Friday, June 22, 2012

7 men, 2 women

Today on Talk of the Nation (NPR), the guests were Jonathan McDowell, Joan Johnson-Freese, Ed Stone, Michael Turner, Terry Wohlers, Bre Pettis, Hod Lipson, Antony Wood and William Hedgcock.


Over at CBS News, Leigh Ann Caldwell reports:



A new CBS News/New York Times poll reveals that nearly seven in ten Americans want the Supreme Court to overturn either all or President Obama's health care law or strike down just the individual mandate.
In the poll released on Thursday, 41 percent of those polled think Mr. Obama's health care law should be overturned completely by the Supreme Court, with another 27 percent of respondents saying they want the court to keep the law but overturn the mandate. 


ObamaCare.  That's why I could never be a Democrat.

Good Lord.  They pull that crap all the time.  They tell you're they're going to give you universal health care -- Barack said that at the 2008 DNC convention, did you catch that speech?

Then they give you ObamaCare.

Being a Green -- a real one, not a poser -- means I don't spend my days running interference for the corporate Democratic Party by attacking the corporate Republican Party.

I know they're both full of crap.

And I know they won't do anything to help the American people.  They can't.  Institutionally, they're unable to because of the way it's structured and the way the money goes.

And they don't want to get money out of politics.  They pretend they do.  They hiss and boo on one side about the Supreme Court verdict on corporations and on the other side they hiss and boo about the big money from celebrities.

They're both whores for money, shaking their ass on the street corner.

And they're never going to do anything to make the country better.

Think about it.

In the last 100 years, you had FDR's New Deal (which I support) and LBJ's Great Society (which I support but he wasn't able to get all the way through).  That's it.  All those presidents.  And that's it.  That's all we the people got.

ObamaCare needs to be shut down.  I think it's hilarious to watch the liars who try to defend it and swear that it's wonderful.

It is wonderful -- if you're an insurance company.  Otherwise?  It's just garbage.


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


Friday, June 22, 2012. Chaos and violence continue as Iraq is slammed with bombings,  Moqtada's bloc doubts Nouri al-Maliki has a long range plan for Iraq, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta makes some important remarks, the VA's fiduciary system gets some attention, and more.
March 21st, Iraq War veteran Captain Ian Morrison called the military suicide hotline and
waited for over one hour to speak to someone before killing himself. Steve Vogel (Washington Post) reports his widow Rebecca Morrison joined with other surviving spouses to share their stories of loss at a VA and Defense Dept cofnerence in DC following the record number of military suicides so far this year (in 2012's first 155 days, 154 active-duty service members have taken their own lives. His wife Rebecca Morrison shares his story with Steve Vogel (Washington Post) who also quotes Secretary of the VA Eric Shinseki wondering, "Are we asking the right questions about sucides?" He notes that, in 2009, 'experts' were saying "mental illness was the leading cause of homelessness, and we have since learned that it is, more specifically, substance abuse."   Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta spoke on the issue (link is video).  His remarks on the concluding day of the conference included:

First of all, this is always critical when it comes to an operation like the Defense Department and to our military forces…leadership responsibility.  We are directing military leaders to take this issue head on.  Like almost every issue in our military, progress on suicide prevention depends on leadership. 
I have made that clear, that this issue is first and foremost a leadership responsibility. 
All those in command and leadership positions – particularly junior officers and NCOs who have day-to-day responsibility for troops – need to be sensitive, need to be aware, need to be open, to signs of stress in the ranks, and they need to be aggressive, aggressive, in encouraging those who serve under them to seek help if needed.  They also must set an example by seeking help themselves if necessary.
As part of their leadership responsibilities, junior officers and NCOs must foster the kind of cohesion and togetherness that is a fundamental part of our military culture and can do so much to improve mental health.  My wife was a nurse, worked on mental health care issues, and she said to me time and time again, this is a human issue, a human problem.  You've got to look in people's eyes, you've got to be sensitive to their emotions, you've got to be sensitive to the challenges that they're facing, you've got to be aware, you've got to have your eyes open, and the more we can see those problems, the more we can do to try to help people in need.  To that end, we have to make clear that we will not tolerate, we will not tolerate actions that belittle, that haze, that ostracize any individual, particularly those who have made the decision to seek professional help. 
Leaders throughout the Department must make it understood that seeking help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength and courage.  We've got to do all we can to remove the stigma that still too often surrounds mental health care issues.  Outreach efforts such as the Real Warriors Campaign, which work to increase awareness and the use of resources such as the Military and Veterans Crisis Lines, are also a very important part of these efforts. 
Secondly, we've got to do everything we can to improve the quality and access to health care.  This is the second pillar of the suicide prevention strategy – improving the quality of behavioral health care, expanding access to that care.
We now have more than 9,000 psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses, counselors working in military hospitals and in military clinics.  That number has increased more than 35 percent over the last three years.  Behavioral health experts are now being embedded into line units, and the Department has worked to place mental health providers in primary care clinics in order to facilitate access. 
Guardsmen and Reservists often do not have ready access to the same support network as the active duty force.  We've got to do what we can to increase initiatives like the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program that's working to address this kind of problem. 
And going forward, I want to make sure that all service members and their family members have the quality mental and behavioral health care that they need, the kind of care that must be delivered by the best health care professionals in the world.  Thanks to the efforts of so many of you in this audience, we are improving our ability to identify and treat mental health care conditions, and we are working to better equip our system to deal with the unique challenges that these conditions can present.  For example, I have been very concerned about reports of problems with the screening process for post-traumatic stress in the military disability evaluation system.  For that reason, I have directed a review of this process across all of the uniformed services.  This review will help ensure that we are delivering on our commitment to provide the best care for our service members.  We've got to do everything we can to make sure that the system itself is working to help soldiers, not to hide this issue, not to make the wrong judgments about this issue, but to face facts and deal with the problems upfront, and make sure that we provide the right diagnosis and that we follow up on that kind of diagnosis.    
Thirdly, we've got to elevate the whole issue of mental fitness.  A third pillar of suicide prevention is better equipping service members with training and coping skills that they need to avoid or bounce back from stress.  
To that end, all of the Services, all of the Services – under the leadership of General Dempsey and his Senior Enlisted Advisor, Sergeant Major Bryan Battaglia – are working to elevate mental fitness to the same level of importance, we've got to elevate mental fitness to the same level of importance that DoD has always placed on physical fitness. 
Separately, a whole of government effort that has been led by the President and Mrs. Obama to combat veterans' unemployment and boost hiring of military spouses is aimed at helping to reduce the financial stress faced by military families and veterans.  
Finally, fourthly, we've got to increase research in suicide prevention.  In partnership across government and with the private sector, the fourth pillar of our approach is to improve our understanding of suicide, to improve our understanding of related mental health care issues through better and more improved scientific research.  I'd like to note the leadership of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius on this issue and thank her for coming to address this conference earlier.

