Friday, September 24, 2010

The raids, the continued crimes

"Students for a Democratic Society Speaks Out Against FBI Raids" (SDS):

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) stand in solidarity with their brothers and sisters across the country in the face of FBI repression of progressive causes. SDSers, along with members of the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Twin-Cities Anti-War Committee, the Colombia Action Network, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera had their homes searched and documents and electronic devices seized.

"The government hopes to use a grand jury to frame up activists. The goal of these raids is to harass and try to intimidate the movement against U.S. wars and occupations, and those who oppose U.S. support for repressive regimes," said Colombia solidarity activist Tom Burke, one of those handed a subpoena by the FBI. "They are designed to suppress dissent and free speech, to divide the peace movement, and to pave the way for more U.S. military intervention in the Middle East and Latin America."

Grace Kelley, an SDSer from the University of Minnesota, said “SDS at the U of M condemns the terror tactics used by the FBI to silence activists who organize against wars and for peace here in Minneapolis as well as across the nation. Tracy Molm from SDS at U of M was one of the activists whose house was raided. SDSers across the country need to stand up and condemn these raids and say that we will not be scared into silence, that we will continue to stand up and fight for what’s right”.

Several activists in Minnesota and Chicago have had papers, CDs, and cell phones stolen among other items; as well as being issued subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury. The FBI are apparently looking for evidence linking activists to "material support of terrorism" specifically liberation struggles in Colombia and Palestine. In addition to SDSers being harassed in Minneapolis, two SDSers in Milwaukee were also contacted by the FBI about their anti-war activism.

The activists involved have done nothing wrong and are refusing to be pulled into conversations with the FBI about their political views or organizing against war and occupation. No arrests have been made – make no mistake, this is a fishing expedition by the FBI.

We urge all progressive activists to show solidarity with those individuals targeted by the U.S. Government. Activists have the right not to speak with the FBI and are encouraged to politely refuse - just say “No”.

Show your support! Organize solidarity actions in your city demanding that the FBI halt all searches and seizures against progressive activists who have done nothing wrong. Contact your local media and let them know that we will not tolerate this kind of harassment from the government. And be aware – if the FBI knocks, you do not have to give out any information or answer any questions.

For more information, contact:

Grace Kelley, University of Minnesota SDS: 612.709.3424
Kas Schwerdtfeger, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee SDS: 262.893.2806

That was a breaking story (the above) when C.I. was doing the snapshot earlier and good for SDS to be on it so quickly as to have a statement ready.

I don't know. As C.I. points out in the snapshot, the FBI admits to eight raids today and there were zero arrests. That really doesn't appear to indicate wrong doing on the part of the activists. It feels like another time, when another ego maniac roamed the White House. He had two daughters as well, also a frightening looking wife. So is Tricky Barack the new Tricky Dick?

I have no idea but there need to be answers for the raids that took place today.

I'm really bothered by the fact that the wires and local outlets are the only ones covering the story thus far. I even checked The Progressive but there's nothing up there.

"Did He Really Say That?" (Cindy Sheehan, Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox):

Since 9/11, I have been arrested many times for just exercising my civil rights to free speech and freedom of expression, and I am just one of thousands—I don’t think our civil liberties are “stronger” since 9/11. In fact, just today, antiwar and social justice activists had their homes raided in all parts of this country by the FBI. I resent having to, for all intents and purposes, walk nude throughout airport security and I resent the entire police state mentality of airport personnel who, but for the “grace” of 9/11 could just as likely be saying: “would you like that super-sized,” as “I’m going to have to search you.” Even their lives aren’t better being wage slaves for the Police State.

Speaking of that, everyone I know in my wide circle of concern is either unemployed or underemployed. For example, my son, a new father, is working three jobs just to provide for his small family and hasn’t worked in his trade as a land surveyor for a year and a half. Andy’s story is not an unusual or special one. The job market has certainly not been made "stronger." The housing market has not been made "stronger" and OUR economy is as weak as my newborn grandson. It has no muscle tone or control and can only whine and scream because that’s the only way it can express itself now. At least my grandbaby is adorable.

As you can see, Cindy Sheehan wasn't staring into the sun day dreaming. She's aware of the news and calling it out. The column is about Barack's comment that the US could "absorb" another terrorist attack like the one that took place on September 11, 2001. It is one of the many tone deaf (at best) statements that he has made. He is truly ignorant. He recently spoke of Mexico's "history" and he didn't know a damn thing he was saying. Now he's making comments that come across so insulting.

But this is the man, remember, who 'joked' about how he could use drones to kill people who displeased him (the Jonas Brothers were the target of that 'joke'). I am appalled by him because I do seriously believe he is as corrupt as George W. Bush but,and this is the really frightening part, he repeatedly gets away with it. Which is how we get -- yeah, I'm about to say it -- an IVAW president disgracing himself by happy talking Barack at this late date. (Monday on WBAI.) Which is how we get that man making a fool of himself and acting as if Barack wins in a match up against John McCain. Not only do we not know how John McCain would have governed, but John McCain is not the monster under the bed that makes Barack go down easier. Heaven help us all if those are choices: Death I and Death II.

The most frightening thing about all of Barack's abuses and murders and crimes is the fact that there's so little effort put into calling him out. You really can count the few who do. C.I. does. Cindy Sheehan does. Tariq Ali's doing it. But far too many people want to make excuses for the man who's responsible for the deaths of Pakistanis, the deaths of Iraqis, Afghanis, the continued illegal imprisonments in Guantanamo and so very much more.

