Saturday, June 25, 2005

The World Tribunal on Iraq

Had my cell phone turned off because we're having a big family reunion with second cousins, great aunts and uncles, the works and we had all sat down to eat. Then my sister's cell goes off and it's a buddy of mine telling me Rebecca's trying to reach me.

Hope it's not too late to get on this bandwagon but here's an important post from C.I. I do intend to blog tomorrow but I really don't have time to right now. Keep cool and keep the peace everybody.

The World Tribunal on Iraq

In May of 2004 I interviewed a man who had just been released from Abu Ghraib. Like so many I interviewed from various US military detention facilities who’d been tortured horrifically, he still managed to maintain his sense of humor.He began laughing when telling me how CIA agents made him beat other prisoners. He laughed, he said, because he had been beaten himself prior to this, and was so tired that all he could do to beat other detained Iraqis was lift his arm and let it drop on the other men.

Later, he laughed again as he told me what else had been done to him, when he said, “The Americans brought electricity to my ass before they brought it to my house.”

But this testimony is not about the indomitable spirit of the Iraqi people. About the dignity and strength of Iraqis, we need no testimony. This testimony is about ongoing violations of international law being committed by the occupiers of Iraq on a daily basis in regards to rampant torture, the neglect and obstruction of the health care sector and the ongoing failure to allow Iraqis to reconstruct their infrastructure.To discuss torture, there are many stories I could use here, but I’ll use two examples indicative of scores of others I documented while in Iraq.

What does it take to get a Saturday entry out of me after I've started assisting
The Third Estate Sunday Review? Something really important. Like Dahr Jamail's testimony before the World Tribunal on Iraq which we've quoted from above. It's an excerpt. Read "World Tribunal for Iraq, Culminating Session Testimony" in full.

The New York Timid's not interested (thus far). Apparently few are. That's why you should be interested. Where there is silence on a subject, it should peek your curiosity.

The World Tribunal on Iraq doesn't appear to merit much commentary in this country (US, to clarify for our foreign community members). Is it unimportant?

You tell me.

It's apparently unimportant to the mainstream. They're still refusing to tell you about the increased bombings beginning in May of 2002. (As reported by from Michael Smith's "
RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war." Also note, as Charlie pointed out, Jeremy Scahill's "The Smoking Bullet in the Smoking Gun." )

The World Tribunal on Iraq is going on right now. You can watch or listen online.

A number of e-mails came in on Baby Cries a Lot who got all teary eyed and spoke of his children as the reason why America needs to stay in Iraq. No, they aren't over there and, no, it didn't make any sense but does anyone expect sense from Baby Cries a Lot?

He whimpers, he whines, he tears up, he chokes up. Put him back on the shelf already because amidst all the drama, there's no functioning brain there.

Baby Cries a Lot resulted in over 800 e-mails on Friday so we'll note him here in terms of those who speak truth and those who gatekeep. Yes, he's so dumb that he's still claiming the Pottery Barn has a policy that it doesn't have. Yes, he's so wimpy he can't "fight" (or make a case) for anything without faking tears.

Baby Cries a Lot pimps his AEI friends. Baby Cries a Lot couldn't decide from one day to the next in January if he thought there was a problem in Ohio or not. Some days he did and spoke with (fake) passion, some days he resorted to calling those questioning the vote "tin foil hat conspiracy" types.

Here's a question. Why are some of you still listening to Baby Cries a Lot?

He angers you, I don't blame you. But you're not getting anything from him. So just walk on, Watch or listen to
Democracy Now!, go to Pacifica, go to NPR, play some music. Go to Air America Place and check out the archives for The Laura Flanders Show, The Mike Malloy Show, The Majority Report, The Randi Rhodes Show, Ecotalk, So What Else Is News?, The Rachel Maddow Show, Ring of Fire and others.

Baby Cries a Lot is a nasty person, as you've noted in countless e-mails.

Baby Cries a Lot didn't serve but now wants to act as not just the troops' supporter but as the War Cheerleader.

Baby Cries a Lot has a meltdown when, for instance, Bob Somerby begins offering criticism of a policy or a politician. (And Somerby's not invited back.) Baby Cries a Lot freaks when in the midst of "IS REAGAN STILL DEAD!" coverage, Greg Palast offers a sound critique of Reagan's Latin American policies. Baby Cries a Lot rushes to cut Jeremy Glick off (though not by saying "Shut up!") when Glick attempts to speak.

Baby Cries a Lot was perfectly happy to pimp Glick's late father and to use that to settle a score with his nemisis. He just wasn't happy to let Jeremy Glick speak beyond what happened on Fox "News."

He's a whiney ass gatekeeper who's peddled sexism to get where he is. Quit listening.

There's nothing he's ever going to say that will matter.

But here's something that does matter,
The World Tribunal on Iraq.

And you can hear it
live, right now.

"They were telling us get out, get out, and then the roof collapsed on us. . . . They went away, the house is no longer there, I do not have a car, I have nothing. I saved my children from the rubble. . . . The ceiling collapsed on us. . . . Nobody came and asked us what we were doing. . . . Nothing was told us. They say that we can bomb anything we want to, we can interrogate anyone we want to. Now they've left us houseless. What right do they have to do this?"

You won't hear about that from Baby Cries a Lot.

He's working the clampdown, in diapers, but he's working it.

He's the court jester to the Bully Boy. You mention in your e-mails that he worked up, as he worked up those phoney tears, a defense for the Bully Boy. Well that tells you everything you need to know, now doesn't it?

He wants to be a player in his new field (there's very little left to him elsewhere which is why he entertains corporations). If you've got time, and some of you appear to have that time, to write and complain about what Baby Cries a Lot did this week, then you've got time to go online and
listen or watch the testimony that's ongoing.

Mike Malloy, last night, offered that even if the Democratic Party gained a majority in the 2006 election, they wouldn't impeach the Bully Boy. He's right. That won't come from D.C. If it comes, it will have to come from outside D.C. -- pressure will have to be brought on your representatives to force the issue. And if you're willing to do that, you need to know what happened. You're not going to learn about it in the New York Timid. (Or on Baby Cries a Lot's show.) You will hear about this on
Democracy Now! (and they noted it Friday and I'm sure will address it next week). But if you're online right now for whatever reason and you're at a computer with speakers or have a pair of headphones, you probably are able to listen to the Tribunal.

You can moan next week in e-mails about what Baby Cries a Lot pushed as "liberal" or "progressive" and how he yucked it up with his centrist and right-wing "pals." You can complain about how he shoots down any idea other than "stay the course." (While the "course" is killing Iraqis and the Coalition of the Coerced whose "brave" leaders, including the Bully Boy, don't seem concerned with the body count.) But if you want to do that, I want to see something in the e-mail that suggests you took the time to inform yourself. You can do that by following the
Tribunal. Give it fifteen minutes. You gave Baby Cries a Lot three hours a day for five days this past week.

You're pinning your hopes on something that's not going to happen. There will be no awakening for Baby Cries a Lot until the troops are withdrawn. At that point, he'll sob and say he wanted it all along. You've all heard the inconsistencies in his day to day discussions. Because, despite the fact that he pushes himself as it, he's not a political person, you've failed to realize that he twists in the wind and always has.

Next week, Baby Cries a Lot will no doubt tear up again and give yet another "fathers & son" talk. And it will be as meaningless next week as it was this week as it was the week before as it was the week before that . . .

It has nothing to do with reality.

The Iraq World Tribunal has to do with reality. People are offering testimony. There's no Baby Cries a Lot there to rush in and stop them or to change the topic or say "We have to go to commercial" and nurse his wounded ego throughout the following segments.

This is reality and you can listen to (or watch it).

Democracy Now! Friday:

World Tribunal on Iraq Opens In Turkey
In Turkey, the World Tribunal on Iraq is opening its three-day session today. The gathering is modeled after the International War Crimes Tribunal that British philosopher Bertrand Russell formed in 1967 during the Vietnam War. Russell's tribunal was charged with conducting 'a solemn and historic investigation' of U.S. war crimes in Vietnam in order to 'prevent the crime of silence.' Speaking at the World Tribunal on Iraq will be Indian writer Arundhati Roy, former UN Assistant Secretary General Dennis Halliday, independent journalist Dahr Jamail and others.

Baby Cries a Lot channels Robert McNamara via the sixties. That says everything you need to know about Baby Cries a Lot. (Who will probably emerge from a Fog of War years from now to speak out against the invasion/occupation of Iraq while still justifiying some similar action that's going on then.) (Yes, there will be future similar actions. Those like Baby Cries a Lot make that possible. This war and the next brought to you by the Babies Cry a Lot.)

We can complain about someone who's useless or we can focus on what does matter. While I understand the e-mailers complaints, no, I'm not going to fact check Baby Cries a Lot. Life is too short for me to put up with his nonsense. And while it's true that others have pushed him as a brave liberal voice, we haven't done that here. We've largely avoided him. Let's continue to do that and focus on what matters.

The World Tribunal on Iraq matters. You can follow it online.

