Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"The news is not good."

I'm late posting because Mike usually calls and when he didn't, I called his house. He was asleep. He's got an outbreak of chicken pox. So I spoke with Trina for half an hour and then asked for Mike to call if he woke up. Which he did and we've now got the two headlines we want to emphasize tonight. He is blogging so please visit Mikey Likes It! for his thoughts.

"U.S. Dismisses Iranian Letter to Bush as Ploy" (Democracy Now!):
The Bush administration is dismissing a diplomatic attempt by Iran to resolve the international debate over Tehran's nuclear program. On Monday Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent President Bush an 18-page letter suggesting "new ways" to settle the dispute. The letter marked the first communication between the two countries leaders since the fall of the shah 27 years ago. The text of the letter has not been released but U.S. officials downplayed its significance. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said, "This letter is not the place that one would find an opening to engage on the nuclear issue or anything of the sort." US intelligence chief John Negroponte suggested the letter was a ploy by the Iranians to undermine international pressure on the nuclear issue.
John Negroponte: "Given the fact that the issue of Iran is before the United Nations at this time, certainly one of the hypotheses you'd have to examine is whether and in what way the timing of the dispatch of that letter is connected with trying in some manner to influence the debate before the Security Council, but again having not read the letter I don't think I could comment further."

Meanwhile on Monday night ministers from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as Germany and the European Union met in New York to discuss Iran. But they failed to reach an agreement on a possible UN resolution. The U.S. is pushing for a resolution to authorize sanctions and the possible use of force.

The letter proposed "new ways" so of course it refused outright. The Bully Boy only knows one way: death & destruction. Which was the whole point of our writing "Darfur" -- to try to say "Wait!" before even apparent peacemakers get on board the Force Wagon. Peacemakers are enabled by ineffectual Hawks with a point to prove about their questionable "manhood." (Read

But there's apparently little hope for peace in a world with Bully Boy so we'll probably be rolling out the latest war on the world (Target: Iran) in time for the November elections. Bully Boy is a war criminal. The only way to prevent more crimes from being added to his rap sheet is to impeach him and remove him from office.

And if we don't do that, history may judge us to be as guilty of war crimes as he is.

CIA’s Third Highest Official, Dusty Foggo, Resigns
The number three man at the CIA, Kyle 'Dusty' Foggo, has resigned just days after the unexpected resignation of CIA Director Porter Goss. The FBI is investigating whether Foggo helped defense contractor Brent Wilkes win government contracts. The two are childhood friend and so close they have named their children after each other. Wilkes has been accused of bribing former Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham with prostitutes, limos and hotel rooms and arranging private poker games attended by Foggo and others. Meanwhile a number of top Republicans, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert, are voicing concern over President Bush’s decision to nominate four-star General Michael Hayden to become the head of the CIA. Hayden acknowledged his critics during a brief ceremony at the White House.
Gen. Michael Hayden: "In the confirmation process I look forward to meeting members of the congress and better understanding their concerns and working with them to move the American intelligence community forward," Hayden said. "This is simply too important to get absolutely right."A spokesperson for House Speaker Dennis Hastert said the country "should not have a military person leading the CIA, a civilian agency." Republicans are also concerned that Hayden's confirmation hearing will center on his role at the National Security Agency where he approved President Bush's plan to illegally conduct domestic surveillance without court warrants. Earlier this year NSA whistleblower Russell Tice appeared on Democracy Now and criticized Hayden’s role in the spy operation. "Certainly General Alexander and General Hayden and Bill Black knew that this was illegal," Tice said.

It will be used as a "test" of the Bully Boy's illegal spying. That doesn't mean the program will be seriously addressed. It does mean it will get a mention or two and then after, as C.I. has pointed out, Bully Boy will trumpet that the issue is settled and if there were any problems Hayden wouldn't have been confirmed. It's the same tactic they tried on Iraq where, after the 2004 elections with two candidates screeching "stay the course," we were supposed to buy the propaganda that the election was a referendum on the war. It was also supposed to be a "mandate" for the Bully Boy and at the same time a victory for 'vangical voters. That's a whole lot for one election. Especially a close one, and a questionable one.

