Friday, January 16, 2009

The New York Daily News rejected Caroline's article

Ingloriously but with a cunning eye to public relations, Jann [Wenner] brought in a piece written by Caroline Kennedy, who had been the only "reporter" to gain entrance into Graceland after Presley's death. Caroline was interning for the New York Daily News at the time, but the paper rejected her article. Jann obtained a copy, passed it on to Harriet Fier and told her to "do something with it." It was rewritten from top to bottom.

That's from page 268 of Rolling Stone Magazine: The Uncensored History by Robert Draper, Doubleday, 1990. C.I.'s "I Hate The War" last night covered some of that time period and resulted in a flurry of press interest. A friend who used to be with Rolling Stone called me this evening at 6:40 to say he'd been on the phone pretty much all day with reporters calling him to ask if he knew what C.I. was writing about?

Did he know? He's actually a source for Draper's book. I had never read Draper's book. He referred some reporters to Draper's book and others he just confirmed what C.I. was writing.

C.I. knows Caroline. Far better than I do. I know her as well and have always made a point to avoid her. Here's the thing though, C.I. hasn't even scraped the barrel yet. There is so much more that C.I. could say.

Right now, it's pretty much like she's toying with Caroline. Caroline gets to fret and wonder how far C.I. will go.

The Lisa Marie issue is a big one to C.I. because Lisa Marie was a child at the time. As you saw last night, there's the issue of another child as well.

So ___ and I were on the phone for about ninety minutes tonight and he was laughing at Gregg Mitchell who does not know anything except how to gush over Caroline.

He really is a lunatic. He's praising Caroline's turn of a phrase and her writing and that's all Harriet. That's Harriet using the same talent she used at the Washington Post.

Caroline's really not consider 'classy.' She had to take part in the Manhattan freak show she inhabits because she isn't welcome in many social circles. In those that go ga-ga over a celebrity, she's welcomed. But that's it. She has no manners and she's never bothered to make a friend in her life. (That is why her 'friends' vouching for her all depend upon her for their economic security.)

According to ____, the thing that most interested the reporters was where the money came from. That shocked me. How stupid is the press?

They think JFK had millions? Get real. Joe was a gangster who made a tidy sum but Joe was still alive and had a huge family. Jackie made the money by marrying Ari. The money Caroline lives off of is Ari's money.

The Kennedy's don't have that kind of money. Not even Ted.

It's really enlightening to hear all the questions ___ was asked and to grasp how little our working press knows.

I would never have thought that after the scandal Jackie created by marrying Ari and then the scandal of her prenuptial contract -- which was basically, we sleep X number of times a month and I get X number of dollars, I never would have thought that whole chapter would just be erased.

Now along with that topic, C.I. also addresses the whiny White jerk who wanted to call Stan a racist. That guy has problems and I'll just leave it at that and recommend that you read:

Mikey Likes It!
Tips for racist Joe Cannon (of Cannonfire)
10 hours ago

Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
gaza and the repuslive joe cannon
10 hours ago

Racist Joe Cannon probably has a tiny dick
10 hours ago

Thomas Friedman is a Great Man
The racist Joe Cannon
10 hours ago

Cedric's Big Mix
So that's what makes someone racist
10 hours ago

Ruth's Report
The War Hawks and racist Mr. Cannon
10 hours ago

Oh Boy It Never Ends
Don't call me racist, Whitey
10 hours ago

Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)
Joe Cannon the racist and how it's PUMA's problem
10 hours ago

The Daily Jot
10 hours ago

Let be clear that I support Stan and stand with him. When I say "I'll leave it at that," I am saying that because I don't want to be accused of analyzing someone I've never met. That is a no-no in my profession.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, January 16, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, the US government pays $350,000 over a veteran's sucicide (Jeff Lucey), assassination attempts pile up in Iraq, Barack makes it clear that he is declaring war on Social Security and more.

Gina Chon (Wall St. Journal's Baghdad Life) evaluates the changes in the Green Zone since the January 1st 'handover' to Iraqis:

The first thing I noticed when we reached the first checkpoint was that it was manned by Iraqi soldiers, not Americans. The soldier was friendly and after checking our IDs, waved us on to the next checkpoint, which was also staffed by Iraqi soldiers. But there were a few Americans standing behind them observing the Iraqi soldiers. Still, the Americans did not approach us and left the work to the Iraqis. I also noticed a new "welcome" sign that was in both English and Arabic, and near that was a billboard that listed in Arabic the principles of an Iraqi soldier, including being loyal to Iraq.
Seeing the Iraqi soldiers made me think I would see them elsewhere in the Green Zone. But the other checkpoints I passed through were the same as before, and manned by Peruvians who work for a security contractor. Iraqi soldiers had not replaced them. The U.S.-Iraq security agreement says the Americans can continue to assist Iraqis in security efforts after the Green Zone handover. And it seemed that with the excpetion of the entry/exit areas of the Green Zone, the internal checkpoints were still the same.

Further proof that things remain the same comes as Iraq sees another assassination.
Yesterday's snapshot noted: "Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roasdie bombing that wounded two people, a second one that wounded four and a third one that targeted Ahmed Taieb Murad and claimed the life of Murad's bodyguard Reuters identifies the Education Minister targeted in the Baghdad roadside bombing as Abd Thiab al-Ajili." The Education Minister's name is also spelled Abed Theyab in some press coverage. Mohammed Abbas and Matthew Jones (Reuters) report that provincial candidate Haythem al-Hasnowi (of the Dawa Party) was shot dead during an attack on his convoy outside of Baghdad. Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the attack took place in Ajrash and left four members of al-Hasnowi's security staff wounded. Issa also notes that last night in Salahuddin Province, provincial election candidate "Hussein al Shatb survived an assassination attempt by gunmen". This month began with the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Iraq Staffan de Mistura condemning the assassination of provincial candidate Mowaffaq al-Hamdani who was murdered in Mosul on the last day of 2008. Provincial elections are scheduled for January 31st in fourteen of Iraq's eighteen provinces. The United Nations have been warning since November that the lead up to provincial elections would likely lead to an increase in violence. November 10th, UN spokesperson Michele Montas handled the press briefing and noted Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had declared that the upcoming provinicial electiions increased the "potential for election-related violence and instability."

In other reported violence today . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul roadside bombing resulted in three Iraqi soldiers being wounded. Reuters notes an Ishaqi roadside bombing claimed 3 lives and left five more people injured, a Kirkuk rocket attack that left one person wounded.


Reuters notes a Mosul home invasion that resulted in 1 woman being killed and two more members of the family being injured.


Reuters notes 1 corpse discovered Thursday in Mosul and 1 discovered in Mussayab while three were discovered in Kirkuk.

Also today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier died of wounds at approximately 3 p.m. Jan. 16 following an improvised-explosive device attack on his patrol in Baghdad. The Soldier's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kind and official release by the Department of Defense." The announcement brings the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4227 with 6 for the month thus far.

That count does not include those who return and take their own lives. Iraq War veteran Jeffrey Michael Lucey took his life June 22, 2004 after he was repeatedly failed by the VA system despite the fact that he was suicidal and that his family pleaded with VA staff to treat him.
Fred Contrada (The Republican) offers a look at some of Jeffery's time in Iraq and after:

At one point, Lucey came upon the body of an Iraqi boy who had been shot to death in the street. A tiny, blood-stained American flag was clutched in the dead boy's hand. Lucey took the flag and carried it with him for the rest of his life.Lucey began drinking a lot after returning home later that year, his family said. At Christmas time he confessed to his sister that he had been ordered to shoot two captured Iraqi soldiers at point blank range. Lucey, who had kept the men's identification tags, threw them on the bed and shouted, "Your brother is a murderer!" The U.S. Marine Corps said it has found no evidence that Lucey's story is true.Kevin Lucey said records show his son told someone at the VA that he was contemplating suicide, but the Luceys were not informed of this. On June 21, 2004, less than a month after he was released from the VA, Jeffrey Lucey asked his father if he could curl up in his lap. Kevin Lucey cradled his son that night. When he returned home from work the next day, he found Jeffrey hanging from a self-made noose in the basement. Lucey was buried with the flag he had taken from the Iraqi boy. Kevin Lucey said news of the settlement stirred a lot of emotions within the family."It's like losing Jeff all over again," he said.