As I type, Tim Goodrich is about to continue speaking. Goodrich is a founding member of
IVAW -- an organization committed to ending the occupation. And though they don't feel the need to trumpet it in constant advertisements, "they were there."

How people are recurited into the military, who joins the military and why. . . . Military life is glorified and soldiers are seen as role models. In my case, I wanted to join the military since I was five-years-old . . .

He's speaking of the socio-economic draft right now. And you won't hear him saying that seated across from Baby Cries a Lot. You won't hear Jim Massey or Diana Morrisson or Michael Hoffman or any of the others. You will hear the clampdowners telling you that you can't speak because you weren't there or telling a Vietnam vet that they don't know what they're talking about because it's "not Nam, man." Your information flow with Baby Cries a Lot is severely restricted.

So you can wait until Monday and get upset that Baby Cries a Lot is goofing around for three hours with the occassionally teary sob, or you can make the effort to find out for yourself what's going on. Member can complain about Baby Cries a Lot but if you're going to do that, put something in the e-mail that demonstrates that not only do you realize the would-be Bob Hope has nothing to say, but also indicates you did make a point to get actual information you can use somewhere else.

Here's where I think (as always, I could be wrong), we are in the testimony to the

12:00 – 12:20 Witness -
Tim Goodrich: The Conduct of the US Army

12:20 – 12:40
Amal Sawadi: Detentions and Prison Conditions

12:40 – 13:00 Witness -
Fadhil Al Bedrani: Collective Punishment

13:00 – 13:20 Questions from the Jury

13:20 – 14:30 LunchFourth Session / Cont. ... (Moderator: Joel Kovel)

14:30 – 14:50
Joel Kovel: Effects of the War on the Infrastructure

14:50 – 15:10
Herbert Docena: Economic Colonization

15:10 – 15:30
Mohammed Al Rahoo: Iraqi Law Under Occupation

15:30 – 15:50
Abdul Ilah Al Bayaty: The Transfer of Power in Iraq

15:50 – 16:10
Niloufer Bhagwat: The Privatization of War

16:10 – 16:30 Questions from the Jury

16:30 – 16:50 Coffee Break

16:50 – 17:10
Nermin al Mufti: The Occupation as Prison

17:10 – 17:30
Barbara Olshansky: Covert Practices in the U.S. War on Terror and the
Implications for International Law: The Guantanamo Example

17:30 – 17:50 Witness -
Mark Manning / Rana M. Mustafa: Testimony on Falluja

17:50 – 18:10
Abdul Wahab Al Obeidi: Human Rights Violations and the Disappeared
in Iraq18:10 – 18:30
Johan Galtung: Human Rights and the U.S./U.K. Illegal Attack on Iraq

18:30 – 18:50 Questions from the Jury


0509:00 – 09:10 Summary of the Previous DayFifith Session / Cultural Heritage, Environment and World Resources (Moderator: Hilal Elver)

09:10 – 09:20
Hilal Elver: The Framework of the Session

09:20 – 09:40
Gül Pulhan: The Destruction of Cultural Heritage: A Report from the
Istanbul Initiative

09:40 – 10:00 Witness -
Amal Al Khedairy: Testimony on the Destruction of Cultural Heritage

10:00 – 10:20
Joel Kovel: The Ecological Implications of the War

10:20 – 10:40 Witness -
Souad Naji Al-Azzawi: Tes. on Radioactive Contamination in Iraq

10:40 – 11:00 Questions from the Jury

11:00 – 11:20 Coffee BreakSixth Session / Global Security Environment and Future
Alternatives (Moderator: Ayşe Gül Altınay)

11:20 – 11:40
Ayşe Gül Altınay: Militarism and the Culture of Violence

11:40 – 12:00
Nadje Al-Ali: Gender and War: The Plight of Iraqi Women

12:00 – 12:20
Liz Fekete: Creating Racism and Intolerance

12:20 – 12:40
Samir Amin: The Economy of Militarization

12:40 – 13:00
Ahmad Mohamed Al-Jaradat: Relationship between Iraq, Palestine and

13:00 – 13:20 Questions from the Jury

13:20 – 14:30 LunchSixth Session / Continues

14:30 – 14:50
Wamidh Nadhmi: Polarization and the Narrowing Scope of Political Alternatives

14:50 – 15:10
John Ross: Collateral Damage: The Mexican Example

15:10 – 15:30
Christine Chinkin: Human Security in Iraq

15:30 – 15:50
Ken Coates: The Future of the Peace Movement

15:50 – 16:10
Corrine Kumar: Towards a New Political Imaginary

16:10 – 16:30
Biju Matthew: Alternatives for an Alternative Future

16:30 – 17:00
WTI İstanbul Coordination: The WTI as an Alternative: An Experimental

17:00 – 17:20 Questions from the Jury

17:20 – 17:40 Coffee Break

17:40 – 18:00
Richard Falk - Closing Speech on Behalf of the Panel of Advocates

18:00 – 18:20
Arundhati Roy - Closing Speech on Behalf of the Jury of Conscience

18:20 – 18:30 The Closing of the World Tribunal on Iraq, Istanbul.

