Friday, May 25, 2007

End of the week

I'd finished my last session today when Sunny was freaking out. That's not like her, she's very calm and methodical. I asked what the problem was and Mike had called to ask if she could help with the snapshot by going through the public e-mail account for The Common Ills. The snapshot was repeatedly 'lost' (it's not C.I.'s problem or anyone helping). I told her I'd grab it (Mike had stressed how pressed they were for time -- he was driving C.I. to the airport). So I called Mike to get the password and began going through it. Some members continue to e-mail there so a plea, as one community member to another, please use the private accounts C.I.'s created for members. There were 18,000 plus e-mails (Mike had guessed a couple of thousands, enough to freak Sunny out when time was limited). I went through reading ones from people I know are friends of C.I. and, after that, the thing that stood out the most is how many mainstream outlets request links.

Now Jess has commented on this and it's been agreed that in the fall of 2008, some sort of piece on this will go up at The Third Estate Sunday Review. (A general piece, no naming of names.) On the one hand, it's great that outlets know to self-market but the thing that irritates Jess (and did me as well when I saw it today -- today was the first time I was ever in any of C.I.'s e-mail accounts -- Jess, Ava, Martha, Shirley and Eli regularly help out with the e-mails) is this constant "Do for me!" attitude. C.I. doesn't do trades and is only going to note something if it's pertinent (or if, honestly, C.I. feels sorry for the outlet). But, my opinion (which I share with Jess), all these people asking for this to be noted and that to be noted, what are you doing for The Common Ills?

Now the community built up with very little help. That's great because it allows C.I. the independence to make the hard calls that others will sugar coat. It's equally true that C.I.'s not doing it for money or glory and doesn't self-promote (I've been present three times when a friend's stated they should link to The Common Ills and C.I.'s begged off -- my opinion, regardless of whether C.I. said "No," they should have linked to The Common Ills). But C.I.'s built up a very huge community. C.I. did that with no help. I will state it, "No help." C.I.'s a little more generous but I won't be. Now everyone, big and small, wants to ride the coattails of the community that C.I.'s built up and it doesn't bother them in the least to repeatedly make these one-way requests?

I find that appalling. C.I. doesn't care and never would. It has to do with growing up with money (as did I) and never needing anyone to pay the bills. That's why C.I. could and did take on deans, administrators and in one instance go head to head with our college president without worry. At one point, during those long ago days, C.I. was being spied on by campus police. That was rather obvious to everyone and C.I. elected to ignore it until the head of campus police chose to confront C.I. with a file on all of C.I.'s activities. C.I. laughed at the man and walked off. Later, at our apartment, in the middle of C.I. retelling what had happened on campus (including the man shouting "Don't you walk away from me!"), there's a knock at our door. It's the man and he's bright red, angry and so sure he's about to lay down whatever his misunderstanding of the law was. C.I. tried hard not to laugh in the man's face, offered him iced tea and then explained how it was going to work. "I'm going to make one phone call and then you're going to start minding your own business." C.I. made the one phone call which resulted in several other phone calls and within twenty minutes our phone was ringing. It was the college president needing to explain to the man that he needed to get back to campus and that it would probably be a good idea to give C.I. a wide berth.

Such is the power of C.I. and always has been. Now I am now the should I person and have appointed myself to that role. When C.I.'s being asked for or considering donating money, I used our long standing friendship to beg that I be called. That's because I remember in the final days of Vietnam when C.I. was overly free with the funds. C.I. gave away everything. Unlike many who profitted from the cause, C.I. went broke on it. It didn't bother C.I. and, within a few years, it would be built back up and then some. But there are people I will bump into or see on TV today and I will remember all the money that they fleeced (my opinion) from C.I. and others. People talk a real good game about how they're going to change something, they get the money and then they don't. That, more often than not, is the reality. Which is why C.I. never says, "Give to ___." C.I. always says if someone speaks to you, give if you have it. That comes from having given to death to people who promised the world (in terms of change, there was nothing personally in it for C.I. in bankrolling so many lost causes) and either flopped (without trying to change anything) or turned themselves into new versions of the pre-existing problems.

So while I have asked to and assigned myself the final call on any donations. (I'm speaking of organizations and outlets, as Jess will tell you, he, Jim, Dona, Ty and Ava do not pay rent, do not pick up any bills, they're friends and they're guests and there's nothing wrong with helping out personal friends -- although Ava, who also has money, picked up the tab for a recent re-painting that she scheduled as a surprise and a thank you for C.I. It's also true, as Mike will tell you, that C.I.'s taking care of Mike's college. I have offered to take over that, Mike and I are a couple, but both prefer for C.I. to continue doing that. Money spent with or on friends is never wasted.) In that position, this week alone, I've said, "Why is it always you? Others can step up and, if they won't, maybe something needs to go under." I will give, gladly, to feminist organizations. But I saw, for instance, this whole We-Will-Change-The-Media hype once before.
Along with C.I., I have one other friend who gave much more than she should. (This isn't Rebecca. Rebecca made her money in public relations and did so many, many years after Vietnam ended.) If there's something -- a program, a magazine, a website, a station -- that speaks to you and you have some money to spare, by all means consider donating. But do it because you enjoy what's being done. Don't fall into the hype that anything's going to change because, more than likekly, it won't.

C.I. and I have very different approaches to money. If I'm asked, I will ask for exact details, plans, etc. A pitch or a presentation doesn't sway me. I will also ask, after I've been given details, specific questions. I don't worship money but I certainly have never and would never give away everything I had. You can call me selfish (C.I. never has) or you can call me shrewd. I really don't care. C.I. hates to talk money. In terms of those asking for it, that's always benefitted them because just to end the discussion, C.I. is prone to grab the checkbook and ask, "How much?" In terms of family deaths, that means C.I., unlike someone who shall be nameless, has never squabbled over inheritances and has instead said, "Oh, let them take whatever they want, ___ is dead." I include that to make it clear that I am not insulting C.I. There are far worse things than being overly generous with money, you could be a money grubber who drags your entire family into court over taxes on an inheritance, for instance.

So as I went through the e-mails (I didn't go through more than fifty), I did think you have to have a lot of nerve to self-promote yourself while never doing a thing for The Common Ills. In one instance, a very close friend of C.I.'s is considering buying the outlet so I'm sure if they have something that fits what C.I.'s covering, it is noted to ensure the outlet doesn't nose dive in public opinion. It's also true that personal friends of C.I. in the mainstream media (who know C.I.'s behind The Common Ills) e-mail if C.I.'s on the road speaking (as opposed to at home when C.I. can call them or they can call C.I.) and that's fine. But I do understand what Jess has been objecting to and, for the record, people (strangers) who repeatedly attempt to self-promote might want to ask themselves what they've done that they expect their favors to be granted?

I lost my parents at a very early age and had to face the fact that it was my brother and me, that was it. So my survival (and self-preservation) instinct is very strong. But I do understand Jess' feelings on this. (Ava's approach is to delete any e-mail asking for a favor that's not from a friend of C.I.'s unless she thinks it's worthy. Outside of feeling sorry for someone, C.I. doesn't note anything unless it's worthy.) (Funniest e-mail Ava saw was from a 'journalist' who works for Ava's father and was claiming that he was trying so hard to get something out. The reality is that he wasn't and Ava wanted very much to share with her father the laughable claims someone was making. She didn't -- to preserve the confidientiality of the public account; however, we all had a good laugh at a 'journalist' who wants to play 'brave.')

Lastly on the public account, C.I. phoned me Sunday night about an e-mail. I got the same e-mail. It's allegedly from a Vietnam Vet who has created a paypal account and needs donations for, reportedly, his wife's health. I'm not noting it here and, when I read it, I knew I wouldn't. C.I. did go back and forth over it. Throughout last week, C.I. attempted to check with friends to see if they knew about the man? No one did. The man may not be scamming anyone but if I don't know you and you're asking for money, not only will I not give to you, I won't put up a request for others to give you money. With all the e-mail scams out there, forget it. C.I. knows about the e-mail scams (and regularly laughs about them) but this e-mail was worded in such a way that C.I. did wonder and go back and forth on it.

