Monday, August 31, 2009

Comic, Afghanistan, etc


The economy is in the toilet and, as Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bernanked" points out, Barack's renominating Ben Bernanke who's been on the job since February 2006. In other words, he oversaw the economic collapse that is hurting so many Americans. But while they're laid off, he gets to return to his job.

"TV: Ghoul Watch" underscores how TV 'news' doesn't do their job. And this is from Feminist Wire Daily News:

Reports indicate that many women were unable to vote in some parts of Afghanistan and that women's voting cards were used to stuff ballot boxes in the country's presidential election earlier this month. In some areas that are not controlled by the Taliban, however, women were nearly 60 percent of voters, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Overall, fewer women voted than in the 2004 national or 2005 parliamentary elections, reported To the Center. Women's participation was particularly low in Taliban controlled southern regions and in places where segregated women-only polling places did not open due to lack of staff.

Sabrina Saghib, who belongs to an Afghan parliamentary committee on women's rights, told the Washington Post, "Our constitution gives all men and women equal rights to vote, but in most areas that were not safe and secure, men did not let the women leave home and voted for against the law and those votes should not be counted as women's votes." The high rate of proxy voting indicates wide potential for fraud.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Monday:

Monday, August 31, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, Nouri rages in front of the international community, a Shi'ite political party appears to have a new leader, 20-year-old planes found in Serbia, frauds and fakes and John F. Burns, and so much more.
Today a Shi'ite political party goes through the motions of choosing a leader. The story starts on Wednesday when Iraqi politician Abdul Aziz al-Hakim died of lung cancer in Iran. Thursday a memorial was held in Tehran, Friday in Baghdad and Saturday he was buried in Najaf. Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) reported, "Hakim, carried in a plain wooden coffin, was buried in a public square next to his late brother Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr Hakim, whom he had succeeded as leader of the Council in 2003 after his sibling's assassination in a deadly car bombing. At the public ceremony, Hussein Hakim, a member of an affiliated charitable group, the Mihrab Matyr Foundation, read passages from Hakim's will, anointing Ammar Hakim, 38, as the Supreme Council's new chief." If you're scratching your head, it may be because of "Supreme Council" which is a Shi'ite political party Abdul Aziz al-Hakim was the head of: the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. Or you might be scratching your head over the fact that a father willed a political party to his son? Yes, it is strange. Suadad al-Salhy and Tim Cocks (Reuters) report that, today, party elders nominated Ammar al-Hakim to lead the party -- the party his father already willed him -- and that it's "a choice that must now be voted on." Supposedly the advisory council votes on the nomination tomorrow.
Get to the top and slide back down
Get to the bottom and climb back up
Sell the vineyard
Call the lawyer
Get to the top and slide back down
Get to the bottom climb back up
-- "Snakes and Ladders," written by Joni Mitchell, recorded by Joni and Don Henley on her album Chalk Mark In A Rainstorm
Staying with Iraqi politics, snakes and ladders, AFP reports that out of concerns over traffic congestions, Nouri al-Maliki has banned convoys . . . unless it's his convoy, or convoys for Iraq's President or Speaker of Parliament. An Iraqi corresondent for McClatchy Newspapers (at Inside Iraq) states Nouri's only recommending the banning and goes on to explain, "The problem of these convoys is blocking roads. Sometimes we are obliged to wait for more than half an hour in intersections waiting for the convoy to arrive to and then pass. People are forced to wait and wait in order to allow 'the masters' pass. We have 275 parliament members, more than 30 ministers, three members of presidency council, three members of parliament presidency panel, the deputies of prime minister and ministers in addition to tens of parties' leaderships and prominent figures. Those people are accompanied by tens of vehicles and tens of soldiers who are armed to the teeth. Can you imagine life with all these convoys?"
In other snakes and ladders developments, today comes news on the national census in Iraq. Missy Ryan and Aseel Kami (Reuters) report that the national census -- long promised, long mandated, never implemented -- got kicked down the road again and Nouri's spokesmodel Ali al-Dabbagh announced the news today declaring that the census announced for October 2009 will be held in April 2010. Nouri has no time for the census but he's got plenty of time to scream "Ba'athists! Ba'athists!" Black Wednesday took place two Wednesdays ago and was when numbrous bombs went of in Baghdad with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs being two targets. Over 101 Iraqis died in the bombings and over 500 were injured. Nouri has accused Ba'athist in Syria. He had a for-show confession broadcast with the person (probably tortured into confessing) claiming to be responsible for the Ministry of Finance bombing -- that was the smaller of the two. The claim was more confessions would be broadcast that week. The week has passed. Where are those confessions, Nouri?
As Nouri's stamped his feet demanding Syria turn over to him a list of people, Syria's responded stating that Nouri needs to follow the law and if he has evidence, present it. The two then egnaged in a race to see who could withdraw their ambassadors first. BBC reports today that Turkey is attempting to mediate the situation as Nouri's upped the rhetoric now claiming that there are terrorists training camps in Syria. Does Nouri really want to go there? Don't we all remember the claims of terrorists training camps in Iraq? And how that never panned out. Nouri's latest claim is based on another for-show confession which broadcast Sunday. This person claimed he was trained in Syria to carry out attacks. Strangely, he doesn't appear to have confessed to any attacks.
Not content to be a screaming, raging fool in the region, Nouri's got bigger dreams. Xinhua reports that he's demanding the UN Security Council begin a tribunal to investigate the bombings. Is Nouri aware that demanding an international tribunal makes it appear he's even weaker than many already think he is?
Yesterday, Iran's Press TV reports, that country's Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, had a face to face meeting with Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, during which al-Assad called Nouri's charges "unacceptable" and repeated the demand that evidence be presented before Syria extradite anyone. Ned Parker, Saif Hameed and Usama Redha (Los Angeles Times) reports, "Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, shuttled between Baghdad and Damascus on Monday in an effort to contain the dispute between the two countries, who only renewed diplomatic relations three years ago." CNN quotes Burak Ozugergin, spokesperson for Turkey's Foreign Ministry, stating, "Our foregin minister's visit has the objective of reducing tensions between the two sides." On the topic of the bombing targeting the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad, the Telegraph of the London reports that Iraqi officials are claiming the bomber was held by the US in Camp Bucca until three months ago. As usual, there's no evidence backing that up. If true, someone might need to explain how he apparently left Camp Bucca, headed to Syria and started training at the alleged terrorist camp. No, Nouri's paraonid rantings do not make much sense . . . ever.
In other get-it-together Thug Nouri news, Rod Nordland (New York Times) reports the Ministry of Defense believes that they have "19 MIG-21 and MIG-23 jet fighters" in storage in Serbia. In storage . . .since 1989. Over 20 years. BBC explains, "At the moment Iraq's air force has no jet fighters, only helicopters, and it had been planning to buy 18 F-16 fighters from the US manufacturer Lockheed Martin. It is not known if the discovery of the MiGs will change that." Only Frank James (NPR) seems to grasp that planes stored for 20 years are not only out of date, they're probably going to require a lot of work to get them ready to fly. James notes how they were put in storage in Serbia -- and in Iran -- because Saddam Hussein was hiding them. Strangely, the announcement has not led --at present -- to any outcries that Serbia was 'in bed' with the Butcher of Baghdad and hiding things from the international community which, by 2002, was very interested in what Iraq did and did not have.
Iraq did not have WMDs and the UN didn't think Iraq had them and Bully Boy Bush's declaration that the US would begin bombing forced the UN inspectors to leave Iraq immediately. That's reality and it's not in dispute at present unless your a piece of crap who sold the illegal war and can't get honest all this time later. Yeah, we're talking about the New York Times' John F. Burns. Burnsie was hoping to pollute young minds so Dexter Filkins' old buddy waddled onto a college campus. While there, when not eating, Burnsie made a big ass out of himself. Shelton Burch (K-State Collegian) reports,
It's something that the US government and a huge portion of the US press refused to recognize and it remains the lesson unlearned from the illegal war. Doubt it?

In an event that lasted about three hours, Burns praised American values many times. There was a reception before and after Burns' speech, as well as a period in which audience members were able to directly question him.
In the course of the speech, Burns, the longest serving war correspondent in The New York Times' history, talked about how America keeps the peace in other wars. This was a belief Burns' father, who served in the Royal airforce in World War II, taught him.
"That was true then, and it is true now," said Burns.
In his speech, Burns compared the alliances between Britain and America during World War II to the alliance between the two now in the current Iraq War. Burns said this was a whole different war on a different scale than that of World War II. What makes this war different in Burns' eye is that America is the leader of a coalition that no longer really exists.

Burnsie's so full of crap he probably has to wear a onesie out in public. Dexy and Burnsie, the GoGo Boys of the Green Zone, did the most to make the Iraq War a long lasting one. There were no WMDs. There was no peace. There was no 'victory' around the corner. But those two War Whores repeatedly lied in print. Dexy wants credit for being more honest in his speeches but who gives a damn what he says in public to a small crowd. He did tremendous damage in print and if Americans had known how awful the illegal war was going, before 2003 ended, you would have had a serious pushback. But liars like Dexy and Burnsie strung the public along with lies, deceptions and half-truths about what was going on in Iraq. They have twice as much blood on their hands as Judith Miller. She may have helped get the US into Iraq but it was the War Whores like Dexy and John F. Burns that kept the US military there.

