Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, August 26, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, voices for war aren't shy, but something's got the tongue of the peace movement, In These Times can't take on the Iraq War but can go after Taylor Swift, and much more.

Justin O. Smith (Daily News Journal) argues for full on war in Iraq to combat the Islamic State.  Citing what's being done to Christians and Yazidis, he writes, "This is genocide pure and simple. America sees it and knows it as genocide, and as such, it is imperative that the U.S. and the world take vigorous military action against ISIS and all possible measures to prevent this massacre of minorities in Iraq. And with more than vigilance and 130 advisors, the U.S. and its allies should send 130 bombers and 130,000 soldiers to run ISIS into the ground, utterly destroy them and kill them mercilessly with extreme prejudice, just as they did entire Christian communities."

Smith's opinion has a few issues beyond the issue of calling for war.

He writes, "Obama, ever sympathetic to Sunni Muslims, more than likely illegally and surreptitiously armed the so-called 'rebels' in Syria by late 2011 from Libya, as strong evidence suggests."  I think few Sunnis in Iraq would make the ridiculous claim Smith does.  In fact, let's allow Sunnis to speak for themselves.

In March of last year, activists in Samarra put their message on display.

From Samarra من سامراء

"Obama, If you Cannot Hear Us Can you Not See Us?"

The following month, Sunnis would be slaughtered at a protest elsewhere.

April 23, 2013 massacre of a sit-in in Hawija which resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

Did Barack call for bombings when that took place?

No, he didn't.

What he did was further arm Nouri al-Maliki.

"Obama, If you Cannot Hear Us Can you Not See Us?"

He couldn't see the Sunnis.  He just didn't care.

The prime minister of Iraq killed peaceful protesters.  Including children.  Including the child of a father who was present.  The young teen was trying to get his father to safety.  The challenged community in Iraq does not wait for others to do things, they join their brothers and sisters in the street in protests.  And this father was in a wheel chair.  It was chaos as Nouri's forces began firing at protesters and attacking them and the son was attempting to get his father to safety when they were stopped by Nouri's thugs.

The thugs said one of them was dying and they shot the son when he tried to protect his father by stepping in front of him.  They shot the father then too.  But the son died.

No one outside of Iraq really seemed to care about that man and the son he lost or about the children shot dead by Nouri's forces at that protest site.

Barack didn't do a damn thing.

The BRussells Tribunal cared and carried the account of Thamer Hussein Mousa who lost his son Mohammed Thamer.

But Barack didn't care, AFP didn't care, AP either, go down the list.

And Justin O. Smith cares about Christians in and from Iraq.  I don't doubt that he cares.  But someone should have informed him that a large number of those Sunnis are Christians.  The ones targeted, the ones that became part of the refugee population sometime ago.

Having addressed that aspect, let's note Smith's calling for war.

Is he right?

I don't think so and I argue against the US taking violent measures against -- continued violent measures -- against Iraq.

But Smith feels the way he feels -- and has every right to express what he thinks and feels -- and he's not alone.  The people wanting war are not shy about expressing themselves.

It's a shame the same can't be said for those on my side of the fence.

We noted the appalling silence from the various antiwar groups -- we noted it in yesterday's snapshot.  Nothing's changed today.  A.N.S.W.E.R. has nothing to offer.

And The Nation has dozens of stories on their main pages -- 7 alone are on Ferguson -- but there's nothing on Iraq.

The Progressive, to their credit, have posted a piece on Iraq.  It's by Stephen Zunes, here's the link.

Good for The Progressive.

But they are one outlet.

What does In These Times offer?

I've had it with Sady Doyle and had it with her and her faux feminism a long damn time ago.  Elaine's called the idiot out and, as always say, if Elaine's thinking it, I am too.   Ann's also called her out.

Taylor Swift   was slut shamed by Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Michael J. Fox and all our supposed 'feminist' and woman-positive press could do was giggle and and praise Tina and Amy -- two grown women who really should be more worried about their own sex lives.

Sady Doyle's attacked one woman after another and it's really time she was told, "You are the problem."

Taylor, you understand, is ripping off African-American culture, according to Doyle.

 Doyle's idiotic b.s. critique is one she got from the 'great minds' of Jezebel.  Here's Doyle:

Then there’s the song itself, written by Max Martin and Shellback with Swift. Its chorus hinges on the arguably appropriated truism “players gonna play, haters gonna hate.” Which, granted, has become a matter of common usage. Still, it sticks out, especially considering that the song—both musically and lyrically—is a washed-out third-generation copy of Janelle Monae’s breakthrough single “Tightrope,” complete with hand-clap percussion and horn-section hook. Both songs are anti-hater anthems about the power of dance: Where Monae tells us to “dance up on them haters, keep getting funky on the scene,” Swift instructs us that “haters gonna hate … shake, shake, shake it off.”

