Tuesday, October 19, 2021

#Striketober

dumberthanthedoorknob

 

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Dumber Than A Door Knob" went up last night.

Today Kellogg workers remain on strike.  IN THESE TIMES notes this as an introduction to an audio interview they have:


Like Frito-Lay, Nabisco, John Deere, and Heaven Hill Distillery, cereal giant Kellogg’s has seen consumer demand skyrocket during the pandemic, reporting profits of $1.25 billion in 2020. To meet this demand, many workers in Kellogg’s plants around the US report pulling 12 to 16-hour shifts seven days a week, leaving little time for anything outside of work beyond sleep. But the creation of a two-tier employment system in 2015 has meant that newer employees in the lower transitional tier” are earning significantly less than their coworkers for doing the same work. Demanding that the company raise the floor for all of its employees, Kellogg’s plant workers in Nebraska, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee have been on strike since Oct. 5. We talk about the ongoing strike with Dan Osborn, who has worked at the Omaha, Nebraska, plant for 18 years and currently serves as president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), Local 50G.


Martha Grevatt (Workers World) notes:

On Oct. 5, 1,400 workers at four Kellogg’s cereal plants went on strike to block the company’s concessionary demands. They are members of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), which recently struck Frito Lay and Nabisco. That adds up to strikes at three Fortune 500 companies, involving thousands of workers, by a union with under 65,000 members.

Kellogg’s wants to cut health care benefits, pensions, holiday and vacation pay, cost of living raises and union jobs — and, adding insult to injury, take the union label off cereal boxes. The company wants a two-tier system whereby future workers will pay more for health care and will not collect a pension when they retire.

As the union explains, “A two-tier system is a devious way for employers to slowly, but surely, take power from union members, their contract and their union. The company is trying to divide the workforce by asking the current workforce to sell out the next generation of Kellogg workers.” (bctgm.org) These workers have put in long hours of hard work throughout the pandemic.

That a small union would take on Kellogg’s and two other Fortune 500 companies in a few months’ time is indicative of a new mood of militancy in the working class.


And France 24 notes:


At John Deere, agricultural machinery company, 10,000 workers who are part of the United Auto Workers went on strike for better pay on October 14. And 24,000 healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente in California and Oregon authorised a strike on October 11, giving their employer 10-days’ notice before they walk off the job in protest of decreased wages for new hires. 

Countless other strikes, from taxi drivers to steelworkers, have taken off across the country, with workers demanding better hours, fair pay and benefits. The wave is a rare show of force from unions and workers in the United States, and has been met with widespread support, both on and offline. The hashtag #Striketober was created to help striking workers share their experiences.


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

Tuesday, October 19, 2021.  We spend the snapshot looking back on War Criminal Colin The Blot Powell who is now thankfully dead.


Noted War Criminal Colin Powell slipped away from this earth.  And let's remember that as the good thing that it is.  The late journalist Robert Parry (CONSORTIUM NEWS) frequently documented the realities of Colin Powell -- including regarding the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam.  Near the end of 2004, Robert Parry observed:


Colin Powell’s admirers – especially in the mainstream press – have struggled for almost two years to explain how and why their hero joined in the exaggerations and deceptions that led the nation into the disastrous war in Iraq. Was he himself deceived by faulty intelligence or was he just acting as the loyal soldier to his commander-in-chief?  

But there is another, less flattering explanation that fits with the evidence of Powell’s life story: that the outgoing secretary of state has always been an opportunist who consistently put his career and personal status ahead of America’s best interests.

From his earliest days as a junior officer in Vietnam through his acquiescence to George W. Bush’s Iraq adventure, Colin Powell repeatedly has failed to stand up against actions that were immoral, unethical or reckless. At every turning point, Powell protected his career above all else.

Yet, Powell’s charisma – and the fact that he is a prominent and successful African-American – have protected him from any clear-eyed assessment of his true record. Even when Powell has publicly defended war crimes, such as the shooting of defenseless “military-aged males” in Vietnam, national journalists have preferred to focus on Powell’s sparkling style over his troubling substance.

This infatuation with Powell’s image was perhaps best captured when New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd plunged into mourning after Powell backed away from a flirtation with a presidential candidacy in 1995.

“The graceful, hard male animal who did nothing overtly to dominate us yet dominated us completely, in the exact way we wanted that to happen at this moment, like a fine leopard on the veld, was gone,” Dowd wrote, only slightly tongue-in-cheek. “‘Don’t leave, Colin Powell,’ I could hear myself crying from somewhere inside.” [NYT, Nov. 9, 1995]

As longtime readers of Consortium News know, we always have tried to resist Powell’s personal magnetism. In one of our first investigative projects, Norman Solomon and I examined the real story of Colin Powell.

[To read the full series, start at “Behind Colin Powell’s Legend.”]

I’ve updated the series a couple of times: when Powell failed to protest Bush’s disenfranchisement of thousands of African-Americans during the disputed Florida election in 2000 and when Powell made his over-the-top presentation on Iraq in February 2003. After Powell’s UN speech – while both liberal and conservative commentators swooned over Powell’s WMD case – we entitled our story: “Trust Colin Powell?

What we found in our investigation of Powell’s legend was not the heroic figure of his press clippings, but the story of an ambitious man with a weak moral compass. He either hid in the reeds when others were standing up for what they knew to be right or he contributed to the wrongdoing (albeit often while wringing his hands and confiding to reporters that he really wasn’t entirely comfortable).


