Friday, October 27, 2006

Joan Baez & music

The end of the week. For those not dragging, we salute you. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts. Also remember that Kyle Snyder returns to the United States tomorrow (it's in the snapshot).

"Joan Baez, After All These Years" (John Dear, Common Dreams):
"Come back, Woodie Guthrie, Come back, Mahatma Gandhi," sang Joan Baez in her beatific soprano. "Come back to us Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. We're marching into Selma as the bells of freedom ring."
She's been singing for peace and civil rights for forty-eight years. Originally inspired by Pete Seeger, she captured the attention of the nation in the early 1960s, her politically charged music propelling her to the cover of Time magazine long before Bob Dylan and the Beatles. To my mind, as soon as she sang "All My Trials, Lord," the 1960s were born and the culture turned a corner. Music and politics would never be the same.
Today, she’s better than ever. Her voice is strong, her vision clear, and her call for peace and justice just as urgent. She continues to use her extraordinary talent for global peace and brings the power of music to the needs of the world.
Joan Baez has long been one of my heroes. She was in New Mexico last week to perform a slew of folk songs against the latest U.S. war, including Bob Dylan's "With God On Our Side," "A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall," and "It's All Over Now Baby Blue." She also sang "Finlandia" and a moving rendition of "Amazing Grace." "Any Day Now/ Baez Sings Dylan" is my favorite of her CDs, but she has just released a great new CD, Bowery Songs, with these inspiring songs recorded live in New York.

Joan Baez. She's a favorite of mine and if you haven't yet heard Bowery Songs, you really need to. I'll talk about Baez in a moment but first, a review.

"Kat's Korner: Joan Baez Bringing It All Back Home on Bowery Songs" (Kat, The Common Ills):
So there we were at The Fillmore. Sumner, Maggie, Dak-Ho and me. Toni couldn't go because she'd just started a new job and had to be on call. We'd driven to San Francisco so it was just as well because Toni swears the city is out to get her and every other smoker in the country.
It was 2004. March. That much we can agree on.
After that, it gets messy. Maggie's convinced it was the 21st of March. Sumner says it was the 12th. Dak-Ho can't remember. My ticket stub says March 13th. You might think my ticket stub would settle it. If so, you don't know my crowd. All the ticket stub led to was debates of "What if the stub had the wrong date on it?"
All four of us agree that we were at The Fillmore in 2004. Except for Dak-Ho, we can agree it was in March. Maggie can remember her exact outfit. You might be thinking, "But Kat, she's got the date wrong!" (Because, Maggie, you do have the date wrong. And I'm still waiting for you to return that Judy Collins CD.) Maggie can remember her exact outfit on any day, any event.
"Maggie, remember that time we saw Dylan?"
"We never saw Dylan."
"Maggie, remember that time we saw Dylan and you wore the black mini-skirt?"
"Oh, the leather one!" she'll squeal. "I remember I had on the cameo and when he performed 'Just Like A Woman' . . ."
Point is, there's never a great deal of agreement. But on one thing we do agree. Joan Baez was phenomenal. We're disputing the opening act. (I'm sure it was a female with an acoustic guitar and I'll put money on that.) We're disputing where we ate after the show. We were too nervous to eat before because when you're seeing the Queen, you don't want to show up stuffed -- the music will feed you.
Dark Chords On A Big Guitar was the album she was touring behind and we were all agreed that it was one of her finest. We tried to remember that Baez had been hitting the road for four decades now and that what could be accomplished in the studio might not be replicated live.
Point is, we were concerned about the voice. Forget Mel Gibson, Joan Baez is the road warrior. What, you thought it was Dylan? You obviously missed his periodic retirements.

Joan Baez is someone I feel like I've always listened to. But reading John Dear's column, that's obviously not the case. I'm not placing "All My Trials, Lord." Maybe I'm just tired? I know that I had too many albums to count on vinyl. On CD, I don't have that many by comparison. I think it's because I was in the process of switching to the 'new' format, cassette tapes, when CD's emerged. I have her 3 disc set Rare, Live & Classic and her four disc A&M boxed set. In terms of individual albums, I only have 13 CDs.

The Joan Baez album that I listened to the most of the early period was Farewell, Angelina which I do have on CD. Let me do a BUYER's WARNING. Vanguard is reissuing Baez's albums in remastered CDs, often with bonus tracks. I had just already purchased Blessed Are and just purchased Any Day Now when I found that out. I've avoided getting Carry It On (soundtrack) because I'm not sure whether Vanguard (her first label) will re-releasing that or not (since it's a soundtrack). So, if you see a Joan Baez CD in a store or online, check to make sure it's the remastered version. (In person, you can just check to make sure it has a cardboard sleeve over the container.)

Back to where I was. Farewell, Angelina is really the end of the first Baez era for me. Her trilogy was on the horizon: Joan, Noel and Baptism. Those are among my favorites. The first era is Baez and guitar with wonderful folks songs. The trilogy brings arrangements that are baroque and taking the sound to another level. I believe I heard Joan through C.I. first and it was a favorite. From the opening track ("Be Not Too Hard") through the last one ("Autumn Leaves"), this was just a seamless album. Back in the old days, when albums were on vinyl and they had two sides, this was one I didn't like to stack. I prefered to listen to one side and then flip it over.

To stack? I just realized for some readers, I've lost them. In the days of vinyl, many turntables had a pole in the center and you could stack several albums (I never did more than four). When one album finished playing, the arm of the turntable (with the needle that 'read' the grooves) would pull back and, when it did, the next album would drop. Sometimes you'd hear a skidding as the vinyl landed on vinyl.

Noel followed it up with the same type of arrangments which is why it's still a Christmas album I can listen to year round. Then came Baptism. Most people I knew could get into what Baez was attempting -- songs and poems -- and I've never known anyone who put that album down. But it's not one that friends generally cite as their favorite. For me, it is my favorite of the triology and I love all three.

But Baptism is even more daring and challenging than the other two which is why I think I enjoy it the best. This was during a period where everyone was experimenting in some way, or at least real recording artists were. I would give anything to see that kind of experimentation in today's music scene.

There are people who experiment today. But there was so much life in music then which wasn't pushed to the side. The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, all of these artists attempting to explore and expand. The music reflected the times. It scares me to think today's top forty hits reflect today's times.

I don't believe they do. I believe they reflect the corporate control of our media system and the ever increasing consolidation that shuts out anything challenging or unique. There is enough life and excitement in music today and, if any of it was heard by a wide enough audience, music could move beyond the tired Disney Kids who had nothing to offer in 1997 and have even less to offer today.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, October 27, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, US war resister Kyle Snyder prepares to return to the US; a G.I. coffeehouse opens in Watertown, NY; Gerhard Schroder weighs in on the special relationship between Tony Blair and Bully Boy; the barking puppet of the occupation gets his leash yanked.
Tomorrow Kyle Snyder will return to the United States,
Mike Howell reports for the Toronto Star noting that Snyder notes war resister Darrell Anderson's decision to return to the US (Anderson returned September 30th). Like Anderson, Snyder elected to self-check out of the military. For Snyder, that happened in April 2005. As Snyder explains in Michelle Mason's Breaking Ranks, military recruiters were circling throughout high school: "I had just received my high school diploma. I get off of the stage and here's another recruiter right outside the door -- waiting for me. I look back at i now and everything that I'm going through, everything that I've worked through I can retrace down to that moment that I signed the f**king contract." Snyder has addressed how the military broke its contract with him -- such as by refusing to investigate incidents of violence targeting Iraqis.
In August,
Synder explained his decision to self-check out of the US military and go to Canada to Karen Button noting, "You know, if they want to help people in Iraq . . . imagine a 15 year-old kid, for the last . . . years all he's seen is [US] military personnel with weapons going through his city. How is that child supposed to believe that the man, in that uniform is helping him? Now, if that child saw a convoy of logs being brought to his city, or a convory of water being brought to his city, still guarded, it would be a completely different situation. That's where the American military messed up. Because they forgot about the perception of civilisation. They forgot about the perception of the Iraqi people."
Kyle Snyder intends to return to the US Saturday and turn himself in. Michelle Mason's documentary
Breaking Ranks takes a look at US war resisters who have gone to Canada seeking asylum. In addition to Mason's film, more information on war resisters hoping to be granted refugee status (which the Canadian government has thus far refused to do, unlike during the Vietnam era) can be found at War Resisters Support Campaign.
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Carl Webb, Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes, Aidan Delgado, Ryan Johnson, Joshua Key, Katherine Jashinski, Ivan Brobeck, Robin Long, Kevin Benderman and Clifford Cornell are among those war resisters who have gone public. And that's only the names of those who have gone public. The war resistance within the military is a movement.
Earlier this week, US service members created a website, Appeal for Redress, and are attempting to collect 2000 signatures for their petition to Congress to end the illegal war. From Appeal for Redress:

An Appeal for Redress from the War in Iraq

Many active duty, reserve, and guard service members are concerned about the war in Iraq and support the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The Appeal for Redress provides a way in which individual service members can appeal to their Congressional Representative and US Senators to urge an end to the U.S. military occupation. The Appeal messages will be delivered to members of Congress at the time of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2007.
The wording of the Appeal for Redress is short and simple. It is patriotic and respectful in tone.
As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq . Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.If you agree with this message, click here.
The Appeal for Redress is sponsored by active duty service members based in the Norfolk area and by a sponsoring committee of veterans and military family members. The Sponsoring committee consists of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, and Military Families Speak Out.
Members of the military have a legal right to communicate with their member of Congress. To learn more about the rights and restrictions that apply to service members click here.
Attorneys and counselors experienced in military law are available to help service members who need assistance in countering any attempts to suppress this communication with members of Congress.
Several members of Congress have expressed interest in receiving the Appeal for Redress.
Click here to send the Appeal to your elected representatives.

Citizen Soldier announces the opening, today, of "the first soldiers' coffeehouse of the current Iraq war in Watertown, NY." More information can be found at Citizen Soldier and at Different Drummer, the name of the coffeehouse. It is a movement and for those wanting more information on the importance of the GI coffeehouse to a peace movement should view David Zeiger's Sir! No Sir! documentary.
As resistance and opposition to the illegal war spreads throughout the world spreads, Bully Boy & Friends attempts to remarket/re-brand all week.
At the start, the US State Department's Alberto Fernandez was having to eat his own words ("arrogance" and "stupidity" used to describe the war) after the White House first attempted to claim that Fernandez had suffered from mistranslation. We also heard the announcement by Tony Snow, White House flack, that the phrase "stay the course" was being stricken from the official White House language. Wednesday, the Bully Boy attempted to show how involved and concerned he was with the war Wednesday by noting the "93" US troops who had died in Iraq this month when, in fact, the US military's official count before the speech, during the speech and until Thursday morning was "91." While the White House removed one phrase from the official lexicon, Donald Rumsfeld added a new one on Thursday, "Just back off."
While the US administration played word games and offered faulty numbers, chaos and violence continued in Iraq. Despite this,
Zalmay Khalilzad (US ambassador to Iraq) and George Casey ("top US general" in Iraq) held a joint press conference where they declared that success was yet again just around that ever elusive corner and it will only take a year to a year-and-a-half for it to show up. (For those who've forgotten, the illegal war began in March 2003.)
Meanwhile a US & Iraqi raid in the Sadr City section of Baghdad, led to a barking puppet of the occupation.
Nouri al-Maliki rejected the raid, rejected the notion that he (who holds the position of commander-in-chief of the Iraqi military) had been involved in the planning of the raid, and rejected the "timelines" and "timetable" speak that Khalilzad and Casey had told reporters of the day before.
his laughable Wednesday press conference, Bully Boy was asked why al-Maliki hadn't been included in the Tuesday press conference held by Khalilzad and Casey?
His response? "I have no idea why he wasn't there," said Bully Boy the 'decider' but not the planner. He added, "I have no idea. I'm not -- I'm not the scheduler of news conferences." Once again, out of the loop.
In Iraq today,
Alastair Macdonald (Reuters) reports that Nouri al-Maliki issued "a joint statement with the U.S. ambassador [that] his government had 'timelines' for the resolution of the country's problems". The strings get pulled, the puppet plays along.
Macdonald notes: "The statement appeared aimed at dispelling the impression of mounting friction between Washington and its Iraqi allies". If the 'friction' is gone, does that leave only fiction? Bronwen Maddox (Times of London) labels the whole thing "Operation Cross Fingers" -- surely a 'strategy.'
Monday night in Baghdad, a US soldier went missing and is believed to have been kidnapped. AFP reports that the US military continues searching Baghdad "with armoured vehicles and backed by helicopter gunships" but the soldier has still not been located. AP reports that the soldier has been identified as Ahmed Qusai al-Taei.
The US press had trouble locating the 2800 mark for US troops who have died in Iraq -- a milestone passed this week. (In October 2005, passing the 2000 mark was news. Possibly the press is saving their energies for the 3,000 mark?) 2809 is the current toll since the start of the illegal war with 96 for the month. Or was until the US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was injured Thursday as a result of enemy action in Diyala province. The Soldier was transported to a coalition forces medical treatment facility and later died of wounds." That brought the monthly toll to 97 and the number who have died since the start of the illegal war to 2810. October has been the deadliest month for US troops serving in Iraq this year.
a British soldier died today near Basra due to "road traffic" according to the British Ministry of Defense. This brings the total British soldiers who've died this month in Iraq to two and the total since the start of the illegal war to 120.
Among the violence reported so far today in Iraq, is the death toll in Baquba where fighting broke out Thursday.
CBS and AP report that 43 people died ("including 24 officers" -- police officers).
CBS and AP report that, in the Diyala province, a group of nine mourners returning from a funeral in Najaf were attacked with four being shot to death and the other five being injured.
BBC notes five corpses were discovered in Mosul Thursday and that the city is now under a curfew and vehicle ban. Reuters notes that number of corpses discovered in Mosul rose to 12. AFP notes that, "Thursday and overnight," eleven corpses were discovered in Baghdad.
Reuters reports the death of one woman "when two rounds slammed into the house of a Sunni Arab member of parliament, Abdul Nasir al-Janabi, in the town of Mussayab".
The woman's death comes at a time when, as
Edith M. Lederer (AP) reports, the UN's executive director of the Development Fund for Women speaks out. Noeleen Heyzer states: "What UNIFEM is seeing on the ground -- in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia -- is that public space for women in these situations is shrinking. Women are becoming assassination targets when they dare dfend women's right in public decision-making."
Meanwhile a new book, Decisions: My Life in Politics, takes a look at the special relationship between Bully Boy of the US and Tony Blair of England. The book's author? Gerhard Schroder, the previous chancellor of Germany.
Jess Smee (Guardian of London) writes that the book takes a look at Blair's rush to please Bully Boy, that Blair now pays for the price for his role in the illegal war, and notes that Blair had no interest in Europe -- Gerhard writes: "Quite the opposite, the country will continue to protect its role as a translantic mediator, even if that is to the cost of the European decision-making process."
In abuse news,
Anne Plummer Flaherty (AP) reports: "The Halliburton susidary that provides food, shelter and other logistics to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan exploited federal regulations to hide details on its contract performance, according to a report released Friday."
In England,
Michael Evans (Times of London) reports the latest on the seven British soldiers accused of abused prisoners in a Basra prison -- RAF soldier Scott Hughes has testified that he saw eye gouging of a prisoner and the prisoner being kicked "in the lower back". Donald Payne, one of the seven accused soldiers, has already pleaded guilty to war-crimes. In the United States, as Linda Deutsch (AP) reports, US marine John Jodka "pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice in the death of" Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52-years-old, in Al-Hamdaniyah.
In music news,
Lydia Howell (Pulse of the Twin Cities) interviews singer, musician, songwriter and activist Michael Franti who says of his trip to Iraq, "I got tired of watching the news every night with generals and politicians talking about the economic costs of war WITHOUT mentioning the human crisis there. Rather than sit around frustrated, I picked up a guitar and a camera, flew to Baghdad and played music on the street." Michael Franti & Spearhead's latest CD is Yell Fire!
Finally, Bob Watada began his latest speaking tour yesterday. He is the father of Ehren Watada who is the first commissioned US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Below are dates through Monday:

Oct 27, 7PM

Albuquerque, NM
Location: Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice
202 Harvard Dr SE
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 63
Contact: Sally-Alice Thompson, 505-268-5073, 512-463-2014,

Oct 28, 1 -- 4:30PM

Houston, TX.
Sponsor: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War , Cy-Fair Democratic Club
Location: Live Oak Friends House, 1318 West 26th Street
Entertainment by Bill Passalacqua and Hank Woji, "Sir, No Sir"

Oct 28, 6:15PM

Houston, TX
Location: Dan Electro's Guitar Bar, 1031 East 24th Street. "Celebration of Resistance"
Sponsors: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Sherry Glover,,(H) 832-363-1741, (C) 713-929-1132
-Bob Watada, ---- David Rovics

Oct 29, 1PM
Austin, TXPM
Sponsor: Code Pink/Austin, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66
Contact: Fran Hanlon, 512-454-6572,
Peter Ravella, 512-220-1740Heidi Turpin, (C)512-565-2242,

Oct 29, 5:30PM
Austin, TX
Café Caffeine -- 206 West Mary
Sponsors: Code Pink, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Doug Zachary,, (C) 512-791-9824Heidi Turpin, (C) 512-565-2242,
Fran Hanlon (H) 512-454-6572, ,

Oct 30

Austin High Schools

Oct 31, 7-9PM
Norman, OK
Location: Cleveland County Fairgrounds - Lobby
615 E. RobinsonSponsor: Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Jeri Reed, 405-307-0352, cell 405-606-9598,

A full schedule can be found at Veterans for Peace and those interested in hosting a Bob Watada speaking engagement in their area are urged to contact Doug Zachary.
More information on Watada and other war resisters can be found at
Courage to Resist.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Daniel Ellsberg, the Mamas and the Papas, Iraq

To those who e-mailed about "Isaiah, Howard Zinn, Cindy Sheehan, Tina Turner, Chris Cornell" last night, thank you for your kind words. Tina Turner is a topic Kat and I have talked about a lot, we're both fans. But I know that we're attempting to do more music at The Third Estate Sunday Review so, instead of expanding on the topic tonight, I offered it as a group entry we could do there and Dona, who also loves Tina, thinks it's a great idea (and that they can come up with an easy illustration for it). So look for that on Sunday. Again, it was something Kat and I had spoken of and we've also talked to others so it already feels like a group entry. I'll attempt to think of a musical topic as I write tonight's entry, however. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts.

"The Next War: Public in the Dark about Government's Plans for War in Iran" (Daniel Ellsberg, Harper's via Common Dreams):
A hidden crisis is under way. Many government insiders are aware of serious plans for war with Iran, but Congress and the public remain largely in the dark. The current situation is very like that of 1964, the year preceding our overt, open-ended escalation of the Vietnam War, and 2002, the year leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
In both cases, if one or more conscientious insiders had closed the information gap with unauthorized disclosures to the public, a disastrous war might have been averted entirely.
My own failure to act, in time, to that effect in 1964 was pointed out to me by Wayne Morse thirty-five years ago. Morse had been one of only two U.S. senators to vote against the Tonkin Gulf resolution on August 7, 1964. He had believed, correctly, that President Lyndon Johnson would treat the resolution as a congressional declaration of war. His colleagues, however, accepted White House assurances that the president sought "no wider war" and had no intention of expanding hostilities without further consulting them. They believed that they were simply expressing bipartisan support for U.S. air attacks on North Vietnam three days earlier, which the president and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara had told them were in "retaliation" for the "unequivocal," "unprovoked" attack by North Vietnamese torpedo boats on U.S. destroyers "on routine patrol" in "international waters."
Each of the assurances above had been false, a conscious lie. That they were lies, though, had only been revealed to the public seven years later with the publication of the Pentagon Papers, several thousand pages of top-secret documents on U.S. decision-making in Vietnam that I had released to the press. The very first installment, published by the New York Times on June 13, 1971, had proven the official account of the Tonkin Gulf episode to be a deliberate deception.
When we met in September, Morse had just heard me mention to an audience that all of that evidence of fraud had been in my own Pentagon safe at the time of the Tonkin Gulf vote. (By coincidence, I had started work as a special assistant to an assistant secretary of defense the day of the alleged attack-which had not, in fact, occurred at all.) After my talk, Morse, who had been a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1964, said to me, "If you had given those documents to me at the time, the Tonkin Gulf resolution would never have gotten out of committee. And if it had somehow been brought up on the floor of the Senate for a vote, it would never have passed."
He was telling me, it seemed, that it had been in my power, seven years earlier, to avert the deaths so far of 50,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese, with many more to come. It was not something I was eager to hear. After all, I had just been indicted on what eventually were twelve federal felony counts, with a possible sentence of 115 years in prison, for releasing the Pentagon Papers to the public. I had consciously accepted that prospect in some small hope of shortening the war. Morse was saying that I had missed a real opportunity to prevent the war altogether.
My first reaction was that Morse had overestimated the significance of the Tonkin Gulf resolution and, therefore, the alleged consequences of my not blocking it in August. After all, I felt, Johnson would have found another occasion to get such a resolution passed, or gone ahead without one, even if someone had exposed the fraud in early August.
Years later, though, the thought hit me: What if I had told Congress and the public, later in the fall of 1964, the whole truth about what was coming, with all the documents I had acquired in my job by September, October, or November? Not just, as Morse had suggested, the contents of a few files on the events surrounding the Tonkin Gulf incident-all that I had in early August-but the drawerfuls of critical working papers, memos, estimates, and detailed escalation options revealing the evolving plans of the Johnson Administration for a wider war, expected to commence soon after the election. In short, what if I had put out before the end of the year, whether before or after the November election, all of the classified papers from that period that I did eventually disclose in 1971?

You have to wonder about Daniel Ellsberg's stand? (I applaud what he did.) How could we go from the early 70s (immediate time after the Pentagon Papers were published) to a time when people were scared to speak out? It's one thing to say that history repeats but it's so hard for me to believe that so many have forgotten it? This isn't a case where everyone who lived through that period is dead and gone. This isn't ancient history.

Regardless of today's 'new climate,' Ellsberg's stand took courage and I'd like to believe that courage never goes out of style. Looking around, however, I'm not sure I can believe it. All it would take to prevent a war on Iran would be for one person inside the government to have the courage to stand up. Maybe they don't grasp how high the stakes are? Or maybe they're all too scared?

It really is important for all of us to reject fear these days. We need to stand up, we need to use our voices. That's not just if you have insider information, that's all of us. We can, and I'd argue we have, create an environment where speaking out is supported and encouraged. But that depends upon each of us doing our part to speak out.

Music? I'll talk about my favorite 'collection' or 'best of.' I'll limit myself to non-boxed sets. I think my choice, and this changes all the time, today would be Creeque Alley: The History of The Mamas And The Papas. This is a double disc that offers five songs from before the group formed and eight songs of solo work after the group disbanded. You get the well known hits like "California Dreamin'," "Monday, Monday," "I Saw Her Again," "Creeque Alley," "Words of Love," "Dedicated to the One I Love," "Twelve Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon)," and "Dream a little Dream of Me."

You also get songs like "Dancing Bear," "Safe in My Garden," and "Got a Feelin'" which are among my favorite tracks the group ever recorded. I like it when Michelle Phillips and Cass Elliot blend their vocals and achieve this haunting and beautiful sound. For me, John Phillips was the only weak singer. That judgement is only strengthened by "Mississippi," his only post-group song included on the set. He has a nice tone but he really doesn't have a range. That is a big deal when you're talking about a group that's so known for singing.

