Friday, November 18, 2005


Good night. I'm late posting and I thank Rebecca for noting that at her site. Nina wanted to get out early instead of waiting for me to finish posting. Unless I'm sick or have a family emergency, I'll always post Monday through Friday (unless it's a holiday). I may be late, but I will be here.
Elaine's going to be running late as well because she had a big fancy dinner to attend. Rebecca's talked about how Elaine down plays her looks but I didn't notice until we were on the phone today. She was worried about looking presentable. I told Nina that and Nina said, "She's gorgeous!" (So is Nina.) But I guess people don't always see themselves as other people do.

Let's go to the news. Here are two items from Democracy Now!

Report: Military Experiencing Shortfall on Recruiting Goals
The New York Times is reporting a new government study has found the military is falling far behind in recruiting goals for key combat positions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Government Accountability Office says the military has failed to staff 41 percent of combat and non-combat specialist positions. The report says the shortfall was disguised by the overstaffing of other positions in order to meet overall recruiting goals. Derek Stewart, the G.A.O.'s director of military personnel, commented : "The aggregate recruiting numbers are rather meaningless. For Congress and this nation to truly understand what's happening with the all-volunteer force and its ability to recruit and retain highly qualified people, you have to drill down into occupational specialties. And when you do, it's very revealing."

Hawkish Democrat Calls For Immediate Troop Withdrawal
In an important development in the growing Congressional debate over the US occupation of Iraq, a hawkish Democrat who voted to authorize the war has introduced a bill calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. Democratic Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania said: "It is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraq people or the Persian Gulf region." Murtha is an army veteran with close ties to military commanders. He’s also the top Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, and has visited Iraq several times since the war began. His proposed bill reads in part: "The deployment of US forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date." The bill marks the first time a resolution has been submitted to Congress calling for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. In response, White House spokesperson Scott McClellan said: "Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party."

Even hawkish Dems are starting to see the truth about the occupation/invasion. It's taken them long enough. But the people were ahead of them on this and that's because you and I aren't answerable to corporate donors or polls. We don't have a staff or chat and chew circuit cautioning us on how to present ourselves. We can just speak the truth. The war was built on lies and it's time to bring the troops home.

The first thing is actually the thing that interests me most, the military's failure to meet targets for recruitment. C.I. mentioned that I'd probably be covering that later today and the e-mails came in. I think it was a record for me in one day.

People wanted to share their stories about how they're doing their part to say no to recruiters and to get the word out. Gillian wrote about a flyer she made on the fatalities and casualites in Iraq and everytime the recruiters are coming through her high school, she passes it out. Her principal got a hold of a copy and tried to lecture her and hinted about punishment and Gillian shot back a question: if he was saying we don't honor the fallen at her high school? He backed off.

She said that if anyone else was having problems with their faculty, they might think about doing a flier like her's.

Bobby wrote about standing by the table they have set up and asking questions they didn't want asked while they're doing their big rah-rah speech.

Kayla wrote about how when they come on her college campus, she and her friends start inviting everyone to an impromptu party.

Keelan wears his "Bush Lied, People Died."

Lots and lots of ideas and the point is everyone's getting the word out. When we work together, this is what we can accomplish.

With all the bribes and false promises offered, we still managed to get the truth out and say good for everyone of you. High school campus or college campus, we've been on this issue for some time. Long before I started this site, we've all been getting the word out.

People dismiss us as "apathetic" and "just kids" but we proved our power on this.

We can get beyond the mainstream media and get the word out all our own if we stick together.

Be sure to check out Elaine at Like Maria Said Paz. And make sure you check out what Wally posted this afternoon at The Daily Jot.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bully Boy and Dick sing love duets to each other, Cambodia, Woody charges by the hour

Good evening. Late start because my oldest brother showed up for dinner with a girlfriend we'd never met who it turns out is he just got engaged to.

She seems nice. What doesn't seem "nice" is what my kid sister told me. Primetime on ABC is devoting a show to Anna Nicole Smith and her dead husband. He's been dead for how long now?
And even if it were yesterday, how would it be news?

It's gossip. An hour of old gossip when there are so many important things in the world. Do grown ups put together these shows? It doesn't seem like it. They are paid for this though. Makes you wonder what gets stamped on their passport? Ma said "purveyor of gossip." :D

But there is real news and my bro's wife-to-be scored points with my parents when she brought up Democracy Now!

Bush, Cheney Blast War Critics
Amid mounting Democratic criticism of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have made their strongest responses yet to accusations they misled the country into war. At a press conference in South Korea, Bush said: "I expect there to be criticism, but when Democrats say that I deliberately misled the Congress and the people, that's irresponsible." Meanwhile, Cheney told a Washington gathering of the Frontiers of Freedom Institute: "The suggestion that's been made by some US senators that the president of the United States or any member of this administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city. What we're hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war." In response, last year’s Democratic presidential hopeful Senator John Kerry said it was difficult to name a government official “with less credibility on Iraq than Vice President Cheney." Weekly Standard editor and Bush administration insider William Kristol commented: "If the American people really come to a settled belief that Bush lied us into war, his presidency will be over."

