Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Return from vacation

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Iraq snapshot.
The daily life continues to be marred by chaos and violence. And apparently role playing Geoffrey Miller, Donald Rumsfeld went from Afghanistan to Iraq with violence following in his wake as he apparently pulled the strings of Nouri al-Maliki, US puppet of the illegal occupation.
As noted this morning: "AP is reporting that a bus station in Baghdad was stormed by 'gunmen' and at least 24 people were seized with at least 20 of those 24 being killed."
The AFP reports that 22 corpses were discovered ("Blindfolded, hands tied behind them, and most shot in the head") and that the number kidnapped was much larger than 24, "up to 80." For those who question that number, the AFP quotes "Senior Shiite MP Jaladdin al-Saghir" saying: "There was a very serious breach of security in Diyala province today when 60-80 Shiites were kidnapped from the bus station".
The AP reports, on the corpses discovered from the mass kidnapping, "Relatives wept over loved ones, with one man leaning over an open coffin and kissing the hand of a victim."
The AFP notes, of the continued violence in the the city where the "crackdown" is ongoing. "Violence in Baghdad has raged despite the fact that more than 50,000 troops, mostly Iraqi, have been patrolling the capital's streets since last month."
Other shootings? Reuters reports: "clashes . . . between Iraqi policemen and gunmen" in Baghdad that left a civilian and a police officer dead as well as two patrol cars burned; in Tikrit, a police officer was shot dead; in Kirkuk, a police officer was shot dead; and, in Baghdad, a "Baghdad University professor" was shot dead.
CBS and the AP report a car bomb exploding "near an Iraqi army base in Haswa" leaving eight wounded. Reuters notes that a civilian died in the blast (and spells it "Hasswa") and notes two bombs in Baghdad. One "suicide bomber" entered a restaurant, engaged the bomb killing himself and seven people while leaving twenty more wounded. Reuters also notes a roadside bomb that wounded three ("including a child").
Reuters reports that two corpses were found (carpenters) in Tikrit, while another corpse ("gunshot wounds and signs of torture") was discovered in Kirkuk.
As Dahr Jamail and others have noted, Iraqis are fleeing the country. The BBC offers the stories of three who have left (in their own words). The fleeing continues though the AP notes that "flyers circulated in a predominately Sunni area north of Baghdad, uring Shi'ite families no tto flee and warning people not to hurt members of the majority sect."
Meanwhile the AFP is reporting that 150 women "protested at Baghdad's Yamuk club and demanded that the former soldier Steven Green be tried as a 'war criminal.'" The former 101st Airborne Division Green was the first person arrested in the alleged rape and murder of 14 year-old Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi as well as the murder of three of her family members. (That arrest, FOR THE RECORD, took place on Friday June 30th and not "last week" as too many keep misreporting.)
The Associated Press reports that following all the scandals, Dick Cheney's former company Halliburton has lost a "multibillion contract" and that the Army will "rebid" it which seems strange wording since, as the article notes, Halliburton's Iraq contracts with the US have included "no-bid contracts" with Halliburton. Can you re-bid what was a no-bid? Does the AP know more than they're telling?Meanwhile, the AFP is reporting that Parsons Global Services has also had its US military contract cancelled "due to cost overruns and incompetency". Shh. Can you hear that? The sound of hundred War Hawks sobbing.
And the US administration's walking scandal, Secretary of Defense Donnie Rumsfeld visited Iraq where he pompously declared, "I don't talk deadlines." Of course Tommy Franks infamously said "we don't do body counts" at the start of the illegal war and we now know that was a lie. (We know that. Big media and indymedia failed on that, but here we know the truth.) On June 26th, Nancy A. Youssef broke the story that the US was keeping a body count on Iraqi civilians. Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli went on the record and confirmed it, saying that it was a form of 'measurement' by the US and the US has been doing that since at least "last summer."
CNN reports that Rumsfeld, speaking inside a heavily guarded military base, declared,"Each time I come to Iraq, I see progress" -- revealing he is both a liar and blind.
Rumsfeld breezed through to pull the puppet's strings and Nouri al-Maliki stated, according to Reuters, that this was the Iraq's 'last chance for peace' -- which no doubt struck many in Iraq as strange since nothing resembling "peace" has been seen since the start of the illegal occupation.
But apparently feeling stand-up might be his next profession, after the US government tires of him and replaces with yet another prime minister, al-Maliki stated: "We all have a last chance to reconcile and agree among ourselves on avoiding conflict and blood. If we fail, God forbid, I don't know what the fate of Iraq will be" (CBS and AP).
The dire warning was in direct contrast to his stated remarks yesterday: "I don't see the country falling into a civil war despite the regrettable activities of certain people who ignore that Iraq is united . . . The security services are still in control of the situation and we would like to see matters move towards political (compromise) rather than resort to force" (AFP).
Possibly Rumsfeld pulled the strings too tight or else he's cracking up during the crackdown, but al-Maliki is also now threatening TV stations with being shut down. That move would be neither democratic nor smart. On the latter, Paul L. Bremer could explain to him the probable reaction when you try to shut down the press.

