Saturday, August 11, 2007

Glen Ford, Cindy Sheehan

Saturday morning and you know I fade on Friday's normally so expect even less than usual. Alexander Cockburn has a column that's not up at CounterPunch yet so no link. In it he talks about Obama and he's charitable towards Obama. I'm not. I also don't buy that Barack Obama's agreeing to first year meetings with the leaders of other countries (North Korea, Syria, etc.) without any preconditions is the alternative to having the CIA kill those countries leaders. I do not buy into that either/or dynamic.

Barack Obama is hopelessly out of his depth (even with Samantha Power whispering in his ear) and he demonstrates it repeatedly. Barack Obama has not seen various intell on the leaders of those countries and was in no position to make an agreement that he lacks the intell to make. Those countries and others should be met with. Reality is Bully Boy has put them off limits. It's one thing to signal that you are open to new relationships and it's another thing to scream, "Take me!" It was a stupid answer made in haste and the only thing worse was seeing Samantha Power's laughable defense of it as she attempted to argue that people like Obama (and her since she is his adviser) are going up against that foreign policy status quo. Samantha Power is the status quo and has become famous (if not rich) due to the fact that her designated role is "American apologist" for all crimes by the US. But she's fooled a lot of people before and thinks she can do so again.

"Barack Obama: Warmonger" (Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report):
Senator Barack Obama believes himself to be the reincarnation of President John F. Kennedy. For those of us who are schooled in history - real history - that's not a good thing. Kennedy tried on many occasions to assassinate Fidel Castro, and set in motion events that led to military dictatorships assuming power throughout Latin America. Kennedy, early in the month of November, 1963, gave the order to murder South Vietnamese President
Ngo Dinh Diem. Kennedy met his own fate a few weeks later, in Dallas, but he had already set in motion a war that would claim 58 thousand American and three million Vietnamese lives.
Barack Obama is as stupid and dangerous as Kennedy. Obama wants to invade Pakistan, the most dangerous place in the world, where Osama bin Ladin is holed up. The Pakistani regime installed the Taliban in Afghanistan, which became the incubator of Al Quaeda. President Pervez Musharaff, a general who has never been freely elected, depends on the backing of rightwing Muslim fundamentalists and the military to stay in power. And, Oh yes, the United States, which provides many billions of dollars in "aid" per year to prop up the regime.
[. . .]
So what we have in Barack Obama is an alternative War Party, planning an alternative War. He has told us so, and we should believe him. He is no peace candidate, and goes out of his way to prove it. The problem is, Osama bin Ladin does not have The Bomb, but the Pakistani military does. Senator Obama would destabilize a regime that is a nuclear power, and has nothing to say except that he would establish schools to replace tens of thousands of maddrassas. What a fool.

What a fool. Glen Ford says it best. By the way, I've added Just Foreign Policy's counter on Iraqi deaths to the site. I've also, as Betty requested, ditched The Black Commentator. Betty will be addressing that in the roundtable Sunday so I'll table my own thoughts until then. I will, however, note that Betty's latest chapter is up and is entitled "The bigamist Thomas Friedman."
By the way, to get that link, I had to restart the laptop. I tried clearing my cookies, then the whole history. I checked with C.I. who'd been on the phone with Betty earlier and asked, "She did post, right?" It wouldn't show up. Finally, I just shut down the laptop and booted back up. I know that's been a problem for several community members and thought I'd share. That's the first time it's happened to me but you can add my name to the list.

"Me for Congress!" (Cindy Sheehan, AfterDowningStreet):
My statement to the press when I announced my candidacy at the Presidio on August 9th
Two years ago this week, I started my first vigil in Crawford, Tx, at what became Camp Casey I near George's vacation ranch. I never thought that my path would lead me here today. Nothing before Casey was killed in the illegal and immoral war in Iraq prepared me for this new direction, but looking back on my life since April 04. 2004, I believe this is the next
natural step to bringing the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan to a swifter conclusion and those responsible accountable for the mess our world is in.
An electorate disgusted with the policies of the Bush regime put the Democrats in the majority in Congress in November '06. We voted for change, however, Congress, under the Speakership of Ms. Pelosi has done nothing but protect the status quo of the corporate elite and, in fact, since she has been the Speaker, the situation in the Middle East has grown far worse, with Congress' help, and recently more of our essential freedoms were given to BushCo by Congress.
That is not what we elected them to do!
A great majority of citizens in California's 8th Congressional district want the Bush regime impeached and want our troops home from the Middle East. I believe Ms. Pelosi has lost touch with the people of this district and America and it's time for our reps that aren't doing their jobs by upholding their sworn oaths to the Constitution to receive a wakeup call!
I agree that with over 45 million American uninsured, we need universal health care. I agree that with many of our young people joining the military to receive college credit (which very few take full advantage of), it's time to make college affordable. I agree that the people in the administrative branch are corrupt, as are many members of Congress, and ethics need to be reformed. None of these worthy goals can be accomplished while we're spending 12 million of our tax dollars an hour in Iraq and while the foxes run the henhouse. In this once great nation of ours, the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is rapidly disappearing along with the "American dream" of home ownership. The time is now to bring our tax dollars home from the Middle East to help the people of California's 8th and to make our communities safer and more prosperous.

Cindy Sheehan is running and she's got a real shot at it. Nancy Pelosi may have the money but she also has a huge problem with voters in the Bay Area who do not feel that she represents them. Her best hope is spending huge amounts of money to turn out people who don't usually vote because they don't usually pay attention. That might allow her a win. But people following politics in that area are very vocal about their disappointment with her. I was out there for two weeks last month, Pelosi is not popular. She's done it to herself. Along comes Cindy Sheehan voicing the same displeasure so many have and Pelosi's about to see the only serious race of her career.

Pelosi's gotten away, in the past, with not debating her opponents. This should be an easy race for her because she's consolidated her power and is now House Speaker. But she's presided over a do nothing Congress and she's done nothing that pleases her constituents who are not centrists or kind of left. San Francisco is a very left area and Pelosi has honestly come off in 2007 as being an inch to the left of Jane Harmon.

While Pelosi's made nice on the Hill, Cindy's been out among the people. She knows what they think, she knows what they feel. She is part of them and that's why she is a serious contender in the race.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, August 10, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military starts another whisper campaign about al-Sadr, a US helicopter goes down, Joe Biden comes out against the privatization of Iraqi oil, and the draft is in the (US) air again.

Starting with war resisters.
Agustin Aguayo served as a medic in Iraq and refused to load his weapon. He had applied for CO status but was told he'd have to wait until after deploying to Iraq to find out the status. His CO status was denied and he took the issue to the civilian courts. After serving one tour in Iraq and while his case was working through the courts, the military expected him to deploy a second time. Aguayo self-checked out and was gone for less than thirty days before turning himself in. Despite being gone less than thirty days (September 2nd through September 26th) and turning himself in, the US military prosecuted Aguayo for desertion (the general rule is that you have to be gone 30 or more days for desertion). Aguayo and his wife Helga Aguayo are now telling his story and how it effected their family. Rosalino Munoz (People's Weekly World) reports that Agustin and Helga are attempting to decide what to do with regards to the civilian case and must decide by September 5th whether or not to appeal to the Supreme court. Munoz notes, " At issue is whether a soldier's conscienctious objection to war can develop after enlistment and outside of an organized religion, as well as whether the Army can deny a soldier's claim to conscientious objection without a response to the soldier's arguments."

Were the military to follow their own stated policies, there would be no questions as to what qualifies for a CO but they don't, as Aguayo, John A. Rogowsky Jr. and many others have discovered. From the US military's "
Selective Service System: Fast Facts:" "Beliefs which qualify a registrant for CO status may be religious in nature, but don't have to be." Despite that basic reality, Aguayo, Rogowsky and others have been told that they're not religious enough, that their religion is not recognized, when religion really is NOT required for CO status. In Aguayo's case, the military refused to recognize that time in Iraq deepened Aguayo's faith (already present when he enlisted).

Munoz notes that Aguayo's attorneys believe he has a strong case but Aguayo wants to review the strengths with them before going further with the case due to a concern that a loss in the Supreme Court could reverse the gains that service members had made during Vietnam. Aguayo is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and another IVAW member, provides an update on war resister Marc Train. Adamo Kokesh (Sgt. Kokesh Goes to Washington) reports that Train has been charged "under Article 15 of the UCMJ for being AWOL for 114 days . . . They are now in the process of kicking him out under Chapter 12-14. . . . So a little soft time at Fort Stewart and he should be home free." Train self-checked out after taking part in the DC actions to end the illegal war in March of this year. Kokesh also reposts Eli Israel (the first service member to publicy refuse to continue serving in the illegal war while stationed in Iraq) story, told in Israel's own words. Sarah Olson (Political Affairs) reported on Train in June and quoted him stating, "Just because we volunteered, doesn't mean we volunteered to throw our lives away for nothing. You can only push human beings so far. Soldiers are going to Iraq multiple times. The reasons we're there are obviously lies. We're reaching a breaking point, and I believe you're going to see a lot more resistance inside the military." Tran is a member of IVAW (and was on his way to being discharged from the military -- by mutual agreement between him and the brass -- until he signed on to Appeal for Redress) and, like other IVAW members, has posted about his experiences and observations there. At the end of April, he wrote, "This Administartion has been emboldened by the lack of effective mass outrage. Now, what I mean by that is that our country as a whole has not effectively demonstrated its outrage about the policies of this Administration; the workers are still going to their jobs, the traffic is still flowing; products are still being consumed. As long as this is all functioning and every measure of control is in place, and as long as Congress continues to nervously shift about and take no determined action, the Administration does not feel threatened by the anger of its opposition."

