The P.U.-litzer Prizes for 2006

December 28, 2006

This piece is just way to funny – please pass it around!

Here are some of the “winners”:

Casual About Casual Ties Award — Fox mogul Rupert Murdoch

Echoing an Iraq war talking-point heard regularly on Fox News, owner Murdoch said on the eve of the November election: “The death toll, certainly of Americans there, by the terms of any previous war are quite minute.” As FAIR noted, U.S. deaths in Iraq exceed those in the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War and the Spanish-American War, not to mention the combined U.S. deaths of all this country’s other military actions since Vietnam — including Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, the first Gulf War, Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

“Prove You’re Not a Traitor” Prize — CNN’s Glenn Beck

In November, Beck — an Islamophobic host on CNN Headline News — launched into his interview with Congressman-elect Keith Ellison, a Muslim American, this way: “I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.'” Beck then added: “And I know you’re not. I’m not accusing you of being an enemy, but that’s the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way.” Is it possible that primetime bigots like CNN’s Beck have something to do with the prejudices “that a lot of Americans feel”?

It gets worse. Go read the rest of it here.

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Darfur in Crisis, Still

December 28, 2006

I think it was Senator Russ Feingold that mentioned on Meet the Press that the while the U.S. pours billions into Iraq, Somalia receives around 1-2 million dollars a year in foreign aid. You just can’t ignore other crisis in the world while hoping that they go away. Darfur really, REALLY, needs a U.S. intervention:

Almost four years after conflict broke out in Darfur, calls are being made for greater efforts to resolve the predicament in this western region of Sudan.

During an event marking International Human Rights Day Dec. 8, outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan reiterated that the world can, and must intensify the drive to address violence in Darfur.

Renewed fighting has been taking place in the region over the past two months, and aid agencies warn that this is causing thousands of civilians to flee into mountainous areas where they are cut off from assistance. Sudan’s government has clashed with a coalition of rebels that failed to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement in May 2006 in the Nigerian capital, Abuja — the National Redemption Front.

Why does the world continue to ignore Darfur? The whole world has plenty of evidence of a genocide in Darfur, yet where are they? In Iraq. Talk about priorities. To put some of this in context, Osama bin Laden was LIVED and OPERATED in Somalia for years before 9/11.


More Troops but Less Control in Iraq

December 28, 2006

You have got to be kidding me. Isn’t clear that we should get the hell out of Iraq?

More U.S. troops are expected to be deployed in Iraq in the New Year. Despite obvious rethinking, there is no decision on withdrawal of occupation forces.

The presence of troops may be raised just for their own protection. According to a Pentagon report, U.S. and Iraqi forces are facing close to 1,000 attacks a week now. U.S. forces comprise more than 90 percent of the “coalition of the willing” in Iraq.

According to the White House, 49 countries joined that coalition at the time of the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. That number has shrunk to 32, after countries like Italy and Canada withdrew troops this year.

Britain is expected to withdraw its 7,500 troops next year, after pulling out 1,300 earlier this year.

Yeah, that’s the spirit. Lets send in MORE troops and everything will magically be solved! How about addressing some of the real problems?

Sunnis are concerned how far U.S. forces will take that tilt next year. “They (the U.S. military) lifted their checkpoints around Sadr City in Baghdad saying it was ordered by Maliki,” Mahmood said. “Yet, when it comes to our Sunni areas they increased killing of innocent civilians.”

Most of the victims of death squads are Sunnis, whose bodies are found on the streets of Baghdad every day. Many bodies show signs of torture, particularly holes drilled into them, and wounds and deformation caused by acid.

U.S. forces ignore such killings, and carry out their own, in moves to crush Sunni resistance. And they are looking for reinforcements to carry out this job. Since the middle of December, the Bush Administration has been discussing sending an additional 20,000-50,000 troops to Iraq in a “temporary” move. There are currently 141,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, with at least 5,000 U.S. “advisors”.


International aid work a deadly profession

December 28, 2006

I have participated in international medical trips in El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, and though I have never encountered any real danger – and I don’t count crossing an old, rackety bridge 200 feet above the ground, Indiana Jones style, as such – some of my colleagues can vouch for this:

The United Nations says that international aid work is one of the world’s most hazardous professions, in which humanitarian workers are constantly threatened with — or victims of — kidnappings, harassment, detention and deadly violence.