So that's the news you can use. As you'll note, I've delinked from "the site" that has the community so upset.

There are three reasons for that.

1) The site's new need to promote (or self-promote) by linking to a website that's not welcoming to women and is dismissive of them and abortion. In this day and age, any woman who cares about choice can't straddle the fence.

2) The fact that they refused to cover the body count story even when it was noted to them by a listener.

3) The fact that they never cleared up the misunderstanding (I still get e-mails on that, various people in the health care industry thanking me on that entry) involving an 'oath' that isn't an oath. My profession matters to me and I don't think journalism, as a profession, is in the business of spreading lies. The fact that it was never corrected (even when they had guests who could have) is insulting to me, to my profession and to the intelligence of the audience.

Mike stopped noting them last week, you probably noticed. That was due to the issue of the body count story not being noted. I told him before I left on vacation, I was fine with not covering them. He asked me about that. I shared with him my feelings on two and three above before I went on vacation.

They've been delinked.

Personally, I'm obviously very pro-choice and if you're promoting a site that's dismissive of the issue, that's dismissive of women ("women's studies" slurs when people rightly object, not all of them women, to a T&A ad you ran).

If Mike had decided to note them before I left, I would've returned with that being the plan. If they hadn't begun promoting that site (and self-promoting themselves?), I would've just bit my tongue but three strikes and you're out.

I'm not asking that anyone not listen or stop watching. Do what you want. But Sunny and I stopped listening after their second show on doctors when they refused to correct their earlier misinformation.

I have no idea what the host thinks of my profession. But I think journalism demands that you know your facts and, for whatever reason, the facts seem rather loose these days.

This is me, speaking for me. I just got off the phone with Mike and we are of the same mind. I haven't spoken to C.I. since I left on vacation. I would assume that C.I.'s not delinking. (As far as I know, no one's raised that issue with C.I. in a phone call or face to face. I do, however, know that every other community site has delinked except Kat who never linked to them to begin with.)

Betty called Rebecca yesterday and that's how I found out about the nonsense. Wally called Rebecca after I'd left today. But Mike filled me in that it's not a one time thing but a repeated thing in the "Daily Digest."

It's their right to promote whomever they want. I don't promote sites that are dismissive to women (I have self-respect, something the host may need to explore) so I can't in good faith link to that show anymore. I had intended to just ignore it. Mike and I would note two items that we'd discuss and that would be it. If Mike decided that the show was no longer worth noting, I would've kept the link.

But the decision was very clear to me when I learned of the "Daily Digest."

I don't know if they've lost the community. That's for each member to decide. But they have lost me on this. I was attempting to think on the vacation about whether or not I was taking the slam against my profession (implying that my profession is of less worth is slamming it) too personally? I never did sort that out and might not have had the issue of the promotion/self-promotion not arisen.

What I do know, because I had a message from Maria and I returned her call, there will be no more headlines at the site, the best of the week thing. Miguel was supposed to do them last week but said he wasn't interested due to coverage I missed so I won't comment on. Maria said she felt awful for turning C.I. down but that she was sick of the coverage. Finally, Francisco did a quick six as a result of a personal request from C.I.

Maria said she called to give C.I. the news and it wasn't a problem (that they're not doing it anymore). She wanted to check that with me and I said, my opinion, C.I. was personally disappointed but would understand since the issue that had them upset was their issue.

She asked me what I thought would happen? Before I left last week on vacation, there were already e-mails coming in from members saying drop the site as a result of their refusal to cover the Iraqi body count story. Some, like Rebecca, felt that the show was misinforming on Gaza. (Rebecca knows that issue. She took an interest in it years ago. I don't know the issue but if Rebecca's offering specifics, as she did during the coverage, you can be sure they're accurate.)
C.I. doesn't follow that issue as closely as other issues and explained that in the e-mail saying, "I might have asked the same questions she did. Or told it the way she did. I will agree that it was a mistake to have AIPAC on as a guest if you're not going to ask about the former members under investigation for spying for another government.") Kara and Brad were most vocal in the round-robin two weeks ago about how lousy the coverage of Gaza was as well. Kara and Brad are long term members. Their opinions do matter.

The show's now attempting some promotion/self-promotion relationship. That's their right. It's my right not to note them here and I won't.

Thank you to Sunny who did an amazing job. I'm sorry that this exploded when she was filling in. She was willing to attempt to address it but I told her not to bother. I assume there are some who remain dedicated to the show. If they're upset by what's going on community wise, they can write me. I didn't want Sunny getting nasty e-mails because she was filling in for me.

Her planned post that never came about was going to be on Mike and Wally. When I attend a conference and take another break, she's going to fill in again. (She said she had a lot of fun.) She intends to pick that topic up then.

Thank you to everyone for seeing how wonderful she is. We work together but she's also a friend. I know how nasty some of the e-mails can be and I'm happy to report none of those came in while Sunny was filling in.

I would love to try to grab a post tomorrow but I came back on Wednesday because of my Thursday night group. I'm exhausted and need to shower to get the 'plane feel' off my skin.