Saturday, November 23, 2013

Idiot of the week

In a week of stupidity, there are so many choices for idiot of the week.

There's Barack and the Democratic Senators, for example.  PolitiFact notes:

"What (the American people) don't expect is for one party, be it Republican or Democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game so they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet."
Then-Sen. Barack Obama, remarks on Senate floor, April 13, 2005   
"I support the step a majority of senators today took to change the way that Washington is doing business — more specifically, the way the Senate does business.  What a majority of senators determined … is that they would restore the longstanding tradition of considering judicial and public service nominations on a more routine basis."  
President Obama, remarks on Senate efforts to confirm presidential nominees, Nov. 21, 2013

After years of threats and retreats by both parties, the Democratic Senate majority on Nov. 21, 2013, enacted a controversial rule change called the "nuclear option."
The change eliminated the filibuster — a blockage of floor action, typically by the chamber’s minority party — for executive branch nominations as well as judicial appointments short of the Supreme Court. Under the new rule, the Senate only needs a 51-vote majority instead of a 60-vote supermajority to end a filibuster and move to a final vote on a nomination.
The question of whether to change the rule has long divided the chamber’s majority and its minority. In fact, supporting or opposing the "nuclear option" has been much more closely linked to a senator’s position in the majority or the minority than whether they’re a Republican or Democrat.
This means that both sides in this recent faceoff made different arguments than they had in previous iterations of the battle.

Following the decision, President Barack Obama gave a press conference lauding and supporting the change, which was implemented with the support of all but a few Democrats and no Republicans. Yet the president had strongly condemned the maneuver during his own time as a senator. Time to take out the Flip-O-Meter!

And, of course, the biggest idiot there is Harry Reid.  And he's 73.  I think we need mandatory retirement for Congress.

You hit 65, go home.

Instead, we'll have to wait for Harry to die in office.  Won't be long, I'm guessing.  He's 73.  Ted Kennedy was 77 when he died.

For me, it's really Mary Wendy Roberts.

Because she attacked and insulted my mother.

Because she was attacking my mother to stick up for CIA agent (just one time CIA agent?) Gloria Steinem.

My mom responded to Mary Wendy Roberts with "Responding to masculinist Mary Wendy Roberts."

Mary Wendy Roberts is an idiot.  In fact, she's the Idiot of the Week.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, November 22, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, flooding continues, earthquake -- well that's different, rumors attached to Paul Bremer have Nouri currently asking Barack for US troops in Iraq, and more.

National Iraqi News Agency notes that US State Dept official Brett McGurk met with Iraqi Vice President Khodair al-Khozai to discuss "the latest developments" in Iraq and he met yesterday with the head of the  Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq, Ammar al-Hakeem, and that "US Ambassador to Iraq, Robert Beecroft, attended the meeting."

What could they be discussing?

And Beecroft an after thought?

Thank goodness that MoveOn and everyone else got together and said "NO" to Brett McGurk's nomination to be US Ambassador to Iraq.

Oh, wait, they didn't.

They stayed silent or they whored.

Brett did what?

That's right, he was a key negotiator in Iraq during Bully Boy Bush's occupation of the White House.  His responsibilities included extending the US military presence in Iraq.

What could he be discussing this time?

The last week of October, chief thug and prime minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki visited DC.  On Friday, November 1st, US President Barack Obama hosted Nouri at the White House.

Though the visit received some attention, it may be about to get a little more.  At least in the Arab world which has a more functioning press than we do in the United States.

Kitabat reports on an interview Paul Bremer gave.  I'll assume it was to a non-US outlet since there's no US coverage of Bremer's remarks (although the US press ignores Iraq repeatedly so maybe not).

Bremer stated in the interview that Nouri asked Barack to send US troops.

What answer did Nouri receive?

According to Bremer (according to Kitabat), he was not turned down, he was told the US was prepared to study how to best do this.

Dar Addustour columnist As Sheikh also weighs in on the Bremer interview and notes, if Bremer's remarks were accurate, Nouri has acted unilaterally and not informed the Parliament or sought their input or approval.

This would qualify as a serious Iraq issue.

So of course no one's talking about in the US media -- not even the so-called watchdogs and press critics.

