Friday, September 30, 2005

Democracy Now! and C.I.'s editorial

Mike and are I doing the same items from Democracy Now! tonight as usual.

DeLay Court Date Set (Democracy Now!)
A Texas judge on Thursday ordered former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to appear in court next month to face the charge that he conspired to funnel corporate money to state political campaigns. The summons calls for DeLay to appear in the court in Austin on Oct. 21. A grand jury indicted DeLay and reindicted two of his associates Wednesday in an investigation of a political fundraising group DeLay founded, Texans for a Republican Majority. DeLay's lawyers have been scrambling behind the scenes to prevent Delay from being handcuffed, photographed and fingerprinted when he appears in Austin.

Tom DeLay always reminds me of Lana Turner in the sixties when her looks had hardened and she always seemed twice as old as she was even though the skin looked like it had gone under the knife. Rebecca and I were talking about guys who look like they wear make up after Maria was interviewed by The Third Estate Sunday Review and we both agreed Tom DeLay looks like he wears makeup in public. We decided he didn't wear lipstick though. He probably uses one of the wild-cherry chapsticks like young girls whose mothers tell them, "You are too young for make up!" I won't get my hopes up over him being caught in a trap since he tends to get out of them constantly.

Judge Orders release of More Abu Ghraib Pics (Democracy Now!)
A federal judge ruled Thursday that graphic pictures of prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison must be released, despite government claims that they could damage the US image. Last year a Republican senator conceded that they contained scenes of "rape and murder" and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said they included acts that were "blatantly sadistic." The ACLU and Center for Constitutional Rights sought the release of 87 photographs and four videotapes taken at the prison as part of the ongoing lawsuits over Abu Ghraib. The government is being given 20 days to appeal the decision. Last year, after viewing a large cache of unreleased images, Rumsfeld said "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse."

Things like the above need to be made public. We need to publicly witness these things and we need to repudiate them. Otherwise, we justify it and next time it causes less outrage and ever less the time after.

No peace quote tonight because I've got a date. Rebecca asked me this afternoon to note that she would be blogging late due to her own date. I'll remind you that new blogger Seth is worth checking out. So I'll close with C.I.'s editorial today.