Colin Powell was human filth.  If you look around to some of your trusted organizations right now, you'll grasp that they are filth too.  Such as? THE PROGRESSIVE.  Time to post year another Donald Trump piece yesterday afternoon but not a word about Colin.  Despite claiming to be "A voice for peace and social justice since 1909," they can't be bothered calling out Powell today.  By the way, they haven't been around since 1909.  They make that claim all the time.  A precursor to THE PROGRSSIVE existed starting in 1909.  It was not THE PROGRESSIVE.  We pointed that out when they were celebrating what they called their 100 years.  We also pointed out that the huge issue celebrating that lie noted many of the famous writers who had shown up in the magazine over the years but somehow they were strangely silent on the notorious Judith Miller.


THE PROGRSSIVE is a joke -- it's the IN STYLE of the so-called left.


Moving over to those not afraid to weigh in on reality, Sarah Abdallah Tweets:


Colin Powell will be remembered as one of the war criminals who helped pave the way for the invasion of Iraq - a war that was launched on a pack of lies - a war that led to the death and displacement of millions of innocents.


And she notes that War Criminal Mad Maddie Albright Tweeted that her heart was heavy and -- wait.  Mad Maddie has a heart?  Who'd she steal it from.  Here's Sarah:


Madeleine Albright, who once said the death of 500,000 Iraqi children due to U.S. sanctions was “worth it,” mourns warmonger who lied to the world about WMDs in Iraq, helping launch a war that killed over a million people.


Weep no more, Mad Maddie, Colin will save you a seat . . . in hell.


Patrick Martin (WSWS) notices the effusive bull that's greeted Colin's death:

Much of the Democratic Party adulation focused on Powell’s role as the first African American to rise to the commanding heights of the US military machine. Congressman Jamaal Bowman, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, tweeted that “as a Black man just trying to figure out the world, Colin Powell was an inspiration” to him.

He did not elaborate on which Colin Powell was his inspiration: General Colin Powell helping rescue Ronald Reagan in the Iran-Contra scandal, or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell overseeing the incineration of Iraqi conscripts in 1991, or Secretary of State Colin Powell justifying the impending US invasion of Iraq in 2003. His speech at the United Nations Security Council, claiming Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, has gone down in history as a byword for the “big lie.”

There is not a single major instance of US military aggression over four decades in which Colin Powell did not play a significant role. After enlisting in the ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) at City College of New York, Powell entered the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant and was dispatched to Vietnam, first as an “advisor” for a South Vietnamese battalion in 1963, then as an operations officer in a US division in 1968, in the wake of the Tet Offensive.


The adulation, by the way, is why we're covering Powell.  I thought we'd get some honesty since he did lie to the UN and since so many columnists and commentators used his UN presentation to say "Case closed" and insist upon war on Iraq.  I thought, wrongly (not the first time), that having been made to look like fools by endorsing Colin, they'd want to get honest now.  


They can't even be honest about Don't Ask, Don't Tell.


In November 1992, Bill Clinton was elected president of the United States and one of his campaign promises was that he'd end   Bill is going to end the ban on openly gay persons serving in the US military.  And Colin Powell nearly west himself -- or maybe that was cum and not piss?  At any rate, Colin Powell is why this country ended up with the hideous Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  And it's very upsetting to see a periodical whose audience is gay men, THE ADVOCATE, try to insist that he had a transformation late in life so let's rally behind Collie.


That piece of s**t destroyed lives as a result of his circumventing a policy of allowing gay persons to serve openly in the US military.   From Trudy Ring (ADVOCATE):


When Bill Clinton became president in 1993, promising to lift the ban on lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in the military, Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He opposed lifting the ban (under which many LGB people had been discharged and others served in the closet) and said in testimony to Congress that open service by LGB troops would be “incompatible” with military readiness. In notes from meetings with Clinton at the time, released by the Clinton library in 2014, it was revealed that Powell had said homosexuality would be “a problem” for the military and that parents of service members might be worried about straight and gay troops sharing quarters.

Resistance from the military and many members of Congress led to the compromise of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The idea was that LGB service members could not come out, but the military would not try to root them out either. It was initially seen as an improvement over the outright ban but didn’t work out that way.

Clinton said in 2010 that he regretted DADT and that Powell, as one of its key supporters, misrepresented how it would work. “Now, when Colin Powell sold me on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ here’s what he said it would be,” Clinton told Katie Couric on CBS News. “Gay service members would never get in trouble for going to gay bars, marching in gay rights parades, as long as they weren’t in uniform. That was what they were promised. That’s a very different ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ than we got.” Indeed, under DADT the military continued to investigate service members’ sexual orientation and discharge them — about 14,000.


Trudes goes on to tell us that, in 2010, he was for repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.


Yea???


No, not yea.  And how about, you evil scribe, you note the suffering he inflicted continues to this day.  About 14,000 discharged?  Trudy, if you're not up to the topic you're covering, then just shut the f**k up.


First off, for every discharge, imagine the stress of the ones who managed to slip by.  And yet had to continue to worry every year until it was repealed.  Then let's talk about what was halted.


If a young gay person or bi person or lesbian had a dream to serve in the military, that dream was destroyed thanks to Colin Powell.  Get honest about that.