Sorry to be the one to break it to little Willy, but Bully Boy is toast. He lied us into war and they can try to bully people into silence all they want, they won't change anything. They might be able to silence some of the spineless set but our elected leaders didn't lead on this. They weren't there marching to the chant of "Bush lied, people died!" This came from the people and Bully Boy can't silence the people. The news media can ignore us and act like we don't exist but we do.

They ignored the Downing Street memos and the people got the word out there.

So even if the media plays along, the way they always do, it won't change a thing.

Bully Boy is toast. Slap some jam on him and serve him on a plate.

New Documents Released on Nixon Bombing of Cambodia
And newly-released documents from the National Archives provide fresh insight into the Nixon administration’s efforts to deceive the public over its 1970 attack on Cambodia. The over 50,000 pages of declassified material include records of then-President Richard Nixon meeting with aides at a time Americans were told US forces in Cambodia were there to support South Vietnamese. Nixon told aides: "That is what we will say publicly. But now, let's talk about what we will actually do." Nixon instructed staff to continue the bombing of Cambodia and Vietnam. He also ordered them to extend the attacks to Laos, which had remained neutral. Nixon said: "I want you to put the air in there and not spare the horses. Do not withdraw for domestic reasons but only for military reasons."

Nixon is like Bully Boy with a brain. They're both evil. But Bully Boy doesn't work hard enough so it's all the more obvious when he screws up. Imagine the news we'll learn when Bully Boy's out of office. I know he executive ordered his ass and his father's into safety but an executive order can be overturned and we need to pressure the next president to do so.

Bully Boy doesn't own his papers, the people do. He works for us. He and Nixon both forgot that. The people remembered. Nixon's disgraced as the liar in chief and that's the fate of Bully Boy. All the echo chambers in the world won't be able to turn him into a great leader.

Woah on the Baby Cries a Lot forty years from now who tries to turn over a week's worth of programming to Bully Boy's state funeral. The public won't stand for it. He'll leave the White House disgraced and that disgrace will follow him and hound him until his dying days.

Now a long sample from C.I.'s "Democracy Now: Falluja, white phosphorous, Michael Ratner; topic Woody: 'Dylan,' Danny Schechter, Arianna Huffington, Alexander Cockburn ....:"

Now for the news on Woody. We'll start with the subject of much e-mails, latter day Dylan.Hot on the education beat our latter day Dylan types the following:
By the way, a word on Woodward: Succumbing to the joys of the tribe, liberals are now scoring the scribe as a store-bought, stenographer, Bush Admin lackey. It feels very good to say such things, but we have a somewhat different view -- partly because we actually read Woodward’s last book, Plan of Attack. Yes, there are some silly, Bush-friendly anecdotes in it, several of which we discussed when we did extensive critiques of the book. (The George Tenet "slam dunk" anecdote is the most significant. We even suggested that Woodward must have included it as some sort of quid pro quo for access.) But uh-oh! The book is also full of material which shows the Admin is a very bad light. In substantial detail, Woodward shows Cheney and Bush exceeding the state of the intelligence on Iraq starting in August 2002--and his portrait of Colin Powell preparing his UN report is deeply, deeply embarrassing to Powell. This book is full of material that incriminates the Admin. But few liberals have bothered to say this.But then, you know how we liberals are! As George Bush has said, reading books can be "hard work"--and it seems that few of us bothered with Plan of Attack.
[Bob Somerby's yackety-yack bores the hell out of me so we'll stop his quote and move on to the meat of the entry, C.I.'s commentary.]

