Friday, August 03, 2007

Robert Parry, Monica Benderman

"Bush's Secret Spying on Americans" (Consortium News):
The dispute over whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales committed perjury when he parsed words about George W. Bush's warrantless surveillance program misses a larger point: the extraordinary secrecy surrounding these spying operations is not aimed at al-Qaeda, but at the American people.
There has never been a reasonable explanation for why a fuller discussion of these operations would help al-Qaeda, although that claim often is used by the Bush administration to challenge the patriotism of its critics or to avoid tough questions.
On July 27, for instance, White House press secretary Tony Snow fended off reporters who asked about apparent contradictions in Gonzales’s testimony by saying:
"This gets us back into the situation that I understand is unsatisfactory because there are lots of questions raised and the vast majority of those we're not going to be in a position to answer, simply because they do involve matters of classification that we cannot and will not discuss publicly."
[. . .]
Yet, because of the secrecy that Bush has pulled down around these operations, neither Congress nor the people can evaluate whether the trade-offs of liberty for security are worth it. Leading senators can’t even make an informed judgment about whether Gonzales lied to them.
But that, of course, might be exactly the point. The real purpose of all the secrecy appears to be to enable the Bush administration to construct an authoritarian framework – similar to the "total information awareness" concept -- without the American people knowing that their liberties are facing a draconian threat from intrusive government spying.

So the illegal spying goes on and is, in fact, much worse than we know (as Parry points out) and Congress rushes to meet the White House's latest demands. If only we had a Democratically controlled Congress! Oh, wait, we do. Are we seeing any difference for that? Maybe you are, I'm not seeing much.

What is the point of an opposition party -- in control or in the minority -- that does nothing? More confusing, how do they expect to maintain power in 2008 without having done anything?

It just makes no sense to me. I thought we'd either see the Democrats run with their new power and make a difference or we'd see them do nothing. I didn't figure it would be confusing and it hasn't been. The Democrats are still spineless, still toothless and still caving.

And, yes, the war drags on.

"In Freedom's Name" (Monica Benderman, CounterPunch):
In Iraq, the United States military is “surging” to strengthen the security of a country whose borders had once been secure, now decimated from an invasion by the United States military. Some people in the United States actually still believe our soldiers are over there fighting for our freedom. Thousands of Iraqis become refugees from their homeland every day. Thousands more have died in the four years this fiasco has continued on. This is for freedom?
I sit and think about my friends in Iraq, the Iraqi people we talk with, the soldiers who tell us what they face and how they believe; and I take a look around this United States, my home.
Let me tell you something about freedom.
Freedom does not rely on history. Freedom does not rely on endless lectures on where our culture has been and where it is going.
Freedom does not rely on young men and women signing their lives away for an enlistment bonus serving as nothing more than a glittery facade to keep innocents from knowing they’re about to become slaves.
Freedom does not rely on wars being fought on foreign soil so we don’t have to face our enemies at home.
Freedom does not rely on the work of past generations, so that this generation can remain idle in their responsibility, consumed by achieving the pretense of success.
Freedom does not rely on others fighting our battles while we profess moral support for their actions from living rooms and computer monitors where our words are posted using pseudonyms so our government cannot track our actions.
It is August. At the end of the month the final brigades designated as part of the “surge” for security in Iraq are scheduled to deploy from Fort Stewart. Soldiers don’t hide their feelings much any more. In grocery stores, gas stations and local businesses, more and more soldiers are willing to express their displeasure at the continued deployments with no definitive end. Some soldiers are returning for their fourth deployment in four years.

Monica Benderman's had some very strong writing before; however, I think this is my favorite of all the things she's written. I may have chosen poorly for the excerpt so if it only leaves you lukewarm, especially use the link.

I was on the phone today with an old friend from college and she mentioned C.I.'s "And the war drags on . . ." which had us noting that YET AGAIN women are carrying their own weight and the men's.

Monica Benderman proves that in her piece as well. She's tackling so many themes and issues under "freedom" and Iraq that you'd think one of the countless male columnists would be doing. Instead, I grimaced as I tried to make it through Paul Krugman today. They had one copy of my paper of choice and it looked like someone had thrown up on it. So I grabbed the New York Times and flipped through it. Unimpressed, as I generally am with the paper. Paul Krugman spends the first half of the column applauding weakness in the Dems (he doesn't see it as weakness) and then off on his economics. I had to wonder, "Was he unable to write one coherent column so he offered two incoherent ones?" There were weak and pathetic editorials but I thought, "Fine, read Krugman." This is our leading voice in the MSM? Maybe it was a bad day but the boys seem to be having a lot of them these days.

My friend (who also knows C.I. from college) asked, "What happened to the 'young lions'?" We finally remembered they weren't that great back then but we spent a lot of time encouraging them, holding their hands, telling them they could do it and it's like they are more scared now than when they first left their parents' homes. As she said, "Screw the now-old-lions, women are the one being serious now and we were serious then too." I don't think Monica Benderman was serious then because I believe I'm older than she is. (I could be wrong.) But had she been around back then, I'm sure she would be as serious as she is now.

I'm really sick of the boys and the overgrown boys of the left who can't rage, who can't connect, who can't do anything but offer the weakest of words over and over.

I'm not saying it's biological because it's not. I am saying that a lot of 'boys' (especially older ones) are apparently falling back on cultural mores and 'toughening' up to show just how 'mighty' and 'in control' they are in these chaotic times. They divorce themselves from feeling in their writings. Not all, but too many. Alexander Cockburn is never afraid to reveal what he is thinking and what he is feeling. But for too many of the left males today, they seem to suffer from John Wayne envy.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, August 3, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, the puppet tries not to notice the government collapsing around him, the National Lawyers Guild issues a report by Heidi Boghosian on the state of rights in the United States, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Cindy Chan (Epoch Times) reports on the creation of the War Resisters Support Campaign "launched shortly after an American deserter from the Iraq War named Jeremy Hinzman arrived in Canada seeking asylum that January" in 2004 and how it was quickly realized that both a legal and a political effort would be needed and that's certainly true with both war resisters Hinzman and Brandon Hughey's case now being appealed to Canada's Supreme Court following the Federal Court of Appeal's decision that "rights of conscience" could be applied to "a refugee claimant [who] is a high-level policy-maker or planner of the military conflict" but not "a mere foot soldier". So apparently Henry Kissinger, for instance, could get refugee status for his war crimes in Canada but Canada will not give asylum to war resisters. As Chan notes, that was not always the case. During Vietnam, the Canadian government stood up but that's when they had a prime minister who wasn't a lackey of the United States. Chan notes that Hughey and Hinzman are expected to hear this month or next whether the Supreme Court will hear their case.
Just as during Vietnam, war resistance is on the rise. "I think something similar is beginning to happen now because those same unities coming together to oppose the war say, 'No, we're not going to continue fighting in this war.' We have the organization I belong to,
Iraq Veterans Against the War, we have up to 500 members, the majority of whom have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who are saying, 'No, we're not going to continue to fighting this war.' And you know by the Pentagon's own estimates we have since the war started 8 to 10,000 troops who have decided not to go back to the war. To put it in perspective, that's a division size element that's been wiped by desertion and AWOL," explains war resister and CO Camilo Mejia on this week's Progressive Radio, Matthew Rothschild interviewed Mejia who has told his story in the recently released Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia (The New Press).

Matthew Rothschild: Did you get a lot of negative feedback from either people who saw you on the media or from soldiers or former soldiers?

Camilo Mejia: Definitely there was some negative feedback but by and large the feedback was very positive partiicularly when it came from the members of the military. People in the army, or in the armed services, don't really feel that they have the right to go public with their views and opinions . . . but secretly in a more private way a lot of people came up to me and said they agreed with me although they didn't feel they could do so publicy. The feedback was very positive.

Mejia described the things he saw at the POW camps for Iraqis and Rothschild asked if he realized then that the Geneva Conventions were being violated? Mejia replied that he didn't realize it at that point, "It just felt wrong." Mejia explained that the events "on a daily basis" in Iraq didn't allow him much time for reflection but he had that time while he was on leave back in the US. He and Rothschild discussed the bond (socialization) within the military and how that can effect choices made. Mejia stated the people need to "realize that there's a greater tragedy in Iraq . . . The people of Iraq, 90% of the people who are dying are civilians, you know children, unarmed men, women, the elderly, the entire life being destroyed, the infrastructure is being destroyed so we have got to step outside our own fears and our own interests and our own feelings to look at the bigger picture and realize that saying that we're fighting for one another is no reason enough for participating in this criminal war."

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. IVAW and others will be joining Veterans For Peace's conference in St. Louis, Missouri August 15th to 19th.

Mejia was interviewed on Monday on
WBAI's Law and Disorder as was Adam Kokesh spoke with hosts Dalia Hashad, Michael Ratner and Michael Smith (Heidi Boghosian, the fourth host was not part of this broadcast, but we'll cover Boghosian in a moment). Kokesh is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and he discussed the military brass' efforts to suppress his freedom of his speech. Kokesh wore his fatigues (without markings or name tags) in Operation First Casualty in DC (and elsewhere but DC was the one that led to retaliation) which is street theater meant to convey for Americans what life is like for Iraqis during the illegal war.

"The media stories that we've read haven't captured this accurately," Dalia Hashad noted. Kokesh explained that, after the DC action, he got an e-mail which he didn't know what to make of -- was it for real? -- and he discussed it with Tina Richards (
Grassroots of America) who explained that her son Cloy Richards had received similar e-mails from people in (or claiming to be) the military and out of it. So Kokesh replied to the e-mail and the brass response was "which is completely unprecedented" because he had already been honorably discharged by the military and placed in the IRR Kokesh described it as a kick in the stomach and a surprise, "They can't do this, legally there's no grounds for this. You know it says Article II of the UCMJ it doesn't apply to the IRR it says in my enlistment contract". Dalia Hashad asked to explain about the IRR and Kokesh offered that "when you're in the IRR you're only responsibilites are to maintain a valid address and to show up if called back to active duty."

