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Monday, November 14, 2011


Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Occupy"

occupy

Now that comic has truth in it. The lyrics are actual lyrics sung by an artist at a dinner Barack held in Hawaii. Barack didn't say what he says in the cartoon but, according to those present, he was oblivious to the song and what it was about. That really should not be too surprising.

Even by the debased standards of American politics, the attempt of President Barack Obama to pass himself off as a populist tribune of the people and channel the anti-Wall Street protests behind his reelection campaign has reached new heights of cynicism and dishonesty.

It is yet another demonstration that the American ruling class operates on the assumption that the American people are hopelessly gullible and suffer from collective amnesia.

Nearly three years into an administration that has overseen the biggest transfer of wealth from the public treasury to the financial elite in history—with no strings attached—and refused to take any serious measures to address the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression, a period in which poverty and social deprivation have soared alongside record corporate profits and CEO pay, Obama and the Democrats now present themselves as the party of jobs and social justice.

Again, Barack's failure to recognize a song being performed was in support of the many and not the few shouldn't be surprising when you consider his record.

"Trapped in an AA meeting with Judy Collins (Ava and C.I.)" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):
Who wrote Judy's "first hit" (and biggest)? To have caught that discussion, it must have been Leonard Cohen because he's the only name she mentions. But again, it was Joni. And it's that sort of refusal to treat Joni with respect that's going to guarantee that they're not friends. Equally true, Judy wants to 'forget' (she remembers) many events, like inviting Joni to a worshop and then 'forgetting' to take her. Judy was so big with the promises and so bad at keeping them. She can blame it on her disease, if she wants, but her treatment for that addiction was supposed to include an inventory and accountability. Judy writes as if twelve steps can be ignored and all that's necessary is to repeat war stories with cash register honesty over and over.


And be bitchy. Mavis Staples pops up so Judy can chuckle over Mavis' belief that Bob Dylan sincerely proposed to Mavis. Bob Dylan is a straight man. Mavis is a woman. Bob is known for his relationships with African-American women. Mavis is African-American. Bob has always been keenly interested in gospel music and Mavis got her start in gospel and her family group, the Staple Singers, was one of the biggest gospel groups in America. Why is difficult for Judy to believe that Bob Dylan could have been serious when he proposed to Mavis Staples? If you click here and listen to this December 20, 2008 Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me! (NPR) audio segment, you'll hear Mavis explaining that Bob asked her father if he could marry her -- a fact that Judy's ignorant of.


She's not ignorant of changing moods in the public's taste. Unlike in her previous three autobiographies, this one finds Judy suddenly 'tight' with Phil Ochs. While so many of the other stories are retold (such as dropping acid with Michelle Phillips), the Phil Ochs material is new and 'novel.' So is the claim of her great friendship with Lillian Roxon. What the 'novel' new material really indicates is that Judy's paid attention to the festival circuit -- at least enough to be aware of the recent documentaries on both Ochs and Roxon and that including the two of them might make her appear more relevant in this book.

This book. "Hard Time For Lovers" was 1979. It's 2011 and it's hard times for the economy. $26.00 is the list price for Judy's 'new' book. Except for nine pages, the very same time frame this book covers was covered in 1987's Trust Your Heart which is better written and more honest. Best of all, if you find Trust Your Heart at a used book store, you can probably get it for at least half the $4.99 (paperback) cover price. In a tough economy, it's not just the bargain, it's also the only volume worth reading.

I know Judy Collins in that way that those of us on the Eastern coast 'know' one another if we go to the same fundraisers, luncheons, etc. I don't care for her. (C.I. knows her far better than I do.) She pretends to be a feminist. That's always been my take on her.

She does nothing to help other women. She sleights their accomplishments, she competes with them. She's just a Queen Bee. I've felt that way forever and a day about her. A friend who knows Judy the way I do -- casually -- called to ask what Judy had done to get C.I. (and Ava -- but the friend knows C.I.) to let loose?

Was it just the Joni attack? No. But I was glad they included a transcript of a typical Judy Collins interview. That's why I hate the woman, that's how she is.

She's asked, by Larry King, about "Both Sides Now" -- her only top ten hit. She immediately starts talking about the songwriting of Leonard Cohen. Cohen didn't write that song, Joni Mitchell did. Judy knows that but people listening to her interviews may not. Over and over, she emphasizes a man even when it makes no sense. She's a Queen Bee. I can't stand her.

So Judy's decision to go to passive-aggressive town on Joni in the book meant Ava and C.I. were going to respond.

