Friday, May 02, 2008

Little Red Betsy Reed Lies in The Nation

Let's start by clearing up something about The Nation magazine.

The Nation never had a problem, even during McCarthyism, with publishing Communists. They only had a problem publishing those who wouldn't hide in the closet. They have published many. Red Betty Friedan still has a friend on the editorial board. He pretends he's not a Communist, he pretends a Democrat, but when I was a student, and he was already known, he wasn't trying to recruit me to the Democratic Party. I wasn't interested in becoming a Communist. I carried no guilt for my inherited wealth. Much to his suprise.

Along comes little Betsy Reed with her latest version of lies. They are the kind of lies that should have all feminists leaving the magazine, even if their only 'role' at the magazine is to be a name to hide behind on the board. The Nation needs those name because, without them, the public face could tilt very red.

So Betsy uses both brain cells she posses to try to write and it goes about as well as well as her Little Red Books For Learners in the past went. It requires her ignoring Barack's use of homophobia in South Carolina. But homophobia's not feminism and Betsy's not a feminist.

It's called "Race to the Bottom" and we'll refrain from making the obvious joke.

In her little slam piece, our tries-so-hard-to-appear-mainstream Betsy trashes Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan and distorts reality.

Betsy, trying so hard like she's one of the sisterhood, writes, "The sexist attacks on Clinton are outrageous and deplorable . . ." She's done with it. Little Miss Red is done with feminism with that remark. Of course she is, the little piece of trash never called out any of the sexist attacks, the ones she wants to claim were deplorable.

Here's the ugly truth about the Communist Party, it's never given a damn about women. If they could latch onto a craze, they would. But they've never been supportive of women. They tend to dismiss concerns about the workplace and family and argue "biology is destiny" trope.

Betsy never gave a damn when Hillary -- or any woman -- was facing "outrageous" "sexist attacks." That's why her cowardly ass didn't write a damn word about the attacks that have gone on non-stop and have, in fact, appeared in The Nation magazine and at their crappy website.

Little Red Betsy writes, "For one thing, feminist sympathy for her has begotten an 'oppression sweepstakes' in which a number of her prominent supporters, dismayed at her upstaging by Obama, have declared a contest between racial and gender bias and named sexism the greater scourge." The "oppression sweepstakes" were started by the likes of Robert Scheer (a piece of trash long noted for his sexism, most famous for a Playboy article) and Robert Parry. Long before Gloria or Robin wrote a word, they were already playing the "oppression sweepstakes." Bisty Besty, Ditsy Betsy tries to pretend otherwise. The Communist Party's only success in the US has been the Civil Rights Movement. They did not lead it but damned if they won't claim as their success. It's why all the 'movement' children (read "RED") are behind Barack. It was a way to indict the American system and they trot out over and over because it's their only claim to fame. (Though, again, they didn't steer the Civil Rights Movement, they didn't control it. But it's the closest to any accomplishment they've ever been.)

Red Besty then runs to prop up PROFESSIONAL LIAR Melissa Harris-Lacewell. Ava and C.I. documented that piece of trash in "TV: Democracy Sometimes?" wherein the LIAR went on TV and praised Bambi through the roof while playing like she wasn't vested in any candidate, while NOT REVEALING that she was part of the Obama campaign. It's a cute trick, one she repeats over and over because deception is all that woman has to offer. Ava and C.I. document in "TV: Goodman and Rose 'honoring' bad TV past" how Melissa Harris-Lacewell, on Charlie Rose, used the trashing of Tavis Smiley as a 'cautionary tale' (read "club") without noting the fact that she was one of the first to trash Tavis Smiley.

Melissa Harris-Lacewell is nothing but trash and she shouldn't be considered worthy of citation.

Here's what Red Betsy writes:

"More than any single thing, that moment with Bill Clinton in South Carolina represents the rupture that was coming," says Harris-Lacewell. The moment occurred in late January, when the former President compared Obama's landslide win, in which he received a major boost from African-American voters, to Jesse Jackson's victories there in 1984 and 1988. Because the former President offered the comparison unprompted, in response to a question that had nothing to do with Jackson or race, the statement was widely read as chalking up Obama's win to his blackness alone and thus attempting to marginalize him as a doomed minority candidate with limited appeal.

Melissa is a LIAR. Betsy has nothing but LIES to offer. The crap the two women repeat has been disproven. There were only two candidates, other than Jesse Jackson, whom Bill Clinton could have mentioned. One was himself and that would have made it look like he was bragging. The other was John Edwards in 2004. That would have led to cries that Bill Clinton was stating Barack was only good enough for the vice-presidency. That left Rev Jesse Jackson. Who did not see it as racism because it wasn't. Only LIARS saw it as racism.

Betsy is repeating lies and she's doing so because she's naturally dishonest, she's nothing but a trickster who tries to fool people and she's a piece of trash that belongs in a toilet (until flushed down) and not in polite society.

Betsy then brings up Bill Clinton speaking of a Hillary and John McCain "matchup" (Betsy's word) in a general election and stating, "I think it'd be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country." Betsy really is dumb, she's an idiot and she always has been. That's why she writes 'history' books that are nothing but clip-jobs and cuttings. But Betsy plays real dumb here pretending not to grasp why Bill, campaigning for his wife, would say that of his wife and McCain. She floats the idea that it was "McCarthyism."

That's the card the Reds play all the damn time. Call out a closeted Communist and they scream "McCarthyism!" McCarthyism was a government policy. But they've been in the closets their whole damn lives because they have so much self-loathing so they play the McCarthy card even though it's not warrented. Betsy outs herself better than I ever could by floating that notion that it may have been "McCarthyism."

Now where is any racism in that? There's not any. As you read and read, you grasp that. You grasp that Richard Cohen is not part of the Hillary campaign. (Richard Cohen is a nice man and he's one who called out the government in the past and will in the future. Betsy doesn't like Richard. Were I writing a post on Cohen, I would have more to say but I'll just note here that he's not worthy of her smears either.)

Then she shores up her claim of Hillary trying to make herself ready for a presidential run. What does that have to do with racism? Nothing. But even LIARS like Betsy can't work up a full column on racism so she just throws every smear and whisper at Hillary she can. She cites Elizabeth Drew. Elizbeth Drew? She needs to stick to the red areas of NYC.

Oh, look, it's time to quote another Red, Kimberle Crenshaw. That's the bad writer for Ms. who posed as a Democrat with non-Democrat (and failed actress) Eve Ensler. Hey, Evie, that big pow-wow that was going to set the press on fire last month, it didn't, did it? You know why, don't you? Your writing in Red publications was gathered and presented to the press, presented to editors and publishers to make sure your faux Democratic act didn't fool anyone in power.

Crenshaw's not identified politically (of course) and she's not identified as someone who's publicly endorsed Barack. See Betsy needs an echo chamber to make her 'case' and it's really important that readers don't grasp how she's stacked the deck.

Then it's time for Barack supporter Patricia Hill Collins who, of course, is not identified as such but claims Barack and his campaign haven't dealt in sexism. (Even Betsy can't connect racism to Hillary, it should be noted, throughout her bad article.) Really, Patty? "The claws come out"? Did you miss that, Patty? All the 'jokes' about crying? Did you miss that, Patty? Jesse Jackson Jr. -- a man so vain, he went under the knife to lose 50 pounds -- goes on TV and calls Hillary vain? Did you miss it?