What does that have to do with education? Not a damn thing. File it under another broken promise from our latter day Dylan if you'd like.
Did he critique the Tenet statement? Yes, he did. But our latter day Dylan embraced the book some days and derided it at other times. (He also apparently doesn't grasp that what looks like revelations to him produce smiles and comments of "he's so resolute" from Bully Boy's base.) What does any of that mean?
Well obviously it fits in with his principle where he can knock a male one day and then praise him (remember that women are trashed, he can't resist a good trashing, and they never have the option of a "resurrection" -- in his world Tina Turner would never have left the convention circuit). But I will say I am surprised. Woody is discussed. Not addressed, mind you.
He can't really address it because he is as compromised as Bob Woodward. I'm tired of it, latter day Dylan. Supposedly he was moving on to his education beat. But that apparently doesn't bring him enough readers. (And he's unable to make the arcane readable on that topic.) So as the crowds are getting restless he calls out "Blowin' In The Wind" to the band and rushes through a poorly rehearsed song.
Which is it? He's closing shop on other topics and focusing on education or not?
At what point does he explain his own connection to Plamegate? Why he's down played it from the start?
It's getting old, it's getting real damn old.
He was supposed to be a brave voice. Like Woody, people have puzzled over why he trashed the case from day one.
Woody went on Larry King weighing in on a topic, in a dismissive manner not unlike his own, and people wondered. Likewise, many people have wondered about him.
The reality please. The confession.
As for his comments today, reading books can be hard work. Which is why his "books" are the most superficial in the world. Our philosopher king, latter day Dylan, so concerned about education, wastes his time on badly written "books" by Woody. These are "books" only to the people shipping and carrying them.
I wouldn't call George Plimpton's transcription on the life of Edie Sedgwick a "book" and it's debatable how many in their right minds would applaud Woody's similar works as a "book."He lobs one at "liberals" as well. He really enjoys doing that. He's probably regretting that he couldn't also lob another one at The New York Review of Books. The anti-intellectual, latter day Dylan flies without a net and continues to turn out drivel that would make Elisabeth Bumiller, on her worst day, blush.
Who's playing "Hey rube!" here? It seems he is. (Or maybe he's so out of touch that he honestly assumes the nation still carries Woody to the beach each summer.) And on "Hey rube" -- would it kill him to credit? Hunter S. Thompson was using that phrase in the eighties. It popped up, all over the place, when he died. (Including at this site.) He's latched onto it and never noted where it came from.
Leaving latter day Dylan, Woody is a bad writer. I've stated that here many times and it didn't take the latest development for me to state it. Wired is a piece of ____ and for most people it (and the controversy around it) blew the idea that Woody was a "reporter" once and for all. He whined his side of the story to Rolling Stone in real time. That can be boiled down as "I just print the facts . . . as told to me." There's no effort to determine truth. Did someone else say (to him) something similar? Then it's "true!"How damaged was Woody by Wired? It comes out, the film, from a B-studio, with B-talent (apologies to Patti), no name and a "premiere" that was laughable. In our latter day Dylan's world, this is all news to him because if it wasn't written up in the Washington Post or the New York Times (in the national sections only -- of course!) it didn't happen.
I have no idea who the school marm is clucking at today and don't care. This entry is being dictated and I said "stop" at the end of the excerpt (it was being read to me over the phone). I understand he then goes into education. But he leads with Woody. That's where he places his emphasis. As he continues to live out the last act in his self-written Greek tragedy, it's no surprise that he identifies with Woody. Freud wrote of the criminal's compulsion to confess.
And our latter day Dylan can't stop returning to the scene of his own crime, where he blew the trust he has with readers by not disclosing. It's why people scratch their heads wondering why he writes from the angle he does on Plamegate.
We did a piece on him at The Third Estate Sunday Review. I killed the final paragraphs. (Actually, I said pull my name from the piece if the final paragraphs are included.) I think it's fairly obvious what latter day Dylan's problems are in that piece, but the final paragraphs put it in bold print. He needs to explain his connections, he doesn't need them explained for him.
Latter day Dylan should have either not written one word on Plamegate or he should have done a little explaining to his readers. (And that's not a call for more e-mails to either Rebecca or myself.) Latter day Dylan trades in tired lines, so here's one for him, "Loose lips sink ships."
They sunk yours. But only because you allowed yourself to be compromised. If you'd been honest, people would have said, "Oh that's why he dismisses Plamegate!" Instead, for years now, people have wondered and doubted their own better instincts because the "objective" latter day Dylan was offering his "detached" and "uninvolved" criticism. It's all so very Woody, no wonder latter day Dylan can't keep from identifying.
I can bite my tongue on a number of things. Including this summer's high profile firing that the official line plays one way but the unofficial profile screams National Enquirer headline. But latter day Dylan needs to get honest or stop writing about Plamegate.
Walk on,
Now let's switch to the reality-based world and something Zach e-mailed (by a journalist -- actually by two, but the first name is the one that pisses off latter day Dylan), Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair's "The Long, Long Fall of Bob Woodward" (CounterPunch):
It's been a devastating fall for what are conventionally regarded as the nation's two premier newspapers, the New York Times and the Washington Post. The Times's travails and the downfall of its erstwhile star reporter, Judy Miller, have been newsprint's prime soap opera since late spring and now, just when we were taking a breather before the Libby trial, the Washington Post is writhing with embarrassment over the multiple conflicts of interest of its most famous staffer, Bob Woodward, best known to the world as Nixon's nemesis in the Watergate scandal.
On Monday of this week Woodward quietly made his way to the law office of Howard Shapiro, of the firm of Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Doar, and gave a two-hour deposition to Plamegate prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, a man he had denounced on tv the night before Scooter Libby's indictment as "a junkyard dog of a prosecutor".
Woodward's deposition had been occasioned by a call to Fitzgerald from a White House official on November 3, a week after Libby had been indicted. The official told Fitzgerald that the prosecutor had been mistaken in claiming in his press conference that Libby had been the first to disclose the fact that Joseph Wilson's wife [ie Valerie Plame] was in the CIA. The official informed Fitzgerald that he himself had divulged Plame's job to Woodward in a mid-June interview, about a week before Libby told Miller the same thing.
Seeing his laborious constructed chronology collapse in ruins, weakening his perjury and obstruction case against Libby, Fitzgerald called Woodward that same day, November 3. Woodward, the Washington Post's assistant managing editor, no doubt found the call an unwelcome one, he had omitted to tell any of his colleegues at the Post that he'd been the first journalist to be on the receiving end of a leak from the White House about Plame. He'd kept his mouth shut while two of his colleagues, Walter Pincus and Glenn Kessler had been hauled before Fitzgerald. He only told Post editor Len Downie a few days before Libby was indicted.
Shortly after the call from Fitzgerald. Woodward told Downie that he would have to testify. On Wednesday the Post carried a somewhat acrid news story along with Woodward's account of his testimony. Later in the day Howard Kurtz posted a commentary on the Post's website. It's clear from the news story and Kurtz's piece that his colleagues find Woodward's secretive conduct unbecoming (Downie tamely said it was a "mistake") and somewhat embarassing, given all the huff and puff about Judy "Miss Run Amok" Miller's high-handed ways with her editors.And just as Miller and her editors differed strongly on whether the reporter had told them what she was up to, so too did Woodward's account elicit a strenuous challenge from the Post's long-time national security correspondent, Walter Pincus.
In Woodward's account of his testimony (which he took care to have vetted and later publicly approved by the Post's former editor Ben Bradlee) he wrote that he told Fitzgerald that he had shared this information -- Plame's employment with the CIA -- with Pincus. But Pincus is adamant that Woodward did no such thing. When the Post's reporters preparing Wednesday's story quizzed him about Woodward's version Pincus answered, "Are you kidding? I certainly would have remembered that."

