Friday, November 7, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, the pathetic voices of the left continue cooing while stronger voices from the left speak to realities, Talabani makes an announcement, and more.
Tuesday a presidential election was held in the US. It could have been about something but that would have required actual issues. Instead it was stroke, fondle and feather-kiss Barack by All Things Media Big and Small while real candidates were shut out of the coverage -- by all outlets and Amy Goodman a crappy once a month nod to Ralph or Cynthia didn't mean s**t when every day you swung that tired ass under the street lamp once more for Barack. In 2004, we heard "never again." Never again would we allow the movement to end the illegal war to be derailed by a presidential campaign. That got tossed aside and ripped to shreds, now didn't it?
Let's move over to Loony Tune Stephen Zune who lied in a 2008 article, never corrected it and, before you knew it, all the simple minded were running with (Dahr Jamail, come on down!). No, Hillary did not visit Iraq only once. "Dr." Zunes, correct your lying mouth. He, of course, refused to. And he's back to lie some more at ZNet: "Obama's honest and prescient understanding of Iraq prior to the invasion gives hope that as president he will be less inclined to engage in such acts of reckless militarism." Apparently Zunes is back on the meds that regulate his intense mood swings (sadly, the meds do nothing for his delusions). The 2002 speech was an embarrassment and nothing for the peace movement to praise. There's been some question about that speech so let's put Zuney to the side for a moment. The speech did take place. It is recorded. On video. The reaction from the crowd is the only reason Team Barack had to lie and claim that the speech didn't exist. The crowd wasn't applauding, they weren't cheering. It was a meek and embarrassing speech (delivered to a sparse crowd, it should be noted). When Barack finished there wasn't even polite applause. But Zuney liked it and, if you're off your meds, you may as well.
Loony Tunes Zunes goes on to argue that if the War Hawk Barack isn't a dove, so what, because "he owes his nomination -- and therefore his election -- to those who opposed the invasion of Iraq". Yeah, try collecting on that, Stephen. Hey, remember Stephen Zunes' snit-fit at Barack a few months back? When Barack picked Joe Biden as his running mate? The Joe Biden who supported the illegal war? But Loony wants you to believe that Barack's indebted to the 'anti-war' 'movement.' (That would be the same Barack who punked Iraq Veterans Against the War in Denver -- they were protesting and getting attention, he sent out a Texan known for lying -- one who even lied for W. -- out to trick them and they fell for it and gave the media a lot of statements about how groovy Barack was. As soon as the protest ended so did Barack's 'promise' to them.) Zunes uses phrases like "surely Barack is aware of this" and what's really hilarious is that someone who whored his ass for Barack as hard Stephen did has to guess as to what Barack is and isn't aware of. But a debt is owed, Zunes maintains, and pressure will be applied! In the real world, Mickey Z points out:
While the savvy strategist/activists of the Left harbor their delusions of grandeur about their ability to sway the Prince of Hope, here's a tiny bit what they--and all of us--have allowed to happen without exerting our "influence": epidemics of preventable diseases; the poisoning of our air, water, and food (including mother's breast milk); global warming, climate change, animal and plant extinctions, disappearing honeybees, destruction of the rain forest, topsoil depletion, etc.; one-third of Americans either uninsured or underinsured in terms of health care; 61% of corporations do not even pay taxes; presidential lies, electoral fraud, limited debates, etc.; the largest prison population on the planet; corporate control of public land, airwaves, and pensions; overt infringement of our civil liberties; bloated defense budget, unilateral military interventions, war crimes committed in our name, legalization of torture, blah, blah, blah...
Before you know it, the US government will start spying on American citizens and detaining prisoners without charges while allowing corporations to ravage the earth in pursuit of profit, wiping out entire eco-systems in the process. Oops . . . sorry: they're already doing all that and the mighty Left is fighting back by supporting Obama?
