I really do not want to compliment Isaiah because I know he is feeling overwhelmed lately with all the praise, but that really is a great comic. He e-mailed me Wednesday asking what I thought about a rose? I didn't get it and e-mailed him back to say so. He explained he was thinking of doing a parody of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette to capture Barack's running mate search. I told him I thought that would be very funny. But he really didn't like that idea.
So I was curious about what he was going to do.
Two things on his comics. He really wants some time off but does not want C.I. to be the only one posting on the weekends. Also, he really is overwhelmed. Now in the community, we all love what he does. He knows that and downplays it. But since about February, he's been getting what can only be described as fan mail at the public account. It's only making him feel pressured to turn out something. Each time he draws one, he's convinced people are going to hate it.
I do understand that because it's the way Ava and C.I. are. They really can't stand the pressure or the expectations. C.I. was always like that. As long as we've known each other, I've known that about C.I. For example, C.I. studied piano from before first grade. So by college, C.I. had many, many years under the belt. Yet, C.I. could get really nervous about expectations. The college piano teacher was a very nice man, grandfatherly and kind. Which only made it worse for C.I. (C.I. isn't just able to face a hostile crowd, C.I. prefers them. Winning them over is never a problem. It's always been that way.) So C.I. was having a severe panic attack one time which means hands shaking and worse. The professor noticed and, unlike many, did not say, "Just play through it." He said it wasn't important and not to worry about it. After that, C.I. never had problems playing for the professor again.
When Rebecca and I would go with C.I. to the practice room, we got very used to the fact that C.I. would sometimes feel overwhelmed -- people were always staring in the window of the door to find out who was playing or walking right in to listen. Joking, Rebecca once said, "Oh, they hate you." She meant because C.I. was (and is) so good; however, C.I. didn't take it that way and the panic attack ceased. I've seen C.I. speak out against an illegal war (Vietnam or Iraq) to a hostile crowd that's eaten other speakers alive. C.I. never breaks a sweat and always wins them over.
I'll tell a story about the college play C.I. was in. C.I. was not a drama major (and didn't have a lot of respect for those who were on our campus) and ran with a crowd that thought the ones on stage delivered plodding performances. So C.I. was publicly critical and it was floated -- by a drama professor -- that C.I. couldn't do it. Wrong words to tell C.I. C.I. ended up with the lead and did an amazing job. Mainly because the drama crowd (and professor/director) hated C.I. The fights were legendary like something you'd read about in a really bad Hollywood paperback. C.I. would not play the character the way the professor/director wanted.
C.I. was right not to play it that way. To back up a little, the director wanted C.I. to fail (admitted to it after) and dismissed C.I. throughout the early rehearsals. One example would be when all the leads were supposed to meet for an hour with the professor to discuss their characters. C.I. didn't have the time but made it only to find that the male lead was in the office and that the professor said he didn't have time for C.I. Not even an attempt to reschedule. So for weeks, he left C.I. alone. Which meant C.I. had to invent an entire history and dig into the character with no help. C.I. did all of that work.
Then when it was time for full blown rehearsals, the director was always yelling at C.I. and C.I.'s not someone who's afraid to yell back. Or someone who's afraid of being replaced.
At the dress rehearsal (Rebecca and I went), the director was clearly trying to reduce C.I. to tears. Didn't work. Never will. Hostility doesn't phase C.I. C.I. was up on stage, yelling back, and saying, "You don't know the first thing about this character!"
So opening night, the director's boyfriend (a Broadway director) comes to the play and he applauds and laughs (and only laughs at C.I.'s performance -- by passing all the 'bits' the director invented). Afterwards, Rebecca and I are backstage with C.I. and the boyfriend comes up with the director behind him. He can't stop praising C.I. and asking C.I. to audition for "legitimate" theater. He's raving over C.I.'s performance and going on and on about how much work it must have taken (it did, no one digs in like C.I.) and the director is just steaming throughout. His boyfriend (a real director -- as opposed to a frustrated one) has sat through his 'big' play and the only thing he can praise (and he can't stop praising it) is all the work C.I. did.
There are people who can't work in hostile environments. In fact, that's true of most people. C.I.'s not like that. C.I. can thrive on that environment.
