Friday, May 12, 2006

"And here it is 2006, and the matter has not gotten better"

Mike's over the chicken pox, thankfully. He blogged through it and is blogging tonight, so please visit Mikey Likes It!

"Bush's Approval Rating Sinks to 29%" (Democracy Now!):
And President Bush's approval rating has hit another new low. According to a poll by Harris Interactive, just 29% of Americans believe the President is doing a good job. Another poll tracking views on the President and the outlook for the United States led the New York Times to conclude: "Americans have a bleaker view of the country's direction than at any time in more than two decades."

Seems like a week or two ago, we were hearing how his poll numbers had to go up because they couldn't get any lower. They just got lower. What could save him at this point? Nothing. Another terrorist attack will not cause the country to rally around him. Instead, the reaction will be more hostility and cries of "Impeach!" immediately because the fact that he's done nothing to secure the country is well documented. It would be like the reaction after Hurrican Katrina. Most people will say, "See, he has been doing a bad job." Another war? No. He's not trusted. He's hidden the coffins returning from Iraq but the country's starting to feel it, starting to get it. He has no tricks left to play at this point.

I don't doubt that his poll numbers could bounce up a little at some point but he should be preparing himself for the fact that, whether they stay the same or change, he is going down in history as the worst person to occupy the White House.

Richard Nixon was the modern marker. After Nixon disgraced the country with his actions, we were all supposed to have learned (but we didn't) and that was going to be the standard by which others were judged. Along comes George to lower the bar.

"Bush Admin. Stonewalls Questions on Latest NSA Revelations" (Democracy Now!):
The Bush administration has responded to the latest in the domestic spy scandal with near silence. At the White House, President Bush declined to address Thursday’s report the National Security Agency was creating a database of phone call records with the help of three of the country's largest telecom companies. The President said only that the spy program was lawful -- but did cite any constitutional or legal authority to back up his claim. At another press conference, CIA Director nominee Michael Hayden, who headed the NSA at the time the spy program was implemented, said he would not discuss any specifics. Hayden made the comments after he unexpectedly cancelled meetings with Senators to discuss his nomination. On Capitol Hill, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Arlen Specter announced he would call officials from the three telecom companies -- AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth -- accused of helping the government spy on US citizens. Congressmember Maurice Hinchey repeated his calls for a full investigation.

I'm curious what Joe Klein will say. Not because I value Klein's opinion, I don't, but because it will be interesting to see how he tries to justify the latest revelation after dismissing earlier NSA revelations. He's already broken down the law and, as C.I. pointed out, this isn't the end of the spying on American citizens. There's more that we don't know.

I think we'll find out a bit more before November. When USA Today breaks a big story, you know every other publisher/editor has to be embarrassed. USA Today is known for it's easy-reader approach, not for investigative journalism. But they got the story. (Actually, Leslie Cauley got the story.)

On this topic, I wanted to pull a section of the discussion Democracy Now! had on it today.

Three Major Telecom Companies Help US Government Spy on Millions of Americans" (Democracy Now!):
TIM SHORROCK: What the USA Today reported yesterday was that they're turning this awesome system they have worldwide to listen in on calls, and they're turning that whole system on to the United States. These are United States citizens within the United States they are putting into this database. This is what's really dangerous about this, and what the New York Times reported back in December was that they were listening to United States citizens talking to foreigners. Now, they're building a database out of U.S. citizens talking to U.S. citizens.
AMY GOODMAN: Although they're saying that it's not as if they're listening to the conversations. This is just taking down the numbers.
TIM SHORROCK: Well, I think the whole purpose of data mining is to build profiles of people that you use for later surveillance. Like Ryan was just saying, they might build a record on someone and then go to the FISA court and tap their phone, after they decide that this person is a terrorist suspect or something that they're talking to. So, I, you know, take that with a grain of salt. Also, I think the record of mendacity of this Bush administration on any number of issues, particularly this war, is great, and it's very difficult to believe what they say on this.
They build these databases to create profiles. They use them to predict future activities, future calls people might make, future relationships people might make, and then they use that for other kinds of information, and, of course, the U.S. government, other databases have plenty of information on us as U.S. citizens, of, you know, buying habits. They can go to credit card records, see what you buy, all this kind of thing. And so, they can plug all this in, build profiles, and that's -- you know, I think that's what's got Republicans and, you know, of course, Democrats, people of all stripes upset about this, is that this is a violation of FISA, it's a violation of our privacy laws and it's a violation of the Constitution.

