Saturday, August 11, 2012

Women who run for office

Like Ann did Thursday night,  I want to note my support for what C.I. wrote in Thursday's snapshot:

There are many candidates running for the Oval Office.  We're noting Jill and Cheri and Roseanne and Cindy.  Why? They're independent runs and they're peace candidates.  In addition, they are women.  One of the saddest things about 2008 is how so many women and feminist outlets silenced themselves -- politics of fear! -- and refused to cover the women in the race (Cynthia McKinney was running for president on the Green Party ticket, Rosa Clemente was her running mate; Sarah Palin was John McCain's running mate on the Republican Party ticket).  You didn't have to like them, you didn't have to say you'd vote for one of them but if you are, for example, Feminist Wire Daily, I think we have the right to expect that you will cover runs for the presidency by women.  Your failure to do so not only embarrassed and shamed you in 2008, it continues to and that will always be the case.  100 years from now, someone will ask, "Well did Feminist Majority Foundation or Women's Media Center at least have one kind word for Sarah Palin on some area?  The woman wasn't Adolf Hitler.  Surely a feminist could be counted on to say at least one thing nice even if they weren't going to vote for her.  I mean Ralph Nader even noted she was the only candidate with executive branch experience so surely feminist outlets were able to disagree with her on some issues but to find one positive statement about her, right?"  Wrong.  And on disagree, Jill Stein and Roseanne Barr are both strong women.  They want votes.  I'm not going to hold them to a different standard than I would male politicians.  Meaning, if they hit hard, even at each other, that's politics.  It's great that we've got four women on two tickets this year.  That's something to celebrate.  And all four are strong women.  I can't imagine the kind of internal shame of your gender you'd have to have in order to be silent on these four women and their campaigns. 

I am so tired of women who can't show an interest in women.

Four women are running for the presidency and the vice presidency and women need to be noting that and celebrating that.  Doesn't mean you have to vote for them.

Sarah Palin?  I'll tell you right now C.I. was trilled in 2009 or 2010 when Sarah Palin said she wished people would give them some privacy.


Because C.I. was able to say, "She wants her privacy." Privacy meant that C.I. no longer had to defend her against the sexist attacks. Palin really became a lightening rod for sexist attacks.  It was tiring to have to defend her.  (I am sure it was even more tiring for Palin.)  But C.I. did over and over
until Palin asked that the world just give her some privacy.

By the same token, C.I. has still never insulted Palin.

Insulting Palin was a popular game.

She was only the second woman (Geraldine Ferraro) whom the press felt could become vice president of the US.

Why are you going to rip into that?  What's accomplished by that?  Why are you going to try to destroy a woman when you know you make it easier for others to destroy future female candidates.

C.I. made sure to cover Cynthia McKinney, Rosa Clemente and Sarah Palin in the general election.

It was amazing to watch the women who felt that ignoring Cynthia and attacking Sarah was the 'feminist' thing to do. 

I am so damn tired of women who do the work of the patriarchy.

I think we all are.

I believe Ava and C.I. will be writing about that at Third on Sunday.

"TV: When reality TV was too real" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):
Ty wrote back the regular readers and explained we just don't like 'reality' TV.  At which point, reader Ella wanted to know if we thought there had ever been a real reality television show?

Yes, it aired in 2011.  Apparently enough people didn't watch.

But there was no pretense as two people offered themselves -- warts and all -- to the American people.

We're talking about last year's
Ryan & Tatum: The O'Neals (Oprah Winfrey Network). As two who know Ryan and Tatum, that  reality show was very painful to watch and we wondered about the two therapists who failed to grasp the obvious.  It's really easy to sum up their problems.  Tatum, except with her children, can't find lasting love because of what she went through.  She craves it but she doubts it exists.  Ryan can't get why Tatum needs to have reassurance and proof of lasting love.  He won't accept that his going from woman to woman -- whether the marriages or the flings -- destroyed her and, honestly, screwed her up for years.
People often don't get that.  Ryan certainly doesn't.  But even people who know them frequently miss it.  Tatum was born to Ryan O'Neal and Joanna Moore.  Before she was five, her parents were divorced and Ryan was married to Leigh Taylor-Young.  Only to leave her as film stardom finally arrived (Love Story, What's Up Doc?, Paper Moon) -- and by 1971 he was having public affairs which Tatum is aware and was aware of then.  The divorce would come two years later, but the marriage was over by the start of 1971.  Then came a never ending chorus line of women, most famously Diana Ross. (And most tellingly.  We'll address that when we get to Ryan's issues.)

During this wife-free time, Tatum is hauled everywhere by Ryan.  Not just to the sets of the film they make together (
Paper Moon and Nickelodeon) but to industry events, to parties, to interviews.  And Ryan knows the game, he knows you say what's heart warming and makes a good quote.  Tatum's a child.  She has a gift for acting but don't pretend she understands illusions.  This simple public patter, just p.r. spin, really did a number on Tatum who hears her father sharing these supposed real emotions with the world and believes it to be honest.  During the reality show, Tatum grew very angry when he lumped her in with his ex-wives and "girls."  She insisted she was his daughter and that's a different relationship and it should be respected as such.

 Ava and C.I. wrote a very strong article.  Sunny found an e-mail asking why I was ignoring this TV article?

I wasn't ignoring it, I was saving it for Friday.

C.I. knew Farrah very well and Farrah pops up in the piece.  That surprised me. 

The backstory here is that Ava and C.I. including this show in their other article for a few paragraphs.  Jim said it was too good for a few paragraphs and that it needed its own stand alone article.

