Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Feminist Majority, Hayden, Gagnon and Joni Mitchell

I'm starting tonight's post with a puzzle: How many women will be serving in Congress in January -- CORRECTION BY SUNNY FOR ELAINE, THIS IN THE CONGRESS, NOT JUST 1 HOUSE OF IT. At least 82. I actually think the Feminist Majority can up that figure because some of the races (Penn & Ohio) are between two women. Though the results haven't come in yet, short of some major upset by a third party, the seat's going to a woman. In fact, I'm seeing four races where it's between two women and only one where it's between a woman and a man. So, if I understand their chart currectly, five seats are still undecided.

While an improvement, there are 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 100 seats in the Senate. Were women to garner 87 seats, they still wouldn't account for one-fourth of the membership. An equally troubling fact is that not all females are pro-women. Jean Schmidt (Ohio) is not someone I consider pro-woman or helpful to any cause I believe in (her race hasn't been called according to the chart).

From a purely number-crunch perspective it's an advance. There's still a long way to go since there are more women in the United States than there are men. It's also true that we need pro-women representatives and not just Double-X chromes filling seats. C.I. provided the link in the snapshot and I wanted to note it here. C.I. held the tongue (not about Feminist Majority) because we're going to be tackling something at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Until that feature's written, I'll just urge you to check out the Feminist Majority and note that there aren't a lot worth visiting; however, Feminist Majority is one. (Have I promoted them enough? They deserve to be and the point of why will be made this weekend at The Third Estate Sunday Review.)

Something else worth clicking on is "Ruth's Report" which is Ruth's latest and hard hitting as always. I actually want to write about Ruth but let me check with her first in order to be sure it's okay. There are at least four things at CounterPunch that I'd like to highlight (it's one of my favorite sites) but I'm passing those around so this isn't "The CounterPunch post." Let me note something C.I. passed on first.

"Iraq Wins the Election, What Now?" (Tom Hayden, Common Dreams)
But the Iraq War will not end.
The Administration will continue the conflict into the 2008 election year. The Democrats refuse to end it. The national security elites believe America's image as a superpower is at stake. We've heard it all before. No one is willing to lose a war even when they know the war is unwinnable.
It is possible, of course, that the bottom will drop out of the military effort, resulting in a military defeat and debacle. But the Administration will avoid that outcome at all costs.
The anti-war movement, and their supporters in Congress, therefore will need to pursue an "inside-outside" strategy. On the inside they will have to mobilize the "Out of Iraq" caucus around an exit strategy alternative, including such proposals as:
the appointment of a peace envoy to begin a process of conflict resolution instead of military occupation.
setting a deadline for bringing our troops home within one year.
at the same time, ending the formal occupation and requesting the United Nations to appoint an international consortium to work with the Iraqis on security, economics and reconciliation.
The White House may wish to lure the Democrats into a "bipartisan", or no-fault, approach to Iraq in order to extend the war while defusing it as an issue with voters. They may even have to sacrifice Donald Rumsfeld as a gesture to gain time for "new leadership." It is almost certain that they will replace the current Iraqi regime with a strongman to go after the Madhi army of Moktada al-Sadr, the main Shiite leader who wants the US to withdraw its troops. Finally, both parties will hide behind the recommendations of the bipartisan Baker-Hamilton study group, which is likely to propose a partial "redeployment." The Democrats' successful House campaign strategist Rahm Emanuel, who never wanted to make Iraq an issue, already is suggesting such a new bipartisanship even as the polls show that tonight's new American majority believes the Democratic Party will end the war sooner than the Republicans.
These are steps in the right direction, but only baby steps. The Vietnam War continued for seven senseless years after the Paris peace talks began. While scaling back its original victory plans, the US still wants to station tens of thousands of troops in a subdued, and perhaps partitioned, Iraq, and it wants the issue neutralized by the 2008 elections.
The peace movement therefore needs to gear up for the 2008 elections, by establishing anti-war coalitions that no candidate can avoid in the primary states. The first four states - Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina - have large peace-and-justice constituencies.

That actually fits in nicely with the next highlight.

