Sunday, February 27, 2011

Truest statement of the week

"As one protester put it, just give us one-fourth of what you steal, we could be rich on just that."

Truest statement of the week II

With the cost of EVERYTHING rising because the cost of the US’s “reserve currency,” gasoline, is rising, asking the working class to sacrifice any more is unconscionable, especially when it is not the fault of the workers that capitalism is in such a state of crisis right now. Where does the Robber Class always go to preserve its status quo? That’s right, right after the resources of the Robbed Class. Last year on this date, the average price of a gallon of gas was $2.70, and today it’s $3.29! With the volatility of oil prices resting on increasing political turmoil in the countries that produce (or give unfettered access to canals and pipelines) the most oil, one would have to wonder who really is behind the chaos in these countries? Today, with the average price per gallon of heating oil rising to 3.62 (up .72 cents per gallon from last year), the Obama administration is cutting back on and heating oil subsidies for the most vulnerable of our population after he just signed a two-year extension of tax cuts for the rich! Extending the Bush era tax cuts for the rich added almost 900 billion dollars to the deficit and to partially offset that wealthy-fare, he is slashing social programs for the poor. -- Cindy Sheehan, "It's The War Economy, Duh!" (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox).

A note to our readers

Hey --
Sunday, bloody Sunday.

Most of the edition was finished early Sunday. We then took a lengthy break. We thank all who participated this week:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?
  • Kelly McEvers gets her first truest for this report in which she signed off quoting an Iraqi.

  • Cindy Sheehan continues to get the truest. Dalia Hashad, where have you gone? (Truest was invented to note Hashad. At that point, she was one of four co-hosts of Law and Disorder and ,after she gave birth to her first child, she moved on to other opportunities. Time and again, Dalia cut through the crap. That included when a man was on the program discussing Camilo Mejia and he didn't know what he was talking about -- and tried to correct Dalia who was, in fact, right. When this feature first started, we could have just as easily called it "Dalia Hashad's statement of the week.")

  • We all worked on this piece. Ava and C.I. did so by phone, having already made it to Los Angeles. The editorial was one of our most difficult pieces, believe it or not, and mainly due to trying to figure out our angle.

  • Ava and C.I. tackle another better-watch-it-quick-before-it's-gone Fox sitcom.

  • Ava and C.I. did not help with this. They were out the door early this morning -- taking Jess with them -- because they are at the Academy Awards as I (Jim) type. They did however help via a series of brief phone calls -- help with facts. And my apologies. Dona just found when Shirley Temple won her Oscar. We left that out of the article because Wikipedia had it wrong. C.I. knew the year and told me, "Jim, that is incorrect. Do not put that in the article. I don't care what Wikipedia says!" We had a lot of fun with this article.

  • Seriously, do not buy this book. This morning, we continued posting this as an editorial and getting everything up. If we had done that, we wouldn't have had the Oscar piece or my solo piece.

  • Netflix. Stan did a screen snap when they recommended a "romantic" film for him.

  • My solo piece. I hadn't done one in a while and wasn't sure how strong the edition was so thought I'd toss this out.

  • With C.I. in LA, we didn't have to ask for permission. As Mike would say, :D. Seriously, this is a repost of C.I. and she would have argued against it if she were here.

  • A survey piece regarding Lara Logan. Remember, illustration here was done by Kat, Wally and Betty's oldest son.

  • We were all shocked that one person could be so stupid.

  • Mike and the gang worked on this and we thank them for it.

And that's what we came up with.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: This isn't political?

On Friday, Iraqis turned out across their country, standing up for their basic rights. As we watched the reaction in the US, we had to wonder, "Do some people hate Iraqis?"


Why else would these multiple demonstrations be dismissed by some journalists and pundits as "non-political"? Is what's going on in Wisconsin right now not "political"?

Of course it is. Government's role is not -- this will shock the Beltway -- to pursue wars. Government's primary role is to take care of their citizens. In Iraq, despite Nouri al-Maliki being prime minister since April 2006, that's never happened.

They still lack reliable electricity, potable water (that would be safe drinking water, for those not familiar with the term) and sanitation services. Now Iraq didn't just form in 2003 and spend the years since wondering, "What would we like?" It was a country before the US started the illegal war and it was a country that -- even during the awful years of sanctions -- could provide basic services to its people.

Now it can't even provide jobs. Unemployment in Iraq hits a record high only to be replaced a few months later with another record high.

The bulk of the people struggle to pay for needed food.

And this isn't political?

They're decrying Nouri al-Maliki throughout Iraq and Massoud Barzani in the KRG (Barzanis is the KRG president) and this isn't political?

Nouri's response has been political. Secret arrests, sending uniformed goons in to attack the protesters, attempting to halt it by demonizing Friday's protests and tarring and feathering participants with "terrorists," refusal to allow satellite cameras into some areas where demonstrations take place, assaulting and arresting journalists and much, much more.

It's political. And those in the US better wake up to the scare tactics and the bullying and intimidation that US-puppet Nouri al-Maliki has been resorting to. Otherwise, don't come whining us in ten years when you suddenly grasp that the same US-government that installed Saddam Hussein installed another despot.

Screen snap is from Aljazeera TV, specifically this report by Jane Arraf -- which we're also embedding.

TV: Another failed sitcom from Fox

Are you one of the people who've been missing Carpoolers? Or maybe you've wondered what Rules of Engagement would be like without Oliver Hudson (who's grown delightful in his role) and the two strong actresses (Megyn Price and Bianca Kajlich)? If so, Fox just knows they have a show for you in Traffic Light.


Traffic Light is the latest computer generated, soul-less half-hour from Fox and it replaces Running Wilde -- apparently because it takes Running Wilde's worst quality and multiplies it many times over. Running Wilde starred Will Arnett and should have been interesting for that reason alone. He played a rich, do-nothing, male socialite whose ex-girlfriend comes back into his life with their daughter. At that point, there was enough to play with to make for a promising show; however, that's not what the boyz wanted. They didn't want a romantic comedy, they didn't want a show about men and women, they wanted to niche program to the extreme and cast Keri Russell as Arnett's old flame because they didn't think she could do funny.

The joke was on creators Mitchell Hurwitz, Jim Vallely and Will because Keri could do funny (even we were surprised) and that only made the show worse. When the former Felicity-star is given nothing to do but is still wringing out laughs, it just makes the show's flaws all the more noticeable and it just really brings home how dated and tired the whole thing is. See Keri was supposed to be Mary Tyler Moore. Not Mary of the self-titled show, mind you, Mary of The Dick Van Dyke Show. For that one, Mary was hired to be the straight woman and look pretty. Funny would happen near her, sometimes around her, but she was just there to look pretty.

That's all Keri was hired for too. The reason The Dick Van Dyke Show ran for 158 episodes but Running Wilde couldn't even make it a full season has to do with the fact that Carl Reiner worships funny. And when he and the writers found that Mary Tyler Moore could in fact crack up the studio audience, that wasn't a problem, that was a gift and they made sure to give her more to do as a result.

Maybe if Running Wilde had been taped before a studio audience, the boyz would have been forced to stop creating all these intricate subplots for David Cross (Keri's boyfriend on the show), the butler and everyone else and actually figure out how to integrate Keri into the show as something other than Scold? Kerri's finest moments came in the episode where Puddle's boyfriend's father thought Will was coming on to him while Puddle's boyfriend thought Keri was doing the same to him. More episodes like that and far less about the missing Andy (Cross) who's gotten lost on the estate and the show might have had a future.

If Running Wilde never got going because it couldn't stop tripping itself, do you really think Traffic Light's going to be zipping down the comedy freeway?

The show has five regular characters and revolves around three. David Denman plays Mike, Nelson Franklin plays Adam and Kris Marshall plays Ethan. To prevent some viewers from being freaked out by all the longing glances the three men share with one another and the touchy-feely moments that never seem to end, Mike has a wife Lisa (Liza Lapira) and Adam has a live-in girlfriend Callie (Aya Cash). But come on, we all know Adam's dying to have his way with Mike.

The boyz met in college and you really do keep expecting Adam to blurt out a monologue, similar to the one Winona Ryder did when she guest starred on Friends, about making out with Mike in college. There's male bonding and then there's . . . well . . . bondage.


Had the show aired in the 50s or 60s it would have been a put-upon, like the sketch Fred MacMurray, Franchot Tone, Ray Milland and Lynne Overman do in Star Spangled Rhythm. On Traffic Light, the three men are forever getting together, planning to get together or on the phone with each other.

Marshall's Ethan is completely unbelievable as a ladies' man but, even if the actor could pull it off, you'd still be left to wonder when Ethan ever found time to hook up with women? The brothers on My Three Sons weren't this close and they shared a bedroom.

Cash and Lapira exist solely to play wet blanket and dampen the proceedings. The audience is supposed to be thinking, "If the gals weren't around, the fun those boys could have!" But anyone who thinks about that too long is going to be left with the feeling that what series creators Adir Miller and Bob Fisher really wanted to film was a same-sex love triangle but they didn't have the guts to go all the way.

That could have actually worked with the three male leads. Instead, we're supposed to buy them as just friends and that doesn't work at all.

Fox has a bomb on its hands. It's trying to pretend like it doesn't. Weeks ago we got four episodes. We took a pass because we had nothing nice to say about the show. Which led to messages and calls of, "So-and-so liked it! He called it a romantic comedy!' First off, anyone calling this show revolving around three men a romantic comedy isn't fit to review anything. Second of all, it really just strikes us as the usual Fox mid-season.

Each fall, Fox promises hits galore. It generally gets one show that over-performs in the ratings, one that's a critics' darling and under-performs and a lot that hit the chopping block. So when spring approaches, dragging mid-season program changes with it, Fox has pretty much worn out the critics and they'll praise just about anything.

It's worth noting that Fox's prime time line up started in the spring of 1987 with the network announcing it would build and become a full blown network but, twenty-four years later, it still hasn't made the transition. Back in those first months, Fox only programmed for Sundays and Saturdays. And, no, Saturdays wasn't Cops and America's Most Wanted. Twenty-four years later and they're still a net-lette unable to program three hours of prime time Mondays through Saturday.

Since they have to fill so much less air time, what they do put on should be so much better. Or that's what you'd think until you watch Traffic Light or Til Death or Do Not Disturb or Back To You or The War At Home . . . Need we go further?

Maybe we do need to continue because Fox keeps doing this. A friend who's involved with a Fox exec gave us some depressing news which indicates Fox will never get its act together. Last spring, she repeatedly pushed for Fox to try and pick up The New Adventures of Old Christine when CBS cut it and/or Ghost Whisperer. She pointed out that Christine was a sitcom CBS had not only tossed to another night but counted on to open that night and the show was averaging eight million viewers an episode when it got the axe. On Fox, for a scripted show, that is a mega hit. We agreed with her that Christine would have been the perfect match with Raising Hope this season. She argued that Ghost Whisperer -- which won its Friday night time slot every week -- would be perfect to pair with Supernatural since Smallville can never really grow up no matter how old Tom Welling gets. But she was shot down. CORRECTION By Ava and C.I., March 1, 2011: Supernatural airs on CW. Our friend wasn't the idiot. We were. She argued that Fox picking up The Ghost Whisperer would allow it to block Supernatural (thereby finally developing Friday night with a solid anchor) and that Smallville was not going to mature any further so Fox could win Fridays in the fall of 2010 if they would pick up Ghost Whisperer. She knew what she was talking about, we were the two idiots who didn't listen closely and thought she was saying Ghost Whisperer could be paired with Supernatural. Our apologies to her for not listening closer and our apologies to you for being wrong.

That Fox isn't smart enough to develop new programming doesn't surprise us, that it can't even raid other networks when hits become available is a whole other story and indicates that the net-lette may have long ago achieved as much as its destined to.

And the Oscar should have gone to . . .

At the 1991 Academy Awards, we would have given the Oscar for Best Actress to Michelle Pfeiffer for her role as Katya in The Russia House (below).

The Russia House

Tonight ABC airs the Academy Awards and we thought it would be interesting to look back at the last 20 years, and offer who we would have given one of the Academy Awards to each year instead of the winner.

1991 -- No one gave a finer performance that Pfeiffer as Katya and she wasn't even nominated. "1991" refers to the year the Awards were handed out, not the year the films were released. No performance carried more weight , the mother living in Glasnost Russia, hoping that her sacrifice and risks will provide a better life for her children. Heart breaking moment, after the party, when Katya tells Barley (Sean Connery), "I hope you are not being frivolous Barley, my life now only has room for the truth." And, later, when Barley tells her, "You are my only country now."

1992 -- It only seems more obvious with each passing year, Best Director should have gone to Barbra Streisand for The Prince of Tides. Though she received a Directors Guild Nomination, Streisand didn't get an Academy Award nomination.

1993 -- We roll our eyes at both lead actor winners. Al Pacino and Emma Thompson are deserving of awards -- including Oscars -- but we wouldn't have given them the statue this year -- not for Pacino's way-way over-the-top Hoo-haa! Scent of a Woman performance and not for Thompson's feisty walk through of a Merchant Ivory production that has so little to distinguish it from every other Merchant Ivory production. With Emma, she had some strong challengers and we would have gone with Catherine Deneuve for Indochine. With Pacino, looking at his fellow nominees, we're forced to agree he was the best choice. But he still won for his weakest/worst performance of his entire filmography (and, yes, we have seen Revolution).

1994 -- Sigorney Weaver and Jessica Lange are among the actresses who've been nominated in a single year for both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. In Lange's case, she won Best Supporting Actress (for Tootsie) while Weaver lost out in both categories. No double nominee, in the history of the Academy, has ever picked up both awards. In 1994, Holly Hunter won Best Actress for The Piano and we don't dispute that win for a moment. However, we would have given her -- not Anna Paquin -- Best Supporting Actress as well for her role as Tammy in The Firm. The two roles were as far apart as possible and she excelled at both.

1995 -- Of the five nominees for Best Actor, we would have gone with John Travolta (Pulp Fiction) and not given Tom Hanks (the winner for the reactionary Forrest Dump) even a nomination. But the reality is that the strongest male lead performance of the year didn't even net a nomination: Johnny Depp in Ed Wood. It's with that role that he becomes one of the country's most talented actors.

1996 -- Would Susan Sarandon's colorless and lackluster performance have landed Best Actress if she'd been forced to compete with some of the year's strongest performances? We doubt it. And, no, Elisabeth Shue does not give strong performances and Sharon Stone's brilliant turn in Casino was in a supporting role. Among the women who should have been nominated for Best Actress that year but were not? Vanessa Redgrave (A Month By The Lake), Toni Colletee (Muriel's Wedding) and Nicole Kidman (To Die For) who should have won the award.

1997 -- Looking over the male acting nominations will not impress you and the actresses will only impress a little more; however, the big theft of the night was when Billy Boy Thornton walked away with the award for Best Screenplay Adaptation. Not only did all the other nominees actually write a film you can still watch, the best adaptation of the year didn't result in a nomination. The award should have gone to Elaine May for The Birdcage. Not only is it hilarious, the script remains the best film dissection of the press ever.

1998 -- Can someone please explain how neither Leonardo DiCaprio nor Kate Winslet walked off with a best lead statue for Titanic? Leo didn't even get nominated. Titanic was the film of the year and would win Best Director and Best Picture. How did Leo and Kate both get robbed?

1999 -- If there was a war movie to award it was not Saving Private Ryan (which shoots its wad in the first 20 minutes and then goes on a long, long slumber) but The Thin Red Line. Terrence Malick should have called LAPD and filed a robbery report when Steven Spielberg was announced as Best Director.

2000 -- Hillary Swank is a fine actress but this year, we would have given the award to Annette Bening for her brave performance in American Beauty. Hopefully, tonight, history will correct the omission.

2001 -- She sports a push up bra and some confused it with acting. One of the least deserving wins of the last 20 years has to be Julie Roberts and her one-note performance in Erin Brokovich. Whether informing her boss (Albert Finney) that she has breasts or warning that toxins are in the water, Julia delivers every line in the same nasal jab. Not the child actors, not Aaron Eckhart as a love interest can flesh out the character because it's Julia Does Dead Pan. She won the Oscar and America bid her farewell. She's not been able to carry a blockbuster since and that's not just because her hair's been so bleached for the last decade it looks like dry straw.

2002 -- Having given it to the worst actress the year before, this go-round, someone must have said, "Hey, who's worst director." Which is how Ron Howard won for the controversial life story (the film was very creative with the facts) told in A Beautiful Mind. Peter Jackson, David Lynch and Robert Altman must have cancelled one another out allowing Opie to win for this snooze-fest.

2003 -- Though Roman Polanski does have talent, his work was the weakest of all the people nominated for Best Director. Stephen Daldry's work in The Hours still haunts.

2004 -- Let's share a little secret with you. Judy Garland? Never won Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress. But before she was an adult, in 1939, the Academy did give her a Special Award for Outstanding Performance as a Screen Juvenile (for playing Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz). Shirley Temple got a similar award. In fact, from 1934 to 1960, this award was given out to keep cute little children confused with actors. We're bothered that Bill Murray lost Best Actor for his work in Lost In Translation and that Sofia Coppola lost as Best Director of the same film; however, we're stunned that Scarlett Johansson didn't even get nominated. Past time for 11-year-olds and other children to be given a special award (as done in the past) or just ignored.

2005 -- Again, Hillary Swank is a talented actress. We'd certainly have given her one of the Best Actress statues she won. But what we notice is that she keeps taking them away from Annette Bening (Being Julia). We think Swank's real acting chops were on best display in Million Dollar Baby and we're really glad she's not nominated this year.

2006 -- The clear choice for Best Supporting Actor was Jake Gyllenhaal who not only had the more difficult role in Brokeback Mountain, he didn't resort to some grotesque "Buffalo Bill" (serial killer in Silence Of The Lambs) voice to hide behind the way his co-star did. Gyllenhaal gave the performance of the year which was why it was so distressing to see TV actor George Clooney win for yet another of his many flop films.

the black dahlia

2007 -- If ever Vilmos Zsigmond deserved a second Oscar for cinematography, it was this go-round. He'd previously won for Close Encounters of the Third Kind and had two other nominations when he was nominated for The Black Dahlia (above), nominated for it and should have won for it. Four nominations, one win, really not solid enough for one of the greats whose non-nominated works include Blow Out, The Long Goodbye, Obsession, The Sugarland Express, The Hired Hand, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Body, The Crossing Guard, The Ghost and the Darkness, Playing By Heart, The Two Jakes and The Witches of Eastwick.

2008 -- Marion Cotillard demonstrated she could blend into the scenery, not that she could become an interesting character. When the one-word summation of her performance as Edith Piaf is "bland," the Best Actress statue should have gone to Julie Christie for Away From Her.

2009 -- One of the worst years for films and for the Academy. Best Picture should have gone to Milk (not the 'Up With People if you don't think about it too hard' Slumdog Millionaire). Repeating, worst year ever. Sean Penn and Kate Winslet may have been the only deserving winners. A lot of people nominated for talking heads performance in talking heads films. Very little cinematic about the year.

2010 -- An almost perfect year marred by Woody Harrelson (The Messenger) losing Best Supporting Actor to Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds).

Will this year be another 2009 (boo) or 2010 (incredible)? We'll find out tonight.

Don't Buy This Book

"The Marxian concept of alienation (or separation from one's 'species being') can explain why a passive and uncritical U.S. public generally believed that the Obama administration acted in its best interests and, therefore, did not demand accountability when the administration's lies regarding Iraq were revealed." If page 150 of Scott Bonn's new book had carried that sentence and explored it, it would be a book worth reading; however, the actual sentence (in the concluding chapter) is "The Marxian concept of alienation or separation from one's 'species being') can explain why a passive and uncritical U.S. public generally believed that the Bush administration acted in its beset interests and, therefore, did not demand accountablity when the administration's lies regarding Iraq were revealed."

mass deception

Bonn is a professor at Drew University (somehow that makes sense) and his new book is Mass Deception: Moral Panic And The US War On Iraq. From the title, you should have spotted the problem. Bonn's 'research' is predominately Gallup polls. Gallup polls really aren't known for measuring or being the "decider" of 'Morality.' Bonn's one of those bad writers who is loose with the facts and tries to take an inflamed situation and taunt the flames to go higher.

But mainly Bonn is a worker for the Nixon administration -- Henry Kissinger? -- in 1971 insisting of the war on Vietnam, "Johnson got us into it!!!!!"

LBJ may have started that war (some would argue JFK did) but in 1971, it really didn't matter what LBJ did because Nixon was continuing it.

By the same token, Barack Obama has continued the Iraq War. It's a fact Bonn works overtime to ignore. When he's not ignoring, he's just wrong.

Bonn misrepresents and misunderstands the SOFA -- including that it was 'signed' on November 28, 2008. That's as embarrassing as his rush to gush over Barack Obama -- "thoughtful approach and poise," the world 'rejoiced,' Iran's "president was responding to Barack Obama's campaign pledge," blah blah blah. Here's the Iraqi side of the SOFA in terms of dates, November 16, 2008 Nouri al-Maliki's Cabinet signs off on the Status Of Forces Agreement sending it to Parliament [see Mary Beth Sheridan's "Iraqi Cabinet Backs U.S. Security Deal: Parliament, Top Council Must Approve" (Washington Post)]. November 17, 2008, Hoshiyar Zebari, Iraq's Foreign Minister, and then-US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker signed the agreement [then-White House spokesperson Dana Perino declared, "And we are going to continue to work with the Iraqis, because while we did have a good step with the council of ministers approving the agreement, and then our ambassador and their foreign ministers signing it today, there are still seveal steps left to go."] November 27, 2008 -- not, as Bonn insists, November 28th -- Parliament puts their 'signature' on it by ratifying it. And, of course, December 15, 2008 (pictured below before shoes were thrown), Nouri and Bully Boy Bush signed off on it.

Bully Boy and Puppet

Bonn is also apparently unaware of the strong objection in the US to the SOFA. Shortly before the Parliament signed off on it (please note, the US Congress was not allowed to vote or offer input), US House Rep. Bill Delahunt's office released the following announcement:

For Immediate Release:
November 14, 2008
Further Information:
Mark Forest - 202-225-3111/774-487-2534
Experts Suggest That Agreement May Tie Hands Of Obama Administration
WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Rep. Bill Delahunt, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight will hold his eighth hearing on the proposed U.S.-Iraq security agreement on Wednesday, November 19th at 10am.

Next week's hearing will examine the possibility that any bilateral agreement reached between the Bush Administration and the government of Iraq may effectively tie the hands of the next Administration as a result of a clause in Article 31 in a draft of the accord that would prohibit the United States from cancelling it for one year.

At the end of October, Delahunt joined with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro in writing to President Bush asking for a temporary extension of the UN mandate for Iraq which expires on December 31, and is the sole instrument providing U.S. troops with the legal authorization to engage in combat operations in Iraq.

To read the letter, please click here.

The subcommittee will hear from a panel of experts that will also discuss the plans and prospects of a temporary extension of the mandate as well as offer their analysis on how a rushed agreement will affect the next President.

WHO: Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight

WHERE: Room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building:

WHEN: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 10:00 a.m.

