Good News! NBC News President Steve Capus just announced the suspension of commentator David Shuster for his sexist remarks last night about Chelsea Clinton and apologized to the Clinton family. Please email Capus immediately to thank him for his swift action and to tell MSNBC and the rest of the TV news networks that sexist coverage of this historic election must stop.
Last night, as guest host of Tucker Carlson's show, Shuster asked whether Chelsea Clinton was being "being pimped out in some weird sort of way" by the Clinton campaign because she was working to support her mother's candidacy.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Already, MSNBC's Chris Matthews has had to apologize for his sexist remarks during this election. But, as Capus has recognized, apologies are no longer enough.
Sexism in the media, however, is not isolated to MNBC. Feminists and people concerned with social justice have been dismayed by the coverage of this historic election.
The media is losing its credibility as it is holding on to an old-fashioned formula to stir up false debate. It must retain commentators that reflect the diversity of both the US and this historic election. As one of the most important elections of modern times, the nation deserves and demands a more serious presentation of the issues and campaigns.
As the next round of state primaries is fast approaching, tell the news media that we don't want more of the same. Women must be taken seriously.
The Feminist Majority Foundation
take the above into account when you read c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot' (reposted at the end). c.i.'s noting the sexim on display from reuters. and it's been fixed since friday afternoon, they've managed to include that hillary clinton isn't just a 'former first lady' but also a senator. it's cute the way they got left out originally.
which brings us to the topic of yesterday's post. feminists need to start calling this nonsense out. it's disgusting.
and it's disgusting that we're seeing that gender can be repeatedly ignored. as c.i. noted in 'I Hate The War,' amy goodman decided to talk election results this week and, just like after the november 2006 election, when it was time to talk about who turned and who didn't on super duper tuesday, she missed women. she didn't address that. women voted in both. but amy goodman regularly leaves them out. she offers no guests who will address the topic (though she usually includes 1 woman for the 3 men she's invited for a roundtable) and she never explores the issue on her own.
a woman writes into to ms. in the lastest issue (just out) that they haven't noted amy goodman!
well amy goodman elected to take her work over to hustler and publish there.
is that the sort of person ms. needs to be applauding?
i don't think so.
'feminism' is not an elastic term. you can't take your wares to a magazine like hustler and then want to play like you're pro-woman.
we've allowed the term to be so corrupted that today it basically stands for any 1 with a vagina. the reality is that men can be feminists and that women can be anti-women.
feminism is not about 'i can waste every 1's time and then say it doesn't matter because i'm a feminist!'
we've got a lot of 'feminists' that won't deal with anything online except their trips to bars. or their vacations. did we really need, when sandra day o'connor announces her retirement, a woman claiming to be a feminist ignoring the topic while posting photos of herself in a bikini. ignoring it over and over?
she's going to be a lawyer!
well that's no excuse. in fact, that's all the more reason she should have weighed in on o'connor's announcement but she didn't that day or as late as 7 days later. i gave up after that. at 1st, it was perverse thrill. checking that site to see how long the 'feminist' was going to go without ever noting it. by day 7, it was no longer good for a cheap laugh about women who delude themselves, by day 7, it was just disgusting.
it was disgusting to watch the silences on abeer.
and here's the thing, as they avoid the very serious issues over and over, they damange feminism because they represent as 'feminists.' so they're snorts & giggles over pop culture repeatedly day after day make it look like the toughest topic feminism can tackle is a magazine cover.
now i grasp 1st principles. but these aren't 1st principles. these are like pre-k principles.
and i think we damage the movement when we allow this to go on without being called out.
a woman wears a tight t-shirt to meet with bill clinton and have her photo taken. she wants to be considered a journalist so why is she meeting with him in the 1st place when she's not allowed to write about it (it was an off the record meeting for some bloggers). people make some boob jokes and she's shocked.
as a woman with huge breasts, trust me, i wouldn't wear a tight t-shirt to meet a former president. the event was planned in advance. you want to wear a tight t-shirt to that meeting i don't know that you can then whine about the comments regarding your breasts.
in fact, you might want to consider it a good thing that you got boob talk instead of people noting that you dressed kind of trashy (meaning cheap in an expensive manner) to meet a former president.