They ended up writing it and I was surprised by how far in they went on this article.  If you read it in full, you'll see what I mean.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Friday, August 10, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, the US State Dept issues a warning, look who's spinning the illegal war now,  the effects of the KBR burn pits claim another life, and more.
Starting in the United States.  Mark McCarter (Huntsville Times) reports, "Russell Keith, who served as a paramedic in civilian life and during two tours of duty in Iraq, died Wednesday at age 53.  He suffered from Parkinson's disease that he believed was related to his exposure to burn pits while serving in Balad."  Services will be held tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. at Laughlin Service Funeral Home with the burial at Jefferson Memorial Gardens. 
November 6, 2009, we covered the Democratic Policy Committee hearing that Russell Keith testified at.  He explained,  "While I was stationed at Balad, I experienced the effects of the massive burn pit that burned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The ten-acre pit was located in the northwest corner of the base. An acrid, dark black smoke from the pit would accumulate and hang low over the base for weeks at a time. Every spot on the base was touched by smoke from the pit; everyone who served at the base was exposed to the smoke. It was almost impossible to escape, even in our living units,"
Then-Senator Byron Dorgan was the Chair of the DPC and he stated at that hearing:
Today we're going to have a discussion and have a hearing on how, as early as 2002, US military installations in Iraq and Afghanistan began relying on open-air burn pits -- disposing of waste materials in a very dangerous manner. And those burn pits included materials such as hazardous waste, medical waste, virtually all of the waste without segregation of the waste, put in burn pits. We'll hear how there were dire health warnings by Air Force officials about the dangers of burn pit smoke, the toxicity of that smoke, the danger for human health.  We'll hear how the Department of Defense regulations in place said that burn pits should be used only in short-term emergency situations -- regulations that have now been codified. And we will hear how, despite all the warnings and all the regulations, the Army and the contractor in charge of this waste disposal, Kellogg Brown & Root, made frequent and unnecessary use of these burn pits and exposed thousands of US troops to toxic smoke.
Dire warnings were ignored.  Service members and contractors came back to the US with sicknesses resulting from that exposure and they have had to fight continually to try to have their illnesses and conditions recognized.  Russell Keith was part of those who came forward and spoke out.  He also was part of the class action lawsuit against KBR.  KBR has still not had to pay for their actions. 
The US government has thus far refused to create a burn pit registry.  When we speak to veterans groups, I note that 2013 might be a good year for that registry.  Senator Jim Webb refused to allow it to come out of Committee back when then-US Senator Evan Bayh proposed it and appeared before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to advocate for it.   June 13th, Senator Mark Udall appeared before the Committee advocating on behalf of a registry:
Senator Mark Udall:  Sitting in the audience today is Master Sergeant Jessey Baca a member of the New Mexico Air National Guard and his wife Maria.  [to them] Just give everybody a waive here, you two.  Master Sgt. Baca was stationed in Balad, Iraq and exposed to burn pits. His journey to be here today was not easy.  He has battled cancer, chronic bronchitis, chemical induced asthma, brain lesions, TBI, PTSD and numerous other ailments. Maria has traveled that difficult road with him.   They know first hand the suffering caused by burn pits and they need to know the answers.  It is because of them and so many others like them that we are here today.  Last year, I introduced S. 1798, the Open Burn Pits Registry Act with Senator Corker.  Representative Todd Akin introduced it in the House.  It is not a partisan issue.  We have each met with veterans and active duty members of the military and they have told us how important it is that we act now.  In both Afghanistan and Iraq, open air burn pits were widely used at forward operating bases.  Disposing of trash and other debris was a major challenge.  Commanders had to find a way to dispose of waste while concentrating on the important mission at hand.  The solution that was chosen, however, had serious risks.  Pits of waste were set on fire -- sometimes using jet fuel for ignition.  Some burn pits were small but others covered multiple acres of land. Often times, these burn pits would turn the sky black.  At Joint Base Balad Iraq, over 10 acres of land were used for burning toxic debris.  At the height of its operations, Balad hosted approximately 25,000 military, civilian and coalition provision authority personnel.  These personnel would be exposed to a toxic soup of chemicals released into the atmosphere.  According to air quality measurements, the air at Balad had multiple particulates harmful to humans: Plastics and Styrofoams, metals, chemicals from paints and solvents, petroleum and lubricants, jet fuel and unexploded ordnance, medical and other dangerous wastes.  The air samples at Joint Base Balad turned up some nasty stuff. Particulate matter, chemicals that form from the incomplete burning of coal, oil and gas garbage or other organic substances, volatile organic compounds such as acetone and benzene  -- benzene, as you all know, is known to cause leukemia --  and dioxins which are associated with Agent Orange.  According to the American Lung Association, emissions from burning waste contain fine particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and various irritant gases such as nitrogen oxides that can scar the lungs. All of this was in the air and being inhaled into the lungs of service members.  Our veterans have slowly begun to raise the alarm as they learn why -- after returning home -- they are short of breath or experiencing headaches and other symptoms and, in some cases, developing cancer.  Or to put it more simply, by Maria Baca, when she describes her husband's symptoms, "When he breathes, he can breathe in, but he can't breathe out.  That's the problem that he's having.  It feels like a cactus coming out of his chest.  He feels  these splinters and he can't get rid of them."  The Dept of Army has also confirmed the dangers posed by burn pits.  In a memo from April 15, 2011, Environmental Science Engineering Officer, G. Michael Pratt, wrote an air quality summary on Baghram Airfield.  And I would respectfully ask that the full memo be included in the record.  Referring to the burn pits near Baghram Airfield,  he said there was potential that "long-term exposure at these level may experience the risk for developing chronic health conditions such as reduced lung function or exacerbated chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, atherosclerosis  and other cardio pulmonary diseases.  Many of our service members are coming home with these symptoms.  I believe, like you do, Madam Chair, that we are forever in debt for their service, so we must ask the question, "How did these burn pits impact the health of our returning heroes?"  This bill is a step towards finding the answers we owe them.  The legislation will establish and maintain and Open Burn Pit Registry for those individuals who may have been exposed during their military service.  It would include information in this registry that the Secretary of the VA determines is applicable to possible health effects of this exposure. develop a public information campaign to inform individuals about the registry and periodically notify members of the registry of significant developments associated with burn pits exposure.  It is supported by numerous groups including BurnPits 360, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Association of US Navy,  Retired Enlisted Association, the Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees and the National Military Family Association.  Madam Chair and Ranking Member Burr, thank you for your attention to this important issue.  I look forward to working with both of you and members of your distinguished Committee on this important legislation.  Thank you and a pleasure once again to be with you today. 
In 2013, Webb will be gone.  His war on veterans -- he lashed out at VA Secretary Eric Shinseki for Shinseki's efforts to recognize all who were suffering from Agent Orange exposure during Vietnam and his penny-pinching opposition to a Burn Pit Registry -- is why Webb didn't run for re-election.  He did not have the votes in his home state, largely due to his actions against veterans.  With Webb gone, I believe Senator Jon Tester's opposition to the registry crumbles (I could be wrong) and that it's much easier to get it passed.   The problem with that is, not only can you not take back the years where they were ignored or lied to, you also can't bring back those who've died from those burn pits.   This is the Laughlin Service Funeral Home's obituary for Russell Keith:  
Leon Russell Keith, 53, of Huntsville, passed away Wednesday. Mr. Keith devoted his life to helping others by serving as a paramedic. He spent three years in Iraq serving the needs of the sick and wounded. Mr. Keith was a staunch Alabama football fan. He was also a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Local 3263.
Survivors include his wife of 25 years, Vickie Keith; daughter, Renatta Keith of Huntsville; sons, Chad Keith of Decatur, Chris Keith (Rachel) of Decatur and Carlton Keith of Huntsville; granddaughter, Isabella Wood; mother, Geraldine Lowe of Morrison, CO; sister, Wendy Greene of Florida and brothers, Howard Keith of Morrison, CO and Jimmy Keith of Boston, MA.
Visitation will be from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday at Laughlin Service Funeral Home. The funeral service will be at 11:00 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home chapel with Pastor I.V. Marsh officiating. Burial will be in Jefferson Memorial Gardens in Trussville.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. (
Javier Blas (Washington Post) reports, "Iraq has overtaken Iran as the second-largest OPEC oil producer for the first time since the late 1980s, a symbolic shift that signals the huge impact of Western sanctions on Tehran and the steady recovery of Baghdad's energy industry."  Steve Hargreaves (CNN Money) adds, "Iraqi oil production inched over the 3 million barrel a day mark in July, according to numbers released Friday by the International Atomic Agency.  That's 300,000 barrels per day higher than the country's average output in 2011."  And that has to pass for progress in Iraq.  Not that the Iraqi people see any monies.  Nouri's Cabinet just announced that there would be no surplus oil revenues to divide among the people.  Moqtada al-Sadr rebuked that claim publicly but you know Nouri never share what he can steal.  So this is another example of no progress in Iraq.   The US State Dept says "no progress" as well.   Yesterday they issued a travel warning on Iraq which included:
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq given the security situation. Travel within Iraq remains dangerous. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated January 19, 2012, to update information on security incidents and to remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns for U.S. citizens in Iraq, including kidnapping and terrorist violence. The United States completed its withdrawal of military forces from Iraq as of December 31, 2011. The ability of the Embassy to respond to situations where U.S. citizens face difficulty, including arrests, is extremely limited.
Some regions within Iraq have experienced fewer violent incidents than others in recent years, in particular the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR). Although violence and threats against U.S. citizens persist, reported instances have lessened in the past six months. U.S. citizens in Iraq also remain at risk for kidnapping. Methods of attack have, in the past, included roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including explosively formed penetrators (EFPs); magnetic IEDs placed on vehicles; human and vehicle-borne IEDs, mines placed on or concealed near roads; mortars and rockets, and shootings using various direct fire weapons. Numerous insurgent groups, including Al Qaida in Iraq, remain active throughout Iraq. Although Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) operations against these groups continue, terrorist activity persists in many areas of the country. While terrorist violence occurs at levels lower than in previous years, it occurs frequently, particularly in the provinces of Baghdad, Ninewa, Salah ad Din, Anbar, and Diyala.
The security situation in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR), which includes the governorates of Sulymaniya, Erbil, and Dohuk, has been more stable relative to the rest of Iraq in recent years, but threats remain. U.S. government personnel in northern Iraq are required to be accompanied by a protective security escort when traveling outsidesecure facilities. Although there have been significantly fewer terrorist attacks and lower levels of insurgent violence in the IKR than in other parts of Iraq, the security situation throughout the IKR remains dangerous. Increasingly, many U.S. and third-country business people travel throughout much of Iraq; however, they do so under restricted movement conditions and almost always with security advisors and teams.
U.S. citizens should avoid areas near the Turkish or Iranian borders. The Turkish military continues to carry out operations against elements of the Kongra-Gel terrorist group (KGK, formerly Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK) located along Iraq's northern border. Additionally, extensive unmarked minefields remain along the same border. The Governments of Turkey and Iran continue to carry out military operations against insurgent groups in the mountain regions. These operations have included troop movements and both aerial and artillery bombardments. Borders in these areas are not always clearly defined. Iranian authorities previously detained, for an extended period, U.S. citizens who were hiking in the vicinity of the Iranian border in the IKR. The resources available to the U.S. Embassy to assist U.S. citizens who venture close to or cross the border with Iran are extremely limited. 
The U.S. Embassy is located in the International Zone (IZ) in Baghdad. The IZ is a restricted access area. Iraqi authorities are responsible for control of the IZ. Travelers to the IZ should be aware that Iraqi authorities may require special identification to enter the IZ or may issue IZ-specific access badges. Individuals residing and traveling within the IZ should continue to exercise good personal safety precautions.
The U.S. government considers the potential threat to U.S. government personnel in Iraq to be serious enough to require them to live and work under strict security guidelines. All U.S. government employees under the authority of the U.S. Chief of Mission must follow strict safety and security procedures when traveling outside the Embassy. State Department guidance to U.S. businesses in Iraq advises the use of protective security details. Detailed security information is available at the U.S. Embassy website.
The ability of the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services to U.S. citizens throughout Iraq, including Baghdad, is particularly limited given the security environment. The U.S. Consulates in Basrah Erbil, and Kirkuk cannot provide routine services such as passport applications, extra visa pages, and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. U.S. citizens in need of these services while in Iraq must travel to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The Embassy's website ( includes consular information and the most recent messages to U.S. citizens in Iraq. U.S. citizens in Iraq who are in need of emergency assistance should call 0770-443-1286.
For information on "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis," please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Emergencies and Crisis link at Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
They have to issue that warning because there is still no progress in Iraq.  On the violence front, 
 Alsumaria notes that a suicide bomber drove a car up to a mosque in Muwafaqiya (east of Mosul) and detonated, taking his/her own life and the lives of 5 worshipers while leaving twenty-five more injured. Reuters updates that to 5 dead and seventy injured.  Al Jazeera adds that "part of the mosque building collapsed over the heads of the worshippers as they were leaving." KUNA notes that the statement from Niniveh Province Governor Atheel al-Nujaifi "condemned that deadly attack of the Shiite place, warning that the attack is meant to instigate tension between Iraqis of different sects."  The governor is the brother of Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi.     Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) notes a Dujail attack in which 4 Sahwa ("Awakenings," "Sons Of Iraq") were shot dead and a Muqdadiyah roadside bombing which claimed the lives of 3 police officers and left two more injured. AFP adds that Haditha city council member Nabil Shaakar was shot dead with his two brothers left injured.

