Saturday, September 02, 2006

C.I.'s Iraq snapshot

C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from yesterday. Eddie and Joan both e-mailed asking why it wasn't noted? The roundtable was time consuming for everyone and I think we probably just were too busy copy and pasting that today to even think of anything else.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, September 1, 2006. Violence and chaos continue in Iraq, the Pentagon gets into a slap-fight with Nouri al-Maliki, Reuters schills for Operation Happy Talkers, an AWOL officer who returned finds himself charged with desertion, and
AFP estimates that "nearly 400" Iraqis have died in the last "five-day bloodbath".

On August 11th, Ricky Clousing was the subject of press coverage for his decision to turn himself in after self-checking out of the military following his return from Iraq in 2005. Clousing turned himself in at Fort Lewis and, on August 18th, he was at Fort Bragg. The Associated Press is reporting that Ricky Clousing's attorney states his client "will face a desertion charge".

As Mark Wilkerson noted during an interview with Dennis Bernstein on
KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday, desertion is a charge that, if found guilty of, people have been executed for. Wilkerson turned himself in yesterday after a year and half of being AWOL. Wilkerson discussed returning from Iraq and attempting to get a c.o. status. He was denied. Following the denial he prepared a rebuttal contesting it and then came the news that his unit was being redeployed to Iraq. Wilkerson was told that that his rebuttal wouldn't even be considered until he returned from his second deployment to Iraq.

Steve Morse noted to Willie Monro (San Francisco's ABC 7), "There's increasing numbers of people who have been to Iraq more than once. They're coming back with post traumatic stress disorder. Some of them refuse to go back, will not go back. . . [And, due to the intentionally difficult hurdles imposed by the military] [m]any people just give up and go AWOL."

Also interviewed by Bernstein on yesterday's
Flashpoints was Ann Wright who was at Camp Casey III in Crawford, Texas. Wright explained why she left the State Department in 2003 and how her decision carried no legal consequences because she was a civilian by that point. (Wright is also a retired Army Col.) She said that she had great respect for those who feel that the war is illegal, weigh the consequences and are still willing to take a stand. Responding to a question from Bernstein about the verbal attacks on Americans by the administration in recent days, Wright stated: ". . . the traitors are the ones that get our country into a war of choice." On the subject of Alberto Gonzales' morally challenged confused state over what is and isn't torture, Wright suggested that he ask people to do the acts "to him and he can figure out what torture is."

Wright, of course,
was a witness at Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing, Thursday August 17th. Ehren Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Lt. Col. Keith's recommendation (he was the presiding officer in the Article 32 hearing) recommended court-martial and the recommendation is now working its way through the system.

Lisa Albers (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) notes, "Watada is not a conscientious objector, he is not against war itself" but he believes that the Iraq was is illegal and "that his participation in the Iraq war would make him party to war crimes". Which is the point his father Bob Watada made, as Marilyn Bechtel (People's Weekly World) notes, while he was speaking in the San Francisco Bay Area: "Calling the war a violation of the U.S. Constitution as well as international law, Bob Watada said his son was acting to uphold the Constitution, including his rights to free speech."

In Nichei Bei Times,
former WWII Chaplain George Aki writes: "Lt. Watada has taken a position asserting a higher loyalty than to patriotism, which right is the guarantee of our Constitution. He deserves to do his patriotic duty but defines his loyalty to the principles which are truly the foundation of our democracy." Mei Nakano writes (Nichi Bei Times): "If Lt. Watada succeeds in his purpose, we, the public should be better informed about the Iraq war, might be moved to protest further unprovoked preemptive strikes against a sovereign nation -- and illegality, and strive to get the U.S. out of Iraq where the wanton killing of thousands of civilians surges upward daily. This, not to mention the 2,700 U.S. troops who have already died in the name of this debacle."

More information can be found at
Courage to Resist and and Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) is advising those calling Donald Rumsfeld (703-545-6700) or mailing him (1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000) to say: "Hands off Ehren Watada! Let him go." Billie advises that you can use to e-mail the Pentagon. She suggests "Re: Ehren Watada" or "ATTN: DONALD RUMSFELD."

Independent journalist Sarah Olson interviewed Watada and others while covering the story and the military is making noises that she should be compelled to testify.
Olson reports (Truthout) that the Bully Boy is "making an end run around government checks and balances" to push through Divine Strike -- "a 700-ton explosive experiment" that was due to be tested in Nevada back in June but met with objection. Now Bully Boy has his eyes on "early 2007."

Turning from mutally assured self-destruction to the slap fight involving the Pentagon and puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki,
Reuters reports that the Pentagon has issued a report today stating that: "Conditions the could lead to civil war exist in Iraq." Always one to see the glass half-full, the the third-degree burn as not a fifth-degree one, the report also states: "Nevertheless, the current violence is not a civil war, and movement toward a civil war can be prevented." Even heavily dosed/laced with optimism, the report stands in contrast to al-Maliki's claim Sunday on CNN's Late Edition: "In Iraq, we'll never be in civil war."

This as the death toll on Thursday night's attacks in Baghdad continue to mount. As
Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) reported, the attacks began "around 6:30 p.m." and "[w]itnesses and police" report the use "of rockets, mortars and car bombs." Edward Wong (New York Times), early on, put the death toll at 43. Reuters reported it was seven rockets and that 50 were killed. As Friday progressed, the death toll climbed to 67 (BBC) while Rebecca Santana (AP) reports that "more than 286" were wounded. CNN reports that "[t]he blasts destroyed six residential buildings in five neighborhoods".

The final toll probably won't be known until the rubble has been searched (and it's true that some wounded will not survive). On the topic of the death toll, Reuters notes that the ministries (Health, Defense and Interior) "consistently provide lower figures than the numbers released by the morgue" so why, with only "partial figures" given them by the ministries, are they headlining a piece, "
Violent deaths in Iraq drop in August - govt stats"? If they "consistently provide lower figures" and if, on top of that, you've been provided with only "partial figures" why would you believe that the figure has dropped from July's 1065? (The partial figure is 769.)


Associated Press reports an oil pipeline near Musayyib was bombed. Reuters notes that a roadside bomb in Baghdad left three Iraqi police officers dead, while one in Kirkuk left three wounded, while mortar shells in Mahmudiya resulted in the death of "one child" and wounded three people.


Reuters reports a home invasion in Numaniya that killed the home owner (police officer). The AP notes that, in Ramadi, a police officer was shot dead in a drive-by.


Reuters reports that three corpses were discovered in Kerbala ("blindfolded and handcuffed") and Rebecca Santana (AP) reports that, in Kut, Kamil Shateb's corpse was discovered a day after the "former intelligence officer during Saddam's regime" was kidnapped.

Finally, in the United States,
Camp Democracy open September 5th on the National Mall in DC. The day prior Greg Palast and Gael Murphy will host a fundraiser. For details on that and the schedule of other events, click here.

Roundtable with Trina, Rebecca, Betty and C.I. where we discuss food, Iraq, and the media

Thursday night, there was a roundtable. Rebecca assumed that Trina and I both would be too busy to participate. We read it (you can read Betty's "Found in the paper" and I'm going with that because Trina's noting Rebecca's "roundtable" both Rebecca and Betty participate in both) and both wished we could have taken part so Rebecca scheduled another one late last night/early this morning. We did have to take a break to grab some sleep. (The break is noted in the 'rush transcript.') It was great to take part and thanks to everyone who took part.

Rebecca: Our second day in a row of roundtables. Tonight, topics will include food, independent media and the war in Iraq. Participating are:

Trina of Trina's Kitchen;
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz;
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
and C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review

Our first topic is food. For this, we'll be referencing Jane Goodall's 2005 book Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating, The New York Times Sunday Magazine cover story "The School-Lunch Test" by Lisa Belkin from the August 20, 2006 issue and The Nation's September 11, 2006 "The Food Issue" featuring contributions from many people on this topic. Trina?

Trina: For me, and probably for a lot of people who've followed food issues, the starting point is Frances Moore Lappe. She wrote Diet for a Small Planet in 1971 and it's updated regularly. That's a book I've gone through so many copies of. There are times when someone looks at it and I can tell they're really interested so I'll say, "You take it." Then I'll buy a new copy. Or I'll be using various recipes and the binding will break over time, so I'll buy a new copy. It's always been a staple in my kitchen since I first discovered the book. So when I saw her name on the cover of The Nation's Food Issue, I went to her article first. "A Right to Food? How to Frame The Fight Against Hunger," on page 39, actually is a good set up for the issue because it presents the rights of food noting that the UN's 1948 Delcaration of Human Rights declared foor a right as did the 1993 Vienna Conference on Human Rights. But she argues that there are problems with making the case just on the argument that it is a right since "rights and power are too easily uncoupled." She argues it should be seen as a power and, using that perspective, this will increase our ownership and our activism. The other issues raised in the Food Issue spring from that perspective. So if I were editing the issue, I would have opened with the argument Frances Moore Lappe presents.

Elaine: I'd question the placement as well. On the one hand, maybe it was seen as a summation and that's why it was placed where it was. But I agree with Trina, it works better as an opening essay. Something like Liza Featherstone's "Mean or Green? Wal-Mart's Organic Turn Divides The Movement," which starts on page 31, is enhanced when you realize your stake in it. Alice Waters has a strong essay that opens the section on food --

C.I.: "Slow Food Nation," page 13.

Elaine: Right. But I actually would have flipped the two. To me, it reads more like a conclusion. It's looking to the past and to today and it's much briefer. I'd end with that and open with Moore Lappe. The danger is that for those who are reading and not interested in the topic, or not seriously interested, by the time they're getting to the ownership of the issue, the perspective Moore Lappe's dealing with where we own our power, they may feel, "I've read all these articles, I'm done." I would have structured with Waters at the end because it is a shorter essay and it really is a summation.

Betty: If we're talking about placement, I would've moved Felcia Mello's "Hard Labor: For Farmworkers, It's Not Easy Being Organic." That starts on page 21 and it's an important article but, I did put the magazine down. I care about the issues, I think it's great that The Nation devoted an issue to it -- and look forward to an issue devoted to Iraq, hint, hint -- but Mello's talking about the non-organic realities for some workers on so-called organic farms. The farms aren't alternative in the ways they treat workers.

Elaine: And for anyone who's not read the article, talk about it.