"Editorial: Not so brave Matt Cooper" (The Common Ills)
Okay, let's talk Plamegate. Judith Miller is out of jail. Scoots Libby has given her permission to testify. But let's not talk about it like everybody else is going to talk about it.David Johnston and Douglas Jehl (that might not be the order, I don't care) turn in "
Times Reporter Free From Jail; She Will Testify" in this morning's New York Times.
Maybe they've accepted the media spin? It hasn't really been their beat (despite all the attention Jehl received -- and back slapping -- for doing the obvious in one story on Plamegate*) so maybe they're not familiar with the details?I don't know.
Warning, this isn't a trash Judy piece. (Nor is it a defend Miller piece.)
I was asked to hold my tongue on one aspect of Plamegate. The reason being Miller was in jail and for the stated principle of why she was in jail, I held my tongue. She's out now.
She (and her attorney) spoke to Scoots and got his permission for a release.
And Jehl & Johnston tell you, in passing, of a similar thing that happened with Matt Cooper. But the thing is, it didn't happen with Cooper.
Cooper didn't hear from Karl Rove. Cooper's breathless announcement the morning of what would have had him joining Miller in jail, there was nothing new. There was no new release. It was the same thing Cooper had in 2003.
And if you check Adam Liptak's original reporting in the New York Times, you'll see that.
But the pack protects its own.
So Cooper (married to a Democrat) is given a pass. And the Los Angeles Times (among others) rewrites history. What's really surprising is when Michael Wolff points out the obvious (and public record) fact that Cooper didn't have anything to breathlessly announce, he gets attacked for it. The attack is sideslam that won't deal with the real issue, but that's why he got attacked.
It's interesting the way this will go down: Matt Cooper is a brave journalist who got a release from his source at the last minute. But that's not how it happened.
I held my tongue because two at the Times said it would hurt the principle Miller was standing up for. (Whether you believe she believed in that principle or not is your business.) I held my tongue here. In private conversations and e-mails, I've not been so silent.
And the reason is Cooper lied. Wolff told the truth. Wolff got broadsided for doing so. (Though he may or may not be aware of it.) He broke from the pack. And some of the voices who pride themselves on being so independent attacked him. Why? That's for those voices to reveal.
If they attacked out of friendship with Matt Cooper and a desire to protect him, they should come forward and admit it. They shouldn't act as though they just picked apart Wolff's writing for no reason.
We noted Wolff's article here twice. The second time we used the single paragraph that led one person especially to attack Wolff. They didn't make that the basis of the attack because that's not how you do it.
If you're protecting Cooper, you don't say, "Wolff says Cooper lied about having a new release!"
You don't draw attention to what's vanishing down the memory hole. You find another reason to attack. (Murray Waas and Wolff had a lively exchange on
Democracy Now! but it wasn't re: Cooper -- due to that exchange, some may assume Waas is among the people I'm referring to, he's not.) You try to find another way to pick apart the article, to slime it and Wolff, so that if anyone does read it and they find the Cooper paragraph that strays from the revised narrative they just assume, "Oh, there's Wolff again, lying!"
Wolff didn't lie, he didn't skew.Cooper wasn't going to go to jail. It wasn't important enough to him to go to jail. If that was the deciding factor, then say so. Don't invent a new release that didn't exist. (And in real time, in the public record, you'll find Karl Rove's attorney pointing that out.)
The narrative is now that Cooper got a release from his source at the last minute. That's the way the LA Times reported it, it's the way the New York Times does today -- going against their original reporting (again, see Liptak's original articles).
The narrative may well become two reporters stood up for their sources until their sources released them. But that narrative is false and a lot of work has gone into creating it. A lot of work went into attacking Wolff as well. It required pouring over his article to find something other than the offending paragraph to pick apart in an attempt to tar and feather him a liar.
Floyd Abrams did not accept the 2003 waiver. (The only waiver that Cooper had.) The attornies and the clients, while Miller & Cooper were standing side by side on this, both agreed that a release someone was forced to sign wasn't a real release. Miller's deal to disclose was ironed out by a phone call between attornies and Miller and Scoots.
Cooper didn't get honest. And the press, other than Wolff, has been willing to look the other way. That was bad enough but maybe they held their tongues for the principle? If so, now might be a good time to discuss what really went down.
Cooper didn't want to go to jail so why didn't that just get said? "I don't want to go to jail so I'm offering information." Instead a last minute release is invented, one that never happened. (Again, check the public record.)
There was nothing journalistically brave about what Cooper did. He may be "All Too Human" but he's not a brave reporter and he shouldn't be allowed to pretend he is.Wolff pointed out reality. Here's the paragraph that led to the attacks (from"
All Roads Lead To Rove") :
There is Time's Matt Cooper, a very decent fellow of my acquaintance (married, it is impossible in the ironies department not to note, to Mandy Grunwald, whose father, Henry, ran Time magazine, where Cooper works, in an era when the government was not so sharp when it came to the media, and who, herself, is a very sharp media political consultant who has advised both Clintons, and who has, it is likely, done some leaking herself), marching with seeming stoicism to his protect-my-source jail cell. But who, beyond ritual denial, seemed awfully relieved when his bosses took it upon themselves to release his notes and name his source (perhaps he felt a little guilty about his secret). And then, when that didn't get him excused, he announced a breathless last-minute release from his source, which turned out to be, according to Robert D. Luskin, Rove's lawyer, nothing but a reconfirmation of the pro forma release the White House had already required the source--and all potential sources--to sign (and which Cooper had said before was not good enough). So, baloney. And then there is the piece about all this that he did in fact write for Time nearly two years after he might just as well have written it.
This is nothing new. When Barbara Walters' name came up during Iran-Contra, the press circled the wagons then too. Walters should have been held accountable by the public but, for that to happen, they'd have to know what she knew and when. For a brief moment, they did. Then it was circle the wagons and down the memory hole.
There's no real news in this article in the Times. But I'm sure it will be examined and probed and discussed. That's fine. The outing of Valerie Plame by an administration swearing to change the tone (and boy did they) deserves to be examined intensely and discussed.
But I was offended when a publisher explained, the day Walters was briefly (a newspaper publisher) a news item in Iran-Contra, that she wouldn't be by the next day's news cycle.That's what's happening with Cooper.
It probably will continue. No one will question it because the spin is so intense that most people now think it happened that way. It didn't. I gave my word to hold my tongue on this (after I called Cooper "Fat Boy" -- either here or in a phone conversation) because the issue was the freedom of the press and pointing out Cooper's obvious flaws would lead to a defense and counter-defense (publicly by the press, not legal) and the "waters would be muddied if not bloodied." So I agreed to hold my tonuge here while Miller was in jail.
We're not discussing Miller in this entry, we aren't discussing Valerie Plame. What we're discussing is how the press will protect its own and how friends in various places will rush forward to attack someone, in this case Wolff, who states the obvious truth but never say, "Oh by the way, me and Matty? Friends!"
The attacks on Wolff might not have been so convincing if people knew they were coming from friends of Matt Cooper. (Which is not to say Cooper encouraged the attacks, just that he benefitted from them as he benefits from not being asked to explain his supposed new release that doesn't appear to have existed unless he's kept silent on it -- which, all things considered, would be amazing on his part.)
There are people who say they're in it for the truth. They say they just want to inform. A lot of them didn't do that -- not because they fell for the spin, but because they actively promoted it when they knew better. And there's also the issue of private conversations Cooper appears to have had which surfaced in the press while he was still supposedly not coming forward and standing with Miller on the First Amendment.
You can think Miller was self-serving or whatever. That's not the point for this entry. The point is that Cooper's story didn't hold up. And we saw that in real time. But then friends got a hold of it and it was hammered into a narrative that doesn't reflect reality.
This will be studied in journalism classes because there was an investigation, reporters were threatened with jail, many came forward. When it's studied, it's really not fair for Matt Cooper to be held up as an example of someone who bravely stood up against a prosecuter for the First Amendment because that's not what happend. And if anyone needs the truth about journalism, it's the young adults who will be stuyding to become journalists.
Cooper may be a nice person, he has a lot of friends. But an honest person would have stepped forward and set the record straight. He hasn't done that. And he's aware of some of the attacks on Wolff for raising the unmentionable in a single paragraph of a lengthy essay. (Wolff's been especially attacked on the D.C. party scene.)
Scoots told Miller, according to the article in the paper today, that he thought Valerie Plame sent Wilson on the trip. (That's spreading the rumor and that rumor pops up a lot in some of the revisionist writing benefitting Cooper.) His claim right now is apparently that he didn't know she was CIA. That deserves to be picked apart. The nonsense of "I didn't use her name!" deserves to be picked apart as well.
But here we're going to focus on the Cooper aspect because I don't like having to hold my tongue while history is rewritten. I agreed to do so while Miller was in jail. Maybe others got caught up in the larger principle as well? Miller's out of jail. There's no need to continue to maintain a "friendly" environment because the First Amendment is at stake.
The narrative flew in the face of common sense and public record but it took hold and maybe everyone wants to stay silent on it (except Michael Wolff) but I don't have a need to take part in a lie or play circle the wagons.
Cooper was initially vauge about his new release. Rove's attorney, in real time, publicly denied such a release. If Cooper has a release that justifies his actions, he can come forward with it. Don't hold your breath for that to happen because a lot of people have invested a lot of time in creating and maintaining this narrative.
You hear a lot of criticism of the press, justified, but one of the things that they do best, that rarely gets commented upon, is this circle the wagons approach. It allows certain individuals to not be held accountable. Take Judith Miller. Her articles in the lead up to the invasion and while taking part in it are obviously wrong. (She was proved f**king wrong.) But she wasn't held accountable for that. You had Jack Shafer and a few others who did hold her accountable (a few others within the ranks -- you had a lot of people outside those ranks holding her accountable). But it took a grand jury for her work to be seriously addressed. (The Times still hasn't done that.)
That's because they protect their own. They circle the wagons. And they've done it with Cooper and they need to called on it. They did it with Walters and today most people don't even know her ties to Iran-Contra. Matthew Cooper sat on a story, an important one that might have impacted the election (as Wolff points out) and here we won't act like a rewrite is reality.