The settlment?
Jonathan Saltzman (Boston Globe) reports the US government insists that they are not to blame but they will be paying the Lucey's $350,000. As a general rule -- ask Asian-Americans interned during WWII -- the US government not only refuses to admit responsibility, they refuse to offer restitutions. Those who no longer believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause will find it difficult to believe the kindness of Uncle Sam resulted in the $350,000 payment. The Luceys are members of Military Families Speak Out and that organization has released the following (PDF format warning) statement:US GOVERNMENT AGREES TO PAY $350,000 TO PARENTS OF US MARINE IN SUICIDE CASE CASE WAS THE FIRST TO BE FILED SINCE THE IRAQ WAR BEGANGovernment Admits that Cpl. Jeffrey Lucey's Suicide Was A "Tragedy"for Veterans Administration SPRINGFIELD, MA -- The United States Government has agreed to pay $350,000 to the parents of a United States Marine who committed suicide in 2004 after returning home from combat duty in the Iraq war. Within months after returning home from Iraq in June 2003, Cpl. Jeffrey Lucey began to show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder caused by his experience in the war. On June 22, 2004, Jeffrey hung himself in the basement of his parents' home, two weeks after the Northampton Veterans Medical Center in Leeds, Massachusetts, turned him away. Jeffrey, who had received an honorable discharge from the US Marine Corps, was 23 years old at the time of his death. In July 2007, his parents, Kevin and Joyce Lucey filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the United States in federal court in Springfield, Massachusetts -- the first such suit to be filed since thebeginning of the war in Iraq. On January 6, 2009, the US Justice Department issued a letter to the Luceys' attorney, Cristobal Bonifaz, which admitted "that Jeffrey's suicide while under VA [Veterans Administration] care was a tragedy for the VA and the individual care providers." The letter formally offered $350,000 to settle the case. Bonifaz today notified the federal court that his clients have accepted this offer. "The US Government killed my son," said Kevin Lucey. "It sent him into an illegal and reckless war and then, when he returned home, it denied him the basic health care he needed. We hope that this case serves as a wake-up call to the nation that our government must be held accountable for the suffering it has caused thousands of US military families." Joyce Lucey added "When Jeffrey went to Iraq, we didn't realize that the bullets and bombs there didn't present the only threat to our son's safety. Our own government's apathy and indifference are just as great a threat to our troops and veterans. Until the Veterans Administration takes the psychological wounds of war seriously, the epidemic of military suicides will continue to grow." "Jeffrey Lucey carried to his death the American flag he found in the hands of a dead Iraqi child," said Bonifaz. "Jeffrey never recovered from the horrors he witnessed in Iraq. When his post-traumatic stress disorder signs became critical, he was turned away at the door of the US Veterans Administration. Jeffrey Lucey would have lived but for the illegal war in Iraq and the callous and irresponsible treatment handed to him by the US agency charged with providing him health care when he had returned home." After their son's death in 2004, Kevin and Joyce Lucey joined Military Families Speak Out, a national organization of military families opposed to the war in Iraq. "Jeffrey's story is a story of too many military families in this country," said Joyce Lucey. "We will continue to speak out to demand that our government immediately end this war, bring our troops home now, and provide all the necessary medical care they deserve when they return." "And to those military families who have similarly suffered because of the negligence of the US Veterans Administration," added Kevin Lucey, "we hope this case serves as an example that the government can and must be held accountable in a court of law." Kevin and Joyce Lucey and Cristobal Bonifaz are available for interview.Copies of the letter from the U.S. Justice Department outlining the settlement in this case are available by request from Military Families Speak Out. Military Families Speak Out is an organization of 4,000 military families opposed to the war in Iraq, with loved ones who are serving or have served in the U.S. military since fall, 2002.

Starting tomorrow
Act Against War and Courage to Resist are sponsoring actions

Throw-A-Shoe at Bush! To Obama: No war!Join Us. Shoes provided or BYOS! Prizes, Music & Fun!
Sat., Jan. 17, Noon - 3 pm, Justin Herman Plaza (Embarcadero BART), SF
Sun., Jan. 18, Noon - 3 pm, Justin Herman Plaza (Embarcadero BART), SF
Tues., Jan. 20, 7 am - Noon, United Nations Plaza (Civic Center BART), SF. Near the public Obama inauguration simulcast event at Civic Center Plaza
Iraqi Journalist Muntader al-Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush while saying, "This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq." We symbolically join him as Bush leaves office. We also throw shoes for the widows, families, and US service men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We throw shoes for those who are hurting while billions are wasted for war instead of bailing out those of us lacking food, housing, healthcare, and education.

Here are 5 key changes that will begin to do this.

1) ALL TROOPS HOME FROM IRAQ NOW! Including "non-combat" troops, private contractors (i.e. Blackwater), and close all US military bases in Iraq.

2) HELP REBUILD IRAQ Give reparations for the human and structural damages Iraq has suffered, and stop the corporate pillaging of Iraq so that their people can control their own lives and future.

3) NO ESCALATIONS, NO NEW WARS * No escalation of war in Afghanistan; troops should be withdrawn.* Stop attacks inside Pakistan. Don't attack Iran.* Cut military aid to governments that violate human rights or international law, such as Israel in what Amnesty International calls an "unlawful attack on Gaza."* Close Guantanamo and all secret prisons

4) FROM GLOBAL MILITARY INTERVENTION TO REAL SECURITY AT HOME * Close all 800 foreign US military bases.* Reduce military budget and troops; Stop wasting hundreds of billions needed for healthcare, housing, education, and green energy/jobs.

5) SUPPORT VETERANS * Amnesty for all GI resisters who refuse illegal war.* Full benefits, adequate healthcare (including mental health), and other supports for returning servicemen and women.

(I don't think they're clickable above, so I'm putting the links in -- and Courage to Resist is also on our permalinks to the left). Those actions begin tomorrow.Muntader al-Zaidi is the Iraqi journalist who threw both of his shoes, one after the other, at the Bully Boy of the United States while declaring, "This is a gift from the Iraqis. This is the farewell kiss, you dog" and "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq." And
that was December 14. Over a month later and what's happened?Timothy Williams (New York Times) reports that Muntader's family and attorneys aren't allowed to see him (the December 21st visit -- hailed in the press at the time as the first visit -- remains the only visit), do not know where he is held and do not know if or when Muntader will see justice but his family fears never and fears for his life. Attorney Dhiyaa al-Saadi explains that there is documentation of the torture Muntader has experienced while imprisoned ("two medical reports conducted by government physicians within a week of Mr. Zaidi's arrest described brusing that coverd the reporter's face and body, but was especially sever on his legs and arms; a missing tooth; a gash on the bridge of his nose; and what appeared to be a burn mark on his ear").al-Maliki's legal adviser Fadhil Mohammed Jawad tells Williams (apparently for the laugh factor) that, "Judicially, Iraq is just and the law will handle this case with justice." Yeah, that is funny. (For a recent look at Iraqi 'justice,' see this article by Ned Parker.) The family is refused visitation and even the New York Times can't figure out where Muntader is being held despite High Judicial Council spokesperson Adbudl Satta al-Biriqday telling the paper that Muntader was at a specific prison "in the Green Zone, operated by the Baghdad Brigade, a military unit that answeres to the prime minister's office." Attempts to visit as al-Biriqday said was possible?But during a recent visit to the complex, an Iraqi Army guard told a reporter who requested a visit to leave immediately. The guard also said it was "dangerous" to seek to meet Mr. Zaidi.The soldier who did not identify himself, said he did not know whether Mr. Zaidi was being held there.On Thursday, an e-mail message sent to Mr. Maliki requesting a visit with Mr. Zaidi received no reply.Deborah Haynes (Times of London) reports that his brother, Mitham al-Zaidi, was finally allowed a two-hour visit today and that Muntader wants people "to pray at two mosques in Baghdad for the release and welfare of all prisoners in US detention." His brother quotes Muntader stating, "What I did was because of my refusal and rejection of the occupation and the American policy in Iraq."

Turning to US politics, President-elect Barack Obama met with the Washington Post editorial board yesterday.
Here for Michael D Shear's text article, here for the sixty-one minute audio. Warning for those listening to the audio, Barack's speaking abilities have not magically improved. Sample: "Uh, obivoulsy military service is uh something we uh honor as a country [. . .] That's going to be something that we uh uh . . ." And four minutes, for those wondering, he takes his first swipe at African-American fathers. Yes, it's Barack singing all his well known tunes. And mixing in a few new ones such as, "It's not something I've said publicly . . . but spending money wisely is not easy." Mostly, the interivew will be remembered as the one where Barack declared War on Social Security. Barack's replied to questions and made vague statements. But, his Love Cult insists, that's just the Nice Guy Barry trying to make nice and get along. He doesn't want to say, "Stupid crooks, Social Security is not going to be chipped away!" Well, actually he does want to say that and he did say that.

We're dropping back to Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos (ABC --
video and text):

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me press you on this, at the end of the day, are you really talking about over the course of your presidency some kind of a grand bargain? That you have tax reform, health care reform, entitlement reform, including Social Security and Medicare where everybody in the country is going to have to sacrifice something, accept change for the greater good?
STEPHANOPOULOS: And when will that get done?
OBAMA: Well, the -- right now I'm focused on a pretty heavy lift, which is making sure that we get that reinvestment and recovery package in place. But what you describe is exactly what we're going to have to do.
What we have to do is to take a look at our structural deficit, how are we paying for government, what are we getting for it, and how do we make the system more efficient?
STEPHANOPOULOS: And eventually sacrifice from everyone.
Everybody is going to have to give. Everybody is going to have to have some skin in the game.

Barack was asked about it above. With the Washington Post, he brought it up on his own -- and referenced George Steph's "grand bargain" -- so hopefully even his Love Cult can start to see a few realities. He begins talking about his big "Fiscal Responsibility Summit" that will be held in February and include a motley crew that will "talk about waste." He then seques into Social Security during this response (at approximately 16:14) and states the following:

We're also going to have a discussion about entitlements and how we get a grasp on those. Uh and uh, you know, like i think everybody here is familiar enough with the budget problems to know that as bad as these deficits that we're running up over the next -- that have already been run up -- have been and despite the cost of both TARP and the stimulus, the real problem in our long term deficit actually has to do with our entitlement obligation and the fact that historically uh if our revenues ranged between 18 and 20% of GDP they're now at 16. It's just not sustainable so we're going to have to uh craft a uh what George Stephanopoulos called a grand bargain and I-I try not to use the word grand in anything that I say but uh but we're going to have to shape a baragain. This, by the way, is where there are going to be some very difficult choices and issues of sacrifices and responsibilty and duty are going to come in because what we have done is kick this can down the road. We're now at the end of the road and uh we are not in a position to kick it any further.

