Three years later, in the same week that he bowed down to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the assembled nations of the world, in New York City, Obama took his church voice to the Congressional Black Caucus annual awards dinner to very pointedly demand that Blacks stop bugging their president about the economic catastrophe that has befallen them, and his own role in it. “Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes,” Obama hectored. “Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’. We are going to press on. We have work to do.”
Black Caucus chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver had earlier told reporters, “If Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this [Black unemployment] problem, we probably would be marching on the White House." But Obama came to lay down the law: any marching that you might do will be for my re-election.
The well-oiled crowd cheered.
Los Angeles congresswoman Maxine Waters seemed to be the only Black lawmaker capable of an adult response:
“I’m not sure who the president was addressing. I found that language a bit curious. The president spoke to the Hispanic Caucus… he certainly didn’t tell them to stop complaining and he never would say that to the gay and lesbian community who really pushed him on don’t ask don’t tell or even in a speech to APEC, he would never say to the Jewish community stop complaining about Israel.”
But she won’t hold it against Obama.
“So I don’t know who he was talking to because we’re certainly not complaining. We are working. We support him and we are protecting that base because we want people to be enthusiastic about him when that election rolls around.”
I know what he means about Maxine. I blogged about that earlier this week. But he does give her credit for at least being an adult.
I just can't believe how powerless our community has become.
It's like Cynthia McKinney says, we're supposed to be the ones with the real concerns. We're admired around the world because we suffered and we didn't turn it around on others. We endured the suffering and rose above it. It allows us to speak with a certain authority. But we've traded that in to sit silently as Barack trashes our community over and over.
He's not even a part of it.
And I've said that forever, but he's proven my point repeatedly. Were he a part of our community, he would never stand for the huge unemployment.
But our world is not his world and it never has been.
Cornel West raised some good questions about Barack and his relationship to the Black community as evidenced by his relationship with his father. There is no relationship there. Just a vague dream in Barack's head. One he can push aside and put away when it's of no value to him. And that's exactly how he has treated the Black community.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Moussawi: Well absolutely no. I mean when you take the bottom line of the American policy and when you see that the Americans are striving and doing their best in order to continue, to be present in the Iraqi soil, to continue their withdrawal, to extend their presence over there, then you know that this will be an effective tour for them when you have the ruins, the killings, the destruction is taking place on largest scale. This would put the Iraqis, and it is a way to push the Iraqis into despair, into frustration and to beg the Americans to stay there because they cannot manage the whole thing by themselves. This is a kind of pressure. This is a kind of political pressure paid for by the blood of the Iraqi innocents, the Iraqi martyrs, the women, the men and the military as well. You are talking about civilians, you are talking about combination of wars, you are talking about civilians and military people that are being the target of this kind of terrorist attacks and I believe this is going to boil down into the American interest. I cannot see in any way that the Americans are going to exercise any pressure against those terrorists or against any regional power that might support them to stop doing that, whether Saudi Arabia or not if this has been the situation.
Tell Congress it's time to end the Iraq War, not prolong it
Earlier this summer Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) asked their colleagues to sign a letter to the President urging him to bring all the troops home by the end of the year. MFSO in turn, asked our members to support them by urging their own representatives to sign this letter.
Continuing her efforts towards finally, truly ending the war in Iraq, Congresswoman Lee has written as a bill: HR 27577, the Iraq Withdrawal Accountability Act of 2011, which would require the removal of all US troops and contractors from Iraq on or before the promised deadline December 31 2011. It has reached 37 cosponsors to date. Click here to learn more and send an email to your Representative.
Flood the Super Committee Deficit Reduction Suggestion Box!
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka "The Super Committee") has been meeting to come up with the next round of budget cuts. Despite the many examples of obscene military waste on outdated equipment, fraud and negligence, it is despicable that some on Capitol Hill are talking about cutting veterans benefits and raising Tricare rates. Servicemembers, veterans, and military families have suffered enough. The Super Committee needs to hear from us: End the wars and cuts military waste, not veteran's benefits. Click here to tell them what you think should be cut.
Take Action to End the Wars
On October 6th & 7th, people will be taking action in DC and across the country to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, whether you're lobbying Congress, occupying Freedom Plaza, or building solidarity with the communities impacted by the War on Terror.