everything's always whine, whine, whine with the mud flap gals.
and they don't offer much to applaud. britney spears is a major topic for the mud flap gals.
i haven't told a britney joke. i think it's rather sad what's happened to her and i don't like her. i think a wonderful piece could be written about what happens when a young girl is given breast implants (they were implants, guys having growing spurts after 16 - which appears to have confused some people - but any woman knows her boobs do not have a growing spurt after she turns 16), when she's encouraged to sell sex (that she claims she hasn't experienced) and sings 'hit me baby 1 more time.' 'hit me baby'?
she's dressed up not to be sexy for her age but to make her even younger (catholic school girl) to appeal to men who entered adult hood some time ago.
a piece could be written about how that and a lot more screwed with her head.
but we don't get that, we get britty jokes. we get ha-has.
and unless you're approaching it in the terms of the damage done to her psyche, why is a feminist even writing about spears?
what does it serve other than to act as a distraction?
and to encourage non-feminists to see feminists (and all women) as superficial and incapable of tackling the big issues?
and when an amy goodman or a katrina vanden heuvel work overtime to see that we're under-represented, we need to get serious and start calling that crap out.
we need to scream when homophobia surfaces, not cower and fall silent.
but didn't that happen when barack obama put homphobia on stage in south carolina in his attempt to embrace bigots? in his attempt to court them?
that's not a minor issue.
it's the sort of thing that an apology just doesn't make up for.
and pretending it does or being silent is disgusting.
right now the only name columnist in a daily paper that's a woman is? there are 2. there is maureen dowd who is not a feminist. (she was right about the illegal war but i always felt that was due to her love for the father and hatred for the son.) and there is ellen goodman.
ellen goodman was a breakthrough and she's stayed the same. but shouldn't other women have come up since? and shouldn't we have a woman who writes about the world? ellen goodman is a general topics columnists.
where are the women getting to do cover the scope thomas friedman does? the scope so many men get to cover?
that's what i really find offensive about the mud flap gals. they're not even rising to the level of ellen goodman in terms of scope and ellen goodman's not a 'new development' in their lives. she was well established before they were even born.
so when they refuse to tackle, for instance, the illegal war, they send a message that women just aren't up for those topics.
in the 90s (and maybe 80s) i was using erica jong as an example of a problem. erica jong knew anais nin and henry miller. and jong chose to write about who? henry miller.
seems like too many women chose to focus on men. of the 2, who had the more interesting life? i would think a book about a woman who had a husband in new york and 1 in california - at the same time - would make for an exciting book. a woman who led 2 completely different lives - a banker/artist's wife in new york and a forest ranger's wife in california. juggling the deceptions and attempting to create when even her fiction is autobiographical.
seems a lot more interesting than henry miller and his constant pursuit of a philosophy that will sustain him.
by the way, i'm not trashing erica jong in this. i'm using that as an example.
a more recent 1 would be judy collins who used - maybe still does - identify as a feminst.
as kat pointed out last year, feminist judy collins wants to 'honor' songwriters. so she recorded a tribute album to 1 in the 90s, bob dylan. then, in 2004, she recorded another 1 to honor leonard cohen. then, last year, she recorded 1 to honor lennon & mccartney.
possibly sometime after her seals & kroft tribute album, she'll make time to honor a female songwriter?
judy collins used to identify as a feminist.
so why is she's done 3 albums of recording 1 songwriter or 1 songwriter team and they've all been men?
2 words: joni mitchell.
joni mitchell's considered an equal to bob dylan.
so where's the joni tribute.
where's the laura nyro tribute?
the carly simon tribute?
the tracy chapman tribute?
there are a lot of amazing women songwriters.
they have a body of work that can easily stand up for a full album.
but not to judy collins.
and i think we need to ask about that.
and if we don't ask, we're not making any progress.
if we don't press on issues like these, nothing changes.
if we don't point out that independent media likes to note how little women make the sunday chat & chews each week but their own track record on female representation isn't that great.
it shouldn't have taken ava and c.i. to point out that 149 women were published by the nation magazine in 2007 to 491 men.
