Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Nothing ever changes

The Iraqi government -- led by Nouri al-Maliki -- is the alcoholic that knows if it just keeps on doing the exact same thing, at some point, different results will arrive.

Nothing ever changes...you know it doesn't
Nothing ever changes...oh you know it doesn't
Nothing ever changes...you know it doesn't
Nothing ever changes
-- "Nothing Ever Changes," written by Stevie Nicks and Sandy Stewart, first appears on Stevie's The Wild Heart

Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) has the task
of reporting on the ExxonMobil story. When last we checked in, ExxonMobil had entered into an agreement with the KRG in October that the Baghdad government didn't like and they were sending strongly worded letters to ExxonMobil demanding an answer (the third letter went out at the start of November). And today?

Rasheed informs us that ExxonMobil has still not provided an answer or responded to the letters. The Baghdad-based government has still not decided if it's going to do anything about the deal. In other words, nothing has changed there.

Again and again the same situation
For so many years
Tethered to a ringing telephone
In a room full ot mirrors
-- "The Same Situation," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her Court and Spark

Al Mada informs that President Jalal Talabani is declaring (again) that everything is ready and set for March 29th when Baghdad is set to host the Arab Summit. In addition, it notes that before the summit takes place Jalal Talabani will (again) be making a trip to the United States for (again) medical treatment. He wouldn't have these health problems if he'd follow doctor's advice and drop 75 pounds. (He should probably drop 100. Talabani weighs over 275 pounds. And, no, that's not muscle.) Is he planning on leaving Iraq after his term expires? It's been clear all along that he can't get treatment in Iraq (KRG or elsewhere). The smart thing to do would be to lose some weight.

So this is odd,
the painful realization that has all gone wrong.
And nobody cares at all,
and nobody cares at all.

So you buried all your lover's clothes
and burned the letters lover wrote,
but it doesn't make it any better.
Does it make it any better?
And the plaster dented from your fist
in the hall where you had your first kiss
reminds you that the memories will fade.

So this is strange,
our sidestepping has come to be a brilliant dance
where nobody leads at all,
where nobody leads at all.
-- "The Brilliant Dance," written by Chris Carrabba, first appears on Dashboard Confessional's The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most

Yesterday one attack alone (in Haditha) left 27 people dead (28 if you count the assailant who was killed) and you might think Nouri's Baghdad-based government would be focused on real issues as a result. You would be wrong. Al Mada reports that the Baghdad-based government of Nouri al-Maliki is alerting all departments of government to be prepared for, to be on guard for, to look out for . . . Iraq's Emo youth.

The Emo is coming!!!!

They clearly don't understand Emo. Possibly, they're mistaking it for Emu and are worried that a wave of birds from Australia will soon be marching across Basra?

The Ministry of the Interior is publishing a list of Iraqi youth and distributing it -- with the help of the Ministry of Education -- to round up the youth. How out of control is the frenzy? An MP is quoted speaking carefuly that she doesn't think being an Emo youth "warrants being murdered." That MP staking out that 'brave' position? She's on the Human Rights Committee.

Don't you see, don't you see, that the charade is over?
And all the "Best Deceptions" and "Clever Cover Story" awards go to you.
So kiss me hard 'cause this will be the last time that I let you.
You will be back someday and this awkward kiss that tells of other people's lips will be of service to keeping you away.
-- "The Best Deceptions," written by Chris Carrabba, first appears on Dashboard Confessional's The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most

And the Gender Traitor's back in the news. She's insisting there's nothing wrong with the dress code she's attempting to impose on women in government (there's no dress code for men) because she's not demanding "a particular color." Al Mada reports on that and other nonsense from the Women's Minister Ibtihal al-Zaidi. I prefer the comments. Especially the one who points out all the orphans and the widows in the country that al-Zaidi should be focusing on instead of lecturing grown women about how to dress. (And I agree with the recommendation that she leave her post.) While the person leaving that comment is correct about what should be focused on, it's also true that al-Zaidi is the Minister of Women precisely because she won't focus on those things. Nouri doesn't give a damn about those issues. He made that very clear in his first administration and that's why Nawal al-Samarraie went public. She noted she was not provided with the budget she needed to address these very real issues. (When she went public her ministry had a $1,400 a month budget. You can barely maintain an office with that, let alone address the issues effecting women.) al-Zaidi will find other non-issues to occupy her time and, as she's heading out the door, will insist that these non-issues had to be addressed before real ones could be. Nothing she does will improve the lives of women -- or even one life -- but that's why Nouri chose her for the position.