SUBJECT: Renewing the United Nations Mandate for Iraq: Plans and Prospects


Oona A. Hathaway, Esq.
Professor of Law
Berkeley Law
University of California Berkeley

Mr. Raed Jarrar
Iraq Consultant
Middle East Peace Building Program
American Friends Service Committee

Michael J. Matheson, Esq.
Visiting Research Professor of Law
The George Washington University Law School

Issam Michael Saliba, Esq.
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
Middle East and North Africa
Law Library of Congress

Not only that, every singled candidate running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination -- every single one -- was opposed to the SOFA. The nomination went to Barack Obama and he chose Joe Biden as his running mate (Biden's opposition to the SOFA was made publicly clear in an April 10, 2008 Senate Foreign Reltations committee). What would they do about Iraq? They would offer "Plan for Ending the War in Iraq" which included:

Obama and Biden believe any Status of Forces Agreement, or any strategic framework agreement, should be negotiated in the context of a broader commitment by the U.S. to begin withdrawing its troops and forswearing permanent bases. Obama and Biden also believe that any security accord must be subject to Congressional approval. It is unacceptable that the Iraqi government will present the agreement to the Iraqi parliament for approval--yet the Bush administration will not do the same with the U.S. Congress. The Bush administration must submit the agreement to Congress or allow the next administration to negotiate an agreement that has bipartisan support here at home and makes absolutely clear that the U.S. will not maintain permanent bases in Iraq.

November 18, 2008, The Common Ills asked, "The treaty and is Barack breaking his word again?" and shortly after the objection to the SOFA disappeared from the website -- not that your PoliFact or bothered to notice. If you use that SOFA link now, you'll see not only have they removed the SOFA, they've also removed Iraq entirely. It's no longer an 'issue' -- at least not one they want to be held accountable for and, with people like Scott Bonn posing as 'informed,' they most likely won't be held accountable.

To enjoy the book, one is required to pretend the Iraq War end. While preaching that lessons need to be learned, the book is factually incoherent. Throughout, Bonn will argue the Iraq War was (his term, we say "is") an illegal war. We don't dispute that but an illegal war that continues does not become peachy keen just because you've got a crush on the president and dream of sucking his cock down to the hairy root.

The book concludes with this sorry-ass sentence, "Perhaps, however, the moral panic engineered by the Bush administration over Iraq taught at least a portion of the U.S. public the merits of an old saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Shame on Bonn. A book allegedly about the Iraq War which spends an equal amount of time on Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan and (we're not joking here) O.J. Simpson has the flaws built in. And especially shame upon Bonn because the book he thinks he's written, the one he's so proud of? It was written eight years ago by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, 2003's Weapons Of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq.

Boy Did I Get A Wrong Number

Some suggestions make very little sense. Take these Netflix suggestions. If you like Desire Under The Elm (Sophia Loren marries Anthony Perkins father but sleeps with and gets pregnant by Perkins) and Anastasia (Ingrid Bergman may or may not be a missing Romanov and Yul Brynner may or may not be able to conceal his attraction), then Netflix has some recommendations for other "Romantic Movies from the 1950s."


Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson in All That Heaven Allows, we can see it. James Stewart and Jeff Chandler in Broken Arrow, John Payne and Maureen O'Hara in Tripoli, and Michael Redgrave with Joan Greenwood and Michael Denison with Dorothy Tutin in The Importance of Being Earnest? Yeah, we can see it -- Wait though.

What's that one after Wyman and Hudson again?

Broken Arrow? Netflix describes the 1950 film:

By the 1870s, the battle between settlers and the Apaches had raged for 10 years. When a chance encounter brings Army scout Tom Jeffords (James Stewart) into Apache territory, he comes to believe in the possibility of peace. Ultimately developing a friendship with Apache leader Cochise (Jeff Chandler), Jeffords works to negotiate a truce. Debra Paget co-stars in this Western that helped change the depiction of Native Americans on the big screen.

Unless Cochise and Tom have some Brokeback action, we think Netflix needs to work on their suggestions and classifications.

Jim's World


Along with fielding e-mails here at our site, I also help out with the public account of The Common Ills and there are a lot of people who want to question and argue.

Due to the fact that so many US outlets have pulled out of Iraq, C.I.'s now increasingly relying on Arabic press and, as she's noted many times, one of the most ridiculous questions coming in is, "How do I know you're translating that correctly?"

How do you answer that? "Because I am"? (She's also tried, "Learn Arabic and then check me.")

Last week, she did an entry in the morning on War Crimes and War Criminals. It was probably my favorite of the week and for lines like this one, "There is no such things as a little bit of War Criminal or some level of War Criminal that falls under the heading 'scamp.'"

Scamp. That one still cracks me up.

In the entry, she notes the need for a 'hero' to be declared and how that impulse can run astray:

John Dean participated in many of the Watergate Crimes (I'm not calling Dean a War Criminal, I'm talking about Watergate). When it became uncomfortable for him, he got honest. It's a little too late to take back the spying and the law breaking he took part in, the unconstitutional acts. He's a felon. Somehow, in the '00s, he became a hero to some on the left. In a Phyllis George moment, Amy Goodman tried to pair him up on air with one of his many victims Daniel Ellsberg. John Dean may have paid for his crimes behind bars, but that hardly makes him a hero.

Four e-mails came in insisting that was not the case, insisting that, when the left covered John Dean, they noted the truth.

Well I went hunting. I grabbed the October 2006 issue of The Progressive. Matthew Rothschild interviewed John Dean for Progressive Radio (click here for that) in April. In October, he used some of that interview for an article in the magazine.

He's a figure out of the history books: the man who helped bring down Richard Nixon. But here he was in the flesh, looking tan and relaxed. John Dean was in Madison, Wisconsin, giving a talk this spring entitled "Executive Power: Worse Than Watergate?" And while he aimed at Bush, he dished about Nixon. On Dean's very first day as White House counsel, the President called, angry about a negative newspaper story on Vice President Spiro Agnew, Dean said. Nixon told him to get the IRS to audit the reporter. Dean didn't know how to proceed, and said he was troubled by the demand, but went ahead anyway. He said he didn't go ahead, though, with the plan to firebomb the Brookings Institution. This scheme, the brainchild of G. Gordon Liddy, was designed to destroy a copy of the Pentagon Papers that was stashed there. Dean had to fly out to California to convince Nixon's aide John Ehrlichman to call off the plan, since, Dean said, arson and possibly murder could be traced back to the White House. After many years in the private sector running a successful mergers and qcquisition business, Dean is now relishing the writing life. He does a regular column for His previous [. . .]

In four paragraphs, Rothschild never can tell you that Dean went to prison or that he's a felon. And in 2006, Watergate's ancient history for many. By contrast, Wikipedia notes the basic in their first paragraph:

John Wesley Dean III (born October 14, 1938) was a White House Counsel to United States President Richard Nixon from July 1970 until April 1973. As White House Counsel, he became deeply involved in events leading up to the Watergate burglaries and the subsequent Watergate scandal cover up. He was referred to as "master manipulator of the cover up" by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).[1] He pleaded guilty to a single felony count in exchange for becoming a key witness for the prosecution. This ultimately resulted in a reduction of prison sentence, which was served at Fort Holabird outside Baltimore, MD.

Rothschild also acts like Dean being a columnist at means something. It does, just nothing great. As a convicted felon, Dean is no longer an attorney. He can still make money off his degree by writing columns. Again to Wikipedia:

Dean pled guilty to obstruction of justice before Watergate trial judge John Sirica on November 30, 1973. He admitted supervising payments of "hush money" to the Watergate burglars, notably E. Howard Hunt, and revealed the existence of Nixon's enemies list. On August 2, 1974, Sirica handed down a sentence of one to four years in a minimum-security prison. However, when Dean surrendered himself as scheduled on September 3, he was diverted to the custody of U.S. Marshals, and kept instead at Fort Holabird (near Baltimore, Maryland) in a special "safe house" holding facility primarily used for witnesses against the Mafia. He spent his days in the offices of the Watergate Special Prosecutor and testifying in the trial of Watergate conspirators Mitchell, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Robert Mardian, and Kenneth Parkinson, which concluded on January 1, 1975. Dean's lawyer moved to have his sentence reduced, and on January 8, Sirica granted the motion, adjusting Dean's sentence to time served, which wound up being four months. With his conviction for felony offenses, Dean was disbarred as a lawyer, so could no longer practice law.