Ava recommends that everyone check out C.I.'s "Rudith Miller."

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Democracy Now!

I'm not being lazy. I wasn't on the phone with Rebecca and forgetting to blog. I was on the phone with Cedric who called to see if I was having the same problem that wouldn't let me log in.

Blogger's down for maintenance. So I had to wait for it to come back up.

Civil Rts Lawyer Constance Motley Baker Dies at 84 (Democracy Now!)
And finally, the first African American woman to serve as a federal judge has passed away. Famed civil rights lawyer Constance Baker Motley died Wednesday in New York. She was 84. As a young lawyer, Motley represented Martin Luther King Jr. After a brief political career, she began a distinguished four-decade span as a judge in 1966, becoming the first black woman appointed to the federal bench. Motley earned her degree in economics in 1943 from New York University, and three years later, she obtained her law degree from Columbia Law School. In 1945, she became a law clerk to Thurgood Marshall, who was then chief counsel of the NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In the late 1950s, Motley took an interest in politics and by 1964 had left the NAACP and become the first black woman to serve in the New York State Senate. In 1965, she became the first woman to serve as president of the borough of Manhattan, where she worked to promote integration in public schools. In her career, she worked on some of the nation's most famous civil rights cases, including preparing the draft complaint in 1950 for what would become Brown v. Board of Education. From 1961 to 1964, Motley won nine of 10 civil rights cases she argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.

