Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Ron Jacobs, Paual Rothenberg, feminism

C.I. has a limited amount of time to do the snapshots when they're done on speaking days and something that will be noted tomorrow (again) slipped through the cracks today so I said I'd note and Mike's noting it as well.

"Sitting In On Senator Kohl and the War-A Conversation With Antiwar Students" (Ron Jacobs, ZNet):
Ron:Tell me what happened. How did this protest turn into a sit in?
Josh Brielmaier: About 100 of us crammed into Kohl's office to make our demands. Somebody suggested staying the night and by show of hands around forty of us were willing to stay the night.
Chris Dols: The visit to Kohl's became an overnight office occupation when Kohl refused to meet our demand for an in-person meeting. Kohl has never met publicly with antiwar constituents in Madison since the war began. Further, he has supported and funded the war since the beginning.
Zach Heise: The original intention of the protest was for it to be a sit-in. We were informed that Wednesday afternoons were a time when a regular sit-in group was in Kohl's office, so we thought that we would bolster their group and show our support. We had hoped that we wouldn't need to do a sit-in, at least some of us - Campus Antiwar Network's (CAN) reasons for being there were clearly stated and taped within moments of our arrival: we wanted to meet with Kohl, or at the VERY least, arrange with him personally via phone for a time that he could meet with our group. We didn't want any secondhand heresy from aides or notes - we wanted to hear his voice on the phone to arrange a meeting with us, and then we would have, as far as I believe was our intention, left peacefully. That was our mission.
Todd Dennis: Like Zach said, The plan from the start was to go to Herb Kohl's office and make our demands and request a public meeting where we could get Herb Kohl's response to our demands for the troops to come home from Iraq. Following the run-around from his staff, as the folks from The Network have been getting since they have been conducting their sit-ins, we stayed in the office while waiting on when Kohl would come back to speak with his constituents in his home state. The staff told us they would give us a teleconference in the next couple days but wouldn't give us an exact time as they had to work out to find some open time the senator had. After "granting" the conference call, they said okay here you go, will you leave now. Of course since we wanted a public meeting in Wisconsin we said no. As previously understood by those of us who planned the event we staying in the Senators office waiting to hear he would come to Wisconsin for the public meeting. However, overnight upon the realization that we meant business we were given several demands and when they told us we couldn't make anymore demands and also made it clear that we would get neither the conference call nor the public meeting we took back the entire office from the 10 X 20 part we were corralled in overnight. Following our taking over fo the entire office, the police were called and we had to leave the building.
Ron:What were your personal and political reasons for participating?
Bernadette Watts: I don’t see any just reasoning behind this war. Everything in my body tells me that it’s a senseless war for the profit of a small group of individuals. Kohl, the wealthiest US senator, continues to support funding for the war while saying he is against it. I believe our senator should work for us, the people he supposedly represents, and when he messes up, I believe it’s our duty to make him accountable for his actions. I recently became involved with CAN and it has been a pleasure working with such an intelligent group of individuals, all of whom continue to inspire me to use my voice.
Todd: I have a couple reasons why I participated. One, as a veteran who was on active duty in the US Navy when the disinformation war to start the occupation of Iraq began, I have been opposed to the occupation from the start. While in the military, partly out of fear of retributions and partly because I was unaware of my GI rights to protest off-base and out of uniform, I didn't participate in the anti-war rallies and demonstrations prior to the start of the occupation. I did however contact all of my representatives stating my displeasure with the proposed Iraq war vote. Kohl like normal didn't respond to my emails. This was very disrespectful to me and my brothers and sisters whose lives he is personally responsible. Since I have become a peace and justice advocate with first, Veterans for Peace and now along with Iraq Veterans Against the War, I have been disappointed in the representatives of this countries response to the war and public sentiment to it. While I can do nothing about my earlier inaction, I can when any opportunity arises take action showing my displeasure with the continued occupation of Iraq where our military has virtually no mission but to stay alive.

