Eamon Javers and Victoria McGrane (Politico) report:
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank on Tuesday blasted a proposal floated by Senate negotiators to place a proposed consumer protection agency inside the Federal Reserve.
“I was incredulous,” the Massachusetts Democrat said. “After all the Fed bashing we’ve heard? The Fed’s such a weak engine, so let’s give them consumer protection? It’s almost a bad joke. I was very disappointed.”
The proposal, floated by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, would create a consumer watchdog within the Federal Reserve rather than inside Treasury or as a stand-alone agency, as other versions have envisioned.
Almost a bad joke? Barney Frank, when did you become so timid?
Ralph Nader also calls Chris Dodd out:
When you announced that you were not seeking re-election, many in the consumer movement thought that you would be free to push for meaningful financial re-regulation because you wouldn't have to worry about re-election fundraising. Instead it looks like you are mistakenly thinking that a financial re-regulation bill, no matter how lacking, is better than no bill, and that you need to deliver such a bill for President Obama.
In fact, abandoning consumers on real financial re-regulation is likely to be more costly to President Obama and the Democratic Party than standing up to the banking and financial interests that have so damaged our economy.
The Consumer Financial Protection Agency should be independent with strong leadership, not part of some other existing bank-indentured financial regulatory agency. Consumers need an independent agency that will serve their interests without being captured by the financial wheelers and dealers who put gouging for short-term profit before the legitimate interests of consumers. These wheelers and dealers have been expert in capturing the so-called bank regulators in Washington, DC. You have previously pointed out their "abysmal failure."
Senator Dodd, it is time for you to be a transforming leader and champion for many millions of consumers. You know how to articulate their case and focus public outrage on the recalcitrant members of your committee. Fight for the Consumer Financial Protection Agency - the people and consumer groups will support you.
I know there's this illusion that if someone is leaving Congress they will finally develop bravery. But why would it be anything but a myth?
You're talking about people who have repeatedly sold out. And as they're out the door you expect them to show you some guts and courage?
Leave aside that the Dodd family has nothing but scandals.
If he profitted -- and he did -- from his office this entire time, you think he's going to cash out now and do the right thing? Hell no. He's going to use his last days to set up his end so that he's sitting pretty after it's all over.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Tuesday:
Tuesday, March 2, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, the elections heat up, charges and countercharges fly, Nouri's desire to continue as prime minister meets obstacles, 2880 US service members have died in the Iraq War in the last five years, and more.
Yesterday evening, US Gen David Petraeus spoke with Law Professor Mike Newton at Vanderbilt University and the college has posted the talk online. Along with showing a lighter side than many may be used to -- he joked about when he was shot and how "You don't get a Purple Heart for getting shot by your own troops -- unfortunately" and, we'll note, he had the assembled laughing repeatedly. No one laughed -- though maybe they should have -- when he declared Iraq "the most democratic country in the Central Command area of responsibility" ("It might actually be Iraq, believe it or not."). He went to
Gen David Petraeus: What we have done there is been part of the international community, led by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, other elements that help with election monitoring and guidance and expertise. We have supported the Iraqi development of the security plan which they will carry out. We'll do some enabling, you know, our UAVs will be up, our intelligence gathering platforms, we'll provide a vareity of different forms of assistance. But they'll be the ones securing the polling places. And there will be thousands of polling places in Iraq. I forget how many tens of thousands of candidates there are, by the way. So this is certainly the way we'd like as we approach it. Now again, touch wood, there are threat streams out there, there are challenges -- al Qaeda desperately wants to disrupt this process. There are some other elements in society there that want to intimidate people. But at the end of the day, I think this is again roughly what we'd like to see in other countries. You know, by the way, one of the test questions that somebody gave me in one of these the other day is one that we've asked ourselves: "What's the most democratic country in the Central Command area of responsibility?" Remember those 20 countries? Egypt in the West, Pakistan in the North, Kazakstan in the west, Yemen in the south. It might actually be Iraq, believe it or not. Now you know some will argue Lebanon -- a pretty tough one. It's an itneresting political dynamic there. It's a pretty tough one. If you get it wrong there, you may not see the sun rise again. But, by and large, this is, in that region, an example of some form of representative and responsive governence -- again, touch wood -- that it continues and a strong man doesn't try take over and pull all the reigns of power to himself But I'm not sure that they'll let him. Again to elect the next prime minister will require a cross-sectaraian, cross-ethnic, cross-political coalition. You cannot be elected as a prime minister if you don't pull in -- Obviously it's going to be a Shia. We would suspect -- it's a Shia predominate country, well over 50% are Shia, 20% or so or Sunni, 18 percent or so Kurd, somewhere in there, and then some other minority elements Christians, Yazidis, Shabbat, Turkmen and so on. Well at the end of the day it's going to take one of the major Shia parties, probably pulling in some of the minor Shi'ite parties. It's going to take a major Sunni contribution. And it's going to take the Kurdish parties which tend in national elections to unify. And that's what it will require so it's going to be a team effort.