Bob Woodward isn't Robert Redford. Redford's gone down his own road and kept his integrity. Rebecca says if they make a movie of Woodward's current problems that David Spade would play him. :D I laughed hard when I read that but my kid sister printed it up and used a magnet to put it up on the fridge.

Rebecca's "little miss run amuck bob woodward" last night was funny, way funny. here's a slice of that:

in case you missed it, there is a big journalism story today - bob woodward has known of the adminstration's talking about valerie plame since june of 2003. he testified on monday. the world only found today. he's sat on this during a criminal investigation. while he's been sitting on what he was told, he's taken to the tv and radio to explain to every 1 that this isn't a story, that it's just gossip and that america should pay attention to something else.gee bobbo, why might you feel that way?
once upon a time he was played by robert redford. if they made a film of his life today, he'd be played by david spade. which might be insulting david spade.
he's totally useless.
gossip, which is what bobbo calls the outing of valerie plame, is what bobbo's made his business for years now.
he grabs his pad and pen, heads down to the white house and waits for crumbs to be tossed to him. then he pulls it all together in a badly transcript (which reportedly then gets improved slightly but is still a writing mess) and calls it a book.
there is an author in the woodward & bernstein team and his name is carl.carl can write.carl can also do investigative journalism.
bobbo can take dictation.
he took it from felt and he took it every day since. he laid on his reporter's back and took it gladly some might say (if you want to extend the whore motif).
he made his name on access, some even say he got his job on access.
in the years since watergate, he's had no explosive story and a lot of people scratch their heads and wonder why that is?
how could he uncover watergate, they wonder, and not be breaking stories since?
because he was fed a story then and he was paired with a report who was an actual reporter, someone who went after a story with the belief that the press mattered and that the role of the press was to inform the people.

Bob Woodward's a joke.

C.I. had this up and I'll toss it in too because Danny Schechter seems like a smart guy and I do visit News Dissector (though not as much as Dad does)."'All the President's Men' (Ongoing . . .):"

I never trusted Bob Wooodward the former Navy intelligence man who went from a beat reporter on the Washington Post to an editor with ongoing access into the inner sanctum of the Bush Administration. He has admitted in the past holding back news he learned so that he could exploit his findings in a books he could profit from. Many of those used fictional techniques to disguise sources and promote his own aura as the ultimate insider.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bob Woodward, Falluja, phoney peace plan

Good evening. Elaine and I have been on the phone for a bit. We both had the NewsHour on and were laughing at one of the guests because of a secret ("secret") about the guest. C.I. almost put it up at The Common Ills this summer but then didn't. Then there were attempts to bring it into a roundtable but Ava and C.I. both would kill that section at the last minute. It's a juicy secret and when the guest was on, Elaine and I both died laughing everytime the guest spoke.
Let's move quickly to Democracy Now!

Woodward Was Told of Plame’s Identity
Longtime Washington Post journalist and current assistant editor Bob Woodward testified Monday a senior administration official told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame nearly a month before her identity was thought to be first disclosed. The official appears to be someone other than Lewis Libby or Karl Rove. Woodward was questioned by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald after the unnamed official alerted Fitzgerald of his conversation with Woodward. Citing a confidentiality agreement, Woodward and Post editors did not reveal the source’s identity. Post editors say Woodward only told them of the conversation last month.

There is a lot that we could talk about from Democracy Now! today but Common Ills community member P.J. asked us to note it. P.J. is really cool and was a lot of fun in D.C. and when a community member asks for something, as community members we listen.

So here's the short version, Bob Woodward has known all along that the administration was chatting about Valerie Plame and he never wrote a story and, even when Patrick Fitzgerald was investigating the outing of Plame, he never told his editors but he was all over NPR and Larry King going like, "Oh, there's no story here. There's no story here. There are big stories but this isn't one of them." His former partner, Carl Bernstein thought it was a story but Bob Woodward didn't.

Now we know that the whole time Bob Woodward was going, "There's no story here" he knew a lot more than he ever told. So was he saying "no story" to protect someone or to protect himself?

He's apologized to the Post but is he going to apologize to viewers of Larry King and listeners of NPR?