Darla e-mailed about Ruth Conniff's latest. Sunny showed me the e-mail and the column this afternoon. Like I said before, she can write some wonderful columns and she can write some real stink bombs. This was the latter and it was so "gated community" I'd link to it if I were in need of a laugh. But I'm not. For the record, Mother's Day was started for peace. It had nothing to do with housework. The connection to child raising was that we do not raise children to kill other children. That message never made it into the gated community, apparently, and Ruth wants everyone to know that it's okay to be a stay at home mom or dad if you do it part-time, apparently. Seriously, what does she want anyone to know? Who knows and who cares? A day created for peace becomes a day for her to write about her friends.
Iraq never crossed her mind.

When she's got something worth saying (and she sometimes does), I will note it. When the gates in her mind are closing, I'm not linking. Here's something instead.


That's Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bully Mama" which ran Sunday and, unlike Ruth Conniff's column, it's intended to make you laugh.

Julia Ward Howe, in 1870, wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation:

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...

Do you see anything in there about housework? No. I doubt Ruth Conniff is aware of the poem. You know what might make for a good Mother's Day column? I'm not going to tell you. I'm going to take that idea over to The Third Estate Sunday Review which will publish on Mother's Day.

There is real feminism out there. Ruth Conniff apparently needs someone to validate her as a mother. That's a choice. There's nothing to indicate it was a feminist choice. Any woman can be a mother. That alone doesn't make you a feminist. Two strong feminists who always give me hope are Ava and C.I. I put them on my list of feminist heroes along with Gloria Steinem, Flo Kennedy, Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston and many others. Ava and C.I. are my friends so it might seem strange to put friends on a list of heroes. But they have put feminism in the forefront. They aren't the only ones. But read Jim's "Jim filling in for Rebecca (and Betty)" about their contributions for over two years now. Better yet, read the e-mails Ty does each week. It's real easy to say, "Oh, they just cover TV." They have had such a huge impact by covering TV from a feminist view point. They raise serious issues at a time when a lot of voices don't. I'm not talking about our established voices. I'm talking about the ones who think push up bras equates with libertation. The Raunch culture. Ava and C.I. have done more to show what feminist is than all of the Mud Flap Gals combined. (Read "Parody: Mud Flap Gals and "How we got to this point.") They raise issues that would otherwise just sail by. (Ava and C.I.'s most recent commentary is "TV: Mid-wifing the rebirth of the yuppy.") Ty can tell you that it's become a regular thing, a regular e-mail, written in different words, but always saying, "Thank you for pointing that out" or "I'm getting it now." If I can just talk a little about that . . .

C.I. visited me the Sunday evening that the first edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review went up. The story's been told many times but Jim attended a function on campus about the war and heard C.I. speak. Jim knew C.I. had to be "C.I." Afterwards, he waited to talk to C.I. and said, "You're C.I., right!" C.I. wasn't prepared for that (believe me, C.I. can do a poker face). So the cat was out of the bag and Jim said they wanted to start a site, him and his friends, and would C.I. help them with the first edition? C.I. did and has every week since. That first Sunday, after, C.I. said to expect big things from the site. C.I. didn't know this was a weekly thing -- for them yes, but C.I. didn't know any other involvement was needed. They asked C.I. to participate via the phone the next week. And then the next. Jim had been the one who said TV had to be covered. He knew students watched. Even if it was just background, he knew they watched by looking at the people around him. Ava and C.I.'s points and comments were what stood out, so Jim quickly turned the feature over to them and it just became a craze. I really don't think there's any other word for it.

So for over two years now, Ava and C.I. have addressed issues in those TV reviews. At a time, it should be noted, when professional TV critics wouldn't go near the issues of how women were portrayed or whether they were even present. The nation was at war and when that happens, macho is the natural reflex. Since most were ignoring feminism long before 2001, they only upped the macho b.s. afterwards. In that climate, along came Ava and C.I. and they carved out a space at the site, they carved out a space among readers. One of the biggest surprise me for me is how teenage daughters of friends repeatedly will bring them up in coversations. Most of the time, I'll play dumb. With a few, I'll fess up that, yes, I know them, not just of them. But they are having an impact. I think that's true even with the people who write angry e-mails. I was talking to Ty about that because a number of people will write lengthy e-mails defending a show that Ava and C.I. have noted features no persons of color or sidelines women or what have you. Ty believes (I agree) that in coming up with their responses, those e-mailers are forced to address the issues Ava and C.I. raise. Even if, as some do, they dismiss those issue, they're forced to acknowledge them.