Those are right-wing talking points and only the most historically ignorant of Barack's Love Cult will fail to grasp the declaration of war.

For some reality, here's 2008's Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science winner
Paul Krugman addressing the realities about Social Security on Democracy Now! in December of 2004 (link has text, video and audio):

Social Security is a program which ahs been traditionally run. It looks like a retirement fund, and it is not exactly. What it really is is a government program with a dedicated tax. We take the payroll tax and it's used to pay benefits to retirees. And 20-plus years ago, the commission led by Alan Greenspan said, you know, we are going to have this problem as the baby boomers reach retirement age. We will have a higher ratio of retirees to workers, and we better get ready for it. Social Security, the payroll tax was increased. There were some other things, a small rise in the retirement age set in motion. So that Social Security would run a surplus, which would be used to accumulate a trust fund, and this would tithe us over, some ways into the aging of the population. And that on its own accounting is working just fine. I mean, one of the things that we need to know is that the estimates of the day at which the trust fund runs out, just keep on receding further into the future, because the program is doing so well at running surpluses. So, ten years ago, -people said it was going to run out in 2029. Now the official estimate is 2042. Realistically, it's probably going to go well into the second half of the century. Now how does this become a crisis? Well it becomes a crisis by changing the rules. By saying, oh, well, actually that surplus that we're running because of the tax increase that was designed to prolong the life of Social Security, that's not real. Because it's invested in government bonds which are perfectly good asset, for anybody else, but not for the Social Security administration.

Barack's remarks to the Post's editorial board go beyond troubling. There's no need to decipher them. He brought it up on his own (he also refused to answer questions on the topic -- though he was happy to later say Sponge Bob was his favorite TV cartoon). His words, transcribed with all the "uh"s he is so famous for. It's very clear what he's pushing. And that's why it's on the audio recording that few will listen to and not in the write-up that made the paper (the bits of half-sentences in the write-up are from his dancing around the direct questions on the topic, not from when he spoke at length about it without any prompting).

We're going to stay with the Post interview for a bit more because it's Barack speaking. When his attack on Social Security began this month (he's attacked it many times before) there was a lot of garbage about how he was being distorted and those weren't his words and "My lover would never say that about me!" It's him speaking on the audio recording. His words, his voice. So let's turn to Guantanamo.
Michael Ratner and Jules Lobel wrote a piece for The Nation last month on Guantamo and how it needed to be closed but that wasn't the end of it:

But what of others whom the Bush administration asserts cannot be released? And what will be the fate of any new detainees under the Obama administration? These questions should be answered as they have been for 200 years in this country: if there is sufficient evidence, charge them with crimes and have trials in federal courts; if not, release them. Not much will have been accomplished if Guantanamo is shuttered while the practices that underlie it continue. Yet this is being suggested by some who may have Obama's ear. They argue that holding some terror suspects without trial or charges is necessary. A National Security Court composed of specially appointed judges without juries, using watered-down, minimal due process, would make the decisions.

The Feel-Good Headlines are Barack will close Guantanamo. The issue of the innocent -- you are innocent in the American judicial system until you have been found guilty in a court of law -- was briefly addressed by Barack in his interview with the paper's editorial board yesterday. He rushed to insist, "I will close Guantanamo and that's the bottom line." No, it's not as he immediately made clear, "The trick is what do we do with dangerous individuals who are detained whose evidence is fouled up . . . ? And there are no quick, easy solutions to that." Yes, there are. You're guilty or you're innocent and that's determined by a jury in a criminal case. If the evidence is not there to warrant a conviction, then you're not guilty. That's how it works in the United States. Do the guilty sometimes escape punishment as a result? Absolutely. But the alternative is a people controlled by the state. That's what guilty until proven innocent is. In a criminal case, the prosecution is the government. A government that does not have to first prove guilt can use prosecution as a way to do away with dissidents and political opponents. Trumped up charges can have someone imprisoned for years or even put to death. The people rule in the United States and American justice is built around that principle. Everyone accused of any crime is innocent in a court of law unless and until they are proven guilty.
Ava and I long ago noted that Barack didn't grasp the Constitution (wrongly inferring that Loving v. Virginia involved a lawsuit against a church). Nothing he said to the editorial board yesterday indicated a strong grasp of the US Constitution. He spoke of the possibility of creating a new body. And maybe that new body was just to continue to imprison the current inmates or maybe it was for his planned imprisonments.

While we're noting Michael Ratner (president of the
Center for Constitutional Rights, co-host of Law & Disorder with Dalia Hashad, Heidi Boghosian and Michael Smith) we'll note Ratner As Media Critic (I'm laughing because it's not a role often associated with him but the excerpt will indicate it's one he should tackle more often):

The December's Harper's Cover promises a lot: Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are behind bars. Prominently displayed under the prisoners is the title of Scott Horton's article "Justice After Bush, Prosecuting an Outlaw Administration." I was excited. I thought I was about to read the case for prosecuting high level administration officials for the torture program.
Alas, it was not to be. Prosecutions are given only lip service while the bulk of the article argues for a truth commission/commission of inquiry. A commission will not do what is necessary to end torture now and in the future: make it clear, just as we do in cases with the most minor offenses, that actions have consequences. A failure to initiate a criminal investigation of the torture program will only encourage future law breaking by sending a message of impunity. The message that we need to send is that the torture conspirators will be held accountable. That is the only way to fulfill Obama's promise: "I have said repeatedly that America doesn't torture. And I'm going to make sure that we don't torture."
What is surprising in Horton's article is the disconnect between the first half which is one of the strongest pieces I have read about the lawlessness of the Bush adminstration and the latter half where he sets up a complex and unworkable commission. The articles opening paragraphs scream out the necessity for prosecutions. Horton states that no other administration has been "so systematically or brazenly lawless;" that torture is the crime that "calls most clearly calls for prosecution;" and that it is the "most likely to be successfully prosecuted." In one of his most important observations Horton states that the administration "waged war against the law itself," and that the ruler claimed that it "was the law." This recognition is critical. It means that no matter how many executive orders and new prohibitions on torture are enacted, a future administration can reassert Bush's claim that the President is above the law. The prohibitions will be for naught as will the conclusions of a commission. This is a key reason why the deterrence that results from prosecutions is necessary. Never again should we have an executive who claims to be above the law."

Public broadcasting notes. Starting with public radio,
WBAI on Sunday and Monday:

Sunday, January 18, 11am-noonTHE NEXT HOURPoet Hugh Seidman hosts this hour with fellow poets Harvey Shapiro,Lawrence Joseph and D. Nurkse.Monday, January 19, 2-3pmCAT RADIO CAFEContinuing WBAI's all-day annual Martin Luther King Day celebrationand fundraiser. Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer.Broadcasting at WBAI/NY 99.5 FMStreaming live at WBAIArchived at Cat Radio CafeNOW on PBS examines "the green energy dream" in the latest installment which begins broadcasting on many PBS stations tonight (check local listings for date and time in your area): "Will the green energy dream come to fruition? This week NOW explores obstacles to the promise of renewables--energy generated from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, and rain."

Also on PBS (and it begins airing tonight in most markets) is
Washington Week which finds Gwen gas bagging with the National Journal's Jim Barnes, Washington Post's Shailagh Murray, New York Times' David Sanger and Slate's John Dickerson. Watch Gwen pretend to listen while fuming that she wasn't picked to be the host of Meet The Press. Study Gwen's face while her interior monologue screams, "Yeah, I've now dropped to one woman guest a week, pretty soon I'll drop to zero. No one ever calls me out. Mainly because no one notices me. How do I have four guests each week and repeatedly book only one woman! No one is noticing! Why doesn't anyone love me? Why!!!!!" Bill Moyers Journal also airs on PBS (tonight in most markets) and the latest includes Bill responding to the Gaza slaughter and you can review the discussion Moyers had with the Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman. At the show's blog, Micahel Winship offers an essay proclaiming it's "Time to Move On." Some are less sure about forgiving and forgetting, Michael:
As Barack Obama prepares to be sworn in, I recall an old National Lampoon record album -- record albums, remember those? -- from the final weeks of the Watergate scandal that comically suggested that President Richard Nixon be given a "swearing OUT" ceremony. There followed a series of blistering curses and calumnies directed at the soon-to-be departed and disgraced chief executive, delivered by someone impersonating the Reverend Billy Graham. You have to wonder if amidst all the fanfare and hoopla Barack Obama isn't quietly swearing a bit beneath his breath as he beholds what his about-to-be-predecessor has left for him. Hercules mucking out the Stygian stables is as nothing to the heaps of bungle and botch confronting the next commander-in-chief.