Then it's time for Evie. Evie the feminist. Ha. Evie the failed actress who finally latched onto one thing her bad writing could make money off of: women. She's never produced another successful play and never will. She tries to create a movment out of her bad play. But if you were in a political closet and you were as old as she is, as untalented as she is, and as pathetic she is, you'd try to create a movement too. There's especially something pathetic about a White woman who goes out of her way to be so chalking White that she's ridiculed as Elivra Ensler.

Then it's time to trot out Frances Kissling and I thought she was public about being a Socialist and not in a closet. Maybe Betsy has to put everyone in closets?

She then writes:

Many younger women, indeed, have responded to the admonishments of their pro-Hillary second-wave elders by articulating a sophisticated political orientation that includes feminism but is not confined to it. They may support Obama, but they still abhor the sexism Clinton has faced. And they detect--and reject--a tinge of sexism among male peers who have developed man-crushes on the dashing senator from Illinois. "Even while they voice dismay over the retro tone of the pro-Clinton feminist whine, a growing number of young women are struggling to describe a gut conviction that there is something dark and funky, and probably not so female-friendly, running below the frantic fanaticism of their Obama-loving compatriots," wrote Rebecca Traister in Salon.

No, there were some young women attacking Gloria Steinem publicly, and Melissa Harris-Lacewell was behind that. Melissa Harris-Lacewell, the liar, is said to be the 'force' behind those bits of nonsense from non-feminist little girls living on Mommy and Daddys money and, one of the most widely posted slams on Gloria was by a young woman not even registered to vote. So let's not confuse the idiots with feminism. But Betsy confuses a lot. She goes into the next paragraph:

It's not just young feminists who have taken such a nuanced view. Calling themselves Feminists for Peace and Obama, 1,500 prominent progressive feminists--including Kissling, Barbara Ehrenreich and this magazine's Katha Pollitt--signed on to a statement endorsing him and disavowing Clinton's militaristic politics. "Issues of war and peace are also part of a feminist agenda," they declared.

Prominent feminists? First off, they aren't all women. Second off, 'feminist' Minnie Mouse was among the signers of that petition. Third off, Barbara Ehrenreich is not a Democrat and needs to take her little Socialist ass out of the equation. She has her own party. She has no business in a Democratic Party primary and she's not a feminist.

She's loud. She's ugly. She fits the MSM stereotype, but she's not a feminist. She thinks she's standup to judge by her bad writing in The Progressive. What she is a woman who wrote a successful book at the start of this decade and has flopped with each book since. What she is is demented. She's slammed Hillary for a Senate 'religious' group without ever noting that Barack belongs to the male version. She's nothing but a cheap, lying piece of crap.

She's not a feminist and she's not a Democrat. But if Red Betsy had to stick to feminist and to Democratic ones at that, she wouldn't have so many words. Betsy's trash. She's the trash that thinks she's going to make it but she hasn't and she won't.

She's a woman lying to get a man elected. She thinks that passes for "feminism." It doesn't. All feminists need to break with The Nation immediately. You can't have it both ways. You can't claim to be a feminist and take part in that magazine.

Red Betsy didn't give a damn in 2007 when The Nation magazine published 149 women to 491 men. Ava and C.I. charted that. Betsy's not a feminist and she's not a Democrat.

She's a pathetic outsider who just knows she's on the verge of being a player. She's crap.

She ends her article by quoting Chris Rock. You'd have to be a fool to think Betsy Reed is a feminist. No feminist would end an article on women by quoting a man but they certainly wouldn't quote Chris Rock -- so famous for all of his problems with women and his 'jokes' at women's expense.

But Red Betsy doesn't give a damn because the closeted members of the Communist Party never gave a damn about women's rights.

Whether it was Emma Goldman dismissing the right to vote or all the men and women since dismissing women's right to men performing an equal share of work in households, the Communist Party didn't give a damn.

Let me add a qualifier that the young Communists active in the peace movement are not in the closet and hopefully they will grab control of their party from their older closeted peers. As long as it tries to cloak itself in Democratic garb, it will never amount to anything in this country.

"HUBdate: A Star Endorsement" (Howard Wolfson,
A Star Endorsement: The Indianapolis Star today endorsed Hillary: Hillary “offers nuanced positions on how to address the war in Iraq, trade with China and economic expansion. Her depth of knowledge is remarkable…[she] is well prepared for the rigors of the White House. She is tough, experienced and realistic about what can and cannot be accomplished on the world stage…Hillary Clinton is the better choice.” Read more.
HRC Strongest v. McCain: “A spate of new public polls out this week confirms what we have been arguing for some time: Hillary Clinton is the strongest candidate to beat John McCain in November. The data shows that Clinton not only outperforms Obama in head-to-head matchups, but is also stronger in the all important subcategories that serve as bellwethers for a candidate’s overall strength. In addition, new data out [yesterday] in three swing states vital to Democratic prospects in November show Clinton beating McCain.”
Read more and more.
Superdelegate Watch: Five superdelegates announced their support for Hillary yesterday.
Read more and more.
Relief for Millions of Americans: In Indiana yesterday, Hillary talked up the gas tax holiday and went after those who are out of touch with millions of Americans: “I find it, frankly, a little offensive that people who don't have to worry about filling up their gas tank or what they buy when they go to the supermarket think it’s somehow illegitimate to provide relief for...millions and millions of Americans.” Chief Strategist Geoff Garin had this to say: “There’s a real gap here in how some people see this from 30,000 feet and how real people in places like North Carolina and Indiana experience it every day, and they really want somebody who will say, ‘You know what, we get that you’re facing a very difficult economic situation here - we're going to stand by you.’”
Read more.
If You Watch One Thing Today: A senior takes Obama to task over his gas tax position.
Watch here.
Three Generations in Brownsburg, IN: Hillary, joined by Chelsea and her mother Dorothy, spoke to supporters and their children yesterday in Brownsburg, IN.
Read more.
Energy in Terre Haute, IN: Today’s front page of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star features Hillary’s latest visit...Hillary told the crowd: “There’s another source of energy we’re going to harness…the people of Terre Haute.”
Read more.
Derby Picks: Yesterday, Hillary visited the Kentucky headquarters and “revealed her sentimental choice for Saturday's Run for the Roses -- the filly Eight Belles.”
Read more.
On Tap: Tomorrow, Hoosier singer and songwriter John Mellencamp performs at an event with Hillary in Indianapolis, IN.

There's a reason Hillary's supported by the working class -- the same group scorned by Betsy Reed and other elites-in-their-mind -- and by Latinos, and by women, and by Asian-Americans, and by seniors and many other groups. She's a real candidate. She's not a media creation, a Frankenstein monster who got their start in adult life on the Communist left. That would be Barack (who is not a Communist) and at some point, people are going to ask why he ended up in Chicago. It goes to a law firm he worked with as a student and it goes specifically to one woman he worked with there.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, May 2, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Sadr City sounds off against the puppet, Turkey and northern Iraq continue to be in conflict, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Courage to Resist notes war resister Ryan Jackson is currently at Fort Sill having turned himself at the start of the month after being "absent without leave since December when a local commander vetoed his pending discharge from the 35th Signal Brigade at Fort Gordon, Georgia." They note that there is a defense fund here, that he can be e-mailed via and that you can find an audio interview they did with him here.

US war resisters in Canada who are hoping to be granted safe harbor status. What's the status on the motion?

