Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Parliament will not meet today (or anytime soon)

Rania El Gamal, Suadad al-Salhy, Jim Loney and Matthew Jones (Reuters) break the news: The Iraqi Parliament will not meet today. Though already in violation of the country's Constitution, they are not meeting for their second time. (The first lasted less than 20 meetings.) Unlike their last stall, they have not this time provided a date for when they might meet again. Why aren't they meeting? Meeting means proceeding with forming the government and there's no movement there. Salam Faraj (AFP) quotes MP Fouad Massum (who has been acting as spokesperson and leader) stating, "We are postponing the session until further notice because the political entities failed to reach any agreement. We held a meeting this morning with tthe heads of the parliamentary blocs and we agreed to give more time to political entities to reach agreement regarding the selection of a speaker and his two deputies."

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. Three months and two days later, still no government. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. It's four months and five days and, in 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's now 4 months and 20 days. No government.

Never one to miss the real 'tragedy,' ESPN rushes in this morning to announce a political stalemate is putting at risk Iraqi football! And that the Football Association board has still not been selected! They breathlessly pant, "Iraq's international future could be in jeopardy after elections to select a new Iraq Football Association board were postponed." Yeah, they really are that stupid at ESPN. Equally shameful, Mother Jones suddenly remembers Iraq again! Only to promote the talking point against John McCain. Shocking though it is to some (apparently they were just born yesterday), McCain made a stupid remark (similar to stupid remarks on Iraq he's made for years now) and they've activated the firing list so all the crazies are crawling out of the woodworks. Crazy Ass Marjorie Cohn among them. I'm so damn sick of supposed 'independents' who all work from the same page and trumpet the same damn stories and pretend they give a damn. If Nick Baumann has to point to 2007 to find a moment of Iraq coverage at Mother Jones to praise and link to, then Mother Jones hasn't done s**t, face reality. And you can make fun of John McCain until the cows come home but it won't change the fact that Mother Jones still hasn't done s**t and that Baumann wouldn't be writing his tiny I-care-about-Iraq! item at all had McCain not said something stupid about Iraq.


Certainly John McCain has never said anything shocking before. Above is Isaiah's "Bully Boy & The Showboat Express" from Feb. 4, 2007 where Bully Boy took a ride on Senator Crazy. Today's 'independent' writers don't even show a fourth of the creativity Isaiah did, let alone think for themselves. How very sad. (Cartoon and this paragraph added ten minutes after this originally posted.)

And to those e-mailing the plethora of columns on this non-topic, don't drag me into your cesspool of an echo chamber. I'm not interested.

In the real world, Kelly McEvers (NPR's Morning Edition) attempts to figure out how weakened or not al Qaeda in Mesopotamia actually is while Timothy Williams and Yasmine Mousa (New York Times) accuse the splinter organization of "stealing blood for their wounded fighters".

The following community sites updated last night and this morning:

We'll close with this from Teresa Mina's (as told to David Bacon) "THIS LAW IS VERY UNJUST!" (New American Media):

I come from Tierra Blanca, a very poor town in Veracruz. After my children's father abandoned us, I decided to come to the U.S. There's just no money to survive. We couldn't continue to live that way.
We all felt horrible when I decided to leave. My three kids, my mom, and two sisters are still living at home in Veracruz. The only one supporting them now is me.
My kids' suffering isn't so much about money. I've been able to send enough to pay the bills. What they lack is love. They don't have a father; they just have me. My mother cares for them, but it's not the same. They always ask me to come back. They say maybe we'll be poor, but we'll be together.
I haven't been able to go back to see them for six years, because I don't have any papers to come back to the U.S. afterwards. To cross now is very hard and expensive.
My first two years in San Francisco I cleaned houses. The work was hard, and I was lonely. It's different here. Because I'm Latina and I don't know English, if I go into a store, they watch me from head to foot, like I'm a robber.
After two years, I got a job as a janitor, making $17.85 per hour. Cleaning houses only paid $10. But then I was molested sexually. Another worker exposed himself to me and my friend. When we went to the company and filed a complaint, they took me off the job and kept me out of work a month. They didn't pay me all that time.
That's when my problems started, because I called the union and asked them to help me. After that, the company called me a problematic person, because I wouldn't be quiet and I fought for my rights. Sometimes they wouldn't give me any work.
When you work as a janitor you're mostly alone. You pick up trash, clean up the kitchen and vacuum. These are simple things, and they tire you out, but basically it's a good job. Lots of times we don't take any breaks, though. To finish everything, sometimes we don't even stop for lunch.

David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. Bacon can be heard on KPFA's The Morning Show (over the airwaves in the Bay Area, streaming online) each Wednesday morning (begins airing at 7:00 am PST). Today on WBAI's Taking Aim (5:00 p.m. EST) the full hour will be on the case of Lynne Stewart.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

david bacon

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends