Friday, January 23, 2009

Hillary Is 44

Hillary Is 44 has a great essay today. This is an excerpt of "Caroline Kennedy’s Lack of Judgment And The Age Of Fake:"

Caroline Kennedy displayed a lack of judgment, stupidity and cupidity, - when she endorsed Barack Obama.
Caroline Kennedy displayed a lack of basic decency and manners when she conspired with Uncle Ted to backstab Hillary Clinton and endorsed Barack Obama. Americans were badly served by Caroline Kennedy and her endorsement which if given today would be utterly worthless.
In the age of fake Caroline Kennedy expected to be appointed Senator then run for election in 2010 and for a full term in 2012. But Caroline Kennedy could not win an election. We remember Caroline Kennedy did not convince the citizens of New York or Massachusetts to join her in her lack of judgment and her backstabbing during the primaries - Hillary Clinton won both states easily.
In the age of fake Caroline Kennedy insulted the memory of her murdered father by favorably comparing the fake Barack Obama to the real real John Fitzgerald Kennedy. JFK was
real and experienced, not fake.
John Kennedy won the presidency before passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. Kennedy was young but had a great deal of experience in political life. Kennedy toured Europe, the Soviet Union and the Middle East in the fateful year 1939. On the day before Germany invaded, John Kennedy was in Poland. Kennedy’s Harvard senior thesis completed in 1940 was “Appeasement in Munich”. Kennedy by the end of the war was a war hero. Kennedy served with regular Joes in the U.S. Navy. Kennedy saved the lives of his crew. John Kennedy from the elite schools and elite background was loved by working class whites and blacks. John Kennedy was no egghead.
JFK was real, not fake. But his daughter confused Americans by equating fake Barack Obama with real JFK.
In the age of fake, Caroline Kennedy shares shameless audacity with fake Barack Obama. Our commentor
Birdgal dared say the following: Ms. Kennedy was part of the vetting process for VP. Doesn’t that seems hypocritical? No wonder, Richardson’s difficulties seemed manageable.
In the age of fake, those like Caroline Kennedy and Barack Obama demand ethics from others, question others with long questionnaires they themselves
refuse to answer because the answers would prove self-destructive and impede their career advancement.
The fake Caroline Kennedy, like the fake John Edwards is alleged to have an affair with the publisher of the New York Times. The many New York Times articles and columns published to glorify Caroline Kennedy and get her a Senate seat never mentioned the affair. It is hard to believe that Hillary Hater and New York Times gossip of imaginary conversations, Maureen Dowd, was not aware of the affair her publisher friend and fake Caroline Kennedy were having. Dowd and the other Times “writers” kept quiet. Little wonder that Americans are turning away from these fake news outlets.
Fake Caroline Kennedy has
tax and other problems which preclude her fake friend Barack Obama from gifting her a job without a complete rejection of ethics rules and laws. Unlike fake Barack Obama, Caroline Kennedy did not receive the Big Media protection (except for the New York Times) that she expected to receive.

Theresa e-mailed that to me and wondered if I could highlight it? I was actually planning to highlight it any way. I saw it this morning and was planning to.

I'm not interested in highlighting or visiting Puma Pac. Sorry.

I'm a Black woman. I am more than fine arguing that Hillary's seat should have gone to a woman (of any color) but don't tell me that Barack Obama's seat shouldn't go to a person of color. That's nonsense.

Do you know how many people of color are in the Senate right now?

You have two Latino Senators, you have two Asian-American senators (Island Pacific may be the more appropriate term, they're from Hawaii) and Roland Burris who is Black.

Did I miss anyone?

Five people of color. There are 100 US Senators. (Currently 99 as two White men fight it out in court for one seat: Al Franken and Norm Coleman.)

Barack's not Black. He is bi-racial. He is a person of color. When he left the Senate to become president, it was important to consider that. The seat should have gone to a person of color.

Stan made that point and conspiracy theorist Joe Racist Cannon wanted to scream "Racist" and f-you at Stan. White Joe wanted to call Black Stan a racist because Stan supports affirmative action.

I'm Black. I'm a woman. And I support affirmative-action.

Puma Pac?

They didn't do a damn thing and they can kiss my Black ass.

The Confluence? They've already had crazy Joe Cannon scream at them. They are sexists. According to Joe.

They know he's crazy.

And he's abuser.

That's what it comes down to.

Everyone tip toes around his rages because they don't want to set the crazy man off.

Not me.

He can kiss my ass.

But so can Puma Pac.

Don't you dare argue that Hillary's seat has to go to a woman and then turn around and say no one should argue Barack's seat should have gone to a person of color.

That's hypocrisy. And the reason you're a hypocrite may be due to your own racism.

The two situations are exactly the same.

There are so few women in the US Senate that we can't afford to lose one without another woman being promoted into the seat. The same with people of color in the Senate.

Joe Cannon is abusive and Puma Pac wants to do their little "Pig of the Day" but they'll never call him out and the reason is that they're afraid to.

So they are on record as supporting a woman for Hillary's seat and opposing a person of color for Barack's. Hypocrites? Absolutely. Racists? Probably.

I'm not interested in them.

Hillary Is 44?

They don't link to Joe. They don't link to anyone. And that's the other thing I want to address. I had a number of e-mails asking why I don't link to this site or that site?

Is there a site that links to me and I'mnot linking back to them?

If that's the case, let me know. Otherwise forget it.

Outside of this community, I've experienced what most Black bloggers experience -- non-interest from the White bloggers. Why the hell would I want to link to people who think they are too good to link to me?

Screw 'em. I'm not new online. I've been around since 2005. Now I did chapters to my comic novel. But go back read some of those chapters because I dealt with serious topics. I dealt with the war, I dealt with globalization, I dealt with everything you could imagine.

It'll be four years in April.

I'm not going to rush to kiss anyone's online ass.


I respect Hillary Is 44 for not having links. Good for them.

I wouldn't link to most of the crap online. Take Corrente which is a piece of trash website. You've got the alarmist Sarah passing herself off as a 'progressive,' you've got the stupid Chicago Dyke who has to be the only lesbian in the world who never found a woman to write about (seriously, check out her posts, she's like a drag king), you've got the boys who steal (they know who they are) and you've got BringItOn the stupid idiot of all time. Here he is whining that Caroline Kennedy didn't get Hillary's seat and he's being snide and bitchy:

The key thing, the real litmus test for a True Progressive was, of course, that Gillibrand supported Hillary while that disgusting Kennedy person supported Obama. Nothing else matters, not voting records or the company they keep, and most of all that damn notion of institutional continuity of an Old-Time Progressive presence has been stomped on. “No More Kennedys!” is a rallying cry any True Progressive can get behind no matter what the alternative may be.