As Winship continues his essay, many will be reminded of the joke by those who do not believe in reincarnation: Why do people who say they've had past lives always claim to have been someone famous? As Winship piles it on thick about Barack and tosses out this president and that president, you quickly note there's no John Tyler, no William Henry Harrison, no Chester Arthur, in fact as Winship raises and raises the stakes, you start to worry he'll get a nasty hope-cut on his typing finger.

And on broadcast TV (CBS) Sunday, no
60 Minutes:60 Minutes is pre-empted Sunday, Jan. 18, by CBS Sports coverage of the American Football Conference Championship game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. 60 Minutes Update
Osama bin LadenAn audiotape of Osama bin Laden, his first since May 2008, appeared on an Islamic militant Web site Wednesday. Last October, the officer who led the Army's Delta Force mission to kill bin Laden revealed to Scott Pelley what happened in the weeks following 9/11 in Tora Bora, Afghanistan. Video

gina chon
the wall street journal
the boston globejonathan saltzmanfred contradamilitary families speak out
law and disorder
michael ratner
michael smith
dalia hashad
heidi boghosian
the new york timestimothy williamscourage to resistact against war
deborah haynes
60 minutescbs newswashington weeknow on pbspbsbill moyers journal

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"I Want To Hold Your Hand"


That is the cover of Ann Wilson's Hope & Glory and, if you missed the CD, Kat reviewed it in 2007. Tonight's topic is the first song we remember hearing. How does it connect? If you know anything about Ann Wilson, you know she's a huge fan of the Beatles. There were songs before the Beatles but they didn't really register. (My parents, when they were alive played classical and instrumental. The only vocals I remember came from opera records.)

"I Want To Hold Your Hand." I think I irritated everyone I knew with my non-stop singing of that song. My singing which started off with nothing but, "I want to hold your haaand, I want to hold your haaaaand." I learned the song slowly. In those days, we did not have lyrics enclosed in albums and we did not have the internet where you could look up the lyrics. I remember buying Song Hits (as an adult) on many occassions just to find the lyrics to some song. (I am talking about in my 20s and later, purchasing Song Hits then. That was a magazine that offered a "pop," a "rock" and a "r & b" section. Each section had one tiny interview with someone from the music genre that month. The rest of each section was the lyrics to various hits.)

So "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was a big thing. Not just for me, for a lot of people. It really starts the Beatles off. I was not part of Beatle mania, too young for that. But that was the first song I knew. My brother would be blasting his radio and if "I Want To Hold Your Hand" came on, I would rush into his bedroom. He would be patient with me because he knew that as soon as it was over, I was out of his room. I would dance around (largely spinning in circles) for the duration of the song.

That was the first non-classical vinyl album I ever had. It was given to me as a gift one Christmas from Santa. I still have it and all my Beatles vinyl. I still love those first hits but am so glad that the Beatles stretched and grew because those early songs do not hold a candle to "Strawberry Fields," "Helter Skelter," "Yesterday," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "Here Comes The Sun," etc.

That said, I still get the same sense of excitement (pounding excitement) when I hear "I Want To Hold Your Hand." It makes me want to move.

The Women of the Web's "Singer Phoebe Snow Discusses Living Life After Daughter's Death" inspired tonight's topic (all community sites will be going with this topic except humor sites) because, during the interview, Phoebe Snow is asked what is the first song she remembers? For her, the answer was Little Richard's "Tuti Fruti."

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, January 14, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, suicide bombers are a concern only when its female suicide bombers, women's representation on the provincial councils just slips out of the law and no one's sure how which allows us to examine some of the most recent attacks on women's rights in Iraq.

Fu Yiming and Gao Shan (Xinhua) remind that a 10-year-old boy disguised himself as a floral vendor to launch a suicide bombing in Tarmiya last September and they note that other children "have been recruited and trained to be suicide bombers". So we will now see the efforts to ban children from public life, right? And flower vendors! And we'll see half-way homes set up for any children that fit Iraq's highly limited means of profiling, correct?

Oh wait, that only happens to women. And let's establish that by turning to two attacks last week. The first on women's rights and the second on the rights of the press.
Sunday, January 4th when a bomber -- then identified as a woman -- took their own life and that of at least 40 other people in Baghdad. This was in the midst of a Holy pilgrimage, one that brought people from all over Iraq to the region and from outside of Iraq as well. By Tuesday, 'security' demanded action and, of course, the action just had to be an attack on women. From the January 6th snapshot:

In Iraq, the latest attack on women's rights takes place under the guise of security, always under the guise of security.
AFP reports that ALL women are banned "from visiting a Baghdad district which is home to the city's most famous Shi'ite tomb" and why is that? Because of the Sunday suicide bombing which, you may remember, Sam Dagher and Mudhafer al-Husaini (New York Times) maintained Monday was carried out by a man despite statements to the contrary. So you've got confusion as to the gender of the bomber. But you've also got the fact that no men were banned from shrines and these bombings have been going on for over five years now. Regardless of whether Sunday's bomber was or was not a woman, there's never been a similar effort to ban just men. It's only women that get screwed over and always while being told that it's for the 'security' of all. It's not for security. It has nothing to do with security and when you grasp that this is a pilgrimage and that the pilgrims come from all over Iraq and outside of Iraq, this is blatantly offensive. It is yet another effort to curtail the mobility of women and even in the 'logic' being offered, there's no excuse for it. They have still not established the gender of Sunday's bomber. Dagher and al-Husaini as well as LAT's Usama Redha and Kimi Yoshino provided statements by Iraqis outraged by the lack of security. What you have is a band-aid measure that will not fix a damn thing but the government wants to scapegoat someone and, just like their allies in the US, the Iraqi government will gladly scapegoat women. And Reuters is now reporting: "Initial reports said Sunday's bomber was female, although the government later said he was male." But who's being barred from worshipping? Monday, the United Nation's Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, Staffan de Mistura, made a point of condemning the attacks on pilgrims and decreeds bombings like Sunday's "appalling and unjustified crimes." Will de Mistura call out the barring of women from worship or is he only interested in speaking up for the male pilgrims?

Statistically female bombers really are not an issue (
August 21st, LAT was reporting that "the number has jumped to 30" for the year 2008 -- still not a huge number) but if Iraq's so alarmed, well maybe they should pay more money? "Awakening" Council members are also known as Sons of Iraq and they do have Daughters of Iraq but they pay them over 20% than they do men. If they are saying female bombers are just so earth shattering and such a great threat, maybe they shouldn't have been so sexist and cheap? Maybe they should paid women doing the exact same work the exact same amount? And "they" is the US. The US military set up that pay scale, the US military endorsed and embraced sexism.

The Iraqi government (al-Maliki) knew the Sunday bomber was not a woman. They knew it before the implemented they attacked women's rights to worship. There was no 'security' improvement by destroying women's rights. It did give the appearance of 'movement' at a time when Iraqis were loudly and publicly criticizing the puppet government's inability to protect them. "Look, we did something!" Nothing that helped, but they did it. And where was the press? Where were they?

Did they call out the attacks on women's rights? No and they never do. Few bothered to even report the ban on women. Those did bother to report it never saw this ban as anything other than 'security' and never questioned why women -- not a large part of bombers in Iraq to begin with and the Sunday bomber was a man --were being targeted. There were no editorials in the US. There were no efforts to speak to Iraqi women's rights organizations. There was no effort to explore. It was just taken for granted that women are so damn unimportant in the world's eyes that if they're denied their right to freely worship, that's just the way it is.

Contrast that with the attack on the press.
Friday's snapshot included this: "Kim Gamel (AP) reports that other 'laws' are being pressed. Specifically the puppet government has issued a 14-page conduct code for reporters -- Iraqi and foreign -- that they will need to sign 'in exchange for permission to attend this month's provincial elections, riaisng concerns among media analysts that independent coverage could be undermined'." The following day, Khalid al-Ansary, Tim Cocks and Katie Nguyen (Reuters) reported: "Media organisations who flout the Communications and Media Commission's mandatory code of conduct could be landed with a fine, have their equipment confiscated or be forced to make a public apology, said a document obtained by Reuters on Saturday. . . . Media organisations could have their licences revoked if they fail to pay any fines, according to the document." The press amplified the story by covering it, they spoke to Reporters Without Borders for quotes, to journalists for quotes, to journalistic unions for quotes. And by Sunday? Crisis averted! Gamel provided an update: Iraq will no longer require reporters to sign a contract in order to cover the January 31st provincial elections and the 14-page contract is being tossed. In an interesting development not really noted, Kimi Yoshino (Los Angeles Times) quotes Judge Qassim Hasan Abodi stating, "These are not our regulations. All we ask is that the media be neutral, transparent and objective. This is the only thing." Yoshino doesn't identify the body that Hasan's with, just notes it's over elections ("head of Iraq's election commission") -- he is the head of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission. That is the UN backed body (UNAMI works with them) and the claim being made on Friday -- when the story of the contract and the penalities broke -- was that the IHEC had pushed that. No, they didn't. It was al al-Maliki.

Now examine the above. The press goes along with the attack on women's rights but comes to life when the rights of the press are attacked. That goes to how little importance is placed on women's rights and the refusal to grasp that there is no democracy without equality. As important as a free press is to democracy, so is equality. Currently, a slaughter is goingo n in Gaza and in some of the critiques of the press -- blistering, as they should be -- a point may be lost. It's not, "Oh, look at the idiot who can't report!" What those calling the sorry and distorted coverage of the assault on Gaza are doing is believing in and advocating for the power of a free press. If the press does not matter, then it wouldn't matter what the press reported. What those critiquing the current coverage of that crisis are doing is advocating for a free press and acknowleging the power of the press -- and doing so much more than many members of the press ever do.