There's actually a collection I don't have which is double-disc and features all the albums recorded by the group and, I believe, "Glad to Be Unhappy," their Rogers & Hart cover that never appeared on a studio album. That would probably be a good starting point. But what this double-disc collection does, by offering tracks from before the group came together and from after they broke up, is give you a sense of their solo strengths and how amazing they were as a four-some.

Now the snapshot closes this, as usual. But I want to note something, Bully Boy said "93" troops had died. That is not true. The snapshot goes over this. So it's very disappointing to me that despite the fact that the US military troop fatality count stands at 91 for the month, the mainstream press is not addressing the fact that Bully Boy, in his 'touching' speech, got the number wrong on how many troops had died this month.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, October 25, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Bully Boy expresses disappointment with Iraq -- forgetting he's responsible -- and also reveals he can't count, the puppet of the occupation snarls,
Appeal for Redress is up an running and what did George Casey say?
Starting with peace news. As
Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reports, Appeal for Redress is up and running: "More than 100 U.S. service members have signed a rare appeal urging Congress to support the 'prompt withdrawal' of all American troops and bases from Iraq" and that the action's goal is to gather 2,000 signatures to the appeal before presenting it to Congress. Drew Brown (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the target date for delivery to Congress is MLK Day (Monday, January 15, 2007). [Readers of the New York Times who are wondering where this in their paper, it's right there on page A13, a whopping one paragraph -- from AP -- in National Briefing.]
Appeal for Redress:

An Appeal for Redress from the War in IraqMany active duty, reserve, and guard service members are concerned about the war in Iraq and support the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The Appeal for Redress provides a way in which individual service members can appeal to their Congressional Representative and US Senators to urge an end to the U.S. military occupation. The Appeal messages will be delivered to members of Congress at the time of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2007.
The wording of the Appeal for Redress is short and simple. It is patriotic and respectful in tone.
As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq . Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.If you agree with this message,
click here.
The Appeal for Redress is sponsored by active duty service members based in the Norfolk area and by a sponsoring committee of veterans and military family members. The Sponsoring committee consists of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, and Military Families Speak Out.
Members of the military have a legal right to communicate with their member of Congress. To learn more about the rights and restrictions that apply to service members
click here.
Attorneys and counselors experienced in military law are available to help service members who need assistance in countering any attempts to suppress this communication with members of Congress.
Several members of Congress have expressed interest in receiving the Appeal for Redress.
Click here to send the Appeal to your elected representatives.

Ehren Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, is quoted by Drew Brown: "The kinds of resistance and opposition and outrage that military people are now beginning to express has been simmering for quite a while. But it's about to just burst out in huge waves." Ehren Watada is the first commissioned US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. His father, Bob Watada, is beginning his third speaking tour to raise awareness of his son's case [an Article 32 hearing recommended court-martial, no decision has yet been annouced]. This speaking tour will last from October 26 through November 17th. Below are dates through Sunday:

Oct 26, 7PM
Phoenix, AZ Location: TBA
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 75
Contact: John Henry, 602-400-9179, 408-704-0192,

Oct 27, 7PM

Albuquerque, NM
Location: Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice
202 Harvard Dr SE
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 63Contact: Sally-Alice Thompson, 505-268-5073, 512-463-2014,

Oct 28, 1 -- 4:30PM

Houston, TX.
Sponsor: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War , Cy-Fair Democratic Club
Location: Live Oak Friends House, 1318 West 26th Street
Entertainment by Bill Passalacqua and Hank Woji, "
Sir, No Sir"

Oct 28, 6:15PM

Houston, TX
Location: Dan Electro's Guitar Bar, 1031 East 24th Street. "Celebration of Resistance"Sponsors: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Sherry Glover,,(H) 832-363-1741, (C) 713-929-1132
-Bob Watada, ---- David Rovics

Oct 29, 1PM
Austin, TXPM
Sponsor: Code Pink/Austin, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66
Contact: Fran Hanlon, 512-454-6572,
Peter Ravella, 512-220-1740Heidi Turpin, (C)512-565-2242,

Oct 29, 5:30PM
Austin, TX
Café Caffeine -- 206 West Mary
Sponsors: Code Pink, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Doug Zachary,, (C) 512-791-9824Heidi Turpin, (C) 512-565-2242,
Fran Hanlon (H) 512-454-6572, ,