Everywhere I went on Election Day, I was asked by friend and stranger alike: "Did you vote?" Once the polling booths closed, I could be 100% certain I'd not be asked another politically motivated question by such people for another four years. No one would be rushing up to me and demanding to know if I was planning to do anything about, say, FISA, the death penalty, the PATRIOT Act, homelessness, or factory farming. The election is over. Obama has won. For 99% of the Left, that means their work is done until 2012. It's time to gloat and reap all the rewards, right?
My prediction: The only pressure that will be consistently exerted by those on the Left will be the pressure of their soft butts on their couch cushions as they sit back to smugly watch Jon Stewart, Keith Olbermann, Stephen Colbert, and Bill Maher.
Zunes can never stick to the facts and, having a word count, has to resort frequently to falsehoods. Which is how you end up with his claim that the likes of Susan Rice (she works herself into a war frenzy at the drop of a hat) and Our Modern Day Carrie Nations Samantha Power (Sammy, get the axe!) are "innovative and enlightened members of the foreign policy establishment". Keep dreaming and keep lying Zunes. If you told the truth at this late date, your head might fall out. For reality on the likes of Sammy Power, see John R. MacArthur's "Pro-War Liberals Frozen in the Headlights" (Common Dreams). Or maybe you want to refer to Howard Zinn on Power's "myopia":
She believes that "there is a moral difference between setting out to destroy as many civilians as possible and killing civilians unintentionally and reluctantly in pursuit of a military objective." Of course, there's a difference, but is there a "moral" difference? That is, can you say one action is more reprehensible than the other? In countless news briefings, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, responding to reporters' questions about civilian deaths in bombing, would say those deaths were "unintentional" or "inadvertent" or "accidental," as if that disposed of the problem. In the Vietnam War, the massive deaths of civilians by bombing were justified in the same way by Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon and various generals.
Or maybe you'd prefer Edward S. Herman (ZNet) explaining Power's belief system?
She believes that "there is a moral difference between setting out to destroy as many civilians as possible and killing civilians unintentionally and reluctantly in pursuit of a military objective." Of course, there's a difference, but is there a "moral" difference? That is, can you say one action is more reprehensible than the other?
In countless news briefings, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, responding to reporters' questions about civilian deaths in bombing, would say those deaths were "unintentional" or "inadvertent" or "accidental," as if that disposed of the problem. In the Vietnam War, the massive deaths of civilians by bombing were justified in the same way by Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon and various generals.
No, it doesn't sound very enlightened but then Stephen Zunes is the Minute Rice 'Scholar' of the campus set. Here's Noam Chomsky (via ZNet) explaining the basics re: Sammy Power, "I don't think, incidentally, that it would be fair to criticize Power for her extraordinary services to state violence and terror. I am sure she is a decent and honorable person, and sincerely believes that she really is condemning the US leadership and political culture. From a desk at the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Kennedy School at Harvard, that's doubtless how it looks."
Let's spread the joy and turn to the Pathetic Dave Lindorff who writes (at CounterPunch), "And don't tell me 'Good, we should have all voted for Ralph Nader.' The political left in the US is a pathetic joke." Some parts of it are. Such as Dave Lindorff. Dave Lindorff is a PATHETIC JOKE. He will die one because he made himself one. In February, Third noted a Barack supporter and his IDIOTIC reasons for supporting Barack:
I think it is ridiculous not to acknowledge that a black candidate at this level is fundamentally different from all white candidates who have come before or who are now competing. the more so a black candidate who has risked jail by doing drugs, and who has relatives TODAY living in the Third World (Kenya).
The person making a PATHETIC FOOL of himself? That's Dave Lindorff. Yes, Dave Lindorff supported Barack because he was "a black candidate who has risked jail by doing drugs". It doesn't get anymore pathetic than that. Davey-Boy thought Barack was fighting the brave fight, just, no doubt, as Amy Winehouse does on the streets of London today. The same 'civil rights' battle that River Phoenix gave his life for, Dave?