Community member Dallas passed on the following. "Citizenship and immigration" issues have taken the forefront and the war resister motion, "it's kind of taken the wayside." (All quotes from Canada's NDP's spokesperson.) For now, the best thing to do would be continuing utilizing the following e-mails to show your support: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. In addition Jack Layton, NDP leader, has a contact form and they would like to hear from people as well. A few more addresses can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes 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, 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. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

Meanwhile, northern Iraq was assaulted again.
Hurriyet reports, "Turkey's General Staff confirmed on Friday its warplanes had bombed outlawed separatist PKK bases in nothern Iraq late on Thursday in a 'comprehensive and effective' air operation. The White House on Friday endorsed Turkey's air strikes against the PKK targets in N. Iraq." Speaking at and for the White House today, Gordon Johndroe emphasized that Turkey, Iraq and the US "are all committed to dealing with this problem" and declared the air assaults to be part of "ongoing operations". Mark Bentley (Bloomberg News) notes that the Turkish military is claiming responsibility for "many" deaths and labeling all dead as "terrorists" while BBC points to local television, "A television station run by the Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said several villages in the Pishdar district were bombed by Turkish jets on Thursday night. It said there were no casualties in the villages." C. Onur Ant (AP) explains, "Turkish warplanes bombed a key Kurdish rebel base deep inside Iraq for three hours overnight, Turkey's military and a rebel spokesman said Friday. A Kurdish Iraqi official said four rebels were killed." CNN states that the bombing began at 11:00 pm ("local time") which would mean it ended at 1:00 a.m. this morning. Turkey, the United States and the European Union label the PKK as a terrorist organization.

On Wednesday, the US State Department provided their annual "
Country Reports on Terrorism" to the US Congress and included in the section on Turkey was the following:

Domestic and transnational terrorist groups have targeted Turkish nationals and foreigners, including, on occasion, USG personnel, in Turkey, for more than 40 years. Terrorist groups that operated in Turkey included Kurdish separatist, Marxist-Leninist, radical Islamist, and pro-Chechen groups. Terrorism in Turkey is defined in the Anti-Terror Law #3713 (TMK, 1991). "Terrorist" activities are composed primarily of crimes outlined in the Penal Code committed within the context of terrorist group activities, which target the structure of the state, changing or destroying the principles of the state, and aiming to create panic and terror in society. Thus, Turkish law defines terrorism as attacks against Turkish citizens and the Turkish state, and hampers Turkey's ability to interdict those who would target non-combatants globally.
Most prominent among terrorist groups in Turkey is the Kongra-Gel/Kurdistan Worker's Party (KGK/PKK). Composed primarily of Kurds with a separatist agenda, the KGK/PKK operated from bases in northern Iraq and directed its forces to target mainly Turkish security forces. In 2005 and 2006, KGK/PKK violence claimed hundreds of Turkish lives. This persisted in 2007, when the KGK/PKK continued its terrorist tactics. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a group designated under E.O. 13224, is affiliated with the KGK/PKK and has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly attacks on Turkish and foreign citizens in Turkish cities in recent years. KGK/PKK and TAK-linked individuals were discovered in late May in Istanbul, Adana, Konya, and Mardin with explosive materials designed to carry out suicide attacks. On May 25, the KGK/PKK claimed responsibility for the bombing of a cargo train in Bingol Province.
In the midst of weeks of violence, during which KGK/PKK attacks claimed scores of killed or wounded Turkish soldiers and citizens, the Turkish parliament on October 17 overwhelmingly passed a motion authorizing cross-border military operations against KGK/PKK targets in northern Iraq. Turkish forces carried out extensive operations along the Turkey-Iraq border in the latter part of the year. On November 5th, President Bush committed to provide Turkey "real-time, actionable intelligence" to counter the KGK/PKK in northern Iraq.

In the section on Iraq, with regards to Turkey, the report noted the following:

Iraqi government officials continued to strongly condemn terrorists. On September 28, Iraq and Turkey concluded a counterterrorism agreement between its interior ministers to increase cooperation in countering the militant Kurdish separatist group, Kongra Gel/Kurdistan Workers' Party (KGK/PKK). Following an October 7 attack by the KGK/PKK that killed 13 Turkish soldiers in Southern Turkey, Prime Minister Maliki publicly stated that the KGK/PKK was a terrorist organization and would not be tolerated in Iraq. Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials in northern Iraq also took concrete actions against the KGK/PKK presence there by closing off re-supply routes via additional checkpoints, increasing airport screening for KGK/PKK members, and directing the closure of KGK/PKK-affiliated offices.

Today's Zaman notes the report maintains that support comes from Europe (are they the next 'axis of evil'?) where "the group maintains a large extortion, fundraising and propaganda network" and the paper adds, "Turkey has frequently criticized European countries for tolerating PKK fundraising and propaganda activities in their territory, although the European Union, like the US, recognizes the PKK as a terrorist organization." James Orr (Guardian of London) states, "The PKK leadership is thought to be hidng in the Mt Qandil area, which straddles the Iraq-Iran border and is 60 miles from the border between Iraq and Turkey. In recent months, Turkey has launched several air assualts on PKK targets in northern Iraq. In February, it staged a major ground offensive which lasted eight days."

Thursday night's assault was preceeded by Turkish officials visiting the central (puppet) government in Baghdad.
Hurriyet explains, "A Turkish delegation arrived in Baghdad on Thursday to meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, PM Nuri Al Maliki and Kurdish administration PM Nechirvan Barzani. . . . The delegation, consisting of a senior Prime Ministry official Ahmet Davutoglu and Turkey's Special Representative to Iraq Murat Ozcelik, arrived in Baghdad on Thursday." Wisam Mohammed (Reuters) quoted the Kurdish regional government's foreign policy chief, Falah Mustafa, stating, "This is the first time a meeting has taken place between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan goverment" and, when asked about the issue of the PKK, Mustafa stated, "Of course we discussed it, but only in general terms, not in specifics. And we agreed to find a peaceful solution." But Today's Zaman quotes Turkey's foreign minister Ali Babacan stating PKK remains an issue for relations between the government and Turkey and of the Kurdish region of Iraq, "The manner and stance that will be displayed by the local administration in northern Iraq regarding their discourse and activities concerning the PKK will by all means influence our dialogue -- postively or negatively. . . . The extent to which they can put distance between themselves and the organization and the extent to which they can strongly display their intent to do so with concrete steps will certainly influence the characteristic and frequency of our dialogue with the local administration in northern Iraq." AFP explains, "Ankara is under pressure from Washington and at home to back up military action against the PKK with political and economic gestures to the sizeable Kurdish community and erode popular support for the rebels."

As with every assault, the usual economic response took place.
Thomson Financial reports, "Oil prices have jumped higher as a result of the attacks, due to concerns, supplies from nothern Iraqi oil fields could be disrupted." Moming Zhou and Polya Lesova (MarketWatch) observe that the rise in prices was "the first day in four" for a rise and that the increase was "more than $3 to near $116 a barrel, boosed by news reports that Turkish planes bombed bases of separatist Kurds in nothern Iraq." Grant Smith (Bloomberg News) quotes Nordea Bank AB analyst Thina Saltvedt declaring, "Even though this Turkish invasion hasn't done anything to the supply side, there is the risk premium that violence will spread to southern Iraq, which is more important for oil."