But it's also true that C.I. has spent years fundraising for and working with children. She does not take it lightly when children are harmed. She truly was appalled to read Judy's fourth autobiography, 19 years after Judy's son took his own life, and yet again find Judy glorifying herself and blaming others for her son's addiction and death.

Ava was as well. But Ava doesn't know all the story. C.I. does. As C.I. points out, when a child runs away from home and, after they've run away, they call you and tell you not to look for them, they're asking you to look for them.

C.I. is so right that Judy left her son and then whined because the judge later wouldn't give her custody. She created abandonment issues in her child. When Clark turns 7, his father dumps him with Judy. The child has now been abandoned by both parents. Judy doesn't stop to raise him. That, as Ava and C.I. point out, doesn't mean Judy has to give up her career. It does mean she has to make time for him. She doesn't.

She's busy visiting lovers on location and spending six months on a play and testifying at the Chicago 7 trial and speaking at Kent State. Where's her son?

She was too busy.

When she was around him, all she did was get drunk or stoned as did her boyfriends. When Clark was busted at school, at 11, for smoking pot and Judy confronted him, he pointed out that she and her current lover did it so why couldn't he?

She also wouldn't stop a small boy from drinking alcohol. She was a lousy mother.

But he gets caught with pot and she sends him off to a series of boarding schools. You do not do that. There are trust issues that you might be able to resolve and restore. But if you send a child with abandonment issues off to boarding school, you better accept that there will be no real relationship between you.

He was hurting and she didn't have time for that. She was too busy with her lover. Of the moment.

So Judy writes another book and blames the drugs and suicide on everyone but herself.

She needs to take a hard look at her actions. There's really no excuse for a 72-year-old woman to be unable to be honest about her past.

To be clear, she could have continued singing and performing and it wouldn't have been a problem necessarily. She was a working woman paying the bills. Where it became a problem was in her refusal to say "no" to new projects that took her away from her son and shredded her already limited time with him. For example, that play. There was no point in her doing it. Those were six months that she should have spent with her son. Now the play doesn't take the place of her concerts or recordings that year, please understand. She does that and everything that she wants.

I'm sorry when you're a parent, it stops being about what you want. If you can't handle that, don't raise a child. (I don't put my personal life on this blog. But due to this issue and my comments, someone will no doubt say, "You may be a doctor and have a degree, that doesn't mean you know a thing about being a parent." I am a mother. I am very close to my child or children. We have a relationship that is frustrating and rewarding and very typical and very real. We have that because we worked on it as adults and because when I was the only adult, I made damn sure that love was clear as were consequences. I was never afraid to be the bad guy and I was never afraid to give hugs.)

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday, November 14, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, an Iraq War veteran serving in Iraq as a contractor dies, the US gives Turkey drones, mercenaries needed for Iraqi skies. the State Dept continues to believe it doesn't have to explain to the American people how it spends their money, and more.
Is this the moment America begins to start tracking the death of US contractors in Iraq? Lewis Griswold (Fresno Bee) reports, "Sean Ferguson of Visalia, who earned two Purple Hearts for his military service in Iraq, died there Saturday of natural causes, a friend of his family said today. Ferguson, 29, is the son of Tulare County Superior Court Judge Darryl Ferguson." KMPH notes, "He joined the U.S. Army in August 2001 and retired eight years later as a Staff Sergeant after he was hurt in combat. He returned to Baghdad to work for Triple Canopy, a private contractor that provides security and mission support services to government agencies and other organizations. [. . .] A memorial service will be held at the Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints chapel located at the corner of Caldwell Ave. and Chinowth St. in Visalia on Saturday, November 19, at 10 a.m." Lemor Abrams (KMPH) offers a video report here.
1st Lt Dustin Vincent was the most recent US military fatality in the Iraq War. Amber Fischer (The 33 News, CW33) reported Saturday evening that the 25-year-old had been laid to rest earlier that day at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery and she quoted his friend Jared Griggs stating, "He and I talked a lot. He's part of the reason I joined the army myself. You couldn't be mad, you couldn't be sad around Dustin. You couldn't even really be serious around Dustin. There was only two things that he was really serious about, and that was the Lord and serving his country." Vallari Gupte (University of Texas at Arlington's Shorthorn) noted:

Vincent, who graduated from UTA in 2009, was from Mesquite. Vincent, a 1st Lieutenant, was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery of the 1st Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kan. Vincent leaves behind a wife and daughter.
Kinesiology senior Christopher Harris was a freshman when he met Vincent in UTA's ROTC program. Harris was a cadet and Vincent was an officer of that year's battalion.
"He was my leader," Harris said. "He would teach me some stuff and I would learn."
When Harris learned about Vincent's death, he grieved.
"It is hard to feel anything else right now. Just grief," he said.