C.I. had a great comment on these revelations when we were on the phone, comparing it to when the movie Dick is winding down and many of Richard Nixon's abuses are being uncovered (and then covered) by the press, the mother of Kirsten Dunst's character says something like, "I never knew it went so far." I think that's where we are. People's eyes are popping open.

Mike just called. We'd already picked out headlines. But he wanted us to pick five songs that spoke to us this week. I've been listening to a mix CD Jess made for a number of us. It's various tracks from various albums he enjoys. So I'll pick Cass Elliot covering Laura Nyro's "He's a Runner." You can get that on The Complete Cass Elliot Solo Collection 1968-1971. (I recommend it. It's two discs of everything Cass ever released as a solo act plus some unreleased tracks. If you're a Cass fan, I am, from the Mamas and the Papas, you really should check out this CD.) I'd also pick "Roger and Out" from Neil Young's new CD Living With War (which Kat reviewed here). Ben Harper. What song? I listen to Both Sides of the Gun religiously. Any song will do. I love them all. "I Have Seen the Rain" off Pink's I'm Not Dead Yet. I can't believe Mike's put me on the spot like this (I can pick one song easily but trying to think of five means thinking of twenty and having to pare them down to five isn't easy). I just told myself that I'd pick an Afghan Whigs song but all of my favorites, I'm realizing, have titles I don't know. For instance, is it "True Love" or "True Love Travels Down a Gravel Road" or "Gravel Road"? I'm too lazy to hunt down the EP. I'll go with Melanie's "Peace Will Come (According to Plan)." That should be five.

Have you been following the news on Iraq? If not, read the following and, if so, read it and see if you heard all the details today.

"Iraq snapshot" ("Democracy Now: NSA discussion, Cindy Sheehan & Elaine Johnson address the war," The Common Ills):
Chaos and violence.
Sabrina Tavernise noted, Thursday "was . . . the deadliest day for the American military in a month, with the deaths of seven service members and the announcement of an eighth death that had occurred on Tuesday." This did not include the death of four marines on Thursday when, as reported by the Associated Press, a "tank rolled off a bridge into a canal" resulting in the drowning deaths of four marines.
Thursday was also the day that Nikola Radovanovic denied that Bosnia had shipped "
200,00 small arms to Iraq in a secret and non-trasnperanet fashion" (China's Xinhua).
Amnesty International has made the charges that Radovanovic (Defense Minister of Bosnia) was denying. The charges come in a report on how the transfer of arms threatens human rights.
Today? The
Shia party Islamic Virture has withdrawn from cabinet negotiations. The BBC notes that party spokesperson Sabah al-Saadi has "criticised what he said were external pressures from the US ambassador in Iraq." A joint story by CBS and AP, identifying the party as Fadhila, notes that the criticism also includes the assertion that "the Cabinet selection process was being dictated by personal interests and pressure by the United States that ran counter to the spirit of national unity." As cabinet negotiations continue to fail to meet the much touted timetable, Reuters reports that a "bomb in a parked car" went off outside the office of Dawa (the Shi'ite party of Nuri al-Maliki). The AFP notes that Nuri al-Maliki (Iraq's prime minister to be) continues to to tell "the ambassadors of Britain and Iran that the cabinet would be ready in the next 'few days.'" Al Jazeera notes that the real timetable, constitutional as opposed to the one al-Maliki has promised and missed, leaves only ten days to meet the "one-month constitutional deadline to present his cabinet to parliament."
In Baghdad,
CNN reports, an Iraqi soldier was killed in an attack on a convoy. Reuters notes the death of Ahmed Midhat Mahmoud and two of his bodyguards as a result of an ambush (Mahmoud was "the son of a senior judge). Kuna identifies Mahmoud as the "son of chief of Iraqi judicial council." The Associated Press notes that a police officer was killed with at least two more wounded as a result of drive by shootings. Road side bombs continued in Baghdad, at least one resulted in no deaths or casualties but another resulted in one police officer being wounded.
Associated Press notes that Basra saw violence as Sheik Khalil Ibrahim and his son were killed as they departed the Sunni Khudairi mosque.
Kuna reports that, in Tal Afar, an attack on a police patrol resulted in three being wounded (police officers) and two being killed (attackers).
In Dhuluiya,
the BBC notes, at least four Iraqi soldiers have died and at least seven civilians have been wounded as people clash with "Iraqi forces."
Throughout Iraq, corpses continued to turn up.
Reuters notes four ("military uniform, two of them beheaded") being discovered in Khan Bani Saad and one ("gunshot wounds to the head and . . . signs of torture) being discovered in Baghdad while KUNA also notes the discovery of a corpse in Sadr City ("blindfolded, with hands bound and the victim appears to have been shot dead."). Al Jazeera notes the kidnapping of Carlo Daccache "snatched on Friday in Baghdad by unidentified armed men."
In the United States, Congress member
John Murtha has told the Associated Press that he predicts America will brings its troops home "by 2007" as a result of the Bully Boy "bow[ing] to public pressure or [because] Democrats will have won control of the House of Representatives."
Finally, as
noted this morning on Democracy Now!, an event sponsored by CODEPINK and other organizations will take place Saturday and Sunday in DC:
Declare peace on Mother's Day with CODEPINK! We will be gathering in Washington DC for a 24-hour vigil outside the White House on May 13-14, and will be joined by amazing celebrity actresses, singers, writers, and moms, including Cindy Sheehan, Patch Adams, and Susan Sarandon! Bring your mother, children, grandmothers, friends, and loved ones. We will be honoring the mothers of the fallen by sending them organic roses. Click here to send your rose! We're also writing letters to Laura Bush to appeal to her own mother-heart, turning them into a book, "Letters to Laura." For event info click here, read our blogs and check out our online store for gift ideas.

