I really have never enjoyed statisticians who fancy themselves oracles. So I am really hoping that his results -- and I do not know who he's calling other than in the presidential election -- predictions are off this cycle so we don't have to hear more about him.
Every time journalists reference Nate Silver, that's another excuse for them to avoid actually reporting on the election and real issues.
Nate Silver's a joke and part of the dumbed down culture in America. He serves no purpose and there are bookies in Las Vegas who do what he does and do it better without ever proclaiming themselves media stars or geniuses.
Equally dangerous is the way that Silver's 'work' impacts perceptions.
Again, he is not a friend to democracy, he is a foe.
His work does not inform you as to stands or positions.
40 years ago, his crap wouldn't have passed even for good gossip.
For those who can't handle real democracy, Nate Silver is a quick fix. He gives you the impression that you are participating. He lets you yell and cheer from the nosebleed section and kid yourself that somehow you're engaging in civic participation.
It is one more case of our lives being reduced to a sporting event, or serious topics being reduced to 'who's up and who's down.'
We need to demand more for ourselves and expect more from our media.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, October 26, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, Nouri's supporters call for a majority government, Nouri targets the press, Senator John McCain calls out Colin Powell while some in the 'press' pile on McCain, and more.
Trash of the day? New York 'magazine.' If you've ever flipped through the magazine (fewer and fewer bother to), you know it's little more than ads with the text equivalent of light blogging. They don't do journalism and, more and more, that's because they're not able to -- their writers lack the skills. And intelligence. As Dan Amira demonstrates today.
When you don't like the message, what do you do? Attack the messenger.
Yesterday, War Criminal Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama. Senator John McCain -- a War Hawk -- called out Powell's endorsement today. A magazine could explore that at length in a way that a newspaper can't but New York isn't a real magazine and Dan Amira isn't a real journalist. So instead we get "Increasing Crotchetiness" from Amira.
And what that reminds me of is the November 15, 2011 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing where Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Gernal Martin Dempsey (Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) appeared and the senators -- of both parties -- established that negotiations were on-going for a treaty to allow US troops to remain in Iraq, that regardless of whether that was successful or not, all troops would not leave Iraq (Panetta noted the number would not go to zero), that US troops were being moved from Iraq to Kuwait where they would remain, the numbers the generals wanted to stay in Iraq, and many other important issues (including the Committee's opinion that the residents of Camp Ashraf must be removed from the US terrorist list -- an opinion held by every member of the Committee, Democrat or Republican). These were serious isse and we covered them in this community, see "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot." Ava reported on it with "Scott Brown questions Panetta and Dempsey (Ava)," Wally reported on it with "The costs (Wally)" and Kat reported on it with "Who wanted what?".
We did. But others: Reuters, AP, the LA Times, on and on, turned it into "McCain snaps at Panetta." I'm not a John McCain fan. (I do know Cindy McCain, I like her, she works very hard on a number of children's issues.) We've called him out repeatedly here. When he's made an idiotic and/or offensive remark in a hearing we attended, you'll find him called out hear (especially true when he made homophobic remarks). But his personality isn't the story. It wasn't the story of the Senate hearing (which also found Panetta and McCain laughing later in the hearing -- Leon considers him a friend which apparently the idiotic, face-pressed-against-the-glass press doesn't know but I know Leon and have for years and he wasn't upset by McCain and has long consider John McCain to be his friend). But by making it the story of the Senate hearing (and all outlets -- print and television -- made that the sole story except Elisabeth Bumiller and the New York Times), they got to play catty and bitchy and Americans weren't informed.
Do you think just once, all you bitchy little spinners, you could bother to inform the American people of the issues first?
Equally true, 'righteous' Colin Powell and 'maverick' John McCain were media creations. Neither man was what the media made them out to be. McCain was long ago tossed to the press wolves but Collie gets to repeatedly try a make over. He's a War Criminal who belongs behind bars and shame on any thinking person who rushes to rescue Powell. Powell's a cheap tacky liar, human trash that cultivated the press early on in his career. And the press responded by shaping an image that's never been true.
He's a liar who lied before the United Nations. With the whole world watching, Colin Powell lied. And it reveals how hollow and trashy the American press is that this man thinks he can make a political endorsement of anyone today.
Find a cell for the like of Mark Kleiman (so-called Reality Based Community) as well who sees the whole thing as a 'scrimmage' and rushes to defend his lover Barack. You stupid idiot, Iraqis are dead, babies are born with defects. This is not a game, it was never a game. Your political whoring is not surprising, your inability to grasp that this is not a sports event or a video game is appalling. That you can write such a thing and post it goes to just how sad and depraved you are.
These people are beyond evil. There's no excuse for them at this late hour in the day. When I saw this blind devotion to Bully Boy Bush, this lack of even compassion for the Iraqi people, I could tell myself, 'They don't know any better. They've been sold a bunch of lies. As events unfold, they will be better informed and stop making excuses.' That's the right-wingers. How do you excuse those on my side who knew the illegal war was wrong and called it out under Bully Boy Bush but now rush to embrace Case-Closed Colin Powell and miminize his crimes just because he endorsed their political hero? You can't excuse it, you can't excuse whoring, not when people's lives are at stake.
Gather is a website, it doesn't claim to be a magazine. Brian Gabriel shows more awareness of the basics invovled than the overpaid, supposed journalist Dan Amira. Gabriel's first paragraph:
Colin Powell, the Secretary of State under Bush, has endorsed Barack Obama for President just like he did in 2008. Says former Republican presidential nominee John McCain: "Colin Powell, interestingly enough, said that Obama got us out of Iraq. But it was Colin Powell, with his testimony before the U.N. Security Council, that got us into Iraq." McCain makes a good point: it was Powell's famous speech to the U.N. Security Council in 2003 that got many people on board with the invasion. But wasn't McCain one of the biggest supporters of the war in Iraq even before it started? The candidate Obama ran a much more peace-oriented campaign than did McCain --the candidate who spoke like the biggest war-hawk of the 2008 political season.
Iran's Press TV also manages to address issues and not resort to 'look at the cranky old guy' nonsense. Colin Powell lied and help sell the war. That's reality. He did a tiny pivot as the press turned on the illegal war. The summer of 2005, Cindy Sheehan's actions (Camp Casey at Crawford) forced questions to be asked. Colin could see the writing on the wall and did a tiny pivot. Which is who in September 2005, he goes on air with Barbara Walters pretending that he was misled. There were lies spoken, but he didn't know they were lies! And it was a "blot," he declared, on his image. As Ava and I noted, he was still for the war, he wasn't calling out the war and he was lying about not knowing -- State Dept staff had repeatedly told him that the claims were lies. He knew they were lies before he said them. Colin Powell is a cheap liar and his lies resulted in the deaths of nearly two million Iraqis.
A few months after that interview with Barbara Walters, Collie's Girl Friday Lawrence Wilkerson started making the media rounds, acting a surrogate for a truth-barren Powell, creating fancy lies for the AP and MSNBC and so many more but, as Norman Solomon (Cold Type) pointed out in November 2005, it wasn't believable:
Rest assured that if the war had gone well by Washington's lights, we'd be hearing none of this from Powell's surrogate. The war has gone bad, from elite vantage points, not because of the official lies and the unrelenting carnage but because military victory has eluded the U.S. government in Iraq. And with President Bush's poll numbers tanking, and Dick Cheney's even worse, it's time for some "moderate" sharks to carefully circle for some score-settling and preening.
In his speech to the American Legion -- a group that is interested in the Iraq War (even if New York 'magazine' isn't) -- McCain noted that Colin Powell is going ga-ga in public about how Barack ended the Iraq War (someone forgot to tell Iraq -- and Al Mada notes today Moqtada al-Sadr is calling out the continued US efforts to occupy Iraq). That's not surprising.
McCain is right, this is duplicity.
