And Ahmed Chalabi is a Deputy...and Minister of Oil. (Maybe I mis-heard this?) This is hilarious. What a joke. Sorry, but this is going to be a joke of a government if this session is an indicator.
I suggest there be a Ministry of Ministers. Perhaps Sistani or the ghost of Nebuchadnezzar can be the Deputy Minister of the Minstry of Ministers.
Great, just great.
UPDATE: ten minutes later... They went ahead and actually voted for an incomplete list. 'Scuse me... huh??? I'm not quite sure I understand. But who understands most things that happen in Iraq? It seems the National Assembly didn't mind it, though: The vote was 180-5 ...isn't the National Assembly 275 people? Ok...I don't know what to say about this right now.
What government? Oh right, there still is no government. No need for that! Let violence legislate!
I love the smell of sovereignty in the morning.
Some use violence to destroy. Some use religion or greed as an excuse to destroy.
I, on the other hand, will destroy you with irreverence.
The first is Carl Ford, another Republican I love. If you click the picture above or the link you'll hear his testimony (in real video) at the Senate confirmation hearing of John Bolton. Of course, John Bolton is not suited to serve as an ambassador anywhere, much less ambassador to the UN. This video is an eye-opener (if you have the patience) as to why he should not be appointed. There is something to be said for this anti-ambassador being forced out of a position where he could actually shape policy by putting him in an ambassadorship. Meaning, it's a positive thing that he be put in this position because he will not be able to shape policy. I believe Zbigniew Brzenzinski mentioned this on CNN while appearing with Kissinger the other day. Maybe he will be so discredited by the time he comes out of this hearing that he'll be unable to get a job anywhere but the Heritage Foundation.
And finally, Marla Ruzicka. I'd like to pay tribute to somebody whom I think served as the conscience of the world with regard to Iraq on my more optimistic days. She helped to uncover America's secret tally of Iraqi civilian deaths a week before she was tragically killed. She did so much for Iraq and Iraqis. She lived a dream to help those suffering from war. I'm humbled by simply knowing people who were good friends of Marla.
Without the likes of Marla and Margret Hassan, the future of Iraq is not as bright. These sort of women are one in a billion kind of people. And my heart goes out to their families during these tragic days. But my heart goes out to them most of all for paying the biggest sacrifice in order to be heard and in order to help Iraq. They will be so sorely missed.
Anybody whose conscience moves them to speak what they truly feel should be commended and honored. People like these are some of the true heroes of our time.
Yet I know the value of Pope John Paul II. Most of all, he was a courageous and moral man. I respected him for his beliefs...even if they interfered with my progressive leanings. There will be an important funeral today in Vatican City. Millions have gone to pay their respects. President Bush has gone with some of his people, no doubt to score as many political points off of the Catholic faith and this outpouring of support for this important man from people across the world. It is clearly for American consumption. FAC, remember? FAC! Anyway, I chose to ignore it up until now for a reason. But let me be frank now: It's so disgusting to me to take advantage of this moment for domestic political gain. But what's new? Terry Schiavo ring a bell or two? I would rather not dwell on this any further. It's something so obvious, but I thought I'd point it out anyway.
On to the latest podcast:
This is mostly an Arabic vocabulary lesson set to a Dvorak version of Stabat Mater. The Pergolesi version of Stabat Mater is my favorite. What's more, this recording of it is the absolute best though. Definitely buy it. You will not be disappointed. It is my favorite opera recording of all time perhaps. And it's not because it's the Stabat Mater at all. You'll understand when you hear it. The Dvorak version I include in this irakast from a Deutsche Grammaphone record (1977) I have is pretty good though. I believe the contrast of a western style of music with the Arabic lesson (from the Department of Defense) is an interesting contradiction to use as a dedication for the Pope today. I have no snide remarks for you at the moment. I just feel sadness. The good kind that motivates a person...
So, please give this podcast I dedicate to Pope John Paul the Great a listen. It's just a stripped down simple version which I only used timing to create some subtext. I hope you enjoy it.
I'll most probably be taking a hiatus for a little while. I'll post if I can.
Please take care of yourselves and those around you.