Let's move to The Great Frauds of NYC.  Peter Hart of FAIR, come on down.  Hart wants to whine that some media members are comparing ObamaCare and/or its roll out to the Iraq War.  That comparison's gone on for some time now, we've never made it here.  It's not one I would make.  It's also not the simplistic comparison FAIR and others reduce it to.  ObamaCare supposedly is going to save lives.  So, yes, it does matter whether the rollout works or not.

It is the same lies that led to the Iraq War?

To me, no.  But the Iraq War -- the ongoing Iraq War -- actually matters to me.

Let's bring another loser into the conversation.  Greg Mitchell's being itching for another woman to hate on.  What do do after the pack sent out a woman to attack their despised network TV woman and it turned out the attacker wasn't a reporter but someone who repeatedly had sex with military officers to get her lame newspaper stories?

Find another woman to attack.  At his blog Pressing Issues, Mitchell's had another fit.  No, I'm not talking about his attack on Courtney Love -- in a week when he mentioned hundreds of male musicians and didn't attack any of them.  I'm talking about this:

Unlike a lot of media and political writers I am not one to let bygones be bygones, at least in a very few tragic or high stakes cases.  For example, the media failures in the run-up to the Iraq war, given the consequences.  This explains my reaction to the Columbia Journalism Review today announcing, after a widely-watched search, that it was hiring Liz Spayd of The Washington Post as its new editor.

Now, I suppose I should review her entire career, for context, though others are doing it and you can read about it in plenty of places.  She has been managing editor of the Post for years now and obviously supervised a good deal of important work (and some not so terrific, of course).  But I am moved to recall, and then let go,  one famous 2004 article, by Howard Kurtz, then media writer at the Post, which I covered in my book on those media failures and Iraq, So Wrong for So Long.

And what was so wrong?  That she said this about the paper's coverage:

"I believe we pushed as hard or harder than anyone to question the administration's assertions on all kinds of subjects related to the war. . . . Do I wish we would have had more and pushed harder and deeper into questions of whether they possessed weapons of mass destruction? Absolutely," she said. "Do I feel we owe our readers an apology? I don't think so." 

For context, last Friday, Martin Bashir made hideous comments on MSNBC.  I'm not going to link to them -- I think they were hideous, why would I want to promote them? -- but I didn't see it.  Every day this week, e-mails have come in insisting it must be noted.

And it might have been noted if I'd heard of his remarks on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or early Monday.  I first heard of them on Tuesday and that was after his Monday evening apology.

He apologized.

We all say things that we regret.

He apologized.  I did stream that.  It appeared sincere.

So he made remarks that he admitted were out of bounds and he offered an apology.

To me, that's the end of the story.

I don't like Martin Bashir (going back to his 90s 'reporting'), but if someone offers a sincere apology for words they spoke, I think we're grown ups and we accept it.

Greg Mitchell is having a fit over Elizabeth Spayd's remarks in 2004 -- brief remarks.

Spayd worked for the paper.  She states she wishes the paper had pushed harder on WMD.  She doesn't believe the paper owes an apology.

I don't think the Washington Post needs to apologize either.

I think they need to add corrections to hundreds of articles they ran on Iraq.

I think they were wrong and I think they served up a lot of lousy journalism.

But that's a difference of opinion with Elizabeth Spayd.  Or a difference of opinion I have with her opinion expressed back in 2004.

Back in March, Ava and I wrote "TV: The War Crimes Documentary" covering  James Steele: America's Mystery Man In Iraq -- the British documentary about counter-insurgency in Iraq.  I also covered it repeatedly here in multiple snapshots.  dropping back to the April 30th Iraq snapshot:

December 6, 2012, the Memorandum of Understanding For Defense Cooperation Between the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Iraq and the Department Defense of the United States of America was signed.  We covered it in the December 10th and December 11th snapshots -- lots of luck finding coverage elsewhere including in media outlets -- apparently there was some unstated agreement that everyone would look the other way.  It was similar to the silence that greeted Tim Arango's September 25th New York Times report which noted, "Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions.  At the request of the Iraqi government, according to [US] General [Robert L.] Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence."

For months, we were the only ones analyzing the MoU.  Then there's Tim Arango's very important report noted above.