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, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, 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, Dale Bartell, 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.

Meanwhile, the
US military is trumpeting the news that the Army met its targeted recruitment goals for the month of July . . . while hoping no reporters note that the target was brought down some time ago both in terms of numbers and qualifications. And hoping no one notices how much money is being spent on a still non-existant draft in the US. In an indication of things being explored and floated, if not yet on the way, Bully Boy's assistant and deptuty National Security Director on Iraq and Afghanistan Lt. General Douglas Lute spoke with Michelle Norris on NPR's All Things Considered today where he pushed the draft
("a national policy decision point that we have not yet reached, Michelle" -- note, "not yet reached") and declared of the draft, "I think it makes sense to certainly consider it and I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table, but ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation's security by one means or another." While "one means or another" may be a nicer way of saying "by all means necessary," there's no denying that draft boards have been set up, that tax payer monies are being spent on them and that Bully Boy's assistant is now floating the option which -- pay attention, Nancy Pelosi -- unlike impeachment is not 'off the table.' Returning to the issue of the qualifications waived to meet the targets, Stephen D. Green, fingered as the ring leader by others who participated in the war crimes against 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and her family (Abeer was gang-raped while her parents and five-year-old sister were murdered in the next room, then she was murdered and her body set on fire to destroy any evidence) is an example of the lowering standards since he went from jail to the military via a 'moral waiver' that overlooked not only his most recent arrest but his prior arrests. In other military crime news,
Feminist Wire Daily reports that Cassandra Hernandez' rape by "three of her malecounterparts" in the US Air Force has led not to punishment for the alleged rapists, but instead to charges against Hernandez with the three alleged rapists being "granted immunity from the sexual assault charges" for agreeing to testify against Hernandez. This assault on Cassandra Hernandez is only a surprise to those who have looked the other way while the US military brass has regularly and repeatedly excused and ignored the assualts on women serving in the military. The assault by the brass on Suzanne Swift is only one of the more recent public disgraces. The US military brass has repeatedly and consistently refused to address the assaults on women (and on gay male victims of assualt) and Congress has repeatedly and consistently refused to excercise their oversight obligations.

On a related crime note,
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today: "In other news on Iraq, the U.S. military has dropped all charges against two Marines connected to the shooting deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha. Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt had been charged with three counts of premeditated murder and Capt. Randy Stone with dereliction of duty for failing to properly report the civilian deaths. Five Marines still face charges for shooting dead two dozen unarmed men, women and children in Haditha on November 19, 2005."

Goodman also notes Joe Biden's nosies with regards to punishments for the Bully Boy (we'll get back to that) but that's not really the big news regarding US Senator and 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful
Joe Biden. Appearing yesterday on PBS' The Charlie Rose Show, Biden discussed the upcoming September 'progress' reports to Congress and noted that there has been no military progress in Iraq though he understood why Gen. David Petraeus would attempt to finesse that bit of reality. Biden then went on to offer his take on the administration's political attempts (which have failed, as Biden noted) in Iraq and identified Dick Cheney as the one blocking progress. (I'm not endorsing that, or endorsing Biden's kind words for US Secretary of State and Anger Condi Rice, et al.) Rose questioned whether Cheney could really be against progress and Biden utilized the oil revenue sharing 'benchmark'. We've heard that utilized before by all Dem candidates for president except Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich in a manner that lumps the oil revenue sharing and the theft of Iraqi oil into one provision. Biden didn't lump them together -- a possible sign that other candidates may also join Kucinich and Gravel in calling out the theft of Iraqi oil. Biden delcared, "Look at what we keept trying to write into the law: privatization. Who are we to tell them to privatize?"

Biden's comments come as growing resistance mounts in the US (led by United Steel Workers) to the theft of Iraqi oil and as news of a poll gains traction.
Aaron Glantz (OneWorld via Common Dreams) reports on the Oil Change International poll of Iraqis that "found nearly two thirds od Iraqis oppose plans to open the country's oilfields to foreign companies. The poll found a majority of every Iraqi ethnic and religious group believe their oil should remain nationalized. Some 66 percent of Shi'ites and 62 percent of Sunnis support government control of the oil sector, along with 52 percent of Kurds." Glantz quotes Antonia Juhasz (author of The BU$H Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time) explaining, "We're talking about opening up the second largest oil reserves in the entire world to foreign investment. It costs about $75 a barrel -- and about 60 cents to get it out of the ground. Do the math."

Great Britain's Socialist Worker reports, "The pro-US Iraqi government has outlawed the country's oil workers' union under a law passed during the regime of Saddam Hussein. The order comes as opposition is mounting to a proposed oil law that would hand over the country's natural resource to foreign companies. The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU) has spearheaded opposition to the proposed law."

On February 23, 2007,
Antonia Juhasz spoke with Kris Welch on KPFA's Living Room
about the oil law and explained the basics:.

Antonia Juhasz: It's really American, and let me clarify that as Bush administration, propaganda that this law is the path towards stability in Iraq. It is absolutely propaganda. This law is being sold as the mechanism for helping the Iraqis determine how they will distribute their oil revenue. That is not what this law is about. That is the bottom end of an enormous hammer that is this oil law. This oil law is about foreign access to Iraq's oil and the terms by which that access will be determined. It is also about the distribution of decision making power between the central government and the region as to who has ultimate decision making power and the types of contracts that will be signed. There are powers that be within Iraq that would very much like to see that power divvied up into the regions, between the Kurds and the Shia in particular, and then there are powers that would like to see Iraq retained as a central authority. The Bush administration would like the central government of Iraq to have ultimate control over contracting decisions because it believes it has more allies in the central government than it would if it was split up into regions. The Bush administration is most concerned with getting an oil law passed now and passed quickly to take advantage of the weakness of the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government couldn't be in a weaker negotiating position and the law locks the government in to twenty to thirty-five year committments to granting the most extreme versions of exploration and production contracts to US companies or foreign companies. Meaning that foreign companies would have access to the vast majorities of Iraq's oil fields and they would own the oil under the ground -- they would control the production and they would in contracts yet to be determined get a percentage of that profit but they'd be negotiating essentially when Iraq is at its weakest when Iraq is hardly a country. And that's what this oil law is all about. What Iraqis are saying very clearly and have said to
Raed [Jarrar] and, in particular, to the loudest voices being the Iraqi oil unions is that the only people who want to see this law passed now are the Americans. There's no other reason to push that law through."

Turning to some of the violence on the ground in Iraq . . .

CBS and AP report a US helicopter that went down in Kirkuk, wounding two Americans on board, cite the Iraqi military as the source for the news that the helicopter hit an electric pole and note that on July 31st and July 3rd US helicopters were brought down "after coming under fire".

Reuters reports a Kirkuk car bombing that claimed 11 lives (with at least 45 more people wounded). CBS and AP report a Baquba roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 2 bus passengers and left at least four others wounded.


Reuters reports Wisam al-Maliki (the son of sheikh over puppet Nouri al-Maliki's tribe) was shot dead in Garna. CBS and AP report a man was shot dead in Baquba.


Reuters reports that three corpses were discovered in Rutba.

In other news,
Reuters reports that the UN Security Counsel has backed a proposal for a slightly more visible United Nations role in Iraq and denies charges that the US strong-armed the proposal in order to shift the responsibilites off on the UN; however, they do note that Hoshiyar Zebari, Iraq's Foreign Minister, has stated the obvious via a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that "prior consent" for any authorization having to do with Iraq needs to have the "prior consent" from Iraq's government. Iraqi's Parliament was rightly outraged when the US government got the UN to extend authorization for their role as 'peace keepers' in Iraq without either the US or the UN bothering to seek the input or authorization of the Iraqi government.

Meanwhile, as the government of US puppet Nouri al-Maliki is in disarray (while he visits Iran),
Sue Pleming (Reuters) reports that the US administration continues to (publicly) stress their support for al-Maliki while Olga Oliker (Rand Corporation) notes that replacing the puppet now would "backfire" on the administration and states, "To be a colonial puppet master you need a much stronger understanding and subtle knowled of the culture and history than the U.S. has demonstrated over the past few years in Iraq." In an apparent move to defocus attention from the US puppet government's many failures (security, electritcy, water, food, etc.), AFP reports that Col. John Castles is the point-person to restart the whisper campaign that Moqtada al-Sadr is in Iran. Though the allegations earlier this year were never proven, they did serve to distract for a number of weeks. No doubt that is again the hope with the latest whisper campaign.

In political news, Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan officially announced her candidacy for California's 8th Congressional District in the 2008 election yesterday in San Francisco. Sheehan will be competing with other candidates including US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who currently holds the seat. Among those present for the announcement was whistle blower Daniel Ellsberg who endorses the run. Sheehan will be running as independent candidate and for more on this see
Rebecca's post from last night.