Betty: Well, some farms that are organic actually do treat the workers like human beings. Others don't. The workers are largely immigrants. Mello describes seven-minute bathroom breaks on some farms, where the workers are timed. The wages are poor and there are no benefits. It's using 'organic' in the sense that there may not be pesticides but the treatment of workers is no better than it is on many farms, organic or not.

Trina: And she gives an example of Jim Cochran who owns Swanton Berry Farm who actually does offer benefits like medical, dental and pension and pays a higher wage. He made that choice and the people working at Swanton Berry Farm work under a union contract which is not common, nor are the benefits and wages offered, when compared to the other farms she visits.

Betty: And that woman who was studying law in Mexico but thought coming to America would improve her financial situation --

C.I.: Beatriz Gonzalez.

Betty: Beatriz Gonzales. She works for eight hours a day on her feet, sorting oranges and she's got arthritis and, in her knuckles she has arthritis, from the work, and she's been working there for four years and makes only $7.30 an hour. The minimum wage, which she started at, in California is $6.75. And that actually reminded me of conversations and discussion Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari have had on KPFA's The Morning Show about how there is so little affordable housing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Was she from that area?

C.I.: No, she's near Bakersfield. That's further south and closer to Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. Or that's where the farm is, I have no idea where she lives. But affordable housing is a problem pretty much everywhere.

Betty: And Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari have talked a lot about the living wage and there's just no way that someone making $7.30 an hour, working a forty hour week, at a job after four years, is making a living wage. Mello, the author of the article, talks to a shopper and she, the shopper, asumes that food from organic farms means the workers are better off.

Elaine: Right, she talks about the assumption that those marketing has dubbed "hard core" organic produce consumers have about that.

Betty: And about how there are other consumers who don't know about the conditions and prefer not to know. How it's a personal choice, usually for their children, wanting their children to not be exposed to pesticides and all, and they'll purchase organic but they're really of the "Don't wake me from this dream because I don't want to deal with reality."

Rebecca: You said you had to put the issue down after that article. How come?

Betty: Well. I mean, what do you do? That's what Frances Moore Lappe's addressing and why I think you open with that. Mello's talking about labels that would note true organic, the idea that hard core consumers have of the working conditions that produce the organic foods they purchase, and that's needed but I just had to put it down because, and I buy some organic in the winter but, for the most part, my father's semi-retired, he works his garden like crazy. In the spring, summer and fall, we've got more than enough fresh fruits and vegetables usually. I can't leave my parents house without hearing, "Oh take some of this, take some of that." The backyard was supposed to be just a few rows and my mother jokes about how now she steps out her back door and her backyard is gone because he's turned it into a farm. But when I do buy organic, in the winter, I am just like the hard core consumer Mello talks to at Whole Foods, I've just assumed, "Organic food equals fair labor practices." So it was just shocking to realize how frequently that isn't true. And, from Mello's article, that's not the exception, which I could have handled, but that's the norm for a lot of farmers so it was just a shock. It really depressed me and I had to put the issue down. If Liza Featherstone wasn't a name I recognized, I might not have picked it back up. She wrote a great article debating the pros and cons of Wal-Marts move into stocking organic foods. But when I got to Frances Moore Lappes' article, it was like, "Okay, here's something that can be done. Here's a way to look at it and address it." If that makes sense. And, just to put it into perspective, I went from laughing with Jim Hightower, who's a very funny writer, to the shock of Mello's article.

Rebecca: Now organic practices are something that Jane Goodall addresses in Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating. C.I.?

C.I.: What? You haven't read the book?

Rebecca: I read it and loved it, thank you for it. But I'm trying to be moderator.

C.I.: You are allowed to comment. Goodall's tackling that issue, and Betty, I can send you the book if you're interested and a great deal more.

Betty: I'd love to read the book. Let me check at my library later today and if they don't have it, yes, please send it.

C.I.: No problem. But to me the issue of Goodall's book that I wanted to raise was one that Barbara Kingsolver also raised in Small Wonder. You have, in your produce departments, all these foods from various places.

Betty: Holland has been big in my supermarket. I have no idea why. But at the end of spring, suddenly they had some fruits from Holland. I don't even remember what. I didn't buy it. But I remember thinking, "Holland? Don't we have growers in Georgia?"

C.I.: Which is a point that both Goodall and Kingsolver make -- which is, this notion that we should have year round access to everything. There are growing seasons. That's part of the natural cycle. Instead of addressing that, we're getting fruits and vegetables from all over the world and, to have those, requires they are shipped great distances which requires fuel both for to get from point A to point B and to keep the produce refrigerated. Goodall uses strawberries as one example and notes that they are picked too soon so that they will last through the travel cycle. This effects the taste and effects the quality of the nutrition. Goodall writes of how some produce native to certain areas is in danger of being lost because it doesn't travel as well so there's no large market for it. And Kingsolver writes, this is a paraphrase, I don't have the book in front of me: "Most adults my age couldn't pass a simple test on what foods are grown in their home countries and what month they come to maturity." She writes of visiting a friend in Manhattan, in winter, who was serving a dish with fresh raspberries, and wondering where, in winter, fresh raspberries came from. Both Goodall and Kingsolver stress the point that it's important to eat locally grown produce both to support your communities and to cut down on the waste of fuel which, of course, effects the environment with the fuel being burned off into it and polluting so that we can have this or that out of season produce. Goodall focuses on how diets, over time, adapted to the environments they were in. She offers the Masai people of East Africa who ate a meat heavy diet due to the fact that they were cattle herders. But, as a result of the plants they ate, they had less problems than would be expected from a meat based diet. And how the Tohono O'odham tribe, in Arizona, began moving from their native diet to a more processed one and even the children were developing diabetes.

Rebecca: Which is a good transition to the article in The New York Times' Sunday magazine. This is from Lisa Belkin's "The School-Lunch Test," QUOTE: "By any health measure, today's children are in crisis. Seventeen percent of American children are overweight, and increasing numbers of children are developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes, which until a few years ago, was a condition seen almost only in adults. The obesity rate of adolescents has tripled since 1980 and shows no sign of slowing down. Today's children have the dubious honor of belonging to the first cohort in history that may have a lower life expectancy than their parents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has predicted that 30 to 40 percent of today's children will have diabetes in their lifetime if current trends continue." And for those wondering why that quote wasn't set off, we're trying to make this as easy as possible for everyone to copy and paste without worrying about spacing. You'll find typos here, just like the last one. This is a rush transcript. Those wanting links, we're providing very few. We've told you where the article is, you can go to a web site and hunt it down if you're interested.

Elaine: Just googling the author and title should provide you with the article.

Rebecca: Right. So that's the current stats for children today and what can be done regarding student lunches is the focus of the article. Who wants to start?

C.I.: As with Frances Moore Lappe, I know and respect the work of Alice Waters so I'm excusing myself from commenting on either so no one thinks, "Of course you would say that."

Elaine: I wish you wouldn't. But let me grab the article because the Alice Waters aspect seemed more than insulting. I didn't care for this article at all. I didn't care for the majority of the people speaking in it. I didn't care for what happened in the schools.

Betty: The pledge. What was that? A woman has children recite a pledge to eat this and that? I'm sorry, my kids don't recite any pledge that I haven't been informed of prior and that I haven't given my consent to. If one of my kids came home telling me about a pledge like that, I would be up at the school complaining. It doesn't matter what the pledge is, what it's topic, I would be complaining because you don't tell my kids to pledge to anything without my permission. I am the parent.

Trina: You know I had the same response. This was a pledge that I could live with, and I assume Betty could as well, right?

Betty: Right. But you tell me first. You get my approval.

Trina: Because today's it's something we agree with, and I only have one child still in school, the other seven are out. Mike's in college of course, so it's just my youngest daughter that's still in school. She's in high school. Something like this, if she were pledging it, I would assume, "Well she's old enough to make up her own mind." And if that included not wanting to take the pledge, then the school better not have attempted to shame or force her into it. But I don't like the idea of pledges being brought into a school, regardless of what they are, without a parent being informed of and giving their consent. This was elementary school. And while I would have given my consent to the pledge, I would have had to have been notified first. I'm with Betty on that.

Betty: Because what someone else is okay with may not be something I'm okay with. There are many issues that I wouldn't want my children pledging to. I also had serious concerns about a lose weight diet author being put in charge in children's food. I would have been one of the parents calling the school system, as happened in Florida, asking, "Why is my child being put on the South Beach Diet?" And the fact that a parent did that demonstrates that parents probably weren't informed of it before the program started. They may have been told there was a new lunch program. But I'm sorry, I wouldn't want my kids on Atkins, I wouldn't want them on South Beach. I don't understand how you skip nutritionists when you're dealing with something as important as children's lunches and breakfasts? I don't care that you've written a 'hot' book or that you're responsible for a fad. That's not speaking to my children's needs.

Elaine: And what a child needs and what an adult needs are different things so I have trouble grasping how someone who wrote a weight loss book for adults could be brought in to begin with. That makes no sense. The issue of Alice Waters, just to touch it on quickly, there's a bit more going on with her program than weight loss. It's about healthy eating, reconnecting with your environment and long term goals. I don't believe that was grasped in the article.

C.I.: If you're talking weight loss, you're talking food and you're talking activity. Nation wide, there has been reduction in free form activity as well as in structured play. Harry Truman's cited in that article, about how WWII inductees were rejected due to being underweight and how, in 1946, Truman signed the legislation to guarantee that every child would have a meal which, hopefully, for those in struggling environments, would be the most nutritious meal. Where's the legislation for activity? There is no time for that because everyone's so busy teaching to a test which may be why some teachers didn't want to use the guide material they were provided with. But, and this is why choosing someone who wrote an adult diet book as your 'savior' is such a problem, your expectations with regards to diet are way too high. You're talking one meal. The Florida program, that's the state it's going on in, at some schools, is focusing on K through 6th. Somone familiar with children would be fully aware that children do not generally prepare all their meals. Truman wanted children to have a nutritious meal. That can be done. It can be done with the Florida program. But one meal is not weight loss. Lunch and breakfast is not weight loss. Any adult trying to lose significant weight by eating one healthy meal a day, low-fat, would not, or should not, expect to lose significant weight as a result if the other meals remain the same. And in many cases, the other meals will remain the same because of resources, what kind of stores you have access to, what kind of time you have to prepare a meal, etc. You want weight loss, you have to up the activity time each time. You want to reduce calories and fat for one meal a day, that's a worthy cause. But don't assume that will result in any significant weight loss.

