Thursday, May 15, 2014

The New Dick Cheneys

Continuing my most recent post, the Bidens are now the Dick Cheneys.  Patrick Martin (WSWS) reports:

The younger son of Vice President Joseph Biden has taken the position of member of the board of directors and legal adviser to Burisma Holdings Ltd., the largest private natural gas production company in Ukraine. Hunter Biden joins another American who recently became a director of the firm, Devon Archer, a top fundraiser for Secretary of State John Kerry during Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid and the college roommate of Kerry’s stepson.
Burisma Holdings Ltd. is controlled by Nikolai Zlochevsky, a former top official in the government of President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted February 22 in a US-backed right-wing coup, spearheaded by fascist thugs of the Right Sector and the Svoboda (Freedom) party.

Zlochevsky was a member of parliament for Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. He was minister of environmental protection and then minister of ecology and natural resources under Yanukovych, both positions of value to the oil and gas industry. In April 2012, he was named deputy secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, a position he held until Yanukovych fled Kiev and the current regime seized power.

Adam Taylor (Washington Post) adds:

Around the world, there is a major perception that U.S. foreign policy is dictated by a thirst for oil and gas. For example, a 2002 Pew Research poll found that 75 percent of French respondents felt that the United States-led invasion of Iraq was a simple ruse to gain control of Iraqi oil. And that isn't just what the "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" think either: Establishment figures in the United States such as Sen. John McCain and former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan have both made statements that suggest they buy into it, too.
Such a perception is probably an oversimplification, but there is clearly some truth to the idea. And whether it is true or not, perceptions clearly matter when it comes to international relations.

Think about that when you read the announcement that Vice President Biden's son, Hunter Biden, has accepted a position on the board at Ukraine's largest private gas firm.

His father needs to tell him to drop it.  This doesn't look good.

It also defeats several aims and goals of the administration, it looks cheap and tacky and he's got a brother running for public office.

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee gears up to question VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, prior to that a new VA scandal breaks today, some Iraqi parliamentarians continue to pursue the war on Iraqi women and girls, we examine WMC's inability to cover this and their other problems (which are many), and much more.

Starting in the US with veterans issues, Senator Patty Murray's office issued the following today:

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES                                 CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Wednesday, May 14th, 2014                                                            (202) 224-2834
VETERANS: TOMORROW: Murray to Question Sec. Shinseki on VA Health Care, Disturbing Allegations
(Washington, D.C.)  – TOMMORROW, Thursday, May 15th, 2014, at 10:00 AM ET/ 7:00 AM PST, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) a senior member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, will attend a hearing to examine the State of VA Health Care with Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. At the hearing, Murray will question Secretary Shinseki on recent allegations that patients died while waiting for treatment at VA hospitals, and ask him what immediate changes will be made to finally restore long-overdue accountability, transparency, and confidence in the VA system. 
WHO:             U.S. Senator Patty Murray
WHAT:          Sen. Murray will attend Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on the State of VA Health Care
WHEN:          TODAY: Thursday, May 15th, 2014
Hearing begins at 10:00 AM ET/7:00 AM PST
WHERE:        106 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Meghan Roh
Press Secretary | New Media Director
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Mobile: (202) 365-1235
Office: (202) 224-2834

Two of the articles we're about to highlight on this issue try to put this in terms of Democrats and Republicans, they see that as how the hearing tomorrow will play out with Democrats supporting/rescuing Shinseki and Republicans being harsh.

First off, Ranking Member Richard Burr is always 'harsh.'  He demands accountability of Shinseki.  He did the same thing when Bully Boy Bush was in the White House.

Second, if Democrats do that, then they're creating problems for themselves in an election year.

If Democrats on the Comittee -- that includes Senator Murray -- and Socialist Bernie Sanders who Chairs the Committee and votes with the Democrats -- are seen as soft, they're hurting themselves in an election year.

Since January 2007, Democrats have controlled the Senate.