As Dominic Waghorn (Sky News) observes, "Iraq is preparing to go to the polls in an election that will be turning point for the country, for better or for worse." Waghorn reports from Jordan which is one of 16 foreign countries that voting will take place in. Voting begins March 5th and ends Sunday March 7th. In Iraq, Patrick Martin (Globe and Mail) says that "fear has become the currency of this campaign" and how it is thought to be unlikely that any single political party will win enough seats in the Parliament to appoint a prime minister without entering into coalition sharing agreements with other political parties. Martin informs that Nouri al-Maliki states publicly that he will form an alliance with the Iraqi National Alliance after the election but that's news to them and Sheik Jalal Eddin al-Saghir pronounces it "Impossible" and adding, "There can be no dictator in a true coalition." Gulf News offers a look at the candidates they consider to be contenders for prime minister. War Hawk Kenneth M. Pollack (Brookings Institution) gets one right, "The Iraqi elections are wide open and it is impossible to predict a clear winner with any degree of confidence." Hasan Kanbolat (Today's Zaman via Turkish Press) states, "The most powerful political party in Iraq is Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa Party. However, nationawide this party can count on only about 20 percent of the vote, so it will have to search for coalition partners." Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports that, while some polling indicates Nouri's State of Law Party will perform well, "it cannot win a majority of the new parliament's 352 seats without one of two post-election coalitions, both of whom say they will not countenance him being renominated as prime minister." Cholov quotes voter Hassan al-Kaisi on the campaigning by all the politicians, "All of them want to talk to us for two weeks every four years. Then they will disappear again behind their barricades, and start counting all the money they have stolen." Marc Santora (New York Times) adds, "Across the country, voters are reaping a windfall as candidates in Sunday's parliamentary elections offer gifts like heating oil and rice. When a candidate recently showed up in a poor village outside Baquba to distribute frozen chickens -- in literal homage to the political slogan 'a chicken in every pot' -- so many people rushed to get the free birds that many left disappointed after the supply ran out."
Reporting from Diyala Province, Andrew Lee Butters (Time magazine)notes Abdul-Nasser al-Mahdwe, the governor, is "more worried about an elite counterterrroism unit run by Maliki's office, which ihe acuses of arresting scores of opposition politicians and government critics in Diyala." Rebecca Santana (AP) reports on Kirkuk where election excitement/frenzy appears to be at a peak within Iraq as people stand in the streets waving flags and campaign paraphernalia while Gabriel Gatehouse (BBC News) reports, "With less than a week to go until the Parliamentary vote, the streets of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities have become crowded with election posters." Andrew England (Financial Times of London) provides this view of Baghdad, "Security is noticeably tight as the Imams' Bridge, even by Baghdad standards. Pedestrians are frisked from shoulder to toe; vehicles are thoroughly searched at a police checkpoint lined by concrete blast walls and none carrying weapons is allowed to pass."Today on NPR's Morning Edition, Quil Lawrence discussed various issues of the election with Renee Montagne.
Renee Montagne: Now one thing that American officials who are trying to stay out of this, you know, but they have long worried about Arab-Kurdish tension in Iraq. Are you seeing those tensions coming out in the election?
Quil Lawrence: Absolutely, it's almost part of the campaign, particularly in the province of Nineveh, the capital of which is Mosul, in the north of Iraq. There is an extremely -- well, an Arab nationalist governor up there and he won his election essentially by stoking ethnic tensions and we had the same thing break out last month. Governor Atheel al-Najafi decided to take a trip into one of the disputed territories near the city of Mosul. He has every right to go there legally. He's the governor of the province, but he certainly knew that he would be going through a Kurdish town. It's sort of like the Nazi march through Skokie, Illinois, if you ask the Kurds about it. It's extremely inflammatory.