I think it's an important speech and hopes the press will pay attention to it.  (Click here to read it in full.)  I know Leon and I like Leon so he doesn't get a fair shake here.  This morning we called him out with regards to statements he made and I don't have a problem with that but he made some historic and important remarks (click here for video) last week and we were too busy to note it.   Anyone else would have gotten their deserved attention for those remarks but I always want to be sure that I'm fair with regards to him because I do like him and I've known him for years. And factor in all of that because what he said in the speech today needed to be said.  But no one in leadership has wanted to say it.  If words are followed up by the brass immediately below Panetta, this should be a historic shift regarding suicide and mental health issues in the military.  As with his remarks earlier this year on sexual assault within the military (click here for January 19th snapshot if you missed it), he said was needed and should have been said long before.  But he's the first Secretary of Defense to say these things.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK.
P.T.S.D. is an anxiety disorder that can occur after a traumatic event. Given that troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq see fallen comrades, experience combat, or survive horrific events, the likelihood of a veteran being diagnosed with P.T.S.D. is high. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, someone with P.T.S.D. is at least twice as likely to commit or attempt suicide, or experience substance abuse. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, are suffering from alcoholism and drug abuse, depression or mood disorders, according to a 2010 report by the Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans.
The Center for a New American Security discusses the stigma in the service associated with mental health treatment. In a study on the rising suicide rate in the military, the organization found that troops were two to four times more interested in receiving care than reported but were afraid of repercussions from their superiors. That same fear initially kept me from getting treatment. But I finally sought help. My superiors met me with neither resistance nor support. It felt like I lost their respect, that they forgot who I was and what I had done for the Marine Corps during my tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
P.T.S.D. is something that some in the military do not accept or understand. Unlike physical wounds, it is invisible, intangible. I once heard a senior Marine say P.T.S.D. was "fake." In a way this makes sense for a military institution that prides itself on toughness and resilience in the face of adversity. But the time has come to realize that all battlefield wounds must be healed.
And Senator Patty Murray, who is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee,  has been calling for answers as to how some service members and veterans were diagnosed with PTSD but then were given new diagnoses and suddenly they didn't have PTSD -- except most of them still did.  So who ordered the change and was someone trying to cut out needed treatment to save a few bucks?  As she gets more answer on what recently happened, she's now insisting that the scope be expanded to see who else was effected.  Wednesday her office issued the following:
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to request details on how the Department of Defense will conduct a major review of mental health diagnoses made since 2001. The review, which Secretary Panetta announced last week at a hearing with Senator Murray, comes after Murray has repeatedly pointed to inconsistencies in the Pentagon's mental health evaluation system. In Washington state, those inconsistencies have led to hundreds of service members having their proper diagnosis of PTSD restored after being accused of lying about their symptoms.
"The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs are losing the war against mental and behavioral health conditions," Murray wrote. "As you acknowledged, huge gaps remain in how both the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs approach, diagnose and deal with these cases. A review across each service is a necessary step forward in addressing concerns I have been raising about both the disability evaluation system and the diagnosis and treatment of behavioral health conditions."
In the letter Murray outlines four key issues the Pentagon must consider in proceeding with the review, including one about the timeline for this massive review. Murray also calls on Secretary Panetta to "clearly communicate the scope of the review as well as the impact on individual servicemembers and veterans."
The full text of Senator Murray's letter follows:
June 20, 2012
The Honorable Leon E. Panetta
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301
Dear Secretary Panetta:
As I stated during the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Defense FY 2013 Budget Request, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs are losing the war against mental and behavioral health conditions. The recent events at Madigan Army Medical Center, where hundreds of soldiers have had their proper diagnosis of PTSD restored after being told they were exaggerating their symptoms, lying, and being labeled malingers, demonstrate the weaknesses within the Department of Defense in properly evaluating and diagnosing behavioral health conditions.
As you acknowledged, huge gaps remain in how both the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs approach, diagnose and deal with these cases. I was pleased to see you share my belief that a review of behavioral health evaluations and diagnoses in support of the disability evaluation system needs to be a Department led effort. A review across each service is a necessary step forward in addressing concerns I have been raising about both the disability evaluation system and the diagnosis and treatment of behavioral health conditions. I applaud your commitment to undertake this comprehensive review, however, I have questions about how the Department will proceed.
· Has the Department developed or provided guidance to the services in order to accomplish this review? If so, I would request copies of any guidance that has been developed or issued.

· What is the timeline for execution of this review? When do you expect the other services to begin this review and when do you expect findings and recommendations from each of the services?

· Which senior leaders at the Department and each service will be responsible for conducting this review and the development and implementation of recommendations?

· How will the Army's current review be incorporated into this broader effort?
As the review begins, the Department of Defense must clearly communicate the scope of the review as well as the impact on individual servicemembers and veterans. Appropriate steps must also be taken to ensure the performance of this review does not adversely impact the timeliness of cases currently processing through the disability evaluation system.
Ensuring greater consistency in the evaluation and diagnosis of behavioral health conditions is not the only challenge currently confronting the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). As highlighted by a recent Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing I held on IDES, the number of men and women enrolled in this system continues to climb, the number of servicemembers cases meeting both of the Departments' timeliness goals is unacceptably low, and the amount of time it takes to provide benefits to a servicemember transitioning through the system has risen each year since inception. Both Departments must take immediate action to reverse these trends.
Following a recent discussion with Deputy Secretary Carter on these issues, I outlined a series of recommendations to improve the disability evaluation system. The letter to Deputy Secretary Carter dated June 6, 2012 outlining these recommendations is enclosed, and I urge you to act quickly to implement these solutions. I appreciate the opportunity, which you offered at the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, to discuss these issues with Secretary Shinseki and you in the near future, and I look forward to hearing your recommendations about how we can improve this system.
I appreciate your attention to this request and I remain committed to working with you to address these very serious issues.

