Thursday, August 07, 2008

No progress

After the provincial elections law passed last month, thousands of Kurds protested in Kirkuk, and the demonstration turned bloody when a bomb killed at least 25 people.
Kurdish lawmakers and their allies stormed out of the session when the law passed, calling it unconstitutional. Arabs have long been weary of Kurdish desires to annex oil-rich Tamim province, which is home to Kirkuk, into the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north.
The presidency council rejected the law after President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, criticized it.
Then the United States and United Nations got involved, scurrying for a solution so that the elections could proceed. After a plethora of United Nations proposals to amend the article in question, they finally suggested that legislators pass the law while postponing elections in Tamim province until December 2009. During the delay, the parliament would pass a separate elections law for Tamim.
Even that couldn't be agreed on, however. First the Kurds opposed it, and when they later agreed, the Turkomen and some Arab parties -- including the opposition Sadr movement -- flipped their positions.
"We haven't taken one step forward, not one step," said Bassem Sharif al Hajeemi, a Shiite Muslim legislator from the Fadhila party who opposed the recent U.N. proposal.
Some legislators charged that the Kirkuk issue was being used to mask political blocs' opposition to the bill, because new elections might dethrone them in the provinces.

The above is from Leila Fadel's "Iraqi parliament adjourns without setting elections" (McClatchy Newspapers) and we noted it in yesterday's snapshot but it's really the place to start this morning because it digs much deeper than "Law not pass." A great deal of coverage has reduced the story to just that, a headline which provides no understanding or meaning. We'll note this from Ned Parker and Said Rifai's "Iraq parliament fails to pass elections bill" (Los Angeles Times):

Iraq's electoral commission had said the measure needed to be passed before lawmakers adjourned for the month in order to hold elections by the end of December.
Lawmakers had been set to adjourn last week when they scheduled the special session. But differences between Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens over Kirkuk ultimately could not be resolved.
Iraqi politicians, officials and Western diplomats have speculated that the political parties in government were never invested in holding a vote this year out of fear they would lose seats and influence at the provincial level. Senior politicians -- including President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, and Vice President Tariq Hashimi, a Sunni Arab -- have been absent from Baghdad during the round-the-clock negotiations, citing medical reasons.

Not yesterday but Wednesday last week, Iraq's Parliament did adjourn. Special sessions are not regular sessions. It appears a number of reporters feel the need to work overtime in order to twist reality for the benefit of the White House. Why bother? Mainly because who pays attention to Iraq in the US these days? Not a whole lot of people. The Parliament adjourned. That happened last week. Think of your own state assembly and most likely it has held special sessions. Those are "special sessions" and not the regular legislative cycle. Pretending that the Parliament didn't adjourn (and wasn't in special session) did allow it to appear something might happen. Nothing did. There's a budget issue as well that most work overtime to avoid mentioning was left hanging as well.

Campbell Robertson and Richard A. Oppel Jr.'s "Iraqis Fail to Agree on Provincial Election Law" (New York Times) notes that US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker was heavily involved over the weekend attempting to help/force some resolution. From their article:

The decision to go on vacation rather than settle the issue underscored how little progress had been made on the most important recent political question to confront Iraqi leaders, in contrast to the military strides in making Iraq safer than it had been in years. The law was seen as so important to prevent new outbreaks of violence that President Bush, eager to leave office claiming lasting progress in Iraq, had called several Iraqi lawmakers urging them to pass it.
The elections would be the first provincial balloting in almost four years.

At Inside Iraq, one of McClatchy's Iraqi journalists shares her/his feelings in "Thank You, Kirkuk:"

I listened to many of them. I noticed that most of them talk about Kirkuk in a way as if its a prey for the greed and ambitions of their parties. They never talk about it as a part of Iraq because they dont care about Iraq. They care only about their limited personal interests.
I remember the first year when the same politicians were fighting on TV showing when their high patriotism trying to convince us that the united happy Iraq is their only aim. They could deceive us. We went to the election not for their sake but for the sake of Iraq.