27 JUNE 2005

11.00 Press conference announcing the decision of the Jury of Conscience at
Hotel Armada

You can complain about Baby Cries a Lot (as many of you have) but you can also make a point to inform yourself.
The World Tribunal on Iraq is being conducted right now. You can see it as a symbolic action or as a resource for information or however you want to see it. But you can also follow the proceedings online.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Who's Harlan?

Lonnie e-mailed to say I was like "Ask Harlan." Thanks, I think. I don't know who Harlan is.

Tammie wrote a long e-mail and I won't quote from it because she said it was private and it is. It's about all the tricks and promises that recruiters played on her brother. But she did say to make sure people know that they play mind games.

I want to get the word out on two stories from Democracy Now!

Pentagon Launches Massive Database To Help Recruiting Efforts
The Pentagon has begun working with a private company to create a massive database of high school and college students to help identify students as young as 16 to target for military recruiting. This according to the Washington Post. The database includes an array of personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying. The Pentagon has hired the Massachusetts-based company BeNow to run the database apparently in an effort to circumvent laws that restrict the government's right to collect or hold citizen information. The database will include data given over by schools under the No Child Left Behind Act as well as information collected from commercial data brokers. According to the Washington Post, the system also gives the Pentagon the right -- without notifying the students -- to share the data for numerous uses outside the military, including with law enforcement, state tax authorities and Congress. A Pentagon spokesperson defended the database saying, "This program is important because it helps bolster the effectiveness of all the services' recruiting and retention efforts." The new database is being created at a time when the Armed Forces is struggling to meet its recruiting goals. The Army has missed its monthly recruiting goals every month so far this year. But Chris Jay Hoofnagle of EPIC -- the Electronic Privacy Information Center --criticized the system as a "audacious plan to target-market kids, as young as 16, for military solicitation." EPIC described the database as a "unprecedented foray of the government into direct marketing techniques previously only performed by the private sector." The privacy watchdog group also criticized the program because it does not allow students to opt-out of being in the massive database although they can opt-out of being solicited for recruitment.
Rep. Maloney Criticizes Social Security For Releasing Personal Info
Meanwhile in other privacy news, New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has called for hearings over the recent disclosure that the Social Security Administration decided to share personal information about thousands of people with law enforcement after the Sept. 11 attacks.

And C.I. wrote about the last thing when the New York Timid covered it. C.I. used that old Eagles song "Lyin' Eyes" and changed it to "Pryin' Eyes." I like it when they go musical at The Common Ills. Scratch that. I need to generate a catch phrase here. Mikey Likes It when C.I. goes musical.

Did you catch Democracy Now! today? If so tell me now was I the only one who thought Lindsay Lohan came off like an airhead?

AMY GOODMAN: While supporters of the San Bushmen picketed across the street, luminaries like actress Lindsay Lohan were feted by the diamond giant.
LINDSAY LOHAN: Marilyn Monroe is my favorite, and she supported diamonds forever. So I'm supporting them, like her.

Rebecca caught the show and blogged on it but didn't mention that. If she wasn't still sick, I'd call her and ask what she thought but I'll just toss it out there.

I got an e-mail from Gaylene who says she's a lot older and doesn't get the whole Hillary Duff and Lindsay Lohan thing. Gaylene wondered who I liked better?

Hillary Duff can't sing and really should stop trying. She's kind of joke. Lindsay Loham can act.
I don't plan to see Herbie but Lindsay comes off more real. I don't know any college kids that think much of Hillary Duff. My kid sister used to until she started high school last year. Then the pix of Duff came down off the wall. Duff's like the Olson twins rolled into one and really something for young girls or what the media calls "tweeners." She's also being slammed on campus for her new movie with Heather Locklear where the commercial shows a guy who's gay making some comment and Heather laughs but Duff looks offended. People are saying she comes off like a bigot in the commercial.

J.B. e-mailed to ask if I knew anyone that had their mind changed by the Downing Street Memo? Good question, J.B. and yeah, I do know people. They're the ones who didn't want to go to war and didn't want to come out against it. I call 'em the lazy middle. I'm only taking one class right now, it's summer, get off my back, and there are five students who've felt like shrugging all last year but now all the sudden they're really mad and angry.