full schedule can be found at Veterans for Peace and those interested in hosting a Bob Watada speaking engagement in their area are urged to contact Doug Zachary.
As Seitz (Ehren Watada's attorney) noted, this is a resistance that is growing. Those caught by surprise or needing more historical information should refer to David Zieger's documentary
Sir! No Sir! which captures the resistance within the military during Vietnam. Today, the list includes Watada, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes, Mark Wilkerson, Carl Webb, Aidan Delgado, Joshua Key, Robin Long, Katherine Jashinski, Agustin Aguayo, Ivan Brobeck, Ryan Johnson, Clifford Cornell, and many more. Information on US war resisters in Canada can be found at War Resisters Support Campaign and information on war resisters who have gone public can be found at Courage to Resist.
Resistance within the military is only one wave of today's peace movement. Continuing to speak out, Cindy Sheehan was at the University of Iowa yesterday.
Matt Nelson (The Daily Iowan) reports that Sheehan spoke on the difference one person can make and stated: "People asked why I haven't gone away; my 15 minutes are up. I'm doing this to bring the troops home, and they're not home yet. And when they come home, I'm still not going away." Hieu Pham (Iowa City-Press Citizen) reports Sheehan reflected on the time since the first Camp Casey (August 2005), "I've seen a huge change since we started this last August . . . People have been more courageous and demonstrative". Which is true, even if takes desk jockey gas bags awhile to notice the huge shift going on. Diane Heldt (The Gazette) notes that Sheehan "was interrupted with applause several times during her speech and got a standing ovation at the end."
Another example of today's peace movement is protests and demonstrations.
Amy Kingsley (YES! Weekly) reports on protests in Greensboro, NC when Bully Boy came to town. The second protest drew an estimated 75 people who were prevented from marching with the claim that the area was a "secure zone." Along with preventing the march, Kingsley reports, a protest who lived in the area was prevented to enter by police "even as his neighbors moved about unencumbered by legal restrictions. The disparate treatment of protesters and other community members contradicsts Secret Service procedure."
If the whole thing reminds you of Steve Howard and John Blair, you're not alone. If you're asking who, click here for
Bill Johnson's article.
From tales of bullying to the Bully Boy himself, today he held a press conference in an attempt to take control of the topic of the war. Speaking of the war, Bully Boy declared, "
I'm not satisfied either." Nor is the world. In their partial transcript, CNN notes that Bully Boy stated: "This month we've lost 93 service members in Iraq; the most since October of 2005." Thus far, and true when the Bully Boy spoke, the US military has announced no troop deaths today. Iraq Coalition Casualities list 91 as US troops who have died thus far this month and notes: "Latest Military Fatality Date: Oct. 24, 2006." In yesterday's Washington Post, Ellen Knickmeyer noted the official count was 87. Yesterday, AFP also listed the count at 87. This morning, a sidebar to Nancy A. Youssef's article (McClatchy Newspapers via Detroit Free Press) noted: "The U.S. military said Tuesday that four more U.S. troops had died raising the month's toll to 91." Can Bully Boy count?
Those thinking he was counting 'coalition' troops should note that
one British soldier has died this month and two classified as "other." That would be 94, not 93.
What we're left with is the usual bumbling from the Bully Boy who knows he has to say something about Iraq and the fatalities but doesn't even care enough (or maybe his preppers don't) to get the figures correct.
"I care," the Bully Boy was attempting to say, "I care about all 93 troops that have died this month." The fact that he couldn't even get the figure correct once again calls his supposed sincerity and compassion into question.
On the count since the start of the illegal war,
CNN was the first news organization to call the 2800 mark and now AP tries to play catch up but does so as an aside -- third paragraph: "The military Tuesday announced the deaths of two more U.S. Marines, a sailor and a soldier. Since the start of the war, more than 2,800 U.S. service members have died in Iraq." Iraq Coalition Casualties puts the toll at 2804. The 2800 mark was passed and with very little attention. Possibly, anyone in the mainstream news brave enough to point out that Bully Boy couldn't even get the fatalities for the month correct could also note the passing of 2800?
The speech itself? Not worthy of much comment. The usual bubble-view from Bully Boy. Here are two sentences in a row, that anyone hearing them may wonder: "
We did not expect the Iraqi army, including the Republican Guard, to melt away in the way that it did in the face of advancing coalition forces. Despite these early setbacks, some very important progress was made in the midst of an incredibly violent period."
Did you catch it?
Bully Boy calls one of the setbacks the fact that Iraqis and Americans did not die in confrontations due to the fact that "the Iraqi army, including the Republican Guard" melted "away . . . in the face of advancing coalition forces." If the attempt at a feel-good speech fools anyone, they have only themselves to blame. Watch to see which domestic (US) outlets look the other way to make it look as though anything the Bully Boy said was worth hearing.
Sam Knight (Times of London) notes that Bully Boy billed his speech "an explanation to the American people" -- the people are going to need an explanation to explain today's explanation.
Today's reported violence includes,
according to Reuters, four corpses discovered in Mahmudiya ("bound and gagged"), a police officer shot (wounded) in Diwaniya where four people were also wounded when a grenade was tossed into their home, a car bomb in Husayba killed two and injured two more, three Iraqi soldiers were killed by a bomb in Tal Afar (three more wounded) while a roadside bomb in Baghdad wounded two police officers. An earlier report by Reuters also noted two police officers killed by a car bomb in Baquba and a mortar round in Yusufiya that killed at least one person and wounded three more.
The main focus on violence today is on a pre-dawn raid by the US military. The
US military described it thusly: "Special Iraqi Army forces, supported by Coalition advisors, conducted a raid authorized by the Government of Iraq Oct. 25 in Sadr City, Baghdad to capture a top illegal armed group commander directing widespread death-squad activity throughout eastern Baghdad. During the raid, Iraqi Army froces came under fire and had to defend themselves. They requested support from Coalition aircraft which used precision gunfire only to eliminate the enemy threat."
Nearly every word in the statement is under question. "Authorized by the government of Iraq"?
Al Jazeera reports that puppet of the occupation (and the official commander-in-chief of the Iraqi army) Nouri al-Maliki held a press conference today to say that the raid came without his approval. AP reports that "al-Maliki disavowed the operation, saying he had not been consulted and insisiting 'that it will not be repeated'." CBS and AP note that "Al-Maliki, who is commander in chief of Iraq's army, heatedly denied he knew anything about the raid and would make sure it didn't happen again." In fact, every major news outlets notes that al-Maliki states he was not consulted. [In fact, the Washington Post's Ellen Knickmeyer noted in yesterday's press conference held by Khalilzad and Casey, "General Casey has repeatedly said resolving the milita issue will take a military and political approach. But Prime Minister Maliki has made clear that he doesn't want any kind of U.S. military action against the militias. He said that specificially, and he's blocked you from entering Sadr City." Note, this was stated before the pre-dawn raid took place.] John Ward Anderson (Washington Post) notes that the Sadr City section of Baghdad is home to "2.5 million residents". Another key point is that the Iraqi military was on the ground and calling in air strikes which, on the face of it, seems unlikely. All the more so when the BBC reports: "But Iraqi police said the US troops shot at them while they were trying to take people injured in the raid to hospital." From helicopters? Doubtful.
In terms of the dead and injured,
CBS' Lara Logan notes "at least five people were killed and 18 injured." Looking at the confusion and noting one of Bully Boy's talking points today was: "we're winning and we will win," those who remembered many attempts to control the news (the Jessica Lynch story, US forces pulling down the statue of Saddam Hussein . . .), it's reasonable to wonder if the hope hadn't been a glorified photo-op that would allow Bully Boy to boast in today's speech? If it were an attempt to deliver another wave of Operation Happy Talk, "wipeout" -- AFP notes: "The joint force did not say whether they had captured their main target."
In terms of other fallout, al-Maliki, as
Reuters reports, had been all candy canes and moon pies prior to the raid but noted today that, despite US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and US general George Casey's claims, he (al-Maliki) did not agree to any "timelines" or "timetable." al-Maliki's not the only one disowning yesterday's statements. As John F. Burns (New York Times) and other rightly reported, yesterday Casey's comments indicated "that he might call for an increase in American troop levels in Baghdad". As usual, when reality frightens the public, it's time to eat the words. So today George Casey is chewing. As John Ward Anderson (Washington Post) reports, Casey issued a statement today "clarifying that he had not asked for more U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq. The statement said that news reports of Casey's comments at the joint press conference with Khalilzad on Tuesday 'inferred' that Casey said more troops might be needed to quell violence in Iraq. 'Quite frankly, that is the wrong impression,' the statement said."
The wrong impression? From Wednesday's press conference (dictacted -- I'll hunt down a link for it and add it to this later today):

John F. Burns: John Burns, New York Times. This one's for General Casey. We heard last week from Genereal Caldwell about the need to refocus and adapt the Baghdad Security Plan, and there's been much discussion as to what that would mean. Can you address the question of troop levels and whether additional troop levels, if necessary, would be American, whether those are Iraqi? And if American, would that involve holdovers for some of the units now in the country? And could you go on from that to discuss the question of your timeline for the drawdown of American troops and how that will be affected by the adjustments you make in Baghdad?
George Casey: Well, welcome back, John.
John F. Burns: Just the question you wanted.
George Casey: Just one question, all right? The Baghdad Security Plan -- we are already -- I mean, we continuously adapt. We review this weekly. General Chiarelli and General Thurman, who are conducting the tactical operations with me . . . than that -- and we already have taken adjustments inside that to react to what the enemy's doing and to put us in a position to deal with things that we think they're going to do. I'm not going to get into specifics of what we're going to do with the Baghdad Security Plan, because I don't necessarily want to tell . . . what we're getting ready to do here with the enemy. That said, I think you can expect us to continue to hold onto the focus areas with the Iraqi security forces and to follow through on what we're trying to do here on the build phase, to put -- to help with the basic -- improve basic services for the population of Baghdad. Now, do we need more troops to do that? Maybe. And as I've said all along, if we do, I will ask for the troops I need, both coalition and Iraqi. But I think it's important for all of us to understand right now that we're not going to have total security here in Baghdad until the major political issues that are dividing the country are resolved. And the political leaders understand that, and they are wrestling with that part of it. But as with the militia issue, all of this -- what we're doing here takes an integrated, political and military effort to achieve decisive results, and that's what we're working with the Iraqis to do. I don't know if I got them all, John, but that's as close as I can get.
John F. Burns: A timeline for American --
George Casey: A timeline -- I think -- you know, I said a year or so ago that if the conditions on the ground continued the way they were going that I thought we'd have fairly substantial reductions in coalition forces. We began that reduction in December of last year with the off-ramp of two brigades. We were proceeding along that line until really the end of June, early July when it became apparent that, as I said, the Iraqi security forces were about halfway through a three-year, three-step process, that they weren't going to be able to make -- have the impact on the security situation in Baghdad that was needed to give this new government some breathing room. And so I reversed what I was doing, and we've committed these forces here, and they've had a very decisive impact on what's going on here in Baghdad So I still very strongly believe that we need to continue to reduce our forces as the Iraqis continue to improve, because we need to get out of their way. The Iraqis are getting better. Their leaders are feeling more responsible for the security in Iraq, and they want to take the reins, and I think we need to do that. But I can't tell you right now until we get through Ramadan here and the rest of this when that might be.

We'll note one more thing from that conference Tuesday:

Lara Logan: Lara Logan, CBS News. Ambassador Khalilzad, if I can ask you, please, has Muqtada al-Sadr actually agreed to any of the plans that you've outlined here? Has there been any direct contact between him and U.S. representatives? Because him and all of his ministers who control key ministries, like the Ministry of Health, say that they refuse still to have any direct contact with the U.S. And if that is the case, then how are we expected to believe that they will support this plan in any way? And to General Casey, can I ask you, please, can we have an honest assessment of the Iraqi security forces? Because when we're on the ground with your commanders, they tell us that when they try and order up an operation and ask for the Iraqi battalion or the Iraqi brigade, they're lucky if they get 40, 50 percent of the guys who are actually there. They have soldiers and policemen who are coming in collecting their pay checks and not showing up. The special inspector general of Iraq says there is no mechanism in place, and hasn't been for three years, to determine what forces show up, what don't, what the levels of attrition are, who is actually operationally capable. So the numbers really are a lie, and we want the truth, and your soldiers on the ground want the truth out there.