That was the last headline from Democracy Now! today. In case anyone's wondering about the "and finally" opening. We highlight Democracy Now! as a community and I know members know about it but I got an e-mail today from someone who'd found the site via Technocrati and she was asking a few questions.

So if anyone's new to Democracy Now! I'll do a brief history. It started in 1996 as a radio news program to cover the election of 1996. It's a one hour broadcast. In this decade, it's become a radio and a TV show. It airs Mondays through Fridays and it airs on over 300 radio and TV stations. (I hope I'm remembering that right.) Including on Dish TV and Free Speech TV. In addition to that, it's also broadcast online. That's live each morning and also where you can watch or listen at any time during the day (or night). You can do watch or listen with Real Player and Winamp. It also now Podcasts. And as Maria, Francisco and Miguel remind everyone each week at The Common Ills, Democracy Now! provides its daily headlines in Spanish for audio and text.

If you're not able to watch, and I know Charlie had a problem with that, or listen, you can go to the site and read their transcripts. It's also closed captioned for the hearing impaired. The hosts are Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. Amy is usually on every day. I think she's been off two days since April. Juan's also a reporter for The New York Daily News.

Amy Goodman and her brother David Goodman wrote a book that I encourage everyone to read. It's entitled The Exception to the Rulers and is a hard hitting look at the too-close relationship betwen the press and those in power.

The woman who wrote said she was CBS's Evening News and is wondering what's so special about Democracy Now! (she wasn't insulting the show, she'd never heard or seen Democracy Now!). What's so special about Democracy Now!

Well, there's the fact that you hear voices you don't hear elsewhere. There's the fact that a story isn't Chatted & Chewed (to steal from C.I.) by the usual suspects. There's the fact that people like you or me can be guests on the show. This isn't another news show where the powerful are all over and the people are nowhere to be found.

They do real news and you won't hear that on the corporate media. There was no cheerleading the invasion of Iraq. Amy Goodman didn't buy the corporate line about Haiti and actually interviewed Aristide after he was removed from Haiti by the United States.

The whole world knows Cindy Sheehan now, as they should, but if you followed Democracy Now! you knew Cindy before Camp Casey.

There are serious discussions about our policies that go beyond conventional wisdom.

There is a range of voices provided by the show that you will not find elsewhere.

If that hasn't convinced you that the program is something special, I don't know what will other than sampling it, so please listen or watch or read for yourself and see if you don't find it to be a breath of fresh air, providing hard hitting looks at topics that often don't get covered elsewhere on TV.

C.I. turned me on to Democracy Now! I was really depressed because the drums were pounding for war and the media was completely abdicating its watch dog role. The first time I listened, Amy Goodman said, "Welcome to Democracy Now! The war and peace report." She says that at the beginning of every episode and that's what the show is.

You can hear voices objecting to the war. That's a little less shocking (only a little) now that the media's finally woken up. But in Janurary 2003, it was a huge deal. It's still a huge deal. War's not discussed by a bunch of old generals and administration's flacks. You get guests who work for peace and that's a balance that the "balanced" corporate media showed no interest in during the lead up to the invasion/occupation.

Each day, C.I. highlights Democracy Now! At this point, the community knows of the show. But it's partly to counteract the links to the New York Times because sites are measured by the amount of links they get. So they always get three links minimum from The Common Ills each day. Mike has started really trying to get us to all highlight the show because his dream is that Democracy Now! is the most popular, most linked to site online.

As for me, links have value and I'd rather not throw mine away on something that does a good job at spin (corporate media) but not a good job at reality.

I listen to the show. I don't usually have time to listen to the full broadcast. Most days, I get the first half hour and then do some work before my next patient arrives. On a good day, I can listen to the full hour. But even on the days where I'm only able to spare a half hour, I'm still getting more reality than I would from ten minutes of corporate media.

As a Common Ills member, I appreciate that C.I. notes the segments each Monday through Friday. Sometimes there's a segment announced or coming up that I really want to hear but there's not time. So I tell myself that I'll pick it up later. But you know how that goes, you forget. But if I'm reading The Common Ills at home, I can go online and catch the broadcast from a Pacifica station (which is usually what I do) or from the site itself.