We live in a sexist world. This week, a 'biggie' slammed women and slammed feminists (Ava and C.I. intend to address it this Sunday). I'm biting my tongue because I've already heard from Ava some of what the two of them have brainstormed. But the reality is that a 'biggie' on the 'left' can slam women and slam feminism and think that's okay. It's not. Ty got 83 e-mails about that (asking that Ava and C.I. would address it) and that really speaks to the strength of their voices because people know they will address it.

I'm also seeing more and more women saying, "I'm not taking this crap." I think we're on the verge of another huge wave of feminism. I think Ava and C.I. are a part of that wave. The next highlight is by someone I've never heard of before. I wish I had known of her before today. She is a very strong writer. I think, across the country, feminists are getting sick of frivilous little 'girls' hiding behind the term 'feminist' to justify behaviors that are not feminism. That's at the heart of the piece which I wish I could run in full but, if you enjoy it, please use the link to read in full (if you haven't already, a number of you are really visiting CounterPunch these days, making a point to do so).

"Feminism Then and Now" (Paula Rothenberg, CounterPunch):
It was the summer of 2002 and I was traveling through a medium-sized town in Hungary when I looked up and saw a young woman coming toward me. Fifteen or sixteen years old, she wore a shirt that proudly proclaimed her to be a "Dirty Girl."
Six months later, in Philadelphia, I found myself speaking at a women's studies conference to an audience which included several young women wearing shirts with "C*nt" or "Bitch" written on their chest in an angry scrawl. Shortly after, I found myself in Panama watching a rotund 7 year old prance around in a hot pink tank top that shouted "Bling,.Bling." When I checked the web upon returning home, I discovered that "Dirty Girl" had been updated to "Stupid Dirty Girl" while another T shirt insisted "As long as I can be on top."
Are the young women wearing such T-shirts liberated women who have taken control of their own bodies and now reap the benefits of the women's movement or are they simply dupes? These experiences, and countless others like them, raise a broader question for me. They make me ask how the insights and goals of the Women's Movement have been transformed and translated as they have been integrated into popular culture and daily life?
The Women's Liberation Movement that began in the 60s was originally a radical movement seeking deep and fundamental change. It identified the ways in which male and other forms of privilege had been woven into every social, political, economic institution and cultural practice in our society and went on to challenge white supremacy, heterosexist privilege, class divisions as well as the images of gender that had been normalized and in this way rendered invisible The Women's Liberation Movement I remember argued for the need for a radical transformation of all our institutions. It urged women to rethink every aspect of our lives, always asking us to reflect on whose interests were served by the ways in which society was organized and by the values we had been taught to embrace.
Central to this project was the distinction between sex and gender. In order to challenge the conservative view that women's social role was determined by her nature, many feminists argued that while one is born either a man or a woman and that is a function of biology (and yes, many of us mistakenly thought that there were only two possibilities at that time), gender roles were determined by society. Women began to notice that how we were taught to define ourselves, what it meant to be a real woman, served the interests of men and capitalism. This made us suspicious of what we had been taught were our "natural" tendencies or inclinations and made us wonder about our so-called "free" choice.
A very important article of the period, a true classic, was entitled "Homogenizing the American Woman: The Power of an Unconscious Ideology" written by Sandra Bem and Daryll Bem. The authors pointed out that even if discrimination were to end tomorrow, nothing very drastic would change, because discrimination is only part of the problem. "Discrimination frustrates choices already made. Something more pernicious perverts the motivation to choose. That something is an unconscious ideology about the nature of the female sex...."... In other words, many of us began to realize that we had been socialized to want things that would replicate and reinforce the status quo.
The Women's Liberation Movement of the Second Wave rejected prevailing standards of beauty, the Barbie doll image, (being thin and blonde), that were virtually unattainable by anyone who wasn't white and by most of us who were white as well. The critique took the form of recognizing and challenging the ways prevailing standards of beauty and rules of dress and decorum both reflected and reinforced the existing race, class and gender hierarchy in society. Women of the Second Wave were tired of being turned into sex objects by the fashion industry and so they threw out their high heels (which were understood to be on a continuum with Chinese foot binding practices -- a way of circumscribing women's movement and keeping them dependent), took off their girdles and their bras, stopped trying to be a size 2, and focused on healthy eating healthy for them and the planet.
If we look at popular culture today what do we see? Well, Barbie is back with a vengeance. Little girls start dieting in fourth grade and never stop. This used to be more of a problem among white girls but it has spread to all ethnic groups. And dieting isn't the half of it, anorexia and bulimia are occurring in alarming proportions.