Last Friday, I wrote about C.I. and begged everyone on Sunday not to link to it in "Highlights." They were kind enough not to. I meant to explain that. I have no problem with what I've written here but I was so tired and honestly told C.I. I would delete it. C.I. hadn't read it and said not to bother. As I noted last Friday, I don't generally tell C.I. tales here. C.I.'s very private (as am I) and I respect that. I've dealt here with the issues of favors and money which I have no problem discussing. (I will add that these are my opinions and C.I. might disagree.) In terms of the one shared college story, I know C.I. won't care and has been known to get on the phone when community members in college are suffering similar abuses from campus police.

I also strongly urge you to read "And the war drags on . . ." from last night if you haven't already. Trina and I rate it as our favorite entry by C.I. this week. I would also strongly urge you to read Mike's "The faux who are our foes" which is my own pick for his best post of the week. By the way, to be clear on something, Sunny is happy to help and was happy to help today. She's a member of the community and will help in any way she can. The only reason she got freaked today was due to the fact that Mike was talking about the thousands of e-mails and the need to go through them quickly. I would have freaked as well if I didn't know that C.I. doesn't read them all. You do what you can and in the 15 minutes Sunny would have had, Mike meant only what she could manage but, on her end, it sounded like, "Read everything!" Mike's known for his enthusiasm and he and Sunny have already laughed about this.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, May 25, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, 63% of Americans favor withdrawal from Iraq in the latest poll (even if the New York Times buries that fact), in Shreveport a self-check out is arrested (the fourth for the year), the US military announces more deaths of US service members with May already being the second highest month for American troops deaths, and more.Yesterday, both houses of the US Congress demonstrated how quickly they can act . . . when anything stands in the way of their own vacation.
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) notes today, "Congress has approved nearly $100 billion dollars in war spending through September without a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq." Goodman notes the final House vote was 280 for and 142 against and the final Senate vote was 80 in favor and 14 against. In addition, Democracy Now! provided clips of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi -- who demonstrated that sneering at science and academics isn't solely a GOP thing as she used the ridiculously low figure of "over 100,000 Iraqis" dead when the study conducted by the British medical journal The Lancet placed the figure, last year, at over 655,000 -- and House Minority Leader John Boehner -- who demonstrated he could stay "on message" ("terrorists!") even while sobbing like a guest on the daytime TV circuit speaking of their 'personal' battle with an addiction -- Boehner apparently being addicted to illegal war, mass killing, and fantasy. Evelyn Pringle (CounterPunch) observes, "Congress has demonstrated its unconditional love for the Bush administration by handing the war profiteers another $100 billion worth of good reasons to keep the war in Iraq rolling along at full-throttle. [. . . ] And the statements in speeches made by members of Congress while debating the bills don't mean anything because 95% of Americans never hear those speeches. Honest politicians should be out screaming to any reporter who will listen to educate Americans about where the hundreds of billions of tax dollars have ended up. This war is 100 times worse than Viet Nam. At least with Viet Nam, the war profits were not being funneled over the backs of our dead soldiers in plain sight directly into the bank accounts of current and former members of the administrations in power at the time. Nor were they being funneled to the family bank accounts of the Presidents who were in office during the Viet Nam war." The BBC notes that, following the grandstanding of Congress and the Bully Boy, "Hours later, the US military reported the deaths of five soldiers in Iraq." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid laughably announced of the bill that fully funds the illegal war and makes the Democrats equal partners in Bully Boy's illegal war, "The days of blank cheques and green lights for his failed policy are over." By which Reid appears to mean that the US Congress has instead handed Bully Boy a debit card and asked kindly that he please not visit the ATMs too often.The Democrats full bodied, naked embrace of the illegal war comes at a time when the American people turn ever more against the illegal war. The public began turning against the war in 2005 and, since then, the opinion has only hardened. A CBS poll this week found that 76% of Americans polled felt "the war is going badly" -- an increase of ten percent -- and 61% maintain that the US "should have stayed out" of Iraq. A CBS poll? Well the New York Times has finally agreed to allow their names back on the joint polling and somehow managed to avoid all the media critics who must have been sleeping while CBS issued one poll after another on Iraq the last few months while the paper of little record appeared to suddenly be poll shy. Though they weren't called out on that, they should have been. The poll is, indeed, a joint-poll by CBS and the New York Times -- as were the recent polls billed just as CBS polls because the paper really didn't want to cover the American public's ever growing opposition to the illegal war. But they've put their names back on the poll. And gladly run it . . . under the headline "Poll Shows View of Iraq War Is Most Negative Since Start" . . . on page A16 of today's paper. To no one's surprise at the paper, Janet Elder avoids it like a plague so it's left for Dalia Sussman to write it up. The paper hasn't been in the news business for over a century, it's in the management business and Sussman's happy to do her part. Which is how her ridiculous write up can avoid the issue of withdrawal which the poll found [PDF format warning for the link] 63% of Americans favor (32% wanted no timetable for withdrawal -- Bully Boy's approval rating was 30%). 63% of Americans favorite withdrawal from Iraq? Sounds like a front page headline. (Sussman doesn't even note it in her laughable write up until paragraph nine where it's noted for two sentences and then never built upon or mentioned again.)Not only isn't it a headline, the Times (again) buries the poll deep inside the paper. When they refused to run with the joint-polling over the previous months, questions should have been asked but possibly people don't actually read the Times anymore, they just visit links? Though this poll doesn't make the front page, another does, on immigration. (The Times is working overtime to sell the Congressional efforts to strip immigrants of their rights -- including immigrants that are American citizens because they were born in the United States.) 63% of Americans say a timetable needs to be set for Iraq withdrawal and the Times publishes that on the same day that the Congress votes to continue funding the illegal war and drops any mention of withdrawal. The poll's not news? 76% saying the illegal war is "going badly" and 61% say the US never should have invaded Iraq and Congress elects to do nothing but it's not news?Well why not? 3 American soldiers went missing two Saturdays ago -- in an attack that killed 4 others and 1 Iraqi translator, and the paper didn't front page that until seven days after it happened. One of the 3 has now been declared dead and the paper's not interested in front paging that either. (The search continues for the 2 still missing.) However, Michael Gordon's unsourced speculation that Moqtada al-Sadr was in Iran is front page news -- despite the fact that it has no named "American official" source to it, despite the fact that it doesn't include the news that al-Sadr spoke in Kufa today (calling for US troops to leave Iraq). Our Rona Barrett of the Grey Lady leaps to the front page with a story proclaiming al-Sadr has been in Iran despite the fact that, as the BBC noted today, "This was never confirmed."Exactly whom is Gordo working for because, for a reporter, he appears to miss a great deal? Last week, one of the world's oldest think tanks, Chatham House, issued another report. As expected, the same mainstream media that ignored the previous report (taking Tony Blair to task for getting in bed with the United States and becoming nothing but a lackey to the Bully Boy) foamed over the mouth on this one (including Gordo's own paper -- maybe he can't read?)
The PDF format report "
Accepting Realities in Iraq" included a heading entitled "Muqtada al-Sadr cannot be ignored" -- a position Gordo appears to share. However, Chatham House argued that due to his base, popularity and influence, al-Sadr cannot be ignored and strong efforts should be made to bring him into the political process. (Yesterday's news that puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki was replacing the six ministers from al-Sadr's camp who had resigned would indicate that al-Maliki also hasn't read the report.) This at a time when Gareth Porter (IPS) reports that al-Sadr (a Shi'ite cleric) appears to have strong support from the Sunni resistance with the binding factor being their joint demand for US forces out of Iraq. Porter is offering an analysis and building on (and crediting) work done by Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) at the start of this week. Also at the start of the week, Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London via CounterPunch) broke the news that in 2004, the US military attempted to assassinate al-Sadr in Najaf which, surprisingly?, never made it into the New York Times.But then, so much of the violence doesn't -- the real 'hidden violence' despite the Times' laughable claims last Saturday.Bombings?While the US military attempts to divide Baghdad by 'walls' (over the objections of the puppet of the occupation), some Iraqis attempt to divide the capital by bombing bridges. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) notes the latest bombing -- "the bridge linking Al Adil and Al Khadraa neighborhoods in west Baghad" -- as well Baghdad mortar attacks that killed 4 people (15 wounded), and a Baghdad explosion that killed 1 person, a car bombing in Muqdadiyah that killed 4 police officers (6 civilians wounded).