Most importantly, those discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell include many still fighting today -- to this day -- to get the benefits they earned as part of the US forces.  So, Trudy, find some click bait online to write about next time because you clearly are not up to doing much more than recaps of DANCING WITH THE STARS.


Last month, Jonathan Franklin (NPR) reported:


Thousands of LGBTQ veterans who were discharged from the military under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy have gained new access to full government benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The announcement, issued Monday on the 10th anniversary of the repeal of don't ask, don't tell, will apply to veterans who were forced from service under the policy and given "other than honorable discharges" due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status.

The guidance was detailed in a blog post on the VA's website by Kayla Williams, assistant secretary for public affairs in the department's Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. It provides LGBTQ veterans the opportunity to receive assistance, ranging from mental health care and disability benefits to college money and home loans.  


Grasp the years of suffering that some are enduring thanks to Powell.  Enduring?  No one's been reinstated yet.  Grasp that.


Now I'm appalled by THE ADVOCATE -- exactly whom are they advocating for.  I'm not surprised by WSWS.  As Ava and I noted, they pretty much avoid all LGBTQ issues unless someone's standing before the Supreme Court.  Until then, LGBTQ people really don't exist in the eyes of WSWS.


The LGBTQ community suffered because of Colin and his late-life 'transformation' was nothing but him belatedly grasping the shift that had taken place in attitudes years before.  He could lead the country into illegal war, he just wouldn't lead it into a better world.

Why does NASA believe they can name the new telescope after a homophobe and not suffer?  Because for all their posturing and preening, the media still looks the other way when it comes to homophobia.


At JACOBIN, Liza Featherstone writes:

Iraqis are not mourning Colin Powell. Many, however, are mourning family, friends and neighbors who died as a direct result of Powell’s lapse of integrity. “He lied, lied and lied,” an Iraqi writer and mother of two told the Associated Press today. “He lied, and we are the ones who got stuck with never-ending wars.” Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who famously threw a shoe at President Bush during a 2008 news conference, tweeted that he was sad that Powell had died without being tried for his war crimes against the Iraqi people.

Colin Powell’s UN address and its phenomenal impact on public opinion were oddly of the moment. Powell seemed like he could be a character on The West Wing, a Bill Clinton–era TV show created by Aaron Sorkin and beloved by many liberals, in which the ethical agonies of the powerful were portrayed with unbounded empathy. The message was supposed to be a reassuring one: Your administration is run by decent people who are trying their best, and when they do terrible things, it’s because they have no choice. Powell’s Hamlet-like anguish extended that halo to the George W. Bush administration, one of the worst in the country’s history.

In his way, Colin Powell was actually worse than Donald Rumsfeld. He made it appear that even the most murderous and indefensible decisions of our elites, however distressing, are reasonable and inevitable, the result of sober deliberation. He made the killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians look justified. He enjoyed the trust of millions, yet he lied. I’m inclined to agree with al-Zaidi: The only sad thing about Colin Powell’s death is that he’ll never be punished for his crimes.


Caitlin Johnstone observes:


Powell’s other contributions to the world include covering up and participating in war crimes in Vietnam, facilitating atrocities in Central America, and destroying Iraqi civilian infrastructure in the Gulf War. But it’s hard to dispute that his greatest lasting legacy will be his immortal reminder to future generations that there is never, ever a valid reason to trust anything US officials tell us about a government they wish to bring down.

Powell’s contribution to the war effort has been considerable. But as time grinds down the tall spires of artificial insanity that the powerful are continually imposing upon our species, when all is said and done his contribution to the anti-war effort will have been greater.

Be sure to remind everyone of Powell’s sociopathic facilitation of human slaughter often and loudly in the coming hours. Public opinion is the only thing keeping western war criminals from The Hague, after all, and those war criminals are keenly aware of this fact. At times like these, they suddenly become highly invested in making sure that regular people “respect the dead,” not because they respect any human alive or dead, but because they cannot allow the death to become an opportunity to amplify and change public opinion about their egregious murderous crimes.

There is a giant narrative management exercise that will be playing out over the next few days. Be sure to enthusiastically disrupt it with the truth.


AWOL is THE NATION.  I thought Katrina would have written something but she didn't.  No one has.  They've got some articles of substance, along with click bait, but they aren't covering Colin.  And this despite the fact that there is such reader interest in a non-corporate media look at Colin that David Corn's May 2, 2001 article on Colin's real record is currently the most read article at the site according to their own top ten.

Alex MacDonald (MIDDLE EAST EYE) observes:


For millions of Iraqis, Powell will be remembered as the man who presented false intelligence before the United Nations as to the existence and threat of former ruler Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Powell’s claims that Saddam had links to al-Qaeda and was hiding WMDs helped push forward the momentum for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the resulting years of chaos and bloodshed that have continued to plague the country to this day.

Kamal Jabir, a politician with the Civil Democratic Alliance and former freedom fighter against Saddam in the 80s and 90s, saw many killed by Saddam’s administration and gave up much of his life to fighting and to exile because of him.

However, he still regards the Iraq war as having been a catastrophe.

“Since 2003, Iraqis suffered a greater deal because American administrations - Republicans and Democrats - insisted on supporting the most corrupt, most dishonest, and most disloyal officials and Islamic extremists to rise to power and ruin Iraq and slaughter Iraqis,” he told Middle East Eye.