Some people prefer to watch the show. Ruth watches it and Rebecca watches it. They prefer watching and are probably more visual people than I am. Mike likes to watch it but due to his work and class schedule, he's usually catching it on the radio most of the time. Betty gets one episode a week on a good week. She just doesn't have time. She really enjoys being able to see the rundown and be informed just from reading of the segments. If she has time, she'll go to a transcript. Kat listens via her local Pacifica radio station. Cedric also listens. So there's not one way you can receive or follow the program.

But you should be aware of the segments. Just knowing the topics or even the headline titles will inform you. Not as deeply as if you listened, read or watched the segments, but you will be getting informed.

So that's what's so special about Democracy Now! and I'm sure there's a quite a bit more that's special about it as well.

Reuters Protests 'Long Parade' of Media Deaths in Iraq (Democracy Now!)
The Reuters News Agency says the conduct of U.S. troops in Iraq, including increasing detention and accidental shootings of journalists, is preventing full coverage of the war from reaching the American public. In a letter to Virginia Republican Sen. John Warner, head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Reuters said U.S. forces were limiting the ability of independent journalists to operate. The letter from the agency's Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger called on Warner to raise these issues with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who is due to testify to the committee on Thursday. Schlesinger referred to "a long parade of disturbing incidents whereby professional journalists have been killed, wrongfully detained, and/or illegally abused by U.S. forces in Iraq." At least 66 journalists and media workers, most of them Iraqis, have been killed in Iraq since March 2003. U.S. forces acknowledge killing three Reuters journalists, most recently soundman Waleed Khaled who was shot by American soldiers on Aug. 28 while on assignment in Baghdad. The Pentagon says the soldiers were justified in opening fire. Reuters believes a fourth Reuters journalist, who died in Ramadi last year, was killed by a U.S. sniper. Schlesinger said the Pentagon has refused to conduct independent and transparent investigations into the deaths of the journalists, relying instead on inquiries by officers from the units responsible, who had exonerated their soldiers.

And be sure to check out Seth in the City the latest site by a community member.

"'Why Are You Here' and 'What's Changed'" (The Third Estate Sunday Review)
87) Benny, 17, high school student: For the first time it feels like maybe a difference can come. We're studying about government and it really seems wild and out there but it's about us and I guess Cindy Sheehan drives that point home to me. So I am here for that reason and the change is that people wake up and you can see it in my class. We're debating and discussing what does free speech mean and what are your duties to be an American and stuff that I have never taken time to think on and it just seems real and connected to me. Maybe it's selfish and all too because we got the guys on campus goin, "Sign up and we'll take care of you. Free college." All these promises and you ask about war and like injuries and they don't talk about it. They brush you off or say, "You just watch out for yourself and you're fine." And I bet the 1900 men and women who are dead were watching out but that didn't save them. So it's just a lot to think about and maybe having government this year drives it home.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The gloom of the world is but a shadow

Sorry. I was on the phone with Rebecca. I'm starting late. She was watching an old Who's the Boss that was a favorite of our's. It's where Alyssa Milano gets a job that she ends up hating and her friends start telling her, "Lose that job, hey, lose that job." She'd Tivoed while she was on vacation and didn't even know it so she'd been going through to see what she'd caught. I think it was actually done by her last boyfriend because he had a thing for Milano but Rebecca thinks she must have done it. We'll agree to disagree.

And sorry if I mispelled Tivoed. I don't have Tivo. I don't usually watch TV because I never have time. I wanted to catch the show with Geena Davis but I didn't realize it was on last night. I know it's on ABC but I don't even know the title of the program. Maybe I'll catch it next week?

Mike's got an interview with Betty tonight. He did it last night but hasn't had time to type it up yet so he'll be working on that tonight. We're grabbing the same two items from Democracy Now! but I told him to just post his and I'll do the discussion so he can focus on the interview.

Lynndie England Sentenced to Three Years For Abu Ghraib Abuses (Democracy Now!)
Lynndie England has been sentenced to three years in prison for her role in abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Her sentence fell well short of the maximum 10-year sentence she faced. The 22-year-old army reservist was photographed holding a naked Iraqi prisoner by a leash and pointing to an inmate's genitals. Meanwhile an Army Captain has accused the Pentagon of being more concerned about tracking down soldiers who report detainee abuse than in investigating the accusations. Army Captain Ian Fishback recently helped provide Human Rights Watch with information on new cases of abuse and torture taking part in U.S. prisons in Iraq. Fishback said the Army is now threatening to file charges against him if he disobeys an order to disclose the names of two Army Sergeants who also spoke to Human Rights Watch. Fishback told the New York Times, "We came forward because of the larger issue that prisoner abuse is systemic in the Army. I'm concerned this will take a new twist, and they'll try to scapegoat some of the younger soldiers. This is a leadership problem."