Elaine: Remember to that one parent complained about how her child wouldn't eat anything at home, after the program started, and she said, the parent, that she couldn't very well throw out everything. Any adult who has done some diet is familiar with the restocking required. I don't think the parents were given, or shown, any power in this program -- going back to Frances Moore Lappe. I also think there's too much denial. Don't complain about the weight loss, which does require physical mobility, as C.I. pointed out, and allow people to sell Chick-fil-A bisquits in the parking lot at the start of the day. Don't say it's mainly parents buying. Why are you selling those to begin with? Yes, the PTO is selling them to raise funds. If you've banned junk food from the cafetria, why are you inviting it on to the campus once a week? As for JoAnn Kandrac, she's kidding herself. She says that the McDonalds coupons provided are "a tradition." The whole point of the program is to break away from bad traditions. If you give those coupons out to honor roll students as a reward then you are presenting McDonalds as an indulgence you can earn. It's a mixed message. Her excuse is, "This is educating our children that they can make smart choices at places like McDonalds." When the coupon you hand out allows them one burger, one fries, one soft drink, they're not making smart choices, they're redeeming coupons and being handed junk food.

Rebecca: I would agree with that. I also found it laughable that the author of the South Beach Diet took exception to her plan being called that and noted that it was a way of eating healthy. You put "Diet" in your book title and you marketed it as a weight loss gain. If anyone's confused, it's the author of that book. We're now turning to the topic of independent media. To give background, WBAI broadcast a program Thursday, The Largest Minority. I was listening with my friend T and we've all now listened to the program. Rachel called it to Mike's attention for one reason in particular but that entire interview was a problem. Who wants to start?

Trina: I'll just note that the issue, and Rachel was clear in this and Mike was clear in summing up her e-mail at his site, was not that someone was talking about cooking. It was the fact that two women were speaking, a host and a guest, and the guest was instructing the listeners to cook to please their man. That's how it played: Please Your Man. The whole thing was insulting. But that was the most insulting.

C.I.: The whole thing had no place on a Pacifica station. Tackling menapause, which a program in March did, fine. Tackling rape, tackling health issues, even discussing cooking, that's fine. But that retro bullshit, and I do call it that, had no place on Pacifica. It would have been booed by the mid-sixites. That it's considered acceptable today is nonsense. I e-mailed Rachel about it after I listened because the cook-for-your-man was only one problem with it. She agreed and said that writing the e-mail to Miake, she did it while she was listening to the show, was when she was ready to scream and she decided to focus on only one point to get the e-mail sent out. But to be clear, it wasn't just the women-you-better-keep-your-man-happy-by-cooking-for-him bullshit, it was also the guest offering up that women needed to marry men who were more successful than they were because that was the only way to happy marriage and that this was the natural balance. That bullshit, and I will call it that, I try to be supportive of independent media but I will not support that crap, had no business airing on any Pacifica station and the host's giggling responses were tragic. She should have called the guest out. She didn't. She giggled, she made jokes about her own significant other, she was playful, she was everything but a mature adult woman. It was embarrassing to listen to and, Mike was right, it was retro.

Betty: I want to add that this is exactly the sort of thing I talk about when I praise Andrea Lewis. Lewis isn't doing that nonsense. She's not playing like she's sitting in the beauty parlor giggling with the gals, while she waits her turn. This was sub-standard. It's the reason I don't listen to most radio programs geared towards Black women. I find it insulting to hear that "You go, girl!" nonsense. That's all it was. The guest and the host were Black women. I find it embarrassing that this nonsense aired, I find it more embarrassing as a Black woman that it was put out there by Black women.

Rebecca: T hated it as well. When it ended, she said, "Thank God I'm a lesbian. Hopefully, I've never embarrassed myself like that." She also made the comparison to a beauty parlor.

Betty: Well, T's Black. She's aware that this "Oh we got to get us a man and keep us a man, girlfriend!" nonsense is too often put out there to Black women as the height of any discussion we're capable of. Again, I have praised Andrea Lewis and she's earned it because she's not trying to deny who she is, racially or sexually, she's not playing prim and proper, she's natural on air. What I heard on WBAI, however, was a stereotype that Terry McMillan wouldn't even try to promote. I was so insulted and called Rebecca and asked, "Do I have to listen to the whole thing?"

Rebecca: Betty had fury in her voice. I could tell she was ticked off.

Betty: Because it's bad enough that Black women are fed that stuff on commercial radio. To have to hear it from a non-commercial radio station, one where supposedly educated discussions take place?

Rebecca: Your mother dropped by while you were listening and she didn't care for it either.

Betty: I was on the phone with Rebecca and my sister had my kids because I've got hers on Saturday, she's got mine on Friday. So my mother came in, nodded to me and just sat down because I was on the phone. She listened for about a minute half before she said something about how those women were 'tripping.' It's embarrassing to hear those kind of caricatures. As though all Black women can do is focus on getting a man and keeping him. And that 'advice' was so insulting. But it was presented in that you-go-girl wrapping that we're all supposed to assume surrounds the true package of Black women. I was disgusted. Again, I could hear that on commercial radio without having to go up and down the dial too much. Andrea Lewis, if anyone didn't get the points I was trying to make when I subbed for Rebecca or that I've made elsewhere, comes off like a grown up. Those two came off like a parody you'd see on Mad TV. It was so disgusting. I was so disappointed and so outraged and, like Rebecca said, I was furious.
I'm sure some liked it. I'm sure some White audience members thoughts, "Oh them colored women and their man troubles." I feel like I'm saying the same thing over and over. I can understand Rachel being so furious that she only focused on one thing in her e-mail to Mike. I'll just shut up at this point because I'm getting too angry.

C.I.: I think you expressed yourself very well. I don't think you were repeating yourself. But it was insulting. It was insulting on many levels. Again, had Pacifica broadcast that conversation in the mid-sixties, regardless of the race involved, there would have been fury over it. There should be today. The key points were, you have to find a man who is 'better than you' and hold the power because that is the only way to have a successful relationship and, after you find that man, your long day at work doesn't matter, get in the kitchen, over "a hot stove" and cook, because men like that. They like for their women to cook for them.

Elaine: You know what I thought of while I was listening? That scene in Tootsie. Where Dustin Hoffman's Dorothy Michaels and Dorothy's speaking to the battered woman and breaks from the text. When the director yells cut, Dustin as Michael pretending to be an actress named Doroty says that she wouldn't tell any woman to give up her home. I just flashed on that for some reason and maybe it's because there was more feminism and awareness in Dustin Hoffman's performance of Dorothy Michaels than there was in that entire show broadcast on WBAI. What's next? I think Rachel made a joke, in her e-mail Mike quoted, about how maybe they could offer up programs on how to apply blush? That really is the next step, the next low. That was disgusting. That it aired on progressive radio was disgusting.

Betty: They'll get an out. The show will. It will be, and this is what makes me so furious, well that's the way 'those people' talk. No, it's not the way I talk, it's certainly not the way any of my friends talk and it's not the way my mother or her friends talk. Silly little girls, aged old women who fancy themselves as 'girls,' talk that way. Mature women deal with serious issues and don't sit around yacking over how to keep your man satisified with you. Now I do go to a hot stove every evening after I get home from work, after I've picked up the kids. I do that because I am their mother. You can take it to the bank that if I didn't have children, I wouldn't be doing that for a man. A grown man's a grown man. If he's hungry, he knows where the kitchen is. If I've had a hard day, I've had a hard day. It was Black Cosmo aired on WBAI and it was insulting and embarrassing and I'll bet you anything that if it had been two White women, there would have been huge complaints about the program and there would be some attempt to address that nonsense. But it won't be seen as nonsense, it will be seen as, "Oh, I can't object that we aired something sexist and racist and retro because the two women involved are Black and what do I know about that?" And you better believe some smug, pampered Black man will rush in to say, "Oh, there was nothing wrong with it, they were just having fun." That was the first point my mother raised when I got off the phone. Because there are a number of Black men who dream of taking away the power of Black women. God forbid that they go out and get their own power. So instead it has to be a competition with us. So, yes, my mother is quite correct, some Black man on WBAI's staff will say, "Problem? There was no problem with that." There was a huge problem with that and I seriously question the way women are seen at WBAI as a result. I listen to The Morning Show, Kat tapes it for me and sends me cassettes. That airs on KPFA. I have no interest in listening to WBAI again. That something so racist and sexist could be presented and not send up alarms tells me that station has some serious problems.

Rebecca: Anyone want to add to that?

C.I.: I think Betty's said it all. She's very upset by it and she's conveyed why.

Rebecca: Okay, then we'll move on to Iraq. We'll let Trina and Elaine start because this was a topic on the last roundtable and I didn't invite either due to the late hour. They read it and wished they could have participated. So I apologize to them for not inviting them. And before we start, let me note that when I put this together, it was again last minute. I did get ahold of Ruth but she was actually doing something with four of her grandchildren so she wasn't able to participate. Okay, Iraq. Elaine or Trina?

Elaine: Why don't you start it off.

Trina: Okay. Thank you. I think the points raised in the previous roundtable were good ones, strong ones. Iraq has vanished from the coverage. Not because things improved there, it's worse. Even with the so-called crackdown, it's worse. It does bother me that the coverage is so poor and that it seems that independent media, just like mainstream media, seems to rush to cover every other topic. There's a lot of talk about how Ted Koppel read the names of the fallen on Nightline and now he's gone. Well, why can't independent media do that? Why are we going into a holiday where we will have broadcasts of pre-recorded programs and none will do that? Why will we have pre-recorded programs and no one thought, as Ruth's pointed out before, to use existing material from previous broadcasts to assemble a special on Iraq? I am very disturbed by what appears to be a lack of interest in the Iraq war.

Elaine: Those are good points, and thank you to Ava for attempting to include the point I would have raised in the previous roundtable, which is, and C.I. makes this point as well, don't blame the peace movement for the growth. Once again, we're coming up on demonstrations and actions, this month, and independent media may or may not cover the lead up, judging by past coverage, it won't, but somehow it will be the peace movement's 'fault.' Whatever the figures, it will be the fault of the peace movement for not getting and keeping X number of people interested in Iraq. As though the peace movement has a program on Pacifica or anywhere else. I'm thinking now, Dona called the office Thursday and spoke to Sunny, I had just finished a session and Sunny put it on speaker, who was that stupid woman you were all listening to?

