President Hillary By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
January 23, 2008

If polls are reliable, Hillary will win the Democratic nomination. The Democratic groups that prefer Obama are not sufficiently numerous to give him the nomination.

Of course, anything can happen in a political campaign, but the latest Field Poll of likely California Democrats and independent voters gives Hillary a 39 to 27 percent lead over Obama. This is bad news for Obama, because California is a progressive state where race is less likely to be a handicap.

Obama is favored by those who rank the Iraq war and foreign policy as the most important issues, by blacks, college graduates, and those with higher incomes.

Hillary is favored two to one by women, two to one by lower income groups and three to one among Latinos. Hillary has a further advantage. At the 2004 Democratic National Convention approximately 50 percent of the delegates were women. As Democratic delegates are invariably feminists, they are not going to miss the chance of putting a woman in the presidency.

Are the Democrats choosing Hillary because she has the moral integrity to stop an unjust war and to hold war criminals responsible for leading America into war based on lies and deception? Are they choosing Hillary because she defends the US Constitution from usurpation by executive power? Are they choosing her because she is public-spirited instead of personally ambitious?

No. The Democrats are choosing Hillary because of gender and race. Despite all the efforts of Democratic activist groups, the majority of Democratic voters are more concerned with race and gender issues than with their country’s reputation and their civil liberties.

If elected president, Hillary will bring no more change than did the Democratic congressional majority elected in 2006.

Obama might not bring any change either. But he is the only candidate in the running who has expressed concern over Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians and who voted against the Iraq invasion. Clearly, he is a better bet for change than Hillary. However, Democrats are more attuned to race and gender issues than to war crimes and loss of civil liberties.

This is not to argue that Republicans are an improvement. Their likely nominee is McCain, who has recently said that he is OK with a hundred-year war in Iraq. McCain is as willing to attack Iran as Bush and Cheney, and he would not be adverse to conspiring with Israel and the neoconservatives to pull off an attack. Republicans don’t even have a “change” candidate in the running. They have worked to marginalize Ron Paul precisely because he would be an instrument of change.

Even if Obama were elected and was sincere about change, what could he do? Probably very little. The pool of candidates from which he could staff an administration is not that much different from that of any other candidate. He can pass over a neocon architect of the Iraq invasion and settle on an architect of President Clinton’s bombing of Serbia.

Moreover, Congress will still be controlled by the same interest groups. If Obama were to appoint people opposed by the military-security lobby, the Israel Lobby or the offshoring lobby, the Senate would be unlikely to confirm them. No president wants to nominate people who cannot be confirmed. Presidents have to staff their administrations according to who can get the approval of powerful interest groups.

This makes if difficult to change the status quo. It only takes one senator to put a hold on an appointment. Change in Washington requires breaking many iron grips.

In the presidential race, Hillary would defeat McCain, who without any doubt is the war candidate. Hillary will get the women’s vote, the minorities’ vote, and the anti-war vote. McCain will get the vote of angry macho white males.

What Hillary has to worry about is a major terrorist attack, whether real or orchestrated, that would revive the 9/11 fears and send voters scurrying to put the presidency into the hands of a war hero. As Hillary is not regarded as a threat to Israel’s territorial expansion or to the interests of the military-security complex, the only wild card is some terrorist action that would require the failure of US security in order to succeed.

Of course, all of this ignores the salient fact: No one knows how the Diebold electronic voting machines programmed by Republican operatives with proprietary software will count the votes.

If it hasn’t become a stolen affair, the American presidency has become a family affair, one that is passed from a Bush to a Clinton to a Bush and back to a Clinton. The interest groups are satisfied, and nothing of importance changes.

After Hillary will we have Jeb?

COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider’s Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The Prison-Industrial Complex By Eric Schlosser

Dandelion Salad

By Eric Schlosser
04/01/08 “The Atlantic

Correctional officials see danger in prison overcrowding. Others see opportunity. The nearly two million Americans behind bars—the majority of them nonviolent offenders—mean jobs for depressed regions and windfalls for profiteers

Continue reading

The Danse Macabre of US-Style Democracy By John Pilger

Dandelion Salad

By John Pilger
24/01/08 “ICH

The former president of Tanzania Julius Nyerere once asked, “Why haven’t we all got a vote in the US election? Surely everyone with a TV set has earned that right just for enduring the merciless bombardment every four years.” Having reported four presidential election campaigns, from the Kennedys to Nixon, Carter to Reagan, with their Zeppelins of platitudes, robotic followers and rictal wives, I can sympathize. But what difference would the vote make? Of the presidential candidates I have interviewed, only George C. Wallace, governor of Alabama, spoke the truth. “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Democrats and Republicans,” he said. And he was shot.

What struck me, living and working in the United States, was that presidential campaigns were a parody, entertaining and often grotesque. They are a ritual danse macabre of flags, balloons and bullsh*t, designed to camouflage a venal system based on money power, human division and a culture of permanent war.

Traveling with Robert Kennedy in 1968 was eye-opening for me. To audiences of the poor, Kennedy would present himself as a savior. The words “change” and “hope” were used relentlessly and cynically. For audiences of fearful whites, he would use racist codes, such as “law and order.” With those opposed to the invasion of Vietnam, he would attack “putting American boys in the line of fire,” but never say when he would withdraw them. That year (after Kennedy was assassinated), Richard Nixon used a version of the same, malleable speech to win the presidency. Thereafter, it was used successfully by Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and the two Bushes. Carter promised a foreign policy based on “human rights” – and practiced the very opposite. Reagan’s “freedom agenda” was a bloodbath in Central America. Clinton “solemnly pledged” universal health care and tore down the last safety net of the Depression.

Nothing has changed. Barack Obama is a glossy Uncle Tom who would bomb Pakistan. Hillary Clinton, another bomber, is anti-feminist. John McCain’s one distinction is that he has personally bombed a country. They all believe the US is not subject to the rules of human behavior, because it is “a city upon a hill,” regardless that most of humanity sees it as a monumental bully which, since 1945, has overthrown 50 governments, many of them democracies, and bombed 30 nations, destroying millions of lives.

If you wonder why this holocaust is not an “issue” in the current campaign, you might ask the BBC, which is responsible for reporting the campaign to much of the world, or better still Justin Webb, the BBC’s North America editor. In a Radio 4 series last year, Webb displayed the kind of sycophancy that evokes the 1930s appeaser Geoffrey Dawson, then editor of the London Times. Condoleezza Rice cannot be too mendacious for Webb. According to Rice, the US is “supporting the democratic aspirations of all people.” For Webb, who believes American patriotism “creates a feeling of happiness and solidity,” the crimes committed in the name of this patriotism, such as support for war and injustice in the Middle East for the past 25 years, and in Latin America, are irrelevant. Indeed, those who resist such an epic assault on democracy are guilty of “anti-Americanism,” says Webb, apparently unaware of the totalitarian origins of this term of abuse. Journalists in Nazi Berlin would damn critics of the Reich as “anti-German.”

Moreover, his treacle about the “ideals” and “core values” that make up America’s sanctified “set of ideas about human conduct” denies us a true sense of the destruction of American democracy: the dismantling of the Bill of Rights, habeas corpus and separation of powers. Here is Webb on the campaign trail: “[This] is not about mass politics. It is a celebration of the one-to-one relationship between an individual American and his or her putative commander-in-chief.” He calls this “dizzying.” And Webb on Bush: “Let us not forget that while the candidates win, lose, win again . . . there is a world to be run and President Bush is still running it.” The emphasis in the BBC text actually links to the White House website.

None of this drivel is journalism. It is anti-journalism, worthy of a minor courtier of a great power. Webb is not exceptional. His boss Helen Boaden, director of BBC News, sent this reply to a viewer who had protested the prevalence of propaganda as the basis of news: “It is simply a fact that Bush has tried to export democracy [to Iraq] and that this has been troublesome.”

And her source for this “fact”? Quotations from Bush and Blair saying it is a fact.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Kucinich drops presidential bid by Mark Naymik (videos) (updated)

Why Tax Rebates Won’t Work by Josh Sidman

Josh

by Josh Sidman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Josh’s Blog Post

Jan. 24, 2008

Proving once again that public debate in this country is invariably about appearances rather than substance, everyone in Washington has been tripping over themselves trying to push their way to the front of the crowd demanding “swift action” to rescue our ailing economy. No sooner had world stock markets started indicating that the crash was finally at hand than we saw Hillary Clinton calling for a $70 billion stimulus package. Barack Obama, not to be outdone, presented his own $75 billion proposal. And President Bush, fiscal conservative that he is, trumped them both with a $150 billion package, including $100 billion in tax rebates.

