Friday, March 12, 2010

Oscars and a movie

Tonight I want to talk Oscars and to talk a movie. I'm caught up on Fresh Air (I'll catch Friday's show on Monday -- catch recapping it).

Oscars?

Mo'Nique's speech has become a nightmare. People are still talking about how she refused to thank poor Gabourey Sidibe. What a rude, rude person. And that Amy Goodman (freak) thanks Mo'Nique is a strong Black woman? Cracker, dish on your Rabbi and shut the hell up about my community. I am just like Marcia on this, Cracker Goodman needs to shut the hell up. She does not help the Black community, she does not speak for us.

She tries to. And if you pay attention, you grasp that she does that while refusing to book us on the show. She's always talking to some White man about something.

Put up or shut up, Goody.

I hate that woman. She's a deceitful piece of trash who stirs things up and then walks away with her I'm-White-pass while we're stuck with her mess.

Strong Black women do not put up with a man who cheats on them. Mo'Nique told Barbara Walters (Sunday night's pre-Oscar show) that she has an "open marriage." But it's only open for her husband, we quickly discovered thanks to Walters' follow up questions.

Mo'Nique's an embarrassment.

At the office, she has been ripped apart all week including two women who feel she shouldn't have mentioned the Lord in her acceptance speech after she brags about her open marriage. ("What church does she go to?" is the question being asked.)

Mo'Nique's just trashy. She's always been trashy.

That's reality.

Now movies.

A Woman's Face.

George Cukor directed this film. It stars Joan Crawford. It's a hokey storyline: Joan turns to crime because she's scarred. In the film, she's attempting to force a doctor to fix her face. If you ignore the storyline, you're left with an amazing performance by Joan Crawford and some of the most interesting camera shots. I've never seen a Cukor film like this and I've seen several of his films.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

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.

Yesterday
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: http://www.gp.org/speakers/speakers-foreign-policy.phpWASHINGTON, 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 March20.org (http://www.march20.org).Related 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' (http://washingtonpeacecenter.org/node/2756).The 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 (http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=267).Greens 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 (http://www.enduswars.org). 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 (http://www.lynnewilliams2010.org); 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 (http://dignity.ning.com/profiles/blogs/cynthia-mckinneys-letter-to).Green 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 http://www.gp.org202-319-7191, 866-41GREENGreen candidate database and campaign information: http://www.gp.org/elections.shtmlGreen Party News Center http://www.gp.org/newscenter.shtmlGreen Party Speakers Bureau http://www.gp.org/speakersGreen Party ballot access page http://www.gp.org/2008-electionsGreen Party Livestream Channel http://www.livestream.com/greenpartyusGreen Party International Committee http://www.gp.org/committees/intl

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
http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/516/ 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.


Lastly,
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

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fresh Air? I wish

Okay, I'm doing some things differently tonight. Before I get to public radio and Fresh Air, let me note everyone posting on the theme of American Dad.

And, let me note something else. No one remembered this when we were talking so I am not attempting to 'show anyone up' (I swear I'll still get an e-mail from some reader saying that) but I am married to Cedric. And he and Wally include everyone in their posts. We forgot to do that when we were talking tonight but I have remembered and that's because Cedric's my husband. So two more links:

Okay. I did not do Fresh Air's Tuesday broadcast so I'm off. To correct that, Vince Gilligan was on and, as with all of Terry's guests (Terry didn't do the interview, one of her unichs interviewed Vince for her) who are male and from TV, it's a lousy show he's pimping. Betty agrees and go read her tonight because she's taking on this nonsense. But he was a bad interview. He thought he was so cool: Meth dealer dad! To make ends meet! You so brave, White Boy, you say brave.

I'm so sick of that s**t and I'm so sick of Terry Gross.

Tonight she had on the disgusting Amy Ryan (which had Betty and me comparing notes) and Terry was saying things at the end such as "Since we all love The Wire and we all love The Office . . ."