And if you don't grasp that or how disgusting Burnsie is (or even, yeah, let's toss it in, why the paper moved him to London after all those GoGo Boy rumors in Iraq), check out Dave Bergmeier's "Journalist talks about challenges America faces in war time" (Abilene Reflector-Chronicle) which documents the simplistic Burnsie reducing all of Iraq to either Shi'ite or Sunni and most importantly:

While Iraq may have been a war of choice, he also knows that dictator Saddam Hussein would have acquired weapons of mass destruction if he could and used violence against his own people. Burns said he does not count himself with the cadre of media members who believe the war in Iraq was a terrible mistake. Hussein, if he could, would have tried to acquire weapons of mass destruction. United Nations weapons inspectors were led to believe that Hussein had them and the dictator did nothing to try to diffuse that belief. Burns believed that he did have those weapons and he thought President George W. Bush did what he thought was right at the time.
Burnsie stood in public and LIED. He flat out LIED. "The dictator did nothing to try to diffuse that belief." Uh, Saddam allowed the inspectors in, you liar John F. Burns, you damn liar. The UN didn't buy the case for war as presented by the Bush administration. That's why there was no UN authorization for war. (After the invasion, which the UN did not autorize, there was a UN authorization for the occupation.) The inspectors weren't even allowed to finish inspections which Burns damn well knows but choose to lie about nearly seven years later. Bully Boy Bush gave Saddam a get-out-town-by-sundown macho b.s. warning and the UN inspectors got out of the country. John Burns is now not just frightening to look at with that ridiculous beard which appears embedded with food and food crumbs, he's an actual menace to any democracy as he lies and rewrites history. He should be ashamed.
He's got blood on his hands, let's turn to some of today's reported violence.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing which left five people injured and a Baghdad roadside bombing which left four people wounded -- the first targeted a US military convoy and the second an Baghdad municipality convoy -- in both cases civilians were injured and, dropping back to Sunday, a Mosul roadside bombing which wounded four police officers. Reuters drops back to Sunday to note a Mosul roadside bombing which left one young boy injured.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 woman shot dead in Mosul and 1 stationary store owner shot dead in Mosul -- both were shot dead with guns brandishing silencers. Reuters drops back 1 police officer shot dead in Kirkuk.
That's 3 reported dead and fourteen reported injured today. Sunday saw 7 people reported dead and twenty-one reported wounded. Yesterday, Third noted last week's violence (August 23rd 4 dead and eleven injured. August 24th, 11 dead, twenty-nine wounded. August 25th, 4 dead, nineteen injured. August 26th, 4 dead and ten wounded. August 27th, 4 dead and fifty-one wounded. August 28th, saw 6 reported dead, 7 injured. August 29th saw 22 dead, 55 injured.) Friday's snapshot noted reports through Thursday added up to 471 reported deaths in August and 1,822 reported injured. Adding Friday (28th), Saturday, Sunday and today, the totals for August are: 509 dead and 1919 injured. That is not a complete tally. It is based on reported deaths and I'm sure there are many reported that are missed in that tally. Steven Lee Myers' praised ICCC's "civilian count". ICCC's count stands at 438 dead. That is wrong, they always are hugely wrong. And Steven Lee Myers not only can count, he can't read. ICCC clearly labels their count "Iraqi Security Forces and Civilian Deaths Details." By the way, when Nancy Youssef was reporting from Iraq, the outlet regularly offered a monthly death toll. When she left, interest in that appeared to leave as well. (Youssef is also the reporter who broke the news that the US military was keeping its own count of civilians killed. She did that on the last day Knight Ridder was Knight Ridder before it officially became McClatchy Newspapers -- see the June 26, 2006 snapshot.)
"Unfortunately it seems liket many members of the anti-war movement have gone on vacation from protest now that we have a Democratic president. and it just makes me wonder if the past eight years we've had an anti-Bush movement and not an anti-war movement," observes Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan on her latest broadcast of Cindy's Soapbox. Yesterday James Dao (New York Times) wanted to report on the peace movement but somehow forgot to get a comment from Cindy Sheehan. He did make time for a lot of fakes (all but Nancy Lessing, Perry O'Brien and Michael Eisenscher were fakes -- click here for a critique of the article from last night). Today Justin Rainmondo ( observes:
The Times cites Tom Andrews, national director of Win Without War, as saying "'most liberals 'want this guy to succeed'" and fear the unfolding disaster in Afghanistan "could be a devastating albatross around the president's neck." Whether this is a prescription for picking up the pace of liberal antiwar protests, in order to alert the Obama administration to the danger, or a rationale for inaction, so as not to have that albatross weigh even heavier around the Dear Leader's neck, is not at all clear – although I rather suspect the latter.
A visit to the Web site of the main antiwar coalition, United for Peace and Justice, reveals little urgency when it comes to the Afghan war, and I note the only national actions scheduled for fall are being launched by groups other than UFPJ. Evidence of those "local actions" calling for an end to the Afghan war is scant: a search of their events calendar notes very few.
Of course, since UFPJ is dominated by the old Commie network – the remnants of the CPUSA and its social democratic split-off, the Committees of Correspondence – this is hardly surprising. These people have long been a drag on the antiwar movement, stifling the creation of a broad-based anti-interventionism in favor of saddling protests with the familiar litany of liberal demands. Now Obama's campaign for free ice cream has totally eclipsed the ostensibly antiwar aims of the movement, inducing near complete paralysis.
Tom Andrews is a former member of the US Congress and "is Senior Advisor to the National Democratic Insitute for International Affairs" and you may be thinking, "Well what's that?" All you need to know is the chair is Madeline Albright. Mad Maddy Albright. War Monger surpreme. No, a true 'anti-war' voice is not in bed with Mad Maddy. And you need to ask yourself what was NDI doing sticking its nose into Iraq's January elections? Erin Matthes of NDI is quoted in the linked to article about NDI's work in Iraq. It's strange that Tom Andrews hasn't felt the need to trumpet that 'wonderful' work NDI is doing in Iraq. Karl Vick and Robin Wright (Washington Post) revealed NDI had been in Iraq 'helping' since 2003. In 2004, David Lindorff offered From his "DNC Meddling in the Ukraine Elections" (CounterPunch):

What, I'd like to know, was the Democratic Party, which has demonstrated an uncanny ability to lose elections it should be able to win handily here in America, doing spending $40 million in U.S. taxpayers' dollars "helping" people and organizations in other countries to compete in elections to overturn incumbent governments overseas?
It turns out that even as it was blowing the presidential election in the U.S., an arm of the Democratic Party, the so called National Democratic Institute, was busy over the last year spending tens of millions of dollars provided by the State Department to help the opposition in the Ukraine to challenge the government party in that former Soviet state. (A similar Republican Party organization, the Republican International Institute, was doing the same thing with more State Department money. ) Some of that help was itself of questionable legality, which is why it was all done covertly.
Does anyone else see the huge irony and hypocrisy here?
The opposition party in the U.S. was actually working hand in glove with the government (and with the Republican Party!) in a subversive foreign policy effort of the Bush administration even as its chosen presidential candidate and nominal party leader, John Kerry, was campaigning against the foreign policy and foreign policy establishment of the Bush administration as inept and untrustworthy.
It takes nothing away from the students and workers of the Ukraine who took to the streets and overturned the results of a corrupt election to say that citizens in America, and especially people who call themselves members of the Democratic Party, should be outraged that they and their party, the victims of fraud and voter abuse at home, were engaged in some of the same kinds of subterfuges overseas that GOP operatives and Republican-led election bureaucracies were using against them here at home.

The NDI. No, no one with the peace movement would be involved with the NDI. We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "RISE OF MERCENARY ARMIES MENACE WORLD, HELP WHITE HOUSE THWART PEACE MOVEMENT" (Global Research):

The growing use of private armies not only subjects target populations to savage warfare but makes it easier for the White House to subvert domestic public opinion and wage wars.
Americans are less inclined to oppose a war that is being fought by hired foreign mercenaries, even when their own tax dollars are being squandered to fund it.
"The increasing use of contractors, private forces, or, as some would say, 'mercenaries' makes wars easier to begin and to fight---it just takes money and not the citizenry," said Michael Ratner, of New York's Center for Constitutional Rights. "To the extent a population is called upon to go to war, there is resistance, a necessary resistance to prevent wars of self-aggrandizement, foolish wars, and, in the case of the United States, hegemonic imperialist wars."
Indeed, the Pentagon learned the perils of the draft from the massive public protests it provoked during the Viet Nam war. Today, it would prefer, and is working toward, an electronic battlefield where the fighting is done by robots guided by sophisticated surveillance systems that will minimize U.S. casualties. Meanwhile, it tolerates the use of private contractors to help fight its battles.
Iraq offers a heart-breaking example of a war in which contract fighters so inflamed the public they were sent to "liberate" that when fighting broke out in Fallujah the bodies of privateer Blackwater's four slain mercenaries were desecrated by enraged mobs. This horrific scene was televised globally and prompted the U.S. to make a punishing, retaliatory military assault upon Fallujah, causing widespread death and destruction.
Just as the American colonists despised the mercenary Hessians in the Revolutionary War, Iraqis came to hate Blackwater and its kindred contractors worse than U.S. soldiers, who often showed them kindness, according to a journalist with experience in the war zone.
"It wasn't uncommon for an American soldier, or even an entire company, to develop a very friendly relationship with an Iraqi community. It didn't happen every day, but it wasn't unheard of," writes Ahmed Mansour, an Egyptian reporter and talk show host for Qatar-based al-Jazeera, the Middle East TV network.
"It was also definitely not uncommon to see American troops high-fiving Iraqi teenagers, holding the arm of an elderly woman to help her cross a street, or helping someone out of a difficult situation…This was not the case with mercenaries. They knew they were viewed as evil thugs, and they wanted to keep it that way."
In his book "Inside Fallujah" (Olive Branch Press), Mansour says, "Mercenaries were viewed as monsters, primarily because they behaved monstrously. They never spoke to anyone using words---they only used the language of fire, bullets, and absolute lethal force. It was fairly common to see a mercenary crush a small civilian Iraqi car with passengers inside just because the mercenaries happened to be stuck in a traffic jam."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Italian Potatoes in the Kitchen

Judy e-mailed with "Kitchen Crisis" in the headline. Fortunately, it was no such thing. She had a recipe request. She remembers a potato dish with an envelope of dry Italian salad dressing used in it.