He noted that while Powell had a reputation for decency as a politician, he failed to either object to the 2003 war or the “countless deliberate mistakes” made by Coalition Provisional Authority leader Paul Bremer during his rule over the occupied country.

“[Powell] chose to watch the massacres against Iraq and innocent Iraqis and do nothing about it. Iraqis today are busy trying to rescue their country and save tears for their young peaceful protesters, sons and daughters who got killed by the pro-Iranian militias and gangs,” he said.

“Iraqis will not shed tears for Colin Powell.”


MEE also offers this article.


Also offering truth on Colin are Margaret Kimberley and David Swanson in the video below.


 

And FRED HAMPTON LEFTISTS in the video below.






New content at THIRD:


Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Dumber Than A Door Knob" went up last night.  The following sites updated:


Monday, October 18, 2021

Kellogg workers

Kellogg workers remain on strike.  Business Insider offers a column from one on strike and the column opens:


I'm Robert Jensen, and I'm a Kellogg Company employee currently on strike. Kellogg has been a big part of my life — my Dad worked for the company in Omaha, Nebraska, and now I've worked in the factory there since 1988.

About 1,400 Kellogg workers in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, and Tennessee — myself included — are on strike. We're striking over pay and benefits in our two-tier wage system, and Kellogg recently listed job openings "pre-hiring for strike replacement workers" who will "cross the picket the line."

I've gone from being a seasonal worker doing simpler jobs to running a line and being the tower operator, where you're responsible for six stories of equipment. Then I started working on the processing side.

These employees make less and have fewer benefits but can eventually become what Kellogg calls "legacy" employees, who receive higher pay and better benefits.

The other union workers and I initially agreed to this system as long as "transitional" employee counts maxed out at 30% of the total number of the workforce. We figured there would always be that light at the end of the tunnel for the newer employees.

The reason we're on strike is because Kellogg no longer wants to have a cap on the number of transitional employees.

The idea of the transitional-legacy employee tiers was that when legacy employees leave, transitional employees could move up into their spots. Eliminating the cap could phase out legacy employees, leaving everyone without that light at the end of the tunnel we all envisioned when we agreed to this system.


WWMT reports on this system:


Kellogg's is trying to push a two-tiered system according to picketers, who said it will take away benefits for future and current employees.

“There are legacy employees at a different pay level, and different benefits," said Union Representative Lisa Gregory. "And then we have 30% of the plant that stays at a transitional level for lower pay, significantly lower pay, and lower benefits here. So, you know, what we want is for everyone to be up to full pay."

Omaha's KMTV reports:

Kellogg’s workers around the country have now been on strike for two weeks.

Here in Omaha, some workers have been walking the picket line for six days a week for several hours each day.

Those we talked to tell us so far, they're doing fine along with their families.

 

I'm glad they're doing fine in some areas.  But Omaha hasn't been that safe for all workers.  Some are being hit by busses -- and, no, I don't believe it's an accident.  KETV reports:


Omaha police said officers have been called to the Omaha Kellogg's plant in the past two weeks several times for disturbances, blocking traffic and even assaults.

Kellogg's employees said the bus drivers bringing in workers to fill their jobs have hit several picketers.

"There's no beating on the buses, no damage on the buses, just trying to slow them down as they come in. Our right is to picket in front of them," said Chris Haynes.

There is video of Haynes falling after a bus hits him at the plant. Haynes has been a Kellogg's employee for 33 years.

He said the bus driver intentionally hit him last week.


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


 Monday, October 18, 2021.   Which political party got the most votes in Iraq's elections?  Reading the coverage in the western media, you'd never know.  On top of that, War Criminal Colin Powell has left this earth for another plane where ever those responsible for millions of deaths go.


Two Sundays ago, October 10th, Iraq held elections and ahead of the election?  We got a lot of garbage from the western press passed off as analysis.  After the election?  It appears we'll continue to get the same.


Fan fiction is not reporting.  Tim Russert may be dead but his non-journalism lives on and on.  The useless gas baggery ahead of the election from the western media produced nothing of value and the gas baggery that they offered post-election produced nothing either.


A real take away from the election?


The PUK is far from being a dominant party in the Kurdistan.


In fact, the results are in and the strongest political party in Iraq appears to be the KDP currently.  


For decades, the PUK was a dominant party.  In 1947, the KDP was founded in Iraq -- Kurdistan Democratic Party.  The Talabanis did not feel they had enough power within the KDP so they broke off in 1975 and founded the PUK.  Following that, the Kurdistan had two dominant parties: the KDP and the PUK.  They were still dominant in the early years after the 2093 US-led invasion of Iraq.  This changed slowly and many couldn't interpret -- or even register -- the shifts that were going on.  I have no dog in the fight so maybe that's why we saw what was happening when, even now, various US 'experts' can't see what's taken place.

Let's drop back to March 16, 2009:


The president of Iraq is Jalal Talabani who announced over the weekend (Friday to Iran's Press TV, actually) that he would not be seeking another term (his term expires in December of this year -- provided elections are held). Talabani has serious heart problems (compounded by the fact that he refuses to listen to doctor's orders -- leading to the infamous collapse at a US bookstore hours after being released from doctor's care). Alsumaria reports Talabani is in Turkey today for a conference on water and has already "met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the presence of South Korean Prime Minister." AFP notes the conference is held every three years and is more 'timely' this year following the United Nation's report (published last week) declaring a "global water crisis". AFP states approximately "20,000 people are expecte for the Fifth World Water Forum" while is a week-long conference. DPA adds, "In addition to discussions on how to stop Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) militants from using their bases in mountainous northern Iraq from where they launch attacks on Turkey proper, Talabani and Erdogan also discussed bilateral economic issues and the Middle East peace process."