Obviously, Lynndie England is guilty. But the reason a lot of people are bothered is because she's lower-level. She didn't do, my belief, anything she wasn't ordered to do. I don't mean "ordered to do by her boyfriend." The techniques she used were used in Gitmo and she wasn't there. In fact, C.I. wrote about this, so let me see if I can find that.

Rest easy, America, Lynndie England's going to the big house. The last of the "few bad apples" goes down on six of seven counts and could be looking at nine years of imprisonment, we learn from David S. Cloud's "Private Found Guilty in Abu Ghraib Abuse" in this morning's New York Times. The fact that Lynndie England never reported for duty at Gitmo isn't dealt with (in the popular narrative). A "few bad apples" plotted everything themselves. That's the story. Not what were they told before they left the tree? No questions will take us to the top of the tree. Donald Rumsfeld slept easy, I'm sure. Bully Boy probably dusted off his Karla Faye imitation and tries to pass it off as a Lynndie England one.
The policies that allowed England and her co-horts to do what they did, the approval and encouragement of their actions, isn't going to be addressed. Today England's sentenced and the policies still remain. John McCain, a tiny item in the paper yesterday -- really tiny, a single paragraph -- is concerned with reports of abuse for fun coming out of Iraq. He should be concerned. He should be concerned with where the impression that behavior of that kind was acceptable and okay came from. It didn't come from England or Graner. It came from higher than them. But England's off to serve time so we can all apparently pretend that the "evil doers" have been dealt with and justice served.

I think that really gets to the heart of it. No one's saying she didn't do wrong. But I think it's foolish to pretend that it was her idea and her plan. Or Graner's for that matter. They were given permission to do what they did. What they did was very wrong. I'd go along with kicking them out of the military with no benefits. But in terms of time, unless there's evidence that they killed someone, I'd give them probation. Three months behind bars at most.

That's not because I don't think that they did wrong. Their actions are so wrong that it's hard to comprehend what they did. But there were orders and they came from somewhere. England doesn't seem that stable. Graner or one of the men had a history with abuse before he came over. There's a feeling among some that they group was chosen because of their histories.

They disgraced themselves and the country but I would've preferred that they be offered a deal and that the flip over the people above them. No one did that. So everyone's going to pretend like John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, Bully Boy and Donald Rumsfeld don't have dirty hands.

They do. And what they did was more vile. I'm not excusing the conduct of England and the others. But to encourage it to happen is more disgusting, to me anyway, than the fact that a group of not very bright people, when encouraged, did what they were told.

There was a trust level there. They trusted their superiors and they trusted their government.
I feel like they got spat on. I also feel that what went on in the photos was less obscene than what went on when the cameras weren't snapping. Their actions were directed and I'd rather see the ones who directed it, if only the mid-level ones -- serve time for that. I'd prefer it go straight to the top but I think the "few bad apples" were selected to begin with because of their histories and I think that they were used.

The hope I try to find in this is that others who might take part (I'm sure others already have) will know that they will be turned into the scapegoats. So hopefully, the sentences serve a message and a warning. But I really would have been fine with them just being drummed out of the military and given probation with minimial time behind bars.

If there was any higher accountability, I might feel differently. I might feel then, "Fine, throw them all behind bars." But when one group's scapegoated, it does bother me.

I think it happened because of orders that the administration refuses to turn over to this day. I think it was a policy in place and military intelligence, with permission from the administration, did the dirty work and the kids were led to believe it was okay but when everything exploded, they were left to hang out as if they were the ones orchestrating it and planning it.

To find a positive, I'm hanging on to the fact that even though there's no accountability for the higher ups, the next group of enlisted that's told it's okay, that Bully Boy's given permission, will know that it's not okay.

Should the kids have known that? Yes, they should. But between boot camp (which connected Iraq to 9/11 from all reports that I've heard) and the events of 9/11 (which have no ties to Iraq), I think you get a group of not so smart people and you tell them that they're doing it for their country and you don't have to say much more.

They're gung ho already. They want to serve their country. And I think that was used against them by higher ups.

They aren't innocent. And what they did was vile. But I'd be comfortable with their sentences if I was seeing some higher ups sentenced as well. Instead, it's the kids who weren't all that bright and were told to do what they did for their country and that it was now legal thanks to the orders that we are not allowed to see. That's my opinion.