The recipe I'm aware of follows. There are modifications you can make to it. But if you have a recipe that is truly different, please send it in because Judy loves this dish and has made it twice this week since I sent it to her; however, this isn't the recipe she was looking for.

1 envelope Italian Salad Dressing Mix
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup oil
1 and 1/2 pound red potatoes (cube the potatoes or slice into rounds -- in both cases, 1 inch cubes or slices)
1 medium onion
1 medium green pepper,

In a small bowl, mix the dressing, vinegar and oil. All other ingredients go into a large bowl. Pour the small bowl's mixture over the large bowl.

Place on a cookie sheet and cover with aluminum foil (if you also put foil on the bottom, you're clean up will be so much easier) and pop into a 375 degree oven for about a half hour.

Dennis Loo (see my son's "Dennis Loo is a PRISSY idiot") has got to be kidding with his attacks on Ruth. No one can be that stupid, right? He should be ashamed of himself, he really should be. And we all need to grasp how he's wasted everyone's time for a month.


This is an excerpt of Liz Peek's latest:

Americans have been alarmed by the Obama administration’s frantic efforts to re-order our economy, to change the rules of doing business and by the ominous build-up of our national debt. The view of our new president has changed; polls show that nearly half of our citizens now consider him "very liberal" as opposed to only 35% on election day. This growing anxiety is anathema to a robust economy. While the financial sector appears stabilized, and housing seems to have bottomed, we badly need consumers and businesses to resume spending to prevent the "double-dip" recession that some economists now predict.
Earlier this month it seemed that the consumer had put back on her rose-colored specs. The Conference Board reported that its index of consumer confidence, after sliding south in June and July, bounced ahead in August. The aggregate level of confidence is still quite low by historical standards – and in fact below where it stood in May. Still, if this recovery is going to produce jobs, consumers are going to have to open the spigots. And they’re not going to do that until they see the future with a less jaundiced eye.
I credit the successful push-back against President Obama’s health-care legislation as well as a peppy stock market for the bounce in August optimism. The notion that government would take over an ever-larger slice of the American pie has jarred a country still coping with a once-in-a-generation collapse in wealth. Well-founded concerns about higher taxes piled on top of continuing job losses have caused widespread alarm and, ultimately, a backlash. Raised voices at town-hall meetings may not be melodious, but to many they are comforting. We do have a voice, and even though the Democrats control all three branches of government, they may have to answer to voters after all.

Each week, I assume I'm reading the last Liz Peek column at wowOwow because she's not a Kool-Aid drinker. I have no idea where she herself is politically. I know some assume she must be a conservative. She's a journalist covering the markets and explaining them to readers. The markets are conservative and fear change. That's partly why our economy hasn't shown major strides. So I don't assume I know anything about her personally when I read her columns.

But I do know that they aren't the rah-rah wowOwow gives Barack day after day. So each Friday, when I read her column, I prepare myself for the possibility that I might not be able to read her there the next week.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:

Friday, August 28, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, Human Rights Watch's report on the targeting of Iraq's LGBT community gets some attention, a Shi'ite leader is mourned, from the start of the month until yesterday there have been 471 reported deaths and 1,822 Iraqis reported injured, Steven Lee Myers is a tiny man but a huge fool, and more.

Today the
US military announced: "BAGHDAD – Two 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldiers died of wounds suffered following an improvised explosive device in eastern Baghdad Aug. 28 at approximately 2:30 a.m. The Soldiers names are being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is currently under investigation." The deaths bring the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4336.

Before Steven Lee Myers wrote
his dumb ass blog post at the New York Times website, I thought we could wait on unpacking the violence this month until, golly, the month ended. But whores are always lying and Steven's no reporter. August 1st, McClatchy reported 1 soldier dead in Mosul. August 2nd, 8 people were reported killed and twenty injured. August 3rd, 23 were reported dead and sixty-five wounded (these include late reporting of the day before's violence -- these are the deaths reported that day -- also note that we will not include Swine Flu deaths and that US military deaths and contractors will not be noted in this count). August 4th, 2 dead and nine wounded. August 5th, 9 reported dead and twelve reported injured. August 6th, 8 dead and thirty-two injured. August 7th, 59 dead and injured one-hundred and ninety-eight wounded. August 8th, 1 death was reported and two people injured. Because there is an UNDERCOUNT every month of the reported dead and because ICCC's count is WAY OFF each month on civilians, we've started monitoring the reported toll at Third. Third noted August 16th, there were 122 reported deaths in Iraq the previous week and 414 reported wounded ("Last Sunday found the press reporting 6 deaths and 12 people injured. Monday saw 61 deaths reported and 252 injuries. Tuesday saw 11 dead and 57 wounded. Wednesday's numbers were 11 dead and 21 injured. Thursday 25 lives were claimed and 51 people were wounded. Friday there were 2 reported deaths and 6 reported injured. Saturday saw 6 dead and 15 injured.") Third noted August 23rd resulted in 211 reported deaths and 950 wounded. ("Last Sunday saw 13 reported dead and 41 reported injured. Monday saw 24 dead 59 wounded. Tuesday the reported death toll was 5 and 24 were reported injured. Wednesday 102 were reported dead and 572 wounded. By Thursday evening, 22 were reported dead with 67 injured. Thursday night 33 more deaths were reported and 145 wounded. Friday saw 8 deaths reported and 31 people wounded. Saturday saw 4 dead 11.") This week? August 23rd 4 dead and eleven injured. August 24th, 11 dead, twenty-nine wounded. August 25th, 4 dead, nineteen injured. August 26th, 4 dead and ten wounded. August 27th, 4 dead and fifty-one wounded. Leaving out today, that's 27 dead and 120 wounded this week. ICCC shows 413 dead. That's incorrect. Use the links, there have been 471 reported deaths -- not including today -- in August and 1,822 reported injured. That's Reuters and McClatchy with one inclusion of Xinhau. Use the links. So Steven Lee Myers, you stupid liar, ICCC's count is not "invaluable" -- it's not even correct, you stupid moron. That the New York Times can't do their own count tells how damn little Iraq and Iraqis matter to them. So Steven Lee shows up whoring again and hoping we're all so stupid we mistake it for reporting. He not only whores on the civilian count, he whores on the number of US service members killed.

"In Iraq," Steven types, "fewer American soliders have died this month -- seven, including two in a roadside bombing early Friday -- than any other month of the war, a figure that . . ." The month isn't over. How many damn times do we have to point that out each year? Hmm. And how many were reported dead in July in the first days of August? 7. 7 were reported dead. The same damn number that outlets like the New York Times trumpted at the start of August as "lowest!!!!!"

He can't tell you that. From the
August 4th snapshot:

Late yesterday,
DoD announced: "Staff Sgt. Johnny R. Polk, 39, of Gulfport, Miss., died July 25 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by anti-tank grenade on July 23 in Kirkuk, Iraq." That July 25th death was never reported by M-NF and, again, was only announced late yesterday -- long after the outlets had done their 'end of the month' pieces. This happens over and over and the press falls for it everytime -- like saps, like suckers.

Yeah, they fell for it at the start of the month and, late August 3rd (after all the outlets had done their month-in-review pieces on July), the US military finally, FINALLY, announced a July death.

I'm not in the mood for nonsense. We are talking numbers, they are not supposed to be fluid, they are supposed to be fixed. That's why they are numbers and not ranges. Do you get the difference you damn glorified general studies major or that just beyond your highly limited education? I'm not in the mood.

Steven Lee Myers did an early roll-out on how the military wants August spun: Low deaths for civilians! Lowest month evah for US military! Evah! In fact, the whole thing reads like Maj Gen John Johnson wrote it. He gave a press briefing yesterday at the Pentagon (he appeared via videolink from Baghdad) and about the only thing of interest there was that he was asked about the 135,000 US troops in Iraq and didn't correct on that number. We'll come back to his briefing later in the snapshot.

Steven Lee Myers' cluelessness reminds me of two friends. One is a producer, the other is a singer. The singer wanted an arrangment in B flat. The singer then insisted that the arrangement was in some other key and the producer replied that the singer wouldn't know a car key from a music key "but let's go over to the piano right now and I will teach you a musical key." The singer let it go and sang the arrangement as arranged. I'm reminded of that story when I think of Steven. Who was right? The song was recorded as the producer wanted. The singer hit number one with it and it's also gave the singer the longest number of weeks in the Hot 100 -- more than any of the singer's other hits. (Yeah, I'm avoiding gender and trying to keep this very much a blind item.) Like the singer, Steven Lee Myers doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. And yet he's doing the early roll out and this is what we'll have to put up with because the press never self-corrects. (Nor does the press have a good beat that you can dance too.)