Meanwhile Hurriyet reports:

Talabani told a Turkish newspaper in an interview published on Monday that it would not be realistic to believe that an independent Kurdish state could survive as it is likely that neighboring countries Turkey, Iran and Syria would close their borders.

"I tell my Turkish brothers not to fear that Kurds will declare independence. It is an advantage for Kurds to stay within the borders of Iraq in terms of their economic, cultural, social and political interests," he told in the interview.

Sabah got the interview and they quote Talabani stating, "Iraq will not be separated and the civil war is over" and "The ideal of a united Kurdistan is just a dream written in poetry. I do not deny that there are poems devoted to the notion of a united Kurdistan. But we can not continue to dream." If accurate, Talabani's remarks will spark anger among some Kurds. And it may be a great deal of anger and it may be among many Iraqi Kurds.


In the western press, Jalal's remarks got scant attention.  We returned to them over and over because they do matter to the Kurdish people.  They mattered then and they mattered now.  The Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without a homeland.  The closest to one is the semi-autonomous region of northern Iraq, the Krudistan.  Kurds there -- and many Kurds around the world -- see that as the best hope for an independent homeland.  And there was Jalal spitting on a dream carried by so many.  It wasn't minor.  It was also reflective of the conniving that the Talabanis would do -- convincing against the Kurdish people.


We'll get to it.  For now, let's note that Jalal's declaration not to seek another term as president was as worthless as everything else he ever uttered.  He did seek it -- much to the misfortune of the the Kurds and of all Iraqis.

His second term made clear that the Talaanis and the PUK didn't give a damn about the Kurds or the dreams of the Kurdish people.  2012 saw the effort to force Nouri al-Maliki out as prime minister via Constitutional means.  Shi'ites -- including Moqtada al-Sadr -- worked with Sunnis and with the Kurds and gathered enough signatures from members of Parliament to force a vote of confidence.  


Where were Jalal's loyalties?  With his own country or with the US?  With the US.  Jalal, per the Constitution, had the ceremonial duty of reading the petition into the record in a meeting of Parliament.  Instead, under pressure from then-Vice President Joe Biden (the US wanted Nouri to remain prime minister) Jalal created powers not in the Constitution.  It was his duty, he insisted, to verify the signatures.  But he didn't just ask, "Did you sign this?"  No, he asked if they would sign it today if it was put in front of them.  And, he claimed, a large number said that they would not.  He claimed.  


The way it works is that they get enough signatures on the petition, it is read into the record and then Parliament votes.  So if, indeed, any had changed their hearts, that's fine.  They could vote in favor of keeping Nouri.  But Jalal created the 'would you sign it today' nonsense and his baseless claim that there were enough who wouldn't sign it that it wouldn't have enough signatures.


Baseless?  Those working to oust Nouri had to show their work.  Jalal didn't.  He gave no figures, he gave no names.  Just take his word for it, he said, as he darted out of Iraq for an emergency surgery in Germany.


There was no new emergency surgery.  He had elective knee surgery.  He lied because the Iraqi people were outraged and furious and he didn't want to face their wrath.  If you read the garbage of Patrick Cockburn that was hailed as 'reporting,' this is all new to you so I should point out that the no confidence vote was a result of Nouri going back on the US-brokered Erbil Agreement.  Nouri lost the 2010 election.  But he refused to step down.  Joe Biden was in charge of Iraq -- Barack Obama put him in charge.  The Erbil Agreement was cooked up by the US government.  All the political leaders signed off on it.  It gave Nouri a second term as prime minister.  Not for free.  In exchange, Nouri agreed to give each political bloc various things.  The Kurds wanted Article 150 of the Constitution implemented, for example.  Nouri agreed to do so.  


He never was going to.  In his first term, the Constitution mandated that he implement it but he refused to do so.  He pretended he was going to honor The Erbil Agreement and used it to be named prime minister-designate.  Ayad Allawi, who actually won that election, suspected Nouri was lying and his alliance walked out of the Parliament the same day Nouri was named prime minister-designate.  Then US President Barack called Allawi and pleaded with him to get his members back into Parliament.  He gave his word to Allawi that The Erbil Agreement had the full backing of the US government.


Barack lied.


With regards to the Kurds, he claimed he needed a month to implement 150 and then, with everyone looking elsewhere, he never implemented it and, a few months later, he announced through his spokesperson that the contract was illegal -- the one that made him prime minister -- and that now that he was prime minister he would not be following it or honoring it. 


This is what led to the push for a vote of no confidence.  And throughout that push, Moqtada repeatedly and publicly stated that Nouri could end the movement to remove him by just implementing the 2010 Erbil Agreement as he had legally promised to do.


Jalal stabbed everyone in the back when he decided that Joe Biden was more important than the Kurds or Iraq itself.  What goes around comes around and Joe Biden should pay attention here: at the end of the first half of 2012, Jalal lied about his health and rushed off to Germany.  At the end of the year, he'd be rushing off again and this time for a real health emergency.


