Tuesday, August 29, 2006

All the moneys for war mean no money for . . .

Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts. Also please read Cedric's "Noel, who's not in the US military, wants to send them to fight his war" which is a group response from Cedric, Betty and Ty. Rebecca's "call it like you see it" mentioned a number of things and I had a few questions about it.

No, I don't link to the "girly-girls" (that's actually Betty's term). I see their e-mails in my box, read over them and they're making the same promises they made Rebecca. I'm not interested. I know they strung Rebecca along. I know Rebecca worked her butt off to be supportive of every woman blogger who wrote her. I know that the "thank you" for that was to try to string Rebecca along and get mentions in posts as well as a link on her blogroll. I know that week after week, they'd write and ask for this or that and always say, "I can't link to you right now, but next week . . ." These are the same girly-girls that e-mailed her asking/begging for a link and said, "Link to me and I'll link to you." They never did. They always had an excuse. They'd tell her that they loved her work but they wouldn't note it at their sites.

I was offended and angry for Rebecca (she's a friend since college). When I filled in for her, I did delink from the girly-girls. I also called C.I. because Rebecca hadn't said a word about it to C.I. As soon as C.I. knew, they got pulled from The Common Ills as well.

I'm all for supporting women bloggers, writers, you name it. But I am not for supporting little liars who lied to a friend of mine and used her. The girly-girls write every month wanting a link and promising a trade. I don't write them back and I don't link to them. I know their names from when they pulled this nonsense with Rebecca. They're not trying to help other women, they're trying to help themselves. I know the name of every girly-girl who lied to Rebecca and they are not linked to here and won't be. Nor do I write them back.

Rebecca wrote "call it like you see it" for a number of reasons but one reason was because I mentioned to her that ___ had written me a 12K e-mail about how important it was for women to support each other. I know that e-mail, I remember when Rebecca got it. I remember when she believed it. I remember when she linked to the girly-girl and I remember how there was one excuse after another for four months. I delinked from her when I filled in for Rebecca. I told Rebecca about the e-mail and we both had a good laugh about the girly-girls.

For the record, I don't do this site to have a "following." I do it because, for some insane reason, when I was filling in for Rebecca last summer, her readers and the community liked the tiny bits of non-wisdom I provided. If it helps anyone, great. But I'm not trying to be a pundit or to be a 'biggie' online. That alone makes the girly-girls e-mails so hilarious -- their talk about how, if we all pull together, we'll be bigger than ___ and bigger than ___. But "all stick together" really just means everyone gives them links and they don't give anyone else links.

Hope that clears it up.

"Celebrating Irrelevancy!" (Cindy Sheehan, Common Dreams):
Laying here in my motel room recovering from my 4th trip to the ER in a little over two weeks, and two surgeries, I found out from the Waco Tribune, (Sunday, August 27) that I have become "irrelevant" to the anti-war movement.
At first, I was a little defensive about that statement. I didn't really think that the article was fair, because in the last two weeks, I have been really ill and I have spent more time in the hospital and recovering from being in the hospital than I have not. Camp Casey has been limping along in my absence doing some huge things (like promoting the GI Rights Hotline at Ft. Hood and protesting Karl Rove and counter-recruitment) that haven't been covered by the media, because the media follows "cut and run" George around the country, not Camp Casey.
But then I thought about being irrelevant and the implications for that. I have worked my backside off for the last year---traveling around the world speaking against the Iraq war and for peace and understanding. I have endured reich-wing smears and lies about me usually reserved for those seeking political office. I have been the subject of death threats and vile attacks on my character. I spent over ten months of the year away from my home and three living children. Being irrelevant can have its perks!
Why did I work myself almost to death, literally? Why did I endure all of the smears and attacks? Well,to put it in the words of the Trib, I did it to make myself irrelevant. Mission accomplished!
The article in the Trib pointed out that since public opinion is overwhelmingly against George Bush and the war and there is bi-partisan criticism in Congress against Iraq, I have become less radical and less relevant. When I sat down a year ago in a ditch close to the Bush Flying Photo Op ranch, I was radical. I was one of the only people in the country calling the president and his administration, liars. I was the only one saying the words "genocide" and "impeachment." I was one of the only ones publicly saying "illegal and immoral." Now Senators, Congress Reps, movie stars, rock stars, Army officers, almost two-thirds of America and 95% of the world, etc., are saying the same things which puts me in the middle of a very large crowd.
Thanks be to God for irrelevance. Now I can go home and get my strength back, spend time with my kids, and prepare for true and lasting peace.