Forgetting about the actual numbers for a moment, let’s think about what this all really means. As I have argued in a previous blog, many of the superficially appealing but fundamentally flawed notions that we hear about the economy are based on a basic misapprehension of the nature of money. The failure of the public and our elected leaders to understand what money really is has led to one wrong-headed policy after another. The only long-term solution is for the public to become better educated, so that they won’t fall for the kind of shenanigans that the folks in Washington are hoping will convince us that the coast is clear and that we should all run out and purchase another 110″ flat-screen TV.

So, let’s analyze the logic of a tax rebate a little more closely. First off, let’s simplify the language a little bit. Rather than call it a tax rebate, let’s call it what it really is – i.e. free money. The question, though, is whether its actually possible for the government to create free money.

Since the suspension of convertibility into gold, paper currency has had no “intrinsic value”. The only reason why we are all willing to give real goods and services in exchange for these worthless pieces of paper is because everyone else does likewise. The money itself has no actual value – it is simply a vehicle for facilitating the exchange of valuable goods and services. And, this is the key point for understanding why the government’s free-money policy can’t possibly work.

Let’s imagine a simplified economy consisting of just two people. Due to some combination of superior skill and greater cunning, Person A has managed to accumulate 95% of the total wealth in the system. Unfortunately, due to the fact that Person B has so little wealth at his disposal, both participants suffer, since Person B doesn’t have enough resources to pay Person A to engage in productive activity. If, in this case, Person A were to make a gift of 10% of his wealth to Person B, this would have a stimulative effect on the economy, since Person B would have a greater ability to engage the services of Person A, which would further increase Person A’s ability to purchase from Person B, and so on.

Returning from our theoretical example to the real world, let’s ask ourselves what it means for the government to give away free money. The key distinction to note is that, unlike Person A in the example, far from having excess wealth available, the U.S. Government is the largest debtor in the history of the planet. Yes, the government happens to control the printing presses and can churn out as much of this worthless paper as it wants, but the net result of this additional money cannot be stimulative unless it represents real wealth, which in this case it obviously doesn’t.

To further illustrate the principles involved, let’s imagine that, instead of going through the time and expense of sending out checks to every American citizen, the government decided to make things simpler by just telling everyone to take a number-two pencil and cross out the numbers on all of their dollar bills and double them. In one fell swoop, the government would have doubled the amount of money in circulation. Does anyone imagine that this would have any effect on the real economy other than to cause everyone to double the prices of everything? And, this is exactly the effect that the government’s current free-money policy is likely to have. Since the government doesn’t have any real wealth to put in people’s hands, the only long-run effect this action can have is to accelerate the declining value of the US dollar and push us another step closer to a hyperinflation that is seeming more and more likely with each passing day.

see

How to Sink Americä: Why the Debt Crisis Is Now the Greatest Threat to the American Republic by Chalmers Johnson

The Bush Dollar Trap – Hard Times A-Coming by Dave Lindorff

Is This The Big One? By Mike Whitney

Stock Markets in Europe Plunge 7 Percent (updated)

Bush To Abandon Supply-Side Economics? By Paul Craig Roberts

Will Economic Stimulus Measures Stave Off Recession? by Richard C. Cook

Kucinich: Economic Stimulus Package Needs To Focus On States And Localities That Need Help The Most

Bush’s “Stimulus” Cash Giveaway; “Gentlemen, Start The Helicopters” By Mike Whitney

Bush speech on the U.S. Economy Jan.18, 2008

Economy

How to Sink Americä: Why the Debt Crisis Is Now the Greatest Threat to the American Republic by Chalmers Johnson

Dandelion Salad

by Chalmers Johnson
Global Research, January 24, 2008
Tomgram

Within the next month, the Pentagon will submit its 2009 budget to Congress and it’s a fair bet that it will be even larger than the staggering 2008 one. Like the Army and the Marines, the Pentagon itself is overstretched and under strain — and like the two services, which are expected to add 92,000 new troops over the next five years (at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion per 10,000), the Pentagon’s response is never to cut back, but always to expand, always to demand more. Continue reading

Escape from Gaza or Voluntary Transfer? By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
24/01/08 “ICH

Forget everything you’ve read about the “Great Escape” from Gaza. It’s all rubbish. The whole farce was cooked up in an Israeli think tank as way to rid Palestine of its indigenous people. Here’s an excerpt from the Israeli newspaper Arutz Sheva which explains the real motive behind the incident:

“MK (Israeli Knesset member) Aryeh Eldad is hailing the Arab exodus to Egypt as proof that voluntary transfer is indeed an option.”