The response? Casey pouted: "The numbers aren't a lie". Khalilzad? Double-talk.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Isaiah, Howard Zinn, Cindy Sheehan, Tina Turner, Chris Cornell

Isaiah's latest comic is to the left and that was in my lost post last night so I want to make sure I note it today. Just last week, I was noting how much I enjoy Isaiah's comics that parody or touch on films. Then the one to the left went up Sunday. He's playing on Home Alone and Bully Boy's "Vietnam!" is a result of Bully Boy using the comparison himself. I like the look on Bully Boy's face as he yells. The "Alone" refers to the ever shrinking 'coalition of the willing.'

Sunny loved this as well and Monday at the office, the first thing she said is, "You have to put it up at your site!" I started out last night's lost entry with it. Hopefully, there will be more luck tonight. For those who wonder, this is from Blogger Status:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Tomorrow we will have an outage of 60 minutes from 2p to 3p (Pacific Time) as we perform some hardware repairs.
Posted by Pal at
15:39 PDT
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Wow. Ok. So it hasn’t been Blogger’s weekend. Blogger was down for a little over three hours this evening, due to the near-simultaneous failure of a critical component and its backup. This outage also impacted the loading of many Blog*Spot blogs, which rely on Blogger for a CSS file.We apologize profusely for this outage. Blogger should be working as normal now. The new version of Blogger in beta was not affected.
Posted by Pete at
20:23 PDT

Apparently the repairs today were to fix Saturday's problems which still existed. In their Saturday note they write: "Blogger was down for a littl over three hours this evening . . ." It was at least four hours. We were attempting to work on The Third Estate Sunday Review and it put the whole edition behind. Ruth logged in (to The Common Ills) just as RadioNation with Laura Flanders was coming on. She worked on her report, was pleased with and went to post. This was during Blogger/Blogspot's downtime and she lost her entire report. Last night she published her latest Ruth's Report so be sure to read that. Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts. I have two highlights for tonight. Also Betty did her usual Monday substitution last night so please read "Betty filling in for Kat."

Returning to the topic of Iraq and Vietnam now with the next excerpt.

"Is It Vietnam Yet?" (Cindy Sheehan, Truthout):
In 2000 dollars, the Congressional hacks of the War Machine splurged 161 billions of our dollars in the 14 years that Vietnam dragged disastrously on. However, that is a paltry sum. So far, in 2006 dollars, Congress has deliriously wasted almost 340 billions of dollars! The War Machine is busy laundering the blood out of their money before they make a deposit in the National Bank of Lost Hopes and Dreams.
The other similarities to Vietnam prove the old adage that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. In 1967, Robert McNamara, JFK's and LBJ's Secretary of War and prime architect of the Vietnam mistake, left his post as primary civilian death deliverer to become president of the World Bank. Similarly, assistant Secretary of War and prime architect, cheerleader, and liar of the Iraqi mistake Paul Wolfowitz left his post in the War Department for the apparent next logical step of president of the World Bank. Evidently, it is not only in BushCo that one's penchant for butchery is rewarded handsomely!
Across the country, our fellow Americans despair that "young people" aren't involved in the anti-war movement, or there isn't as much activism as there was during the Vietnam years. Historically, the anti-war movement is much more active and relevant in this conflict than in the same time period during Vietnam. There were enormous demonstrations before the invasion of Iraq, because millions of people around the world did not want to be witnesses to another bloody struggle and did not want killing waged in their names. I, myself, have been involved in enormous demonstrations just in the last year. As the news coverage on the ground in Iraq vastly differs from the news coverage in Vietnam (I remember the daily dosage of nightly news regarding Vietnam - with uncensored footage), so does the coverage of the anti-war movement, which is terribly underreported.
Recently, Congressmembers from California wrote a letter to Rumbo to request that the Pentagon remove embedded reporters from CNN out of Iraq because, surprisingly, CNN showed some ghastly footage of Iraqi snipers targeting US troops. No one wants to see death as it happens (unless it's fictional), and increasingly, Americans are realizing that just because we are not shown the shocking images does not mean that they are not happening. We are beginning to come out of the media-induced coma and contradict BushCo's perception that Iraq is a hotbed of happiness and democracy. No, we the people are realizing that the criminals who put our young people in an avoidable situation are the ones to blame, and the shocking images will stop when our troops are brought home!
In Vietnam, we saw a Lieutenant convicted and later pardonned for war crimes in the horrors of My Lai. In Iraq, we have seen a few privates and specialists be similarly prosecuted for such horrors as Abu Ghraib. After Vietnam, Nixon, Johnson, McNamara, Kissinger, etc. should have been prosecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. We all know what happened to each of them. Kissinger won a Nobel Peace Prize, McNamara went on to the World Bank and the presidents retired in infamy to their estates to a cozy lifetime with their families. Did any of them have regrets, nightmares or feelings of abject guilt? Probably not, but we do know for certain that none of them went to prison. For this quagmire of Iraq, we the people must make sure that BushCo cannot retire to their ranches (in Crawford or Paraguay) or estates to live lives of relative ease. They must be prosecuted and imprisoned for the murders that their policies and greed have caused. Wars for profit will not end until those responsible for causing them are forced to face their mistakes and pay for them.
During the '60s we were told to be afraid, very afraid, of the Commun"ists." Now we are being bombarded daily with convenient and politically expedient warnings of the Terror"ists." In 1968, a small majority of the electorate chose to believe Nixon and his "secret plan" to exit Vietnam: a plan which killed almost 50 thousand more American soldiers before he was done and untold millions of Vietnamese. Now, we are supposed to believe known and proven liars about their "timetable" for eventual withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. How many more of our human treasure (Iraqi, American, Muslim, Christian, Brown, Black and White) will be wasted before our elected officials decide to pull the plug on this one? Do not vote out of fear next month. Vote with your courage for candidates who are loudly anti-war and pro-accountability.

As "A Note to Our Readers" (The Third Estate Sunday Review) stated two Sundays ago, and it's been stated before, no one owns your vote. It is your vote and you need to determine how to use it. If a candidate is not speaking to you then she or he doesn't deserve your vote. Your vote is your business. You need to own it. As Cindy Sheehan says: "Do not vote out of fear next month."

"Why War Fails" (Howard Zinn, Common Dreams):
I suggest there is something important to be learned from the recent experience of the United States and Israel in the Middle East: that massive military attacks are not only morally reprehensible but useless in achieving the stated aims of those who carry them out.
In the three years of the Iraq War, which began with shock-and-awe bombardment and goes on with day-to-day violence and chaos, the United States has failed utterly in its claimed objective of bringing democracy and stability to Iraq. American soldiers and civilians, fearful of going into the neighborhoods of Baghdad, are huddled inside the Green Zone, where the largest embassy in the world is being built, covering 104 acres and closed off from the world outside its walls.
I remember John Hersey's novel The War Lover, in which a macho American pilot, who loves to drop bombs on people, and also to boast about his sexual conquests, turns out to be impotent. George Bush, strutting in his flight jacket on an aircraft carrier, and announcing victory in Iraq, has turned out to be an embodiment of the Hersey character, his words equally boastful, his military machine equally impotent.
The Israeli invasion and bombing of Lebanon has not brought security to Israel. Indeed, it has increased the number of its enemies, whether in Hezbollah or Hamas, or among Arabs who belong to neither of those groups.
That failure of massive force goes so deep into history that Israeli leaders must have been extraordinarily obtuse, or blindly fanatic, to miss it. The memory is not lost to Professor Ze'ev Maoz at Tel Aviv University, writing recently in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz about a previous Israeli invasion of Lebanon: "Approximately 14,000 civilians were killed between June and September of 1982, according to a conservative estimate." The result, aside from the physical and human devastation, was the rise of Hezbollah, whose rockets provoked another desperate exercise of massive force.
The history of wars fought since the end of World War II reveals the futility of large-scale violence. The United States and the Soviet Union, despite their enormous firepower, were unable to defeat resistance movements in small, weak nations. Even though the United States dropped more bombs in the Vietnam War than in all of World War II, it was still forced to withdraw. The Soviet Union, trying for a decade to conquer Afghanistan, in a war that caused a million deaths, became bogged down and also finally withdrew.
Even the supposed triumphs of great military powers turn out to be elusive. After attacking and invading Afghanistan, President Bush boasted that the Taliban were defeated. But five years later, Afghanistan is rife with violence, and the Taliban are active in much of the country. Last May, there were riots in Kabul, after a runaway American military truck killed five Afghans. When U.S. soldiers fired into the crowd, four more people were killed.
After the brief, apparently victorious war against Iraq in 1991, George Bush Sr. declared (in a moment of rare eloquence): "The specter of Vietnam has been buried forever in the desert sands of the Arabian peninsula." Those sands are bloody once more.
The same George Bush presided over the military attack on Panama in 1989, which killed thousands and destroyed entire neighborhoods, justified by the "war on drugs." Another victory, but in a few years, the drug trade in Panama was thriving as before.