Sheehan declared last month that she would run for Congress if Pelosi refused to put impeachment back on the table by July 23rd after repeated (and rightful) anger over the Democratically controlled Congress' refusal to end the illegal war. As legal scholar
Francis A. Boyle (Dissident Voice) observes, ."Despite the massive, overwhelming repudiation of the Iraq war and the Bush Jr. administration by the American people in the November 2006 national elections conjoined with their consequent installation of a Congress controlled by the Democratic Party with a mandate to terminate the Iraq war, since its ascent to power in January 2007 the Democrats in Congress have taken no effective steps to stop, impede, or thwart the Bush Jr. administration's wars of aggression against Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, or anywhere else, including their long-standing threatened war against Iran. To the contrary, the new Democrat-controlled Congress decisively facilitated these serial Nuremberg crimes against peace on May 24, 2007 by enacting a $95 billion supplemental appropriation to fund war operations through September 30, 2007." Or as veteran DC correspondent Helen Thomas (Seattle Post-Intelligencer via Common Dreams) points out, "President Bush has the Democrats' number on Capitol Hill. All he has to do is play the fear card and invoke the war on terror and they will cave.What's more, the president has found out that he can break the law and the rubber stamp. Democratic Congress will give him a pass every time." Sheehan's announced candidacy comes as Matt Renner (Truthout) reports, "The Blue Dogs have apparently informed the Democratic leadership in the House that they support the ongoing occupation of Iraq. According to Mahoney, he met with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and told her 'The president should be free to maintain troops in Iraq, if the purpose is to thwart terrorism'." The Blue Dogs are War Hawks (and include Loretta Sanchez whose greedy hands would rather grabs billions in pork than end the illegal war) and centrists who have repeatedly stabbed the Democrats base in the back. The 2004 demise of Blue Doggie Martin Frost should have been a lesson -- a Republican-lite running against a Republican will lose every time. That's what happened to Texas' Frost who shortly before his political demise was toying challenging Pelosi for the House leadership post. Frost, like most Blue Dogs, runs from the Democratic Party while taking the national monies. Frost's campaigns were noted by Texas community members for their use of yard signs and campaign materials that never mentioned Frost was a Democrat and for slurs and slams against other Democrats perceived as liberal (such as Pelosi) to assure voters he wasn't one of those 'crazy Democrats'. Long term Congress member Frost went up against newbie incumbent Pete Sessions thanks to the illegal redistricting of Texas' congressional lines (assisted in the process by the US Homeland Security Dept. which spied on state Democrats). Voters presented with wishy washy Frost and proud-to-be-a-Republican Sessions chose Sessions. There's a moral in the story. There's a moral in the story of St. John Conyers as well as in some outlets rush to claim that racism is involved in expecting a senior member of Congress who has repeatedly advocated impeachment of the Bully Boy, who has written a book about the necessity to impeach the Bully Boy, and who shows up at various gatherings (such as the large peace rally in DC this year) to state the people can fire Bully Boy. St. Conyers wants all the applause and refuses to do anything. For some reason, some outlets see themselves as defenders not of the people or the Constitution but as St. Conyers' personal fan club. The reality is Conyers could move on impeachment and, by his public statements (which his office often later recants or distorts) but elects not to. Disgusing those realities by suggesting a racist attack is going on against Conyers is really pathetic and, interesting to note, that many suggesting that lie were no where to be found when Cynthia McKinney was twice ousted from the House of Representatives via racial slurs. As Betty, Cedric and Ty have noted: "As we said last week, he's old, he's tired, it's past time he gave up his seat and let some new blood in. The only disgrace has been what he has done to his own image." (Betty's seen the latest nonsense and notes that it will be addressed by her in Sunday's roundtable.) The topic of impeachment wasn't avoided on PBS where Bill Moyers examined it seriously last month. That one hour look (including guests such as John Nichols) at impeachment on Bill Moyers Journal is repeating and can also be viewed, listened to or read online currently. As a weak alternative to impeachment, Senator Joe Biden is floating 'later actions.' As Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today: "Impeachment has been making headlines recently in the city of Kent, Ohio. Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden has suggested criminal charges could someday be filed against members of the Bush administration. In a recent interview with Newsweek, Biden said there are alternatives to the impeachment of President Bush. Biden said: 'I think we should be acquiring and accumulating all the data that is appropriate for possibly bringing criminal charges against members of this administration at a later date'." This 'later' nonsense has also been floated by St. Conyers is nothing but nonsense. The 1992 elections gave Democrats the control of Congress and the White House and they unwisely decided to put Iran-Contra behind them. The crimes of Reagan and Bush were swept under the rug and we're all paying for that today. By the same token, in January 2009, after Bully Boy leaves office, the DC conventional wisdom (that so many elected Dems are held hostage by) would be, "He's out of office, leave it alone." If impeachment does not take place, Bully Boy walks and anyone suggesting otherwise is taking an ahistorical view of the situation.

aaron glantz

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cindy Sheehan, Bett & Cedric & Ty

Did you see Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Spineless" Sunday? I would post it here but everytime I do that, I end up throwing the whole site off. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong and will try to figure it out. Sunny pointed out to me that I hadn't noted the weekend posts and I hadn't. (Thank you, Sunny.) Along with Isaiah's comic, "Ruth's Report" went up and she's addressing many topics. I'm also quoted in it but that's probably the only weak part of the report. Trina's "Cucmber Summer Salad" went up and I was there this weekend so to Marcia who wrote and asked if Trina's "really okay"? Yes, she is. I think it just hit her that she's a grandmother and that's so different for her when compared to her own children. She's not shaken by the usual nerves because she's gone through it (eight times) and she just gets to be around a baby without worrying or obsessing which is a big relief. We talked about it this weekend and she's not depressed, she's not in a phase. She's just enjoying the grandbaby (and she's also sick of the summer heat). Betty's "Stunned" is the latest chapter in Betinna's ongoing story. Here she sees Thomas Friedman with another woman.

So that's what went up ovre the weekend and I'll try to do a better job of noting them sooner. All post once a week and I know I should note them because some members do check out on the weekends (either by choice or no computer access) so it acts as a reminder.

"Long Line of Chickenhawks" (Cindy Sheehan, AfterDowningStreet):
I have talked to college Republicans and young people who have come to my events to yell obscene things at me and I have asked them why, if they support George and his war for profit, don't they go to the nearest recruiter's office and enlist. Their answers are a lot like Romney's. They are serving their country by going to college so they can own businesses that will "employ" the returning vets. Or, they are "serving" their country by protesting me.
Many of our young people, especially people of color, don't have a lot of options to get jobs, educations, or out of their dangerous communities (isn't it ironic) they join the military. As for Casey, I would rather have him be flipping burgers in Vacaville, then dead, but he felt he had to join the Army to take the pressure off of our family for college. It is a tragic trade.
If Romney's children have the option of serving our nation by riding around in RV's and writing blogs, then all of our children should have that option. For our lower-socio economic children, working for the candidate of their choice should come with a $20,000.00 bonus and college tuition credits.
If the wealthy elite doesn't have to worry about sending their children to college, then all of our children who want to and quality should be able to go to college for little or no tuition. They should not have to trade their lives or physical or mental health for a degree. We need to bring our tax dollars home from Iraq and our manufacturing jobs back from overseas to give our young people more options.
It's time to start talking about the poverty draft and how the ruling class fascists get to protect their children to the detriment of our children.
I don't think military service should be a requirement to be the President.but a hypocrite is a hypocrite. If a candidate supports this war, or future wars, I say send your own child. That would prove you are serious when you say my son died for a "noble cause."

If I remember correctly, Cindy Sheehan announces her candidacy tomorrow in San Francisco.
That's just an FYI. What she's describing is very real. If even a tiny percent of the less than 30% who still support the illegal war really supported it, the military would meet their recruitment targets. They'd probably, in fact, exceed them. But they claim they're for the illegal war . . . as long as it's someone else fighting.

I believe Adam Kokesh and others with IVAW attempted to talk some college Republicans into enlisting and they encountered the same resistance. They support the illegal war with their mouths but they won't put their own butts on the line. That's where their support vanishes.

Maybe they are scared? Maybe it's that, on some level, even they realize the illegal war is wrong? Or possibly they've just spent their entire lives letting others do for them?

Regardless, they do not sign up. That really, to me, describes the 'support' Bully Boy has at this point. They will talk and they will trash others but they have no spine and won't do anything.

On the subject of impeachment . . .