I hope you read Cedric's "Different stuff" and Kat's "Guns & Butter and the crappy 1000th issue of Rolling Stone." My favorite of the week of Wally's is "THIS JUST IN! HILLARY CLINTON LOVES THE BOYZ WHO CHEAT ON HER! ."

By the way, C.I. noted ER last night in "And the war drags on . . . (Indymedia Roundup)" (as well as in the column in Polly's Brew Sunday). The ground is shifting and that's because we're making it happen. We all need to use our voices. I did catch the episode. Parminder Nagra plays Dr. Neela Rasgotra and she has already spoken out against the war on the show. Her husband Michael was in Iraq (as a doctor). Last night, she got the news that he had died. It was pretty powerful and I get . . . my throat chokes up just thinking about it. Nagra deserves an Emmy for her performance. The war came home for one show. If you're a community member, I hope you remembered to watch.

Bully Boy's illegal war has many costs that go beyond the gas pump.

"Reality Check" ("Mothers Say No To War: Peace Activists Plan Mother's Day Protest Outside White House,"Democracy Now!):
AMY GOODMAN: Elaine Johnson, what is the response of other military families to you, to your call for the troops to come home now?
ELAINE JOHNSON: I have their fullest support of bringing the troops home. Every time I do different rallies and different events, I get emails and phone calls, you know, telling me to keep up the good work, because we all support our troops. We just don't support this war, because when I met President Bush back in ’03, there was nothing -- he couldn't tell me why my son was killed, why the soldiers are over there. And here it is 2006, and the matter has not gotten better. It's just gotten worse, so he still can't tell me anything, why our kids are getting killed. But, you know, we know why. It's because of the oil. Like Cindy was saying, the greediness of him and his colleagues is for oil.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Always money to hand out to the highest income bracket

Mike is still sick (with chicken pox) but he is posting tonight so please visit Mikey Likes It!

"Republicans Reach Agreement on Controversial Tax Bill" (Democracy Now!):
On Capitol Hill, House and Senate Republicans have agreed on a new tax bill critics say will disproportionately favor the wealthiest Americans. The $70 billion dollar measure would extend the 15 percent tax rate on capital and dividends until the year 2010. According to the Tax Policy Center, households earning more than $1 million dollars would save $42,000 dollars in taxes. Meanwhile, households earning around $45,000 dollars would save $46 dollars.

The purpose of taxation is? To pay for the services the public needs. Under Bully Boy, the purpose of taxation is to take from the low income and give even more to the highest income bracket. In the meatime? Are the roads being fixed? Is New Orleans being repaired? Are our public commons being maintained? If you're confused the answer to that is the same answer to this question: Do we have universal healthcare?

"US Peace Activists Travel to Tehran" (Democracy Now!):
Twenty-two US citizens have traveled to Iran to promote peace between Washington and Tehran. "(We are here to promote) understanding between our peoples so that our governments don't get us into a situation where we go into a Conflict," said delegate member Dave Robinson, Executive Director Of The National Catholic Peace Movement."We're here to learn about Iran firsthand so that we don't succumb to the enemy building and demonising that's going in the United States at the moment."