As C.I. noted, indymedia wasn't there for Cindy Sheehan. How many times did you hear interviews from Camp Casey? How many times did you hear her talk about the fast? You didn't. They weren't interested. If they had been, a mainstream publication couldn't get away with calling her "irrelevant." She's not irrelevant (but independent media has become irrelevant). Cindy fought last year and she fought this year and we're all the better for her.

While we've spent the big bucks on war and weapons, year after year, under the Bully Boy, what's been happening in this country? Bully Boy cut taxes on the riches. You can't pay for two wars and sock it away from more and still take care of the citizens of this country.

"CDF: New Census Data Shows 1.3 Million Children Have Fallen into Poverty Since 2000, Number of Uninsured Children in America Rising" (Children's Defense Fund):
To: National Desk
Contact: Jenny Backus, 202-662-3615 or Jodi Reid, 202-662-3602, both of the Children's Defense Fund
WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Since reaching an historic low in 2000, over the last seven years, the number of children living in poverty in the United States has grown by 11.3 percent to approach 13 million, even after a 145,000 child improvement in 2005, according to an analysis by the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) of U.S. Census Bureau data released today. A child's likelihood of being poor has increased by almost 9 percent. Today's Census Bureau report also showed that, contrary to recent trends, the number and percent of uninsured children increased in 2005. Children in poverty were more likely to be uninsured than other children.
"Poor families and children are being left behind as the benefits of a steadily growing economy fail to trickle down. The persistently high level of child poverty and lack of health coverage for children reflects conscious and misguided political choices," said Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of CDF. "How can the Bush Administration and Congressional leaders give enormous tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans who have benefited most from the economic recovery while threatening to cut funding for Medicaid, Food Stamps and other programs that assist poor children who continue to be left behind? What kind of country are we that we can't seem to figure out a way to provide health care coverage to our children who represent our future?"
Edelman also pointed out the fact that according to today's report, seven out of every ten poor children in 2005 had at least one parent who is employed. A CDF analysis of U.S. Commerce Department data finds that the share of national income going to the wages and salaries of employees was lower in 2005 than it has been in any year since the data started being collected in 1929.
"Today's report shows that sadly, in this country, working hard and playing by the rules is not enough to lift families out of poverty. We need action and leadership from Washington and across the country to start to address the root causes of poverty and the crying need for health and mental health care coverage for our children. Far less wealthy industrialized countries have committed to end child poverty, while the United States is sliding backwards. We can do better. We must demand that our leaders do better," Edelman said.
Child poverty is significantly up among all racial groups.
Key findings from the Census data show that since 2000:
-- The number of non-Latino White children living in poverty has increased by more than 230,000 to reach 4.3 million.
-- More than 600,000 Latino children have fallen into poverty.
-- The number of Black children living in poverty has increased by 260,000 so that, in 2005, one in every three Black children living in America is poor.
-- More than a million children have fallen into extreme poverty (22 percent increase) over the past five years - now gripping over 5.6 million children. Extreme poverty means living with annual income below $7,870 for a family of three.
The Children's Defense Fund will release further state specific poverty and health care numbers reports based on today's Census Report in coming days.
The mission of the Children's Defense Fund is to Leave No Child Behind(r) and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families.

