Thursday, September 28, 2006


Thursday and I'm starting slow tonight. I went with my best bud (Tony) to get something to eat tonight because he wanted to talk. We had Chinese. The sweet & sour shrimp is what I had and it was good but I got back here and all I want to do is sleep. I must have eaten too much or something. I called Rebecca and she said, "Go to sleep." But I'm planning on a quick blog tomorrow and don't want to do two in a row.

I'll start out talking The Third Estate Sunday Review and see how I feel after.

Editorial: Darrell Anderson Needs You -- this wasn't planned to be the top piece, the note was. But they all liked how this worked out by accident and I do too. Darrell Anderson, war resister, returns to the United States Saturday. You need to show him your support. I'll be noting this editorial here tomorrow.

A Note to Our Readers -- Jim offers his take on things (with others shouting stuff out).

TV: Heroic Would Be Pasdar in a Loin Cloth -- Ava and C.I. reviewing NBC's Heroes. I saw that show this week. They didn't realize it hadn't aired. Both apologized for "spoilers." I don't think they spoiled anything but they do feel bad that they reviewed something that hadn't aired. They're tossing ideas around for this Sunday and I think they've got their title. If you're one of their hundreds, thousands of fans, you know they don't play water cooler critics. They're going to take on this season's most sacred cow so look for that Sunday. In the meantime, this is really funny review and, since I saw this show Tuesday, I'll go ahead and recommend it too. This could be a pretty good show. If I have time, I'm going to try to catch it next week.

Talk -- This has cool art. I like it. We were all at a big table doing the artwork and stuff for this edition and this got sat down on the floor, which was where Betty's kids were spread out doing their coloring and stuff. Her youngest son was using a marker. He thought this was a drawing he could color. And he thought that because we did set things down on the floor for them to color if we weren't using them. But this got put down there by mistake. And he grabbed his blue marker and added color. Betty looked like she was going to cry when she saw what was happening but no one was upset. C.I. told Betty's son it did need color (it was just black and white before) and added some oil paints or water colors, I'm not sure which. But it turned out better with color and no one was made at Betty or her son. The point of the story is that you need to talk about the war and be your own media. My favorite part, C.I. came up with it, was a joke that C.I. shot off just being silly but Jim's dad insisted it was too funny not to be left in. With a lot of pressure from Jim's dad, it stayed in. I won't spoil it by telling it here but read the article.

Dick & Bully Boy hiding behind others as usual -- I love the Cheney art work! :D Bully Boy went AWOL and never got punished. Guess it's who you know.

Bully Boy cloud -- This artwork. I liked it in color better. There were all these reds and oranges and stuff. But it's cool in black & white too. The point is Bully Boy projects and the mushroom cloud is him.

The Tears -- The Sammy Powers are on the march, fooling a nation. Did you notice that with all the build up to this "big" protest they couldn't even get 40,000 to show? Still got the front page of the New York Times, though, didn't they? That's what happens when you "rebel" with the Bully Boy. Right-wing movement trying to ensare the left and still not getting traction, after all that teary talk and all that press exposure. Amy Goodman even had them on twice, didn't she. She hasn't had on Jonathan Steele of The Guardian of London to talk about it, has she? Probably because his column pointed out how dangerous our Modern Day Carrie Nations are. (Thanks to Ruth for the shout out when she subbed for Kat yesterday.) I've got a new nickname for them but I'm saving that for the next feature at Third.

MyTV's Fascist House -- Kat came up with the idea of a collage awhile back. That's how this started and Jim's surprised that people enjoy it. I'm not. I think it's funny and visual.

Shades Include Green (Party) -- Green Party are people too. :D Seriously, I'm not a Green but I do think they are a good party and that they have strong ideas. This piece is about how they've been largely ignored this year. There's this flawed logic and I heard it on the radio today. But let's say the Dems need to pick up three seats in November. If they pick up two and a Green one wins, they still get control of Congress. The point is to take those seats away from Republicans. So it's a real shame that the Green Party has been so overlooked this year. Howie Hawkins is in the NY Senate race against Hillary. He's the Green candidate. If you don't want to vote for a War Hawk, you can vote for Hawkins.

