Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Turkish assault on northern Iraq continues

In Wednesday's snapshot, noting the Turkish military's assault on northern Iraq, we observed:

It's a real shame that people who could be weighing in on this issue would rather gas bag. I'm thinking specifically of Theda Skocpol whose "France, Russia, China: A Structural Analysis of Social Revolutions" (Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol 18, 1976, Cambridge Press) and "Revolutions and the World-Historical Development of Capitalism" (co-written with Ellen Kay Trimberger, Berkeley Journal of Sociology, vol 22,, 1978) are pertinent to the what's taking place. But instead of providing insight on that, Theda can be found nearly each day offering trite and banal gas baggery about the Democratic Party for POLITICO's Arena forum. Talk about bastardizing your craft.

It was an aside, a point made in passing, but one that Martha reports resonated in a number of Friday e-mails to the private and public e-mail accounts. Martha notes that four of you pointed out that even the usual nuclear disarmament coverage in The Nation magazine has disappeared. That's because you can't bore the world with gas baggery on the 2012 election as well as provide non-stop excuses for Barack and still cover what's actually needed. It should go down in contemporary history that when the magazine thought it had someone responsive and sympathetic to nuclear disarmament, instead of pressing forward on this issue they go on and on about when a Republican's in the White House, instead of leading with it and really applying pressure, they shrank away from it.

When he periodically runs for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, Dennis Kucinich makes a Department of Peace one of his campaign planks and some outlets ignore that and some ridicule it but few weigh it. That wasn't Dennis' invention (nor has he ever claimed it was). In this country a cabinet for peace is first proposed in 1793 by Benjamin Banneker. In a sketch at PBS' Africans in America, they note many things but not Banneker's call for a Secretary of Peace in 1793. Their sketch includes the following:

Benjamin Banneker -- author, scientist, mathematician, farmer, astronomer, publisher and urban planner -- was descended from enslaved Africans, an indentured English servant, and free men and women of color. His grandmother, Molly Welsh, was an English dairy maid who was falsely convicted of theft and indentured to a Maryland tobacco farmer. After working out her indenture, Welsh rented and farmed some land, eventually purchasing two African slaves whom she freed several years later.
In violation of Maryland law, Welsh wed one of her former slaves, Bannke or Bannaka, said to be the son of a chief. Their daughter Mary also married an African -- a man from Guinea who had been enslaved, baptized as Robert, and freed -- who took Banneker as his surname upon their marriage. In 1731, they named their first child Benjamin.
Young Benjamin grew up in Baltimore County, one of two hundred free blacks among a population of four thousand slaves and thirteen thousand whites. He was taught to read by his grandmother Molly, and briefly attended a one-room interracial school taught by a Quaker. He showed an early interest in mathematics and mechanics, preferring books to play.
[. . .]
In 1792, Banneker published an almanac, based on his own painstakingly calculated ephemeris (table of the position of celestial bodies), that also included commentaries, literature, and fillers that had a political and humanitarian purpose. The previous summer, he had sent a copy of the ephemeris to Thomas Jefferson, along with a letter in which he challenged Jefferson's ideas about the inferiority of blacks.

Read the sketch for more details on Banneker's accomplishments, but it's the almanac we're focused on here, entitled Benjamin Banneker's Pennsylvania, Delware, Maryland and Virginia Almanack and Ephemeris and published yearly from 1792 through 1797, specifically 1793 when Banneker proposes the creation of a Secretary of Peace. 218 years ago, a noted American first proposed it and it's never been followed up on. Not even by the current president who swore he would change the "mind-set" that led to war.

But why should Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter or any other elected president take the idea seriously when repeatedly the left publications and programs demonstrate that peace is the last damn thing that they care about. Shortly after the Iraq War starts, for example, Pacifica Radio kills their national peace program. With two wars going on, Peace Watch was the show to axe? Freeing the host for 'proud' moments like Verna Avery-Brown's August 4, 2010 'expose' on Sarah Palin's 'fake' pregnacy? What a wonderful momemnt for Verna and Pacifica Radio -- if their life's goal has been to be a floater in a toilet.

You can't have all that trash, all that distraction and still address the issues that actually matter. But, let's be honest, a lot of the hosts and gas bags aren't up to addressing issues that really matter. They are submerged in the sewer of gossip because that's truly all that they can manage and process.