And if they're rescuing Shinseki tomorrow and not holding him accountable, it's going to be noticed and it's going to lead to a suspicion/charge/accusation that they're not holding Shinseki accountable right now because, while in power the entire time he has been VA Secretary, they haven't provided proper oversight so they're trying to mitigate the scandal.

I don't expect Patty Murray to go soft.  She's not done gone soft in the past with Shinseki or with the VA.

Chair Sanders?

A lot of veterans are complaining that he already went soft in an April 30th hearing (see the May 1st snapshot for that hearing).  I have countered that the topic of the hearing -- alternative treatments -- is his key issue as Chair and that he was focused on that.  But I could be wrong and I often am so I guess we'll find out tomorrow where he stands on this issue because we will be covering the hearing and if the Democrats on the Senate embarrass themselves by forgetting they're on that Committee to serve the veterans and not to provide cover for the VA, we'll be noting it.  And if that means we're calling out like we do with the ridiculous US House Rep Corrine Brown, then that's what it means.

And on Corrine and her wacky wigs, someone noted Women's Media Center and it's crappy charge that Fishbowl was sexist for asking if Corrine wore a wig.  Now I know the issue of wigs is sensitive for the elderly women of Women's Media Center.  When you're elderly and still try to pass yourself off as a sex kitten it can be a little embarrassing.  Equally true when you show up for hearings with your wig not on proper, people will talk.  Corrine has had it half way around her head in a hearing and not even noticed.  Equally true, when you hair changes colors and length daily, it's a pretty good tip off that it's a wig.  Equally true, cheap is cheap.  When I had chemo, I bought a wig expecting my hair to fall out.  I got lucky, it didn't.  But I wasn't going to put a cheap wig on my head.  Robert Redford wears a cheap rug.  I've noted that before too.  It's not sexist.  But it's great to know WMC wastes everyone's time -- including their own limited time  -- but can't say a word to defend the women of Iraq.  We will be coming back to that in the snapshot.

On the latest VA scandal, Lisa Mascaro (Los Angeles Times) reports:

Shinseki's leadership has come under fire after claims that up to 40 veterans' deaths have been linked to excessive wait times for service at a Phoenix VA facility, where officials may have kept separate record books to hide the problem.
Whistle-blowers in other states have raised similar concerns of long waits and other problems with VA care, including in Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

Charles S. Clark (National Journal) offers, "The tales of delays, 40 perhaps unnecessary deaths and alleged secret waiting lists in Phoenix -- announced in late April by Miller -- were first publicized in a CNN interview with Dr. Samuel Foote, now retired after 25 years in VA clinical work. Foote had also contacted the VA inspector general. The nonprofit Project on Government Oversight just before Shinseki’s Thursday appearance is joining with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America in a press conference on how to protect whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing at the VA." Rob Hunter (KTAR) notes, "Phoenix isn't the only place affected. Whistleblowers, following Phoenix VA Dr. Sam Foote's example, are coming forward in many other cities and states detailing health care problems and cover-ups. Clearly it's a nationwide problem. This isn't a secret. The care has been horrible for years and nothing is ever done to fix it. See, providing veterans health care is a social contract, an obligation."

Is US President Barack Obama taking the issue seriously?  Julie Pace (AP) reports that Barack has "temporarily assigned" his Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors "to oversee a review" of the VA.  Let's hope Rob Nabors does a better job than Jonathan Winer.  We'll come back to Winer tomorrow.

Mark Thompson has a very strong article on the issue for Time and, in it, he notes there were warning signs:

  • The VA’s “method of calculating the waiting times of new patients understates the actual waiting times,” the agency’s inspector general said in a 2007 report on outpatient visits. “Because of past problems associated with schedulers not entering the correct desired date when creating appointments, [the VA] uses the appointment creation date as the starting point for measuring the waiting times for new appointments.”
  • In 2012, the IG said that when it came to getting a mental-health appointment within the VA goal of 14 days, the agency claimed it met that target 95% of the time. But after drilling deeper into VA data, the IG concluded only 49% got their appointments within two weeks.
  • That same year, the IG reported that patients at a VA facility in Temple, Texas, had “prolonged wait times for GI [gastroenterology] care [that] lead to delays in diagnosis of colorectal and other cancers…staff indicated that appointments were routinely made incorrectly by using the next available appointment date instead of the patient’s desired date.”
  • Not surprisingly, the longer the wait for care, the worse the result. “Long-term outcomes, such as death and preventable hospitalizations, are more common for veterans who seek care at facilities that have longer wait times than for veterans at facilities that have shorter wait times,” the federal Institute of Medicine said last year.