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that three farmers were shot dead in "the orchards of Um Al Romman village". Reuters notes that a tribal sheik was shot dead in Falluja.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 20 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes two corpses were discovered in Latifiya.
Reuters also notes the following announced deaths of US service members in Iraq (all announced today): 2 US soldiers killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad (Thursday), 1 US soldier killed in Nineveh Province by a roadside bomb (Thursday), 1 US soldier killed by a Baghdad roadside bomb (Tuesday), 1 US soldier killed by in Salahaddin Province by a roadside bomb (Thursday), and 1 US Soldier killed by gunfire (Thursday) in Diyala Province. The six deaths add to a mounting count for the month which ICCC calculates to currently be 93 for the month thus far. Only April has had more US military fatalities with 104 and, of course, May still has six days left in it. ICCC's count for the total number of US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war stands at 3444.
Among the victims of violence are women though they remain the true hidden victims.
Kasia Anderson (TruthDig) interviews Yanar Mohammed (Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq) and asks early on the obvious (though usually unasked) question, "How did the onset of the Iraq war change things for Iraqi women, specifically?" Mohammed replies, "Well, although people on this part of the world think that Iraqi women are liberated, actually, we have lost all of the achievements or all the status that we used to have. It is no longer safe to leave your house and get groceries. We're not speaking here about a young woman trying to reach the university, because that is beginning to get too difficult. We're not speaking here about women who are trying to go back and forth to work and even those of my friends who do that already because they have to--many of the police at work are being killed for sectarian reasons. So, you have to witness all sorts of atrocities just going back and forth to work, and if there is this new [policy] of Sunni and Shiite, checking all the IDs of people, you leave the house and you do not guarantee that you come back safe. [. . .] Well, the myth of democracy has killed already half a million Iraqis, and if it were giving us real democracy, where people are represented according to their political affiliations or their economic understanding or their social justice affiliations, that would have been understood. But the way Iraqis are represented is according to their religion and their ethnicities. It is as if the U.S. administration is trying to tell the whole world that Iraqis are not entitled to political understanding or political activity. The political formula that was forwarded to us is a total insult for a part of the world where the politics are very much thriving and all kinds of politics--with the dawn of the war, thousands of political parties have registered. And they all wanted to be competing, or let's say running into democracy, but who was empowered, who was supported? It's mostly the religious and mostly the ethnic groups, and the women's groups? The U.S. administration wasn't really interested to speak to, let's say, free women's groups. They preferred to bring decorative factors to the parliament, where they look like women, but they all voted for a constitution that is against women. And the constitution at this moment has imposed Shariah law upon us, when in the times before the war we had more of a secular constitution that respected women’s rights. So, it's one more thing lost for this war."
Yanar Mohammed mentioned university students.
On Tuesday, the Ibn Al Haitham college faced a mortar attack in Baghdad that left at least 4 students dead and at least 25 wounded while, same day, an attack, in Baghdad, on a mini-bus claimed the lives of 9 students (including two female students). On Wednesday, Baghdad's National Theater was attacked with mortarts leaving at least one person wounded. The theater is where college students and recent college graduates have mounted a new play, The Intensive Care Unit, which castmember Rita Casber described to Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) as "Our play is a miniature of our reality. It conveys the reality the people in Iraq are subjected to." Londono noted that Casber is the sole woman in the cast and late to the cast -- she joined only after death threats (over the 'crime' of wearing a tank top on stage) forced the original actress to leave the production.On the subject of schools, Alive in Baghdad intervews students at the girls' school in Baghdad, Safina Middle School. The link is not currently working, we'll quote the students next week. Last month, Alive in Baghdad interviewed Hameeda al-Bassam who works a private library in Baghdad and spoke of the difficulties she encounters traveling, in her wheelchair, through checkpoints and scenes of violence to arrive at work. She spoke of inside the library as one of the few places where the chaos and violence has yet to emerge and noted, with regret, that due to the violence she has had to curtail her work week. Please note that the videos have audio and an English translation at the bottom which can serve as closed captioning.Also on the subject of women in Iraq, the AP reported yesterday that Clenard M. Simmons was given a 30 year sentence after pleading guilty (April 5th) "to four counts of abusive sexual contact and one count of aggravated sexual abuse for five attacks from February 2004 to May 2005" which took place at Fort Hood as well as while he was stationed in Iraq and the victims were five female US service members. The AP noted that "Simmons attacked the soldiers in their barracks, groping and threatening them."Though frequently ignored and swept under the rug, women serving in Iraq are under very real attack from those serving with them. For more on this, see Jane Hoppen's "Women in the Military: Who's Got Your Back?," Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff's "The Rape of the 'Hadji Girl'," andAllison Tobey's "Serving in the Rape Zone" (Off Our Backs); Traci Hukill's "A Peculiar Version of Friendly Fire: Female Troops Face Double Danger" (The Progressive); and "Women and the military" (The Third Estate Sunday Review). And always look to what happened to Suzanne Swift. Swift went to Iraq wanting to serve her country (US) and quickly discovered that those above her expected her to serve them. Repeated attempts to stop the abuse and harassment resulted in no action (unless a course in how Swift could learn not to 'invite' harassment is considered 'action' -- anyone thinking it is should have their head examined). Swift self-checked out. As Sara Rich, Swift's mother, has noted, Swift wasn't against the illegal war. Swift wasn't saying, "I will not go back because I'm against the war." She checked out because when the military refuses to discipline their own, you have to take the situation into your own hands. To not do so would be 'inviting' harassment. There's not a (rational) woman alive who should be able to question Swift's decision to self-check out. She was abused, she was harassed, she was the victim of command rape, and the military did nothing. She went through channels and rather than disciplining the ones breaking the code of conduct (and exhibiting criminal behaviors) the military's 'answer' was to 'teach' Swift how not to 'invite' criminal acts upon her person. (Which is similar to the US military's refusal to punish those enlisted males who regularly attack women serving when the women go to take a shower. Instead of coming down hard and sending a strong message that the crime of rape is not tolerated in the US military, the military elects to caution women to 'buddy up' and never visit the latrines alone.) So Swift self-checked out, the smartest thing she could have done and no (rational) woman would say otherwise.Swift is now against the war and the treatment she experienced (laughably known as military 'justice') went a long way towards opening her eyes. In a climate that regularly rails against the military banning YouTube and blog postings, you might think the gag order imposed upon Swift would raise some righteous indignation but websites have largely been silent. Swift's mother, Sara Rich, is not gagged and Melissa Sanders (Socialst Alternative) interviews her -- Rich explains that her daughter's been extended in the military through January 2009 and, in response to a question about the "sexualized violence against female soldiers," rightly notes,"We're teaching guys about 18 to kill, and that killing's ok, before they are even allowed to legally drink. If you do that, I mean, who's going to tell them that raping isn't ok?"Along with Sanders' article, more information can be found at Suzanne Swift's website. (Which her mother runs and the military has no control over Sara Rich.)

Turning to the issue of war resisters,
The Shreveport Times reports that Jackie Leroy Moore was arrested in Shreveport today for self-checking out and that he is the fourth self-check out to be arrested in Shreveport this year. Though the military continues to undercount the number of enlisted choosing to self-check out (undercounts for the press, they know the privately held number), this is part of the growing resistance within the military to the illegal war. "It now appears that if this war in Iraq is to end, it will be our soldiers who will have to bring it about," observes Albert Petraca (JuneauEmpire). "Nowadays, our soldiers also know this war is lost. Thankfully, soldiers have begun to take matters into their own hands. From U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada's refusing deployment to Iraq, to the appeal for redress now circulating among active-duty personnel, to Iraq Veterans Against the War's recent decision to support resisters, we are seeing the initial stirrings of what will likely grow into a movement of soldiers in revolt. The Defense Department recently admitted that at least 3,196 troops deserted in 2006, with an 8 percent increase already in the first quarter of 2007. Plummeting enlistment standards are unlikely to fill this void. The life-altering decisions made by these brave men and women are, in many ways, even more difficult than those made by former resisters. Today's volunteer soldier, unlike Vietnam-era draftees, is too often callously scolded by the mostly comfortable for having freely signed a recruitment contract and, therefore, must suffer the consequences. This judgmental attitude reveals a profound disrespect for service men and women who answered their country's call based on a belief that their government spoke truthfully about weapons of mass destruction and Iraqi links to 9/11. We now know that the pretense used to play on their genuine feelings of duty was little more than a pack of lies."
Watada is part of growing movement of resistance within the US military that also includes Joshua Key, Terri Johnson, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, 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, forty 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.

Heads up, the latest
Bill Moyers Journal begins airing in some markets tonight (PBS -- each station can determine when they air an episode) and features Maxine Hong-Kingston. (Transcripts and video will go up at Bill Moyers Journal.)