Doug Henwood will be on KPFA's The Morning Show today (7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. PST, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. to noon EST).

From the Ralph Nader presidential campaign's YouTube page, Kyle notes this video.

Kimberly Wilder passes on the following Green Party news:

Michigan Greens Nominate Rev. Pinkney at State Convention
Benton Harbor Activist, Jailed for Quoting Bible at Judge,
Among 10 Congressional Candidates Picked in Marshall July 26-27

Mentioned in Presidential Candidate McKinney's Acceptance
Speech at National Green Convention July 12 in Chicago

Also: First office for McKinney-Clemente Green Party presidential campaign to be located in Detroit

The Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) evoked the memory of
Eugene V. Debs by nominating jailed Benton Harbor community
activist Rev. Edward Pinkney for Congress at the party's
2008 Nominating Convention last weekend in Marshall.

Pinkney is one of ten GPMI candidates so far who will run
for Congress, and seventeen in total nominated at the
convention. They will all join the Green Presidential
ticket of former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Rosa
Clemente, founder of the National Hip-Hop Convention, on
the November 4 general-election ballot. And more Green
candidates will be nominated at local caucuses this weekend.

McKinney has met with Pinkney and the Black Autonomy Network
Community Organization (BANCO) in Benton Harbor in the past.
And she mentioned Pinkney and Benton Harbor in her Chicago
acceptance speech July 12.

McKinney-Clemente campaign manager SKCM Curry attended the
GPMI convention, rousing the members to join her in a chant
of "Paint the White House Green!" Curry also announced that
the McKinney-Clemente campaign will soon be opening its first office -- in

Pinkney Paying a Heavy Price for His Beliefs;
Will Now Get to Express Them by Running for Office
Pinkney will run for the 6th District seat now held by Fred
Upton, scion of the family that founded Whirlpool. Pinkney
has opposed the corporation's influence on local government
and the plans of Whirlpool-led institutions to take Jean Klock
Park away from the people of Benton Harbor for a golf course
priced for the wealthy.

He is now sitting in state prison in Jackson awaiting appeal
on a 3- to 10-year sentence for alleged mishandling of four
absent-voter ballots in a 2005 recall election of a city
commissioner who supported Whirlpool's plans. That verdict
came after one mistrial with a deadlocked jury, and despite
an affidavit by one former prosecution witness saying the
recalled commissioner had offered him $10 to say Pinkney had
paid $5 for his vote.

The Berrien County courts also overturned the recall, even
though it had passed by over 50 votes.

Pinkney's sentence was imposed last month, and a pre-sentence
probation order which came with an elaborate set of prohibitions
(including bans on any kind of political involvement -- and
making him pay the rental on his own electronic tether) was
revoked last month, because of an article he wrote last fall.

In the article, he used a slightly paraphrased quote from
Deuteronomy that a Berrien County judge ruled was not
protected by the First Amendment because it constituted a
believable threat of the wrath of God against a fellow
judge and the judge's family.

The article appeared last November in _The People's Tribune_,
a political newspaper published in Chicago.

-end Pinkney information

More news and background from the Green Party of Michigan:

More Greens at All Levels Will Be
On the Michigan Ballot November 4
Greens will have at least nine other Congressional candidates
joining McKinney, Clemente, and Pinkney on Michigan's general
election ballot November 4.

The convention also nominated one candidate for the State Board
of Education and one for each of the three state university
boards (U of M, MSU, and Wayne State).

And candidates for county and local office include Korine
Bachleda, who won election in 2006 as a write-in for clerk
of Newberg Township. Soon after, Bachleda asked the county
clerk to officially list her as a Green -- and this year she
will be running for re-election in the Green Party's column
on the ballot.

A list showing all the candidates nominated in Marshall is
presented below, along with information on how to contact
the campaigns for more details.