Sincerely,
Patty Murray
Chairman

cc: The Honorable Carl Levin
The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki
Enclosure
###

Matt McAlvanah
Communications Director
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
202-224-2834 - press office
202--224-0228 - direct
That was released on Wednesday and we're staying on Wednesday for a moment.
Chair Bill Johnson: H.R. 3730, the Veterans Data Breach Timely Notification Act, was introduced by our Subcommittee's Ranking Member, Congressman Donnelly of Indianana. His bill would require the VA to notify Congress and directly affected individuals, within 10 business days or less, of a data breach that compromises sensitive personal information. This imporved transparency and responsiveness would be a boost to the VA's efforts at improving its information security image. As the system currently works today, the lapse of time between the VA knowing of a data breach and a veteran knowing his or her information has been compromised and may be floating around is entirely too long. In discussions with staff, Assistant Secretary Baker acknowledged that the current duration between the VA learning of a data breach and a veteran being notified that his or her personally identifiable information, or "PII," may have been compromised could be shortened, and this legislation is a good measure toward that end. I am proud to co-sponsor this bill. I urge my colleagues to consider adding their support and look forward to Ranking Member Donnelly's further remarks on it.
Wednesday the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on proposed legislation. (Yesterday the House Veterans Affairsl Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity and a section of it was covered in yesterday's snapshot.)  That was one of four important bills that were addressed.  Another important one was H.R.5948.  This is the fiduciary bill.  On February 9th, this same Subcommittee held a hearing on VA's fiduciary system.  We coverd aspects of that in that day's snapshot and I had no idea it was as big an issue as it was.  That snapshot resulted in a ton of e-mail then and since and we still get e-mails asking, "Has anyone mentioned fiduciary again?" I'm hardly the smartest person in the room so I'm not surprised that I had no clue on this one's importance.  But I think it's also true that this isn't necessarily an issue that you're going to have veterans showing up at hearings to talk about because if they have someone overseeing their benefits, there's usually a reason for that.  So this is a veteran's issue but it's one that's more likely to catch attention from veterans' families.  Chair Johnson did raise the issue while questioning the VA's Director of Pension and Fiduciary Service Dave McLenachen and we'll include some of that exchange.   
Chair Bill Johnson: I find it interesting that you used the term working constructively together on the fiduciary program because at our hearing on the VA's fidcuiary program in February, you said you intended to look at the statutes governing the fiduciary program and make recommendations that might improve it. Outside of the testimony that you've given today, four months later we haven't heard anything from you or your Dept. Currently, our bill addresses a number of issues we brought to your attention and yet you're against these. After the issues raised at the February hearing and the recent media coverage of fiduciary issues, I would think that you would have some ideas on how to improve the program. Can you provide for us improvements in the fiduciary program that you've made since our February hearing?
Dave McLenachen: Well sir, in addition to the -- the policy and procedures that we've issued even since the February hearing, as I mentioned, we've completed our proposed fiduciary recommendations. Now as we were working on those recommendations, we determined that there was different authority that we needed from Congress, we would certainly develop a legislative proposal for that purpose. But I have to say, having worked on those regulations and looking at the authority that we have, we believe we have the authority we need to correct the program. And all of the things that we do support in the bill are things that we have implemented ourselves, like I said, over the last seven months. I believe we are making real progress.
Chair Bill Johnson: You mentioned that you've completed the regs and that you have the authority to implement the program, but you didn't really answer my question. Can you describe some specific improvements that you've made in the fiduciary program since February?
Dave McLenachen: Yes, sir. One of the concerns of the Committee was the independence of the fiduciary. We had a policy in place that required a fiduciary to check with VA, as you mentioned the form. Well it wasn't just the form, we had a policy in place that required a fiduciary to check with VA for any expenditure over $1,000. I rescinded that policy. That was since the hearing. In addition to that, there's concern about transparency in the program. We have never provided veterans with copies of audited accounting by VA. I changed that policy. Every -- every fiduciary is instructed to provide a copy an audited true accounting by VA to the beneficiary. Criminal background checks. We have contracts in place to do a criminal background check on every fidicuiary we appoint. There's a number of other developments, sir, that I could go through with you but we are making progress in this program.
Chair Bill Johnson: That would have been great. We would have liked to have gotten that information before today. But that's good. Based on recent articles about nationwide problems in the fiduciary program, it seems that there's been little improvement other than the things that you mentioned today. Do you have any further response to the media reports of the numerous and horrific stories in those stories?
Dave McLenachen: Yes, sir. I disagree with the view that the fidcuariy program is plagued with fraud. I am aware of those articles and it is our position that any misuse of VA benefits is unacceptable. That's our position. And we work hard to prevent that type of misuse. That's the reason why we do over 30,000 accounting audits every single year. That's the reason why we do 70,000 or more field examinations every year. So we work hard to prevent misuse and we've been very successful. I testified in February that our misuse rate during Fiscal Year 2011 was less than one-half of one-percent. Looking at the articles, sir, I think, in reality, the articles are about a broader problem and that is general abuse of veterans. We looked at the cases that were mentioned. In the state of Texas, 6.5% of our beneficiary population in our program live in Texas. Yet the misuse rate in Texas is only 4.4% compared to all of the cases. So while the articles may have been reporting the broader problem of misuse, I don't think that we've been able to confirm that it points out a specific problem about the fiduciary program. And, that said, that doesn't mean we're going to ease up on misuse of benefits.
Chair Bill Johnson: The VA opposes the provision that would authorize the VA to limit the appointment of a fiduciary to management of VA funds. The VA contends that the purpose of this provision is unclear and probably unnecessary because the VA appoints fiduciaries only for the limited purpose of receiving VA benefits on behalf of a beneficiary. However, I have VA e-mails that direct a VA representative to take control of non-VA funds. Why the difference between your actions and your comments on the legislation?
Dave McLenachen: Mr. Chairman, I'd be interested to see -- to see the information that you have about that. Congress has authorized us to appoint fiduciaries for the purpose of VA benefit funds under management. That's what we have authority to do. Now there may be some disconnect about the accounting process. When we do an accounting, we need to see all income and expenses in accounts and sometimes in those accounts there is other income such as, for example, Social Security benefits.
Chair Bill Johnson: So you would find it inappropriate for a VA representative to take control of non-VA funds?
Dave McLenachen: Yes, sir. Without knowing more about the facts of the case, I would say, yes, I would.
Chair Bill Johnson: We will provide you with that information.
Dave McLenachen: Thank you.
Chair Bill Johnson: You discuss the provision concerning appeals and the removal of fiduciaries as limiting a beneficiary's ability to have his or her competency restored. Can you describe how a veteran currently has his or her competency restored and subsequently can get out of the fiduciary program?
Dave McLenachen: Yes, thanks for that question because this is an area that I've really been interested in addressing and we are doing that in our regulations, just to let you know, that's one thing that we are addressing. Currently, if an individual has been rated as being unable to manage their VA benefits. They can be taken out of the program by having a medical evidence such as a doctor's opinion that they can in fact, based on their disability or regardless of their disability, manage their own VA funds. In addition to that, there might -- if there was a legal process -- uh -- where a court held that a person was incompetent to manage their own affairs and a court concludes otherwise, that would be evidence considered.