In 2012,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 (see the December 18th snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany.  He remained there for a year and a half.  He was incapacitated.  But the Talabani family lied to everyone so that, as the Iraqi Constitution requires, Jalal wouldn't be removed from office.

They lied to the country.  They deceived the Iraqi people.  They propped him up and posed him for pictures -- leading Arabic media to mock it as WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S -- but they couldn't offer video because he couldn't speak.



The first time was in May. Jalal was posed for a series of photos that appear to indicate his body was present but that was all.

jalal



The second set, months later, also showed Jalal posed with his right side to the camera.

The first set of photos led to comparisons to the film Weekend At Bernies (where two men use Bernie's corpse to pretend Bernie's still alive).  

Over 18 months later Jalal would return.  They wouldn't be able to use the return to pump up his party in elections because he couldn't speak.

In other words, the Talabani family lied to the Iraqi people, deceived them.  Iraq had a non-functioning president who should have been removed from office.  But the Talabanis lied to keep Jalal in a post he could not serve.

He never spoke in public again.  Not even when he returned to Iraq 18 months after his stroke.

In 2012,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 (see the December 18th snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany.  He remained there for a year and a half.  He was incapacitated.  But the Talabani family lied to everyone so that, as the Iraqi Constitution requires, Jalal wouldn't be removed from office.

They lied to the country.  They deceived the Iraqi people.  They propped him up and posed him for pictures -- leading Arabic media to mock it as WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S -- but they couldn't offer video because he couldn't speak.

He never spoke in public again.  Not even when he returned to Iraq 18 months after his stroke.


He was not able to do any duties and he was not able to speak but the Talabani family lied to the press and to the people so that they could hold onto the position and the prestige.  They harmed Iraq in the process.  Iraq needed a real president.  It had none.  


The next election showed how much damage the Talabanis had done to the PUK and that's been true ever since.  In addition, you've got Jalal's sons showing up to try to tell the Kurds what to do.  They love that -- and who wouldn't?  One of Jalal's pampered sons who lives in the US and is married to an American woman returning to the Kurdistan to lecture them on how they shouldn't want independence for Kurdistan, lecturing them on how they shouldn't vote for it in a non-binding referendum.  


The Talabanis never grasp how disliked they have become.  Now the Barzanis -- of the KDP -- have been in power too long as well by my judgment.  And they're not perfect.  But they are more in step with the Kurdish people on the issues that matter -- including Kurdish independence.


  KURDISTAN 24 reports:

 


The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has emerged from Iraq's October parliamentary elections as the biggest party in Iraq following the Iraqi Independent High Election Commission's (IHEC) preliminary counting of all the votes. 

The KDP participated in the elections as a single party, not as part of any coalition, and won the most seats as a single party, making it the biggest single political party in all of Iraq. 



We'll continue to cover the elections but we started with the KDP because they are the real winners -- no other political party got as many seats.


Moving on to a blot.  A blot removed?

Noted War Criminal Colin Powell is dead and the world feels a little lighter as a result.  He lied to the United Nations.  He lied to the American people.  He's a liar.  Those aware of his record during Vietnam aren't at all surprised -- the late Robert Parry was the best at covering that.  


The Iraq War likely would not have taken place had it not been for Colin liar.  The press lined up behind him with a 'case closed' nonsense as they pushed the United States into war. 


I think Ava and I said everything that I'd want to say about Colin back in our 2005 piece for THIRD:


TV Review: Barbara and Colin remake The Way We Were

Remakes usually suck. That's a lesson ABC's 20/20 learned Friday when they starred Barbara Walters and Colin Powell in a remake of The Way We Were.

Walters lacks the star power of Barbra Streisand. So Katie's passion has been tempered (we're being polite). At the crux of the film were the questions of what is truth, what is right? They carry that over from Arthur Laurents' screenplay. But Walters lacks the dedication to convincingly play someone determined in pursuit of truth -- which appears to result in the character Katie, more or less, being written out of her own film. Call this remake The Way It Was.

Powell, like Robert Redford, is shown early on military drag. He models well, he just lacks Redford's ability to convincingly play a man torn between doing what others want and what he knows is right. They did keep the plot point of Hubbell's betrayal. Probably had to because without the testimony that destroys Hubbell, you have no story.

They've updated the testimony. Instead of naming names during the McCarthy period, Powell lies to the United Nations and the world. What they miss is the heart breaking scene when Streisand explains to Redford that people are their beliefs. Probably too much a laugh getter if it came out of Walters' mouth. But if they were worried about unintended laughs, someone should have spoken to Walters about the three strands of red, worry beads she's wearing.

Walters says, unable to look at him while she does -- oh the drama!, "However, you gave the world false, groundless reasons for going to war. You've said, and I quote, 'I will forever be known as the one who made the case for war.' Do you think this blot on your record will stay with you for the rest of your life?"

Powell: Well it's a, it's a, of course it will. It's a blot. I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United Nations, uh, United States, to the world. And it will always be uh, part of my, uh, my record.
Walters: How painful is it?
Powell: (shrugs) It was -- it *was* painful. (shifts, shrugs) It's painful now.

Has a less convincing scene ever been performed?

