Friday, March 12, 2010

Peace and Accountability

"Sheehan turning attention to Obama, camping out at Washington Monument" (The Hill via Peace of the Action):
Meanwhile, Sheehan didn’t think the anti-war movement could get much worse than during the George W. Bush administration, but then Obama was elected, and it all but died, she says.
“It was very lonely at the beginning when Barack Obama was elected because I lost a lot of friends and contacts who worked for him and supported him,” she says. Sheehan voted for Green Party candidate and former House member Cynthia McKinney in the 2008 presidential election. “How could I support somebody who said he was going to send more troops to Afghanistan?”
Sheehan’s book came out in March 2009 and her tour kept her busy until September. She says during that time she saw many of her comrades in the anti-war movement give Obama “a free pass.”
“I felt like I was one of the lone ones out there saying, ‘C’mon, people, people are still dying,’ ” she says.

Cindy Sheehan deserves credit for speaking out regardless of who is in the White House. It's a real shame that we don't have more like that. I think Roseanne has written a strong column and really love that.

I think a lot of people used their Hillary Hate (often irrational) to justify refusing to explore Barack. Everything Hillary was accused of was generally true of Barack. He got a pass.

I don't forget that.

Nor do I forget that a number of people (including Cindy) went out of their way to Hillary apart and they need to take some accountability for their actions. It's not enough to say, "I voted for Cynthia McKinney!" Yes, but did you also take part in installing a War Hawk?

If you ran interference for Barack, you need to take some accountability.

"At U.N., Clinton rallies for more women's opportunities worldwide" (Colum Lynch, Washington Post):
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told government delegates and activists here Friday that violence against women remains a "global pandemic" and that their "subjugation" constitutes "a threat to the national security of the United States."
Speaking on the final day of a two-week U.N. conference on women's rights, Clinton urged U.N. member states to expand opportunities for women and end practices that subject them to discrimination and violence.
"Women and girls are bought and sold to settle debts and resolve disputes," she told delegates to the
U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. "They are raped as both a tactic and a prize of war. They are beaten as punishment for disobedience and as a warning to other women who might assert their rights."

Hillary can certainly point to her raising the profile of women. That's always something to be proud of. But I do hope that those who ripped her apart to install Barck will realize that they're not innocent in all of this.

Almost forgot, Wednesday night was theme post night:

Like Maria Said Paz
American Dad
10 hours ago

Mikey Likes It!
American Dad, Supreme Court
10 hours ago

American Dad: No; Archer: Yes
10 hours ago

Ruth's Report
American Dad this season
10 hours ago

Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
the decline of american dad
10 hours ago

Thomas Friedman is a Great Man
Archer trumps American Dad
10 hours ago

Ann's Mega Dub
Iraq, Fresh Air, American Dad
10 hours ago

Trina's Kitchen
American Dad
10 hours ago

Oh Boy It Never Ends
Cleveland killed American Dad for me
10 hours ago

Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)
Thoughts on American Dad
10 hours ago

Be sure to check out everyone's thoughts on the TV show

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, March 12, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, vote counting continues, the gas baggrery over less than a third of the votes never stops, and more.

Today on the second hour of
The Diane Rehm Show (NPR), Diane was joined by Nadia Bilbassy (MCB TV), Michael Hirsh (Newsweek) and Warren Strobel (McClatchy).

Diane Rehm: Michael Hirsh, what are the early results of the elections in Iraq?

Michael Hirsh: Well they're just trickling in and it's going to take days and possibly weeks before we know the final results of the vote and much less what the final shape of the government is going to look like. But in the early returns it does seem as if Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law Party uh-uh mainly Shi'ite party but not only Shi'ite party is dominating the returns particularly in some of the southern provinces where the vote have come in. Uh-uh, Ayad Allawi's largely secular but still Sunni dominated party is lagging behind. And the big question hanging over this is how long is this going to take to piece something together that will last and of course I think the nightmare that both the Americans there and the Iraqis themselves remember all to well was what happened in December 2005 when it took more than 150 days to piece together a government and during that time a sectarian war broke out.

Diane Rehm: Nadia?Nadia Bilbassy: I think then, I spoke to somebody who works for the UN there and he was telling me he was striked by how normal was the process. You have to credit the Iraqis. They've taken to this election like they've been doing it for 100 years. And it's very interesting, although they distrust all politicians but they showed up in number. About 62% showed up in this election and, of course, the government is going to take a long time to form and that's understandable. But if you look at the example, Iraq is not a democracy but the process of the election is a democratic one and [. . .] in the Arab world. If you look at how this government is going to emerge, the coalition part is going to emerge to form a government. You know, the jokeying for power, include this party or that party, who's going to be the king maker? Will it be the Kurds? Will it be the Sadarist? Who's going to be represented? I think it's fascinating to watch and the rest of the Arab world will be watching but I think ultimately the ones who were out of the picture were the Americans. The Iraqis were in charge of the security as well.

Diane Rehm: What about -- what about allegations of fraud, Warren?

Warren P. Strobel: I think the UN spokesman in Iraq today said that these allegations of fraud are uh overwrought or exaggerated and he sees no widespread fraud as the type we saw in the Afghan election. Uhm -- I agree with uh Michael the government formation is one of the key questions. I think the overall question is can Iraq find a way to incorporate the Sunnis into political life. These Sunnis are 21% roughly of the country, they ran it during Saddam's years. They have seen their roles marginalized. And if there's not some way to bring them back into politics, they're going to return to violence. And you know, American officials talk like this is the Red Zone, we're at the end of the day here. I talked a couple of weeks ago to Ryan Crocker, the former [US] Ambassador to Iraq, and he said this can go either way and it can go either way for a very long time. So it's very much on the bubble.

That's about all the crap we can stomach. What a load of S**T. Let's start first with "Saddam." In 2003, Saddam Hussein was driven from power by a military invasion/coup. I don't care for the man. Does that mean I call him "Saddam"? Do we call Hitler "Adolf"? No, but Hitler's first name, if mispronounced, doesn't summon images of gay (and straight) sex. "Sodom," as Colin Powell like to put it. Hussein was driven from power in 2003. You better believe that some of Diane's listeners started listening recently. (Her show adds listeners all the time -- one of the few radio shows -- public radio or commercial -- that you can say that about. And that's especially true of her Friday shows which features an hour discussion of domestic issues and an hour discussion of international issues.)

So that's the first part. The second? Why is Nadia ever brought on? Well, they bring on right-wing crazies during the domestic hour so presumably Nadia's the international crazy who comes on during the second hour. She never knows a damn thing except when she knows but chooses to lie. Nadia, you're supposed to be a reporter, not ambassador to the west. Stick to facts and you'll do more for good will than anything else.
About 62% showed up! Nadia's got her Happy Face stamp out, she's putting smiley faces on all the pages. 62% is a marked drop from the last parliamentary elections which,
Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor via McClatchy) reminded this week was 79.6%. That's a drop off of 17.6% and, no, that is not a good sign no matter how many Happy Face stickers you affix to the paper. Nadia doesn't tell that story. The full truth is sacrificed by Nadia who prefers to offer the FOOL TRUTH.

Warren and Michael didn't embarrass themselves as much as Nadia (Warren had one bad one, we'll get to) and often had some interesting guesses but what a waste of time. Excuse me, there are real issues and we didn't get them, now did we? Yesterday the State Dept released "
2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices" -- with a lengthy section on Iraq. Why wasn't that discussed instead of the sort of gas baggery we got (the sort of gas baggery you will find on cable and any other program)? Well, for one thing, we're not hearing from reporters covering Iraq. Jane Arraf, Leila Fadel, Ernesto Londono, Anthony Shadid, Marc Santora, Sam Dagher, Liz Sly, Ned Parker, etc. They're not on the show. So everyone's trying to brush up quickly on Iraq before they comment. And it shows. Oh, does it show.

Warren declared, "I think the UN spokesman in Iraq today said that these allegations of fraud are uh overwrought or exaggerated and he sees no widespread fraud as the type we saw in the Afghan election." Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize that McClatchy prized the UN so much. In fact, I'm thinking of about a dozen reports the UN issued on Iraq in 2009 that McClatchy never covered. As for Ad Melkert, that's who he is referring to, he's a credible voice?

Let's drop back to the end of February. That's when the impartial observer
Ad Melkert pennded a column for the Washington Post. The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative in Iraq wrote a column where he warned "foreigner observers should be cautious about trying to understand the new balance of forces" while writing as anything but an independent observer. An independent observer is not vested in any outcome. Ad Melkert exposes himself as anything but independent. He never should have written the column. Should the Post have published it? Absolutely. Public officials disgracing themselves has always been news and when they disgrace themselves it certainly saves money that might have instead been spent on investigative reporting. As you read the column, you quickly grasped that the UN would not investigate any charges of fraud after the election because their position is that the elections must take place and must be seen as valid regardless of whether or not they are. The Iraqi people and their desires are put on hold because the UN's going in with their own determination of what is appropriate and needed. The UN has done a lot of good work during its existence and it's also done some awful things. Ad Melkert's column explained how that happens -- the UN puts the needs of a people second to what they hope might bring 'stability' -- stability to the people? No, less grief to on the international scene. And it's that attitude that's allowed the UN to repeatedly look the other way with regards to so many despots. (Look the other way does not mean that the only alternative is combat. War is not the only answer -- no matter what Bush or Barack might have you believe.) So the needs and desires of the people take backseat to the UN's hope that they've guessed correctly about what might stabilize the international system.