This was the month the the
Project for Excellence in Journalism noted a 92% drop in Iraq coverage took place from the first part of 2007 "to the middle of 2009." So we get less coverage and, thanks to the likes of Steven Lee Myers, we get worse coverage.

One of the few outlets -- the very few media outlets -- which has not forgotten Iraq is NPR's
The Diane Rehm Show. Diane Rehm tripped last Thursday and while she recovers from her fall, guest hosts are filling in. USA Today's Susan Page filled in for her today and Iraq was addressed during the second hour (the international hour) with panelists David Ignatius (Washington Post), Barbara Slavin (Washington Times) and Janine Zacharia (Bloomberg News).

Susan Page: Lots of developments in Iraq this week, including the death of a Shi'ite leader. Tell us what's happening there, Barbara.

Barbara Slavin: Abdul Aziz al-Hakim headed something which used to be called the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, SCIRI. It changed it's name to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, taking out "Revolution." But it's a very important organization it was essentially created in Iran by Iran's Revolutionary Guard corps in the 1980s, after the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War. The Hakims returned to Iraq after the US overthrew Saddam. And Abdul Aziz al-Hakim has had lung cancer for some time and so this is not unexpected. But it still happens at a very delicate phase where we are anticipating elections in Iraq next year and there is a reorganization going on among the Shi'ite parties. His party, others affialiated with Moqtada al-Sadr -- a militant leader, with Ahmed Chalabi whom we'll talk about in a little bit have formed an alliance that excludes the prime minister who is a Shi'ite, Nouri al-Maliki. And they are all manuevering to see who will take power as the US withdraws from Iraq.

Susan Page: How important is this situation, David? And how perilous for US interests?

David Ignatius: Well as the US now withdraws its forces in ernest from Iraq -- we've pulled back from the cities and are really not a factor in day-to-day security -- we are seeing an increase in violence and in political chaos in the country. The death of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim a figurehead for the Shi'ite religious parties, is an example of this but in every direction I look in Iraq, I see similar uncertainty. Maliki is increasingly cocky about his own role as prime minister and I-I think has decided he can go it alone separating himself from the other Shi'ite parties. He's got his own complicated dealings with Iran. You've got the Kurds who are pushing for their own interests ever more stridently. I think the question that we need to think about is: Going forward in Iraq, is this project of the new Iraqi state that was created in 2003, after the United States invasion, do Iraqis think it's going to continue? And are they going to buy into it? And are they going to make the deals that would be part of having some kind of viable country and democracy? And right now it's really tough to be confident about that.

Susan Page: Janine?

Janine Zacharia: Just to follow up on what David was saying, I think the August 19th co-ordinated attacks where nearly 100 people were killed and 600 were wounded and US forces who were pulled back on June 30th were sitting on the outskirts and couldn't get in there because the Iraqis had not invited them, I think that this is something the US is going to be looking closely at going forward and we have to see how that's going to effect Obama's promises of doing a complete US pullout by the end of 2011. Just quickly on al-Hakim, some people have said that he's been, because of his illness, as Barbara said, he hasn't been as important day-to-day in Shi'ite politics right now and one US diplomat I spoke to said they're hoping actually this will clear the way for fresh Shia leadership within that party who can challenge Moqtada al-Sadr who is the more radical concern for them.

Susan Page: David.

David Ignatius: I've met Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's son Ammar who's the new leader of this party. We had a long and very interesting breakfast conversation and he's the sort of young man who, you know, when you meet him and talk to him, you think, "Gee, maybe things are really going to work out in this country." He is surrounded by some of the toughest, meanest politicians and I think of this nice, young man, this cleric from Najaf, getting eaten alive by the -- by the wolves of Baghdad.

Susan Page: You mentioned, Barbara, Chalabi, a familiar name to Americans from the very beginning of the Iraq War. What happened this week to an aid of his?

Barbara Slavin: Yeah, well, the twists and turns involving Ahmed Chalabi are just incredible. This is the guy, to remind people, who led Iraqi exiles after the Gulf War, who lobbied so hard to overthrow Saddam Hussein, who presented information to the media about alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction that didn't turn out to actually exist in Iraq once the US got there and he also, throughout this time, had maintained good relations with Iran -- which makes sense if you're an Iraqi Shia, since Iran is the neighbor and the biggest Shi'ite country. And what we have now is more evidence that his connection with the Iranians are closer perhaps than we even thought. The
Washington Times has a front page story today about the arrest of a top aide to Chalabi on charges that he was a liason to an Iraqi Shi'ite militant group called the League of the Righteous which, among other things, is believed responsible for the execution-style murder of five US marines in 2007. And Chalabi, of course, denies it, the aide denise it, but, uh, senior US military officials say that, indeed, Chalabi's links and the links to this group are-are documented and that Chalabi has been playing both sides of the fence.

The article Barbara Slavin's referring to was
written by Eli Lake who notes, "Mr. Chalabi is a top Iraqi politician best known in the West for helping to persuade the Bush administration to go to war to remove Saddam Hussein from power. In 2004, he sat with first lady Laura Bush during Mr. Bush's State of the Union address to Congress." Lake quotes anonymice US officials (three). The aide's name is Ali Faisal al-Lami.

For those late to the party on who the League of Righteous is, we'll drop back to the
June 9th snapshot:

This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "
U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."

That's what Barbara Slavin was referring to and she noted that she was only citing one example of the group. Another involves British citizens. From the
August 6th snapshot:

Jason Swindlehurst, Jason Creswell, Alec Maclachlan, Alan McMenemy and Peter Moore, all British citizens, were kidnapped in Baghdad May 29, 2007. Jason Swindlehurst and Jason Creswell were dead when their bodies were turned over to the British authorities after the two leaders of the group bragging about having done the kidnappings were released from US custody. (The same group, and why the brothers had been imprisoned originally by the US, bragged about their actions in assaulting a US base and killing 5 American soldiers.) The British government considers Alec and Alan to be dead (the families remain hopeful) and it is thought (by the British government) that Peter Moore is alive. The group taking credit for the kidnappings and for the deaths of 5 US soldiers is alternately called the Righteous League or the League of Righteous by the press. The press? They got press this week, see
Monday's snapshot, because Nouri met with them to bring them back into the government. As noted in the Tuesday snapshot, the press spin that the group has given up violence is false. Their spokesperson says they will not attack Iraqis but that they will continue to go after US service members.

Recapping: the League of Righteous has claimed credit for the deaths of 5 US soldiers and credit for kidnapping 5 British citizens, at least 2 of whom are known to be dead. In addition, British outlets noted last month that the Iraqi government appeared to be involved in the kidnappings (see the
July 31st snapshot if you're late on this story). Gareth Porter (Asia Times) reported in August that recent developments demonstrate how Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation and US-installed thug, has long been working with the League of Righteous:

The history of the new agreement confirms what was evident from existing information: the League of the Righteous was actually the underground wing of the Mahdi Army all along, and the Sadrist insurgents were secretly working closely with the Maliki regime against the Americans and the British - even as it was at war with armed elements within the regime. The contradictory nature of the relationship between Maliki and the Sadrists reflects the tensions between pro-Sadrist elements within the regime - including Maliki's Da'wa Party - and the anti-Sadrist elements led by the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The relationship between Maliki and the US was also marked by contradictions. Even though he was ostensibly cooperating with the US against the Sadrists in 2007 and 2008, the Maliki regime was also cooperating secretly with the Sadrist forces against the Americans. And Maliki - with the encouragement of Iran -- was working on a strategy for achieving the complete withdrawal of US forces from Iraq through diplomatic means, which he did not reveal to the Americans until summer 2008.

That was earlier this month and no one really followed up on what Gareth Porter was reporting. But that is the League of Righteous. Nouri has some ties to it and now the Washington Times is stating that three US government officials (who may or may not be telling the truth) are stating that Ahmed Chalabi also has a relationship with them. On The Diane Rehm Show, Steve Roberts has also been filling in for Diane and
Monday's show featured him with a panel discussing Iraq and Afghanistan with three people. I'll provide a link to it and note that Steve did a strong job filling in but the guests were decidely unimpressive and that's why we didn't note it.