As scary as the Bush Days were, there was always the fact that so many of us objected to him. As much as he tried to destroy our democracy, there was the fact that we did not go silently to the death chamber. Those days appear to be a thing of the past.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Friday, September 24, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, another member of the US Congress says the Iraq War needs to end right now, the FBI raids activists home, the National Lawyers Guild issues an 88-page report about the attacks on political speech and action, Iraq becomes a topic at the United Nations, and more.
Yesterday, Maya Schenwar (Truthout) spoke with US House Rep Dennis Kucinich who wanted a complete withdrawal of the US military from Iraq now:
That's what we have to do. We should have done it a long time ago. Is it likely that there will be conflict when we leave? Yes. We set in motion forces that are irrevocable. You cannot simply launch a war against a country where there were already factions - Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds who were at odds with each other - and think that you can leave there without difficulties. That's going to happen no matter what. But the fact that the conflict that we helped to create is still quite alive does not justify staying there. War becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of continued war, unless you break the headlong momentum by getting out.
Today immediate and total withdrawal would be at the very least a table for two. Ryan Grim (Huffington Post) reports US House Rep Barney Frank
"What are they there for, if it's not combat? To monitor elections? To mediate religious disputes? Let's get them home," Frank said at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. "What the hell are they there for?"
Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said that designating the troops "non-combat" does not persuade insurgents not to shoot at them.
So that's two members of Congress on the record about the need for a real and immediate withdrawal. If, as most (including Joe Biden who is public and on the record about this) current and former US officials expect and//or suspect, US renegotiates an agreement/contract/treaty with Iraq to extend the US military presence beyond 2011, will the two of them object? Will other members of Congress join them?
Today UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared that it was highly important that Iraq form a government "for stability and prosperity." Yesterday, Iraq's President Jalal Talabani spoke to the United Nations and, along with spin, he served up the talking point that all Iraqi officials appearing before the UN in the last few years repeat:

The most important issue his country is facing is ridding itself of the "burden" of Security Council resolutions adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, he said, calling for an end to the remaining restrictions in the field of disarmament, wrapping up outstanding contracts of the Oil-for-Food programme, and finding the appropriate mechanism to protect Iraqi money to replace the Development Fund for Iraq and the International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq.
Iraq's most pressing issue? That's the talking point the UN Assembly and Security Council here every year from the Iraqi officials. It's never true but they do love to repeat it. (The tag sale on Iraq's assests cannot really take place until the UN allows the puppet government complete autonomy.) Last December, the UN Security Council extended the Chapter VII arrangments through December of this year. This was first adopted by the UN Security Council in May of 2003. That's not Iraq's most pressing problem. The rise in violence is among Iraq's most pressing problems and many observers tie the rise into the continued political stalemate. Jalal doesn't. Many in the press WRONGLY call Nouri's continued occupation of the prime minister a "caretaker government." That is not factual. There is no basis for that. A caretake government would be one appointed by the United Nations. Chapter VII, as Ayad Allawi has been pointing out for nearly two months now, gives the UN Security Council the right to appoint a caretaker government. None has been appointed. Nour's term has expired. He is not a part of a caretake government.
Back to Talabani and his spin before the UN General Assembly [click, PDF format warning, here for his speech in full]:
This year has also witnessed the success of legislative elections held on 7 March 2010, with considerable Arab, regional and international interest. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq as well as the observers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the League of Arab States, the international community and civil society organizations all expressed their convictions that the elections had been transparent and fair. The principal political parties have been in continuous communication in order to hold a fruitful session of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, which will vote to elect a Speaker for the new Council of Representatives which will vote to elect a Speaker for the new Council of Representatives and President of the Republic of Iraq, after which, according to the Iraqi Constitution, the elected President will request the new Prime Minister to form the government. It is our hope that this new government will be formed as soon as possible, as any delay in its formation will negatively affect the security situation, reconstruction and prosperity.
March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted last month, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's six months and seventeen days with no government formed.
Alsumaria TV reports, "US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Iraqi leaders to form a new government after six months of stalling." Last night, State Dept spokesperson Philip J. Crowley spoke on the topic:

Hey, thanks everybody. Good evening. I know it's late. Many of you are calling from suites, perhaps other establishments, so let me run through a couple of things real quick. The Secretary did have her two bilaterals this evening, one with Foreign Minister Zebari of Iraq and the other with Foreign Minister Rassoul of Afghanistan. Let me briefly run through the topics of discussion. With Foreign Minister Zebari and Iraq, as you might imagine, the major topic of discussion was where Iraq stands on the formation -- government formation. The Secretary and minister agreed that this is becoming of critical importance and that we don't want to see Iraq drift and have a security vacuum result. They talked about the importance of Iraq's leaders stepping up and making decisions and forming a government. Ambassador Jim Jeffrey is significantly engaged in Baghdad in this effort. As you may recall, Assistant Secretary Jeff Feltman has been to the region for multiple meetings, as has the Vice President. But the Secretary solicited some ideas from the foreign minister about how the United States will be helpful while making clear that ultimately, this has to be Iraq's decision to come to an agreement on forming a new government. They went through a handful of bilateral issues, but also finished the meeting by briefly touching on the peace process. The foreign minister commended the Secretary on the U.S. engagement on the Middle East process and hoped that a solution can be found so the parties will continue to pursue the direct negotiations that we started three weeks ago.
How effective her words were? Not at all. Hoshyar Zebari's been making the same statements himself. For months. I believe it's called preaching to the choir. May 1st, Lara Jakes (AP) reported, "Iraq's foreign minister chided the U.S. and Britain for not taking an active role in resolving his country's bitter election dispute, and accused Washington of being more concerned with sending home U.S. soldiers." In July, AFP and Lebanon's Daily Star reported that Zebari termed the stalemate "embarrassing." Those are just two examples. There are many, many more that can be provided. Equally true is that Hillary and Hoshyar Zebari have already had this conversation -- and issued a joint-statement and took questions from Elise Labbot (CNN) and Nihad Ali (Al Iraqiya Channel), see the July 13th snapshot.
Today Dina al-Shibeeb and Mustapha Ajbaili (Al Arabiya News Channel) report that Nouri is attempting to curry favor with Moqtada al-Sadr by making an offer to release prisoners if al-Sadr would support him as prime minister -- this according to Bahaa al-Araji, of al-Sadr's political bloc, who states that Moqtada al-Sadr rejected the bribe and that the al-Sadr bloc continues to support Adel Abdul Mehdi (Iraq's Shi'ite vice president) for the post of prime minister.
The violence also continued today in Iraq.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports three rocket attacks in Baghdad (including one on the Green Zone) in which one person was injured, a Mosul suicide bomber who took his own life and the life of 1 police officer and injuring two people and, dropping back to last night for the rest, mortar attacks on a Baghdad bridge (remember a few years back and the efforts to knock out bridges?) and a Baghdad roadside bombing which claimed the lives of two of the children of Anmar Taha and her husband Muhammed al Qassim and the lives of their two nephews while leaving both adults wounded. Reuters notes a Baghdad hand grenade attack which left three police officers injured, a Baghdad sticky bombing on a police car which left two police officers injured and, dropping back to last night, a Hawija rocket attack which left five people injured.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that last night there was a Baghdad attack on Lt Col Hazim Salih which resulted in his being shot dead and his wife being left injured.
Thursday US President Barack Obama wasted everyone's time with another speech that repeatedly referenced himself, He also found time to (falsely) link Iraq to 9-11. What a War Whore he's turned out to be. The one-time media star couldn't even dominate this morning's headlines with his performance. Instead the news media was chasing after rumors about a politician from across the Atlantic Ocean: England's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. Gerri Peev (Daily Mail) reports "Clegg will voice a thinly veiled condemnation of the Iraq war" in his speech. Ian Dunt (Politics) quotes from the expected speech: "But our approach will also be hard-headed and realistic. In recent years, we have learned - sometimes the hard way - that democracy cannot be created by diktat. Freedom cannot be commanded into existence." Jon Swaine (Telegraph of London) adds, "While he will not use the word "sorry", Mr Clegg will come close to apologising on the world stage for the war, which he believes was in breach international law, in a speech to the UN General Assembly." The Edmonton Journal looks at that quote and states, "The passage clearly suggest regret over Britain's role in the war against Iraq, which was not explicitly backed by the UN Security Council." Instantly forgettable, Barack's speech is already upstaged in the news cycle and England's second-in-charge is geared to show leadership as the world watches. Tom Peterkin (Scotsman) reports that, in his speech today, Clegg declared that democracy is not something which can be imposed.
Yesterday the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing where, see yesterday's snapshot, Senators Jim Webb and Jon Tester launched an attack on Vietnam veterans. And to those who e-mailed insisting Jim Webb is a Vietnam veteran, so? He attacked John Kerry in a 2004 column (he didn't like John speaking against the war) and he's written the most racist and vile caricatures of the Vietnamese (yes, he's currently married to a Vietnamese-American -- South Vietnamese and, yes, that does make a difference in his mind). Jim Webb's disgraced himself. Kat reported on the hearing at her site in "Jim Webb: The new Bob Dole," Wally reported on it at Rebecca's site in "Senate Veterans Affairs hearing (Wally)" and Ava reported on it at Trina's site in "Senator Roland Burris (Ava)." Michael Leon (Veterans Today) reports on it in "Shinseki Fights off Veterans' Enemy Sen. James Webb, Defends Agent Orange Benefits." Leon's strong report opens with:
This morning, while posturing as the earnest student of empirical investigation, Webb prefaced his hostile line of questioning of witness Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki saying Webb is concerned about protecting the "credibility of our [VA] programs."
I was hoping Shinseki would pull out a can of aerosol composed of dioxin [tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD)] and offer to spray it around the Committee room and see if anyone of the august senators had a presumptive problem with it.
Chuck Palazzo (Veterans Today) notes that Senators Bernie Sanders and Jay Rockefeller stood up for veterans in the hearing. Having attended the hearing yesterday, I am noting Committee Chair Daniel Akaka also needs to be noted -- he is a soft spoken person and has to maintain a role as Chair but even with both of those things, he still made very clear in his opening where he stood. Senator Patty Murray made clear that she supported veterans, Mark Begich appeared to be coming out in support ("appeared" because I really don't know him, his words indicated support but I don't know his record and I don't know him). The strongest voice in the hearing was Senator Roland Burris. You can see Ava's report or you can watch the hearing which is at Palazzo's link and which is also online here at the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs website. David Rogers (Politico) notes:
In comments later, Webb told POLITICO that he would like to return more decision-making power to Congress itself, rather than leave so much discretion to a single Cabinet secretary. And Webb said he was also attracted to a proposal by Principi to take a more incremental approach in the case of common diseases -- and put emphasis on medical care before disability payments.
Now we're going to talk numbers so that we all get just what a s**t Jim Webb is. The Bush tax cuts were set to expire. Webb supports extending all of them -- not just the middle class and working class and working poor but also the top earners in the country. Paul Krugman (New York Times) explained why that was such a bad idea last month:
What's at stake here? According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, making all of the Bush tax cuts permanent, as opposed to following the Obama proposal, would cost the federal government $680 billion in revenue over the next 10 years. For the sake of comparison, it took months of hard negotiations to get Congressional approval for a mere $26 billion in desperately needed aid to state and local governments.
And where would this $680 billion go? Nearly all of it would go to the richest 1 percent of Americans, people with incomes of more than $500,000 a year. But that's the least of it: the policy center's estimates say that the majority of the tax cuts would go to the richest one-tenth of 1 percent. Take a group of 1,000 randomly selected Americans, and pick the one with the highest income; he's going to get the majority of that group's tax break. And the average tax break for those lucky few -- the poorest members of the group have annual incomes of more than $2 million, and the average member makes more than $7 million a year -- would be $3 million over the course of the next decade.
Now it's tacky and appalling to put a dollar amount on the issue of care -- especially needed care resulting from the government playing reckless with human lives -- but Leo Shane III (Stars & Stripes) reports, "According to VA estimates, the move could cost more than $13 billion in compensation payouts in the next 18 months." $680 billion. Wow. Kind of dwarfs the $13 billion figure, doesn't it? Webb has his priorities and they just don't appear to include veterans.