Irakast 4, Liminal Radio Presents a Dedication to Pope John Paul II
Bit rate: 128 kbs
Size: 13.5 mb
Subscribe to the best podcast in the world by clicking below.
One of the first reasons I started blogging was to address the issue of Kirkuk, though. It was my first post in fact. I've only occasionally gotten into the subject because it's tremendously difficult. I'm still very concerned about developments. I have family in Kirkuk, so there's direct reason I would like to see a just and peaceful solution there. And I hope the things Jalal Talabani said when sworn-in will all be true. There's some sketchy details we must pay close heed to in order to ensure peace.
Ibrahim al-Jaafari was selected to be the prime minister of the new interim government. I still have not gotten a grasp on him quite yet. Many people in Iraq don't know who he is even. Remember people voted for lists. What I've heard, when he's spoken, has sounded ok I suppose. I just have an uneasy feeling about Sharia law being implemented and the rights of women and minorities. But let's see how this goes. We'll get the idea somewhat quickly of how much of a change for the better will happen. Iraqis are tired of waiting for things to improve. Let's hope things get better.
For now, congratulations to Iraq and congratulations to the Kurdish people.
Peace to Iraq!
Of course, I do have a lot of people supporting me in my loose-mouthed cause. And I have many crazily incensed by my words. There are even people who are both. What's most important is knowing there's several people out there reading that know I'm well-intentioned and accept me for who I am. I love you if you're one of those people. I do still love you if you're the other kinds or fit under different catagories of disgust and pleasure, but well...you get my point. It's best to be supportive and accepting. ;) I respond much better to this sort of behavour. My inclination is to do more and more for those that behave like this to me. Because in the end, we all just want some acceptance and support from those that care for us...right?
So, if I've offended you...join the club. If I am offended by you, join the other club. I don't take it personally (although it sounds otherwise). I'm here to build with you. It just so happens you've encountered my catharsis, so don't fault me for it. We all need an outlet for our frustrations, don't we?
I just want to be loved.
Please watch the horizon. There is something special coming.
God bless Iraq.
These are for men. The foldable one here is for tight situations where you don't wish to break the spirit of your new found Iraqi happiness (i.e. the rose-tinted glasses). They fold and protect themselves with bullet-proof lenses. Business men use it as heart armor. The ones worn on the right are usually by private contractors that get paid 10,000 a week. You know those Blackwater renegade killers above the law. They even need a little happiness while they're in their Iraqi Hotels.
And below here you have the most popular rose-tinted glasses with the lady soldiers.
Your latest dose of "Neocon Nepotism." Following the anointing of Bolton and Wolfowitz in freshly minted positions of great importance (envoy to UN and World Bank president), Zalmay Khalilzad is the next Neoconservative (is he a Neocon praktike?) from the Project for a New American Century appointed to a high-level position as US envoy to Iraq. (Bolton has yet to be approved, if I understand correctly, even though he believes "there is no United Nations.")
Shuffling around his loyal cohorts, Bush (or whomever is pulling the lever) appoints yet another person who signed the letter PNAC wrote to then President Bill Clinton in 1998 to attempt to scupper support for dethroning the evil formerly American-funded bastard Saddam Hussein.
Here is the letter. Click the image to get to the PNAC original. These boys are just too much!
Not to bode on the past. You know...it's just for the record. This letter was written 7 years ago, just in case you cannot see. Call me a cynic for mentioning it yet again.
On to more delightful topics...
So, did I accomplish my goal? Who did I offend?
Ha. You know I like it raw. "Yeah baby I like it raw. Shimmy shimmy ya..." (Ol' Dirty Bastard RIP)
Anyway, here's Robert Fisk's latest stroke of brilliance. I want to make more commentary, but I'm just being run into the ground and my eye is banged up. I'm the one-eyed blogger now! hehe...
Here's a taste:
Up at Tripoli is Lebanon's biggest keep, the massive Castle of St Gilles that still towers ominously over the port city with its delicate minarets and mass of concrete hovels. Two shell holes - remnants of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war - have been smashed into the walls, but the interior of the castle is a world of its own; a world, that is, of stables and eating halls and dungeons. It was empty - the tourists have almost all fled Lebanon - and we felt the oppressive isolation of this terrible place.