C.I.: She wasn't on public radio. She was on commercial radio. We were in Sacremento and Jim had gone around the dial trying to find something to listen to. He landed on her and we were just appalled by her. Dona was so appalled that she wanted you to hear it. She insulted Mike Malloy, which was the whole point of over an hour of her show, Randi Rhodes and just about everyone who called in. She was a silly piece of nonsense.

Elaine: Who whined about how unfair the media was to Israel and justified Mike Malloy's firing.

C.I.: Right, but we may be doing a piece on that at The Third Estate Sunday Review, so I'm going to stop you there on the details.

Elaine: Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know that. Well, the thing that ticked me off the most was her talk of the need for 'fun.' Yes, there is a need for fun. I like fun. But if you're a political program --

C.I.: She airs on a station that carries Air America programming. Supposedly, she's a political program.

Elaine: Thank you. Then she has no excuse for whining about how she doesn't want to cover this or cover that. I'm going to drop that because I'm going to start giving examples and if this is possible piece for Third, I don't want to step on it. But the point is, there's very little coverage of Iraq. In the mainstream, in the independent media, with few exceptions, so once again, the heavy work will be done by peace groups and, once again, a turnout, a sizeable and impressive one, will turn out. But there will be the usual post-commentary of, "Why can't the peace movement mobilize?" They are mobilizing and without the help or support of the media.

Trina: I would add to that by noting that this week Donald Rumsfeld smeared critics of the Iraq war and of the so-called war on terror and instead of noting the smear and how out of bounds it was, everyone wanted to say, "Well, here's where he's wrong historically." Of course he's wrong historically. Expecting him to be right about history, when he's been wrong on everything else, is beside the point. Where were the voices condemning his statement. They could be heard in Congress. But you didn't hear them in commentary after commentary which read like everyone wanted to show off that they hadn't slept through the class discussion on WWII. Good, grab your prize. Get your pat on the head. But don't ever criticize 'tone' again because that wasn't tackled. C.I. and Cedric both listed names of people on the left who were attacked by the center and the left for statements they made. And yet Donald Rumsfeld makes an offensive statement and instead of dealing with how offensive it was, especially coming from someone serving in government, supposedly serving the people he's smearing, but all we get is, "Well, the real history of WWII . . ." Take off the kid gloves.

Rebecca: I'm with you. No wonder the left is in such a sorry state when the left can't even rise up against that kind of nonsense. Wally and Cedric did a joint entry on how Congress showed some spine even if most of the left didn't. I'm sick of that whole "You catch more flies with honey" nonsense. It's that bullshit that's allowed the playing field to tilt so extremely to the right for so long. We're not in a contest judged by Miss Manners, we're competing in the public square and if we're not willing to call out the ones who need to be called out, then we're not doing anything but proving how 'reasoned' we are. Good for the Congressional Democrats because "flies" aren't "voters" and "Look at us, we are so reasoned' isn't a winning campaing motto. Betty?

Betty: I agree and I think Trina's point is especially valid. This is the Secretary of Defense, a public servant of the people, smearing the American people. A large chunk to judge by the polls. That was so out of bounds, so off sides. It was a huge foul and instead of blowing the whistle, they wanted to talk about the next play. Sorry, Elaine.

Elaine: No, I followed your analogy.

Betty: If we can't come alive in the face of those sort of attacks, and Democrats in Congress did so good for them, then what kind of a movement do we think we have? It's a movement where, All Puff But No Politics can and did trash Bright Eyes and Kanye West, West for his statement that George W. Bush doesn't like black people, Bright Eyes for recording "When A President Talks to God" but the same supposed lefties can't call Donald Rumsfeld out on his offensive statements? That's just -- just really, really sad.

Elaine: Rebecca made the point, a good one, that some of the biggest voices, or what we were supposed to think were the biggest voices, haven't been urging the troops come home. Like she pointed out, Baby Cries A Lot has repeatedly urged just the opposite and continues to. She made a comment about how, when C.I. called Baby Cries A Lot out on that, I believe in 2004, it was seen as "controversial" and I wanted some clarity on that. I'm not surprised by it being seen as controversial but I was wondering what the crowd was.

C.I.: The Bull Moose crowd. The idiots, as Cedric pointed out, who chased down the mythical 'vangical voters and dropped the war as an issue immediately after the 2004 election. How dare I say that about Baby Cries A Lot was the gist of the e-mails from those. That and how I'd be sorry. I am sorry he has no guts. I'm not sorry for what I wrote then or since. But they are part of the problem, that crowd and Baby Cries A Lot. They wanted to push the nonsense of 'pottery barn' -- which isn't their policy -- you break it, you buy it. Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize Iraq was an uninhabited object. I thought it had citizens and that the citizens might be the ones to best chart their future.

Trina: I think it is "the other." The looking at the Iraqi people as if they're not smart enough or functioning adults and so inferior that they are our responsibility or our burden. I think it's quite clear that there's a lack of respect for them. If there wasn't, people would have been outraged in this country that contractors were being shipped in to work on reconstruction, which never really got off the ground from most reports. I think if we saw them as adults, we, in this country, would have said, "Now just a minute. There aren't any engineers in Iraq? What's going on here?" And I think Elaine wrote some wonderful pieces for the gina & krista round-robin before she ever started blogging.

Elaine: Thank you.

Trina: Unfiltered used to air on Air America. It's been cancelled for over a year now. Could you talk about that show because you did listen to it and I think that the movement is where it is in spite of the media and that Unfiltered is the perfect example.

Elaine: Sure. I used to grab an hour of it during lunch, when you could still listen to archived shows without the new steps, and, when I was scheduling a hole in the schedule to do paperwork, I'd schedule during the show so I could listen. The show was often funny. I'm not saying it wasn't. It could be entertaining. But they refused to address some issues. For instance, I think this is what Trina's talking about, they couldn't go a week without some refugee from Op-Truth. An organization that couldn't call for withdrawal and, in fact, was preaching that stay-the-course nonsense. You couldn't get a peace advocate on the show but you could hear at least once a week from them about how we needed to stay-the-course. Tariq Ali is a guest and I was nodding along with what he was saying but apparently not everyone was because as soon as he was gone, Liz Winstead felt the need to note that they didn't agree with him. Who did Rachel Maddow and Liz Winstead agree with? They fawned over Op-Truth. It was so bad at the end, that they could offer a comedic look at couple training but you still couldn't get, in a three hour program broadcasting Monday through Friday, a peace advocate. It was "We must worship their opinion because they know, they were there" as the ad they couldn't stop airing reminded you constantly. Well other vets returned from Iraq and called for withdrawal but they couldn't get on the show because we weren't going to address that. Rachel Maddow was quite clear repeatedly that, in her opinion presented as fact, troops could not leave. Now when the polls shifted, after she had her own show, she apparently had a new way of thinking. But while she was on Unfiltered, she couldn't do anything but push the stay-the-course nonsense. Liz was less inclined to but when a listener would bring up the need for a peace advocate as a regular guest, Liz would go ballistic. She did at a guy once when I was the one who'd brought it up. She went ballistic and then offered a mealy mouth apology to the guy she'd torn into. But they couldn't talk withdrawal. What good were they? They were presenting the same argument as the Bully Boy and arguing for a 'smarter war.' A war based on lies is a war based on lies and you can't 'smarten it up.' But the peace movement had to overcome that as well. Not just the mainstream media dismissing them and shutting them out but the likes of Unfiltered or Baby Cries A Lot as well. The peace movement had to overcome that and they did. There have been so many obstacles and the worst have been the ones put up by supposed 'friends.' There was also the issue and, Rachel and Liz would go spastic when anyone pointed this out, that in a democracy, no one has a greater voice. But they were treating the Op-Truth crowd like gods and goddesses. They were worshipping that hideous organization. And it was hideous and it did attack CODEPINK in March of 2005. CODEPINK is still around. Op-Truth disbanded. But not until they'd done all the damage they could. And someone tell that leader he looks like he's wearing pantyhose on his head with that stupid photo at The Huffington Post. He looks like a White boy with Mommy's pantyhose stuck to his head. All he wanted to do was talk war, war, war. Now he can't sell that because America's not buying it and he's trying to reconfigure himself. He was disgusting in 2004, he's disgusting now. And let me say, on the record, to C.I. that I'm so sorry. I would start a piece for The Common Ills on this. C.I. would note that I was doing a piece and then I'd think, "Oh, I shouldn't even go there." So my apologies to C.I. for not finishing those pieces, when the round-robin started up, I would just give them to Gina and Krista, but this was before it started up. Then when I'd say forget it, C.I. would end up writing about it and I know C.I. didn't want to even mess with that crowd. So thank you to C.I. for that.

C.I.: You don't have to thank me for that. I'm glad it was written. I wish you'd written them instead because you would have said it better but when that 'leader' was on a program this year and disagreed with another guest, he repeatedly called the other guest 'your caller' as though the man speaking, who'd also been in Iraq but had different views than rah-rah-war, "your caller." As though the other person wasn't good enough to be a guest on the same program as 'the leader.' His smugness is the least of his problems but I'm glad I said it. I think you could have said it better, but I'm glad that it got said in 2004 and 2005. And Elaine is correct, that's what the peace movement was up against. A little twerp could get airtime preaching war-war-war and Leslie Cagan couldn't. A little twerp could go on week after week with the same speech, eventually, they started bringing on others from his organization because the Unfiltered audience had too many negatives on him, which is only surprising to anyone who's never heard him pontificate. Or take the actions at the end of August and start of September in 2004. Naomi Klein rightly argued that we should bring Iraq to NYC. Toad and the others freaked out. "Oh my God! Riots!" That wasn't what she was arguing and I had a difficult time then, and still do, believing that Toad was really confused. He didn't want any protests. When Laruga Flanders interviewed Tom Hayden this year, she asked if the Democrats gained control of at least one house of Congress via the November elections and then did nothing would he be in favor of some actions of protest, harkening to 1968 in Chicago, and he said yes. The audience applauded, this was at a thing for the republishing of the Port Huron Statement. Flanders agreed as well. If the Dems gain a House and do nothing with it, then yes, we need action in the streets. We need it now. But yes, the Democrats need to be protested if they do nothing.

