Tuesday, October 10, 2006

James Baker, the "savior"?, and voter registration deadlines

I was wiped out yesterday. As Rebecca's "bo derek (worst actress on tv), war hawks, iraq" pointed out, I'd meant to note an upcoming feature at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Monday, I talked to C.I. about "And the war drags on" which I thought was incredible. C.I. made an offhand remark that was very funny and should be a feature. I called Jim to talk to him about it and he agreed it was a feature so he grabbed a note pad and got C.I. and Ava to riff on the topic and there's already a rought draft for that. It's not a final draft yet and anything could happen; however, I think when we all get done with it, it'll be an enjoyable feature. So look for that this Sunday. Right now, you can read Betty's "Thomas Friedman's Bad Ideas & Blurry Boundaries." Plus, please visit Mikey Likes It!. for Mike's thoughts.

"The Return of James Baker, III" (Missy Comley Beattie, CounterPunch):
The task to clean up after Bush is tremendous. Baker is a Bush family loyalist with years of experience. In other words, he is your typical politico, reluctant to rock any boats before the vote. If he were a statesman, he'd say "troops out now." He knows that polls taken in Iraq show that most Iraqis want us out of their country and believe that violence will abate once the occupiers have left. Baker is also aware that al-Qaeda leaders regard U.S. presence in Iraq as their greatest recruitment tool. Further, Baker certainly has examined the National Intelligence Estimate report that terrorism has increased because of the invasion of Iraq. But most importantly, he sees the mounting casualties in Iraq. During the first nine days of October, the U.S. lost 33 troops. Two other coalition soldiers were killed. Hundreds of Iraqis have died this month. And there is this staggering truth: for every soldier killed, eight are wounded.
Is Baker losing sleep, asking himself as he tosses and turns, "What to do...what to do?" After all, if we continue to lose two or three young men and women a day while he protects Republicans who are on the ballot, a lot of doorbells will be ringing, followed by the military messengers' words, "We regret to inform you."

Exactly when did the left (including even non DLC Democrats) decide James Baker was a "savior"? I'm confused because, outside of lining his own pockets, I'm not recalling any great deed that James Baker has done. I'm remembering the laughable voting rights commission, I'm remembering his work during the Florida recounts and I'm remembering his client list. None of that adds up, for me, to "Praise be, here comes James Baker!"

What I've heard from him on Iraq this week is a bunch of lipstick on the pig. He's providing Bully Boy a "third way" which allows him cover. The answer is troops home now. It's three words. Possibly Baker's seeing dollar signs in Iraq and that's why he can't say them?

Troops home now.

Here are four words, while we're reciting: "Out with the Republicans."

"What Would the Suffragists Do?" (Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority):
I don't have to tell you how important the upcoming elections are to the future of this nation. With so many critical issues are at stake - peace, reproductive rights, raising the minimum wage, affirmative action, environmental protections - voters must turn out in droves!
If you aren't registered, start by
registering to vote. If you are registered, ask your friends to register. Don't miss your state's deadline - act now!
Voter registration deadlines are approaching fast and some have already passed. But if you, your friends, or family members live in ALABAMA, CALIFORNIA, COLORADO, CONNECTICUT, DELAWARE, IDAHO, IOWA, KANSAS, MAINE, MARYLAND, MASSACHUSETTS, MINNESOTA, NEBRASKA, NEVADA, NEW HAMPSHIRE, NEW JERSEY, NEW MEXICO, NEW YORK, NORTH CAROLINA, NORTH DAKOTA, OKLAHOMA, OREGON, SOUTH DAKOTA, UTAH, VERMONT, WEST VIRGINIA, WISCONSIN, or WYOMING, you still have time! Check below for specific registration deadlines in these states.
Act now! If you or your friends live in one of these states, you can
register to vote now with GoVote.org. It's easy, quick, and an absolutely necessary step to making sure you can vote on Tuesday, November 7th.
We need your help to register and mobilize voters this November. If you are already registered to vote, take the next step by
asking your friends to register to vote.
With so much at stake, let's not let the suffragists down. As the classic feminist button says, Vote Dammit!
For Women's Lives,
Eleanor SmealPresident
P.S. Look below for important deadlines in your state:
From www.rockthevote.orgEDR = Election Day Registration