Tupperware's doing more for Iraqi women than al-Zaidi. Don't laugh, I'm serious. Since 2009, the Huffington Post featured a number of columns by a woman with the company (Elinor Steele, click here) and that wasn't just spin, they really are trying to empower Iraqi women. Sandra Pedicini (Orlando Sentinel) reports on one concrete example:

An Iraqi professor is spending a year studying in Florida, hoping to use what she learns to help women back home succeed professionally and create their own businesses.
Amel Abed Mohammed Ali is participating in a new program started by Orlando-based Tupperware Brands Corp., the U.S. Secretary of State's Office and Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. The program is designed to teach female educators from other countries business skills they can take home to others.
"It's about women's issues, and we need that in Iraq," said Ali, 55, who heads Babylon University's Department of Industrial Management.

On the topic of Huffington Post, Deborah Stambler has an interview with Iraqi poet Beau Beausoleil and she explains of the interview:

Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad has been described as the cultural and intellectual center of Iraq. Bookstores, cafes and outdoor book stalls line the street. On March 5, 2007 a bomb exploded on Al-Mutanabbi Street killing 30 and wounding 100. To mark the anniversary of the bombing and the essential role that art plays in our lives, poet Beau Beausoleil and others have organized readings in 10 cities. These readings are part of a much larger project that Beausoleil and a dedicated group of artists and volunteers have worked on since 2007. I interviewed Beausoleil recently to learn more about Al-Mutanabbi Street and his project.

Use the link to read the interview.

Simon Meiners, Nick Robins-Early, Perry Stein and Eric Wen have a piece at The New Republic
that Brita's confused by. I'm pressed for time this morning -- mainly due to the laptop -- but this does need to be addressed. I don't like Dennis Kucinich. I have not written a word trying to influence the race he's currently in, I have not celebrated over polling, etc. (Dennis Kucinich and Marcy Katptur -- both Democrats and both members of the House of Representatives -- are now running against each other as a result of redistricting.) My reasons for not liking Dennis are I don't feel he ever stands by what he says he's going to do. I'm referring to public positions on national issues. On local issues, on his district, he's been very good at representing (as has Marcy) . So why the hatred being thrown at him by The New Republic. I forget, does Canada still own the magazine?

See during the Bush years, left magazines saw huge increases in circulation (those days are over because they've allowed themselves to be megaphones for the Democratic Party instead of serving their readers). Or at least most did. The New Republic didn't. And that's because it whored for the Iraq War and though a number of them have attempted make-overs after leaving the magazine, I don't think there's a comeback. TNR hates Dennis because he won't whore for war the way they have. Don't try to overthink it, don't try to make sense of the article. It's nothing but TNR -- which nearly went under but was rescued by Canadian 'investors' -- if you call a weekly becoming a monthly being 'rescued' -- still being a nasty little piece of trash. It says more about them than it does Dennis.

As noted, I don't care for Dennis. If he loses today, I'll be happy for Marcy but sad for him. (If he wins, I'll be sad for Marcy but happy for him.) Again, both have a strong record of serving and representing their constituents.

Brita asked an important question. For a lot of people the answer is obvious but not everyone knows what went down in 2002 and 2003. Remember, when the Iraq War started, people who were ten years old are now 18. We'll close with this from Faisal Al Yafai's critique for The National Newspaper of Barack Obama's speech to AIPAC:

Iraq was the other spectre in the room. No US foreign entanglement can escape the long shadow of the second Iraq war. In a very real sense, Americans are still paying the price of Iraq: the war had a grave and continuing effect on military families, on US credibility around the world, and on the US economic outlook.

It has not only been Iraq: Americans are still fighting in Afghanistan - now the longest US war - and are tangled in the thicket of Pakistan. Another avoidable military adventure is the last thing the United States needs - and, frankly, the region and the world could do without the attendant bloodshed and political fallout.

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