A U.N. study, currently before the 192-member General Assembly, points out that hundreds of aid workers and U.N. humanitarian personnel continue to face risks in some of the world’s major trouble spots, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Israel and Haiti.

“By any measure,” says U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, “international aid work is a dangerous profession.”

By dangerous jobs I mean civilian jobs, not U.S. soldiers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a comparison of on-the-job death rates in the top 10 most hazardous civilian occupations would place aid workers at number five after loggers (92.4 per 100,000 workers), pilots (92.4), fishermen (86.4) and structural iron and steel workers (47.0). I would add “reporters in Iraq and Afghanistan” as well but I can’t find the statistics for that one yet.


How Employers Discriminate by Marital Status

December 28, 2006

As if women weren’t discriminated enough. One of the most common factors of discrimination is via marital status. Men reading this blog might think, that’s just a bunch of bull. It’s not:

Only 22 states and Puerto Rico specifically prohibit employers from inquiring about applicants’ marital status. That means “maternal profiling” is a real problem for many women.

Just ask Kiki Peppard. […] But Pennsylvania is one of those many states that says nothing against the practice, which in the absence of a federal prohibition, makes it perfectly OK. In fact, those were usually among the first questions asked, she said, and many hiring managers ended the encounter soon after she honestly answered them.

“You have to understand how humiliating it was to be denied employment because I was a mother, and how humbling it was to not know where your next meal is coming from, and that as a woman in this country, you really are treated as worthless,” she said.

As you might imagine, the mainstream media barely covers any related developments, if at all:

For 12 years Peppard, a single mother, has campaigned to get Pennsylvania to make it illegal for employers to ask about an applicant’s marital or familial status. Last week, on Nov. 30, the bill died its most recent death when committee chairmen refused to allow it to move to the floor of the state House and Senate for a vote.

This bill has not only failed with legislators, it’s also been pretty much of a non-starter with the press. Peppard says–and my own Web searches confirm–there was no coverage of the bill’s most recent failure. […] She spent six years trying to get Pennsylvania legislators to sponsor a bill against maternal profiling in interviews and the next six trying to get the bill passed into law.

She says she has been contacting reporters from the very beginning, but after all that time she can count the news sightings on just about two hands and most of that is coming from the alternative or independent press.

One break came her way when MomsRising.org made her story a centerpiece of their cause to improve U.S. motherhood conditions. Peppard is heavily featured in the activist group’s 2006 documentary “The Motherhood Manifesto,” based on the book of the same name by MomsRising co-founders Joan Blades and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, who also published a Mother’s Day piece about Peppard this year in the Nation. MomsRising blogger Cooper Munroe also got an op-ed about Peppard published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sept. 27.

How typical. By the way, visit the MomsRising website when you have a chance.


3,000 U.S. soldiers dead by Christmas 2006

December 27, 2006

Well Dubya, chalk another one to your growing list of “accomplishments”:

– 96 American soldiers killed in December 2006
– 2,983 total U.S. soldiers killed thus far
– over 25,000 U.S. soldiers injured

Heck of a job, ain’t it?


Abu Ghraib Torture Exhibition (warning: explicit images)

December 27, 2006

Via Raw Story:

“Security firmly in place, Clinton Fein’s latest exhibition, Torture, scheduled to open at Toomey Tourell Gallery in San Francisco on January 4, 2007, is a shocking and defiant exploration of America’s approach to torture under the Bush administration,” the press release states.

The exhibition consists of “a series of staged and digitally manipulated photographic images” which “recreate infamous torture scenes from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, transforming diffuse, muted and low-resolution images into large-scale, vivid, powerful and frightening reproductions.”

Artist Fein was born in South Africa, and according to his blog, he is “closely identified with his controversial web site, Annoy.com and his notable Supreme Court victory against Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States, challenging the constitutionality of the Communications Decency Act in 1997, where Fein’s right to disseminate his art was upheld in a landmark victory for First Amendment rights.”

And just what types of pictures he plans on exhibiting? Here are two of them:

Clinton Fein Torture Exhibition 01

Clinton Fein Torture Exhibition 02

And then you wonder why I think George W. Bush is a war criminal.