The Israeli-Palestinian issue needs to be resolved peacefully, sooner than later, not because Israel is "evil" -- which is pretty much all that certain elements can advance in the US. It needs to be resolved because the current structure is unfair and breeds violence. This is true of so many conflicts around the world. It's true in the US, in terms of economics, as 1% waits to see if the protests will just go away thereby allowing no concessions to fairness will have to be made.

The never ending US war on terror is exactly what never should have happened but it's the mind-set that we get when we are all repeatedly debased and dumbed down by a so-called 'activist' press that exists not for enlightment or education but for to promote tribalism (see Bob Somerby's strong work on the topic) and talking points. They work to gin up outrage (at the other side) and to manage outrage (so that anger doesn't cause you to stop voting for Democrats). Most of all, they work to pursue their drug habit -- the most addictive drug for the left establishment being not crack or heroin, but funding. Want to see a real nasty detox? Threaten to cut off their funding.

So the PKK issue is ignored by The Nation and Democracy Now and Pacifica and all the pretend 'independent' outlets supposedly interested in peace but repeatedly tabling that issue in order to tell you what rotten thing some Republican -- you most likely never heard of -- just did.

AP reports that today the Turkish military boasted they'd killed 49 PKK -- a rebel group of Kurds who fight for the rights of an oppressed minority in Turkey. The PKK and Turkish security forces have been battling non-stop since 1984. 49 dead, if they are, doesn't mean the end of the PKK. If you want to put an end to the PKK, you do so by granting Kurds the same rights as others living in Turkey. Until you do that, the PKK grows, the PKK is empathized with and the battles continue.

There's no mythical secret here. This is basic poli sci, this is basic conflict resolution. But instead of offering leadership, Barack, Hillary and a host of other US officials issued stupid and ignorant remarks in the middle of the week basically egging the Turkish government on in wave of violence that's only going to breed more violence.

Today's Zaman is a major newspaper in Turkey. As is always the case, idiot Othaman Ali can't tell the truth. (He's the Iraqi exile who only returned after the US invasion. He's a joke and foreign funded.) He contributes disinformation with "Why is the PKK trying to sabotage constitutional reform?" There is no Constitutional reform. Erdogan made the pretense of reform in 2009. Even the pretense has now been tossed aside. We'll assume Mumtazer Turkone isn't attempting to deceive and that "Why is the PKK attacking?" is an honest attempt on his part. It can be very confusing when you're a part of the power structure and others are attacking it, it can confusing when you have full rights to grasp that others don't. And then there's the dense and stupid like Vonca Poyraz Dogan who honestly thinks you can grab words of peace and craft them on to an assualt. Like one of the 21st centuries greatest idiots thus far, Bully Boy Bush, Vonca thinks you can call war "peace" and call "deaths" progress.

Want to end the PKK? Take away there reason for existence. When you do that, they're an irritant for Turks and for Kurds. Currently that's not happening becasue the Turkish government broke it's word after the election and began jailing various Kurdish officials, labeling them criminals and terrorists. Presumably, had these officials not won public office, they would be free to roam as they were prior to the election results. A lousy TV station broadcasting in Kurdish -- a language still banned in Turkey despite officially being unbanned -- is a sign of full equality? No. There have been no serious steps, no serious efforts to bring the Kurds into the process.

Currently the Israeli government finally gets demographics. They don't get how to have peace, but they get demographics. Palestinians are reproducing at a high rate, hence Israel's need over the last ten years to bring in outside Jews. That need will only become more pressing and it will never, in fact, address the issue. By the same token, the government Turkey would do well to look at their own demography. What the government refuses to do today, they'll be forced to do in forty or sixty years if population trends in Turkey remain the same.

If the Turkish government hasn't addressed by then, by the point where Kurds comprise the majority population in Turkey, they may face the same treatment they've dispensed for over a century now.

The smart thing to do is to bring the Kurds into the process, to provide full inclusion and to do so quickly. If that happens, the PKK either disbands or it continues its attacks and loses all support from Kurds just as weary as the Turkish government of all the fighting.

The following community sites -- plus Random Thoughts,, the White House*, and the New York Times updated last night or today:

*We're including the Whtie House on the links but I haven't watched or read the address. That's intentional, we're covering it -- Ava and I -- at Third tomorrow as we explore bad make up and other things.

The e-mail address for this site is