GreenStone Media -- this is about a new media project.

About the Times Select . . . -- NYT the big silly, the big bore.

Nye-Nye Takes a Fall -- the Joe Lieberman of the commentary set takes a fall. :D

Let me depress the hell out of you by noting Ron Jacobs' "The Generals, the Democrats and Iraq:"

Recently on CNN, Michael Ware reported from Iraq that US commanders have been privately telling him that they need "at least three times as many troops as they currently have there now, be that Iraqi and American or, even better, just three times as many as American troops." Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, three retired generals told a Democratic Policy Committee that the military itself needs more members. Indeed, General Eaton was quoted in Army Times as saying in a prepared statement that "The war on terror demands we mobilize the country and significantly increase the size of our ground forces."
Of course, the general didn't say how he expected the army to do that, although he mentioned that he thought at least 60, 000 troops would be needed, at least for a start. If I were one of those in the US who are looking to the Democrats to get them out of the bloody mess created since 2001, I would be pretty nervous that these men (and not policy makers opposed to the war) are speaking to the Democrats' policy committee.
History tells us that generals that want to expand the military are not interested in ending any war. Does the name William Westmoreland mean anything to these folks? It was his philosophy that the war in Vietnam could be won if there were just enough troops there. He thought this when there were 50,000. he thought it when there were 200,000. He even thought it when there were 500,000. And he was wrong.
The generals and the politicians that support them operate from a fundamentally incorrect premise. They do not think that their mission is itself impossible and wrong, only that Washington doesn't have enough men on the ground. Although it is remotely possible that a force twice the size of the original invasion force might have achieved the US goal of an Iraq completely controlled by Washington in 2003, the events on the ground since then render any assessment that still believes such a goal to be possible foolish and wrong.

Are you depressed? You should be. The war's not ending. Not just because the Sammy Powers Movement tries to give the Bully Boy cover, but also because most Dems don't have the guts to speak out. (Ted Kennedy has, Russ Feingold has.) Did you notice how disgusting Nancy Pelosi was last week? Attacking Chavez for critiquing Bully Boy? That was a really low moment. When asked her opinion, all she had to say was, "In America, everyone has free speech." Or something similar. Instead, she wanted to play more-patriotic-than-thou and ended up looking like a tool. Someday I may become a Green. If I do, it won't be because I jump parties, it'll be because I was pushed by the cowards and backstabbers that too often seem to make up our "leadership."

Okay, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" which is more ogranized than anything I could do tonight:

Thursday, September 28, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; the media gloms on a recording as thought it's December 1, 1982 and the recording is Thriller; war resister Darrell Anderson gears up for his return to the United States stating, "It will be the freest time in my life, because I'm standing up for what I believe in"; polling of Iraqis continues to demonstrate opposition to the US presence in Iraq; disputes continue over yesterday's US airstrike and what appears to be an airstrike today raises additional questions.
Starting with peace news, Darrell Anderson has been in Canada since January 2005. Anderson was awarded a Purple Heart on his first deployment to Iraq where he was injured by a roadside bomb. Facing a second deployment to Iraq, Anderson chose to self-check out of the US military and go to Canada. Anderson is due to return to the US on Saturday.
Diana Swain interviewed Anderson for Canada's CBC today.
Anderson states: "I just broke down one day and couldn't stop crying, and I couldn't go to work and just realized I was done here and I had to go and make a stance in the US because there's way more support and the movement's way bigger down there than it is here."
A text version (not a transcript) notes that: "While Canada provided him an escape from serving in a war he'd come to resent, he says the time has been arduous. His refugee bids have failed so he can't work here legally and he can't get health care."
Anderson has spoken about PST and other difficulties resulting from the roadside bomb. The
text story also notes: "Anderson is scheduled to appear before military officials for a court martial on Tuesday." If that's true, that's the first anyone's reported of it. Anderson's plan is to drive into the US Saturday and, if not arrested at the border, to turn himself in at Fort Knox on Tuesday. Before being court-martialed, Anderson would first have to face an Article 32 hearing -- think back to Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing in August and also the comments by Watada's attorney Eric Seitz when the military attempted to sneak a charge in post-Article 32 (to William Cole, The Honolu Advertiser): "If they go ahead and add this charge without reconvening an Article 32 and we get to trial, we're going to move to dismiss it because it wasn't presented at the Article 32, and my belief is a military judge is probably going to dismiss it."
On the subject of Watada,
David Howard (Online Journal) writes: "1st. Lt. Ehren Watada is facing an eight-year term in military prison for just doing his duty: serving our country and protecting the Constitution. The charges are conduct unbecoming an officer, missing movement, and contempt toward President Bush. But they boil down to the 'crimes' of thinking, speaking and following his conscience. . . . This impending trial will be a test of our president's authority to wage preemptive war. Lt. Watada argues, on our behalf, that President Bush has abused his authority; President Bush argues that Watada is contemptuous for saying so." More information on war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.
Meanwhile, a
US ordered airstrike on Wednesday in Baquba continues to be disputed by eye witnesses and the US military. The US military initially trumpted the airstrike as an attack on 'insurgents' and issued the usual press releases. Richard A. Oppel Jr. (New York Times) reported today that: "Relatives said the eight people killed were from the same family and had no ties to terrorism. Associated Press Television News quoted the homeowner's daughter, Manal Jassim, as saying: "They were all innocent people. We were sleeping when they entered our house at dawn. I found my father, mother, aunt and sister-in-law lying dead. We were an 11-membe family. Eight were killed." Doug Smith (LA Times) reports that an investigation is planned and Enaam Jassim Mohammed (who lost "her parents, brother and pregnant sister-in-law" in the attacks) stated, "The Americans were yelling at the rest of the family. Then the Americans opened fire at my father, my mother and the rest. . . . I was trying to wake up my brother's wife, who was pregnant, hitting her on her face to wake up. But I discovered that she was killed after seeing the blood over the floor and her body." Smith also notes: "Another witness, interviewed on Iraqi television, said the troops shot first and continued to fire inside the house."
The strike comes at a time when polls continue to demonstrate that Iraqis favor a US withdrawal.
Tom Hayden (The Huffington Post) and Amit R. Paley (The Washington Post) earlier noted the polling and today Barry Schweid (AP) notes a poll by the International Policy Attitudes of the University of Maryland which found "four in five Iraqis say the U.S. military force in Iraq provokes more violence than it prevents"; "three-fourths say they think the United States plans to keep military bases in Iraq permanently"; and "About 61 percent approved of the attacks -- up from 47 percent in January" -- attacks on US forces. Meanwhile, Walter Pincus (Washington Post) reports that the US military "wants to hire a private firm to conduct polling and focus groups in Iraq". Apparently, when unhappy with polling results (including those of the State Department -- use Paley link), the answer is to hire a polling outfit yourself.
Events such as Wednesday's airstrike can be seen as driving the "negatives" and today's reported airstrike won't aid anyone either.
Reuters reports the US military is claiming no knowledge of what appears to be an airstrike in Ramadi on a car carrying five people all of whom were killed. Reuters notes that the dead includes "two men, two children and a woman" and reminds: "The death of women and children in military operations is a common cause of resentment among Iraqis against U.S. forces."
The violence continues today in Iraq.
AFP notes of the US military claims of success with the "house to house sweeps" of the so-called 'crackdown' that's been ongoing in Baghdad since mid-June: "However, there are indications armed groups are returning to these neighborhoods and perpetrating new violence once US troops have moved on, sometimes acting with the complicity of elements in the Iraqi security forces."
atrick Quinn (AP) reports a car bomb in Baghdad took five lives and left at least 34 wounded when "it exploded near a restaurant in central Baghdad". Also in Baghdad, Reuters reports four police officers wounded by "[a] car bomb targeting a police patrol"; while a roadside bomb aimed at a police patrol killed one person; two people died and 25 were wounded when a car bomber attacked "an Iraqi army headquarters"; two other bombs (one car, one roadside) left five people wounded; and mortar rounds wounded three. Quinn (AP) notes that mortar wounds also claimed the life of a child in Baghdad. The capital -- three months after the 'crackdown' began. Outside of Baghdad, Reuters notes a car bomber in Kirkuk killed a police officer; while two police officers were wounded by a roadside bomb in Mosul; one police officer was wounded by a roadside bomb "near Kirkuk"; and a person was wounded in Numaniya following the explosion of "[a] bomb planted inside the house of a" police officer.
Patrick Quinn (AP) reports: "Gunmen killed seven people, including five policemen and a woman, in different locations in the province of Diyala just north of Baghdad, police said." Reuters notes a man was shot dead in Balad and one in Mosul.
CNN reports that 60 corpses were found "around" Baghdad today and that the latest discoveries are "pushing the number of bodies discovered so far this week to 122. Most of the bodies had their hands tied and gunshot wounds to the head, Iraqi emergency police said." Reuters notes a corpse was discovered in Mosul and one in Balad.
BBC is reporting that Abu Hamza al-Muhajir (alleged "leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq") has issued a tape recording via websites that calls "for [the] kidnapping of Westerners." CNN notes that the tape is unconfirmed. CBS and AP note that the taped message asserts "more than 4,000 foreigners" have died in Iraq fighting occupation troops and that the "holy month should be turned into what he calls a 'month of holy war.'" The message is in Arabic. CBS and AP credit "translator Khaled Wassef, whose job entails the constant monitoring of a plethora of Web sites where militants frequently post text, audio and video detailing their global operations" and note that Wassef feels the figure cited (4,000) is more for "symbolism than . . . quantity." Patrick Quinn (AP) reports that the recording "also called for explosive experts and nuclear scientists to join his group's holy war".
In finanical news,
CBS and AP note "a secret U.S. Audit" report by Stuart W. Bowen (Special Inspector General) that says the Iraq oil industry has "lost $16 billion" in the last two years due to "attacks, criminals and bad equipment".
Returning to peace news, the
AP reports that "five adults and two juveniles" were arrested following "a seven-hour sit-in at [US House] Rep. Steve Chabort's hometown office" in Cincinnati, Ohio. The sit-in was to advocate that Chabot sign on to the Declaration of Peace. Republican Chabot chairs the House Judiciary Subcommittee and backed the House bill making it illegal for any non-parent adult to take a minor across state lines to secure an abortion. His most famous statements regarding the war in Iraq may be his suggestion that the French needed history lessons for opposing the war. Monday, at US Senator Rick Santorum's Philadelphia office, fourteen people were arrested for civil disobedience. As Haider Rizvi (IPS) has reported these and other actions "continue to take place in dozens of cities across the United States this week as part of a nationwide campaign aiming to force the administration of President George W. Bush and Congress to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq."
Next Thursday, October 5th,
World Can't Wait is calling for a day of mass resistance.
Benjamin Rosen explains "people will walk out of school, take off work, gather in town squares and MARCH in cities across the country, declaring their intention [to] bring the Bush program to a halt."
While people get active, DC freezes. As
Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) notes: "With just a few days remaining before Congress adjourns for the midterm election, Washington, DC has turned into the fear capital of America. It's an all-out Fear Face-Off, pitting the GOP's fear of reality against the Democrats' fear of perception, with control of Congress riding on the outcome."

Let me do one more thing. This is from Media Matters' "NBC, AP uncritically reported Snow's claim that the NIE is 'a snapshot':"

In reporting on the Bush administration's reaction to the recently declassified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which concluded that the Iraq war has stoked terrorism worldwide, the Associated Press and NBC's Nightly News uncritically reported White House press secretary Tony Snow's dismissal of the NIE's findings, claiming that "it's a snapshot ... of what's going on in the region." In fact, work on the NIE reportedly began in 2004, and, as CBS national security correspondent David Martin reported on September 27, the NIE "is really a forecast" that "analyzes the nature of the threat terrorist groups will pose during the next five years."

They've made their comments and did so pretty clear so let me talk about something else. "It's a snapshot"? Maybe Tony Snow got it confused with C.I.'s work? :D Seriously, Jess told me if the military (not the troops, higher up) whine in one more e-mail to the public account of The Common Ills, he's going to demand C.I. put it in entry. You'd think, with a war they want going to hell, they'd have a little more to do than whine to C.I. But no. Big whiny babies. Or maybe they're just smart? Never underestimate the power of the "Iraq snapshot." It has a big audience outside the community.