Michael Smith asked about wearing "a uniform" in street theater? Kokesh explained that a JAG attorney was activated from the reserves, Jeremy Sibert, for the prosecution team. Sibert is the Criminal Division Assistant US Attorney in the Del Rio Office [Texas} for the Department of Justice. Attorney Mike Lebowitz spoke on the program as well and (as requested by Eddie) we'll one more time go over that what Adam Kokesh and others do in street theater is
not an issue the military has any say in. Daniel Jay Schacht took part in street theater during Vietnam. He and others staged it outside a military recruitment center. At that point in time, the military thought they had rights that they didn't. Schacht was arrested for wearing a military uniform in the production. The military's reasoning was that it gave the armed forces a bad name -- the play, the performance, whatever. At that point, the military would allow or disallow theater productions the 'right' to utilize uniforms or not. In 1970, Schacht v. United States was heard by the Supreme Court. The Court found in Schacht's favor noting that the military had been granting permission to some. By denying permission to others, this was now a free speech issue. The US military, the Court determined, had no say in theater productions -- if some could use the uniforms, all could. The military had no say over what Schacht or anyone said in a theater production when they wore a uniform and they had no say over whether the uniform could be worn. This was true of all productions, including street theater. Justice Hugo Black wrote:

Certainly theatrical productions need not always be performed in buildings or even on a defined area such as a conventional stage. Nor need they be performed by professional actors or be heavily financed or elaborately produced. Since time immemorial, outdoor theatrical performances, often performed by amateurs, have played an important part in the entertainment and the education of the people of the world.
Kokesh is appealing and, due to the Supreme Court's 1970 verdict, it should be an easy win; however, Schacht v. United States should have ensured that the matter never went as far as did.
"The idea that citizens are free to dissent is ingrained in the American mythos, a concept even older than the Declaration of Independence itself. Equally important in this value system is the conviction that no nation state can survive as a democracy unless it safeguards political expression and activity," so writes Heidi Boghosian in Punishing Protest. And yet, Kevin Egler has a pre-trial date August 9th in the Portage County Municipal Court in Kent, Ohio. His crime,
as David O'Brien (The Record Courier via Common Dreams) explains, placing an "IMPEACH" sign on public party. And yet, Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) reported last month on the White House's policy of keeping people out of tax payer events -- something clearly taking place throughout the 2004 campaign but the White House put it in writing. In the United States, the Los Angeles Times reports a record $1 million settlement by the District of Columbia due to the police round ups of demonstrators against the illegal war in 2002. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) notes that the monies will go "to more than one hundred demonstrators" and that "D.C. previously agreed to pay more than $640,000 to fourteen other demonstrators. A larger class-action suit covering more than four hundred people awaits trial." The money involved in the DC payout may seem great but does it really cover the cost of violating people's First Amendment rights? And many other attacks on free speech and the right to assembly go under the radar. The National Lawyers Guild has just released Punishing Protest written by Heidi Boghosian (available online in PDF format for free and avaible in book format for $3 at the National Lawyers Guild website).

We're going to zoom in on one section (from page six) and just to provide background (by me, take it up with me, not Boghosian) 2004 was a presidential election. Though some voices, such as Naomi Klein, sounded alarms about the peace movement allowing itself to be subverted into a get-out-the-vote drive for a candidate who was not calling for an end to the illegal war (Democratic nominee John Kerry), most went along with it. One of the biggest peace demonstrations took place in NYC during the GOP convention. In the lead up to the rally and march, the Bloomberg administration denied (wrongly) Central Park access and along with attempting to fight that ban, the peace movement also had to deal with the middle age panice so many (such as Toad) were in the grip of -- alleged lefties who were saying that protesters shouldn't come to NYC or swearing they were leaving NYC for the entire convention. With that background in mind, on page six Boghosian addresses the importance of the media in providing a light and in demonizing and silencing:

For example, the New York print media engaged in hyperbolic coverage months before the 2004 Republican National Convention. The cover of the May 17, 2004 issue of New York magazine promoted companion articles, accompanied by a photograph of a protester wrapped in a U.S. flag. One headline taunted: "Cops to Protesters: Bring It On." The other read: "The Circus is Coming to Town: A Bush-hating nation of freaks, flash-mobbers, and civil-disobedients is gathering to spoil the GOP's party." Nearly the entire front page of the July 12, 2004 edition of the New York Daily News contained an exaggerated proclamation: "ANARCHY THREAT TO CITY Cops fear hard-core lunatics plotting convention chaos." Inside the paper, a two-page headline announced: "FURY AT ANARCHIST CONVENTION THREAT. 'These hard-core groups are looking to take us on. They have increased their level of violence.' -- Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly." The Daily News reported how "Kelly and company have to combat a shadowy, loose-knit band of traveling troublemakers who spread their guides to disruption ovre the Internet." Although the New York Daily News is a tabloid, and prone to sensational headlines, it has the largest circulation and readership in the New York market.

Boghosian then quotes Mara Verheyden-Hillard (NLG's co-chair of Mass Defense Committee) explaining, "Such misleading news coverage is part of an effort to get the activists and the legal community to buy into the police line that there are 'good protestors' and 'bad protestors' and therefore agree that there is a real threat that then necessitates police response to protest. Take action against the fictional bad protestors but don't trample on the rights of the 'good' kind of response, which diverts from those who are the real violent actors over and over -- the police." Also on the press coverage, Boghosian notes a study that found "college newspapers are generally doing a better job reporting on local antiwar events than other local newspapers" while the corporate (alleged grown up) press "fail to research accurate attendance numbers, or fail to mention estimates entirely". Boghosian covers the varying fees applied to some groups but not to others, police pre-demonstration raids on the premises where activists are staying (that harrassment also takes place in Canada, as Naomi Klein explains in Fences & Windows) and may 'find' or invent "a housing violation as a pretext to close down the premises." On page 27, Boghosian addresses the appalling "free speech zones" in Boston during the DNC convention, the containment pens endorsed by the Bloomberg administration which are a saftey hazard for demonstrators as well as a violation of free speech, the issues of bail, illegal spying, infiltration, court room shenanigans and more. The report, to be clear, is not focused on the peace movement. The report is about the erosion of rights in a democracy (or possibly, in an alleged democracy the way things are currently going) and also addresses the war on environmentalists, on Critical Mass and other cyclists. Among the points Boghosian sums up in her conclusion is this:

Decades ago, government spying, infiltration and disruption tactics of the FBI and CIA against domestic political groups (Counter Intelligence Program, or COINTELPRO) led to the establishment of guidelines limited federal investigative power. Under the Bush Administration many of those guidelines are being loosened or abandoned altogether as the government engages in the same surveillance and infiltration activities through advancing a policy of preemptive "warfare." And once again, the executive office, working in close coordination with all levels of federal and local law enforcement, is engaging in what Justice Powell called "dragnet techniques" to both intimidate and silence its critics, the very practice that led to the Fourth Amendment and its protections against overreaching government searches and seizures.
By characterizing those who speak out as 'enemies' or 'terrorists,' as the government is increasingly doing, those charged with upholding the constitution are defying it in a cowardly fashion.

Again, the
PDF format of the report is available online -- 89 pages -- and it can be purchased for $3.00 at the National Lawyers Guild.

In Iraq realities are captured at
Inside Iraq where an Iraqi journalist working for McClatchy Newspapers offers a post that really needs to be read in full but will excerpt from the end:
All these good-doers, thousands of them, in four years, what have they presented to the poor Iraqi Man that they all wish to serve?

Thousands of reconstruction contracts have been awarded -- and the projects said to be implemented.

What are they?
Where are they? Where are they?

Wouldn't a sinking government jump at the chance to show such accomplishments -- had there been any?
Wouldn't an accused occupier jump at the chance to show some
succesful, truly fundamental infrastructure developments and shout them from the roof tops?
Do we have sanitary drinking water?
Do we have electricity?

Do we have medical services or basic neighbourhood services?
Thank you, but no thank you.
But you see . . . no one asked me.

Great Britain's
Socialist Worker notes Oxfam's report and judges it "a daming report on the state of Iraq four years into the occupation" while also noting that Iraqi children "are the biggest losers in the occupation, with 28 percent malnourished, compared to 19 percent before the invasion, while nine out of ten children suffer learning difficulties." The Oxfam report also found that 70% of Iraqis do not have "access to adequate water supplies." This as CBS and AP report: "Much of the Iraqi capital was without running water and had been for at least 24 hours, compounding the urban misery in a war zone and the blistering heat at the height of the Baghdad summer. Residents and city officials said Thursday large sections in the west of the capital had been virtually dry for six days because the already strained electricity grid cannot provide sufficient power to run water purification and pumping stations. Baghdad routinely suffers from periodic water outages, but this one is described by residents as one of the most extended and widespread in recent memory. The problem highlights the larger difficulties in a capital beset by violence, crumbling infrastructure, rampant crime and too little electricity to keep cool in the sweltering weather more than four years after the U.S.-led invasion." They note 52-year-old Jamil Hussein who has two children with "severe diarrhea" due to the water and that he and they will have to continue drinking it. That's criminal, the potable water is still a longed for dream all this time after the illegal war began is criminal.

In some of the rare reporting on today's violence (the soccer team returned -- or parts of it -- so it's time for everyone in the press to don a jock strap and go into fluff mode) . . .


KUNA reports 3 prisoners killed in "Badoush detention camp" by "the Multi-National Force" (US forces) who used "tear gas, live ammunition and rubber bullets to put down the riots." Molly Hennessy-Fiske (Los Angeles Times) reports: "A spokesman for Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq's leading Shiite cleric, said an aide to the cleric was shot and killed Thursday by gunmen in Najaf. Less than two weeks before, another Sistani aide was stabbed and killed near the cleric's office in Najaf, and another aide was killed a month before in a drive-by shooting."


Jenan Hussein (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 13 corpses discovered in Baghdad today.

Today the
US military announced: "Three Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers were killed and 11 others wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated near their patrol during combat operations in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital August 2. Four of the injured were treated for minor injuries and were returned to duty." This brings the August total to 5 US service members killed in Iraq and the total since the start of the illegal war to 3665.

In news of the attempts by the US administration (and elements in the US Congress) to steal Iraqi oil for the benefit of corporations,
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported today, "Support is growing in the U.S. for Iraqi oil workers striking against the U.S.-backed oil law under debate in Iraq. The main union representing American oil workers is calling on Congress to stop pressuring Iraq to pass the law and to shift support to the Iraqi oil workers' demands. In a letter to House and Senate leaders, United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard says: 'The oil privatization law now under consideration by Iraq's government is designed to benefit the multinational oil companies; not the Iraqi people'." And the Iraqi parliament, like the US Congress, is now off on a month long vacation. Jonathan Steel (Guardian of London) observes, "Glad tidings from Baghdad at last. The Iraqi parliament has gone into summer recess without passing the oil law that Washington was pressing it to adopt. For the Bush administration this is irritating, since passage of the law was billed as a 'benchmark' in its battle to get Congress not to set a timetable for US troop withdrawal. . . . Just as General David Petraues, the current US commander, is due to give his report on military progress next month, George Bush is supposed to tell Congress in mid-September how the Maliki government is moving forward on reform."

Earlier this week the Iraqi Accordance Front withdrew from the puppet government.
Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reports that "Iraqi and Western observers say Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his inner circle appear increasingly unable to pull the government out of its paralysis. At times consumed by conspiracy theories, Maliki and his Dawa party elite operate much as they did when they plotted to overthrow Saddam Hussein -- covertly and concerned more about their community's survival than with building consensus among Iraq's warring groups, say Iraqi politicians and analysts and Western diplomats." Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) reports, "Withdrawals from the government by individual ministers and by political groups was the first sign of the end of al-Maliki's political life, but the U.S. government has remained insistent on keeping al-Maliki at the top of Iraq's leadership" and notes, "Security, basic services, and all measurable levels of Iraq's infrastructure are worse now than under the rule of Saddam Hussein. Nevertheless, the U.S., Britain and Iran all continue to support this government."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The need to call out and Nadia Berenstein's "Happily Never Married"

Okay, I'm addressing two things tonight. (I'm also late. Mike explains why we're all late tonight in the post he's doing so I'll steer you there.) First off, C.I. said, "I thought I had an easy snapshot for a change." We both laughed. I called during lunch to ask what campus they were headed to? (Dona, Ava and C.I. are on the road speaking out against the illegal war.) I asked if the group had an office on campus? Yes. Good, I'm faxing something.

It's the thing by the pig. C.I. read it (I knew C.I. would want hard copy and could picture the pacing that went along with the reading of it) and calls me back while dictating an addition to the snapshot asking me what I'm going to grab and what's up for grabs?

I grabbed my things and noted we could overlap and not to worry. No link because I draw the line at linking to PEDOPHILES. You can find the PEDOPHILE's "A Call To Service" at Common Dreams or Truthdig.

I often fall back on sports analogies to explain political situations to American audiences.

"to American audiences"? International speaker that he is? Sports analogies? Oh, tell us again, Pedophile, what it's like to be in the boys' locker room. Please, tell us again about that.

But maybe the sports analogy doesn’t resonate with certain members of this movement.

"this movement" refers to those favoring impeachment whom he also refers to as "the fringes" so since he's dismissed most women my age (and many younger) with his sports analogies, that crack must be aimed solely at the men whom Pedophile doesn't feel are as 'manly' as he is. Because it takes a lot of 'manly' to try to set up sexual encounters with underage girls. What a 'man' pedophile is.

You know what? That's really all I can quote from him without getting sick to my stomach.

I have no idea why he made it through 2006 (when he was trashing Cindy Sheehan) still being allowed to publish at Truthdig, Truthout, Common Dreams, Buzzflash, The Nation and was still allowed to be invited on radio programs like Democracy Now! (which is also a TV show), Connect the Dots with Lila Garrett, RadioNation with Laura Flanders, CounterSpin and countless others. What is the point of that?

A radio host, at one point this year, did something we almost wrote about one Sunday. The host noted that Barack Obama was using a song by a convicted pedophile as his theme song and called that out. Apparently, the show's blog objected and had a tizzy.

We would have supported that host and went back and forth over it. What it came down to is that same host features Scott Ritter on the program regularly.

I don't think a song by a convicted pedophile should be used by a campaign to begin with. But if you're going to call out a song, my questions (and I asked it when we were discussing the potential feature), why are you allowing a pedophile to come on your program.

C.I. hates the Pedophile. C.I.'s thought the man was creepy and suspect from day one. Then Buzzflash was promoting one of the Pedophile's books and a member wrote in to share how disgusted they were with the book (which went up at The Common Ills) and how offended they were because the man was a Pedophile.

C.I. calls me up and asks, "The man's a pedophile?" I didn't know about it. C.I. was on the road when that was news (briefly) and I don't follow everyone's scandals. Plus, it was hard to follow that. (I've since learned the right-wing had a field day with the pedophile's arrests.) So C.I.'s calling around and finding out details and asking, "Gee, why didn't anyone tell me?"

From the day the Pedophile was off limits. (He was highlighted by members prior to that.)
The left has avoided the issue. That's probably why so few know about it. They've booked him and penned the blame for him being shut out by Big Media on Judith Miller. Judith Miller was never the queen of all media. When C.I. started calling around and hearing what made it into print and on air as well as other details that didn't, I was shocked to hear the summary.

Now Pedophile claims the "anti-war movement" and I'm a member of the peace movement. So I've never agreed with him from the start. But knowing he's a pedophile, I have to ask why women put up with him? Why do Amy Goodman, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Lila Garrett and countless others put up with it?

I would think men would be offended by it but I'm also aware that many men are never put into an area where they could become a sexual victim. Women, whether they are raped or molested, are usually very aware of some moment where it could have happened or they were afraid it might. (Such as when you're in a parking garage and a man is following you.)

Now C.I.'s called Pedophile out since discovering the public record. What's the deal with independent media?

Is he such an "important voice" that the safety of young girls doesn't matter?

What does that say about feminism today when we can't loudly all publicly call out the nonsense that a Pedophile is being brought on as a hero in various media outlets?

What does it say about the peace movement that they haven't publicly distanced themselves from him?

If Michael Jackson decided tomorrow he was against the illegal war and ready to speak out would we all ignore his 'complicated' and public history with young boys?

I remember BuzzFlash nearly having an online heart attack during the Mark Folely scandal. Was that about the same-sex factor? As the Folely story is known he, at best, flirted with young boys. He didn't try to have sex with underage boys. He may have had sex with young males 18 and over. (I believe he did.) What was the ick factor there about?

He liked them young but knew the difference between legal and illegal by all accounts. He broke no laws. He made a few uncomfortable and that goes to the position he held. He probably abused that power with that position.

But he wasn't a criminal.

But BuzzFlash (and a lot of the Democratic left) treated the scandal as if it were the end of the world . . . while still comfortable providing a platform for the Pedophile . . . while still refusing to call him out.

The Pedophile voted Republican in every presidential election with the possible exception of 2004. So he's a Republican and he's a pedophile. Add in his public slimings of Cindy Sheehan.
Exactly why has the left media propped this guy up all this time?

I'm sick of it. The man's a pedophile. The mainstream media washed their hands of him when that news came out. But you get Phil Donahue, Jeff Cohen and countless others who should know better propping him up. Where are the women? Where is their outrage over this? The women in positions of authority are just as guilty as the men.

Nothing can change the fact that he's gotten a pass, that the message has been sent that it's okay to prey on young girls, but we can all call it out now and demand it stop.

I doubt we will. When C.I.'s noted the pedophile at The Common Ills, there are always a number of women e-mailing to show support but these women never back it up. Whether they have a website or a larger platform, they play dumb publicly.

That's not feminism.

"Other Items" (The Common Ills):
Turning to periodical news, the Summer 2007 edition of Ms. magazine is out. The letters from readers are always worth reading and this issue includes a response to "What Are You Doing With Your Women's Studies Degree?" (replies include nonprofit work, working for the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and starting the Women's Business Initiative, law clerk for Judge Gregory Jackson in DC) (nice photo, in another letter section of Amy Schmeets and her daughter Sophia). "Keeping Score" is notable quotes and, among them is this by Gloria Steinem: "Women's bodies are valued as ornaments. Men's bodies are valued as instruments." The quote went on a Starbucks cups last month. "How We're Doing" looks at women and the media.
One thing to add on the radio aspect (excellent pie charts, by the way) is that one outlet created to address the declining listenership of women to radio and the declining women on air is GreenStone Media. Along with The Radio Ritas, Women Aloud, Rolonda and Lisa Birnbach, GreenStone Media is now producing The World According to Giles & Moriarty hosted by Nancy Giles and Erin Moriarty both of whom have much experience in broadcast (including CBS). Their program airs on Saturday mornings and has been added since we last noted GreenStone Media. All programs can be streamed online live or you can listen to archives of recent broadcasts (for free, no sign up, no premium fee).
Back to Ms., the cover theme is "1-2 Punch" and includes Allison Stevens' "A Major Blow to Roe" and Justine Andronici's "Court Gives OK to Unequal Pay" and you can also pair it with two other articles in the issue. Allison Stevens' "Sticker Shock" addresses the issue of the huge increase in prices for birth control (which both increases the profit for Big Business and limits access for many women). Stevens notes, "Millions of women who purchase contraceptives at student and community health clinics across the country have seen prices go from about $10 a month to anywhere between $30 and $50. Such out-of-reach prices are putting intense financial stress on women who can't afford to pay retail for birth control. And the pressure goes beyond the individual level: Some family planning clinics serving low-income women may be forced to shut down if prices aren't soon reduced, leaving poor women with even fewer resources to determine the number and spacing of their children." That article runs on pages 12 and 13. Jessica Sites' "Police Story" (page 15) addresses the overturning of a 2002 jury verdict agreeing that discrimination based on race was taking place in Los Angeles County's decision to pay county sherrif's deputies more than county police officers. This was a breakthrough case and Sites reports, "Now a three-judge California appellate court has overturned the verdict. . . . Because the appellate court relied on job descriptions to make its decision -- discounting interviews with personnel that showed substantial similarities in the two forces' duties -- there is concern that the ruling opens the door for employers to use different titles and descriptions to cloak discrimination." What happens when visibility increases in the media doesn't come with an increased awareness in the coverage? Nikki Ayanna Stewart explores that in "Black Girls' Dreams" (pages 66 and 67). The arts section includes playwright Susan Miller's essay "Conversations With My Son." This is from Eve Ensler's A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer which features essays by Miller, Alice Walker, Suheir Hammad, Howard Zinn, Jane Fonda, Tariq Ali, Edward Albee, Robin Morgan, Kathy Najimy, Kate Clinton, Patricia Bosworth and others (including Ensler herself). Among the book reviews, Jennifer Pozner's look at Selling Anxiety: How the News Media Scare Women (author Caryl Rivers) is a must read -- one sentence from Pozner's review: "With wit, ire and in-depth social-science research, she exposes how corporate media conspire to convince us that despite -- or precisely because of -- women's professional, political, academic and cultural strides, most of us are thoroughly miserable, the cost of all that uppity ambition." Helen Zia reviews Edwidge Danticat's Brother, I'm Dying, Julie Phillips reviews Doris Lessing's The Cleft, Nasrin Rahimieh reviews Gina B. Nahai's Caspian Rain, and Frances Winndance Twine reviews Susan K. Cahn's Sexual Reckonings: Southern Girls in a Troubling Age.That's just a small sampling of the contents of the summer issue of Ms. Dona says we can note Rebeca Clarren's "The Invisible Ones" (pages 40-45) at The Third Estate Sunday Review this weekend, Elaine will note Nadia Bernenstein's column tonight at her site Like Maria Said Paz . This was dictated in two parts. Thanks to ___ for typing it up and for the patience.