Dave Lindorff is an idiot, he is pathetic and he has proven that In These Times had good reason to end their relationship with him over his 'curious' assertions. We stood by Crazy Ass back then. We walked away after he made a frothy-mouthed fool of himself in February. You can't go home again, Crazy Ass. This is the world and bed you made, live with it. Pablo Ouziel (Dissident Voice) tracks the continued disengration of left 'voices':
The new era of voting for the lesser of the two evils has penetrated the core of America's critical intellectual community, and some of the biggest voices for change have endorsed Obama. In effect, what has taken place is the union between those opposed to imperial ideology and those endorsing it. Although this serious event has gone largely unnoticed, American intellectuals will need to reflect on its consequences seriously if they are to contribute to the building of a stable future for humanity as a whole, and in particular to mending the tarnished corrupt fabric of American society.
One American intellectual, James Petras, has been able to identify the direct social consequences of such a paradigm shift and prior to the elections has publicly expressed his views in an article titled "The Elections and the Responsibility of the Intellectual to Speak Truth to Power: Twelve Reasons to Reject Obama and Support Nader/McKinney."
As the title of the article clearly states, Petras voices the reasons why intellectuals have the responsibility of voting against Obama just like they should vote against McCain. In regards to those intellectuals who have endorsed Obama he says:
After listening last night to Obama's first speech after his victory, a victory he said was of the people, what Petras is saying seems disturbingly accurate when looked at through the prism of critical discourse analysis. One can look back now to the presidency of George W. Bush and listen to his rhetoric. What has been his message throughout the last 8 years? When Obama's core messages are compared to Bush's, it becomes apparent that the coming presidential plans are not too different to current presidential policies.
Even more disturbing, is the fact that when Bush spoke throughout his presidency there was always a slight cynical reaction by the majority of the public, as most of the surveys have shown time and time again. However, last night the cynicism seemed to have vanished and the hope of a new American century was reborn with full force, to the clapping thunder and joyous splendour of the reborn American people. With every word uttered by Obama one could see how the empire was not gone, Bush almost killed it, now Obama the symbol of hope, together with all the American people in unity, are going to reconstruct their country and the world, restabilising America's faltering hegemony.
All of the above effects the illegal war. The defocusing on what mattered, the hijacking of the peace movement result in the illegal war being prolonged. The decisions Barack will be making (and receiving excuses on from Panhandle Media) will prolong the Iraq War. All of the appointments will say something (usually, "Empire! Empire! Empire!"). We'd planned to be dark after this day so you can see some of the above as raided from what would have been the year-in-review but it's also true that some topics we'll ignore. Rahm Emanuel is now Barack's Chief of Staff. I know Rahm. If he makes a real ass out of himself, we'll call him out here or have a laugh over it, otherwise we'll ignore him. (You can think back to the way Joe Biden was covered here after he became the v.p. nominee.) You can go elsewhere community wide for negative criticism of Rahm (Rebecca doesn't like him) and we can highlight that here (or other trusted voices from outside the community) but unless Rahm makes a real ass out of himself on a particular day, I'm not going to be weighing in on him here. (And no compliments or defense unless he's the target of a pile-on.) Example, Joshua Frank (Dissident Voice) offers, "For starters, Emanuel is a shameless neoliberal with close ties to the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), even co-authoring a strategy book with DLC president Bruce Reed." Tariq Ali (CounterPunch) opines, "The same day that Spain denied the son of Osama Bin Laden political asylum, Obama appointed the son of an Irgun terrorist as his Chief of Staff. Osama's son declared that he did not agree with his father's actions or opinions. Rahm Israel Emmanuel is an Israel-firster, a pro-war DLC hack and bully."
