Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jill Carroll is released, Bully Boy bullies Iraq and Repubes say money grows on trees

Starting later tonight for a reason. I'll get to that in bit, but first, let's do Democracy Now!

Kidnapped Reporter Jill Carroll Freed in Iraq
After nearly three months in captivity, kidnapped U.S. reporter Jill Carroll has been released. Carroll is a freelance reporter working for the Christian Science Monitor in Iraq. She was seized in January outside the offices of a prominent Sunni politician in Baghdad. In a brief television interview in Baghdad, Carroll said she is in good condition and had been treated well by her captors. Her captors freed her by leaving her in a street near the offices of the Iraqi Islamic Party. She walked inside, and people there called US officials. Although her captors threatened twice in videotapes to kill her, Carroll said they never hit her or threatened to do so. Carroll said she was kept in a room with a window and a shower, but she did not know where she was. She went on to say: "I'm just happy to be free. I want to be with my family." On Wednesday, Jill Carroll's sister, Katie Carroll, had read a statement on Arab television pleading for her sister's safe release. There had been no word from Carroll’s captors in nearly two months. They had demanded the release of all women detainees in Iraqi prisons. Five out of an estimated nine women prisoners were released in January.

After all this time, and with Tom Fox of Christian Peacemaker Teams being brutally murdered,
I was really surprised by this news. I don't say "good news" because I'm assuming she'll be headed back to America. (I would be if I were her.) That's great for her family and she certainly earned a rest and then some. But in terms of journalism, we just lost one of the few real reporters who bothered to talk to and write about the Iraqis. She was a brave reporter and there aren't a whole lot of reporters that you can say that about. (And let me say one more time, I would go home if I were her. I think that's what she should do because most of us would really need to be around our family after something like that. I think it's great that she's going to be able to and I hope she gets plenty of rest and has some really good times over the next few months. But a real reporter leaving Iraq is a blow considering the fluffers that are over there.)

Iraqi PM Criticizes US Over Resignation Pressure
In news from Iraq, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has lashed out at growing US pressure to block him from serving a second term as prime minister. U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has asked Iraqi Shiite politicians to seek the withdrawal of al-Jaafari's nomination for a second term. In an interview with the New York Times, al-Jaafari said: "[There's] concern among the Iraqi people that the democratic process is being threatened."

This reminded me of what C.I. wrote this morning:

Not a lot of attention is paid to the issue that Jaafari was elected in what I'd call questionable elections but what the mainstream media hailed at the time (and Thomas Friedman many times since) as "free and fair elections" [!] another 'step on the road to democracy!' and so much more.Exactly who is in charge of this country? (Answer, the US but we're apparently not supposed to say such things -- we live in such 'polite company.') Exactly what business is of the Bully Boy's who the Iraqis elect (or "elect") and whom they don't?

If you want Iraq to be a democracy, don't you have to treat it like a democracy?

Rebecca and I are doing the same two things tonight so be sure to go to Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude for her take and all. (Elaine's off on Thursdays.)

The community's been busy since I posted last. So let me do heads up here.

First up, music & Kat lovers take note: "Kat's Korner: Etta James Takes It All The Way."
Kat also wrote "Etta James and Bonnie Faulkner" and "The downward spiral of democracy under the Bully Boy." Elaine's "Peace comes from being able to contribute the best we have" is something you shouldn't have missed so be sure you don't. Rebecca's "iraq in crisis and chaos - the us continuing the occupation will destroy the country" is really strong (and also made me want to highlight as much as I could tonight). I love what C.I. has to say about Mr. We Can't Pull Out! in "Democracy Now: Chellie Pingree, Edmund L. Andrews; Ruth Conniff speaks what others can't." Wally's going to make you laugh (and may offend a few delicate souls but I thought it was hilarous) with "THIS JUST IN! SECRETARY OF STATE RICE TRIES NEW DIPLOMATIC STRATEGY." Cedric's "Afghanistan the forgotten 'liberation'" just went up tonight, hot off the presses and I was waiting for him and one more post so that I could highlight everyone. Betty's latest chapter "Thomas Friedman's Frostings and Facials" was the other thing I was waiting for. It, too, is hot off the presses so make sure you read it.

That's a lot to read and remember that C.I. does "And the war drags on" tonight, too. (If C.I. ends up exhausted when finally home and goes straight to sleep, I won't complain. We all think C.I. needs a break. I'd bet that there will be no break tonight. I'll be real happy to lose that bet, though.)

Now Rebecca's also going to cover Flashpoints so be sure to check her out tonight.

Do you have all the money in the world? I sure don't. But House Republicans seem to think that the country does (our money). We can't give a higher amount of our money to colleges and schools (unless they'r faith-based probably) and we can't do more for anyone who really needs it. But House Republicans on the intelligence committee think that there's so much money to spare (maybe they're planning on donating their salaries to the government?) that they can stop the Democrats from asking how much Bully Boy's illegal, warrantless NSA spying on Americans is costing. The proposal was that there would be no funding until the Congress learned how much Bully Boy was spending on that illegal program. But Republicans said, "Oh go spend what you want. Money grows on trees. If we need it, we'll just tax every dollar the working class earns." That's my sarcastic summary of this article.