It's Friday!!!!!! :D Did you think it would ever get here? Me neither! But it's here. And for me, that means the Friday group later tonight where we talk about Iraq. That's really cool and I know Beau's trying to get his own group started on that. I hope everyone tries because the war drags on until we say "no!" Until we shout: "NO!" Let me hear you: "NO!" Let's kick things off with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
The Operation Happy Talk goes on.
Sean McFarland becomes the biggest doofus outside the administration by delcaring, "I think we have turned a corner her in Ramadi." MacFarland is both an Army Col. and a Happy Talker.
In news that's a little harder to Happy Talk, Antonio Castaneda (AP) reports that of the 1000 Sunni soldiers who made up the May 2006 graduating class "only about 300 of them have reported for duty".
In other news from the real world, Reuters reports that the US Congressional Budget Office predicts: "The Iraq war could cost U.S. taxpayers between $202 billion and $406 billion more over the next 10 years".
These projections come at a time when, as Martha Burk has pointed out (Ms.), the US government has cut "[d]omestic-violence prevention by $35 million, Medicaid by $17 billion over five years and child care programs by 1.03 billion over five years."
In other costs paid, Reuters reports 12 corpses were discovered in Tal Afar. CBS and the AP note a corpse ("shot in the chest . . . signs of torture") discovered in Azizyah".
As noted earlier this morning, seven people were killed ("after Friday prayers") when a Sunni mosque in Baghdad was bombed. Meanwhile Reuters reports that a mosque in Balad Ruz was hit by mortar rounds leaving at least two dead and four wounded while a car bomber in Mosul who killed himself and five others. The AFP covers a mortar attack in Baghdad that left one person dead and nine wounded.
Reuters notes that two policeman were killed by a sniper in Tal Afar while a minibus near Kut was attacked "with machine gun fire" resulting in five dead ("including a wwoman and a child"). Meanwhile, the AFP reports attacks in two cities: a car was "ambushed" in Tikrit by assailants who shot the father dead and wounded the son; and, in Mosul, two different attacks left a police officer dead as well as the bodyguard of a judge. And the Associated Press reports a drive-by in Baghdad that killed a taxi driver.
The BBC noted the death of several Iraqi soldiers (12 at that point) in Kirkuk when they were attacked with "rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns". AFX raised the number dead to 13 (citing "colonel Mahmud Abdulla").
Meanwhile, following yesterday's kidnapping attempt that left wrestling coach Mohammed Karim Abid Sahib dead, the AP reports that: "Iraq's national wrestling team [has] pulled out of a tournament in the United Arab Emirates".
In the United States, Saturday July 15th is a day of action calling for Suzanne Swift to receive an honorable discharge including a protest, "at the gates of Ft. Lewis (exit 119) beginning at 12 pm with a press converence at 3 pm" in Washington state -- while in Eugen, Oregon there will be a demonstration outside the Federal Building at noon.
In DC (and across the globe -- over 22 countries), the fast led by CODEPINK and others continues. As Thursday's The KPFA Evening News reported some Congressional members, including Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Dennis Kucinich, Cynthia McKinney and Lynne Woolsey took part in a one-day fast on Thursday. Ann Wright, who ressigned from the State Department on May 19, 2003 and is taking part in the actions stated: "The only reason we fast is to force us to remember what's going on here. That innocent Iraqis are dying every day, Americans are dying every day. We need to get this war ended. So, yeah, we're going to up the ante".
Lastly, Wednesday July 19th, San Antonio, TX will be the location for a "public hearing held by the the independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves" -- "in the Iberia Ballroom of the La Mansion Del Rio Hotel, 112 College Street, San Antonio."
There will be two panels with the first lasting from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and focused on "roles and missions to funding requirements" and the second, lasting from 2:00 pm to 4 pm, focusing on how reserves were "involuntarily mobilized after September 11, 2001".
I used the Ms. link to the Martha Burk story and it's like a paragraph and a half. I called C.I. and C.I. didn't go to it and was using the print edition. Ma gets the magazine so I'll check with her later. (Not now. We're having the meeting here tonight and me and Dad already sat out the chairs and she's fixing snacks. I asked if I could do anything and she said if I'd go out for ice in about an hour that's all she needed. So I'll do that. I'd be happy to do more but I know she's rushing around and with this many people and so little time, she's probably thinking, "Just get out of my kitchen and I can do this!") But do you get how much money is going into the war and that because it's going to get into the war, things are being cut here. Programs are being cut and taxes are being cut (for the wealthy) so we're all suffering. The other thing that stood out was the thing coming up in Texas. I didn't know one word about that. If I was near Texas, I'd go to it for the second panel (it's a public meeting, that means anyone can go) because I'd want to hear
what the reserves think about the "involuntarily mobilized" stuff. They sign up to defend their states and stuff and end up over in Iraq and not just for a few weeks but months and months. So I'd be real interested in hearing what was said during that panel discussion.