By the way, I've edited it to make it "C*nt." None of the rest of us were asked to have a work-safe site (C.I. has one) but (a) I don't like the word and (b) "damn" is really the strongest thing I've used here so I have one by default. I really enjoyed Paula Rothenberg's article and look foward to reading more from her. I am serious about the feeling that another huge wave is emerging.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, May 9, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, Cheney visits the Green Zone and receives his usual welcome, Democratic leadership caves again, and cries go out for people to get active.

Starting with war resistance. Last week Camilo Meija's
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia was published and, as Courage to Resist reports, tonight, he begins a speaking tour with Pablo Paredes, and Robert Zabala. Announced dates include:

Wednesday May 9 - Marin 7pm at College of Marin, Student Services Center, 835 College Ave, Kentfield. Featuring Agustin Aguayo, Pablo Paredes and David Solnit. Sponsored by Courage to Resist and Students for Social Responsibility.

Thursday May 10 - Sacramento Details TBA
Friday May 11 - Stockton 6pm at the Mexican Community Center, 609 S Lincoln St, Stockton. Featuring Agustin Aguayo.
Saturday May 12 - Monterey 7pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 490 Aguajito Rd, Carmel. Featuring Agustin Aguayo and Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace Chp. 69, Hartnell Students for Peace, Salinas Action League, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and Courage to Resist. More info: Kurt Brux 831-424-6447
Sunday May 13 - San Francisco 7pm at the Veterans War Memorial Bldg. (Room 223) , 401 Van Ness St, San Francisco. Featuring Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia and Pablo Paredes. Sponsored by Courage to Resist, Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69 and SF Codepink.
Monday May 14 - Watsonville 7pm at the United Presbyterian Church, 112 E. Beach, Watsonville. Featuring Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and Robert Zabala. Sponsored by the GI Rights Hotline & Draft Alternatives program of the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV), Santa Cruz Peace Coalition, Watsonville Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF), Watsonville Brown Berets, Courage to Resist and Santa Cruz Veterans for Peace Chp. 11. More info: Bob Fitch 831-722-3311
Tuesday May 15 - Palo Alto 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church (Fellowship Hall), 1140 Cowper, Palo Alto. Featuring Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Pennisula Peace and Justice Center. More info: Paul George 650-326-8837
Wednesday May 16 - Eureka 7pm at the Eureka Labor Temple, 840 E St. (@9th), Eureka. Featuring Camilo Mejia. More info: Becky Luening 707-826-9197Thursday May 17 - Oakland 4pm youth event and 7pm program at the Humanist Hall, 411 28th St, Oakland. Featuring Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and the Alternatives to War through Education (A.W.E.) Youth Action Team. Sponsored by Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69, Courage to Resist, Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's (CCCO) and AWE Youth Action Team.

All are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Turning to politics, US and Iraq. Yesterday on
KPFA's Flashpoints Radio, Robert Knight's "The Knight Report" summed up developments as follows:

The US backed Shia led puppet regime in Baghdad faced further setbacks today after the absentee parliament's biggest Sunni block threatened to collapse Nouri al-Maliki's Shia supremacist leadership by removing 44 Sunni legislatures from the current governing coalition. Iraqi vice president Tariq al-Hashimi, of the fundamentalist Iraqi Accord Front, has given Maliki a one week deadline until May 15th to amend Iraq's US designed Constitution of Military Occupation to restore authentic national sovereignty and territorial integrity otherwise Hashimi threatened quoted "I will tell my constituency frankly that I made the mistake of my life when I put my endorsement to that National Accord." Hashimi added that he was frustrated by Sunni exclusion from government under the de-Baathification commission headed by CIA and Pentagon asset Ahmed Chalabi. Hashimi concluded his demands with the hope that "I would like to see the identity of my country, in fact, restored back." He also refused an invitation to meet in Washington with President George W. Bush until those issues were addressed.
A collapse of the Maliki regime would scuttle bi-partisan hopes in Washington that Iraq's puppet parliament would ratify the US written petroleum law that would eradicate national sovereignty over oil resources and clear the way for lucrative extraction contracts for American and other multi-national oil conglomerates. A fig leaf ratification of the oil law is a mutual goal of both Republicans and Democrats in Congress who call the potential give away and segmentation of Iraq into secular regions to be an essential so-called benchmark for further military funding for the US occupation.
And on that front there are alarming revelations from Ohio Representative
Dennis Kucinich who reveled over the weekend that Congressional Democrats have sold out any hopes for reform in Iraq with a secret agreement with the White House over the so-called funding bill for the Iraq war. In a remarkably revelatory speech to the West Los Angeles Democratic Club, Kucinich said that the Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have made the following secret concessions. One, that House debate would not challenge the multi-national friendly Iraqi oil law that President Bush and vice president Cheney and the Democrats are desperate to have enacted so that Iraqi resources would be privatized. Number two, that bush could invade Iran without the approval of Congress because the Democrats have removed a clause that would require him to get approval from Congress. And of course that any and all timetables would be removed from subsequent enactments of the bill.

[. . .]

Dennis Bernstein: Robert Knight, stay with us. Thank you for the excellent report. And obviously we have been watching closely in particular the willingness of the Democrats to play ball so that the war and the significant aspects, the real reasons, the oil war can go forward. Would you just in a nutshell again recap the Kucinich highlights of the revelations of the sell out?

Robert Knight: Well this oil law is something that was a promise made by Cheney and Bush at the beginning of the war -- saying that the invasion would be funded by resources, the increased oil extraction and of course the profits to be made by the American companies. They have changed the language of the so-called PSA -- Production Sharing Agreements -- so that now the Iraqi national oil council would no longer have sovereignty over its own resources. There is a division in the bill that the Democrats are propagandistically propping up that is to say that this would share revenues among the different provinces.
But what it does it sets it up not to the province per se but to the regional coalition which is part of the United States and Israeli backed plan to divide Iraq into competing sectarian fragments -- the Kurds, the Shias in the south and of course the Sunnis in the more impoverished oil regions, the western part of Iraq. So the oil law would not only be something for profit but also something for segregation in Iraq.

Oil and Congress. Starting with oil. Dickey Cheney ("President of Vice" as
Wally and Cedric have dubbed him) high tailed it to the Green Zone and you know it wasn't to rally the troops. BBC reports that Nouri al-Maliki was gushing and that "US officials said Mr Cheney wanted faster progress on the fair division of oil revenues" -- well of course he does, look at his portfolio. Garrett Therolf (Los Angeles Times) reports Vice was greeted with the usual warm response he's learned to expect the world over: over a thousand protesters holding sings such as the one that read: "Kick out the leaders of evil." Cheney must be so proud.

On the issue of the US Congressional measure,
Edward Epstein (San Francisco Chronicle) reports that the 'plan' would fund illegal operations only through September 30th, that the toothless, non-binding withdrawal talk has been dropped and that "Democratic leaders expect to debate the plan for troop withdrawals again as part of bills now moving through committees that would authorize and spend the money for 2008 Pentagon operations, including the war." Last week, the Bully Boy vetoed the Congressional bill that did not enforce withdrawal. That measure was non-binding and full of loopholes that would allow Bully Boy to keep every US service member in Iraq there through the end of his term. One example, classify them all "military police" and say it was now a police operation would mean he wouldn't have to follow any of the Congressional suggestions -- suggestions because they were non-binding. The Democratic leadership refused to stand up then and now they just roll around on their backs. Noam N. Levey (Los Angeles Times) notes, "Democratic leaders, who are still finishing the plan, will no longer tie war funding to a pullout of almost all U.S. combat forces, which the president has said he will never accept." Carl Hulse and Jeff Zeleny (New York Times) observed that the talk of Congress funding the illegal war in scheduled stages was being attacked by the White House (via Tony Snow) and some Republican members of Congress such as Adam H. Putman. In a sure sign of how weak Democratic leadership is, not only have they sold out the mandate handed to them by the the American people in November 2006, they can't even fight for the nonsense they're trying to push forward. Every time Tony Snow shoots off his mouth, a Congressional Democrat should hold a press conference to ask, "Is the White House attempting to micro-manage the people's Congress?" Another sign? Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reports that Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno announced yesterday that the escalation that members of Congress are saying they must wait until September to evaluate (when Petraeus gives his report) will also be evaluated "at the beginning of next year for sure." The failure that is the escalation will be evaluated at various intervals by the US military. If the military can do that, Democrats should be able to make the case for their own right to base their power of the purse on regular evaluations.

