Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Beat of Black Wings

Look! It's Hillary!!! From Isaiah's latest, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Beat of Black Wings/ The Screech of the War Hawk" which captures the war monger perfectly. :D

Isaiah said he saw a Getty Images photo yesterday evening and that inspired today's comic. I looked and looked but couldn't find one by them. I found one by Reuters and you can click here and see it -- for a real short time. Yahoo only keeps their photos for a real short time.

C.I. read it and knew the song Isaiah's was thinking of right away. (I didn't, but Dad was bragging he did -- and he probably did because he's really into music and he hauled out the CD to prove it so I'm sure he did.) Here's a section of Joni Mitchell's "The Beat of Black Wings" song:

"They want you -- they need you --
They train you to kill --
To be a pin on some map --
Some vicarious thrill --
The old hate the young
That's the whole heartless thing
The old pick the wars
We die in 'em
To the beat of -- the beat of black wings"

What's the point of screeching Hillary the War Hawk cartoon? She got booed. She got booed and hissed yesterday. She was supposed to get an easy time of it and the group, Take Back America, had even stabbed a group in the back to make sure but here's Medea Benjamin writing about it in "Peace Activists at Hillary Clinton’s Speech Try to Take Back 'Take Back America':"

The Take Back America conference, an annual event held in Washington DC this year from June 12-14, is supposed to be a venue for prominent progressives to gather and debate the major issues of our day. Their aim is to "provide the nation with new vision, new ideas and new energy." But choosing New York Senator and probable presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as a keynote speaker and then stifling dissent against her pro-war position hardly seems the stuff of a new vision for America.
The peace group
CODEPINK is widely known for bringing its anti-war message to the halls of power, including inside the Republican National Convention and at President Bush's Inauguration. But it has also targeted Democrats such as Hillary Clinton who support the war. "We have a campaign called Birddog Hillary," says CODEPINK's New York coordinator Nancy Kricorian. "We follow her around the entire state asking her to listen to the voices of her constituents and stop her support of Bush’s ‘stay the course’ policy in Iraq. So far, she hasn’t been listening." Fearing that CODEPINK would openly confront Clinton on her pro-war policy, the organizers of Take Back America entered into negotiations with CODEPINK a few days before the conference. "We had lengthy discussions where they pleaded with us not to protest during her keynote breakfast address," explained Gael Murphy, one of the cofounders of CODEPINK. "Instead, we were told that we could distribute flyers explaining Hillary's pro-war position to the crowd inside and outside the hotel, and we would be called on to ask her the first question after the speech. We agreed."
However, when CODEPINK showed up on Tuesday morning in advance of Clinton’s speech, the security guards refused to allow them to pass out flyers, even outside the hotel. "Take Back America violated the agreement from the moment we arrived,” said Ms. Murphy. "Even though we had a table inside the conference, burly security guards blocked us and informed us that it was a private event, that we were not welcome, and they escorted us out of the building. We telephoned the conference staff who then told us that we couldn’t enter the hotel, couldn't leaflet the event, the hallways--anywhere. They went back on their word and tried to quash even peaceful, respectful dissent."

You can click here to find info on how to contact your Senators and tell them troops home by the end of 2006 (it's a link to John Kerry's page). Now let's get things started with Democracy Now!

More Than 1,000 Protest Bush in Baghdad
The President's visit was protested in Baghdad. Earlier today, more than one thousand people took to the streets calling on the US to withdraw from Iraq. The demonstrators waved Iraqi flags, carried signs and chanted slogans including "No, No to the occupiers."

It ended up being 2,000. Where's the coverage of that? You can't turn on the TV (even now) without seeing the publicity stunt of Bully Boy walking around the heavily fortified Green Zone. The Bubble Boy went to Bubble Land and it's news?

GOP Rep: Wife in DC At "Greater Risk" Than Iraq Civilians
Meanwhile, a Republican Congressmember is coming under criticism for making comments downplaying the dangers of life in Iraq. Speaking Monday on the House floor, Iowa Republican Steve King said: "My wife lives here with me, and I can tell you… she's at far greater risk being a civilian in Washington, D.C. than an average civilian in Iraq."

You know what then? King and his wife should move to Iraq. He can commute. That would be great for the nation. He can bring with him eye witness reports on Iraq. So, since it's so safe there, they should both move there immediately.

I say "both" because I know these big talking Republican Congress members love to shoot off their mouths. So to make sure his wife doesn't get stuck there by herself, they should both move. I'm sure his constitutents would grant him a waiver because he could also be representing the American soldiers serving in Iraq. And he'd go down in history as the first (of many to come) Congress member of our fifty-first state, Iraq.

Here's something C.I. passed over this morning. Isaiah's comic was great and a great surprise but it meant C.I. was rushing like crazy this morning and wasn't able to include the item about to highlight. Mia sent it to C.I. (and she's cool with me spotlighting it here). This is from Nicole Colson's "An Interview with Lynne Stewart: 'They Want the Fear Level at a High Pitch':"

COLSON: YOUR CONVICTION rested in part on your reading a press release from your client to a Reuters reporter in 2000. But it wasn't until two years later, after the September 11 attacks, that you were indicted. Why do you think the government waited so long? Do you think the indictment was politically motivated?
STEWART: TO ANSWER the last question first, there definitely were political motivations. I somehow have a glimmering that it never would have happened if there hadn't been 9/11.
But of course, the Bush administration was anxious to keep the fear level at a very high pitch. If you remember back to April 2002, which is when I was arrested, they had the Patriot Act in place, they had all this stuff going on, and they had very, very little to show for it--a few enemy combatants that were picked up in Afghanistan, but nothing else.
So I think they reached back and used this to drum up--or trump up I guess--a sense among people that there was something to be feared, and that they were on top of it and were taking care of it. I think this was exemplified by the fact that Ashcroft, the Attorney General, then went on Letterman to beat his chest and say what a great bunch of guys they were.
So definitely, I think [my arrest] was to keep the fear level at a high pitch--because when people are afraid, they tend to give up decision-making power and allow the "authorities" to do it.
HOW DO your trial and conviction fit in more generally with broader attacks on civil liberties?
THE ACTS that are the basis of the indictment took place in 2000, so that's pre-Patriot Act. But there's no question in my mind that the Patriot Act gave a certain aura to what the government had done in my case, which made it much easier for the judge to find that listening in on attorney-client conversations was okay.
The judge made absolutely no rulings that said anything the government had done was constitutionally wrong--even though it was a wholesale invasion of probably the First Amendment, the Fourth, the Fifth, the Sixth.
I do think that my case really goes to the heart of the Bill of Rights, and the Bill of Rights is diminished by my conviction. I think that's exactly what this administration and this government wants to see happen.

Lynne Stewart should have never been convicted. She didn't break any law. What's she was accused of was breaking some sort of agreement. You're not supposed to be convicted for that. As long as the conviction stands it makes every American less safe.

We're talking about a grandmother with cancer. They not only pulled her law lic., they want to put her in prison. This is nonsense. Free Lynne Stewart!

No, here's my slogan: "Free America! Free Lynne Stewart!" As long as she stands convicted, we all do.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Iraq snapshot.
In the United States, following
the actions of the so-called Take Back America leadership to silence the activist organization CODEPINK from registering their objections to war monger Hillary Clinton, Clinton's opponent in the primary, Jonathan Tasini, has issued his own comments at The Huffington Post where he wonders: "So, the question to real progressives through the country -- and funders who enable the organizations that want to stifle debate -- is simple: how are the progressives different than Republicans and pro-war Democrats if they suppress debate about the centeral electoral issue, the Iraq war?"
Hillary Clinton, though protected, was still booed. As was George Bush Snr. in Harrogate Friday. The protests are not going away which is why the Granny Peace Brigade was back in Times Square last Saturday and why they have "announced [that] they are taking their anti-war tour to Washington."
Something that won't be taking place in Baghdad anytime soon is the Arab League conference which has been postponed again. The conference has been postponed, again, due to the instability in Iraq (that would be the continued chaos and violence). As Amy Goodman noted today, a recent Pew Research Center poll has found a decline in support for US Policies. As Al Jazeera has noted, the poll finds that the US involvement in Iraq "is the biggest threat to Middle East stability."
A feeling that was shared by the protestors that rallied against the Bully Boy when he visited Tuesday. As Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show today, "some 2,000 protested" chanting slogans such as "Iraq is for Iraqis!" and calling for an end to the occupation. Today, as RTE News noted, protestors also made their presence felt at the Iranian consulate in Basra. Gulf News reports that they attacked the embassy and "set fire to a reception area of the building" as a result of a broadcast on "Iranian satellite station which they said had insulted a Shiite cleric in Iraq."
Meanwhile the photo-op sucked up a great deal of news space but few found the time to note that Bully Boy managed to grab time to lean on Nouri al-Maliki, occupation puppet, about Iran. Whether 'rebels' were discussed or not, the Turkish Press reports that al-Maliki desires "a dialogue with rebel groups." Roula Khalaf (Finanical Times of London) reports that "a national reconcilliation initiative that could include a conditional amnesty offer and negotiations with some some armed insurgent groups" is being prepared.
While al-Maliki's "crackdown" takes place in Baghdad, the usual violence occurs. Ceerwan Aziz offers an eyewitness account of one bombing for Reuters:
The blast sent shrapnel flying in all directions as huge balls of flames moved skyward. People fled the scene screaming and crying. The charred body of a dead man sat upright, engulfed by huge flames. A teenage boy was also on fire. He managed to grab a rod extended to him, and was pulled out of the inferno. I counted four bodies, but couldn't tell if they were dead or seriously wounded.
The Associated Press also reports four dead from the car bomb in Baghdad. Reuters notes two other car bombs in Baghdad today (this during the "crackdown"), one that claimed the lives of at least two (wounded at least seven) and another that wounded at least one person. The AP notes that a man driving his car in Baghdad was shot and killed while a roadside bomb (not covered by Reuters) took the life of one "police commando." This during the "crackdown," when, as the AFP points out, over "50,000 Iraqi and US troops patrolled the streets of Baghdad".
Outside Baghdad, CNN reports that four were killed, in Baquba, during a gunfire attack on "electronic stores" and that a skirmish of some form occurred in Diyala with officials reporting five dead and three wounded. In Mosul, the AP notes a roadside bomb that wounded four police officers. In Najaf, Reuters notes that "a construction contractor . . . working for the Iraqi government" was killed by "gunmen."
Meanwhile the WRA (Women's Rights Association) is reporting "a massive increase in reported cases of sexual abuse in Iraq." The report has found, among other things, that "nearly 60 women have been raped in Baghdad since February, while another 80 were abused in other ways." Note, that is in Baghdad only. That is reported rapes only. And that is only since February.

Go check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's point of view.