Friday, April 21, 2006

There's always money for war

First, thank you to Kat and C.I. who ended up listening Wednesday (repeatedly) to sections of the post while I was working on it. Kat and I had spoken earlier, prior to my starting the post, and when we spoke during, she was working on "Both Sides of the Coin -- Ben Harper's Both Sides of The Gun vs. The Living Room Tour" (which is wonderful, please read it if you haven't already). C.I. had a business function and would return my calls repeatedly. They both offered patience and encouragement. As Mike has noted, C.I. also offered me the advice (before I started writing it and during) not to worry about spelling, grammar, et al. Just write it (actually, open a vein and let it pour) and don't go back over it trying to smooth it over. I know that I rushed through some spots so quickly that at least twice a sentence is missing a word. I wish I had caught that while I was typing it but, reading some of the e-mails, I grasp that if I'd smoothed it over it wouldn't have registered the way it did.

Thank you to everyone who wrote. I do a group on Thursday nights, which is why I don't post that night, and when I come home, I turn on the stereo, grab a snack, and then crawl into bed exhausted. I don't post on Thursdays, I don't check the e-mails. I'm doing sessions all day and then the evening one. So I haven't had time to read all the e-mails. I've started from the top and now wish I'd gone to the first that came in. But I will get to all of the e-mails. Thank you also to classmates of Mike (as well as his professor) for their interest and kind words.

"Monthly Spending on Iraq, Afghan Occupations Nears $10B" (Democracy Now!):
In other news, a new report from the Congressional Research Service says the US is now spending close to $10 billion dollars a month on the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan -- an increase of nearly $8 billion dollars from one year ago.

Ten billion a month? Our schools are suffering, our libraries, our medical care systems and everything else. Our government is not taking care of its citizens. Our quality of life sinks further and further. Do we realize that? Students are about to be walked over with regards to changes in the student loan programs. We are losing ground -- not because we've dedicated ourselves to a noble purpose, but instead because we fail to grasp that, in this country, the whole system is being undermined.

At what point do we see the price tag and grasp not just that the war is illegal but that we are harming ourselves. Granted, some people are cleaning up, profiting from the war. But most of us, as with the Bully Boy tax cuts, are not beniffiting.

As a society, the illegal war takes a toll on our psyche, on our hopes, understanding and the very notion of a civil society gather together. We also lose out due to the fact that the funding for that illegal war reduces the funding for other, needed programs.

"New Mexico VA Hospital Admits Nurse Wrongfully Accused" (Democracy Now!):
This update on a story we've been following: In New Mexico, Albuquerque's Veterans Affairs Medical Center has publicly admitted it wrongly accused one of its nurses of sedition. In September, the nurse, Laura Berg, wrote a letter to a local newspaper criticizing the Bush administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq war. Her employers responded by confiscating her computer. Shortly after she was informed she was being investigated. Up until this week, the hospital had given Berg a private apology, but had resisted calls to publicly admit that its allegations were false.

Laura Berg deserved an apology. Anyone in that situation does. But I don't think that cuts it. I think the hospital should be on TV making an apology. Without that, it just seems to me someone decided to run a "test" on how much they could get away with.

They were forced to make a public statement but it's not public enough for me. If they'd found that she wrote the letter on her work computer, they wouldn't be offering anything right now more than likely.

"Libby Defends Releasing Fitzgerald Letter" (Pete Yost, Associated Press):
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton threatened to impose strict silence on everyone connected with the case last week after lawyers for defendant I. Lewis Libby distributed a letter from Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald before the letter was made a part of the case record.
Libby's lawyers rushed out the letter to the news media because it was advantageous to their client. In it, Fitzgerald acknowledged making a mistake in one of his earlier court filings.

Scooter Libby is still leaking. That is his m.o. Whether he grasps it or not, his actions form opinions in the "court" of public opinion. If his defense's m.o. is to leak to the press, he's not shoring up support for the view that he's not the type to leak. This actually reminds me of a point Robert Parry made on Pacifica. I don't remember which show, or which network. He's been on Pacifica a great deal lately. However, his point was that the American people have a right to know about the case prior to the elections this November.