Mike was asking me what I thought about the prospect of this adminstration declaring war on Iran? Honestly? I think if Bully Boy can get it off the ground before November, we'll be at war.
He needs some trick to help his sinking party's chances in the upcoming elections. Iran will be tougher than Iraq, my guess. With Iraq (and a compliant media), he got six weeks of incredibly fawning press. I think he can count on three weeks tops. So my guess is, if they're calculating it for that effect, Bully Boy will declare war (he'll bypass Congress) three and a half weeks prior to the elections.

I'm not a psychic and I hope I'm wrong. But I think that's why there's been a delay in implementing the plans. They don't want a third quagmire going into the elections.

On WBAI today, after Democracy Now! they played a speech that Robert Fisk gave at M.I.T. (he was introduced by Noam Chomsky). Fisk spoke of how it was a repeat, Iraq was. He felt that reporters should be required to pack history books. England had thought it would be a cake walk at the early part of the last century. They claimed to be going into Iraq for "liberation" of the people. Falljua? It was the sign of a slaughter then as well. It's all a repeat. He also had a few words for the New York Times which has their own stockade (my term) with towers and bodyguards. Check the WBAI archive to see if it's there. It'll be the program (regardless of title) right after Democracy Now! This is a speech you should make a point to hear. There are parts of it that will make you laugh. Fisk can find humor in dark times. But you really should hear it. (If you already did hear it, you know how great it was so share it with someone.)

"Democracy Now: Lior Halperin, James Carroll, Juliet Schor debates Marc Landy on Condi" (The Common Ills):
Chaos and violence.
But apparently those days over because
Condi Rice is confident and Jalal Talabani (president of Iraq) is issuing statements on the need to stop the killings (1,1000 Iraqis, according to Talabani, in the month of April -- BBC says 1,091). Yeah, that'll end the conflict.
Meanwhile, back on planet earth . . .
RTE updates the death toll on the Tal Afar bombing yesterday, from 17 dead to at least 24 currently with the "US military" saying at least 134 wounded.
Australia's ABC and AFP report that the "coalition-run Fort Suse prison" has seen five Iraqi "terror suspects" break out. On a similar topic, the Iraqi parliment, that's supposed to be on track and moving forward, hit a stumbling block today "over who should head the oil ministry." Now didn't you just know oil was going to be involved?
Though bombs, car bombs or otherwise, are no longer uncommon in Iraq,
CBS and AP report that that a bus was targeted not only by "gunmen" but that the "gunmen" went on to plant "a bomb aboard the vehicle" which killed at least eleven and wounded at least four. The BBC notes that the bus "reportedly" carried "employees of a state-run electricity company." RTE places the death toll at at least 12. The attack on the bus took place near Baquba. In Baquba, Lt. Col. Kanan Hassan and two of his body guards were killed, Reuters notes.
In Baghdad, "
Defense Ministry press office employee" Mohammed Musab Talal al-Amari died when his car when assailants ambused his car and opened fire. Also injured in the gunfire was a pedestrian. The Associated Press notes the killing of "two traffic" police officers, a taxi driver and a civilian. A roadside bomb took the life of one Iraqi soldier. And corpses continued to turn up -- today thirteen were discovered("signs of torture").
A victim of a roadside bombing, US soldier, is
Cal Perry's entry point in a report he does on the conditions army medics face in Iraq.
He estimates the American troop wounded at "roughly 17,500." (17,869 is the figure that Iraq Coalition Casualties gives.)
Associated Press notes that road side bombs took the life of at least one and wounded at least three.

I know this takes a lot of time for C.I. and requires a lot of reading (more is read than is squeezed into the snapshot and a lot of duplicate reading as well, I'm sure). But I really do think it's a service and a needed one. Seeing the snapshot and seeing everything that goes on, each day, really drives home the point of what's going on. I know Nepal and other countries (including Afghanistan) miss out on coverage.

But the fact of the matter is that you've got Pacifica and that's really all. (By the way, it's fundraising time for Pacifica Radio. Please give if you have it. If you're someone who already gave, congratulations. I had three e-mails from people who signed up for a monthly figure. If you've given in the last twelve months, that's great. If you give every month that's great. But if you're someone who has never given and you can afford it, please consider giving.)

There's Dahr Jamail and Brian Conley and Riverbend of Baghdad Burning.