Above you have two examples of attacks on freedoms. The first attack, on women's rights, meant nothing to the press and they barely covered it. So the attack continued and laid the groundwork for future attacks. In the second case, the press responded and the attack was repealed. That is the power of the press.

Alissa J. Rubin and Sam Dagher (New York Times) report the latest attack on women's rights in Iraq: Somehow, no one can figure out how, the rights of women to be represented with 25% of the seats in the January 31st elections just fell by the wayside. No one can figure out. It just, in all the talks and discussions, somehow, no one can figure it out, it just dropped right out. Oops. The reporters explain, "Early versions of the law, which governs the election of Iraq's 18 provincial councils, included a firm guarantee that women would have at least 25 percent of the seats -- the same percentage mandated by the Constitution for the numbers of women in Parliament. In the male-dominated Arab culture, the framers of the Constitution and the Americans who were involved in drafting it thought that the quota was necessary to ensure that women would be represented.But the provincial election law was changed several times, and the quota language was gone by the time it went to the Presidency Council, whose approval is needed for it to become official. It went back to the Parliament with several unrelated changes and was published in early October. The lack of a strong guarantee for women's council seats has begun to gain widespread attention only in the last few days." And good for Rubin and Dagher but find that topic at any other outlet. Find one example in the US of the press using their power to amplify. You can't. As this snapshot is dictated, no news outlet except for the New York Times is covering it. The Houston Chronicle does make it a sidebar online to a Los Angeles Times article that, frankly, says nothing. The LAT article is all over the place (and doesn't mention women at all) but apparently that passes for 'universal' and attacks on women -- unlike attacks on men or attacks on the press -- is some sort of esoteric topic that's just not worthy of coverage.

What might life be like for Iraqi women today if the press had treated the repeated attacks on their rights as worthy of reporting? Maybe we wouldn't have today's 'In some small areas in Iraq, women can drive again!' stories. Because if these attacks on women were called out and not treated as 'oh, that's the culture,' women never would have lost their right to drive in Iraq or been pushed into wearing garb they didn't wish to. If the thugs the US put in charge of Iraq had known that they would be held up for the ridicule they deserved by the press over these attacks on women's rights, you damn well better believe that they would have cut it out, they would have stopped their attacks on women if only to avoid risking their puppet masters cutting off funding. Instead we got this b.s. nonsense that these were 'cultural' responses. No, they weren't. Iraq was a highly advanced country. It was not Afghanistan. The point
Ava and I were making in February 2007, when we reviewed a bad TV show (Jericho), still applies and women reading better grasp that. No one's going to give you a damn thing but they will gladly rob your rights. And that's not just in Iraq or Afghanistan. We've seen it in this country. Susan Faludi did a wonderful job documenting the backlash during the Reagan era (and, hello, we're back in another Reagan era and Ms. magazine has made clear it will be just as pathetic now as it was then -- for those who missed how pathetic it was during the first Reagan era, you can refer to Faludi's Backlash for how Ms. actively underminded women's rights and standing). But that was nothing compared to an earlier backlash in this country. No, not the backlash after WWII when Rosie the Riveter was forced out of work (and that is covered in Faludi's book), the backlash that began with the Great Depression, the one no one ever wants to talk about. Choose any industry, and you'll find women high in the chain. That would end quickly. Let's talk film a second. Women were directors. Women were studio heads. Women were screenwriters. Women were producers. Come the depression, it's all over now, baby blue.

It's amazing that
Naomi Klein has yet to call out Barack's conservative economic statements and programs because the Shock Doctrine does not refer just to violence that allows an economic programs to be pushed through. It also includes economic violence that allows economic programs to be pushed through. (Naomi's book, while wonderful, merely popularizes theories that have been in place for many, many decades. The reading the book has been given is a very safe one and one that tells domestic readers in the US, "These are things that happen over there!" That is not the case and that is not the case only when it comes to a 9-11 or Pearl Harbor.) Barack's economic plan has rightly been called out for ignoring women. But by whom? Which male identified 'progressives' have bothered to say a damn word, which male identified 'progressive outlets' have bothered to raise an objection? None. The Nation hasn't done a thing. The Progressive hasn't done a thing. Because women can always be thrown overboard. It's not just in Iraq and women need to start grasping that. The failure to do so is why each geneartion of the women's liberation movement has to reinvent the wheel.

What's taken place in Iraq is the backlash in flip-card fashion. It's happened very quickly. Just last year, it was 'okay' to talk about institutionalizing widows. Prisons pretending to be halfway-houses were okay because, when you lose you husband, what better way to grieve than removed from your home, you friends and your family and locked away? That truly was presented as the 'answer' to female suicide bombers. Round up the widows and lock 'em away. Repeating, female suicide bombers do not make up the bulk of the bombers in Iraq. They are not the majority, they are a statistically insiginificant number. And they may be inflated as many later reports have proven when female bombers turn out not to be. (And often the excuse is given that someone must have been dressed as a woman! No, just as likely is that, not having any clues, a scapegoat is needed and what looms as the ultimate threat since the beginning of time to some men: Women.) But because a small number existed, it was time to propose locking them away.

Last week the desire to pathologize these women was noted:

The female suicide bombers result in alarmist headlines (
here for US News & World Reports) because, "Oh goodness! It's a woman!" As if Pirate Jenny was an obscure character from a never heard of play? As if Pirate Jenny doesn't have her roots in any revolution (including the American revolution). But, "Oh no, it's a woman!" So when a female bomber executes a bombing, it's a big deal to the press. When a man does, it's a single sentence and there's no hand wringing or pondering WHY????? It's obvious why and the one's pretending otherwise are the same ones pretending that something good can yet come from this illegal war. And it's pretty obvious that there is HUGE sexism involved in the coverage. This summer Time offered up "The Mind of a Female Suicide Bomber." I'm sorry, are female bombers unheard of in illegal wars and occupations? They become the norm. And pretending otherwise is not only historically ignorant and sexist, it's damaging to anyone's grasp of what is actually taking place on the ground in Iraq. They're attempting to make it some sort of pathological sickness in the minds of some woman when this is a natural response to a people occupied, under attack and prevented from self-governance. There's nothing pathological about it. Historically, it is a common response. Mythologically, even more so. Will Time next offer us "The Mind of Areto"? Was there any difference in Areto attempting to avenge the murder of Hippolyte and Iraqi women today attempting to avenge the murders of their famillies? Aztec mythology includes many similar examples, such as La Llorona who acts to avenge the murders of her children. It's really disgusting that we rush to pathologize a normal response on the part of women that has been historically charted and culturally taught. The sickness is not inside the women in Iraq who decide to wear a bomb, the sickness is the illegal war and continued occupation and you have to historically and culturally ignorant or else a liar who hopes others are historically and culturally ignorant to push these women's responses off as something unheard of and completely unexpected.

Today we are told that young boys are becoming suicide bombers. We do not get, "WHY!!!! WHY!!!!! OH THE HUMANITY!!!!!" coverage. We do not get talk that they should be put away for 'security.' Naomi Klein rightly noted Iraq was the experimental lab where all the US kooks could test their theories. She failed to note that those theories included the attacks on women and on women's rights. A huge failure, a huge omission and until women start writing as if their rights are as important as men's, don't expect very many men to ever make that case.

If female bombers are truly a menace, then the government could fund for security. They don't want to. The US set the standard -- and did so without anyone calling them out. The
June 6th snapshot included this:

Badken observes: "The US military pays each member $300 a month to man thousands of checkpoints throughout Iraq. The Americans have credited Sons of Iraq for the waning Sunni insurgency and the decline in sectarian violence in Baghdad. But questionable loyalties, often brutal conduct and an uncertain future make these groups a wild card in the ongoing effort to stabilize Iraq. In April, Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., said these U.S.-funded militias may one day 'turn their guns on us'." But that cautionary note is dismissed by the White House and, on Friday, Jim Frederick (Time Magazine) reported on the lastest twist to the "Awakening" Council: Female recruits! US Capt Michael Starz told Frederick that "this is an employment program" and that "many of the women around here are widows and have no way of supporting themselves." What a load of crap.