Mike and I are attempting to highlight C.I.'s Iraq "snapshots" to be sure that with so much breaking news, people are still aware that the violence continues in Iraq:

Reuters reports that Cambodia has turned down requests to send troops to Iraq.This as the BBC notes Tory MP Michael Ancram's call for withdrawal from Iraq by all British troops. Ancram's statements break with his party's official position. Though
Jawad al-Maliki is the new nominee for prime minister in Iraq, some aren't waiting for parlimentary process to make deals that will effect Iraq for decades.
Reuters is reporting that Shamhi Faraj, director general of marketing and economics in the oil ministry, has announced that the Iraqi parliment doesn't need to pass the investment law, oil contracts can start now. That is important to the US administration, they're getting antsy that they won't be able to install a new figurehead soon enough. The investment "law" doesn't need to become "law" says Faraj. Do the Iraqis want it? No. This is more US policy stamped "Iraqi" and passed off as a sign of "democracy." In a true democracy, other countries don't design the potential laws and the proposal does not go into effect before it's been passed into law. As Exxon and Chevron (and others) sniff around, it's worth noting that this is one more aspect of the (illegal) occupation that causes tension and strife. It's not unrelated. More traditionally recognized violence continued in Iraq today.
Iraqi police officers continue to be killed.
AFP notes the death of seven including five killed near Tikrit. Irish Examiner reports that four police officers died in Mosul (roadside bomb) and that, in Baghdad, at least nine Iraqi police officers were wounded in road side bombings. While in Baquba, a police officer walking to his house was gunned down.
Corpses were discovered by police, six in Baghdad, one in Mahmudiya. Al Bawaba reports that two bodies with signs of torture were discovered between Qaem and Rutba. One body that was identified earlier this week, reports CBC News, was Sadeq Aldifai. A Montreal tailor, Aldifai left Iraq in 1991. He was returning for his first visit since 1991 and had hopes of seeing his two eldest daughters. In Beiji, the Associated Press reports that six Iraqi soldiers were killed following a kidnapping by unidentified people. Finally, in Al Diwaniya, Deutsche Presse-Agentur addresses a rocket attack aimed at a US Army base: "The extent of the damage inflicted on the US base and information regarding casualties was not yet know."

The next thing needs no comment from me, it makes the case quite strongly.

"NYT: A columnist can tell it's news -- why can't the reporting section?" (The Common Ills):
It's news. That's what Clyde Haberman tell us via "What Did You Do In The War, Grandma" in this morning's New York Times. It's news that the Granny Peace Brigade got busted in October. He paints a visual of grandmothers in the court room yesterday, photos hanging from their necks of grandchildren and great grandchildren, but his news judgement is about the arrest, about the women being hauled off in a paddy wagon:Grandmothers being hauled away in a police wagon is what we in the news business call a story.
I'm not disagreeing with his call. He's correct, it was a news story. Where was the Times? The arrest was in October. If it was big news (and it was news, we agree on that), why didn't the Times have a story on it when the arrest happened? It took place in Time Square, so where was the Times?
It was a one pargraph brief . . . on March 3, 2006. That was the arraignment. Eighteen women, ranging in age from fifty to in their nineties. Arrested on October 17, 2005. The brief appears, what, over sixteen weeks after the arrest? (Do the math, I'm too tired this morning to even try.)So Haberman and I can both agree it was news then. I'd assume we'd agree it was news today (I could be wrong). Haberman's a local columnist for the paper. Why is the he the only one covering it?

Wally's tackling free speech tonight with "THIS JUST IN! FREE SPEECH DIED TODAY!" He was having trouble coming up with a topic today. He and Betty have to work harder than I ever do because they're offering commentary and trying to do it in a humorous manner. "When friends are awarded, Thomas Friedman goes fugue" is Betty's most recent chapter (up last night), so I hope you'll read it as well. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's commentaries.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"My pacificism isn't a cloak I wear some days and others put on war drag"

Blogger was down for a little under an hour so I'm starting late. I have something I want to address at length so I may have little to offer on the Democracy Now! items. Please visit
Mikey Likes It! for a discussion on the topics by Mike.

"Bush Refuses To Rule Out Nuclear Strikes on Iran" (Democracy Now!):
At the White House Tuesday, President Bush refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in the impasse over Iran's nuclear program. "All options are on the table," Bush said. "We want to solve this issue diplomatically and we're working hard to do so. The best way to do so is there for (sic) to be a united effort with countries who recognize the danger of Iran having a nuclear weapon. And that's why we're working very closely with countries like France and Germany and Great Britain. I intend, of course, to bring the subject up of Iranian ambitions to have a nuclear weapon with Hu Jintao this Thursday. We'll continue to work diplomatically to get this problem solved."

He lies beautifully. He must have been taught at an early age. Oh, I'm sorry. I need to "get with the program," right? I need to join the shouting for more war, more force, all the time. That's what some of the left are doing right now and it's really disgusting me. No, not on Iran, but on other issues. I'll get to that after the next item.