Meanwhile Jason Ditz ( reports, "The FBI is confirming that this morning they began a number of 'raids' against the homes of antiwar activists, claiming that they are 'seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism'." Karmically, the news breaks on the same day that the National Lawyers Guild issues a new report, Heidi Boghosian's [PDF format warning] "The Policing of Political Speech: Constraints on Mass Dissent in the US." .In her intro, Boghosian notes, "To know that the United States is undergoing a highly orchestrated curtailment of personal and political liberties, one need not look further than police treatment of protesters in the streets. Those who speak out against government policies increasingly face many of the same types of weaponry used by the U.S. governmen tin its military operations." Still from the introduction:
Police preparation for mass assemblies routinely involves infiltration and spying on activist groups, sometimes years in advance, including the use of agents provocateurs. Time and time again, millions of dollars have been obtained by police departments for personnel and equipment at large events justified by confidential informant testimony that large numbers of 'anarchists' are planning to attend and engage in violence. Closer examination of the facts often reveals the falsity of such allegations: numerous police infrormants, many with criminal backgrounds, admit when later questioned that activist groups they infiltrated never planned any violent activities. Indeed millions more have been spent paying damages to the demonstrators victimized by these tactics.
New anti-terrorism legislation and prosecution practices have resulted in individuals being charged with conspiracy to riot merely by virtue of having helped organize a protest at which other individuals unknown to them were arrested. As evidence of conspiracy to riot, the government cites such First Amendment protected activities as attending meetings, writing about protests, organizing protests, and engaging in rhetorical or politically charged speech.
Faulty intelligence gathering and grossly attenuated criminal charges are accompanied by additional strategies to quell dissent. Asserting the need to defend against terrorism and protect national security, the government targets leaders of social and political movements, employs grand juries to search for evidence of political affiliation, stigmatizes groups of activists, and uses the mass media to denigrate demonstrators, reinforce negative stereotypes or publicize high-profile arrests on charges which are frequently later dropped for lack of evidence.
We will note the report in more detail next week. Heidi co-hosts WBAI's Law and Disorder Radio (10:00 a.m. EST Mondays -- also plays on other stations around the country throughout the week) with fellow attorneys Michael Ratner and Michael Smith. The report may be discussed on one of the shows in the next weeks and, if so, we will note it then as well. On today's raids, Jacob Wheeler (The UpTake -- link has video) speaks with Mick Kelly who was among the activists whose homes were raided today.
Mick Kelly: The FBI has raided my home. Right now there's about ten, twelve FBI agents rummaging through my papers, documents. They've confiscated computers, they've taken my passport, etc.
Jacob Wheeler: And we're in the Hard Times Cafe in Cedar-Riverside and your apartment is just upstairs from the cafe, right?
Mick Kelly: That's correct.
Jacob Wheeler: So there are agents upstairs right now?
Mick Kelly: That's correct.
Jacob Wheeler: How many?
Mick Kelly: Ten to twelve.
Jacob Wheeler: When did they arrive?
Mick Kelly: Several hours ago.
Jacob Wheeler: And what did they say -- Approximately what time? Any guess?
Mick Kelly: I'm going to say 7:30.
Jacob Wheeler: Okay. What did they tell you? What interaction did you have with them?
Mick Kelly: Well I wasn't there. I was at work.
Jacob Wheeler: Okay.
Mick Kelly: And I received a call that they were there. They came in -- my understanding is they came in guns drawn, kicked the door open, smashed a fish tank and proceeded to execute a search warrant.
Mick notes he is an antiwar activists and that " I see this as harassment of anti-war activists and those who stand in solidarity with those who are fighting for freedom and justice around the world." Mick was one of the organizers of the protests at the 2008 GOP convention. Ahndi Fridell (Reuters) reports the FBI is admitting to searching "eight homes in Chicago and Minnesota" today and claiming it is "terrorism" related -- or adjacent. Or maybe just a sleepy suburb of. They're not really sure as is evidenced by the fact that eight homes were raided (or the FBI admits to raiding at least eight homes) and not one arrest was made. Not one arrest was made. That's a key point. Along with Mick Kelly, one of the eight homes known to be raided belongs to Jess Sundin. Sarah Laskow (Washington Independent) reports: "Sundin was 'a principal leader of the mass antiwar march of 10,000 on the opening day of the Republican National Convention two years ago,' and Kelly has said he would march on the Democratic National Convention if it were held in Minneapolis this year, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune."
Yesterday's snapshot noted the Cat Food Commission and how Ruth credited Lambert (Corrente) with coining and/or popularizing that phrase but there were no links to either Ruth or Lambert. To read one of Lambert's most recent posts on the efforts by the White House to attack Social Security, click here. This morning, I noted David Swanson's "Changing and Facilitating" (War Is A Crime) but I screwed up the link. My apologies. Click here to read the piece.: Excerpt from Swanson's article (based on a speech he gave):
Our representatives strive to represent three groups of people: the ones who give them money, the ones who produce cable television news shows, radio shows, and newspapers, and the ones in charge of their political parties including especially the president when he is the leader of their party. In George Mason's view the president was to execute the will of the Congress, and no power of the Congress was more important than that of impeachment. Now Republicans will only impeach Democratic presidents, and Democrats will only impeach Democratic judges. And the executive is largely freed to tell the legislature how to do its job, rather than the reverse.
When Congress is too craven and cowardly to impeach someone or isn't sure what they've done wrong, do you know what it used to do? It used to subpoena people. And it used to take that Capitol Police force that now does such a fine job of beating up peace activists in hallways, and it used to send the police to pick up witnesses who'd been subpoenaed. And when people testified but refused to respectfully answer questions, or acted like our recent attorney general Alberto Gonzales who said "I do not recall" four times a minute during his testimony, do you know what congressional committees would do? They would hold that person in contempt? And do you know where they would hold them in contempt? In a jail cell. During 2007 and 2008 Democratic committees subpoenaed dozens of top members of a Republican administration, including the vice president and the secretary of state, all of whom told Congress to go Dick Cheney itself.
So Congress asked the Justice Department to enforce its subpoenas, and the Justice Department said no. So Congress took it to court and later won. But with one weird and partial exception, not a single one of those subpoenas has been reissued and enforced by either the new Justice Department or by the committees themselves. In fact, the House Committee on Oversight has been basically put out of its misery, and the judiciary and other committees have crawled out of sight beneath the emperor's throne. Congress just impeached and tried a judge for getting lap dances and frozen shrimp, and earlier this year impeached a judge for groping people, but it leaves a judge in a lifetime seat who wrote secret laws authorizing aggressive war and torture. Impeachment has been reserved for sex and Democrats, and the subpoena has gone the way of the dodo bird -- at least unless Republicans get Congress back.
Why don't we ever talk about the problem of Congress handing all power over to presidents? Because both political parties are happy about it, and anything they both want left alone is not news. We have a substantial right to free speech in this country, but a free press is another story altogether. A small cartel of mega media corporations has been given our public airwaves without compensation, and the more information we get from them the dumber we are. When Americans believed lies about the urgent need to attack Iraq, they believed them more depending which media outlet they got most of their news from. I'm not naming any names.