I hope the two reports (we link to them above but don't quote from that part of it) are wrong about Thursday's hearing splitting into Democrats and Republicans.  The two reports are wrong to treat the current scandal as isolated when, in fact, it's part of a broad vista of never-ending VA scandals.

Aaron Glantz (Center for Investigative Reporting) reports today:

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has systematically failed to follow its own rules governing the prescription of addictive narcotic painkillers, contributing to overdoses and deaths, according to 68-page report released today by the agency’s inspector general.
The audit comes a day before Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki is to testify before a Senate committee to answer allegations that dozens of veterans in Phoenix died waiting for care.

“They don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t care,” said Steven Harvey, a 57-year-old Army veteran who was sent home with morphine even after he fell into a coma when he was given 10 times the recommended dose of the painkiller fentanyl during a routine procedure to remove a kidney stone at a Los Angeles VA in August 2012.

Every time you take a breath it seems, a new VA scandal emerges.

And if it's not a corruption scandal -- where people lie about wait times to get bonuses -- then it's incompetence scandal.  Eric Shinseki has shown no leadership.  Jordain Carney and Stacy Kaper offer "Obama Has Ever Reason To Fix The VA.  Why Hasn't He?" (National Journal) and we'll note this from the article:

The backlog list was cut to more than 300,000 as of May 10. If the VA maintains the current average monthly rate, the backlog could be cut by mid-2015. That would meet Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki's 2010 pledge to eliminate the backlog by the end of next year.
Critics, however, say the shrinking backlog is something of a farce, the result of an administrative maneuver that has not delivered results for the veterans in the backlog, but has instead moved them into a different waiting line. When taking into consideration all VA claims, including those were the veterans died waiting for a decision, those stuck in appeals, and award adjustments—often adding a spouse or child—the VA's inventory of claims is much higher still hovering just under a whopping 1.3 million. (By comparison when Obama took office in January 2009, the inventory of claims was about half that amount: 631,000.)
As of May 10, the VA's number of appealed claims stood at 274,660, almost 100,000 more than the 174,891 appeals in late 2009. Between 2012 and 2013 the number of claims that ended up in appeal grew 5 percent, and between the end of 2013 and March 31 the number of appeals kept rising 2.7 percent. Once in the appeals process, veterans can wait in limbo for an average of two and a half years.

Critics contend that list is growing because, as the agency endeavored to quickly work through the claims, it has made more errors.

We've covered that issue extensively here.  We've done that because I called out when the VA presented to Congress as the answer.  It's not an answer, it's a shell game.  We called it that then, we call it that now.  It's taken nearly two years but at least the press acknowledges the possibility that this is what's happening.

Let's move to the topic of Iraq.  At the conservative Commentary, Michael Rubin takes issue with the International Crisis Group's report at the end of April, "Iraq: Falluja’s Faustian Bargain."  We noted the report when it was released but only briefly.  Everything that wasn't elections (Iraq held parliamentary elections April 30th) had to be brief or put on hold.  I meant to get back to that report and two others and haven't thus far.  I'm not a fan of the ICG and, in better times, we didn't even note them.

Better times?  That's when the whole left was concerned about Iraq.  Of course, now I realize they really weren't, the bulk was just concerned with electing Democrats and they pretended to care about Iraq so they could tap into the outrage and use it as motivation tool.

So in late 2005, ICG got an e-mail from me explaining just what I thought of them and asking them to stop sending links to their Iraq reports, talking points, et al to the public e-mail account for this site.