"Nothing else matters" he rages "not voting records" --

Pull the needle off the record.

Voting records didn't matter? Gillibrand has a voting record. Caroline Kennedy?

Oh, that's right, princess didn't have a voting record. Princess didn't have anything.

It takes a real idiot to tell us that someone with no voting record is a progressive. It takes a real idiot to tell us that someone who supports Michael Bloomberg and pissed of NY Democrats by dancing around whether she would support a Democrat for mayor of NYC in the next election or Bloomberg is a progressive. It takes a real idiot to tell us that someone who has nothing to point to other than two co-authored books is a progressive.

I've read those bad books. (Last week. C.I. has them and when I saw them, I grabbed them from the shelves to see if I could be wrong about Caroline. I wasn't wrong.) Find something progressive in those books. There is nothing progressive. What's the libertarian at The Chicago Tribune? Steve Chapman? He could have co-written those two books.

I'm really sick of BringItOn and his bulls**t. He's a lot like Ms. magazine. He refused to worship Barack in the primaries and now feel he has to suck up twice as hard. Fortunately, his lack of spine allows him the flexibility to do just that.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, January 23, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, KBR appears guilty in the death of a US service member who was electrocuted, provincial elections loom and more.

Having failed to snag an invite to this week's earlier power-breakfast with the military, Nancy A. Youssef cracked open her little black book and pulled a few strings. Why McClatchy's one-time ace reported bothered is the only puzzler? What
she scribbles is an insult to not only journalism but the collective intelligence as well. Gen James Conway announced (over breakfast tacos?), "The times is right for Marines to leave Iraq." Nance tosses around the name "Barack" and we're all supposed to see this as some sort "New World Coming" (sing it, Cass). Hamlet declared, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horaito, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Someone needs to explain, "There was a world before this week, Nancy, and it's a well documented one." Translation? Thom Shanker (New York Times) was reporting what Nance stumbled upon and was reporting in October of 2007: "The Marine Corps is pressing to remove its forces from Iraq and to send marines instead to Afghanistan, to take over the leading role in combat there, according to senior military and Pentagon officials." The same day Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) was covering the story and explaining, "The proposal, discussed at senior levels of the Pentagon last week, would have the Marine Corps replace the Army as the lead U.S. force in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops number more than 25,000 and make up the largest contingent of the NATO-led force there. . . . Marine Corps officers who have served in Iraq expressed enthusiasm for the idea, which would in essence allow the service to extricate itself from the increasingly unpopular and costly Iraq war. . . . Senior Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, have not publicly spoken of the issue. Officers knowledgeable of the Marine Corps' push for the new mission did not characterize it as a formal plan." August 2008, CNN quoted Conway stating, "To do more in Afghanistan, our Marines have got to see relief elsewhere." Liam Stack (Christian Science Monitor) in August noted, "American and Iraqi officials announced on Wednesday that United States forces would hand over control of the Anbar Province, the scene of some of the war's most gruesome violence, to the Iraqi military as soon as next Monday. Most of the departing US soldiers are marines, many of whom will be sent to Afghanistan, where conflict has renewed between NATO forces and a resurgent Taliban." Tony Perry (Los Angeles Times) explained in November, "The Marines have long made no secret of their desire to depart from Iraq and redeploy to Afghanistan, where they were the first conventional U.S. troops in 2001 to invade the country to assist local forces in toppling the Taliban regime." And in December, Cami McCormick (CBS Radio News) reported, "The Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps says it's 'high time' his troops leave Iraq and take their battle skills to Afghanistan. 'We are a fighting maching,' Gen. James Conway tells CBS News, and the fight is now in Afghanistan." None of that 15-month public history makes it into Youssef's 'report.' Nancy's too busy mouthing, "Now I have a song inside, The birds sing to me, I finally can be, Free to spread my wings in harmony" (Diana Ross' "Every Day Is A New Day").

Ron Jacobs (CounterPunch) calls out the nonsense of 'noble war' Afghanistan and addresses Iraq concluding, "There are at least two antiwar protests coming up in spring 2009. If Barack Obama is not taking the path towards peace that he was elected to take by then, it is essential that those who voted for him with the understanding that US troops would be leaving Iraq (and not going to Afghanistan) attend at least one of these protests. That is what democracy really means." I've chosen that quote but, for any who don't use the link, Jacobs is absolutely not saying, "Wait until the protests." He is calling for action and calling for it right now. Military Families Speak Out is staging "The Change WE Need" from Feburary 6th to 9th in DC which will include marching from Arlington National Cementery to the White House. A.N.S.W.E.R. is among the organizations sponsoring March 21st "Bring the Troops Home Now" rally and march in DC. Dropping back to CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn writes, "But credit where credit is due. On his second day in the White House Jimmy Carter amnestied Vietnam draft dodgers and war resisters." Then blah blah on Barack. Jimmy Carter did that, Alex? No, he sure as hell as did not do what you say he did. I guess it's easy to treat Jimmy Carter as heroic if you invent actions he never took. War resisters during Vietnam were draft dodgers and deserters. The first category -- and only the first category -- got amnesty from Carter. You can click here for CBC reporting on that (January 21, 1977) and the reaction in Canada. Also on January 21st -- and note, January 21st. Barack's praise from Alex is over Jan. 22nd. His second full day in office. Jimmy Carter pardoned draft dodgers on his first day in office -- and, yes, that is important. January 21, 1977, The MacNeil/Lehrer Report (now The NewsHour) featured a discussion on Carter's actions that day. Americans for Amnesty's Louise Ransom was vocal about all war resisters (and protestors) needing amnesty. On the broadcast was Elizabeth Holtzman who was then a US House Rep. I like Liz, I've known her for many years. But what she did is something everyone should learn from because it should not repeat today. She was "pleased" (you know it because she used the phrase "I'm pleased" three times in her first sentence) but, "I would have liked to have seen it broader, I would like to have seen it extend to some of the people who are clearly not covered and whose families will continue to be separated from them . . . but I don't think President Carter has closed the door on this category of people." She didn't think?It's a good thing she didn't wager a bet. That was it. Carter didn't do another damn thing. And those of us calling for more were told, "We can't pressure him. He'll get to it." No, he wouldn't and, no, he didn't. It sure is cute of Alex to come along all this time later and give Carter credit for something he never did. It sure is cute of Alex to rewrite history. (In fairness, he doesn't know the history. Vietnam wasn't personally pressing to him in real time for obvious reasons -- he was Irish, not American, and when he came to the US he was well beyond drafting age for male citizens.) Credit where it's due? Jimmy Carter earns no credit for that. He did as little as possible and he only did that much because he was pressured. Ford had already offered a program (that you had to jump through hoops for) that covered draft dodgers and deserters. Carter was running against Ford and there was a real peace movement in America at that time -- not the fake crap offered by the pathetic creatures trying to pass for 'leaders' today. Demands were made on him.
That's the only reason he followed through on draft dodgers (which he had spoken of to the Veterans of Foreign Wars' convention during his 1976 presidential campaign) was because there was pressure. Gerald Ford was considering pardons for war resisters as he left office but it was thought Carter would take care of it. Carter didn't. He only took care of draft dodgers. And as wonderful as Liz Holtzman can be, she was dead wrong about America 'hoping' Jimmy would find time to revist the issue. He didn't get serious pressure and he never revisted it. There's a lesson in there for today's activism -- although that's a joke. Outside of a few groups, there's no activism going on. Just a lot of embarrassments (see
Mike calling out the Center for Constitutional Rights over their fondling of Barack). History isn't just a bunch of memorized items. It either has real-life, current applications or it's trivia and not history.