"John Conyers Is No MLK (Betty, Cedric & Ty)" (The Third Estate Sunday Review):
Last week, we shared our feelings regarding a member of Congress, John Conyers. During the pieces that addressed Conyers, we made clear our opposition to sicking the police on activists practicing civil disobedience. For reasons that only Rev. Lennox Yearwood can answer, he's decided to back away from an intial strong stand.
Regardless of what his reasons were (and we are aware that he was under attack), we stand by our statements. We don't give a damn what anyone says about us. As African-Americans, we're fully aware that at least a third of the discussions going on in our community are 'ranking' and 'scoring' and 'cracking.' You can listen to a five minute burst of flow on Aretha Franklin's weight with cracks about her eating only to hear the dee jay then play one of her records and talk about how amazing her voice is.
So if anyone thinks our Black voices will be silenced, think again.
a supposed piece on race, we felt Yearwood was cracking . . . on Whites. Yearwood offers that Whites writing things like 'Conyers is no MLK' was "deeply disrespectful" to "many" in the community. Gee, our phones didn't ring once. Was this a national poll?
No one in our families complained, no one in our (Cedric and Betty's) churches complained when we shared print outs of that column and similar ones. Apparently a Black Bougie-Bougie got a hold of Yearwood's ear and he's confused that with actual African-Americans.
While we missed that version in Gladys and the Pips' song, we're not surprised.
Yearwood writes, "I would say to my White progressive friends that they should be careful who they condemn for not following in the steps of the late Dr. King if they themselves have not been prepared to walk in those steps and be champions of the consistent fight for social justice." Well let these two Black brothers and this Black sister say it: John Conyers is not following in the footsteps of MLK.
Let us all note our OUTRAGE that MLK is being reduced to something that can be cited (as a comparison) by only African-Americans. That notion is deplorable. We encourage everyone to use MLK as a touchstone. He does not "belong" to one segment of the people, he belongs to all and we will not stand silent while he is ghetto-ized or his status as an international hero is reduced to "Black guy who marched."
John Conyers is no MLK. Your first clue is that MLK couldn't have been elected to Congress. Even were he alive today, it wouldn't happen. That's because MLK wasn't Marty & The March the way he is Disney-fied today. He was against illegal wars. He was against imperialism. He was against injustice. Reducing him solely to race does him a HUGE disservice and that bull might fly with the mainstream media but it doesn't belong among the left.
John Conyers is no MLK. Your second clue is that he stood. He didn't cower. Not even when he was shot down. He knew that day was coming and he didn't sit around wondering how to protect himself. He was on a mission to make the world a better place. Conyers is a coward who will not stand up to Nancy Pelosi. She took impeachment "off the table." If he put it back on the table, he'd find he had too much support from the people for Pelosi to monkey around with his seniority rights to chair a committee.
John Conyers is no MLK. Your third clue is that MLK stood up even when he knew the risks. He was slammed by the press in his final years and that was due to the fact that he refused to be silent. Conyers operates by political calculations. He is a COWARD.
John Conyers is no MLK. Your fourth clue is that the powers-that-be saw MLK as a threat that needed to be cut down while Conyers, over 70-years-old, retains his seat in Congress. Cynthia McKinney may have lost her seat but she never lost her voice even when the same sort of elements that cut down MLK during his life went after McKinney. And, if you missed it, Yearwood, when Pelosi gave the orders that there would be no support for McKinney, Conyers didn't violate that rule either. She'd announced she's be speaking about the incident with the police and she WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE THE FULL SUPPORT OF THE BLACK CAUCUS. She didn't have any of their support. It was a White woman, Marcy Kaptur, one member of Congress and only one, who had the guts and convictions MLK lived by, who said, "I will stand with you, Cynthia" while her colleagues avoided McKinney like she had the plague.
After Kaptur made it safe, a few others joined McKinney.
So save the speeches about how noble John Conyers is and how it's wrong to say he's not like MLK. MLK stood for what was right and Conyers has lived his Congressional life refusing to rock the boat.
As we said last week, he's old, he's tired, it's past time he gave up his seat and let some new blood in. The only disgrace has been what he has done to his own image.
Betty, Cedric and Ty

I understand how upset Betty, Cedric and Ty were. This is about impeachment, obviously, but it's also about the issue of universality. They take that very seriously and do not want to see MLK reduced to a hero for one segment. They feel that is very insulting to his legacy and that someone who touched everyone's lives (and whose legacy continues to) is not to be reduced to one group. Cedric was especially offended pointing out that when that reducing comes from someone of his own race, he gets really angry because MLK should be a hero to all and there is more power in his legacy when more people know of him and embrace his legacy. Cedric said if the restrictions continue, 100 years on down the line, MLK will be a footnote like George Washington Carver and that he's not going to let that happen. The three of them worked very hard on that piece. Betty would want me to note that once again, C.I. shocked her. The Gladys Knight and the Pips song they mention (I didn't know it), C.I. knew. C.I. knew the album it was on, the single it was the B-side to and that Ashford & Simpson wrote it.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, August 8, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military and the British military both announce deaths, a dawn air attack by the US on a residential area kills civilians, war resister Eli Israel tells his story, meet "The Other Iraq," and more.

Starting with war resisters. Camilo Mejia is the first war resister to return to the US and refuse to return to the US. Stephen Funk is the first war resister to refuse to to Iraq period. Eli Israel is the first known war resister to refuse while serving in Iraq.
At Courage to Resist, Eli Isreal tells his story. He writes of growing up "in the custody of state of Kentucky," living on the streets, attempting to join the Marines at 16 but having no diploma and no GED so being turned down. Israel got his GED, took some college courses and, at 18, enlisted in the military. After leaving the military, he re-enlisted in 2004. In Iraq he was "a JVB Agent -- the JVB (Joint Visitors Bureau) served as protective service for 'three star generals and above' and their 'civilian equivalents'. This included the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff," etc. and "when we didn't have any missions at JVB, it was common for us to be called on for 'search and cordon' operations and other infantry assignements". Israel writes:

I claimed like many that my actions during these missions were justified in the name of "self-defense." However, I came to realize it was that my perception was wrong. I was in a country that I had no right to be in, violating the lives of people, and doing so without regard to the same standards of dignity and respect that we as Americans hold our own homes and our lives to.
I had taken and/or destroyed the lives of people who were defending their families from being the "collateral damage" of the day. Iraqi boys are joining groups like "Al Qaeda" for the same reason street kids in the U.S. join the "Crypts" and the Bloods". It's about self protection, a sense of dignity, and a way of making a stand.
The young man whose father and cousin we "accidentally" killed, and whose mother and siblings cry every time the tank rolls through the neighborhood, doesn't care about who Osama Bin Laden is.

Israel writes of the destuction of Iraq, the daily deaths of Iraqis, martial law, the denial of basic services, and more leading to a realization: "The day I saw myself in the hateful eyes of a young Iraqi boy who stared at me was the day I realized I could no longer justify my role in the occupation." So Eli Israel attempted to become a CO but when he informed his superios of that decision, he was immediately isolated and placed under military guard for two weeks after which he was sent to Camp Arifjan for 30 days in prison which became 25 and he's now discharged and "scheduled to be out-processed from the Army within the month and plan on joining forces with anti-Iraq-War movements, such as
Courage to Resist and Iraq Veterans Against the War." That's a synopsis and, again, you can read his story in his own words at Courage to Resist. He concludes, "Objecting to the war and standing up to the miliary was without question, one of the best decisions I have ever made. I made a stand that was the right one, and I have my freedom back as a bonus. Maybe ten years from now those of us resisting from within the military today will be seen as some of the first few to speak the truth and to follow up with action. Even now I have many to remind me that I'm not alone in my thinking, even a majority of Americans who know that all the pieces of this conflict simply don't add up."

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, Carla Gomez, 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, 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.

Turning to Iraq where the air war continues.
CBS and AP report that a dawn attack on the Sadr City section of Baghdad, a US helicopter attack, has left at least 9 civilians dead (2 women included in the fatalties). Reuters says the number, according to hospital officials, is 13 and note: "Hundres of angry mourners later marched chanting through the streets of the slum after the raid on the eve of a major Shi'ite holy day." BBC offers a series of photos of the mourners which include (a) a man seated on the ground holding his head while a small boy cries next to him, three boys and a man slumped over a table while two women cry, and a photo of marchers which numbers over a thousand -- not the "hundreds" billed -- taking to the treets, walking around buses, clutching their chests and their heads. BBC reports eye witnesses stating children were also killed and that the US military does conceed the point that women and children were present -- obvious point, this is a residential area that was bombed at dawn -- they assert none died. Later the US military is expected to also issue assertions that the Easter Bunny exists. Jaime Tarabay (NPR) notes that officials in "Sadr City say that there were no 30 terrorist killed there were acutally 9 civilians killed and among those were women and children and there were also six people that were injured."

In other violence . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports four Baghdad mortar attacks that claimed 2 lives and wounded twelve, a Baghdad roadside bombing that left three Iraqi soldiers wounded, a Kirkuk roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer (six more wounded), a Kirkuk car bombing left four police officers and a civilian wounded. Reuters notes a bombing in a Baquba barbre shop that claimed 5 lives and left eight more wounded, a Samarra mortar attack that claimed 7 lives, and a Hawija roadside bombing that left one person dead.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two women wounded ("a mother and her daughter") in a shooting attack, while attorney Emad Dosh was shot dead in Najaf and Talai Bilal was attacked in Kufa but survived -- two security guards were wounded. Reuters notes a police officer was shot dead in Dujail and one person was shot dead in Jurf Al-Sakhar and another in Mahaweel.

Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 11 corpses discovered in Baghdad and the corpse of Muthhir Ali was discovered in Kirkuk.
Today the
UK Ministry of Defence announced: "It is with deep sorrow that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of a British serviceman from 1 Squadron, RAF Regiment in Basra City, southern Iraq last night, Tuesday 7 August 2007. The serviceman died as a result of small arms fire attack which occurred at approximately 2030 hours local time during an operation in the Karmat Ali district of Basra City." ICCC's total for the number of British soldiers killed in Iraq is now 166. This follows Monday's announced death in Basra of 20-year-old Craig Barber whom, the UK Ministry of Defense notes, "leaves behind his loving family, including his wife Donna and son Bradley."