Rebecca: The above was done early Saturday morning for those of us in EST time zones and we took a break and are resuming later Saturday. A long break, so we could all get some sleep. Betty?

Betty: The new thing seems to be that Donald Rumsfeld should resign, the new thing elected Dems can rally around.

Rebecca: That is true. The call on that has gotten louder. Thoughts on that?

Betty: Well, he does need to. He's been repeatedly wrong, he's acted as though he's impervious. He's mishandled an illegal war. The start of the war, the lies it was built upon, meant nothing good could come from it; however, he's been at the heart of the biggest scandals from Abu Ghraib to you name it.

Rebecca: Right. Dennis Bernstein interviewed Janis Karpinski on Flashpoints and she spoke of how, when the story on that was breaking, she wasn't advised of that. She wasn't over that area of the prison, she was attempting to find out what happened when she was informed after the fact and when she returned to the prison, one of the things she noticed was, still displayed, Donald Rumsfeld's memo, signed off by him, regarding the permission granted for these 'new technicques.'

Elaine: Torture.

Rebecca: Torture. Forget his involvement, or forget splitting hairs over it, the fact that he was Secretary of Defense when that happened, and remember there are photos that Congress refused to release, the fact that he was in charge then should have led to immediate calls for his resignation though, if he had any real sense of duty, he would have resigned without anyone calling for it.

Betty: Which goes back to the lack of accountability. No one's accountable. There's no accountability for the lies that led us into war. Rumsfeld's not accountable for anything. The no-bid contracts have resulted in on accountability. We're seeing some small bit of accountability for those who bribed or received bribes, but that's really it. In so-called military justice, we've yet to see any justice. There is no accountability in this administration.

Elaine: And Congress doesn't push for accountability.

C.I.: Nor did they with the imprisonments at Guantanamo.

Elaine: Exactly. Scare the nation and keep it scared and you can do whatever you want. That is the historical, Machevillian type 'lesson' from this dark era of our history.

Trina: Bully Boy doesn't worry about history, but I do think about it. I wonder what people, future generations, will think.

Rebecca: And?

Trina: I think they'll think, "How could you be so stupid to be lied into war?" For one thing, that's what I think they'll wonder.

Rebecca: Well, and this is the point C.I.'s made for some time, it helps the excuse when you act as thought it's all Judith Miller's fault. As though she were the only one in the press pushing the war. It helps when you ignore her frequent writing partners, still at the paper.

C.I.: And to beat that drum one more time, Judith Miller was not the editor of the paper. She did not decide if her story would run, where it would run, etc. She did not publish the paper. She also did not own or operate NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSBNC, PBS, go down the list. Some papers carried her writing, other than the Times. While you can probably make a strong argument that other papers expect the Times to do some sort of work and vetting, the reality is that those papers made the choice to run her pieces. And she wasn't the only one at the Times writing those pieces nor was the Times the only paper with original reporting or 'reporting' that led the push to war. Betty was talking about the lack of accountability and she's correct but there's also a huge lack of journalistic acountability. A lot of people are basically staying silent and getting off scott free because Judith Miller's been "punished." Iraq didn't even bring Miller down. It was the outcry over the involvement in the Plamegate matter. Which, to be clear, Judith Miller never wrote on. Her reporting had been questionable for some time, prior to the lead up to the Iraq war, then came her involvement in that. She refused to testify without her source, Scooter Libby now indicted, giving her permission to break the privacy trust built into the source and reporter equation. Because of who she was and the issues involved, a lot in the press wanted to scream, "Oh she should be forced to testify!" She wasn't sympathetic to many in the general public but it's still surprising to me how many of her peers were willing to turn on her. The Times saw headlines, after her release from jail was on the horizon, and honestly didn't realize the aminosity towards her by readers, the public -- which includes non-readers and there are a lot of them to judge by some of the criticism which attempts to hold her responsible for things she never even wrote -- and by the Times own staff. When that sunk in, Judith Miller's days as a reporter at the paper came to an end.

Rebecca: The myth is Iraq brought her down.

C.I.: Her gender and manner of carrying herself brought her down. If it wasn't about gender, others would be held accountable for their own actions but a lot of men are still around. When the issue of the lies, the press lies, that led us into war, is discussed, people always say "Judith Miller." She became the focal point. By all means, hold her accountable for what she wrote, but she's being held accountable for things she didn't even write. And the idea that one person could be so all mighty powerful is laughable. But it plays into the fear of women, powerful women especially, still in this society, so it's much easier to bash Miller and let others go unnamed. It's also true that Bash the Bitch, the true national pasttime, is so ingrained in this country that even those who didn't read the paper, didn't follow the criticism, know her name. It may be more well known than Jayson Blair's.

Rebecca: That would be interesting, to see Zogby or some other organization poll on that.

Elaine: I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case. Blair's largely fallen out of the public eye but the war drags on and when people want to appear 'informed,' they'll toss off her name. She is the short-hand and it goes to, I agree completely, the fear of women in this society. She wasn't the only one who needs her feet held to the fire but she was the most prominent woman so she becomes the face for all.

Betty: And no one hear is defending her reporting. We are talking about the fact that to give Tim Russert or anyone else a pass is insane. I'm borrowing from C.I. here, but Dick Cheney offering lies on Meet the Press and then waving around a copy of The New York Times with a story on the front page doesn't mean Tim Russert has to take a dive. Nor does it excuse the awful reporting that the networks aired or the way they shut out voices in their aired discussions. Do you think they were all saying, "I wish we could have on someone opposed to the war. Hey, check with Judy Miller? Maybe she's okay with it. If so, we'll book Medea Benjamin." It's crazy. Her area, Judith Miller's, was The New York Times. If that paper and only that paper pushed the war, it wouldn't be enough. Other outlets did and no one is held accountable for that. We all are supposed to act like it was all Judith Miller.

C.I.: And now the witch has been burned and the village purified. That's the take away, that's the message being sent. A lot people, especially a lot of men, must be real grateful that what passes for press criticism is so superficial that not only do they not have to explain their own pre-war actions, but that no one even bothers to note those actions. Danny Schechter's documentary WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception, a great film, has him wondering if it was all a dream? The press coverage. The official narrative today is such that the question could be posed: "Was it all Judy Miller?" The answer is now but the official narrative doesn't bear that out.

Trina: And it amazes me that Dexter Filkins, also with The New York Times, has not gotten the criticism he deserves. My paper does, or did, carry his stories. And he wrote the most mythical accounts.

Elaine: As C.I. has said for 2 years now, if Miller got the US over there --

C.I.: If.

Elaine: If, it's people like Dexter Filkins that have kept us there with their non-reality based reporting.

Trina: And that point, which I agree with 100%, is demonstrated repeatedly but no one tackles it. Well, in this community it is tackled and I'm sure in a few places elsewhere, but in the supposed press watchdog quarters, it's not even dealt with. Filkins was outed by The Washington Post as their go-to-guy when they wanted to plant a story. The reporter --

C.I.: Thomas E. Ricks.

Trina: Gets Dexy to speak on the record and it didn't even cause a ripple. Or take his review of Paul Bremer's book. Danny Schechter did take him to task and that was one of the few who did.
The point Schechter made was, "If you knew this then, why didn't you say it. You didn't need an official source to report what you saw with your own eyes." That's his point, not a direct quote.

Elaine: Right because Dexter Filkins, who won awards for his rose colored glasses view of the slaughter of Falluja, repeatedly spun the realities into something more palitable an bearable. He should be held accountable and he's not.

Rebecca: When it gets to the point that you're blaming Judith Miller for an article that had Chris Hedges' byline, it's clear that Miller's being scapegoated.

Elaine: I like Hedges, I think we all enjoy his writing, Rebecca's speaking of his article immediately after 9-11 that pushed the false lie that a terrorist training camp was in Iraq, training people to hijack planes. That article established the link between the two, Iraq and 9-11, a false link, for many. To his credit, Hedges has spoken of the story and disowned it. But there were two sources and apparently The Common Ills is the only one that will point that out. Apparently, actually going back to the article and reading it before weighing in, because this was a mini-hot topic a few months back, is too much work for our watchdogs. There were two sources, at least two, but he wrote of two sources. Only one was outed by Mother Jones. Who is the second source? Who is the second liar? No one wants to tackle that. And now, in ignorance and haste, you hear press critics give Miller the blame for that article.

C.I.: Chris Hedges is a good writer and anyone can get burned. But it's true, his article says "two" and only one was outed. It's that kind of nonsense, the refusal to address the issue by the press critics at large, that allows for a lot of stupid press criticism. And that stupidity, or refusal to explore, allows an impression that "Judith Miller's gone! The press works! All is well!"

Rebecca: Which is the ultimate lie. Going back to Falluja and Dexter Filkins, he didn't report what went on. As you, C.I., have pointed out, the Times and other outlets initially dismissed the reports of white phosphorus when they emerged in the last twelve months. What did they use to dismiss those reports? We had embedded reporters and they didn't report it so it didn't happen. Then the Pentagon admits that it was used and there's no, "We had embedded reporters and they didn't report it so how did that happen?" Does anyone think the press is doing a job today that demonstrates a huge improvement?

Betty: No.

Trina: No.

Elaine: Well, I think they're more cautious. I think they realize how angry the public is and that some of that anger is aimed at them, as it should be, so they're realizing that they have to tone it down a notch or two. The country won't accept that nonsense right now. The people were lied to and they know that. I think that makes some who would be more hasty a little more cautious and it makes some outright liars look over their shoulder with every word they type.

C.I.: And let's be clear, because members wrote about in e-mails and continue to, this wasn't confined to the hard news section or the opinions. This war march leaked into the arts coverage with Sheryl Crow being slammed for a Grammy nomination. As Billie and others have pointed out, they were so eager to slam her that they couldn't even get their facts right. It leaked into the sports coverage with Steve Nash and others being told to shut up. I wish I could remember the female athelete, a basketball player, that Billie always notes who got slammed in one column.
But it was a sports column, in the sports section, by an award winning sports columnist, and he listed her, Nash and others and basically said, "There's no draft, shut up! If the draft was reinstated, you could speak." And as Billie fired off to the columinist, in an e-mail, if the draft did come back tomorrow, it's questionable whether women would be included so, by the columnist's 'logic,' even then the female basketball player would have no right to voice an opinion. Members can tell you about columnists whose beat was their local cities, not Los Angeles, who had to rush in to weigh in about Michael Moore or the Dixie Chicks or whomever. Or the local columnist, Steve something, with the Dallas Morning News, who felt the need to weigh in that the actions of peace activists were traitorous. Now the Dallas Morning News just slimed Cindy Sheehan as being pro-terrorist in an editorial. Not a lot's changed obviously. They can't go after sports heroes but they can slime Cindy Sheehan. That editorial ran Friday, for anyone attempting to locate it.