Free Speech Radio News included this item by Mark Taylor-Canfield in the headlines:

Hundreds of US soldiers have relocated to Canada, Europe or LatinAmerica after choosing not to serve in the US war and occupation in Iraq. Many of the soldiers have gone into Canada by crossing the border between Washington State and British Columbia, which also served as a point of entry for conscientious objectors escaping toCanada during the US war in Vietnam. Now
Project Safe Haven is calling on President Barack Obama to grant immediate amnesty to all US war resisters who have refused to serve in Iraq. The group is also calling for the immediate withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq and an end to the war in Afghanistan. Other demands include reparations for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and full benefits and healthcare for US military veterans. According to Project Safe Haven organizer Gerry Condon, the petition was circulated among national anti-war and veterans groups and was delivered to the President-elect's transition team.

Gerry Condon has posted a transcript at his site and you can find out more information there. We noted here throughout 2007 and 2008 that the Democratic candidates were not being asked about amnesty. Had they been asked when US House Rep Dennis Kucinich and former US Senator Mike Gravel were in the race, others might have been forced to say they'd at least consider that or look into it. We noted after the nomination was given to Barack that he needed to be pressed on the issue of war resisters. In 1972, the peace movement pressured. McGovern had to promise amnesty and Nixon upped his lies that he was ending that illegal war because of pressure from the peace movement. McGovern didn't lose because he was forced to publicly support amnesty. And by McGovern doing that, it made it easier for Gerald Ford to do his program when he became president. The pressure on McGovern, Ford and Carter was serious pressure and it vanished on Carter shortly after he was sworn in. Barack should have been pressured on the issue sometime ago. He wasn't. That doesn't mean serious pressure can't be applied now. Especially on a president who claimed (lied) that he was always against the Iraq War and that was proof of his superior judgment. For those who lacked that superior judgment, you know, mere mortals, Barack should be more than willing to pardon them. And a real movement, a real peace movement, would be pressuring him to do so.

But we don't have a peace movement in the United States and we don't have a Dove for a president. We have a Corporatist War Hawk that people are so scared and reluctant to call out. Which, as
Paul Street (ZNet) points outs, was the entire of point:

At the same time, many of his elite sponsors have certainly long understood that Obama's technical blackness helps make him uniquely qualified to simultaneously surf, de-fang, and "manage" the U.S. citizenry's rising hopes for democratic transformation in the wake of the long national Bush-Cheney nightmare. As
John Pilger argued last May: "What is Obama's attraction to big business? Precisely the same as Robert Kennedy's [in 1968]. By offering a 'new,' young and apparently progressive face of Democratic Party - with the bonus of being a member of the black elite - he can blunt and divert real opposition. That was Colin Powell's role as Bush's secretary of state. An Obama victory will bring intense pressure on the US antiwar and social justice movements to accept a Democratic administration for all its faults. If that happens, domestic resistance to rapacious America will fall silent." Obama's race is part of what makes him so well matched to the tasks of mass pacification and popular "expectation management" (former Obama advisor Samantha Power's revealing phrase). As Aurora Levins Morales noted in Z Magazine last April, "This election is about finding a CEO capable of holding domestic constituencies in check as they are further disenfranchised and....[about] mak[ing] them feel that they have a stake in the military aggressiveness that the ruling class believes is necessary. Having a black man and a white woman run helps...make oppressed people feel compelled to protect them."

Paul Street is the author of
Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics -- one of three books in 2008 this community found worthy of praise. On the subject of books, Gerald Nicosia (San Francisco Chronicle) praises two new books today Aaron Glantz' The War Comes Home: Washington's Battle Against America's Veterans is the first, "What makes 'The War Comes Home' such a powerful plea is that Glantz admits his initial bias against the vets - they were the ones who caused all the misery among the poor Afghans and Iraqis. But his eventual realization that both reporter and soldier are common victims of a government that wages such wars allowed him to identify with the vets and to empathize with their struggles." Iraq Veterans Against the War and Glantz' Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations is the second, "Like 'The War Comes Home,' 'Winter Soldier' makes us feel the pain and despair endured by those who serve in a military stretched to the breaking point by stop-loss policies, multiple combat tours, and a war where the goals and the enemies keep shifting. But these books also make us admire the unbreakable idealism and hope of those men and women who still believe that by speaking out they can make things better both for themselves and for those who come after them."

Someone will come after Ryan Crocker. He is the outgoing US Ambassador to Iraq.
Anthony Shadid (Washington Post), Timothy Williams (New York Times), and Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (All Things Considered) cover that in various degrees. A propaganda outlet outdoes them, Meredith Buel's Voice of America report. So does Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times):

Obama would like to have all the troops out by spring 2010. An agreement forged by the Bush administration and the Iraqi government calls for the last troops to leave by the end of 2011, though it is subject to change. Whatever happens, the ambassador said that if it were to be a "precipitous withdrawal, that could be very dangerous." Crocker said he was confident that was not the direction Obama was going. However, the president campaigned on a promise to end the war in Iraq, and with violence at its lowest level since 2003 and commanders in Afghanistan saying they need more troops, Obama will face pressure to move quickly on his campaign vow. In a conference call Wednesday night with Obama, Crocker said, he and the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Army Gen. Ray Odierno, gave their assessments of the security situation in Iraq. He would not say what they told the president, though Odierno has also urged caution in reducing forces.