Two parts? C.I. mentioned the Pozner review to me last weekend, saying I had to read it. I don't think C.I. realized the issue went on sale yesterday. (C.I.'s been helping a friend who's working a book on a poetry and another friend who's got a script a studio was losing interest in. That's taken a huge chunk of reading time for the last two weeks. Ava said she was shocked when C.I. produced 25 pages of notes on the screenplay -- suggestions of what to cut, what to beef up and what was still missing. That's why friends of C.I.'s who are writers always ask for help when they hit a wall: C.I. doesn't just say, "I liked it." If you ask for advice, C.I. will go in depth and note you're free to disregard anything and should if it doesn't feel right.) Pozner's review really made an impression and, having read it, let me also recommend it.

So C.I. was scrambling to offer something on Ms. this morning from an issue that largely hadn't been read yet. Hence the two parts and the delay in posting. (The non-Ms. part was dictated as C.I., Ava and Dona were on their way to the first speaking event. Then it was hop in the car and speed read through the issue while dictating. While that was going on, Ava called me and asked if I could cover the article noted above and I quickly agreed.) I stopped and picked up the issue on the way home.

"Happily Never Married" runs on pages 63-64 and is written by Nadia Berenstein. It comes with an illustration of a family in "America, 2007 . . ." A child sits between her mother and her grandfather. She holds a book entitled A Child's History of Equality. She asks her grandfather, "Grandpa, Mommy said you used to be a senator -- did you help fight for gay people to get equal rights?" The grandfather is depicted sweating and nervous as he answer, "Uh . . . well, I uh . . . sort of supported civil unions?" I almost missed the credit for the illustration: "2007 Mikhaela B. Reid."

Bernstein is addressing the damages caused by the administration and the move to ban same-sex marriages (which the administration pushed in their 2004 election, gay-baiting). The fallout is considerable. Some states rush to prove how unequal they are (i.e. passing laws against same-sex marriage) ended up harming heterosexual couples. In Ohio, such a law has allowed domestic abuse to get a 'lift.' Non-married couples (same sex or opposite sex) are a non-entity by the law and when a non-married partner beats another the abuser can file an appeal: "about 80 appeals have been filed by people charged with domestic violence, on the grounds that equating the assault of an unmarried partner with that of spouse would be in violation of the [state] Constitution." In addition, the passes of such anti-measures has put civil unions at risk (same sex and opposite sex): "State universities in Michigan and Virginia, for instance, are prohibited from providing domestic-partnership benefits."

Three couples speak about their problems with the concept of marriage. Phil Andrews and Rebecca Heinegg note that they "are uncomfortable with the oppressive history of marriage, with assumptions about gender roles within a marriage and with the very idea of entering into a contractual agreement with the government." Lara Miller and Mike Finn note the political reason for refusing to marry, they could but their friends in same sex-relationships can't and there is a heiarchy where "the government, for the most part, will only recognize a man and a woman as being acceptable partners, and then only recognize married men and women as being acceptable parents." The third couple, Carol Kohfeld and John Sprague ("together 19 years") don't want to ruin the "great relationship, a loving relationship" and note that they stay together out of love not "because we're forced to legally."

In addition, Berenstein informs you of various inequalities (for marrieds and for civil unions but marrieds do have less inequalities), that the Bully Boy has "allocated $100 million a year for the next five years for initiatives to encourage people -- especially the poor -- to marry and stay married." That's a half-million dollars of our money being wasted. New Jersey's domestic partnerships are noted and let me add something to that. John Corzine, the state's governor, wrote a letter to UPS "to clarify its responsibilities under the state law and appealing to its executives' sense of decency and fair play," reported Kareem Fahim on page A21 of today's New York Times ("In New Jersey's Civil Unions, a Challenge on Benefits," August 1, 2007).

Okay, it's late and I'm tired (so much so, that sentence originally read "Okay, it's tired and I'm late") so I'm lost on the point I wanted to make regarding California (Berenstein and Fahim both mention it).

So I'll make my point and then I'll wind down with the snapshot. Barack Obama thinks women should register with Seletive Service (he noted that in the YouTube debate and Trina's "" covered this Saturday). It's a duty. A duty one owes to the government? What about the duties a government has to a citizen?

The threat that some feel over same-sex marriage honestly raises issues of (1) what are they hiding and (2) do they grasp that allowing the option doesn't men it becomes a compulsive arrangement? No, one's going to be forced into a same-sex marriage just because it becomes legal. Every one needs to take a breath.

Obama didn't need to. He avoids the issue. He's not for same-sex marriage. Anderson Cooper raised the issue of how interracial marriage was illegal in many states until the 1960s. Barack Obama, who would talk about the progress brought on by all serving in the military, wasn't too concerned with progressing so that all citizens are treated fairly and respected.

Marriage? Every one should have the option. I endorse gay marriage as an option. But I do sometime worry, as some in Berenstein's article did, if we're not sending the message that only marriage is a "real" relationship?

If something's available to one, it should be available to all. But I do worry that this point gets lost from time to time and it appears instead as if we're endorsing: "Marriage is the final and real act in any loving relationship."

I hope I managed to get my point across, I'm very tired.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, August 1, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, over 100 Iraqis are dead or reported dead today, the press tries to sell the illegal war some more despite reality, the July death toll for US service members rises again, and a pig attempts to book his own title match: Pedophile vs. the Peace Mom (with everyone rooting for Cindy).
Starting with war resistance. In June of 2006,
Ehren Watada became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq (after months of working privately with his military superiors, offering to resign, offering to serve in Afghanistan, etc.). In violation of the Constitution's double-jeopardy clause, he faces a second court-martial October 9th following last February's court-martial which ended just as he was about to take the stand in his own defense only to find Judge Toilet (aka John Head) rule a mistrial over defense objection. The October 9th date is considered iffy at this point by his civilian attorneys due to the appeals process that will address issues such as double-jeopardy and whether or not Judge Toilet should recuse himself. Thus far those (and other issues) have not been addressed. (Judge Toilet ruling that his own actions do not violate the Constitution or ruling that he's fit to serve on another court-martial does not make for objective rulings.) Watada's bravery has inspired many and that's not limited to the military. Melissa Regennitter (Muscatine Journal) reports on Ashley Casale and Michael Israel's March for Peace which began May 1st in San Francisco and is headed for DC and added a third person, Antonio Kies, on Sunday and a fourth, Isabelle Salmon, on Monday. Asked why she was joining the march, Isabelle Salmon explained she'd just completed college, wanted to take part in an action to end the illegal war and "I'd have to say inspiration comes from Lt. Watada and my belief in world peace." And exploring the connections between art and activism, Jen Angel (Boise Weekly) recounts, "This past January I spent a week in a chilly warehouse in Tacoma, Wash., making puppets with 20 other activists to support Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to public refuse deployment to Iraq. We were creating a play to perform on Feb. 5 at the vigil outside the gates of Fort Lewis, Wash., where his court-martial -- which would end in a mistrial -- was being held. We spent hours painting, taping, cutting, gluing, eating and talking. For the characters in our play, we created a 15-foot-tall judge with a sculpted cardboard head and papier-mache hands, jurors and witnesses, and, for our finale, doves and suns to end with a vision of a beautiful future."
Watada and others inspire action with the stories of the courage as does
Iraq Veterans Against the War. On June 19th, when Eli Israel decided he couldn't serve in the illegal war, while stationed in Iraq, the response was swift from the military and equally swift was the response of support he received. Last week, Courage to Resist filed an update noting, "Last month Army Spc Eleonai 'Eli' Israel, while stationed at Camp Victory in Baghdad with JVB Bravo Company, 1-149 Infantry of the Kentucky Army National Guard announced that he would refuse any combat role in Iraq. Afterwards, Eli noted 'It would have been a lot "easier" for me to simply keep doing combat missions for a couple more weeks, and be done with things. Moral convictions are not based on timing or convenience.' He is scheduled to be released today [July 26th] from the Theater Field Confinement Facility at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait where he served a 30 day sentence. Eli pleaded guilty to five counts of disobeying orders at a summary court martial. He expects to receive an Other Than Honorable discharge and to be flown to Mississippi within a couple of weeks. After he's out, he plans on fighting for a discharge upgrade as the officer who sentenced him ignored his application for discharge as a conscientious objector or take into account his prior service."