We'll come back to Ad Melkert but for laughter, check out the first hour, specifically Ron Elving snit fit when a caller brings up Patrick Kennedy's remarks this week and Ron starts insisting that it's hard to cover Iraq (it's hard to cover any story, Ron, it's dangerous for any reporter, grow the hell up) and besides NPR has always, always covered Iraq. Grow the hell up, Ron, and don't lie. Was NPR covering Iraq during the four weeks recently that they went without filing a single story? Was that coverage? And if a Kennedy complains, what might cause to complain? How about the fact that every single broadcast network pulled shuttered their standing desks. They have no reporters. Now for big moments, they'll ship someone in. A fly-over 'report.' ABC will grab the BBC's coverage.

US House Rep Patrick Kennedy is not running for re-election. He made a statement this week (Ava and I covered it in this morning's gina & krista round-robin) during the House floor vote on Afghanistan on Wednesday. Here are his remarks:

If anybody wants to know where cynicism is -- cynicism is that there's one, two press people in this gallery. We're talking about Eric Massa twenty-four-seven on the TV. We're talking about war and peace, $3 billion, 1,000 lives and no press? No press? You want to know why the American public is fit? They're fit because they're not seeing their Congress do the work they are sent to do. It's because the press, the press of the United States is not covering the most significant issue of national importance, and that's the laying of lives down in the nation for the service of our country. It's despicable the national press corps right now.

That's actually the finest moment the Kennedy family has had since Ted spoke out against the Iraq War. There's nothing for Patrick Kennedy to be ashamed of or embarrassed by and I'm real sick of hearing defenses from the press. Along with the nonsense from Ron on Diane's show, you can check out
Washington Unplugged (link has text and video) from yesterday. There's nothing appalling or out of bounds in Patrick Kennedy's words. And all the faux shock fails to address reality. Ava and I have noted this at Third, Kat's noted it at her site, Wally's noted it at his site, I've noted in the snapshot: Where is the press?

We attend Congressional hearings all the time (we don't usually follow floor votes). Unless you have a 'hot' speaker, you really don't have the press. You have AP and that's generally about it. Congress is holding public hearings. Why? If no press is there, why? That's not me picking on Congress, that's me making the point that the press isn't doing their job. Cut backs are not an excuse. Open government means open government. The press has a responsibility and they are not meeting it. Patrick looked up and saw two reporters. That was it. He's exactly right to call it out. It was a vote on funding a war. Where were the reporters?

Well we saw where they are on Diane's show today. They're gas bagging about things they know nothing about. Warren, who is McClatchy's go-to in Iraq. I'm not knocking Sahar Issa. She does a wonderful job. But she's an Iraqi and thus far has not been allowed to just file on her own. (I would let her file on her own. I think she's more than demonstrated her gifts and abilities.) So who does McClatchy have? When McClatchy has NO ONE (that is the answer currently) that's very telling. But it doesn't matter, it doesn't stop the gas baggery. None of the three were on the ground during the elections but they yammered away, didn't they? Any of them could have read the State Dept report but they ignored that, didn't they?

We're not getting the coverage of things that are important and the coverage we get is so awful. Patrick rightly noted a scandal or 'scandal' (depending on your take of it) eating up all the oxygen in the room. And it's always something like that because the press wastes our time with gas bagging. Five out of 18 provinces have a partial recount and we're wasting time on Diane Rehm's show talking about what might happen in the elections. WE DON'T KNOW. And that's a message media should be able to send. They'd be more trusted if they'd rely on that and stop trying to act like an expert on everything.
Salam Faraj (AFP) explains of these partial votes from five provinces: "The results released so far represent less than a third of votes cast." Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) also notes the reality, "But with only 17% to 30% of the votes counted in each of those provinces, the results are inconclusive."

This month alone, we attended Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearings that there was no press at. As Patrick Kennedy points out, war's a big issue. Where was the press? Patrick Kennedy was correct and Ron Elving and others can try to lie and justify but he was exactly correct and he knew what he was talking about -- all the business Congress does in public (as it is supposed to in a democracy) and a press that would rather gas bag than report. And let's be really clear about one thing: Patrick said it. He's not the only member of Congress voicing that sentiment in private. We've heard it over and over, how your committee or subcomittee is holding a hearing, how it's an important issue and the press doesn't even turn out.

On elections,
yesterday's snapshot included: "Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reports some Sunnis are very nervous about the outcome and that one man she spoke with is planning to leave Iraq as a result of the 'early release' or 'early figures' on the voting (which Fadel notes is only a partial count of four provinces in Iraq)." The link did not work. Click here for the story.

Oliver August (Times of London) reported on charges Ayad Allawi was making of fraud in the election and August explained, "Several violations alleged by Mr Allawi have been confirmed by diplomats and election observers. Haider al-Abadi, a senior adviser to Mr al-Maliki, spent about an hour inside the election data entry centre on Wedensday, a violation of election rules. Supporters of Mr Allawi claim that the adviser falsified nationwide records, but they have not presented any evidence. On the same day, six clerks at the main election centre were dismissed for offences committed while inputting voter tallies."
Caroline Alexander and Daniel Williams (Bloomberg News) add, "It's not clear whether the complaints represent sour grapes from defeated politicians or concerns that could spread among the public and revive sectarian and ethnic violence in the U.S.- occupied country, which has the world's third-largest oil reserves." Ad Melkert, we said we'd get back him. Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) interviewed him. Strobel said on Diane's show today, "I think the UN spokesman in Iraq today said that these allegations of fraud are uh overwrought or exaggerated and he sees no widespread fraud as the type we saw in the Afghan election. " That's not what he said to Arraf.

Not what he said? New topic, try not what the SOFA says.
Thomas E. Ricks and Marc Lynch are dueling at Foreign Policy and I'd love for Marc to be correct but Ricks is. Ricks' argument is that Maj Gen Tony Cucolo has asked for 800 "combat" troops to remain in Iraq after August. That actuallyd oes back Ricks up in terms of what he's been saying. Marc Lynch reads the story and says, "Okay. If the "unravelling of Iraq" which Ricks has been predicting for the last year is of the same magnitude as this possible extension of 800 troops in small advisory units which may not be necessary, then I think we could probably all live with it." Who's "we"? No, I can't live with it. Ricks is correct that this proves him right. Ricks is correct. Ricks said "combat" troops might stay on past August and there is a request for them to by a general. That means Ricks is correct. For the record, as we do, Ricks mocks the notion of "combat" troops -- all troops are combat troops.

Yesterday the US State Dept issued 2009 "
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices" and we'll note this from the Iraq section:

During the year the following significant human rights problems were reported: arbitrary or unlawful killings; insurgent and terrorist bombings and executions; disruption of authority by sectarian, criminal, and extremist groups; arbitrary deprivation of life; disappearances; torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; impunity; poor conditions in pretrial detention and prison facilities; denial of fair public trials; delays in resolving property restitution claims; immature judicial institutions lacking capacity; arbitrary arrest and detention; arbitrary interference with privacy and home; other abuses in internal conflicts; limits on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association due to sectarianism and extremist threats and violence; limits on religious freedom due to extremist threats and violence; restrictions on freedom of movement; large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees; lack of protection of refugees and stateless persons; lack of transparency and significant widespread corruption at all levels of government; constraints on international organizations and nongovernmental organizations' (NGOs) investigations of alleged violations of human rights; discrimination against and societal abuses of women and ethnic and religious minorities; human trafficking; societal discrimination and violence against individuals based on sexual orientation; and limited exercise of labor rights. Insurgent and extremist violence, coupled with weak government performance in upholding the rule of law, resulted in widespread and severe human rights abuses. Although their influence and ability to attack has significantly weakened since 2007, terrorist groups such as AQI and other extremist elements continued to launch highly destructive attacks, attempting to fuel sectarian tensions and undermine the government's ability to maintain law and order. Extremist and AQI attacks continued against ISF and government officials. AQI and other extremists also conducted high-profile bombings targeting urban areas, particularly prominent government buildings, Shia markets, and mosques, and killing Shia religious pilgrims. Religious minorities, sometimes labeled "anti-Islamic," were often targeted in the violence. Insurgents also carried out a number of attacks against other civilians. During the year, despite some reconciliation and easing of tensions in several provinces, the government's human rights performance consistently fell short of according citizens the protections the law provides.

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .

Xinhua (link has text and audio) drops back to yesterday to note 1 police officer killed and two more injured in roadside bombing outside of Falluja while eight people were injured in Diyala Province bombings and shootings.