Provincial elections are scheduled to take place in fourteen of Iraq's eighteen provinces on January 31st.
Afif Sarhan (Islam Online) offers some numbers including that 100,000 is the number of internal refugees in Iraq who've signed up to vote. To put the number into context, International Organization for Migration Iraq's most recent report on internal refugees put the number at 2.8 million. (That report was released this month. PDF format warning, click here.) Sarhan notes approximately "2.9 million Iraqis are registered to vote" -- that's all Iraqis registered -- and internal refugee Wissam Muhammed explains he can't travel to Baghdad to vote: "We don't have money to go to the polling stations. Few displacement camps will have the chance to have a moving station or be driven by someone to vote. In our case, like many other displaced families here [Babel], our polling station is in in Baghdad and we cannot vote here." Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) observes, "This year, campaigning falls during the 40 days of mourning for the death of Imam Hussein and election posters compete for space with Shiite flags on buildings, concrete walls and intersections." Viet Nam News explains, "Bombings and the assassination of candidates have increased as the election approaches prompting widespread fear that the vote may spark a new round of bloodshed. Although the incidents cannot prevent the election, they confirm the ferocity of the continuing power struggle." Walled Ibrahim, Fadhel al-Badrani, Tim Cocks, Michael Christie and Samia Nakhoul (Reuters) report on the Sunni participation efforts in Ramadi and Falluja, "Sitting beneath a photograph of his smiling son, killed by al Qaeda militants two years ago, Sheikh Amir Ali al-Sulaiman said he couldn't wait to stand for a seat in Jan. 31 local elections, after he boycotted the last ones in January 2005." They quote him stating, "We are determined to participate to reclaim what we missed out of before. We urge people to vote this time." Nouri al-Maliki is hoping to fix the vote and, most recently, attempted to force out a police chief. Stanford's Joel Brinkley (McClatchy Newspapers) explains:.

Maliki claimed that this man, Maj. Gen. Abdul Haneen al-Amara, was failing to uphold election laws because he hadn't prosecuted anyone for tearing down campaign posters that candidates from Maliki's political party had put up.
The good news is not that Maliki decided to fire him. No, the encouraging development is that Maliki's decision caused a controversy. His political opponents protested and refused to accept the president's choice of a replacement. In Washington two years ago, the Senate set about changing the law that permitted the president to appoint U.S. attorneys without the Senate's consent. Isn't that the way a democracy is supposed to work? When the United States drafted its Constitution more than 220 years ago, the founders had few real historical precedents on which to base their decisions. That's what makes the document such a work of genius. Of course, by the time the United States began pushing Iraq to create a democratic government, starting in 2003, much of the world had already made that transition. The problems and possibilities were well-known.

McClatchy Newspapers readers will be learning about those attempted tricks in Wasit Province for the first time because, while
Timothy Williams and Mudhafer al-Husaini (New York Times) reported on them, McClatchy never found the time. Maybe their partners at the Institute for War & Peace Reporting didn't think it was news? (Ruth covers some of the critiques on IWPR.)

Provincial elections are eight days away.

Al Jazeera reports 8 family members were killed in a home invasion late last night (11:30 p.m.) outside Balad Ruz while two more people (presumably also family members) were kidnapped during the home invasion: "The family members, who are all Sunni Muslim Arabs, were targeted in the predominantly Shia Muslim village a week before provincial elections." Citing an unnamed police official, Pakistan's GEOtv states 9 family members were killed in the home invasion. Khalid al-Ansary, Tim Cocks and Janet Lawrence (Reuters) report it was eight people and, "The attack at 11.30 p.m. on Thursday (2030 GMT) evoked memories of the tit-for-tat sectarian slaughter that nearly tore Iraq apart in 2006-2007, which has only recently subsided."

In some of today's other reported violence . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 1 life and left two people wounded.

Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that a Wasit home invasion (Thursday night) claimed 4 lives ("the mother, father, daughter and baby son").

Iraq Body Count includes the Wasit home invasion in Thursday's violence and state the day resulted in 9 deaths including 3 brothers killed in Mosul during a US house raid. It sure is interesting how Mosul -- the center of violence more and more -- gets ignored in daily violence reports. It's also interesting that this is billed "US forces raid house" when allegedly the Iraqis had taken on control.

This morning the
US military announced: "BAGHDAD -- A Multi-National Division - Center Soldier died in a non-combat related vehicle accident Jan. 22. The Soldier's name is being withheld pending next-of-kin notification and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is currently under investigation." ICCC lists the total number of US service members killed in Iraq at 4230.

Meanwhile KBR and its former parent Halliburton collect bad press like treasured coins.
Peter Spiegel (Los Angeles Times) reports the latest scandal from those who sought to make a buck cheaply off an illegal war: "An Army criminal investigator told the family of a Green Beret who was electrocuted while taking a shower at his base in Baghdad that the soldier's death was a case of "negligent homicide" by military contractor KBR and two of its supervisors. The report last month to the family of Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth said Houston-based KBR failed to make certain that qualified electricians and plumbers were working on the barracks where Maseth was killed a year ago, according to a U.S. government official who has seen the correspondence." James Risen (New York Times) notes the response from the Vultures, Heather Browne (publicity hack) declares, "KBR's investigation has produced no evidence that KBR was responsible for Sergeant Maseth's death." You get the feeling teachers knew not to leave the classrooms when KRB execs were taking tests? Scott Bronstein and Abbie Boudreau (CNN) provides this background:CNN first reported the death of Maseth, a highly decorated, 24-year-old Green Beret, last spring. His January 2, 2008, death was just one of many fatalities now believed to be linked to shoddy electrical work at U.S. bases managed by U.S. contractors, according to Pentagon sources. The Pentagon's Defense Contract Management Agency last year gave KBR a "Level III Corrective Action Request" -- issued only when a contractor is found in "serious non-compliance" and just one step below the possibility of suspending or terminating a contract, Pentagon officials said. In KBR's case, it means the contractor's inspections and efforts to ensure electrical safety for troops have been unacceptable and must be significantly improved, Pentagon sources told CNN.

Carolyn Lochhead (San Francisco Chronicle) reports, "On her first day at the helm of the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein vowed that never again would there be 'a National Intelligence Estimate that was as bad and wrong as the Iraq NIE was" before continuing, "I voted to support the war because of that and I have to live with that vote for the rest of my life. And I don't want it to ever happen again." Good for DiFi and I mean that sincerely. Better would be grasping Dennis Blair will be a blight on any administration but good for her on that. While Dianne is the new Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Hillary Clinton is the new Secretary of State and we noted that yesterday but I forgot to ask that a link to Marcia's Wednesday post on that be included. My apologies, that was my error.