"FBI Seeks Files of Deceased Investigative Journalist Jack Anderson" (Democracy Now!):
The Chronicle of Higher Education has revealed the FBI is seeking to search through the files of the late investigative journalist Jack Anderson. Anderson, whose legendary career included exposes of the Iran-contra scandal and the CIA's attempts to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro, died in December at the age of 83. Federal investigators say they want to access Anderson's files to recover classifed documents and seek out evidence that could be used in the current prosecution of two pro-Israel lobbyists. Anderson's family has turned down the FBI's request. During his lifetime Anderson was viewed with derision by several administrations. He earned a spot on President Nixon's infamous "enemies list", and was reportedly the subject of a poisoning operation ordered by a White House aide.

Classified documents? Where does that end? Will they attempt to grab them from others? What if you were a victim of government abuse under an earlier Bully Boy and you were passed documents proving that? (Anderson did pass them on to one citizen who sued the government.)
Will the FBI show up to demand those as well. They have no right to them. But under a Bully Boy (or Gal since two female bullies seem interested in becoming president), right doesn't enter into it. Only the claim of "mine!"

Just yesterday we were talking about what? The Darfur screamers. Here comes another one.

"What to do about Darfur?" (Amitabh Pal, The Progressive):
What should be done to stop the mass killings in the Darfur region of Sudan? All progressives should be trying to answer this question.

All of us? Well how much time should all of us devote to it? If you're going to instruct us on what we must be do, could you also tell us how much time we should spend on it?

He continues:

The scale of the mass murder in Darfur boggles the mind. Africa Action, one of the foremost groups in the United States working on issues related to that continent, has compiled numbers on the tragedy. An estimated 400,000 people have died since 2003, when the Sudanese regime started unleashing its Arab militia proxies on the inhabitants of the area as a way of putting down a local rebellion. More than 2 million people have been made refugees either within their own country or have had to flee to neighboring Chad.

Since 2003, almost a half a million people. In Iraq, Robert Fisk and others estimate that we're near or at half a million dead. Refugees? You've got the brain drain, you've got people fleeing. You've also got little "gated communities" like Falluja where people may have to give retinal scans and carry i.d. They must prove to the foreigner fighters (that would the United States) that they're who they say they area. But apparently, Darfur is a "must." Top of our lists.

Now check out this point and note the Bully Boy tone:

I can anticipate objections to my support for NATO intervention. But if Security Council members impede the deployment of U.N. peacekeepers, what else can be done to stop the slaughter? I am a big admirer of Gandhian nonviolence and of peaceful resolution to conflicts, but in this particular situation, reality has shown over the past three years that such approaches will get us nowhere in saving innocent lives.

In this particular situation? So you should have principles but you should toss them out the window when given the chance?

Reality, Pal claims, has shown us that "peaceful resolution to conflicts" -- "over the past three years" -- "will get us nowhere in saving innocent lives." What is he speaking of? We didn't use peace in Iraq. We didn't use it in Afghanistan. We didn't use it in Haiti and peace never "broke out" in the occupied territories. Exactly what example from the last three years is he referring to because I apparently missed it?

I've never read such nonsense in my life from a left site.

Another way to deter the Sudanese regime is to try to bring those responsible to justice. There was a fascinating cover story in the New York Times Magazine earlier this month on the attempts of the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, to do this, and how even his preliminary efforts are striking fear in Sudanese government officials.

You know what I read? I read "Blah, blah, blah." He's criticized Thomas Friedman in the past. Otherwise I'm not remembering any criticism of the paper in recent months. What's my point? I'm tired of these shouts outs by alternative media to corporate media. Are you telling me that The Independent and The Guardian (to name only two foreign papers), haven't covered the situation? Are you telling me that independent media in this country hasn't covered it?

I'm also real tired of our "realistic" doves who transform to hawks when things get tough.

We are not the cops of the world. Bully Boy plays that game. The left doesn't need to.

Pal goes on to tells us that a legal approach was stymied by Bully Boy so it's not an option. So that just leaves sends in military force in the form of NATO (or possibly a "coalition"?). Those are his options after he dismisses peace options (that I'm not aware of our government excersizing) which failed, according to him, in the last three years.

Upfront, I don't put a lot of weight behind Pal's conclusions. I didn't like his Dalhi Lama piece which was pure puff. I didn't care for him when he was on KPFA and he seemed uninformed (as I recall it, the topic was India), the guest from Corporate Watch seemed to know what he was speaking of. I'm not alone in feeling that way. It was raised by members in the round-robin so I made a point, a week later, to listen to that discussion. (The comments seemed to contradict Arundhati Roy's reports in other outlets and also a friend of mine who got constant updates from his relatives in India.)