Check below for important deadlines in your state. Make sure to:
Print out your registration form at GoVote.org and either send it in, or register in person.
Tell your friends to register to vote.
Remind everyone how important this election is with our
Get Out HER Vote t-shirt!
Mail-In Registration Deadline (In Person Registration Deadline [if different])
Alabama received by 10/27
California received by 10/23
Colorado postmarked by 10/9 (in person 10/24)
Connecticut postmarked by 10/24
Delaware received by 10/14
Iowa received by 10/28 (in person 10/23)
Kansas received by 10/23
Maine received by 10/17 (EDR)

Maryland received by 10/17
Massachusetts received by 10/18
Minnesota received by 10/17 (EDR)
Nebraska postmarked by 10/20 (10/27)
Nevada received by 10/8 (10/17)
New Hampshire received by 10/28 (EDR)
New Jersey received by 10/17
New Mexico postmarked by 10/10 (10/13)
New York received by 10/13
North Carolina postmarked by 10/13
North Dakota received by 10/23
Oklahoma postmarked by 10/13
Oregon postmarked by 10/17
South Dakota received by 10/23
Utah postmarked by 10/8 (10/25 and 10/28)
Vermont received by 10/30
West Virginia postmarked by 10/17
Wisconsin postmarked by 10/18 (EDR)
Wyoming received by 10/9 (EDR)

That's all in the e-mail but that's not all the states. Community members will notice Texas isn't listed. I called Dallas and said the last day for registration in Texas has passed. I wouldn't have known that if I hadn't called him. If your state's not on the list, that may be why. If there's an error (I'm not suggesting there is on the Feminist Majority's part), e-mail me (likemariasaidpaz@yahoo.com) by Wednesday afternoon and I'll note your state or fix the information. Hopefully, thos who are thinking about voting will and we'll be able to clean the House and the Senate next month.