Moving to those who never take accountability, dumb reporters.
A number pimped the joy, the absolute and total joy among the troops over the inauguration. As if all Americans could ever agree on anything. Richard Sisk (New York Daily News), meet reality. Deborah Haynes (Times of London's Inside Iraq):

Many US soldiers in Iraq watched the inauguration of their new President on television, with opinion split over whether Barak Obama will make a better commander-in-chief than George Bush. Some troopers cheer the change at the top, welcoming the back of a President who led the United States into two wars during his time in the White House.
Others, however, deliberately skipped the historic swearing in of their country's first African-American leader because they are wary of his military ideas on the way forwards in Iraq.

Public radio notes for Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, all air on
WBAI:Sunday, January 25, 11am-noonTHE NEXT HOURPost-Warholian radio artists Andrew Andrew hold the fort.Monday, January 26, 2-3pmCAT RADIO CAFEPlaywright William M, Hoffman and actor David Greenspan on thepremiere of "Cornbury: The Queen's Governor," Hoffman's satiricalcollaboration with the late Anthony Holland about a cross-dressing NewYork governor; Artistic Director Scott Morfee on "Fortnight," afestival of new and improvised works at The Barrow Street Theatre; andproducer Scott Griffin on the landlord-tenant crisis at The Chelsea,"the hotel where Dylan Thomas drank and Arthur Miller wrote and. . ."Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer.Wednesday, January 28, 2-3pmCCCP: THE MONTHLY LAUGHING NIGHTMAREGloves-off satire to greet the new bunch with Janet Coleman, DavidDozer, John McDonagh, Moogy Klingman, Scooter, Otis Maclay, PaulFischer, Jon Swift, The Capitol Steps, Red State Update and the greatWill Durst.Broadcasting at WBAI/NY 99.5 FMStreaming live at WBAIArchived at Cat Radio Cafe
Public television? . NOW on PBS actually examines the economic meltdown's effect on older Americans: "The economic crisis is affecting people in all income and social brackets, but America's baby boomers and seniors don't have the option to wait it out. The housing meltdown, market crash, and rising costs of everything from food to medicine have taken the luster out of seniors' 'golden years' or worse, put them into deep debt." That begins airing tonight on most PBS stations. Washington Week also begins airing tonight on many PBS stations and Gwen chats with Dan Balz (Washington Post), Martha Raddatz (ABC News) and Pete Williams (NBC News) while Time magazine's Karen Tumulty offers a new Bette Davis impersonation this go round -- the later stages of the party scene in All About Eve, watch as she decrees that the week's ceremonies were 'historical' and 'fantastic' but "it's going to be a bumpy night."

And on broadcast TV (CBS) Sunday, no
60 Minutes:"The Winter Of Our Hardship"Scott Pelley reports on Wilmington, Ohio, whose residents have been hit particularly hard in this economic crisis because the town's largest employer, DHL, is shutting its domestic operation. Watch Video
No Peace DealBob Simon reports from Israel and the West Bank where a growing number of Israelis and Palestinians say that a two-state solution is no longer possible.
Wine RxScientists have found a substance called resveratrol in red wine that slows down the aging process in mice. Will it someday lengthen the lives of humans, too? Morley Safer reports.
60 Minutes, this Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

mcclatchy newspapersnancy a. youssef
the new york timesthom shanker
the washington postann scott tyson
the los angeles timestony perry
cbs news
carolyn lochhead
the san francisco chronicle
mark taylor-canfield
free speech radio news
gerry condon
ron jacobs
paul street
aaron glantz
iraq veterans against the war
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Talking entry

This is a talking post. First up, C.I. showed my oldest son the bass line to Diana Ross' "Not Over You Yet" this weekend and he's been playing that like crazy (and is really good at it) but he made the mistake of going to YouTube this evening where he found this.

"Why did they ruin the song?" he asked me. I'd just gotten home from work and he always waits to say anything because he's the oldest. So the other two generally will grab me the minute they have a problem. But he waits.

So I said, "Let's watch together." And I was going to call to my daughter but she was off playing (with Dona and Jim) because she likes Diana but we watched it without her.

They really did ruin the song. It's a remix and they've taken out an incredible bass line to put in a generic bompty-bompty-bompty beat that sounds like a button on one of those old organs. It is disgusting.

My son pointed out that without that bass line under her vocal, Diana's singing just "sounded weird." It does too because the bass line dances and struts and Diana copies that with her vocal but when it's just thumpty-thump-thump, it sounds bad.

They runied that song. And the remix also is another key. The bass notes are brighter and the whole thing about "Not Over You Yet" was it was one of Diana's minor key songs.

The worst moment may be when she says, "I want a little more bass." Diana, there's not any bass on the song. There's just generic beats that sound like garbage.

That may seem minor but my kids, like their Mommy, love Diana and that's why they know all of her songs (and the Diana doll is my daughter's favorite, I need to start checking eBay because she's on her third doll -- they don't make the Diana doll anymore). And my son spent so long learning and practicing the bass line. He was on the internet with Jess looking up music videos and they found that. (He'd already done his homework before anyone sends me some e-mail about, "I can't believe . . ." And my son had too. :) I'm joking. My son had done his homework, Jess can do what he wants, he's a grown up. But I have had a number of e-mails from 'concerned' strangers offering advice that all boils down to, "Everything you do as a mother is wrong." So let me explain that my son had already completed his homework before he and Jess were looking up music videos online.)

Alright, my father e-mailed. He enclosed this list:

The Common Ills
Iraq snapshot
51 minutes ago

Cedric's Big Mix
The jealous guy
18 hours ago

The Daily Jot
18 hours ago

Mikey Likes It!
Ted needs to step down
19 hours ago

Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
things to think about re: gaza
19 hours ago

Hillary sworn in as Secretary of State
19 hours ago

Ruth's Report
Liz Smith gets served
19 hours ago

Oh Boy It Never Ends
The Razzies
19 hours ago

Like Maria Said Paz
Inauguration realities
19 hours ago

Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)
Politics, Animal Collective
19 hours ago

Third Estate Sunday Review
Truest statement of the week
4 days ago

Thomas Friedman is a Great Man
5 days ago

Trina's Kitchen
Corn and Lima Beans in the Kitchen
5 days ago

And said, "You haven't posted in five days." I called him and, after reminding him I was on the cell phone and do not have any costs for night time calls, he calmed down. Prior to that he was trying to talk as fast as he could. He then informed that "some of your family" (not him, you understand), "pull up your site just to make sure you're okay." I'm sure "some" do.