Meanwhile Sadr City was in very vocal opposition to the puppet of the occuaption Nouri al-Malik today.
Hassan Jouini (AFP) reports that "crowds" took part in "a tirade" agains the puppet as they demanded he "end a stalement with their leader Moqtada al-Sadr and quotes spokesperson Salman al-Fraiji declaring, "Nuri al-Maliki has compounded misunderstandings and false accusations. He seeks to cover the failure of his domestic policy. You are trying to cover up the crimes of your protectors in Sadr City. Heinous crimes have been perpetrated by the occupiers in our area. Why are you hiding them? You have failed to convince Arab countries to open embassies in Iraq." Salah Hemeid (Al-Ahram Weekly) explains, "At issue are the coming provincial elections scheduled in October which both the Iraqi government and the American administration eye as vital in stabilising the war-wrecked nation. Both fear that Al-Sadr's supporters will fare better than the US-favoured Islamic Supreme Council and Al-Maliki's Daawa Party, thus excluding them from most of the southern provinces, so despite having grassroots support they were not represented in local governments."

An important documentary that takes a look at the resistance in Iraq is th,
Meeting Resistance by Molly Bingham and Steve Connors. It's been playing to raves across the country and will be out on DVD this month (May 20th is the DVD release):

MEETING RESISTANCE An "Astonishing" Journey into the Heart of the Iraqi Resistance Available on DVD May 20, 2008 MEETING RESISTANCE is a daring, eye-opening film that raises the veil of anonymity surrounding the Iraqi insurgency by meeting face to face with individuals who are passionately engaged in the struggle against coalition forces. It documents for the first time the sentiments experienced and actions taken by a nation's citizens when their homeland is occupied. With unique insight into the people involved in the resistance, this acclaimed film explodes myth after myth about the war in Iraq and the Iraqis who participate. Voices which have been previously unheard -- both male and female -- speak candidly about their motivations, hopes and goals, revealing a kaleidoscope of human perspectives. Through its unprecedented access to insurgents and clandestine groups, MEETING RESISTANCE is the missing puzzle piece in understanding the Iraq war -- not only the toll of the occupation but the mindset behind those who resist. MEETING RESISTANCE was directed by Steve Connors and Molly Bingham. Connors was born in Sheffield, England. He began taking photographs while serving as a British soldier in Northern Ireland in the early 1980s. Connors has worked for most of the worlds' newspapers and magazines including Time, Newsweek, and The New York Times and spent fifteen months from November 2001 on in Afghanistan. During the invasion, he went to Iraq and spent fourteen months there working on MEETING RESISTANCE. The film is Connors' directorial debut. Molly Bingham was born in Kentucky and graduated from Harvard College in 1990. She began working as a photojournalist in earnest in 1994, traveling to Rwanda in the wake of the genocide. She has worked as a photojournalist for many different publications and has also completed projects for Human Rights Watch. Bingham teamed up with Connors in August of 2003 to begin a film about who was behind the emerging post-war violence in Iraq. DVD Bonus Features:
Directors' Audio Commentary • Film Notes • Biographies • Theatrical TrailerFeatured on Good Morning America, National Public Radio, ABC World News, Anderson Cooper 360, This Week with George Stephanopolous, CNN, Vanity Fair, and more!
Shown to Iraq-based and Iraq-bound troops "I spent several years studying and fighting the insurgency at the tactical and operational levels, and I strongly recommend MEETING RESISTANCE. It provides the best view into the minds and motivations of Iraqi insurgents I have found in years of research." - MAJOR DAN FICKEL (RES)
"The single most astonishing documentary yet on the Iraq war. A breakthrough film!" -- SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL,
SALON.COM "Powerful and fascinating!" -- SHAUNA LYON, THE NEW YORKER "A remarkable piece of war reporting." -- RICHARD LEIBY, WASHINGTON POST "DARING...COURAGEOUS...ENLIGHTENING! Sometimes a film serves as a potent weapon of endangered truth, dispelling official lies and giving voice to those whose collective pain has been silenced. MEETING RESISTANCE is that film and more, an act of resistance in its own right to the US war on Iraq." -- PRAIRIE MILLER -- WBAI RADIO "A rare glimpse into the hearts and minds of those who have dedicated themselves to ridding Iraq of its invaders." -- RONNIE SCHEIB, VARIETY "he documentary equivalent of a Seymour Hersh investigative story in The New Yorker. REQUIRED VIEWING!" -- JOE GARFOLI, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE"EYE-OPENING!" -- PETER MARTIN, CINEMATICAL More information about the film can be found at meetingresistance.comMEETING RESISTANCE
85 minutes, color, 2007, Arabic w/English subtitles UPC: 7-20229-91324-9 Catalog #: FRF 913249D Retail Price: $24.95 Canadian Retail Price: $29.95 Pre-book: April 15 Street Date: May 20

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, a Diyala Province bombing that wounded one person.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 Awakening members were shot dead in an attack in Baquba and five wounded before their building was blown up. Reuters notes that US forces state they killed 4 people (suspected 'gunmen') in Mosul yesterday and today and 2 people in Baghdad's Sadr City (suspected 'gunmen' -- and via ariel bombings on the Sadr City) as well as 7 people in armed clashes in Baghdad.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a mass kidnapping (7 people) in Diyala Province today.

Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

In US presidential political news. Senator Barack Obama wants to be president . . . of some of the people. Apparently not of the people hurting economically over rising gas prices. He's shot down both Senators Hillary Clinton and John McCain's plans for a gas tax holiday. But
Delilah Boyd (A Scriverner's Lament) points out that "Obama voted for it multiple times in Illinois in 2000 ... The Obama-based moral of this and all other Obama stories: If it doesn't help Obama, it's not a good thing. Period." Meanwhile Ralph Nader and his running mate Matt Gonzalez are gearing up for a West Coast Tour next week where they will be working on ballot access in California, Oregon and Washington.

Returning to the topic of Barack, he received another endorsement from another loser today. Paul G. Kirk Jr. who has long been Ted Kennedy's biggest suck-up came out for Barack today. Kirk Jr.'s 'expertise' and 'wisdom' were probably on 'best' display when he was the head on DNC during . . . Michael Dukakis failed presidential campaign. We're sure Junior will bring all the 'help' to Barack that he did to Dukakis.
Dan Baltz (Washington Post) points out that Junior actually came out for Barack in February. Well, when your life means so little, you probably have to grab all the headlines you can. Ask the Loud family. But whatever you do, don't ask Barack basic geographic questions. Pagan Power (No Quarter) explains that Barack has a 'plan' for Oregon and it includes "the Great Lakes" which, pay attention, are in the MidWest, not the North West. Hillary's plan is entitled "Oregon Compact." Barack apparently rushed his last-minute homework. Which explains both his errors as well as other portions appearing to be lifted from Hillary's plan. Maybe he can claim she's his best friend just like Deval and that makes it okay?

Barack keeps claiming Jeremiah Wright is preventing a discussion of the issues. Apparently, Wright prevented Barack from discussing issues for 20 years?
Reid J. Epstein (Newsday) reports that academics watching polls in North Carolina see the Wright friendship as hurting Barack at the polls. People do wonder why it took him 20-years and how stupid he thinks Americans are that we're all supposed to believe that Jeremiah Wright transformed/shape-shifted over the weekend into someone Barack had enver seen before? In the real world, Eloise Harper (ABC News) reports Robert F. Kennedy Jr. declared in Indiani yesterday, ""Part of our family is divided and our Party is divided and the reason we are divided is because we have two extraordinary candidates both running for president both who will make unbelievable presidents of this country. . . . but let me tell you why they're wrong and I'm right, because I know Hillary Clinton better than they know Barack Obama."
Meanwhile, Hillary picked up an important endorsement today. From The Indianapolis Star's editorial entitled "
Experience makes Clinton better choice in primary:"As impressive as Obama appears, he is still in his first term in the U.S. Senate, and only four years ago was serving as an Illinois state senator. His inexperience in high office is a liability. Clinton, in contrast, is well prepared for the rigors of the White House. She is tough, experienced and realistic about what can and cannot be accomplished on the world stage.