Finally, independent journalist John Pilger is on a speaking tour with his new book Freedom Next Time and his documentary Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror (which looks at DC, Afghanistan and Iraq). June 7th, he will discuss his book with Amy Goodman at The New School, Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street, beginning at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:15). Admission is $5 per person and students (with ID) can attend for free. Pilger will sign copies of his book afterwards and Amy Goodman will sign copies of her latest book (written with her brother David Goodman) Static. "For ticket information, contact (212) 229-5488 or For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or For more information, click here or e-mail"
June 11th, Pilger will be in Los Angeles at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (244 S. San Pedro St.) and will discuss his book and show his documentary beginning at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:00 pm). The price of admission to the even is five dollars. "Directions, maps, and parking info at: by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, and The Nation Institute, with support from the Wallace Global Fund. For ticket information, call or visit the JACCC. Box office: 213-680-3700 (Box Office Hours: Monday - Saturday: Noon - 5 pm)For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or For more information, email"

June 13th finds him in San Francisco showing his film and discussing his book at
Yerba Beuna Center for Arts (beginning at 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:00 pm) and the price of admission is $15 general and $5 for students. "Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, The Nation Institute, and KPFA, with support from the Wallace Global Fund. For ticket information, call 415-978-2787 or order online at In person tickets at YBCA Box office located inside the Galleries and Forum Building, 701 Mission Street at Third. (Hours: Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun: noon - 5 pm; Thu: noon - 8 pm.) For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or For more information, email"

From San Francisco, he moves on to Chicago for the 2007 Socialism conference. At 11:30 am Saturday June 16th, he and
Anthony Arnove will participate in a conversation, audience dialogue and book signing (Arnove is the author most recently of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal) and that evening (still June 16th) at 7:30 Pilger will be at Chicago Crowne Plaza O'Hare (5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018) as part of a panel of international activists. To attend the conference, the fee is $85. For Saturday and Sunday only, the price is $70. To attend only one session, the cost is ten dollars. "Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, The Nation Institute, with support from the Wallace Global Fund. Co-sponsors: Obrera Socialista, Socialist Worker, International Socialist Review, and Haymarket Books. For ticket information, call 773-583-8665 or e-mail For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or For more information, email"

The Socialism 2007 conference will take place in Chicago from June 14-17. Along with Pilger and Arnove, others participating will include Dahr Jamail, Laura Flanders, Kelly Dougherty, Joshua Frank, Amy Goodman, Sharon Smith, Dave Zirin, Camilo Mejia, Jeremy Scahill, Jeffrey St. Clair and many others.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Katrina vanden Heuvel stabs her mag in the back

Who will save the nation? Not The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel who, though she's grasped she better start covering the illegal war finally, has slightly less common sense than a turnip possesses. vanden Heuvel wrote a (bad) piece semi-holding War Hawk George Packer accountable. Now she publishes his loose-grip-on-reality reply with no comment. C.I.'s in town and we (C.I., Mike and I) are all going out shortly, so I don't have time to tutor vanden Heuvel. I did read Packer's nonsense to C.I. who states, "Summer of 2005, in The New Yorker, he was still smearing peace activists and cheerleading the war when interviewing a man whose child had died in Iraq. On Progressive Radio with Matthew Rothschild in 2006, Packer was still an apologist. For Katrina vanden Heuvel to print that crap is inane. Packer has publicly attacked The Nation, ridiculed it for it's weak -- with few exceptions -- resistance to the illegal war. Obviously, a 'fan' letter meant more today than reality so Packer's allowed to lie yet again. Judith Miller should dash off an e-mail to Katrina next because obviously it too could be posted in a 'Look at who reads me!' kind of way. It won't help anyone's understanding but it will allow for back pats and lies to be continued." My two-cents? It's no surprise Katrina vanden Heuvel doesn't know Packer's work to even attempt to refute him, she shows very little awareness of anyone's writing. By allowing Packer . . .

Stopping. C.I.'s back to add that Packer equated protesting Vietnam with someone deciding to "hate your country" in his 2005 New Yorker piece and apparently (wrongly) 'knew' that Tom Hayden was raised in the lap of luxury.

C.I.: Pack-ass can't claim that he was quoting. He was giving print to lies and he was happy to do so as evidenced by the fact that he merely repeated them without questioning them. He did so when he likened, supposedly out of the mouth of his subject, Thomas Keane, Joe Lieberman and John McCain to non-partisans and those against the illegal war as people who played 'politics.' Who played politics, huh? The ones selling the illegal war and that includes George Packer who can try to rewrite history and Katrina vanden Heuvel may be hitting an all time low as she gives him the platform to do so. In a shameful stewardship of the magazine, Katrina's reached an all time low. I'm getting really tired of her incompetence and that article, which we've addressed at The Third Estate Sunday Review, for the record includes this sentence: "Naomi Klein, a columnist for the bitterly antiwar Nation, visited Baghdad at the same time as Barnes and found that the insurgency was mushrooming because the occupation authority was 'further opening up Iraq's economy to foreign ownership' --in other words, because Iraqis shared her own anti-globalization views." That's what Packer said in his own forum. Fortunately for him, Katrina doesn't seem to read. Namoi Klein was exactly right and George Pack-ass was exactly wrong. Way to go, Katrina, way to sell out The Nation, way to sell out the people who reported for it and, let's be clear, Naomi Klein, unlike Pack-ass, didn't go into Iraq as an embed. She risked her life doing that and her thanks for it? The editor of the US magazine that ran her article rushes to bow, scrape and kiss the feet of a War Hawk. It's shameful, it's disgusting. Katrina vanden Heuvel owes readers of The Nation an apology for posting Packer's distortions with no fact check. It is a low in a tenure of lows.

Klein's pieces actually run elsewhere. In this country, they run in The Nation which is why C.I. says "editor of the US magazine that ran". C.I. says the article is entitled "The Home Front" and ran in one of the July 2005 issues of The New Yorker. I would guess that allowing history to be rewritten also allows Katrina vanden Heuvel to avoid weighing in on the Democrats' caving in Congress. Well, I guess it's more important for her to use her post to do favors for friends than to put out a magazine worth reading.

C.I. just added that "unlike Pack-Ass, Tom Hayden and Naomi Klein made their own way. Which makes that article about supposed elitists all the more laughable. He is the John Updike of the pencil set with all the currying and scurrying that entails."

That's going to be it. Mike and I were both blogging while C.I. was returning phone calls and it's already past nine so we need to head out.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, May 23, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, on the 12th day that 3 US soldiers have been missing it appears 1 of the 3 may have been discovered, Democrats scramble in Congress, the US military announces the deaths of more service members, and a German professor feels the need to tell the American people how stupid they are when it appears the professor is the one with comprehension issues.

