Monday, January 05, 2009

US Embassy in Baghdad holds opening ceremony

There is a new type of war going on these days in Iraq. But instead of involving guns and bombs, it's a battle of paper and glue.
In the leadup to the Jan. 31 provincial elections, political parties have plastered thousands of posters all over the streets of Baghdad and other major cities across the country to lobby voters. Parties have especially taken advantage of the countless concrete walls that surround the capital, which were put up by the U.S. military, as places to advertise. The number of posters has increased on a daily basis.
But since the political campaign officially kicked off Dec. 7, the posters have been disappearing as soon as they are put up. It seems opponents are ripping down posters -- it has become a common sight to see dozens of posters on the sidewalk and streets instead of on the walls.

The above is from Jafar Jani's "Ahead of Provincial Elections, Iraq’s Parties Embark on Paper-and-Glue Battle " (Baghdad Life, Wall St. Journal). Provincial elections are scheduled for January 31st. The United Nations has warned that violence will increase as provincial elections approach. The US State Dept and Dana Perino (White House spokesperson) have echoed that warning. (We'll come back to the White House at the very end for a statement from it of sadness.)

And on Iraq blogs, Deborah Haynes (Inside Iraq, Times of London) has posted photos of herself and other correspondents in Iraq (Amit R. Paley, Kimi Yoshino, Leila Fadel, Campbell Robertson, etc.) illustrating the cold in Baghdad. Last night, I mentioned (but didn't link to) a blog post by Haynes where she described sleeping in a security device for big-whigs in Iraq (it's like a coffin), click here for that post (and she has photos). Brad e-mailed about that having had trouble finding the Iraq blog at the Times of London. It's a permalink on the left, by the way "Times of London's Inside Iraq blog." (Which may be confusing because McClatchy also has a blog with that title -- "Inside Iraq.") Tim Cocks is also featured in the photos of correspondents and he, Dominic Evans, Missy Ryan and Peter Graff (Reuters) report that a ceremony was held for the US Embassy (fortress) in Baghdad today which saw John Negroponte (Deputy Sec of State and the former US Ambassador to Iraq) and Jalal Talabani (President of Iraq) among those on the guest list. The reporters note:

In recent weeks U.S. diplomats have gradually moved into the $592 million newly-built compound, the world's largest U.S. embassy building, leaving behind a sprawling palace they had inhabited since toppling Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in 2003.

In a curious (or telling?) statement, Negroponte is quoted declaring, "It is from here men and women, civilian and military, will help build the new Iraq." Really? A free country's future will be built . . . by foreign staff in a foreign embassy?

The Embassy is open, up and running, Sunday through Thursday from eight in the morning to four-thirty in the afternoon. The Sunday through Thursday schedule means they won't have to miss a day for the Islamic New Year (this Saturday) since they'll be closed already.

Australia's ABC quotes
US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker stating, "We're now entering into the structures, a purpose-built embassy, that are part of a normal relationship. And this embassy of course will be the enduring structure from which on our side we manage that enduring relationship."

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Debutante Barack" went up last night.

Megan notes Deborah Barrow's "When Jane Bryant Quinn Says 'Go Bankrupt' You Know We're in Trouble" (wowOwow):

Admitting that she's risking her "good girl reputation," Jane Bryant Quinn, one of the country’s most-trusted conservative voices in consumer financial journalism, is telling debtors in deep dollar distress to throw in the towel in 2009 and declare bankruptcy. This extraordinary advice comes in the latest issue of Newsweek. Quinn's regularly featured column this week is titled "The Case for Walking Away" and is further evidence of the near-Depression-era straits many Americans are facing at the dawn of the new year.

Also at wowOwow, Jane Wagner has a very funny cartoon on the New Year. (I'm noting that.)
And while we'll gladly note that, don't bore us with e-mails on Patricia DeGennaro's bad writing. We're not interested. She's another dabbler. Forget that she doesn't know the first thing about the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement, she's another 'working-activist' who has a checklist, "Done with Iraq! Let me move over to Afghanistan!" She lacks knowledge, she lacks focus and she's an idiot. 17 visitors e-mailed her latest garbage. She's a professional idiot. P.S. The reason she declares the Iraq war over (!) is because she's one of those 'dedicated' to Afghanistan. The declaration of "War Over!" is nothing new for her. She is not a "do gooder" gone dumb. She is a professional WAR HAWK and we're not interested in her trashy words or her trashy ass. Sarah Sewall's gal-pals can take it to the Cubby Hole but we're not interested in them here. While that piece of trash is declaring the Iraq War over, John P. Pryor's Mass is being held this morning at Cahtedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia -- the Major in the US Army died December 25th in Iraq. AP notes, "Pryor was a trauma surgeon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The 42-year-old father of three was serving his second tour of duty with the Army reserves as a combat medic." War over? Not hardly and it's insulting when liars push that in their efforts to pull attention to their own pet causes. In Patti's case more damn war. War ended in November with that treaty, Patti DeGennaro? Really? From Patricia Yollin's "Concord dad, Army soldier dies in Iraq" (San Francisco Chronicle):

Army Pvt. Benjamin B. Tollefson of Concord was killed in Iraq on New Year's Eve.
The 22-year-old soldier died in Balad from wounds he received in Ghazaliya when insurgents attacked his unit with "indirect fire," according to a statement from the Pentagon.
"He was the most compassionate, humble guy I ever met in my life," said Cory Renfrow on Friday. "He's been my best friend since we were 11 years old. I was best man at his wedding. I was there when his child was born. Now I'm planning his funeral."
Renfrow, who lives in San Diego, said his pal liked to camp, drink beer, play catch, shoot at the firing range and watch sports. He had a high-pitched and distinctive laugh, like "a big opera singer lady," that was memorable and contagious.