(Dad, I know it's you. Mom already told me.)

The move was a long one and it ended up being so easy for me except for missing my parents and sisters and friends back home. But while I'm adjusting to a new job and all of that, I haven't thought about how it must be for Dad who argued and argued and argued (with me!) for me to take this job. He insisted I take it and pointed out the economy was in the toilet so any job is a good job but that the promotion was really something. He said even if I got laid off in six months, just having the experience would help in my next job. He stayed on me and stayed on me and he's the one who called C.I. (who immediately said, "Of course Betty and the kids can live here. There's more than enough room.") and really made it impossible for me to turn down.

Now my Dad's one of the smartest men I know (yes, there are some smart men out there -- I'd argue the bulk of the smart people, however, are women) and he knew he was going to miss the kids and me. But he focused on what was best for me and I appreciate that. Even though we did have some loud arguments about this. (He was right.)

So that's going to be it for my chatty post tonight and it's mainly here so Dad, when he logs on tomorrow, has a hello and a "you were right."

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Thursday, January 22, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, provincial elections loom, a governor 'escapes,' Kurtz and Kimberley offer up some reality, and more.

Starting with presidential children: Qubad Talabani. He is the son of Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, and he is also the Kurdish Regional Government's DC representative. The
Kurdish Globe reports he's very hopeful of the new administration in DC and quotes him praising Sec of State Hillary Clinton (she was sworn in last night) as well as mentioning US Vice President Joe Biden. How well placed or misplaced his hopes on that may be are open to debate but someone needs to explain political parties to him. He states of the KRG, "The government should be left to conduct duties away from political parties' intervention. We should now clearly show what duties are for the government and what role political parties might have." A mammoth and most likely impossible project. And that it's being promoted by Qubad Talabani may be an indication of political immaturity in the KRG (which would be classified thus far as a rebellion and not a revolution). Massoud Barzani is the president of the KRG and the Kurdish Globe reports he's all for Kurds and Arabs being close due "to the historical bonds of friendship" but it's a funny kind of friendship wherein he rejects Arab councils (he's referring to the "Awakening" Councils). In the KRG? No. In "adjacent areas." While maintaining that the KRG has no interest in attempting to control Mosul, his attempts to dictate what Mosul can and cannot do is an attempt to control. Mosul is in the Nineveh Province and it is not a part of the Kurdish region. Barzani states that if they are set up in areas adjacent to the KRG, it will "trigger" violence That's a far cry from their position -- when al-Maliki was sending troops into Mosul back in May -- of "We, the KRG, support any plan or attempt by the central government and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki aimed at the stabilization of security and enhancement of the sovereignty of the State." When al-Maliki just knew (he was wrong) the provincial elections were just around the corner, he was happy to launch his "clear, hold, build" campaigns. As the Defense Ministry's spokesperson Maj Gen Moahmmed al-Askari stated June 25th, "The decision of the commander in chief, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, before the end of this month and before the provincial eleciton, we should secure all cities. Therefore, the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior put a schedule in coordination with Multi-National Force to clear up these cities according to the importance of the city and its priorities." Basra and Mosul were targeted in February. Diyala and Maysan would follow. September 18th, KUNA would report that al-Maliki had pronounced the Nineveh Province operation (Umm al-Rubai'in") a failure: "There are factors that resulted in failure of Umm Al-Rubai'in military operations. . . . We can attribute the successes of other military operations to the effective cooperation by citizens which we did not find in Mosul."

Mosul has an estimated population of 1.8 million, making it Iraq's second largest city (population wise). It is a hot bed that finally garnered serious attention when the attacks on Iraqi Christians began there last fall. While talk of 'calmer' and 'safer' abounds, Mosul charted at least 915 reported deaths for 2008 which comes to 76.25 per month. (That's from a friend at M-NF who says it should track closely with Iraq Body Count. Translation, the number of reported deaths were probably higher.)
Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) reports on the province's governor, Duraid Kashmoula, who failed and plans to "leave for exile in the semiautonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan after his successor is picked by a newly elected provincial council."

As late as January 11, 2007, the US military was singing Kashmoula (a former car parts salesperson) 'leadership' abilities.
M-NF posted Maj Roderick Cunningham's report and "Ninewa" is Nineveh Province while "Twitty" is US Col Stephen Twitty and Kashmoula was present for the praise:

Recognizing the similar levels of violence in a comparable city in America, Twitty paints an optimistic picture of the current state of Mosul and Ninewa Province.
"Amdist the turmoil and issues that persist in Iraq, there is a semblance of peace and normalcy in the north. Ninewa's leadership works hard to provide its citizens security, build its economy, and implement programs that will continue to keep sectarian violence from the province," Twitty said. "One thing we cannot do is attempt to put an American standard on any Iraqi city."

Or, apparently, utilize any form of standards at all. That is why
Parker can offer, "This provincial capital [Mosul] is a shambles, a sea of gray concrete buildings, with police and army checkpoints everywhere, thunderous explosions almost every day. Services are nonexistent." And now the soon to be outgoing governor intends to slink off to the Kurdistan region. It should be remembered that while the Iraqi Christians were being attacked, Duraid Mohammed Kashmoula could hold press confrences (and state at least 3,000 had fled), he just couldn't do anything to offer protection. CNN reported the US military stressed that Kashmoula "has been working with sheiks and local leaders in the area to bring about peace and stability to the city" of Mosul. Of course, CNN reported that in September . . . 2004. And when the assault on Mosul was taking place in 2008, Kashmoula was cozy with al-Maliki and giving the green light. Pepe Escobar (Asia Times) reported in May, "Tribal chiefs had to plead to Mosul governor Duraid Kashmoula, according to the Jordanian newspaper al-Ghad: 'The Council of Arab tribes in Mosul reported that the government cut off water supplies from the right side of the city for two days as part of a collective punishment policy against Arabs who refused to deny their pan-Arabism, and reject the campaign of 'Kurdishization' of the city'." Escobar noted Sunnis were being driven out by al-Maliki and explained, "No one has asked the million-dollar-question: How come multicultural Mosul - a non-Kurdish city - is now being ruled by deputy governor Khoso Goran, a Kurd?" The Kurdish Globe quotes Barzani stating today, "I urge you to be wary of allegations that the Kurds have ambitions for Mosul and are on the verge of controlling Mosul. These assertions could have dangerous consequences. Incitement to sedition and discord is a heinous crime."