"TV: Cyborgs or gasbags, which is worse?" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):
To prove how pathetic the year has been and how pathetic so many were, you only have to drop back to the 2008 Winter issue of Ms. magazine, where they elected to reproduce an ad they found objectionable to women. The ad depicted "Cameron" and the same magazine that never found time (in print or online) to call out the repeated sexist attacks on Hillary felt it was their job to defend "Cameron." In the spring 2008 issue of Ms., Simone C. Williams wrote in to object to the ad being included in Ms.' long-running "No Comment" feature.
Williams made solid points so, of course, the current incarnation of Ms. magazine, had to reject it with an "Editors' note" -- the sort that increasingly shows just how useless the magazine has become: "We love Sarah Connor; we just think women, even Terminators, deserve to be shown with arms and legs." If you haven't sussed it out yet, "Cameron" is a character on Fox' Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Cameron is, in fact, a terminator.
You read that correctly. Ms. couldn't make any time for a flesh and blood woman under attack (Hillary) but they had all the time in the world to defend the rights of . . . cyborgs.
And if that doesn't tell you how inept are 'leaders' and 'protectors' are, nothing does.
That's the opening of Ava and C.I.'s latest which I love. I was lagging Sunday morning and about to fall over when they got done writing that and Jim read it out loud to all of us. After that, I had enough energy to go on.
I really love what they do and agree with Dona that they have created a body of work. I don't think most writers (online or off) do that. I think it's a very rare thing for anyone to be able to do that. But they really have created this amazingly strong body of work that holds up.
Each weekend, they dread writing a TV commentary and they never think they'll have one in them. When it's done, they hate it. (They will never go back and read them.) They're always surprised anyone likes them. That's because they're writing them meaning they know what got left out, they know what they were trying for, they know what they didn't get to and what they didn't pull off. So, for them, it represents all of that.
For those of us reading, it's a very different experience.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday, August 25, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces a death, sometimes the US and the puppet al-Maliki agree on their stories (and sometimes they do not), and more.
Starting with war resistance. US war resister Robin Long was court-martialed in Colorado Friday and Karen Linne, Fort Carson Public Affairs Office, explained Friday afternoon that he was sentenced to 15 months behind bars, reduced in rank (to E1) and given a dishonorable discharge. Robin was held at the Criminal Justice Center in El Paso Country while awaiting the court-martial and he will receive credit for the time he has served ("about 40 days").
Friday Colorado Springs' News Channel 13 (ABC) reported on the court-martial:
Eric Singer: Now getting back to a story we told you about earlier on in the newscast, a judge at Fort Carlson sentences a soldier to 15 months for desertion. He ran to Canada.
Nina Sparano: Twenty-four-year-old Private First Class Robin Long was supposed to be deployed to Iraq three years ago. Only On News Channel 13's Scott Harrison was in the court room for the sentencing.
Scott Harrison: Early Friday afternoon, Private First Class Robin Long left this court room and walked down this sidewalk for the last time as a free man for the next fourteen months or so as he begins his sentence for desertion. Long seemed in good spirits as guards escorted him to a waiting vehicle. He also got a warm send off from peace activists and anti-war protesters who came to support him. Some supporters hired an attorney from Oklahoma to represent Long.
James Branum: He got to speak his mind about why he did what he did and he knows that, yes, he did the legally wrong thing but the morally right thing.
Scott Harrison: Long's sympathizers expected he would serve some time after going AWOL then fleeing to Canada to avoid deploying to Iraq but they think 15 months is too harsh.
Ret. Army Col. Mary Ann Wright: Four months, five months something like that -- which is pretty common among all of the ones who have gone AWOL and been public about it. I think that would be an appropriate punishment.
Sgt. Matthis Chiroux: Robin Long to me is a hero. He is an individual who stood up during a time of great, great crisis facing overwhelming adversity and opposition and stood true to what he knew to be right.
Scott Harrison: Coming up at six, we'll learn more about the influences effecting Private Long's life that led him to be at this court room today. At Fort Carson, Scott Harrison News Channel 13.
Nina Sparano: Long's sentence will be reduced by forty days because of time already served. He's also reduced in rank to private and will receive a dishonorable discharge.