Gross, shut the f**k up.

Truly, Terry.

The Wire was the wet dream of every White Boy (which includes the mannish Terry Gross) but for those of us of color? We didn't get to vote and a lot of us found that show, by a White man, to be highly, highly racist. Of course the Terry Gross-ettes thought it was realistic. A realistic portrayal, they'd insist, of the Black experience.

And like so many realistic portrayals it needed a White man to do it?

Not buying that s**t.

So, no, Terry, we don't all love those shows. Kiss my Black ass, Terry Gross.

That's A.

B?

Terry's mannish, her husband look femish, does she ever get any?

I have to ask that question because for no reason tonight, in the middle of interviewing Amy Ryan, Terry's bringing up sex again.

Now I'm not a prude and I talk sex with my friends (female and male). But I don't want to talk sex with the freakish serial killer/stalker and that's the vibe Terry gives off.

C. Amy loves The Wire because the story was the star and the White Man didn't turn people into stars. Amy, no one could turn you into star. You have character actress written all over you. You're rather plain looking at best and your talent doesn't warm a film audience. You're also pretty damn lazy.

Proof?

She's playing Judith Miller in the film Green Zone which opens tomorrow and is already garnering bad reviews because it's confusing (they take a strong non-fiction book and try to graft an action adventure on to it). She says it was better this way because now her character is an indictment of the entire press.

No. It's even more vague now.

Go back to bad TV where your homely face will no doubt allow you to play a crack addict and other 'complex' roles. Go Estelle Parsons yourself to death.



This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Thursday, March 11, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, counting ballots continues, breast cancer is on the rise in Iraq, the US Congress hears about problems veterans face as small business owners, and more.

This morning, US House Rep Stephanie Herseth Sandlin chaired the House Veterans Affairs' Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. The hearing revolved around the Center for Veterans Enterprise. CVA, the
VA explains, "is solely dedicated to assisting veterans in starting and building businesses."

In her opening remarks, Chair Herseth Sandlin explained, "As many of our witnesses will testify, small businesses are an essential component to a strong economy. This Subcommittee has held several hearings on the challenges faced by our nation's veterans seeking to start and develop a small business. We have also heard from many members of the National Guard and Reserve components who find it challenging to maintain their small businesses when called to active duty. I want to assure our panelists that this Subcommittee will continue to work to remove barriers that prevent veterans from accessing the services that may help them succeed in their small business venture."

Ranking Member John Boozman noted that Herseth Sandlin and he had "worked on creating additional tools for VA to meet and exceed the contracting goals for disabled veteran owned small business in the 109th Congress. The results of our efforts culminated in Sections 502 and 503 of Public Law 109-461. I believe it is fair to say the passage of that law was viewed very favorably by veteran small business owners. Unfortunately, we have a situation where VA appears to be dragging its feet in implementing one of the very important provisions of that law and that is establishing a data base of veteran and veteran-owned small businesses whose status as a veteran-owned small business has been verified by the VA. In other words, the only companies that should be viewed by someone searching the database are those which have been vetted by VA. Unfortunately, that is not the case. As you can see on the monitors -- we're really high tech today -- we've accessed the VA's vendor information pages database of veteran owned businesses. Although the law clearly limits the businesses listed in the database to those whose veteran-owned status has been validated by the VA, the monitor clearly shows businesses that have not been validated. VA staff notes have pointed out that the little reflow notes a veteran-owend business. I don't know about you, but it's hard to view that as satisfactory to separate the verified from the unverified. [If you
click here, the "(-)" -- red dash in parenthesis is what he's pointing to.] First of all, there's no legend that identifies the symbol as meaning the company has been verified. For example, in the screen shown here, seven of the ten businesses listed have not been verified."