Independent journalist, photo-journalist and artist
David Bacon examines and explores the issues of immigrant rights frequently. Last week, Bacon (Political Affairs Magazine) sounded the alarms over Hayley Barbour, governor of Mississippi, having "signed into law the fartherest-reaching employer sanctions law of any on the books in the U.S. Employer sanctions is a shorthand name for laws that prohibit employers from hiring immigrants who don't have legal immigration status in the U.S. That provision was part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act, passed by Congress in 1986, which for the first time in U.S. history required employers to verify the immigration status of employees. The Mississippi bill, SB 2988, requires employers to use an electronic system to verify immigration status, called E-Verify. That system has only recently been developed by the Department of Homeland Security, and by the department's own admission, is not a complete record." This week, he writes (Political Affairs Magazine):

In the big immigrant marches that swept the country on May Day in 2006 and 2007, one sign said it all: "We are Workers, not Criminals!" Often it was held in the calloused hands of men and women who looked as though they'd just come from work in a factory, cleaning an office building, or picking grapes. The sign stated an obvious truth. Millions of people have come to this country to work, not to break its laws. Some have come with visas, and others without them. But they are all contributors to the society they've found here, not people who mean it harm. Again this May Day, immigrant workers are filling the streets, making the same point. Yet today the Federal government is taking actions that make holding a job a criminal act. Some states and local communities, seeing a green light from the Department of Homeland Security, are passing measures that go even further. These actions need a reality check.

Tonight (in most markets)
NOW on PBS explores the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns with guests Willie Brown and Dan Schnur. The campaign will also be part of the topics addressed on PBS' Washington Week (check local listings) and Gwen's guests will include AP's Charles Babington, Wall St. Journal's David Wessel, NBC's Pete Williams and the New York Times' John Harwood. From TV to radio, Sunday on WBAI (11:00 a.m. EST), The Next Hour is hosted by Reno and, on Monday, Cat Radio Cafe (2:00 p.m. EST):

A celebration of the life and art of Michael Goldberg, American painter (1924-2007) who gained first acclaim as a Second Generation Abstract Expressionist of the New York School. With art critici Jeremy Gilbert-Rolf, curator Klaus Kertess, painter Ellen Phelan, Bomb Magazine editor Betsy Sussler, Goldberg's stepson Luke Matheissen, and his wife sculptor Lynn Umlauf. Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozier.

And we'll close
with Chelsea Clinton:
One of the most fun things about meeting people who support my mom's campaign is seeing all the creative ways they show their support. I've seen a lot of homemade signs, buttons, and shirts on the campaign trail, and I think we need to harness that great creative energy for our campaign.
So today, I'd like to announce the launch of Project T-Shirt, a contest to design the next great t-shirt for my mom's campaign.
I know you agree with me that my mom is the strongest, most progressive, and most prepared candidate, and that she would be the best president! This is a great way for you to show exactly what her historic campaign means to you.
Maybe you've got a slogan that you've been dying to share. Or maybe you want to share your design talents. Whatever your ideas are, I can't wait to see them -- and we'll offer the best shirt for sale in the official campaign store, raising money to help my mom win! I'll also make sure to get a picture of me AND my mom wearing the shirt, which we will post on the website.
So please put on your thinking caps, get those creative juices flowing, and visit our Project T-Shirt website to learn more and submit your design.
Please click here to get started.
I'm so excited to see all the great ideas you have. Thank you so much for all you're doing to help my mom win!
Go Hillary!


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Maya Angelou

C.I. posting for Elaine. Below is a video of Maya Angelou explaining why she's backing Hillary.

If you prefer or need text, click here.

If I understood Sunny (Elaine's assistant and friend) correctly, next is a story she enjoyed.

Sunny says (I'm on the phone with her) that she (Sunny) enjoyed it regardless. The CBS Evening News has more videos at their home page.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Carly Simon's This Kind Of Love

An e-mailed article ticked me off and I'm going to talk about that. The little nothing critic is also a know nothing so we won't waste time with a link or even naming him -- may he remain in obscurity. He's a small regional music critic and felt the need to show how uninformed he is by reviewing Carly Simon's This Kind Of Love which came out yesterday (it's at Starbucks). He seems to have trouble grasping song credits. I don't know if that's a reading issue, a comprehension issue or if he just can't tell the truth. Carly is not doing "covers." This isn't a "cover" album. Nor did her children (Ben and Sally Taylor) write all of the songs. Each wrote one song for the album -- which contains thirteen tracks. In addition Jimmy Webb wrote a song.

Carly wrote or co-wrote the eleven other songs and, though different from nineties albums such as Have You Seen Me Lately?, it's perfectly in keeping with Carly's career. Even her debut album found her including a cover song or two, as did Anticipation, No Secrets, Playing Possum, Boys In The Trees, etc.

I checked with Kat [Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)] who is going to review This Kind Of Love at The Common Ills this weekend. I wanted to be sure she wasn't planning to make one track the focus of her review. If she was, I told her I'd find another topic to write about. She enjoys the track and may or may not mention it in her review but said to go ahead and grab it tonight.

Track three is "People Say A Lot" and it's a strong song. It's one of my favorites on the album. The male reviewer wasn't content with not liking it, he had to either lie or flaunt his ignorance. Carly is trying to rap, according to him. No, Carly is blending spoken word with singing and that's nothing new to her career. "Sleight of Hand" and "Make Me Feel Something" immediately come to mind as examples of her doing that before in her career. The latter is from 1985's Spoiled Girl so that would mean Carly has been 'rapping' since 1985. (I'm sure it predates 1985 as well. One example would be 1979's "Vengeance.") So this is nothing new for Carly.

He also dismisses the song as a "first" about seeking "a professional assistant." He really is that stupid. As with her "In A Small Moment" (Boys In The Trees) and many other songs, Carly's got an initatial tale in the first verse that expands to include other areas as the song continues. Among the other areas in the song are those who turn around and air your dirty linen or expand upon it. "She'll just copy and paste it and make it last, Nothing is sacred about your past." I really love this song and think most people will as well.

I have no idea why the critic is either so uninformed or so willing to lie but he will probably get away with his numerous distortions (the ones listed were far from the only ones) because the work of women goes unexamined. We all have to hear the jaw boning about Dylan, et al. But women are largely ignored. It's why an idiot thinks he can write as if he's familiar with Carly Simon's body of work when he doesn't know the first thing about her work (including that she did not write "Nobody Does It Better") and it's why he won't get called out on his worthless review when, in fact, his employer should be seriously concerned that so many inaccuricies appeared in one slender review that the paper chose to run.

If women's work got the attention it deserved, that little idiot would never have attempted the review he did. He might still have trashed the album. But he wouldn't have included so many 'facts' that are not facts or, if he did include them, an editor above him would have immediately grasped all the errors in the man's writing.

Carly, Joni Mitchell and Carole King are the topic of a new book. We haven't been promoting that book here and, honestly, it's because C.I. got a mixed report on it and no one's read it on their own yet. (I have a copy and it's on my reading list.) But that's what women get. Regardless of whether the book is good or poor, accurate or inaccurate, three women are rounded up for one book. While year after year, we see one book after another written on this male music artist and that male music artist. Outside of Janis Joplin, name a woman whose repeatedly been the subject of a book? Female music artists don't get that. Think of how many books have been written just on Mick Jagger (with or without the Stones) for example. Aretha Franklin? Leaving aside children's books (I mean Scholastic publications), I believe she's had one real biography. Aretha, the Queen of Soul, a woman whose art and life has spanned generations and has had a very stormy life is only worth one book? Contrast that with all the books -- they could fill landfills at this point -- on Bob Dylan.