Reneee Montagne: And Skokie, of course, many of its citizens had survived the Holocaust.
Quil Lawrence: Exactly, exactly. That would be the way the Kurds would interpret this. When the governo came through, there were peple who greeted him with eggs and tomatoes and he says that there was even an assassination attempt. His bodyguards grabbed 11 people from the crowd and arrested them and took them all the way back to Mosul.
Rumors are political currency in Iraq. Alalam reports rumors, which Nouri denies, that popular cleric Muqtada al-Sadr would be arrested if he returned to Iraq (he is presumed to be in Iran currently). DPA reports that Nouri and Sadrists are in the midst of an accusation exchange and they quote the spokesperson for the Sadrist bloc, Salah al-Obeidi, stating that the rumors of arresting al-Sadr came from Nouri's office. . Henry Meyer (Bloomberg News) reports Nouri's charging "unspecified neighboring countries of funding his opponents in" the election. Buying elections? We'll again note Martin Chulov (Guardian) report that Saad al-Alusi, formerly of Iraq's National Intelligence Service, has accused Nouri of giving southern tribal leaders huge numbers of guns (apparently 10,000) in order to buy their votes. Nouri's mouthpiece Ali al-Dabbagh insists that, yes, the guns were given, but it was long planned for them to be given so this wasn't a bribe and had nothing to do with the elections. Hassen Jouini (AFP) reports on another candidate vying for votes, Sharif Ali bin Hussein who is a relative, on his mother's side, of Iraq's King Ghazi who rulled from 1933 through 1939. Hussein now heads the Constitutional Monarchy Party in Iraq. Jouini notes, "The realities of Iraq have hampered any effort at campaigning for most would-be MPs, however - violence in the country remains high, despite having fallen markedly from its peak from 2005 to 2007, and candidates fear political assassinations. Sharif Ali is no different. While he has some posters scattered across the capital and conducts interviews with television news stations in his home, he is not organising public rallies or distributing flyers on the street."
KPCC offers another report from Quil Lawrence which includes:The race even includes a prominent cleric running with his own strictly secular party. Ayad Jamal al-Din studied at the world's most famous Shiite religious schools in Najaf and the Iranian city of Qom. The black turban he wears indicates that his family descends directly from the Prophet Muhammad. But Jamal al-Din says this doesn't mean he wants an Islamic state.Iran and the theocracy there have hijacked the Shiite turban, he says, adding that he believes the vast majority -- even among clerics -- thinks that Iranian-style government has been a failure. What people in Iraq want is very simple, he says."The Iraqi on the street wants security and services. [He] does not think of a secular or religious government, just services and security," Jamal al-Din says.Ayad Jamal Aldin is the leader of the Ahrar Party and today they issued the following:
The leader of the Ahrar Pary 374, Ayad Jamal Aldin, today urged voters not to boycott this weekend's parliamentary elections
He targeted the Iraqi diaspora who will vote on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with his message of change.
Ayad Jamal Aldin said: "It is vital that every Iraqi living outside the country that can vote, does vote.
"Every Iraqi who does not vote is tacitly supporting the decline, division and destruction of our country. Those who do not vote are choosing an Iraq of violence, intimidation, and sectarianism.
"This government has lost control and is being driven by people determined to divide and destroy Iraq for their own ends.
"There is more violence and more bloodshed today because these influences are fearful of the Iraqi people. They fear us because they know that this weekend, the power is with the people.
"This weekend, every Iraqi gets to make a choice between more of the same - more violence, more division, and more corruption or a change for the better with security, unity, and jobs.
"I urge all Iraqis, regardless of religion or sect, to exercise your power and vote for a peaceful and united Iraq, free from corruption and outside influences."