I'm even less impressed with him now. "Unless something is done fast" he warns later in his piece . . . Unless something is done fast, what? We might see the sort of slaughter that goes on the occupied territories?

If Darfur is someone's issue, fine. But quit trying to scare everyone in order to force them to work on your issue and get behind your one-solution only. I'm really getting sick of it. Pal offers the most limited range of options (all is ruled out except for NATO, that's not even from Colin Powell to Bully Boy -- A to B) and tell you that you must act now! Must! I'm not acting on anything.

Excuse me, Darfur is an area that our government would covet. As a feminist who never got on board the Afghanistan war, I'll be damned if I'm bullied by some on the left into hopping on board for more war.

Feminists didn't discover Afghanistan after 9/11. We were speaking out against the oppression of women long before 9/11, for years. Bill Clinton wanted to cozy up to them, so did Bully Boy. Then 9/11 happens. Suddenly, they're harboring a terrorist and Colin Powell says we have proof. Their government refuses to extradite Osama bin Laden without the US providing proof of his involvement in 9/11. At that point, proof should have been provided. It wasn't. Not only that, the American public never got proof. You can read that as more arrogance on the part of the administration (and disdain) or you can read it as there was no proof (which can be read as Osama wasn't involved or as more proof that basic evidence is no longer needed in this country for the Bully Boy to 'convict' -- just his 'gut').

What I do know is that they sold that war on the backs of feminists. Feminists were calling out the Taliban but where were these "Something must be done!" voices then? Laura Bush delivers a radio address (something Hillary would have been strung up for) to say that we're doing this war to liberate women.

Now a lot of people bought into the nonsense. Forget that Bully Boy had no record of liberating anything but corporate monies. So we bombed the hell of the country. That didn't help women or children or men. But we did it. The results? Besides death, nothing really. Osama bin Laden escaped. Things are as bad, if not worse, for women in Afghanistan now. Things are a little brighter in the tiny corner of Kabul but that's really it. There has been no liberation.

With Iraq, we've turned back the progress for women. (As well as killed "thousands!") Now Iraq and Afghnistan was the Bully Boy doing it his way. I'm not prepared to give him a blank check. Pal is. Even had he gotten behind the UN, UN forces in Haiti not only do not appear to help the people but some reports have them hurting the people.

You want me on board your project, come up with a solution that doesn't have Bully Boy written all over it. Don't tell me that there can be no peaceful resolution since that's failed the last three years (what world was Pal living on that he observed efforts for peaceful resolutions?). Don't then tell me that my choices are legal or force but we can't use legal because Bully Boy's circumvented it. So after screaming at the country to do something, Pal wants to tell everyone that the only thing to do, the only option, is send in NATO forces. (Shades of Kosovo?)

We are not the cops of the world. Every time we fall for that nonsense, we back up the Bully Boy and every other imperialist. What Pal proposes hasn't worked but he wants to let that reality escape him.

After Rawanda (after), Bill Clinton said "never again." I'm not Bill Clinton. Newsflash, he's no longer president. I'm not bound by some statement he makes to escape guilt.

If Darfur is your issue and you want people on board, it's incumbent upon to provide a plan. It's incumbent on you to know your facts. There's nothing Pal's written that convinces me that he does. He wants to create a sense of urgency. So did Judith Miller. Well, there's urgency going on all around the world. You want me on board, find a way to address the problem that doesn't make it worse. In the meantime, this government has created problems in Iraq and Afghanistan. There's Guantanaom that we're responsible for as well. Those are problems "we need to address!" and might need to before we go nosing around elsewhere if the only "solution" is to continue doing what has failed repeatedly.

Putting the same Bully Boy in charge (and we would be even if we didn't try NATO or a "coalition" but went with the UN) isn't an answer. After Kosovo, Pal should be embarrassed to scream that we respond in a knee jerk manner. Considering the resources, he should be embarrassed to advocate a "solution" that puts DC in charge of the region -- or are we to believe that what was done in Iraq was some aberration?

He wants to talk about the last three years and doesn't appear to have been awake during them.
He also appears to have no grasp of any form of involvement other than force.

I'm really sick of the George Packer "left" who scream force at the drop of a hat.

Newsflash, people are dying all over the world. They're dying in Nepal. They're dying in Columbia. Going to the same response, because it's quick and easy (if not succesful), isn't an answer. Trying to shame people into jumping on board your Force Wagon is ridiculous.