Today is day twelve since 3 US soldiers went missing following an attack that killed 4 US soldiers and 1 Iraqi translator. The US military has issued many statements that said very little (but what is there to say when it appears the attack took place as a result of where command stationed the soldiers and the time duration the soldiers were left in place). Though the search for the 3 continues today, one may have been discovered.
Steven R. Hurst (AP) reports that Iraqi police believe they have found one of the missing soldiers, that he is a corpse they found in the Euphrates River today. Paul Tait (Reuters) reports: "The half-naked body had bullet wounds and bore signs of torture. Captain Muthanna al-Maamouri, a police spokesman in the provincial capital Hilla, said there were wounds to the torso and shaved head of the body, which was wearing U.S. Army-issue pants and boots and had a tattoo on the left arm. 'This is one of the missing soldiers,' he said." The US military has yet to confirm that. Howard Schneider and Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) note that the body is now being examined by the US military.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Congressional Democrats attempt to deal with the fact that leadership has caved.
US News and World Reports observes that "their concession to the White House has angered anti-war activists and lawmakers, who are now expected to oppose the legislation." This is the legislation that, despite some denials from leadership, leadership crafted. It removes the non-binding, toothless calls for withdrawal and even the appearance of substance while giving Bully Boy everything he asked for and stacking up pork such as relief for those suffering from Hurricane Katrina, a slight spike in the minimum wage and funding children's health care. Nancy Pelosi is the US Speaker of the House so it's a bit hard to swallow many of her statements. Carl Hulse (New York Times) quotes her stating of the new legislation, "I would never vote for such a thing." Shailagh Murray (Washington Post) quotes Pelosi declaring, "I'm not likely to vote for something that doesn't have a timetable." Two questions here. First, how does a party push through legislation without the Speaker's approval? Second, why did she allow Steny Hoyer (House majority leader -- whom she outranks) to take to the airwaves yesterday declaring the sell out to be "an agreement"? US Senator Russ Feingold issued a statement yesterday and we'll note this from it, "I cannot support a bill that contains nothing more than toothless benchmarks and that allows the President to continue what may be the greatest foreign policy blunder in our nation's history. There has been a lot of tough talk from members of Congress about wanting to end this war, but it looks like the desire for political comfort won out over real action. Congress should have stood strong, acknowledged the will of the American people, and insisted on a bill requiring a real change of course in Iraq." As did Dennis Kucinich, US House Rep and 2008 presidential candidate, "If this is true, and I hope it is not, it tells American workers that the only way they will get an increase in wages is to continue to support funding the war which is taking the lives of their sons and daughters. First blood for oil. Now a minimum wage for maximum blood. Aren't the American people giving enough blood for this war without having to give more to have a wage increase? What's happened to our country? We are losing our moral compass. We're losing our sense of justice. We're losing touch with the difference between right and wrong. We do not have to fund this war. We must leave Iraq now. Support our troops and bring them home. HR 1234 is a plan to end the war and stabilize Iraq and give Iraqis control of their oil. We must take a new path. We must take a path of truth and justice." Kucinich will hold a press conference tomorrow (Thursday) on this topic at the Cannon Terrace and be joined by Antonia Juhasz and Denice Lombar (US Labor Against the War). Today, he spoke on the House floor about the privatization of Iraqi oil (from "This war is about oil. We must not be party to the Administration's blatant attempt to set the stage for multinational oil companies to take over Iraq's oil resources. The Administration set several benchmarks for the Iraqi government, including passage of the 'Hydrocarbon Law' by the Iraqi Parliament.
And many inside the beltway are contemplating linking funding for the war in Iraq to the completion of these benchmarks, including passage of the 'Hydrocarbon Law' by the Iraqi Parliament. The Administration has once again misled Congress by mislabeling the draft law as an oil revenues distribution law, just as the Administration misled Congress about the Iraq war. The war in Iraq is a stain on American history. Let us not further besmirch our nation by participating in the outrageous exploitation of a nation which is in shambles due to U.S. intervention."

US House Rep Lynn Woolsey predicts much less support for this bill and believes leadership will have to count on cross-over votes from Republicans for it to pass.
She tells Mike Soraghan (The Hill), "The anti-war Democrats have reached their tipping point. It's going to take Republican votes to pass it."

As Democrats cave, those who stand up find themselves punished. From "
Legal Defense Fund for Adam Kokesh:"

Dear Friend of
Iraq Veterans Against the War,
My name is Adam Kokesh and I need your help. Because of my involvement in IVAW, I have been singled out and called for a military hearing to be made an example of for those of us who have spoken out against the war. I have been an active member of IVAW for a mere four months, but have already garnered enough attention to be perceived as a threat by those using our military to maintain political support for the occupation of Iraq.
I was honorably discharged after serving over six years, and two tours in Iraq, last November. I am part of the Inactive Ready Reserve until June 18, 2007, less than a month away. After my discharge, I moved to Washington, DC to get a Masters in Political Management at GWU, and joined IVAW. I have since appeared on behalf of IVAW speaking at concerts, universities, and high schools. I have written about my views on the occupation and my military experience for the IVAW website and on my
Most notably, I participated in Operation First Casualty on March 19th. This was a mock combat patrol through Washington, DC in order to bring home the truth of the occupation of Iraq, because the first casualty of war is the truth. I appeared in my uniform, without my name, without rank, and without the patch that says US MARINES. I received an email of warning about possible violations of the UCMJ for appearing in uniform at a political event. Instead of ignoring it like everyone I know who has received similar emails, I wrote a strongly worded reply admonishing the Major who was "investigating" me for wasting time on such trivial matters. The text of that email is posted
I soon received a package from the Marine Corps informing me of a separation hearing to re-separate me with an Other Than Honorable Discharge. A scan of the complete package can be seen here. I have sought private counsel for this hearing, as is my right. I intend to bring as many witnesses as possible to testify to both the character of my service and the nature of my involvement with IVAW. The Marine Corps only made it known to us today that the hearing will be held on June 4, in a mere 13 days. They have also decided to activate me for the hearing and hold it in Kansas City, home of the Marine Corps Mobilization Command.
This case is important because the intimidation of servicemen and women who speak out will suppress the truth about the Iraq occupation. With the help of IVAW, I intend to fight this to the end and stand up for the rights of all members of our armed forces. Please support this effort by mailing a check made out to IVAW with "Adam Kokesh Legal Defense Fund" in the memo to PO Box 8296, Philadelphia, PA 19101 or by going
here, clicking on "Donate Now" and including "Adam Kokesh Legal Defense Fund" in the Special Project Support window. Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments.
Adam Kokesh
Unlike Congress,
Iraq Veterans Against the War are working to end the illegal war. And they continue to show support for resisters within the military such as Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, 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, forty 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.

On a day when
at least 104 Iraqis were killed or found dead, ending the illegal war is more important then Congressional leadership appears to grasp.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack near the Al Bishara hospital the took 3 lives and left fourteen wounded, a mortar attack on Baghdad's National Theater wounded one person, a Baghdad explosion killed 1 Iraq solider and left 3 more wounded, a bombing in Mandali that killed 8 people and left twenty-four wounded and a mortar attack in Kanan that left three wounded. Reuters raises the death toll of the Mandali bombing from 8 to 20 and notes a Samarra bombing that claimed the lives of 5 police officers, a Mosul mortar attack that wounded eight people, a Jbela car bombing that killed 3 and left fifteen wounded, a Khan Bani Saad mortar attack in which 3 children lost their lives.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a clash between unidentified assailants and Iraq and US forces in Baghdad's Sinak market led to the deaths of 5 innocent civilians with seventeen more wounded, while Col. Talal Kareem was shot dead elsewhere in Baghdad, 2 Iraqi soldiers were wounded from gunfire in south Baghdad, Salim Hassan Abbas was shot dead "near the ministry of the Labor and Social Affairs," and a police officer shot dead in Al Muqdadiyah. Reuters notes a Kurdistan Democratic Party member and a police officer both shot dead in Mosul (the officer's wife was wounded).


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 30 corpses were discoved in Baghdad and 1 in Al Khalis. Reuters notes the corpse of an iman discovered in Sunni Arab Buhriz, 3 corpses discovered in Baiji, and five corpses discovered in Ramadi.

Today the
US military announced: "Two Marines assigned to Multi National Force-West were killed May 22 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." And they announced: "Two Task Force Lightning Soldiers were killed in Baghdad Province, Tuesday when an explosion occurred near their vehicle." And they announced: "An MND-B Soldier was killed when his patrol was attacked with small arms fire in a western section of the Iraqi capital May 22." And they announced: "Three Multinational Division Center Soldiers were killed and two were wounded in action when their patrol was struck by multiple improvised explosive devices May 21. An interpreter was also wounded in the attack."

