MUCH TO CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O'S EMBARRASSMENT, THE LABOR DEPARTMENT RELEASED THE JOBS REPORT YESTERDAY.
THE NEWS WAS NOT JUST GRIM, IT WAS DEVASTATING.
AS EVERYONE PAID ATTENTION TO CONTINUED UNEMPLOYMENT AND THE HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, ONE PERSON WAS UNFAZED BY THE DATA.
"PEOPLE KEEP SAYING IT'S A BAD TIME TO FIND A JOB," CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O TOLD THESE REPORTERS. "BULLS**T. FOUR YEARS AGO, I WAS A FIRST TERM SENATOR WHO DIDN'T STAND A GOOD CHANCE AT BEING A SECOND TERMER BUT NOW I AM PRESIDENT. THE JOB MARKET IS GREAT AND I WON'T WORRY ABOUT IT AS LONG AS I HAVE MY JOB."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Still on peace, Joe Carter (Christianity Today) reviews Logan Mehl-Laituri's new book Reborn on the Fourth of July: The Challenge of Faith, Patriotism & Conscience which explains how, in the military, he has a spiritual awakening against all forms of war, "applies to be a noncombatant conscientious objector, leaves the Army after his request is granted, and travels to Israel with a group of Christian peace activists." Mark Johnson (Fellowship of Reconciliation) shares:
Logan Mehl-Laituri spoke to us on March 16, 2007 from the front of the National Cathedral where some 3000 of us had gathered to hear testimony before walking through the snow to the White House to protest the Iraq War, in its 5th year. He describes the evening toward the end of his testimonial tracing his crystallization of conscience and journey as a Conscientious Objector, released today, July 4th 2012, because of a confirming epiphany he had in the Cathedral that evening, before the fresco of Jesus's Resurrection. Wandering the Church prior to the ceremony, at which he was asked to read the words of another recognized conscientious objector, Joshua Casteel, he had stumbled upon and fresco and recognized with full and final force the call to forgive one's enemies and serve God. As with much of the book, the scene is painted vividly with characters in the fresco coming to life and being transformed into Iraqi soldiers and families. We can feel Logan's body quake and see the tears streaming down his face.
The just released book is available at InterVarsity Press ($12 in soft cover currently). Retired Army colonel and retired State Department diplomat Ann Wright says of the book, "Following your conscience while in the military can put you at odds with its own 'institutional conscience' and with specific missions and wars overseen by civilian politicians. Logan Mehl-Laituri's journey from combat soldier to conscientious objector to seminary student is a powerful story of recognizing one's conscience and then following it to the remarkable places of witness in our world." Camile Jackson (Duke University's Duke Today) noted Tuesday:
This morning he shared his views in an interview with the Armed Services Radio Network, which broadcasts to military service members and civilians overseas.
He was a member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War and helped organize, After the Yellow Ribbon project with Milites Christi, an emerging Divinity School student group that helps churches and military groups "heal the unseen wounds of war."
In an interview posted at Patheos, Logan Mehl-Laituri states, "The need I am addressing is the lack of firsthand hope-filled tales of contemporary combat that deal seriously with the cruel reality of evil in war. Churches have no lexicon through which to narrate war for those in their congregations who have suffered therein as perpetrators of collective violence. The acts soldiers commit are not their own, but they are tragically forced to interpret and internalize them without much meaningful guidance from religious leaders. There is a moral dyslexia about war that multiplies the suffering our military members endure." Click here for Logan's profile at Iraq Veterans Against the War and click here to read blog posts and articles by him at Sojourners.
Turning to Karbala. As noted in yesterday's snapshot:
Jaber Ali (Middle East Confidential) explains, "There are fears that the trend will continue, especially on Friday. Analysts believe that the Shiite pilgrims will be the principal targets of bombings and security is being beefed up around Karbala." Press TV reports that 40,000 security forces will provide security within Karbala and that security forces are also deployed "around the central city."
AFP reports Shi'ite pilgrims "gathered in the central shrine of Karbala to commemorate Imam Mehdi's birth, with children lighting 1,179 candles, representing the number of years since the birth of Shiite Islam's so-called 12th imam." Sammer N. Yacoub (AP) notes the skies of the city of Karbala were filled with 14 police helicopters and all non-security vehicles were banned. Hassoun al-Haffar (AKnews) estimated 4 million pilgrims had visited this week by Thursday alone and explain, "Twelver Shi'a believe that al-Madhi was born in 869 and did not die but rather was hidden by God in 941 and will later emerge with Jesus Christ in order to fulfill their mission of bringing peace and justice to the world."
There has been violence targeting the pilgrims throughout the week with the worst taking place Tuesday:
AFP observes, "The blast came just hours after near-simultaneous car bombs targeting Shiite pilgrims on the outskirts of the central shrine city of Karbala killed four people." Alsumaria notes of the Karbala bombing that it hit at the popular market where fruits and vegetables are sold, it left 11 dead and forty-five injured (according to police sources) and that millions of Shi'ites are expected to travel through Karbala this week to celebrate the birth of the 12th or Hidden Imam (9th century). Jamal Hashim and Mustafa Sabah (Xinhua) report, "Karbala's twin bombings came as hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims have started to march to the holy city to commemorate the birth of Imam Mahdi, the last of the twelve most revered Shiite's Imams. Authorities in Karbala expect that the number of pilgrims from Iraqi Shiite cities and outside the country, who started to arrive to observe the ritual ahead of its climax date on Thursday and Friday morning in Karbala will exceed five millions."