Pat knew his Crusader castles. "When you besieged them, the only way to get inside was by pushing timber under the foundations and setting fire to the wood. When they turned to ash, the walls came tumbling down. The defenders didn't throw boiling oil from the ramparts. They threw sand on to the attackers. The sand would get inside their armour and start to burn them until they were in too much pain to fight. But it's the same thing here in Tripoli as in the little castle. You can hardly see the city through the arrow slits. It's another - bigger - prison."
And so I sat on the cold stone floor and stared through a loophole and, sure enough, I could see only a single minaret and a few square metres of roadway. I was in darkness. Just as the Crusaders who built this fortress must have been in darkness.
Indeed, Raymond de Saint-Gilles spent years besieging the city, looking down in anger from his great fortress, built on the "Pilgrim's Mountain", at the stout burghers of Tripoli who were constantly re-supplied by boat from Egypt. Raymond himself died in the castle, facing the city he dreamed of capturing but could not live to enter.
And of course, far to the east, in the ancient land of Mesopotamia, there stand today equally stout if less aesthetic barricades around another great occupying army. The castles of the Americans are made of pre-stressed concrete and steel but they serve the same purpose and doom those who built them to live in prisons.
From the "Green Zone" in the centre of Baghdad, the US authorities and their Iraqi satellites can see little of the city and country they claim to govern. Sleeping around the gloomy republican palace of Saddam Hussein, they can stare over the parapets or peek through the machine-gun embrasures on the perimeter wall - but that is as much as most will ever see of Iraq.
The Tigris river is almost as invisible as that stream sloshing past the castle of Mseilha. The British embassy inside the "Green Zone" flies its diplomats into Baghdad airport, airlifts them by helicopter into the fortress - and there they sit until recalled to London.
Indeed, the Crusaders in Lebanon - men with thunderous names like Tancred and Bohemond and Baldwin - used a system of control remarkably similar to the US Marines and the 82nd Airborne. They positioned their castles at a day's ride - or a day's sailing down the coast in the case of Lebanon - from each other, venturing forth only to travel between their keeps.
As soon as I clean up a few things (I'm notoriously tidy.), I shall hopefully get to everything I must do on the computer! I look forward to it. It's been a busy day.
In a sign of momentum against the muppets, Egypt students rally for reform across campuses in Cairo and the Nile Delta. It's the largest protest to date against Mubarak. I believe the changes he made earlier are just cosmetic...so he can keep the flow of US dinero coming to Egypt. Once those billions yearly are pulled away from Cairo by Washington, the Egyptian ruling party will collapse.
So, why Mr. Bush are you continuing your support of muppet Mubarak?
Is it similar to the Saudi situation? Are you scared of what democracy might bring in these countries? I don't understand. Clarify yourself to the world.
Let the people rule!
Women are not the only ones that start wars...a male alcoholic liar provided the impetus for the most recent war on Iraq. His name was Curveball. And he was real close to Ahmed Chalabi. NO WAY!
He must have been greatly admired by the President and Vice President for his delusional thinking. Quite the man that Mr. Curve. He didn't quite make the curve, did he? You'll find him under some table drinking himself into a stupor while clamoring, "Saddam has these guns that look like porcupines, which inject meaning into life. He carries them around with him everywhere. He was a very suicidal man Saddam, so we had to take precautions, you know. Give me another double habibbi! Gjeass, you are very nice lady, thank you for your service honey...oh, I mean Dick." (I know this makes no sense...he was a drunk afterall.)
I could have told you this was going on years ago. Curveball would have still been this administration's "star witness" though. Drives me mad how these drunken war-mongering idiots were able to steer hundreds of thousands of people so blindly without proper preparation or adequete numbers. And I'm not even getting to the fact that it was an illegal war. And now look at the budding democracy in Iraq. Well done crooks. Enjoy the party because unless you're a cousin of Ahmed Chalabi, you can't get alcohol with little trouble. I doubt Curveball himself would be hangin in bars in Baghdad, though. It's unfortunate, because I'm sure he's a hoot. Oh but there's the Vilayet, excuse me, I mean Green Zone. Is that what they call those things these days
Between January 2000 and September 2001, Curveball offered 100 reports, among them the claims of mobile biological weapons labs that were central in the US evidence of an illicit weapons programme, but subsequently turned out to be trucks equipped with machinery to make helium for weather balloons.