“The Israeli left continues to claim that there is no such thing as voluntary transfer, and simply ignores reality,” Eldad said. (Arutz Sheva)

Voluntary transfer. Bingo.

So the fleeing Palestinians just fell into a trap. Now they’ve been banished to Egypt by their own volition. We’ll have to wait and see how many are allowed to return.

The media has played its traditional role in the Gaza fiasco, trying to make it look like Hamas’ “terrorist masterminds” struck a major blow against Israel. It’s just a way of diverting attention from Israel’s role in the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Here’s the way Ha’aretz summed it up:

“Hamas chalked up a real coup. Not only did the organization demonstrate once again that it is a disciplined, determined entity, and an opponent that is exponentially more sophisticated than the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority are now forced to find a new joint border control arrangement, one that will probably depend on the good graces of Hamas….The Hamas action yesterday was anything but spontaneous. It was another stage in the campaign that began in Gaza’s night of darkness on Sunday. As Gaza was plunged into widely televised blackness, Palestinian children armed with candles were brought out on a protest march and organized into prime-time demonstrations in support of the Egyptian and Jordanian branches of the Muslim Brotherhood.” (“Gaza border breach shows Israel Hamas is in charge, Ha’aretz)

Nonsense. Israel is not the victim any more than Palestinian children are “armed” with candles. The candles are a symbol of hope; something that is sadly lacking under Israeli rule. The truth is that Israel was getting battered in the media for cutting off food, water, energy and medical supplies to 1.5 million civilians (some of whom died in the hospital when the power was turned off on their respirators) so they looked for a way to do an about-face without appearing weak. Ha’aretz would like us to believe that our sympathy for starving women and children is the result of the propaganda we’ve seen in the “Palestinian-owned” media.

What a laugh; the “Palestinian-owned” media.

Hamas poses no threat to Israel and it controls nothing; certainly not the border. They’ve even suspended all suicide attacks since they won democratic elections a year and a half ago. But that is not enough for Israel whose goal is to extinguish any trace of Arab solidarity or Palestinian nationalism. Nearly all of the 4,000 articles now appearing on Google News follow this same absurd narrative about ‘clever terrorists’ who’ve out-foxed Israel and liberated their people. It’s just another way of concealing the criminal brutality of the 60 year long occupation. In truth, Hamas probably had nothing to do with the destruction of the wall. It’s just part of Israel’s plans to exile more Palestinians.

According to the article in Arutz Sheva, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak decided to follow orders from Hamas’ chief Khaled Mashall and “ignore Israeli calls to close the border. Mashaal seemed to indicate that Hamas was asserting sovereignty over northern Sinai, calling upon the Arab world to take advantage of the Islamist group’s new stronghold to provide aid directly without Israeli interference.”

Now, that’s a stretch. In other words, US puppet Hosni Mubarak—-who gets $2 billion a year in aid from the United States—has suddenly decided to take orders from the head of a group that is on the State Dept’s list of terrorist organizations so that he can fulfill his obligations as a “loyal Arab”?

Ridiculous.

Besides, Hamas has no interest in northern Sinai or any other territorial ambitions. Its only purpose is to resist Israeli occupation.

So far an estimated 350,000 residents of Gaza have fled across the border since Wednesday. The Egyptian police have done nothing to stop them from entering the country. “A significant number have remained in Egypt…traveling south to Egyptian population centers.”

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on 1-24-08 that:

“Israeli officials proposed that Egypt take over responsibility for sustaining the Gaza Strip.

Israeli media quoted members of the Olmert government as saying Thursday that, after Palestinians overran the Gaza-Egypt border, there was an opportunity to demand that Cairo take care of the needs of the coastal territory.

“We need to understand that when Gaza is open to the other side, we lose responsibility for it. So we want to disengage from it,” Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai told Army Radio. “We are responsible as long as there is no alternative.” (JTA)

Are we expected to believe that in the last 24 hours Israel decided willy-nilly to relinquish control over parts of the Gaza Strip? Israel has devoted a considerable amount of time to building settlements in a way that removes any possibility of creating a contiguous Palestinian state. It is highly unlikely that their plans for Gaza are taken any less seriously. In fact, we are probably seeing a manifestation of those plans right now via the expulsion of 350,000 Palestinians.

The Jerusalem Post’s Yaakov Katz clarifies how the destruction of the border wall serves Israel’s long-term policy objectives:

“Without even knowing it, Egypt helped Israel on Wednesday to complete the disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he opened the crossing for Gazans since they were “starving due to the Israeli siege,” what he did proved to the world that his country is perfectly capable of caring for the Palestinians when it comes to food and medical care.