And today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed and four others wounded during combat operations in a western section of the Iraqi capital when an improvised explosive device detonated near their patrol Aug. 7." ICCC pegs the number of US service members killed in Iraq this month at 22 thus far and since the start of the illegal war at 3681.

As all this goes on,
Bernd Debusmann (Reuters) offers a story on tourism in Iraq or to what is billed as "The Other Iraq" -- the Kurdish area. Why not? asks the headline. Gee, maybe because of the cross border struggles with Turkey that yesterday's meet and greet with al-Maliki didn't solve. Maybe because, as Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) pointed out a week ago, the census that was supposed to be taken of the area never was and December is when a vote is supposed to "determine the fate of a large oil-rich and bitterly disputed swathe of the country". Or how about James Cogan (WSWS) noting that Massoud Barzani ("president of the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government") has called for "a real civil war" if Kirkuk ("oli-rich" Kirkuk) does not become part of the Kurdish territory.

Turning to Japan where recent elections shifted the power.
David Pilling (Financial Times of London) reports that the Democratic Party of Japan "took control of the upper house Tuesday" and "is considering introducing a bill to end Tokyo's logistical support in Iraq" meaning curtailing "the supply flights the Japan Air Self-Defence Force flew to Baghdad and northern Iraq from Kuwait."

Could that increase the cost of the illegal war for the US? On the topic of the cost . . .
On July 31st, Gordon England, the US Dept. Secretary of Defense, appeared before the House Budget Committee of the US Congress and declared, "As Secretary Gates has said, the Department is firmly committed to an open and transparent dialogue with the Congress about war costs." Though only 8 days ago, England's remarks are already laughable. Today Tom Vanden Brook (USA Today) reports that the Pentagon is now insisting that $750 million is needed immediately in order "to urgenly airlift needed armored vehichles to troops facing roadside bombs in Iraq." As Cedric and Wally pointed out Monday, the House just approved $459.6 billion in funding to military spending. Nicholas Johnston (Bloomberg News) reported this was "for fiscal year 2008". John Nichols (link goes to CBS) observed there was "virtually no debate" before the House approved the bill and that the "amount does not include the extra $147 billion Iraq war funding that the Bush administration has demanded that Congress approve when the Congress returns from its August recess." This latest last minute funding request comes as the cost of the illegal war continues to mount and not that long after noises about how Americans would not be paying for the illegal war in piecemeal, that the American people needed to know the true costs of the illegal war. In fact, one of the people decrying this sort of "haphazard, piecemeal funding" was the Bully Boy of the United States himself on May 10th. At the end of last month, Walter Pincus (Washington Post) noted Congress gave the Defense Department "$1.7 billion for military construction in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007, according to CRS [Congressional Research Service], but offered no breakdown of how the money was spent." Dropping back to December 2006, Carl Hulse (New York Times via IHT) noted that the Democrats who had just won control of both houses in the November elections were "planning to assert more control over the billions of dollars a month being spent on the conflict [Iraq] when they take charge of Congress in January." Hulse quoted two tough talkers. In the Senate, Kent Conrad declared, "They have been playing hide-the-ball, and that does not serve the Congress well nor the county well, and we are not going to continue that practice." From the House, John Spratt who stated, "We need to have a better breakout of the costs -- period." Possibly, Hulse misquoted Spratt and he really said "breakout of the costs -- period period period"? Ellipses would certainly make more sense when Spratt is quoted by Tom Vanden Brook today sounding ready to toss around the (public's) money without asking any questions such as why the Pentagon's only now interested in shipping the vehicles or what pork the Pentagon can eliminate on their own instead of expecting the US tax payers to foot the bill for every goody on their wish-list. Noting the waste in the bloated budget, John Nichols wondered "why was there no serious debate on the Pentagon budget? It's not just that the Bush administration and its Republican allies in Congress continue to use the war on terror as an excuse to enrich defense contractors such as Dick Cheney's Halliburton. As Winslow Wheller, a veteran of 31 years working with mostly Republican senators on defense issues and a former assistant director of evaluations of national defense programs with the U.S. Government Accountablility Office, 'Now in control of Congress and having made multiple promises to restore oversight of the war in Iraq and the executive branch in general, the Democrats have been successfully rolled by the White House, the military services, and the big spender pundits'." To repeat, July 31st, Dept. Secretary of Defense Gordon England stated to Congress that "the [Defense] Department is firmly committed to an open and transparent dialogue with the Congress about war costs."

Turning to US politics. Yesterday
the AFL-CIO hosted a 'debate' with Democratic hopefuls for the 2008 presidential nomination (Mike Gravel was not present). US Senator Barack Obama is hindered by how much of his genuine rage (and he's got rage) he can show. He declared, at one point, "I find it amusing that those who helped to authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me". He declared? Well, he moved his lips. Samantha Power scripted that line. Samantha Power who immortalized herself with the autobiography A Problem From Hell (oh, it's not an autobiography? well with that title . . .) Barack Obama yesterday: "the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me." Samantha Power August 3rd "the worst strategic blunder in the history of US foreign policy." Sammy, get your axe. Or at least your Blackberry. The odor of Samantha Power lingers over the Barack Obama campaign and not merely because she was perviously an advisor to Obama. It's also because you look a bit unhinged when you mass mail, as Power did last week, your thoughts on Obama to "Interested Parties." Where Babmi can't show more than spunk, Power can. She will do it, she can do it, and she will bloody well control the White House!

That's actually how the unhinged Samantha Power plays out to many -- and for good reasons that aren't limited to the fact that she fires off those e-mails not from her own personal e-mail account but from the account she has as "Founding Executive Director, Harvard University Carr Center for Human Rights Policy". As
Noam Chomsky (ZNet) noted, in response to a question about Sammy Power, "A little more interesting is Power's tacit endorsement of the Bush doctrine that states that harbor terrorists are no different from terrorist states, and should be treated accordingly: bombed and invaded, and subjected to regime change"; "It's of some interst that Power is regarded -- and apparently regards herself -- as a harsh critic of US foreign policy. The reason is that she excoriates Washington for not paying enough attention to the crimes of others."; and "From a desk at the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Kennedy School at Harvard, that's doubltess how it looks."

The Carr Center?
Tom Hayden (writing at The Nation, link goes to Hayden's site) asked last month: "Should a human rights center at the nation's most prestigious university be collaborating with the top U.S. general in Iraq in designing the counter-insurgency doctrine behind the current military surge?" Hayden goes on to reveal how The Carr Center's Sarah Sewell steered the creation of "the new Army-Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual" which not only white washes the US involvement in the Salvadorian death squads of the Reagan years, it also seeks to use academic discipline to abuse a people. Hayden cites Stephen Biddle ("Baghdad adviser to Gen Petraues") explaining the real purpose of the plan the Carr Center took part in: "to manipulate both Shi'as and Sunnis into depending on the US occupation for self-protection." As Hayden points out, "counter-insurgency, being based on deception, shadow warfare and propaganda runs counter to the historic freedom of university life." As noted before the academy is abused today by the US military recruiting anthropologists to figure out how to lie and trick Iraqis. They've also found some psychologists eager to do their bidding and encourage torture which is a topic Amy Goodman again revists on today's Democracy Now! with The New Yorker's Jane Mayer and the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer.

But let's not leave Sammy Power just yet.
Hayden notes: "Power is a close adviser to Sen. Barack Obama who supports a withdrawal of US combat troops by next year with exceptions for 'advisers' and special units to battle al-Qaeda. Power, who worked last year in Obama's Washington DC office, writes that even the proposed combat troop withdrawal can be reversed if Iraq's condition continues to worsen. Intentionally or not, the cautious, complicated Obama proposal as described by Power leaves open the likelihood of thousands of American troops remaining in counter-insurgency roles for years ahead. If that is the limit of legitimate debate at Harvard, the Pentagon occupation of the academic mind may last much longer than its occupation of Iraq, and may require an intellectual insurgency in response." The Carr Center is a collaborator in an illegal war and that reality is only surprising to anyone who doesn't grasp the realities of Sammy "Get me the axe!" Power.

While the War Hawk Loons seek ever more war, today
The Toledo Blade editorializes on "Iraq's demise" noting that "the United States has essentially destoryed Iraq as a country" and concluding, "The only action left, assuming that the people of the United States do not want to take on Iraq as a project for the next 20 or 30 years, is to state categorically that we have done all that we are going to do there and leave."
In other news,
Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) notes that even on something as mild as censure ("just a public spanking"), the Dems in Congress can't get it together and that if they really believe impeachment "would tie up" everything, what's their problem with censure? Cynthia Cooper (FAIR's Extra!) points out that the mainstream media ignores the prospect of impeachment or mocks it and makes false comparisons such as claiming Bully Boy isn't as awful as Tricky Dick: "But the 'consensus' on Nixon came after five months of inquiry by the House Judiciary Commitee, complete with subpoenas, sworn testimony and a staff of 100. A full consensus only emerged days later, when the U.S. Supreme Court ordered Nixon to release tapes that contained damning comments by the president, and Nixon resigned." In disgrace, he resigned in disgrace. No offense, but let's not forget that detail. He was a petty crook and he left in disgrace. On PBS, Bill Moyers offered a serious discussion on impeachment. That one hour look (including guests such as John Nichols) at impeachment on Bill Moyers Journal is repeating and can also be viewed, listened to or read online currently.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

John Stauber, Ruth Conniff

"Coffee with the Troops at Yearly ***" (John Stauber, CounterPunch):
I've been asked how exactly this event came to be organized. A few weeks ago when I examined the schedule for Yearly *** it was clear that there would be no meaningful strategy session on the war in Iraq. I decided to create that session, and I arranged through the convention hotel for a Sunday morning event that would feature leaders of the Iraq Veterans Against the War.
The Yearly *** refused to put our event Coffee with the Troops onto their conference schedule despite the fact that no other event was scheduled at the time. Not to be deterred, I arrived at Yearly Kos with 800 flyers that I personally distributed to attendees, and I blogged about the event during the conference.
The event was a tremendous success and one of the best-attended sessions of the Yearly ***, demonstrating the hunger of the Netroots to address this issue.