Gee, the things Dean did are things Rothschild regularly rails against . . . except when speaking to Dean. From pages 33 through 36, read them and weep as Rothschild treats convicted felon John Dean as a reliable witness and never raises his conviction or any of his crimes.

Tell me again about how when the left brought John Dean into the tent throughout the '00s, they told the truth.

Iraqis stand up across the country

We're re-running C.I.'s Friday snapshot in full because it covers the little-covered Iraq protests -- in fact, those protests are the entire focus on the snapshot. Screen snap is from Aljazeera and it's Baghdad during the Friday protests.


Iraq snapshot

Friday, February 25, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, Iraqis take to the streets with their demands, protesters are shot at and attacked, one governor resigns another is pressured to, the US stands on the sidelines, and much more.
For weeks, protests were planned for today in Iraq. This was done publicly, not hidden away. Along with using Facebook, organizers and planned participants gave interviews to the press. Clerics publicly supported the protests at the start of the month. Nouri al-Maliki then began making weak, generic statements of support which seemed to be empty lip service forced by the actions of the clerics. Last Sunday, Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani issued a statement of support for the protesters. Wednesday, things suddenly changed as Moqtada al-Sadr leaves Iran and shows back up in Iraq. He's had no interest in Iraq since his brief layover in January but suddenly he's back and insisting that the protests must stop. al-Sistani also says the protests need to stop. Nouri al-Maliki makes clear that he was just mouthing empty words as he now declares that the protests must stop and starts resorting to fear mongering by again trotting out his claims that Ba'athists, from outside the country, are behind the protests and that the protests will tear Iraq apart.

It wasn't just words. Alsumaria TV reports that attempts to stop the protests included curfews that immediatley went into effect in Samarra, Nineveh and Sulaimaniah. Al Mada quotes Nouri's desparate plea last night where he labeled the protests subversive and insisted that intellecturals, writers and civil society organizations, workers and peasants, doctors, institutions and scientists, teachers, engineers and everyone must not participate in the demonstration Friday, they must drop their objectives because the terrorists are using this event to advance their own interests. He continued that there was a "legitimate need" for basic services and reforms but this was trumped by "compelling evidence" that terrorists were behind the demonstrations in order to return Iraq to its "former Ba'ath era of black days and mass graves and chemical weapons and lack of freedoms."

No where in his speech claiming to understand the protesters did Nouri mention or acknowledge that Iraq's had one prime minister since 2006: himself. And that under his leadership for years now, basic services haven't been provided. He's lied. In 2009, trying to get votes for his candidates in provincial elections, he claimed basic services were just around the corner. He'd show up in towns with a large 'block' of ice to provide them fresh (temporary) drinking water and swear that their own safe water would flow shortly but he got the votes he wanted and discarded his promise. He did that over and over. The demands the Iraqis are making are not new demands that just surfaced in the last 48 hours. Justin Raimondo ( points out:

So this is why we killed
hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, sacrificed thousands
of our own, and spent $3 trillion on "liberating" Iraq – so we could install this Gadhafi clone in office. Of course, Maliki hasn't unleashed his hired thugs
(hired by you) on the protesting populace quite yet – "only" three or four protesters have been killed, so far, in Iraq. Yet it isn't hard to imagine a
Libya-like scenario playing out in "liberated" Iraq: the country is a powder
keg waiting to go off.

Occupied Iraq where the war continues and gears up for its eight year mark next month. Occupied Iraq where billions in oil revenues flow into the government each year, where the population isn't even half a million, is barely over a quarter million, and yet the last eight years have seen an increase in poverty, an increase in an unemployment, destruction of infrastructure and basic services and much, much more. The government can't even provide safe drinking water. Iraqis had it before the start of the war. Now many are required to boil water before drinking it. Or there are those little purification tablets the UN passes out in order to mitigate the annual fall cholera outbreaks. The rivers are polluted -- which makes them unsafe for drinking as well -- as are the streets and basic sanitation is a problem. Basic electricity even more so as generators have had to become household items as common as stoves. The disabled, the widows and the orphans are largely left to fend for themselves with little help other than that provided by NGOs.

In this environment Moqtada al-Sadr waded in -- presumably doing the bidding of the government of Iran, the country he's made his home for how many years now? -- and declared that protests must cease immediately and that, instead, he'd hold another one of his wonderful (inept) referendums. The New York Times hailed Moqtada (wrongly) as second in influence in Iraq only to Nouri. What was going to happen?

Al Rafidayn reports Baghdad saw thousands congregate at Tahrir Square with the army and the police surrounding the area. Activist Lina Ali, who stood holding flowers while protesting in Tahrir Square, explains that electricity and potable water are not available. Al Mada adds comments from various people -- including some Iraqis -- about how the internet has changed things and offers, as one example, that Saudis twenty years ago didn't learn that Iraq had invaded Kuwait until three days after due to a media blackout; however, now the information travels. Ahmad Ezzeddine, Microsoft's director in Iraq, is quoted (from an interview with Alsumaria TV) stating that at one point Iraq's internet was a series of network connected to Dubai, England or Germany but today it is far greater and it's not as simple to block or censor. Iraq also now has over 45 satellite channels.

Ben Lando (Wall St. Journal) notes military helicopters flew over Baghdad -- he doesn't note whose military: "As well as criticizing the demonstrators, the government has strictly limited freedom of movement across the capital in an attempt to curb Friday's protests. There has been an increase in military helicopter traffic and heightened security at checkpoints in the capital on Friday. In Baghdad's commercial district of Karrada, police and army officials are stopping and questioning pedestrians." Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) explains Baghdad "was virtually locked down" last night with a curfew imposed: "Near midnight Thursday, a red banner flashed across state television broadcasts announcing the curfew, a draconian measure more often deployed to deal with insurgent attacks." BBC News reports, "Soldiers blocked every road leading into Baghdad to try to stop protesters from carrying out their planned day of rage, says the BBC's Jonathan Head in the Iraqi capital. No vehicles were allowed into the city centre and thousands of riot police took up position in and around Baghdad Tahrir Square." Realizing at the last minute that the protesters weren't going to just drop the demonstration, Al Mada reports, the Baghdad Security Committee issued a desperate order that the protesters would not be allowed to carry "anti-government" banners. Despite this, Jane Arraf reported for Aljazeera that protesteros chanted "No to unemployment" and "No to the liar al-Maliki."
Alice Fordham and Raheem Salman (Los Angeles Times) report, "In Baghdad, witnesses said security forces fired live ammunition and used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Many people were beaten and chased through the streets. No deaths were reported in the Iraqi capital." AFP adds, "A journalist said security forces had used a water cannon and tear gas in a bid to disperse the crowd. An interior ministry official said 15 people were wounded." Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) observes, "Despite government attempts to portray the demonstration as politically motivated, many of the young men who raged against Mr. Maliki had much more basic reasons, complaining of a lack of jobs and public services and of the perception that in a country listed as among the world's most corrupt, officials are stealing the wealth." She quotes protester Oday Kareem stating, "I'm a laborer. I work one day and stay at home for a month. [. . .] He [Nouri al-Maliki] said people will do beter than they did under Saddam Hussein -- where is it?" For All Things Considered (NPR), Kelly McEvers filed a report which included:

But many of the protesters here calling Maliki a liar were young, unemployed men. They called for jobs, better electricity an end to corruption. They repeated a word they'd heard in other protests around the region: peaceful, peaceful. But then one group toppled concrete blast walls blocking a bridge
to the fortified Green Zone where Iraqi officials live and work. Riot police responded, protesters began throwing rocks. Okay, we're just beyond the outskirts of what's going on but it's turned very violent, The sound you hear is people banging on corrugated steel as they are throwing rocks and clashing
with riot police.