Trina: It's appalling that she, Cindy Sheehan, can be portrayed like that but, and I think everyone will agree, a lot of the reason for that, the reason for that happening, is because independent media abandoned Iraq, didn't care about Camp Casey this summer and I think it allowed a lot of people to feel this was their moment, they could go to town on Cindy Sheehan and get away with it.

Rebecca: I would agree with that completely. And that gets to the failure of all media to seriously address Iraq. There's been too little serious coverage, too little coverage period. The war didn't end, just the media's interest in it. And we're going to have to wrap up because C.I. has entries and we all have things to do. Thanks to everyone for participating in this roundtable and joint post. Thanks to Trina, Betty and C.I. who did the typing. Typos are here. Enjoy them.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Taste Makers, time for you to wake up

Two things I am going to note for recommended reading. First, C.I.'s "Other Items" which deals with Rumsfeld (and others) attempts to use the Hitler motif to smear their opponents. As C.I. rightly points out, there are a number of people who have attacked some on the left for drawing comparisons to Hitler's rise to power and what the Bully Boy has done. You may remember that CBS fired someone, who had a reason to discuss Hitler, he'd made a mini-series on the topic and was promoting it. People screamed, they hollered. He got fired. He wasn't the only one who was trashed. When Kanye West dared to state the obvious ("George Bush doesn't like Black people"), he was trashed by the taste makers. You can compile a long list of those who've been trashed by the tastemakers, people who should have stood up for people speaking the truth. But instead, they wanted to prove their establishment 'cred' by trashing brave voices. Okay, well it's Rumsfeld now. Rumsfeld's the one making the comparison (as C.I. points out, a week after Bully Boy gave comments indicating that those opposed to the war wouldn't be demonized). Where are the taste makers? Where are the ones who just got weak in the knee when someone suggest Bully Boy was a criminal? They were quick to slap and slam West, Harry Belafonte, Susan Sontag, Joe Wilson . . . It's a long list of people who got slammed for not 'watching what they say' and the slams that were the most offensive were the ones that came from the left or 'left.' So where are they now? Are they going to demonstrate that they're concerned with the dialogue or demonstrate that they're full of crap? I'd guess the latter.

Second recommendation is Wally's "ALBERTO SPREADS HIS TORTURED TORTURE 'LOGIC' AROUND!" which will make you laugh but will also walk you through the torture czar -- something some in the press are reluctant to do. [See C.I.'s "NYT: 'As of late Tuesday night, more than 100 people had been killed or found dead' (Paul von Zielbauer)" for how the New York Times cleaned up for Gonzales.]

I've talked before about how people provided cover for the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame here. They attacked Joe Wilson or they sat on information (for years) that citizens had a right to know. They especially had a right to know when the 2004 elections were coming up. Little Matty Cooper and his friends enjoyed slamming Joe Wilson and covering for the Bully Boy and Karl Rove. It goes to many things (for Matty, saving his own butt) but one thing it especially goes to is why Valerie Plame was outed. The press tends to make the end point that Joe Wilson wrote a column about not finding evidence that Iraq had sought yellow cake uranium in Iraq. He was refuting the lie Bully Boy delivered in his State of the Union address. The issue goes from the outing of Plame (in order to get back at Joe Wilson) to the lie itself. Where did it come from? Proving that at least one journalist has stay focused is the next excerpt.

"I Am a Curious Yellowcake" (David Lindorff, CounterPunch):
Now that Dick Armitage has admitted to being the initial source of right-wing columnist Robert Novak's news story outing Valerie Plame as a covert CIA agent and wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson, it's important to remember what this story is really all about.
The mainstream media has focused on the scandal as a whodunit, all about White House leaks and journalists' unidentified sources, but the real issue has largely been left unaddressed, namely: Why did the White House go to such lengths to try to attack and discredit Wilson, a career diplomat?
To answer that question we have to go back to 2002 and the march to war in Iraq, and to 2003, when the Bush administration was starting to take the heat for its evident failure to find any "weapons of mass destruction" in the defeated land of Iraq, and for the fiasco of the occupation, which was becoming obvious.
As I wrote in Barbara Olshansky's and my book,
The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin's Press, May 2006):
"the Bush-Cheney administration, which had its sights set on Baghdad and 'regime change' from the day it took office, was by 2002 well on the way to invading Iraq, and was only looking for ways, to borrow from the Downing Street memo, to `fix the facts' so as to win public support for war. The game plan was to make Saddam Hussein look scary to Americans, and what better way to scare people than to say that this bloody dictator was trying to get The Bomb?"
This propaganda goal was accomplished with the help of a crude forgery of documents which were presented as solid evidence of such an effort.

Dave Lindorff goes further but I'm only providing an excerpt so please use the link.

The illegal war that our country is still engaged in (someone wake independent media) is based on lies. Not "was." Was implies that the press has dug into the lies and exposed them. The mainstream press still doesn't want to do that. (Independent media is apparently sleeping for the most part.) As the country has turned against the war, it may be time for the media to start exposing the lies that led to war. But let's not hold our breaths on that.

Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, August 30, 2006. Violence and chaos continue with
CBS and the AP calling the fatalities at 52 and the AFP going with 77. The blink-and-you-missed-it truce (with one militia, the Mahdi Army) is off less than 24 hours after it began reports AFP, South Korea's numbers in the so-called coalition drop, in Australia the Jake Kovco inquiry takes shooting lessons, and the Bully Boy has explained to Brian Williams for NBC Nightly News the key to his failure -- Reuters: "Let me, let me . . . look, the key for me is to keep expectations low."
At that, if nothing else, the Bully Boy has succeeded. Equally disappointing is the puppet of the occpuation, Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, who spent much of Sunday swearing there was and would be no civil war. Reality has a a way of slapping the Operation Happy Talkers in the face. Where have you gone
Spinmeister William Caldwell IV, an administration turns its frantic eyes to you?
In Baghdad, an explosion at a market has
killed at least 24 and left at least 35 wounded. CBS and AP report that the bomb went off at "one of Iraq's largest markets, where wholesalers sell food, clothing and house products to businessmen and shopper." AFP notes that "[b]ody parts and the remains of those killed and wounded were strewn across the area. Windows of nearby shops were shattered, two cars were ripped apart and popular restaurant blown open."
The bombing of the market wasn't the only Baghdad bombing today. The
BBC notes that three people are dead and 21 injured as a result of a a car bomb "near a petrol station". CBS and AP identify the three dead from that bombing as Iraqi police officers. Before the market blast in Baghdad, a bomb was hidden on a bicycle in Hilla, AFP reports, "that exploded outside the army recruitment centre" killing at least twelve people and leaving 38 wounded. Reuters notes that five members of a family were killed (three women, a man and a child) and two members wounded from a roadside bomb in Buhriz. Southeast of Baghdad, the AP notes: "An Iraqi army major was killed in Kut . . . by a roadside bomb." Reuters notes "two border guards" are dead in Badara from a roadside bomb. The Financial Times of London notes two dead from a bomb in Karrada. Sabah Jerges (Australia's Herald Sun) reports "a bombing in the oil city of Kirkuk" that took three lives.
Check the math, but that should be 52 killed by bombs today. Shootings?
CBS and AP note that Nadiya Mohammed Hassan and her bodyguard and driver were shot-dead in Baghdad. Reuters notes three brothers were shot dead in Numaniya. The BBC reports that, in Baghdad: "Gunmen shot dead three textile workers travelling to work in a taxi". And CBS and AP note: "a civilian driving in his car in northern Mosul was apparently shot and killed by American troops who opened fire when the man's vehicle came too close to them."
You read that right. Possibly, it's Shirley Jackson time.
AFP reports that one person is dead in Samawa and ten wounded after "hundreds of young men" seeking jobs "pelted stones at the building and burnt tyres when clashes broke out between them and the police." Reuters notes the police fired at the crowd. Bullets, stones? Someone is dead. AFP identifies the person as "a volunteer." The Finanical Times (with a Reuters report) notes a witness who says that the person was shot by the police.
Sabah Jerges (Herald Sun) estimates that today's violence resulted in "at least 77 Iraqis" dead. AFP goes with "at least 77" as well.
AFP notes: "five bodies washed up on the banks of the Tigris south of the capital . . . . blindfolded and shot in the head" while Reuters notes two corpses were found ("gunshot wounds . . . torture marks") in Qaim as well as, in Falluja, the corpse "of a civilian . . . found three days after he was kidnapped" and one in Numaniya "bearing signs of torture."
Of course, on Tuesday, a torture czar could be found in Baghdad. The
BBC reports that on the question of torture (which is illegal, though he and the administration appear to have forgotten), Gonzales stated "it is difficult to decide what is appropriate" and that it's "a difficult decision as to where to draw the line" but that "decision will be made by the Iraqi government". So exactly why did he waste US tax payer money going to Baghdad? To meet with "officials at the Iraqi High Tribunal . . . trying ex-leader Saddam Hussein and six others on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity." Possibly he wanted to try out the defense he'll mount in US courts should he ever be held accountable?
Danny Schechter ( notes, "One recent report placed the costs of the war at $1.75 billion per week. The Cost of Iraq War calculator is set to reach $318.5 billion September 30, 2006. With the skyrocketing costs of the war in Iraq, worldwide military spending soared. Wouldn't you think that that alone would have our news media all over the story? If you think that, think again."
Sadly, he is correct. It's been a summer of chasing after a lot of stories, giving wall to wall coverage, and letting a lot drop through the cracks -- mainly Iraq -- and that's true of all media, big and small.
Along with the dropping Iraq coverage, the numbers in the so-called coalition continue to drop as well. The
Korea Times reports that, on Tuesday, people gathered to see off the 1,179 (South) Korean troops headed to Iraq to replace the 1,8000 (South) Korean soldiers who will be returning home. That's 621 more soldiers leaving Iraq then are headed to it.
In peace news,
Sandip Roy (New America Media) spoke with Bob Watada. Bob Watada is the father of Ehren, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. On the issue of Ehren Watada's refusal to serve in the illegal war, his father stated: "It's in the code of military justice, it's in the field manuals that you have a dut to disobey an unlawful order. The Nuremberg Tribunal which we signed on to and probaly drafted parts of, clearly says any military official can be prosecuted if they are complicit in war crimes and clearly we have massive war crimes going on in Iraq today."
Last Thursday night, a military spokesperson noted the recommendation forthcoming re:
Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing: court-martial. That recommendation is now working its way through the chain of command. To weigh in with support for Ehren Watada, Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) is advising those calling Donald Rumsfeld (703-545-6700) or mailing him (1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000) to say: "Hands off Ehren Watada! Let him go." Billie advises that you can use to e-mail the Pentagon. She suggests "Re: Ehren Watad" or "ATTN: DONALD RUMSFELD." Courage to Resist and will continue to offer resources, ideas and inspiration. Get the word out.
In other peace news Michelle Mason has made a documentary entitled
Breaking Ranks. The film premieres tonight at the Montreal World Film Festival. The festival notes: "Breaking Ranks examines the incidence of U.S. soldiers seeking refuge in Canada as part of their objections to the war effort in Iraq. The film documents the experiences of several American army deserters who face one-to-five years prison time if they are deported and convicted of desertion. If however, Canada refuses to deport the soldiers, it faces considerable friction in its relations with the U.S. Filmed in cinema verite style, the film combines personal stories with political, cultural and historical analysis of the issues these soldiers' actions raise for Candada and for its current policies."
Breaking Ranks plays at 9:30 pm at the Cinema Quartier Latin 13 tonight and at 10:00 am at the same location on September 1st. Nelson Wyatt (Candian Press) spoke to filmmaker Mason as well as war resister Kyle Snyder. Mason noted that she had intended to focus on the Vietnam era but when Jeremy Hinzman sought refugee status that changed -- "I realized that was the story to pursue." Snyder tells Kyle Snyder tells Wyatt, "I would rather take jail than go back to Iraq and fight for something that I don't believe in. If I could avoid jail, that's what I'm going to do and I'm going to whatever it takes to do that."
CODEPINK's Troops Home Fast action continues on its 58th day today with at least 4,833 people participating. The action continues through September 21st (International Peace Day) and those who would like to take part can grab a one-day only fast, a one-day a week fast or a mutli-day fast (seek health advice from your provider before embarking on any long term strike). More information at Troops Home Fast. If anyone's suddenly realizing summer is coming to an end and looking for something to do that you can point to with pride and say, "This summer I . . ." consider taking part in the action.
Indybay Media notes that the World Can't Wait has a full page ad in today's New York Times for the October 5Th action. The ad, on page A9, reads: "ENDLESS WARS! TORTURE! KATRINA! THEOCRACY! BRING THIS TO A HALT!" For more, visit World Can't Wait.
In Australia, the military inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco is on hold.
Belinda Tasker (The Age) reports that those sitting on the inquiry's board as well as the attorneys were busy today receiving gun lessons to attempt to increase their knowledge on some of the issues (such as silent cocking) that have been raised during the hearing. Tasker notes that Thursday, they will be at a shooting range and that the head of the inquiry is upset that images of Soldier 14 were shown on Australia's Nine Networks. For those wishing to see the video, this page has a link. (Soldier 14 is a witness. He's not a victim. We'll put the link up here.) On the issue of Australia's Nine Networks, in May the network conducted a poll and "found 83 percent believe there had been an intentional cover-up over the details of" Jake Kovco's death.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