Iraq has again been slammed with bombings today.  AP reports there were 2 roadside bombings, one after the other.   Kareem Raheem (Reusters) quotes police officer Mudhaffar Khalaf stating, 'Fruit and vegetables have been scattered everywhere.  Some children were wounded.  We have started to eacuate the injured people."  Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) quotes shoe store owner Mohammed Hussein al-Jizani stating he heard one blast, "Three minutes later there was a second explosion as people and policemen were rushing to the site of the first bomb.  The evil insurgents chose the best time to attack, because the market is usually busy on Fridays with young people gathering to sell and buy birds."  The Voice of Russia counts 14 dead and over one-hundred injured.  But that's just Baghdad.  If you visit the Iraqi press, you'll find Alsumaria is reporting a roadside bombing near Samarra Hospital which left three people injured, a Samarra suicide car bombing targeting a bus of pilgrims claimed the life of 1 of them and left nine more injured as well as one Iraqi soldier and two police officers, and the Sunni Endwoment in Samarra was also targeted with a bombing resulting in serious structural damage and injured civilians (plural -- so at least two, no actual number is given for the wounded) who were passing by.


Violence has been on the rise in Iraq for some time and this month has been particularly violent.
Haider Najm (Niqash) explained yesterday:


The past week has been a deadly one for Iraqis. A wave of coordinated attacks around the country targeted Shiite Muslim pilgrims and others observing a week of holy days. The results, according to Iraqi Body Count, an organization that analyses reports of deadly incidents in Iraq from around the world and from Iraq, saw 92 killed on the deadliest day, Wednesday June 16, and a further 121 killed over the following week. Many hundreds more were wounded with around 300 injured on Wednesday.
This was one of the deadliest weeks in Iraq following the withdrawal of US troops late last year and Iraqi Body Count estimates that 315 civilians had been killed up in Iraq up until June 19.


Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) adds, "Also, in a separate incident, gunmen opened fire at a police checkpoint near an outdoor market in a southwest Baghdad neighborhood leaving three police officers dead, police said."  Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) counts 23 dead in today's violence and 170 injured and among the dead: a girl, 4 years-old, who had been kidnapped but was found beheaded in Ishaqi.  Kidnappings appear to be on the rise in Iraq although it just may be that the reporting on them has increased.  As noted on Tuesday: " Into the continued violence of Iraq  where  Alsumaria reports that the son of a local council member was kidnapped in Ramadi today and that security forces quickly secured the area and began searching for clues.  While kidnappings have not been uncommon throughout the Iraq War, today's may end up getting attention due to the fact that is it one of two kidnappings. Al Rafidayn reports two young girls were kidnapped yesterday in Tikrit and that one is the daughter of a a member of Tikrit's security council."
In Iraq, the political crisis continues and Nouri al-Maliki and his sycophants insist he's incredibly popular.  Alusmaria reports Moqtada al-Sadr's response:  Saddam Hussein used to claim 100% of Iraqis stood behind him.  Meanwhile Al Sabaah reports the head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Ammar al-Hakim, is stating that he's putting together a meeting between Nouri and Moqtada.  Not stated is that all this work doesn't endear him to the elders of ISCI who, like Ammar's late father, do not care for Nouri al-Maliki.  Ammar might want to consider that when you only got your position because your father died, when you never earned it yourself, you might want to be careful about cozying up to your father's enemies because if the elders feel you're not honoring your father, they will work to remove you. 

Iraqiya's Hadi al-Dalemi is dismissive of al-Hakim's efforts,  Raman Brusk (AK News) reports,  noting that his alleged 'ideas' were proposed by Iraqiya earlier but were blown off.  He states further that "the time for this step [dialog] is over and the political blocs are now trying to take the step of interrogating [the PM] . . . which is more serious and through which the differences can be settled."   As Lara Jakes (AP) reported yesterday, Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi declared Nouri would be summoned before the Parliament shortly to answer questions and they are prepared to move towards a vote as to whether confidence remains in Nouri's ability to lead.  This is how Moqtada's explained it, Alsumaria notes.


Raman Brusk (AK News) reports that Nouri is attempting to derail the effort:


Yesterday Maliki called for the urgent session to discuss the violation and authorities of the executive and legislative bodies and the areas of overlap between the authorities of the two bodies.
The demand to convene an urgent session is only an effort "to gain more time and affect the efforts for withdrawing confidence from government" said Muayyad Tayyeb who leads the Kurdistan Blocs Coalition.
Dia al-Asadi is the parlimentary head of Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc and he tells UPI that, "Our main concern is that Maliki doesn't have a plan to administer the country.  And if he ahs, then we want to know about it.  If he hasn't, then there's a big problem because we are living in a country that needs comprehensive, fast and integrated development."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

6 men, 2 women

On Talk of the Nation (NPR) today, the guests were Laura  Sullivan, Walter Dickey, George Welborn, Malika Zouhali-Worrall, John Abdallah Wambere, Ted Robbins, Michael Marizco and Reginald Daniel.

Meanwhile dippy Violet Socks wants you to know that Anne-Marie Slaughter's bad article is wonderful it just has bad framing.  It means something to Violet because she's still nursing a grudge from years ago working in an office with a Jewish man -- or maybe just anyone Jewish?

All I know is that's it an awful article.

It's classist, elitist, condescending -- it's Betty Friedan with less charm.

Remember when the Black feminists confronted Betty Friedan about her nonsense?  And lesbians confronted Friedan as well?

Why is it that some of these White women (not all -- but ones like Violet Socks and Amanda Marcotte) must forever be reminded that women of color live in this world today.

When our reality is not reflected in an article, stop saying it's so true and it's universal and it's this and it's that.  It's probably classist, elitist and racist.

Anne-Marie's an idiot.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and read until the end because C.I. takes on Anne-Marie's nonsense in the last fourth of the snapshot.


Thursday, June 21, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, Jalal supposedly swearing he'll resign (and Iraqis yawn in response), the political crisis continues, an Iraqi is detained by French police, another Iraqi is refused by the European Union, in the US the Congress hears about Guard and Reserve members being fired from their civilian jobs, non-feminist Anne-Marie Slaughter takes a break from declaring war on foreign countries to declare war on feminism, and much more.
 