Now days, they, RAND, Brookings and other sites we would never note can get links because we don't have a lot to work with since so many walked away from Iraq.  We also now link to conservatives -- like Rubin -- on Iraq (a) to note their arguments and (b) with the hope that the left may grow the hell up and realize their silence on Iraq is handing the topic to the right-wing.

Rubin writes:

This is a pretty problematic recasting of a narrative of what happened. While I fault Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for letting electoral calculations color the timing of military action against al-Qaeda in al-Anbar (and while I find reason to criticize Maliki for other aspects of his administration as well), it is inane to suggest that the protest camps did not include al-Qaeda elements. Indeed, there is quite a lot of video evidence to suggest they did. The ICG, for its part, confuses chronology when they declare, “The crisis has rescued Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s chances in the parliamentary elections, which, until ISIL entered the picture, appeared grim.” As the Syrian conflict has metathesized, ISIL had been a growing threat in Iraq, responsible for dozens of attacks that killed hundreds of Iraqi civilians. And while Maliki’s third term was and is far from certain, the idea that his chances were ever “grim” is simply wrong. Elections should determine destiny. Alas, rather than simply let elections determine al-Anbar’s fate, the ICG appears to castigate the many Sunnis from local parties who have joined in coalition against the terrorists in al-Anbar. Encouraging cross-sectarian (and cross-ethnic) political groupings is something the ICG should encourage. Shame on them and anyone else who does not do so.

Actually, the ICG is correct in everything Rubin says they're wrong in above.  Nouri did use the attack on Anbar for "electoral calculations" -- even Rubin agrees with that.  But he then insists that using the attack on Anbar was not about 'rescuing' Nouri's "chances in the parliamentary elections."  Then why did he use it for electoral calculations -- which, again, Rubin admits happened.

Does Michael Rubin not grasp his inconsistency?

He's right that a third term is far from certain but it was a lot less certain in the closing months of 2013.

He's failed to prove that Syria is responsible for attacks.

In fact, basic logic would be that Syria is a drain on terrorism in Iraq.  That if it's as out of control as Rubin agrees it is in Syria, then that's pulling actors who could be blowing things up in Iraq.

Michael's claim of "video evidence" is laughable.

It'll convince some uninformed idiots, I'm sure -- his link to his earlier piece.

But unlike Commentary, we covered the Iraqi protests here every Friday while they took place.

Did people dubbed al Qaeda join in?

Yes, at various points they did.  One of the most successful aspects of the protests was blocking the main highway.  And when Nouri threatened the lives of those protesters, men with dark scarves over their lower face came to the protests -- which wasn't a surprise because a Sunni genocide was taking place and the fighters had long said if Nouri crossed X-line with the protesters, they would be out with their guns.

And that is what happened.

And the protests weren't just in Anbar.  How stupid does Michael think we all are?  They were in Baghdad, they were in Kirkuk Province, they were in Nineveh Province and elsewhere.

Rubin doesn't know what he's talking about.

This is why I address only a certain number of topics and am never embarrassed to say, "I don't know."

Rubin is like Phyllis Bennis.  By 2006, Phyl lost in Iraq.  So when it would become a hot topic, she'd try to 'brush' up before her media appearence and she'd get everything wrong.  For example, months after Nancy A. Youssef had published (on the last day of Knight-Ridder) that the US military was keeping a count of the Iraqi dead, there was Phyllis on the Pacifica airwaves insisting that the US probably was keeping a body count even though they said they weren't.  Months after Youssef had reported this, Phyllis was still unaware.  She's so bad these days that she doesn't even bother to back herself up, offering one commentary that contradicts another.

Rubin didn't care about the protests.

He's still not interested in the violence Nouri's thugs carried out -- in the murders they carried out.  He never bothered to address the protesters demands -- I'm talking about Michael Rubin never bothered.  He feels the need to whine a little like the useless voice he is and it's all for naught.

A Republican Senator asked me last month why the conservative media -- National Review, Commentary, etc. -- doesn't hit on The Erbil Agreement?

I said I was no expert on conservative media but if I had to guess it would be because they're uninformed and stupid -- like the bulk of the media in the middle, on the left, wherever.