While we're in the US,
Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan has been on Martha's Vineyard protesting the continued illegal war and the Afghanistan War and the undeclared war on Pakistan. Mike Seccombe (Vineyard Gazette) reports her events included a press conference where she stated of Barack Obama, US president, "Just because he's better than Bush doesn't sell me, because practically everybody in the world is better than Bush." George Brennan (Cape Cod Times) adds, "Like she has since her son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in 2004, Sheehan is using the backdrop of a presidential vacation to make her pitch for peace. It's an effective way to get her anti-war protests attention, she said. 'The only change in foreign policy has been a change for the worse,' she said, wearing a pink T-shirt with a peace symbol and the words, 'Peace. Love. Vineyard'."
The White House states that due to a funeral, Barack will be leaving the island. Not the funeral that has the world's attention. That funeral hardly gets noticed in the US -- outside of those mourning the passing.
BBC News (link has text and video) reports that Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's body has been taken to Baghdad and "PM Nouri Maliki and hundreds of officials met the coffin of Hakim, the leader of one of Iraq's most powerful Shia parties, at Baghdad airport. The body is to be taken to the Shia shrine city of Karbala, before being buried in Najaf on Saturday." Xinhua quotes Nouri stating at the airport, "We lose you in a delicate and sensitive period, when we are in need of a strong an experienced man." That's always been Nouri's problem, like Melissa on thirty-something, he needs a man. Al Jazeera hails al-Hakim, who died Wednesday, as "the most powerful Shia politician in Iraq". A memorial service was held yesterday in Tehran and the central government in Baghdad has declared a three-day mourning period. CCTV has video of Nouri at the memorial service in Baghdad. Alsumaria provides this sketch of al-Hakim's life:He is the son of Grand Ayatollah Mohsen Al Hakim and the youngest of his ten children who most of them were killed during the former regime.Abdul Aziz Al Hakim co-founded the Islamic Revolution Supreme Council in Iraq and fled the country in the early eighties after his family was chased and assassinated. He lived in Iran leading the Iraqi opposition against the regime of former President Saddam Hussein.Sayyed Abdul Aziz Al Hakim returned to Iraq on April 17 2003 following the topple of the former regime.He gained an influential political role when he took over as head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq after his elder brother, Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Baqer Al Hakim, died in a car bombing.

Jomana Karadsheh (CNN -- link has video and I'm told it includes the shot of the thousands reaching for the coffin that CNN was running throughout the afternoon -- footage which resulted in a high number of e-mails to CNN about the funeral because that footage caught a number of American viewers' attention) reports that security was tight in Baghdad with streets "sealed off Friday, and Iraqi air forces helicopters hovered overhead. Sobbing mourners beat their chests and heads, a traditional Shiite way of mourning. They swarmed around the coffin trying to touch it as it was carried into the Kadhimiya shrine, one of Shiite Islam's holiest." Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) notes, "The black turban signifying his family's descent from the prophet Muhammed was placed on Hakim's coffin which was covered in flowers and placed on a covered platform on the tarmac." Gulf Times reports that Ammar al-Hakim (his son) led the mourners and wore a black robe and turban while President Jalal Talabani was the first mourner to speak and stated, "He was a leader, a devoted fighter of Iraq. We are confident that the void left in his family and in the Supreme Council will be filled by the men of his family, such as Ammar al-Hakim."

The security was tight but how tight is underscored by the decision to hold that memorial ceremony at Baghdad International which means that the US forces were also out in force. Camp Victory is a US base (not handed over to iraq) and it surrounds Baghdad International Airport. Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Nineveh Province roadside bombing which claimed 1 life (civilian) and wounded an Iraqi soldier and, dropping back to last night, a Mosul roadside bombing which claimed the lives of 2 people and left four injured.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Nineveh Provincial Council member Tariq Ali Abbawi was assassinated last night. Reuters notes the US military shot dead 1 man and injured another stating the two were suspected bombers and, dropping back to last night, note an attack in Mosul on Iraqi police which claimed the life of 1 young girl and left another civilian injured.

None of that was included in the earlier count. Yesterday, US Maj Gen John Johnson spoke to the press and Military Times' Bill McMichael asked about Sahwa, aka Sons Of Iraq, aka "Awakening." These are the Sunnis the US government armed and trained (they
dispute arming them) and paid to stop fighting US troops. Nouri al-Maliki does not want to bring them into Iraq's security forces. Many a reporter has WRONGLY stated that they've been brought in. Since November. They have not been brought in. Johnson stated that of the "over 90,000 Sons Of Iraq," only "about 20% of them will be integrated into the Iraqi security forces" and he then stated that "over 3,300, as I said, have already been pulled into the Iraqi ministries" and then he would say that was just in Baghdad and throughout Iraq there were "a little over 13,000 that have been integrated into Iraqi security forces, either into the army or into the Iraqi police" -- no, that's not really 20% which is why it appears he's helping Steven Lee Myers, neither can handle numbers. And when you can't handle 20%, I really fear for your wait staff. I mean, however do you tip? Like Steven Lee Myers, another US general tried to play down the violence today.
Diana Elias (AP) reports that Gen George Casey yammered away about "ebb and flow" -- he sounds like a Righteous Brother but not, however, a member of the League of Righteous.

Human Rights Watch released "
'They Want Us Exterminated': Murder, Torture, Sexual Orientation and Gender in Iraq," a 67-page report [PDF format warning] click here, last week. In the US, it's received more attention this week than last. Wayne Besen (Windy City Times) noted of the revelations about the targeting of Iraq's LGBT community, "In Iraq, 'extremism' is too mild a word to describe the acts of those who abuse gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people." Rex Wockner (San Francisco Bay Times) adds, "The killers invade homes and grab people on the street, HRW reported. Victims are interrogated for names of others before being murdered. Torture practices include supergluing victim's anuses shut, then feeding them laxatives." At CounterPunch, David Rosen notes the report and attempts to find some larger points:

Sexuality, and the attendant issue of "honor" killings, provides a unique window into the alleged clash of civilizations. It is that sphere of human existence in which the twin dimensions of being human are forged. In sex, the truely human (i.e., consciousness) and the truely animal (i.e., physicality) are unified into a singluar experience. This unity is lived out as both species reproduction and erotic pleasure.
Sexuality is also one aspect of socio-personal life that is very much sharpened by "civilization," by cultural values and religious beliefs as well as by the marketplace and battles between geopolitical empires. Peoples, nations and civilizations have struggled for millennia over the meaning of sexuality, whether for men, women or young people and whether defined as hetrosexual or homosexual.
Explicit and aggressive sexuality is a powerful force dividing the West from, for example, the Arab and Islamic world. It is one of the most threatening dimensions of Western capitalism's cultural system that is pushing ever-deeper into the intimate, private lives of people throughout the world.
For many, the experience of globalization resonates less in the plunder of a nation's natural resources or the exploitation of its collective labor power than in the flood of erotic sensibilities challenging established power relations. This apparent assault often provokes the greatest resistance.

I do not believe David Rosen is attempting to state or imply that same-sex attraction and relationships are new or just emerging in Iraq. Someone will e-mail to protest. To be clear, HRW's report makes a point of noting that LGBTs are not new to Iraq and they're certainly not new to any region or area.
Sherwood Ross (Veterans Today) weighs in on Lawrence Velvel's America 2008 (Velvel is the Dean of Massachusetts School of Law at Andover):

Iraq's bloodshed is worse, Velvel writes "because today we not only have a years-long unwinnable war, but also torture, kidnappings and renderings to foreign countries for torture, many years of detention without trial of people who are innocent, the use of massive private armies to help carry out Executive policies" suppression of the media far beyond anything experienced during Viet Nam"the use of Executive Branch lawyers to write professionally incompetent secret memoranda giving clearance to awful policies, and the use of retired generals who are making a fortune from the Pentagon to spread its gospel on the mainstream media."
Today's wars of aggression are being waged, Velvel notes, because previous Washington officials were not held to account for their crimes: "Lyndon Johnson retired to his ranch, Nixon received a pardon and went back to San Clemente, McNamara became the long time President of the World Bank, Kissinger became richer and richer (and secretly advised Bush and Cheney on Iraq)"Wolfowitz was given a sinecure at the World Bank, lawyers who facilitated the misdeeds---such as Jay Bybee and John Yoo---are federal judges or professors at leading law schools."

TV notes, and all PBS programs begin airing tonight in most markets.
NOW on PBS offers:Would you pay more in taxes to fix roads and rail?The majority of American goods are transported by trucks, even though freight trains are greener and more fuel-efficient. Where should America be placing its bets for moving our economy and what would you personally sacrifice for it?This week, Correspondent Miles O'Brien looks at the contemporary needs, challenges, and solutions for transporting vital cargo across America, and how those decisions affect the way you live, work, and travel.This program is part of a PBS-wide series on the country's infrastructure called "Blueprint America."On Washington Week, Gwen sits around the table with David Broder (Washington Post), Karen Tumulty (Time magazine), David Wessel (Wall St. Journal) and Pete Williams (NBC News).Meanwhile Bonnie Erbe and her guests Karen Czarnecki, Ann Friedman, Irene Natividad and Tara Setmayer discuss the week's news on this week's edition of PBS' To The Contrary. Check local listings, on many stations, it begins airing tonight. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:
The Wasteland Where do the millions of computer monitors, cell phones and other electronic refuse our society generates end up? Some of it is shipped illegally from the U.S. to China, reports Scott Pelley, where it is harming the environment and the people who salvage its valuable components. Watch Video
Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction Steve Kroft examines the complicated financial instruments known as credit default swaps and the central role they are playing in the unfolding economic crisis. Watch Video
Birdman Forrest Bird's invention, the respirator, has saved millions of lives and, approaching his ninth decade, he's still living his life to the fullest, flying his airplanes and working 12-hour days. Morley Safer reports. Watch Video
60 Minutes Sunday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

nprthe diane rehm show
gareth porter
the washington timeseli lake
mcclatchy newspaperslaith hammoudi
cindy sheehan
the christian science monitorjane arrafmike seccombegeorge brennanthe guardianagnes callamardbbc newsalsumariaal jazeera
sherwood ross
60 minutescbs newspbsto the contrarybonnie erbenow on pbs

Thursday, August 27, 2009


An editorial was published at the World Socialist Web Site today entitled "Ted Kennedy and the decay of American liberalism" and this is a section of it:

In 1976, the Democratic Party turned for its presidential candidate to Jimmy Carter, a conservative southern governor. The uneasy relationship between Carter and Kennedy broke down later in the 1970s, leading to Kennedy’s bid to unseat Carter and win the Democratic presidential nomination in 1980. By then, Kennedy himself had shifted in a conservative direction, as epitomized by his vocal support for deregulation of the airline and trucking industries.
The Democratic Party, underscoring its turn to the right, rejected Kennedy. His oft-quoted “the dream shall never die” speech at the 1980 Democratic National Convention was, in fact, the last hurrah of American liberalism. By then the program of American liberalism had long since become hollow. Lacking any political substance, it increasingly assumed a demagogic character.