Boozman noted that it is three years after the passage of the law and VA has not followed it. The database was supposed to allow others to utilize it to ensure support for veteran-owned small busineses and that, unless verified by VA (as the law mandates), no business should be listed. Boozman added, "VA has presented Congress with four budges since this became law and to my knowledge not any of those budgets requested any additional resources to comply with the law." He spoke of the millions that veterans have lost out on due to fraudlent businesses posing as veteran-owned and disabled veteran-owned when they weren't.

The first panel appearing before the Subcommittee was composed of National Veteran-Owned Business Association's Scott Denniston, Paralyzed Veterans of America's Richard Daley, Vietnam Veterans of America's Richard F. Weidman, the American Legion's Joseph C. Sharpe Jr. and American Veterans' Christina M. Roof. Roof noted, in her opening remarks, that their complaints appear to have been ignored, that they haven't been listened to at CVE.

Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: If CVE has become overwhelmed by the verification process, and I think others of you have talked about in terms of resources, training -- can you provide us with more specifics about what you think the requiste resources need to be, what type of contractor support does CVE need to be successful and maybe an overarching question should CVE -- should that office be formalized by statute? I think someone had testified to the importance of a separate line item in the budget but any -- a question for any of you.

Scott Dennison: I don't know that it needs to be necessarily set in statute, the office itself. I do believe that it needs a line item for the budget for the reasons that all of us on the panel have discussed. I think that the issue of resources -- in the beginning, when we started the verification process with CVE, we knew that the initial challenge was going to be to take care of that first bubble of applicants. At that time, I think we had 12,000 people in the database. And we always felt that we needed contractor support for that, to help with the administration of the applicants themselves to do some of the site visits that we had planned. And then the goal always was to be able to maintain that once we got over the initial hump with VA staff. And, as to the resources that were going to be necessary to do that. We didn't really have a firm handle on that because this was new territory to all of us but we did make some projections as to what they should be and, as I think I mentioned in my testimony, some of those resources were in fact approved about 18 months ago. To my knowledge, they haven't been forthcoming and I can't answer that.

Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: And they were approved by the Board of Directors of this --

Scott Dennison: The supply fund, right.

Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin; The supply fund, okay.

Richard Weidman: We believe that it should be enacted in the statute. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing formally and it should be a line item. And we would also suggest that while they may be in charge of verification that's not their primary role. If you view the service-disabled veteran program as a program, it needs to be built in and encouraged by VA VOC Rehab and perhaps some changes in that section of Title 38. There's no reason why we can't bring back the old loan fund that's still been on the books since 1994 for start up capital if, in fact, people have a solid business plan. I mean there's -- Mr. Buyers introduced legislation to do that and we strongly support that. And it can become a locus. I believe that Mr. Dennison is absolutely correct: You can't do business development in South Dakota from Washington, DC. But you darn sure can find out who is the people in South Dakota either at the small business development center, at the state economic development work with the County Executive Associations which does have an office in Washington, DC to find out who do they have in economic development that you can send service disabled and other veteran owned businesses too. That should be the primary purpose. In terms of contracting out, as I mentioned before, the veteran verification really only needs to be done once. You can double check if somebody's service connected but even that doens't go away. Since there's no minimum threshold to be declared a service-connected disabled vet, once you're service-connected, you're service-connected. It might go down to zero if your cancer goes into remission but you're still a service-connected disabled vet. So you only need to do that once and frankly you can do that through automated comparisons of that individual to the databases that VA already has or has access to at DoD through the interagency agreement. [. . . -- ]


Christina Roof: If I may I just want to, Rick, you said something that, it's really been bothering me and a lot of our members. The hinderance of the re-certification on an annual basis? We've all sat up here and said "We need tougher certification processes in place." And I -- we still all believe that but this is not the best way to go about it. We already have a backlog of nine to twelve months to get original certification. So when should -- If I was a service disabled veteran -- when should I reapply for my next year's certification? Three months after I apply for the first one? Just so I make sure there's not a gap there. And also, it's almost seems unfair that veterans aren't being provided the equal protections under the law and they're made to do this extra work. So I'm hoping that maybe the next panel can shed a little light on this for us. Of what the thought behind this recertification every year would do and how they plan on handling on it because I know our membership would really like to know. Thank you.