According to eyewitnesses, at least three protesters were shot dead by police during the standoff. Despite television footage to the contrary, the Baghdad Operation Command and Baghdad Police Department have denied that any protestors were killed or injured.
Multiple issues had helped bring out the protesters. Among the banners on display at Baghdad's Tahrir Square were, "Maliki has become just like Saddam," "We want the government to get rid of corruption and punish the corrupt," and "What happened to all the billions in oil revenue?" Many consider the lack of electricity, clean water and sanitation an insult for a nation known to have some of the world's largest proven petroleum reserves. As unemployed Baghdad resident Mohammed Khuadier al-Hamadani, 49, says, "There is no power, water , basic services, good infrastructure, food rations or jobs in a wealthy oil country like Iraq. This is unjust. They must stop this oppression. I want my share from oil just like the Gulf States. You know the Emir of Kuwait gave his citizens [profits and food rations]. Why can't we be just like them and have a prosperous life?"

Aswat Al Iraq counts nine people injured in Baghdad -- seven police officers and two civilians. Protests took place not just in Baghdad but across the country, some were more sedate, some saw more violence. BBC News has a photo essay of various protests. Aswat Al-Iraq reports a number of disabled and/or challenged persons demonstrated in Thi Qar carrying signs (which hopefully they made and/or approved) declaring to the government, "God made us dumb and deaf but why are you like us?" Kadhim Ajrash and Caroline Alexander (Bloomberg News) report one Shi'ite cleric publicly bucked the call of Nouri and Moqtada, that Sheikh Ahmed al-Safi joined thousands in Karbala's Imam Hussein Square today declaring, "Demonstrations on the streets of Iraq are taking place because people are collectively saying that they wants to be heard. The constitution guarantees the right of protests and it is the right of any person to protest peacefully." The reporters note that al-Safi's roles include serving as spokesperson for al-Sistania. In Kut (Wassit Province), activist Fadel Aanied described his fellow protesters, "The gathering, most of them are young men, raised banners accusing officials of stealing oil revenues and criticizing bad services in the province. They also chanted slogans against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and against Lawmaker Hayder al-Abadi, who described them as rioters." Mustafa Abdul Wahid ( reports from Karbala that protesters made their way through the city carrying a coffin to symbolize the electricity problem that continues to plague the country. They also had banners condemning the Ba'ath Party.

Aswat Al Iraq reports that security forces shot 16 protesters in Falluja who were 'storming' the local government compound. Fang Yang (Xinhua) reports over 1,000 demonstrated in Tikrit and they "stoned the government building and clashed with the guards demanding resgination of the provincial governor [Salahudin Province] and the provincial council members, who are blamed by the protestors of being behind the deterioration of public services and corruption. Also in the province, angry protesters attacked the city council of Sulaiman-Pek and set fire to the building after clashes with the security forces. Seven people were injured, a local security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity." At NPR's The Two-Way, Bill Chappell notes this from Kelly McEvers, "The most violent protests were in the northern city of Mosul where demonstrators tried to burn the regional government headquarters demanding jobs and better services. Guards opened fire." The Guardian offers, "Anger over corruption and abysmal basic services erupted in a 'Day of Rage', with the most serious clashes in Mosul and Hawija, in the north, and Basra in the south. At least six people were killed – three in Mosul and three in Hawija – and 75 injured in clashes with security services as protesters tried to attack government buildings." Mosul is in Ninewah Province. Aswat Al Iraq reports that there were 5 deaths in Mosul with fifteen people injured and quote an unnamed security source stating, "The injuries were the result of shooting, shrapnel and stun bombs." Aswat Al Iraq adds that the Ninewa Provincial headquarters were set on fire. Al Rafidayn is reporting that Nouri al-Maliki has called on Speaker of Parliament Osama Nujafi to persuade his brother, Ethel Nujafi, to resign as governor of Ninewah and, citing an unnamed source, says Nouri fears the anger is building in Ninewah but that Nujafi is standing by his relative and has accused Nouri of being behind the protesters who stormed the government buildings and set them on fire..

Ramadi was the site of demonstrations as well. notes that Radio Free Iraq's Ahmed al-Hiti ( is the website for RFI) reported that the Anbar Province city saw calls for improved basic services today and that protesters were not scared off by yesterday's suicide bombing in the town. They were, however, fired at by security forces.

The protest in Kirkuk is said to have wounded 23 police officers. Aswat al-Iraq reports 39 police officers were wounded in the Basra protest, Al Rafidayn reports Basra protesters were calling for the resignation of the governor as part of their demands. Aswat Al Iraq notes that al-Iraqiya satellite TV is now reporting that, according to MP Ismail Ghazi, Shaltagh Abboud (Governor of Basra) will resign in two days. Aljazeera reports, "While in the south, a crowd of about 4,000 people demonstrated in front of the office of Governor Sheltagh Aboud al-Mayahi in the port city of Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, located 550km southeast of Baghdad. They knocked over one of the concrete barriers and demanded his resignation, saying he had done nothing to improve city services. They appeared to get their wish when Major General Mohammad Jawad Hawaidi, the commander of Basra military operations, told the crowd that the governor had resigned in response to the demonstrations." Alsumaria TV reports that Sheltag Abboud has held a press conference announcing his resignation as governor.

The numbers are still being counted and may rise but currently Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) reports 23 protesters were killed across Iraq today. Human Rights Watch issued the following today:

The Iraqi authorities should order an immediate independent inquiry into each of eight killings and any unlawful use of force by security forces during demonstrations on February 25, 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. Dozens more were injured in crackdowns on demonstrations in several Iraqi towns and cities. Human Rights Watch observed security forces beating unarmed journalists and protesters in Baghdad, and counted at least 18 injured.
Any unlawful use of force, especially force resulting in deaths, should lead to the prosecution of those responsible, including those who gave the orders or who were otherwise responsible, Human Rights Watch said. The Iraqi authorities also should lift all unnecessary restrictions on peaceful assembly and protest.
"The Iraqi authorities need to rein in their security forces and account for every single killing," said Tom Porteous, deputy program director for Human Rights Watch. "The security forces need to use the maximum possible restraint in dealing with protesters."
In Mosul, security forces opened fire, reportedly killing at least two people and wounding 20, after demonstrators tried to force their way into a provincial council building. In the town of Hawijah, security forces shot stone-throwing protesters, killing at least three and wounding more than 12, according to news reports and a local journalist interviewed by Human Rights Watch. In Ramadi, security forces fired on about 250 demonstrators, killing one person and wounding eight. And in Tirkit, police fired on demonstrators trying to raid a government building, killing two and wounding nine.
In Baghdad, security forces severely limited demonstrations after imposing strict restrictions on vehicle travel, starting in the early morning. The ban by Baghdad Operations Command forced protesters to walk to the center of the capital for the demonstration and prevented television satellite trucks from covering the protests live. Scores of demonstrations have taken place across the country since early February, mainly focused on the chronic lack of basic services and perceived widespread corruption. Since February 16 security forces have killed more than a dozen protesters and injured more than 150 at demonstrations throughout Iraq.
Earlier this week, Iraqi police allowed dozens of assailants to beat and stab peaceful protesters in Baghdad. In the early hours of February 21, dozens of men, some wielding knives and clubs, attacked about 50 protesters who had set up two tents in Baghdad's Tahrir Square. The assailants stabbed and beat at least 20 of the protesters who were intending to camp in the square until February 25, when groups had called for national protests similar to the "Day of Anger" in Egypt. The February 21 attack came directly after the police had withdrawn from the square, and witnesses suggested the assailants were in discussion with the police before they attacked.
On June 25, 2010, in response to thousands of Iraqis who took to the streets to protest a chronic lack of government services, the interior ministry issued regulations with onerous provisions that effectively impeded Iraqis from organizing lawful protests. The regulations required organizers to get "written approval of both the minister of interior and the provincial governor" before submitting an application to the relevant police department, not less than 72 hours before a planned event. These regulations are still in effect.
Iraq's constitution guarantees "freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration."As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iraq is obligated to protect the rights to life and security of the person, and the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. Iraq should also abide by the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms, which state that lethal force may only be used when strictly unavoidable to protect life, and must be exercised with restraint and proportionality. The principles also require governments to "ensure that arbitrary or abusive use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials is punished as a criminal offense under their law."
Human rights law on the right to life, including article 6 of the ICCPR, requires an effective and transparent investigation when deaths may have been caused by state officials, leading to the identification and prosecution of the perpetrators of any crimes that took place.