And why does the war drag on? Because of 'helpful' voices like Nivien Saleh who,
writing at CounterPunch, lectures in a way that may make Arizona institutions proud but should make those opposed to the war shiver. "Let me elaborate on these two points," the professor offers even though no one asked, "starting with the idea, at home in numerous Internet blogs, that Iraqis are to blame for their fate." Unlike the professor, I don't have all the time in the world to surf blogs. I'm focused on trying to end the war. But I don't need to surf to know where that 'logic' came from -- the White House, Congress, the laughable but much applauded by the press Hamilton-Baker Study (aka The Iraq Circle Jerk). Blogers make for easy strawmen and strawwomen, they are not the ones who advanced this argument. But it's quite a bit easier to tear into (unnamed) bloggers than it is to go after the true architects of the Blame Iraqis push. Saleh then goes on to share, "Well the number of those whose lives have been lost is far greater than 3,200." Yes, it is. And the total count for US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war is 3431. That is greater than 3,200. But Saleh, who apparent doesn't feel too concerned about getting the number of US service members who have died correct, wants to lecture about the number of Iraqis who have died and the number she elects to go with is the laughable "more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians" when the reality is that The Lancet Study last year revealed that it was over 655,000. While that is "more than 100,000," the professor's lecture is marred by the fact that she has little grasp on reality or the facts. The US military and administration originally announced that they would not keep figures on the Iraqi dead. That's the biggest reason that Americans have no idea how many have died. Now, as Nancy Youseff revealed the last week that Knight-Ridder was still Knight-Ridder, the US military does in fact keep a tally. That tally, like their salaries, are paid for with US tax dollars and there should have been a huge outcry that the government reveal those numbers. Instead, nothing. So many Americans have no idea how many have died. Many outlets back away from The Lancet's figures (in fact, the professor refuses to use them as well) and what you're left with is one mainstream outlet says X number have died, another says Y, another says it's impossible to estimate and the American public, as a whole, is left confused which, indeed, was the intent of the administration when they made the decision not to keep a public record of the number of Iraqis who have died. The professor misses that point as well but possibly we should all be grateful she didn't pin that on (unnamed) bloggers as well? The professor writes as someone late to the party, who brought no gift and is keen on ignoring most guests while she attempts to discern the power circle and cozy up to that. A student turning in such a paper could (and should) expect to have it returned heavily marked up for the various elements that her sweeping generalizations overlook. We'll get back to that in a moment. But, for now, let's make the very important point that when you go to any country and start making claims about the people of that country, you are in danger of stereotyping. The American people are not as dumb or as uncaring as the professor needs for them to be in order for her points to be accurate. As she tears apart the American people, while avoiding calling out the organs of power (White House, Congress, the press, think tanks, et al) who sold the war, you grasp that the strongest indictment of American in her paper may be the fact that Northern Arizona University considers her work to sufficiently academic. That, and that alone, is the only (indirect) indictment made her in explosions of words which, for the record, demonstrate that even those opposed to the war can traffic in Nazi symbolism in an attempt to make a point as evidenced by her opening paragraph.

The professor spews, "Washington's pundits, politicians, and bureaucrats, point fingers at each other, deflecting responsibility for the invasion from themselves towards their counterparts. As they do so, the various mistakes that were committed prior to the war are coming to light. The government and its neoconservative allies were war hungry. The CIA did poor research. Journalists that supplied the Washington, DC, 'beltway bubble' with news swallowed information that came from the White House without checking alternative sources. Members of Congress forgot the lessons of the Gulf of Tonkin and yielded decisions over war and peace to the president. Citizens failed to demand of their leaders and their media that they provide good analysis." Why should the media provide good analysis when the professor can't?

Originally airing two Fridays ago, an episode of
Bill Moyers Journal dealt with this when historian Marilyn Young (co-editor of Iraq and the Lessons of Vietnam) debunked the lies of the administration and explained how the lies still got traction, all this time later. From Ava and my "TV: The 'boys' are back in town" (The Third Estate Sunday Review):

A clip is shown of The Charlie Rose Show where Condi Rice lies through her teeth and sidesteps every question while Rose allows one lie after another to go unchallenged. Moyers thought it was great journalism, Young didn't and pointed out that Condi continues to get away with lying in public "because she remains a person of authority; because she is absolutely amazingly implacable in her re-statement, statement and re-statement of half-truths and outright lies. And that kind of certainty in one's own authority and the correctness of one's own position can look very persuasive, especially on TV, especially when you're not pressed." (Our emphasis.)Moyers attempted to rush to his protege's rescue insisting, "Charlie did keep coming back to her, trying to get her to talk about this" but Young cut him off with, "What he came back to over and over again was an exit strategy. And she said, as they've all been saying, there is no plan B. We're going to succeed with plan A."Who was right?Young.She brilliantly demolished every one of Condi's lies. The 'we were all wrong' myth sailed over Rose's head as Condi lied that "it wasn't just America's intelligence services, of course, that thought that he had weapons of mass destruction; this was a worldwide intelligence problem, because the UN thought he had weapons of mass destruction." Rose just sat there. Young noted (to Moyers), "The Germans looked into it and said, you know what? Your information is wrong, it's useless. So there were other intelligence services involved, but they disagreed with ours, which she didn't say. Then she said the U.N. thought there were WMD's. But that's for people with really bad short term memory loss. Because Hans Blix, who was in the U.N. as inspector, was quite persuaded that in fact, there were no weapons of mass destruction."Condi told Rose, "The United States is in Iraq because the Iraqi Government asked us to be there and they asked us (inaudible) a UN Security Council mandate." Rose didn't challenge it. Young offered reality (to Moyers), "The most extraordinary one, though, the really one that just takes my breath away, is where she says we're in Iraq because the Iraqi government invited us there. And we're there under a U.N. mandate. Saddam Hussein certainly didn't invite us in. And the UN mandate that she refers to, it's a resolution, it's not a mandate-- it says, after all, we're all agreed that everyone should help in the reconstruction of Iraq. That's all. It's not a mandate for occupation, at all."

That goes to the reality of how the war was sold and how it still is sold and there's no need to rush to blame (unnamed) bloggers or the American people -- which the professor does while letting those in power off with a pass. Strangely, while arguing that the US places too much importance upon Americans, the professor starts off her essay noting a lamp shade made from Jewish skin but instead of exploring the Holocaust, she's off wondering about the German government, her grandparents, etc. Possibly, one who wants to lecture Americans on the importance of acknowledging the victims of war (something that many Americans do although they might not make the professor's TV screen), the professor shows no interest in the victims of the Holocaust. The above was addressed at the request of
Mike and his poli sci professor (thanks to both). And those wondering why this community does not rush to shore up the temporarily brave should refer to Rebecca's "we don't stand up for cowards."

antonia juhasz

Dennis Kucinich, Joshua Frank

Mike and I had plans tonight, we'd gotten tickets over a month ago. I had forgotten it was tonight until he showed up at work this evening. Had I remembered, I would have done a heads up to the fact that I'd be posting late tonight (which is already tomorrow). So I am going to jump right in so I can catch some sleep.

First up, "Kat's Korner: Tori wades in" and "Ruth's Report" went up this weekend. Ruth's detailing ways to make fund raising more effective and Kat's reviewing Tori Amos' amazing new album American Doll Posse so please read both. In addition, other weekend reads you may have missed include C.I.'s "NYT: Paper that couldn't name Abeer wants to talk 'hidden casualties'" which was a very strong entry. If you are going to Iraq as a contractor at this late date, knowing all that is know, it's obvious you either (a) support the illegal war or (b) you have decided that your lust for potential monies outweighs the tragedies of the Iraqi people. In either case, I have no sympathy for you. I loved C.I.'s point that though the New York Times may argue the contractors go out of a sense of 'patriotism,' were that true, there are recruiting stations across the United States. Trina's "Popcorn and Queso in the Kitchen" contains some very valuable comments regarding high school graduations and also some commentary regarding Dennis Kucinich who I will get to in a moment. Betty's "The Janet Jackson-ing of Thomas Friedman" is her latest chapter. I think that brings me semi up to date. Isaiah had the weekend off because of the expanded newsletter Sunday (Maria, Miguel and Francisco's newsletter).

"Kucinich: Blood Money" (Dennis Kucinich, his Congressional website):
Washington, May 22 --
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) gave the following speech on the floor of the House of Representatives today:
"The Associated Press reports that the latest Iraq Supplemental funding plan, incredibly, will tie an increase in the minimum wage to funding the war through October.
"If this is true, and I hope it is not, it tells American workers that the only way they will get an increase in wages is to continue to support funding the war which is taking the lives of their sons and daughters.
"First blood for oil. Now a minimum wage for maximum blood. Aren't the American people giving enough blood for this war without having to give more to have a wage increase?
"What's happened to our country? We are losing our moral compass. We're losing our sense of justice. We're losing touch with the difference between right and wrong.
"We do not have to fund this war. We must leave Iraq now. Support our troops and bring them home. HR 1234 is a plan to end the war and stabilize Iraq and give Iraqis control of their oil.
"We must take a new path. We must take a path of truth and justice."

If you're not for Dennis Kucinich, I hope that's because you're still deciding or because you're not a Democrat. If you are a Democrat, I can understand being attracted to the John Edwards campaign or Mike Gravel's but anything else does seem puzzling. Rebecca's "we don't stand up for cowards" really expresses the frustration and anger so many of us have over the lack of leadership, the lack of conviction, from Congressional Democrats. In the snapshot (at the bottom of the post), C.I. holds Pelosi up to task and I agree with that.