The world's seen enough of the Bully Boy administration. It's time for America to return to its beliefs and principles. Unleashing force on a situation that's already out of control isn't addressing it. Screaming and attempting to shame people to rush into a "just do something" mode is foolish. You want help? Come up with your plan. Don't try to shame people.

"Get over there now! With NATO!" isn't a plan.

Sidebar, I read every issue of The Progressive. Where is the Darfur coverage in print? Did I miss it? I'm not recalling it. I'm sure there must have been at least one article, maybe two. But for Pal to play Paul Revere (or Judith Miller), one would assume he'd need a number of articles he could point to. Or maybe, like Cheney, he feels he can justify invasion just on the basis of the New York Times?

There is more than enough going on in the world (and more than enough that our government has actively caused) to address. But if Pal's so sure that force is the answer, here's a bit of advice, be the first to sign up, Pal. Leave your arm chair, warrior, and you go out and "do something."

I'm sick of this nonsense. It's the equivalent of Pat Robertson saying Hugo Chavez should be taken out. It operates under the same prinicple which is "force is the answer."

The George Packers played that card trick with Iraq. "Do something!" That's how we ended up over there in an illegal war with no exit plan. When everyone's trying to rush to the easy solution, no one stops to think. I've seen how this administration handles "liberation" and I will not support or advocate more of the same.

People are dying all over the world. Come up with a plan or accept that whomever is on board is all you will have on board. Or maybe you can up with propaganda like a death camp that wasn't, but I guess we're not supposed to talk about that. Alexander Cockburn never shies from the topic but maybe Pal's unaware of it?

What Pal tells us, as opposed to what he screams at us, is that a New York Times piece moved him. Considering the track record of that paper, I'm not sure that's something to acknowledge when you're trying to make a case for intervention.

This isn't a case of burn out. This isn't a case of lack of compassion. This is a grown woman looking at the destruction the Bully Boy has already brought about and saying that I'm not getting on board with any one-answer-only scheme some screamer wants to market. (Speaking of marketing, I'm fully aware of how the "mission" would be marketed and used to justify more of the same.)

If the answer is always burn the village to save the village, find someone else to carry the gas can and matches because I'm not getting on board. Pal's become The Progressive's Nicky Kristof -- full on bluster if short on facts and ideas. My pacificism isn't a cloak I wear some days and others put on war drag. I do not support endless war which is all the current administration knows. Backing a NATO show of force means putting the Bully Boy in charge. Endless war and endless occupation are what he knows and practices.

By all means, screech at the top of your lungs about whatever topic you want. But if you're expecting support from a less trusting (more wise) public than you appear to be, don't be surprised when no one wants to join you on the Force Wagon that you drive for the Bully Boy (knowingly or not).

Be sure to check The Common Ills tonight because Kat has completed her latest CD review and will be posting it. Thanks to Kat and C.I. for listening to portions of this as I wrote it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"Find one that you can speak out for and do so"

Two people who did check Mikey Likes It! yesterday wrote to ask, "Where was the silly?" (That's a summary.) Mike wasn't in a silly mood once he started writing. He was actually in that mood when we first started speaking and after he had discussed it a bit, he said, "You know what, forget it?" I didn't think he would but he was being silly and wanting to avoid the subject that bothered him (see "") so I assumed that's how he'd be when he wrote. He wasn't and he shouldn't have tried to be. If he's bothered by something, he should talk about it. Which is what he did.

"Former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel To Run For President" (Democracy Now!):
In political news, former Alaskan Senator Mike Gravel has become the first Democrat to officially announce he will seek the party's nomination for president in 2008. Gravel served in the Senate from 1969 to 1981. Gravel who was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War and is vowing to remove U.S. troops from Iraq. He said "President Bush's mistake is not worth the life or maiming of one more American soldier."

This falls under our "announcement" item. Sometimes we pick an extra item (in addition to the two usual items) because we feel it offers something worth noting. In this case, Gravel is declared. He has entered the race. It's worth noting, whether you support him or not, because it could raise the level of the debate. I'm not playing coy. All I know about Gravel is the above plus a John Nichols article.

"Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Chinese Men At Guantanamo" (Democracy Now!):
The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from two Chinese Muslims who are being held at the U.S. military prison Guantanamo Bay even though the government acknowledges they were mistakenly detained. The men have been held for more than four years. Lawyers for the men said they should be immediately released but the Bush administration has refused the request. Officials say they have been unable to find a country that will accept the men after their release. Both men are Uighurs and do not want to return to China out of fear that they would be imprisoned and tortured.