We have covered it and linked to it and covered it again.  That didn't stop in 2012.  We continue to cover it.  In addition, we also repeatedly note his important report this year.   In September, Tim Arango (New York Times) broke that story about Nouri arming and outfitting Shi'ite militias to target Sunnins:

In supporting Asaib al-Haq, Mr. Maliki has apparently made the risky calculation that by backing some Shiite militias, even in secret, he can maintain control over the country’s restive Shiite population and, ultimately, retain power after the next national elections, which are scheduled for next year. Militiamen and residents of Shiite areas say members of Asaib al-Haq are given government badges and weapons and allowed freedom of movement by the security forces.

That's important.  Why aren't press critics at FAIR, as well as Greg Mitchell, amplifying these reports? Why aren't they offering critiques of how the rest of the media treats Arango's reports as though they have "Classified" stamped on them?

And let's quote hypocrite and fat ass, limp dick liar Greg Mitchell one more time:

Unlike a lot of media and political writers I am not one to let bygones be bygones, at least in a very few tragic or high stakes cases.  For example, the media failures in the run-up to the Iraq war, given the consequences. 

High stackes cases?

That's what he says.  And "the media failures in the run-up to the Iraq war, given the consequences."

What consequences?

You mean death and dying?

If so, that never ended and continues to this day.

So it must be Greg Mitchell's "media failures" that have prevented him repeatedly from noting Iraq.

The only time he brings up Iraq, is as a finished, past story -- and then, only to clobber people over the head with it.

Well put on your big boy pants Greg and explain to us -- if consequences matter -- why you didn't cover the documentary at your site, why you don't cover Arango's reports, why you don't cover the ongoing, 11-month old protests in Iraq?

These are some of the ongoing consequences of the Iraq War.

You want to hold someone else accountable, you need to make sure you're doing your job and, let's be honest, since Bully Boy Bush left the White House, Greg Mitchell's 'reporting' has been about running interference for the White House.  He doesn't give a damn about the Iraqi people.

He can write -- and write poorly -- about people who question Barack's eligibility to be president.

We are critics of Barack Obama -- as we would be of any War Hawk.  And yet I've never had the time to indulge in writing about that topic.  We'd never noted it at Third if it wasn't a pattern of Greg Mitchell's lies.

Yes, Greg not only felt the need to write about it but, liar that he is when we pointed his mistake at Third (comprehension is so hard for Greg), when we laughed him for being so stupid and so wrong, he went back into Pressing Issues and changed what he wrote without noting that he'd changed it.  That is a liar.

FAIR didn't cover the British documentary about counter-insurgency.  They didn't cover the lack of coverage of Tim Arango's reports.  They have yet to do a blog post, report or on air mention (CounterSpin) of how protests can continue for eleven months -- with protesters being killed -- and the US media can ignore it.

Iraq matters.  As much today as it did in 2003, Iraq matters.

In fact, it actually matters more now.  Back in 2003, there was media attention on Iraq -- All Things Media Big and Small.  Today, there's really not attention in the United States.

And let's be real damn clear, in 2013, whining about what happened in 2003 is neither productive nor helpful.

It can be part larger effort to cover Iraq.

But if that's what passes for your Iraq coverage today?

You're not just a whore, you're a dumb whore.

This is from CJR's announcement of that Elizabeth Spayed was becoming editor in chief and publisher of Columbia Journalism Review (magazine) and of the CJR website:

Spayd has spent the last 25 years at the Washington Post, most recently as managing editor of the paper, where she helped supervise a newsroom of 600 journalists in Washington and around the world, overseeing coverage of everything from political, foreign, and financial news to investigative projects and features. Spayd’s previous job was managing editor of the Post’s website. She joined the Post in 1988 as an editor on the business desk, and before that she was business editor at the Detroit News. She earned her BA in journalism from Colorado State University in 1981.
“Journalism is shape-shifting into a form like nothing we’ve ever seen, a process that’s fascinating and invigorating but also nerve-wracking and confusing,” said Spayd. “It makes intelligent coverage of the field essential, and I hope as we fortify CJR’s mission, we’ll emerge as something of a North Star for those who care about journalism.”
Spayd’s mandate is to lead a strategic reset of CJR’s audience and editorial vision, with an eye toward ensuring rising visibility, impact, and relevance for CJR’s content through print, digital, video, and mobile channels. The magazine will continue its traditional media criticism, while also exploring and clarifying how traditional journalistic ethics apply to the digital space, as well as analyzing and evaluating new business models that have the capacity to change the profession.