If you spend billions and billions on war, you don't have money left over to feed your citizens.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)
August 29, 2006, chaos and violence continue in Iraq -- and Alberto Gonzales only just got there, the
AFP is reporting a peace deal with one militia group, Camp Democracy gears up for the September 5th opening, and, in Australia, Soldier 14 is asked if he shot Jake Kovco.
Starting in Iraq, the
AFP reports that the Madhi Army forces have agreed to some sort of peace deal (that's one out of countless groups) and that "a few hours after a peace deal was reached" 74 were dead from a pipeline explosion. The explosion was not caused by Alberto Gonzales (at least not as far as anyone knows), however he is in Iraq and, CNN reports, he intends to impart the importance of "rule of law" to Iraqis who, hopefully, will turn around and teach him a few things about "rule of law" since his actions as US Attorney General and, earlier, as Bully Boy's "hard-on with a suitcase," would indicate the concept confuses him greatly.
Gangsta' Gonzales should feel right at home in Iraq amidst the chaos and violence.
Reuters notes that five people were wounded by mortar rounds in Baghdad and that, in Kirkuk, a roadside bomb claimed the life of a police officer and wounded nine people.
Reuters reports that, in Baquba, "[f]ifteen people were gunned down"; a bakery worker was shot to death in Baiji with another one wounded; a civilian was shot in Mosul; and an attack (by "gunmen") an office of Moqtada al-Sadr left two bodyguards dead and five wounded. AP notes that the office was attacked with more than guns ("three mortar shells, two rocket-propelled grenades and a bomb") and that the building was demolished.
Reuters reports 20 corpses ("gunshot wounds") were discovered in Baghdad, a corpse ("gunshot wounds" as well) was discovered in Balad, and four corpses were discovered ("handcuffed and blindfolded") near Baquba. CBS and AP note the 20 corpses in Baghdad rose to 24.
In the United States, Cindy Sheehan remains at
Camp Casey III in Crawford, Texas. On Wednesday, August 30th, she plans to join Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson for a demonstration against the Bully Boy in Salt Lake City. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30th, not Thursday 31st, as noted here before. More information at Utah Voices. The prospects so overjoy the Repubes that they've launched an ad, as John Daley (KSL) points out, that includes: "Now Rocky Anderson has invited her to Utah." Don't make the Repubes do all the work getting the word out.
Sheehan's attendance may depend upon her health (she recently had surgery). Responding to the charge of 'irrelevancy' (by the Waco Tribune),
Sheehan (Truthout) notes: "Peace will never be irrelevant as long as war is used as a diplomatic tool" and discusses her plans for The Camp Casey Peace Institute as "a force for real peace."
Sheehan will be moving Camp Casey to DC for Camp Democracy.
Kevin Zeese (American Chronicle) interviewed David Swanson about the upcoming Camp Democracy which Swanson states "will bring together movements for peace, Katrina recovery, immigrants rights, labor rights, electoral reform, women's rights, environmental sanity, accountability and impeachment. We'll open the camp in Washington D.C., on September 5th and run at least until September 21, the International Day of Peace, when a movement called Declaration of Peace has planned massive civil disobedience."
Turning to the topic of
Ehren Watada, Charles Burress (San Francisco Chronicle) reports that Sarah Olson will not assist the military investigation of Watada: "I declined because I don't think that it's right for the Army to be asking me to help them prosecute Lt. Watada" Olson has reported on Watada at Truthout and on Free Speech Radio News (among other outlets). Ehren Watada was the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. More information can be found at Courage to Resist and ThankYouLt.org.
Meanwhile, in Australia, the military inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco continues. Today Soldier 14 took the stand.
On Monday, Michelle Franco (forensic expert with the NSW Department of Health's Analytical Laboratories) refuted Soldier 14's previous claims that his DNA ended up on the slide of Jake Kovco's gun as a result of their shared use of a radio, megaphone, etc., from when they were both on duty the day of Kovco's death. Noting the concentration of Soldier 14's DNA on the pistol's slide and the fact that, were DNA transferred by such means, "after 30 minutes it would be virturally all gone." When asked point blank if she was saying that the Soldier 14 would have had to handle Jake Kovco's pistol to have left the DNA that was found on the slide, Franco testified, "It is consistent with that."
Soldier 14 had previous testified
August 25th, August 21st and as he did on August 18th that he did not touch Jake Kovco's gun. Soldier 14 has been in Australia and complained that he wanted to return to Baghdad (also testified that 'many people' told him Shelley Kovco, widow of Jake Kovco and mother of their two children, was out to get him). Michael Edwards reported on PM that in testimony on Tuesday, Soldier 14 stated: "We've had discussions on a numerous occassions trying to work out what happened." He's speaking of Soldiers 17 and 19 who were Jake Kovco's roommates.