I also think, and this is going to my field, that since there were doctors there who were overseeing and observing the effects of different techniques (see this) that those doctors should lose their licenses. I don't think that they should be participating in this. I think it goes against every core belief that we're supposed to hold. And I think C.I.'s right, if one of the biggies on the board hadn't been participating, the organization I belong to would have condemned the participation of pscyhologists and psychiatrists.

Soldiers Posted Photographs of Iraqi Corpses on Web (Democracy Now!)
The Army is investigating complaints that soldiers posted photographs of Iraqi corpses on an Internet site in exchange for access to pornographic images on the site. Many of the photos depict dismembered Iraqi corpses and body parts. Some also were submitted by soldiers in Afghanistan.

Yea for Blake and Chris Thompson. Blake's a Common Ills member and last week he found Chris Thompson's article on this. So The Common Ills community knew of this last week, as Charlie pointed out today in an e-mail to C.I.

So what does this mean? It means the "few bad apples" weren't the only ones involved. It means we're looking at systematic behavior and we need to be asking how it is happening and who is ordering it.

I'll close with the following two items.

"'Why Are You Here' and 'What's Changed'" (Third Estate Sunday Review)
60) LeRoi, 21, college student, English major: They're going after high school drop outs now! The whole "few bad apples" defense, which I never bought, was about how they didn't have well trained, well vetted people working in the prison. Now they're lowering the standards instead of raising them and that's because no one wants to sign up. They can't meet their quotas and they're behind for the year. So what's going to change? You think when we hit the fourth year of this quagmire people who've said no way are going to change their minds and say, "Okay, when it was a quagmire at two, I wouldn't sign up but now it's a four year quagmire so I'm all jazzed!" We get out or we get a draft. Maybe a draft would wake a lot more people up but it would probably also mean a lot more going over there because you don't start a draft to meet your minimum requirement. You don't reinstate something that controversial just to do the bare minimum. So a lot more lives will be at stake. And every month we get more deaths so you have to start asking, "Where does this end?" I think it ends here. Not by sunset, but when we all carry back our stories to our friends, when we're all sharing with the people we know who weren't able to be here. The change is this, we've got the seeds in our pockets, we just all need to go home and plant them.

That goes to what we're talking about tonight. The type of person the recruiters want.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in the darkness, could we but see, and to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look.

From a letter written by Fra Giovanni, 1513

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

"I'm not disturbing the peace, I'm disturbing the war"

Relaxing and listening to Jack Johnson. I really love In Between Dreams. I need to get some more CDs by him. "Better Together" just puts me in a good mood, I don't know why that is. I can be exhausted, taking off my heels, flipping on the stereo with the remote and when the song comes on, it's like a burst of energy. My shoulders will start moving first and then I'm dancing around forgetting all about my tired feet.

I really could just listen to the first two tracks over and over, "Better Together" and "Never Know." And sometimes I do. I love these songs. Cedric told me this weekend to get the Black Eyed Peas' Monkey Business because they do a song called "Gone Going" that has Jack Johnson on it. I did buy it today but I'll probably end up listening to the same two songs all during this post and later tonight I've got to meet up with some friends who say they are dying to hear about D.C.

Which transitions us into some news.

Nearly 400 Arrested in D.C. For Civil Disobedience (Democracy Now!)
In Washington D.C. anti-war protests continued on Monday. Police arrested nearly 400 people for taking part in civil disobedience. 41 people were arrested in the morning at the Pentagon. Later Cindy Sheehan and Cornel West were among the over 300 arrested at a sit-in outside the White House. They refused to obey police orders to leave. Sheehan was the first protester to be taken into custody.

I wish that had happened before I left. (I left Sunday night.) I would have liked to have taken part in that. "Cancel all my appointments, I've been arrested." Cindy Sheehan really is amazing. I thought she was before I went to D.C. I knew her experience had touched a lot of people and it certainly touched me but I had no idea of how many. I wonder if she realized it before Saturday? She seemed honestly touched that so many had shown up.

When people look back on the anti-war movement to stop this war, they will have to note Cindy Sheehan. She woke up the nation and got us off our collective butts. Take the next story. Four activists and they're facing imprisonment.

St. Patrick's Four Acquitted of Conspiracy Charges (Democracy Now!)
In Binghamton New York, four peace activists known as the St. Patrick's Four were acquitted on conspiracy charges Monday but convicted of two lesser charges. Their legal advisor Bill Quigley declared the verdict to be a "major victory." The four defendants - Clare Grady, Teresa Grady, Peter DeMott and Daniel Burns - were the first peace activists facing conspiracy charges since the Vietnam War. They were all arrested on March 17, 2003 after spilling their own blood inside a military recruiting station. The jury convicted them of misdemeanor counts of trespassing at a government facility, and damaging a government facility. They each face up to 18 months in prison.