March 20th, a variety of organizations, groups and individuals will be standing up for peace and against war by taking part in DC marches, LA marches and San Francisco marches.
The Green Party of the United States issued the following:

For Immediate Release:Thursday, March 11, 2010Contacts:Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614,
mclarty@greens.orgStarlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, starlene@gp.orgMarch 20 is the 7th anniversary of the US invasion of IraqGreen Party Speakers Bureau: Greens available to speak on the wars, foreign policy, and related topics:, DC -- Green Party candidates, leaders, and other members will participate in the 'US Out of Afghanistan and Iraq Now' march in Washington, DC, on Saturday, March 20.Greens will join hundreds of thousands of others to demand an end to the wars and occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, and Haiti and threats of war against Iran. March 20 is the seventh anniversary of the invasion launched by the Bush-Cheney Administration against Iraq, in which hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died and tens of thousands of US troops have been killed or been maimed.For more information on the march, which has been organized by the ANSWER Coalition, visit ( events will take place in Washington throughout the week leading up to the March 20 march: see the Washington Peace Center's 'Iraq Anniversary Special Alert' ( Green Party of the United States opposed the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan from the very beginning, and more recently criticized President Obama for expanding the Afghanistan War into Pakistan and for his announcement of 30,000 additional US troops to be sent to Afghanistan ( participated in the "Rally to tell Obama No You Can't!" on December 12, 2009, in Washington, DC in Lafayette Park near the White House, which was sponsored by the End US Wars Coalition ( Among the Green Party speakers at the rally were Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party's 2008 presidential nominee; Lynne Williams, 2010 Green candidate for Governor of Maine (; and Marian Douglas-Ungaro of the DC Statehood Green Party.On November 25, Ms. McKinney sent an open letter to President Obama urging a reversal of his warhawk policy on Afghanistan ( Party leaders have disputed President Obama's claims that the invasion of Afghanistan was "the right war." The invasion has resulted in a catastrophe for Afghan civilians, with thousands killed and maimed and the destruction of property and infrastructure. The Taliban has won greater popular support because of its defiance of foreign troops, while President Karzai's corrupt administration have betrayed any hope for democracy and regional warlords have turned Afghanistan into the world's leading producer of opium. Human rights for most Afghans, especially women, have not advanced because of the US invasion."The expansion of the Afghanistan War with drone attacks inside Pakistani borders has created even greater regional instability and animosity towards the US," said Craig Thorsen, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and former US Navy Lieutenant. "We're dismayed that President Obama has embraced the Bush-Cheney doctrine of 'preemption' -- the idea that the US may attack any country around the world to replace that country's government. This doctrine was expressly outlawed in the wake of World War II.""The Democratic leadership in Congress rubberstamped the GOP war agenda. Both parties have voted to spend enormous amounts of taxpayers' money to feed a military machine that bullies other nations and ultimately sustains corporate war profiteers. The Green Party urges all Americans who desire peace to speak out with their voices and votes, join us on March 20, call on Congress to cut military spending, and demand that President Obama call our troops home now," said Mr. Thorsen.MORE INFORMATIONGreen Party of the United States, 866-41GREENGreen candidate database and campaign information: Party News Center Party Speakers Bureau Party ballot access page Party Livestream Channel Party International Committee

What If They Revised The War And One Side Stopped Caring? That's what the right-wing is hoping for in this country and around the world. If they get to revise and aren't challenged (usually because we have so many, many other 'important' topics to cover), then they win. They rewrite history and they win.
Mehdi Hasan (New Statesman) takes on England's David Aaronovitch who identifes as of the left but not all consider him to be that:

In his
column in the Times on Tuesday, he ridicules those of us who opposed the war, calls the Iraqi elections a "bloody miracle" and deplores seven years of "goddamned" discussion of WMDs, legality, etc. Time to move on, says Aaro.
Let me begin by highlighting some points on which he and I agree. 1) It is both miraculous and inspiring that Iraq is able to conduct multi-party parliamentary elections seven years on from the fall of Saddam Hussein. 2) Torture was indeed much, much worse and widespread under Saddam Hussein than it is in Iraq today. 3) There has never been a proper debate about what would have had happened to Iraq had Saddam Hussein been left in power in 2003. What were the alternatives, if any?
But in Aaronovitch's column, entitled "
Iraq has moved forward. It's time we did too", there is a glaring omission. How many Iraqis died in order to build this new Mesopotamian democracy, what he calls "one of the most hopeful changes in recent times"? Or, to rephrase the question, how many Iraqis were unable to vote in these historic elections because they'd been killed in the period since March 2003?

In the US,
Amitabh Pal (The Progressive) takes on the revisionists:

Years after the debate was seemingly settled on the folly of the Iraq War, some in the media are using the recent Iraqi parliamentary elections to excuse the invasion.
[. . .]

Estimates of Iraqi fatalities since Bush's invasion range from 100,000 to upward of 1 million. Millions of Iraqis were either forced to flee abroad or become refugees in their own country. And crimes against women escalated dramatically in the aftermath. To glibly ignore or dismiss this human wreckage is unconscionable.
"Always we defend these miserable results with the same refrain: Do you want the Taliban back? Do you want Saddam back?"
writes Robert Fisk in The London Independent in a piece entitled, "Once Again, a Nation Walks Through Fire to Give the West its 'Democracy.' "
Besides, I thought that the reason for invading Iraq was to get rid of those dreaded Weapons of Mass Destruction. (
Read Harper's hilarious satire on the Bush Administration's excuses for the war.) "Democracy" was never much more than an afterthought for the Bush team, used as a pretext for its misadventure after the fabled WMDs turned out to be fairy tale creations.

TV notes.
NOW on PBS begins airing Friday on most PBS stations (check local listings):

Two men on a remarkable journey high in the Himalayas investigatethreats to global water and food supply. Next on NOWchange will cause some of the world's largest glaciers to completelymelt by 2030. What effect will this have on our daily lives, especiallyour water and food supply? With global warming falling low on a nationallist of American concerns, it's time to take a deeper look at what couldbe a global calamity in the making.On Friday, March 12 at 8:30 pm (check local listings), David Brancaccioand environmentalist Conrad Anker -- one of the world's leading highaltitude climbers - trek to the Gangotri Glacier in the HimalayanMountains, the source of the Ganges River, to witness the great melt andits dire consequences first-hand. The two also visit Montana's GlacierNational Park to see the striking effects of global warming closer tohome and learn how melting glaciers across the world can have a directimpact on food prices in the U.S.Along the way, Brancaccio and Anker bathe in the River Ganges, view awater shortage calamity in India, and see with their own eyes andcameras the tangible costs of climate change."We can't take climate change and put it on the back burner," warnsAnker. "If we don't address climate change, we won't be around ashumans."Visit right now to watch an extendedhour-long version of the program, and to access David's 12-dayphoto-filled travel journal from their trek.
Staying with TV notes,
Washington Week begins airing on many PBS stations tonight (and throughout the weekend, check local listings) and joining Gwen around the table this week are Charles Babington (AP), John Dickerson (CBS News and Slate) and Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times). Remember that the show podcasts in video and audio format -- and a number of people sign up for each (audio is thought to be so popular due to the fact that it downloads so much quikcer). If you podcast the show, remember there is the Web Extra where Gwen and the guests weigh in on topics viewers e-mail about. And also remember that usually by Monday afternoon you can go to the show's website and stream it there (including Web Extra) as well as read the transcripts and more. They're beefing up their online presence and that includes highlighting archived shows and Gwen's weekly column which this week addresses Eric Massa. Jeanne Cummings (Politico), Michael Duffy (Time magazine) and John Harwood (CNBC, New York Times). And along with catching the show, you can click here for Gwen's take on two of the current political scandals (text report). Meanwhile Bonnie Erbe will sit down with a number of women on the latest broadcast of PBS' To The Contrary to discuss the week's events. And at the website each week, Bonnie and her guests offer an extra video on a topic not covered on the show. The current web extra is a discussion of sperm donors and privacy. For the broadcast program, check local listings, on many stations, it begins airing tonight. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes:
Inside The CollapseFormer trader-turned author Michael Lewis writes about a handful of Wall Street outsiders who realized the subprime mortgage business was a house of cards and found a way to make millions betting against it. He also talks about the current situation on Wall Street, the large bonuses still being paid and his predictions for the future of the industry. Steve Kroft reports.
DerekLesley Stahl profiles British musical savant Derek Paravicini, whose computer-like memory for music is matched by his creative abilities to play it in any style.
Watch Video
60 Minutes, Sunday, March 14, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

US Senator Jeanne Shaheen can be seen in this video discussing how International Women's Day was celebrated around the world . . . but not in the US. This is part of the Democratic Policy Committee's daily videos.

iraqnprthe diane rehm showbloomberg newscaroline alexanderdaniel williamstime magazinetony karonthe los angeles timesliz slythe times of londonoliver august
amitabh pal
robert fisk
60 minutescbs newspbsnow on pbsto the contrarybonnie erbe
washington week

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

American Dad

"Cheers & Jeers" (Women's eNews):
Female soldiers are more likely to become homeless, sexually harassed and raped than their male counterparts in the U.S. military and on a military base, according to a March 8 report.
"The Pentagon's latest figures show that nearly 3,000 women were sexually assaulted in fiscal year 2008, up 9 percent from the year before; among women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number rose 25 percent," the article reported.
"When you look at the entire universe of female veterans, close to a third say they were victims of rape or assault while they were serving--twice the rate in the civilian population," it added.

I am noting that news at the top because we're doing a theme post tonight. The topic is American Dad, the animated sitcom that airs on Fox each Sunday night.

The show revolves around a family -- Francine and Stan are the parents, Hayley is the daughter and Steve is the son, Roger is the alien from outer space, Klaus is a German spy whom the CIA placed in a goldfish. They have neighbors and other people on the show but those are the main characters.

I may need to repeat that: Those are the main characters.

For your benefit?

No, for Seth MacFarlane's.

He appears distracted this year and Hayley's done nothing at all while Francine's only done slightly more. Slightly more? When the Smith family went on a plane trip, both Francine and Hayley got some nice moments with Roger on the plane; however, when Roger got his own place, Francine got moments in that episode as well -- brief ones but more moments than Hayley.

The show's lost its focus and every week it is a Stan adventure -- often with a Steve subplot.

That's not why people watch. People watch to see Roger make an ass out of himself. They watch to see Roger 'invent' disco. Roger go figure skating and insult everyone else competing. They want to see Roger be selfish and spend a fortune to watch Barbra Does Celine (Barbra Streisand singing the songs of Celine Dion) on pay-per-view. They love Roger.