Meanwhile the Whig Standard editorializes today that Barack should use "soft power" and argue Barack "should start by reaffirming his greatness by demonstrating to the world the 'enduring power of our ideals.' He should start by reaffirming his campaign pledge to stand is in U.S.-occupied Iraq where Assyrians -- an ancient Christian people indigenous to northern Iraq -- are the victims of a jihadist campaign of ethnic cleansing. The U.S. must accept some blame for this crisis. By deposing Iraiq dictator Saddam Hussein, the U.S. unwittingly unleashed sectarian forces that are bent on destroying religious pluralism in Iraq." Meanwhile the National Council of Churches in Australia issues an alert and calls for their country to take in more Iraqi reufgees and to provide more funds for external and internal Iraqi refugees. They note:
Violence and persecution against minority groups in Iraq continues, including communities of Christians which have been in existence for over 1500 years. The Assyrian Church of the East, as one of the Churches most affected, has mobilised itself worldwide to call attention to the crisis, and seek help where help can be found. Other Churches under extreme duress are the Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, and Chaldean.
Prior to 2003, 4% of Iraq's population was Christian. Yet 40% of Iraq's 2.2 million refugees are Christian, which indicates the seriousness and disproportionate degree of violence and persecution to which Iraqi Christians are being exposed. "No one has been untouched by grief either by personal loss or to see their country torn apart by violence," said Bishop Mar Meelis Zaia, Australian head of the Assyrian Church of the East. According to Church sources this exodus is the result of a campaign of violence, murder, terrorism, threats, and intimidation targeted at the Christian minority.
Attacks have escalated since September, when the electoral law was changed to remove the system of quotas that ensured minority groups representation on provincial councils. The result of government investigations and the arrest of about 12 people in relation to the latest wave of attacks are being awaited.
The international Assyrian Christian community is raising money to help. Local parishes are collecting money to help the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation (ACERO) provide aid for people in the city of Mosul, where the recent escalation of attacks has been most severe. In the long run the hope of those fleeing the country is for a self-governing administrative region within Iraq.
The Journal of Turkish Weekly reports that Chaldean-Assryian Council chair Jamil Zito declaring, "Iraq's Christians were hoping that various political factions would accept the UN Mission in Iraq proposal". Iraq may hold provincial elections in January (or not). Article 50 provided for religious minority representation. Article 50 was stripped out of the bill before Parliament passed it. A compromise was proposed this week which Iraqi Christians find insulting. Earlier this week, Sam Dagher and Mohammed al-Obaidi (New York Times) explained that Christians would get one seat each on Baghdad, Basra and Nineveh council
while Yazidis would get one seat on Nineveh for a total of 4 seats combined while Article 50 guaranteed the religious minorities 13 seats and the UN proposed 12 (the United Nations proposal came after Article 50 was deleted). Today Waleed Ibrahim, Tim Cocks and Philippa Fletcher (Reuters) report that the office of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani issued a statement yesterday about his meet up with Christians, "They expressed worries about the negative impact of the law passed in parliament, which they said gives them a small number of seats and does not protect their rights. They asked the [presidency] council to reject this law. The president showed full support to Christian and other minorities (and) . . . promised he will not sign any law that could deprive any Iraqi group of their rights." If you thought that or the treaty might have resulted in questions at the White House today you missed Tony Fratto's and the press' embarrassing performances.