Why did he talk about it to begin with if he wasn't being fully honest?

He's just a joke now. And worse than Judy Miller because he is so much bigger than Judy Miller. I knew Judy Miller only because she lied in the Times. Bob Woodward is a name everyone knows. He's supposed to be a big, brave reporter.

That's why he got attention when he was going around saying, "There's no story here" about Valerie Plame. And he lied.

Republicans Defeat Measure For Withdrawal Timetable
On Capitol Hill, the Republican-controlled Senate passed a resolution mandating the White House to provide quarterly Iraq progress reports and urging it to accelerate the process for a withdrawal of U.S. troops. The measure passed after a Democratic measure calling for a specific timetable for troop withdrawal was defeated. Commenting on the rejected Democratic resolution, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said: "I think it speaks to a bit of nervousness about public perception of how the war is going in terms of [2006] elections. And to be honest with you, the war is going to be going on long after '06. I'm more worried about getting it right in Iraq than the '06 elections."

Notice the difference between the resolution that was defeated and the one that passed? There's no time table. It's like Elaine and C.I. were saying months ago, that there would be a "peace plan" offered to make sure everyone's butts were covered for the 2006 election. But it's meaningless. You can be sure that Republicans will trot out the resolution when they're campaigning for office saying, "See, we are dealing with the problems in Iraq." They're not doing a damn thing. It's all smoke and mirrors.

There were so many items to choose from but we both wanted to just do two and do two quickly because we spent a lot of time on the phone goofing off and laughing.

But we can cover one item here by noting something C.I. wrote last night. Democracy Now! was all over a story before the rest of the media and C.I. noted that last night in "The Pentagon's ever changing story on using white phosphorous in Falluja:"

Reporting for the Associated Press, Robert Burns ("Pentagon Used White Phosphorous in Iraq") informs us that:

Pentagon officials acknowledged Tuesday that U.S. troops used white phosphorous as a weapon against insurgent strongholds during the battle of Fallujah last November. But they denied an Italian television news report that the spontaneously flammable material was used against civilians.

Although this AP story doesn't acknowledge the source for this news, it does credit Lt. Col. Barry Venable.

For background, the report was broken by the BBC, "US used white phosphorus in Iraq:"

The Pentagon has confirmed that US troops used white phosphorus during last year's offensive in the northern Iraqi city of Falluja.
"It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants," spokesman Lt Col Barry Venable told the BBC - though not against civilians, he said.
The US earlier denied it had been used in Falluja at all.

"Earlier" as in "all along" the US denied it had been used. But the use of white phosphorus was actually confirmed last week, also by a "Lt Col."

From Democracy Now!'s "A Debate: Did the U.S. Military Attack Iraqi Civilians With White Phosphorous Bombs in Violation of the Geneva Conventions?" (November 8th, exactly one week ago):

AMY GOODMAN: So are you confirming that you used white phosphorus in Fallujah, but saying that it's simply not illegal?
LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: White phosphorus has been used. I do not recall it was used as an offensive weapon. White phosphorus is used for marking targets for both air and ground forces. White phosphorus is used to destroy equipment and other types of things. It is used to destroy weapons caches. And it is used to produce a white smoke which can obscure the enemy's vision of what we are doing.
AMY GOODMAN: And you're using it in Iraq?
LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: We have used it in the past. It is a perfectly legal weapon to use.
AMY GOODMAN: Maurizio Torrealta, news editor for the Italian state broadcaster, RAI 24. Your response?
MAURIZIO TORREALTA: Well, the United States, as the UK and Italy, signed the convention about prohibition of chemical weapons. And the convention define precisely that what make forbidden an agent, a chemical agent, is not the chemical agent itself. Because as Lieutenant said, the white phosphorus can be used to light the scene of a battle. And in that case, it's acceptable. But what make a chemical agent forbidden is the use that is done with it. If you use white phosphorus to kill the people, to burn and to block them, people and animals, even animals say the convention that we all sign, Italy, United States and UK, this is a forbidden chemical agent.
And we are full of picture that show bodies of young people, of children, of women which have strange -- particular, they are dead with a big corruption of the skin and show even the bone. And the clothes are intact, untouched. And that shows there has been an aggressive agent like white phosphorus that has done that. And we have all the number of those bodies and the place where they have been buried. So any international organization that wanted to inquire about that has all the tools and information to do it. And even the witness -- the U.S. military that we interview confirmed that the use of white phosphorus was against the population. And we have even picture of the fact that has been told by the helicopter down to the city, not by the ground up in the air to light the scene. Also the images, they spoke by themselves.

