Sunday, January 29, 2012

And the war drags on . . .

The big news of Iraq? Iraqiya called off their strike. You know it's big news -- if not good news -- because the New York Times and Tim Arango are excited and happy.

The same paper that always sucks up to Nouri al-Maliki and Tim -- the reporter who felt the need to press Nouri's case on Camp Ashraf by attending a meeting of Camp Ashraf residents (that they don't feel he identified himself as a reporter at), a meeting that resulted in write up that even the public editor called out.

To succeed at the paper, you really do have to be the worst and, with this kind of reporting, Tim's well on his way. Look at the way Judith Miller advanced. One day she was writing for The Progressive and then, in the blink of an eye, she was the star reporter for the New York Times. (Strangely, when celebrating what they called their 100 years with a thick issue looking back, The Progressive chose not to emphasize that Miller worked for them despite the fact that she's probably one of the top three most well known figures to ever write for the magazine.)

Tim needs to return to the entertainment pages of the paper before he loses his last bits of decency. In the meantime, he offers this:

The move does not signal the end of Iraq’s political crisis, which erupted days after the withdrawal of the American military last month, when Iraqiya announced its boycott to protest what it saw as moves by the Shiite-dominated government to sideline Sunnis from power. Those underlying issues have not been resolved.

The crisis is not over, he tells you, but the boycott has stopped.

When did the crisis begin?

According to Tim when the boycott started.

Tim, Arts & Leisure calls to you. Loudly.

I believe Donna Summer captured the NYT reporters' reality best.

You bet your life and you sell your soul
Give it all up for beggar gold
And the hidden city has its own laws
Produces a species, cats without claws
They're just cats without claws
Never had a good reason, never had a cause
Oh they're just cats without claws
Never had a good reason, never had a cause

-- "Cats Without Claws," written by Donna Summer and Michael Omartian, first appears on her album of the same name

(Tim Arango's in the video at 0:57; Michael S. Schmidt at 1:51 -- just joking but that video's use of cats is hilarious. Or I've been partying too hard -- or both.)

The political crisis is actually Political Stalemate II that began when Nouri was advanced to prime minister (end of December in 2010) and refused to honor the Erbil Agreement that allowed him to remain prime minister. Political Stalemate II has now lasted longer than Political Stalemate I (the eighth month period following the March 2010 elections). The paper refuses to explore the realities of that and don't even use "Political Stalemate II" or acknowledge the stalemate -- despite the fact that US government agencies and think tanks do.

"The crisis flared" in the dying days of the summer, which Arango can't tell you. That's when the Kurdish bloc began demanding the Erbil Agreement be honored, a call that Ayad Allawi and Iraqiya quickly took up.

The paper refused to notice or ponder until Iraqiya walked off and then Nouri had an arrest warrant for Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi issued and demanded that Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his post.

Even now they can't get the facts right. The warrant was issued Monday, December 19th. al-Hashemi left Baghdad for the KRG on Sunday, December 18th. Since police forced him and al-Mutlaq off the plane, it was a major event. (They were then allowed to reboard.) To not get the facts right after all this time implies worse than sloppy.

So what does Iraqiya rejoining mean? No one knows. (Words you'll never find in the New York Times.) But since Iraqiya's walkout was the only thing that finally forced talk of a national conference, it may mean Nouri blows off that call (he and State of Law have already insisted that the attendence be limited and that it not be called a national conference).

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, the number of US military people killed in the Iraq War since the start of the illegal war was 4487. Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4488. Here's the screen snap.


As we noted Thursday, this is probably an error. The increase comes in the death toll for OIF (which ended September 1, 2010). Reuters notes two Sahwa were injured in a Baquba shooting, a Baquba sticky bombing injured one police officer, a Muqdadiya sticky bombing claimed 1 life, a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left nine people injured, and, dropping back to yesterday for what follows, a Tuz Khurmato roadside bombing injured two police officers, a Samarra home invasion left "a national reconciliation official" injured and a house guest dead and a Baquba bombing left 4 people dead and five injured.

New content at Third:

Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes this from Great Britian's Socialist Worker:

What's wrong with academies?

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    Academies transfer huge amounts of wealth from the public to private sector

  • They allow school buildings and land to be handed to private businesses—while the state continues to fund the schools
  • Schools that become academies can keep any surplus school funds
  • The Department for Education says academies aren’t allowed to operate with a deficit. In 2010 it spent nearly £7 billion bailing them out
  • The government can transfer any land that has been used for a school within the previous eight years to an academy or free school
  • The government’s own figures show that academies get more cash than state-run schools. It estimates the difference to be up to £500 more per pupil
  • Academies expel and exclude more students than state-run schools—filtering out those who might pull the results down
  • Ofsted has rated a number of academies as failing. Just last week it found the Sir Robert Woodward Academy to be “weak” and “inadequate”

The following should be read alongside this article:

Setback for Gove over forced academy plans

On strike against forced academies

1,000 march in Haringey to say “Academy – calamity!”

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