You can judge for yourself whether she's qualified or not.  I honestly don't care.  (I do care that Mitchell's never-ending War On Women made her the latest target.)  Mainly because we've got to roll up our sleeves and do what FAIR and Greg Mitchell and all the other useless ones won't do, we have to cover Iraq.

  • Just been watching reports of protests in and all I can say is respect!
  • 1min Iraqis defy 'Iran's puppet' al-Maliki with mass nationwide protests

  • Since December 21st, protests have been taking place in Iraq. Zvi Bar'el (Haaretz) observed this fall that the protests have taken place in spite of obstacles, "For its part, the regime has done all it can to prevent major demonstrations. The centers of the cities have been flooded with police. Cars fitted with loudspeakers have been banned from the streets and major access roads have been closed off. And there is a new directive which, in violation of Iraqi law, bans demonstrations out of 'concern for security risks.' None of this has managed to quell the protest and the regime understands that the demonstrations are liable to spread, posing a threat to the government."  Iraqi Spring Media notes protests took place today in Rawa, Falluja, Ramadi, Jalawla, Tikrit, Samarra,  among other places.  Iraqi Spring Media Tweeted the following:

    1. متظاهرو الرمادي يعلنون بقاءهم على الطرق الرئيسة التي اغلقت من قبلهم ولن يغادروها الا بعد اطلاق سراح المعتقلين. .
    2. مظاهرات أهالي مدينة الرمادي القائمة الآن في المدينة: "اعتقال الأبرياء ظلم للشعب" .
    3. : عشيرة البوفهد تعلن الطرق الرئيسية المؤدية الى مدينة الرمادي على حملة التي طالت المدينة.

    Kitabat reports that protesters decried the injustice of the government and delcared their support for the detainees, the displaced and the oppressed.  It was noted that Nouri's government has killed and arrested thousands and thousands of innocent people, displaced families and attempted to marginalize the Sunni people.  In Samarra, it was asked how long the Sunni people could endure that militias targeting them and the other attacks, how long can they endure the targeting and killing, and how many more 'talks' must take place resulting in empty promises and empty words?

    National Iraqi News Agency reports Samarra's protest saw Sheikh Sajid Khudair denounce the government's refusal to protect the Sunni mosques in Baghdad ("a disgrace") leading to their closures today, "By what right kill the sons of Sunni component while the security forces which see the killing of innocent people keep silent, including Sheikh Qasim al-Mashhadani."

    In September, Adnan Abu Zeed (Al-Monitor) reported:

     In the same vein, Riyad al-Gharib, an Iraqi writer and media personality from Babil radio, told Al-Monitor, “The Iraqi dream of democracy is likely to fade away. Political elites have long undermined the meaning of the democratic process and therefore citizens -- who look up to these elites -- have begun to view democracy as a problem.”
    “Political elites ought to reconsider their policies, because the citizens who helped them arrive to power are capable of ousting them in a peaceful democratic process,” he added.

    There have still been no concessions.  At the start of 2013, there was the pretense of releasing some of the innocent detainees.  But the government refused to provide a list of the released -- not even to Parliament -- and at least some of the families of the 'released' never saw the 'released.'

    Iraq's been facing many issues lately.  Today was a new one for the month.  Nihad Qais (Alsumaria)  reports that Baghdad and other provinces were hit by an earthquake.  Dar Addustour notes it was a 5.2 on the Richter scale and that it hit Baghdad, Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk, Basra and Wasit Province.  All Iraq News reports on it here.   Earthquakes in addition to the flooding.  AFP reports, "The floodwaters, which have cut off entire areas of Baghdad and several other cities to most vehicles, were caused by several days of heavy rainfall that overwhelmed the crumbling drainage system.  Video footage posted on Facebook depicted residents of the Iraqi capital negotiating water-logged streets in life rafts or on planks of wood, armed with makeshift oars."

    On the issue of the flooding, UNAMI issued the following today:

    UN Iraq working closely with Government to assist flood victims

    Baghdad, 22 November 2013 - The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG) Mr. Nickolay Mladenov and the UN family in Iraq have been closely following with Iraqi officials the assistance that the United Nations can provide to the Government, more particularly the Ministry of Displacement and Migration (MoDM), in its efforts in assisting the communities affected by the recent floods caused by heavy rains.