The treaty? Leila Fadel, Nancy A. Youssef and Warren P. Strobel (McClatchy Newspapers) report, "Many Iraqi officials are now calling the status-of-forces accord, or SOFA, 'the withdrawal agreement,' possibly as a way of marketing it to a wary public." Ernesto Londono, Mary Beth Sheridan and Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) quote government spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh, "Iraqis would like to know and see a fixed date" and that the US has to be prepared for more negotiatings while the US Embassy maintains (as does the US State Dept) that what Iraq has been given is the "final text." Daniel Williams (Bloomberg News) adds that Hoshyar Zebari, the country's foreign minister, has stated that the treaty will be finalized with "the current administration." AFP reports that al-Sadr follower Sheikh Sattar al-Batat, "Every Iraqi should read this agreement and decide for himself whether he agrees or disagree with it. . . . No one in his right mind can accept this agreement, so how can we?" NYT's Katherine Zoepf (for the paper's other holding, International Herald Tribune) quotes al-Batat declaring, "We will continue to condemn the Iraqi-American pact because it will legislate the American presence in Iraq. Sadr City has lost 4,300 martyrs since the invasion, so how could we accept this agreement? We say no to the Iraqi government if it wishes to sign anything." And Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) notes that Sunnis are also nervous over the treaty and Rubin also notes, "The Iraqi government, made up of exiles who were able to rise to power only as a result of the American invasion, has been looking for a way to support the pact without appearing to be kowtowing to Americans."
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing killed Haider Hassoon (an Iraqi refugee who'd just reclaimed his home) and left six people wounded, a Baghdad sticky bombing that claimed 2 lives and left seven people injured and a Diyala Province roadside bombing targeting "Awakening" Council members -- two were killed, five more wounded.
Today the US military announced: "A Coalition force Soldier died in a non-combat related incident Nov. 6 in Kirkuk province. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is still under investigation." The announcement brings the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4191.
Public radio note, Monday on WBAI (2:00 pm EST), Cat Radio Cafe features: "Writer/performer Danny Hoch on Taking Over, his hip-hop infused play about New York gentrification; and Coney Island documentarian Charles Denson, photographer Claude Samton, and PS 225/ Shell Bank JHS/Abraham Lincoln HS graduate Sheila Samton on The Puffin Room's multi-media celebration of Coney Island Maybe. Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer." And TV note, Sunday on CBS' 60 Minutes Steve Kroft explores president-elect Barack's "brain trust," Scott Pelley explores the final destinations for discarded cell phones, monitors, etc and Morley Safer speaks with pioneer Ted Turner.
Community member Stan started his own site yesterday entitled Oh Boy It Never Ends. He's still playing around with it and has so far offered "Good for Nader" and "Stan 411" and "Robin Morgan". Also posting yesterday, Mike's "Joshua Frank, Murphy, Cocktail Weinie Norman" covers the strong and the pathetic, Marcia's "A lot including my cousin is blogging!" is a grab bag post on a multitude of topics, Ruth's "McKinney results, Doug Ireland" continues Ruth's following of election results, Kat's "Pathetic Green Party" explores the planned uselessness of a political party, Cedric's "And she smells like urine" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! TINA FEY'S A SKANK!" (joint-post) pulls a Jim and assigns Ava and I an article (joking, it falls under the topic we're already covering) and Rebecca's "gail collins is an idiot" covers the embarrassment of Collins. On the Green Party, Kimberly and Ian Wilder (On The Wilder Side) are advocating for action and not waiting around until Januray 2012 to start figuring out what to do:
What next for the national Green Party? Let's send Malik Rahim to Congress
The Green Party has a golden opportunity to elect a Congressperson next month. Let's work together, in this lull after the election, to focus on a powerful strategy and a winnable race.
It has created such interesting timing, that the election for Congress, District 2, in Louisiana was changed to December 6, 2008. And, we have one of our strongest Green Party candidates running in that race. In the vacuum of the November elections being over, this is a chance for green throughout the country to focus their energy in one place, on one candidate, who has the qualifications, resume and charisma to win.
Malik Rahim has credentials. He was a member of the Black Panther Party. He was a founder of Common Ground, an organization dedicated to supporting poor and working class people in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Malik's story has been in a variety of national media outlets. And, Malik's work after Hurrican Katrina is a story in Amy Goodman's book, "Standing Up To The Madness." Malike gave one of the most compelling and inspiring speeches at the Green Party National Convention in Chicago this summer. (Video of his speech is: here.)
nancy a. youssef
the washington post
mary beth sheridan
alissa j. rubin
the new york times