They're starting to hear about it in the media now, on TV and stuff, but they first heard about it online at news sources. I e-mailed two of them C.I.'s thing last week and they're starting to follow it. I think the fact that enlistment is down so bad and all has people my age, even the lazy middle, starting to think about this.

Five people may not seem like a lot but I think it is because I'm not like on the phone saying, "Hello, I am Mike and I'm calling you tonight to find out your views" and all. I'm going by what I see. I see five people and I think that's great because my family and friends were against the war already. I think that's part of why Bully Boy's poll numbers have dropped.

Keith e-mailed to ask if I liked the e-mails and I do because I'm not sure what I should be doing here. I'm like a clumsy virgin! So the e-mails let me figure out what to talk about.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Recruiting stories and a question asked is a question answered

Big thanks to everybody who e-mailed about the recruiter comments (and thanks to C.I. for highlighting them at The Common Ills). Barry wrote that he read acout some stuff in the newspaper but didn't really "connect with it because at 42 it's not anything I've had to wonder about happening to me." If it helped anyone that's gravy.

Antonio e-mailed to share his story:

They act like friends and then they turn on you and you're confused and everybody likes to be liked so it's just this game they're playing. So I say I want to go to college and be a lawyer and they are like so cool with that and shooting the breeze and finding out more and more. Then they start telling me that my grades aren't good enough for college and that my father can't afford to send me to college and let's hope I'll be happy working at a taco stand. And I'm mad and angry and the taco stand crack was really supposed to get to me because I'm Latino.

Jordan e-mailed that they do a thing with women that's a little different:

They told me that it was fun & exciting and the only place that I'd be able to move up, that everywhere else there would be this celing but that I could do anything in the army. They said as a young woman I could sign out after four weeks if I didn't like it because that was a special thing they had for women. But I was "tough" and probably wouldn't need it. They started bringing up my older brother who they don't know and isn't in the military and I think they were trying to figure out if there was competition there between me and him. I told them to fuck off and started walking away and they start talking really loud about how "She's scared. Yep, she's just afraid." I almost turned around to tell them off but as mad I was, it was obvious that they were trying to make me mad.

If you've got a story to share let me know.

I got an e-mail that kind of surprised me and I'm still not sure she's for real. I called Rebecca to ask her about it and whether I should answer it. She asked if it made me uncomfortable and I said no so she said answer it and maybe some other people will write in with other questions like that and or something else.

In case the gal who e-mailed was serious, I'll leave her unnamed so I don't embarrass her.
She wrote about Ruth's thing on NPR over at The Common Ills. (Which is great and you should read it.) She read this part of Ruth's entry and had a question:

Could any of that have effected chromosomes? I don't see why not. One of the first things fertility doctors, one of my sons is a fertility doctor, recommend to a couple attempting to have a baby with little success is that the man stop wearing briefs and switch to boxers to allow for "breathing." If something that simple can have an effect it seems clear that the toxic waste around us could as well. Or at least that seems clear to me.

She wanted to know about "breathing" and if it had anything to do with why all the guys on her campus are always grabbing their groins.

The question doesn't embarrass me but I did think it might be a joke.

So like it's summer and it's hot. And our parts hang out, guys. I don't want to be Dr. Ruth and use words like testicles but I don't want to offend anyone. I could be like Austin Powers and use words like twig and berries. Give me a second.

Okay, like our gear, men's gear, hangs outside the body. It's hot outside so it's hot down there. And like our package might be pressed against our skin or itching from the heat. And I bet if it's a hairy guy (I'm hairy except for my back) that we probably get even more uncomfortable than some dude who's got a little hair or 1 who shaves down there or something. If I'm wearing briefs, I'm going to have to make adjustments a lot because everything's packed in tight. But even if I'm wearing boxers, I still got pants on so I'm going to need make some adjustments. That's what we usually call it "an adjustment."

And sometimes we can just grip our waistband and give that a tug. But sometimes we need to grab the package itself and make an adjustment. My Ma would holler at me like crazy if I did that in public but I do that sometimes. I don't stick my hands down my pants in public but I have seen dudes do that. To me that's going too far but I'll reach down and give it a grab over my jeans and stuff.

I hope that answers your question. Oops, I talked about me. You were asking about all guys and while that's all true for most guys there are also guys who like to cup their crotches to show off. So some guys you're seeing may be doing it for that reason. Sometimes a guy will do it to show off if he thinks he's got a big package or thinks someone's interested in it. Sometimes a guy does it because he thinks it makes him look tough.