    At an emergency meeting yesterday between representatives of the MoDM and the United Nations Humanitarian Country Team, it was announced that, while an overall joint assessment of needs is ongoing, the United Nations agencies are providing emergency assistance to the most affected populations, and are ready to support affected populations as required. 

    The UN Iraq assistance includes the distribution of Non-Food Items (NFIs) packages by the UN Refugee Agency (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees -  UNHCR) to 600 families in several affected areas in Najaf, Kerbala, Anbar, Babylon and Baghdad; as well as pumping out water in flooded internally displaced settlements in Baghdad, through its implementing partners. 

    The UNHCR NFIs packages contain plastic sheets, mattresses, blankets, jerry cans, stoves, and kitchen and hygienic sets.

    The United Nations agencies including the World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are liaising and coordinating with the MoDM to identify the support needed towards ensuring a coordinated response to those in need.

    The Iraqi people have to put up with Nouri's incompetent governance.  They suffer from his lack of leadership.  AFP's Prashant Rao Tweets:

    1. Iraqis have taken to social media to vent their frustration over recent flooding in witty ways - by :
    2. Iraq is meant to be a wealthy country? Shame people have to suffer so much under its RULE!

  • Meanwhile, Iraq Times reports that issues are being raised about potential health issues arising from the stagnant water -- measels, cholera, etc -- and calling for the government to address these issues.  Hamid Shabab (Iraq Times) notes that there are forecasts predicting heavy rains next week.

    The US Embassy in Baghdad issued the following yesterday:

    The U.S. Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Baquba and Baghdad

    November 21, 2013
    The U.S. Mission in Iraq strongly condemns today's terrorist attack in Baquba that killed more than 25 innocent women, men, and children and yesterday's suicide attacks that killed dozens throughout Baghdad. The United States is committed in its support to the Government of Iraq in combating terrorism. We extend our sincere condolences to the families of the victims of these attacks and wish a rapid recovery to the injured.

    Violence continued today.  National Iraqi News Agency reports Col Abid Homaish al-Jumaily's Ramadi home was attacked leaving two of his body guards injured, a Mosul sticky bombing left Mayor Abid Abbass Ali (a Shaback) dead, in al-Khalis 1 cleric and 1 of his relatives were shot dead leaving a mosque, a Baghdad roadside bombing (Mada'in distrcit) left 3 people dead and six injured, a Baghdad sticky bombing (Adhamiya) left 1 doctor dead, a Baghdad bombing (Tarmiya) left 3 Sahwa dead and three more injured, a Baghdad bombing (Abu Ghraib) left 1 person dead and four more injured, and a Baghdad bombing (Saydiya) left 1 person dead and nine more injured.  Reuters adds, "The deadliest attack took place in a predominantly Sunni Doura neighborhood in southern Baghdad, where two roadside bombs exploded near a soft drinks store, killing six people and wounding 18, the police and medics said."


    Friday, November 22, 2013

    That idiot Harry Reid

    Old racist Harry Reid pulled the trigger on the nuclear option today.

    Ron Elving (NPR) explains:

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's move Thursday to make possible the confirmation of presidential nominees with a simple majority marks a tectonic shift in the rules and folkways of the Senate.
    Back in 2005, then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist called this idea "the constitutional option" when he came close to invoking it on behalf of the judicial nominees of President George W. Bush.
    That sounded a lot more dignified than the name Frist's predecessor, Trent Lott, had used just two years earlier: "the nuclear option."
    Guess which name stuck. The latter label was not only shorter for headline writers, it also had the crack of doom, invoking the ultimate form of warfare.
    By either name, it was the same maneuver, and Lott and Frist were threatening to use it for the same reason. Restive Democrats, then in the Senate minority, were holding up Bush nominees they didn't like by invoking every senator's right to "extended debate."
    That legal nicety has a more familiar name, too: filibuster.

    I supported the fight against Bill Frist using the nuclear option.  (I didn't have a take on Trent Lott.  I wasn't even in high school, I bet.)

    And I knew the nuclear option was the wrong thing to do.

    But Democrats, when they got back in control of the Senate, changed their position.

    Now that it's gone nuclear, don't come whining to me little bitches.

    At some point the Dems will not be in control of the Senate and having gone with the nuclear option they will have nothing to fight with as the minority party.