There's no progress in the political stalemate either.  Dar Addustour notes the interrogation of Nouri before the Parliament has been tabled until they can see what the Reform Commission will propose.  Lots of luck with that.  Al Mada reports the National Alliance is declaring that the Reform Commission is proposing three special committees be formed.  Great!  Maybe they can waste months in 'studying' the problem which is about as far as anything ever gets in Nouri's Iraq.  Al Mada also notes Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi put out a press release praising Moqtada al-Sadr, noting that Moqtada had attempted to chart a path best for Iraqis and that Moqtada's father (Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr) was one of the martyrs from the reign of Saddam Hussein.

Alsumaria notes that Imam Mahmoud al-Issawi declared in morning prayers today that the Iraqi government should release the many detainees they continue to hold imprisoned that have never been found guilty of anything.  You might remember that was among the demands the protesters made in February 2011.  Nouri promised action.  There was none.
And there is no link to a story many noted in the public e-mail account.  Australia's ABC had a report and maybe it was solid and maybe it wasn't.  But it's a topic that can split so you need to know what you're talking about.
Newsflash: Andrew Cockburn is not dead.  He is the husband of journalist Leslie Cockburn and they are the father of actress Olivia Wilde.  His brother Alexander passed away July 21st.  When you're expert on a religious issue advances (a) that the most suffering in the world among religions are Christians, I'm willing to include it as I would any other religion in Iraq.  But when your expert who says that also feels the need to note Andrew Cockburn's passing ("two weeks ago") and offers praise for him -- At some point, people are going to say (rightly), "You don't even know which Cockburn passed away, how can I trust you on another detail?"