The news, which the BBC broke today, is that the US military is now admitting that it was used as a weapon. They're claiming that they used it only on "insurgents" and not on civilians.
Considering that the US military has denied using it until this month a real press would be buzzing with questions right now.
Actually, they would have been buzzing when Steve Boylan, speaking for the Pentagon, confirmed it on Democracy Now! -- but there's been no buzz.Is the military claiming white phosphorus is a "smart weapon"? How are they determing who was present when it was used?The slaughter of Falljua was not a one day event. (The November 2004 one is the one we're referring to.) But the domestic mainstream press has never demonstrated any interest in probing it. They've been happy to pick up awards for rah-rah, video-game coverage (Dexter Filkins), but they've refused to report on what happened in Falluja.
If they had been willing, it might not have taken a year to force a confirmation that the Pentagon used it. Or, a week later, that not only did they use it but, despite Steve Boylan's claims, they used it as a weapon.While the domestic mainstream media has been more than happy to report myths and happy talk on Falluja, reality has been in short supply. Democracy Now! receives no credit from the mainstream media (are they scared of it -- probably) and now the AP strips the BBC of their credit.
We've gotten press releases from the Green Zone (plus Dexy's "award winning" 'reporting') but we haven't gotten much truth.Some will read Robert Burns' AP story and think, wrongly, that the US mainstream media is hot on the trail of the real story. They'll read it and think, "Wow, that AP broke a story!" They repeated a story that they added a little to. That's all they did.
As for the BBC, will they stand by the story this time? This time because last week they were flipping like flap jacks. (Click on "White Death . . ." and that takes you to a Dahr Jamail archive, from which you'll click on "BBC and Fallujah: War Crimes . . ." The Brussels Tribunal doesn't provide individual web page addresses.)
Let's note this from Democracy Now!'s "A Debate: Did the U.S. Military Attack Iraqi Civilians With White Phosphorous Bombs in Violation of the Geneva Conventions?:"

AMY GOODMAN: Jeff Englehart, you are the Specialist -- former U.S. Specialist in the Army, a member now speaking out against the war. You are interviewed in this documentary explaining how white phosphorus was used in Fallujah. Can you tell us more?
JEFF ENGLEHART: Oh, yeah. I mean, I definitely heard it being called for. And I even talked to reconnaissance scouts after the siege, and they said they had actually called for it. The Pentagon spokesperson says that they use this for concealment, or some sources say they use it for illumination. But, I mean, I think that's ridiculous, because we would use -- just based on my training as a reconnaissance scout myself, we would use illumination separately, as it’s on exclusive ground. Since my training, we were taught that white phosphorus is used for troops out in the open or to destroy equipment and that it burns and that the only way to prevent the burning is to douse it with wet mud.To me, it's definitely a chemical weapon in the fact that it burns, and it burns indiscriminately. In fact, the use of white phosphorus violates the Geneva protocol for the prohibition of use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases and bacterial methods of warfare. So, I mean, even if the Geneva Protocol says it's illegal, I don't see how we're able to use it and then say that it's used for our own cover or illumination, when it actually could hurt our own troops. So I just think that, from the very top, the big problem with this war is that from the very top to the lowest level soldier, everyone's being lied to. And then the news gets gentrified by the mass media to make it sound like, 'Oh, well, white phosphorus is a good weapon that we can use to help spot targets,' when it's actually designed to burn its victims.

Please note, the Pentagon spokesperson, faced with that last week, continued to deny that white phosphorous was used as a weapon in Falluja. Now they want to say that it was used as a weapon but only on "insurgents."

A working press would be all over this story. A working press would note that the admission-denial that preceded (by one week) the latest admission would call the credibility of the Pentagon into question on this issue. They'd be working to get to the bottom of this.
Will that happen? Probably not at the New York Times. They're too invested in the "award winning" reporting of Dexter Filkins. Last week, I noted here (repeatedly, to the point of harping on it, Thursday was the longest entry on this topic) that Judith Miller's departure didn't change a thing at the paper. (Ruth also noted that in her Ruth's Morning Edition Report Saturday.)
We'll wind down by again noting the Democracy Now! report:

MAURIZIO TORREALTA: Well, that is a serious problem for information, the fact that you got only information that are controlled when you are embedded. You might find an agreement that obliges you to accept the fact that you are not going to give out information that could jeopardize or make difficulties for the army you are embedded with. So that is a serious problem that was not coming out from one end of journalists, staying only from one side of the fight.

See? Democracy Now! is awesome. People who don't watch it were probably scratching their heads and going, "White what? Whiskey Pete huh?" But if you watch Democracy Now!, you know the important news. And you are better informed.

Don't forget to check out Elaine's comments at Like Maria Said Paz. And read C.I.'s "Editorial: Someone explain to Bob Woodward that a reporter reports."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Secret flights and Alito

Good evening. We'll kick things off with Democracy Now!

Report: CIA Used Spanish Airports for Secret Flights
The Spanish newspaper El Pais is reporting that CIA planes made at least 10 secret stopovers inside the country while transporting detainees. The secret stops occurred at airports in Spain's Baleaic islands. Spain's opposition party - the United Left Party - has called on the country's interior Minister to explain the use of Spanish airports for what it describes as the CIA's "plane-prisons." Another Spanish newspaper -- Diario de Mallorca - reports that a CIA plane that took off from the Spanish island of Mallorca was involved in the alleged CIA kidnapping of a Lebanese-born German who says he was snatched up in Macedonia and then transported to Afghanistan. The man - who has since been released - claims that in Afghanistan he was shackled, beaten, injected with drugs and questioned persistently about his alleged links with al-Qaida. A number of probes are underway in Europe over covert CIA operations there. The Italian and German governments are both investigating allegations that the CIA has kidnapped individuals within their borders. Italy is seeking the extradition of 22 CIA agents for the involvement in one such kidnapping. The Washington Post also recently reported that the CIA has two secret prisons in Eastern Europe countries.