Alsumaria reports that KRG President Massoud Barzani states Nouri al-Maliki -- prime minister of Iraq and chief thug of the operation -- is sewing sedition in several ways and that his supporters are pushing a false rumor: That a Barzani, in exchange for Nouri's consent on an oil deal [the ExxonMobil deal], Barzani will bury his complaints and grievances over Nouri's pattern of rule.  Barzani calls the rumor a lie.
 
Many feel Nouri's charges against Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi are a lie as well.  To review, let's fall back to drop back to the April 30th snapshot:


The political crisis was already well in effect when December 2011 rolled around.  The press rarely gets that fact correct.  When December 2011 rolls around you see Iraqiya announce a  boycott of the council and the Parliament, that's in the December 16th snapshot and again in a December 17th entry .  Tareq al-Hashemi is a member of Iraqiya but he's not in the news at that point.  Later, we'll learn that Nouri -- just returned from DC where he met with Barack Obama -- has ordered tanks to surround the homes of high ranking members of Iraqiya.  December 18th is when al-Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq are pulled from a Baghdad flight to the KRG but then allowed to reboard the plane. December 19th is when the arrest warrant is issued for Tareq al-Hashemi by Nouri al-Maliki who claims the vice president is a 'terrorist.' .
And al-Hashemi has been in Turkey while a Baghdad court, controlled by Nouri, pretends to be offering an impartial trial.  This despite the Baghdad judges declared him guilty in February at their press conference and while one judge was stating that he had been threatened by al-Hashemi, before the trial even started, they declared al-Hashemi guilty.  That press conference demonstrated that al-Hashemi was correct, he would not get a fiar trial in the Baghdad courts (he had asked that the trial be moved to the KRG or to Kirkuk).  In May, the trial began.  His attorneys have walked out at least once in protest of the judges' behavior.  The judges have also refused to allow Vice President al-Hashemi to call President Jalal Talabani to the stand as a character witness. 
 
Tareq al-Hashemi remains Vice President.  That should mean the trial shouldn't even be taking place.  His term would need to have expired or he would need to resign or he would need to be voted out of office to stand trial.  As Vice President of Iraq, Tareq al-Hashemi is now in Saudi Arabi where, Alsumaria reports, he is conveying condolences over Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz's death.  That's a trip that Nouri couldn't make successfully.  Tariq al-Hashemi is Sunni Arab.  Nouri's not and Nouri's constant verbal attacks on Saudi Arabia -- as well as Saudi Arabia's snub of his Arab League Summit in March -- go to the fact that they don't trust him.  For good reason.  Last Friday,  Alsumaria reported he was publicly accusing Saudi Arabi and Qatar of trying to destroy Iraq and Syria.  President Jalal Talabani probably could have handled the trip and the diplomacy aspect but he's fled Iraq for Germany.
 
Commenting on al-Hashemi's trial, Press TV gloms on Alia Nsayef of White Iraqiya -- a splinter group that broke off from the larger Iraqiya and has carried water for Nouri repeatedly since doing so.  Nsayef insists to Press TV that the trial is fair.  We'll be kind and assume the next section contains an editing error which leads to confusion and appears to indicate Iraqiya's Hamed al-Mutlaq was vouching for the court.  He was doing no such thing.   Mohamad Ali Harissi (AFP) quotes al-Mutlaq stating, "All evidence during the past months indicate that the judiciary was not successful in many things, and the effect on it of politicisation is clear.  We need a separation of powers and to define responsibilities and stop the interference in the work of the judiciary, which is not up to the standard of the Iraqis, though Iraqis were one of the first people to adopt laws."
 
 
A large number of Iraqis took to Baghdad's Firdous Square this week to protest Nouri.  Dar Addustour (check out the photo of the turnout, this was a huge turnout) reports Moqtada al-Sadr supporters showed up demanding that the media be free, that people speak freely and that no one muzzle the voice of democracy.  Kitabat notes that Nouri's effort to shut down satellite chanel Baghdadi resulted in the large turnout and that the crowd chanted Moqtada's name.  Dar Addustour reports that Nouri attempted to limit -- if not halt -- the protests by butting off raods to the square, stationing security guards throughout and more.  Nouri dismissed the protest and their objections to him while insisting that his critics can say anything about him but he's gagged/prevented from speaking about them.  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani had no comment because he's fled to Germany.
 
He don't show much these days
It gets so f**king cold
I loved his secret places
But I can't go anymore
"You change like sugar cane"
Says my northern lad
I guess you go too far
When pianos try to be guitars
I feel the west in you
And I feel it falling apart too
-- "Northern Lad," written by Tori Amos, first appears on her From The Choirgirl Hotel
 
It hasn't been a good time for Northern Lad Jalal.  For awhile there, he could hang with Moqtada, Iraqiya's Ayad Allawi and KRG President Massoud Barzani.  Then he refused to follow the Constitution and forward a petition to Parliament.  Jalal decided he had a 'right' to verify signatures and verify meant something other than: Did you sign this?  "I signed it two weeks ago but I've changed my mind" meant Jalal struck your name and he then turned around and insisted that the petition didn't have enough signatures.  He was gripping any excuse he could as quickly became obvious.  And now he finds himself alone hence the trip to Germany.
 

Kitabat reported last week on Talabani's June 9th declaration that he wouldn't forward the signatures for a no-confidence vote, thereby ending that process for the Parliament to vote Nouri al-Maliki out as prime minister.  Of Jalal's change of heart, Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) noted, "Talabani has close ties to Iran, which has been using its leverage in Iraq to keep al-Maliki in place. Divisions among the prime minister's opponents may also be undercutting the no confidence push."  Dar Addustour also focused on the messages that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been sending Jalal Talabani.  And it wasn't just Iran putting the pressure on Jalal.  By mid-week,  Dar Addustor was reporting that eye witnesses claim Jalal was visited by a convoy of US officials (ten vehicles) who explained to him what he was going to do.  (Both the US White House and the Iranian government backed Nouri al-Maliki in 2010.)  While Jalal danced for his masters, Alsumaria reported Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi stated that he refused US Vice President Joe Biden's request that he meet with Nouri al-Maliki.  He states that Tony Blinken (Biden's National Security Advisor) made the request on Biden's behalf and urged that the opposition to Nouri back down.  Kitabat noted that the US publicly insists it is not biased towards either side of the debate but that it worked repeatedly to undercut the opposition and to save Nouri from a no-confidence vote.
 