and when they tracked that and when they followed that, it should have been picked up and amplified.
the 6 month study went up at all the sites:
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you must have a penis""Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis""Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis""Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis""Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis""Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis""Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis""Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis""Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis""Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
6 months in, it was obvious there was a problem. that was a group writing project. but the opening was dead on arrival. jim pressured ava and c.i. to rewrite it, to think up a new opening, anything. and ava and c.i. delivered as they always manage to do. note the opening paragraphs:
The 2007 year for The Nation was kicked off at the end of December with a January 1, 2007 issue. The cover pictured Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson. For reasons still unclear, except a possible deficiency that makes anything beyond the obvious impossible, the fifty-five-year-old, be speckled, John Denver-like mayor was depicted shirtless, sporting chest hair, flashing his manly pits at the readers, while both arms were thrown straight in the air and, did we mention, his hands were clad in boxing gloves.
For those who missed the obvious, Rocky Anderson was portrayed as Rocky because, after all, what's lefter than Sylvester Stallone? The Nation, intentionally or not, was telegraphing to one and all that they could "cowboy up" as well as any Bully Boy in the White House. Any who couldn't grasp the non-subtle point had only turn to page 25.
As Ava and C.I. noted in real time, and as Ruth noted this spring, that is where you would find a book 'review' by centrist Peter Bergen entitled "Waltzing With Warlords" which allegedly would address three books: Sarah Chayes' The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban; Ann Jones' Kabul In Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan; and Rory Stewart's The Places in Between. Page wise, the smallest of three was the one written by Rory Stewart in . . . 2004. Reviewed for the January 2007 issue, a 2004 book. [An expanded version was published in May of 2006. Still far too old to qualify for a review in a January 2007 issue.] Why include a book that was three years old at this point? One of the many puzzling questions pertaining to males the magazine has consistently raised in the last six months.
Our guess is when you want to cook the book 'review' against women, you'll go to any lengths. Centrist and pig Bergen opens his alleged book review reflecting on the obvious image for a war-torn Afghanistan:
I open it and step into a world far removed from the dust-blown avenues of Kabul, where most women wear burqas and the vast majority of the population live in grinding poverty.
At one end of a long room is a well-stocked bar tended by a Chinese madam who assesses us with a practiced calculus. In front of her are more than a dozen scantily clad smiling young Chinese women sprawled over a series of bar stools and couches.
What does that have to do with the three books? Not a damn thing. But Bergen wants his jollies and apparently feels everyone needs to know that he visits bordellos. How proud his parents must be! His former classmates, probably not at all surprised.
Having set the (low-brow) tone, Bergen quickly rushes to explain not all women, apparently, know their place. No, apparently, some women reach beyond their 'natural' abilities such as Chayes and Jones, both of whom are too 'emotional' to write about Afghanistan.
Bergen finds Chayes "angry," "disillusioned," prone to "a smidge of self-congratulations" and not at all trust worthy (". . . we have to take Chayes's word for it"). Bergen finds Jones even more of the text book example of the female 'hysteria' noting that she fell for "trope," that she, too, is "angry" (we're guessing most women Bergen encounters are angry and that Bergen can find the reason for that just by looking in the mirror), that she suffers from a "tendency to see sinister conspiracies where they don't exist" (so irrational, those women), and much more!
The funnin' never stops for Bergen.
Then it's time to turn to the male writer and all the troubles with (women) writers go out the window as Bergen informs us of "Stewart's beautifully written book," offering "picaresque stories, of adventures on the road is a critical point that is often overlooked by Westerners with dreams of transforming Afghanistan into a place where women enjoy equal rights" (killjoys!), "skeptical" (as opposed to the "disillusioned" Chayes), "erudite" and so, so much more.
The book 'review' is nothing but a pig going Oink-Oink-Oink! For those who know no better, Sarah Chayes is a Harvard graduate and a professional reporter who left NPR to live in Afghanistan and work to improve conditions in that country. While she was doing that, Bill Moyers didn't find her 'emotional' and, in fact, had her on as a guest for a lengthy segment of what was then Now with Bill Moyers where she spoke with David Branccacio. Journalists, including Amy Goodman, have interviewed Chayes since she has written her book and we're aware of no on air meltdowns.