The Surpreme Court has abdicated their responsibility. You have two prisoners "held for more than four years" and they're still being held. Even though they should never have been imprisoned to begin with and the US government admits that. If it is not the Court's role to step in and make a determination, than whose role is it? The entire situation with the Guantamano prisoners is like the internment in WWII of the Japanese. For those who are unable to make any judgement that doesn't come to them via the evening news on corporate television, the instance above is clear cut. Wrongly imprisoned for four years and still imprisoned and the Court has abdicated their role by refusing to offer a ruling that would have been just.

"Nepalese Police Shot Dead One Protester" (Democracy Now!):
In Nepal, pro-democracy protests are continuing for a 13th day. On Monday police shot dead one protester. The BBC is reporting police in Nepal have arrested 25 government officials for demonstrating against King Gyanendra inside the Home Ministry. Among the detained are four high ranking officials. This marks the first time civil servants have been arrested for joining opposition protests against the king.

Nepal has had little attention from the mainstream media when you realize how long this has been going on. There's someone who always screams (and I do mean "screams") about Darfur (and there's Nicholas Kristof who whines) but there's little concern over Nepal. With regards to Kristof, it appears to result from the fact that Darfur involves Christian's being killed. He just won the Pulitzer for, I'm assuming, his "ONLY I EVER TALK ABOUT DARFUR!" Maybe the prize money can be used to purchase more sex workers? Kristof did do that to "free" them. That was so disgusting and appalls me to this day. Not him, he wasn't appalled. As with everything else, his attitude is, "I'm the ONLY ONE dealing with the serious problems of the world!" If that is true, it's equally true that is his coverage is often times more harmful to his cause than not.

Did he deserve the Pulitzer? No. But those prizes don't go to the deserving, they go to the big names at big papers. It's the equivalent of turning on the Grammys last March and seeing Perry Como win for "best pop vocal male" -- and worth about as much.

On Darfur. If I see a story of interst, I'll highlight it. But unlike the New York Times, I won't, for instance, pretend that what goes on in Gaza isn't genocide as well. There are many tragedies going on in this world, war and genocide. I don't know that screaming that you're the only one addressing something helps anyone. But I do think some of the outrage fits the typical US position to see crimes of genocide and otherwise when the victims are Christians and to look the other way when they are of a different religion. If you're going to scream that no one else is talking about Darfur, you might want to check to see if you're writing about other tragedies because they go on around the world. In terms of the Gaza Strip, tragedies has gone on so long that many don't even bat an eye anymore. If you're screaming but not covering the occupied territories or another area of conflict, then maybe you should grasp that everyone will talk about what they choose to. Genocide is going on in Darfur. My focus here is Iraq. I may note, as above Nepal, but I would like to note Israel more. (I think Rebecca's going to be doing that and, if that's the case, that's fine and I'll use my limited time on something else.) Our government is illegally occupying Iraq. That's my main focus here.

Here's an Iraq news roundup from C.I.:

Violence and chaos (planned) continues. In Baghdad, the Associated Press notes, a bomb went off resulting in the death of at least two (Iraqi police officers) and wounding at least six. A separate bombing incident would claim addition lives. Xinhua reports that four civilians were dead and twenty-two were wounded. Also in Baghdad, four workers at the Sunni Endowmen Authority were shot at -- Bahrain News Agency reports two dead and two wounded. Still in Baghdad, AFP and Reuters announce that twelve more corpses were found. In addition to those twelve bodies, Ireland's notes that two more corpses were found in Iraq -- both had been shot in the head. Al Jazeera notes that a Shia cleric died in Baghdad -- the victim of a drive by shooting. In Basra, a drrive-by also claimed the life of an Iraqi "police officer walking near his home." Reuters informs that, in Baiji, "a police colonel" and "two policemen" were wounded by gunmen while, in Tikrit, a police officer was killed with two others wounded. A police officer was also killed in Irbil, KUNA notes, and at least six civilians were wounded. There is still no word on 3 kidnap victims: Salah Jali al-Gharrawi (AFP -- kidnapped April 4th) or Reem Zeid and Marwan Khazaal (Sumariya TV -- kidnapped February 1). And Tom Lasseter reports for Knight Ridder that despite warnings "more than two years that Shiite Muslim militias were infiltrating Iraq's security forces and taking control of neighborhoods," the US ignored the warnings.

Peace Quote (from me):
There are many areas in the world in need of assistance and attention. Find one that you can speak out for and do so.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Today, we're all cheerleaders

First, a correction. Friday, I wrote this:

This week, I noted special programming ( WBAI's special broadcast of Beckett's Waiting for Godot which aired Monday night -- if you missed it, you can use the archives to hear it).

