Monday, June 26, 2006

Law and Disorder interviewed Suzanne Vega and Collective Soul

"Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts 'Bully Boy Finds New Ways to Invade Our Privacy'" is at the top and I'm including it not because he credited "Mike's Friday post and Trina's Saturday post" but because it's damn funny and probably more true than we know. We all need a joke today. Monday, Monday . . . I think the Mamas and the Papas should have sang "Moan-day, Moan-day." I hate Mondays. Let's get things kicked off with Democracy Now!:

Critics: Financial Spying Echoes NSA Wiretapping
Critics meanwhile say the financial spying echoes the Bush administration’s wiretapping of Americans without court warrants.
Democratic Congressmember Edward Markey of Massachusetts: "Like the domestic surveillance program exposed last December, the Bush government's efforts to tap into the financial records of thousands of Americans appears to rely on justifications concocted without regard to current law or constitutional protection."

Whatta' I got to say about that? See below.

Rep. King: Prosecute NYT Under Espionage Act
Meanwhile, the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee is calling for the prosecution of all New York Times staff members who were involved in exposing the financial spying. In an interview with Fox News Sunday, New York Republican Congressmember Peter King said the New York Times should be prosecuted for violating the Espionage Act.

Elaine's grabbing these two items. There were 4 items we saw that we really wanted to note. She agreed but said she couldn't write about four items. So I'm grabbing two of the four and she's grabbing two of the four. Her two are the items above. They're important and you know you're dying to read what she's got to say about them so check out her site Like Maria Said Paz.

350 Iraqi Civilians Killed at US Checkpoints in '05
Meanwhile, the US military has announced 350 innocent Iraqis were killed at US checkpoints last year -- an average of at least six killings per week. A senior intelligence official told Reuters that out of a total 4,000 incidents in which US troops responded to a perceived threat -- less than two percent were later found to have posed an actual threat.

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez interviewed Giuliana Sgrena ("Kidnapped in Iraq, Shot by U.S. Forces: Italian Journalist Giuliana Sgrena Says U.S. Army Destroyed Shooting Logs; Wants to Meet Soldier that Killed the Man that Saved Her, Italy's No. 2 in Military Intel") and the US says that was a checkpoint. It wasn't. So is it just with her vehicle that they call anything a checkpoint? I don't know. I know that they've used hand signals in the past that, to Iraqis, mean "Go!" There was no effort to introduce the military to the culture of Iraq. Add in the anger and hostility (and you'd be angry and hostile is some foreign troops were walking your streets with guns) and the anger and hostility on the side of Americans -- you got a deadly mix.
I'm sure people working the checkpoints panic. Take the bombs that went off today across Iraq. You hear about that -- and you probably do hear something about it in a, "Man, did you hear about Hilla?" -- you're twice as nervous and jumpy. I'm not saying that abuse doesn't happen. It does and I'm sure there are some who enjoy abusing Iraqis. Iraqis have been abused. (Even the illegal occupation is abuse by itself.) And I'm not making excuses for anyone. But I'm saying, things aren't going to get better. If the military got their act 'fine tuned,' it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference. Their reputation is established. It's time to bring the troops home.

Two National Guard Charged In Killing of Unarmed Iraqi
In other Iraq news, two National Guard members have been charged in connection with the February shooting of an unarmed Iraqi near the town of Ramadi. The guard members are currently being held in Baghdad where they will face pre-trial hearings.

And this item backs it up. Abuses are happening. All the time. Crimes. Our government allows them to happen by continuing the illegal war. The two who are charged should face harsh prison sentences if they're found guilty. I don't believe that we say "Fog of War" and act like that means no one is responsible. At My Lai, everyone could have gone along. Hugh Thompson didn't. People are responsible for their actions. If you committ war crimes, you're responsible. And it doesn't stop with you, it goes on up the chain of command if someone covers it up or tries to or if someone gave the orders for a war crime to be committed.

If you don't know who Hugh Thompsons is, you can check out "Hugh Thompson's Gunner Describes Pointing His Weapon at Fellow U.S. Soldiers to Stop My Lai Massacre" from Democracy Now! back in January. And when you start tracing the chain up you gotta include Rumsfeld. Tony asked me to note Katrina vanden Heuvel's "Rumsfeld Must Go" cause on top of everything else, he's not even watching the money:

William D. Hartung, senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, has a decidedly different take: "Under Donald Rumsfeld's tenure, weapons costs have skyrocketed, and one Pentagon official has been convicted for favoring Boeing in a major weapons deal. Rumsfeld claims he can't recall if he approved the actions that have led to this state of affairs. For his failure to hold weapons contractors accountable as military spending tops $500 billion per year, Rumsfeld should resign."
And so, five years into the Bush Administration, with the Pentagon's own inspector general and the Government Accountability Office characterizing the Defense Department's procurement system as "broken and dysfunctional," we have arrived at yet another reason Rumsfeld Must Go.

Check out Wally's "THIS JUST IN! A SMELL WAFTS IN AND BULLY BOY POINTS TO OTHERS!" and Ma's ""Burritos in the Kitchen."

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

Chaos and violence continue. Bombings continue, kidnappings continue and a corpse was discovered.
In what might get the most attention today, reporting from Baghdad, Nancy A. Youssef (Knight Ritter) breaks the news that the United States now admits to keeping some figures on Iraqis who have died during the illegal war. Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli tells Youssef that "the number of civilian dead and wounded" via US troops "is an important measurement." Chiarelli reveals that "he reviews the figures daily." The US government has denied that any figures were being kept.
In Baghdad, Reuters reports that a roadside bomb killed one and wounded at least five and that another bomb resulted in two police officers dead and at least four wounded.Also in Baghdad, the Associated Press reports that the convoy of Adnan al-Dulaimi ("Iraq's most senior Sunni Arab politician") was attacked and at least one of his bodyguards was killed.Elsewhere, KUNA reports that two "civilians" were killed in Baquba. Reuters notes that, in Mosul, a police officer was killed Monday with six wounded in an attack while another died was wounded, along with a civilian, as a result of a roadside bomb. And in Hilla, Reuters reports that a bomb has taken the lives of at least 30.
The Associated Press estimates today that "nearly 40 people have been killed in the last 24 hours" in Iraq. This as Hiba Moussa and Michael Georgy (Reuters) report that an estimated that at least 130,000 Iraqis have been displaced due to violence across the country.
Ibon Villelabeitia and Alastair Macdonald (Reuters) report "10 young men, all students from Sunni towns near Baghdad, from a building in the capital" were kidnapped by unidentified "gunmen." In other kidnapping news, CBS and the AP report that "Russian news agency Interfax" is reporting "that the Foreign Ministry has confirmed the death of the Russian hostages in Iraq." In a separate report, the AP notes that "Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed doubt Monday over the authenticity of the video" allegedly showing three of the four Russian diplomats (kidnapped June 3rd in Baghdad) being killed. The four are: Fyodor Zaytsev, Rinat Aglyulin, Anatoly Smirnov and Oleg Fedosseyev.
Reuters reports that the corpse of a police officer ("bullet wounds . . . head and chest") was found near Falluja.
Today on KPFA's The Morning Show, Brian Edwards-Tiekert noted that Sunni leaders are stating that the resistance in Iraq will continue until foreign troops are withdrawn. Edwards-Tiekert also noted that Tariq al-Hashimi has noted Nouri al-Maliki's proposed plan (or "plan") falls for short of the needed goals. Ibon Villelabeitia and Alastair Macdonald (Reuters) explore some of the Shi'ite criticism and some of the Sunnie criticism of the plan/"plan".
Tomorrow is Tuesday, June 27th and that means? Alex Fryer (Seattle Times) reports: "Atlanta peace activists plan a vigil for him at the Georgia state Capitol. In Charlotte, N.C., an anti-war group will show a film and hold a lecture at the public library. In Cleveland, Ohio, there will be a rally at the federal building. And in New York, protesters will converge at an Army recruiting station, an event billed to 'support Lt. Ehren Watada and other resisters of the war in Iraq.'" This as the Seattle Times editorializes that Watada shouldn't serve time but the military should instead "consider a dishonorable discharge." To sign a petition in support of Watada by clicking here.
More information on tomorrow's national day of action can be found at and Courage to Resist.
And finally, next week, July 4th (Tuesday) CODEPINK will be demonstrating against the war in the form or a hunger strike:
On July 4, we will launch an historic hunger strike called TROOPS HOME FAST in Washington, DC in front of the White House. While many Americans will be expressing their patriotism via barbeques and fireworks, we'll be fasting in memory of the dead and wounded, and calling for the troops to come home from Iraq. Read an interview with Diane Wilson to learn more. We're inviting people around the world to show their support for this open-ended fast by fasting for at least one day. Please sign here to join us in DC or to support us in your hometown and encourage your friends to do the same.

Now today's WBAI's Law and Disorder. Today's episode was really strong so listen online (at either link) or if you hear it somewhere else listen there. (Cedric's cousin can be driving through a spot in their city and pick it up for about three miles -- it's a pirate station -- but it's also played on other radio stations so if you've got a favorite station you listen to it on, listen there -- also Heidi Boghosian pointed out that if you'd like to get it in your town, visit the show's website Law and Disorder and if you're a college radio station, and maybe any radio station -- I'm not sure on that, but if you're a college radio station and would like to broadcast this once a week, hourly show, contact them because they'll make a great arrangement with you -- how great? Incredible, visit the website and find out.) I checked with Ruth and Cedric to make sure they were cool with what I'm grabbing. (Both said I could write on the same thing they wanted and that was cool. But the segment I grabbed is one they're not writing on.)

I'm going with Dalia Hashad again and that's funny because a guy in one of my classes goes, "Do you have a crush on her?" Tony goes, "Dude, no. She sounds just like his sister. You're sick." (By the way, Dad thought it was her last week. When I was listening to last week's show, he was in the hall and comes to my door, which was open and looks around. He goes, "I thought I heard your sister." Nina and I both laughed so hard because he was really confused. He knew he'd heard my sister. Then the woman finished talking on tasers and Dalia Hashad starts speaking again and Dad's staring at the tape recorder and going, "That's not your sister, is it? She sounds too smart." :D That sister will kill me for putting that in but everyone in my family will laugh when they read it. Dad didn't mean it mean and it just popped out. But it's true which is why Nina and I laughed even more.)

Why am I going with Daliah Hashad's segment? I like all four. I grabbed tasers because I liked the topic but it does seem like I grab whatever segment she has the biggest part in. This week she interviewed Collective Soul and Suzanne Vega at the Amnesty International meeting in Oregon. I don't really know Collective Soul. She spoke with two guys and they seemed cool. Ed Ryan and Nina's looking up Joel's last name (she likes Collective Soul and brought over one of their CDs so we could listen to it after I post this) Joel Kosche. They sounded cool and they talked about their interest and work on human rights because they felt it was party of humanity and not about politics. That's not how I feel about it but good for them for giving a concert and all.

Suzanne Vega I do know because they played her song "Luka" in a class I had in sixth grade. The teacher goes this is a song about what can happen to some children and we need to listen close. (This was way after the song was a hit. Like years and years.) So the song comes on and it's "My name is Luka, I live on the second floor . . . " and Luka's getting the crap beat out of him. It's this guitar song that you're just bopping your head along with and all and then you find out the kid's being beaten. The whole point of the teacher playing it was we were going to talk about child abuse and she had this look on her face like, "Dear God, don't let anyone raise their hand and say, 'That happens to me.'" I'm serious on that. This was her first time teaching and probably February or March. Our regular teacher had just gotten fired and she had just graduated and stuff and we were her first class ever.

Dalia Hashad talked about "Luka" and Suzanne Vega said she wrote it probably because no one was talking about the issue. She talked about why she support Amenesty and the importance of it. And Dalia goes that when she first heard the song she liked it and it was probably awhile before she realized what it was about.

That's probably why I go with her segments because she always says the thing you wouldn't expect her to but you might be thinking. I knew what "Luka" was about when I first heard it because the teacher had made a big point of it before she played it, going "This is about what happens to some children" so we were all listening intent and stuff (and probably hoping Luka was going to get a girlfriend and make out). But like, she's got another song I like called "99.9" and I listened to that thing forever before I got what the song was about. So I got what Dalia Hashad was talking about.

Jess got me to listen to that song. It was on a mix CD he made for me. And I really liked that song. I ended up getting the Best of CD and there was "Luka." (Jess knows lots of cool music and he'll probably rag on me when he reads this going, "You don't know Collective Soul?") Suzanne Vega said that a Foo Fighter CD that had come out last was one of her favorites. I don't have anything from them since before 2004 and she was talking about how it had an acoustic "side" and a non-acoustic. I don't know if it's a double disc or she meant like half and half. (Dad's a big vinyl freak and even when it's something on CD, he'll talk about it like it's vinyl.)
But she said that they'd done some work on the 2004 Kerry campaign and you could hear what they'd seen and experienced there. She made it sound worth listening to so I'll put out a call and see if any of my friends have it.

I called Kat and she told me that Suzanne Vega and Tracy Chapman both hit around the same period. I've got Tracy Chapman's first thing on cassette. It was one of the many cassettes that C.I. told Wally and we could grab all we wanted of. Kat said Vega and Chapman were exceptions and that people were doing songs like "Kiss me once, kiss me twice, kiss me DEAD-LEEEEE!" and stuff like that. And then there was Vega singing about child abuse and Tracy Chapman singing "Fast Car" and it was weird in a good way because it was real music with them. I called my oldest brother and he remembered that. He goes he was in college and working at a pizza place (I remember that and we disagree where he was working, I was a kid and I used to get to go there on Saturdays for his last hour and I'd sit in a booth, I checked with Dad and he says I'm right and my brother's got it wrong but I'll not name it since my brother's so sure he is right). So anyway, during the week he had to work the last shift. They'd close up and as soon as they did, this young woman named Geena would get money from her boyfriend Rob, they both worked there, and she'd pump the jukebox with the money and blast it. He'd be stuck sweeping and stuff like the Beach Boys' song about "I want to take you down to" (I don't know how to spell that word) and the "Kiss Me Deadly" song (he told me to put in, "I went to a party on a Saturday night/ Something something something/ And I got in a fight/ It ain't no big thing" because that's what most people knew from the song) or Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself For Loving You" or some other songs would be blasting. But sometimes someone else would put money in and Tracy Chapman's song was popular with a lot of people. Geena would have a fit and start screaming, "Who played that woman!" Sometimes it was Suzanne Vega and she'd scream, "Who played that woman!" She would get so mad and say, "I don't want to hear that!"

She didn't think they were 'fun' songs and she didn't like them. Didn't want to hear them and she'd scream and holler the whole time. She never worked, she'd just sit there counting her tips while everyone else cleaned and mopped and whatever. So one night, she's just furious that someone's played it again and screaming and yelling about how people need fun stuff to hear and that stuff (Vega and Chapman) is depressing.

She and Rob broke up when he caught her sleeping with the assistant maner or the shift manager (my brother can't remember) named Grant. I go, "She sounds like a Republican." And my bro goes, "That was the point I was leading up to! She was in College Republicans! The only thing that she'd talk about that made her sad was that Reagan couldn't run again but at least we were 'lucky' to have George Bush." She was for the Bully Boy's brother.

To finish that story, Rob found out that Geena was cheating because she bailed on him when he got tickets for her some of their friends to go to a concert (Aerosmith, my brother says). Everyone was taking off and my brother was pissed because there were like two people working that night plus him. Then Geena walks in all done up and pulls Grant aside. They go into the office and Rob started feeling bad or something because Geena had said she was sick. So he left the concert while it was still going on and he goes to her house and she's not there and not sick so he starts going looking for her. And he walks in finally to the pizza place and goes, "Has anyone seen Geena?" And my bro just shrugs but Javier goes, "Yeah, she's in the office with Grant."
So he goes over there and catches them doing it on the desk in there and there's all this yelling and shouting and Geena's crying and everyone eating there is looking over like, "What is going on?"

Javier told my brother that he wasn't going to cover for the ___ because she called him a "Dirty ___" (racist word for Hispanic). He goes he and Javier started laughing. And that they could hear all the yelling and then Rob storms out carrying something and a second later Geena runs out in her skirt and bra screaming for him to give her back her shirt. He didn't. That Grant guy ended up letting her have his coat but maybe she got caught when she went home, I thought.

My bro goes, "Oh she got caught. Rob dropped the blouse off with her mother and goes, 'Geena was so busy screwing Grant at work that she left without her blouse so I'm just dropping this off.'"

I love stories with happy endings. :D

(It's happy because she was a racist, snotty, Republican who couldn't take a song dealing with reality.)

So at the end of the interview (Dalia Hashad and Suzanne Vega's not me and my brother :D), Dalia asked her what song she'd like them to play of her's and she said they might as well play "Tom's Diner" because that song's always being mixed and remixed and she'd gotten a request again to remix it just two weeks ago. That's a cool song too. I did not know, the first time I heard it and I heard it before I got the Best of, it's one of those songs everyone knows, I did not know that she sang it without music when she recorded it. On that CD, Solitude Standing, she had it with just her voice and she had with just the music and no voice. Somebody came along and gave it a dance beat and all the way we know it now.

So it was two cool interviews. If you're a Collective Soul fan or a Suzanne Vega fan or just a music fan or a human rights fan, you should check it out.

"Ruth's Public Radio Report" went up Saturday and she covers two segments (from two different episodes) of Law and Disorder and lots of other cool stuff too so check it out. Dave Zirin was on Democracy Now! today and I'll talk about that tomorrow.