Patti DeGennaro's desire to spread and inflict pain to other regions (a sick desire, but she's a sick woman) does not give her the right to call an ongoing war over. She should be ashamed of herself but people like her never feel shame, they always find a way to justify the destruction even years later.

Turning to other idiots, the New York Times. Karen Ann Cullotta and Monica Davey's "Senate Appointee in Illinois Vows to Fight On" which contains the following pattern:

* They pointed to his long political record as the first black leader elected to statewide office in Illinois and expressed their sense that the seat held by Mr. Obama, who had been the only black person in the Senate, should go to another African-American.

* At the Chicago church, residents said they had formed a group in the past week in support of Mr. Burris’s appointment, a group that seemed far less focused on Mr. Blagojevich than on the need for a black leader in the Senate.

* A person with knowledge of the conversation, which occurred as federal investigators were recording Mr. Blagojevich’s calls, said Mr. Reid had seemed concerned that some of the Democrats mentioned as possible appointees, including Representatives Jesse L. Jackson Jr. and Danny K. Davis, both of whom are black, might be harder to elect when the appointment period expires in two years.

* Mr. Reid reportedly indicated that Lisa Madigan, the state attorney general (and daughter of Michael Madigan, the powerful speaker of the Illinois House), and Tammy Duckworth, a former candidate for Congress and a wounded veteran of the Iraq war, had better odds in a statewide election.

Does the Times care to explain those paragraphs and the article? Why does the paper only identify race when it's an African-American? Harry Reid's not identified as White. Look at the last two paragraphs above (consecutive ones), Jackson and Davis are identifed as Black but what race are Lisa Madigan and Tammy Duckworth?

White. And that paper -- intentionally or not -- is stating that White is the norm, White doesn't need to be offered. It's only when the "other" is in the story (person of color) that race needs to be noted. The public editor should have long ago called out what everyone else is avoiding.

And, yes, Senator Roland Burris should be seated.

Senator Roland Burris

And yes, Bobby Rush's comment ("the last bastion of racial plantation politics in America.") is correct. As we noted at Third yesterday ("The attacks on Senator Roland Burris"):

To refuse to seat Burris is racist.

It's racist because the Senate has traditionally been a White zone. Immediately after the Civil War, two Black men finally made it into the US Senate and, after they were out, it would be almost 100 years before another Black person was a US Senator. Four. That's the 'big number.' Now the Civil Rights movement challenged these Whites Only zones and did so via many tools and methods. One of the most famous was the sit-in.

So when White Harry Reid starts threatening not to sit Burris, it does go to racism. It goes to the historical and systematic racism and it may very well go to racism on Reid's own part since he's made it very clear that the unqualified Caroline Kennedy should be the next senator from New York. That's only making him look more racist as he champions an unqualified White for a Senate seat and attempts to prevent a qualified Black Senator from being seated.

If Harry Reid doesn't like people wondering if he's racist, too damn bad. He brought it on himself by butting in. It is not Harry Reid's business whom New York Governor David Patterson appoints or whom Governor Rod Blagojevich appoints.

The Supreme Court already ruled that it was not the Congress' business whom the people elected. There are two ways to get into the Senate: Election or appointment. (Caroline Kennedy wants to go the third-rail: Buy your way in.) If the Court found that the Congress could not refuse to seat someone elected (Adam Clayton Powell -- funny how the efforts to refuse seating Congress members are always directed at Black people, just a coincidence?), the Court would have to twist logic to find that the second means of admission (appointment) could be evaluated by the Congress after a governor had made the appointment.

And add Governor Rod Blagojevich to the list of governors that US Senator Harry Reid -- of Nevada -- thinks he has a right to lobby. He needs to mind his own damn business and, no, who a governor does or does not appoint is not his business. If Harry keeps wasting time doing that, how will he ever be able to get those under the table tickets to big sporting events? Hmm??? Roland Burris is qualified and he is now the Senator. He needs to be seated. If he's not, this is going to get very, very ugly. [ADDED, C.I. note: Again, disclosure, I know and like Bobby Rush, have known him for years.]

And while the Bully Boy has never been able to express sorrow for all the people killed in the illegal war he started, the White House can issue the following note of sorrow:

The President, Mrs. Bush, Barbara, and Jenna are deeply saddened by the passing of their cat India ("Willie"). The 18 year-old female black American Shorthair died Sunday, January 4, 2009 at home at the White House.
When Barbara was nine years old, she named India after the former Texas Ranger baseball player, Ruben Sierra, who was called "El Indio." When Barbara and Jenna moved away to college, India, affectionately called "Kitty" by the family, stayed at the White House with the President and Mrs. Bush.
India was a beloved member of the Bush family for almost two decades. She will be greatly missed.

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