The commission concluded that Curveball's information was worse than none at all. 'Worse than having no human sources,' it said, 'is being seduced by a human source who is telling lies.'
Oh anyhooo, I think the AI on this Cyborg source could have helped ol' Curve out. We should have at least employed him a couple to make him drinks while he worked on the plan to invade Iraq. Maybe that was it. He wasn't drunk enough! Has anybody every thought of that??? hmhmmhmm? hmmm??? I bet nobody has. See, so much could have been done differently.
Of course, I thought this photo was most poignant.
Anyway, my thoughts are with the Pope and everybody that cares for him in this time. The world is in debt to his limitless grace.
What a prick. Need I say more? I'll just put a quote here to spark your interest further.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A state lawmaker wants former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to return the $100,000 fee he received to speak at a tsunami relief fund-raiser.
Giuliani donated $20,000 from the fee to the event's tsunami relief fund - twice the amount requested by the benefit's sponsor, the South Carolina Hospital Association, said Thornton Kirby, the group's president.
But Rep. Tracy Edge said the full fee should be returned because the Feb. 9 speech in Columbia was publicized as a charity event.
``Nowhere was it disclosed that Mayor Giuliani was being paid for his appearance,'' Edge said.
In Bahrain last week, the largest protests in memory saw the country's politically disenfranchised Shiite majority saying enough to pro-American King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa's policies. And in Cairo Wednesday the chants included "Enough to Mubarak, Enough to Bush, Enough to Blair,'' along with "We will not be ruled by the CIA" and "Down with the White House."
It was a reminder that while the US has contributed to the shift in climate in the Middle East, a real democratic opening, in the short term at least, may not serve US interests. Most in the region appear angry at America's close relationship with Israel and its invasion of Iraq, and say that statements prodding allies to reform haven't overcome decades of support for Arab dictators.
"There seems to be this assumption that if you're pro-democracy then you're pro-US foreign policy, and that's incredibly misleading,'' says Marc Lynch, a political scientist and expert on the Middle East at Williams College in Massachusetts.
As a secular and modern Egyptian democrat, Jihan Shabaan is the very image of the Middle Eastern citizens President Bush hopes will take to the streets and demand the freedom.
She says a lifetime without political freedoms, in which she's watched average Egyptians drift deeper into poverty, has convinced her to risk everything at the forefront of Egypt's Kifaya movement, which is demanding that President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's long-time strong-man, step down and be replaced by a freely elected leader.
But for Ms. Shabaan and most of her colleagues in the movement, "enough" doesn't apply to President Mubarak alone. She expects a democratic Egypt would distance itself from the US, a long-time ally, and hit out at what she calls decades of "hypocritical" US policy in the Middle East.
"If things really change here, America's illusions that its interests in the region would be advanced by democracy will be laid bare,'' she says. "A real democratic government in Egypt would be strongly against the US occupation of Iraq and regional US policies, particularly over Palestine. We are strongly against US influence."
Despite apparently genuine sentiment, Kifaya organizers say there's also practical reasons to make the distance from the US clear. The government has tried to paint democracy activists as foreign puppets in the past, alleging they take foreign money. "The regime are the ones taking American money. But they always accuse us of having foreign money whenever there are calls for democracy," says Shabaan.
Attitudes like Shabaan's point to a frequently overlooked disconnect. America's conviction that its rhetoric will help secure its interests in the region often clash with the anti-US leanings of many of the Arab world's democracy activists, who generally belong either to Islamist parties or to left-leaning, anti-US groups.