I love Howard Zinn. If we had three Howard Zinns in Congress, the nation would be on stronger ground. I'll add that The War Lover was made into a film starring Steve McQueen. I actually had a larger point to make with this but Mike just phoned saying "Turn on the TV!!!!" He's really excited about the new James Bond film Casino Royale (and wrote about it last night in "Iraq, Kyle Snyder, James Baker and more") so I watched the commercial. Judi Dench is in the commercial so who knows how good the film will be?

That's not an insult to Dench. She tends to improve anything she's in. But Pierce Brosnan's films started off promising and then disinegrated. Dench was in all of them and the best part of each. My point is the commercial for the new film relies heavily on Dench and I doubt anyone's wondering whether she will be good in the movie. It's a known that she will be. It's also a known that her part will be small. So it makes for a good commercial but I'd say the jury's still out on the film.

A few years ago there was talk of shaking up the franchise. Rupert Everrett was mentioned as a possible Bond and as a gay Bond. There was also talk of possibly making the next Bond a woman. That would have been interesting. I have nothing against the actor playing the new Bond but my guess is we'll all know in the first five minutes whether he'll be able to cut it or not.

Chris Cornell is doing the theme and I'm honestly more interested in that right now. I was a big fan of Soundgarden up through SuperUnknown. Then they followed that up with something that sounded to me like rehashed Bad Finger or some other generic 70s band and, of course, then they broke up. Cornell sings with Audioslave which I enjoy but wish they didn't sound so much like Rage Against the Machine (which is where most members of the band came from). I really loved Rage but I don't want Rage fronted by Cornell. The next two albums improved and I thought Revelations (their most recent one) showed a unqiue sound and not just the promise that had been hinted on previously. The Bond song is called "You Know My Name" and I'm hopeful on it but wish they'd brought back Tina Turner. I can hear Cornell hollering "You Know My Name" in my head but I think Tina could have given it more shading. Hopefully, I'll be proven wrong.

SuperUnknown remains one of my most played CDs from the 90s. "Fell on Black Days" is honestly a track I missed on initial listen and I have no idea how that happened. I was discussing it over the phone with C.I. shortly after it came out and was told, "Put the phone down and listen to that track." I did and it blew my away. I was more focused on "Spoonman" and "4th of July" and "Fell on Black Days" had sailed right over me originally.

Since I mentioned Tina Turner, let me join Kat in complaining (I think she wrote about this, I know we talked about it) that Tina's latest collection of hits yet again ignored "One of the Living." I loved that song and think that was it for Tina and rock. Up to that song, she was able to straddle both. When people think of Tina today, I wonder if they remember it or "It's Only Love" with Bryan Adams. They were as important to making the 80s image as songs that appeared on her own albums. Private Dancer I loved from the start. The follow up? I had that on cassette when it came out and couldn't stand the first side. I would rewind side two and listen to that over. But "Two People" sounded like a musical rewrite of "What's Love Got To Do With It" (and not a good rewrite), "What You See Is What You Get" had energy but bordered on Juice Newton territory (think Newton's "Queen of Hearts"), and I loathed "Typical Male." That really did it for Tina. I don't think you can sing a love song to a lawyer in the 80s and have people flocking to hear it. It was also very bad musically. Tina sang it nicely but there was no reason to even record it unless someone was afraid of "Strong Tina." In fact, the entire follow up album sounded as though it was made by people afraid of "Strong Tina." Break Every Rule was the name of the follow up. I had to go look on my CD shelves.

I could actually write an entire post on Tina Turner. I really am a huge fan. If she hit the road again, I would have to see her. I think she's incredible. I'm less than thrilled with the majority of the songs she recorded after Private Dancer. I think she's consistently sung the material better than it warrented.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, October 24, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the US military announces the deaths of more US troops today, a US soldier is missing in Baghdad,
CNN becomes the first news outlet to call the 2,800 marker, the people of England, Iraq and the United States do not support the illegal war and 65 active duty US soldiers call for an end to the war.
In England,
Julian Glover, Richard Norton-Taylor and Patrick Wintour (Guardian of London) report on a Guardian/ICM poll which found: "A clear majority of voters want British troops to be pulled out of Iraq by the end of this year, regardless of the consequences for the country" and that the breakdown is only 30% stand with the soon to be bailing ship Tony Blair's position of "as long as is considered necessary" while "61% of voters say they want British troops to leave this year, even if they have not completed their mission and Washington wants them to stay." The results are an increse of ten percent of respondents saying it's time to leave since the poll was last done in September 2005. In addition, Reuters notes, of the poll, that "72 percent felt the Iraq war was 'unwinnable.'"
On the other side of the Atlantic ocean,
CNN reports on a new poll by to determine American attitudes about the war which has found that only "[o]ne in five Americans believes the United States is winning the war in Iraq," that 64% of respondent opposed the illegal war, and thtat 57% of respondeds "want the United States to announce it will pull all troops out by a certain date."
Both polls reflect continued trends in their countries (as backed up by polling for the last year). In addition, as Amy Goodman noted at the top of today's
Democracy Now! and Aileen Alfandary noted on today's KPFA's The Morning Show, 65 active duty service members have contacted Congress. Goodman: "For the first time since the invasion, a group of 65 active duty service members are formally asking Congress to end the U.S. occupation and bring the troops home." The topic was raised Monday in the White House press briefing and White House flack Tony Snow job dismissed it:

Q Tony, quick -- there's 65 active duty troops that are coming out with a letter today, saying they think the occupation should end, and they're saying that -- this is part of the military whistle blower. Any reaction to that?

MR. SNOW: Well, number one, it's a Fenton Communications job, which means clearly it's got a political edge to it. But number two it's not unusual for soldiers in a time of war to have some misgivings. I believe at least two of them have served in Iraq proper, active duty. We don't know how many have actually served --

Q I think the majority of them have.

MR. SNOW: But let's say they all did. You also have more than -- you have several hundred thousand who served in Iraq. You have reenlistment rates that have exceeded goals in all the military. You've had a number of people serving multiple tours of duty. And it appears that there's considerable --

Q They don't have much choice.

MR. SNOW: Well, no, I mean they do have choice. If you've got a chance to sign up or not sign up, and you decide that you're going to sign up again and go serve in Iraq, it means it means something to you. And so I believe that there is also -- you get 65 guys who are, unfortunately -- no, not unfortunately -- 65 people who are going to be able to get more press than the hundreds of thousands who have come back and said they're proud of their service.