Pelosi wants to be Speaker of the House. She campaigned for the job. The GOP attempted to make her a campaign issue. She now holds the position so why is she hiding? Why is Steny Hoyer speaking for House leadership repeatedly? C.I.'s talking about today, but it's not just today. Pelosi has not raised her profile since she became Speaker.

What C.I.'s getting at, which I agree with, is that there seems to be an effort on the part of Pelosi to hold back so as not to trouble male egos. I am not for Hillary Clinton, as anyone reading this site should know, but if Hillary did become president, Pelosi's given her no help. Pelosi plays at being leader publicly. That's not laying groundwork for the public to be prepared for a female president. What Pelosi does encourages a woman president to allow every male in her cabinet to speak for her.

Pelosi is the leader of the House, as such she needs to out front explaining good moves or (as is more often the case) bad moves. This idea that she's going to hide her light under a bushel so that male egos don't get upset is nonsense. She wanted to be Speaker of the House and she now is, so she needs to conduct herself as such. She owes it to all women (and young girls) to be out front as the position she holds requires.

In terms of Steny Hoyer, he comes off like a weasel on TV and his name is laughable. He is the Democratic nightmare Republicans love. A weird looking pencil kneck with a silly sounding name. He has no national name and no national presence. It is past time that Pelosi stopped allowing him to go front and center while she hides herself away. She's damaging leadership for all women. She needs to forget the gender issue and grab the same amount of press time any male Speaker of the House does, male egos be damned. That's the only women are ever going to be on equal footing.

"Hillary Clinton's Achilles Heel?" (Joshua Frank, CounterPunch):
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program," Clinton said in October of 2002. "He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
Perhaps Hillary was taking a line from her husband Bill's repertoire, who as president bolstered the same case for disarming Hussein. "If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear," said President Clinton in February of 1998. "We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
What WMD program? As United States weapons inspector Charles Duelfer explained in a fall 2004 report, Saddam Hussein had shut down Iraq's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs following the first Iraq war in 1991.

Hillary really wants us not to remember her part in selling the illegal war. Sometimes, as I encounter a number of women arguing that we have to support women, I wonder am I the one who's out of it?

I'm serious here. There are many friends I have who are supporting Hillary Clinton for the sole reason that she is a woman. I frequently here mild criticism about how if women won't support other women, then we're betraying ourselves. But that's not feminism, at least not the feminism I signed up for. The feminism I signed up for was about opening opportunities and avenues to women, no question, but it was also about rejecting the masculine defined notions of "power" which does include the war-like behaviors that Hillary has exhibited non-stop. If Gloria Steinem were running for president, I'd be voting for her. I'd be collecting money, giving speehces, you name it. But Hillary is a war-like politician who hasn't struck me as overly interested in feminist causes.

I know she has a 'history' but I've never heard of anything she's done that wasn't for Hillary. Meaning, she's always struck me as one of the women who reaped the benefits of feminism but never paid back into it. As First Lady, she actually struck me as more of a feminist than she has while serving in the Senate. She's decried abortion, she's played into every stereotype in the world to get ahead. If you ask me, she's damaged women's opportunites far more than she's helped them.

Now, defending her man crush, Patricia J. Williams told Andrea Lewis and listeners to KPFA that Obama's position on the illegal war didn't matter to her because she's not a single-issue voter. Professor Williams may need to define what a single issue is because the Iraq war is about many things. It is about destroying historical notions (as well as legal) of "just wars," it is about pushing the doctrine of pre-emptive war, it is about bullying the international sphere, it is about empire, it is about the privatization of public goods, it is about the destruction of women's rights, it is about an attack on self-rule. I'm so glad that Professor Williams can table all those issues and more as a "single issue."

I think "single issue" is supporting Hillary Clinton because she's a woman or Barack Obama because of how you see him. I type "how you see him" because he is not Black. He is bi-racial. I find the left's desire to promote him as Black offensive. Bi-racial is the term and was it all that long ago that even the New York Times was front paging the issue of bi-racial and multi-racial and addressing the ever growing fabric of America? But no reason to stand for progress when a simplistic narrative might sell your candidate, apparently.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, May , 2007. Chaos and violence continue, 'secret surge' isn't a new flavor from Ben & Jerry, Congress demonstrates that they have mastered "roll over" and will soon learn "sit," 11 days 3 US soldiers went missing and are still missing, and more.

Democrats in Congress are falling down, falling down, falling down, Democrats in Congress are falling down, falling down, falling down . . . After having sent out the Party Hacks in attack packs to snarl at anyone who pointed out the obvious -- the Pelosi and Reid measures did nothing -- Democrats in Congress have decided they'd like to do nothing but be upfront about it which is why
Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell (Reuters) can report: "U.S. President George W. Bush won a battle over funding the Iraq war as congressional Democrats on Tuesday abandoned troop withdrawal efforts for now but pledged to fight with new legislation in July." Translation, we failed the public yet again but give us time . . . and we'll fail some more. House Majority Leader Stenny Hoyer lies and says that another threatened Bully Boy veto left their hands tied. US presidential candidate John Edwards made it very clear how the Congressional Democrats should handle it: Just keep it passing it and keep sening it back to the Bully Boy. Edwards, a former US senator and also the 2004 vice presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket, currently has a webpage featuring a petition where he asks people to "Tell Congress: END THE WAR It's up to you." The page may set Edwards up to run as an outsider, but there is something seriously sad when a former US senator, and the second person on the party's last national ticket, has to attempt goading the Democratically controlled Congress into action. CBS and AP report that Hoyer presents the choices Democrats had as "a standoff" or "come to an agreement" and two things bear noting there. First, both houses of Congress did not switch to the Democratic Party in the November 2006 elections because voters wanted Democrats to "come to an agreement" with the Bully Boy -- both houses switched power because, as poll after poll demonstrates, the American people believe the country is on the wrong track. Secondly, why is Hoyer out front with the press? Someone needs to trim his feathers and Nancy Pelosi, who supposedly wanted to be Speaker of the House, needs to act like one, even when it means facing the public ire, by stepping out front and explaining this decision.

Tip O'Neill wouldn't have hid behind a flunky. Pelosi needs to start acting like a leader and that includes not worrying that a woman taking center age might hurt some easily bruised feelings of a delicate male. Only she and Harry Reid can claim to be national figures in Congress but voters knew returning power to the Democrats meant that both Pelosi and Reid would become the leaders of each house. Voters did not do that so that Nancy Pelosi
could grace a Ms. magazine cover and then go into hiding. She wanted the job, voters either supported that desire or didn't run from the idea of the first female Speaker of the House (the GOP made an issue out of Pelosi in the 2006 elections), so she needs to start stepping up and if Steny Hoyer is so addicted to the limelight, I believe Law and Order is attempting to replace Fred Thompson currently so possibly Hoyer could audition for that role. Whatever he does, he needs to grasp that he is not Speaker of the House and reduce his face time significantly. CBS and AP observe: "In Washington, after weeks of refusing to back down to President Bush on setting a timetable on the Iraq war, House Democratic leaders soon will be in the awkward position of explaining to members why they feel they must." Yes, and the explanation must come from the Speaker not the flunky she was saddled with (after party 'faithful' refused to support her choice of John Murtha for the post Steny now occupies).

While the Democratic 'leadership' continues to earn the name of Do-Nothing-Dems, Bully Boy isn't planning on ending his illegal war. Instead, he's planning on increasing the size and scope of it.
Stewart M. Powell (Hearst Newspapers) reports that the Bully Boy has "quietly" moved beyond his announced figures for the so-called surge and that the escalation wil not end with approximately 160,000 US troops in Iraq and will top off (for now) at 200,000 through both deployment and extension of tours for those already in Iraq. William Nash ("Reitred Army Maj. Gen.") tells Powell, "It doesn't surprise me that they're not talking about it. I think they would be very happy not to have any more attention paid to this." The "they" that Nash is referring to is the administration. As to why the Democratic leadership in Congress isn't talking, one can only guess.