    That's why you think about implications and you use a long term view.

    Harry Reid is an idiot and should have been kicked out as Majority Leader long, long ago.

    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Thursday, November 21, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, the floods continue, John Wright's simplistic 'answers' are damaging, Anonymous has a video, and more.

    Did you hear about those awful Gittes?

    Those people are just evil.  They just want to take over the world.  The whole region would be better off without them.

    Thank goodness, we know that they are inherently evil, right?

    Now we know the cause of all the violence.

    And since it's just those damn Gittes, there's no reason to look to what anyone else is doing wrong, certainly not a government.

    It's just those Gittes, they have death and destruction on the brain -- it's in their blood.

    So now that we know the problem we just have to figure out if we're going to arrest them all or just kill 'em?  Hunt em down, exterminate them, right?

    There are no Gittes.

    The above is stated for a reason (and Gittes because I had Chinatown on the brain -- script by Robert Towne and Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway star with Jack Nicholson playing private investigator JJ Gittes).

    For the second day in a row, RT has allowed John Wright to blame Sunnis for the violence in the Middle East including Iraq.

    How stupid or hateful is he?

    Does he even know what the situation is in Syria?

    But Wright tells you the problem is Sunnis.  Sometimes he says "Sunni fundamentalists."

    There are some Sunnis who do resort to violence - -they're not the only group in the rgion that does -- and it apparently is 'cute' to call them "fundamentalists."  But 'cute' or not, that's also inaccurate.  Fundemantalists are one thing -- in any religion, in any area.  They take their religion very seriously.  Doing so means they don't usually resort to violence.  In the US, we have some religious fundamentalists who are opposed to this or that.  Religious fundamentalist in the US do not, for example, kill abortion doctors.  The ones who do that are extremists or fanatics; however, they aren't really "fundamentalists."  Fundamentalists would take to prayer not to bombing an abortion clinic.

    Fundamentalists are different than I am.  I live a secular life with modern toys and amusements.  But they're being different from me -- or me being different from them -- doesn't give me the right to misdescribe them.  And pay really close attention here because this is the part that effects all of humanity:  When you hold up violence as a form of religious fundamentalism?

    The grown ups who are fundamentalists blow you off.  They know better.

    They know that they have strict observance of their faith and that's what makes them fundamentalists.


    Kids are always trying to make sense of the world and figure out where they fit in -- that is what growing ups about.  So you take a confused kid with religious leanings -- especially one shocked by some new development or modernity -- and you raise him -- via the media -- to believe that religious fundamentalism -- strict observance of your faith -- means bombing and killing people?

    You've just created a generation of people who now believe this is how you express your faith.

    That's especially likely in Iraq where there are so many orphans as a result of the illegal war.  In November of last year, Caroline Hawley (BBC News) reported "that between 800,000 to a million Iraqi children have lost one or both of their parents."  That's a huge number.  It's also probably an undercount -- 4.5 million is probably closer to reality., the Iraqi Orphan Foundation estimates the number to be 3 million and, at the start of 2009, Timothy Williams (New York Times) reported 740,000 widows in Iraq -- not all widows have children or children under the age of 18 but there are a huge number of orphans in Iraq without any parent and that was 2009.  The violence hasn't ceased since 2009 and, in fact, it has picked up.  Regardless of whether the number is four million or one million, that's a huge number -- especially in Iraq where the population is estimated.

    The teenage years are fraught with confusion -- bodies change, hormones rage, you're still a child but confronted with adult situations.  For some teenagers, that period can be one where they find salvation in religion or retreat deeply into it, however you want to see it.  Do you really want to create the message for this group of children that bombing and shooting -- killing -- is religious fundamentalism?

    John Wright's uninformed and ugly stereotype is not only false, it is highly damaging.

    But it is false as well.

    By blaming Sunnis for the problems in Iraq, Wright's able to ignore so much including how Nouri al-Maliki fuels the violence.

    The mass arrests of Sunnis fuel the violence.  Monday, for example, 85 people were rounded up in Wasit Province alone.  The mass arrests would be disturbing in any country.

    They're especially disturbing in Iraq.

    There is no speedy justice.  People linger in jails, detention centers and prisons with the no court appearance and, in fact, often with no charges brought against them.