[. . .]
After 1980, there was little substance left in Kennedy’s professed devotion to social reform, despite his becoming the perpetual target of right-wing Republican attacks, which demonized him as an unrepentant liberal. From then on, Kennedy became what could be called a political minimalist—eschewing any serious attempt to enact major social reforms.
The American political establishment as a whole had shifted far to the right, as embodied in the free market nostrums of Reagan. These provided the political justification for a relentless assault on the living standards and social position of the working class, which continued under the Clinton and Bush administrations and continues today under Obama.
In death, Kennedy is being eulogized as the “Lion of the Senate” —a master legislator and advocate for the common man. While the personal tragedies of the Kennedys evoke in the public a certain sympathy for Ted Kennedy, the fact remains that his name is not associated with a single serious social reform. He spent his final decade sponsoring bipartisan measures of a right-wing character, such as George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind Act”—an attack on public education—and a punitive bill targeting undocumented immigrants that failed to win passage in Congress.
Kennedy supported Obama in the 2008 election, in part out of animus toward Bill Clinton, whom he privately despised. The dark irony of his life is underscored by the fact that his signature political cause, which he promoted for nearly 50 years—universal health care—has been turned by Obama into a cover for a ruthless drive to gut health care for millions of working Americans. A bill to slash health care costs for big business and the government was being debated in Congress as Kennedy lay dying.

Reader Jeannie e-mailed to ask if I'd seen it and to note C.I.'s "Abdul Aziz al-Hakim has passed away . . . and, oh yeah, the death the media's glomming on as well" from yesterday morning. My father (who is a Socialist) saw it before I did. He was over here this afternoon and looking for something online (a gift for a family member) and then hit "Favorites" just going through the news. He saw it and pointed it out to me. And made the same observation Jeannie was about how it was similar to the points C.I. was raising yesterday.

Jeannie was wondering if C.I. was really a Socialist. If you ask my father, yes. But my father hopes everyone is. (He'll laugh when he reads that.) No. The answer is no.

C.I. is someone who believes you're honest and she knew Ted Kennedy and she wasn't going to let that result in "Oh the world's greatest tragedy." She already has a very low threshold for chest beaters to begin with. But if she's going to cover something on someone she knows, she's going to go out of her way to make it realistic. That comes from being part of a family in journalism.

C.I. knows Socialism. Maybe Jeannie can covert her? My father would praise Jeannie forever if she pulled that off.

I'm glad WSWS called it like it was. Ted is my senator, was, and I can't believe this crap on my TV. Yeah, I voted for him. I'm a Democrat. But Ted's been meaningless for years and, as C.I. and WSWS point out, a right-winger who gave us things like No Child Left Behind. I think C.I. put it best when she said if Ted had been a Baldwin, he would have been Stephen Baldwin.

Okay, see my son's site tonight. I plan to take on Dennis Loo tomorrow night. For now, I'll just note how ridiculous Dennis Loo is.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Thursday:

Thursday, August 27, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, Cindy Sheehan and others continue demonstration on Martha's Vineyard, Barack Obama's approval rating hits a record low in a new poll, and more.

Starting in the US, Peace Mom
Cindy Sheehan's on Martha's Vineyard. She is protesting an occupant of the White House. (For those confused, we now have President Barack Obama. I have never used the p word to describe George W. Bush and will not start now.) She is demonstarting against the continuation of the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and attempting to raise attention. Justin Raimondo ( observed this week:

There was a time when
Cindy Sheehan couldn't go anywhere without having a microphone and a TV camera stuck in front of her. As she camped out in front of George W. Bush's Crawford ranch, mourning the death of her son Casey in Iraq and calling attention to an unjust, unnecessary, and unwinnable war, the media created in her a symbolic figure whose public agony epitomized a growing backlash against the militarism and unmitigated arrogance of the Bush administration. It was a powerful image: a lone woman standing up to the most powerful man on earth in memory of her fallen son.

Karen Travers (ABC News) reports today, "Sheehan said today she wanted to tell Mr. Obama that even if he goes on vacation, her group will not take a break from spreading their message of peace. . . . The scene outside the Oak Bluffs School on Martha's Vineyard today was a far cry from those massive rallies aimed at Bush. Only a dozen people showed up to hear her speak, and about half of them were part of her contingent." NBC's Alicia Jennings quotes Cindy stating today, "The facade has changed but policies remain the same. Integrity in our movement means we have to do same for Obama as we did for Bush. We're here to make wars unpopular again. Because if we were right to oppose it under Bush, we're right to oppose it under Obama. While the Obamas are here on vacation, people are still dying. There's no vacation from body bags. And the families of dead soldiers will never be able to truly enjoy a vacation again." Mark Silva (Chicago Tribune) quotes Cindy stating, "We have to realize, it is not the president who is [in] power, it is not the party that is in power, it is the system that stays the same, no matter who is in charge." Patricia Zengerle (Reuters) adds, "Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq in 2004, set up a small "Camp Casey," named for her late child, near Blue Heron Farm, the compound on the Massachusetts island Martha's Vineyard where Obama and his family are spending a weeklong holiday."

That's Real Media. What about beggar media? What about the Queen of
Panhandle Media Amy Goodman, The Nation and The Progresive? Not one damn word. At some point when Amy, Matty Rothschild and Katrina vanden Heuvel take their tongues out of Barack's asshole, what they'll be tasting is their own hypocrisy and don't think the right wing's not pointing out and don't think the general population isn't registering it.

Victor Davis Hanson, of the right-wing Hoover Institute, is laughing at the left:The war in Iraq is scarcely in the news any longer, despite the fact that 141,000 American soldiers are still protecting the fragile Iraqi democracy, and 114, as of this writing, have been lost this year in that effort.[. . .]As long as Barack Obama is commander-in-chief, and as long as casualties in Iraq are down, there will be no large public protests or much news about our sizable Iraq presence. The cost and the attendant politics -- not why we went there -- always determined how the Iraq war was covered.The left better grasp that we are not huge. We are not this bulge in the population. The biggest section of the population is the group that does not obsess over politics. And you better grasp that every time the right points to the hypocrisy of the left, it registers because the right's correct to point. "Cindy Sheehan protesting a president? It's something to cover!" That was the cry in 2005. In 2009? What's changed? The White House now has a Democratic occupant.You better grasp the message you send and how you look like a liar operating under situational ethics and how you say to the middle and the non-identifying crowd that the left has no ethics and no standards. But they aren't journalists. Would a journalist do what Katha's done? Write a little bit about a town hall she didn't attend but her friend told her about? That's journalism? What high huge standards. Meanwhile Patricia J. Williams sounds like such a raging loon ("America's own Weimer moment"!) that you start realizing that they have nothing to offer. They really have nothing. So they're running with fear and propaganda and trying to outrage a public. A few years back, we called those people right-wing pundits. Today we call them Panhandle Media. A bunch of beggars who couldn't work a real job -- even in journalism -- if their life depended upon it. So instead they're political evangilists, the Jerry Fallwells of today, unwilling to work but thrilled to beg, "Send money! Send money!" They'll happily fleece your pockets. They have no ethics. They have nothing but the greed and the hate. And these are people who want to influence you. That last one may be the saddest of all. But grasp that they'll fleece you and they'll make money off of you and then they will abandon you. The are no ethics among these so-called leaders. The left needs real leaders. One of those people is Cindy Sheehan who could be vacationing right now. She could be doing a number of things. She doesn't the hate aimed at her or the silence from supposed allies. Cindy doesn't want to be the face of the movement but she also knows that the movement is fading very quickly and that no one is stepping forward. So she's yet again offering leadership.

Someone has to. Cowards like the self-loathing lesbian Laura Flanders won't. This is the woman who never called Barack out for homophobia. Not during the primaries, not during the general, not at the inauguration, not ever. The woman's a lesbian. She won't fight for herself how the hell can she fight for anyone else? Answer: She can't. We were asked to note her crappy show. And I considered it. She's got an interview with two women about Iraqi women. It's not worth noting. It's not saying anything. And certainly the self-loathing lesbian can't say anything. Here's
Laura at Information Clearing House, "But President Obama has a problem. Every American military commanders want more troops but maybe, someday, the president's anti-war base will get restive." But without you, Whora Flanders. You're the liar in 2008 who claimed the left needed to hold Barack's feet to the fire and you would, you said. But you never did. You're just a liar with a chalky face (apparently covering a hundred facial eruptions -- those aren't pimples, I have no idea what they are). Her guests are from the laughable MADRE. The liars of MADRE. MADRE gave up the high ground when they refused to call Barack out for his silence during the January assault on Gaza. Not only were they silent about that, they were raving over him. They were drooling over him. Life's too short to be willfully stupid and it's too precious to be silent. Cindy Sheehan's doing a brave thing and you better believe people are absorbing what's going on, they are taking a measure of the left gas bags and noticing how silent they are. You better believe that will effect the left in the next 15 years more than anything else. Laura doesn't know it because she doesn't know America. But anyone with any history in this country knows where this leads for the left 'leaders.'