Saturday KRDO offered another report:
Samantha Anderson: [The court-martial of] a Fort Carson soldier Friday at times became more of a debate about the Iraq War then about the soldier's desertion. In our continuing coverage, News Channel 13's Scott Harrison explains how more service men and women are taking stands to oppose the war.
Scott Harrison: For most men and women in the military, the decision to go to war is a simple one. They follow orders. It's part of the job of being in the armed forces. But Friday's court-martial here at the mountain post attracted other soldiers who have taken stands similar to Private Long in opposing the Iraq War. We told you Friday how Private Long pleaded guilty to avoiding a deployment to Iraq by fleeing to Canada. Among those supporting him at his court-martial were a retired Army Col. and State Dept diplomat.
Ann Wright: I resigned in opposition to the war in Iraq. And that's -- he went AWOL because of the war in Iraq.
Scott Harrison: Also present was a Reserve Sergeant who announced a month before his scheduled deployment that he wouldn't go, considering the war an illegal act of aggression.
Matthis Chiroux: I'm not exactly sure what is going to happen. My situation is quite unique.
Scott Harrison: Sgt. Chiroux says the Army has decided not to court-martial him partly because he gained sympathy and support in Congress for the growing cause of war objectors within the military. The different actions toward Sgt. Chiroux and Private Long show how the military itself can seem divided on the issue.
Ann Wright: And that's an interesting thing because one would think that the army throughout the world would have a common view of these things. And that maybe there wouldn't be such disparity.
Scott Harrison: These war objectors -- whether in or out of the military -- say there are hundreds of servicemen and women like Private Long and more will come as the war continues.
Matthis: Who takes his dedication to the Constitution so seriously that he is willing to face persecution for it? Not even our own president is willing to do that.
Scott Harrison: Private Long is believed to be only the second soldier court-martialed for desertion by fleeing to Canada since the end of the Vietnam war. And both of those cases have happened just within the last month. At Fort Carson, Scott Harrison News Channel 13.
Samantha Anderson: The other soldier Private First Class James Burmeister, received a six-month sentence and a bad conduct discharge the same week Private Long was found in Canada.
Robin Long wasn't 'found' in Canada that week. He was expelled from Canada July 14th. (He was extradited.) Second, there has been more than two US war resisters who went to Canada and then returned and were court-martialed. Darrell Anderson returned from Canada and turned himself in October 3, 2006 but was not court-martialed, as Jim Fennerty explained to Jim Warren (Lexington Herald-Leader) back in October of 2006 (article no longer available online, but quoted in this October 4th entry). Two others would follow him back to the US that year. Kyle Snyder would turn himself in and then self-checkout again when the US military broke the promised agreement. Snyder was informed that he was going back to his unit, despite the agreement that had been worked out. Snyder is married to a Canadian citizen and should not (unless Judge Anne Mactavish thinks she can get away with it) be under threat of deportation today. The other? Remember The Full Brobeck? Ivan Brobeck returned from Canada and turned himself in on November 7, 2006 (mid-term election day and Brobeck returned with an open letter to the occupant of the White House). Brobeck was court-martialed Dec. 5, 2007 and released on Feb. 5, 2007. As Robert Fantina (Political Affairs magazine -- one of the few to note Brobeck) explained, "Several soldiers who deserted after a tour of duty in Iraq have stated that cruelty towards Iraqi citizens was a factor in their desertions. One of them, Lance Corporal Ivan Brobeck, witnessed the abuse of Iraqi detainees and the killing of Iraqi civilians. Another, Sgt. Ricky Clousing, had similar experiences. His allegations of systematic abuse of Iraqi detainees are now being investigated by the military." Ivan Brobeck would be the first known US war resister that went to Canada and returned to the US to be court-martialed.