Wednesday’s events and particularly Mubarak’s decision to open a floodgate into his country for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, demonstrated that there are alternatives to Israel when it comes to being Gaza’s provider. ” (Jerusalem Post)

That says it all, doesn’t it? The Palestinians are regarded as a mere nuisance and a drain on Israeli resources. Now that the wall has conveniently been knocked down, the problem appears to be solved.

Hamas had nothing to do with blowing up the wall. And if they did, they were just unwitting accomplices in Israel’s masterplan to drive more Palestinians off the land and to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the ones that remain.

This is just another grim chapter in Bush’s “New Middle East”.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

01.23.08 Uncensored News Reports From Across The Middle East (video; over 18 only)

End the Siege on the People of Gaza: International Day of Action, Jan. 26

Palestinians break out of Gaza (videos)

Kucinich drops presidential bid by Mark Naymik

Updated: added video

Dandelion Salad

by Mark Naymik
The Plain Dealer
January 24, 2008 15:27PM

Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich is dropping out of the Democratic race for president.

Kucinich will make the announcement Friday at a news conference in Cleveland. In an exclusive interview with Plain Dealer editors and reporters, Kucinich said he will explain his “transition” tomorrow.

“I want to continue to serve in Congress,” he said.

Kucinich said he will not endorse another Democrat in the primary.

Kucinich is seeking a seventh term in Congress, but his long-shot bid for the White House has drawn four Democratic opponents.

download the MP3

…continued

Continue reading

Bob Drogin: Curveball: Spies, Lies & the Con Man Who Caused a War (video)

Dandelion Salad

Democracy Now!

January 24, 2008

Curveball: Reporter Bob Drogin on “Spies, Lies, and the Con Man Who Caused a War”

We speak with Los Angeles Times reporter Bob Drogin about his new book, “Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Con Man Who Caused a War.” It examines how a former Iraqi taxi driver helped build the Bush administration’s case for war by making false claims about Saddam Hussein’s alleged biological and chemical weapons programs.

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As we continue to talk about the lies that led to the Iraq war, we are also joined by Los Angeles Times reporter Bob Drogin. He is author of the new book “Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Con Man Who Caused a War.”

The book examines how a former Iraqi taxi driver helped build the Bush administration’s case for war by making false claims about Saddam Hussein’s alleged biological and chemical weapons programs.

Bob Drogin, national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times and author of the book “Curveball: Spies, Lies, and the Con Man Who Caused a War.”

transcript

Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

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Cafferty: Study: 935 False Statements Leading up to the War with Iraq (video)

Kucinich to Introduce Articles of Impeachment Against Bush on Jan 28 State of Union Day By David M. Herszenhorn + videos

Center for Public Integrity documents orchestrated campaign that led to Iraq invasion “under decidedly false pretenses”

Under Curfew, This Is No Life By Ahmed Ali & Dahr Jamail

Dandelion Salad

By Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail
After Downing Street
Inter Press Service

BAQUBA, Jan 24 (IPS) – Continuing curfew has brought normal life to a standstill in Baquba, capital of the restive Diyala province north of Baghdad.

Through nearly three decades of rule under Saddam Hussein, Iraqis witnessed only two curfews; for the census in the 1970s and 1980s. Under the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, curfews are commonplace, enforced whenever the Iraqi government and U.S. military fail to control the situation on the ground.

A curfew means all public utilities and services cease. Life becomes frozen, and nobody is able to get to work. Factories and other utilities close, the wheel of the economy and development stops.

“When the government imposes a curfew it does not think of those who have no salary,” 39-year-old labourer Adnan al-Khazraji told IPS. “A very large number of people like me rely on daily income for their living. On the contrary, government employees feel safe whether there is a curfew or not because at the end of a month they receive the salary regardless of stoppage of work.”

Members of the government and parliament receive big salaries, “and therefore they forget poor people at such times,” Khazraji added.

Not just economically, curfews have taken their toll psychologically as well. In Baquba, 40 km northeast of Baghdad, there has been a curfew every Friday since 2005.

“I feel imprisoned when I have to keep to my home,” Salma Jabr, a resident of the city told IPS. “It is the only holiday that we have to do things like visits, shopping, travelling.”