But when you don't have the guts to call for the withdrawal the people support, when you don't have the strength to excercise your Constitutionally mandate power of the purse, when you spend the bulk of your time trying to fool the public with non-binding, symbolic measures, maybe you don't have the time or the guts to offer anything else?

United for Peace & Justice issues a call:

Veto the War! Take Action Today!
President Bush vetoed the $124 billion Iraq war funding bill, because it included a timid troop withdrawal plan.
Unfortunately, the Democrats in Congress now seem to think that they must compromise with the arrogant, incompetent administration that led us into war, rather than stand up for us, our troops and the Iraqis.
If we do not create a national outcry right now, Congress will capitulate and simply give Bush the money he wants to continue the war.
Let's make some noise!
Organize an emergency veto action!
Click here for ideas.
Write letters to the editors of your local news outlets.
Call into local radio talk shows.
(Click here for talking points.)
Call the offices of your members of Congress.
Show Congress what kind of funding bill YOU want them to pass! Download and deliver
"The People's Emergency Funding Bill," by fax or in person, to your representative's and senators' local and Washington DC offices. (Click here to find their office addresses and fax numbers.)
the Green Party of the US has also "criticized the retreat of Democratic Congress members and party leaders after President Bush last week vetoed legislation that included a timetable for withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq" with statements from various party members including the co-chair of the Green Party's Peace Action Committee (GPAX), Aimee Smith: "Democratic front groups like have abandoned the antiwar movement. We don't need an 'Americans Against Escalation in Iraq' coalition, we need an independent political movement demanding removal of US troops as quickly as possible and reunciation of aggressive military power. Democratic leaders, including presidential candidates like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are rejecting these demands and are willing to see US forces remain in Iraq until late 2008, and even longer to serve US financial interest there and the strategic demands of Israel and its supporters in the US. The goal of Democrats isn't to end the war, it's to seek party unity in order to win the White House. There's little doubt that most antiwar Democratic groups wil line up behind their party's prowar nominee in 2008."

Dave Lindorff (CounterPunch) observes the "bankruptcy of the Democratic Party leaderhip's position on impeachment was revealed in stark terms yesterday, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she would sue the president in court if he resorted to a signing statement to kill the next version of Congress's Iraq funding bill" and concludes: "As long as she continues to refuse to allow impeachment of President Bush, she cannot hope to stop the war, restore habeas corpus, undo the Military Commissions Act, stop illegal spying on Americans by the National Security Agency, or win passage of any significant legislation to deal with global warming. She cannot really do anything, because Bush will simply issue signing statements and use his claim of 'unitary executive authority' to invalidate any legislation passed by Congress."

