You are currently browsing the daily archive for September 23, 2007.
I just came home from the event. My daughter needed a nap, but the rest of my family is still down there having a ball. There’s still plenty of food, kids’ activities, music from Steel Toed Slippers, and good company. Head down there if you’re looking for something to fill the rest of a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Addendum: Okay, that’s not the right image, but I guess it’ll do for now.
Second Addendum: It was a great day! Mellow. Kids all had a great time. Nobody intoxicated. The community could use more events like this.
I’m looking forward to it. He’s got to be in his 90s by now, but even though he’s “retired” I keep hearing about performances he makes. From the Variety review:
As certain to get auds singing as the man himself, “Pete Seeger: The Power of Song” is a terrific, multilayered portrait of a singer whose legacy extends beyond music and into every major social action movement since the 1940s. With unprecedented access to family and colleagues — even Bob Dylan appears — helmer Jim Brown follows Seeger’s career from the hit parade to the blacklist, encompassing civil rights and environmental activism. Always enjoyable, this docu proves that a few rare people actually deserve the hagiography treatment. Perfect for PBS, the pic should find fervent fans on regional arthouse screens and DVD.”He’s a living testament to the First Amendment,” proclaims the Dixie Chicks‘ Natalie Maines, about the man called the “high priest of folk music.” Combining a calm, innate dignity with an ego-free temperament, Seeger is impossible to dislike, his righteousness always paired with respect and thus utterly disarming. Even now, in his late 80s, he can be seen not just on the concert stage but on the street corner, protesting the Iraq invasion as Joe Citizen and not Mr. Celebrity.
Somebody sent the link to me in an e-mail. It jogged an old memory of a documentary about the Weavers entitled “Wasn’t that a Time?” which contained clips from the 1950s as well as their late seventies reunion at Carnegie Hall shortly before Lee Hayes died. It’s not yet on DVD I’m afraid.
Can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen him whether at ticketed concerts, political demonstrations, or Lincoln Brigade reunions. His music is sort of a staple in the upbringing of any red-diaper baby, or in my case a red-diaper grand-baby.
He was a Communist Party member until the 1950s, and found it in himself to slam Stalin decades later. He did show some independence in the early 1980s when he put his name on a public petition in support of the Polish Solidarity Union, but was browbeat by hard-lined activists until he asked for it to be removed. Recently he’s reportedly opened up a dialog with commie-turned-conservative Ron Radosh.
A living icon however. As he was quoted in the documentary Seeing Red, “pity not the man who fought and failed. Pity the man who just didn’t give a damn.” Or something like that. I can’t find the quote at the moment.
Photo comes from the Harvard Square Library.
Apparently the Iraqi government has a Blackwater incident on tape. And there are allegations of other incidents as well.
Khalaf also said the ministry was looking into six other fatal shootings involving the Moyock, N.C.-based company in which 10 Iraqis were killed and 15 wounded. Among the shootings was one Feb. 7 outside Iraqi state television in Baghdad that killed three building guards.
“These six cases will support the case against Blackwater, because they show that it has a criminal record,” Khalaf said.
Khalaf said the report was “sent to the judiciary” although he would not specify whether that amounted to filing of criminal charges. Under Iraqi law, an investigating judge reviews criminal complaints and decides whether there is enough evidence for a trial.
So, exactly when did the media concede the exchange of the term “contractor” for “mercenary?”
But if you want to consider the upside, the government action against Blackwater does indicate that at least some elements of the government are independent. I’ll be curious to see how the administration plays this.
According to this blogger, where I got the above photo of Blackwater operatives, the “contractors” exceed the number of troops in Iraq. That seems incredible to me, but then we have no way of knowing for sure. Obviously we won’t have any statistics on their deaths, and probably not the harm they inflict. If you remember the Fallujah incident from a few years back, war supporters slammed anybody who asked whether they might have done anything to provoke such a reaction from the mob who lynched them. It seemed like “blaming the victim,” but there haven’t been comparable actions against regular soldiers.
Meanwhile, the Nation has a partial transcript of Jeremy Scahill’s testimony before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. It begins as follows:
My name is Jeremy Scahill. I am an investigative reporter for The Nation magazine and the author of the book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. I have spent the better part of the past several years researching the phenomenon of privatized warfare and the increasing involvement of the private sector in the support and waging of US wars. During the course of my investigations, I have interviewed scores of sources, filed many Freedom of Information Act requests, obtained government contracts and private company documents of firms operating in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. When asked, I have attempted to share the results of my investigations, including documents obtained through FOIA and other processes, with members of Congress and other journalists.
Update: Apparently, the Iraqi government has been pleading with ours to do something about Blackwater for some time. The US-drawn regulations don’t allow the Iraqi authorities to do anything about them. And they aren’t regulated by the US military system. They are literally above and outside the law. Can’t be touched.
Second Update: Meanwhile, Condoleeza Rice and the Iraqi president pretty much avoided each other at the UN.