Three singer-songwriters, Carly, Joni and Carole, have to share a book. This isn't about popularity, it's about how serious the male critics take women and they don't take women very seriously at all. (Equally awful, as with that hideous bio on Laura Nyro, are the women writers who decide to define their female subject through the male prism.)

Carly has a new CD and is the subject (or at least a third of the subject) in a new book. As one of the few women to warrant a boxed set, you might think that would lead to some serious exploration of her body of work that goes back to 1971. But if you thought that, you'd be thinking we live in an advanced world as opposed to one held hostage by the male panic of the rock critic world.

If a man had charted and explored what it means to be a male in modern times, he would be hailed as a musical prophet. Even if he did it badly. Carly's charted and explored womanhood in modern times and done so amazing well, precisely capturing universal moments. But since those are universal moments for women, it gets ignored. (It should be noted that Carly has a significant male following and always had. It's only the macho b.s. artist that have a problem with Carly but they've too often be in charge.) I could stay on this topic forever. Instead, I'll just recommend you go to Starbucks and check out Carly's This Kind Of Love.

The HUBdate is in the snapshot.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, April 30, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, figures for April refute claims of a slow-down in violence, Robert Gates tries to happy talk it, and more.

Starting with war resistance. Iraq War resister
Ehren Watada will be the topic Friday at Carleton College (1 North College Street, Northfield, MN). Esther Pak (Carleton News) reports:

Vijay Prashad will present a convocation entitled "Watada's Election: Asian Americans and These Asian Wars" on Friday, May 2 at 10:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. Prashad's presentation will examine Asian Americans, the Iraq War, and the upcoming election, with reference to Hawaii-born First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, who was the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to the Iraq War and occupation. Following the convocation, Prashad will sign copies of his books, which will also be available for purchase at the event at a 15% discount. Prashad's appearance is free and open to the public.

The presentation is scheduled to last one hour. In February 2007, Watada was court-martialed and Judge Toilet (aka John Head) ruled a mistrial over defense objection as the defense was about to present their side (Watada was taking the stand and suddenly Head felt a stipulation both the defense and the prosecution had agreed to, one Head has not only signed off on but explained to the jury, was 'prolbematic,' Watada was prepared to testify, Head stopped the trial). Due to Judge Toilet's ruling, the Constitution's provision against double-jeopardy should have kicked in. Judge Toilet immediately announced a new court-martial would take place in March (2007) but, of course, it didn't. A civilian court found (in November) the double-jeopardy argument compelling and Watada's legal status is currently in limbo. He continues to report for duty on base despite the fact that his service contract expired in December 2006. It's long past time for the military to stop their persecution of Watada and discharge him.

While he waits, so do US war resisters in Canada who are hoping to be granted safe harbor status and the Canadian Parliament will debate a measure this month on that issue. You can make your voice heard. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes 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, 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. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

In Iraq, the assault on Sadr City, a Baghdad neighborhood, continues.
AFP reports that the central (puppet) government in Baghdad is pleased: "'There were 925 martyrs in Sadr City and 2,605 others have been wounded,' in the firefights that began on March 25 and are still continuing, said Tehseen Sheikhly, a spokesman for the government's Baghdad security plan." Prior to the press conference, outlets, such as the BBC, were going with 400 for the death toll. CBS and AP note: "Previous Interior Ministry casualty figures for the past month had indicated that less than 400 people had perished. It was not immediately possible to reconcile the conflicting figures. Officials at the Baghdad military operations center said they could not confirm al-Sheikhly's count." Al Jazeera notees Sadr City residents testimonies that they were attacked by an air assault today and the US military's claim that "only rockets" were used because "a sandstorm had grounded US helicopters." For those who've forgotten the assault on Sadr City was supposed to be the sideshow. The main story was supposed to be the assault on Basra and the world was supposed to watch in awe of the awesome powers of Nouri al-Maliki -- the puppet installed by the US as prime minister in the spring of 2006 who has done nothing to ease tensions (let alone violence) in Iraq. al-Maliki was seen as puppet and an ineffective one at that having failed to offer up anything save for the never-ending "crackdowns" that began in June of 2006 when the Green Zone was almost breached. As two years of 'leadership' was being reached, the assault on Basra was supposed to be a for-show measure that would instill global faith in al-Maliki.

It was Easter Weekend -- Bully Boy declared in March 22nd radio address that it was a "special and holy time" -- and what better way to 'celebrate' than beef up the assault on civilians? Monday, March 24th, at the White House, Dana Perino, White House flack, was insisting that the "vast majority" of relatives who'd lost loved ones were insisting that the White House continue the Iraq War and, with the 4,000 mark having been passed, that wasn't going down as easy with the press as it had before.
Helen Thomas had questioned that assertion and asked how Perino could make that claim "with certainty?" Perino's answer was that the Bully Boy had "said that repeatedly" so, apparently, it must be true.Thomas then asked if "he takes responsibility for a war that he started without provocation that led to 4,000 deaths and 30,000 dramatically injured for life?" Perinos shoved that question aside and, pressed by Thomas, stated, "I think that he knew that the war was going to require sacrifices and that --"

Helen Thomas: By who?

Dana Perino: Well, of course by our soldiers.

Helen Thomas: There's nobody in his family or this administration in this war.

Dana Perino: Helen, these are all questions we have dealt with before. I've given you an answer in the President's reaction to the 4,000 and I'm going to move on.

While Perino was 'moving on,' al-Maliki was making headlines for going to Basra in a for-show role that was supposed to convince the world that he was leading the assault on Basra. Basra, like Sadr City, is seen as a strong-hold of support for cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and many believe that the assaults were also intended to prevent al-Sadr's bloc from coming to power in the (currently) scheduled elections on October 1st. As al-Maliki has seen his support within the Iraqi Parliament crumble, al-Sadr's support has appeared to increase. If it wasn't increasing, the assault certainly made sure it did as al-Sadr became the public voice in Iraq against the assault on Iraqi civilians. It was a disaster in every way for the US puppet, it was a disaster in lives lost, it was a disaster in the attempts to build up al-Maliki's image and it made al-Sadr (who had been laying low and had renewed a cease-fire/truce with the US) even more popular.

April 8th, The Petraeus and Crocker Variety Hour began their two days of testimony to the US Congress. They opened at the US Armed Services Committee where chair Carl Levin was asking serious questions about Basra, including whether it was correct that US was not informed ahead of time about the planned assault on Basra (which led to uprising in Sadr City, hence the assault on Sadr City)? "It is, Senator," Petraeus had declared, "We had a Friday night heads up." That would be Friday, March 21st. Petraeus went on to state that they were informed more of the assault (that would begin Sunday) at a meeting on Saturday. Levin: "It was not something that you recommended?" "No," Petraeus had replied. He went on to speak of concerns he stated he had about utilizing resources and appeared to indicate that there was a US plan for Basra but that al-Maliki had jumped the gun.

US Senator Hillary Clinton noted, "In response to a question by Senator Levin regarding when you knew of Prime Minister Maliki's plan to go into Basra, and I was struck by it so I wrote it down." Clinton was referring to the fact that Basra had been under British control until recently and that Petraeus' comments were vague. "What did you mean," she asked, "by the resources you were planning to deploy and over what length of time?" Petraeus' remarks cleared up any ambiguity on the subject. "A plan was being developed," he admitted, but instead of waiting to develop it, al-Malik was "moving up the time table and compressing . . . the resources."