"What's Next for the Peace Movement?" (Bruce K. Gagnon, CounterPunch):
The Washington Post reported this morning that the Democratic Party's "foreign policy establishment sees a precipitous withdrawal [from Iraq] as potentially damaging to both the country's and the party's interests."
The battle is on.
The new speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, is saying that the Dems will govern "from the middle." Impeachment is not on the table she recently said.
Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), who led the effort on behalf of Democratic Party House candidates, is saying that they can't allow the party's liberal wing to dominate the agenda.
The changes in Congress are largely due to huge opposition (62%) to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Again, quoting today's Washington Post, "The passion of the antiwar movement helped propel party activists in this election year."
How will the peace movement in America, that just turned itself nearly completely over to the Democratic Party, be rewarded for its loyalty?
"Many Democratic lawmakers have signed on to a vague plan for a phased withdrawal from Iraq, but the party remains divided between a base eager to get out soon and a foreign policy establishment that sees a precipitous withdrawal as potentially damaging to both the country's and the party's interests," the Washington Post concludes.
Pelosi is already pointing to a "Bi-partisan study group" on Iraq that is co-chaired by Texas oilman, and former Republican secretary of state, James Baker. Don,t expect any surprises here. Most of the new Democratic Party gains in the House were conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats who do not support immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Instead these new Dems, controlled by Bill Clinton's Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), will steer the country on a basic status quo course. Their excuse will be - - hey we have a national election in two years and we want to take back the White House. So we have to go slow now so we don't alienate the public.
My translation - the corporations will control the new Democratic Party Congress and we will see no real basic change.
So what does the peace movement do now?

Fat Head was on Pacifica last night flaunting his ignorance yet again. I saw Rebecca's "gas bagging about the elections" and called her about it today. She said he was enthralled with his "Blue Dog"s. Is anyone surprised? Why Fat Head is given air time as an 'expert' is beyond anyone's guess unless it's that he's considered 'respectable' even if he did stab Pacifica in the back to get that 'respectable' bonafide. While Hayden and Gagnon are sounding alarms, Fat Head's tripping through the daisies (or maybe the frozen food section of the supermarket).

We should be alarmed because everything I've heard thus far from the mouths of 'leaders' since the election is frightening. I'm trying to tell myself that they'll find spines at some point but I'm not overly optimistic of that. I'm also not upset that some Dems lost. I honestly think a few more needed to lose. Instead of running leaders, they allowed mushy, GOP-pleasers to get the party backing and we'll be stuck with those for two or six years depending upon which house they got elected to. I see no joy in the fact that Bob Casey Jr. got elected. He's a Democrat in name only and it demonstrates, that the Party ran a real candidate out of that race, how little respect they have for women. They've got a few months to show they'll do one damn thing. If they don't, they won't be able to say, "If only we had power . . ." The sob-story they've used for the last six years. As they pat themselves on the back, I don't think they get that people want results and want them right now. Not 'results' in the "We all have to compromise" (which translates as Dems, forget liberals -- just Dems, have to bend over backwards to appease the G.O.P. as the press always advises), but serious change. I honestly doubt that the Dems are going to provide that.

I've been burned too many times to get my hopes up. If I don't see some major shake ups, I'll support a third party candidate for president in 2008. That would be the first time for me but I'm tired of this, over and over. There's always an excuse. "Oh we didn't have the White House" (for why Clarence Thomas became a Supreme Court judge -- when Dems controlled the Senate). "Oh, the GOP controls Congress" (for every destructive policy Bill Clinton signed). "Oh, we're not in the majority" (for the last six years where they were, in fact, in the majority of Congressional members passing hideous legislation like the Patriot Act and renewing it as well). I'm not giving them a year to make waves. If they don't hit the road in action after everyone's sworn in (January), then I'm done with their whiney excuses.

Snapshot's below and let me just say, I love Joni Mitchell. That made my day that C.I. opened with Joni Mitchell instead of a bunch of gas bag nonsense. I have more faith in art than I do in politics and I'm very excited about Joni Mitchell's new album. I really didn't care of Taming the Tiger when it came out. It was only in the last year, when C.I. suggested that I give it another listen, that I really got the power of that album. If you're someone with Taming the Tiger and, like me, you didn't think much of it, please listen again. There are levels that either I didn't comprehend or that were noting things not readily obvious (to me) at the time. I really enjoy that album now.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, November 8, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq with
at least 60 reported dead today, Steven D. Green enters a plea, gas bags toss out the word "Iraq" and pretend they've somehow addressed anything, War Hawk Down! -- Rumsfled resigns, "a defector in the petty wars that shell shock love away" ("Hejira") prepares a new release, and the Mennonite church -- not independent media -- discusses conscientious objectors.
Starting with news not coming out of Iraq, the current issue of Rolling Stone (Jon Stewart cover) notes that Joni Mitchell is recording another album of her own compositions.
Uncut reports on the upcoming album and quotes Mitchell stating "when the world becomes a massive mess with nobody at the helm, it's time for artists to make their mark" and noting that the albums is an attempt to provide "courage through tough times." Mitchell's official website notes one song on the upcoming album entitled "Holy War" which includes these lyrics:

There's nothing on earth
As unholy as war,
The rich sacrifice the poor.
If I had a heart I'd cry.
In fairy tales the good go to heaven
And the evil go to hell,
Ring the funeral bell.
If I had a heart I'd cry.
Holy earth, religion has failed us,
It failed to make us kind,
It spoke of light but kept us blind.