In a better media, a real media, this would have been a huge story during the first trial if not before. But that didn't happen. The media was interested in a number of things but in explaining about the St. Patrick Four wasn't one of them.

I wonder how many more people would be bothered by the verdict if they ... actually knew of it?
Our media has done a very, very poor job for some time now.

So the St. Patrick Four were isolated and who knows how the verdict would have gone if the press had bothered to cover this case with the same interest they do when the case involves a Michael Jackson or a Winona Ryder?

We're isolated in so many ways but the result of all the isolation, including by the media, is that we're less informed and we're less active as a nation. Intentional?

C.I.'s doing something that Mike and I think we all should be doing. This weekend, we all participated for a survey article by The Third Estate Sunday Review.

"'Why Are You Here' and 'What's Changed'" (Third Estate Sunday Review)
15) Leon, 52, Louisianna: Why am I here? I flew on the plane. Funny thing, I don't have my own plane. I had to buy a ticket but I manged to get here with my son and his wife. George Bush got Air Force One at his disposal but how long did it take him to find his way to New Orleans? Maybe the pilot got lost? Hurricane Katrina showed that there were priorities in this country and the people ain't one of them. That's why he doesn't give a damn about the troops dying in Iraq and why he's not worried about bringing them home. They can stay over there forever for all he cares. Most he'll do is show up to have his picture taken and then disappear.The change is Hurricane Katrina and people like Cindy Sheehan. They've exposed him for what he really is.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
I'm not disturbing the peace. I'm disturbing the war.
Ammon Hennacy, US Labor leader

Monday, September 26, 2005

The work week begins

I had a great time this weekend and I hope you did as well. Maybe you didn’t make it to D.C. but you took action in your area? Hopefully that happened a lot. I haven’t watched any of the news or read any paper. I flew back Sunday night, made it to the bed and collapsed face down. I never sleep that way because it’s bad for the face. In terms of wrinkles. Rebecca used to laugh at me about that but she started doing the same about four years ago.

I usually take my make up off. But not always. Last night, I didn’t bother. But I never sleep face down. This morning, I had therapy sessions starting at nine o’clock which was good because I didn’t wake up until 7:45. I slept through the alarm which went off at six.

So it was a pony tail day.

Women will understand that but for the men who might not, when there’s no time to curl your hair or, this morning, to even dry it from the shower, you just pull it back into a pony tail and call it a hair style. I was rushing around and didn’t even have time to eat a yogurt before heading out. I told myself I’d grab something on the way but I was running so late that, when I looked at my watch, I knew there wasn’t even time for that. At the office, as soon as the first session was over, I dug around my desk and found a box of raisins and some crackers. So that was breakfast.
I had pizzas delivered for lunch and my assistant and I were eating and listening to Democracy Now! When she asked me, "So what was it like?" I had been rushing so much this morning, that I hadn’t even thought of the weekend.

What was it like? It was amazing. And while we listened to Democracy Now! (the full hour for a change), moments came back. Some were on Democracy Now! and some weren’t. Democracy Now! did a great job this morning. But you’re talking about days of activism and there’s no way it can all be covered in a program.

You can read some voices at The Third Estate Sunday Review. That’s 101 voices but even it doesn’t capture the tapestry of people, of opinions, of passion.

Here are some items from Democracy Now!

"Up to 300,000 Protest Against War in D.C." (Democracy Now!)
Hundreds of thousands rallied around the world Saturday to call for President Bush to bring troops home from Iraq. In Washington DC, between one and three hundred thousand gathered for the city's largest anti-war demonstration since the Vietnam War. Thousands more marched in London, Copenhagen, Damascus, Helsinki, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities and towns.

"30 Die in String of Attacks in Iraq" (Democracy Now!)
In Iraq, at least 30 people have died over the past two days in a series of car bombings and shootings. Earlier today a suicide car bombing killed at least seven in front of the oil ministry in Baghdad.

I'm still recovering from the weekend. From exhaustion from all the time we all put in and from the power of seeing Americans stand up to the Bully Boy regime.

I’ll say thank you to The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim as well as Jim's father and Jess' parents, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man and her children, C.I. of The Common Ills, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills) , Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It! and his parents and Nina, Ruth of Ruth's Morning Edition Report and her granddaughter Tracey.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
The dark night is over and dawn has begun. Rise, hope of the ages, arise like the sun! All speech, flow to music; all hearts, beat as one.
John Greenleaf Whittier