Caucuses Will Nominate More Green
Candidates for November General Election
The list also includes Matt Erard, who was nominated July 14
by Washtenaw County and Ann Arbor City Greens for the 53rd
District seat in Michigan's State House.

Greens from Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties will hold a
joint caucus 2-4pm this Saturday, August 2 at the International
Institute; 111 E. Kirby (between John R. and Woodward, across
the street from the Detroit Institute of Arts); Detroit, MI
48202. For more information, contact

Lou Novak
(313) 623-4709

For the latest information on Green Party of Michigan candidates,
issues, and values, please visit the GPMI Web site:

The Four Pillars of the Green Party are: Ecological Wisdom; Social Justice; Grassroots Democracy and Non-Violence.

Green Party of Michigan
548 South Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

GPMI was formed in 1987 to address environmental issues in Michigan politics. Greens are organized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each state Green Party sets its own goals and creates its own structure, but US Greens agree on Ten Key Values:

Ecological Wisdom
Grassroots Democracy
Social Justice
Community Economics
Respect for Diversity
Personal/Global Responsibility
Future Focus/Sustainability

list of GPMI candidates nominated to date

Green Party of Michigan
2008 Candidates
Contact Information
(as of 7/31/08)

Harley Mikkelson -- US Senate
3122 West Caro Road
Caro, MI 48723

Jean Treacy -- US House/1st Congressional District
Committee to Elect Jean Treacy for Congress
269 Explorer OR P.O. Box 3285
Gwinn, MI 49841 Kalamazoo, MI 49003

Ken Mathenia -- US House/5th Congressional District
232 High Street
Grand Blanc, MI 48439

Rev. Edward Pinkney -- US House/6th Congressional District
1940 Union Street
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
alternate address:
Rev. Edward Pinkney #294671
Charles E. Egeler Reception & Guidance Center
3855 Cooper Street
Jackson, MI 49201-7517

Lynn Meadows -- US House/7th Congressional District
150 Island Lake Road
Chelsea, MI 48118

Aaron Stuttman -- US House/8th Congressional District
Committee to Run Stuttman for Congress
2331 Forest Road
Lansing, MI 48910

Candace Caveny -- US House/10th Congressional District
Friends of Candace Caveny
PO Box 1043
Lapeer, MI 48446 OR

Erik Shelley -- US House/11th Congressional District
19311 Seminole
Redford, MI 48240

Bill Opalicky -- US House/12th Congressional District
23631 Philip
Southfield, MI 48075

Aimee Smith -- US House/15th Congressional District
1321 Wisteria Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Matt Erard -- MI House/53rd District *
Committee to Elect Matt Erard for State Representative
641 Prentis Street #G3
Detroit, MI 48204

Dwain Reynolds III -- State Board of Education
Committee to Elect Dwain C. Reynolds III
725 Perch Cove Court
Middleville MI 49333

Ellis Boal -- University of Michigan Board of Regents
Friends of Ellis Boal
9330 Boyne City Road
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Therese Marie Storm -- Michigan State University Board of Trustees
25112 Dockside Lane
Harrison Township, MI 48045

Margaret Guttshall -- Wayne State University Board of Governors
4190 Kensington
Detroit, MI 48224

John Anthony La Pietra -- Calhoun County Clerk-Register
John Anthony La Pietra For the People
386 Boyer Court
Marshall, MI 49068

Tom Mair -- Grand Traverse County Commission/7th District
PO Box 2239
Traverse City, MI 49685

Korine Bachleda -- Clerk/Newberg Township/Cass County
59950 County Line Road
Three Rivers, MI 49093

* - Nominated at Washtenaw county/Ann Arbor Greens caucus 7/14.
Other candidates nominated at GPMI state convention 7/26-27.

The e-mail address for this site is

 said rifai
 the los angeles times
 ned parker
 campbell robertson
 the new york times