Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Toledo Blade concludes US government led by a pushover

Today the Toledo Blade editorial board tackles Iraq. On the plus side, they've done that often. Also, they haven't been among the many print outlets which have completely forgotten the Iraq War. On the negative side? They now live in a padded little cell where daylight never penetrates and reality, like sharp objects, is kept from them. How else to explain this nonsense on talk of extending the SOFA: "Mr. Maliki, in a desperate attempt to gain a second term as prime minister, made a deal for political support with Shiite political and spiritual leader Moktada al-Sadr that included assurances that U.S. forces would leave Iraq by Dec. 31. But Secretary Gates — and President Obama -- apparently are under pressure from the U.S. military not to withdraw by the agreed date."?

How very pathetic. Grown adults serve on editorial boards, they're not made up of pre-K students; however, reading the Blade's editorial you would be forgiven for thinking toddlers wrote it. Like a child who can't see a parent in realistic terms due to maturation level, the board needs to believe that Barack Obama and Robert Gates "are under pressure from the U.S. military not to withdraw". Tea leaf reading as they attempt to redeem Daddy. How very pathetic. That editorial is not only uninformed, it's incredibly immature. Instead of ascribing motives (pure ones at that!), how about they deal in reality? And next time they want to speculate, how about they start from the premise that a Secretary of Defense and a Commander in Chief are doing exactly what they want to do as opposed to some half-baked conspiracy theory which yet again robs Barack of any agency. It really is amazing how quick his supporters are to turn him into powerless infant, victimized by the whims of others. How very telling of the way they really see him. (Note to self: MBB note to carry to Third on Sunday.)

In Iraq, Dar Addustour reports that Ayad Allawi, Adel Abdul Mahdi and Ahmed Chalabi met yesterday to firm up plans for the shadow government. Ayas Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) adds that a source close to the planning notes this was the first meeting between the three leaders to address the shadow government and how to exercise oversight of the Parliament. The article also notes that Nouri al-Maliki, who had previously made noises about forming a 'majority government' (kicking out the winners) is now publicly stating he's dropped the plan (which, knowing Nouri's record, doesn't mean he actually has dropped it)and that he now insists a wide partnership of all the parties is needed. Al Rafidayn notes that Parliament resumed sessions yesterday (after yet another week long break) and that Hisham Darraji is seen as the favorite among the nominees for Minister of Defense. David Ali (Al Mada) observes that Iraq is still without a Minister of Defense or Minister of Interior and that Nouri is left attempting to assure Iraqis that this isn't a problem and that the matter is being resolved. Ali notes that some political observers are not so sure that Nouri will be able to reassure the Iraqi people and an opinion that popular favorite Hashim Darraji is being penalized (by Nouri) due to his congratulations to Ayad Allawi on Iraqiya's win in the elections. (Nouri was State Of Law which came in second in the national eelections.)

Meanwhile Zayna Sami (Azzaman) reports:

Iraqi Minister of Human Rights says there are only 1.450 million orphans in the country and not five million as previously claimed.
Sayya al-Sudani said media reports had exaggerated the number of orphans in the country.
Sudani was ostensibly pleased to have come up with the new figures, refuting earlier estimates of five million orphans.
It is the first time the government gives officials statistics on the number of orphans in the country.
But the official numbers still turn Iraq into a country of orphans. They mean that there are more orphans in the country than the population of Stockholm, Sweden’s largest city.

And we'll close with this from Chris Hedges' "Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System" (Information Clearing House):

A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy. It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state. It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers. It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs.
Teachers, their unions under attack, are becoming as replaceable as minimum-wage employees at Burger King. We spurn real teachers—those with the capacity to inspire children to think, those who help the young discover their gifts and potential—and replace them with instructors who teach to narrow, standardized tests. These instructors obey. They teach children to obey. And that is the point. The No Child Left Behind program, modeled on the “Texas Miracle,” is a fraud. It worked no better than our deregulated financial system. But when you shut out debate these dead ideas are self-perpetuating.
Passing bubble tests celebrates and rewards a peculiar form of analytical intelligence. This kind of intelligence is prized by money managers and corporations. They don’t want employees to ask uncomfortable questions or examine existing structures and assumptions. They want them to serve the system. These tests produce men and women who are just literate and numerate enough to perform basic functions and service jobs. The tests elevate those with the financial means to prepare for them. They reward those who obey the rules, memorize the formulas and pay deference to authority. Rebels, artists, independent thinkers, eccentrics and iconoclasts—those who march to the beat of their own drum—are weeded out.

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