This was April 8th and already the illusion that al-Maliki was leading the assault and that Iraqi troops were on the front lines had falled apart. Senator Susan Collins questioned "why should America combat troops continue to take the lead" considering all the time and money already provided since March of 2003? Petraeus tried to manuever his response by noting that the "US didn't take the lead in Basra." No, al-Maliki did. And al-Maliki failed. And Iraqi troops defected and deserted (two different categories) so US troops who were supposed to be present in only a supportive role were now on the front lines. The same was true of Sadr City and has only become more true.

Taking Petraeus at his guarded word, al-Maliki basically grabbed a US plan, ignored the timeline, rushed it into operation, did so when Iraqi troops were far from ready, hustled down to Basra for what he hoped would be his defining photo-ops and all this was done to shore up his weak image as an ineffective puppet. As a result of al-Maliki's actions, the US is now on the front lines backing up what his big mouth couldn't.
Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) reported today that US forces and Sadr City residents engaged in "[a] four-hour battle" yesterday that resulted in the deaths of "28 Iraqis" leading to "one of the bloodiest days in a month of sustained street fighting. The clashes underscored how deeply U.S. forces have been drawn into heavy combat in the huge Shiite district since Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki unexpectedly launched an offensive in southern Iraq last month against Shiite militias, primarily the Mahdi Army of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Until Maliki's push into the southern city of Basra, U.S. troops were not intensely engaged in Sadr City, a Baghdad neighborhood of roughly 3 million people that was among the most treacherous areas for U.S. forces early in the war." Today's assault on Sadr City, risking the lives of so many Iraqis and so many US service members, is nothing but the result of al-Maliki's photo-op that backfired. His attempts to prove he wasn't 'weak' is why the dying in Sadr City continues. In the April 8th hearing, Clinton noted that among al-Maliki's critics were General David Petraeus himself and referenced Cameron W. Barr's "Petraeus: Iraqi Leaders Not Making 'Sufficient Progress'" (Washington Post). In the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the same day (April 8th), chair Joe Biden would note that the 'surge' was not working and had not been working (a point that many senators and representatives would make throughout the two days of testimony from Petraeus and Crocker) and he raised the issue of how there was no government and what was happening was the US was 'taking sides' -- supporting the 'leadership' of al-Maliki. That's a lot of deaths for one person's 'leadership' --- consider the puppet to be just like his puppet master in the White House. As Howard La Franchi (Christian Science Monitor) observes, "The American military's participation in the war declared by Iraqi authorities on Moqtada al-Sadr's Shiite militia -- a fight that in recent weeks has been carried out through intense street battles -- has led to an uptick in US deaths." Along with shoring up the puppet, the assault was also supposed to shore up the Bully Boy and his plans for continued war. The assault was timed to take place before the for-show testimonies to Congress by Petraeus and Crocker that were supposed to convince the American public that the so-called 'surge' was working and deserved more time. Mark Kukis and Abigail Hauslohner (Time magazine) report, "The shell-shocked Shi'ite neighborhood of Sadr City in east Baghdad epitomizes the tragedy and terror that continue to grip Iraq five years after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Around 2 million people cluster in homes often shared by as many as six families, caught in the crossfire of an ongoing confrontation between the Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr and U.S. and Iraqi forces, streets cluttered with garbage and the rubble of recent battles." They also note that people are fleeing their homes (which will increase the number of Iraqis who are internally and externally displaced).

It's the end of the month and a number of outlets will be looking back.
CNN notes: "The number of Iraqi civilians killed and wounded nationwide continued to increase during April. According to Iraq's Interior Ministry, 969 civilians died and 1,750 were wounded during April. In March, the total was 923 civilians killed and 1,358 wounded -- a sharp increase over February, when 633 died and 701 were wounded." Those are the puppet government's official figures and the actual figures are probably much higher. Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is in spin mode. Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Tuesday acknowledged that a seven-month lull in U.S. troops deaths in Iraq has come to an end and blamed the bloodshed on Shiite Muslim militiamen who have bombarded the Green Zone and key parts of Baghdad with rockets and mortar rounds." Gates was speaking in Mexico, transcript here. Gates rejected the notion that things were "getting worse" in Iraq. He claimed that the "spectacular act" always catches attention. Apparently nothing -- including losing an illegal war -- catches the White House's attention. Asked about the US being drawn into the middle of a war of "two Shi'a factions," Gates responded that the conflict was "between the Iraqi government and lawless elements" -- echoing al-Maliki's line -- and further claimed that the 'elements' did not want to be "part of the political process." That would be "part of the puppet process." He stated that it has been "made clear" that al-Sadr's supporters are welcome in the political process and that's a falsehood because al-Maliki has threatened them with being barred from participating in the October elections. Further spinning, Gates claimed al-Maliki had "the vocal support of virtually all elements of the government." While he has the support of those on his payroll, his own cabinet is not full and members of the Iraqi Parliament participated in Sunday demonstratrations against the continued assault in Sadr City. Gates ignored that in his reply. He claimed that assaulting Iraqi civilians (that's what's happening in Sadr City) was creating "an Iraqi government more unified". He claimed al Qaeda in Iraq and the Sadrists were the enemies and it was pointed out to him that the White House continues to say that al Qaeda in Iraq is weaker. [al Qaeda in Iraq is largely non-existant.] Gates noted al-Sadr's cease-fire but avoided noting that al-Maliki's actions had overturned it. He began gas bagging at length -- and couldn't get his dates correct ("you will probably recall in either early March or late February, sometime in there") -- and stayed with the issue of al-Sadr. He never addressed the issue of why the White House continues to say al Qaeda in Iraq is a threat and responsible for the violence while also stating that al Qaeda in Iraq is on the decrease. Confronted with that inconsistency, Gates elected to ignore it. He did state that al-Maliki would make decisions regarding Sadr City which is suprising since it is US forces patrolling -- US troops held hostage by policy was a point senators made throughout Crocker and Petraeus' testimonies earlier this month and Gates, unwittingly, appears to be validating their point.

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a mortar attack on the Green Zone, a Baghdad mortar attacks that wounded eight people, a Diyala Province roadside bombing wounded six women and a Hawija roadside bombing claimed 2 lives and left two more wounded (all Iraqi security forces).


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports the "[p]ronounced presence of gunmen in al-Amin and al-Mashtal . . . forced the schools to send the students home." Reuters notes a home invasion in Kut that claimed the life of 1 woman.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad today (2 found in Tikrit last night).

Today the
US military announces: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier was killed from wounds sustained when he was attacked with small-arms fire by insurgents at approximately 8:50 p.m. April 29 in northwestern Baghdad." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier was killed after the vehicle he was riding in was struck by an improvised explosive device at approximately 10:15 p.m. in northwestern Baghdad April 29." And, PDF format warning, they announced: "A Multi-National Division - North Soldier was killed as a result of an explosion occurring near the Soldier's patrol in Ninewah Province, April 30." And they announced: "Two Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldiers were killed when their patrol was struck by an improvised explosive device in southern Baghdad at approximately 4:15 p.m. April 30." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division – Baghdad soldier was killed from wounds sustained by an improvised explosive device during a dismounted patrol in northern Baghdad at approximately 1 a.m. April 30."
The number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war is 4063, the number of deaths announced this month so far is 51 which makes April the deadliest month since September when 65 deaths were announced. More deaths for April may or may not be noted over the next few days.