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.
In Iraq today everything was falling apart.
Lebanon's Daily Star reports that today saw the Sunni Accordance Front resigned today which "pushed the government into a new crisis undermining its efforts to reconcile Iraqis and end sectarian strife." Mairam Karouny and Peter Graff (Reuters) identify the withdrawal as being the heads of "the ministers of culture, women, planning, and higher education, and the junior foreign affairs minister" as well as Deputy Prime Minister Salam al-Zobaie. And, as The Daily Star also reports, there's the issue of the Baghdad bombings.
Now those who live and breathe by their Operation Happy Talk talking points should take a deep breath because that 'turned corner' just got drop kicked out of the narrative.
Several bombs in Baghdad led to mass deaths.
Al Jazeera notes the "fuel tanker rigged with explosives" and BBC describes the bombing near "a popular ice-cream parlour" using a parked car. AFP says there were 3 "large bombs" in all and notes: "Iraqi forces sealed off the area, as residents and ambulances ferried the dead and dying to city hospitals. Tens of bodies were taken to Ibn Nafees hospital following the explosion". CBS and AP note, "An Associated Press reporter at the scene said the explosion ripped a hole one yard deep and one and a half yards wide in the asphalt. Three minibuses and six cars were damaged by flames and flying debris. Blood pooled in the street."
Al Jazeera and Reuters figures for the dead are at least 70. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) offers more detailed figures noting 20 dead from the parked car bombing near the ice cream shop, 50 dead from the fuel tank bombing and 3 dead from a parked car bombing in Doura (that's the third of the three being reported on by most outlets) and notes 105 were reported wounded from the three bombings.
The numbers will likely rise as the rubble is cleared and bodies are discovered, as some on the wounded list do not pull through. But it may be a big shock for some Americas buying into the latest waves of Operation Happy Talk. It's, as
Robert Parry (Consortium News) has dubbed it, New Pro-War Propaganda": "No need to wait until September. It's already obvious how George W. Bush and his still-influential supporters in Washington will sell an open-ended U.S. military occupation of Iraq -- just the way they always have: the war finally has turned the corner and withdrawal now would betray the troops by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. At one time, the Iraq story line was how many schoolrooms had been painted or how well the government security forces were doing. Now there are new silver linings being detected that will justify a positive progress report in September -- and the U.S. news media is again ready to play its credulous part."
.And hasn't it been glorious? Sell-sell-sell. Ignore realities about the US death counts (see below after corpses), ignore reality period.
Turned corner?
Alexandra Zavis and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) report, "The number of Iraqi civilians killed in violenc rose to 1,753 in July. The toll in June was 1,227. The number of bodies found in and around Baghdad also climbed in July, to 619, compared with 540 in June." Lebanon's The Daily Star crunches the figures to note, "New goverment figures also showed civilian deaths in the country rose by a third last month, dealing a further blow to a five-month-old security plan designed to stabilize Baghdad and allow for reconciliation." A blow? Yes. The Daily Star, not a US outlet. Who knows how the New York Times and others will rush to spin it tomorrow (only their military handlers know for sure?) But it's a huge blow. And the escalation which was supposed to bring security for Iraqis? Deaths rose a third. Repeating, deaths rose a third.
73 dead from 3 Baghdad bombings and those weren't the only bombings in Baghdad, nor the only violence.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports "Iraqi police said that 4 people were wounded when US army helicopters bombed Zafaraniyah neighborhood southest Baghdad at 4:00 am" in Baghdad, two US Humvees and one US tank were destroyed or damaged in Baghdad by explosions, a downtown Baghdad car bombing claimed 3 lives (six more wounded), a Baghdad IED exploding claimed the life of 1 police officer (seven more wounded), a Baghdad mortar attack claimed 2 lives, and a Falluja bombing claimed the lives of 2 police officers. Reuters notes the bombing of a building in Madaen that claimed 4 lives (six more injured) and an Iskandariya roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 Iraqi solider (three more injured). That's 20 reported dead. Add the 73 from the other bombings and that's 93 reported dead.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Major Gen. Mahir Nori was shot dead in Baghdad and 2 "men working for the anti terror directorate were killed by gunmen in Saidiyah neighborhood south Baghdad". 96 is now the total reported dead today.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 25 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Counting corpses discovered it's 121 reported dead today.Today the US military announced: "Three Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers were killed and six others wounded when an explosively formed penetrator detonated near their patrol during combat operations in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital July 31." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed by small arms fire during combat operations in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital July 31."
This brings the
ICCC totals for number of US service members killed in the illegal war since it started in March 2003 to 3657 and the number of announced deaths for the months of July thus far to 78 making July 2007 the deadliest July for US troops since the start of the illegal war. The first July (2003) saw the deaths of 43 US troops, July 2004 saw 54, July 2005 also saw 54 and July 2006 saw 43. With 77 announced deaths thus far, this was the deadliest July of the illegal war for US troops.
Which we repeat because
Big Media largely missed that point. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) shared reality this morning, "U.S. commanders meanwhile are touting last month's US death toll as a sign of progress on the ground. Seventy-seven servicemembers were killed in July, the lowest monthly total since November. But the July total is also the highest over the five Julys since the U.S. invasion. The July death toll one year ago was forty-three."
Are there more July deaths to be announced?
Last week we saw deaths announced as late as four days later. It happened this week and, in fact, for the month, the standout feature about deaths was how slowly MNF announced them. The July announced deaths is now at 78. And the press wants to run with the nonsense that this is an improvement? Are they serving Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno? Last Thursday, he gave the Operation Happy Talk point that the deaths were "falling" and cited the July totals as good news. It's not. Nor is it a sign that the escalation is working. But notice how many outlets grabbed that talking point and repeated it today.
Today the
UK Ministry of Defence announced: "It is with much sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of a British soldier from the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment in Basra City, southern Iraq last night, Tuesday 31 July 2007. The soldier died as a result of injuries sustained by an Improvised Explosive Device attack which targeted a British Forces Warrior vehicle patrol that was carrying out routine duties in the Mustashfa district of Basra City." This death brings to 8 the number of British soldiers who died in Iraq last month and brings to 164 the total number killed in the illegal war since it started.
Thank goodness we have an independent press. Thank goodness we have a press that doesn't just run with whatever talking point they are fed.
In other news,
the pig who should probably be behind bars is squealing again. Not booked on The Nation cruise -- indicating that perhaps Katrina vanden Heuvel's fine with promoting his work but doesn't wasn't associate with known pedophiles -- he kicks up his own feces at Truth Dig today. (Link goes to Truth Dig's main page. We do not link to that pig.)
Looking at the comments, you will see people are shocked and outraged by the Pedophile's latest nonsense (sliming
Cindy Sheehan, suggesting a National Nazi Program -- that's all his suggestion of 'national service' is, etc.). Where the shock really should be is with those who have felt the need to promote the Pedophile. It's a long list of people (and include Sy Hersh who went on a truck and bus tour with him repeatedly). Whatever analysis the Pig had to offer were of no use after the illegal war started. (Yes, he's repeatedly stated that the US will go to war with Iran -- in fact, he's offered predictions of specific time frames . . . which have all have passed. There's your first clue about his 'analytical' abilities.) As I stated last week, not having promoted a known pedophile, I have no blood of my hands.
Maybe those leaving outraged comments now wouldn't be shocked by the latest nonsense if they grasped that we are talking about someone who the MSM reported was twice arrested for attempting sexual set ups with underage females? Maybe if they made sure everyone grasped that
when he was asked directly about it on CNN, he refused to discuss it and lied claiming he couldn't because the records were sealed (as the defendant, he could speak in this matter, sealed or unsealed records). So the MSM washed their hands of him (rightly) and that had nothing to do with Judith Miller, it had to do with the fact that someone twice arrested for attempting sexual relations with underage females -- a CRIME -- isn't someone to shore up or go rushing to. But small media picked him up, propped him up and acted as though existing reports of the two arrests didn't exist. Which makes you question their committment to their own audiences?
So the Pedophile wants to explain that Cindy Sheehan's a distraction,
David Swanson's a distraction, Hurricane Katrina is a distraction . . . everything's a distraction. Except himself. And John Conyers! Conyers is "one of the strongest antiwar advocates in the U.S. Congress". Well no wonder the country's in trouble! John Conyers isn't an advocate for anything these days. He is hemmed in and allows himself to be hemmed in. (I don't expect the pedophile to know Congress. Most members refuse to meet him.) He gets in the sexist slame that Sheehan lacks "grace". What does he know about grace? Or is he confusing grace with the leniancy he was shown in his pedophile busts?
When the pig first took his attacks on Sheehan public, we called it out (over a year ago) and noted that he wants to turn to the peace movement into the military with himself as commander. In fact, he earned his own special spot in "
2006: The Year of Living Dumbly" (he really earned it):
Another low happened when The Nation, Democracy Now! and about every left and 'left' outlet decided to continue to give a platform to the man they portray as a Cassandra but whom the mainstream media has noted was twice arrested in stings to capture sexual predators. As Chrissie Hynde once sang in "How Much Did You Get For Your Soul," "How much did you, How much did you, How much did you get?" He went around the country with Seymour Hersh slamming the peace movement (and wanting to turn it into the military -- presumably with himself as commander), he ridiculed and mocked Cindy Sheehan in an independent weekly, and despite that, despite the mainstream media's reports of two busts for seeking out sex with underage girls online, he was given a platform repeatedly.
He's a moron and disgusting trash. And he's selling "mandatory national service" like a good little Nazi today much to the shock of many commenting. They should be more shocked that a KNOWN PEDOPHILE can get away with penning statements about what "legally, morally and structurally binds our nation together" becuase, if the MSM coverage is to be believed, were it not for backdoor deals (that led to some firings), the Pedophile would be behind bars where his CRIMINAL ASS belongs. The Pedophile calls Cindy Sheehan's actions "self-destructive". That's rich -- a pedophile wants to speak of destruction. Reality is that the trash should have been carried to the curb. Reality is that the MSM did. It's independent media that's decided a PEDOPHILE is just, apparently, what the world needs now.
And it's time to start demanding accountability from small media. I don't tolerate pedophiles, I have no idea why The Nation, Truthdig and others are welcome to give them a 'pass.' I doubt they'd give the same pass to Mark Folely but the objects of his affection were male. (And it should be noted, Folely does not appear to have attempted anything with anyone under 18 which means he is not a pedophile.) With the Pig, apparently Small Media is saying that it's perfectly understandable for those things to happen. Two busts being reported and the perv refusing to respond to the reports is okay. It's not okay.
But it allows him to trash Cindy Sheehan yet again. And laugh as the twice busted pedophile wants to warn Sheehan's about to destroy "whatever vestige of credibility is left to her as a mainstream activist." This from the Pedophile who has no mainstream outlet because -- unlike Small Media -- MSM was firm in refusing to air the opinions of a Pedophile.
He's never liked Sheehan -- though he pretends today he liked the summer 2005 actions when the reality is he was trashing her at the start of 2006 and trashing the same actions he now pretends to like. Pedophile could never like the Peace Mom. She is a "mom." She's a mother. A wounded mother grieving over her child. Pedophiles need to divorce their victims from any sort of relations other than objects for the pedophile's perversion. Mothers are very scary to pedophiles.
He's a pedophile, he's a right-winger and he can't shut up about "anti-war." He's trashed Cindy Sheehan repeatedly. Why the left wants to embrace him is anyone's guess. But we don't embrace pedophiles. A good question to ask now is why others on the left continue to give him an outlet? Non Credo's remarks stand out among the ones read to me over the phone. From the opening of Non Credo's comments: "How dare ____ smear Sheehan as a 'narcissist.' ____ wants to pose in contrast as the 'manly man'. It's sexist and crass. It's ____ who's preening here, in his pretty uniform. And ___, this idea is nuts. If Bush had us all in his army, we'd all have to shut up, the way he shuts up anybody now serving, on the excuse of military necessity."
Avoid the Pedophile. But call him out if you see him around children -- especially girls.
Finally, as
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today, the Oil Ministry in Iraq has put in a place a ban on anyone dealing with the oil unions in Iraq who went on strike in opposition to the theft of Iraqi oil.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dale Eisman, Elizabeth Edwards