The hopium across the outlets is that Barack is moving, moving on Iraq. The reality is very different.
William Wharton (Dissident Voice) analyzes a segment of yesterday's PBS Newshour:

More significant resistance will be provided to any serious attempt to end the US occupation of Iraq. Evidence of this was provided during the nightly News Hour program aired on Wednesday January 21st. The segment was entitled "Next Steps for Iraq," and featured the pro-Bush retired General Jack Keane and the Obama-ally retired General Wesley Clarke. Both Keane and Clarke delivered a clear message -- no troop removal anytime soon.
Keane, the military author of Bush's "surge strategy," claimed that Obama's campaign pledge to remove troops by 2010 "rather dramatically increases the risks" in Iraq. He recommended a "minimal force reduction" in order to "protect the political situation." Though a 2010 departure was "a risk that is unacceptable," Keane assured viewers that "Everyone knows that we are going to take our troops out of Iraq."
The Democratic Party's dog in the fight, Wesley Clarke had little bite as be agreed with Keane's assessment "it [Obama's troop removal pledge] is risky." "When President Obama made that pledge almost a year ago," Clarke claimed, "the context of what combat troops was, was taken from the legislation that was going back and forth through the House and the Senate." He then provided a key qualification, "Distinguishing combat troops from trainers, from counter-insurgency troops or counter-terrorist troops that would go against Al-Quada in Iraq and distinguishing them from the logistics troops." "So," Clarke concluded, "to say that all combat troops will be out in 2010 in sixteen months doesn't necessarily mean that all troops will be out by 2010."
If this double-speak was not enough, Clarke then provided another clear signal that the Obama campaign pledge may fall far short of anything resembling a remotely anti-war position. Clarke praised Keane as the architect of the surge policy and "the success that has been achieved through it."
[. . .]
The Clarke-Keane discussion should be quite useful for anti-war activists. It clearly signals that the "surge-consensus" forged by the Bush administration is still fully operative among the military establishment in Washington. Obama's desire for continuity in military strategy, signaled clearly through his re-appointment of Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, should be understood as his acceptance of the positions articulated by Keane and Clarke. This presents a sharp challenge to the anti-war movement.

The 'pledge' was never genuine -- as Samantha Power told the BBC in March of 2008 -- and what he 'promised' at his rallies wasn't even what he was saying elsewhere. "Combat" troops was always his weasel term. We'll drop back to the
January 15th snapshot:

Elisabeth Bumiller and Thom Shanker (New York Times) report on the US military commanders contingency plan for Iraq. Last month Bumiller and Shanker reported on the military commanders presenting a partial drawdown of US troops in Iraq on a slower scale than Barack's 'pledge' of 16 month withdrawal (of "combat" troops only). No objections were raised over the timeframe by the president-elect but, in case objections are registered in the immediate future, they've come up with an alternate plan they could implement. This calls for a high of 8,000 a month (more likely four to six thousand) to be pulled. Using the high figure, 48,000 US service members could be out of Iraq (with at least 30,000 of that number redeployed to Afghanistan) in six months. That would still leave close to 100,000 US troops in Iraq. And there is no full withdrawal planned by Barack. That is why he refused to promise that, if elected, all US troops would be out of Iraq by the end of his first term (2012). Of course, Barack also rushed to assure the Times (2007) that he would easily halt any drawdown and rush more troops back into Iraq (and no words to declare this a temporary measure) when he sat down with Michael Gordon and Jeff Zeleny (see this Iraq snapshot and Third's article and the actual transcript of the interview -- a transcript Tom Hayden should have read before humiliating himself in public, then again Tom-Tom seems to enjoy public humiliation). So the article tells you that the military's preparing for all possibilities . . . except the possibility the American people want (and some foolishly believe Barack ever promised) full withdrawal of Iraq. That is not an option the military even considers. And the report is backed up by the statements Pentagon spokesperson Goeff Morrell made today, "Our military planners do not live in a vacuum. They are well aware that the president-elect has campaigned on withdrawing troops from Iraq on a 16-month timeline. . . . So it would only be prudent of them to draw up plans that reflect that option. But that is just one of the options that they are drawing up."

Officialdom is so confused as to what Barack's doing or will do or may do. It's all a lot of . . . To chart the latest, we'll first drop back to
yesterday's snapshot for the will-he-or-won't-he:

Back to the US press breakfast with the general.
Elisabeth Bumiller (New York Times' The Caucus) notes another point Chiarelli discussed. Asked about withdrawal of 'combat' troops within 16 months (popularly presented as Barack's 'pledge') his reply included, "You can pick up and leave anything very quickly, but if you do, you'll leave it in a certain condition that won't be as good if you went through a certain deliberative process of working through those issues. And there's a lot of logistical issues that have to be worked through, and I think everybody has to understand that, that you can do antyhing, but it just depends on how you want to look and what instructions are given for what you bring and what you leave behind and the contition that you leave your operating bases in when you leave." That's nonsense and Barack could safely withdraw all US troops from Iraq in his first 100 days if he wanted. Now follow closely because it's about to get confusing. AP reports that Ali al-Dabbagh, Nouri al-Maliki's mouthpiece to the press, has declared that US service members could leave Iraq "even before the end of 2011." That's what the Status Of Forces Agreement masquerading as a treaty could allow for (departure in 2011) if it was followed and not altered or cancelled (either party can cancel it). Barack's 16-month 'pledge' (only for 'combat' troops) would mean 'combat' troops would be out in April 2010. While al-Maliki's spokesperson stated 'sure, leave early,' others sent a different message. Camilla Hall and Zainab Fattah (Bloomberg News) report Hoshyar Zebari (Iraq's Foreign Minister) disagrees and states, "Nobody can afford in 2009 to contemplate any change in military policy. . . . [We can't] give any impression that there will be draw-downs, reductioins, redeployment because this year Iraq has three elections." So which is it? When pressed, al-Maliki's spokesperson has a long history -- as does the puppet -- of backing down.

Aseel Kami and Michael Christie (Reuters) report other 'official' voices has waded in: US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker who asserts that there will be no quick withdrawal and Iraq's Minister of Defense Abdel Qader Jassim who also nixed a quicked withdrawal.