Roger works best with Hayley who never takes his crap. He works second-best with Francine who lets him get away with murder most of the time.

With Steve? I really believe the episode where Steve told Roger "You're not my alien, you're my friend" forever changed their relationship. I really don't think they have what they had and Steve's much more tight with his friends now so it's a waste of time when you pair Roger and Steve.

A waste of time is probably the best explanation of this season which has hit all the wrong notes and done so repeatedly. I'm not big on animated shows but we (Mike and I) actually did get all the boxed sets and were looking forward to the latest one (comes out in May and we will get it for the final episode of last season). This is a show we generally catch. We've also done American Dad viewing marathons. But this season has been horrible.

What we're more excited about these days is the animated show Archer -- funnier, edgier and reliable.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces deaths, counting ballots continues in Iraq, Iraqi widows face huge problems, the US Congress hears about issues facing the children of parents deployed in foreign countries, and more.

Starting with yesterday evening's US House Armed Services subcommittee hearing. The Military Personnel Subcommittee held a hearing chaired by US House Rep Susan Davis on the issue of military children. At the start of the hearing, Chair Davis explained, "Given the limited legislative calendar available to the committee, today we are embarking on a different hearing structure. This hearing will focus on a specific topic: the effects of deployment on military children and will only last approximately one hour, prior to our votes at six-thirty [p.m.]."

It is an important topic. Hopefully, the topic will be addressed again in the future and, if so, we can see some real independence in the witnesses. We need to see clinical social workers, we need to see child psychiatrists and pscyhologists and family practioners and more testifying. If the children are our focus. If it's not just, "This is how we make the military brass happy." Which is a lot of what we heard: How to make the military brass happy.

I want to stress before we go further that if you are the mother or father raising the child (or children) while you're spouse is away (or the grandparent or legal guardian raising the child), you know best what to do. You are with the child. If there's a problem, you know that and you know you need to address it and seek out help available. But some of the stuff that follows, I want to be very clear, you do not need to be guilted into anything. Your primary concern is the child.

Two witnesses appeared before the subcommittee: Anita Chandra (RAND Corporation) and Leonard Wong (US Army War College). Ranking Member Joe Wilson's opening remarks included, "Finally, I would like to know how else we could help these incredible children who have to be strong beyond their years while their parent is away." Wong presented that his study found children ages eleven through teens spoke of less stress when a parent deployed if the parent had already been on at least two other deployments.

Chair Susan Davis: Let me just start with you, Dr. Wong, because I found that interesting in terms of the adolescents and one of things I wondered about is you are able to separate those young people who were living in a more confined military base versus those who were living in the public domain essentially -- attending public school versus a military, on-base school? What differences did you see?

Leonard Wong: That's a good question and we did ask both of those. We asked, "Did you live on base?" -- versus off post. And we also asked, "Did you go to a DoD school or a public school?" What we discovered is that there's really only in this age group -- age eleven to seventeen -- there are only two DoD high schools anyway. So that question sort of went away. So as far as the on-post, off-post, we did not find a difference. Why is that? It could be because some place like Fort Carson where off post there is a huge variance in what off-post experience is. There are some that are far away and they're very civilianized, but there are some that are very close and they're very military. What we think we heard from the anecdotal evidence we picked up in the interviews was how much the family participated in the post activities as opposed to where they lived was a bigger factor.

Chair Susan Davis: Mm-hmm. And so if they participated heavily in post advitivites, there was a higher level --

Leonard Wong: Exactly. As opposed to -- and then when they lived off post, they took the time to take advantage of activities.

Chair Susan Davis: Alright. Yeah.

Leonard Wong: Interestingly during deployment, you reduce the persons available to drive-to activities by 50%.

Chair Susan Davis: Mm-hmm. Dr. Chandra -- and I think, Dr. Wong, you can weigh in on this as well -- while there were certainly differences in your studies, one of the things that was similar is that if the non-deployed parent, the extant or the well being of that parent particularly or provider as it relates to their own mental health. Was their anything particular that you found that was quite supportive of that non-deployed parent? That, you know, jumped out a little bit, that was more unusual, whether or not they actually accessed services, family support centers, etc. Did you learn anything about what kind of programs perhaps that that non-deployed parent took advantage of?

Anita Chandra: For this study, we didn't look at the services that non-deployed care givers access. We are looking at that issue in follow up analysis. But certainly, we had a very strong relationship between the care giver's mental health and their ability to cope as well as the ability for their children to handle some of the deployment stressors.

Leonard Wong: For our study, we did ask the spouse how they handled deployments and that was a very significant factor. From the interviews, what we discovered was that the -- a key factor in the spouse's dealing with deployment is the family readiness group and-and that is a strong factor and you could almost tell in the children how active the parents were and the children saw that as -- as a nondeployed spouses role during the deployment.

Chair Susan Davis: Mm-hmm. Were there any particular gaps that you picked up in speaking with them? Something that would have been helpful? One of the things actually that I picked up over a number of contacts with military families is the lack of tutoring assistance. That the non-deployed parent has sort of lost that extension in terms of helping out with school. And they said, "If we only had more ability to access tutors or get some help because I," as one of the parents would say, "I can't -- I've got three kids, I can't help them all at one time."

Leonard Wong: We didn't pick up anything like that. What we heard was a lot of spouses just want someone to listen to and chat with and talk about things, to feel like they're not alone. As far as specific tutoring programs? We didn't pick up that.

Anita Chandra: For this part of the study we focused specifically on the types of challenges that children are facing during and after deployment. So what we found is that there were things that they endorsed as highly difficult -- both from the care giver perspective as well as children. And these were things like missing school activities, finding out that people in the community really didn't understand what life was like for them. So they definitely articulated some of those things that you're referencing as more common challenges -- particularly during the deployment.

Chair Susan Davis: Mm-hmm. What do you think should be done to assist military families?

Anita Chandra: Well I think our studies -- both of our studies -- really point to the needs of older youth and as we reference in our work there's certainly been a lot more attention on younger children -- younger than 12. For which we know that there are a lot of child development and support programs on base and off. So what we hope from this work is that it starts to identify some of the needs of older youth and teenagers so that we can look at the programs that we currently have and try and figure out, "Are we alinging our programs with those needs? Particularly of adolescents and, particularly, those oler adolescents.

Leonard Wong: What our study showed was also a similar focus but what I liked about our study was the surprising findings that there are some obvious, easy things like sports activities. The kids need to be busy to keep them distracted. Strong families. Oh that's a hard one. And yet it's very intutitive to all of us that you need a strong family. That starts long before deployment and it starts maybe even before the soldier comes into the army. But how do you influence -- because we found that the factors of the child's beliefs -- what they feel about the army, what they feel about the nation makes a difference. And they'll see through propaganda. So how do you influence a child's beliefs?

We'll cut him off there. How do you influence a child's belief? You don't. Their parents or care givers can. We jumped in on that and I want to stress, if you're the parent raising the child while your spouse is deployed, you do what works for you. Not what some expert tells you. Don't be guilted into doing anything. If participating in base activities is your thing, that's great and participate. But you may have any number of reasons for not participating. Including work but I'm thinking of a base where there's a high ranking male that a number of wives see as a predator. The easiest way to deal with it -- while their husbands were deployed -- was to avoid the base. If that's you, avoid the base. You're doing what you need to do to take care of yourself and your children. No one knows better how to do that than you because you're the one, hands on, there every day.

Also remember that Susan Davis called them "doctors." I did not. I will call a medical doctor a "doctor" and I will call a psychologist a "doctor." I do not call a behavioral scientist with a PhD a doctor. And behavioral scientists working for certain outlets are not doing research on children for children, they're doing it to make the larger wheel -- in this case, the military -- run smoother. In other words, your child -- whether you're a mother or a father -- is your primary concern. That is not always the case with behavioral scientists working for the military.

And let's go back to "distraction." Wong said "distraction." I raised kids via distraction. I'm all for distraction. I distract them from this with that. But he said sports were a good distraction and that's a red flag for many parents because their children don't participate in sports and they're left with: Can this apply to me? Or else with, "I've got to force the kid to play sports." Wong explained later that he also looked at whether they were in band and/or drama club and boys and girls clubs like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Really?

When I was studying piano (and I studied from before I entered school through college), I practiced an average of three hours a day. If I had been a child in their study, I wouldn't have qualified for 'sports." (I would have for other activites but sports weren't that big for women in my childhood days.) I question any study that leaves out something like piano or guitar or any individual instrument (music is so much more helpful -- in terms of mathematics and other skills than many of the things Wong's study included). There are many other activities not included in Wong's study -- that includes drawing and painting. The study is a bunch of the usual macho b.s. you'd expect from the Army War College.

In response to US House Rep Vic Snyder's question about the number of children being talked about, Anita Chandra said it was "1.8 to 2 million children." That's a large number of children. Dr. Snyder (we can call him that, he is one) also emphasized that Wong's study was reduced to only those who are active duty and not to the reserve. Why was that done? "To keep the survey short enough for an eleven-year-old to fill it out," Wong replied. (The children were simplified by Wong's study, as was the survey.) Snyder noted that base activities really wouldn't apply to the reserve children.

US House Rep Vic Snyder: I want to ask about special-needs kids. Did either of your studies look at special-needs kids and how this might impact on them? Because that's a problem that we have in the military even when everybody's home.

Anita Chandra: Unfortunately we didn't include questions about this in this study but we are hoping to include this in follow up work because I think the Exceptional Family Member Program and other services that are available to special-needs families are an important consideration.