Attorneys for Judy and Martin Kovco (Jake Kovco's parents) and Shelley Kovco may want the Soldiers 17 and 19 to testify (by video-link or in person).
Soldier 17 testified to hearsay on August 2nd, floating the rumor that Jake Kovco was a 'cowboy' with guns." At that time, he based that 'testimony' on what "others" had told him but he wouldn't name the others (and shot off a whiny "I don't have to if I don't want to" type of remark). Frank Holles (Judy and Martin Kovco's attorney) responded then: "I put it to you when it suits you, you will not provide information." No he won't. As Conor Duffy reported that day to Eleanor Hall of Soldier 17's claims, "He said he never saw this . . . He said that he didn't see it . . ." "It" was Soldier's 17's vivid testimony of how Kovco would allegedly play with his gun: "Like quick draw and you spin it around all that sort of s[**t]." His testimony to something he did not see, something he was told of by "others" whom he wouldn't name. Now Soldier 14 has admitted that he and Soldiers 17 and 19 discussed the case prior to their testimony. Soldier 17 should be forced to name the "others" and to testify as to his version of what the three of them discussed.
The "cowboy" claim made all the papers that day (in Australia) based on Soldier 17's vivid testimony . . . based on, admittedly, hearsay. And today Soldier 14 admits that they (he, Soldiers 17 and 19) attempted to 'sort it out'.
On July 24th, Detective Sergeant Phillip Elliott took the stand and noted that the clothes were destroyed, the roomates had showered, Jake Kovco's body had been washed all before he could begin his investigation. Elliott also noted that Soldiers 17 and 19 (Jake Kovco's roommates, in the room when he died) differed on where Soldier 17 was located in the room, on where Jake Kovco "lay after he fell" and that Jake Kovco's body had been turned over after he fell.
Belinda Tasker (The Courier-Mail) reports that Soldier 14 continues to insist that he never touched Jake Kovco's pistol. Dan Box (The Australian) reports that Soldier 14 told the inquiry "he wished his friend [Jake Kovco] was still alive to explain how his [Soldier 14's] DNA came to be on the gun." What a buddy, what a pal, what a mate. He wishes the late Jake Kovco were alive, why? To explain how his [Soldier 14} DNA was found on Jake Kovco's gun. What a selfish (and stupid) remark. Presuming Soldier 14's telling the truth about not touching Jake Kovco's gun, what makes him think Jake Kovco could explain it when (the living) Soldier 14 can't?
As previously noted, Jake Kovco and his two roommates were listening to music before Jake Kovco died (Cranberries) and Soldier 14 has tetified before about being bothered by the volume.
AAP reports that Frank Holles asked him if he "had stormed into Pte Kovco's room because he was angry about the loud music he and his two roommates were playing." Michael Edwards reported it to Eleanor Hall (The World Today) like this: "Basically what the lawyer for the Kovco family, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Holles, said was that Private Kovco had been playing loud music in his room, which is adjoining that of Soldier 14 in the barracks in Baghdad, and that Soldier 14 went into Private Kovco's room, took hold of his . . . of Private Kovco's 9mm pistol and then shot him in the head."
Soldier 14 denied that he shot Jake Kovco; however, as
Eleanor Hall pointed out, "But Soldier 14 has not denied being in the room, or the possibility that he may have been in the room when Private Kovco was shot?" To which Michael Edwards replied, "What he did today, he didn't deny being in the room. He said . . . it was put to him that hypothetically it wouldn't have taken him long to reach the room. And he agreed that hypothetically, yes, he said his room was adjoining Private Kovco's." It's interesting that it would hypothetically take two seconds for Soldier 14 to get to the room. Soldier Two (the platoon sergeant) testified on July 25th that he heard the shot and went to Kovco's room where he found Soldiers 17 and 19 beside Jake Kovco's body. Where was Soldier 14? Two seconds to get to the room, the platoon sergeant has made it to the room, where was Solider 14?
In other news of the Kovco trial, the
AAP reports: "Meanwhile, the chief of staff at joint task force headquarters in Iraq, codenamed Soldier 39, has rejected as 'utter bulls**t" claims by military police that he ignored advice to keep Pte Kovco's body in Baghdad until investigators arrived to examine it." On the subject of the body, Jake Kovco was supposed to arrive in Australia's April 26th. He did not. Juso Sinanovic, a Bosnian carpenter, arrived instead. The company handling the transportation of Jake Kovco and Juso Sinanovic's bodies was Kenyon International. As Brooke Shelby Biggs (CorpWatch) has noted: "Kenyon International Emergency Services is a wholly owned subsidary of Service Corporation International (SCI), a funer services firm based in Texas. SCI is helmed by Robert Waltrip, a close family friend of the Bush clan and a major donor to George W. Bush's gubenatorial and presidential campaigns. SCI has been embroiled in a number of high-profile scandals in recent years, including one in which a subsidiary was discovered to be recycling crypts and dumping bodies in a wooded area behind a Jewish cemetery in Florida."