Cynthia Vega and Steve Stoler (WFAA -- link has text and video) report that Dustin Vincent was on his first deployment to Iraq and "just six months into his deployment when the enemy threw a deadly grenade at his convoy." Yesterday, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Chelsea J. Carter (CNN) reported that 3 soldiers serving with Dustin Vincent testified in an Iraqi court Sunday:

The November 3 shooting of 1st Lt. Dustin D. Vincent -- one of the last U.S. casualties in the more-than-eight-year Iraq war -- was chronicled by insurgents who captured the sniper shooting on video and posted it online.

Inside a crowded courthouse, one of the soldiers who were with the 25-year-old Vincent the day he was killed told the investigative judge that a "few days later a video was posted that claimed the killing of the 1st lieutenant, and it shows the same location we were that day."

In other news, Al Mada reports that US President Barack Obama is saying the Iraq War is "about over" and that the US government is down playing the concerns of the Sadr bloc over the decision to use Kuwait as a staging platform for US forces. This will be in addition to the forces under the US State Dept's control. Spencer Ackerman (Wired) reports:

The State Department has already requisitioned an army, part of the roughly 5,000 private security contractors State is hiring to protect diplomats stationed in Iraq. Now, State is hiring someone to provide a little help from the air: an "Aviation Advisor" responsible for "Search and Rescue (SAR), medical evacuations (ME), transporting Quick Reaction Forces (QRF) to respond to incidents, and provid[ing] air transportation for Chief of Mission personnel." It's not a familiar job for the diplomatic corps, which is why State is seeking to bring in someone from the outside.

The State Department put out this notice on Nov. 4. That's 58 days before the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Fifty-eight days before State has the skies over Iraq to itself.

In related news, Dylan Welch (Sydney Morning Herald) reports the Australian government is surprised that security costs for their embassies and staff in Iraq and Afghanistan "has quadrupled in less than 12 months to almost $40 million a year" and they are now "paying two private security companies a total of $82 million for the two years to 2012." How is it related? Cost overruns happen very frequently. Presumably the Australian government properly budgeted for their mission and unexpected details led to such a huge increase. In the US, please remember, that the State Dept refuses to share concrete information with the Congress or with the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction or with the Government Accountability Office. In fact, the GAO's last report on the State Dept's contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan was entitled what? [PDF format warning] "Iraq and Afghanistan: DOD, State, and USAID Cannot Fully Account for Contracts, Assistance, Instruments, and Associated Personnel." So if the US cost overruns mirror those of Australia, who's going to be held responsible?
The White House? Don't make me laugh. And their fall guy will be gone because Hillary Clinton has stated she is a one-term Secretary of State. So the US tax payers will be screwed and who's going to be held accountable?
And it's time to get very real about something. The Senator Al Frankens with their "thank you for your service"? It's past time they greeted every tax payer with, "Thank you for your dollars." This country has gone into debt for an illegal war and not only do we see the debt today but future generations will as well. And clearly Congress doesn't give a damn since they refuse to scream bloody murder over the State Dept requesting money for Iraq (and Afghanistan) and being unable and unwilling to provide an accounting of how that money will be spent. Last June, Peter Van Buren wrote a piece for Le Monde in which he noted:
In its post-"withdrawal" plans, the State Department expects to have 17,000 personnel in Iraq at some 15 sites. If those plans go as expected, 5,500 of them will be mercenaries, hired to shoot-to-kill Iraqis as needed, to maintain security. Of the remaining 11,500, most will be in support roles of one sort or another, with only a couple of hundred in traditional diplomatic jobs. This is not unusual in wartime situations. The military, for example, typically fields about seen support soldiers for every "shooter." In other words, the occupation run by a heavily militarized State Department will simply continue in a new, truncated form -- unless Congress refuses to pay for it.
Unless Congress refuses to pay for it? At present, that seems highly unlikely. PeterR.S. Kalha explores the realities of the relationship between the governments of Iraq and the US in "Is America Finally Withdrawing From Iraq? -- Analysis" (Eurasia Review):