If the concern was providing women with opportunities, the US could have done so long ago, could have fought to protect and ensure women's rights instead of installing radical thugs in the puppet government. Most importantly, while the men make $300 a month, they're paying the women eight dollars a day -- that would be two dollars a day less than their male peers while claiming that there "are widows" who "have no way of supporting themselves." The US government wants credit for 'creating' employment opportunites for Iraqi women but the US is paying them $2 less a day than the males while claiming that the women needs these jobs because they're supporting themselves and children. Can you say "exploitation"? The real reason the US is using women, as Capt Starz readily admits is that female bombers are now an issue. The women are being trained to 'inspect' and search other women. And apparently that's not a job important enough to warrant equal pay -- at least not according to the US. And the reason for including Senator Boxer's April remarks was to make it clear that the US government is the one paying the "Awakening" Council members, nothing has changed on that since April. So the US government is sending the message in Iraq that a woman's work is worth 20% less than a male's. If that figure sounds familiar,
Nancy Clark (Womens Media, link has audio) was noting that figure last year: "Women are paid 80 cents for every dollar men are paid and that does NOT include any part-time workers! If it did, it would be even lower." The women in Iraq are being asked to do the exact things the males are being asked to do and the US government is sending the message that, for the same work, it is okay to pay a woman 80 cents while paying a man a dollar. Capt Starz tells Frederick that the increase in female bombers means, "It is a critical security issue that we find a way to have women searched at high-traffic areas." It's 'critical' but, apparently, work but apparently not critical enough to offer the same rate of pay. Repeating, US tax dollars are paying for this program. (US Ambassador Ryan Crocker repeatedly bragged in April, before Congress, that paying them off meant attacks on US service members was down. It's the hand-over-your-lunch-money-to-the-bully-and-you'll-be-safe-in-the-playground 'strategy.') Should it be funded by the US? I don't think so but as long as the US funds it, it certainly doesn't need to endorse gender discrimination. But that is what's taking place.

Badkhen is Anna Badkhen and she was filing that for her former paper the San Francisco Chronicle. If you're concerned about 'security,' you don't pay women doing the same jobs as men 20% less. If you're concerned about 'security,' you don't whine, all this time later, that you don't have enough people (women) to search women. But it's not about security. Which is why there will be no attempts to target young boys or flower vendors for imprisonment or curtailing of rights. It's only done to women because they know they can usually get away with it. And they get away with it because. despite the intensive power of the press to be a light illuminating injustice, few news outlets even care. In fairness to them, they're only reflecting a large lack of concern that exists throughout the United States. It's that apathy that allowed the US government to pay Iraqi women 20% less than their male counterparts to begin with -- even after the press exposed that fact.

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


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded four people, another Baghdad roadside bombing which wounded three people and a Mosul car bombing that claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldiers and left five more people wounded.


Reuters notes 1 police officer shot dead in Kirkuk.
Yesterday's snapshot noted Deborah Haynes (Times of London) attempting to have the AIDS test that Iraq requires of foreigners (Erica Goode of the New York Times wrote last year of the government's disinterest in giving her one). IRIN explores AIDS in Iraq and notes, along with the fact that those with AIDS have to hide their status, the following history and facts:

The virus first came to Iraq in 1985 via contaminated blood imported from a French company. It was detected the following year in scores of people suffering from haemophilia, a hereditary blood disorder, said Wadah Hamed, the head of Iraq's AIDS Research Centre. "Treatment at that time was tough and arbitrary. Those found to be infected were placed in segregated medical facilities," said Hamed, who also heads Iraq's national AIDS prevention programme. Some 482 cases have been detected since 1986. Of these, 272 were Iraqis and the rest foreigners. Today only 44 are still alive, he said. Patients get the equivalent of about US$85 per month from the government, as well as a clothing allowance. Those infected in 1985 are paid an extra $200 monthly. They get free monthly check-ups; their partners are examined every three months, and other family members are checked every six months. Baghdad has at least 11 medical centres for this purpose and there is also one such centre in each province.

In the US, the New York Times will be publishing a story tomorrow (and later today online) about Barack and US commanders differences regarding Iraq or 'differences.' (I'm not waiting for it to go up but am noting it for a friend at the paper who asked that it be linked to. We'll link to it tomorrow.) On US politics,
Margaret Kimberley (Black Agenda Report) evaluates the latest moves by president-elect Barack and provides the perspective for the not so surprising statements and actions:

Barack Obama just loves Ronald Reagan, the late president but still idolized leader of the American right wing. During his campaign for the presidency Obama famously said that unlike Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton didn't
transform the country in a fundamental way. At the time he was in the thick of his primary battle against Hillary Clinton and the remark was perceived mainly as a dig against his opponent and her husband. When he later said that he would have a foreign policy like Ronald Reagan, it was seen as an attempt to get the votes of rural "Reagan Democrats" in the Pennsylvania primary. It is now clear that Obama's paeans to Reagan were not mere vote getting efforts or jabs at the Clintons. Barack Obama has proven himself to be a true believer in the Reagan revolution.
Even when Obama announced that his stimulus plan will include a $3,000 tax cut for businesses, his cultists say that we should just give him a chance, a chance to back up the bus and roll over us again. Hopefully Democrats like
Senator Tom Harkin will remain vigilant and keep speaking up for the common good. Harkin and a few other democrats were actually paying attention to the Obama economic proposals and weren't pleased by what they witnessed. "I am a little concerned by the way that Mr. Summers and others are going at this in that, to me, it still looks like a little more of this trickle-down, if we just put it in at the top, it's going to trickle down."
"Trickle down" was a Reagan era buzzword that meant theft of public resources. The concept was that if those who already have a lot were to get even more, some of the lucre would trickle down upon the rest of us. It worked fine for the wealthy but thirty years later, working people have not recovered from the effects of the Reagan era.
Ronald Reagan successfully dismantled government programs that no other president dared to touch. He was called the great communicator because of his ability to convince white Americans to act against their own economic interests. His apocryphal tales of black "welfare queens" led an already racist nation to decide that government was the problem in their lives when it is actually the only means of protection from larceny committed by wealthy individuals and big corporations.
Not only is Obama promising tax cuts for businesses, but he is repeating the Reagan mantra about
"reforming" Social Security and Medicare or cutting their rate of growth. Proposals to cut back on entitlements are dangerous and ought to be vehemently opposed. Entitlements are the only safety net that Americans have. Pension plans are available to an ever smaller group of workers, health benefits are lost when jobs are lost, and 401K accounts shrink along with the stock market.
Despite being ignorant about so much that effects their lives, Americans know that entitlements are their last hope for a decent life in old age. The only significant defeat for the Bush administration was the failure to privatize Social Security. It was the moment when Americans spoke up and forced Congress to prevent a Bush initiative from coming to fruition. If Barack Obama successfully tampers with Social Security and Medicare, which Bush was unable to do, then progressives who excuse Obama are worse than useless. They are traitors too.

By the way, the PIG that e-mailed
Rebecca to get private e-mails and turn around and pass them on, then LIED and claimed he didn't (one of them was bounced by the then-vactioning 'REV's e-mail, he fowarded them, ASSHOLE) has a bad article on impeachment and it's even worse because the Barack Loving Jerkwad spent all of 2008 smearing Bill and Hillary Clinton with LIES thereby painting himself into such a corner that he can't refute John Conyers justifying not impeaching the Bully Boy by likening it to Bill Clinton's impeachment. Bill Clinton's conduct was a personal issue that did not reflect on his performance in office or his duties. It was a sexual matter and a private one -- forced out in the open by the Witchhunters who cornered and THREATENED a young woman (Monica Lewinsky). The people never supported impeachment of Bill Clinton before the proceedings started, not during it and not afterwards. Any or all of that could refute Conyers and then some; however, basking in his DERANGED CLINTON HATRED made PIG unable to write the article he tried to. He's in his own hell now where logic fails him because he's roped himself off with so many LIES. Paul Krugman and others warned people that you didn't join in the sliming and trashing of Bill Clinton just because it made you feel so good. Now it comes back to bite in your fat, saggy assses. No one's fault but your own. And for PIG, as for so many, the hatred wasn't even of Bill. The real bile was reserved for Hillary. Who they went on to viciously attack for policies of Bill's that they disagreed with. And they thought no one picked up on that, no one noticed. A lot more caught on than they'll ever know and it's why the dregs of Panhandle Media's days have passed . . . at their own hands, group suicide style.

the los angeles timeskimi yoshinousama redha
the new york timessam daghermudhafer al-husaini
alissa j. rubin
tim cockskhalid al-ansarykatie nguyen
anna badkhen
kim gamel
margaret kimberleysusan faludi
deborah haynes
erica goode
sex and politics and screeds and attitude

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Phoebe Snow

As Kat will most likely be noting tonight, I also had no idea that Phoebe Snow had a new CD out. I had mentioned Phoebe Snow last week and, if I had known she had a new album out, I would have mentioned that. It's called Live and it's a live album.

She is touring behind the album and I believe I've noted here that she's an amazing live performer. So the next announced tour dates are:

February 27, 2009 - Santa Barbara, CA - Lobero Theatre
February 28, 2009 - Lancaster, CA - Lancaster PAC
March 1, 2009 - Grand Rapids, MI - Forest Hills Fine Arts Center
March 28, 2009 - Queens Theatre, Flushing, NY
April 3, 2009 - Reading, PA

I'm noting this section of the interview where Phoebe's talking about her daughter and her album.