Leonard Wong: Our study did not address special-needs specifically but during the interview portion of our study we did have special-needs children arriving for interviews and we took their comments --

US House Rep Vic Snyder: Their thoughts?

Leonard Wong: -- into consideration

US House Rep Vic Snyder: I think, Ms. Davis has heard me talk about this before but -- I don't know, three or four years ago? -- at the LIttle Rock Airforce Base, I had them arrange a meeting with family members of kids with autism. And they had to work at it a little bit because of medical privacy -- so they extended that, we finally ended up with a group -- I can't remember, maybe six to eight parent families were represented there and the most striking thing about it was that they didn't know each other. That it was like, you know, a God's send for them that they finally had other parents on the base -- the Little Rock Air Force Base is supposedly a small base -- but it was their first opportunity to -- we've gotten so protective of people's privacy that there wasn't ability to get people together. So I actually recommended -- I'm told that this has been done by some bases around the country -- that once every so often that the base commander needs to have kind of like Special-Needs Parents Day and get everybody in there for coffee at eight o'clock in the morning and then, at eight-thirty, say, you know, "That's autism corner, that's asthma corner, that's diabetes corner," -- however you want to do it but just to get people -- instruct parents and get parents going because I think this must be a tremendous deployment -- a tremendous potential burden on those families that really have difficulties anyway with a child with either some emotional or physical health issues.

And those were very good points that Snyder raised. The study Wong discussed appeared to especially be geared towards what was easiest -- easiest to count (which is why reserve children were not included), easiest to stereotype, easiest to ask, easy, easy, easy.

Yesterday the
US military announced: "CONTINGENCY OPERATING STATION KALSU, Iraq – Two U.S. Soldiers died yesterday of non-combat related injuries resulting from a vehicle accident. Two other Soldiers were injured in the same accident that is currently being investigated. The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense.The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website at The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member's primary next of kin.The incident is under investigation." The announcement brings ICCC's count of the number of US service members killed in the Iraq War to 4382. Last night, Mike observed, "And you realize that if all US troops had been pulled out of Iraq, those two would be alive, right? So those are the first two for this month. And two more reasons why the Iraq War needs to end now. Two more reasons why you need to participate in the March 20th demonstrations calling for an end to the wars." A wide range of groups will be participating and we'll have more on that later in the snapshot.

But meanwhile families in Iraq also suffer. In February of last year,
Timothy Williams (New York Times) reported on Iraqi widows and noted that the was an "estimated 740,000 widows" in the country. Michael Gisick (Stars and Stripes) reports today that the Iraqi government estimates the number of widows in Iraq to be 900,000 and Gisick notes, "Government assistance programs, which pay widows as little as $50 a month plus $13 per child, depending upon the husbands' jobs, are plagued by corruption and waiting lists that can stretch for years, aid officials and some in the government say." Shata al-Qaysi states, "Right now, the government is just sitting quietly and doing nothing to help. So if a widow is lucky, she will get some help from her family or a charity, which happens to about one in 1,000. The other options are she can be a beggar, she can sell plastic bags, she can be a servant or she can be a prostitute." And how is that any different from 2006? In July of 2006, Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) was reporting on the problems and quoting the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry's Isma Talib Mohammed stating, "The money is not sufficient. The time is not sufficient. Our lives are not sufficient at this point. Many women cannot even come here to ask for money because the security situation does not allow it." As Partlow noted, there was also a problem with corruption. (Check his figures, over $300 million to distribute that year for programs with 500,000 enrolled? Every Iraqi on public assistance could have been a millionaire.) As Mike Sergeant (BBC News) noted last year, widows have to result to begging and the US equivalent of one dollar a day that were supposed to receive isn't received for most ("a survey by the charity Oxfam has discovered that less than a quarter actually get the money"). Last October, Aadel Rashid (ABC News) noted the Parliament's Women and Child Committee head, Samira al-Musawi, put the number of widows at over one million -- this was the same person responsible for 'pimp the widows' -- the program that may provide them with an initial payment (or not) for remarrying but it does take them off the government assistance payroll -- which may be the whole point of the government pressuring them to remarry. Six months ago, quoting Muslim Aid Acting CEO, Hamid Azad, OXFAM stated Iraq had "5 million orphans and 2 milliion widows [who] are living in desperate conditions."

A year ago (March 9th), Oxfam issued [PDF format warning] "
In Her Own Words: Iraqi women talka bout their greatest concerns and challenges" which found 76% of Iraq's widows recieved no pensions while a third of all Iraqi women (not just women) stated they "had received no humanitarian assistance since 2003". Dr. Rajaa H. Dhaher al-Khuzai is the president of Iraqi Widows' Organization and she has said:

Only one-sixth of Iraqi widows receive federal aid, amounting to between $34 and $81 a month. In order to receive such benefits a widow must be well-connected or enter into a "temporary marriage" based on sex with one of the bureaucrats who distribute the funds. Even then, this paltry amount does not come close to covering a family's needs, so many widows are forced to work as servants, beg, or ask their families for help. Some have become prostitutes, while others have joined the insurgency in exchange for money.

Turning to some of the violence reported today . . .

Reuters notes an armed clash in Baghdad Tuesday in which 1 police officer and 1 assailant were killed with two suspects being injured. Xinhua reports (link has text and audio) a Tuesday Anbar Province roadside bombing which claimed the lives of 3 police officers.

And today, the vote totals were released for the Parliamentary elections and . . . Oh, wait. They weren't released.
Charles Levinson (Wall St. Journal) reports, "Election officials on Wednesday delayed for a second straight day the announcement of preliminary results in Iraq's parliamentary vote, but the back-room wheeling and dealing to form the country's next government has already begun." And then he's off to the horse races and we're not interested. But it was the second straight day of promises. Which is why you shouldn't take promises as anything more than press releases -- and those aren't supposed to be considered news. For more on that topic, see this morning's entry. And what follows is a press release from the Ahrar Party:

Intimidation, violence and vote tampering rife within Iraq's recent election
"The delays in announcing the recent election results are extremely concerning," Ayad Jamal Aldin, leader of the Ahrar Party, told reporters today in Baghdad.
"The international community has been hesitant to become involved due to fear of being seen as interfering with the elections. This is understandable. Everyone wants to portray the impression that Iraq is now capable of fending for itself. But this is not the case. American Vice-President Joe Biden glossed over these very real problems facing the Iraqi electorate on his recent trip to Baghdad. If evidence of vote tampering is uncovered - as is highly likely - the United Nations should use all means necessary to hold those responsible accountable."
The speculation of vote fixing comes after several acts of international violence and intimidation being reported against the electorate and station commanders.
In Fallujah, a member of the Anbar Provincial Council arrived at the polling station with heavily armed guards, and attacked the station commander before removing nine bundles of pre-marked ballot papers and inserting them in the ballot box. Similar stories are common across the country.
Even internationally, violence has marred these elections. In London, a group of Ahrar supporters were attacked and prevented from voting by supporters of al-Maliki. Violence amongst voters has also been reported in Beiruit, Dubai and even the USA.
For further information, contact:
Ahrar Media Bureau Tel: +964 (0)790 157 4478 / +964 (0)790 157 4479 / +964 (0)771 275 2942
About Ayad Jamal Aldin:
Ayad Jamal Aldin is a cleric, best known for his consistent campaigning for a new, secular Iraq. He first rose to prominence at the Nasiriyah conference in March 2003, shortly before the fall of Saddam, where he called for a state free of religion, the turban and other theological symbols. In 2005, he was elected as one of the 25 MPs on the Iraqi National List, but withdrew in 2009 after becoming disenchanted with Iyad Allawi's overtures to Iran. He wants complete independence from Iranian interference in Iraq. He now leads the Ahrar party for the 2010 election to the Council of Representatives, to clean up corruption and create a strong, secure and liberated Iraq for the future.

That's a press release. It speaks for the Ahrar Party. Nothing wrong with a press release. But a press release is not reporting and neither is repeatedly turning in copy which states, "Tomorrow the election results will be released!" Sticking with actual reporting,
Ernesto Londono and Leila Fadel (Washington Post) explain that Ahmed Chalabi and boy-pal Ali al-Lami were feeling frisky so they actually banned another 55 candidates via their Justice and Accountability Commission (an extra-legal body -- and the same one that earlier barred 500 candidates from the elections) -- charged with being 'Ba'athist' the night before the Sunday vote. These candidates were not taken off the lists and supposedly the votes for them will be counted. The reporters explain, "If the votes for the newly barred candidates are annulled, it could give the Iraqiya coalition powerful ammunition to allege vote-rigging by rival politicians, including some in the Shiite-led camp of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. "

In the US, strong efforts at revising history by the right-wing are taking place. Karl Rove's alleged book is part of the revisonary work.
Allison Kilkenny (True/Slant) calls out the latest attempts at revisionary history, "I know liberals like to think Dubya and his crew were so evil no one will ever, ever forget the lessons learned during the Bush years, but this kind of revisionist bulls**t has a way of slowly seeping into the populace's subconscious. After enough hours of hearing Liz Cheney talk about how rad her dad is, and reading enough of Friedo's disgusting columns, people will start to believe this crap." And they will -- especially when the response is silence.