Possibly. Such as when Powell informs Walters that the fault lies with the intelligence community -- with those who knew but didn't come forward. Unfortunately for Powell, FAIR's advisory steered everyone to a Los Angeles Times' article from July 15, 2004:

Days before Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was to present the case for war with Iraq to the United Nations, State Department analysts found dozens of factual problems in drafts of his speech, according to new documents contained in the Senate report on intelligence failures released last week.
Two memos included with the Senate report listed objections that State Department experts lodged as they reviewed successive drafts of the Powell speech. Although many of the claims considered inflated or unsupported were removed through painstaking debate by Powell and intelligence officials, the speech he ultimately presented contained material that was in dispute among State Department experts.


Well movies always rewrite some details to make the characters more sympathetic and, presumably, that happened in this remake as well.

Having dismissed the need for facts, the "reluctant warrior" Powell now wants to weigh in on the invasion/occupation. Powell explains that we can't "cut and run" with regards to Iraq. We have to stay. He offers that "I'm not a quitter" himself -- amidst his stay the course nonsense. All this from the former Secretrary of State.

If it's so damn important that we "accomplish" over there, that we "stay the course," are the words really convincing coming out the mouth of the cut and run Secretary of State? Seems to us if you believe in this war as much as you say you do, and believe in staying the course, you . . . stay the course in your job. Powell didn't. There are the Rules for Powell and there are the rules for the rest of us.

Take Cindy Sheehan. She's a grieving parent and he feels sorry for her. Walters actually wakes up for this moment. And, in one of the few times prior to Powell's wife being brought on, she actually looks him in the eye while delivering her line.

Walters: But if you feel the war is just -- that's a different feeling than if you feel the war is is not.
Powell: Well, of course, for the person that is effected, it is. If they don't feel the war is just, they will always feel it as a deep personal loss.

Unlike Powell, we'd argue that regardless of beliefs on this war, the loss is a "deep, personal loss" for most, possibly all, who've lost family members. Maybe if he sent fat-boy Michael over there, he could find out for himself what it feels like? Till then, by his remarks, he's not anyone effected. How nice that must be.

But is the war just?

It's not a moral issue for Powell. He's already informed Walters of that. He lied. Well if he had to lie, forget the pre-emptive war debate for a moment, if he had to lie, what does that say about the war? Seems to us that a just war wouldn't be a war that required you pulling one over on the public to get support for.

It wasn't a moral issue, Powell states, going to war. Then what does it matter that he lied?
If it's not a moral issue, then what does it matter?

Powell's mea culpa is not only unconvincing, it's illogical. He's glad Saddam Hussein's gone. So why's he concerned with his "blot?" He's completely unconcerned that we're in a war that's based on lies. "I'm glad" he says. Sure he admits that he lied (by proxy -- it's others faults, you understand, nameless people in the intel community), but there's no moral concern. He's only worried about the slug line that now accompanies his name. The "blot." The tag 'liar, liar.'

Colin Powell lied to the United Nations. Not by proxy, he lied. His testimony. A testimony he made the decision to give. Despite objections from people in the department he headed. His accountability pose is hollow and unconvincing. Shrugs? "What are you going to do?" shrugs? That and the shiftiness during the exchange (he can't sit still during the exchange) back up his words. This isn't any big deal to him, that he lied and we went to war. He's just concerned that he's a known liar. For the rest of his life.

This is how he wants to be remembered:

"A good public servant somebody who truly believes in his country. . . . Somebody who cared, somebody who served."

Yeah well, Nixon wanted to be remembered a certain way as well. Liar's the way many remember him now. Liar's the way many will remember Colin Powell. Belief in your country doesn't allow you to lie to your country. Belief in your Bully Boy does. That's something this adminstration fails to grasp. They all think they're working for the Bully Boy. Powell makes statements to that effect. He's full of many things including his "service" to the Bully Boy.
The administration is supposed to be working for the country. Presidents come and go. The nation is what is supposed to matter. Belief in your country would mean you tell the people
the truth.

Somebody who served?

He didn't serve the country. He betrayed it. He didn't live up to his office. He didn't live up to the public trust. He didn't live up to the principles of democracy. He lied. He lied. He lied.

We won't put the glossy spin on it that Walters did. We're not looking at Powell through the blind eyes of love.

As the film, er news segment, winds down, the makers decide to go another way. In the original The Way We Were, the child of Katie & Hubbell is seen only fleetingly. In the remake, she actually has lines. As military and infotainment merge, their by-product, the remake tell us, is Elizabeth Vargas. Child Vargas is left to make one of those uncomfortable points that children always make, "Colin Powell doesn't seem to be haunted by this blot on his career." Walters all but brushes a lock from Powell's forehead as she attempts to make Vargas see father Powell in

a more flattering, and far less realistic, light:

Well, you know, he is a, he is a fine soldier, he has a fine family, he has respect, and this is a man who never wanted the Glory Road.

The music fails to swell. Possibly because Walters is no singer and they rightly spare us her rendition of "The Way We Were." With apologies to Alan and Marilyn Bergman, we'll post the lyrics to the song Walters obviously wanted to sing:

Spin
In the place of real reporting.
Mushy soft focus moments
Not The Way It Was.

Unasked questions
Of the facts that are well known.
Facts that never will be buried
Of The Way It Was.

Can it be that spin can triumph fact
If we carefully rewrite each line.
If he had the choice to do it all again
He would -- he could.

Spin
May be full of lies and yet
If we push hard enough
Others will simply forget.

So it's the spin
We will hold onto
Whenever we discuss
The Way It Was.
The Way It Was.