Again note this:

Alas, rather than simply let elections determine al-Anbar’s fate, the ICG appears to castigate the many Sunnis from local parties who have joined in coalition against the terrorists in al-Anbar. Encouraging cross-sectarian (and cross-ethnic) political groupings is something the ICG should encourage. 

Not all areas of Anbar were allowed to vote and we should note that.

But why's he slamming ICG?  He doesn't think they respect elections.  But the ICG didn't broker The Erbil Agreement.  The US government did and did so, in fall 2010, to give a Nouri a second term after he'd lost it at the ballot box in the March 2010 elections.  And a cross-sectarian grouping needs to be encouraged?

That's what was put into The Erbil Agreement.  And Nouri, after he was named prime minister, refused to honor the contract.

So why isn't Michael Rubin writing about that?

Again, my best guess is because uninformed.

Not unlike Mitt Romney who decided to campaign on a falsehood of Barack withdrawing from Iraq.

What an idiot.

Not only did Barack send special-ops back into Iraq in the fall of 2012, but Tim Arango reported on it for the New York Times mere days before the first debate between Barack and Mitt.

Not only was it not factual, the argument Mitt wanted to make, it was also just plain stupid.

If Barack had done a withdrawal from Iraq?

He would have gotten my vote in 2012.  He really would have.  (I voted in the 2012 election, I did not vote for the office of president -- no one earned my vote in that race.)

And portraying Barack as having pulled out of Iraq was not going to cost him voters.  Even Republicans were against the war at the end.  Over 60% of Americans wanted the Iraq War to end.  In fact, they wanted it so badly that some lie to themselves today and pretend that it did end.

It was stupid.

It's like accusing Barack of having given candy to children -- who's going to be mad about that (other than parents of diabetic children)?

The criticism that need to be leveled at Barack on Iraq included (a) you say you withdrew troops so why don't you get honest in this debate and tell the American people that you sent a brigade of special-ops back into Iraq mere weeks ago?  Why don't you tell the American people tonight what Tim Arango reported days ago, "At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence"?

Now it's not a surprise Barack did that.  In sotto voice, he said he would.  He said it to the New York Times while he was running for president.  But the New York Times always protects Barack so they didn't print in their story.  You had to read the transcript of the interview which they posted to discover that Barack was saying if violence increased after 'combat forces' left, he'd send US troops back in.

But Mitt should have hit him with that and then hit him with (b) your administration has mismanaged Iraq as evidenced by the increased violence, as evidenced by the fact you can't keep an ambassador to Iraq for more than a year, that you go through ambassadors like Murphy Brown went through assistants, and that you refused to back the Iraqi people when they gave the win in the 2010 elections to Ayad Allawi.  Not only that, but you promised Allawi things.  You got on the phone with him in November 2010 to talk him into sending Iraqiya back into Parliament (they walked when Nouri refused to implement The Erbil Agreement on the spot -- he insisted he needed time, time never came for Nouri and he never honored it).

That was how Mitt should have addressed Iraq: "You said troops out and then you sent them back in while you played musical chairs with the post of Ambassador to Iraq and refused to fight for The Erbil Agreement that you swore had the full backing of the US government."

Mitt's an idiot.

So is Michael Rubin unless he just wants to talk to himself.

On the left, we've gotten really good about doing that.  That's why we make jokes about the dead in Benghazi (Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Ambassador Chris Stevens -- and, no, I don't make jokes about them) because we only talk to ourselves and we think it's cute and funny.

It's disgusting and it makes us look disgusting.

But clearly Michael Rubin on the right is only interested in talking to the right so he will invent this fantasy of Iraq failing because Barack pulled all troops out and walked away.

I wish that had happened -- if it had, again, Barack would have gotten my vote in 2012.

We make come back to Rubin's article because it's dishonest on another point.  For now, we need to move on to Iraqi girls and women.

April 16th, on KPFA's Voices of the Middle East and North Africa, the controversial bill which passed Iraq's Cabinet of Ministers and that chief thug and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki  has forwarded to the Parliament was discussed. 