In fact, most feel Chayes, a professionally trained and respected journalist, is a reliable source for what she observed with her own eyes while in Afghanistan. To assist gas bag Bergen, what Chayes does is considered reporting. That may be confusing in a new world disorder where 'reporters' are encouraged to run with official statements and given them complete weight -- even when they contradict with the journalist's own observations. Who, what, where, when -- the journalism basics -- are what Chayes covers and Bergen can't handle that kind of reality (from a woman) so he has to point out that, in a first-hand recounting, we [gasp!] are dependent upon the author's observations.
Ann Jones has contributed to The Nation before and, we're sure, is quite aware that there is no more damning phrase from that magazine than being said to possess "a tendency to see conspiracy theories." That is The Nation's equivalent of "Your mother!"Not only is Jones an author, she's also a journalist and photographer -- with a doctorate as opposed to Bergen's B.A. and, we're sure, the B.S. he's more than earned from years of gas baggery. As for her alleged conspiracy theories, Nation Books only bestsellers, both by Gore Vidal, also argue the (true) narrative that, in the 90s, a proposed pipeline in Afghanistan trumped all other concerns for the US government. That's not a controversial theory to anyone but pigs who 'reported' for commercial TV 'journalism' (which is where Bergen hails from -- the lowest of all forms of journalism). Those not late to the party (that would be feminists) were calling out Afghanistan in the 90s while paid lobbyists were presenting PG-friendly versions of the country to Americans. Jones knows what she's writing about. Gore Vidal knows what he's writing about. The only one lost, intentionally or not, is Peter Bergen. [The February 25, 2007 "The Nation Stats" notes that Jones weighed in with a letter and that Bergen elected to ignore the bulk of it.]
That a three page plus book 'review' trafficking in the worst forms of sexism raised no flags to those in charge of the magazine goes a long, long way towards explaining how readers ended up with the first six months of The Nation this year.
the bulk of the above (all but 3 sentences if i remember correctly) is all ava and c.i. when jim told them to come up with a new opening, they had no idea what they were going to do. they were sick of the magazine and had copies of it on the floor next to them (they were sitting on the floor). they were tired (we all were, i'll explain why in a minute) and 1 of them kicked at the magazines, the other grabbed 1 and wadded it up. when that copy was thrown, they noticed the cover and came up with the rocky thing.
we were all tired? on december 25th 2006, ava and c.i. steered the edition at the third estate sunday review. third is dona, jim, ty, jess, ava and c.i. the rest of us often help out but it's their site. dona, jim, ty and jess were off that week due to the holiday. they hadn't all planned to be and didn't realize it. in fact, ava had put in for time off months ahead. when she found out (after she was in new york) that c.i. was going to be stuck with steering the edition solo, she flew back to california to help. in that edition, they tackled the nation's 1st issue for the year (it was already published) of 2007. they tracked it repeatedly at third.
as that happened, people with the nation wrote in. a few complaints but a lot of people saying 'thank you.' little jessie just finished her stint as a guest blogger at the nation.
she'd never have had the opportunity were it not for ava and c.i.
the 1s with the magazine who hated the often weekly feature were rightly embarrassed as 1 woman was published for approximately every 4 men.
the 6 month study was announced. it was planned, on our end, as a july 4th feature that we could all post to get the word out, yes, but also so we could all have the 4th off. we wrote it the sunday before.
we were happy with it.
then the day before, the nation magazine sends a whiney e-mail to c.i. (not to third where the feature was appearing).
they're going to start addressing the imbalance, they swear.
they're aware of it now.
it was a bunch of crap to try to kill the feature the day before it ran.
instead, we all spent july 3rd working on the damn thing. we threw out the original piece entirely and decided to hit as hard as possible - with jim noting that ava and c.i. would work on the wording to bring some humor to the piece (which they did).
it was around 3 in the morning when jim told ava and c.i. to stop working with us, that we'd finish up the rest and they could add to it if they wanted, but go off and fix the opening (which really was too weak).
so we got it done and we got it posted.