And it's so sad to see supposed lefties rush in to defend Colin Powell. Before Bully Boy Bush physically occupied the Oval Office, Robert Parry and Norman Solomon were writing a series about the reality of Colin Powell (start with "Behind Colin Powell's Legend"). And Powell's lies did not start in 2003. September 5, 2002, Norman Solomon (FAIR) was warning about the reality of Colin:
Media coverage is portraying Powell as a steady impediment to a huge assault on Iraq. But closer scrutiny would lead us to different conclusions.
Instead of undermining prospects for a military conflagration, Powell's outsized prestige is a very useful asset for the war planners. The retired general "is seen by many of Washington's friends and allies abroad as essential to the credibility of Bush's foreign policy," the French news agency AFP noted as September began.
Avid participation in deplorable actions has been integral to Powell's career. A few examples:
Serving as a top deputy to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, Powell supervised the Army's transfer of 4,508 TOW missiles to the CIA in January 1986. Nearly half of those missiles became part of the Reagan administration's arms-for-hostages swap with Iran. Powell helped to hide that transaction from Congress and the public. As President Reagan's national security adviser, Powell became a key operator in U.S. efforts to overthrow the elected government of Nicaragua. When he traveled to Central America in January 1988, Powell threatened a cutoff of U.S. aid to any country in the region that refused to go along with continued warfare by the contra guerrillas, who were in the midst of killing thousands of Nicaraguan civilians. Powell worked to prevent the success of a peace process initiated by Costa Rica's president, Oscar Arias. When U.S. troops invaded Panama on Dec. 20, 1989, Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He had "emerged as the crucial figure in the decision to invade," according to British newspaper reporter Martin Walker. Hundreds of civilians died in the first hours of the invasion. Powell declared on that day: "We have to put a shingle outside our door saying, 'Superpower lives here.'" In late 2000, while Bush operatives went all-out during the Florida recount to grab the electoral votes of a state where many thousands of legally qualified African Americans had been prevented from voting due to Republican efforts, Powell went to George W. Bush's ranch in Texas to pose for a photo-op and show support for his presidential quest.
Colin Powell was for the illegal war. Ann Wright was at the State Department. The former military colonel resigned the day before the start of the illegal war and did so publicly. From her resignation letter:
I wrote this letter five weeks ago and held it hoping that the Administration would not go to war against Iraq at this time without United Nations Security Council agreement. I strongly believe that going to war now will make the world more dangerous, not safer.
There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein is a despicable dictator and has done incredible damage to the Iraqi people and others of the region. I totally support the international community's demand that Saddam's regime destroy weapons of mass destruction.
However, I believe we should not use US military force without UNSC agreement to ensure compliance. In our press for military action now, we have created deep chasms in the international community and in important international organizations. Our policies have alienated many of our allies and created ill will in much of the world.
Countries of the world supported America's action in Afghanistan as a response to the September 11 Al Qaida attacks on America. Since then, America has lost the incredible sympathy of most of the world because of our policy toward Iraq. Much of the world considers our statements about Iraq as arrogant, untruthful and masking a hidden agenda. Leaders of moderate Moslem/Arab countries warn us about predicable outrage and anger of the youth of their countries if America enters an Arab country with the purpose of attacking Moslems/Arabs, not defending them. Attacking the Saddam regime in Iraq now is very different than expelling the same regime from Kuwait, as we did ten years ago.
I strongly believe the probable response of many Arabs of the region and Moslems of the world if the US enters Iraq without UNSC agreement will result in actions extraordinarily dangerous to America and Americans. Military action now without UNSC agreement is much more dangerous for America and the world than allowing the UN weapons inspections to proceed and subsequently taking UNSC authorized action if warranted.
I firmly believe the probability of Saddam using weapons of mass destruction is low, as he knows that using those weapons will trigger an immediate, strong and justified international response. There will be no question of action against Saddam in that case. I strongly disagree with the use of a "preemptive attack" against Iraq and believe that this preemptive attack policy will be used against us and provide justification for individuals and groups to "preemptively attack" America and American citizens.