For the peace movement, if no one turns out for Cindy, it's not bad. (People have turned out and more are planning to.) Because Cindy's standing up. She's standing up and she's making a difference and she's putting it on the line. Forget the right-wing pundits, but people on the right who didn't understand her and thought she was just some 'anti-Bush' person are seeing that's not the case. It doesn't mean they agree with her (though some may), but it does mean that they're willing to reconsider their original thoughts of her. And in the center and, more importantly, in the mass of Americans who are not politically obsessed, the message is being sent that we protest war, regardless of who is in the White House. And the message is being sent that despite so many self-appointed leaders being massive hypocrites, Cindy Sheehan's the real deal. She is planting seeds. And she deserves applause for what she's doing. Instead those who were happy to beg her to show up for their magazine's benefit to raise more money (these magazines cannot support themselves because so few people read them) now act like they don't know her.

The Iraq War has not ended. This morning
Emily Nipps (St. Petersurg Times) reported, "Family and friends said farewell Thursday morning to an Army Reserve military police battalion heading to Iraq." Among those present was Caleb Dawson's wife, Patrice Dawson: "Patrice just got out of the military after her own stint in Iraq, and another with deatinees in Cuba. Every deployment is a little different, she said. This time, too, the couple's son C.J., a restless 4-year with a mohawk, understands his 'Daddy's going to work with the Army,' she said."

Turning to veterans issues,
Tuesday's snapshot went over some of the recent events (some of which may be PTSD related, some may not) of violence against others and themselves by Iraq War and Afghanistan War veterans. And, repeating, that is not saying that veterans -- suffering from PTSD or not suffering from it -- are a threat to society. That is not true. Even those with PTSD or other conditions are not a threat. But there are a number, a small number at present, of veterans who are struggling and are resorting to violence. And, more importantly, there is a higher number of veterans who are struggling and doing so in the dark without any help and because their struggle does not lead to violence, they are easy to render invisible.
"They gave me a gun" he said
"They gave me a mission
For the power and the glory --
Propaganda -- piss on 'em
There's a war zone inside me --
I can feel things exploding --
I can't even hear the f**king music playing
For the beat of -- the beat of black wings."
[. . .]
"They want you -- they need you --
They train you to kill --
To be a pin on some map --
Some vicarious thrill --
The old hate the young
That's the whole heartless thing
The old pick the wars
We die in 'em
To the beat of -- the beat of black wings"
-- "The Beat of Black Wings," words and music by
Joni Mitchell, first appears on her Chalk Mark In A Rainstorm.
In Tuesday's snapshot, we noted "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder as a Risk Factor for Suicidal Ideation in Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans" (Journal of Traumatic Stress, Vol. 23, No. 4, August 2009, pp 303 - 306). When we had a functioning media, as opposed to 24-7 Celebrity Death Watch, published studies in peer reviewed scientific journals were news. Apparently, if it doesn't make E!, it's not considered news by the daily papers. The study was composed of sample of 435 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans. Half of the sample was diagnosed with PTSD (49.6%) prior to study. The findings included:
Prior research with Vietnam veterans with chronic PTSD has established an association between PTSD and suicide (Bullman & Kang, 1994). This study extends these findings by demonstrating an association between suicidal ideation and PTSD in treatment-seeking OIF/OEF veterans with more acute forms of PTSD. PTSD was significantly associated with suicidal ideation after accounting for age, depression and substance abuse, with PTSD veterans over four times more likely to report suicidal ideation than veterans who did not screen psotive for PTSD. Among veterans who screen positive for PTSD, there was no significant increase in risk for suicidal ideation associated with a single comorbid disorder. However, the likelihood for suicidal ideation was 5.7 times greater in veterans with PTSD who screened positive for two or more comorbid disorders relative to veterans with PTSD alone. Results suggest that veterans with PTSD who have multiple psychiatric comorbidities may be at greater risk for suicidal ideation. This increased likelihood of suicidal ideation associated with comorbidity is notable because, of those OIF/OEF veterans diagnosed with a mental disorder, 27% have three or more different mental health diagnoses.
Monday the Department of Veterans Affairs announced, "The VA is publishing a proposed regulation today in the Federal Register to make it easier for a Veteran to claim service connection for PTSD by reducing the evidence needed if the stressor claimed by a Veteran is related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity. Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted over the next 60 days. A final regulation will be published after consideration of all comments received. Under the new rule, VA would not require corroboration of a stressor related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity if a VA psychiatrist or psychologist confirms that the stressful experience recalled by a Veteran adequately supports a diagnosis of PTSD and the Veteran's symptoms are related to the claimed stressor." Tuesday US House Rep John Hall declared, "I am optimistic that this new rule is going to be a giant step forward in getting veterans the benefits they have earned faster and easier. This rule should make major progress in clearing the VA's claims backlog.
I will work with the VA and veterans during the comment period to ensure that the rule in application is as comprehensive and inclusive as my COMBAT PTSD Act. Veterans currently face an adversarial process when they seek treatment and compensation from the VA. Our servicemen and women have been forced to 'prove' a specific stressor that triggered their PTSD, even if they have already been diagnosed. They need to track down incident reports, buddy statements, present medals, and leap other hurdles to mee the threshold the VA mandates in order to receive desperately needed compensation. Just
as our military adapts and reforms its strategies in every war it fights, the VA is now
adapting to assist the surviving heroes of those wars."
James Dao (New York Times) reported on the VA's proposed change yesterday and noted, "Critics said the proposed rule would still require veterans to prove a connection between a traumatizing event and their PTSD, even when that connection was not clear cut. Strict application of that requirement could lead to many rejected claims, they say." Which is why it's all the sadder that 'change' in the administration saw the VA being put under a retired general
and he's not proposing half of what US House Rep John Hall is.

IVAW's Cameron White notes a retreat for female members of the military and former members:

Combat to Connection A Retreat for Female Service Members and Veterans October 8-11, 2009
During this four-day retreat we will focus on healing, connecting & finding our strengths.
Connect with other women veterans by sharing stories, experiences and community; learn stress management techniques; exercise your creative side;
and enjoy a beautiful setting through hiking & kayaking on scenic Tomales Bay, California.
Who is eligible? All women who served in the military since September 11th, 2001, without regard for race, religion, politics or sexual preference.
What does the retreat cost? There is no cost to you for lodging, meals, workshops, ground transportation or air travel. Coming Home Project programs are completely free of charge to the participants.
Applications? Deadline is Sept. 8th, 2009 Click Here to Apply
Everyone is welcome as they are and all are treated with respect. There is no particular political or religious belief or affiliation that is represented or required. The intention of the Coming Home Project is to serve veterans
and contribute to their well-being and healing.
Coming Home Project 1801 Bush St. #213 San Francisco CA 94109

Dan McCue (Courthouse News Service) reports on Iraq War veteran Khadim Alkanani who was disabled due to being shot by contractors while serving in Baghdad
and is now suing the mercentaries of Aegis Defense Services: "Sgt. Khadim Alkanani claims the June 2005 shooting was 'remarkably similar' to other incidents which employees of Aegis Defense Services have captured on 'trophy videos' which show 'senseless
shootings of innocent personnel in automobiles from an armed vehicle."

Oliver August (Times of London) reports, "Iraq is on heightened alert after a string of car bombgs in Baghdad [. . .] amid preparations for the biggest public funeral since the country regained sovereignty." He's referring to Abdul Aziz al-Hakim whose death yesterday morning continues to have an impact. On PBS' NewsHour last night (link has text, video and audio options) Judy Woodruff explained, "The leader of the largest and most powerful Shiite party in Iraq died today after a long battle with lung cancer. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim had been in Iran undergoing treatment. The 59-year-old cleric was instrumental in shaping Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. His son is his likely successor as party leader, with just five months to go before Iraq's parliamentary elections." Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) notes al-Hakim managed to juggle "his close relationships with both Washington and Tehran." Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) cites the Congressional Research Service's Kenneth Katzman stating, "Hakim's passing
is likely to set off a major power struggle in ISCI that could lead to its fracture. Ammar is viewed by the older ISCI figures as inheriting the position rather than earning it." The
Telegraph of London adds, "The ISCI, which holds a quarter of the seats in the Iraqi parliament, this month joined a new alliance ahead of scheduled elections in January 2010. The alliance includes Muqtada al-Sadr, and -- if it prevails at the polls – could introduce a new era of Shia dominance in Iraqi politics." The White House's lack of
interest in Iraq has been much noted and it continued yesterday as they
issued a statement (under pressure) which was perfunctory at best:

Office of the Press Secretary ______________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release August 26, 2009
Statement by the Press Secretary on the death of His Eminence Abdul Aziz al-Hakim
We were saddened to learn of the passing of His Eminence Abdul Aziz al-
Hakim, who has played an important role in Iraq's national history. We offer
our condolences to his family and colleagues.