and the nation thought they were going to get away with it because they didn't get stormed with complaints. but complaints did show up regularly. the thing wouldn't die. then came the year end piece at 3rd that wasn't announced. that piece found the 491 men to 149 women - 6 months after the nation swore they were addressing it and that they were even going to add a female blogger!
only after the year long study went up did little jessie find herself with a guest spot. only after we liberally quoted the claims and promises from the nation in that e-mail c.i. was sent.
only after did they finally take action (action they had promised at the start of the july but done nothing).
that was brought to them by women writers. some of whom were established writers, some were starting out, but they were repeatedly turned down when they offered pieces to the nation. the bulk of the turned down pieces ended up published in other outlets. but the nation wasn't interested. they might assign a man to later write on the same topic (and often did) but they weren't interested in featuring women - as if even 1/2 the writers being wome would 'feminize' the publication, make it 'soft.'
that's it for me tonight.
let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'
Friday, Feburary 8, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Andy Sullivan loves John McCain and lies for him, will al-Sadr's cease-fire/truce hold when they're praying in some regions for it to end, Americans say "Save the economy by pulling out of Iraq," and more.
Starting with war resistance, Krystalline Kraus (The Rabble) traces the historical support Canada has provided to war resisters:
According to Lee Zaslofsky, a key organizer for the War Resisters Support Campaign and a Vietnam resister himself, he believes that Canada has a certain historical legacy to live up to by accepting war resisters.
It was Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and the Liberal Party who opened Canada's doors during the Vietnam war to thousands of Americans war resisters, who were often motivated by the same feeling of objection to an unjust and illegal war.
"Of course, Canada's legacy extends back further to the [American] Civil War and before that when slaves came north via the underground railroad, and even before that with the United Empire Loyalists, so there is sort of a Canadian tradition of welcoming dissenters from the United States and this is another part of that," Zaslofsky explains.
With the Canadian Supreme Court refusing to hear appeals on this issue in November, the country's Parliament remains the best hope for safe harbor war resisters may have. You can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
Meanwhile IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:
In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan
March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'." As part of their fundraising efforts for the event, they are holding houseparties and a recent one in Boston featured both IVAW's Liam Madden and the incomprable Howard Zinn as speakers.
In the United States, a new poll may cause a stir. Jeannine Aversa (AP) reports that Americans surveyed by AP and Ipsos feel "The way to get the country out of recession -- and most people think we're in one -- is to get the country out of Iraq" and "Pulling out of the war ranked first among proposed remedies in the survey, followed by spending more on domestic programs, cutting taxes and, at the bottom end, giving rebates to poor people in hopes they'll spend the economy into recovery." The number saying ending the illegal war would pull the United States out a recession was 43% and included respondent Hilda Sanchez who declares, "Let's stop paying for this war. There are a lot of people who are struggling. We can use the money to pay for medical care and help people who were put out of their homes." [Marin of error on the poll was plus/minus 3/1%.]
In Iraq, a cease-fire/truce between the US military and Moqtada al-Sadr is close to expiring. Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reports that yesterday a raid conducted by US soldiers, with Iraqi support, was conducted in "the Shia distrcit of Sadr City" utilizing Humvees and helicopters to arrest 16 (one of which would die in 'custody') and doing so over the objections of local Iraqis such as Abu Sajjad who declares that the US military "detained people who are neutral and educated people. They care only about religion. They will never be witht he military wing." al-Sadr has issued a statement for all followers to continue the truce/cease-fire at present. Lebanon's The Daily Star notes a "report by the International Crisis Group think tank said the respite offered by the cease-fire was 'exceedingly frail' and that Sadrists -- many of whom complain they are targeted by security forces -- remain extremely powerful" and offers this description of the US military incursion into a civilian neighborhood yesterday: "Police and residents said that US soldiers in humvees, backed by helicopters, sealed off a block of the neighborhood and raided four house. The front-door lock on one of the houses was shattered by gunfire, and 22-year-old Arkan Abid Ali was shot in the chest and wounded. Diaa Shakir, 20, said he heard gunfire coming from inside houses US soldiers had entered, as he watched the operation from the window of his home nearby." The paper also notes that the military assualt on a civilian area left two women injured as well as an elderly person. Though the 16 arrested (that's counting the one who was reported to have died in US 'custody') have not been identified by name, the BBC runs with the US military command's boast that one of the 16 may be "a suspected leader of a Shia militia group allegedly backed by Iran." AP notes the toll from the assualt as 1 Iraqi who died in US custody, 1 Iraqi woman shot (but "treated and released"), "two women and an elderly man also had been wounded and tkane to a hospital, where one of them had died." Lauren Frayer (AP) explains that in Kufa today, prayers included condemning "the recent arrests and accused Iraqi officials of sectarian bias" quoting Sheik Abdul Hadi al-Karbalaei who believes the truce/cease-fire is leaving them vulnerable, "For the past six months there have been non-stop detentions of al-Sadr followers, day and night." Those who would like or require audio can refer to Jim Lehrer's News Summary (PBS) from The NewsHour which briefly includes the incident and also notes:
In Iraq, the US military announced an American soldier died Wednesday in a roadside bombing. There have been eight U.S. deaths so far this month. More than 3,950 Americans have died in Iraq since the war began.