Tammy was kind enough to e-mail and tell me that what you get from the archive is only the introduction to the play and one of the first scenes. I apologize for my error and thank Tammy for catching it.

Mike and I were on the phone and we were laughing and being quite silly. Which caused him to wonder what sort of posts we'd end up with? I have no idea. I know that we finished the edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review early (for Third) Sunday morning. (Four a.m.) (Third proper, which includes C.I., did do a polish on the editorial we'd all worked and Ava and C.I. never stopped polishing their TV commentary, but the rest of us were done by four a.m. That is late, but since there are times when it is 9:00 am or later, this was early and probably the earliest of any edition I've participated on.)

So, I was able to get some sleep and not wake up around three in the afternoon having lost half the day. I woke up at nine which gave me six additional hours in my Sunday so I was able to relax. I think that's why we were both in a silly mood. Usually, we're still recovering from Sunday. (If you wake up at three p.m., it can be very difficult to go to sleep at a reasonable time on Sunday night.)

So please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's commentary.

"Cindy Sheehan Returns to Camp Casey" (Democracy Now!):
And Cindy Sheehan and others returned to Crawford Texas to protest outside President Bush's estate. At a sunrise service on Easter Sunday the Rev. Joseph Lowery urged the protesters to keep working for peace.

I heard Cindy Sheehan saying that she would be at Camp Casey every time the Bully Boy goes on holiday. (It was on one of the Pacifica news shows but I was listening to several programs yesterday and don't remember which station I heard it on.) She said that it didn't matter that Bully Boy wasn't there (he was vacationing up north). I agree with that and agree with her about the rumors she's heard that he may be avoiding his ranchette (my term, not Sheehan's) because he doesn't want to face her.

That actually reminds me of a joke we did on April 9th in The Third Estate Sunday Review's
"'What I Didn't Find In Iraq' by Bully Boy:"

I found out this country needs something like unlisted addresses. You know, like unlisted phone numbers? Everytime I went down to my ranch to get a little rest that Cindy Sheehan would be out there. I asked Dick if I could have his undisclosed location and he got all hard ass and goes, "It's not a time-share."

"120,000 Mark 90th Anniversary of Easter Rising in Ireland" (Democracy Now!):
In Ireland, 120,000 people gathered in Dublin Sunday to mark the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising -- a short-lived 1916 rebellion against British rule. During the uprising, Irish rebels seized parts of Dublin from the British and declared an Irish Republic. The rebellion failed and the British executed 15 leaders. But the uprising inspired the Irish independence movement. Five years later 26 of Ireland's 32 counties became free of British rule.

If you know much about Mike, you know he is Irish-American. If you know The Common Ills community, you know that a number are as well and that there are also Irish members. They've gotten very tired of the attacks from the mainstream press on Ireland. Five years later 26 of the 32 counties did become free, but some are still occupied territories and the anger, from both sides, spills over into violence. There is a tendency in the mainstream to pin the blame on Sinn Fein (a political party currently) and that's very interesting considering that we're still talking about occupied land.

With modern day Israel, I often hear people say, of Palestinians, "They just need to get over it."
That would be the occupation they live under. (That's a simplification of what they live under but I'm rushing.) When I've followed that up with "What makes you feel that way?" -- the reply has usually been, "Well, I'm just tired of the fighting." (Sometimes, it's "I'm just tired of hearing about the fighting.")

But what would we do if we were a nation occupied by another government? If someone's tired of the violence in the occupied territories, they might want to think about how it is to live there. I'm sure the people are tired of it as well. (In fact, many press accounts note that.)

I'm not a violent person (although verbally these days I do assualt my TV if I make the mistake of attempting to watch coporate news). But I haven't lived under an occupation. The American Revolution (which led to the creation of this nation-state) was a revolt for self-rule.

That gets forgotten and here's another thing that gets forgotten. People will say that Native Americans need to "get over" the loss of their land (which is what our current nation-state sits on). I must be missing something because I've yet to see an effort to reclaim the land. I have seen legal efforts to get the monies owed from the IMB. I have read of a judge stating that the government has mismanged the funds. But the other thing I think of is the civil war in this country and how some from certain states haven't "gotten over" it. They're not attempting to fight a war, except for some fringe groups, against the country. But they put their flags up in their cars and trucks, in their windows and elsewhere and there's not a cry of, "Get over it!" Instead, there are movies, miniseries, documentaries and more maade on that time period over and over.