For further information, contact:
Ahrar Media BureauTel: +964 (0)790 157 4478 / +964 (0)790 157 4479 / +964 (0)771 275 email@example.com
About Ayad Jamal Aldin:
Ayad Jamal Aldin is a cleric, best known for his consistent campaigning for a new, secular Iraq. He first rose to prominence at the Nasiriyah conference in March 2003, shortly before the fall of Saddam, where he called for a state free of religion, the turban and other theological symbols. In 2005, he was elected as one of the 25 MPs on the Iraqi National List, but withdrew in 2009 after becoming disenchanted with Iyad Allawi's overtures to Iran. He wants complete independence from Iranian interference in Iraq. He now leads the Ahrar party for the 2010 election to the Council of Representatives, to clean up corruption and create a strong, secure and liberated Iraq for the future.
Iraqi voters are also outside the country which is why 16 other countries will have plling stations. Iraq's Sunni vice president Tarek al-Hashemi is in Syria. For those who have forgotten, al-Hashemi vetoed (as a member of the presidency council) an early election law in late 2009 citing the fact that it did not take into account Iraq's large refugee population. Alsumaria TV reports that he "thanked Syria for its 'historic' stand of embracing refugees despite bilateral political rows." Iran's Press TV notes that he "is also expected to meet with representatives of hs countr's expatriates" while in Syria.
While the candidates cannot move freely and many Iraqis are out of the country, the drones will move freely and have free reign in Iraq. Alsumaria TV reports that drones will be used to patrol throughout the elections. Meanwhile Afif Sarhan (IslamOnline.net) reports on Christian candidates in Mosul where Christians are being persecuted with some being murdered (at least 12) and many more fleeing. Candidate Kammar Bashar tells Sarhan, "The only loser in all this violence is our minority which, although representing only 5 percent of the parliamentary seats, is being the first choice for extremists and militants in the northern region."Independent Catholic News reports, "Pax Christi International have submitted a written intervention for the 13th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva which opened yesterday. In the [document], Pax Christi highlights the desperate situation of Iraq's minorities which are in danger of being wiped out." Yesterday's snapshot included:The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued a [PDF format warning] four-page report entitled "Iraq Displacement in Mosul, Situation Report No. 1" which notes the 683 families who have fled Mosul between Feb. 20 and 27, and notes that 12 Iraqi Christians have been killed during this time period. (At least one other was wounded but survived a shooting.) The displaced have scattered but the largest number, 331 families, have settled for now in Qaraqosh.OCHA has released [PDF format warning] "Iraq Displacement in Mosul Situation Report No. 2" which notes the total number of Iraqi Christians fleeing Mosul has now reached 4,320 (720 families -- a 5% increase)The 720 displaced families are in the two Ninewa districts of Al Hamdaniyah and Tilkaif (204 families) and have also crossed over to Erbil and Dahuk governorates (17 families in Dahuk and 23 families in Ainkawa in Erbil governorate). The number of IDPs in Qaraqosh in Al Hamdaniya district has increased to 278 families (1,668 people) and 35 families (210 people) have moved to Namrood, while the number of IDPs in other Al Hamdaniya districts remains the same as reported on 28 February, i.e. 60 families (360 people) in Bartalah; 66 families (396 people) in Bashiqa; and 22 families (132 people) in Krmales. Those in Tilkaif town in Talkaif district have decreased from 40 to 16 families; Batnay has increased to 63 families (378 people); Tal Usquf has increased to 91 families (546 people); and Alqosh has increased to 84 families (504 people).There are protection concerns for the Christian families who have remained in Mosul. Unconfirmed reports indicate that many individuals cannot move freely beyond their homes, such as going to work or attending university, out of fear for their safety. At present, it remains unclear how many Christian families were residing in Mosul before the displacement. Furthermore, the motives for and perpetrators of the killings of 12 Christians during January and February 2010, which triggered the recent displacement, are still not clear.