Why do we need to? I'm the last one to applaud the Democrats in office collectively on the war. But if a house changes hands, it will send a message to Democrats and Republicans who hold on to their seats (and those who aren't up for re-election). We need to send a message. We can't stay silent on the war.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, October 10, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the US military tries to spin again, at least 33 deaths are reported in Iraq (44 counting corpses discovered Tuesday), Bob Watada continues speaking out to raise awareness on his son and what does 'meeting the goal' mean when the qualifications continue to be gutted and ignored?
As noted
yesterday, war resister Ricky Clousing will face a military trial Thursday. Prior to that, at ten a.m., he will speak at a press conference (223 Hillside Avenue, Fayettevill, North Carolina) and there will also be a noon rally in downtown Fayetteville to show support for Clousing.
As Clousing stands up against an illegal war, the US military spins.
Thom Shanker (New York Times) noted what the US Pentagon was about to announce -- all divisions of the military allegedly "reached their targets for recruits in 2006." Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reports: "The U.S. Army recruited more than 2,600 soldiers under new lower aptitude standards this year, helping the service beat its goal of 80,000 recruits in the throes of an unpopular war and mounting casualties. . . . According to statistics obtained by The Associated Press, 3.8 percent of the first-time recruits scored below certain aptitude levels" and "About 17 percent of the first-time recruits, or about 13,600, were accepted under waivers for various medical, moral or criminal problems, including misdemeanor arrests or drunk driving." Not quite the rosy picture we're all supposed to believe.
But then, as
Michael Bronner (Vanity Fair) reported in 2005, the story of Tim Queen wasn't a rosy picture either. Queen suffered from "twitches" in his left arm and wanted to be a Marine: "Tim told me he talked to recruiters about all of his medical issues that first day. They told him not to worry, he said, that they'd seen this kind of thing before; no problem, he'd get in." And he did, he got waived through two physicals, he got put on a bus to go to basic and there, he got humilitated by drill instructors asking questions like: "Was the doctor drunk or stoned when he gave you the test?" Queen wasn't qualified but a quota had to be made so a 19-year-old with health problems gets lied to in order to "get those numbers" and he's the one humiliated and embarrassed . . . for believing his recruiter. As the sherrif of the county Tim Queen grew up in told Bronner, "I'm slow to anger, but I was very upset. . . I mean, Tim cannot stand still. If they're missing things like this, what other kinds of emotional or psychological things are they missing?" That's Tim Queen. He just wanted to enlist. Not to get out of jail or sentencing or because his urine came up "hot." Just a young person who got used by someone so they could make their quota. The case of Steven D. Green demonstrates the dangers to others that arise from the lowered standards that have been at play since the beginning of the illegal war.
In other spin news, the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, Willie Caldwell IV, held another press conference. You'd do well, if you intend to read about it, to do so
here at the US military's site. That'll put you wise to how little reporting is coming out of the Green Zone when you see it pop up in tomorrow's papers. Little Willie talks up the 4-point 'peace' plan. Will anyone ever insist that the "four points" be addressed? Or will everyone pretend the 'security councils' are all four points? Probably the latter since the 'peace plan' didn't think up the 'security councils' (they were already in existance).
Leaving the world of spin for reality,
AP reports that over 300,000 Iraqis are displaced within Iraq. This is not a figure on those who have left the country, this is the number of those who have left one part of Iraq to go to another for safety. AP notes: "The flight is solidifying the sectarian divide in this country of around 30 million people." (The CIA's most current estimate is a little over 26 million.)
CNN reports that a car bomb and a roadside bomb killed eleven people in Baghdad today. That was in the Doura district of Baghdad and Reuters notes another bombing in western Baghdad that wounded three and a bombing in northern Baghdad that left two police officers wounded -- as well as roadside bombs in near Hilla (one dead), in Mahaweel (wounded one person), and Mosul (wounded five). AFP reports two police officers "were killed in an explosion . . . between Mussayab and Jurf al-Sakhr" and a bus driver died in a roadside bombing that "targeted two buses carrying coffings through Latifyah". That's 15 dead from bombings reported thus far.
AFP notes a police officer was killed in Amara. A police captain was shot dead in Mosul, Reuters reports and also quotes an Iraqi police source who states that "[t]welve people were killed in different districts of Baquba." In a later update, Reuters noted that a bodyguard was killed in Balad in an an attack on "a senior Iraqi army officer" and three people were shot dead in Ishaqi. That's 18 for a total of 33 reported thus far.
BBC notes that through Tuesday morning in Baghdad, sixty corpses were discovered. CNN notes: "In the first 10 days of October, Iraqi police have discovered 250 bodies in the capital." Reuters reports that four copses were discovered "near Falluja." In an update, Reuters noted four corpses were discovered in Tal Afar and three in Mosul. Adding the eleven discovered after sun up to the 33 above, that's 44 deaths reported thus far today.
Yesterday we noted a mass kidnapping of eleven soldiers in Baghdad (Sadr City section). Today, Reuters notes that this wasn't the only mass kidnapping on Monday: "Gunmen in several cars kidnapped at least 11 worshippers on Monday as they were leaving a Sunni mosque in central Baghdad, police said. The Sunni Muslim Scholars Association put the figure at six." For more on the Iraqi soldiers kidnapped, see Amit R. Paley's (Washington Post) report.
In peace news, yesterday,
KPFA's Flashpoints took a look at the World Can't Wait demonstrations and featured speeches by Alice Walker and others. Meanwhile, Historians Against the War are calling for a nationwide teach in from October 17th to November 7th. The group notes: "The tragedies now unfolding in Iraq and across the Middle East underscore our responsibility as educators and citizens to enhance public knowledge, to stimulate thoughtful inquiry, and to end the American occupation of Iraq" and ask that: "If you are interested in/can help organize a teach-in at your school, please send us an email ASAP to teachin@historiansagainstwar.org."
Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada, continues the second leg of his speaking tour to raise awareness on his son, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Ehren Watada feels that the war is illegal and that to participate would mean he and anyone serving under him would be committing war crimes. Some of the upcoming dates for Bob Watada's speaking tour include:

Wed 10/100 7:00-9:45 pm CSULB Asian American and Chicano & Latino Studies Classes
Dr. John Tsuchida and Dr. Juan Benitez
1250 Bellflower Bl, Long Beach

Thurs 10/12 6:00 pm Whittier Area Coalition for Peace & Justice, Mark Twain Club Potluck
($3 donations) Bob speaks at 7:00 pm. First Friends Church of Whittier, 12305 E. Philadelphia St., Whittier
Contact: Robin McLaren 562-943-4051 email:

Sat 10/14 morning Press Conference San Diego
Contact: Reiko Obata 858-483-6018 email:
watada@san.rr.com for San Diego events.

Sat 10/14 6:00 pm Lt. Watada Dinner/Fundraiser San Diego (suggested donation: $15)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, 1036 Solano Drive, Solano Beach

Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San Diego
Room 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego

A full schedule, in PDF form, can be found
here. More information on Ehren Watada can be found at ThankYouLt.org. and information on all known war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.