In the New York Times today, Alissa J. Rubin leaves out the total but makes a similar claim re: 1 death announced. Repeating from yesterday's snapshot:
Today the US military announced [PDF format warning]: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed when the Soldier's vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in western Baghdad Feb. 6." As noted this morning: "The ICCC total since the start of the illegal war for US service members killed while serving in Iraq is 3950 with 6 for the month. 50 away from the 4,000 mark but since Ted Koppel stepped down from Nightline does the media -- big or small -- even bother to let those numbers register?" The numbers have gone up -- due to DoD namings, not M-NF announcements. Currently the total is 3952 since the start of the illegal war and 8 for the month thus far. On the 7th day of the month, the number of US service members who have died in the illegal war this month is 8.
The US military wasn't eager for the deaths to be widely noted (AEB the fact that M-NF didn't make the announcements) but they're eager for everyone to know something else. Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) notes the US military is stating that al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia is instructing its followers to 'play nice' out of concern that potential Sunni allies might be turned off and Paley speaks with a man named Riyadh al-Ogaidi whom is identified by the paper as a senior leader of the group who claims, "The Americans have not defeated us, but the turnaround of the Sunnis against us had made us lose a lot and suffer very painfully" and also asserts that the Iraqi membership accounted for 12,000 last year but has fallen "to about 3,500 today."
In political news, Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reports that Thursday Iraq's "Parliament again deferred a vote on the budget of Thursday as political blocs argued about how to divide financing among the provinces, but legislators did make headway toward approving a law that would outline provincial powers. . . . The debate on Iraq's 2008 budget, which was supposed to have been resolved with a vote in December, has revolved around how much of the money to allocate to the Kurds and whether the central government will pay the costs of the pesh merga soldiers, the Kurdish militia. Lawmakers said Thursday that the Planning Ministry had collected date showing that Kurdistan had 14 percent to 15 percent of Iraq's population, and that it should get that share of the nonfederal part of the budget." Along with deferring a vote -- on the 2008 budget, the 2008 budget -- they also had a walk out. Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times via San Francisco Chronicle) reports the walk out took place "to protest parts of a draft law that would lay out rules for provincial elections later this year, marking another potential setback for U.S.-backed proposals to ease Iraq's sectarian rifts. The walkout postponed a vote on the measure to redistribute power in Iraq."
"The delay in the budget is harming everyone," stated Adel Abdel-Mehdi, Iraq's Shi'ite vice president according to Lebanon's The Daily Star which also notes that legislation put on hold also included a bill "that would release thousands of mainly Sunni Arabs from Iraqi jails . . . The law that would free prisoners who have not been charged with or convicted of major crimes, like murder or treason, is also seen as a step toward reconciliation because most of the 23,000 people held in Iraqi jails are Sunni Arabs" and this is among the legislative demands that the Sunni Accordance Front made before walking out of puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki's cabinet.
In some of today's reported violence . . .