Turning to the topic of Camp Ashraf.  The US wants to move all residents to Camp Liberty.  Who are the residents?  Iranian dissidents who've been in Iraq longer than Nouri al-Maliki who fled Iraq years ago and only returned in 2003 after the US invaded.  The US disarmed them and promised them protection.  That protection still hasn't come.   July 28, 2009 Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on the ground in Iraq). In a report released this summer entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents," Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011, Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way, "Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on other occasions when the government has announced investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out." Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observes that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions."
Today AFP reports, "Ten UN human rights experts on Friday denounced the 'appalling situation' of 3,400 Iranian refugees in Iraq amid fears of a fresh 'massacre' by security forces."  The statement included, "We call for immediate intervention of the UN Secretary General, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the international community to prevent another humanitarian disaster."
Yesterday, CSPAN offered a panel of non-experts and, as a CBS News friend who passed it on, that was fitting since CSPAN believes "James Jeffries" is a former US Ambassador to Iraq.  (His name is James Jeffrey.  It's not even "Jeffreys."  Jeffrey.)  AP's Kimberly Dozier moderated the panel which also include the internationally famous War Criminal John Negroponte.  And we might normally assumed Negroponte was the worst panelists.   In 2004, when War Criminal Negroponte was appointed as ambassador, there were numerous headlines.  Like Michel Choussudovsky's "Bush appoints a Terrorist as US Ambassador to Iraq" (Centre for Research on Globalisation). 
But Negroponte, the War Criminal, was but a flea on the ugly underbelly of the conference.  It needs to be noted that the US has only had one ambassador to Iraq who was opposed to the Iraq War before it started.  Do you know who that was?
Ryan Crocker.  Appointed by Bully Boy Bush.
Barack Obama got the Democratic Party nomination because of his mythical opposition to the Iraq War.  If you're late to the party, sell your spin somewhere else I am especially not in the damn mood today.  When Barry Kiss Ass was running for the US Senate, his handlers planned a big money event for him and all who attended would get face time with this wonderful, amazing, anti-war politician.  Elaine and I went, checkbooks in hand, prepared to max out but who we encountered was not an anti-war candidate.  He told us that the US was in Iraq now and didn't matter.  What didn't matter  to us was another piece of s**t lying politician and Elaine and I immediately left the fundraiser without donating a cent. 
And his attitude/belief expressed then is why a President Barack was never going to nominate anyone worthy to be the US Ambassador to Iraq.  Ann Wright, for example, may have done everything right but he was not going to ask her to come back as the US Ambassador to Iraq.  (She resigned over the Iraq War right before it started.)  No, the DLC-er Barry  Kiss Ass was going to nominate War Hawks and that's what he did.  That's why his choices were so linked to George W. Bush.  Three people nominated, all of them War Hawks. 
Only two were confirmed: James Jeffrey and Chris Hill.  The event took place early in the afternoon yesterday (starting, in fact, around 11:55 a.m.) and apparently that was so as not to interfere with Chris Hill's afternoon nap.  John Negroponte -- whom I believe has blood on his hands that will never wash off -- looked almost civilized when up against the Pig-Pen Ambassador.
Kimberly Dozier, as moderator, wanted the discussion to start on a few things that all could agree upon.  And most could but not little Chrissy Hill. While Negroponte and Cambone could talk about intelligence failures and Curveball, Chrissy had an agenda of his own.
Chris Hill:  I don't -- I don't think it was about -- just about intelligence. I think that was part of the issue, the interpretation of the intelligence.  I think that was part of the issue.  The interpretation of the issue, the intelligence, the fact that we had sensors really turned up in the wake of 9-11 and we're listening to a lot of different things. So the question was how you interpreted the things you were listening to. But I think it was -- the decison was a much -- it was based on a much broader concept of we have this Saddam Huseein in this critical country.  He, uh, had, uh, a reputation for -- you know, for murdering people en mass.  I mean anyone who's been to Iraq for five minutes and can see what this person did -- I mean, I went up to Hywaptchua where he had used gas against the Kurds.  So, I mean, there's a real compelling reason why you'd want to go after this guy.  Uh, and so and-and, also in the wake of 9-11, I mean, the mood was, we can't let people like that stay out there.  So the real issues [wheezes and sighs as he pauses] I think ultimately -- You know, I saw a number that cost us 1.8 trillion and I think you can ask the question from that perspective is-is -- was it the right thing to do?  But I-I -- you know, when you're there, when you look at some of these just heinous operations that Saddam had you do have the sense that, 'Okay, we're doing the right thing and maybe some things went awry but  it was kind of the right thing to do and I -- You know, this current mood in our country where we look at these kinds of things now and we say, "My God! What was -- What possessed us to this?" You know you have to be careful about presentism.  You have to think about what the mood was at the time.  And he was a -- Saddam Hussein was a person who -- You know, I think arguably and in the wake and the mood after 9-11 was someone we wanted to take off of the board.
That idiot was a US Ambassador to Iraq and the idiot and liar was nominated by Barack.  That idiot who didn't have the decency to even note the deaths -- not US or Iraqi -- and it took Kimberly Dozier to point out the deaths.  That idiot who wants to rewrite history and pretend like the things that took place never could have been forseen. 
Chris Hill is an ass.  He will always be a dumb ass and the University of Denver will be a joke for hiring him as faculty. (Academic institutions aren't supposed to welcome dishonesty or an unwillingness to evaluate past events.)  This isn't presentism.  In reality, there was huge opposition to the Iraq War before it started.  I was on campuses speaking out against it in February 2003 -- one month before it started.  I spoke to college students who were against it as well.  Now some of them may qualify as geniuses but I'm back of the bus and even that's just barely.  So if idiot me was able to see how it was built on lies, Chris Hill, don't pretend no one could have known.
Within 24 hours of then US Secretary of State Colin Powell lying to the United Nations in February 2003 (his self-described 'blot'), his claims had been rebutted.
For Chris Hill to lie the way he did and try to spit polish the government's choice to start an illegal war is disgusting. 
Grasp that honor is not an applique you can apply after the fact. 
While Hill lied and spun, even John Negroponte -- even John Negroponte -- could demonstrate more honesty.  (The intel was wrong.  But it was not wrong by accident.  It was wrong because it was cooked to fit the administration's desire for war.  Negroponte can only admit that it was wrong, that the intelligence was a  "notorius enough mistake to cause the revamping of the intelligence community."  That's still more than Chris Hill can provide.  And he was a huge supporter of the Iraq War in 2002.  Again, the only Ambassador to Iraq that the US has had so far who opposed the start of the Iraq War was Ryan Crocker.)
Hill lied and lied non-stop.  And sucked up to Nouri al-Maliki like crazy.  Someone needs to tell Dumb Ass, that he wasn't in Iraq in 2008.  So when he wants to impugn the reputations of Ryan Crocker and the then-top US Commander in Iraq General David Petraeus (now CIA Director David Petraeus) by hauling the crazy out his ass, someone needs to call him out.  I really cannot believe what a whore Chris Hill is and a whore for Nouri al-Maliki.  He painted Petraeus -- David Petraeus -- as a scared coward who was reluctant to take on Moqtada al-Sadr but brave Nouri to the rescue.
Chris Hill is appalling.  We sounded alarms in 2009 when Barack nominated him.  We have stated since then that the manic depressive needs help.  Now he's taking his crazy out in public and someone needs to step in.  Take his keys away, he's not fit to drive.  (And David Petraeus should demand an apology.  And I'm no David Petraeus groupie, check the archives.  We've long praised Holly Petraeus for her work -- his wife -- but we were never fans of her husband and the e-mails from Centcom never stopped coming with this public relations officer or that one insisting we were unfair to Petreaus here, there and everywhere.)
 In the US there are many third party and independent candidates making a run for the presidency.  We're following two.  Jill Stein has the Green Party's presidential nomination and her running mate is Cheri HonkalaRoseanne Barr has the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party and her running mate is Cindy Sheehan.  We're following them because four women is exciting and it's news and I'm feminist which means I shouldn't be spending my time fluffing for the patriarchy.  Today let's enjoy the fact that there are two tickets of women running for the highest office.  
Roseanne was on Piers Morgan Tonight (CNN) last night.  Piers was obsessed with love and I wonder if it had been a male candidate if that would have been the focus of so much of the interview?  CNN notes that Roseanne managed to declare, "I was asked to carry the water and carry a message during this election and to make socialist solutions part of narrative, because they're being left out and they work."  And while he focused too much on love in my opinion,  Piers can still assert he let Roseanne present her case, that's more than some feminist outlets can claim.  Judging by a press release from the Freedom Socialist Party today, Roseanne's getting the Peace and Freedom Party nomination has ticked off some:
Barr, who reinvented herself as a socialist in the few weeks before the PFP vote, did not show up for a candidates' forum the night before the convention. She was represented there by her vice-presidential partner, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan. On Saturday, Aug. 4, the opening day of the convention, Barr's appearance was preceded by a security detail while delegates sat waiting for her to arrive, which she did in a flurry of media. She left after giving her speech, and took the media attention with her, headed for the taping of a Comedy Central roast in her honor. Delegates were unable to ask her questions.
Barr had originally announced as a candidate for the Green Party nomination, but lost decisively to Jill Stein, whom Barr had pledged to support should Stein become the nominee. Barr did not attend the Green Party convention in July.
Now Barr is promising to do major fundraising and help register voters for PFP, a California-based left electoral coalition that is in a fight for its life thanks to new state ballot laws hostile to minor parties. The Durham-López team had argued for making a PFP registration drive part of a bold two-year grass-roots campaign statewide, explicitly anti-capitalist and feminist, to protest the rigged electoral system and organize with others to demand relief for those hit hardest by war, bailouts for corporations, and austerity for workers.
And Jill Stein's campaign has released the following:
Today the Stein campaign announced success in petition drives led by Greens and Volunteers for Jill Stein groups in Alaska, Kansas, Maryland, Washington, and Wisconsin. In each of these states, state elections authories have received more than enough qualified signatures to place the Green Party or the Stein/Honkala ticket on the ballot. 
"As of today, voters in at least 30 states will see Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala on their ballot lines," said Erika Wolf, associate campaign manager. 
The ballot drives in Maryland and Washington states were led by their respective state parties, and supported by Stein volunteers. The ballot drive in Wisconsin was a combined effort, and the petitioning efforts in Alaska and Kansas were led and heavily financed by the Stein campaign itself, with support from local Green parties and the national Green Party of the United States.
"This is the August crunch, when the final 20 state ballot lines can either be won or lost, and we need every dollar and every volunteer we can get, right now, to make sure this campaign is truly national," said campaign manager Ben Manski. 
For the latest ballot access news, see:
To make a donation, click here:

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Like bratty, little children

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Taxer"

the taxer

Harry Reid's always been a joke to me. All the efforts in the '00s by the press to make him seem manly by going on and on about how he was a college wrestler. 

All that nonsense was necessary because Harry Reid was always useless.

These days, he goes around repeating rumors while insisting that they're true and that he can't name his source.

CNN reports:

New advertisements by each side prompted caustic responses from the other as name-calling and finger-pointing dominated the debate less than three months before the November vote that pits President Barack Obama against certain Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
A day after Obama coined the phrase "Romneyhood" to describe policies by Romney that Obama said tax the poor to help the rich -- or Robin Hood in reverse -- Romney fired back by creating his own word -- Obamaloney -- to accuse the president of making things up.

I don't see how that helps Barack.  It just tarnishes his name.  He was supposed to stand for something.  I never bought into that garbage but millions did.  Now he's just a trashy politician slinging one accusation after another.

It's as though he wants to lose.

People were already disenchanted with Barack.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Wednesday, August 8, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, a government prosecutor is targeted in Iraq, Nouri betrays the latest agreement, Iraqi politicians worry what Nouri might have of them on tape, the withdrawal-of-confidence vote comes to a halt, and more.
The administration didn't want a welcome home parade for the veterans in December of later this year.  Some reasons were valid.  The country is supposed to be watching the spending and the money Congress had originally allocated for a national parade had actually been spent years ago.  Some reasons made no sense at all.  The administration claimed that since some Iraq War veterans were in Afghanistan currently, it wouldn't be right to have a parade for Iraq War veterans.  When the US finally leaves Afghanistan, what will the excuse be?  There will always be -- barring a major shift in foreign policy -- US troops stationed on something other than American soil.  The administration also felt the need to pressure NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg not to hold a parade.
What happened instead is that parades have taken place in local communities.  St. Louis is where it kicked off.  Craig Schneider and Tom Appelbaum got together and organized a parade for the veterans.  It was a huge success that spawned many other parades.  In July, many people were disappointed, some were outraged.  I was outraged (see "The violence and the whores" and "Iraq snapshot") and so was Trina ("Thanks Tom Appelbaum").  Across the country people worked very hard, inspired by the work in St. Louis to do something to acknowledge the veterans.  This was individuals working together.  And there were plans for future parades later in the year.  But the parades worked because they were about the veterans.
Tom Appelbaum decided to whore the parade in July (see Trina and my pieces).  He turned the  St. Louis parade into an advertisement for Barack Obama.  The ridiculous commercial credited Barack with the parade.  Barack didn't donate an hour of organizing or a dime from his bank account.  Nor did he attend the parade.  The parade was about the veterans and Tom Applebaum didn't (my opinion) have enough respect for the veterans to refuse to whore for the Obama campagin.  The parade had nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans or any label other than "veteran."
Craig Schneider co-organized the parade.  He did not take part in the Obama campaign commercial.  He has penned a column for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch entitled "People, not politics."  It is an intelligent and deeply felt column.  Please use the link to read the entire column.  Here is an excerpt.
The news was personally upsetting for two reasons. First because its message is in clear contradiction of the apolitical nature of the 501(c)3 organization that grew from the January event, upon which the two volunteers sat. The organization has asked for their resignation.
But the bigger concern about the ad stems from how upside down it seemed to turn the very nature of the movement that began in St. Louis and has since spread to more than 20 cities. All around the country this year, a loose and unpaid coalition of volunteers from all sectors has come together in the universal understanding summarized by the motto of this grass-roots movement: Those who did and still serve are people. They aren't politics.
Since the beginning of the post-9/11 age of combat, one of our greatest failures as a society has been the emotional distance we've allowed ourselves to keep between our wars and the people we send to fight them. We've placed the enormous burden of 10 years of multi-front warfare onto less than 2 percent of our population, forcing men and women to leave home and go risk death not once, but two or three or four times. Or more. While our sons and daughters have died, taken bullets and bombs for us and returned from multiple trips to hell with wounds both inside and out, the other 98 percent of us back here have bickered over "the troops" as if they were some abstract thing.
They are not. They are people. They are us.
Again, it is a very important column.  Craig Schneider works to put veterans first.  In the Congress, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee is an example where party label is not an issue of great importance and Democrats and Republicans who might not work together on any other issue find a way to come together over what's in the best interests of veterans.  Though all members of the Committee reach out to one another (including Senator Bernie Sanders who is neither a Democrat or a Republican), the largest credit for that has to go to Chair Patty Murray and Ranking Member Richard Burr who set such a strong example and such high standards.   Without that example and that desire to work together, this week's victory would not have taken place.  As Kat noted last night in "Camp Lejeune (justice finally)," the victims of Camp Lejeune finally got recognized with President Barack Obama signing into law the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.  This is an issue that Senator Burr has worked years on.  Chair Murray said it would get a floor vote and it did.  She said it would be signed this summer and it was.
The Senate is in recess allowing its members to return home.  That doesn't mean work stops.  Senator Murray's office notes:
Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
CONTACT: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834
TOMORROW: VETERANS: Murray in Seattle to Discuss New Veterans Jobs Bill with Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Senator Murray will outline Veterans Jobs Corps bill, legislation that helps veterans overcome barriers they face when finding employment
(Washington, D.C.) -- Tomorrow, Thursday, August 9th, 2012, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, joins Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki at the Port of Seattle for a press conference on veterans jobs.  Senator Murray will highlight a bill she is sponsoring in the Senate, the Veterans Jobs Corps bill.  Senator Murray's bill is modeled of successful job training programs across the country and in states like Washington.  The Veterans Jobs Corps bill would build on the gains already made with Senator Murray's VOW to Hire Heroes Act, and serves as a $1 billion investment in veterans and their capacity to strengthen America.
Over the next five years, the Veterans Jobs Corps would: increase training and hiring opportunities for all veterans; help restore and protect national, state, and tribal forests, parks, coastal areas, wildlife refuges, and cemeteries.  It will also help hire qualified veterans as police, firefighters, and first responders at a time when 85 percent of law enforcement agencies were forced to reduce their budget in the past year.  Senator Murray will point out that this bill contains bipartisan ideas, is fully paid for with bipartisan spending offsets, and should not be controversial at a time when veterans continue to struggle.
The Port of Seattle was recently recognized with The Freedom Award, the Department of Defense's highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of our Guard and Reserve members.
WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray
           Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki
           Tay Yoshitani, Port of Seattle CEO
            Veterans currently employed by the Port of Seattle
WHAT: Senator Murray and Secretary Shinseki discuss new veterans jobs legislation
WHEN: TOMORROW: Thursday, August 9th, 2012
             10:00 AM PT
WHERE: Port of Seattle Marine Maintenance Facility
                25 S. Horton Street
                Seattle, WA 98134
Kathryn Robertson
Specialty Media Coordinator
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510