Saturday February 20th, AFP reported that Adnan al-Dahan has become the fifth Iraqi-Christian killed that week (at least one other has been wounded) and that the shopkeeper's corpse was found today in Mosul. His family is among the over 700 that have fled Mosul as Christians have again been targeted. Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) speaks with them including Warda, his widow, who explains why they didn't leave Mosul earlier (her husband had been kidnapped and returned when a ransom was paid), "He said 'if all of us Christians leave, who is going to stay in the land of the prophets and pray in our churches?' He said 'we were all born in Mosul and we will die in Mousl'." (You can also read Arraf's article here.) Independent Catholic News reports, "Pax Christi International have submitted a written intervention for the 13th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva which opened yesterday. In the [document], Pax Christi highlights the desperate situation of Iraq's minorities which are in danger of being wiped out." Yesterday's snapshot included:The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued a [PDF format warning] four-page report entitled "Iraq Displacement in Mosul, Situation Report No. 1" which notes the 683 families who have fled Mosul between Feb. 20 and 27, and notes that 12 Iraqi Christians have been killed during this time period. (At least one other was wounded but survived a shooting.) The displaced have scattered but the largest number, 331 families, have settled for now in Qaraqosh.OCHA has released [PDF format warning] "Iraq Displacement in Mosul Situation Report No. 2" which notes the total number of Iraqi Christians fleeing Mosul has now reached 4,320 (720 families -- a 5% increase)The 720 displaced families are in the two Ninewa districts of Al Hamdaniyah and Tilkaif (204 families) and have also crossed over to Erbil and Dahuk governorates (17 families in Dahuk and 23 families in Ainkawa in Erbil governorate). The number of IDPs in Qaraqosh in Al Hamdaniya district has increased to 278 families (1,668 people) and 35 families (210 people) have moved to Namrood, while the number of IDPs in other Al Hamdaniya districts remains the same as reported on 28 February, i.e. 60 families (360 people) in Bartalah; 66 families (396 people) in Bashiqa; and 22 families (132 people) in Krmales.Those in Tilkaif town in Talkaif district have decreased from 40 to 16 families; Batnay has increased to 63 families (378 people); Tal Usquf has increased to 91 families (546 people); and Alqosh has increased to 84 families (504 people).There are protection concerns for the Christian families who have remained in Mosul. Unconfirmed reports indicate that many individuals cannot move freely beyond their homes, such as going to work or attending university, out of fear for their safety. At present, it remains unclear how many Christian families were residing in Mosul before the displacement. Furthermore, the motives for and perpetrators of the killings of 12 Christians during January and February 2010, which triggered the recent displacement, are still not clear.
We'll again note that Vatican Radio (link has text and audio) provided Pope Benedict XVI speaking Sunday at St. Peter's Square where he addressed the persecution in Mosul:
Pope Benedict XVI: I have learned with profound sadness of the tragic news of the recent killings of several Christians in the city of Mosul, and I follow with great concern other episodes of violence, perpetrated in the troubled land of Iraq against defenceless people of different religious affiliation. In these days of intense meditation, I often prayed for all victims of those attacks, and today I wish to join in the spirit to pray for peace and the restoration of security, promoted by the Council of Bishops of Nineveh. I am affectionately close to the Christian communities of the entire country. Never tire of being a leaven for good in the country in which you have fully belonged for centuries. In the delicate political phase that Iraq is going through I appeal to the civil authorities, to make every effort to restore security to the population and, in particular, the most vulnerable religious minorities. I hope the temptation is not given into temporary and partisan interests allowing them to prevail over the safety and fundamental rights of every citizen. Finally, while greeting the Iraqis here in the square, I urge the international community to strive to give the Iraqis a future of reconciliation and justice, as I invoke Almighty God with confidence for the precious gift of peace.
Catholic News Agency quotes Auxilary Bishop of Baghdad Shlemon Warduni on the reaction to Pope Benedict XVI's words, "We are thankful to Benedict XVI, we know how much he cares about our community: we hope that his voice has a resonance in the world and especially in the hard of heart." Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing left one woman and her son injured, a Mosul grenade attack on a school that will also be a polling station -- two Iraqi soldiers were injured.
Reuters notes 1 person was shot dead in Mosul.