All the moneys for war mean no money for . . .

Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts. Also please read Cedric's "Noel, who's not in the US military, wants to send them to fight his war" which is a group response from Cedric, Betty and Ty. Rebecca's "call it like you see it" mentioned a number of things and I had a few questions about it.

No, I don't link to the "girly-girls" (that's actually Betty's term). I see their e-mails in my box, read over them and they're making the same promises they made Rebecca. I'm not interested. I know they strung Rebecca along. I know Rebecca worked her butt off to be supportive of every woman blogger who wrote her. I know that the "thank you" for that was to try to string Rebecca along and get mentions in posts as well as a link on her blogroll. I know that week after week, they'd write and ask for this or that and always say, "I can't link to you right now, but next week . . ." These are the same girly-girls that e-mailed her asking/begging for a link and said, "Link to me and I'll link to you." They never did. They always had an excuse. They'd tell her that they loved her work but they wouldn't note it at their sites.

I was offended and angry for Rebecca (she's a friend since college). When I filled in for her, I did delink from the girly-girls. I also called C.I. because Rebecca hadn't said a word about it to C.I. As soon as C.I. knew, they got pulled from The Common Ills as well.

I'm all for supporting women bloggers, writers, you name it. But I am not for supporting little liars who lied to a friend of mine and used her. The girly-girls write every month wanting a link and promising a trade. I don't write them back and I don't link to them. I know their names from when they pulled this nonsense with Rebecca. They're not trying to help other women, they're trying to help themselves. I know the name of every girly-girl who lied to Rebecca and they are not linked to here and won't be. Nor do I write them back.

Rebecca wrote "call it like you see it" for a number of reasons but one reason was because I mentioned to her that ___ had written me a 12K e-mail about how important it was for women to support each other. I know that e-mail, I remember when Rebecca got it. I remember when she believed it. I remember when she linked to the girly-girl and I remember how there was one excuse after another for four months. I delinked from her when I filled in for Rebecca. I told Rebecca about the e-mail and we both had a good laugh about the girly-girls.

For the record, I don't do this site to have a "following." I do it because, for some insane reason, when I was filling in for Rebecca last summer, her readers and the community liked the tiny bits of non-wisdom I provided. If it helps anyone, great. But I'm not trying to be a pundit or to be a 'biggie' online. That alone makes the girly-girls e-mails so hilarious -- their talk about how, if we all pull together, we'll be bigger than ___ and bigger than ___. But "all stick together" really just means everyone gives them links and they don't give anyone else links.

Hope that clears it up.

"Celebrating Irrelevancy!" (Cindy Sheehan, Common Dreams):
Laying here in my motel room recovering from my 4th trip to the ER in a little over two weeks, and two surgeries, I found out from the Waco Tribune, (Sunday, August 27) that I have become "irrelevant" to the anti-war movement.
At first, I was a little defensive about that statement. I didn't really think that the article was fair, because in the last two weeks, I have been really ill and I have spent more time in the hospital and recovering from being in the hospital than I have not. Camp Casey has been limping along in my absence doing some huge things (like promoting the GI Rights Hotline at Ft. Hood and protesting Karl Rove and counter-recruitment) that haven't been covered by the media, because the media follows "cut and run" George around the country, not Camp Casey.
But then I thought about being irrelevant and the implications for that. I have worked my backside off for the last year---traveling around the world speaking against the Iraq war and for peace and understanding. I have endured reich-wing smears and lies about me usually reserved for those seeking political office. I have been the subject of death threats and vile attacks on my character. I spent over ten months of the year away from my home and three living children. Being irrelevant can have its perks!
Why did I work myself almost to death, literally? Why did I endure all of the smears and attacks? Well,to put it in the words of the Trib, I did it to make myself irrelevant. Mission accomplished!
The article in the Trib pointed out that since public opinion is overwhelmingly against George Bush and the war and there is bi-partisan criticism in Congress against Iraq, I have become less radical and less relevant. When I sat down a year ago in a ditch close to the Bush Flying Photo Op ranch, I was radical. I was one of the only people in the country calling the president and his administration, liars. I was the only one saying the words "genocide" and "impeachment." I was one of the only ones publicly saying "illegal and immoral." Now Senators, Congress Reps, movie stars, rock stars, Army officers, almost two-thirds of America and 95% of the world, etc., are saying the same things which puts me in the middle of a very large crowd.
Thanks be to God for irrelevance. Now I can go home and get my strength back, spend time with my kids, and prepare for true and lasting peace.

As C.I. noted, indymedia wasn't there for Cindy Sheehan. How many times did you hear interviews from Camp Casey? How many times did you hear her talk about the fast? You didn't. They weren't interested. If they had been, a mainstream publication couldn't get away with calling her "irrelevant." She's not irrelevant (but independent media has become irrelevant). Cindy fought last year and she fought this year and we're all the better for her.

While we've spent the big bucks on war and weapons, year after year, under the Bully Boy, what's been happening in this country? Bully Boy cut taxes on the riches. You can't pay for two wars and sock it away from more and still take care of the citizens of this country.

"CDF: New Census Data Shows 1.3 Million Children Have Fallen into Poverty Since 2000, Number of Uninsured Children in America Rising" (Children's Defense Fund):
To: National Desk
Contact: Jenny Backus, 202-662-3615 or Jodi Reid, 202-662-3602, both of the Children's Defense Fund
WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Since reaching an historic low in 2000, over the last seven years, the number of children living in poverty in the United States has grown by 11.3 percent to approach 13 million, even after a 145,000 child improvement in 2005, according to an analysis by the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) of U.S. Census Bureau data released today. A child's likelihood of being poor has increased by almost 9 percent. Today's Census Bureau report also showed that, contrary to recent trends, the number and percent of uninsured children increased in 2005. Children in poverty were more likely to be uninsured than other children.
"Poor families and children are being left behind as the benefits of a steadily growing economy fail to trickle down. The persistently high level of child poverty and lack of health coverage for children reflects conscious and misguided political choices," said Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of CDF. "How can the Bush Administration and Congressional leaders give enormous tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans who have benefited most from the economic recovery while threatening to cut funding for Medicaid, Food Stamps and other programs that assist poor children who continue to be left behind? What kind of country are we that we can't seem to figure out a way to provide health care coverage to our children who represent our future?"
Edelman also pointed out the fact that according to today's report, seven out of every ten poor children in 2005 had at least one parent who is employed. A CDF analysis of U.S. Commerce Department data finds that the share of national income going to the wages and salaries of employees was lower in 2005 than it has been in any year since the data started being collected in 1929.
"Today's report shows that sadly, in this country, working hard and playing by the rules is not enough to lift families out of poverty. We need action and leadership from Washington and across the country to start to address the root causes of poverty and the crying need for health and mental health care coverage for our children. Far less wealthy industrialized countries have committed to end child poverty, while the United States is sliding backwards. We can do better. We must demand that our leaders do better," Edelman said.
Child poverty is significantly up among all racial groups.
Key findings from the Census data show that since 2000:
-- The number of non-Latino White children living in poverty has increased by more than 230,000 to reach 4.3 million.
-- More than 600,000 Latino children have fallen into poverty.
-- The number of Black children living in poverty has increased by 260,000 so that, in 2005, one in every three Black children living in America is poor.
-- More than a million children have fallen into extreme poverty (22 percent increase) over the past five years - now gripping over 5.6 million children. Extreme poverty means living with annual income below $7,870 for a family of three.
The Children's Defense Fund will release further state specific poverty and health care numbers reports based on today's Census Report in coming days.
The mission of the Children's Defense Fund is to Leave No Child Behind(r) and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families.