Tomorrow the high for the day in Baghdad is supposed to be 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit).  And as if Iraq didn't have enough hot air of late, two government spokespeople try to add to it.  Mohammad al-Qaisi (al-Shorfa) reports that Ministry of the Interior spokespersons Hikmat Mahmoud al-Masari and Adel Dahham see al Qaeda in Iraq 'imploding' and they know -- in their heart of hearts, they really, really know -- this is happening due to events like last month when they discovered the bodies of two leaders in one house -- both were dead!
The events of today have already slapped them across the face.  But, since thinking caps appear to be in short supply at the Ministry of the Interior, let's provide them the walk through that they're too dumb to see.
Whether it's a mafia movie or a vampire movie, when the 'bad guys' start turning up dead, that generally means that something even more violent and destructive has decided to move in and take over.  So rejoicing over those two dead leaders?  The Ministry of the Interior would be better off grasping something more powerful than those two leaders is now what they will be up against.
July 22nd, the Islamic State of Iraq released an audio recording announcing a new campaign of violence entitled Breaking The Walls which would include prison breaks and killing "judges and investigators and their guards." The last weeks have demonstrated that ISI is serious about pursuing those goals.  Their determination is also clear with an attack on a government prosecutor this morning.

KUNA reports unknown assailants invaded a Baiji home (Salahuddin Province) and killed 8 members of one family.  Kitabat adds that a government prosecutor lived in the house and that one of the sons was also an attorney.  In addition, they note that the attack took place at five in the morning and that there was some effort to burn the corpses after.  Alsumaria quotes a police source stating that the assailants stormed the home, firing automatic weapons as they did, killing the government prosecutor, his father, his sisters and brothers and a family member that hasn't been identified so far.  Xinhua identifies the prosecutor as Adnan Khayrallah and they note, "The attackers shot dead Adana, his father, three women, two children along with a guest, the source said without giving further details."   The Hong Kong Standard spells the name of the prosecutor as "Khayrallah Shati" and says he and his wife, their five sons and an unidentified 8th relative were killed.

In addition, a Suwayrah car bombing left many dead and many injured, BBC News notesPrashant Rao (AFP) explains that "a vehilce packed with explosives ripped through a group of Shiite worshippers during a commemoration ceremony."  AFP counts 13 dead and thirty injured.  Also Alsumaria reports a senior officer in the Ministry of Defense was shot dead by unknown assailants in Baghdad and that robbers stole 53 million dinars from a Kirkuk banking center (ASE Banking).  (53 million dinars is about 46,000 in US dollars.)
The big story in Iraq today is a fear of political violence.  What would you do if you held public office in a fundamentalist nation and, privately, you did a few things you'd like to keep hidden?  And what would you do if you then found out that those private moments had been taped?
Both Kitabat and Al Mada report  the big rumor swirling around Baghdad:  Nouri plans to destroy political rivals via "sex tapes."  Spy equipment and technology have been used in the homes and offices of rivals -- Nouri's bugged them.  There has been talk of blackmail tapes being used as signatures were gathered for a withdrawal of confidence vote in Parliament.  The rumors tended to glom on Iraqi President Jalal Talabani -- that Nouri had persuaded him to switch sides via a meeting where he showed Jalal the fruits of his spying.  There are said to be sound and video recordings.  MP Haider Mullah states that this would be "cheap" and "undignified" if it has taken place.  The articles note an AKnews report on a female MP being taped having sex with her husband.  The article is in Arabic -- no English version at AKnews -- and it states that government employees have secretly filmed her having sex with her husband.  The rumors -- which have swirled since the end of May -- probably gathered heat as a result of an event earlier this week. Dropping back to Monday's snapshot:

All Iraq News notes that someone has released a fuzzy (audio and video) taped meeting from last year between Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi and Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi following Allawi's meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.  Iraqiya is calling for an investigation into where the tape originated and who released it.

As the rumors swirl, Alsumaria notes, Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujafi has declared that the move towards questioning Nouri before Parliament has now come to a halt. 