Reuters notes a Ramadi car bombing claimed 7 lives and left twenty people injured and quotes an unnamed police officer stating, "Bodies were scattered everywhere and some houses were destroyed." Alsumaria reports 1 person was shot dead outside his Baquba home by an unknown assailant using a machine gun and police shot dead a supect on a highway leading into Baghdad from the south. Anwar Msarbat (AK News) reports a Hit car bombing which claimed 3 lives and left six people injured. All Iraqi News reports on the Hit bombing but insists it was a roadside bombing. In addition, AK News reports that Shahla Omar Aziz set herself on fire Thursday night, buring 70% of her body, after learning her husband had sold their home to pay of a debt.
The political crisis continues in Iraq. As a result, Moqtada al-Sadr gave a major address today at 8:00 pm Baghdad time and it was carried by satellite TV. al-Sadr is a Shi'ite cleric whose followers include 40 MPs in Parliament. He has has had a long and difficult relationship with both the Bush White House and the Barack White House.
All Iraqi News reports he declared that three presidencies should be limited to two terms.and that this is needed to ensure that Iraq does not experience another dictatorship. The three presidencies are the President, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of Parliament. Such a limit would mean Jalal Talabani, current Iraqi President, would be done as would Nouri al-Maliki. Only Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi would be elegible for another term. When the Arab Spring swept through the MidEast in early 2011, Nouri al-Maliki swore that he wouldn't seek a third term. A day later, his spokesperson modified that statement to insist he wouldn't seek a third term if he had not achieved in his second term. Then, almost a year later, his attorney declared there is nothing preventing Nouri from seeking a third term. Moqtada stressed that the Iraqi people need security and that means there needs to be a Minister of Defense, Minister of National Security and Minister of Interior (the article actually says Intelligence but it is Interior and this second article makes that point clear). Nouri was supposed to nominate people to be heads of the security ministries and have them confirmed by the end of December 2010. Instead, Nouri has failed to do so and with violence continuing to rise, that's a serious failure. Moqtada also discussed how Iraqis need electricity they can count on and water they can drink and jobs, they need jobs. Those are three demands Iraqis made when they protested in the streets in February 2011. For those who have forgotten, this is not just when Nouri announced he wouldn't seek a third term but also when he announced that, if Iraqis would give him 100 days, then he would address these issues. Moqtada asked his followers to give Nouri the 100 days. After 100 days, Nouri failed to deliver and pretended as though he'd never made the promises.
In addition, Moqtada spoke about Iraq needing to get along with neighboring countries. Nouri has alienated Turkey -- in fact, Nouri's constant verbal attacks and constant lies about Turkey have resulted in the Turkish government becoming much closer to the Kurdish Regional Government and more and more distant from the Baghdad-based government. He's alienated the Arab neighbors and this was on display during the Arab League Summit. Dropping back to the March 30th snapshot:
There are 22 countries in the Arab League. Hamza Hendawi and Lara Jakes (AP) put the number of Arab League leaders who attended at 10 and they pointed out that Qatar, Saudi Arabi, Morocco and Jordan were among those who sent lower-level officials to the summit. Patrick Martin (Globe & Mail) explains that Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabr Al Thani (Prime Minister of Qatar) declared on television that Qatar's "low level of representation" was meant to send "a 'message' to Iraq' majority Shiites to stop what he called the marginalization of its minority Sunnis." Yussef Hamza (The National) offers, "Iraq has looked to the summit, the first it has hosted in a generation, to signal its emergence from years of turmoil, American occupation and isolation. It wanted the summit to herald its return to the Arab fold. But the large number of absentees told a different story." That's reality.
And let's deal with reality such as when people talk about things that they don't know s**t about. Social Media Queen Jane Arraf Tweeted with her male followers about the speech:
That second one? If you click "expand" you'll find a man (of course, Twitter's nothing but online dating apparently who ridicules Moqtada's idea about a corruption.
He has to ridicule it because, see, he wrote an 'analysis' that was published today and it turned to s**t the minute Moqtada started speaking. Again, these so-called 'experts' really aren't experts. They don't what they're talking about, I have no idea how our world got so screwed up that these people get to speak.
But did Moqtada say what Jane says he did?
Jane, you should embarrassed and ashamed of yourself.
The fact that you have X number of characters in Twitter is no excuse.
What Moqtada stated about corruption was that it needed to be addressed with a full government assault -- including executive orders, including judicial committees, including Parliament and new bodies that are not about partisanship, ethnicity or ideology.
I'm sorry that someone offered masturbation in text form and it was published today and that their hypothesis about Moqtada -- not "theory," theories can be tested with certain expected results -- turned out to be trash. And if you'd own that, I wouldn't even be mentioning it. I saw that piece of garbage this morning and chose to ignore it. But if you're going to make little jokes implying that Moqtada doesn't know what he's talking about, you're begging for someone to say you're full of s**t.
And Jane Arraf did an awful job in 'reporting.' This was a major speech. We'll be returning to it on Monday. Two Tweets? That's embarrassing. That the second one leaves the wrong impression, distorts what he said, that's bad journalism.
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