On its main page, Kitabat features an essay noting today was the statement of the Iraqi people, that they wrote it in blood as they took to the streets to decry the betrayal of freedom, this was the statement of the people as they risked arrest and brutality frm the regime of tryants who resort to attacks on journalists, secret arrests of activists and attempts to crackdown on the people in order to circumvent the demonstrations. The mood of the people, the essay continues, was peaceful but the security was in a panic at the unarmed people in the streets, the government was on a "holy war" too silence the voice of the people. Today, the essay concludes, was the last warning to the Parliament, the political elites and the government that the people will not be silenced by repressive forces and that peace and demonstrations will continue to grow in Iraq.

Iraqis stood up today. They have stood up many times before. In the not-so-distant past, they were asked to stand up during the first Gulf War of the early 90s, when George H.W. Bush was president. Lance Selfa (ISR) reminds what took place:

On February 15 -- a month into the air war -- Saddam's government announced it would accept UN resolutions calling for its withdrawal from Kuwait. The U.S. and its lackey, Britain, dismissed Saddam's surrender. Instead, Bush called for Iraqis to rise up and overthrow Saddam: "[T]here's another way for the bloodshed to stop, and that is for the Iraqi military and the Iraqi people to take matters into their own hands, to force Saddam to step aside." Bush's statement communicated two points: first, that the U.S. wouldn't settle only for Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait, and second, that the U.S. might back anyone who rose up against Saddam. The first point proved that expelling Iraq from Kuwait was a mere pretext for wider U.S. designs in the war. The second point proved a lie only weeks later, when masses of Kurds and Shiites took "matters into their own hands" and rose up against Saddam.
Saddam had essentially cried "uncle," but the U.S. wanted to mount a ground offensive anyway. In six days, U.S. and coalition ground troops swept across Kuwait and southern Iraq, forcing Iraqi troops into a full-scale retreat. In the last 40 hours of the war, before Bush called a cease-fire on February 28, U.S. and British forces mounted a relentless assault against retreating and defenseless Iraqi soldiers. The road leading from Kuwait to Basra became known as the "Highway of Death." Iraqi soldiers fled Kuwait in every possible vehicle they could get their hands on. Allied tank units cut the Iraqis off. U.S. warplanes bombed, strafed and firebombed the stranded columns for hours without resistance. In a slaughter which a U.S. pilot described as "like shooting fish in a barrel," thousands of Iraqi conscripts were killed on a 50-mile stretch of highway. So many planes filled the skies over southern Iraq that military air traffic controllers maneuvered to prevent mid-air collisions.
The "Highway of Death," and, in fact, the ground war itself, served no military purpose. Saddam had admitted defeat before the ground war began. Attacks on retreating Iraqis merely delayed the war's end. But the U.S. mounted this barbarism for one reason only: to render an example of what would happen to any government which bucked the U.S. For nearly two days, the Pentagon invented the excuse that the Iraqis were staging a "fighting retreat," a fiction which they knew was a lie. "When enemy armies are defeated, they withdraw," said Air Force Chief of Staff Merrill A. McPeak. "It's during this time that the true fruits of victory are achieved from combat, when the enemy is disorganized . . . If we do not exploit victory, the president should get himself some new generals."
The savagery of the U.S. war took some of the luster off Bush's victory. But nothing so revealed the callous disregard for ordinary Iraqis as U.S. complicity in Saddam's suppression of the Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in the weeks following Iraq's defeat. Demobilized soldiers in the southern, predominantly Shiite sections of the country returned to their hometowns and vented their fury on all symbols of Saddam's regime. Kurdish guerrillas launched a coordinated uprising in Iraqi Kurdistan. In the week following the Gulf War cease-fire, ordinary Iraqis stormed the regime's police headquarters, barracks and prisons. Crowds broke into underground dungeons and torture chambers, freeing political prisoners who hadn't seen daylight in decades. Masses of people lynched officials of Saddam's government. For almost two weeks, ordinary Iraqis controlled whole regions of the country and Saddam's government seemed on the verge of collapse.
Then, Saddam got a helping hand from an unlikely source -- the U.S. government. Bush had meant his call for Saddam "to step aside" as a signal of U.S. support for a military coup against him -- not a popular uprising. An uprising from below might set the wrong example for the populaces of the U.S.-allied feudal dictatorships in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States. U.S. officials also expressed fears that successful uprisings could lead to a breakup of Iraq and the strengthening of the other Gulf bogeyman, Iran. U.S. military officials refused to meet with emissaries of the rebels. And U.S. forces stood by as Saddam's government, officially violating the terms of the cease-fire agreement, mounted a counterattack. When Saddam's forces dropped firebombs on fleeing rebels near the southern Iraqi city of Kerbala, American planes patrolled high above, surveilling the attack.
In the wake of all the slaughter and destruction, George Bush promised that Desert Storm would usher in a "new world order." But the new order looked quite a bit like the old order.
In Kuwait, U.S. bayonets restored to power the ruling al-Sabah family, a feudal dynasty. Bush had made much about the rights of the Kuwaiti people to determine their own destiny free from Iraqi rule. But in restoring the al-Sabahs to the throne, Bush restored a political system which allowed only 3 percent of Kuwaiti residents any political rights at all. Women still can't vote in Kuwait. As soon as the al-Sabahs returned, they launched a reign of terror against Palestinian "guest workers," whom the al-Sabahs accused of pro-Iraq sentiments. Kuwaiti police rounded up thousands. They summarily executed hundreds of them. Kuwait expelled more than 400,000 Palestinian workers -- many of whom suffered under the Iraqi occupation -- from the country. Human rights organizations denounce Kuwait's disregard for elementary human rights.
By the end of March 1991, Saddam had put down the Shiite/Kurdish rebellion. The immediate result was a humanitarian catastrophe that dwarfs even the horrible situation in Kosovo today. As many as 3 million Kurds fled into Iran and Turkey. When destroying Iraq, the coalition air forces flew one raid a minute. In the first week of the Kurds' torment in makeshift camps in the mountains, those same forces could manage only 10 flights. The total relief for Kurds that Congress approved in April 1991 amounted to about eight hours of spending on the war. When the U.S. announced Operation Provide Comfort, it used the safeguarding of Kurds to establish a military occupation of northern Iraq.

Today Iraqis stood up on their own, for themselves, without any promises of assistance from the US or any other government. This was the protest of the Iraqi people, by the Iraqi people. They followed no one, they led. It was homegrown and it was the voice of the people. In what played out like a bad attempt to short-circuit the protests (most likely played out that way because that's what it was intended to be), Moqtada attempted counter-programming with himself as the tasty treat. Al Rafidayn reports Moqtada led Friday prayers at a Kufa mosque (Kufa is in Najaf). They note the religious leader Moqtada last devliered a service to the congregation in 2007. But Moqtada al-Sadr could not short-circuit the will of the people, nor could the United States or anyone else. Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) quotes International Crisis Group's Joost Hiltermaan explaining, "Obama wants to convey that 'Yes, Iraq has a number of problems that need to be addressed, but the country is on the right track. You can't possibly say, 'Iraq is in a crisis, and by the way, we're leaving." McCrummen also notes that the US Embassy in Baghdad's spokesperson Aaron Snipe "played down Friday's violence, as well as the draconian measures Maliki took to stifle turnout."

The voice of the Iraqi people and their attitude towards their government may have been best expressed in Kelly McEvers' report for All Things Considered, "As one protester put it, just give us one-fourth of what you steal, we could be rich on just that."

Reuters notes a Garma home invasion resulted in the deaths of 6 family members, a Tuz Khurmato roadside bombing injured two people, an attack on a Hilla checkpoint claimed the lives of 2 Sahwa members (a thrid wounded), a Kirkuk mortar attack left three police officers injured and at least 2 protesters in Hilla were killed by police and twenty-two more injured.