Tom Hayden (Common Dreams) suggests, "If Congress is afraid to cut funding for American troops, how about direct or indirect funding for advisers to militias and death squads. Isn't 'no taxes for torture' a supportable benchmark?" and goes on to observe the many benchmarks that have been missed with no Congessional outcry (including the promise to hold provisional elections next month which doesn't seem on track in any way). Meanwhile, Cindy Sheehan (BuzzFlash) points out, "With 21 Democratic Senators voting against Russ Feingold's (D-WI) bill for withdrawal and Democratic House Reps voting against Jim McGovern's (D-MA) withdrawal bill one begins to wonder if the giants work on K Street and the midgets work in Congress. The majority could not pass the weak Feingold bill and the once strong but watered down McGovern bill, but the majority Democrats in all of their weakness don't even come close to matching the corrupt and criminal Republicans who have, in the best tradition of moral midgets and blowhard cowards, perpetrated crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shock and awe was a war crime. The list of other crimes against humanity include but are not limited to: killing more innocent civilians in the initial invasion of Afghanistan than were killed here on 9-11; Haditha, Falluja, Sammara, Ramadi, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, FISA, Downing Street Minutes, yellow cake uranium, slam dunk, and smoking guns in the form of mushroom clouds. The entire Bush Administration has been functionally criminal: when are the majority Democrats going to hold these people accountable?"

In Iraq, today is day eleven that three US soliders have been missing, assumed captured, following an attack that killed 4 US soldiers and 1 Iraqi translator. In the New York Times this morning,
Kirk Semple quoted Col. Michael Kershaw saying a lot of thing but not able to back anything up. Translation, despite all the smoke screen of 'accomplishments,' the 3 US soldiers remain missing and the US military has no idea where they are. CBS and AP report that, most recently, the US military raided alleged safehouses . . . that were empty and calls it "the latest in a series of frustrations for exhausted U.S. troops hunting for any sign of the missing soldiers".

In addition . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an east Baghdad bombing this morning that killed 1 person (3 more wounded), a downtown Baghdad bombing that wounded five, a Baghdad mortar attack on Ibn Al Haitham college that killed 4 college students (25 more injured), and a Baghdad car bombing killed one police officer (3 more wounded). CBS and AP report 25 dead from a Baghdad bombing (60 wounded). Reuters notes a Hawija roadside bombing that left one person dead and another wounded, and a Mahmudiya mortar attack that claimed one life and left five more injured.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that, along with the students who died in the Baghdad mortar attack, an attack on a mini-bus in Baghdad killed 9 students (including 2 women) and left two wounded, the US military killed a civilian "in Al Bayaa neighborhood sought Baghdad," Soltan Hairan ("member in the local council") was shot dead in Basra, and 6 members of one family were shot dead at "a fake check point near Al Ghalibiyah district" in the Diyala province. CBS and AP report that "gunmen in two cars drove through the nearby Khadra neighborhood [in Baghdad] and ambushed a civilian car carrying three plainclothes police officers from the major crimes unit, killing two and wounding the third, police said."


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 33 corpses discovered in Baghdad, 1 ("handcuffed and blindfolded") was discovered in Kirkuk, one "on Tikrit-Kirkuk main street), Reuters reports two corpses ('airport employees") were discovered in Riyadh.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "National police abducted 4 civilians in Al Risala neighborhood south west Baghdad," and, yesterday, "gunmen kidnapped Sheikh Mohammed Jasim Al Abbas, the sheikh of Al Ahbab tribe".

Turning to US presidential politics,
Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) evaluates the presidential campaign efforts of US Senator Hillary Clinton when she appeared on NBC's Today yesterday, "Instead of honestly explaining her transformation from pro-war supporter to cheerleader of the war's progress to tentative opponent of the war to her current incarnation as long-term opponent of the war, Hillary skipped right over the unpleasant past and tried to talk only about the future: 'Well, you know, Matt, I think the important thing is for the Democrats to be united in trying to either persuade or require this president to change this direction now -- that's what all of us in the Senate are trying to do.' Sure, why answer the question when you can divert attention and blur the differences between you and your opponents? Hillary also dutifully hit her talking point that she's been 'saying for a number of years' that we should bring our troops home -- trying to rhetorically paper-over the fact that for most of those years she was actually trying to have it both ways on Iraq: dipping her toe in the rising anti-war tide by voting for a phased redeployment of troops while steadfastly arguing against setting any kind of deadline for bringing our troops home (for instance, less than a year ago, in June 2006, she said she did not 'think it is smart strategy to set a date certain. I do not agree that that is in the best interest of our troops or our country'). This broad-brush, who-cares-about-details approach to Iraq is a favorite of pro-war Democrats desperately trying to align themselves with the majority of the American people, at least until the election. Are we forgetting Joe Lieberman, who claimed during his campaign against Ned Lamont, 'No one wants to end the war in Iraq more than I do'? And there he is now, Tweedle-Dee to John McCain's pro-surge Tweedle-Dum." Meanwhile James Ridgeway (Mother Jones via Common Dreams) explores the presidential campaign of
Mike Gravel who tells Ridgeway, "What we need to do [on Iraq] is to create a constitutional confrontation between the Congress and the president. Most people have forgotten the Congress is more powerful than the president. . . The Democrats have the votes in the House to pass it. In the Senate, they will filibuster it. Fine. The Majority Leader starts a cloture vote the first day. Fails to get cloture. Fine. The next day -- another vote on cloture. And the next day, and the next day, Saturdays and Sundays, no vacation -- vote every single day. The dynamic is that now you give people enough time to weigh in and put pressure on those voting against cloture. . . . I would guess in 15 to 20 days you would have cloture and the bill would pass and go to the president. He would veto it. Wonderful. It comes back to the House and Senate. Normal thing is to try to override and fail. No guts. No leadership. So in the House and Senate. Normal thing is to try to override and fail. No guts. No leadership. So in the House and Senate every day at noon, you have a vote to override the veto. The Democrats are the leaders -- they control the calendar. It only takes half an hour to have these votes."

In war resistance news,
Nilanjana S Roy (India's Business Standard).reviews Joshua Key's The Deserter's Tale and concludes, "His story, blunt, unapologetic and defiant, may be the most unsettling indictment of the Iraq war to have emerged thus far." Roy becomes another reviewer in a long line to sing the praises of Key's The Deserter's Tale which traces his journey from a father attempting to help put food on the table and willing to believe a recruiter to a young man serving in Iraq and seeing the war was based on lies. Key self-checks out of the military while back in the States and he, Brandi Key and their children move to Canada where the family now resides. Key concludes his book (pp. 230-231):

When I came home I told Brandi that I had seen innocent people die in Iraq. For the longest time, that is just about all she knew. But because she loved me that was all she needed to hear. In fact, she did not want to hear any details. Taking care of three young boys and me, as well as little Anna, who was soon growing in her womb, Brandi did not feel she had the strength to hear about everything I had seen and done in Iraq. Apart from one time in Philadelphia when I got drunk and began to shout about the young girl I had seen killed outside the hospital in Ramadi, I have never spoken to her directly about all the intimate details given in this book. She reads the information form I gave the Canadian immigration authorities when I applied for refugee status. When she put it down, she said she never would have read it in the first place if she had known what she'd find it. We both carry emotional wounds as a result of the war in Iraq, and I imagine that thousands of other Americans who served in Iraq have also brought their own nightmares back home. Their families, too, will be suffering. Ordinary Iraqis have paid very dearly for this war, and ordinary Americans are paying for it too with their lives and with their souls.
I have never been a man to run from a challenge, and I have never fled from danger or abandoned vulenerable people. I am neither a coward nor a traitor. When I was being recruited in Oklahoma City in 2002, I had to sign a paper to the effect that I had read and understood a warning from the military: "Desertion in the time war means death by a firing squad." That just about sums it up. We could do whatever we wanted to Iraqis. Yet if we ran from duty, there would be hell to pay. I will never apologize for deserting the American army. I destered an injustice and leaving was the right thing to do. I owe one apology and one apology only, and that is to the people of Iraq.

Joshua Key is part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, 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, forty 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.

Reminder, a look at another activist airs tomorrow night
The Sundance Channel:Tuesday, May 22nd 9:30 pm e/pForest For The Trees (U.S. Television Premiere) -- Directed by Bernadine Mellis. Mellis follows her father, civil rights lawyer Dennis Cunningham, as he goes to federal court in 2002 on behalf of his client, the late environmental activist Judi Bari. A leader of EarthFirst!, Bari was injured in a car bombing as she prepared for 1990's "Redwood Summer," a peaceful action protesting the logging of old-growth redwoods in Northern California. Arrested for the crime but never charged, Bari believed she was targeted in order to discredit her organization and sued the FBI and the Oakland Police. A suspenseful chronicle of an important trial, Forest for the Trees is also a profile of a dynamic and funny woman, who earned the respect of loggers as well as environmentalists.