The other panel was the VA's Tim J. Foreman (with backup singers Iris Cooper, Philipa Anderson). For reference, the first panel raised the issue (especially Roof) of how the VA would allow a small business veteran owner to only list one of his/her businesses in the database. They did not feel this was fair or needed. The Chair raises the issue with Foreman.

Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: Thank you, Mr. Foreman. When did you formally take over this position.

Tim Foreman: About seven weeks ago.

Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: And you were with the Department of Defense before that?

Tim Foreman: That is correct, ma'am. I did retire from the Department of Defense but people approached me before I retired and said, "Are you interested?" I said, "I have a passion for this program. I know the vets. I have worked with them. I have many friends. I'm a veteran." So.

Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: So what are your initial thoughts about some of the testimony you heard on the first panel?

Tim Foreman: Well some of them I happen to believe are true.

Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: Do you agree that there may be an unreasonable limit on one business being listed?

Tim Foreman: I'm sorry?

Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: Do you agree with the general sentiment of the first panel that it's an unduly restrictive limit to only allow one business to be listed by a service connected disabled veteran.

Tim Foreman: You know, when I read that, before I ever talked to anybody, it was just by myself, and I went through that and I questioned right then and there because I own a business. I inherited a business and I have seven brothers -- none of them want to do any business with it, so they give it to me. I'm 500 miles away running a golf course. I am not there full time. But I hire, I fire, I do policy, I work with the advertising, I work with the lawyers --

Chair Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: You have effective control and ownership.

Tim Foreman: So I have effective control. and I'm not there. If you want me to be wearing an apron and flipping a burgers out in the eighteenth hole well that's a different issue. I think that's a little bit tight. So that's just a personal opinion. I tell you, I do have a great staff. I mean the energy there, the passion is there, the brains are there. What I think I need to do is bring some things together and I think I can make it happen. We've already started hiring 3 new people for the Center Veterans Enterprise, so that's happened. I brought in one person so far. We've got another one that might come in and I'mt rying to hire a third. So both sides of the house are growing. The limitation at this point is not the people, it's where we're going to put them.


In his testimony, he noted that he had spoken with the Inspector General about fraud that had been outlined but he had been asked not to speak of his testimony.
.
As
Ann noted last night, Deborah Amos was a guest on Fresh Air (NPR -- link has audio and text option) yesterday. Ann observed, "Big problem I had with Amos? The Shi'ites were backed by the US. They were put in charge. Sunnis making that claim were not suggesting anything outrageous and I have no idea why she'd want to pretend that they were." That's an important point. Amos blames the 'civil war' (ethnic cleansing to others) on the Sunnis. Why? She has no proof. But that's who she blames it on. She says that Sunnis "started the sectarian war. They felt that the Ameircans had sided with the Shiites when they came into the country." That's exactly what happened -- it's not what Sunnis say happened, it's what happened.

The Americans underscored the split by setting up centers for Iraqis to report to and they divided them by asking, "Are you Sunni or Shia?" Many Iraqis have spoken of that and have spoken of how, for them, it was the first time they remember the question being put to them by some authority type. The split was underlined and underscored by the US. Equally true, who got put in charge by the US?

Deborah knows the answer to that: ". . . the Shias are in the majority in Iraq. And the second thing is they had government institutions. They were the head of the interior ministry, the defense ministry, and so they had militias in government uniforms, in police uniforms, and they went after the Sunni community very seriously as did the militias that were not tied to the government." It is not speculatin that the US sided with the Shia, it is reality. This is a good time to note
Qais Nawwaf (CounterCurrents) refuting a column by Paul Craig Roberts:

Even if we were to assume Iraq's Muslims aren't united enough for Roberts' taste, he seems to have ignored the USA's critical divide-and-conquer role in Iraq. He doesn't appear aware of the USA's deployment of Shii and Kurdish troops to battle Sunni cities, such as Fallujah in November 2004. He ignores the USA's political and financial support of sectarian parties, politicians and clergymen.