The international military build-up is providing pressure on the regime that is resulting in a slow, but steady disclosure of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). We should give the weapons inspectors time to do their job. We should not give extremist Moslems/ Arabs a further cause to hate America, or give moderate Moslems a reason to join the extremists. Additionally, we must reevaluate keeping our military forces in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia. Their presence on the Islamic "holy soil" of Saudi Arabia will be an anti-American rally cry for Moslems as long as the US military remains and a strong reason, in their opinion, for actions against the US government and American citizens.
Ann Wright was able to do the right thing but Colin Powell's entire life has been about doing the wrong thing, about lying to advance his own personal interests and doing so at the expense of many innocent civilians. That has been Colin Powell's chosen path for decades and to pretend that he is qualified for anything other than an arraignment hearing for War Crimes, is to be less than honest. The whoring has to stop. Even prostitutes -- real ones, not press whores -- will draw the line and say there are some tricks they will not turn. Sadly our sex workers have stronger ethics than those who compose what passes for a modern day press.
And Colin Powell sure is a happy little talker. When he has a book to promote, he runs ot the media, when he's being paid six figures, he rushes off to the convention. But Powell does nothing that doesn't enrich his own pockets.
Where's the 'good' general's concern for those who served? What has he ever done, for example, to assist those whose health was destroyed by exposure to various chemicals due to military burn pits? Erin Jordan (Cedar Rapids Gazette) reports on Joshua Casteel's recent death and how his family believes that burn pit exposure while serving in Iraq is what caused the cancer. Joshua Casteel is only the most recent tragedy. August 10th came news that Iraq War veteran Russell Keith had died. November 6, 2009, at the Democratic Policy Committee hearing Russell Keith testified, "While I was stationed at Balad, I experienced the effects of the massive burn pit that burned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The ten-acre pit was located in the northwest corner of the base. An acrid, dark black smoke from the pit would accumulate and hang low over the base for weeks at a time. Every spot on the base was touched by smoke from the pit; everyone who served at the base was exposed to the smoke. It was almost impossible to escape, even in our living units." May 17th, it was Iraq War veteran Dominick J. Ligouri. If Colin Powell gave a damn about anyone other than himself -- even only in recent years -- he would be doing something to speak out and raise awareness on an issue that mattered. But as he churns out one co (ghost) - written book after another, it's all about enriching his own pockets.
Even now, in the face of what his lies have caused, he can only think about enriching his own pockets. Last night, Iraq War veteran Ross Caputi (Guardian) observed:
Four new studies on the health crisis in Fallujah have been published in the last three months. Yet, one of the most severe public health crises in history, for which the US military may be to blame, receives no attention in the United States.
Ever since two major US-led assaults destroyed the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004, Fallujans have witnessed dramatic increases in rates of cancers, birth defects and infant mortality in their city. Dr Chris Busby, the author and co-author of two studies on the Fallujah heath crisis, has called this "the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied".
In the years since the 2004 sieges, Fallujah was the most heavily guarded city in all of Iraq. All movement in and out of Fallujah was monitored by the occupying forces. The security situation made it nearly impossible to get word out about Fallujans' nascent health crisis. One of the first attempts to report on the crisis was at the seventh session of the UN Human Rights Council in the form of the report, Prohibited Weapons Crisis: The Effects of Pollution on the Public Health in Fallujah by Dr Muhamad Al-Darraji. This report was largely ignored. It wasn't until the first major study on the health crisis was published in 2010 that the issue received mainstream media attention in the UK and Europe.
To this day, though, there has yet to be an article published in a major US newspaper, or a moment on a mainstream American TV news network, devoted to the health crisis in Fallujah. The US government has made no statements on the issue, and the American public remains largely uninformed about the indiscriminate harm that our military may have caused.
All the dead, all the wounded, all the blood on the hands of liars like Colin Powell but because he rushed to endorse Barack Obama, some media whores want to pretend like he's someone to listen to and not someone to be tossed behind bars?