In nine days, 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces will hold elections.
Missy Ryan (Reuters) reports that some voters who supported theocrats in 2005 are voicing their displeasure and notes, "Such rumblings are a warning for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Dawa party and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (ISCI) -- which represent Iraq's Shi'ite Muslim majority -- and the Iraqi Islamic Party which is the biggest Sunni Arab group." And that byline is actually Missy Ryan, Waleed Ibrahim, Mohammed Abbas, Peter Graff, Aref Mohammed, Khaled Farhan, Fadhel al-Badrani, Michael Christie and Tim Pearce. Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reports that 2009 sees an "open ballot" allowing voters to vote candidates as opposed to 2005 and Londono offers this analysis:

The provincial contests, as well as national parliamentary elections expected in the fall, will offer new clarity about the balance of power among Iraq's parties, several of which have resorted to violence over the past few years in the pursuit of power.
The relationship between the central government and provincial authorities is also on the line, which has prompted Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to create and fund "support councils" in provinces where his Dawa party does not have deep roots. Maliki also has become the public face of one list of candidates, converting the elections into a referendum on his rule.
And whereas Shiite parties joined a grand coalition in 2005, this time they are competing against one another in heavily Shiite southern provinces. Tribal leaders, meanwhile, are attempting to play the role of kingmaker in the south, as well as in other parts of the country.
Sunni Arabs, many of whom boycotted the 2005 elections, are widely expected to gain political ground around the country this year. In predominantly Sunni provinces, particularly Anbar, west of Baghdad, established religious parties are competing against secular ones, including some created by former insurgents who were thrust into leadership roles after the U.S. military put them on the payroll and enlisted them to fight the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Turning to the issue of violence.

Since McClatchy got in bed with the 'creative' Institute for War & Peace Reporting it's become a real joke and can manage to report from Iraq most days. How bad is it?

Iraq Body Count (which undercounts) reports 34 dead yesterday and somehow McClatchy missed all of the incidents including 18 corpses discovered Khalis. We have avoided IBC because it undercounts but, as I noted this morning, we can't be too picky with so many losing interest in Iraq.

Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) does manage to note 1 corpse discovered in Samarra . . . yesterday. IBC notes that as well. We may start using them (which would put us one day behind). McClatchy's already become the new Judith Miller so why not note IBC as well?

In other news, two things are coming back to Iraq. First, Abu Ghraib will reopen. Citing KUNA,
UPI explains it will now be called Baghdad Central Prison. Oh, that'll wipe everything away! (That was sarcasm.) Meanwhile BBC reports that despite such 'state of the art' accessories as "a missile launcher," Saddam Hussein's yacht is being treated like a Ford Fiesta as no one seems overly impressed and refuses to pony up the thirty million bucks: "Baghdad officials have blamed the global economic slump for their failure to find a buyer."

In the United States,
New York Times' Lizette Alvarez reports (via Detroit News), "As the number of jobs across the nation continues to dwindle, more Americans are joining the military, lured by a steady paycheck, benefits and training." It's amazing what a bad economy and a bunch of 'hope' propaganda can do for recruitment -- that and the fact that alleged 'anti-war' groups like United for Peace & Justice only do "Counter Military Recruitment" when Republicans are in the White House. The recruiting news includes the completion of an investigation. Catherine Abbott of the Army's Office of the Chief of Public Affairs announces, "The U.S. Army concluded a two and a half month investigation into the suicides of four Soldiers assigned to the Houston Recruiting Battalion. . . . The investigation concluded that there was no single cause for these deaths. Relevant factors included the command climate, stress, personal matters, and medical problems. None were diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)." The Army plans to offer more "leadership training, suicide prevention/ resiliency training" -- and, yes, that category title alone shows how little the Army comprehends -- and "rcuriter wellness." Linsday Wise (Houston Chronicle) notes, "[Brig Gen Dell] Turner said his investigation found evidence of a poor command climate inside the Houston battalion, which has lost four recruiters to suicide since 2005, including two who hanged themselves within weeks of each other last year. All four had served in Iraq or Afghanistan before being reassigned to recruiting duty, a job considered one of the most stressful in the Army, especially in wartime." Wise also notes:

At least 17 recruiters have killed themselves nationwide since 2001. The deaths come at a time when suicides among all active duty soldiers have hit record highs. In 2007, 115 committed suicide, the highest number since the Army began tracking such statistics in 1980. By October of last year, 117 soldiers had reportedly killed themselves.

US Senator John Cornyn was among those calling for the investigation and
Michelle Roberts (AP) reports he is now calling "for a congressional hearing on suicides among Army recruiters" who says the investigation found pressures from superiors: "As you might imagine, corners might have been cut -- and they were -- given the exigency of recruiting for war. The concern is that this is not isolated to a single battalion."

Turning to the media driven frenzy,
Howard Kurtz (Washington Post) offers some common sense and sanity, including, "But what's past is prologue. If journalists don't start holding the 44th president accountable -- in the same way the left wanted us to hold George W. Bush accountable -- we will have defaulted on our mission. It will be bad for the country, and bad for Obama." Also worthy of note, Margaret Kimberley (Black Agenda Report) breaks through the fog and offers reality:

Eight years ago, the presidential candidate who was actually defeated at the polls managed to be sworn in as the 43rd president of the United States. The election theft was followed by the theft of public assets and blatant law breaking. It is easy to understand why the departure of George W. Bush invokes renditions of "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead."
Unfortunately the witch is not dead. The witch is a political system controlled by the dictates of wealthy individuals and big corporations who are all very much alive. They realized before anyone else did that the Republican brand was failing, and a new product line was needed.
Fortunately for them, a master marketer came along in the nick of time and allowed them to stay in the game. One year ago Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses and proved that he could become president. More to the point, he proved that white people would vote for him. Doubt about his chances for success disappeared in the black community and so did any memory of the way that a dedicated mass movement forced change on a nation.
Now Obama is president and there is great joy and excitement throughout most of the country. There is quite literally no way to escape his face or his words. His image is everywhere and casual conversations, church sermons and staff meetings somehow turn into Obama loveathons.
It is easy to feel demoralized and defeated when any mention of dogs inevitably turns into a discussion about his daughters' new puppy. The feelings of defeat are magnified by the non-stop barrage of media, endlessly repeating that a wonderful history is being made, and by the very real emotions that the faithful so readily exhibit.
Now that the inaugural parties are over, it is time to reenergize ourselves and prepare for the fight of our lives. If we do not, we are no better than the new president who cynically tells the easily fooled that they shouldn't "bicker" or "wrangle" over their political rights but instead accept the dictates of their overlords. If there were ever a time for righteous wrangling and bickering, it is now.

the new york timeselisabeth bumillerthom shanker
the los angeles timesned parkerlizette alvarez
pepe escobar
missy ryan
the washington posternesto londono
howard kurtz
the newshour
aseel kami
margaret kimberley