In veterans news,
Lauren Collins (NECN) reports on Iraq War veteran Aaron Lee Marshall who returned to the US with a Purple Heart and difficulties re-adjusting to civilian life. With the support and encouragement of his mother, Aaron Lee Marshall focused on music and recorded Now Maybe leading him to state, "I feel like I'm coming out of a fog." Collins notes, "Aaron's album Now Maybe is available at Bull Moose Record stores in Maine and New Hampshire, and on iTunes. His concert at the Rochester Opera House is June 10th." Click here for Aaron Lee Marshall on iTunes. Click here for his MySpace page which does allow you to stream some songs from the album.

March 20th, many organizations, groups and individuals will be participating in the march for peace in DC, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Party for Socialism and Liberation will be participating and they announce:
March 20 is the seventh anniversary of the invasion and continuing criminal occupation of Iraq. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is escalating its war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. More than a million lives have been lost and countless more destroyed through the U.S. aggression. While we're told that there's no money for education, health-care and jobs, next year's real military budget will exceed $1.4 trillion. On that day massive demonstrations will take place in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco to demand:
No colonial-type wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Haiti and more.
Money for jobs, education, health-care, housing; not for wars and bank bailouts.
Join us for analysis and discussion on:
The wars and the war budget.
The plan of action on March 20 in San Francisco and around the country.
A report-back from the March 4 day of action against education cuts and the protests across California and other states. 2489 Mission St. Rm. 28, San Francisco $3 - $5 donation requested, no one turned away for lack of funds. (Refreshments served. Cross street 21st. Near 24th St. BART. MUNI #14, 49, 26. Parking garage located one block west on 21st. St. btwn. Mission & Valencia, parking cost $2/hr.) For more info, or to reserve free childcare (please call at least one day in advance if you would like childcare) contact PSL at 415-821-6171. Check out our website:

World Can't Wait is another organization which will be participating and
this is from WCW's Debra Sweet:

"Peace of the Action" starts Monday, March 15 near the Washington Monument as an ongoing protest to demand that the occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan end. Cindy Sheehan was in New York recently with Chelsea Neighbors for Peace, calling on people to participate in its first action, Camp OUT NOW. I will be speaking there on Wednesday March 17, with David Swanson on the need for prosecution of war crimes.
Cindy's new book,
Myth America II is online. She includes World Can't Wait in acknowledgements as a group that has made her life easier over this past year and thanks "Debra Sweet from World Can't Wait for being the unwavering moral backbone of this movement and my support 'group' when I was at my all-time Obama-lowest."
Cindy and the thousands of people
protesting Saturday, March 20 against Obama's wars, including World Can't Wait, are pushing to make history and change the disastrous direction the U.S. government is pursuing. Find flyers & post your event. Actions in Washington DC, Chicago, Charlottesville VA, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles. Sign up on Facebook.
The World Can't Wait's sustainer fund drive runs through March 15. We can and must fulfill our goal of reaching monthly expenses to strengthen the national resistance to the crimes of our government.
You can sign up here at any level you choose.

Lastly, TV note.
NOW on PBS begins airing Friday on most PBS stations (check local listings):

Two men on a remarkable journey high in the Himalayas investigate threats to global water and food supply. Next on NOW change will cause some of the world's largest glaciers to completely melt by 2030. What effect will this have on our daily lives, especially our water and food supply? With global warming falling low on a national list of American concerns, it's time to take a deeper look at what could be a global calamity in the making. On Friday, March 12 at 8:30 pm (check local listings), David Brancaccioand environmentalist Conrad Anker -- one of the world's leading high altitude climbers - trek to the Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayan Mountains, the source of the Ganges River, to witness the great melt and its dire consequences first-hand. The two also visit Montana's Glacier National Park to see the striking effects of global warming closer to home and learn how melting glaciers across the world can have a direct impact on food prices in the U.S. Along the way, Brancaccio and Anker bathe in the River Ganges, view a water shortage calamity in India, and see with their own eyes and cameras the tangible costs of climate change. "We can't take climate change and put it on the back burner," warns Anker. "If we don't address climate change, we won't be around as humans." Visit right now to watch an extended hour-long version of the program, and to access David's 12-day photo-filled travel journal from their trek.

timothy williamsthe new york times
the washington postjoshua partlow
ernesto londonoleila fadel
lauren collins
true/slant allison kilkenny
the world cant waitdebra sweet
pbsnow on pbs

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The pile on never ends

Don't you get tired of it? All the piling of any woman who accomplishes something? The refusal to let a woman bask for even one moment?

Megan Carpentier is a British woman who writes for the British newspaper the Guardian. Today she has something on her mind and, sadly, it's not about how to replace her bi-level do.

No, she's pissed at Kathryn Bigelow:

At this year's Oscars, Kathryn Bigelow won best director and her film, Hurt Locker, won best picture despite criticisms from veterans that it failed to take into account much of the daily life of the men and women serving in Iraq or Afghanistan and criticisms that the film itself was as pro-war as it was pro-soldier. Although Bigelow dedicated her award to the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, she didn't touch on the lies that sent them there to risk their lives in pursuit of a political coup.
Back in 2003,
Michael Moore strode upon the Oscar stage to accept his award for Bowling For Columbine with his fellow nominees and one intention: to make his voice heard by the Oscar audience about the injustices he saw in America.

A first! A woman compared to Michael Moore.

First off, it's 2010. It is very difficult in the US to get anyone to talk about Iraq. The opinion is that it's over. It's not, but that's the opinion.

In 2010, a British woman wants Bigelow to call out George W. Bush?

Call out George W. Bush who left office in January 2009?

I have no idea why Bigelow would speak of Bush. I do know that anyone who'd called out War Hawk Barry O would have been savaged by the homo-erotic Clooney posse.

Right there, we've noted pretty much all the big issues except one.

The British writer is writing about Kathryn Bigelow's acceptance speech and how she found it lacking because there was no peace talk.


In January, Kathyrn Bigelow won the Best Director from the British equivalent of the Oscards, the BAFTA. She won the award. She gave her speech. She issued a cry for peace.

I searched the columnist's archives. Guess what?

When Kathryn Bigelow won Best Director in January in England, where was Megan Carpenter?

"Elections" (C.I., The Common Ills):
As usual, when work had to be done, it took a woman. Yes, let's talk about those scary vaginas. Kathryn Bigelow won the Academy Award for directing the amazing film The Hurt Locker. And it's time to pile on. And we're supposed to pretend like it has nothing to do with gender. As if Danny Schechter's called out any other Iraq film -- Green Zone's realistic, really? In the Valley of Elah was a documentary? Battle for Haditha, Body of Lies, The Kingdom . . . So today's piggie is Richard Adams. Who? Exactly, child, exactly. Little Dick Adams is an editor at the British Guardian. And today he wants to weigh in on The Hurt Locker. If you're as ignorant of film as Danny Schechter, that makes sense. If you're offering critiques of the Academy Awards that are such nonsense as "its parochialism" you really need to just sit down and stop embarrassing yourself.
But if you're the Guardian's Little Dick Adams, you're too smart to make that assertion because you'd be laughed at throughout England. As you should be laughed at for 'tackling' The Hurt Locker today.
What's the problem?
For those in the know, the problem is Kathryn Bigelow won Best Director in January at the BAFTA -- England's equivalent of the Oscars."So! She won Best Picture too on Sunday!"Uh, yeah, The Hurt Locker won Best Picture Sunday. It also won it in January . . . the BAFTA for Best Picture. Why didn't Little Dick write his piece in January? That's when the British awards were handed out -- the BAFTA is the highest honor in film in England. Where was Little Dick? Are you telling me this column took him over two months to pen?It's not about The Hurt Locker. It's not about Kathryn's direction. If it were about either, Little Dick Adams would have rushed his column out in January. It's about a lot of men who are scared of the vagina and the snowball effect they're creating where a woman will be attacked relentlessly. It's really amazing when you think about it. Little Dick doesn't think The Hurt Locker deserves the Academy Award for Best Picture. British Dick doesn't think it deserves a US award. And yet when the British Academy of Film and Television Arts gave Kathryn Best Director in January and The Hurt Locker Best Picture, Little Dick had no thoughts. Had nothing to weigh in on. It was only after "Bash The Bitch" got rolling that Little Dick found the 'courage' to speak up. What bravery, what brave little boys.
If this continues, I think I'm going to address the male critic of Vogue and all the other sexist pigs, how they use claims of 'sexism' to target women. How they're 'concerned', for example, about sexism in a film that a woman stars in and then they go on to praise a pedistrian basic cable TV show -- and forget to mention how sidelined women are on the show due to its sexist storylines. Sexism only 'matters' to them when they can use to attack women. And, as Elaine's pointed out, we've seen the left attack three movies in the last few years online: the Sex In The City film, Stop-Loss and now The Hurt Locker.
But you'll notice, no left campaign mounted by these same brave voices for any other movies. Apparently, that's it. All the other films are brilliant. Of course, the other films are either directed by men or marketed to men. Sandra Bullock returns to romantic comedy at a time when women are not carrying films and we have to live through all the attacks on The Proposal -- one of the top grossing films of 2009. I don't remember any leftists calling out The Hangover or similar films. Not even the film where the woman's passed out while Seth Rogan's on top of her pumping away. It's interesting how the left and the 'left' works. And the sexism is getting real damn old.Notice how I said "marketed to men"? I didn't accuse a film of being "male." The idiot Melissa Silverstein did that, though didn't she? And now Little Dick in England does the same. See there's a reason we don't endorse gender stereotypes, Melissa.

What is it with these British writers today taking offense to Bigelow winning US awards when they were silent in January as Bigelow won awards in their own country?

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, March 9, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, ballot counting continues, a new Inquiry begins in London, March 20th is a day for action in the US, and more.