It was five years ago today, Pete Brekus (Express-Times) reminds that, "the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq reached 1,500." Five years later, the death toll stands at 4380. The wounded count is less reliable. There are those with obvious wounds and those who carry wounds not readily visible. Citizen Soldier is organizing a conference on PTSD:
When the War Comes Home: Soldiers and Civilians in Crisis National Conference on PTSD co-sponsored by Citizen Soldier and the Trauma Studies Center of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy
Saturday, Apri 3, 20101, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. University Settlement: 273 Bowery
Alison Boggs (Spokesman-Review) reports on Iraq War veteran Kenny McAnally who is among the over 40,000 US troops diagnosed with PTSD in the last seven years: McAnally carried those memories for a year with no outlet, until a writing assignment for a North Idaho College class unexpectedly began to release them. It seemed harmless -- write a descriptive story -- but what poured out of him left him bathed in sweat and crying uncontrollably.His writing described his worst day, the one that yanks him from sleep, gasping for air. Some 30 Iraqi National Guardsmen in the camp next door were hit in a mortar attack and he rushed to help. He looked into the eyes of a dying man as he tried to stop the blood pouring from the man's side and leg. He prayed to God that the man would live, only to be told he was already dead."I can still hear those men, lying in the sand, bleeding to death, pleading with their God," he wrote. "Screaming at him. Begging to live another day."Susan Frick Carlman (Naperville Sun) reports on Iraq War veterans Sarah Raby and Keith Ellis who also have been diagnosed with PTSD:The couple, former Marines who have both served two tours of duty in Iraq, can't forget that in some places, a plain-looking box can contain deadly explosives. They are part of a swelling population of military veterans who are bringing home from Iraq and Afghanistan memories of sights, sounds, smells and scars that now dog them, every day. Although Raby and Ellis both exhibit the aftereffects of battle that show themselves as post-traumatic stress disorder, they are doing their best to get on with their lives. They're both working toward associate's degrees at College of DuPage, and Ellis is employed part-time in contractual security work. Normalcy doesn't come easily. The couple and their three young children were homeless for a while last fall, after it became clear that their living arrangements weren't going to work out as they had hoped. Tensions ran too high in the quarters they were sharing with some of Raby's relatives after moving back to the area from California in July. Boston's WCVB reports on PTSD, "Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, took brain scans of vets with PTSD. In those vets, a specific area of the brain responsible for memory was much smaller. Researchers said this discovery could lead to better diagnosis and treatments." Meanwhile Katherine Noble (Daily Texan Staff) reports that University of Texas professors and researchers Ivan Ponomarev and R. Adron Harris are working with others to devise new methods of treatment for PTSD: "When a person undergoes a traumatic event, the parts of the brain set to regulate stress can be overrun to the point where they cannot normalize new fear and stress stimuli. The victim's amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory, is incapable of processing fear-related stimuli. Instead, the amygdala can respond incorrectly to stress, causing the person to be overly anxious in mild-stress situations. Cases of post-traumatic stress disorder are rising among returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. At UT, veterans enrolled at the University can find support through counseling at the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center and through student groups." Susan Goldsmith (The Oregonian) reports on the Portland Vet Center where Lori Daniels works on an effort "to rewrite our own nightmares and make them less troubling" -- a treatment she and Terry McGuire have worked on developing:McGuire and Daniels guided vets to talk about their dream lives and used their answers to help them understand what the trauma meant to them. The technique taught them that "they can be in control of their trauma." These days, Daniels uses guided writing exercises to help patients delve into what haunts them at night. Once the content of the dream is laid out, she encourages vets to come up with a plan for responding to those nightmares. That plan, she explains, might be writing a letter or any other action that ritualizes their grief."The action plan is an essential piece," she says. "One vet really wanted to connect with the guys who died in his unit, and he wrote them a letter."
Susan Donaldson James (ABC News) reports on Kristine Wise's biggest problem which wasn't being an Iraq War veterans or having PTSD, "They [the VA] had a hard time comprehending I was a combat vet and didn't treat me with the same respect." Wise is part of the over 230,000 women in the US military that have been deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan in the last decade. March is Women's History Month and Ruth noted last night that the ACLU (via Chelsea Zimmerman's ACLU Blog of Rights post) celebrated that fact while the feminist (not 'feminist,' it is actually feminist) Women's Media Center decided to 'honor' Women's History Month by publishing a column informing readers of what did and didn't qualify for 'feminity.' That crap needs to stop. That column was offensive and it never should have been posted. You think Kristine Wise, on top of the other flack she gets from the VA, doesn't also catch it from other men and women that either "you weren't in combat!" or "the military's really a job for men"? This crap needs to stop. Feminism (a) isn't concerned with feminity and (b) never attempts to judge which woman is or isn't 'feminine.' In the real world, Nancy McDonald of HerStory Scrapbook notes:
March 2010 is the 30th anniversary of National Women's History Month. The HerStory Scrapbook is a "you-are-there" account of the women who were fighting for, and against, suffrage from 1917 - 1920, as reported by The New York Times.