Back to Robin's court-martial. Jupiter Kalambakal (AHN) reported, "During the trial, Long, 25, of Boise, Idaho, said he fled when his unit was deployed to Iraq because he felt it was an illegal war, according to CBC. Prosecutors, on the other hand, said he abandoned his duty and his country." Tom Roeder (Colorado Springs Gazette via Albany Times Union) noted that Col. Debra Boudreau presided as the judge, that the prosecution called no witnesses and that the prosecution "showed a six-minute video of Long, sporting dreadlocks and a beard, telling a Canadian news reporter 'I think I was lied to by my president'." That's the October 2007 CBC interview Robin gave. The use of the video indicates Robin's civilian attorney James Branum was correct when he told Nick Kyonka (Toronto Star) immediately before the court-martial, "I think they want to prosecute him for free-speech issues without actually charging him." A McClatchy Newspapers-Tribune Services article in The New Haven Register reported Ann Wright was among the witnesses and she testified that the Iraq War "was against, the law, arguing that justified Long's fleeing to Canada. . . . The lone character witness called to speak for Long was Peter Haney with the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission. He had met the soldier three times while Long was awaiting trial in the El Paso County, Colo., lockup" and he testified, "I've observed Mr. Long in situations that would be trying to just about anyone. He seemed to me to be extremely poised and lucid." From that article:
In his testimony, Long talked about his life in Canada and attacked the war in Iraq. "I feel the war on terror is a war on peace," Long testified, saying he planned to eventually move back to Canada where he has a girlfriend and a son born while he was on the run form the Army. In Nelson, British Columbia, Long said he perfected his organic gardening skills and converted his Volkswagen to run on recycled cooking oil. Long told the judge he wanted to serve little or no jail time, but would take a bad conduct discharge as punishment. He wrapped up his time on the stand by telling the judge, "Peace, love and light."Long's civilian attorney, James Branam, closed his part of the sentencing hearing by comparing Long to Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. "The morality of what he did should lessen the punishment," Branam told the judge.
Dan Frosch (New York Times) quoted Jim Branum stating, "I felt he doesn't deserve a day in prison. Any jail time is unjust." Nick Kyonka (Toronto Star) reported, "About two-dozen anti-war supporters gathered around the courthouse at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo., yesterday afternoon as a military judge handed down Long's sentence." Other coverage included an AP article, Erin Miller filed a report for KBS Radio. David Fox and Jesse McLaren write to the Toronto Star to point out that the sentence proves Judge Mactavish was wrong in her decixion. Jesse McLaren: "Since it is now clear that deporting war resisters to the U.S. does indeed produce irreparable harm, the Harper government must enact the motion passed in Parliament to stop the deportations and let war resisters stay." David Fox: "Justic MacTavish claimed he would not suffer 'irreparable harm' if deported. How is a military jail sentence and a felony conviction not irreparable harm? No soldier should face jail for opposing the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. And Stephen Harper must be held to account for deporting Robin Long when he knew full well the persecution and punishment he faced in Bush's America." Robin's civilian attorney Jim Branumn notes Free Robin Long and at his own site notes press coverage here and here.
Friday, Free Speech Radio News reported on Robin and the lead up to the court-martial and Jeremy Hinzman. Jeremy is the US war resister who was the first to go to Canada and apply for asylum. August 13th, he was informed he had until September 23rd to leave Canada or be deported.
Jes Burns: Back in Canada, another war resister, Jeremy Hinzman, is fighting for himself and his family to remain in the country. The Canadian government has ordered the Hinzman family to leave by September 23rd despite a motion passed in Parliament in June calling for an end to the deporations. Earlier this week Hinzman spoke at a Toronto forum to discuss strategies to stem the tide of current deportations.
Jeremy Hinzman: Ever since we got here, if it wouldn't be for the support of all of ya'll . . . It seems like we've had our hands tied. The Canadian government intervened in my case, said that the illegality of the war was irrelevant to our refugee claim. We appealed this all the way to the Supreme Court and, in November of last year, they refused to hear our case. So being here for four and a half years, working full time, having a family, having friends we thought perhaps that we'd have a shot at compassionate, humanitarian grounds for staying here. and as Michelle said last week we found out that that is not going to be the case. It's pretty devastating but all I can say is that I'd rather -- or I'd proudly serve jail time rather than kill and displace innocent people.
Jes Burns: The current hope for Hinzman is a new federal appeal in his case. Alyssa Manning is a lawyer representing him and other war resisters. She says the decision to deport Hinzman was made based on the assumption there would be adequate protection for his religious beliefs and political opinions back in the United States. But new evidence has emerged -- evidence that has already been used to stay the deporation of another war resister Corey Glass.