If there's something I didn't think of, guys help me out because this gal might be serious.

Speaking of serious stuff, I want to put up something from C.I.'s site here because I think it's pretty important:

Dahr Jamail's "Iraqi Hospitals Ailing Under Occupation" is a report you should be aware of.
There are nine sections, it's 37 pages (pdf format) and page five tells you what you probably already feared. Surveying thirteen hospitals "in order to research how the healthcare system was faring under the US-led occupation:"
This report documents the desperate supply shortages facing hospitals, the disastorous effect that the lack of basic services like water and electricity have on hospitals and the disruption of medical services in Iraqi hospitals by US military forces.
This report further provides an overview of the situation afflicting the hospitals in Iraq in order to highlight the desperate need for the promised "rehabilitation" of the medical system. Case studies highlight several of the findings and demonstrate that Iraqis need to reconstruct and rehabilitate the healthcare system. Reconstruction efforts by US firms have patently failed, while Iraqi contractors are not allowed to do the work.
The current model in Iraq of a "free trade globalized system," limited in fact to American and a few other western contractors, has plainly not worked. Continuing to impose this flawed and failing system on Iraq will only worsen the current healthcare crisis.
Before the next Operation Happy Talk gets started (I realize that in one form or another, Operation Happy Talk is always ongoing), you should familarize yourself with Jamail's report. It notes what is needed from program changes to basic equipment. Though you won't be surprised to learn of our "broken promises" (can the Bully Boy make any other kind?), you may not be aware of how bad things are and how many promises we've broken (or how much tax payer money has been wasted) until you read the report.

If you got a question on something, ask. Obviously that means on just about anything. If I know something or have an opinion, I'll put it up here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Arm Yourself With Some Truth

Let me do some shouts outs: Betty, Rebecca, Kat & C.I. thank you for linking to my site. You are the coolest.

Thanks to C.I. who gave me a shout out in an entry last night. Between The Common Ills and The Common Ills mirror site, I ended up getting a lot of e-mail.

I was read by people in England. That blows my mind.

Thank you to Pru, Gareth and the four others.

Everyone's been so supportive. Gareth asked me what I thought blogging was like as a new blogger?

Dude, it's like losing your cherry in front of the world! I feel like Jason Biggs in the American Pie movies.

A lot of you who wrote checked out my profile so I'm glad I put some stuff up there. My favorite White Stripes song is "Seven Nation Army," that's all time favorite. On the new album, I think "Blue Orchid" is da bomb.

Some of you wondered if I liked any older stuff coz I didn't list any. Yeah, I like the old stuff like Van Halen and Led Zepplin and all the other golden oldies like Nirvana. I don't have any of their stuff but I know it from the radio and relatives. But I didn't even know Tori Amos until Kat did her review of The Beekeeper. (I actually caught that when Third Estate Sunday Review reran Kat's review.)

For members of The Common Ills community who are new like me, I hope Kat will post all her reviews at her site because I know I missed some and Danny e-mailed to tell me I have to check out her Wilco review. And I searched that out to provide a link but I haven't read it but the thing that struck me was that the UK members that e-mailed told me they'd work my entry into other sites that sell CDs and DVDs and I was thinking, "Yeah sure." But that search turned up stuff from the UK like a DVD review for Life Is Beautiful where someone posted Kat's review of Wilco. I don't know the film but I mean wow you guys really do get the word out.

Wally e-mailed and he goes like do not tell your favorite b-ball team. I'm reading and all what's he worried about? Wally's a really cool guy and he should do his own blog coz he is just like so cool but I was reading on down and he goes, "You know most people aren't real happy right now." And I got that. If it helps any my team didn't make it.

It was so fun reading the e-mails and learning about you (I knew Wally already and he is so cool and so out there). I'm thinking about trying to figure out how to do a automatic e-mail like C.I. and Third Estate Sunday Review do coz I want you to know if I got it or not. That way if somebody writes something that stands out or needs an answer I can do it up here coz it's probably something worth sharing or something somebody else is thinking about.

Like Jodi e-mails and is all like "You are worried about talking sex and embarrassing your mother and what did you think she was thinking when she read you call yourself a male slut?"
Good point, Jodi, coz my Ma did read that and she did ask!

And another person who didn't say to use his name wrote and goes, "You are 19 and you are talking about drinking?" And I'm thinking all like, yeah. I mean is that a question? My age is up here and I do drink beer. I guess he was worried or bothered coz I'm not "drinking age" or something. Don't know what to tell you. I could go over to Iraq and get my head blown off or blow off somebody else's head so I think I'm old enough to drink dude.