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack. Reuters notes that yesterday people in police uniforms conducted a home invasion in Baquba, shot dead 5 people and then exploded the home and today a Hawija car bombing injured two police officers.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 person and 1 police officer in Anbar Province following a clash with unknown assailants and, last night in Baghdad, the "Head of Sahwa," was shot dead in Baghdad (two bodyguards of the 'Awakening' Council chiefton were also injured). Reuters notes a college student was shot dead in Mosul.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 Christian missionaries ("with the Norwegian Churches Organization") were kidnapped last night in Basra.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad.
Today the US State Department issued "Background Notes: Iraq" which contained many amusing 'interpretations' but we'll note this section:
The focus of United States policy in Iraq remains on helping the Iraqi people build a constitutional, representative government that respects the rights of all Iraqis and has security forces capable of maintaining order and preventing the country from becoming a safe haven for terrorists and foreign fighters. The ultimate goal is an Iraq that is peaceful, united, stable, democratic, and secure, with institutions capable of providing just governance and security for all Iraqis and is an ally in the war against terrorism. U.S. forces remain in Iraq (under a UN Security Council mandate) as part of the Multi-National Force-Iraq to assist the Government of Iraq in training its security forces, as well as to work in partnership with the Government of Iraq to combat forces that seek to derail Iraq's progression toward full democracy. The U.S. Government is carrying out a multibillion-dollar program to assist in the reconstruction of Iraq.
"Under a UN Security Council mandate" is a good time to again note the treaty that the Bully Boy is attempting to prepare with Nouri al-Maliki -- without US Congressional consent (a violation of the US Constitution) or the Iraqi Parliament's consent (ditto). As noted in Wednesday's snapshot, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Stafff Michael G. Mullen went before the US Senate's Armed Service Committee on Wednesday to beg for even more money and claimed that there was no interest in the permanent bases being established in Iraq or that the treaty (neither used that term) didn't call for them. Yesterday, Peter Spiegel (Los Angeles Times) covered the Wednesday hearing as well as the Wednesday House Armed Service Committee hearing, noting that "Gates denied Wednesday that the Bush administration was seeking a treaty with Iraq that would require long-term secuirty commitments forcing future U.S. presidents to continue sending troops. Instead, Gates told lawmakers, a new agreement with Baghdad would give the U.S. military continuing legal authority to operate in Iraq, much like the current United Nations resolutions, which expire at the end of the year." Why not simply renew the resolution isn't dealt with. At the end of 2006, al-Maliki by-passed the Parliament and the Iraqi Constitution by renewing it all on his own. Though the Constitution makes clear he does not have the power to do that, the Parliament passed legislation which they hoped would prevent that from taking place agian. Instead, al-Maliki went around them again. It needs to be noted that the United Nations was aware of that and should have rejected the renewal (which would legally mean US forces could not be in Iraq) . Because Parliament is even angrier at al-Maliki this time and because Bully Boy's reign at the White House will come to a close next January, the two are cooking up a scheme that by-passes the United Nations, both countries' Constitutions and both countries' legislative bodies. As Spiegel notes, "Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has made the proposed agreement an issue in her presidential campaign, accusing the administration of seeking to tie the hands of the next president by committing to Iraq's protection with U.S. forces" and that to Gates denial that this is a "treaty," "Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, has countered that the Iraqi foreign minister has termed the agreement a treaty and that, under the U.S. Constitution, Congress is required to ratify any treaty that provides such security guarantees." Charlie Savage (Boston Globe) interpreted the Senate Committee hearing to mean that the White House "is backing off its unprecedented plans to commit the US military to defending Iraq's security for years to come without submitting the agreement to a vote in Congress" citing Gates' testimony after Gates first attempted to debate what qualified for a treaty.
Staying with the US, Andy Sullivan (Reuters) reports that US Senator John McCain ("his victory as Republican nominee for the U.S. presidency virtually assured"????) has "turned his sights on his Democratic challengers" today claiming that "they were weak on national security and their Iraq stance would hand al Qaeda a victory." Senator Insane is a little slow on the draw -- possibly due to age? -- and Sullivan misses a lot himself. Sullivan goes on to quote a statement by US Senator Barack Obama (singing the same song he always sings and has it gotten old: "On the most important foreign policy decision in perhaps a generation, I strongly believe John McCain got it wrong") but seems to miss Hillary Clinton.