So stupid, so ignorant, so embarrassing.

Players gonna play?

I believe it was Stevie Nicks -- let's damn well give credit where it's due -- who wrote "players only love you when they're playing."  (And took it to number one, "Dreams.")

Musicians are magpies -- Madonna's not the only one.

Every rapper tossing around 'playa' owes some serious props to Stevie Nicks.

And Stevie?  She owes a debt to the Mamas and the Papas and to Joni Mitchell and others -- and she acknowledges that debt.

Taylor is 24-years-old.

Sady Doyle wants to slam her for not being Loretta Lynn:

Loretta Lynn, a coal-miner’s daughter, sang about growing up in aching poverty, being married as an adolescent  and having four children by the age of 20. She fulminated against cheating husbands, but she also sang a paean to birth control and a rant against slut-shaming. Swift, a stockbroker’s daughter, borrowed some tropes—Georgia, trucks, blue jeans—but stuck to complaining about cheerleaders.

How dare Doyle slam Swift for who her parents are -- more specifically, who her father was.  How dare you try to define a woman by a man in their lives.

You are not a feminist, you are a disgusting piece of trash who, sadly, is also stupid.

Should Taylor, like Loretta, be singing about the pill?

Maybe she will.

We are all aware aren't we -- Sady's not -- that Loretta had a hit with "The Pill" in 1975 -- 15 years after she had her first hit song.  15 years after.

And how old was Loretta?


Sady is trashing a 24-year-old for lacking the scope of a 43-year-old.

Only in Sady's small and trashy mind is that acceptable.

Loretta's a true artist who's more than earned her reputation.  But she built that reputation over decades of work.  Taylor's career has barely started.

Sady Doyle is deeply stupid.

 If you want to accuse Taylor of borrowing, I think the obvious comparison is Florence and the Machine's "Shake It Out."

Sady doesn't go there.

What happened to Michael Brown in Ferguson is tragic.

The investigation Attorney General Eric Holder is overseeing may find that it was also criminal -- it may not find that.

But Taylor Swift releasing a video and song isn't the end of the world.

We already saw how the morality police like Sady condemned Janet Jackson (I love Janet and have known her for years).  They destroyed Janet's career and let's applaud Janet for refusing to grovel.  Justin Timberlake has a career but he groveled, didn't he?

Janet stood strong.

But the man got forgotten because what's better in this society than another round of Bash The Bitch?  As Ava and I observed years ago in "Katie Was A Cheerleader:"

Who knew it was a war crime? Katie Couric was a cheerleader and an army of Beate Klarsfelds are on her trail in an attempt to warn America of this dangerous contravention of the law. We imagine it's only a matter of time before the tribunal is held. The cheerleader as Eichmann, no doubt, sends shudders through the hearts of many women on the left, center and right, since they too may be charged.
Couric's apparent crime, for some on the left, is saying that Navy Seals "rock." That moment was immortalized in Michael Moore's FAHRENHEIT 9/11 and seems to be the chief piece of evidence that will be introduced when the commentators gather at the Hague.
For some of the left, though not all, that's at the root of their pursuit of Couric. It's the gift of impunity that allows them to operate in a fact-free environment as they compose the charges against Couric. But those who hear such a statement and nod agreeably are also engaged in the national pastime of bash-the-bitch.
Bash the bitch is as American as apple pie and rush to judgement, so who are we to complain?
If it makes us "America haters" to say "Just a minute now" then so be it. Let all the ones partaking in bash-the-bitch wrap themselves in Old Glory, we'll call it the way we see it.
Here's what we see. A woman's trashed. For what she did?
Oh cookie, please, it's for being a woman. Read the commentaries. "Cheerleader" is a trumped up charge -- as usual, the true crime is gender.

Michael Brown's death has provoked strong feelings -- sadness, anger and more.

And all this is going to get tossed on Taylor?


Sade Doyle, were she a true feminist, would be defending Taylor and wondering why -- yet again -- a woman is made the ultimate criminal.

Timberlake rips off Janet's top and it destroys her career not his.

Robin Thicke traffics in sexism and he and Miley Cyrus perform live on the MTV Awards but it's Miley who's called out, not the old man in the suit and tie looking all creepy.

There is anger in the country over what happened to Michael Brown.

The anger's understandable.

Let's go with, for just a second, that the police conducted themselves as they should in every way, okay?  Even if that's the case, that doesn't change the anger.  Michael is dead and a lot of people are personalizing this loss -- some due to what they perceive as relatable events, commonalities between Michael's lives and their own.