As Collie The Blot Powell tries to saunter away from the illegal war he caused, people continue dying in Iraq. AP notes an attack on a Buhriz checkpoint has left 2 police officers dead and they reported "Shortly after sunset, a car bomb exploded near a Shiite mosque in Mahaweel, killing two Shiite worshippers as they were leaving the mosque compound, police officials said. Six worshippers were wounded in the attack." In addition, Alsumaria reports a Babil Province car bombing claimed the life of 1 person with three more injured, a Khalis car bombing left six people injured and the government announced 36 corpses (killed from 'terrorism') were discovered in a mass grave to the south of Baghdad.
During the Eid holiday, Wasit Province is banning motorcycles, Alsumaria notes. The ban follows Thursday's bombing in Mosul that used a motorcycle and a Wednesday bombing in Kirkuk said to have also used a motorcycle. By contrast, All Iraq News reports, Sulaymaniyah is seeing a crackdown on beggars with 40 arrested in the last two days. In addition, they are also using helicopters in Sulaymaniyah to monitor traffic. In Basra, Al Mada reports, the focus is on preventing Iraq's latest cholera outbreak from spreading in the province.
Al Mada reports that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Special Envoy to Iraq is calling for Iraq to resolve their political differences. Martin Kobler is quoted stating that he repeats his call for the parties to redouble their efforts to resolve the political crisis. Thursday, July 19th, the United Nations Security Council held a hearing on Iraq and Kobeler noted his concerns "that the ongoing political stalemate" was harming Iraq.
All Iraq News reports that National Alliance MP Wael Abdul Latif is calling for the political crisis to be resolved by a majority government. Ibrahim al-Jaafari is the head of the National Alliance.
Al Rafidayn reports that al-Jaafari met with US Ambassador Robert Beecroft yesterday and that the two addressed the political stalemate but al-Jaafari spoke of continued dialogue, not a majority goverment. But that was when speaking to the US government's representative. As Kitabat notes, al-Jaafari favors a majority government and says it is the Constitutional right of Nouri to form one. Alsumaria notes that KRG President Massoud Barzani is calling for dialogue (not a majority government) and the return to the Erbil Agreement.
The Erbil Agreement ended the eight month political stalemate that followed the March 2010 parliamentary elections. Even before then, Nouri al-Maliki has long wanted a majority government. US General Ray Odierno saw that desire and warned the US government about it but US Ambassador Chris The Nit Wit Hill said Odierno was wrong. Hill then got the White House to refuse to allow Odierno to speak to the media. Because they are so incompetent, the White House not only nominated the idiot Hill to be ambassador but they failed to grasp that Hill had no clue what was going on in Iraq. It would be months before they realized what was going on. During those months, they ignored Odierno and shut him out of the process. Had Odierno been listened to, the will of the Iraqis and the Iraqi Constitution might have been followed.
Al Mada reports that Nouri al-Maliki is calling for the spirit of Eid al-Adha to lead the political blocs to create a better atmosphere for a national conference. Nouri's long opposed such a conference. When he supports it, he's usually working to destroy it. History would indicate that's what's happening behind the scenes right now. He also wants people to "discard their differences." Like their differences over the Erbil Agreement?
When Nouri failed to win a second term as prime minister as a result of State of Law coming in second in the March 2010 elections, the White House negotiated a contract -- the Erbil Agreement -- during the 8 months that Nouri dug in his heels and refused to allow a new prime minister to be named. The contract gave Nouri a second term in exchange for Nouri agreeing to implement Article 140, agreeing to create an independent national security commission and more.
Nouri signed the contract, agreed to it, gladly took his second term as prime minister and then trashed the agreement, refused to honor the contract.
That's what caused the current stalemate.
Nouri's power-grab knows no bounds and, to be successful, it will depend upon silencing the Iraqi press. That need may in fact explain the murder this week of an Iraqi journalist. Dropping back to Wednesday's snapshot:
In addition, Kitabat reports that journalist Zia Mehdi was stabbed to death in Baghdad while she was doing an investigation into the persecution of Iraq's LGBT community.