In Iraq (puppet) governmental news,
War Pornographer Michael Gordon (New York Times) attempts to get a money shot out of the Iraqi Exile Visits DC. Like a large number of exiles, Mowafak al-Rubaie serves in the puppet government. In 2003, after the illegal war began, al-Rubaie returned to Iraq (after two decades in exile) in just enough time for the US government to appoint him to the Iraqi Governing Council then, in 2004, they appointed him to the Coalition Provisional Authority and today's he's Nouri al-Maliki's national security adviser. A government of exiles ruling over an Iraqi people that wonders just where the hell these exiles get off dashing back into the country post-invasion and attempting to rule? al-Rubaie danced through the halls of Congress in the metaphorical equivalent of a g-string, attempting to get Congress to shove dollar bills down his crotch. Though he shook his money maker, not all rushed to request a lap dance. US Senator Carl Levin didn't take to al-Rubaie's notion that democracy for Iraq was a 'generational' thing. Levin: "I told him that is too long." The exiles, so very popular with the White House, share the same paternalistic, patronizing attitude of the White House: Iraqis are just too stupid for self-rule. One might ask why those who feel that way would want to rule in the first place but al-Rubaie's lined his pockets quite well since the start of the illegal war.

All that pocket lining has to be paid by someone.
Dexter J. Kamilewicz (Military Families Speak Out) notes the human costs, the economic costs, the civil rights costs and the "costs of deliberate neglect" concluding: "The enormous costs of the lack of leadership in dealing with the war in Iraq are measurable, and those costs hit home in ways we cannot ignore no matter how depressing the subject. The longer we wait to confront those who let these costs mount [Congress], the more responsible we are for those costs. It is up to us, you and me, to demand an end to it." One way to demand an end to it is to take action. Cindy Sheehan (Camp Casey Peace Institute) is calling for mothers "to stand up and put our bodies on the line for peace and humanity. . . . I am calling on Mothers of the world to join us in Washington DC for a '10,000 Mother of a March' on the day after Mother's Day, Monday, May 14, 2007. Marches on weekends are not effective, we need to shut the city of DC down! We will surround Congress and demand an end to this evil occupation and refuse to leave until the Congressiona leadership agrees with us, or throws us in jail! Meet at Lafayette Park at noon. We will rally then march to Congress." More information can be found here and via CODEPINK:

Mother's Day: Women Say NO to War!Join us in DC to walk the halls of Congress with some of the most influential moms of our day! Plan your own local Mother's Day peace picnic, post your event here, or host a peace movie night. More...NEW! View the Mothers Day for Peace Video

That's next Monday.
Gordon (Iraq Veterans Against the War) notes the March of the People which will begin June 21st with a "gathering at Millennium Park, Chicago to begin an 800-mile march to Washington, DC. They will demand an immediate peace in Iraq and the impeachment of those leaders who oppose it".

Those are only some of the activites that will be taking place. Want to prolong the illegal war? Be a Dolittle Dem like the leadership in Congress. Want to end it? Get active.
Rebecca S. Bender (The Eureka Reporter) reports on a speech Ann Wright gave Monday where she declared, "It is important that we hit the streets. There are a lot of reasons why we have to keep working to end the war in Iraq. . . . We're not putting up with endless war. We elected you to end this war now."

Still the war drags on . . .


Hussin Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bomb "near the students dormiotry of Mustansiriya university" that wounded three police officers. Reuters reports an Arbil bombing that killed 14 and wounded 87 and a Shirqat bombing that left two people dead. Garrett Therolf (Los Angeles Times) notes that the Arbil (also spelled Irbil) bombing's death toll rose to 19 and notes a Musayyib mortar attack that left two dead as well as a Haswa mortar attack that killed two people. AFP reports, "In Baghdad, a rocket exploded near the US embassy in the fortified Green Zone during Cheney's visit, an Iraqi defence official said. Smoke could be seen rising near the US compound shortly after the blast". CBS and AP note Cheney flack Anne McBride's statement, "His meeting was not disturbed and he was not moved." AFP has Cheney's full quote: "I spent today here basically in our embassy and military headquarters."


Hussin Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad shooting attack on workers of the "Adhamiya concrete wall" which left one dead and two more wounded and a Baghdad shooting where "a directoarte manager at the housing and reconstruction ministry" was shot dead. Reuters notes the shooting deaths of "two men from the ancient Yazidi faith" in Mosul. CBS and AP note that a Kirkuk drive-by resulted in the deaths of four Iraqi journalists who "worked for the independent Raad media comapny, which publishes several weekly newspapers and monthly magazines that are generally pro-government and deal with politics, education and arts."


Hussin Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 8 corpses were discovered in the Diyala province. Reuters reports five corpses were discovered in Falluja.