Having spent at least about US$ 3 trillion, taken thousands as casualties both dead and wounded, the Americans are not going to give up that easily. The Shiite Iraqi PM Nourie al-Maliki is slated to visit the White House on December 12, 2011, just a few days before the deadline runs out. If he changes his mind and signs the status of forces agreement with the US, it will certainly not be out of character and in tune with the Iraqi political temperament. Nevertheless, the Americans are not taking any chances and have already made alternative plans.
The US Embassy in Baghdad is going to be strengthened and will have about 17,000 personnel on its rolls. Situated in the 'Green Zone' on a 104 acre plot with its own electricity, water and sewage, it is one of the most expensive and largest US Embassies in the world and its entire requirements are supplied from Kuwait under armed guard. US Consulates exist in Basra, Mosul and Kirkuk, each about 1,000 strong with its own security personnel. The US Embassy also has an 'Office for Security Co-operation' under which will come all US army trainers, private contractors and assorted military personnel -- all under the cover of diplomatic immunity. Presently about $ 10 billion worth of arms deals are under negotiations. Once the negotiations are completed, additional US military personnel will arrive to train and 'co-ordinate' with their Iraqi counterparts. These large numbers of 'trainers' will also be under US Embassy cover.
Presently the Iraqi air force is non-existent. This means that the air space over Iraq will be controlled by the US for the foreseeable future. The US will continue to fly drones over Iraq targeting any potential enemy. It also means that the US can reinforce its residual troops under the 'cover' of the US Embassy as and when it is required without any serious hindrance. It also means that the Shiite-led Iraqi government cannot move its troops without US concurrence since they would have no air cover. And to make it absolutely certain that matters do not go out of hand, the present day Iraqi forces are commanded by a Kurdish officer General Zebari. The Americans have made an assessment and quite rightly so that of the three communities in Iraq, the Kurds will remain the most loyal. In any case the Kurdish dominated areas of Iraq are outside the political control of the Iraqi government and even the Kirkuk question remains unresolved.
Thus President Obama has very skilfully reaped the political benefits of ordering a 'technical' withdrawal and ending the US mission there, whilst not only retaining the substance of the US posture and presence but immeasurably strengthening it.

Meanwhile Aswat al-Iraq notes, "The Legislature of the so-called White al-Iraqiya Bloc in the Iraqi Parliament, Aliya Nuseif, has demanded the Iraqi government to carry out a complete account for security contractors, in charge of protecting the American Embassy in Baghdad." And we're back to Peter Van Buren who, at his blog, notes the move and asks, his voice dripping with sarcasm, "So really, what are 16,000 people going to do everyday in Iraq on behalf of the US government?" Peter Van Buren is the author of the new book We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (American Empire Project). Bob Kustra (Idaho Statesman) reviews the book and notes, "Van Buren has served with the Foreign Service for more than 23 years. Before arriving in Baghdad, his response was not new to him, but war was. [. . .] There are few bright spots in this painful and gripping story of mismanagement. The first account of our blunders from a State Department inisder, 'We Meant Well' is thought-provoking and hard to put down." Also reviewing the book is Dan Simpson (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) who concludes, "The book is short, very readable and has humor as well as profound points in it."

In other news, Chen Zhi (Xinhua) reports General Babker Zebari, Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Joint Forces, headed an Iraqi delegation to Tehran where they met " with the commander of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Forces Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour." The Tehran Times adds, "In a meeting in Tehran on Sunday, Iraqi Chief of Staff General Babakr Zibari and IRGC Ground Forces Commander Mohammad Pakpour stressed the need for closer ties between Tehran and Baghdad. Commander Pakpour, who hosted General Zibari and his accompanying delegation, hoped the trip will help strengthen bilateral ties. Pakpur said the Iraqi people have endured many problems and difficulties over the past ten years, however, a gradual withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq has created an opportunity in which Iraqi people and officials can directly govern their country." Fars News Agency continues:


The general expressed the hope that Iraq and its armed forces could gain increasing success after the end of the 8-year-long occupation which he described as a hard and cumbersome era for the Iraqis.
The IRGC Ground Force commander further noted the profound political and cultural commonalities of Iran and Iraq as two Muslim and friendly neighboring nations, and stressed, "We hope that the existing commonalities pave the ground for cooperation, coordination and expansion of all-out relations."

There is (and has been) alarm and concern by some US officials (military and civilian) over what happens between Iran and Iraq? David S. Cloud's piece for the Los Angeles Times is part of that:
In Iraq and other trouble spots, Iran is handing out money and weapons, often in secret, in an effort to expand its clout and stay ahead of the political changes sweeping the region since the start of the "Arab Spring," U.S. officials say.
The Islamic Republic still faces severe challenges, however. If opposition forces in Syria manage to topple President Bashar Assad, Iran could lose its closest ally in the region.