Alyssa Manning: New evidence has since come out that was not available to the Federal Court of Appeal that says that soldiers who speak out against the war in Iraq are actually subjected to severe punishment by the military solely for speaking out. And it was based on this new evidence that the Federal Court issued a stay of removal in Corey's case. Justice [Orville] Frenette, for the Court, he said, "The applicant submits that if returned to the United States he will be court-martialed for desertion and he will be incarcerated in a military prison where, like Stephen Funk, Camilo Mejia and Kevin Benderman, he will suffer persecution and cruel and inhumane treatment." He then said: "I believe the evidence here shows that if returned to the US the applicant will suffer the harm he has described." So that's a clear finding from the Federal Court that what these resisters have been alleging would happen to them if they're sent back is actually happening
Jes Burns: Manning says there were definite errors in the decision to deport Hinzman and his family. She hopes a new round of appeals will convince the Canadian courts to stay the deporation.
To show your support for Jeremy and other US war resisters in Canada, Courage to Resist alerts, "Supporters are calling on Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, to intervene. Phone 613.996.4974 or email http://email@example.com,"Iraq Veterans Against the War also encourages people to take action, "To support Jeremy, call or email Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and ask her to intervene in this case. Phone: 613.996.4974 email: firstname.lastname@example.org."
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Yovany Rivero, William Shearer, Michael Thurman, Andrei Hurancyk, Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Daniel Baker, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
Moving to Iraq, over the weekend Nicholas Spangler (McClatchy Newspapers) reported that Nouri al-Maliki insists the assault in Diyala Province Tuesday was a "rogue operation" while Iraqi Islamic Party spokesperson responded, "We believe that such a raid could not have taken place unless Mr. Maliki had at least prior knowledge of it." From last Tuesday's snapshot:
Reuters notes a raid conducted by "Iraqi security forces" in Baquba on "the office of the governor of Diyala province" which resulted in the death of "his secetary". Reuters notes the name of the dead is Abbas Ali Hmoud and that Raad Rasheed Mulla Jawad (the governor of the province) has stated, "The body of the martyr [Abbas Ali Hmoud] will stay in the building until the iillers are captured." Though the US military admits at least 1 US helicopter was present they deny that the US military had any knowledge or participation in the raid. Maybe they were just jumping the gun on the August 22nd National Airborne Day? Also playing dumb is the puppet government in Baghdad which is ordering an investigation. AFP reports that Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation, "ordered the formation of a committee to find out how Iraqi forces came to fight each other in Baquba" and notes that, in addition to the secretary being murdered, a bodyguard was also shot dead. CNN notes, "Hussein al-Zubaidi, a provincial council member, and Nazar al-Khafaji, the Diyala University dean, were arrested during the raid, the official said."
From Wednesday's snapshot:
Nicholas Spangler and Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) report four police officers were wounded in the Diyala actions, the governor's secretary was shot dead, Hussein al Zubaidi ("provincial council member and head of security committee") was arrested, computers were seized and "Taha Dria, a Shiite lawmaker from Diyala who was not in the government compound during the raid, said the armed forces were from Iraq's Emergency Response Unit, an American-trained unit similar to U.S. Special Forces" quoting him explaining that, "They were wearing khaki. Their weapons were American. The Humvees they used looked American. They didn't have any ranks on their shoulders. They didn't talk." They also report eye witnesses saw two US helicopters and that the helicopters fired on the Iraqi people. The US military issued a denial on accusations yesterday and maintained that one helicopter was in the area but for other reasons and it was not involved in actions. Ned Parker and Usama Redha (Los Angeles Times) note the US military's denial and also explain that "a prominet Sunni university dean" was also arrested, that the Iraqi forces involved "reports to Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's counter-terrorism office" but al-Maliki claims he was unaware and his office insists, "These special forces work with the Americans. They are not associated with the Ministry of Defense. They have goals, and they didn't inform anyone else." Nichoals Spangler (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the US continues to deny any involvement in yesterday's lawless activities with US Big Gen James Boozer insisting, "It was what appears to be a rogue operations."