Another David, David DeGraw, has a new book, The Road To World War III and you can read part one by using the link "The Road to World War III - The Global Banking Cartel Has One Card Left to Play. "
TV notes. On PBS' Washington Week, Naftali Bendavid (Wall St. Journal), Jackie Calmes (New York Times), Tom Gjleten (NPR) and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) join Gwen around the table while Dan Balz (Washington Post) files a report from Des Moines on the speech Sarah Palin makes to Iowa's GOP. Gwen now has a weekly column at Washington Week and the current one is still "Who Exactly Are the Bums?" This week, Bonnie Erbe will sit down with Debra Carnahan, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Leslie Sanchez and Tara Setmayer on the latest broadcast of PBS' To The Contrary to discuss the week's events. And this week's To The Contrary online extra is on college tuition -- its cost and its worth is debated. Need To Know is PBS' new program covering current events. This week's hour long broadcast airs Fridays on most PBS stations -- but check local listings -- and in some markets it may explore US combat in Afghanistan, the US role in institutionalizing Afghan corruption; abuse and mistreatment of US seniors at home-based senior centers, Jon Meacham discussing "superlativism" and more. If you saw that last week (pledge drives and special programming meant not all PBS stations that air the show did last week), then you can look for Nial Ferguson talking about the budget, the Tea Party, the jobless recovery and Human Rights Watch's Anneke van Woudenberg discussing the Congo. Turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:

A Relentless Enemy
Lara Logan's report takes viewers to the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where she and her crew came under enemy fire from fighters who the U.S. military says keep coming from their sanctuary in Pakistan.

Islamic Center
Scott Pelley looks at the national debate that has flared up around Ground Zero in New York City over opposition to building an Islamic center and prayer room nearby.

Cool Brees
Steve Kroft profiles Drew Brees, the MVP quarterback who led the New Orleans Saints to their first-ever Super Bowl victory, just a few years after the city was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

60 Minutes, Sunday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Uh, yeah, I will note it

An e-mail came in noting this from Indybay IMC:

Peace activist Cindy Sheehan has given support to the cause of 9/11 truth many times over the past few years but on the eve of the ninth anniversary, she made her position clearer than ever before. To an enthusiastic packed house at All Souls Church in New York City, Sheehan declared “I am a 9/11 truther. I do think it was an inside job.”

Sheehan lost her son Casey in the Iraq invasion and has since dedicated her life to ending war and injustice. She is most widely known for setting up camp on the edge of George W. Bush’s Texas property in 2005, demanding that the president answer one single question from a mother whose son died in the war.

I wouldn't note it, the e-mail insisted. I noted it and put it at the top. I am not part of the 9/11 Truth Movement. That doesn't mean I attack those who are. That's always been the position community wide: We don't attack the 9-11 Truth Movement.

We have defended it repeatedly over the years. Most of us have at least one friend -- at least one -- who does believe 9/11 was a government plot, an inside job. They may be right. There have been enough things done, enough plots, enough attacks, that I wouldn't be surprised to discover it was an inside job.

So why am I not a 9-11 Truther? For a number of reasons including that I just don't have the time. I have all of David Ray Griffith's books. He's a wonderful writer, engaging. I find it completely sincere and believable. But the 9-11 Truth Movement demands an attention I don't have time for. The bulk of my time goes into treating PTSD. I can't manage a great deal more, I'm sorry. There are days when I'm just completely wiped out after sessions.

Again, I have friends who believe in it. I can follow their points. I understand where they are coming from. I do not believe they are wasting their time. If I had more of it (or more energy), I'd probably be pursuing it. Then again, maybe not. It really would have fit better (in my life) during my youthful zeal days.