It's cute the way Cloud rushes to draw a line between the Pentagon and the White House. Cloud's missed all of Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton's recent remarks about Iran?

No one knows what will happen. If there's concern on the part of the White House (and their comments last week indicate there is), then they shouldn't have backed Nouri al-Maliki for a second term (which meant they overruled Iraqi voters when they did). Setting Nouri aside, the others involved wouldn't necessarily rush to embrace a partnership with Iran that was more of a partnership than what they have with their other neighbors. There's some concern in the administration over clerics. That's a possibility. But so are turf wars. An Iraqi cleric embracing Tehran is one reducing their own sphere of influence.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer is among those convinced Iran's getting a boost in Iraq. He notes that 18 countries recently voted to put Syria on suspension from the Arab League but that Iraq didn't vote:
Despite the enormous sacrifie of U.S. blood and treasure, in liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, the Shiite-led government in Baghdad din't have the guts to stand with the overwhelming majority in the Arab world and side against the Damascucs regime of Bashar al-Assad.
The Iraqi government is still apparently most concerned about overly upsetting its friends in Iraq, which has strongly sided with the Syrian government.
He may be right. I may be wrong. Some fear a war with Iran is in the making. It's a good time to look at the weak ass. George McGovern's a sad man who will never live down 2008 which only brought forth the scars of sexism regarding his campaign in Miami back in 1972. Now our 'antiwar voice' can be found saying what? Kristi Eaton (AP) reports he declared today that the US should think twice about going-it-alone on Iran and needs to instead build international support. For those who don't remeber, that's the actual garbage George McGovern offered ahead of the Iraq. War. He's always loved to strut and pose and pretend. But you don't have to take my word for it or check the archives. Eaton quotes McGovern explaining, "We invaded Iraq with very little support in the rest of the world." Yes, that was his 'anti-war' stand. As it is today.
For those who can't get it, NO WAR ON IRAN! is an anti-war statement. "Hey everybody, let's build a coalition for war!" is not an anti-war statement. On the move towards war on Iran, here's Justin Raimondo (Antiwar.com):
The War Party is bound and determined to drag us, kicking and screaming, into a military conflict with Iran -- and they have constructed a vast network of agents inside both parties, and inside the government, to accomplish exactly that.
The nexus of this network is the government of Israel and its intelligence services, which is coordinating an increasingly frantic campaign to bring the Iran issue to a head. From all indications, it appears as if the goal is to ignite the conflict before the 2012 presidential elections.
Back to Iraq, AFP reports John Kirby declared at the Pentagon today that the US was deploying some of the predator drones in Iraq to Turkey to give "support to the Turkish military to deal with the specific threat posed by the PKK on their southern border." Reuters adds that the program "involves four US predator unmanned aircraft". Greg Jaffe (Washington Post) observes, "Moving them to Turkey could strengthen the diplomatic alliance with the United States, but it also risks putting the United States in the middle of a regional conflict between Turkey and Iraq, two putative allies. Pentagon officials declined to say whether the four Predator drones being flown out of Incirlik Air Base, a joint U.S. - Turkish military installation, would be allowed to cross into Iraqi air space." And how is Iraq going to feel knowing Turkey has a spy view on them? Not the US which is bad enough. But Turkey's a neighbor. There's really no chance Turkey won't use the drones to their own advantage? John Reed (Military.com News) adds, "In what could be an effort to head off the popular discontent seen in other countries that have hosted U.S. drones, Davotugu claimed that the American UAV missions would be overseen by the Turkish military."
In Iraq yesterday, northern Iraq was again attacked by the Turkish military. Reuters reports that the PKK's spokesperson Dozdar Hamo stated the bombing lasted for about an hour. Since August 17th, the latest waves of attacks have been taking place. The back and forth between the PKK and the Turkish government has been going on forever and, in fact, the Turkish government's oppression of the Kurdish minority in Turkey bred and spawned the PKK. The issue of Turkey's military attacks was raised last when Amar C. Bakshi (CNN -- link has text and video) interviewed KRG Prime Minister Barham Salih:

Amar C. Bakshi: Let's switch gears to Turkey -- an important regional neighbor that over the past few months has intervened in northern Iraq to go after Kurdish nationalist forces who have used terror to kill Turkish soldiers, numerous civilians. Now is the Kurdistan Regional Government cooperating with Turkey in its interventions into northern Iraq?