The US military is claiming "rogue operation" despite the use of two US helicopters and al-Maliki's following their lead. Today claims fly on other issues with al-Maliki and the US on different sides. Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) reports that al-Maliki is stating that there is an agreement (this would be the treaty called a "SOFA") "that all US troops will leave by the end of 2011" and the White House is stating "no final deal has been reached." AP suggests al-Malik has "dug in his heels" and that "[d]espite the tough words" there will be a compromise. At the US traveling White House (Crawford, TX), Tony Fratto declared in a press briefing today, "I know there are always reports out there in the press and I'm not sure I saw exactly what Prime Minister Maliki said. But clearly from our perspective, we've been working with the Iraqi government for a long time on this agreement. . . . We're discussing goals. As you know, you've heard us speak about different kinds of timelines or aspirational goals that may be acceptable. I don't have anything to announce on that. An agreement has not been signed, and so from our perspective, there is no agreement until there's an agreement signed. There are discussions that continue in Baghdad. We'd like to let them continue and to continue to show progress. What we're focused on is getting a good agreement, not getting an agreement by a particular date. So we'll continue those discussions."
Sunday Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) tackled The Myth of the Great Return and explained, "Out of the more than 151,000 families who had fled their houses in Baghdad, just 7,112 had returned to them by mid-July according to the Iraqi Ministry of Migration." Tavernise further reported: "The reasons for the hesitation are complex, based on dangers both real and imagined. In most cases, Iraqis say they feel safe with their neighbors but are not sure about other residents. Some are afraid of the new guards on their blocks. In rarer cases, they cannot face neighbors who they suspect helped in killings." Erica Goode (New York Times) reported the Ministry of Culture's Deputy Minister Kamal Shyaa Abdullah was assassinated Saturday in Baghdad (along with his driver). Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reported a bomber blew his/herself up and claimed 21 other lives (thirty-two wounded). Today AFP reports the death toll from the bombing has risen to 30. Tina Susman and Saif Hameed (Los Angeles Times) explain the bomber was a man who showed up at the festivities. Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) reports that the gathering was for Sami Hanoush, the son of Adnan Hanoush -- an "Awakening" Council member, who had recently been released from Camp Bucca and that the assault, which was carried out by "a stranger in his late 20s," "was one of the deadliest attacks in recent months." Erica Goode and Stephen Farrell (New York Times) note the gathering was "a large dinner" and that the stranger was "a man wearing a yellow dishdasha, or large robe" and quotes Abdullah Hamdan stating, "I just lost my brother, but I pray to God to save my son." Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a mortar attack on the Green Zone, a Baghdad bombing that left one Iraqi service member wounded, a Baghdad car bombing that wounded three members of a family, a Baghdad bus bombing that wounded the driver, a Baghdad roadside bombing that left one person injured, and a Baghdad mortar attack on "a petrol station." Reuters notes a Tikrit roadside bombing that injured six guards of Maj Gen Hamad Namis Yasin ("police chief of Salahuddin province"), a Shirqat roadside bombing claimed 2 live and, dropping back to Sunday, a Mussayab roadside bombing that claimed the life of Lt Col Basim Mohammed and his daughter (two sons were injured).
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 Iraqi soldiers shot dead in Baghdad. Reuters notes that 1 man was shot in Mosul.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.
Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier died of wounds Aug. 25 at a Coalition Forces Combat Army Support Hospital. The Soldier was shot by a small-arms attack during a dismounted patrol in northern Baghdad. The Soldier was quickly transported to the medical faciality but later succumbed to the wounds." The announcement brings to 4147 the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war (19 for the month thus far).