"Joint chiefs nominee sees U.S. in Iraq 'years, not months'" (Dale Eisman, The Virginian-Pilot):
American forces are likely to remain in Iraq for "years, not months," but the U.S. must reduce its involvement in that country beginning next spring to rest troops and repair and replace their equipment, according to President Bush’s nominee to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The "long war" is on. The would be Joint Chiefs of Staff chair is all on board. The American people are against the illegal war. The Democratically controlled Congress issues strong words if no real action to end the illegal war but the nominee to oversee the Joint Chiefs of Staff has signed up for the "long war." The Korea model noted by the Bully Boy earlier this year wasn't a joke or yet another example of how he bungles so much of what he says. The administration does not want this illegal war to end. The silly nonsense about the report David Patreaus will present to Congress is meaningless. Not only will Patreaus say what the administration wants, even if he did not, it would still be ignored.

The only variable in elected office is Congress. Will they take action or not? We haven't seen a great deal of courage on that front but we do see a lot of cheer leading, a lot of shaking the pom-poms, a lot of applause. If the illegal war is ever going to end, people are going to have get serious and stop providing cover for a Congress that has thus far refused to act.

Until people stop rejecting the nonsense, stop enabling it, the war will drag on and on because the White House doesn't want it to end. Bully Boy has stated he will not end the illegal war and will allow it for the next Oval Occupant to sort out. If Congress won't do their job, that is exactly what will happen. 70% of Americans now want a timeline for withdrawal. Bully Boy leaves office -- short of impeachment -- in January 2009. The illegal war will drag on if Congress doesn't act.

As to the next president, who talks of ending it? Joe Biden doesn't talk of ending it. Dennis Kucinich does. Mike Gravel does. Bill Richardson does. Jone Edwards? I'm not sure. His website conveys a position better than what I've heard from him in the 'debates.'

But one thing I will note is an interview with his wife.

"The Progressive Interview: Elizabeth Edwards" (Ruth Conniff, The Progressive):
Edwards: John gave a speech at the DNC meeting saying we don't need to reinvent our party: we just need to remember who we are. And who we are is the party of working people, including people who want to work and can't, people who have worked and are trying to retire. That's who we are and have always been. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that. It's easy to get misled with the DLC mantra "love the worker, love the employer." The employers can pretty much take care of themselves. So as a party our job is to give a voice to those people who don't have a powerful voice. Unless that translates into votes or contributions, it turns out a lot of Democrats just ignore those people. They use language about working class people, but they are not out there with them. They use language about the immorality of poverty but they are not out there. They generally support unions, but they are not walking picket lines. And so the difference it seems to me is not between old and new Democrats but between actual Democrats and rhetorical Democrats.
Sometimes it seems we have these beliefs but it turns out it's like a Hollywood set: It's all facade and there's no guts behind it. You listen to the language of what people say, particularly Obama, who seems to be using a lot of John's 2004 language, which is maybe not surprising since one of his speechwriters was one of our speechwriters, his media guy was our media guy. These people know John's mantra as well as anybody could know it. They've moved from "hope is on the way" to "the audacity of hope." I'm constantly hearing things in a familiar tone.
[. . .]
Q: Are you seeing people who are under the strain of poverty as you campaign?
Edwards: I see them as I campaign. But often they are not the people you see in your crowd. They are the people waiting on tables. Whenever I do something, I always go around and speak to the people who are working the events. It's another imperative about speaking out for these people. Because they have complicated lives.
And I see them where I live, in Chapel Hill. It is a place of haves and have-nots. Between where I pick my kids up and where I drop them off for school there are a lot of apartments, very cheap apartments, and on that section of the road, most everybody walks to work. They are walking on the side of the highway. They'll walk with their groceries; they'll walk with their laundry. And they'll walk to work.
Think about what your day would be like if you did that. How long your day would be. You wouldn't be watching Meet the Press. You wouldn't be going to a political rally. You wouldn't. You couldn't. You don't have the luxury of that time. They really depend on us. And chances are they won't also be voting. Chances are if they are going to have a voice, we are also going to be the ones who are speaking for them. I see them every day. Where I live, it's impossible to forget about people who live in poverty.

I'm not a big fan of "interview the wife ofs" because they aren't the candidate, they won't be in charge of policy if the candidate is elected, etc. But if Elizabeth Edwards were a political consultant, an author or an artist, I would've been impressed with her responses. So I am going to note it here and let me note also "husband of" because Bill Clinton means that's changing.

"Spouse of" would probably be the better term. Also, let me note, Elizabeth Edwards was an attorney. I'm not implying a "wife of" has no life of their own. They generally do have. But the press portrays them in those terms. Think of what was done to Judy Dean -- they tried to make her sound insane for wanting to continue her work and their youngest child who still lived at home. Had it been just the latter, I think we still would have seen the same thing. If Judy Dean hadn't been a doctor and instead was a homemaker, we would have heard tales of how obsessed she was with their youngest child for not hitting the campaign trail with Howard Dean. The "spouse of" is supposed to sit looking up at the candidate as s/he speaks, smile fixed on face, eyes brimming with tears a la Nancy Reagan.

But the interview impressed me. She's speaking of how so many middle class people are actually on the razor at all times and could become poor overnight, the huge increase in bankruptcies which she says is now so huge that more families are likely to file for bankruptcy than for divorce. I'm not familiar with that so I'm wording "which she says". She gave a really strong interview.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, July 31, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, religious minorities in Iraq get some press attention, the air war continues, the US military announces another death, the realities of medical care for veterans, and more.

Starting with war resisters. Yesterday on on WBAI's Law and Disorder, Dalia Hashad, Michael Smith and Michael Ratner spoke with war resister Camilo Mejia.

Dalia Hashad : You're one of the very first publicly known conscientious objectors to this Iraq war and I believe the first military soldier who went to Iraq, saw what happened, came back and said I will not go back.
Camilo Mejia: That's right. Let me start by saying that when I allegedly went AWOL, I didn't really go AWOL because when we received orders to go to Iraq I had pretty much come to the end of my eight year service. So what happened was that I was extended from the year 2003 to the year 2031 by this thing that they called "stop loss."
Michael Ratner: (chuckling) Only 28 years more, you mean?
Camilo Mejia: 28 years more.
Dalia Hashad: Is that typical for stop loss to extend for that period of time?
Camilo Mejia: It's typical, it's typical because I mean the likelihood of soldiers actually serving that long beyond their service or their eight-year-service it's very low. But what it does, it just gives the military, you know, a pretty big window to just keep extending people as many times as they need them.
Michael Smith: You know what it reminds me of, Camilo? My grandfather came here from Romania in 1912 and the draft law in Romania, particularly for Jews, in 1912 was fifty years.
Camilo: Wow.
Michael Smith: And he packed up and left. And now they're trying to do the same sort of thing to the country that people fled to.

Camilo Mejia: Right, so yeah, that's happening now. It's pretty common. I don't think anybody's going to actually serve 28 years beyond their contract. But what it does it gives the military the ability to keep extending people two years at a time. When I deployed to Iraq I was just politically opposed to the war but it was a very detached and selfish opposition because I basically didn't want my life disrupted. And when I actually went to Iraq, and, you know, the first mission that we had there was to just basically torture prisoners -- to keep them awake for periods of 72 hours and, you know, we did that by performing mock executions, putting pistols up to their heads, yelling at them, creating explosion like sounds just to scare them. And from there we moved on to more combat missions and because of a combination of bad leadership and disregard for the lives of both Iraqi civilians and soldiers we ended up killing a bunch of innocent civilians and, you know, just doing things the opposite way from what we should do.