A stronger section of the interview follows (Terry Gross is the host of Fresh Air):

GROSS: A lot of Iraqi exiles have gone to Syria. You point out in the book it's the only remaining Baathist regime in the world. So there's a lot of Sunni in the country. So Sunni exiles from Iraq have the potential of feeling comfortable there. But for the exiles in Syria, they're not allowed to work. Why aren't they allowed to work?

AMOS: They aren't allowed to work any place they go. This is not just a Syrian rule. It's in Jordan. It's in Lebanon. It's everyplace they go in the Middle East: Egypt, Turkey. Refugees really can't work in those communities because those communities are having their own problems with enough jobs for their own population, although there is plenty to do in the gray economy. Mostly, it's the kids who work. You can get a job putting charcoal on a narguila(ph) at a restaurant. You see little boys doing that in a lot of places. You can put you 14-year-old out to work in a factory. And many, many of the women have turned to what's called survival sex, and I spent plenty of time with Iraqi prostitutes, women who were not prostitutes when they left the country but turned to it because it was one way that you could support your family. And when you arrive as a single, female-headed household - and about one-quarter of the exiles in Damascus are in that category - and you have no skills and your family is not going to support you because you almost - most likely have come from a mixed marriage. You're a Sunni who'd been married to a Shiite, so your family is no longer going to support you and his family is not going to support you - you turn to survival sex.

GROSS: You interviewed one person in particular who admitted that she was into that. You knew other people who did but wouldn't necessarily admit it. And you went with this woman to a club where, basically, men find prostitutes. And I'd like you to describe, first of all, her physical transformation when she went to the club with you.

AMOS: Well, I had met her at her home. We had been - I had an introduction from a translator from Iraq. And the first time I saw her was at 11 o'clock in the morning, and she had on a chartreuse track suit, velour, runny makeup, her hair up in a ponytail, cracked fingernails, and, you know, she looked like she'd had a very hard night. She eventually invited me to come to her favorite nightclub, and we met at midnight, and I didn't recognize Umnor(ph). She looked fabulous. Her hair was as shiny as a horse pelt, tons of mascara, big ruby lips. Her fingernails were long and red and a very black, clingy pair of pants. I would have walked by her in the street.

Deborah Amos is a reporter for NPR, she's written a new book,
Eclipse of the Sunnis, and the first chapter is available online and the Fresh Air staff have paired some links to her previous reporting for NPR on Iraq with that. We noted Amos' comments on some Iraqi women and we'll stay with the topic of Iraqi women because the American Association for Cancer Research has issued a release noting that breast cancer rates in Iraq continue to move upwards and, of the group diagnosed with cancer, "Although 90.6 percent of women detected a lump on self-examination, only 32 percent sought medical advice within the first month. Because of this, 47 percent of them presented with advanced stage breast cancer, either stage III or IV cancer."

Turning to elections, Facebook. Really?
Maj Gen Anthony Cucolo shares at Facebook:


"It's a little after 2200 hours, we still have QRFs out across the battlespace with some tired Marne Soldiers making sure their Iraqi counterparts get those ballots to the security of the ballot warehouses (where more tired Marne Soldiers are with their Iraqi partners guarding the warehouses -- at the request of the Iraqi government)... It was a great day -- our most dangerous place -- Ninewa -- was declared by Al Jazeera midday today, "The safest place in Iraq to vote..."; the enemy threw everything they had at our Diyala Province -- 66 different events (IEDs, attacks, indirect fire)...and of 36 direct attacks, only 4 caused any damage or casualties...the Iraqis stepped up, kicked butt, and the citizens walked right thru it... Voter turnout numbers still coming in, but it looks like 60 - 70 percent overall...and remember, this is the first time they are voting for PEOPLE, individual candidates, and not some party or list... Democracy lives in the Middle East...I am proud of these people and our Soldiers. Rock of the Marne! Marne 6"