That's completely understandable.

It's also understandable that this free floating anxiety will attempt to glom on something else.  In our society, those targets are usually women.

And this anger could destroy Taylor's career.

Now if she destroyed her career with her own mouth, so be it.  If she destroyed it by doing the same song over and over, so be it.

But when she's made to be the target, when "racism" is falsely pinned upon her at a time when the country is riled up?

That's ridiculous.

I'm not remember Sady -- are you? -- calling out Ani DiFranco when Ani was planning this year's get-away on a slave plantation.  Are you?


But because idiots who can't interpret art say Taylor's done this or done that, Sady is ready to attack.

As an artist, I tend to laugh at most critics because they're so damn stupid (Frank Rich is a stupid columnist and he was even more stupid critic -- he also lied to be 'funny' in his critiques which is even more offensive).

There were real racial implications in a White woman -- Ani DiFranco -- who'd gone around calling others racist going on to plan a retreat at a slave plantation.  There were racial implications in Ani attacking -- publicly attacking -- those who called her out.  That only cause more anger and forced her to apologize.

But I don't remember Sady Doyle treading into those waters.

The difference of course being that Sady worships Ani DiFranco.

Critics who can't call out their heroes aren't critics at all.

And women who trash other women to fit in, who see a mob going after a woman and encourage it?

They're embarrassments and much worse.

Sady Doyle can play 'feminist' all she wants.  The fact is that she remains male defined in a world of men -- she's getting to the Taylor 'story' by quoting a horror book written by a man when what's she's really saying is Taylor is a monster -- a man made monster -- so if she had any sense, she would have been referencing Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

But that's Sady, a 'feminist' forever name checking men.

She's doing real damage.

When a mob's advancing on a woman, you don't join the mob.

Not if you want to be a feminist.

'C.I., we know you're a feminist.  We know.  We know.  Isn't this about Iraq?  Or supposed to be?'

I do not support attacks on artists and if the artist being attacked is a woman, I feel I have a responsibility to call it out immediately (I've been very lucky over the years with other women having my back when I was being trashed).

But this actually is about Iraq.

Not just because Bully Boy Bush used the free floating anxiety over 9-11 to go to war on Iraq -- he let it glom onto WMD lies.  Not just because Barack's doing the same now with IS -- trying to scare Americans into supporting more war.

And not just because women are the canary in the coalmine when it comes to whether a society progresses or fails.

It's also because Sady and In These Times believe she took on the war in her bad column:

Tensions were escalating in Iraq; on August 19, the terrorist group ISIS beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley. Even soft news and entertainment sections were dominated by death and pain, as seemingly everyone even vaguely related to the entertainment industry reacted to the unexpected suicide of Robin Williams. Several outlets published corresponding public-service pieces about self-harm and depression. The outcry over the abuses in Ferguson, in particular, had become so urgent that President Obama left his vacation to give a live-streamed speech about both Ferguson and the US military involvement in Iraq.

Sady's garbage, in the minds of In These Times, passes for Iraq 'commentary.'

And, maybe for In These Times, that is Iraq commentary?

Iraq is on fire and Sady Doyle's busying herself handing out torches and pointing at Taylor Swift while screaming, "Get her!"

There was apparently no screaming on Monday when US Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Iraq's Prime Minister-Designate Haider al-Abadi:

The White House
Office of the Vice President

Readout of the Vice President’s Call with Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi

Earlier today, Vice President Joe Biden called Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi.  The Vice President and Prime Minister-designate discussed ongoing military actions against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).   The Vice President observed that Iraq’s political progress to date has already brought about greater regional and international support and that efforts to form a new government are an integral component of Iraq’s broader fight against ISIL.  Dr. Abadi underscored to the Vice President his intent to quickly form a new government that is inclusive of all segments of Iraqi society and that is prepared to take concrete steps to addresses the concerns of all of Iraq’s communities.   The Vice President emphasized his support for these efforts and the importance of all leaders working together to form a new government as soon as possible.

And maybe similar efforts could help Iraq?  Instead of brainstorming on that, the 'answer' from the White House is more military action.  Elissa Curtis and Benajmin Landy (MSNBC) note the refugee crisis is expected to only get worse.  Well how has bombing ever stopped the growth of refugees?  They generally increase the refugee population.

Spencer Ackerman (Guardian) reports:

The Pentagon warned on Tuesday that Islamic State (Isis) militants have global aspirations, ratcheting up already dire US rhetoric against the jihadist army that has overrun much of Iraq and Syria.
“Quite frankly, we’re not turning a blind eye to their global aspirations as well,” said Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.