Prime Minister Barham Salih: These issues cannot be solved by military means, these issues cannot be solved by violence. There has to be a political track. This initiative that the Turkish government has started, the democratization process, needs to be enhanced, deepened, in order to ensure that this long-standing conflict is resolved in a different way.

Today AFP reports, "Iraq's top Kurdish leaders are mediating between Turkey and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) separatists with bases in northern Iraq to bring their conflict to an end, an official said. Iraq's president Jalal Talabani and Iraqi Kurdistan regional president Massoud Barzani 'Are leading mediation efforts between the Turkish government and the PKK, to end the battles in the border area between Iran, Turkey and Kurdistan,' said a spokesperson for Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan." Lale Kemal (Today's Zaman) stateswonders , "Turkey is understood to have warned Barzani that 'if the PKK continues its violent attacks, your region [northern Iraq] will also be affected,' and asked him to tell the number two of the separatist organization that it should declare a ceasefire and ask its terrorists to lay down their arms."
Meanwhile Al Rafidayn notes the continued disputes over Exxon's contract with the KRG and how the government out of Baghdad remains upset over it. Hurriyet Daily News adds, "The regional administration in northern Iraq is urging the country's central government for a quick resolution to the dispute over rights to natural resources, the nation's biggest wealth source, as it insists on implementing deals undersigned earlier. The regional administration confirmed yesterday it had already signed a long-debated deal with U.S.-based oil major Exxon Mobil on Oct. 18 for six exploration blocks within its area of control." Reuters adds, "Iraq's central government, which has long-running disputes with the Kurdish region over oil and land, has said Baghdad would consider a deal between Exxon and the KRG illegal and a violation of the company's contract to develop Iraq's 8.7-billion-barrel West Qurna Phase One oilfield in the south."
Stuart Kemp (Hollywood Reporter) reports, "The Kurdistan region in Iraq is to launch its first British film festival in partnership with representative from the U.K. movie industry. Organizers said a program of films would unspool in the region's capital city of Erbil later this month. [. . .] During this festival, the U.K.'s National Film and Television School (NFTS) is planning to run a series of workshops for young Kurdish filmmakers wanting to tell their stories." Andreas Wiseman (Screen Daily) adds that the festival is to run from November 26th through November 28th, "The event is expected to host around 15 films, screening in an Erbil conference centre. Admission will be free for the general public. The final programme has yet to be announced." British counsul-general in Erbil Chris Bowers states, "It's fascinating to note that many of the films we are programming have strong female role models (The Queen, Pride and Prejudice, Made in Dagenham), or that tackle social stereotypes (Billy Elliot) or discuss the Holocaust (The Boy in Striped Pyjamas). The Kurdistan Region is on a dash for modernity and that comes through in the type of films that people want to see here in Erbil." Wiseman notes that films were popular in the KRG before the wars and that "at least two large cinema complexes are due to oepn in Erbil". London's Bankside Films is co-sponsoring the festival.
Turning to some of today's reported violence, Reuters notes a Baghdad sticky bombing injured a government worker, a Baghdad roadside bombing left one person injured, a second Baghdad roadside bombing leaving two police officers injured, 1 corpse was discovered in Mosul (killed by a bullet to the head), a Mosul roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left three more men injured, an Iskandariya rocket attack on the US Kalsu base left two people injured (Iraqi civilians), a third Baghdad roadside bombing left two people injured, 1 'suspect' was shot dead by the Iraqi military in Baghdad, two police officers were injured in a Baghdad shooting, a fourth Baghdad roadside bombing left two people injured and "Omar al-Dulaimi, the head of a journalists' association in Diyala province" was shot in Baquba and seriously injured.
John Drake
johnfdrake Last week was one of the quietest I've recorded in #Iraq.
And he Tweeted:
johnfdrake While last week was very quiet in #Iraq, militants appear to have been making up for things over the past two days.
Of course, part of the quiet -- not noted in a Tweet -- was there really no press in Iraq. Who notes violence? What outlet that issues reports in English notes violence? That would be Reuters. And they really didn't do FactBoxes last week. If you checked Aswat al-Iraq, you saw that violence continued. Aswat al-Iraq was doing three and four news items (violence and other) a day. That was it. That was more than Al Mada, Al Rafidayn, Dar Addustour, Al Sabbah, etc. were doing. They all shut down for the holiday. Aswat al-Iraq reduced its coverage for the holiday. With actual press coverage, would have been so 'quiet'? That's an important question to ask.

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