 
His former allied pals didn't just roll over the way Jalal so often does.  Instead, Alsumaria reported they met-up in Erbil on June 10th and discussed how to mobilize Parliament to take on the issue of the power grab and Nouri's monopoly of power.  Moqtada al-Sadr would insist after the meeting that the process continues.  Later in the week,  Al Rafidayn reported that Massoud Barzani also declared that efforts continue to replace Nouri and to "repel the dictatorship" as the Iraqi people want to happen.
And then Alsumaria reported Iraqiya head Ayad Allawi explained that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani was the one reassuring everyone April 28th that a withdrawal of confidence could be done and Nouri al-Maliki easily replaced.  Allawi states that Talabani stated no Constitutional mechanism was required, Talabani merely had to withdraw confidence.  The next day Alsumaria reported that the Kurdistan Alliance has declared they do not support the Iraqi president traveling out of the country (he had planned a trip to the US for health issues caused by his gross obesity) and that the Kurdistan Alliance was calling on him to respect the no-confidence petition which has 176 signatures (and which they expect to gather more signatures -- the figure they give is 190).  Alliance MP Mahma Khalil  repeated that in April in Erbil (that would be the April 28th meet-up), Jalal stated he could replace Nouri with a no-confidence vote that would leave the rest of the elements of government in place.  Yes, the exact charge that Allawi had made the day before.  The next day it was time for Jalal to talk to Alsumaria and he insisted that Ayad Allawi was wrong (he avoided calling out or mentioning Mahma Khalil who'd made the same charges).
 
The waters were simmering and looked likely to boil.   Al Rafidayn noted so many were upset with Jalal that he's had to prepare a public letter for the PUK to distribute to its members.  But the big drama would wait for Saturday.  With less than 24 hours before a meet-up of Iraqiya's Allawi, KRG President Barzani and Moqtada al-Sadr, news emerged via Alsumaria that Jalal had resorted to a strongly worded letter  to Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi, Iraqiya head Ayad Allawi and KRG President Massoud Barazni in which he belittled Moqtada al-Sadr and in which he insisted he'd rather resign than change his opinion and forward the petition with 176 signatures to Parliament.  A strongly worded letter left him so weakened that he had to immediately flee Iraq and head to Germany.
 
From his hospital sick bed, Jalal's issued near daily thoughts and affirmations via the press.  Yesterday, he resorted to a spokesperson.  Dar Addustour reports that the spokesperson declared Jalal had surgery but would not disclose what type of surgery or even a general reason for the surgery.  There was time, however, to float a rumor that, as soon as he returned to Iraq, Jalal planned to announce his resignation as president.
 
If that was meant to lead to cries of "Heavens no!," poor Jalal, no one appears to care.
 
 
Today, AP reports that Speaker al-Nujaifi has declared Nouri must face the Parliament for questions. Alsumaria adds that Ayad Allawi declared today that there are committees forming for the questioning of Nouri before Parliament.  Fang Yang (Xinhua) reports on it and manages to do what the US press repeatedly refuses to do: Explain what the political crisis stems from: Nouri's failure to honor the Erbil Agreement.  Yang:
 
They also accused the prime minister of evading his commitments to implementing the terms of a power-sharing deal that he signed with rival political parties.
The deal, also known as the Arbil agreement, was signed in November 2010 in Kurdistan in northern Iraq. It paved the way for Maliki's fragile partnership government after Iraq's political rivals ended their differences that lasted eight months following the parliamentary elections in March 2010.
 
 
Alsumaria reports that the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Iraq Martin Kobler met today with al-Sistani.  What did Kobler speak to al-Sistani about?  The political crisis, the lack of basic public services, the stalled oil and gas law.  In another article, Alsumaria notes Kobler last visited al-Sistani November 21st of last year.  Meanwhile Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Brian Murphy (AP) report, "Tehran is calling in favors among its allied factions in Iraq and exerting its significant religious and commercial influence to try to block Mr. al-Maliki's opponents from getting a no-confidence motion."
One neighbor that Nouri gets along with currently is the government of Iran.  Yesterday, Reporters Without Borders noted the disappearance of a journalist:
 
Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about Mouloud Anfand, the editor of the magazine Kurd-Israel, who has been missing for the past 11 days in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region. According to his family and various media sources, he set off from Erbil on 9 June with aim of going to Sulaymaniyah and has not been seen since.
"We fear the worst and we urge the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government's authorities to do everything possible to find Mouloud Anfand," Reporters Without Borders said. "And we therefore call for an immediate investigation into this journalist's disappearance."
Armand, who is of Iranian origin, has been living in Iraqi Kurdistan for several years. Kurd-Israel is published by the Kurd-Israel Association, which promotes better relations between Israelis and Kurds and encourages Kurdish Jews who emigrated to Israel to return to Kurdistan.
 
 
Israel Nation News notes Israel Army Radio is reporting "he was abducted by Iranian intelligence."  Alsumaria notes Mouloud Armand's colleagues believe Iranian intelligence has abducted him.
 
It's doubtful the government out of Tehran would kidnap Iraqi Colonel Sadiq Mohammad Kazim, Nouri's military officer who oversaw the 2009 and 2011 assaults on Camp Ashraf.  But not everyone's as enamored of him as Nouri and Tehran.  AP reports the European Union refused to admit him this week when he was sent as part of a delgation.  Camp Ashraf contained approximately 3500 Iranian dissidents whose presence in Iraq dates back to the 1980s.  They were welcomed into the country back then.  Since Nouri was installed by the US as prime minister in 2006, there's been a non-stop effort to evict the residents from the country.  Currently the UN has relocated approximately 2,000 to Camp Liberty.  The remaining members have thus far refused to move because they want the US to conduct a search of Camp Ashraf while they're present.  Since the State Dept has -- for some idiotic reason -- made the status of the MEK (terrorist or not terrorist) dependent upon how this transfer goes and on whether they find weapons after Camp Ashraf is empty, it's not an unreasonable request.  They've been attacked by Nouri's forces.  They've been targeted.  They have good cause to fear and, if it's just paranoia on their part, no harm is done by the US doing a search prior to the departure of the last residents.  (Their fear is that, after they're gone, Nouri's goons will plant things in the camp and when the US State Dept finally gets off its ass -- remember a US federal court ordered the State Dept to review the classification two years ago -- all these things will have been planted in and around the camp.) 
 