Shahram Aghamir: Last month the Iraqi Cabinet approved a new personal status legislation called the Ja'fari law which is named after the sixth Shi'ite Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq who established a school of jurisprudence in Medina in the 8th century.  This legislation has created an uproar among Iraqi women's rights and the civil rights community.  If approved, the Ja'fari law will abolish the current Personal Status Law 188 which is considered one of the most progressive in the Arab world.  The new law will roll back the rights of women in marriage, divorce and child custody as well as inheritance.  It will lower the age of marriage for girls from 18 to 9 and boys to 15.  Who has initially proposed the law and what are the implications of this law for Iraqi women?  Malihe spoke with Iraqi women's rights activist Basma al-Khateeb who volunteers with Iraq's 1st Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Shadow Report Coalition as an expert and a trainer.

Basma al-Khateeb:  Actually, the Minister of Justice by the end of October declared that they have a committee -- expert committee -- and they have finished drafting the Ja'fari law.  It consists of 256 articles and he's going to present it to the Cabinet by the next session.  He says that they've been working on for the past two years.

Malihe Razazan:  Back in 2004, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim who died in 2009, he was in exile in Iran for 20 years before the invasion, and after the occupation of Iraq, he worked very closely with the Americans.  His party worked to pass Decision 137 issue by interim governing council to abolish the Personal Status Law Number 188 which was passed  in 1959 --

Basma al-Kahteeb:  That was actually the first thing that he -- that he issued, this Resolution 137 -- as if Iraq had no problems.  This was the only rule that he came up with.  And we had demonstrations and we managed to defeat that.  They withdrew it.

Malihe Razazan:   Yeah, because there was a huge backlash against it.

Basma al-Khateeb:  But this is historical.  His father, Muhsin al-Hakim, back in 1959, when the civil Personal Status Law was issued, the religious institutes led by Muhsin al-Hakim back then, his father, refused this Personal Status Law because it will take all the authority from the cleric.

Malihe Razazan:  In matters regarding women's divorce, child custody, inheritance it will be left to civil courts.

Basma al-Khateeb:  Yes.  And this is how our judicial system and lawyers and colleges and scholars all -- I mean, we're talking about sixty years that all our institutions -- judicial, court, everything -- is built on it.  This -- going back just to abolish all of this -- this law --the formal law, the Personal Status Law that's still active now. It doesn't go to clerics, only the judge rules.  This current law puts another council that is in control of judges of courts.  It just turns everything into chaos.  Every lawyer has to study all these religious and cleric institution and legal issues.  It doesn't mean that we have one court.  It means that we have more than 20 courts because each Ayatollah is different in examination with the other.  Havilah?  Even though they're Sh'itie, they're different from the Sadr group, they're different from Sistani interpretation which means multi courts.

Women's Media Center couldn't be bothered with that.  They could fret over Corrine Brown's wig.  She puts it on every day -- puts one of them on every day -- I don't think Corrine's suffering.  Nor is it sexism to note that a woman wears an obvious wig or a man wears an obvious toupee.  Those are what's known as "observations." 
At the WMC blog, they haven't blogged since January. They managed four features in April and not one was on the bill above.
April 22nd, they 'joined' up with F-Bomb which also hasn't written about Iraqi girls and women but has managed to urge high school girls and women to reject the trappings of prom -- make up, blah, blah, blah.  Can you find a real issue?  Not really, they also took on (and I hope Max K is a woman or the article's even more insulting) women who play "geek girl" but really, according to the article, don't know about video games or whatever, they're just faking!  That is a sexist article and it's even more sexist if Max K turns out to be a man.
Well wait, they have, WMC, their Name It Change It nonsense, right?  Oh, wait.  They haven't done a damn thing with that since last year.
We keep getting e-mails about Robin Morgan's radio show.  And I keep telling Shirley and Martha, "It's still airing.  Ask them why they think it's not."  And the reply is that it's at the website.  I didn't have time until today -- and I'm also not Robin Morgan's assistant or WMC's p.r. person -- but while looking to see if our Ladies Columbus have yet to discover Iraq, I saw this:

Women's Media Center Live with Robin Morgan RSS

October 5, 2013 | Pre-Women’s Media Center Awards Gala show. Robin on World Bank ranking of women’s status. Awardee guests: Christiane Amanpour on her greatest pride and greatest regret; Maria Teresa Kumar (MSNBC & Voto Latino); Sheila Johnson (producer of “The Butler”); and Carol Jenkins and Pat Mitchell. More »
That's on the main page.
Are you that incompetent Gloria, Jane, Robin, et al?
How stupid are you?  It's May and your main page promotes a radio show of Robin's from October.
No wonder people think the radio show is no more.  It's May and the main page promotes an October show after Robin shut the program down for a month in August.  You need to promote the show.  You also need to get a substitute host for Robin when she takes her vacation this year so that new episodes can be broadcast because repeats aren't going to cut it. I would suggest Jemu Greene as the substitute host because she can do the job, she's lively and smart, perfect for radio and didn't she prove that on WBAI?
Go to this WMC subpage and you'll see Robin's show continues -- in fact Jimmy Carter's been one of her guests this month.
Women's Media Center?
Jane and Gloria, you're making Greenstone Media look like a success.
Get your acts together, it's embarrassing.
And, yes, pointing out all the above does mean Iraqi women and girls just got a lot more attention than they normally would.  And they need it.  Yesterday, Alice Fordham (All Things Considered, NPR -- link is audio and text) reported the bill is still alive.  Excerpt.

BABAKHAN: (Through translator) There is regression in terms of women's personal freedom, in terms of women's rights.

FORDHAM: The law she's talking about was proposed by the justice minister and passed by the cabinet. If voted by parliament into law, it would be voluntary - people can choose to use its rules to set marriage contracts or write wills. But the lawyer says it could be forced on young girls and boys. And, it would only apply to Iraq's Shiite Muslims, not its Sunnis or other minorities

BABAKHAN: (Through translator) This, of course, nurtures sectarianism and divisions in society.

FORDHAM: Many analysts say that the law is unlikely to be passed, but that it is a political pitch to shore up support with conservative Shiites. In Iraq's hinterlands, tribal traditions sometimes allow violence against women and early marriage.

AHLAM AL OBEIDI: (Through translator) We are a society plagued by patriarchal attitudes and outdated tribal laws which are all conducive to violence against women.

FORDHAM: That's Ahlam al Obeidi, who hosts a radio show about women's rights in Baghdad. She says years of war left Iraq with a surplus of women and lots of poverty. Some people marry off young girls for the dowry.

OBEIDI: (Through translator) This is not marriage though, but rather, the selling and buying of young women.
This matters.  As does Nouri's War Crimes.  He is using collective punishment in Falluja (collective punishment is a legally defined War Crime).  Saying that terrorists are in Falluja, Nouri uses this to bomb residential neighborhoods -- again, a War Crime.  National Iraqi News Agency notes that five civilians -- all from the same family -- were injured in  today's bombing of civilian neighborhoods. 

In other violence today,  National Iraqi News Agency reports 1 person was shot dead in Ghazaliya, 1 police member was shot dead in Shiekh Hamad Village, a Mosul roadside bombing left four people injured (two were police members), another roadside bombing south of Mosul left two people injured, an Abu Ghraib bombing left four people injured, 3 members of a police patrol were shot dead in Tikrit, a Jurfis-Sakhar roadside bombing left four Iraqi soldiers injured, a second Jurfis-Sakhar roadside bombing left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and two more injured,  an Alrifai roadside bombing left 2 Iraqi soldiers dead, a Mosul roadside bombing killed 1 police member and left three more injured, a Hit suicide bomber took his own life and the life of 1 police member with four more left injured, a Baquba attack left 4 police members dead and four more injured, 1 intellignece officer was shot dead in Balad, a Badush roadside bombing left three people injured, a mosque guard in Mehajeran was shot dead, and 1 corpse was discovered dumped in the streets of Abu Ghraib. In her much more complete rundown of today's violence (much more complete than mine) Margaret Griffis ( counts 40 dead and forty-seven injured.

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