US House Rep Stephanie Tubbs Jones passed away last week. Kristal Brent Zook notes the passing at Women's Media Center. [And at Third we note the vindicative Nancy Pelosi and her decision to pull Tubbs Jones' website on Thursday.] Each week when Ava and I do our TV pieces at Third, we have a host of links we want to work in and never get to half of them. Jennifer Merin's "Women Film Critics: An Endangered Species?" (WMC) needs to be read and we wanted to note it Sunday but couldn't fit it in. We think we'll be able to note it this coming Sunday but in case not, there's the link. Peggy Simpson covers Joe Biden being named the running mate for Barack Obama -- if Barack ends up the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. And this is presidential politics and personal. A number of e-mails are coming in repeating a point made this weekend by a friend with the Obama campaign: "You are supporting the Obama campaign now!" No, I am not. I like Joe Biden, I've known him for many years. I am not voting for war and when Elaine and I went to the big money fundraiser for Barack's Senate run it was obvious that Barack was not anti-war or for ending the Iraq War. I will not be voting for Barack. I will not be voting for John McCain (presumed GOP nominee). I've said that over and over. This crosses over with another topic (and Jess -- in the public e-mail account today -- asked me to please clarify that I wasn't voting for Barack with Biden now on the ticket so that the e-mails would stop coming in on that). Democracy Now! -- has the world ever seen more gossip on a broadcast. Gossip, gossip, gossip. And they don't even have their FACTS right when they do toss out the occassional fact. That includes Amy Goodman who is embarrassing herself. The friend with the Obama campaign said, "You know they are going to distort Joe" (meaning Panhandle Media) "and you're going to get sucked in that way" meaning defending Biden. Ava and I already decided to review Democracy Now!'s weeks worth of coverage on Sunday. We will correct the record then. It's not my job to correct them here. In fact, it's better for our TV commentary if Amy Goodman books IDIOTS AND LIARS all week long. Judging by today's offerings, she's already headed in that direction. Martha and Shirley (working the private e-mail accounts) note that members are shocked that basics (ones we've gone over here for some time) aren't known by Amy & her experts. What can I say, THEY'RE IDIOTS -- UNINFORMED IDIOTS. They didn't pay attention in real time, they don't know what they're talking about. But this is exactly how Team Obama thinks I'm going to get sucked in to rallying behind that ticket. It's not happening. Ava and I will cover the nonsense of Democracy Now! Sunday. I counted 16 errors/lies in today's broadcast and only heard a half-hour. I'm sure there will be many, many more during the week. It's tabled until Sunday. One more Biden-Barack note, Isaiah's comic went up Sunday on that. Also Lucas notes this broadcast of From The Vault which features a 1968 interview with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.
Ralph Nader, independent presidential candidate, is providing Ralph's Daily Audio Monday through Friday and this is "Bailouts on Your Back:"
This is Ralph Nader. The giant corporate destruction of capitalism is proceeding at an accelerated pace. It looks like captialsim -- that is the bearing of risk by the business -- is only for small business, not giant corporations that are deamed too big to fail no matter how their executives, overpaid as they are, undermine, weaken and damage the company their workers and share holders.
Three examples. The US government now has enacted legislation which provides for up to $25 billion in loan guarantees for the domestic auto companies. These are the same companies that for years opposed fuel efficiency standards while they sold customers their gas guzzling SUVs. Well when the price of gasoline went up, SUV sales went down and what's General Motors doing? Ford? Chrysler? They're going to Washington for, essentially, a tax payer bail-out. And they want more than $25 billion dollars in loan guarantees .
Next up is the nuclear industry. They can't get Wall St. financing for their new nuclear plants without a US government loan guarantee. They wanted $50 billion in recent legislation. But the Congress only gave them $19 billion for starters in loan guarantees. The Wall Streeters think that nuclear power is so risky and unpredicatable that they won't give them any loans without Uncle Sam guaranteeing them.
And then there's Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For years opposing adequate regulation and adequate capital-ratios and they took on very risky financial instruments and now they're diving and they're in consulation with? US Treasury for some variety of bail-out or guarantee.
And so it goes. The big guys are too big to fail and so they have no incentive to bear the risk or even let their owners -- the share holders -- control runaway CEO pay that's tied to inflating profits and taking on excessive risk so their stock options are worth more for their private riches.
Capitalism is used as a propaganda tool by giant corporations -- as a legitimization of what they're doing. That is: going into the market place, bearing the risk, succeeding where they succeed and accepting the verdict of the market place which, of course, is always beyond their control. This is The Big Lie.
Wall St. goes to Washington for bail-outs, hand-outs, give-aways and subsidies -- and that ought to be an issue in the presidential campaign.
You won't hear John McCain and Barack Obama talking about this at all. They're in the same boat of government subsidized corporate capitalism. This is Ralph Nader.
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