"Singer Phoebe Snow Discusses Living Life After Daughter's Death" (The Women on the Web):
Phoebe: Virtually, a good deal of it is a tribute to my daughter; it’s a love letter to my daughter. And it’s me showing her that I’m going to — there are days when I don’t know if I will survive this. And I’m getting a lot of professional counseling, a lot of help, so — I’m fighting for my life right now. And I cannot imagine what the Travolta family is going through. I see all these things where you can call in or e-mail in and comment … so there is my comment. My heart goes out to them.
wOw: But, you are feeling better working and all that?
Phoebe: A little. Little by little I’m gaining strength. As I said, I’m having a lot of counseling. That question came up almost immediately when I started therapy – grieving therapy and overall therapy. At one point I had two different therapists. I had a grief counselor and then I had a psychoanalysis therapist. And the question that came up was, “What am I going to do?” And that’s what we’re working on now.
wOw: I’ve been in counseling before in my life. And, I don’t know, I’m torn about it, because part of me realizes that people need to talk about what is going on in their heads or else they’ll go crazy. But then I think there are some things that I don’t also want to dwell on, that are in my head.
Phoebe: Good point.
wOw: Sometimes it can just perpetuate things.
Phoebe: Well, I’m wondering … you know, I was in and out of therapy for many years, largely because I felt it was obligatory. But if you feel that you have something that is literally impacting your life to the point that you can’t move forward, that’s the reason to go to therapy, I would say. That’s the only reason I’m there: I was stuck. I was paralyzed. So now I’m trying to refine and improve and change and modify my life and my daughter won’t be here to benefit from me being a better parent, probably, if I get these issues done.

I have only heard Live once all the way through and I'm listening to it again right now. I strongly recommend it. Phoebe Snow's wringing so much out of every song (including covering her own "Poetry Man" and my favorite "If I Can Just Get Through The Night").

"Bye-bye" (Isaiah, The World Today Just Nuts):

So Peter Pace wanted to talk legacy today? (C.I. covers it in the snapshot.) I think Isaiah captured him perfectly in the above comic.

C.I.'s writing (again) about the type of patients I treat resulted in a number of e-mails where people explained they got why I was usually worn out when it was blogging time. That is a factor some days. But it is always rewarding and I couldn't pick a more satisifying group of people or a more satisfying line of work.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, January 13, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Peter Pace wants to share his final thoughts, Iraq makes noise about evicting squatters, Joe Biden continued his Iraq visit, and more.

Yesterday, Bully Boy showed up for the final without his Blue Book and naked. Today General Peter Pace wanted to take a crack at getting in his final thoughts in the final days of the Bully Boy's administration.
Lolita C. Baldor (AP) quotes Pace declaring, "I certainly made some wrong estimates. And I certainly made some recommendations that, if I could take them back and change them, I would." Noted homophobe Pace was a far cry from his frolicking earlier days as he stood before an oil painting that drawfed him. In June 2007, Isaiah featured Pace in "Bye-bye" as he quoted the outgoing Joint Cheifs of Staff Peter Pace from less than two years before (April 22, 2005) stating, "This is an incredible moment for me. It is both exhilirating and humbling. It's exhilirating because I have the opportunity, if confirmed by the Senate, to continue to serve this country. It's humbling because I know the challenges ahead are formidable." Baldor notes that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld attended and she insists, "Both Pace and Rumsfeld were political casualties of the war, losing their jobs as the public became increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress in Iraq and the escalating troop deaths -- now numbering more than 4,200." On the deaths -- the actual fatalities -- yesterday we noted the death of a US soldier outside Samarra. There was a second death announced late yesterday: "A Multi-National Force – West Marine died as the result of a non-combat related incident here [al Asad Airbase] Jan. 11. The Marine's name is being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is under investigation." The announcement brings the total number of US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4226. The total for the week thus far is 3 announced deaths.

Today the incoming US vice president, Joe Biden, continued his visit in Iraq.
AFP calls it "a trail-blazing visit" and notes that he met today with puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad before moving onto the oil-rich and disputed city of Kirkuk "where he met governor Abdul Rhaman Mustafa and his deputy Rakan Saeed al-Juburi." Timothy Williams (New York Times) notes bombings took place "a few hours before" Biden's arrival. Al Jazeera observes, "Violence in Iraq has marred a visit by Joe Biden" and notes that "[d]espite the decreasing violence across the country, local police are still being targeted as they take over control of the provinces from US forces" and that continued today with at least two incidents involving attacks on police officers. Brian Montopoli (CBS News) noted yesterday, "The visit was not officially announced." Tim Cocks and Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) quote al-Maliki stating, "Senator Joe Biden asserted the importance of cooperation . . . to implement the foreign troop withdrawal agreement signed by the two countries." That would be the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement and that, if true, would be the same treaty Joe Biden loudly opposed throughout 2008, up to the November election. The treaty extends the US presence to 2011 if both sides agree to exercise the two renewal options and do not alter the treaty. Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) notes Biden met with Jalal Talabani, President of Iraq, the day before and that Senator Linsey Graham was also on the trip to Iraq. AP adds that Biden also met with "Vice President Adel Abdul Mehdi and Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih." Not listed but he also met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. AP does note that Graham and Biden had dinner with members of Delaware's National Guard including Beau Biden, the vice president-elect's oldest son who delivered a very moving speech nominating his father at the Democratic National Convention last August.

Meanwhile Baghdad residents have received news via e-mail: The price of electricity is going up. A McClatchy
Iraqi correspondent (Inside Iraq) reports, "Most of us in Iraq (Im talking about regular people not officials) have power for four hours a day and you can imagine the crises happening in every house. There is a specific time for bathing and another time for washing the cloths. Every single member in the family should follow the schedule. Breaking the rules means destroying the system which leads the life of the family." The rate increase comes at a time, as noted, when Iraq still can't count on electricity, when potable water is an issue ignored (until September and October roll around and the cholera outbreak returns), and many internal refugees remain without homes they can call their own. Iraqi squatters have existed throughout the illegal war. Some took over the homes of others or abandoned homes. Others set up homes in abandoned Iraqi buildings. That group was, in fact, encouraged by the US who gave the okay for it and allowed it to continue. In the last few years, the puppet has tried to show how 'strong' he is by repeatedly cutting the rations Iraqis depend on and by repeatedly threatening to evict squatters. An Al Jazeera video report from last July is here. Current context includes that the Ministry of Displacement and Migration does not have the funds for the housing projects they promised and so some construction has been delayed "until 2010". Despite that, IRIN reported last week, "The Iraqi government has decided to evict all people who have been squatting in government buildings or on government land since the 2003 US-led invasion" and quotes a government stating that the decision was made by the Iraqi Cabinet. That would be al-Maliki's cabinet. Yesterday they reported a move on the part of the Iraqi Parliament and NGOs to halt the planned evicitions until winter has ended. IRIN quotes the Parliament's Displacement and Migration Committee's chair Abdul-Khaliq Zankana stating, "The law must prevail, but I do believe the best way to deal with this issue is to postpone the implementation until the middle of the year as it is winter now and we can't turn those people out onto the street. This will affect the attendance of their children at school."

Deborah Haynes (Times of London) reports that, as required by the Iraqi government of all foreigners, she took an AIDS test and she describes what she saw at al-Alwiya Hospital in Baghdad:

. . . it was immediately clear that there was minimal electricity. The small entrance hall was dark and dirty, with steps zigzagging upstairs. A couple of elevators on one wall appeard to have been out of action for a while.
Gingerly climbing up the stairs to the third floor, I was told that the doctor who handles foreigners' blood was running late so "would I sit in the waiting room."
This compromised a sorry line of chairs in the corridor. A dustbin in one corner overlowed with empty cans of fizzy drink. A thin meshing covered the windows, which hung open on rusty hinges, letting a cold draft.
A tatty-looking poster warning people about the perils of smoking hung from one wall, while a couple of feet away a make-shift snack stall on a rickety table sold packets of cigarettes as well as piles of biscuits, sweets and nuts."

While Iraq's services and infrastructure remain largely non-existant the US did set up the thugs in Iraq the same way they went to the war lords in Afghanistan.
Anthony Shadid (Washington Post) reports on Nadhim Khalil, the thirty-year-old wonder-thug who was "on the losing side" (attacking the US) but has seen where the money is . . . for now and has set himself up as the war lore of Thuluyah: "His formula is simple: With God, guns and money, he is now the authority in town." Shadid quotes him stating, "I'm sure the Americans will leave after a little while, and there's nothing I achieve by kililng them now. I could kill them anytime, anywhere, and so what?" The thug controls the town and waits. To do what? Who knows? Shadid reports:

The elected city council can only watch and complain -- in whispers -- about a man they fear. The town's elders scoff at his age and pedigree, with a wayward glance.
"My opinion?" asked Abdullah Jabbouri, a council member and former general. He paused, smiling a little sheepishly.
"Anyone who has absolute power becomes dangerous, even to himself," he said.

As US Senator Barbara Boxer noted of thugs on the US dime in a Foreign Relations Committee hearing last April, "
You cannot count on them." Or why the incoming vice president questioned these sudden 'allies'. As Anna Badkhen (San Francisco Chronicle) pointed out, found, "Sen. Jospeh Biden, D-Del., said these U.S.-funded militias may one day 'turn their guns on us'."