Ali Sheikholeslami and Caroline Alexander (Bloomberg News) note the White House statment and note Nouri al-Maliki, thug of the occupation, issued praise as did Jalal Talabani, President of Iraq. Marc Santora (New York Times) reveals Nouri had need
to praise al-Hakim, "Mr. Hakim's influence could be seen as recently as February, when
a plan by leading politicians to try to oust Mr. Maliki was scuttled because Mr. Hakim
would not offer his support, according to a coming article in The National Interest, a
journal of current affairs, by Kenneth M. Pollack. Mr. Hakim objected because he felt
it would look as if the politicians were trying to overturn the will of the people, Mr.
Pollack reports." The
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq issued the following:

Baghdad 27 August 2009 -- The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG) Ad Melkert extends his deepest condolences
to the family of His Eminence Abdul Aziz Al Hakim as well as to the Iraqi people.
Mr. Melkert said that with the death of Abdul Aziz Al Hakim, "Iraq lost an
important leader at a critical juncture." He said that the late Abdul Aziz Al Hakim played an important role in helping Iraq stabilize and chart a path from conflict
to reconciliation and the United Nations appreciates the support his eminence extended to it over the past few years.

AP describes "thousands" gathering in Iran for al-Hakim's memorial and quotes various Iranian leaders making statements about al-Hakim's legacy. CNN notes a memorial scheduled in Baghdad for tomorrow and reports of today's memorial in Tehran, "Iraqi and Iranian government officials attended the procession with senior religious figures and some members of the Iraqi parliament." Xinhua reports the following was aired on Iraqi state-TV, "The Iraqi government announced three-day national mourning starting from Thursday for the death of Sayyed Abdul Aziz al-Hakim." Oliver August explains, "His coffin will be driven in an armed convoy from Baghdad across Iraq on its way to the world's largest cemetery in the holy city of Najaf in what will be a highly charged event. The procession will be guarded by thousands of troops and police in view of an upsurge in violence." Memorials go beyond those two countries. Niraj Warikoo (Detroit Free Press) reports that tonight and tomorrow will see memorials in Dearborn Michigan: "Hundreds are expected to attend the services at the Karbalaa center in Dearborn. And many are watching the funeral services in Iran on satellite TV stations, [Iman Husham] Al-Husainy said." And some anticipate that violence levels will rise tomorrow. Today?

McClatchy Newspapers reports 2 Baghdad sticky bombings resulted in twelve people wounded, a Baghdad car bombing claimed the life of 1 civilian and left five more injured, 5 Baghdad roadside bombings resulted in thirteen people left injured, a Mosul roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer and left one more injured while a second Mosul roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left an Iraqi soldier injured. Reuters drops back to Wednesday night to note 2 Baghdad car bombings resulted in twelve people being injured, 2 Baghdad roadside bombing resulted in five people being wounded, a Kirkuk roadside bombing injured two people and 1 police officer was shot dead in Kirkuk

In the US,
Barack Obama's got bad news in the latest Economist/YouGov poll which finds his approval ratings at a record low of 48% and the poll also sought to measure opinions on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars:

The fighting in Afghanistan is nearing the end of its eighth year, while the war in Iraq is six years old. Americans interviewed in this week's poll see no end in sight for either war, and think that both will end with America withdrawing without victory. A third of Americans think the US is winning in Iraq, while only 15% say that about Afghanistan. That's even lower than the 18% who thought America was winning the war in Afghanistan last week, before the presidential election there.
Little sets the two wars apart in Americans' minds, but there is one very big difference. Only 31% think America made a mistake getting involved in Afghanistan. But a majority, 55%, say sending troops to Iraq was a mistake.
There are partisan differences on both wars, but they are especially stark when assessing Iraq. A majority of Republicans (60%) say America is winning in Iraq, something just 20% of Democrats think. Most Republicans (62%) expect eventual victory there, more than twice the number of Democrats (24%) who say this. Republicans reject the claim that America made a mistake sending troops to Iraq. Just 16% of Republicans say that, compared with 78% of Democrats.

Iraq Veterans Against the War's Carl Webb posts a review by Louis Proyect of Molly Bingham and Steve Connors' amazing documentary Meeting Resistance:

Meeting Resistance is a film that gives a voice to the shadowy Iraqi resistance
that has fought the world's most powerful imperialist country in history to a standstill. With an economy of means, this documentary accomplishes what all great art strives for, namely the humanisation of its principals. With so much hatred directed against Sunni insurgents, who lack the socialist credentials
of past insurgencies that attracted the solidarity of the Western left, Meeting Resistance takes a giant step forward in making the "enemy's" case.
After watching this powerful film, one will have to agree with British MP and
anti-war activist George Galloway's assessment in a speech given at the
al-Assad Library in Damascus on July 30, 2005: "These poor Iraqis -- ragged people, with their sandals, with their Kalashnikovs, with the lightest and most basic of weapons -- are writing the names of their cities and towns in the
stars, with 145 military operations every day, which has made the country ungovernable by the people who occupy it.
"We don't know who they are, we don't know their names, we never saw their faces, they don't put up photographs of their martyrs, we don't know the names
of their leaders. They are the base of this society. They are the young men and young women who decided, whatever their feelings about the former regime -- some are with, some are against. But they decided, when the foreign invaders came, to defend their country, to defend their honour, to defend their families, their religion, their way of life from a military superpower, which landed
amongst them."
Co-directed by Steve Connors and Molly Bingham, Meeting Resistance allows
a group of insurgents in the al Adhamiya district in Baghdad to explain why
they decided to fight the occupation, how they are organised, and -- perhaps
of the greatest interest -- what kind of backgrounds they have. Among the most interesting revelations is that only a small percentage can be described as Ba'athist "dead-enders", the description that was offered by the Bush gang
early on and that was accepted by some sectors of the left. A political science
professor in Baghdad, the only interviewee who is not actually part of the resistance, estimates that less than 10% are Ba'ath Party activists.

Independent journalist
David Bacon reports on the struggling immigrant community in Alameda at ImmigrationProfBlog:Familes receive food at a food distribution organized every month by Hope for the Heart in Hayward. Many people begin lining up for food the day before, and sleep overnight on the sidewalk in order to make sure they get their food before it runs out. Many families are immigrants from Mexico, and don't have enough money to buy food or pay rent. Food for the program comes from the Alameda County Community Food Bank, and the people distributing the food are all volunteers, organized by local churches. During the food distribution, children of food recipients listen to music, and watch a religious service while their families are waiting.The report is text and visual. David Bacon is noted for his photography and his latest exhibit is "People of the Harvest, Indigenous Mexican Migrants in California." The reception for it takes place tonight at 6:00 pm at the Asian Resource Gallery (310 Eight Street at Harrison, Oakland, CA). The exhibit runs through next month and the gallery's hour are nine in the morning until six in the evening, Monday through Friday. Immigrant Rights News carries the following:People of the Harvest is part of a larger project, Living Under the Trees, that documents the lives of communities of indigenous Mexican farm workers in California, through documentary photographs. The photographs in People of the Harvest were taken in 2009. It's no accident the state of Oaxaca is one of the main starting points for the current stream of Mexican migrants coming to the United States. Extreme poverty encompasses 75 percent of its 3.4 million residents. Thousands of indigenous people leave Oaxaca's hillside villages for the United States every year, not only for economic reasons but also because a repressive political system thwarts the kind of economic development that could lift incomes in the poorest rural areas. Lack of development pushes people off the land.The majority of Oaxacans are indigenous people-that is, they belong to communities and ethnic groups that existed long before Columbus landed in the Caribbean. They speak 23 different languages. "Migration is a necessity, not a choice," explains Romualdo Juan Gutierrez Cortez, a teacher in Santiago Juxtlahuaca, in Oaxaca's rural Mixteca region.In California, indigenous migrants have become the majority of people working in the fields in many areas, whose settlements are dispersed in an indigenous diaspora. This movement of people has created transnational communities, bound together by shared culture and language, and the social organizations people bring with them from place to place. People of the Harvest documents the experiences and conditions of indigenous farm worker communities. It focuses on social movements in indigenous communities and how indigenous culture helps communities survive and enjoy life. The project's purpose is to win public support for policies helping those communities to achieve social and political rights and better economic conditions. The communities documented in this show are locacted in Arvin, Taft, Oxnard and Santa Paula, Santa Maria, Fresno, Greenfield, Watsonville and Marysville. They include Mixtecos, Triquis, Zapotecos, Chatinos and Purepechas. The photographs are digital color images, which focus on the relationship between community residents and their surroundings, and their relations with each other. They present situations of extreme poverty, but they also show people as actors, capable of changing conditions, organizing themselves, and making critical decisions. The project is a partnership between David Bacon, documentary photographer and journalist (The Children of NAFTA, UC Press, 2004, Communities Without Border, Cornell/ILR Press, 2006, and Illegal People - How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants, Beacon Press, 2008), California Rural Legal Assistance, especially its Indigenous Farm Worker Project, and the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB). Special thanks to Rick Mines and the Indigenous Farmworker Study, funded by the California Endowment, who made the documentation in People of the Harvest possible.David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which just won the CLR James Award. Bacon is also on KFPA's The Morning Show each Wednesday discussing labor and immigration issues.

cindy sheehan
the los angeles timesliz slycnnthe washington post
ernesto londonothe new york timesmarc santora
james dao
the journal of traumatic stress the new york times
caroline alexanderbloomberg news
david bacon