I'm not taking anything away from those three people, but they are three people. Pacifica, in all of its stations, is many people and can offer many reports and perspectives. In terms of The Common Ills, Iraq has always been a big issue. While and others were "moving on" after the election, C.I. stepped in to fill the void. There has never been a fear of "Oh, I can't take on Dexter Filkins!" Nor has there ever been a statement of "Well, we're there so we have to say." You did read that at a lot of other websites. Supposed left websites, mind you, supposed sites run by people supposedly against the war but willing to drink the Kool Aid and spit it out online. I'm aware that it's not as bad as it was when The Common Ills started up. Even some on the right say we need to pull out now. I also know that for the first year, it was the Iraq perspective that pulled people into the community. I know that there are issues that have to be addressed whether it's Ireland or whatever else it seems like no one else wants to talk about. On Ireland, I am fully aware that in the United States, our blogosphere has chosen to look the other way except on Saint Patrick's Day and then only if there's something the administration is pushing. If there's a radio program that's addressing the realities and the coverage of Ireland, please e-mail me because I'm not aware of it. (I think WBAI has a program. Trina said it did and I'm trying to figure out when that airs.) There are other issues that people don't want to touch. Maybe, like Iraq after the 2004 election, it's something that a consensus builds is "damaging" to elections so we can't discuss it or address it. That's cowardly and shameful. Possibly people just think the New York Times, which gets so much wrong, gets it right on Ireland? Maybe they're like the "online, latter day Dylan" and think the paper was perfect until Bill Clinton got into office or that Judith Miller was the only reporter worth examining?

I don't know. I know that I don't need to hear a lot of people acting like Cokie Roberts in an online text form. I also know that I don't offer much here. But I can note C.I.'s Iraq snapshot
each day.

"Kat's Korner: Need deeper? Check out Josh Ritter's The Animal Years" is Kat's latest. She's planning another tonight. She listens to KPFA and when we spoke today, she said Andrea Lewis had some amazing comments on music (The Morning Show). I'm going to try to note at least one more Pacifica show on Friday (I'm off Thursdays because I have an evening group) and I may be able to listen to that broadcast. Ruth is on vacation so we're all trying to do something if we're able to. I'll note Cedric's "Rove about to be indicted?"and Betty's latest chapter "The hopping mad Thomas Friedman" and urge you to read them.

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.

Monday, May 08, 2006

"Chaos and violence continue"

"Porter Goss On His Resignation: '[It is] Just One of Those Mysteries'" (Democracy Now!):
Questions still remain over why Porter Goss resigned from the CIA. Neither Goss nor President Bush have publicly given any reason for the resignation. On Saturday Goss told CNN his departure is "just one of those mysteries."

Porter Goss as that sock that keeps disappearing in the dryer? Porter Goss as the secret sauce?
Is anyone else bothered by that nonsense response? He's left a public post suddenly. He doesn't even feel the need to trot out a phony excuse to cover for the real reason.

"Tens of Thousands Protest in Greece Against U.S. Wars" (Democracy Now!):
In Greece, tens of thousands of protesters marched in Athens on Saturday to condemn the Iraq invasion and a possible U.S. attack on Iran. According to press account, one small group of protesters fired petrol bombs and stones at police outside the U.S. embassy. Riot police responded with tear gas.

Bully Boy's woken the world. Not in support of him, but he's woken the world. This does have an effect, both abroad and at home. It calls attention to reality and is one more piece in the puzzle that, with a little luck, when it's finally put together reads: "Impeach Bully Boy Now!"

"Bush: Catching 7.5 Pound Perch as Highlight Of Presidency" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile in another interview with the German press, President Bush was questioned about the high point of his presidency. Bush said "I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound perch in my lake."

Mike has a funny remark on this so check out Mikey Likes It! for his comments. It is funny. (You'll wish you'd thought of it. I wish I had.)

Jim just called and asked if I could do something? (I'd suggested something similar to Mike when we were on the phone earlier.) He was hoping I could note the content of the latest edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review. So here it is:

A Note to Our Readers *** this is where Jim writes something about what the edition was like to write and what's in it.
Editorial: Bully Boy Thinking? *** this is an editorial pulling together several strands to note the importance of perspective.
TV: The Urine Stains of David Mamet *** Ava and C.I. tackle CBS' The Unit (winner? Ava and C.I.). Read it for their strong feminist critique, read it to laugh, read for any number of reasons.
Darfur *** we addressed the issue of Darfur with an idea that no one's tossing around.
Head on Home (a musical in four scenes) *** here we address Darfur and other issues musically. See if you don't recognize the Senator.
Where do you get your information? *** this is about the importance of indymedia with a review of a morning show you should listen to and see if it's for you. What show? Use the link.
Radio highlights for Sunday (and one for Monday) *** These programs have already aired but all have archived broadcast.
Why He Took On Rumsfeld: Ray McGovern Talks to Democracy Now! *** importance of indymedia gain. Ray McGovern appeared on many programs last week. Why did the left note corporate media as opposed to Democracy Now!
TV commentary takes a back seat this week to Colbert *** the piece Ava and C.I. didn't want to write for a variety of reason. One reason? They were afraid it would overshadow the rest of the edition. It has thus far. The e-mails they are getting are 5 to 1 about this piece.
Book: Anthony Arnove's IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal *** great book.
Shame of the Week (Musical) *** when someone writes an anthem for a movement and goes on for years about how much that means, should they sell the song to a corporation that uses it to mock the movement?

