I’m late for work, but I had to post this.
Anyone who wants to expand on this–feel free to steal my idea.
Oct 11 2007
This is an OPEN THREAD. Here are four stories in the news at 4 o’clock to get you started.
Rosalind Russell of The Independent reports that ‘Only now, the full horror of Burmese junta’s repression of monks emerges‘. “Monks confined in a room with their own excrement for days, people beaten just for being bystanders at a demonstration, a young woman too traumatised to speak, and screams in the night as Rangoon’s residents hear their neighbours being taken away.” First-hand accounts, smuggled out of Burma, are now revealing a “systematic campaign of physical punishment and psychological terror”.
Most of the detained monks, the low-level clergy, were eventually freed without charge as were the children among them. But suspected ringleaders of the protests can expect much harsher treatment, secret trials and long prison sentences. One detained opposition leader has been tortured to death, activist groups said yesterday. Win Shwe, 42, a member of the National League for Democracy, the party of the detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has died under interrogation, the Thai-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said, adding that the information came from authorities in Kyaukpandawn township. “However, his body was not sent to his family and the interrogators indicated that they had cremated it instead.” Win Shwe was arrested on the first day of the crackdown.
Monks and novices, as young as 10 years old, were confined to a room 400 in one room with no toilets, beds, blankets, buckets, or water. “The room was too small for everyone to lie down at once. We took it in turns to sleep. Every night at 8 o’clock we were given a small bowl of rice and a cup of water. But after a few days many of us just couldn’t eat. The smell was so bad.” Onlookers who applauded the monks were taken away and beaten. One such spectator “is so scared she won’t even leave her room” or talk to anyone.
Another Rangoon resident told the aid worker: “We all hear screams at night as they [the police] arrive to drag off a neighbour. We are torn between going to help them and hiding behind our doors. We hide behind our doors. We are ashamed. We are frightened.”
The junta’s “intelligence agents are scrutinising photographs and video footage to identify demonstrators and bystanders. They have also arrested the owners of computers which they suspect were used to transmit images and testimonies out of the country.”
The New York Times reports that Turks are angry over a House committee’s Armenian Genocide vote. “Turkey reacted angrily today to a House committee vote in Washington on Wednesday that condemned the mass killings of Armenians in Turkey during World War I as an act of genocide, calling the decision ‘unacceptable.'” Turkey’s president, Abdullah Gul, criticized the vote saying “Unfortunately, some politicians in the United States have once more dismissed calls for common sense, and made an attempt to sacrifice big issues for minor domestic political games… This is not a type of attitude that works to the benefit of, and suits, representatives of a great power like the Unites States of America. This unacceptable decision of the committee, like similar ones in the past, has no validity and is not worthy of the respect of the Turkish people.”
The Bush administration’s concern that passage of the resolution could hamper their ability to continue the occupation of Iraq. “Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates noted that about 70 percent of all air cargo sent to Iraq passed through or came from Turkey, as did 30 percent of fuel and virtually all the new armored vehicles designed to withstand mines and bombs.” “Turkey severed military ties with France after its Parliament voted in 2006 to make the denial of the Armenian genocide a crime.” Turkey has recalled its ambassador for 10 days of consultations.
Meanwhile in northern Iraq, The New York Times reports Iraq’s worries on Turkish border grow. Mahmoud Othman, a “Kurdish lawmaker in the Iraqi Parliament today condemned preparations by Turkey’s government for potential cross-border military action against Kurdish rebels in Iraq, even as he reported that the Turkish military was mobilizing on the border and Turkish warplanes were flying close to Iraq.” Othman said Turkey’s military was mobilizing on the frontier and “Turkish warplanes were flying close to the border but not crossing it.” Reuters reports that Turkey may request incursion into Iraq. Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, “will ask parliament next week to authorize a military push into north Iraq to fight Kurdish rebels”. The Washington Post confirms Turkey’s military mobilization. “On Tuesday, Turkey’s top civilian and military authorities ordered the armed forces to their highest state of alert. On Wednesday, the Turkish air force used F-16 and F-14 fighter jets and Cobra helicopter gunships to bomb suspected PKK hideouts and escape routes in the mountainous border region, the Turkish Dogan news agency reported. Iraqi residents said Turkish artillery shells landed in Iraqi territory, according to news reports from the border area.” The U.S. and European Union have implored Turkey not to invade northern Iraq.
There is more below the fold: a mixed court ruling on Al Gore’s film, today’s “Guns of Greed”, and a bonus story on the natural evolution of English irregular verbs.
Oct 11 2007
Through October 15, I plan to devote my Pony Party slots to support International Blog Action Day and its focus on our environment. I’ve found a sweet site, Save Our Planet Web Ring, that puts into context the everyday ways in which we can impact the earth for good or bad. I will add my own thing to the list of what we can do: simply, to believe that we have the power to make this world more equitable and more just. Jump below the fold… I really like the examples used by this site
Oct 11 2007
Thanks to the Bush Administration, Iraq is officially hell. Not only have some 655,000 to 1,000,000 Iraqis been killed by Bush’s war, but millions more have been forced to flee their homes. Now, the majority of Iraq’s provinces have decided to cut off their means of escape.