Al Mada's report notes the CIA has taped many Iraqi politicians and that may remind some of when the US was spying on the United Nations in 2003.  Martin Bright, Ed Vulliamy and Peter Beaumont (Observer) reported:

The United States is conducting a secret 'dirty tricks' campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes in favour of war against Iraq.
Details of the aggressive surveillance operation, which involves interception of the home and office telephones and the emails of UN delegates in New York, are revealed in a document leaked to The Observer.
The disclosures were made in a memorandum written by a top official at the National Security Agency - the US body which intercepts communications around the world - and circulated to both senior agents in his organisation and to a friendly foreign intelligence agency asking for its input.
The memo describes orders to staff at the agency, whose work is clouded in secrecy, to step up its surveillance operations 'particularly directed at... UN Security Council Members (minus US and GBR, of course)' to provide up-to-the-minute intelligence for Bush officials on the voting intentions of UN members regarding the issue of Iraq.

A year later, Ewen MacAskill (Guardian) reported:

The United Nations spying row widened on Friday when former weapons inspector Hans Blix revealed he suspected his UN office and his home in New York were bugged in the run-up to the Iraq war.
Dr Blix said he expected to be bugged by the Iraqis, but to be spied on by the US was a different matter. He described such behaviour as disgusting, adding: "It feels like an intrusion into your integrity in a situation when you are actually on the same side."
He said he went to extraordinary lengths to protect his office and home, having a UN counter-surveillance team sweep both for bugs. "If you had something sensitive to talk about, you would go out into the restaurant or out into the streets," he said.
Dr Blix's fears were reinforced when he was shown photographs by a senior member of the Bush Administration that, he insists, could only have been obtained through underhand means.
His accusations came after former British cabinet minster, Clare Short said US-British intelligence bugged the office of the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Probably not a good idea for the US to be without a US Ambassador to Iraq currently.  Would the US tape Iraqi politicians and turn the goods over to their pet Nouri to allow him to blackmail other politicians?  Both the Bush administration and the Barack administration spent their waking hours with activities that ensured people would be ready to believe such a rumor.
The US-brokered an agreement recently.  Remember?  It was going to lower tensions between the Iraqi military and the Peshmerga (KRG force).  That was MondayAKnews reports today that the agreement has yet to be signed.  In what the Kurds will most likely see as a huge betrayal of this new agreement, AKnews reports, "A force from the Iraqi army has been stationed at the borders of Saadiya, Diyala province, said a chief of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Saadiya.  The force from the 20th Army Brigade which was stationed in Meqdadiya before has been moved to Saadiya on the pretext that the security of Saadiya is deteriorating, said Hassan Abdul-Rahman, KDP chief of Khabat neighborhood in Saadiya." 
'Security' Nouri style.  Blackwater once provided 'security' (terrorized the Iraqis) in Iraq.  They went on to become Xe and now Academi.  Like many a shady person, they employ mulitple aliases.  Joseph Neff and Jay Price (McClatchy Newspapers) report on how the US government has again betrayed the people: "The military contractor formerly known as Blackwater ended a long-running criminal investigation Tuesday by admitting to lawbreaking that ranged from possessing illegal machine guns at its Camden County, N.C., training grounds to attempting to land $15 billion in oil and defense contracts in southern Sudan while U.S. companies were barred from doing business there."  They broke the laws and all the multi-billion dollar business has to do is pay a measly fine of $7.5 million dollars.  They hurt Iraqis and no one will do jail time for this offense or any other.