Sunday Iraq held Parliamentary elections.
Yesterday on The NewsHour (PBS link has text, video and audio options), Gwen Ifill spoke with the Christian Science Monitor's Jane Arraf about the elections.

Gwen Ifill: Jane, it took 156 days to negotiate a new government in 2005, when the outcome was close as this one is expected to be. Is similar instability feared this time as well?

Jane Arraf: There is actually quite a lot of concern, Gwen. In fact, that's probably the major concern, because, really, what we're looking at is a very closely fought race, in which it's not clear who is going to emerge the winner. But what is clear is that whoever it is doesn't have the power to actually form a government by themselves. So, that means we're looking at weeks, if not several months, of jockeying for position and bargaining to actually form a government. And that's really what a lot of US, as well as Iraqi officials are worried about. What happens in between, in between the time that this parliament actually phases out and the new one is set to come in? There are some safeguards that have been put in place. But, certainly, it's a worry as to who actually holds the reins of power and what happens if there's an emergency.

Yesterday on the radio program The Takeaway, Iraq was discussed at length. We'll note this section.

Miles O'Brien: Alright, Phebe, this sets the clock or starts the clock on the withdrawal of US combat forces. What role does the US play at this point?

Phebe Marr (Middle East Institute): Well it plays, I think, and increasing less role -- less of a role. It's-it's muscle, of course, gets less. As we know, we're to have 50,000 there until the following year and then all troops are set to be out. But I would like to put one caution in. If things don't go so well or violence tends to flare up, say in the Kurdish area, we could possibly configure a slow-down of that withdrawal although nothing at the present moment suggests that's going to happen. I personally think that there's a possibility after the election gets settled and a new government comes in that we may actually be asked to keep a small contingent there because we're rely -- we're expected under the strategic agreement to be training, supplying, equipping, there'll be logistics and so forth for the Iraqi and all of that might require some troops -- not, perhaps, combat troops -- on the ground. And, of course, we have a huge diplomatic mission and the Iraqis are going to have to turn to us for a number of things including the debt and elimination of many US restrictions and so on. So they're still going to be a behind-the-scenes, definite role for the United States. Perhaps as a discreet mediator in some of these disputes.

Also on the program was Anthony Shadid (the New York Times is one of the producers of The Takeaway) and he spoke of how fraud was expected in the election and had been a part of the previous post-war election and how the question many are asking is how much fraud is allowable. Iraq was placed under 'crack-down' for several days due to Sunday's elections.
Shaalan Juburi, Li Laifang, Jamal Ahmed and Zhang Xiang (Xinhua) report that government ministries and schools reopened today and Abu Ahmed thinks the election process was fine "but he told Xinhua that he is afraid of any fraud in the counting of ballots." Many outlets are reporting that the race is between A and B. Votes are still being counted. Not only are they still be counted but the plan to release a preliminary count today has been aborted. We're not going to make the snapshots about who may be in the lead or who it may be between. The 2000 US election was about controlling the press when the vote was unknown with both the Al Gore camp and the Bully Boy Bush camp attempting to win the day's news cycle. We're not playing that game here. Nouri has been courting the press. Last week, Hannah Allem (McClatchy's Middle East Diary) noted that Nouri threw a luncheon for -- not at -- the press. Even that was apparently too much for Nouri:

At the lunch before the news conference, journalists sat at banquet tables as sharply dressed waiters served us the grilled Iraqi fish known as mazkouf, trays of lamb, several kinds of rice and honey-soaked pastries from Baghdad's best confectionary. Everyone was hungry, but we were advised not to start until "the host" arrived. Until that moment, nobody had realized Maliki would be dining with us, which is rare for a man whose administration has had a testy and often combative relationship with the media.
Maliki swept into the dining area in a navy suit and tie. He didn't work the room, he didn't greet journalists with anything more than a cursory nod and mumbled "As salamu alaikum," followed by an order for everyone to sit. Aloof and somber, he had a hangdog look about him, and none of the charm of, say, an Ayad Allawi or Ahmad Chalabi.
It was a bit awkward, honestly, to be tucking into a delicious Iraqi meal a table over from the prime minister, who was technically our host but barely acknowledged his guests' presence. I sneaked a few glances at him and found him picking at a small piece of lamb, sipping a Diet Pepsi and trying only a forkful of the rich dessert. He indulged in an after-meal chai and then slipped away to prepare for the press conference.

We will quote
Robert Dreyfuss (The Nation) observing, "Facts are scarce, and spin is everywhere, in the aftermath of Iraq's election"

Some initial thoughts: voter turnout was 62 percent, according to initial reports from Iraq. That's down from about 75 percent in the 2005 election. In Baghdad, the key province with 70 seats in parliament at stake, turnout was the lowest in Iraq, at 53 percent. It isn't clear, yet, if that total includes any or all of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who fled Baghdad during the sectarian purge of 2005-2007, mostly Sunni voters who either fled to Syria and Jordan or to safer provinces in western Iraq. According to initial reports, again, election officials at polling places were ill-equipped to handle displaced voters, meaning that many internally displaced persons didn't get to vote. If the election is close, and perhaps even if it isn't, the disputes over the votes of refugees and displaced persons will be bitter and explosive.

Today at the
New York Times' At War Blog, many correspondents contribute to an entry on voting in Iraq and we'll note the following Iraqi voices from Sam Dagher's section on Kirkuk:

Jabbar Mohammed, 45, North Oil Company employee
Mr. Mohammed, a Sunni Arab, said he would vote for a candidate within Ayad Allawi's coalition.
"He is a well-spoken man, educated and has previous experience in parliament," he said. "We want to change the situation. I hope Kirkuk becomes an Iraqi city again. We boycotted the last elections but these elections are different."
Karwan Hamid, 19
Mr. Hamid said he and his friends voted for the Kurdistan Alliance. Asked why he did not vote for the new reformist group Gorran Mr. Hamid said "They did not even assume power and already they cut deals with Baathists and enemies of Kurds."
Kamal Fares, 57 Oil driller
A Turkmen, he voted for a candidate on Ayad Allawi's slate. "He's like me, a Turkmen."

The United Nations was an international organization in Iraq observing the voting -- and they are observing the counting of ballots.
They issued the following from Ad Merlkert, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq (SRSG):

I congratulate the more than 12 million Iraqis who went to the polls, some braving insecurity to cast ballots for a better future, marking the historic character of election day. This turnout was beyond the expectations of many. I commend the IHEC Board of Commissioners and the more than 300,000 Iraqis engaged by IHEC, for their efforts to conduct elections in a well organized and professional fashion. UNAMI is proud to have supported their work.
I congratulate the Iraqi Security forces, who were solely responsible for all security on eleciton-day for safeguarding the electoral process, despite effots by some to deter Iraqis from voting. There can be nod obut that the Iraqi people stand together in their wish that reason prevails over confrontation and violence.
UNAM visited polling centers in Anbar, Ninewa, Kirkuk, Erbil, Najaf, Sulaimania, Salahadin, Diyala, Basra, Dohuk and Baghdad. We were pleased with the conduct of the vote and the evident enthusiasm for the elections among the different Iraqi communities. I join Iraqi and international leaders in the call for patience and restraint as the results are counted and tabulated. I also encourage political agents and observers to continue to monitor the process, and to direct any complaints to the IHED in accordance with the law. Only IHEC can announce the official results of these elections, which will be certified by the Federal Supreme Court.
The most crucial moment will arrive when the results are announced. The UN calls on all candidates and parties to unite in accepting the results. This will set an example for a culture of democracy that requires commitment beyond elections. The UN also calls on all those newly elected to move resolutely to seat parliament and form the new government so that political, economic and social progress is not delayed.

On the topic of the UN and the Iraqi elections,
Matthew Russell Lee (Inner City Press) reports:While there is much to be said about the Iraqi elections just held, the UN can't seem to get it act together on what to say, or even what it should be talking about. Top UN envoy to Iraq Ad Melkert spoke for the second time in a month to correspondents at UN headquarters Monday, this time by video, and painted a rosy picture of the election. Inner City Press asked about the sample complaints of Ayad Allawi, about irregularities and confusion at polling stations, and his call for an investigation. We are aware of points of various candidates, Melkert said. It is is not my task to comment on particular statements. Video here, from Minute 10:42. But how could Melkert's rosy assessment not be seen as an implicit rejection of Allawi's complaints, Inner City Press asked. Video here, from Minute 11:52. It is not my task or UNAMI's task, Melkert replied, to assess complaints. I did not refer to fair elections, only that turn out was good, that it was a big day, Melkert said. "You cannot attribute to me any assessment."