Camp Liberty?  Nouri's put Sadeq Kazem in charge of it.  And now he gets to be in the news.  AFP reports that the French police hauled him in for questioning today as a result of a complaint filed by a resident of Camp Ashraf who states he or she was tortured and that he or she was tortured on the orders of Sadeq Kazem.  Alsumaria reports Nouri's spokesperson insists that Kazem will be released shortly and that the real abuse is the French and their detaining Kazem.  That's good, Nouri, start attacking the European states now.  You've got no friends among the Arab states and now it's time to clear the deck of Europe as well?
 
 
Today in the US, the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity held a hearing, chaired by US House Rep Marlin Stutzman, on proposed bills.  One of the bills discussed was the H.R. 3860 is the Help Veterans Return to Work Act.  US House Rep John Garamendi is the bill's sponsor and it has 21 co-sponsors. 
 
The second panel was composed of VFW's Ryan Gallucci, American Legion's Steve Gonzalez, Reserve Officers Association MG Andrew Davis and attorney John S. Odom.  Gonzalez spoke of the Legion supporting H.R. 3860 with one exception: they'd allow the undue hardship protections to apply only to small businesses.  Davis conveyed that the Reserve Officers Association supports the bill and feels that undue hardship isn't an issue because it "only applies to a small minority of reemployment claims.  This mainly applies to those service members who have disabilites that were incurred or aggravated during uniformed service, and after reasonable efforts by the employer to accoomodate the disability, is not qualified due to such disability to be employed in the position of employment."   Gallucci noted the VFW opposes the bill and fears it may result in less veterans and service members being hired by big companies.   Odom had no comments on it (his practice helps service members and veterans who have problems with banks and other lending institutions and his remarks focused on bills that covered those institutions).  Gallucci was asked to speak further to H.R. 3860 and we're going to note that part.
 
 
Chair Marlin Stutzman:  I've got two questions and the first one is for Mr. Gallucci.  You go into detail on the potential impact of H.R. 3860.  What would it have -- What kind of impact would it have on service members's abilities to be employed by large employers?
 
Ryan Gallucci: Absolutely, I'm glad you asked that question, Chairman.  The concern that we have really has to do with the veterans ability to get through the door.  When we look at the unemployment statistics for veterans -- even in the age group 18 to 24 -- it's our belief that we are not even talking about veterans who are asking for re-employment.  These are veterans who are looking for first-time employment. And what we saw in the report from the Center for a New American Security was that one of the top concerns for potential employers considering hiring a reserve-component service member or a veteran was the perpetual threat of a military obligation.  Now one of our big concerns beyond this -- beyond reserve-component service members is that within the civilian-military disconnect, there's a general misunderstanding of the difference between a reserve-component service member and a veteran.  Myself, I have been asked on job interviews when discussing my military service whether or not I would have to go back?  I left the military in 2007.  That is absolutely not a concern that I would be recalled to active duty.  So our concern is that when we're talking about these daunting unemployment figures for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans that we run the risk of making them even more unattractive to large employers if we do away with the due process through which an employer could demonstrate that there may have been a hardship, there may have been a reduction in force and it may be necessary to let a certain employee go.  Now what we do support is stronger enforcement of  USSERRA [Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994] policy.  This is where we see the major gap -- when state attorney generals are only prosecuting 8% of the USSERRA complaints that come through their offices, when we hear from Dept of Labor that they're running up against major defenses from the legal defenses of these major corporations, that's not necessarily because of the undue hardship clause.    That'll continue. They'll continue to fight for why they don't need to live up to their USSERRA obligations.  But we're concerned with this on the front-end would impact veterans in their ability to land a job to begin with.
 
 
We may come back to this hearing or grab a Wednesday hearing (also on proposed bills) in tomorrow's snapshot.  I'm not taking a position on the bill.  We're including that because I was surprised there was such a sharp break between the VFW and the other service organizations on the bill and because Galluci talked about how common the issue of the returning finding out that there jobs are not there.  This is a serious problem and it is illegal to fire someone who is called up for duty because they were called up.  We've noted this and we've noted how common it is and how little the press reports on it.  Probably because Guard and Reserve members don't take out ads in newspapers or on television but big corporations do.  That's certainly an easy explanation for the lack of coverage.  As Gallucci notes, it's a fairly widespread problem and you don't get that from the press. 
 
 
Iraq War Hawk Anne-Marie Slaughter joined the Barack Obama administration and left two years later.  She's written a stupid article at The Atlantic -- one that only a non-feminist would write.  She thinks she can present the personal as political.  The personal as political works on universal experiences.  We weren't all plotting war, Anne-Marie, cheering on the deaths of Iraqis and, later, Libyans.
 
Slaughter had problems with her teenage son.  She makes that part of the article.  How sad for her teenage son.  But maybe if Mommy hadn't been a blood thirsty War Hawk, he wouldn't have been a troubled child.  Sorry, Anne-Marie, but a feminist wouldn't have written that article.  A feminist would have known better.
 
Feminism lied and betrayed Slaughter because you can't have it all!!!!
 
Okay, even the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution don't promise that you can have it all.  I'm confused as to which 'feminist' Slaughter heard say, "You can have it all!"  I've never said that and I've never heard any other feminist say that.  I remember a bad commercial from the 70s for Enjoli perfume with a song that promised that while a woman shook her ass for the camera.  Is Slaughter so stupid she thought Enjoli was the voice of feminism?  It was a corporate product voiced by Madison Avenue.  Grow the hell up.
 
Second-wave feminism was about the politics of homework, it was about very real issues.  I'm not remembering the Ms. magazine cover story proclaiming, "Gals, it's all been solved! Now we get to have it all!"  Because that cover doesn't exist.  Gloria Steinem, Flo Kennedy, Maxine Hong Kingston, Robin Morgan, Madonna Thunder HawkBernice Johnson Reagon, Gloria AnzalduaJo Freeman, Dolores Huerta, May ChenMartha P. Cotera, Lorelei DeCora,  Toni Cade Bambara, and assorted other second-wavers never said, "You can have it all!" They didn't make that promise in word and they didn't make that promise in action.  Feminism wouldn't be an ongoing struggle for equality if we could have it all currently.  And I believe it was Marlo Thomas who rightly pointed out in those early second-wave days that she needed a wife.  The point she was making at that time was that with all she had to do, she could sure use someone to do all the things that married women were expected to do for their husbands at that time.  Marlo's entire point refutes Anne-Marie's lie that feminism promised her she could have it all.  I've never read a more stupid article.
 