Accompanying his post is a photo of an Iraqi male -- are we suprised -- showing his ink-stained finger (indicated he's voted) while a woman is behind him and the photo cuts off her head -- are we surprised? The US military likes to throw a lot out there, don't they? The brass always hopes something sticks.
Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reports that, privately, they are admitting that Sunday was plagued by violence despite attempting to Operation Happy Talk the violence away, "But the military has since concluded that at least 30 of Sunday's attacks, which included bomb blasts, rocket attacks and small-arms fire, killed or wounded people. A U.S. official provided the data to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity because it is at odds with the public statements of senior military officials."


Ahmed Rasheed, Rania El Gamal, Aseel Kami, Waleed Ibrahim, Jim Loney and Ralph Boulton (Reuters) report ballots continue to be counted in Iraq. Marc Santora (New York Times) notes preliminary results which indicate that it is "an exceedingly close race." Which would normally indicate that it's too close to make calls. So we'll wait until more votes are counted (30% of the vote really shouldn't be released, that's beyond laughable). Santora notes the madcap cut-up Ahmed Chalabi is demanding candidates see the tallies before the public does. No, Chalabi doesn't even pretend to embrace democracy. 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).

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

Reuters notes a Baghdad roadside bombing injured two people and, dropping back to Wednesday for all that follows, 2 Iraqis were shot dead by US and Iraqi forces, a Mosul roadside bombing left two people injured and a police officer was injured in two Mosul roadside bombings.

Figure out the phrase, solve the puzzle and meet B___ C___ P____ Nathan Hodge and
his bad article at The Nation. Read it and feel informed if partial truths are what you want. If reality is what you want, grasp that either Hodge is lying to you or The Nation made him lie. Michele Flournoy? I personally know that little War Pusher. We've called her out repeatedly. He identifies her as one of two "former Clinton administration officials" at CNAS and then mentions, much later, that she's number three at the Pentagon. Apparently, she installed herself?

What the chicken s**t Baby C___ P____ can't or won't tell you is that Barack picked her for the position. They're still covering up for War Hawk Barry, the man they lied to install, at The Nation. And they have their own problems so you can't get an honest accounting of Michele and other's entry to Obama -- which started long before 2007. As usual, when there's a foul stench, look to Sarah Sewall and Samantha Power. Obama's installed Hawks and that's only a surprise if you're a Nation reader where Power's always been allowed to present as a voice of peace -- she's even allowed to lie and pretend she was against the Iraq War. The Nation refused to do articles on Barack's inner circle -- despite one attack on Hillary's people after another. Michele supported Barry's presidential campaign and was part of the 'inner sanctum' along with many, many other War Hawks. Not only did The Nation refuse to tell you about it in real time but today they write an article that makes it appear Michele Flournoy ('former Clinton official') either installed herself at the Pentagon or has held that position since the Clinton era. No, Barack gave her that position. But The Nation can't stop lying.

Baby C___ Pants wants to act like he's done something special when all he's done is write yet another cover up for a War Hawk. It's getting really damn old and, truth be told, if Katrina wasn't pissed that she and her father (and the Roosevelt Institution which they run like a private club) were shut out of the administration, Hodges article wouldn't even be running as weak as it is.