But if I ever get busted, you'll be the first one I call.

Some of you asked about CounterRecruiter and I'm so into that site. I think it's important and stuff because it effects people my age. You should check it out. The latest entry is this quote from a thing. Here it is:

The new coalition Not Your Soldier has announced plans to host activist traning camps this summer

I've got friends who ended up enlisting and some of them were just pressured and pressured. They call you all the time and they send you stuff and when they get you on the phone it's like, if you're a dude, they try to make it like you can't be a man if you're not enlisting. It was really like a game of chicken for one of my friends, Joe, who signed up last summer.

He couldn't get a job and he was looking but blame it on Bully Boy economy, you know? And the recruiter was calling and calling and being all, "Are you scared?" and like, "Don't you want to serve your country?" and "You gonna work at Subway all your life, Joe? Oh, right, you don't have a job. Don't you think your parents are sick of that? Don't you want to be a man, Joe?"

The only way you get them to stop calling is to yell at them. I know that coz I was a junior in high school when my Dad started doing that. He did it over and over for like six or seven calls and they finally stopped calling. I mean he cussed them up and down the wall and across the carpet, you know?

Which is really about a question I got from Melody who wondered if I was ever tempted to sign up? Yeah, I was. And I was saying I was going to.

I was all "As soon as I turn 18" and Ma was all, "MICHAEL! You are not!" which I kind of expected but then Dad got in it on it too. That surprised me. Mothers are supposed to worry about you, you know?

Like if I'm on the phone with Ma and I sneeze it has to be I'm coming down with a cold. She worries about everything because she cares. But like Dad pulls me aside on the way to dinner one night and goes "After dinner, we're going out to the backyard."

And after dinner, Dad's all like, "This isn't going to be a war you're going to want to fight in."
This was like late 2002 and I was going, "Bush says they got weapons, Dad. They're going to attack us." I was all like in Starship Troopers mode. But Dad just goes that I need to turn off the hormones and listen.

And he just laid it out so clear. Joe, Robbie, Derek and me were all thinking then we were going to enlist. And we really started talking like that right after 9/11.

And Joe and Derek did end up enlisting. Derek first, then Joe. I worry about them all the time.
But I am so glad and proud to have a father like my Dad coz I was thinking, "Well it's on TV it must be true." And it wasn't.

And like today Dad could go "I told you so" but he's not that way. But if Ma reads this, yeah Dad could say "I told you so" to me and you can tell him I put it up here because he was right.

And like if Dad hadn't done that I wouldn't have been able to handle the recruiters face to face because you see them at school and you see them like in parking lots. And they come on like they're just good guys who want to be your bud with their "How you doing?" and "Hey let's talk a minute." There all dressed out so you can't not see them.

And they make this conversation with you but it's not really talking to you coz it's like they're trying to find your weakness and zero in on that.

So like I'm in high school and Dad's already had the talk with me but this recruiter and his bud are chatting like they're my best friends when all the sudden they zero in on my part-time job.

"So you like that? You bow for those men and women? You ask 'More pepper sir?' Like begging for tips? You wear an apron?"

And they're just like destroying me. I was a waiter coz it was good money and I could do it on weekends and all.

But they're saying stuff like, "Do you say 'I'm Mike you're serving wench, how may I serve you?'" Just pushing all the buttons. And I can feel the hairs on the back of my neck rising and even though I know they're trying to push my buttons and question my manhood I don't walk off and I start justifying my job.

And right in the middle of it I realize I'm being hooked and this is what they do, open up that conversation and act like they are the big men and you're not and you can only be one by being like them. But they're not going over to Iraq. They're going to schools and parking lots and malls. Then they desk jockey so who are they to question anyone?

So I just walked away because they want you to engage with them even if you're arguing. They know they can hook you. They'll just keep hitting your sore spots whatever they are. That's what the "Hey dude, talk" is all about. They don't care about you or why you're at the mall that day or what your friends are like. They just listen to store up ammo to use against you.

So this is a big issue with me. I saw Joe and Derek and some other dudes I wasn't real tight with sign up and a lot of it was cause the recruiters knew what buttons to push and all. And with people not want to enlist these days you gotta wonder if the draft is waiting around the corner.

So I hope you'll go to CounterRecruiter and arm yourself with some truth. Man or woman, old or young. You never know when you might be bringing up something to some kid that later on he or she may really need. I think that's the title of this one, "Arm Yourself With Some Truth."

Or maybe I'm just ready to split.

I don't know if this will be day to day or every now and then. I think it'll be more like Kat and just when I feel like I got something to say so if you got a question ask me and I will answer it.