And I'm going to go there.  Having outed your son as troubled child two years ago, I hope to hell that's not still true because I had to groan when I read this sentence, "I have not exactly left the ranks of full-time career woman; I teach a full course load; write regular print and online columns on foreign policy; give 40 to 50 speeches a year; appear regularly on TV and radio; and am working on a new academic book."  Again, Anne-Marie, I hope to hell that your child is still not troubled because clearly your plate is full.
 
Feminists, please note, don't go around writing things like "full-time career woman."  I've never once -- and I've known her for years -- heard Gloria Steinem identify herself as "a career woman."  That's the sort of phrase that's used in bad backlash TV programs (read Susan Faludi's still wonderful and still pertinent Backlash: The Undeclared War On American Women as well her equally brilliant but less well received by 'critics'  The Terror Dream.  The same is true of "high potential women" -- an  phrase that's meant to imply "professionals" (professional murderers?) like Anne-Marie but's really just another elitist phrase by a Queen Bee who wants to be bitchy and pretend she's so much better than the average woman.  (Of course she wants to pretend that, a Queen Bee doesn't value womanhood, that's why she wants to be told she 'thinks like a man' and other exception-to-the-rule phrases.)
 
 
Anne-Marie Slaughter wanted to have a 'buzz' article to gear up for a bad book and the best way to do that is to blame feminism.  The media loves to distort feminism and they love the writers that do that work for them.
 
I don't care that she offers some potential solutions, I don't give a damn.  First off, there's no 'solution' she's proposed that a feminst hasn't made before -- even though she's unable to credit them.  She can write a piece slamming feminism, please note, but she can't give credit to the women who've long been proposing what she's just stumbled upon.   I am so tired of these women who beat up on feminism to make a name for themselves.  I'm not talking about critical thinking, I'm not saying feminism if off-limits.  We especially need to be critiquing the second-wave now (for various reasons including what was achieved, what worked and also to allow those who were a part of the second-wave to have a chance to respond).  And I certainly don't believe that you can only critique in polite tones with qualifiers and sweetness. 
 
But Anne-Marie's not offering a critique -- harsh, kind or otherwise.  What she's done is attacked feminism and done so in a way that will have many readers who don't know any better (because the media always distorts feminism) nodding along.  There's no factual basis to her claim.  Feminism didn't -- and hasn't -- promised any one -- woman, man or child -- that they could have it all.  Feminism is an ongoing struggle for equality.
 
 
Is Anne-Marie brain dead or did she just forget 2008?  I will never forget 2008 which reminds us of just how right the late second-wave feminist Ellen Willis was about the sexism in so many of our 'brothers' on the left.  Hillary was attacked in the press and by left males (and some females) for the way she looked, for the way she laughed, for her age, for her marriage (remember when both Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Edwards attacked Hillary's marriage -- weren't those 'uplifiting' moments for us all).  She was called the most disgusting things.  The Progressive linked to a piece at The Weekly Standard -- a piece Matthew Rothschild enjoyed -- about the whole 'call her a c-word' group.  It took her being called a "bitch" on CNN  for FAIR to finally note the sexism of 2008 in their weekly radio show CounterSpin.  Ava and I covered this May 25, 2008 -- refer to that if you're late to the party on the one and only time the weekly half-hour media criticism show could find an example of sexism in campaign 2008.
 
 
Throughout the primaries, Hillary survived one sexist attack after another.  The media watchdog's weekly radio program CounterSpin ignored and ignored it.  It took all the complaints about their silence and Hillary being called a "bitch" by a commentator on CNN for FAIR to finally give us a brief second on their radio program where they noted sexism.  Again, what world has Anne-Marie been living in?
 
There are women -- including feminists -- who will try to put a sweet spin on it and emphasize Anne-Marie's suggestions.  I'm not playing that game.  You cannot take to the public square and outright lie about feminism and get away with it.  And "career woman," again, not a phrase feminists use.  Just as you'll never hear Jo Freeman call Bill Gates a "career man."  Anne-Marie writes like Queen Bee, squawks like a Queen Bee, I think she's a Queen Bee.  And, no, Queen Bee's are not feminists.  They are all about being the one of the few -- if not the sole -- woman in the room. 
 
Anne-Marie had jobs inside the home and outside the home.  She can thank feminism for that.  And feminism certainly is about choices.  And a feminist can choose to work solely inside the home or solely outside the home or to do both.  A feminist can raise a child or raise 50 kids or none at all.  A feminist can marry once or marry many men and many women or never marry at all.  These are choices that exist because feminism exists for and fought for the right of a woman to have self-deterimination in her own life.  Feminism gives women the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to leave a marriage (due to abuse or just because you're not happy) and so much more. 
 
Anne-Marie, the struggle for equality never ended because we're still not there.  I've been in a ton of marches for pro-choice, for equal pay for equal work, for what have you.  Never once did we march carrying a banner which read, "SUCCESS AT LAST!  STOP DEMANDING EQUALITY!  WE HAVE ACHIEVED IT!" 
 
 
the cook, he told me
children not exactly well
behaved.
I said, well, you can't have it all
and really, who cares
when the magic plum wine
is dancing on the paper walls?
-- "Japanese Restaurant," written by Laura Nyro, first appears on her Laura: Live at the Bottom Line
 
Laura Nyro passed away in the 90s.  She put that song out in 1989.  Laura grasped that "you can't have it all" but that was news to Anne-Marie today? 
 
Feminism didn't mislead Anne-Marie.
 
Anne-Marie lied to herself.  Her problem has nothing to do with feminism.  It doesn't even have to do with work, actually.  She's one of those people that's going to try to ride life like a wild stallion, break it in and it's going to do just what she says.
 
That's not life, that's a control freak's wet dream.  Life is messy, life is hard, life is fun, life is glorious.  It changes like the weather.  It is chaos, it is calm. You learn to take life for what it offers as opposed to trying to push it up a hill and you can be a lot happier.  Anne-Marie's biggest problem is her plan in her head didn't match what she now sees before her eyes.  That is life, get used to it.  She's such a patriarch, thinking she's going to dominate the wild nature of life, dominate nature itself.  What a sad, sad, wanna-be-man of a woman.
 
And remember, Anne-Marie, confessional writing is when you write about yourself.  And you can include many adults in your narrative.  But confessional writing really isn't tagging your now 16-year-old son as a troubled child with behavioral problems.  That's really not feminism either.  I don't know what it is.  Maybe an attempt to make yourself look noble?  It just makes you look like your so desperate for attention that you'll take the problems of a child and make them public for your own financial gain.  Again, that's not feminism.
 
 
afp

Blog Archive