The album will be Mitchell's first recording of her own compositions since 1998's Taming the Tiger. And if that doesn't seem important to you, remember that Mitchell's Dog Eat Dog, and not gas baggery, captured the Reagan de-Revolution. Between art and gas baggery, this community will always go with art. Also, it was Mitchell's birthday Tuesday.
The day prior to that,
Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) reported that the White House had conveyed through Zalmay Khalilzad that yesterday's elections were meaningless -- conveyed to Iraqi puppet leaders. Bully Boy is currently attempting to push that notion right now. On screen, CNN offers a "knowable" -- War Hawk Donald Rumsfeld has resigned as US Secretary of the Defense. Bully Boy has evened out his streaks and his hair now looks much darker but look the other way as the media has for the last six years. Hair dye doesn't make for the 'manly' image the Bully Boy cultivates. (What's he saying? Who knows? I'm having lunch and there are too many people at other tables booing the Bully Boy to hear him and no link at CNN yet.)
For those looking for attempts to make sense of the election (something that really won't happen until all the votes are in and data crunched -- as opposed to skimmed) should refer to
Amy Goodman's interview with Ralph Nader (Democracy Now!) and the Feminist Majority blog on the elections. [Feminist Wire addresses the failed abortion ban in South Dakota.] While the White House's message may have been lost on the puppet leaders, Nancy A. Yousseff (McClatchey Newspapers) reports that "Iraqis outside the world of politics saw no change, regardless of the results" as Matthew Schofield (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the reaction was far different for Europeans who are now "a bit more comfortable with their partners across the Atlantic after five years of unease with Americans under the Bush administration." What is known is that the Democratic Party now holds the most seats in the US House of Representatives and may control the Senate provided the candidates in Montana and Virginia (Jon Tester, Jim Webb) hold their leads.
In Iraq today,
Zalmay Khalilzad rushed to spin telling a reception in the heavily fortified Green Zone (reception made up of reporters, the puppet government, "American colleagues from the embassy," etc) that "Americans understand that Iraq is import. They understand that this region is important" blah, blah, blah. When even Zalmay-Take-Me-Away grew tired of his own voice, he signed off with "Thank you again for coming and my God bless the people of Iraq" which may not be the best way for American officials, supposedly wanting a secetarian government in Iraq, to conclude their 'official' messages. Reality absent in the rumored to be departing soon Zalmay's pontificating can be found in Missy Comley Beattie's latest (CounterPunch): "This historic smackdown of an arrogant president and his administration will not bring back my nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase Comley, his fellow servicemen and women who have died during the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, other dead coalition troops, and so many Iraqis. . . . Nothing can reverse the effects of madmen. The hearts of our dead cannot restart. Limbs can't be restored. Devastating brain damage won't heal."
Absent from the gas baggery by conventional-wisdom loveing pundits and the spin of the White House flacks is the reality on Iraq.
Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports that "at least 25 people were killed and dozens wounded in Baghdad and in Diyala province" on Tuesday. Chaos and violence continues today in Iraq.
AFP reports that a car bombing in Mahmudiyah has resulted in six dead and twenty-six wounded. Kirk Semple (New York Times) reported on a Tuesday bombing in Baghdad that left 17 dead and 20 wounded. IOL reports that four more have died today from Tuesday's coffee shop bombing bring the total number who have died to 21. CBS and AP note that: "A pair of mortar rounds slammed into a soccer field while young men were playing a game in a Shiite district of Baghdad, killing at least eight people." AFX notes 15 people were also wounded in thos mortar attacks. AFP notes a bombing in Iskandriyah that killed two (a father "and his 13-year-old son) and a mortar attack, in Baghdad, "near the health ministry" that killed three and left five wounded. Reuters notes a car bomb in Baghdad that killed three and wounded three more, a car bombing that killed one person, and a car bombing in Ramadi that killed five people.
BBC notes that four people were shot dead in Baquba. AFP notes five were shot dead "in the village of Dhida near Muqdadiyah," two police officers were shot dead in Tikrit. Reuters notes that that a police officer was shot dead in Samawa.
IOL notes that three corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes that six corpses were discovered in Mosul.
In addition, the
US military today announced: "One Marine assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division died Wednesday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province.The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense." ICCC counts 2839 US troops dead since the start of the illegal war and 21 dead for the month.
In other Iraq news,
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) examine the realities of Iraq's Facilities Protection Services and note the belief "that the FPS consists mainly of criminals who looted banks and government offices at the beginning of the U.S. invasion in April 2003."
In legal news,
Reuters reports that Steven D. Green pleaded not guilty today "in federal court to charges he participated in a gang rape of an Iraqi girl and murdered her and her family in March." That would be Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi who was murdered on March 12, 2006 in the town of Mahmoudiyah along with her parents Oassim Hamza Raheem and Fakhriya Taha Muhasen as well as her five-year-old sister Hadeel Qassim Hamza. Green was discharged from the US military before events became public. On Friday, June 30th, he was arrested in Asheville, North Carolina and charged with rape. Five members still in the US military have also been charged. Anthony W. Yribe has been charged with dereliction of duty for not reporting the incident and the other four (Paul Cortez, Jesse Spielman, Bryan Howard and James Barker) have been charged with murder, rape and arson. At the Article 32 hearing for the four, prosecutor Captain Alex Pickands stated: "They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl. She was young and attractive. They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable." Green, who is being tried in a civilian court, could face the death penalty if convicted as could Speilman and Cortez if found guilty in a court-martial.
In peace news,
Chris Arsenault (The Dominion) takes a look at US war resister Corey Glass currently in Canada, at the War Resisters Support Campaign and notes that depite the petition with 35,000 signatures "demanding Canada treat Iraq War objectors the same way we treated Vietnam War resisters . . . the immigration and refugee board, whose mandate is different from the courts, has" refused to rule in favor of asylum for war resisters. Glass tells Arsenault: "I signed up to defend people and do humanitarian work filling sandbags if there was a hurricane; I should have been in New Orleans, not Iraq." Three other war resisters who went to Canada include Kyle Snyder who turned himself in at Fort Knox on October 31st only to self-check out again after the US military lied to him again, Joshua Key who was denied refugee status by the Canadian government and Ivan Brobeck who returned to the US yesterday to turn himself in.
Gladys Tericho (Mennoite Central Committee) reports on the conference on conscientious objection held October 20-21 and bringing together groups "including Mennoite, Doukhobor, Quaker and Jehovah's Witnesses." She notes Harry Loewen (Professor Emeritus of Mennonite History and Studies at the University of Winnipeg") stating: "It is important that we deal with these issues now. . . . This principle must not be abandoned, it must be strengthened."
CNN reports that Bully Boy announced "Don Rumsfeld . . . superb leader" has resigned and that Bully Boy also stated, "The timing is right for new leadership at the Pentagon." Now it's time? Only now? No wonder Condi Rice keeps getting promoted. Rums-fled is out. Zalmay soon will be.
Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada, and his step-mother, Rosa Sakanishi, continue their speaking tour to raise awareness on Ehren -- the first commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq. Upcoming dates include:

Nov 8, 7PM Albany, NY Sponsor: VFP National Location: TBAContact: Elliot Adams, 518-441-2697,

Nov 9, TBA Philadelphia, PA. Location: Annenberg School of Communication, Penn University, Room 109 Sponsors: Iraq Veterans Against the War, Delaware Valley Veterans for America, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star MothersContact: Bill Perry, 215-945-3350,

Nov 10, 7:30PM New York City, NY Location: St. Paul/St. Andrews Methodist Church West End Avenue and West 86th Streets, Sponsor: NYC Area Chapters of VFP & IVAW Contact: Thomas Brinson, 631-889-0203, McAnanama,

Nov 11, 11AM-5PM New York City, NY Veterans Day Parade Sponsor: NYC Area Chapters of VFP & IVAW Contact: Thomas Brinson, 631-889-0203,

Nov 12, TBA Long Island, NY TBA

Nov 13, 7PM Ann Arbor, MI "The Ground Truth" and Bob Watada Location: TBA Sponsors: Michigan Peace Works,Contact: Phillis Engelbert, 734-761-5922,

iraqkyle snyderamy goodmandemocracy nowivan brobeck
joshua key
corey glassthe new york timeskirk semplemissy comley beattie
ehren watadabob watada
dahr jamailali al-fadhilynancy a. youssef