Iraq's Journalistic Freedoms Observatory notes the investigative journalist was in Baghdad's Tahrir Square at ten a.m. Monday morning conducting meetings and interviews and she was also working on a story about prostitution and brothels in Iraq. She went to a police station to interview some of the 180 women arrested but a police officer prevented her from entering and he denied that there were any prostitutes among the arrested. He left and then moments later re-appeared telling her she could enter but without her colleagues. Zia Mehdi didn't feel comfortable with that offer and instead returned to Tahrir Square to continue her LGBT interviews. Later she was discovered dead, stabbed to death, still in her jacket that noted she was a journalist.
Today Al Mada reports that the military protection for the Union of Writers headquareters in Baghdad's Andalus Square that has been in place since 2004 has just been withdrawn with no reasons given and that the writers are stating this leaves them an easy target for terrorist attacks. Over the summer, a bombing in Andalus Square left at least 12 dead. When not removing physical security, Nouri's government is attempting to remove rights. Kitabat notes Iraqi journalists are protesting Nouri's efforts to restrict the media and stating that this is the first stage of authoritarian rule in Iraq.
International labor journalist, David Bacon, author most recently of the book Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award, is known for text and for photographs. He has two photo exhibits currently. In Mexico City, he has the following exhibit (first the Spanish announcement, then in English):
Facultad de Economia
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
El Area de Conocimiento de Economia Internacional de Posgrado
Academia de Economia Politica y el proyecto PAPIIT IN304312
Invitan a la Muestra Fotografica
"Migracion de Jovenes Mexicanos en Estados Unidos"
de David Bacon
"Que tiene como objectivo visibilizar a traves de imagenes, las condiciones de vida que tiene los jovenes mexicanos que trabajan en los campos agricolas de California."
Desde 3 de octubre hasta 1 de noviembre
En la sala de la Facultad de Economia, UNAM
The Economics School
National Autonomous University of Mexico
The Postgraduate Study Area for the International Economy
The Academy of Political Economy and the Project PAPIIT IN304312
Invite you to the Photographic Exhibition
"The Migration of Mexican Youth to the United States"
By David Bacon
"Making visible through images the living conditions of young Mexicans who work in the fields of California."
From October 3 to November 1
In the entrance hall of the Economics Faculty, UNAM
Mexico City, DF
And he has an exhibit taking place in Oaxaca as well:
El Instituto Oaxaqueño de Atención al Migrante (IOAM)
Les invita a la exposición de fotografias
"Sobreviviendo: la vida de los jornaleros agrícolas y sus familias en EU"
del fotoperiodista David Bacon
Palacio Municipal de la Ciudad de Oaxaca de Juarez
Plaza de Danza, Centro Historico
8 de octubre hasta 8 de noviembre
"La mayoría de las personas tiene la idea de que ir a EU es como ir a barrer los dólares y todo es fácil de conseguir, cuando realmente las personas tienen que vivir bajo los árboles, en casas hechas de cartón o a la intemperie para mandar el dinero a sus familias" -- el titular del IOAM, Rufino Domínguez Santos.
Esta exposición consta de un total de 18 fotografías a gran formato y a color, es itinerante y por ello recorre los municipios identificados en tener el mayor índice de expulsión de migrantes hacia Estados Unidos, con el fin de sensibilizar y hacer conciencia en la población sobre las condiciones de vida de los migrantes.
The Oaxaca Institute for Attention to Migrants
Invites you to the photographic exhibition
"Surviving: the life of farmworkers and their families in the U.S."
By photojournalist David Bacon
City Hall of Oaxaca de Juarez
Plaza de Danza, Centro Historico
October 8 to November 8
"The majority of people have the idea that by going to the U.S. you rake in the dollars and everything is easy to get, when in reality people have to live under trees, in houses of cardboard, or outdoors, in order to send money to their families" -- Rufino Dominguez Santos, director of IOAM
This exhibition contains 18 large color photographs, and is a traveling show, going especially to those towns identified as ones sending the majority of people to the United States. Its purpose is to make people aware of the living conditions of migrants.
Entrevista de David Bacon con activistas de #yosoy132 en UNAM
Interview of David Bacon by activists of #yosoy132 at UNAM (in Spanish)