The Friday curfew has also hit peoples’ access to medical care. “When there is an emergency, we cannot go to a hospital, a physician, or even to a pharmacy because moving in streets is not allowed,” resident Abdul-Rahim Ghaidan told IPS.

“Travellers who come from outside Iraq have to stay outside the city if they come on Friday,” said a taxi driver who did not want to give his name. “They are not allowed to go to the homes of their hosts, so everyone plans their arrivals on days other than Friday. This kind of curfew is applied only in Diyala province.”

Friday is the Muslim holy day of the week. In Baquba, curfew is enforced on other religious occasions as well.

“The Shia have more than 30 religious occasions in a year,” Ali Hassan, a resident of Baquba told IPS. “On each one, curfew is imposed by the predominantly Shia Baghdad government over all the provinces for a day or two except during Ashura. This procedure is taken for protecting Shia people when they perform their rites and ceremonies.”

And, there are other reasons for curfews in Baquba. “A curfew may be imposed when a VIP visits the city,” a local resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS. “It is the only way to ensure protection for the visitor.”

Schools and universities are feeling the effects of these curfews. “Curfew has a direct effect on education not only in Diyala but also in Iraq,” a university professor told IPS. “Pupils and students are obliged to keep to their homes and forget about going to school. We cannot give enough subjects to the students because of the repeatedly imposed curfews.”

The professor said it has become difficult to complete the syllabus within the academic year. “Sometimes, we wake up early to get to the college but we may be told to get back home because of curfew,” he said. “When we later ask the reason, we are told there may be a VIP visiting the city. We have to ask ourselves whether we need to stop life for such a trivial thing. The current government considers scientific process the last priority on their agenda.”

Besides the full curfew every Friday and on other days, there is a daily curfew in Baquba city everyday from 6 pm to 7 am.

“We have to finish our work before 6 pm,” a local engineer told IPS. “Long hours are lost from our time because of the curfew. We have to stop working, and stay home like animals. It is worth thinking how much work can be done during these lost hours.”

“We have to close our shops regardless how much work we have because it is curfew time,” said a local pharmacist. “It is a curse. We feel we are not free.”

“Once, my brother called me from the police station,” Jawadeldine Fakri, a local primary school teacher told IPS. “He was arrested because he was seen in the street at ten past six. He is a lawyer, and he was treated like a criminal by the police.”

“Curfew has reduced social relationships among people because people used to visit each other after they got back home from work,” city official Bahira Jabbar told IPS. “Visiting anyone is difficult now.”

(*Ahmed, our correspondent in Iraq’s Diyala province, works in close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who has reported extensively from Iraq and the Middle East)

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Interview with Dahr Jamail (audio) + Police & Army Getting Sidelined By Ahmed Ali & Dahr Jamail

Sibel Edmonds: Kill The Messenger (must-see)

Dandelion Salad

on Feb 4, 2011 Continue reading

Progressive Shutout: Kucinich Banned, No Real Debate by Glen Ford

Dandelion Salad

by Glen Ford
BAR executive editor
Wednesday, 23 January 2008

“The Democratic establishment is determined to purge itself of any vestiges of opposition to the ruling corporate order.”

Corporate media has succeeded, once again, in wringing the last drops of progressivism out of the Democratic Party primary process. Three times in succession – in New Hampshire, Nevada, and now South Carolina – the gatekeepers of the American political conversation have slammed the door shut to Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), the only genuine progressive in the race. The field is now left to the squabbling political twins, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – so alike in all things except details of temperament, race and gender they could have been raised since infancy in the same dysfunctional foster home – and former Senator John Edwards, who talks like a born-again progressive but whose actual proposals are variations on Obama/Clinton themes.

Kucinich will, of course, continue his crusade to “reform” his party from within, despite the Democratic establishment’s determination to purge itself of any vestiges of opposition to the ruling corporate order. In this, the party and corporate media are united; neither the other candidates nor the Democratic machinery have said a peep about the repeated, arbitrary exclusion of Kucinich from debates, and the Ohio congressman stands alone in his battle with the Texas party’s requirement that candidates sign a “loyalty oath” in exchange for a place on the ballot. The oath demands candidates promise to support the party’s nominee, no matter what – an impossibility for any moral person, since both likely Democratic winners hold out only the vaguest hopes of a partial withdrawal from Iraq, and both call for a substantially larger U.S. war capability and budget. How can a true anti-war candidate pledge his honor to support policies that will inevitably result in more wars?

…continued

h/t: Dennis 4 President

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see

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Dennis 4 President