You got to spread the dirty work around. Bully Boy can't crap on America non-stop. You may also remember the protests at Shannon airport in Ireland. How many countries is Bully Boy going to sully besides our own, huh?

If he's not invading or occupying them, he wants to make them partners in crime.

Maybe he's thinking if he spreads the guilt around, no one will ever charge him with war crimes?

There was a discussion at the food court today about Bully Boy being impeached and some loon had written online that we can't impeach Bully Boy because a) we'd get Cheney and b) think how good it will look for 'our side' in 2006 or 2008. Everyone was laughing at that crap and calling the guy the new Cokie Roberts.

That's like saying Roy's the manager at McDonalds and Tommy's the assistant manager. Roy's going around sexually harrassing and Tommy's a creep. But we got Todd who just started and if we wait two years then Todd can be manager but if we report Roy right now, Tommy will be manager! Oh no!

You do something wrong, you pay the consequences. If you don't hold people accountable you degrade the understanding of accountability.

Now for (b). I'm not one of those people who believes you pin it on a "sure thing." But weren't we told 2004 was a sure thing? Some Republicans had turned against Bully Boy, John Kerry was a war hero, his wife had money, there was no end in sight, we were going to get the White House!

Now drop back to 2002 and what were we told? "We'll pick up seats because that ALWAYS happens in an midterm election!"

Didn't happen either.

If we're able to impeach him, we impeach him.

We didn't impeach Ronald Reagan and look what happened.

Not only does he have monuments all over the place but the criminals in his administration walked away with their reps and got to come back into the White House under Bully Boy.

You nail his ass to the wall if you get a chance. You make sure the world knows we do not approve of his actions. You make sure in the history books there is always a stain next to his name. That's how you prevent the "Reagan was a saint" crap from glomming on Bully Boy.

And you do it because right is right and wrong is wrong.

Alito: "The Constitution Does Not Protect A Right To An Abortion"
Newly released documents show that Supreme Court Justice nominee Samuel Alito said 20 years ago "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." Alito made the statements in a job application to become deputy assistant to Ronald Reagan's Attorney General Edwin Meese. In the job application he wrote "I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government argued that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." Alito said it had been a "source of great personal satisfaction" to help advance such legal causes because he believed in them "very strongly." He also wrote at the time "I believe very strongly in limited government, federalism, free enterprise, the supremacy of the elected branches of government, the need for a strong defense and effective law enforcement, and the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values." In the same document he revealed that he was a "lifelong registered" Republican, a Federalist Society member and that he had donated money to the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Conservative Political Action Committee. Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said the documents reveal that Alito is an "aggressive participant in an ideological movement intended to withdraw discrimination protections from workers." Alito's confirmation hearing is scheduled to begin on January 9th.

Where are all the hacks who were talking up Alito the ones who were "liberals" and willing to vouch for him?

Filibuster. That's the only thing to do when Bully Boy & co. try to pull a fast one.

O'Connor's not going anywhere and even if she does say "enough" we can get by with eight justices. The country has before.

I'm going to close with something C.I. noted today because I think it goes with the whole right is right, wrong is wrong theme I'm doing tonight. If you do work, you should get the credit but that's not how it works at the New York Times. From "Other Items:"

The above tells you all the facts from Kirk Semple and Edward Wong's "U.S.-Iraqi Assault Meets Resistance Near Syrian Border" in this morning's New York Times. There's more in the article but nothing to indicate that the two writers observed it. Some appears fed by the military, some by a stringer. So the thing is, since the stringers risk their lives outside the Green Zone, is it really fair to reduce them to end credits?
If it's a "safety issue," is the assumption that the insurgency wouldn't read down to the end credits? They name stringers in the end credits. So how can Semple and Wong, for instance today, take credit for an article with three paragraphs on Ubaydi when they weren't there. The end credits tell you that Johan Spanner was. I'm not seeing any big difference between this and Rick Bragg or, for that matter, Judith Miller. Semple and Wong take credit for reporting on Ubaydi but neither was there. This isn't an "end credit" thing. Spanner's there, the information in the article comes from him. Either identify him in the text ("Spanner reports . . .") or put him the byline. The Times lost a stringer and treated it as news (it was). If they want to show respect for the people doing the work on the ground, they need to give credit -- not just after the fact. Credit isn't an "end credit." Credit is a byline or a mention within the text of the story.

Remember to check out Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz for her take on the two things.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Massachusetts and San Francisco fight back, Bully Boy still lies

Good evening. Remember to check out Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz because we'll be hitting the same two items from Democracy Now! So let's get started.

Thousands of Students Say No To Recruiters in Boston
The Boston Globe is reporting that more than 5,000 high school students in five of Massachusetts' largest school districts have removed their names from military recruitment lists. In Boston, about 3,700 students, or 19 percent of those enrolled in the city's high schools, have removed their names from recruiting lists. At Cambridge Rindge and Latin School more than half the student body, ordered the school system not to give their names to the military this year.