With Republicans objecting we may see Democrats find something resembling a spine. I won't hold my breath. While we wait to see whether this is another battle that the Democratic Party is willing to go AWOL on, read C.I.'s "On the Dangers of an Unchecked Bully Boy."

"Iraq snapshot" ("Democracy Now: Borzou Daragahi from Baghdad, Ken Silverstein on Goss, the CIA and more," The Common Ills):
Chaos and violence continue. And are you surprised?
Yesterday, a courthouse in Baghdad was bombed. Today, Judge Muhaimin Mahmoud Abbod "was gunned down . . . while he was driving his car." That took place in western Baghdad while elsewhere in Baghdad, three more Iraqis were killed by 'unknown gunmen' (a popular phrase in today's press reports). Amara saw the death of "a civilian and a political activist" from unknown assailants and Kirkuk was where an Iraqi soldier was shot dead and at least two others wounded. Reuters notes the deaths of four police officers in Ramadi.
Tal Afar was rocked by an explosion today. CBS and the Associated Press report that the explosion was another car bomb (though, in this case, a truck bomber) and at least 17 have died while at least 35 more are wounded. Baghdad was also the sight of bombings. Reuters reports a roadside bomb took the lives of two and wounded at least five more (including two police officers).
In what's become a day to day occurrence, corpses turned up across Iraq on Tuesday. Latifiya, as noted by Reuters, was the location for the discovery of three corpses (all had their hands tied, one wore a police uniform). CNN reports the discovery of ten corpses in Baghdad. Reuters reports that, near Suwayra, at least eleven corpses were found "dumped in the Tigris river" ("including the headless corpse of a 10-year-old boy"). On those corpses, CNN reports that at least three wore "Iraqi military uniforms" and had been beheaded. Reuters reports that of the eleven, at least nine were beheaded.China's Xinhau reports the kidnapping of two Iraqi contractors in Tikrit and the attack on a taxi north of Tikrit that left at least one person dead and two more wounded.
As the chaos and violence become the norm, people continue to flee the country. The BBC reports that that 244 Palestinians, who were refused entry by Jordan, have been allowed to enter Syria.
The deployment of "roughly 3,500 [American] soldiers of the 2nd Brigade of the Army's 1st Infantry Division at their base in Schweinfurt, Germany" to Iraq remains on hold; however, the Pentagon (and Rumsfeld) stress that this just a delay not a drawdown.
Meanwhile, the laughable attempt on the part of someone (the US?) to create a sort of Tattler/Insurgency Exposed! on al Qaeda is met with skepticsm by experts who fail to see the document as a genuine one. Next up Rumsfeld, offers mash notes passed during al Qaeda study hall.
Finally, Scotland's Herald notes that Sarah Mulvihill, among the five British troops who died Saturday when the helicopter she and the other four RAFs were traveling in was brought down by a rocket, was "[t]he first British servicewoman to be killed in action for more than 20 years."

Things are not getting better in Iraq. The US can try all the propaganda it wants, things are not getting better. (Nor will they as long as the occupation continues.) So what do you do? When that illegal war still wages and people continue to die, when Hawks on the Right and the left itch to attack Iran and people who should know better start screaming for a NATO invasion of the Sudan, what do you do?

I don't have an answer. I wasn't being rhetorical. For me, I keep using my voice and if I can add one person to the ranks of the peace movement a week, I call it a victory. (Which was the point of "Head on Home (a musical in four scenes).") I also listen to music. C.I. got some laughs into the snapshot today and I was so glad because the news is just getting worse. But I came home, after I got off the phone with Treva, I just started putting CDs into the stereo and trying to center myself that way.

Kat reviewed a best of Richie Havens last night with "Kat's Korner: Richie Havens: The Economical Collection" and she's reviewing Josh Ritter's The Animal Years tonight so look for that. Music does matter. It can restore our balance, motivate us to continue and reconnect us with our better selves.

In the meantime, thought for tonight [as sung repeatedly in "Head on Home (a musical in four scenes)"]: The news is not good.