Along with the UN, the US had observers. Among them were members of the National Foundation of Women Legislators who issued "
U.S. Elected Women Observe Iraqi Elections; Witness Fearless Determination" yesterday:
(WASHINGTON, DC) -- A delegation of U.S. elected women from across the nation selected by the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State served as official Election Observers in Baghdad yesterday.
The NFWL Delegation released the following statement:
We were honored to bear witness to the Iraqi People's fearless determination to exercise their right to vote, even in the wake of violence and bombs aimed at disrupting the election. We met a brave woman who assured us, "I voted today as a challenge to the terrorists!" She told us that violent attempts to scare Iraqis would only encourage more people like her to get out and vote. We witnessed a determined man named Ahmed bring his wife and 2 daughters ages 2 and 4 to vote. He was eager to tell us that, "For 30 years, we lived under Saddam's dictatorship without the freedoms we're voting for today. Even though there are bombs and violence, and people will die trying to vote today, the people of Iraq will vote because we see it as a tax for freedom that we are willing to pay for with our lives. We are on a train to freedom and my family and I will do our part in making sure we don't come off that freedom track." In the face of death and violence, today [March 7th] the National Foundation for Women Legislators proudly stood with courageous Iraqi voters as they cast their votes for democracy.
· State Representative Debbie Riddle (R-Houston, Texas), Chairman Elect NFWL
· State Representative Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-St. Louis, Missouri)
· State Representative Bette Grande (R-Fargo, North Dakota)
· State Representative Gayle Harrell (R-Port St. Lucie, Florida)
· State Representative Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington, Delaware)
· State Representative Susana A. Mendoza (D-Chicago, Illinois)
· State Representative Diane Winston (R-Covington, Louisiana)
NFWL is one of only two groups of Americans that were invited to oversee Iraq's election on March 7th. The other group includes former Members of Congress.
NFWL has been asked to participate in the Iraqi elections due to the unique status of women in Iraq. There are over one million widows in Iraq, many very highly educated, and there is a requirement that 25% of the candidates on the ballot be women. NFWL is charged with bringing a calm and credible presence to the elections, and women leaders such as the hearty band of 7 women leaders representing NFWL recognize the importance of free and fair elections to the stability of Iraq and the United States' national security.
The women leaders were invited to join this delegation to lend their integrity and experience to a process that is new to the citizens of Iraq, and graciously answered the call.
"These incredible women have shown themselves to be strong leaders through NFWL and I know their presence in Iraq during this historic time will ensure the Iraqi people have a real chance at Democracy," stated Robin Read, NFWL's President and CEO.
NFWL has been invited by the U.S. Department of State and foreign nations to bring delegations of elected women together to monitor elections, mentor women leaders across the globe, and participate in important dialogues concerning free trade and other vital issues on several occasions starting in 1993.
"There is a sense expressed by our elected women that Iraq is an incredibly important place to reach out, not only because of the United States' current relationship with the country but also due to women in Iraq traditionally having enjoyed a unique level of education and public visibility." stated Read. "We see a wonderful opportunity to empower and support women in public leadership in Iraq."
About the National Foundation for Women Legislators, Inc. (NFWL)
Through annual educational and networking events, the National Foundation for Women Legislators supports elected women from all levels of governance. As a non-profit, non-partisan organization, NFWL does not take ideological positions on public policy issues, but rather serves as a forum for women legislators to be empowered through information and experience.

Along with who won, what the elections mean or meant is still unknown.
Paul McGeough (Sydney Morning Herald) observes, "As Iraqis voted on Sunday, a message emanating from the White House was that the elections and its aftermath were now 'in the hands of the Iraqis.' But the visit of a leading Kurdish politician to Washington this year and direct intervention by Barack Obama in settling the pre-election stand-off suggest a continuing hands-on role. And if American hands are on the Iraqi levers, others can be expected to grasp for them, too -- particularly neighbouring Iran, which sees Iraq as a proxy theatre of engagement with the US."

Violence continues in Iraq . . . .

Reuters notes 1 person shot dead at a Mosul bus terminal, an armed Mosul clash resulted in 1 police officer and 1 assailant being shot dead, Iraqi police wounded a 'suspect,' in Kirkuk the district police chief's convoy was targeted injuring two bodyguards and, dropping back to Monday, 2 people were shot dead in Falluja (another was injured).

Amy Goodman and Anjali Kamat (Democracy Now -- link has video, audio and transcript) addressed the violence of the Iraq War today with guest Wafaa Bilal who lost his brother Haji in 2004 when a US missile hit their Kufa home six years ago. In memory of his brother and other Iraqis who have died in the illegal war, Wafaa Bilal is getting tattoos. He's using the more accepted number of 100,000 dead Iraqis (one million was estimated some time ago) and he explains:

"... And Counting" is a new project I'm doing, which is using a tattoo as a medium and playing with the idea of visible-invisible issue. You have 5,000 American deaths in Iraq, and you have 100,000 Iraqi deaths, as the consequences of this war. And what I'm trying to do, I'm trying to create something as an engagement. I'm trying to create a platform, a virtual and physical platform, one people could come and even just, as a start, acknowledge the number. The number is just staggering. And when I was invited by the Elizabeth Foundation of the Arts to talk about the Iraq issues and the death, I didn't know -- or I didn't want to create another physical monument that's going to be abandoned after a few years or few months, few days maybe. And how do you remember human being that's been killed by an aggression? And what I wanted to do, I wanted to create that monument, when I could carry it with me. And what I'm doing is, the entire product is three stages. Stage one, I lay down the Iraqi cities, Iraqi map with no border. Then I am putting 100,000 dots, one dot for each Iraqi, in an invisible ink. It's not going to be visible unless you have a UV light. And stage three is the 5,000 American deaths going to be on top of the 100,000. So, at the first glance, on my back, you are going to see the Iraqi cities in Arabic and the 5,000 dots that represent American death. And there are different circumstances when you have a UV light. You are going to see the 100,000 dots come to life. And that is examining the issue of Iraqi death is not being visible, is not being acknowledged. And the number, it's so high we cannot even comprehend. With that project, a place and a dot, for each dot, we are -- people donating one dollar for Rally for Iraq organization to raise a scholarship money for Iraqi children who lost their parents during this war. And this is just an objective of leaving something tangible, not just the art piece on my back, but also something that's practical, something that gives hope to the Iraqi generation under this war.

Meanwhile, in England, there's a new inquiry, the
al-Sweady Public Inquiry. What's going on? In the face of claims that following a 2004 battle (which the British dubbed "Danny Boy"), British forces violated the human rights of Iraqis and via mistreatment and at least one alleged killing, the inquiry was set up "to seek to establish the facts as required by its terms of reference. The Chairman will make appropriate recommendations in light of his findings in fact." Great Britain's Socialist Worker states, "Evidence of torture includes close-range bullet wounds, the removal of eyes and stab wounds." David Sapsted (UAE's The National Newspaper) reports that the assertion is that at least "20 Iraqis were unlawfully killed" and Hamid al-Sweady was a 19-year-old who died during "Danny Boy."

Thayne Forbes is charing in the inquiry -- among other things, his past achievements inclduing presiding over many courts as a judge. Lee Hugehs of the UK Ministry of Justice is sitting on the inquiry. Jillian Glass, Jonathan Acton Davis, Jason Beer and Emma Gargitter are all attorneys -- all four -- four more than sit on the
Iraq Inquiry
Yesterday, we covered David Miliband's testimony to the Inquiry and the announced plan was to follow that in the next snapshot with critical press examination of his testimony. The press decided to avoid calling David out in the UK. Iran's Press TV offers a critique:Miliband also claimed that the UK is now in a "stronger position," believing that UK decisions on Iraq have not "undermined our relationships or our ability to do business" in the region. The top official meanwhile alleged that "many Iraqis" view Britain as having been instrumental in "freeing the country from a tyranny that is bitterly remembered."This is while according to polls conducted by The Arab American Institute and the Pew Global Attitudes Project in 2007 and 2006, the majority of people in the Middle East and Europe viewed the war negatively and believed that the world was safer before the Iraq War and the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

In peace news, protests and marches are being planned for March 20th. Among the organizers is
A.N.S.W.E.R. who notes:

On Saturday, March 20, 2010, there will be a massive National March & Rally in D.C. A day of action and outreach in Washington, D.C., will take place on Friday, March 19, preceding the Saturday march.There will be coinciding mass marches on March 20 in
San Francisco and Los Angeles.The national actions are initiated by a large number of organizations and prominent individuals. To see a list of the initiators, click this link. We will march together to say "No Colonial-type Wars and Occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Haiti!" We will march together to say "No War or Sanctions Against Iran!" We will march together to say "No War for Empire Anywhere!" Instead of war, we will demand funds so that every person can have a job, free and universal health care, decent schools, and affordable housing. March 20 is the seventh anniversary of the criminal war of aggression launched by Bush and Cheney against Iraq. One million or more Iraqis have died. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops have lost their lives or been maimed, and continue to suffer a whole host of enduring problems from this terrible war. This is the time for united action. The slogans on banners may differ, but all those who carry them should be marching shoulder to shoulder. Click here to become an endorser.

Military Families Speak Out issued the following last month:

As we face the 1,000th troop death, the next horrific milestone in the Afghanistan War, Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), an organization of over 4,000 military families opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, calls on the 111th Congress to honor the fallen and prevent further deaths by taking action to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Members of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), and their chapter Gold Star Families Speak Out (GSFSO), will be participating in nationwide vigils to commemorate the 1,000th U.S. troop death.
On March 20, 2010 MFSO and GSFSO members will travel to Washington, D.C. to call on the incoming 111th Congress to act decisively to curtail more deaths and any more horrific milestones by de-funding and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
How many more lost lives will it take before our Congressional leaders will demonstrate the kind of courage our loved ones in the military show every day? When will Congress stop thinking about political posturing, show the courage to end the war, to put a stop to further unnecessary death?
Across the nation, members of Military Families Speak Out will honor the more than 1,000 troops who have lost their lives and mourn the countless Afghan children, women and men who will die daily until Congress uses its "power of the purse" to fully fund the safe and orderly withdrawal of our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and de-fund the war.

pbsthe newshour
the christian science monitorjane arrafthe nationrobert dreyfussthe new york timessam dagher
mcclatchy newspapers
hannah allam
the inner city pressmatthew russell lee
press tvthe takeaway