to Syria's crisis, that a diplomatic solution was necessary.  Bob Dreyfuss (The Nation) observes:

    [. . .]  yesterday Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, warned that Iraq opposes arming the Syrian rebels.
    Zebari’s warning comes as The New York Times reports that a big chunk of the so-called “moderate” Islamist rebels inside Syria formally broke ties with the phony, US-backed National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. That decision vastly complicates President Obama’s ability to lobby on behalf of the Syrian opposition. Recognizing the problem, a US official told the Times, using circular reasoning, that the United States has “extreme concerns about extremists.”
    During an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Zebari endorsed the US-Russian effort to reach an accord on Syria’s chemical weapons, and he called for a “peaceful settlement” of the Syrian civil war. There is, he said, “no hope of military victory” for either side. But, in a message clearly aimed not only at the United States but at Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, Zebari said: “We oppose providing military assistance to any [Syrian] rebel groups.”

    When the US Ambassador to the United Nations isn't screaming for war on Syria, she's still trying to destroy Iraq.   The White House released the following:

    The White House

    Office of the Vice President

    Readout of Vice President Biden’s Meeting with Vice President Khudheir Al-Khuzaie of Iraq

    Vice President Biden met in New York today with Iraqi Vice President Khudheir Al-Khuzaie.  The two discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues. Vice President Biden praised Vice President Khuzaie's national dialogue initiative. They discussed efforts by Iraqi leaders to reach agreement on important outstanding issues, including the passage of a new election law. Vice President Biden offered his condolences for the families of Iraqis killed in recent terror attacks and reaffirmed America's commitment to support Iraq in the shared fight against terrorism under the Strategic Framework Agreement.  They also discussed Iraq's ongoing initiatives to strengthen relations with its Arab neighbors and Turkey.
    The meeting included United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

    For some reason, Stinky Power didn't Tweet about that.  Maybe she was being fumigated?

    That must have been an interesting conversation.  Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister and chief thug of Iraq, is the one leading the objection to the election law.  The western press has refused to cover the story.  Among other things, Nouri and his supporters are insisting that his term be extended for eight months (which means delaying the elections).

    Why does Nouri insist he needs an eight month extension?  Because parliamentary elections last took place in March 2010.  Normally, the prime minister-designate would be named by April 2010.  But Nouri wasn't named prime minister until November 2010.  For this reason, Nouri insists his term be extended eight months.

    Now the reality is that in March 2010, Nouri's State of Law came in second to Iraqiya.  That meant the prime minister-designate should have been Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi.

    Nouri demanded a recount.  He got it.  Iraqiya still came in first.  So Nouri refused to step down, dug in his heels and created an eight month political stalemate that was only ended by the US-brokered Erbil Agreement which said 'screw the Iraqi people and their votes, screw the Iraqi Constitution and screw democracy, let's just give Nouri a second term.'

    So having gotten a second term he did not earn, he now wants to insist on eight more months.

    Cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr's the one leading the push for Parliament to pass the election law on the Shi'ite side (in Iraq, the law is passed before each election or the elections are not held).  And the one saying no?  Members of Nouri's political slate (State of Law) and Nouri's political party (Dawa).  Guess what group Khudheir Al-Khuzaie?  Right.  All Iraq News reports that the vote on the election law did not take place today and was postponed until Monday.  Alsumaria quotes an unnamed source stating that there are disagreements about the electoral system and the quota system.

    Let's turn to the topic of the economy in Iraq.  Unemployment remains high.  Yet World Bulletin reports, "The number of workers sent abroad by Turkish Labor Agency (ISKUR) reached 38.061 in 2013's January-August, 11,054 employed in Iraq, where Turkish construction business took in charge of 114 projects.  The number of workers sent to Iraq increased 12 % in the first eight months of 2013 and reached 11,054 where the number was 8,854 in 2012's same period, statistics of ISKUR said."  As workers continued to be imported into Iraq (from Turkey, India, the Philippines, etc.), Dar Addustour reports 80 workers are about to be put out of work.  An al-Muthanna market is being shut down to be replaced by a mosque.  In one of the few smart moves Nouri has made, Dar Addustour reports a new program which will allow military doctors who served under Saddam Hussein to return to work if they want to.  That's good news.  There is a severe shortage of doctors and nurses in Iraq.