- On October 6th there will be a national call-in day to Congress demanding an end to the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan. We will send out more information about this next week along with talking points.
- Make an appointment to meet with your Representative or their staff on October 6th or 7th, either in their DC or home district office. Our Representatives need to hear from military families! Click here to find your Representative's contact information.
- Join us in DC! MFSO is organizing a unique event on October 7th called War Voices, a forum bringing together veterans and military families with Afghan civilians and community and economic justice organizers and artists to reflect on a decade of war. Click here to find out more.
- Many MFSO members will also be participating in the occupation of Freedom Plaza starting on October 6th. Click here for more info and to read MFSO's statement on this protest.
Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson – MFSO Co-Founders
Oskar Castro, Samantha Miller, Liz Rocci, and Clarissa Rogers -- MFSO Staff
However in early September, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki approved a new formulation of the same law and again, has sent it to parliament for approval.
Several important, and potentially even more controversial, things changed in this version.
The draft law makes a national Iraqi oil company the ultimate authority in the formulation of policies, orders on procedures for drilling and production and in the signing of deals with investors. The council heading the Iraqi National Oil Company (or INOC) would have control over all the oil fields that are already producing crude.
This means the council at the top of the INOC gets a lot more authority -- under the old version of the law, the council could only draw up policies and issue instructions.
The INOC would also get authority over the bidding for almost all of Iraq's oil and gas fields; previously they were only able to conduct auctions on new -- read: undiscovered, undeveloped -- fields.
The new draft of the law also eliminates an important clause that said that the INOC's authority must include representation from Shiite Muslim parties, Sunni Muslim parties and from the Kurdish sector. It also reserves a seat on the council for the deputy prime minister for energy -- currently this is Hussein al-Shahristani, well known as a close ally of al-Maliki's.
None of this has gone down well with Kurdish politicians, both in Baghdad and in their own semi-autonomous state of Iraqi Kurdistan. Who owns the oil fields inside the Kurdish region, which has its own government and its own legislation, has long been a contentious issue between the Arab government in Baghdad and the Kurdish one in Erbil.
Peter Van Buren is a State Dept employee and the author of the new book We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (American Empire Project) which hit bookstore shelves yesterday. Peter Van Buren's book charts 2009, not the more distant past, not the Bush era. As a result of truth telling about what went on in Iraq under Barack, the administration has been targeting Van Buren. From his "Freedom Isn't Free at the State Department" (TomDispatch via Truthout):
On the same day that more than 250,000 unredacted State Department cables hemorrhaged out onto the Internet, I was interrogated for the first time in my 23-year State Department career by State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) and told I was under investigation for allegedly disclosing classified information. The evidence of my crime? A posting on my blog from the previous month that included a link to a WikiLeaks document already available elsewhere on the Web.
As we sat in a small, gray, windowless room, resplendent with a two-way mirror, multiple ceiling-mounted cameras, and iron rungs on the table to which handcuffs could be attached, the two DS agents stated that the inclusion of that link amounted to disclosing classified material. In other words, a link to a document posted by who-knows-who on a public website available at this moment to anyone in the world was the legal equivalent of me stealing a Top Secret report, hiding it under my coat, and passing it to a Chinese spy in a dark alley.
Peter Van Buren and Tom Engelhardt connect the targeting of Van Buren with the targeting of others in the alleged era of Obama Openess in "WikiLeaked at the State Department" (Antiwar.com):
It's hardly a secret at this late date that, while the Obama administration arrived in office promoting "a new standard of openness" in government, in practice it's cast not sunshine, but a penumbra of gloom over the workings of Washington. Talk about a closed and punitive crew. Its Justice Department has notoriously gone after government whistleblowers and leakers, launching significantly more (largely unsuccessful) prosecutions than any of Obama's predecessors. His people lit out with particular ferocity after WikiLeaks, and specifically Bradley Manning, the young Army private accused of passing enormous caches of Army and State Department documents to that website. In the process, the administration developed special forms of pre-punishment to torment him while he was confined, still uncharged, at a Marine brig in Quantico, Va. (It also went to ludicrous lengths to bar government officials, workers, contractors, the military, and anyone else linked to them from reading the leaked documents to which everyone else on Earth already had access.)
peter van buren