Mejia tells his story in book form with
Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia (The New Press). The interview is wide ranging the section above is selected because it is an aspect that tends to get left out of the coverage. Mejia was a non-US citizen. The US military could not stop loss him, they could not extend his eight year contract. US Senator Bill Nelson had already addressed this, unknown to Mejia who was serving in Iraq at the time, and the military knew they could not extend his eight-year contract. What they attempted to do was to trick him, to try to get him to apply for citizenship and, except for one person, to refuse to tell the truth up the chain. We're also highlighting this section because Dalia Hashad (who obviously read the book) tried to address it with another guest previously and, as Mike (Mikey Likes It!) noted, she was more or less treated as if she was making something up. She was correct (and Mike cites the passage in the book.) There are other sections of this week's Law and Disorder that we'll note as the week goes along and Mike's going to be covering this week's broadcast at his site later in the week.

With war resisters, it is often said that they don't "live up to their contract" and no one bothers note how the only one expected to live up to the "contract" is those at the bottom. This is one of the points addressed in "
Where Have All the War Resisters Gone?" (The Third Estate Sunday Review).

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.
Democracy Now! broadcast an interview Amy Goodman did with Military Families Speak Out's Kevin and Joyce Lucey about the lawsuit they've brought against the US Veterans Affair Dept. over the death of their son Jeffrey Lucey who, as Goodman explained, "hanged himself after the US military refused to deal with his post-traumatic stress disorder. In May of 2004, Jeffrey's parents had him involuntarily committed to a VA hospital. But the hospital discharged him a few days later. Two weeks later, Kevin Lucey came home to find his son hanging from a hose in the cellar. Lying on his bed were the dog tags of two unarmed Iraqi prisoners Jeffrey had said he was forced to shoot. The Luceys are suing the VA for negligence."

Joyce Lucey explained, "Jeffrey went to Kuwait in the beginning of February of 2003, into Iraq with the initial invasion in March. He returned home to us in July of 2003. And at the beginning, we really saw -- we didn't notice any major difference, although his girlfriend said he was distant when they went away for the weekend to Cape Cod, and he told a friend that he had seen enough sand to last him a lifetime, so he really didn't want to go on the beach. We found out during the fall that he was vomiting on a daily basis. We encouraged him to go to the doctor on that. And they went more for a physical reason, rather than a psychological, and now, looking back, it might have been the PTSD starting. And then he progressed onto Christmas Eve, where he threw the dog tags at his sister and called himself a murderer. From there to nightmares, which I heard him yelling out, and to which he said he was fine, that he was just having a dream that he was caught in an alleyway and they were coming after him. And then Jeffrey went back to college. He had been in college since September, after his return, went back to college in January and was fine until March, when they have their college break. And at that point, he got very depressed, drinking, and couldn't go back to school, even though he didn't actually tell me that. But he would go and come home early and say class had ended early or the professor didn't show up. So I didn't really know he wasn't attending classes, but he was having panic attacks, and when he finally did say something, he said he just couldn't stay in class. And he was also having a startled response, if somebody would slam a door. So he went to our primary care physician at that point and was put on Prozac and Ativan to see if it could keep him in class. And it just continued on from there, the inability to sleep, the lack of appetite, the social seclusion. "

From the broadcast:

KEVIN LUCEY: Well, I think that the primary reason is that what happened to Jeff should never have happened. Jeff was so afraid to go to the VA, because he was afraid that the military would find out. And it's that stigma issue. And so, therefore, we called anonymously, and we described the symptoms, and they told us that that's classic PTSD and get him in as soon as possible. And what happened was, Jeff finally did agree to go in, but he delayed it until May 28th, on Friday. And when I was bringing Jeff to them, I really did think that we were bringing him to the arms of the angels, because they were going to save him. They were going to deal with Jeff's problems. And it took us about six hours to get him committed. They tried to talk him into going in voluntarily, but Jeff refused to. So Jeff was finally committed, and he tried to leave the building, but the nursing staff and the police had to go after him. But they brought him back in. He was there for about three-and-a-half days. He was discharged on June 1st. And what we discovered -- and this was about a year afterwards -- that there was a psychiatrist that saw him upon the admission, and then there was the psychiatrist who saw him at the discharge, but no psychiatrist saw him at all during those two times.

AMY GOODMAN: You mean, during the entire time he was committed, he was not seen by a psychiatrist, except for being admitted and for being released?


JOYCE LUCEY: And it was two different psychiatrists, so there really was no continuity in the care.

What the two psychiatrists were most likely doing was the initial assement upon entry and the discharge. This isn't treatment. The assesment is just to get a general feel and know what issues need to explore. The final interview is, in Jeffrey Lucey's case, most likely the cover-your-own-ass interview that is actually supposed to ensure that the patient is not a harm to themselves or others. Kevin Lucey goes on to stress that Jeffrey Lucey, while under VA care, spoke of "three ways that he had planned to commit suicide". Joyce Lucey notes this is in "the records" and that's the charts. In the commercial world of medicine, what has happened was that Jeffrey Lucey received no medical treatment. He was babysat. That's not an insult to the staffers. But they chart for a reason and that's not to kill to time. The doctors are supposed to be reviewing the charts. In the for-profit world this would be described as a 'treatment team'. The staffers would be on it in terms of charting. But with Jeffrey Lucey, it appears the only ones treating him were the staffers and, most likely, they were not medically trained. I'm not saying "Bad staffers." I am pointing out that were we speaking of a commercial hospital setting with the exact same circumstances, this lawsuit would be a strong one. (It should be a strong one now but the government has a habit of weaseling out of blame.) In a commercial setting, an excuse might be offered that by admitting on a Friday, no doctor was going to do anything with him over the weekend unless he had an episode. I'm not justifying that but I am noting that Jeffrey Lucey was discharged on a Tuesday (June 1, 2004) and the point there is if the weekend excuse (or 'excuse') was being used, it would mean that treatment started on Monday. No psychiatrist saw Lucey on Monday. The Tuesday interview was the mandated exit interview that had to be done so it could be charted. If this isn't clear -- or the VA's failure -- again, Jeffrey Lucey was committed. He didn't check himself. Jeffrey Lucey was given no treatment at all, he had no medical supervision at all (the entry and exit interviews are not supervision). He was babysat from Friday through Tuesday.
The Luceys explain to Goodman that the days after the release were not good ones. A non-drunk Lucey "totaled the family car on Thursday, June 3rd" and two days later, at his sister's graduation, he was "barely able to walk . . . slurring his words". Again, he goes to the VA and he's not admitted, he won't go inside, the VA sends someone outside to speak to him but it's not a psychiatrist. There are many issues here but, and remember the Luceys are bringing this lawsuit so that no other family has to go what they went through, the one that's a standard and repeating thing with the VA is staffing. Where were the doctors, how many were scheduled, why weren't more scheduled (there clearly was not enough if -- in a five day stay -- Jeffrey Lucey was never assigned a psychiatrist as part of his care) . . . The details may be a bit different (or not) but this story is not uncommon today and it wasn't uncommon during Vietnam. Pretending that these issues are being addressed with the nonsense of a panel is insane.
Kevin Lucey speaking during the broadcast:

I think one of the biggest things that got destroyed in my mind was my perception of the American government. I couldn't believe and I can't believe even until today that the government would have never prepared for the soldiers upon their return home. It was more of an afterthought. Even now, even now, even with all the money that they've been investing and all the Blue Star commissions, Blue Ribbon commissions, they aren't really dealing with what they need to deal with. Not one military family, I noticed, was ever appointed to any of the Blue Star commissions. And I thought that that was a horrible slap in all of our faces. So, right now, due to the fact that this administration and due to the fact that past congresses haven't done anything, it's the whole -- the phrase of the government by the people, for the people, by the people -- I think we have to do something.

Last week's panel got a lot of soft press. As Kevin Lucey points out, no one serving on it is from a military family. And, to be honest, that's not even good enough. Veterans will not be served today by someone serving on a panel that can say "I served" or "my husband served" in WWII or any other war. The panel needs to have veterans or their families (ideally both) from this war because they are the ones facing the problems right now and they can be the strongest advocates. Donna Shalala and Bob Dole don't know the first thing about accessing a new medical system as a stranger. It's insane to suggest that these 'names' know the first thing about the issues let alone how to fix them.

We're going to note one other section of the broadcast and we'll have less of the day's news but (a) there's not a whole lot on any given day to begin with (not when journalists are confined in the Green Zone) and (b) this is a story that is going on for other families and will continue to go on until it's addressed. It usually isn't addressed, in any US war. It's usually swept aside and ignored or you get a nonsense committee like the one Shalala and Dole 'served' on that's not going to fix anything but makes for nice some headlines. So, one more time,
from Goodman's interview with the Lucey's:

AMY GOODMAN: Is Jeffrey considered an Iraq war casualty?

JOYCE LUCEY: No. No, he's not. If he had died over in Iraq, yes, he would be. But he came home and took his life here. So he's not a casualty, even though we know he is a casualty of that war.

KEVIN LUCEY: He's unknown, uncounted and unacknowledged by his government or by the nation.

AMY GOODMAN: How do you want him to be acknowledged, his life remembered?

JOYCE LUCEY: I guess I'd like Jeffrey to be known as someone who wanted to help people. When he came back from Iraq, he said that's what he wanted to do now. He wanted to help. So through what we're trying to do, it's like Jeffrey's outreaching to help other people. We're hoping that some good will come out of this lawsuit in the form of better healthcare for the veterans. And that would be something that Jeffrey would be proud of.

KEVIN LUCEY: And we want Jeff's legacy -- and it's not only Jeff. We want to really emphasize that. We have people who have died the same way, T.J. Sweet, Philip Kent, Jason Cooper, and so many others, known and unknown. We want their legacy to be that they have saved others, that through the mistakes that the government had made with them and through mistakes that we also made, that we all have learned and were able to come, especially in this country, with the most effective, the most responsive, viable VA healthcare system that can be afforded and that can be given to our veterans.