Where I differ, I may outline, is being supportive of Islamic parties. And I AM NOT ANTI-US. I am against US foregin policy. It's literally killing us. Let me, once again, get this straight for those of you who may be reading. I think religion and politics should be separate. Plain and simple. I believe one of the weaknesses of the Bush administration's policies when it comes to the Arab world is that the only reason he is still in power is that he panders to Christian fundamentalists. On the other hand, call me what you will, I believe Islamic parties exist in a similar dynamic. Sure, Hizbullah helped kick Israel out of South Lebanon. But America helped kick Saddam out of Iraq. Let's be honest with ourselves. For the foreseeable future I don't see any way to separate Mosque and State in the Near East. Look at the Palestinian issue and how long it has dragged on if you want to see rhyme to your reason why. Nor do I see a manner in which to wise up millions of Christian Fundamentalists in the US. It's all so ironic how similar the problem is in each place. I can only keep voicing my opinion and trying to promote honest debate.
Though personally, I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place this past month and a half because I've had to own-up to my personal thoughts when Lebanon is added to the equation. I'm feeling more and more marginalized. I always knew it would get 10 times as complicated to explain my thoughts about Lebanon and Iraq. Let me be clear about religion and politics, though. I despise Neocons/Christian Fundamentalists/Big Oil A-holes, and similarly, I am creeped out by Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah. I don't see peace coming to the Near East anytime soon. I have no hope for moderate voices any longer. They are being drowned out by extremists.
Thus, I'm sick of politics. It's exposing nerves I better leave guarded. Because all in all, I'm a peaceful person that only wishes success and some happiness in the lives of friends and family members. I can't help but feel passionate about certain matters. I'm not beginning to understand why I have to validate my opinions to people by repeating them in such a manner. So, I've decided to get more creative (by doing a podcast and other means). As time permits me, I'll continue to do this very thing.
Indeed there are so many injustices happening on our planet today. One of the over-arching ones is that so many people are being more radicalized directly and indirectly because of the war and occupation of Iraq. The other is the complete and utter failure of people addressing the Palestinian cause with urgency and a measured hand. Both of these problems appear to have no end in sight.
There are also other huge problems on the horizon that have been thrown into great relief because of energized interest in the Arab world. I hope more people see them. Dictatorial regimes still dominate the political landscape in most countries in the region. A young, jobless, and radicalized Saudi Arabia is not reforming, so it should be on top of the list. Jordan's Abdullah has no respect for freedom or human rights and is a part of the Axis of Hypocris. There is an increasingly uncertain future for Lebanon as May(?) elections approach and the intelligence chiefs continue to be reluctant to release their grip. And Egypt has no compass with regards to democracy and human rights while continues to be supported unconditionally on the basis that they have signed a peace treaty with Israel. The reality on the ground in Egypt couldn't be more different. People don't like Hosni Mubarak or America. And when will the violence end in Iraq? And who knows exactly what's going on in Yemen, Sudan, and the Horn in general? I could go on, but it saddens me deeply.
There are no limits to the continued hypocrisy. Yet I say "Enough!" in the face of all those that sustain it. Extremists feed extremists. I cannot say this enough.
What complete fffin idiot uses a thousand year old minaret as a lookout position? Do you know how stupid that is? Are you kidding me? And what? You think the fact that "insurgents did it" means jack shit to Iraqis. You'll only get increased ire from the resistance by doing such a retarded thing. I mean, why did this happen? Why were there American forces in the minaret? Isn't something like this illegal? WTF
I'm so angry. You bastards. Rage rage rage rage rage
You inspire rage only. And it is not fair to erase or maim the history of another country. You assholes. You're only making things worse. You idiots. Babylon now this? You FREAKS! Freaks of nature! You walking abortions. GRRRRRRRRRRRRR. You destroy the oldest library in world! You have fun using Babylon as your battlefield! You do this too.
Well, look at it. Because the top part will never look the same. It took over a thousand years. You know something's wrong today. Do you know how proud Iraqis are of their history? It's like you're killing their mother.
Wake up assholes. You're getting nowhere. When something like this happens, I feel so Iraqi...I feel Iraqi like how the hulk transforms. This place was built in 852 AD. That means it's over almost 1,000 years older than America. But who gives a shit? I mean, it's just some building to use for lookouts.
Is this the price Iraq has to pay? Starving children, torturing and possibly raping prisoners, erasing history, bringing democracy in a jiffy. I could be wrong, but I could be right...this is a tragedy of insane proportions. I'm certainly close.
I feel like I'm going to implode. What part of Iraq's history is next?