Read more here:
Meanwhile the same administration that overseas letting Blackwater off scott free is the administration that wants to lock Bradley Manning away forever.  Bradley's court-martial was scheduled to begin September 21st.  Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December.  At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial.  Bradley has yet to enter a plea and has neither affirmed that he is the leaker nor denied it.
On this week's Out-FM (Tuesday nights, seven p.m. EST, WBAI), John Riley and Bob Lederer covered Bradley by speaking with two reporters covering the case. 
Bob Lederer: This is Bob Lederer with John Riley reporting for WBAI 99.5 FM and we're here at Fort Meade, Maryland.  And today we've just finished the 6th pre-trial hearing in the court-martial of accused whistle blower Bradley Manning -- the openly gay Army intelligence analyst who is facing 22 charges stemming from his alleged disclosure of nearly 3/4 of a million documents and videos to WikiLeaks.  Some of these materials show evidence of War Crimes and other inappropriate conduct by the US government and its allies.  The pre-trial hearings have been presided over by military Judge Denise Lynd.  The actual court-martial trial over which she will also preside is not expected to begin until some time next year. 
This is part two of Bob Lederer and John Riley's reporting.  We noted the first part in the August 1st snapshot.  Marcia pointed out that night that she was suprised (and angry) to learn that the court-martial was being postponed.  Apparently, to allow Barack to look his best before the election, the court-martial of a whistle blower must take place after America votes.  Bradley's already been imprisoned for over 800 days.
Bob Lederer:  Another ruling by the judge had to do with the next pre-trial hearing scheduled for August 27th through 31st at which Bradley Manning's lawyer will argue that Manning who has been held now in pre-trial detention for upwards of two years was subjected to eight months of illegal treatment in solitary confinement at the Marine Brig in Quantico, Virginia.  Kevin, can you summarize what that treatment was?  What witnesses and physical evidence his attorney moved to be require be provided during the upcoming hearing?  And what the judge ruled on this issue?
Kevin Gostola:  So the defense reported this in December 2010.  And he said, on his blog, he keeps a blog, and he updated everyone on the fact that Bradley Manning was in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day which is something that the government says he wasn't in solitary confinement.  That's just not what they call it.  He talked about how Bradley Manning was under confinement conditions that stemmed from something that the Marines or the military calls "prevention of injury watch."  Or suicide risk.  So a detainee can be placed under this restriction and that means that he's a maximum custody prisoner or it's believed that he could endanger himself. So they do these things to him that could be considered onerous or inhumane basically.  And one of these things has to do with having to wear a smock.  So in some instances he was stripped naked because he said something that a commanding officer did not like and the commanding officer.
A military police officer, John Riley explained, then interrupted the interview. "This is freedom of the press at Fort Meade," declares Kevin Gostola.  Today, Rob Kall (OpEdNews) interviewed Dr. Jill Stein and, among the topics they discussed was, her recent arrest.  Excerpt.
Rob Kall: Now from my understanding is that you came to Pennsylvania, went to Harrisburg.  You were involved in getting things finalized and then you got yourself arrested.
Jill Stein: That's right.  For the first time in my life, I have to say.
Rob Kall: Good.  Congratulations. 
Jill Stein: That's right. I'm now a member of a very big club.  Yeah.
Rob Kall:  Well what happened?
Jill Stein: We -- You know we have a very strong network in Pennyslvania that Cherie Honkala is very much connected with.  And this is the Poor People's Economic Network.  And they and Cherie and the Green Party have been fighting the foreclosure crisis that is just raging in Philadelphia and other places around the country.  So we have been long supporting two women and their families that have been trying to hold onto their homes and are basically in the foreclosure process thanks to Fannie Mae which we as tax payers basically own.  They continue to throw families out of their homes.  And these two women in particular had very unjust cases against them.  One had inherited the house from her mother.  Yet when her mother died, the bank put it into foreclosure  and refused to deal with her.  She's a working woman. She lives in the house. She has the ability to absorb the mortgage which, by the way was a reverse mortgage in order to take of the mother's health problems in her final years.  Another example of what's broken -- our health car system.  And we're having to put our homes into hock in order to afford health care in this unjust health care system. And we're having to put our homes into hock in order to afford health care in this unjust health care system.  And then people are getting thrown out of their homes because the banks are looking to do that, looking for every excuse they can get to take possession of a home which is completely unjust and, you know, illegal.  Every legal means has been pursued including efforts to change these laws and nothing has been forthcoming.  So we went into Fannie Mae, along with a large group of supporters, had a demonstration outside on behalf of these two home owners.  And we basically went into Fannie Mae  to ask them to please sit down, to bargain in good faith to keep these home owners in their homes.   And they offered to basically  buy them off for a small fee. They offered them $2,000 if they would just go away bit did not offer really to negoiate and revise their morgates agreements and enable them to -- recognize them as owners of their homes and allow them to stay.  So we all sat down until such a time as they would do this and five of us were arrested -- basically for trespassing.
Rob Kall: Had you thought ahead and planned to do this?  Was this a decision that you made ahead of time?
Jill Stein:  Well we made the decision that we were going to go to the mat for these home owners and that we were going to do everything in our power to make the banks do what they're supposed to do -- which is negoiate to keep home owners in their homes.  That's why we bailed them out -- you know, to the tune of some four-and-a-half-trillion dollars  in bailouts.  Plus another 16 trillion in free loans.  You know that was in order to keep home owners in their homes and protect our communities from the devestation of foreclosure which is not just a problem for the home owner. It's really a problem for the whole community.  And it beomes really a blight of vacant buildings which is a real problem, brings down everybody's home.
In November, elections will be held in the United States.  Among the offices up for a vote? The White House.  Jill Stein is the Green Party's presidential candidateYana Kunichoff (Truthout) interviewed Stein yesterday.  Excerpt.
YK: You have been running your campaign both at the grassroots level and the electoral level. Tell me about bringing those two together.
JS: It's about bringing the fight that's going on at the grassroots level, for our homes, for jobs, for affordable healthcare, to have tuitions that a student can afford. These fights are actively going on in our communities, but they are not currently represented in electoral politics. They are not on the horizon of two major parties, they are busy talking about Mitt Romney's tax forms or latest gaffes, anything but the real problems that Americans are struggling with and how we are going to fix them. Bringing the grassroots struggle into electoral politics and challenging the hijack of our electoral system and Wall Street gives me the liberty to talk about what we need and how we are going to fix these things. We need a green economy if we are going to survive. The public is aware that we need to bring the troops home now. It's so exciting to me that there is a kind of real focusing now of the public voice, and the public mindset, and to my mind it's very exciting to be able to provide a political vehicle for that consensus that has begun to really come into focus.
YK: The assumption that both the Republicans and Democrats work on is that Americans lean to the right, and therefore the national debate must constantly be moved rightward to engage the most people possible. But your experience seems to show a different consensus.
JS: I think it's pretty clear from polls across the country that there is a rapidly declining interest in the Democrats. The approval of Congress is in the single digits. It's no secret that people are not happy with what the two political parties are proposing. We launched our campaign at a middle of the road university in Illinois [Western Illinois University]. I was asked to come by a woman who was my campaign manager on campus and asked me to come on election night. So I thought it over and called her back and said 'Sure,' because young people are what our campaign is all about, the only campaign that is actually addressing the crisis that young people are facing. Of course we are going to come, we are going to kick off our campaign at your college. I had six minutes to explain to a group that had never voted green or lefty or independent.
Jill Stein will be on Let's Talk Radio tonightTim Sullivan (WNYC) explains why he's voting for Jill Stein this time and not Barack Obama who had his vote in 2008:
He withdrew from Iraq, yes, but on Bush's timetable; he escalated the war in Afghanistan; he spent a billion dollars intervening in Libya; he continued the "extraordinary rendition" program; and failed not only to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, but even to prosecute its inmates in our civilian federal courts.
Domestically, I don't even want to discuss Obamacare, which is not national health insurance by any stretch of the imagination, but we must. I still find it surreal that the Democrats, controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, failed to institute national health insurance, partly because the administration, and the party's recent vice-presidential nominee (Joseph Lieberman), bowed to the insurance lobby.
On the energy front, the U.S. has not even begun a serious transition to alternatives to carbon fuels. And, somehow, the Democrats have become a party that supports capital punishment, despite massive evidence that it has failed miserably and is applied in a racist manner. Economically, the president extended the Bush-Paulson bailouts and acquiesced in renewal of the Bush tax cuts, despite repeated vows to the contrary.
As for social spending, I expect the Republicans to advocate cuts in Medicare and Social Security, but I'm still trying to figure out how the Democrats can, with a straight face, do the same.  Furthermore, in a policy that boggles the mind, Obama brags about having cut the payroll tax, the primary source of funding for Social Security.
The Green Party is on the other side of all those issues, foreign and domestic. I don't agree with everything the Greens advocate, but on the issues that I consider most significant for America's future, the Greens are on the right track.
Reality-Based Educator (Perdido Street School) confesses, "I haven't settled on my 2012 vote just yet, other than I will NOT be voting for either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama -- both of whom are corporatist whores looking to complete the nation's move to neo-feudalism.  I am debating voting for Jill Stein of the Green Party.  But I am intrigued by the Peace and Freedom Party, which is running Roseanne Barr and Cindy Sheehan on its ticket."  Lucas Grindley (Advocate) wonders if Roseanne will be seen as another choice for LGBT voters and notes her history on that issue:
The television star has long been an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights. She was named
 The Advocate's "Person of the Year" in 1994 and included in its "Heroes" list for successfully fighting producers and network executives to include some of television's first realistic portrayals of gay characters. She has two siblings who are gay and who have long been in relationships. Barr's sister and partner have been together for 25 years and have twin daughters. Her brother and partner of 26 years have grandchildren.
"They deserve every ounce of equality with any other Americans," Barr told The Advocate. "They are wonderful, productive human beings, and are the reason I am such an activist for LGBT issues and always will be."
Always the comedian, she added, "I just wish one of my relationships had lasted as long as theirs!"

Third Party Politics notes that "Roseanne Barr has won the presidential nomination of the Peace & Freedom Party."  And Abigail Pesta (Daily Beast) interviews Roseanne about her campaign:
Among the key points in her platform, Barr says she wants to cut back on military spending and bases abroad, bring troops home, create a financial-transaction tax, crack down on corporate outsourcing of jobs overseas, and remove caps on taxes for the rich. She also wants to create a single-payer health-care system and legalize marijuana. 
She believes prison time should be reserved for violent criminals—with the exception of the Wall Street bankers who have "defrauded the working class and middle class," she says. "Those people should be in jail."
She thinks her history as a comedian works in her favor, not against. "In order to be able to write a good joke, you have to find the truth," she says. "I've spent 30 years as a comedian focused on working-class issues. Working-class people do not have a vote in this country. That's the real reason why I'm running and why I've put up my own money to seek ballot access in all 50 states. I will keep running till I win."
Barr says the government is "not supposed to be run like a business" and is "supposed to protect people from fat cats." She adds, "They had the big bubble that they created. If you watched cable TV, you just saw all the time: 'Time for a second mortgage!' That was a scam, just theft." She calls the battle between Republicans and Democrats a choice between "Satan and Satan."