Sullivan forgets in his ENTIRE article is a sitting US senator and not just "former first lady" and a presidential contender. It's cute the way he also refuses to quote Clinton's statements. But Sullivan IS WRONG. Bambi may or may not have 'fired back' today. Hillary Clinton raised the issue yesterday.
Get it straight, McCain didn't lay down a 'marker' -- a mythical narrative to paint him as a 'leader.' Perry Bacon Jr. (Washington Post), Julie Bosman (New York Times) and, most important to this community, our own Kat noted that Hillary laid down the marker yesterday declaring, "I have the greatest respect for my friend and my colleague Senator McCain. But I believe that he offers more of the same, more of the same economic policies, more of the same military policies in Iraq." Reuters needs to figure out (A) how Sullivan is so grossly uninformed that he's not aware of that and today paints Hillary as responding to McCain's 'leadership' and how Sullivan manages to credit Barack Obama as a US Senator when he's only been that since Jan. 2005 but Hillary Clinton, a US Senator since Jan. 2001, is just "former first lady." Reuters really needs to figure that out -- especially since the press has a long history of bending over backwards in favor of Senator Crazy, the Showboat Express. Kat's finishing her explanation tonight (on the "She's boxed someone in" via the statemtns) tonight, just FYI. We (Kat, Ava and myself) heard that (Hillary's statement) on NPR yesterday evening but I'm not seeing any article of it online (and it may have been local news and not the national news feed). Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) takes a look at McCain's public statements and winds down noting, "Now he espouses the belief that the U.S. can stabilize regions -- with enough troops. The lesson of Vietnam and Iraq, he said in a May 2007 speech, is that 'we must never again launch a military operation with too few troops to complete the mission and build a secure, stable and democratic peace. When we fight a war, we must fight to win'." That is a revisionary take on Vietnam. And it's one that avoids issues such as legalities and treaties. Senator Crazy, despite Andy Sullivan's mad crush from him, is not yet the GOP presidential candidate and may not yet become it. Again, Reuters needs to take a serious look at how that nonsense ran to begin with.
Tonight on Bill Moyers Journal, the program looks at viewers recommendations for what book the next president of the United States should take to the White House. Among the books noted thus far by viewers at the show's blog are Anthony Arnove's IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal and Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism.
Winding down, Angelina Jolie's visit to Iraq. Noted in yesterday's snapshot and we were supposed to continue it today. No time. Leila Fadel (Baghdad Observer, McClatchy Newspapers) shares what she thinks of the visit. This was addressed earlier today -- from that entry, among the coverage the Iraqi refugee crisis received as a result of Jolie's visit: Here's a gossip column in the Miami Herald that mentions Jolie's visit. Here it is in India's The Economic Times. Here's AP at MSNBC. Here's the British tabloid Hello! Here's a Seattle Post-Intelligencer gossip column. Here's Australia's Herald Sun. Here's AP in the Toronoto Star. Here's E! (gossip channel). Here's Reuters. And, of course, Fadel's write up.
Lastly. In DC today, at the US State Dept, this question was asked, "I wondered if you wanted to comment on a memo that was sent by a former contractor at the U.S. Embassy, Manuel Miranda, to Ambassador Crocker at the U.S. -- a former contractor at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. And he, in this memo, complains that the Foreign Service is not competent to do the job that they have undertaken in Iraq. He talks a lot about how Foreign Service officers do not have enough management experience so that they're not equipped to management programs, hundreds of millions of funds and the capital assets needed to help the Government of Iraq to stand up. So do you have any comment on that?"
The State Dept's deputy spokesperson Tom Casey responded by first attempting to make a joke of it ("Yeah, I guess he needs to tell us how he really feels") and then declaring, "Look, Mr. Miranda, was, as you note, a 3161 -- that's a contracting employee -- in Iraq, I guess, for about -- I guess for about a year. Obviously, he's expressing his own views and he's entitled to his opinions. What I can tell you is that you've heard from the President, Secretary Rice and many others about the job that Ryan Crocker is doing as the U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad. We think he and his team are doing a tremendous job" blah, blah, blah.