To celebrate Women's History Month, the HerStory 360° Challenge on the HerStory Scrapbook will answer the question: "What's her story?" by highlighting a different story each day of ninety women who fought for the right to vote. Each woman's story includes internet links to rare, original source material.
Please let your network of friends, colleagues, and students of history know about the HerStory Scrapbook.
Staying with the US for a moment, John Halle (Corrente) notes the issue of those who were wrong about Iraq (cakewalk, et al) such as Thomas Friedman suffered no fall out and points that's true as well for those who refused to see the truth about the Corpratist War Hawk Barack Obama. He covers a wide terrain but we'll note the section on Lie Face Melissa Harris-Lacewell:
Among those selling the Obama product most successfully was another Ivy league Professor, Melissa Harris-Lacewell of Princeton. In increasingly high-profile appearances, Harris-Lacewell repeatedly compared the Obama campaign to iconic moments in the civil rights movements such as the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. Once the Obama administration assumed office, apologetics for neo-liberal rhetoric smoothly transitioned to apologetics for the implementation of neo-liberal policies. These required some logical contortions and more than a little cynicism. Thus, in a stunning Martin Luther Day King posting at the Nation, Harris-Lacewell chose to focus on instances of King's dealmaking, personal failings and sell-outs of core constituencies. The conclusion, according to Harris-Lacewell, was that the comparison of Obama and King remained in force: "extraordinary change can be achieved even through imperfect leadership . . . wholeheartedly groping toward better and fairer solutions for our nation."
It would seem that very few leftists remain who are willing and able to accept the Polyannish equation of the current occupier of the Oval Office with the author of the letter from Birmingham jail. Nor would many grant the benefit of doubt that Obama's "gropings" are anything other than simple capitulations to his primary consistency, the Wall Street brokerage houses, megabanks, insurance companies, energy consortia, and lobbyists who financed his campaign. Given this emerging consensus, one might have expected that Harris-Lacewell's commentaries would be seen as having a limited shelf life while Prof. Reed inconvenient truths would be recognized for what they are: as what we needed to hear then-and need to hear now.
But nothing of the sort has occurred. Prof. Harris Lacewell's remains a regular guest frequently encountered not only on the liberal wing of the corporate media represented by MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow and Keith Olberman but at seemingly authentic alternative left outlets such as Laura Flanders's GritTV. More disconcertingly, a continuing flow of Obamapologetics will likely be offered through Harris-Lacewell's recently announced "Sister Citizen" to appear weekly in the Nation, an editorial decision which will reduce the contributions of iconic left columnist Alexander Cockburn to once a month.
For those late to the pary, we don't have time for the complete breakdown. She attacked Tavis Smiley (for which I do not forgive), she lied repeatedly to get on TV (failing to disclose that she was working for Barack's campaign as she appeared over and over throughout the primaries) and, oh, so very much more.
Turning to England where Robert Winnett (Telegraph of London) reports Tony Blair experienced a fleeting moments of reality according to Andrew Rawnsley's new book which paints the Poodle as blanking out while taking questions from Parliament, waking up with night terrors and considering resigning in 2004 -- all over the Iraq War. May those conditions return, increase and plague him until his dying day. Michael Savage (Independent of London) reports on papers the Iraq Inquiry has but has not yet released to the public:A policy of "regime overthrow" is proposed, but roundly condemned. In an eerily portentous assessment of the consequences of taking military action, it states: "Such a policy would command no useful international support. An overt attempt to be successful would require a massive military effort, probably including a land invasion: this would risk considerable casualties and, possibly, extreme last-ditch acts of deterrence or defiance by Saddam." The mandarins add: "It would also be illegal. Covert attempts, on the other hand, seem very unlikely to succeed and run the risk of fragmenting Iraq, which runs clearly contrary to our wider interests in the region." Iraq descended into violence in the wake of the March 2003 invasion. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed in the aftermath, as well as more than 100 British troops. The document also calls into question Mr Blair's claim that using troops to bring down Saddam Hussein was only discussed after the 9/11 terror attacks on New York – and will increase pressure on the inquiry to call Mr Blair back to give further public evidence this summer. At the Financial Times of London, Jim Pickard runs through the "frenemies" Gordon Brown and Tony Blair in preparation for Brown's testimony to the Iraq Inquiry this Friday.
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