As people who know me will tell you, I love bluegrass and country music. I have never appreciated the Nashville record industry's attitude as war-huggers. After so many country stations nixed the Dixie Chicks, I avoided any artist who had even one pro-Iraq song in their discography. I found this one by surfing the net. It's called "I'm Taking My Country Back" and for a country fan who prefers the steel guitar and the fiddle without pseudo-patriotic war revelry, it's sponsored by Music Row Democrats, and it's great! The lyrics are here.
I hear that Tim McGraw's a Democrat. How cool is that?
"Are you a reporter?" the silver-haired lady next to me wants to know. I laugh and say, no, I'm a soccer mom from nearby Cary, but I'm going to write up the event tonight for a blog called Daily Kos and its spin-off, Street Prophets."
- There's a question with which most bloggers can identify, from Deborah Brown, from her diary about a recent speech given by Elizabeth Edwards
Elizabeth Edwards Has More Spine Than Most Democrats
If you read Deborah Brown's Daily Kos diary about her experience at an event where Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Senator John Edwards, was speaking, you will begin to understand what I already believe about this amazing woman. She doesn't pull any punches. She made a clear point that as frustrated as she was at the Bush administration's posturing, deflecting, and story-changing, she was just as frustrated about the Democrats' inability to stand up together.
She urged Democrats to stop watering down our message. We need to say things to the American people in a clear way--that the current Republicans have created a "culture of corruption."
We need to say to the American people that your votes and your needs don't count--because your politicians are for sale. The symbiosis that used to happen between the American people & their leaders is now happening between politicians and their lobbyists.
I am sorry to say that I believe that, with the unfortunate illness of Ariel Sharon and the rise of Hamas, Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the opposition Likud Party, will likely be more popular with Israelis in their upcoming election. Fear has a potent affect on the populace of any nation. It is the near-perfect recipe for assured and continued instability in the Middle East. Netanyahu condemned the Palestinians' democratic vote today, saying that "Today Hamastan was formed." Here's a beauty of a statement from Bibi about the Palestinian election outcome:
"This is a new and dangerous situation. Sharon said he wouldn't let Palestinians in Jerusalem vote. Olmert let them."
Using Jerusalem to show that democracy is a WRONG and DANGEROUS idea for some while a great concept and lofty aim for others?! How many of us watched Iraqi expatriates voting here in the United States?
President Bush couldn't say a whole lot about the outcome because he's the champion of democracy - but this time it seems like Mr. Bush thinks it's the wrong democracy. So is democracy the goal in the Middle East - and if it isn't, then what is?
The Western Word for Today: "WRONG"
Anonymoses points to the hypocrisy of the lofty Bush rhetoric about democracy (look for the hidden "W" - and decide whether he means "Dubya" or "Wrong" - or maybe the "Washington Times" ):
Freedom of Speech and the Kurds' Jailing of Dr. Qadir
A journalist was condemned last October by a KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) court to 30 years imprisonment for two articles that were published on a Kurdish internet site. He received 15 years for each article. Imagine yourself - locked up for blogging something critical regarding the government. Look at the KDP website - how its logo boasts of "freedom."
I wrote about this case on January 12. The KDP has locked up the Austrian journalist Kamal Sayid Qadir because he criticized the Barzani government, accusing them of corruption. Whether or not he "defamed" the government is a point we all know too well to be politically subjective. In the U.S., we've enjoyed a society where journalists are free to be be critical. The Kurdish government is the one closest and friendliest to Western interests in all of Iraq. Unfortunately, though, freedom of speech is not a value that currently is shared between the KDP and the West. Mr. Qadir has credited the Voice of America for possibly saving his life.
The senior official of the K.D.P., which controls western Kurdistan, said that Mr. Qadir's sentence would be reduced to one year and that his family would be permitted to bail him out. The senior official said a court would make the ruling in the next few weeks.
But Mr. Qadir still could face serious criminal jeopardy from complaints yet to be prosecuted, said Ismael Khalil Shakeeb, the presiding criminal court judge in Erbil and one of the judges who sentenced him last month. "He has insulted many other people," he said.
Mr. Qadir, 48, credits a statement issued by the United States over the Voice of America for possibly saving his life. An American official in Baghdad said Washington had discussed the case with Kurdish officials. Delegations including Austrian officials have paid prison visits, he says, adding pressure that greatly improved his living conditions.
Dr Qadir’s case is a political issue, related to freedom of expression and it should have not been a legal case. So says Judge Qubadi Jelilzade, a well-respected Kurdish judge. He stated it in an "open letter to the judges of Kurdistan" that was published on a Kurdish website dengekan.com on 24 January 2006. [KurdMedia.com]
I am still very curious as to why the Washington DC lobbyists Barbour, Griffth, and Rogers (who have extremely strong ties to the Republican party) have been retained by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) - the same party that has jailed this journalist? Who are they lobbying (in D.C.) on behalf of the Kurdish political party that the President and his administration are criticizing? What are the interests that coincide with the U.S. government and the KDP? Bear in mind that our soldiers are being killed while defending Iraqis, and these Iraqis are battling one another because of the power vacuum that was created in the wake of the U.S. forced removal of Saddam Hussein. I can only assume that these lobbyists are looking to have an effect on political outcomes in Iraq because of their own personal interests - isn't that why they are in business? This may not be anything illegal - but how ethical is it to look out for your own pockets by representing a foreign political interest in a place where American boys and girls are still shedding their blood? It sure as hell isn't patriotic. Frankly, the thought is reviling to me.
I'm an American citizen. I want to know where my tax dollars have gone in Iraq. I want to know why Washington DC lobbyists are representing the KDP - and what that might have to do with the Republican party. I'm curious to know where the money that was given to the KDP from the now-defunct Coalition Provisional Authority went. So much of our tax dollars have gone unaccounted for in this dirty little war. All of the gloryspeak about freedom and democracy in President Bush's second inaugural speech has flown out the window of truth.
The sisters of the jailed journalist have spoken out on his behalf.
..the purpose of this article is not to analyse the significance of Kamal Sayid Qadir’s phenomenon. The story is not over yet and the historical function of his timely intervention has just become active. My purpose is to draw attention to the other aspects of the break unleashed by Kamal’s saga: hundreds of intellectuals, especially those in the Diaspora, raising their voices in support of free expression and against corrupt and criminal power practices in Kurdistan. This has been unprecedented in Kurdish history.
This is a story that should be important to Americans because we are being told that the war for democracy in Iraq is our lofty aim - and that is necessary to strengthen our national security. There is suspected corruption in the KDP, some Washington lobbyists are representing their party, and journalists are being jailed for talking about their suspicions.