Monday, June 20, 2005

New York Times can kiss my Irish ass

Greetings. My name is, my name is Michael. Mike to my buds. Common Ills member in da house keeping it real.

I'm 19 years old. College student. Work as well. Like to drink my beer. Miller Genuine Draft.
A beer in the hand and a game on TV and I'm set.

When I was a kid, I got called Mikey. And there was some famous commercial from way back before I was born so I'd always have someone saying, "Mikey likes it!"

Thought that was a good title for this site.

Played sports, first string but not good enough for college. Them's the breaks.

C.I. said the first post was the hardest and I thought "Ha, ha, yeah sure." Thought I'd be sailing through this puppy. Not happening.

Probably need an ice breaker.

The New York Times can kiss my Irish ass.

How's that. You feel me on that?

That's how I found out about The Common Ills. It was coming on St. Patrick's Day and the New York Times was trashing the Irish in Northern Ireland, pushing all this junk. Heard about it from my family. I got six brothers and sisters. I'm the second to the last.

So I'm pissed and angry and wondering why nobody's saying nothing. I mean are big brave voices, where are they?

That's when my aunt Kathleen turns me onto The Common Ills.

Met a lot a righteous people there, made some good buds. Learned a lot.

Wally, Krista, C.I. and Rebecca were all going, "Mike, start your own site."

So here I am.

Saying nothing. Expect plenty more of the same.

I don't know how often I'll post.

I was thinking, "Dude, this will be every day!" But then along comes this entry and it's like I just walked in and found out we're having a pop test.

So who knows how often I'll post.

I got school and work so if it's a problem with you, hey, pay my tuition. Otherwise, shut it.

Put my e-mail address up so it's there if you want to write.

I might answer.

I might not.

Jim of Third Estate Sunday Review spent a couple of hours on the phone with me Friday giving me tips and hints and one thing he said was, "If you're blogging, you're blogging. Somebody e-mails, you don't have to reply. You think it deserves a reply, reply."

So that's my policy.

Krista and Gina are going to plug my blog Friday in their Round Robin so I better do at least one more entry this week.

Gotta tell you though this is already way harder than I thought.

Grew up in the Boston area.

I'm six foot-one.

168 pounds.

Feels like I'm doing a personal here.

I love the White Stripes!

Kat, the way, way cool Kat of Kat's Korner, is someone I really like. She's Irish too. And she writes great reviews. F-ing great reviews. She sent some e-mails my way last week and she's just cool in e-mails.

Her advice was post when you want to say something and don't feel guilty when you have nothing to say or no time to.

I'll talk about my blog roll a bit and then bail.

Any Common Ills member who blogs gets on my blog roll.

I put up Democracy Now! just cause it's the best damn news show on TV, radio or internet.

Liberal Oasis is a cool site and I stand by all the blogs I put up on my roll but the main reason Liberal Oasis got up there right now was cause Jim was telling me on the phone last week that Liberal Oasis was one of the first to link to The Common Ills. That's good enough for me.

But I stand by what's posted.

I'll probably do more later on.

Anyone e-mailing wanting on my blog roll should know one thing about me - I'm a male slut.
You're not up there and you want a link, you better be willing to do a little for the Mike. You want a little of this, gimmie a little of that.

Serious about being a male slut. Not sure if I'll write about it up here. (Might shock my mother.) But if I do, Rebecca and I will be like bookends talking about sex.

Not to sure about talking sports here. I find I'm in the middle of a story or recap and all the sudden, half-way in, somebody wants to stop me to ask a question that tells me they need to know about the game itself, how it's played like, before I can go further.

That really irritates me. I like sports. Doesn't make me more manly. I don't get why so many dudes want to pretend they like sports when they don't even watch 'em and never played them.

Sex we all know about. Right? :D

I'll talk about politics but I'm no expert and don't pretend.

Krista said, "Speak from the heart and you'll be fine."

So that's about it.

I'll thank everyone who offered advice and answered questions. I'll apologize ahead of time for all the mistakes I'm sure I'm going to be making.

I'll thank C.I. who is the best blogger in my opinion even if The Common Ills is a community.
C.I.'s stayed on the phone with me for three hours, close to four really, while I set this up. I spent an hour on templates! I'd pick one and then say, "Wait, I want to change!"

C.I. never said (or yelled), "Dumb ass, just stick with one!"

I know nothing about blogging. C.I. kept saying the same thing but that's not true. Already I've been taught how to do links and how to set up things here and how to do my blog roll and about a hundred other things.

So thank you, C.I. And thank you to anyone who stopped by and read.