Reality check below.

"Democracy Now: Part II of the Stephen Kinzer interview, Robert McChesney, Larry Johnson" (The Common Ills):
Iraq snapshot.
Chaos and violence continue.
Australia's ABC reports, car bombs took the lives of at least 21 and wounded at least 52 in Kerbala while two went off in Baghdad killing at least nine and wounding at least 20. CNN notes the death of one police officer and two others wounded in Baquba on Sunday evening as well as ten Iraqis wounded from a bomb blast in Muqdadiya. CBS & the AP note the names of the five British soldiers who died when their helicopter crashed (shot down with a rocket) this weekend: Sarah Mulvihill, John Coxen, Darren Chapman, David Dobson and Paul Collins. Sarah Mulvihill was "[t]he first British servicewomen to die in action in Iraq." Today?
As noted this morning by Sandra Lupien during the news breaks of
KPFA's The Morning Show, a car bomb outside a courthouse in Baghdad claimed the lives of at least five and wounded at least ten, while 2 Iraqi journalists kidnapped Sunday have been found (dead, bullets to the head).
The bombing at the courthouse wasn't the only one in Baghdad.
Reuters reports a second one (in the al-Tayaran Square) took the lives of at least five and wounded at least eight. Another bombing in Baghdad, "eastern Baghdad," resulted in at least 17 wounded (four of which were police officers). While southeast of Baghdad, the Associated Press notes (as did Lupien) the death of an American soldier from a roadside bomb.
In Sunday's New York Times,
Sabrina Tavernise noted the kidnapping (on Saturday) of three with the Interrior Ministry. Today in Baghdad, Reuters reports that a bus with employess of the Ministry of Higher Education was fired upon (the driver was killed, at least three others on the bus were wounded). (BBC notes only one wounded "policeman who was guarding the bus.") Taverinse also noted that on Saturday, 43 corpses had been found in Iraq ("All of the victims were handcuffed and shot in the head."). In Baghdad today, Reuters notes, six more corpses have been discovered ("signs of torture . . . gun wounds to their heads"). Three corpses were found in Khan al-Mahawil, CNN reports. The three had been "police commandos" and were kidnapped Friday ("single bullet to the head").
BBC notes the attack on a pipeline that's shut down "Mussayab power station." MSNBC notes Iraqi "police Col. Ahmed Mijwayl" as explaining that the pipeline carried "oil from Dora refinery in Baghdad to Musayyib power station."
Finally, on today's
The Morning Show, Andrea Lewis interviewed Dr. Dahlia Wasfi, an Iraqi-American who reported on her recent visit to Iraq (Dec. 2005 to March 2006). Wasfi found limited electricity, no potable water (none "through tap water, people have to buy water") and no security. From 2 hours of blackouts two years ago, they now have rolling blackouts which means those with electricity are buying generators (and buying gas to fuel them). The American bases and the British bases have electricity and running water, Wasfi noted. Which says, "We could not care less about the suffering of the Iraqi people. . . . The Iraqis have had about all the help they can take from the American people." She repeatedly found that things were worse now "than before 2004 . . . before we invaded and life wasn't great then." Healthcare is a "disaster." She cited several examples but this one may be the one underscores the point the most: Hospitals "in Basra . . . couldn't do operations for a week because they had no gauze." She summarized the current state with this: "There is chaos, there is anarchy in Iraq and it will continue after we leave . . . because we destroyed the civilian infrastructure . . . We don't belong there."
By the way Dahlia Wasfi, Christian Peacemaker Team Beth Pyles, Pablo Paredes and Yussef El Guindi will be at an event ("
Building Resistance" A Not in Our Name Benefit of Theatre and Conscience") in Oakland, CA (The Grand Lake Theater, 3200 Grand Avenue) and Andrea Lewis will be the moderator of the event. ** Thursday, May 11th; 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.**