I told C.I. I was grabbing this from CounterPunch and was told about another piece I can pair it with. For the record, that convention does not get promoted by this community. We've followed some of the coverage (mainstream and online) and love it, love it, love it when one White person after rushes to explain it will be more diverse next year. Why was it diverse this year? There's no excuse for it. I myself happen to enjoy the gals who toy with feminism offering their excuses for stabbing other women in the back. I've read that "I was invited!" Oh, well, if you were invited dear, be the Queen Bee. Next year the title of the convention changes and that's because the current title draws the criticism it has earned.

It is a bunch of wanna be political players (who never will be players, they aren't storming any gates, as C.I. long ago noted, they are Scrubbing The Toilets).

John Stauber I'm grabbing because he wasn't given a panel. He went there and he created his own. All this nonsense about how next year will have more women (and more women on panels!) and more people of color and more LGBTs and blah, blah, blah. It's nonsense. If you wanted more women you call up every woman going and you create your own event the way John Stauber did.

C.I. couldn't note Stauber. It was already decided that nothing about the event would go up. That's what members wanted. I understand and respect that. Since the event is now over, I hope everyone will grasp that I am not in any way promoting it even by critiquing it.

But the excuses that so offended so many (unlike most of the attendees of the convention, this community is diverse) were nonsense. They were nonsense when they were offered and they are nonsense now. John Stauber proves the hollow talk was nonsense.

Iraq didn't have a serious panel. (Serious panel's don't limit women. Serious panels don't confuse Iran with Iraq by pulling a token woman who is Iranian. Do all Middle Eastern women look alike to the ones planning the convention?) With all of the historical conflicts between Iran and Iraq, it is appalling that someone thought an Iranian woman was a way to be 'inclusive.' There are many Iraqi women in the US, there are many Iraqi-American women in the US.

This was one last chance for the little midget to get his name in the press again. But they all want to tell you the convention isn't about him. Apparently they missed the MSM coverage? He's a sexist and he's pig. He's a Republican who crossed over for whatever reason but the reasons do not appear to be any great embrace of liberalism or left-ism.

Considering his many attacks on women, you really have to be willing to crawl through the mud, if you're a woman, to attend a convention named after him. Do not give me the nonsense that "Next year the name changes!" We're talking about this year.

One woman wanted to blog that Blog-Her isn't any better! Blog-Her includes all sorts of women! That must be a very frightening thought when you're the Queen Bee designate by the White Male Bloggers. Candy Perfume Boy, at CJR's blog, long ago exposed the Cluster F**k (his term) involved online.

They ran off Maryscott of My Left Wing, they banned Cindy Sheehan. They are nothing but a Democratic Party Organ and their Meek Leader shows up today (late today) finally commenting on Congress giving Bully Boy spying powers this weekend. After everyone else -- outside the CF -- has called out the Democrats who caved (and they did cave, Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi could have killed the bill in either house) to say, "Eeek. Me too."

Congratulations to John Stauber for not going-along-to-get-along and for doing something that actually matters.

C.I. suggested I pair it with Ruth Conniff. Now, I'm more than willing to highlight Conniff here when she's hitting hard on a topic; however, I was skeptical that she could do that on this. I'm glad to see I was wrong.

"Iraq, Hillary, and the Blogosphere" (Ruth Conniff, The Progressive):
At a "coffee with the troops" organized by Iraq Vets Against the War and the Center for Media and Democracy, Garett Reppenhagen, a former sniper in the first infantry division in Iraq talked about how he started blogging: "The stuff I didn't see on Fox News or CNN was what I wanted to express," he said, praising the democratic potential of the web. "Anybody can get on YouTube. Anybody can write a blog. But I worry because more and more people start endorsing candidates, and we become like sports enthusiasts."
"We've got to stick to the issues," Reppenhagen said. "Right now the most important issue in America is the Iraq War." He urged bloggers to talk to veterans and antiwar activists. "Look toward the groups that are really doing the grassroots work. . . . Let's work together and let's end this war."
Aaron Hughes of the Illinois National Guard, another vet against the war, seconded that point:
"We elected candidates to Congress to end this war. They used us. They said, 'We can't cut funding because that will hurt the troops.' I want to encourage the blogging community to step away from these candidates who have completely used us. . . . I ask that you start focusing on the people who can really end this war. Historically that’s the vets."
Josh Lansdale, a firefighter who returned from Iraq with PTSD, contradicted Hillary on the ability of the troops to hastily withdraw:
"As soon as you tell them 'prepare for redeployment,' they can get out of Iraq. Kuwait can handle 250,000. I don’t see why we can't get out."
To the bloggers at the conference who oppose the war, Lansdale put it the most bluntly: "I would encourage you to get off your ass and do something about it."

That's from the end of the column. It is a strong piece by Conniff and may be the best thing she's written in years. C.I. really wanted to highlight that. But the community made their decision and C.I.'s only one member. If you haven't read Conniff, I think you'll really be pleased with this column.

(I was.)

What are we doing? That's really at the heart of both columns I've highlighted. If you read this site often, you know what I do. If you're a community member, I probably know what you're doing. But do you get how many won't do anything? Or how many settle for e-activism?

I'm not knocking the power of information and being informed. But Democratic cheerleaders online aren't informing. We've seen Tina Richards and Cindy Sheehan ripped apart by Democratic cheerleaders online. We've seen a refusal to call out Barack Obama. When C.I. and I were invited to 2004 function (for big donors), we both went in excited. We knew he was against the illegal war. We were ready to write the maximum amount in our checkbooks. Then we met him and he was talking about how US troops needed to stay in Iraq. I was looking at C.I. and thinking, "Who is this guy?" I was really shocked by it. C.I., never at a loss for words, asked flat out, "How can you be against the war and for troops staying in Iraq at the same time?" Obama gave some remarks using the slogan that's intended to stop all discussion and it didn't work. (You can't 'finesse' C.I.) I finally found my own voice and we left. (That is the short version.) We didn't give a cent and we were appalled that this was the alleged anti-war voice we were all supposed to rally behind. When he went on to give that hideous speech at the 2004 DNC convention (which, C.I. always points out, Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive had the good sense to call out in real time while a lot of other left voices were too busy panting), it really wasn't surprising -- not after meeting him face to face and hearing how US troops needed to stay in Iraq.

When he got into the Senate, he confused a lot of voters. Supporters confronted him repeatedly at town halls about the way he was voting. They should have. But that's not something that really leaked into the coverage. It should have.

Now he's running for president. What we're getting, posing as political analysis, is the equivalent of "Bobby Sherman's likes include sunny days and kittens . . ."
So I do not agree that anyone's being informed.

I've avoided weighing in on Tim Howe's stupid e-mail because I think the man's a danger. I read his e-mails in 2005 that he sent to Rebecca (I was filling in for her at her site) and I couldn't believe them. I still can't. I don't want to do anything to encourage him to hang around. However, he was ripping someone apart for their attitude towards Hillary Clinton and he sent the e-mail to C.I.

Rebecca's never liked Hillary Clinton. She's made that clear from her first month blogging. So who is Howe yelling at in that? (I've heard the e-mail, over the phone, from Ava.) If it's C.I., Howe's really off base.

C.I. could care less who you vote for. I've known C.I. since college and I've never been asked to vote for anyone. I've never been urged to vote for anyone. When we talk about candidates, the issue is information. Rebecca will tell you, she hates going through materials. But each presidential election year, she'll try to find a shortcut. (Had she been pregnant in 2008 and not this year, C.I. might have made an exception.) C.I. will go over all the candidates with her, positives and minuses. C.I. doesn't even say, "I'm for ___" until after you've made up your own mind. I was for Howard Dean in the 2004 primaries. C.I. was for John Kerry. I never knew that until I'd made up my mind. It was never a problem between us. I could be ticked off with Dean about something he said and C.I. would be the one talking me through it (if it could be justified).