I find that interesting due to the fact that often times, when I've heard that statement from a person who is from the "Deep South" (not every person I know from that area has made remarks similar to that), I will ask what they think of the Civil War and, often times, they will speak of that period with great passion. So it would appear that those who have to "get over it" are always the people who are not like ourselves. I think we need to make an effort to be open when we hear of pain or hear someone speaking in pain because we won't understand where the pain is coming from otherwise.

In the eighties, TNT or TBS aired Funny Girl and I taped it for Rebecca because it wasn't just the movie, it was Sandra Bernhard hosting it and providing commentary throughout. Rebecca loves Barbra Streisand and loves Bernhard. The broadcast was starting in ten minutes and I attempted to call Rebecca but just got her machine.

I was living with a boyfriend at the time and he let his cousin borrow the tape. I came in on the end of that and saw her put it in her purse. I said, "Sure, watch it, but I need it back by the weekend because I taped it for a friend and I'm sending it to her." No problem replied the cousin.

That weekend, it wasn't returned so I called her. She denied having it. She said she'd never borrowed a tape. I told my boyfriend we were going over to his cousin's house. We went, he was reluctant to go, and I asked for the tape. She again denied borrowing it. I told her, "I saw you put it in your purse. I told you then that I had to send it this weekend." She lied to my face.
At which point, I turned to my boyfriend and said, "You better back me up."

She never would give me the tape. I told her I didn't know if she'd lost it or if she wanted it for herself but I knew she had taken it.

Rebecca was disappointed but handled it well. Now if someone wants to tell me to "get over it," I have no problem with that. It's a minor thing. But there are issues and events that people cannot just stuff inside because someone tells them to get over it. That needs to be recognized.
Just because you may not want to hear about it, does not mean that the issue which is very important to someone is something to "get over."

"Neo-Naxi Supremacist Convicted In WMD Case" (Democracy Now!):
In Tennessee, a white supremacist with Neo-Nazi ties has been convicted of attempting to acquire Sarin nerve and C-4 explosives in order to blow up government buildings. The man, Demetrius Van Crocker, once told an FBI informant that he dreamed of riding a motorcycle to Washington D.C. and setting off a dirty nuclear bomb while the House and Senate were in session. Crocker also said he wanted to get a helicopter license so he could bomb or spray poison gas on the African-American neighborhoods in Jackson Tennessee. Crocker was arrested after he bought nerve gas from an undercover agent. His attorney argued Crocker was prone to exaggeration and was a victim of entrapment. Despite the serious charges, the national press has ignored the story. The New York Times, Washington Post or Los Angeles Times have yet to report on Crocker’s arrest or conviction. A recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that the radical right has attempted to carry out at least 60 terrorist plots since the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.

I have nothing to add to that one. But we both wanted to include it since it hasn't gotten attention.

Today, thanks to Sunny who taped it since I was in a session (I need to get an iPod), I listened to KPFA's Women's Magazine:

Women correspondents who covered the war in Iraq will join us by phone. May Ying Welch, freelancing with Al-Jezeera, Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times London, Hannah Allam with Knight Ridder and others will talk about the perspective that women bring to the coverage of the war. Marking the 57th anniversary of KPFA we host former programmers from KPFA Women's Department in the 1970's through the 1990's.

This was a very interesting broadcast. The second half contained women discussing how the Women's Department was built up and the accomplishments. One woman spoke of learning at the station that you had to fight to get your story on air and that if, after a long discussion/debate, you couldn't persuade people to see it your way, it probably wasn't a story worth telling. From that experience, when she switched to commercial broadcasting, she felt she was prepared to fight for her stories while some others weren't. She described them as "namby pamby." So she saw that as one of the benefits of her time at the station.

The first half was the foreign correspondents and it was very interesting to hear their stories. Marie Colvin spoke of how a boyfriend told her she had to leave an area or else. (Other reporters had left as had some UN forces.) She spoke of how it mattered for her to be there due to the thousands of children and women who needed someone reporting to the world what was happening. I believe it was Hannah Allen who spoke of being engaged when she went to Iraq and how the engagment ended when he couldn't live with her assignment.

It was a strong program and I believe (believe) you can hear it via the KPFA archives. It reminded me of Ava and C.I.'s commentary this Sunday in some ways.

"TV: Katie Was a Cheerleader" (Third Estate Sunday Review):
If women learned anything from the trashing of Katie Couric last week, it was that today, we're all cheerleaders. In their eyes, we're all cheerleaders. Our own work isn't addressed and there's no desire to familiarize themselves with it before weighing in. Call us when it's our turn to stand trial at the war crimes tribunal.