The real nature of the Kurdish kleptocracy is
well-known to my longtime readers, but the Kurds' public relations campaign – funded by you, the American taxpayer – has done a pretty good job, so far, of obscuring the truth. While Hitchens was having "a perfectly swell time" taking in the sights and sounds of ideological tourism in Kurdistan, Dr. Kamal Sayid Qadir, a Kurdish human rights activist, was being sentenced to 30 years in prison for "insulting" the President of Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, and "defaming" the Kurdish people. His real "crime" was exposing the corruption of the Kurdish state-within-a-state. He was eventually released due to an international outcry, but what of all the other poor souls trapped in Kurdistan's notorious prisons, where torture is ubiquitous and the "legal" process is dicey, at best?
For years, the Kurdish government has been ethnically cleansing Arabs, Turkmens, and other minorities from its territory, jailing its internal critics, enriching its friends, and aiding the terrorist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which uses Iraqi Kurdistan as a base from which to launch attacks on civilian targets in Turkey.

Those who had the sense to weigh in

It was an eruption. The e-mails poured in like non-stop, molten lava over last week's "The Damned Don't Apologize (Ava and C.I.)" about the verbal attacks on Lara Logan by Nir Rosen (to the left) after it was learned she had been sexually assaulted in Egypt. Along with the verbal attacks, there were the silences which were also telling. Carolyn LP called the article "a passionate primer I'm sharing with my students" and urged us to do a survey piece noting the ones who had the sense to weigh in.

Leonard Pitts Jr. (Miami Herald) observed
, "The woman is a reporter and she was doing what reporters do: going places, sometimes dicey, difficult or dangerous places, in order to originate the information that allows the rest of us to opine from the comfort of our chairs.
The suggestion that in doing her job, Logan somehow "deserved" what happened to her is appalling. As is Hoff's political spin, Rosen's mockery and Schlussel's frothing bigotry."

Maureen Dowd (New York Times) weighed in, "He apologized in a whiny way, explaining that he 'resented' Logan because she 'defended American imperial adventures,' and that she got so much attention for the assault because she's white and famous. He explained in Salon that 'Twitter is no place for nuance,' as though there's any nuance in his suggestion that Logan wanted to be sexually assaulted for ratings."

Kirsten Meeder (National Organization for Women's Say It, Sister!), "Strangely enough, this type of vulgar dialogue was not present when ABC correspondent Bob Woodruff almost died from wounds he received in Iraq in 2006. No one dared suggest that Woodruff's injuries didn't count since he was a young, white and (some might say) attractive civilian who had been reporting in a chaotic region."

Phil Bronstein (San Francisco Chronicle) observed, "But that started yet another debate about whether Rosen himself was a scurrilous troll or the victime of anti-free speech forces. I vote the former. An Esquire writer actually claimed both Rosen and Logan were 'attacked by the same thing . . . mob mentality.' That's a big stretch."

Ann (Ann's Mega Dub) explained, ". . . I was raped. I was lucky in that I saw justice. My rapist got convicted and sentenced. Many women don't get that closure or justice. So I really don't think we need excuses for Nir Rosen who has argued that Anderson Cooper should have been sexually assaulted and that his being sexually assaulted would be 'funny' and that Lara Logan deserved to be sexually assaulted. Guess what, Nir Rosen, you might think I'm the biggest bitch in the world. That still doesn't give you or anyone else the right to sexually assault and/or rape me."

Julie Gerstein (New York magazine) pointed out of Nir Rosen's many alleged apologies, "And yet, in all the tweets, essays and interviews, Rosen has yet to come across and truly contrite and apologetic. Maybe he should use some of his new-found free time to work on that."

Also refer to Cedric's "Nir Rosen continues his non-apology tour" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! THE NON-APOLOGY APOLOGY!" (joint-post).

Last week Rosen won the not highly sought after "Dick of the Week" award: "Amazingly though, Rosen was only getting warmed up. It's his apologies that really set the standard. Rosen made several attempts at an 'apology' that range from whining and petulant to flippant and dismissive. It becomes very clear very quickly that Rosen feels absolutely no remorse whatsoever for his inappropriate, insulting tweets."

Many refused to call Rosen out and preferred to stay silent. Betty (Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man) tackled them, "And they think as long as the remain silent, the story dies. Here's what really happens, their silence encourages the rapist mentality Nir Rosen felt comfortable voicing in public -- that a woman has it coming. There is no honor, there are no ethics. They are whores. They will show up to decry a Republican saying this but they will ignore it from their own. And women will suffer for it. It's disgusting and it's why I can't stand these whores anymore. They're liars and they're disgusting and their willing to put women's safety at risk just to protect yet another man. It's disgusting. Don't be part of the silence, fight back and call it out."

Laura Flanders (Grit TV) argued
, "Lara Logan deserves commendation for going public with her story, and anyone who tries to twist into anything other than a tale of what happens to women everywhere, all the time, still, is simply making apologies for rape. And for that there's no apology."

Musa Mukhtar (Sayyidfulaan) wrote, "God this guy is arrogant. To explain why such a sophisticated mind such as Rosen would make such an idiotic series of comments on Twitter, Nir Rosen would like to remind you that he is pretty special. He has been to places you haven't been. So you don't really understand. Unfortunately this attitude is very common among Middle East specialists."

Mary Elizabeth Williams (Salon) advised, "Here's what you do say when something like this happens. Like countless women around the world, Lara Logan was attacked in the line of duty. She was assaulted doing her job. It was a crime of unspeakable violence. And your opinion of how she does that job, the religion her assailants share with a few million other people, or the color of her hair has nothing to do with it."

Elaine (Like Maria Said Paz) asked, "Does anyone else find it stranger (or "telling") that CJR online has not weighed in on Nir Rosen's attack of Lara Logan and Anderson Cooper. He ridiculed her being sexually assaulted, said she deserved it and said it would have been great if it had happened to Anderson Cooper as well. That's a media story for their little blog. But their blog stayed quiet all day. The better to ignore the offensive behavior of their friend Nir Rosen."

Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude) provided context, "what he said was outrageous. and why he said it? it's the culture that he and his friends have created. we saw it in the no-holds-barred attacks on hillary clinton (and we continue to see it in the attacks on her for the actions of the white house). we saw it in the sexist attacks on sarah palin. we saw it over and over and saw it build and build. nir's words were only the latest chapter."

Mike (Mikey Likes It) cheered on Anderson Cooper, "Okay, good for Anderson Cooper. On CNN, he cut through the crap and refused to allow Nir Rosen to spin. The link goes to a Politics Daily where the writer is an apologist for Nir minimizing his actions. By contrast, Anderson didn't let him off. When Nir started lying, Anderson called him on it. And of Nir's claims? Anderson said, 'The facts seem to indicate otherwise'."

At The Widdershins, madamab noted, ". . . but I must say that I think that it is ludicrous to talk about the violence as though Ms. Logan's being in Egypt had nothing to do with it. Why are Egyptians so politically protected when it comes to their heinous policies towards women? If what happened to Logan had happened anywhere else -- say, in America -- we would surely be discussing how shameful it is that our country still permits this type of gender-based violence. For example, when Gabrielle Giffords was shot and the other victims killed or wounded, America's gun-lovin’ culture was dissected to the nth degree. Why can't we do the same to Egypt?"

At SkyDancing, BostonBoomer noted, "Nir Rosen, the 'journalist' who sent out horribly offensive tweets attacking both Logan and Anderson Cooper was forced to resign from his fellowship at NYU today. He gave an interview to Fishbowl DC in which he tried to explain the unexplainable."

Valerie Strauss (Washington Post) declared
, "Rosen's tweets on Logan more than crossed a line. They were more than cruel and insensitive. They revealed a perverted view of the world that has no place at any university, much less a prestigious one. Differences of opinion -- even extreme ones -- are one thing, welcome at an educational institution. Misogyny and distortions of reality are quite another."

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