But Cindy Sheehan? Good for her. I don't know where she finds the time or energy but she always manages to and it speaks to her own internal goodness and honesty that she just puts it out there. Good for her.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Wednesday, September 22, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, the political stalemate continues, Anthony Shadid provides strong observations and insights on the stalled process, some note the fallen, an Iraq War veteran dies in Iraq, and more.
SUSANNAH GEORGE: Iraq's parliament has held just one official session since the national elections in March. It lasted less than 20 minutes. That was just enough time to play the Iraqi national anthem and complete the swearing in. About 20 Iraqi legislators met yesterday in an informal session. The lawmakers pledged to make decisions, not speeches. But the only decision they made was to continue to meet this week. Still, Iraqi vice president Adel Abdul Mahdi who was at the meeting, expressed hope that it could yield results.
ADEL ABDUL MAHDI: It will put the pressure on the members of the House of Representatives individually and the blocs. I think we accomplished a good step forward.
GEORGE: But not all the Members of Parliament share the vice president's optimism. They point out that while the violence continues, there is still no government.
MAHMOUD OTHMAN: It is still in square one.
The ongoing political stalemate. March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted last month, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's six months and fifteen days with no government formed.
Terry Gross: There's still no government that's formed in Iraq. So do you think the insurgents are exploiting that vacuum.
Anthony Shadid: I think that's absolutely their-their intention. How successful they are is another question. But that is their intention. You know, it's hard to overstate how anxious the moment in Iraq is right now. I think what you're seeing emerge is a -- is a divorce between the people and this political class -- a political class that was in some ways imposed on the country by the United States in those early days of the occupation. There's a -- almost universal disenchatment with these politicians. And what-what's struck me the past couple of months is that when you talk to people it's not criticism of the prime minister or his main rival, Moqtada al-Sadr, for instance. It's criticism of that entire political class. Now what does that lead to? It's hard to say. It may not lead to anything. But I think it does show this kind of -- The people themselves are calling into question the political system that's been set up. And I think that does -- If it doesn't question the legitimacy of the system, it maybe raises some concerns about the viability of that system over the long term.
Terry Gross: So you're talking about disenchantment with a system that the US helped set up and with candidates that the US helped empower?
Anthony Shadid: That's right and I think that's going to be one of the legacies of this American occupation, is empowering politicians that have not succeeded in building support among the population.
Terry Gross: Is that because you think it would be hard for anyone to build support right now in Iraq? Or is it a reflection of the candidates that the US helped empower?
Anthony Shadid: I think it's a little of both. But, I mean, you do see a, I think the only grassroots movement you see in Iraq right now is Moqtada al-Sadr -- Shi'ite cleric whose followers fought the Americans several times in 2004 and afterwards. He does have a grassroots movement. It's probably the only grassroots movement. It's probably the only grassroots --
Terry Gross: He's the guy who hates us --
Anthony Shadid: That's right
Terry Gross: -- and is always attacking the US.
Anthony Shadid: That's right. And he is -- And I think it says something about Iraq today that he is the one grassroots movement that plays a role in politics. I'm not talking about the Kurdish areas, I'm talking about the Arab areas of the country. The Sadrists, they are one of the largest Shi'ite blocs in Parliament today. They're going to have a say in the country's future. The politicians on the other hand, the ones that were in some ways empowered by the Americans early on? You know, I think it's a mix of having been gone from the country for so long. I think they often look at Iraq through kind of sepia tinted glasses. I mean, they see an older Iraq that just doesn't exist anymore in the rough and tumble streets of Baghdad today. They also have not either made the effort or been able to make the effort to build any kind of constituency. They're often in the Green Zone, heavily guarded. They have electricity which most people don't. They have water which most people -- they have but it's not very clean. They're living a life that is very divorced from the everyday reality of most Iraqis.
Terry Gross: There hasn't been a group that's been able to build a coalition so there really isn't -- there isn't a prime minister yet. There isn't leadership yet. So, help me out here, who was it that said if this political void, this inability to form a government continues for another six months, there's a risk of a military takeover?
Anthony Shadid: I think that was [US] vice president [Joe] Biden --
Terry Gross: That's what I thought.
Anthony Shadid: -- that made that point.
I don't think it was. Great interview with Shadid -- and there's much more to the interview -- but I don't believe Joe Biden said that publicly. As always, I could be wrong (I often am).
Ned Parker, Raheem Salman and Saad Fakrildeen (Los Angeles Times) quoted former US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker last month stating, "If the civilians continue to flail over the next three-four years, the chances of a military coup are likely to go up. That could bring with it something like the 1958 revolution." The British Ambassador to Iraq, John Jenkins, floated the idea of a military coup before the Iraq Inquiry on January 8th of this year. But September 1st, Joe told Margaret Warner (PBS' The NewsHour -- link has text, audio and video):
MARGARET WARNER: Here's another thing we hear from Iraqis. They blame this upsurge in violence on the politicians' failure, six months after they all went to the polls to vote, the politicians' failure to form a government. Do you think there is a connection?
JOSEPH BIDEN: Look, if I were an Iraqi, that's what I would think as well.
MARGARET WARNER: But do you think it?
JOSEPH BIDEN: The truth of the matter is, they're taking too long to form this government. But the second piece of this is, the Iraqis went and voted. But guess what? No clear -- not only no clear majority, barely a plurality. So, in a parliamentary system, this is not unexpected. But I am confident that they are now -- all have run the course of what other options they have, and it's getting down to the point where, in the -- in the next couple months, there's going to be a government.
The only thing I have said in the name of the president, and as it relates to this government, the government has to reflect the outcome of the election, which is another way of saying, all the four major entities that did relatively well have to be included in the government. That's a difficult thing to put together.
Doesn't sound like Joe's worried. Anthony Shadid will go on to state that the remark was made to a colleague of his at the paper. That would be Michael R. Gordon. A transcript of an interview Gordon conducted with Biden September 1st was posted online by the paper the night of September 9th. Here's the section, Biden is speaking:
But what happened is, the difference is that there is actually a military that is able to function and provide security, notwithstanding the government hasn't been formed yet. And so that is the reason why Odierno and these guys have the confidence even though the government is not formed. Now if, in fact, you could come up with a scenario where if six months from now it is still not formed, then everything begins, then the worry I have in that circumstance is not so much that you know Al Qaeda Iraq will be emboldened and reconstituted. My worry will be that generals in the military will start saying: "Wait a minute, which way is this going to go? Which way is this going to go?" I worry then that it goes from right now everybody saying, "Salute Iraq" to "Whoa, let's figure this out." And what is now a unified command, what is now an integrated military, including some of the pesh merga, including some of the Sons of Iraq. That's when I would begin to worry because then everybody might start to say: "What's my calculus here? It looks like they are not going to pull this together."