    Some held in prisons, jails and detention centers can't be charged.  They were arrested but they were arrested for no real reason. They aren't  even suspects.  But, in Iraq, when you can't find the suspect, you're allowed to arrest their wives or mothers or siblings or fathers or children or grandparents.

    They're rounded up and arrested with no one believing they broke a law.  They're arrested, taken from their homes and thrown behind bars because they're related to a suspect.

    The disappeared (into the 'legal system') are among the issues fueling the ongoing protests.  As Mayada Al-Askari (Gulf News) observed Monday,  "In the past two years, demonstrations have increased in Baghdad and other governorates as people have been calling for better services, the release of women detainees and more civil rights."

    Now if the problem is just these 'bad' Sunnis, as John Wright keeps insisting, then we don't have to worry about what Nouri's doing, we don't have to worry about a minority population being disenfranchised.

    Let's drop back to the October 4th snapshot:

    Protests took place today.   Iraqi Spring MC notes protests took place in Baghdad, in TikritNajafRamadi, FallujaSamarra, Baquba, Balad RuzJalawla, among other sites.   Protests have been taking place non-stop since December 21st.   Of today's protests, NINA notes:

    Preachers of Friday-prayers called on the sit-inner in their sermons to continue the sit-ins as are the only way to get rid of injustice and abuse policy.
    They said in the common prayer which held in six regions of Diyala province : " Iraqi government must not deal with the demands of the protestors in a double standard . Urging worshipers to unify their stand until getting the demands, release innocent prisoners and detainees from prisons.

    Kitabat reports that Sheikh Mohammed al-Dulaimi spoke at the Falluja protest and accused the government of supporting militias who target and kill Sunnis.  The Sheikh said that instead of implementing the demands of the protesters, the government would rather target or ignore the protesters.  National Iraqi News offers the Sheikh said, ""The Iraqi government rather than implement the demands of the protesters and adopt genuine reconciliation with people, it tracking and embarrassing the protest leaders, since 9 Months ago claimants the usurped legal rights."

    Sheikh Mohammed al-Dulaimi is correct in his accusation:  Nouri al-Maliki (prime minister and chief thug of Iraq) is supporting Shi'ite militias.  Tim Arango (New York Times) broke that story last week -- but somehow the US Congress and the rest of the media missed it.  (The media may be playing dumb.  Members of Congress actually missed it, I spoke with several yesterday about Tim Arango's report.)   Arango noted:

    In supporting Asaib al-Haq, Mr. Maliki has apparently made the risky calculation that by backing some Shiite militias, even in secret, he can maintain control over the country’s restive Shiite population and, ultimately, retain power after the next national elections, which are scheduled for next year. Militiamen and residents of Shiite areas say members of Asaib al-Haq are given government badges and weapons and allowed freedom of movement by the security forces.

    So in addition to all the other targeting, they're also being targeted by Shi'ite militias and these are government sanctioned militias -- armed and outfitted by Nouri al-Maliki.

    But don't worry about that.

    That doesn't matter.

    Remember, John Wright knows the problem: It's the Sunnis.  That's the only problem.  So there's no need to reform the government or to examine how all of this effects Iraq, 

    John Wright's xenophobia and ugly stereotypes are not helping anyone.

    National Iraqi News Agency reports:

    Security source told NINA that SWAT force raided the house of Hijra Mosque's Imam and Preacher, Salam Selbi al-Fahdawi, taking him to a security center.For its part, the Association of Moslem Scholars said that it will close on Friday all of the province's mosques protesting the arrests being practiced by security forces against the province's dignitaries and mosques imams and preachers, including Thursday's arrest, and that demonstration will follow the closure of mosques to protest the arrests and demanding the release of detainees.

    You think that's gong to calm the violence?  Or the arrest in Ramadi of former army officer Ahmed al-Dulaimi?

    Monday came news that 12 more people were executed.  Iraq was in the top three countries for numbers of executions last year with 130 executions.  This year there have already been at least 144 executions.  Ammar Karim (AFP) observed, "The growing use of the death penalty comes with violence in Iraq at a level not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal sectarian conflict."