As reported in today’s Guardian:
According to aid officials, 10 out of 18 of Iraq’s governorates are denying entry to civilians trying to escape the fighting or denying them aid once they have arrived, or both. An 11th, Babylon, also tried to shut out displaced families in recent months but was persuaded by the central government in Baghdad to relent for the time being.
Even in their own country, the desperate Iraqis are being told they are not wanted.
With the imposition of visa restrictions by Jordan and Syria, hitherto the main destination for Iraqi refugees, those seeking safety from Iraq’s ceaseless bloodshed have virtually run out of options.
“There are more and more makeshift camps in abysmal conditions, with terrible sanitation and water supply, very little or no healthcare, and no schools,” Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the UN high commissioner for refugees, said yesterday.
The article says about 4,500,000 Iraqis- a sixth of the population- have been forced to flee their homes, since Bush started the war. Last year, the British granted exactly 30 of 745 Iraqi asylum requests. Last year, we accepted an astonishing 535 Iraqi refugees. Yes, we’ve made their world hell, but don’t expect us to accept any responsibility for it. That would be to admit that something’s wrong, over there. Which Bush will never do.
Oct 11 2007
This is some personal shit I just need to get out before I explode…or implode.
Yesterday my daughter-in-law left me absolutely gob-smacked. She said she was going to do the prep for sushi nite at the restaurant in the AM, changing her schedule, because it wasn’t good for the baby to stay with us.
This is Not the first time statements like this have been made. At first I thought it was ‘lost in translation’ moments, because she IS Japanese & English IS a second language for her. Maybe I’m being overly sensitive but, I’m feeling Very hurt. Wanting to crawl back into bed…sleep till the ugly feeling is gone.
Oct 11 2007
When Nancy Pelosi says:
“We have to make responsible decisions in the Congress that are not driven by the dissatisfaction of anybody who wants the war to end tomorrow,” Pelosi told the gathering at the Sofitel, arranged by the Christian Science Monitor. Though crediting activists for their “passion,” Pelosi called it “a waste of time” for them to target Democrats. “They are advocates,” she said. “We are leaders.”
It captures virtually no attention from the Left blogs. Instead we get this:
“Name one hero. Just one.” A woman in the audience raised her hand and said “Eli Pariser.” Then everybody clapped.
MoveOn is an incredibly valuable asset on the progressive side and it’s no surprise that entrenched Democrats who see them as a threat took an opportunity to take a swipe at them. . . . MoveOn stuck their necks out. And I believe it worked. People talk about it as if it was a “distraction.” From what? From ending the war? As if. I hope they continue to find meaningful ways to combat the horrible trajectory this country seems to be on by continuing to fight for progressive values.
Stuck their necks out? A threat to entrenched Democrats? Puhleeeaze. They probably raised more money than they have all year. They support these entrenched Democrats. It begins to smell like a racket to me. This was Move On when it mattered:
MoveOn’s Washington director, Tom Matzzie just confirmed to me that despite earlier concerns that the House Dem leadership’s Iraq plan wasn’t tough enough, the organization yesterday started polling its members and has decided to back the legislation . . . “Our view is, this is a choice between Republicans who want endless war and Democrats who want a safe, responsible end to the war.”
Democrats like Nancy Pelosi who will not do what needs to be done to end the Debacle? You think Move On will run an ad on Pelosi? It smells like a racket to me. Who will speak for the “irresponsible ones” who want Congress to do what it must to end the war – not fund it after a date certain? Not Move On. Not the Left blogs. Not the Left pundits. Where are the “heroes?” Who is defending and supporting the Progressive Caucus? Those folks are the heroes. Not Move On. Not the Left blogs.
Oct 11 2007
Although he’s still unhappy with a children’s health insurance plan adopted by Congress, Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich said today that he’s planning to vote to override President Bush’s veto of the bill “because I think that the president has to be held to an accounting.”
Oct 11 2007
This song, Until the Day is Done, and video left us with tears in our oatmeal this morning. REM fans will understand that the emotions brought to the surface by this amazing group are sincerely felt themselves. Michael Stipe is interviewed right after the video and it’s worth listening especially for his media savvy commentary. I hope CNN breaks viewership records with what looks like a ground-breaking series.
Watch. Listen. Feel. Act.
(Salty Oatmeal being served at Truth & Progress)
Oct 11 2007
cross-posted at dKos
The most buzzworthy story on the right side of the blogosphere this weekend concerned young Graeme Frost… propped up by Democrats desperate to avert the president’s veto of S-CHIP legislation, which would have massively expanded the government health care entitlement.
It appears that Ms. Malkin is concerned about massively expanding the government’s health care entitlement. So I’m pretty sure that Ms. Malkin simply wants to make sure that our taxes dollars are not diverted to something so mundane and middle class as health care. I’m pretty sure she just wants to protect the worthy entitlement programs described below the fold…