But in terms of Hillary Clinton (whom C.I. knows), Howe was really off base sending the e-mail to C.I. When Betty was for Hillary, I know for a fact that C.I. told everyone that Betty's choice was her choice and everyone needed to respect it. (Betty knows this, I'm not writing anything here she doesn't know.) When Hillary made that ridiculous statement saying if Iraq was your issue, ending the illegal war, look to another candidate, that killed Betty's support for her in the primary. But Betty will tell you, she was very nervous about saying she was behind Hillary before that. She will also tell you that she called C.I. and C.I. went over all of Hillary's good qualities with Betty and assured her that there was no problem with her decision. I have no idea who C.I. is supporting or will support. Generally, this is the time I'd find out in the election cycle but I doubt I will because there are people who will put weight behind it and C.I. will play water faucet on this (either share with everyone, or not share). But on issues other than Iraq, C.I. can and does say nice things about Hillary and Joe Biden. That's not just privately. C.I. has publicly talked about Hillary's gifts as a speaker in roundtables for The Third Estate Sunday Review.

So when Ava was reading Tim Howe's e-mail to me over the phone, I was thinking, "You don't know thing you're writing about, Howe." The focus at The Common Ills is Iraq. There's not much to praise Hillary for there. However, when C.I. felt she was right and Obama was wrong, C.I. did note that (and explain why Hillary was right) in a snapshot. Howe's obsessed with getting Hillary into the Oval Office (that was true in 2005 as well).

But his e-mail was off in every way possible but especially in terms of sending it to C.I. Members who go back to 2004 with TCI know the site's changed. C.I. is, of course, against the illegal war and that was always true at the site. But if other people were doing their jobs, C.I. wouldn't have to hit hard. When it became obvious that people were backing away from the illegal war, C.I. upped the volume and that's needed. If people would do their jobs, C.I. would just offer excerpts. That's what the entries would basically be. But left support for war resisters has pretty much vanished in independent media. Iraq was so sidelined by outlets that the community voted to have an "Iraq snapshot" Monday through Friday. This is a case of C.I. having to step up to the plate because others will not.

This is my college rooommate who walked away from the family money and instead worked two or three jobs each semester (while also getting scholarships, true) because there would be no journalism major to please the family. Had C.I. gone into the family business, college would have been paid for and then some. I can remember the day a car was delivered. I can remember C.I. refusing it. Bribe after bribe got refused. So when C.I.'s doing the things today, like writing up a report on Liam Madden's press conference because no one else has, that's really beyond stepping up to the plate. C.I. never wanted to do journalism and now has to deal with family members who are convinced that after The Common Ills wraps, C.I.'s finally going to get involved in the family business. That's probably the most irritating thing for C.I. All of this was walked away from, intentionally walked away from, and now it's -- yet again -- "Well, you're finally coming around." That irritates the hell out of C.I. who made a point to avoid journalism and built up a life outside of it.

If tomorrow, everyone took a page from Howard Zinn and got serious, C.I. would be writing "Joan highlights . . . Susan notes . . ." Tim Howe is one of the ones who make it hard. He wrote, at one point in that e-mail Sunday, something about us all ending up in a gulag and how people like him were keeping the left alive. I have no idea how he thinks that's happening. But he apparently meant it. Reality is that he and the other cheerleaders are the exact reason C.I. needs to speak out (and knows it is needed). They aren't doing anything. They're worshipping a candidate (any candidate) and fretting that information will destroy their candidate. They're not doing a thing to end the illegal war.

This was my point Friday, about the conversation I had over the phone with a friend from college where she was pointing out that it was (yet again) the women who were having to carry all the weight because the men were off on some macho high. The Young Lions of the '60s' never accomplished anything without women. Now they want to do their version of 'Nam stories: "I had to have a physical! It was invasive! The draft, man, that's what moved the peace movement, because all of us could be drafted!" No, women were never going to be drafted. There is not a Young Lion that didn't have a woman propping him up (even if he was gay) and soothing his ego. There are plenty of Young Lions who had their temper tantrums and were tossed out of the movement thereby needing a woman to bring them back in and make them acceptable all over again. Women had to fight the illegal war and they had to soothe the men. My friend I was speaking to is a lesbian and came out during the '60s.' Even she, never involved with a man in college, can tell you horror stories of late night hours spent assuring male 'leaders' of how 'wonderful' they were and how they could 'do it, c'mon, I believe in you.' The reality of the '60s' for most women is that we carried our weight and a lot of men's too.

I feel bad because right now I'm not remembering what C.I. had written (go to Friday's post, I mentioned it there) but it was why the friend called (we generally just exchange Christmas cards and get together about four times a year). Her point was that when everyone was in give-up mode (everyone in the Young Lions), C.I. repeatedly had to pick up the slack and that's what's happening again. I see that with other women of my generation as well. I don't find that online or in print, though. Not very often. I find a lot of women making nice. (C.I. highlighted Naomi Wolf last week and noted that Wolf was coming out swinging. Wolf is too. It's wonderful to see. Women need to use their power and I sometimes worry they are afraid to because they don't want to be called all the names those of us from the '60s' were.) If women won't come on strong right now, no one's going to. A lot of men seem to tie in 'service' with 'manhood' and that's not a construct that only applies to the right. They go soft when they should be loud and it has to do with what society preaches masculinity is. (There are exceptions. Dave Lindorff is a strong voice who hits hard.)

So what C.I.'s doing now is what C.I. did during Vietnam. If Tim Howe doesn't like that, too bad. Tim Howe didn't do anything to end that earlier war either. Candidates do not end wars. Politicians do not end wars. People end wars. Howard Zinn is one of personal heroes, yes. But he is exactly right. So when Tim Howe thinks we need silence, Tim Howe is wrong. We need voices and we need them loud and clear because this illegal war is not stopping until we all start demanding that it ends. Only then will Congress act. If we stopped playing cheerleaders and all got serious and used our power, it might not make a difference who landed in the White House because all politicians would have to start responding to the will of the people. That won't happen by playing 'nice.'

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, August 7, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, Iraqis are rendered invisible in their own story, the US military announces more deaths, students get active and so do parents, FAIR gets a little loose with the words, and more.

Goldie Goes To Africa. FAIR has issued a "Media Advisory" and whatever they're hoping to accomplish falls apart in the opening paragraph, in the opening sentence in fact, when they bill the overly praised Nation magazine article as an "investigation into the U.S. occupation's impact on Iraqi civilians". As Rebecca noted last night, it is no such thing. Not only is it no such thing, FAIR really flirts with xenophobia when they make that hyperbolic assertion. The Nation's bad (really, really bad) article did not present a single Iraqi voice. Iraqis can speak for themselves. Not only can they speak for themselves it is shocking that a media watchdog would ever claim that OCCUPYING FORCES in a country CAN OR SHOULD TELL the story of the people in an invaded country. The Nation's article is a piece of crap (and a journalistic laugh) but FAIR can praise (or pass on) whatever it wants. However, it cannot make XENOPHOBIC statements that betray the very reason FAIR was created without being called out.

If it's unclear to anyone how offensive the opening statement (echoed throughout the piece) is, ask whether or not members of the Israeli army should be hailed as tellers of the Palestinians' story, or whether the slaughter and genocide of Native Americans should be told from the point of view of the US military?

That is what we're talking about. In Robert Altman's The Player, there's a pitch for a project set in a foreign country and a backforth of dialogue ensues: "Goldie Goes To Africa!" "She's found by this tribe --" "Of small people!" "She's found and they worship her." "It's like The Gods Must Be Crazy except the Coke bottle is an actress." That scene (script by Michael Tolkin) sends up the "fish out of water" concept -- travelogue movies can only hold an American audience if they have an American front and center. The story of the Iraqi people is not and will not be told by non-Iraqis.

The very bad Nation article may do many things; however, it does not and cannot tell the story of what life is like for Iraqis today. It can't because it speaks to no Iraqis. It is their story to be told, it cannot be told for them. FAIR hopefully rushed that advisory out quickly. But the reality is that the wording is offensive and it shouldn't take Rebecca or myself to point out that very obvious fact. "The Nation's investigation into the U.S. occupation's impact on Iraqi civilians" has never been published because it's never been researched. To suggest otherwise is insulting. The US didn't send the Red Cross into Iraq, it sent in a professional military (and a private one was sent also). Only Iraqis can tell their story, only they should and to suggest otherwise is a grave insult. (I'm referring to the insult to the Iraqis but it's also true that suggesting otherwise is also an insult to the fine work FAIR has consistently done for many years.)

Turning to war resistance. In April, we noted Terri Johnson who signed up and realized she couldn't support the illegal war so she droppsed out in basic training. Johnson explained, "All you got to do is leave. Throw the towel in. They cannot stop you. Stay gone for thirty-one days. Get your two-way ticket to Lousiville, Kentucky. The MPs will meet you there and pat you down. You will be there for four days and eat this horrible food. The only thing you cannot do is get a federal job. Okay, I wasn't that interested in working for the federal government anyway. The other thing you can't do is re-enlist in another branch of the military."

Terri Johson is a war resister. So is Carla Gomez. Gomez' story is told in Peter Laufer's Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq. Gomez was a 17-year-old high school student in Santa Cruz, Calif. when her new 'BFF' Sgt. Daniel Lopez entered her life. After forcing his way into the Gomez family, Lopez wants her to take a physical. Gomez was already having doubts. He takes her to San Jose for a physical but what happens is she's forced -- by one man after another -- to sign enlistment papers. A 17-year-old surrounded by adults, an hour from home, no way to get home, facing the equivalent of time-share sales people.