    And the violence just continues.   Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports that an al-Sadiya suicide car bombing has caused multiple deaths and injuries. Sinan Salaheddin (AP) counts 38 dead and forty-five injured.  National Iraqi News Agency reports Sheikh Mohammed Homadi was assassinated in Mosul, a western Baghdad car bombing claimed 6 lives and left fourteen people injured, a Qa'im bombing left two Iraqi soldiers injured, a Mosul bombing near a hotel left seven people injured, a northern Baghdad bombing claimed 1 life and left five people injured, a northern Baghdad suicide bombing targeting a military checkpoint left 3 Iraqi soldiers dead and six injured, 2 people were shot dead inside a Baghdad food store, 1 Peshmerga was shot dead in Mosul, a Baquba roadside bombing left one person injured, a Mousl armed clash left 2 police members killed and two more injured, a Khanaqin car bombing claimed 4 lives and left ten people injured, and a suspect -- in the Wednesday murder of Tharwat Moahmed Rachid (Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's chief body guard) -- was shot dead in Sulaimaniyah Province.

    Iraq Body Count notes that, through Wednesday, there have been 503 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month and over 7,800 for the year so far.   AFP's Prashant Rao Tweets:

  • With today's attacks in Iraq, the death toll this month has topped 400 for an eighth consecutive month - tally:

  • AFP reports on the flooding in Iraq and notes protests over inadequate public services:

    “What is happening is because of the government,” said Ali Hussein, a protester in Nasiriyah.

    “There must be real measures taken after what has happened. They should take things seriously, as the conditions here are really bad.”
    Six people died in building collapses caused by flooding in Nasiriyah, while two women and a child were killed in similar circumstances in Diwaniyah.
    In Babil province, south of Baghdad, two children died as a result of collapsing buildings, while more than 50 families had to take shelter at a tourist resort after their houses flooded.

    As we've already noted this week, Iraq's now in the rainy season.  This is not surprising, it happens every year.  It is surprising that Nouri has refused to improve the public services.
    Iraq's sewage civil system last had major work in the 1970s.  Despite bringing in over 100 billion yearly for oil, Nouri won't spend money to fix things. Last December, he announced he would fix the public sewage system.

    And then, he didn't.

    Which is Nouri's pattern.

    Without a working sewage system, the heavy rains do not drain, they stand in the streets and that's why most of the flooding is taking place.

    That's on Nouri and no one else.

    Turning to the United States, David DeGraw notes this Anonymous video to the music of Linkin Park's "A Light That Never Comes."

    "A Light That Never Comes" is written by Linkin Park and Steve Aoki and first appears on their new album Recharged.

    Nah you don't know me
    Lightning above and a fire below me
    You cannot catch me, cannot hold me
    You cannot stop much less control me
    When it rains it pours
    When the floodgates open, brace your shores
    That pressure don't care when it breaks your doors
    Say it's all you can take, better take some more
    'Cause I know what it's like to test fate
    Had my shoulders pressed with that weight
    Stood up strong in spite of that hate
    Night gets darkest right before dawn
    What doesn't kill you makes you more strong
    And I've been waiting for it so long
    The nights go on
    Waiting for a light that never comes
    I chase the sun
    Waiting for a light that never comes
    Waiting for a light that never comes
    When I was young they told me, they said
    Make your bed, you lie in that bed
    A king can only reign 'til instead
    There comes that day, it's "off with his head"
    Night gets darkest right before dawn
    What don't kill you makes you more strong
    You'll have my mercy then when you're gone
    The nights go on
    Waiting for a light that never comes
    I chase the sun
    Waiting for a light that never comes
    Waiting for a light that never comes
    And I told them: nah you don't know me
    Lightning above and a fire belowme
    You cannot catch me, you cannot hold me
    You cannot stop much less control me
    When it rains it pours
    When the floodgates open, brace your shores
    That pressure don't care, it breaks your door
    Say it's all you can take, better take some more
    Oh oh oh oh...
    Waiting for a light that never comes
    The nights go on
    Waiting for a light that never comes
    I chase the sun
    Waiting for a light that never comes
    Oh oh oh
    Waiting for a light that never comes

    Anonymous notes:

    Reform is the light that never comes. Tyranny reigns. Revolution is all we have left... This video was created in support of the Anonymous call for a Worldwide Wave of Action ~ #www. Here are several sites that have reposted the original call to action:




    US Day of Rage

    Popular Resistance


    Social media pages have been created in support on the following locations:




    mohammed tawfeeq