"Hundreds of thousands who have come back"? Does Snow Job know how many have served in Iraq and returned? His comments do not indicate that he does.
In Iraq, polling has consistently found that the majority wants all foreign troops out and the most recent poll to back that up was conducted by the US State Department.
Katherine Shrader (AP) noted that the polling focused on "Iraqi youth" and found the majority opinion to be that "security would improve and violence decrease if U.S.-led forces left immediately," that "strong majorities" expressed opposition to the option that they might join the either the Iraq military or the Iraq police and that "nine out of 10 young Iraqi Arabas said they see the U.S. and allied forces in Iraq as an occupying force."
The perception is not going away and certain events add to it.
Reuters reports: "U.S. troops pulled over a fire truck and killed four Iraqi firefighters in a case of mistaken identity on Monday after a report that a fire truck had been hijacked in western Falluja, the military said. The firefighters, whom U.S. troops first believed were armed insurgents, were responding to a call." Al Jazeera reports that the "killings happened . . . when the unarmed firefighters got out of their vehicle and were fired upon by US soldiers."
Reuters notes two Iraqi soldiers died and another was wounded in Kirkuk by a roadisde bomb while two other roadside bombs left five people wounded. CNN reports: "Five Iraqis also were killed in three incidents Tuesday in the capital. A bomb exploded in a parked car near a Shiite mosque in northwestern Baghdad, killing two people and wounding 12 others, Baghdad emergency police said. An Iraqi civilian was killed and seven others wounded when a roadside bomb exploded in a central Baghdad market."
Al Jazeera reports that Ala Ghleim was shot dead in Amara as was Hussein Salah in another attack (a home invasion) which also "left two of his brothers wounded." Both of the men who were killed were police officers. Later, Al Jazeera updated the number of police officers shot dead in Amara to four. CNN notes two people were shot dead in Baghdad and seven more wounded.
CNN notes eight corpses were discovered in Baghdad ("riddled with bullters").
Meanwhile an American soldier is missing.
Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) reported that he "went missing in Baghdad on Monday night" according to the US military and that a search was ongoing. Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post) noted that "residents said American forces had sealed the central Karrada district and were conducting door-to-door searches, according to the Associated Press." AFP reports the soldier is "an American of Iraqi descent" and that Al-Forat television network was searched in addition to "neighbouring houses". Al Jazeera reports: "On Tuesday, the US military said that the soldier, a linguist assigned to a reconstruction team, was handcuffed and forced into a vehicle" and that he had left the Green Zone to visit "a relative's house in Baghdad outside the Green Zone." The US military's press release summarizes the events as follows: "It is believed that the Soldier left the IZ to visit with family. He was reportedly at a relative's house at the time of the abduction when three cars pulled up to the residence. The men, who were described to have dark colored rags over their noses and mouths, handcuffed the Soldier and forced him into one of the vehicles. The Soldier's relative, who claimed to be at the residence when the abduction occurred, was reported contacted by the kidnappers using the Soldier's cell phone. After being notified of the telephonic contact, MND-B leaders immediately took decisive actions to locate the Soldier."
Since the US military is now claiming all the above was known Monday night, one may wonder why they didn't bother to inform the press. They had stated that the name was not being released until the soldier's family could be contacted -- are we to believe the relative in Baghdad did not contact them? Are we also to believe that there was some 'value' in not identifying the soldier as an American of Iraqi descent which would have allowed the number fearing that it was a Baghdad soldier they knew or were related to be narrowed considerably?
Turning to US military fatalities, as noted at the top,
CNN was the first news organization to note that the number of US military fatalities had hit the 2800 mark.
Iraq Coalition Casualties currently puts the fatality count at
2803. Depending on the time zone of the intended audience for the report, three to four US troops have been announced dead today. The US military has released two press releases on Tuesday declaring deaths: a sailor was killed in Al-Anabar Province Monday, and two Marines were killed in Al-Anbar Province on Monday as well. Some reports count a release that went out late Monday noting the Sunday death of a US soldier in Baghdad from an IED.
In peace news, last week war resister Corey Glass spoke publicly about his decision to self-check out of the US military and relocate to Canada. The
CBC reports that Glass noted that early on, "[Army officials] stopped by my parents' place to try to find me. Somehow they must have gotten hold of my stuff that I'd left [behind] and started calling numbers they found." Glass was speaking at the Tilley Hall Auditorium at the University of New Brunswick. IMC Maritimes notes that "Glass joined the National Guard in Indiana in 2002, thinking he would be doing things like filling sand bags to stop a flood on American soil. Instead, he was sent to Iraq, and discovered he couldn't fight a war he didn't believe in. When he was given a two-week leave to return home, he deserted. After seven months in hiding, he fled to Tornoto where he is seeking refugee status." Glass has stated (in September): "I knew the war was wrong before I went, but I was going to fulfil my end of the bargain, right or wrong and eventually my conscience just caught up with me. . . I felt horrible for being a part of it. If I could apologise to those people [Iraqis], every single on, I would."
Also in peace news, peace activist
Cindy Sheehan will be speaking at the University of Iowa (Macbride Auditorium, 7:30 pm) while Sunday, Michael Yoder (The Intelligencer Journal) reports, Ray McGovern spoke at the Lancaster Church of the Brethren in Penn. noting, of Iraq, : "We need to call lies 'lies'."
Turning to the land of fiction and myth. The US administration continues to be jaw-dropping amazing in the worst way possible. After
hair splitting over the definition of milestone and hair splitting over the defenition of deadline, the administration, as reported by Jim Rutenberg and David S. Cloud (New York Times), has decided one thing they will drop is the phrase "stay the course." The dropping should not be read as a sign of embracing reality, just dropping a slogan that's no longer marketing well. Proving that they hold reality at arms length, Mark Tran (Guardian of London) reports that the US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad (who did such a bang-up job with Afghanistan!) says the 'success' is still within reach in Iraq. As Sam Knight (Times of London) notes, "benchmarks," not deadlines, are the buzz of the day. Appearing with Khalilzad was George Casey ("top US general") and Paul Reynolds (BBC) notes that they are both "predicting an improvement in Iraq in 12-18 months". Reynolds observes: "The problem for General Casey is that he has said all this before. In July 2005 he predicted major troop withdrawals by this summer, only to have to accept today that he had to reverse that trend when summer came because the Iraqis could not cope with the surge of sectarian violence in Baghdad. He even said today that he would ask for more troops if necessary."
On Kahlilzad,
AFP reminds: "In July of this year Khalilzad had said that the 'next six months will be critical for Iraq'". Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) wants you not to be fooled should a man in a Jack Murtha mask come to your door on Halloween because it's really Joe Lieberman: "Lieberman has been trying out his costume on the campaign trail in Connecticut, desperately trying to trick voters into thinking that he's against the war so he treat himself to their support. . . . Lieberman clearly hopes that by paying lip service to being against the war he can confuse voters into forgetting that he was a lead sponsor of the resolution authorizing the war, has been a bellicose backer of the president's failed policy ever since -- repeatedly voting against efforts to change course in Iraq -- and continues to attack Ned Lamont for working to end the war."
While the people can see reality (note the polling at the top), leadership refuses to. Tony Blair makes the illegal war a point of "
nerve." John Howard, prime minister of Australia, says to depart would mean "no hope of demomcracy." This despite the rumors that Howard has no intention of 'staying the course' and would turn over leadership to Peter Costello if his party wins in the upcoming elections. Elections? The Labor Party is arguing for pulling Australian troops out of Iraq. Australia's ABC reports Robert McLelland ('defence spokesman") stating: "There's every indication that the presence of Western troops is actually something that inflames the violence itself. It's just not working -- there has to be alternative solutions."
Now that McLelland has transitioned us back into reality,
David Goldstein (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on a recent study of Vet Centers in the US: "The report last week from the Democratic staff of the House Veterans Affairs Committee said demand had risen for outreach and other services at nearly a third of the centers because of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan." The report, entitled "House Veterans' Committe Report Concludes VA Counseling Center Services At-Risk," is available online.
Finally, in other reality news,
Philip Webster (Times of London) reports that Margaret Beckett (Britain's Foreign Secretary) "acknowledged the limitations to what could be achieved by coalition forces. She also accepted that the invasion might come to be judged as a foreign policy disaster for Britain."