Moving over to medical care.
Yesterday's snapshot noted, "The CBS Evening News reported (link has text and video) on PTSD December 26th and noted, 'There were 115 military suicides last year, and 93 through just August of this year'." Suicide among the military is in the news today. Starting with Marines and dropping back a bit to when Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reported on the 2004 Marine suicide rate (reported Feb. 25, 2005) noting it had increased by 29%, that 31 Marines had taken their own lives and 83 more had tried to do so. Tony Perry (Los Angeles Times' Babylon & Beyond) reports there are 41 "possible or confirmed [Marine] suicides" for 2008. As Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) points out, none of the 2008 numbers are final yet. Zoroya tells Army combat soldier and Iraq War veteran Josh Barber's story of taking his own life because the "smell of death" couldn't be escaped and grieved over his PTSD and the military's being unable/unwilling to treat it. Zoroya explains, "Marines and combat veterans who have killed themselves in recent years, at a time when the Pentagon has stretched deployments for combat troops to meet President Bush's security plans in Iraq. The Marine Corps reported 41 actual or suspected suicides in 2008, a 20% increase over 33 in 2007. In 2007, the Army counted 115 suicides, the most since tracking began in 1980. By October 2008, that record had been surpassed with 117 soldier suicides. Final numbers for 2008 have not been released. Suicides among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans doubled from 52 in 2004 to 110 in 2006, the latest statistics available, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)." This comes as the Defense Dept and the Dept of Veterans Affairs is in the midst of their multi-day Department of Defense/Veterans Affairs Annual Suicide Prevention Conference in San Antonio (through the 15th). Michael Tolzmann (Defense Media Activity) notes that Dr. Loree K. Sutton (Army Brig Gen) explained that "toxic leadership" creates stigmas "that can kill" such as when "[a]n Army staff sergeant who had lost Soldiers in the war zone was called a coward, a wimp and a wuss form a leader when he mentioned he might need psychological help."

Meanwhile Iraq War veteran Nathan Ryan Smith is AWOL in the US.
Scott Michael (ABC News) reports he is "charged with kidnapping, rape, arson and tampering with evidence." Michael quotes a rape victim stating he allegedly told her, "I have killed several people in Iraq. I'm crazy in the head, and if I get caught by police I will come looking for you and kill you." Ian Demsky (Tacoma's News Tribune) reported last week that court records describe the police involvement beginning as follows:

Police responding to a missing persons report Jan. 1 found the woman they were looking for. Her body bore the signs of torture. Rope burns on her arms were "deep and distinct." She had scratches on her back and sharp red lines running across her chest. There was blood inside her coat and on her pants.
The officers took her to Tacoma General Hospital.
She told police she had been walking to the store when she noticed a silver pickup truck with a canopy pull into the parking lot behind her. A man got out and shouted for her to come to him. He then grabbed her and choked her unconscious.
She said she woke up in a strange room. She was naked and her arms and legs were bound with plastic zip-ties. She tried to free herself, but a male voice told her, "If you fight, you'll die."
Her abductor held a butcher knife to her face and promised she'd go home if she cooperated. He picked her up by the ties and carried her to another room. She told police she saw Army patches in a windowsill.
She said she was dropped onto a bed, gagged, sexually abused and raped. She told police she was tortured with a device hooked up to a battery.
When the man was done, he let her get dressed. She said he told her he'd kill her and her family if she told anyone.

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


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack that left seven people wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded eight people and a Mosul roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer and left another wounded.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a police officer was "severely" injured in a Mosul shooting.

Reuters drops back to Monday to note 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad.

Josh Foster, of Boston, writes the London Review of Books over a bad piece the periodical ran:

The London Review let itself be carried away by an uncharacteristic fit of optimism with the cover line of Patrick Cockburn's latest report on Iraq, 'America Surrenders' (
LRB, 18 December 2008). There are nearly 150,000 US troops deployed throughout the country, and while they're perfectly content to let Iraqis do the killing for them (along the lines of Nixon's 'Vietnamisation' strategy), there's no telling when (or if) they'll leave. It's possible, of course, that the Status of Forces Agreement is being ignored in the US because it shows how little America has achieved for its efforts in Iraq. But the failure of the press to report the story fully may also reflect a sensible recognition that Iraq's real future is being written in the streets, not in parliament. How likely is it that SOFA won't end up being as useful a guide to Iraqi reality as Stalin's 1936 Constitution was to Soviet reality? That constitution, which remained in effect until 1977, was described as the most democratic in the world. It included universal direct suffrage and recognised an impressive range of social and economic rights -- and wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

Those late to the party on Patrick Cockburn's maniacal ravings can see The Cat's Blog
here and here -- the latter of which notes:

As I wrote in
my previous blog, the same day Counterpunch published P. Cockburn's article, Reuters reported, "Ali al-Dabbagh, spokesman for the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, said some U.S. forces could be needed for 10 years": "We do understand that the Iraqi military is not going to get built out in the three years. We do need many more years. It might be 10 years," Dabbagh said at a Pentagon press briefing.But besides what this or that puppet might say, one needs just to stop the flow of propaganda and think; if the US didn't respect the UN Charter and international law when they invaded Iraq, they will certainly not respect any meaningless agreement signed by its own Quisling government. To focus on the SOFA is just another diversion; the US plan, far from being a "total defeat", as Cockburn writes, has been completely successful. Mission accomplished.The official lib-left intelligentsia must continue its real job as gatekeeper of dissent; its audiences, the most aware, active and willing to stop their governments from continuing to perpetrate crimes against humanity for the sake of elites' profit and power, must be controlled through "friendly" propaganda. When Obama's war machine is preparing to use all its bestial might against the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan and with an economic and financial crisis without precedent hitting millions of people, the public opinion in the West needs to be tamed once again. The eunuchs have gladly renounced to their organs in change of a little place at the table of the gods, or maybe they are just happy for some falling crumbs.The eunuchs have gladly renounced to their organs in change of a little place at the table of the gods, or maybe they are just happy for some falling crumbs.

You can also refer to this site's December 11th "
Iraq snapshot" and "I Hate The War" for more on Cockburn's fevered prose.

In US political news,
Brian Montopoli (CBS News) notes Senator "Roland Burris will likely be sworn into the U.S. Senate sometime Thursday afternoon, reports CBS News' John Nolen."

In other news,
The Women on the Web score an exclusive interview with singer and songwriter Phoebe Snow:

wOw: You and I spoke very briefly between Christmas and New Year's. You were very upset because you missed your daughter, Valerie, who died last year. How are you feeling now, in the New Year?Phoebe: Well, let's just say I've shifted into neutral. I have a lot of work to do. You know, she was my only child and we had a very unusual, very unique relationship. We lived together for 31 years. I'm very forthcoming about this -- I want people to know about her now, because I sort of kept all this under wraps for most of the time that she was alive. She was a victim of multiple birth injuries. Her brain damage was caused by the birth, by the doctor. There was a gigantic medical malpractice suit that came to trial. It took 17 years to come to trial. I don't want to go there.

wOw: I understand.Phoebe: Basically her original prognosis was that she would live in a persistent vegetative state -- although they didn't use those words back then -- that she wouldn't be conscious, fully, because she had been so terribly brain damaged that she would probably expire sometime around her first birthday, if even that long. And she lived to be 31 years old. I instantly, and forever, rejected the idea that she would live in any other type of place except with me. wOw: That's rough, Phoebe.Phoebe: And for most of this experience I was a single parent. She did live with me for 31 years. And we were ... anyone who knows us will validate this -- we were madly in love with each other. And, you know, her death had nothing to do with any of her other pre-existing medical conditions. She ... I don't want to talk about that right now. But she died very suddenly, very unexpectedly. It was the worst curveball that life has ever thrown me. And, you know, I'm shattered. I'm absolutely shattered. But I'm putting the pieces back together little by little.

Disclosure, I know
Phoebe (and many of the women who make up "The Women of the Web"). Recommendation, read the article and get Phoebe's new CD Live.

The Green Party of Michigan released the following statement on the slaughter in Gaza:

Green Party leaders in Michigan condemned the brutal air strikes and military assaults by Israel on unarmed civilians in Gaza and called for a boycott of Israel. The Israeli blockade of Gaza, erected in 2006 after the democratic election of Hamas, was an act of war. As a result of the blockade, 80% of Gazans live on less than two dollars a day, unemployment hovers at 50-60%, with only 195 factories working, reduced from 3,900 in 2005. In spite of this near strangulation of their society, the people of Gaza agreed to a ceasefire with Israel. Now, Israel drops dozens of bombs on students and children, killing over 820 people and wounding 3,000. United Nations aid for the injured is blocked; reporters are completely barred. Israel leaflets Gazans telling them to leave and closes all the borders. And this pogrom isn't over yet. Derek Grigsby, chairperson of the Detroit Green Party and candidate for Michigan House of Representatives, 7th district, said: "We demand that the Bush administration stop using the state of Israel as a terrorist force against the people of the Middle East and use the money being given to them for basic necessities here at home, like healthcare and education." He continued: "We call on all of our elected leaders to stand up for justice and human rights and roundly condemn the murderous aggression committed by Israel on the Palestinians." Margaret Guttshall, candidate for Wayne State Board of Governors, spoke of her experiences. "When I was a student at Wayne State a few years ago, we organized and convinced the Student Council to support divestment from Israel, one of the first schools to do so. Now it is time to implement divestment as well as academic sanctions against Israel, just as we did against the apartheid regime of South Africa." "We want all military and economic aid from the U.S. to Israel stopped immediately," said Fred Vitale, state chairperson and candidate for Michigan House of Representatives from the 3rd district. "We support, among other actions, boycotts, divestment campaigns and sanctions against Israel -- until it ceases to deny Palestinian history, ends the occupation, ceases discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel, and permits displaced Palestinian refugees to return to their homes," Vitale concluded.

For more information: information on the call for a boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

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