Turning to the US presidential race, this morning on
NBC's Today Show, Andrea Mitchell reported on Barack Obama's speech and remarks yesterday on his mentor, friend, and pastor of 20 years Jeremiah Wright. Mitchell noted the changes in tone throughout Obama's remarks on Wright since Barack declared his intent to run for the Democratic presidential nomination and noted, "Critis say he should known better" regarding Wright. On CBS' The Early Show, Bob Schieffer explained, "The question now is will people him?" Him is Barack. Schieffer listed the questions people would be asking such as, "Why didn't he know about all this before? Why didn't he stop going to the church?"; and wondered, "Will this be enough?" Meanwhile Carol Marin (Chicago Sun-Times) noted of Barack, "And he still had nothing new to say, just what he'd said before, that some of Wright's comments 'offended me, and I understand why they have offended the American people'." Marin observed:This isn't the first time the campaign has waited out a problem, declining to take a controversy by the horns. It took a relentless chorus of Chicago media almost a year to finally get Obama and his people to deliver long-asked-for documents and answer what were, at best, incompletely answered questions about his former friend and now-indicted fund-raiser, Tony Rezko. He finally did so in March. There are judgment questions, fair ones, to be asked about Obama's past dealings with controversial people. Barack spoke out against Wright only because he was tanking in the polls over Wright and because he was offended by what Wright said of him:

What I had heard was that he had given a performance. And I thought at the time that it would be sufficient simply to reiterate what I had said in Philadelphia. Upon watching it, what became clear to me was that it was more than just a -- it was more than just him defending himself. What became clear to me was that he was presenting a world view that -- that -- that contradicts who I am and what I stand for. And what I think particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing. Anybody who knows me and anybody who knows what I'm about knows that -- that I am about trying to bridge gaps and that I see the -- the commonality in all people.

Desperado (Houston Chronicle) notes that unanswered questions and the "many different versions of answer" that Barack has provided, before declaring: "A focal point is Wright being "uninvited" to the announcement of Obama's presidential candidacy. In an interview with the New York Times, Wright had this recollection of the disinvitation, from RealClearPolitics:
'Mr. Wright said that in the phone conversation in which Mr. Obama disinvited him from a role in the announcement, Mr. Obama cited an article in Rolling Stone, "The Radical Roots of Barack Obama." According to the pastor, Mr. Obama then told him, 'You can get kind of rough in the sermons, so what we've decided is that it's best for you not to be out there in public'." The Rolling Stone article was from the February 22. 2007 issue and was entitled 'The Radical Roots of Barack Obama', a title later changed to 'Destiny's Child'".
Dan Balz (Washington Post, link has text and video) notes that US Senator Evan Bayh (Hillary supporter) has warned that the Republicans would try to make an issue of Wright in the general election. Of course they will. Last week North Carolina's GOP began running ads on Wright. John McCain, the presumed GOP nominee, may or may not call for the ads to cease but North Carolina ignored him (as is their right) and others will as well. The damage isn't just to the top of the ticket if Obama is the Democratic nominee. The North Carolina GOP targeted Obama supporters. That will take place across the country in a general election should Obama be the nominee. The people he has brought in from outside the Democratic Party have proven repeatedly that at least 30% of them are unwilling to vote in other Democratic races -- they show up, vote for him and leave the rest of the ballot blank. That's bad news for every Democratic race in November 2008. That's before others are smeared for Barack's lack of proper judgement. (To put it mildly.) He is a drag on the entire ticket, he runs off the base and his nomination risks the Democratic control of Congress and Democratic state and local offices across the country. A new CBS News - New York Times poll finds Obama's negatives on the rise and Hillary faring better in a match-up against John McCain. In 2004, Dems just knew they'd reclaim the White House. They didn't. Having reclaimed control of both houses of Congress in 2006, they party needs to smarten up and realize what a drag on the ticket Barack will be. Wright is not going away, not during the Democratic primary and not, were Barack the nominee, during the primary. The only way to put the matter to rest is to back the candidate Democrats are overwhelming backing, Hillary Clinton. CBS and AP report (text and video):

Clinton also reiterated her previous remarks about Wright that she would not have stayed in the church after hearing the comments. She said it was up to voters to decide how the controversy over Wright impacts the campaign. O'Reilly asked Clinton to describe how she felt "when you hear a fellow American citizen say that kind of stuff about America." "Well, I take offense," Clinton said. "I think it's offensive and outrageous. I'm going to express my opinion, others can express theirs. It is part of just, you know, an atmosphere we're in today." Meanwhile, Obama was scrambling on Wednesday to put his presidential bid back on track a day after a public denouncing of Wright and both Democratic candidates pushed onward in a nomination struggle that appears to be dividing the party.
Here's Howard Wolfson's "
HUBdate: Making Trade Work" (

Previewing Today: This morning, Hillary commuted to work with a sheet metal worker, stopping to fill up at a South Bend gas station. Later today, she highlights her trade agenda at events throughout Indiana.
Easley for Hillary: Yesterday, "North Carolina Gov. [Mike] Easley endorse[d] Clinton for president"...."'There's a lot of 'yes, we can' and 'yes, we should' going around' Easley said. 'Hillary Clinton is ready to deliver. That's the difference. She's ready to deliver today. Immediately.'"
Read more and more.
Superdelegate Watch: Superdelegate and Representative Ike Skelton of Missouri endorsed Hillary yesterday "because of her support in rural America, her commitment to national security, and her dedication to U.S. troops." Read more.
By the Numbers: A new Gallup poll shows Hillary now leading Sen. Obama nationally (47-46). "This situation marks a loss for Obama, who had generally been in the lead over [Hillary] for the last month."
Read more.
Real Solutions for Fort Bragg: The front page of the Fayetteville Observer reports that Hillary is calling for a congressional hearing into reports of poor living conditions at Fort Bragg. "Something went terribly wrong here…We've asked these young soldiers to risk their lives and bear brutal living conditions... and when they return home, the least we can do is offer them decent, clean living conditions."
Read more.
Gas Tax Holiday: Yesterday, Hillary "toured the Miller Veneers wood manufacturing company in Indianapolis and said a lot of people in Indiana would benefit from a gas tax holiday...Clinton said it may not mean much to Obama, but it means a lot to people who are struggling." Read more.
On the Air: In a new Indiana ad, Hillary tells viewers, "My father served in the Navy and ran a small business. My mother taught Sunday school and took care of us... I carry with me not just their dreams but the dreams of people like them all across our county, people who embrace hard work and opportunity... who never stop believing in the promise of America. It's a promise I intend to keep." Watch here and Read more.
"Hillary Thrills Hobart" Last night, Hillary met with Johnnie Parker, "an organizer with the Sheetmetal Workers Union Local 20, and his family for a hourlong kitchen table discussion on the economy." Parker called Hillary "down-to-earth and upfront about economic issues facing Americans."
Read more.
"Where's Our Debate?" In the past five days, over 5,000 Oregonians have signed an online petition calling on Sen. Obama to join Hillary in Oregon for a debate. "Sen. Obama is currently spending millions of television ads across our state. Certainly he can spare a day or two to let Oregonians know what he believes beyond his 30-second ads." 6,200 North Carolinians have signed a similar petition for a debate in their state.
Read more.
On Tap: Tomorrow, Hillary holds a town hall in Jeffersonville, IN and a rally in Terre Haute, IN.
If You Watch One Thing Today: Clinton appears on Bill O'Reilly's "The O'Reilly Factor" tonight.

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