Liars like Tom-Tom Hayden want to scratch their heads and appear puzzled when they notice a War Hawk around Barack -- act like it's surprising. It's not surprising at all. When Barack brought War Hawk Samantha Power onto his Senate team in 2005, where he stood on the issues was immediately clear. (Poor Dumb Tom Hayden. Barack kept insisting -- sneering -- that he was't "one of those Tom Hayden Democrats" and even then stupid couldn't buy a clue.) Tom showed a tiny bit of bravery at his blog some time ago when he called out the War Hawk Factory that is the Carr Center at Harvard. In the many, many years since, he's not done a damn thing on the topic nor has The Nation magazine. If half-truths and evasions make you feel informed, pick a copy of The Nation. If reality's what you want, grasp that independent media does not serve you and
Ava's saying right now that she and I are addressing that at Third this Sunday, we'll do a piece on Pacifica, a walk-through of how "Peace" Radio ensures that no peace will ever come about. March 20th, many organizations, groups and individuals will be participating in the march for peace in DC, San Francisco and Los Angeles. For more, you can refer to Debra Sweet's "Why Protest on March 20?" (World Can't Wait):
A week from Saturday, protests are scheduled for Washington, DC; LA; San Francisco, and smaller cities around the country. I'll be in DC, helping to surround the White House as the ANSWER coalition notes on
March20.org: Anti-War Leaders: "Why I am Marching on March 20"
"Visible protest-marching to stop the crimes of our government-makes a difference because we show what we won't accept, and we learn what we're up against. These wars are not legitimate. People around the world must see that we don't support them, and know that to us, American lives are not more important than their own. Join World Can't Wait Saturday March 20 in protest..."
Read more
What about you?
► Publicize and find flyers for
your March 20 protests.
Volunteer for a "We Are Not Your Soldiers!" contingent in the Washington, DC march.

Staying with the US,
Senator John Kerry is the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Tuesday his office issued the following:

BOSTON -- Senator John Kerry today announced his support for the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (S. 3065).

The Military Readiness Enhancement Act contains three main provisions: it will repeal the law that prevents gay Americans from openly serving in the military, prohibit discrimination against current and prospective service members on the basis of sexual orientation, and promote the ability of college students who wish to serve our country to join Reserve Officer Training Corps units at universities that currently prevent the establishment of ROTC units on campus.

"We're overdue to wipe away the last stain of legal discrimination in our Armed Services," said Senator Kerry. "Gays and lesbians should not have to hide who they are to be able to serve their country. President Obama, Admiral Mullen, Secretary Gates, former Secretary Powell, and -- most importantly -- our troops are speaking out, and it's past time we listened."

The bill was introduced by Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Carl Levin (D-MI) and has the support of 22 additional Senators.



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
http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/516/ 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.


iraq
nprfresh airterry grossdeborah amos
reutersahmed rasheedrania+el+gamalaseel kamiwaleed ibrahimjim loneyralph boultonthe new york timesmarc santora
the washington posternesto londonoleila fadeldebra sweetthe world cant wait

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Iraq, Fresh Air, American Dad

Fresh Air tonight had Deborah Amos on as the guest. She discussed Iraqis and I know C.I.'s going to grab it tomorrow in the snapshot so I wanted to write about it briefly tonight.

Big problem I had with Amos? The Shi'ites were backed by the US. They were put in charge. Sunnis making that claim were not suggesting anything outrageous and I have no idea why she'd want to pretend that they were.

Second problem. Sunnis turning off al-Qaeda in Iraq did not result in the "Awakenings." That's just completely untrue. They were paid the equivalent of $300 -- US dollars. That's why the "Awakenings" came about -- for money. And it took a long, long time for it to take hold. They started pimping it in 2006 and it was not a success then despite the military's claims.

I will allow that Amos had to oversimplify because it's a complex issue (I'm referring to Iraq). I think she had many strong moments and her strongest was when she addressed the topic of "survival sex."

I'll leave the rest for C.I. to address tomorrow. And I'll grab Tuesday's show tomorrow.

American Dad is the theme post for tonight. I'm just not into it. It's not as funny this year. It's kind of flat and a lot of the jokes are misses. I also feel like it's trying too hard to be 'manly' and losing its interest in female characters (and female members of the audience).

Others will probably have epic essays on this but that's all I have to offer. I will add that the best animated show in my opinion is Archer on FX. If you've missed it, make a point to check that out.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


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 http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/. 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
press@ahrarparty.com
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:
http://www.pslweb.org/

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
http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/516/ 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.

iraq
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

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