*Corrected to put change "is" to "was." Change is indicated by "*."


From 9-13-05's "ABC 'fixes' Colin Powell" (The Common Ills):

When a magazine, even an entertainment one, puts Orpah's head (for instance) on another body, there's an outcry. It's not considered appropriate or up to journalistic standards.
So let's see if anyone has a problem with ABC news which has done something just as bad if not worse.
Robert Parry has a new article "Colin Powell Being Colin Powell" (Consortium News). It's a good article, a strong one (not uncommon with Parry's writing).It includes this:

In his first extensive interview since his resignation early this year, Powell told ABC News that his reputation has suffered because his assurances about Iraq's supposed stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons proved false.
"It's a blot," Powell said. "I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world, and [it] will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now."


That isn't correct. It's not Parry's mistake. He's using (and crediting) "Exclusive: Colin Powell on Iraq, Race, and Hurricane Relief" by "ABC News."

ABC broadcast the interview (conducted by Barbara Walters) on September 9th. (The article's dated September 8th when you use the link, September 9th when you utilize the print function.)Is it appropriate for ABC to improve on the public record?

Colin Powell did not say "Of course it will. It's a blot. I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world, and [it] will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now."

Here's how that "quote" sounded before ABC News decided to "improve" on it and reassemble it:

Powell: Well it's a, it's a, of course it will. It's a blot. I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United Nations, uh, United States, to the world. And it will always be uh, part of my, uh, my record.
Walters: How painful is it?
Powell: (shrugs) It was -- it *was* painful. (shifts, shrugs) It's painful now.

In ABC's "quote" they bracket "it." I have no idea why. He says "it." But they note, wrongly, that they are "adding" to the quote there. They do not note that they have deleted the stammers. They also leave out the "United Nations" and the fact that Walters asked him a question.

Why does it matter?

First of all, it matters because a news organization is supposed to be accurate.

Second of all, it matters because this is Powell addressing an issue. His mistakes (UN?), his stammers, all of it is important. ABC news presents it as a smooth, seamless response. That's not the case. He hemmed and he hawed. And the public should know that and the public record should show that.

Print reporters caught some attention for improving on Bully Boy's statments. This should catch attention as well.

Part of the "response" is how Powell structures his words.

Is he nervous? He may appear that way to some (Ava and I found him shifty when we watched the interview). This is public record. This was broadcast on national television. ABC does not have the right, journalistically, to 'smooth over' his remarks.

He was awkward when he spoke. That's part of his response -- or would be if ABC hadn't cleaned it up.

Ava and I reviewed the "performance" for The Third Estate Sunday Review (see "TV Review: Barbara and Colin remake The Way We Were").

The 'smoothed over' quote is not how it occurred.

Ava and I hold onto a copy of anything we review for at least seven days in case a question comes up. For instance on Smallville, surely, one person wrote, Tom Welling wasn't shirtless when Annette O'Toole remarked that he was dressed to go out, was he?We could be wrong. We watched it again. He was shirtless. At other times, someone will question if another character might have stated the line. So we'll watch again. We can make a mistake and we will correct it if we do. (More often than not, we're having to prove something to angry Nick Lachey fans or angry Nick & Jessica fans.) (After seven days, someone's waited too long to weigh in on a TV review. Unless it's something we've been provided with, we ditch whatever we've reviewed.)

Ava's in class but I called the apartment and Jim's there. He played back the interview. I can't say whether "It is painful. It's painful now." is what Powell said (as we noted) or if it's "It was painful. It's painful now" (as ABC notes). The connection wasn't clear enough for me to make out if "is" or "was" is used. [Note from Ava: I've listened to the interview. "Was" is the word and I've corrected that. Otherwise, C.I. and my version of the quote is accurate. I've put "*" around "was" to note that I've changed it. That is the only thing we're wrong on.]

But I could make out the "uh"s. I could make out Walter's question. I could make out Powell stating "United Nations."

Was he nervous? Did he intend to say "United Nations"?

Presenting it, as ABC news does, in a smooth, seamless quote is not reflecting the public record. It is, however, once again cleaning up after Powell.

In our review, Ava and I noted that it played like a really bad remake of The Way We Were. We note this:

As the film, er news segment, winds down, the makers decide to go another way. In the original The Way We Were, the child of Katie & Hubbell is seen only fleetingly. In the remake, she actually has lines. As military and infotainment merge, their by-product, the remake tell us, is Elizabeth Vargas. Child Vargas is left to make one of those uncomfortable points that children always make, "Colin Powell doesn't seem to be haunted by this blot on his career." Walters all but brushes a lock from Powell's forehead as she attempts to make Vargas see father Powell in a more flattering, and far less realistic, light:

Well, you know, he is a, he is a fine soldier, he has a fine family, he has respect, and this is a man who never wanted the Glory Road.
The music fails to swell. Possibly because Walters is no singer and they rightly spare us her rendition of "The Way We Were."


What they couldn't do when people were watching with their own eyes, ABC does in their "report." There's no excuse for what they have posted online. That's not what happened, that's not the way it happened.

It does present Powell in a more flattering light. It does eliminate his starts and stops, his stammer, his use of "United Nations." As p.r., it's fine. As journalism it's not fine. Journalism doesn't allow the public record to be 'polished.'

------------
Update 12-5-2010. We've fixed the FAIR link.




The following sites updated: