Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Guantanamo, Armed Madhouse, and more

Tuesday, one day closer to the weekend. Dad says when I start counting the days like that, I'm getting old. :D Let's kick things off with Democracy Now!

U.S. Refuses to Close Guantanamo
Meanwhile the Bush administration is once again rejecting calls to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison following the suicide of three men on Saturday.
State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack: "Look, we have no desire to be the world's jailers. We look forward to the day at some point where it would close down but the fact of the matter is that right now it houses some very dangerous people who right now are not only a threat to American citizens but other people around the world."

Meanwhile in Washington, the Center for Constitutional Rights held a press conference condemning the administration's treatment of detainees at the military base.
Attorney Gitanjali Gutierrez: "It does seem that the administration will continue to try and put a spin on this when I think it's very simple and very clear what happened. We are holding human beings in indefinite detention, with complete uncertainty about their fate, under conditions that are stressful and oppressive. There is a reason why our constitution ensures the rule of habeas corpus, there is a reason why the magna carter incorporates the rights to challenge imprisonment by the king and its because that kind of detention leads to the exact results we saw this weekend, a kind of desperation and futility that would make someone rather die that continue to be held like that."

They refuse to stop doing anything illegal. That's Guantanamo, the war on Iraq, the spying on Americans. And it's all part of the same push. Bully Boy's useless to them at this point, they're setting up the country for the long haul and it's going to be a different country than anything our parents or grandparents could have pictured. You need to start using your voice and making it heard. Silence (or continued silence) will destroy the country.

Religious Leaders Call on U.S. To Abolish Torture
Twenty-seven religious leaders including megachurch pastor Rick Warren and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, have signed a statement urging the United States to "abolish torture now -- without exceptions." The group's statement appears in a series of newspaper ads bought by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. The statement reads in part "Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation."

Bully Boy doesn't care. He only trots out Jesus when it's time to bash gays. He doesn't care about religious leaders and he didn't care when they were against the war. He is not a godly person just another cheerleader for occupation and the destruction of democracy. We've given up so much in this country. I'm reading Greg Palast's Armed Madhouse right now (thank you to C.I.) and I'm only on page 52. Palast is writing about how there were two plans, the invasion and the occupancy and how Colin Powell was all for the invasion (at least as early as Feb. 2001). That's as far as I've gotten so far. Rebecca's reading Katha Pollitt's new book and she wanted to finish it last night and if I were as fast a reader as she is, I'd be reading now and posting tomorrow. But it's probably going to take me a few days to get through this book. I really enjoy it so far and can't imagine a surprise ending coming along that makes me go, "WTF!" :D C.I. got a copy for Betty too and she's wanting to read it but still trying to get used to her new job at work (she was promoted -- congratulations to Betty) and she thinks it may be July 4th before she's feeling like she can handle her new job. (She can handle it, probably can handle almost anything. She's just a worrier.) It really is an Armed Madhouse. Read the book!

20,000 Ordered To Evacuate from Florida Due to Hurricane
And in Florida, more than 20,000 people have been ordered to evacuate along the Gulf of Mexico as the first tropical storm of the hurricane season, Alberto, made landfall this morning.

"Where is Wally's grandfather?" Tony asked me that, Nina asked me that. There were thirty e-mails to The Common Ills about that. C.I. tried to address it in a morning entry today but ran out of time and asked if I could mention it? Sure can. Wally's grandfather isn't waiting for hurricane's to hit land. After last fall, when the warning sounds, Wally drives out and they drive back to Wally's mom's house.

Wally thinks it's cool that so many people were asking about his grandfather. He said his grandfather's reading Armed Madhouse (Wally got his copy same place I got mine) and as soon as his grandfather gets done, he's starting on it. We started talking about what we were going to do with it after we were done reading?

With The Center for Constitutional Rights' Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush, we both ended up passing our books on because we wanted to get the word out. (I whined in California about that and C.I. gave me a copy -- another copy. :D) A few weeks after we'd passed ours on, we were both like, "Man, I wished I'd kept that.) It's important to pass books on that we everyone's arming themselves with knowledge. But I've been laughing a lot while I'm reading Palast's book and I'm thinking I'll be selfish and keep this one. (I did promise Tony he could borrow it and Nina's reading it right now while I'm posting. She's a fast reader and can probably finish the whole thing in one sitting.)

Did you know the illegal war almost ended today? It didn't really but read Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY TRIES TO HOLLER 'TROOPS HOME NOW!'" and laugh. And the hit on campus today that had everyone stopping me?

Did someone say "uninformed"? Yes, John F. Burns and Dexter Filkins are back for a reach- around and it's called "A Jihadist Web Site Says Zarqawi's Group in Iraq Has a New Leader in Place." If it reads like the two were scanning their laptop late at night until they could find some war porn, well, there's a reason for that. You get the usual nonsense you've grown to expect from the Go-Go Boys of the Green Zone. (Translation, yes, guys and gals, they swallow.) Best example may be when they repeat, with no questions, the claim that Zarqawi (or "Zarqawi") has been confirmed through DNA tests. I can remember a few reporters, mainstream ones even, asking when that nonsense was put foward about Saddam Hussein's two sons, "And where would you have gotten the DNA?" That doesn't occur to Burnsie and Dexy. Someone said it, so they swallow. The whole thing reads like snowballing (and, no, that doesn't have to be a winter or outside sport). That covers two-thirds of the article. The first third? They're playing Al Qaeda Idol. As though an upset has thrown the contest from Taylor Hicks to Katharine McPhee! Now there's nothing known about the new 'winner' and, in fact, the name may be a fake (the whole idea of a 'replacement' being 'crowned' may be a fake) but they've got space to fill and they're not about to tell you that Ramadi has been surrounded last week and we're probably about to see another slaughter as we did with Falluja (twice, actually).

That's from C.I.'s "NYT: Dexy and Burnsie enjoy a reach around, Tavernise and Mizher go blank" and I heard over and over, "That was hilarious!" It was too.

Ma asked me to put up something here, Nora Ephron's "Farewell to Teflon:"

I feel sad about Teflon.
It was great while it lasted.
Now it turns out to be bad for you. Or, put more exactly, now it turns out that a chemical that's released when you heat up Teflon is in everyone's blood stream -- and probably causes cancer and birth defects.
I loved Teflon.
I loved the no-carb ricotta pancake I invented last year, which can be cooked only on Teflon. I loved my Teflon-coated frying pan, which makes a beautiful steak. I loved Teflon as an adjective; it gave us a Teflon president (Ronald Reagan) and it even gave us a Teflon Don (John Gotti, whose Teflon-ness eventually wore out, making him an almost exact metaphorical duplicate of my Teflon pans). I loved the fact that Teflon was invented by someone named Roy J. Plunkett, whose name alone you might have thought would have insured Teflon against becoming a dangerous product.

Ma also had some e-mails asking why she didn't post Saturday? Two big reasons. 1st one of her kids had a HUGE problem. (Not me! I'm an angel! :D) Second, when she'd finally dealt with that, it was already Sunday (after midnight Saturday) and she had the Blogger/Blogspot problem that The Third Estate Sunday Review had. She said she'd put in a full day and then some and when she lost her post, she just shut off the computer and went to bed. Good for her because she had a really, really, really crappy day Saturday. One of her non-angel kids screwed up pretty big! (I think it's funny, the screw up, and laughed my ass off about it Saturday afternoon. I'm the only one who thinks it's funny.) It's not one of the kids who still live at home (which eliminates me and my kid sister). It is one of the kids who always likes to tell me, "When you get older you're going to have be more responsible." And man did I love repeating that Saturday afternoon! :D I'll be a pain in the butt and add one more thing, my own opinion: Don't come over on Saturday and take up everyone's time with your problem if you can't even show up for a planned family get together the next day. Someone who is "older" needs to learn to "be more responsible." (And that's serious, I'm not joking. That was just crap, that's what that was. Dump your problems on everyone, get everybody worked up and then, the next day, you can't even show up for a lunch that was planned months ago. Next think you know, you'll forget Father's Day too.)

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

Iraq snapshot.
In the United States, Suzanne Swift was arrested Sunday. Swift, 21, served one tour of duty in Iraq. The military listed her as AWOL. Sarah Rich, Swift's mother, has stated, "she went to Iraq once and she was my hero she decided not to back and she's even more my hero."
Meanwhile in Iraq, it's time for another quick photo-op as Bully Boy primps in the Green Zone. As Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show, Bully Boy "flew eleven hours to spend less than five hours." Lupien also noted that "Today's visit is Bush's second since the invasion" referring to his Nov. 2003 Thanksgiving visit which was "confined to the airport and limited to several hours." The visit, which is sure to provide distraction and suck up real news time, was unannounced -- with occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki being given only five minutes notice. As Aaron Glatnz declared to Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari, also on today's KPFA's The Morning Show, "It doesn't change anything."
Glantz, journalist and author (How America Lost Iraq), was speaking of Zarqawi's death, but may as well have been speaking of Bully Boy's latest publicity stunt. As Glantz noted, "15,000 Iraqis in prison without charges, no electricity . . . water" -- that's reality. Andrea Lewis asked why the electricity was still now workable (over three years after the illegal invasion was launched). Glantz explained, "Your tax dollar is not going into rebuilding Iraq. It's going to the military and Haliburton . . . 100 million is going to build a new prison."
CNN's Nic Robertson took a look at the business of war. Robertson found that "private military contractors are earning billions of dollars in Iraq -- much of it from U.S. taxpayers" and that business is so good for Blackwater that it's expanded with a new headquarters in North Carolina.
War's good for the financial profits of some and for Bully Boy photo ops within the safety of the Green Zone, it's not good for Iraqis or American forces. Yesterday, the official fatality count for American troops was eight away from 2,500 and today the number stands at 2,497 -- three away. The number of Iraqis?
As Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) noted on yesterday's Flashpoints, no numbers, only estimates/guesses. (My own? Half a million. And Rebecca noted Cockburn's appearance here.) Deaths when covered often come with vague details. Last month, Nabiha Nisaif Jassim, thirty-five and pregnant, was killed along with Saliha Mohammed Hassan as Nabiha's brother attempted to drive her to the hospital. Reporting for IPS, Dahr Jamail and Arkan Hamed have found those who dispute the official press releases. A human rights investigator maintains "that both women were shot in the back of the head by U.S. snipers." Redam Nisaif Jassim, brother of Nabiha and driver of the car, states "The Americans offered me 5,000 dollars" but he declined.
Not even photo-ops stop reality so the chaos and violence continued across Iraq. All the usual features of the illegal occupation were present today. Corpses discovered? In Baghdad, the Irish Examiner reports that eight corpses were found. The AFP reports: "A professor at the College of Engineering was shot dead" and that the corpse count had climbed to fourteen ("shot . . . signs of torture"). Reuters identified the professor: Muthana Harith Jassim. CNN identified him as Hani Aref Jassim.
Car bombs and roadside bombs went off throughout Iraq. In the most noted incident, Kirkuk saw several explosions. Among the sites targeted in Kirkuk, the Associated Press notes "an insititute for the disabled." The AFP estimates the day's death toll to be "[a]t least 32 people" throughout Iraq while CBS and the AP estimate that it was "more than 50" were killed today. The Telegraph of London reports that bombings also took place "in Mosul, Tall Afar and Baghdad."
Attacks on police? Many. Two, noted by Reuters, were in Kut where one was killed (two wounded) and in Kerbala which took the life of "a police captain and wounded 2 of his bodyguards." CNN notes one police officer killed ("five others wounded") in Baghdad.
Wednesday will mark the much touted occupation puppet's attempt at a "crackdown" on Baghdad. The Associated Press reports that "tens of thousands of Iraqi and multinational forces" will be "securing roads, launching raids against insurgent hideouts and calling in airstrikes" Expect more chaos and violence for Wednesday.
Meanwhile, questions are being asked regarding the statements of Dermot Ahern, Minister for Foreign Affiars of Ireland. As RTE News reports, Ahren has stated that the civilian aircraft "carrying a US marine who was in military custody" which landed at Shannon Aircraft did so without "the consent of the Irish Government." Questions also exist as to the identity of the US marine, why he or she was being transported through Shannen, and why he or she was in "military custody."

Now don't forget to check Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's point of view. And be sure you read her "A difference of opinion" from yesterday too.