Is Joe speaking of a military coup? That's not how I read it. He's noting the pesh merga, for example -- Kurdish forces -- who were being integrated (and the spin was 'successfully integrated') into the Iraqi military at that time. He's noting Sahwa whose issues and compliants Joe Biden was very aware of at the time of the interview. He appears to be saying that if a government isn't formed in six months, the cohesion supposedly taking place in the Iraqi forces would fall apart. Would that mean coup?
It might. But what Joe likely meant was that the Iraqi forces could fall apart and violence could therefore increase. The gains of 'unified command' would fall apart. Is a military coup possible? I think it's a possibility if the stalemate continues but I don't believe Joe Biden has raised that issue publicly. I could be wrong.
Alsumaria TV reports today that Iraqiya is officially denying rumors that they have decided to forgot their first-rights to form a government (rights they won by coming in first in the March elections). Yesterday, Khalid al-Ansary (Reuters) reports the State of Law and the Iraqi National Alliance are giving "themselves five days to pick a single candidate for prime minister, and one politician said the incumbent". Today Alsumaria TV reports that members will only be able to pick from two candidates: either Nouri or Adel Abdul Mehdi (currently the Shi'ite Vice President of Iraq). Waleed Ibrahim (Reuters) offers, "A five-day deadline for Iraq's Shi'ite-led political blocs to choose a candidate for prime minister may not be enough and there is no guarantee incumbent Nuri al-Maliki will win a second term, Iraqi politicians said." Meanwhile Sawsan Abu-Husain (Ashar Alawsat Newspaper) interviews Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari about the stalemate:
Q) Has the Arab League intervened to help remedy the stumbling of efforts to form an Iraqi government?
A) There is no intervention, but contacts and consultations are held through the league mission to support the political process.
Q) It was recently reported that Syria would host a meeting between the Iraqi political blocs to help the formation of a government, with the assistance of the Arab League. It was meant to keep the plan secret, but the dialogue suddenly stumbled. How true is this?
A) The idea was in fact put forward, but it was mostly reported by the media and no adequate preparations were made for it. The reason is that the plan required the agreement of all the parties and this did not happen because, an Iraqi government should be formed in Baghdad in our view, not abroad. I mean not in Iran or Washington. This is an Iraqi decision and an Iraqi issue. Thus, the idea was broached by the media, failed to produce anything, and came to an end.
Q) What was the aim of this idea on which the media focused?
A) One of the points was that the political leaders have failed to form a government, and that it was interesting to look for a place for dialogue and an equitable and fair side [to help]. Certain Iraqi sides have put forward this alternative, but it did not materialize.
Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation's Sabah Jawad offers (at, "We can now see what has been created in Iraq, because as a result of it, six months after the elections that took place last March, Iraqi parties participating in the political process are still unable even to agree on a Prime Minister. For the past six months they've been fighting and threatening each-other. We've seen a new parliament elected in March where the 335 members of parliament, the most highly paid MPs in the entire world, have only had one meeting lasting 20 minutes in the past 6 months, and this was actually only to declare that they are going to leave this session open indefinitely until the political parties and blocks reach an agreement on who is going to be Prime Minister!"
The New York Times' Anthony Shadid feels that Iraq has a circular pattern and not a linear narrative. He explained that to Terry Gross (Fresh Air) today and noted, "What you hear in 2010 is what you often heard in 2003. There is no electricity, the water's filthy, there's sewage in the street. That we're not sure what the intnetions of the American and we're not sure of what Iraqi officials can do to better our lives. Those things were said in 2003, and they're still said today. So the lives of the Iraqis, is miserable too strong of a word? I'm not sure. It is incredibly difficult. And the city itself is a buried, deteriorating capitol."
Reuters notes a Baghdad roadside bombing injured three police officers, a Baghdad mortar attack injured two people, a Mosul roadside bombing injured one person, a Mosul roadside bombing injured one child, 1 person shot dead in Mosul, and a Jurf al-Sakhar assault on a Sahwa checkpoint resulted in 1 Sahwaand, dropping back to Tuesday night, a Madhatiyah home explosion claimed 3 lives and left fifty injured. DPA reports a Hilla roadside bombing has claimed 1 life and left at least fifty-six people injured.
Meanwhile BBC News reports that Iraq War veteran Karl Bowen died in Iraq September 14th while the former UK soldier was "working as a bodyguard in Iraq". The Daily Echo adds, "The father-of-two was killed in the crash alongside an Iraqi interpreter. An American colleague was critically injured." Kelly Miles (WalesOnline) informs, "Tributes have flooded in describing Mr Bowen as a great father, a 'legend', and an outstanding friend and football player who was the life and soul of the party and lived life to the extreme. A father of two young girls, Elise, 11, and eight-year-old Lois, Mr Bowen had returned to Iraq just days before the car he was driving suffered a double blow out." Mother Clare Bowen tells the BBC:
She said he returned to Iraq after a spell in civilian jobs, because he wanted to return to work with former army colleagues.
"I think he always wanted to get back to the boys - because the boys were his family," she said.
"He loved the boys he worked with -- the camaraderie."
Yes, the Iraq War continues. Stephen Farrell (New York Times) reports knick knacks sporting "Operation New Dawn" flood the Green Zone. Jennifer Bushaw (Atlantic Special) offers this take:
Even after the recent drawdown of US combat forces from Iraq and plans for a full withdrawal in the next year, many Middle Easterners don't believe that American influence in Iraq will end. Steven Lee Myers of the The New York Times supports this theory by pointing out that in spite of the withdrawal, US Special Operations have not changed in size or role. Middle Easterners still see American interests pervading in Iraqi economic, political and security concerns as efforts to continue to control the country.
Whether this is true or not, certain issues lend themselves to the United States maintaining a presence in Iraq. But the last thing it wants to do is look like oil jockeying cowboys of yesteryear.
At Liberal Dog, Charley echoes Myers, "One should not presume that 'withdrawal' which we commonly understand to mean complete withdrawal will occur. Don't be surprised if the agreement is explicitly altered or re-interpreted to have a different meaning, one that will allow a substantial number of troops to remain there after 2011. The remaining force would continue to have an assist/support function to back up Iraqi security forces who have not been able to this point to provide an adequate level of security, and it may be a number of years before they can operate on their own. And in an e-mail Charley writes, "While our invasion of and continued stay in Iraq is one of my major grievances about our foreign policy, nevertheless it does amus me when I hear 'Iraq' and 'sovereignty' in the same sentence. The most recent linkage of the two words was made by acting Prime Minister Nuri al-Mlaiki on August 31. I'm sure international lawyers would find that okay with their legalistic framework, but to we non-lawyers, it is offensive because it is unsupported by crucial facts. For nearly seven months the country has gone without a government based on the March elections, they are unable to preserve their own security without the continued use of our troops and, while they have a budget surpus, we must continue to fund much of wht thaty do. So where is the sovereignty?" For further elaboration on this, the url is"
In other Iraq news, Lion Paintings For Sale noted yesterday that Tuesday marked exactly two years that US Army Spc Ahmed Kousay al-Taie had been missing in Iraq."
US Air Force Senior Airman Jimmy Hansen died serving in Iraq last week. Battle Creek Enquirer notes that the 25-year-old's funeral is scheduled for ten o'clock Saturday morning at St. Philip Catholic Church. From the obituary posted at Shaw Funeral Home:

He was born May 24, 1985, the son of Richard and Emily Hansen, Sr. in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

James graduated from Athens High School in 2003, attended Kellogg Community College and Central Michigan University. He continued his education while in the Air Force through CMU's College of Extended Learning and was working toward his Bachelor's degree. He began his service in the U. S. Air Force in May 2008 and was Senior Airman specializing in air field management. He was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida and deployed to Iraq in 2010.

James is survived by his parents, Richard and Emily Hansen, Sr. of Athens; brother, Richard A. Hansen, Jr. (Tara Roth) of Midland; his fiancée, Megan Bottomlee of Battle Creek; his grandmother, Dee Dee Aiello of Union City. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Arthur and Gloria Hansen; maternal grandfather, James Aiello; aunt, Angella Aiello and uncle, John Mastroianni.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's office issued the following statement today:
LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today ordered United States flags throughout the state of Michigan and on Michigan waters lowered for one day Friday, September 24, 2010, in honor of Senior Airman James A. (Jimmy) Hansen of Athens, Michigan, who died September 15 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, while supporting Operation New Dawn. Flags should be returned to full-staff Saturday, September 25.
Senior Airman Hansen, age 25, died from injuries suffered during a controlled detonation. He was assigned to the 46th Operations Support Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
Airman Hansen's family has requested that flags be lowered Friday, September 24; visitation is Friday from 4-8 p.m. at the Athens High School gymnasium. The funeral service is scheduled for Saturday, September 25, at St. Philip Catholic Church in Battle Creek, with burial at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan.
Under Section 7 of Chapter 1 of Title 4 of the United States Code, 4 USC 7, Governor Granholm, in December 2003, issued a proclamation requiring United States flags lowered to half-staff throughout the state of Michigan and on Michigan waters to honor Michigan servicemen and servicewomen killed in the line of duty. Procedures for flag lowering were detailed by Governor Granholm in Executive Order 2006-10 and included in federal law under the Army Specialist Joseph P. Micks Federal Flag Code Amendment Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-41).
When flown at half-staff or half-mast, the United States flag should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff or half-mast position. The flag should again be raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.
When a member of the armed services from Michigan is killed in action, the governor will issue a press release with information about the individual(s) and the day that has been designated for flags to be lowered in his or her honor. The information will also be posted on Governor Granholm's Website at in the section titled "Spotlight."

While I do like Jennifer, that's not why her statement is being noted. Generally, we noted governor's announcements in the morning entries and leave it at that. But a number of service members have died recently and, you may have noticed, we don't have governor's statements. And, if you're wondering, I've also checked their US Senators. Nothing. I find that really sad. I especially find it sad if you're a senator and if, for example, you make statements that some may see as grandstanding during the hearings but you never even note the passing of the fallen from your state. Let's also be clear that the group of people I'm talking about? They're also not attending funerals of the fallen. Governor Jennifer Granholm has noted every fallen service member in Michigan. It's a real shame that other governors can't even make the time.
Turning to music, Heart's Red Velvet Car is the group's latest studio album, their latest hit album. Kat reviewed the album by the band led by vocalist Ann Wilson and guitarist Nancy Wilson. And if you need a reason for good music to be noted in the snapshot, check out Kat's review of Ann's 2007 solo album Hope & Glory which found Ann singing out about the things that matter when many of her peers seemed unaware of the world around them. The Wilson sisters are interviewed by Mike Ragogna (Huffington Post) and an album producer friend asked me to work in a plug for Ragogna's interview. If you haven't heard Red Velvet Car, you're cheating yourself out of some of this most enjoyable music of the year. (Disclosure, I know Ann, Nancy and Cameron Crowe.) Excerpt from the interview:
MR: It's great to hear that we're talking with "Eco-friendly Heart."
NW: Well, we're sisters, and we're women, and we've had our ear to the ground, listening to Mother Earth for a long time as songwriters, and what Mother Earth is going through right now is pretty drastic, and we're feeling it too. We need the playground of Mother Earth and the bosom of Mother Earth to still be around for our kids, and the kids of our kids, as beautifully as she was there for is. So, we must be the custodians, harder than ever.
MR: That's really beautifully said.
NW: That's our mother! There's a lot of disrespect to our mother going on.
MR: There really is. So, let's talk about another one of the songs on this album, which comes to mind?
AW: I'd say "WTF," you know?
MR: Okay, "WTF" it is.
AW: The song is probably the son of "Barracuda," not on purpose necessarily, but this song came out of a blast of feeling that happened from looking in the mirror after making a series of repetitive, stupid mistakes.
MR: Like everyone, I guess.
AW: Like everyone, and expecting a different result, but not getting it, and finally just looking and saying, "What...!!" There is a lot of anger in the song, and frustration, but also a very clear message of hope to it because you're talking to yourself.