If the point is not clear (and it may not be, the story of Jeffrey Lucey makes me very angry), both interviews were required because Lucey did not admit himself. They had nothing to do with treatment. Lucey received no treatment at all. It's as though you or your child had an addiction and, at a treatment center, you got your intake assessment and you got your exit interview but you got nothing else. That's not a slam at the staffers (who are overworked) but Joyce and Kevin Lucey were not expecting that their son would have babysitters, they were (rightly) expecting that, at a medical facility, their son would receive medical care. Jeffrey Lucey received no medical care.

Let's stay with reality.
Susan Cornwell and Richard Cowan (Reuters) report Michael Mullen -- Bully Boy's pick to replace Peter Pace as the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- has declared to the Senate Armed Service committee, "I do think we will be there [Iraq] for years, not months." The illegal war's not ending and if that's new to you, you're either in a coma or in the Congressional Democratic Leadership.

Staying with reality. The narrative presented by the media is that the religious groups in Iraq are Sunni and Shia. Sometimes, they'll even toss in that there are Kurds in north. But the reality is that Iraq has a diverse population. Or had. They've been under attack (especially in the Kurdish north and in Baghdad). Jews and Christians were often killed in the early years but rarely noted as such in the stories of, for instance, "an owner of a liquor store was shot dead . . ."
Ellen Massey (IPS) explores the situation for the religious minorities in Iraq noting, "A movement among some of Iraq's minority groups is calling for U.S. support for a semi-autonomous province, with extra security, which would provide a safe haven near the Nineveh Plains northwest of Mosul. Four Iraqis and an Anglican priest testified before the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom last week that Iraqi Christians, Jews, Assyrians, Yazidis and Mandaeans face near extermination in their homeland as the violence in Iraq escalates." Pascale Warda is quoted (Chaldo-Assyrian Christian) and her religion was one "four percent of the Iraqi population" but now makes "up 40 percent of the Iraqis who are fleeing their homeland." Warda testified, "Over 30 churches have been destroyed, priests have been kidnapped, killed or beheaded. Christian women are forced under the Islamic hijab, a practice being rejected even by a large number of Muslim women as well." The Mandaens, a religion that goes back centuries, are noted. Someone we won't bother to name (he's British, he pushed for the continuation of the illegal war and still does, despite the collar) says that every Jewish person he knew has left. In Baghdad a small number (tiny) remains. They are all elderly. The last study estimated that they numbered 19. Other Jews in Baghdad exited over the last years of the illegal war. (And, of course, those who didn't were killed.)

And the violence continues today. Some of it includes . . .

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier (five more people wounded), and five more Baghdad roadside bombings throughout the day wounded at least ten. Reuters notes two police officers were killed in a Samarra roadside bombing.

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 police officers shot dead in Baghdad and Bahaa Naji ("a resident engineer in Al Sarafiya Bridge" -- in the process of being rebuilt) was shot dead in Baghdad,

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 19 corpses idiscovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes that 6 corpses were discovered in Kut.
Today the
US military announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died July 30 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." 3653 is the number of announced deaths of US service members in the Iraq war since it started and 74 is the number announced who have died in the illegal war thus far this month (ICCC figures). CBS and AP play STUPID and make a big deal out of the alleged drop in US military fatalities since February. For the record, 74 is only 7 less than 81 (the count for the months of February and March). Also for the record, the US military has repeatedly delayed death announcements this month. Compounding the error, they present the likes of Pubic Head Ken Pollack as a "war critic" -- he's a war supporter and that's known as surely as its known that his ridiculous hair style should have been changed long ago. This "lower deaths" is the talking point the media was primed for last Thursday and it's really important they play STUPID and run with it. Sinan Salaheddin is but one example. Assuming there are no other announcements of deaths to make, we are still talking a difference of 7 deaths.
CBS and AP also report: "An Apache helicopter also went down Tuesday after coming under fire in a predominantly Shiite area in eastern Baghdad, but both crew members were safely evacuated, the military said."

The air war goes on and is seldom noted.
Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) tackles it and notes that the "dramatic escalation" is being seen by some Iraqis as an admission that the US military grasps they cannot win a ground war, al-Fadhily also notes that "U.S. Air Force and Navy aircraft dropped five times as many bombs in Iraq during the first six months of this year as over the first half of 2006, according to official information. They dropped 437 bombs and missiles in Iraq in the first half of 2007, compared to 86 in the first half of 2006. This is also three times more than in the second half of 2006, according to Air Force data. The Air Force has also been expanding its air bases in Iraq and adding entire squadrons. It is now preparing to use a new robotic fighter known as the Reaper. The Reaper is a hunter-killer drone that can be operated by remote control from thousands of miles away." Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan also noted the air war (at Common Dreams) while wondering where the real discussion of Iraq was on the Sunday chat & chews, "I was wondering when the real discussion was going to occur until I saw those five words: 'Brought to you by Boeing:' the number one aerospace/defense contractor in the world according to Fortune 500. The next show after Meet the Press is The McLaughlin Group which is brought to a gullible American viewer ship by The Oil and Natural Gas Council." She notes the formal announcement of her campaign for a seat in the House of Representatives will occur August 6th and the Camp Casey Peace Institute is now up and running online (and the group will be going to Jordan and Syria to speak to Iraqi refugees about their plight -- over 4 million refugees have been produced by the illegal war counting externally and internally displaced people).

In activism news, Bully Boy long since learned to avoid the ranch-ette in Crawford, TX. (And rumors abound that he will avoid when he leaves the White House.) His vacation will take place and it will take place in Maine.
Ron Jacobs (Dissident Voice) continues his coverage of what is planned, "And the war drags on. Several protests are scheduled for DC and other cities this autumn and a new effort to bring the protest movement into every community in the United States that calls itself the Iraq Moratorium Project is launching September 21st. Mr. Bush is getting ready to take his vacation up in Maine at the Bush Family Compound in Kennebunkport, recreating (as his daddy said back in 1990) while Baghdad burns. However, Mr. Bush won't be alone. In fact, in what organizers hope will be an even larger manifestation of the last two previous protests in that bucolic playground of the rich, a broad coalition of antiwar groups are holding a protest and convergence over the August 24 - 26 weekend. Like the encampment spearheaded by Cindy Sheehan outside of Crawford, Texas last summer, this protest aims to bring the antiwar message to the apparently heartless man who claims the war as his own." Sheehan will be among those participating.

Turning to political news. Elizabeth Edwards, wife of 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful
John Edwards, gave an interview to Salon recently. The 'coverage' that followed ignored her remarks about Barack Obama and instead zoomed in on Hillary Clinton. Elizabeth Edwards is the subject for the August 2007 Progressive Interview (pp. 31-36, The Progressive) conducted by Ruth Conniff. Edwards notes early on, "There's no way to do this that doesn't sound negative about the other candidates. And I don't mean to because I think they're good people." That noted, Edwards explains her husband's stance on the illegal war, notes that he has taken a lot of criticism for voting for the authorization (which wasn't an authorization for the illegal war as she correctly notes) but also emphasizes his votes after that. From the interview:

And honestly, the other candidates? Obama gives a speech that's likely to be extraordinarily popular in his home district, and then comes to the Senate and votes for funding. John, the first time funding came up, he was already suspicious. What he said was we've got two issues, one is information and the other is not trusting your President. And he gave plenty of speeches at the time saying, "I'm not voting for the $87 billion because he has no plan." You've got to do that for the men and women who are ther: You've got to have a plan. And he didn't vote for the $87 billion, and never voted for any dedicated funding. So you are going to get people behaving in a holier-than-thou way. But John stood up when he was in the Senate for exactly the thing he's asking these people to stand up for now. . . .
We're electing the leader of the free world, and just like the votes in this last funding bill, we're looking for a leader. They [Obama and Hillary Clinton] are very important leaders in the Senate. And we got thirteen votes on this last bill? Could they have influenced a few more votes? Probably not enough, but they should have been making speeches about why it was they were doing this, and standing up and trying to rally. And they didn't. They weren't leaders. The point isn't, "I got here first or I got here last." The point is, in this moment, are you a leader?

Elizabeth Edwards is unaware of one thing. It's not surprising she doesn't live in Barack Obama's state and the press has avoided the issue. Barack Obama was against the illegal war before it started. Barack Obama was also against withdrawal while running for the US Senate. That's a matter of public record. If the interview is noted, no doubt it will be like the Salon interview, where choice bits about Hillary Clinton are picked out and trumpeted. There's been more criticism from Elizabeth Edwards than has made it into the popular narrative that passes for reporting. (If her comments regarding the economic situation in this country are noted, it will be much harder to reduce it to Elizabeth Edwards v. Hillary Clinton -- which is not her intent or Clinton's.)

Lastly, feminist Naomi Wolf has re-emerged as a strong voice against the administration ("re-emerged" is not a slap or an insult, she had a child in the last few years and the still repeated nonsense and lie that she was a 'fashion consultant' to Al Gore is enough to sap anyone's energy). Wolf is endorsing a new campaign:
American Freedom Campaign. The need for it she defines (Huffington Post via Common Dreams) in a straightforward fashion,
"America is looking less and less like America. And more and more Americans are worried about it. What country is this? The president is claiming the right to keep his aides from testifying for Congress about the U.S. attorneys scandal; hundreds of men -- according to a Seton Hall study, many of them innocent -- are in legal limbo in Guantanamo Bay; U.S. agents are kidnapping people off the streets in Italy and Macedonia and 'rendering' them to be tortured; the president and his lawyers claim the executive has the right to call anyone -- U.S. citizen or not -- an 'enemy combatant' -- and the person who should decide what that means is the President himself; civil rights organizations say peaceful citizens' groups are being infiltrated and put under surveillance; and a new bill just made it easier, as Senator Patrick Leahy warned, for the president -- any president of whatever party -- to declare martial law." And it should be added that we have an administration that not only refuses to listen to the boss (the people) on the Iraq war, they continue to lie and deceive on the topic."

Disclosure, I know and like Wolf. I'm glad she's coming back strong. But on a day when a supposed powerful woman's voice wastes everyone's time with an op-ed about how honest 24 and its lead character are (what has she been sniffing?), Wolf's piece needs to be noted. Not all women are wasting their public voices writing nonsense divorced from reality.