Isis has not conducted attacks outside of Iraq – its gestation ground – and Syria, where its successes brought it global attention. Its own rhetoric imagines a global Islamic caliphate, obliterating man-made borders, but its capabilities – which include access to oil wealth – fall significantly short. 

A huge threat -- supposedly.  WMDs were a huge threat once upon a time too.  Some of us refused to be frightened senseless.  Others went all in on the fear, let it consume and control them.  Where are the voices of reason?

At the US State Dept press briefing today, spokesperson Jen Psaki faced a few questions related to Iraq including this:

QUESTION: Why are you so concerned all of a sudden now about a threat to the United States potentially emanating from ISIS in Syria when the march of ISIS through Syria and then through Iraq has been underway for quite a long time now? The reports of dozens of Western – people with Western nationality fighting among them have been out for months. I mean, what’s different? Is there some kind of new or proximate threat that causes you to be concerned about this?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Arshad, I think anybody who looks at the situation in Iraq and Syria – the threat from ISIL – would say that they have gained strength over the last six months, that things have certainly changed in that regard. Obviously, we monitor and have long monitored very closely whether or not ISIL will seek to develop plots aimed at the West, beyond the geographic area where they have been operating in Iraq and Syria. And we’re actively, of course, consulting on that and working on that.
But it’s important to note that they, of course, have threatened to attack the homeland. We take those threats very seriously, and I think what you’re seeing here is a response to our growing concern about the counterterrorism threats. This is not new this past week. Neither is our response to it. I would point you back to the President’s speech at West Point where he talked about a $5 billion counterterrorism fund and our efforts to increase assistance to the Iraqis over the past six months. But certainly, we’ve seen an increase over the past months.

QUESTION: But why not act much earlier than now, then? I mean, why – if the threat’s been there for months, you’ve seen it for months --

MS. PSAKI: I think I said an increase over the past several months, and we have taken steps over the past several months in order to address it in different varieties. But our sole strategy here is not the potential for airstrikes. I think you saw General Dempsey speak to that. Obviously, there are a range of options that the President can consider and will consider.

Are some feeling the White House is suddenly seeing alarm where they didn't before?

Tom Ridge and Howard Dean pen a column together for the Chicago Tribune.

With the help of Iran's Quds force, al-Maliki brutally repressed popular protests across Iraq that demanded basic rights for Iraq's Sunni and Kurdish minorities. He hunted down tribal leaders, made arrests and carried out executions, all with Tehran's complicity. That reversed the gains made in 2007, when Sunnis played the most crucial role in driving al-Qaida out of Iraq. It also demonstrated the kind of brazen sectarianism that gave rise to the Islamic State, which many U.S. analysts say represents a new, direct threat to U.S. interests.

The former Secretary of Homeland Security and the former Governor of Vermont feel Iraq has a moment right now, however fleeting, to move beyond the current crises if the next prime minister sets the correct tone and pursues inclusion.

We'll close with this:

August 26, 2014 jjohnson@feminist.org
office - 703-522-2214
cell - 202-681-7251

WHEN: Tuesday, August 26, 2014
WHERE: Online
WHAT: Pop Quiz for Equality

-- Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote in 1920, but it was a right that took decades to realize. This landmark Amendment institutionalized every person’s right to participate in the electoral process regardless of sex, and now it’s time to use the priceless power of the vote to advance another crucial amendment for women’s rights: the Equal Rights Amendment.
This Women’s Equality Day, the Feminist Majority Foundation is taking this important anniversary in the fight for women’s suffrage to continue building momentum around the Equal Rights Amendment with an online quiz testing voters’ knowledge of the ERA.
The Equal Rights Amendment will finally cement equal rights under the law – for all – for the first time ever in the United States Constitution. Now it’s time to make sure voters know what the ERA is all about, and how they can be agents in the fight to ratify the ERA right now!

  • The Illinois state senate approved the ERA by a 60 percent majority in 2014. The Illinois House could vote to bring the US one state closer to ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment in the 2014 November veto session. Illinois would become the 36th state. We need 38.
  • Oregon voters could pass a state ERA when Measure 89 goes to a vote in November 2014.
  • Now, in Nevada, a leading state legislator is contemplating introducing a resolution to ratify the ERA in 2015.
  • Full ratification of the ERA would, for the first time, create a national legal standard for the elimination of discrimination against women in all areas of life, including equal pay.
  • The ERA would change the burden of proof in sex discrimination cases to a higher level of scrutiny under the law.
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  • The ERA would prohibit pregnancy discrimination.
Take the quiz and join the conversation all day long: Follow @majorityspeaks, @femmajority and #WED2014 all day for reasons to ratify the #ERANow!

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