    Turning to the never ending topic of violence,  NINA reports a Mosul car bombing claimed the lives of 3 soldiers and left another injured, 2 corpses were discovered in Hatra (1 Iraqi soldier, 1 police officer), a Mosul shooting left four Iraqi soldiers injured, another Mosul shooting claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier, an Albo Obaid car bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer, a Kirkuk home bombing claimed 1 life and left another person injured, a Ramadi sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer, a Tikrit roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier and left two more injured, a Shirqat roadside bombing left 3 Sahwa dead, a clash between rebels and al Qaeda in Hawija left 2 al Qaeda dead, a Zaidan sticky bombing left 1 person dead and another injured, and a Baghdad's Sab'a Buor bombing has left 11 people dead and forty-seven injured.  In addition to that last Baghdad bombing, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) notes a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 7 lives and left fifteen injured.  Tawfeeq also notes, "Separately Thursday, gunmen fatally shot the principal of the Nablis school for girls outside her home in eastern Mosul, police said."  Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports, "In addition, Ahmed al-Dhiyabi, governor of Iraq's western province of Anbar, escaped unharmed a roadside bomb explosion near his convoy on a highway in the provincial capital city of Ramadi, some 110 km west of Baghdad, a provincial police source said, adding that two of Dhiyabi's bodyguards were wounded by the blast."  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 987 violent deaths so far this month.

    Related, Paul McLeary (Defense News) reports:

    The government of Iraq continues to snap up American defense products, and is now adding advanced robots that American soldiers are currently using in combat to its arsenal.
    On Sept. 26, robot maker QinetiQ North America announced that it had inked a $20 million deal with Baghdad to acquire its Talon IV ‘bot, a deal which the company says includes spares and training.
    The company has already sold 4,000 variants of the Talon worldwide, and the ‘bot is designed for use with explosive ordnance disposal teams. Deliveries are expected to be completed to the Baghdad government by March 2014.

    Alsumaria adds that the Kurdistan Regional Government has purchased 12 security helicopters from the United States.    Saturday the KRG held provincial elections.  Exit polling places the Kurdistan Democratic Party (led by KRG President Massoud Barzani) in the lead.  The surprise from the polling is that the other dominant political party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, is no longer dominant.  Second place, according to the exit polling, has gone to Gorran (Change).  The Independent High Electoral Commission has still been unable to release the vote totals.  Only three provinces voted.  It shouldn't be that difficult.  Here are some of the latest Tweets on the election:

    1. Results of will be delayed by a week for recount after PUK attack on counting Centre 23.9 & widespread irregularities
    2. Swedish MP acting as intl' advisor in reveals how gorran votes were changed at counting Centre for benefit of PUK candidate 3.
    3. 253 of Talabani's bodyguards didn't vote for PUK list :-O
    4. OMG A Shiw'i (Communist) Party leader has not voted for his party
    5. PUK off. attacks PUK media for turning a blind eye to fraud. PUK concentrating on which defeated it into 3rd
    6. If we want Kirkuk back we have to treat minrioties as equals not flood their qouta system to elect fake representatives
    7. Aydin Me'ruf, Turkmen Front criticized KDP for vote fraud as KDP's Peshmerges have been directed to vote for a Turkmen list
    8. IHEC to announce the elections results of 90% of votes by saturday.
    9. The final results by the election committee will be announced in Jan 2019

    The results are overdue.  To the point that at least one person is mocking the IHEC in a Tweet.

    In the United States, peace activist Cindy Sheehan is running for public office again, she's in the race for Governor of California.  Today, her campaign has issued the following on her Democratic challenger (and current California governor) Jerry Brown:

    End the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC) Campaign

    For Immediate Release by Cindy for Governor 2014

    September 25, 2013

    Instead of focusing on Ending Poverty in California and an EPIC push for funding and expanding everyone’s access to high quality education as a human right to reduce the inhumane conditions that are fueled by profound over-crowding in the 33 state prisons operated by California, Jerry Brown wants to reward his large campaign donors by giving almost one-billion dollars of the state surplus to the prisons for profit industry.

    There is a deep disconnect in a state that spends over 60k per prisoner/year and less than 9k per K-12 student/year.

    Below is a chart of spending on prisons and schools from California Budget Project ( 

    California Gubernatorial Candidate with the Peace and Freedom Party Cindy Sheehan made this statement: “A Cindy Sheehan administration would make dramatically increasing funding for education and eliminating poverty in our state a high priority to reduce the future need for 33 state prisons with horrendous over-crowded conditions. But, in the short run, 44% of our current prison population has been deemed at no risk for recidivism and most of these inmates can be released with little to no harm to our communities instead of being forced into the scandal ridden ‘prison for profit’ system.”

    Sheehan continued: “I want to live in a state where human need is elevated over corporate greed and I am the candidate who can accomplish that because my allegiance belongs to the people of this state and I will accept no campaign contributions from crooked corporations like GEO CORP or Corrections Corp of America.”

    Cindy Sheehan can be reached at:

    For more information on Cindy Sheehan’s EPIC (End Poverty in California; End (the use of) Petroleum in California) Campaign, go to the website:


    Cindy Sheehan for Governor 2014

    2124 Kittredge St, #104

    Berkeley CA. 94704

    Phone: (916) 905-5167

    For more information on the Peace and Freedom Party go to the website: 

    the washington post
    mohammed tawfeeq