Katrina vanden Heuvel gave a speech (at what I think was a bad convention) but I liked her speech. I saw it online and agreed with a lot of it and thought these were points community members would appreciate because we've heard similar stuff for awhile now. So this is from her "A Politics of the Common Good:"
In another vital area, I would argue that we have the intellectual upper hand, if not yet the political one. I think that its now commonly recognized that neoliberal internationalization was vastly oversold as a panacea for the world's poor, and an opportunity for workers in the North. I think most recognize now that for internationalization to proceed, workers in the richer north need much better insurance against the risks that it entails. And I think that a lot of good work in local organizing, to stop or reverse the worst effects of the "low road" that employers long thought they could pursue without resistance, is beginning to show us what the "high road" path of national reconstruction might look like--high wage, low waste, democratically accountable--and be compatible with sustainable development in the south.
And we have a public that has finally grown tired of George W. Bush, whose approval ratings are now in the toilet, and tired of the broader Republican message of the past 30 years of what Jared Bernstein has called 'yoyo politics'--"you're on your own, and anybody who tells you different is a liar!"--and the destructive policies needed to achieve the truth of that: division, inequality, ruined public goods, weakened popular organization, constraints on democracy itself. We need to counter that "Yoyo" message at its core. We need to say clearly to all that "whether you like it or not, we're in this together." ...if we don't hang together, we're going to hang separately. And that leads me to a final take on what a renewed and real politics of the common good might look like.
Some have argued, recently and rightly, that progressives and Democrats should return to their tradition of "civic republicanism." That we're all in this together and that together we can build a more perfect union. Who's against building a more perfect union? But I'd argue that some of these advocating this path are wrong to suggest the problem Democrats have had with putting a forth a clear governing philosophy is grounded in the success of movements of the 1960s--the antiwar, civil rights or women's movement, or of interest-group pluralism focused on rights. With less venom, our friends and allies are echoing arguments of the Democratic Leadership Council...and this misdiagnosis leads them to a 2006 Sister Souljah moment --that is, a kind of calculated, if symbolic, straight-arming of own own base to demonstrate independence. Wrong. These are times to tap into the passions and energy of our core constituencies, of movements on the ground. Times to learn from our base...the working poor, the disenfranchised, Latino community, African-Americans, single women, the young, labor, the religious left--and inspire them and be inspired by them.
I worry that this appeal to the common good will turn out to be a cover to disempower important groups. To ignore their legitimate issues. Furthermore, and in light of what has happened to the country under this administration, the notion of common good seems somewhat too innocent and not attentive enough to the scale of corruption, abuse of power, public disinvestment and inequality that now characterizes American society. Yes, common good but only if it means economic dignity and social justice and the ending of corruption and the special privileges that have allowed the very richest to amass great fortunes while the vast majority of Americans struggle to make ends meet without any of the security of affordable health care, good jobs and a quality education. Common good if it means making the government more responsive to the needs of the majority of Americans. Common good, if it means public investment in our people, in our infrastructure, in research and development that serves human needs. Common good, if it means political reform and making every person's vote count. Common good, if it means being a good neighbor to the world and a force for building common security and common prosperity.
I just really enjoyed some parts of the speech and I'm glad it's online. There's a lot of stuff online. (C.I. and I talked about this speech today, this is the thing I mentioned I'd link to in my post yesterday, by the way, and C.I. asked if I was going to link to the thing on Dan Rather? I really liked this best. C.I.'s not linking to the Dan Rather piece because of friends with 60 Minutes who are really upset that people keep saying "60 Minutes" when the segment that Rather did with the documents was broadcast on 60 Minutes II. They think, C.I.'s friends with the show, that everytime people just say "60 Minutes," it hurts the Sunday show which did not broadcast that segment. It's a good piece and we both think so but there's no way C.I. can't note it at The Common Ills without some friends getting upset because they take this very seriously, that it wasn't the Sunday show that broadcast that segment that had so much criticism. That was the Tuesday show and they weren't the same show and didn't have the same people working on each show. The Sunday show, and I didn't know this, maybe you do, didn't even want the Tuesday show to be called "60 Minutes II" when it first started because it really didn't have anything to do with the Sunday show and they were worried it would do something that would end up backfiring on the real 60 Minutes. You could say they were right about that because everyone just says "60 Minutes" now. CBS cancelled the Tuesday show.) But back to the speech, I think it had some important stuff in it.
Okay, I just got the call for ice, so let me stop here but be sure to go Like to Maria Said Paz and check out Elaine's post tonight. And check out Wally's "THIS JUST IN! DON'T TAKE YOUR WORK HOME WITH YOU!," C.I's : "NYT: Trying to give out that peaceful, easy feeling (someone break it to them -- they're a paper, not a rock group)" and Betty's "The War Paint Council."
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