Let's hear it for Massachusetts! I say that not just because it's my state but because way to go!
I think this could be duplicated in most of the states. It's just a case of us getting the word out and letting people know what is going on and that they can opt out but have to do so in writing.
In fact, if you didn't opt out, your story is even more important to share. Tell people about all the calls and calls. That's reason enough for a lot of parents to opt out, they don't want to get calls every evening from recruiters.

And they shouldn't have to. Wasn't that the point of the do not call list? To stop people from trying to sell you stuff over the phone? Recruiters are trying to sell you the military. Now is there a kid out there who doesn't know that the United States has a military? No.

This is telemarketing and when it's done by the government it's "okay."

So especially if you have a horror story (which is pretty much everybody who didn't opt out in writing), share it. Tell 'em about the Thursday night at nine o'clock calls, the phone calls during dinner. How you say, "I'm not interested" and they kept calling and calling.

Every now and then you hear some gas bag say, "Kids today don't do anything." Those gas bags don't know what we're doing. I talked to Ruth on the phone Sunday afternoon to compliment her on her outstanding Ruth's Morning Edition Report. (If you haven't read her latest, go read it.) And we were talking about how active people my age and younger are. Ruth knows, she's got grandkids. But she said, and this is important, that the mainstream media didn't take the youth of the sixties seriously either. She said they had to do substained actions over and over before they got any attention. The gas bags in the mainstream media never know what they're talking about because they're too busy hopping in limos to dash from chat & chew to chat & chew and the only time they see an actual person is when they're paid to speak somewhere.

And before you think it's just my state, let's check out, from CounterRecruiter, Kat Aaron's "College Not Combat in SF:"

The November 8th elections brought another 4 years of Republican Michael Bloomberg to New Yorkers. Across the country, San Francisco voters struck a blow against military recruiting. Voters there approved a ballot measure urging the city's "public high schools and college campuses to keep out military recruiters."
According to the Associated Press:
Measure I, dubbed "College Not Combat," opposes the presence of military recruiters at public high schools and colleges. However, it would not ban the armed forces from seeking enlistees at city campuses, since that would put schools at risk of losing federal funding.

This is a movement and a lot of gas bags are acting like we should be where the youth was in 1968 but they didn't start out in 1968. They started out years and years before. It takes work.
And what C.I. rightly dubbed the summer of activism put down further roots and we're just going to see more and more. That's why Bully Boy has to lie Friday because even the White House knows what the gas bags don't, the country has turned against the war and will keep turning it against it.

Back to Democracy Now!

White House Tries To Alter Transcript of Press Briefings
The White House has been accused of trying to rewrite history after requesting Congressional Quarterly and the Federal News Service to alter the transcript to a October 31 press briefing. Both news agencies reported White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan responded to a question about the CIA leak case by saying "that's accurate." But the White House insists he said, "I don't think that's accurate." So far both Congressional Quarterly and the Federal News Services have refused to change their transcripts but the White House website now claims McClellan said "I don't think that's accurate."

That's how they deal with reality at the White House, they try to alter the facts. That's what got us into this war. They can't tell the truth and then they want to change what actually happened.

Hey, you know what, Wally said it best at The Daily Jot this morning:

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts on Bully Boy's Veterans Day Speech. Bully Boy when the lips start flapping, the lies start flying.
Years from now, he'll be like the converse George Washington. Parents will tell about him chopping down a cherry tree and how when asked, even though he was holding the axe at the time, he said, "No, no, it wasn't me!" When he was shown photos a neighbor took of him chopping down the tree, little Bully Boy would whine, "We all wanted to chop down the cherry tree!"
Moral of the story parents will point out to children, "You are responsible for your own actions. Not 'everyone else.' Not Bill Clinton. You."
At The Third Estate Sunday Review, I worked with them on this piece about the lies of Bully Boy. Check it out.

Now let's note Dave Zirin's "The Soccer Star and the President:"

If there were a Mount Rushmore of international soccer, Diego Maradona's face would be on it. In 2000 he was named by FIFA (the Fédération Internationale de Football Association), along with Pelé, as the greatest player in the history of the sport. But in his native Argentina, Maradona is a lightning rod for love, hate, brutal criticism and passionate defense. He is Muhammad Ali in 1968--if 1968 lasted for twenty years.
Maradona was in the eye of a media storm last weekend, as he participated in a rally against George W. Bush and US trade policy while Bush met with Latin American leaders at the Fourth Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Surely many wondered why this stocky, five-foot-six former athlete was so adored, so incendiary and so intimately involved in a protest against the American President.
Maradona went from soccer superstar to Argentine folk hero during the 1986 World Cup, when he avenged the 1982 British defeat of Argentina in the Falklands War. Argentina trounced England four years later with two Maradona goals--one with his foot and one with the sly help of his hand, a score that has become known as "the hand of God."

Dave Zirin's a great writer and everyone should check out What's My Name Fool? and I hope you don't look at that and go "Oh, sports." Sports can communicate. The link takes you to our review of it at The Third Estate Sunday Review and you can also check out the latest book discussion, "Five Books, Five Minutes."

Check out Elaine's comments tonight.