If you spend billions and billions on war, you don't have money left over to feed your citizens.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)
August 29, 2006, chaos and violence continue in Iraq -- and Alberto Gonzales only just got there, the
AFP is reporting a peace deal with one militia group, Camp Democracy gears up for the September 5th opening, and, in Australia, Soldier 14 is asked if he shot Jake Kovco.
Starting in Iraq, the
AFP reports that the Madhi Army forces have agreed to some sort of peace deal (that's one out of countless groups) and that "a few hours after a peace deal was reached" 74 were dead from a pipeline explosion. The explosion was not caused by Alberto Gonzales (at least not as far as anyone knows), however he is in Iraq and, CNN reports, he intends to impart the importance of "rule of law" to Iraqis who, hopefully, will turn around and teach him a few things about "rule of law" since his actions as US Attorney General and, earlier, as Bully Boy's "hard-on with a suitcase," would indicate the concept confuses him greatly.
Gangsta' Gonzales should feel right at home in Iraq amidst the chaos and violence.
Reuters notes that five people were wounded by mortar rounds in Baghdad and that, in Kirkuk, a roadside bomb claimed the life of a police officer and wounded nine people.
Reuters reports that, in Baquba, "[f]ifteen people were gunned down"; a bakery worker was shot to death in Baiji with another one wounded; a civilian was shot in Mosul; and an attack (by "gunmen") an office of Moqtada al-Sadr left two bodyguards dead and five wounded. AP notes that the office was attacked with more than guns ("three mortar shells, two rocket-propelled grenades and a bomb") and that the building was demolished.
Reuters reports 20 corpses ("gunshot wounds") were discovered in Baghdad, a corpse ("gunshot wounds" as well) was discovered in Balad, and four corpses were discovered ("handcuffed and blindfolded") near Baquba. CBS and AP note the 20 corpses in Baghdad rose to 24.
In the United States, Cindy Sheehan remains at
Camp Casey III in Crawford, Texas. On Wednesday, August 30th, she plans to join Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson for a demonstration against the Bully Boy in Salt Lake City. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30th, not Thursday 31st, as noted here before. More information at Utah Voices. The prospects so overjoy the Repubes that they've launched an ad, as John Daley (KSL) points out, that includes: "Now Rocky Anderson has invited her to Utah." Don't make the Repubes do all the work getting the word out.
Sheehan's attendance may depend upon her health (she recently had surgery). Responding to the charge of 'irrelevancy' (by the Waco Tribune),
Sheehan (Truthout) notes: "Peace will never be irrelevant as long as war is used as a diplomatic tool" and discusses her plans for The Camp Casey Peace Institute as "a force for real peace."
Sheehan will be moving Camp Casey to DC for Camp Democracy.
Kevin Zeese (American Chronicle) interviewed David Swanson about the upcoming Camp Democracy which Swanson states "will bring together movements for peace, Katrina recovery, immigrants rights, labor rights, electoral reform, women's rights, environmental sanity, accountability and impeachment. We'll open the camp in Washington D.C., on September 5th and run at least until September 21, the International Day of Peace, when a movement called Declaration of Peace has planned massive civil disobedience."
Turning to the topic of
Ehren Watada, Charles Burress (San Francisco Chronicle) reports that Sarah Olson will not assist the military investigation of Watada: "I declined because I don't think that it's right for the Army to be asking me to help them prosecute Lt. Watada" Olson has reported on Watada at Truthout and on Free Speech Radio News (among other outlets). Ehren Watada was the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. More information can be found at Courage to Resist and
Meanwhile, in Australia, the military inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco continues. Today Soldier 14 took the stand.
On Monday, Michelle Franco (forensic expert with the NSW Department of Health's Analytical Laboratories) refuted Soldier 14's previous claims that his DNA ended up on the slide of Jake Kovco's gun as a result of their shared use of a radio, megaphone, etc., from when they were both on duty the day of Kovco's death. Noting the concentration of Soldier 14's DNA on the pistol's slide and the fact that, were DNA transferred by such means, "after 30 minutes it would be virturally all gone." When asked point blank if she was saying that the Soldier 14 would have had to handle Jake Kovco's pistol to have left the DNA that was found on the slide, Franco testified, "It is consistent with that."
Soldier 14 had previous testified
August 25th, August 21st and as he did on August 18th that he did not touch Jake Kovco's gun. Soldier 14 has been in Australia and complained that he wanted to return to Baghdad (also testified that 'many people' told him Shelley Kovco, widow of Jake Kovco and mother of their two children, was out to get him). Michael Edwards reported on PM that in testimony on Tuesday, Soldier 14 stated: "We've had discussions on a numerous occassions trying to work out what happened." He's speaking of Soldiers 17 and 19 who were Jake Kovco's roommates.
Attorneys for Judy and Martin Kovco (Jake Kovco's parents) and Shelley Kovco may want the Soldiers 17 and 19 to testify (by video-link or in person).
Soldier 17 testified to hearsay on August 2nd, floating the rumor that Jake Kovco was a 'cowboy' with guns." At that time, he based that 'testimony' on what "others" had told him but he wouldn't name the others (and shot off a whiny "I don't have to if I don't want to" type of remark). Frank Holles (Judy and Martin Kovco's attorney) responded then: "I put it to you when it suits you, you will not provide information." No he won't. As Conor Duffy reported that day to Eleanor Hall of Soldier 17's claims, "He said he never saw this . . . He said that he didn't see it . . ." "It" was Soldier's 17's vivid testimony of how Kovco would allegedly play with his gun: "Like quick draw and you spin it around all that sort of s[**t]." His testimony to something he did not see, something he was told of by "others" whom he wouldn't name. Now Soldier 14 has admitted that he and Soldiers 17 and 19 discussed the case prior to their testimony. Soldier 17 should be forced to name the "others" and to testify as to his version of what the three of them discussed.
The "cowboy" claim made all the papers that day (in Australia) based on Soldier 17's vivid testimony . . . based on, admittedly, hearsay. And today Soldier 14 admits that they (he, Soldiers 17 and 19) attempted to 'sort it out'.
On July 24th, Detective Sergeant Phillip Elliott took the stand and noted that the clothes were destroyed, the roomates had showered, Jake Kovco's body had been washed all before he could begin his investigation. Elliott also noted that Soldiers 17 and 19 (Jake Kovco's roommates, in the room when he died) differed on where Soldier 17 was located in the room, on where Jake Kovco "lay after he fell" and that Jake Kovco's body had been turned over after he fell.
Belinda Tasker (The Courier-Mail) reports that Soldier 14 continues to insist that he never touched Jake Kovco's pistol. Dan Box (The Australian) reports that Soldier 14 told the inquiry "he wished his friend [Jake Kovco] was still alive to explain how his [Soldier 14's] DNA came to be on the gun." What a buddy, what a pal, what a mate. He wishes the late Jake Kovco were alive, why? To explain how his [Soldier 14} DNA was found on Jake Kovco's gun. What a selfish (and stupid) remark. Presuming Soldier 14's telling the truth about not touching Jake Kovco's gun, what makes him think Jake Kovco could explain it when (the living) Soldier 14 can't?
As previously noted, Jake Kovco and his two roommates were listening to music before Jake Kovco died (Cranberries) and Soldier 14 has tetified before about being bothered by the volume.
AAP reports that Frank Holles asked him if he "had stormed into Pte Kovco's room because he was angry about the loud music he and his two roommates were playing." Michael Edwards reported it to Eleanor Hall (The World Today) like this: "Basically what the lawyer for the Kovco family, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Holles, said was that Private Kovco had been playing loud music in his room, which is adjoining that of Soldier 14 in the barracks in Baghdad, and that Soldier 14 went into Private Kovco's room, took hold of his . . . of Private Kovco's 9mm pistol and then shot him in the head."
Soldier 14 denied that he shot Jake Kovco; however, as
Eleanor Hall pointed out, "But Soldier 14 has not denied being in the room, or the possibility that he may have been in the room when Private Kovco was shot?" To which Michael Edwards replied, "What he did today, he didn't deny being in the room. He said . . . it was put to him that hypothetically it wouldn't have taken him long to reach the room. And he agreed that hypothetically, yes, he said his room was adjoining Private Kovco's." It's interesting that it would hypothetically take two seconds for Soldier 14 to get to the room. Soldier Two (the platoon sergeant) testified on July 25th that he heard the shot and went to Kovco's room where he found Soldiers 17 and 19 beside Jake Kovco's body. Where was Soldier 14? Two seconds to get to the room, the platoon sergeant has made it to the room, where was Solider 14?
In other news of the Kovco trial, the
AAP reports: "Meanwhile, the chief of staff at joint task force headquarters in Iraq, codenamed Soldier 39, has rejected as 'utter bulls**t" claims by military police that he ignored advice to keep Pte Kovco's body in Baghdad until investigators arrived to examine it." On the subject of the body, Jake Kovco was supposed to arrive in Australia's April 26th. He did not. Juso Sinanovic, a Bosnian carpenter, arrived instead. The company handling the transportation of Jake Kovco and Juso Sinanovic's bodies was Kenyon International. As Brooke Shelby Biggs (CorpWatch) has noted: "Kenyon International Emergency Services is a wholly owned subsidary of Service Corporation International (SCI), a funer services firm based in Texas. SCI is helmed by Robert Waltrip, a close family friend of the Bush clan and a major donor to George W. Bush's gubenatorial and presidential campaigns. SCI has been embroiled in a number of high-profile scandals in recent years, including one in which a subsidiary was discovered to be recycling crypts and dumping bodies in a wooded area behind a Jewish cemetery in Florida."