What saved Carla Gomez was knowledge that she didn't have to join. No matter what she signed. If you sign up on a delayed entry, you don't have to go. You can write a letter stating you've changed your mind. That should be all the contact you have with them. Gomez tells Laufer her letter stated, "My parents and I were coerced by Sergeant Lopez. The real reason why I ended up signing was because I was exhuasted. I thought the only way to go home was by signing. I feel I was not in my five senses at the time and I feel that I was pushed to sign the contract." [Gomez' story appears on pages 78-85 of Laufer's book.]

We're focusing on this aspect of war resistance today for a number of reasons including Tony Allen-Mills (Times of London) reporting Sunday that new things were being imposed by the Pentagon including that drill sgts. may no longer use the words "maggot" or "worm" as a result of what Allen-Mills describes as "a desperate bid to lower the fall-out rate among the dwindling numbers of young Americans ready to sign up". So the answer is to provide "calm authority" and not derision. Aimee Allison and David Solnit, in their book Army of None, detail the branding and marketing efforts to trick and deceive young people. They also note the success of counterrecruiting and how the military's response was to drop "Be All That You Can Be" (sounded like a lecture from a parent, polling groups determined) and go with "There's strong, and then there's Army Strong." (Which honestly sounds like one of those "Made for a man, but I like it too" advertisements.) The advretising budget for "Army Strong" is 1.35 billion over five years. (Ads began airing in Oct. 2006.) (Army of None, pages 45-66 which can be found at bookstores, online and via Courage to Resist).

Today, Prensa Latina reports: "Sectors from the Puerto Rican society will start a campaign next week against military recruitment in schools to enter the US Army, said activists from the Independentista Party of Puerto Rico (PIP) Monday." You can't vote in the presidential elections, the US won't allow you your independence but your children can die in an illegal war started by the US. And it's not just Puerto Rico and the US fighting military recruiters. Matthew Holehouse (New Statesman) reports on Students Against the War's protest in Camden at the Kids Connections' offices last week. What were they protesting Kids Connection was creating classroom modules (paid for by the UK Ministry of Defence) that propagandize about the illegal war. Matthew Holehouse notes that, in the United Kingdom, the failure to meet targets "was forcing the military recruiters to target children as young as 14". Returning to the US where, as Jorge Mariscal (Black Agenda Report) notes, "8,000 premanent resident aliens already enlist in the U.S. military every year". In the land where 'bi-partisanship' so frequently translates as "screwed twice over," US Senators Edward Kennedy and Arlen Specter can reach across the aisle and, as Mariscal points out, use the DREAM Act of 2007 to tie documented residency in the US with military service.

And as students return to classes in Phoeniz, Arizona, activists are there to inform. KVOA reports the citizens "are part of the Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation, the Arizona Counter Recruitment Coalition, Parents Against Violence in Education and the End the War Coalition" who fan out with postcards that the student and the parent can complete to opt out of the automatic data mining done by military recruiters (thanks to the "bi-partasian" nonsense that was the so-called No Child Left Behind). Andy Harvey (KPNX) gives the background on this and also a report on the protests (link contains text as well as streaming video). Adam Loveless, military recruiter, looks ridiculous in the new military uniform (everyone does) and attempts to liken targeting high schoolers with targeting college students. As Donna Winchester (St. Petersburg Times) points out, the opt-out forms must be filled out at the start of each school year. The Vallejo Times-Herald notes that high schoolers Aliesha Balde, Doris Le, Perla Pasayes and Shamar Theus are on the road through next Sunday working with the ACLU and other students "to scrutinize the military's recruitment campaign aimed at youth". The student activists have entitled their project "The Truth Behind the Camouflage: A Youth Investigation into the Myths & Truths of Military Recruitment & Military Service."

Those are only some of the stories of resistance with war. Carla Gomez is a war resister and 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.

On July 31, 2007, the snapshot included this:"In Baghdad a small number (tiny) remains. They are all elderly. The last study estimated that they numbered 19." There is an update and a chuckle via AP which reports that 9 Jews remain in Baghdad and cite the same War Hawk (Andrew White) posing as a do-gooder who back on July 19th claimed there were no Jews in Iraq. He testified "I know every single one of the Jews left." Which was a LIE and why we noted the last study showed 19 Jews remaining in Baghdad. Here's the chuckle, AP today tries to bill the War Hawk and Liar as someone "who watches over the tiny Jewish group". Well watch a little closer, War Hawk White. End of July you were testifying they were gone and now you want credit for the 8 that still remain? This is all the more important when you read White telling the AP that he gives the Jewish residents money. Uh, you really aren't supposed to brag about charity. We won't quote White -- a man of the cloth shouldn't lie so frequently in public. We will note AP cites Jewish Agency in Jerusalem's Michael Jankelowitz as stating the 8 remaining do not want to leave. This does sound reasonable because, long before the number dropped to 19, efforts were being made and the ones then choosing to stay felt Baghdad had been their whole lives. Jankelowitz also says 4 are over 80 while 4 "are of working age". The Hague's Israeli Embassy spokesperson echoes that and states they are "in weekly contact" with one of the eight remaining. AP notes: "The eight Jews, belonging to four families, are all that is left in Iraq from the world's oldest Jewish community, dating to the 6th century B.C. when the Babylonians conquered ancient Palestine and exiled its people as slaves. Over the centuries the Jews flourished, and Baghdad became a center of Jewish culture and learning."

Many are leaving. In fact, many are leaving Nouri al-Maliki's cabinet. Yesterday, 5 more decided to do just that. Alexandra Zavis and Molly Hennessy-Fiske (Los Angeles Times) report that Salim Abudllah Jabouri (of the Sadr bloc that walked out last week) said the puppet was now on his "last chance to show goodwill" and if that doesn't happen there will be a move "to bring a vote of of no confidence" against the puppet. But though they have walked out, Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) notes that they maintain they will "continue to run their ministries but not attend any cabinet meetings. They cited as reasons for their action a lack of progress on issues such as the status of Iraqi detainees, the repatriation of displaced Iraqis and the return of former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party to government jobs." The BBC notes that their Baghdad correspondent, Andy Gallacher, feels "the latest events leave the administration of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki looking more fragile than ever."

While the puppet's cabinet crumbles, Nouri hot foots it over to Turkey. Turkish Daily News reported today that al-Maliki and Turkey's prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, would sign an agreement; however, "Turkey will await implementation and wants to see concrete steps against the PKK". Selcuk Gokoluk (Reuters) reports that al-Maliki swore he would "crack down on Kurdish rebels" in northern Iraq; however, "Turkish officials said they knew Maliki had little clout in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq and that he had also been weakened both by Iraq's dire security situation and by fresh turmoil in his crumbling government in Baghdad." And in other not-waiting-for-Maliki news, CBS and AP announce, "Iraq's autonomous Kurdish government approved a regional oil law on Tuesday, officials said, paving the way for foreign investment in their northern oil and gas fields while U.S.-backed federal legislation remained stalled. The measure gives the regional government the right to administer its oil wealth in the three northern governates -- Irbil, Sulaimaniyah and Dahuk --- as well as what it called 'disputed territories,' referring to Kirkuk, one of Iraq's largest crude production hubs."


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 Baghdad mortar attacks climed 7 lives (nine wounded), 1 Iraqi soldier died in a bombing outside Baquba.Reuters notes a Samarra mortar attack that claimed the lives of 3 women and 2 children while a roadside bombing in Hilla left four police officers wounded.

Also, yesterday, on the Tal Afar bombing, this appeared: "CBS and AP note Brig. Gen Rahim al-Jibouri (Tal Afar police) states the death toll will most likely rise and that 9 are dead in a Baghdad roadside bombing (eight wounded)." Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) informs, "The police chief of Tal Afar MG Wathiq Al Hamdani said that the final result of the explosion of Tal Afar town increased into 30 killed and 32 injured."


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a woman was wounded during a home invasion in Hawija. DPA reports a police officer "opened fire Tuesday on a crowd of civilians queuing outside an ice factory in Karbala, killing three people and wounding seven others in an apparently random shooting".


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 16 corpses discovered in Baghdad, 7 corpses were turned over to the Mosul morgue, 1 corpse was discovered outside Baquba, and 1 discovered in Kirkuk (cab driver).

Today, the UK Ministry of Defence announced: "It is with deep sorrow that the Ministry of Defense must confirm the death of a British soldier from 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh as a result of a small arms fire attack during an operation in Basra, southern Iraq, last night, Monday 6 August 2007." As Nico Hines (Times of London) notes, this was the 165th British soldier to die in the illegal war since it began.

Today, the US military announced: "Three Task Force Marne Soldiers were killed when an improvised explosive device struck their convoy August 4, south of Baghdad." For those not near a a calendar, those 3 died on Saturday. But no one's supposed to notice that. The US military also announced: "One Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed and another wounded when an explosively-formed penetrator detonated targeting their vehicle during combat operations in a western section of the Iraq capital Aug. 6." ICCC's total is 20 US service membres have died in Iraq for the month of August thus far; however, CBS and AP note, "The U.S. military tells that 26 American service members have been killed in action in Iraq in the past week alone". That count apparently includes the last 3 days of July. A number that is firm is 162,000. AFP reports that's approximately how many US troops are currently on the ground in Iraq topping the previous high of January 2005 (about 161,000).